Blogs

Offshore drilling update: Approval for seismic testing may come soon

Whether NC's coastal residents want it or not:

The steps to seismic testing in the South Atlantic include approval of the incidental harassment authorizations by the National Marine Fisheries Service, which could then be followed by approval of the permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). According to NOAA’s website, the public comment period for proposed seismic permits in the Atlantic closed last July. The comment review and final determination process typically takes, according to the site, one to three months.

“We are working through about 17,000 public comments as expeditiously as possible, but will take the time necessary to ensure that they are all appropriately addressed and that our final decision is based on the best available science,” Kate Brogan, a National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

I can't help but stir my tea leaves when a government official says, "best available science." Because they are the ones who decide what's best, what's available, and (of course) what is "science" as opposed to opinion. All that said, both the NOAA and the Marine Fisheries branch are part of a dwindling group of Federal regulatory entities that are still at least trying to do their jobs properly. But that may be about to change:

Saturday News: Red Strawfish

kabuki.jpg

REPUBLICANS RESURRECT DEM HEALTH CARE BILL FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES: In an unexpected move Thursday, a North Carolina House Democrat moved to kill her own bill that would have started the process to create a statewide universal health care system. Republicans had resurrected the bill Wednesday night in an effort to highlight the economic impact of such a system. The bill — which had been sitting dormant in the House Appropriations Committee since April 2017 — was put onto the House Rules Committee agenda late Wednesday, surprising many observers because liberal policy proposals typically don't get committee hearings. Hours before the House met Thursday morning, the conservative Civitas Institute released an analysis of the bill, which it characterized as a "monster that could swallow the North Carolina state budget."
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article213667949.html

NC Senate Republicans spoil effort to increase school psychologists

Because they've never met a bill they didn't want to hijack:

Lawmakers focused on improving school safety for months have planned to address a significant shortage of school psychologists, but none of the related bills filed by legislators look like they are going anywhere during this legislative session.

The proposal had broad support, and passed unanimously in the House, but the bill failed after the Senate tacked on a controversial and unrelated healthcare provision. Then the Senate stalled the House's attempts to resurrect the psychology provision in another bill about licensing regulation in various industries. That bill did not make it past the legislature's self-imposed deadline to send all statewide bills to the governor's desk.

That's pretty much all you need to know about how Berger and his acolytes roll. No matter how needed and necessary a piece of legislation is, if they can't use (abuse) it to get something else they want, it's no longer worth their effort. The sheer arrogance and selfishness is breathtaking. And it's not like this is a "nice to have" enhancement of our schools, it's a crisis that has deadly consequences if not addressed:

Friday News: Welcome to the 1950's

NC GOP LEGISLATOR DROPS SEXIST BOMBSHELL ON VISITING HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS: A North Carolina state legislator faced backlash on social media Wednesday after commenting about a group of visiting female high school students. After the introduction, Sanderson offered advice to the student group from the lectern. "I know for sure that if you continue to recruit young ladies like (those sitting in) the front row, you're not gonna have any trouble recruiting young men," Sanderson said. "We'll have more farmers then we know what to do with." The Twitter account of the Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted "Girls in the FFA can't just be there for an interest in farming? This is gross." Ginger Garner, Sanderson's Democratic opponent in November, responded with her own tweet saying: "Elected officials should serve as an example to our students through their actions & words. Senator Sanderson's comments today objectified female students & minimized their work & involvement in the FFA. His comments are appalling & entirely inappropriate."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article213582734.html

North Carolinians For A Fair Economy Host 2nd Congressional District Empty Chair Town Hall

Congressman George Holding is oblivious to the needs of his constituents. He voted with GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He voted for the #TrumpHoldingTaxCut that benefits big corporations, millionaires, and billionaires. Working families and children in NC’s Congressional District 2 are left behind while Holding enriches himself and his wealthy friends.

North Carolinians for a Fair Economy hosted an Empty Chair Town Hall last night in Wake Forest and had a great turnout. Check out the link below to hear from former US Congressman Bob Etheridge, NAACP NC President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Deputy Director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy Meg Wiehe, and former NC Senate District 18 candidate Sarah Crawford.

https://www.facebook.com/NCFairEconomy/videos/264484937635093/

WTF?

There's been much debate about swearing and civility since Robert De Niro slammed Trump at the Tony Award ceremony. As someone who shares De Niro's sentiment, I wanted to explore the ramifications of such outspoken language.

Trump's EO will create numerous "family" detention centers

immigrantroundup.jpg

Out of the fire and into the frying pan:

Trump's executive order directs the attorney general to promptly file a request with U.S. District Judge Dolly Gree in the Central District of California to modify the Flores Settlement and allow detained migrant families to be held together "throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings ... or other immigration proceedings."

The president directed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to maintain custody of detained families during criminal proceedings and as their asylum claims are adjudicated. Also, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the heads of other agencies are ordered to find or construct facilities to house the detained families. Finally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is directed to prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families.

"Finding" such facilities won't be that difficult, considering all the big-box retail stores like Wal-Mart that were closed and virtually abandoned. No doubt many developers and banks holding the notes on these dinosaurs are rubbing their hands together in glee, anticipating that monthly lease payment. And of course these people will have to be fed, so there's a lot of money to be made there, too. And as for those 2,000+ children already caged up, this order does absolutely nothing for them:

Thursday News: Stacking the courts

bluenccup-1[1]_0.jpg

10 JUDICIAL CANDIDATES WILL HAVE TO REFILE AFTER GOP OVERRIDES VETO: One new law altering judicial election districts in four counties could force about 10 judicial candidates who had already entered races affected by the law to either refile or withdraw. The other law could force a new political party to reconsider a few candidates it nominated last weekend or go to court to challenge the law. The judicial district measure redraws Superior Court election district boundaries in Mecklenburg County to address population imbalances in the previous election districts that GOP lawmakers called unconstitutional. But District Court judges also will no longer be elected countywide in both Mecklenburg and Wake counties. Voters in the state's two largest counties now will elect only a few District Court judges based on where they live.
https://www.wral.com/republicans-finish-override-on-2-cooper-election-bill-vetoes/17641645/

Republicans blame Cooper for judicial redistricting confusion

gavelbanging.jpg

As usual, Melissa Boughton is on the case:

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday night to overturn a partial judicial redistricting bill in an apparent attempt to flex its political muscle at Gov. Roy Cooper. Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) told his colleagues it took Cooper 243 hours and 20 minutes to veto Senate Bill 757 and that he (Cooper) wanted to make sure he caused confusion for the election.

“I promise you, he knew the moment it passed the first chamber whether or not he was going to veto this bill,” Hise said. “But instead he wanted to create some chaos. … That’s the way this Governor likes to play, so we’re going to send the message back.”

That's right, they are accusing the Governor of following the law, which specifies how much time he has to sign, Veto, or allow a bill to become law without his signature. Make no mistake, those judicial candidates who are forced to refile know exactly who to blame, the meddlers in the General Assembly:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs