Let's give Richard Burr the respect he deserves

When Richard Burr takes over as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee next year, a quintessential oxymoron will step into the spotlight, showcasing North Carolina once again as a state filled with idiots and assholes. Mr. Burr, who famously created his own run on banks at the height of the financial crisis, continues to embarrass us all with every utterance he makes. His comments yesterday about torture and the war crimes of George W. Bush leave no doubt about his loyalties.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA’s use of torture released Tuesday “only endangers our officers and allies in a blatant attempt to smear the Bush administration.” The Republican U.S. senator from Winston-Salem will become chairman of the Intelligence Committee in January. He said on Tuesday that he would not hold hearings on the report.

“I just don’t know what you would accomplish with hearings,” he said in an interview. Asked if he saw any kind of follow-up, Burr said, “No. Put this report down as a footnote in history.”

As a veteran and former special operations officer in the US Navy, I find Mr. Burr's cavalier observations about CIA torture practices mind-boggling. This is not about smearing anybody, this is about integrity, which is definitely not Mr. Burr's strong suit. If we can't count on the United States Senate to exercise is authority to hold the executive branch accountable for proven war crimes, we are well and truly screwed.

So yeah, let's show Mr. Burr the respect he deserves. Exactly none.

PS Rob Schofield has a slightly more gentle take on Burr's outrageous statements.



The rest of your Daily Dose

NC Medicaid report votes reinforce differences (AP) — Chances for overhauling North Carolina's Medicaid program next year dimmed Tuesday as a General Assembly committee removed what few details remained in an already vague proposal describing the path toward cost controls.

State Lawmakers Strip Recommendations Allowing Managed Care Into Medicaid (WUNC-FM) -- An effort to open the state’s Medicaid program to managed care ran into trouble today. A report that passed a subcommittee easily last week was gutted in a health and human services oversight committee meeting this morning. The move may indicate a victory for the administration and some Republicans who want to build on an existing program for Medicaid patients. This morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos left no doubt where she stands on the issue of Medicaid reform. She addressed a conference room filled with state lawmakers, reporters, and lobbyists.

Lawmakers change course on Medicaid reform (WRAL-TV) -- State House leaders and medical providers appear to have won the latest round of the battle over Medicaid reform, but the debate is expected to continue through 2015.

WAR ON STATE WORKERS: Legislators want to cut retirement tax break for public employees (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Some current and former state employees could soon lose a valuable, little-known perk: The ability to roll private sector retirement savings into tax-exempt state accounts.

McCrory talks about issues affecting Cape Fear region (WWAY-TV) -- It's been almost two years in office, and Gov. Pat McCrory said it's been a roller-coaster ride he's honored to be part of. The governor touched on several topics during a sit-down interview at the Executive Mansion. Topics we covered with McCrory included the continued battles with both gay marriage and immigration. While the governor says he will uphold the constitution concerning gay marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court decided to not hear the appeal, upholding the appeals court decision, McCrory says he does support the fight on the new executive order on immigration. "If we continue to let the President of the United States make the laws, as opposed to execute the laws, it is endangering our ability to govern," McCrory said. "Of course I want to help solve the illegal immigration issue, but an executive -- including the governor -- can't just make up their own laws and implement them. We ought to be at the table in ensuring there is not executive overreach. It is kind of ironic, because here at the state level I'm fighting legislative overreach."

McCrory reflects on 2014, looks ahead (WITN-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory sat down with WITN at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh for a one-on-one interview as he reflects on 2014 and what's to come next year. McCrory says, "We think that North Carolina's in better shape today than it was a year and a half ago when I was sworn in as governor." McCrory points to an increase in teacher pay, tax reform, paying off $1.5-billion in debt to the federal government, and a 25-year transportation plan, as positives. But there have also been some rocky moments like the Moral Monday protests over voter ID, unemployment benefits, and not expanding Medicaid.

NC wildlife board looks into criticism of agency's officers (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The governing board of NC's wildlife agency wants to know more about criticism that officers have been too aggressive in protecting deer and bear.

NC caucus to talk about police-citizen relations (AP) — Black lawmakers at the General Assembly want to talk about how to prevent fatal incidents like those between citizens and police in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere from happening in North Carolina.

Booming N.C. County Presses Reset on Transit Planning (Govt Exec) -- It's too early to talk about specifics but Wake County knows it needs a strong long-range plan to be regionally competitive and attract top talent that favors 'liberty' of transportation choice.

For Sen. Feinstein, Torture Report’s Release Is Signal Moment (New York Times) -- Top Republicans described the report as a politically charged Democratic document that distorted events, contending that the intelligence obtained through the harsh tactics had helped in the disruption of terrorism plots and in the search for Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan in 2011. They also said that Senate Democrats, and Ms. Feinstein in particular, would be responsible if there was any violent backlash. “She will have to live with the consequences,” said Senator Richard M. Burr, the Republican from North Carolina who will be the chairman of the Intelligence Committee next year. But at least one Republican was on her side. Senator John McCain of Arizona, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, followed Ms. Feinstein’s remarks with a powerful condemnation of torture. As he walked off the floor, Ms. Feinstein called out to him, walked over to his desk and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Reaction to CIA torture report (USA Today) -- Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who will replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein as the committee chairman in January: "The only motive here could be to embarrass George W. Bush,. I don't think that's the role of the intelligence committee." Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was tortured while a POW in North Vietnam: "I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. Most of all, I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored."

Republicans criticize torture report, defend CIA but not its methods (LA Times) -- "The study essentially refuses to admit that CIA detainees, especially CIA detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, provided intelligence information which helped the United States government and its allies to neutralize numerous terrorist threats," Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said. "On its face, this refusal doesn't make sense." North Carolina Sen. Richard M. Burr, who will inherit the chairmanship from Feinstein next month, was more blunt, calling the conclusions of the report "a fiction."

Sen. Richard Burr says he will not hold hearings on torture report (McClatchy Newspapers) -- US Sen. Richard Burr said the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA’s use of torture released Tuesday “only endangers our officers and allies in a blatant attempt to smear the Bush administration.”

Who Wants to Buy a Politician? (New York Times) -- Spending on election campaigns has long been considered a pretty good way for people and companies, who have money, to influence politicians, who need it. That’s why the government spent the better part of a century imposing various restrictions on such spending. But in recent years, federal courts have knocked down many of these barriers: A series of decisions, most notably the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, now effectively allow people and companies to spend as much as they like. Soon after the Citizens ruling, experts forecast that a flood of money would follow. And in some elections, it has. In last month’s midterms, competitive United States Senate races in North Carolina and Colorado each drew more than $100million in estimated spending, the first time any congressional races have crossed that line. Such extravagance, however, is proving to be the exception. Even the 2012 presidential election, which recorded $2.6 billion in campaign spending, underperformed many forecasts. And spending has declined in each of the last two congressional elections. Candidates and other interested parties spent $3.7 billion on this year’s midterms, down from an inflation-adjusted total of $3.8 billion in 2012, which was less than the $4 billion spent in2010, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. (These figures do not include a few hundred million dollars in unreported spending on issue ads.) In fact, spending has dropped as the economy has grown and despite a series of contests in which at least one house of Congress was plausibly at stake. “Dire warnings rang out that the decision would herald a new era in politics,” wrote Adam Bonica, a Stanford University political scientist, in a 2013 paper about the effects of Citizens United. “Three years on, there is little evidence that these predictions have come to pass.” Over the past year, Americans spent more on almonds than on selecting their representatives in Congress.

Dems looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem (CNN) — The 2014 elections seemed like the final reckoning for Southern Democrats, the culmination of a political metamorphosis that began in the Civil Rights era and concluded under the nation’s first black President. Wiped out in governors’ races, clobbered in Senate contests, irrelevant in many House districts and boxed out of state legislatures, Democrats in the South today look like a rump party consigned to a lifetime of indignity. “I can’t remember it being any gloomier for Democrats in the South than it is today,” said Curtis Wilkie, the longtime journalist and observer of Southern life who lectures at the University of Mississippi. “The party has been demonized by Republicans. It’s very bleak. I just don’t see anything good for them on the horizon.” … in North Carolina, where Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan was defeated despite running a near-perfect campaign and driving up turnout among non-white voters. Her Republican opponent Thom Tillis relentlessly linked Hagan with Obama, whose job approval in North Carolina exit polls was 43 percent — better than in other Southern states, but still ugly. Democrats in North Carolina are grumpy about the outcome — but they aren’t writing their obituaries yet. Both the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham areas continue to grow at a rapid clip, attracting affluent, educated voters from other parts of the country who aren’t beholden to the state’s conservative traditions. In just four years, the Research Triangle hub of Wake County has added almost 100,000 new residents and now has a population of over 1 million people. That makes for an electorate closely resembling the national Democratic coalition under Obama in 2008 and 2012, made up of urbanized young professionals, including unmarried women, as well as African-Americans and Hispanics. In higher-turnout presidential years, North Carolina is just as winnable for Democrats as it was when Obama won the state’s 15 electoral votes in 2008 — even as rural whites flee the party.

Scotland County sheriff alleges vote-buying in election loss (WRAL-TV) -- The State Board of Elections did not find sufficient evidence to overturn the results in the Scotland County sheriff's race, but the board did refer evidence collected about the election to the county's district attorney.

ACA Enrollment Deadline Looms (TWCN-TV) -- We’re a little over two months away from the Affordable Care Act enrollment deadline and many North Carolinians are signing up for coverage for 2015. If you don't have health insurance through work or an individual plan you could face a penalty.

N.C. troopers have a surprising new way to catch you texting and driving (Charlotte Business Journal) -- ​If you think you can get away with texting while driving because you don't see any police cars around, you might be in for a surprise.

Man arrested in investigation of NC cocaine deaths (AP) — Police have arrested one man as they investigate a series of cocaine overdoses in Chatham County that killed three people and made 11 more people sick.

Expiration of historic preservation tax credits likely to have ripple affect (Wilmington Star-News) -- The state's historic preservation tax credits expire on Dec. 31.

Morganton furniture company gives McCrory a table (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is the proud recipient of a new wooden table from Morganton’s Chaddock furniture company. The company’s CEO, Tom Powell, dropped off the table Tuesday. It features the North Carolina state seal and “represents a combination old-school finishing techniques and new, cutting-edge technologies,” according to a news release from the governor’s office. The table will be displayed in McCrory’s office in the state Capitol building. As with all gifts to the governor, it’s state property and will remain after McCrory leaves office.
McCrory accepts library table from Morganton's Chaddock (Morganton Herald-News) – Gov. Pat McCrory was presented a customized, handmade library table from Morganton furniture manufacturer Chaddock. The governor accepted the gift from Tom Powell, Chaddock president and chief executive officer, on behalf of the state of North Carolina and said that it will be prominently displayed in the governor’s Capitol Office. “This is such a fine piece of furniture and I’m going to display it proudly here in the governor’s office,” said McCrory.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's late-night decorating for Christmas open house (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory isn’t the only elected official decorating his digs for the Christmas season. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is also getting out the greenery a block or so up Blount Street at his offices in the 1882 Hawkins-Hartness House. Forest will open the house to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday to show off the results. The open house is also a chance to check out the upgrades he’s made to the building using donated materials.

28 Alamance County, 2 Guilford County Residents Indicted (FBI News Release) -- Twenty-seven men and three women have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Greensboro on charges of drug trafficking and illegal weapons possession, announced Ripley Rand, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. The defendants reside in Alamance and Guilford counties.

Area stores searched; money, synthetic drugs, gaming machines seized (Sanford Herald) -- The Harnett County Sheriff's Office made multiple arrests, filed dozens of charges and seized poker machines, hundreds of doses of synthetic marijuana and thousands in cash following a recent investigation into illegal activities at several area businesses.

Beth Keever, Cumberland County's first female judge, retires (Fayetteville Observer) -- When former Gov. Jim Hunt interviewed then 31-year-old Beth Keever in 1982, he asked tough questions. Keever, who worked for seven years as assistant district attorney in Cumberland County, passed with flying colors. He offered her the job that night. "He just had a way of making you know that you could do what he said," she said. "And I never wanted to disappoint him and I never wanted to disappoint the people of this community who placed their trust in me." Keever, now age 64 and the chief district court judge in Cumberland County, carried that with her for the next three decades as she became the county's first female judge. She capped off a 39-year judicial career Tuesday night at a retirement celebration in front of hundreds at the Metropolitan Room downtown.

Wake register of deeds' emails allegedly accessed illegally for a year (WRAL-TV) -- Investigators believe a former computer systems administrator accused of tapping into the email account of a Wake County public official had been doing so for at least a year, if not longer.

No new election for Scotland County sheriff; allegations sent to DA (Fayetteville Observer) -- Scotland County Sheriff Shep Jones has lost his state appeal for a new election after he accused the Republican winner of buying votes.

State board unanimously dismisses New Hanover elections protest (Wilmington Star-News) -- John Anderson, who filed the protest, could still appeal the decision to the Wake County Superior Court within 10 days

Questions raised about access to state's election database system (Wilmington Star-News) -- "A lot" of data is communicated via that system, state board spokesman Joshua Lawson said.

Former Greensboro city manager named top administrator in D.C. (Greensboro News & Record) -- Rashad Young was Greensboro's city manager for about two years

Panthers' Newton suffers back fractures in crash (AP) — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered fractures to his lower back in a two-car crash Tuesday and will spend the night in the hospital, a team spokesman said Tuesday.

Economist predicts growth for NC economy next year (Charlotte Observer) -- Look to 2015 for another year of economic growth for North Carolina, with unemployment expected to continue falling and employers forecast to post a net increase in jobs.

Durham robotic firm laying off 110, 40 percent of local work force (WRAL-TV) -- Parata Systems, a manufacturer of robotic drug dispensing systems in Durham, is downsizing two facilities and laying off 110 workers. The total represents more than 40 percent of its Triangle work force.

Wells Fargo adding 80 jobs in Charlotte (AP) — Wells Fargo says it will create about 80 jobs in Charlotte by moving some work from Philadelphia next year.

Donate deer, help feed the hungry (Wilson Times) -- The Conetoe Family Life Center has teamed up with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Farmers and Communities Manage Deer Program and the North Carolina Hunters for the Hungry

Students share nutrition strategies (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- The Rev. Richard Joyner and the young people of Conetoe Family Life Center have made a huge impact in the small rural town with the success of its community garden enterprise becoming a powerful tool against poverty and disease.

N.C. driver had $1M cash cargo found in Texas semitrailer after fire (AP) — Authorities in northeast Texas are working to identify the owner of about $1 million in cash that was discovered stashed in a semitrailer after the truck's North Carolina driver was killed. The 36-year-old driver from North Carolina was fatally struck by a pickup truck after the semitrailer hauling furniture caught fire on Dec. 2 and he watched it burn on Interstate 20. A semitrailer passenger tells deputies he doesn't know who the money belongs to.

North Carolina To End Use Of Gas Chambers In Animal Shelters (WUNC-FM) -- In a letter addressed to euthanasia technicians and registered animal shelters in the state, the N.C. Department of Agriculture says the use of gas chambers for euthanizing cats and dogs is no longer acceptable. The letter comes from Dr. Patricia Norris, the new director of the Animal Welfare Section at the Department. "We're basically clarifying the policy for everybody," said Norris.

N&R veteran Susan Ladd chosen as new columnist (Greensboro News & Record) -- She says she hopes to http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/news-record.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/3e/0... readers into deep conversations about the community. Ladd, 56, is the mother of two girls and an alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill and UNCG. She was hired in 1984 as a features reporter and later moved into news. She became a news editor in 1996 and served as editor of the Life section from 2003 to 2011. Over the past three years, she has written a regular column for the Life section, and this year, she covered the 6th Congressional District race and the battle over gay marriage.

StarNews drops charter school lawsuit in New Hanover, but will refile in Brunswick (Wilmington Star-News) -- "This is not a vindication or any agreement they have complied with the law," StarNews attorney Amanda Martin said

US appellate panel to hear Wake County school election lawsuit (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A federal appeals court on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether new Wake County school-board election maps drawn by the General Assembly are legal or an unconstitutional attempt to dilute the impact of voters inside the Raleigh Beltline.

NC Ranks First in National Board Teaching Certification (TWCN-TV) -- New numbers released show N.C. leads the nation with the most National Board certified teachers. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the highest possible certification in the teaching profession and helps N.C. educators earn a 12 percent pay raise. Nearly 25 National Board candidates spend their Saturdays at support sessions at the UNC Wilmington Watson College of Education. "After five days of being in the classroom non-stop with students, then taking part of their Saturday away from their families to do this, I think it truly shows their dedication as professionals,” said UNCW WCE’s Professional Development director Somer Lewis.

Students, Leaders Grapple With Crisis on U Va. Campus (New York Times) – Following Rolling Stone’s account of a horrific gang rape at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia, the university’s president, Teresa A. Sullivan, tried to navigate a path that shifted by the day. On the day the article appeared, Nov. 19, she issued what many took to be a defensive statement, saying the article “negatively depicts the University of Virginia and its handling of sexual misconduct cases.” She said the local police would investigate the matter, and she showed little of the strong emotion that many students and alumni expected. After three days of national criticism and campus protests for seemingly not acknowledging what some were calling a predacious “rape culture” at the university, Dr. Sullivan issued a far stronger statement, saying that “I have heard you” and expressing “sorrow” and “rage,” and then suspended all fraternity and sorority activities until after the Christmas break. Then, some considered her initial caution partly vindicated when Rolling Stone acknowledged the article’s serious reporting flaws and cast large portions of its narrative into doubt. … Dr. Sullivan’s position underscores the narrow, bending path universities must traverse in evolving crises dealing with sexual assault and other emotional subjects as they try to balance public horror, demands for student safety, and calls for fairness for the accused in an environment overheated by social media and nonstop news coverage. “The one thing you know for sure in these situations is that 80 percent of the initial reporting is going to be inadequate, or just wrong — there’s always so much more that’s behind the story and isn’t public,” said Richard H. Hersh, former president of Trinity College in Connecticut and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. “It seems to me that the most responsible thing you can do is say, ‘Give me some time to find out more about this,’ but that’s unsatisfying to everybody but the lawyers. The demand on the part of the media for simple, clear and quick answers is part of the problem.” Recent high-profile university crises include the Penn State child molestation cases and cheating scandals at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. An increasing number of sexual assault cases tend to highlight specific aspects of the overall debate, whether it is the function of local law enforcement (Florida State), mishandling of accusations by university personnel or the proper response to disputed allegations.

U-Va. president vows to usher in significant reforms across campus (Washington Post) -- The school plans to beef up campus safety, rein in alcohol abuse and reform excesses in fraternity culture.

Law Enforcement and Campus Sexual Assault (Inside Higher Ed) -- Senators wrestle with how law enforcement can play a stronger role in pursuing sexual assault cases, and how to encourage more victims to report crimes to police.

5 teachers resign, 2 retiring (Wilson Times) -- Each month, the Wilson County Board of Education releases its personnel list, which shows employees who have been hired, retired or resigned from the system during the past month,

UNC med students to hold 'die-in' (AP) — More than 70 students at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine plan to participate in a "die-in" to protest the lack of indictments in the deaths of two unarmed black men killed by police officers.

Caudill Jones to lead Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A change months in the making was made official Tuesday night when Judge Lisa Menefee swore in the new Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education.

Obama Expected to Announce Early-Education Campaign (Wall Street Journal) -- President Barack Obama is expected to announce a campaign tied to about $1 billion in funding to bolster support for early education.

Three NC college presidents earn more than $1M (Greensboro News & Record) -- Presidents of three private universities in North Carolina – High Point University, Duke University and Wake Forest University – were among 36 nationwide who received more than $1 million in total compensation in 2012, according to a report from Washington, D.C.-based Chronicle of Higher Education.

UNC academic scandal told through one email (Raleigh News & Observer) -- This email between Debby Crowder and Wayne Walden captures the UNC scandal in a nutshell.

UNC will delay start of new grade transcripts (Raleigh News & Observer) -- University leaders blamed last-minute glitches for a delay in implementing new transcripts that will provide context for grades.

Cumberland County schools, other agencies plan increased efforts to recruit mentors (Fayetteville Observer) -- The push to get more people in Cumberland County to become mentors continues with a host of recruitment efforts planned for January.

Coal Ash in Carolina: Three Important Questions (WUNC-FM) -- Politicians, regulators, engineers, and commissions are trying to decide what to do with the 100-million tons of coal ash in 32 pits and ponds across North Carolina. Before a broken storm pipe caused 33,000 tons of coal ash to spill into the Dan River back in February, most people had never heard of it. So what is coal ash? How dangerous is it? And what are we going to do with it?

Duke Energy, NC regulators talk coal ash (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers are getting an update on efforts by Duke Energy and a new state panel to manage and clean up pits of coal ash sitting next to operating or closed power plants.

The role of emotion and fair play in the Duke coal ash fight (Sanford Herald editorial) -- People in Lee County who care about the environment, and are distressed over the idea of millions of tons of coal ash being transported and stored here, are in a quandary:

Duke Mess Gets National Airing (Southern Pines Pilot) -- As Duke Energy’s disastrous coal ash spill and its aftermath gained new national attention with a “60 Minutes” segment Sunday night, it was refreshing to hear North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory putting more air between himself and his longtime former employer.

CBS's 60 MINUTES Makes Top 10 For 7th Straight Week (Broadway World) -- 60 MINUTES is in the Top 10 again, where it has finished for seven straight weeks - its longest in-season streak on the weekly list since January 2009. So far, the CBS news magazine has finished among Americans' most-watched primetime broadcasts in all but three of the weeks of the 2014-2015 season, making Nielsen's Top 10 List eight out of the past 11 weeks. Sunday's 60 MINUTES drew 11.5 million viewers to finish at #6, according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings for Dec. 7. It also made the top 10 list in households at #5, with a 7.2/12. The program featured a Lesley Stahl investigation of toxic coal ash waste in North Carolina.

AG Cooper to appeal decision on NC utility rates (AP) — Attorney General Roy Cooper will appeal a decision by the North Carolina Utilities Commission allowing energy companies to profit from corporate tax cuts without passing those savings on to consumers.

AG Cooper to challenge utility right to overbill customers (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday he'll appeal a ruling from the N.C. Utilities Commission that allows the state's utilities to overcharge customers for corporate income tax. The October ruling from the utilities commission says that utilities can collect a 6.9 percent rate from customers even though the state legislature lowered the income tax to 6 percent this year and 5 percent next year. Utilities typically charge customers for corporate tax liabilities as part of the cost of generating electricity.

Can N.C. utilities unlock the state's solar potential? (Utility Dive.com) -- North Carolina has 700 megawatts of installed solar but its population of 9.85 million has accounted for only some 1,700 rooftop systems. That’s a solar system for every 5,794 residents. California’s population of 38 million has accounted for over 180,000 systems, one for every 211 residents. But sun isn’t necessarily the key. Massachusetts’ 6.7 million population has installed over 6,800 systems, one for about every 985 residents, much better than N.C. despite its New England weather. And New Jersey’s 8.9 million people account for over 18,000 systems, one for every 494 residents, despite significantly less sun. N.C.’s solar grew 127% between 2010 and 2013, according to Star Power; The Growing Role of Solar Energy in N.C., a report from Environment N.C. Strong policies and major building of central station solar by Duke Energy, the state’s dominant electricity provider made the state 10th in the U.S. for Installed solar capacity at the end of last year. Because of the way state policy is shifting, only an opening up of the residential rooftop market will prevent a squelching the growth of solar power that the report forecasted could provide 20% of the state’s electricity by 2030. While Massachusetts is among the states with the least solar potential and New Jersey is only a step up, according to the report, N.C. is in the same solar potential category as California. By achieving its solar potential, N.C. could get more than two-thirds of its Clean Power Plan-imposed 2030 emission reductions.

Financing Partnerships Drive North Carolina's Solar Boom (PRNewswire) --Three new utility-scale solar farms have been added to North Carolina's energy mix, propelled by a partnership between Washington, D.C.-based solar investment and financing firm Sol Systems, National Cooperative Bank, and Strata Solar. The projects are located on rural farmland in Erwin, Efland, and Hickory and total 18MW of solar capacity which equals the reduction of automobile travel by approximately 24 million miles. This second deployment for the partners follows on the heels of another 18.2 MW earlier this year. Sol Systems managed the investment on behalf of an international bank as part of the firm's tax equity initiative to produce secure, sustainable solar investments for banks, insurance companies, utilities, and Fortune 100 clients. Strata Solar developed the project opportunities provided EPC services, and National Cooperative Bank served as the lender in the transactions. "North Carolina is a robust market for tax structured investments, which have been instrumental in stimulating the state's solar growth," said Dan Yonkin, Director of Tax Equity at Sol Systems. "Equally, in an industry where long-term relationships are essential for keeping transaction costs low, we are vigilant in working with such esteemed partners."

Strata finishes solar farms in Hickory, Efland (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Strata Solar has brought two 5-megawatt solar farms on line this month, completing a six-project deal involving Strata and loans and financing from National Cooperative Bank and Sol Systems. Chapel Hill-based Strata built four additional projects, all with a capacity of 5 megawatts, with the two Washington, D.C., companies, earlier this year. The total package represented an investment of almost $100 million.

Council to weigh solar development (Wilson Times) -- The Wilson City Council will consider a lease for a potential solar development.

Feds ok $1.2B deal for Duke to buy power assets from eastern N.C. towns (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Federal regulators on Tuesday approved a $1.2 billion deal to allow Duke Energy Progress to buy back power plant ownership from 32 debt-saddled Eastern North Carolina towns that bought costly shares in the power plants more than three decades ago. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Duke’s buyback does not raise any monopoly-related concerns, in part because Duke Progress will continue selling electricity to the 32 towns, which include Apex, Clayton, Wake Forest, Wilson, Smithfield, Kinston and others dotting the Eastern half of North Carolina.

Officials: FERC signs off on Duke-NCEMPA deal that could cut electric rates (Wilson Times) -- Electric customers in eastern North Carolina could experience a significant reduction in rates in future years following confirmation Tuesday night

Coastal Resources Commission Panel To Consider Sea Level Rise at Dec. 15 Meeting (N.C. Political News) -- The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel will meet Dec. 15 in New Bern to continue work on an update of the panel’s 2010 sea-level rise study report. The panel will meet from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Craven County Cooperative Extension, 300 Industrial Drive, New Bern. The meeting is open to the public, and members of the public are welcome to speak during a comment period scheduled for 1 p.m. The panel provides scientific advice to the state Coastal Resources Commission. It was created by the CRC in 1997, and is composed of coastal engineers and geologists.

Some See Opportunity in Latest Hofmann Twist (Coastal Review) -- Opponents hope the recent termination of the sale of Hofmann Forest presents an opportunity to explore other options.

Cash named new Smokies superintendent (Carolina Public Press) -- Cassius Cash, a native of Memphis, Tenn., has been named as the new superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Nature Conservancy Buys 1,200-Acre Parcel in Scotland County (Southern Pines Pilot) -- The Nature Conservancy’s newest Sandhills acquisition will help provide a valuable corridor for federally endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and other animals.

Partisan lawsuit (Greensboro News & Record) -- Gov. McCrory joins an ill-conceived legal effort to block the president’s executive order on immigration.

To balance budget, UNCW may eliminate four sports (Wilmington Star-News) -- With the exception of women's cross country, UNCW announced this week that it will eliminate all track and field programs

A mild mannered chemist (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- North Carolina has been blessed with good Republican governors. There was Daniel Russell (1897-1901), a Teddy Roosevelt-style progressive; Jim Holshouser (1973-77), a champion of education, health and the environment; and Jim Martin (1985-1993) the state’s first two-term governor. The report card is still incomplete for the current chief executive, Pat McCrory. When Republicans bemoan their years in the wilderness, they overlook that three of North Carolina’s six most recent governors have been Republican. Martin, the longest serving Republican governor, is the subject of an exhibit in the N.C. Museum of History that will run through Jan. 4.

State Rep. Andy Wells: State incentive program needs fixing (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- After 30 years in business, I’ve figured out that (regardless of the ideas of well-meaning but over-ego’ed politicians) economic and demographic trends are more powerful than government.

Unfit to serve on Intelligence committee

Here's your footnote, Richard Burr.

Mock executions, punching naked prisoners while running them up & down halls, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, total darkness isolation, threats to families, forced rectal feeding. Torture.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

That's like 20 Daily doses in 1

Oh my!

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

No wonder the release of this

No wonder the release of this report was held up--waiting for Burr to, effectively, be the committee chair.


is what people reflexively utter when they get a dreadful chill upon learning that this self-centered, disingenuous right-wing wacko is going to take over the very important position of Intelligence committee chair.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014