In rural NC, economics often clashes with environmentalism


But what benefits one county may poison another:

Heavily agricultural and rural Bladen County southeast of Fayetteville, has two cornerstone businesses on its tax rolls. There’s Smithfield, the world’s largest pork processing plant, and The Chemours Company’s Fayetteville Works site. “The Fayetteville Works site generates just over a million dollars of revenue for Bladen County a year,” said Chuck Heustess, executive director of Bladen County’s Economic Development Commission.

Heustess said Chemours brings more than just decent paying jobs to Bladen and neighboring counties. He said the company pays for services -- everything from landscaping to catering.

Which is common practice for polluting industries, funneling a fraction of their profits into buying loyalty from local governments. Or I should say, placing them in a position where they can't afford to lose said polluting industry. The perspective from New Hanover County, however, is exactly the opposite:

Thursday News: GOP goes to court, act 12


JUDGE CATHERINE EAGLES WEIGHS REINSTATING JUDICIAL PRIMARY RACES IN NC: When North Carolina voters go to the polls in November to elect judges, they could see a long list of names on the ballot with each candidate’s political affiliation. In a federal courtroom in Greensboro on Wednesday, attorneys for the North Carolina Democratic Party argued that the Republican-led General Assembly violated the party’s free speech and equal protection rights in October when it voted to abolish primary elections in all judicial races this year which would have allowed the winnowing of candidates for the general election. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles is weighing whether to block the law while a lawsuit filed last year awaits trial.

Newest PPP Poll lends credence to NC's "Blue Wave" hopes

And two very different Executives may be a determining factor:

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds that Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot 46-41 for this fall. Among voters who are ‘very excited’ about voting in this year’s election- which could be a low turnout affair with no Senate or Gubernatorial race at the top of the ballot- the Democratic edge expands to 13 points at 53/40. The strong position for Democrats is a function of voters being happy with their Democratic Governor and unhappy with their Republican President. 49% of voters approve of the job Roy Cooper is doing to 33% who disapprove.

Voters are not happy with the General Assembly. Only 19% approve of the job it’s doing to 51% who disapprove. The Democrats in the legislature aren’t popular, with 39% of voters approving of the job they’re doing to 45% who disapprove. But they’re a lot better off than the Republicans who have only a 35% approval rating with 51% of voters disapproving of them. There’s 59/15 support for nonpartisan redistricting with independents (69/12), Democrats (62/12), and Republicans (45/21) all in favor of it.

That last part (redistricting) is very likely due to how much Republicans have abused it. Screwing with Congressional maps, Legislative maps, and now Judicial maps, has ensured this issue has been reported on every other day for the last year and a half or two, and that's enough to penetrate the awareness of even the painfully unaware. And contrary to what some Democratic contrarians have whined about in the last few days, it also appears voters know exactly who to blame for the Federal government shutdown:

Wednesday News: The truth is never wrong


ACLU CONVINCES NC PRISONS TO REMOVE "NEW JIM CROW" FROM BANNED BOOK LIST: "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" was the subject of a New York Times piece last week titled, "Why Are American Prisons So Afraid of This Book?" The article specifically noted that North Carolina and Florida prison systems wouldn't allow inmates to read it and said prisoners in others states often have trouble getting copies. The ACLU sent the North Carolina Department of Public Safety a heavily footnoted letter Monday, calling the ban unconstitutional and contrary to the prison system's own regulations. The state keeps a list of hundreds of "disapproved publications" inmates aren't allowed access to, but the ACLU suggested this particular book was off limits because it shines "a harsh light" on racism in the country's justice system. After receiving the letter, state Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter "decided to immediately remove the book," DPS spokeswoman Pamela Walker said in an email. Lassiter, who started in the job May 1, also will review the system's entire list of banned books to determine whether others should be removed, Walker said.

Trump to levy 30% tariff on imported Solar panels


Because when something is working very well, it's time to break it:

Suniva spokesman Mark Paustenbach called tariffs "a step forward for this high-tech solar-manufacturing industry we pioneered right here in America." However, solar installers and manufacturers of other equipment used to run solar-power systems opposed tariffs, which they said will raise their prices and hurt demand for the renewable energy.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, which represents installation companies, said billions of dollars of solar investment will be delayed or canceled, leading to the loss of 23,000 jobs this year. Mark Bortman, founder of Exact Solar in Philadelphia, said the prospect of tariffs, since the trade commission recommended them in October, had already caused him to delay hiring and expansion plans. "Solar is really just starting to take off because it is truly a win-win-win situation" for consumers, workers and the environment, he said. "Tariffs would really be shooting ourselves in the foot."

Environmentalists should not be "torn" on his issue. Make no mistake, it's a bad idea, and very likely will please fossil fuel companies and their advocates. And considering some of the comments I've seen by those who should know better, I guess it's time for another lecture on this complicated issue:

Tuesday News: 6 years of CHIP


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BACK IN BUSINESS VIA CONTINUING RESOLUTION: Congress has approved a bipartisan agreement to re-open the federal government after a three-day partial shutdown. The House approved the bill, 266-150, hours after the Senate backed it, 81-18. President Donald Trump is expected to quickly sign the measure to fund government operations through Feb. 8. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced the deal, which provides full funding for the federal government through Feb. 8 and reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, saying “we need to move forward.” The proposal includes a commitment to take up immigration issues, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy before the new Feb. 8 deadline.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Also not surprising to anyone who's been watching:

Standard operating procedure in Popeland. If a poll or report does *not* originate from a Koch-funded right-wing institution, there must be some inherent bias in it. That's the danger of living with propaganda for so long: pretty soon the real stuff seems out of whack.

GOP lawyers will appeal Special Master maps to U.S. Supreme Court

Which comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody:

The GOP lawmakers’ lawyers filed Sunday a motion asking the federal judges stay their order accepting new boundary lines from a special master while legislators appeal that order to the U.S. Supreme Court. They want a decision by Monday because they plan to request a similar delay before the Supreme Court if the judges deny it.

The judges ruled Friday that lines the General Assembly approved last summer still contained unconstitutional boundaries. The GOP lawyers say altering districts would create confusion weeks before candidate filing, adding judges used a “fundamentally flawed” test to determine whether illegal racial gerrymandering remained.

Bolding mine, because this is the height of arrogance. Republicans are basically saying, "Please delay your ruling, because you're all idiots." Like all bullies, they just can't keep from insulting people they're dealing with. It becomes second nature, and like Donald Trump, it is spawned out of a massive ego and overly-inflated sense of self-worth. The only cure for that is a Blue Wave.

Monday News: Pay to play golf?


JIMMY DIXON EARMARKS $830,000 FOR HOG FARMER'S GOLF RESORT: Over the past few years, a pumping station at River Landing in Duplin County has struggled to keep up with the sewage flow at the upscale golf community started by hog farming magnate Wendell Murphy and his family. Sewage has spilled at least three times from the station, and in one case made it to a pond close by. But this earmark primarily benefits a business co-founded by a powerful former state lawmaker who has long supported politicians of both parties with campaign donations. That includes Dixon, who was elected to the legislature in 2010. Since 2011, Murphy, his family and employees have given Dixon $42,750 in political contributions and in-kind support, such as food for a fundraiser, state campaign finance records show. Dixon and Jeffery Turner, executive vice president of Murphy Family Ventures, which developed River Landing, say political contributions had nothing to do with the appropriation.


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