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Gary is taking a break from blogging. Here's one from a Tapster.
The Senate’s headlong rush this week to jumpstart hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina proves they’ve learned absolutely nothing from the Dan River coal ash spill.

Senate Republicans say they want to create jobs and stimulate home-grown energy, and the sooner the better (especially in case the political world changes and they lose control in NC!) But the chatter around town is the Senate is moving too quickly, perhaps even recklessly, to mess with the state’s groundwater without imposing sufficient regulation and oversight on the front end.

The Dan River spill occurred at the site of an industry which is totally regulated by the state, yet it still happened and will affect that river system for years.

In the afterglow of that spill, North Carolinians understandably are skeptical of their regulators and corporate leaders, which is why the legislature and Mining Commission should take time to reassure the public with a rigorous framework of expectations, requirements, controls and penalties before any fracking pioneers start poking around in our aquifer.

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Gary is taking a break from blogging. Here is a post from a guest Tapster:
We recently complained that the State Capitol Police wasted taxpayer money to install a radar gun in one of its cruisers. It seemed absurd that the Capitol Police need this capability when there are plenty of other police organizations to nab speeders.
So, it mystified us when a Capitol Police officer took his lunch break last week at a restaurant in northwest Raleigh that gives law enforcement officers a discount on their meals. We salute the restaurant, and wish more businesses would give a break to these overworked and underpaid heroes (perhaps expand it to teachers!)
But the Capitol Police officer used poor judgment to drive his cruiser to a restaurant five miles from the State Capitol and two miles from the nearest state government building. And, the officer parked around back, out of sight, mostly hidden from the prying eyes of grumpy taxpayers.
It’s frustrating that the officer drove past dozens of affordable downtown restaurants and drove miles from the capitol to get his discount. His response time to a capitol emergency would’ve been seriously delayed, and he further reinforced that the State Capitol Police Department is redundant and burning through state resources that could be better invested elsewhere.

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Gary is taking a break from blogging. Here is a blog from a Tapster:

We wonder if Speaker and Candidate Tillis thinks his opponent in the
fall is the singer Sting: "Every step you take, every move you make,
I'll be watching you."

How can the speaker possibly govern effectively while campaigning for
US Senate and knowing that the Hagan campaign hovers over him like a
drone, waiting to fire a missile at every decision?

This mess creates a climate for two things. One is the possibility for
a screwup when somebody trades campaign favors for legislative
attention.  That's bad, and means jail time for somebody.

The other possibility is actually worse for all of us. It is the great
likelihood that the House does nothing meaningful. Just when the state
needs creative and bold policy action, a smart politico like Tillis
will be so cautious that nothing much will happen this summer on his

All because he doesn't want to get stung.

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Gary is taking a break from blogging. Our guest blogger filling in today for Gary is a Tapster.

The recent dustup about so-called ‘outside’ agitators spear-heading the Moral Monday protests has spotlighted a significant trend in North Carolina: the state actually is being run by outsiders.

Each of the last two Gov's were born in other states, and the current governor went to a tiny private college.

Both of the current legislative leaders were born and educated elsewhere.

The president of the public university system received his undergrad degree from a private school.

The new appointed CEO of the state’s most important business was raised and educated elsewhere and learned corporate principles in a different world.

For good or bad, the UNC and NC State mafias who operated things around here for decades have faded away. Why? Is our education and political system not producing quality leaders? Or do our new leaders simply represent what has become a migratory, destination state where bright minds from elsewhere come to take advantage of wonderful opportunities and merely reflect the population who appoints and elects them?

Obviously it's helpful to have a cross section of experience and knowledge to run a complex enterprise like a state, a university or a large business. But it’s a problem when the folks who run things have never stepped foot on the campuses of ECU, ECSU, FSU or NCSSM and don't know those acronyms or how to find them on a map.
So, it’s natural that we have a bitter, divisive and vitriolic debate about the state’s future when the decision makers' perspectives and priorities were nurtured beyond our borders.
No wonder the natives are restless.

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Gary is taking a break from blogging. Our guest blog today is from a Tapster.

Republicans won control of the NC General Assembly with a promise to create jobs and improve the state’s economy.
So, where is the proposed legislation to do that?
Of the 100 or so bills introduced in the early days of session, virtually none has anything to do with job creation or economic growth. The notable exception is HB4 dealing with the unemployment insurance mess in North Carolina, and this doesn’t really count because the state must confront this matter.
Instead, bills were filed to add new specialized license plates, outlaw naked nipples in public and allow church buses to have permanent license plates. Good gracious.
To add to the incongruity and hypocrisy, Republicans who ostensibly want less government and lower taxes filed bills to increase government oversight of tanning beds and mopeds and triple (yes,
triple) license fees for locksmiths.
It’s hard to believe – but not surprising – that a GOP crowd who waited breathlessly for 200 years to control the legislature is already bogged down in minutiae that fixes none of the problems they vowed to fix.


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Gary is taking a break from blogging. Here's one from another Tapster.
When the legislature makes its biennial return to town, our usual tendency is to ridicule the members’ narrow mindedness, laugh at their lack of political sophistication and hold our collective breath that they won’t destroy the state.
The gavel drops again in Raleigh Wednesday. Instead of our usual cynicism and derision, this year we offer a more sincere and – hopefully -- meaningful send-off to the members of the General Assembly.
It comes in an excerpt from a prayer offered by a good ole South Carolina preacher at Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial inauguration a few years ago. Its simple eloquence speaks to the wish we all share for our elected leaders:
"We are honored and humbled to stand in honor of a long line of individuals, some of whom are present this day, who with their keen vision, sacrificial effort, sound judgment, and personal passion have served this state and our nation well. Keep our new leaders faithful in the days ahead so that their actions, and ours, may preserve the best of the traditions we have received and expand their benefits to generations yet unborn."


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Gary is taking a break from blogging.  Today’s pinch-hitter one of our Tapsters.
The choice of a press secretary is a blip on the personnel radar of North Carolina’s new governor, but this choice provides insight into the kind of governor Pat McCrory may become.
McCrory’s choice for media mouthpiece has plenty of GOP experience in DC and in places like Nevada and, for goodness sakes, California.
It seems the Governor would be better suited if a key staffer like this had spent more time in Mint Hill and Pink Hill than on Capitol Hill, and had been ordering off the menu in places like Lexington, Wilber’s and Wanchese rather than D Street’s snooty Monocle Restaurant. And it seems like a Governor who’s talking about job creation would create one for someone who already pays taxes in this state.
This choice makes it obvious that McCrory wants a press secretary who’s more adept at navigating tricky GOP messages than navigating Tar Heel back roads.



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