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vegan lunch for linksHere are your Wednesday lunch links exactly two weeks before Christmas Day.

Bob Geary at the Indy has a great take on the absurd spin about jobs coming out of the McCrory Administration these days. And speaking of misleading spin, one underreported story this week was the statement by fiscal staff of the General Assembly that the regressive revenue plan passed this summer will actually increase taxes on many people, contrary to what McCrory and legislative leaders have been claiming.

And with the announcement today of the lawsuit against the new school voucher scheme filed by the N.C. Justice Center and the NCAE, it’s a good time to go back and read about all the unanswered questions about the program, primarily the shocking lack of accountability in where taxpayer money will go. Lindsay Wagner’s series about the program is a great place to start. Here’s are links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of her report earlier this year. Read More

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Berger_Jr.-and-Sr.State law forbids members of the General Assembly from raising money from lobbyists, which seems like the least the law should do, ban people who are trying to directly influence lawmakers from writing them checks while asking for votes or legislative favors.

Lobbyists often find all sorts of ways around the law, having PACs associated with their clients give to legislators or other members of their laws firms make contributions, etc.

Tuesday, December 17th a number of lobbyists are holding a fundraiser in Raleigh for Phil Berger, Jr., who is running for Congress for the seat currently held by Rep. Howard Coble from Greensboro who is stepping down at the end of 2014.

Former GOP Chair and current lobbyist Tom Fetzer recently sent out a solicitation for the event. Other lobbyists who are members of the host committee listed on the invitation include Republican lobbyists like former House Speaker Harold Brubaker, Mark Fleming and  Dana Simpson. Democratic lobbyist Steve Metcalf is also on the committee.

It’s probably a safe bet that the candidate’s father will also be on hand for the festivities. That would be Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger Sr., who will have a lot to say about the fate of the bills the lobbyists are working on this summer.

The lobbyists must be opening their wallets for Phil Jr. only because they believe in him so strongly.  Currying favor with his powerful father surely has nothing to do with it.

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vegan lunch for linksHere is an odd assortment of items for your Wednesday lunch links in this post-Thanksgiving week.  It is not exactly shocking news, but Governor Pat McCrory misspoke about education again, this week  erroneously claiming that his predecessor never proposed giving teachers a raise, when in fact she did.

The latest gaffe comes in the wake of the weekend column about McCrory’s prickly nature by Charlotte Observer Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten that still has the political world in Raleigh buzzing.

McCrory responded to the column with a letter to the editor in the Observer today. Here is Gary Pearce’s take on the column and what it says about the hyper-sensitive Gov.  Pearce’s piece is appropriately headlined “McCrory under siege.” Read More

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vegan lunch for linksYour Thursday edition of Lunch Links starts with a few interesting news items.  Governor Pat McCrory told MSNBC  Wednesday that the voter suppression law he signed earlier this year was “much ado about nothing,” which will come as a surprise to all the people who will find it more difficult to vote in the next two elections.

And former Governor Jim Hunt told a crowd at a fundraiser in Greensboro this week that he believes the speculation that McCrory and the General Assembly will find the money to give a teachers a small raise next year ahead of the November elections by making deeper cuts to the already strapped university system. Lovely. Read More

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The latest chapter in the refusal by conservatives to consider the implications for the North Carolina coastline of the projected sea level rise comes from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

The Indy reports today that museum officials won’t allow a documentary on the subject to be shown at the museum’s Science Cafe.

The nonprofit group N.C. Coastal Federation had hoped to bring the film to the museum’s Science Café, a weekly discussion of science and technology issues, in January. It is scheduled to show at UNC-Wilmington and the N.C. Aquarium in January.

According to emails provided by the museum, director Emlyn Koster wrote that “we want to engage the public, marshal the progress of our unique learning-rich setting and take advantage of our collaborative network, rather than focusing on an hour-long film in a theater.

He added that the museum needs to “ensure an objective science-centered approach.”

Hmm.  A science-centered approach?

If you want to hear the truth about sea level rise and what it means for North Carolina, join NC Policy Watch next Wednesday for a Crucial Conversation luncheon with Dr. Robert S. Young, Professor of Geology and Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University