The following statement was released this afternoon by the group NC Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty:

NC Conservatives Concerned Urges Governor McCrory to Veto Bill Eliminating Transparency in Executions

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2015

Contact: Ballard Everett
(919) 272-0297

North Carolina Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (NC CCADP) urges Governor Pat McCrory to veto House Bill 774 “Restoring Proper Justice Act,” legislation aimed at taking transparency out of the way in which our state executes individuals.

“This legislation is bad policy for North Carolina. Conducting executions is the most extreme expression of the state’s power and should be done in an open and transparent process,” said Ballard Everett, coordinator for NC CCADP. “Making secret the way in which our state obtains the drugs needed and conducts executions practically guarantees that NC will join states around the country that have seen horribly botched executions.”

“Even the bill’s sponsors have admitted passage of H774 would invite more costly litigation,” said Everett. “Why then are they committed to wasting more tax payer dollars by creating more issues that have to be litigated in courts?”

Should executions resume, Governor Pat McCrory will be the final reviewer of death row cases slated for execution. If the Governor signs H774, he will be facing what will likely be a problematic execution process that will inevitably lead to horribly botched executions. Everett said, “Gov. McCrory should not be placed in this position by the General Assembly. The process should be open and transparent to ensure that any execution is carried out correctly and with dignity for all of those involved.”

“We urge the Governor to veto this legislation. If our state is going to engage in capital punishment, we cannot do so by cloaking the execution process in secrecy.” Everett said


Commentary, News
Kieran Shanahan discusses conservation hunting with CBS News. (

Kieran Shanahan discusses conservation hunting with CBS News. (

[This post has been updated with the photo that appears at the bottom.] CBS ran a story last night on the national evening news on the ongoing reaction to the poaching death of a lion known as Cecil in Zimbabwe. The story prominently featured a veteran pursuer of African big game from the United States who described himself as a “conservation hunter.” The hunter in question: Governor McCrory’s former Secretary of Public Safety, current East Carolina University Trustee and long-time conservative activist Kieran Shanahan.

Shanahan, who appeared in the story with the head of an animal he’d apparently killed mounted as a trophy on the wall of his office, told CBS he was “sickened” by poaching he’s seen and claimed to hunt only non-endangered animals under circumstances blessed by relevant African governments.

A Humane Society official, however, refuted Shanahan’s claim about the usefulness of such hunting later in the story:

“But Wayne Pacelle, who is president of the Humane Society of the U.S., said trophy hunters target some of the biggest, most magnificent animals,

which is bad for species health. Creatures that are killed cannot reproduce and pass on their genes to future generations.

‘We don’t see any rationale to kill animals just as a head-hunting exercise,’ Pacelle said. ‘It’s pointless. It’s one thing to kill animals for food. It’s another to kill them just for their heads.'”

Several commenters to the story have also weighed in to dispute Shanahan’s claims. Read More


In an interview with the Outer Banks Sentinel, state representative Paul Tine (an unaffiliated lawmaker who votes with the Republican majority) added his voice to the growing chorus of opponents to the McCrory administration’s plan to bring offshore oil and gas drilling to the North Carolina coast:

“It gets difficult to make predictions, especially in the multi-decade process we face…The problem with what we have is [that] this is one of those situations where we’re arguing based on a false set of assumptions. Congress has not authorized revenue sharing for North Carolina…so all this money people think we’re going to get doesn’t exist. [As for] the jobs argument, Norfolk is by far and away the most likely port that will be utilized to support that industry, so the jobs will go mostly to Virginia…So people don’t properly understand the risks. And the rewards are not there. So we have a $1.2 billion economy for tourism which would certainly be disrupted should anything happen…For us, all we get is risk. We get no reward. So hopefully, we can keep them from moving forward.”

In other words, the last thing we need is for the North Carolina and Virginia coasts to start looking like this.


Several years ago, the great American illustrator and satirist Edward Sorel drew a biting cartoon in which he presented the presidents and presidential candidates of the second half of the 20th Century on a spiral of devolution from the Superhero human (FDR) down to the reptilian characters of modern day. And while one could quibble with some of Sorel’s characterizations and argue that there have been some upward bumps in the trend at times, there are plenty of reasons to conclude that, on the whole, the spiral continues. In recent weeks. Donald Trump has done his best to abet the trend and yesterday, as the video below confirms, there is a new contributor.

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Tony Tata 2We’ve devoted a fair amount of space over the years to giving Francis DeLuca, the head of the Pope-Civitas Institute, heck for the many zany positions espouses.  Click here for a typical example from 2013.

That said, one has to admit that DeLuca made several solid points in a post last Friday in which he criticized former state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. In a post which was entitled “Did Tony Tata Use His Office to Explore Running for Congress?” DeLuca launches several barbs.

In addition to blasting Tata’s swift departure from office as not comporting “with a position at this level nor how a career military person would handle himself,” DeLuca takes Tata to task for, effectively, assembling a campaign team in office and spending $140,000 of NCDOT dollars on a political consultant who would be a likely candidate to help him later in a run for congress.

All in all, it’s a rare departure from script for the hard right DeLuca and a welcome one. Click here to read the entire piece.