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As 2013 fast recedes in the rear-view mirror, many of us would like to think that the worst of the Koch brothers/Tea Party/conservative theocracy wackiness is over. Unfortunately, there is ample reason to believe that 2014 will be even more of a knockdown, drag-out political battle. Here are just a few reminders as to why this is the case and why caring and thoughtful people will need to bring their “A games” in the coming year to push back  successfully:

Big, dark money - Dan Besse, editor of the excellent N.C. League of Conservation Voters blog, provides a link this morning to a story in Scientific American from over the holidays that highlights a new Drexel University study about who funds the climate change-denial movement. Surprise! The bucks aren’t coming from the grassroots.

Asheville: facing abolition? As was reported several times in 2013, one of the General Assembly’s most conservative ideologues, Rep. Tim Moffitt of Buncombe County, has been waging a nonstop war with the city of Asheville for some time — whether it’s taking away the city’s water system or its airport. Now, comes word from Asheville Citizen-Times columnist John Boyle that Moffitt may want to go a lot further.

Standing fast in favor of discrimination – Another discouraging story from over the holidays came from the North Carolina Family Policy Council, which is doubling-down in support of discrimination against LGBT kids and families. Read More

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Rob YoungA few seat still remain for tomorrow’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation: “Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline,” featuring one of the nation’s most knowledgeable experts on the subject, Prof. Rob Young.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to hear from this genuine expert on this badly-misunderstood subject.

When: Wednesday, November 20, at 12:00 p.m. — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets) Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Sea-level rise 2Be sure to reserve your seat for next Thursday’s N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation with Dr. Robert Young of Western Carolina University – “Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline.”

Young is a Professor of Geology, an accomplished author and a nationally recognized expert on the future of our developed shorelines. Recent natural disasters like the BP gulf oil spill and Hurricane Sandy have also made him a sought-after media figure and commentator who has appeared on CNN, NPR and several other media outlets.

Event details:

When: Wednesday, November 20, at 12:00 p.m. — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets) Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Sea-level rise 2One year ago this week, the U.S. was dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. What lessons have we learned?  Don’t miss this upcoming NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon:  

Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline

Featuring Dr. Robert S. Young, Professor of Geology and Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University

If current luck holds, North Carolina may well escape the 2013 hurricane season without the widespread damage that has so frequently plagued the fragile coastal region in recent years. Unfortunately, this brief respite is almost certainly only that – a temporary breather.

Experts assure us that the impacts of climate change (including rising oceans and frequent, damaging storms) are sure to remake the coast in myriad ways over the decades to come and will, quite likely, permanently submerge large tracts of real estate.

So, what does our best science predict? Read More

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Duke Energy ratehikeWaving over-sized “Monopoly” money and signs calling for the state Utilities Commission and its Public Staff to begin acting like genuine watchdogs, 50-plus representatives from a variety of consumer and environmental groups held a press conference/protest today outside the offices of the Commission in downtown Raleigh. The took place just over an hour prior to the commencement of new hearings on what would be Duke’s third major rate hike for residential consumers since 2009.

Despite the immediate impetus for the event, Jim Warren, Executive Director of NC WARN said that the protest was about “a lot more than a rate hike. ” He said that protesters were calling into question “Duke Energy’s business model” which is predicated on improperly charging customers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.   Read More