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Even though everyone agress that the matter needs more study and that there is zero chance of it providing any near-term benefits, the Senate appears bent on barging ahead with a bill to expedite the legalization of fracking in North Carolina. The Senate Commerce Committee will take up the matter at an 11:00 am meeting this morning.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bob Rucho, claims that North Carolina’s extremely limited natural gas resources are “God-given.”

Molly Diggins, Executive Director of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, however, sent out a measured but strong critique of the bill in antcipation of the meeting. Read More

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Folks paying attention of late are aware that the marriage discrimination amendment  isn’t the only area in which North Carolina is provoking snickers and head slaps on a national level. Another is our extreme and right-wing General Assembly’s absurd effort to dictate to scientists which data they can and can’t look at in assessing and predicting the sea-level rise that will take place along our coast over the next several decades.  

(As an aside, if you want to see just how crazy the real estate developers and other self-appointed experts from the ideological right have become as they attempt tell actual scientists what to think and do on this critical subject, just wait a few hours until they start publishing some additional pieces of distorted “analysis” in the comments section below.)

Anyway, as this AP story from this weekend’s WaPo makes clear, at some point in the near future, cold hard facts are simply going to wash away the claims of the deniers. This is from the article: Read More

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(Cross-posted from Plugged In, a blog of The Scientific American).

By Scott Huler

According to North Carolina law, I am a billionaire. I have a full-time nanny for my children, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and I get to spend the entire year taking guitar lessons from Mark Knopfler. Oh, my avatar? I haven’t got around to changing it, but by law, I now look like George Clooney. There’s also a supermodel clause, but discussing the details would be boasting.

You think I’m kidding, but listen to me: I’m from North Carolina, and that’s how we roll. We take what we want to be reality, and we just make it law. So I’m having my state senator introduce legislation writing into law all the stuff I mentioned above. This is North Carolina, state motto: “Because that’s how I WANT it to be.” Read More

Here’s an encouraging development to ponder on a dreary Wednesday: Yet another corporate front group masquerading as a “think tank” is under heavy fire. This time it’s the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based group of  market-fundamentalist Hooverites. 

Recently, these knuckleheads took their absurd global warming denial activities to a new and embarrassing level by launching a billboard campaign that attempted to link people who care about the planet’s health and survival to Ted Kaczinski, the “Unabomber.”

Happily, as this story points out, this was singularly dumb move:

The Heartland Institute’s failed billboard campaign attacking the existence of climate change is driving a surge of corporate donors to abandon the group and prompting a mutiny among its Washington-based staff, which is decamping for less volatile surroundings, according to sources. Read More