Why customers give Duke Energy low marks

Oh look it’s an article on “Why customers give Duke Energy low marks.” For me, it might have something to do with my power going out three times today… And, no, there weren’t even any thundershowers near me today!

How big North Carolina’s economy is on the world stage

This is a quick look at how North Carolina’s GDP compares on the world stage if NC — and other U.S. states — were independent nations. I’m giving the top 40 over the last decade, with North Carolina highlighted in red:

NC vs World GDP 2006-15

Click the image for the full size.

The ranks are based on current-dollar annual GDP data from the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and are not adjusted for population. It’s inspired by similar comparisons done by Mark J. Perry and Earl Fry. As this exercise looks at state economies individually, the full U.S. isn’t ranked.

Case Dismissed!

The Daily Signal reports that:

On Tuesday, the Harris County district attorney’s office dismissed all charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. The duo worked undercover to produce a series of videos alleging Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of unborn baby body parts. Federal law makes it illegal to sell human fetal tissue for a profit.

Daleiden, project lead at the Center for Medical Progress, and Merritt were indicted by the Houston-based grand jury in January for using false government identification during their undercover investigation. Daleiden was also indicted for “intentionally and knowingly” offering to buy human organs. The two faced up to 20 years in prison, LifeSiteNews reported.

Daleiden, 27, called the charges against himself and Merritt, 62, “bogus” and “politically motivated.” He said the dismissal of charges “is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood’s political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny.”

How does Read to Achieve work?

These flowcharts developed by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction are designed to help.

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Trump’s impact on the Democrats

Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist documents several ways in which national Democrats appear to exhibit fear about Donald Trump’s presidential challenge.

(1) They Changed Hillary’s Tagline

In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Donald Trump said,

My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: ‘I’m With Her.’ I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: ‘I’m with you — the American people.’

He went on to describe the ways he would be with voters. It was a really smart line that made Clinton’s tagline seem cold and entitled, out for herself. It made Trump seem like he was for the common man. “I’m with her” was used to great effect during the campaign. But all of a sudden the line conjured up negative feelings.

The Clinton campaign responded by changing her slogan. Or not changing it so much as adding to it. Now, on the backside of signs that say, “I’m with her,” there’s an additional tagline: “She’s with us.” …

… (2) Their Mockery of Trump Is Obsessive

There are advantages to being the second party to hold a convention. You get to react to the first convention by presenting a more appealing message. You get to react to things you thought were negative.

But at no time should you build an entire joke around something as narrow as the way your opponent walked onstage. …

… (3) Policy Changes

Here’s yesterday’s lede from the Detroit Free Press:

PHILADELPHIA — UAW President Dennis Williams reiterated Tuesday that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has promised him that she will try to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to better protect workers.

Promised him she’d rewrite one of her husband’s signature policy achievements. …

… That could be seen as nothing more than an attempt to tamp down the Bernie Sanders troops, but Politico Pro reported that Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell is crediting Trump’s attacks on trade agreements. He says Trump’s trade message is resonating in the important swing state of Pennsylvania. …

… (4) The Change-Maker?

During his acceptance speech, Donald Trump sold a message of the need for radical and urgent change.

Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place.

They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.

That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change — and they have to change right now.

So what was the big takeaway from [the] keynote address by former President Bill Clinton? He said that his wife would be a “change-maker.” Over and over and over again, that’s what he said.

Conservatives can learn from Bernie

Timothy Carney uses a Washington Examiner column to urge conservatives to separate the wheat from the chaff when considering the ideas of self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.

Taxing the rich, regulating corporations, protecting abortion, expanding Social Security, Medicare and welfare. A casual observer of Bernie Sanders might think these issues are the heart of Sanders’ campaign and the progressive movement he has inspired.

But something else drives the Sanders revolution more than any of these policy matters do. You can tell when you talk to the Sanders delegates, and the protesters on the streets of Philly. You can tell when you count the signs that listen to Sanders speak.

“If this campaign is about anything,” Sanders said at a rally in New Hampshire back in February, “it is about revitalizing American democracy — making sure that every American knows how powerful he or she is to determine the future of this great country.”

The Sanders revolution is primarily about something prior to the issues. It’s about democracy and civic engagement.

Sanders’ main issue throughout his campaign was campaign finance reform — which is almost a meta-issue. “Overturn Citizens United” was Sanders’ most common refrain, referring to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that struck down some campaign-finance restrictions.

Ask Sanders’ delegates what they care about most, and campaign-finance reform is tops. Voting rights is up there. The Trans Pacific Partnership is up there, and one of the biggest complaints is how it creates unaccountable institutions.

And the Bernie delegates who caused a ruckus at the convention’s first two days — their complaints were as much about disenfranchisement and superdelegates as they were about Hillary’s unacceptability. …

… The average conservative or moderate might look at these Bernie people — with their sit-ins, their chants, their talk of organizing — and call them busybodies. And some of them are. But busy-bodiness is merely an extreme of a virtue. The virtue is civic-mindedness.

Man is a political animal. By nature, we want not only to live our own lives, but also to shape the world around us. This is politics, in the old sense of the word. It’s how we fulfill our duty to love our neighbor, and it’s how we fully actualize ourselves as human.

Another Clinton investigation

Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller documents the latest legal issues surrounding Bill and Hillary Clinton.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless.”

The initiative is being led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who serves as the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees FTC. The FTC regulates public charities alongside the IRS.

The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.”

Koskinen’s July 22 reply came only a week after the House Republicans contacted the tax agency. It arrived to their offices Monday, the first opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

“We have forwarded the information you have submitted to our Exempt Organizations Program in Dallas,” Koskinen told the Republicans.

Obama’s role in Hillary’s current challenge

Ben Shapiro of National Review Online explains why President Obama looms large in Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s current White House run.

Hillary Clinton is in serious trouble.

She’s not in trouble because of the massive competence of Donald Trump. She’s in trouble because she is terrible at the game her husband invented: the game of “who cares more about people like you.” In March 1992, Bill Clinton met a member of an AIDS-activism group at an event at a nightclub in New York City. Attacked by the activist for not doing enough for AIDS victims, Clinton famously responded, “I feel your pain, I feel your pain.” Clinton’s false empathy led him from victory to victory; he defeated the out-of-touch George H. W. Bush and crushed the oddly self-referential Bob Dole.

But Bill Clinton’s wife is one of the least empathy-driven candidates in the history of politics. She’s manipulating, cynical, and nasty. She’s instinctively defensive, brutally cutting, and utterly cold. …

… A majority of Americans think Trump is running to help America. They think Hillary is running to help Hillary.

That’s Hillary’s fault.

But more important, it’s Barack Obama’s fault, and the Left’s fault.

Barack Obama has been a highly unsuccessful president by any objective measure. His foreign policy has led to the single most explosive rise in terrorism since the empowerment of al-Qaeda in the late 1990s by Hillary’s husband. His last two years have been plagued by a national increase in violent crime, particularly murder in major cities. The economy has continued to stall under his redistributionist, anti-capitalist watch.

And the Democrats have paid the price. The media that built Obama into a godhead for racial progress couldn’t abandon Obama; instead, they kept happy-talking their way through an increasingly dystopian America. So did Obama’s fellow Democrats. The result: massive Republican gains at the state and local level, and historic elections in 2010 and 2014 in Congressional races.

The media still can’t escape the Obama trap. When Donald Trump rightly pointed out a series of problems facing America at home and abroad, ranging from rising crime and economic malaise to the rise of jihadism, the media and the Obama administration responded by pooh-poohing Trump’s critique. No, they said, Trump’s wrong: Everything’s hunky-dory. He’s just being too “dark.”

Except he isn’t. And Americans know that.

Hillary knows it too, but she’s stuck in a bind.