Tuesday Twitter roundup

The more things change, the more they stay the same:

When the majority is still the minority:

GOP higher ed reform: Pay more for tuition

Keeping these ideologues in office is very costly:

The basic cost to attend UNCG probably will go up by $261 — about 4 percent — next year. UNCG trustees will vote on a two-year package of tuition and fee hikes this morning. The proposal then goes to the UNC Board of Governors, which will set costs for the next two academic years at its February meeting.

UNCG wants to raise required student fees by $64 next year — about 2.5 percent — and $90 the year after. Next year’s fees will go largely to a new green fund to support campus environmental programs, improve the campus wireless network and offer more on-campus activities for students. In 2016-17, the entire $90 increase will cover expenses related to the opening of a new student recreation center.

And in the process of paying for these nice things, UNCG is pricing out some of their students from the lower end of the economic scale. Meaning, they won't be there to enjoy those things, or continue their education. I'm not blaming UNCG for this; state government funding cuts will naturally shift costs somewhere else. But it's not fair, and it's not sustainable:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Charah and the "beneficial" use of CCRs

From your sidewalk to your dinner table, the coal ash could end up anywhere:

It's a Thursday, November 3, 2011 afternoon in Frankfort. State legislators on the Natural Resources and Environment Committee are having their little meeting. (minutes) Questions are getting answers. Oh, and Danny Gray, president of Charah®, Inc. he's there.

Question: "Is coal ash fed to livestock?"

"Commissioner Scott said no. However, Commissioner Scott noted that research is currently being done using CCRs (Coal Combustion Residuals) in gardening, and it could be considered a beneficial re-use." Gray, who probably has about zero environmental credentials, also volunteered, "CCRs can be used in wallboard, cement, and in forage crops."

Bolding mine. The company that is planning to dump store Duke Energy-generated coal ash in Lee County is also an industry leader in finding profitable ways to sweep this toxic stuff under the rug. Or beside the River:

AP US History debate: Dancing to an idiot's music

I can't believe they're even listening to this guy:

"These professors had an agenda. We've already alluded to it. Basically, they saw America not as an exceptional nation but one nation among many in a global society," said Larry Krieger, a former high school history teacher and opponent of the standards.

Krieger, who has authored a test preparation book on the AP exam and written critiques of the new course for conservative websites such as, has become one of the leading voices calling for additions to the AP U.S. history guidelines. He also argues that the new guidelines are incomplete – failing to include study of important historical documents such as the Magna Carta.

Dude, the Magna Carta was penned eight hundred years ago across the Atlantic Ocean, long before Europeans "discovered" America, and even longer before they rose slightly above their ignorance and declared it independent of the crown. If you taught that document in your US History class, that goes a long way to explaining the "former high school history teacher" status.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

And all the little fishies jumped into the air in celebration:

I hesitate to celebrate just yet, but it would be a challenge for McCrory to find somebody worse than Skvarla to run DENR.

NC voter suppression on steroids: GOP seeks to disqualify entire precinct

Your voting rights are negotiable:

At issue is a protest that seeks to disqualify all the ballots cast in a heavily Democratic precinct, which also happened to be the last one in on election night. The official results – recounted last week – show Zapple winning by just 186 votes over Republican challenger Derrick Hickey.

Hickey and Republican Skip Watkins, who won his race, received only a few dozen votes compared to more than 1,000 for Zapple and Democrat Patricia Spears, who came in fourth. After a contentious meeting, the New Hanover County Board of Elections upheld the outcome of the election.

Just a fair warning to the State BoE: If you even entertain the notion that this many voters could have their voices stifled, people as far away as Waziristan are going to be reading about it.

Dwindling choices: Anti-abortion zealotry taking a toll

And (of course) women in poverty are suffering the most:

The young woman lived in Dallas, 650 miles from Albuquerque, but that was where she would have to go for an abortion, she was told. New state regulations had forced several of Dallas’s six abortion clinics to close, creating weekslong waiting lists. By the time the woman could get in, she would be up against the Texas ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.

But she could not afford the trip to New Mexico.

This is not a health sector economics issue, or an unfortunate byproduct of regulatory oversight. This situation was created intentionally, to block women from exercising their legal right to choose. And the fact that it's happening all over the country, instituted by individual state governments, is evidence of a conspiracy to take away those rights on a national scale. If that doesn't qualify for a US DOJ Civil Rights investigation, then we might as well just shut that division down. And while I find this next part admirable, women shouldn't have to rely on charity to exercise their rights:

Coal Ash Wednesday: "But the bugs are doing just fine!"

The biological trump rule in action:

Aquatic insect communities in an area downstream from the Feb. 2 coal ash spill appear to be thriving, according to the results of testing conducted by state environmental officials.

Using a standard sampling protocol, state scientists collected samples of benthic macroinvertebrate at two locations – one upstream and one downstream of the site of Dan River spill. During the sampling, scientists collect insects and other invertebrates from the river using nets and then record the number and species present in their samples before returning the insects to the river. Scientists can determine much about the health of the river based on the number and type of living species they collect. The populations from the upstream and downstream sites were similar and were considered “Excellent,” which is the highest biological rating available.

This is good news, for one location out of a 70 mile stretch of river, that is. Some of that spilled coal ash is now buried under a few feet of silt, but some of it isn't. I won't go as far as to imply DENR testers located a healthy spot and tested that one, although that wouldn't surprise me. But one sample out of seventy miles doesn't a clean river make. Admittedly, I'm a little out of my depth here, but these folks aren't:


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