Winston-Salem Journal to Alcoa: We think not

Smelter skelter

Alcoa can argue whether or not it has been a good environmental steward of Badin Lake. We think not. And Alcoa cannot overcome, in our view, the fundamental truth that the flowing Yadkin River belongs to the people of North Carolina. It makes no sense for Alcoa to continue to reap corporate profits for itself from this precious state resource.



Something coming out of my home town to be proud of!

The Earth belongs to all of us. No one can own a river any more than one could own the air. "Ownership" of natural resources amounts to stewardship for a limited time, nothing more.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Oh, law, not the W-S Journal!

I was going to let this drop for now. I'm not a one-issue person, and I've got something on my clipboard I think you might get a kick out of.

You aren't someone who believes everything they hear, are you? Even worse would be someone who believes everything they hear which supports their opinion, while ignoring everything that doesn't? Thurman seems to have a life philosopy I like a lot: "Be good, be kind, have fun." One of mine has always been "Think for yourself." It'll keep you out of a heck of a lot of trouble.

Oh, yeah, I'd definitely look to the Winston-Salem Journal. Their coverage, which began rather late in the game, has been rivaled in bias only by YES! Weekly and the Eszter Vajda piece. We all know how that one turned out. I sent the Journal a letter to the editor on this topic once. Followed all the rules: 150 words, polite. They wouldn't print it because they didn't think my opinion was "valid."

Beyond that, we local yokels have found, over a long period of time, that major NC media don't have a good grasp of local issues, simply don't have the background. On entirely different (non-Alcoa) issues, I used to think it'd be good publicity for whatever my cause was if I could get it covered in the major cities' media - Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte. I've always been disappointed. I think I've given up on that idea.

If you want good reliable information on this topic, I'd suggest the local media, who have been covering Alcoa's relicensing since it began in 2002. The Stanly News and Press (SNAP) has made a point of delibertaly remaining neutral, and has taken no editorial position. I think the Salisbury Post's coverage has been the most extensive. They have editorially endorsed relicensing Alcoa. Then, there's the Lexington Dispatch, and the High Point Enterprise, who have also endorsed relicensing Alcoa. You have to go outside the project area to find a newspaper which endorses the state takeover.

From time to time, I've felt like I was watching some old black-and-white movie, where the cowboys and the sheepherders were arguing over livestock watering rights in a stream. At some level, I think it's ridiculous to be arguing that anyone - Alcoa or the State - owns the river. Native Americans didn't believe that "man" owned anything of the earth. Well, that hasn't flown since white man got here. And I suppose that saying God, or the Earth, or Nature owns it would be out of the question.

Let's face it, in our culture, someone legally has to own it. And, like it or not, North Carolina has been following the Riparian system of riverbed ownserhip since it was a Colony. So, are you advocating overthrowing centuries of legal practice? And only in this case? There are about 65 privately-owned hydroelectric projects operating on or affecting the waters of North Carolinas rivers. None of them pay to use the water. Using the water is the only way to make hydroelectric power, which is a type of green electric power production I happen to like.

The people have the right to use the waters. (I don't think I've seen the term "own" used, legally.) There are certainly restrictions and regulations imposed on Alcoa, from FERC and the EPA to state agencies. A hearty percentage of the negotiations on the relicensing settlement agreement had to do with setting limits on lake levels which Alcoa must maintain, which also limits their power production. Since the terrible 2002 drought, Alcoa has put in place a "low flow" protocol. Whenever drought conditions reach a certain level, there's a group representing local jurisdictions all the way to the sea in SC which is called together. One of the problems in 2002 was that the old license terms kept Badin Lake full while High Rock felt the full impact of the drought. The new license would share the burden between the two lakes. Alcoa has been getting exceptions to use the new provisions, since the old license terms are still in effect. During the 2006-2007 drought, the Yadkin was probably the least impacted river in the state. The State and FERC (depending on the size of the withdrawal) make decisions on water withdrawal permits.

It's not that simplistic.

You have only slightly more credibility than "anonymous ....

... internet source". You are "mostly anonymous internet source". Just so you know.

I looked up Alcoa's environmental record and it's not so pretty. They are ranked 16th (just ahead of Duke Energy) in the "dirty 100" based on the amount and toxicity of released materials. Another group ranks them in a Toxic Ten. They have been responsible for cleaning up Superfund sites. They benefited from an Agent Orange rape of the rainforest by Brazil plus benefited from government subsidies in the building of the Tucuri dam.

Alcoa doesn't really give a dead rat's ass about the environment. I'd just as soon they had nothing to do with anything in North Carolina, nothing to do with water, and especially nothing to do with North Carolina's water.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I guess it doesn't matter ...

Oh, I guess it doesn't matter what you say, it only matters who says it. You have to have the "right credentials." I suppose if I popped out as someone you've always respected, it'd make a huge difference to you. You know something, you don't know that I'm not someone you've always respected.

I noticed the following on BlueNC's "About" page:

"BlueNC is committed to protecting your privacy online. While using our website, you do not have to identify yourself or divulge personal information. If you should choose to give us your personal information, you decide the amount of information you provide."

There are many people who are concerned about their online privacy. Yet I was nothing short of hounded, by James, Lazlo, and, I think, without reviewing it all, others. You've certainly added to the list. Y'all wanted me to authenticate my identity, post my CV, and probably produce references. I was googled and accused of nothing short of being dishonest and "bribed". I allowed myself to be pressured into revealing much more personal information than I was comfortable with. And all because you have some stereotype, certainy not authenticated, that all corporations are involved in sneaky underhanded cloaked blogging.

I am not at all happy with the way I've been treated, either personally, or as a matter of principle. The progressives and liberals I used to work with politicaly used to be open-minded, tolerant, accepting and respectful of others. It was something which reflects my own values, and something I especialy liked about them. Maybe things have changed.

I've never let myself be driven off a blog, but I'm not at all sure this is one I want anything to do with. The way you treat people disgusts me.

(And, BTW, I've never said I was defending "Alcoa" per se. I've said I supported their relicense of the Yadkin Project, under the terms and conditions of the Relicensing Settlement Agreement. I can't take on the whole world, but I can take on my little piece of it. In this case, taking everything into consideration, the pros and the cons, relicensing Alcoa is the best alternative.)

Methinks thou doest protest

Methinks thou doest protest too much.

I allowed myself to be pressured into revealing much more personal information than I was comfortable with. And all because you have some stereotype, certainy not authenticated, that all corporations are involved in sneaky underhanded cloaked blogging.

Nobody pressured you to do jack shit. I asked for you to be clear about your interests in the Alcoa scheme and you declined to answer my questions directly. I asked again, you declined again. And then I stopped asking. You can wrap those facts with as much drama as you want, but it doesn't change the facts. You did what you wanted to do. And nobody made you do anything.


Listen. You seem like a really smart guy who happens to have an obsession about Alcoa. I know that feeling, having once been obsessed with stopping the US Navy from building a landing field in northeast North Carolina.

It's entirely possible that you're exactly who you say you are, as I've said on several occasions. But you should understand that answering questions with doubletalk doesn't engender a lot of trust.

All that said, I hope you'll stick around. Your post on the Christianists in Rowan County is a good one, and would love to have someone around here besides me fighting the convergence of church and state.

There are plenty of anonymous people around here. Among the hundreds of people who have written at BlueNC regularly, I've met only a dozen or so in the six years I've been blogging. I don't know who they are in real life and I don't want to know. Everyone has the right to whatever privacy they want.

Final point: This is a community where people process faint signals and subtleties about the behavior of new arrivals. Your approach to engagement has undermined the sense of trust that's ironically necessary when it comes to anonymous people. I'm not saying that's good or not good. It just is.

Nobody has asked you for your friggin' biography

just your interest in this topic. Why are you a stakeholder in Alcoa's relicensing? I could not care less about anything else to do with you. You obviously have a horse in this race and you are flogging it do death. Why? Choose not to answer, fine; I, and others, will choose to take everything you say on this topic with a large boulder of salt.

Other folks at BlueNC did some checking and blew your little innocent ole me cover (ala your website). You can whine and cry about it all you want.

The way you treat people disgusts me

You don't know anything about how I treat people. BTW I am pretty disgusted with anyone with a hidden agenda shilling for a toxic spewing, money grubbing corporation.

Alcoa's environmental record sucks. And you are lined up on their side. The way you've been "treated" here is just karma.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Yeah, you did

I'm going to ignore James, whom I also noticed on the "About" page, is sometimes thought to be intolerably obnoxious.

I should ignore your post, too, since I've already answered what you asked as much as I'm going to. If I told you which non-profit organization I was involved with which had a stake in the relicensing process, it would reveal more personally-identifying information than I want to reveal, and come pretty close to posting my CV. And I don't see that my agenda is "hidden". I've been entirely up front about it.

You two can try to justify your behavior all you want, but I stand behind what I said. I don't know any of you from the man in the moon. You're all as good as anonymous to me. But I haven't been telling any of you you had nothing worth saying unless I knew all about you. I don't think I ever treat anyone as if they had nothing worth saying. And if I do, I'd certainly stop it. I don't tell people that they deserve to be treated badly (although I have thought it a time or two). I suggest that you should stand behind your own privacy policy, or at least change it, so people know what they're getting themselves into.

Paying the piper

You can ignore James if you want but he's the one who pays to keep this site up, and gets to decide who is "intolerably obnoxious".

Any "historian" worth his or her salt would understand the important of facts and historical context. Nobody really cares who you are but without context your remarks might as well be considered as coming from Alcoa or their licensing consultant Long View Associates. The fact of your persistent anonymity is a fact to be considered. You can't avoid that.

Nobody has outed you. Keep the freedom of anonymity. Understand it comes at the cost of credibility which, in the absence of transparency, must be paid in measures of honesty as determined by the reader, not the author. Prevarication is not helpful in this matter.

It also comes with

It also comes with an extremely hostile environment! And I really can't do anything about things which are all in people's heads!

Long View Associates? That's Jody. Cute little thing, and smart as a whip. She's in Virginia. Are you getting any IPs from Virginia? Her job is to advise Alcoa on meeting FERC's requirements, not blogging.

If you don't want anonymous posters, then you should quit saying you do.

Get some hot milk and a warm towel, you'll feel better!

I bet the Winston Salem Journal does not lose sleep over Alcoa and vice versa. They have lawyers to keep them out of trouble all the time!

Alcoa is more like the Terminator-not the Arnold Shcwanztzenegger one, but the one that was like a big pool of silver goo, except when it was a cop with angry eyes and hands like swords. He can take anyone's shape and voice and pretend to be a human being. Then along comes Arnold with that big tanker full of super cold freon gas like they won't sell you anymore without a warrant. Poor little metal cop, all frozen and crackly. He's just trying to get the job done for SkyMall! And Arnold makes his day. That's my nightmare.

So unless the Winston Salem Journal gets Arnold Shcwanztzenegger and a big tanker full of that freon gas, Alcoa's got nothing to worry about.

Sweet Dreams,

Lazlo Toth

Who's worried?

I don't think Alcoa's got anything to worry about anyway. The law's on their side. The state legislature is on their side. I really don't see FERC not granting the license, Alcoa's met all the requirements, as soon as the 401 quits being hung up, and it will be sooner or later. Besides that, the takeover proponents haven't submitted a license appication, so there's nothing for FERC to consider. I'm not sure if anyone can go to Congress unless FERC does, but, if they do, I don't see Congress seizing one hydroelectric project out of I'm not sure how many, but a lot.

In the meantime, I really hate to see the divisiveness continue. There have been old friendships destroyed by this. It's not beneficial. But good ole Roger is not going to quit, no matter how hopeless the cause, no matter what. I couldn't believe what happened when the Clean Tech jobs were announced. As soon as they were announced, I mean imediately, a coordinated letter writing campaign to defeat the jobs began. Fletcher Hartsell wrote to one newspaper, Nancy Gottovi to another, but essentially the same letter. They were not going to allow Alcoa to say they'd brought jobs to the area! They even turned their noses up at the ERI jobs Alcoa did get. North Carolina wants anyone's jobs but Alcoa's. Meanwhile, there are people out of work, and this is not looking like a business-friendly state.

BTW, James, Jefferson is not a sock puppet. He's an elected official, a Democrat. If he doesn't change parties after this. He's more conservative than I am, but we manage to get along. He'd never deny anyone the chance to speak.

I did a semantic comparison

and his writing is indistinguishable from yours. Sorry to have gotten that wrong. I guess you two were separated at semantic birth.

And just to say it again, while being a Democrat may be important to some people around here, it doesn't mean squat to me. The majority of elected Democrats in North Carolina are much more likely to be part of the problem than the solution. That's why I'm registered as unaffiliated.

You may be correct that Alcoa will win ... all they need to do is hold their breath hoping that Pat "Duke Energy" McCrory will be governor, at which time they'll get a free pass to do whatever the hell they want, with no obligations to clean up their long-standing messes.

But if they do win, that won't make it right.

I'm pretty sure

I'm pretty sure his writing is not indistinguishable from mine, especialy with a heading of "Environmentalism versus corporate greed". He is interested in the environment, but he gets turned off by environmental extremism. Unfortunately, the Yadkin Riverkeeper is reinforcing a lot of people's unfavorable stereotypes about environmentalists. We haven't gotten to that yet. I did say that my interest in this was a combination of supporting the RSA, not liking the tactics the takeover proponents have used, the way the Yadkin Riverkeeper has acted, and not liking overbearing government. If you want to know what I'm probably closer to being obsessed about, it's loathing the Yadkin Riverkeeper. That's a position of trust, and he's told entirely too many lies. Many people around here think he's more interested in grabbing headlines than anything else.

There are a lot of things that aren't right. You only seem to be concerned about some of them.

Sock Puppets? Really?

James, I think I have gotten a bigger laugh than Mr. Walker has, over the sock puppet deletion. On another blog for which I serve as part-time moderator, I have the ability to check and verify multiple posts alleging to be different persons, but who post from the same IP address. If you were to avail yourself of such a feature, you would see that during business hours, I have occasionally commented from one IP address (at my office, which is an AT&T address), and from another distinct IP address at night and on weekends (at my home, which is a Road Runner address). Mr. Walker, however, sends from an entirely different IP address, and is prone to burn the midnight oil much, much later than I would ever think about doing.

We share similar views. But Mr. Walker probably has a sharper wit than I. And he's much more determined to convince his audience than I'd care to be for myself.

Just so you'll know. As administrator, you have my private email address, and you're welcome to ask for verification, if that makes a difference.



Practice what you preach

The point is, James, if you followed your privacy policy, you would not ask personally intrusive questions! And continue to ask them when I said I didn't want to reveal personal information. And continue to make snide comments about it. You can't have both privacy and transparency. They're mutually exclusive. And you must not know that ad hominem attacks are a form of fallacy.

I won't call you out on your other coverup. At least not at the moment. But I think you know that.

You, apparently, are still clinging to that ridiculous belief that no one could possibly be in favor of relicensing Alcoa unless Alcoa was buying them off. I don't know where you are, geographically, but it's obviously not from around here. People like me are a dime a dozen. And, unfortunately, you'd treat all of them this way. I think I've found out why no one was balancing the conversation on this blog. It's not possible for dissenting views to be given anything close to a respectful hearing. I don't think you want your cherished beliefs challenged. You certainly haven't checked out their validity yourself, or you'd already know better. People can appeal to your hatred of corporations, and you're hooked. Even the tags you use are biased. Now, I know you're going to go into denial, but, as I said earlier, you're actions don't deny it.

I stand corrected.

I'm not going to respond after this, so let me be as gentle as I can.

I myself am a person who has thought long and hard about the Alcoa deal. I've come down on both sides of the issue, depending on the season and my evolving understanding of the issues. That's why my first question to you was a question for clarification. Somewhere along the way, however, and I can't point to the exact moment, I began to have suspicions about you and your motives. Your responses to my questions did nothing to assuage those suspicions. You seemed to happy to make claims about yourself, but refused to say who you are. Then Jefferson showed up, writing the exact same things as you. A Vulcan mind-meld if ever I saw one. It all seems fishy.

Eventually, you and your imaginary friend started giving me lectures about blogging and propriety. I'm always open to improvements, and I am taking your suggestions and feedback seriously.

Your input regarding my management has been given and received.


PS Regarding your last point, you've convinced me that the only denial I want to see around here is the denial of Alcoa's application.

Ba bye

Well, if you hadn't been probing my privacy, I wouldn't have had to be evasive.

When I came here, I was under the impression that this was somewhere where North Carolina comes to think, not somewhere where North Carolina comes to blindly hate corporations, no thinking allowed. I've been working with corporate foundations as a source of non-profit grants for forty years, so I don't share that hatred. (No, I haven't gotten any Alcoa grants, but others have.)

Having had two deaths in my family in the not too distant past, I am not in a place where I can take this abuse. So, I'm heading for the log off button. I'll let you figure out whether that's what a paid corporate shill would do, or whether, maybe, just maybe, ever so slight a chance, you've misjudged me. Should you come to that conclusion, maybe you'll treat the next poor shnook who comes along a little better.

You aren't good. You aren't nice. And I did not have fun.

Good call

Sorry this didn't work out for you, or for us. Takes two to tangle.



Wouldn't you know it. A good party starts (and finishes) on BlueNC, and I end up working all day and miss it.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Me 2

I've been watching this. I expected a smug "it's not my fault" last word from the inside elitists. I am leaving your readership list, too. If this is what progressives have come to, I do not want to be one. Too much inbreeding.

Dear Jennie

Speaking of in-breeding, the user DavidWalker has propagated the same themes in real life, and with at least one other assumed identity before coming here to BlueNC. It is a practice of intellectual incest that is not uncommon but rarely, if ever, helpful. It tends to escalate until the identities are talking to each other and/or referring to each other for validation.

To provide a safe environment for all users, writers and readers, we have an implied duty to moderate the discussion for a reasonable degree of honesty, consistent with artistic license.

The user in question provided information that was not consistent with known facts.

Apart from that, the use of names of real persons or entities as pseudonyms is entirely inappropriate, and potentially libelous.

You are free to come and go as you please. Be aware that the behavior of the user in question was consistent with that of the flying monkeys that plague us on a regular basis.

Me 3

i too have been watching your blogomeltdown and must agree with myself that its a crying shame. you dang liberals are so mean and intolerant. don't you know we count on you to be swallow whatever snake oil my evil twins and i want to sell? you are supposed to be nice, nice, nice, but you are not. you have not rolled over and succumbed to the Attack of the Alcoa clones.

i have been reading bluenc everyday for my whole life, even back before i was a fetus. but now i am stopping. you will miss me when i'm gone even though you never knew i was here.

just joking. i'm not really me.