NC GOP

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 Breitbart.com, 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 He also argues that the new guidelines are incomplete – failing to include study of important historical documents such as the Magna Carta.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.

DC's newest chickenhawk: Thom Tillis

Gee, I wonder why he didn't say these things during election debates:

Sen.-elect Thom Tillis (R) of North Carolina and Sen.-elect Gary Peters (D) of Michigan called on Congress Sunday to debate a measure authorizing military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I think it would probably be wise so that you move forward again,” Tillis said. “The president and the Congress need to find opportunities to show some way of coming together. That would be a show of good faith from the president and I think it would give Congress more confidence they’re part of the process,” he added.

Really? You want to send more American troops to die in battle because it could grease the wheels of bipartisanship? Are you completely insane, or just terminally clueless? Here's an idea, you could work with the President to help veterans who have already pulled 2-3 tours of combat duty, and maybe cut down on their horrific suicide rate, instead of adding to their numbers senselessly.

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.

News of the 1%: Brother Nelson elevated to Fed

My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades:

The CEO of Charlotte-based National Gypsum has been elected a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, becoming one of nine members of the bank’s board. Nelson will serve a three-year term as a Class B director. The bank’s board is made of three classes of directors, with three directors for each class. Class B and C members represent the public. Class A directors represent Federal Reserve member banks in a district.

Federal Reserve member banks elect the Class A and B directors. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., appoints the Class C directors.

Oh, so "the public" is represented by one-percenters who are filthy rich, but not actual bankers. Gotcha. For a minute there I thought the Fed might be a little top-heavy. Yes, that was sarcasm. And for those who are worried I might turn this into a weekly diary, fear not. I'd rather follow a parade with a shovel.

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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