Junior Berger gives thumbs-up to pollution of Blount's Creek

I'm sure daddy is very proud:

68. Petitioners argued that DWR underestimated or understated the effects the proposed discharge will likely have on the Blounts Creek aquatic ecosystem, including effects on flow, pH, salinity, benthos, fish, and the existing biological community of Blounts Creek.

69. DWR’s findings and inferences regarding the predicted effects of the proposed discharge fall within “specialized knowledge of the agency.” As such, the undersigned is required to give such facts and inferences “due regard” pursuant to the APA. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-34(a).

The above excerpts are mild in comparison with a lot of other language in this order. Usually, you'll find deference to opposing views/positions in these point-by-point decisions, but Berger went out of his way to toss in "not convincing" and "failed to prove" wherever he could. I also find the timing of this order questionable. Had he made this decision before the Election, it might have kept him from winning a seat on the NC Court of Appeals, if enough anger and outrage could have made it into print. Grrr.

Don't Forget the City Councils

There is going to be a special election next year and that is a big deal. Many observers have pointed out that it may not necessarily be a boon for Democrats across the state. The Republican legislature will have the opportunity to draw even better maps for themselves and may attempt to draw out rising stars and double-bunk current legislators.

Van der Vaart playing his Trump cards with a vengeance

"Hey! Look at me! Look at what I'm doing over here!"

North Carolina Environmental Department Secretary Donald van der Vaart sent a letter Monday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging an immediate halt to so-called midnight regulations finalized in the waning days of an administration. “EPA should avoid the inevitable court challenges against new environmental rules and allow the president-elect and his designees to consider their impact,” the letter says. “Please do not force states such as North Carolina to once again join coalitions to overturn hastily prepared and adopted rules.”

I would give you more, but apparently Politico has decided to require payment for much of their content, giving you a one paragraph "teaser" with an embedded link to "Politico Pro." Apparently they have me confused with somebody who a) has money and b) is inclined to spend it on Politico. Anyway, it looks like van der Vaart needs to squeak a lot louder, because the top EPA jobs may already be taken:

Wednesday News: The unconstitutional party

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GOP MUST ACCEPT APPEALS COURT ORDER, MOVE ON NONPARTISAN REDISTRICTING (Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial) -- The federal Court of Appeals’ order late Tuesday offers the General Assembly an opportunity to move ahead with nonpartisan redistricting. Fighting the order will just cost time and waste taxpayer dollars. The court ordered the legislature, by March 15, 2017 to draw new state House and state Senate districts. The deadline, the court said, “will allow the Court enough time to consider whether the State has remedied its unconstitutional gerrymander and to act if it does not.”
http://www.wral.com/editorial-gop-must-accept-appeals-court-order-move-on-nonpartisan-redistricting-...

The Pragmatism of Free Higher Education

Eva Watson-Schütze - Scanned by uploader from Menand, Louis (2001), The Metaphysical Club, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p. 317, ISBN 0-374-52849-7. Original photograph from the John Dewey Photograph Collection (N3-1104, N3-1109), Special Collections, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  John Dewey at the University of Chicago in 1902.

I stood in the small corral wedged in as close as possible for a couple hours. Then a large man in a nice suit stood in front of me on the other side of the fence, and I know my waiting was done. Well, at least that was the wisp on the fall air as Tim Kaine stepped onto the podium at UNC-A. There was nothing particularly spectacular about his speech, just broad strokes and bad jokes. Instead, what stands out was an odd statement he seemed to add off the cuff. He asked how many in the crowd had been told to wait their turn, to be patient, and less idealistic.

The struggle to save Belhaven's hospital continues

And the LLC that owns it has some serious internal conflicts:

A superior court judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday to stop the demolition of the old Pungo Hospital building after some members of Pantego Creek LLC, which owns the hospital, filed a complaint against the four managers of Pantego Creek.

“The mangers of Pantego Creek LLC ... and their lawyer, Arey Grady, represented to the members that if we voted to continue operation of the hospital, we would each be held personally liable for $28,000,” the affidavits said. “Because of this, 79 out of the 105 members voted against operating the hospital.”

It appears the "managers" engaged in a sustained effort to misinform members about potential solutions to the crisis, probably in an effort to line their pockets somewhere down the road. I can't help but recall some of the "pay me twice" shenanigans people like Robert Pittenger have pulled on unsuspecting associates when looking at this situation, and come to the inevitable conclusion that "limited liability partnerships" have a hell of a lot more liability than their smiling salesmen would admit. Here are more "we'll tell you what we think you need to know" jewels:

Tuesday News: Sorry is as sorry does

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BEING GOVERNOR MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY: NO APOLOGIES TO VOTERS MISTAKENLY ACCUSED OF FRAUD (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s re-election campaign is staying silent on reports showing that election complaints included false accusations of voter fraud. A number of the 43 voters accused of being ineligible felons turned out to be cases of mistaken identity. Several other voters accused were serving a misdemeanor sentence, which does not affect voting rights. “We have no apologies to make, and we will keep doing this,” Woodhouse said. “Nobody has been disenfranchised or, to my knowledge, inconvenienced.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article117545708.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Finally, some very good news:

It's not over yet, because there's still a frivolous Civitas lawsuit to be dealt with, but this order makes it pretty clear the state Board of Elections isn't going to play along with McCrory's multi-county gambit. And even if sniffling Pat keeps whining, it looks like the NC GOP is also over it:

Fascism Watch: Spike of anti-Semitism on college campuses

Proving that pure evil never dies, it just lays in wait:

Benjamin Kuperman, associate professor and chair of computer science at Oberlin College, and his wife reportedly heard tapping sounds outside their home early in the morning on Nov. 17. They opened the front door to discover smashed seashells and a note behind their mezuzah, a small case that contains parchment with verses from the Torah, which many Jews place on the door frames. The note read, in glued letters, “Gas Jews Die,” according to the local Chronicle-Telegram.

And in just three words, this jackass not only threatened a professor and his wife, he also voiced his support for the Holocaust. Should we try to "understand" where this person is coming from? Start up some kind of dialogue? Rationalize it away, speculate that he doesn't really want anybody to come to harm, he's just frustrated? No. We don't have that luxury, and the Kupermans damned sure don't have that luxury. It's a hate crime, and should be treated as such, because such incidents are becoming more common:

Monday News: Good luck with that

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SOLAR, WIND INDUSTRIES HOPE YEARS COURTING REPUBLICANS PAYS OFF (Reuters) -- U.S. wind and solar companies for the first time gave more money to Republicans than Democrats during the 2016 election cycle, according to federal campaign disclosures, part of a years-long effort to expand renewable energy's appeal beyond liberal environmentalists. … Recipients this year included 34 House Republicans and 19 Senate Republicans. U.S. Sens. Richard Burr from North Carolina, Dean Heller from Nevada and New York Rep. Tom Reed - all vocal proponents of renewables - together accounted for more than 40 percent of the Solar Energy Industries Association PAC's total federal campaign donations.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-renewables-idUKKBN13N0X7

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