scharrison's blog

Coal Ash Wednesday: Denial is a river in Egypt

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Duke Energy does not like new report on Allen Steam Station:

At the Allen plant on Lake Wylie, coal ash storage sites have polluted groundwater with nine contaminants, including arsenic, cobalt and lithium, at levels exceeding federal safety standards, the report said. The findings, released by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, are based on data that became publicly available for the first time last year because of federal regulations.

Charlotte-based Duke pushed back on the findings, accusing the environmental groups of cherry-picking data in an attempt to advance a misleading narrative and extreme agenda.

If by "cherry-picking" you mean highlighting important data points so they won't get lost in the noise, then yes:

In defense of Ilhan Omar

Silencing voices of dissent is not the American way:

A formal condemnation of anti-Semitism that is up for a vote in the House this week has touched off a furious debate between older House Democrats and their young liberal colleagues over whether Representative Ilhan Omar is being singled out for unfair treatment over her statements on Israel.

The resolution, likely to be voted on Thursday, grew out of Ms. Omar’s suggestion last week that pro-Israel activists were pushing “for allegiance to a foreign country” — a remark that infuriated leading Jewish members of the House, who say it played into the anti-Semitic trope of “dual loyalty.”

First of all, it needs to be made (crystal) clear that criticism of the State of Israel, especially in how it treats Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, does not automatically equate to anti-Semitism. Their actions in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, do not remotely resemble democracy, regardless of your definition of such. All that being said, critics need to take the time to study historical anti-Semitic tropes and symbology, so they don't (maybe inadvertently) invoke them. Like the money issue, which is notorious for motivating pogroms against Jews for well over a thousand years. It happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930's, and it just happened again in Belgium of all places. But back to the Palestinian problem, and another one of Steve's boring anecdotes:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Only the best people:

That won't stop Burr & Tillis from gushing about her "long and distinguished career," or some such nonsense.

Trump threatens universities with "campus free speech" executive order

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Vowing to withhold billions of Federal dollars if they don't comply:

President Trump vowed Saturday to "soon" issue an executive order that would deny federal research funds to colleges and universities that do not support free speech. "If they want our dollars and we give them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people to speak," said Trump in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

During his speech, President Trump brought on stage and praised Hayden Williams, who was punched last week when he was at the University of California, Berkeley, seeking support for the president and conservative causes and criticizing Jussie Smollett, the actor who is facing charges of false reporting to the police in a hate crime he claimed to have experienced.

First of all, I don't condone physically assaulting somebody because of what they say, for several reasons. And one of those reasons is because (often) that is exactly what the speaker wants, just like this Berkeley dude. He's a field organizer for the Leadership Institute, the same incubator that produced the white supremacist group Youth for Western Civilization that plagued the UNC campus ten years ago:

Loaves and fewer fishes: Climate Change will lead to malnutrition and starvation

Warming oceans are already chewing up the food chain:

Fish make up 17 percent of the global population’s intake of protein, and as much as 70 percent for people living in some coastal and island countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

As the oceans have warmed, some regions have been particularly hard-hit. In the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Japan, fish populations declined by as much as 35 percent over the period of the study. “The ecosystems in East Asia have seen some of the largest decline in fisheries productivity,” Dr. Free said. “And that region is home to some of the largest growing human populations and populations that are highly dependent on seafood.”

And how soon will it be when national navies are deployed to escort fishing vessels so they can bring food home to the hungry masses? Vessels having their catch "confiscated" by cutters and frigates flying national (1st World) flags? That future is not as fictional as it sounds, if this trend continues:

GenX may be the tip of the toxic iceberg in NC's rivers

And those myriad other sources will be difficult to pinpoint:

Elevated levels of industrial pollutants in North Carolina rivers are almost certainly not limited to areas near Wilmington and Fayetteville, where GenX contamination has raised concerns in recent years, according to environmental scientists. They point to evidence from initial findings in other communities as they prepare a statewide testing plan.

As researchers and policymakers took a deeper look at the causes of pollutants and what it would take to get ahead of similar incidents of contamination, there was a growing realization that what happened in Wilmington was not an isolated case.

I first moved to Alamance County in 1973, and the Haw River was notorious back then for being too nasty to even contemplate swimming or kayaking in. Textile mills and other industrial sites were still discharging (point-source) directly into the river, as the Clean Water Act was still in its infancy and enforcement was gearing up. The transformation of that river over the following ten years was nothing short of amazing, but that progress was not as effective as everybody thought at the time:

Republican NC House member Cody Henson needs to resign

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He just got slapped with a 12 month domestic violence restraining order:

A North Carolina legislator committed domestic violence against his estranged wife, a judge found Tuesday during a civil proceeding, awarding her a yearlong domestic violence protection order. After a Tuesday court hearing lasting several hours at the Transylvania County courthouse in Brevard, Judge Fritz Mercer ruled in favor of Kelsey Henson, wife of state Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania.

“After multiple, multiple, multiple times, I asked him to stop,” she told Carolina Public Press after the hearing. “He continued and refused to have any regard for my boundaries or well-being.”

A few things to contemplate: If Henson had misappropriated government funds, or bought a bunch of fancy ties with campaign donor money, he would probably have already been shamed out of office. Even by his own party. But domestic violence, cyber-stalking his ex-wife? Crickets. When abusing money is more unforgivable than abusing women, there is something desperately wrong with our system of values. And while I applaud this judge for having the guts to issue this order, stopping short of confiscating Henson's firearms could be a deadly mistake:

Duke University's irresponsible opposition to light rail project

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Just to give you an idea of who will suffer most from this:

Leaders at N.C. Central University, Durham Technical Community College and the Durham Housing Authority say the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project will bring prosperity to the Fayetteville Street corridor. The 18-mile, $3.3 billion light-rail project includes two stops — Dillard Street and Alston Avenue — between downtown Durham and NCCU, where the rail line ends.

Fayette Place, the site of an abandoned public housing community meant to house many of those residents, sits between those stops. NCCU, Durham Tech and the Durham Housing Authority held a press conference there on Monday afternoon with light-rail supporters.

I need not mention the symbolism of Duke University wielding such power to suppress the needs of those on the lower end of the economic scale, but since other media sources seem hesitant to make that reference, there it is. And while I'm at it, here's another little tid-bit nobody else thought to mention: The Duke University VP who (literally) hit an African-American parking attendant with his car, and then sped off after calling her a "stupid nigger" from the window of his Porsche, was put in charge of managing the University's response to light rail:

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