scharrison's blog

Manufacturer of GenX facing lawsuits on all fronts

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And the latest by SELC for Cape Fear River Watch is a doozie:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is representing Cape Fear River Watch in the lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court in Raleigh yesterday. The litigation alleges that Chemours and DuPont, its parent company, for decades have illegally discharged the chemicals not only into the Cape Fear River, but also the groundwater and air; these actions violate of the company’s federal discharge permit, the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, the court filing says.

The SELC and Cape Fear River Watch are asking the court to force Chemours to stop all inadvertent discharges, to declare the company has violated environmental laws, and to assess penalties ranging from up to $37,000 per day to $52,000 day. Over years of violations, the penalties could accumulate to total millions of dollars.

Money is the only language these companies speak, and hefty court judgments are proving to be the only way to stop them from poisoning us. Here's the complaint itself, and it appears the contamination is much worse than has been commonly reported:

Mark Johnson at center of $6.6 million no-bid contract for IPads

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After he and other Republicans were wined and dined in California:

When N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced a $6.6 million purchase of iPads to support early grade literacy in August, it seemed welcome news for North Carolina school districts that have long complained of inadequate state resources.

But a Policy Watch review of state documents has found the multi-million dollar investment, which was not put out for bid with other vendors, came roughly seven months after Johnson and a trio of influential Republican budget-writers in the North Carolina General Assembly convened for an “executive briefing” with Apple reps at their Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. During the two-day meeting last October, the trillion-dollar tech giant spent more than $5,300 on transportation, lodging and meals for six state leaders, including dinner at an upscale Silicon Valley restaurant.

I'm sure the faux Libertarians over at Civitas and John Locke are feverishly trying to come up with an adequate spin over this. But years of whining about Democrats doing "favors" for their friends with (wait for it) no-bid contracts, not to mention the whole Free Market "government picking winners" in the private sector thing, has kinda boxed them into a corner. So they'll probably just ignore it completely, and/or crank out an emotional piece about a little boy who flourished in a charter school. But this issue has exposed, maybe better than anything else, Mark Johnson's inability to perform his job properly, or even legally:

Why it's pointless to try to reason with a Trump supporter

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They no longer live in the real world:

What about the criminal troubles of Trump’s former associates, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen? “It doesn’t bother me in the slightest,” Duffy said. “I voted for him and I will continue to vote for him.”

What about Trump’s oft-documented failure to tell the truth? “He’s been asked questions that he’s been less than forthcoming about, but he’s not the first politician to do that sort of thing. I suspect his competition in the last election has been as untruthful, if not more so. So that’s not going to change my opinion.”

I get why a lot of Trump supporters are still with him, because (pardon me for saying so) they simply don't have the mental capacity to walk to their mailbox without seriously injuring themselves. But this dude got his JD from UNC School of Law, and apparently passed the Bar exam after that. There is simply no easily identified reason for his near child-like devotion to such an irredeemable person:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The talk of the town (state):

The timing could have been much better, but the arc of justice follows its own timetable.

Apple watching GOP Amendment power-grabs closely

Because who wants to work in a state ruled by tyrants:

Apple, though interested in putting a new campus in the state, is concerned about North Carolina politicians "meddling with constitutional amendments for political influence," according to one report.

CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams are being regularly updated on political developments, a source described as "connected to local government affairs" told the Triangle Business Journal. The claim was reiterated by a Triangle real estate source. Earlier this summer Apple was reported to be considering North Carolina's Triangle corridor for a future campus hosting thousands of workers.

Although I'm not privy to their conversations, I have enough experience in business management to speculate: This is not (only) a concern about political goals supplanting responsible governing. It's also about an atmosphere of uncertainty. When government acts in a capricious and deceptive manner, business forecasting becomes much harder. Not knowing (or even reasonably assuming) what the future will bring as far as infrastructure investment and agency efficiency (staff cuts = slow response), makes a long-term investment intolerably risky. And while Republicans might think their effusive business-friendly rhetoric would smooth said concerns, refer back to that word "deceptive." Once you lose the trust, you can say all the right things and still be viewed as a liar. While BergerMoore might not be concerned about that, because their lust for power has warped them, rank-and-file Republicans better pay attention. Because a Blue Wave is coming.

Populism in opposition to Fascism may be the same (dangerous) road

It may not quench your revolutionary thirst, but Madeleine Albright makes some valid points:

Aside from North Korea, I do not accuse any current government of being fascist. I do, however, see disturbing parallels between contemporary trends and the conditions that gave rise to Mussolini, then Hitler. These include economic disparities, a declining faith in mainstream political parties, the corrosion of public discourse, the defamation of minority groups and a concerted effort by repressive leaders to undermine free expression, pervert logic and distort truth.

A point I've tried to make several times, especially since the rise of Trumpism, goes sort of like this: "If your opposition to an individual or group results in you emulating their tactics, you should take a step back and view it more critically." Some have automatically accused me of weakness, or waffling, or not really caring, which I find especially distasteful. The thing is, we (as Democrats) are not just fighting various battles against regressive policies, we are also trying to define our character as a party. And two of the major traits of that character should be compassion and intelligence, both of which are virtually non-existent in the Republican Party. Here's more, which will likely please and infuriate:

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