Thursday News: Unhealthy developments

CONSERVATIVES WANT PREGNANT WOMEN AND VERY ILL REMOVED FROM INSURANCE COVERAGE: In a count by The Associated Press, at least 25 Republicans said they opposed the current House attempt at a health care overhaul, and others were leaning that way, enough to narrowly defeat the measure. The number was in constant flux amid eleventh-hour lobbying by the White House and GOP leaders. Most opponents were conservatives asserting that the GOP legislation demolishing former President Barack Obama's health care law did not go far enough. They insisted it must repeal the law's requirements that insurers pay for specified services like maternity care and cover all comers, including the sickest, which they say drive up premiums.
http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20170323/rise-crucial-health-care-vote-could-come-today/1

Dear Walter Jones

Though we've never met, I confess to a love-hate relationship with you. You're an old-school conservative with a stubborn streak -- and you actually act on your convictions. Which brings me to a request. Won't you please act on those convictions now?

You know the Trump administration stinks to high heaven, you see it every day. Someone has to stop the craziness, and I believe that someone has to be you. You must make impeachment happen. America needs you to step up, Congressman Jones. It's part of your job.

Your friend,

James

Opioid addiction in North Carolina

It's a problem that's getting worse, but don't expect the General Assembly to give a damn. They're busy policing bathrooms. Meanwhile, in the real world, Buncombe County is trying to stem the tide of opioid addiction. That takes money, right?

Carolina Public Press has the story.

http://carolinapublicpress.org/26806/26806/

Common ground: Preserve the United States of America

Over the past several years, a familiar refrain from moderates on the left, right, and center has been "find common ground." Fed up with partisan division, these people have implored politicians to reach across the aisle and work together. Sadly, we've arrived at a new place in history only one specific issue needs our collective attention: the collapse of America's moral standing in the world.

Vinroot uses faulty data when promoting diversity of charter schools

Masking the reality of state-sponsored segregation:

“I am very much concerned,” says state Rep. Rosa Gill, a Wake County Democrat and former high school math teacher who sits on the N.C. House of Representatives’ education committee. “I think when our legislators have false information, we come up with legislation that is not in the best interest of kids.”

To make his points, Vinroot relies on free or reduced lunch data in charters. By most estimations, that’s not a fair assessment, experts say, pointing out less than a third of the state’s charters participate in that program.

But I'm sure the public school haters in the General Assembly will eat it up with gusto.

Wednesday News: Trump vs. Meadows

TRUMP CALLS OUT MARK MEADOWS OVER HIS REFUSAL TO SUPPORT AHCA: Trump singled out Mark Meadows (R-NC), who is the Freedom Caucus Chairman. Meadows has said that his group has enough votes to block the measure. “I think Mark Meadows will get there too," Trump told the GOP House members, according to The Hill. "...Because honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks," Trump said. The Hill reports that Trump added, “Oh Mark, I’m coming after you. I hope Mark will be with us in the end." The President also indicated to the group that a failed vote on Thursday could result in members losing their seats during the primaries.
http://wlos.com/news/local/trump-calls-out-rep-meadows-im-coming-after-you

About that whole "Let's reach out to Trump voters" thing...

The North Carolina Democratic Party is in the midst of a building season; organizing precincts, preparing for county conventions, settling in with a diverse new batch of state party leaders, etc. There are also several formal and informal groups putting their collective heads together to try to fashion new messages, reassess priorities, and check boxes we've previously ignored or only paid lip service to. There's a lot of brainstorming going on, and that's a good thing. But I think it's important we keep some things in perspective, and not allow ourselves to chase after people we really don't want to catch, because, as they say, you are what you eat. Follow me below the fold if you want to hear more, but leave the small children behind, because I'm taking the filter (what little there is) off for a few minutes:

Tuesday News: "It's not evil enough"

REPUBLICAN LEADERS COURT FREEDOM CAUCUS EXTREMISTS ON HEALTH CARE BILL: House Republican leadership released a slew of amendments to the Obamacare replacement bill on Monday evening, an attempt to wrangle conservative votes for the party’s biggest campaign promise which is set to go in front of the full House for a vote on Thursday. The amendments include overtures to conservatives such as immediately halting the ability for new states to expand Medicaid and allowing states to implement “reasonable” work requirements for Medicaid recipients. But some conservative members were undeterred by the proposed changes, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C, said he thinks the legislation won’t have enough votes to pass. If 21 Republicans vote against the bill, it will fail.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article139774798.html

Duke Energy to add more carcinogens to already impaired waters

I guess they're not worried about the EPA anymore:

As part of its 2015 criminal plea agreement, Duke Energy admitted that bromide discharged into rivers and lakes from its coal ash operations have caused carcinogens to form in downstream drinking water systems. Some of these carcinogens are so dangerous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set their health protection goal at zero, meaning that people should not be exposed to any level of these pollutants.

Yet instead of taking responsible action to halt these bromide discharges, Duke Energy is proposing to add even more bromides to its coal ash basins, through changes to its coal plant operations. Duke Energy claims that the additional bromides will reduce emissions of mercury from its smokestacks. The utility is choosing this bromide production despite the fact that other modern, widely-used technologies—such as baghouses—are available to control mercury emissions without causing carcinogens downstream.

It's actually no comfort in realizing this is probably happening all over the United States, in the wake of the Trump admin's systematic destruction of the EPA. Hopefully our new DEQ will be able to bring some relief from the inevitable deterioration of our environment, but they've been cut to the bone also.

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