Coal Ash Wednesday: Local opposition to proposed dump grows

Following the toxic dust trail:

Strickland said anyone living near the railroad tracks between Charlotte and Wilmington would be affected by coal ash dust contaminating the air during transport, and anyone drinking water from the Cape Fear River would be affected by potentially contaminated water. “It's not just a Lee and Chatham County thing,” she said.

According to informational sheets distributed by BREDL and EnvironmentaLee members, the Cape Fear River runs through eight counties and passes by 12 towns and parks along the way. An additional 24 towns and universities are located along the railroad from Wilmington to Sanford, and 17 towns and parks are located along the railroad from Charlotte to Sanford.

Like many of these folks, I'm finding it hard to understand the need to transport this stuff halfway across the state. If they were moving it close to a facility where it could be reused for concrete or some other process, I could get that. But just for storage? Dig a new (lined) pit beside the old one and shift it over, then put a cap on it. Unless you're intentionally trying to generate horrendous costs during the process of cleanup/disposal of your first few projects, so you can convince lawmakers or commission members to back off. It also helps if you can get your money back from ratepayers with the help of the NC Utilities Commission.

Daily dose: A half-billion short edition

N.C. revenues short $468 million according to Dec. Financial Report (Office of State Controller News Release) -- For December 2014, when compared to the prior year through December 2013, North Carolina experienced a decrease in General Fund receipts which includes tax and non-tax receipts. Tax revenues decreased by $468 million, or 4.8 percent, and non-tax revenues decreased by $7.5 million, or 1.7 percent as compared to the previous year.

H is for Hise, H is for Hypocrite

In a red sea of Republican hypocrisy, Senator Ralph Hise's hypocrisy rises to an extreme level.

After the North Carolina legislature meddled with a deal struck by former Governor Bev Perdue to lease the coveted Dix property to the City of Raleigh (the apparent reasoning being that the former Governor was a Democrat), the state of North Carolina and City of Raleigh have finally, after more than a year, struck a new deal to sell the Dix property to Raleigh. Most everyone, including some of the Jones Street House of Pain's leading extremist nut jobs, are praising this new deal.

Lawmakers on hand Monday said the new deal was much better than the lease agreement, which they feared could end up costing the state money in the long run.
Both Stam and Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said they believe lawmakers would not interfere with the deal.

And then there's Hise.

Must-see tv: "Klansville, USA" tonight on PBS

Facing the truth will set you free:

The rise and fall of the KKK in North Carolina in the Sixties is the subject of a new documentary, called Klansville USA, that is airing nationally at 9 pm. on PBS’ The American Experience. The history of the civil rights movement in the state, with the sit-ins at the Woolworth’s in Greensboro, is well known. The white backlash against the freedom movement has largely been swept under the rug.

Which is why Callie Wiser, a noted documentary maker for PBS, took on the subject. A Tennessee native, Wiser was a Morehead scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and now lives in Massachusetts with her husband.

Unfortunately, the "fall" wasn't complete. The Klan still exists in North Carolina, in numbers hard to quantify, and its maybe not-so-distant cousin (the Tea Party) is actually a political force, that has enjoyed mixed successes in their ability to influence politicians and the public policy they determine. It might be hard to watch for many reading this, but it's important. 9:00 p.m.

I miss Bev

Reading the news in North Carolina every day is a maddening experience. We have so much potential, and so very little progress. It's not all because of the Republican Boys Club in Raleigh, but it sure seems like a lot of decisions are nothing more than bad-ass legislators trying prove what big pricks they are. Bev Perdue was far from perfect, and I disagreed with many of her actions. But boy-oh-boy do I miss her.

Removal of Christian war memorial brings out Militia

Who also happen to be the ones who created it in the first place:

The City of King last week removed a statue of a soldier kneeling before a cross from the Veteran’s Memorial at King Central Park as part of a settlement agreement on a lawsuit. King resident David Dombrosky got the idea last week to kneel at the site in peaceful protest on Sunday.

The Stokes County Militia organization rallied around Dombrosky, who is a militia member, by officially sponsoring the event. Darrell Calloway, commander of the militia, got a city permit for the event. Word spread on social media.

I would describe these folks as "militia-lite," as they generally gather together for community projects and don't stalk around in uniform open-carrying assault rifles and such. That being said, once you slide down that Prepper rabbit hole, it's hard to predict future behavior.

Daily dose: McCrory faces ethics complaint

McCrory hit with ethics complaint (AP) — Progress North Carolina says it will file an ethics complaint against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory over omissions on his state disclosure forms and potential conflicts of interest raised by his business dealings. Progress North Carolina Action executive director Gerrick Brenner says the group will file its complaint Monday with the North Carolina Ethics Commission. The complaint seeks a formal ethics investigation into McCrory's holdings of stock in his former employer Duke Energy and payouts he received from a Charlotte-based mortgage broker where he was a board member.

Tillis and the looming destruction of the social safety net

It's not what you know, it's who you listen to:

Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the state’s senior senator, escorted him around, as did others who know the place well. Now Tillis is one of the 100 senators, talking to them all the time. “Not only about the senatorial process, but which hallways you can go down that don’t actually have a dead end,” he joked, at least in part. The Capitol is a labyrinth of marble stairways, long corridors, senators’ secret hideaways and underground passageways. It’s easy to get lost.

The desk of Tillis’ chief of staff, John Mashburn, is under a large state seal in the same room as the receptionist, directly opposite the office’s entrance. Mashburn is known as a very conservative Republican. He’s a North Carolina native with long experience on Capitol Hill, including work for the late Sen. Jesse Helms.

Mashburn is more than just another of Helms' old cronies. He's an anti-Welfare zealot, whose goal of punishing the poor has been blocked for decades by less radical elements in the GOP, not to mention Democrats. But he may finally get his wish by pulling Tillis' strings:

Shape the future, or be shaped by the past

Since long before our most recent election, there has been much turmoil in NC's Democratic Party. It seems everybody has somebody or some group to blame for multiple cycles of election losses, and the finger-pointing has often veered into the absurd. During such times of crisis, certain core values are at risk of being abandoned. That is the folly of "otherism." One side lays claim to being "progressive," and the other side begins to snarl when they hear that word. Or one elected Democrat abandons the Party, and the hand-wringing and "What are we doing wrong?" questions start circulating.

Those things are not symptoms of faulty values or platform positions, they are "reactions" to campaign losses. And those losses had a lot more to do with clever, unethical, and corporate-financed tactics employed by the opposition, than they did any sort of "wrong direction" on public policy goals. It's important to remember that distinction, because nothing can kill a movement (or a political party) faster than choking off the voices of those who struggled to build it in favor of those who would feel more comfortable if it had never been built in the first place. Here are a few more words, if you care to read them:


Subscribe to BlueNC RSS