Coal Ash Wednesday: With a side order of nuclear waste

There's a bigger mess in South Carolina than previously reported:

About 4 million tons of ash are in the 55-acre coal waste pond in Darlington County, according to data recently published on Duke Energy’s website. Last year, the power company reported only 660,000 tons in the ash basin near Lake Robinson, a popular recreation spot outside of Hartsville and about an hour’s drive east of Columbia.

Statistics showing more ash in the pond follow revelations in March that nuclear waste had been dumped in the ash pond and that poisonous arsenic has been found at levels substantially higher in groundwater than previously known by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Although Duke Energy is now responsible, the dirty deeds were done (dirt cheap) by Progress Energy. And they were so dirty the groundwater running under the coal ash/nuclear waste cocktail has Arsenic at levels 1,000 times greater than the safe limit. But staying in character, Duke Energy is not overly worried about it:

Profiles in idiocy: Voting isn't important 'cause we already decided

Rucho is either really stupid or terminally arrogant:

Rucho didn’t seem fazed by it all, telling the News & Observer that Senate Republicans discuss controversial bills ahead of time and know how their members will vote so he was confident that the bill putting a lower cap on the state’s renewable energy would pass.

In Rucho's mind, "Committee" = "Committed." Apparently the meeting and the talking and the voting are non-essential aspects of the process, easily dispensed with if they threaten to slow things down. Maybe we should teach that in the new "Founding Fathers" required historical courses.

The myths and motives behind Medicaid reform push

The non-existent "able-bodied" seeker of government handouts:

Almost 65 percent of the individuals on Medicaid are poor children who would otherwise have no health insurance. Another 2 percent are women who qualify only because they are pregnant. Roughly 15 percent of the recipients are blind or disabled, and approximately 7 percent are the elderly. The small proportion of recipients remaining represents the working poor.

So why then are some beating the drum for more drastic measures of reform? Why do some want to turn our health care over to out-of-state, profit-driven insurance companies?

You've answered your own question there. Whether it's a direct conflict of interest in the form of campaign contributions, or an ideological predisposition, conservative lawmakers almost always lean in the direction of the privatization of public services. And it doesn't matter how many times these efforts fail, or how many taxpayer dollars are pissed away in the process, the idea always seems new, bold, and innovative to them. Not unlike a small child rediscovering a cherished toy buried in his closet. But Medicaid is not a toy, it's a critical life-saving program, and shouldn't be "shaken up" for ego's sake.

Feeding the hungry still a low priority for McCrory administration

"Let them eat some sort of cake-like substance," said Queen Aldona:

The state was one of the worst in the nation in timely application approvals in 2013, according to Thursday’s letter, and had not reached an acceptable level in 2014. The agency asked DHHS for a response within 30 days on how it will improve.

“The state’s chronically poor performance in timeliness is in direct conflict with application processing statutory and regulatory provisions meant to protect a low-income household’s right to receive nutrition assistance benefits in a timely manner,” said the letter from USDA regional administrator Robin D. Bailey Jr.

It makes you wonder just what Wos would have to do to be considered incompetent in the eyes of McCrory. Accidentally burning down a building might do it, but after listening to twenty minutes of her painfully off-topic explanation he would probably just say, "Try not to do it again."

Opposition to ag-gag bill growing daily

Animal cruelty is only part of the issue:

Animal welfare and labor advocates began pressuring Gov. Pat McCrory this week to veto the bill. The Humane Society of the U.S. launched a week-long TV ad campaign.

The farm group’s letter says in part: “By permitting severe repercussions against those who report on illegal activity on farms, HB 405 grants a free pass to those recklessly cutting corners, and as such, directly threatens our economic viability as responsible farmers and food producers.”

Coal Ash Wednesday: Starve the coal, feed the frackers

Duke Energy to replace coal plant with natural gas plant:

Duke Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni says with projected population growth in North Carolina, the energy supplier was looking for a way to meet practical needs and local demand for cleaner energy.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to move forward with a much larger power plant that's much cleaner, twice the size in terms of electricity output," says Scanzoni. "But significantly cleaner and better for the environment than the coal that it replaces."

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start with a breakthrough in citizen oversight of law enforcement:

Yes, this is a good thing. Bad behavior cannot survive under public scrutiny.

McCrory headed to RGA "Corporate Policy Summit"

Another paid-for vacation for the Governor to forget to disclose:

Gov. Pat McCrory will be spending the next three days in Texas at the Republican Governor's Association spring meeting.

If you're wondering why that news brief is so brief don't wonder any longer. The RGA's activities are even more secretive that ALEC's, and their "Corporate Policy Summit" is the tightest-held secret of them all. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: Corporate lobbyists wining and dining Governors, promising them scads of money for their campaigns, and telling them all the government actions they need to do to acquire that money. And when you're ethically challenged like McCrory, it's like waking up on Christmas morning.


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