NC GOP

Art Pope's minions now going after bicyclists

Wherever there is a whiff of progress, JLF and Civitas will soon be there to oppose it:

I do not oppose bike lanes in principle. If significant numbers of people wish to travel by bike and need safe lanes, it is reasonable for the city to use part of its transportation budget to meet that need.

But I do oppose social engineering and paternalism. I absolutely object to Raleigh and Wake County using taxpayers’ money to push taxpayers away from one behavior (driving cars) that they prefer and toward a different behavior (riding bikes) that they have not embraced.

Oh! Bonus points for including the trigger words "social engineering" and "paternalism." Seriously, these free-market clones are so predictable I could write for them under a pseudonym and get away with it for months before they figured it out. All you need are a few key phrases and a dash of hyperbole (Raleigh trying to "push" citizens into biking), and you've got Puppet Gold ready to be published.

Drowning in incompetency: Revised coastal floodmaps ignore sea level rise

Science? We don't need no stinking science:

New maps for Dare County will remove thousands of homes and lots from flood zones, creating a need to amend local building codes that until now accounted for more rising water, not less.

In Dare County, according to maps released last month, 15,970 buildings are either removed from a flood zone or placed in a zone where the hazard is reduced. Entire neighborhoods in Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills are suddenly not so prone to water surging into the living room, according to the preliminary maps.

To give you an idea of what's at stake here, here's a Facebook post from a few months ago. Pay attention to the last sentence:

Dan Forest is an embarrassment to NC

Tripling down on McCrory's ignorant attacks on the NBA:

I enjoy the NBA and wanted them to hold the All-Star game in Charlotte but if that game comes with strings attached, strings that would expose women and children to danger, molestation, assault and voyeurism, then no thank you. Take your business elsewhere, and I have no apologies about saying that and never will. The NBA knows the economic hit North Carolina will take from this decision. I wish the NBA would likewise acknowledge the pain, sorrow and devastation a child or woman feels when they are exploited. We will never value a dollar over a woman's or child's safety and security.

Bolding mine. Where do I begin? How about we start with the GOP's refusal to expand Medicaid, leaving half a million NC citizens without medical coverage, many of them women and children. Sorry, costs too much. And then there's slashing environmental protections and dropping the ball on coal ash cleanup. Sorry, costs Duke Energy too much. Oh, and let's not forget, deeply cutting unemployment benefits, literally taking the food off the tables of tens of thousands of women and children. Sorry, it would cost private businesses too much if we made them pay what they should as responsible employers. The list is endless. Wherever a dollar is concerned, women and children must take a back seat to the wealthy who want to buy a bigger boat with their tax cuts.

Environmental heroes: SouthWings patrols the skies

Providing a bird's-eye view of potential environmental threats:

SouthWings collaborates with a range of effective conservation and community partners to increase collective, positive impact on environmental issues. Through the power of a first-hand aerial perspective, SouthWings provides an unparalleled way for funders, partners, and other key decision-makers to understand the most urgent environmental challenges in the Southeast.

At the heart of our work is the commitment of SouthWings’ all-volunteer pilot corps, collectively contributing hundreds of hours of time and resources each year to provide a unique perspective on environmental issues that would otherwise not be possible.

Based in Asheville, these volunteer pilots cover the entire Southeast and some Gulf states, and have spotted problems like dangerous algae blooms and other irregularities in rivers and lakes. But flying isn't cheap, so if you've got some extra cash handy, show them some love.

Parsing the propaganda: Lisa Sorg rips DEQ promotional video

Van der Vaart is in deep trouble:

DvdV: “Hello, I’m Donald van der Vaart, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. I’m here to talk to you about the action North Carolina has taken to protect the environment, public health, and the communities that have been affected by the long-ignored problem of coal ash.”

NCPW: As DEQ secretary, van der Vaart has the power to allow Duke Energy to miss its deadline to remedy impoundments and coal ash residue. The utility can blow its deadline if for some reason, it can’t use the “best available technology found to be economically reasonable” and it would produce a “serious hardship” without an equal or greater public benefit. Translation: If it’s too expensive.

Among her many other talents, Lisa has an uncanny ability to pull up the rug to see what trash has been swept under it. Hat-tip to NC Policy Watch for bringing her on board:

Coal Ash Wednesday: When science is declared "secret"

Duke Energy's damage control methods are out of control:

Duke Energy is asking a federal judge to make the sworn statements of a state environmental toxicologist off-limits to the public amid an ongoing lawsuit between environmentalists and the energy company over coal ash.

In a motion filed in a North Carolina U.S. District Court Tuesday, Duke Energy argued the deposition of Dr. Kenneth Rudo is "largely hearsay" and that releasing publicly would affect the firm's right to a fair and impartial trial. Company lawyers point to the heavy media attention surrounding coal ash cleanup and contamination, which has drawn the concern of nearby well owners who have received mixed safety advice from the state about their water.

First of all, the public's right to know about contaminated water resources trumps Duke Energy's desire to keep their mistakes hidden. And second, media coverage had absolutely nothing to do with "mixed safety advice" given to affected residents. The amount of influence Duke Energy wields over state government is what caused that mixed advice, another negative consequence of that damage control I mentioned above. And now you can add suborning justice to Duke's "portfolio."

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Apparently charlatanism is a communicable disease:

In all fairness, there's no way in hell she could have written the speech, or possess the skills to Google excerpts to make sure it wasn't plagiarized...

In addition to pollution, Duke Energy now leaking propaganda

Disseminating Koch Brothers' subsidized misinformation:

Coal ash isn’t toxic, in fact it’s harmless, according a new report that Duke Energy has been disseminating this week. But a Carolina Public Press investigation has found serious doubts about the credibility of the report that relies heavily on the statements of one scientist who may have been misquoted or taken out of context.

Claiming that toxicity isn’t a valid a concern hasn’t been an angle the company pursued previously. Carolina Public Press contacted the scientist on whom the article relied for its claims. His response raised questions about the integrity of the reporting in the article from the organization Watchdog.org and why Duke Energy would promote an article with such dubious claims.

Okay, so: "Toxicity" determinations are directly tied to how a chemical or element interacts with a biological organism. You can determine the radioactivity of an element in the absence of such, but toxicity can only be formally mapped by actual damage, a much more difficult process. And since many of these potential toxins do not bioaccumulate, and are eventually expelled from the human body before they can be detected, the "smoking gun" is no longer there to find. This is what (I believe) the researcher in question was trying to convey. But what's more alarming than Duke Energy citing a Watchdog.org article in efforts to whitewash their dirty laundry, are the efforts by state government to bully media outlets into silencing the NRDC:

US DOJ: Voting law changes were race-based

Tracing the origins of voter suppression tactics:

The Justice Department alleged a “race-based purpose” to the new law in a legal brief. Studies the department cited show that minority and low-income voters are more likely to use same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting because they are less likely to own a car or have flexible working hours. These voters are also more likely to vote for Democratic candidates.

"If you pick out precisely the way minority voters are engaging with the process, that's intentionally treating minority voters differently," Justin Levitt, the head of the Justice Department’s voting unit, said in an interview.

There's no doubt the goal of Republicans was to stifle or obstruct potential Dem voters, especially minorities. And it wasn't (isn't) just a Legislative effort; Republican-led county boards of election have shuffled voting sites to add more distance between minority and college students and their authorized voting locations, something Bob Rucho knows good and well but refuses to acknowledge:

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