Scientific exodus: Dr. Megan Davies resigns over McCrory admin falsehoods

The difference between a public servant and a political hack:

In her resignation letter, shared with several members of the press Wednesday afternoon, Davies said an editorial issued earlier in the week signed by top agency officials "presents a false narrative" that pins a decision to alert well owners near coal ash ponds of elevated levels of toxic elements solely on Ken Rudo, a state toxicologist in Davies' division.

"Upon reading the open editorial yesterday evening, I can only conclude that the Department's leadership is fully aware that this document misinforms the public," Davies wrote. "I cannot work for a Department and an Administration that deliberately misleads the public."

Thanks, Doc. Taking a stand like this requires a level of intestinal fortitude (guts) that is unfortunately a rare commodity these days.

NCGA funds new environmental "Center" at UNC-CH

And its objectivity is already in question:

With $7 million in potential startup funds and $6 million in funding over the next four years, the project represents one of the state’s largest recent investments in environmental science. Although it didn’t make headlines during the legislative session, the size of the investment and UNC-Chapel Hill’s new role in developing state natural resource and environmental policy have drawn a lot of interest.

Tedder, who worked on water quality programs at what is now the Department of Environmental Quality, said the center could prove to be a positive development as long as researchers are able to maintain their independence. “I hope they don’t have to work under something where there’s a controlled message,” he said.

This Center already has two strikes against it, as far as I'm concerned. First, it won't be under an academic umbrella, it will be part of the "business and finance" structure of the University. And God only knows what types of private-sector partnerships would be deemed "beneficial" under that rubric. Second, the early front-runner for leadership of this new entity is the Bergermeister's very own Jeffrey Warren:

Wake County will use 2011 Commissioner and School Board maps

Chalk another one up for the good guys:

The new plans featured seven local districts and two regional districts that resemble a doughnut-shaped district ringing the rural areas of the county and a central blob centered on Raleigh. Many familiar with the maps and Wake County voting patterns said the plan would tilt control of both boards back toward the GOP.

"This is a victory for basic fairness," said Perry Woods, one of the individual plaintiffs who, along with the Raleigh Wake Citizens Association, brought the case that challenged the legislatively drawn districts. "Changing the rules in the middle of the game when you're losing is not the American way."

Good job, Perry. Also, kudos on taking back the word "American." ;)

Call to action: Attend Guilford County BoE meeting *today*

Opposing Republican voter suppression is a never-ending battle:

Despite the recent court ruling against voting restrictions, the Republican majority on the Guilford County Board of Elections wants to REDUCE the Early Voting plan from what the county offered in 2012. The Guilford County Board of Elections will meet on Monday, August 8, at 1 p.m. to adopt a revised Early Voting plan for the November 2016 General Election. Prompted by the ruling's expansion of Early Voting from 10 to 17 days, this meeting will determine your options to Early Vote and whether your county will face longer lines and more confusion on Election Day.

The Guilford County BOE will decide:
>>whether it will eliminate Sunday voting;
>>whether it will slash a half dozen sites inside the city of Greensboro; and
>>whether it will cut popular sites like Barber Park, UNC-Greensboro and NC A&T.

The two Republicans on this board need to be aware of the shitstorm that will result if they pull a stunt like this.

Demagogues-R-Us: BergerMoore steps over the line

And the Bar Association has a responsibility to deal with it:

“Since today’s decision by three partisan Democrats ignores legal precedent, ignores the fact that other federal courts have used North Carolina’s law as a model, and ignores the fact that a majority of other states have similar protections in place, we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election. We will obviously be appealing this politically motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”

Not only is this idiotic statement inflammatory as hell, publicly speculating that three judges could be attempting to facilitate a crime, based on nothing more than ad hominem party affiliation observations, appears to be a blatant violation of Rule 8.2 (hat-tip to commenter Paul Ditz):

Burr's Medicare "coupon" plan bad news for seniors

Nothing more than back-door privatization:

Under the proposal, the eligibility age would gradually increase from 65 to 67 over 12 years. It would also start a transition to a system dominated by private insurance plans.

Private plans would compete with a government-sponsored program, a retooled version of today’s Medicare, the Associated Press reported in 2012, when the proposal was announced.

While average life expectancy may have increased, much of that is due to breakthroughs in medical care. And if somebody can't access coverage they've already paid for until they reach 67 (65 is bad enough), their chance of reaching the ripe old age of 90 (or even 80) is seriously in question. Which may be one of the hidden goals of Burr's plan: Once they're gone, the cost of keeping them alive is gone, too.

More fodder for the anti-Clinton crusaders

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't:

Former President Bill Clinton will be in Raleigh on Friday, but he’ll be here for meetings and fundraisers that aren’t open to the public. A post on Hillary Clinton’s campaign website on Wednesday said Bill Clinton planned to “discuss the pipeline from college to full-time employment.” The post didn’t include further details but provided a link for supporters to sign up to attend.

The post was deleted Wednesday night. A Clinton campaign spokesman said Thursday that the visit from Bill Clinton would be “for fundraising events and political meetings.”

In the wake of all the complaints about Bubba being on the front pages of newspapers during the Convention, why should we be surprised (or upset) when he takes a behind-the-curtains profile? I realize the really juicy stories are released around close of business on Friday, but come on.

Dismantled: SELC's comprehensive report on the GOP's horrific environmental record

Read it, bookmark it, and share it widely:

By 2013, the legislature had cut the budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (now the Department of Environmental Quality) by 40 percent, greatly diminishing its capacity to protect the state’s air, water, and land. In 2013, the new state administration even changed the mission of the agency to clarify that it is a “customer service” agency where science contains a “diversity of perspectives,” and employees were admonished not to be “obstacles of resistance” in carrying out their charge to protect the environment. With each passing week and each new policy, it becomes clearer that the customers the Department of Environmental Quality serves are the polluters, not the citizens of North Carolina.

The report gives a brief summary of all the advances in environmental stewardship that took place in the two decades leading up to the Republican takeover of state government, but what it cannot detail is the massive loss of institutional knowledge that 40% cut produced. Read the whole thing, there's a lot of information that can help a layperson understand all the challenges we face, and what needs to be done to mitigate those problems.


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