NCGA

Coal Ash Wednesday: Selenium levels in Kentucky fish off the scales

Give a man a fish, poison him just a little:

Despite decades of pollution from the Brown plant, the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife lists Herrington Lake as a great place to catch largemouth bass, crappie, white bass and bluegill. Like every other water body in the state, fish in Herrington Lake are already under an advisory for mercury because of air pollution from coal-fired power plants. But now, state regulators say the power plant’s coal ash pond has poisoned Herrington Lake’s fish in a different way: with selenium.

Nine out of 10 fish tissue samples taken last spring in Herrington Lake exceeded Kentucky’s fish tissue selenium criteria. LG&E and KU were cited for the violation last month and quickly reached an agreement with the state to pay $25,000 in civil penalties and take corrective measures.

Teach a man to fish, and you may be guilty of criminal negligence. Seriously, I just can't understand why fishermen and other outdoor sports enthusiasts aren't beating down the doors of their county/state/national governments to crack down on such pollution. I mean, just the fact you're not supposed to *eat* the fish is bad enough, but the systematic killing-off of fish populations makes the sport of fishing seem about as ridiculous as snipe-hunting:

Asheville City Council next target of GOP meddling

If you can't be popular, be a bully:

Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents a small part of South Asheville, sent an email to Mayor Esther Manheimer Tuesday afternoon saying he was "confident that this measure" to require districts in council elections would pass the General Assembly in Raleigh, unlike one attempted by his powerful predecessor.

Apodaca, who was chairman of the powerful rules committee, said he wanted to change the fact that no council member had been elected for more than a decade from South Asheville, which has the highest number of Republicans in the city. Tuesday, Edwards said his "actions are the result of trends taking place in municipalities as well as a great deal of feedback from citizens of Buncombe County."

Asheville needs to fight this the way Greensboro did, if it comes down to it. And I wouldn't trust Republicans in the General Assembly to respect any District maps developed by the City, because they are constitutionally incapable of keeping their grubby fingers from redrawing maps, and double-bunking is bound to occur. Which, in case you're not paying attention, is one way the Legislature undermines the will of the people, by making them choose which one of their 2-3 favorites gets to remain in office.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

I give you the new House Minority Leader, Darren Jackson:

Because it's not about what we need, it's about Republicans' continuous bullying tactics.

The lynching of Wyatt Outlaw and the "Kirk-Holden War"

147 years ago today, chaos and hatred ruled the land:

On February 26, 1870, Graham town commissioner Wyatt Outlaw, an African American, was lynched by a band of Ku Klux Klansmen.

Outlaw served in the 2nd Regiment United States Colored Cavalry during the Civil War. In 1866, he attended the second freedmen’s convention in Raleigh and soon after organized the Union League, an organization that aimed to promote loyalty to the United States after the Civil War, in Alamance County, as well as a school and church. Outlaw became the target for a Klan mob because he was an effective leader, able to work with both races.

Aside from all the other considerations and concerns surrounding this cowardly act, we need to keep this in mind when recruiting and supporting candidates for state and local office. African-Americans are still severely under-represented in these positions of authority, and changing that will take all of us. We must also never forget what can happen if we don't keep an eye on the General Assembly:

Bill Rabon plays the privatization game, and wins big-time

Pay-to-play politics at its absolute worst:

State Senator Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) said it was a pretty easy decision to start outsourcing some services at NCDOT when he and other Republicans took the majority in the state legislature in 2011. “One of the things that I think all of the Republicans wanted to do when they came here was downsize government, become more efficient,” Rabon said.

Campaign finance records show Rabon has collected campaign money from employees of private engineering firms and other companies involved in building roads and bridges, their political action committees and industry-related special interest groups. Records show Rabon’s campaign has taken more than $124,000 since 2012, the first year in which NCDOT was required to hit a specific outsourcing target.

If this was a fictional narrative, these revelations would trigger an inquiry, there would be scenes of Rabon running away from questioning reporters, and soon he would be announcing his early retirement, citing the need to "spend more time with family" or something similar. But as we've learned (the hard way) with GOP domination of the Legislature, the truth is stranger than fiction, and outcomes are simply not predictable. As far as that "more efficient" claim, it appears Rabon and his colleagues really don't care if it's true:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Reports of the death of the Patriarchy were premature:

And it's about to get worse, since the NCGA is trying to shrink the Board. More from Hannah:

Anti-abortion nuttery shifts into overdrive at NC General Assembly

Embracing quackery is now acceptable in GOP circles:

He claims the reversal process makes logical, scientific sense and said that animal studies in Japan showed that rats that were given Mifepristone had its effects reversed when given progesterone. He also pointed to a study published in 2012 in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy that described six case studies where four women had successful reversals and two lost their babies.

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