90% of coal ash remains in Dan River after Duke Energy "completes" cleanup

If this is what they call "success," one would hate to see them fail:

Since the operation began on May 6, approximately 2,500 tons of coal ash and river sediment have been removed from this location. Crews and equipment were staged at Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville for the past three months.

The company previously completed removal of ash and sediment from water treatment facilities in Danville and South Boston, as well as from locations in the river at the Dan River Steam Station and Town Creek, two miles downstream from the plant. More than 500 tons of coal ash and river sediment were removed from these areas.

Do the math. A low-end estimate on the spill had some 39,000 tons of ash released, and this combined 3,000 tons removed included an unknown quantity of non-ash sediment. What's left in the river could be closer to 95%. And the General Assembly wants to give Duke Energy "more flexibility" in the cleanup/relocation of all the other coal ash ponds?

A poem for Governor McCrory

Dear Governor McCrory, I’m writing you today
Because – as a citizen – I have a great deal to say.

I’m incredibly proud of this wonderful state,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great
From Murphy to Manteo we are all instilled
With a North Carolina value: a desire to build
We built universities that were the envy of the nation
We built community colleges that enabled vocations
We built a K-12 system that served every single student
We cultivated a political system that stressed politics less than prudence
We passed pro-business policies, and still invested in our communities
We took it upon ourselves to strive for equal opportunity
We made sure we supported the poor and middle class
But now we have teachers leaving us en masse
And now we’ve decided that public schools aren’t a priority
And now we’re at the mercy of an ideologue majority
And now we’ve become a national joke
And now the lines are drawn to neglect most folks

NC GOP to require bicycle registration and liability insurance

This week the Republican-led General Assembly put the kibosh on freedom-loving moped owners with new requirements for registration and liability insurance. Consistent with their intent to control whatever they can, including women's bodies, drugs, license plates, sea level rise, etc., GOP leaders now have bicycles, tricycles, and maybe even pedestrians in their sights.

Daily Dose

A runoff election, particularly in a congressional or legislative district, is neatly defined and should be simple for the candidates. There’s little guessing about who is likely to vote – they’ve already identified themselves – down to the household – by voting in the initial primary. And, there aren’t so many people, or such an extensive geographic spread, that there is difficulty in reaching out personally to nearly every voter. Decent polling and get-out-the-vote efforts can identify just who voted for which candidate. And, these efforts can also identify which voters who may not have voted for the candidates in the runoff, would be likely to shift.


Expanding Early Voting in Orange County

Yesterday, I attended the Board of Elections meeting where they were to approve the early vote schedule for the fall. Though I knew there could be some others in attendance regarding an early vote site on campus (I was part of the informal committee looking for sites and suggested Carolina Hillel as a possibility, which was eventually approved). There were at least a dozen people in attendance speaking, as I did, in support of expanded hours on Saturday and adding Sunday as a voting day. While Orange County exceeded the number of hours required by law in the primary, I believe we should expand hours even more. Because of the response, the Board is delaying their decision next week.

Open thread


Josh Brannon to face Virginia Foxx in November

Don't write this race off yet, folks:

Josh Brannon breezed his way through a Democratic second primary on Tuesday, earning the right to go head-to-head with Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx in the 5th Congressional District race this fall. Brannon will have an uphill battle this fall in the heavily Republican district. Foxx was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004 and has soared to a win every two years.

“We’re not going to be able to outspend her. That’s clear. So we’re just going to have to run a campaign that gets our message out in ways other than big media,” Brannon said.

He has campaigned on the theme of taking money out of politics.

Yes, we've heard this song before, but this guy is incredibly easy to like. We've been friends on Facebook for several weeks now, and I had no idea he was in a runoff race with another Democrat. Think about that, especially in light of the ugliness surrounding the Berger/Walker competition. Josh has been steadily campaigning against Foxx, and has developed some very powerful messaging. It's going to be a tough race, and the PACs may be a little shy of helping, but that doesn't mean you can't help #OUTFOXX:

Charter school in Charlotte lets students down before it opens

What happens when a charter school fails students before the school opens? You wind up with a lot of upset parents and kids, especially when the school was intended to serve 9th and 10th graders. High school is tough enough without finding out six weeks before school begins that your plans have changed.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Carolina STEM Academy, one of 11 Charlotte-area charter schools that had been approved to open in August, notified families this week that there aren’t enough students to make that happen.

“Unfortunately, we are disappointed to share the news that, due to enrollment and continuing difficulties with closing (on the facility), Carolina STEM will be unable to open this year,” a letter from the board of directors said.

The ridiculously simple solution to NC's Medicaid problem

Fire Wos.

It's abundantly clear that Queen Aldona is the problem.

Both Hise and Dollar also said that the Department of Health and Human Resources sorely needs experienced Medicaid officials to manage a complicated program that provides care to 1.7 million North Carolinians: the blind, disabled, elderly and poor children and their parents.

To which North Carolinians respond "DUH!"

Yet the thoroughly incompetent Aldona does just the opposite, surrounding herself with people who have no such experience. To top it off, she pays them ridiculously inflated fees using our taxpayer dollars [emphasis mine]

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