Ten years is like forever on the Internet, a place where fashion and function drive disruption a thousand times a day all around the world. Ten years. That's how long BlueNC has in the business of creating community, with our own special blend of information, opinion, outrage and commentary.
Ten years is also an opportune time to stop and reflect on where we've been and where to go from here. In the spirit of transparency and collaboration, I want to open that conversation to anyone who wants to join.
While the recent coal ash spill into the Dan River has sparked much controversy and conversations about both the effectiveness of environmental regulations and the hit-or-miss enforcement of such, those of us who have been following these issues for years may be found guilty of taking this public exposure with a grain of salt. In our defense, the public at-large has demonstrated their propensity to forget. They forget the hard-fought battles to reign in the industrial pollution that ravaged our air and water just a few decades ago, and they forget the horrific cancer-clusters and birth defects that crushed the hopes of families in communities like Love Canal. And I fear they will also forget the 70 mile stretch of the Dan River that has been poisoned.
I finally got around to picking up a few copies of the dead tree version yesterday, and right beside my article is one written by Chuck Norris. I said, "Chuck Norris? You better stay over there away from my column space pal, or I will kick yer ass. I know Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and several other Chinese words." ;) A few more snippets:
Submitted by scharrison on Mon, 03/17/2014 - 1:17pm
Via e-mail from a reader:
The Albemarle City Council and the Albemarle Planning Board have a joint dinner meeting at a local restaurant to discuss business. At a later date the Albemarle Planning Board holds a public meeting and recommends action to the city. This may pass the open meetings law but I doubt many citizens show up
at a dinner meeting. Why does the City Council need a monthly dinner meeting with the Planning Board?
Before we begin to explore this, I want to encourage readers to take part in the discussion, and we'll use this thread as a meeting room. Leave the door open when you come in, as it has a bad habit of sticking there where the door casing has been painted over so many times. Did I carry that analogy too far? ;) Anyway, here's my take (as a newly-minted Planning Board member) on the question above:
Over the ten years that BlueNC has been in business, our attitudes about those pesky trolls who try to hijack discussions has moved steadily toward less tolerance. It turns out to have been a wise policy. This from Mother Jones.
Together, all of these studies support the theory of "motivated reasoning": The idea that our prior beliefs, commitments, and emotions drive our responses to new information, such that when we are faced with facts that deeply challenge these commitments, we fight back against them to defend our identities. So next time you feel the urge to argue back against some idiot on the Internet ... pause, take a deep breath, and realize not only that arguing might not do any good, but that in fact, it might very well backfire.
Spend two minutes looking at online comments about any political news story and you'll find yourself knee-deep in whining about who did what first.
You think Pat McCrory's a bumbling liar? Well what about Mike Easley?
Why should Republicans clean up coal ash? The whole mess got started under Democrats.
Extreme gerrymandering? You guys did it first.
The list goes on and on, with every current transgression excused by someone else's past sins. Even Vladimir Putin is using "they did it first" as the public justification for his invasion of Ukraine. Citing the US's military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, he claimed yesterday that Russia is only doing what America has done in the past. And he's right. Under the second President Bush, America did indeed invade and occupy two countries with no justification whatsoever. Thanks for nothing, George.
Submitted by scharrison on Fri, 02/21/2014 - 1:19pm
They need to remember all the opportunities they had, back in the days before Republicans took over the General Assembly and the Governor's mansion, to take steps to ensure disasters like this recent coal ash spill wouldn't take place. But it was more than just missed opportunities to do what's right. Democrats were so concerned with keeping their campaign contributions from the hometicks and utilities they refused to acknowledge something was a hazard until it resulted in actual damage. As a Party, we can never let that happen again.
I'm not trying to deflect attention away from Skvarla, McCrory, and all the other jackasses in NC's current government who seem hell-bent on destroying our environment. But I'm also not going to ignore the corporate toadyism and half-measures that elected Democrats engaged in before the GOP stumbled into the picture. And for those who are memory-deficient, we're going to take a few trips in the way-back machine to jog said memory:
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