NC GOP

Coal Ash Wednesday: "But the bugs are doing just fine!"

The biological trump rule in action:

Aquatic insect communities in an area downstream from the Feb. 2 coal ash spill appear to be thriving, according to the results of testing conducted by state environmental officials.

Using a standard sampling protocol, state scientists collected samples of benthic macroinvertebrate at two locations – one upstream and one downstream of the site of Dan River spill. During the sampling, scientists collect insects and other invertebrates from the river using nets and then record the number and species present in their samples before returning the insects to the river. Scientists can determine much about the health of the river based on the number and type of living species they collect. The populations from the upstream and downstream sites were similar and were considered “Excellent,” which is the highest biological rating available.

This is good news, for one location out of a 70 mile stretch of river, that is. Some of that spilled coal ash is now buried under a few feet of silt, but some of it isn't. I won't go as far as to imply DENR testers located a healthy spot and tested that one, although that wouldn't surprise me. But one sample out of seventy miles doesn't a clean river make. Admittedly, I'm a little out of my depth here, but these folks aren't:

Is Tim Moore even more delusional than Tillis?

The Magic 8-Ball sez, "It's quite possible, yes."

"We have righted the ship and dealt with what I had considered to have been a hard left turn the state had taken in the years before the Republicans came to majority," Moore said. Issues such as abortion, voting rights, gun laws and same-sex marriage have largely been dealt with and are now off the legislative agenda, he said.

"What I think I'm hearing from the caucus and from the folks out there is they want to see us govern," Moore said. "They want to see the state move forward, show that the changes done can be implemented in an appropriate manner. They want to know that the state can be run like a business, that we can live within our means."

"Hard left turn?" You're kidding, right? If anything, the Dems running the state before the 2010 debacle were moderate to conservative in almost everything they did. Even "Progressive" ideas like the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard were contaminated with corporate giveaways like Construction Work In Progress (CWIP). And for those of you who have been pleased by McCrory's hints about expanding Medicaid, don't bake a cake yet:

Wos and Tucker clash over DHHS funding

Apparently it costs a lot to mismanage a state agency:

At the height of the exchange, Wos made an impassioned request for committee members to see that her funding requests have to be done, in part, “for the future of the state.”

“Don’t talk down to me,” Tucker said to Wos. “I’m responsible to the taxpayer to see if there’s any savings” in the requests. Wos, attempting a cool down, told Tucker “we will continue to give you whatever information you like. We will present our business case more accurately if this was not sufficient.”

The first step in securing "the future of the state" is for Wos to return to the only occupation she seems qualified to do, hosting dinner parties. That may not completely stop the drain on taxpayer resources, but at least they won't be sucked into the event horizon of the black hole that is Aldona Wos:

Living in Dukeville: The epitome of corporate irresponsibility

Just one more reason Duke Energy can't be trusted:

"It's bad to live in the United States and don't have good water to drink," said Ron, whose family farm sits just a couple hundred yards from the plant's three ponds housing more than 5 million tons of coal ash. "One neighbor is even bathing her young children in bottled water," JoAnne added, explaining that many in their community are worried about their drinking water.

"It's terrible," explained Dukeville resident Tyson Beaver. "We immediately switched from drinking well water and started buying bottled water to drink and to cook with and to wash dishes."

Water contamination is the main issue where fracking and coal ash converge, and what's happening in Dukeville will soon be happening in numerous other communities across the state. The Legislature needs to pass a bill (don't hold your breath) that will dictate whoever contaminates private drinking water wells must supply fresh water to replace the tainted water, at the expense of the entity who tainted the well. That's not radical, it's the bare minimum of what we expect from our elected officials.

Bible thumpers get thumped outside Equality NC event

When you preach hate, don't be surprised if it comes back on you:

As the protesters yelled at people entering the center Saturday night, people in support of the LGBT community began to gather across Elm Street. Before long, the dozen or so protesters were outnumbered by LGBT supporters, whose numbers swelled to about 70; and the groups were yelling across the street at each other.

Yahya Alazrak, 23, of Greensboro, faces a charge of injury to personal property after breaking a sign belonging to the opposite side, according to warrants. A third person, Brian Drew Watkins, 39, of Greensboro, faces a charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly grabbing signs and yelling loudly, according to warrants.

This story is missing a lot of critical information, not the least of which is what was written on the signs. And yes, that does make a difference. If they resembled the Westboro Baptist "God Hates Fags" or other incendiary language, I probably would have broken a few signs myself. And the story also doesn't mention whether the bible-thumpers were blasting their hate with loudspeakers, but this leads me to believe they were:

Richard Burr prefers KGB-style intel operations

But don't expect the "defenders of liberty" to speak out against him:

Republicans take over the Senate in just a few legislative days. And when they do, they will probably snuff out the last possibility of releasing a huge report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Bush-Cheney Administration.

Mr. Burr has said the report is full of unspecified inaccuracies. He not only opposes its release, but also all public hearings of the Intelligence Committee. He believes that “enhanced interrogation” (also known as torture) helped lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden, and is O.K. with widespread domestic spying by the National Security Agency. So don’t expect the slightest bit of openness or progress after he takes over.

Be careful what you say on your cell phones, comrades. I have a feeling becoming an "enemy of the state" is going to get a hell of a lot easier in the near future...

Art Pope shuffles his puppets around

Methinks a certain syndicated columnist may have demanded a raise:

Locke Foundation President John Hood will become president of the John William Pope Foundation in January. Hood will be succeeded by Executive Vice President Kory Swanson, who also will hold the title of CEO.

At the Pope Foundation, Hood succeeds former state budget director Art Pope, who will remain chairman of the charitable group. Hood also stays chairman of the Locke Foundation board of directors.

That almost reads like one of those math/logic problems, where the answer ends up being zero because things cancel each other out. Or maybe an upper-crust nursery rhyme? One of those two things.

Obama making GOP dance to his tune with immigration action

And they'll be stepping on each other's toes even after the music stops:

Some on the right pushed for using must-pass spending legislation to try to shut-down Obama's move. One lawmaker— two-term Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — raised the specter of impeachment. Party leaders warned against such talk and sought to avoid spending-bill tactics that could lead to a government shutdown. They said such moves could backfire, alienating Hispanic voters and others.

In a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans, McConnell urged restraint. Still, there were concerns among some Republicans that the potential 2016 presidential candidates in the Senate would use the announcement to elevate their standing, challenging Obama directly.

Good luck on that whole "restraint" thing. Even if Republican leaders actually want their flock to behave like adults, which is not a foregone conclusion, the tantrums associated with this Executive Action will be legendary. I doubt we'll be lucky enough to see any Buddhist monk-styled immolation in the aisles of Congress, but there could be some tears of frustration. In actuality, it won't be a "groundbreaking" move by the President:

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