Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke shareholders finally getting angry


Taking their own company to court:

The plaintiff in the case, a Duke investor in Philadelphia named Judy Mesirov and her law firm Rigrodsky & Long of New York, asked for the complaint to be sealed because it includes confidential material the utility provided to them during discussions before the suit was filed, says Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni.

In public documents from the suit, Mesirov accuses current and former board members and some Duke executives of wasting corporate assets and exposing the company to billions of dollars in liability over environmental problems they created. It says they “consciously and routinely endangered the lives and health of the public, wildlife and vegetation by exposing them to carcinogens and by polluting North Carolina’s and Virginia’s environment.”

Yes, they did. But I do find myself wondering: If Duke's management team had acted proactively, spending the tens of millions it would have taken to build proper (lined) coal ash containment ponds and other approaches to stop leaking from occurring, would the shareholders have punished them for cutting into dividends? Not defending Duke Energy per se, but major stockholders in publicly-traded corporations are notorious for only being concerned with quarterly profits and not the long-term health of the company. I'm sure there are some exceptions, but not nearly as many as our (overall) economy needs.

That was then, and this is now

Putting a tired old meme to sleep:

Interestingly and rather comically, some on the Right have attempted to delude themselves and others in recent years about this undeniable historical pattern. According to this particular bit of revisionism, because of the long ago identities of the “Democratic” and “Republican” parties, modern progressives must bear the baggage of the racist and reactionary Democrats of years gone by while modern conservatives are somehow entitled to bask in the glow of their attenuated connections to the party of Lincoln.

This is, of course, ridiculous and about as logical as arguing that being personally pleasant to people of color inoculates a Governor from allegations about the real world impacts of his policies.

While the right-wing Twit brigade could never be accused of being "overburdened" by logic, this particular argument is not only specious, it actually causes one to contemplate the directions in which both parties have evolved. One has vastly improved, while the other has deteriorated into subjective exclusivity, which will eventually spell its demise. Fear is also a major player in this switching of roles. Back in the day, Aycock and other misguided Democrats used fear frequently in their battles against Republicans, a tactic the GOP has now adopted as their own. Constantly flogging their base with fears of the government, fears of brown-skinned invading hordes, and even fears of rejection by God for abandoning Biblical teachings. The list goes on, and the physiological costs of living in fear are devastating:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Proud to be a pariah:

Seriously, Sister? You think it's funny that your lawmakers are about to make NC even more notorious than it already is? Not to mention that some of our citizens will suffer discrimination at the hands of other citizens, based on something they read or were told from a collection of short stories written a few thousand years ago. Don't quit your day job.

Richard Burr waves the nonsensical Iran-bashing banner

Playing to the ignorant crowds:

During the discussion with Bob Schieffer, Burr said he thinks the U.S. is rushing a nuclear deal with Iran. He also said Iranian-backed rebels can't be allowed to gain a foothold in Yemen, where a coalition of countries are mounting attacks to stop them. "Well, clearly, we're on the verge of a civil war," he said. "I had a long conversation with the ambassador last week. Ten countries have come together, primarily because they can't allow Iran to take a foothold in Yemen."

Here at BlueNC we generally focus on state issues, because there are so many important things happening in NC, trying to take a broader look at national and international issues is bound to eclipse problems we can't allow ourselves to ignore. But the misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding the Iranian talks has reached a deafening level, and we have a responsibility to make sure OUR representatives in Congress don't push us into another costly and counterproductive war by spoon-feeding us false information.

Not unlike what is transpiring in Iraq, the Iranian-backed Houthis are waging war against not only Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has engineered terrorist attacks all over the region, but also a new splinter of the Islamic State, which has materialized there in a totally predictable opportunistic fashion in order to take advantage of political confusion:

NC GOP's relentless attack on college professor

Apparently shutting down the Center is not enough punishment for speaking out:

Pretty sure this effort is mostly to distract from the embarrassing antics of the GOP Clown Car that skidded into town:

And now Trudy Wade is going after teachers

NC GOP acting more and more like a third world tyranny:

“What they do on their own time is their right and their business,” Wells said. “But what they do when they’re being paid to be working and what they do with public facilities and resources, we should have one set of rules for that.” Senate Bill 480 is co-sponsored Wells and Sens. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) and Andrew Brock (R-Davie).

“I think it could have a chilling effect,” Warren said. “Teachers aren’t the most politically active people anyway, but right now there are a lot of people who are afraid for their jobs if they speak out on some of these issues. This could just make that worse.”

I'll just repost a comment I left on Facebook and leave it at that: "What they do on their own time? What time is that, pray tell? The thirty minutes left before bedtime after grading papers and preparing lesson plans for the next day? And what are these "supplies" to which you refer? You mean the supplies teachers have been forced to purchase out of their own pockets because two-faced politicians keep cutting the funding for those things? You've done enough damage to teachers already, give it a fricking rest."

Supreme Court rejects Alabama gerrymandering decision

There's more than one way to dilute someone's voting voice:

The justices split 5-4 across ideological lines in ruling that a three-judge panel did not properly consider complaints that state officials illegally packed black voters into too few voting districts. Writing for the court, Justice Stephen Breyer said the lower court should have reviewed claims of racial gerrymandering on a district-by-district level, not just statewide.

“The Alabama and North Carolina redistricting cases involve different questions of law, and legislative leaders do not believe today’s Supreme Court decision impacts the North Carolina case,” Phil Berger, N.C. Senate president pro tempore, and Tim Moore, the N.C. House speaker, said in a joint statement.

Nice try, BergerMoore. The Justices' concerns in the Alabama case, and their subsequent dissatisfaction with the lower court's ruling, are both very pertinent to North Carolina's redistricting mess. Here's an excerpt (fat pdf) from our own Supreme Court's flawed opinion allowing the districts to stand:

GOP to cancer patients: Your pain means nothing to us

The hopes for medical marijuana just died:

Despite pleas from a number of people who testified that medical cannabis has helped treat either themselves or loved ones, the committee rejected legislation that would have legalized marijuana use for certain patients.

"Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is both unnecessary and a slippery slope," said Tammy Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition. "We oppose House Bill 78. It could open the door to legalizing marijuana for recreational use." Fitzgerald was one of three speakers to urge rejection of the medical marijuana bill, all of them representing socially conservative groups that frequently lobby lawmakers on issues ranging from abortion to alcohol control to gay marriage.

Tami Fitzgerald is a blight on humanity. The only "values" she represents are to cause as much pain and suffering as she can before the karma wheel comes along to crush her flat.


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