Environmental justice problems in Wake County

Drinking water while black:

In Wake County, some predominantly African-American neighborhoods completely lack access to the municipal water system. As a result, residents are exposed to notably higher quantities of microbial contaminants via well water.

In previous studies, MacDonald Gibson and colleagues identified neighborhoods in Wake County that depend on private wells for drinking water. In many cases, these neighborhoods are home to largely African-American populations, but are surrounded by mostly-white neighborhoods that do have municipal water access.

In the last few years I've learned a great deal about how municipalities function, and what criteria they use when contemplating extending water service to areas outside of the standard town/city limits. It's an expensive process, and figuring out how long it will take to recoup that investment via water service fees (and additional property taxes, if you annex) plays a major role. All that being said, there is a broader moral and historical background that simply must be factored into that equation, because (as we all know) economics has a nasty habit of leaving some people behind. Let's take a stroll down a lane that is likely not part of the average white Southerner's memory roadway:

More school privatization on the menu with Mark Johnson

I'm already missing June Atkinson:

Johnson, an attorney who taught public school with the Teach for America program before entering law school, deserves credit for running an energetic campaign, and he made his fast-paced pitch to voters in every corner of the state. One priority: reducing testing, which Johnson believes is taking too much energy from teachers. Another: more help for local districts from DPI. And another: support for charter school expansion and a voucher program wherein public money goes to parents (for now, only to lower-income parents) who want to send their children to private school.

Standard, boiler-plate Conservative stuff. Testing has gotten out of control, but the charter/voucher mantra is getting tiresome. A lot more failures than successes, and the tenacity in which these people pursue such a dubious program screams a hidden agenda. Whether that is greed for profit or the desire to undermine government-controlled education, it really doesn't matter. Education results are a secondary consideration, which means these programs will continue to fail, pissing away public monies in the process.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Looking for malfeasance? Look in the mirror:

An SBI which was removed from the Attorney General's control and placed directly under his opponent, Governor McCrory. The stench of corruption in his administration is overwhelming.

Capitol Broadcasting calls for transparency in vote counts

Keep it clean, and keep it open:

What is important isn’t merely that the votes are counted – but that North Carolina citizens know and feel assured that all votes have been counted accurately and fairly. In that spirit, we call on Gov. McCrory, Attorney General Cooper, the State Board of Elections and the county election offices throughout the state to go the extra mile and provide full and complete transparency in this process.

McCrory, Cooper and the Board of Elections should make any and all communications with local and state officials and agencies, public. The candidates can do this easily by posting them on their campaign websites. The state Board of Elections can do the same.

As I mentioned on another diary, I am genuinely concerned McCrory's army of lawyers and other diehards are going to try to get as many Dem ballots rejected as they can during this process. That could be one ballot at a time, or the wholesale rejection of large numbers of provisional ballots, such as those from Durham County. And the tone of his recruitment message sounds more like a pre-election call-to-arms than merely a request for neutral observers:

The media is still getting it wrong about Hillary

The myth of her dishonesty is alive and kicking:

Trump was a much more prolific liar, but his lies were, by comparison, benign: boastful exaggerations, hyperbole about issues, times when he simply didn’t know what he was talking about.

Clinton’s lies were about serious matters – about classified materials on emails, about Benghazi, and the things she had said in speeches on Wall Street that were different from things she said to voters. People didn’t trust her, and she kept giving them reasons not to trust her.

The author is the former Editor of Char-O's editorial page and a novelist, much lauded for both. But his attempt to convince readers Trump's victory does not herald an upsurge in racism, and that it's merely a rejection of his flawed opponent, is both naive and embarrassing. Clinton did not lie about classified e-mails, but Republicans on the House panel "investigating" her surely did. And for this guy to even mention Benghazi proves his information sources were tainted beyond recovery. After thousands of hours of posturing, the Benghazi Committee produced zero (nada, nothing) evidence of wrongdoing on her part. But that doesn't fit the narrative of "there is no racism, it was Clinton's fault" this man set out to prove in his little essay. By far, the biggest loser in this election was (and apparently still is) the truth.

Is van der Vaart trying to take his incompetence to DC?

Birds of a feather destroy the environment together:

President-elect Donald Trump has named Myron Ebell to head up his transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The news was met with name-calling, even though Ebell agrees with the same position taken by a former top scientist with the Obama administration, Steve Koonin (formerly of Cal Tech) namely, that scientists simply do not know what fraction of observed global warming is due to manmade CO2 emissions.

Consequently, Ebell has expressed concern about EPA positions, including the Clean Power Plan. The EPA’s controversial power plan is based on an inadequate understanding of global warming and should not drive our middle class into energy poverty against congressional will.

Koonin worked for British Petroleum before his brief stint at the Department of Energy, and is widely considered as much of a nut-job as Myron Ebell. And van der Vaart's "what fraction" argument is merely the next tier for Climate Change deniers. They've given up on the idiotic "man doesn't cause this" position because it is patently indefensible, so now they demand a hyper-accurate, to-the-decimal-point percentage of how much carbon is anthropomorphic vs natural. Nevermind the fact that vulcanism is wildly erratic from year to year, so that percentage is naturally a moving target. Oh no, now you're bringing more science into it. Can't have that. Van der Vaart is an embarrassment, frankly, and we can't be shut of him soon enough.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This Tweet struck me as very odd:

Unless of course you have already voted, in which case this Republican is advising you to break the law. I don't know if this is a real thing or not, although I have occasionally wondered if this could happen when they check off names in their voting "books" and not computers. But this could also be more voter fraud paranoia floated by the GOP.


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