Coal Ash Wednesday: More lawsuits on the way

Playing the game of risk:

Spokespeople from basin owner Duke Energy and the Southern Environmental Law Center talked with Carolina Public Press earlier this month about their desired outcomes. Both indicated an expectation that their employers would consider legal action if DEQ doesn’t give them what they want. Since what each side wants is the opposite of what the other side seeks, litigation seems unavoidable.

EITC is not about campaigns, it's about people

Masking your disregard for the poor in political rhetoric:

Luebke ran an amendment to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit for low- and lower-middle-income workers, proposing to pay for it by reinstituting a 7.75 percent tax rate on income over $1 million. The amendment failed, but not before spurring a heated partisan debate in the usually congenial committee.

"I appreciate the effort to demagogue and to penalize those that are able to raise the level of income that they make," Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said to Luebke. "It’s certainly easy to attack those who make over $1 million. Those make for good talking points."

No, what's easy is to slash programs and benefits that help the poor keep their families fed and clothed. The GOP has proved that countless times already over the last 4-6 years. What's not easy is to face the inequities in our Capitalist system and make adjustments that keep those inequities from endangering the health and welfare of those on the bottom rung. That takes courage and compassion, traits that are lacking in many of our current leaders:

EU condemns HB2, eliciting expected absurdities from NC GOP

Trying to outstupid each other:

Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign spokesman, Ricky Diaz, dismissed the EU move in a brief statement Friday afternoon. “We relinquished our adherence to the British crown and European powers over 200 years ago,” Diaz said. “The law is now in federal court, where it will be resolved.”

N.C. Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse said the move is “absolutely no surprise since North Carolina Democrats led by Roy Cooper want to install European socialist policies ... that are an affront to the common sense traditions of North Carolina and America.”

Wait, I'm confused. Should we be afraid of Autocracy or Socialism? Pretty sure you can't have both. Y'all need to get on the same sheet of fear-mongering music.

The dangers of mixing religion and politics

In the early days of the Moral Monday movement, a good friend of mine expressed both confusion and concern about the religious overtones present. She (my friend, an avowed Atheist) found this approach disconcerting, because she had witnessed countless instances where religious intervention in affairs of the state had negative implications for one group or another. I tried to explain to her that many had misinterpreted the Bible, very often to back up their own misguided prejudices, and a religious "counterpoint" may be the only way to combat that effect. And also, Conservatives had for years dominated the religious conversation, and had successfully captured the votes of many religious folks who might have made other choices in the absence of such domination. In retrospect, I don't have as much confidence in my argument as I once did. Keeping religion out of the debate may be more important than winning it. In order to make my point, I'm going to criticize an ally in the fight against HB2, something I would normally prefer not to do:

Civitas polling guilty of blatant misinformation

When the truth just won't do, make shit up:

Tim Moore, the speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, said it’s an overwhelming consensus. "The one thing where we’ve seen nearly unanimous – well, nothing’s unanimous – but 80 percent support out there is the concept that men should not be in women’s restrooms, changing rooms, bathrooms, et cetera – that that shouldn’t happen," Moore said in a May 5 discussion with reporters.

The (Civitas) poll asked: "Do you agree or disagree with a Virginia federal court ruling ordering girls and boys in public middle schools to share locker room, bathroom and shower facilities?"

Bolding mine. That doesn't even resemble what the court ruling actually said. Civitas would have people believe the court ruled there would no longer be separate facilities, and boys and girls would *all* be forced to share a single unisex space for changing, showering, waste excretion, etc. That goes beyond mere hyperbole, and was designed to achieve two goals: A super-high percentage (80%) that could be quoted by idiots like Speaker Moore, and to spread misinformation, starting with the 600 people "polled." If it's possible you could go from zero credibility into negative numbers, Civitas has just crossed that threshold.

Keep an eye on RSLC spending in NC's Supreme Court race

It's bound to be at the top of their list of priorities:

The RSLC is funded almost entirely by corporations, including West Virginia Coal Association members Alliance Coal of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which gave $70,000 between 2010 and 2012; Alpha Natural Resources of Abingdon, Virginia, which gave $54,000 since 2012, including $10,000 in June of last year; and Consol Energy of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, which has given $315,000 since 2010.

According to state campaign finance records, the RLSC spent more than $2.6 million either supporting Walker or attacking her opponents. The RSLC spent $3.4 million on state supreme court races in four states and a local court contest in another during the 2013-14 election cycle, and it has already matched that amount this cycle.

If this process was taking place in almost anywhere other than an election, it would be ripe for a RICO investigation. If the mention of the RSLC seems to ring a bell, it should. They are the same group that spent $1.3 million supporting both of Robin Hudson's opponents, while also attacking her:

HB2 triggers nationwide directive on transgender student rights

Dog help me, I do love this President:

“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so,” according to the letter, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times.

A school’s obligation under federal law “to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns,” the letter states. “As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”

And that is exactly the role for the Executive envisioned by the founders. To make sure both the US Constitution and established Statute (Civil Rights Act) are being followed in the several states. These legal structures were not put in place to protect majority desires, they were put in place for the exact opposite reason:

Tough talk on failed charter schools

But will they put those words into actions?

The draft policy also calls for imposing civil penalties on individual board members when the charter fails to turn over student records to the family’s new school. A penalty of $100 could be issued for each day. The state has had issues with some charter schools turning over student records when they closed.

When PACE Academy in Carrboro was closed by the state in 2015 due to financial issues, parents were clamoring for their children’s records. Adam Levinson, interim director of the state Office of Charter Schools, said the records were only recovered when the landlord for PACE called the state asking about what to do with the abandoned documents.

Here's a radical concept: You use taxpayer funding for your operation, then you should be held accountable when you screw up. And if you're on a board (be it non-profit) that pays you a salary, the taxpayers should be able to recoup some of that money if you fail in your duties to manage the defunct charter school. All that said, the school privateers in the General Assembly will not allow much more than a rap on the knuckles for their heroes, so the state Advisory Board better find a happy medium or risk a Legislative firing squad.


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