NCGA

Opposition to ag-gag bill growing daily

Animal cruelty is only part of the issue:

Animal welfare and labor advocates began pressuring Gov. Pat McCrory this week to veto the bill. The Humane Society of the U.S. launched a week-long TV ad campaign.

The farm group’s letter says in part: “By permitting severe repercussions against those who report on illegal activity on farms, HB 405 grants a free pass to those recklessly cutting corners, and as such, directly threatens our economic viability as responsible farmers and food producers.”

I once saved an employee from being fired for taking a photograph on the production floor. A lady who had retired early to deal with cancer stopped by to visit her former coworkers, so they had a big group hug photo session. That I was right in the middle of, by the way. A week went by, then the President of the company called me into his office and told me to fire the girl who took the picture, because you could see some machinery in the background (our company rules prohibited photos in manufacturing areas). He backed off as soon as the word "cancer" was mentioned, and agreed to get rid of the rule after we had a discussion about how losing employees for stupid shit was a lot more likely than being a target of industrial espionage. ;) The moral of that story is, if given half a chance, management can become very oppressive and completely disregarding of worker's rights. And the last thing government needs to do is give them a thumb's-up to proceed with that.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Starve the coal, feed the frackers

Duke Energy to replace coal plant with natural gas plant:

Duke Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni says with projected population growth in North Carolina, the energy supplier was looking for a way to meet practical needs and local demand for cleaner energy.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to move forward with a much larger power plant that's much cleaner, twice the size in terms of electricity output," says Scanzoni. "But significantly cleaner and better for the environment than the coal that it replaces."

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start with a breakthrough in citizen oversight of law enforcement:

Yes, this is a good thing. Bad behavior cannot survive under public scrutiny.

Survived a civil war, denied the right to vote

A heart-wrenching story of callous injustice:

According to Jerome and Diana, their voting experience went downhill from there. A poll worker told them to wait while precinct officials "called downtown" to address Diana's citizenship status. They waited more than two hours, to no avail. In the meantime, Jerome — unfamiliar with the voting process — asked the same poll worker for help understanding his ballot; according to Jerome, she became impatient and dismissive, saying, "We can't help you."

While cautious about saying so, Jerome wondered if his family's race and immigrant background were factors in how they were treated by the poll worker, a white woman. "It was a very bad experience," Jerome remembered. "It made me think she didn't like us, because of who we are."

Hat-tip to Facing South for exposing this predictable result of the rabid anti-immigrant movement in our state (and country). Both the state and local election boards owe these two brave US citizens an apology, and a few hugs wouldn't be out of order.

What the gun-nut lobby won't tell you

The deadly mistake of abolishing the permitting process:

If you want to know what happens when a state repeals a law requiring background checks for all handguns sales, you can look to the state of Missouri. For decades, Missouri required background checks for all handgun purchasers through a handgun purchase permit law. But lawmakers repealed the law in 2007 using the same logic and rhetoric repeated today in North Carolina.

Research that I led found that the repeal of background checks and permitting of handgun purchasers in Missouri were associated with an immediate spike in guns diverted to criminals and a 25 percent increase in firearm-involved homicides.

In the mind of a 2nd Amendment zealot however, those consequences mean absolutely nothing. Which is one of the biggest reasons why they shouldn't have a place at the public policy table. They can still vote like the rest of us, but wield influence over lawmakers? Oh, hell no. Their lack of concern for the overall safety of citizens disqualifies them as a "stakeholder" in the process.

GOP voter suppression tactics in action

See if you can spot the obvious injustice in the following:

Ernestine Perry planned to cast her ballot at a polling place across the street from her Durham home, where she had voted before.

But after elections officials said her precinct changed to another one miles away, she filled out a provisional ballot. That ballot wasn't tallied.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Muddying the causality water

coalash.jpg

The "naturally-occurring" theory gets a boost:

Western North Carolina is in the middle of what geologists call the Blue Ridge ultramafic rock belt, which extends from the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia down into Georgia. Within this belt are high concentrations of serpentine and amphibolite rocks, which contain manganese and iron, the elements needed to oxidize chromium-3 — which is non-toxic — into hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen. While hexavalent chromium is most often produced by anthropogenic pollution, especially through the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas, it is closely associated with rocks found in the Blue Ridge, according to the US Geological Survey.

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