NC's "hit and kill" bill one of many designed to stifle protests

And of course it was started by Big Oil protecting its profits:

State lawmakers in Florida, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas also considered similar measures, which the American Civil Liberties Union nicknamed "hit and kill" bills. The bills were part of a broader package of anti-protest legislation floated in at least 19 states after an upsurge in activism over the last year.

Of the half-dozen states entertaining proposals to shield drivers who hit protesters, North Carolina is the one where it has the best chance of passing. And despite the violence that recently unfolded in Virginia, the bill's sponsors have come to its defense, although its prospects appear to have dimmed.

My reference to Big Oil in the intro has to do with how protesters often use their bodies to block access to pipeline or fracking sites, where contractors have gotten into the habit of just rolling slowly through the crowd, like they're trying to push sheep off the road. But even North Dakota balked at passing such an ill-advised law:

Thursday News: The company you keep

TRUMP'S LAWYER FORWARDS E-MAIL LACED WITH CONFEDERATE PROPAGANDA AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES: President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.” The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president’s legal team, painted Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South’s rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line — “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” — was a reference to comments Trump made this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town. “You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article167661727.html

Cooper's Veto of "Regulatory Reform Act" is right on target

Improving water quality is serious business and requires a thoughtful approach:

Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 16, the Business Regulatory Reform Act of 2017, which seeks to remove regulations in many instances. The bill extends the validity of some wastewater permits issued by local health departments that may have expired, and limits requirements for increased stormwater controls on some new developments.

"We should make it easier, not harder, for state and local governments to protect water quality, whether through stormwater safeguards or by giving public health departments the ability to revisit wastewater permits if needed. Rolling back ways to protect water quality is dangerous," Cooper said in his veto message.

There are two major contributors to the out-of-control nutrient levels in our water resources (especially Lake Jordan): Non-point source contamination (stormwater runoff) and periodic massive discharges of high-concentration wastewater, mostly from municipal treatment facilities. This bill relaxes regulations on both of them, which is exactly the opposite of what should be done. Combine that with the GOP's latest boondoggle of chemical treatment to kill algae, and *at best* you would have a break-even scenario, with no overall improvement in water quality. But it's much more likely the water quality would degrade even further. The only thing Republicans have working in their favor with this formula is the wanton destruction and corporatization of the EPA under Scott Pruitt, so the GOP likely won't get into trouble with the Federal government over this extremely reckless behavior. But they should be in (deep) trouble with the people of North Carolina for doing so.

Wednesday News: Take them down

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GOVERNOR COOPER CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS FROM STATE GROUNDS: Confederate statues should be removed from state property, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a public message Tuesday. He wrote a statement posted to the online publishing platform Medium. “Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. But history is not on their side,” Cooper wrote. “We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down. Our Civil War history is important, but it belongs in textbooks and museums – not a place of allegiance on our Capitol grounds.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article167376167.html

Why the legislature won't kill the education lottery

Back in the day, conservative leaders rightly took Democrats to task when they pushed through the NC Education Lottery. Ignoring progressive voices, the lottery became a major, if unreliable, source for funding public schools. It's been a blight on North Carolina ever since. Four years ago, I wondered out loud what Republicans if Republicans would kill the lottery given their control of the General Assembly.

Tuesday News: Taking out the garbage

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GOVERNOR COOPER REMOVES SEXUALLY-HARASSING MCCRORY APPOINTEE FROM LOTTERY COMMISSION: Gov. Roy Cooper has ousted a state lottery commissioner for what the governor says were "sexually harassing" and "racially insensitive" comments to staff members and others at the N.C. Lottery Commission. Griffin, a Durham real estate company executive, was appointed to the commission in 2016 by then-Gov. Pat McCrory, who made him the chairman. “Your sexually harassing comments directed at Lottery Commission officers, staff and commission members have created a hostile work environment. Female staff members have requested to not meet with you alone. Your racially insensitive comments directed at lottery partners do not represent the values of the governor or the North Carolina Lottery.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article16...

The latest GOP Jordan Lake boondoggle: Mystery chemicals to kill algae

Several lawmakers need to be redacted from the General Assembly:

The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the algae in Jordan Lake, but the company is keeping key details of its proposal — including a full ingredient list of the products and the amounts to be released — secret from the public. The proposed chemical treatment of a drinking water source for 300,000 people is yet another questionable technique backed by some lawmakers and business interests, who have been reluctant to instead enforce rules limiting development in the Jordan Lake watershed.

SePro’s proposals were marked “confidential,” but Policy Watch obtained them under the state’s public records law. However, more than half of the eight-page document had been redacted by SePro, under a state statute allowing companies to refuse to divulge material they deem as proprietary or a trade secret.

No doubt the fact literally hundreds of toxicologists and other scientists (and their families) will be drinking that treated water comes into play here, because there's bound to be some potentially dangerous compounds used. Killing algae isn't really a straightforward process, it involves either intense oxygenation of the water and/or chemical binding with nutrients to separate them from the algae itself. And while we already use some amounts of aluminum sulfate and other chemicals to help purify water, those were studied for years before being implemented. To withhold information about chemicals being used to treat Jordan Lake (or any public drinking reservoir) because it's "proprietary" is recklessness bordering on the criminal. This project needs to be halted until full disclosure, and publicly-monitored studies, have been done.

More on Silent Sam

Here in Chapel Hill, the perennial question of Silent Sam is raising itself for consideration. Silent Sam is a statue on the campus of UNC that memorializes the confederacy. It was created on behalf of the North Carolina division of the Daughters of the Confederacy, with support from alumni of the University. Below are the inscriptions on the statue, from NCPedia.

http://www.ncpedia.org/monument/memorial-civil-war

Inscription left:

Monday News: Lights in the dark

CANDLELIGHT VIGILS MOURN VICTIMS OF HATRED AND BIGOTRY IN CHARLOTTESVILLE: A candlelight vigil is planned for Monday night in Raleigh to remember the people who were injured and killed during a white nationalist rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Raleigh vigil comes a day after other towns, such as Durham and Cary, held similar gatherings. In Cary, local churches organized a vigil at Good Shephard United Church of Christ. Organizers said they want to show unity in the face of hateful actions in Charlottesville where 32-year-old Heather Heyer died after being hit by a car that was driven into a crowd of counter-protesters. Several hundred people gathered in Durham, too, to take a stand against hatred, organizers said. The Raleigh vigil begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens.
http://www.wral.com/candlelight-vigil-to-remember-charlottesville-victims-planned-in-raleigh/16878876/

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