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.

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/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IDEOLOGICAL FEUD IGNORES STUDENTS NEEDS, DAMAGES UNC: It is an ideological feud run amok. The roots are in the clichéd notion that North Carolina’s public universities are incubators of socialist, environmentalist, gender-liberating, non-Christian politics. Ideologues who claim a religious, conformist, free-market mantel are on a crusade to cleanse the halls of academia. And so now the clash has devolved into an on-going battle between out-spoken University of North Carolina Board of Governors member Steve Long and equally outspoken UNC Law School professor Gene Nichol, who advocates on behalf of the financially disadvantaged and for civil rights. As has been too often the case lately, the priorities of the privileged, well-financed special interests are of greater concern than the interest of citizens and the institutions that our legislators in general, and our UNC Board of Governors in particular, are supposed to promote.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-ideological-feud-ignores-student-needs-damages-unc/16867125/

Berger tweaks legislation so fellow Republican can draw two salaries

Can you say Patronage? I knew you could:

A one-sentence change tacked into broader legislation earlier this month helps a single state employee, tweaking state law so he can again get paid to serve on a state commission while on vacation from his full-time state job. Under Gov. Pat McCrory, Peaslee drew his regular state salary and was also paid the daily wage tax commission members get to sit for several days each month hearing appeals from around the state. When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, a new regime at the state Department of Revenue looked at state laws against employees double-dipping on salary and questioned whether Peaslee should draw both paychecks.

Peaslee, a former general counsel for the North Carolina Republican Party, brought the issue before Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and other state legislators. He'd been taking vacation time from his $115,494-a-year job at the Industrial Commission to make $450 to $500 a day at the tax commission. His tax commission pay last year totaled $24,500.

If you're thinking something about this story sounds familiar, it's because NC Republicans are making a habit of using the Industrial Commission to line the pockets of their friends. During one of the grossly unconstitutional Special Sessions of late 2016, Republicans gave authority to McCrory (after he had lost the Election) to appoint his Chief of Staff's wife to a NINE YEAR TERM on the Commission, a million-dollar pat on the back:

Saturday News: Global chicken hawk

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TRUMP THREATENS MILITARY ACTION IN VENEZUELA OVER CHANGES TO CONSTITUTION: President Donald Trump threatened to take “military action” against Venezuela Friday, a comment that is sure to roil the divided South American nation and alarm its neighbors. Trump made the statement during a press conference on the growing concerns of military action in North Korea, immediately raising the specter of United States intervening in two conflicts simultaneously, including one in our own hemisphere. “Venezuela is a mess,” Trump said, adding. “This is our neighbor. We’re all over the world and we have troops all over the world that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering. And they’re dying.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article166835992.html

Weekend Open Thread: Wornout

Somewhere between the childish shenanigans of NC Republicans, and the ever-growing prospect of war between two nuclear powers, both led by grossly immature low-functioning sociopaths, my mind seems to have decided no more data will be accepted at this time. I'm reading the words, but no light bulbs are coming on. It's like the breaker keeps tripping every time I try to run the vacuum cleaner (that's a metaphor for sucking up dirty details, so apparently I still have some use of my faculties, although I usually wouldn't use the word "faculties" in this context). Maybe I should just sit here and look out the window for awhile...

Friday News: Inherently corrupt

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NC REPUBLICANS ADOPT REDISTRICTING RULES AIMED AT POLITICAL ADVANTAGE: North Carolina’s legislative leaders adopted rules Thursday that they will use when drawing new election district lines, after 28 districts were ruled unconstitutional last year. The current lines were drawn in a way to unfairly disenfranchise black voters, federal courts found. While racial gerrymandering is illegal, the U.S. Supreme Court has so far allowed political gerrymandering, and one of the new rules is that legislators may consider past election results when drawing the new lines. Rep. David Lewis told a joint meeting of the House and Senate redistricting committees that the process “will be an inherently political thing.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article16...

NC GOP uses attacks on Roy Cooper to distract from its failures

Filing a baseless complaint about campaign finance violations:

The North Carolina Republican Party is questioning the legality of a fundraiser Gov. Roy Cooper held at a trial lawyers’ convention several weeks ago, a complaint that the governor’s campaign promptly denounced as “baseless.”

GOP Chairman Robin Hayes asked state election officials Wednesday to investigate Cooper’s mid-June event, which took place at a Sunset Beach resort where the North Carolina Advocates for Justice was holding its annual meetings.

No doubt this is in response to recent stories detailing the tons of money GOP Legislators have raked in during the 2017 Session, and/or the $50,000+ BergerMoore raked in from beer wholesalers to stifle the craft beer folks. Always with these guys, if they take an aggressive position on something, it's because they're trying to cover up their own transgressions in that area. Which is exactly what they're doing with the GENX controversy. When the Cooper administration called for additional funding to deal with the crisis, the facts surrounding the General Assembly's drastic and reckless cuts of those agencies since 2013 came to light. And knowing the public would hold them partially responsible for the crisis because of those cuts, Republicans dashed off a letter disguised as a "fact-finding" probe, when in reality, it's geared towards justifying their previous irresponsible behavior:

Thursday News: Probable cause

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FBI EXECUTES SEARCH WARRANT AT HOME OF FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR PAUL MANAFORT: FBI agents looking for financial documents have searched one of the homes of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, whose past foreign political work has been swept into the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. A Manafort spokesman confirmed the search Wednesday. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement that FBI agents had obtained a warrant and searched one of Manafort's homes, but he would not say when the search occurred or what it was for. Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych. That investigation has been incorporated into the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also scrutinizing Manafort's role in the Trump campaign as he looks into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article166216317.html

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