Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, October 12, 2015 8:17 pm

Odds and ends for Oct. 12

Stop the presses: Countries that spend money to reduce poverty actually reduce poverty. Go figure. (The Great Society, by the way, cut the U.S. poverty rate in half until retrenchment began in the ’70s under Nixon.)

So we deport migrants back to their Central American “homes,” where they are murdered shortly after. Great policy we’ve got there.

Angus Deaton, today’s winner of the Nobel Prize in economics (and congratulations to him!), warns that inequality is a big threat to our long-term economic well-being. Also? He says it’s a threat to democracy, as well.

The constitutional illiterates who want a 6-foot-tall 10 Commandments monument at the Oklahoma capitol apparently are more keen on wanting it than paying for it.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson once said of then-Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw that he couldn’t spell “cat” if you spotted him the C and the A. Which still makes Bradshaw, now a Fox Sports commentator, smarter than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, they certainly are hateworthy, but their fans are making a fair case for liquidation.

Louisiana Gov. (and GOP presidential candidate) Bobby Jindal thinks we should impose a no-fly zone on ISIS in Syria. Which would be peachy if, you know, ISIS had any aircraft.

Speaking of Louisiana, the only thing worse than the fact that U.S. Sen. David “Diapers” Vitter is running for governor is the fact that the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans endorsed him.

Some good news for a change: California has become the second state, after Oregon, to automatically register people to vote when they are issued a driver’s license. This should happen nationwide so that legislators never have the chance to get up to the kind of vote-suppression fkery they’re up to here in N.C.

The American South lost the Civil War, but in so many ways, the former Confederacy has been winning the ensuing peace. Now it’s winning the battle to keep wages low … worldwide.

Speaking of the American South, since the flooding began in South Carolina, we’ve heard that some dams burst or had to be opened before they burst, and we’ve learned that the state’s dams are in pretty crummy shape. Well, no surprise, the same is true here in North Carolina.

The first rule of legislating ought to be “First, do no harm.” And would that the N.C. General Assembly had stuck to that with respect to the solar-energy industry. But it didn’t. And that will have real costs.

In North Carolina, the labor commissioner is best known as the name and face on elevator inspection placards. But the position must do other things, too, like seek restitution for unpaid workers — which incumbent Cherie Berry has pretty much failed to do.

The fascists at ALEC are now trying to water down American history as it is taught in North Carolina. My friend Mark Barrett (Governor’s School ’77, Davidson ’82) shines some light on the subject.

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Friday, May 28, 2010 8:50 pm

Toxic mud, toxic politicians

Two Republicans, Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser are trying to fast-track a two-decade-old proposal to dig up mud from Louisiana’s coastal areas to create artificial reefs offshore, ostensibly to protect the shore from hurricanes. This scheme is so eye-poppingly bad from both an environmental standpoint and a practical standpoint that it will make your eyes bleed just to read about it:

The shallows of the Gulf Coast are the anterooms of the Coast’s aquatic nurseries. Just under the surface, the shallows are lined with decades of toxic goo. Digging them up to protect against BP’s oil volcano makes as much sense as pulverizing neonatal ICU entrances to protect against asbestos in the hospital walls.

You see, the sediment that Nungesser and Jindal want to dig up has one other small problem. That sediment that washes down the Lower Mississippi? It’s thoroughly mixed with long-lasting and deadly persistent organic pollutants.

Not “organic” as in your local farmers’ market. “Organic” as in your local college’s chemistry lab. Sadly for southern Louisiana, the Mississippi carries the toxic pesticide runoff from the entire Corn Belt. Much of that waste travels right down to the Gulf. Worse still, for decades, the oil, gas and chemical industries clustered around the lower Mississippi’s “cancer alley” dumped many of the most deadly toxic wastes we’ve has ever created right into the water. The poor river, in turn, carries them downstream, and the uncounted tons of deadly goo irretrievably mix in with the sediments that make up the “shallows” off of Louisiana’s coast.

Those are the very same “shallows” Nungesser and Jindal want to heap up in piles off Louisiana’s already poisoned coast. It’s the perfect mechanism to ensure winds, tides and hurricanes carry the once-buried toxins inland to the marshes and wetlands. Yes, the ones these crackpots purport to be saving.

The piece claims the Coast Guard and the EPA are on board, although it doesn’t elaborate on exactly what the EPA’s role is. Although any role short of standing up and shouting, “Not just ‘no,’ but, ‘Hell, no!'” is probably inadequate.

My favorite part is that the “unidentified experts from the Netherlands” who are consulting on the plan turn out to be officials of the world’s third-largest dredging company.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:03 pm

First we flood them out. Then we make them stupid.

The Louisiana House has voted 94-3 — 94 to 3!! — for a bill that apparently would allow the teaching of creationism in science classes.

Creationism isn’t science. “Creation science” isn’t science. And as much as the pro-creationist liars would like you to believe otherwise, there is no controversy within the scientific community about evolution.

Evolution is a theory as “theory” is defined in science, where “theory” is a term of art meaning a hypothesis that has been tested repeatedly and can be used to predict certain outcomes. Saying that evolution is wrong is like saying germ theory is wrong, or the theory of gravity.

This bill, if enacted, will be a crime committed against the children of Louisiana, who, frankly, have more than enough on their plates as it is.

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