Monday, February 10, 2014

God will get you for neglecting the people of North Carolina.

John. E. Skvarla, III, Secretary 
(919) 707-8625 

North Carolina's DENR (Loosely called NC of Department of Environmental and Natural Resources) is as toxic as the coal ash itself. 

By Rex Springston
Richmond Times-Dispatch
A coal ash spill (click here) in North Carolina that contaminated the Dan River — the drinking water source for more than 50,000 people in Southside Virginia — hasn’t posed a health threat so far, but it raises concerns about the safety of old ash-storage sites, observers say.

There are 12 coal ash-storage sites in Virginia, including two near the James River at Dutch Gap, officials said.

Up to 82,000 tons of mud-like coal ash, believed to contain toxic metals such as arsenic, spilled when a stormwater pipe broke Sunday under a pond that held the waste at Eden, N.C., just upriver from Danville....

This is pure cronyism and uncontested negligence. The DEQ never even assessed the potential for danger before setting a fine. They pandered to Duke Energy because the Budget Director of North Carolina.

Wet Ash Handling and Ash Pond Dam Inspections (click here)

Wet ash handling describes the practice of transporting and storing coal ash in on-site ponds. Duke Energy currently manages 23 active ash ponds in the Carolinas and 26 ash ponds in the Midwest.

Duke Energy’s ash ponds are regulated by the state where they are located. State agencies perform periodic inspections of our facilities in Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky. 

The regulatory requirements governing ash pond integrity vary from state to state. However, most states require periodic, independent third-party inspections by a licensed professional engineer to ensure the structural integrity of each pond. Even in states where a third-party inspection is not required, Duke Energy is proactively having such inspections performed.
In addition to the third-party inspections, Duke Energy has an internal comprehensive, robust monitoring, maintenance and inspection program in place for all of its ash ponds to ensure their continued structural integrity. This program requires that each of Duke Energy’s ash ponds be inspected by a licensed professional engineer annually.

"Please, Mr. Pope, I really need my job." It is called corruption. Either that or the NC DEQ is completely incompetent.

The mission statement of the NC DENR is corrupt.

...Fundamental Philosophy: (click here) In its essence, DENR is a service organization. Whether managing parks and zoos or issuing permits, agency personnel, operating within the confines of the regulations, must always be a resource of invaluable public assistance, rather than a bureaucratic obstacle of resistance.

Translated means: We will kiss the butt of anyone we are told to do so.

Fundamental Economics: Acknowledging that a traditional cost/benefit analysis is not always fully applicable to matters of the environment and public recreation, the agency will be continually cognizant that an economic cost/benefit analysis is an integral component of DENR's public service endeavor.

Translation: "Do we still have a budget for our department? The hell with water quality, my wife will kill me if I am unemployed."

Fundamental Science: That all decisions are made with a respect and understanding that environmental science is quite complex, comprised of many components, and most importantly, contains diversity of opinion. In this regard, all public programs and scientific conclusions must be reflective of input from a variety of legitimate, diverse and thoughtful perspectives.

There isn't that much diversity of opinion between scientists. I think most would concur that arsenic contamination allowed to build up near a river that supplies drinking water is extremely poor science. There is this odd phenomena called LEACHING. There is even this scientific oddity called overland flow. It occurs when it rains, albeit, with the Climate Crisis the rain is mostly sparse at times, but, the principles still apply.

These are profound violations of The Clean Water Act and the Clean Drinking Water Act which requires FEDERAL fines and possibly prosecution for negligence and SUBSTANDARD facilities. 

Raleigh, NC
February 11, 2014
North Carolina's environmental agency (click here) sought late Monday to delay its own settlement with Duke Energy a week after a busted pipe at one of the company's coal ash dumps spewed enough toxic sludge into the Dan River to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Lawyers for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked a judge to disregard their proposed settlement with the nation's largest electricity provider. Under the deal, Duke would have paid fines of $99,111 over groundwater pollution leaking from two coal dumps like the one that ruptured Feb. 2.

THEY BROKE THE LAW. Just that simple. Federal officials need to get involved. This is corruption. There is no understanding anything, except, Pope and McCrory are corrupt to the core.

They willingly put their necks in the noose and then dared NC employees to kick the chair from under their feet.

Raleigh, NC
February 8, 2014
By Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss
Associated Press

Over the last year, (click here) environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied — by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The state agency has blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the federal act to take enforcement action. After negotiating with Duke, the state proposed settlements where the nation's largest electricity provider pays modest fines but is under no requirement to actually clean up its coal ash ponds.

Clean water advocates have long complained that state regulators are too cozy with the polluters they regulate. But they say that coordination and cooperation has become even more overt since the January 2013 inauguration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a pro-business Republican who worked at Duke Energy for 28 years....

NC DENR acted by authority of the State to cause hardship to citizens while neglecting their responsibilities and catering to a Governor more interested in by passing federal law than adhering to it.

I demand an investigation to the 'rule setting' by the NC state government to favor weaker consumer standards over that of human health. These changes in the rules in NC under the McCrory/Pope administration violates human rights and federal standards.

Their actions are not innocent, but, willful and intentional. 

This case automatically brings federal authority to bear because it is INTERSTATE threat to human health. 

Duke Energy: The power of Green in North Carolina. (click here) The green they refer to isn't Green Energy; it is Greenbacks.

Never have the words, "Duke Power" meant so much.
January 04, 2014 20:07

There should be no worries (click here) of a snowless Winter Olympic in Russia’s Sochi, as the organizers of the event made sure to stockpile 16 million cubic feet of snow for the competitions.

Though it has been a record warm winter for Moscow, the organizers of the Sochi Olympics can guarantee that there will be enough snow for the athletes in any weather at the Black sea resort of Sochi in Russia.
There will be four different forms of technology used to ensure snowy Olympics in 2014. First of all, eight vaults have been storing snow for over a year under special blankets made from isothermal fabric to keep it from defrosting. The containers are located along the Olympic slopes of the Roza Khutor ski resort on Aibgy Mountain, which will host the event.

Second, there are hundreds of snow cannons scattered around the slopes. They use water from the mountain lakes to make artificial snow.

In addition, a special kind of snow salt is being used as a kind of glue for when and if the snow melts. 

And finally, mountain gutters gather snow falling at the highest peaks and transport it down to the slopes.

The businesses with 50 - 99 employees are slower in their recovery.

Kelly Kennedy
USA Today
February 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — Businesses with more than 50 employees but fewer than 100 (click here) will have an extra year to phase in health insurance coverage of employees who work more than 30 hours a week, Treasury Department officials announced Monday.
Businesses with more than 100 employers will be subject to employee-coverage rules under the Affordable Care Act beginning in January 2015. The mandate to provide insurance had already been delayed one year....

The 2010 Congress that was composed of the extremists from the rightwing cut growth of these businesses.

This is from Brookings.
...Another approach (click here) to expanded lending is through the Small Business Administration. In 2010, the SBA received supplemental appropriations to expand is support of small business lending. As I said earlier, there is a great need to move towards budget balance, but since the economy remains sluggish right now, there is a strong case for making more loans available this year and not fewer. Of course we should not waste taxpayers' money on bad loans, but SBA has done an excellent job under Karen Mills and should have the opportunity to make a bigger contribution to economic recovery....

Most of the small business in the USA that fall in the employee numbers of 50 to 500 actually have the 50 to less than 100 employees. With their recovery sluggish it is understandable demands for changes at this time is ill conceived.

What was that about trusting President Obama in regard to border security.

In realizing the number of undocumented workers in the USA is falling off, the Border Patrol is also realizing far less apprehensions since the first reduction in 2007.

2006 - 1,089,082
2007 - 876,704
2008 - 723,825
2009 - 556.-41
2010 - 463,382
2011 - 340,252
2012 - 364,768
2013 - 420,789 

Nationawide Illegal Alien Apprehensions Fiscal Years 1925 -2013 (click here)

February 21, 2011
By Julia Preston

...Charles Schumer of New York (click here) and two other Democrats said the House bill would shrink the Border Patrol by 870 agents and cut $272 million in funds for surveillance systems to monitor the border with Mexico. They said those cuts would cancel gains from a bill adopted last August, with virtually unanimous bipartisan support, that increased border funding by $600 million, adding 1,000 new agents to the Border Patrol.

“This magnitude of reduction is simply dangerous,” wrote Mr. Schumer, who is chairman of the Senate judiciary subcommittee on immigration. Also signing were Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Jon Tester of Montana....

Hiring of Border Patrol officers has stagnated since budget cuts.

I thought the facts would speak for themselves.

(Dollars in Thousands) 

It is fairly obvious the US Border Patrol is doing exactly what they 
were hired for. Mistrust? Of whom exactly.

From the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I think we need to do more than simply say integration is a good idea. In stating same reflects what oppositional forces call Left Ideology. I believe well documented studies reflect the potential of our country. The potential to understanding and acceptance in a way that brings opportunity and a greater economy for upward movement of all citizens.

I would think parents would realize by handicapping their children socially would only limit their options as adults, through bad habits if nothing else. 

Review of research on the effects of racial and ethnic diversity in schools on racial understanding and student achievement.

A considerable number of studies since Brown have shown how the social environmentof schools affects the attitudes of students from one racial group toward students of otherracial groups. (click here) Over the past 15 years, research in developmental psychology has documented the social and developmental benefits of intergroup contact that results from school integration and examined stereotyping, prejudice, and exclusion attitudes in childhood.

These comprehensive educational studies conclude that a racially integrated student body is necessary to obtain cross-racial understanding, which may lead to a reduction of harmful stereotypes and bias. Racially segregated schools deprive students of these learning opportunities and the available evidence indicates that indirect programs that merely emphasize the transmission of information about other groups but are not able to utilize intergroup contact have little impact on actually changing the behavior of students. Like learning new communication skills, the skills needed to relate to students of other racial and ethnic groups require practice. Knowledge about and empathy for other groups are not as easily learned or long-lasting if learned in homogeneous schools. In a nation in which the proportion of whites among the school-aged population has declined to less than 60% and is declining by the year, there is growing value to crossracial understanding and cooperation among individuals of all races. For white students, who, on average, grow up in the most racially separate neighborhoods and remain highly segregated in K-12 and higher education classrooms,9 racially integrated schools provide benefits that many students may not be able to obtain in other ways.10 Recent findings from a survey of high school juniors and seniors in seven major school districts across the nation, including Seattle and Jefferson County, show that white students value interracial experiences and report that their racially integrated schools better prepared them to work and participate in public life in in their multiracial communities. Additionally, students of all racial groups in integrated schools felt higher comfort levels with members of racial groups different than their own when compared with students in segregated schools. For example, white students in integrated settings have been found to exhibit more racial tolerance and less fear of their black peers over time than their segregated peers....

...Teachers believe that building respect for people of other races and cultures is one of the most important goals of education. Many teachers with everyday experience in racially diverse schools believe in the benefits of racial diversity for student learning and as an experience that fosters productive, economic, and civic participation in U.S. society. They also state that these benefits are difficult to attain in single-race classrooms. Virtually all teachers (and about 90% of students) in a recent survey stated that it was important for students of different races and ethnicities to interact, although far fewer believed that this was currently happening in their schools....
I love Olympic Curling. Simply because it looks like something I could actually do. I think it is a really cool sport. There is nothing like getting excited over a big stone.

...Paintings by a 16th Century Flemish Artist, (click here) Pieter Bruegel (1530-1569) portrayed an activity similar to curling being played on frozen ponds. The first written evidence appeared in Latin, when in 1540, John McQuhin, a notary in Paisley, Scotland, recorded in his protocol book a challenge between John Sclater, a monk in Paisley Abbey and Gavin Hamilton, a representative of the Abbot. The report indicated that Sclater threw a stone along the ice three times and asserted that he was ready for the agreed contest...

Complete justification to dissolve a police force. This man was angry about the justice system before the confronation than anyone wants to admit.

I find so many flaws in this video it is amazing the man is actually alive. I don't doubt any of this occurred. I doubt the sequence, though.

At 10 PM at night on a holiday when no one is expected to come to the door an elderly gentlemen hears unusual noises. We've all been there. Hear something unusual and check it out.

The gentleman states he is a former police officer. He came down the stairs in response to the noise. Upon descending the stairs he notes two figures at the front door. He doesn't know who it is or stops to realize this would be an unusual visit. But, in caution he is carrying a gun behind his back.

He swings the door wide open rather than looking through the side windows to decide if these were people he knew. I find that very odd. I would expect someone with extensive police experience to at least look through the side windows to identify those at his doorstep. He must be the luckiest man in the world, because, in not identifying those people and calling 911 to report who was there or retreating to a safe room upstairs with his wife to call 911, he could be dead right now. He swung the door open to find two people on the other side, one with an aluminum baseball bat.

See, I would expect a trained police officer to look through the side windows, identify that the people on the other side were hooded and basically unarmed. Certainly, not carrying any weapons. I would expect him to call for back up by dialing 911 to report he, an elderly retired police officer, and his wife were in danger. I would expect him or his wife to remain on the phone with police as the scenario played out. I would expect him to take action if necessary, but, I would not expect him to compromise his home or his wife.

See, what I think happened is that he did look through those side windows to assess the circumstances he faced and decided he could handle it. He didn't know who was in the dark and whether or not there were more people. But, I do believe he knew what he was facing when he opened the door. I also find it interesting he simply proceeded outside to follow the perpetrators and was willing to use the gun in a neighborhood where other homes existed. It wasn't enough one person was down and he could identify a license plate on the car, he was going to carry out justice right there on the street. He had no idea if that car belonged in the neighborhood or not, he simply believed the car was going to back up to pick up the man who was down.I would expect an elderly man that fend off a robbery while defending his wife would be satisfied with their lives being safe.

He begins his political rant all too easily. He states the limit on clip size would have caused him problems after firing two weapons (one from upstairs and one from downstairs) at people that had none. One person was down and one person was in the car to get away and the bullets in his guns weren't enough. Odd. What was the chance there could have been guns in the car?

What I find more interesting than anything is that one of the persons had been in the home before and estimated he could pull off a robbery without any trouble at all. The perpetrator knew the home. It wasn't a random robbery. It only goes to prove that when inviting service people into a home, be sure the company is bonded and performs background checks on it's employees.

This video is produced to bring drama to the events while creating innocence of the homeowner at every action he took.

He states the criminal justice system is about rehabilitation. You've got to be joking. A police officer with an attitude. This country only recently recognized those imprisoned beyond any reasonable time. This attitude is about creating fear of the system and it's inadequacy to protect people and why they have to take the law into their own hands. The female suspect was sentenced to four years and the judge wasn't given free will to put her away forever. She was unarmed and while the man was willing to beat someone to unconsciousness or worse, there were no deaths and I am grateful for that. But, our constitution states the punishment has to fit the crime, not a sentence the NRA decides is best.

The two elderly people could have taken many actions to avoid confrontation and protect themselves including calling a neighbor or many neighbors. They didn't have to go it alone. I think the message this NRA video carries is very dangerous and completely inappropriate when people are defending their life from attack. Working in a vacuum is not a reasonable scenario. Personally, I like watch dogs, too.

By Juliet Lapidos
July 14, 2009
Last month, (click here) the Central Intelligence Agency canceled a secret initiative, authorized by the president in 2001, to capture or kill senior al-Qaida operatives. Although the program was never operational, its existence raises the question: Can we assassinate anyone we want? 

No, but the exact regulations are murky. Gerald Ford's 1976 executive order on foreign intelligence activities (issued after the disclosure that the CIA had plans to do in Fidel Castro) explicitly prohibits government employees from engaging in "political assassination." This certainly rules out killing heads of state through covert means. It's unclear, however, who else is off limits. The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, a congressional resolution that grants the president the right to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against those who helped commit the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, arguably licenses the CIA to go after terrorists with impunity....

...Yet it would not be OK for nonsoldiers such as CIA agents to engage in killing of any kind, since the fact that they're not in uniforms....

A uniform stands between assassination and not. A uniformed personnel. 



...In that case, sending soldiers or other operatives to pick off terrorists would be an extrajudicial, paramilitary action against a private group—no different from sending the CIA to Italy to murder suspected members of the mafia—and a violation of the basic notions of state sovereignty....

Does international law recognize the sovereign right of an individual against it's own country of birth? 

The American drone program goes beyond combat. It specializes in targeted assassinations with a very high failure rate which involves civilians. In realizing the high failure rate of the drone program, it provides more impetus to war. It provides reasons for innocent civilians to take up arms to defeat the dreaded drone. It increases the chance a drone strike will result in retaliation and escalate war. The American drone program IS a reason to war. It's mere presence results in escalation. The United States as a nation will be in perpetual war unless this inhumane method of weaponry is outlawed. 

The Geneva Conventions must convene to increase the emphasis on 'the cost of war' in regard to human losses. If a country is permitted to carry out computerized killing there is no human risk affiliated with it. The Geneva Conventions to date deals with conventional war. How is any nation to protect itself by mounting an effort against machines without conscience? 

This is hideous. Completely inhumane. And has the potential to annihilate vast numbers of humans in the name of 'self-defense.'

Can you imagine a Richard Cheney or a George Bush being allowed to conduct raids with these machines? The very attack in Najaf, Iraq was reversed because a wise Ayatollah called innocent civilians to march and stop the slaughter on sacred ground. If it were drones instead of tanks manned with American soldiers, they would not have stood a chance. Today, the leader of those people is fully engaged in seeking democracy because he had no clue about how to conduct it at the time his Mosque was under attack. All he understood was the attack and nothing else. He understood how his life was to defend the land and god he was devoted to.

I remind, at the time of the September 11th invasion into Afghanistan, those people had no televisions, no modern communication and had no concept to the attacks that killed all those people on USA soil. Yet, they were to understand soldiers that arrived to defend their country. These people are going to understand drones? They are going to understand how cessation of hostilities will end the deaths by machine?

Can the world stand by and simply expect that the USA will do the right thing? It certainly hasn't in the recent past. And now, it doesn't even follow it's own rules in regard to the citizens born within it's borders.

Absolutely not !

American citizens need to be held for trial before any death sentence is carried out. I thought the USA military engaged in combat and took prisoners according to the Geneva Conventions.
The USA does not engage in assassinations. Something confusing about that?

I take it the USA intelligence knows of the American's where abouts and the activity they are engaged in. Yes? Then what is the problem in acting with combat to intervene? Drones too convenient perhaps. It might not only result in one dead American, but, many dead Americans if combat ensues. So, now the USA is not only targeting Americans they believe to be involved with a terrorist organization, it willing admits drones are better soldiers than any general can produce otherwise.

Has the battlefield become so confusing the USA military doesn't know the real enemy unless it is on a computer screen? And then of course, Oops, they didn't know there were civilians in the way. Those things 'just happen.'

Drones. This is about as pathetic as it gets. You see, according to the great Don Rumsfeld, when USA dead reaches 5000 the American people don't support the war anymore. Besides, let's face it, war isn't really a vote getter now is it?

Better to kill Americans at a distance than have dead soldiers to fly home in flag draped coffins.


And they can take their computer toys with them!

  • White House and Justice Department (click here) are building a case against an American citizen who is a member of al Qaeda
  • Laws passed last year make it more difficult for the US to order the killing of an American citizen
  • Changes came after reports revealed that four American citizens- including cleric Anwar al Awlaki- had been killed in drone strikes
  • The name and location of the new target have not been released
  • Australia is on fire again or maybe the better word is 'still.'

    February 9, 2014
    Caroyln Webb, Darren Gray and Nick Toscano
    Up to 12 homes (click here) were destroyed and thousands of firefighters battled more than 150 bushfires across the state on Sunday amid nightmarish weather conditions, the worst since Black Saturday.... 

    Their passports are being canceled. Evidently, this has been going on a while.

    Michel Chossudovsky

    December 12, 2013
    Press TV talks with Michel Chossudovsky, from the Center for Research on Globalization from Montreal, regarding the figures released by Foreign Policy magazine about the number of foreign militants fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria.

    The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.

    Press TV: Some alarming figures are coming through based on this report by Foreign Policy magazine which I am sure you are aware of at this point....

    The mercenaries aren't doing anyone any favors. They are complicating the scene and Homes is an example. They answer to no one and they are dying as well. They have no backup from their governments. We saw some of this in Iraq and then they are taken hostage and all sorts of problems erupt.

    So trying to negotiate peace is too fluid to guarantee the United Nation humanitarian forces safety. I won't be surprised if these same people are selling weapons, too.

    Kiwis fighting in Syria - PM (click here)

    Prime Minister John Key says there are New Zealanders fighting in anti-government forces in Syria while others have been blocked from going there by having their passports cancelled under national security provisions....
    Ah, yes the free flow of military guns in a democracy. 
    "Morning Papers - It's Origins" (click here)

    The Rooster 

    (Mahogany Russian Orloff Rooster)


    Look (click here) how incredibly wonderful this is. I hope every nation takes home medals. There should be a champion going home to all participating nations. It is exciting.

    "Good Night, Moon"

    Waxing Gibbous 

    81% Full

    10.4 days old

    By Adrianne Jeffries

    NASA (click here) is now working with private companies to take the first steps in exploring the moon for valuable resources like helium 3 and rare earth metals.

    Initial proposals are due tomorrow for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown program (CATALYST). One or more private companies will win a contract to build prospecting robots, the first step toward mining the moon.

    The contract will be a "no funds exchanged" Space Agreement Act, which means the government will not be directly funding the effort, but will receive NASA support. Final proposals are due on March 17th, 2014. NASA has not said when it will announce the winner.

    NASA works with private companies that service the International Space Station, and those partnerships have gone well. Faced with a skeleton budget, the agency is looking for innovative ways to cooperate with the private sector in order to continue research and exploration, as it did recently with a crowdsourcing campaign to improve its asteroid-finding algorithms. That campaign was launched with another private company, Planetary Resources, the billionaire-backed asteroid mining company....

    When NASA has a skeleton budget it is FORCED to work with private exploitative companies. 

    This is really a shame. I am quite confident NASA was ordered to conduct this mess by Congress with private wealth companies rather than first perfecting it.

    Is there no international treaty about the moon?

    According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty of the United Nations, countries are prohibited from laying claim to the moon. The possibility of lunar mining and the emergence of private space companies has triggered a debate over lunar property rights, however.

    When the USA pulls these stunts it sours international relations. I mean why cooperate with an International Space Station if competition is it's primary purpose. That isn't cooperation. It is Wall Street.

    An international treaty organization has to be established regarding the Moon. Unbelievable. This entire idea is nothing but hubris.

    The moon is not owned by NASA. The moon is not the wild west and it is not a 'Gold or Land Claim State' of the USA intended for homesteading.