Tuesday News: Poison pill

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GOVERNOR VETOES BILL THAT WOULD BLOCK TRANSPARENCY OF POLICE KILLINGS: “Senate Bill 168 includes a provision to change the handling of public records by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner which could have the unintended consequence of limiting transparency in death investigations,” Cooper said in Monday’s release about the veto. “While I believe neither the Department of Health and Human Services, which proposed it, nor the General Assembly, which unanimously passed it, had any ill intent, the concerns that have since been raised make it clear this provision should not become law.” Dozens of protesters have camped outside the governor’s mansion since last Monday, to call on Cooper to veto SB 168. They have expressed concerns that limiting public access to the death records could hide actions that happen in police custody. Some have said the lack of transparency would only serve to increase police distrust.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article244026502.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

COVID 19 infections align with other negative health outcomes suffered by minority families, thanks to a system that was designed to cater to the wealthy. Everything has a price tag, but not everybody can pay those prices.

Battle lines drawn between natural gas and renewable energy

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Coal is dead (or dying), but the fossil fuel industry is not:

For years, environmental activists and liberal policymakers fought to force utilities to reduce coal use to curb emissions and climate change. As the use of coal fades, the battle lines are rapidly shifting, with the proponents of a carbon-free grid facing off against those who champion natural gas, an abundant fuel that produces about half the greenhouse gas emissions that burning coal does.

Coal plants supply less than 20 percent of the country’s electricity, down from about half a decade ago. Over that same time, the share from natural gas has doubled to about 40 percent. Renewable energy has also more than doubled to about 20 percent, and nuclear plants have been relatively steady at around 20 percent.

I overheard a conversation recently about solar energy vs coal-fired power plants, and both of the people said they hoped solar energy would be become cheaper than gas or coal one day in the future. At which point I interrupted to explain that day was already here. "I haven't heard anything about that. Are you sure?" Yes, I am sure:

Monday News: Silver lining

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DUKE AND DOMINION CANCEL PLANS FOR ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE: Duke Energy and Dominion Energy announced Sunday they are canceling plans for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline that was to run through eight North Carolina counties. The natural gas pipeline faced intense opposition from environmentalists, but planners had just won a U.S. Supreme Court case that would have allowed the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail. Costs were originally estimated at $5.1 billion, but ballooned to about $8 billion. In a news release, Duke Energy said it would advance its clean-energy goals with investments in renewable energy, battery storage, and other projects. The pipeline was to run from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina, including in Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson counties.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article244015287.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATIVE PARTISANSHIP TRIUMPHS OVER REAL PROGRESS FOR NC: Their top priorities: Playing election-year politics; Pointless partisan jousting with the governor; Token headline-grabbing that could leave public health at risk; and Providing more places for people to carry concealed weapons. In the midst of a very real pandemic, what they are not about is working with Gov. Roy Cooper to beat the virus and plan for the future; to best position the state so it can rapidly recover when the opportunity becomes clear; or even to set examples for healthful behavior. Republicans who refuse to wear masks in the Legislative Building are acting like children. Their actions and the dangerous example they set, is helping, not slowing, the spread of COVID-19. They jeopardize our state and nation’s recovery from the ravages of the coronavirus. They need to grow up. Legislators should be heeding the advice of experts who know what they’re talking about rather than yahoos on social media spreading deadly falsehoods.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/editorial-legislative-partisanship-triumphs-over-real-progress-for-...

Saturday News: Profiting from bigotry?

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MIKE ADAMS GRIFTS HALF A MILLION FROM UNCW: In an email sent to faculty, staff and students, UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli on Thursday announced that Mike Adams, a sociology and criminology professor at UNCW, would receive $504,702 for lost salary and lost retirement benefits. The payment was approved by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein and the UNC Board of Governors, according to Sartarelli. Sartarelli said the school was faced with three choices, including retaining Adams as a faculty member and accepting the ongoing disruption while hurting the UNCW community and the school itself. Another choice was to attempt to fire Adams and face a lengthy legal process six years after the professor won a First Amendment lawsuit in 2014 that cost the school approximately $700,000, Sartarelli said.
https://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20200703/unc-wilmington-professor-gets-504k-settlement-with-school

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