Tag Archives: charlotte

Here’s One Look at How Charlotte Police Shot Keith Lamont Scott

Mother Jones

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This video, from NBC News, may be one of the most depressing things you’re ever likely to see. You have been warned.

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Here’s One Look at How Charlotte Police Shot Keith Lamont Scott

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Anti-LGBT Bathroom Law Just Cost North Carolina the All-Star Game

Mother Jones

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The National Basketball Association is officially pulling the plug on North Carolina as the site of its annual All-Star game. The move, an economic blow for the city of Charlotte, comes nearly four months after Gov. Pat McCroy signed into law a sweeping bill (HB2) that struck down workplace discrimination protections for LGBT employees and forced transgender people to use public restrooms that match their biological sex.

Back in April, NBA commissioner Adam Silver warned that the league might take the All-Star weekend away from Charlotte if the state kept its discriminatory legislation intact. “While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the NBA said in a statement Thursday. The league plans to reconsider Charlotte as a site in 2019 “provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”

Gov. McCroy promptly shot back, noting that the “sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media” have misrepresented the law’s intention. “American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process,” he said in a statement.

The league’s decision adds to the mounting pressure on state leaders from businesses, athletes and entertainers, advocacy groups, and politicians to make amends. In response, North Carolina lawmakers drafted legislation in late June that would roll back the portions of HB2 that required “certificates of sex reassignment” before a trans person could use the desired bathroom. The amendments also added language about federal protections, restored the ability of LGBT people to sue for employment discrimination, and increased penalties for people convicted of certain crimes against others in bathrooms. But the ACLU and others spurned the attempts, calling instead for a full repeal.

As Deadspin points out, this isn’t the first time criticism from professional sports leagues have prompted changes to anti-LGBT laws. Two years ago, after Arizona lawmakers passed a law that let businesses turn away gay, lesbian, and transgender customers as an expression of the business owner’s religious beliefs, NFL officials considered relocating the Super Bowl from Arizona to Tampa. (Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the measure.)

The NFL also suggested that Atlanta’s bid to host the Super Bowl in 2019 was at risk over Georgia’s similar “religious freedom” law—Gov. Nathan Deal eventually vetoed the bill. Last April, amid condemnation from NASCAR , the NCAA, and the NBA Indiana governor and VP hopeful Mike Pence modified a similar “religious freedom” law—and took a lot of heat from fellow conservatives as a result.

Read the NBA’s full announcement here:

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Anti-LGBT Bathroom Law Just Cost North Carolina the All-Star Game

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Nun Reportedly Tells Catholic School Kids That Masturbation Makes Guys Gay

Mother Jones

A Catholic nun has caused a firestorm after she allegedly told teens at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina last month that masturbation can turn boys gay, and gay men have up to 1,000 sexual partners. Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, an assistant professor of theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, reportedly has a history of anti-gay rhetoric. In one of her online lectures, she called oral sex an abnormal act that’s “imported from the homosexual culture,” according to the Charlotte-based LGBT publication, QNotes. A Charlotte Catholic student described the lecture to the news outlet:

She started talking about how gays sic people are gay because they have an absent father figure, and therefore they have not received the masculinity they should have from their father … Also a guy could be gay if he masterbates sic and so he thinks he is being turned on by other guys. And then she gave an example of one of her gay ‘friends’ who said he used to go to a shed with his friends and watch porn and thats why he was gay. … Then she talked about the statistic where gay men have had either over 500 or 1000 sexual partners and after that I got up and went to the bathroom because I should not have had to been subject to that extremely offensive talk.

In one of her online videos Laurel reiterates that “a man’s desire for instance, for his father’s love, his father’s affection, what happens to it? It can become sexualized. And he can begin to think he has a sexual desire for another man, when in fact, he doesn’t.” She adds that boys who have been sexual abused also use “homosexual acts” as revenge. When reached by phone, Laurel said she hadn’t seen all the reports yet, and could not immediately provide comment.

Aquinas College President Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith defended the school presentation in a statement to the Tennessean, maintaining that, “the presentation was given with the intention of showing that human sexuality is a great gift to be treasured and that this gift is given by God.” But some North Carolina students didn’t agree, starting a Change.org petition that’s culminated in a Wednesday meeting to address the concerns, according to the Huffington Post. The students said in their petition: “We reject the suggestion that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of a parent’s shortcomings, masturbation or pornography.”

It’s not only private school students that are subject to strange claims during sex-ed lectures. As we reported last year, public schools also invite religious abstinence speakers to talk to students about sex—and sometimes spread misinformation in the process.

Pam Stenzel, an abstinence lecturer who claims to speak to over 500,000 young people each year, allegedly told public school students at George Washington High School in Charleston, West Virginia, last year, “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you.” Shelly Donahue, a speaker for the Colorado-based Center for Relationship Education, told students in a training video posted by the Denver Westword in 2011 that if a guy gets sperm near a girl’s vagina, it will turn into a “little Hoover vacuum” and she will become pregnant. Jason Evert, who has scheduled some visits to public schools on his 2014 calendar, advises girls that they should “only lift the veil over your body to the spouse who is worthy to see the glory of that unveiled mystery.” To see our full list of abstinence speakers who have given talks in public schools, click here. Good luck, America.


Nun Reportedly Tells Catholic School Kids That Masturbation Makes Guys Gay

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Coal plant accident spews coal ash into North Carolina river

Coal plant accident spews coal ash into North Carolina river

Duke Energy

The Dan River Steam Station during less spilly times.

Retiring a coal power plant in North Carolina wasn’t enough to prevent it from fucking up the environment.

Tens of thousands of tons of coal ash and tens of millions of gallons of polluted water have burst out of Duke Energy’s shuttered Dan River Steam Station, severely soiling the Dan River — a waterway popular with hikers, campers, fishing folks, and recreational boaters. The pollution can be seen miles downstream.

The power plant operated from 1949 until 2012, and the coal ash being stored on site was residue left behind after coal was burned. Coal ash contains poisonous heavy metals including arsenic, mercury, and lead. A state agency and environmentalists have been suing Duke in an effort to force it to clear out 14 such coal-ash dump sites across the state, including the one that just ruptured.

But Duke insisted that its dump sites were safe. Just last month, Duke spokeswoman Erin Culbert told the Asheville Citizen-Times that the utility was monitoring groundwater around its coal-ash storage sites to ensure that its neighbors are protected. She rejected environmentalists’ calls for the coal-ash ponds to be cleaned up. “[S]pecial interest groups rely on emotion, not facts, to advance their mission to phase out coal,” Culbert told the newspaper.

It gets worse.

“We are confident,” Duke’s general manager at the power plant told the EPA in a 2009 letter, “that each of our ash basin dams has the structural integrity necessary to protect the public and the environment.”

We sure hope it felt nice to be so confident about that.

Specifics on the spill are still hard to come by, but it appears that a 48-inch stormwater pipe burst at the power plant, releasing enough ash from a 27-acre storage pond to fill 20 or 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools. According to company estimates, 50,000 to 82,000 tons of ash flowed into the river, along with 24 million to 27 million gallons of tainted water.

The pipe gave way on Sunday, and the company is being criticized for waiting until Monday to tell anybody about the disaster.

Cue inevitable statements from environmentalists about Duke’s utter irresponsibility in allowing this disaster to happen. From the Charlotte Business Journal

“This is the latest, loudest alarm bell yet that Duke should not be storing coal ash in antiquated pits near our state’s waterways,” says Frank Holleman, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

He noted that two South Carolina utilities have taken steps to remove coal ash from earthen ponds and called Duke “grossly negligent” for not doing the same.

It’s not like this is the first time such a disaster has happened. After more than a million gallons of coal-ash slurry escaped from a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in late 2008, the EPA vowed to craft new regulations to help prevent such disasters from happening again. We’re still waiting for those promised regulations.

Coal ash spills into Dan River from closed Duke Energy plant, Charlotte Business Journal
Broken pipe spills coal ash in Dan River near Eden Read more here, The Associated Press
Groups seek to join Duke coal ash lawsuits, Asheville Citizen Times
Update on Dan River Steam Station ash basin release, Duke Energy

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

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Coal plant accident spews coal ash into North Carolina river

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