scharrison's blog

Big-government Republicans set to gerrymander Asheville

Once again choosing power over people who don't want their "help":

Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, said his plans to have the legislature draw district maps for City Council during the coming session have not changed. The General Assembly passed a bill he sponsored last year that gave council a chance to draw districts, but directs the legislature to do so if council didn't.

But Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, said council did act when it put the question of whether to go to a district system on the ballot in last November's election. She noted that "not a single precinct" in the city, including those in South Asheville where backing for districts appears to be strongest, gave the idea a majority. Citywide, 75 percent voted against districts.

While it could be said that City demographics would inhibit Republicans from actually winning a majority on the Council (unless they got really crazy with the map), double-bunking current Asheville leaders is a distinct possibility. Whatever the case, the people have spoken. And a continued effort to do this after that voice was heard makes a mockery of democracy.

Proposed pipeline extension generates early opposition

Something wicked this way comes:

More than two dozen Haw River stakeholders concerned about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would extend into Alamance County met in Burlington on Wednesday, April 25, to organize opposition. Mountain Valley Pipeline wants to install a pipeline that would begin in Pittsylvania County, Va., and extend about 70 miles south to Rockingham and Alamance counties and end in Graham, just south of Interstate 40-85. Initial plans show the pipeline could parallel the Haw River beginning in southeastern Rockingham County.

The Haw River Assembly hosted the meeting at the Company Shops Market. The Chatham County-based nonprofit says that it has been “defending the river since 1982” and is worried about the environmental damage the pipeline could cause. Mountain Valley Pipeline wants to start construction in 2020 but must receive federal approval.

Many years ago the City of Burlington had just one drinking water reservoir, but as the population grew, the City impounded another (larger) reservoir a few miles North. Those two are connected via a spillway and the original creek, and this pipeline extension will cross between the two. And after it does, it will follow the Haw River very closely for several miles before terminating. That means Jordan Lake is also at risk of potential contamination, so this is not just a local problem, folks. Here's more from the Haw Riverkeeper:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Ronny Jackson nomination evidence of deeper problems

Quite possibly the worst candidate to run the Veterans Administration:

During an overseas trip in 2015, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, was intoxicated and banged on the hotel room door of a female employee, according to four sources familiar with the allegation. The incident became so noisy, one source familiar with the allegation told CNN, that the Secret Service stopped him out of concern that he would wake then-President Barack Obama.

Two sources who previously worked in the White House Medical Unit described the same incident, with one former staffer telling CNN that it was "definitely inappropriate, in the middle of the night," and that it made the woman uncomfortable. At the time, the incident was reported up the chain of command, and it is one of multiple drunken episodes involving Jackson on overseas trips, according to a source familiar.

Those two paragraphs highlight three major problems with the military, two of which make Jackson supremely unqualified to run the VA. Because there is always a victim, the 1st problem is sexual harassment and assault. Decades of efforts to curb this have mostly failed, and Jackson is a prime example why. When junior officers see (and hear about) a Rear Admiral pulling this crap, they know the good old boy's club is still alive and well. This makes the problem "perpetual," meaning it will likely never stop, unless drastic measures are taken. The 2nd problem is substance abuse in the ranks. This is another problem that is not new, but seventeen years of sustained hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq have supercharged it, and the vast majority of the record-breaking number of veteran suicides can be chalked up in the substance abuse column. The last thing we need is an alcoholic at the helm of the VA. The last problem exposed above is the military's inability to police its own ranks, once officers have achieved Field Grade level. Jackson should have been cashiered years ago, but he's still partying on. Now that my critique of the military is done, let's look at the dysfunctional White House:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

A heaping dose of truth for you this a.m.:

If I didn't have a VA Loan option, it would have been (at least) ten years later before I could have gone from renter to homeowner. We need to fix this. **added note: It's Vicki's birthday today, which I did not realize when I ran her to the top of the flagpole here. But she has earned that spot, for the countless hours she's spent at the General Assembly (and everywhere else) observing and reporting public policy.

NC's GOP Congressmen lining up to take lone female Republican leader's job

Like misogynistic sharks at a feeding frenzy:

The lone female member of House Republican leadership is under siege in D.C. and back home in Washington state. In Congress, several fellow GOP members are pining for her job, questioning her effectiveness as chairwoman of the conference and weighing whether to challenge her.

At least one Republican, Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, is seriously considering challenging McMorris Rodgers, several of those sources said. But the other lawmakers who want her job are hoping McMorris Rodgers steps down or runs for another position.

Of course that had to come from anonymous sources, because Mark Walker would never give anyone a straight answer on the record. He is a master at dodging questions (and people), and if you ask him about this he'd probably launch into a poorly thought-out diatribe about government getting out of the way of business. Or whatever is percolating in that walnut-sized brain of his at the time. But she probably won't get promoted either, because little Paddy McHenry has got plans of his own:

NC GOP subsidizes Unaffiliated candidate's ballot access and campaign

Not sure if this is even legal, but it's definitely unethical:

Independent N.C. House candidate Ken Fontenot should have enough signatures to see his name on the ballot in November, but supporters aren’t counting electoral chickens before they hatch. “Because they’re not verified, I’m not claiming victory,” said Christy Fyle, chairwoman of the Wilson County Republican Party.

The N.C. Republican Party is also backing Fontenot. State party officials paid for mailers that include a detachable petition signature form with a postage-paid return label to be distributed to 6,000 Wilson County homes. Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, recorded a robocall urging Wilson voters to sign the petition.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of idiot reporter to crank out such nonsense. You're either independent or you're not, and this candidate is not even close:

DNC files broad lawsuit over Russian meddling in 2016 election

They even threw in Julian Assange for good measure:

The Democratic National Committee has sued Russia, President Donald Trump’s campaign, WikiLeaks and others on Friday, alleging a broad conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, said “the Trump campaign and its agents gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” which involved releasing hacked emails and spreading misinformation on social media.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery.” Trump is not one of the people being sued by the Democrats, but the lawsuit does name Donald J. Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Roger Stone, among others.

Before we start "feeling the Bern" over this lawsuit (I.E. whatever the DNC does is wrong and somehow connected to corporate oligarchs), this is "exactly" what needs to be done. Why? Because civil actions generate literally hours of depositions, questions asked and answered, and even one tiny tid-bit of (currently missing) information may be what brings down this house of marked cards. So please, if you see somebody ranting and/or raving about the DNC wasting time or resources pursuing this, try not to spread the disease.

Note to school administrators: Don't punish these kids

Because they are doing what you have failed to do:

High school principals made a robo call to parents this week telling them the event planned by CHC Enough, a student-led anti-gun violence organization, would be viewed as a school disruption and violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

"We fully support student voice, however it must be done in a way that is safe and doesn’t negatively impact education," the principals said in their call. "The April 20 walkout as currently promoted is a disruption to the school day, and a violation of the student code of conduct - which will be enforced."

This isn't just a local thing, the entire world is watching. It's the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, which took place 19 years ago, and should have been a catalyst for changes to laws surrounding the purchase of deadly weapons. Yet we still have loosely-regulated gun shows and pretty much no control over the sales of "long guns." In a word, nothing happened. It's that failure of society and the government it relies upon that has brought this about, and punishing those students for what amounts to protecting their own lives would be shameful. And if you want to see the quintessence of hypocrisy, check this out:

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