scharrison's blog

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The bells are tolling for Richard Burr:

I'm still skeptical that he will receive any meaningful punishment, unless his own party decides to throw him under the bus. We'll see.

Over a quarter of a million without power after storm

Making the Stay-At-Home situation considerably worse:

More than 276,000 people were without power Monday morning as severe storms continue their path across the state. Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, has the highest number of power outages — 46,253 as of 9 a.m., according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. Wake County had more than 39,000 outages.

Severe weather moving across the state has brought risks of tornadoes, strong winds and hail to some areas, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado reportedly touched down in Orange County.

Don't usually do weather stories here, but a lot of folks are suffering right now. You can't cook (except maybe with a grill, but how much of your food is grillable?), and all those perishables in the fridge will start going bad before the sun goes down. And if you don't have a car charger for your phone, even that last vestige of 21st Century connectivity is doomed to failure with even limited usage. My heart goes out to these folks.

Mark Meadows wants to cut wages for migrant farm workers

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Because apparently toiling in the fields to supply our food pays too well:

New White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to see how to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms, in order to help U.S. farmers struggling during the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials and sources familiar with the plans.

The effort to provide "wage relief" to U.S. farmers follows an announcement Friday by the USDA to develop a program that will include direct payments to farmers and ranchers hurt by the coronavirus. Trump said Friday he's directed Perdue to provide at least $16 billion in relief.

Welp, so much for the idea that getting him out of Congress was a net benefit. It takes a special kind of jerkweasel to categorize cutting already low pay as "relief." And once again I find myself waiting (in vain) for the Free Market heroes at Civitas and JLF to step forward and observe that those wages are determined by the labor market and should be left alone, or we may end up with food rotting in the fields. John? Jon? Anyone? Bueller? Even the anti-immigration folks are against this policy move:

New poverty report by the NC Justice Center

Trying to survive at the bottom:

In the wealthiest nation on earth, millions of North Carolinians spend every day just trying to survive. Low wages, lack of investment in an infrastructure of opportunity, and an economy with rules rigged for the wealthy few have resulted in the lucky few amassing unimaginable wealth while children and families go hungry and struggle to get ahead. This moral and economic failure touches people across the state and is particularly present in communities of color that have long faced barriers to prosperity and security erected through policy choices and systems of exclusion.

This cycle won't break itself, it requires actions on several fronts. Hunger leads to malnutrition, and malnutrition has a direct and detrimental effect on learning and performance in the K-12 school environment. Which leads to severely limited economic opportunities as an adult, which brings us right back to hungry children. And a stuttering economy:

Voting alert: Counties want to cut budgets for election boards

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When they should be contemplating increases:

Officials in multiple counties have told their local elections officials to find ways to reduce spending for the upcoming budget cycle, which begins July 1. Such cuts could impact preparations for the 2020 general election, as well as increased precautionary measures to ensure voters' safety at the polls.

State Board of Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell said several local boards have already noted that they expect at least some budget reductions as county commissioners finalize budgets in the coming weeks. That includes Chowan County, whose elections officials were asked to make a 10 percent cut.

Not just no, but hell no. Find those cuts somewhere else, because our democracy is already on a fricking ventilator right now. We actually need to expand early voting sites to keep people from having to travel across the county and lining up, and unpaid volunteers (especially elderly) are going to be even harder to find than usual. And we can't make the mistake of assuming General Assembly Republicans will do the right thing:

The Coronavirus Infodemic: Conspiracy theories are a coping mechanism

Never underestimate our capacity for foolishness:

“People are drawn to conspiracies because they promise to satisfy certain psychological motives that are important to people,” Dr. Douglas said. Chief among them: command of the facts, autonomy over one’s well-being and a sense of control.

If the truth does not fill those needs, we humans have an incredible capacity to invent stories that will, even when some part of us knows they are false. A recent study found that people are significantly likelier to share false coronavirus information than they are to believe it.

You don't have to be a full-fledged, New World Order-fearing nut-job to fit into this category. We're all susceptible to this piper if we're not careful. It's tempting to create monsters where they don't (necessarily) exist, because monsters can be slain. But a natural world that is inherently dangerous and uncertain, that can create a virus so small it's invisible to the naked eye yet kills tens of thousands, is simply terrifying:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

As usual, YDNC is leading the way:

Now if we "not so young" Democrats can pull this virtual thing off without too many hitches, I'll be impressed.

Criminal or incompetent? Try all of the above

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Hat-tip to Thomas Mills for cutting through the chatter:

For those of you wondering whether you’re going to heaven or hell, you’re in hell. In the midst of the worst pandemic in a century, we’re being led by a family of incompetent grifters. While tens of thousands of Americans are about to die, they’re trying to figure out how to make a buck off the crisis.

If you had told me twenty years ago that we’d elect a shady real estate mogul turned reality star President of the United States, I might have laughed but I wouldn’t have believed it would happen. Today, not only is he president, he’s brought his whole family to the White House. It’s like the cast of Arrested Development is running the country but nobody’s playing the role of Michael.

Voters definitely jumped the shark when they elected him, but that damn fish has been circling our sinking rowboat ever since. If this isn't enough to get your blood boiling, you need to read it twice:

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