scharrison's blog

Tuesday Twitter roundup

If this isn't in your top ten most important issues, you're part of the problem:

I don't usually play that "you're part of the problem" card, but there simply is no region/area where affordable housing isn't becoming a crisis. We all need to work on this.

Kudos to the NC DOT for expanding public transportation into rural areas

LinkTransit

This is what planning for the future looks like:

One of the fastest growing states in the nation, North Carolina is expected to see its population rise to more than 12.5 million people by 2040 – a 32 percent increase from the state's 2010 population. That's why it is crucial that North Carolina's public transportation systems keep up with the changing population and connect residents in urban and rural areas to opportunities and services such as jobs, higher education, healthcare and recreation.

Partnerships between the N.C. Department of Transportation and local governments, regional authorities and other state agencies have been the source of North Carolina's transit success. Currently under development, the Public Transportation Statewide Strategic Plan will build upon that success by creating the foundation for reinvigorated state and local transit partnerships.

Just a quick note on the image above: I took that shot on the opening day of our Link Transit service here in Alamance County in June of 2016. While it does not reach into rural areas as much as I'd like to see, it has provided access to many of our citizens to our hospital and various clinics, our community college (main and satellite campuses), and of course grocery stores not within walking distance. I'm posting this as a sort of "counterpoint" piece, since Art Pope's minions have already pounced on this new plan as a waste of money. After having to argue that issue several times in-person or in meetings, I wrote this Op-Ed last year as an across-the-board rebuttal:

Virginia Foxx's life-long crusade to destroy public education

Easily the #1 poster child for term limits:

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx wants the federal Department of Education to disappear. She wants Washington to stop passing down rules and regulations schools have to follow. As the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, the seven-term North Carolina congresswoman has a powerful forum to talk about all that.

Foxx and her Republican congressional allies have a new favored tool for walking back regulations: Congressional Review Acts, which allow Congress to overturn specific federal rules and regulations and prevent them from coming back up.

Between Foxx and Betsy fricking DeVos, we'll be lucky if we even have any sort of Federal education regulations or guidelines by the time 2020 rolls around. And for those who aren't that concerned, would rather leave those decisions up to the state, understand this: Public education has been (and could still be if we're not careful) a major focal point for discrimination and inequity in our country. I'm not just talking about racial segregation, although that is a constant aggravating influence. But also gender issues. It wasn't that long ago when girls were actively discouraged from learning above a certain point in the sciences, which is why they are still underrepresented in the engineering and MD/PhD ranks. Foxx and DeVos don't care one whit about stuff like that, they're still (mentally) living in a 1950's dream world. She blatantly laid out her manifesto (of course) a few weeks after her last successful election:

NC GOP funding effort to collect signatures for unaffiliated House candidate

Alternate title for this diary: Desperately Seeking Dallas:

The North Carolina Republican Party distributed a mailer to 6,000 Wilson County homes this week and state Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, has recorded a robocall urging voters to sign Fontenot’s ballot access petition. “A lot of people are aware of what’s going on, but the mailers are very good because it brings the opportunity directly to their door,” Fontenot said.

As an unaffiliated candidate, Fontenot must gather about 2,200 signatures — representing 4 percent of registered Wilson County voters — in order to be listed as a challenger to eight-term state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat. There is no Republican candidate in the race.

Before we talk about the ethics of this, I just wanted to point out how this story exposes another Dallas Woodhouse lie, when he bragged the GOP had achieved the same thing the NCDP had by having a candidate in all 170 NCGA races. But these lies are so ubiquitous now, as they are with his role model Donald Trump, it's doubtful any mainstream media will even ask him about it. Back to the ethics, and one glaring, gaping hole in the integrity of this gambit:

Art Pope is worried about Dems taking over Congress

Your tears of frustration brighten my day:

According to over a half dozen top GOP donors who spoke with The Hill, conservative funders are getting nervous about the momentum Democratic candidates have been experiencing in congressional races and suggested that they might have to give up on trying to win the House to focus on keeping the Senate.

“Myself and many others are very concerned that this could be a wave year for the Democratic Party and for their candidates,” said Art Pope, a top Republican donor from North Carolina.

Okay, first of all, your grammar sucks. The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is out of place, which simply temporarily removing "and many others" would reveal to a 3rd grader. You wouldn't say "myself am very concerned," you would say "I am very concerned." Now that the really important stuff is out of the way: Art Pope isn't even close to being a top GOP donor, bless his cold, dark heart. He might be able to scrape up a couple hundred thousand, but compared to the Koch Brothers who are gearing up to spend some $400 million this year, that's not even peanuts. It's like...peanut shells. I don't know, I don't even have a good analogy of what it is. But I really like what this guy from Texas had to say:

Ted Budd may be back to selling guns full time after November

The 13th District should have known better in the first place:

Overnight, North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District – which resembles a sloppily forged anvil covering most of Iredell County, all of Davie and Davidson counties, and parts of Rowan and Guilford counties – went from safely Republican to utterly uncertain for the Nov. 5 general election.

Of course, Republicans and GOP-friendly groups also will parachute into the race, checkbooks in hand, to bolster Budd’s counterattack. Early prognostications made the freshman Budd, a gun store owner and farmer from Advance, the odds-on favorite in District 13, where President Donald Trump pulled 53 percent of the vote in 2016 and Budd actually did better by picking up 56 percent.

And yes, I fully realize I just told you the other day we need to focus on Legislative races and not Congressional ones, but I kinda hate Ted Budd. If you don't, you're not paying attention:

Dear NCDP: Win the suburbs, win the state

Because that is where 2018's biggest battles will be fought:

In Illinois primary elections on Tuesday, the five counties that wrap around Chicago's Cook County saw Democrats cast almost five times as many ballots as they did four years ago, ahead of a midterm romp for the GOP. Republicans, meanwhile, saw their turnout drop by almost a quarter of what it was in 2014.

The national Republican money machine is focusing heavily on defending the suburbs. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan, has opened field offices in 30 Republican-held districts, with plans eventually to spend more than $100 million in as many as three dozen.

If you look at the graph above, you will see Republicans took 64% of the suburban vote in North Carolina in 2016. They actually did better in the suburbs than rural areas, which should freak you out more than a little, frankly. Why? Because suburban voters have a (much) higher percentage of college graduates than their rural counterparts. And yet, they voted for a card-carrying idiot for President. We're seeing a big shift in suburban voting nationwide during these special elections, but we can't assume that will happen here, in the absence of a huge effort by Dems to retake *our* suburbs. The thing to keep in mind, and I don't want to come off as too elitist here: The higher education level of the suburbs also means having information presented to them in a tactful manner may generate more (and better) results than those efforts would elsewhere. They have the background to make the right decisions, but they need a little push to do so.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Speaking of gerrymandering...

Which is all the more reason to focus heavily on Legislative races, at least here in NC. I'm still seeing way too many Dems talking only about Congressional contests, when there are 170 NCGA seats in play this year.

The anatomy of an environmental bad actor: DuPont's Teflon cover-up

The fallacy of allowing industry to self-regulate:

Thirty-four years ago, an employee from a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, filled a jug with tap water from a little general store just across the Ohio River called Mason’s Village Market. An internal DuPont document shows that the company was secretly testing the water for ammonium perfluorooctanoate — better known as C8. DuPont employees also took samples from stores in eight other unsuspecting communities in the Ohio River Valley.

The document shows C8 was detected at three stores closest to the plant, including Mason’s Village Market in Little Hocking, Ohio. It also shows that, at one of those stores, the level of C8 measured more than 20 times higher than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today considers safe for drinking water.

Their actions (or inaction) is proof the only reason they conducted this testing was to determine future legal exposure, not whether they should change their behavior for the safety of citizens. This compound has been slightly modified 3-4 times over the years, and again, it appears the reasons for those modifications was not to make them safer, just provide deniability. GenX is the most recent iteration, and here we are starting with a blank slate on just how toxic it is. But at least we seem to be ahead of the game compared to these poor folks:

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