scharrison's blog

Carrying the Millennial banner a little too far

You'd have better luck getting oil & vinegar to mix than some of these folks:

A nonprofit, the Millennial Action Project, has organized the caucus along with similar groups in other states and in Congress. The North Carolina caucus is co-led by Rep. Chaz Beasley, a Charlotte Democrat, Rep. Kyle Hall, a King Republican, Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican, and Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, a Raleigh Democrat. Beasley, Hall and Chaudhuri kicked off their outreach effort Wednesday with a news conference at the Legislative Building.

“It is important to confront the issues that are important to our youngest citizens,” Chaudhuri said, suggesting that lawmakers may hold public forums on college campuses.

It's also important not to waste time and effort trying to build bridges to nowhere. Or to have your message diluted by a fellow caucus member whose views are diametrically opposed to your own. Chad Barefoot was a Primary Sponsor of the bill (now law) wresting control of our Boards of Election from Governor Cooper, and he's also trying to strip a lot more funding from our traditional public schools and give it to charters:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Time to pay the Polluting Piper

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Duke Energy seeks hundreds of millions in increased rates to clean up their own mess:

The Company is requesting recovery of ash basin closure compliance costs incurred since January 1, 2015, in the approximate amount of $66 million per year for five years; as well as recovery of ongoing ash basin closure compliance spending in the amount of $129 million per year, with any difference from future spending being deferred until a future base rate case. Recovery of ongoing costs will mitigate the need for future rate increases for compliance costs associated with coal ash basin closure.

This rate increase is further necessary to enable DE Progress to maintain its current financial position in light of those significant capital expenditures undertaken to meet its customers' needs.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of hubris to demand your "financial position" not be jeopardized, regardless of how irresponsible your business practices have been. If this was anybody but Duke Energy or some other fossil fuel giant, the Free Marketers at JLF and Civitas would be having a whole mess of kittens over the idea of such a monopoly, much less the government helping them stay profitable.

The fine line between a Christian "church" and a cult

Resorting to physical violence is one big indicator the line's been crossed:

A North Carolina man thought he was "going to die" when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his "homosexual demons," he testified Thursday.

Matthew Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Fenner, 23, said Covington was the leader in a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants. He said Covington pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, "God said there is something wrong in your life."

This is pretty horrific, but what's even more horrible is the fact the harshest punishment that might be brought in this court case is two years in prison. That's *if* she's convicted on the two counts (kidnapping and assault) she's charged with. And if it wasn't for the diligence of the Associated Press, nothing would have happened:

263,400 reasons Tillis signed onto letter to pull out of Paris Agreement

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A wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil & gas industry:

So if the U.S. walks away from the agreement, what sort of standard does that set for all of the other countries who signed on? Will they take Trump's lead and withdraw from the pact, as well?

North Carolina Republican senator Thom Tillis doesn't seem too concerned. He was among twenty-two Republican senators who last week signed a letter urging Trump to scrap the deal, according to the Guardian. He was also the beneficiary of $263,400 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies since 2012, according to the same report.

It sure didn't take long for Tillis to jump on the gravy train. And we can expect a lot more sellouts between now and 2020, so he can lock in all that "independent spending" from mystery men who have become reliant on the Senate Corporation, LLC. But I'd like to be a fly on the wall when he explains to his two children why he signed this letter. He won't really suffer much from climate change, but they will.

The General Assembly's latest Jordan Lake boondoggle: Algaecide

Because what could possibly go wrong dumping dangerous chemicals into the drinking water?

A year after state environmental regulators called the SolarBees experiment a failure, state lawmakers are trying another unproven method to control pollution in Jordan Lake.

The $22.9 billion budget that the House approved early Friday includes a $1.3 million provision requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to use chemicals that either kill algae or bind with phosphorus, which algae feeds on. The technique is usually used in ponds and small lakes, not in a body of water as large as Jordan Lake.

This marks the ninth year since the Jordan Lake Rules were developed by state water quality specialists and approved by the EPA, and it also marks nine years of whining, plotting, and the embracing of pseudo-science in order to avoid implementation of those rules. And of course, since Crisis = Opportunity, revolving-door Republicans are also lining their pockets over this institutional aversion to responsible governing:

North Carolina's right-wing propaganda problem

A plethora of bent "news" organizations are dotting the landscape:

Few are the issues where the differences between conservatives and leftists are more striking than those involving air and water. Under the Obama administration, policies were put in place in the name of environmental stewardship that highlight these issues. One such policy is the Clean Power Plan, and another is the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Unfortunately, the Cooper administration is clearly taking the side of these Obama-era regulations, despite their potential for harming North Carolina.

Mark Shiver and the "NC Capitol Connection" is an offshoot of the Civitas Institute, which has been seeking to expand its influence via the creation of "fresh new" media outlets with names not directly associated with Art Pope's traditional propaganda factories. Aside from churning out misleading observations and analyses about NC's political environment, Shiver is a frequent flyer of the ncpol Twitter feed, linking to his own drivel and (of course) anything crafted by JLF/Civitas. Another of these new propaganda outlets is the North State Journal:

Majority of NC House opposes moratorium on wind energy

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Hopefully they will stick to their guns and keep it out of Budget compromise:

The state Senate’s budget plan took an ax to the Department of Environmental Quality, while the House dipped in with a scalpel, setting up major differences to bridge when the two sides sit down to negotiate a final spending deal. In all, the Senate wants to eliminate a total of 45.5 positions, most of them currently filled. The House plan retains the assistance and customer service and education programs and only cuts 6.5 positions that are currently vacant.

What House budget writers did cut is aimed at a handful of programs and special provisions championed by their Senate counterparts, including a provision pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, that would impose a moratorium on new wind energy projects through 2020, a move that has the backing of some House members, but has been strongly opposed by a majority of its members.

This is critical. A 3-year moratorium would set us behind, and those projects will not wait for us to come to our senses, they will go to another state. And who knows what the investment environment will be like after 2020; we might never have this opportunity again. There is no science, or economics, or any other legitimate driving factor behind this moratorium, it's just ideology fueled (literally) by propaganda. Propaganda paid for by Kansas billionaires who don't give two shits about North Carolina's future, they just want to keep enriching themselves from leaky oil & gas pipelines. And those who would do their bidding (I'm looking at you, Civitas) have forfeited the right to claim they represent the interests of NC's citizens.

Join MomsRising in opposition to reckless House Bill 746

Getting rid of concealed-carry permits is dangerously stupid:

Guns are deadly weapons. No one who hasn’t been properly screened or trained should be able to pick up a firearm and carry it around North Carolina’s streets and neighborhoods, no questions asked. And anyone wishing to purchase a pistol in our state should first be background checked.

But right now, the gun lobby and its allies in the state legislature are pushing forward a bill (HB 746) that would allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns with no license, no background check, and no safety training. They are also considering a potential change that would eliminate NC's successful pistol permit process, which provides background checks on guns purchased through unlicensed dealers.

This one needs no editorializing on my part, and it shouldn't even be under consideration by those who claim to serve the public.

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