scharrison's blog

Happy Birthday, collective bargaining

In the latter part of the 19th Century, a new voice erupted in the public sphere: that of the worker. That voice shook the foundations of many a mansion, whose inhabitants realized the previously meek laborers who provided the backbone of their personal empires were beginning to grow a backbone of their own, and big changes were just over the horizon.

Resistance to this change was predictable, and our government was drafted by the powerful industrialists in an effort to crush the movement in its infancy. The resulting clash was nothing short of horrific. Blood was shed, lives were lost. But something else happened, too: visible and irrefutable evidence emerged that acting collectively brought power to those who had none by themselves. And that power could change everything.

Another editorial refutes Real Jobs NC

In defense of our business climate:

The website for Real Jobs NC, which is seeking to toss out alleged Democratic spendthrifts and replace them with virtuous Republicans, declares that “North Carolina is currently rated as having one of the worst tax environments for business in the Southeast.”

If that's so, why has Site Selection magazine – whose subscribers are corporate executives who make decisions about where to locate plants – ranked North Carolina at or near the top of the list of states with the best business climate for nine years running? We must be doing something right.

AFP attack bus shifts into gear, N&O slams brakes. Your chance to take action.

The N&O's Steve Ford blasts Pope and the Koch Brothers:

There has to be a certain irony in a group bankrolled by some of the country's wealthiest business types - people with a vested financial interest in low taxes and limp-wristed regulation - using the working man and woman's annual holiday as a springboard for its anti-government agenda.

Americans for Prosperity has as a national director none other than the ubiquitous Art Pope of Raleigh, head of Variety Wholesalers (owners of Roses, Maxway, Super 10 and other bargain-oriented retail chains). Pope, one-time GOP legislator and candidate for lieutenant governor, hardly needs an introduction these days as the kingpin behind the libertarian/conservative John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute.

Oh, it's dripping with irony, but I'm afraid that escapes most people.

Bush's Brain coming to UNC

Karl Rove will speak at UNC on September 20th:

Karl Rove, the chief political advisor to Republican President George W. Bush, will speak at UNC-Chapel Hill on September 20th.

Rove, now a political analyst for Fox News, will give a talk at 5 p.m. at Memorial Hall, Rob Christensen reports. The speech is being sponsored by the UNC College Republicans as well as other conservative groups.

Note to the N&O: at least some of your readers might be interested in finding out who those "other conservative groups" are. You owe me 2 1/2 hours of my life back.

Fact-checking ala Binker & Banks

The News & Record staff solicits solicitations:

If you send us the ad in electronic form or can mail it to us, we’ll try to do fact checks on as many as we can. We’re most interested in fliers regarding races in Guilford, Rockingham and Davidson counties and will look at everything from the U.S. Senate race on down to county commissioner and city council campaigns. If you see an ad but aren't able to get a copy or recording, send an e-mail describing it and who aired it and we'll go looking.

E-mail: mbinker@news-record.com

U.S. Mail: Political Ads c/o Margaret Banks, News & Record, 200 East Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27420.

Hopefully the results will end up in the dead tree version, as well.

Herald-Sun switches off reader comments

In response to an apparent uptick in abusive comments, the Durham Herald-Sun has decided to suspend the comment feature on its stories:

Users who would prefer to discuss ideas or content of the news are being drowned out by a few participants who lob insults at their fellow users. The discourse in our comments section is devolving and it's time to pull the plug.

Silencing all readers for the behavior of a few is never a good idea, but to do so in the critical part of an election season makes it even worse. When news outlets cover ads and publish campaign statements, very often the only fact-checking is done by the readers themselves. Shutting that off will leave many important questions unasked.

On price gouging and free market foolishness

Governor Perdue declares a state of emergency at Earl's approach:

The state’s price gouging law has gone into effect because Gov. Beverly Perdue has declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Earl. “We’re warning price gougers that you can’t use a storm as an excuse to make an unfair profit off of consumers,” said Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper in a news release.

Price gouging — or charging too much in times of crisis — is against North Carolina law when a disaster, an emergency or an abnormal market disruption for critical goods and services is declared or proclaimed by the governor.

Seems like a pretty basic and necessary function of the government; protecting us during times of crisis, right? Not in the minds of the extreme anti-government, free-market zealots.

FHFA continues its attack on PACE program

Now you have to pay off Solar panels before selling your house:

On Tuesday, Fannie and Freddie issued guidance to lenders stating that borrowers with sufficient equity in their homes must pay off the loans before refinancing. Those homeowners without enough equity to take cash out of their home to pay off the lien can refinance with the loan in place.

“It’s absolutely clear now that the F.H.F.A. is not at all interested in working out a solution that would allow PACE to proceed — the agency appears intent only on obstructing the program,” Janill L. Richards, a California supervising deputy attorney general, wrote in an e-mail.

Where is home, Senator Burr?

Does your claim "Home nearly every weekend" include this home in DC?

About 450 New Jersey Av SE

County/Region: Washington county DC / D.C. Southeast
Year built: 1890 | Builder: N/A
Square footage: 940 sq. ft. (land) | 1,156 sq. ft. (living)

Beds: 3.0 | Baths: 2.5 | Stories: 2

Census tract: 65/Folger Park
Property taxes: $5,913.96 (2008)

You can see the street view of his house (the grey one) if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. I tried to capture the image, but no luck.

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