scharrison's blog

The unsustainable aspects of growth

Tim Toben takes consumerism and GDP to the woodshed:

On the current economic roadmap, all growth is good. An industry that pollutes the air, water or soil or extracts minerals from an indigenous community without adequately compensating it is as prized as a non-polluting industry that builds community or restores ecosystems.

Most threatening of all, the material throughput of the economic system is breaching the boundaries of the biosphere. A condition known as "ecological overshoot" exists, whereby the global economy is now using up more than 1.4 times the Earth's capacity to regenerate the natural capital upon which the system and all life depends.

Triad domestic violence programs face severe cut

Victims in Guilford County will pay the price for bureaucratic myopia:

The state says the county has been getting double what it’s due — money for programs in Greensboro and High Point. But those who run the local programs say they deserve the money because they serve a total larger population and each program meets eligibility requirements.

Greensboro is the state’s third-largest city and High Point is the eighth. Each city has a higher population than some of the state’s other counties.

They're not getting enough funding as it is, and now it's going to be slashed in half? :(

Belk stung by judge's decision

Republican (former) judge steals from his own daughter:

A Superior Court judge Thursday ordered Bill Belk to repay nearly $131,000 to his daughter's custodial account after citing repeated examples of what he called Belk's misuse of the money, including a $5,000 contribution to a Republican Party group.

That last thing falls into the category of, "Go out to that tree and break me off a switch so I can beat you with it." ;) A $5,000 investment towards a dark future...

Number of dangerous coal ash sites grows

And North Carolina has more than its fair share:

The groups say there are 67 such sites in the country, including at least seven in North Carolina. They say the sites contain dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins - pollutants that would have gone up the smokestack but are now filtered out and stored in giant pits or basins.

The Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club issued their expanded warning Thursday, in advance of a series of public hearings scheduled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Women's Equality Day

If I had half a brain, I would have posted this earlier in the day (swiped from a DLCC e-mail):

Ninety years ago today, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was signed, granting women everywhere the right to vote.

By the day the 19th Amendment was signed on August 26th, 1920, 15 states guaranteed women the right to vote in all elections. Thirteen other states allowed women to vote for presidential electors. Still others had granted limited voting rights for municipal offices or ballot initiatives.

Again, I'm sorry about my tardiness on this. I forgot about it, then I remembered it, and then I forgot about it again. This won't absolve me completely, but..."God knows what our country would be like right now without your wisdom and insight guiding our elections."

N&O desperate for an issue

When you can't come up with a new controversy with which to flog state government, inflate one yourself:

With more than 10 percent of North Carolinians out of work, a new audit reveals that employees at the state agency tasked with helping them find jobs were instead using their government computers to watch and burn copies of bootleg DVDs.

The Office of the State Auditor launched the investigation at the Employment Security Commission in August 2009 after a tip to its hotline.

"Oh my God! More evidence of State government rot and malfeasance!" Yeah, right. Two idiots sharing DVD files. ;) Gimme a break.

Another (big) reason to defeat Burr in November

He could be about to inherit a very important position:

The energy committee has jurisdiction over domestic oil and gas development, nuclear power, renewables, the electric grid, national parks, forests and wilderness areas and the Energy and Interior departments. It annually takes up the most bills in the Senate — those public lands and water measures add up.

The next Republican on the seniority list behind Murkowski is Richard Burr, who is in a tough general election fight in North Carolina. Should the Republicans take the Senate and Burr assume the top spot, he would be the first Southerner to lead the panel since Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-La.) in the 1990s.

DFA hearts Debra McHenry

Just got this in the (e)mail:

DFA endorsements have always been driven by our members on the ground across the country -- that's what makes Democracy for America the country's only people-powered PAC. But the North Carolina All-Star endorsement is different because it's chosen entirely by DFA members in North Carolina.

All the votes have been cast and I'm honored to announce DFA's North Carolina All-Star -- Debra McHenry.

Apparently I'm on a Wake County theme today, but I promise I'll pay more attention to the other 99 in weeks to come. This is a big one, folks. Skip Stam is a blight on the General Assembly, and the longer he stays there the more infected our tree of democracy will get.

NC counties short-sighted on stimulus

I wonder how much of this is ideological in nature:

So it's especially frustrating to find out that in three-quarters of North Carolina's counties, it was too much trouble to lift a proverbial finger to help at least a few dozen people start drawing paychecks. There would have been a cost to county governments, heaven forbid.

Wake's manager, David Cooke, said it wasn't his call not to sign up, but he explained the reluctance: "In most cases it's false economics. Here's some more work for you [the county] to do if you accept 'free' money. We're all dealing with declining revenues or flat revenues." He said the county has passed on some stimulus programs because of associated expenses.

Big surprise. The Republican majority Wake County Commission don't need no help from Obama. The voters should toss them out on their ears for this.

NC to receive $400 million for education

Race To The Top efforts finally bear fruit:

“North Carolina’s children today are one step closer to being guaranteed the best public education possible – something every child deserves," Perdue said in an announcement about the win. "This grant will give us the resources to more aggressively implement our plan to ensure that all of our children graduate ready for a career, college or technical training."

That includes money to recruit and retain teachers and administrators; a turnaround plan for low performing schools and technology used to track student progress in the classroom.

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