scharrison's blog

That's not a professor, it's a puppet

WRAL drinks at a tainted watering hole:

Any long-term improvement in the U.S. economy will require painful choices, the kinds of choices that politicians have been thus far unwilling to make, according to Mike Walden, an economist and professor at North Carolina State University.

It looks like we're headed back to the bad old days, where media failed to inform readers that the "expert" they interviewed was in the employ of Art Pope. Not only is Doctor Mike and adjunct scholar for the John Locke Foundation, he's been producing tainted research for them for at least fifteen years:

The psychology of Climate Change denialism

On a recent Diane Rehm Show focused on the impacts of approaching Climate Change, the host was driven to ask "Why?" Why does a certain subset of individuals (and scientists) refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence that atmospheric carbon levels have surpassed the danger point and are affecting climate on a global scale?

The answer to that question doesn't lie in the scientific data, it's in our heads. Both psychological and sociological triggers come into play, and we'll take a look at each.

Burr gets it wrong on debt

And that wrongness is part of the reason for S&P's downgrade:

"Tonight's decision by S&P underscores my concerns throughout the duration of the recent debt debate - that we need to make meaningful cuts in spending, reform our entitlement programs, and simplify our tax code to lower rates if we have any hope of putting our nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility.

Why don't we see what Standard & Poor had to say about those "lower rates":

NC GOP's cuts to Medicaid are devastating

Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor:

The 2011-12 state budget cuts about $350M from the program. But because federal dollars match state spending 2 to 1, the resulting loss to NC’s Medicaid services is about $1B. Officials expect program rolls, now at 1,500,000, will add another 100,000 by 2013 – a growth rate of about 6.6%. During the same biennium, program funding is slated to shrink by $2 billion, or about 7.8%.

Hat-tip to Laura Leslie. Sometimes there's a fine line between austerity and irresponsibility, and it's not always evident the line's been crossed. But these actions are way beyond that, into the realm of criminal negligence with the intent to do harm. The word "shame" doesn't even cover it.

Vacationing with ALEC: The NC GOP migrates South

In search of cookie-cutter legislation:

In my conversations with those who have attended ALEC events in the past, a lot of the focus has been on developing model legislation. This focus combined with corporate donors who pay for lawmaker scholarships (see below) lead many to question the probity, or at least the appearance of conflict, the event stirs. (NPR did a story this year changes to Arizona criminal/prison laws that apparently started at an ALEC conference, much to the benefit of a conference sponsor.

Again, hat-tip to Mark Binker for linking to this Pro-Publica tutorial on how to research ALEC. Check it out, and if you do dig up some useful info on NC legislation or legislators, (please) post it here for folks to check out:

Durham newspaper cuts newsroom staff

The Herald-Sun cuts deep, shifts work to Kentucky:

According to sources at The Herald-Sun, seven jobs in the company’s newsroom were cut July 28, leaving fewer than 20 people in the editorial department. The Herald-Sun managers told employees that production duties—page design and copy editing—will be shuffled to the staff of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, also owned by The Herald-Sun’s parent company, Paxton Media Group.

I'm assuming this is bad. I don't know for sure, because their paywall has kept me from reading a lot of their stuff. I wonder if the two are related?

The truth about NC's business taxes

I'm sure this won't get much mileage, either:

North Carolina is a good place to do business – at least when it comes to taxes – according to a new study by the Council On State Taxation that puts the state in a three-way tie for the second lowest business tax burden in the country.

Business taxes made up 3.7 percent of the gross state product in North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware in 2010. The only state with a lower percentage was Connecticut, at 3.3 percent.

And for all the idiots who think Sarah Palin is the greatest thing since sliced bread, try this on for size:

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