scharrison's blog

Titan Cement sues residents for speaking out

You can breathe the polluted air, drink the tainted water, eat the mercury-laden fish, but don't open your yap and complain about it:

Titan America LLC and Carolinas Cement Co. LLC have sued two New Hanover County residents charging they made defamatory and untrue statements about Titan's push to obtain permits to build a cement plant in Castle Hayne.

The slander complaint, filed Feb. 25 in U.S. District Court, seeks more than $75,000 in damages. On Feb. 28, the case was selected for mediation.

I expect to see the liberty-lovin', Tea Party, don't-tread-on-me-flag-wavin' folks up in arms about this. Oh, that's right, they get their marching orders from AFP and FreedomWorks. Nevermind.

Luddy tries, fails to stifle NCAE free speech

Legal battle looming over Internet video:

The N.C. Association of Educators is refusing a demand from businessman Bob Luddy to remove a video it posted to the Internet.

The NCAE video, "Money and Privatization: A Love Story," alleges Luddy, a charter and private school founder, businessman Art Pope, House Majority Leader Paul Stam, and Wake County School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta are linked in an effort to destroy public education.

Considering the fact the U.S. Supreme Court just sided with the Westboro Baptist idiots re 1st Amendment protections, methinks this video is safe.

New online news site for mountain folk

Hopefully this dude will abide:

Carolina Public Press is a nonprofit media project dedicated to in-depth, investigative and independent reporting on the overlooked and under-reported people, places and issues facing the 17 westernmost counties of North Carolina.

A sponsored project of the award-winning independent media organization, the Institute for Southern Studies, we’re a small, scrappy website dedicated to nonpartisan, balanced and fair reporting and photojournalism. We aim, every day, to offer high-quality news and information for and about Western North Carolina.

I like scrappy. Scrappy is good.

Drought warning issued by DENR

Exceptionally dry Winter not a good sign:

Forty-five counties are experiencing some level of drought, and 26 Piedmont counties stretching from Charlotte northeast to Roanoke Rapids have reached severe status. Levels of drought from lowest to highest are moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional.

While the volume of rainfall that replenishes our water resources may be an act of nature, the quality of our water resources is (without a doubt) determined by acts of man. Whether individual selfish acts or collective responsible acts are the primary drivers of that water quality is a choice even a 2nd Grader could answer in a split-second.

NC ranks 6th in new and expanded business

Rumors of the death of our economic development are greatly exaggerated:

North Carolina placed sixth in Site Selection magazine’s Overall Top 10 State’s 2010 Governor’s Cup, which the magazine awards to states with the most new and expanded corporate facilities. The Tar Heel State, which had 225 new and expanded corporate facilities last year, moved up from seventh place in 2009.

I would advise the Republican leadership in the GA to "walk softly" lest they derail our recovery, but I have serious doubts that our State's economic health is anywhere near the top of their priority list.

Beware the beach boondoggle

Move over Teapot Museum, there's a new contender stepping up:

But just how much is there to gain by allowing the low-profile barriers, aside from the impact on individual property owners? The News & Observer of Raleigh, quoting a Western Carolina University study, reported Sunday that terminal groins at all 10 erosion-affected inlets would save $18 million in property tax revenue over 30 years. That's about $600,000 a year. But it could cost three times that over the same timeframe to build and maintain even one.

Math has never been my strong suit, but that appears to break down to spending $1.8 million to save $60,000.

The evolution of an environmentalist

The standard, stereotypical depiction of a modern-day environmentalist conjures images of a liberal upbringing; the offspring of 1960's flower children steeped in anti-establishment revolutionary thought.

While this fiction might bring comfort to those who refuse to accept responsibility for mankind's irresponsible stewardship of our natural resources, it is a fiction, nonetheless.

Republicans vote to cut off legal aid for the poor

Once again, Gene Nichol gives a voice to those who have none:

Having ended the year by giving $858 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, the U.S. House of Representatives has now set enthusiastically to the task of making poor people pay for it. The Republican leadership proposed, early this month, a draconian $75 million cut (18 percent) in the $420 million annual budget of the Legal Services Corporation.

After all their whining about activist judges and overdue tort reform, this move makes it plain that Republicans don't give a crap about how the legal system impacts the little guy.

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