scharrison's blog

Megaport project dead in the water, for now

But the fight may be just being postponed:

N.C. State Ports Authority officials said Wednesday they were putting the proposed megaport near Southport on hold, but the development of an international port in the state – perhaps in Brunswick County – remains a possibility.

During the five years since the project’s inception, the authority has spent roughly $10.2 million on it, including planning, engineering technical reports, debt service on the property, and legal and financial fees, ports officials have said.

An old adage about a cart and a horse comes to mind...

Republicans target (NC) House seats

With help from the Puppetshow's pollsters:

State Republicans are highlighting seven Democratic House seats they believe could go their way in the fall based on polling results published by two conservative-leaning polling outfits.

The polls were conducted over the last few months for the conservative Civitas Institute and by the Carolina Strategy Group, a Raleigh firm whose principals lean Republican.

The first thing I thought of when I read this was: It's a trick. Then I thought: They want me to think it's a trick...I should probably go easy on the John Le Carre novels. ;)

Senator Hagan steps up on veterans' mental health

I received this earlier today via e-mail from a Governor's Focus member:

U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) yesterday cosponsored a bipartisan bill to help service members access mental health care services...

“Our service men and women put their lives on the line for our country, and they now face an unnecessary, administrative hurdle to accessing mental health care,” Hagan said. “As a U.S. Senator from North Carolina and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am focused on ensuring our veterans, active duty military and their families can access the services they need. Mental health care for our returning troops is so critical, and I will work with my colleagues to ensure this important bill is signed into law.”

Perdue's mystery veto

The Governor hints at a possible veto (thanks, Laura), but she's being coy:

There’s one that I’m really considering. It’s a usurpation, I believe, of the governor’s power as governor. And so it’s not so much about the quality – the content of the bill. It’s about the fact that one of my jobs is to make sure that the governor’s powers, whether it’s me or somebody else in the future, stay intact.

Governor, even more important than preserving your power is your responsibility to keep our air and water clean and safe. As such, the bill that should be at the top of your veto list is this SEPA loophole abomination. If you sign it, I don't want to hear another damn word about transparency from your office. The gist of this bill is: The less we know, the better. If the Legislature wants it that bad, make them come back and vote for it again.

Republicans move to limit voter access

By attempting to shut down early voting sites:

Suzanne Rucker, chairwoman of the Cumberland County Republican Party, told the Board of Elections on Tuesday that early voting costs too much money to justify all of those locations, especially when turnout is normally poor during the one stop period.

Ralph Reagan, who was chairman of the local GOP in 2008, was a big critic of early voting. He called it a burden on election officials and an opportunity for ill-informed citizens to vote. He hated Sunday voting, too, which he said benefited Democrats over Republicans in Cumberland County.

Or, could it be because those "ill-informed citizens" put Barack Obama so far ahead during the early voting of 2008?

Audubon Society: conservation trust, or development portfolio?

The General Assembly moves to block land sale by Audubon:

Marc Basnight, president pro tem of the state Senate, was doing due diligence when he rammed through legislation to protect, of all things, land that the state had already acted to protect.

Audubon, a conservation group, wants to sell 13 acres in Corolla for residential and commercial development in order to fund some of its other initiatives.

While this holding may be tiny compared to many of NAS's other land trusts, the decision to sell it calls the whole "trust" idea into question.

Did BP help free a terrorist in exchange for oil?

I guess it's just the cost of doing business:

The Democratic senators from New York and New Jersey are now calling on BP to suspend drilling operations in Libya's Gulf of Sidra until an investigation can be completed into whether the company pushed for the release of a convicted terrorist in order to seal a major oil deal.

Megrahi is the only person who has been convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing that killed 270 people in 1988. BP has admitted that it lobbied for a prisoner exchange—they have just not said which prisoners.

I actually knew a couple of the Screaming Eagles (101st) who died in that terrorist act. If this story is true, BP has crossed the line, big time.

Confrontation looming for Wake school board meeting

I wonder if Dallas not-the-bus-driver will give the volunteers a ride:

Northern Wake County Republicans are recruiting volunteers "to counter the NAACP's rally" planned in protest at Tuesday's meeting of the Wake County school board.

In a Friday post to its e-mail list, the Northern Wake Republican Club called for 164 "solid conservative people" to sign up for tickets to the meeting and encouraged them to speak in "support of our school board's decision to stop forced busing."

I'm surprised Ticketmaster hasn't tried to horn in on these events.

Senator Hagan solidly behind caps on emissions

Adding her signature to a letter sent to the leader of the Senate:

“We believe the scale of this challenge dictates the need for a comprehensive solution that includes making polluters pay through a price on greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Roland Burris of Illinois, Al Franken of Minnesota, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ted Kaufmann of Delaware, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Udall of Colorado, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Mark Warner of Virginia.

And I believe you're right.

Wine wars: Coble & McHenry get paid, big time

Bowing to the wishes of monopolistic beer & wine distributors:

the CARE Act, if passed, would erect large hurdles for anyone attempting to challenge a state’s wine-shipping laws through litigation by giving the 21st Amendment, which grants states the right to control alcohol sales, precedence over the Commerce Clause, the section in Article One that prohibits states from discriminating between in- and out-of-state commerce.

Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), who introduced the bill to the floor alongside Delahunt, has accepted $27,500 from the NBWA since 2005. The wholesaler associations invested most enthusiastically in Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.)—the NBWA sent him $42,500 in five years, and the WSWA contributed an additional $4,000.

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