scharrison's blog

Richard Burr: "I already spent that money!"

Billionaire Republican crooks finally facing charges:

Fraud and insider trading charges against two Texas billionaires have created a political snag for the GOP. Samuel and Charles Wyly, brothers who founded Sterling Software and sold it for nearly $4 billion in 2000, have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates in recent years.

Samantha Smith, a spokeswoman for Burr, said the $4,000 he accepted from Charles and Dee Wyly in 2004 was spent in that election cycle. “It’s money that was spent in 2004,” she said. “If Democrats are asking for us to return the money, it’s already gone.”

But you knew it was bad money even back then, didn't you?

Let the Sunshine in: open government in NC

On the heels of last week's reflections on the psychological impact of transparency in government, an exploration of the natural and legal challenges associated with opening up government is in order.

I sat down with Elon University Associate Provost Dr. Connie Book the other day, who also serves as the Executive Director of the NC Open Government Coalition's Sunshine Center. The interview was illuminating to say the least, and I'd like to share with you some of the things Connie and I discussed.

Myers Park Pat pens manifesto in...Sacremento?

Advising its new mayor on how to assert dominance:

Council members elected by a few people in a district begin to be major power brokers at the expense of the mayor. This results in fractured ward politics and policies that do not represent long-term visionary needs for the entire city.

To overcome these and other deterrents of this form of government, I recommend the following for the mayor of Sacramento: Use the bully pulpit through the media directly to the people to stop obstructions of progress by either city staff or council members.

Translation: If anybody gets out of line, grab the nearest tv news crew and trash that person's reputation.

Alamance County immigration battle heats up

Local Tea Party steps in to defend racial profiling Sheriff:

Fairness Alamance is inciting “racism for political gain” as part of an agenda to oust Sheriff Terry Johnson in the November elections, says Alamance County Tea Party organizer Steve Carter.

The statement also claims that Fairness Alamance “has consistently harassed the Sheriff’s Department over this issue, while costing Alamance County taxpayers more and more money even after the Justice Department has proven that everything was above board.”

That last part might be mildly compelling, if it were true. But it's not.

No bachelor's degrees for military spouses

Preparing for a lesser future:

The Department of Defense has reopened its program to help military spouses pay for school, but, as expected, fewer people will be eligible, and they'll get less money.

Under the new rules, the program will pay for course work for spouses of service members in lower pay grades only. It will only pay for associate's degrees, licensing and certification programs - no bachelor's or master's degrees.

This is so typical of the DoD. Raise hopes high and then dash them with new rules and cuts.

Has the DSCC written off the Marshall campaign?

I just received this via e-mail:

National Republicans just launched their opening media attack, reserving more than $2.7 million in air time against Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray and Russ Feingold.

Our figures show that we can't win with this huge map unless we reach our grassroots donor goals. Missing goals means not competing in states where we have a fighting chance.

I mentioned the other day that I hadn't seen the DSCC mention one word about Elaine Marshall, and I still haven't. And I want some answers.

Frasier picks another loonie

Sideshow Bob raises money for preppy warlord:

Kelsey Grammer, the star of the hit TV series “Frasier,” is coming to Wilmington early next week, but his visit is political, not theatrical.

Grammer will appear at fundraisers in Wilmington and Lumberton Monday for Republican Congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, Pantano confirmed Tuesday. He said the private fundraisers would be held at private homes, but would not disclose the locations.

Yawn...

"Controlled Choice" in Wake schools

Consultant Michael Alves presents new (yet old) plan for school assignments:

Massachusetts education consultant Michael Alves is rolling out the idea of a "controlled choice" plan for student assignment before a Wake County school board committee.

Alves has gotten mostly positive reaction from the six school board members and other community members at the meeting at the school administration building on Wake Forest Road. Since a school board majority discarded Wake County's former diversity-based assignment plan in March, the board and the student assignment committee meeting today have been looking at possibilities for a replacement.

NC to outsource IT management

For good or ill, big changes are on the way:

Faced with a looming, $3 billion budget deficit, North Carolina is eyeing a major shakeup of its tech operations that could see the state outsource the bulk of its IT work to the private sector while consolidating other operations internally.

"The Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) issued a Request for Information to seek input and ideas from the vendor community for improving the delivery of IT in state government," Perdue said in the memo, dated July 21st.

I wonder how this will impact FOIA requests?

Mother Vine struggling to survive

She seems to be improving, but she's not out of the woods yet:

A power company contractor removing brush from power poles in late May had accidentally sprayed the most famous planting along North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Wilson pruned dead leaves and vines, only to watch the weedkiller outrace him, pumping poison from the ends of the vine toward the roots. The culprit was Garlon 3A, a Dow Chemical product. "A very nasty herbicide," said Wilson's 57-year-old son, John Wilson IV.

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