scharrison's blog

Solar and Wind: A perfect match

But will we have the vision to move forward?

File this information away for the next time you hear that wind and solar power can't replace the giant electricity-generating plants because the sun and wind are "intermittent" and therefore unreliable.

They are intermittent when considered separately, says John Blackburn, an energy economist with top-flight credentials. But taken together, solar and wind are complementary sources of potential power—highly reliable and relatively inexpensive power—that could supply most of North Carolina's future electricity needs.

Insurance Commissioner's authority under attack (again)

And nobody seems to know where the attack came from:

Senator Katie Dorsett co-chairs the subcommittee that wrote that section of the budget. “I do not know where it originated. It came to our committee. We included it. And I was not aware of it."

One level up, the lead budget writers didn’t know much more about the provision than Dorsett or Atwater did. Garrou, Albertson, Swindell – no one could explain it. “I know that it was put in there to try to structure the insurance ratemaking the same way you would do with utilities and other things,” Swindell said. “But I’m not sure, on the dotted line, who it was that suggested that.”

Republican mayor puts prayer back on the menu

Greensboro's new Republican mayor Bill Knight adds God to his list of trusted advisors:

Mayor Bill Knight is going a step further. He’s bringing prayer to the group’s regular meetings.

“I think this adds a very distinctly American quality and a very necessary element,” he said. “We all believe in something. This is an opportunity to exercise that without infringing on the government-religion prohibition.”

It's neither necessary nor "distinctly American" Mister Mayor.

Annexation reform bill not likely to pass

Both sides of the debate have problems with the referenda aspects of the bill:

Those opposed to involuntary annexations who have been lobbying for changes in the law since 2008 now say the 34-page bill makes the situation worse for home and business owners.

And they say their brass ring - requiring a referendum as a prerequisite for involuntary annexations - is tarnished because the threshold for such a vote is too tall for anyone to reach. Fifteen percent of registered voters within the existing city limits and the area to be annexed would have to sign a petition seeking a vote.

SEANC pushes 3rd party signature drive

They're apparently more serious than we thought:

Wearing matching "Bring Jobs to North Carolina" T-shirts, Donnell Smith of Fayetteville and Shelitia Brooks of Raeford told people they were trying to create better jobs and more affordable health care.

What they didn't say is they're also trying to throw 8th District Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell out of office.

But could they also be inadvertently helping to throw Tim D'Annunzio "in" office?

Forrester pushes marriage amendment (again)

And he's hoping for help from a Democrat:

Forrester said he’s hoping the proposed constitutional change will have a better chance this year since the Senate has a new Rules Committee chairman.

The new chairman is Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston. Hoyle signed on as a cosponsor of the proposed amendment last year. Hoyle said he expects to send the bill to the Rules Committee this year. But he doesn’t expect the committee to take it up.

Support for offshore drilling in NC drops

I hope the General Assembly is paying attention:

Public support for drilling off the North Carolina coast has dropped sharply in the past month according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh.

In April, 61 percent of Tar Heel voters polled said they supported offshore drilling, with only 26 percent opposed. Now 47 percent support it, with 38 percent opposed, according to the poll.

Lawmakers' budget solution: more gambling!

The bright ideas just keep coming:

As state lawmakers are weighing their options for closing a budget deficit of nearly $800 million, some are exploring taxing the wave of gaming parlors that have opened statewide in recent months.

Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, said Wednesday that the state should consider regulating and taxing the gaming parlors. "If it's a revenue source of any significant consequence, maybe it's something we have to look at," Hoyle said.

Man, crack cocaine is huge. We should look into taxing that, too.

Governor Perdue struggles with ethics and lobbying issues

Bev withdraws at the last minute for this:

Gov. Bev Perdue was scheduled to appear at an event next week organized by a group backing ethics reform, one of her pet issues.

But there was a catch that the governor's staff says she didn't know about: The event is a fundraiser for the reform group, and was being hosted by an all-star group of lobbyists, a format that seemed to run counter to the proposals to clean up state government.

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