scharrison's blog

The psychology of transparency

There is a growing distrust of government officials and groups of such (commissions, agencies, etc.), and this distrust is mostly driven by well-publicized examples of bad behavior. In response, efforts to "open the window" and expose their actions have become very popular.

Many view this as an investigatory tool; a method to root out the bad and make more room for the good. This assumption will work in a pinch, but it leaves out important aspects of transparency and the individuals being exposed to it, and I believe a closer look will be good for our collective soul.

Marshall attacks Burr over judicial holdup

When you have two faces, don't be surprised when one of them gets smacked:

Speaking with ThinkProgress at the Netroots Nation convention yesterday, U.S. Senate candidate Elaine Marshall (D-NC) harshly rebuked Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for his use of secret holds on Judges James Wynn and Albert Diaz, who have both been nominated for the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

When President Obama renominated Wynn, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Burr supported the decision. Although Wynn cleared the Judiciary Committee, a vote on his confirmation has not been scheduled because, despite his public support for Wynn, Burr placed a hold on Wynn’s nomination. When asked for comment by the press, Burr duplicitously said he that he “applauds Sen. Hagan for her ongoing efforts to encourage Majority Leader Reid to schedule their nominations for votes on the Senate floor.”

Fracking to receive closer scrutiny by the EPA

And it's about fracking time:

The streams of people came to the public meeting here armed with stories of yellowed and foul-smelling well water, deformed livestock, poisoned fish and itchy skin.

The culprit, these people argued, was hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas that involves blasting underground rock with a cocktail of water, sand and chemicals.

NC's DWQ should take steps immediately to postpone issuing permits for our "gas rush", until more is known about the impacts of this technique.

Free market meltdown

Just when you thought it was safe to peddle Nutty Buddies:

One ice cream truck driver is accused of beating up another ice cream truck driver Thursday in Corolla.

Witnesses said Christopher Schurr, 31, of Poplar Branch, got out of his truck and slugged the other driver, Artem Vladimirovich, 20, of Kill Devil Hills. Schurr was charged with simple assault. Vladimirovich was treated and released.

Schurr said in the police report that Vladimirovich cut him off while the two trucks were making rounds in the Corolla neighborhood.

Fred Eshelman's drug money

It buys propaganda:

RightChange.com communicates with a zingy edge and a sense of humor, without being afraid to pose difficult questions to those in power. RightChange.com believes that Americans can address our national challenges by working together across party lines and not simply accepting political “sound bites” that are contradictory to the facts and insulting to our intelligence.

I've got your "zingy edge" right here, pal.

Senate Dems give up on climate change

Pseudo-scientific bullshit wins the day:

Bowing to political reality, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, said the Senate would not take up legislation intended to reduce carbon emissions blamed as a cause of climate change

“We know where we are,” Mr. Reid told reporters after reviewing the state of energy legislation with Senate Democrats and administration officials. “We know that we don’t have the votes.”

Yeah, why make the Republicans actually filibuster, when you can let them off the hook to go fundraising?

Lawyers debate LGBT discrimination

At issue is the wording of the preamble to the Rules of Professional Conduct:

North Carolina's attorneys are arguing again over whether to encourage colleagues to keep personal prejudice out of their work by endorsing language designed to protect gays, and most recently, transgender people.

Lawyers opposing the change said they already treat clients with respect but believe it would be the first step toward forcing them to take cases about issues they disagree with on moral grounds.

I've got an even better debate: is the phrase "morally conscious lawyer" ripe for classification as an oxymoron?

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.”

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