scharrison's blog

Bush's Brain coming to UNC

Karl Rove will speak at UNC on September 20th:

Karl Rove, the chief political advisor to Republican President George W. Bush, will speak at UNC-Chapel Hill on September 20th.

Rove, now a political analyst for Fox News, will give a talk at 5 p.m. at Memorial Hall, Rob Christensen reports. The speech is being sponsored by the UNC College Republicans as well as other conservative groups.

Note to the N&O: at least some of your readers might be interested in finding out who those "other conservative groups" are. You owe me 2 1/2 hours of my life back.

Fact-checking ala Binker & Banks

The News & Record staff solicits solicitations:

If you send us the ad in electronic form or can mail it to us, we’ll try to do fact checks on as many as we can. We’re most interested in fliers regarding races in Guilford, Rockingham and Davidson counties and will look at everything from the U.S. Senate race on down to county commissioner and city council campaigns. If you see an ad but aren't able to get a copy or recording, send an e-mail describing it and who aired it and we'll go looking.

E-mail: mbinker@news-record.com

U.S. Mail: Political Ads c/o Margaret Banks, News & Record, 200 East Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27420.

Hopefully the results will end up in the dead tree version, as well.

Herald-Sun switches off reader comments

In response to an apparent uptick in abusive comments, the Durham Herald-Sun has decided to suspend the comment feature on its stories:

Users who would prefer to discuss ideas or content of the news are being drowned out by a few participants who lob insults at their fellow users. The discourse in our comments section is devolving and it's time to pull the plug.

Silencing all readers for the behavior of a few is never a good idea, but to do so in the critical part of an election season makes it even worse. When news outlets cover ads and publish campaign statements, very often the only fact-checking is done by the readers themselves. Shutting that off will leave many important questions unasked.

On price gouging and free market foolishness

Governor Perdue declares a state of emergency at Earl's approach:

The state’s price gouging law has gone into effect because Gov. Beverly Perdue has declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Earl. “We’re warning price gougers that you can’t use a storm as an excuse to make an unfair profit off of consumers,” said Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper in a news release.

Price gouging — or charging too much in times of crisis — is against North Carolina law when a disaster, an emergency or an abnormal market disruption for critical goods and services is declared or proclaimed by the governor.

Seems like a pretty basic and necessary function of the government; protecting us during times of crisis, right? Not in the minds of the extreme anti-government, free-market zealots.

FHFA continues its attack on PACE program

Now you have to pay off Solar panels before selling your house:

On Tuesday, Fannie and Freddie issued guidance to lenders stating that borrowers with sufficient equity in their homes must pay off the loans before refinancing. Those homeowners without enough equity to take cash out of their home to pay off the lien can refinance with the loan in place.

“It’s absolutely clear now that the F.H.F.A. is not at all interested in working out a solution that would allow PACE to proceed — the agency appears intent only on obstructing the program,” Janill L. Richards, a California supervising deputy attorney general, wrote in an e-mail.

Where is home, Senator Burr?

Does your claim "Home nearly every weekend" include this home in DC?

About 450 New Jersey Av SE

County/Region: Washington county DC / D.C. Southeast
Year built: 1890 | Builder: N/A
Square footage: 940 sq. ft. (land) | 1,156 sq. ft. (living)

Beds: 3.0 | Baths: 2.5 | Stories: 2

Census tract: 65/Folger Park
Property taxes: $5,913.96 (2008)

You can see the street view of his house (the grey one) if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. I tried to capture the image, but no luck.

Cautionary tale of contracted waste management

When public-private ventures fail, someone has to clean up the mess:

Heaped with decades of refuse, the 34-acre site has been unsecured since 2000 when the Phoenix Recycling Corporation was ordered to cease operations.

Since then, no taxes have been paid on the property and the owners have taken no responsible actions toward removal of metals, wood, plastics and rubber from the site now surrounded by two heavily populated residential neighborhoods and a middle school. The site is just outside Havelock’s city limits and within Craven County.

Waste management is not something we like to sit around pondering or discussing. But lack of attention can result in a toxic nightmare.

Big-money right-wing roundup

Whether you support the DSCC or not, their opposition research is very enlightening. Via e-mail:

We've compiled an insider's guide that traces the GOP's plans to regain power. It shows where the money is coming from - when it's not hidden - and who's pulling the strings behind the political curtain. Their names read like a who's who list of right-wing puppet masters, and they've been working together on behalf of corporate special interests and the right wing for decades.

There you go, James. It looks like your "Puppet Master" phrase is gaining some legs. If you don't mind, could you work on bringing paisley back in style again? I've got several shirts hanging in my closet waiting for the next resurgence, so...

The unsustainable aspects of growth

Tim Toben takes consumerism and GDP to the woodshed:

On the current economic roadmap, all growth is good. An industry that pollutes the air, water or soil or extracts minerals from an indigenous community without adequately compensating it is as prized as a non-polluting industry that builds community or restores ecosystems.

Most threatening of all, the material throughput of the economic system is breaching the boundaries of the biosphere. A condition known as "ecological overshoot" exists, whereby the global economy is now using up more than 1.4 times the Earth's capacity to regenerate the natural capital upon which the system and all life depends.

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