scharrison's blog

Martinez spews garbage about veterans and PTSD

I can't believe the N&O actually printed this mess:

Not all veterans are created equally. Combat vets are special, and the burdens they're forced to bear deserve priority status.

That's why I was disheartened to see the Department of Veterans Affairs significantly relax the requirements for a veteran to receive benefits for post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The change was made without much fanfare or discussion earlier this month.

Without much discussion? Are you really that dense, or are you putting on an act? Veterans have been fighting for this change for decades, and entire libraries can be stocked with the testimony and Q&A's from Congressional sub-committees and Federal lawsuits.

Developers to recoup Cary impact fees

Another good idea thwarted:

The town illegally required developers and homebuilders to set aside money for schools in exchange for approving their projects, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

The ruling, reaffirming a lower court decision, means Cary may have to pay close to $1 million to a group of builders - and that others may request similar refunds.

Cary enacted the ordinance for schools in 1999 and a few years later attached a fee to developments that didn't get certificates from Wake County schools.

Howard Coble joins Tea Party Caucus

Via Mark Binker's blog Capital Beat:

Even though he faced opposition in his recent primary from Tea Party-backed candidates, U.S. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) said he has decided to join the new House Tea Party Caucus. Founded by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), the Tea Party Caucus will promote many of the same ideals that Congressman Coble says he has advocated during his long tenure in Congress.

Congresswoman Bachmann said she formed the House Tea Party Caucus so everyday Americans could express their views to their members of Congress. “Congressmen will not be setting the rules;” the Minnesota Republican stated, “rather, Americans are encouraged to share their thoughts and frustrations with the direction our country is heading.

Build it, and they will ride

Midday train between Raleigh and Charlotte is a hit:

The state Department of Transportation announced on Monday that the Piedmont midday service between Raleigh and Charlotte helped increase ridership by nearly 200 percent over last June from 5,258 to 15,426.

The new train service began on June 5. It builds upon the existing Piedmont service, which runs morning and evening trains between the cities. The new service is expected to attract 43,000 new passengers in its first year.

I have to admit, I thought this "lunchtime" run would only attract a few stragglers. Shows what I know.

Republicans ride avalanche of money into November

And you'll never guess who's behind the money pile-up:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest collection point for corporate contributions, has increased its spending for the congressional election in November from $35 million in 2008 to a projected $75 million this year. Officials say it may go even higher.

The chamber has been joined by new conservative fundraising organizations — such as American Crossroads, affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove — that have committed to raising tens of millions of dollars.

Here's a little missive from American Crossroads about its mission:

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.

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