scharrison's blog

NC GOP's usurpation of power continues

An unethical move to control ethics probes:

The budget plan that will go to the House floor next week would move campaign finance reporting from the State Board of Elections and lobbying registration from the Secretary of State's office, combining operations in the State Ethics Commission.

A bill filed by Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, would essentially merge the State Ethics Commission and the State Board of Elections, combining all their functions.

It doesn't just combine them, it moves them into a new entity under the direct control of GOP legislators:

Calling out the Speaker of the House

If speaking untruths is all you can do, then step the fuck down:

Tillis said he was concerned about more than the 37,000 people affected: The tens of thousands of state employees whose fates would be uncertain if an agreement can't be reached on the budget.

Since apparently nobody else is going to call you on this lie, I'll do it: If Governor Perdue had signed this piece of garbage, the fates of those tens of thousands of state employees wouldn't be uncertain, their fates would be sealed:

PA fracking spill mishandled

Instead of using PA response team, Chesapeake Energy called Texas:

When Chesapeake Energy lost control of a Marcellus Shale gas well in Pennsylvania on April 19, an emergency response team from Texas was called in to stop the leak. By the time the team arrived more than 13 hours later, brine water and hydraulic fracturing fluids from the well had spewed across nearby fields and into a creek.

Adding more questions to the dozens of others our officials need to be asking: In the event of an ongoing accidental spill of toxic chemicals and/or highly flammable gas, who/how/when will the emergency response be handled? Pennsylvania thought they had this figured out:

Walter Dalton on unemployment compensation

The lieutenant Governor vents his exasperation:

“As the Presiding Officer of the Senate, it is not my role to jump into the debate during the Senate session. However, I have watched for the last week while the Senate discussed all sorts of issues that have nothing to do with jobs and the economy. Meanwhile, 37,000 of our citizens have lost unemployment benefits because of a political stunt.

"Stunt" is putting it mildly. The GOP intentionally used those 37,000 families as pawns, exposing them to unnecessary hardship and uncertainty. Their arrogance and lack of sympathy is nothing short of disgusting.

Your words are needed

Via e-mail from the NC Conservation Network:

It’s critical that legislators hear from those who value strong public health and environmental protections like yourself, not just from big special interest groups who want to pollute our beautiful state without consequences. Personal comments from citizens like you who know the value of these protections will be very meaningful.

To write your message to the Joint Regulatory Reform Committee, go here and click the "Stand up for NC's environment and public health" link. Here's mine:

NC GOP doubling down on anti-rail efforts

There's more than one way to skin a rail grant:

...a committee removed a provision that would give the legislature veto power over future rail grants, so the measure up for a vote requires only conversation between legislators and DOT officials.

Meanwhile, the proposed House budget advancing toward a floor vote next week includes a special provision similar to the bill to be voted on today, and it includes the part about giving the legislature power to keep DOT from accepting major rail grants in the future.

Not only will this set up a statutory conflict if both bills survive, shifting unwise and unpopular ideological tripe to the Budget bill is a recipe for conflict there, too. Which may be the GOP gameplan, anyway.

Daydreaming of Dixie

One out of every three Republicans still wish the South had won the War:

Tar Heel Republicans are evenly divided on the question, with 35 percent glad the North won, 33 percent wishing the South had won, and 32 percent not sure.

Forget the multiple choice questions; I'd like to see that 33 percent write an essay on what our country would be like if the South had won. That would be some quality entertainment.

Idiot endorses fellow idiot for President

Franklin Graham hearts Donald Trump:

Asked by Amanpour whether Trump - who's promoting accusations that President Barack Obama was not born in America - might be Graham's choice for 2012, he responded: "Sure, yes, sure." There was no discussion of how Graham, a conservative Christian, could support a thrice-married owner of gambling casinos.

Even if there had been, I'm sure Graham Cracker would have opined on Trump's heart being in the right place, or some such nonsense. As far as President Obama, though:

Hunger in the NC mountains

Food insecurity spreads in WNC:

Overall, one in six residents of WNC faces food insecurity, according to the Map the Meal Gap 2011 study. In some WNC counties, the rate is as high as one in four.

The report was commissioned by Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

Operations like MANNA FoodBank rely heavily on individual donations, and when need skyrockets during a recession, those donations simply can't keep pace:

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