scharrison's blog

The other North Carolina government

I realize that poking fun at fringe groups is a weakness of mine; a pointless self-indulgence, as it were. But sometimes I can't help myself:

In 1997, John Ainsworth, along with several others, legally re-established the de jure (lawful) state of North Carolina. The North-Carolina American Republic, or NCAR, has been in operation since that time and convenes monthly. The basis of this re-establishment is rooted in a legal argument that is supported by irrefutable historical evidence which was uncovered by Ainsworth as a result of over 19 years of study. Armed with this knowledge, lawful state citizens have taken the matter to court - demanding that the current state of North Carolina prove its lawfulness.

Protecting the two-percenters

UNC's Gene Nichol roasts Republicans for their deficit hypocrisy:

My own sense of it is the national Republicans are now saying, clearly, even if by indirection, "We're the party of the 2 percent." We're willing to further bust the budget, to countenance massive teacher and first-responder layoffs, to leave millions out of work, to permit our beyond-frayed social safety net to crumble, to increase what is already the steepest income inequality in the Western industrial world and to flatly discard the concerns of "the least of these" in order to bolster the economic prospects of a relative handful of the wealthiest people in the United States. Some mission that.

Puppets in the paper

Have they rented a certain amount of page space from the N&O, or what?

North Carolina is trying to prepare for the future economy by putting recommendations from Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton's JOBS (Joining Our Businesses and Schools) Commission into practice. Two bills that Gov. Bev Perdue recently signed into law come directly from the commission's report.

Unfortunately, the JOBS Commission recommendations - and therefore the new laws - are based on false assumptions and unrealistic projections.

Here we go again: dueling studies about the value of studies, all in the interest of partisan politics.

UNC tuition cap in jeopardy

Some will feel the pinch more than others:

A group of tuition and financial aid experts from across the UNC system is recommending that the four-year-old cap be loosened so tuition can go higher if state money lags. The group suggests that the cap could rise if the state provides less money to the university in a given year than the 6 percent increase it has averaged over time.

The 6.5 percent cap was put in place in 2006 at the behest of UNC President Erskine Bowles, who took office that year trumpeting the need for more predictable tuition growth.

So much for having economic diversity in our state institutions of higher learning...

Exploring renewable energy targets

Bob Geary from the Indyweek crunches some numbers for energy generation and efficiency:

In North Carolina, the institute study found, renewables could supply 40 percent of the state's electricity by 2025. Costs would be comparable to those of conventional power sources—coal, nuclear, natural gas—but with major advantages in air quality, reduced water consumption and zero "climate impacts," it said.

North Carolina could reduce electricity usage by almost one-fourth by 2025. In the next 20 years, renewables (40 percent) combined with energy-efficiency (24 percent) could account for nearly two-thirds of the state's electric-power needs.

But there is a debate amongst proponents on whether (or not) we should reopen SB3 (REPS bill) for modification.

SBI probe details bias and witness coaching

The News & Observer's series continues:

Problems at the lab run deeper than blood. State law puts scientists at the lab on the prosecution's team, instead of assigning them as independent seekers of fact. Analysts sometimes don't run DNA or blood tests that might threaten prosecutors' theories. And they shield themselves from scrutiny, fighting against turning over records and forbidding defense experts from observing their work.

To SBI analysts, defense attorneys are often the bad guys. Training manuals and directives paint defense attorneys as tricksters who are driven to let criminals go free. "Tell the D.A. in advance of any weaknesses in the case so that the trial of the case can be planned to minimize the weaknesses' impact," says a 2007 manual used to teach analysts how to testify in court.

Republican hypocrisy about debt

It's a popular misconception that Republicans are concerned about our nation's debt problem. It's maybe less inaccurate to say they're concerned about government debt, but that's not really their root concern either, is it? In reality, it's the collective management of our resources they are opposed to, because this puts power in the hands of the people, not (business) corporations.

How have I arrived at this conclusion, you may ask? Because of the way they approach individual (personal) debt. Not only is that kind of debt "okay", Republicans go out of their way protecting their corporate masters' freedom to enslave us with usurial and wealth-destroying practices.

Richard Burr's new favorite word: "state"

If you say it enough, people start to believe it:

“As a guy who travels the state, I think the rest of the state is envious of the success of economic development that has happened here,” Burr said. “It has been a long time coming, but this is a great model for the rest of the state to have high hopes about what else can come.”

“I try to make sure that the August break is focused on two things — businesses in the state and civic organizations,”...“It gives me a flavor for the skills that we have in the state, and it helps me with economic development to know what still needs to be done.”

Burr said that by knowing what is already here in North Carolina, he is able to better understand what the state needs.

Monster iceberg on the loose

And whatever gets in its way is going to have a bad day:

An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland. Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes - and any collision could do untold damage.

Few images can capture the world's climate fears like a 100-square- mile chunk of ice breaking off Greenland's vast ice sheet, a reservoir of freshwater that if it collapsed would raise global sea levels by a devastating 20 feet.

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