scharrison's blog

Blackwater shooters not out of the woods yet

US COA panel dismisses judge's dismissal:

An appeals court on Friday resurrected the case against four Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a 2007 shooting in a Baghdad public square that killed 17 Iraqi citizens.

A federal trial judge in Washington, Ricardo Urbina, threw out the case on New Year's Eve 2009 after he found the Justice Department mishandled evidence and violated the guards' constitutional rights. But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Urbina wrongly interpreted the law.

Philandering Republican resigns from U.S. Senate

John Ensign slinks away after two years of dodging:

Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) announced Thursday he will resign his seat on May 3, due to a Senate ethics committee investigation over his extramarital affair with a former campaign aide.

His parents reportedly wrote a $96,000 check to his former mistress...It was later revealed that Ensign may have violated Senate ethics rules by arranging for his former mistress's husband to take a job as a lobbyist with a Nevada consulting firm in an attempt to hush the matter up.

Let the Right-Wing deflections begin: "John Edwards!" "Clinton!" "JFK!" "FDR!" "Martin Van Buren!" (I just made that one up)

WRAL livestreaming public comments re regulatory reform

You can view the video stream of the meeting right here.

I've already seen a few big developers whining about profits being lost due to mean old regulators. Methinks this last public comment session has been stacked in favor of business, but I'm still watching...

Harry Payne on worker's comp bill

Injured on the job, injured by the State:

House bill 709, "Protect and Put NC Back to Work," is a shining example of the latest in that dark art where the bill title says one thing and the text of the bill does the opposite. A more accurate title would be "House Bill 709, An Act Pushed by Insurance Companies to Reduce Payments to Workers Permanently Disabled on the Job and to Tilt a Delicately Balanced Legal System Against the Interests of Every Injured Worker."

NC GOP's "Drill Bill" explored

First, a little uninformed misinformation:

Acknowledging the timing was ironic, a trio of Republican state senators this morning held a news conference to announce they had filed a bill to open up the North Carolina coast to energy drilling. Today is the one-year anniversary of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf Coast.

“But what we did learn from this disaster is we learned from our mistakes,” Rucho said. “The industry has already found ways to make sure that oil exploration and production can be done in a very safe manner.”

Apparently Bob has his Tivo set to record all of BP's tv commercials. (addendum: Read the diary below this for more BP stuff) Okay, let's take a look at the bill itself:

Koch associate to help Renee Ellmers communicate

Knowing the right lies to tell is important:

Today is Tom Doheny’s first day on Capitol Hill, where he is serving as Press Secretary for freshman Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).

He previously was in the Charles G. Koch Foundation Associate Program at American for Prosperity from 2009-2010.

Translated: Paid by Koch, used by AFP.

Wake school board violated Open Meetings Law

Via Rob Schofield over at the Pulse:

The North Carolina Court of Appeals today found that the Wake County School Board violated the state Open Meetings Act by intentionally excluding the public from meetings about the county’s diversity policy last year.

Let the sunshine in, baby.

Republicans keep unemployed tied up in the back room

In the wake of Governor Perdue's Veto of HB 383, which tied extending unemployment benefits for 37,000 jobless North Carolinians to a draconian Continuing Resolution that would result in thousands more North Carolinians losing their jobs, the next logical and compassionate step would be to separate those two conflicting policies so those 37,000 folks could get relief.

But as you can see (hear) from this presser, Republicans have no desire to do the right thing. Paraphrased:

"We sent a bill to the Governor...the next step is up to her or five Democrats in the House to override."

Put the death penalty itself on trial

And it would collapse under the preponderance of evidence:

Robinson analyzed years of data about the death penalty, which he said costs millions of dollars annually and capital murder cases are nearly four times more expensive than non-capital cases. He said seven people have been exonerated and freed from North Carolina's death row since the early 1970s.

If the Republicans really want to cut wasteful programs, this should be at the top of their list. But first they'd have to join us here in the 21st Century.

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