scharrison's blog

President Obama in Charlotte

Bringing good news on the jobs front:

As I said, just one year ago, we were losing an average of more than 700,000 jobs each month. But the tough measures that we took -- measures that were necessary even though sometimes they were unpopular -- have broken this slide and are helping us to climb out of this recession. We’ve now added an average of more than 50,000 jobs each month over the first quarter of this year. And this month’s increase of 162,000 jobs was the best news we’ve seen on the job front in more than two years.

This month, more Americans woke up, got dressed, and headed to work at an office or factory or storefront. More folks are feeling the sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with a hard-earned and well-deserved paycheck at the end of a long week of work.

Ballantine accused of racketeering

In a civil suit filed by a former employee:

The lawsuit, filed in New Hanover County Superior Court, also alleges Ballantine, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2004, participated in “racketeering activity” and fraud, including inflating the quantities of waste the company disposed of at the New Hanover County Landfill and charging customers based on the inflated amount.

The suit names Waste Hauling Services, Ballantine, Russ Britton, Jeffrey Milliken and George Cunningham Jr. as defendants. It seeks more than $10,000 for eight separate claims, including breach of contract, fraud, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Union County becoming cold as ICE

Engaging in the deportation of illegal immigrants via the Secure Communities database:

The Union County sheriff's office and seven other N.C. county law enforcement agencies have joined the newest federal program that identifies illegal immigrants in the jails.

Supporters say the program is a valuable tool to protect the community and helps identify the criminal histories of people here illegally. Critics however say 287(g) targets minor offenders. A UNC Chapel Hill report released last month found that nearly a third of immigrants flagged for deportation from N.C. jails were arrested on traffic violations.

AFP and Civitas sponsor Tea Party "Summits"

From Rob Christensen via the Dome:

The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative anti-tax, smaller government group, is trying to get the North Carolina Tea Party movement organized.

The Raleigh-based chapter is organizing two "North Carolina Tea Party Summits" — one in Hickory and one in Wilmington to help galvanize the movement, Rob Christensen reports.

Energy Star appliance rebate program in April

Wise use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds:

The North Carolina Energy Office is preparing to kick off its statewide Energy Star Appliance Replacement and Rebate Program, which will offer North Carolina residents a 15 percent at-the-store rebate on certain Energy Star-rated appliances April 22-25.

The North Carolina Energy Office estimates that 49,960 Energy Star items will be purchased statewide during the April program period, saving enough electricity to power 536 homes for a year. Natural gas savings would serve 390 homes for a year.

Commission fails to provide guidance on terminal groins

Clearing the way for the Legislature to screw up our coast even more:

Some members of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission say they weren't trying to undermine a 25-year-old policy of banning coastal seawalls and jetties Thursday when they declined to support a proposal to keep the ban.

But undermining the ban is likely the impression that many legislators will get after the commission voted 8-5 to send a muddled message to Raleigh.

Navy uses pilots as salesmen for OLF

Somebody needs to tell the Secretary of the Navy it's not the pilots' job to do this:

“If someone wanted to build an OLF next to my house, I would either raise my concerns or I would move or I would evaluate how bad (the noise) might be and then make a decision,” he said during an interview last week aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Shuman was one of several members of Strike Fighter Squadron 105 based at Oceana that Navy officials made available to reporters from The Daily Advance and other news organizations aboard the Truman on Thursday. The one-day event was designed to give reporters an up-close look at the F/A-18 Super Hornets and the flight crews that operate them.

NC Justice Center defends migrant workers from gender bias

This is how we treat them when they do come here legally:

The federal suit filed in Raleigh by three women says that as many as 150 migrant workers could have been short-shrifted by Captain Charlie's Seafood in Tyrrell County, about 150 miles east of Raleigh. The suit seeks class-action status to represent all other employees who might have been paid less than is required by this country's visa program for temporary foreign workers.

The Justice Center settled a similar suit last year, involving travel and visa expenses, against Frog Island Seafood in Elizabeth City. According to the suit, to get from Mexico to this country the migrants paid a $100 visa reciprocity fee at a Mexican bank, a $100 visa fee to the U.S. Consulate and $270 for a bus ticket.

Governor Perdue comments about Titan Cement

It may not be vehement opposition, but I'm not sure this equates to "failing to take a stand", either:

Perdue said she has talked to people and have read literature about the controversial cement plant, but is not the kind of person to take a side. There is an analytical process in place to ensure safety before a permit can be issued. According to the governor, the Department of Environment says they are engrossed in making sure the right decision is made for the state.

"I want to be sure the plant is safe and sound," said Perdue. "I will refuse to do anything that harms our air and water."

Returning veterans face widespread unemployment

I received this link via e-mail from a friend on the Governor's Focus panel:

The unemployment rate last year for young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans hit 21.1 percent, the Labor Department said Friday, reflecting a tough obstacle combat veterans face as they make the transition home from war.

Many of the unemployed are members of the Guard and Reserves who have deployed multiple times, said Joseph Sharpe, director of the economic division at the American Legion. Sharpe said some come home to find their jobs have been eliminated because the company has downsized. Other companies may not want to hire someone who could deploy again or will have medical appointments because of war-related health problems, he said.

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