scharrison's blog

Migrant bees overworked, still disappearing

No end in sight for bees suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder:

Hackenberg said he and other major commercial beekeepers have seen "50 percent or better" losses since late fall and in the winter, when bees typically are clustered in a warm and fuzzy ball within the hive. "We started seeing losses in late October, early November -- and they just kept going through the middle of January," he said. Some of the losses will be made up by beekeepers splitting one strong hive into two weaker ones.

Eighty percent of his afflicted hives showed signs of CCD, Hackenberg said. With the condition, foraging worker bees don't return to a hive even if a full brood is waiting to hatch. One theory is that the foragers, knowing they are sick, fly off to die rather than compromise the hive.

Conservatives and agenda-driven pseudo-science

In their efforts to roll back critical environmental legislation:

As with so many government programs, the Clean Smokestacks Bill is not living up to expectations. Costs are skyrocketing, increasing energy prices and adding insult to an already injured economy. Furthermore, benefits in terms of improved air quality are questionable.

Lawmakers should repeal recent regulations like Senate Bill 3’s renewable energy requirement. They also should abandon all attempts to regulate production and use of energy in the name of fighting global warming.

so-called "experts" repeatedly contradict themselves by attempting to fashion study results into a specific message.

AFP attempts bloodless coup in Onslow County

Why wait for the voters to decide, when you can vote them out with a piece of paper:

The Americans for Prosperity drafted a resolution calling for the resignation of all five Onslow County commissioners, who are Republican. The resolution claims commissioners have raised taxes, which is against the party platform, and attempted to suppress free speech about the issue at meetings.

AFP President Tye Rudy — who was nearly removed from the convention for being called out of order by Lamb — said he introduced the resolution to call for the commissioners’ resignations because “the officials are not living up to standards. And that upsets the electorate.”

Methinks taking away their right to choose their own government would upset the electorate quite a bit more...

History is (re)written by the winners

Claiming history texts are skewed, Republicans in Texas skew it their own way:

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

The curriculum standards will now be published in a state register, opening them up for 30 days of public comment. A final vote will be taken in May, but given the Republican dominance of the board, it is unlikely that many changes will be made.

Supremes oppose judicial elections

Removing voters from the equation:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday night that she believes states should give up the practice of electing judges. "If there's a reform I would make, it would be that," Ginsburg said during a question-and-answer session of the National Association of Women Judges, which is meeting in Washington.

Retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor has made the issue her priority since leaving the Supreme Court in 2006, arguing that raising campaign funds and promising specific performance on the bench are antithetical to the practice of judging. She favors merit selection or an appointment system such as the one used to pick federal judges.

What say you?

Ed Hanes drops Primary challenge of Linda Garrou

Placing unity above disunity:

Citing the need for Democratic Party unity, Ed Hanes Jr. has suspended his primary challenge against incumbent N.C. Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth, for the 32nd district seat.

Hanes' name will still be on the ballot, but he said he is backing Garrou for re-election.

The coal ash into concrete debate

We'll start by highlighting a local company's success in this technique:

As the state and its utilities grapple with what to do with coal ash - the residue left when coal is burned to make electricity - a Cary company is quietly doing something about it.

PMI Ash Technologies pipes the residue, fly ash, out of the coal plants, extracts the residual energy and then produces a material that can be used to make concrete. That product is considered an ecofriendly building material because it reduces the amount of ash that is put in coal ash ponds and landfills.

Martinez dances for the Puppetmaster

Little Ricky's strings are showing:

The nastiness surrounding the Wake County school board's move away from schools' economic diversity grows increasingly vile. It's also irrelevant.

Folks, the conversion to community-based schools is a done deal.

The state NAACP can file as many rant-laden complaints against the new majority as it pleases. Its national leaders can call for resignations. The Rev. William Barber can continue to sing to the heavens that the opponents of community-based schools will not be moved.

Fine. But neither will the new majority and their supporters.

Hawke flies away from D'Annunzio campaign

It's not me, it's you:

Hawke said he parted ways in part over D'Annunzio's posts on a blog called "Christ's War," which combines politics with Biblical references and end-times theology. Hawke said he advised the candidate to take it down after a February Observer story quoted passages from it.

"He took it down, told me it was down and down to stay," said Hawke, who advised former Gov. Jim Martin and gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory. "Next I knew it was in the N&O telling me it was back up. ... I don't think any candidate should get up at 3 or 4 in the morning, sit down in front of a computer and pour your heart out. It's just not a smart thing to do."

Jack, you just can't reason with a megalomaniac.

During brutal Winter, NC utilities disconnect tens of thousands

I understand they're in business to make money, and I'm not saying they should give it away for free, but this is really cold:

Mary Martin says it felt like she had gotten punched in the chest - by her utility bill. It has run as high as $350 during the coldest of winter months, she says. But last month, it climbed to over $600: an overwhelming figure to a 52-year-old who, like millions of other Americans, has lost her job and tapped out her unemployment benefits.

With Charlotte-area unemployment hovering at a near-record 12.1 percent, problems like those are multiplying. Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas are both reporting a jump in residential disconnections in 2009, with Duke's up 6.3 percent (to 144,804 statewide) and Piedmont's up 15.9 percent (to 53,696).

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