scharrison's blog

More job cuts at N&O

It may be only 20 positions eliminated, but I wonder who those twenty are?

The News & Observer Publishing Co. plans to eliminate about 20 positions, the latest cuts as the media company rides out a sharp decline in revenue.

Affected employees will be provided severance payments and other transition assistance. The N&O now has 524 full-time positions, down from 704 a year ago. The newspaper last year also cut wages, suspended contributions to retirement plans and required unpaid furloughs for its staff.

Dispelling the "Global Cooling" myth

If you follow the arguments and tactics used by the GW denialist movement and the scientific and activist communities they oppose, the interplay begins to take on some of the attributes of a really bad chess match. Poorly thought-out gambits are attempted and soon discarded in lieu of some new Bright Idea, but very few pieces are actually captured by either side. It's very tempting to walk away in disgust at such a lackluster performance, but we can't afford to do that.

NC Senate woes

I'm sure a few of you have seen Rob Christensen's 2010 Predictions, which makes for some pretty depressing reading, this part especially:

The North Carolina Senate has been in Democratic hands for 110 years. The Democrats hold a 30-20 lead, and the GOP needs to pick up six seats. With a number of veteran Democrats retiring, this is possible...Edge Republicans.

Burr's money, part two: The Charlotte Leadership Dinner Committee

A rather harmless sounding name, isn't it? Evoking images of country-club couples thrilled to be part of the dinner party circuit, painstakingly groomed and coiffed in an effort to avoid being grist for the gossip mill, the clink of fine China and crystal and the low hum of conversation eventually silenced so the cause du jour can be addressed. That may sound like a cynical assessment, but it's not. Philanthropy of this nature has brought relief to millions in this world, and we need more of it. But that formula can also be used to manipulate the outcome of elections, leaving us with a government that represents a much smaller percent of the population.

The responsibilities of being a progressive

As the year 2009 draws to a close, and idealism appears to be suffocating under the combined weights of pragmatism and corporate greed, I find myself pondering what might have gone wrong and trying to figure out ways to reverse this sad and alarming situation. This, to me, is the heart and soul of Progressivism. To face an unfortunate (or inconvenient) truth, and try to change it for the better. Join me, and I promise you won't regret it.

Gen IV nukes: Another piece of the puzzle

In an effort to give us all a break from the "much wailing and gnashing of teeth" associated with pending Federal health care legislation, I decided to work through a subject that has been on my mind recently: That being the much needed, and hopefully soon mandated, drastic reduction of carbon emissions worldwide. As we all know, weaning ourselves from the combustion of coal is not going to be easy or cheap, but the puzzle is coming together, piece by piece.

Statutory Reminder for NC Officials

In the midst of all the rhetoric and half-baked excuses our State government likes to employ when ignoring environmental nightmares like Titan Cement, Cliffside and PCS Phosphates, I figured it was time to remind them of decades-old (but still gold) laws that have been passed that provide both guidance and requirements for our officials to follow. Follow me down below the fold and get ready to take notes:

Easley Legacy Continues

As some of you are probably aware, the battle over Titan Cement's new facility in Hanover County is still raging. Dozens of (medical) doctors have joined to voice their concern, as well as hundreds of citizens and a few of my favorite environmental orgs. Most recently, these groups pleaded with the NC Department of Administration to generate a formal review of Titan's application/permit, and the answer was, in a word, stupefying.

Why The Public Option Is So Important

In the various battles on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, working out the details of health care reform, many compromises have already been made. During this time, the most critical part of health care reform, the public option, has been teetering on the chopping block. I believe that many Democrats view the public option as a "nice to have" thing, but are prepared to toss it away like some kind of trump card if it will seal the deal. But if we throw this card down, we lose the game, period.

A New Chapter Begins

As I mentioned before, it appears my factory management days are over. I've been unemployed now for over a year, with all of the dashed hopes and personal doubts that go along with that. A few months ago I decided to take a step that would (hopefully) put me in a position where I would be able to not only get back to work, but also be able to find a new job quickly if that one didn't work out. God willing and the creeks don't rise, the plan seems to be working.

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