scharrison's blog

From the boardroom to your livingroom

You often hear people complain that our elected officials ignore the needs and desires of the folks on Main Street, but that's not really true, is it? Public opinion and perceptions play a major role in political campaigns, and a candidate ignores them at his or her own peril. But that doesn't mean we're getting closer to sound policy solutions either. Those opinions and perceptions can be manipulated by powerful people with an agenda, who sit back and watch each act of the play unfold.

On consumerism and fantasy cures

Please excuse me for a minute or so, as I need to borrow some space so I can continue an argument I started elsewhere. I promised not to further "clutter" the parlor where the disagreement started, so I'll just yell from here on my porch.

In response to Brian Balfour's solution for the ills of consumerism:

Your concern that a thrifty society would would stunt economic growth misses the point. Thriftiness merely shifts the consumption/investment ratio of spending more in the favor of investment. More investment by firms increases productivity, meaning more jobs, higher wages, and more affordable goods. That is how wealth is created.

Tell you what, as an exercise in support of your supply-side theory, why don't you sit down with a banker, an angel investor, or even a filthy rich relative, who loves you dearly, and tell them this:

Brad Miller challenged from the fringe

Looking at the demographics of Brad Miller's district, you may be prepared to discount the threat from any challenger, much less one who hovers on the fringe of reality. But Bernie Reeves has media access (print and broadcast), and has developed the skills to lead his audience down the garden path of hyperbole and dubious connections. Before he uses that formula on a fellow BlueNCer and one of the best we've ever sent to Washington, let's take a look at the MO of the man who is challenging him.

ConAgra pays, gets paid

The State of North Carolina seems to have developed a new (and even more inscrutable) formula for business-friendliness, that of the Little Stick and Big Carrot.

The Little Stick:

ConAgra Foods Inc. has agreed to pay $106,440 for workplace safety violations at a snack foods plant where four workers died after a natural gas explosion last summer, state regulators said Tuesday.

If you want the Big Carrot, you'll have to follow me...

Myrick courts Muslims

This should be interesting:

As U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick issued a third Internet video on terrorism Monday, she pledged to schedule a town hall meeting with the Charlotte Muslim community, saying she wants to embrace "mainstream Muslims" while fighting extremism.

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.

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