scharrison's blog

The Anatomy Of Corporate Propaganda

Before I begin, I must admit to being a little frustrated with our lack of critical thinking and our readiness to accept information and analysis if it's packaged in a way that pleases us. This character flaw is not limited to one political party or the other, and I believe it's partially an artifact of decades of consumerism and self-indulgence. There are simply not enough people asking the hard questions these days, and that is one of the heralds of a civilization in decline.

North Carolina's Precious Wetlands At Risk

You may have already seen this piece over at The Dome regarding efforts by Camden and Currituck counties to block the Navy's construction of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) on the basis of distressed and endangered species that inhabit the local wetlands. While I have my fingers crossed that this approach will work, I've seen much evidence that protecting our North Carolina wetlands and the myriad species that inhabit them is of little concern to those we have granted the authority to decide these things.

Mercury Primer For Moms

Yes, I'm going to (once again) talk about Mercury, and even though this diary is dedicated to mothers, the rest of you are not excused, so don't even think about skipping this one. For you moms, the pressure of following sound prenatal behaviors is intense, and the list of things you shouldn't do or eat seems to outpace the list of things you can. If Mercury isn't already on your list of shouldn'ts, it should be, and I'm going to try to explain a) where it comes from, b) how it makes its way into your system, and c) what it does when it gets there.

Feeding The U.S. Health Care Beast

In the midst of our current health care debate, I see occasional opinions about the why's and where's of the skyrocketing costs of health care, and what we might do to bring them down. But this (to me) seems to have become of secondary concern, and one which will somehow fix itself with a little bit of regulation, or maybe some competition in areas where that dynamic has been absent. While some of those costs will contract a percent or two here and there, a strong dose of reality is just what the doctor ordered.

On Releasing The Imprisoned Environmentalists

No, this diary is not about a small group of activists that were thrown in jail somewhere, it's about exploring different methods for growing the numbers of people who turn their concern for our environment into action. One reason I chose that specific title is to demonstrate how the overuse of boldness and "raising an alarm" can be counterproductive, and may at least partially explain why environmentalism, as a movement, seems to be less effective than it should be.

Did I Do This?

First of all, let me state upfront that, yes, I have a very high opinion of myself. The fact that I have no credentials or accomplishments or anything else of any substance to back up that opinion is pretty much lost on me. I say this because I don't want anybody wasting their time explaining it to me, because that would be pointless. That said, follow me past the fold so you can get another glimpse into the Steve-centric Universe I live in. In which I live. Whatever.

Kay, What Were You Thinking?

As I've mentioned before, I am not a foe of the 2nd Amendment, and I've probably fired more rounds than most people reading this, even the ones who cuddle their little semi-automatic friends in bed at night as they dream of gunning down the bad guys in defense of Sweet Polly Purebred. But a handgun is not a cell phone, an IPOD, or a fancy belt buckle, and the idea of Congress making it easier for a citizen to "accessorize" with a deadly weapon has me rubbing my temples while shaking my head. And when I saw that Democrat(?) Kay Hagan actually voted for this, I started looking for a suitably hard surface to bang my head on.

Sustainable Development Part Six: Duke University

I'm sure most reading this have visited (or attended) some of our major University campuses here in North Carolina. Pursuing sustainable practices in such an environment, with such a broad geographical area, where new structures stand proudly beside ancient ones, can be a daunting task. And when that campus is also home to a world-class medical center, that task is complicated tenfold. Clinical treatment and research are voracious consumers of energy and painstakingly purified water, and interruptions in supply of either can literally cost lives. But as is often the case, great challenges can produce great accomplishments, leading us all to a more sustainable future.

Vista Song for Joe Sam, Martin and John

While I dedicate this to the three gentlemen above, I do hope you'll all pay attention. This song is about beauty, and nature, and mankind's inability to see much farther than the nose on his face. While he frets about imaginary tourists that would turn their cars around in disgust if they spot some distant skinny man-made object, this is occurring:

Tarheel Founding Fathers, Part Two

When I sat down to compile a complement to last year's post, I debated (with myself) whether to take these one year at a time or just jump forward to the finalization and subsequent signing of the Constitution. Well, I don't have the patience of the Founding Fathers, plus you never know if you'll get thrown from your horse or be consumed by consumption, so: I give you William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight and Hugh Williamson, North Carolina's signatories of our beloved Constitution.

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