scharrison's blog

Sunshine update: Mediation questions

In pursuit of public records:

The Sunshine Center has received several inquiries about how citizens may take advantage of the procedure for mediating public records disputes that was enacted by the General Assembly in July. The legislation, which was intended to provide public records requesters and custodians with a process for resolving public records disputes short of litigation, became effective Oct. 1, but as of this writing it is not completely clear how the process will work and, more importantly, whether it will be effective.

Blackwater blames U.S. government for Nisoor Square massacre

"It's not our fault! You were supposed to be watching us!"

Lawyers for the company, now known as Xe Services, argued in court that Blackwater contractors were essentially acting as employees of the U.S. government because they were providing security to State Department personnel.

Unlike duties performed by other contractors, the sensitive nature of providing security in a war zone required the kind of oversight the government normally reserves for its own employees, attorney Andrew Pincus argued.

Lawsuits aside, this admitted lack of competence that demands oversight should be the final nail in their coffin as far as U.S. government contracts are concerned. Not one more penny from taxpayers, capiche?

Slaughter of pelicans at Topsail continues

Multi-year killing spree gets worse:

Since the beginning of November, volunteers, wildlife officers and town workers have documented more than 60 pelican deaths that were apparently caused by human beings. On Wednesday, volunteers found a bird with its head chopped off, the fourth such decapitation since the weekend.

Many of the birds are alive when found, but with injuries so severe they have to be euthanized. Others have apparently been bludgeoned with some blunt instrument, shattering bones. At least one bird bore wounds from shotgun pellets, while the decapitations are the most recent gruesome find.

I've been trolling the (NC) fishermen's forums to see what they're saying, and even some of the commercial fishermen think this jerk is probably one of their own.

Muslims reach out to Ellmers

And are still waiting for a response:

"I've called her office three times," said Khalilah Sabra, executive director of the state chapter of the Muslim American Society's immigrant justice project. "We'd like to know where she stands and what her intentions are with regard to the Muslim community."

Mohammad Elgamal, chairman of the group's executive committee, said he wrote Ellmers shortly after the mosque TV ad aired. He never heard back. But he's not yet discouraged. "I know people say things in the campaign, but they don't mean it," Elgamal said. "Personally, I'm willing to work with her."

Either she meant it and you're "the enemy", or she didn't mean it but said it anyway, which means you can't trust her. You're screwed either way, pal.

Wake resegregation effort blocked

Once again, Debra Goldman does the right thing:

Proposals to move thousands of minority students back to schools in their Southeast Raleigh neighborhoods next year are all but dead.

GOP Wake County school board Vice Chairwoman Debra Goldman, who held the critical swing vote, backed Democrats on Tuesday in rejecting a motion to put the Southeast Raleigh moves on the table for the 2011-12 school year.

I guess Pope and Luddy are going to have to pour some more money into the next election to achieve a super-mega-majority...

NC Building code revised, compromised

New codes are a mixed bag of good and bad:

The North Carolina Building Code Council decided Tuesday to order the increase in home energy efficiency and to consider changes to building standards that could cut building costs by 15 percent. Commercial buildings would be required to meet a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency.

But it seems unlikely that entire package of savings will be approved. The proposals include easing requirements on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and rules on home foundations, which some council members said would risk safety.

Some council members? If they don't see the safety risk of easing those requirements, they shouldn't be sitting on the Council in the first place.

Crime gun prince in Queen City

Not a designation of which to be proud:

A Charlotte gun dealer ranked second in the nation in a list of stores selling guns later linked to crimes, according to data published Monday by The Washington Post.

More than 2,000 guns sold by Charlotte's Hyatt Coin and Gun, at 3332 Wilkinson Blvd., were classified as "crime guns" recovered by police since 2006, according to federal data.

Just the fact that these guns could be tracked back to the dealer probably pisses off the more extreme gun nuts, but here is the pat response from one of the GOLO crowd:

Senator Hagan votes against tax deal

Voting against her personal interests in the process:

“It is time for Congress to tighten its belt, like American families must do daily,” Hagan said. “Every year Democrats and Republicans make empty promises about bringing down our deficit, and it's time we started putting our money where our mouth is,” Hagan said in a statement.

“While the bill includes provisions that I support,” Hagan said, “I could not vote in favor of a bill that would give tax cuts to people making over $1 million a year and add $858 billion to our national deficit.”

This should make two things abundantly clear: a) She didn't go to Washington with the goal of enriching herself or her family, and b) Her campaign promises (deficit reduction being one) were neither idle nor transitory, they were true reflections of intent.

Blowing smoke on charter schools

Hood lays it on thick when promoting school choice:

As a longtime proponent of the cause, I think that more than doubling the share of students attending schools of choice in the next few years would have a huge and positive effect, not just on those students but on North Carolina education as a whole.

And it would draw new resources into education – human resources, mostly, those of involved parents and innovative educators and entrepreneurial philanthropists – while reducing the cost to taxpayers by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

That last sentence is a doozy. Or I should say a "whopper". Why don't we see what Pennsylvania's Auditor General has to say about that cost reduction:

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