scharrison's blog

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.

Deferred Responsibility: The Builders Win Again

I think I'll start this diary off with a little primer on the recession for the General Assembly, because it appears as if they don't quite grasp what happened: Lending institutions and homebuilders finally consummated their years of flirtatious infatuation with an orgy of poorly vetted, ticking time-bomb loans for overpriced houses and, when the inevitable foreclosures resulted, the money wizards who gambled our future on those loans sucked down tequila at Cabo san Lucas and tried to ignore the incessant chirping of their cell phones.

Les Merritt Heads Up New Puppetshow Arm

I know that many of us worked towards achieving less Merritt, and for a while it seemed like we might actually have accomplished no Merritt. But alas, that is not to be:

In downtown Raleigh - just down the street from the State Capitol - a new watchdog group is working to expose government corruption. It's called the Foundation for Ethics in Public Service.

"We believe this could be a significant complement to counter public corruption, which I do believe is growing," offered Frank Perry.

Perry spent 22 years with the FBI and ran the Raleigh Bureau office in the years after the September 11 attacks. Most recently, he worked for the State Ethics Commission and the State Auditor's Office.

Now, he's joining forces with former State Auditor Les Merritt in creating the foundation.

Renewable Energy Portfolio Under Attack

For all of its flaws, North Carolina's REPS package does contain some critical elements that make us part of an enlightened coalition of states that have already brought about some very promising changes in the way our nation approaches the generation of energy. But there is a bill sponsored by Fletcher Hartsell that is on the General Assembly's Crossover list that could make our state's REPS package completely useless in the promotion of renewable energy, and it needs to be stopped. Note: I really want you to read this diary, so I'm going to be very brief. Enjoy it while you can. ;)

*Major edit*

It's been brought to my attention that I pointed towards the wrong parts of this legislation previously, to wit: The max 10% requirement I referenced was for coops and municipalities (as opposed to utilities), and that hadn't been modified/revised from the original version in this new bill.

Richard Burr: No Friend To Veterans

As a veteran, my eyes and ears tend to perk up whenever the military is mentioned, whether in the media or even just in casual conversation. I can't help it. And if a politician claims to be "looking out for" or "representing" veterans' interests, I pay even closer attention, because that's one of those things that voters love to hear, but seldom follow up on. Richard Burr has developed a reputation as being "big" on veterans' issues, and I think it's about time we followed up on that.

Before I begin, I want to make sure that everybody understands that our senior Senator has been well-informed on these issues. He's been privy to countless briefings exposing the needs of veterans over the years, so any mistakes he's made can't be attributed to a lack of knowledge. Also, although I usually refrain from linking to (other) blogs because I don't want readers to have to struggle to find primary sources, I'm going to post a few here, because they are concerned voices that deserve to be heard.

Cary Allred's Last Sponsored Bill Before Retirement

H1984

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT TO MAKE IT UNLAWFUL TO USE DARK-COLORED GLASSES AND/OR EVIL THOUGHTS WHEN DESCRIBING THE BEHAVIOR OF A FELLOW LEGISLATOR

SECTION 1. Definitions:

1) Dark-Colored Glasses: For the purposes of this bill, dark-colored glasses are any glasses which make things look bad, when they're really not bad.

2) Evil Thoughts: Any thought where the thinker sees something innocent (probably using dark-colored glasses) and allows his or her mind to descend into the gutter, and begins to think about things that are unthinkable.

SECTION 2. Penalties:

Any legislator found to be in violation of this Act shall be subject to one or more of the following:

a) Tarred and feathered, and subsequently rode out of town on a rail.

b) Drawn and quartered.

c) Forced to run a gauntlet.

The Governor's Focus: an Update

As I mentioned in a previous diary, I've been attending the monthly meetings of The Governor's Focus on Returning Combat Veterans and their Families for the past several months, and after Wednesday's meeting, I figured it was time to give you a brief update on some of the issues at which we've been looking.

In a nutshell, the Governor's Focus is tasked with making sure veterans and their families have ready and easy access to existing mental health programs and services, and to identify real or potential gaps in these services and develop solutions for such.

To give you an idea of the sheer scope of this venture:

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