scharrison's blog

Westboro Baptist idiots target Elizabeth Edwards

When hatred comes to town:

Westboro Baptist Church, a group with a history of staging protests at funerals and issuing anti-gay statements, is planning to picket the Saturday funeral of Elizabeth Edwards.

The group came into the national spotlight when members picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young man from Wyoming who was beaten to death by two men because of his homosexuality. Westboro has protested at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan

I was going to say, "Why don't they just go ahead and drink the Kool Aid?", but that would be in poor taste, so I'm not gonna go there.

NC WARN steps up on energy efficiency

Purchasing ad space to fight for building code revisions:

NC WARN, a nonprofit that promotes renewable energy and opposes new nuclear power plants, is running newspaper ads challenging the N.C. Home Builders Assocation and N.C. Building Code Council on their positions on requiring homes to use less juice.

The ad promotes the 30 percent standard, asks readers to contact Gov. Bev Perdue's office about replacing council members, and to submit comments to the council before its Tuesday meeting.

This is a critical issue that has long-lasting implications for our state, and getting these revisions inserted should be a no-brainer. But when the hometicks are involved, brains have little to do with it.

Democrats win temporary victory in resegregation battle

Delaying the worst of the student reassignment plan:

With federal Department of Education investigators converging on Raleigh to probe accusations of racial discrimination, Democrats on the Wake County school board succeeded Tuesday in stalling Republican-backed plans to reassign thousands of minority students next year closer to their homes in Southeast Raleigh.

Goldman, who has split from her fellow Republicans on several reassignment votes, expressed concern that some recent moves for low-income students had been proposed, not by their own parents, but by parents at the suburban schools the low-income students are currently attending.

"It's not saying, 'Will you move our kids?' It's 'Will you move their kids?'" Goldman said.

Debra might just turn out to be a diamond in the rough.

Governor Perdue's budget conundrum

Gary Pearce gets to the heart of the matter:

She could work with the Republicans to cut nearly $4 billion. The political goal there would be to show that she can get things done with the other party.

Or she could draw a line in the sand and fight. She could say that cutting $4 billion would cause too much damage to education and human services. She could propose extending the temporary sales tax – or even other tax increases – to make up part of the gap.

Whether it's a policy move with political ramifications or vice-versa, the budget proposal Governor Perdue submits to the Legislature should be a true representation of her vision for the state.

Republicans prepare to fight imaginary enemy

Set up your strawman, then knock him down:

One item high on the new Republican agenda in the N.C. General Assembly is to require voters to provide proof of identity at polling places. The point, as Rep. Ric Killian, R-Mecklenburg, told reporter Jim Morrill, is "to ensure the integrity of the whole system."

But the problem is that there's little evidence of a serious problem. State Board of Elections director Gary Bartlett says in the 2008 elections, millions of votes were cast but there were only 18 cases of double voting. That mirrors what other regional and national investigations of voter fraud have found.

Tell you what, Ric. You want to ensure the integrity of the system, pass some laws that stop millionaires from buying seats in your Legislature.

President Obama in Winston-Salem

And Mark Binker is feeding his Twitter as we speak:

Obama says "right now there are bigger issues than politics." #ncga #ncpol
15 seconds ago reply

binker Obama calls Sen Hagan the "better looking" of the state's 2 us sens. #ncpol
about 1 minute ago reply

binker Obama: "It is good to be back in NC. I have to say - I came down for slightly warmer weather."
about 1 minute ago

Sorry about the mixing of blog and Twit medium, but it's better than being horse-whipped, right?

GOP to dismantle state education laws

Under the guise of allowing "more freedom":

Local schools facing big budget cuts can expect more freedom on how to spend state money, says Rep. Thom Tillis, a Huntersville Republican who has been tapped as House speaker in the new GOP-dominated legislature.

Tillis says his PTSA work at Huntersville's Hopewell High gave him a firsthand view of how many strings come attached to state money. While he's not ready to offer specifics, he says Republicans are ready to loosen those strings.

Without those specifics, we can only speculate which "strings" he wants to loosen. But it's a good bet it has to do with restrictions on building new schools when seats are available elsewhere, and scrambling the formula for teacher pay.

Senate Republicans stop Democrats from passing tax cuts for the middle class

When 53 vs 36 is not a majority:

Senate Republicans have blocked legislation allowing taxes to rise on upper income taxpayers on Jan. 1. The vote Saturday was 53-36 - seven short of the 60 needed to advance the measure.

Without action by Congress, all income tax cuts enacted when George W. Bush was president will expire at year's end. The legislation backed by Senate Democrats would have kept the cuts in effect except on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

I'm not so sure that lede is correct. Four Democrats (Feingold, Manchin, Nelson and Webb) voted against cloture, and they need to answer for that.

PR advice for Governor Perdue

I just received this update from the Governor's office via e-mail:

Governor asks business leaders for ideas

Excepting the Governor's letterhead and Facebook/Twitter logos that aren't active links, that's all the text that was in the body of the e-mail. It's possible my e-mail system blocked other text, so I'll set aside my observation that giving me only a headline is ambiguous bordering on spooky.

My real PR advice is this: While it may be okay (or even recommended) that you seek feedback from various entities, stakeholders, etc., it's also not something you want to brag about too much. After a while, it takes on the aroma of incompetence: "Help! We've run out of ideas and are adrift in a sea of confusion!"

More money for appliance rebate program

Another cool million for energy efficency:

State energy officials said today they have scrounged up another $1 million for rebates to residents who buy energy-efficient appliances.

Nearly $600,000 of the pot is open to new applicants and about $400,000 will go to people who've made previous purchases and are on a rebate waiting list.

The newly-found money comes from a small percentage of federal stimulus funds this state received but did not use for a variety of reasons, said Seth Effron, spokesman for the State Energy Office.

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