scharrison's blog

Exploring the impact of misinformation on the general public

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It is everywhere, but is it working?

Professors at Duke University gathered for a panel on digital disinformation and so called "fake news," addressing the various challenges it poses to society and how it might be addressed. Bill Adair, a professor of journalism at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, said that digital misinformation has begun to spread throughout every facet of the world.

"We just see in every corner of the world, in every corner of our lives ... there is just so much misinformation," he said. "It pops up in such insidious ways. It’s really scary.”

It is scary. But possibly the scariest aspect of this issue is the inevitable trend for people to (eventually) disbelieve everything they read, regardless of the bonafides of the source. Sowing distrust is a major goal of many of the players (Russia in particular), and it will be hard as hell to track the responsibility for that back to the original sources of misinformation. But at least one Duke researcher doesn't believe it's having much impact on opinions:

Missouri moves to expand Medicaid to a quarter of a million citizens

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It's (long) past time for North Carolina to follow suit:

Missouri voters on Tuesday approved Medicaid expansion to many of the state’s poorest adults, making their conservative state the second to join the Obamacare program through the ballot during the pandemic.

The Missouri ballot measure expands Medicaid to about 230,000 low-income residents at a time when the state’s safety net health care program is already experiencing an enrollment surge tied to the pandemic’s economic upheaval. The measure was supported by 53 percent of voters.

This has always been a no-brainer, but the NC GOP's stubborn resistance to anything Obama-related has deprived over half a million of our fellow NC'ians their health and their very lives. I've published the following here before, but here's an Op-Ed I wrote a year ago that never made it past the mainstream media gatekeepers:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

A North Carolina toady, no less. A multi-millionaire trying to stifle the votes of the less fortunate, Louis DeJoy is vintage Trump.

Manhattan DA mentions the "F" word in Trump investigation

We're talking about Fraud, and the noose is tightening:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested on Monday that it has been investigating President Trump and his company for possible bank and insurance fraud, a significantly broader inquiry than the prosecutors have acknowledged in the past.

The reports, including investigations into the president’s wealth and an article on the congressional testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, said that the president may have illegally inflated his net worth and the value of his properties to lenders and insurers. Lawyers for Mr. Trump have said he did nothing wrong.

"May" have? Dude lies in his sleep, of course he misled investors. With all the evil he's done, these charges might not seem very sexy. But remember how they finally brought down Al Capone. No doubt he will try to delay this investigation until after the Election (if not forever), but he can't stop us from talking about it.

Monday Numbers: Missing the remote learning bus

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You need both a connection and a device to join in:

468,967 – number of students without an adequate internet connection for remote learning, or 30%

355,304 – number of students without adequate devices for remote learning, or 23%

9,818 – number of teachers without a high–speed internet connection, or 10%

3,051 – number of teachers without an adequate device for remote learning, or 3%

Just one of the many failures of the "Free Market" in providing equitable access to critical needs. And just one more of Pat McCrory's failures as Governor. If you will remember, he touted the Connect NC Bond relentlessly, but when Republicans in the General Assembly stripped out the Broadband part of the Bond, instead of fighting them tooth and nail, McCrory folded like a lawn chair.

Democracy is calling: Poll workers desperately needed for 2020 Election

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Add this to your list of critical essential workers during this pandemic:

Many county elections directors started recruiting poll workers earlier than normal, are using new recruitment strategies, have increased pay and are partnering with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, political parties and voter rights groups to find people to work the election.

Officials anticipate a shortage of poll workers could cause longer lines, last-minute precinct closures and voter confusion. That was the case in Georgia and Wisconsin, where poll worker shortages during primaries caused precinct closures, hours-long lines and disenfranchised voters.

While it's true that absentee by-mail voting is going to increase substantially this year (the more the better), we're still only talking about maybe 1/3 of all votes. We need, now more than ever, properly-staffed and prolific early voting locations, and poll workers for all the precinct voting sites. The fact that many county BOEs have had their budgets cut due to a major drop in local revenues merely exacerbates a problem we knew we were going to have, since elderly volunteers usually make up the bulk of election workers, people who are extremely vulnerable to COVID 19:

Cruelty is the point: The NC GOP's war on the poor & unemployed

There is simply no excuse for this draconian behavior:

It started in 2013 when, just after securing the governorship on top of both houses, the GOP supermajority passed HB4, a bill that made unprecedented cuts to unemployment compensation.

The bill lowered the maximum weekly payment amount from $535 to $350 and completely eliminated state appropriations for unemployment program administration, forcing the program to rely on declining federal funds. As a result, staff time designated to processing initial claims dropped by more than half from 2005 to 2020.

Get that? All these delays in processing the mountain of unemployment claims caused by the pandemic can (and should) be laid at the feet of Legislative Republicans. All this time they've been pointing a finger at Governor Cooper, they should have been pointing it at themselves. That's actually a question I've been trying to answer for a couple months, but I've been approaching it wrong. I looked at budgets going back five years to see if I could find a drop in funding, and couldn't seem to find said line items at all. That's because they're gone, and have been since 2013. Tens of thousands of North Carolinians have suffered because of that, and most of them blame the Cooper administration:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

He's either doing nothing or doing the wrong thing. He's not even a broken clock.

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