scharrison's blog

No scientist needed for Trump's USDA, radio talk-show host will do

And we thought McCrory had idiotic hiring practices:

Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work.

Clovis is better known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television.

You know, when I consider the NC Senate's demand that they vet Roy Cooper's infinitely qualified department heads, and then observe the menagerie of clowns Donald Trump is choosing to run the Federal government, I just want to reach in and pull my eyeballs out so I don't have to see this stuff anymore.

Coming soon to a local TV station near you: Right Wing propaganda

Sinclair Broadcasting is the Joseph Goebbels of the 21st Century:

They are called "must-runs," and they arrive every day at television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group --- short video segments that are centrally produced by the company. Station managers around the country are directed to work them into the broadcast over a period of 24 or 48 hours.

Since November 2015, Sinclair has ordered its stations to run a daily segment from a "Terrorism Alert Desk" with updates on terrorism-related news from around the world. During the election campaign last year, it sent out a package that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery.

Here's a list of current or potential Sinclair stations in North Carolina, compiled by Seth Effron: WRDC-28, Durham; WTVZ-33, Norfolk VA; WLOS-13, Asheville; WXLV-45, Winston-Salem; WMYV-48, Greensboro; WLFL-22, Raleigh. Stations that Sinclair is seeking to purchase: WCTI-12, New Bern; WYDO-8, Greenville; WGHP-8, Greensboro.

The power of citizen activism: Greg Flynn shines a light on campaign finance improprieties

If you're fudging your books, he will eventually make you pay for that bad judgment:

In early March, Raleigh political activist Greg Flynn filed complaints with the state board saying the reports don't contain information required by law, have numbers that do not match up and, if correct, would indicate the campaign transferred more than $10,000 to Hise's pocket.

Flynn said this week he doesn't know whether the problems are the result of sloppy bookkeeping or show Hise has used campaign funds to enrich himself. Flynn said he is a Democrat who looks for issues with campaign finance reports filed by candidates from both parties. He said he became interested in Hise's reports when looking into a trip several legislators including Hise took to China that was organized by an industry group.

Trust me when I say, uncovering this information takes time, patience, and a certain level of analytical thinking that escapes most of us. I'd really like to say, "We need to crowdsource this," but I'm not sure this capability can even be taught. I probably don't have it, and I've devoted literally thousands of hours to scrutinizing state and Federal campaign finance records. So I'm giving Greg both a hat-tip and a bow, because this is one of those "services to the public" that just can't be estimated.

GOP-led NC Senate tries to strangle Cooper administration via budget cuts

The sheer scale of these irresponsible actions is breathtaking:

Meanwhile, the Department of Environmental Quality's operating budget is reduced by 6 percent in the proposed budget, with Chief Deputy Secretary John Nicholson, a retired Marine colonel among those whose jobs would be eliminated. The Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, which works with businesses and communities with environmental regulations and permitting, boosting recycling, energy efficiency and cutting emissions, would be gutted, losing 46 positions in its Raleigh and regional offices.

The Office of Science Technology & Innovation in the Department of Commerce would be eliminated, and funding to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center would be cut by 5 percent. The budget for the Wildlife Resources Commission would be cut by 18 percent. The Department of Transportation would lose 400 positions, and another 183 positions that oversee picking up litter and roadside trash also would be eliminated.

In political analysis, it's not always easy to ferret out the "underlying" motives behind certain actions. A gut response would tell you Republican leaders are merely punishing Roy Cooper for both winning the election and taking an outspoken stance of opposition. I'm sure that's partly true, but I have a feeling these department cuts have another goal: To put the Governor and his senior staff into "crisis" mode, to make them scramble to repair the breeches in personnel and shuffle the workload, to keep them so busy just trying to perform the basic functions of government they won't have time to strategize about fighting the Constitutional overreach of the Legislative Branch. But (of course) it will also be the people of North Carolina who will suffer from this asinine and childish behavior.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy's clever plan to charge us for cleanup operations

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Make deals with municipal power entities first, everybody else will be forced to follow:

Duke Energy has taken a first, major step toward billing consumers for its coal ash woes by making cost-share deals with several dozen North Carolina communities that buy their electricity wholesale for distribution on community-owned power lines.

In the last few months, the Charlotte-based utility has filed numerous petitions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington seeking approval of these agreements for customers to pay some of its coal ash costs in “public power” communities ranging from Southport on the coast to Forest City in the western foothills.

You get that, right? Those municipal power "partners" basically do the same thing Duke does, sell power to individual citizens. Power initially generated by Duke Energy itself. And once those citizen ratepayers start shouldering some of the costs for Duke Energy to clean up its coal ash mess, it will be "only fair" that all other citizen ratepayers shoulder some (or all) of that cost. It's a fait accompli move that will put the NC Utilities Commission in an uncomfortable no-win scenario. If they refuse the rate increases for all other Duke customers, they leave the municipal customers paying more than others. If they approve it, they are hurting everybody. Except Duke Energy, of course. And here's a good example of why Duke chose this "divide and conquer" approach to bilking its customers:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Tricky Dick Burr may finally be in trouble:

Of course it all depends on "who" is actually doing said probing, and it will likely end up being just another political hack like Burr himself, but it's a start.

Roundup of bad environmental bills permeating the General Assembly

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Taft Wireback fills in the details:

Changes afoot in the Republican-controlled legislature would limit local governments’ power to create buffer zones beside streams, shield agribusinesses from high damage awards in certain types of lawsuits and fully endorse a new landfill technology that some consider iffy.

Other proposals still under consideration as the session moves into its second half include restrictions on wind-farm development, efforts to roll back state support for solar power and the repeal of a regional ban on plastic grocery bags aimed at protecting sea turtles.

To say I've grown tired of having to post these things every single year since 2011 is a gross understatement. And for every pollution-loving jackass Republican who retires from the Legislature, it seems like two new ones step forward to take his place. And the two sides of this coin couldn't be more different:

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