scharrison's blog

Small Dairy Sustainability

North Carolina has a rich heritage when it comes to agriculture. My ancestors settled for a while in Orange County, just a few miles from what is now downtown Chapel Hill. And, like so many of their neighbors, they declared to the census-takers that their main occupation was farming. It didn't take much to be a farmer back then—a little plot of land to grow some vegetables, a few cows to milk, and bingo. You're a farmer.

Rendezvous in New Bern

Thanks to a totally unexpected but much appreciated invitation from former Senatorial candidate Jim Neal, I made my way to New Bern Saturday morning to attend the Sanford-Hunt Dinner later that evening.

I had originally planned to drive all the way to the Atlantic Beach area and spend the afternoon body-surfing, girl-watching and sun-worshiping (this is the "research" I had mentioned before), but the overcast and sprinkly weather led me to believe those unhealthy/inappropriate activities were not going to be available, so I headed into downtown New Bern to see what those Democrats were up to.

My Washington "Rhod" Trip

My wayward camera finally found its way home today, so I thought I would use up my monthly allotment of bandwidth showing off a few pictures. Oh well, you know what they say: you can't take it with you when you go! :) I know, that's almost as corny as the title to the diary. But I have to say, the overriding theme of this vacation was the rhododendrons. Although not native to the region, it became the state flower, and they were showing themselves off all over the place.

This was taken at the Arboretum, not far from downtown Seattle:

Off-Shore Drilling and the Environment: Irreconcilable Differences

As if we needed another facet to the global climate change and energy demand debates, we can now add the following: evidence is mounting that our insatiable consumption of petroleum has finally (and inevitably) brought us to the cusp of Peak Oil. More hard decisions are going to be required in the near future, and it is critical that we avoid succumbing to our natural inclination towards easy fixes.

Public Transit: Not Just For City Folk

As some of you are aware, I am currently on the other side of the continent, enjoying some relatively good weather (fingers crossed) in the Puget Sound area. One of the things I always try to do when traveling is to ride around on whatever public transportation is available. Part of the reason is so I can better envision what might work in North Carolina, but another reason is because you get to interact with locals on an equal basis. You're not just a tourist asking stupid questions, you're a fellow passenger, so you can be trusted with all sorts of local gossip. :)

Frontpaged by James

Nuclear Waste Solved: or, To Russia, With Love

One of the key issues surrounding the nuclear energy debate is the proper disposition of spent fuel rods. There are numerous concerns that encompass this issue, from radioactive contamination to nuclear proliferation fears, and about the only consensus that experts can agree on is the sheer complexity of the problem.

The North Carolina Progress and Sustainability Partnership

One thing I think we can all take away from this primary election is the pivotal role that PACs play in the selection of our leaders. Whether you consider them a conduit for corporate manipulation or an essential tool for collective bargaining, they represent a powerful element of our system, and simply cannot be dismissed or ignored.

In a recent discussion, captsfufp made some observations:

The Looming Biofuels Disaster

I understand that we are on the cusp of a very important Primary election, and there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to promote our favorite candidates and fire digital arrows at those who dare to oppose them. But I've had an issue hovering just inside my awareness for some time now, that's been yammering for me to write about it, so please bear with me.

Alamance County Democratic Convention

I had the honor of representing Jim Neal at the Alamance County Democratic Convention today, and luckily, he showed up just in the nick of time so I could avoid the public speaking aspect of my surrogate duties (whew).

I'm sure I would have done just fine, but since I actually live in Alamance County, it's not like I could just fade away and never come back if I tumbled over a chair ala "America's Funniest Home Videos" or accidentally dropped an F-bomb while speaking. While they may not be as horrific as the nightmare where you show up at school naked, these things were playing in the back of my mind, nevertheless.

Here's our glorious and recently face-lifted courthouse where the Convention took place:

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