scharrison's blog

Richard Burr misleads veterans...again

The wisdom (or lack of) surrounding the combined wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is one of the most debated issues of our time, but what is not debatable is the terrible impact those wars have had on the men and women in uniform who have served in those theaters. And, for many, coming home presents a whole new set of obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is navigating the labyrinthine maze to access benefits that can help them find their way. But for people like Senator Burr, this issue is merely an opportunity for posturing.

NC Republicans: coal ash is good

In yet another stunning example of how North Carolina Republicans put industry ahead of the well-being of their own constituents, they are opposing efforts to declare hazardous substances as hazardous:

With the Environmental Protection Agency expected to release its proposed regulations for power plant coal ash any day now, there is an intense behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by industry interests hoping to keep the waste from being declared hazardous and thus subject to the strictest federal oversight.

Just when you thought it was safe: Robin Hayes, in 3d

One more thing to watch out for when the propaganda wave crashes over us:

The American Majority Project (AMP) is the new kid on the block, a 527 group -- meaning it is allowed by law to accept unlimited contributions -- formed in recent days with the backing of Republican heavyweights such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and an advisory board that includes former congressman Robin Hayes (N.C.), former Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan and GOP superlawyer Ben Ginsberg.

Facing the barrage

Arriving on top of other setbacks and ominous portends for the Democratic Party's outlook in the upcoming 2010 campaign, the Supreme Court's decision (fat pdf) in Citizens United v FEC almost seems like a knock-out punch, and one we can't summon the strength to block. But block it we must, or we could be faced with a U.S. Congress and N.C. General Assembly hell-bent on pushing millions of Americans off the path to progress.

Feed a blue dog, get bitten in return

Three Democratic Senators have joined with Republicans to block EPA efforts to regulate CO2:

Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas have signed onto a resolution introduced Thursday by Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The measure, which must pass Congress and be signed by the President, would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing regulations to control greenhouse gases.

Governor Perdue resists health care reform

Joining with four other Dem Governors and one Republican Governor, Bev added her signature to a letter fighting the expansion of generic drugs:

Six governors -- five Democrats and one Republican -- wrote Obama Tuesday in opposition to his consideration of scrapping language in the healthcare bill granting brand-name biotechnology companies 12 years of market exclusivity before their products face competition generic versions of their products, known as biosimilars or follow-on biogics . Obama is weighing a shorter period, perhaps 10 years, as favored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and other liberals.

N&O covers Titan e-mails

Lynn Bonner at the N&O does a pretty good write-up of behind-the-scenes plotting by Titan officials to avoid SEPA review:

In a July 22, 2008, e-mail to economic development officials and Merritt, Marino Papazoglou, director of business development for Titan, wanted to know "why we were not made aware of the link between SEPA and incentives" and whether they could approach environmental assistant secretary Robin Smith for help.

Merritt replied via e-mail that he planned to call then-Commerce Secretary Jim Fain about it. "Please, no one make contact on this matter until you hear back from me," Merritt wrote.

From the boardroom to your livingroom

You often hear people complain that our elected officials ignore the needs and desires of the folks on Main Street, but that's not really true, is it? Public opinion and perceptions play a major role in political campaigns, and a candidate ignores them at his or her own peril. But that doesn't mean we're getting closer to sound policy solutions either. Those opinions and perceptions can be manipulated by powerful people with an agenda, who sit back and watch each act of the play unfold.

On consumerism and fantasy cures

Please excuse me for a minute or so, as I need to borrow some space so I can continue an argument I started elsewhere. I promised not to further "clutter" the parlor where the disagreement started, so I'll just yell from here on my porch.

In response to Brian Balfour's solution for the ills of consumerism:

Your concern that a thrifty society would would stunt economic growth misses the point. Thriftiness merely shifts the consumption/investment ratio of spending more in the favor of investment. More investment by firms increases productivity, meaning more jobs, higher wages, and more affordable goods. That is how wealth is created.

Tell you what, as an exercise in support of your supply-side theory, why don't you sit down with a banker, an angel investor, or even a filthy rich relative, who loves you dearly, and tell them this:


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