scharrison's blog

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

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:

The Politics of Fear

As we head into the final month before the N.C. Democratic primary as a preparation for the upcoming general election, I thought I would take a few minutes to comment on an emotion that we all share in one form or another: fear, and the way it influences our reasoning.

On Publishing And Propaganda

A few months ago, my dear sweet mother (devout Republican) told me in an excited and confident tone, "I've got something you really need to read." Since we're both avid readers of fiction, and more often than not can exchange books to our mutual enjoyment, I was mildly piqued. When she revealed who the author was, I went from piqued to pissed off pretty quickly.

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