scharrison's blog

Richard Burr: Witnesses won't change our minds, so why have them?

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Whatever credibility he once had is long gone:

“I personally feel that even if they invited witnesses and witnesses confirmed, yes, the president had a quid-pro-quo or something like this, if it doesn’t rise to the level of removal from office than why would we put the American people, the institution, through this process, when we know what the outcome is going to be at the end of the day,” Burr said.

It would take 67 votes to remove Trump from office. Republicans control 53 seats, so 20 of them would have to vote to remove Trump along with all 47 Democrats and independents.

In other words, even if he is guilty, we don't care. Understand, Richard Burr is Chairman of the Committee that has been investigating foreign interference in American elections for about two and a half years now. The President not only invited foreign interference, he demanded it, holding up military assistance that likely cost Ukrainian soldiers their lives in the process. It's no wonder Tillis has been such an embarrassment. Burr is senior, and arguably should be a mentor for the first-term (hopefully single-term) Senator. But apparently Do Nothing Burr has nothing to offer along those lines.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

You know you're living in a Fascist country when:

I guess it's time to re-write that Statue of Liberty phrase...

Mark Meadows: The anatomy of a brown-noser

Being a towel-boy for Trump must be exhausting:

“Congressman Meadows is in regular contact with the White House and the president’s legal team and is a crucial ally who amplifies the president’s views and the president’s case to the American people,” said a source familiar with his involvement, who added that Meadows has been to the White House at least once in the last week.

The White House counsel’s office and Meadows and his staff are also in touch by phone. Meadows has made multiple media appearances, a willing interview at a time when many senators are avoiding the press. He went on Fox News on Thursday morning, accusing House Democrats of “intentionally misleading” the American people about Trump’s actions.

We should probably start ignoring Meadows, since he's not running to keep his seat this year. Way too many other moles to whack. But when I see crap like this:

Mainstream media fails miserably in covering Impeachment

Most likely a reflection of our society as a whole:

ABC, CBS and NBC all stuck with regularly scheduled programs like “Chicago Med,” “Criminal Minds” and “Modern Family” Wednesday evening instead of showing the House managers' evening session at the impeachment trial. That lasted about two hours, 15 minutes. CNN and MSNBC carried the trial in full. Fox News Channel, after showing Rep. Adam Schiff speak for about a half hour, interrupted for a story about a child support case involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter, and never returned.

Even two PBS stations in the New York area showed science programming and “Antiques Roadshow” instead of the trial Wednesday evening. PBS said it gave its local stations the option to show the trial or not.

I fully realize most reading this do not tune in to the old broadcast networks to get their news anymore, cable has flipped the formula on that irrevocably. But this isn't just news, it's history in the making. It's a crisis of our democracy, literally a Civil War in Congress, and the majors are throwing fictional shows at people instead of covering this. And of course Fox News was the worst:

Contemptible Icons: Thomas Ruffin portrait removed from Orange County courthouse

There are heroes, and there are villains:

The defendant in the case was John Mann, a North Carolinian who had been renting a slave named Lydia. When she committed a trifling offense, Mann whipped her. During the whipping, Lydia attempted to escape, so Mann shot her, gravely wounding her. North Carolina authorities deemed his response to her escape attempt disproportionate and charged him with assault and battery. In the criminal trial, the jury ruled against him. He appealed, claiming that assault on a slave by her master could not be indictable since a slave was property of her master.

Ruffin concluded that “the power of the master must be absolute, to render the submission of the slave perfect.” He argued that inhuman punishment of slaves was indeed legal in North Carolina.

Before you say, "But that was the law of the land back then" or something along those lines, both the local authorities *and* a jury deemed his actions were criminal. There is some evidence that suggests Mann was not well respected in the community, and his jury conviction may have had more to do with getting rid of a local nuisance than concern over the slave's injuries. But I also can't help noticing that John Mann was *not* the owner of Lydia, he was merely renting her. Which sounds absurd enough. The slave's real owner was a teenage girl, whose uncle rented out Lydia to whoever could pay. But apparently none of that mattered to Ruffin, which is one more reason to pull those portraits down. Note: the portrait hanging right behind Chief Justice Beasley in the above photo is of Thomas Ruffin...

Coal Ash Wednesday: Hold on to your wallets

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Duke Energy looking to raise rates to pay for ash cleanup:

Duke argues that closing the ash basins, as state and federal rules now require, is part of its cost of doing business. That, it says, makes the company eligible to recover those costs by adding them to the electricity rates that consumers pay.

“We’re relying on the fair and well-established precedent in North Carolina that allows us to recover money that we spend to comply with environmental rules and regulations,” Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said. “We’ve managed coal ash properly for decades, so historically the Utilities Commission determined that those costs are recoverable and should be included in customer bills.”

Bolding mine, because damn. That is Trump-level nonsense right there. The Dan River coal ash spill dumped 46,594 cubic yards into the River, leaving at least a 2" layer of toxic ash on the river bottom for over 10 miles. Just to give you a reference on such volume, that amount of coal ash would fill 330 tractor-trailers. If that's managing coal ash "properly," I'd hate to see what mismanagement would do. Thankfully Josh Stein isn't under any delusions about Duke Energy's responsibilities:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Thom Tillis is a species of carrion fowl, preying on the less fortunate:

Thanks, I've been meaning to dredge up that old video anyway. Shaming people who need food stamps and other public assistance is craven, to say the least.

Memorial Hall on UNC campus under scrutiny for Confederate references

A lot of history in that building, and not all of it is good:

“We have all kinds of plaques in the hallways that remind us of the founders of the University. Some of them are only identified as ‘John Smith, planter,’ and then there are other people who are identified clearly as people who are signers of the original charter, they’re important people,” Moeser said. “But on either side of the proscenium are memorial plaques to the alumni Confederate war dead."

Christina Rodriguez, associate director of marketing and communications for CPA, said at this point, CPA has officially lodged a request through former Chancellor Moeser to move the conversation about the future of the tablets forward.

And of course there's always the question of slave labor used in the construction of these really old buildings, and how many were injured (or killed) during that process.

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