scharrison's blog

Climate Change and the "cycle of disaster" in floodplains

When it comes to rebuilding after storms, some hard decisions need to be made:

Local officials desperate to restore normalcy to disoriented communities will get to decide how to spend those federal dollars — choices made more consequential, and costly, as sea levels rise and Atlantic storms generate greater surge and rainfall because of climate change.

“Human settlements have been designed in a way that reflects a climate of the past, and this increases the likelihood that disaster-related losses will continue to rise,” said Gavin Smith, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who directs the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, a research consortium funded by the Department of Homeland Security. “This also means we need to rethink how and where we build before the storm, as well as how and where we reconstruct public buildings and infrastructure in the aftermath of extreme events.”

First let me state upfront I do not live in an area prone to flooding, even during the worst of deluges. There are a few streams here and there in my community that are prone to overflow, but 15-20 minutes later everything's fine. And I know it's real easy for somebody like me to criticize those who do live in such areas, who resist being relocated. But emotional attachments have absolutely no influence on the science of hydrology, and if that science tells you you're living in the wrong place, you should probably listen closely:

Don McGahn's crusade to entrench Republican power

Running interference for Brett Kavanaugh is only part of a broader strategy:

An exasperated President Trump picked up the phone to call the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, last Sunday. Tell the F.B.I. they can investigate anything, he told Mr. McGahn, because we need the critics to stop. Not so fast, Mr. McGahn said.

Mr. McGahn, according to people familiar with the conversation, told the president that even though the White House was facing a storm of condemnation for limiting the F.B.I. background check into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding — and Mr. Trump was suggesting — would be potentially disastrous for Judge Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Not to take away from Trump's disgusting and contemptible behavior during this fiasco, but this particular issue reveals the machinations behind the GOP's supposed "kow-towing" to the President. That is a façade, a way for them to get unethical things done while appearing to keep their hands clean. For almost two decades, Republican leaders have been pushing a mostly clandestine effort to entrench their power via corporate money and voter suppression, and Mitch McConnell's fingerprints are all over that:

Tim Moore forces us to create new political corruption term: Nepo-Patronage

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That's when you get your girlfriend a cushy job in government:

The day after our story that asked about a newly created, high-paying job given to North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore’s girlfriend, Jennifer Gray, was published, we received a call from an official at the Department of Insurance (DOI). “We can see how you were confused,” said Marla Sink, deputy commissioner for communications, who proposed a conference call to clear things up.

Information previously provided by DOI officials was conflicting as to whether the job given to Ms. Gray was a political patronage position. And they had refused to explain themselves.

There are a lot of questions that need answering on this issue, including why the NC GOP felt the need to give Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey $10,000 in the middle of his four-year term. You would think with all 170 seats in the Legislature being contested, that money would have been better spent elsewhere. But setting that pile of unnecessary money aside, this conference call did anything but "clear things up.":

Bishop William Barber receives MacArthur "Genius" award

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Shining a light in the darkness of social injustice:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Thursday named 25 people, including academics, activists, artists, scholars and scientists, who will receive $625,000 over five years to use as they please.

Rev. William Barber, former president of the North Carolina NAACP, was among the 2018 winners, honored for his work to build coalitions to fight racial and economic injustice. Barber, the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, oversaw the Forward Together Movement, which held weekly "Moral Monday" marches and sit-ins while the General Assembly was in session for several years to protest laws passed by the Republican-controlled legislature on issues from voting rights to Medicaid.

I'm not usually one of those people who demand protocol be followed, and Barber himself would probably rebuke me for pushing the issue, but: He should no longer be referred to simply as "Reverend" Barber. In addition to his PhD which should be acknowledged, he has also been elevated to Bishop. And it's not just an honorary title or North Carolina-specific, it's the real deal:

Profile of a shameless misogynist

Hate mail sent to UNC Muslim Students Association

Not all cartoons are harmless or funny:

The comics included angry imagery of camels and Muslims, as well as warnings about Islam's invasion into Western countries. One cartoon read, "If you say anything bad about 'Allah' or his prophet, Muhammad...some of them will try to hurt you." Another cartoon strip read, "Here's how they invade today. First, they're peaceful, until they gain power — then look out! England is losing control and is closer to accepting Sharia* (sic) law."

“It's definitely an eye-opener because we go about our lives as any other student on this campus," MSA publicity chairperson Malak Harb said. "For us to receive things like that, it kind of makes us stop for a second and realize, you know what, there are people who see us as less than. They try to make it very clear to us that we are not like everyone else.”

Using cartoon imagery to promote hatred is definitely not new; it was standard fare for anti-Semitic movements dating back to a century ago. And one of the main reasons bigots use this is because they are free to craft the angriest and ugliest facial features they want, in order to frighten gullible white people. Jews and recently freed slaves were depicted in this fashion even by mainstream newspapers, and average white Southerners didn't even bat an eye. And that's why it's more important then ever for us to avoid falling into the same old prejudicial trap:

Lunatic Fringe: GOP Legislative candidate attacks John Kerry

For trying to preserve Iran nuclear deal Trump trashed:

A day after President Donald Trump slammed former Secretary of State John Kerry for private meetings with a top Iranian official, a North Carolina state Senate candidate lobbed similar accusations in a tweet of his own.

“When will the President Strip Former Sec of State of his Security Clearance,” said Republican Rickey Padgett, who is running to unseat Democrat Mike Woodard in District 22. “With John Kerry now working on the behalf of foreign terrorist governments (Now) should be the answer. Drain the Swamp now! John Kerry should be next!”

Okay, aside from the fact former Secretaries of State have often taken an active role on the world stage to promote diplomatic solutions to potentially dangerous problems, what (in the name of all that's holy) does this have to do with representing people in the NC General Assembly? The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing. But going after national Democrats is a theme for this patently unstable former Durham deputy, like posting a Tweet of Pelosi and Schumer dressed as Nazis (which he has since deleted) and making incredibly racist comments about Maxine Waters:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Now the new standard operating procedure:

They would not do that unless there was something in the Legislation they didn't want people to have time to ponder...

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