scharrison's blog

Anti-abortion nut-job David Benham sues Charlotte over arrest

Women's rights are Trumped these days:

The Alliance Defending Freedom said Saturday it filed the lawsuit in federal court in Charlotte on behalf of protester David Benham and two antiabortion groups.

Benham is one of several protesters who were arrested April 4 outside A Preferred Women's Health Center in Charlotte after authorities say the protest exceeded the 10-person limit imposed under a joint proclamation by the city and Mecklenburg County.

David is one of the unholy offspring of Flip Benham, who tried to get abortion doctors killed by vigilantes ten years ago:

The U.S. military is charting its own course during pandemic

And there's no room for Trump's false bravado in that mission:

Defense Department restrictions barring troops, their families and civilian workers from nearly all official travel will not be lifted May 11 when the initial orders were set to expire, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday.

The worldwide travel halt has stopped thousands of military moves and has forced some deployed units to remain overseas longer than expected. Esper did not announce immediately how long he expected the stop-movement order to last. But a new target date to end the restrictions meant to help thwart the coronavirus spread could be announced this week, he said.

I've had some feedback from active duty folks who say mid-June is the likely new target. Understand, this is not something the DoD would do unless they were very concerned. PCS moves (Permanent Change of Station) are not about service members going where they want; they are mission-critical re-assignments to keep the myriad of units at capable staffing levels. And freezing deployed units in place (wherever they are) is an expensive and often dangerous nightmare. It's a stark contrast to Trump's push to "get back in business," and we should look at this military stance as a bellwether on the COVID 19 threat level. And in case you were wondering about the ship Captain Crozier sacrificed his career over:

PFAS from old carpets in landfills is contaminating groundwater

And the numbers are startling:

Johnsie Lang, formerly with the EPA’s Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park, is one of four scientists who worked on the study. Now a consultant at an environmental engineering firm, Lang had previously studied these toxic compounds in carpet. “Carpet is known to be disposed in C&D landfills, so I assumed it was possible that PFAS leaching could be occurring,” she said.

Her hunch was right. The average PFAS level in the Florida C&D landfill leachate was 15,530 parts per trillion. To show the magnitude of that concentration, North Carolina has suggested a groundwater limit of just 70 ppt for two main types of the compound. Other states have even stronger groundwater standards.

You should probably sit down, 'cause I'm about to freak you out a little bit. When something like this comes up, we most often view it through the lens of our own family & friends: "We have mostly hardwood floors with an occasional rug placed here or there." North Carolina has over a half-million apartments right now, and will likely increase that number by 40%-50% by 2030. It is standard procedure (except in the most distressed areas) to pull up the old carpet and install new every few years, and in fact many (most?) new tenants expect it, along with a fresh coat of paint. Say 100,000 NC apartments get new carpet every year, totaling some 7.5 million square feet of discarded carpet. Yeah, it's a problem.

Richard Burr sold townhome to lobbyist for $900,000

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And said lobbyist had business before Burr's Committee:

Burr sold the small townhouse, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, for what, by some estimates, was an above market price — $900,000 — to a team led by lobbyist John Green. That is tens of thousands of dollars above some estimates of the property’s value by tax assessors, a real estate website and a local real estate agent. The sale was done off-market, without the home being listed for sale publicly.

Green is a longtime donor to Burr’s political campaigns and has co-hosted at least one fundraiser for him. In 2017, the year of the sale, Green lobbied on behalf of a stream of clients with business before Burr’s committees.

If there was ever a poster-child for term limits, Burr is it. He's been in Washington for a quarter of a century. Went from a former lawn-mower salesman to a multi-millionaire, all while supposedly being a public servant. How does one do that, you might ask? By doing favors for lobbyists:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The bells are tolling for Richard Burr:

I'm still skeptical that he will receive any meaningful punishment, unless his own party decides to throw him under the bus. We'll see.

Over a quarter of a million without power after storm

Making the Stay-At-Home situation considerably worse:

More than 276,000 people were without power Monday morning as severe storms continue their path across the state. Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, has the highest number of power outages — 46,253 as of 9 a.m., according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. Wake County had more than 39,000 outages.

Severe weather moving across the state has brought risks of tornadoes, strong winds and hail to some areas, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado reportedly touched down in Orange County.

Don't usually do weather stories here, but a lot of folks are suffering right now. You can't cook (except maybe with a grill, but how much of your food is grillable?), and all those perishables in the fridge will start going bad before the sun goes down. And if you don't have a car charger for your phone, even that last vestige of 21st Century connectivity is doomed to failure with even limited usage. My heart goes out to these folks.

Mark Meadows wants to cut wages for migrant farm workers

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Because apparently toiling in the fields to supply our food pays too well:

New White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to see how to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms, in order to help U.S. farmers struggling during the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials and sources familiar with the plans.

The effort to provide "wage relief" to U.S. farmers follows an announcement Friday by the USDA to develop a program that will include direct payments to farmers and ranchers hurt by the coronavirus. Trump said Friday he's directed Perdue to provide at least $16 billion in relief.

Welp, so much for the idea that getting him out of Congress was a net benefit. It takes a special kind of jerkweasel to categorize cutting already low pay as "relief." And once again I find myself waiting (in vain) for the Free Market heroes at Civitas and JLF to step forward and observe that those wages are determined by the labor market and should be left alone, or we may end up with food rotting in the fields. John? Jon? Anyone? Bueller? Even the anti-immigration folks are against this policy move:

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