scharrison's blog

Makers vs. sellers: Craft brewers thrown under the bus by NC GOP

If you don't pay, you don't play:

Charlotte’s two biggest craft brewers appear headed to court after a campaign to raise their production limit collapsed in the face of opposition from North Carolina’s influential beer wholesalers. Olde Mecklenburg and NoDa breweries have spearheaded the so-called Craft Freedom fight, a bid to raise the 25,000-barrel cap on production before craft brewers must enter a distribution contract with a wholesaler. But House Bill 500, which would have raised the cap to 200,000 barrels, was gutted Wednesday, barely three weeks after it was introduced amid fanfare and support from the state’s more than 200 craft brewers.

“I’d say it’s disappointing, but disappointing doesn’t do it justice,” said John Marrino, owner of Olde Mecklenburg. “It’s outrageous. It’s backroom politics. … I’m not sure the General Assembly is the best avenue to ensure the success of the micro-brewery industry in North Carolina.”

Welcome to the cesspool that is Republican policy-making. They'll spout rhetoric all day long about the glory of the Free Market, but when it comes down to the wire, they will support monopolies every single time. Money = Freedom, and a lack of money equals subservience.

Duke Energy positioning itself for coal ash-related rate increase

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Apparently profits are more important than fairness and responsibility:

Duke Energy responded sharply Wednesday to criticism from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and others who have questioned the utility’s opening move toward a rate increase that would help cover its coal ash cleanup costs.

The corporate attorneys told the commission in a filing late Wednesday that Duke Energy’s coal ash predicament meets the “criteria for granting a deferral,” a special accounting technique enabling it to set aside more than $700 million in accumulated coal ash costs for consideration in the upcoming rate case. “Denial of the request would adversely affect the companies’ financial stability,” they added.

That is, if you'll excuse the quaint terminology, a bleeding crock. Duke Energy has been paying a dividend to its shareholders every quarter for well over a half-century, and that dividend got a 4% bump towards the end of last year. But what's really ironic about their whining about coal ash, is how much they've invested in fracked natural gas distribution:

Where in the world is Carl Vinson?

After much chest-thumping by chicken-hawks, the carrier group finally heads towards the Korean Peninsula:

On April 9, Adm. Harry Harris said the carrier strike group was headed north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on April 8. A spokesperson for U.S. Pacific Command linked the move directly to North Korea's "reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability." Days later, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters the Carl Vinson was "on her way up there." In an interview that aired April 12, President Trump said the U.S. was sending ships. "An armada, very powerful," he said.

It is not clear why the carrier strike group never left Southeast Asia, or why the Trump administration did not clarify where she was. On Tuesday, Pacific Command said only that the strike group completed military exercises - and would now head north.

It's actually abundantly clear: You don't cancel training missions (or any other missions) at the drop of a hat (or an asshat). The Strike Group is composed of the carrier and a handful of cruisers and destroyers, and retasking them to go off-mission is a very big deal. Not only does it cost a shitload of money, it screws up capabilities in the entire theater. It's obvious Trump has no grasp of military operations, but it's also becoming obvious he doesn't comprehend geography either. 3,000+ nautical miles is more than just a quick road trip. In other words, don't hold your breath...

Editorial: How the "family values Legislature" is destroying families

Extremist demagoguery is always counterproductive:

The simplest and best way to reduce abortions is to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is through sound family planning, access to contraceptives and good affordable health care for women. It is not complicated and shouldn’t be controversial.

But it is, largely because one of the best providers of these services and information to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies happens to be an organization that also offers legal abortion services to women – Planned Parenthood.

If this was merely an anti-abortion debate, Republicans would be tripping over themselves creating clinics that offered affordable health care for women, supplied various contraceptive methods, and rendered first-class prenatal and neonatal treatment to ensure healthy babies. The fact they don't speaks volumes about their true motivations, which is to perpetuate an outdated patriarchy in which women are merely vessels for procreation, and should be totally reliant on a husband to provide the things she needs. If a third party (the government) were to provide these things, the importance of that husband fades, and with him the entire social construct fades. And that construct is so important to these men that putting lives at risk is a small price to pay to strengthen their primacy:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The curse of the unfunded mandate:

Pretty sure one requirement of whether something is a "good idea" or not is that it won't cripple the system you're trying to enhance:

Coal ash documentary featuring Dukeville residents showing in New York

"From The Ashes" will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month:

The documentary, “From the Ashes,” examines the history of coal in the United States, the long-term effects of the coal industry on communities and the future of coal. The Dukeville community and several familiar faces for observers of North Carolina’s coal ash controversy are featured in the documentary. They include Dukeville resident Deborah Graham, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Frank Holleman and Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.

Part of the documentary was filmed in Dukeville, which has dealt with questions about well-water quality for roughly two years. State law requires that Duke Energy provide a source of safe, permanent water to neighbors of its coal ash ponds by 2018. “From the Ashes” is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26. Graham said she has been invited to attend the world premiere.

Once this documentary makes its rounds of film venues, it will be aired on the National Geographic Channel. Here's the trailer:

Cooper Veto imminent on GOP's court-packing scheme

Trying to defend the Separation of Powers:

The General Assembly passed House Bill 239 this week, which would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 and add more than 100 cases per year to the state Supreme Court’s workload. Gov. Roy Cooper plans to veto the legislation.

“The Republican effort to reduce the number of judges on the Court of Appeals should be called out for exactly what it is – their latest power-grab, aimed at exerting partisan influence over the judicial branch and laying the groundwork for future court-packing,” states a press memo from his office.

This is more than just a political ploy; Republicans are, in essence, eroding the rights of citizens to receive justice, by intentionally overburdening the system to justify changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. It's not unlike a fireman engaging in arson so he can get a pay raise. The GOP wants to dominate the Supreme Court however they can accomplish it, and if that means your case doesn't get heard for another year or two, oh well. If you were wrongfully imprisoned, just eat your three square meals a day and shut the hell up.

Ugly as sin: Blackwater's Erik Prince conspired to murder witnesses to his crimes

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It's long past time this psychopath was put behind bars:

The former employee, identified in the court documents as “John Doe #2,” is a former member of Blackwater’s management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, “it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct.”

John Doe #2 says he worked at Blackwater for four years; his identity is concealed in the sworn declaration because he “fear[s] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration.” He also alleges, “On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince’s employ, Mr. Prince’s management has personally threatened me with death and violence.”

Aside from the invasion of Iraq itself, hiring mercenaries to work there is one of the biggest sins I will never forgive George W. Bush for committing.

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