scharrison's blog

Under GOP leadership, NC's income gap is the widest in decades

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The inequality is now staggering:

In North Carolina, the average income for someone in the top one percent is 20.6 times larger than everyone else, a figure that has increased substantially during the Great Recession and is much higher than it was in the 1960s through early 1980s. The top one percent took home over 17 percent of all income in North Carolina in 2015, and the top 0.1 percent commanded 7.4 of all income. In 1974, when the level of income inequality in North Carolina was the lowest in modern history, the top one percent only consumed 7.8 percent of all North Carolina income.

Not an accident, it's by design. And the vast majority of the Republican base has unknowingly contributed to its own decline.

Governor Cooper asks Trump to back off on tariffs

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Defending those NC farmers and producers at risk of economic collapse:

Cooper wrote a letter Thursday to the president telling him retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products by other countries resulting from the administration's increases stand to harm several North Carolina commodity exports.

Cooper mentioned specifically pork heading to Mexico and China and tobacco going to Turkey, China and the European Union. He says North Carolina exports of these products alone to the affected regions are $550 million annually. The governor says rising prices for all U.S. steel and aluminum also increases costs for anyone who uses them in their production processes.

Roy shouldn't have to do this, because this trade war Trump has gleefully engaged in is not a partisan issue. Congress could (easily) pass Veto-proof legislation to halt or limit this activity, but Ryan and McConnell are simply not responsible enough to take the proper steps. Here's more from Roy on what's at stake:

Counterpoint: LGBTQ-friendly companies should *not* boycott states like North Carolina

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Locating here might be just what the doctor ordered:

In my late 20s, I followed a Sapphic North Star to Seattle, one of the nation’s most progressive cities. There, I met my wife at a coffee shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where we would later share our first home together. We were represented by a gay mayor and two gay state legislators, while benefiting from robust statewide nondiscrimination protections—a lucky situation we only occasionally thought about.

Safeguards like these are far too rare for far too many. Only 44 percent of all LGBTQ people nationwide have these same guarantees today, and none of them live in the South—where we now live, in North Carolina. Here, we and all LGBTQ people are keenly aware of the potential vulnerabilities we face in the eyes of employers, landlords, and others. With the differing experiences of Washington and North Carolina in mind, it’s clear what is and is not useful in advancing equality nationwide—and ill-considered corporate relocation boycotts are definitely in the latter category.

I recently got into a pointless argument with somebody who basically said, "If you're a straight white male you should STFU and let marginalized people lead the discussion." And I get most of that. But I also know if I don't speak out in certain venues and media (like this one), the issues won't be addressed at all, or at best very infrequently. With that said, the opinion expressed above has been on my mind for some time also. The thing about boycotts is, they "isolate." The intention to isolate a state as punishment for discriminatory practices, in order to generate a loss of commerce, seems like a valid approach. Hurt 'em in their wallets, as it were. But that isolation comes at a cost to the LGBTQ folks who could have found employment and solidarity working at these companies. And those opportunities are desperately needed here in the South:

Larken Egleston taking heat over his support of RNC2020

It comes with the territory, dude:

Egleston has been bombarded on social media with expletives and threats after he voted in favor of approving tentative contracts with the Republican National Committee and the local host committee. The council’s 6-5 vote paves the way for the RNC to award Charlotte the convention. City leaders expect the RNC site selection committee to back Charlotte Wednesday morning.

“I would be doing a lot better without the internet,” Egleston said Tuesday morning in an interview, a reference to the deluge of criticism he has received by email, Twitter and Facebook.

I find that Internet comment somewhere between fascinating and hilarious, since avoiding social media and other forms of 21st Century communications is exactly what he (falsely) accused his Democratic opponent of in the Primary Election:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Apparently the fix was in:

I genuinely hope this doesn't turn tragic, but after a couple more years of Trumpism, 2020 could be one of the ugliest years in American history. It won't be a garden party, that's for sure.

Introducing Kristen Powers for Alamance County Commissioner

"After Charlottesville, some of the Alamance County commissioners made comments so hurtful to people of color that my black friends refused to come back to that building. It may have been the comment that somebody’s family slaves were considered workers or perhaps the part where a commissioner was willing to spend money rebuilding a torn down statue instead of allocating funds to repair deteriorated rooftops on schools. In North Carolina, the county commissioner is powerful. Unfortunately, in Alamance County, there are only a few who are using that power for good. When I saw that one of them was essentially running unopposed, I decided that I had to step in."

Editor's note: Kristen is a friend, but she's also *exactly* what is needed on our County Commission these days. She's not only intelligent, but she puts that intelligence to work for the good of all people, especially those who need it the most, in her work for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Here's more about her decision to run:

Struggling in the Gap: NC GOP's refusal to expand Medicaid is a health crisis

The march of the walking wounded:

In the spring of 2017, a tractor trailer side-swiped the car Hendell Curtis was driving not far from his North Raleigh home. His longtime lack of health insurance made getting needed medical care afterwards a physcial and financial minefield.

The crash left Curtis requiring surgery to install a metal plate to stabilize weakened vertebrate in his lower back. A settlement from the truck driver’s auto insurance will cover the surgery, but only AFTER it is complete.

Get that? The accident was not his fault, but he is the one living with a broken back because of it. Let down by the system, let down by the ideologues running the General Assembly. And (of course) if he'd had enough money to hire a fancy lawyer, the settlement from the insurance company would have paid for everything upfront, with enough left over to live on for the rest of his life. But that's another world, one that he and many others can only read about. Here's more about the Gap:

School uniforms required after forced privatization of Ashpole Elementary

Because apparently "choice" is only an option for parents and not students:

Eric Hall, Superintendent for the ISD, added, “In addition to fostering a sense of community and school spirit, student uniforms will help make mornings easier for families by eliminating discussions about what to wear from morning routines; relieve school staff from administering school dress codes, reduce the potential for teasing with regards to a student’s attire, and they’re economical.”

Wait, I thought charter schools were supposed to be an incubator for creative thought, a radical shift away from the "conformity" of the factory-styled public school model, a monument to freedom of thought, a paradigmatic shift...You're right, I'm being facetious. The school choice movement has nothing to do with innovation, and everything to do with social engineering and money-making. Expecting them to operate in the way they've promised in order to sell their destructive policies is an exercise in futility. Also, we'll see how "economical" those uniforms are going down the road. Parents will be buying replacements before Halloween rolls around.

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