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Blueprint for a more democratic North Carolina

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More than just bullet points:

The more than 20 state and national experts contributing to the report explore initiatives for North Carolina in six areas:

Improving voter registration and list maintenance;
Ensuring voting access and protecting voting rights;
Strengthening local election infrastructure;
Promoting fair redistricting and equal representation;
Heightening transparency and combating corruption;
Ensuring fair and impartial courts.

Looking at #2 & #3 in particular, the NC GOP seems to be doing the exact opposite. They are more concerned about adding vigilantes poll watchers to eyeball and intimidate voters than helping local election boards meet their needs, and now they are moving to block private donors from assisting those folks. Why? Because most of that private funding went to densely-populated areas where that money was needed the most, which just happened to also be heavily-Democratic areas. Let's dig into the report itself to look at list maintenance recommendations:

Asheville reparations program sets aside $2.1 million for funding

How that money will be spent is still undecided:

The Asheville City Council approved a budget amendment on Tuesday to pull the money from city land purchased in the 1970s as part of the city’s urban renewal programs that took apart Black communities, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. The city council also adopted a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth, the date which marks the end of slavery in the U.S.

The City Council has previously said the reparations do not require direct payments but would mandate investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. City Manager Debra Campbell on Tuesday said officials have not yet determined what those investments will entail.

Where they got the money from is just as important as the money itself. It's a tacit admission that the City is responsible for actions taken over a century after the Civil War concluded, and that slavery was only one part of the systemic repression of African-Americans in our state. It's long past time we took a harsh look at redlining and other segregational aspects of the 20th Century. The City is holding a forum today (6 pm) where speakers will discuss the current challenges and take public comments (limited to 2 minutes per). Trying to set up a livestream for later down here:

Coal Ash Wednesday: 419 parts per million

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Breaking all the wrong records in the climate change fight:

Scientific instruments atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii showed that levels of carbon dioxide in the air averaged 419 parts per million in May, the annual peak, according to two separate analyses from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Those readings are about half a percent higher than the previous high of 417 parts per million, set in May 2020. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas driving global warming and researchers have estimated that there hasn’t been this much of it in the atmosphere for millions of years.

I think it was 11 years ago when I attended a climate change summit hosted by NC WARN, featuring former NASA scientist James Hansen. At that time, atmospheric carbon was about 378 parts per million, and Hansen was adamant that we must keep it from passing the 400 mark. That was a tipping point that would very likely trigger the dissolving and subsequent release of methane hydrates in the permafrost and ocean floor. That is no longer a theory, it is happening right now:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

They don't want proper oversight, they want partisan oversight. Even if it ends up costing taxpayers millions.

NC GOP unveils "election integrity" committee to attack voting rights

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Soon to be renamed "Buck's Clusterf**k":

The committee will be chaired by Buck Newton, a former state senator from Wilson who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2016. Other members include GOP officials, lawyers and political consultants from across the state.

During a panel at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Whatley said the absence of voter fraud in North Carolina last fall was due to the NCGOP’s disproportionate spending on legal resources — the party spent three-quarters of its annual operating budget on legal expenditures, he said — to scrutinize the electoral process.

And a big chunk of those legal expenditures went to arguing in the (US) Supreme Court that a deadline extension on receipt of mail-in ballots, made necessary by Louis DeJoy's relentless attacks on the US Postal Service, was unnecessary and an invitation to voting fraud. Or something along those lines. But guess what? Republican voters were strongly represented in those late mail-in ballots:

What the doctor ordered: Richard Besser (MD) on the Hannah-Jones issue

Truer words have never been spoken:

“At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we are committed to achieving health and racial equity by dismantling cultural racism, ” Besser wrote. “A growing body of evidence shows the role that structural racism and discrimination play in health disparities for people of color in the United States. A recent New England Journal of Medicine article – which I co-authored with Dr. David Williams, a preeminent scholar on race and health and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, former RWJF President and CEO – outlined the clear and historic pattern of disparities in the health of Black people and other minority groups as compared with White people in the United States. These findings are not the result of a singular act or policy, rather they stem from historic and systemic racist policies and structures which can be insidious or overt.”

No matter how they try to justify or rationalize the decision to deny tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the practical effect is discrimination and disparate treatment. It is what it is, and not what you want it to be. The same goes for Walter Hussman, and his denial that he tried to intervene. There are e-mails detailing his intervention, FFS. More from Dr. Besser:

Board of Education member wants to teach that America is Great

And we can thank Myers Park Pat for this jewel in the crown:

Several months ago in our discussion about standards, I made a comment from the table about the foundation of our social studies curriculum being anchored in the thought and the premise that America is a great nation.

I really think that a document or a statement underlining that fact that our teachers teaching in the public schools should be making every effort to help our students understand our history as it impacts the socioeconomics, diversity, economic development and future development of this country. It’s important that we undergird that with the idea that we live in a tremendously prosperous land.

One in five school-age children in NC go hungry, and Amy (Bannister) White knows this because she runs a food pantry:

Truly a lost cause: Bring them all down

Vance monument in Asheville is no more:

A 75-foot memorial to a Confederate leader has been removed from its perch in downtown Asheville where it stood for more than 120 years. WLOS-TV in Asheville reports that the stone obelisk was fully dismantled over the Memorial Day weekend.

The monument memorialized Confederate colonel and governor Zebulon Vance. It is one of many Confederate statues and memorials that have been torn down across the South in the last year amid protests for racial justice.

Vance wasn't just a Confederate officer, he was racist to his very core:

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