scharrison's blog

Forget Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is critical this year

Spend your money wisely, and locally:

While local businesses often rely on Small Business Saturday as the 'shop local' alternative to Black Friday, this year's event might be the most important one yet. Many small businesses faced a bumpy year and are still straining in the COVID-19 economy.

Around 60% of virus-related small business closures became permanent this year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

Of course the moral argument for doing this is important: Small businesses don't have the reserve capital or resources to sustain themselves for very long, and Federal government assistance seems to always gravitate to larger and/or more influential companies. But shopping locally, for goods manufactured (or crafted) in the region, has a profound impact on your carbon footprint. You should always take a "miles traveled" approach when you open your purse or wallet. Granted, some items (appliance, electronics) are now only manufactured overseas, but that just means you have to be more careful in selecting other goods. There are many options to shop locally, supporting artisans and sustainable farming. But today I wanted to highlight Benevolence Farm, which gives newly released women prisoners a sanctuary and fresh start:

Turkey Day open thread

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Not a day goes by that I don't miss my parents in one way or another. But this time of year, I really miss my Mom. She put on a Thanksgiving spread that no fancy restaurant could ever compete with. But one of the things that set her dinner apart from every other I've experienced was her Giblet Gravy. Yes, it deserves capitalization. The funny thing is, the giblets themselves had to be painstakingly removed from said gravy for obvious reasons (what the hell is a giblet...nope, don't want to know), and then hidden under residual mashed potatoes or half a dinner roll. But the gravy was sooo good that even though it had been previously contaminated by inedible turkey parts, it made everything it touched delicious. By the way, that's Jive Turkey over there. I didn't invite him, but some people always show up whether you want them to or not.

Hunger is spiking in NC during the pandemic

Close to a 40% increase over 2019 numbers:

Nearly 80% of North Carolinians are at least considering sharing a meal with someone outside their household on Thanksgiving or winter holiday, and nearly 18% reported having too little food on at least one day in the previous week, according to preliminary results from an online survey conducted Nov. 17-22.

The US Department of Agriculture reported 13.1% of North Carolina households from 2017-2019 did not have enough food, relied on food banks or food stamps, or used other strategies to eat.

Bolding mine, just to highlight where I got that 40%. This is bad news on both fronts. Apparently people aren't taking the warnings about Thanksgiving seriously enough, and we can expect a (possibly huge) spike in Coronavirus cases in early December. But I'm sure some of those folks are also part of the 18% who are food insecure, and congregating may be the only way they can have a meal tomorrow. Or the day after. Here's some analysis from the NCCU survey folks:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

These constant attacks on the Governor (and his family) are beyond tiresome. Where were those hypocrites when Dan Forest and Donald Trump went around the state holding maskless superspreader events? Ignoring real danger while creating fictitious events to complain about is one (big) reason why the virus is raging across our state. Ignorance is lethal.

COVID 19 is ravaging Gaza while Israel blocks medical supplies

The collapse of their meager health care system is imminent:

A rapid rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip has reached a “catastrophic stage”, with the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s medical system likely to collapse soon, health officials warn. COVID is spreading exponentially in Gaza – one of the most crowded places on Earth – especially in refugee camps, and the health ministry has warned of “disastrous” implications.

A lack of coronavirus testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) is also complicating the fight, as Israel continues to impose restrictions on medical supplies reaching Gaza.

Joe Biden has a lot on his plate right now, but he can't wait until January 20 to take action on issues like this. He needs to fold Netanyahu's ears back over this obvious human rights violation, and tell him in no uncertain terms that using critical medical supplies as a "barter" will not be acceptable in the new administration. Mike Pompeo just spent several days with the Israeli leader, and no doubt Palestinian suffering was not on the agenda at all:

Alamance battleground: Sheriff adds felony charges to (peaceful) protest leader

And could land Greg Drumwright in jail for 3-4 years:

Twenty-three people were arrested, including the main march organizers. All of these people initially were charged with misdemeanors.

Now, Drumwright is being charged with felony assault with physical injury on a law enforcement officer and felony obstructing justice in addition to his previous charge of misdemeanor failure to disperse on command.

Here are a couple of truth-bombs: If you aren't allowed to connect your public address sound system to electric outlets at the venue (Courthouse), you will need a stand-alone generator. And that generator will need gasoline to function. It's as simple as that. But law enforcement saw an opportunity to escalate the situation by viewing the gas can as an incendiary device; fuel for a fire that was never going to happen. And in the process, they perfectly symbolized the core issue driving the Black Lives Matter movement itself: Police operating from a "worst case scenario" mindset when dealing with black citizens. An assumption of guilt that must be (somehow) proven wrong by the suspect, often in a matter of seconds before lethal force comes into play. I'll let Reverend Drumwright speak his mind, since Terry Johnson won't allow it in his fiefdom:

Trump and his followers are "Fake News" champions

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When you can't find the smoking gun you're looking for, just make shit up:

"We have breaking news of how the mob, reportedly at this point, has helped Joe Biden get thousands and thousands and thousands of fraudulent votes," he said during a Facebook Live video. "You cannot make this stuff up, ladies and gentlemen." Actually, you can — the claim is baseless.

Herrell’s video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. It has more than 176,000 views.

We've been seeing a lot of these in the last week or so. Apparently broad yet entirely baseless claims are not having the desired effect, so it's time for some Pizzagate nonsense. Naming specific individuals creates the perfect conspiracy theory loop; denials and evidence refuting the theory merely means the conspiracy is "farther reaching" than they thought it was. And this jackass is leading the charge:

Nix those plans for a big Thanksgiving dinner

Or it may be the last one for some of your family:

Hunt said the county will continue ramping up COVID-19 testing and educating residents on best practices. A large part of that is avoiding small gatherings with friends or extended family, he said, because many people forget to wear a mask and social distance while among people they knew well.

"Our contact tracing in Wilson County is showing that our current uptick is definitely from small family gatherings and small group gatherings," Hunt said. "We see no links to schools, churches, large venues, none of that. It's all small gatherings."

Your extended family is not a quarantine pod, and there is no magical formula that will protect you from the least responsible members. The virus has spread to the point where your exposure to it is not just possible, but likely. That's under normal circumstances of going grocery (or other essentials) shopping a couple times a week. Bring in 16-18 people, from 5-7 different pods (that's assuming they all actually tried to quarantine properly, which is a stretch), and your exposure becomes very likely. Just a quick detour while the dinner rolls are baking: It looks like the rats were falsely accused of spreading the Black Death:

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