scharrison's blog

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:

Is Biogas a net positive or negative?

In which we put anaerobic digesters on trial:

North Carolina’s Division of Air Quality wants to hear from people in Duplin and Sampson counties about a proposed biogas facility. It’s called Align RNG. It’s a partnership between Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods. The project involves converting manure from 19 local hog farms into renewable energy.

“The methane product that is created, it gets inserted into this natural gas pipeline that’s then used for commercial and residential use,” said Zaynab Nasif, spokesperson for the NCDAQ.

This is one of those issues that has the environmental community split into opposing camps, with each side making some pretty solid arguments. I will endeavor to cover those equally, which means I'll probably piss everybody off. We'll start with taking a look at the science involved:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Maybe it will work this time, but I'm not confident Mitch McConnell will take the time away from packing the courts with Trump judges to do something Trump promised.

Newby pulls a Trump: Challenging mail-in votes in counties he lost

Because suppressing voters is apparently now considered Conservative Justice:

Republican Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby filed an election protest against the New Hanover County Board of Elections late Thursday evening in his race for Chief Justice against incumbent Democrat Cheri Beasley. New Hanover is one of eight counties that received a similar protest from Newby in recent days, citing alleged absentee by-mail irregularities.

Newby trails behind Beasley by 5,007 votes in New Hanover County. At this point, all votes have been tabulated with no remaining ballots left to consider. However, because of Newby’s complaint, the New Hanover County Board of Elections certified canvass results in all contests except the Chief Justice and Attorney General’s race — the two contests Newby listed in his protest.

Aside from the fact he's just throwing poop against the wall to see what will stick, including the NC AG's race in his efforts is a gargantuan conflict of interest. He's trying to manipulate who will be coming before him (if he remains on the Court) in the vast majority of cases that are pushed up to the NC Supreme Court. Look at the docket if you doubt me. Billy Bob vs. the State of North Carolina is the bread, butter, and sweet tea of that august body, and stacking the AG's office with Conservative lawyers will give Newby even more influence than he could wield as Chief Justice alone. The fact he doesn't grasp that or doesn't care is just one more reason he's not qualified to even be a Supreme Court Justice, much less the Chief. But also like Trump, Newby is losing these battles swiftly:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Lame Duck continues to attack climate science

Trump replaces top scientist on Climate Assessment Team:

Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organization, people with knowledge of the situation said.

According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups.

Trump is not just dumping kitty litter on the living room carpet on the way out, he's stacking the deck with things Joe Biden will have to fix when he takes office. Forgive the strained metaphors, but that's the best way to assess the behavior of toddlers. He can no longer set a policy agenda, but he can make it harder for his successor:

Trump's legal challenges crash into an impenetrable wall of evidence

trumpglare.jpg

Our legal system has many flaws, but fantasy isn't one of them:

During a Pennsylvania court hearing this week on one of the many election lawsuits brought by President Donald Trump, a judge asked a campaign lawyer whether he had found any signs of fraud from among the 592 ballots challenged. The answer was no.

Trump has not been so cautious, insisting without evidence that the election was stolen from him even when election officials nationwide from both parties say there has been no conspiracy.

One of the most ironic aspects of this is how many Republicans, who won their elections, are backing up Trump's baseless election fraud claims. Truth be told, most of them know it's bullshit. But they're still afraid of him. They're still afraid of his crazy Q followers. So they're playing along, and making the problem much worse by doing so. It's the height of irresponsibility, but they don't really care about any ill effects it may cause:

WUNC's "The State of Things" is going off the air

I'm missing Frank Stasio already:

The hour-long program, which has been airing weekdays at noon and also at eight in the evening since 2001, has successfully served residents of North Carolina and beyond for nearly two decades since 1999. With topics ranging from politics to the arts to societal issues and music, the show has served to highlight what has been happening across the state of North Carolina.

As the media landscape has been shifting, WUNC has been working to reach new audiences and stay on top of audience trends. The talented staff that has been working on The State of Things will be re-directed to new WUNC projects that will enhance WUNC’s service to the community.

Change is bad. We fear change! Just kidding, but seriously. Frank has a way of exposing issues that make them more understandable, and he always ends up asking the questions that are chirping for attention in my head. As far as that "media landscape shifting," it's poorly thought-out moves like this that are shifting it in the wrong direction.

Voter suppression lawsuit filed after pepper-spraying incident

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is headed to court:

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is now a defendant in three lawsuits over the treatment of protesters in downtown Graham and he is not alone. Graham’s new police chief, Kristy Cole, is also a defendant in two of those suits, as is Alamance County. The City of Graham is still fighting at least one.

Allen v. City of Graham was filed Nov. 2 on behalf of three people and a group called Future Alamance at the now notorious police crackdown on the Oct. 31 “I am Change” march in downtown Graham.

Both County and City (Graham) leaders are responsible for this international embarrassment, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. The march was peaceful, the group had permission ahead of time, but officers started tearing down their sound system the very second (they thought) the time had expired. Just itching for a confrontation. And of course camouflage fatigues and machine guns were sported by some of Terry Johnson's little army. All that said, the voter suppression thing is going to be tough to prove:

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