scharrison's blog

Racism and segregation are alive and well in Suburbia

Not in my back yard, build it somewhere else:

“We built our brand-new home here because we worked hard to become residents of New Berlin — not because we got a handout, not because somebody paved the way for us,” one woman said.

One man described seeing an increase in crime when a “lower-income element” moved into his former Milwaukee neighborhood. “You put this low-income housing into this part of the city,” he said, and “I guarantee you this is what you’re inviting into our community.” At least one resident wrote a letter teasing at fears that her city would turn into the North Side of Milwaukee, which is predominantly Black.

I don't care what state you're living in, or if you're urban, suburban, exurban, or even (especially?) rural. Nothing brings out the NIMBY more than new development. I've been on our Town's Planning Board for about six years now. The first three years were non-eventful, we went about 5 months one time with no meetings. But the last three years have been nothing short of brutal. We've had citizens yell at us, glare at us, question our integrity, and throughout there has been a near-constant undercurrent of racism. It is often couched in "property value" arguments, but it is there, nonetheless. And none of our proposed developments received (or even asked for) government subsidies or other enticements:

T'was the night before Election, and all through the (U.S.) House...

Gerry Mander is not as strong as he was:

The GOP’s current 10-3 advantage relied on concentrating Democratic voters into some districts and splitting Democratic strongholds in others, a strategy known as “cracking and packing.” North Carolina’s new districts, now much more unpacked and uncracked than the previous iteration, all but assures a two-seat Democratic gain in districts centered in the Triangle and Triad, making the partisan split at least 8-5.

Whether the outcome this year stays 8-5 or results in further gains for Democrats hinges on a presidential race in a state with shifting demographics and a history of bouncing between parties on top of the ticket races.

Picking up (at least) two more seats in our Congressional Delegation is something positive to chew on these days. But I get an even bigger warm fuzzy knowing that North Carolina is actively defending or even growing the Democratic majority in the U.S. House. We are moving progress forward, not just helplessly watching from the fringe. That two seat gain is a victory we shouldn't take for granted, even if we fall short on these (three) other seats:

Environmental justice should be one of your top five priorities

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At the intersection of pollution and socioeconomic despair:

We can see the through lines between climate change, polluting industries, and COVID-19 at North Carolina’s numerous factory farms. These farms, which can contain millions of hogs, chickens, and turkeys, struggle to keep hazardous animal waste pits called “lagoons” from repeatedly washing away due to hurricane flooding. Toxic animal waste pollutes river basins and streams, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, creating algal blooms that harm aquatic ecosystems. In addition, some of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in our area are with Black and Brown factory farm workers who’ve been denied proper protective equipment. Separately, factory farms, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all extremely dangerous; but combined, lagoons overflowed by hurricanes and the poor working conditions that sicken workers are killing people, the economy, and the ecosystem.

These problems simply cannot be fixed from the top-down. Zoning is one of the major factors in environmental injustice, and that is (for the most part) a local government function. Zoning maps that were created in the 20th Century are usually only updated every ten years or so, and those updates are "tweaks," mostly focused on expanding population. The inequities built into that system (industrial zones near black neighborhoods) rarely come under scrutiny, and the refusal to zone in unincorporated areas by county commissioners is even worse. It's a major health problem for communities of color, and has gotten worse since the NIH studied it 20 years ago:

COVID winners: Sturm Ruger posts record-breaking profits

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The very last thing we need is more guns in circulation:

Another sharp increase in demand for firearms amid the COVID-19 pandemic and national political tension enabled Sturm, Ruger & Co. to post Wednesday a nearly fivefold hike in third-quarter net income to $24.75 million. The report was a near repeat of Ruger's second-quarter performance, which yielded a threefold profit hike to $18.6 million.

By comparison, net income a year ago was $4.82 million. The third-quarter 2020 profit was offset somewhat by Ruger paying $8.1 million in income taxes, up from $1.5 million a year ago.

That's nearly a six-fold increase in gun sales in one year. This likely has more to do with the social unrest attributed to police killings of black people than the virus itself, but don't write off the quarantine mentality completely. Curbing social interaction has a psychological toll we simply can't predict, but it's definitely not good. We talk about mass shootings in schools and other public venues as the major threat to American children. But 3 out of 4 of them are killed at home:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Trump puts climate deniers in charge at NOAA

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Because real science is a pain in the ass, or something:

Mr. McLean had sent some of the new political appointees a message that asked them to acknowledge the agency’s scientific integrity policy, which prohibits manipulating research or presenting ideologically driven findings. The request prompted a sharp response from Dr. Noble. “Respectfully, by what authority are you sending this to me?” he wrote, according to a person who received a copy of the exchange after it was circulated within NOAA.

Replacing Mr. McLean, who remains at the agency, was Ryan Maue, a former researcher for the libertarian Cato Institute who has criticized climate scientists for what he has called unnecessarily dire predictions.

Just so you know how bad this is, Maue worked with an even crazier dude at Cato, who believes more atmospheric carbon is a good thing:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

I agree with almost all of this, except this recommendation for Chief Justice Roberts:

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