scharrison's blog

Crippled by CWIP: The fleecing of ratepayers

Shouldering the financial burden for new nuke plants:

Due to controversial state legislation in 2007, the utilities can already force consumers to pre-pay for new plants. But Duke and Progress executives have signaled to key lawmakers and reporters that they still cannot attempt nuclear projects without additional legislation. It appears they want an automatic pass-through of rate increases without having to justify them in traditional legal proceedings before the state Utilities Commission.

Note to the new leadership in the GA: After all your rhetoric about easing the tax burden on citizens, if you help the utilities pick billions out of our pockets to finance something no bank would touch with a ten foot pole, you can kiss that majority goodbye.

Conflict of Interest 101

See if you can spot the conflict. There will be a test.

Ellmers, of Dunn, will become chairwoman of the subcommittee on health and technology within the Small Business Committee

Ellmers is a nurse and runs a small business with her husband, a physician.

Okay, I understand it helps if committee members bring some knowledge along with them. But when acts of said committee can have a direct impact on the financial success (or failure) of a committee member's private business interests, the potential conflict looms large. And when that member is also the Chairperson, it looms even larger.

Demonstration at Koch brothers gathering

Hundreds protest astro-turfing election-buyers:

Hundreds of environmentalists, union members and liberal activists converged on Rancho Mirage on Sunday to rally against what they see as the influence of two of the nation's leading financial backers of conservative causes.

Protest organizers said they hoped to raise awareness about the Koch brothers and what activists portray as their shadowy attempts to weaken environmental protection laws and undercut campaign contribution limits.

A little love for the precincts

In the run-up to the SEC meeting/election, one particular issue seemed to be on the minds of many: The distribution of check-off funding headed down to the county and precinct levels. There was also some concern over whether or not a sitting Legislator could also legally engage in fundraising for the Party while the General Assembly was in session, which I believe was answered here.

With those two things in mind, I've got a proposition, which should help to empower both the base and the elected officials who owe them so much:

Martinez demonstrates his ignorance on racial matters

A sophomoric attempt to discredit the African-American Museum in DC:

The late Sen. Jesse Helms was an ardent opponent of establishing a Smithsonian museum for African-American history. He argued that it would trigger a string of history museums based on race and culture.

The more likely reason for his opposition is the very strong possibility that he himself would be on exhibit, and not in a position of honor, either. Not only did he adamantly and powerfully oppose civil rights, desegregation, voting rights, affirmative action, etc., he also spent 16 days filibustering the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday.

SEC members elect David Parker NCDP Chair

Via Rob Christensen at Under The Dome:

At a meeting of the state Democratic Executive Committee on the N.C. State University campus, Parker received 355 votes compared to 262 votes for Faison and 15 votes for Dannie Montgomery, a party leader from Anson County.

It is done. As Jake mentioned in another thread, I hope David continues to engage with us here at BlueNC. That goes for Bill and Dannie, as well. It's gonna take all of us.

The many faces of Blackwater

There's more than one way to skin a $10 billion contract:

That would suggest International Development Solutions — a company few industry experts have heard of, sporting a generic, Google-resistant name — is yet another front group the company set up to win government contracts while concealing its tainted brand. More of a mystery is why the State Department let the company get away with it. Again.

Here is the list of other Blackwater entities eyeing State Department money:

My Democratic Party

I'm not going to be making an endorsement for our Party Chair in this diary. Hell, a lot of the folks who actually have a vote have been SEC members longer than I've even been a Democrat. They'd be foolish to set aside their own knowledge and experience in favor of my choice, even if I did have a vote. Which I don't.

With that in mind, you may wonder about the title of the diary itself. I chose that because we all need to take ownership of the Party. And that also means taking responsibility for the Party's actions, both good and bad.

WRAL just got a little classier

Laura Leslie gives GOLO folks a dose of reality:

Budget? What budget?

Despite all the talk leading up to the new session about how closing the projected $3.7 billion deficit would be the top priority for lawmakers this year, plenty of non-fiscal issues are being addressed by the initial bills being filed.

No comments yet, but that's okay, Laura. They're still thinking about it and trying to figure out if you're one of them dang Socialists.

New GOP target: Community college students

Putting the needs of private lenders above those of students:

AN ACT To provide that constituent Institutions of the North Carolina community College System may Opt Out of participation in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

Participation in Federal Loan Programs. – All community colleges shall participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.Program, unless the board of trustees of an institution by resolution adopted declines to participate in the Program.

A little background from our friends at Firedoglake:

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