scharrison's blog

NC Pork Council noses into puppy mill debate

Susie needs to go back to Raleigh so she can explain the difference between puppies and pigs:

A bill aimed at combating puppy mills by regulating commercial dog breeders in the state has failed for the second straight year, in part due to opposition from an industry that doesn't deal in dogs: the state's pork producers.

The N.C. Pork Council, which represents a $2.2 billion industry in the state, opposed Senate Bill 460, which sought to "eliminate abusive practices and provide for the humane care and treatment of dogs and puppies by establishing standards for their care at commercial breeding operations."

Wind Power comes to Currituck

One man's dream may become a reality within a year or so:

Dean Carrico with East Coast Wind Power says he will apply for a permit in the next couple weeks to erect a meteorological tower at Powells Point, the possible site for a 250-acre wind farm if the winds are strong enough to support the investment.

If the venture succeeds, seven to 12 utility-scale wind turbines, 300 feet tall from the base to the hub with 180-foot blades, would feed into the grid system, generating enough power for 15,000 homes over one year, Carrico says.

Good luck, Dean. We're rootin' for you.

NCCN Alert: water usage legislation

On the floor of the (State) House next week:

The state Senate has wisely just passed a bill that will generate important science-based estimates of the flows of water that could help keep North Carolina’s river basins sustainable and healthy for years to come.

We expect the state House to take a final vote on this issue as soon as next Tuesday. Please take a moment to urge your state Representative to vote YES on H1743, Improve River Basin Modeling.

WUNC-TV documentary targeted by Judiciary Committee

And it hasn't even been aired yet:

The subject of the documentary is Alcoa, which is seeking renewal of its federal license to operate hydroelectric generating stations on the Yadkin River. The Perdue administration has opposed the license renewal before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and wants the legislature to pass a bill that would create a way for the state to purchase the hydro plants.

This raises all kinds of questions about the relationship between branches of the government -- in this case, legislative versus executive, in that UNC-TV is an agency overseen by the UNC Board of Governors. And it also involves the power of the state versus the academy.

Cary "Clam Juice" Allred popped for DWI

Sad, but inevitable:

Former state legislator Cary Allred was charged Tuesday night with driving while impaired. Allred called the charge “police harassment” and said he attempted to take the Intoxilyzer test.

“The officer did not tell me how hard to blow,” Allred said. Allred said he has bronchitis but attempted to blow hard enough for the test to be effective.

Doubtful, Cary. As a professional blowhard, this should have been a breeze.

SCOTUS decision prompts release of former lottery official

Kevin Geddings gets his walking papers:

A judge on Tuesday ordered a former North Carolina lottery commissioner convicted of five counts of the honest services law released from a Georgia prison.

Geddings was found guilty of honest services mail fraud for not disclosing his financial ties to a company that was expected to bid for North Carolina's lottery business.

Another step backward for ethics reform. In the absence of this (Federal) statute, what other criminal laws would come to bear on a "failure to disclose" these conflicts of interest?

NC chosen for national gun rights battle

And a court ruling here could be used as precedent in courts across the nation:

The Second Amendment Foundation on Monday filed a federal lawsuit in North Carolina, seeking a permanent injunction against the governor, local officials and local governments from declaring states of emergency under which private citizens are prohibited from exercising their right to bear arms.

“Through this lawsuit in North Carolina,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “we intend to show that state emergency powers statutes that allow government officials to suspend fundamental civil rights, including the right to bear arms, are unconstitutional and therefore should be nullified.

NC pinches pennies on per-student spending

There's still room to get worse, but not much:

North Carolina ranks among the worst in the nation in terms of education spending per student, according to a new Census report.

The state spent $7,996 per student during the 2007-08 school year, better than only six other states: Mississippi ($7,901), Tennessee ($7,739), Oklahoma ($7,685), Arizona ($7,608), Idaho ($6,931) and Utah ($5,765).

New York spent the most on each elementary, middle and high school student, at $17,173, while nationally, the per-pupil spending totaled $10,259.

Unlocking the mysteries of the human brain

Exploring the placebo effect:

Increasingly, placebo effects are being viewed as real and tangible, if mysterious. In various surveys, 45 percent to 85 percent of American and European practitioners say they have used placebos in clinical practice, and 96 percent of academic physicians in the United States say they think placebos have therapeutic effects.

This really fascinates me. I operate from an (admittedly layman's) perspective that the human body/brain is capable of overcoming most ailments on its own, without the intervention of laboratory concoctions. And I have no doubt there is a drug available that would cure me of that fantasy. ;)

NORML seeks to expand presence in NC

Starting with a fundraiser in Asheville:

The purpose of Sunday's meeting — and a benefit concert that followed at The Garage at Biltmore — was to raise money for the group's nonprofit status as well as to discuss creative reform strategies and to educate about bills in committee in the N.C. General Assembly that would allow marijuana use for medical purposes.

The goal is to have Norml branches throughout the state, said organizer Alex Bumgardner, of Gastonia. The UNC Asheville graduate said there is a presence in Charlotte and Asheville already, but the group had its first meeting in Asheville “because the momentum is already there.”

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