scharrison's blog

G.K. Butterfield gets chewed in Chowan

I think we should formally declare "Town Halled" as a verb, like keelhauling:

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.. encountered Chowan County’s version of a “tough crowd” during an often confrontational town hall discussion about health care reform in Edenton Thursday.

Butterfield, who voted for the landmark health care reform legislation in March, was peppered with mostly hostile questions and comments about the new federal law by an audience of about 60 at the Chowan County Senior Center.

Teachers at risk, again

And they need a serious lifeline from the Federal government:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and two top North Carolina Democrats warned Thursday that without federal funds, thousands of teachers would be laid off in the coming weeks.

The jobs of 10,000 North Carolina teachers are at risk among 300,000 nationwide, Duncan said, as recession-hit state and local governments struggle to meet requirements to balance their budgets. Layoffs seem likely without federal support, Duncan said during a visit to Durham's Southern High School with Gov. Beverly Perdue and U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C.

NC House says "No" to Mega-Port study

Hopefully this signals the General Assembly is getting better at recognizing a really bad idea when it surfaces:

The state House of Representatives on Thursday cut funding for a study that's required if the port is to be built near Southport. Among the concerns is that the proposed port, which would be the state's biggest, would be built next to a twin-reactor nuclear plant and that it could pose environmental risks to protected habitats.

The House voted 104-11 in favor of Rep. Pricey Harrison's budget amendment that eliminated the study funding. Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, said the proposed port was envisioned more than four years ago as a public-private partnership, but the N.C. State Ports Authority had not found a private investor.

Burr to Perdue: NC just fine, no help needed

Besides, these other states are more deserving:

Hinton asked Burr about Gov. Bev Perdue’s efforts to convince him to help find more stimulus funds for the state. “I don’t think it’s the role of the federal government to come to the aid of states and bail them out.”

If the government granted economic aid on the basis of need, Burr said states like California, New York, and Illinois would qualify before North Carolina.

I'm crunching some numbers on this, so stay tuned.

Municipal broadband in the hands of Legislature

And it looks like they're trying to help Big Telecom:

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to take up legislation Wednesday that would force municipalities to get voter approval before borrowing money to build a broadband network. Opponents say that would give corporations a spending advantage ahead of local referendums.

Mystery question #47: When is a compromise not a compromise? When it gives one side a huge advantage over the other.

On fair weather environmentalism

When it comes to public policy, environmental concerns go out the window:

Environmental regulation is seen as a bureaucratic imposition - not as an insurance policy against potential catastrophe, and certainly not as a moral imperative.

Yes, many Americans feel good about going through the motions of environmentalism...But where the rubber hits the road - in public policy - we've reverted to our pre-enlightenment ways. When there's a perceived conflict between environmental stewardship and economic growth, the bottom line wins.

I have some ideas why this happens, but I'd like to hear your ideas as well.

Another concrete plant?

And this one's in the mountains:

NBACC and its President, Aaron Pohl-Zaretsky, received a summons yesterday morning (the day of the Public Hearing on the Air Quality Permit) informing us of a libel suit filed by Blue Ridge Concrete, and its owner Mark Turner, against NBACC and Aaron Pohl-Zaretsky personally.

This community has tried for too long to stop this plant to stop now. An apparent attempt to stifle citizen’s rights to speak their minds can be seen as an act of desperation on the part of Blue Ridge. This kind of suit is called a SLAPP suit

Criminy. I need to play catch-up on this, but now that it's on (our) radar, we'll keep you informed.

Duke Energy controls, stifles Solar power projects

You can't play if they won't throw you the ball:

Independent solar companies say they can’t even get in the door to negotiate with the Charlotte energy giant. “It’s not difficult to do a deal with them,” says Richard Harkrader of Carolina Solar Energy in Durham. “It’s impossible.”

In Charlotte, Optima Engineering founder Keith Pehl says all 17 of the independent commercial solar projects his company brought to Duke Energy in the past two years foundered on failed power-purchase negotiations. Pehl contends Duke’s approach is to control the local market and refuse to pay competitive prices for power from developers and building owners.

For Richard Burr, soldiers are merely tools to be used

Don't ask, don't tell, just do your f**king job:

Burr said he hasn’t seen compelling evidence that "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" has hurt the military’s readiness or the size and strength of the armed services. "Those folks can still fight. They’re fighting today," Burr said.

First of all, Dick, our men and women in uniform are not just assembly-line robots that fight our wars for us, they're people. They hope and dream and love and fear, just like civilians. Second of all, there are about 13,500 of them who are not fighting today because of this stupid regulation.

2nd round of appliance rebates begins Tuesday

Since there's only about $1 million left, you need to move with the quickness:

The rebates range from $75 for an Energy Star-rated freezer and dishwasher to $300 for an Energy Star-raged central AC unit and natural gas furnace. The appliances and equipment must replace older units to qualify for the incentives.

Many of these appliances and equipment can also qualify for additional incentives...For example, a $7,500 central AC unit with a SEER 16 rating and a high-efficiency heating unit can end up costing $5,000 after a combination of tax credits and other incentives are taken into account from the Energy Office ($300 for AC, $300 for furnace), Progress Energy ($300 for AC), PSNC ($100 for furnace) and the Internal Revenue Service ($1,500 for HVAC unit).

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