scharrison's blog

Heath Shuler: "I've got ten friends!"

Like we needed something else to be embarassed about:

Mr. Shuler’s office issued a press release headed “Shuler Makes History” and noting that votes for speaker are typically straight party-line votes between the Democratic and Republican leaders.

The final vote was 241 for Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and 173 for Ms. Pelosi, in addition to the 19 dissidents.

Update: I stand corrected, no Dems voted for Boehner.

More inaccuracies and foolishness from Civitas

Via e-mail from the masters of propaganda:

Our state legal system should be fair and balanced. North Carolina's current civil liability, or tort system, is expensive and inefficient, resulting in litigation that adds unnecessary costs to doctors and businesses. Our tort system prevents North Carolina employers from creating and maintaining jobs, while encouraging doctors to either practice defensive medicine or leave our state. If state legislators want an effective solution to creating new jobs and boosting the economy, tort reform should be a legislative priority.

In reality, North Carolina's tort system is very conservative and business-friendly. But don't take my word for it: Here are some statutes lauded by the American Tort Reform Association:

Titan Cement has injunction lifted

The greased pig slips away again:

A freeze on the state's review of the project's air permit had been issued this summer as environmentalists challenged whether the project's use of public money in the form of $4.5 million worth of local and state incentives should trigger the more stringent review process required under the N.C. Environmental Policy Act, otherwise known as SEPA.

But Carolinas Cement, Titan's local subsidiary, announced in November that it would decline the incentive funds. That, Wake County Superior Judge Donald Stephens ruled, removed the SEPA requirement.

Taking SEPA off the table is a setback for environmentalists opposing this toxic nightmare, but there are some new realities facing Titan in 2011:

Berger attacks advocacy groups

Looking for allies in his war against the truth:

North Carolina Republican Sen. Phil Berger, the incoming president of the state Senate, called on state business leaders Monday to stand against advocacy groups that will try to blunt the Republican majority’s plans for steep budget cuts, rollbacks in environmental regulation and changes in civil law.

“They will be united in opposing a number of the initiatives that we’re talking about. We need a united business community as we take steps to reduce spending, lower taxes and reform North Carolina’s regulatory environment … the business community must do its part. I have confidence that you will.”

In other words, "Don't listen to what they say or give them any support."

Cressie Thigpen to remain on COA

When the music stopped, there was still an empty chair waiting:

Gov. Beverly Perdue is reappointing Cressie Thigpen to the court, where he fills a position vacated by Barbara Jackson, who was elected to the state Supreme Court in November.

Thigpen was appointed to the court this past August. Prior to that, he was as a special Superior Court judge after more than three decades as a litigator in state and federal courts. Thigpen lost his bid for election to the seat.

Okay, this is good news. Cressie will continue to be an asset to the State and the proper justice it must render. But I've got about fifty extra gray hairs on my head due to this instant (in geologic terms) runoff thingie, and I want that tiny remnant of youth back.

Program helps unemployed avoid foreclosure

Helping people stay in their homes:

According to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, the Foreclosure Prevention Fund became available to homeowners throughout the state Dec. 1.

It is expected to help 21,000 unemployed North Carolinians keep their homes while they find new work or train for a new career. The program, which will pay up to three years of mortgage payments for qualified homeowners, is already proving to be popular.

Aside from the humanitarian aspects of this, the housing market is still bedridden. A turn for the worse there could spin us back into recession very easily.

The amazing vanishing negro

The Wilmington Star-News tries to right a wrong from over a half-century ago:

one night a Morning Star employee literally stopped the presses when he noticed a black Marine in an Associated Press photo along with three other Marine recruits. It was the newspaper's policy at the time, the Jim Crow era, not to run any photos of blacks.

To correct this error and follow the policy, a pressman either took “hammer and chisel” to the plate, if you go with the Time version of the story, or used a “high-speed drill” to route out Ervin's likeness, if you go with Anderson's description.

“My father (Rinaldo Page) was in charge of the paper at that time. He had a policy against . . . Negroes in the paper, which I did not agree with. But I was not in charge then,” Page said during a telephone interview from his home in Miami. “Dad made the rule when he took the paper over in 1927.”

Page bought the paper from his father's estate in 1955, he said, but apparently the memo about the change in policy had not gone out yet.

Hackney challenges Stam on redistricting

Soon to be former Speaker speaks out:

My friend, House Majority Leader Paul Stam, twisted himself into all sorts of knots in his recent letter to the editor, trying to wriggle out of his decades-long previous position that North Carolina should have a Citizen Redistricting Commission.

Not enough time, he says. Needs a constitutional amendment, he says. Neither of these claims is true. There is plenty of time for a commission to be appointed, to meet and to make recommendations. The General Assembly could then ratify or reject the plans. No constitutional amendment is required for that.

And in case Republican legislators have forgotten their previous recommendations and desires:

2010 year in review

It's not a look back that I've been looking forward to making, but tradition is calling. In your opinion, what were the most important developments of 2010?

It won't surprise you that my choice is this:

Republicans made history on Election Day as they seized control of North Carolina's legislature for the first time in more than a century.

Democratic leaders in both the state House and Senate conceded to their Republican counterparts late Tuesday.

Maybe we should do a "best and worst" of 2010...

Annexation compromise

One of the issues brought up on the John Locke Foundation's wish list has to do with forced annexation:

Prohibit cities and towns from annexing surrounding unincorporated areas, unless the local residents voluntarily agree to be annexed.

Now, there are a lot of aspects to this issue that should be discussed, but it's plain to me that some action will be taken by the Republican-led General Assembly in the near future, and in the absence of practical ideas, sustainable growth and proper planning will suffer greatly.

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