scharrison's blog

Energy efficiency program bears fruit

State government sets good example:

North Carolina's Utility Savings Initiative saved the state's taxpayers more than $55.3 million in utility costs in the last fiscal year and avoided emitting more than 164,886 metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, according to a report issued recently by the North Carolina Energy Office.

Since the Utility Savings Initiative was launched in 2003, the state has saved more than $325 million while investing $11 million into utility savings improvements in North Carolina government, university and community college facilities.

Now that's what I would call a good investment.

Are the puppets about to have their allowance cut?

This is pure speculation on my part, based on a few random tea leaves, but I recently received an e-mail from Civitas that included this:

Give a Tax-Deductible Gift to Civitas & North Carolina before the end of the year

The Civitas Institute is a beacon of conservative thought in North Carolina. Our vision is of a state that enjoys liberty and prosperity derived from limited government, personal responsibility, and civic engagement. Help us to continue this effort of voter education and our shared vision of a freer and more prosperous North Carolina.

So...a gift to Civitas can also be considered a gift to the entire State of North Carolina? ;o I'd be more apt to describe that as chasing the State of North Carolina down a dark alley, slapping it around a bit, then choking the life out of it. But that's me.

229 convictions possibly tainted by SBI lab

Sins of omission have consequences:

Evidence was mounting that incomplete and misleading lab reports were helping send the wrong people to prison - and letting the real criminals go free to commit other crimes.

And there's good reason the audit by Swecker and former FBI manager Michael Wolf sent ripples throughout North Carolina's criminal justice system: It showed that the crime lab's failures to conduct tests or inform court officials of blood test results that might help the defendant may have involved as many as 229 cases.

Those lab techs should be held partially responsible for any crimes committed by those who dodged justice thanks to faulty lab reports. And they should have to pay some sort of restitution to the wrongly convicted.

Sage advice for Super Nintendo Tata

The N&O Editorial staff hits another homer:

Moonlighting as a commentator on television or as a current-affairs blogger, as has been his practice, would not be a good fit with his new job. And yet, the school board majority that hired Tata - a bloc aligned with area Republicans - appears to have put no such limits on his activities. So he should give them up voluntarily.

Anthony Tata can make one of his first important decisions as superintendent before he even gets here at the end of January, by saying he will be giving up the pancake makeup and the hot lights and the blogging keyboard to focus on the very big job ahead.

Might need to curtail his booksigning tours as well, unless his next novel is titled Budget Threat.

More e-mail bigotry from the right

Methinks Bill James doth protest too much:

Anti-gay, Republican Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James today said gays are “sexual predators” in an email to his colleagues on the board.

James added, “The US Government would not allow Hetero men and women to share showers and other personal facilities yet the leading homosexual in Congress (Barney Frank) thinks it is OK for homosexuals to do so allowing enlisted men and women to fall prey to higher ranking or more powerful homosexuals who ogle them (or worse).”

Not to mention the homosexuals who were accidentally exposed to gamma radiation and use their newly-acquired superpowers to watch you take a shower at home...

NC bloggers stand watch

Keeping an eye on local government:

On Aug. 1, the couple started the website nofog.info, an acronym for Neighbors Oversight For Open Government, and began posting and commenting on public information including memos, letters to business owners and proposed ordinance changes.

As former business owners and longtime Southport residents, the Crewses are concerned about the effects of the economy on business in their hometown and are afraid town policies and procedures are making it worse.

Considering this story was carried by the regional newspaper, and includes a (typical) response from one of the targeted public officials:

Snow day storytime

In case you're thinking about hopping in the car:

"The roads aren't in good shape," said Steve Halsey, an engineer with the state Department of Transportation who oversees Wake County. "We've been out on the major roads, doing the best we can to try to get he snow pushed off and get some salt and things put down. Secondary roads are not in good shape. We haven't been out there and won't be out there until we get the main roads under control."

I've been trying to think of ways to avoid shoveling my driveway, so I decided to share with you my introduction into the world of snow skiing. You probably won't learn anything useful from this, so if you're determined to get out there and shovel that snow, don't let me hold you up.

Holiday project: Taking the pulse

One of the good things about the holidays is that families are drawn together to celebrate. One of the bad things about the holidays is that families are drawn together to celebrate. You'll not find deeper love nor deeper ideological divisions in any other association, which is why many people anticipate these gatherings with both longing and trepidation.

It's also safe to say that many reading this consider themselves to be very well-informed, and with good reason. And you probably have a low tolerance for the meme-spouting, mean-spirited types who love to place the blame for the world's problems smack on the shoulders of those who suffer the most and are least responsible for said problems. Every family has a few of these types, but instead of arguing with them or clenching your teeth and ignoring them, there's a third thing that I'd like you to try, and it may just help both of you see better.

Climate change estimates on the low side

Skeptics and optimists could both be wrong:

In fact, as Dr. Alley reminds anyone who will listen, and as he recently told a Congressional committee, the estimate of 5 or 6 degrees is actually mildly optimistic. Computer programs used to forecast future climate show it as the most likely outcome from a doubling of carbon dioxide, but those programs also show substantial probabilities that the warming will be much greater.

The true worst case from doubled carbon dioxide is closer to 18 or 20 degrees of warming, Dr. Alley said — an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants.

Well over half the species on our planet would be exctinct by that time, so they won't be around to "recognize" anything.

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