scharrison's blog

Looming restrictions on SNAP benefits due April 1st

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For many, hunger is just around the corner:

The analysis notes that if the policies had been implemented in 2018, an estimated 3.7 million fewer people and 2.1 million fewer households would have received SNAP benefits in an average month. According to the study, the combined impact of the policies would have been to reduce overall SNAP participation by at least 15 percent in 13 states and make almost three-quarters of households with gross incomes above 130 percent of the federal poverty level ineligible for the program.

Losing much-needed food benefits would cause millions of individuals and families to lapse into food insecurity—defined as “the uncertainty of having, or unable to acquire, enough food due to insufficient money or other resources.”

Aside from the sheer cruelty of tightening restrictions on food stamps, it also represents sheer ignorance of economic forces. Instead of bailing out farmers, an expansion of SNAP would inject capital into not only the agricultural sector, but others, as well. But that is apparently way too complicated for the Liar-In-Chief. Here are the changes that are coming in a couple weeks:

Flattening the Curve: Reducing exposure to COVID 19

It's time for a reassessment of priorities:

What epidemiologists fear most is the health care system becoming overwhelmed by a sudden explosion of illness that requires more people to be hospitalized than it can handle. In that scenario, more people will die because there won’t be enough hospital beds or ventilators to keep them alive.

A disastrous inundation of hospitals can likely be averted with protective measures we’re now seeing more of — closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, avoiding crowds — to keep the virus from spreading fast.

Bolding mine, because those in positions of leadership and management need to understand and embrace their responsibility during this crisis. If you're hosting a conference, a trade show, or any other function that would attract a large number of people from other states (or countries), the time to cancel or postpone the event is now. If you have employees scheduled to attend a conference, cancel those plans. Don't put them on the spot and say it's their decision, just do it. Because something like this could happen before you know it:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

In the grips of a possible pandemic:

Not usually much for scare-mongering or overabundance of caution, but large gatherings of people should be avoided. Five (5) Wake County folks who attended a BioGen conference in Boston in late February contracted the Novel Coronavirus and brought it back home, and Dog knows where they've been going since then. Be smart, we're all counting on you.

GOP Onslow School Board candidate referenced "ignorant darkies" on Facebook

Jim Crow would be proud:

Eric Whitfield, who was one of four Republican candidates for Onslow County Board of Education to win the party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary, posted a comment on Facebook that used the term “ignorant darkies” in a reference to black people.

Whitfield’s page has apparently been taken down but a screenshot of the comment has been circulating heavily since Thursday evening. Jacksonville Christian Academy posted on its Facebook page just before midnight Thursday that an employee of the school had been terminated from his job due to a social media statement made.

Okay, aside from the fact this relatively young white dude is trying to resurrect a racial epithet commonly used a hundred years ago, why (in the name of all that's holy) would voters choose a public school board member who works at a private Christian school? Whatever experience he has is somewhere between irrelevant and counterproductive. And before he screwed up and got fired, electing him would have created a massive conflict of interest (destroy public schools, parents choose private schools). Anyway, back to the jaw-dropping racism:

Republican stalker wins Primary race for NC Auditor

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Because who gives a shit about women's safety?

Five months earlier, a woman reported that Street followed her on Feb. 23, 2017, at her house and a family member’s house and refused to leave, and then followed her as she drove, according to warrants. Court records said that Street was accused of following the same victim on multiple occasions between March 30, 2018, and April 26, 2018, leading to a second charge of stalking.

And it's a good bet that thousands of Republican women chose this creature when they entered the voting booth. Either because they didn't know about these charges, or they didn't care. This is why we can't have nice things.

Mark Johnson directs his election-loss frustration at Board of Education

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Compared to his IPad and IStation spending, this contract is minuscule:

A day after finishing a distant third in a bid to become the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson took a jab at State Board of Education (SBE) colleagues over a contract he contends was improperly administered.

The contract in question Wednesday is between the SBE and Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). It amounts to more than $30,000 for a study of the state’s accountability system, including the controversial A-F letter grading used to rate North Carolina’s schools.

While this contract was $5,000 more than what is authorized for a no-bid, he's actually angry they are planning to limit his purchases to $500,000. That's a hundred times more than they spent over their limit, and I ain't using Common Core math to get that. Zero perspective, unchecked privilege. There is literally no place in NC government where it would be "safe" for Mark Johnson to occupy.

Coal Ash Wednesday: NCUC Public Staff opposes Duke rate hike request

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Continuing to profit from negligent behavior is wrong:

The Public Staff recommends denying Duke’s request to bill customers for $161 million in ash-related costs at its power plants. The agency also recommends collecting remaining expenses over 26 years instead of the five years that Duke proposes. Those steps, the agency says, would have the effect of evenly splitting the costs between shareholders and customers.

Duke “had a duty to comply with long-standing North Carolina environmental regulations, and it failed that duty many times over many years at every coal-fired power plant it owns in North Carolina,” a Public Staff official said in written testimony.

This has become an annual (if not semi-annual) battle, and frankly the NCUC needs to put its foot down. Duke Energy is a financial monster, the single largest utility in the Western Hemisphere. It pays healthy dividends to stockholders every quarter, and plans to spend about $37 Billion over the next four years on new acquisitions alone:

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