scharrison's blog

Protect the NC Constitution: Anti-union amendment needs to be blocked

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It's like déjà vu all over again:

Sens. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, have introduced a bill — Senate Bill 624 — that would guarantee N.C. workers would not be forced to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

North Carolina has had such a “right-to-work” law in place since 1947, but it could be repealed by a future General Assembly. Putting this language in the state constitution would all but guarantee that North Carolina would remain a right-to-work state for the foreseeable future.

I was afraid this would become a regular thing, slapping 4-6 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot every two years. For those inclined to allow the voters to make these decisions, just remember Amendment One from nine years ago. 61% of the voters chose to block gay marriage. Back then, a lot of people I know weren't worried about it. It wouldn't pass, because we had "outgrown" such bigoted concepts. Aside from the potential hazards of each Amendment voted upon, the more they show up on ballots, the less "important" they become in the eyes of voters. Pretty soon it's like changing socks.

The crushing burden of Voter ID on people of color

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Not everybody lives in the mainstream:

Nearly three dozen states require voters to show identification at the polls. And almost half of those states want photo IDs. But there are millions of eligible voters who don't have them. A 2012 survey estimated that 7 percent of American adults lack a government-issued photo ID.

While some organizations have sued to overturn these laws, a nonprofit organization called Spread The Vote has taken a different tack: It helps people without IDs get them. And people over 50 years of age have presented some of their biggest challenges.

Just a quick personal anecdote: when we had to move my mom into a nursing home, it was right at the beginning of a primary early voting period. When she asked me if I would take her to vote, my brain was pushed into overdrive as I tried to figure out "how" to make it happen. Yes, she could change her voter registration thanks to same-day voting. But her driver's license still had her home (house) address. So I would need to take her to the DMV and get that fixed before doing anything else. When I told her that, she just said, "Forget about it, that's too much." I briefly contemplated just taking her to vote under her old, no-longer-valid registration. But then I remembered pricks like Jay DeLancey and McCrory's goons who challenged voters all over the state, and didn't even mention the idea to my mom. Understand, this is somebody who already had ID and voted regularly. A lot of folks are further behind:

COVID 19 has exacerbated the looming teacher shortage

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Not unlike rubbing salt into a wound:

Few professions have been more upended by the pandemic than teaching, as school districts have vacillated between in-person, remote and hybrid models of learning, leaving teachers concerned for their health and scrambling to do their jobs effectively.

For students considering a profession in turmoil, the disruptions have seeded doubts, which can be seen in declining enrollment numbers.

One thing this pandemic has exposed is the sheer hypocrisy and selfishness of many of the parents out there. Being forced to help their 2-3 children cope with and succeed at online learning during the quarantine should have given them a better understanding of what teachers have to deal with on a daily basis (try to imagine 30 instead of 3). But way too many of those parents have gone in the opposite direction; directing their anger over personal hardship at educators and school districts. Conservatives have gotten especially vicious in that regard, making this even worse:

Corporate irresponsibility has led to our voting rights crisis

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Whether it's an "unintended" consequence or not hardly matters:

State legislators across the country who have pushed for new voting restrictions, and also seized on former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, have reaped more than $50 million in corporate donations in recent years, according to a new report by Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group.

Telecom giant AT&T was the most prolific, donating over $800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, cosponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favor of the bills, the report found. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris, United Health, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.

The mentality behind these donations is the same problem that put Trump in office for four years: If you will accomplish what I need to be done, I don't care what else you do, however cruel, inhuman, or undemocratic. Republicans (especially those in North Carolina) have cleverly carved themselves a niche, catering to the desires of wealthy business execs (see doctors subjugating nurse practitioners), which gives them the power to wage their ugly culture wars on minorities and the poor, not to mention LGBTQ+ folks. And it's long past time we ignored this factor:

It's not okay: NC's rape culture perseveres

But he's such a nice young man:

McGill, a senior at Ahop Christian Leadership Academy in Chapel Hill, was initially charged with first-degree statutory rape and statutory sex offense with a child in connection with incidents alleged to have occurred in November with a 12-year-old girl.

Following his arrest, two more girls came forward to investigators to report similar incidents involving McGill. According to the latest arrest warrants, the alleged crimes occurred in September 2019 and last November.

At the risk of turning this conversation into a debate about private school vouchers, just let me say this: When you have a K-12 school, a 12 year-old girl coming into contact with a high school (quarterback) is a daily occurrence. The fact it's a "Christian" school does not make it safer for young girls to be in that situation, and this nonsense should not even be uttered:

Chemours hit with $200,000 in fines for continuing to discharge PFAS

Either do or do not; there is no try:

North Carolina environmental regulators have penalized Chemours nearly $200,000 for failing to meet terms of a consent order and violations related to the construction and installation of required measures to treat residual “forever chemicals” at the company’s Fayetteville Works plant.

In 2017, the Department of Environmental Quality ordered Chemours to stop discharging its wastewater into the river, but residual PFAS have continued to escape from the outfall and groundwater seeps on the company’s property.

It's long past time we reassess our approach to permitting discharges into our creeks & rivers. Somebody once asked me (a 12 year-old, no less) why we let chemical companies build their facilities right on the edge of our rivers, and I was forced to tell this child the truth: so they could more easily dispose of their wastewater. Coal plants need to be close to water resources because they use it for steam and for cooling purposes. But chemical plants? Nope. They don't have such needs. For decades they have used rivers as a convenient (and cheap) method for getting rid of their toxic wastes, and we have allowed them to do that. Shame on us. Here's a breakdown of the fines assessed:

Madison Cawthorn takes credit for funding he opposed

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How can you tell if he's lying? Because his mouth is moving:

The official account for Cawthorn, the 25-year-old Republican from Hendersonville, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he was “happy” to see needed money go to four health clinics in his district that help vulnerable residents. Not only that, he was “Proud to see tax-payer dollars returned to NC-11.”

As Cardinal & Pine previously reported, Cawthorn skipped the vote to give a speech to conservative activists, where he criticized the bill as a waste of money and a handout that would foster laziness and dependency.

Dude is shameless, just one lie after another. Apparently "focusing on comms" is code for saying anything, regardless of the truthfulness of it. Here's more on Madi's lust for media exposure:

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