scharrison's blog

Stifling public comments on...stifling public comments?

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Yeah, it's just as absurd as it sounds:

A Senate committee on Wednesday shut down public discussion of a contentious portion of the Farm Act, which coincidentally, sharply curbs public input on swine farms that install biogas systems and anaerobic digesters.

The public was allowed to comment on Tuesday before the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committee, which approved the bill and sent it on to the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Wednesday, though, when the Judiciary Committee discussed the legislation, committee leaders limited public comment to non-controversial sections and specifically excluded the digester issue.

Republicans have refined this tactic over the years (only allowing certain topics for public comments). Senator Amy Galey was notorious for this as Chair of the Alamance County Commission, and kept deputies handy to drag out speakers who deviated from her "allowed" comments. FWIW, it is tempting to set such parameters. I've conducted several meetings where public commenters have gone way past their allotted speaking times, repeating almost verbatim what several others have said, and I have contemplated asking if anybody had a comment not related to a certain issue. But I held my tongue, because I didn't want anybody feeling they had been stifled. Back to the pigshit:

Vaccine hesitancy is rife in rural North Carolina

Robeson County is stuck at about 25% vaccinated:

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday more than 50% of adults 18 and older in the state have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 43% of the adult population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

In Robeson County, 25.6% of adults are vaccinated, according to Bill Smith, county Health Department director. The county has 101,622 residents who are 18 years old and older. Of that population segment, 26,033 have been vaccinated. For the entire Robeson County population of 130,620 people only 20% have been vaccinated. That takes into account that almost 26,000 Robesonians are too young to get vaccinated.

We're not talking about a slight deviation from the state average, that's half of it. And this attempt to focus on young people doesn't account for that huge gap either:

Justin Parmenter on the GOP's "indoctrination" conspiracy theory

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Grabbing a quote and running with it:

The Iredell County legislator ignored the overall point I was making about the challenges the pandemic has wrought for teachers and students, directing his tunnel vision at my opening words: “Not long ago I was leading a discussion about environmental pollution with my 7th grade English class…”

For McNeely, this line, which I “prominently displayed” in the state’s three largest newspapers, exposes a sinister plot to deviate from state standards in support of the leftist agenda.

I'm actually seeing this more and more with Conservatives these days. If they seem to be "listening intently" to what you are saying, don't make the mistake of assuming they're interested in the point you're driving at. They are simply waiting for some kind of "gotcha" element to pounce on, however trivial or out of context it is. It is intellectually weak to do this, and riddled with logical fallacies. But they don't care about stuff like that. Back to Justin's message about the proper approach to teaching:

HB 749: Recruiting and retaining school psychologists

The need is greater now than ever:

North Carolina has 780 school psychologists serving one million five hundred thousand public school students.

North Carolina's ratio of school psychologists to students is currently 1 school psychologist for every 1,943 students, and the nationally recommended ratio of school psychologists to students is 1 school psychologist for every 500 students.

If you read my comment Sunday you would know that 1 in 5 (20%) Americans have a diagnosable mental health condition. That's 388 at-risk students per school psychologist, under our current horrifically understaffed system. Not fixing this would be criminally negligent, as it endangers the safety of all students (and faculty). It's also costly as hell, because many of those kids won't become a "productive" member of society and will clash with the justice system on a regular basis. In other words, for those of you who are empathy-deficient, not spending the money to fix this is a false economy. And this is why it's so important to tackle this on the state level:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is SOP for the GOP: Take credit for stuff that is good, even if they actively worked against it. It's a never-ending spin-cycle that will make you dizzy just watching.

H 333 would revoke scholarships for student protesters

George Orwell would be impressed:

Any student enrolled at the constituent institution who, while present on the property of the constituent institution during a protest or demonstration, is found to have engaged in activity in violation of G.S.14-127or G.S.14-132(a)(2) shall have revoked and withdrawn from his or her benefit all State-supported scholarships or any State funds granted to him or her for educational assistance as required by G.S.116-300(7).

The Committee on Free Expression shall report to the public, the Board of Governors, the Governor, and the General Assembly by September 1 of every year.

Bolding mine, because I somehow forgot about this patently absurd Orwellian concoction from four years ago. Under the guise of "protecting" the free speech of conservatives on campus, this was created to keep other students from freely speaking against them. Republicans wouldn't know genuine freedom if it crawled into their lap and gave them a big wet kiss.

Alamance battleground: Protesters sit-in at Council member's soda shop

The cost of doing business in an unjust environment:

On Wednesday evening, about 60 people gathered in the Alamance County town’s Court Square to call for justice in the name of Andrew Brown, the Black man recently shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City.

A few minutes before 7 p.m., about a dozen protesters marched from the park in Court Square to Graham Soda Shop and Grill, a restaurant across from the courthouse owned by Jennifer Talley, a member of the city council. Inside, they sat and sang “Amazing Grace” to protest her support of the anti-protest ordinance.

An ordinance that makes it illegal to gather more than 10 people for a protest without obtaining a permit from notorious Sheriff Terry Johnson. Once the 11th person walks up, arrests can immediately follow. Of course the first protesters to be ejected from her restaurant were African-American:

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