James's blog

The "good roads state"

When I think about all the things I expect from North Carolina, "the good roads state" doesn't jump to the top of my list of priorities. But along with forever bragging about our accidental claim to First in Flight, we sure seem to have a hang up about spending on highway construction.

There was probably a time when visionary thinkers could make the case that a network of world-class roads would be key to a sustainable future . . . like 90 years ago or so, when we pioneered the practice of making untold public investments into a miraculous network of highways . . . ready and waiting for Peak Oil.

Can you say 'wishy-washy?'

For those of you living outside the Triangle, I sure hope you have a better newspaper than N&O . . . especially if you expect editorial boards to have clear opinions that are well-articulated. Because here in Raleighwood, Steve Ford and the N&O have given new meaning to the term 'wishy-washy.'

In today's useless editorial, the N&O can't quite bring itself to have an opinion about Bush's gross abuse of power in wiretapping American citizens.

Stirring criticism is the fact that the eavesdropping has taken place without warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, set up to handle such cases in secret. Since 2002, the NSA reportedly has monitored the international phone calls, faxes and e-mails of around 500 U.S. citizens or residents without seeking the warrants. That's curious, both because requests for warrants can be made for 72 hours after the monitoring has occurred and because the court rarely denies a request.

Sad Sue's Sorry Site

I haven't paid much attention to the shenanigans of Ms. Myrick and her allegiance to Dear Leader, but a number of pundits have put her gubernatorial ambitions on the table, so she is now squarely in my sights. And after a brief stroll through her creepy website all I can say is what the f*ck is going on in Charlotte? Is this really the best you can do?


Your lottery stinks

The N&O has a way of getting all activated when things happen in secret . . . like this latest creepy decision move by Powersleaze . . . the NC Lottery Commission.

Lottery officials have decided to keep secret the bids received last week for two multimillion-dollar contracts, until those contracts have been awarded. That is an outrageous and unacceptable repudiation of Sanders' promises.

Making the bids public, officials say, would mean the companies would find out about each others' bids and thus the state's bargaining power would be reduced. But that's a thin excuse (so is the assurance that information will be released once deals are done), and lottery officials should know better. Likewise, they should be embarrassed to be hiding behind legal technicalities, given what's gone on in terms of setting up the lottery.

Hood winked again

Da Carolina Journal is all over lobbying reform this week . . . opining about the differences between persuasion and influence-peddling . . . insisting that corporations have the same rights as citizens here in free-speech land.

Note to Hood: Corporations have NO rights except for those that we the people give them. You might want to check out your Cato Constitution just to be sure.

Out of frustration, I'm open to lobbying reform, as Johnnie seems to be. But I'm not very optimistic that the foxes are the best ones to write new rules for how to guard the hen house. Especially when one of the fox cheerleaders writes crap like this:

Andromeda strained

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I had a scary dream last night. The world was being taken over by Corrupt Republicans -- just like the Andromeda strain, a destructive indiscriminate virus, multiplying recklessly throughout the land.

First they destroy their host . . . the civilized world in which we live . . . on their happy way to destroying themselves in pursuit of the end times. It is an attempted smackdown of the grandest proportions.

The only antiviral vaccine I see is 'truth,' which is getting harder and harder to find. Hey GlaxoSmithKline . . . how about pouring some of those profits into R&D for a drug that will stop compulsive lying. And be sure to enter George Bush in your first round of human trials. On second thought, put him in with the rats. (Sorry, rats.)

Nine months . . . and counting

Nine months is not a very long time. Three quarters of a year. The length of an average human pregnancy. The amount of time between now and the general elections this fall.

In case you've been hiding in Bush's bubble, the future of our democracy hinges on these elections. If we do not elect a majority of Democrats in at least one house of Congress, we will have no power to stem the riptide of Republican corruption that is eroding our common ground. Without a majority in one house of Congress, we will not have subpoena power. And without subpoena power, the rightwing juggernaut will continue unabated.

Making the progressive case

Stand back. Little Johnny Hood (John Locke Foundation) is thinking again . . . which means some kind of cranial explosion or meltdown is imminent. And you definitely don't want to get slimed when it happens.

Today's musings start with a sweeping reconstruction of modern American history to assert that:

There was little progressive about Progressivism, not really much new in the New Deal (it was warmed-over European collectivism), and certainly nothing great about the Great Society.

Hood's predictability as a wingnut reactionary would be funny if it weren't so sad. Because when all is said and done, he continually reveals the rightwing agenda for what it is: an all out assault on the very notion of common good.

Old Reliable & Alito

Every morning I schlep to the curb to pick up the N&O and the New York Times.

The Times I read almost cover-to-cover.

With the N&O, I usually scan the front page for grammatical errors before I slip to the City/State section in hope of finding something of substance. Mostly I'm disappointed, though Under the Dome continues to have worthy tidbits from time to time.

In occasional moments of weakness, I'll also look at the N&O's editoral pages. If there's a Rick Martinez column, I close the paper. My life is tedious enough without having to endure his predictable nonsense.
re
For a fully insufficient reason, I read the N&O's editorial on ScAlito this weekend. Here's the part that took my breath away:

War on Stupidity

When things get slow in blogland, I often find my mind drifting from here to there and back again, settling on the meta-issues, thinking big thoughts (or so they seem). My thoughts lately have gotten stuck on the idea of stupidity, which I take to mean an amalgam of ignorance, bad judgment and self-defeating decisions.

My wife hates the word. Using it, she argues, implies a kind of intellectual elitism and arrogance that is off-putting. That is to say, stupid people don't like being considered stupid.

Point taken.

One real cost of stupidity is the largely free reign it gives to those who profit from exploiting others . . . others who may be less able, less informed, less comfortable with complexity, or just flat out more gullible.

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