James's blog

Mandatory voting?

Sometimes you know you know certain things . . . but they still don't hit home until you read them for the umpteenth time. In this case, I read a factoid in an N&O editorial.

Barely one Triangle resident in five cast votes in the Nov. 8 election.

Holy Diebold. One in five? No wonder the metaphor 'nation of sheep' comes so often to my mind!

The editorial went on to talk about programs designed to get young people involved in community affairs and electoral politics, which is a good idea, of course.

But still. One in five?

In Peru, voting is mandatory for everyone over 18 . . . up to the age of 65. I'm not advocating that by any means. In fact, the last thing we need is more people voting who have no idea what the hell they're doing.

Oh six

There's nothing like a trek through the Andes to get help you get your head on straight. That's where I've been over the past ten days. No internet. No phones. No news. No Bush. No lottery. No war. No North Carolina.

It was a blessed break from all of the things that have come to occupy my life and my mind 24/7 for the past few years.

Most of my Peruvian encounters involved people living on the edge . . . in conditions we'd all consider intolerable. Outdoor toilets, cooking with wood, eating guinea pigs that scurry around the kitchen. Moving rocks, digging holes, planting potatoes and corn. Herding llamas.

Year in review

We are what we choose

In the roiling ocean of international politics, George W. Bush was a tsunami of bad choices in 2005. The continuing war on Iraq. The abuses of power. The torture. John Bolton. Michael Brown. Harriet Miers. ScAlito. The lying. The spying. And worse. If our nation ever carried the mantle of moral leadership, we have surely lost it by now.

Which is not to say there aren’t benefits to living under the constant gaze of Dear Leader. Safer at home. Fighting them over there so we won’t have to fight them here. Freedom on the march. Mission accomplished. Yeah, right. The Bush cabal has replaced reality with rhetoric on every front. Words without wisdom, policies without promise, and ruinous debt as far as we can imagine.

Now here's a surprise

Just in case anyone was anxious about all those lottery addicts down in Mecklenburg County, here's some comforting news from AP via the Charlotte Observer. Just think! You'll be able to win 340 million next year too!

Commission: N.C. lottery will join Powerball

RALEIGH, N.C. - Last month, an Oregon family won 340 million dollars in the multistate Powerball lottery game.

Next year, someone in North Carolina could cash in from the same game.

The state lottery commission today decided to join the Powerball roster after hearing the presentation from its operators. Currently, 27 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in Powerball. That's according to its Web site.

Big Brother

Do any of our legal friends who frequent Blue NC have access to an easy primer on FOIA requests?
Are such requests too complicated for regular citizens to make?
What are the odds of bloggers like us being targeted for surveillance by Bush's secret surveillance?
Can I find out if I have an NSA file identifying me as someone to watch and worry about?

There's not much I like about North Carolina these days, but I do think our citizens have a pretty strong resistance to Big Brother sneaking into our lives.

Of course you wouldn't know that from the votes of our miserable Republican representatives in Congress.

N&O Person of the Year

In keeping with my commitment to hold North Carolina media accountable for contributing to the common good, I want to acknowledge the News and Observer's choice of Martin Eakes as its "Person of the Year" for 2005.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A Yale-educated lawyer with a public administration degree from Princeton, Martin Eakes, 51, has spent 25 years at the helm of the Self-Help nonprofit, which helps the poor build their own assets.

Thank Sir Lance A Lot

(Promoted by TarGator to show my support for his efforts as well)

Just a quick note to acknowledge Lance and admire his amazing productivity! Here's to a wildly successful and very cool Blue NC . . . may we all together make a difference that makes a difference.

Cheers!

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