Lance's blog

The Uterus as Ford's Theater

Here's a barely-related side note to my previous post. Also in the NC Conservative today is commentary about the role abortion issues played in the Alito confirmation hearings. In making his point, the author describes the risks of abortion as including "the possibility of killing the next Einstein, Beethoven or Lincoln in the womb."

I know we're born with certain genetic predispositions, but does anyone doubt that Beethoven's life did more than his parentage to make him worthy of our rememberance? Don't we think that, had the infant Abe Lincoln been adopted by a southern family by the name of Booth, someone else would have presided over the Civil War? There are a number of good arguments that the anti-choice people can bring to the table, but this is definitely not one of them.

Tabor and Honesty: The Continuing Divide (this time over RU-486)

NC Senate candidate and 3rd-string Jesse Helms wannabe Nate Tabor still doesn't get the difference between an honest policy discussion and demagoguery. Today's opportunity to cherry-pick the facts and practice the politics of fear is provided by the North Carolina Conservative, where Tabor is found trying to make hay over the safety of the abortion drug, RU-486 (which is not the same thing as the morning after pill). At the heart of the polemic is the fact that the drug has been linked to several deaths (different sources vary, but the number is somewhere between 5 and 10).

Mom & Dad Are Out of Town!

TarGator is down with disease and Anglico is headed out-of-state for a few days, and I'm feeling a little bit like Tom Cruise in Risky Business (not the latter-day seriously-not-sane Katie-Holmes-brainwashing Tom Cruise). If you've signed up here at BlueNC and haven't tried your hand at blogging, this would be a great time. I'm going to be doing some work on the "2006 Races" part of the site, and your contribution could keep us from going stale. And hey, you could be the next Atrios!
 
Here's my favorite Google News search, in case you're short on things to write about.

Roundup of National Forest Sale Coverage

More below, but the most colorful quote award goes to an editorial in the Roanoke Times ("Give Bush an acre and he'll take a forest"): "It's not unlike a college student thinking about selling his printer to buy paper." This picture of NC's Croatan National Forest is by (and used by permission of) Christina Dulude of Durham. Her Flickr account is full of great pictures of wild North Carolina.
 

Charles Taylor and the Road to Nowhere

The first I heard about the Road to Nowhere in Western North Carolina was in a piece on NPR's All Things Considered this afternoon. It seems that the National Parks Service made a promise 60 years ago to build a road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so that people could visit the graves of loved ones buried in the park. Construction began, but was never finished. Now there's just a stub of a road jutting into the park.

Charles Taylor, along with families with relatives buried in the park, is pushing to have the road completed. I can see why this would seem like a good idea to Taylor. Call it pork or constituent services, this is exactly the kind of bacon that representatives can bring home from Washington to improve their districts and ensure their reelection.

Cherokee Nat. Forest On the Chopping Block

More on Bush's plan to sell National Forests to fund education (would this even be necessary if he'd planned to provide schools with the funds for NCLB?): 3,000 acres of Cherokee National Forest, just over the border in Tennessee, are on the "Every Acre Must Go!" list. NC's national forests are on the potential sale list, but they haven't been made part of a particular proposal yet. Our National Forest closest to Cherokee is Nantahala.

Have you contacted your representative yet? The message is "Not For Sale!" The photo of a Occoee River sunrise below is used with the permission of the photographer, Jessica (and you can click the picture to see it on Flickr and leave a comment for the photographer).

Cobey: Taylor's Seat is Safe

I got a chance to hear Bill Cobey (Republican, former US Rep, NC Gov. candidate, GOP party luminary, and Art Pope's pal) speak to the UNC Law Federalist Society. I took some notes that I'll clean up and post later, but I wanted to share something he said that hit me as a surprise (not much did). When discussing the relative difficulty of unseating a sitting US House member, he said that there's only really one seat up for grabs among North Carolina's 13, and that it is Robin Hayes's (NC-8).

Sound crazy to anyone else?

Lottery Litigation May Go Forward

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (former-Justice Robert Orr, in particular) will go before a Wake Co. judge tomorrow looking for an injunction to stop the lottery (AP Wire story at Charlotte.com). According to NCICL, the NC Constitution required that the lottery-enabling bill be read before each house of the legislature three times on three separate days. That didn't happen, so (the argument goes) the law is void. And the lottery is void.

If that sounds like calling the whole game on a technicality to you, you're probably not alone. On the one hand, the "read-three-times" requirement is applied to several different kinds of laws in the state constitution, and they're all things that the legislature should be required to take very seriously (such as reapportionment plans, constitutional amendments, and bills raising taxes). "Sleep on it," says the constitution. On the other hand, do we really think the law wouldn't pass if it went back before the legislature and they had to listen to it three more times? Does Art Pope think he can change some votes? (The NCICL is a Pope-baby.)

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