Lance's blog

The Sick Laptop and Burr's Good Deed

My laptop is ailing and in the shop, which seriously cuts down on the amount of time I'm on the internet. On the upside, I'm learning a lot more in my classes and adding valuable days between now and when I finally need to get glasses. On the down side, I'm not as in touch with what's going on in NC.

I hear that Richard Burr's office arranged for him to speak to community college leaders at an "economic development summit" where educators learned how to aggressively pursue federal grant money. I've got to hand it to him: it's a good thing. There's a fair amount of money out there for those willing to write a proposal, and encouraging NC community colleges to get it can't hurt. If I had to make a list of what NC's top education priorities should be, strengthening community colleges would be in my top five.

Tar Heel Tavern XL!

This week's Tar Heel Tavern will be hosted right here at BlueNC. For those who don't know, the Tavern is a weekly showcase of the best of North Carolina's blogs. If you've got a blog, and if you've written something tasty this week, send it to by sunrise on Saturday. (The Farmer's Almanac says that's 7:21am in beautiful Mebane, NC.)

Spot the Republican

Can you tell Republicans by looking at 'em? Let's put that to the test. Just for fun, I put together a quiz that shows photos of twelve members of the North Carolina Senate and asks you to identify them as Republican or Democrat. If you can get eight of the twelve right, then I figure you've earned bragging rights. But there's a catch: I limited my sample pool to white males, so you can't guess based on gender or race; you have to identify that undefinable something.... If you're up to it, take the quiz. Get eight or more correct and you get to leave your name in the Hall of Fame!

The Return of the Black Jesse Helms

That's what Vernon Robinson calls himself, by the way. Who is Vernon Robinson? Well right now he's best described as the Republican who wants to challenge Democrat Mel Watt for the 12th congressional district seat in November. Ask Watt what he thinks about the challenge, and he'll say "[g]iven how Vernon has run campaigns, I'll just sit back and enjoy the fight." And how has Robinson run campaigns? Here's a tidbit from August of 2004 (when he was running for the US House in the 5th district):

Parker Promoted to Chief Justice

I couldn't let this pass without notice: Gov. Easley elevated NC Supreme Court Justice Sarah Parker to the Chief Justice position vacated by I. Beverly Lake. If I'm not mistaken (and I often am), Parker is the last Democrat on the court. Don't fall into the common mistake of confusing her with Sarah Jessica Parker; despite any apparent similarities, they are in fact different people.

Try These On For Size

Reading this article in the Columbus Dispatch (link via Pam's House Blend) made me think about how Democrats need to come up with better ways to communicate their alternate vision of America. Here are some nuggets from Paul Hackett:

  • Your Right To Liberty: "I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-gayrights, I’m pro-gun-rights. Call me nuts, but I think they’re all based on the same principle and that is we don’t need government dictating to us how we live our private lives."
  • Homophobia = Fearmongering: "If what [Republicans] believe is that we’re going to have a scale on judging which Americans have equal rights, yeah, that’s un-American. They’ve got to accept that. It’s absolutely un-American."
  • Our Message is Positive, and Theirs is Negative: "Since the Republican Party has been utterly unable to stand for something positive, they have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and have pandered to religious fanatics not to vote for something they believe in, but to vote against their fellow Americans with whom they disagree. Those among us who would use religion and politics to divide rather than unite Americans should be ashamed." [I'm not sure what Pam's source on this one is.]

What do you think: are these rhetorical diamonds in the rough? Sure, the left has to get the mileage it can out of Republican scandals, but how do we package the things that make us great?

Voting to Impeach

Over at, guest author Al McSurely reminds us of that other duty of the House of Representatives: impeachment. Al's point (and I think it is a good one) is that an important criterion in selecting a representative should be their willingness to perform that duty when called.

The challenge for those of us who take seriously our sworn vow to protect it is to select a members of the House in November 2006 who are strong, respect the Constitution, and who believe in the rule of law. When I size up our Congressional candidates, I rely on the same approach I use in picking juries. I look for people who will stand up for what they believe in. When you sue the government, like I do, you want jurors who are not afraid to challenge powerful people. You want someone who believes in the old saying: He may be President, but he puts his pants on one leg at a time. We need House members who believe that every person has to abide by the Constitution and the laws. And, given Bush/Cheney’s repeated use of vicious attacks when they are caught with unclean hands, we need people who are not afraid of a fight. : Selecting the grand jury in 2006

Governor Watch '08: Cooper Gets Tough on Sudafed offers news of AG Cooper's plan to limit methamphetamine production by moving Sudafed (and all other pills containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine) behind pharmacy counters. Sucks for me: I get sinus headaches and enjoy being able to find pseudoephedrine at any gas station; also, where will I get my meth ingredients? ( <== Joke ) We'll see how the idea plays with the rest of the state, but I'm underwhelmed. Now increasing the minimum wage, on the other hand.... Moore: 1; Cooper: eh.

One More for the 8th

Mark Ortiz is running for congress in the 8th district, making a total of four Democrats looking to claim Hayes's seat (if we count Lloyd Scher, who we haven't heard from in a while). I'm sure we'll all be learning more about Mark in the coming days and weeks, but it sounds from his announcing press release that his central issue is the war. He's against it.

I've copied the full text of the press release below, but first let me offer this fortune-cookie message: only one of these guys is going to be the official Democratic nominee. I think so far we can assume that each is running because he loves his district and his country, and to get a chance to go to congress, they have to argue and pick at each other. That's a good thing to the extent that it generates informed debate about the issues and enhances the winning candidate's understanding of the people of the 8th; it's a bad thing to the extent it gets ugly and balkanizes the base.


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