Lance's blog

Nuclear Worries in Wake County

A few days ago the N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network ("NC Warn") and the Union of Concerned Scientists told Washington that whistleblowers at Wake County's Shearon Harris nuclear power plant had come to them with security concerns. The charges sound pretty serious:

According to N.C. WARN, the guard or guards say that Progress executives ordered them in some cases not to search vehicles and equipment entering the plant's protected area, where the most sensitive operations take place and the most dangerous materials are stored. They also are said to claim instances when intruder detection equipment was flawed or missing, when alarms were ignored, and when improper weapons discharges were covered up. Securitas is said to have ordered some guards to cheat on security exams. | Editorials

Mintz, the NCGOP, and Something About a Jedi

Remember Chris Mintz? He was the Chairman of the Wake County Republican Men's Club who announced a couple of weeks ago that he was quitting the Club, quitting the Republican Party, and running for the state legislature as a Democrat. Everyone was surprised. That story is here.

Today there's an editorial up at NC Rumors by the Acting Chair of the Wake County Republican Men's Club, in which he pretty much calls Mintz a power-hungry opportunist. The author, one Frank Williams, doesn't help his own credibility by bookending his piece with Star Wars jedi analogies, and he doesn't explain why he's such a bad judge of character. But Williams does raise some questions that Mintz will have to answer if he wants to be taken seriously as a candidate.

NC Politics 101

Of all the new features on BlueNC, the one I'm most excited about is the ability to collaboratively write and maintain books. Imagine an online reference where you could find everything you would want to know about NC politics—from your representative's biography, to registration dates; from a list of incumbents and challengers by district, to an in-depth discussion of redistricting. That's the goal, and here's my favorite part: if everyone contributes what they know, we'll accomplish it in no time!

If you know something about politics in North Carolina—after all, you do read blogs on the topic—sign up for an account (free; easy) and add to the book. I've laid out a few chapter titles, but there's no shortage of pages to be written. Don't worry about putting every piece of information in the right place—others are working on the book with you, and we can always move pages around.

We're Up!

BlueNC is back up and running and, as you've probably noticed, it looks a little different. I'll start with the bad news: we lost all of the comments on our old posts, and those old posts are going to have to be manually reentered. That's not a small thing--we have all appreciated the conversations that took place on this blog, and I for one am sad to see them go.

Here's the good news: BlueNC will be ready to kick all kinds of conservative ass in the new year! I'll be blogging about our new features over the next few days, but here's an overview.

  • We're going to have a collaborative encyclopedia of all things North Carolina politics, and you can help write and edit it.

The New BlueNC is Coming Soon

"What's going on?" We're in the process of switching software. When the change is complete, BlueNC readers will have access to a range of new features, including a progressive NC calendar of events, polls, a collaborative encyclopedia of North Carolina politics, individual user blogs and more. We'll be setting up and cleaning up our messes today, so check back tonight and tomorrow!

The Real(Values) Walter Jones

Real Values has a bio up of Walter Jones by way of explaining why progressives shouldn't be Jones fans. (The BlueNC discussion he links to begins here.) It's a good post, containing some things I didn't know and some things I'd forgotten. You can color me convinced. I think that what's going on here is that in an age of fierce Republican adherence to the party line, Walter Jones gives us a reason to suspect that not all Republicans are robots. That could be a good thing or a bad thing.

This, Sadly, Was Predictable

Six of seven North Carolina Republicans in the US House voted against the McCain torture ban; Jones was the odd Republican who voted with all of NC's Democrats to outlaw "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of people in US custody. Thankfully the bill sailed through the house by a vote of 308-112. President Bush has even been willing to stand up to Dick Cheney so that this bill can become law. I'm thinking that these NC Republicans will find that their challengers in 2006 won't let people forget that they voted for torture.

CJ IBL, Jr. 2 Ret.

Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake is retiring. That's not really news. I got to meet the Chief Justice a couple of times about two years ago, and I can honestly say that he was the sharpest 70-year-old I have ever met. He also seemed to be a very nice guy.

As Lake's wife, Susan, helped him remove his robe for reporters'
cameras, he jokingly recalled that, when he first became a judge,
the late Superior Court Judge James Pou Bailey advised him to buy a
robe without a zipper "so I could reach my pistol." Chief Justice Lake Hears Final Cases

Dissent Is Allowed

There's not much that pisses me off more than the wingnuts' cry that "criticizing the President = high treason and murdering Americans!" There's an editorial in the Observer by a State Representative (Republican-Meck) that sings this same old tune. Here's the response I sent to the Opinion Editor:

Republican State Representative Doug Vinson's opinion piece ("Stop helping our enemies") reprises a now familiar refrain of the far-right: we mustn't criticize the President or his handling of the war in Iraq or the terrorists will think that we are weak. You can be sure that when you hear this tune it is coming from someone who fundamentally misunderstands America's values.


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