TarGator's blog

Mentally Retarded Man Taken Off Death Row

We finally found one type of person North Carolina does not like to execute: the mentally retarded. The legislature prevented the execution of the retarded in 2001 and defined retardation as scoring below 70 on an IQ test and showing poor life skills before the age of 18. This has saved 12 individuals from the death penalty, including Elton McLaughlin recently. From the Myrtle Beach Online:

A Bladen County man convicted of killing three people was removed from North Carolina's death row after a federal judge ruled that an IQ test given to him in the 1960s was valid.

Tim Dunn Featured in the USA Today

In the race for North Carolina's 8th Congressional District, there seems to be two Democrats seriously vying to take down Robin Hayes: Tim Dunn and Larry Kissel. Larry Kissel has thus far dominated the online/blog race and Tim Dunn has grabbed the national attention. Tim Dunn now adds USA Today to the national media outlets that are giving him exposure. From the USA Today:

Tim Dunn, 45, is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves who served in Baghdad in 2004 as a legal adviser to the Iraqi Special Tribunal trying Saddam Hussein. If the Democrat wins a party primary, he would face GOP Rep. Robin Hayes in a North Carolina district with a strong military presence that leans Republican.

Judicial Merry-Go-Round Following Lake's Departure Continues

Following Chief Justice Lake's retirement this month, Easley was given the choice to appoint a new Chief Justice. He choose Associate Justice Sarah Parker. This meant that Easley had the opportunity to appoint a justice to take Parker's old seat. He nominated Patricia Timmons-Goodson from the NC Court of Appeals. This left a vacancy on the Court of Appeals, so Easley nominated Linda Stephens for that position.

Confused yet? The skinny is this: Democrats get one more seat on the NC Supreme Court and now hold the Chief Justice Seat. Any more questions, read this article

Another Call for Black to Step Aside

The Fayetteville Online has added to calls for House Soeaker Jim Black to step aside with this editorial today. From the article:

Let’s see, now. Jim Black isn’t named Tom DeLay, isn’t from Texas, isn’t the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and hasn’t been indicted for his cozy relations with people having a vested interest in his work. Is there any other important respect in which their political situations differ?

Black, speaker of the North Carolina House, had as his political adviser Meredith Norris, a lobbyist for a would-be lottery contractor. Because Black didn’t pay Norris, she was not technically his employee even though she had something like free run of his office, gave direction to his staff and used his equipment. But because the relationship got him into hot water, he made a production of firing someone he said he hadn’t hired.

McHenry: GOP Pawn

And the press swoons over our favorite Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) again, sort of. The Winston-Salem Journal has this piece that basically says that McHenry is running again and he is a GOP pawn. We already knew that McHenry was pro-torture, now from the article:

Freshman members of Congress usually remain in the shadows as they learn their way around Capitol Hill.

Bush's Approval Numbers Still in the Tank

Apparently all this talking head nonsense about the Alito nomination helping Bush is, well, nonsense. From Zogby:

In the face of rising gas prices, partisan sniping over Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and a resumption of insurgent violence in Iraq, President Bush’s job approval rating has slipped into a post-holiday funk, again dipping below 40%, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows.

His approval rating almost mirrors the percentage of respondents (40%) who said the nation overall is headed in the right direction.

Delays in Implementation of NC's Lobbying Law

North Carolina's lobbying law, which was not scheduled to go into effect until January 2007 anyway, will not be properly enforced. The Secretary of State's office is charged with the enforcement of the law, and now they are claiming that they will not have the money to enforce it until at least July of 2007. From the Charlotte Observer:

Lobbyists attending a class on North Carolina's new lobbying law learned not only about the law, but also that the agency expected to enforce it doesn't have enough money to do so.

Morning Reading

There are two interesting stories being blogged about today. First, Dent here and Pam here have information and background on the Greensboro police chief that has been keeping a blacklist of, well, black officers. People on this list were apparently investigated by a secret group of police at the command of the chief. Second, Dent follows a meeting in Carrboro to call for the impeachment of Bush here.

Off Topic: A Different Way to Approach Sex-Ed

From CNN:

A western Colombian town has angered the influential Catholic Church with a novel scheme to cut AIDS infections, threatening males over age 14 with fines if they fail to carry a condom.

Young men in the community, most of whom start having sex at about age 15, according to a poll, should carry condoms just as they have to carry identification cards, Tulua town councilman William Pena told El Tiempo newspaper.

And the best Bush can do is tell kids not to have sex. Where is our "man of action" when we need him?

Foxx Dodges Potential Challenger

Our chance of making NC-5 competitive this year has just taken a hit. The Winston-Salem Journal is reporting that Allen Joines, the popular mayor of Winston-Salem, will not be challenging Foxx. Apparently the race looked too "tough". From the article:

Allen Joines, the two-term mayor of Winston-Salem and whom national Democratic Party leaders had seen as the top potential challenger in the overwhelmingly conservative 5th Congressional District, is no longer a threat to Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx.


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