TarGator's blog

Easley Signs Innocence Commission into Law

Lance outlined the major provisions of the new commission earlier, but now it is official as Easley signed the bill creating the NC Innocence Commission. The commission is the only one in the nation that allows for appeals outside the current court system, where the bases for review of trial court decisions are very narrow. (article on the law here)

Fidelity Brings 2,000 New Jobs, Takes Away $69 Million

The big economic development news today was that Fidelity is building a regional center in RTP to house a total of over 3,000 workers, which will include adding 2,000 jobs to their total workforce in the Triangle. These jobs pay an average of over $58,000 per year plus benefits. The reasons Fidelity gave for choosing the site in North Carolina were the education level, quality of life, and the fact that the state is providing $69 million in incentives.

Now I am typically for incentives aimed at bringing good jobs to the state, but the $69 million price tag seems a bit much to me. Granted some of the grants require the company to contribute a certain amount back to the state, the figure I heard for Fidelity was $12 million, and the deal is much smaller than the $318 million given to Dell for creating only 1,500 less highly paid positions.

Our Future? More Heat Waves Like This

I figured that the rest of you stuck inside during your summer vacations like me, and for me this is my last summer, would appreciate this blog post by Time's science writer. Essentially his point is, there is no way to tell for sure how Global Warming affects individual heat waves but be ready for more frequent and hotter waves than would otherwise occur:

Next summer may not be especially hot--but over the next several decades, expect more and more heat waves like this one--and a few that are even worse. Expect them to show up more often, last longer and affect larger areas. And expect those other signs of warming--the storms, the droughts, and even such counter-intuitive events as the unusually harsh, snowy winter now going on in South Africa--to come along more often and be more severe as well.

Mike Nifong is an Idiot

I have tried to stay out of the Duke Lacrosse/ Mike Nifong scandal for a while, but this article drew me in; Mike Nifong has been hinting at his incompetency during the investigation of the rape claim, but his actions with regards the Animal Control Advisory Committee prove beyond a doubt that he is an idiot. Okay, here is what happened: the Durham DA's office has a long standing tradition of providing a member to the County's 8-member Animal Control Services' volunteer advisory board, Nifong served as the DA's representative since his appointment, but he recently sent an angry e-mail suggesting he would resign his position simply because some other board members signed the petition to put Lewis Cheeks on the ballot to run against Nifong:

Vernon Robison Releases 42,000 Donors' Private Information

Okay so we all know that the Under the Dome column in the N&O is essentially clueless, but this paragraph from Under the Dome today trying to give props to Vernon Robison killed me:

Usually, when congressional candidates go to Washington they are seeking support and money. But Republican Vernon Robinson of Winston-Salem actually bore gifts when he was in D.C. last week to meet with GOP leaders.

Robinson, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Brad Miller in the 13th Congressional District, gave each GOP House member the names and addresses of his donors from their states. Robinson said the 42,000 names had an in-kind value of $116,000.

Can Urban Growth Districts Work In North Carolina

Some areas of North Carolina have seen tremendous growth recently. And the response seems to be that the local governments are simply relying on traditional zoning schemes to place development. The problem is that zoning tends to be too weak of an instrument to control this rapid growth and still preserve the natural heritage of the state and working farmlands. Many other areas facing similar problems have turned to a "new" tool called Urban Growth Districts to both allow planned growth and prevent some of the negative consequences of sprawl. My proposition for this post is that North Carolina should begin implementing urban growth districts before the sprawl permanently ruins the state.

End of the Session, End of an Era?

The 2006 legislative session ended on Friday and with it so did the career of Richard Morgan. Now I would not normally bemoan the loss of Republican member of the NC House, but this one seems to the harbinger of a bad tide in North Carolina politics.

First, it should be recognized that the position of legislator in North Carolina is not a coveted job. Being a member of North Carolina's General Assembly is not a well paid position and is still considered to be a part-time job, even though the members spend many hours fundraising and attending events to even be able to run for this part-time job and must uproot themselves for many months and head to Raleigh each year. The legislators then work late into the night and get heaped little praise, usually being overshadowed by national events or state-wide elected officials. But the legislators are ones with their hands in the fire crafting policy for the state that affects the lives of many on any given day.

Why Preachers Are Not Lawyers: Or Why This Guy Wants in Your Bedroom

Last week a North Carolina Superior Court judge struck down a law prohibiting unmarried couples to cohabitate (BlueNC post here). The case came up when a 911 operator was fired for violating the 200 year old law. Now the inevitable well thought out "proper" Christian response has come. Of course, they do not like people's private lives being free from government intrusion. This article by Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League of North Carolina seems pretty representative and expected. Their reason for supporting the law is quite simply that it is God's law, derived directly from the seventh commandment (Thou shalt not commit adultery). I know that that logical jump from adultery to premarital cohabitation might seem a bit much, but that is why he is a preacher I guess.

Wachovia and Terrorism

The Triangle Business Journal is reporting that Wachovia had to break off a relationship with a bank based in the Middle East because of allegations that the bank was laundering money for Hezbollah. At this point, I do not know how to comment on the issue. I was thinking: it is a small world, or isn't it nice how global the modern world is. But to be fair, it seems that Wachovia had no involvement and behaved in the appropriate way in cutting off the relationship. I guess this is just one of those


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