"We've got sort of this survival-of-the-fittest mentality that's going on"

The Winston-Salem Journal: bad communication, misplaced priorities, lack of low-income housing, and tight budgets result in NC mental patients being dropped off at homeless shelters with nothing but a bottle of pills.

[Shelter] managers are not trained in counseling psychiatric patients, and there are no staff members to dispense residents' medications or remind them when to take their drugs, she said. Patients who are in crisis are simply picked up by the police.

Testing my resolve

Just when I'm working on being Mr. Nice Guy, Steve Ford at the N&O comes along with a column today and ruins everything. His effusive and lame defense of our Imperial Presidency is astonishing . . . and downright sad.

How disgusted am I? Let me count the ways.

1. Creepy. I won't debase our pages by recounting most of his sorry prose. Suffice it to say: waste of paper and ink. You'll have to follow the link if you want the whole story.

2. Uninformed. "President Bush's anti-terrorism electronic surveillance program -- the one that's being roasted as warrantless, domestic wiretapping -- is supposed to be targeted against people suspected of having some link to al-Qaeda. But given the size and acuity of the NSA's electronic ears, wouldn't a conversation with someone overseas in which bin Laden's name cropped up be likely to get the eavesdroppers' attention?"

GOP Sees Charles Taylor as a Liability

From The Hill:

Members of the House Republican Steering Committee have warned Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) that he is in danger of losing his chairmanship of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee if he does not raise or donate more money to Republicans.

According to the article, fundraising is only one of about 10 considerations the Steering Committee looks at. Gee, could one of them be the presence or absence of complete moral bankruptcy?

The Truth About Cats & Dogs

Today's News & Observer details efforts to get NC pet shelters to switch from gas chambers to lethal injections for killing animals:

[D]ozens of North Carolina shelters [] still use gas chambers to kill unwanted dogs and cats. The practice is falling out of favor nationally, and some animal activists are lobbying the state to stop it.

As I understand it, though, the main objection to the gas chamber is that it's the gas chamber. One activist says "it's a pet holocaust." Both methods are painless and effective, though injection is slightly quicker—20 seconds of consciousness after injections, 30-60 after the gas is turned on.

Energy progress

I'm hearing much that is encouraging from the progressive grassroots in North Carolina. This latest resolution on our state's energy future is one of many positive signs. It is sensible, practical, careful and thoughtful (as distinguished from Dear Leader's ridiculously flip-flopping rhetoric).

Here's the resolution itself:

2006 North Carolina Energy Future Resolution

Whereas North Carolina is at a critical energy crossroads,

And whereas applications for the construction of new nuclear and coal generating plants are being submitted,

And whereas comprehensive energy conservation and efficiency policies can potentially reduce or replace the need for new nuclear and coal generating plants,

First, do no harm

You have to laugh when lieutenants in Art Pope's right-wing militia start getting philosophical. This latest from one of the clones reveals hypocrisy taken to new heights.

The subject in this case is property rights. And before we dive in, let me say that I generally agree with the wingers on some key issues here. Standing in for John Hood today, Daren Bakst writes:

This is a critical time for private property rights in North Carolina. The work the committee does now could affect North Carolinians for generations to come. If the committee members do cause harm and make mistakes, it is much better that they err on the side of protecting individual rights than ensuring that government has necessary power.

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