Big Brother

Do any of our legal friends who frequent Blue NC have access to an easy primer on FOIA requests?
Are such requests too complicated for regular citizens to make?
What are the odds of bloggers like us being targeted for surveillance by Bush's secret surveillance?
Can I find out if I have an NSA file identifying me as someone to watch and worry about?

There's not much I like about North Carolina these days, but I do think our citizens have a pretty strong resistance to Big Brother sneaking into our lives.

Of course you wouldn't know that from the votes of our miserable Republican representatives in Congress.

Wilmington Race Riots in the New York Times

An important event in North Carolina's history was the Wilmington race riots of 1898, which resulted in the only successful overthrow of a local government in the history of the United States. The riot occurred on November 10, 1898, an election day. The City was being run by a Black and Republican government during reconstruction. On the election day, the Republicans were defeated in part by a ballot box stuffing campaign. After the vote, some Whites attempted to gain control of the city immediately. When the sitting government refused, riots ensued.

The first headline in New York regarding the event was entitled "Whites Kill Negroes and Seize City of Wilmington" (photo included below). The newest headline in New York addresses not just the event but also the findings of the Wilmington Race Commission, a commission created by the NC legislature to examine the events. The New York Times posted a story entitled "North Carolina City Confronts Its Past in Report on White Vigilantes" today here.

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.

N&O Person of the Year

In keeping with my commitment to hold North Carolina media accountable for contributing to the common good, I want to acknowledge the News and Observer's choice of Martin Eakes as its "Person of the Year" for 2005.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A Yale-educated lawyer with a public administration degree from Princeton, Martin Eakes, 51, has spent 25 years at the helm of the Self-Help nonprofit, which helps the poor build their own assets.

Backlash against Foxx's Immigration Onslaught

J.W. Williamson at Watauga Watch has an interesting catch on businesses that want the illegal immigrants here to work:

The Christmas tree industry has let out its first peep against Madame Virginia Foxx's efforts to decimate its workforce with her war on Latino immigration. A letter to the editor (scroll down) published in Friday's paper from Patricia Gaskin, legislative chairwoman of the National Christmas Tree Asssociation, is only the opening salvo in what could become a most interesting exchange of views: "...the Enforcement bill that Rep. Foxx so proudly sponsors will leave agriculture and small businesses with nothing."

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.

Thank Sir Lance A Lot

(Promoted by TarGator to show my support for his efforts as well)

Just a quick note to acknowledge Lance and admire his amazing productivity! Here's to a wildly successful and very cool Blue NC . . . may we all together make a difference that makes a difference.

Cheers!

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!

Two Interesting Links

Perusing today's papers, I found two interesting links that readers might want to check out:

1) The Winston-Salem Journal does an interesting roundup of recent clashes between branches of the North Carolina government and how separation of powers is working here. The article includes a brief summary of an action to invalidate the state's recent lottery.

2) The N&O has an article that begins:

Like country singer Tammy Wynette, North Carolina House Democrats are standing by their man.

And concludes that Jim Black is staying in power despite all of his recent troubles here. I was previously saying that Jim Black must go, but you cannot argue with country music.

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.

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