A Retirement, A Promotion

I removed the link to NC Politics 101 from the "Quick Links" sidebar—it wasn't going anywhere, but you can access what's there using the link above—and replaced it with a new book, "2006 Races." The State Board of Elections will begin posting candidate filings on their website Monday evening, and at first 2006 Races will be a place for me to sort through that information.

But I've got bigger plans. Over the coming nine months, my hope is that the project will develop into a unique resource that will draw people into serious consideration and debate about their November decisions. Here's the book's front page:

Time to Write a Letter: Stop Bush From Selling NC National Forest Land!

Bush has decided that the best way to fund rural schools is not to spend one or two fewer days in Iraq, but to sell off bits and pieces of our National Forests. It's nuts, but he's the Prez and the only people to stop him are our elected representatives. Contact yours and let him or her know:

  • that North Carolina's Natural Forests are not for sale;
  • that this isn't a liberal vs. conservative thing -- once these protected places are gone, we won't get them back and everybody loses;
  • this isn't about school funding -- those funds can come from elsewhere; this is about Bush giving pieces of America to the rich at the expense of everyone else.

Attached to this post is a list of tracts that are potentially eligible for sale in North Carolina. Chunks of Nantahala, Pisgah, Croatan, and Uwharrie could be on the chopping block. I don't know what else to say except that it would be a terrible, terrible loss for North Carolina and the rest of the country if these parks were diminished or eliminated. Take a minute to draft an email.

Black Diamond

This has nothing to do with North Carolina. It's a test of the image module's ability to create thumbnails for blog posts:

The Game and the Very Expensive Candle

Suppose you wanted to piss off the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the AFL-CIO, the Department of Labor, and North Carolina officials all at the same time. First, become Michael Chertoff. (Note: if you're having trouble with the transformation, any DHS official that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement will do.)

Ok, ready to go on? Second, set up a fake "mandatory" OSHA training session at a North Carolina military base and nab all the illegal immigrants who show up. That should do the trick!

You Know What Charles Taylor Doesn't Need?

A primary challenge. I mean, he's 'bout to get booted from his chairmanship of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, even conservatives are starting to notice his shady business practices, his ties to Tom DeLay aren't looking like such a good idea anymore, and Democratic challenger Heath Shuler is kicking his tail in fundraising. If there's a guy in North Carolina who really has enough on his plate already, it's Charles Taylor.

The Verdict is In (Almost!)

The State Board of Elections has determined that Jim Black's campaign did break election laws by accepting contributions over the legal limit, by making contributions in the name of another contributor and by accepting over $27,000 in contributions from businesses.

While no action was taken against Black, Rep. Michael Decker (R-Forsyth) and Scott Edwards, treasurer of the optometrists' PAC were referred to the Wake County District Attorney's office for possible prosecution.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Investigators concluded that Decker, a Black ally, failed to disclose contributions, transferred campaign contributions for personal use without reporting them and filed false campaign reports. Edwards, a Murfreesboro optometrist, was accused of violating campaign contribution limits and filing a false report

God I wish they'd stop

Wingnuts are wringing their hands lately because Democrats are "angry" -- as though being angry is worse than, say, total incompetence and lying.

The truth is, I am angry. And I would love to have an honest discussion about reality on many important fronts. But that's really hard to do when Pope Puppets get on their high horses with inane rhetorical questions like this gem from George Leef, standing in today for the always-amusing John Hood.

We’re pouring enormous resources into education. More citizens than ever go to college, but literacy is in decline. Will any education leaders acknowledge that there’s something wrong with this picture?

Surprise, Surprise...Education Lottery Revenue Turns into Just Plain Revenue

(note: this is not an anti-lottery post; it is a civic lesson on state revenue. Bottom line: no state revenue is really slated for one purpose or another.)

Remember the line about the lottery revenue adding to the education budget and not merely replacing money already spent on education. Well it was not true when I lived in Florida (despite the fact that I got a full tuition "lottery" scholarship), and it is not true in North Carolina. From the Independent:

A five-year budget forecast prepared by the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management states that revenue from the "education" lottery will replace general fund money that is currently funding class-size reduction and More-at-Four, the state's pre-kindergarten education program for poor and at-risk 4-year-olds.

Judicial Race Loses a Challenger

Now that Easley has made Timmons-Goodson the first Black woman on the North Carolina Supreme Court, the challenge will be to keep her seat. She made a big step in that direction today as her top challenger dropped out since he did not want to be the one to knock the first Black woman off of the court. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

Reingold, Forsyth's chief District Court judge, had said in September that he would run for the seat held by Justice George L. Wainwright Jr., whom he expects to retire. But last week, he said that the field competing for Wainwright's seat had become crowded and that he would instead challenge Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson.

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