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.

Discrimination Due to Sexuality in the Mountains

The Asheville Citizen-Times ran this piece about a couple that had their contract with a ski resort cancelled because they got married in Mass. From the article:

Scherer says the ski area owners told her and Balfour that their sexual orientation and marriage was part of the reason their agreement was terminated. Scherer said the Wolf Laurel work, which she had done the past two seasons, accounted for about $20,000 in income for her company, nearly half of her annual gross.

Wolf Laurel Ski Area owner Orville English declined to comment on the allegations Tuesday, while co-owner Rick Bussey said, “It’s not wise for us to get in a verbal battle.” He described Wolf Laurel as a family-oriented resort.

More on Blunt

Here's some information (PDF) about the ties between Jack Abramoff and the guy Sue Myrick wants to be the new Republican House Majority Leader. [Via]

Myrick: Corruption? What Corruption?

So far, Sue Myrick is the only member of NC's Republican House contingent to publicly declare allegiance with one of the candidates for Tom DeLay's old job. Her pick: Roy Blunt. (Follow that last link to Blunt's bio at BeyondDeLay.org; you'll find a nice Charles Taylor bio as well.) That's the Roy Blunt who is now the House Majority Whip, who is acting as the interim Majority Leader during DeLay's troubles. This guy was elevated to power by Tom DeLay and has been his right hand for years. Blunt is as business-as-usual as business-as-usual can be.

North Carolina; Land of Value Universities

Article here:

Gov. Mike Easley today announced that five North Carolina Universities are ranked in the top 50 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as the “Best Values” among the nation’s public colleges and universities. The magazine will be available today on newsstands across the country. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is ranked No. 1 for the fifth consecutive time. Other North Carolina universities included in the ranking include: N.C. State University (28), UNC-Wilmington (32), Appalachian State University (33) and UNC-Asheville (50).

Washington Versus Raleigh

There has been a lot of back and forth between our local officials and our federal officials recently. One incident is the op-ed piece by Easley calling out the federal representatives for create a "budgetary black hole" and rigging the system against the poor here. The other is Sue Myrick attacking Basnight and Black in a letter, which Jim Black responded to in kind. WRAL has an account of the interaction here.

I have held back on blogging about these incidents since I do not really consider them worthy of our time in and of themselves; however, the existence of these two public debates simultaneously is interesting.

Competition cure-all?

I never expect much thoughtfulness from North Carolina's business publications, and the Triad Business Journal is no exception. But this lame analysis about the role of competition in driving down healthcare costs is laughable. Like much shallow thinking, it starts with self-serving generalizations, which it then stretches to ludicrous proportions.

Employers and insurers are increasingly pushing "consumerism" as a possible solution to high health care costs. They argue that consumer-driven health plans will lead individuals to be more cost conscious when seeing a doctor or going to a hospital.

I Knew There Was a Reason I Moved to Raleigh

From Triangle Business Journal:

Census Bureau: Raleigh in top 10 for education, household income
Slightly fewer than half of Raleigh residents age 25 and older hold at least a bachelor's degree, making the North Carolina capital the third "most-educated city" in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Data collected as part of the bureau's 2004 American Community Survey indicates that 49.7 percent of Raleigh residents at or over the age of 25 possess at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 37.2 percent for Charlotte, which ranked 14th.

Story Detailing North Carolina Judicial Races in '06

There is a good story detailing the coming judicial elections in North Carolina by the AP, here. The story includes a bit on the farce of calling North Carolina Judicial elections "Non-Partisan":

Appellate court candidates in North Carolina ran without party labels and under a public financing program for the first time in 2004, but politics hardly melted away from these "nonpartisan" races.

The late-season retirement of Justice Bob Orr from the Supreme Court left eight candidates scrambling for his job, one captured by Paul Newby after he won the endorsement of the state GOP over three other Republicans. But Democrats managed to push back historical trends and win three of the four remaining seats on the high court and the Court of Appeals.

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