Filing Strategery

We've still got the better part of a week to go, but does it strike anyone else as odd that our only US House incumbent who hasn't yet filed is one of the two most likely to be enjoying retirement in 2007? Charles Taylor hasn't filed yet.

Neither has NC Supremes candidate Rachel Hunter (a BlueNC advertiser), but in her case it looks to be a considered decision. She says:

I have not filed yet because I prefer to wait until the last minute to do it, simply as a matter of strategy. I am sure that others may prefer a different strategy and that is fine. But I prefer to wait. So I plan to file by closing time on February 28th and not before.

Who else are we missing?

Breaking: Bob Dole gets it up for ports

As if the irony in Bushland isn't deep enough already, the UAE company trying to take control of US ports (Dubai Ports World) has signed on old Bob Dole to be their crony-in-chief in Washington. His job is to make this stinking deal smell sweet enough to keep Congress from over-riding Bush's promised veto. I'm guessing his sniffer has as many problems as his stiffer. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Wonder what Liddy thinks of this turn of events. Does she think it's okay to turn over the management of US ports -- like, say, Wilmington, to the money-laundering capital of the world?

Asheville Reverend Takes a Moral Stand for Equality

You may have read this week about Joe Hoffman, the Asheville pastor who took a stand for equality under the law when he decided to refrain from legalizing heterosexual marriages while the law discriminates against gays and lesbians. Joe's spouse, Noel Nickle, was kind enough to send a copy of Sunday's sermon on this topic along with a list of other resources on marriage equality. (You can email Noel to learn more about their work in Asheville for marriage equality.)

I had planed to excerpt the sermon, but after reading it I have decided to print the whole thing. I realize that I'm asking for a few more minutes of attention than blog posts usually get, but I feel sure that it will be time well spent. Joe makes his case clearly and eloquently, and his example will serve us well as we strugle to rescue the rhetoric of morality from the dominion of the right.

Bush, The Puppet President

The Associated Press

has a story out that confirms what many of us have suspected for some time now. President Bush is not in control of his White House and has divorced himself from the responsibility of running this country.

President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday. Defending the deal anew, the administration also said that it should have briefed Congress sooner about the transaction, which has triggered a major political backlash among both Republicans and Democrats.

Sue Said a Swear!

I think maybe Sue Myrick has been reading BlueNC, where we've criticized her for being so far up a certain President's fundament that he needs a special chair cushion. Today the North Carolina Conservative publishes what purports to be a letter from Sue to the President. The entire body of the letter is:

In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO-but HELL NO!

If this is for real, it's just plain silly. There's no analysis here, and there's no reason for her position. I don't quibble with her bottom line, but it's hard for me to see it as more than a campaign tool. Saying that you have a backbone is not the same as having one.

Stunning stupidity

I try not to read the N&O editorial pages too often because they're filled so much stupidity they make my head hurt. Case in point: Rick Martinez' inane column on co-habitation.

Debora Lynn Hobbs wants the State of North Carolina out of her personal life. She thinks her living arrangement is none of the government's business. It shouldn't be too long before she gets to argue her case, once Hobbs v. Pender County gets a court date. Hobbs and the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU have sued the county for the express purpose of getting the state's 200-year-old anti-cohabitation law declared unconstitutional.

Republican Candidates Not Sure Where They Live

NCGOP infighting is like chocolate: enjoying it as much as I do is surely wrong, but it feels so right. The Jacksonville Daily News offers up this amusing article about Republicans challenging other Republicans' residency regarding house races.

[District 14 challenger and Republican Keith] Williams, who wasn’t aware his residency was challenged until he was contacted by The Daily News, said he has lived at 653 Parkertown Road since January 2004, although he is only there on the weekends.

Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) Lives!

Anglico was philosophizing today about the importance of state authority in the progressive worldview. It's a timely question, because today marks the public launch of the Progressive Legislative Action Network (at progressivestates.org). "The mission of the Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) is to pass progressive legislation in all fifty states by providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to forward-thinking state legislators."

This is huge. The right has had in place for years the structure to bring their agenda to the states, and it's about time that the left got it together in this department. PLAN is well positioned to midwife this development. Their board of directors features a few names names that will be familiar to many lefties (John Podesta anyone?), and the staff roster displays a strong connection to blogs and the internet grasroots (Wes Boyd of MoveOn.org and Dave Sirota of sirotablog and the Center for American Progress are both on the board, and Matt Singer of Left in the West is the Communications Director). PLAN is reaching out to bloggers both by setting up a network for communicating with bloggers and by taking the first step of contacting them directly. Hopefully the future will see PLAN providing information and viewpoints that will be useful for bloggers at BlueNC, and BlueNC bloggers helping PLAN with the gargantuan task of keeping track of 50 state legislatures.

Experimentation

This is a meta issue, so come back to it if you're in a hurry right now. It's about local, state and federal authority.

Here's the question:

What is the most effective position progressives can take on the issue of state and local autonomy?

These days, I'm finding myself having less confidence in broad federal policy and much more interest in local and state decision-making. To some extent that's a function of how much I loathe what's happening at the federal level right now, but it also reflects my sense that small is often more manageable.

Of course, the great fear is that our state will go the way of the federal government and start to fear diversity. Because here in North Carolina, state trumps local at pretty much every turn. Local taxing authority, for example, is highly constrained. The ability to control state roads inside city limits is sketchy. And no North Carolina municipality could declare that same-sex couples free to marry. (Is this true in every state?)

What's government for?

Much of the conflict between progressives and reactionaries these days seems grounded in fundamental disagreements about the role of government in human affairs. I used to think those disagreements were limited to a few fringe issues where the lines were fuzzy and honest opinions might differ . . . but lately I’ve been convinced that the differences are much deeper, much more fundamental, and much more dangerous.

To begin, reactionaries start with the premise that no one should be forced to ‘invest’ their tax dollars in ventures they don’t approve of. In his daily diatribe against all things progressive, for example, John Hood rightly points out government subsidies for the Randy Parton country music complex in the northeast part of the state are probably not appropriate uses of public money. I have long considered the whole business of economic incentives to be wrong-headed - and Hood and I are surprisingly aligned on that issue. Unfortunately, John relies on extremes to make a point that cannot sustain generalization.

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