Mentally Retarded Man Taken Off Death Row

We finally found one type of person North Carolina does not like to execute: the mentally retarded. The legislature prevented the execution of the retarded in 2001 and defined retardation as scoring below 70 on an IQ test and showing poor life skills before the age of 18. This has saved 12 individuals from the death penalty, including Elton McLaughlin recently. From the Myrtle Beach Online:

A Bladen County man convicted of killing three people was removed from North Carolina's death row after a federal judge ruled that an IQ test given to him in the 1960s was valid.

Tancredo Coming to Town

NC Rumors is reporting that Republican Representative Tom Tancredo will be coming to Charlotte at the end of the month to build popular opposition to a guest worker amnesty program (it's a stop on his "Secure America Now" tour). That's Tom Tancredo, who promised to abide by self-imposed term limits—and then didn't; Tom Tancredo who proposed bombing Muslim holy sites; "Tom Tom" Tancredo, Native American; and Tom Tancredo who might be running for President in '08. Gosh, I'm so honored that he would choose to come to North Carolina. I'm going to go bathe in Lysol now.

The Sick Laptop and Burr's Good Deed

My laptop is ailing and in the shop, which seriously cuts down on the amount of time I'm on the internet. On the upside, I'm learning a lot more in my classes and adding valuable days between now and when I finally need to get glasses. On the down side, I'm not as in touch with what's going on in NC.

I hear that Richard Burr's office arranged for him to speak to community college leaders at an "economic development summit" where educators learned how to aggressively pursue federal grant money. I've got to hand it to him: it's a good thing. There's a fair amount of money out there for those willing to write a proposal, and encouraging NC community colleges to get it can't hurt. If I had to make a list of what NC's top education priorities should be, strengthening community colleges would be in my top five.

The "good roads state"

When I think about all the things I expect from North Carolina, "the good roads state" doesn't jump to the top of my list of priorities. But along with forever bragging about our accidental claim to First in Flight, we sure seem to have a hang up about spending on highway construction.

There was probably a time when visionary thinkers could make the case that a network of world-class roads would be key to a sustainable future . . . like 90 years ago or so, when we pioneered the practice of making untold public investments into a miraculous network of highways . . . ready and waiting for Peak Oil.

Tim Dunn Featured in the USA Today

In the race for North Carolina's 8th Congressional District, there seems to be two Democrats seriously vying to take down Robin Hayes: Tim Dunn and Larry Kissel. Larry Kissel has thus far dominated the online/blog race and Tim Dunn has grabbed the national attention. Tim Dunn now adds USA Today to the national media outlets that are giving him exposure. From the USA Today:

Tim Dunn, 45, is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves who served in Baghdad in 2004 as a legal adviser to the Iraqi Special Tribunal trying Saddam Hussein. If the Democrat wins a party primary, he would face GOP Rep. Robin Hayes in a North Carolina district with a strong military presence that leans Republican.

Tar Heel Tavern XL!

This week's Tar Heel Tavern will be hosted right here at BlueNC. For those who don't know, the Tavern is a weekly showcase of the best of North Carolina's blogs. If you've got a blog, and if you've written something tasty this week, send it to heres2@bluenc.com by sunrise on Saturday. (The Farmer's Almanac says that's 7:21am in beautiful Mebane, NC.)

Judicial Merry-Go-Round Following Lake's Departure Continues

Following Chief Justice Lake's retirement this month, Easley was given the choice to appoint a new Chief Justice. He choose Associate Justice Sarah Parker. This meant that Easley had the opportunity to appoint a justice to take Parker's old seat. He nominated Patricia Timmons-Goodson from the NC Court of Appeals. This left a vacancy on the Court of Appeals, so Easley nominated Linda Stephens for that position.

Confused yet? The skinny is this: Democrats get one more seat on the NC Supreme Court and now hold the Chief Justice Seat. Any more questions, read this article

Spot the Republican

Can you tell Republicans by looking at 'em? Let's put that to the test. Just for fun, I put together a quiz that shows photos of twelve members of the North Carolina Senate and asks you to identify them as Republican or Democrat. If you can get eight of the twelve right, then I figure you've earned bragging rights. But there's a catch: I limited my sample pool to white males, so you can't guess based on gender or race; you have to identify that undefinable something.... If you're up to it, take the quiz. Get eight or more correct and you get to leave your name in the Hall of Fame!

Can you say 'wishy-washy?'

For those of you living outside the Triangle, I sure hope you have a better newspaper than N&O . . . especially if you expect editorial boards to have clear opinions that are well-articulated. Because here in Raleighwood, Steve Ford and the N&O have given new meaning to the term 'wishy-washy.'

In today's useless editorial, the N&O can't quite bring itself to have an opinion about Bush's gross abuse of power in wiretapping American citizens.

Stirring criticism is the fact that the eavesdropping has taken place without warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, set up to handle such cases in secret. Since 2002, the NSA reportedly has monitored the international phone calls, faxes and e-mails of around 500 U.S. citizens or residents without seeking the warrants. That's curious, both because requests for warrants can be made for 72 hours after the monitoring has occurred and because the court rarely denies a request.

Sad Sue's Sorry Site

I haven't paid much attention to the shenanigans of Ms. Myrick and her allegiance to Dear Leader, but a number of pundits have put her gubernatorial ambitions on the table, so she is now squarely in my sights. And after a brief stroll through her creepy website all I can say is what the f*ck is going on in Charlotte? Is this really the best you can do?


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