Everybody Loves Charles Taylor... In Russia

Ed Cone has the goods on the NC mountains' crookedest representative:

NC 11th district Congressman Charles Taylor, famed for his disappearing vote against CAFTA, has won a Golden Galaxy Award from the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for furthering economic relations between the two countries.

CJ IBL, Jr. 2 Ret.

Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake is retiring. That's not really news. I got to meet the Chief Justice a couple of times about two years ago, and I can honestly say that he was the sharpest 70-year-old I have ever met. He also seemed to be a very nice guy.

As Lake's wife, Susan, helped him remove his robe for reporters'
cameras, he jokingly recalled that, when he first became a judge,
the late Superior Court Judge James Pou Bailey advised him to buy a
robe without a zipper "so I could reach my pistol."

abc11tv.com: Chief Justice Lake Hears Final Cases

Jim Black Back to Questionable Behavior

Yesterday, Jim Black came out with a muted apology. Nothing specific that he did wrong, just "mistakes" (from Winston-Salem Journal):

"I have made some mistakes in judgment, and if I could do some things again, would do them differently," Black told reporters.

But in the same paper, it is revealed that Black spent money on criminal defense attorneys from his campaign fund. Again from the W-S Journal:

Diebold Rejected by Forsyth County Election Board

Apparently, Diebold can muscle through the State Board of Elections despite not following North Carolina law, but Forsyth County is able to stand up to them. Citing citizen concern over the accuracy of touch-screen voting, the Board chose an optical scan machine instead, which has a paper trail, less vulnerable to being hacked, and costs half as much incidently. The company anticipating the contract, Diebold. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

The Forsyth County Board of Elections decided yesterday to recommend that county commissioners buy voting machines that scan paper ballots instead of buying touch-screen machines that record votes electronically.

The board did recommend buying some electronic touch-screen machines but only for use at handicapped-accessible voting stations.

Odds of Getting By in NC 50%

From Yes! Weekly:

Half of North Carolina families with children don’t earn sufficient income to pay for basic expenses, according to a new report by the Raleigh-based NC Justice Center.

“Failing Jobs, Falling Wages: The 2005 North Carolina Living Income Standard,” authored by John Quinterno and Elizabeth Jordan and released on Dec. 8, found that a majority of North Carolina children, blacks, Hispanics and women — practically every demographic except white males — live in households where income falls short of the cost of living.

“What we’re finding is that families are carrying a heavier burden because childcare and housing costs are increasing,” Legislative Director Sorien Schmidt said. “Median incomes are falling and more families are in poverty.”

Duke Turns Its Back on Katrina Victims

Duke, like most universities, openned its doors to Katrina refugees early this year. Now it is telling them: "Do not let the door hit you on the way out." From the Duke Chronicle:

Twelve freshmen who matriculated at Duke after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina cannot apply to transfer to the University next semester, members of the administration confirmed Thursday.

The reason for this, these students did not fit under the current admission policy that does not allow freshmen to tranfer to Duke. And the administration would not change this policy for people that have had their lives destroyed by this national natural disaster:

Administrators said a revised policy would raise certain institutional concerns and would be unfair to other transfer students, among other complications and difficulties.

And this announcement came the same day that many of these students learned that there would barely be a university to return to:

The University’s confirmation was released on the same day that Tulane University announced that it will lay off 230 faculty members. Many of of the displaced freshmen—some of whom are from Tulane—said their home colleges will probably look very different than the schools to which they applied last fall.

Shame on Duke. Turning their backs on those that have lost everything. I have never been happier in my decision to attend UNC over Duke than this moment.

Dole Neglecting North Carolina?

This has been all over, so I will only post a brief quote from the Winston-Salem Journal:

According to the Report to the Secretary of the Senate, an expense report issued twice a year that details expenses by Senate offices, Dole made one trip to North Carolina during a six-month period, and Burr traveled home nearly every weekend.

Since Elizabeth Dole's strongest feature thus far as Senator has been ineptitude, maybe we should encourage her to stay away.

McHenry Hates Baby Boomers

From an AP story (one version here):

"We've had a large undermining of our traditional values in this country. And I think that was a repercussion of the hippies in the '60s and their 'anything goes' attitude," says Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican who, at age 30, is the youngest member of Congress. "Our generation has a realistic approach. We're not sort of pie-in-the-sky people."

Nothing like pulling shit out of your ass for an AP story. And how crazy is it that someone is trying to "go back" to a time that he was not even alive for.

Dissent Is Allowed

There's not much that pisses me off more than the wingnuts' cry that "criticizing the President = high treason and murdering Americans!" There's an editorial in the Observer by a State Representative (Republican-Meck) that sings this same old tune. Here's the response I sent to the Opinion Editor:

Republican State Representative Doug Vinson's opinion piece ("Stop helping our enemies") reprises a now familiar refrain of the far-right: we mustn't criticize the President or his handling of the war in Iraq or the terrorists will think that we are weak. You can be sure that when you hear this tune it is coming from someone who fundamentally misunderstands America's values.

Charlotte Observer Ranks NC's Top Ten Environmental Challenges

EDIT:The same paper's top 10 list of environmental success stories in NC is here.

The Charlotte Observer's editorial staff has put together a list of the top ten problems facing NC's environment going forward, and number one on the list is climate change. According to the Observer:

The list changes each year as new problems arise and old ones ameliorate. This year, air quality drops out of the top 10 problems because there were fewer bad air days than in years.

Charlotte Observer | 12/11/2005 | State of the environment

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