Website Dedicated to Triangle Regional Rail

I have been super busy today. I was negotiating to buy a house, and just when we thought that we were just down to money and closing date the owner decided that she wants to rip up the yard because a bush has been in the family for generations (which I do not even think is possible by the way). Anyway, I wanted to pass on this quick link to a new site dedicated to bring better public transportation to the Triangle, including a regional rail.

The site is here. It evens includes a petition to sign for those of us into action (I did it). I cannot go into all the reasons that we need more public transportation right now, so I will just leave you with three: reasonable commutes, reducing pollution, and getting poor people to work without wasting all the money that they earn on gas. If you need more, check some of my earlier posts here.

A target-rich environment

If you dare to enter the treasure trove of North Carolina Wingnuts you’ll find – as we say in the military – a target-rich environment. Especially at the Pope-a-dope Center, where ideology trumps intellect at every juncture . . . and liberal thinking is the source of all evil. Take George Leaf, for example (please!) and his dazzling insights on public education.

First the breathtaking generalization to obscure reality and truth:

Today, your typical high school graduate believes that school is just a rather boring, obligatory use of his time that is tolerable only because it leads to the paper credentials necessary to unlock the door to high-paying employment. Put a lot of young people with that attitude in a classroom and a professor has little choice but to water down the material and make sure he keeps the kids entertained.

John Hood's Poor Mouthing

Why is it that when wingnut pundits try to appear reasonable, they always manage to come across as arrogant assholes? Case in point: John Hood’s daily drivel reflecting on the real needs of the poor in America.

In a breathtaking flight of fantasy and pseudo-analysis, Hood determines to his own glib satisfaction that the poor are doing just fine, thank you. Here's the kind of evidence he provides:

And just since 1992 . . . the share of households containing stereos rose to 73 percent from 57 percent. VCRs are as commonplace now as color TVs at 87 percent, up from 68 percent. And only 19 percent had computers in 1992, compared with nearly 60 percent in 2002.

Tabor Takes Another Swing

A guy named Nathan Tabor is running for NC State Senate. As Ed Cone says, "his reputation precedes him." I'll just add that I went to college with this guy, and a friend recalls that he "ran for student body president, launched this huge (by St. A[ndrews]'s standards) media campaign, and then was totally spanked by a girl who decided to run kind of on a whim." The Democrats, I guess, should be looking for that girl.

What Moore Really Said

Yesterday I wondered whether State Treasurer Richard Moore was brave or crazy to suggest an increase in NC's minimum wage before a meeting of business leaders. Carter Wrenn at Talking About Politics (citing an article in the W-S Journal) suggests another word for Moore's speech: pandering. I think it's kind of a cheap shot. Here's part of what Wrenn had to say:

There are a lot of good arguments that can be made for increasing the minimum wage. Here’s what Mr. Moore told the NCCBI according to the Journal: “ ‘Businesses actually start to do better when consumers have more money in their pockets,’ he said, adding that Lee Scott, the chief executive of Wal-Mart, supports an increase.”

Fat city

New years always bring lists of this and that . . . most of little interest or value. So take this article in Men's Fitness with whatever grains of salt you think appropriate. Is any besides me surprised that Charlotte is among the top 25 "Fattest Cities" listed? On the flip side, I'm not surprised at all that no North Carolina city is rated among the top "fittest" cities in America. Looks like the Health and Wellness Trust Fund still has plenty of work to do.

Fattest Cities
2005 Ranking

1. Houston

Another Execution; Another Appeal for Clemency

Mike Easley will be faced with another appeal for clemency this month. Granting clemency would change the death penalty faced by the prisoner to life in prison. Given his past record, he may not stay up late at night pondering this one.

The case involves 43-year-old Perrie Dyon Simpson. Simpson admitted to the 1984 murder of a 92-year-old retired preacher. The plea for clemency stems not from any circumstance of the crime, but from the childhood of Simpson. Simpson was an orphan that lived in over 20 foster homes as a child. His attorneys feel that this upbringing should mitigate his sentence.

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