Tar Heel Tavern XL

The Tar Heel Tavern is a showcase for North Carolina bloggers. This week, it's also something to read during the Superbowl that there's no real point in watching now anyway. We've got low-quantity/high-quality today at the Tavern, so I'll get right to the good stuff.

Nothing Could Be Finer: "Fighting Prostitution in Charlotte: 'Like squeezing a balloon...'" — It makes sense: you crack down in prostitution in one neighborhood, and you can expect to see the business move to nearby areas. This concept escaped the Charlotte City Council, though, so blogger Cicero has taken the time to document the results. My favorite part is the quote from Police Capt. John Diggs, discussing the possibility that sex workers will just move down the street: "We're hoping that this will inspire a lifestyle change on their part." Good plan, John.

When All Else Fails...Pray

Desperate times call for desperate measures (of course they could just vote against free-trade candidates):

North Carolina town prays for jobs
LENOIR, N.C. -- After years of layoffs at furniture plants, the county with North Carolina's highest unemployment rate held a day of prayer hoping it would help end tough economic times.

About 200 people gathered at the Caldwell County Fairgrounds Sunday to seek divine intervention for a community coping with a 13.1 percent jobless rate.

Rocky Mount News in the News

Article here.

The Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram gained national exposure late Thursday night when Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," cited his recent appearance in the daily, in a drawing by a local schoolgirl named Amy.

Colbert held up what he called the "cover" of the newspaper--he later admitted it was actually page B5--which featured a winning drawing that the girl did, showing Colbert. It showed him carrying what he called a "bucket of truth."

To reward her, he promised to send her a "Colbert Report" t-shirt, in an extra-large adult size, perhaps so she would have something to look forward to in growing up.

Pope Center Survey of North Carolina

Despite the fact that you have to take anything coming out of the ultra-conservative John Pope center with a grain of salt or as utter nonsense, there are some interesting numbers from their January survey (and some completely useless numbers that resulted from slanted questioning).

First, even this ultra-conservative group finds support for an increase in the minimum wage:

18. Do you support or oppose increasing the minimum wage in NC by $1.00 that would bring it to $6.15 per hour?

Support 86%

Oppose 11%

Formal Investigation of Jim Black Begins

As House Speaker Jim Black's scandals have mounted, he could always say one thing to divert attention: "I am not the subject of any investigation, just some staffers, friends, donors..." Well Mr. Black, no longer can you say that. Many news organizations are reporting that Black will be the subject of a formal investigation by the State Board of elections. From WFMY:

The State Board of Elections will formally probe the fundraising activities of House Speaker Jim Black, whose office is already at the center of a separate, federal grand jury inquiry.

More Than Valentines or New Years,

More than Valentines Day or New Year's Eve, January 31st is a time when no liberal should be alone. Even if you're stronger than most, the Bush State of the Union Address can have strange effects on people. Heck, it only takes sixteen words to scare a nation stupid!

Anyway, the Democratic Party is helping people organize and find SOTU watch parties. Check it out! There are already a number of events in NC, and it should be a great way to meet people who actually want to talk about the content of the speech.

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