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.

Religious Dems Fighting Back

It looks like the Republican attempt to gain church directories for political purposes is having some blowback.

From Watauga Watch:

At this hour, Rev. Steve Goss, a retired Baptist minister and missionary, is filing as a Democrat to run for the N.C. Senate, Dist. 45, the seat currently held by John Garwood of Wilkes County.

Goss describes himself as a progressive Democrat.
***
Good guy. Like a lot of other deeply religious Democrats, he's had a crawful of Republican self-righteousness and believes it's time for men and women of faith to speak up about the power-mad hypocrisy gripping our country.

A Day at the Races

I thought I'd take a break from setting up and organizing the 2006 Races book to provide an update.

  • The races for NC House and NC Senate are each divided into a section for races with contested primaries (house | senate) and all others (house | senate). Once filings are closed, I'll add a third section for each house for uncontested races. I haven't counted them up, but it seems like there are a lot more Republican primary contests than Democratic so far.
  • I've set up a bloglines account for news feeds on each of the contested primary districts. The feeds are Google News searches for each candidate, so there will be a few duplicate entries in each folder and the searches will pick up some news articles that aren't applicable, but in general I think this can be a good quick resource for news by district.
  • I put together a single RSS feed that blends all of the feeds described in the last bullet point for the true news junkie. I've never used Feedblendr before, and I'm not sure that this URL won't change as I add more feeds (as more candidates file), so keep an eye out for updates.
  • Senate district 50 is a fun case of a contested Republican primary. The Democrat incumbent will either be facing a former House member, a school principal, a financial planner, or a certified wingnut.

More to come!

Jim Black Hits the Fan

What will we see in statewide politics this year? Looks like a healthy dose of Jim Black bashing. It started here:

ASHEVILLE — Republicans on Monday showed support for party candidates and pledged to root out corruption in state politics.

Nearly 100 people attended the Lincoln-Reagan Day reception and dinner at Asheville’s Crest Center, the biggest annual fundraising event for the Buncombe County Republican Party.

Past dinners have raised $7,000 to $10,000. George Keller, chairman of the Buncome County Republican Party, said he could not say how much the event raised Monday.

More Bush Smoke and Mirrors

If you can stand more deception from the Bush administration (or even if you cannot but like reading about it) there is a great article here:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Energy Department said it has come up with $5 million to immediately restore jobs cut at a renewable energy laboratory President George W. Bush will visit on Tuesday, avoiding a potentially embarrassing moment as the president promotes his energy plan.

Drilling for Oil Off the North Carolina Coast

We have been discussing the assault on our national forests on this site for the last week, but there is another attack on the environment of North Carolina being launched in the Federal Legislature. The N&O chronicles the attempts to open the Atlantic Coast to oil drilling for the first time since the 80's:

"I would say that on the East Coast, North Carolina is the most vulnerable state in this equation," said Richard Charter, co-chairman of the National Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, a collection of conservationists, fishing groups and local governments.

David Sedaris on Middle-Class Art Collecting in Raleigh, NC

Very amusing. Link below the quote.

As for the others, the Edna Hibels and Stephen Whites, they were the sort whose work was advertised in ARTnews rather than Artforum, their paintings and lithographs “proudly shown” alongside wind chimes at places with names like the Screeching Gull, or Desert Sunsets, galleries almost always located in a vacation spot. I tried pointing this out to my parents, but they wouldn’t hear it. Maybe today my art-history teacher drew a blank on Bradlington, but after his liver gave out she’d sure as hell know who he was. “That’s the way it works sometimes,” my father said. “The artist is only appreciated after he’s dead. Look at van Gogh!”

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