Poor Foxx and Flipper

From the Dome today:

The fourth annual report by technology consulting firm Knowlegis on Congressional power was based on leadership positions, indirect influence, legislative activity and earmarks.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr score 18.94, ranking 69th in the Senate; while Sen. Elizabeth Dole scored 13.39, ranking 93rd.

North Carolina: Pro-military, Anti-mercenary

Many of the challenges we're facing here in North Carolina have been decades or longer in the making. Effective solutions will not come quickly, even when there is the political will for change. Environmental degradation over the last century will take decades to correct. Improving mental health care will require generous funding and commitment to rebuild the infrastructure and the confidence of caregivers. The toxic influence of free-market fundamentalism requires that we push back again and again and again.

But other challenges are not so deep-rooted. For example, the exponential growth of war-profiteering by the Blackwater mercenary army has been relatively recent.

Will science prevail over politics?

What do you know about Iowa? Caucus and corn - right? Corn-based ethanol is the "future" of Iowa, except that corn makes really lousy ethanol. So, someone, somewhere has started to do something about it. From Scientific American:

Farmers in Nebraska and the Dakotas brought the U.S. closer to becoming a biofuel economy, planting huge tracts of land for the first time with switchgrass—a native North American perennial grass (Panicum virgatum) that often grows on the borders of cropland naturally—and proving that it can deliver more than five times more energy than it takes to grow it.

But yields from a grass that only needs to be planted once would deliver an average of 13.1 megajoules of energy as ethanol for every megajoule of petroleum consumed—in the form of nitrogen fertilizers or diesel for tractors—growing them. "It's a prediction because right now there are no biorefineries built that handle cellulosic material" like that which switchgrass provides, Vogel notes. "We're pretty confident the ethanol yield is pretty close." This means that switchgrass ethanol delivers 540 percent of the energy used to produce it, compared with just roughly 25 percent more energy returned by corn-based ethanol according to the most optimistic studies.

Will Marshall Adame take Blackwater down?

When it comes to covering northeast North Carolina, the Virginia Pilot usually does a better job than any of our own state's papers. That was true of reporting on the Navy's misguided OLF, and it's true of coverage of Blackwater.

It started as a simple question during an online chat (at BlueNC) with Marshall Adame, a Democrat and retired Marine running for Congress in North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District. "We take great pride in being a military-friendly state," wrote a supporter. "Should that pride extend to being a mercenary-friendly state, too?"

Adame, a diplomat who spent three years in Iraq, responded that the U.S. military should have no place for private armies. "They are guns for hire," he wrote, "no more, no less."


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I was lucky enough tonight to hear George Lakoff talk about politics and language. One thing I came away with is a deep desire for political conversations where everything is right out there for anyone to see. That's what happened tonight and that's what happens here.

Lakoff covered a huge amount of ground, and I hope to be able to find it out on the Tubes and share it. But in the meantime, I have this question: Is transparency a fundamental value that progressives and conservatives share?

Please kindly note that this is an example of transparency.

Marshall Adame thanks the BlueNC family

I want to thank the BlueNC family of bloggers for their support and encouragement.

The Reception/Fundraiser in Raleigh was a great time and I got to see a lot of my friends. It was a mixed blessing of successes, some greater than others, but I am glad we did it and look forward to the now several others being planned on my behalf within the NC-03.

NC Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, Jim Neal, Mayor Don Davis, Beth Wood, Ronnie Ansley, Ed Ridpath, Kristin Ruth, and Roy Lucas all said some pretty nice things which I very much appreicate and thank them for.

Special thanks to......

PopeCo in the news

Map now updated with Myers Park Pat!

I admit to spending less and less time worrying about the "reports" and political activities spewing steadily from the Art Pope Puppetshow. Funded to the tune of $3 to $4 million annually by the knight of the right, the increasingly irrelevant John Locke Foundation and Civitas appear to have attracted all the converts they're going to get.

But as our handy-dandy (and updated!) map of the Show suggests, the Puppetmaster has infiltrated major media outlets and at least one major university, so they are definitely worth keeping an eye on. Which is why I was so pleased to see this post by Rob Schofield at NC Policy Watch yesterday. It's a doozy.


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