Richard Moore and Beverly Perdue's Health Care for Kids

I am going to set out a fairly brief review of the health care for kids outlines that both candidates have submitted. I won't call them plans, because they really aren't plans at this point. They are outlines and will be treated as such, though I must give Beverly Perdue credit for submitting a much more complete outline of her total health care package. Moore's lack of a total health care plan is one reason I am only posting about children. Nonetheless, Perdue almost lost me with this, which seems like a swipe at Rep. Verla Insko, Health Care for All NC, and the Commission idea they are pressing:

Just Say NO to Coal

It's time again to tell NC state officials and Duke Energy that coal-fired power plants are irresponsible in this time of global warming crisis. Attend a public hearing for the proposed Duke Energy Cliffside power plant and learn why we should say "NO to coal" in NC. Citizens' hearings being held in Charlotte, Asheville and Raleigh. Join us!

Competence matters

Go read this article in the New York Times. It's about Army officers stationed at Fort Leavenworth - and they're discussing the Debacle in Iraq.

One question that silenced many of the officers was a simple one: Should the war have been fought?

“I honestly don’t know how I feel about that,” Major Powell said in a telephone conversation last week after the discussions at Leavenworth.

“That’s a big, open question,” General Caldwell said after a long pause.

That is not an open question. There is no way on god's earth that this war should have been fought. You may argue that it should have been fought differently, but if that were the case, "this" war is not the one that would have been fought.

"This" war is a disaster of epic proportions. Republicans are responsible for it. Liddy Dole. Patty McHenry. Foxx. Hayes. Coble. Jones.

They deserve to be fired for incompetence.

Jim Neal for US Senate

Grier Martin just called and said he is not running for US Senate, choosing instead to stay in the state House and, more important, to stay with his family. I'm terribly disappointed, but I also understand completely. I'm sure he'll stop by and give you the scoop himself.

In the meantime, I'm going to turn my attention and support to Jim Neal. I've been asking around about him and folks have nothing but good things to say, which is encouraging.

So there you have it. No primary, no diversions.

In 13 months, North Carolinians will have the chance to vote between a missing-in-action Bushbot named Biddy Dole and a solid progressive Democrat named Jim Neal.

Let's get crackin' folks.

"What would a progressive trade agenda look like"

I have a couple blogs on my Google Reader that are heavy on wonk, this is one of them, Dani Rodrik's weblog. Who is Dani Rodrik?

I am the Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. I was born and grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. My most recent book is One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth (forthcoming from the Princeton University Press).

I always feel about two feet over my head when I read this blog, but I thought I would pass along his ideas for a Progressive Trade Agenda. I've shortened them since you should probably go read the whole thing over on his site, including the comments, which are nearly as long in some cases as the original post.

On kids and cigarettes and Bush propaganda.

The DHHS group Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is crowing about the rate of retailers violating the law by selling cigarettes to juveniles being down to a new low. There is an inference here, at least in my reading of it, that this relates to juvenile smoking. That lowering this rate means less teens smoking. In fact, that is exactly how they describe it in their press release.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today announced that sales of tobacco to underage youth have reached all time lows under the Synar Amendment program – a federal and state partnership program aimed at ending illegal tobacco sales to minors.

Now, I highlighted the Synar Amendment because they make the case that it is responsible for the decrease in retailer violations, which leads to decreased juvenile smoking. Maybe the Synar Amendment had something to do with this, but I'll offer another opinion after the break.

Richard Burr: Pathetic

Like an old drunk who's been beating his kids, Richard Burr apparently doesn't have the personal strength to do the right thing. In a plea that can only be described as pathetic, Burr yesterday asked the audience at a Raleigh business meeting to "badger" Congress. The story is from The Dome.

Speaking at the Breakfast Club of the Triangle meeting at the Brier Creek Country Club, he said he didn't have much to say about the current political situation in Washington, D.C. "I could sum it up in one word: Nothing," he said.

He said the level of "political divisiveness" is higher than he's thought it could ever be, and he referred to a series of Johnson Automotive ads that the group watched in which a car salesman, played by a puppet badger named Grady, harasses customers.

"Now is when you need to badger us," he said.

Imagine if you had an employee who said "please badger me into doing my job . . . I can't do it on my own." If that employee worked for me, his ass would be on the street in about 30 seconds.

Like I said. Pathetic.


Gore gets what he deserves

OSLO, Norway - Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it.

Gore won an Academy Award this year for his film "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary on global warming, and had been widely expected to win the prize.

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