Morning Ex

Via the Ex Files:

Good morning. Welcome to Winter 2.0.

Meant to plug this NYT story on Hispanic youths in the South earlier.
Meanwhile, here's a few questions:
• What in the hell was the City of Durham thinking when they decided not to tell people about lead in the water?
• What kind of DOT doesn't get around to fixing guard rails on one of the busiest commuter routes in the state?
• Isn't it a little sad that we're the envy of other states trying pass ethics reforms?
• Did the mainstream press just go back to their D.C. cloisters after the election?
• Did the White House take the phone off the hook after the election?

And one follow up question to that from Elvis and Nick:


Open Thread - Wild Political Theories Edition

Remember this thread where I proposed the idea that Sue Myrick might be planning to run in place of Liddy Dole? I came to that conclusion based on two things. First, Myrick came out quickly to dispel rumors that she was entertaining a run for Governor. Second, she ran hard against a candidate with no name recognition in this past election. The only reason I could think she would raise and spend so much money to run against a candidate with a few thousand dollars and no name recognition was to boost her own even higher in preparation for a run for higher office. To back my theory up, a new diarist, PhoenixDem, mentioned the same idea in a diary just a few days later.

More nonsense on the flip....

"Gotcha" Journalism and Heath Shuler

There is a game in politics with the sole purpose of generating conflict. It's a game so effective at making sparks fly, and setting politicians up for certain failure, that the media loves to play it as well.

After all, no story attracts more attention than one that caresses the picture of a car wreck, with fire everywhere, dozens dead and injured, a drunk stumbling from the scene. Many political writers gauge their success by how close their work mimics the report of that car wreck. Barbara Barrett, Washington corespondent for The News & Observer is one of them.

So exactly what is this game designed to produce a wreck? It's setting up a false dichotomy in which a politician has only two choices, each of which makes absolutely no sense and both of which lead to political disaster. For instance, on any given issue the politician d'jour is faced with this binary choice...



Friday Follies at NC Policy Watch has a lot of good stuff this week, including a bit about the North Carolina economy. Here's the punchline:

The 2007 Economic Forecast Lunch this week sponsored by North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry and the North Carolina Bankers Association presented some mixed messages. The prediction from economists was that North Carolina’s economy would grow faster than the nation’s as a whole in 2007 and that the state’s rapid population growth would continue.

The state gained 133,000 jobs in 2006. Knight Kiplinger, one of the keynote speakers, told the crowd that North Carolina was one of 11 states that will grow more than 30 percent in jobs and population in the next 20 years. In other words, the state’s economy is faring well overall and future prospects look bright as well.

Sworn In Shuler Starts a Blog

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting(Pic from Heather Wines, Gannett)

In an interesting partnership, newly minted Congressman Shuler has started a blog over at the Asheville Citizen-Times. He's committed to posting three times a week, and there are moderated comments allowed. Use the opportunity to interact with your Congressman.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Heath. If you stick around long enough, we'll teach you the secret handshake.

Heath Shuler Blog Here.

Conservatives Arise!

An announcement that appears in the Greenville Daily Reflector's community news section...

Dole adviser to speak

Jonathan Brooks, senior adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Dole, will speak at Conservatives, Arise! Political Action Committee at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Riverside Steak Bar, 2301 Stantonsburg Road (across from Doctors' Park). Brooks, a political strategist, will give a power point presentation on the results of the November election and how and why the voters voted as they did across the country. For more information, call Joe Sturz at 321-8838.

Everyone interested in a deft demonstration of self-justification combined with an explanation of how the obvious isn't really so is invited to attend. Please note: No questions regarding Sen. Dole's belly flop while chairing the National Republican Senatorial Committee will be invited.

("Conservatives Arise!"... doesn't that sound like something to say over a tomb?)


I dunno, maybe a big story fell through and they had to think of something quick, but the front of today's Life section of the N&O--The Seven Wonders of the Triangle--was l-a-m-é. Their picks: RTP, Cameron Indoor Stadium, that damn Acorn in Raleigh, Cameron Village (note obsession with things named Cameron) and a few others. (I kinda agree with Crook's Corner Shrimp & Grits, but I'm not sure if it's a classic wonder.)

Here's some of the short descriptions of the wonders (wherein the paper of record does snark, I think):

The Acorn
Big and fun and metal and hoisted by a crane on New Year's Eve. . .

. . .RTP is populated by all sorts of wonderfully smart people who tinker with test tubes and microbes and whatnot. . .

Rep. Shuler Doesn't Think Escalation is The Answer

Photobucket - Video and Image Hostingvia Think Progress:

Shuler said he didn’t think escalation was “the solution” but would consider it if “that’s what our military leaders said.”

President Bush is busily stacking the deck with military leaders who will advocate for more troops. This Scrutiny Hooligan hopes that Heath Shuler will heed the advice of outgoing Iraq Commander General Casey, who said he'd ask for more troops if he needed them. He didn't ask.

How many more mistakes does the Bush administration have to make in order to lose the support of thoughtful people? I would argue that we crossed that threshold about 4 years ago.

Anyone who votes to authorize more funding for the McCain/Bush Iraq surge is an advocate of that strategy and will have to take responsibility for its success or failure. Just as those who authorized Bush to invade Iraq now have that millstone of poor decision-making around their necks, so too will those who pour more money into more troops in the biggest foreign policy mistake of my lifetime.

Follow your gut, Heath. It's right. Escalation is a prescription for more death and continued instability, for more terrorist recruitment and enemy-making on the Arab Street.

David Price in Critical New Congressional Role

Speaker Pelosi has just made Rep. David Price the most powerful member of North Carolina's congressional delegation. He will now be serving as chair of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. This is a position that puts him at the forefront of one of the top agenda items that House Democrats ran on during the last election. His role will be critical to enacting the full menu of recommendations outlined by the 9/11 committee in their landmark report.

Price's subcommittee will oversee the funding of the sprawling Homeland Security department, and he says that his primary objectives will be disaster preparedness and making sure that first responders have all the resources they need to deal with a national emergency. He made it clear that he's not just talking about terrorism related events, and he also emphasized that he plans to hold significantly more hearings than have been held in the past. So it's fair to ask how much emphasis he will give to previously uninvestigated preparedness disasters like hurricane Katrina.

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