The fairness agenda

As we look to find language that can articulate the benefit of progressive policies to people on the other side of the political spectrum, it seems to me that the idea of "fairness" might be just such a bridge.

Of course, what's fair to one person may seem insane to another, and I understand that. But wouldn't it be better if our debates that took place over the word "fairness" instead of over words like liberal or conservative or tea party or whatever? Shouldn't leaders in government be striving to achieve fairness in all things? Shouldn't we be doing our best to ensure that as few people as possible are hurt or disadvantaged by policies that benefit others? Isn't that the essence of fairness?

North Carolina has a very long way to go before we can even dream of being First in Fairness. But wouldn't it be exciting if that was our goal?

Daily dose: Want some toxic chemicals in your drinking water? Sure!

THE SPILL
Rockingham residents drilling for facts on fracking (Greensboro News & Record) -- Residents along the Dan River overcame a coal ash spill Feb. 2, and now those same people are worrying about another possible threat to their beloved waterway — fracking. Energy companies have announced plans to mine a portion of western Rockingham County for methane gas by using hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in the next year, and officials are moving quickly to make that process a reality.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/rockingham-residents-drilling-for-f...

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Egads! 19 candidates for COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE!

The special filing period for NC COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE ended yesterday and look at this mess: 19 candidates!

An important invitation: Engage Carolina

I don't know why you're here at BlueNC, but my own motivation is straight out of Miss Congeniality. World peace. It's a big job, and fortunately, others share our agenda.

Many of the "others" are meeting next Saturday afternoon at a half-day blogger conference in Raleigh, sponsored by Progress NC and NC Policy Watch. I'm going, and I hope you will too. Here are the details.

On Saturday, August 16, Progress North Carolina and NC Policy Watch will host an afternoon seminar to help established bloggers sharpen their skills and build their networks, and show prospective bloggers what they need to get started. Guest speakers such as Chris Fitzsimon and Rob Schofield of Policy Watch, Thomas Mills of PoliticsNC, and government watchdog Greg Flynn will talk about what makes a political blog successful, and share some best practices for finding and following a good story.

The discussion should be great. You already know how much the progressive community depends on Chris Fitzsimon and Rob Schofield. Greg Flynn, who is a master of mining public information, may share some of his secrets. And Thomas Mills can help us think about how to have more impact in this election cycle.

The truth us, we're each part of a bigger thing, but we rarely have the chance to connect in person. This could be just what we need to accelerate the fairness agenda and, um, create world peace.

James

PS Those of you who know me know that I hate going out. But going out I am, to Engage Carolina on August 16th. I hope I'll see you there. If you sign up now, the cost is only $5.

Bush appointee rules in favor of NC GOP's voter suppression law

Move along, there's nothing to see here:

Judge Schroeder, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, acknowledged that given the racism in North Carolina’s past, residents “have reason to be wary of changes in voting law.” But he cited various ways in which black voters would still have opportunities to get to the polls, even with the less generous ballot access the law affords.

On Friday night, Penda Hair of the Advancement Project, one of the lawyers for the state N.A.A.C.P., said that her team had not decided whether to appeal the ruling. But she said that they planned to challenge the provisions, as well as the voter ID provision, in a full trial scheduled for next July. “We are disappointed,” she said. “But we remain committed to prevailing on the trial on the merits.”

Apparently this judge (like many of his colleagues) works under the false assumption of a post-racial South, and sets an extremely high bar on challenges related to race. "Nobody's been lynched? Well, in that case, I see no racism involved in these activities." Yes, that's hyperbole, but the tendency to ignore all but the most blatant forms of racism is all too real in our society, and that includes judges. Excerpts from the Opinion:

Daily dose: What's a river worth?

Duke says it spent $20 million on coal ash spill (Greensboro News & Record) -- Duke Energy reported to federal authorities Thursday that it spent $20 million responding to the Dan River coal ash spill in the first five months after the incident. “Duke Energy Carolinas incurred approximately $20 million of repairs and remediation expense related to this incident during the six months ending June 30, 2014,” the utility told the Securities and Exchange Commission in its latest quarterly filing.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/duke-says-it-spent-million-o...

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Coal ash Thom

Thom "No Ethics Here!" Tillis continues his penchant for taking dirty money for his political campaign. Thom doesn't care if the money comes from racketeers, usurers or, most recently, environment destroying profiteers.

Money from coal companies has been fueling Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis’ race to unseat U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, including $21,100 from the nation’s largest privately owned coal company.

Hey, it's just a coal company. It's not like Tillis will be indebted to them. They're not one of his top contributors, after all. What? This just in:

Murray Energy is Tillis’ fifth-largest contributor. He has received money from the owner, company officers, employees and family members, and the company’s political action committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group.

Are you a low information voter?

Are you a low-information voter? Who is a low-information voter? Why would you want to be one and if you were would you know?

We are bombarded with information from social media, internet news sources, television and radio and print. By our family and friends. And more often than not it is family and friends who accuse us of the low-information conundrum.

If you read and listen and care, you are not low-information. Be you Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or whatever party, if you give a damn about the world around you, if you take action, you are not low-information.

Look at what we found on the internet: “Low information voters, also known as LIVs or misinformation voters, are people who may vote, but who are generally poorly informed about politics.”

LIVs. Is there an antidote for that?

Do LIVs usurp the democratic process by casting a vote because they can?

Quite honestly we have heard the term used more often by non-Democrats. Why.

Will Mr. Jones go to Raleigh?

I had a chance to sit down with North Carolina House candidate Scott Jones and discuss his vision for North Carolina and what he hopes to accomplish as a Representative in the State House for District 59. Scott is running as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Jon Hardister and Libertarian candidate Paul Meinhart.

Scott Jones is a life-long Guilford County resident. He graduated from Southeast Guilford High School and was a small business owner. He is a cancer survivor who decided to enter the political arena as an “average Joe”, working for North Carolina and its people. He ran in 2010 for County Sheriff and in 2012 as a candidate for Governor but has not held elective office. He eschews the party label and believes politicians have made a career of re-election. Scott believes all political office should have term limits. If elected, he would limit himself to no more than three terms in the House.

Rectangular Round Table

Clay Aiken held a round table discussion Wednesday with people who are concerned about what needs to be done for the young soldiers who get out of the military with no skills and no job. Oh, they know how to play war games, but we are talking about in the real world. Many of them have injuries or mental health issues and may not be able to be retrained. Many are homeless. We owe all of them, and everybody at that table knows that. There were two retired generals, two retired colonels, two union members who work at Fort Bragg, several elected officials, business owners, etc. It was an impressive group. Some people had very good ideas on how to train them for new skills when they are discharged. They had our backs for a long time, and now we need to have their's.

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