Lance's blog

Black Backs the Bad Guys

Jim Black (D),leader of the NC House, apparently finds it near impossible to stay out of trouble. While Atty. General Roy Cooper (D) was trying to shut down "payday lenders", Black and another NC House Democrat were taking more than $10,000 each from the lenders.

In case you didn't know, a payday lender is the same as a check-cashing service is the same as a legal loanshark. You bring them proof that you've got a job, and they'll give you a 30-day loan to cover you until your next paycheck. The problem is the interest rate. If you annualize the interest you pay on the short-term loan, the rates are outrageous -- I've heard 200% to 400%. Paying this kind of interest while pre-spending your next paycheck is a quick way into bankruptcy for many. Meanwhile, many banks and credit unions quietly offer the same service at much more reasonable rates. "Payday" = predatory.

A Dollar is a Start

State Treasurer (and likely gubernatorial candidate) Richard Moore is calling for a $1 increase in North Carolina's minimum wage. (A little quick math: $5.15 x 40hours = $206 a week; throw in a little vacation and that's $10,300 a year; does anyone really think that's enough to live on, much less raise a family on?)

Moore made the call at a meeting of the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry, a pro-business lobbying group that styles itself the state chamber of commerce. What's the word for that: chutzpah? meshuggener? Or is Moore's read of the land that NC businesses are ready to support a modest minimum wage increase? Stay tuned...

2006! Get Your Calendar On!

It's going to be a very good year. Here's an update on BlueNC: we've beefed up the calendar and event system. For one thing, you can categorize events, which will let people browsing the calendar sort out the stuff they're not interested in.

NCACC putting NC at risk of late primary, lost federal funds

[Promoted to the front page; follow the link at the end to read the whole thing --Lance]

Is Catawba County Commissioner/NCACC Pres digging the state into a hole?
Is Ms. Kitty Barnes and the NCACC digging the state in a hole?

Catawba County Commissioner Chair Kitty Barnes, who is also President of the NCACC is trying to get permission for Catawba County to keep it's voting machines and also get the Public Confidence in Elections Act repealed or delayed.

If she succeeds, her efforts will cost the state up to $55 Million in federal funding, cause the primaries to be delayed, and cause the state to be in violation of the federal Help America Vote Act mandate.

We see through the muddied waters, Charles Taylor

http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051220/OPINION03/51219010/1058

CITIZEN-TIMES.com

White House and GOP have systematically dismantled public trust in government

By Grant Millin
December 20, 2005 6:00 am

“People should look at what we do, not who we are.” — U.S. Rep. Roy Blount (R-Mo.), House Majority Whip.

U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) pleaded guilty to graft shortly after Thanksgiving, tearfully admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes mostly from defense contractors. He could get up to 10 years in prison on federal bribery, fraud and tax evasion charges.

I'm about to hit the road

In a two-car caravan featuring a puppy, a baby, and a mother-in-law headed to Missouri, so I'll be out of commission for a while. If I don't get back in touch soon, call the cops.

New Air Standards

The Charlotte Observer says that a proposed change by the EPA in certain air quality standards would move Catawba, Davidson, and Forsyth counties into the non-compliance category. Story here.

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