What We Are Fighting Against, Part II (Art Pope Edition)

Oh, it must be good to be the party of the rich. This N&O article on Art Pope says that his family will be spending close to $100,000 a week on Art's network of conservative "think" tanks and policy groups.

What is Pope up to? An Easley aide puts it mildly:

I really do think the John Locke Foundation and the Pope orbit has contributed a lot and has a big role in challenging liberal and Democratic dogma. On the other hand, there is also a petty partisan side. They are involved in advocacy research. They do sometimes turn into Republican cheerleaders and apologists, and that undermines their larger intellectual mission.

Can I rewrite that last sentence? Ok, thanks: They do sometimes turn into Republican cheerleaders and apologists, and that undermines gives the lie to their larger supposed intellectual mission.

What We Are Fighting Against

There is a fascinating article from the Asheville Citizen-Times today detailing how people, especially partisan political types, are not able to process information contrary to their opinions since their brains actually shut off when confronted with contrary facts. You should read the whole thing, but I have quoted some of the best material below.

Age of Reason must be over
I’ve always suspected most people shut their minds off when the topic of politics comes up.

The Nail in the Gas Tax Coffin

The Charlotte Observer has an excellent piece on the editorial page from a couple of weeks ago about the gas tax and the state highway budget funds and how they are used. It gives a lesson of fairly recent legislative history that serves to shine a light on the ignorance of many critics of the gas tax and how the money is used by the legislature.

Revenues for roads/highways goes into one of two funds in the state budget. The Highway Fund is used to pay for general maintenance and repairs of state-owned roads. It also pays for some smaller construction projects and transportation programs. Revenues that support this fund come from the state motor fuel tax and vehicle registration fees. No money from this fund is transferred to the General Funds in the state budget.

Tar Heel Tavern XL, uh, II

Being kind of a moron, I got it into my head yesterday afternoon that it was Saturday. The following THT submissions came in on time, but after I jumped the gun. Here's what I almost missed:

Captivated by Mandy answers that age-old burning question: is my dog a Silky Terrier? This is the kind of information that will blow people's minds when you break it out at a cocktail party. And I should point out that I believe that blowing people's minds at cocktail parties should be among any person's highest aspirations.

Top 25 Consumers of Renewable Eletricity Nationally

Being a big fan of changing the world through spending habits, I thought that I should give a nod to this list from the EPA. The list includes the biggest users of renewable energy, the percentage of power from renewable sources, and providers. Some of the members of the list may not be who you would think, but Whole Foods predictably is at the top as well.

Tar Heel Tavern XL

The Tar Heel Tavern is a showcase for North Carolina bloggers. This week, it's also something to read during the Superbowl that there's no real point in watching now anyway. We've got low-quantity/high-quality today at the Tavern, so I'll get right to the good stuff.

Nothing Could Be Finer: "Fighting Prostitution in Charlotte: 'Like squeezing a balloon...'" — It makes sense: you crack down in prostitution in one neighborhood, and you can expect to see the business move to nearby areas. This concept escaped the Charlotte City Council, though, so blogger Cicero has taken the time to document the results. My favorite part is the quote from Police Capt. John Diggs, discussing the possibility that sex workers will just move down the street: "We're hoping that this will inspire a lifestyle change on their part." Good plan, John.

When All Else Fails...Pray

Desperate times call for desperate measures (of course they could just vote against free-trade candidates):

North Carolina town prays for jobs
LENOIR, N.C. -- After years of layoffs at furniture plants, the county with North Carolina's highest unemployment rate held a day of prayer hoping it would help end tough economic times.

About 200 people gathered at the Caldwell County Fairgrounds Sunday to seek divine intervention for a community coping with a 13.1 percent jobless rate.

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