Your money

One of the Republican Party's most simple-minded memes is the idea that there's "your money" and that you can spend it better, smarter and more effectively than "they" (the government) can ever hope to do. John Hood trots that old saw out every chance he gets, including in his column today about liberal politicians and taxes.

What they want is more of your money to spend. They want it because they are convinced they will spend it better than you will. It’s as simple as that.

It may be as simple as that when you're a Pope Puppet, but if you actually stop to think about it, there's plenty of evidence that government programs can spend money far more effectively than any individual can. Unless of course you constrain those programs, as the Bush administration has done on prescription drugs, to forbid price negotiations with big pharmaceutical companies.

Lottery Litigation May Go Forward

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (former-Justice Robert Orr, in particular) will go before a Wake Co. judge tomorrow looking for an injunction to stop the lottery (AP Wire story at Charlotte.com). According to NCICL, the NC Constitution required that the lottery-enabling bill be read before each house of the legislature three times on three separate days. That didn't happen, so (the argument goes) the law is void. And the lottery is void.

If that sounds like calling the whole game on a technicality to you, you're probably not alone. On the one hand, the "read-three-times" requirement is applied to several different kinds of laws in the state constitution, and they're all things that the legislature should be required to take very seriously (such as reapportionment plans, constitutional amendments, and bills raising taxes). "Sleep on it," says the constitution. On the other hand, do we really think the law wouldn't pass if it went back before the legislature and they had to listen to it three more times? Does Art Pope think he can change some votes? (The NCICL is a Pope-baby.)

Timmons-Goodson has a Challenger

I mentioned here that Patricia Timmons-Goodson lost a challenger for her seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court because Judge Reingold did not want to be the one to unseat the state's first Black female justice. Apparently, Judge Levinson (R) out of Charlotte does not share that same concern. According to the Charlotte Observer, Levinson, a justice on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, will be challenging Timmons-Goodson in November. From the article:

Eric Levinson has been a prosecutor in Cabarrus County, a District Court judge in Charlotte and an appeals court judge in Raleigh.
The 38-year-old Charlottean now has his sights set on North Carolina's highest court.

Asheville Citizen-Times Covers the National Forest Auction

The Senator hits the nail on the head:

"In my view, selling public lands to pay down the deficit would be a short-sighted, ill-advised and irresponsible shift in federal land management policy," said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the top Democrat on the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "Our public lands are a legacy for future generations. We shouldn't liquidate that legacy."

CITIZEN-TIMES.com: National forest land

Think Locally

I know a few baseball fans who would rather catch a game in Durham than in Atlanta or Boston any day. Me, I like college football better than pro; you don't get to see the same level of play, but you do see players taking crazy chances that sometimes pay off. And as much fun as national politics can be, you'll never hear of a handwritten note like this one from a Beltway insider:

“I will not be a candidate for the District 6 Senate seat or any other elected office in 2006.

A Retirement, A Promotion

I removed the link to NC Politics 101 from the "Quick Links" sidebar—it wasn't going anywhere, but you can access what's there using the link above—and replaced it with a new book, "2006 Races." The State Board of Elections will begin posting candidate filings on their website Monday evening, and at first 2006 Races will be a place for me to sort through that information.

But I've got bigger plans. Over the coming nine months, my hope is that the project will develop into a unique resource that will draw people into serious consideration and debate about their November decisions. Here's the book's front page:

Time to Write a Letter: Stop Bush From Selling NC National Forest Land!

Bush has decided that the best way to fund rural schools is not to spend one or two fewer days in Iraq, but to sell off bits and pieces of our National Forests. It's nuts, but he's the Prez and the only people to stop him are our elected representatives. Contact yours and let him or her know:

  • that North Carolina's Natural Forests are not for sale;
  • that this isn't a liberal vs. conservative thing -- once these protected places are gone, we won't get them back and everybody loses;
  • this isn't about school funding -- those funds can come from elsewhere; this is about Bush giving pieces of America to the rich at the expense of everyone else.

Attached to this post is a list of tracts that are potentially eligible for sale in North Carolina. Chunks of Nantahala, Pisgah, Croatan, and Uwharrie could be on the chopping block. I don't know what else to say except that it would be a terrible, terrible loss for North Carolina and the rest of the country if these parks were diminished or eliminated. Take a minute to draft an email.

Black Diamond

This has nothing to do with North Carolina. It's a test of the image module's ability to create thumbnails for blog posts:

The Game and the Very Expensive Candle

Suppose you wanted to piss off the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the AFL-CIO, the Department of Labor, and North Carolina officials all at the same time. First, become Michael Chertoff. (Note: if you're having trouble with the transformation, any DHS official that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement will do.)

Ok, ready to go on? Second, set up a fake "mandatory" OSHA training session at a North Carolina military base and nab all the illegal immigrants who show up. That should do the trick!

You Know What Charles Taylor Doesn't Need?

A primary challenge. I mean, he's 'bout to get booted from his chairmanship of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, even conservatives are starting to notice his shady business practices, his ties to Tom DeLay aren't looking like such a good idea anymore, and Democratic challenger Heath Shuler is kicking his tail in fundraising. If there's a guy in North Carolina who really has enough on his plate already, it's Charles Taylor.

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