Much Ado Over 2.8 Cents

Sorry if this becomes a bit rantish, but why the hell is there this much noise over 2.8 cents? For those of you that do not read North Carolina newspapers, websites, or watch local news, the gas tax is set to increase 2.8 cents a gallon on the 1st. This change is due to the fact that part of the gas tax in this state is pegged as a percentage of the cost of gas in the trailing 6 months. Since prices were higher these last six months, the tax is going up.

Since that time, there has been a push by some legislators to call a special session to cap the tax. And many news outlets have picked up on the story. The most recent one is the Jacksonville Daily News. And their estimate of the total cost of the tax to family over a year: $15.

Apparently Diebold is Not Giving Up on North Carolina

Apparently Diebold is still attempting to have the North Carolina election laws changed so that they can sell machines to the counties without disclosing all of their code. The issue is dealt with in decent detail in this diary on DailyKos. I have not had time to follow up on the issue but wanted to pass on the link for our readers.

My background can be found here and here.

Speculation on the Next North Carolina Supreme Court Justice

Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake will be forced to retire from his post on the North Carolina Supreme Court in January. This leaves Governor Mike Easley with the ability to appoint a justice to take his place. Easley can basically pick amongst any lawyer in the state. His guiding criteria will probably be someone that is a Democrat and has the ability to win in the statewide election justices face every eight years. Let the speculation begin!

From the Wilson Daily:

Most legal experts suggest that Associate Justice Sarah Parker will be named chief justice, which will leave her seat open.

Former N.C. Court of Appeals judge Albert Thomas said he could think of four sitting judges who probably top Easley's list — three of them with a connection to Wilson.

Beware of the Blog

From Think Progress:

Kathleen Parker: If We Don’t Ignore Blogs, We’ll Die
In today’s Orlando Sentinel, right-wing columnist Kathleen Parker provides a clear headed assessment of the blogosphere:

Each time I wander into blogdom, I’m reminded of the savage children stranded on an island in William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies.” Without adult supervision, they organize themselves into rival tribes, learn to hunt and kill, and eventually become murderous barbarians in the absence of a civilizing structure.

Most Useless Poll Ever.

From the Triangle Business Journal:

Poll: Majority feel they are underpaid

The Triangle Business Journal's nonscientific poll this week sought to determine our readers' opinions of their own salaries

Our readers were asked "How would you characterize your salary?"

Out of 188 total responses, nearly 55 percent, or 103 respondents, said they felt they were underpaid, compared to just 10 voters, or 5 percent, who felt they were paid too much.

I know it is a slow news time, but the Journal usually does better than tell us that people feel underpaid.

Duke History Professor's Autobiography Is One of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2005

Congratulations go out to John Hope Franklin, Professor Emeritus of History at Duke. His autobiography "Mirror on America" has been named to the New York Times List of 100 Most Notable Books (free subscription required). The New York Times review of the book is here (free subscription may be required).

AP Reports (poorly) on Environmental Racism in North Carolina

News items regarding environmental racism have appeared and been discarded for the past several decades. Now the AP just released a story on the environmental racism in North Carolina.

First the good news, North Carolina appears to have a slightly lower correlation between race and pollution than the rest of the country:

But while her circumstance is not unique nationwide — African-Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial air pollution is suspected of causing the most health problems — it’s not as common among blacks and other minorities in North Carolina.

Getting Worked Up Over Fake Voting

I know that there is not a lot going on in Wake County right now, but Ryan Beckwith at the N&O Blog WakePol is really excited about Wake County's voting machine demonstration. Especially considering that there is only one company still demonstrating after Diebold's withdrawal. From WakePol:

Wake County will soon spend a couple million dollars on new voting machines.

But you'll get a chance to vote for your favorite machine first.

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