Republican colleagues call Rep. Cary Allred's actions inappropriate and gruesome

The report into Rep. Cary Allred's behavior surrounding the night he hugged and kissed a 17-year-old Page has been released and it appears the most scathing details are provided by his fellow Republicans. The News & Record was kind enough to host the PDF of the preliminary report. Please read their coverage of the incident. The report is linked at the bottom of my post.

I'm at a loss for words. After all the public scandal involving House pages in Washington, I simply can't believe a man would think it was appropriate to engage in overly affectionate behavior toward a teen Page. My father - who is a very affectionate person - would not behave in this manner toward his granddaughters, especially in public, so Allred's claim that the young woman is like a granddaughter to him simply doesn't work for me. My daughters are both teens, so I'm having an easy time envisioning the scenario that occurred on the House floor and it makes me ill.

Angels and Torturers

The email from Robert Mihaly was intriguing. His sculpture exhibit at the Bryan Student Center at Duke titled “A Pantheon of Modern Gods” included the “Angel of Depleted Uranium.” Robert offered to share the proceeds of the sale of “Angel…” with Veterans for Peace, and invited a phone call.

After a conversation, I went to see his exhibit, and had my socks blown off.

Robert’s exhibit had already been extended a month, but not without a measure of controversy. The Depleted Uranium “Angel” was cited by the NRC, not as a hazard, in its lead container, but with accompanying information about the documented hazards in use as armaments and armor.

When Mihaly learned of this challenge, he contacted the ACLU. Duke backed off, deciding that the ACLU was more fearsome than the NRC.

I volunteered to help Robert close his exhibit, and we met for lunch at his home in north Durham.

Burr's missing asterisk

Following in the ruby red footsteps of Liddy Dole, Senator Richard Burr yesterday revealed how out of touch he is with the needs of North Carolina citizens. As the poster boy for the so-called Republican health care plan, he's chosen the smokescreen of right wing rhetoric over reality yet again. Barb Barrett has the story.

His proposal, Burr said in a statement, "will finally enable Americans to own their health care instead of being trapped in the current system, which leaves people either uninsured, dependent on their employer, or forced into a government program."

That's all well and good, Senator, but you forgot the asterisk - that small matter of 26 million uninsured people whom your plan doesn't even contemplate addressing. Exactly how will those who can't afford health care insurance suddenly be able to do so under a program that puts a priority on private profits instead of healthy people? Adam Linker explains the devil in the details.

Asheville DTMP: Section One - Arts, Culture, History

This is cross-posted from Scrutiny Hooligans and will soon appear at my City Council campaign website,

[This is the first of several posts examining the proposed Downtown Master Plan (DTMP). You can see a brief overview of the plan here. Click here for the entire plan. Click here for the appendices. A public hearing on the DTMP will be held May 26th at the City Council meeting that night.]

In working towards a more affordable, more sustainable Asheville, it's vital we attend to the arts. Arts, culture and history give equally to all of us who live and work here. Every day we're informed, intrigued, or inspired by our artistic, cultural, and historical environment. Art and culture engender civic pride in all of us, and we can prioritize affordable living and working space so our artists can continue providing us with a beating heart. We can reaffirm our commitment to showcasing our history through preservation and cultural events. We can create an Artists' Resource Center to serve as a hub for business, art, and tourism.

Section One of the DTMP is focused on arts, culture, and history in downtown Asheville. Folks all have their favorite and least favorite things about going downtown. I love hearing music in the streets, seeing art wherever I look, running into friends, and the abounding culture of creativity. A combination of low property values a generation ago, relentless entrepreneurship, city planning, and a most excellent populace has created a downtown full of life, where it feels like anything could happen. It's impossible to quantify the creative energy of Asheville's downtown creative arts communities, but the DTMP throws out a few stats to provide context:

- Asheville is now recognized as the number-two arts destination among smaller United States cities (following Santa Fe, New Mexico).

- The arts and artists contribute sixy-five-million dollars annually to Western North Carolina‘s economy.

- WNC‘s artists comprise the largest percentage of self-employed workers in the state.

As unique as our arts community is Asheville's architectural and historical legacy. Section One of the DTMP addresses this facet. Here are a few DTMP bullets to give you an idea of how historical preservation has been valued and to what benefits:

- Since 1976, there have been 82 rehabilitation projects in Downtown Asheville‘s National Register Historic District (NRHD). All of these benefitted from a 20-percent federal rehabilitation tax credit (for income-producing structures). These projects represent over eighy-nine-million dollars in Downtown re-investment—beginning at a time when Downtown was neglected and deteriorating. In large measure, historic rehabilitation saved Downtown Asheville.

- Since 1998, project sponsors and owners have been able to double that tax credit (to 40-percent) by using North Carolina‘s matching tax credit for certified historic

- The dramatic impact of historic preservation is well demonstrated by Pack Place--a public/private partnership begun in mid-1980‘s and opened in 1992.

Follow me into ReadMoreLand for a look at how our arts and history can be strengthened, encouraged, and protected.

Political capital: Up in smoke

Imagine a high profile elected official during the waning years of segregation, sort of like Jeff Sessions, holding on to lifelong racism to the bitter end. "He was the last of a dying breed," they'd say. Or maybe, "Poor guy. He couldn't quite make it into the 20th century."

A lesser version of that feeling comes to mind when I look at our two North Carolina Senators hanging on to the toxic tobacco industry. I can almost understand Burr's move. What does he have to lose? But Hagan's different. What's her point..

Climate Change: It's Called a Point of No Return for a Reason

As tired as we all may be about listening to environmental organizations preach about the need to reform our outlook toward global climate change, their message has still not fully been heard. The problems that climate change has placed on this world are very real, and are becoming more and more apparent everyday. Yet still, most Americans are content either giving in to apathy or ignoring these important issues all together.

Asheville's Downtown Master Plan, An Overview

Cross posted from Scrutiny Hooligans

The Final Draft of the Asheville Downtown Master Plan is creation of consensus and compromise. Dedicated people from every cranny of our community devoted 5,000 hours of their time to hammer this thing out. Public input sessions were frequent and very well attended. So no matter where you land in assessing the DTMP, you can respect the process that went into creating it. At the end of this post is a list from the DTMP's acknowledgements page (ii). It's a list of all the folks whose input was key to coming up with solutions.

BCBS of NC Exposed: Health Care Coalition Releases Report on Lack of Competition in NC's Market

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina controls 53% of our state health insurance market. Together with United Health Group, our state's #2 insurer, these two companies control 73% of the market. With this kind of "competition," is it any wonder our insurance premiums have risen 75% in the last ten years, 5.3 times faster than our wages, squeezing families and small business alike? There is a severe lack of competition in North Carolina when it comes to health insurance, which mirrors the picture nationally, according to a new report released today by Health Care for America Now:


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