Ty Harrell and Americans for Prosperity: BFFs?

Rut-roh. Rep. Ty Harrell (D-Wake) and his Time Warner Cable protection bill get an assist from the tea-partying, right-wing group Americans for Prosperity. When you call yourself a progressive Democrat and wind up on the same side as Americans For Prosperity, you're doing something wrong.

Please ask your state representatives not to sell you out to Time Warner Cable.

House of shards

Over the past year, Mark Binker has added a whole bunch of great multi-media content to his blog, Capital Beat. He picked up this contentious moment between Joe Hackney and Cary Allred, posted on his blog today. It's less than a minute, and definitely worth hearing.

Also, Binker covers the blame game as it gets neck deep on the out-of-control state health plan contract with BCBS.

Blogger Bash Weekend!

Happy May Day, which also happens to be the day before Blogger Blash! We're looking forward to seeing you and yours tomorrow here in Chapel Hill.

Also this year, we'll be giving out the first ever BlueNC Bulldog Awards. That's something you won't want to miss.

Date: May 2
Time: 2 to 6 pm
Cost: Five bucks

Report: NC Doesn’t Need More Coal Power

A recent report by the NC Waste Awareness & Reduction Network (NC WARN) makes a strong case that my native state of North Carolina can manage its population growth without adding new coal-fired power plants like the 800 MW Cliffside project which just began construction. Report authors John Blackburn and John Runkle even suggest we can phase out many coal plants in the years ahead.

Who dances to the tune of the banking industry?

Earlier today during the debate on the Senate floor over the Durbin Amendment to the Senate version of Helping Families Save their Homes Act of 2009, Senator Barbara Boxer said she had come to the conclusion that anyone who voted against the Durbin Amendment must be dancing to the tune of the banking industry.

The banking industry walked away from negotiations. Senator Dick Durbin has said the vote coming up will basically show which senators put their constituents ahead bankers.

I've watched most of the debate and it was pretty clear that Senators Durbin, Schumer and Dodd are feeling defeated over this already. Senator Dodd says he doesn't know how any senator could explain to a family losing the only home they own why it's ok to save the vacation home, jet or yacht of a wealthy family, but it isn't ok to save their family home.

They are voting now.

How Refreshing! You go, Joe

Vice President Joe Biden is suggesting we stay out of confined public places, especially public transportation. Thank goodness someone is willing to say it.

First, let's get this straight. VP Joe Biden was responding to a direct question this morning and he answered honestly. He can't help that the mind-numbingly stupid yakking twits on morning news and talk shows are taking his comments out of context. I'm talking to you, Contessa and Mika. He was asked what he would advise a family member if they indicated an interest in traveling by commercial airliner to and from Mexico in the coming week. That's a very specific question and Biden said he would tell that family member to avoid traveling in a confined aircraft.

He answered the question honestly and he is exactly right.

On Assessing Risk, Or, Swine Flu: Is It Time To Panic?

We are going to be talking a lot about swine flu over the next few weeks.

The conversation about the politics of the thing is already well underway, engulfing those who sought to remove funding for infectious disease control out of the “stimulus” bill.

We are lacking, however, an examination of the science of the thing, and that’s the point of today’s conversation.

How dangerous is this infection?
Why is it killing people in Mexico but not here?
Exactly what is a pandemic?
Do those facemasks really serve any purpose?
And what about closing the border?

They’re all good questions; and they are all questions we’ll try to answer today.

Foxx tries to backtrack on Shepard comments: 'hoax' was a poor choice of words

A poor choice of words? Too late for you, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC5). You know you meant what you said when you spewed that hate on the floor of the House of Representative. You shamed yourself, your district and your state with that filth. And this backtracking is only because you must have had no clue how out of step you are with basic decency. The NC GOP was laughing at the anger over your remarks. I doubt they are laughing now as they have to explain to the media why the party of Jesse Helms and Elizabeth Dole refuse to enter the 21st century. (WXII12-Winston-Salem):

Foxx released this comment stating that she used a poor choice of words:

"It has come to my attention that some people have been led to believe that I think the terrible crimes that led to Matthew Shepard's death in 1998 were a hoax," she said. "The term "hoax" was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate crimes bill. Mr. Shepard's death was nothing less than a tragedy and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received.

"The larger context of my remarks is important. I was referring to a 2004 ABC 20/20 report on Mr. Shepard's death. The 20/20 report questioned the motivation of those responsible for Mr. Shepard's death. Referencing this media account may have been a mistake, but if so it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts."

Let's go back to the videotape...

"The bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's, it's really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."

She sounds mighty confident about her choice of words, doesn't she?

And she said it with Matthew Shepard's mother sitting there in the House gallery.

Opt-Out is Irresponsible: Time to Rethink Sex-Ed


In 2007 I happened to see a sign in the State Bureau of Vital Statistics that listed the 2005 facts I mention below in my article. The NC legislature was beginning to consider the comprehensive sex ed bill( Healthy Youth Act H88/S221 ) at the time. As I began to think about that bill I sensed a kind of link between that issue and the driver's license as a universally accepted rite of passage. I struggled to organize a coherent argument. This year, when I heard Rep. Ty Harrell, a leading sponsor of the bill, in an interview on WPTF (of all places) make an offhand comment about the driver’s license during the discussion, my concept finally clicked. I.e. sex ed is more important to the public good than are teen drivers licenses.


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