Best Indy Issue Ever.

Oh my Lord. You absolutely, positively, MUST go read every story in this week's Independent Weekly. If you are not from the triangle, then you might not be familiar with this local publication. A cross between the standard "Who's Playing", "Where to eat", The Hill, and Mother Jones - the Indy has outdone themselves this week. This week's issue offers all the standard who and what and where's, but it is the political coverage that simply blew me away. Perhaps the best issue ever, certainly the best issue since they covered the "Two Americas" in Pinehurst when the PGA was coming to town. A few tidbits with links below the fold.

First off, the cover story. Take every good one-line zinger and every diatribe you have ever wished you could write, wrap them up in black and white and read all over, and this is what you end up with.

3,003 ... and counting
The charade is exposed: The Iraq war was all about oil, after all. And the sorrow continues

By Hal Crowther -

An excerpt:

What prevails in Iraq today is not even civil war but pandemic civil terror, a sectarian orgy of murder, torture and mutilation whose survivors will never forget or forgive, whatever becomes of the civil government of what used to be Iraq. It's unbearably true that every American soldier who has died or will die in Iraq will have died in vain, and died in a disaster that will yield no net gain, now or ever, for his native country or for the cause of civilization and human dignity. If I had any say in divine justice, these thousands of coffins, forged of lead, would be dragged forever across the battlefields of hell by Bush and Rumsfeld and all the civilians who should have known better, or who must have known better and never tried to intervene.

Wow. But, it doesn't end there.

A lesson from the Vietnam War


It appears the president is about to embark on a disastrous course of troop increases in Iraq that makes this war look more and more like Vietnam. So, let's go back to 1966, when the United States began the year with 185,000 troops there and ended it with 385,000 on their way to a half-million. A debate was raging then just like the one we're in now: Should we get out? Escalate? Negotiate? Expand into neighboring countries fueling the fighting?

A wise Indy reader dropped off a copy of the Aug. 9, 1966, issue of Look magazine in which the editors approached five experts with the question: "Suppose the President asked you, 'What should we do now?'" The debate is frighteningly familiar, as these excerpts show:

Go read it, you won't believe it.

Finally, a column from our own front-pager, Kirk Ross, author of Exile of Jones Street.

Edwardses want to build a community online--as well as a campaign
If there has been anything that has marked a difference between John and Elizabeth Edwards and others testing the waters, it's their grasp of the Web as a tool for action—particularly as a way to build networks.

That the last presidential race did not make better use of the networking abilities of the Net is one of Elizabeth Edwards' peeves. Her experiences online in sharing and hearing stories from others about battles with cancer, the loss of loved ones, and even her obsession with Tar Heel basketball have made her a believer in the power of online social communities.

She has been known to jump into discussions on local and national blogs and doesn't seem likely to log off anytime soon, despite columnist Robert Novak's recent advice that she stay home and bake cookies.

There is more great stuff in the article, about how the Edwards family and campaign are making their more campaign more about reaching out to people and how they believe the internet is central to that process.

Wow. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I pick up the Indy and put it right back down. But, today I read it practically from cover to cover.



Hal Crowther has always been first rate.

He wrote for the Spectator in Raleigh before they were bought out by the Indy, and he was the #1 reason to even buy that Republican rag (the Spectator was an early version of the kind of right-wing yellow journalism perfected by the Rhino Times in Greensboro). He's married to the novelist Lee Smith. I used to cut out all his columns and articles, because every one was a gem. He could be our contemporary H.L. Mencken.

Pinehurst "Two Americas" Coverage

Perhaps the best issue ever, certainly the best issue since they covered the "Two Americas" in Pinehurst when the PGA was coming to town.

The Independent's coverage of the story was quite compelling and covered important issues, but the author/reporter as well as pertty much all the others covering the story pertty much completely failed to educate themselves on the basics of the powers of municipalities in NC, especially as they relate to annexation and provision of services.

well, that might be...

but it showed people that the wealthy living on the golf courses were doing next to nothing to help those living across the rough who don't have water or sewer service, garbage pickup, street lights or police protection.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


Pinehurst doesn't want to annex Jackson Hamlet, but they've sure are keen to annex Pinewild, a gated community about the same distance from "the Village" as Jackson Hamlet. I bet you can guess the difference between Jackson Hamlet and Pinewild.

Pinewild's property tax burden to the village would be at the current rate of 31 cents per $100 of assessed value. That's the lowest rate in the county, and it would eliminate the present 11-cent fire district tax Pinewildians pay for Pinehurst Fire Department protection. At a net increase in property tax totaling 20 cents, a Pinewild house valued at $400,000 would cost its owner about $800 in village property tax.

Pinewild annexation opponents say they already have security police, privately contracted trash collection, county water and sewer, and their own recreational amenities behind their gates that they pay for.

Pinehurst has yet to offer it's amenities and services to Jackson Hamlet. No tax base there.

Do they have to annex? No, of course not. Should they? Yes, it would be the decent thing to do.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Pinehurst should annex

Pinehurst should annex both:
-Pinewild, because the residents there should share the tax burden of benefitting from living "in" Pinehurst.
-Jackson Hamlet, because it's the right thing to do.

I'll assume that Jackson Hamlet DOES have a high enough population density to be elegible for involuntary annexation. If not, the community would have to unanimously petition for annexation, which is unlikely.

I don't know if the population density is high enough.

I'll admit I am not that conversant of the specifics of the laws affecting annexation.

But I agree with you on both of your statements. Both areas should be annexed. All of Moore County should benefit from being in Moore County. There is no earthly reason why there should be anyone here without running water unless they choose to be without running water.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

2.3 people/acre

is one way to look at qualifying, but there are other ways to apply for it too.

Typically, if you have plenty of people on small lots close together, it is "urban" and therefore can be annexed. It gets trickier, however, in rural counties where there might be people with needs and they might even be next to municipalities, but they don't meet the density requirements which would allow the municipality to annex and provide municipal services. This is where annexation by petition (voluntary) can serve people well. Unfortunately, it is hard to get complete buy-in from an entire community like Jackson Hamlet or Midway. What could likely happen is for some to apply and some not. While it may mean more services to some, you are still creating/perpetuating pockets, aleit smaller, of people surrounded by others with municipal services.

The solution, perhaps, would be for some amendments to the annexation law, or at least various local bills that would allow for municipalities to step up and "help" through involuntary annexation people in certain circumstances who may not want to be helped (annexed and all that goes with now being in a municipality).

Seeing as how Boylan ran on the Pope anti-annexation dollar/platform, I don't think we'll get any help from him even in situations where it's not rich Pinewilders being subject to annexation.

Another Fear

Another fear regarding these specific communities obtaining full services and becoming part of Pinehurst or Aberdeen which has been stated several times:

-Once services are there, the properties become much more valuable/desirable thus perpetuating the demise of a traditionally close-knit community as it becomes part of something larger and residents begin to profit by selling off their homes. Talk about a Catch-22.

No, no help there.

I admit he seems like a nice enough man - his daughter and my son attend school together, and we've spoken a couple of times at that level as well as when he was a candidate. He's got his plans for the wall around NC all laid out. It's all about illegal immigration for him - the biggest problem he sees. If you could find a way to convince him that annexing Midway, Jackson Hamlet, and the other pockets of underserved areas in M.C. would keep illegal immigrants out, he'd find a way to make it happen. He'd be out there building the fence himself.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

The follow-up article you

The follow-up article you linked to actually does a a little better job at explaining the "catch-22" of annexation laws than the original article written by someone else back in 2005.

Jackson Hamlet is also an interesting case in that they are not only mostly surrounded by, but not included in, Pinehurst's corporate limits, they are also surrounded by, but not included in, Pinehurst's school attendance district. While any children in the gated and ungated communities bordering Jackson Hamlet attend school in the PInehurst district, Jackson Hamlet kids are in the Aberdeen district- one with lower-performing schools according to the state's ABC report cards. The schools are county schools, so it's not a city issue.

CNN gives free pass to Iraq apologist

I have a new post on Daily Kos about CNN's coverage of Iraq.