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Jane's visit to Goldsboro

Had an unexpected treat earlier this week when I drove over to Goldsboro to meet some family friends who were vacationing in Emerald Isle. Goldsboro was half-way (about one and half hours) for both of us. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting to find much of interest for lunch in Goldsboro, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Downtown Goldsboro is just a mile off the NC 70 Bypass, some beautiful old Victorian homes on the way in. I parked on Center Street in front of a big ice cream cone. A delightful young woman, Yvonnia, the co-owner of The Ice Storm greeted me and served up the best locally-sourced sweet potato fries and fresh squeezed raspberry lemonade (in a biodegradable cup) I’ve ever tasted.

Yvonnia and her partner, who grew up in Goldsboro, have come to Goldsboro to put some local back in the downtown. They have two other Italian Ice stores in Queens and Brooklyn. Yvonnia recommended The Laughing Owl restaurant just one block further down Center Street. She said the Owl also served locally-grown food, good seafood, and the “best hamburger in the world.” Luckily, my friend Bert is not a vegetarian as I am, so he checked out that remarkable claim. When his wife, Joyce, asked for a bite, he gave her only the tiniest bit – “too good to share!”

On our way back to the cars we saw a wonderful display of African beaded necklaces, fans, baskets and hand-dyed clothes in another store, The Village Rising.

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Union.

Report shows gaping holes in NC's skilled labor pool

But it doesn't come as a surprise to some of us:

State officials at the Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division compiled the survey after hearing similar stories from companies across the state. The problem is across the board — in small towns and large.

When the business was strong, so were training programs for machine technicians. Not anymore. “We’re not having trouble hearing from people who have been in the textile industry,” Durham said. “It’s more the higher-skilled technicians. These are just not turning up. We have people wanting those jobs, but they’re just not experienced.”

What a lot of these young managers don't understand: even back in the textile "boom" years, many of those machines were being fixed either by their operators or jack-leg mechanics, not highly-skilled technicians. In the absence of a union influence, job descriptions and requirements were (are) hazy at best, and the cheapest alternative was usually sought. But while we may not have exactly what an employer is looking for on an application, that doesn't mean the jobs can't be filled. It just means the employers need to do their own apprenticeships and promote from within.

The Medicare Miracle

Some good news on the healthcare front. Despite the continuing GOP hysteria, it looks like the sky is not falling.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/opinion/paul-krugman-the-medicare-mira...

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Daily Dose: Labor Day edition

CAMPAIGN 2014
Moral Monday movement looks to show its clout at the polls (MSNBC) -- Despite the Moral Monday movement’s righteous rhetoric and grassroots enthusiasm, as November approaches, it faces its toughest test yet: Can it turn the progressive energy that it has generated into actual votes?
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/moral-monday-movement-looks-show-its-clout-th...

In N.C. and 5 other states, ‘Citizens United’ gives GOP 10-point advantage (Washington Post) -- The Supreme Court ruling on political spending has given Republicans an advantage.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/28/study-citizens...

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Labor Day after dark

In the 1970's, this little known band from the west coast finally arrived. While the population centers of America were located on the east coast; time, travel and music were slow to be heard. And then they arrived. At a concert in eastern North Carolina, people and their lifelong music tastes would change. Then, it was smoke rising from the stage with long haired dudes in top hats. Today, they are a little older. The music is still the same.

Bernie Sanders and NCDP

Nothing for nothing, I like Sen. Bernie Sanders, but he is not a Democrat, he is an independent. Yet the state party spends money given to support democrats to promote an event featuring Bernie Sanders.

Would this money not have been better spent supporting North Carolina democrats instead of promoting an event by a Vermont independent?

As hard as money is to come by this cycle, what are the people in Goodwin House thinking, or are they?

Anti-LGBT bigot attacks Roy Cooper

Self-righteous indignation is so 1950's:

Last month, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would no longer defend the state’s marriage equality ban because "there are really no arguments left to be made." This did not sit well with Mark Creech, executive director of the North Carolina Action League. In a Christian Post column yesterday, Creech attacked Cooper for “wimpishly” capitulating to “tyranny” and yielding to the “despotism” of “judicial totalitarians.”

"By refusing to resist with every legal means possible, Cooper capitulates to a form of tyranny in our day. He abandons his post on the field of battle, throws up the white flag, stands in the very place of the state (a state that voted by 61% for the marriage amendment) and wimpishly replies to the 4th Circuit that North Carolina accepts their judgment and surrenders. Furthermore, he calls on the judges who will preside over the cases currently challenging the state's marriage amendment to stand down and yield to the despotism of two judicial totalitarians."

I've been trying to complete this diary for over an hour, but there's so many aggressive advertisements on this Christian Post page it keeps locking up my computer. There's a Sunday School lesson in there somewhere, possibly something about Mammon (I don't know who that was), but now it's almost time for brunch, so...

The militarization of a GOP rally in Georgia

North of Atlanta, Dawsonville is best known for NASCAR legend Bill Elliot. In a nondescript garage set back off of a two-lane blacktop, speed has been created and engineered to compete at the highest levels of motor sports racing. A certain amount of secrecy exists. For the Georgia GOP, "under the hood politics", like in North Carolina, is usually cloaked in a "new world order" scenario. Sorry, no blacks or cameras allowed.

Daily dose: AFP full of baloney edition

AFP highlights a big study by the American Energy Alliance and (surprise) it finds that people LOVE pollution, climate change, and more profits for Duke Energy!

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: Proposed EPA standards to hurt N.C. (Burlington Times-News column) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is on a cross-country roadshow this summer to sell its newest mandate, which will cut the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent. The agency’s and the Obama Administration’s sales pitch is simple: This will usher in a “cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future.” The slick marketing campaign isn’t working. The more people learn about the mandate, the more they oppose it — especially here in North Carolina. That’s the conclusion of a new survey of registered voters in North Carolina commissioned by the American Energy Alliance. According to the survey, 59 percent of our state supports the regulations when hearing about them for the first time — who doesn’t love Mother Earth? When they hear both the pros and the cons, however, support evaporates. The first thing to know is that the mandate forces North Carolina to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent — 10 points higher than the national average. Although the national target is 30 percent, the Obama administration has assigned different reduction targets to each state. Ours is one of the highest in the country. This will unavoidably hurt North Carolina’s ability to compete for jobs.
http://www.thetimesnews.com/opinion/opinion-columns/proposed-epa-standar...

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