Executions to Frame Thanksgiving

Getting into the holiday spirit, North Carolina has decided to execute three individuals between Nov. 11th and the first week of December. The AP has picked up on these executions and noted that they bracket the Thanksgiving holiday.

The facts of these cases give fascinating insights into our legal system. And all of them have family members of both sides asking Easley for clemency. As someone against the death penalty, I am against all of the executions, but I wonder whether Easley will grant any of the clemencies.

Pssst... Pass It On!

The speaker here is Mike Scanlon, who is business partners with with Jack Abramoff. These guys are deeply embedded in the Republican regime.

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

Salon.com News | Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze

First Steps in Healthcare Reform at State Level

Not an overly exciting announcement but a start.

The legislature named a new committee to look at "a wide array of health care issues in advance of next spring's legislative session." The goals are what I think are and should be the goals of any progressive on health care:

House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, announced Thursday the creation of the House Select Committee on Health Care, which is charged with making recommendations on how the state can provide health coverage to more people while keeping it affordable and of a high caliber.

Duke Univ. Scholar Contributes to Study of Bin Laden

Bruce B. Lawrence, professor of Islamic studies at Duke University, wrote an introduction to a soon-to-be-published "first-ever English translation of the major declarations of Osama bin Laden." Now Lawrence has written an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education sharing what he's learned about bin Laden the clues his writings give us to winning the war on terror.

Bin Laden's project couples faith and fighting with relentless insistence on the need to act, and his messages continue to have an appeal. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands revere him for his bold stand against the world's sole remaining superpower and its allies, Muslim and non-Muslim. Ironically, during the 80s the CIA helped him to become a local hero in the Afghan war against the Soviets, but during the 90s and into the new century it was media technology that made him into an international celebrity. Bin Laden could not have achieved global prominence without audiocassettes, the Internet, and satellite television, especially Al-Jazeera. His legacy is more secure than his life: No matter when or how he dies, he will not easily be dislodged from his perch as the most famous/infamous Arab of the 21st century.

Easley's a Democrat, Right?

I know we were praising Gov. Mike in this space just yesterday for his efforts to raise teacher pay, but it's seriously groan inducing to hear him selling the shoddy state of labor in NC.

Site Selection magazine named North Carolina the state with the Top Business Climate for 2005, reclaiming the top spot from Texas, which unseated North Carolina's three-year claim to first place from 2001 through 2003.

"We can do everything they can do about 25 percent cheaper in terms of labor capital expenditures and land acquisition," North Carolina Governor Michael Easley told Site Selection.

North Carolina tops Texas for best business climate - 2005-11-02

Legislature to Foot Bill for Teacher Raises

One of the persistent critiques of Gov. Easely's plan to raise teacher pay to the national average (posted about here and here) has been that local agencies will have unplanned for expenses due to the immediate nature of the plan.

Easely has answered those critiques by announcing that this year's raises will be paid for by the state and calling on the legislature to foot the bill for at least this year's raises (article here). WWAY reports:

Easley says he'll work with the Legislature to get teachers a five percent raise over each of the next three years. This year's state budget contained $85 million to pay for the initial raises.

As I stated before, I really like this plan. And I think that it is important for the State to throw in since they have many more resources than the local government. I am just glowing with pride for our Democratic administration. This is how government should work. A solution that will actually help education without passing the buck on to someone else. I have not always agreed with Easely in the past, but on this issue he has been AWESOME. Lets bask in the greatness that is Democratic leadership working for citizens.

Charlotte Observer Response to Myrick's Refusal

As posted below. Sue Myrick refused a Charlotte Observer request for the racial and gender make-up of her staff. Instead in what the Observer calls a "snide" remark, her press secretary said that they would release the information if the paper released the names and political affiliations of their reportes. Here is the Observer's response:

Myrick owes the newspaper and the people of North Carolina an apology, and she should release the information immediately. A taxpayer should not have to cut a deal with a public official to get the kind of public information that The Observer requested.

Love it when Republicans get called on their bullshit. The Republican leading the field for Governor in '08 is already stumbling. Could be a long road ahead.

More on '08 Governor

WRAL.com is focusing on a race between Republican U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick and our Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue. However, neither one of the candidates has oficially declared yet.

This would indeed be an interesting race. And quite possible since, as the article notes:
Re

cent polls show Myrick and Perdue have the most name recognition in their respective parties among a field of potential candidates for governor

.

It is interesting that Perdue has the name recognition since we have already noted there are at least two other Democratic cabinet members that are considering runs before.

N.C. Fourth Hungriest State

This is embarrassing. North Carolina is tied for fourth among states with the most hungry families at 4.9%. We are only doing better than Oklahoma (lots of reservations that are difficult to serve), Arkansas, and South Carolina. While the reason for North Carolina's place on the list are unclear, the loss of manufacturing jobs certainly plays a role. But regardless of the reason, this is unacceptable. Certainly the progressive agenda to allieviate poverty will help, but for 1 out of 20 North Carolinians it cannot happen soon enough.

Damned Zombies

One of the right's favorite scary stories is the one about voter fraud. Sure, neither party needs to be reminded that every vote counts, or that important elections can be very, very close. But while the left and libertarians have been focused on the potential perils of black-box electronic voting, Republicans have kept up a steady drumbeat for state- or nation-wide voter ID cards. The basic idea is to create a small barrier to voting in exchange for the elimination of sneaky behavior at the ballot box—in North Carolina, our own Virginia Foxx (R-5) was trying to drum up support for a national voter ID card last year. But voting is a fundamental right, and every impediment to an individual's freedom to exercise their right to vote must come with a very good reason.

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