NC Death Penalty Year in Review 2008

It has been an exceptional year for life in North Carolina. No one was executed, and only one new person was added to death row (the lowest number since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977). This year, as many capital defendants were acquitted as were sentenced to death. More death row inmates were exonerated than executed. North Carolina should be proud.

The Beginning of the End?

A recent report from the State Department's Inspector General is recommending that Blackwater's contract not be renewed after it expires next year.

An internal State Department report says Blackwater Worldwide may lose its license to work in Iraq and recommends that the agency prepare alternative means to protect its diplomats there.

Car inspections a thing of the past?

Mark Binker reports today that ye olde annual car inspections may be on the way out.

The inspection program was started in 1965 in response to a rapid rise in highway accidents. When a car is inspected, a technician looks at tires, wiper blades, headlights and other safety equipment. But there’s no good data, Samberg said, that shows whether failures with that sort of equipment have contributed to any large number of accidents.

“If it’s not effective, we should eliminate it,” said Rep. Hugh Holliman, a Davidson County Democrat and House majority leader. Holliman said the inspection program had outlived its usefulness.

Chris Fitzsimon asks the $64 million question

Is there a business veto over key appointments?

The discussion in the mainstream media and on political blogs about who will run the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has included a long list of names from current Secretary Bill Ross to former Secretary Bill Holman to Robeson County businesswoman Freda Porter-Locklear.

It has also been a reminder of the power dynamics in Raleigh. Reportedly, one reason so many names have been mentioned for Secretary of DENR is that the business community has reservations about most of the candidates suggested by the environmental community to head the state's environmental agency.

The Cratchits

I'm safely returned from a whirlwind trip to Asheboro and Stenchville. In the former I learned that the Goodyear plant bid their employees adieu until next year. In the latter I spoke with a father of two little ones who has been on half-time since June and was laid off today until the new year. He's getting by cleaning cars and doing odd jobs.

Being on the clock with no children to feed, I had no complaint.

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