Morning Ex

Via the Ex Files

Eat a good lunch there's a busy night ahead all over.
The President announces his newish Iraq policy on teevee at 9 p.m., which, coincidentally is tip off time for the UNC-Virginia game. Meanwhile, there's a growing chorus saying don't expect the new congress to be able to really stop the madness. Center for American Progress briefing paper on the subject.
Today, the new House takes up the minimum wage as a part of it 100 Hours thing.
NYT: Keeping up with The Clock

Polls For Everybody!

So somebody's been stinking up the place with some defective third-party poll script (Sam, you know I love you baby), so I figured it's time to open up the in-house polling module to all users. From now on, when you click "create content" in the left sidebar, you'll have the option of creating a poll. Give it a shot!

Now, our poll module isn't perfect, but it does put your vote where you tell it to, and it doesn't allow the same user account to vote more than once. Here's one thing you're going to wish for: that you could put a poll in the middle of another post. You can't. Not right now, anyway. I've worked on making this happen in the past and just ended up crying into my keyboard.

Anyway, enjoy! (Sam!)

Democratic candidates for Governor: Which way do you lean?

We Deserve Better!!!

Duke Energy executives say all the right things in public and yet they are still pushing to build two massive coal-fired power plants just west of Charlotte that will emit over 10 million tons of carbon pollution in NC's air every year for the next 50 years and beyond.

Here are just a few great quotes from James Rogers, Duke Energy CEO, on Climate Change:

“I'm not a scientist. I only know what I read. But my understanding of where we are today is that the earth is getting warmer and that man-made emissions are contributing to it. There are differences of opinion about what the impact on the planet will be. But as I understand the scientific conclusions, and knowing that the power plant industry in this country produces 35 percent of all C[O.sub.2] emissions in the U.S., I think it's incumbent upon us to address the issue. I'm convinced that the sooner we go to work on it, the higher the probability that we can find new technologies to allow us to reduce emissions.”

Not Your Father's Navy

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Over the past few days, I've written about the many questions surrounding the US Navy's mishandling of its search for a Outlying Landing Field. One of the best summaries on the topic is a 2005 editorial in the News and Observer (no longer available for linking).

With evidence suggesting Navy officials manipulated the choice, efforts to site a jet landing field should be scrapped. The U.S. Navy should withdraw its plan to build a practice landing field on an environmentally sensitive site in Eastern North Carolina, now that it has been embarrassed by disclosures in court documents. Those documents reflect e-mail messages among Navy officials essentially saying they felt pressured to justify the decision to build the field near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. In that light, the decision-making process was scarcely a process at all.

The News & Observer's Wade Rawlins reported yesterday that these officials, members of a Navy team doing an environmental study of the site, had e-mailed each other complaining about having to back up the decision by top Navy leaders to buy 30,000 acres straddling Washington and Beaufort Counties and build a field. That decision came after the Navy made up its mind in 2000 to move 10 new Super Hornet jet squadrons to the East Coast. Those squadrons were going to Naval Air Station Oceana and Fentress Landing Field in southeastern Virginia.

Then came the recommendation to divide the squadrons between Virginia and North Carolina (eight in Virginia, two here). E-mails show that recommendation may have been made because of noise complaints in the Hampton Roads, Va., area, or because the Navy wanted to put squadrons in North Carolina to get the state's members of Congress to support the new landing field.

In any case, some on the Navy team involved with the environmental study were uncomfortable: Wrote Alan Zusman, one of them, in an e-mail in September 2002: "Don't know about you, but I have a very uneasy feeling about our criteria and the process." In a reply, another team member, Cmdr. John A. Robusto, wrote, "Up until the preferred OLF (landing field) site was chosen everything made sense and all decisions could be logically explained. Now we have to reverse engineer the whole process to justify the outcome."

Why bring this all up now? Because the Navy is coming back - probably next month - with a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. And the smart money says they'll be pushing for Site C once again.

Third Time Not The Charm for Terrence Boyle



This morning, after two previous failed attempts at promotion to the federal appeals court, Federal District Judge Terrence Boyle of North Carolina smelled the coffee, and ordered tea instead. He submitted a letter to George Bush asking that his nomination be withdrawn.

He was among the four judges considered so extreme in their views by the previous congress that their appointments failed to earn consideration. With a landslide Democratic victory in the last election it became obvious that this congress was not about to try what previous congresses had found impossible.

According to Ralph Neas, president of "People for The American Way," Terence Boyle is "a judicial disaster... and his rulings reflect a judicial philosophy that is very damaging to the rights of average Americans."

Healthcare for All North Carolina - The Pulse

Happy New Year Friends,

After a brief hiatus during which I was busy enjoying the festive seasons, I'm back to writing about health care. There are two great stories from LA Times staff writer Lisa Girion describing reasons private medical corporations won't insure you. Also, we have some information about the newest "universal health care" plan to be proposed by a Republican Governor.

In her first story, Lisa Girion exposes into the health conditions that insurers deem too risky to insure.

These ills may be too risky to insurers

Health insurers in California have been allowed to keep secret their underwriting guidelines that determine who gets individual coverage and at what premium.

...According to regulators' postings, rejection letters and interviews with brokers, conditions that can lead to outright rejection or a higher premium include:

Windy days ahead

Not to get too weather-geeky but you folks out West are in for a heck of a storm with high winds and heavy snow. We'll be seeing it here mid-state soon as well. From the NWS Forecast (geek link here):

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST
GEORGIA...PIEDMONT NORTH CAROLINA...WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA AND
UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

THERE IS A HIGH WIND WARNING FOR THE EASTERN AND NORHTERN MOUNTANS
OF NORTH CAROLINA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING...A WIND ADVISORY FOR
THE REST OF THE MOUNTAINS AND NORTH CAROLINA FOOTHILLS...AND A
LAKE WIND ADVISORY FOR THE REST OF THE FORECAST AREA. SEE PRODUCT
CAENPWGSP FOR DETAILS.

THERE IS A HEAVY SNOW WARNING THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT FOR

Wake Forest And The Debate on Funding Stem Cell Research

There is an important development in the debate on federal support for stem cell research that has a North Carolina connection. Dr. Anthony Atala, head of Wake Forest's regenerative medicine institute, announced a breakthrough that suggests stem cells drawn from the amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women could be a substitute for many of the research purposes previously reserved for embryonic stem cells.

Until now the issue over stem cell research has centered almost exclusively on stem cells extracted from fertilized human eggs harvested from clinics that specialize in in vitro fertilization. The objection to the use of these fertilized eggs by both the religious right and the Catholic Church has been based upon their common belief that life begins at conception.

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