Enjoy the cold weather while it lasts, nuclear power goes belly-up.

From the AP:

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. - Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back or temporarily shut down later this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the awesome amounts of cooling water they need to operate.

Utility officials say such shutdowns probably wouldn’t result in blackouts. But they could lead to shockingly higher electric bills for millions of Southerners, because the region’s utilities could be forced to buy expensive replacement power from other energy companies.

$1 Cigarette Tax in Wisconsin Leads to Record Number of Calls to "Quit-Line"

This is an interesting story about the success of a program in Wisconsin, where a $1 cigarette tax lead to more people trying to/actually quitting. But, before I get into that, I'd like to share my point of view on tobacco and taxes. I'm for taxes on tobacco as a way of diversifying the family farming industry in North Carolina. I'm also against growing tobacco because it is an immoral crop - a crop that leads to addiction, pain, agony, and finally death. It kills more people than drunk drivers, it kills more people than heroin, it kills more people than Osama bin Laden, it ruins more lives than gambling or fornication or adultery or taking the Lord's name in vain. It is immoral.

The only reason we allow its growth is to make rich, white men richer and because it is the only good, addictive drug that we grow here in the US. As Chris Rock says:

God forbid some brown people got wealthy... We can't have that! Because drugs come from brown countries. We can't have no wealthy brown people!
...
If drugs were legalized, there would be a drug spot in every corner. It wouldn't be a Starbucks. It'd be Weedbucks. McDonald's? McCokeald's. Krispy Kreme? Kracky Kreme.

Chris Rock is probably right, if rich, white men could grow poppy here or could take over a place where it was grown, say Afghanistan, and reap profits while killing off their customers. I'm sure they would.

Pandering

Fred Smith, who many believe will take the cake in the Party of Greed gubernatorial primary, has been out on his Barbecue Express in Camden County. There the angry old man reached a new low in pandering.

CAMDEN — State Sen. Fred Smith, R-Johnston, believes given the right economic incentives, a Navy practice airfield could work in North Carolina. But from what he's seen of Camden County, it's not the place for an outlying landing field. Like many other state and local officials, Smith disagrees with locating the Navy's proposed OLF in an area that won't receive enough jobs and other economic benefits to compensate for the jet noise the airfield will generate.

The U.S. Navy Surrenders

Washington County, NC is finally safe. The migratory birds and Red Wolves are finally safe. The families and neighbors of Washington County are finally safe. They're all finally safe from the threat posed by the U.S. Navy. Safe from the threat of noise, the threat of pollution as well as the threat of loss of their property and their livelihoods. The United States Navy is finally giving up their plan to locate an outlying landing field in Washington County.

CNN put me on the air again...

I guess I represented the progressive blogosphere well enough the first time to be invited back on the air. I appeared on CNN Newsroom's Blog Buzz at 7:30 PM on Sunday to discuss the results in Nevada and South Carolina.

Host Tony Harris asked about McCain's "momentum" and we discussed the issue of race as it has been playing out so far in the primaries. The blogger/columnist for the Right is Mary Katharine Ham of Town Hall. Video and transcript are below the fold.

The BlueNC Virtual Gubernatorial Debate

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Last Saturday, the idea of an online forum for engaging the Moore and Perdue campaigns was floated here at BlueNC. Both campaigns responded positively, and a ton of good ideas were proposed by readers in comments, as well as by email.

Here is our best current thinking. I want to be clear that neither campaign has accepted this specific proposal yet.

Proposal

A single two-hour evening session on a date to be agreed upon by both campaigns. Ideally it would be 8 - 10 pm or 9 - 11 pm, when our readership is predictably high.

Good News on "The Most Depressing Day of the Year"

This Time/CNN story got me thinking.

There's a lot to feel down about this month: the subprime mortgage crisis, stormy, unpredictable weather, rising gas prices, presidential primary free-for-alls. So, it would be easy to believe the theory set forth by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher from Cardiff University, that the third Monday of the month (Jan. 21, this year) — a day he calls Blue Monday — will be our most depressing day of the year. Arnall bases his yearly prediction on a formula he developed, which factors in the weather, consumer debt from holiday spending and failed New Year's resolutions and arrives at that conclusion that we'll hit rock bottom on Monday the 21st.

From a Democratic perspective, if this is rock bottom, imagine the view from the cheap seats in the Grand Old Party. I wholeheartedly disagree with the good Doctor's theory of today being the most depressing day of the year, and in fact draw hope from it.

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