The only thing surprising is that it took so long.

When I first heard that McClatchy was going to own both the Charlotte Observer and the News and Observer, my enthusiasm was muted. That was almost two years ago, and most of the impacts predicted have come true. Here's a memo from the Big Cheeses to employees of the N&O and the Charlotte Observer on the heels of McClatchy's recenty announced layoffs.

To: Employees, the Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer of Raleigh
Subj: New areas of collaboration
Date: June 16, 2008

The newsrooms of the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer have worked well together during the two years since the Observer became part of the McClatchy Company. That collaboration clearly has benefited readers of both newspapers.

Republican polling firm--Obama in a statistical dead heat!

Kos just reported some absolutely delightful news--Tel Opinion Research, a Republican polling firm, has released a new poll showing Obama only down four points, right at the margin of error. It's 45 percent for McCain to 41 percent for Obama. It's official, folks--our state is in play.

North Carolina Coast Threatened by McCain's New, Pro Off Shore Drilling Position

Currently, North Carolina Shores are protected from off shore drilling by a Federal Moratorium:

The waters became fully protected by the moratorium in the fall of 2000 when Conoco gave up the last of the leases for exploration in the Manteo Exploration Unit, a group of federally leased blocks of submerged land lying about 45 miles off Cape Hatteras. Conoco had owned five leases for the submerged lands in the unit, and shared three others with Shell and Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chevron, Mobil and Marathon gave up or sold their leases earlier in 2000. None of the companies ever undertook exploration in the area.
http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/Facts/offshore.htm

When cost neutral becomes -$42 Billion and why

A fiscal analysis of SB 840 (Kuehl), which would establish in California a single-payer health care system and its companion financing mechanism. (PDF)

Fiscal Projection Overview. We estimated the revenues and costs of the [single-payer plan] for 5.5 years.. Our estimate indicates that that the SPP would result in a net shortfall of $42 billion in 2011-12 (the first full year of operations) and $46 billion in 2015-16.

Wow. Single-payer in California will cost the state $42 billion in its first year, this is much different than the analysis done five years ago by The Lewin Group where the program rolled out as cost neutral. What happened and is it the death knell of single-payer in California?

Welcome Mary Fant Donnan, Candidate for N.C. Commissioner of Labor

Please join us tonight, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. for a one hour live-blog chat with Mary Fant Donnan. Mary won the primary election, however did not break the 40% threshold to prevent a runoff.

Mary joined us last week for our monthly Democratic Women's meeting here in Union County. We had an opportunity to hear Mary speak about her priorities and her passion for the work she will do as Labor Commissioner. I'm so happy I had a chance to listen to Mary and hear what she had to say outside the normal 3-5 minutes most candidates have at forums featuring a large number of speakers. She was gracious enough to agree to stop by to visit with us prior to the convention and the June 24 runoff election.

More Frightening News from Blackwater

This is just scary.

In a recent op-ed piece for the L. A. Times, Jeremy Scahill writes about Blackwater's bright future, no matter who inhabits the White House come 2009. He talks about how Blackwater sued the city of San Diego, bringing them to their knees, then gives a brief bullet summary of some of Blackwater's more recent ventures, above and beyond their run-of-the-mill mercenary solder work.

N&O, Char-O cutting staff

Further update: N&O shedding 70 jobs, consolidating editions down to two: State and Final. Publishers' message to staff.
Wow.
McClatchy cutting workforce 10 percent citing slow ad sales.
(Then, there's the matter of all that debt.)
Bloomberg says the tally will reach 1400 jobs.
Via the N&O: Serious cuts at the Char-O including 22 newsroom positions.

It was not immediately clear how the N&O will be affected by today's announcement. More details are expected after affected employees are notified.

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