Ezra Klein on Kudlow on Taxes

Ezra Klein knocks the dickens out of Larry Kudlow. I know that it is not kosher to copy big chunks, but this is really simple and really good.

Sigh. Oh Larry Kudlow. When will you learn?

Today’s New York Times has a classic, class warfare argument from a Congressional Budget Office analysis from 2004 tax data that purports to show “Bush Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich” but actually shows that the top 1 percent of income earners paid about 37 percent of all federal income taxes—a big jump from prior years.

And do you know why that is? Here's a hint. The top 1% saw their incomes jump by 18 percent in 2004, for a total of 53 percent of the income growth. That means one out of every two dollars in higher wages that year went to one percent of the population.

Bonds a comin'

Via the Ex Files

Looks like 2008 is shaping up to be a big year for a bond referendum. Already there are efforts to build the case for bond money to fund the Land for Tomorrow effort, and President Bowles and the UNC System Board of Governors continue to talk about "Bond II"—some kind of followup to the $3.1 billion approved by voters in the last millennium.
Now, a coalition of school and business leaders have combined to push for bonds for school construction. According to a Charlotte Observer story, the group says local governments and lottery money aren't enough to cover the $9.8 billion in construction needs:

In Memoriam: Howard J. Hunter, NC House District 5

Back in August I did a profile on Representative Howard J. Hunter, who has served the state in the North Carolina House representing District 5. The AP reported on Sunday that Howard Hunter has died. He has had health problems for several years. I would like to extend my thanks to Representative Hunter for his service to our state and to his family for the sacrifices they made which allowed him to serve. Our thoughts are with you.

Democratic officials in Hertford, Bertie, Gates and Perquimans Counties will meet to select a recommendation for Governor Easley's consideration. Hunter's replacement will be appointed by the governor to fulfill the remaining two years of the term. Hunter had just been re-elected to a 10th term.

Please follow below the fold...

Something Different: Take your Folate

This is totally different than the things I normally blog, but I think it is really important so I'm going to take up a little front page space for it. A recent study, reviewed here at Nature, shows that women are getting much less folate than previously consumed. What is folate? More after the break.

Border Fence of Jericho (political cartoon)

Crossposted from Town Called Dobson

click to enlarge

June Atkinson With Nothing To Do

Remember June Atkinson? She was the Democratic candidate in 2004 for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. You might also remember she won that election, but her opponent, a Republican creature named Bill Fletcher, contested her victory and mounted a long drawn out legal fight.

The election was close, but the decision was clear. Never-the-less, Fletcher refused to give up and the battle through the courts cost both political parties a fortune and prevented June Atkinson from taking office until late in 2005.

You might assume all of that would be frustration enough for someone like Dr. Atkinson who has terrific qualifications and a strong desire to serve. After all, she campaigned all across the state and enjoyed high hopes for her aggressive agenda to improve the schools.

Mathew Gross - Web Maven to John Edwards

In today's Greensboro News-Record is a nice profile of Mathew Gross, the internet guru for the John Edwards' campaign. Those of us who are refugees from Howard Dean's roller coaster quest of 2004 remember Mathew's efforts fondly. For many of us, if not most, our first substantial contact with the Howard Dean campaign came through the now legendary web presence that Mathew invented.

Back before Gov. Dean announced his high octane opposition to the war, and his intention to evict the "current occupant" from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mathew was a riverboat guide in Moab, Utah. Equal parts outrage and irrational idealism caused him to drive 2,300 miles non-stop to the front door of Dean's campaign headquarters in Burlington, Vermont.

"...John Edwards might be their toughest opponent"

edwardscloseupI saw this over on John Edwards for President and thought I would give you the story here. A new IBD/TIPP nationwide poll shows that McCain and Guiliani have a lead over the leading Democratic challengers, but that Edwards "might be their toughest opponent". Personally, I could care less which Republican is leading, or about this whole poll to be perfectly frank.

At this stage of the game I think national horserace polls are just silly. How many single issue voters said they would vote for Guiliani over Edwards without knowing their positions on choice and gay marriage are not so different (Guiliani being a social liberal), which negates the Republican lead in that camp and could send many right-wing voters into the arms of the Constitution Party.

However, the reason I am giddy over this poll is that John Edwards has the edge over other Democratic candidates. Given, the same caveats that I listed above hold true, it is still nice to see my guy in first place after the myriad Hillary/Obama front-runner stories. Maybe now we'll have someone actually talk about the huge crowds and activist base that John Edwards has in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.

As promised, no automatic frontpaging of John Edwards stories unless I'm live-blogging something.

Red wolves

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Later today, Jane and I will be heading to Edenton on a short trip sponsored by the Southern Environmental Law Center. The focus of the trip is to educate people (i.e., donors) about the work of the SELC around the gigantic environmental risk of the US Navy's Outlying Landing Field.

From everything I've read, the US Navy has taken its cues on integrity and honesty from the Bush Sadministration, pushing its agenda without regard to process, facts, or stewardship. There's plenty of organized opposition, and the SELC is right in the center of things.

Most recently, the Navy found its plans to ram through this site flummoxed by a pack of red wolves.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, which is challenging the Navy's plan to build the airfield near a national wildlife refuge, said eight wolves in several packs have moved onto the refuge and surrounding private farmland near the proposed landing field site in the three years since the Navy studied the area.

The presence of red wolves, an endangered species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been trying to reintroduce in the wild for two decades, could further complicate the Navy's plans to locate an airfield near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

"It's another strong reason backed up by the Endangered Species Act that the Navy should look for an alternative site," said Derb Carter, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.


Heart-Sinking Sunday

The Charlotte Observer has a story this morning that made me feel a bit disappointed and I haven't really figured out why. I think it might be I'm disappointed that after a year, the NC House study commission that was supposed to be looking into the way NC administers the death penalty hasn't come up with any results. I guess other than the fact that someone dies as a result of it, they haven't been able to determine whether there are any problems with the way justice is meted out.

The commission, co-chaired by Rep. Joe Hackney, D-Orange, has met for more than a year but has not yet developed recommendations. A hearing in Raleigh Thursday was to have led to committee discussions of potential legislation, but some members were absent, including Earle. With others such as Vinson no longer members, Hackney said the panel would await new members before proceeding -- perhaps before the legislature convenes Jan. 24.

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