Kay Hagan Sounds Angry

I don't know Senator Hagan that well, but I remember the sound of her voice when she spoke after former Senator Dole questioned her faith. I don't think this quite reaches that level of fury, but she sure doesn't sound happy.

The AP report that U.S. banks increased their applications to hire foreign workers for high-paying jobs in positions such as senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists, at the same time they were announcing massive layoffs, is a cause for concern. Based on the unfortunate layoffs we have seen week-after-week in the banking industry, it stands to reason that American banks should not have trouble finding experienced, well-qualified American workers.

Avery County Transfer Tax Succeeds - Not

It looks like the transfer tax referendum was approved in Avery County today.

According to the State Board of Elections, with 19 of 19 precincts reporting the votes were 1,434 for and 1,409 against (50.44% for and 49.56% against). A total of 2,843 votes were counted out of 2,845 cast. Turnout was 22.40% of 12,700 registered voters.

As the County Commissioners appear to have wanted this authority it is likely to be put into effect.

From the statutes authorizing the tax:

If the majority of those voting in a referendum held pursuant to this Article vote for the levy of the tax, the board of county commissioners may, by resolution and after 10 days' public notice, levy a local land transfer tax on instruments conveying interests in real property located in the county, up to a rate of four-tenths percent (0.4%), in increments of one-tenth percent (0.1%).

According to Go Blue Ridge proceeds of the 0.4% tax are intended for classroom renovations and most land transactions in the last two years were among non-resident buyers and sellers.

There were errors in election night precinct reporting. The official results show 1,414 for and 1,449 against, which is a margin of 35 to defeat the transfer tax. At 49.39% for 50.61% against the margin is still less than 1%.

Sue me sue you?

A bill filed today would specify that blogs can be libelous.

Sen. Steve Goss said he wrote the bill over concern that "fast-moving Internet technology" may be outstripping existing libel laws. He wants the law to specifically say that blogs and other online media can be considered libelous. "We need to make sure that we're keeping up with technology," he said. "I believe these blogs are getting out of control."

These blogs? Just exactly which of "these blogs" is the Democratic Senator in Raleigh talking about? I'd be surprised to learn that Mr. Goss has ever even visited a blog. That said, he's an ordained Baptist preacher, so I'm guessing he has god on his side when it comes to policing the blogosphere.

To my knowledge.

No Taxation = No Representation for Obama Appointees

First Chief Performance Office appointee Nancy Killerfer, now Health and Human Services appointee Tom Daschle. Both have withdrawn from consideration for their positions on account of tax troubles. Two deep, painful black eyes for the new president.

Killefer, though damaging, can be replaced. She is not the consumate Beltway insider (though she does have credentials) and her office would be a bit more abstract - documenting fiscal performance within the budget office. A position necessitating competence, for sure, but not so for political muscle. She can certainly be replaced.

Women at the table

Years ago, I wrote a column for the Chapel Hill News called "Dear Women." I also posted it here at BlueNC.

When March was declared Women's History Month by Congress in 1987, our nation created an opportunity to celebrate women's past accomplishments and, perhaps more important, inspire their future. Because if there's any hope for grace in this world, it will surely come through the leadership of women. Men have made messes of so many things -- that is what men do. And this particular man has had enough. So on this first day of Woman's History Month, I have a request for women everywhere. Will you please take over?

Former Insurance Commissioner, Jim Long, Dies at 68

Former Insurance Commissioner, Jim Long has died as a result of a stroke he suffered on January 21. He was 68 years old. For many of us, Jim Long was the only Insurance Commissioner we've known in NC. He was a true public servant and will be greatly missed.

I did not know Jim personally, but as a consumer I will remember him as the man who stood up to the insurance companies so that the rest of us could afford our premiums.

We owe Jim's wife and family a debt of gratitude. Public life isn't always easy. Jim could not have served the people of North Carolina if they had not been willing to make sacrifices. Peg, thank you for sharing so much with us.

Michael Phelps Smokes Pot, Deal With It

Lord forbid that we actually have a real discussion about marijuana, its use and its abuse. No, we have to turn this into a witch-hunt where Michael Phelps is bad, bad, bad becuase AAAAAAH MYYYY GAWWWWD he smokes pot!

Please, everyone who hasn't smoked pot raise your hand? One, two, three, four.

Now, everyone who knows somebody who had their life ruined by pot raise your hand. Okay, no one.

Now everyone who knows somebody who had their life ruined by alcohol raise your hand. One, two, three, four....four million.

Yeah, what a load of crap. If I were Michael Phelps I would man up and talk about pot for what it is, less addictive and less destructive than alcohol. He should know, he's been arrested for DUI back when he was 19!


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