Welcome to BlueNC and Pre-Debate Site Prep

Welcome to BlueNC. We have a lot of visitors this morning. We're glad you've dropped by and hope you'll come back by this evening for the debate between Bev Perdue and Richard Moore. We also hope you'll stop by more often and feel free to join in the discussions. Sometimes they're valuable and sometimes we're ranting, raving and singing to the choir.

Regular users will notice some of our site features disappearing throughout the day. We are trying to streamline the site to prepare for higher traffic volumes. I promise we will turn everything back on after traffic dies later tonight.

Today

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Below is the email we sent to the Moore and Perdue campaigns yesterday about broad topics for tomorrow's debate. As you look over these, please keep in mind this comment from Brunette in one of the earlier "questions" threads.

Questions should be short. Questions should be challenging. But what makes a question "tough" isn't necessarily the philosophical difficulty of a given issue. In fact, the more complex the question, the easier it is for a politician to dodge it. Sometimes what is interesting and revealing is not a question that necessarily looks "tough" but one that is sufficiently succinct that it is difficult to dodge, and yet provides insight into how the candidate thinks.

Richie Rich

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Rob Schofield at North Carolina Policy Watch has an excellent post today about the growing gap between the richest and the poorest in our country. Which should come as no surprise to anyone who actually has to work for a living here in North Carolina. Just this year, for example, when our state Senate had the chance to reduce sales taxes that would affect everyone, they chose instead to cut taxes only on the wealthiest.

So what's the net effect of these kinds of policies?

Between 2005 and 2006, the average income (before taxes) of the top 1 percent of households increased by $73,000 (or 7 percent), after adjusting for inflation, while the average income of the bottom 90 percent of households increased by just $20 (or 0.1 percent).

On Publishing And Propaganda

A few months ago, my dear sweet mother (devout Republican) told me in an excited and confident tone, "I've got something you really need to read." Since we're both avid readers of fiction, and more often than not can exchange books to our mutual enjoyment, I was mildly piqued. When she revealed who the author was, I went from piqued to pissed off pretty quickly.

Archiving Email and Other Public Records Not So Simple

voyager-record-cover.gifIn a recent BlueNC thread, "Don't Try to Email the State about Email", Franklin Freeman, the public official in charge of electronic mail retention was (justifiably) criticized for lacking appropriate domain knowledge. Specifically, Freeman stated that he "[doesn't] even know how to cut a computer on".

Now, while this response brought ridicule from the denizens of BlueNC, and while it is true that cutting a computer on is a skill that can successfully be taught to a chimpanzee, and that one could find a less unqualified person to handle the North Carolina state government's email retention policy by throwing a rock in the vicinity of a local university, I would urge that we set the bar a bit higher than that.

The reason is because, for public records and other important materials, digital archiving is not as simple or as easy a problem space as it may seem.

The problems are threefold: media longevity, media obsolescence, and data format obsolescence. There is a fourth problem, subtly related to the last, which we might crudely describe as "meta-data obsolescence".

I'll explore each of these challenges in turn.

NC-08: "Most troops will be home by 2008"

Sadly, we all know the tragic milestone of U.S. deaths in Iraq.

As I think about the honorable sacrifices of our military families today, I'd be remiss to not remind you all why my opponent, Republican Robin Hayes, must be retired.

If anyone has ever doubted that Robin Hayes would say or do anything to get through just one more election cycle, take a look at his remarks on the Iraq War just days after narrowly clinging to his seat by 330 votes in 2006.

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Sierra Club Endorses Former "Meddling Kid" for Lt. Governor

Dan Besse received the Sierra Club's resounding endorsement in the Democratic race for Lt. Governor this week. In this video announcement he describes the Eureka! moment of his long career in environmental advocacy:

Following a purple river to its source and learning the ropes of citizen action...

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