Open thread: Pigs have wings UPDATED

I regret to inform the world that I agree completely with a new column by Rick Martinez. That doesn't mean I don't want to see him fired from the N&O. I do. The N&O has entirely too much infiltration from Art Pope's Puppetshow. But I have to say that I share Martinez' unhappy view of the so-called energy bill sliming its way through the General Assembly.

Note to Dallas Woodhouse: Please send along a current photo so we can give you full credit for being a rising star in this many-ringed circus. Glam-shots preferred.

On Beason's Short Leash

Since the news broke today about lobbyist Don Beason's lavish spending habits, I've been struggling to understand how and why this story has been covered up for so long. After doing some digging today, I have to conclude it's a pretty ugly picture of North Carolina's political press.

First off, Beason is not a household word in North Carolina, even though he should be. Up until today, the only definitive story on the influential Republican I could find was written in 2005 by Dan Kane, full of cushy stuff like this:

Top legislators say they like Beason, who was ranked as the most effective lobbyist last session, because he gives solid information and he's honest. "The operative word with Don Beason is 'professionalism,' " said Rep. Richard Morgan, a former Republican House speaker from Moore County.

But there might be other reasons for Beason's success, too. He has skillfully worked with his business clients to direct money to top legislators' campaigns and to cover the costs of their political meetings and events.

Dan Kane wrote that story in 2005, right? And now here we are in 2007, with everyone wondering who's the mystery man that funneled a half-a-million dollars into Jim Black's dirty pockets. And no one fingers Don Beason?

What gives?

Liddy knows business!

When she's not busy not doing anything for We the People in North Carolina, our very senior senator spends much of her time getting prizes for simply existing. Like this award for the Elizabeth Dole Young Entrepreneur Scholarship.

According to Senator Dole, "I am delighted to lend my strongest support to this program because it strengthens young women's leadership skills, encourages them to be involved in public policy and provides them with the tools they need to operate a successful business."

Liddy Dole knows as much about operating a successful business as she knows about North Carolina . . . which is to say . . . almost nothing at all.

Help Protect NC Community Media Centers

As many of you know, last session the State Legislature passed a law which allows cable and phone companies to avoid many of the public service requirements that have existed for over 30 years. Those requirements mainly have to do with channel space and support for Community Media Centers, like The Peoples Channel, and Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Access channels. The bill has turned out to be a very serious blow to local governments and nonprofits like us. Many of us concerned with the legislation worked together to produce a new piece of legislation that would remedy two major problems with the bill: funding for Community Media Center and PEG channels, and deployment of broadband to rural and economically distressed communities.

The bill, S-1068 moved along quickly in the Senate and is now on the House side, but there is a fear that they won’t take it on before the session ends or at all. We haven’t given a call to action thus far because we thought this bill would have no problems and we know you all have busy lives. However, we really need you to make calls TOMORROW and WEDNESDAY.

What you can do for the environment

It's summertime, and all of us down here in NC know what that means right? Urban heat islands, smog as far as the eye can no longer see, droughts and wasted water, and energy bills skyrocketing.

And so far, we've been blessed with a federal government too distracted by Bush's war on the Constitution to take real environmental action, and a state that throws even more funding at new coal plant construction in a Renewable Energy Bill. Not to mention our lovely senators at work screwing over their own state capital on transit. Looks like we gotta take matters into our own hands.


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