Drought

If the fall weather has you thinking the drought in North Carolina has run its course, think again. Here in the Triangle, we are now officially approaching what any sane person would call "dire straits." The NC Conservation Network has a good report out today:

North Carolina is in the midst of a serious drought with over 56.6% of the state classified as exceptional drought—the worst level there is. Making small changes in your daily water consumption can help but there are other things our state can be doing to better prepare for water shortages. We are urging state leaders to:

1. Set statewide water use efficiency standards,
2. Require local governments to consider water availability before approving new development; and
3. Replace our outdated water rules with a comprehensive law that meets the state’s current needs.


Photo from N&O story.

Blackwater Stench Spreading

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From TPM Muckraker, via Ed Cone. Originally from The Washington Post:

The Washington grand jury has issued subpoenas to several private security firms, including Blackwater, a legal source briefed on the probe said yesterday. Authorities are seeking company "after-action" reports and other documents that may shed light on specific incidents, he said.

The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, declined to say which incidents have been targeted, but he said the investigation ranges well beyond Blackwater. Private security companies in Iraq "have been shooting a lot of people," he said.

Dueling fact-checks

The Perdue campaign today launched Know Moore, which is intended to keep the record straight on Richard Moore's claims and counter-claims. Moore previously launched his own fact-checking site called Fact check Perdue.

It'll be interesting to see how the two sites play into the overall campaigns. I suspect that specialized sites are here to stay - and will be increasingly used when campaigns want to isolate their criticisms of opponents from their policy positions. That said, it seems a bit of an overstatement for Moore's site to declare that:

FactCheckPerdue is a public service paid for and authorized by the Richard Moore Committee in an effort to promote accountability among North Carolina's elected officials.


Jerry Conner Video Released

In the summer of 1990, Minh and Linda Rogers were shot to death while working at their family-owned grocery in rural Gates County, North Carolina. Some money was taken. Sixteen year-old Linda was raped. The next year, Jerry Wayne Conner was tried and sentenced to death for the murders. His sentence was overturned on appeal, but after a re-sentencing hearing in 1995, Mr. Conner was again sentenced to die. In May of 2006, Conner came within 36 hours of execution before the North Carolina Supreme Court intervened. The Court didn't want Jerry Conner to be killed until he had the chance to apply modern DNA technology to the semen found on Linda Rogers' body. Unfortunately, the semen sample was too degraded to produce conclusive results.

Meta thoughts on the InterTubes and other arts

[I've brought this over from kos, and decided not to edit it, so my apologies for the kos references. I find the need a hundred times a week to thank each and every one of you, my BlueNC family, for writing, for reading, for commenting ... for caring ... whether I agree with you or not. You FP'ers are my touchstone to reality. When life pulls me away, you pull me back. Each of you makes a difference in my life. So this is "Thanks."]

This is a mini-memoir, I guess. For some reason this personal theory from long ago feels more relevant to our here and now than it has ever felt.

Frontpaged. A.

The Joy of Learning and of Thanksgiving

The Joy of Learning and of Thanksgiving

In the spirit of the holiday, let me give thanks to lcloud for sharing a link (http://www.hd08.com/kids) to the children's story I wrote about Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys it and, more importantly, I hope it will help draw attention to the need to redouble our efforts to improve literacy in North Carolina.

There is another story just out that I hope will be widely read as well: the Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability’s draft report criticizing the state’s testing regime.

Coy Privette has the last laugh. (Updated)

Yet another installment in the Coy Privette (former NC state representative and current County Commissioner) sex scandal soap. Check my earlier post for a recap on the story.



They chickened out!

In an unbelievable example of "back room politics", the Cabarrus County Commissioners decided tonight to indefinitely table a resolution to censure their fellow Commissioner Coy Privette.It was clear to everyone attending that this was a deal that they arranged and talked about before tonight. Even some TV reporters were convinced this was premeditated and told me so.

[fp'd by Betsy. Let's give the Cabarrus Republicans a brighter spotlight.]

House for Sale With Ocean View

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This story slipped by me over the weekend, so special thanks to Chris Fitzsimon for covering things over at NC Policy Watch. For those of you who have been keeping up with the Realtor Ticks and their undue influence on public policy in North Carolina, go ahead and get out your bug spray. They're back.

The Realtors and homebuilders are clearly wealthy special interests that exert significant influence on elections and the state policymaking process. This weekend, the Charlotte Observer reminded us that state coastal management policy is also influenced by wealthy special interests, in this case by the well-heeled residents of Figure Eight Island, an exclusive, private, gated beach community just north of Wrightsville Beach.

Remember what I said about Mike Huckabee being dangerous?

This is, by far, the best political ad I've ever seen. I had tears running down my face from laughing. Not everyone will get the joke I'm sure, but still...

I'm telling you, I agree with NONE of this man's policies, but all we can hope for is that the religious right keeps picking losers like Thompson and Guiliani, and doesn't wake up to the idea of supporting this Southern Baptist preacher in the general election. He's smart, funny, and likeable. OH, and he's a freakin' nutjob.

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