Dear Phil Berger:

"Do we really believe government spending creates prosperity?" Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger asked.

After coming up on the short end of the NC Senate budget negotiations, this quote of yours is flying around the interTubes like news of a Britney Spears wax job. I read it a dozen times this morning, and I feel compelled respond from the heart.

From where I sit in the peanut gallery, you and the likes of Dallas Woodhouse at NC AFP are WAY too trigger-happy in the prosperity department. You think having a picture of Ronnie Raygun on a website stands for something worthwhile. You think prosperity itself trumps every other possible motivation human beings can have, and so you push the greed agenda like there's no tomorrow. And in doing so, you actually increase the odds that there may in fact be no tomorrow in which you and yours can enjoy all that prosperity you're working for.

I'm not saying prosperity is bad. Of course not. I've worked my ass off for 30 years in pursuit of the good life, and I've been luckier than I deserve. But I know plenty of others who have worked just as much and are still stuck between a rock and a hard place. They live from hand to mouth, and the slightest wobble throws them under the bus. They get the flu and miss a few days of work and BOOM, they're screwed with high-interest debt and crappy credit ratings. They get a flat tire or a blown head gasket and BOOM, they're screwed again. They'd trade in their cars for decent mass transit in a heartbeat. They don't have the money to send their kids to college, and so the cycle continues.

Does Mother Nature Hold The Key To Harnessing The Sun's Energy?

My nephew is about to enter his Senior year at the University of Florida, where he is (somehow) managing a double-major in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering (apparently it skips around in my family).

For the last few years I've been trying to nudge him into nanotechnology, partially because I believe it will have applications in all areas of science, but also because of the potential for more effective Solar technology as well as energy efficiency. He says he's been thinking about it, which in nephew-speak means, "I wish you'd quit bugging me about this, Uncle Steve." ;)

Somebody call a Waaaaahmbulance for Jay Morrison

Jay Morrison, the man who instigated the anti-transit tax movement in Charlotte has a bit of a past according to the Charlotte Observer. This morning we in Charlotte were greeted with the news that Morrison was a party in 17 lawsuits he filed against his creditors and if the Observer is giving the full story, these are some stinky lawsuits.

Steve Harrison and Victoria Cherrie of the CharO tell it this way:

Elect Elaine

First posted at Scrutiny Hooligans

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWe may not know whether our municipal elections will be partisan or non-partisan, but that doesn't have to stop us from taking a look at the candidates. Scrutiny Hooligans will be taking a look at (almost) all of them over the next several weeks. The major issues facing our city - Growth and Development, Business, Housing, and Crime are all at critical junctures, and we're going to need real leadership in every area to ensure that Asheville's progress doesn't become its downfall.

Our first stop is with my favorite candidate on the ballot, Elaine Lite. Elaine is a founding member of Mountain Voices Alliance, a member of People Advocating Real Conservancy, a board member of Hope for Horses and of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe county, and Publisher and Editor of Critter magazine. She's a 20-year resident of Asheville whose leadership has been vital as the tidal wave of overdevelopment hits western North Carolina.

Elaine has managed to leave me with a richer perspective on growth and development every time I've spoken with her. She believes strongly in the right of communities to determine their future. Her campaign platform is here, and here's the condensed bullets for you:

A bit of fascism comes to Asheville?

On Wednesday morning, a Buncombe County deputy decided to enforce a long-unused NC law in Asheville, using some unlawful means to do so. The main story from the local paper said that Deputy Scarborough was writing a citation for flag desecration, since Mark and Deborah Kuhn were flying their flag upside down on their front porch, with signs pinned to the flag. The deputy either kicked in the front door, or had it slammed on his hand, depending on which story you believe. Either way – he had no probable cause of a serious crime being committed, and no search warrant and he clearly was not invited into the home. The deputy just decided to act like a fascist thug. There is a picture of the couple on the link to the local paper above, and there is a sign saying Ron Paul for President in the photo.

have left undone those things which they ought to have done and done those things which they ought not to have done

Harlow Barget of State Government Radio featured the following commentary on GOP hypocrisy on his radio show:

I’ve tried to resist, but the temptation to comment is just too great. I’m talking, of course, about the recent sex scandals involving self-righteous politicians in the Old North State.

Maybe the Devil made them do it, but I see the Hand of a Higher Power bringing justice to the smug and proud. In recent years, especially in the South, there has been an overt attempt by pious politicians to exploit religion for their own ends.

The Republican Party as a whole has been successful in winning a majority of churchgoing voters. Fundamentalist Christians in particular have voted overwhelming for Republicans. That’s not some liberal cant. That’s a fact.

There’s nothing wrong or undemocratic about that voting pattern. Republicans have best represented the views of such voters.

What’s been wrong are the suggestions--and it’s more than suggestions from people such as former and disgraced House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas--that their opponents are godless infidels.

People can disagree honestly over how to fix our broken health care system or how to interpret Roe v. Wade. But it’s not American to question people’s faith because they disagree with your political solutions. Such absolutism is the path to the world of the Taliban.

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