Blue Moon

I spent a lot of time last year explaining to folks that it was a Blue Moon election year. Last night was the first Blue Moon since then…

In politics, of course, a “Blue Moon” is the rare occurrence of Congress being at the top of the ballot with no Senate or Governor's race. Now we think of it as what we call the second full moon occurring in the same month, but any farmer will tell you it really means having an extra moon in the growing cycle. Last night I saw it coming home after a long day of teaching followed by my 'second job' of making fundraising calls, and started reflecting on the sacrifices I make being away from my family to do this and the sacrifices I'm asking others to make of their time, money, and other resources.

Why does the media hate John Edwards?

There is a great post over at Huffington talking about John Edwards and the media. I'll post the conclusion here, because I think it gets to the heart of the matter about why we are hearing so much negative press about John Edwards.

What seems to worry pundits -- whether centrist or rightist -- is that Edwards is leading in polls in Iowa, where the first caucuses vote next January.

Indeed, current media coverage of Edwards bears an eerie resemblance to the scary reporting on the Democratic frontrunner four years ago, Howard Dean. If Edwards is still ahead as the Iowa balloting nears, expect coverage to get far nastier. The media barrage against Dean in the weeks before Iowa -- "too far left" and "unelectable" with a high "unfavorable" rating -- helped defeat him. (I write those words as someone who was with Kucinich at the time.)

...

After years of pontificating about how Southern white candidates are the most electable Democrats for president, it'd be ironic for even nimble Beltway pundits to flip-flop and declare that this particular white Southerner is a bad bet simply because he talks about class issues.

Getting screwed by the State Health Care Plan

bumped because it never showed up on the recent diary list

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield PPO was supposed to be the big change that made the state employees health care plan "worth it". Sure, you pay more each month, but you are supposed to make it back because there is less coinsurance, deductibles, etc. Only one problem with that, it only works if you are "in network". We've spent several weeks calling (hours each day) looking for speech therapy and occupational therapy for our kids.

No one is contracted with the PPO. No one. The closest speech provider is an hour away. The closest occupation therapy provider is at a hospital clinic a half-hour away, which requires you to park in a pay-garage, which is a 10 minute walk away, which makes it a 40-minute trip. Under the old plan, we paid "more", but were able to get services right here in town. So, why the change?

According to the providers, the PPO now reimburses less than Medicare and Medicaid.

We were warned about this. Psychiatrists I knew said they would be forced to accept this insurance because they worked at UNC, but they were trying to keep the option quiet and to tell people not to get it, because the reimbursement would be so bad. I only have one thing to say. Thank goodness we have a Democratic Governor, House, and Senate. Otherwise, who knows what kind of "horrible" health insurance they might give state employees. It's time for state employees to be eligible for Medicaid. BCBS is paying the same rate, so why not.

HB 91 (Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites)

HB 91 (Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites) will be going through the Senate Select Committee on Government and Election Reform soon (the scheduled meeting for today was canceled). I ask that each of you contact the Senators on the Select Committee to express your support and urge them to support the bill.

HB 91 is important because it will allow registration and voting on the same day during the "One Stop" voting period prior to elections. This is a great opportunity to attract voters and will certainly make voting more convenient for hard working North Carolinians.

North Carolina Jails More Than China

A disturbing perspective from Ronald Fraser at the Asheville Citizen-Times:

"Rulers in Libya, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan made Parade Magazine’s 2005 world’s worst dictators list. And the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, located in Oakland, Calif., has issued a report titled, US Rates of Incarceration: A Global Perspective, showing the incarceration rates for these five dictatorships – the number of persons in prison for every 100,000 population – ranging from a low of 57 in Pakistan to a high of 207 in Libya.

By comparison, prison policies made in Raleigh locked up 360 state citizens for every 100,000 population in 2005. In other words, North Carolina imprisons its people at a rate one and a half times faster than Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya and six times faster than Pakistan under Gen. Pervez Musharraf."

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