The politics of Christmas trees

I believe that most of the decisions we make have the potential to ricochet into the world of politics and public policy - whether we mean for that to happen or not. Where we shop, what we buy, our transportation practices, where we set our thermostats, charities we support, even the Christmas trees we choose.

-edited to protect the uninitiated that continue to use IE. (RP)

Test your free-market extremist credentials!

Rob Christensen's December 2 column has an analysis of what he considers the state of civics education in the United States, based on a test created by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Christensen's column wraps with a link to this test, which I found hard, somewhat bizarre, and dramatically tilted in favor of knowing all about the kind of dead white men these people adore.

And what does Christensen have to say in the interest of full disclosure?

ISI is a conservative-leaning organization founded in 1953.

If you follow my link to the ISI website, you will discover that "conservative leaning" describes ISI about as well as "objective reporter" describes Christensen himself. The website features The Conservative Mind as part of its top-level navigation, Clarence Thomas, as an honored lecturer, with links throughout the site to

From Kenya

Ten years ago my family and I had the privilege of touring Kenya with a guide named Alex, who was a most knowledgeable birder and all around wonderful man. After we left the country, I kept in touch with Alex and his daughter, Lucky. The tourism business in Kenya is a roller-coaster, and they depend on us for help in tough times.

I communicate with Alex by email regularly, and I am always curious about politics on the ground there. It's hard to get a good picture of things from reading Kenyan news online. In response to my recent questions, Alex had this to say:

Thanks once again, we appreciate your assistance, all of us in the family. Our election comes after every five years for President and other members of parliament, expectations are always high as people yearn for change, many of us expected to see the changes after the last 2002 but many were dissatisfied as the trend was the same since independence back in 1960.

Tribal politics plays major as the distribution of recourses leaves many not fully happy as mostly the bigger portion goes to the incumbent's choice, but probably as time goes we will have some leader with all the people and country at heart.

We have EU observers to be sure it is a free and fair process, they have no powers but to observe.

Probably I have a different thought but we still need leaders who are bound by the people not the opposite, that is why my prayers are for a free and fair election.

We still need leaders who are bound by the people, not the opposite. Amen.

Monday Night Live With Jay Ovittore

One thing I love about North Carolina politics this year is the groundswell of committed candidates e stepping up to take on entrenched do-nothing Republicans. One of those candidates is Jay Ovittore, who is challenging Howard Coble in the 6th Congressional District.

None of us were around way back when the foundation of democracy in North America was being built, but from where I stand, the idea of real honest people with real honest jobs representing us in Congress is about as good as it gets. Jay brings that idea to life. Check out his website and get familiar with his positions ... and then plan to be here Monday night at 8 for a good conversation with our good friend, Jay Ovitorre.

Amnesty is not a Dirty Word

This rant has been coming on for some time. I started getting angry when Republicans began to co-opt words and phrases for their own use, usually giving them a negative twist. I became even angrier when the rest of us stood by and let it happen. What has finally set me off is the negative reaction I get when I use the word "amnesty" during discussions about undocumented workers and other people in this country illegally.

Amnesty is not a dirty word, however there are quite a few others used during this debate.

Xenophobe, protectionist, illegal, bigot, alien......and the list goes on.

An invitation to debate

The lieutenant governor’s race is starting to get some attention. Unfortunately, some newspapers and political observers have picked up not on the substantive issues in the race that have begun to be thoroughly explored here at BlueNC, but an inter-candidate spat that reveals little about who is best equipped to lead North Carolina.

Frontpaged with pleasure ... and with a strong endorsement of this idea. A.

The Lieutenant Governors' race in the Independent Weekly

Four Democrats Line up for the Lieutenant Governor Bob Geary for the Independent Weekly

Nice focus on the showdown for the Progressive Democrats endorsement next weekend...

And if you're wondering, "Does anybody care who wins the Democratic nomination?" the answer is yes. The Progressive Democrats of North Carolina care a lot, says Pete MacDowell, the group's president. "The lieutenant governor's race has the potential to be one in which the candidates voice progressive ideas on a wide range of issue across the state," he says.

Whereas, MacDowell adds, the Democratic gubernatorial primary between Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore "looks like it's between two ho-hum party insiders."

The PDNC has designated the lieutenant governor primary as the race in which it will try to exercise some influence. Thus, when the organization holds its annual meeting Dec. 7-8 in Chapel Hill, it will feature not the gubernatorial candidates but a lite-gov forum instead. Immediately afterward, the group will vote on whether to endorse one of the four contenders and, assuming the answer is yes, which one.


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