Monday Morning Ex: Googled and other stories

Good morning. A real winter skyline looking north toward the university.

You might think that the rest of the country is looking askance at all the bristling over Google's incentives package, but as Ed Cone points out in his Sunday News & Record column the way the company twisted arms among legislators runs a little counter to the whole "don't be evil" thing. A good read with lots of links and comments at Ed's site. All in all, it's not been a good week for the media giant.

As mentioned, Senate Pro Tem Marc Basnight and roomie and finance chair Sen. David Hoyle say they'll take a hard look at incentives. N&O and Char-O on this story. From the Char-O story about the non-profit the company and Caldwell County set up:

Who's behind this?

There's an AP story breaking all over the Tubes about the death penalty debate among the Council of State that quickly devolved into a pissing contest between Bev Perdue and Richard Moore. According to the Fayetteville Observer:

It wasn't long before Moore and Perdue, who both voted with the majority, were engaged in a back and forth over each other's position. Neither has actually declared their candidacy for governor, although both are raising money and are widely expected to seek the job.

After the vote, a Moore adviser pointed out that while a state senator, Perdue said she opposed doing away with the gas chamber because it would lessen capital punishment's deterrent value . . .

That quote by a "Moore adviser" looks distressingly like something we saw in a hit-and-run post just last week here at BlueNC.

Open thread

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A bundle of swerves, impatient for unraveling at the drop of a hint.

Have at it.


Honorable mentions

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It first came into my consciousness when I heard Cindy Sheehan being interviewed on C-SPAN about her disgust with "George." It hit me right between the eyes: what's with all this deference to rank and status in a country that's supposed to be the model of democracy. Especially when the object of the deference was a chicken-shit deserter in the Vietnam War.

Then recently, when I listened in to some of the audio clips Kirk has been posting from meetings in Raleigh, the whole deal got even goofier. All I heard was Madame Secretary this and Attorney General that and Representative hooey and Senator phooey. It made me sick, a creepy game of niceties, masking over a culture of privilege and class.

From here on out, I'm swearing off deference as a matter of practice. If I particularly admire someone and wish to honor him or her, I'll not hesitate to use the some flowery term. "Congressman Kissell" comes to mind.

Let's Talk About Sex

Let's talk about sex. Or, better yet, let's pay attention as the experts talk about sex.

As a mother of two lovely preteen/teen daughters, (who incidentally will never have a date if they keep telling every boy they meet just how stupid they think they are!) I read the article in last week's Newsweek titled "Girls Gone Bad" with a great deal of interest.

Several paragraphs in, I thought, "they should have interviewed Mrs. Anglico for this piece", and several paragraphs later I saw that they had.

More sex below the fold...

This week's column: HPV battle ahead

This week's Exile on Jones Street column is about the move by fundamentalists to keep NC from requiring HPV vaccinations. The vaccine is highly effective against the virus which causes most cervical cancers. Also, an update on Rep. Price's oversight plans for the DHS, plus 'Canes in the big man's house and a quick note about how the Bonds of 2008 are shaping up.

Here's the text:

North Carolina is considering adding several more vaccinations to the list of what the state will pay for to inoculate poor and indigent children. On the list is a vaccination against HPV—Human Papillomavirus—which causes most cervical cancer. That's OK, says the N.C. Family Policy Council, a fundamentalist group that has argued against universal HPV vaccinations.

But if the state wants to take HPV prevention any further, as in requiring girls to have the vaccination before entering school, the council says they'll fight it just as other groups have done elsewhere. South Carolina is already in the midst of a push to require the vaccination, and last week Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, bypassed a fight in the legislature by issuing an executive order requiring the vaccinations.

Compare and contrast

The Charlotte Observer leads with another kick-ass editorial today, this time on North Carolina's shaky practice of state-sponsored killing. Go read it, it's a good one.

This is why state legislators should use this de facto moratorium to revisit critical issues that reflect poorly on our system of criminal justice. It is not enough to excuse its problems by saying all death cases are messy in some way, and questions of justice for killers don't really matter when killers had little regard for their victims. If we are going to kill convicted felons in society's name, we are obliged to get it right every time. If the system cannot assure that kind of certainty, it cannot assure justice, either

The N&O, on the other hand, equivocates with a mild-mannered call for justice in the wake of an unfolding scandal so large that it boggles the mind.

UPDATE: Trail lawyers to support....Joe Biden?

According to this Washington Post story, the trial lawyers are abandoning John Edwards for...dum-Dum-DU-U-U-U-U-M, Joe Biden!!! Oh, my.

In the last presidential election, John Edwards had the powerful support and deep pockets of the nation's trial lawyers behind him. But when the lawyers gather for their winter conference today in Miami Beach, it will be Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) delivering the meeting's keynote speech.

Edwards, a trial lawyer who became a senator and now a presidential candidate, will be there, too. But the North Carolina Democrat no longer has a lock on the backing of the lawyers. This time around he will be battling it out with others in the Democratic field, who are seen as sympathetic to plaintiffs and their attorneys.

"John is certainly respected by every trial lawyer in the country," said Joseph W. Cotchett, a lawyer from the San Francisco area who helped raise more than $33,000 for Edwards in the 2004 cycle. "Many people though are looking at the bigger picture here."

Did you know the Asphalt King grew up in an orphanage?

Bigger-than-life CEO Fred "the Asphalt King" Smith is testing the oily waters in his run for the governor's mansion, and like all good politicians, he's heralding his humble beginnings. I can see it now, poor little Fredly, growing up in an orphanage.

State Sen. Fred Smith has been to the mountains of Western North Carolina more than a dozen times in the past year and a half. The three-term Republican's frequency to the mountains is an effort to gauge a possible run for the governor's mansion in 2008. Smith toured the Boys and Girls Club here Friday ... Smith, who grew up in a Raleigh orphanage where his mother worked as the housemother and his father was a teacher and coach, said he's familiar with what organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club can do for a young child's life.

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