Jim Black Certified Winner by SBOE

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has certified Jim Black as the winner for another term in the North Carolina House.

Let the games begin!

Now would be a good time to email your rep and let him or her know the qualities you think are important in the person who will lead the House.

The Charlotte Observer has the story.


Open thread: Inane quote of the year

Planners should not get ahead of demonstrated public preferences.
John Hood, November 28, 2006.

Pile on.

Taking the 527 Home

The picture you see is of yard signs in a garden on my street. The garden is that of neighbor Scott Falmlen, former executive director of the state Democratic Party and one of the organizers of "FairJudges.net" the 527 committee which received and spent over $200,000 in "non-partisan" judicial races on behalf of the three Democratic judges shown and one Republican incumbent (running against late convert Democrat "persona non grata" Rachel Hunter). Scott is a nice guy who always waves when I pass him in the street.

Another 527 committee, the "NC Homeowners Alliance" spent over $70,000 mostly in opposition to State Representative Bonner Stiller, a Brunswick County two-term Republican. Stiller was re-elected. The "NC Homeowners Alliance" is actually an organ of the NC Association of Realtors whose lobbyist Tim Kent is a contact for the group. Tim is a nice guy, a former executive director of the NC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and, former newsman, who has always been helpful and thoughtful in his dealings with me.

          (read more below the fold........)

From Coal to Wind Power: creating a sustainable Appalachian economy

This post is intended to continue to bring to light the problems with current energy production and consumption, and show what one little corner of the world here in western North Carolina is doing to pitch in on a GLOBAL problem of fossil fuel production and consumption.

In Appalachia, we begin by trading nightmarish mountaintop removal coal-mining, for an afternoon breeze...

(Cross-posted at the Appalachian Voices blog)

As America awakes to the effects that our energy production and consumption is having on the globe, people are shocked to find out that we do things like blow up 100s of 1000s of acres in our own mountains for a just little bit of coal. One of the most agreed upon tenets among those of us working for sustainable energy policy is that "there is no silver bullet" as far as alternative energy. Another words, it isn't feasible to run everything in the United States off just solar, just wind, or just hydro power. I adhere to this belief. America will need to localize our energy solutions in order to create the sustainable, clean, stable, domestic energy policy that everyone wants and needs.

100 Counties Launch

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Okay, so there was little real interest in the 100C idea at the "official" level. Which, let's face it, is not surprising. It's time for us to figure out what we can and cannot do here at BlueNC or through whatever "alternate" ego we establish.

I'd like to make something perfectly clear here. I like collaboration. I dig collaboration. And, I know that leadership in collaboration means not always being in charge, not always getting your way, and not getting credit. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT. If I could find a job doing just that, I would. Finding collaborative grants, convincing everyone to participate, spearheading their writing, getting funded, then moving on to another one. I love this stuff. So, I'm going to kick things off here with the full understanding that this will grow into whatever y'all want it to be. I'll play whatever role I can and no more. With that, some random thoughts below the break.

Jennifer Roberts for U.S. Congress

First of all, I'm new here. Hi. Good to see you. Now, let's get to business.

I read a story in the Observer the other day about Jennifer Roberts. Here's the story. For those of you who live outside of Mecklenburg County, she's the newly-elected Democratic chair of the Mecklenburg County Commissioners. Almost completely unknown outside of her district, Roberts ran for an at-large seat this fall and shocked everyone by receiving the most votes. More than Meck Co. Democratic fixture Parks Helms.

Inside the Beltline

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In the wake of the November 7 election, attention has already turned to 2008. Specifically, many folks are wondering how the races for Governor and US Senate will most likely shape up. Jerry Meek, who leads the NC Democratic Party, even came by BlueNC to ask for ideas on whom he should recruit to take Elizabeth Dole's seat. His entry received more than 150 comments, an all-time high for a BlueNC post.

Over the Thanksgiving break I had the chance to talk with four people who work inside the beltline in Raleigh. These people personally know each of the individuals being discussed for various seats - and they are almost unanimous in their conclusions. Here's what they told me:

Free Market Fundamentalism

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I was raised in a hard-core Baptist family. We went to church five times a week, and with each close encounter, I sank deeper and deeper in the shame of simply being human. I also developed a keen nose for "fundamentalism" in all its odious forms. So when I found this article by Fred Block, of the Longview Institute, I wasn't surprised to see the parallels he drew between religious fundamentalism and the Gospel of the Free Markets, as preached by the John Locke Foundation.

Market Fundamentalism is a quasi-religious faith that unregulated markets will somehow always produce the best possible results. It rests on the idea that markets are natural and government regulations are artificial. Similar to other fundamentalisms, it paints the world only in black and white. Taxes, by definition are bad, so another round of tax cuts is always desirable since individuals, argue the fundamentalists, are sure to use the money more wisely than governments. A parallel logic lies behind the enthusiasm for replacing government workers with private contractors — even for such delicate tasks as interrogating prisoners — since market employment, they say, provides incentives for efficiency that government employment always lacks.

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