How to write an editorial

The Charlotte Observer has its ups and downs, but this editorial from a few days ago is as good as it gets. I hope the writers at the N&O are taking lessons.

Outrage in the refuge
Interior Department gag order on OLF an abuse of power

Here's a dumb idea: The U.S. Department of the Interior has told its U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees in northeastern North Carolina not to respond to public inquiries about the effects of a proposed Navy practice landing field there. Any questions are to be referred to an office in Atlanta -- more than 500 miles away.

Why this cockeyed scheme? It's "an effort to keep the public from knowing ... about the effects a proposed landing field will have on wildlife and the refuge," says Derb Carter, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. The field would be near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, one of the East Coast's most important migratory waterfowl refuges.

Out of the Goodness of his Heart

There's a great progressive congressman we don't spend much ink on here at BlueNC even though he gave us our first candidate interview, he votes the way we want him to vote and he supported our favorite underdog candidate, Larry Kissell. Congressman David Price doesn't have a web presense. I'm not sure he needs one. He doesn't seek any attention from us.

Tonight he's going to get some.

Find out why on the flip...

"Universal Health Care"

Have you noticed that Universal Health Care is the new hot thing for businesses to promote? Well, if you ever doubted the validity of these plans, if you ever doubted whether these plans would be better for the employer or for the employee, you need look no further.

Businesses, unions call for universal healthcare by 2012

By Bloomberg News | February 8, 2007

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., AT&T Inc., Intel Corp., and Kelly Services Inc. joined forces with two labor unions in calling for an overhaul of the US healthcare system that would guarantee universal coverage by 2012.

"We need to change the current system and we need to start now," Wal-Mart chief executive H. Lee Scott said yesterday at a news conference in Washington. "Business shouldn't have to pay a disproportionate share of healthcare costs."

Members of the alliance want the current system, in which most Americans rely on their employers for healthcare coverage, replaced by an undefined system paid for by the federal government, businesses, and workers.

Wal-Mart wants you to pay for their employees health care, which is funny because, well, you already pay for it.

One Corps Health Care Action Day - Ideas?

Greetings all!

I was originally going to write this ONLY for the Chapel Hill, NC area folks, as we had our first meetup this week, and this was going to be the follow-up.  However, I think that the advantage of the internet is that you can instantly have opinions from around the world, not just your one little corner.  So, with that in mind, I'm going to list what I think are the major Headings of Action for Health Care and some of the ideas that were presented last night by Chapel Hill One Corps members.  

I'd ask that all of you contribute new Headings or Ideas to the mix in the comments and I will update the post as time permits.

I posted this previously at, but I was hoping that some locals would have ideas for me.

Getting organized

We do a lot of talking and writing around here, and while that's useful to a point, there ultimately comes a time for action. That's what the theocrats are up to in this comment by Greg. And that's what we need to be up to as well.

Which is why I'm passing along this email I got from a group of progressive Democrats here in North Carolina. (I've edited it for length, so anything that doesn't make sense is all my fault.)

On January 29, 2007, a group of North Carolinians visited our NC congressional members about the War in Iraq and the potential escalation by the current administration into Iran. This effort was organized by United for Peace and Justice and allied organizations. As they met with our representatives or their Legislative Directors, the most profound theme heard in these meetings was the confession that they, our representatives, had become irrelevant in decisions about how our country imposes our narrow interests on other countries, Iraq and Iran in particular.

NC Senate Staff and County Party Chair Puts Party Above the State, Above the Law

Is there some other way to read this?

I am the County Chairman of Caldwell County and know for a fact that a person, now deceased, who lived as a young man in Caldwell County and moved to Raleigh many years ago to pursue a business in running campaigns and later had a State Government job, was registered to vote in Wake County. However, after he got the 10th District Congressional Congressional Race for McHenry's opponent as a client, he re-registered to vote in Caldwell County while living still in Wake County. We in Caldwell County knew about this----but---- he was a Republican and we did not want to "say bad about another Republican". Now what is the difference in this "story" and your allegations? I have been a faithful reader and subscriber of your paper and have encouraged a local man to become involved with you paper. Now, I feel I must reconsider my support and faithfulness to your paper. Jo Murray, Caldwell County Republican Chairman

Jo Murray

Even More JLF Nonsensery

The John Locke Foundation's annual "By The Numbers" report has got city officials scratching their heads. They're mystified by the hocus-pocus and deliberate ignorance necessary to buttress the report's findings.

From the Mountain Xpress: "Numbers released by the John Locke Foundation place Asheville third in the state for per-capita taxation in 2005, with local fees and taxes totaling $1,892 per person, but the city's chief financial officer challenges the report's validity."
"But the city's chief financial officer, Ben Durant, emphasizes that many hidden factors can affect such rankings. Absentee landowners, for instance, can skew per-capita property-tax rates. But the most glaring factor, he said is the way the calculations use sales-tax figures. Sales tax is a standard 7 percent across the state, but the report divides a city's total sales-tax revenue by its population to come up with an individual sales-tax "burden." The problem, says Durant, is that this method doesn't accurately reflect a tourism-based economy such as Asheville's, where much sales-tax revenue comes from nonresidents.

Open threadishness

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Many thanks to The Southern Dem for compiling the list of volunteers to manage our open threads. Here's what we have:

Monday - Kirk
Tuesday - Screwy and the mountain folks
Wednesday - Robert
Thursday - Sand hills & coast (Stan, Mo, Thomas, Lcloud)
Friday - Anglico's Weekend Woundup.
Saturday and Sunday - Whoever is out and about when the lights come on.

Folks seem to want open threads posted pretty regularly, so if there have been six entries front-paged since the last open thread, it's probably time for a new one. Administrators and front-pagers will bump open threads to the front as soon as we see them.

Have fun!


What the heck does Robin Hayes actually do?

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I've never understood exactly what Robin Hayes does in Congress to earn the $165,000 we pay him each year. For example, back in December, when the Party of Greed was still in the majority, he totally bombed on getting money for Kannapolis road improvements.

Kannapolis officials were expecting $1 million from the federal government for road improvements on Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and N.C. 3, but that earmark was not passed by the U.S. House before the end of the session in December, according to Congressman Robin Hayes' office.

The Senate organizes

Ex documenting:

Here's the list of committee appointments for the Senate released last night.

Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources

Sen. Charlie Albertson – chairman

Sen. Austin Allran – vice chairman

Sen. Bob Atwater – vice chairman

Sen. Janet Cowell – vice chairman

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird – vice chairman

Sen. A.B. Swindell – vice chairman

Sen. David Weinstein – vice chairman

Members: Sen. Stan Bingham, Sen. Andrew Brock, Sen. Harry Brown, Sen. Dan Clodfelter, Sen. Don East, Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, Sen. Clark Jenkins, Sen. Ed Jones, Sen. Jean Preston, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, Sen. Fred Smith, Sen. John Snow, Sen. Jerry Tillman

Appropriations/Base Budget

Sen. Walter Dalton – co-chairman

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