Public Transit: Not Just For City Folk

As some of you are aware, I am currently on the other side of the continent, enjoying some relatively good weather (fingers crossed) in the Puget Sound area. One of the things I always try to do when traveling is to ride around on whatever public transportation is available. Part of the reason is so I can better envision what might work in North Carolina, but another reason is because you get to interact with locals on an equal basis. You're not just a tourist asking stupid questions, you're a fellow passenger, so you can be trusted with all sorts of local gossip. :)

Frontpaged by James

Good riddance

As you may have read, Robert Pittenger has resigned from the NC Senate in order to run for LG full time against Walter Dalton. Thank goodness. Not only do we lose a shady character in the Legislature, he has very little chance of besting Walter Dalton. Dalton wasn't my first choice for LG, but make no mistake, he's light years ahead of Real Estate Pittenger in almost every way that matters.

Torture in trouble?

Via Andrea at Progressive Pulse.

The human rights group NC Stop Torture has pushed for a state investigation of Aero Contractors since last May, when Germany indicted three of the company’s pilots. The men have been linked to the 2004 kidnapping, detention and transport of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent whom the CIA mistakenly identified as an associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

But North Carolina’s Attorney General’s office has said it is unable to ask the SBI to investigate because North Carolina doesn’t have a torture statute that would make the crimes illegal.

Wes Clark to work with Daniel Johnson or Larry Kissell?

Wes Clark will be joining a Democrats Work community service project this summer, and Democrats Work and WesPAC are running a contest to decide who will Serve with the General.

Thousands of people have already voted, but voting is so close that as of this morning North Carolina's 17th district has only 17 votes separating it from moving on to the next round!

North Carolina's 8th district is also in the top 10, and either district could be just one push away from winning it all!

On Friday, the top 5 vote getting districts will move on to the final round.

If you would like to meet Gen. Clark, or to help bring him to North Carolina to serve on a community project, cast your vote here.

Challenge of the week: Define progressive

What do we mean when when we discuss progressive issues or progressive candidates? Are there beliefs that are exclusively held by progressives? Are there qualities exclusively found in progressives? How are progressives different from liberals?

We've had a few starts to this conversation, but something Linda said sparked this idea and I thought it would be interesting to build on it.

This isn't intended to pigeon hole anyone. Let's just see from our conversation if there is a consensus on certain issues and qualities. Then we can go from there.

In praise of greed

John Hood, stage manager at the non-profit Art Pope Puppetshow, is at his free-market best today with a selective nod in the direction of accepting reality.

The reality here is that most people act with regard to their self-interest most of the time. They work in order to feed, clothe, house, and otherwise take care of themselves and their families. They’ll also gladly give of their time and money to causes they deem worthy, but that’s not their primary motivation to work, save, and invest.

Fortunately, another reality to accept is that intentions don’t determine results. When governments use coercion to force people to act contrary to their personal choices, the results are often disappointing regardless of how well-intended the government program may have been. And in a market economy, individuals freely transacting business to mutual advantage tend to advance the common interest by promoting innovation, lower prices, better service, and economic opportunity.

How can you disagree with that? Individuals freely transacting business to mutual advantage. Of course in some cases, that mutual advantage means you're a kid who doesn't get the crap beat out of you. Sounds like heaven to me.

Another state falls for phony Universal Health Care (i.e. we're screwed folks)

If Charlie Crist becomes John McCain's VP, you will be hearing a lot about how he brought Universal Health Care to Florida. So, I thought you should know what has happened there. Gov. Crist has accepted a bill, "Cover Florida", that provides low-premium insurance to the state's 3.8 million uninsured. The plan will provide insurance for $150 a month or more. But. Yeah, there is a big, fat, stinking butt in this plan. In exchange for providing this "low-low" insurance cost, the state agreed to wave a set of restrictions on the health insurance companies. What restrictions?

Health insurance companies will offer policies for $150 a month or more, in exchange for an exemption from the 50-plus mandates in current law that require insurers to cover items ranging from bone marrow transplants to acupuncture.

The plans — which aren't the "Cadillac of coverage," as Crist concedes — would cover some health screenings, doctor visits and office surgeries, but not medical attention that requires a specialist or prolonged hospital stays.


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