Submitted by Betsy Muse on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 10:35pm
BlueNC has grown tremendously over the past year. Each month brings more new registered users and unique visitors than the month before. Yesterday's polls show that we are missing out on important voices from minorities and women. It's time to actively do something to change this.
A couple of times I've mentioned that I don't think simply inviting people here is the entire solution. Obviously, it's polite to invite folks to join in the conversation, but why don't we visit their communities too? I have to admit, I've found some excellent blogs. Not all are in North Carolina, but I haven't finished looking yet.
We're all busy and some of us barely find time to keep up with BlueNC. I make the rounds of the standards - DKos, MyDD, Firedoglake, Scrutiny Hooligans, TalkingPointsMemo and that's about all I usually find time for. That's going to end today. There are some seriously excellent bloggers out there.
Two seemingly unrelated issues – energy policy and veterans affairs – are high on my list of priorities. Both have been grotesquely mismanaged by the Bush administration, yet each is critical for having a strong and secure nation. And while the federal government continues to dawdle on both fronts, the states are, fortunately, taking up the slack. Here in North Carolina, some of that work is being done by Representative Grier Martin of Raleigh.
Now in his second term representing District 34, Grier has a strong and progressive record on environmental issues, children and family legislation, and veterans affairs. With those issues in mind, I invited him to join us for a live-blogging session this Friday morning.
Of special interest is a new bill for Renewable Portfolio Standards of which Grier is a primary sponsor. The complicated legislation is now making its way through the House and we all need to understand what it’s about. Mark Binker has a good overview of the ins and outs in case you want to get some background in advance.
I’ve also asked Grier to share what North Carolina can and should be doing to help make up for the federal government’s incredibly poor performance in helping and supporting our veterans.
Submitted by Robert P. on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 11:25am
Some of you were at the bloggers conference and heard me booed when I suggested we would support primary opponents to BAD Democrats. I won't mention which NCDP staff member booed me, but I think the stats out today on poverty provide a good example of why enough is enough.
If you are a liberal Democrat in North Carolina, and you can't stand up and bash the conservative Republicans and Democrats that have dug us into this hole, then when will you? What will it take before Democrats stand up and take control the way they did under FDR? We were a nation of Republicans, who believed in government keeping their hands out of the till, and it drove us into a Great Depression.
Well, Republicans learned their lessons, they made sure the stock market didn't tank and that those with a lot of money ended up with more. Their New Depression was targeted to those who can't or won't stand up for themselves because they are too busy working two or three jobs to make ends meet.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The gulf between rich and poor in the United States is yawning wider than ever, and the number of extremely impoverished is at a three-decade high, a report out Saturday found.
Submitted by Robert P. on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 11:01am
I received this in an email that described Health Care related bills submitted in the House.
Improving Health Care in NC
Several bills were introduced this week, which focused on improving the health of North Carolinians. Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, introduce legislation (House Bill 265) that would establish a high-risk insurance pool, which has already gained the support of 53 co-sponsors in the House. The bill seeks to help people who cannot afford health insurance because of pre-existing health conditions. It would guarantee coverage to patients with premiums of no more than 175 percent of a standard health care plan. To cover the additional cost of the plan, insurers would be assessed up to $2 per each traditional customer it serves. The assessment would be phased in over four years. Supporters of the high-risk pool say this is a first step toward providing affordable health care to more than 1.3 million North Carolinians who do not have health insurance. The House passed a similar bill in 2006, but the Senate did not consider it before adjournment.
Submitted by Gordon Smith on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 8:31am
Al Gore got his due. Martin Scorsese got his too. Jennfier Hudson went from also-ran Idol to Oscar winner. Forest Whitaker's Idi Amin richly deserved the win. Helen Mirren is, to quote Zoolander, so hot right now. And Alan Arkin surprised everyone with his supporting actor nod.
This is an Open Thread for all things Oscar, all things Democrat, and all things in general.
"According to the Mountain Express, "Buncombe County government is announcing a new “Whistleblower Hotline,” a place for citizens to report suspected incidents of “fraud, theft, illegal or unethical behavior” by county employees. The toll-free number is (866) 908-7236."
Incidents worthy of reporting include:
· theft of county property – money, materials, time
· waste or abuse of county property
· inappropriate or unethical behavior by a county employee or employees
Of course we all know that the Buncombe County commissioners who engaged in the back room deals leading to the proposed Diesel Power Plant in Woodfin are "county employees" who engaged in "unethical behavior". Follow me below the fold for action...
Submitted by Betsy Muse on Sun, 02/25/2007 - 7:29pm
As many of you have heard or read via Pam's House Blend, cskendrick, Anglico, Matt Stoller, Screwy Hoolie and Matt Hill Comer, in January there was a gathering in Raleigh at the Democratic Party Headquarters of a small group of North Carolina Bloggers. We met with NCDP Chair, Jerry Meek, Schorr Johnson(NCDP Communications Director), Matt Stoller(MyDD.com), Tim Cullen (Dodd for President), NC Senator Jim Harrell, III and Congressman Brad Miller to discuss the role of blogs in politics, how we do or might influence news in the corporate media and how we can help further the cause of progressive politics in North Carolina.
At one point during the meeting, Matt Stoller asked why there are so few minorities using blogs to reach their audiences. He posed the question to the group, but directed it particularly to Pam Spaulding, the only minority in the room and one of only three women. Pam responded that he was asking the wrong person. Pam is a professional. Her African American peers have computers and use the internet. The conversation hovered around the men at the front of the room and I don't believe the question was ever fully answered, if answered at all.
Seeking a solution to what many see as a problem is not as simple as you might think. There is no band-aid fix as people like Francis Holland would have you believe. Simply adding a link to your blogroll or a face to your front page isn't going to provide long-term solutions.
Taking his lead from a long line of out-of-touch Republicans, Bill Graham appears to be moving forward in his run for the North Carolina Party of Greed gubernatorial race. The big news was announced a couple of days ago at a meeting in Dunn.
Bill Graham, now working as an attorney in Salisbury, said he will form an exploratory committee to run for governor. He attended last night's Harnett County Reagan Day Dinner, held at Campbell University. He also sent an e-mail to supporters asking for financial support on Thursday.
Mr. Graham said he will make a final decision on running for governor in the spring, based on conversations with people he has met. "As I've traveled around the state, the consistent message I get from people is that they want a change of vision and leadership," Mr. Graham said.
It's almost pitiable, thinking of the proponents of the Woodfin Diesel Power Plant cowering in the face of so much opposition. Representative Susan Fisher and Representative Bruce Goforth are reportedly livid at the underhanded back room deals that allowed this harmful, unnecessary deal to go down. Republican Representative Charles Thomas called Scrutiny Hooligans to voice his dissatisfaction with the project and his impatience with the sneaky tactics of the County Commissioners who chose to sell our children's health down the road. Congressman Heath Shuler has repeatedly voiced his support for a "Research Triangle for Alternative Energies" in these mountains and is, therefore, a natural opponent of the backwards-thinking project.
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