Friday Feature

This year I hope to implement a series of "Friday Features" that will highlight some of the great non-profit organizations working here in North Carolina. One of the most reliable and effective is the NC Justice Center. Today's Friday Feature focuses on one part of NC Justice, the Budget and Tax Center.

People across the political spectrum can disagree on many things, but when it comes to the base of facts needed to craft effective public policy, even free-market extremists turn to the Budget and Tax Center as a dependable source. You should too, especially when you're looking for data to fend off assaults on sanity from people who make up whatever "facts" they need to support their arguments.

The year of the blogs?

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Once upon a time there was a world without blogs. It was a dark and dangerous place, where knowledge was controlled and hoarded by insiders, leaving We the Pesky People out in the cold. In business, politics and government, corporate media dominated the flow of information. In choosing what and how to cover the news, they effectively set the public agenda in virtually every aspect of daily life. In recent years, with the support of entrenched Republican policy-makers, the corporate media have indulged in an orgy of consolidation that has further narrowed the range of voices and perspectives available to citizens. The watchdogs may not be fully asleep, but neither are they alert or trustworthy. Reporters relationships with sources often go unexamined, and the ability of multi-million dollar opinion manufacturing machines to influence the media agenda remains unfettered.

It is against this backdrop that political blogs emerged on the scene. Starting with excellent regional voices like Orange Politics, Scrutiny Hooligans, Ed Cone, and Pam's House Blend the standard for engagement was set, and it was set high. When BlueNC was launched two years ago, it was a natural next step in the evolution of information.

Welcome Back Larry Kissell

Welcome back, Larry Kissell.

Most BlueNC long-timers are Larry Kissell fans. Many of us volunteered to help the Kissell campaign in 2006 and others gave money and vocal public support. We were all pretty much heartbroken when the final vote was counted.

Larry decided quickly he was in for another round. So, here we go. Welcome to my dear friend, Larry Kissell.

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Believe it or not it has been almost two years since our first interview with Larry Kissell. Not long ago James offered John Autry, Larry's primary opponent, a live-blog opportunity and now it's Larry's turn. Please join us tomorrow evening, Thursday, January 3, 2008 from 6pm until 7pm for a chance to ask Larry about this cycle's campaign and the issues that are important to the people of the 8th District.

Following our live-blog with Larry we'll immediately jump into an Iowa Caucus open thread discussion, so have your popcorn ready. It's going to be an exciting evening.

Post your questions in the comments below.

The sea will win

From the News and Observer today, it looks like the honorables in Raleigh will have to ignore a whole ocean of expert opinion if they pursue the misguided mission of trying to bail-out homeowners on Figure Eight Island.

More than 40 coastal scientists have signed a letter urging state lawmakers to resist easing a ban on seawalls along the shoreline.

Local Hero

If you don't get the print edition of the Raleigh News & Observer you might not have noticed that Graig Meyer was listed as one of Eight to watch for 2008.

Area residents make their mark as advocates of many causes


Graig Meyer will be doubling efforts to protect and expand educational opportunities for all children in 2008


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