BlueNC Women's Conference with Rep. Brad Miller

Mo Southern Love at the Jugtown Cafe has just graduated to the BlueNC Women's Conference. I am very thrilled to announce that we have confirmation of our keynote speaker, Congressman Brad Miller. For those of you who missed yesterday's announcement, please follow this link.

Frequent readers here know that many of us consider him our favorite congressman and it's for very good reason. The congressman has graced our site many times. He has treated BlueNC with respect from its inception, lending us a measure of credibility long before we had earned it.

He is the most accessible representative our state has in Washington. He returns our emails, he returns our calls and he's attended every blogger's event I've attended in the past few months. He believes in online political activism and he supports our efforts.

Weekend Wound Up: Open thread

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From an email sent by one of our more inspiring and progressive legislators.

In our Democratic Caucus meeting before opening session, two new Members of the NC House of Representatives, Angela Bryant and Annie Mobley, received their "commissions" from the Governor. These new members were replacing the late Howard Hunter and Ed Jones (moved over to the Senate). To see in one fell swoop the number of African-America women increased by two was an unexpectedly emotional event. Progress marches on in NC more than in most Southern states, though it is often at a glacial pace. But how wonderful it can be to witness the moving of a glacier!


State of the Candidate's Websites

We've had a few announcements lately and some non-announcment, announcements. So, I thought it was time to do a little digging and see what candidates have in the way of websites. I'm also going to look at our Democratic leaders, at least those that I know or those who are "progressive" leaning. The grades will be based on the following, which is my take of what the leading candidates are doing nationwide.

F - no website except government site.
D - website with no online contact info (phone/address only) that looks like it was made in Dreamweaver in the 90s.
C - website has online contact info, but is out-of-date with news/bills/action that is listed.
B - website has all of the above and appears to be updated on a regular basis, has a photo page, and a way to donate online.
A - website has all of the above, plus a blog or chatroom, and links to Flickr/YouTube/MySpace/Facebook sites.

Rethink Your Precincts

{addressed to WNC, meant for everyone. c/p @ ScruHoo}

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOnce upon a time in western North Carolina, the Democrats ruled every corner of the land. If you wanted a job, you'd call your party contact. If you wanted help getting around obstacles, you'd call your party contact. Those party contacts became very powerful men and became very complacent after winning elections for decades without even trying.

Then Charles Taylor showed up and stole the seat. He stole it by campaigning hard and spending money. He got out the vote, rallying an army of volunteers, phone-banking, glad-handing, coordinating with every county, every precinct on how to turn his voters out to the polls.

Knight Citizen News Network

While the MSM tut-tuts about who is and who ain't a journalist, there's a new site that aims to make a better journalist out of anybody who's interested.

From the about page for the new Knight Citizen News Network:

The Knight Citizen News Network is a self-help portal that guides both ordinary citizens and traditional journalists in launching and responsibly operating community news and information sites.

It seeks to help build capacity for citizens who want to start their own news ventures and to open the doors to citizen participation for traditional news organizations seeking to embrace user-generated content.

Above all it seeks to impart an understanding of the qualities that make for responsible and credible journalism. The Network will offer numerous learning modules with guidance on how to populate citizen news sites with content, how to use databases and new technology to jumpstart reporting, and how to train citizen journalists. It will provide a unique database of known citizen media sites, searchable by town and other criteria.

Wal-Mart's creative accounting in NC

Just read this morning's Wall Street Journal article Wal-Mart Cuts Taxes by Paying Rent to Itself, which is about WalMart's use of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) to reduce its state taxes including those due right here in the Old North State. (If you can get to the online version, there are some documents relating to the Wal-Mart case in NC.) The article leaves you with the distinct impression that Wal-Mart isn't the only company in North Carolina doing this kind of thing with REITs.
Here's a couple of excerpts from the story:

The arrangement takes advantage of a tax loophole that the federal government plugged decades ago, but which many states have been slower to catch. Here's how it works: One Wal-Mart subsidiary pays the rent to a real-estate investment trust, or REIT, which is entitled to a tax break if it pays its profits out in dividends. The REIT is 99%-owned by another Wal-Mart subsidiary, which receives the REIT's dividends tax-free. And Wal-Mart gets to deduct the rent from state taxes as a business expense, even though the money has stayed within the company.

Stopping a train

(Note: One of the biggest concerns I had coming out of the bloggity conversation the other day in Raleigh is over the idea that a Marriage Amendment is on its way. To me, this trend of referendums is the most sick political tactic I've ever witnessed. They do nothing to "protect" marriage and are solely a ploy to drive up social conservative voters. This is merely another use of "the other" for political gain.
Wondering when Democrats are going to draw the line. Also wondering when we'll see somebody introduce a constitutional amendment to make it easier for people--all people--to get partner benefits, form civil unions and enjoy custody rights?)

Here's the column via Ex:

Tangled up in rules

A few thousand wary eyes are peeled for what's in the set of changes to the operating rules of the N.C. House now under consideration. The promise, in theory, is a more open environment where bills no longer get tangled up in the Rules Committee and each has a review on the merits in an appropriate venue.

The Way Forward Goes Through Tehran (political cartoon)

Crossposted from Town Called Dobson

click to enlarge

Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Updated with another 'Boom.'

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The NO-OLF folks must sometimes feel like David fighting Goliath, as well they should. The full force of the United States Government is working against them at every turn. But they are more than up to the challenge - and their army is growing.

In the past 24 hours, three current elected officials have joined the battle with unequivocal statements of support for their cause. Let's find more. Go to your precinct meetings, appeal to your legislators in Raleigh, get your town and city councils involved, get your newspapers to cover the story. It's amazing what can happen when you make a clear request.

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