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Charlotte Observer: Jim Black Claims That He Is Staying

Despite our best efforts (both here and what other Democrats are doing), the Charlotte Observer is reporting that Jim Black claims that he is staying on as Speaker of the house:

House Speaker Jim Black said 55 of the 63 Democrats in the House want him to stay, and he expects little discussion of his job when the group meets Tuesday night in Raleigh.

Burn Those D*&! Books!

"If I do not like it, you cannot read it" seems to be the new motto of the radical christian right group Called2Action today. WakeEd informs us that they are lobbying the Wake County Public School System to ban four books from the schools.

As the group proclaims, there was a:

discovery of terribly offensive and inappropriate books that are currently on required reading lists in Wake County middle and high schools.

State Drops Bid to Execute Mentally Retarded Man

One of two death row inhabitants convicted by Mike Easley when he was a DA, Elton McLaughlin, is going to instead serve a life sentence. The man was declared mentally retarded because he scored a 70 on an IQ test when he was ten. State law requires IQ tests to be administered by a licensed professional in order to be considered when determining mental retardation for these purposes. The state contended that McLaughlin could not use his test because it was administered by a teacher rather than a mental health professional. The problem for the state was:

AAA Carolina's Take on the Cost of a Car

One of the biggest enemies of the environment, AAA, has come out with its estimate of the cost to drive a car in North Carolina. Of course, AAA forgot to include the cost of time lost sitting in traffic and the cost to environment, but their data shows that automobiles are very expensive to operate, even though their numbers are greatly skewed.

They estimate that the average car in North Carolina costs $5,711 a year or 53.68 cents/mile. Of this cost, only 10 cents/mile comes from gasoline. And by extension the 2.8 cents/gallon gas tax that Right has been complaining about would account for less than .1 cents/mile.

Lottery Scam

This is the lottery scam that I just got in my inbox:

FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT LAWRENCE WEST (URBAN PROMOTIONS INTERNATIONAL)PRIZE AWARD DEPT REF NO: 15/0018/IPD
BATCH NO: EGS/ 22504002/04
ATTN: WINNER.

RE: AWARD NOTIFICATION FINAL NOTICE.

We are pleased to inform you, that as a result of our RECENT LOTTERY DRAWS HELD on the 3rd of December 2005.Your e-mail address attached to
ticket number:085-12876077-09 with serial number:51390-0 drew lucky numbers:03-05-12-14-38 which consequently won in the 5th category.you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of (ONE MILLION US DOLLARS ONLY) in cash credited to file with REF: º.EGS/3662367114/13.Note that

Willie Brown Execution May Be on Hold

I have no extra knowledge of this case, but WRAL has a great story on the possible stopping of the execution of Willie Brown. The gist of which is:

A federal judge said he will stop an execution scheduled for later this month unless state officials tell him by Wednesday how they will ensure the inmate is unconscious as he is being put to death.

North Carolina and Alternative Energy

I ran across this little article on the N&O's website with the headline: "Who Says that Alternative Energy and North Carolina Don't Mix?". Seeing the headline, I was excited to learn about the great things that North Carolina is doing with alternative energy (I was also a little surprised because I had thought that were behind the curve in alternative energy). However, once I began reading the article, I realized this was a case of a completely inaccurate title.

The article was filled with information on how the state's programs did not stack up. First off was the only good news, the state offers lots of tax credits for alternative energy use. But then the reality of North Carolina's situation was exposed.

North Carolina Getting Trashed

12 million plus pounds of litter were picked up off of North Carolina roadways in 2005. The N&O has a story on it here:

Last year, prison inmates and state highway workers removed 10.2 million pounds of litter from state roadways, at a taxpayer cost of $16.3 million -- up from 2004.

Private cleanup efforts netted almost 2 million pounds more in 2005.

I participated in the Neuse River Clean-Up a couple of weeks ago and lifted a whole canoe full of litter out of a three mile stretch on the Neuse and was followed by five other canoes filled to the top as well. On my way back from the event, I saw a woman throw a cigarette butt out of her window, and I almost went ballistic. I was so pissed that I spent all of my time cleaning up trash and had to watch someone litter in plain sight.

Never Buy From Overstock.com

No political content here, but I wanted to get back at Overstock a little for their horrible costumer service and products.

I bought a computer from them. Within three months, it was not working. They would not accept a return of the product. I called the tech support who was completely unhelpful and would not give a service company to physically take my computer in to. I had to contact Overstock 15-20 times (many times talking to someone in India without a clue of the company or how to help me) and threaten to sue to get them to get the service company to allow me to send in my computer for repair. When the computer got back weeks later, it was missing an operating system and cannot run anything. I would call them again but am worried that it would be more hassle.

Immigration Protests hit NC

About 100 people joined a cross-state march for immigrant rights, while hundreds of Latinos prepared to skip work or boycott all purchases on Monday as part of immigrant rights demonstrations being staged nationwide.

From NBC 17.
The protesters are making their way to Raleigh on Friday:

The march, demanding fair treatment for migrant workers in North Carolina, started in Lenoir and was to pass through Siler City, Durham and other communities before its culmination Friday in Raleigh.

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