TarGator's blog

What Does $600,000 get you? Estonia


Or at least an ambassador position there. Ambassador positions, especially in countries that we do not care about, are typically given to big donors who want to either have a government sponsored vacation where they can break the local laws without repercussion or want to pad their resumes for a future run for office themselves. I am not outraged that Bush is playing this pay for play game but that Dave Phillips, a North Carolina businessman, had to donate $600,000 (to Republican causes) and be a chairman

Raleigh and North Carolina's Chicken and Egg Problem



Raleigh in particular and North Carolina in general are seeing rapid growth the likes of which have been missing from these parts for a long time (North Carolina's historic growth has been more steady but slow). This increased growth is pushing the state and its capital city to crucial tipping points quicker than our leaders want to admit; however, the citizens of North Carolina are seeing the light. For instance, in a recent poll by WRAL of Triangle residents, Controlling Growth/congestion was the biggest problem that needs to be addressed.

The problem is that no one seems to do anything about it; and the biggest reason I see is the chicken/egg problem of the area. In the area of transportation, this can be described as the attitude that mass transit will not work because we do not have a dense enough population, but the population is sprawled in part because the area has lacked mass transit. Two conversations this week have brought this point to the forefront for me this week. Both prove that unless we solve the mental block that this problem presents, the area will never become a great metropolitan area.

Expanding Our Targets

We have already discussed on our site how the Democrats have a deep bench to compete for statewide elected offices in '08, who is going to take out the weakened Do-Nothing Dole on the left, how we want to have a 100 county strategy in North Carolina, and that Larry Kissell is running again to replace Flip-Floppin' Robin. The only void left to fill in keeping broad pressure on Republicans is finding good candidates in the other Congressional districts.

The biggest target has to be NC-5, where an underfunded candidate surged late to give Virginia Foxx fits (although to be fair, she caused most of the problems herself).

North Carolina's Presidents

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So I drive by the statue of the three "North Carolina" presidents in front of the North Carolina Capitol about every week or so now. I like the statue, but it is always a difficult conversation to have with guests about why North Carolina would spend money to honor three people who were living in Tennessee when they were elected.

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Which just makes me wonder when we hear that a person born in South Carolina but raised here will throw himself into the ranks of the already growing presidential primary field.

NC '08: The Democratic Party's Deep Bench

Every four years, each political party in North Carolina has to come up with a slate of politicians to run for the numerous statewide positions up for grabs: Governor; Lt. Governor; Secretary of State; Attorney General; State Treasurer; Commissioner of Agriculture; and four other statewide officials. The number of open offices makes the recruiting of quality candidates difficult, but the great news for Democrats in '08 is that our bench is much deeper than the Republicans.

More below the flip...

The New Assault on Scotland County: Or Why Bringing in Millions of Tons of Trash Makes You Cleaner

The assault on our rural counties aimed at making them garbage receptacles for states all along the eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida, that I started posting on months ago entered a new stage recently. Waste Management vying to be the ones granted the right to dump other states' trash in our impoverished rural south has opened up a local disinformation shop , Scotland County dedicated to convincing local citizens that they really do want to turn their part of the state into one big megadump. The worst part about this current assault is the blatant distorting of the truth to make it seem like landfills are good for the environment and other such nonsense; these claims are the current version of "clean skies" for let's pollute more and "healthy forests" for let's chop down as many trees as we can.

Say it Aint so Vern

While Vernon Robison is a difficult man to listen to or even look at, this article claiming that Robinson may be out of politics was disappointing:

"I've been continuously on the campaign trail since 2001. It's getting old," Robinson told The Associated Press. "You never say never, but I don't have any future political plans."

Why you might ask would I want this guy still around. Because he wastes millions of GOP dollars and is so easy to beat:

Robinson, 51, lost Tuesday's congressional bid -- his second try at the U.S. House in as many elections -- by nearly a 2-1 margin to 13th District incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Miller.

How North Carolina Selects Judges

This was one of the best years for judicial elections for progressives in a long time. Despite the claim of being nonpartisan, Republicans have dominated recent statewide judicial elections. This year Sarah Parker kept her spot as Chief Justice, Patricia Timmons-Goodson kept the seat she was appointed to on the Supreme Court, and Robin Hudson got elevated from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. A good year for Democrats and justice for sure, but it begs the question of whether voting on judges is the best way to go about selecting our justice system.

Was this all about trade?

A lot of attention has been paid to the effect of Bush, the war, etc. on the outcome of the election. In North Carolina, I think it is clear that trade was a much bigger issue than anything else in the Shuler and Kissell races. Now Public Citizen is attempting to link the gains nationwide to the issue of trade.

Public Citizen put together a report detailing a number of races where fair-trade candidates won in districts where they were underdogs, such as NC-11.

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