Here are a couple of non-primary stories to balance out a complete NC politics breakfast.
Congress is falling all over itself to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965, thanks in no small part to our own Mel Watt. There is some cause for concern in this article though—the piece mentions language changes, which is never cause for concern until someone notices that it is. With Bush's AG's office completely failing to carry out its assigned responsibility (just ask Georgia), the language of the Act doesn't need to be getting any weaker. We'll have to take a look.
Next up, Western North Carolina tourism is worried. Specifically, we're talking about the Bed and Breakfast industry which, if this piece in the Smoky Mountain News it to be believed, has grown into a large chunk of the mountain economy. People in the know are trying to figure out whether high gas prices will mean fewer drivers, or whether more expensive airline tickets will mean more vacations by car. (85% of out-of-state tourists come to NC by car.) The article is a solid introduction to an NC industry that I didn't even know I cared about. I'm looking forward to my next cocktail party.
Finally, I have to admit that this last article is somewhat primary-related—it's CQPolitics' roundup of NC house race matchups. But what was interesting to me is that they're listed in descending order of upset liklihood. Shuler/Taylor is first, Kissell/Hayes next, and Miller/Robinson last. I don't think I disagree, but the middle section of the piece shows that we have a long way to go in spreading our optimism for NC-8. We've dismissed CQPolitics before as outsiders who don't know what's happening on the ground, but donors in NYC, L.A., and DC don't read BlueNC (probably).