"What's on Tap" is a weekly round-up of stories and links that may be interesting to Drinking Liberally patrons.
Join us every Tuesday evening from 5:30 p.m. onward at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, 222 Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. Happy hour specials end at 6 p.m. You can find more information about us on Facebook or our home site, and follow us on Twitter - @RaleighDL.
This week: Giving to high quality charities; Raleigh gets more electric car charging stations; drive-thru marital aids; and redesigning the traffic light. Come on in, the egg nog's fine!
[Ed. note: The opinions and suggestions for action are those of the author. Living Liberally does not endorse specific candidates, policies, or courses of action.]
- Army PFC Christian M. Warriner, age 19, died in Afghanistan during a firefight in Kunar province. He was from Mills River, North Carolina. And he was nineteen.
While you are being thankful this week, remember the families of the 4,429 Americans who have died in Iraq, and the 1,399 who have died in Afghanistan. The Thanksgiving and holidays of nearly 6,000 families will never be the same because of these wars.
- Looking to give this holiday season? CharityNavigator.org gives their 4-star rating to charities that "exceed industry standards and outperfom most charities in its cause". The following Triangle-area charities are 4-star rated:
- The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina
- Habitat for Humanity of Wake County
- Ipas (Women's health and reproductive rights)
- National Cancer Coalition
- National Inclusion Project
- National MPS Society
- North Carolina Agricultural Foundation
- North Carolina Aquarium Society
- Raleigh Rescue Mission
- The Rams Club
- SPCA of Wake County
- Stop Hunger Now
- Outraged by the Transportation "Security" Administration's invasive procedures? Do what I am going to do when I fly to New Zealand next month.
Local & State
- Southeast Raleigh High School went on lockdown Monday afternoon following a shooting in the area. Details were minimal at press time.
- A beautiful interactive mapping device for applying the Human Development Index to US states. North Carolina scores 4.64, twelfth from the bottom.
- North Carolina State University raises tuition 6.2% for 2011, just under the system's 6.5% cap. In-state undergraduate tuition and fees will rise about $400, thanks to a 15% cut in state funding for the system.
- A 5% cut in state funding to Wake schools could lead to a layoff of 429 classroom teachers. Walk into any Wake school. I bet you can't find two teachers that the school can afford to lose, and still maintain educational quality and student focus. Now try to find 429.
- Among the issues that the Republican General Assembly is not considering in 2011: a repeal of the statewide public smoking ban. Another thing they just don't think they will have time for, now that they are in the majority, is establishing an independent redistricting commission.
- Thanks to the city, there are now three publicly available electric car charging stations in Raleigh. Two news ones open on November 23: 285 W Hargett St, across from the Upchurch complex; and 184 W Lenoir St, near the convention center. The third station, opened in September, is at the Joyner Visitor Center on Varsity drive at North Carolina State University.
- The Senate finally passed a $4.6 billion settlement for Black and Native American farmers discriminated against by the USDA, after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) finally lifted his objection. For the settlement to have any chance of being enacted, it needs to pass the House before fake deficit-hawk Republicans take over in January. ("We can't afford the settlement because it will add to the deficit, because we already spent the money that we cheated minorities out of for decades. Sorry!")
- Be careful where you get your polling information from. Pew Research Center confirms an already widely witnessed effect: there is significant GOP bias in landline-only polls - 2.4% in the 2008 presidential election, and 5.1% in the 2010 Congressional elections.
- On December 6, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the appeal of the Prop 8 case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, and it will be broadcast live by C-SPAN.
- The Philadelphia Eagles are making their home stadium electrically self-sufficient. Wind turbines and solar panels on the stadium will generate about 30% of energy production, with the rest coming from a biodiesel and natural gas co-generation plant. The Eagles should be able to sell some power back to the city, and save an estimated $60 million in energy costs.
- A Republican ousts the longtime Democratic coroner in Madison County, Alabama in the 2010 GOP wave. He campaigned on getting the coroner's office out of a funeral home. Now that he's won, he doesn't know what to do with all the bodies on an $8,000 salary and a $10,000 budget. And he wants help from - guess who? - the county government.
- My hometown shines again: The nation's first sex toy drive-thru window service.
- The Human Rights Campaign suddenly discovered that three Iowa Supreme Court judges lost re-election because they wrote a marriage equality court decision. So the HRC launches the fundraising email machine, and fires up its members to target...U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts?
- Orlando archbishop immortalizes himself in cathedral stained glass scene of the crucifixion.
- ICYMI: President Obama will award the Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, in early 2011 to: George H. W. Bush; Angela Merkel; John Lewis; John H. Adams; Maya Angelou; Warren Buffett; Jasper Johns; Gerda Weissmann Klein; Tom Little; Yo-Yo Ma; Sylvia Mendez; Stan Musial; Bill Russell; Jean Kennedy Smith; and John J. Sweeney.
- The Simpsons, on Fox News:
- The world's safety is being held hostage by Senate Republicans, who are threatening to derail the new START nuclear reduction treaty with Russia. The treaty would reduce nuclear arsenals in the US and Russia by 30% over its lifetime, and would continue a regime of inspections of the Russian nuclear network. Kevin Drum from Mother Jones:
Forget all the other aspects of the treaty. Forget the reduction in warheads, the reduction in ICBMs, or the reduction in heavy bombers. Forget about the quality of our relationship with Russia and its role in reining in Iran's nuke program. If there's anything that people ought to understand, it's that the treaty restores our ability to inspect and verify the Russian nuclear arsenal.
- In other nuclear news, North Korea has stunned observers with rapid construction of a major new uranium enrichment facility with "an ultra-modern control room."
- Joseph Ratzinger, known as Pope Benedict XVI, speaks out in favor of condom use - but only for male prostitutes "as a first step towards moralisation" - whatever that means. Ratzinger still believes that condoms are not a solution to the AIDS crisis.
- Ireland's crumbling banking industry has caused the country to seek €90 billion in EU and IMF loans. Watch closely: Ireland and Greece could be the first small dominoes; Portugal or Spain, then Italy or France could be next. Why is it always the bankers?
- Scientists are searching underwater for cures to human ailments. A University of Florida scientist has already discovered a cyanobacteria toxin from Key Largo that can shrink cancer tumors "like Roundup."
- A fascinating re-design of the trusty traffic light.
- A fun infographic: who owns Antarctica?
- Reason #461 why I don't fly: the runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, Country of Sint Maarten.
If you have a story you think would be good for What’s on Tap, please add it as a comment or email it to frankthomas at gmail.com.