"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.
It's a light week this week, since everyone is focusing on WikiLeaks (*gasp* the CIA spies on people?!?) This week: Raleigh's greenways; cable rates rising; a football player blames God; and bailing out Ireland and Portugal.
[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.]
- If you live north of Wade Avenue and southwest of Glenwood Avenue, it's time to rake your leaves to the street. City leaf collection is moving into zone A beginning Monday, November 29. The city has purchased new leaf collection trucks that can increase performance and reduce costs of the program.
- An excellent primer on Raleigh's greenways and trails. The weather's not that bad - get out there and walk or bike! (Not you, Dave.)
- Child labor and slave labor is used to make many products we take for granted in the United States. Do you know which ones? Do you know where children are being raped when they ask for their wages? Do you know in which countries slave labor is the most rampant? You should, and you will after you visit the Products of Slavery website.
- This Week in Congress, courtesy of Congress Matters and Daily Kos.
- The difference between regular and fair-trade coffee isn't just the taste. 80% of farmers' income is eaten up by middlemen and middlewomen when you don't buy fair-trade or direct trade coffee.
Here's where you can find local and fair-trade coffee in the area (not an exhaustive list - add your favorites in the comments): The Morning Times, 10 E Hargett Street; Third Place Coffee House, 1811 Glenwood Ave; Global Village Organic Coffee, 2428 Hillsborough Street. Further, check out Raleigh's own Larry's Beans. They are about as green and fair as a business gets, and they participate in FairTradeProof.org, "the only trade practice mark held accountable by giving customers online access to the documentation between roaster and farm cooperative." Search for Larry's Beans outlets to buy beans or cups of coffee here.
Local & State
- The Raleigh City Council is considering a unanimous recommendation from its parks board to ban smoking in city parks. Even the council's one Republican thinks it is a good idea, though it's "one less liberty that residents get."
- Time Warner Cable is hiking rates 5 to 15 percent beginning December 3. Cable analyst Vince Vittore quips, "Cable has always defied logical economics. People pay a lot of money for it. They have 80-plus channels and they watch 12." Well, that's because cable companies reject a la carte pricing. I have to get 60 channels I don't want to see the 20 I do. In a free market, why is it my job to subsidize unpopular channels?
- Cue the fear-mongering: whites are now a minority (but still a plurality) in Wake County schools - 49.5%. In 1987, there were 295 Hispanic students in Wake County; today that number is 20,909.
- An attorney in a DUI case is arguing that Duke University police do not have the right to arrest citizens because of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. Curiously, he has state supreme court precedents on his side: Campbell, Pfeiffer, and Davidson lost their arrest powers in 1994, 2002, and 2010, respectively.
- The WikiLeaks document release is dominating the news coverage. But something you may not have heard amid all the gloom and doom about the chilling effects of the release on diplomacy and war: "U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone's death."
- Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) is challenging the GOP to repeal the best parts of Patient Protection and Affordable Care law. He has proposed the Health Insurance Protects America - Can't Repeal IT Act (HIPA-CRIT) to overturn six of the health care law's provisions, including elimination of lifetime caps and denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
- Students wishing to graduate from the eighth grade in West Virginia must pass exams, including this geography test. [.pdf] Questions include: I. In one or two paragraphs each discuss the major and minor industries of your county and explain how the climate, natural regions and natural resources have influenced their development. VI. Trace a carload of coal from a West Virginia coalfield to a sea port or a lake port. X. What influence has the Nile River on Egypt? Oh - did I mention the exam is from 1931? The entire exam is quite remarkable.
- Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is at it again. He's blaming all of his company's health insurance premium hikes on Obama and the health care law. Yet his company is also trying to nearly double the percentage of part-timers in its work force, pushing more people out of health coverage and onto the public rolls.
- A "literal tax on the stupid": one-third of the Texas Racing Commission's regulatory budget comes from the winnings of tickets that people were too stupid, careless, or forgetful to cash. Isn't it nice to know that industry regulation is based on the stupidity of the people regulated?
- Long-time actor and comedian Leslie Nielsen has died at age 84.
- Watch out for "but-heads": when someone says, "It doesn't make a big difference to me, but..."
- Joe.My.God.'s tweet of the day: Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson blames God because Johnson dropped a game-winning pass.
- Portugal is slashing wages and public services and hiking taxes to reduce its deficit, which is 7.3% of its GDP. (The U.S. deficit is about 11% of GDP.) Union workers launched the biggest national strike in two decades; Portugal is one of Europe's poorest countries, with an average wage of about $800 a month.
- Meanwhile, the EU and IMF have approved a $113 billion bailout for Ireland. Ireland's austerity plan, met with massive protests: sales tax increase from 21 to 23 percent; cut in the minimum wage from €8.65 to €7.65 ($10.13) per hour; cuts in social welfare and public employment; no change in the corporation tax rate. Ireland's deficit as a percentage of GDP is about 12%, slightly higher than the U.S.
- The Vatican spokesman clarifies the comments of Joseph Ratzinger, known as Pope Benedict XVI, on condom use: "...the first step of responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk to the life of the person with whom there are relations...whether it's a man or woman or a transsexual." This change in the church's position could save thousands of lives in poorer parts of the world where the church is still growing and has an oversized influence.
- Human Rights Watch is accusing Morocco of abusing civilians detained during clashes in the disputed Western Sahara area.
- From Germany: locking up your bike AND keeping it out of reach. (via @GOOD - audio in German, video in English).
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.