kmr's blog

Reaping what they sow

Via Ex:
Just got my NC Justice Center email update and with it another reminder that the politicians who are using anti-immigrant rhetoric to win votes are playing with fire.
So, when the General Assembly gets around to debating all those immigration bills that are sure to surface this year, would someone please wave this newspaper article at the sponsors and ask them if they're happy now?

From the Char-O story Immigration furor boosts Klan chapters in Carolinas:

The Ku Klux Klan's once-diminishing numbers are increasing as the group exploits fears over illegal immigration, according to organizations that track hate groups.

The House organizes

This evening via Speaker Hackney's office:


RALEIGH -- N.C. House Speaker Joe Hackney today announced the House committees, which will meet during the 2007-08 session. After many discussions with members of the House Democratic and Republican caucuses and careful consideration of their requests and suggestions, Speaker Hackney decided to create four new committees and restructure several others that have met in previous years.

The House of Representatives will now have committees that will focus on agribusiness and agricultural economy, energy and energy efficiency, juvenile justice and mental health reform. Several committees will also focus on slightly different issues or have expanded responsibilities than in previous years, including: Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Federal Relations and Indian Affairs; Homeland Security, Military and Veteran Affairs; and Ways and Means.

Monday Morning Ex: Googled and other stories

Good morning. A real winter skyline looking north toward the university.

You might think that the rest of the country is looking askance at all the bristling over Google's incentives package, but as Ed Cone points out in his Sunday News & Record column the way the company twisted arms among legislators runs a little counter to the whole "don't be evil" thing. A good read with lots of links and comments at Ed's site. All in all, it's not been a good week for the media giant.

As mentioned, Senate Pro Tem Marc Basnight and roomie and finance chair Sen. David Hoyle say they'll take a hard look at incentives. N&O and Char-O on this story. From the Char-O story about the non-profit the company and Caldwell County set up:

This week's column: HPV battle ahead

This week's Exile on Jones Street column is about the move by fundamentalists to keep NC from requiring HPV vaccinations. The vaccine is highly effective against the virus which causes most cervical cancers. Also, an update on Rep. Price's oversight plans for the DHS, plus 'Canes in the big man's house and a quick note about how the Bonds of 2008 are shaping up.

Here's the text:

North Carolina is considering adding several more vaccinations to the list of what the state will pay for to inoculate poor and indigent children. On the list is a vaccination against HPV—Human Papillomavirus—which causes most cervical cancer. That's OK, says the N.C. Family Policy Council, a fundamentalist group that has argued against universal HPV vaccinations.

But if the state wants to take HPV prevention any further, as in requiring girls to have the vaccination before entering school, the council says they'll fight it just as other groups have done elsewhere. South Carolina is already in the midst of a push to require the vaccination, and last week Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, bypassed a fight in the legislature by issuing an executive order requiring the vaccinations.

The Senate organizes

Ex documenting:

Here's the list of committee appointments for the Senate released last night.

Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources

Sen. Charlie Albertson – chairman

Sen. Austin Allran – vice chairman

Sen. Bob Atwater – vice chairman

Sen. Janet Cowell – vice chairman

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird – vice chairman

Sen. A.B. Swindell – vice chairman

Sen. David Weinstein – vice chairman

Members: Sen. Stan Bingham, Sen. Andrew Brock, Sen. Harry Brown, Sen. Dan Clodfelter, Sen. Don East, Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, Sen. Clark Jenkins, Sen. Ed Jones, Sen. Jean Preston, Sen. Joe Sam Queen, Sen. Fred Smith, Sen. John Snow, Sen. Jerry Tillman

Appropriations/Base Budget

Sen. Walter Dalton – co-chairman

de facto moratorium


New procedure is approved.
Marshall, Long and Atkinson vote against.

Moore: NC needs to have a debate on the death penalty--this is not the place to do it.

Marshall moves to ask the GA take up the issue. Non-binding unanimous.

Mark K. on the vote.

Yesterday's wrap up of the House Select Committee on Capital Punishment and today's live broadcast of the Council of State hearing on death penalty protocol are sure indication that we are on the brink of either halting executions or utter hypocrisy.

Knight Citizen News Network

While the MSM tut-tuts about who is and who ain't a journalist, there's a new site that aims to make a better journalist out of anybody who's interested.

From the about page for the new Knight Citizen News Network:

The Knight Citizen News Network is a self-help portal that guides both ordinary citizens and traditional journalists in launching and responsibly operating community news and information sites.

It seeks to help build capacity for citizens who want to start their own news ventures and to open the doors to citizen participation for traditional news organizations seeking to embrace user-generated content.

Above all it seeks to impart an understanding of the qualities that make for responsible and credible journalism. The Network will offer numerous learning modules with guidance on how to populate citizen news sites with content, how to use databases and new technology to jumpstart reporting, and how to train citizen journalists. It will provide a unique database of known citizen media sites, searchable by town and other criteria.

Wal-Mart's creative accounting in NC

Just read this morning's Wall Street Journal article Wal-Mart Cuts Taxes by Paying Rent to Itself, which is about WalMart's use of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) to reduce its state taxes including those due right here in the Old North State. (If you can get to the online version, there are some documents relating to the Wal-Mart case in NC.) The article leaves you with the distinct impression that Wal-Mart isn't the only company in North Carolina doing this kind of thing with REITs.
Here's a couple of excerpts from the story:

The arrangement takes advantage of a tax loophole that the federal government plugged decades ago, but which many states have been slower to catch. Here's how it works: One Wal-Mart subsidiary pays the rent to a real-estate investment trust, or REIT, which is entitled to a tax break if it pays its profits out in dividends. The REIT is 99%-owned by another Wal-Mart subsidiary, which receives the REIT's dividends tax-free. And Wal-Mart gets to deduct the rent from state taxes as a business expense, even though the money has stayed within the company.

Stopping a train

(Note: One of the biggest concerns I had coming out of the bloggity conversation the other day in Raleigh is over the idea that a Marriage Amendment is on its way. To me, this trend of referendums is the most sick political tactic I've ever witnessed. They do nothing to "protect" marriage and are solely a ploy to drive up social conservative voters. This is merely another use of "the other" for political gain.
Wondering when Democrats are going to draw the line. Also wondering when we'll see somebody introduce a constitutional amendment to make it easier for people--all people--to get partner benefits, form civil unions and enjoy custody rights?)

Here's the column via Ex:

Tangled up in rules

A few thousand wary eyes are peeled for what's in the set of changes to the operating rules of the N.C. House now under consideration. The promise, in theory, is a more open environment where bills no longer get tangled up in the Rules Committee and each has a review on the merits in an appropriate venue.


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