kmr's blog

Morning Ex

Via the Ex Fillings:

Had the CSPAN rolling most of the time lately. The new congress is kinda fun (clock here).The Senate is fixin to take on the escalation. The House is gearing up against huge tax breaks for big oil.

Shorter Novak: The war is bad because it makes the GOP look bad because they messed up and now don't know what to do.

Netroots: "a mostly brainless vacuum cleaner of donations for the Democratic Party." I had no idea.

Also, OK I guess it's what we call progress in this day and age when secret wiretapping is at least reviewed by a secret court in secret.

Morning Ex

Slate on Libby Day 1
NYT on Libby the puzzle
Firedoglake on they, the jury

Ali at 65

And in the wonderful world of Wake County, where subdivisions spring up unfettered by the heavy hand of government; where the homebuilding market is a gleaming success story; where the much-prized rights of property owners and the champions of the private sector have triumphed; it appears the masses who must rely on taxes to educate their children (poor things) are fussing. What would they have the more fortunate do? Cut profits? Slow the mighty engines of growth?
Let them eat trailers.*

Report: FL-13 and NC-8 defeats related

Via the increasingly Ex Files:

This post on Scoop about the similarities between Larry Kissell's loss in NC-8 and Christine Jennings' challenged loss in FL-13 popped up via Crooks & Liars:

While Jennings makes a very strong case for a voided election and new vote in Florida, the case becomes virtually unassailable when reviewing results from North Carolina. At the same time, the North Carolina 8th results, reviewed in the context of the election contest analysis of Florida’s 13th, makes it abundantly clear that the loser, Kissell, should have won in almost any scenario other than voting machine malfunction.

Morning Ex

Via the Ex Files:

Is Lenoir feeling lucky? Google tax breaks around $100 million. N&O:

Google, which has not committed to a site in Lenoir, could bring $600 million in new investment, equal to half the city's tax base and more than 10 percent of Caldwell County's.

The interesting thing about this to me is that what Google is setting up a server farm and needs a site with a good power infrastructure. Lenoir's lost a lot of manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate has hovered around 9 percent for a year and has been among the highest in the state for almost a decade. But the power grid that supplied the factories is still there.


Edwards at Riverside

John Edwards' folks sent out a notice yesterday about his speech this afternoon at Riverside Church in Harlem, which is where MLK delivered his "Silence is Betrayal" sermon in opposition to the Vietnam War.
Edwards will use the opportunity to underscore his opposition to the escalation of the Iraq War.
Edwards is calling on Congress not to fund the escalation.
The speech will be available live on the Web. Information at this link.

Following is a YouTube clip of Edwards explaining what he's going to say and why. I've passed on excerpts from Edwards' prepared remarks as well.

This week's column

This week's column is on the weird two-headed system that governs the state education policy. Cross-posted from Ex.

One suspects that as of this writing, State Superintendent of Education June Atkinson and her public affairs staff are huddled somewhere writing a response to a recent Winston-Salem Journal editorial that says her duties are so light, she "goes to work every day, maintaining her trademark cheerful and positive attitude about life, while the deputy state superintendent of public instruction runs the department."

This, as the Journal points out, is due to a sharp reduction in the super's duties mandated in the mid-'90s by the then-GOP-led House after a row with then-state super Bob Etheridge.

Now, Atkinson, who had to fight a long court battle over a recount of the 2004 election to win her seat, is even pulling down $25K a year less than said deputy, J.B. Buxton, a former education advisor to Gov. Mike Easley, who was hired last week by the State Board of Education. And Buxton, defeated by Atkinson in the '04 primary, reports to the board, not Atkinson.

Smithfield and MLK Jr. Day

You've probably heard by now that Smithfield Foods plans to dock any worker that walks out or doesn't show up on Monday.
Not the first of the troubles at the plant, which is the largest hog slaughtering operation in the world. Here's the Smithfield Justice site on the issue.
Smithfield workers have organized a petition drive. Text of their sample letter:

For over ten years, the workers at Smithfield Packing in Tar Heel, NC have worked dangerous jobs under extreme conditions. The workers kill and disassemble 32,000 pigs a day in your Tar Heel plant and receive very little respect from management. For years the workers have fought for their right to choose a union in the plant, but time and time again they are met with resistance at the hand of you, Smithfield.

Climate change commission hearing

Via Ex:

The LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, chaired by speaker-nominee Rep. Joe Hackney and Greensboro attorney John L. W. Garrou, meets again this morning with a focus on how climate change may affect the state's coastline and coastal communities.

Last fall, the co-chairs penned an interesting piece on the so-called scientific debate over climate change and how the media covers the issue. Worth a read. So's this.

The agenda looks pretty interesting—a lineup of some of the top coastal experts. You can tune in to the hearings at the legislature's audio site.

The meeting is 10 a.m. in Room 643 LOB. Full agenda after the break;

Hackney is speaker nominee

Joe Hackney, a Chapel Hill attorney who grew up near Silk Hope in Chatham County, was nominated for Speaker by House Democrats in a meeting at the legislature.
"We stand here united and ready to go to work," Hackney said after being elected on the fourth ballot.
Hugh Holliman of Lexington was named to Hackney's old post of Majority Leader and William Wainwright of Havelock, co-chair of the House Finance Committee was named Speaker Pro Tem.

In his position as Majority Leader Hackney often delivered the summary for Democrats in floor debates. Here's his speech at the end of the debate on the budget last year.

They're already there

What we'll learn tonight about the surge is that the troops are already there. Kuwait, mostly, but on the way in already. The decision was probably made a hell of a long time ago and, in true Bush fashion, we learn after-the-fact.
Reports are already out there, no surprise to people in Fayetteville and other base towns. They've watched neighbors and family members shipping out for a couple of weeks. Other troops already there will have their tours extended. Still others will deploy early.

Enjoy the speech.
War is not the answer (see after the break).


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