James's blog

What matters most?

In the swirling miasma of the lottery, the Puppetmaster, lying Congressmen, and politicians who place expediency above ethics, it can be hard to know which particular form of political sleaze matters most. And while I find myself getting caught up in all of them at various times, crushing the Bush Family Crime Ring is the driving force behind my political life right now.

N&O Writer's Schlock

I write a monthly newspaper column, but I wish it were every week. There's no end to great subjects and interesting things to write about. Which is why I always laugh when columnists take short cuts and do something like this from Rick Martinez, who is often referred to as the "conservative Latino columnist at the N&O. My old editorial teacher, Walter Spearman, called this kind of thing a "round-up." I call it lazy.

There's more . . .

Virtual dead turkeys

Hunting for turkeys?

Bladen Journal - Elizabethtown, North Carolina

North Carolina's turkey hunters had a new way to commemorate a successful hunt when the spring bearded turkey season began Saturday, April 8.

A new feature on the Web site of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will allow hunters who register a kill online to fill out and print a certificate bearing the hunter's name, the game taken, the date, the location and other pertinent details. "It's a way for hunters to keep a record of their harvest," said Daron Barnes, permits and planning supervisor for the Commission.

V is for vouchers?

Most progressives I know are instinctively and emotionally against the idea of vouchers. In my case, I've long been opposed to vouchers -- for a few very specific reasons. Most of them are pretty well articulated here. All of the issues presented make sense to me, but this is the one I've been most concerned about:

A pure voucher system would only encourage economic, racial, ethnic, and religious stratification in our society. America’s success has been built on our ability to unify our diverse populations.

But I must not be too concerned about it because I took my daughter out of one of the best public school systems in the state (Chapel Hill) and put her in a Waldorf high school where there are seven kids in her entire grade. The difference has been transformative - mostly because of the approach to teaching they use, but also simply because of the small scale and intimacy.

Shotgun Sundays

AP Wire | 04/17/2006 | Wildlife officials consider lifting Sunday hunting ban

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - State wildlife officials are in the midst of a study to determine if a ban on Sunday hunting should be lifted. Dain Palmer, human dimension biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, says the agency doesn't have the authority to regulate hunting on Sundays, and that the commission was instructed to conduct the study. The wildlife agency contracted with Virginia-based Responsive Management, a firm that specializes in the human aspects of wildlife management, in conjunction with Virginia Tech.

Vernon "the Beav" Robinson

With all the enthusiasm for putting an end to the joke that is Charles Taylor, it's easy to forget that there are other odious characters in the Republican tent worth keeping an eye on. There's Robin "Flip Flop" Hayes, of course, who has stood by the Bush Family Crime ring through sick and sin - cashing in his votes for favor with Herr Rove. And then there's this nutcase who's challenging Brad Miller for no discernible reason except to feed his pathetic ego and spew hate. That Republicans would be comfortable with such a cretin in their ranks is embarrassing enough. But to have a cretin who produced this commercial (you may have to scroll down) is truly creepy -- which is all you need to know about the state of the Republican party these days.

N&O considers mental health

There's a joke in that headline somewhere, but the subject isn't funny in the slightest. And today's lead editorial in the N&O joins the rising chorus of voices calling for mental health reform. Good on 'em.

North Carolina's mental health system exists to serve fragile people with stubborn, often complicated illnesses. Helping those sufferers isn't cheap, and the costs are driven up even further when help for people with developmental disabilities and drug and alcohol addictions is included.

The state rightly is reforming its system of mental health care delivery, but the complexity of the endeavor means it can't be done in penny-pinching mode. Reform envisioned by the Department of Health and Human Services will keep clients closer to home and give local mental health agencies the money and authority to treat residents in their areas. State-local coordination will be key.

Sue who?

This from the odd couple over at Talking about politics.

My old friend and adversary Jack Hawke sponsored a conservative gripe-a-thon in Durham last week. "It is a travesty that North Carolina is controlled by the Democrats," U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx told the N.C. Conservative Leadership Conference.

I disagree, of course. I believe it's a credit to the good judgment of North Carolinians that Democrats hold the Governor's Office and both houses of the GA. But Jack had one thing right. The state GOP lacks a strong spokesperson. No star power, if you will.


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