James's blog

Blottery

NC Policy Watch has an excellent summary of North Carolina's sad lottery saga. I've excerpted some of the best commentary, but please go read the whole thing.

If all goes according to plan, retailers in North Carolina will begin selling scratch off lottery tickets in two weeks. If that happens, it will be the first thing about this lottery that has worked the way it was promised.

Even lottery supporters have to admit that this game has been flawed from the beginning. It was passed by the General Assembly unethically, if not illegally. A pending lawsuit will settle that question.

OPM

Master Puppet John Hood of the John Locke Fornication is in rare form today, writing about the favorite subject of wingers: Other People's Money.

Iterations of the OPM myth pervade state political debates. For example, there is a major move afoot in Raleigh right now to convince state lawmakers to put some costly bond issues on the November ballot. Water and sewer needs will cost North Carolina localities $7 billion in just the next half-decade, the argument goes, and “they” can’t afford it all. “State government” should pick up at least $1 billion of the cost in a new statewide bond.

David Price: On the Record

No one would accuse me of being a moderate in any regard. Not in work, not in play, not in love, not in politics. But I must admit to a certain curiosity about people who bring a more considered approach to their words and actions. One such person is David Price of North Carolina’s 4th Congressional district. I recently had the chance to interview him – to find out what he thinks about the state of affairs in Washington.

What's it like being in the minority party with George Bush in the White House? In all my nine terms in Congress, I've never seen as bitter and punitive a partisan atmosphere. Democrats in Congress have virtually no say in the major legislation that comes before the House. Bills are rammed through to appease the right-wing zealots of the Republican Party, giving the minority no opportunity to amend them or to vote on alternate legislation that would appeal to members on both sides of the aisle. Even more troubling is the utter lack of oversight. Instead of functioning as a co-equal branch of government, Congress is abdicating its constitutional responsibility to hold the Administration accountable - at a time when accountability couldn't be more critical.

Bible or Constitution?

North Carolina is home to more than its fair share of people who want to see their Christian god running our government -- people like Chuck Taylor, who's happy to thump a Bible if it'll cover his sorry tracks of graft and greed. So I especially enjoyed this exchange reported on DailyKos, between a law professor and a Maryland state senator.

Guess who hates Wighead Dole?

Why none other than Jean Schmidt, the loose wingnut from Ohio who said John Murtha was a coward. Never thought I'd live to see the day that I agree with a lunatic like Schmidt. But yet, I must say, I do hate Elizabeth Dole. She is the worst kind of Senator . . . one who is apparently incapable of thinking for herself.

From The Hill.

As a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1984, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) expressed her contempt for a future colleague and allegedly likened young Republican activists to Hitler, according to an interview published by the local paper at the time. While shadowing Schmidt at the convention, The Cincinnati Enquirer reporter initially described Schmidt as a “woman who will speak her mind whenever she pleases.”

WS Journal on Mental Health

The Winston-Salem Journal has a hard-hitting editorial today on North Carolina's miserable support in mental health care.

The D+ rating that North Carolina's mental health-care system got on an evaluation by the National Alliance on Mental Illness should give state officials all the more reason for rapid reform. As the alliance said, the state has a long way to go to provide quality services for its neediest residents.

Bad news

Read it and weep. One of the great newspaper organizations in the world, Knight-Ridder, announced today it will become irrelevant. Goodbye Charlotte Observer. Welcome more corporate media.

'Wait Wait' Laughs at Disorganized Dems

It's pretty sad when an NPR talk show gets a chuckle from the audience by joking about the lack of any organized framework for the Democratic Party platform. Which is a great opportunity for me to push a framework I've been able to use with great success. For those of you who read my diaries and have jumped on board, I know you're sick of hearing this. For those who haven't, feel free to join the movement for integrity, competence and the common good.

Saturday silliness

Edge Designs is an all women run company that designs interior office space. They had a recent opportunity to do an office project in NYC. The client allowed the women of this company a free hand in all design aspects . . . including the men's room.


Abortion in North Carolina

With the love fest going on between our newest Supreme Court Justice and the right wing kingmaker, James Dobson, the debate about abortion in America is heating up. And it's especially heating up in states where the death penalty exists, states like North Carolina, where we routinely kill people for killing other people. Which raises this question for right-to-lifers: If all abortions were to become illegal in North Carolina, what would be the penalty for the perpetrators?

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