Discover the County You're In

Our Department of Commerce website has some pretty nifty stuff on it, like the County Profiles page, where clicking a map takes you to a report on your county. I just learned that in the 4th quarter of 2005, my county:

  • was the 18th most populous in the state;
  • was 34th in population growth;
  • was home to 184 physicians, or one Dr. for every 754 people;
  • had a 4.7% unemployment rate;
  • had an average SAT score of just over 1,000;
  • had a per capita personal income of just over $28,000; and
  • had as its three biggest employees LabCorp, the local school system, and a hospital.

The three page reports are just chock full of interesting information. (Of course, you can't tell if I'm serious or if that's sarcasm. If you think this level of geekiness is unsexy, then I'm just kidding.)

Why We Should Not Listen to the Consultants

Gary Pearce, a main consultant for former governor Jim Hunt, has had a strange turn of events since Hunt left office. He has teamed with ultra-conservative Helms advisor Carter Wrenn in a blog. The problem with the consulting agreement is that it proves that he has no values but will work for whoever pays him more. The problem with the website are numerous, but importantly, neither Gary or Carter has learned how to either create links or answer comments. In addition, to those flaws, having to make public statements means that everyone knows when you do not know what you are talking about.

New Hampshire Shows the Way on Mercury Reduction

If New Hampshire is out to make North Carolina look bad, they're doing a fine job. A few days ago I noted that NC is on its way to a near total abdication of its responsibility to protect citizens, in this case from power plant mercury emissions.

Today I see that there's a mercury fight in New Hampshire as well, but with two important differences: (1) they are arguing over whether to cut mercury emissions by 80% or by 90%; and (2) the 80% bill has already passed one house of the state legislature. Gosh, it's almost as if the government in New Hampshire cares more about citizens' health than about maximizing power company profits.

Why Shuler and Kissell MUST Go to DC

It's not censure or impeachment that Republicans are really worried about if they lose control of Congress. It's subpoenas. If they lose the ability to block Democrats from conducting genuine investigations backed by the subpoena power of Congress, the jig is up. And they know it.

That, from Kevin Drum, is prompted by the following paragraph from a Newsweek article by Michael Hirsh about mismanagement of the Iraq reconstruction effort:

Pathetic Attempt at Something Conservative at UNC Law

Given the dominance of conservative groups at schools, I was somewhat worried about a group that claimed to be starting a Conservative Law Journal at UNC Law School. Boy was I worried over nothing!

First some background. UNC Law, much like other Law Schools, has a number of accredited academic journals. These journals publish a combination of professional and student pieces on discrete points of law. The journals range in breadth of the subjects they cover from the Law Review, which covers any issue, to issue specific journals such as the First Amendment Law Review. Substantively these articles are very intense studies on discreet, timely legal issues. The pieces are heavily edited, heavily footnoted, and well respected. In fact, these journals serve as the main method of communication between law professors, are well circulated, and do a great deal to advance the law in many areas.

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