Easley's Roadless Plan

In addition to his objection of the sale of our national forests, Easley has filed with the USDA for some of our forest to be classified as roadless and thus protected against industrial activity. There is a great post on this issue at the North Carolina Conservation Network.

Update: Check the comments to see where Lance beat me to the story. Also, check out our Take Action! center advertised on the right.

Road Maintenance, Another Huge Cost of Our Reliance on the Automobile

For the battle cry of high costs levied against the proposed Triangle Rail Line, there is counterpoint being conveniently ignored: Roads cost a ton of money themselves. In fact, the cost of building roads is artificially lowered by not considering the long term costs to maintain the roads. Those of us in the Triangle have seen the results of those costs being ignored with a plethora of potholes, which increase wear and tear on a car, reduce traffic speed, and are a general hassle.

Potholes are caused by neglect of road surfaces over years. The best way to get rid of them is repaving the road. But repavement costs money to perform, wastes productivity by increasing traffic jams, and creates a hassle for every commuter. For a visual effect, I have pasted a list of repaving projects scheduled for this year in just Durham, Wake, and Franklin counties (from Crosstown Traffic):

Good Practices Can Be Selfish

I was just browsing the UNC Health Care System employees CONNECTIONS - Special Transportation, Parking and Construction Issue. Yeah, I know.

UNC is in the midst of a Capital building boom that is just remarkable. My wife hates it, she grew up here and thinks there just isn't enough open space left. I agree to some extent, once again I think the hospitals and research buildings should be a minimum of 11 stories high with greenspace between stuffed with live oaks, magnolias, and lawn space.

Still, as a scientist, I know that UNC is expanding because its world-leading research is expanding. The two go hand in hand. Along with that expansion has come a change in travel, which I think is a good thing. UNC is moving all of its parking off campus, face it, you won't be able to park on campus in another 50 years. This leads to good and bad.

Thursday Morning Action Plan

Today we are going to do our best to get our N.C. Senators and Representatives informed about this issue. One of the best ways to do it is to simply email or call them and ask if they are aware of this. Many should be since there have been articles in almost every daily newspaper about this issue and the Governor and both Senators in Washington are against the sale of our National Forests.

Finished below the fold...

North Carolina: Dead Last in Union Density

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says that North Carolina has the lowest union density of any state in the union. Expressed as the "percentage of each State’s nonagricultural wage and salary employees who are union members," NC sits at 3.7%. (source - PDF)

This is something that North Carolina conservatives are no doubt proud of: unions are bad for profits (nevermind that they're good for people). And I fully understand that some unions have done as much as Friends of Big Business to give unions a bad rep.

But it seems to me that even if you're skeptical about the value of unions, dead last is not where you want to be on the list. A union is often the only way for the interests of workers to find representation in business decisions. Also, big businesses lobby the hell out of Congress (after all, it's their Congress too, right?) in ways that Joe SixPack can't seriously compete with on his own. It was unions who ended child labor, invented the 40 hour work week and the weekend, and played an instrumental role in bringing about free universal public education.

Why The 11th District Needs Heath Shuler in Congress!

Now, Let's just see what our current administration could be up to! Just why do we need Heath in Washington for us? Lets explore the situation a little!

Whoops! In sworn testamony before the Senate Affairs Committie and everyone else New VA Secretary James Nicholson discussed the 2007 VA Budget,proposal that would give the department $80.6 billion, a 12.2 percent increase.

Remember last June? The Administration was faced with having to make up for a $1 billion shortfall in VA's budget! Note: According to the Congressional Record & other sources the admendment to prevent this from happinging again was voted down by Sens. Dole & Burr! Nicholson says he is confident of the budget this time though! Nicholson pointed out that the fiscal 2005 budget was based on 2002 data that did not reflect operations in Iraq, he said, whereas the 2007 budget is based on 2004 data that reflects the increased rate of veterans applying for benefits following combat service.

What are your Thoughts?

Cruzan faces contempt charge for violating court order
By Lynn Hotaling
http://www.thesylvaherald.com/html/cruzan_faces_contempt_charge_f.html

A former Jackson County sheriff who is seeking to regain that post faces an April 10 hearing on a contempt of court charge.

Documents on file at the Jackson County Clerk of Court Office indicate that Jim Cruzan of Sylva, who was sheriff from 1994 until 2002 and is a current candidate for the Democratic nomination, has been accused of violating an October 2002 consent judgment. That document, a property settlement, requires him to pay $1,000 per month to his former spouse in addition to making mortgage payments.

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