The New BlueNC is Coming Soon

"What's going on?" We're in the process of switching software. When the change is complete, BlueNC readers will have access to a range of new features, including a progressive NC calendar of events, polls, a collaborative encyclopedia of North Carolina politics, individual user blogs and more. We'll be setting up and cleaning up our messes today, so check back tonight and tomorrow!

Two Interesting Links

Perusing today's papers, I found two interesting links that readers might want to check out:

1) The Winston-Salem Journal does an interesting roundup of recent clashes between branches of the North Carolina government and how separation of powers is working here. The article includes a brief summary of an action to invalidate the state's recent lottery.

2) The N&O has an article that begins:

Like country singer Tammy Wynette, North Carolina House Democrats are standing by their man.

And concludes that Jim Black is staying in power despite all of his recent troubles here. I was previously saying that Jim Black must go, but you cannot argue with country music.

The Real(Values) Walter Jones

Real Values has a bio up of Walter Jones by way of explaining why progressives shouldn't be Jones fans. (The BlueNC discussion he links to begins here.) It's a good post, containing some things I didn't know and some things I'd forgotten. You can color me convinced. I think that what's going on here is that in an age of fierce Republican adherence to the party line, Walter Jones gives us a reason to suspect that not all Republicans are robots. That could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Tim Dunn's Website is Up

Finally some action at the website of NC-8 congressional candidate Tim Dunn. And for all of the Larry Kissell, who is running against Dunn in the primaries, supporters we have out there, this is not an endorsement of Dunn. Kissell's website is here.

Also, Tim Dunn does not put any reference to being a Democrat on his website. Larry Kissell has a picture of a big donkey on his but never uses the word Democrat. 1/2 point for Kissell.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Evelyn Hill Resigns

The fiasco is over. Evelyn Hill, who has been the target of many ethical complaints while on the bench, has resigned in exchange for having the last complaint dropped (AP's take here). Lance posted earlier on all of the (ethical complaints filed against Evelyn Hill), which are much more entertaining than the article on resignation, so I will just resurrect his post below (If you want the original links, you will have to click the link to the original article above):

You may have noticed that Wake County Superior Court Judge Evelyn W. Hill is in trouble with the NC Judicial Standards Commission again ("Wake County judge faces third complaint before ethics board"). This is the Judge who inspired the now-defunct website www.eradicate-evelynhill.com. I thought I'd take a quick study break to compile Judge Hill's Greatest Hits. The emphasis is all mine.

Diebold Rejected Again, This Time in Vance County

First it was Forsyth, now it is Vance. Two county election boards have turned down Diebold. Vance's concerns seem to be more with the lawsuits filed against the company for securities fraud and other litigation. From the Daily Dispatch (link):

Vance County's Board of Elections unanimously recommended the purchase Thursday of an optical-scan voting system from Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb.

That was partly because North Carolina elections officials eventually narrowed down the possible choices to four systems from two companies: ES&S and Diebold Election Systems of North Canton, Ohio. Each company offers an optical-scan and a direct-recording-electronic system that is certified by the state Board of Elections. (A third potential vendor, Sequoia, was denied permission this week to sell equipment in North Carolina, The News & Observer reported Thursday.)

Mixed Reports on Triangle Rail: Repubs Giving Up on Project While Dems and Agency Fight On

I was sad all today. First, I was finishing up a 24-hour take home exam for lawschool (imagine actually trying to sleep during an exam), and then I woke to news from Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr that the proposed Triangle Rail Line is dead. The Triangle Rail Line is a proposed rail track between downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham, running through the Research Triangle Park. The track is desperately needed in one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas without a light rail or subway, and relatedly an area with large congestion problems. In fact property prices in South Glenwood, where one of the stops will be, are going much faster than the rest of the city. The plan for funding the line was for the federal government to pick up a substantial portion of the tab (as they do with most rail projects). Dole had supported the project and federal funding of it in the past, but now appears to be saying that the project is dead since it has not qualified for Federal funds. From News 14 Carolina yesterday:

Meanwhile, Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr have issued a joint statement about the issue. Part of that statement reads, “We recognize that any transit project built with federal tax dollars must be thoroughly examined and rigorously reviewed to ensure established federal standards and goals are met. The rail project is likely not an option for the region. We therefore believe it is time for TTA to explore other possibilities."

I was bummed all day, and just because I forgot to not trust Dole or Burr. I had to wait until the end of the day to find out the truth.

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