Category: North Carolina

Smoking ban for N.C. Bars and Restaurants

The bill approved Wednesday falls short of how it began: a total and sweeping ban on smoking in all public places. But the House's original bill left a wide loophole for bars, an exemption that worried restaurant owners who feared bars would steal late-night customers.

via House approves smoking ban for N.C. – Politics – News & Observer.

The bill (soon to become law) still contains the giant “private club” loophole I had mentioned earlier, so, 1.5 cheers. And strange exemption for cigar bars (where smoke is emitted), but not for hookah bars (where water filters quite a bit of the smoke).

Critically, as Laura Leslie pointed out, the law will allow local health officials to go above and beyond state law. So, a floor was established, not a ceiling, which is good. They were previously forbidden to enact any smoking bans. Now Chapel Hill/Carrboro can do what it has been wanting to do for years and finally kill smoking in all public places.

Dole Begone

Facing a close re-election race in North Carolina, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) recently released an ad attacking her opponent Kay Hagan, falsely accusing her of being “Godless.” The end of the ad shows a photo of Hagan while a woman yells, “There is no God!” Watch it:

via Think Progress » Elizabeth Dole ad falsely suggests opponent Kay Hagan is ‘Godless.’

Dear fellow Tar Heels:

Please give this inept, ineffectual, incompetent excuse for a senator the retirement she so richly deserves.

Sincerely,

The Olive Ridley Crawl

Of course, she yelled “Godless” in my face, I’d say, “Yeah”!! But as we know, atheists are not very popular…

Carolina Everywhere

durant.jpgSo, reading some random article on Canadian Football, and who do we have starting for Saskatchewan Roughriders, but an old Carolina favourite (must say I am happy to be putting the u between the r and o as it should be done!) Darian Durant, only the best quarterback to ever wear a Carolina uniform bringing his team back from 8 points down with 4 minutes to go to an 8 point win, 16 unanswered points. Go Darian! He was an excellent quarterback who was deemed too short to play in the NFL. Glad he’s doing well for himself with the defending CFL champions. Turns out he got his chance to start when the number 1 QB got injured. Watch out, he’s good, he’s not going to let go of the ball!

Carolina connections do crop up in odd places.

newsobserver.com | Smoky air triggers Code Red

Officials with the state Division of Air Quality say that today’s pollution has hit higher-than-expected levels as smoke and haze arrived in the region from the wildfire in and around the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.While the day was labeled Code Orange, air quality spokesman Tom Mather said pollution levels have been measuring well into the Code Red range since midnight.Friday will be another Code Red day, he said.The fine particles in smoke, which contain harmful chemicals, are more dangerous than the ozone that causes most poor air quality days in the Triangle, Mather said.

newsobserver.com | Smoky air triggers Code Red

Holy cow, you leave town for a few months, and strange things start to happen, 100 degree days in early June, now fire in the Pocosin causing unhealthy air more than a 100 miles away? Bad day to ride that bike home, eh…

The fire was caused by a lightning strike, apparently…

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Police charge pair with 'crime against nature'

Raleigh police are charging two adults for sodomy in private, although the U.S. Supreme Court appears to have outlawed such charges five years ago.Police on Saturday charged two West Raleigh men with a “crime against nature” for having sex early that morning. Each faces up to two years in prison if convicted of the Class I felony.

newsobserver.com | Police charge pair with ‘crime against nature’

When I read the headline, I thought maybe they killed some deer, or emitted too much carbon dioxide, or something. Global warming is a crime against nature, not this!

If you can stop shaking your head and read the rest of the article, you may conclude that a crime may have been committed, maybe a sexual assault on one man by another, who knows, but to arrest both of them for having sex, ah well, back in the 19th century for you.

The police/DA may claim that this law is not enforced, so it need not be removed. Our esteemed Southern lawmakers (some of whom may be breaking this “law” anyway) can’t bring themselves to vote to legalize anal sex and oral sex. But why don’t the courts when faced with even one of these prosecutions immediately call the law unconstitutional? I mean, legal precedent points in that direction.

Oh North Carolina, why?

I love my erstwhile home state (Not!)

In April, Richardson asked the health and social services departments to determine the number of illegal immigrant clients by counting Spanish surnames.

The county commissioners are meeting with a lawyer to help identify public services that can be denied to illegal immigrants. And in cases where it is not legal to exclude people, they say they may eliminate programs entirely — including federally funded prenatal care for poor women — in an attempt to drive illegal immigrants from the county.

In an interview, Richardson twice referred to illegal immigrants as “wetbacks.” He said that they threaten to turn the United States into a bilingual nation and that he fears they will foment political and social dissent.

newsobserver.com | Beaufort County wants to stem migrant influx

No comment required…

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Roy Cooper: Ignorant of Basic Law

No federal law prohibits North Carolina from admitting illegal immigrants to its colleges and universities, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today.The statement from federal officials contradicts a letter sent this week by the office of state Attorney General Roy Cooper.The letter from Cooper’s office advised the state Community College System that federal law bars the admission of illegal immigrants to public colleges and universities, even if they pay out-of-state tuition.The letter said that the Department of Homeland Security, of which ICE is a part, was responsible for enforcing the law and offered to ask the department for further clarification of the law.

newsobserver.com | Feds: College OK for illegal immigrants

So, what kind of person randomly makes up U.S Federal laws about undocumented immigrants (illegal, he calls them) and college? Well, the top lawyer of North Carolina’s government, Attorney General Roy Cooper of course! Glad that he was caught out.

The issue? The hordes (350 or so scattered around the University and Community college system) of undocumented immigrants who pay out-of-state tuition and are admitted on merit to attend colleges in North Carolina. Conservatives want college systems to enforce immigration law. What next, have your papers checked every time you fill gas? The claim has often been made that there are a lot of hidden costs that this out of state tuition does not cover and actually, even out of state tuition paying students are being subsidized. No data has been put forward to back up this claim. Note the hactackularness of this tome by the John Pope institute, which makes a lot of conclusions based on their analysis of census data while not actually sharing any of the analysis/results.

Clearly, undocumented immigrants are not overwhelming the system, or even making a dent. So, this is all about demagoguery and I am glad that Governor Easley has overruled his attorney general and come out against colleges acting as immigration police. Life for one of these students is hard enough as it is, getting past the high admissions standards, affording the steep out-of-state tuition, they don’t need to keep looking over their shoulder every time they go to class.

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NC Primary – Vote for a Non Panderer

Apparently, there’s a relevant presidential election this time around in my erstwhile home state, woohoo! (Not that it matters to me, when I was living in the States as an alien on parole, I did not have a vote, and I don’t even live there no more, but I follow US politics religiously!). I do have a dog in the fight (okay, references to dog fighting are no longer cool), being an Obama supporter (he’s skinny, brown and intelligent, and his name, he could be me!). He has tried hard, and only occasionally failed in his attempts to not pander, to not go against his broad principles or intelligence (do not get me started on his famous coal fetish). Clinton, on the other hand, is losing her mind, and here’s the end result.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton lined up with Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, in endorsing a plan to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for the summer travel season. But Senator Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic rival, spoke out firmly against the proposal, saying it would save consumers little and do nothing to curtail oil consumption and imports

As Clinton Seeks Gas Tax Break for Summer, Obama Says No – New York Times

GasPrices.jpgSo, 18.4 cents a gallon, ai, let’s see, ah, friendly chart of gas prices in North Carolina this MONTH (courtesy Gas Prices) shows the price jumping about 36 cents a gallon, or double this so called tax break. By the time the holiday weekend rolls around, prices would have gone up a little more. What exactly does this accomplish? It fails the first test of not providing meaningful relief to anyone concerned. Most people don’t know that the tax directly funds transportation infrastructure.

The highway trust fund that the gas tax finances provides money to states and local governments to pay for road and bridge construction, repair and maintenance. Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton propose to suspend the tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the peak driving season, which would lower tax receipts by roughly $9 billion and potentially cost 300,000 highway construction jobs, according to state highway officials.

So, take money from the federal government and give it to whom? Here’s a word from Dean Baker, my favorite economist.

Actually, almost all economists would agree that the tax cut proposed by Senators Clinton and McCain would save consumers nothing. With the supply of gas largely fixed by the capacity of the oil industry (they claim to be running their refineries at full capacity), the price will
not change in response to the elimination of the tax. The only difference will be that money that used to go to the government in tax revenues will instead go to the oil industry as higher profits.

So, Hilary Clinton supports the transfer of money from the government to the the oil companies? I don’t think so and she ought to know better, she’s a smart and intelligent woman. So, what gives? Why the pander?

Of course, she claims that she will make up the funding shortfall by increasing taxes on the oil companies. Who is she kidding here? You think our emperor (yes, he’s still there) will allow any new tax increases on his buddies in the oil industry? He’ll happily veto any such bill that comes his way!

Note that I did not have to make a single environmental argument about how high gas prices will, in the medium to long run, eventually result in increased fuel efficiency, investments n public transit and hopefully, a shift away from the American (can’t say “our” any more!) car driven model of planning.

Oh well, at this point in time, everyone’s mind’s made up anyway. Cheers and enjoy your rare meaningful vote.

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