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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 1: Obama reverses Bush secrecy order

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 6:01 PM

In a meeting with his senior staff today, President Barack Obama signed executive orders that re-opened the federal government to more transparency. In doing so, Obama reversed many of former President George W. Bush's edicts that cloaked federal agencies and himself in secrecy. "The old rules
 said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing
 something to the American people, then it should  not be disclosed.  That 
era is now over.  Starting today, every agency and department should 
know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek 
to withhold information but those who...

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The March on Washington, 1963: "We shall overcome some day."

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM

A friend suggests viewing Dr. King's 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech in its entirety if you haven't done so recently. It's about 17:00, just long enough to consider the arc of history and how it has, and hasn't, bent toward justice since King spoke. The speech is all over the internets, of course. Our friend found it on a nonprofit voting-rights group's website, Why Tuesday?, where they remind us of King's emphasis on the importance of "that short walk to the voting booth." Think what King would tell us now....

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Kuttner: Social Security and Medicare are not the problem

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine and a very smart, progressive economist, lays out in sharp, clear strokes the challenges facing the country as President-elect Obama prepares to take power -- and previews the debate between progressives and conservatives over  what to do about them....

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Last-minute BCHQ benefit, early show tonight

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 2:54 PM

 Midtown Dickens, Above Gravity and Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan are playing a Bull City HQ benefit tonight, starting at 8 p.m. Proceeds will help BCHQ pay its rent. And yes, we've heard that BCHQ does have a heater....

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DDI letter to Fairway explains vote

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Downtown Durham, Inc. President Bill Kalkhof sent a letter to Fairway Outdoor Advertising GM Paul Hickman explaining the reason for the DDI board's vote to take no action on a proposed amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance that would allow electronic billboards in Durham. You can read the full letter here. kalkhofletter In essence, Kalkhof wrote, the 45-member board’s discussion focused on three main areas:  the repair and landscaping of billboards currently in our community; the possible relocation of billboards within the community; and, the issue of allowing digital billboards. As for the most contentious issue, electronic, or digital, billboards,...

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Learning about Gov. Perdue

Posted By on Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 1:03 PM

The first thing we learned about Gov. Bev Perdue during her pre-inaugural week is that she doesn’t like surprises. She made quite a point of this, in three news conferences announcing her cabinet choices. Whatever’s happening, she said, especially if it’s bad, she wants to know it as soon as anyone who works for her knows it. Or else, she went on, they won’t be working for her. “Bad things happen, we all know that,” Perdue said. “But we’ve at least got to be honest with ourselves.”...

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Bill Kalkhof: No quid pro quo between DDI, Fairway

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 6:20 PM

Downtown Durham, Inc. Executive Director Bill Kalkhof called the Indy today to emphasize that there is "no quid pro quo" between the nonprofit group and billboard company Fairway. He added that the relationship between DDI, charged with boosting downtown interests, and Fairway, which has given DDI space on its billboards, predates the current dust up over a proposed amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that would allow electronic billboards to be erected in Durham. Kalkhof said DDI worked with Fairway ago for Durham Rising, a 2007 celebration of downtown's renovated streetscape; DDI received free billboard space, but paid roughly...

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County commissioners received contributions from billboard interests

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 1:00 PM

County Commissioner candidate Fred Foster Jr. received a $1,602 loan from Craigie Sanders of K&L Gates (formerly known as Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman), the firm representing Fairway in the latest electronic billboard dispute. Coincidentally, Sanders also was treasurer of Foster’s unsuccessful election campaign, according to fred_foster_28apr2008.  fred_foster_10july2008 The loan was repaid; Foster also received $300 from Fairway Communications bigwig William Morris III. In addition to contributing to City Council campaigns, Morris and others invested in electronic billboards gave to other county commissioner candidates, campaign finance reports show. Morris gave $300 to candidate Josh Parker josh_parker_28apr20081,  Patrick Byker, another K&L...

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Dr. Gene Conti to head N.C. DOT; Moses Carey in at ESC

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Governor-elect Bev Perdue's choice for Transportation Secretary is Gene Conti, who brings to her administration a good reputation as a professional in the field and, equally important, no baggage as a politico. As a candidate, Perdue promised to clean up the Department of Transportation. At her press conference this morning, she repeated: "I mean all that" -- about being accountable to the public, and not to her campaign contributors. She said she'll issue an executive order next Monday, her first full day on the job, that will take project decisions out of the hands of individual Board of Transportation members...

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You oughta know: inaugural committee donors

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Triangle residents have contributed nearly $230,000 to Barack Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee, according to the committee's public database. Wendell McCain of Parish Capital Advisors in Chapel Hill donated $25,000;  Raleigh businessman John Crumpler of Hatteras Venture Partners in RTP and  venture capitalist Steve Lerner of FGI Research in Chapel Hill contributed donor bundles of $100,000 each,, meaning they collected smaller donations and contributed the money in one gift.   Crumpler has been long active in Democratic politics and is on the board of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Lerner hosted a big-ticket Obama fundraiser in 2007; he is also on the advisory...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

UNC students' flashmob rave at the library

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Maybe we should all try the Tar Heel approach to dealing with stress. These UNC students danced it out at the undergraduate library. More at the Daily Tar Heel's blog....

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Monday, December 8, 2008

UNC prof helps Obama transition in record time

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 2:15 PM

President-elect Obama has put his cabinet in place in record time, according to the White House Transition Project. Terry Sullivan, a professor of political science at UNC, heads the project, which studies presidential transitions over the last 30 years in order to make future transitions smoother. Obama's transition team was the first to be advised by the WHTP, which presumably is taking some credit for this record-breaking pace. We're likely to hear more from Sullivan after Jan. 20 -- see this paper (PDF) detailing "useful strategies for fixing the presidential appointments process."...

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Elaine Mejia: Keep estate tax alive

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Only 379 of the North Carolinians who died last year owed any estate tax -- which means the tax affected half of one percent of all Tar Heel estates. But nationally, that tax on estates of $1 million or more is expected to generate more than $23 billion. That's why N.C. Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center Director Elaine Mejia says this is no time to cut it. “The estate tax is the most progressive part of the federal tax code,” she said in a release today (PDF).  “At a time when the wealth gap between rich and poor is...

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Last minute show: Howe Gelb @ Carrboro's The Station

Posted By on Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Giant Sand mastermind Howe Gelb flies into RDU around 10 p.m. tonight. He'll go onstage in trio-form to at 11:30 at Southern Rail. The secret show was set up by his new label folks at Yep Roc....

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Democracy NC: Early voting favored Dems

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Confirming what we knew by Election Night, Democracy North Carolina has crunched the state's voting numbers and found: Obama, Hagan and Perdue each led by more than 300,000 votes after Early Voting, then lost on Election Day North Carolina's turnout rate was 70 percent, the highest since 1968. Wake and Durham counties were in the top 10. The "under-vote" problem turned out not to be a big problem. There was widespread fear before Election Day that many people would fail to vote for president because that race is not included in a straight party ticket vote in North Carolina. But...

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Monday, November 10, 2008

The Rosebuds add Raleigh date

Posted By on Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 1:47 PM

As expected, The Rosebuds have tacked  a Raleigh date onto its current national tour. The Rosebuds will play The Pour House Wednesday, Dec. 3, with The Loners. The announcement follows the band's Friday show for Troika Music Festival in Durham. It sure was nice to see Casey Burns (ex-The Nein) on a Triangle stage again. He's currently playing bass for The Rosebuds, with Matt McCaughan, who's fresh from a Bon Iver tour, on drums....

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Measuring the Senate office drapes: Hagan up 7 over Dole

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole has rarely visited North Carolina since she took office in 2002, and if yesterday's polls are any indication, she may want to leave the state permanently. According to Public Policy Polling, challenger Kay Hagan has a seven-point lead—51-44—going into Election Day, possibly due in part to the backlash over Dole's "Godless" ad attacking her opponent. CNN had Hagan up by nine late last week. fivethirtyeight.com is reporting today that  the lead, coupled with the strong Democratic turnout in early voting, "Dole will need a miracle to retain her seat."...

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Rain falls mainly on McCain

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 1:56 PM

It's supposed to rain tomorrow. Public Policy Polling says that hurts McCain's chances of winning North Carolina. Their poll shows a 10-point lead for Obama among those who took advantage of early voting. McCain has a strong lead here among those waiting for Election Day. "It is always better to have actual votes than hypothetical votes so there's no doubt Obama has the edge right now."...

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Over 2 million votes cast in NC

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 11:28 AM

That's one-third of all registered voters, and 58 percent of the 2004 voter turnout. 1.9 million have cast ballots at one-stop voting sites, and the rest have mailed in absentee ballots. For the full report, click here (PDF, 19 KB)....

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Mecklenburg GOP Chairman: extended voting causes 'stress'

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 10:52 AM

The Charlotte Observer reports that Mecklenburg County Republican Party Chairman Lee Teague opposes the county's extension of voting hours on Saturday, in part because it is "unfair to election workers, who are already stressed." (The paper provided no direct quotes from Teague.) So, in addition to voting being an affront to democracy, it now is tough on election workers. Maybe we should give them an extended lunch break on Tuesday?...

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The bailout: Inside U.S. Rep. Howard Coble's mind

Posted By on Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 9:04 AM

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble of N.C. who initially voted no, then switched his vote to yes on the bailout bill, is among several House members profiled in a New York Times piece taking readers through their minds as they mulled whether how to vote on the bailout. He called the vote one of the most difficult he has ever cast. “Half of my constituents will be annoyed with me, and half will be pleased,” he said. A Republican, Coble is a 23-year veteran of Congress. He represents the Sixth District, which stretches across the Piedmont, including Greensboro, Burlington, Pinehurst and...

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Friday, October 3, 2008

UNC Housekeepers agree to a deal, no, wait...

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 12:34 PM

North Carolina administrators announced Wednesday that after five months of false starts and failed compromises, a joint committee of university officials and housekeeping staff reached a scheduling agreement...or so they thought. From today's Daily Tar Heel: Though no housekeeping committee members responded to phone calls, some housekeepers reject that claim. “This is nothing housekeepers agreed on,” said Salia Warren, a field organizer of the housekeepers union UE Local 150. “The committee was set up as a sham,” she said. “It was clear that whether housekeepers want it or not, it’s going to happen. The plan currently on the table would...

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mall restricts minors

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 3:41 PM

Fallout from the July brawl at the Triangle Town Center continued this week as officials announced that the Raleigh mall will restrict unaccompanied minors on Fridays and Saturdays after 5p.m., reports the News & Observer....

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