We've heard about the crackdown on dissidents during the Olympics in Beijing; now the cops are using similar tactics against protesters-to-be in Minneapolis-St. Paul in advance of the Republican National Convention, according to Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, who posts video with his story. SWAT teams are busting down doors and handcuffing suspected protesters while searching their homes and seizing computers, journals and other pocket litter. Students from UNC are headed to the RNC to protest; we'll being keeping tabs on what they encounter.
The Daily Green briefly assesses the enviro creds of GOP Veep nominee Sarah Palin. Newsflash: She doesn't believe in global warming and she sued the feds to remove polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Well, once the polar bears, displaced by melting ice, drown in the sea, they will be neither threatened or endangered. Just extinct.
Meanwhile Timothy Egan blogs for The New York Times, writing:
She hunts! She fishes! She eats moose burgers! She can gut a salmon as well as dispatch an incumbent governor! She’s a rural mother of five who clings to guns and religion -– exuberantly!
The Department of Health and Human Services sent an advisory this week to their employees and contractors reminding them that political activity on the job is a no-no under federal law. While that makes sense, even political conversations are apparently off-limits. So no chatting around the water cooler about Obama's amazing convention speech or how McCain's veep pick is a transparent pandering to women.
BlueNC features a hilarious spoof on McCain, his VP search and how he arrived at choosing Sarah Palin, Alaska guv and former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,236.
Morrisville's Board of Commissioners (as of Monday, renamed Town Council) is considering a proposal to give the town's planning director the authority to approve development proposals for a long list of projects -- from single-family subdivisions to office and commercial buildings under 40,000 square feet -- so long as they conform to current zoning regulations and other ordinances. Also on the list of projects: hotels, public buildings such as schools and rec centers, and projects in the town center. There would be no public hearings on the proposed developments, just public notice on the town's Web site. (Click here for a PDF of the administrative proposal.)
An anonymous blogger at Citizens For Morrisville thinks this is a bad idea. "The proposal removes public oversight on most of the future building projects in Morrisville," the blogger writes.
The little town near the RDU airport is growing fast these days. It's in the middle of evaluating its Land Use Transportation Plan, which will set a development course for many years to come. The next meeting on the LUTP will happen next Tuesday, Sept. 2, and the next public hearing is Oct. 28.
More than three-quarters of local residents are aware of the Durham Performing Arts Center, although they may not know how to dress for it. The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau released results of a study today showing that public awareness of DPAC, due to open later this year, is greater than that of megamall Streets of Southpoint nearly a year after it opened.
The report goes on to state that there are lingering questions about DPAC such as dress code, parking and tickets. Here is the press release, misspellings, included:
DPAC Awareness Level Trancends The Streets at Southpoint It appears that general awareness is not a problem for the new Durham Performing Arts Center A survey in June revealed that even before the doors open it is known by 77% of residents and 40% of residents in nearby counties with 20% uncertain or undecided. Awareness in surrounding communities exceeds awareness of The Streets At Southpoint, Durham’s super regional shopping mall, nearly a year after it had opened. So the remaining challenge is “logistical awareness”, e.g. dress code, driving directions, parking, tickets, etc. This is similar to the marketing required of Durham’s signature restaurants. They may have great reviews and name identity but people still have logistical questions. DPAC collaborated with the Durham Convention & Visitors Buearu on the survey, conducted by Catevo Group with a plus or minus 4.9% margin of error.
NC State University students are allegedly damaging low-flow faucets and showers installed earlier this year to conserve water. WRAL.com quotes senior Christine Fischer as saying:
"They're trying to make it more efficient, but I don't think that they think about the fact we're taking longer showers because the water pressure is low."
Mother Jones' latest Student Activism Survey showing that 29 percent of students polled said global warming and the environment were among their most important issues.
Guess the NC State students are in the other 71 percent.
As Hurricane Gustav heads for the Gulf toward New Orleans, Facing South, the blog of the Institute for Southern Studies, has issued its three-year anniversary retrospective of Hurricane Katrina and the government's pathetic and apathetic response to the disaster. For a quick, and yes, painful read, check out the Pain Index, which ranks N.O. as the No. 1 U.S. in vacant and ruined housing.
Among the speakers who'll address the stadium crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Denver tonight is Jonathan Kuniholm, an Iraq War veteran who lost his arm in combat and went on to found the Open Prosthetics Project with his colleagues at the Durham firm Tackle Design.
(Incidentally, another Tackle Design partner, Chuck Messer, is now co-host of a Discover Channel TV show called Smash Lab.)
Meanwhile, the fearless LGBT blogger Pam Spaulding and two of her co-bloggers at Pam's House Blend continue to blog the DNC. Spaulding was featured in last week's New York Times story about the historic inclusion of bloggers among convention media.
Several local Democratic delegates are also blogging their experience at the DNC. Blue NC has ongoing updates from a few of them. N.C. Rep. Ty Harrell, an official delegate, is not only blogging at his re-election campaign site, he's Twittering, too.
O little town of Carrboro, how high will we see thee rise? The Carrboro Citizen reports the town's Board of Aldermen approved a five-story condominium project Tuesday night, while deciding to continue the conversation on next-door property 300 East Main, which the paper calls "one of the largest redevelopment projects in Carrboro history." The proposed redevelopment of the well-worn strip mall that currently houses the ArtsCenter and Cat's Cradle would create a new home for those venues and add a Hilton and a five- (or maybe six-?) story parking deck. The Daily Tar Heel's story includes a rendering of the proposed development. The Chapel Hill Herald also has this report (registration required). (For a much more detailed look at the proposal, check out this large PDF from the town's site.)
The long debate about the future of the former mill village--how high to build in a town that loves being small, how many cars to accommodate in a community that's proud to be walkable--seems to be coming to a head.