The three Democrats jockeying for the party nomination for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Republican Richard Burr each are rolling out endorsements in a final push for contributions before tonight's financial reporting deadline.
Hopeful Cal Cunningham notched support from the N.C. Association of Educators, group of 65,000.
Candidate Ken Lewis, a Chapel Hill resident and Durham lawyer, picked up Harvey Gantt's seal of approval. Gantt was the Democratic candidate who ran against Jesse Helms 1990 and 1996 Senate races.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall can add former Sen. Robert Morgan, D-NC, to her list of supporters.
Editor's note: This is the first in four U.S. Senate candidate profiles that will be posted in this space during the next few days to help voters get a better idea of who's running in the May 4 Democratic Primary.
Marcus Williams is the only Democrat running for the U.S. Senate that answers the phone at his campaign headquarters (in his case, it's also his law practice).
"Attorney Williams," he says, in a deep bellowing voice.
He's also the only one who can defeat Richard Burr, he says.
"I believe I am the one person who can beat him because I'm most experienced in the things that matter," the Lumberton lawyer said. "We're sharper on the issues in an extensive and broad way and I can handle Mr. Burr in a debate, and that's going to show."
Numbers don't back that up, though. Williams doesn't even show up in surveys by Public Policy Polling and the Rasmussen Reports and he finished third in the Democratic Primary during the 2008 U.S. Senate race, more than 600,000 votes short of Kay Hagan's total.
So what makes him so sure?
"My mom used to say I was hyperactive, but my involvement has been extensive in the community," he said.
Hillsborough Police Lt. Davis Trimmer will serve as interim chief of the department beginning April 2, replacing current top cop Clarence Birkhead who is stepping down to amp up his run for county sheriff.
Trimmer, a commander of the Criminal Investigations Unit, joined the department four years ago after 13 years as an officer at Duke University. He now is charged with overseeing 32 employees and a $2.4 million budget until the town finds a replacement.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead the department through this transition period,” Trimmer said in a press release. “Naturally, I am sorry to see Chief Birkhead go and I wish him the best in his campaign for sheriff. Working for him has been a tremendous learning experience for me.”
Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham have both picked up key endorsements in the Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate.
Marshall, who serves as secretary of state, garnered support from the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg on Sunday. The group is the largest African American political organization in the North Carolina, according to a press release announcing the endorsement.
"I am honored and humbled by their endorsement," Marshall said in the release. “For over 40 years, the Black Political Caucus has been an important voice for justice and equality.”
Cunningham now can count retired Gen. Wesley Clark among his advocates. Clark, who ran for president in 2004 and served 34 years in the military, wrote in a letter that he supports Cunningham because of his military service, and his pledge to reduce dependence on foreign oil and end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Toluene, ethyl glycol and propylene glycol were detected earlier this month after facility operators smelled an “unusual odor” coming from the septic tank of the domestic wastewater system, according to a letter sent yesterday from UNC to N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Water Quality.
These chemicals are being used in construction at the site and according to an e-mail sent from UNC to neighbors of the facility, it is believed the chemicals reached the septic tank through the sewer lines from the new building. The chemicals remain inside a storage area used for holding wastewater until it can be pumped and hauled away.
Toluene may affect the nervous system. Low to moderate levels can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped.
Inhaling high levels of toluene in a short time can causes dizziness or sleepy. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death. High levels of toluene may affect the kidneys.
Whether it be over college basketball, or vying for Google Fiber, there are some folks in the Triangle who just LOVE turning everything into a competition. That said, residents in Chatham County is leaving the rest of the Triangle in the dust when it comes to returning its U.S. Census forms. Durham (cough, cough) is choking on that dust.
Numbers will be updated today at 4 p.m., but as of now, these are how the rankings shake out:
(Percentages of U.S. Census recipients who have mailed them back)
Well, maybe this series already has gotten boring. But what I mean is that, having discovered that not drinking for an extended period really isn't that big of a deal, I have now reached the stage where I'm merely twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the experiment to lope to its appointed end; which is to say, in turn, that it is perhaps a bigger deal than I am able to recognize, since, if it wasn't, I wouldn't have much awareness at all of anticipating my next opportunity to drink. It'd be, "Oh, I haven't had a drink in a month? Really?" I do want to drink, of course, and I continue to supplant actual drinking with the purchase and reading of wine. The restaurant just got hit up with a pair of close-out lists from two of our biggest distributors, and let's just say that I helped us make quite a dent. Really, at these prices, you'd be stupid not to buy.
But I can successfully not drink, and with minimal complaint. The question that remains has to do with how long it would be likely to take for me to truly get beyond drinking. Some of it is probably about change at the molecular level, but much more of it requires sheer mental conditioning. I have friends who don't drink at all and would no more consider doing so than they would think of guzzling yak's milk (that's something that other people do, in some other world). Over time, they've not only lost the habit of drinking but have developed an aversion to it, or at least they've built the impervious habit of not drinking. I suspect it would take something like a year to really get beyond the desire altogether, and probably would require generating an entirely different context of living: another job, another place, another culture. (I am surrounded by and serve alcohol four or five nights a week, and I help buy it for my business.) But then, every culture has its forms of ritual intoxication, and in Bhutan or Botswana or Brainerd I would find other means of anesthetic and pleasure.
If that's the case, then is it also true that the logical extension of abstention is something like a life of asceticism or monkishness, devoted to pure worship or contemplation? That has appeal, to be sure, and I've even had passing flirtations with such a life; but how many of us really, permanently embrace it---especially in the acquisitive and highly social West?
I had a peer acquaintance in college who, as a freshman, was a superb actor, an advanced thinker (he was already studying biomedical ethics at age 18) and a really nice guy who was fun to hang out with. After college he gave up everything and joined a monastery, where he changed his name and his life. All of his intelligence, warmth, vitality, generosity---all of his gifts---were pledged to the narrow world inside the walls. (I have to note here the irony that monks have historically made some of our finest alcoholic drinks.) I kind of miss him. And I suppose that, while I'm not drinking at all, I kind of miss myself, too, in a way.
What can you give up and still be you? What enjoyments, habits, relationships and objects are attached to you so deeply that you are unrecognizable---to yourself or others---without them? Strip away the padding and are you just a quivering mess, scrabbling for anchorage on something, someone? Unchained, do you become vulnerable in unimaginable ways? What would absolutely kill you not to have? Or, to turn it around, think of how much you possess, how much you do, how much you believe, that you could actually do away with.
Here is one of the most famous passages in English literature:
... [W]e do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.
That's from George Eliot's Middlemarch, and it's been on my mind lately. I've always found it compelling yet slightly impenetrable, like some of Eliot's other marquee lines---I even named one of my plays after one of them. But the one above seems to make much more sense to me these days.
Hillsborough needs a new police chief after four-year veteran Clarence Birkhead announced his resignation today, choosing to focus squarely on his bid for the Orange County sheriff post.
“I feel that I should devote all of my energies to my campaign,” Birkhead wrote in a resignation letter. “Under the circumstances, I feel it is best for the Town of Hillsborough and my campaign to step down.”
His last day will be April 2. The town plans to name an interim chief next week and select a successor in the next six months. Birkhead earned $92,751 annually. He accepted the job as Hillsborough police chief in 2005 having previously served in the same role at Duke University for since 1998.
Durham Mayor Bill Bell endorsed Ken Lewis for U.S. Senate today, joining two former local mayors in backing the local lawyer in the May 4 Democratic primary.
“During the more than 20 years I have known Ken as a business lawyer and community leader in the Durham area; I have seen the breadth of his experience. In this brutal recession, Ken’s strong record is exactly the leadership experience North Carolina needs," Bell said in a press release.
Lewis, a Chapel Hill resident with a Durham law practice, is running against five competitors in the fight for Richard Burr's senate seat.
Numbers released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling showed N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall leading primary race with 20 percent compared to 16 percent for former State Sen. Cal Cunningham and 11 percent for Lewis. The survey also showed Lewis gaining momentum, earning a six point jump during the last month.
CHAPEL HILL — The congregants at Chapel Hill’s Church of Reconciliation gathered in the parking lot Sunday afternoon to dedicate a banner denouncing torture for the third time. Two previous signs were cut down and pilfered during the past two years, most recently in December. The new one hangs between two trees and is reinforced with wire cables instead of string. It’s also a few feet higher, now about 20, than the previous signs.
“It’s closer to God,” organizer Barry Freeman said fittingly.
“Apparently someone feels very strongly that we should not be protesting the use of torture,” Pastor Mark Davidson told the group of 50 who gathered for the dedication. “This is a crucially important witness, and we will continue to make it. Actually, I think the third time is the charm. This banner is the best of the lot.”