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Monday, August 13, 2012

Pain in the Ass fails to make short list for I-40/440 construction name

Posted by on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Neither Pain in the Ass nor Royal Goat Fuck made the cut for naming for the interstate project that will ensnare traffic for 11 miles and three years on I-40/440. We know, you can't win if you don't enter.

Nonetheless, the public offered some wonderful turns of phrase.

The N.C. Department of Transportation launched a naming project for the road rebuild, due to begin in spring/summer of 2013. The project, according to the N.C. DOT, could funnel traffic down to two lanes along the southern part of the Beltline from U.S. 1 in Cary to U.S. 64/264 in east Raleigh.

Workers will excavate and replace 30-year-old concrete and asphalt and repair shoulders and ramps.

Below is the list of five finalists. The public can vote until Thursday at noon at http://tinyurl.com/I40Rebuild
Carmuda Triangle
Crawleigh
South-Wake Remake
Southern Discomfort
Wake-Over

Here is the list of honorable mentions, although they are ineligible to win:
Lane-Sanity
Fortyfication
I-40; Duke-0
Tar Hell
40 Shades of Congestion
Lanes of Pain
Shouldhavebuiltalightrailinstead
Lordylordygetmeoffforty
Numb Buns
Contructipation
Y'all Crawl

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    Thursday is the deadline to name the craptastic interstate construction project

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

A poultry poll: Eat mor conservatives

Posted by on Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Forget Obama vs. Romney or Dalton vs. McCrory. Public Policy Polling has finally surveyed North Carolinians on the most important social issue of the day: What’s your favorite fast-food chicken joint?

No, not the elbow or the knee, but—wait for it—Chick-fil-A!

Forty percent of North Carolina voters surveyed said Chick-fil-A is their favorite fast food chicken place. KFC came in second with 23 percent, followed by Bojangles at 18 percent.

When you break down the results in terms of ideology, conservatives prefer Chick-fil-A, probably because of the chain’s anti-gay, über right-wing stance, while liberals opt for KFC, perhaps because Colonel Sanders resembles Karl Marx, if Marx trimmed his beard and wore glasses and a Western tie.

Meanwhile, those damn carpetbaggers are tilting the poultry poll in favor of KFC, writes PPP’s
Tom Jensen:

“The biggest headscratcher to me and others on this poll was KFC outpolling the far superior Bojangles (this is one instance where I'm going to insert my opinion in the polling) for second place. This appears to be a product of the excess yankification of North Carolina. Bojangles and KFC tie at 21 percent among North Carolina natives, but the transplants go for KFC by a 26/13 margin. Perhaps with time they will see the error of their ways.”

Read more at the PPP website, including the scintillating factoid that Tar Heels love to clog their arteries on a diet of Wendy's hamburgers.

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    North Carolina voters prefer Chick-fil-A

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Durham rallies around Sikh community

Posted by on Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 10:37 AM


Sikh Gurudwara of NC Vigil for Oak Creek Victims - Images by Independent Weekly

More than 700 pairs of shoes filled the designated cubbies at the entrance of the Sikh Gurudwara of North Carolina Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to remember the nine victims and the gunman of the recent shooting at a temple in Wisconsin.

"Everybody has come forward in the community as well as outside the community and asked 'How can we help?'" said Paramjeet Singh, a member of the board of trustees at the Sikh Gurudwara of N.C.

On Aug. 5, Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran who served at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, entered the Sikh religious center in Oak Creek, Wis., and killed six people and wounded three others, including police officer Brian Murphy.

Sikhism is the fifth most-practiced religion in the world. It's relatively new to the United States—an estimated 500,000 Americans practice the faith—and the Triangle. In the U.S., it is often mistaken for other religions, such as Islam. Since 9/11, Sikhs have been confused with Islamic religious groups, including the Taliban.

Sikh men and women are required to cover their hair. Sikh men wear a turban and cannot cut their hair. "All these Taliban ... unfortunately wear turbans and we are caught in the middle," Singh said. "We have nothing to do with them—we have no idea what they believe in, we are from a different place, we do not share their beliefs, but only because we wear turbans and we keep beards, people mistake us for Taliban."

Dr. Daljit Cabe, who delivered remarks before the vigil, said that when he arrived in North Carolina in the ’70s, there were 10 to 15 Sikh families living in the state. Now he estimates more than 500 live and work in the area.

The Gurudwara welcomed everyone and provided food and head scarves for the ceremony preceding the vigil.

"This is our family," Dr. Cabe said. "All of you right here."

Archana Gowda, who practices Hinduism, attended the candlelight vigil and says she was impressed by the diversity of people there.

"The service tonight was just really amazing," she said. "People from all these different faiths were coming together and (were) here in solidarity, and I think that just speaks volumes about Durham (and) about this particular area of North Carolina."

Cabe and other speakers, including non-Sikhs, emphasized the importance of using Wisconsin as a way to educate the public about the Sikh religion but also the importance of forgiveness and humanity.

"I think people need to have a dialogue and learn to open your doors of your faith like they did tonight," said Gagan Singh, a Sikh from Raleigh. "This should be more frequent. It shouldn't happen just because of the shooting."

A fundamental tenet of Sikhism is acceptance and equal treatment of all people, which includes people like Page who have directly harmed the community, Paramjeet Singh said.

"As a Sikh, first and foremost, the most important thing is to pray for every human being," he said. "Yes, Mr. Page killed a few of the community members, but as a Sikh it's my fundamental responsibility to pray for him too, and I have been praying for him and his family."

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    In Durham, hundreds turn out for candlelight vigil at Sikh Gurudwara.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Did the July heat suck or what?

Posted by on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM

The weather in July in the Triangle was magnificent—if you're a volcano. Or a steel foundry. Or a cactus.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport was one of 173 places in the U.S. that set all-time records for the highest temperature in July.

RDU hit 105 degrees on July 8; the previous record was set just nine days earlier, on June 30, which also climbed to 105 degrees.

In fact, July was the hottest month on record for the U.S., according to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which released a report today detailing the record-breaking temperatures.

Among the findings:
More than 4,400 places in the U.S. set daily records for the hottest daytime temperatures.
3,673 places hit daily records for the hottest nighttime temperatures.

NOAA examined historical data for all January—July time periods since 1895. In North Carolina, January through July 2012 was the hottest time period in the state in 118 years. The temperature was 2.9 degrees above the average.

Geek out on the data here:
Select cities' July records
State-by-state records for July and January—July
The 4,420 places that set daily records

The 3,673 places with the hottest nighttime temps

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    July was the hottest month on record in the U.S.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Justice Comes For Blackwater Kinda

Posted by on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Does the name Academi, LLC ring a bell? It's what the private security contractor that once traded under the name Blackwater Worldwide is now called. That's the same Blackwater that found itself embroiled in scandal after its personnel were involved in a 2007 shootout in Baghdad in which 17 Iraqi civilians died.

This afternoon, a North Carolina federal judge unsealed documents detailing the firm's 2010 settlement with the U.S. State Department over multiple violations of the federal Arms Export Control Act. Given the firm's reputation, the details are about what you'd expect of a security contractor operating in a theater of war with limited bureaucratic oversight.

According to court documents, the charges—17 in all—range from bureaucratic violations like failing to obtain a license from the U.S. state department to provide military training to overseas—in this particular instance, "overseas" refers to Canada—military and law enforcement personnel, to charges that in 2005, company employees lied to officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms about gifting the King of Jordan and/or his personnel with firearms.

In addition to admitting to the violations, the company has agreed to pay $42 million settlement. That's on top of a $7.5 million fine. Court documents say that Academi/Blackwater has made efforts to "reform its conduct and to mitigate the damage caused by that conduct." And here it's worth noting that, according to the firm's Wikipedia page Academi remains the largest of three private security firms contracted by the U.S. government.

See the full documents here:Academi__National_-_CRD_.pdf

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Carrboro Family Dollar hits another snag

Posted by on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Carrboro planners may have rebuffed a Family Dollar developer's designs for settling in an Alabama Avenue historic neighborhood, but local opponents of the discount store aren't breaking out the party hats and streamers just yet.

"We've been having these small victories," said community resident Anissa McLendon. "But we can't celebrate 100 percent, maybe we can celebrate about 80 percent."

McLendon, along with a band of fired-up neighbors, has led protests and even a march to stymie Raleigh-based builder Will Stronach's plans to build a 8,100-square-foot Family Dollar in the largely residential community.

The discount store would be built on less than an acre near the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Jones Ferry Road. Residents in the tightly-knit Alabama Avenue community have been largely unified for more than a year in their quest to jettison Family Dollar plans.

McLendon's guarded optimism comes after Carrboro Development Review Administrator Marty Roupe wrote in a July 20 letter that a builder plan to pipe drainage water off of the Alabama Avenue site clashes with town ordinances that development "shall conform to the natural contours of the land and natural drainage ways shall remain undisturbed."

By piping the drainage off-site, the builder hoped to avoid town rules requiring Stronach receive a variance from town regulations on an ephemeral stream, a temporary waterway created by precipitation. Carrboro land maps denote one such stream on the Alabama Avenue plot.

The builder contends a pipe running beneath a nearby convenience store "artificially" increases the flow on the Alabama Avenue tract, and that piping the flow to the town's drainage system on Jones Ferry Road would render the variance unnecessary.

Carrboro staff would not give their blessing.

The decision is the latest snag for Family Dollar, a Matthews-based chain that residents worried would beget heavy traffic and crime for the neighborhood. In June, Stronach—who did not return an Indy phone call this week—withdrew his application after the Carrboro Board of Adjustment rejected the stream variance. Reps for the builder have been inquiring about his options with town staff in the weeks since.

Following Family Dollar's latest defeat, McLendon said Tuesday that locals hope the developer gets the message. "Maybe they will just go find another lot that would be suitable for their needs," she said.

Family Dollar foes hope to deal another blow to the proposal in September, which is when officials on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen are expected to consider rezoning the Alabama Avenue tract for residential uses. The move would require any future commercial development plans go before the town's elected leaders for rezoning.

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