News (and a New Website) for Budget Geeks

BY: - January 30, 2007

The General Assembly's Fiscal Research Division folks kicked off the annual dance that is the state budget making process this morning with a "General Overview of Revenue Availability and the Economic Situation." With little to do so early in the session (House and Senate committees have not even been appointed yet) legislators and lobbyists packed the big […]

In Case You Missed It – Part II…

BY: - January 29, 2007

Though the General Assembly doesn't really figure to get going in earnest for at least a few weeks, the Honorables did adopt a pair of resolutions ("temporary" in the House and "permanent" in the Senate) last week that lay out the framework for this session's legislative calendar. Among the highlights: All "public bills" (i.e., non-money bills) must be […]

In Case You Missed It…

BY: - January 29, 2007

Last week's Independent Weekly had a nice series of pre-legislative session stories by Bob Geary, Lisa Sorg and Fiona Morgan. Among the highlighted figures: my former colleague, Adam Searing of the N.C. Justice Center's Health Access Coalition (at right), who has spent a decade fighting to make Blue Cross/Blue Shield live up to the rhetoric of its omnipresent marketing machine, and […]

NAACP on Witnessing Executions and More

BY: - January 26, 2007

"I have decided that we must bear witness to the suffering our State inflicts on another human being, so I can report to the people what is done in their name." One angle on the story surrounding the state's bumbled efforts to carry out its planned three-week, death penalty marathon (kill-a-thon?) in recent days was […]

No Doctor in the Big House

BY: - January 25, 2007

I'm pleased to see that a Wake County judge has suspended two executions scheduled for the next two Fridays until the state can figure out a way to do it without a doctor present.   The law requires a doctor to be present at executions carried out by lethal injection.  But, under a new NC Medical […]

Executions on Hold

BY: - January 25, 2007

   As had seemed likely after yesterday's preliminary ruling that gave Governor Easley and the council of state until 10:00 this morning to come up with a way to execute folks that somehow bridged the gap between what doctors say they can do and what state law appears to require them to do, Judge Don Stephens […]

Mostly Common Sense at Common Sense Event

BY: - January 25, 2007

Speakers at this morning's Common Sense Foundation "Legislative Preview Breakfast" in Raleigh dished out some decent helpings of common sense to the 40 or so folks in attendance. Senator Janet Cowell (who had to leave early to attend a mandatory ethics session for all members of the Senate) and Rep. Alice Graham Underhill offered their takes on any number of […]

Gaga for Google

BY: - January 25, 2007

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” That was my high school biology teacher’s favorite expression. He used it every time he wanted to remind us about the trade-offs in nature. Nothing is gained without something else being lost. Even when the trade-offs aren’t immediately apparent, they still exist. It’s true in nature and […]

Cannibalism or Tabasco?

BY: - January 24, 2007

The N&O had an article about addiction Wednesday in which an intervention specialist (and recovering junkie) likens addiction's effects on families to cannibalism.  But just last night Tom Shaheen, our lottery czar — sorry, our Education Lottery czar — implied that a gambling problem is more like an excess of hot sauce.  Have you seen […]

New Poll Tests Easley v. Dole, Troop Surge

BY: - January 24, 2007

Public Policy Polling, an increasingly influential and prolific Raleigh-based polling outfit, has just released a poll that takes the temperature of likely voters on two highly interesting topics: 1) How would Governor Easley fare in a 2008 general election challenge of Senator Dole; and 2) voter attitudes on the war in Iraq. Here are two of the highlights: […]

Justice Center Hires New Director

BY: - January 24, 2007

After a long search, the N.C. Justice Center, North Carolina's most important anti-poverty advocacy group, has hired a new director. It was worth the wait. The choice, Melinda Lawrence, is an experienced civil rights lawyer with deep roots in the state's progressive advocacy community. She starts February 5. Read the Center's media release here. 

Pro-Choice Event Honors Young and Old

BY: - January 23, 2007

Yesterday's Roe v. Wade commemoration (it was the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision) by Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina had a nice touch. The group presented an award for youth leadership to a young pro-choice organizer named Natalie Fixmer and honored the career of retired state lawmaker Bertha "B" Holt with the unveiling of a new "Legislative Courage […]