...Politics & Current Events In N.C.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

A cautious look at immigration 

Comments[ ]
Last April N.C. Senator Ham Horton, a Republican from Forsyth County, made an interesting comment about the nature of being Southern. According to the Winston-Salem Journal he said, "I suggest that the true Southland is the territory within which, when asked by an outsider whether he is a Southerner, the reply almost invariably is 'Hell Yes!'" Perhaps this is the reason why so many people were upset by President Bush's proposed immigration policy. Based on Sen. Horton's argument, it may not be long before much of North Carolina becomes part of Latin America or Vietnam. But then again, there are parts of North Carolina that might be considered part of New England, and there is an area near the Research Triangle that seems more like part of California.

This is the story of modern North Carolina. We have many cultural backgrounds and yet we share one state and one stratified yet unified culture. The Hispanic workers living amongst us, whether they are citizens or undocumented are part of our state's population. They work for North Carolina's companies and farmers, they live in North Carolinian houses, and their children attend North Carolina's schools. And our current laws are simply unfair and unjust to many Hispanic families.

The Raleigh News & Observer makes the case.

An even-handed policy should be the goal, but what we have is far from that. Ignoring immigration laws is so profitable for businesses and millions of impoverished Mexicans that the policy's failure feeds public cynicism about government. Those who immigrate illegally lack the power to protest the squalor many of them are forced to live in here. And all Americans are shamed by such exploitation.

In a nutshell, the president's proposal would let foreigners, whether here illegally or abroad, apply for three-year passes to work in the United States at jobs lined up in advance. Employers would have to show that Americans didn't want the jobs and pay their foreign temporaries the minimum wage as well as their Social Security taxes. Workers could apply to renew their passes, but when the second term expired, they would have to return home. [Editor's note: The number of three-year passes available to immigrants varies depending on the source]

By treating immigrants the same as Americans on the job, the policy achieves a welcome measure of justice. Theoretically, better-paid farm workers could afford decent living conditions, in contrast to the dirty, crowded hovels that migrants are too often found living in near some of North Carolina's farm fields. Their legal status should eliminate the fear of speaking out against abusive practices. And unlike the small guest worker programs available now, Bush's offer would be open to millions, including the 8 million or so undocumented workers already in the U.S. About half are said to be Mexican.

Some critics, however, have argued that the proposed legislation does not go far enough. North Carolina Senator and Presidential Candidate John Edwards said, "President Bush's election-year plan violates our country's most fundamental principles: We are a nation of immigrants who are equals, not second-class guest workers, and we believe in equal rights and equal treatment for all."

It is too difficult at this point to make a full evaluation of the program, largely because the details have not been fully released. However, two things can definitely be concluded today. First, policy makers should make sure that they are not repeating the mistakes of the past.

The braceros program--named after "brazo,'' the Spanish word for arm--was the first of the two earlier efforts. Under an agreement between the United States and Mexico, as many as 5 million temporary workers crossed the border to fill a labor shortage caused by the Second World War, said Oscar Martinez, a history professor at the University of Arizona.

But the braceros, who worked mostly in agriculture, didn't have many of the same rights as Americans. "Braceros were at the mercy of the employers,'' Martinez said. "There was limited government oversight and there were lots of abuses.''

Many workers lived in overcrowded camps, and were denied medical assistance and the right to organize, advocates say.

Some braceros are still engaged in a legal battle with the U.S. and Mexican governments, seeking money that was set aside in savings funds to be paid to them once they returned to Mexico.

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said lawmakers should remember what happened. "If you want to establish any kind of guest worker program, we've got to make sure that we treat people with dignity,'' by ensuring "they be given the same wages, the same benefits that anyone else would get doing the same kind of work.''

The second conclusion that can be made even without the full details of the new plan is that Pres. Bush's decision will make the issue of immigration an important question in this year's elections. And this means that there is a danger that politicians may demagogue the issue.

Partly this has to do with the fact that this is an issue that divides America deeply. And the divide isn't just along ideological lines. On the issue of immigration many Americans are divided from their own leaders. Just look at this article in the Washington Times.

Most Americans adamantly oppose both increasing the amount of legal immigration to the United States and legalizing those immigrants now here illegally, the two key elements in President Bush's immigration overhaul proposal.

On no other foreign policy issue do average Americans disagree more with government and business leaders and other "elites" than on immigration.

"The number of people who want immigration increased is very small," said Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies. "If 55 or 60 percent of the public wants less immigration, a third wants it the same and 7 percent wants it more - [Mr. Bush] is going for that 7 percent."

In North Carolina opposition to easing immigration rules is even more strongly opposed than in the nation as a whole.

The Raleigh News & Observer:

North Carolina had the nation's fastest-growing population of immigrants in the 1990s, but a new poll suggests that many North Carolinians would be happy to see the new arrivals go home.

Three-fourths of North Carolinians think the United States admits too many legal immigrants, according to the poll commissioned by The News & Observer.

About the same number think Mexicans who came here illegally for work should not be allowed to remain, even if they are otherwise law-abiding.

The poll confirmed what many undocumented workers know.

In North Carolina the division will most likely be drawn down the line at the DMV.

Even Easley has jumped on the issue of driver licensing, though he has focused on improving the security of the process, citing the need for greater scrutiny in the post-9/11 era.

Last week, the DMV announced stricter identification requirements. Starting Feb. 2, license applicants must prove residence and will have fewer choices of identification they may show to qualify. For instance, the popular matricula consular issued by the Mexican government will no longer be accepted.

Many Republicans say those steps aren't enough. And Shubert flatly criticized Bush's proposed immigration overhaul.

"I fear with any time you basically reward people for breaking the law, it encourages others to do the same thing," Shubert said. She also argued that the measure would drive down wages for American workers.

Other Republicans are more cautious. Vinroot, whose father came to the United States from Sweden, made clear that he is not "anti-immigration." And Cobey applauded the president for addressing an issue that he has long supported.

"We have a lot of illegal laborers in here doing productive work in our economy," Cobey said. "We need to quickly have a comprehensive solution that allows for this needed labor to be in our state but to be in here legally."

Easley, too, issued a statement Wednesday supporting the president's proposal.

So far not many candidates in either party are foolish enough to use dissatisfaction with immigrants to resort to popular yet destructive scapegoating.

Such measured statements are smart, said state Rep. Danny McComas of Wilmington, one of just two Latinos in the state legislature. Anti-immigrant rhetoric might draw votes in the Republican primary this year, but it could delay the GOP's longer-term courtship of Spanish-speaking voters, he said.

"I think both parties have to be very careful about it," McComas said. " ... [T]here is a large number of U.S. citizens of Hispanic heritage, especially in and about Wake County. You've got Research Triangle Park. You've got the universities. You've got businesses. These are professional, white-collar people that have been employed and are residents and taxpaying citizens of North Carolina."

It is important to have a healthy debate about this issue in the coming months. The events of September 11th make clear that immigrantion poliies have serious implications for national security as well as economic policy. However, it is also important to be vigilant against politicians who choose to use immigrants as scapegoats and fail to work for this new and important community in the North Carolina cultural landscape.

Democratic Meetup 

Comments[ ]
I think one of the best ways to support all the candidates--Bowles, Easley, (your favorite presidential candidate)--is to sign up for the Democratic Meetup.

From Jerome on Kos:

Wednesday, January 21 @ 7:00PM (3rd Wednesday of every month), Meetup for the Democratic Party is happening at a location near you. Did you know that the GOP and the Heritage Foundation's Town Hall Meetup is now larger than the Democratic Party Meetup? It is, leading 18,249 vs 15,353 members. Take action people,sign up, make it happen.

Here in North Carolina we have a busy year. Bowles must win to have any chance of taking back the senate, we have two open congressional seats and possibly two more (Taylor and Hayes) Republicans who are vulnerable. We also have the Governor's race and all of the council of state.

Sign up, and get active in the state. The alternative is not pretty.

Friday, January 09, 2004

My Atrios Impression 

Comments[ ]
Dear Greensboro News-Record:

You have a very nice website. It is easy to navigate, and looks pretty good. However, have you considered putting up some content?

I don't want to be nasty, but it really does confuse me. Part of my "job" every morning is to post links up to news around the state, but a lot of the time I can't find articles on your site. The last I checked you guys have the third largest circulation in the state, but even the Fayetteville Paper has more of their articles posted up on a daily basis. You guys have a really nice site, but almost no articles. What's up?



Another day, another news cycle 

Comments[ ]
My news summary for today is here

My select picks for today:

Bowles would have supported Medicare Bill

Charlotte Observer:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles said Thursday he supports the recently signed Medicare reform bill -- one most Senate Democrats opposed.

Bowles' remark came in response to a question during an appearance before more than 200 members of the Charlotte Senior Forum, a group of retired professionals.

"I thought it was a step in the right direction," he said of the legislation.

AND we have this great John Locke moment:

John Locke opposes increased quality of life

For reasons that cannot be completely explained to a mildly rational human, the John Locke Foundation is holding a conference on Saturday to oppose smart growth in North Carolina.

Using a lead that should draw a letter to the editor the Raleigh News & Observer reports:

The John Locke Foundation has invited local politicians from across the state to Research Triangle Park on Saturday to hear some of the nation's best-known critics of curbs on development.

The return of good times will lead to renewed calls for tougher zoning and development rules that restrict what people can do with their property, said John Hood, president of the Raleigh-based foundation, which publishes reports and hosts events promoting limited government.

But they do some good reporting and interview some people who are slightly more coherent in their thinking.

Jack Smith, an ally of Lang's on the Cary Town Council, said smart growth is a balance between private property rights and the kind of planning that makes a community a good place to live. Smith said the Locke Foundation tends to put property rights above all else.

"If you have that philosophy, it's like nothing else matters," he said. "But the reality is, we have congestion, we have growth, that when there isn't planning applied to it can get pretty silly."

Related link: Project tests Greensboro's comprehensive plan

Dean's NASCAR Dad 

Comments[ ]
The great thing about watching the Dean campaign work is to see the inventive and effective campaign strategies that thousands of individuals who are not only volunteers, but leaders, can manage.

Today in the Charlotte Observer is this story.

Forget buttons and bumper stickers. This political sign travels at 190 miles an hour.

NASCAR Busch Series driver Brian Weber of Mooresville said Thursday that he will stamp "Howard Dean for President" in big letters on his Monte Carlo and head for Daytona.

The Dean campaign isn't sponsoring the effort. Rather, Weber is asking the candidate's supporters to send him contributions so he can enter as many races as he can afford this season.

He said he wants to spread the Vermont Democrat's message to racetrack crowds and the roughly 2 million viewers who watch Busch races on television.

Weber, 37, said he never voted in an election before and considers himself a "centrist." He became a Dean convert on a friend's suggestion after a racing sponsor fell through a month ago.

Asked why he wants to drive a Dean car, Weber extended his hand. "It's the calluses," he said. "He's not afraid to work."

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Smart Growth Really Is Smart 

Comments[ ]
Here are a few interesting facts.

1) North Carolina was the 6th fasting growing state in the 1990's. Most of these new residents are moving to major metropolitan areas. In fact, 63 percent of new residents in the 1980's and 1990's moved to Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Greensboro/Winston-Salem.

2) In Money Magazine's, "The Best Paces to Live, 2000" Raleigh-Durham was ranked 2nd, Greensboro/Winston-Salem 11th and Charlotte 12th among large metropolitan areas in the South. Business Development Outlook ranked cities by "quality of life and said that Raleigh came in 7th, Durham was 14th and Winston-Salem was 19th.

It is difficult to prove, but it does not seem far-fetched to say that these two facts are related. One of the things that is driving people and companies to North Carolina is the high "quality of life" that we enjoy. But on the other hand, the rapid expansion of our urban areas may be threatening our quality of life.

And that's where this "smart growth" thing comes in.

Smart Growth is a buzzword thrown around by planning boards and environmentalists to encapsulate one basic principal: growth is not only a result of market forces, but also a response to policy decisions. So if we want our cities to grow in ways that encourage green spaces, protect the local environment, and improve the quality of life for our residents, smart growth would dictate that we make policies that harness market forces instead of simply letting things grow unchecked.

This is exactly what many city planners have been trying to do. They have been attempting to pass "smart growth" policies that encourage growth where they want it, the way they want it.

And we need this planning too. Because as any resident of a major metropolitan area in North Carolina can tell you, unregulated market forces leads to awkward, illogical, ugly, and environmentally unsound development patterns.

But don't take my word for it. In 2000, the Brookings Institution did a study on North Carolina for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation on growth trends and policies. The report, called Adding It Up: Growth Trends & Policies in North Carolina, issued the following findings.

Rapid, sprawling growth is threatening the quality of life in many parts of North Carolina and could undermine the state's competitive edge. Growth is taking its toll in metropolitan areas. The state was ranked 5th nationwide in the number of acres of farmland lost between 1992-1997. The Charlotte Region was the 8th worst air quality in the nation - Raleigh-Durham the 17th. Daily vehicle miles of travel are growing significantly in every major metropolitan area. Increasing congestion is frustrating employees stuck in traffic and corporations looking to expand. New beltways will likely worsen the sprawl problem. Infrastructure needs to be expanded and schools need to be built.

Newer evidence concurs with these findings. In 2002, two areas in North Carolina were ranked amongst the worst in the nation for urban sprawl.

Both the Triangle and Triad regions of NC receive worse scores than Atlanta on a new index measuring metropolitan sprawl. According to a new national study, Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact, the Triad region ranks 2nd and the Triangle region ranks 3rd as the most sprawling in the nation. (Charlotte was not ranked due to insufficient data.)

The study measures sprawl, and then examines its relationship with environmental and social impacts. It shows that the daily distance driven per person is more than ten miles more in the most sprawling places than in the least sprawling, adding up to 40 more miles of travel each day for a family of four. The Triad and Triangle average 32 traffic deaths for every 100,000 people, while the least sprawling areas average 23 deaths per 100,000. Ozone pollution levels are 96 and 108 parts per billion, respectively in the Triad and Triangle regions, both exceeding the new proposed eight-hour standard of 85 parts per billion.

"This report suggests that the high degree of sprawl in our metropolitan areas is hurting North Carolinians in a number of ways," said Cara Crisler, Executive Director of the NC Smart Growth Alliance. "For example, we are spending more time in our cars and away from our families; our children are prevented from playing outside on summer days; our streets are less safe and more fatal, and we have few choices concerning how we get from place to place."

It is clear that something needs to be done to make the rapid growth we are experiencing in North Carolina manageable, and to create the kind of communities that we all want to live in. And to a certain extent our state's leaders have been trying to address this issue. Regional and area transit authorities such as CATS in Charlotte are beefing up, and there is some evidence that more people are using these systems. Some cities have passed development guidance plans such as Legacy in Forsyth County. Still better, several cities have engaged in projects to revitalize urban areas with existing infrastructure but little growth. But it is not enough.

In Adding It Up, the authors made this recommendation.

North Carolina needs to grow differently; its growth needs to be more compact and balanced. To accommodate future growth and to avoid the persistent consequences of urban sprawl, growth policies and governance powers must be rethought. State policis, particularly transporatation politicies, that facilitate asprwling development patterns need to be more fundamentally revised. State and local governments must rethink land use policis so that more development occurs in oder areas with infrastructure and not on farmlands, open psaces and sensitive coastal aras. Regional approaches to transpotation and economic development msut be expanded to reflect economic realities.

It calls for a fundamental commitment on the part of city, county, and state officials to grow our state the right way. And it implies that North Carolinians who wish to continue to live near green-spaces, breath clean air, and spend less time snarled in traffic to take the issue seriously.

This weekend the Center for Local Innovation, a front group for the right-wing John Locke Foundation, is having a conference to criticize smart growth initiatives. We can only hope that the mainstream press will ignore them as they try to pass on their myopic beliefs in markets for research. Still more, we here at NCCPT hope that any readers out there will continue to support groups like The North Carolina Smart Growth Alliance which exists to fight for the kind of growth that even our children will want to live with.

Bowles is going to win 

Comments[ ]
There are a lot of Democrats this year in North Carolina who are just sitting in the corner with their tails between their legs.

"The Republicans are coming, the Republicans are coming!", say these chicken littles.

They worry about Dean and his stance on gay civil-unions. They see the war and believe that everyone who supports our troops must support the Republican party.

That's why it is nice to see that Erskine Bowles is not backing down.

"This time I'm going to win," Bowles said.

"Honestly, this is a very different race. It's a different opponent, it's a different town – but more importantly – over the last two years, North Carolina has continued to suffer from what is really a very tough economy."

People are hurting, he said.

"They just plain don't feel like Washington is listening to them," Bowles said, adding that 140,000 people have lost their jobs and that many more have lost their health insurance.

He said his constituents want a "strong, independent, respected, experienced voice to go to Washington and fight for North Carolina."

The democratic candidate said that Burr votes with Bush more than 90 percent of the time.

"I tell you what, I'm not going to vote with this administration or any administration – republican or democrat – 90 percent of the time.

"I want to go up there and do what's right for North Carolina," Bowles said. "I think that's what people want in this race."

North Carolina may prefer President Bush over Howard Dean in the general election. But the voters in this state are not rabid partisans. If Democrats can talk convincingly about the issues that we are really worried about--jobs, affordable healthcare, rising tuitions, corporate corruption--then they stand a chance.

If Democrats go running into the corner afraid to battle it out based on the principals that have been the cornerstones of the party for generations, THEN they will get killed. If they genuinely talk to the needs of the people of the state, then they will do much better then Bush worshiping yes-men.

Bush and Bowles 

Comments[ ]
Want to know what's going on in the state today?

Read my news-summary.

Today I have A LOT of links on the immigration issue, and it is going to BE A HUGE ISSUE this election cycle.

But I am going to highlight this entry:
Between Burr and Bowles the candidates have raised over $7 million. Bowles raised around $2.1 million and Burr raised around $5 million. The thing is that Burr had most of the year, and Bowles only had the past three months. And Burr only raised $1.28 million in the last quarter.

"That's what's amazing about the amount raised in such a short period of time."

A Democratic source in Washington who monitors fund raising among candidates nationwide said that Bowles is likely to be among the top fund-raisers in the country among nonincumbent Democrats, surpassed only by Blair Hull of Illinois.

"I dare say he will outraise incumbent senators," the source said, noting that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., raised just $2.5 million in the final quarter of 2003 for his presidential run. "By any historical measurement or any comparison to other candidates, it's quite impressive."

Related links:

Under The Dome

Charlotte Observer


Bowles is going to outraise Burr by quite a bit this cycle. He has some ground to make up yet, but he is right on track.

In reality his campaign is just getting warmed up. He just hired his campaign manager before Christmas, and the man is in Europe until next week.

But let me just say this:

Dear Bowles Campaign,

When you are looking to hire someone to work on your blog, I am still available. But if you are just going to do it because it is trendy and don't plan on making the internet a focus of your organization, it may not be worth your time.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Colin Powell 

Comments[ ]
According to the Wake Forest University website Colin Powell will be doing the commencement address this year.

Here are the speakers at the last three commencements.

Michael Bloomberg
John McCain
Barbara Bush

Pop Quize: What do all of these people have in common with Colin Powell?

News and Immigration 

Comments[ ]
The website I'm working for has no comment section, but if you have any feedback on my daily news summary, please let me know.

Today I wanted to highlight this entry. I am still putting my thoughts on this together, but I'll write something more substantial soon.

President Bush has floated some ideas to make it easier for immigrants to work in the United States. Here is an article in the Washington Post. But today the Raleigh News & Observer, has an excellent article on immigrants right here in North Carolina and how this new proposal will effect them.

Now, two major programs feed thousands of guest workers to the state's agriculture, seafood and timber industries. North Carolina hires the most agricultural guest workers of any state, said Carol Brooke, staff attorney for the Immigrants Legal Assistance Project in Raleigh. That totaled 11,000 last year, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission. That was in addition to hundreds of crab pickers, construction and other unskilled laborers.

Experts expect their numbers to grow if Bush's proposals pass in Congress, which is already considering similar legislation.

Builders, who rely on foreign workers, advocate easing restrictions on immigrant labor.

"I don't know that we could accomplish what we accomplish as a business without that labor pool," said Hal Routh, a business developer with Tarboro-based Barnhill Contracting Co.

Watch this issue, because some Republicans are going to ignore the future and work this as an election issue. Why? Because of this.

North Carolina had the nation's fastest-growing population of immigrants in the 1990s, but a new poll suggests that many North Carolinians would be happy to see the new arrivals go home.

Three-fourths of North Carolinians think the United States admits too many legal immigrants, according to the poll commissioned by The News & Observer.

And the issue of Driver's license will probably be the hot-topic. And yesterday's ruling requiring the state to provide more Medicaid to illegal immigrants will also be on the agenda.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

More news 

Comments[ ]
My news summary is here.

I should note that our site currently suffers from a complete lack of archiving, so all of these links will take you to the current news summary.

My favorite article today is by Barry Saunders at the News & Observer.

Eliciting sympathy for tobacco companies is a hard job, ranking right up there with soliciting contributions for Al Sharpton's presidential bid -- at a klan rally.

To most of you, no industry is less deserving of sympathy than one that -- as one executive was famously quoted as saying years ago -- for less than 2 cents, makes a product that hooks you and makes you a customer for life.

Then, he could have added, it takes your life.

So it's understandable if few are joining me at the wailing wall for the big tobacco companies that are being hurt by cheaper brands flooding the market.


If I represented the big tobacco companies, I'd offer coupons -- for instance, after your 10,000th cigarette -- good for a free tracheotomy at the doctor of your choice. That would most likely be "Mike's Discount Mufflers and Tracheotomies."

Or they could offer free designer coffins -- adorned with the emblem of the cigarette maker preferred by the dearly departed.

Don't think Attorney General Roy Cooper wouldn't leap at the chance to go on television, gaze earnestly into the camera as is his wont, take a long drag off a Newport and urge people to "smoke the brands that could get you a free coffin while filling the state's coffers."

Monday, January 05, 2004

Supporting our troops involves more than flying flags 

Comments[ ]
Last Friday Capt. Kimberly Hampton, who was based at Fort Bragg as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, became the latest fallen hero in Iraq. According to the pentagon, the 27-year-old pilot died when here OH-58 Kiowa went down near Fallujah. It is one of the many personal tragedies that comes with any war, but the event has other important implications for our country because she was the first woman pilot killed in combat in Iraq. And in case you thought this debate was over, some conservatives would like to prevent women from being in harms way.

Capt. Hampton was not a unique figure in Iraq or in the Army. A recent article in the Associated Press highlights the large role that women have played in combat operations in Iraq.

Female American troops in Iraq have killed Iraqis with bombs and bullets. They've won medals for valor and Purple Hearts for combat wounds. They've been captured as prisoners of war, killed by enemy fire and buried as heroes in Arlington National Cemetery.

American women have participated more extensively in combat in Iraq than in any previous war in U.S. history. They've taken roles nearly inconceivable just a decade or two ago--flying fighter jets and attack helicopters, patrolling streets armed with machine guns and commanding units of mostly male soldiers. Seven have been killed in combat.

And yet women are not the norm in combat. The above article says that only 15 percent of active duty forces are women and only 17 percent of National Guard or reservists are female.

So why would someone like Capt. Hampton choose to do something both dangerous and unusual. An interview with her parents reveals part of the reason.

Her parents say Hampton wanted to be a pilot since the third grade. "She liked to kind of blaze a trail … to be the first or the best," said Ann Hampton, Kimberly's mom. "(Kimberly) was very much a perfectionist."

A dedicated soldier, Hampton served in Korea and Afghanistan before heading to Iraq in August with the 82nd Airborne Division.

"It was much harder when she left for Iraq," said Kimberly's dad, Dale Hampton. "We knew it was serious stuff there, and we didn't have a good feeling about the whole thing.
"(Kimberly) enjoyed the fact she was making a difference over there trying to help the Iraqi people and protect our freedoms in this country. She was very much a patriot."

Other brave women have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and paved the way for women in the armed service are Pfc. Lori Piestewa, Pfc. Analaura Esperaza Gutierrez, Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, Pfc. Karina Lau, Spec. Frances Vega, Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth and Staff Sgt. Kimberly Voelz. All died in combat in Iraq since October.

Yet some conservatives feel that these women are not heroes but victims. The conservative group Center for Military Readiness has launched a petition drive to remove women from areas where they may come under fire or be involved in combat. They reason that women are uniquely vulnerable to abuses and torture if they are captured. Most, if not all, of their concerns about rape or sexual mistreatment of women prisoners.

If young women and mothers are going to be routinely sent to fight our wars in areas involving a high risk of capture, the American people need to know what happens if they are seized by Saddam loyalists known to use rape as a weapon.

We need brave women in the military, but no one's daughter should have to suffer an ordeal comparable to that experienced by former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch. Not in the name of other women's careers, men's resentment of feminists, military necessity, or anything else.

Clinton-era assignment rules remain in effect today. Before the next major deployment begins, President George W. Bush should direct Pentagon leaders to find a way so that female soldiers can proudly serve their country without deliberate exposure to greater, unequal risk.

But looking at other opponents of women in the military it seems clear that underlying sincere concerns for the safety and well-being of our soldiers is a sort of condescending notion that women soldiers should not be put at risk because they are women.

Winston-Salem councilman and Republican Candidate for the N.C. 5th Congressional district Vernon Robinsonalso opposes the "feminization of the military."

On his website Robinson quotes Phyllis Schlafly as his mentor on this subject.

What is the matter with the men of this country -- our political and military leaders -- that they acquiesce in the policy of sending mothers of infants out to fight Saddam Hussein? Are they the kind of man who, on hearing a noise at 2 a.m., would send his wife or daughter downstairs to confront an intruder?"

There is still some room for debating the extent to which women should be integrated into combat units such as the elite Navy Seals or into submarine crews. However, the only reason for relegating women in the armed service into positions where they face no danger is an inexcusable contempt for the bravery and courage of the young women who are risking their lives for their country. Women like Capt. Kimberly Hampton understand better than Vernon Robinson or his ilk the risks they are taking. They do it out of a sense of duty and patriotism that we should all respect. To treat them as victims who have been duped into taking unnecessary risks is truly disrespectful. In reality the best way to keep both our American service women AND men safe would be to work as hard as possible to prevent future wars.

No presidential primary? 

Comments[ ]
I bet all of those Dean people who have been working their butts off to get the required 10,000 signatures won't like this.


With the state redistricting in limbo, the NC Dem Party has posted a contingency plan just in case the primaries can't be held on time ncdp.org. Everyone needs to check out this plan and comment before the public review process is over. If the primaries don't happen (likely at this point) then caucuses would be held by county. Since the caucuses are county caucuses and the final delegate selection is by senate district (I think), then Orange and Durham votes will be added to create a grand total for the 4th district. This makes it important that Dems (registered independents won't be able to vote) show up for the caucuses if they are held. Whichever candidate -Dean- turns out the people -Dean- will win the nomi-Dean-nation.

I think that the final delegates are selected not by senate district, but by Congressional district.

Personally I think it is all pretty stupid because there are almost no scenarios under which North Carolina's delegates will play a determining role in choosing the nominee.

Just curious 

Comments[ ]
I recently came across Hippy Hill News, which is a pretty conservative blog. It does focus more than passing attention on state politics so it gets a link.

However, I am a little confused about this post which advertises for a local carpet cleaner.

I was lead to wonder exactly how much is advertising worth on a site which averages only (NOTE: I get far fewer) 49 visits a day?

But more generally I have been noticing a lot more ads on blogs these days. I guess the days of the amateur are over.

Blogging the blogs 

Comments[ ]
David Hoggard has a good post on upcoming Commissioner's elections in Guilford, over at Singing Nettle Shoveldog has something to say to conservatives in the NC Baptist Convention.

I am also going to link to an interesting post in The Political Junkies but note with saddness that they do not have any archives or permalink options.

Today's news 

Comments[ ]
I have finished my news summary for today here.

In particuar check out the stories about the Hunt case. It may have wider political implications in this election-year.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

A little bit cleaner 

Comments[ ]
I finally took the time to re-do the layout.

I am concerned that things may look funny on screens of different sizes, so if you see anything odd looking let me know. In fact any feedback at all is appreciated.

I am trying to add a column to the left-hand ala Atrios, but I cannot quite figure it out.

Changing the past 

Comments[ ]
I suppose this not usually done, but I am changing yesterday's entry. Not because I think I am wrong, but because it was poorly written and generally useless. Still working on my writing style.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?