April 2008

National Hanging Out Day

Tired of the elitist candidates trying to distract you from a weekend of church-going, duck hunting, and fretting about the corporate boot-heel on your neck? Strike back at nuclear-powered clothes drying, coal-fired lint removal, and fascist homeowner association rules.

Observe National Hanging Out Day this Saturday:


If you keep up the habit into hunting season, and decide later to run for office, you can even claim to have dodged bullets while hanging up your laundry.  

Early Voting

I voted at the Planetarium (2d floor this time) at about 12:30 pm and I was voter 235. There were 12-15 people waiting in line and another 8 to 10 completing their ballots. I saw two people who were registering. Best of all --- most of the voters that I saw fit the college-age demographic!

I don't think I've ever seen this many folks on the first half day! Also, there was plenty of excitement outside with the various campaigns represented. The Obama group had lots of folks working and I saw Kevin Wolff (R) out there campaigning for his wife (D)!

The Other Stuff on the Ballot – May 2008 Edition

So you’ve got Barack and Hillary all figured out, but what else is on the ballot?Yes, it’s my periodic profile of the lesser known races on the ballot this May. I will be partisan and leave it to some other writer to profile the Republican Primaries (there are some). And I am skipping over the US President, NC Governor and US Senate races, presuming that you can find some good info on those somewhere else. I am also skipping the Orange School Board and the District 2 Commissioner races because I don't live in either of those districts and have not really followed those races.So what else is out there? A bunch of stuff and some of it is even fairly important. I have bolded below the names of folks that I think are the clear choice. In a few races you will see two bolded names in cases where I think progressive voters have an interesting choice to make. I personally have an opinion about those races as well and that may come through in my commentary.Lieutenant Governor – No Incumbent There are four candidates for Lieutenant Governor, but only two of them seem to have much of a following in this area: Hampton Dellinger and Dan Besse.

Sit-In in South Building in Progress

My roommate and a few other folks I know are among the several UNC students on the second day of their protest against UNC's use of sweatshop labor, having occupied South Building since yesterday and with no intent of leaving until the Chancellor quits brushing them off. Check out the video below, and attend a rally in their support today at 4:30 PM just outside on the south quad. If UNC decides to use their police force to remove this peaceful protest, local friend and prominent civil rights attorney Al McSurely has agreed to serve as their legal representative.



Transfer Tax robocall

I just got a robocall from a group calling itself "Citizens for a better Orange County" that opposes the Transfer Tax. It calls the tax the "Home Tax," which is clearly wrong on two levels. Firstly, the proposed tax is on all land sales, and secondly it is an attempt to falsely personalize this tax for local homeowners. Oh, and it fails to mention an important detail: the tax rate would be 0.4%. That's right: four tenths of a percent. That's one thousand dollars on a $250k hypothetical home. Sounds like too much money? Well, what are the alternatives? If this is defeated, the only two alternatives that have been seriously discussed are a sales tax (the most regressive tax possible) and a property tax increase. A property tax increase would be a home tax. Everything about the robocall was misleading and dishonest.

The call directs people to a website that I won't link to here. The website refers to "Tom Holt" as their treasurer and "Mark Zimmerman" as their spokesperson. A bit of googling gives:

I Believe in The United States

I believe in the United States. That's my only phrase, because where else in this world will an organized country allow their citizens and non citizens to freely assemble and curse their own (or adopted country) to hell. I don't agree with their awful mentality but I respect and in a strange way admire their dissent. That is what makes us great, that is what sets us apart from China, Cuba and Iran. Because we encocurage our citizenry to be different.

I joined OP because I wanted to be a dissenting voice. Orange County NC is liberal, there is no doubt about that.  But to be shunned and segregated becaused of my beliefs is no different than to be set aside as a second class citizen (By the way, I'm not Anglo-Saxon, this name is a pseudonym)

 I'm upset that I have to live in a county that is so elitist that they feel their voice is the majority in NC. It is not!

 Ruby, you can ban me, or censor me but I will always find a way to come back. It is your page, you do what you feel is right. Because I believe in your freedom.


Environmental talk with the Democratic campaigns' environmental advisors

Duke University's Nicholas Institute and Nicholas School of the Environment are
hosting a discussion between the democratic candidates' environmental advisors.

What: Clinton and Obama on the Environment - A conversation between their
environmental advisors on how the candidates will handle emerging environmental

Who: Dan Utech, Senior Advisor to Sen. Hillary Clinton on Energy and the
Environment, and Jason Grumet, Senior Advisor to Sen. Barack Obama on Energy
and the Environment

When: Friday, April 25th from 11:00am to 12:30pm with reception to follow

Where: Love Auditorium at Duke University's Levine Science and Research Center


Friday, April 25, 2008 - 7:00am to 8:30am


Duke University Nicholas School (LSRC)

Yard signs of the rich and famous

I drove all over the county this weekend and I'm pretty sure I got a picture of at least one yard sign by every candidate that has one.

By the way, here's some free advice: If you have a limited number of signs and/or volunteers, make sure you get your signs to one of Orange County's three early voting sites!

MoveOn Iraq and Recession Report Release

Via e-mail:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sarah Nixon (919)824-6921
Selena Lauterer (919) 942-6526

*** Press Event: Thursday, April 24, 12:00 noon ***


April 21, 2008 - Chapel Hill/ Carrboro - On Thursday, April 24, members of MoveOn.org Political Action in Chapel Hill/Carrboro will release a new report, "Iraq and Recession". The report focuses on groundbreaking poll numbers that show that voters in North Carolina believe that the billions of dollars a week spent on Iraq war should be invested in economic priorities at home.

“Senator Elizabeth Dole and Senator Richard Burr have consistently voted with the President to spend half-trillion dollars on this endless war in Iraq, while ignoring the mounting economic pressures of voters here in North Carolina. The billions per week we’re spending there could be invested in our faltering economy here at home,” said Sarah Nixon local MoveOn member. “It’s time to bring our troops home and use those same dollars for the priorities of most Americans--health care, clean energy, and job creation--to help those hurt by the impending recession.”

EVENT DETAILS: Iraq and Recession Report Release at Carrboro/Chapel Hill:

Who: MoveOn members in Carrboro/Chapel Hill
Where: Weaver Street Market on the Lawn
When: Thursday, April 24 at 12:00pm
What: Local residents unveil never-released before poll numbers of North Carolina voters: Voters want to help the economy by ending the war.


I'm not sure whether they want non-media people to show up, but I think it would be a good way to show your support for the report.


Thursday, April 24, 2008 - 8:00am


Weaver Street Market lawn

Final public info session on the county's comprehensive plan

FYI from from "Letters to the Editor: THE CHAPEL HILL NEWS," Sunday April 20, 2008:

"Do you live, work or own land in Orange County? Are you concerned about whether you and your children can find work here and can afford a home near your job? Do you care if farmland and natural areas are protected? Do you want your county to be a healthy, sustainable place to live?

If so, your voice needs to be heard at the final public information session of the Orange County Comprehensive Plan Update on Wednesday April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Hillsborough Exchange Clubhouse.

The Comprehensive Plan Update will determine how Orange County will develop during the next 20 years. It guides decisions for a wide range of local issues: housing, economic development, transportation, land use, environment, parks/recreation, and services/utilities. This update was begun in 2006 and will be adopted this fall.

This public input session will have an overview and time for citizen comments. Your input will be seen by the county commissioners at the May 19 public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan.

The Community Action Network and the Walkable Hillsborough Coalition are two of the nine organizations in the Orange County Comprehensive Plan Coalition. It is a diverse group of community and business organizations whose mission is to encourage public participation in this update process and encourage outcomes of economic prosperity, environmental health and social equity.

We believe that the Comprehensive Plan should be a positive document, directing appropriate commercial and residential development to designated areas and recommend ordinances and processes that encourage, reward and expedite a sustainable future.

Your voice in shaping the community's long-term future is important.

Learn about the Comprehensive Plan update at the county's dedicated Web site: www.co.orange.nc.us/planning/compre_cpupdate.asp.

-- Dolly Hunter, Community Action Network; Holly Reid, Walkable Hillsborough Coalition


Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 3:00pm


Hillsborough Exchange Clubhouse



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