Dependable Erection

Friday, February 29, 2008

Wingnut logic

Candidate for local elected office posts website with pages lifted lock, stock, and barrel from website of losing candidate for previous local election, not bothering to even change names or office being sought.

Local blogger writes post with screen shots showing "similarities," makes no editorial comment.

Wingnut deduction - blogger must "still support Mike Nifong."

Teh Awesome!


Continue reading Wingnut logic

Friday flower blogging

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Continue reading Friday flower blogging

Junius Wilson

I just wanted to put a few thoughts down about the reading i went to last night while i have a couple of minutes. I'll post more thoughts occasionally over the next few weeks as i work my way through this book.

There are any number of Americas that we live in, separated by time, geography, class, race. I think part of the process of being American is discovering and telling those stories that break through those boundaries and help us to get that the America we may have grown up in is not the only one. These stories, especially when they excavate a previously unexplored past, invariably stray from the accepted narrative. They're often painful to tell or to hear. Sometimes, probably often, they work better as fiction.

One of the most powerful stories i read growing up was the one about Randle Patrick McMurphy*, told by Ken Kesey in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. This was such a powerful tale of other Americas that not even Hollywood could butcher it.

We have a common narrative of the 1920s. Flappers, Babe Ruth, stock market booms, good times.

Junius Wilson didn't live in that America. The events and historical pressures that converged to shape and guide his life were probably beyond his comprehension. I want to look at one single facet, and try to isolate it from the rest. I don't know how successful that viewpoint can be. But.

When he was eight, in 1916, Junius Wilson was sent to Raleigh to attend a school for blind and deaf African Americans. At one time, 20 or 25 years prior, most of the educators and administrators at the school were deaf, and children were instructed in American Sign Language. That was no longer the case when Junius got to the school. There were several reasons for that, some specific to conditions in Raleigh, North Carolina at the time, some related to the larger conflicts about how best to educate the deaf.

Now, my connection to Deaf culture is peripheral at best, and mostly in the past. So i really have nothing to add to that conversation. If you want to know more about those conflicts, i encourage you to look elsewhere. The point that struck me is that by the time Junius got to the school, the instructors and administrators were all hearing people with no knowledge of ASL. And the ongoing generations of students had continued to sign among themselves. The result was a separate language, sufficiently different from ASL that, by the time Junius was a student there, he learned a sign language, called Raleigh Signs, spoken nowhere else in the world.

Meaning, when he left the school, his ability to communicate with anyone else was virtually non-existent.

Think about that for a few minutes, and try to imagine life in that America.

Thanks to Susan Burch and Hannah Joyner for telling this story, and coming to Durham last night to speak and sign about it.

* - Thinking more about it, OFOTCN is as much the story of Chief Bromden as it is of McMurphy. Which is the tale of yet another America.

Continue reading Junius Wilson

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tonight at the Regulator

The Story of Junius Wilson

by Susan Burch and Hannah Joyner

Junius Wilson (1908-2001) spent seventy-six years at a state mental hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, including six in the criminal ward. He had never been declared insane by a medical professional or found guilty of any criminal charge. But he was deaf and black in the Jim Crow South. Unspeakable is the story of his life.

Using legal records, institutional files, and extensive oral history interviews--some conducted in sign language--Susan Burch and Hannah Joyner piece together the story of a deaf man accused in 1925 of attempted rape, found insane at a lunacy hearing, committed to the criminal ward of the State Hospital for the Colored Insane, castrated, forced to labor for the institution, and held at the hospital for more than seven decades. Junius Wilson's life was shaped by some of the major developments of twentieth-century America: Jim Crow segregation, the civil rights movement, deinstitutionalization, the rise of professional social work, and the emergence of the deaf and disability rights movements. In addition to offering a bottom-up history of life in a segregated mental institution, Burch and Joyner's work also enriches the traditional interpretation of Jim Crow by highlighting the complicated intersections of race and disability as well as of community and language.

This moving study expands the boundaries of what biography can and should be. There is much to learn and remember about Junius Wilson--and the countless others who have lived unspeakable histories.

About the author

Susan Burch has taught history at Gallaudet University; Charles University, Czech Republic; and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War II. Hannah Joyner is an independent scholar and author of From Pity to Pride: Growing Up Deaf in the Old South.

I am so hoping that Locomotive Breath will be there and introduce herself to me.

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DPAC shows announced

I mused yesterday what would be filling the new Teer stage at the new Durham Performing Arts Center (across the street from the not so new county lockup).

Lo, my question is answered:
With today’s announcement, the 2008-2009 premiere season of Broadway Carolina has the following confirmed schedule for shows at the Durham Performing Arts Center:

* “Rent” - January 20-25, 2009
* “Fiddler On The Roof” - March 17-22, 2009
* “Legally Blonde The Musical” - April 14-19, 2009
* “The Color Purple” - May 12-17, 2009

Other shows and special performances will be added as they are confirmed. Research Triangle audiences can expect a Wicked second season in 2009-2010, when many more of Broadway’s biggest blockbusters come to the Durham Performing Arts Center.

“This region can expect national touring acts and Broadway direct from the source,” said J.L. “Lynn” Singleton, president of PFM. “We manage theater venues in markets of similar size to the Research Triangle. Combine that with the fact that the Nederlander Organization is a Broadway institution, and we think the Broadway Carolina series will provide audiences with great experiences that they’ll remember for a lifetime.”

Tickets will be available at an undetermined date in the "spring of 2008." Prices have not yet been announced.

UPDATE: No word on when "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the Revival" is coming to town.

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Continue reading DPAC shows announced

Traffic calming tag team

I want to piggy back on Kevin's post this morning detailing the backtracking going on with the traffic calming plan for Duke and Gregson streets. If you've been keeping score at home, you know that a number of people have been saying for years that traffic speeds on Duke and Gregson (as well as other streets through the near downtown neighborhoods) are way too fast for residential compatibility. In the case of Duke and Gregson, as well as with Roxboro and Mangum in the Duke Park, Old North Durham, and Little Five Points neighborhoods) a lot of that has to do with the paired one-way design of these streets.

I want to highlight a comment from that discussion:
Of course the best way to both slow speeding cars on Duke or Gregson and minimize distance-traveled-to-destination would be to convert both roads back to their original two-way traffic design. The pair of 2-lane one way roads is designed to maximize speed over distance - with the idea that if you maximize speed, you will overcome loss of distance efficiency. All of these other engineering/legal condiments are suboptimal, because they don't change the basic design intent of the road. By implementing them, we are trying to hold two contradictory aims in hand - reducing speed on the road while preserving a design that maximizes speed.
(Emphasis added)

Kevin also points out that design issues that enhance drivers' comfort at what are in fact unsafe speeds for pedestrians and other residents are not limited to the one-wayness of the streets:
During the same meeting, the City will also be bringing forward a proposal to re-do the street lighting on Duke/Gregson between Club Blvd. and University Dr. This would involve replacing the open-faced 100 watt fixtures with "cobrahead" fixtures that direct light more particularly on the street, and which would be increased to 250 watts.

According to the City, this would reduce the number of unlit zones on the street, improving pedestrian safety as well as better-highlighting cars parked on the streets (which could reduce parked-car collisions.) There could also be a crime/safety impact from better lighting on the street, and there would be a reduction in light pollution due to focused light fixtures.

Of course, there's always the fear that better lighting would only serve to increase speeds -- the very thing the neighborhood is concerned about. Duke Street north of I-85 has these new lights, as does Guess Rd., and we know how fast traffic travels on those streets (though I suspect the NCDOT's thoughtful 'freeway lite' design has more than a little bit to do with that.)

Reportedly, Mangum St. through Old North Durham has the same type, strength and density of lights proposed for Duke/Gregson/Vickers; I'd be curious to hear from folks in Old North Durham and Duke Park what if any impact they've seen from the new lighting.

North Duke St. and Guess Rd. are two streets i travel on with a certain frequency. It is almost impossible to drive the speed limit on either of those streets, a function of their design. This is a problem which is not gettng any better. Even if, as Councilman Woodard says in his comments, the city is able to get the East End Connector pushed back up on NCDOT's priority list, the problem won't go away.

As i've said elsewhere, there are three components to traffic calming (and developing a system that serves all of the city's residents, not just its drivers) engineering, education, and enforcement, sometimes called the three E's. Many of Durham's roads are engineered for maximum throughput. Education, about such basic issues as pedestrian right of way in a crosswalk, is non-existent. Enforcement of current traffic laws is minimal, at best. Unless all of those factors start to change based on direction from the city's leadership, this is a problem which will continue to be dealt with on a piecemeal basis, with the city responding to whichever neighborhood complains the loudest, and whenever someone with connections is seriously injured or killed while engaging in the simple act of walking along or crossing the street.


Continue reading Traffic calming tag team

Wow. Just, wow.

CIA World Factbook

But wait, there's more.
Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.

The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said.

The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

"The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system," he said.

That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.

Professor Stiglitz, an academic at the Columbia Business School and a former economic adviser to president Bill Clinton, said a further $US500 billion was going to be spent on the fighting in the next two years and that could have been used more effectively to improve the security and quality of life of Americans and the rest of the world.

The money being spent on the war each week would be enough to wipe out illiteracy around the world, he said.

Just a few days' funding would be enough to provide health insurance for US children who were not covered, he said.

The public had been encouraged by the White House to ignore the costs of the war because of the belief that the war would somehow pay for itself or be paid for by Iraqi oil or US allies.

The Australian, via TPM

Continue reading Wow. Just, wow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Friends in high places

Freda Black used to be an Assistant DA in Durham County. She ran against Mike Nifong in the 06 primary and lost. She's running again for the unexpired portion of his term this year.

Here's a screen grab from the "contribute" page of her website:

In case you can't read the text, here it is:
Yes! I want to help Thomas work for Durham! Raising the necessary funds to be competitive is a vital part of any campaign. Your contribution now will mean a great deal to our success. I am looking forward to being a mayor you can be proud of!

Anybody know anyone named Thomas running for mayor?

h/t to reader k

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A quick question

Why do you suppose that some people find this image:
more troublesome than this image:
I sure as hell can't figure it out.

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Continue reading A quick question

Naming rights

Looks like the city has finally closed a deal for naming rights to at least one portion of the new Performing Arts Center.
The City of Durham announced today that the stage at the new Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) will be named the Mildred & Dillard Teer Stage.

Pending City Council approval at its March 3 meeting, the $1.2 million contribution over 10 years for the stage naming rights is a first for the new center. "This is milestone for Durham as we have our first naming rights at the Durham Performing Arts Center associated with one of our best known Durham families,” Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell said. “The Teers have done so much to help Durham develop as a quality city and have given back to the community through their extensive civic service over the years. The generous financial commitment and the name association truly enhance our newest destination venue in downtown Durham."

According to Robb Teer, son of Dillard and Mildred Teer and spokesperson for the Teer family, the naming rights opportunity offers the Teer family a chance to honor their parent’s legacy in Durham. "We wanted to do something as a family to honor our parents, what they have meant to us and to the greater Durham area,” Teer said. “We could think of no better way to reflect their constant giving to the community than to make a gift in their honor to the beautiful new performing arts center in the heart of Durham."

Hopefully, we'll know soon who's actually going to be appearing on the Teer stage in the future.

: Kevin points out that some naming rights for the DPAC have already been sold. So today's announcement is, at best, poorly worded.


Continue reading Naming rights

Speaking of bad prosecutors

Pam has the sordid details on the fall from grace of Chuck Rosenthal, who not only prosecuted and lost Lawrence v. Texas, establishing a constitutional right to sexual privacy in the process, but is apparently hypocritical enough to keep porn on his office computer, and too stupid to realize that the mash notes he sent to his secretary using government email accounts are protected evidence.

His explanation? Prescription drugs "impaired" his judgement.

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Continue reading Speaking of bad prosecutors

Possibly the last intelligent right-winger any of us will ever know

William Buckley RIP

UPDATE: A worthwhile obituary here.

Continue reading Possibly the last intelligent right-winger any of us will ever know

Some drought updates

First, i've noticed that the City of Durham's water supply status page is now showing Teer Quarry separate from the two main reservoirs. That's a good move, as it provides more useful information and comparisons to where we were earlier in the drought before Teer came online.
Current Conditions
Days of Supply

Using the 30-day running average demand as of February 24, 2008 of 19.82 MGD:

* Days of supply of easily accessible, premium water remaining (Lake Michie, Little River Reservoir): 161 days
* Days in Teer Quarry storage remaining: 19 days
* Days of less accessible water below the intake structures remaining: 61 days
* Total days of supply = 241

I'm still not a big fan of using the "less accessible water" number in calculating the total days of supply. Let's face it, if we get to the point where we're using the "less accessible water" we're in a lot of trouble.

Lake Michie is now only 3' 4" away from being "full." I put full in quotes because it's actually gone a bit higher without flooding in the past. It's still below where it's been in all but two of the past ten years for the end of February. Current inflows following the precipitation of the past few days are higher than demand, so Lake Michie could be very close to capacity by the end of the week. Michael asked a few days ago whether water could be pumped from Lake Michie to Little River if it tops out. Little River is well below capacity, and capturing more of that water from Lake Michie would make sense. I haven't seen anyone asnwer that question, though.

I'm also assuming that the Eno is flowing high enough that the city is able to take its full allotment of 5 million gallons per day to store in the Teer reservoir. Teer theoretically holds about 30 days supply, so there's more room there as well.

Bad news is there's not a lot of rain in the forecast for the next 10 days. Demand through February has, except for a couple of spikes, remained fairly constant at about 21 and a half mgd. That's about a 13% reduction from February 07. And that's the really troublesome figure.

There's two items relating to this that i've seen recently, but with as busy as i've been this week, i'm going to put htem out there without links until i get a chance to go back and source them. One is from a City Council meeting a couple of weeks ago, that i think BCR covered, in which it emerged that Durham's Jordan Lake allocation may not be as rock solid as people were anticipating, especially if the drought persists through the summer and Cary is more affected than it has been. I've said in the past that i think it's a mistake to figure on the 2-4 mgd that we're currently drawing from Jordan in our total supply figure for that specific reason. Hopefully it won't come to that. But if you spend any time looking at the history of water rights battles in regions where water is traditionally a scarce resource, you can make the reasonable assumption that things will not go any differently here should we reach that scenario.

The second item was in the paper over the past couple of days. And it had to do with, i think, the mayor of Carrboro opposing any additional intakes from Jordan Lake from Durham until the city and county revisit some of our development policies. This is a potentially major event,as it shows where fault lines could develop among local governments in the event that the drought does continue. As we've pointed out several times, the drought is at least as much a function of demand as of supply. Our water supply is not that much lower than it's been at times over the past 50 years. But our demand is much higher. Durham County commissioners are on the ballot later this year. I imagine this will be a local hot button issue.

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Continue reading Some drought updates

Say what?

Continuing the theme of catching up on the Durham blogosphere, Toastie had a curious post the other day about a Duke hospital experience:
No, I’m sorry, sweetie. I can’t change it. I’ll lose my job.

This is what a staffer in the Duke Hospital Radiology Department said to me after I, after 90 minutes of agony, requested that the television in the waiting room be switched from Fox News to anything else.

Remember, we're fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here.

He didn't ask to see a competing news program. In fact, it's not even obvious from the request that it's Fox's unique brand of propaganda that's the problem. It could very easily have been a "man, i'm in pain and the news is depressing. Got any cartoons i could watch while i wait for my results?" request. That's what makes the "I'll lose my job if i change the channel away from Fox News" response so chilling.

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Continue reading Say what?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Volunteer for Full Frame

Maybe you'll get to hang with Marty*.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is seeking volunteers for our
11th year. The festival will be April 3rd to 6th in downtown Durham, NC.
If you are interested in helping out this year, go to
Full Frame to learn more and fill out an online application. There are many positions this year, from
ticketing to technical, driving to outreach. Team descriptions can be found here.
Benefits include: A Full Frame Crew Pass, free t-shirt, and social/professional networking. Volunteer positions fill quickly, so please sign up soon. The volunteer application deadline is February 29th.

That's coming up in a couple of days. So give 'em a click and help out this year. You can be a part of "a four-day, morning-to-midnight smorgasbord of: More than
100 films (both curated and submitted for competition), Panel discussions, Seminars, Q&A sessions, and southern hospitality!"
*Marty DeBergi, documentary maker, that is.


Continue reading Volunteer for Full Frame

Speaking of local bloggers

Good to see that Carl Kenney is publishing again.

Check out his piece on the upcoming County Commissioner's election.

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Continue reading Speaking of local bloggers

Boy, you go away for a few days

And you come back to a different city.

Kudos to Kevin on his new gig as a Durham News columnist. I know he'll use his new found powers only for good.

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Continue reading Boy, you go away for a few days

Why does the US Army hate America?

"The cumulative effects of the last six-plus years at war have left our Army out of balance, consumed by the current fight and unable to do the things we know we need to do to properly sustain our all-volunteer force and restore our flexibility for an uncertain future," said Gen. George Casey, chief of staff of the Army.


Continue reading Why does the US Army hate America?

Monday, February 25, 2008


From my alma mater:
I just received a text message, followed by a voicemail, from the Stony Brook University alert system, passing on word of a report of an armed perpetrator on the University's academic mall.

More here, but also lacking in any details. This kind of thing, sadly, is becoming more and more a part of the normal media landscape. It's really unbelievable that the best we can do is shrug our shoulders and hope it doesn't happen to anyone we know.

UPDATE: So far, so good.
University and Suffolk County Police have conducted an extensive search of the Stony Brook University Main Campus and have determined that there is no longer an immediate threat to the Campus Community. Police have issued an all-clear to continue normal classes and activities. University and Suffolk County Police are continuing with increased patrols throughout campus.


Continue reading Scary

Well, whaddaya know?

I actually saw the best picture of the year in the theater last year. That's only the 5th time since 1990. (Dances With Wolves, Schindler's List, Titanic, LotR:RotK were the others).

Congratulations to Joel and Ethan Coen on their long overdue recognition.


Continue reading Well, whaddaya know?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Harker's Island Rd., Gloucester, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's all fun and games . . .

till someone leaves the band.

Big rumors at last night's Dom Casual/Two Dollar Pistols set over at Broad St. Cafe (which was as crowded as i've ever seen it. The show was great, too. But seeing John Howie with a beard, i'm not sure i can handle that).

Without getting into too many details, which haven't been announced yet anyway, if you get a chance to see the Pistols around town in the near future, take it. You may not get too many more.


Continue reading It's all fun and games . . .

Big mouth!


Continue reading Big mouth!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More things i could get used to

Not being forced to listen to other people's high decibel mobile sound systems forty or fifty times a day. You know it's a problem when you're sitting in front of the computer at 8:30 in the evening, and you can hear the music from over a block away. It was refreshing not to hear a single 85 dB subwoofer for almost a week. Someone, i think it was on a PAC2 listserve post, mentioned something about enforcing Durham's "boombox ordinance." To my knowledge, Durham does not have a specific ordinance dealing with mobile sound systems. Instead, we have a generic noise ordinance (Chapter 11, Section 11-1) which reads wonderfully, and is somewhat useful in dealing with loud parties or neighbors using power tools at 5 am.

It's a lot less useful, to the point of virtual non-existence, in dealing with, say, barking dogs or loud mobile sound systems. In the former case, police officers can't write citations to the dog's owner if they're not around, and most of the time, that's why the dog is barking - because they've been tied out in the yard and ignored for 48 hours at a time. In the latter case, how exactly do you make a complaint? "Hey, some guy is driving up the road two blocks away with his music so loud i can't carry on a conversation in my back yard." "Did you get a description of the vehicle?" "Um, no. He's two blocks away. I can't even tell you what direction he's moving."

By the way, Kevin and Michael both follow up on a post of mine about enforcing speed limits in residential neighborhoods from before my little coastal excursion. They each make excellent points.

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Continue reading More things i could get used to

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who gives a shit?

I mean, really. Who cares who John McCain did or didn't get it on with 8 years ago? It's just a distraction from his contemporary nonsense, not to mention that it keeps us from remembering that the Protect America Act has expired, and George Bush can't protect us anymore.


Continue reading Who gives a shit?


An interesting approach to marketing, i think.

This place used to be called something else, but i forget what that was.

Because we're pirates. And pirates don't wear no stinkin' black soled shoes.

I'm not sure why this image caught my eye.

Back tomorrow. Enjoy.


Continue reading Souvenirs

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jim Neal for Senate

I've been leaning in this direction ever since Jim's appearances over at BlueNC. Kay Hagan's recent comments are enough to make me say we don't need her in the Senate. We've already got two Republicans representing NC. Why we'd want to replace Liddy Dole with someone who's going to vote the same way is beyond me.

More on Jim Neal here.

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Continue reading Jim Neal for Senate


Seems like a good reason to spend more time on the coast. Some more info here.


Continue reading Wenching

Monday, February 18, 2008

Things i could get used to

Not having to refill the toilet by hand with captured shower water whenever i do get around to flushing it. By the way, Lake Michie is only 3 feet 8 inches below full.


Continue reading Things i could get used to

Picking nits

Yeah, yeah, i'm on vacation. I'm destressing. But stuff still happens. I'm not talking about Afghanistan, where things seem to be escalating to Iraq 2006 levels. (Not even mentioning that violence in Iraq has been ticking back upward in recent weeks.) I'm not talking about more guys with guns opening fire in classrooms.

What i'm going off on today is two completely unrelated items that crossed my path. I don't have a dog in either fight, as it were. But still.

Up in Maryland, 8 people died while watching a drag race on a public road at 3 in the morning over the weekend. This kind of thing is apparently quite common up there.
Despite complaints, illegal street racers have roared for more than 20 years down the flat, straight stretch of Maryland highway where eight fans were killed this weekend, a community leader said Sunday.

Stan Fetter, president of the Indian Head Highway Area Action Council, blamed a thin police presence in the suburban Washington area for the ongoing problem.

"The police tend to get distracted by things closer to D.C., so no one's ever there," Fetter said. "They tend to forget about it."

Because it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Here's what pisses me off.
Police hope to interview more witnesses and are urging anyone at the scene to come forward. But they are not actively looking for the drivers who were taking part in the illegal race because they were not directly involved in the crash, Prince George's County police Cpl. Arvel Lewis said.

Now that's going to send a message that this kind of thing is not going to be tolerated, right?

Actually, i can think of a couple of reasons why the police might not be "actively looking" for the guys who were behind the wheels, and none of the are flattering.

Meanwhile, down where i'm staying, there's some local controversy involving, of all things, NCDOT and local authorities over the design of a new bridge. The old b ridge is a drawbridge, and there's some controversy over whether it needs to be replaced with a permanent, taller span that would allow boats to pass unimpeded, or if the opening schedule needs to be changed, or perhaps there are even more options on the table.

Again, i don't have sufficient information to have an opinion one way or another. the 10 minutes or so i've had to wait for the drawbridge on this trip hasn't seemed like a big deal, although if i got stuck twice a day i might feel differently. But this passage in a local paper, The Gam, had an eerie sense of familiarity.
Yes, there is an influx of traffic to the courthouse and from people who live in Morehead and other places but work in Beaufort, but certainly not the thousands of cars DOT is trying to portray using the drawbridge on a daily basis. The math was simple enough that this editor had it done before McCune's three minutes were up. . . .

The Gam has requested a number of traffic studies from DOT in an attempt to confirm the 21,000 figure, however DOT is dragging its feet fulfilling the request

Yeah, that rings a bell. Back in 2001, our neighborhood decided to challenge DOT's plan for a right hand turn lane on Roxboro St. southbound from I-85, that would lead onto Knox St. Highway engineers have lots of Uniform Manuals and guides as to when specific traffic functions are warranted, and we wanted to know whether or not this particular lane was. As it turned out, for the approximate amount of traffic on Roxboro (1600 vehicles during peak hour, as i recall, but how i got that figure will be revealed shortly), about 5%, or 80 vehicles per hour, needed to making a right turn to warrant a dedicated lane. When we asked for NCDOT to show their traffic counts, would you believe that the computer which was keeping track of the data malfunctioned, and they had no hard numbers? My own manual count of traffic, made by sitting at the corner for a couple of hours on consecutive weekday mornings, showed fewer than 20 cars out of the 1600 turning right, or about 1/4 of the number needed to warrant a turn lane.

Turns out it does't matter. NCDOT can do what it wants to on local roads that it has control over, regardless of what the numbers show. But it's curious how that works, isn't it? Engineers who live by the manuals and the numbers suddenly unable to come up with that data when it might be a problem.

Oh, well.

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Continue reading Picking nits

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

But wait, there's more.

Lyman Rd., Beulaville, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gloucester Mardi Gras

Many thanks to the good folks at the Gloucester Community Center and the band Unknown Tongues for their hospitality, good music, and great food in celebration of Mardi Gras, albeit a couple of weeks late this year.

Check out that pot of gumbo.

More photos after the jump.


Continue reading Gloucester Mardi Gras

Big mouth!

By the way, we'll be spending the afternoon at the Gloucester Mardi Gras celebration. We stumbled into this party last year, and decided to come back for a second helping. The only thing i can think of is that somehow Gloucester reverted to the Julian calendar sometime in the past 12 months.

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Continue reading Big mouth!

One man's heroic struggle against the intractable forces of nature

A photo essay:

Nature is a trickster, a jester, a player of practical jokes. With the one hand, she builds pristine beaches with wide, flat, inviting expanses of sand. With the other, she hurls hurricanes and tidal forces against these beaches, turning the sand to dust and muck, and carrying it to less accommodating locales.

But one man is making a stand against the madness. Armed only with a 12 inch diameter pipe, a couple of massive pumps, and a bulldozer, he's rebuilding beaches up and down the Carolina coast. Not every beach visitor is lucky enough to see him at work.

Yes, he works through the night to make sure that the beach is still there the next time you return to toss a tennis ball into the ocean with your dog, or bury your friends in the sand and give them fake boobies.

All this work reminds me for some reason of the story of King Canute. As most of us learn it, Canute, the King of Denmark and England, exhibited the kind of hubris known only in Greek tragedies when he, believing himself to be a supreme ruler, attempted to stop the tides from rising. A more generous reading of the tale holds that Canute was a pretty smart guy who was more interested in making sure that his subjects and royal court understood that he knew the limits of his earthly powers, and did the tidal thing to let them all know he wasn't fooled by their fawning.

Nonetheless, i wish our heroic bulldozer operator Godspeed, and hope he doesn't uncover any alien meteors while undertaking this thankless task.


Continue reading One man's heroic struggle against the intractable forces of nature

Friday, February 15, 2008

I still like Mike!

But he's making it a lot harder.
The chief songwriter and founder of the band Boston has more than a feeling that he's being ripped off by Mike Huckabee. In a letter to the Republican presidential hopeful, Tom Scholz complains that Huckabee is using his 1970s smash hit song "More Than a Feeling" without his permission.

A former member of the band, Barry Goudreau, has appeared with Huckabee at campaign events, and they have played the song with Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense.

I can't imagine who Huckabee is trying to appeal to by playing the 30 year old "More Than A Feeling" at his campaign rallies, but maybe the mullet crew still digs the sound.

But naming your band "Capitol Offense?" C'mon Mike. I'm losing faith.

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Continue reading I still like Mike!

Go Keith!

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an Ex Post Facto law, which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.

“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.” Believed?

Don’t you know?

Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you?

Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here?

If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business — come out and say it!

There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.

You’re a fascist — get them to print you a t-shirt with “fascist” on it!

What else is this but fascism?

Did you see Mark Klein on this newscast last November?

Mark Klein was the AT&T Whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood I-T desk, how he personally attached all AT&T circuits — everything — carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff some spy — a spy both patriotic and telepathic — might able to divine had been sent or spoken by — or to — a terrorist.


Every time you looked at a naked picture.

Every time you bid on eBay.

Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat.

“My thought was,” Mr. Klein told us last November, “George Orwell’s 1984. And here I am, forced to connect the big brother machine.”

And if there’s one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, is that he is — you are — a liar.

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Continue reading Go Keith!

Rise and shine, campers


Continue reading Rise and shine, campers

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Civil libertarians

I've been traveling all day, so i didn't get a chance to post this.

Congratulations to all those honored by the ACLU of North Carolina last night at the Frank Porter Graham Award ceremonies, held in the ATC (which is in Durham, for you NPR listeners), especially to Maitri "Mike" Klinkosum and Kelley DeAngelus, who received the ACLE of North Carolina award for their work in freeing Floyd Lee Brown. Brown was held for 14 years in Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh after being found incompetent to stand trial, charged with a murder which he could not have committed. He was finally released last year. It's a cliche, but it was humbling and inspiring to be in the same room with folks who do that kind of thing on a daily basis.

It was also pretty cool to hang with my landsman Lewis Black for a bit after the show. I'm not sure i'm down with his whole "non-partisan" schtick, but man, he is gut bustingly funny in person.

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Continue reading Civil libertarians

Not enough hours in the day . . .

to catalog all of the outrages in this world.

Continue reading Not enough hours in the day . . .

Traffic circle blogging - Valentine's Day edition

Happy Valentine's Day to my honey.

More traffic circle VDay photos here.


Continue reading Traffic circle blogging - Valentine's Day edition

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Man, i needed to calm down after that last rant.


Continue reading Mellow


Could it really be that a senior Durham Police official told a neighborhood association group that the department is not able to enforce Durham's traffic laws and speed limits due to manpower and prioritization issues?

I've only spoken to one person who was at the meeting (although it's someone who i've come to trust implicitly), but if that in fact happened, it's troublesome on so many levels it's hard to know where to start.

(ADDING): My source indicates that the senior police official referred to above was more indicating that the problem lay within the courts. IE - it may not be worth DPD's time and manpower to write these citations if the courts are going to allow them to be bargained down to equipment failures, or if the violators are going to simply ignore the citations, knowing they'll never be tracked down anyway. While this mitigates somewhat the statements that prompted this rant, i don't think it solves the problem or even points the way to a successful solution. The DPD's job is to enforce the laws, including traffic laws. They need to write the citations. If it turns out that the court system for collecting those fines and/or throwing chronic violators in jail is broken, that's a completely different problem.

First, speeding, especially on neighborhood surface streets, is so endemic that the city is unable to fund all of its traffic calming requests. The waiting list for speed humps, for example, is so long that the conventional wisdom regarding their effectiveness has had time to evolve while some neighborhoods are still waiting for their installation. The huge Club Blvd. project near Oval Dr. Park is supposed to be a model for similar traffic calming measures in other parts of town, but it took years to find the money for that project, and there's not much left for other projects. The perceived need to slow down traffic on our surface streets is so great that over 1200 Durham residents have signed on to the PACE Car program, voluntarily and publicly pledging to drive within the speed limit at all times in the city. Believe me, we don't do that because we like making sure we leave five minutes earlier to be on time for all of our appointments.


People who work on pedestrian and other, non-automotive transportation issues, like to talk about the three Es: Education, Engineering, and Enforcement. In our town, education about things like pedestrian rights-of-way in crosswalks is virtually non-existent. Similarly, the engineering of many of our roads (and i'm thinking about N. Duke St., Guess Rd., Roxboro {north and south} as examples) encourages speeding while discouraging pedestrian activity. That pretty much leaves enforcement as the sole means of making any sort of difference in the current, unacceptable, situation.

Second, though, is the incredible insensitivity of making that statement to a neighborhood association group. Our neighborhood associations and PACs are the heaviest concentrations of concerned, committed, and invested citizens. It's been the work of these people, as much or more so than any capital investment from the city, that has made Durham such a great place to live. You simply can't come into a group like that and say that their concerns are not going to be addressed. It's getting pretty damn frustrating to hear from department after department that they can't carry out their jobs because they're understaffed and underfunded. You know, a great many Durham residents have lived in other towns and cities across the US. We've seen, with similar budget constraints, that they've figured out how to enforce traffic laws and zoning regulations. I'm not asking for every pothole in the city to be fixed in 24 hours, or every broken streetlamp to be repaired the same day it's reported. But it's simply unacceptable to hear time and again from department heads that "We'd love to implement that program, or solve that problem, but we don't have the personnel." We read abot the same troublesome landlords leaving their properties to fall apart in neighborhood after neighborhood throughout Durham, while no one is able to devise a program to bring them into compliance.

We hear a lot about "broken windows" theories of community development when we talk to our municipal leaders. Think of vehicles driving at unsafe speeds through our neighborhood streets as mobile broken windows. The prompt parents to keep their kids indoors, and discourage pedestrians from using the neighborhood. There are about as many traffic fatalities in Durham as homicides over the past five or six years. It's not an insignificant problem, and it's one that deserves more of an effort from our civic leaders to fix than what we're getting.

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Continue reading Rumors

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not a typo

More than 30 percent of U.S. homeowners who bought in the last two years owe more on their mortgage than their house is currently worth, a housing market research company said on Tuesday.

The housing market peaked in most U.S. markets in the last two years. Of home buyers in 2006, 39 percent of those with a median 10 percent down payment now have negative home equity similar to 30 percent of those who purchased in 2007, said online company Zillow in its quarterly home value report.

I guess that explains why the National Association of Realtors was on my TV last night claiming that "on average, home prices double every ten years."


Continue reading Not a typo

Hall of Shame

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jim Webb (D-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

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Continue reading Hall of Shame

Traffic circle blogging - pre-Valentine's Day edition

With luck, this will recoup some of the money we lost when luminaria were canceled a couple of months ago due to the drought. If you hurry, you might still be able to get in on the action and have your Valentine message posted for the world (or at least that part of it that passes through the intersection of Glendale and Markham) to see on Thursday.

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Continue reading Traffic circle blogging - pre-Valentine's Day edition


I am surely not the only person who's driven through town on southbound I-85 in recent days whos asked, "what the hell is that supposed to be selling?"

Ordinarily, i wouldn't bother to call attention to this. I mean, we're surrounded by bad advertising and ugly graphic design. It's as much a part of the landscape as cell phone towers, and most of the time we can just filter it out with our thoroughly modern brains.

But as it happens, i know what this ad is selling. And that's where it gets ironic. See, the Addy's are the Triangle Ad Club's annual award for best marketing and advertising work done in the region. And this year's theme is, apparently, "The Evolution of Advertising."

From the website:
That's the theme for the 2008 RDU Addys, sponsored by American Advertising Foundation, AAF Raleigh-Durham. It's an historical, occasionally hysterical overview of the good and bad (ok, all bad) advertising of previous decades. Of course, the real purpose is to celebrate the brilliance of today's advertising and marketing professionals in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

I'm sure that the actual honorees will be awesome. But let's remember that advertising, like science fiction, is and always has been subject to Sturgeon's Law, and that its suckitude is in no way related to the decade in which it was produced. Meanwhile, i'm hoping that, with the awards dinner to be held on the 29th, this embarrassment will be down by March 1.


Continue reading Signs

Ain't that good news!

From Yahoo Weather:
# Today: Mostly cloudy this morning. A few showers developing during the afternoon. High around 55F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
# Tonight: Showers with a possible thunderstorm early, then variable clouds overnight with still a chance of showers. Low 52F. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
# Tomorrow: Heavy rain early...then remaining cloudy with thundershowers developing in the afternoon. High 59F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall around 2 inches.
# Tomorrow night: Chance of a shower or two during the evening, followed by partly cloudy skies late. Low 29F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

Two inches of rain over the next couple of days should let the City push back Stage V restrictions for quite a while.

And if that weekend storm materializes, that should be enough water to get us through June with no additional restrictions. Maybe i'll be able to grow some tomatoes this year after all.


Continue reading Ain't that good news!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Number 1 with a bullet

Just about every national blogger i read on a daily basis has this on their front page in the last hour or so. But in case you missed it, do yourself a favor and watch it.

Then think about whether or not John McCain is even marginally worth considering to be your president.

After you get done laughing.


Continue reading Number 1 with a bullet

Miscellaneous TV observations

Mrs. D's mom was over for dinner last night, and that generally means that the final few holes of the golf tournament of the week are on the TV. I generally don't watch a lot of golf, but when it's on it's not hard to notice that the networks are selling a very specific demographic to their advertisers. And as someone who's on the fringes, if not near the center, of that demographic, yeah, i sometimes find that i'm noticing the commercials.

So, the first thought is that whoever approved the "Viva Viagra" campaign needs to be strapped in a chair, given large doses of caffeine intraveously, and made to watch the remake of The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan on an endless repeat cycle.

That's just wrong.

Of course, if there's an ED commercial, you know there's going to be a commercial for something to shrink that troublesome prostate. For this one, i only caught the tag line, not the product. But whichever product it was, they closed the ad by asking "After all, who doesn't want to spend less time in the bathroom?"

Ummm, Senator Larry Craig, (R-Idaho)?

They write themselves, i tell you.

Later, the youngest was watching the Grammy awards, hoping that Feist would take home a statuette or two. That didn't happen. At some point during the proceedings, though, i got my hands on the remote and took a spin to see what else was on.*

And lo, over on BBC America, were the BAFTA awards, aka the British Academy Awards. The contrast between the two awards shows couldn't have been starker. A full five minute tribute to a prop master for Lifetime Achievement, including clips from at least a dozen of the films he'd worked on (the Harry Potter films, Roger Rabbit, and more), and an acceptance speech from same over in London. In Hollywood, meanwhile, Robbie Robertson got about 10 seconds of screen time as Tom Hanks stumbled through the Lifetime Achievement award for The Band, arguably one of the 5 most important contributors to American rock and roll in the last 50 years.

That was just shameful.


*I read somewhere a theory that men are more interested in knowing "what else is on," rather than watching anything in particular. If some researcher were to pick me as their single random sample, i could probably confirm that hypothesis.


Continue reading Miscellaneous TV observations

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wildfires threaten homes, businesses . . . in North Carolina?

I got a firsthand taste of just how windy it was this afternoon, as i foolishly chose today to climb up on the roof and clean out the gutters. But i was still surprised to read this:
In North Carolina, winds gusting up to 60 mph in some areas toppled trees and power lines and also fanned brush fires across the state.

The Willow Spring Free Will Baptist Church in Cleveland, N.C., just south of Raleigh, was holding a worship service when a fire forced it to evacuate, the town's Fire Chief Chris Ellington said.

Or this:
Interstate 85 near the Vance-Granville county line was closed Sunday afternoon and traffic detoured because of a wildfire that jumped into the median, the State Highway Patrol said. That fire burned about 20 acres, said Forest Resources spokesman Brian Haines.

The Department of Transportation said Interstate 40 in Guilford County was closed because of fallen power lines blamed on the high winds, the Associated Press reported.

In Johnston County, about 60 firefighters responded to a fire that threatened 20 homes. None were lost and no injuries were reported, though a church was evacuated during a service and two empty barns burned down, fire authorities said.

A 20-acre fire was burning in Alamance as well, Haines said. “Pretty much all district personnel and equipment is committed across the state,” Haines said. Winds were so high that many of the division’s fire-fighting aircraft were unable to take off, adding to the difficulty, he said.

We've long appreciated a temperate climate with adequate, even rainfall in North Carolina. Those extremes of drought, fire, floods, and mudslides were, we thought, a West Coast phenomenon.

Looks like we may have been mistaken.


Continue reading Wildfires threaten homes, businesses . . . in North Carolina?

Another court rebuffs the Bush administration

This time over mercury emissions.
A federal appeals court said Friday the Bush administration ignored the law when it imposed less stringent requirements on power plants to reduce mercury pollution, which scientists fear could cause neurological problems in 60,000 newborns a year.

A three-judge panel unanimously struck down a mercury-control plan imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency three years ago. It established an emissions trading process in which some plants could avoid installing the best mercury control technology available by buying pollution credits.

Environmentalist and health experts argued that such a cap-and-trading mechanism would create "hot spots" of mercury contamination near some power plants. Seventeen states as well as environmental and health groups joined in a suit to block the regulation, saying it did not adequately protect public health.

It's not the first time the administration has been taken to task for ignoring the Congress when it comes to protecting the public health, and when added to the recent statements by the Attorney General, demonstrates a very clear pattern of the application of what the administration claims are its virtually unlimited powers under the theory of the "unitary executive."
The court decision was the latest in a string of judicial rebukes of the Bush administration's environmental policies. The Supreme Court last year took the administration to task for not regulating greenhouse gases. Courts have also rejected administration attempts to overhaul federal forest policies and streamline fuel economy standards for small trucks.

In this case, the Clinton EPA had instructed operators of coal power plants to install best available technology to remove up to 90% of mercury from power plant emissions. The Bush EPA replaced that instruction with the one just overturned. Here's athe kicker. Even though the Bush rule wouldn't have taken effect for another 10 years or so, an industry spokesperson is complaining that now, power plant operators are rudderless.
Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, an association of power companies, called the court decision "a major setback ... to establish clear mercury regulations for coal-burning power plants."

"Now EPA has to go back to the drawing board, pushing mercury regulations far off into the future," said Riedinger.

I don't get it. Seems to me we had a perfectly good regulation eight friggin' years ago. If the current ruling has been held to be in violation of the law as written by the Congress of the United States, wouldn't the previously existing regulation come into play? What's the need to go back to the drawing board? It's not like there's anything controversial about mercury's status as a neurotoxin.
Some 450 existing coal and oil burning power plants emit 48 tons of mercury into the air each year. Yet only 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury is needed to contaminate a 25 acre lake to the point where fish are unsafe to eat.

More than 40 states have warned their residents to avoid consuming various fish species due to mercury contamination, and more than half of those mercury advisories apply to all water bodies in the state.

But there you go, nothing is more important to these guys than the exercise of power. Not your kid's health, not your job, not your right to be "secure in [your] persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

Here's some more reading on this case.

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Continue reading Another court rebuffs the Bush administration

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Cole Mill Rd., Durham, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, February 09, 2008

That's what I'm talking about

We still like Mike!
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Republican presidential contest in Kansas on Saturday, Fox News Channel projected, showing signs of life in a nominating race front-runner John McCain has nearly sewed up.

The win for Huckabee followed a strong showing in the South earlier in the week, when the Baptist minister won four Southern states and West Virginia in "Super Tuesday" voting involving nearly half of U.S. states.

Huckabee vowed earlier in the day, during an appearance at a conference of conservative activists, to continue his shoestring campaign that has appealed to social and religious conservatives.

. . .

"I did not major in math, but I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them," Huckabee said later at a rally at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Don't forget, miracles cost money. Keep Huck going.

UPDATE: Huck is ahead in Washington state, where McCain is barely outpolling Ron Paul. And he's looking like he's going to win in Louisiana with 46% of the precincts reporting. McCain will have to take about 58% of the remaining vote to win Louisiana.

Awesome! Feel the Huckmentum.

UPDATE II: McCain may have squeaked out a victory in Washington St. where CNN shows McCain with a 1200 vote lead with 86% of the precincts counted. Show Huck some love.


Continue reading That's what I'm talking about

Welcome Endangered Durham readers

The post you're looking for is probably this one. But make yourselves at home while you're here.

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Continue reading Welcome Endangered Durham readers

Big mouth!

To recognize those happiest words in the English language: pitchers and catchers report for spring training this week.

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Continue reading Big mouth!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Civics 101 and turds in the sandbox

Quick review of government procedures for those of you who missed the 11th grade.

The Constitution provides for three co-equal branches of government, Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary. If the President ignores Congressional subpoenas, rewrites laws with signing statements, ignores judicial decisions, and orders his Attorney General not to execute the laws of the country, we have a Constitutional problem.

If a rogue county District Attorney violates the law in the course of prosecuting a case, is forced to resign as a result, disbarred, convicted, and held liable for his actions in a court of law, not a Constitutional problem.

It's hard, but not impossible, to fathom the workings of a mind that would seek to conflate the two different issues, or consider prosecutorial malfeasance to be as grave a threat to the Republic as the attempt to establish a unitary executive. Is it a case of ego, of thinking that your own issues supercede that of the entire nation? Is it simply that, as a result of coming to age in a life of privilege, anything that forces the real world to intrude upon that privilege must be inflated to the greatest threat to our very way of life, evah?

Who can really know?

A 30 second Google search on "wrongful prosecution" will reveal hundreds, if not thousands of instances. "Wrongful conviction" will reveal many more. The very existence of the Innocence Project, and the success it's had in freeing those who might otherwise have spent the majority of their lives in prison, or even have been executed, for crimes they did not commit, speaks to the widespread nature of the problem, and belies the singular importance or uniqueness of any one case. This does not minimize the importance of holding prosecutors and police departments accountable for their actions, and requiring them to function within the law. But to equate any of these cases with the actions of the Executive Branch of the US government in ignoring its duties and covering up its own crimes is, in the final analysis, wrong.

Moving on to other stuff, i have to say i got tired of stepping in turds every time i went to play in the sandbox. So for the time being, i've disabled anonymous comments. This may or may not reduce the actual turd volume, but it will at least let people distinguish whose turds they're stepping in. You'll need to have a Blogger account, or an OpenID account to post a comment for the near future. And i really, really don't give a shit what anyone thinks about it.

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Continue reading Civics 101 and turds in the sandbox

I'm rubber, you're glue?

Really, is that the best you got?

Why do you even get out of bed in the morning?


Continue reading I'm rubber, you're glue?

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

And welcome the year of the rat, which is supposed to be a prosperous one.

I know of one good thing that will happen this year.


Continue reading Gong Xi Fa Cai!


Gary's been blogging Vickers St. all week over at Endangered Durham. On Monday, he pointed out that the old concrete street sign at the corner of Jackson and Vickers may be the last of its kind in Durham.

These guys aren't being used for their original purpose anymore, but there's at least a couple of dozen along Knox St. at the south entrance to Duke Park. They're there ostensibly to keep idiots from driving over the curb and into the park. Most of them have lost their name tags, but not quite all.

This one once occupied the corner of High St. and Moreland, about a mile or so southwest of the sign Gary featured.

UPDATE: Welcome Endangered Durham readers.

Here's one more photo showing how many of these signposts have made it over to Duke Park.

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Continue reading Signposts

H K on J

I hear a lot of people are going to Raleigh tomorrow.

Maybe i'll see you there.


Continue reading H K on J

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The 60s are the new black

From the comments (anonymous, of course):
If you wrote this blog in Cuba you'd be in jail by now.

Because pointing out the excesses of the Bush administration is a crime in Cuba?

For cryin' out loud. Ho Chi Minh was an answer tonight on Jeopardy. It's the Gulag for you, Mr. Trebek!


Continue reading The 60s are the new black

Once upon a time

Conservatives used to at least pretend they were opposed to tyranny.

Now? Not so much.


Continue reading Once upon a time

What about Mike?

So, Mike Huckabee is chopped liver?
John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney will say at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.


Continue reading What about Mike?

She must be running for re-election

I don't know if literally throwing money at the taxpayers in an effort to head off a recession is the best approach or not. The Bush administration and the House of Representatives thought so when they passed an "economic stimulus" package a week or so ago.

The Senate is working on a slightly different package that would also extend unemployment benefits in certain areas and give money to some people (some disabled veterans, for example) who don't have any earned income to report. Not unexpectedly, Republicans in the Senate filibustered this plan. Equally predictable, media accounts didn't use the "f" word to describe the maneuver*.

What was totally unexpected, at least from my perspective, is that Liddy Dole voted with the Democrats to close debate on the plan.

She must be feeling the heat.

*UPDATE: I take that back.

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Continue reading She must be running for re-election


We were rather lucky in that the storms which passed through the area yesterday produced barely a thunderbolt or downed tree limb. Others were not so fortunate.

Here's some info on how to help.

Continue reading Fortunate

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Big discussion over at Kevin's place on the Great Wi-Fi Controversy of 2008, aka Mad Hatters Cut Off My Internet Access, And All I Got Was This Lousy Glass Of Water.

But i don't want to talk about that. (Full disclosure - i shut down a thread on that topic on the neighborhood listserv i moderate that started getting into anonymous slamming of the establishment. I don't like that.)

There's a specific comment in the thread that bugged me enough to isolate it for further discussion.
Duke students and health services drive Durham's economy (and employ the author of this great blog!). Students need places to study, and in every college town off-campus institutions help provide those spaces. If you don't want to interact with college students, don't go near campus. For a bunch of open-minded liberals, y'all sure have a lot of hate in you.

Aside from being misguided (very few of the complaints specifically referenced Duke students; and the claim that "Duke students and health services drive Durham's economy" is a tad bit hyperbolic), i really want to focus on the last statement.

First off, the assumption that all the commenters, especially any that may have said anything remotely critical of Duke students (which, after once again reading through the comments i simply can't find) are "open-minded liberals" is totally unsupported, and says much more about the commenter than about anyone else who's posted. But the second clause, which implies that those same liberals "sure have a lot of hate in you" is just stupid. Again, there's nothing in the comments remotely "hateful" to anyone. But more importantly is the implicit assumption that anger or hate are emotions which "liberals" are somehow supposed to have eschewed.

So it's OK for assholes like Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh to go on the radio on a daily basis spewing hate, but if "liberals" say the first thing critical about you, then they're "haters?"

Maybe when i was at the Lord Fauntleroy's Panty Waist School for Liberals as a younger person i missed that lecture, but when i read about shit like this, why shouldn't i get angry? When i've watched a group of incompetent morons tear my country apart for the better part of the last 40 years, what's there left to be "open-minded" about? Conservative ideology, pitting one group of people against another in a never-ending sequence of class, racial, ethnic, religious, and gender conflicts, has damn near destroyed the American experiment in my lifetime. You think that makes me a hater?

Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, but i don't think you understand the meaning of the word.


Continue reading Comments


Dear Barry,
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are done. John McCain will be the Republican nominee -- he's the only one with a reasonable path to the nomination.

So how do we beat him? We stand up -- right now -- start fighting, and show the American people that he's not who they think he is.

We can't wait for Hillary or Barack to win the nomination. Now that the Republicans have a candidate, the dollars are starting to pour in from special interests who will do anything to beat the Democratic nominee. They're just waiting for us to decide so they can start smearing.

Here's what U.S. News and World Report recently reported about how the RNC is getting ready...
[RNC Chairman Mike] Duncan and his aides want to be ready to go on the offensive against the Democratic nominee presumptive in an effort to define the opposition candidate on GOP terms. Opposition research is already well along, and the plan is for surrogates to talk to the media around the country while a TV ad campaign in key states and media markets as soon as the Democratic nominee is determined.

We must be ready to fight back, and fight back hard, today.

Now that we know our opponent, it's time to build a national effort on the programs you and I have worked so hard to create over the last four years - from our cutting-edge technology to our voter protection programs, it's time to shift gears.

I need you to contribute $25, $50, or $100 to help us fight John McCain right now:


John McCain is a media darling, but don't trust his carefully-crafted image - he's worked for years to brand himself. From Iraq to health care, Social Security to special interest tax cuts to ethics, he's promising nothing more than a third Bush term.

After championing campaign finance reform and ethics legislation to score political points, he now has a staggering amount of lobbyists involved in every aspect of his campaign. In fact, two of the top three sources for John McCain's campaign cash are D.C. lobbying firms, and he looked the other way as Jack Abramoff bought and paid for the Republican Party and the Culture of Corruption.

On immigration reform, he's run as far to the right as he can, aligning himself with the most extreme elements of the Republican Party.

On the war, McCain scoffed at Bush's call to leave troops in Iraq for 50 years, saying "Make it a hundred!"

On a woman's right to choose, McCain has vowed to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

On the economy, one of the issues that the American people care most about, McCain has said: "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."

We can't afford four more years with a President who drives the economy into the ground. We can't afford four more years with a President who fights an endless war in Iraq. We can't afford four more years with a President who gives tax cuts to companies who ship jobs overseas; with a President who can't get every American the health care they deserve; with a President we just can't trust.

I don't just want to beat John McCain - I want it to be a landslide. If you're as committed as I am, I need you to make a contribution today:


Only the Democratic Party is legally allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to back our nominee and tell the real story about John McCain. We proved that our strategy worked in 2006, and it will work again this fall.

Help us today:


Let's get going,

Howard Dean


Continue reading Emails

Must be all that blogging

Worker productivity slows sharply


Continue reading Must be all that blogging


Those thunderstorms we're supposed to get this afternoon? So far, no warnings have been issued, but they did an awful lot of damage last night in Tennessee, including more than a few deaths.

So, stay close to a radio or the internets today, and keep an eye on the weather. Rain is nice, but it's not worth dying for.


Continue reading Storms

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I like Mike!

Go Mike!
A thunder of applause filled Cherry Street Park as Mike Huckabee addressed the crowd. "He is a strong conservative and he is a strong Christian and that appeals to me," said Billie Dandy.

"I like Mike Huckabee because he is for fair tax, pro-life, and a second amendment supporter," said Richard Wallace.

And the issue that drew the most support was fair tax. "Mike is a true conservative, and he is for fair tax. He is truly for fair tax," said Herb Whitson.

"As a small business owner, I believe in fair tax because it won't take all of my money," said Dandy.

Signs never stopped waving through out Huckabee's 20 minute speech.

"I believe that Huckabee is the most conservative, and he can appeal to the people. He is so personable. I believe that he can reach across party lines and get things done," said Michael Lane.
Photo yoinked without permission from the Washington Note
Huckabee wins Georgia, Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri too close to call.
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Tuesday he would press on with his White House candidacy, emboldened by wins in the South.

"The one way you can't win a race is to quit it, and until somebody beats me, I'm going to answer the bell for every round of this fight," the former Arkansas governor said in an AP interview from Little Rock.

Huckabee beat rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney in West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia and his home state, and early returns showed him leading in a few more Super Tuesday states. He said he would emerge from the virtual national primary contests as the alternative to McCain, the Arizona senator and Republican front-runner.

Couldn't ask for better news.

: From the limited reading i've been able to do this morning, it seems to me that Huck's victories are being downplayed as "confined to the South," and that what he's really doing is running to be McCain's vice-president. I guess as long as Romney stays in the race, then Huck and the Maverick can tag team him, but if he drops out, then we'll find out what the Huckster is really made of.


Continue reading I like Mike!

Mardi Gras in Duke Park

Photo courtesy DL Anderson

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"It's only a flesh wound . . . "

I don't know why, but i was thinking of this today.


Continue reading "It's only a flesh wound . . . "

Notes from a Republican

Some WATB anonymous commenter seems to think that the problem with the US right now is that George W. Bush doesn't have enough power to run the country as he sees fit.

I think there's some prescient Republican theorizing on that concept.
The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.

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Super Fat Tuesday

There's a very good chance that by the end of the night we'll know who the Republican nominee for the Presidency will be. There's a (lesser) chance that we'll have the same info about the Democrats. It's still the first week in February. I really don't like the way this system is working these days.

The good news is that Traction is throwing a Super Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras/primary watching party tonight at the Oyster Bar, upstairs at Fishmongers.

You read this blog and you don't know about Traction?

Well, stop by tonight after 7, and have a good time learning more. Oh, and Mardi Gras costumes are encouraged.

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