Morning Post

Eighty degrees today (maybe). Spring is all in like a lion in the sun or something.

Meanwhile,

– According to Media Matters, the Sanford Herald (which has a terrible Web site) is among the eight papers to drop Coulter of late;
– Rep. Wright resigns his leadership posts;
– S.C. GOP blasts Edwards early and often;
Warthogs are getting a new ballpark;
– Walter Dalton announces he’s running for Lt. Governor;
Oh, and the White House wanted to fire all the prosecutors, but the AG decided on just a handful. What a guy.
Also, dang it–a lawsuit and right at the wrong time.

Return of the Morning Post

Gosh golly starting a newspaper is time-consuming. And right in the middle of it felled for a day-point-five by a nasty bug. Have graduated to Progresso “hearty” style and am on the mend. Here’s the drill:

State
– More coming out on the electricity tax break for Google. From this morning’s Insider:

Electricity tax breaks granted by the General Assembly — based on its own estimates and if computed over the same 30-year time period as property tax breaks granted by Lenoir and Caldwell County — would reach $90 million.

– New poll from Public Policy Polling shows Perdue lead slipping a bit and Obama over Clinton.
– Oh good, they’re turning away coffee mugs on Jones Street. Next step: repealing the lottery and fully funding education reforms with a progressive tax policy
– NC military hospitals under review

Nat/Intl
WSJ poll shows McCain slipping fast
Digby adds some perspective
– Libby pardon date T-shirt contest

Coming up for air

My apologies for the sparse and erratic posting of late, but it appears to be a semi-hiatus well spent.

On March 21, Robert Dickson and I are launching The Carrboro Citizen–a new community newspaper for Carrboro and its surrounding communities. You can read about it here, here, here, here and in this wonderful, welcoming DTH editorial. And, of course, feel free to visit the Citizen’s first blog, The Mill.

One of the big decisions I had to make in committing to the paper was what to do with my blogs–namely this one and The Cape Fear Mercury. Like any decent blog the two grew out of my interest in state politics and public policy and in the natural history, people and places of North Carolina. Like any blog that keeps going for a while they both went in directions I hadn’t planned. During last year’s hurricane season, the Merc morphed into a weather blog. A month before, most posts were about Down East. Nowadays, it’s all about nature and travel.

Meanwhile, Exile on Jones Street, became the driver for the print column and the place to experiment with the blog first/print later technique of building a weekly column through blogging. That got all mixed up during the legislative session when putting up audio from hearings became a focus. Then there was that election and becoming a regular at BlueNC.

After doing a lot of listening in the past few months to what people in Carrboro were reading, wanted to read and wanted out of a newspaper, it became clear that the subjects covered in these blogs, particularly Exile’s look at legislative issues and the Merc’s travel and natural history themes, are of sufficient interest to the good people of Carrboro to warrant the effort to keep both blogs burning.

So look for Exile to return to print in the Triangle in the pages of the Carrboro Citizen and look for Merc photos, stories and travels there as well.

Also, since there seems to be an interest in my keeping track of how this idea of starting a newspaper in the 21st Century is going, I’ve created a new catagory here called Newspapering.

Now, if I can get all the patches to make 2.1.1 work right in plaintxt, I’ll be in great shape.

See you in the paper.

(Shorter version of this post: I’ve decided to keep both this blog and the Merc up and operating and use them to produce content for the newspaper. )

Cleanup crew

Democracy North Carolina has a new site. This from watchdog group:

STENCH OF BATHROOM DEALS IN STATE POLITICS
FUELS PETITION DRIVE — CleanUpRaleigh.com

The group that sparked the investigation into Jim Black’s campaign financing is launching a new website — CleanUpRaleigh.com — to rally support with a petition calling for fundamental reform.

The new website of Democracy North Carolina, the Carrboro-based watchdog group, says, “It began with video poker and ended with revelations about secret cash payoffs in bathrooms. It’s more than a sick joke. The scandals swirling around ex-Speaker Jim Black have exposed the stench of dirty money,
dirty deals, and dirty pay-to-play politics.”

“We hope to get several thousand people to sign the petition,” said Antony Khamala, a field organizer for the group. “E-organizing can be an effective way for people to express their outrage about the mess in Raleigh and support for a clean campaign finance system.”

Democracy North Carolina is a part of a coalition of groups, ranging from the NAACP to the NC Bankers’ Association, which recommends a public financing option for qualified candidates who demonstrate broad support and who refuse to rely on large, special-interest donations. [See NC Voters for
Clean Elections at www.ncvce.org]

A link from the new CleanUpRaleigh.com website provides a series of Q & As about public financing and emphasizes that it is a “sweat equity” program, because candidates must get authorization to use a public fund by first collecting hundreds of small donations from registered voters.

“Clean, Voter-Owned public financing programs are working from Maine to Arizona and right here with our statewide judicial elections,” said Adam Sotak, another organizer with Democracy North Carolina.

In a blog announcing the new website, Sotak says that Treasurer Richard Moore’s reliance on campaign money from executives doing business with his office is a reason to provide public financing in Council of State races.
“This is not to say that Moore’s a dirty politician on the take, but let’s be honest, this is no way to run a democracy.”

Democracy North Carolina filed a complaint in June 2004 about a pattern of what it suspected were illegal contributions to then-Speaker Jim Black from donors tied to the video-poker industry. It provided substantial information
to the FBI and the State Board of Elections which conducted investigations that uncovered a variety of problems with Black’s fundraising practices, eventually leading to his felony convictions in February.

“The worst thing that could happen now is for nothing to change about the money chase that fosters corruption and provides no clean source of campaign money for good candidates,” said Khamala. “People can change this system.
Lots of small actions can add up.”