Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

NC lawmakers move to make graffiti a felony

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

State lawmakers are moving to make repeat graffiti charges a felony. I have reported more graffiti in Raleigh than probably anyone (I am on a first-name basis with Raleigh’s graffiti team), however making graffiti a felony will not put the brakes on graffiti. It will, however, put more people in prison that honestly don’t need to be there.

As annoying as graffiti is, we do not need to make felons out of people for such a simple crime. A better approach would be to increase funding to the NCDOT and to municipalities to fund anti-graffiti efforts. That’s not seen as being “tough on crime,” though, and it also costs money. But hey, effective solutions sometimes require spending some money.

Graffiti vandals could land in prison under a bill, which received preliminary approve in the NC Senate, that would make repeatedly marking up buildings a felony.

The state Senate gave preliminary approval in a 42-7 vote to a proposed law that expands and toughens graffiti penalties. A final vote is expected Wednesday in the Senate.

Current law covers statues, monuments and public buildings. Tagging public property is a Class 2 misdemeanor, with the stiffest penalty for five or more convictions two months in jail.

House Bill 552 would extend the protection to any property. The severity of the offense is stepped up to a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a minimum $500 mandatory fine.

Source: NC lawmakers move to make graffiti a felony

Train happenings

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Groundbreaking of Raleigh Union Station

Groundbreaking of Raleigh Union Station

I raced out of work Friday morning to see the groundbreaking of Raleigh’s new Union Station. Mayor McFarlane, Gov. McCrory, NCDOT Secretary Tata, Rep. David Price, and Federal DOT and Amtrak officials were there to break ground on this new multi-modal station. Looking around the crowd of spectators, many of whom were sweating under the strong sun, I wondered how many of them had ever actually ridden Amtrak. I’d bet the closest most have come is the hundred yards to the tracks where the NCDOT’s version of Amtrak, the Piedmont, was right then pulling into Raleigh.

Obama to Remove Cuba From State Sponsor of Terror List – ABC News

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Obama removes Cuba from the terror sponsor list. I wonder if Raul Castro will remove America from Cuba’s terror sponsor list?

The terror designation has been a stain on Cuba’s pride and a major stumbling block for efforts to mend ties between Washington and Havana.In a message to Congress, Obama said the government of Cuba "has not provided any support for international terrorism" over the last six months. He also told lawmakers that Cuba "has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future."

via Obama to Remove Cuba From State Sponsor of Terror List – ABC News.

New Hampshire legislatures kill fourth graders’ bill and dreams.

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

What assholes.

Last Thursday, fourth graders from Hampton Falls, New Hampshire visited their state legislature to observe a bit of democracy in action. The children had previously proposed House Bill 373, establishing the Red Tail Hawk as the New Hampshire State Raptor, as part of a civics lesson in how bills become laws. Their measure had already sailed out of the Environmental and Agriculture Committee. Now the young students gathered in the House galley to watch their bill pass its next hurdle.

via New Hampshire legislatures kill fourth graders' bill and dreams..

LTE on Skip Stam

Friday, March 13th, 2015

I sent this to the N&O regarding Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam’s apparent reversal of support for redistricting reform.

It is disappointing to see Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, once a champion of redistricting reform, backing a bill that quite plainly gerrymanders the Wake County Commission. We the voters lose again.

My original version called Stam “long a champion,” but it appears his days of championing redistricting reform are over. I hope one version or another makes it to print.

Fifteen years of public service

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Found in the attic a few weeks ago is this letter from the late Garner mayor F. Don Rohrbaugh, thanking me for my service on Garner’s Land Use Ordinance rewrite committee. It was my very first public service (outside of the military).

Thanks, Don (wherever you are), for getting me started!


‘Homebrew’ email servers: Genius as well as sneaky? ::

Friday, March 6th, 2015

No, it’s not always a room filled with wires and glowing blue lights. It’s probably not even the size of your furnace. The personal email server used by Hillary Rodham Clinton during her time as secretary of state was probably about the size of your office desktop computer and could have been tucked quietly in a corner somewhere.

She’s come a long way since 1997, when Clinton’s staff bought the then-first lady a copy of the book "E-Mail for Dummies."

Setting up your own email server is something only the geekiest of tech geeks do because of the serious hassles involved, including spending every waking hour fending off spam. Like brewing your own beer, it’s typically done just for fun — a way to challenge your smarts and fill the time. It also appeals to those who fear the government is sniffing around and could compel companies like Google or Yahoo to release customer data.

via 'Homebrew' email servers: Genius as well as sneaky? ::

Historic moment: Saudi Arabia sees End of Oil Age coming and opens valves on the carbon bubble –

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

This is a fascinating read about the oil market that took me a while to really get, but it finally makes sense.

Tl;dr The Saudis are selling all the oil they can now because they’re worried that oil is quickly becoming obsolete. They’d rather sell at a drastic discount than be left with oceans of oil but no buyers.

Most analysts believe Saudi Arabia refuses to cut production because it wants to shake out its higher-cost competitors or because it wants to punish Iran and Russia. There may be some truth in those theories, writes Elias Hinckley, strategic advisor and head of the energy practice with international law firm Sullivan and Worcester, but they miss the deeper motivation of the Saudis. Saudi Arabia, he says, sees the end of the Oil Age on the horizon and understands that a great deal of global fossil fuel reserves will have to stay underground to avoid catastrophic global warming. “That’s why it has opened the valves on the carbon asset bubble.”

via Historic moment: Saudi Arabia sees End of Oil Age coming and opens valves on the carbon bubble –

Separate And Unequal: Gen. Petraeus Facing Mild Wrist Slap For Leaking Eight Books Full Of Classified Info To His Mistress

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Can’t wait to see Ed Snowden offered the same sweet deal. I’m sure that will happen, right?

The administration still wants to punish whistleblowers and leakers, but only if it can do it with logic borrowed from Animal Farm. When it comes to prosecution, some leakers are more equal than others.

John Kiriakou — who exposed a single CIA operative’s name while exposing its waterboarding tactics — spent more time in jail than former CIA director Leon Panetta, who has spent (at last count) a grand total of 0 days locked up for leaking tons of classified info to Zero Dark Thirty’s screenwriter, Mark Boal.

Of course, some leaks just aren’t leaks, at least not according to the government. Kiriakou’s were wrong. Panetta’s were right. And Kiriakou spent three years in prison for a lesser "crime."

via Techdirt..

Clinton ran own computer system for her official emails ::

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Hillz got mad skillz, running her own mailserver. Who knew she was a 7337 hacX0R?

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton’s secretive email practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free email services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

via Clinton ran own computer system for her official emails ::