North Carolina, First in Everything Challenge

Greetings all! Recently I unveiled my new motto: North Carolina, First in Everything. The idea is simple, enough being in the bottom of the stack, enough being 45th in this, 39th in that. Let's be First - in everything. We have a great state, not a mediocre state, and we and our children deserve to live in a state that lives up to its potential. Republicans would have our state live in its parents basement, lacking in confidence, worried that it will never make it to the top so it might as well just not even try. But, not us.

So, here is my challenge to you, and you, and you, and you.

Devise a basic plan for North Carolina to be first in the issue you are most concerned about. Judicial equity, race relations, education, health care, prisons, farming, technology, small business, civil rights.....whatever. Next week around this time I'll post another of these diaries and I will expect all of you to post your ideas. We aren't the John Locke Foundation, we're not paid big $$$ by a single-minded millionaire to sit around and crunch numbers, and so I'm certainly not expecting grand plans.

Give me your thoughts below, what do you think North Carolina can be first in?

Comments

No, I won't write....

"in what do you think North Carolina can be first".

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

As a great man once said....

“That is something up with which I will not put.”

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

First in

obscure grammatical construction?

Reminds me of an old joke

A Carolina student visiting Duke campus walks up to a student and asks: Excuse me, can you tell me where the Duke Chapel is at?

Duke student: Don't you know you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition?

Carolina student: Oh, that's right. Can you tell me where the Duke Chapel is at, asshole?

I have been thinking all morning and I have some ideas.

NC used to be number 1 in wine production before prohibition. Then North Carolinian "Captain" Paul Garrett was the king of American wine making and produced a new brand called Virginia Dare and to advertise this new brand, he produced the first wine "jingle" for radio broadcast.

During prohibition, he tried everything he could to skirt to law, including loading casks onto ships and sending them to sea to ferment and loading them on rail cars, moving them to Oklahoma to ferment on the way and then send the trains back.

So we are first in jingles used in radio wine advertising!

--
Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!

I read a small article

about wine here in NC in some business magazine a while ago. Pretty interesting how they are trying to bring it back.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Yep.

I understand there are some interesting and unique ecological niches in the mountains that are found very few other places on the east coast.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

How about first in planning for growth

Moore county is experiencing growing pains now and will probably be in a lot of pain over the next few years with the influx of 20K people because of BRAC. We have taken some initiatives with our Small Area A Planning, but we need this state-wide.

I think we have about 50 golf courses in our county alone. Recently 1100 acres were purchased behind our house and I heard that they plan on building a couple more golf courses there along with a big housing developement. I wonder what the chemical run off will do to our drinking water. Nick's Creek, which runs into a resevoir that feeds the county seat is about 150 feet away. What will this do to that water supply?

We need better planning with citizen input, not directed by the developers.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

It would be nice....

Unfortunately, NC is probably no where near first in this issue....probably closer to the bottom if anything.
There are some exceptions...Chapel Hill/Carrboro for one, but certain not the norm. :-(

I love this post.

When FMF's whine about many things in North Carolina, they often focus on the fact that we're 20th or 21st on a list, meaning where somewhere around "average" in comparison to other states. Teacher pay, for example, is a topic they drag up a lot. Taxes, of course, are also a favorite topic.

My view is the same as yours. I want NC to be 1st in Teacher Pay. I want us to have pride in being able to attract and retain the very best educators possible. They, on the other hand, prefer a position that is unremarkable.

I wonder why they hate excellence?

It's a heckuva lot simpler

to herd stupid sheep than it is to govern by example.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

Republicans - Proud to be Mediocre.

There is a bumper sticker I'd like to see.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Exactly.

We always want to be number 1 in basketball - it's such a big deal. But if we were number 1 in educational quality indicators: teacher pay, low class size, teacher:student ratio, etc, everything else - EVERYTHING ELSE would fall into place.

_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

A statewide analysis of teacher pay to overall

test scores would be interesting. But, it would have to factor in teacher retention because some places probably pay a LOT for bad teachers simply because no one wants to teach there.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

And paying teachers of the very young (from birth on)

the same rate as public school teachers would ensure that they could meet stringent educational requirements and provide excellent experiences for at-risk infants. We could be number one there, too.

And test scores are only half the picture. You've got to look at graduation rates, college matriculation, employment, earning potential, etc. I don't know of any truly over-arching studies that show this - except for the Abecedarian study from Frank Porter Graham. It studied the effect of a high quality early childhood environment on at-risk children. The results were good.
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

"Teaching for the test" gives me the heebiejeebies

since that's the main failure of NCLB (aka No Child Left Standing). There's so much time spent on rote drilling for tests that kids aren't being taught how to think. We see how much good the "Do what I tell you because I said so" Republican MO has done for the nation. There's no preparation for the real world in rote drills -- unless you also count assembling hamburgers as a manufacturing job. NCLB is simply a Republican way of passing the buck while ensuring that no child should ever have the means to learn, analyze and question.

Now, if we turned that around and made sure the teachers could pass knowledge and practical tests, I could go with that. I see nothing wrong with financial incentives for teachers to have continuing education. (They could probably do a lot more right now if they didn't have to stock classroom supplies out their own pockets...) What about dividing the student testing between achievement and analytical skills? The latter are as easily measured as the former. We just don't.

What amazes me is that thirtymumble years ago, I left high school with a real education. Then again, the majority of that which I got was in the 60's when literacy, an understanding of mathematics and even a second language were prized. So much has been dismantled since then. Kids don't excel the way they used to simply because they have no need to get off their arses and stretch. If all the decent jobs have gone to India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and all the high-paying jobs go to "innie" cronies or brats of cronies, why bother? If the presnit can't handle the English language, why should anyone else be expected to... if he can fail upward, where's the incentive for kids to excel?

KnowwudImean?

We're going to be paying this piper for generations.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

for my part....

I'm torn between keeping kids alive, reviving the family farm, or something more broad that encompasses aspects of all sorts of change.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

How about #1 in transportation?

Number one in progressive mass transit and automobile roads would be awesome. Instead of having critical infrastructure failure, high tax rates, poor roads, and almost no comprehensive State plan for the future of transit; how about a plan that sees North Carolina #1 in laying out, literally, its future?

I wish I could be around to see that.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Not to mention...

we could get back our best roads title.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

First in Lastness?

This is the right kind of thinking, Robert P.

We could be first in state health care and mental health services.

First in biofuels.
First in education.
First in inviting undocumented workers into our society.
First in calling for an end to the war in Iraq.
First in air quality, water quality, food safety.

This is fun.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Good list.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

First in fright?




(Scary, clickable image)

First in alternative energy R&D

With all of the research universities in our state & RTP, I see no reason why we could not become the leading state in alternative energy R&D.

In fact, they could devote a large, well funded dept to this on Centennial Campus. It would bring in jobs, make money for the state and help to save the envio.

With the cooperation of private business and state through something like NCSU Centennial Campus, private investors could benefit as well, which of course helps increase our tax revenue.

Higher Education

I too would like to see us become a Green leader. Screwy wants it out west, Will R. wants it at Carolina North, you want it at Centennial - I say we do it all.
One of the things that ticks me off is when people in Chapel Hill point to UNC Hospitals and say it should have the same mission it had when founded in 1952, being of and for all the people of North Carolina. The mission is a good one, however, in 1950 there were 4 million people living in NC and now there are 9 million. How about a second hospital by and for the people? Or, lord forbid we get AHEAD and have three! Greenville already has a medical school, how about expanding it, then another one in the mountains.
Anyway, same thing with green energy, soon everything will be "alternative", so let's get ahead of the game.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

That makes sense

Set up research centers in different parts of the state with all of them working cooperatively. Each area is more condusive to different sorts of research and pilot programs. For instance, down east would be a good place to utilitze more wind power.

Exactly!

The mountain folks talk alot about wind power, all those windy hill tops. Think of all the sunshine out at the beach and what about all those rivers and tides?

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

My partner and I are putting up

a couple of wind generators in the very near future. We plan to be completely grid-independent within 10 years (5 if we struggle). That's a Tarheel thing: do for yourself rather than laying on someone else to do for ya.

There's no reason that more folks couldn't do the same, mixing wind or solar as appropriate. You wouldn't think that a couple of panels matter, but think of it this way: every tiny bit we do for ourselves leaves us a tiny bit less beholden to Big Energy and coal-smoke asthma. It adds up pretty quickly.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

Public-Private

I think we should have an initiative to put grid-connected solar panels on every roof in NC.
1. NC government lures solar panel producers to the former textile mills - creates jobs.
2. We get private power companies to install the solar panels free of charge - saves them cost of building new coal-power plants ($3 billion per plant I think?).
3. One-time property tax (spread out over 4 years maybe) on all buildings to buy the solar panels, matched with state and federal dollars to make it reasonable, and NC would get the panels at "cost" from the producer in point #1.
4. Public begins saving money on their electricity bills right away.
5. Not only no more coal plants, but we could shut down the dirtiest coal plants.

Add to this some common sense legislation.
1. Do away with high-energy light bulbs.
2. Cap appliance sales so that only mid- to high-efficiency applicances can be sold in North Carolina.

And, Bob's your uncle, we're on our way towards number 1.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

This is a great idea, but

obviously the power companies would be against it because they would not be able to rake in the dough. How do they make their profits and satisfy their stock holders?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

By not having to do this...

The brief comes after a three-day hearing last month, called in response to an escalation in Duke’s estimated cost to build the proposed units – now $3 billion, up from $2 billion in fall 2006.

They can generate power equal to a coal-powered plant through this method. So, they save the $3 Billion down-payment. They don't need a staff of several hundred running the solar panels, like they would with the plant. I'm sure the repair bills will be much lower. Plus, we force them.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Zakkaly. There's no excuse

for any more polluting technology. America has been the most innovative, inventive country and there is zero reason we can't be right back there. Some folks complain that solar isn't efficient enough yet. SO??? Get in there, push a pencil, stir up some new chemistry and make it more efficient. It's not like there isn't room for improvement; and why are Americans sitting on their arses letting someone else do it (whilst we're breathing stank from coal plants). And lord knows NC has housed its share of chemical plants. What are those campuses doing these days?

Yeah, I'm definitely in rant-mode.

My point is, if my partner and I can move that direction on a frayed-shoestring budget, then there are other folks who can make small steps as well. It doesn't have to be much -- every kilowatt from an alternative source is a bloodygreat load of coal smoke we don't have to breathe. That should talk to anyone. Moreover, the little things we've been able to do (improve insulation [cheap], replace ALL our incandescents with CF's [slightly longer ROI], use water restrictors, etc) have actually put money BACK into our budget. In the house we were renting, we reduced our electric bill from $300/month average to around $140 and we didn't spend a pile doing it.

I believe that could be called (gasp) conservative economics.

Yeah, some of the things required swinging a hammer or crawling into ooky places under the house and in the attic, but that didn't take long and the chores were done. It's not rocket science, but the way the coal-folks carry on, you'd think it was. A few bucks out to put a lot of bucks back in my pocket talks to me.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

We spend too much time studying

That we forget to do. That's why we'll never become a leader in Green energy.

In reality, it would be on Centential, since NC State already has the Extension Service and CALS.

First in storm water runoff

at least here in what is left of the mountains.

first in gated communities?

there must be some more

Gated Communities

first in gated communities?

Bug me. A lot.
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Heh heh. I'm a Yankee

Heh heh.

I'm a Yankee transplant, but am carefully cultivating some carolingian pride. I tell all my friends we were the last to join to the confederacy.

My pet issue is public discourse, but that, as I've remarked before, makes a terrible slogan. Can you picture it on roadsigns? "No. 1 in Constructive Dialogue!"

I like the Green North Carolina ideas. We've got the scientific resources, and we have abundant and diverse natural resources worth appreciating and preserving. It'd take a compelling public figure (our own Al Gore) to get everybody on board in a personal way...to motivate individuals to make changes in their own lives...engaging civic officials is another matter...I will think about this.

The East Coast needs its own California. Cal-i-forn-ia, Car-o-li-na...I'm sold.

First in Loss of Farms - Again

I don't want to be #1 in this category either.

“North Carolina is a leading agricultural state, but losing farms is one category where I don’t want us to be No. 1,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Farm loss has become a chronic problem here.

How do we make growing food more profitable than growing houses? Can it be done?

Perhaps

with a marketing campaign and everything to buy NC grown foods. You know the little stickers for fruit and veggies that you see in the markets? They could be NC shaped (or the NC Flag - it would be cheaper to produce), and say Product of NC. Local Markets and even chains could be encouraged (loudly) by groups all across the political spectrum to buy homegrown foods. Support farmers markets. Most of us here do that, I think. But if there were a public ad campaign to support NC Farmers, we might have some success.
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Buy Like Jim

You mean like this:

Sorry, I'm out of plain, only cynicism raisin' left.

That's one of my ideas.

Charge a $1/pack cigarette tax and EVERY PENNY goes to create and/or transitioning family farms into the only growing farm market - organic and sustainable agriculture. I like the idea below of a "Milk, it does a body good" type NC foods campaign to go along with it. I'm talking about grants by the way, I think I figured it out once and we would make about $200 Million per year in tax money, which means we could give family farms 3-6 years of grants to transition into organic/sustainable farming.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

BTW

my thought is that companies like Horizon organics, Whole Foods, and others would probably have no choice but to open packing plants for their frozen foods, milk, etc; and, a place like Whole Food would probably benefit from a distribution center here if NC was first in organic food.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Farmland Conservation

Other States, including PA, offer farmland conservation tax credits similar to environmental easement credits that North Carolina currently gives. This gives the farmer an economic benefit, the tax credit, to locking land to be used a farmland in the future. It works great and does not cost the state anything out of pocket (just the loss of some tax income).

A first?

North Carolina was the first place I had lived that I called MY home......and that never changed.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

My mom's family has been in NC...

since the Revolutionary War, the person who did the genealogy never could find anyone who lived anywhere else. I was born and raised in PA and first chance I got, I made NC my home as well. It's in my blood.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Mine go back to

the 1600's. My mountain ancestors had been there since right around 1700. It grieves me when I go back home to see the once-beautiful mountains becoming covered over in McMansions. I know families who've lived on the same land for generations finally got run off by out-of-state "developers" dozing down the forests and plonking cheapass fling-up houses with zillion-dollar views. They're going after Lake Lure now, for pity's sake. Nothing is sacred, everything is for sale...

We used to be first in conserving our forests (more so than any other state) and did a pretty good job of taking care of the land. I'd love to see us first in those regards again.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi