At the edge of Asheville, N.C. on a sunny Friday afternoon is a bar scene few American cities could boast.
A brewery, in a warehouse that used to store dead hogs, is the setting. Railroad tracks and empty trucks are the scenery.
The mood? Think family picnic.
In a beer-snob town (and I say this lovingly), the crowd at Wedge Brewing Company is anything but pretentious. Armed with pints and pitchers of local brew that run just a few bucks, the locals clatter around outdoor picnic tables and games of corn hole.
My wife and I got there shortly after the 3 o’clock opening. By 4, it was packed. Nobody really goes inside, except to order or pee.
“This is Asheville,” the guy next to us tells his buddies.
The road to Asheville, for us, was a long one. My wife and I decided to conduct a meandering tour of the South to get there – shipping off from D.C. and hitting Charleston, Savannah and the outskirts of Columbia along the way. We scheduled it so we’d spend just a few days hitting those points of interest before settling into Asheville for the real vacation.
Take off work early today — it’s really nice out.
Tell your boss Councilman Smith said it was okay!
Sadly, Donna Summer passed away today at age 63. She will be remembered by many of us fondly forever — or at least those of us old enough to remember polyester shirts and platform shoes, like Tom Sullivan.
Now, here’s Miss Donna Summer with one of the greatest songs of all time, Hot Stuff from 1979:
My North Carolina ties are deep. I grew up in Goldsboro, North Carolina. I attended undergrad at UNC-Greensboro and East Carolina University and got my law degree from Wake Forest. Both of my brothers still live in North Carolina with their wives and children. I will always consider North Carolina home, which is why I am passionately urging every North Carolinian – whether liberal or conservative – to vote against Amendment 1.
I am lucky enough to be legally married to my partner of 10 years under the laws of the District of Columbia where we live. However, you don’t have to gay or in favor of gay marriage to oppose Amendment 1.
Amendment 1 not only bans gay marriage, it is also so broadly written that it bans civil unions, domestic partnerships and threatens to outlaw any benefits offered to same-sex couples. While I support marriage equality, I understand that the country is still debating this issue, and that different states are coming to different conclusions and that will continue. This debate is healthy, and reflects the best our democracy has to offer. There is simply no reason to end this debate for all time with a Constitutional amendment.
We received the following press release this morning from 11th District congressional candidate and our friend Cecil Bothwell, reprinted in its entirety (I take responsibility for the funny picture over there on the right).
It’s fascinating stuff. Follow the money, as they say…
From Bothwell for Congress:
For immediate release: May 2, 2012
What: Payday lenders fund Rogers’ NC 11 campaign From: Bothwell for Congress
Contact: Cecil Bothwell
The Bothwell for Congress campaign will accept no money from corporations or corporate PACs. Our campaign is entirely funded by individuals. (The committee donation listed on our campaign finance reports is Bothwell for Buncombe, funded by individuals for Bothwell’s local races in 2008 and 2009). Our opponent has taken tens of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs. The most questionable sources are payday lenders.
Hayden Rogers has accepted $17,500 from individuals, lobbyists and special interest groups associated with the Payday Loan Industry. All of these donors are from outside of North Carolina, hailing from places such as Las Vegas, Miami, and South Carolina.
They are all from out-of-state because North Carolina banned the Payday Loan Industry in 2001.
It took until 2006 to fully shut down the industry (which played a cat and mouse game exploiting loopholes, changing names, etc.). In a 2006 press release NC Attorney General Roy Cooper said: “We’ve fought payday lending at every turn and now we’re putting this industry out of business here in North Carolina. These payday lenders thought they’d found a way around North Carolina law. Now we’re showing them the way out of our state.”
Shifting gears a little, I read this story yesterday and thought it was interesting despite the fact it had nothing to do with The Gays or the water system. I don’t fully understand it all but thought I would bring it forward for some discussion here in the public square. So many smart people on here — Shirley there’s a lawyer or two who read this blog.
From the Charlotte News & Observer:
Medical malpractice insurer cites new law for lower rates
A medical malpractice insurer has lowered its premiums and is crediting what is often called tort reform in this and other states. Mag Mutual Insurance Co., the second-largest such firm in the state, credits the new laws with almost half of its recent 7.4 percent average cut in insurance premiums for doctors.
The legislature last year overrode Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill capping “non-economic” damages at $500,000. Trial lawyers counter that the cost of medical malpractice insurance is declining anyway.
The Triangle Business Journal first reported on the development earlier this month, and conservatives quickly pointed to it as proof that the reform they’ve been calling for was already paying off.
State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger sent out this remark this week:
“We stood up to the trial lawyers’ interest groups and the governor to make sure doctors would be able to stay in our state without the fear of baseless, exorbitant lawsuits. The costs of those lawsuits were being passed along to patients, and in an already broken health care system, we had to act. Our bipartisan efforts are paying off, and North Carolinians are now seeing some initial benefits. There is more to do, but this is a start in providing more accessible and affordable health care.”