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Smokeout observations

One motorcyclist, April Diodato, found some interesting things to note about Southern food and heat after making the 606-mile trip south from New York to Salisbury for last weekend’s Smoke Out:
– “Southern-style coleslaw is apparently made with tomatoes. I didn’t much care for it on its own, but on a barbecue chicken sandwich, it was superb. If you ever come across a Pork Choppers stand … stop!”
– “One of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had was at the Waffle House in Statesville. I’d love it if we bring a Waffle House franchise to our area, but I just don’t think it would be the same.”
– “Make sure to bring SPF 5,000 and reapply religiously. I wore SPF 55 all day, each day and I still got a little crisp.”
Diodato writes for The Observer in Dunkirk, N.Y., and noted that Southern accents appeared to start midway through Pennsylvania.
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Who said it? “It would’ve turned my life upside down, my family’s life upside down and my friends’ lives upside down.” (Answer below)
– – –
Unknown factors: When it comes to identifying some top state officials, many North Carolinians know Jack but not Jim.
According to a recent survey, 22 percent of people can identify Jack Bauer, the main character of the television show “24,” while only 12 percent know the name of the state’s commissioner of insurance, Jim Long.
Even so, Long is much better known than State Auditor Les Merritt and June Atkinson, the state superintendent of public instruction. Only about one in 100 people surveyed could identify either of them.
The survey was conducted for a group that is pushing for a project that would make public financing available for candidates for insurance commissioner, auditor and state school superintendent.
Supporters argue that candidates for such obscure offices must rely on campaign contributions from the people they regulate.
The poll found widespread cynicism about the role of special interests in government.
“Eighty-six percent of the voters agree that most elected officials are more concerned with the needs of those who pay for their campaigns than the needs of all citizens,” said Chris Heagarty, executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education, which paid for the poll.
Rep. Grier Martin of Raleigh said he hoped the survey would bolster a bill he is pushing that would have the state experiment with publicly financed campaigns. The measure would cost $4 million and follow a new law for public financing of appellate judges that went into effect last year.
The poll, conducted by American Viewpoint, surveyed 600 voters June 12 and 13. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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Political roadmap: Brad Crone says Interstate 85 is the state’s new political lifeline. The Democratic political consultant has been giving a presentation based on Census data, recent elections returns and polling that he says shows the road to the Governor’s Mansion will go from Raleigh to Charlotte, with few side trips. He projects that just 14 urban counties will represent nearly 53 percent of the vote in 2008. Nearly all of them are along I-85.
Based on his polling, Crone argues that will mean more independent voters; more concern for kitchen-table issues like education, roads and health care; and less interest in social issues like abortion, gay marriage and school prayer in the gubernatorial race.
“If Republicans take the bait to talk about immigration and corruption and abortion, and the Democrats are talking about building schools and fixing roads, then the Democrats are going to have an advantage,” he said.
(From the News & Observer)- – –
Who said it: The quotation is from U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, announcing that he will not challenge incumbent GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

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