Right-wing bloggers are going after Durham’s Institute for Southern Studies and the L.A. Times for digging into the backgrounds of three “ghost pilots” based in North Carolina. They were among 13 Americans whom German officials ordered arrested in January for allegedly conducting CIA-sponsored extraordinary rendition flights, a euphemism for snatching up suspected terrorists to interrogate them in countries that allow torture. The threeCapt. James Fairing, Eric Matthew Fain and Kirk James Birdwere charged with kidnapping and harming a German citizen of Lebanese descent three years ago. They work for Aero Contractors, a Smithfield-based plane charter service that has worked for the CIA. Those aren’t their real names, but reporters discovered their true identities and opulent lifestyles, found out their addressesall within 30 miles of Raleighand knocked on their doors. None would comment, and the reporters did not reveal their actual names in print. But bloggers like Lorie Byrd at townhall.com say the outing is worse than the Valerie Plame case. Let’s see: No names, no vice-presidential involvementno contest.
If you like those “Dix 306” signs blossoming all over Raleigh, you’ll love Peter Zambito, the sign king. Dix306, an offshoot of “Friends of Dorothea Dix Park,” wants the entire 306-acre Dorothea Dix hospital property to become “Raleigh’s Central Park” (with none sold off for development). They’ve got 2,000 of the green signs up so far, with more on order. With each new sign posted, his job has gotten easier, says Zambito, who spends his days researching land use at UNC-Chapel Hill. Now, instead of needing to talk homeowners into a sign when he comes to their door, they want to know why he hasn’t come sooner. It’s the mother of all sign campaigns. Sign up for your own sign at www.dix306.org.
The Triangle was ablaze last Thursday as separate fires burned in Raleigh and Durham. A fire in Durham killed two people. An explosion in East Raleigh killed three more. And wind-driven flames devoured more than 30 townhouses in North Raleigh, where, fortunately, no one was killed. Raleigh firefighters responded quickly to one of the biggest fires in the city’s history and helped prevent any loss of life. And firefighters from across the region supported those in Raleigh as the city’s force was stretched perilously thin.
Congratulations are in order for the Duke women’s basketball team, who defeated UNC and capped off an undefeated, 29-0 regular season, the first in the history of women’s ACC basketball. Senior captains Alison Bales and Lindsey Harding led the way with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Now they’ll lead their teammates to the ACC and NCAA tournaments, where their sights are set on a championship.