Why do I have to read this blunt assessment of Jim Black’s continued political power in the N&O? Here’s why Black may yet be re-elected Speaker:

Among the Black supporters is Rep. Bill Owens, an Elizabeth City real-estate executive.

“Speaker Black has always been good to me,” said Owens, who is a co-chairman of the spending committee. “He has been good for Eastern North Carolina and the state of North Carolina. I’ve always believed in staying with the people who brought you to the dance.” …

But House Democrats could look elsewhere, in one of two other groups of candidates.

* The business caucus. One reason the Democrats have been able to retain control of the legislature is that Democratic leaders such as Black have been pro-business. Black, in particular, has close ties with the Charlotte business community, including the major banks. At least three members of the so-called business caucus of the House have expressed an interest in the speakership — Crawford, and Reps. Drew Saunders of Huntersville and Hugh Holliman of Lexington.

* Long-shot candidates. Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham and Bill Faison of Orange County have each expressed interest, but conventional wisdom does not have either as a strong contender. If the House becomes deadlocked in a speaker fight, some people are pushing Rep. Becky Carney of Charlotte, who is being groomed for leadership by Black.

OK, there are at least three vital pieces of info right there. One, as we’ve talked about for years, Jim Black serves the Down East kleptocracy in Raleigh and points east. Two, Bank of Wachovia stands as a major brace behind Black’s continued support. Three, a Carney speakership would be Jim Black in drag.

Contrast these details with a Uptown paper of record dispatch which made it seem like Black’s power and continued support were just forces of nature, in need of no deeper examination. And there was no mention of the Carney angle, which would quite a jump in power for the former Mecklenburg County commissioner who has never faced an opponent in a general election in her three General Assembly bids.

Thank goodness for the Net, otherwise we’d really be operating in the dark here in Mecklenburg.

And for the record, North Carolina does not have a “business caucus.” What it has is a Handout Caucus. There is a difference.