N&O: The outlying landing field that the U.S. Navy wants to build in eastern
North Carolina could have national and even international implications
for wildlife and sports enthusiasts, according to a coalition of
activists who spoke this morning at a news conference in the nation’s
Attending the news conference were representatives of 10
organizations, ranging in ideology from the conservative National Rifle
Association to the liberal Audubon Society. All were there to oppose
the Navy’s chosen site for the landing field.
Duncan Black, aka Atrios, is an economist with liberal political leanings. I thought it would be interesting to get his take on the proposed local minimum wage in Guilford County (in a general sense, of course; I didn't expect his quick visit to GSO for ConvergeSouth '05 to make him an expert on the local scene). I sent him this and this as background, and he replied:
The basic issue is how footloose the industries are where the minimum
wage is binding. There isn't strong evidence that moderate minimum wage
increases have any major employment impact in the aggregate, but when we're
talking about localized wage increases the potential for firms to move outside
the area to escape the legislated wage exists.
Presumably a lot of minimum wage employment is low skill service employment -
fast food, perhaps janitorial, etc... - and those firms aren't especially
footloose. They serve local demand and their products aren't really
exportable over any kind of distance. But, yes, knowing more about the
characteristics of minimum wage and near-min. wage jobs in the area is
necessary to really think about the issue.
NYT: Behind all their lofty rhetoric about the Iraq war and bringing
home the troops, members of the House and Senate were busy tacking on
$20 billion and $18.5 billion respectively in unrelated spending to
President Bush’s $103 billion request. (He intends to veto the bill.)
Despite their campaign talk about earmark reform last fall, the new Democratic leadership shamelessly used pork to buy votes.
Percy Walker calls out my old colleague Bill Barrett over some funny numbers in Forbes.
Seems to me that back in the day, we had a special listing for Steve's dad, Malcolm, with no specific dollar estimate assigned. In any case, this valuation makes the billionaire thing look pretty unlikely, at least based on the media holdings, especially when you consider that Steve has siblings.
A small meeting is being planned for mid-April to follow up on the topic of using the web to improve local arts coverage. Not a private discussion by any means, but a preliminary one, and space is limited. Contact me if you have interest, info, or ideas.
John Hammer (unposted; 3/29/07, p4) says Tim Bellamy "is a fine man and has been a good police officer...But being chief of the Greensboro Police Department is not going to be a cakewalk." Hammer says Bellamy needs to act as chief, not Mitch Johnson's puppet; promote good people to replace recent losses; and deal with alleged corruption inside the department.
In the video, Peterson seems to contradict fellow commissioner Nathan Ramsey's earlier statement that commissioners had been holding secret meetings with Progress Energy. Peterson also gets crossed up on the need for the new plant.
The Woodfin process gave less consideration to alternative energy proposals than a lot of folks would have liked. Someone should ask Heath Shuler how a diesel plant jibes with his professed interest in "end[ing] our reliance on fossil fuels" and "expanding alternative energy programs."
Karl Rove's list of congressional seats to be targeted by the GOP -- on offense and defense -- in 2008. You don't need to be a political genius to see that his picks for NC (Robin Hayes and newbie Heath Shuler) make sense.
The list came from a presentation prepared by Rove's office, discussed here; video shows GSA head Lurita Doan getting grilled over possible violations of the Hatch Act.
The presentation shows Dole's Senate seat marked non-competitive, which I think would be news to a lot of North Carolinians; it also marks the NC governor's race for "Republican offense."
NWO reports that Summerfield town councilman Dwayne Crawford has resigned "[a]fter receiving public criticism for his efforts to learn the identities of anonymous participants of the Northwest Observer’s online forum."
Crawford reportedly wrote that he does "not in any way acquiesce to the accusations," but for some reason his "continued presence on the council would not be in the best interest of [his] constituents."
N&R: "The Guilford County Sheriff's Department is working to determine what level of charges will be brought against former Summerfield Town Councilman Dwayne Crawford regarding alleged hacking into a local newspaper's online forum, a department spokesman said this afternoon...Crawford has publicly admitted he has used software programs to investigate the identities of anonymous participants on the Northwest's Observer's forum over the past few months."
I'm quoted as a "local blogger" defending Ben. Given that the subject involves defining journalism, it might have been relevant to include the fact that I've been a fulltime professional journalist since the story's lead reporter, Jordan Green, was wearing pull-ups, but there ya go.
Note: I'm a fan of Jordan Green.
Full disclosure: I had a high-spirited lunch with Ben and Hoggard today at Fincastle's.
UPDATE: The YES! story makes Romenesko's media blog with the problematic headline, "Greensboro blogger wore a wire for cops investigating strip club."
The argument about Jeff's age is silly, and Jarvis is a lot more than a superannuated tv-critic/conference whore, but Feldman's core argument is strong: "Make interesting shit that people want to look at...how's that for the future of video?"
More from alert reader Jim Saintsing, who previously punctured the piety of the Realtor's campaign against a proposed property transfer tax; today he crushes the rest of the argument as presented at the site, without supporting the tax increase itself:
As a straight read, I find the itsabadidea.org website unnecessarily
misleading. They're opposing an increase of up to 400% in an existing
tax. It's reasonable to oppose such a massive increase in almost any
tax, so why not just say that? Instead, they mischaracterize the tax as
a "tax on equity" (the tax is based on the sale price of real estate,
whether you have any equity in it or not), and as a "home tax" (it's a
tax on all conveyances of real estate, residential and otherwise). And
-- please -- "taxing the dream of homeownership"? How about "taxing the
sense of security your little children feel as they wake up in their
own snuggly beds on Christmas morning"?
I've been more ambivalent about US strategy going forward than have many critics of Bush's war in Iraq, and, eventually, than folks like conservative NC congressmen Howard Coble and Walter Jones.
I didn't think invading was a good idea, but we did it, and I felt we needed to make it work. It has been frustrating to see us muff chance after chance there, but just pulling out has seemed like a dangerous idea to me, and a sell-out of the Iraqis as well.
When I attended a blogger dinner with John Edwards last year, I felt like I violated the happy-talk tone of the event when I kept pressing him for details on a withdrawal -- what then? What does the map look like with us gone? What's our strategy afterwards?
I'd still like to know the answers to those questions.
Because it looks like we'll be leaving.
"Within three weeks, the United States could face a constitutional
crisis over President Bush's war policy in Iraq...Last week's narrow
House vote imposing an August 2008 deadline for the
withdrawal of American troops was hugely significant, even if the bill
stands no chance of passing in the Senate this week in its current
form. The vote was a test of the resolve of the new House Democratic
leadership and its ability to pull together an ideologically diverse
membership behind a plan pointing the United States out of Iraq."
The merits or lack of merits of the proposed property transfer tax aside, this response from alert reader Jim Saintsing deserves a bump to the main page: "It's appalling to think that somebody can require payment of a fixed
percentage of the price just because you are able to sell your home.
Fixed, non-negotiable percentage skim-offs are no doubt a huge drag on
the marketability of real estate. ®ealtors are so right to lead the
struggle against fixed, non-negotiable and onerous percentage charges
to home sellers!"
Gary Kamiya: "Democrats should give two cheers for George W. Bush. He and his
political mastermind, Karl Rove, dreamed of achieving a permanent
Republican majority. Instead, his disastrous presidency has dealt a
devastating blow to the GOP, one from which it may not recover for many
Note the caveat in the subhed: "...unless the Democrats self-destruct..."
More here: "Republican support is contracting to a base of about 25 per cent of the
population whose views are getting more extreme, not merely because
moderate conservatives are peeling off to become Independents, but also
because of the party’s success in constructing a parallel universe of
news sources, thinktanks, blogs, pseudo-scientists and so on, which has
led to the core becoming more tightly committed to an extremist
Options under discussion for the Moses Cone Park in Blowing Rock: keep it the same, change it some or change it a lot to reflect more about Moses and Bertha Cone and their family. Latter two would require private funding.
Speaking only for myself after about 30 seconds of reflection, the park itself seems to me to be the truest memorial to the folks who built and loved the esate, and the best gift for the public to whom they left it; upgrading the historical element would be fine, it's part of the story of the region and the country, but the point of the place has always been the mountains and the trails, and the sense of being in a refuge set carefully in a beloved landscape. As long as that vision remains intact, other changes don't bother me.
-- Jerry Bledsoe's decision to publish the details of Ben's cooperation with the cops was tough on Ben, and caused him some concern over the safety of his family and his own reputation.
-- Ben is capable of being hostile and profane and generous and humane, sometimes in the same thread. He's done a lot of good stuff for this town, and he's got an agenda out the wazoo. He's loyal to his friends and wrathful to his opponents, real and perceived.
--- To anyone who doesn't quite get the bluster: dude poses on his blog with a wrestling belt, and invokes Ric Flair to make a point.
-- Questions about transparency and wearing a wire go well beyond the journalist/blogger divide, and well beyond GSO. I've argued that Ben is an activist with a blog (although he was working as a journalist in the context of Bledsoe's article), and one of the great things about blogging is that it cuts out the middleman and lets people -- activists, politicians, strippers, software designers, whatever -- speak directly to the public. But wearing a wire has implications for those jobs, too, and transparency matters in communication from people who don't consider themselves journalists.
-- Even if an activist is focused on full disclosure to a web audience, is disclosing the wearing of a wire a reasonable expectation, vs, say, something like "I have cooperated with police and many other interested parties as part of my activism, all to help clean up some of the bad stuff that happens in neighborhoods where the rich folks don't live"?
-- Yes! editor Brian Clary should probably find a way to disclose his published view of the profile subject in any article about Holder.
Novak: "With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment."
It's going to be very interesting to see how GOP presidential candidates position themselves in relationship to Bush.
A Little Urbanity argues against putting a park on the old railway property across from Southside.
My first reaction is that Parks Are Good and so Wharton must be wrong on this one.
But because it's Wharton I keep reading, and in the end I think he may have a point.
Is that actually a viable spot for housing? Maybe. If not, and if there isn't a better idea, then a park beats the hell out of a vacant lot. But let's hope the City makes the best choice, not just the obvious one.
This Carolina team improved dramatically over the month of March, especially in the cohesion and chemistry department. It was a team still in the process of getting better -- highly unusual for this time of year, but then this was a highly unusual collection of extraordinary talent and extraordinary youth. In the past few weeks, this team had changed from one that perplexed many fans to one that had become truly enjoyable to watch, on a variety of levels.
Pruden's column from today's Washington Times sums up the last-ditch defense of Gonzales, which is no defense of Gonzales at all but an argument that Bush can't afford the political damage of ditching his AG:
Gonzales...has shown himself to be bereft of
judgment and deduction, of both defiance and derring-do...If he's not the
author of his department's strategy of weakness and vacillation in the
face of challenge and accusation, he ought to cashier the man who was.
The Justice Department, trembling and stuttering like a greenhorn
lawyer conducting his first plea bargain, answered with craven denial...
BUT Bush should stand by him anyway, because:
The president knows that to give in would cut him off at the knees,
leaving him to stumble through the final two years of his presidency on
the bloody stumps. No one at the White House can be under the slightest
illusion about what the stakes are, hence the president's stirring vow
of defiance and double-daring.
UNC's meltdown means that the ACC will have no representative in the Final Four for the second year in a row -- the first two-year absence for the conference since 1979 and 1980.
The ACC has had at least one Final Four team in all but nine years since the end of the Wooden era, and has sent two teams to the same Final Four on five occasions. Six different schools have represented the conference in that span, with four different schools bringing home eight championship trophies.
(Thanks to an alert reader/distinguished member of the judiciary for inspiring the research.)
A photograph taken at the new shops at the old Carolina Circle Mall site by Lisa Scheer, who says it's "a weird mistake. my camera's white balance control was set to incandescent, and the iso was at 400." I don't know what that means, but I like the result.
Well that was pretty horrible, at least in the way the Heels lost.
35 minutes of looking like a great team, 10 minutes of looking like...a not so great team.
I would have been disappointed with less than the final 8 from this team, surprised by a championship. As I said last month, this team reminded me of the the Felten/May/McCants squad the year before it won it all.
On balance, a very good season for a very young team. Let's see who's back next year...
McCainsays he lags fundraising goals -- reports say he might not even hit $30 million for the quarter. Romney may hit $35 million. "Both campaigns worry about their high burn rates. They both pay the
salaries of more than 100 full-time staff members and numerous