Billy Yow is on a tear. First he forgets that Greensboro residents pay county taxes, then he tries to take Steve Arnold's legal and ethical woes off the table as a political issue: "'I don’t think his personal business has anything to do with his business as commissioner,' Yow said."
The county needs to pay its share for the library system. Charging non-GSO residents for use would cost the library system $300k in direct state funding, plus other forms of state support, and more importantly it would undermine the whole idea of public libraries and hurt county residents who need libraries the most.
John Hammer does a good job of explaining the controversy around texting by City Council members, and the real estate dispute behind the story.
The texts in question are not scandalous (sorry, Joe). Still, the Council should weigh appearances of special access, and Mayor Knight's calls for courtesy to those in attendance, when considering the use of electronic communications during meetings.
Bruce Schneier on progress in airline security: "I've said there are two things - reinforcing the cockpit doors, and
convincing passengers they have to fight back. Everything else has been
a red herring."
Frisking granny doesn't make much sense, but I guess we'll be doing more of it now.
Seven years ago today: "Why is the movie Elrond such a jerk? We know from the books that he is
half-human himself, but in the films he's like a WASP who compensates
for a Jewish ancestor by being an anti-Semite."
A friend told me recently that he's never read any Graham Greene. I was envious, because he has before him the pleasure of discovering a particularly lucid and interesting writer.
I came fairly late to Greene, and have savored his work slowly instead of rushing through the canon, so that I still have a few books left to read.
I employ the same economy with Gore Vidal's historical novels. I'm allowing myself Julian over this holiday season, which led me via the magic of associative thinking and hyperlinks to the map at left, which I'm posting here so I'll remember to go back and follow a few more links.
In Raleigh as it is in Greensboro: "Creation of the express-review process provides the clearest glimpse
yet of how Easley used his authority to help developers who needed
permits, including those at the center of questions about him."
Senate, heal thyself: "[A]bout 8 percent of major bills faced a filibuster in the 1960s. This
decade, that jumped to 70 percent. The problem with the minority party
continually making the majority party fail, of course, is that it means
neither party can ever successfully govern the country."
We're down to a skeleton crew here at EC.c -- the reporters have been calling in sick all week, it's a union holiday for the typesetters and press crew, and the sales team has long since decamped for St. Maarten. Of the dozen or so souls still in the office, not one of us has even begun our Christmas shopping....
Advantages: I get interest on the balance until my credit card bill is due in late January; save on stamp and envelope.
Disadvantages: "convenience fee" charged by payment service is about 8.5x the amount I'd earn in interest if I use the highest money market rates I can find online, probably more like 20x for many accounts, and is far more in absolute terms than I'd even consider paying.
"At 7 a.m. the next day, the researchers roused the subjects from bed (a
wake-up that did not include coffee or aspirin) and asked them to rate
the severity of their hangovers."
The experiment was flawed from the start by excluding coffee and aspirin, which, along with water the night before and a large greasy lunch the next day, are key variables in any meaningful research into this subject.
Flaws aside, I thought of the study last night while ordering a vodka at the 28th annual iteration of a Christmas party given by old friends, as I knew today was going to be a busy one.
I was reminded in due course that vodka works quicker than brown liquor. Or maybe I just drink it faster? A discussion was held on the exceptional qualities of gin and tequila, which seem to operate according to different rules from other spirits.
I felt fine this morning, fwiw, although the usual ration of coffee was involved.
Bonus points for the Blandwood Ball being a fundraiser for Preservation Greensboro, and the International Civil Rights Center & Museum being one of the most meaningful preservation projects imaginable.
Double bonus for this being the 50th anniversary of the sit-ins, and the eve of the long-awaited opening of the museum.
Three years ago today: "We disagree on some political issues, we trade hard shots online -- but
it's important to remember that blogs and comments and media and
politics are not the whole world."
I ran into Marcus at the same fine affair on Friday night. It was even more fun with the snow falling, and I think he knew I was sincere when I said he could stay at our house if his ride home looked treacherous.
For two years, the center of Mexico's bloody drug war has been this
gritty city of 1.5 million people across the river from El Paso, Texas...In
2008, 1,600 people were killed in drug-related hits. This year, more
than 2,500 have died. By some estimates, Juárez's approximately 165
deaths per 100,000 residents make it the murder capital of the world.
That compares with 48 violent deaths per 100,000 residents of Baghdad.
But your new bus might smell a little funny: "[T]he three firms hired by the FDIC to sell
furnishings from shuttered branches and warehouses stuffed with
repossessed collateral [...] are having a banner year."
Obama, the wild-eyed socialist pragmatic Senate veteran, may get something like the best bill possible a good-enough bill under a broken system.
Advice for disheartened progressives:
Start organizing for the next health-care fight. Enactment of a single
bill will not mark the end of the struggle. It will open a series of
new opportunities. It's a lot easier to improve a system premised on
the idea that everyone should have health coverage than to create such
a system in the first place.
Brits rebel against Simon Cowell: "A grassroots Facebook campaign, launched by Jon and Tracy Morter,
sought to game the system by encouraging music fans to support Rage
Against The Machine's profane, anti-authoritarian anthem 'Killing In
The Name' as the Christmas single."
I've been critical of Golf Digest for being in the tank for Tiger, but I have to admire their willingness to address some of the issues at hand, and to update a new cover that could otherwise have become a punchline (click image to enlarge).
The Fed's failure to foresee the crisis or to require adequate
safeguards happened in part because it did not understand the risks
that banks were taking...
Regulatory agencies exist to lean against the wind. But rather than
looking for warning signs, the Fed had joined -- and at times defined
-- the mainstream consensus among policymakers that financial
innovations had made banking safer. Bernanke said the economy had
entered an era of smaller and less frequent downturns, which he and
others called "the great moderation."
From 2000 through November 2009, investors would have been far
better off owning bonds, which posted gains ranging from 5.6% to more
than 8% depending on the sector, according to Ibbotson. Gold was the
best-performing asset, up 15% a year this decade after losing 3% each
year during the 1990s.
This past decade looks even worse when the impact of inflation is considered.
A profile of Robert P. George, "this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker."
George's admirers say he is revitalizing a strain of Catholic
natural-law thinking that goes back to St. Thomas Aquinas...His
critics, including many of his fellow Catholic scholars, argue that he
is turning the church into a tool of Republican Party. They say he is
too focused on the mechanics of sex and morality, neglecting the other
sides of the Christian message: the corruption of human reason through
original sin, the need for forgiveness and charity and the chance for
"George argues that reason alone shows that heterosexual sodomy and homosexual sex are morally wrong." Calling things natural and reasonable does not make them so, even if you count all the angels on the head of the pin, as George all but acknowledges: "He admits the argument for marriage between a man and a woman can require 'somewhat technical philosophical analysis.'"
Five years ago today: "People who write for free are worried about losing money they don't make to a company that doesn't have a clear plan for capitalizing on their work...My advice: write for the same reasons today that you did yesterday."
Soon-to-disappear Radio comments on that post after the jump.
As I wrote more recently, "There was
a moment of idealism and harmony, which lasted about 18 hours after the
first local blog conference. The first cause of discord was not
politics, but money."
Biden on Senate health bill: "culmination of a struggle begun by Theodore Roosevelt nearly a century ago;" the perfect is enemy of the good; great progress on insurance coverage and access; "this country’s single largest deficit-reduction
measure in a dozen years."
The case for mandates without a public option not sucking, which is met with skepticism.
Krugman, who pre-Bidened the "good enough" argument earlier this week, says it's not over even when it's over: "social insurance programs
tend to start out highly imperfect and incomplete, but get better and
more comprehensive as the years go by." A possible example?
Jerk blasts cheater: "We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and
that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," [Knight] said. "You see we've got a
coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still
coaching. I really don't understand that."
The National Enquirer angle is pretty much as expected, but the Golf Digest deal tells you all you need to know about golf "journalism."
Under Golf Digest's contract with Mr. Woods, the monthly, which is
owned by Condé Nast Publications Inc., spent as much as $1 million
annually on donations to the Tiger Woods Foundation, printing the
charity's annual report and sponsoring many of Mr. Woods's preferred
tournaments, according to a person familiar with the terms. In return,
Mr. Woods agreed to contribute monthly articles on golf techniques and
limit his appearances in competing publications.
"It's sort of like which devil do you fear the most?" asked Gary Pearce, a longtime North Carolina Democratic operative. "Are you more afraid of the party base or are you more afraid of the health-care reform opponents?"
Kissell picked the latter, and it may have been the wrong bet. Conservative opponents to health-care reform are unlikely to vote for a Democrat regardless of how he votes, Pearce said, yet Kissell cannot win reelection without the support of his base.
"That's why they call them freshmen -- because they make freshmen mistakes," Pearce said. "That's why a lot of them don't become sophomores."
The swaps, which assumed that interest rates would rise, proved so toxic that [Harvard] agreed to pay banks a total of almost $1 billion to terminate them. Most of the wrong-way bets were made in 2004, when Lawrence Summers, now President Barack Obama’s economic adviser, led the university. Cranes were recently removed from the construction site of a $1 billion science center that was to be the expansion’s centerpiece, a reminder of Summers’s ambition. The school suspended work on the building last week.
First, it would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies on
the basis of medical condition or history: Americans could no longer be
denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or have
their insurance canceled when they get sick. Second, the bill would
provide substantial financial aid to those who don’t get insurance
through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that
do provide insurance.
All of this would be paid for in large part with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs.
I'm sure this can be traced to the Community Reinvestment Act: "Homeowners with mortgages of more than $1 million are defaulting at almost twice the U.S. rate."
"You are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg with luxury short sales," said Adrian Heyman, owner of Property Advisors, a real estate broker in Scottsdale, Arizona. "A lot of wealthy people are upside down in their mortgages and they just can’t afford the second or third vacation home anymore."