As a loyal reader of edcone.com I find it an invigorating forum of ideas. I recently noticed, with a post from lenslinger, that I am actually learning details and seeing the inner thoughts of professional brains and that it was almost like being in college.
Unfortunately, there does exists multiple strains of petty ad hominem bickering that detracts from the conversation.
At this point I would urge staff at edcone.com to give strong consideration to curtailing these disputes. Perhaps three-day suspensions like going to detention.
Thanks for reading, and for writing, LR. My real problem with the bickering and grudge-settling and such is that it chases away other commenters.
I wonder if readers who think every thread is about them personally also believe that the teevee is talking directly to them.
Pics taken yesterday afternoon; many more of same ilk in one bleak area of NIP.
From Buffett's annual letter, which you should read in its entirety:
People thought it was good news a few years back when housing starts – the supply side of the picture – were running about two million annually. But household formations – the demand side – only amounted to about 1.2 million. After a few years of such imbalances, the country unsurprisingly ended up with far too many houses.
There were three ways to cure this overhang: (1) blow up a lot of houses, a tactic similar to the destruction of autos that occurred with the “cash-for-clunkers” program; (2) speed up household formations by, say, encouraging teenagers to cohabitate, a program not likely to suffer from a lack of volunteers or; (3) reduce new housing starts to a number far below the rate of household formations.
Our country has wisely selected the third option, which means that within a year or so residential housing problems should largely be behind us, the exceptions being only high-value houses and those in certain localities where overbuilding was particularly egregious. Prices will remain far below “bubble” levels, of course...
I asked more than 200 local FB friends to join the Google for GSO group. I can't say how many did it because I nudged them, but a good percentage of those asked have joined.
People like this idea.
You can invite your own network by clicking on the "Invite People to Join" link, just beneath the pic at the upper left corner of the page. Ask them to ask their friends, too.
GiT has a toolbar to keep blog-readers up to date.
Rhino update on Killian's conversations with Linda Shaw.
I don't know what's in Joe's notes, and neither do you. But the idea that he just made this up and attributed false quotes to an elected official seems unlikely.
Back in 2002, Shaw said she felt physically threatened by Alston and that he had taken "other actions" beyond cursing her that she would bring up in court. The dispute was resolved without ever going to court.
Here's how the event was reported at its legal resolution:
Greensboro News & Record (NC) - Sunday, December 8, 2002
Author: ALEX WAYNE Staff Writer
...Shaw alleges that Alston cursed at her after a June 20 commissioners meeting. She says she also felt physically threatened by Alston, but that wasn't included in her charge...
...Shaw laments. "I cannot for the life of me understand why all of a sudden it's all right for a man, or anyone, to treat someone like that, and to use the vulgar language he used and the other actions I'm going to say (in court) towards a female - or anyone."[emphasis added]
Greensboro News & Record (NC) - Saturday, February 15, 2003
Author: FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
After a testy June 20 budget meeting, Alston cursed Shaw outside their offices. She threw a cup of water on him in response and has said he also physically threatened her.
...Shaw said the statement [resolving the matter] affirmed her version of the time line of the events...
Sean's baby probably deserves a mention in the GSO application. I'd love to hear what he could do with super internet powers.
I posted my first-ever status update at FB, asking people to join BGFTGNC!, and also sent invitations via the site to my local FB friends. Seems to have paid off with a coupla-few dozen names overnight; please consider promoting the group to your own network.
MORE: "That is the kind of thing Greensboro needs by the truck load, on-the-record public support from our school system administrators, university presidents, business leaders, newspaper publishers, media moguls and community activists. Pronto." Also, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers -- anyone with something useful to say about how fat pipes would change things for the better, and/or what GSO offers GOOG.
United Guaranty loses $241 million for Q4, $1,673,000,000 for the year.
Better than last year on both a quarterly and annual basis, which says a lot about last year.
It's been a long, painful trip. That ugly phrase, "wealth destruction," came up in conversation again this week with relation to UGC/AIG.
Elsewhere in The Great Recession is More Than a Glib Phrase news: "Fannie Mae will seek $15.3 billion in U.S. aid, bringing the total owed under a government lifeline to $76.2 billion, after its 10th consecutive quarterly loss."
Robbie Perkins, via FB:
It is time to start the move toward an authority. It will probably take several years to get it done, but it is clearly the best and fairest business model for the Coliseum.
I got an email protesting a new restaurant tax before I even knew such a thing was being discussed.
If you haven't joined the Facebook goup Bring Google Fiber to Greensboro NC, please consider doing so.
Public interest is said to be a factor in this decision, so let's show some interest.
If Google doesn't pick GSO, we will have demonstrated demand for better digital infrastructure, and developed relationships that could help make that happen. Same is true if Google picks GSO and we opt not to take the deal.
Clicky clicky, everyone.
Myrick meets her constituents. Long overdue.
This is sad: "Comments have been disabled on this story because of abusive posts."
Maybe they ought to just run the comments, hurtful though some may be, because they're part of the story.
Even some who agree with the IPCC conclusion that humans are significantly contributing to climate change say the IPCC has morphed from a scientific analyst to a political actor. "It's very much an advocacy organization that's couched in the role of advice," says Roger Pielke, a University of Colorado political scientist. He says many IPCC participants want "to compel action" instead of "just summarizing science."
I like the part where the boss says the IPCC has an impeccable record, so the reforms will just increase the level of impeccability.
I would think the same thing.
Sam's been firing blanks at the Google fiber initiative. Today he comes out and says, in response to an N&R editorial, "No borrowing for broadband," which is at least a coherent position, even if it's wrong.
We don't know what the costs of winning Google would be. Seems to me the PR impact of the project would be blunted considerably if the hugely rich company turned around and told the recipients they're getting the bill, but if that happens, we can always say no thanks, and still be better off for the experience. And if some costs are involved in leveraging a major infrastructure upgrade, we should at least consider them.
Ryan wants to have another public meeting.
State Sen. Jim Forrester told the Iredell County Young Republicans that "slick city lawyers and homosexual lobbies and African-American lobbies are running Raleigh."
The part about slick lawyers is not untrue, although many of them are from small towns and rural counties, but do the homoshexules really have more clout than the hog barons and the real estate operators, the career pols and their cronies? How do black lobbyists stack up against bankers?
The NCDP called Forrester's remarks "hate-filled speech," but it's a little more complicated than that -- it's really carefully coded speech aimed at the presumed prejudices of an audience, which says as much by what it leaves out as what it includes.
Bledsoe on the "News 2" interview:
Let's pause to see how this stacks up with reality so far.
Hardly at all.
And: "Neither Ingraham nor News Director Jim Platzer responded to questions emailed to them about Bellamy's interview. Bellamy also didn't respond to questions about it."
Platzer did not respond to my email, either.
A couple of morsels in this Rhino recap of the hotel saga: Uncle Miltie tells Yost, "It's not going to be a luxury hotel. And it will be smaller."
And: "Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said it's his guess that the state deadline will be moved back."
We had not toured the new Civil Rights museum, so Lisa and I met for lunch and then proceeded to the famous former Woolworth building on Elm Street.
I walked up to the desk and asked for two tickets.
The nice lady said the next tour was sold out, so we'd have to wait for the one after that.
I said, oh, no, I'm sorry, we don't need the tour -- we just want to check out the museum.
Can't do it. Guided tours only, on a fixed schedule.
No time for that, and not much interest, so I put my credit card back in my wallet, and we still haven't seen the museum.
I hear this has been a problem for many people. Not only the lack of access, but the tours themselves, which follow a rigid 45-minute schedule, and don't allow for much interactivity with the exhibits that are among the museum's supposed selling points.
Also, one observer points out that the footage from Birth of a Nation used in a montage should be identified as such, rather than letting visitors assume it's a document of real life.
What else do I hear? That people have been moved to tears by the power of the museum, and that nearby businesses find themselves busy at times when they used to be empty.
Growing pains are to be expected. Fixing them to ensure a better visitor experience is, too.
Ryan makes some good points here, including the possibility of muni-fi (another opportunity for local foundations to step up?) and the need for a City-owned web page. I don't see the point of having the City administer the FB page, though, although continuing to publicize it would help.
Meanwhile....has Action Greensboro really disengaged its PR firm, just because some bloggers objected to the closed-door process? How does Ryan know this? Could these people manage transparency if you spotted them a pane of glass and some Windex?
Just a note on the blog -- we're interested, here's what we'd like to offer -- would go a long way.
Maybe Action Greensboro and its PR firm had reps at last night's Google meeting, quietly taking notes.
Maybe institutions and businesses felt that a meeting designed for public comment somehow did not involve them.
Maybe they just don't get it.
A nugget of news toward the end of this N&R placeholder on the hotel story: "City Council was not asked to consider building a parking deck for the hotel...City staff members said they haven’t heard from the hotel developers in weeks."
Rumor has the new new plan at about 175 room @ roughly $170/night.
One allegedly knowledgeable source puts the odds of moving forward on the project at 50-50.
Bill Hemphill maintained a low profile while becoming one Greensboro's most influential people. He's one of the smartest and nicest guys you could hope to meet.
Now he's suing Toyota over an alleged uncontrolled acceleration incident in which his Lexus crashed, causing him serious injury.
Google4GSO aggregates blog posts and news about the effort to bring Google's high speed fiber project to Greensboro. Thanks to Roch Smith Jr. for setting it up.
Good to see three Council members (Thompson, Vaughan, Perkins) at tonight's public meeting. Lots of good ideas from the floor about what Google could mean to GSO, with references to education, medicine, business, and creativity. Some highly tech-literate folks among the speakers.
Somebody said we won't just be doing things faster online, we'll be doing different things -- stuff we can't yet imagine. I hope we can reach out to people in the fields mentioned above and ask them to take a shot at imagining some of the possibilities, and then express them to Google in a way that makes us stand out.
Also, if the future is mobile devices, what does this project mean?
Also good to sketch some ways this could reach across the digital divide to parts of the community that tend to get left out of tech dreams. Maybe local foundations could tell Google they'd help meet funding needs?
Also, we should talk about what's in it for Google, not just what's in it for us.
Teevee coverage: Bonus for messing up Brod's name twice.
The government response to the financial crisis has been a spectacular success for the financial industry. Big banks are now solvent—on paper at least—and have returned to paying bonuses that strike most Americans as, well, vulgar. Their recovery stands in sharp contrast to the millions still trapped in mortgages that they cannot afford.
In normal times, HAMP would better suit our preferences for limited government than HOLC. But the HAMP experiment has failed—and the foreclosure crisis is more dangerous now than it was a year ago. Fortunately, we have a proven method for solving it. We should use it.
"In other news Tuesday, the City Council also put the brakes on a proposed new parking deck for the downtown area."
This means what for the hotel project?
UPDATE: Thnx to alert reader D for reminding me that Kay Hagan made much the same point in our recent interview, noting that bills that squeeze through the process bottleneck often go on to big wins when the final votes are counted.
It shows you a lot of the cowardice, buck-passing and general nonsense behind the current use of the filibuster. By any logic, the numbers should go the other way: the number of people who are willing to allow a vote should if anything be greater than the number who are willing to vote for the legislation on its merits.
About that market-driven approach to health care:
Astonishingly, the health insurance industry is exempt from federal antitrust laws, which is why a handful of insurers have become so dominant in their markets that their customers simply have nowhere else to go...
...The system worked fairly well until about two decades ago when insurers began morphing into publicly held, for-profit cash machines. A new breed of medical entrepreneur saw opportunities to profit from a rapidly aging population eager to get every new drug and technology that might extend their lives, and a government committed to doling out hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid.With size has come not only market power but political clout...
Lisa Scheer took this pic recently at a Reidsville beauty parlor.
Last month, Kay Hagan said that the Yadkin River Bridge was a major priority for North Carolina in terms of stimulus spending.
The feds were unimpressed.
The irony in regard to the Yadkin River Bridge is that the state actually is flush with road and bridge construction money [but] it's doling out that money for smaller, lower-priority projects all over the state...
It's pure politics. Every politician wants a share in his or her own county. Can't have $300 million going to a single bridge straddling just two counties -- Davidson and Rowan.
Of course, that's exactly where it should go if that's where the greatest need is...
Public meeting on Google4GSO, 6 pm tonight, Council Chambers of the Melvin Municipal Office Building, 300 W. Washington St.
"City staff wants your opinions on why Greensboro needs Google, why Google needs Greensboro, what it will mean for the city to have Google here, and what makes Greensboro unique."
As the City Council scrutinizes Coliseum operations, Tony Wilkins floats another revenue-enhancement idea. Ribar has already responded at T Dub's site. It's good to get this stuff out in the open, even if specific ideas don't fly, because doing so increases public confidence that operations are being bullet-proofed.
TW: "I was told it could be a political hot button to mention this. It should be a political hot button not to mention it."
The economic issues are real, yet they aren't shutting other LFS offices. The GSO office has been a flagship, but there's been management turmoil in recent years.
LFS press release, complete with needs-to-be-updated kicker: "LFS Carolinas provides safe haven for children in crisis, adults with special needs, refugees, and individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless or struggling to recover from disaster. Local program sites are coordinated from offices in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, N.C., and Columbia, S.C."
This message is still up on the Triad page:
For many years, the Triad region has been a welcoming community...we hope to continue to see that hands-on support offered by our community partners grow, as we continue to bring clients hope amidst their most troubling times.
We also look forward to what is on the horizon for the region. Triad is a dynamic area of the State and LFS wants to be a part of its growth and development. We are actively looking for opportunities for service and growth that will benefit those in need and the region as a whole. Thank you for taking that journey with us!
I'm hearing that Lutheran Family Services will close its local refugee operation, which is pretty big deal.
Guilford County has been an important area for resettlement programs, and LFS has a long history and a deep client list. Developing...
[T]he mustache-twirling bonhomie has started to give way to the realization that the legislative door to health care reform is wide open, and Democrats simply need to walk through it.
Best use of the phrase "mustache-twirling bonhomie" I've seen this afternoon, and a reminder that healthcare reform is proving hard to kill (thnx to alert read GM for the link).
Public option seems to be staying dead, though.
News update: Ben Holder is alive and well and living in Glenwood.
That is all.
Quite the firm stand on principle political sell-out by Dave Plyler, chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, who cast the deciding vote to appeal a federal court ruling against sectarian prayer at board meetings:
"I don't think we need to be in this suit, but in politics you need to compromise and work together," Plyler said, citing the need to keep Conrad on his side and the Republicans together, at least for this vote.
Lowder: "What truly irks me is that this is being passed off as an infringement on citizens' rights to freely practice their religion when in reality it's nothing of the sort."
The music is something I appreciate more than I like. I was the right age for it, and I disdained a lot of the same bands disdained in the doc, and I fancied myself to be alienated from the system in some ways, but I liked music with melody, and I liked girls (not saying hardcore fans didn't like girls, it was just an overwhelmingly male scene), and I didn't like getting punched in the face.
Tony Wilkins asks in the comments beneath the article about the impact of a Google deal on existing City commitments to TWC. At the end of this article, John Hammer asks about right-of-way agreements and potential conflicts with other companies. These issues should be answered quickly.
Greensboro also needs to address some structural challenges to its bid. Om Malik points out that Google's cost will be strongly influenced by population density. Farhad Manjoo says the company will get the most bang for its buck by aiming at "high-profile tech hubs."
A smart bid by GSO would include reasons that our relatively low density and far-from-Silicon Valleyness are virtues, which they actually might be for a company interested in finding out how next-gen internet will work in the large swatches of the country beyond the usual hotspots.
I'd also urge the City to make this all as transparent as possible. I know there's a public meeting tomorrow night, and that staffers are working on it, but that's all I know. Where's the project's public web presence?
UPDATE: PP focuses on Perkins' comment about incentives. Not saying cities won't try it, or that Google has not played the game for other projects, or even that it might not be a decent investment, but I think GOOG would be unwise to make incentives part of this particular scenario.
The lead sergeant in our platoon, or "smoke" sergeant as they call him, is Sergeant First Class Matt White. Another North Carolinian, Sergeant White grew up in Greensboro and now lives on a farm in Randleman, just south of Greensboro...
...His sense of humor has come in handy in working with the Haitian people despite the fact that he doesn't speak French. A smile and a laugh are pretty much universal.
However, like any sergeant, he won't hesitate to tell you if you're doing something wrong...
A chance to help, closer to home.