Lots going on in this week's report from the City Manager. I find the stuff about Glenwood and the busker rules most interesting, your mileage may vary, but I think we can all agree that the word "busker" should be used more often.
Tried to link to an N&R article for the previous post. The new N&R search function sent me to a page that is blank but for a headline and clip-art image; from what I'm hearing about the new N&R search function that's actually a pretty good result.
Also, why does "news-record.com" (as opposed to dubdubdubdot news-record.com) send me to oblivion instead of the place I obviously want to go? It's nearly 2013, I have no time for prefixes. It doesn't happen in IE, just Chrome, so I guess it's no big deal.
The N&R's new real-name-only commenting policy has gotten a fair amount of reader response, with several people saying the change will keep them from contributing to future threads.
Gauger's right that there's no free speech issue involved, but the readers who say they fear speaking out on social issues under their own names are pretty convincing. The argument for moderators, including volunteers, seems like a good one.
I was more in favor of the new rules when I started the thread than when I finished it, but it's not a problem with an easy answer, or one that need have a uniform solution for every site.
FWIW, I haven't found pseudonymous commenters here to be much more or less obnoxious than real-name commenters, although the most extreme (racist, misogynist, etc.) commenters have been anonymous.
I let my subscription lapse after the paper's Amendment 1 fiasco, a meltdown that went beyond the failure to editorialize on the biggest civil rights issue in recent North Carolina history to some serious news-side myopia and misjudgment. There was no heated moment when I canceled delivery of the newspaper that (with its predecessors) I've been reading pretty much since I learned how to read. Instead, the renewal notice sat on my desk for weeks, and I just couldn't see myself writing a check to the people who had let this city down in so many ways over the past five years, much less their feckless owners in Virginia. Eventually, they stopped leaving it in my driveway.
So for a few months I lived without a local daily. I didn't feel starved for news, largely because the N&R's reporting gets circulated and filtered through online media, but I wasn't seeing everything, and I missed the routine of reading the paper with my morning coffee. And honestly I felt like I was freeloading by getting the info I got via other sources; I try to support local non-profits, including news orgs, so adding one that aspires to profitability wasn't a stretch.
What will I be buying? A paper that seems to have bottomed out. Hiring Travis Fain was a boost in terms of quality and optics, and I want to encourage that momentum. There's no quick comeback from the neutron bombs in the newsroom and a laughable online strategy, but we're here in the new normal and I find that I still want the print edition of my hometown newspaper on the breakfast table every morning.
A singular wedding present given to Lisa and me all those years ago -- perhaps less appreciated by my bride than myself -- was a box of Betty Boards from my old friend Big Tom. Archive.org has long since superseded tape, but I still have the cassettes and the plastic cases with their hand-written set lists, and I have memories of listening to them in a rented Mustang convertible on our NoCal honeymoon, so, better than a chafing dish.
Anyway: "Obviously, this will end someday. There’s enough good material in the vault to go at this rate for another twenty or thirty years, or, at a slower rate, for fifty years."
I recently found the tapes of Allan Dodds Frank's multi-hour 1987 interview with Garcia, which he did after our much briefer backstage conversation (linked in the right rail). Ownership issues pending, I'll try to find a place to publish the transcripts and audio.
Thanksgiving dinner, at some point between the first one and the one on deck.
I have a bottle of fancy wine, born the same year I was (long story), which I decide to share with the family.
My grandmother declines; she does not like red wine, so why would she like this red wine? Um, because it's a 1962 Chateau Margaux? No sale.
The rest of us drink the wine. It is...tasty. Not transcendent. Maybe past its peak. Maybe pearls before swine. Maybe never that great in the first place.
But I wonder, then and now, how much better one bottle of wine can be than another, once some threshold of quality has been reached, and how much more it is worth paying for some incremental excellence discernible only to palates much finer than my own. A chacun son gout, but good enough usually is good enough for me.
Still, I cracked open a decent Burgundy the other night to preview our Thanksgiving pour. I could get used to it.
To whatever extent Art Pope's mini-me version of the national conservative think-tank strategy has been successful -- and you don't need to be sailing the big blue Pequod to acknowledge that dude's got juice -- it seems that NC Democrats should be moving beyond the pearl-clutching and getting down to the business of creating the kind of data-driven ground-level organization that has proved a successful counterbalance to the GOP money machine at the national level.
But who is going to do it? The NCDP seems an unlikely candidate. And it seems like a tall order for an individual campaign, although a bunch of national money might do the trick in a Senate race, if both the campaign staff and national funders were on the job, early and in concert. After posting this I emailed a former Democratic official who actually used to win elections to ask what entity might take on the job.
3:00 today at Barnes & Noble, GSO native Carolyn Kates Brown will be signing her new biography of Eudora Welty, A Daring Life.
You can go to Friendly Center straight from the Weatherspoon, where Porter Aichele will speak at 2:00 about the "sophisticated understanding of Matisse's theories about painting" visible in Etta Cone's famously cluttered apartment.
Delta's acquisition of US Airways gates at LaGuardia* has degraded the customer experience at LaGuardia. Security lines seem longer, and operating across two terminals sometimes adds a bus-ride to the journey. I did get through the TSA chokepoint quickly last night, because the TSA lady put me in the express line after I made a funny under my breath.
Anyway, home. The dog, if I am judging certain characteristic behaviors correctly, was glad to see me.
*This sentence has been changed from the original for accuracy.
In July, City Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann bought a beat-up and long-empty old building at 302-304 South Elm Street. It's the one next to Glitters, for those of you Christmas-shopping for family in Colorado or Washington. (Image courtesy of Google.)
The possibility that Hoffmann might lease space in this building to Downtown Greensboro Inc. has sparked some online conversation (see the comments here), ranging from accusations of crony capitalism to calmer questions about an elected official doing business with an entity funded in some part by the City.
So I asked Hoffmann for the 411. She says the building is in no condition to rent to anyone at this point, and that so far she's done nothing but clean it up. Her plan is to restore it to historic-district standards, which means multiple meetings with preservation honchos from Raleigh -- they're making a third visit to the site tomorrow -- and then, she hopes, approval from the feds. Best case is to start renovation by January.
What about DGI? Hoffmann says the group approached her several weeks after she purchased the building in July, and is one of several entities that have inquired about renting the ground-level space (the second and third floors will be high-end residential units). She has exchanged proposals with DGI, but there is no deal in place and as recently as yesterday she spoke with an apparel retailer who is another possible tenant. "I am nowhere close to making any decision," she says.
I asked if she saw a possible conflict, or even appearance of such, if DGI does rent space from her. "Absolutely," she said, which is why she contacted the City Attorney within an hour of first being approached by the group, and would probably have to recuse herself from any vote regarding DGI funding if she does enter into any kind of lease agreement with them. But, she reiterates, there is no such agreement. City Council passed DGI's latest funding request without discussion in October.
Hoffmann has renovated several historic buildings in the past, and says she's excited to walk the walk in downtown Greensboro. "It's a good building, with great bones and great architectural detail. I anticipate that this [renovation] will be good for the city, although I'm not sure if it will be good for me."
[I]t’s doing secret random debt forgiveness, not because that’s the most
effective way to help out struggling indebted Americans, but because
it’s about time that ordinary Americans started getting help with their
liabilities rather than just too-big-to-fail financial institutions.
Strike Debt is trying to build what it calls “a growing collective
resistance to the debt system” — and this exercise is part of what you
might consider a broad politically-motivated deleveraging, a way of
taking power back from the creditor classes (a/k/a the banks).
And in New York, "what is being done in the neighborhoods I visited is being done by local
community organizers or organizations like the increasingly impressive
Occupy Sandy group, who have taken it upon themselves to muster some
sort of makeshift relief effort and were doing the best they could to
see that the resources they accumulated were delivered to the people
most in need."
The GSO visit was today, sorry, I just found out about it.
The Research Triangle Park belongs to the people of the North Carolina and is a national economic treasure. For over fifty years, great stewards of the Park worked together. From industry, government and university, they moved North Carolina forward.
The obligation to continue that great legacy now rests with us. To meet today’s challenges, we need bold new ideas for how to reconnect communities, reimagine our future, and redevelop our state.
My bold new idea is reimagine the bold original idea that created RTP, tailored for specific regions across the state. But that could get expensive. Think our state government and public universities are up to the task?
The gradual shift in NC political power from its historical base in the east has been noted here from time to time, going to back to Kay Hagan's emergence as a powerhouse in the state senate. After years that saw both US Senators come from the Triad, the ascent of Phil Berger, and so on, the election of Pat McCrory may represent the end of an era that goes back to colonial times.
The seniority shift discussed here may help cement that new reality (link via the Carolina Mercury).
I was going to post this morning about the NC Democrats and what they can do to recover after getting swamped in consecutive election cycles. The idea was to shore up local organizations that should have performed better (cough, Guilford County) and build out a statewide web strategy, starting yesterday, to support Kay Hagan in 2014. Plus, y'know, quit having scandals and civil wars all the time.
But then I read this article in the N&O, and found out there's no real problem.
But then I read a FB post by Laura Leslie, who says:
...there's clearly overwhelming denial among NC Dems about having fallen asleep at the switch in 2010.
...In the best possible scenario, I can't see NC Democrats returning to relevance before 2016. If they continue to refuse to confront their problems, I'd bet it'll be more like 2020. If they're lucky.
Occupy completely routed, at all levels of the national campaign, the economic balderdash spouted by the Tea Party and its billionaire sugar daddies. For a movement that allegedly had "no concrete goals," those are some pretty concrete results right there.
After a generation of venerating wealth and waiting for trickle down, this country was overdue for some economic populism.
Mack Hofmann's review of the epic 1975 Who show at the Greensboro Coliseum dwelt on the advancing ages of the band members and the longevity of the music itself: "The Who's concert seemed proof that the rock of the '60s is not dead. For relics of the Beatles era it's a comfort to have the Who and their kind of music still around."
Thanks to Dr. John Hayes for finding and fwding the old clip. He and I both attended that show, a shared experience we discovered many years later at this blog. I was 13, and haven't seen much to equal it since.
Dr. Hayes went back to the Coliseum last night to see the group some call The Two, and sends along this evidence that Pete Townshend's "generally maniacal style," as the Winston-Salem Journal called it way back when, remains in effect.
For all the talk about how creative and revolutionary new media is, it has not been very creative about its monetization paradigm. Instead, it is slowly becoming just another environment where the old rules apply; where commercial and corporate interests topple social ones, and where only the wealthy can afford to reach a large audience.
Sorry, but Facebook is the man, man. Zuck is not your friend.
Scoble may be right about Sulu and definitely is right about the war on noise, but he's overlooking the simplest and most effective weapons in that war: The off button and a ruthlessly limited menu of services followed.