If you are looking for a much more detailed version of the strategy I outlined yesterday ("Force the GOP establishment to put some daylight between themselves and the repeal-only dead-enders, then hammer them on the specifics of maintaining the parts of ACA that people love") you can read one here.
That's the thing about dead ends, they don't leave you any place to go but backwards.
[P]arty leaders have decided on an aggressive new strategy to address the widespread unease with the health care law, urging Democratic candidates to talk openly about the law’s problems while also offering their own prescriptions to fix them.
But Democrats shouldn't underemphasize other aspects of the strategy mentioned at the end of the article -- "optimism when talking about the law" and the fact that repeal would be a disaster.
Move the debate to what works and what comes next. Force the GOP establishment to put some daylight between themselves and the repeal-only dead-enders, then hammer them on the specifics of maintaining the parts of ACA that people love.
You could start here. Some of these "older Americans who lost jobs during the recession" live in NC. Put them on TV, now.
Here's an ad attacking Thom Tillis for his alleged stance on health insurance reform.
It's paid for by Patriot Majority USA, a DC-based advocacy group that doesn't want to tell you much about itself but seems closely tied to Democratic leadership and union funding. Complaining about opaque, out-of-state organizations pumping money into this campaign is going to be like complaining about the weather, which is to say common, legit, and useless.
The ad is deemed by people who follow such as things as, essentially, true enough (credit WRAL with a reasonable caveat for the months ahead: "It's hard to imagine any 30-second attack ad on health care getting a clean bill of health.")
As for effectiveness, it does an OK job of reminding North Carolinians that Kay Hagan's presumptive opponent (and, really, any GOP nominee) will either be against the stuff that people unabashedly like about the ACA, or have some not-very-convincing plan to repeal it and fund the popular parts only. This commercial is not as polished as the rival AFP spots, and I'd guess it's not supposed to be. While the anti-Hagan ads carry a dual message -- "Obamacare failed, and, we really do care about reg folks like you" -- this one has a single, blunt point to make.
I'd like to see some Obamacare messages voiced in a more positive way. Show me a guy from Rocky Mount who has coverage despite a pre-existing condition, and a woman from Pineville who was able to leave her job and start a company of her own. Let's hear from some of the surprisingly-large number of North Carolinians who have signed up for coverage in our exchange-free state. Less happy stories work, too -- say, from individuals and institutions hurt by the failure to expand Medicaid -- but those still would be grounded in the intended benefits of the ACA.
Attack ads seem to be effective, so I don't expect them to go away. But I prefer a positive message, and I think it's important for Hagan to stake a claim to the good things she helped bring about.
My spam filter, which swings between publishing obvious junk and velvet-roping legit comments for no apparent reason, is in overly-sensitive mode, and after nearly a year off I'm rusty and forget to check it.
So, sorry if your comments have been mysteriously disappeared, I think we're all good now.
The research uncovered a few key lessons on what makes certain cities more attractive than others. While a strong quality of life, talent pool and customer base were the most cited considerations, there was also a surprising lack of mention of business-friendly regulation as a factor. City leaders who dedicate resources to fostering these identifiable characteristics have the highest potential of drawing the types of innovative entrepreneurs, companies and jobs that can transform their local economies.
GSO seems like a contender based on these criteria. We've got some real QOL strengths and are working hard on that kind of stuff. Talent pool may be more of an issue, and we're part of a million+ metro region as defined in certain not-entirely-realistic ways.
So, maybe our whale-catching econ dev strategy should be supplemented by more nurturing of local growth companies and our own version of the Mittelstand.
With the prospect of more consolidation in the broadband market, places with competitive providers offering gigabit speeds or even an alternative to the cable/telco duopoly are looking better if Comcast manages to grab a larger market. Google’s plans to build out fiber-to-the-home networks in Kansas City and Austin, Texas, is one example, but even municipally owned networks or places with smaller providers such as Sonic.net may get a boost.
So here's another anti-Obamacare ad aimed at Kay Hagan, running now across the state with the frequency that big out-of-state money can buy.
Like the spot discussed here, this commercial is carefully constructed in terms of tone and feeling. It's not a red-meat call for repeal, but a pitch to moderate voters by a soft-spoken woman who seems disappointed that she has to deliver this critique of the Affordable Care Act: "It just doesn't work."
It's another effective ad, but also one that shows how the conversation about healthcare reform is changing -- and how Hagan can fight back (as noted in the previous post, Hagan is going to own Obamacare in this race whether she wants to or not, so she'd better make the best of it). For starters, the ad reflects the reality acknowledged by the Burr/Coburn/Hatch proposal -- our healthcare system really was broken and something has to be done to fix it (another inadvertent lesson of the GOP plan: coming up with a workable strategy is not easy).
The pushback should begin by pointing to ways that the ACA is working. That means addressing claims about the damage done by Obamacare, correcting any misstatements or overstatements, and promising to fix what's not right. And it means telling the stories of real people who have benefited from the changes to date. It means saying, "It does work."
Of course, Obamacare will need to maintain the momentum it's gained for this campaign to work, so pushback ads probably can't run until April. It would be very helpful if North Carolina's surprisingly strong enrollment numbers continue to trend upward. And Hagan is going to need a whole lot of money to move the needle after the long barrage of ads against her.
But pushing back against this campaign is possible, and, again, the only choice Hagan really has.
"Gig City," as Chattanooga is sometimes called, has what city officials and analysts say was the first and fastest — and now one of the least expensive — high-speed Internet services in the United States.
..."It created a catalytic moment here,” said Sheldon Grizzle, the founder of the Company Lab, which helps start-ups refine their ideas and bring their products to market. “The Gig,” as the taxpayer-owned, fiber-optic network is known, "allowed us to attract capital and talent into this community that never would have been here otherwise."
After years of pushing the City and foundation leaders to think about digital infrastructure as a key to economic development, I find this story to be kinda depressing. The same location atop big internet pipelines that makes us appealing to data centers could be valuable for other connectivity options as well -- options that the Chattanooga model suggests work pretty well.
Sorry, dead horse, to whack you yet again, but...are our econ dev people looking at the right things and operating off a coherent, 21st Century plan?
We made a decent run at GoogleFi, and then...what?
Been a long time since I wrote a feature-length magazine article. Enjoyed writing this one, which concerns unreliable sources, cavalry, Greensboro, race relations, barbers, and more.
Photo by Lisa Scheer, who also taught me a lot of what I know about African-American intellectual history and Warnersville. She was mentored on the latter topic by James Griffin and the late Otis Hairston, Jr., and has explored it in depth with the help of Harvey Robinson and Carolyn de Berry.
This week a Senator from North Carolina acknowledged that "Our nation’s health care system was unsustainable before Obamacare" and promised to defend such core principles of the Affordable Care Act as broader access to insurance and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
That Senator was Richard Burr.
The plan he was promoting would replace the ACA with a new law, but clearly the goalposts have moved and the GOP establishment (Burr was joined by Orrin Hatch and Tom Coburn) now believes that Obamacare defines the healthcare debate; they’re talking means more than ends. Nobody understands this better than the folks to the right who hate Burr's idea the most.
Kay Hagan should be taking notes. She’s going to own Obamacare in this election whether she wants to or not, so she’d better figure out a way to leverage it to her advantage. And that may turn out to be a good strategy in and of itself.
This would have sounded crazy a month ago, but less so now. It’s still too early to tell, but the national signup trends are positive – and the North Carolina trends are surprisingly robust, indicating that a lot of Hagan’s constituents want to be having this conversation. The further we get from the botched website launch, the easier it may be to separate that genuine disaster from the actual program -- the program that does all the things that Burr recognizes as appealing to many voters.
None of which makes the own-it strategy easy, or makes Hagan a lock for reelection. North Carolina has a habit of ditching senators after one term. Much of the state is still in severe economic pain and Obamacare will always be a red flag for some voters, even those who might support the Lite version floated by Burr. And there’s a flood of money coming into the state to take Hagan down (credit the folks who made this ad with understanding the semiotics of North Carolina; from the color of the speaker's shirt to her hometown, the spot is pitched right at the centrist voters it means to reach).
But Hagan has real advantages, too. GOP rule in Raleigh has motivated Democrats like nothing I’ve seen before, and her likely opponent, Thom Tillis, is part of that operation. I’ve been told by insiders that Hagan will have a GOTV machine that builds on Obama’s statewide success in that realm (although I have no recent verification that this is actually happening). It’s possible to imagine a campaign in which Hagan stands up for the ACA (and talks about fixes for its problems) while pinning Tillis down between some form of Obamacare Lite and the hardcore repealers.
It could work, and I don't see another way for her to win.
Matheny has developed an elaborate economic development plan that he will present at the beginning of the 4:30 p.m. meeting...
In great detail, Matheny’s plan focuses on creating shovel-ready development sites, incentives for development in east Greensboro and such major deals as the proposed Project Haystack data center park.
It's not clear from the article if the N&R has had the chance to analyze the plan, which does not seem to be on Zack's campaign website. I hope the public can see it soon, and that it addresses some of the questions raised here about data centers and their role in our overall econ dev strategy.
With each passing year, the absurdity of the Little Rascals charges has become more obvious. But no admission of error has ever come from prosecutors, police, interviewers or parents.
From an N&O op-ed by Lew Powell, a retired Charlotte Observer journalist who maintains an excellent site dedicated to the Little Rascals case.
It can be hard, in calmer times, to imagine the power of a moral panic like the one in Edenton, itself part of a broader national hysteria. Lisa and I wrote about the case and in our reporting found a community where rational people seemed afraid to dissent from the fantastical narrative. As young parents ourselves we were sympathetic to the families we met, but clearly things had gone very wrong in Chowan County.
Certainly the State of North Carolina did not appreciate our efforts, as the letter above from the state DOJ shows; Mr. Hart seems to remain a part of our state's top legal team. (I hope to post our pre-web article soon.Here's a PDF of the 1993 Elle article.)
More than a year ago, Powell petitioned Attorney General Roy Cooper to acknowledge the injustice done to the Edenton Seven. Cooper has not responded.
Good news for Winston-Salem on the tech-job front, but it’s important to remember that technology has become so pervasive that the line between “tech jobs” and just plain jobs is a blurry one.
Look at GSO’s massive AmEx data center – financial services is an information industry – or consider what it takes to design and build a HondaJet. Or check out Google’s acquisition of Nest, another sure sign that the Internet of Things is transforming traditional businesses into technology companies.
So, sure, it would be great if the software industry added a slew of programmers and engineers to the local workforce, but at this point “technology jobs” is a category that transcends traditional tech firms. Even smaller companies, traditionally viewed as somewhat tech-averse, are increasingly capable in that realm – and I wonder if that’s an area we should be emphasizing more in terms of economic development.
A lot of the focus of our econ dev efforts – at least the public and media focus – seems to be on landing a huge project that will jumpstart the local economy. Which is great, if you can pull it off. But whales are not so common, and I’m not clear on what we’re doing in parallel to those efforts to help our smaller, homegrown businesses grow and to encourage others to move here.
Maybe GSO should be trying to nurture something like Germany’s Mittelstand – the vast network of smaller firms that are a major part that country’s economic success. The success of those companies, though, depends on factors like access to technology and a well-educated, skilled workforce. Those things don’t happen by accident, and I don’t know that Guilford County is concentrating its very real resources on such goals.
I’d be happy to learn that my questions (including yesterday’s queries about data centers and overall strategy) have easy answers. But I have the same lack of clarity as Hoggard, who asks, “What is our economic development master plan, and where can it be viewed?”
What is the Greensboro/Guilford County master plan for attracting technology and advanced manufacturing jobs?
I was wondering about that as I looked at ideas for Project Haystack, the ambitious proposal to develop land now occupied by the County prison farm in eastern Guilford. The concept includes a substantial concentration of advanced manufacturing, but at this point seems focused on giving over a bunch of valuable acreage to giant data centers.
Would locating data centers on the farm be the best use of the land at a time when large, undeveloped tracts are a dwindling asset? I’m not certain that a data farm is a bad idea, but I’d like to have a better understanding of the overall strategy and the perceived role of data centers in bringing a substantial number of quality jobs to the region.
We know Guilford County is good for data centers – we’ve got abundant water, cheap power, and sit atop major fiber-optic pipelines. That’s why we have a very large American Express facility, which doesn’t get as much press as other major North Carolina data centers (e.g. Google, Apple, and Facebook) but is a whale nonetheless.
And we know that data centers can be good things for a local or regional economy in terms of tax revenue, while bringing a relative handful of good jobs and of course a massive construction project at the front end. There’s also the promise that these facilities give host communities a place in the information economy, which is true, as far as it goes – it’s just not a very exalted place in the value chain. On their own, data centers are about extracting resources from one place to support job creation and wealth generation somewhere else.
So, back to my queries: How do data centers fit into our economic development master plan? Are they an end to themselves (and if so, is that a good deal for us), or can we leverage them into something beyond (needed) tax dollars? How do they tie into our better-articulated econ dev plans, including nanotech and an aviation cluster? And is that big piece of public land in eastern Guilford best leveraged by putting up massive buildings that are largely empty of people, or is there a plausible better possibility out there?
"We knew that this thing called love worked, this thing called patience."
From my 2009 interview with Franklin McCain, a key figure in the Greensboro sit-ins, who died this week.
More from McCain, who told me he had a Gandhi comic book as a kid:
"People don't know how to combat nonviolence -- when they do something to irritate or harm you, and you turn and say, 'I love you because you're my brother,' they say, 'What kind of nut is this?'"
"I was angry as hell about what was happening to us. A man can't live without a modicum of dignity. I felt I had nothing to lose. I had a commandment to do what I did. It was the less terrible choice."
I was fortunate to speak with Joseph McNeil and Ezell Blair Jr. for the column as well. This town owes an enormous amount to these local heroes and their commitment to non-violent social change.
The announcement just before Christmas that HondaJet’s HF120 engine has been certified by the FAA was good news for Greensboro – potentially very good news.
If production of the small jet ramps up as planned, and if the company goes on to capture anything close to the 15% marketshare projected by Honda Aircraft Company CEO Michimasa Fujino, then we’ll have a shiny new $2 billion manufacturing firm on our hands, complete with headquarters, service, and assembly jobs It's true that the plane has been beset by delays, and new entrants into the private aviation game have a poor track record. But the engine certification was a genuine milestone and Honda has demonstrated a serious commitment to both to this plane and this region, so it’s reasonable to hope for the best.
Beyond the value of the company itself would come other benefits to the local economy, including:
Validation of the GSO as an emerging player in the aviation industry, with a meaningful HQ and assembly operation joining FedEx and the big Timco service facility at our passenger-starved airport. Boeing was never going to bring its 777 production here – but if this goes well we might make the cut for future projects.
Strengthening the regional identity and self-awareness of the Greensboro/Burlington metroplex (the engines will be produced in Alamance County). Last year’s merger of Cone Health and Alamance Regional Medical Center, along with the potential development of the County farm in eastern Guilford, underscore the momentum this long-term trend toward regionalization has achieved.
The PR value of having a genuinely sexy high-end product made here in the NC Piedmont.
Most important, to my mind, is the big boost HondaJet would represent in terms of advanced manufacturing. America still makes a lot of stuff, but we don’t make it the way we did back when manufacturing turned this region into one of the richest parts of the state. These days it’s all about the highly engineered design and service of smart products, and, yes, that’s a jet engine on the cover of this report that I worked on for the day job. Building engines and assembling planes at the end of a complex supply chain is a sweet spot in the modern economy, and it could attract and also spin off other high-value businesses.
HondaJet alone isn’t going to be a silver bullet. This is a strength we'll have to work to develop. GTCC, A&T engineering, the nanotech campus, our logistical muscle, and smart political leadership – all could play important roles.
There were other big local economic stories in 2013, including the ongoing changes to the healthcare industry (not just the Alamance/Cone deal but the large, negative impact of North Carolina’s refusal to expand Medicaid) and of course the significant progress toward two major downtown projects, the performing arts center and the joint higher-ed campus. But if HondaJet pans out and then spurs development of our advanced manufacturing muscle, that easy-to-overlook certification notice could be the biggest news of all.
Thanks to each of you for participating in your own way.
I am stepping away after eleven years and 20,994 posts not because I no longer love the writing and thinking and interaction, but because I love them too well, and there are other things I want to do with my time and energy, and I know I cannot do those things right and do this thing, too.
Mr. Ryan's budget calls for $560.2 billion in defense spending in 2014, roughly $100 billion less than the 4% formula. Over 10 years, he would spend at least $2.3 trillion less on defense than he and Mr. Romney advocated.
A week after Rand Paul's filibuster, another sign of the emerging GOP shift on policies marketed as "defense." A true Department of Defense would be a lot smaller than what Ryan has on the table. The Founders didn't euphemize -- they called it the Department of War.
Slowing the growth of the M-IC will require more than converting old-school Republicans, since plenty of Democrats (including some close to home) are military Keynesians.
Eight second-year students in UNCG’s masters program in history and museum studies, received the National Council on Public History’s 2013 Graduate Student Project Award for their work on Past the Pipes: Stories of the Terra Cotta Community, an exhibition that opened in December at the Terra Cotta Museum in Greensboro.
UPDATE: More here. "Projects like this don’t just speak to the former residents trying to preserve their past or history junkies. It falls in the vein of accessible work that Filene pursues — making history more meaningful and less remote through community and local history, especially by working with 'living memory' and conducting oral history interviews as his students did."
If you were paying attention during the bubble-before-last, it was clear that the IPO game playing out in exotic places like Silicon Valley and cyberspace was driven in large part from the familiar precincts of Wall Street.
In their more candid moments — almost always when speaking with a guarantee of anonymity — the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders acknowledge that the painful sequestration process may ultimately prove beneficial if it forces the Defense Department and Congress to reconsider the cost of cold-war-era systems that are still in inventory despite the many changes made to the military in the last 10 years.
This photo probably was taken in 1907, as the youngest child (my grandmother, Isabel) was born in early 1905. That's her sister Margaret on the left, their mom, Rena, and brother Eli Frank, Jr.
Starting when our kids were born I felt a new understanding of my own parents and their parents and even the great-grandparents I never knew, because I realized that these people who always had seemed to me like such experts on life were probably just making it up as they went along, too.
Many years ago Lex Alexander was kind enough to point out that my reference to downtown GSO's y-axis really indicated its x-axis, thus putting himself on the list with Mrs. Collins and Mr. Gilbert of people who tried to teach me geometry. Still, the basic point stands that downtown is more than Elm Sreet.
Anyway, I doubt we'll see anything this dramatic anytime soon in terms of infill between UNCG and center city, but surely we could make Spring Garden a more appealing pedestrian/bike route (and maybe spark some business development in the process). Not sure what can be done to reattach McGee, the severance of which by urban highways is a minor tragedy; Lee Street is a whole nother problem.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) and ACLU affiliates in 22 other states today simultaneously filed public records requests to determine the extent to which local police departments are using federally subsidized military technology and tactics that are traditionally used overseas.
“North Carolinians deserve to know how much their local police are using military weapons and tactics for everyday policing,” said Chris Brook, ACLU-NCLF Legal Director. “Across the country, local law enforcement agencies are increasingly using military equipment to conduct traditional law enforcement activities. We need to make sure these resources and tactics are deployed only with rigorous oversight and strong legal protections.”
Noted here for years: His modest statistical bias toward dook aside, Dukie V is general-purpose fluffer and not just a Cameron homer. Which makes a modest statistical difference in how annoying I find him.
I have enjoyed this UNC season more than many, including last year's expectation-laden campaign. Fun to see a team come together, and I like both the smaller lineup and Roy's willingness to use it. Kind of nice to see two North Carolinians starting, too.
Public schools have lost more than 4,000 teachers within the first three years of their careers since 2008, the report said. Losing the newcomers is especially a problem in North Carolina, which has a strategy of developing rookies rather than bringing in veteran teachers...
...The low pay is pushing even the best teachers out, said Darcy Grimes, the North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Grimes, who teaches at Bethel Elementary School in Watauga County, said she knows from conversations that five of last year's nine regional winners of the top-teacher contest are thinking of quitting within a few years to find better-paying work.
If you want nice things, you need to pay for them.
No doubt The Atlantic editor screwed up, but doing it right still would have payed Thayer nothing. Tough to make a decent living as a digital freelancer, and tough to run a digital shop that relies on freelancers.
When I think back on the magazine world I came up in it seems like a dream.
The foregoing litany of data, interviews, analyses, and history provides a
substantial and sound basis from which to derive lessons about the Iraq
reconstruction program. The Iraqis, the recipients of the United States’
extraordinary reconstruction largesse, largely lament the lost potential
that the massive amounts of U.S. aid promised. U.S. senior leaders
firmly grasp the shortfalls faced in Iraq, absorbing them as lessons
learned and recognizing the need for improving the U.S. approach to
stabilization and reconstruction operations. Congressional members
acknowledged missed opportunities for more oversight but expressed
approval of varying innovations elicited during the effort and anticipate
reifying reform proposals that could strengthen future operations.
Yes, I'm sure we'll get it right next time. Just like we brought all the lessons learned from Vietnam to OMPS.
Forty years ago, when North Carolina banned using deep wells to permanently dump industrial waste, some thought the issue had been decided for good. Now state lawmakers who want to turn North Carolina into the nation’s next fracking hotspot are reopening the case for injecting brines and toxins deep underground.
This time, the proposal is shifting the fracking debate from the center of the state, where the energy exploration and economic benefits would occur, to tourism-dependent coastal communities where the disposal wells would have to be drilled.
In the last decade and a half, council has farmed out the vision thing to other groups (like Action Greensboro) and then sometimes supported them by encouraging them to spend their own money, or putting something on a bond (hope it passes -- fingers crossed!). I don't recall hearing a clearly articulated vision of downtown coming from any council member...