Dependable Erection

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Curved Air


Continue reading Curved Air

What's wrong with this headine?

US toll in Iraq hits all-time low as month ends

Hey, it's wonderful news that US casualties, as well as Iraqi casualties, continue to decrease. Fewer deaths are always better than more. But i suspect that just picking a month at random, say, April 1989, would put the lie to the claim of "all-time low."

Just sayin'.


Continue reading What's wrong with this headine?

Cool radio job

This is a bit of a departure for me.

This pretty neat job opening came across one of the mailing lists i subscribe to. There's such a strong community radio presence in the Triangle, there's got to be someone around here who's qualified for this.
Hello allies in the media justice world:

I write to inform you of an opening for the position of general manager of our small
community radio station on Kaua'i, Hawai'i.

I am a volunteer public-affairs programmer at KKCR. Over the last several months I have been involved in an effort to challenge the closed and homogeneous atmosphere at the station. Many community members and several volunteers have been frustrated by the lack of representation at the station of our working-class, Native Hawaiian
and other communities of color, queer, disabled and politically dissident populations.

Some of our efforts to contest the status quo have begun to bear fruit, including an acknowledgement by the Board of Directors that the search for a new station manager must cast a wide net in order to find a manager with the skills needed to open up our airwaves to our diverse island population.

KKCR is the only community radio station in Hawai'i. As such, it may be difficult to find a qualified manager with cutting-edge community media experience locally. That is why I hope that this announcement can be passed on through your networks of people passionate about vibrant, relevant community media which is accountable to
underserved communities.

OK, that's the why. Here's the how, and the details.
"The Kekahu Foundation, license holder for KKCR-Kauai Community Radio, seeks applicants for Station Manager.

Located on the north shore of Kauai, KKCR is Hawaii's only full-powered community radio station.

The successful candidate should ideally have the following skill set:

• Significant managerial and budgeting experience
• Proven fund raising success
• Experience working in the non-profit sector

The Station Manager is responsible for the overall operation of the radio station including coordinating and working with approximately 100 dedicated volunteers, staff, and board members. This position requires excellent communication and organizational abilities. The station manager is also responsible for fundraising efforts including semi annual on-air membership drives, grant writing and event production. Experience in the non-profit sector is preferred and non-commercial radio experience is a plus.

This is a full time and permanent position. Benefits include paid vacation and health insurance. KKCR is an equal opportunity employer. Applications are available in both Adobe Acrobat and Word formats at

Applications and resumes may be submitted by email to or
mailed to:

KKCR Search Committee
P.O. Box 266
Hanalei, HI 96714

Professional Challenge
Serving and broadening support from a culturally diverse community

Successfully coping with an always-challenging financial condition.

Personal challenges and rewards:
Scheduling enough time on the world's most beautiful beaches.

Surfing some of the world's best waves.

Hiking some of the world's most beautiful trails.

Saving your winter wardrobe for trips to the mainland.

Housing, clothing and feeding oneself in one of the nation's highest cost-of-living areas on a salary that we'd love to double, but can't afford to."

Good luck.


Continue reading Cool radio job

". . . and I alone have returned to tell this tale" *

* And i have this T-shirt to prove it.

So my friend and fellow blogger Ginny threw a bash last night in Raleigh to announce the new venture she's a part of. It's called, and it aims to be a one-stop shop for the latest in the Triangle blogosphere. And i went. And came back, unscathed.

Now you know what it takes to get me into downtown Raleigh: free beer and barbecue.

And T-shirts.

(All kidding aside, i had a very nice piece of baklava afterwards, enjoyed while sitting at a table on the lawn at Turkish Delights, on Glenwood. Highly recommended if you're in town. And good luck to Ginny and Wayne on their new site.)

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Continue reading ". . . and I alone have returned to tell this tale" *

Wednesday, July 30, 2008



Continue reading Settembre


Between Kevin and Matthew in the Herald-Sun*, you've got most of the details in place about last night's public meeting on the future of the downtown branch of the Durham Public Library.

There's just a couple of things i want to add. First, at one point a slide was presented showing how much of downtown is within a quarter mile and a half mile of the current library location. It's not the distance from people and things and other buildings that makes the library feel so isolated. It's the nature of that distance. As long as Roxboro St. remains the one way on/off ramp between NC 147 and I-85 that it currently functions as, the east side is going to be isolated from the west side. Instead of treating each project as an individual component, isn't it time we started to implement the bicycle and pedestrian plans that the city spent so much money drawing up a couple of years ago? Didn't they call for making Durham a less car-centric community? Doesn't that require making decisions about our future infrastructure that stops privileging the automobile?

And that leads to the second point. Jeffrey Scherer, a consultant who is not involved int he decision-making process on the library, but who is involved nationally in discovering trends on library usage and redesign, at one point made the observation that Americans are almost genetically programmed to expect suburban amenities, like plentiful, self-contained parking lots, in urban environments. (Paraphrasing). Of course, the natural corollary to this is that, if it's "genetically programmed" that it's natural, and that design of those urban environments needs to take that into account. In other words, the preference for suburban amenities can't be unlearned.


Far from being "genetically programmed," that preference is almost entirely a conditioned reflex in response to a specific set of historical factors dating back only about 65 years, or since the end of World War II. The city of the next 50 years is not going to look like the urban landscape of the past 50 years. It simply will not be sufficient for our decision makers to throw up their hands and say "What could we do? People are genetically disposed to want all that parking."

I'll be in San Francisco for a couple of weeks later on this summer. I'm looking forward to catching a day game at the new Giants ballpark. Here's an overhead shot from Google maps of A T & T park.

The Giants encourage the use of public transportation as the primary means of getting to the ballpark. Parking, however, will be provided to meet the demands of those who wish to drive to the ballpark. In addition to the 6,500 parking spaces within a five- to 10-minute walk of the ballpark, the Giants provide up to 5,000 additional spaces dedicated for ballpark use.

AT&T Park is served by more public transportation than any other ballpark in the country and is within walking distance of downtown and many city neighborhoods. Fans are able to take Muni Metro streetcars and trolley buses, BART (via an in-station link to Muni Metro), CalTrain, buses and ferries to the ballpark. Those choosing to drive to the ballpark have easy access to Pacific Bell Park via the Bay Bridge, Highways 101 and 280 and major San Francisco thoroughfares, including Third Street and the Embarcadero.

Toastie says those parking spaces go for 30 bucks each. A powerful incentive to take public transportation. (To be fair, there are parking spaces just to the south of the crop in this photo. I assume those are the 30 buck "dedicated" spaces mentioned above. No idea what that space is used for on non-game days, but i'll find out when i'm out west.)

Here's the Oakland A's stadium just across the bay, built about 40 years ago. It'll be gone in the next couple of years, if things go according to plan. You can see some renderings of the new park here.

Let's not limit our thinking about the new library, and its role in creating a more walkable, less car-centric Durham, OK?

* - And for more on the Herald-sun, check this out.

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Continue reading Library

"May I see your papers, please?"

Once upon a time, not very long ago, hearing that phrase uttered by someone on a movie screen was a strong cue who the good guys and bad guys were. And you would certainly be rooting for the poor schlub in the battered shoes rooting around in a torn bag for the magical documents that would keep him and his family out of jail or the camps or worse.

Today, not so much.


Continue reading "May I see your papers, please?"

An interesting sidenote to the prepared meals tax

As noted around local media outlets, the County Commissioners last night took the final step to put the 1% prepared meals tax option on the ballot in November. The tax is expected to generate an additional $5 million or so per year, 40% of it from non-Durham residents, money which is expected to be used to fund "cultural amenities" around town. One of the primary items mentioned in the mix is a museum for minor league baseball,but there's a number of other items as well.

Kevin discusses some of the fault lines
beginning to show in the city's political structure around the tax, as Mayor Bell, Mayor Pro-Tem Cole-McFadden, and County Commissioner Page (who rumor says will be the new chair following the November election) are all supporting the tax, while LaVonia Allison's Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People is promising an "agressive" campaign against it. All three of these elected officials have benefited from the Committee's support in the past.

It seems that opposition to the tax is based on two components. One is the argument that the funds should be spent on other things, specifically, job training programs. There's some validity to this argument, i think, but i'm not sure myself that a meals tax is the proper source of revenue for more job training programs. But that's what politics is about, and we'll see how that shakes out in the next 3 months or so.

The other argument is that the tax disproportionately affects lower income people, who eat more of their meals at fast food restaurants than at home, and thus will pay a higher percentage of their income to this tax. Again, there's some validity to this argument, as many lower income sections of the city lack grocery stores. (Note to PAC 1 folks - this is a good reason to make sure that the only grocery store on Alston Ave. doesn't end up closing as a result of the Alston Ave. widening project). But still, we're talking about a nickel on a $5 value meal at Hardees, so it's difficult to make that argument, i think. It's in that light, though, that i found this story in the LA Times interesting:
A law that would bar new fast-food restaurants from opening in South Los Angeles for at least one year sailed through the Los Angeles City Council this afternoon.

The council approved the fast-food moratorium unanimously, despite complaints from representatives of McDonald's, Carl's Jr. and other companies, who said they were being unfairly targeted.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has pushed for a moratorium for six years, said the initiative would give the city time to craft measures to lure healthier, sit-down restaurants to a section of the city that desperately wants more of them.

"I believe this is a victory for the people of South and southeast Los Angeles, for them to have greater food options," she said.

The ban covers a 32-square-mile area for one year, with two possible six-month extensions.

The area contains about 500,000 residents including those who live in West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park.

The new law defines fast food restaurants as "any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders and food served in disposable wrapping or containers."

A report released last year by the county's Department of Public Health found 30% of children in South L.A. were obese, compared with 25% of all children in the city.

Now, i have no idea whether this section of LA is as similarly devoid of grocery stores as East Durham. But it's an interesting approach to a social problem, namely, poor nutrition and obesity as a result of an over-reliance on fast food in lower income segments of the community, that is at variance with some of the ideas being tossed around in Durham. And i thought it was worth calling attention to.

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Continue reading An interesting sidenote to the prepared meals tax

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lark's Tongues


Continue reading Lark's Tongues

I do not think the word "rock star' means what you think it means

From Under the Dome:
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole will be a no-show at her party's big bash in St. Paul, Minn.

. . .

Dole is in a tough battle for re-election against Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan. Dole will be visiting with businesses, organizations and other constituent groups, but Hallaway said the schedule is not final.

She also is one of the bona fide rock stars of the GOP, the type of speaker who could rally the faithful. Dole had a prime time TV speaking role at the last GOP convention in New York City, where she praised President Bush and talked in support of traditional marriage, freedom of religion and the sanctity of life.

If Liddy is what passes for a rock star in the GOP, this election is already over.

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Continue reading I do not think the word "rock star' means what you think it means

Parking garages?

One of the things i'm learning as the co-host of a live half hour talk show is just how little time that actually is. Talking with Gary Kueber on Sunday night, for example. We never got around to discussing the Durham County Public Library's public input session Tuesday night. And though we spent a fair bit of time talking about the new county "Justice Center," i didn't feel like we really had time to get to the nub of problem with that building. Much of the discussion at Kevin's place centers around the parking garage which, as Gary so aptly described it Sunday night, basically amounts to sticking the rear end of the building out onto Roxboro Street. It creates a dead zone on what could and should be a thriving corridor with lots of street level pedestrian activity. It sits between an art gallery and a huge new performing arts center. It should be bustling on a Saturday night. But if the hulk of a parking garage dominates, that, of course, won't happen.

But that's not the biggest problem, as i see it.

View Larger Map

We're not taking advantage of opportunities to create new urban spaces; we're stuck in this mentality of using vast sections of our urban landscape for parking. Look at how many surface parking lots there are in that aerial shot of downtown. Savvy readers will also recognize the numerous multi-story parking decks that are sprinkled throughout. (I count 7. Maybe if i have time, i'll highlight them.) Today's news showed a drop of 3.7% for the month of May, year over year, in total miles driven by Americans. That translated to a drop of 2.7% for the first 5 months of the year. June's numbers will probably continue that trend. While it's far too early to declare the demise of the automobile, the writing should be on the wall. It's clear that the behavioral tipping point for Americans is gas at around 4 bucks a gallon. We may see gas fall to 3 bucks over the winter (i doubt it, but it's possible), but it's likely that we'll see prices this high or higher next summer. So where's the vision for Durham's future from our civic leaders? Where's the walkable community that the city spent a few hundred thousand dollars planning for a few years ago? Where's the next generation of public transportation?

More parking garages? That's the answer? For buildings that are going to define our urban environment for the next 50 or 60 years?

Let's hope there's more opportunity for input into the new library.


Continue reading Parking garages?

Monday, July 28, 2008



Continue reading Watcher

Thanks George

In the spring of 2007, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank published the graphic just below, as part of an article that attempted to explain how the then current budget projections ($187 billion deficit in fiscal 09, $61 Billion surplus in fiscal 2012) could be met.
Now that we're getting close to FY 09, it's pretty obvious that the "pessimistic projection" most closely tracks reality.

I'm old enough to remember when this shit mattered to people.

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Continue reading Thanks George


A man who opened fire inside a church, killing two people with a shotgun hidden in a guitar case, was frustrated at being unable to find a job and blamed liberals and gays, police said on Monday.

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred of the liberal movement," Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen told reporters of Sunday's incident at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

Suspect Jim Adkisson, 58, who was being held on $1 million bond, had previously worked as a mechanical engineer in several states. He described his violent plans in a four-page letter found at his home, which also explained that his age and "liberals and gays" taking jobs had worked against him.

Another recent setback was that Adkisson's allotment of government-issued food stamps had been reduced, Owen said.

It's going to get worse before it gets better, folks. Personally, i think if he had found a lawyer like Robert Ekstrand to file a suit against the church, that would have been a smarter move. He might have gotten his food stamps restored.

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Continue reading Irony

Your best entertainment value

Comments on the N&O story on the "incident" at Triangle Town Center in North Raleigh the other night.

UPDATE: Looks like the value was too good. N&O has suppressed the comments.


Continue reading Your best entertainment value

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shooting the Bull - July 27, 2008

Gary Kueber, blogger extraordinaire at Endangered Durham, joins Kevin and i tonight at 7:30 on Shooting the Bull. We'll be talking about the downtown library's potential new look, the new Durham County "Justice Center," and general trends in historic preservation in Durham. If we're lucky, he'll bring along a copy of the new Beloved Binge tribute song to Endangered Durham. Tune in on WXDU, 88.7 FM, or click here to listen online live. Podcast available on iTunes sometime tomorrow morning.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull - July 27, 2008

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 220, Rocky Mount, VA


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Number Nine


Continue reading Number Nine

Friday, July 25, 2008


I guess that "straight up or down vote" is a quaint relic of the past.


Continue reading Filibuster

What Gary said

Both BCR and Endangered Durham have comments up regarding the design of the new "Judicial Center" unveiled last night. The building will replace the "new" courthouse downtown, and will be located just south of the jail. Gary nails the problem:
Back to the deck at hand, the corner of Roxboro and Dillard is a crucial intersection for continuing the urban energy of American Tobacco eastward - one that needs to be matched by efforts north of the railroad tracks. By treating Roxboro purely as the back of the property, the county will squander the energy that could be created at this intersection by the judicial complex, the Venable campus, and the future redevelopment of the Elkins Chrysler dealership across Dillard St.

The body of evidence suggests that the county just does-not-get-it when it comes to elements of urban design that are crucial to the success of downtown Durham. I'm an architecture fan, obviously, but what the roof of the building is made out of is going to have a far smaller impact on the success of Durham East than two huge walls of parking deck greeting people driving north on the primary entryway into downtown from the freeway, and greeting people coming out of the Sommerhill gallery immediately to the east.

Twenty years from now, when people aren't driving into Durham anymore, how is this going to work?

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Continue reading What Gary said

Thursday, July 24, 2008



Continue reading Cuby!

I must be from another planet

See, what amazes me about this story is not that the guy was in the US illegally, and wasn't deported even though he'd been arrested and convicted of a couple of felonies.

It's that he had a fucking AK-47, and no one seems to be wondering why he had it or how he got it. (And don't even get me started on how MS-13 got to be such a big deal, or made inroads into the US.)


Continue reading I must be from another planet

Our litigious society

Andrew Giuliani claims he was dismissed without cause from the golf team earlier this year because coach O.D. Vincent III wanted to cut the team from 13 players to about half its size. The lawsuit claims the coach ruined Giuliani's dream of becoming a professional golfer.

Where'd i leave the world's smallest violin?

More details here.

UPDATE: Seems like once you get away from the Duke lacrosse apologists, young Mr. Giuliani hasn't made too many friends:
July 24th,
5:10 pm

Sounds like he’s taking after dear old Dad.

— Posted by Margaret Rutherford
July 24th,
5:11 pm

Maybe he could get Kerik to “work on” the coach.

— Posted by dennis
July 24th,
5:11 pm

Who throws an apple? Honestly?

— Posted by Austin
July 24th,
5:14 pm

Why is this not a surprise that Rudy’s kid should have an overblown sense of entitlement? All one has to do is watch the video of his father’s first swearing in as Mayor to realize what a jerk this kid was - hamming it up on the podium in the middle of his father’s speech with no parental attempt to sit him back down in his seat where he belonged. As for the minor issues covered in your story about his misconduct - all I can say is good for Duke! Nothing like nipping this budding clown at the onset of his public life!

— Posted by Joe Lane
July 24th,
5:14 pm

“He may have misbehaved in February by flipping his putter a few feet, throwing and breaking a club, gunning his engine out of a parking lot and tossing an apple at a teammate’s face in a skirmish.”

He may have misbehaved?!?!?!?!?!

Sounds to me like he’s lucky the school didn’t expel him.

— Posted by Michael
July 24th,
5:15 pm

I suppose we can assume that the apple he launched into his teammate’s face didn’t fall too far from its tree…

— Posted by Teddy K
July 24th,
5:18 pm

This is why we pay good money to support our court system? This is the most important thing they have to do? This is how Rudy raised his children?

All of our children need to grow up sometime. Some take longer to do so than others. Also it appears that some lawyers may never do so.

This is a sad story on many, many levels.

— Posted by Richard Merriman
July 24th,
5:18 pm

“he had little choice but to sue” ?!?!? How about acknowledging one’s faults and walking away from the team humbled? This is our litigious society at its worst- a politically connected brat trying to get what’s not rightfully his in an aggressive manor. Hmm, did he learn that from his Dad? Can Dad somehow tie this to 9/11?

— Posted by donke
July 24th,
5:21 pm

Typical bullying behavior.

— Posted by ega
July 24th,
5:21 pm

Sounds like dad wasn’t around to teach the brat the principles of respect and proper sportsmanship. Not that Rudy would be any more knowledgeable on such matters than his son.

— Posted by An observer
July 24th,
5:22 pm

sounds and smells and acts like his father

— Posted by oh no
July 24th,
5:22 pm

Agreed that he’s acting like a spoiled brat. Duke, for whatever its errors in the lacross case, owes this child nothing, just as I seriously doubt that, were he ever to become a golf pro, he’d share his winnings with the university that opened the door for him. If he’s so good, what’s stopping him *right now* from going pro?

— Posted by Sean Martin
July 24th,
5:23 pm

Obviously I don’t know the details, but a lawsuit seems strange- people get cut from teams all the time, whether its because they’re lousy players, lousy personalities or some combination of both.

Besides, college golf isn’t really that important in the world of golf. It doesn’t do anything to make you eleigible for the tour. I’m sure its a good practice environment, but anyone with game can enter Q school and take a crack at making it onto the nationwide or pga tours.

— Posted by Daniel


Continue reading Our litigious society

Song of the week

Thanks to Marc at WXDU for playing this one.


Continue reading Song of the week

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The 'Stones


Continue reading The 'Stones

Experts (II)

Hey, i'm an expert source!

By the way, if you came here via that link, this is the post you're looking for.


Continue reading Experts (II)


I'm not sure which is funnier, that the Herald-Sun gave a few lines to a spokesperson for the Workers World Party in an article about the Triangle Green party, or that they also asked John Hood of the John Locke Foundation for a comment. And speaking of the JLF, what's up with everyone over there being named "John?" Are they a front for Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, or something?


Continue reading Experts

Robert Novak: "He's not dead, that's the main thing."

Syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak was cited by police after he hit a pedestrian with his black Corvette in downtown Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning.

A Politico reporter saw Novak in the front of a police car with a citation in his hand; a WJLA-TV crew and reporter saw Novak as well. The pedestrian, a 66-year-old male, was hospitalized at George Washington University Hospital with minor injuries, according to DC Fire and EMS. Novak was later released by police and drove away from the scene.

. . .

D.C. police confirmed that there was an accident at 18th and K streets N.W. at approximately 10 a.m. involving a black Corvette convertible and that the driver was a white male. An ambulance was called.

The intersection is in the hub of Washington’s business district and is filled with pedestrians who work in the law firms and lobby shops that line the corridor.

Novak, 77, has earned a reputation around the capital as an aggressive driver, easily identified in his convertible sports car.

In 2001, he cursed at a pedestrian on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th streets Northwest for allegedly jaywalking.

“’Learn to read the signs, [bodily orifice]!’ Novak snapped before speeding away,” according to an item in The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column.

Novak explained to the paper: "He was crossing on the red light. I really hate jaywalkers. I despise them. Since I don't run the country, all I can do is yell at 'em. The other option is to run 'em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that."

News reports indicate the pedestrian was in a crosswalk, crossing with a walk sign.

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Continue reading Robert Novak: "He's not dead, that's the main thing."

Worth watching

Jed Report.


Continue reading Worth watching

Your best entertainment value

The comments section at the News & Observer.

If only an immigration policy had been in effect in the western hemisphere in the 1500s. Then we wouldn't have to worry about who was legal and illegal.


Continue reading Your best entertainment value

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lip syncin'


Continue reading Lip syncin'


The N.C. Association of Realtors is determined to collect more money for lobbying efforts, but the fund raiser isn’t sitting well with several of its members.

The association wants its more than 40,000 members to pay a one-time $50 contribution by Sept. 30 and has increased annual membership dues by $25 effective next year. The money is needed to fulfill the association’s commitment to spend $10 million on lobbying efforts in the state legislature, members were told in a July 14 e-mail.

Members are upset, the Realtors said, because they must pay up or risk being kicked out of the association. Membership allows agents to advertise clients’ homes on the Multiple Listing Service.

“No membership, no listing, no business,” said Bob Mulder, a real estate agent with Umstead Realty in Raleigh.

Mulder said he and his colleagues aren’t against lobbying. Many of them have contributed to the association’s political action committee in the past.

But this time, they are not given a choice, Mulder said.

“It’s a matter of principle,” said David Spurling, a Realtor with BrokerHouse Realty in Raleigh. “I have a hard time with people telling me what’s best for me.”

In its e-mail to members, the association said the additional funds are needed, because lobbying efforts to defeat referendums on land transfer tax increases in 19 counties was expensive.

Maybe Mr. Spurling and the rest of the Realtors™ should stick to selling houses, instead of spending so much time and money telling the rest of us what's best for us and our communities, no? Might save him a bit of cash as well.

And while i'm on the subject, doesn't federal law prohibit workers' unions from spending dues money on political lobbying? Doesn't that have to come from separate funds? Shouldn't business associations have the same restrictions? Never mind. They can lobby. They can't work for candidates with that money. They need a separate PAC for that. I knew that.

h/t reader TM


Continue reading Irony


The folks who run DATA (Durham Area Transit Authority) want to know what they can do to enhance bus service enough to get you to ride the bus.

For starters, how about a bus stop that doesn't look like this?


Continue reading DATA

What should a library look like?

Durham wants your opionions:
The Durham County Library will host a public meeting from 5:30-7 p.m. July 29 to solicit public input on the renovation of its Main Library branch at 300 N. Roxboro St.

The public is invited to share their ideas and to hear a presentation from the project architects Chris Brasier and Bill Ash of SmithGroup, Ed Lazaron of Design Collaborative and Jeffrey Scherer of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle as part of the Main Library Planning and Programming Study.

"The planning study has two parts," said Library Director Skip Auld. "First, SmithGroup's mechanical and structural engineers will evaluate the existing building. We know it has 'good bones,' now we want to learn all about 'the good, the bad, and the ugly' of our Main Library."

The second part of the study is program planning to determine what the community wants in a new library and to identify square footage, equipment needs and costs associated with each program element.

Gary probably has some good ideas. For me, having a front door that works, and isn't hidden behind a couple of hundred feet of lawn would be a start.

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Continue reading What should a library look like?


George W. Bush's overall job approval has dropped to 21% as 76% of American say the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 21% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 72% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 17% approve and 77% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 22% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 71% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 18% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 77% disapprove.

A total of 76% say the national economy is getting worse, 61% say their household financial situations are getting worse, and 68% say the national economy is in a recession. Of those disapproving of the way Bush is handling his job, 84% say the national economy is getting worse, 73% say their household financial situations are getting worse, and 79% say the national economy is in a recession.


UPDATE: Some perspective.

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Continue reading 21%

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shooting the Bull

If you're not a podcast subscriber to Shooting the Bull, you can listen to last night's interview with author Lewis Shiner here.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

White guys can't catch a break

CNN Headline News:
The family of a slain jogger alleges that her husband was emotionally abusive and suicidal! Nancy Grace has the details, tonight at 8 and 10 ET.


Continue reading White guys can't catch a break

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shooting the Bull

Just a reminder that our guest tonight on Shooting the Bull, 7:30 pm on WXDU 88.7, will be Lewis Shiner, whose new book, Black and White, is garnering excellent reviews. The novel is set in Durham, and tells the story of the construction of the Durham Freeway through the thriving Hayti neighborhood in the 1960s. This urban renewal project has come to symbolize the sorry state of race relations in our city, state, and country.

Lewis took some time out this week to answer a few questions. There are some spoilers ahead, so if you haven't read the book yet, and you don't want to know too much about it before you do, don't read any further.

Got a question you want to ask Lew about the book? Send an email to ShootingTheBull AT gmail DOT com.

DE: You grew up in Texas. Could you have written this novel had you not come here? I suspect the answer is no, and that's because people do think and talk about race differently in Durham than almost anywhere else in the country. But i'd like to hear your thoughts.

LS: No, I couldn't have written anything like this novel in Texas. People do think about race differently in Texas, and consider themselves superior to Southerners, though they are in many ways just as racist, if not worse. I don't know how special Durham is, because I haven't lived in any other cities with as large a percentage of African Americans. It would be interesting to compare it to, say, Philadelphia, which had similar urban renewal catastrophes. But I conceived this story here, and researched it here, and it grew organically out of this soil.

Another question . . . was why did Wilmington have a coup d'etat and Durham have largely peaceful coexistence? Frank cited the tobacco industry, but the longshoremen in Wilmington were equivalent, and gave the city its own black middle class, which led to a black newspaper, black elected officials, etc. One possible difference is that Durham remained more segregated--blacks stuck to "their place" in Hayti, for the most part, whereas my sense is that Wilmington was pretty well integrated, and that may have pushed the racists harder than they could stand. Tim Tyson might be able to answer that question.

DE: I think the book actually has three climaxes. First, when Michael learns who his mother (and grandfather) is. That's the emotional payoff. Then, when he disarms the bomb and captures Vaughan. That's the plot resolution. Finally, when he claims his identity in the very last sentence of the book. I'm not sure i know the words to describe that payoff. Can you talk about that structure both from a craftsman's perspective, and from a statesman's perspective? In other words, as a story teller, why did you write it that way? And as someone who, i think, is looking to bring about change, or at least to help create a condition in which change is possible, why did you write it that way?

LS: To me the three major climaxes were slightly different. The first is when Michael solves the murder mystery part of the book, who killed Barrett Howard, at the end of part three. The second is the climax of the suspense plot, at American Tobacco. And the third is the revelation of Ruth as the real villain of the piece when we read her letter almost at the very end. Those were the three strands as I originally visualized them--that's the craft aspect. I tried to play fair on the murder mystery, and follow all the rules of the whodunit, as I also followed most of the rules of the suspense novel--except the part where the hero exacts revenge, because that makes him not a hero to me. And the thing with Ruth is my bit of smoke for the end.

In terms of trying to bring about change, I think that is not so much a vector, moving from point A to point B, as it is the coloring that you apply to the black and white art in a comic book. I don't think you bring about change by argument. You bring about change when somebody walks a mile in the other fellow's shoes and sees he's been oversimplifying things. Or with the Naked Lunch moment that Burroughs talks about, when you realize that piece of meat on the end of your fork was once a feeling, living creature. It's when you look at the Other and realize the Other is you.

As to the structure, Raymond Chandler said, "Always save a bit of smoke to blow away at the end," or words to that effect. And I learned from my favorite police procedural writer, Barry Maitland, that there's nothing like a constant stream of revelations to keep a story moving forward. So I think the entire novel is plotted as one surprise after another (though how surprising they are, I can't promise you). Everything from major stuff like the discovery of the body to minor stuff like the aunt Michael never knew he had, or the sudden question of his birthdate, or Mitch Antree having committed suicide on THAT embankment. I tried to make sure there was one of those every few pages.

DE: The work that kept coming to mind while reading was Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (don't ask me why. i can't point to a specific incident, plot point, or character). You go a little bit into the multiple and shifting POV. I was wondering if there was another book here to be fleshed out. I'd love, for example, to read this story through Donald's eyes, or through Rachid's.

LS: I actually haven't read the Alexandria Quartet, though I've always meant to. In terms of literary models, I suppose I was picturing more those big modernist American novels from the 50s and 60s by people like James Jones--FROM HERE TO ETERNITY or SOME CAME RUNNING. I haven't actually read any of his books in decades, but it doesn't matter. That's what I read all through high school (along with Steinbeck) and it had a huge formative influence on me. What really matters is how I remember feeling when I read those books, not what I would think of them now.

I don't think there's anything left to write, if you're picturing a Durham Quartet. You know me better than that. I write one book and move on. If I did my job properly, you can reread the book and imagine how it looks to Donald as it unfolds, because I tried to make sure his story was coherent, and that all the stories were. As to viewpoint, however, I think there is only one POV in the book, and that is Michael's. He is the one putting those narratives together from the pieces he gets from Robert and Ruth. I pulled the same stunt in SAY GOODBYE--the first person narrator is actually telling the whole thing, even though he sometimes does so from Laurie's viewpoint. It's still filtered through his consciousness. (I kept that handy as an excuse if someone accused me of not being able to write convincingly from a woman's viewpoint.)

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Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 220, Boones Mill, VA


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Great moments in marketing

My hat is off to the marketing genius who not only came up with the name for this concrete pumper, but was able to sell it to the manufacturer. That's marketing Hall of Fame type genius at work, that is.


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Number Nine


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Where are you now?


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Friday, July 18th - Victory in Iraq Day

We'll be celebrating this day for generations to come, no doubt.
“I am happy to stand in front of you to tell you that this strategy has succeeded. It has succeeded. It has succeeded,” McCain said first at a Kansas City, Mo., town hall meeting.

He then reiterated the line for reporters aboard his campaign bus.

“I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq — not we are succeeding — we have succeeded in Iraq,” he said. “The strategy has worked and we now have the Iraqi government and military in charge in the major cities in Iraq. Al Qaeda is on their heels and on the run.”

So, who's the party pooper making this claim:
But he quickly shifted to the need to persevere there, saying that he expected attacks by Al-Qaeda in Iraq “so they can erode support for the al-Maliki government” during the American election campaign.

Oh, it's that John McCain, guy, that's who.

And what does this guy know?:
"I won't go so far as to say that progress in Iraq from a military perspective has reached a tipping point or is irreversible - it has not, and it is not," Mullen said. "But security is unquestionably and remarkably better."
I mean, it's not like he's the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or anything like that.

What's that?

Oh, sorry. Mullen is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Guess we won't be celebrating July 18th as Victory in Iraq Day after all.

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Meals tax

Kevin picked up on my post from yesterday about the proposed meals tax clearing its legislative hurdles to make it onto the ballot this fall.

I'll have a lot more to say about the tax itself as we get closer to Election Day.

For now i want to follow up a bit on the politics.

Dr. Lavonia Allison, head of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, made it crystal clear at the recent county Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting that DCABP would be opposing the tax on the ballot this fall. Floyd McKissick, who basically owes his seat in the State Senate to the group, has been instrumental in getting the referendum on the ballot for the fall. I'll be very curious, now that his work is basically done, to see how much energy he puts into its passage. I know there are regulations regarding how much an officeholder can say about a tax initiative*. But savvy politicians, of which Floyd is definitely one, know how to work around that.

Even more interesting will be Mayor Bill Bell's public pronouncements. At the same meeting, the mayor took great pains to remind those present that the action this week was merely to put the option on the ballot. He wasn't even sure he was going to vote in favor of it in November, he said.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, here's what i think is going to be a key issue. That's the actual, physical ballot itself. As we saw during the primaries, an awful lot of people are going to turn out in November to vote for Barack Obama in Durham County. Ballots in North Carolina have a curious feature. You can vote a straight party ticket. But not for president. You have to vote separately for the presidential candidate of your choice, even if you vote the party line. Thank the Dixiecrats in 1972 for that. They were afraid that too many Democratic Party line votes would go to George McGovern, so they separated the Presidential candidates from the rest of the party in order to allow more votes to go to George Wallace. And no one has ever gotten around to changing things back. So there are two worries. First is that a lot of people who come out to vote for Obama in November will not realize that they have to check a separate box for a party line vote, or for each individual candidate if they prefer. The second is that people voting the party line will not realize they have to also check a box to vote for Obama. Either way, the possibility of losing votes, either at the top of the ticket, or downballot, exists.

What does this have to do with the referendum? Well, that will be even further down the ballot, on the back most likely, after all of the "non-partisan" judge races. (That's a whole 'nother issue.) Lots of people are going to miss this on their ballot. The question is, will they be supporters or opponents of the tax.I'm pretty sure that in order to pass, a majority of those voting on the tax is needed, not a majority of those who vote in the county. In other words, lets say 125,000 people vote in Durham County, but only 85,000 of those actually check yes or no on the meals tax. 42,501 is the magic number, not 62,501. I'll confirm that with Mike Ashe at the Durham County BoE. But it adds a dimension to the campaign this fall that is likely to divide supporters of Obama and other Democratic candidates.

* The notion that elected officials who lobby to get a tax option on the ballot are then prohibited by law from speaking in favor of that option's passage seems to me, on its face, to be absurd. I wonder why no elected official has challenged this on First Amendment grounds?

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Fucking idiots

The bill was controversial because it listed "sexual orientation" and other characteristics as reasons schoolchildren might be the targets of bullying. Groups such as the Christian Action League and the N.C. Family Policy Council did not want the term in state law, saying that gay-rights groups would use it to leverage other rights.

The bill would have required bullying to be reported and school boards to set anti-bullying policies.

Ironically, supporters said they had enough votes to pass it, but only if everyone showed up. The Senate allows members who cannot be around for votes to "pair" with senators who are going to vote the opposite way. When senators "pair," their votes cancel each other.

Berger said the bill's opponents pressured senators who were going to vote no not to accept pair requests from senators who would have voted for the bill.

Anybody want to explain to me what the fuck is so Christian about this action? Or how this helps families who might, you know, have gay kids in the public schools?

These people are afraid that teh gay might use this to "leverage other rights." Like the right to be treated the same as everyone else in this state? Guess what? That's going to happen eventually anyway, regardless of what political muscles these morons flex today. Better they should stick to fucking up their children's understanding of how the world works.

By the way. That kid on the right? I hope he doesn't get, you know, bullied in school this year.

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Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Simone de Castor

That's it for this year's pageant rundown, folks. We'll see you next June.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Simone de Castor

Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Olde Thyme Beaver

Four score and seven years ago . . .


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Olde Thyme Beaver

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wouldn't you miss me?


Continue reading Wouldn't you miss me?

Restaurant tax on the ballot

So sez Matt.

Here's where it gets interesting. By all accounts, Sen. Floyd McKissick did the heavy lifting getting this bill through the Senate. What happens next when the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People opposes it in the fall?

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Not a bad idea

From the N&O's coverage of yesterday's State Senate proceedings on Durham's restaurant meals tax:
State Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican, said it was a bad time to allow a new tax on restaurant meals.

He said he'd heard from small restaurant owners in Durham who said they were barely surviving the bad economy.

Senate leader Marc Basnight jokingly asked whether Hunt wanted to run an amendment taking away Wake's tax.

I'm still getting used to the idea that every time a municipality in North Carolina wants to do something, it has to get down on bended knee before the state legislature in Raleigh and beg for permission. But the double standard exhibited by the likes of Senator Hunt is just annoying. We didn't get a chance to vote for him. Why does he get to make decisions for us?

By the way, the bill advanced for another reading. Not sure why only 38 senators voted on it, though.


Continue reading Not a bad idea

Black and White

Lewis Shiner will be our guest Sunday night on Shooting The Bull, at 7:30 on WXDU, 88.7 FM.

Lew's novel, Black and White, has just been published by Subterranean Press, who is reporting the first edition is already nearly sold out.

The novel takes place in Durham, and tells the story of the construction of the Durham Freeway and the destruction of the Hayti neighborhood that was in its path. Local reviews have tended to focus on the relative accuracy and plausibility of the events that unfold in the narrative, natural enough, i suppose, when so many of the places, people, and things in the novel are parts of our daily life. My mother-in-law, for example, is a resident of the Emerald Pond independent living facility on Pickett Road. There's a small scene that takes place there, and, yes, Lewis gets all of the details of the place exactly right. But even had he chosen to take liberties with the presentation, as he does at key points in the climax of the novel, it wouldn't matter.

The novel, ultimately, is not about Hayti, or Durham. It's about discovering and creating identity in America. What Lewis has done that is special, i think, is foreground the racial component of that search in a way that, for me at least, has not been done before.

White people tend to have a very limited vocabulary when it comes to talking about race. Part of that can be seen, for example, in the constant reference that someone like Chris Matthews makes to "regular people" when he refers to whites in the context of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Even for whites who don't hold racist attitudes, blacks are usually "other." Talking about race with that as an unspoken, sometime unacknowledged, and unconscious assumption is difficult. We tend to avoid it. (Carl Kenney's got an interesting piece about some white folks who don't have a problem talking about race.)

I don't want to get into spoilers for people who haven't yet read the book. Lots of things in the book are black and white, very clear cut, right or wrong, good or bad. But not all. The most important are, until critical points, in the balance. They can only be resolved by conscious choice.

Not unlike America in the year 2008.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Clowns and jugglers


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I thought that the vice president wasn't part of the executive branch?

And if he's not, then how can Bush claim executive privilege for him?


Continue reading I thought that the vice president wasn't part of the executive branch?

Memo to Police Chief Lopez

You really must read this article.
Chicago this year joined a growing number of big cities and small towns that are sending officers into traffic to make motorists pay more attention to pedestrians.

"People, they don't care," said Delgado, whose bright pink baseball hat and orange blouse made her especially tough to miss. "It's 'Get out of my way.' The whole mentality is 'Get out of my way.'"

With Delgado's help, police stopped 78 vehicles in just two hours and told them they'd violated a law that's been on the books for years. That number easily could have been doubled, but officers stopped only drivers who kept moving after Delgado had walked four or five feet into the road.

For what it's worth, you can see Chicago's crime stats here. You can download a pdf of Durham's crime stats here. I'll leave comparing the two as an exercise for the reader.


Continue reading Memo to Police Chief Lopez

Think i'll buy me a football team

I've gone and entered a fantasy sports league for the first time. It's the Guardian's Fantasy Football (that's soccer for most of my readers) league. I'll be posting my progress throughout the season. I think i get to pick my squad next week or something. Maybe Gareth Barry will be playing for Liverpool by then.


Continue reading Think i'll buy me a football team

Thinking about taxes

If only everyone who was worried about "taxing the poor" would work to get rid of the remaining 2% tax on grocery store food items.

A 1% tax on restaurant meals will add a nickel to the price of a Whopper value meal. Even if you have one for lunch every day, that's a quarter a week. Meanwhile, if you spend only a hundred bucks a week on food at the grocery store (real easy to do these days) that's an extra two dollars a week you're forking over in taxes. Eight times as much.

Let's face it. The tax on restaurant meals isn't aimed at "the poor." Those on the left and right who claim to oppose it for that reason need to stop being dishonest about their opposition.


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"They must have notified every church in my area"

So says State Senator Stan Bingham, Republican from Denton, explaining why he's going to vote against a "bullying" bill in the legislature, even though he helped to negotiate the compromise language of the bill. The problem? The bill includes "sexual orientation" as one of the descriptors of "bullying or harassing behavior."

Pam has the details, including the link to send a letter supporting this bill to your legislator.

I spent some time yesterday poking around on the website of one of those "family values" groups opposing this legislation. I can't imagine what it must be like to spend your entire life so afraid of anything that you see as "different."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

El Justiciero


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Going to trial

Looks like the alleged victims in the "satanic ritual" case are back in town and testifyin'. And they have names. Well, one of them does, anyway. Wonder if that means the LieStoppers crowd will now devote the next 6 weeks to ferreting out every unsavory detail from their past for publication in KC Johnson's next book?

Here's the money quote:
"It was a satanic group," Bethard testified. "We talked at length about satanism, demons."

Hmmm. I've talked at length with some of my acquaintances about Uranus. What does that make me?

By the way, tonight'll be the first county Executive Committee meeting since the story broke. Wonder how many media people will be on hand to watch the invocation of Satan? Or if it makes the news when we say the Pledge of Allegiance instead?

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"How does our country continue to produce men and women like this?"

The committee cited one exchange between White House political chief Karl Rove and Ron Fournier, then a political reporter for The Associated Press.

In a chain under the subject line "H-E-R-O," Rove replied to an e-mail from Fournier by saying, "How does our country continue to produce men and women like this?"

Fournier replied, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight.

The man they were referring to in this case was Pat Tillman, the ex-football player turned soldier whose death by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004 is back in the news these days. Fournier, who is currently the AP's acting Washington bureau chief, has issued an apology that, even by today's minimal standards, is a depressing piece of shit:
"I was an AP political reporter at the time of the 2004 e-mail exchange, and was interacting with a source, a top aide to the president, in the course of following an important and compelling story. I regret the breezy nature of the correspondence."

emphasis mine

You'll recall that both the White House and the Army sought, in the days and weeks following Tillman's death, to portray it as an act of heroism and exploit its propaganda value, despite knowing from the get-go that he had been killed by friendly fire. His family wasn't too happy about that.

Other highlights from the Congressional report on Pat Tillman's death:
In the case of Tillman's April 22, 2004, death, White House officials generated nearly 200 e-mails on the matter the day after, the committee found. Politics seemed to fuel the administration's interest: Several of the e-mails came from the staff of President Bush's re-election campaign, urging Bush to respond publicly.

The White House "rushed" to release a public statement of condolence at about noon on April 23.

But in doing so, the White House violated a military policy enacted into law by Bush himself in 2003, the committee found. The Military Family Peace of Mind Act bars the announcement of a casualty until 24 hours after a family is notified.

. . .

The committee received a flurry of White House e-mails sent as the Bush administration responded to Tillman's death, but no documents about friendly fire. The committee interviewed several top White House officials about the case, but "not a single one could recall when he learned about the fratricide or what he did in response," it said in its 48-page report.

. . .

Speechwriters and fact-checkers expended hundreds of words in e-mail memos trying to confirm that Tillman and his brother Kevin had joined the Army because of the attacks of Sept. 11, but could not do so, because the brothers had rarely or never spoken publicly about it.

Nevertheless, Bush's remarks to the correspondents' association contained what one White House official admitted was a "speculative" statement by Bush: "Friends say that this young man saw the images of September the 11th, and seeing that evil, he felt called to defend America."

White House spokesman Trey Bohn said Monday that officials there cooperated extensively with the committee during its investigation.

"The report contains no evidence that the White House said anything incorrect or misleading regarding the death of Corporal Tillman," Bohn said. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Tillman family."

. . .

The committee also looked into the case of Army Spc. Jesse Buryj of Canton, Ohio. It took nine months for his family to learn that his death in Iraq in May 2004 was not the result of an accidental vehicle crash as they were first told. He was killed by fire from U.S. or Polish soldiers in Karbala after a dump truck hurtled through a checkpoint and crashed into the armored vehicle in which he was riding.

Buryj's parents accepted an invitation to meet Bush at a July 2004 campaign rally. They told investigators they had pressed Bush to help them find answers about their son's death, and said Bush agreed to help.

"A few months later, a Bush-Cheney campaign official contacted the family," the congressional investigators found. "Rather than offer assistance, the official asked Specialist Buryj's mother to appear in a campaign commercial for the president. Mrs. Buryj refused."

"How does our country continue to produce men and women like this?"

Good question.

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Time for a new plan

Because the old one ain't working.
Retail sales barely budged last month as inflation heated up, an uneasy trend that underscores the difficult policy choices faced by the Federal Reserve.

Sales of retail goods and food grew just 0.1 percent in June, according to a report released Tuesday by the Commerce Department, a sign that Americans are reluctant to make big purchases as the effect of the government’s stimulus package begins to fade.

Sales had risen 0.8 percent in May as millions of Americans received tax rebate checks in the mail, but last month showed a steep drop in demand for automobiles, electronic equipment and furniture, among other products.

Consumers spent a large amount of money on one product — gasoline — and little else. Outside of fuel, sales actually dropped last month by 0.5 percent.

The slowdown in spending is a troubling sign for the nation’s economic growth. But the Fed is facing an uptick in inflation as well: a measure of prices paid by businesses and manufacturers rose 1.8 percent last month, more than economists expected.

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Oh, what the hell. Sign a petition.

I did.


Continue reading Oh, what the hell. Sign a petition.


North Hempstead makes the list? It's not even a city.

Continue reading Hmmmmm

Monday, July 14, 2008

Space Hymn

Space Hymn (music video)


Continue reading Space Hymn

Thinking about radio

I was chatting with Kevin last night after the broadcast of Shooting the Bull, putting together a list of potential guests for the next couple of months, and trying to figure out how we get from where we are with the show to where we'd like to be while both of us hold down full time jobs, write our blogs, and have lives in the real world.


The last time i did radio, i didn't have distractions like a family or a mortgage. If i needed to stay up till 4 am editing a three hour interview down to 16 minutes and 30 seconds, that wasn't a problem. Now, if a potential guest doesn't return a phone call or an email, i don't know if i can find the time to keep trying to reach them. Interns sure would help with that. But even if we don't get one, i'll keep doing the show. I love radio too much to let go now that i'm back behind a microphone.

Mom and Dad used to listen to WNEW (Eleven three Oh on your dial), which featured impossibly smooth voiced announcers like Ted Brown and William B. Williams hosting shows with names like the Make Believe Ballroom, and the Milkman's Matinee. (Trivia - one of the hosts was a guy name Jim Lowe, who had a hit back in the 50's with a tune called "Behind the Green Door." Which in turn inspired the, ahem, movie of the same name.) A google search tells me that back in 1940, WNEW radio was the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Radio Corporation of America and the bandleader Paul Whiteman, which led to the decision that playing a record on the radio does not violate the copyright inherent in the recording.

One day, probably in the summer or early fall of 1967, we visited some friends of my parents, former neighbors in Queens. They had a daughter my sister's age, but no pre-teenage sons for me to hang with. Left alone in the apartment, i found a hi-fi stereo receiver capable of bringing in FM radio stations. I had already moved on from the big band and swing era sounds of WNEW for the top 40 hitmakers at WABC (or double you ay beatle see, as Cousin Brucie liked to call it) and the Good Guys at WMCA. Most FM stations at the time were still simulcasting their AM signal, but i think that the FCC had recently ruled they couldn't do that much longer. WABC-FM (95.5) and WNEW-Fm (102.7) were among the first stations in New York, and probably the country, to take advantage of this ruling, and start programming some of the music that was already defining the counter-culture. I don't recall what else i heard that day, but the album length version of the Doors' "Light My Fire" (which was already a Top 40 hit in the truncated version) was an absolute revelation. DJ's playing music for half an hour without talking or commercials was another.

It took me a little time to save the money to buy a stereo receiver of my own. But eventually i did, and it became my window on the world of pop culture and revolution in a time when music was, finally, going to change the world.

Which is, actually, the short answer to the question of why those psychedelic music videos from the late 60s and early 70s keep popping up here at the end of the day. If you grew up around NYC in those years, and you listened to Allison Steele, the Night Bird, do the 10 - 2 shift on NEW-FM, that music will be familiar to you. And if you are one of those people, all i can say is, check back here at 11:30 pm tonight. I've got a stone-cold psychedelic classic lined up for your enjoyment.

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Does it really matter who owns Budweiser?
In addition to opposition from politicians and civic leaders, at least two Web sites sprung up opposing the merger. claims to have more than 60,000 signatures from merger opponents. hosted a recent anti-merger rally that drew hundreds to downtown St. Louis.

If your goal is to keep your beer money in the US, you could always drink locally.


Continue reading Why?


A second man allegedly involved in the murder of Johnnie Junior Moore was arrested Thursday morning.

Mark Anthony Stevons, 18, of the 1700 block of Avondale Drive, was arrested in Raleigh by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.

Used to let him hang out in the living room when he was younger and his older brothers would lock him out of the house.

He's the same age as my younger daughter. Last time i saw him was in April. He'd dropped out of school (as had my daughter) and was looking for work, unsuccessfully. He asked when the neighborhood potluck in the park was going to be. For all i know last year's July 4th event was the only time he'd ever shared a meal like that.


Continue reading Depressing

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Late chihuahuas

You may recall a couple of posts here and at Mrs D's place about our neighbor's chihuahua quartet leaving their property, chasing one of our cats off of ours, and in general making a nuisance of themselves. The upshot of that event is that one of the chihuahuas was impounded by Animal Control, a second was hit and killed by a car on Avondale Drive, and the other two made it home safely.

Yesterday morning, for perhaps the 50th?, 100th? time in the past year, the two surviving chihuahuas and their pit bull mix mate engaged in a 90 - 120 minute barking session. The only thing that happened differently was that a call to DPD actually resulted in a citation for violating the Durham City noise ordinance. (Thank you Sgt. Dale Gunter).

Here's some emails that circulated on our neighborhood list the last two days.
I just went to take my dogs outside, and we had three dogs on our porch. Two chihuahuas (one tan, one black) and a large black dog. They headed east toward XXXXXXXX.


My sister and I were driving around 5:30 this evening, turning onto Knox from Roxboro St. and saw a large black dog, a small black dog and a small tan dog crossing Roxboro, unfortunately the small tan one did not make it across, the other 2 went running down Knox. My sister got out of the car and removed the tan dog from the street but he was dead.

I can not imagine anyone in their right mind letting dogs run loose near such a busy street but if anyone on the list serve knows the owners please inform him/her theat the tan dog - a little larger than a chihuahua is dead and to please confine the other 2 lest they end up the same!


Those dogs belong to people that live at XXXX Avondale. They get out constantly and we have called animal control several times because the big black intact male pit mix is pretty aggressive (he growls at people unprovoked). Unfortunately, the people really don't seem to care about those dogs because that is the second of 3 chihuahuas to die from being hit by a car.

Is it possible to develop an ordinance which requires people who are serial dog abusers or neglecters to take a class in responsible ownership before another license is issued to them for owning a dog? The larger of the dogs in question here is an aggressive animal who may or may not have his vaccinations. He should not be running loose. Previous dogs residing at this address have also spent most of their lives wandering through our neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods. It's time for the county to figure out a way to deal with this issue.

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Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 42, Craigsville, VA


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shooting the Bull - July 13, 2008

Kevin and i will be chatting with Reyn Bowman of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau tomorrow night at 7:30 pm. Listen here, or at 88.7 fm.

I'm sure we'll be talking about DCVB's latest crime numbers, among other things. Maybe Satan will find a way into the conversation as well. As always, if you've got a question or comment about the show, send an email to ShootingTheBull AT gmail DOT com.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull - July 13, 2008


I am developing a grudging respect for Bermuda grass. If only we could negotiate an agreement as to which part of the yard it could live in, we could coexist peacefully.


Continue reading Gardening

Number Nine


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Friday, July 11, 2008

Time We Left


Continue reading Time We Left

Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Fabulous Fishscenta Beaver

This is the killer performance that earned this year's crown, if you ask me. Do not watch if you take nitrates for chest pains, as this may lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Fabulous Fishscenta Beaver

Thinking out loud

If you're going to put a Barack Obama sticker on the back of your car, maybe speeding through neighborhood streets isn't such a good idea.


Continue reading Thinking out loud

Corpus Christi

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

The first question i have is whether the Fox News reporter in the story in the first link above is being disingenuous or ignorant when she writes:
Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics (is) symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.

My understanding of Catholic doctrine is that the Eucharist actually becomes the body of Christ after the blessing. Not a symbol. The real body. Which explains why some folks are upset enough to start throwing around words like "kidnapping" to describe what looks like, to those of us on the outside, as someone walking around with a cracker in his mouth.

If you didn't grow up with this kind of practice, it appears to be as unfathomable as worshiping a metaphor. Certainly, the logical gymnastics required by otherwise rational people to explain away how Jesus is present in the Host, but that eating the host isn't, you know, yucky, could provide hours of entertainment if you were inclined to that sort of thing.

On the other hand, a better use of your time would be to write a letter in support of PZ Meyers.


Continue reading Corpus Christi

Black and White

Just wanted to drop a quick note that Lewis Shiner will be at the Regulator tonight, reading from, and signing, his new novel Black and White. Proceedings get under way at 7 pm.

Lew, by the way, will be on hand to talk about Black and White next week, July 20th, on Shooting the Bull. More details to follow.

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That was fun

Thanks to my friend, and occasional frequent reader, DF, i ventured into the wilds of Cary last night to watch the Railhawks U-23s take on Burnley FC at whatever it is that they're calling the soccer stadium these days.

Burnley play in the Championship, which is the old Second Division in English football, and are expected to contend for promotion to the top flight this coming season.

So i was quite surprised that the U23s not only held their own, but scored two wonderful goals in the second half to win the match 2-1. Not surprisingly, though, the N&O relied on a press release from the Railhawks for their coverage of the match, while the Herald-Sun didn't even know it happened.

Great pictures and commentary, however, at the Burnley site. I couldn't agree more with this sentiment:
The issue of goal music at Turf Moor remains a moot one. You either love it, or hate it.
However, for travelling Clarets fans I spoke to - and aficionados of the good old days - the musical offerings at the Cary RailHawks game were certainly cause for debate!
During a tuneful 90 minutes we had organ music at free kicks, the Addams Family theme tune at one random moment during play - and even the instantly recognisable score from 1974 film Jaws as the RailHawks lined up a free kick.
The game in America is constantly gaining in popularity and clearly there is a focus on family entertainment, on and off the pitch.
But does providing a constant soundtrack to the unfolding action help to widen the US game's credibility and appeal outside America?
From early evidence in Carolina, the game here is more than good enough to evolve naturally. It's a personal view, but I don't feel it needs these forced gimmicks.

Oh, and add Joey Gudjonsson to the Snickers All-Name Team.

And more photos and video here.

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Continue reading That was fun

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hurry On, Sundown


Continue reading Hurry On, Sundown

Have you been harmed by an occult?

This is really too good to leave buried on some two-bit conservative website.

Readers of two-bit liberal websites deserve this kind of entertainment as well.

UPDATE: For those of you who have asked, no this isn't a parody. This is a real video made by real conservatives, hoping to raise enough money to run it as an ad on a real TV station.

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Continue reading Have you been harmed by an occult?

Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Beach Barbie Beaver


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Beach Barbie Beaver

Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Badonna


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant evening wear - Badonna

Wednesday, July 09, 2008



Continue reading Cymbaline

"The Second Amendment makes all the others possible"

That's funny. I don't see anybody storming the Congress right now to ensure that our 4th amendment rights are preserved.


Continue reading "The Second Amendment makes all the others possible"

Courage of his convictions

From the N&O:
L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he'd ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours' delay, one of Eason's employees hung the flags at half-staff.

. . .

He told his staff that he did not think it was appropriate to honor Helms because of his "doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice" and his opposition to civil rights bills and the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

It's customary, and may even be part of the flag code, to fly the flag at half-staff in the state after the death of a Senator, regardless of how odious that Senator's career.
In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff thirty days from the death of the President or a former President; . . . and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress.

Seems like a curious thing to give up a career over, but there's no denying that Mr. Eason took the full consequences of his position. Gotta wonder why the state couldn't come up with some other discipline besides forcing him to retire, though. It's not as though good lab managers with 30 years experience grow on trees.


Continue reading Courage of his convictions

Change of plans?

Anybody know what's up with 5 Points Cafe?

UPDATE: As of 9 pm Sunday, 7/13, the "Grand Opening" has been pushed back to 7/26.



Continue reading Change of plans?