Sunday, October 31, 2004

Local Races

I voted for Joanne Bowie to return to the NC House representing district 57. She has served as an elected official for 30 years, both as a member of the Greensboro City Council and the NC House. Although I have only met her once, I was impressed with her candor, intelligence, and grasp of key issues.

Bowie faces Greensboro native Pricey Harrison in this race. Harrison's has an impressive list of civic accomplishments. Still, her recent return to a district that was redrawn to the great favor of democrats causes me some question about her motivation. After 30 years of public service, I have no qualms about Bowie's public service, so she gets the nod.

Although I do not live in NC Senator Kay Hagan's district, I would have voted for her given the chance. She is available to her constituents, bright, and has accrued a great deal of power in a relatively short time. She is an easy choice to continue in the NC Senate.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Last Day For Early Voting

My good friend and colleague at work, Brian, has never voted in an election. He usually gives me a little jab for displaying my civic pride with an "I Voted" sticker each election day.

So you can understand why I almost fainted when Brian told me he registered to vote and was interested in early voting. He will cancel my vote in several races, but I am glad that he is participating in the process, and I hope he will make it a tradition.

You still have one more day to vote early. Click on this link to see where and when to cast your vote before the craziness at precincts on Tuesday.


Greensboro's Resurrection

The Elon University Board of Trustees announced that they will establish a new law school in downtown Greensboro. The initial class will enroll in just under two years, and the school will be housed in the building that formerly was home to the Greensboro Library.

Elon's mascot is the Phoenix, the ancient symbol of resurrection. That is fitting for Greensboro's downtown, which continues to make a strong comeback.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

You Go Girl

We picked up a new Honda Odyssey for Kristen this afternoon. It had gotten a little cumbersome getting little Sarah in and out of Kristen's Civic. Now she has room to transport Sarah's whole daycare class.

Kristen resisted even considering a minivan for two years. I think she felt like a certain amount of resignation of youth was associated with having a minivan.

It only took one test drive for her to fall in love. She drove a hard bargain and got the vehicle for $2,500 less than their "final" offer. Even the business manager's eyes bugged out when she realized we were buying their hottest selling vehicle at the dealer invoice price with several extras thrown in for free.

I am not sure how Kristen did it, but she is negotiating my next car purchase.


Bowles For US Senate

The race between Erskine Bowles and Richard Burr features two serious candidates that deserve consideration. Until recently, these two waged a reasonably civil campaign, although it has turned ugly over the past few weeks.

My support for Bowles is based on his distinguished service as head of the Small Business Administration and as chief of staff to president Clinton. As head of the SBA, Bowles dramatically improved the ineffective SBA by streamlining the loan application process. As chief of staff, Bowles showed a deft ability to work with politicians of all persuasions, and he helped broker budgets that produced surpluses.

To his credit, Bowles also spoke publicly of his disappointment in Clinton while still his chief of staff. That candor and his record earn Erskine Bowles my vote.


Easley for Governor

Mike Easley is the pick for governor. He inherited an enormous deficit along with declining revenues and worked through that situation about as well as we could hope. Easley was not a part of building those deficits, but he showed courage in pissing off a lot of people to get the state back on track fiscally.

Patrick Ballantine, Easley's opponent, was part in the spending spree that led to the deficits when revenues evaporated. One of his chief planks in his platform is to buy teachers' votes with a pay raise that the state cannot afford.

This race is an easy decision for me, and those who call themselves conservatives should vote for Easley, the only person with any track record of fiscal responsibility.


Kerry Is Ready For Halloween

John Kerry is looking a little scary lately.

Nod to Eric Muller for the orginial post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Vote For John Kerry

I voted for John Kerry last week. Ultimately, my decision mirrored the same one four years ago. I simply cold not pull the lever for George Bush. Here is why:

1) Voodoo Economics: Trickle down economics creates deficits that are not nearly offset by any alleged boost to the overall economy. George H. W. Bush pointed this out, but his son was not listening. Converting a record surplus to a record deficit in less than four years is hard to accomplish, even if you try hard.

2) Iraq: Candidate Bush said we have to stop nation building or we will have problems down the road. That road led directly into Iraq, and Bush drove us there at full steam, despite the clear and public opposition voiced by Daddy through his chief lieutenants. Add an incompetent execution of a poor plan, and our country is in a huge mess.

3) The Supremes: We got a reminder this week that although it has been ten years since there was a vacancy on the US Supreme Court, there are bound to be multiple spots opening soon. Bush's other judicial nominees make it clear that he would ensure the recent 5-4 decisions go the other way.

4) The Cabinet: Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft have reduced Colin Powell to the role of a diplomat with no credibility. Cheney and Rumsfeld have been inbreeding in Washington for 35 years, alternating between lining their pockets and eroding our standing in the world. John Ashcroft accused those who questions our foreign policy of aiding terrorists. Nice job helping Bush "be a uniter, not a divider."

5) Family Ranking: I do not think it is too much to ask that our president be better than the third best choice in his own family.

I am not thrilled with John Kerry as the primary alternative. However, I am sure that he cannot do as poor a job as Bush has over four years.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A Good Man Goes To War

Crescent Rotary Club scrapped its regular program at its weekly lunch meeting today, so it could honor its president, Ephraim Grubbs. Eph's upcoming deployment to Iraq has cut his one year term down to four months.

Like most Rotary clubs, Crescent's members are primarily business owners and executives. But even in a club of leaders, Eph stands out. He has a combination of traditional leadership skills, integrity, and a boyish enthusiasm that draws others to him.

Despite becoming a father for the third time five days ago, Eph has not complained about his deployment. Instead, he feels strongly that his battalion should have its executive officer as it leaves for Iraq.

Eph is a close friend, and I worry a great deal about his next 16 months. Please say a short prayer for a very good man as he goes off to war.


The News & Record ran a front page story on Ephraim in today's edition. While Eph protests the title, he is in fact a hero to many people, including me.


The Supreme Shakeup?

One of the most important issues in any presidential race is the likelihood the winner will appoint justices to the US Supreme Court. However, the topic has been largely ignored due to the focus on Iraq and terrorism.

Today, we learn that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has entered the hospital with thyroid cancer. This will increase the discussion of justice appointments as we head into the final week of the campaign.

The winner of this year's election will likely appoint three to five justices during the next four years. Bush has allowed Rumsfeld to politicize the promotion of top military personnel, so there is no reason to believe Bush would treat justice vacancies any differently.

I always thought it was unfortunate that Jimmy Carter, one of our most thoughtful presidents, is the only full-term president not to appoint a justice. I would feel better if George W. Bush joined Carter on that short list.


The Power of Three

Big news on the economic development front in Greensboro. Three major forces are about to come under one umbrella headed by Dennis Barry, retired chairman of the Moses Cone Health System.

Friday, October 22, 2004

This Little Piggy...

I broke the little toe on my right foot yesterday. The treatment is to tape it to its neighbor toe and wait three to four weeks. I wonder if this means the broken piggy gets roast beef?

Thursday, October 21, 2004
I have received a couple of emails from readers interested in buying a personalized brick at the new children's playpark in Greensboro. If you would like more details about how you can support this new park, send an email to me at or leave your email address in the comments section. I will send you additional information.

I have been critical of President Bush, but I do not want either of my readers to confuse my criticism of Dubya with support of John Kerry.

Kerry's campaign has switched tactics over the last couple of weeks. Distinctions need to be drawn between the two major candidates, but relying on a series of attacks is unappealing to this voter. And it not okay just because for Kerry to do it just because Bush does it. I yearn for someone much better.

Riding Bush for the flu vaccine shortage is a stretch. Hammering away on the possibility of a military draft is simply conjecture. In short, Kerry has departed from talking about his plans in favor of a systematic full court press on Bush.

In his nomination acceptance speech, Kerry said he would be the candidate of hope, not fear. Addressing Bush directly, Kerry said "In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another."

Today, Kerry's analysis of Bush's efforts was "You learn more in elementary school and high school than they seem to have applied in the conduct of this war." Of course, Kerry did not offer specifics about how to right the wrong he sees in the current war. Kerry has failed to live up to his own challenge.

Yes, I have been critical of Bush, but Kerry has gone almost exclusively negative. I expect a lot better from a person who represents himself as the candidate of hope.

The New York Yankees blew a 3-0 series lead in the ALCS. While many will call this a big choke on the part of the Yankees, I think it is a reflection of poor personnel choices one year ago.

The Yankees management made the decision not to invest in pitching, but rather to buy hitting in the form of Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez. As a result, they had to send a hack like Kevin Brown in last night's deciding game.

Since the Yankees screwed me when I tried to see them last month, I have no sympathy for them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
The eight Rotary clubs in Greensboro are building a 5,500 square foot children's playpark within the new downtown baseball stadium. This gift to the community celebrates Rotary's 100th birthday and adds to the sense of renewal and increasing momentum in Greensboro.

In addition to a sizeable grant from the Bryan Foundation, the Rotary clubs are raising $80,000 and providing labor to help assemble and install extensive modern playground equipment. Rotarians are raising part of these funds by selling personalized bricks that will form a walkway or wall in the playpark.

Judging by the great response to the brick sale, local citizens are as excited about building this children's park as Rotarians are.

This has been a good week for the future of Greensboro. The City Council voted to sell the former city library building to Elon University to be used as its new law school. The required fund raising to start the law school is just shy of completion. This will raise Greensboro's (and Elon's) profile.

Market America announced an expansion that will add 20-25 jobs at an average salary of $50,000 to the company. Dell continues to give indications that it will locate a new manufacturing plant and 1,900 jobs in Greensboro or nearby. Just as important, at least a dozen of Dell's suppliers would located nearby to support the plant.

Let's look forward to more weeks like this one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
You have to be impressed with the News & Record moving with the times. Most mainstream media outlets view blogs as annoying and perhaps a fad. With the debut of The Chalkboard, the News & Record now has five blogs, all thoughtful and updated regularly.

I applaud Editor John Robinson for his candor and the insight he provides at his blog, as well as leading by example. And welcome aboard, The Chalkboard.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. This will make commenting more efficient, so feel free to speak up when you visit.

Monday, October 18, 2004
Billy The Blogging Poet is a true local gem whose masterful use of words helps offset our president's mangling of the language. Excerpt from his latest work, Chicken Hawks:
"Chicken hawks, they preen their feathers
with the blood of those too poor
to flock in opposition
to their oily feathered wars"

I have to assume that the Gate Keeper has not seen this announcement yet, or he would have posted another tribute to Angelina Jolie by now.

She does nothing for me, but she a lot of the public digs her. I think she must be the female counterpart of the bad boy think James Dean or Colin Farrell.

Saturday, October 16, 2004
Also in the current Rolling Stone, Paul Alexander provides a detailed analysis of the Swift Boat Vets story. After weeks of no response from Kerry, he had a 90 minute strategy session by phone with Bill Clinton, as the former president lay in a hospital awaiting heart surgery.

The result was an all-out assault on Bush that started within 36 hours of that phone call. This is where the "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" mantra started. Alexander also notes that the press pool traveling with Kerry has great disdain for the senator.

This is an interesting read.

Maureen Dowd: "He [Bush] turned America into this dark bunker, as opposed to Reagan's shining city on a hill. " Read the rest of her interview in the current Rolling Stone, where she offers criticism of both major party presidential candidates.

Friday, October 15, 2004
ABC's Nightline sent a crew to Vietnam to interview witnesses to the battle in which John Kerry earned a Silver Star. This battle has been dismissed as a non-event by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth.

John O'Neill of the veterans' group said that there was "little or no fire" from a single combatant (Ba Thanh) he describes as "a lone, wounded, fleeing, young Vietcong in a loincloth." Witnesses remember the battle differently.

One witness said "I didn't see anything because I was hiding from the bullets and the bombs. It was very fierce and there was shooting everywhere." Another witness said Ba Thanh "Wore a black pajama. He was strong. He was big and strong. He was about 26 or 27."

Our president and vice president both avoided service in Vietnam, while their primary challenger volunteered and distinguished himself in battle. Rather than acknowledge his heroism, Bush dispatched a 529 organization (wink, wink) to disparage Kerry with lies.

Sending our military to Iraq for dubious reasons is sufficient evidence that Bush lacks appropriate respect for our military. Having flunkies discredit his opponent's distinguished military service is evidence that Bush lacks the character to be president.

Thursday, October 14, 2004
My sister Lauren and new hubby Phil are on their honeymoon in Maui. I am pretty sure Phil did not give Lauren anything as lavish as a yacht as a wedding gift, and look at all the excitement they missed.

Tom Friedman: "By exploiting the emotions around 9/11, Mr. Bush took a far-right agenda on taxes, the environment and social issues - for which he had no electoral mandate - and drove it into a 9/12 world. In doing so, Mr. Bush made himself the most divisive and polarizing president in modern history."

Strong words in his op-ed piece in today's New York Times (subscription required). Friedman argues, persuasively, that the Bush administration has become addicted to 9/11.

Apparently, President Bush believes vaccines from Canada are safe, even if pharmaceuticals are not. I am going to take a wild guess that the US vaccine industry does not have a powerful lobby in Washington, D.C.

Mathew Gross: "In so many words tonight, Bush told unemployed computer programmers to go back to drafting school. He truly is building a bridge back to the 19th Century."

Mathew provides analysis of last night's debate, plus excerpts of network television's immediate post-debate analysis.

Mr. Sun provided live debate coverage last night. Even after the fact, it is good reading and more entertaining than the actual debate. Probably more substantive, too.

Yesterday, Bill O'Reilly filed a lawsuit against a former show producer claiming she attempted to extort him. The producer has accused O'Reilly of repeated sexual harassment, and she filed her own lawsuit against him later in the day.

The strange part of this to me is that O'Reilly filed his lawsuit first. The basis of his extortion claim is that the woman's attorney suggested that O'Reilly settle before she filed her suit. This is a common practice, and it will be very hard to make a case for extortion.

My guess is that O'Reilly, who I consider to be the bastard son of Morton Downey Jr., wants to generate some publicity as his newest book hits the shelves.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
"Bush must pronounce 'nuclear' correctly on live television" and "It is perfectly acceptable for Bush to call Kerry 'Frenchy' and respond to his remarks in a Pepe le Pew accent."

In his Sunday column, Ed Cone suggests a new way to choose a President. But, is Ed making a modest proposal, or is this pure genius?

Hans Blix: "The acknowledged gain of the war was that a treacherous and murderous dictator (Saddam Hussein) was removed, but the rest has been tragedy and failure. It has stimulated terrorism.

The former chief United Nations weapons inspector speaks about a world that is less safe than before the war in Iraq.

Great. This poor child has no chance for a normal life.

Greensboro has a long history of making national news in less than flattering circumstances (Sit-Ins, Nazi-Klan shootout, Fritz Klenner, etc.). How nice that our fair city has now made the fake news.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Our government is no longer by the people nor for the people. The two major parties are in control.

While I have been critical of Bush at this blog, I am anything but a Kerry fan. Many of the GOP criticisms of Kerry are spot on. He has, in fact, had difficulty stating a clear opinion and sticking to it.

It seems to me that we have reached a point where the parties, rather than voters, pick the nominees. As soon as McCain gained traction four years ago, he was squashed after the GOP machine aligned behind Bush. The same happened to Dean this year.

The result is that we get to choose between two muppets to be our President.

Saturday, October 09, 2004
Local political blogging guru Mathew Gross issued a challenge to predict the outcome of the upcoming presidential election prior to last night's debate. I was in a hurry to get to a wedding rehearsal, but I did post my prediction in the comments section prior to the debate.

I think Bush will get a narrow win. Kerry has narrowed the gap, and leads in some polls, but I think that years of branding itself as the "tough" party will pay off for the GOP in voting booths across the country.

My posted prediction is (I have not watched my tape of last night's debate):

Bush 286 electoral votes 49.2% of popular vote
Kerry 252 electoral votes 49.4% of popular vote
Others 0 electoral votes 1.4% of popular vote

Thursday, October 07, 2004
This video makes me want to puke. I am sure that some Bush apologist will construct a context that makes this pilot a patriotic hero. Does this really make you feel safer?

Nod to Mathew Gross for the video lead.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Tim Russert: "They [Republicans] do believe that Tuesday night they blunted some of the [Democrats'] momentum..."

Wow, I never thought Russert would steal my line.

Rodney Dangerfield has died.

I bet the comic who claimed he got no respect will get lots of respect over the next week. Recently, local blogger Jay Ovittore gave props to Rodney.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
My immediate take on tonight's VP debate is that it was a draw. The conversation was spirited, and both candidates got in plenty of body blows on his opponent.

Even though the debate feels like a tie to me, I suspect the Bush/Cheney ticket will get a small bump in the polls. By holding his own tonight, Cheney blunted the momentum that Kerry/Edwards picked up after last week's debate.

Monday, October 04, 2004
Greensboro's minor league baseball team rolled out its new mascot, team colors, and logo today. The Bats have become the Grasshoppers. Initial reaction to the new mascot seems mixed at best.

I got in my fair share of Kung-Fu jokes when I first heard the new mascot. However, after thinking about team president Donald Moore's comments at Crescent Rotary Club today, I think the Grasshoppers might just work.

Donald correctly points out that the minor league teams with successful merchandising efforts have "different" mascots. And at least the Grasshoppers do not fall under the category of Greensboring.

Let's embrace this new mascot and have some fun with it!

Sunday, October 03, 2004
Tom Friedman: "Donald Rumsfeld tried to prove that a small, mobile army was all that was needed to topple Saddam, without realizing that such a limited force could never stabilize Iraq. He never thought it would have to. He thought his Iraqi pals would do it. He was wrong."

After a three month break to complete his next book, Friedman returns to the New York Times today with a scathing op-ed analysis of the US effort in Iraq. He adds "Because each time the Bush team had to choose between doing the right thing in the war on terrorism or siding with its political base and ideology, it chose its base and ideology."

On Face the Nation this morning, Friedman said that even if an successful Iraqi election is held, a post-election civil war is inevitable due to the complete lack of security in the country.

The credible evidence, reporting, and analysis of our failed policy in Iraq continues to mount.

This report from Iraq is so disheartening. It is an email from the Wall Street Journal's Farnaz Fassihi to some of her friends from her station in Baghdad.

Thanks to Ed Cone for bringing this story to light locally.

Saturday, October 02, 2004
As I have said before, Bush's accusation of Kerry flip-flops is a disingenuous strategy designed to deflect attention from his own broken promises. Now from the Bush/Cheney playbook of say one thing, do another...

Dick Cheney in 1992: "And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is not that damned many."

Read the entire article that chronicles Bush/Cheney flip-flops here.

Update on The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual Light the Night walk held last night at Country Park in Greensboro. Over 600 walkers were in attendance, and the event raised over $60,000.

Friday, October 01, 2004
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is hosting its annual Light the Night walk tonight at Country Park in Greensboro. This event raises money in support of a cure for blood cancers and treatments for patients of these diseases.

Come out and support a great event and organization. More details are available here.

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