Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'll Be Back

I appreciate the cards and letters from those of you who have noticed I have not posted for ten days.

Although I have had much to say during that time, I have been way too busy to think straight. Work is crazy, my volunteer work is in overdrive, and the holidays were busy. On top of that, both of my desktop computers are acting freaky and have required medical attention.

I hope to be back on a regular basis soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Holiday Shopping

Kristen and I are almost done with our holiday shopping. We like to wrap up early to avoid the perils of overcrowded stores. Apparently, at least one store owner wants better behavior out of shoppers, too.

Credit to friend Emily for the picture.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Redneck Dogs

I have to assume these dogs belong to Jeff Foxworthy.

You can think my dear mother for this picture.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Back To School

Tonight I am headed to my alma mater, NC State, to speak to their Rotaract club about the value of serving others.

I have spoken at high schools and colleges pretty consistently during the last 15 years, and I have noticed the students are getting younger. Hopefully, I will be able to connect with these students during my talk.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jerry Weast At The Supreme Court

Former Guilford County School Superintendent Jerry Weast got a big victory today in the US Supreme Court. Weast and the Montgomery County (MD) school system were sued by the displeased parents of a learning disabled child.

The case hinged on whether schools have to demonstrate that an individualized educational program was suitable for a special needs child. The court found that the burden is on the parents to demonstrate that the school's program is falling short rather than the other way around.

The court's ruling seems consistent with the rest of our laws, which place the burden of proof on the party bringing the action.


John S. Clark Sold

John S. Clark has announced it will be sold next week to an large Japanese general contractor. Clark has been the largest general contractor based in the Triad for a few years, and they insist they will continue to operated independently.


A Cheater Dispenses Career Advice

Vijay Singh has advice for Asian Tour players: "They need to ... get away from the Asian tour to get experience."

On its face, that seems logical advice, and most pros would listen to advice from Singh, the #2 golfer in the world. The problem is that Singh's own experience on the Asian tour ended when he was suspended for cheating.

So forgive me if I find that Singh's advice rings hollow.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Our Community Spirit

One of our area's newest blogs is Our Community Spirit. It is off to a good start as a non-judgmental forum for discussing spiritual and social issues. Give this new blog a try.



Yesterday was perfect for golf, a classic NC fall day. It was mild, the wind was fairly light, and there was not a single cloud in the sky. So, I enjoyed an afternoon at Sedgefield with two Rotary friends, Don and Jenny.

On the tee of the par three third hole, Jenny told Don and me that she had been playing golf for five or six years and thought it was time to see an ace. As a relative beginner at the game, she thought that Don or I with a combined 80 years of experience would be fine candidates. I agreed.

Four holes later, Jenny got to see her first ace, but she was the one who claimed that rarity. Her 9-wood hit on the front fringe and rolled smoothly for 60' until it dropped into the cup. It rolled so well, it looked like a perfect putt.

It was the sixth ace I have witnessed (none mine, unfortunately), and she was thrilled by the experience. It was a fitting way to enjoy a perfect day for golf.


Goodbye to Mark's On Westover

One of Greensboro's top restaurants, Mark's On Westover, has apparently closed for good. Over the past few weeks, a sign on their door said they were closed temporarily due to a kitchen fire, but their space is now available for rent.

Kristen and I have known Mark for about a decade, since his days at executive chef at Chateau Morissette. He produced excellent and interesting food, insisted on top service from his wait staff, and maintained an intimate but comfortable setting.

We had our wedding rehearsal dinner at Mark's six years, and it came off perfectly. We will miss getting to see Mark and tasting his food. I hope he reappears in the Triad dining scene soon.


God Blog Convention 2005

I attended Mickey McLean's interesting and lively Faith Blogging session at ConvergeSouth last month. One of the hot discussions in that session was about the appropriateness of blogging clergy and if they should express their social and political opinions in their posts.

It turns out that less than one week after that session, God Blog Convention 2005 was held in California. Some of our local faith-based bloggers could have made a nice contribution to GodBlogCon.


Big Link

This week's Big Link is Blog on the Run. This blog was one of the early settlers of our local blogosphere, and it continues to mix interesting commentary with a helping of irreverence.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election Firsts

At 7:25pm last night, I sat in my car watching a train pass over Hilltop Road. Going back to when I was 17 in 1984, I had never failed to vote, but I knew that streak was in jeopardy. Luckily, I squeezed into my precinct at 7:28 and got to experience some firsts in my voting career.

It was the first time I was the last voter (#152) at my precinct.
It was the first time the voting machine had to be turned back on (its clock was fast).
It was the first time I heard the precinct judge declare the precinct closed.

It is disappointing that only 152 people voted at a precinct that includes Adams Farm.


News & Observer Weighs In On Martin Eakes

The News & Observer published an editorial yesterday in response to the smear campaign against Martin Eakes. They note that Capital Research Center's allegations are baseless and nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to derail Eakes' efforts to curb payday lending.

I only hope that those who support CRC will be further discredited as the soulless shills they are.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Thieves And Liars

"I wear it as a badge of honor that payday lenders and others have decided we are effective enough that they need to attack us personally." - Martin Eakes

Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C. issued a smear report last week against NC-based Self-Help Credit Union and Martin Eakes, Self-Help's CEO. Luckily for people who care about the truth, the News & Observer researched CRC's report.

CRC alleges that Self-Help has understated its loan risks and made loans to insiders. However, the News & Observer reports that state and federal regulators wholly reject those claims, calling them "very misleading." The N&O article also clarifies that Self-Help has been conservative in its quarterly reports, tending to err on the side of full disclosure. That CRC has attempted to twist some of that information reveals its true motives.

The article also notes that US Rep. Patrick McHenry of NC has been a part of the smear campaign. McHenry, who at 29 is only four years older than Self-Help, should be celebrating Self-Help as a national model for community development lending.

Self-Help has made almost $ 4 billion in loans to clients (typically women, minorities, or rural citizens) who are underserved by traditional banks. Without Self-Help providing these loans, their clients would likely have no avenue to build equity in homes and small businesses and thereby break the cycle of poverty. Self-Help does not give away money. It simply creates the opportunity for the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Eakes recognizes that the same communities that Self-Help assists are also the targets of predatory lenders, who steal $25 billion a year with excessive fees and interest rates. Realizing that Self-Help's efforts could not be ultimately successful while predatory lenders strip away capital, Eakes helped form the Center for Responsible Lending.

CRL's successful efforts to eliminate payday lending have threatened payday lenders' ability to rip off poor people. Rather than argue the merits of each side of the payday lending issue, smear artists like CRC and Patrick McHenry have attacked Self-Help and Martin Eakes.

It is immoral to attack a person like Martin Eakes, who has given his entire adult life to providing opportunities to our society's have-nots while denying himself riches that he could easily earn. Of course, morals have no effect on the decisions of predatory lenders and their mouthpieces. It comes as no surprise to learn that payday lenders give significant financial support to CRC and McHenry.

Martin Eakes' quote above reminds us that he and Self-Help have the moral high ground on this issue. The only question now is whether politicians have the guts to eliminate the blight of predatory lending or if they will go lightweight and sell their souls like McHenry.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Big Link

This week's Big Link is Chew On This.

This is a new blog for me, and I was immediately taken with Debbie's cool sense of humor and interest in a variety of topics. You can check out her blog for yourself, too.

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010