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Archive for July, 2009

Nuther Reason to Smack Drew Brees Silly

His mom — estranged says Drew — is something of a fast-buck artist. Mina Brees’ latest scheme? Demanding $25,000 from Houston area restaurants in exchange for the continued use of their business name.

Brees evidently is trying to trade on the state’s “assumed name” statute even though an attorney for the Texas Restaurant Association says that is total misreading of the law.

Better sack Drew a lot just to make sure.

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Ding-Dong, The North Line is Dead

kkDon’t know why Uptown paper of record reporter Steve Harrison buried the lede. The news isn’t that the $30m. in pork spending CATS wanted for the design phase of the Northeast light rail line to UNCC is up-in-the-air; it is that the feds are not re-writing the funding rules for transit projects, guaranteeing that the North line commuter line intended to run to Lake Norman will not get federal money.

As a result, unless someone in Charlotte who likes trains has an extra $470m. lying around, the North line will not get built. Ever. Recall that some of us cavemen told everyone within reach of our clubs that the North line would not get federal money, not even with the Transit Messiah in office. You remember that one, right? Ron Tober running around town saying a new administration could change the transit rules to benefit CATS?

Of course, to the Uptown crowd, the news really is all about the $1b. line to UNCC. Their entire world now revolves around doing anything and everything possible to get that line built, including having Bank of America announce a “satellite campus” right smack-dab on top of it in University City. In fact, wait for the campaign for additional dedicated taxes in order to provide revenue for the line to UNCC. It will be couched in terms of Rawl-ee failing to supply its share of the funding as expected. You watch.

CATS cannot admit the North line is dead, of course. Not with all the votes the northern towns have on the Metropolitan Transit Commission. CATS and the Uptown crowd need transit stooges like Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain to continue to advocate for more money for trains. Keeping the North line on life support while saying it might get up and running in 10 years is how they do that.

Meanwhile, the city is stuck trying to fund a half-billion worth of streetcars promised to West Charlotte on one end and East Charlotte on the other. For those keeping track, that is at least $2b. worth of three trains lines voters were told in 2007 that CATS could absolutely, positively build with existing funding which — surprise! — cannot be built with existing funding. Tell me again, who got fired for this stunning turn of events? Who got kicked out of office?

Amazing.

Bonus Observation: Uh-oh. Here is the Uptown paper of record actually reporting the comments of city council at-large candidate Craig Nannini on the topic of streetcars. “City Council has its priorities all messed up…It will bankrupt the city,” Nannini said.

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New Jersey Sues BofA, Merrill

The state. Of New Jersey. Has sued a bank.

The suit claims Merrill Lynch misled the state about the value of $300m. worth of preferred ML stock the state bought in January 2008.

Pop some popcorn, this should be entertaining as hell.

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Jim Lampley: I Was a UNC Airhead

Fascinating recollections on the start of sideline reportage from the guy who was there at its birth, Jim Lampley. The former Chapel Hillian recalls that ABC Sports held a proto-America Idol cattle call of sorts for the first sideline gig in 1974.

“The idea was to have a new person on a college football telecast, someone who’d provide program material that would help differentiate college football from pro football, illuminate the unique lore and social interaction of college football,” Lampley says.

After a great start at a Tenn.-UCLA game in Knoxville, Lampley says he quickly figured out what he was doing was “not vital.” And now as some nets are dropping the sideline reporter slot, Lampley does not seem the least bit surprised, noting that the “cosmetic” value of the reporters has decreased with the explosion of viewing choices, the Net among them, although Lampley does not mention that huge development.

Bonus Observation: ACC football is doomed. I can tell from this blog post from the now Charlotte-based Sporting News advising the league to forget about trying to compete with the SEC broadcast footprint, and instead spend the next decade or so hiring better, more exciting coaches. Ahem. The ACC might be a Big East-style afterthought in 10 years at the current pace. Oh, and two more words: David Cutcliffe.

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Decoding the Birthers

Why is it so hard to be rational on this topic?

The Left reflexively flashes back to 2000 and thinks those who question where Barack Obama was born are trying to invalidate the results of the last election. Perhaps some are. But I think the vast majority of those at least perplexed, as I am, by the Obama Administration’s handling of this matter view it more in terms of a continuation and extension of Bailout Nation’s extra-legal do-over mania. Just as folks who played by the rules as understood by everyone when they borrowed money — or bought health insurance for themselves and their family — are incensed at moves to re-write the rulebook, so too are they bemused, disgusted, outraged by the studied indifference to compliance with a Constitutional requirement for office.

Were Barack Obama were to come out and say, “Damn, I was born in Kenya afterall. Didn’t know that” I really would not have a problem with that. Go ahead and amend the Constitution on the fly, do some weird resign-appoint-resign tapdance, and boom, if in some magical 24 hrs. later Barack is back in the Oval Office, fine by me. Could not that fast happen, of course. The natural-born requirement is archaic as hell in the 21st century. But right now, it is the law.

Here we come to the rub of why the elites, increasingly of all political stripes, are profoundly offended by the birthers’ stubborn insistence that we adhere to the law as written. The elites think the requirement is archaic too, but are afraid to say so lest they further distance themselves from the broad middle of America. Republican elites in particular are caught between birther upset and a desire not to offend those whose political support they hope to win. Then there is the technocrat angle: Suppose Obama is not eligible, then what? What mechanism do we possibly have for dealing with this? Better to leave it alone, mock anyone who brings it up.

I sorta understand that sentiment, at least the don’t start something you cannot finish aspect. What I do not get, however, is the way this view has bled over into mainstream media coverage. You’d think an emotional he-said, they-say type story would be irresistible, especially with the document-digging angle. But no.

Here’s CNN honcho Jon Klein getting the facts of matter exactly wrong in ordering Lou Dobbs to stand down from the story. You’d think that given Dobbs is permitted to commit non-stop nitwittery on economic topics, a straight up fact-of-the-matter question like where the president was born would be gold. Again, no. The significance of this stance is what it portends.

I’ve said it before and am only growing more convinced of it by the day, America’s media elites will do everything in their power to make sure Barack Obama gets a second term. Substitute any issue of substance from the 2012 campaign into the current treatment of the birthers and the natural-born question to see how that will work.

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David Frum: Owned

Sister Toldjah alerts me to this gaffe by the tiny little Canadian solipsist regarding the Sarah Palin speech yesterday.

My expectations for sane political coverage and commentary have never been lower. To watch CNN’s Candy Crowley come on the air after Palin’s speech and say Palin never mentioned her replacement, Sean Parnell, when Palin practically led with himand his family — was surreal.

Go ahead and watch for yourself at the 1:40 mark. Then resolve to never pay any attention to any of these people ever again.

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Feds: Meh on Gaston County Toll Road

As expected, the EPA has little use for the 22-mile Garden Parkway toll road the NC Turnpike Authority wants to build through Gaston County.

And truth be told, that route is not among the top 10 places I’d build a toll road, either. But I’m not a state Senator.

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EPA Monkeys with MPG Ratings, FUBARs Cash for Clunkers

This is a wild tale of the EPA trying to “update” official federal miles per gallon ratings — and probably blowing up untold Cash for Clunker subsidy deals in the process.

Seemed every car dealer in Charlotte was trying to cash in on the federally-backed trade-in program last week. But eligibility hinges on the EPA ratings of the vehicles involved, and that is precisely what the feds just changed.

Upshot, go back and double-check the numbers against the new, new EPA ratings to see if any deal you made or want to make will get the Uncle Sam handout. You are going to hear so much more about this in the coming weeks.

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Programming Note

I’ll drop by WBT 1110AM to chat with Tara about our local employment trends at around 4pm.

So go ahead and tell the boss your are done for the day and cut out early. What? What is he gonna do? Oh, yeah. Nevermind.

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The Easleys: Leeches

You cannot read the accounts of how Mike and Mary Easley spent their days on the public payroll and conclude otherwise. They simply expected to be enriched by public office and set about to make that happen. The rich have lotsa leisure time, so the Easleys made sure they had plenty. Powerful, vain royalty has been showered with gifts since the dawn of time. The Easleys loved gifts from their supporters and had no qualms about rewarding such affection with state office, another hallmark of royal governance.

Let’s cut to the chase: Does North Carolina’s political class have to stomach to prosecute one or both of these sluggards should the facts warrant? I seriously doubt it. Maybe the feds will force the issue, but that is not typically how these things work.

That’s why I already see the outlines of a de facto settlement. Mary Easley drops her protest of her firing from NCSU while the Easley campaign coughs up additional thousands to refunds. The intent will be to make eight years of abusing the public’s trust go away. It won’t, but it just might work.

This is North Carolina, afterall.

Update: Not even German Social Democrats understand the limo across Europe thing. The German health minister had her limo stolen in Spain, resulting in howls of outrage.

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