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Archive for November 24th, 2009

Homeless Blog Post Spooks Creative Loafing?

What started out yesterday as an interesting blog post on Charlotte’s homeless situation disappeared for a bit, only to be re-posted today with a softer, less jarring close and a lot of interesting dialog excised.

Yesterday CL blogger Brittney Cason rolled with My weekend in Uptown, with the homeless … and heroin?, an interesting and I thought informative snapshot of the homeless in Uptown.

Moreover, the 830 word post by the alt-weekly’s nitelife gal Cason could not possibly be mistaken for an indepth exploration of homelessness, drug addiction, or associated social pathologies. It was just one honest, if bleak, account of a culture clash between a would-be volunteer and their target population.

A little too honest, evidently, for someone at CL or local homeless advocates. Cason’s post disappeared for a good bit of yesterday only to re-appear in a decidedly altered form today. Check out the original here and here.

Gone is what one assumes was Cason’s honest reaction to the situation she encountered, replaced by scrubbed up politically correct pablum. To wit, with orignal language emphasized:

…Let’s just say this community is highly populated — there are a lot more people living in Uptown than you think. And by living, I mean sleeping on the streets.

I ventured down Phifer looking for the group I was joining, who was standing out of sight in a nearby parking lot. So, I walked along the wall alone, immersing myself into this tight-knit subculture of society living like refugees of our society. They were staring me down like an uninvited house guest that just walked into their residence … because essentially I just had. Let’s just say that I’ll probably never check out The Wall’s nightlife, as I would be scared for my life — because even in broad daylight I felt my fight or flight mechanism activate. …

…Let’s just say this community is highly populated — there are a lot more people living in Uptown than you think. That being said, they are our neighbors … and to them I shall be neighborly.

As I walked down Phifer, people were staring me down like an uninvited house guest who just walked into their residence … because essentially I just had. But all it took was a smile for them to roll out the welcome mat for me.

Big difference eh? Not only is Cason’s fear excised by the new account, so is a very interesting exchange with that smiling woman.

But this girl who looked to be about my age walked up to me, greeting me with a welcoming smile.

“Hey,” she said, “weren’t you at the detox thing?”

Well, I sometimes go get foot detox treatments at Dr. Haas Wellness Center, which I figured she was talking about — assuming she was in his office and I just didn’t remember thus recognize her. And I didn’t want to be rude, so …

“Yeah! Good to see you.”

“What happened to your baby?” she asked.

“Huh?”

“Weren’t you about to have a baby … did they take it?”

“Huh?” (continued) Is she high I wondered? I pointed to my stomach and explained, “You must have me mistaken because there’s no baby-making going on in here.”

“Oh,” she said. “You look just like my friend from the detox center off Randolph?”

Well, perhaps she was high … Awkward!

The confused, but sweet girl realized that I was out of place, and like a homeless man looking for change, I was an out-of-my-element home owner looking for directions.

“Are you with those people giving out food,” she asked, pointing in the direction of the parking lot where I saw them standing through the trees. Yessssss….

That conversation has been totally stricken from the record. Why, I have no idea. It is not obviously offensive, unless we are to assume that Cason should not have thought that a homeless person who thought she knew Cason from a detox clinic might be high. Surely no editor or homeless advocate thought that, right?

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US Airways Defers Delieveries

Not completely a surprise, but US Airways has announced its deferring by three years each delivery on 54 aircraft it has on order. This is a huge deal for international flying but has little impact on the airline’s domestic operations.

Widebody: US Airways was due to take five 258-seat A330-200s this year, seven more next year, and another three in 2012. This would allow for significant expansion in intercontinental flying, especially if the airline’s 10 204-seat Boeing 7670-200ERs were retained. The airline also has nine 293-seat A330-300 and a number of smaller Boeing 757s that are used over the Atlantic.

Well, looks like those 767s are staying for awhile as the A330-200 deliveries just got pushed back. The airline will now take a total of seven this year and in early 2010. The other eight though will be pushed back, with five due in 2013 and the last three in 2014.

In addition, the 22 A350s on order will be delivered from 2017 on, not 2015 as previously scheduled.

Given US Airway’s existing schedule, that leaves about two 767s extra, which is enough for the second Brazil route US Airways has proposed (very subject to government approval). After that, if a 757 can’t get it done, forget about it until at least 2013.

Narrowbody: US Airways contract with its pilot’s unions require it to operate a certain minimum number of aircraft. It is at that minimum currently. The airline is also aggressively taking new aircraft to replace older planes.

US Airways was due to take 72 Airbus A320 series aircraft in 2010 – 2012, 18 in 2010, 30 in 2011, and 24 in 2012. The schedule now becomes: 2 in 2010, 12 in 2011, 12 in 2012, 16 in 2013, 18 in 2014, and 12 in 2015. So effectively, 46 planes are each delayed by three years each. An equal number of older leased 757s, and 737-400s and 737-300s will stick around longer until now stick around a bit longer until those replacements arrive. Especially 737-400s, easily the most common US Airways Boeing type CLT sees these days.

Bonus Observation: Anybody talking about how CLT needs a new international concourse any time soon should simply be laughed at.

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Ari Fleischer to Argue for Football Socialism

Classic. Ari Fleischer, who I knew to be a smary, officious little functionary for Bill Archer’s Ways and Means Committee before he grew up to be a smary, officious little functionary for the Bush White House, has gone to work for the BCS. To defend the BCS and all its positives for college football. A BCS system reviled by anyone not getting a check from it. A system dependent on “non-profits” vacuuming up millions of dollars along with state and local government subsidies.

Congrats, Ari. You’ve finally it the big time. Spend that money well. You’ll absolutely have to earn it.

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Gorman Explains Pay for Performance

CMS honcho Pete Gorman provides here his most complete vision yet for a pay for performance regime for the district’s teachers. As he notes, the key is designing a system that the teachers themselves believe in and support. Not easy, but not impossible either.

To make it happen, however, we’ll need to see improvement on two local government bugaboos, trust and transparency. Many CMS teachers simply do not trust CMS leadership, often with good reason. But some teachers are also needlessly afraid of the word “performance,” as if all that notion will reduce to is student scores on end-of-year tests. A properly designed performance pay system would do no such thing.

Gorman says he is committed to doing this the right way, to getting teachers involved in building their own pay and evaluation plan. We’ll just have to see if that in fact happens or not.

Bonus Observation: It should go without saying that the plan cannot function without weeding out incompetent teachers. That is why I am telling CMS that your plan cannot function without weeding out incompetent teachers.

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