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Archive for June 29th, 2011

So Long, Detroit-on-the-Catawba. And Good Luck

Quite unbelievably — but also very willingly — July will be my last month at the helm of Meck Deck.

A month short of six years is a pretty good run, and the eight years since moving back to Charlotte have flown past. But a sober cost-benefit analysis demands a relo to Cobb County, outside Atlanta.

Near term landing spot will be here — but aside from that who knows? Had exactly the same elaborate plan when we decamped to DC in 1990. Wound up a Washington Correspondent for Investor’s Business Daily.

Still have some havoc planned for the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Bonus Request: Do click on one or two of the ads at the future blog — gotta see if if my scripting-fu is still strong. Thanks.

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All Hail Chief Monroe!

His crime fighting skills are so amazing that they extend across the entire state of North Carolina. Amazing!

A 33-year low in crime, a 21 percent drop since 2001 alone — clearly Rodney Monroe’s magic — the same mojo which has worked so well in Charlotte — knows no bounds. In time or space.

Or reality.

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Bobcats = Thrashers?

Or as Atlanta goes, so goes Charlotte?

Last week, the NHL approved the sale and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg. This was Atlanta’s second chance at the NHL, which ended after 13 years (12 seasons). Attendance was awful, which wasn’t all that that surprising, as nothing helps draw a crowd like winning, which is exactly what the Thrashers weren’t doing much of. In their run in Hotlanta, the Thrashers made the playoffs but once and even then failed to win a game.

Fast forward a few years, and let’s plug in “Charlotte Bobcats” for “Atlanta Thrashers” and “NBA” for “NHL” in the above and change the number of years a bit. Sound like a plausible outcome for the NBA in the CLT, especially if one or both of Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker don’t pan out? Could well be…

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Meanwhile, On Planet Foxx

Maybe we are being too hard on Mayor Anthony Foxx. Running off to White House events and rah-rahing the DNC is pretty much a full-time job. Still, the mayor seems woefully out-of-touch with economic reality in Charlotte. Even city staff manufactured stories like this spin out of control on him:

Today, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx says those programs are working, to a degree.

“Overall, yes, in the sense that we are at a lower level of unemployment this year than we were two years ago for sure,” Foxx says.

Hmm. Let’s look at the state employment numbers for the city:

Month Workers Jobs Jobless Jobless Rate
May 2009 351,762 317,870 33,892 …9.6
May 2010 352,927 318,278 34,649 …9.8
May 2011 348,940 317,573 31,367 …9.0

The mayor is clearly pumping up the lower unemployment rate, which is fine — provided he is willing to accept how that number was generated.

The unemployment rate did not go down because of an increase in employment. Indeed, Charlotte — just like the county at large — now has fewer total jobs than it did in 2009. At the same time the workforce has shrunk even more. Presto, a drop in the jobless rate.

Now, you can look at the workforce numbers and say one of two things (and this is also something we’ve been pointing out for years now.) Either:

  • A) Discouraged workers are still out there, just no longer looking for work, in which case you need to add X thousands of them back into your workforce total and re-calculate for a higher jobless rate.
  • B) Assume X thousands of them moved away and really are gone for good.

From a political point of view, Option B seems non-starter. Vote Foxx: Shrink the City More! doesn’t quite have a snippy snap to it. By default then you are left with admitting that the unemployment rate is at best meaningless given the overall lack of employment growth.

Mayor Foxx still has time to do that before his star falls into eclipse.

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Did Moynihan Save or Doom BAC?

Initial stock price reax says “save,” but such hyper short-term thinking got us in this mess, didn’t it?

And the CEO’s superlawyer rep seems to have come in handy negotiating a settlement for what amounts to nickels on the dollar. Although you have to believe that as soon as the Fed said it was ready to settle with its TBTF creation, everyone else with billions in claims quickly fell into step. Don’t want to end up like Lehman Bros. now do you?


BAC has accepted responsibility for the dreck it sold. And the bank is still not making any money. Put those things together and the future is not quite so rosy.

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