Comment and analysis on all things CharlotteRSS

Sometimes news headlines just kind of write themselves

Like this example from the Greensboro News & Record: 3 strippers, $20,000. What could go wrong?

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Charlotte Chamber not backing sales tax hike

Says essentially the case hasn’t been made for this specific tax increase now. Does this in any way bother Trevor Fuller or George Dunlap? Of course not. As Dunlap said: “This is about the people of Mecklenburg County, not about the Chamber” — as in his desire to tax all the people of Mecklenburg more to provide benefits to select core constituencies in a manner that maximizes the odds that Fuller and other Democrats at the state and local level get elected. That this involves a tax that most hurts the poor is completely irrelevant to the political calculus at play.

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A word on television viewership patterns

It seems that there are things we watch live and things we watch when we want to. From the AP via the UPoR:

Meanwhile, Nielsen said NBC narrowly beat CBS to be the most-watched network last week. The three most popular programs on the air last week were all on NBC — two editions of “America’s Got Talent” and Sunday’s exhibition football game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.

Wait a few days, however, and CBS is likely to claim the week’s crown. That’s because Nielsen’s weekly rankings are based on who watches the programs live or within the next 24 hours, and reality shows and sports programming are most likely to be watched live.

Dramas, which dominate CBS’ schedule, are more likely to be time-shifted. For example, the July 14 episode of CBS’ “Under the Dome” was seen by 7.6 million people within the first 24 hours, and just under 12 million within seven days — a 57 percent increase due to people watching on their DVRs or on demand. That week’s one episode of “America’s Got Talent” saw only a 17 percent bump when the full week’s viewership was taken into account.

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2014 Charlotte aviation baseline

Bookmark this as a reference to what air service levels were like early in the American Airlines/US Airways merger integration.

US Airways and American Airlines fights from Charlotte for Thursday, August 7, 2013:

US Airways flights by aircraft type:
Widebody: 13 (3 A330-300, 5 A330-200, 5 767-200ER)
Narrowbody mainline: 273 (9 757, 5 737-400, 118 A321, 49 A320, 92 A319)
Large regional jets: 181 (22 E175, 106 CRJ900, 53 CRJ700)
50-seat regional jet: 130 CRJ
Turboprop: 64 (49 DHC-300, 15 DHC-100)
Total flights: 661
Total seats available: 69,767

American Airlines flights: 9 (3 737-800, 1 MD-80, 5 A319)
Total seats: 1,260

American Airlines + US Airways total:
670 flights with 71,027 seats
(Would be a flight and 204 seats higher on Friday when both the Brussels and Lisbon flights operate)

Total nonstop destination served by US Airways at some point during the year:
Seasonal destinations for which the season isn’t now: 2 (Key West, St. Croix)

European destinations: 11 flights to 10 cities Frankfurt x 2 (both A332), London Heathrow (A333), Rome (A333), Barcelona (A332), Paris (A333), Madrid (767), Dublin (757), Manchester (757) all daily plus four days a week to Brussels (767) and Lisbon (757)
Year-round flights to Europe: Just Frankfurt and London — the reason are summer seasonals
South American destinations: Rio de Janeiro (767) and Sao Paulo (A332) — both year-round but will end soon.

Destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central American, and Bermuda with daily or near daily flights: 14 (Aruba, Bermuda, Cancun, Freeport, Grand Cayman, Mexico City, Montego Bay, Nassau, Providenciales, Punta Cana, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Jose, San Juan)
With Saturday only flights: 9 (Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Cabo, Cozumel, Liberia, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Lucia)

Destinations served in Canada: 3 (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa)

Destinations served year-round in the continental US: 107
Seasonal destinations in the continental US: 2 (Sacramento, Key West)
Number of states served: 39
Destinations served in the mountain and pacific time zones: 10 with 41 daily flights (Phoenix 9, Denver 6, Los Angeles 6, San Francisco 6, Las Vegas 5, Seattle 4, San Diego 2, Portland, OR 1, Sacramento 1, Salt Lake City 1)

New destinations added in the past year: Oklahoma City and Tulsa year-round plus summer seasonal flights to Barcelona, Brussels, Lisbon, and Manchester
Pending new routes: Evansville (3 daily), Ft. Wayne (1 daily), and Grand Rapids (2 daily) on 50-seaters that begin in September
Pending new international flight: Second daily London Heathrow begins mid September
Pending international route cancellations: Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo but some of the existing European route won’t be back next summer. We’ll find out which in about three months.

Combined US Airways and American Airlines flights from CLT are down by 6 (.9 percent) versus last summer (670 this summer, 676 last summer). Basically what happened is that American’s use of regional jet to CLT from New York LaGuardia, Miami, and Chicago O’Hare has ended and larger US Airways and American jets have filled the gap to Miami and Chicago. American flights are down by 12 compared to last year while US Airways is up by six, which gives the six flight net reduction. US Airways mainline, despite this and additional flights to Europe this summer and an extra flight each to San Francisco and Lax Angeles is overall only up by a single flight (OK, two on Fridays). US Airways regional flights are up by five versus a year ago but Oklahoma City and Tulsa (two flights each) account for most of the increase. Some nearby markets actually see less capacity this summer this year year.

The number of seats available is up, meaning that average aircraft size increased. Last year, US Airways and American Airlines combined for 68,668 seats a day, this summer it’s more like 71,027 — a 3.4 percent increase. This is in part the result of US Airways taking delivery of new 187-seat Airbus A321 aircraft to replace older 144-seat Boeing 737-400 jets. Existing US Airways A321s saw an increase in seats from 183 to 187 over the past year or so — if you used the higher seat count for last year’s flights, the increase is more like 2.3 percent. Other factors are American’s withdrawal of regional jets from CLT and the retirement of some smaller turboprops.

On the regional flying side, things are also pretty much the same as last year. US Airways’ commuter partners have added a few more 79-seat CRJ900s, so the number of large regional jet flights increases by nine as compared to last year (181 vs. 172 last year). US Airways branded 50-seat regional jet flying from CLT actually was up as compared to last summer (130 this summer compared to 125 last summer). Piedmont Airlines, the US Airways subsidiary that flies turborprops, retired some older 37-seat DHC-100s, which offset some of the increase in regional jet flights (15 flights a day this summer as compared to 24 last year).

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Southwest extends its booking window, Orlando doesn’t return

Through March 6th. The big news is that there’s no change from the previous schedule, which saw the airline drop its daily Charlotte – Orlando flight. “It’s likely that it could be a seasonal change,” is how an airlines spokeperson put it to the Charlotte Business Journal. Well, if the cut is merely seasonal, the off season just got a bit longer, from at leats November through early March.

The rest of Southwest’s CLT schedule remains the same: 2 x Baltimore, 2 x Chicago Midway, 1 x Houston Hobby.

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Grantland on the Carolina Panthers

Bill Barnwell’s preseason preview of the team is titled “Re-caging the Panthers.” This sums up nicely what he expects of the Carolina Panthers this season:

Welcome to 2014, when just about everything that could have gone wrong for the Panthers this offseason managed to do so. And even before that, truthfully, there were plenty of signs the Panthers were going to struggle to repeat their feats from 2013 in the year to come. Much will have to go right for Carolina, football’s arguably thinnest team in one of the league’s toughest divisions, to remain atop the NFC South in 2014.

You can read the rest of Barnwell’s column here.

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Movie quote of the moment

“The trouble with what George Lucas has done to the movies is that so many writers and directors and companies have learned the wrong lessons. They’re building myths and monuments and worlds. But they’re not having any fun. Guardians is the first movie since Mel Brooks’s Spaceballs to understand that the Star Wars movies were also comedies.”

— Wesley Morris of Grantland reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy

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A word about the lottery

As the Associated Press reports, people in their 20s and 30s aren’t that into state lotteries. Among the problems:

“You’re talking about a generation of pack animals,” [Don Feeney, research and planning director of Minnesota's lottery] said. “They were looking for games that they can play with their friends and by and large that’s not the lottery or the way the lottery is being portrayed.”

Correct. And part of the problem is the continued popularity of poker, which typically involves hanging out with your friends.

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Abolish the Air Force

One problem with reforming government are permanently entrenched bureaucracies, seeking ever more dollars to do things the way they’ve always been done. And that’s especially true in the military. With that in mind, Robert Farley of the University of Kentucky offers up a highly provocative opinion piece in Aviation Week and Space Technology titled “Abolish The Air Force.” A highlight:

What we lack is a compelling logic for dividing airpower from the military tasks to which it contributes. The most conventional explanation — that different mediums require different services — falls apart under any scrutiny (see again the five-plus air forces we currently field). And it is no longer necessary (if it ever was) to convince soldiers and sailors that they need to pay attention to airpower.

(“Five-plus air forces” would be the U.S. Air Force and the aviation branches of the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard.)


The borders that divide the services may (or may not) have made sense in 1947, but now they hamper good strategic and tactical thinking and contribute to a utterly broken procurement process. Killing a government bureaucracy is hard, but it can be done.

Even if one isn’t willing to go as far as Farley does, with the Air Force having ever-fewer aircraft, it’s becoming ever-harder to justify the existence of the Air National Guard, though the ANG remains as politically popular as ever.

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Please don’t fed the vultures

Seems there’s a growing problem of vultures — the bird sort, not the lawyer sort — attacking cars parked at boat ramps. As the Raleigh News & Observer reports:

An angler comes in after a day on Tuckertown Lake, southwest of Asheboro, ties his boat to the dock and walks to the parking lot to retrieve his truck and trailer. As he reaches for his keys, he notices the vehicle has been attacked by vandals. The paint is scratched, the side trim pulled off, the rubber windshield gasket plucked out and torn to bits.

The culprits? Flocks of Coragyps atratus, the black vulture, or its relative, Cathartes aura, the turkey vulture. These common raptors have made an increasing nuisance of themselves recently by tearing up vehicles parked at some North Carolina boat ramps, as if an unattended Dodge Ram were just another roadside deer carcass.


In North Carolina, Wildlife Resources has posted signs at some of its boat ramps, reminding anglers and boaters not to drop trash, dump unused bait, clean the day’s catch or otherwise appeal to vultures’ powerful olfactory senses.

Biologists say the aroma of rotting flesh – whether spare minnows deposited by humans or dead fish washed onto a lake shore by wave motion – is prime vulture bait. They are carnivorous creatures that can kill small prey but rarely do, relying almost entirely on carrion, which they rip apart with their strong bills.

Even when a corpse is long past the expiration date other scavengers observe, vultures will still eat it, protected by stomach acid so corrosive it kills the dangerous bacteria.

So yes, please don’t (unintentionally) feed the vultures.

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August 2014
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