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Fox News analyst Jonathan Hoenig to speak in Charlotte

Next Wednesday, February 25th at 7:30pm (doors at 7:00pm) at the Charlotte Scottish Rite Temple (4740 Randolph Road, Charlotte, NC 28211). Free admission (can’t beat that). Topic: “The End of Americanism….And How To Restore It” followed by Q & A.

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College basketball lacking in pace

Andrew Carter of the Raleigh News & Observer, available here via the Winston-Salem Journal, has an interesting column out on the state of college basketball. The key point:

It’s time – past time – for the powers in college basketball to make a similar effort, as [NBA Commissioner David] Stern did in the NBA, to restore beauty to the game. College basketball, in the ACC and well beyond, has turned into a slow, plodding, often painful-to-watch affair. To put it simply: The game needs help.
Let’s start, for one, with pace of play. Ten years ago, according to data on kenpom.com, six of the ACC’s 12 teams averaged at least 70 possessions in conference games. Now? Nobody does.
The league’s “quickest” team in ACC games, Wake Forest, is averaging 67.8 possessions per game, which would have put the Deacons 10th in the ACC back during the 2004-05 season.

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US Airways adds an Albuquerque flight

As a summer seasonal redeye, leaving Charlotte at 8:05pm and arriving in Albuquerque, NM (ABQ) at 9:45pm. The returns leaves ABQ at 12:50am and gets into the Queen City at 6:05am. The flight operates between June 4th and August 17th. And yes, this is the first time we’ve had a nonstop to Albuquerque from Charlotte.

Bonus observation: This will make three seasonal domestic routes that US Airways is currently offering from CLT. The other two are Sacramento, CA, and Key West, FL. Portland, OR is year-round now though it only operates three days a week in winter.

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Charlotte gets no Love

A recall that a year ago, Southwest Airlines put out a press release stating that if they got more gates at Dallas Love Field (DAL), then they’d add a flight from there to Charlotte. Well, Southwest just got access to two more gates at Love Field and on Thursday announced additional flights from the airport. Not included: Charlotte.

Updated background: Flights from Love Field have long been restricted by the Wright Amendment. Originally, this was a geographic restriction, think Texas and adjacent states though a couple more states were allowed by congressional action over time. An agreement was reached in 2006 to end the geographic restriction in late 2014 in exchange for a cap on the number of gates at the airport at 20, which would limit flights from the airport. Thus gates are a rather valuable asset at Love Field.
When the US airways/American Airlines merger was proposed, Southwest was easily the dominate carrier at Love Field  with 16 gates. United had two gates. American Airlines controlled two gates though it doesn’t actually fly there. American instead leased the gates to Delta. As part of the anti-trust agreement to merge with US Airways, American agreed to give these up.
Delta, Southwest, and Virgin America all wanted American’s gates and Southwest’s press release from last March was an obvious public relations move to sway the Department of Justice’s decision making on who should acquire them. Ultimately, the DOJ selected Virgin America. That didn’t quite end the matter, as Southwest has now acquired control of United’s two gates, with United also to stop flying from DAL. Hence Southwest’s Love Field expansion.

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Invasive species of the moment: Swine and weevils

• Pigs, of the non-cute, very large, feral sort, per the Asheville Citizen-Times:

When a 707-pound wild hog with razor sharp tusks is hurtling at you at full speed, it’s, well, a tad unsettling. “I thought I done filled one of my boots up,” Bruce Florence said with a hearty laugh. “It scared the fool out of me.”

Happily on that January morning, Florence kept his cool. The snorting brown beast veered off from him about 20 yards out, allowing him to land a clean broadside kill shot with a single round from a .25-06 rifle. That was fortunate, as it was the only round in the rifle, although he did have a sidearm, too.

The Jan. 16 deep encounter in the Transylvania woods near the Jackson County border highlights a decades-old problem in the mountains, and much of the United States. Feral swine have exploded in numbers.

Feral pigs have two sources in North Carolina: domestic pigs that escaped and turned feral over time and , well, this:

In the early 1900s, hunting enthusiasts brought in Eurasian wild boars, establishing game preserves for well-heeled hunters. Naturally, some of those animals busted loose, too, including the well-documented escape on Hooper Bald along the North Carolina-Tennessee line, which led to a hardy population in the future national park.

In the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, many states began stocking wild hogs for game hunting, even promoting the animals as “wild boars” to lure hunters.

What could possibly go wrong? Oh wait, you mean that pigs breed like crazy? You can read the rest of the story here.

• Sweat potato weevils, per the Wilmington Star-News:

A mystery’s going on along the Cape Fear coast, and it involves a tiny insect that has a hankering for sweet potatoes.

Researchers with the N.C. Department of Agriculture want to know why the sweet potato weevil, a pest that could quickly devastate one of North Carolina’s most important cash crops, isn’t moving inland.

The question might seem strange, especially since the weevil has showed little impetus to move toward the vast sweet potato fields of the state’s coastal plain when it was first discovered near Carolina Beach in the early 1980s.

But for scientists and farmers, being lucky isn’t enough.

More here.

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Free the Kraken

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

— Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

 

So misdemeanor domestic abuse charges were dismissed against Panthers defense end Greg Hardy yesterday. It seems likely that Hardy reached a settlement with his ex-girlfriend to make the charges go away. Whether that ends the matter as far as the NFL is concerned is a different matter — the league is still reviewing the matter and could still suspend Hardy despite his being cleared.

And yes, it’s a huge media circus and the NFL hates bad press. One thing that isn’t helping Hardy is how North Carolina courts are set up. Misdemeanors are tried in front of a District Court judge. One of the basic liberties that the Bill of Rights serves to protects is the right to a jury trial and this is exactly what Greg Hardy didn’t get in District Court. North Carolina makes up for this basic shortcoming by allowing “appeals” to Superior Court. These though aren’t appeals in the typical sense of the word — they are new jury trials with what happened in District Court whipped out.

Unfortunately, most TV sports and news talking heads don’t get that arrangement and are making it sound as if Hardy’s conviction was somehow overturned on a technicality by an appeals court. Nope. The Sixth Amendment’s right to a jury trial isn’t a technicality — and Hardy shouldn’t be punished by the NFL based upon the now non-existent results of a non-jury trial. To do so would create a bizarre system of justice indeed.

Want to make the argument that Hardy did something bad to Nicole Holder and deserves to be punished? Go right ahead — just please don’t include any reference to a conviction, because as of now, there is no such thing.

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More on the Eschert firing and cover up

Some of the low lights, per the UPoR::

On Aug. 27, a week after Fallon took a tour of the building being renovated, Eschert said she was called in on her day off to meet Kristi Kjeldsen, the fire department’s human resources director, and Paul Wilkinson, the chief fire investigator.

They told her someone had complained about a Facebook post she had made.

Eschert was not fired during that meeting. The three discussed the Facebook post, Eschert said, and Kjeldsen and Wilkinson asked Eschert to write a letter addressing the post.

After Eschert said she would write a response, Kjeldsen told her: “Email is a public record.”

Wilkinson then said: “Why don’t you type it at home. Print it. And let me know.”

Kjeldsen then said: “Delete it.”

“Don’t email from home,” Wilkinson said. “Print me a copy and I’ll come and get it.”

Eschert said Wilkinson later gave her his personal email address on a piece of paper.

Lovely. So the question isn’t whether the Fire Department was trying to hide something but rather what. The city should settle now, because having to explain in court why top officials were trying to evade the state’s public records law never ends well.
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Jeff Taylor on beer, craft and otherwise

Budweiser ran an ad during the Super Bowl taking a shot at craft beers. Meck Deck alum Jeff Taylor noticed, penning a provocative column on the state of American beer circa 2015. Highlights:

American craft beer in 2015 has a quality issue and something of an identity crisis. Drink Local has been the mantra for so long that Drink Great — or even Good — has been crowded out. And it shows.

And:

Bud drinkers at this late date some 30 years after the resurrection of more flavorful beer in the US, by definition, really, really like the taste of Bud. Bless their hearts. And, yes, there is some subset of them which may yet swing craft — at least pitchers. Craftians need not concern themselves with such switch-hitting hook-ups.

Instead they need to double down on one thing — Drink Great. Drink Honest. If your local brewery punts a style, say so. Otherwise bad beer will drive out the good, and when good is on the run Bud sits back and cheers. And when you find a great beer, say so — actually say it is better than something else craft. Don’t say, as I’ve actually read in the past few months on multiple occasions, If you like craft beer, you should try home brewing.

No. That is like saying, If you like our sausage, you should try hog farming. The endless pursuit of purity and irreducible singularity is a classic mistake of American cultural movements. And history seems to be repeating.

Now that the rebel alliance faces a fully operational Death Star, the question intrudes: Do the rebels seek to remake American culture? Or American beer? One is possible. The other, a trap.

Cheers!

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RadioShack files for bankruptcy

Not a surprise but still sad. Bloomburg Business offers up an informative look at why the company failed.

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Patrick Cannon indicted again

This time on voter fraud charges after voting while awaiting the date to begin his prison sentence after having plead guilty to felony charges. The Charlotte Observer article on the indictment has some rather amusing quotes:

 Cannon and his attorneys told a federal judge in November that the former mayor did not realize he was breaking the law when he voted at Ballantyne Commons. “I did this without thinking,” Cannon said. “The light didn’t come on that day.”

And at the end of article:

Attorney George Laughrun said he doesn’t understand why prosecutors would go through the trouble and expense of charging Cannon with this type of crime.

“You’ve got to have intent,” he said. “It’s not like he tried to sneak in right before the polls closed. He wasn’t wearing sunglasses and a hat.”

Laughrun said the indictment raises the question on whether prosecutors are “piling on.”

“Obviously, he’s lost his position. He’s gone through public humiliation. He’s a convicted felon,” Laughrun said. “What’s the state of North Carolina got to gain for persecuting Pat Cannon on voter fraud?”

Maybe to generate some publicity so that the light comes on in other people’s head who are in the same situation that Cannon was in…

Bonus observation: Persecuting? Hardly.

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