Gov. Pat McCrory has a lot of nerve praising former N.C. Gov. Jim Holshouser, who died Monday at age 78.
Holshouser came into office on Richard Nixon's coattails in 1972, becoming the first GOP governor in North Carolina since Reconstruction. He quickly gained a reputation as a governor who worked well with the legislature, a genuine moderate - you know, like McCrory was supposed to be - who enthusiastically supported several programs that today's version of the GOP would condemn as "socialism" or worse.
1. Speed demons, rejoice! N.C. Senate-approved bill would increase speed limits on some state highways to 75 mph.
2. More infuriating news out of Bank of America as former employees say the Charlotte-based bank rewarded them to send homeowners into foreclosure.
3. Meet Lynn Good, Duke Energy's new president and CEO
5. Court closes a Raleigh mansion that threw rapper-approved parties
After hearing about the fence that went up around Thirsty Beaver this week - and seeing yesterday's report from WSOC - I couldn't help but think about columnist Charles Easley's latest piece. In it, he imagines what it would look like, as a resident of east Charlotte, to be observed by a group of tourists.
Let's apply a similar scenario to the current situation in Plaza Midwood.
The N.C. House of Representatives revealed the education portion of its budget bill this week, and it's a sobering document that continues the current legislative session's unprecedented attack on public education in North Carolina. Remember, though, that the N.C. House actually leans a smidgen less to the far-right than the N.C. Senate - in other words, these ideas could get even worse by the time they make it through both houses. Here are some lowlights of what the House GOP wants:
Whether they know it or not, Charlotte film lovers owe a debt of gratitude to the late Robert West. A lifelong devotee, producer and supporter of filmmaking, West died June 6 in Wilmington, NC, of Glioblastoma Multiforme (MFB), a form of terminal brain cancer. West was diagnosed in fall 2012 and had stepped down from his executive director position in early 2013.
From 1985 to 1999, West was curator of film and video at the Mint Museum in Charlotte. He led a renowned media program that began the Charlotte Film & Video Festival, a national independent film festival, and organized national touring film programs for documentaries featuring social justice issues. The Mint position cemented West's reputation and he was a frequent presence - as board member, arts funder, juror and idea guy - for a variety of statewide and national arts groups, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the NC Arts Council, the Sundance Film Festival and PBS. He was also a board member of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture.
Tim Funk, a veteran political reporter and current religion reporter for the Charlotte Observer, was arrested during the Moral Monday protests at the General Assembly building in Raleigh yesterday (fortunately he has since been released). Funk was covering the protests for the Observer, so he naturally stayed with the approximately 60 protesters waiting to be arrested after General Assembly police told the group to disperse. That's a reporter's job, and it is rare that police sweep up reporters when they are legitimately covering protests, even during protests that involve civil disobedience.
The General Assembly police chief, Jeff Weaver, said Funk was arrested and taken away in handcuffs because he did not heed the authorities' warning - which is proof enough that Weaver and his one-step-above-WalMart-security-guards force don't know what the hell they're doing.
A real estate developer for the arts and a private philanthropic donor have penned a deal to create space for artists to live and work in downtown Gastonia.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Gastonia Artspace, the nation's leading real estate developer for the arts, and the Community Foundation of Gaston County signed a predevelopment contract May 22 to create 35 to 40 studios, which artists can use as apartments or workspace, and some adjoining commercial space in downtown Gastonia. State and federal tax credits would mostly fund the $11 million project.
Per the Observer:
If anyone wants proof (rather, more proof) that the 2013 General Assembly debacle in Raleigh is largely driven by narrow ideology rather than common sense or concerns about quality of life, then here you go. On Tuesday the N.C. Senate eliminated $1.2 million from the Transportation Department budget for greenway trails. Got rid of it - poof! - just like that. Never mind that greenways are increasingly popular nationwide, including North Carolina. Never mind that the state's greenway program is already seriously underfunded. And never mind that the $1.2 million would bring the state another $4.5 million in matching funds to build yet more greenways. Or that greenways invariably bring a rise in nearby home sales and real estate prices. Moreover, as pointed out by N.C. Policy Watch, never mind that $1.2 million is less than the cost of building one lousy mile of highway in North Carolina.
Lil' Graham wants to stage a big ol' fundamentalist "festival" in Charlotte (large, preaching-intensive events that Biily Graham, AKA Big Graham, called "crusades" in his heyday).
Tim Funk at the Observer reported that Franklin Graham and his staff are in preliminary discussions with local churches to gauge the level of interest in Billy's son putting on a huge to-do in Charlotte in 2015. Big Graham held four crusades in Charlotte, the last one of which, in 1996, drew an average 84,000 people per night to the uptown stadium, for four nights. I'm no savant of crowd prediction, but I'll bet you three Baghavad Gitas to a Bible that Lil' Graham can't draw that many people here.
When I walk into an executive office on the fourth floor of Belk at South Park Mall, I am introduced to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. In the midst of an onslaught of press interviews, Newton appears ready to get on with his afternoon appearance, weary from answering the same questions over and over.
"First, as an Auburn alum, let me say, 'War Eagle!'" A smile cracks as he yells, "War Eagle!!!" and reaches out for a second, much heartier handshake. As the quarterback who led the 2010 Auburn University football team to its first national championship since 1957, Newton has quite a home in the hearts of fans. And because he recently went back to the school to finish his degree in sociology, he's also earned more respect.
But I'm not there to talk about Auburn, I am chatting with Newton about his new clothing line with Belk, Made. It's no surprise - Newton's not making or designing the clothes himself, he's simply attaching his name to a line he approves of in order to help his (and Belk's) brand and business.
"In the great words of Jay-Z, 'I'm a business, man,'" Newton says. The line includes everything from shorts and shoes to suits and T-shirts.
I have to ask if there were any plans to make a tear-away T-shirt - one that would make it easier for him to unleash his Superman touchdown pose.
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