Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bechtler Museum opens this weekend

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Art lovers rejoice, as the grand opening of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is this Saturday, Jan. 2. Andreas Bechtler's extensive 1,400-piece collection is an array of primarily mid-20th century modern European art, but also features a variety of works by popular American artists. Notable figures in the art world, whose works are featured in the collection, include Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Jean Tinguely, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol, Le Corbusier, Sol Lewitt, Edgar Degas, Nicolas de Stael, Barbara Hepworth and Pablo Picasso, and many more. Head out to the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus for the museum's ribbon-cutting ceremony and free admission. Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St. 704-353-9200. www.bechtler.org.

(Photo by Perry Tannenbaum)
  • (Photo by Perry Tannenbaum)

To read more about the new museum, check out this story in the Arts section.

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Stupid Thing of Week: GOP 'terror' attacks on Obama

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 2:25 PM

The stupidest things we’ve seen this week — certainly the most unbelievable —  are the Republican attacks on the Obama folks for being “soft on terrorism” after the failed Christmas underwear bomber attack in Detroit. I know that the GOP’s hypocrisy is boundless, but you’d think they had a decent record against terrorism, the way the attack dogs are howling.

First they attack Obama for putting the underwear guy through the regular American criminal court system — even though that’s exactly what the Bushies did with shoe bomber Richard Reid. Exactly the same thing. In fact, the some of the same Republicans who are now griping — notably former Homeland Security Stud Tom “Fist Face” Ridge — publicly praised the Bushies’ reliance on U.S. courts to prosecute Reid.

If that’s enough hypocrisy for you, how about the fact that some of Obama’s fiercest critics voted against legislation that provided $250 million for airport screening and explosive detection equipment. That particular group of hypocrites includes both South Carolina senators, Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham (as well as former N.C. senator Liddy Dole). DeMint, as we noted yesterday, is also holding up the nomination of Obama’s choice for administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — now there’s a real anti-terrorism warrior, huh?

The stupidest of all, and it’s no surprise, has to be Dick Cheney, who said the attack is Obama’s fault because the President doesn’t use the term “war on terror.” Yes, that Dick Cheney — VP of the administration that ignored clear warnings of an impending attack in 2001; who single handedly created more terrorists than anyone by launching the war in Iraq; and who, it turns out, released (in secret) the two terrorists who are now the leaders of the al-Qaeda cell in Yemen that planned the Detroit attack! If Dick the Clown wants to get serious about accountability, he’s going to find a lot of backers for his own serious failures.

Anti-terror hero Dick Cheney
  • Anti-terror hero Dick Cheney

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Cable to lose a few worthless channels

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 12:17 PM

At one minute after midnight tonight, News Corp. will apparently yank the following channels from the Time Warner Cable lineup: FX, Fuel, Fox Reality, SportsSouth and Fox Sports World Espanol. Y-a-a-a-a-a-w-w-w-n-n-n. Excuse me, didn’t mean to almost fall asleep, but I couldn’t care less whether or not those channels are available on my TV, and I imagine lots of people feel the same. Seriously, is this a major issue in anyone’s life, other than employees of the companies involved? Fox and Time Warner sure want you to think it’s a huge, hairy deal, at least judging from the endless e-mails they’re sending out and the ads they’re buying in the paper.

Here’s the thing, though: Everyone already has more channels than they can count, and very few of them are even remotely worth checking out. In 1992, when Springsteen sang about, “57 channels and nothin’ on,” we never guessed that the number of channels would skyrocket while the quality of TV offerings would stay about the same, i.e., shallow and moronic. The TV landscape today is a million miles wide and about a quarter-inch deep, and we’re supposed to care that SportsSouth and Fox Reality may be taken from us? Please. A tiny slice is about to be cut out of a stale, decaying pie and thrown away. And the problem with that is ... .?

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Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 31, 2009 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Single Cell Productions' Decadence Project at Amos’ Southend

tmpphptrPOrI

7th Annual Back to the Future Bash at The Breakfast Club

Jeff Dunham at Time Warner Cable Arena

The Perfect 10 NYE at Suite

First Night Uptown

For a massive list of other New Year's Eve events, click here.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama and Hillary 'most admired'

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM

You’ll never convince the echo-chamber-dwelling dullards of the far right that they’re anything less than the voice of the “silent majority” in America. Conservatives aren’t known for easily digesting facts that contradict their constipated view of life (sorry for the gastrointestinal metaphors, but the Rush/Fox neanderthals make me sick to my guts — ba-da-bing). Surely, though, a few of them can still discern reality when it’s staring them in the face, so here’s something our good friends on the right may want to ponder. There’s a revealing new Gallup poll, published in USA Today, in which Americans were asked what man and woman they admire most. The winners? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama was picked by 30 percent of the respondents, with George W. Bush coming in a distant second at 4 percent. Hillary was picked as most admired woman by 16 percent, with the right’s favorite LensCrafter model, Sarah Palin, coming in a close second with 15 percent. You can read all the results here, but we found two other results very interesting: 1. Glenn Beck finished in the top 5, with 2 percent, ranked between  Nelson Mandela and the Pope; and 2. Obama was picked by 7 percent of Republicans, while 3 percent of them picked Beck. Damn. I knew the GOP was in disarray and going through internal wars, but that’s kind of nuts. At any rate, when you hear your favorite far-right acquaintance carrying on about the huge conservative tide that’s ready to sweep over the country in the next election, give them a gentle reminder of the Gallup poll results. And now, let’s scroll down and see what our local right wing leeches think about it.

Pres. Obama, admired by twice as many Republicans as Glenn Beck
  • Pres. Obama, admired by twice as many Republicans as Glenn Beck

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Need to trash your tree?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 4:11 PM

For those of you who bought a real Christmas tree this year, it's time to start thinking about how to dispose of your festive friend before it becomes a fire hazard.

If you live in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, don't assume our trash collectors will pick up your tree if you put it on the curb. In fact, they probably won't. What you need to do is call 311 (or 704-336-3786 from your cell phone) to schedule a pickup since Christmas trees are considered bulky items. Your tree will then be chipped into mulch and compost, which will be used to beautify area parks.

For those of you outside of the city limits, your tree can become a habitat for fish, birds or other wildlife.

Before you dump a tree in a pond, though, make sure you have permission from the land owner and don't forget to check with city hall. Once you get the green light, however, your tree will be a welcome addition to the pond floor.

Your tree can also become welcome habitat for backyard birds. Check this video out to learn more.

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Movin' on up ... to the green office

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:41 PM

It pays to be green, just ask top eco-execs:

During his more than three decades in real estate David Pogue played many roles, but environmental expert was never one of them.

That didn't stop his company, Los Angeles real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis, from naming him the company guru of all things eco-friendly nearly two years ago. Pogue suddenly found himself in charge of making the firm and its projects more energy efficient and environmentally conscious, an abrupt switch from his previous property-management responsibilities.

"I'm an outsider, a real estate guy trying to become an environmentalist," said Pogue, the company's national director of sustainability. "But I believe in what I do, that it's something bigger than myself."

Positions such as Pogue's often are placed in the upper echelons of companies, where they are highly visible and directly overseen by the chief executive. At Coca-Cola Co. and Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., chief executives Muhtar Kent and Ryoichi Ueda, respectively, have adopted the sustainability officer title as well.

Other firms bundle in extra duties, such as dealing with the supply chain. At Levi Strauss & Co., Michael Kobori works on labor standards and general green issues as vice president for social and environmental sustainability.

"Ten years ago, the position I have didn't exist," Kobori said. "Now, we are seeing a new generation of business leaders who have grown up with sustainability. There is actually a career path in this field for someone at a corporation."

"This isn't just a job on the side," she said. "It really influences everything we do. It goes beyond compliance and into long-range planning and preparing the company for a broader view."

Bank of America's on board, too:

After Bank of America Corp. announced a $20-billion, 10-year commitment to sustainable operations, products and services in 2007, it took on several eco-officers. Among them: a manager certified in green building standards who works on environmental compliance for the company's 96 million square feet of space, an "electronification of paper" executive and several investment strategists focused on renewable energy.

Read the rest of this L.A. Times article, by Tiffany Hsu, here.

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Bill Belk: The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Anyone remember the Saturday Night Live horror film parody with John Belushi as "The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave"? Belushi played a guest who wouldn’t take any of his hosts' many hints that they wanted him to go home. Now, Charlotte has its own TTWL. It’s called Bill Belk. That’s right, just when you thought Belk, aka Judge Richie Rich,  was gone from public view since he was removed from his job as a district court judge, he’s back again.

Former Judge Rich, um, Belk is now asking the N.C. Supreme Court to throw out the ruling by the state’s Judicial Standards Commission, and, oh, by the way, he now wants us all to know that he has cancer. You can read more about Belk’s latest round of showboating here, but underneath the legalese jargon, the essence of the story is that Belk wants his judge gig back because he doesn’t have health insurance. It’s an unexpected revelation, as one of the reasons Belk was dumped was his refusal to resign from the board of Sonic Automotive, which he said provided him with health insurance. In any case, Belk’s appeal to the Supreme Court doesn’t contain any new information related to the original case, particularly since he now admits he was guilty of one of the charges against him, yelling and cursing at Chief District Judge Lisa Bell.

Judge Belk arriving at his judicial hearing
  • Judge Belk arriving at his judicial hearing

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Sue Myrick launches video series

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Now we can watch her paranoid delusions anytime we want -- from the comfort of our own desk. And, lucky us, the first three videos are about terrorism. Check them out for yourself.

Myrick Video Announcement

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finally, a court limits Taser use by police

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 6:03 PM

From the Better Late Than Never Dept. comes the news that a federal appeals court yesterday issued a comprehensive ruling limiting police use of Tasers. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a specific case that a policeman’s use of a Taser against a suspect who, although acting strangely, was unarmed and was not approaching or threatening the officer, was unwarranted. The ruling limits police use of Tasers on low-level offenders who pose little threat, and/or may be mentally impaired.

Tasers are marketed – and heavily – as a non-lethal alternative to guns, but they have become increasingly controversial due to what many see as overuse by police officers nationwide – and the inconvenient fact that over 350 Americans have died after being shocked by the “non-lethal” weapon. The ruling by the court comes about 21 months too late to help the family of teenager Darryl Turner of Charlotte who was Tased in March 2008 after arguing with the manager of the Food Lion at which he worked. He was shocked for 37 seconds, and then shocked again, and later died. Who knows? Maybe once yesterday’s court ruling is digested and implemented, it will keep similar unwarranted deaths from happening.

taser_dees

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