Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Town hall tonight: Mecklenburg's budget

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Ever heard of Crossroads Charlotte? It is a non-profit centered around this question, "What course will Charlotte-Mecklenburg chart for all its residents over the next 10 years as we deal with issues of access, equity, inclusion and trust in the social, political, economic and cultural life of the community?"

With that question in mind, the group is hosting a town hall-style meeting tonight at First Presbyterian Church — and you're invited. The meeting will focus on the impact of Mecklenburg County's recent budget cuts and County Budget Director Hyong Yi will make a presentation.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more information and here for a map. Come, voice your opinion.

If you're not able to attend, don't despair. The meeting will be live-Tweeted. You can follow the action as it happens by following the #XroadsCLT hashtag. (You do not need a Twitter account to do so.)

After the meeting, the Crossroads Correspondents* will post a summary at www.CrossroadsCharlotte.com. You can prepare for the meeting by reading the team's "Impact on Access" series from last week that focused on the budget cuts from the average citizen's perspective.

Further reading:

Crossroads Charlotte's Web site features four videos offering four different future scenarios for Charlotte's future. This video is a summary. You can check out all four videos, and vote for your pick, here.


*Full disclosure: I am a Crossroads Correspondent.

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Opening Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:00 AM


The Last Song - Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear

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Best bets in Charlotte comedy this week

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:41 AM

As the headline suggests, here are a few of the best places to find comedy events in Charlotte — from stand-up to improv to sketch comedy and more. For a complete listing of all comedy visit www.CharlotteComedyLIVE.com.

Tuesday, March 30

* Julie Scoggins at 8 p.m. (seating at 7 p.m.)

Special event benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Lake Norman Comedy Zone in Galway Hooker Pub ~ 7044 Kenton Dr., Cornelius ~ $15

* Celebrity Comic Joe Rogan at 8 p.m.

Host of Fear Factor and color commentator for the UFC, Joe Rogan is also an accomplished stand-up comic who explores the world with raw honesty.

Amos' Southend ~ 1423 South Tryon St., Charlotte ~ $20

Wednesday, March 31

* Stand-Up Open Mic at 9 p.m.

Jackalope Jack's ~ 1936 E. 7th St., Charlotte ~ $5

Thursday, April 1

* April Foolishness Comedy Show at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.)

Starring comedians Miss Tangie, Kenny FB Famous Mack and BET's own J.A. Anderson. Music by Celebrity DJ Shogun.

Therapy Cafe ~ 401 N. Tryon St., Charlotte ~ $10

Friday, April 2

* Sharazad Improv at 7 p.m.

Absolutely nothing is scripted or rehearsed. Characters, plots, environments are all made up on the spot and inspired from audience suggestions.

Wine-Up ~ 3306 N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $5

Saturday, April 3

* Charlotte Comedy Theater Improv Comedy at 8 p.m.

Competitive short form improv where Charlotte's top improvisers compete against one another for your affection. Lots of audience participation.

Prevue Music Hall ~ 2909 N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $10

Sunday, April 4

* Funny First Sunday at 8 p.m.

Stand-up from Nick Lewis with Headlining Comedian Shuckey Duckey.

House of Jazz ~ 8630 University Exec Park Dr., Charlotte ~ $15 in advance ~ 980-253-9992

To join Debbie’s mailing list (just one e-mail a week, I promise), e-mail DebbieMillwater@Gmail.com with the Subject Line “Subscribe.”

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Hardcore drumming in Tao

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 9:57 AM


Beat by beat, you can’t stop the rhythms during Tao’s upcoming performance at Knight Theater on Mon., April 5. This Japanese group of martial arts drummers has received stellar success across the globe in its ability to blend ancient traditions of taiko drumming and choreographed martial arts. During the show, 16 drummers pound on huge wadaiko drums (these are up to six feet and weigh around 880 pounds) with astounding mastery. For more information on the show at Knight Theater, click here.


Can't wait 'till then? You can get a closer look on Wednesday, March 31, from 12 p.m.-1 p.m., when Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Education Department presents its Get To Know The Show, Tao: The Martial Art of Drumming at The Atrium. The free workshop will highlight the cultural history and art of Japanese taiko drumming with demonstrations and interactive activities. In addition, all folks attending will get a flyer for a discounted ticket to the upcoming Tao performance at Knight Theater. No reservations are required for this Get To Know The Show, but for more information, click here.

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Today's Top 5: Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, March 30, 2010 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Joe Rogan at Amos' Southend


Opening reception for the New Danger exhibition at UNC-Charlottle's Student Union Art Gallery

Amos Lee at Visulite Theatre

Julie Scoggins at Lake Norman Comedy Zone in Galway Hooker Pub

Touch One Tuesdays at Wine Up

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Enough with the damned weather warnings

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 3:31 PM

The Charlotte area had some rough weather yesterday evening. A tornado, heavy winds, hail, thunder and lightning out the wazoo, the works. That’s bad enough — actually, that’s plenty bad enough — but local television news outfits decided they had to make things even worse. How? By going through their now-standard, the-sky-is-falling song and dance, ad infinitum. Loud siren-like warnings, info about the upcoming storm crawling across the TV screen, and then more info about the now-occurring storm crawling across the screen, and just for good measure, wrap-ups about the storm that just passed through. Enough already!

Here’s something local TV weather folks don’t seem to realize, or maybe have forgotten: If someone is watching a particular station at a particular time, it’s because they want to see the regularly scheduled program — not neverending crawls, much less interruptions of the program that supposedly give more details as a public service but are, in fact, one great big pain in the ass.

Case in point: We’re watching the Duke-Baylor NCAA basketball game on WBTV when all of a sudden someone interrupts it to tell us of severe weather headed our way. OK, we think, good to know — but wouldn’t a crawl across the screen (make that an intermittent crawl, say, every five minutes) be just as useful? It’d certainly be a whole lot less annoying. We’re watching WBTV, after all, in order to WATCH THE GAME. But even after the interruption is over, there’s still a damned crawl warning across the top of the screen — and it never goes away. During halftime, another damned cut-in, telling us what anyone who’s been trying to WATCH THE GAME already knows about; followed by, yep, more crawling warnings, these conveniently placed right over the faces of people being interviewed during halftime. Finally, the game starts again, and, of course, more crawls at the top of the screen. That does it. Jesus, could you guys possibly be more irritating to your viewers? We’re not stupid, OK? We get it: There’s a bad storm — thank you for the info, but for crying out loud, leave it at that. Go away and let people WATCH THE DAMNED GAME in peace.

Hey, did you hear about the big storm?
  • Hey, did you hear about the big storm?

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Time for priests to marry

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 12:27 PM

It's outrageous that the Catholic Church is staying mum about its widespread and lengthy sex-abuse scandal.

Priests are raping and molesting children, dig? They are raping and molesting children. This is not OK. Any one of you think Jesus would approve of this?

I'm not even going to get into how horrendous this situation is or how the Church can make it up to the children who are being abused — mostly because there is no way to describe the heinousness involved in raping and molesting children, and because there is no possible way to erase the abuse.

I will, however, suggest some possible ways for the Church to prevent similar problems in the future: Stop cock blocking your priests. Let them marry. Let them marry anyone they want. Admit homosexuality isn't a mortal sin. Admit love is the greatest thing ... even if colors blend and sexes don't.

Sure, some might suggest that while marriage may help to relieve sexual tension, it won't stop molestation — and the real problem is that the Church is a safe haven for pedophiles. And, frankly, until the Church proves otherwise it's difficult to argue against that assertion. So, in addition to allowing priests and nuns to get their freak on with the committed adult mate of their choice, don't you think it's time for a little more group counseling? A little more on-the-job don't-touch-the-kiddos training? If the Church is a magnet for pedophiles, then the Church has a terrific opportunity to help the world by helping pedophiles confront and overcome their demons.

I also demand this: If a priest is proven to have raped or molested a child, they should be punished to the greatest extent of the law and not allowed to return to the pulpit. Ever.

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A new race: 'Confederate Southern American'

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 11:54 AM

The South Carolina-based Southern Legal Resource Center is dedicated to “defending the rights of Southerners to honor their culture and heritage” (i.e., suing schools that prohibit Confederate battle flag gear). Now, the group wants all Americans of “Southern ancestry” to identify themselves as “Confederate Southern American” on their census forms.

“The SLRC suggests you check ‘Other Race’ and in the space below write ‘Confed Southern Am,’” says SLRC honcho Kirk Lyons. “This will tell the Census that your families (sic) National Origin was the Confederate States of America, for four years a nation independent of the United States,” he continues. Lyons says the census ploy is a way for any Southerner who has been “called a racist simply because you are proud of the Confederate Battle flag — the symbol of your ancestry and heritage,” to stand up and be counted.

Ah, yes, those poor, put-upon white racists. The world changed somewhat over the past, oh, 150 years, and left them all confused and feeling like outcasts. They’re suffering from what we call Angry Southern Martyr Complex, a remarkably tenacious disease that’s still hanging around despite most of the region having moved on.

It’s important to remember that people like Lyons & Co. are a minority among Southern whites. Many, many white Southerners had their eyes opened and their hearts won over by the civil rights struggle and the changes it brought to the region; you just don’t hear about those folks as frequently as you do the neo-Confederates, largely because tolerance and living with others in peace doesn’t create attention-grabbing headlines.

The sadder thing here is that Southern whites have historically been crapped on — by exploitive industries that moved here to avoid paying decent wages up North; and by cynical politicians like Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and their predecessors, who used race-baiting as a method of getting elected while diverting whites’ attention from the big, white industrial boot on their collective neck.

Sooner or later, boys, you gotta pick one or the other
  • Sooner or later, boys, you gotta pick one or the other

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Conversation: The cure for racism

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Did you hear about the three Caucasian eighth graders who tried to shove a photo of the KKK into an African-American boy's locker at Union Academy in Monroe, N.C.? What possessed them to do such a thing, and what were they trying to accomplish?

It's hard telling, but it's easy to assume they acted out of ignorance. It's also easy to assume they were mimicking the adults in their lives, as children often do. No one knows for sure, though, but them. Could be they thought they were being funny.

Well, there is nothing funny about racism, the KKK or civil rights. In fact, the lessons learned during the Civil Rights Movement are some of the most critical lessons shaping our communities today. But if we don't talk about the impact of that time — which was only about 40 years ago, we dampen the impact of the lessons. You know what they say, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Fortunately, the headmaster of the school, Raymond Reinsant, seems to understand that it's time to reassess how the school deals with race relations. He told The Charlotte Observer, "Kids need to be sensitized to how horrible those events (of racism in the 1950s and 1960s) were at that time."

They were horrible. It was a time of struggle, violence and oppression. It was a time of drastic change. It was a time of awakening. It was a time we can not afford to forget.

In good news: With the help of our top-rated library system and the Internet, there is no reason why we can't help younger generations experience the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, get them thinking, get them paying attention to their own biases.

There's no room for racism in our city. None at all. Help prevent it by talking about it in an open, candid way with people who look like you and people who don't. Remember: If we can't talk about our problems, we can't solve them.

Oh, and Kudos to John Pando, the father of the African-American youth who had to face down the bullies. He didn't agree with the school's initial reaction, but he also didn't respond with vitriol. No, he told the Observer, "I never considered the school to be racist, and I still don't," Pando said. "If I did, he wouldn't be there."

That made me think of this quote by James Arthur Baldwin, “It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate."

In related news: Rally protests illegal immigrant deportation law (Charlotte Observer)

When discussing racism, it would help not to act like any of the people in these Reckless Tortuga videos — even if they do help get the conversation started:


Commissioner to banks: Loan more money

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 11:21 AM

If you've been paying attention to UNC Charlotte's economic guru, John Connaughton, you'll know that he's concerned about the vast amounts of cash banks are hoarding instead of lending. That's a problem.

When banks don't lend money, businesses can't expand, they can't hire people, those people can't spend money. It's a bad, bad cycle to get stuck in. It's a cycle we seem to be in currently.

It's also quite ironic, since we-the-taxpayers loaned the banks billions to pull their sorry assess out of a serious death spiral not that long ago.

But, now, the North Carolina bank commissioner is weighing in:

N.C. Banking Commissioner Joe Smith says banks must increase their lending to small businesses and help restructure the mortgage industry to help the economic recovery.

“These are tall orders but necessary for the good of the industry and the nation,” Smith said in an address to the Banking Institute in Charlotte, a gathering of industry leaders and regulators. “All stakeholders, including regulators, need to rethink their roles and focus on the big picture.”

Smith oversees 97 state-chartered banks and all mortgage lenders doing business in the state.

Read the rest of this Business Journal article, by Lee Weisbecker, here.

Catch up with Connaughton's forecasts, and sign up for a reminder about the next one, here.

A report about money hording, from November 2009:

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