Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James confronts our pro-gay rights blogging

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the undue influence of the religious right on the campaign for an anti-gay marriage amendment in North Carolina. Like clockwork (since the post mentioned gays), I was graced by an e-mail from longtime correspondent and County Commissioner Bill James. Noting that any constitutional amendment in N.C. must be voted on by the citizenry, James commented, “Thankfully, N.C. citizens know right from wrong.”

In response, I asked James if by “know[ing] right from wrong” he meant “not demonizing anyone who doesn't fit into your narrow view of life? Or did you mean not insulting blacks every chance you get?”
In reply — he never fails to reply, believe me — James sent what I thought was an incredible e-mail. He quoted N.C. House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam: “Stam said the amendment ‘protects the children of the next generation.’ From what you ask?” In reply to his own question, he pasted in the photo below, taken for CL at last weekend’s Pride Charlotte Festival.

I then sent a reply (to which I got yet another reply, but don’t worry, this is as far as the tit-for-tat will go), in which I told James what I would tell anyone who had the same reaction to the Pride Fest photo: If you honestly think this guy is a threat, you're even more twisted than I thought.

Meanwhile, the push to pass an amendment to ban something that is already illegal in this state continues. Please be sure to let your representatives know how you feel about the issue.


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Democratic National Convention 2012 Notebook: Minority businesses seek convention opportunities, launch website

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 3:02 PM

“I am energized by the amount of interest there is in the convention,” Mayor Anthony Foxx told me on Tuesday. The inclusive answer came after I asked him his thoughts on the Carolina Regional Minority Partnership Coalition, minority businesses working for a chance at opportunities the 2012 Democratic National Convention will bring to Charlotte.

Foxx said he “applauds the effort” to create any access points for businesses owned by women, minorities and the disabled, and said the local host committee has staff dedicated to incorporating support for local businesses.

When I talked with civil rights attorney and coalition chair James Ferguson, he was enthusiastic about the support of Foxx, former Mayor Harvey Gantt and U.S. Congressman Mel Watt of North Carolina, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “We are lobbying on behalf of minorities, to make sure goals are set and met,” said the 68-year-old Ferguson. “We’re in the best possible position to make it happen.”

Ferguson and Charlotte business owner Colette Forrest had the same idea after the Democratic National Committee announced Charlotte as the site of the 2012 convention — and the Carolina Regional Minority Partnership Coalition was born. “We wanted to see minorities come together to be a voice, to be a force, to be heard,” Ferguson told me last week in his historic Excelsior Club on Charlotte’s west side. The occasion was the launch of the coalition’s website. It includes a member directory, a clock ticking down to the convention’s start date and information about the group, which includes members from North and South Carolina, from Winston-Salem to Columbia. (Membership is $50.)

“We’re not official,” Ferguson said. “But we’re doing outreach and we are going to make sure that the Democratic convention is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

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Lake Norman becomes North Carolina's third Community Wildlife Habitat

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 2:38 PM

  • Lee LeFever

Congratulations to Wild Over LKN. Thanks to their diligence, Lake Norman is now the third Community Wildlife Habitat in the state, and only the 55th in the country. Even better: It's the first such habitat to "encompass all towns surrounding a lake," according to the National Wildlife Federation on its Facebook page.

Here's more on the certification from Wild Over LKN's website:

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Shiprocked goes tropical

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 10:03 AM

This Thursday’s Shiprocked — a weekly party put together by creative captain Scott Weaver at Snug Harbor in Plaza-Midwood — is a luau bidding farewell to summer. Folks attending can see how low they can go in a game of limbo and/or cool off by slugging down a cold rum-fused beverage. Hula girls will be on hand to shake their bods to the DJs tropical beats. For ideas on how-to make your own hula skirt out of a paper grocery bag, click here.

Sept. 1, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. 704-333-9799.

Crawl Space: Carlleena Person

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Crawl Space is a new Web mini-series that showcases local artists and gives them a chance to talk about their work. In this first episode, Carlleena Person talks her beautiful imperfections.

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Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, August 31, 2011 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Chicken exhibit at Genome Gallery


Paul Robeson at Duke Energy Theatre

The Spiveys at Snug Harbor

Open Mic at Jackalope Jacks

Bike Night at Easy Eddie's

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nevada expands Bank of America lawsuit, endangering nationwide foreclosure settlement

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 7:00 PM


From our friends at

This post has been updated to reflect Bank of America's response.

The state of Nevada dramatically expanded its lawsuit against Bank of America today, turning the narrow case it filed late last year into a broadside that targets virtually all aspects of the bank's mortgage operations. Bank of America has previously denied wrongdoing.

The sweeping new suit could have repercussions far beyond Nevada's borders. It further jeopardizes a possible nationwide settlement with the five largest U.S. banks over their foreclosure practices, especially given concerns voiced by other attorneys general, New York's foremost among them. (You can read the suit here.)

In a statement, Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said reaching a settlement would bring a better outcome for homeowners than litigation. "We believe that the best way to get the housing market going again in every state is a global settlement that addresses these issues fairly, comprehensively and with finality."

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Opening This Week

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 4:49 PM


The Debt - Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson


Apollo 18

The Devil's Double - Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier

The Guard - Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle

Point Blank - Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem

Seven Days in Utopia - Lucas Black, Robert Duvall

Shark Night 3D - Sara Paxton, Donal Logue

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Best bets in Charlotte comedy, Aug. 30-Sept. 4

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 4:22 PM

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

Tuesday, Aug. 30
Comedy Zone Comedy School Grad Night at 8 p.m.(Doors open at 7 p.m.)
The students have been working hard on their new sets. You'll hardly believe it's a student show. Please join Sid Davis as he presents to you the graduating class Alyssa Ploeger, Andy Perez, Anthony Crawford, Charlie Eaton, Chuck Eaton, Daniel Collins, Danny Hirtler, John Colwell, Matt Charity, Marty Simpson, William Woody and David Young.
The Comedy Zone Charlotte ~ 900 Seaboard St., Charlotte ~ Free

Wednesday, Aug. 31
Open Mic at 10 p.m.
Comics work out new material (sign up at 9:45 p.m.). With host Ty Longworth.
Jackalope Jacks ~ 1936 E. 7th St., Charlotte ~ Free

Wednesday, August 31- Saturday, Sept. 3
BT at 8 p.m.
In an act that crosses all boundaries, BT can be seen at any of the many comedy clubs around the country or in any of the different channels of entertainment ranging from commercials to movies.
The Comedy Zone Charlotte ~ 900 Seaboard St., Charlotte ~ $10-$15

Thursday, Sept. 1
Explicit Content at 9:30 p.m.
Rated-R for mature language and content. Edgy, blue and irreverent. For those with a twisted sense of humor. Not for the easily offended. Ages 18 and up only.
The Comedy Zone Fort Mill ~ 900 Crossroads Plaza, Fort Mill

Friday, Sept. 2
Brad Brake at 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m.
Brad has worked with the likes of Dave Chappelle, Bobcat Goldthwait, Howie Mandel, Ty Barnett and Rich Vos. He also toured with Hall of Fame wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.
The Comedy Zone Fort Mill ~ 900 Crossroads Plaza, Fort Mill, SC 29708 ~ $10

Saturday, Sept. 3
Robot Johnson Sketch Comedy at 8:30 p.m.
Charlotte's favorite sketch comedy troupe makes its triumphant return in a new venue.
The Mill ~ 3306A N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $12 cash at the door

Sunday, Sept. 4
Family Friendly Improv Show by Charlotte Comedy Theater at 5 p.m.
The kids will love seeing their suggestions come to life in scenes by improv actors. Clean fun for the whole family.
The Comedy Zone Charlotte ~ 900 Seaboard St., Charlotte ~ $5-$10

Anti-gay marriage fundamentalists would like to rewrite the N.C. Constitution from the pulpit

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 3:29 PM

The Greensboro News & Record ran an insightful story Sunday about the battle over a proposed gay-marriage-ban amendment to the N.C. Constitution. Reading the story, by state government reporter Mark Binker, one thing became clear: the similarity, even kinship, between the preachers who are pressuring the General Assembly to pass the amendment and the screaming fundamentalists who tried to disrupt the Pride Charlotte Festival Saturday. They’re both part of the I Know God’s Mind Bloc, or what a friend dubs the Archaic Values Coalition. Either way, you’re dealing with the usual dullard fundamentalists' muddle of cherry-picked scripture quotes, bigotry posing as moral superiority, and plain ol’ political nastiness.

As BlueNC put it, it seems that the N.C. Constitution is being rewritten from the pulpit. Rev. Ron Baity, head of Return America, a fundie Christian group from Winston-Salem that has held rallies in Raleigh pushing the amendment, told Binker, “Marriage was ordained by God, not by government. God set it in motion . . .we’re trying to uphold the biblical standard of marriage.” Ahem. A few observations.

1. Is it my own misreading of history, but haven’t marriages been going on since long before Christianity, or even Judaism?

2. Rev. Baity, would that be the same biblical view of marriage in which the wife literally belongs to the husband and can be stoned to death for adultery? If not, why not — it’s in the Bible isn’t it? Don’t say that’s not your interpretation of it — it’s not up to us to interpret, remember? “Inerrant literal truth” and all that kind of thing?

3. Are the marriages of fine Christian politicians, like Sens. David “D.C. Madam’s List” Vitter or Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, extra-godly because of their “family values” rhetoric?

4. How does it feel to have the same views on marriage as the Taliban?

5. Since it’s documented fact that marriages break up in the Bible Belt more frequently than in other parts of the U.S. — and that the lowest divorce rate in the nation is in Massachusetts, which has had legal gay marriages longer than any other — what do those truths say about your claims that Bible-based marriages are superior and that same-sex marriages will "destroy marriage"? Also, you do realize how presumptuous it is to go around saying you know and understand God’s will, don’t you?

And finally, one question I’ve been meaning to ask but keep forgetting:

6. Ever heard of minding your own business?

Gay marriage ban amendment cheerleader, Rev. Ron Baity
  • The Rev. Ron Baity: Gay marriage ban amendment cheerleader, and personal messenger of God

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