Greetings, everyone. I am hosting my first Tar Heel Tavern at Iddybud and I'd like to start by thanking everyone who participated. It was great to hear from you. I enjoyed meeting many of you last week in Greensboro, and in honor of that May 18th Meet-Up, I am including my entry about it.
It was also the deciding factor in this week's Carnival Theme: "Virtual Meet-Up".
I asked each participant to consider this week's Tar Heel Tavern to be a Virtual Meet-Up...a round wooden table with plenty of comfortable chairs in a neighborhood tavern or coffee shop, and to sit back and discuss events of the day - or whatever was on their mind.
• David Wharton of A Little Urbanity asks: Is the building of Disneylike, fake downtowns a good thing? He has concerns about Greensboro's Starmount Company, which is developing the West Friendly Avenue property on which Greensboro's Burlington Industries building stood until last Monday as a shopping center. Since this week's theme is the Virtual Meet-Up, David says he's hoping the new center won't be the preferred meet-up spot for Mickey, Goofy, and Donald!
• At Lewis Byers' Barber Shop Blog, the entry "To who's IS Concerned- District $20.00" talks about the concerns that the folks in District 2 in Greensboro have. The social experience of being in the barbershop is well represented by links to photos, an mp3 of conversation, and various online topics of the day.
• I had linked to Stewart of Lenslinger earlier this week regarding his blog coverage of last Monday’s staged implosion of the Burlington Industries building. Lenslinger's chosen Tar Heel Tavern entry discusses the "new breed of onlookers" who had risen up to record the event. Read more about his belief that, "whatever new paradigm takes hold, it’s a safe bet the two-person news crew is an endangered species" by going to the link.
• Billy the Blogging Poet points to The Red Hook Community Justice Center in New York State, the nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court, which has been a success in a neighborhood known to be a high crime neighborhood for almost a century. Billy asks: "Why should East Greensboro wait a century to have restorative justice when we could have it today?"
• VFW NC asks you to listen to words taken from a video, made during the WW II era, on safeguarding Military Information. They warn of consequences that have relevance and apply to our world of bloggers today, at all times. They say: "Your blog can be a weapon, your words and images ammunition, so be careful how and where you point it."
• Tara Sue says "Show Me the Jobs," and she cites a mission for Greensboro, which is primarily to avert unemployment. Ideas: Support the restructuring of industry; contribute to the growth in traditional manufacturing; work effectively to reintegrate marginalised social groups; create jobs for young professionals; bring new life into redundant historic monuments or industrial buildings; facilitate the regeneration of run-down city districts; provide the soft infrastructure of cultural tourism; develop the knowledge economy; and demonstrate the value of contemporary culture and stimulate innovation.
• Jerry McClough's ThatsWhatzUp! blog speaks of "Going Forward." The entry is about the things that he sees that he believes are going wrong, not only in Greensboro, but all over the world. He says: "If you are aware that there are unjust things going on and you are not standing up for what is right, then you are as guilty as the person that is doing the wrong." Jerry expresses some disillusionment with the blogging community, but stresses that progress cannot be stopped, he offers some 'street love' to his community members, and closes by expressing the hope that everyone will take a moment and just think about a positive future - where you are at this time, and where are you heading.
• At Scrutiny Hooligans, Funk-o-Meter posts on the final days of a western North Carolina musical institution, the killer bluegrass band known as Acoustic Syndicate. Their last show is this weekend. It's a personal story told by the Hooligan who knew the Sugar Hill recording act - up close and personal.
• The Charlotte Capitalist Many in Charlotte Mecklenburg are upset about schools, taxes, the arena...The list goes on. The ideas of two men can reverse this trend. Who are they? He says: "Check it out!"
• Anonymoses was surprised to learn that the NY Times best selling book titled "1000 Places to See Before You Die" had only talked about a few North Carolina destinations. Suspecting "they just didn't look hard enough," Dave has supplemented the guide with his own entry, "1000 Places in North Carolina to See Before You Die".
photo credit: ABC11
• When I read this week's entry at Pam's House Blend, I double-checked my calendar to make sure I was in 2005. "This sh*t shouldn't happen here: crosses burned in Durham" discusses how three crosses were burned in Pam's progressive hometown of Durham, one only a couple of miles away from her own house, near a middle-class, suburban subdivision. Pam says "There's no place here for this kind of bull, and people came out to show that it won't be tolerated." She has provided the link to a follow-up post about Durham vigils -- and speculation about the motive for the cross burnings.
• Coturnix has some thoughts on the use of animals in research and teaching. He is disturbed by the fact that, in the course of his work, he is writing proposals guided not by the importance of experiments that need to be done, but by how likely is it that the experiments will be approved by IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.) He believes what is needed is the freedom to use whatever technique and approach is suitable for a particular question he or his colleagues are asking. He says that the activity of IACUCs have had a 'chilling effect on animal research in the USA', resulting in a precipitous decline in whole-animal research in this country. The result is a slowdown for Science.
• Photoblogger Mandie from It's a Pixelated Life displays a lovely photo of TJ's Deli
• phin's boss doesn't like a few of phin's work habits. He's made it clear, and phin shares the 'Not to-do List' in "A memo from the boss."
• What's wrong with this picture? At Words Fitly Spoken? by Maximilian Longley, a post titled "George Bernard Shaw: Playwright, vegetarian, Socialist propagandist . . . and right-wing gun nut?" points to a quote by Shaw that may surprise you.
• If you've ever hung out at a coffeeshop or a bar in a college town, you have heard geeks argue about Star Wars. Robust McManlyPants says it's just that simple. Here is his contribution - the random, perhaps uncouth but heartfelt defense of a silly subject: "Star Wars Analysis, Now With More Idiot."
• Josh Staiger has a nice write-up on "Roth IRAs and a nod to Vanguard Funds." He adds a recommendation: that you take a stroll down to your local art house movie theater and see Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room in order to "build up your mistrust of corporate America and investment bankers before you give them your money."
• William at Pirates Cove has a photoshop creation to share. He is amazed/maybe not so amazed that Democrats are "all over" the story featured in the now-infamous Isikoff Newsweek (Newsweak) article. Deciding that 'the word of Islamic extremists who want to kill Americans as more credible then that of American soldiers and citizens' is the way he views the attitude of some Democratic citizens. I would imagine this would raise much discussion at a Meet-Up. How about you?
• Jennifer of Open Book provides us with some "Scraps," which she describes as bits and pieces of her mind on a Saturday morning.
photo: Peers & Peerless
• At Peers & Peerless, Alex gives us "Balloon Animal," including photos and a write-up about a film shot in Carrboro last weekend.
• A Reminder: Hoggfest is tomorrow in Greensboro. I hope many will attend.
Josh Marshall has announced that John Edwards will join him for the debut week of the new Talking Points Memo Cafe. Josh will be launching the site on Tuesday, May 31st. John will have the guest blogging seat from Tuesday May 31st through Friday June 3rd.
John just got back from a trip to London. See his post at the One America blog.
Edwards was the commencement speaker at William and Mary Law School last week. A transcript of his speech is available here.
"...it matters who's with you on this journey. It does. So many times life is going to be hard. It's going to seem that heartache and struggle just won't go away. So it matters whose hand you reach out to; whose advice you rely on and whose kindness you depend on to get through the day.."
That is so very true - it really does matter. I consider that a golden piece of advice for young people. I'm thankful for the hands of kindness which help to lead me through those inevitable dark days and I wish each one of you the blessings and benefit of the same.
"What the American conservative movement has done so effectively over the last three decades is to perfect a dynamic of fear and inject it into the key institutions for generating or disseminating information."
This article by journalist and author Robert Parry is one to print out and put into your political strategy reference books. How did the American conservative movement succeed so well in saturating the mainstream media with their talking points? How did they turn what was once an investigative and critical press into their lapdogs?
From where we stand today, it's not only the press about whose democratic integrity we must be concerned.
What is perhaps even more troubling is that this fear is spreading to other institutions. Academia is now feeling the heat from conservatives who want to eliminate it as the last bastion of liberal thought. Corporate leaders also appear to be suffering from paralysis in the face of policies that are threatening the long-term future of the United States...CEOs are mostly staying on the sidelines in these crucial debates.
All is not hopeless, as Mr. Parry states that he believes there are solutions.
It’s simply not enough to tell journalists, politicians and others that they must buck up and do the right thing, especially when people who do show courage are systematically destroyed and made into object lessons for colleagues left behind.
If individuals are expected to be courageous, there must be courageous institutions to surround and protect them. That’s why the creation of a counter-infrastructure – one that will take on both the powerful conservative infrastructure and the cowardly mainstream media – is so vital.
Examples of how this counter-dynamic could work can be found in the take-no-prisoners ethos of the anti-Bush Internet sites, or in the irreverent comedy of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” or in the unabashed liberalism of the fledgling progressive talk radio.
All have shown toughness in refusing to genuflect before Bush and his enormous political power.
"Went to see John Edwards speak at the LSE today. Wonderful speech and an hour spent answering the audience questions. It is nice to see liberal causes of egality and ending poverty put across so well. Hopefully he is a future President of the United States."
John Edwards: The Four Pillars to Develop A Just New World
Re:Remarks By John Edwards London School of Economics May 25, 2005 Audio (Podcast411) text (One America)
The first pillar: America and Europe must both prepare for the challenges of globalization.
Nations like India and China are in a race to be on the cutting edge of innovation and technology. Europe is transforming to deal with this reality. It is in America's interest for the European Union to succeed. America needs to remain competitive.
- The American education system must be reformed. Rising tuitions are increasingly putting the hope for a college degree out of reach for many families and their children.
- American budget deficits cause our dependence upon other nations, and we have become less competetive in the world because of those deficits. Our budget must be balanced.
- In the American health care system 46 million people are uininsured and health care costs are exorbitant. This works against America's interests, putting our companies at a competetive disadvantage. Example: Health care adds approximately $1400 to the cost of building each American car.
The second pillar: We must ensure that people live in a world that is free from want
- In America, 36 million people wake up in poverty every day. We need to strengthen the foundation for families that work and that means health care for everyone and child care for parents who need it.
- One idea to provide hope and assistance is, using Great Britain's example:
"Britain has led the way with the Child Trust Funds. We ought to consider the same thing in America—providing $500 to every child at birth, and perhaps an additional $500 for lower-income families. If parents could contribute too, then by the time a child turned 18 years old, they could have as much as $40,000 in the bank. Money to spend on college or a home.. or money to store up for retirement. Imagine what it would say to a poor boy growing up in my home state of North Carolina...if he knew that if he studied hard..if he stayed in school...then he would have $20 or $30 or $40 thousand dollars in the bank when he turned 18. Imagine what it would do to his sense of hope and possibility for the future. It could change whole communities."
The third pillar: America and Europe must work together to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
- We need critical organizations like NATO to remain strong.
- We must close the loopholes in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by creating a new "Global Nuclear Compact.
- America and Europe must ensure that the know-how to build nuclear weapons never reaches terrorists by strengthening existing plans which ensure that nuclear scientists are employed for peaceful purposes.
The Fourth Pillar: The final pillar is promoting liberty and democracy around the world.
"Ordinary men and women, from Egypt to Morocco to Indonesia, need to be convinced that democracy and liberty are the pathway to possibilities."
- Just as poverty and disillusionment isolate and drain hope from our own people in our own cities and towns, it does the same thing for every person around the world who feels like they don't have a chance. General John Abizaid has said that the war against terrorism is "a battle of ideas as much as it is a military battle."
[Freedom]stirs the soul and makes all people long for that fundamental human right to be free. And a world where poverty and despair are accepted is a world that's going nowhere—a world that isn't really free. Think about it. Freedom is meaningless if your children are dying of preventable diseases like Malaria. Freedom is meaningless to a child that shows up at a school but is turned away because that child can't pay for a uniform. And freedom is meaningless when 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day.
There's been a lot of talk about freedom in America and around the world. Let me be clear: the idea that America stands for freedom is not new. It is not owned by any political party. It is not owned by any one country. It is an idea that is borne from our words and our wishes, and given life through our actions.