Category Archives: Political Commentary

Connexion & Chickens – Nothing to Crow About

What do a former Cary Mayor and six backyard chickens have in common?

They both leave crap all over the place.

Assuming you’ve been able to tear yourself away from drooling over the ever endearing Dear Leader and his ultimately vain quest for re-election, you may have noticed that Cary – and indeed all of North Carolina – has quite enough melodrama of its own.  Ignore the clucking sounds of the feel good minority for a moment and you might notice that there is scandal aplenty.

Cary leaders have always done a great job burying bad news and with Chapel Hill libs holding up the left front and Apex conservatives holding up the right front, Cary for the most part sits quietly in the middle – right on top of some the biggest messes in the state.  As we relaunch Cary Politics, take a few minutes (or perhaps a lot more :) ) and read some of the recent information slowly being dredged up, not by local news crews but by Cary’s own John Barbara.

The truth is sometimes painful but it needs to be unearthed and devoured so that in the future we will be more observant and possibly ready to stop the crap before having to work overtime to bury it later.

Judge needs to go

BLAME JUDGE LOUISE W. FLANAGAN
FOR ALLOWING CRAPPY SIGNS
ALL OVER OUR FINE TOWN!!!

Dems are in trouble they don’t even know…

Why the Debt Matters

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

…and why it’s going to be worse than they think for Democrats this Fall

As anyone who lived through the great depression can tell you, fear of being broke and alone makes you pay attention.  You suddenly notice who has a job and who doesn’t, who has family and who has none – who put some of their cash under a mattress and who invested it all in non-tangible assets.  While they are still with us, take some time to talk with those who lived through the dust bowl, stood in breadlines, and scraped and saved – and stole – just enough to stay alive.

Most baby boomers can’t really comprehend  the depression-era mentality – they think they do because they know their parents were tight with money but they don’t understand it, not really.  When they look around today, with the exception of those that choose to live under overpasses or in some forested tent city, they see food, clothing, and shelter for all.  Sure, being homeless can still carry a stigma but it’s not the guarantee of dying alone in some alley like was often the case in the 1930′s.

It’s easy to spot the ones that lived through it.  They saved money, as much as they could, and they tucked into safe investments like CD’s and Whole Life policies.  They never regained trust of the stock market and the real dead giveaway? They will almost always order the cheapest thing on the menu, no matter who’s buying.

People who lived through the depression are afraid – really afraid – that it could happen again. The children of depression-era families by and large took union jobs and became life long Democrats, forever hailing the genius of FDR.  Some of them vote.  Their children, the ones born after 1960 find themselves witnessing first hand what happens when bloated union pensions come due.  The result? Bankrupt companies and a new retirement model based mostly on risk with defined benefit plans going the way of the dinosaur.  They look forward and pray they can save enough to keep up with inflation, forget those promises of 5%-6% yearly market growth “conservatively”.

And now we have the problem of a balooning national debt that is unsustainable, period.  We have the Fed buying treasuries – after they said they would never do that – in an ultimately doomed effort to keep inflation artificially low.  We have the lowest interest rates we will ever see and the families that are working – are working to pay down debt, not acquire more.  Large corporations are sitting on mountains of cash waiting to see what happens next, betting on the soon to be self-fulfiling prophecy that we are headed for the dreaded double-dip recession.

Fear

People, especially the elderly – and they vote a lot – are afraid.  They know from first hand experience, or from their parents and grandparents, that the current level of debt can not be maintained.  They are beginning to understand that even everything they saved may not be enough once inflation kicks in.  More than anything else, they have memories of a government than failed them for almost 20 years and they see the trainwreck heading this way again. 

Obama, Pelosi, Reid? They all figured that teleprompted, polished promises would turn it around for at least for another election cycle or two but they forget about those that actually lived the depression.  The ones who didn’t just read about the great depression but lived it don’t understand the need for teleprompters and they don’t trust the man standing behind them.  They know debt though – and they know pain – and they don’t care for either one.  They also know how to be pragmatic and they’ve had their fill of empty promises. 

They won’t be voting for the status quo.  If they can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican, they’ll just stay home and count the money under the mattress, praying it will be enough.

Mosque Madness

Mosque Debate Is All Wrong


The mosque debate should not be about funding nor about the 9-11 families. It should not drag us into discussions about religious tolerance or lack thereof. It should not be about an Imam’s personal agenda and his questionable alliances. It most certainly should not be about politicians clamoring for attention.

The only relevant debate point should center around history, specifically the history of Islam marking its conquered territory with large mosques. Even then, the question should not be focused primarily on whether or not that is what is being attempted, whether it’s a mosque or a cultural center, rather we should be paying attention to the perception of the placement.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Islamic extremists and jihadists will perceive the building of the mosque at its proposed location as a major victory. There will be more dancing in the streets and chants of "Death to America".

They do not know any other way and to afford them this symbol of victory and buttress their perception of an Islamic victory over the United States, thereby encouraging further efforts to vanquish the "Great Satan" (that’s U.S. for those that may not pay much attention), doesn’t seem very smart to me.

In fact, building the mosque and/or cultural center anywhere near Ground Zero seems to me is just plain stupid….

Voters pay attention to the dirt

Voters pay attention to the dirt

 

Fame is short-lived while infamy enjoys eternity and if the cavalcade of complaints levied against my character over the last couple of weeks is any indication, I am squarely amongst the latter.  Though responding and apologizing to critics may hasten my exit from the front page of the Cary News, such efforts will not remove the barb of betrayal felt by former friends and colleagues.  Time may lessen the pain but the barb itself will remain.  I do apologize to those few for whom I’ve truly caused genuine pain, as to the ones simply looking to point fingers, seeking out the next hate bandwagon, not so much.  For providing some balance to the views on growth at the intersection of Davis and HighHouse, not at all.

In his January 20th column in the Cary News (here),  Director of the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, Damon Circosta notes that the mission of NCCVE  is to “ensure that citizens have adequate information to participate in their democracy.”    That’s a goal I support and it’s the main reason I welcomed the opportunity to serve on their Board of Directors and will continue to support them financially in the future.  Mr. Circosta asserts that it’s time to clean up politics and as a society we need to “relearn the art of civil discourse.”

As purveyor of the website carypolitics.org for the last eight years, I have learned quite a bit about civil discourse.  Members have had lengthy and meaningful discussions about topics ranging from abortion and homosexuality to climate change the merits of partisanship.  Though I remain doubtful too many minds were changed, the discourse is certain to broaden the mind of anyone who takes the time to participate.  Such discussions have made me keenly aware of how difficult it is to keep civil discourse from quickly devolving into personal attacks. 

The problem with politics today is not that people don’t care; it’s that more often than not it takes too much time to really understand the issues.  Precious few voters take the time to really get to know the candidates and the issues, instead relying on party affiliation and drift media on which to base their votes.  The term “drift media” is what I call all the various mailers, door hangers, signs, and robo-calls associated with traditional local campaigns.

Campaigns know this.  They depend on it.

I’ve asked voters how they make their decisions when they toss mailers in the trash without reading them, hang up on robo-calls, deplore unsolicited email, and don’t bother watching debates and forums.  The answer is that much of the time, even in Cary’s supposedly non-partisan elections, many voters will still ask – on their way into the polling booth – who is the Republican or Democrat.  Most base their decisions simply on some vague notion of whether they like or dislike a particular candidate, having been influenced one way or another by unspecified “things they’ve heard.”

Some voters see it a little differently.  Like Desperate Housewife’s character Bree Olson, they are attracted to dirt.  Nay, they are addicted to dirt. They make their decisions not on the merits, stance, or record of the candidate but on how much dirt is piled up around them.  Challengers will solicit dirt and craft messages that magnify out of proportion the small soot against an otherwise snowy background. 

I chose to try and expose from whence the dirt was tossed and got a bit dirty in the process.   And a few more voters paid attention.  They finally had something they could relate to.

Obama suffers crushing defeat

MASS SHOCK!!!

Republican Brown Takes Kennedy Seat Held by Dems Since 1953

This may be ‘Cary’ politics but we have to note that buyer’s regret among Democrats is taking hold nationwide.  It has to be obvious to anyone that doesn’t have a leg over the left edge of the cliff that American’s are tired AND DO NOT WANT bigger, more intrusive government.  We are tired of massive increases in Federal power and spending, especially when funded by a shrinking private sector.  Dems that go to the wall on initiatives that Obama wants just because he wants them will suffer huge losses in November.  Amazing and astounding doesn’t even begin to tell the story.

Jack Smith at Cary Candidate’s Forum

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Spurring Growth in a Down Economy


How to spur growth in Cary?

Start by eliminating impact fees for 2009

Don Hyatt
At the Town of Cary’s most recent council meeting (agenda here), a very rare event occurred.  Not one public hearing.  Not one. Nada. Zero.  Why?  No rezonings, no site plans, no voluntary annexations….   No growth.

While some would celebrate this and laud the notion that the gates of heaven are now closed and if you didn’t make it in, too bad, I do not.  I see this as a troubling sign of a region wide slow down that has helped jack up North Carolina’s unemployment rate to an astonishing 8.7%.  Only the staunchest NIMBYs could see this as good news – at least until they lose their job, can’t sell their home, pay significantly higher taxes, or otherwise start to feel the pinch of a major economic slowdown.  Returning to a sustainable growth rate of 2%-3% is not only desirable but essential to our quality of life.

How can we accomplish this in a down economy?

One of the great anomalies of the current economic crisis when compared to earlier recessions is that many responsible companies are sitting on piles of cash. They are simply wating for market conditions to improve before investing it.  They are also waiting for an indication that retro-active taxes won’t come back and bite them hard.  For those firms with money to invest, a small incentive to get them to invest in new development now rather than later could go a long way in helping jump start the economy.

What kind of incentive?

Eliminate all development fees for building permits that are granted in 2009.  Give the builders, developers – and workers – a reason to build now instead of waiting to see what happens.  Instead of working on a resolution asking for Federal bailout money, work on a plan to spur growth.  In other words, be pro-active and responsible – be Cary.

Of Economy “Faux Pas” and the Blame-Game

Commentary by Joe Solis

Having read U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s column; couldn’t agree more with her viewpoint on the auto bailout fiasco. There is a wider scope I wish to add to her "Saving auto industry requires concessions by all parties." That is, "GM’s total labor costs are $81-an-hour"? Wow! No wonder the automaker has a financial stomachache. A little prune juice might help.

But the cause is not the first "faux pas" of an industry. It started in California, where layoffs began the "Domino Effect" I wrote about a year ago; in this scribes opinion. The root cause and effect, as I see it, was/is international trade financial disparities, where the financial playing field is tilted towards cheaper-labor costs nations. For the same reasons that GM can’t compete with, for example, Toyota, due to it’s higher labor costs for like-products; thousands of our producer’s products cannot compete with the cheaper products made with cheaper labor costs abroad. That simple.

Thus the sudden downturn in our economy crisis can be traced to it’s beginning "domino effect" with the first mass of layoffs in California. Then mortgagers, stuck with homes the laid-off couldn’t pay for, toppled the 2nd domino, so-to-speak. That was followed by the "bailout" plat du jour syndrome; which has since started a stock market rollercoaster ride down a cliff.

Where it will end is fairly obvious to this scribe, but one can be all wet, too. I leave it to our expert gurus of the nation’s woes to shed some light on all the above logically-assessed viewpoints and observations; to decide. Too, our nation’s taxpayers, by no means, should be burdened with the mistakes of our leaders, or those of failing businesses. To do so in behalf of the highly-paid, while the lower-class taxpayers are forced to indure the stings of the financial whip, not foxy enough to avoid taxes like many of the followers of the proverbial "Mammon" do; is the greatest "faux pas" of all.

Ergo, what the marketplace has wrought, the marketplace should indure on it’s own merit; or lack thereof. That is, whipping the chickens for what the dogs did…is no way to run a nation, or to expect the same number of eggs in the former’s nests; in this scribes’s viewpoint, logical conclusions, and highly-opinionated perspectives.

But not to worry. ten years after the last depression, a lady I know was working as a waitress for $1 a day in Galveston. It won’t be long now before our wage structure hits bottom; THEN our nation can compete with the products of other nations. However, there is another major problem. In a depression, the value of the dollar increases tenfold. Thus, our indebtedness being paid with today’s cheaper dollars will become a bigger mountain to climb down from than it is today. That is, Making payments with $81-an hour wages becomes a financial monster when wages are reduced to say, $2-an-hour; while the debts are still the same. Trillions in debt may take a hundred years to pay off in such an economic sleigh-ride.

Unless of course, our new President can conjure up solutions that can cut that financial-diseased runaway horse off at the pass. As an optomist homeless man said, "miracles are hard to come by, but they’re still possible." Hope so. Thus, kudos to the Senator from Texas for laying blame on our economic pandemic on the right places.

Joseph

Heavenly Campaign Promises

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’

‘ No problem, just let me in,’ says the man.

‘Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’

‘Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,’ says the senator.

‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules.’

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises…

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

‘Now it’s time to visit heaven.’

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.’

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.’

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. ‘I don’t understand,’ stammers the senator. ‘Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubh ouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?’

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, ‘Yesterday we were campaigning…    Today you voted.’

- Author Unknown