I miss Barry Yeoman around here, and not just because he was a great reporter--still is, actually. Barry, while he was on the Indy staff, hated it when we used, uh, coarse language. Under his influence, we rarely did. This suited me, in part because I live in Raleigh, where the surest way for us not to be read is to cuss in print, in part because I was raised not to swear in public. This, however, makes me something of an old fuddy-duddy with our hipper writers, who see no f------ reason not to say something sucks.
Now I see that the Federal Communications Commission has decided that no broadcast rules were violated when Bono, upon winning a Golden Globe Award, was heard to exclaim: "This is "really, really f------ brilliant." He wasn't describing a sexual function, only emoting, the FCC ruled.
Fine. I still think the f-word--and the (other) s-word, too--should be reserved for things that really do suck. Like the fucking war. We made an absolutely shitty decision to invade Iraq by ourselves, without United Nations backing or allies other than Tony Blair, and we're going to be paying for it, in lives, lost liberties and world distrust, for years to come.
This brings me to Michael Joyce, who's running for the Town Council in Cary. Elsewhere in this issue, you'll read that we are once again not endorsing him in his runoff election against incumbent Harold Weinbrecht. Michael is very conservative; not only that, he's politically tone-deaf enough to call himself a "compassionate conservative," which--though he means it in the nicest way--aligns him in my mind with our f------ president.
Nonetheless, I want to note that Michael, as a campaigner, is a changed man from 2001, and much for the better. Two years ago, he was "the angry plumber," railing loudly against the corruption he imagined was eating at Cary's very soul. This time, though his views haven't changed, he's dialed his temper way down. His explanation: Work--as a plumbing consultant now--has taken him recently to the Pentagon, where he's seen first-hand the difference between the truly hateful and the merely bothersome. He hates the destruction, and death, that 9/11 brought to the Pentagon. Living in Cary, he realized, "What's to hate?"
Exactly. The war's worth hating. The issues in our local elections, important as they are, pale in comparison.
In that spirit, some campaign follow-ups:
Benson Kirkman: The Raleigh councilor, fighting for re-election, irritated neighborhood folks by dragging them to a weekday morning hearing on their proposed Wade-Oberlin Small Area Plan, as we wrote two weeks ago. Did he intend to weaken the plan on behalf of a prominent landowner, as we suspected? Or tighten it up, as he claimed? Well, he did no tightening. With a half-dozen neighborhood leaders watching, he and Councilor Janet Cowell voted to make no changes, making the committee vote 2-1 (Neal Hunt) for the status quo.
Campaign reports: Speaking of irritating, weak disclosure laws still let local candidates hide a lot of what they're raising, and spending, to get elected. Before Oct. 7, for example, Kirkman reported spending just $17,163, a bit more than his chief opponent, Thomas Crowder's $14,751. But those figures were as of Sept. 19--the last date covered by their final pre-election report. In their final pre-runoff reports, however, Kirkman reports spending $39,346 through October 20, the bulk of it before the first election; Crowder had spent $17,423. However, Crowder apparently saved more for the runoff--he reported $14,806 on hand, versus Kirkman's $1,808. Kirkman has paid campaign consultant Brad Crone's firm almost $26,000, about $20,000 of it since Sept. 19.
Meetups: We reported that 150 folks were signed up for Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark's Raleigh Meetup in October. (See www.meetup.com.) Turns out, about 50 came. But the spirit was good. Co-chair Dennis McDuff, heretofore a political novice, told the group that there are 175,000 registered Democrats in Wake County, in 181 precincts, more than half of which are not organized--that is, they have no precinct chair or committee. McDuff said their job is to get them organized. "Whoever the (Democratic) candidate is," he said, "and we think it's going to be Wesley Clark, but if it's not, we certainly want to help whoever it is beat George Bush."
Final words. From a death notice in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans: "Word has been received that Gertrude M. Jones, 81, passed away under the loving care of the nursing aides at Heritage Manor of Mandeville, Louisiana. She was a native of Louisville, Ky. She was a retired Vice President of George International Life Insurance Company of Atlanta, Ga. Her husband, Warren K. Jones, predeceased her. ... Memorial gifts may be made to any organization that seeks the removal of President George Bush from office."
Contact Bob Geary at firstname.lastname@example.org