Sunday, August 31, 2008

Made in North Carolina

I have been looking around as I shop here in Chapel Hill, NC, and I remain very surprised to find so little that is clearly labeled (so you can see it without sending out a label search party) as having been made here in North Carolina. The time seems to have come when people might value such products over others, for many reasons, and retailers ought to work harder with their suppliers to make sure customers know which products are those from North Carolina.

Our local Farmers' Market has a rule that everything sold there must be grown or produced within a fixed number of miles of the market. Why couldn't retailers establish simple labels or sections - as they now increasingly do with organic - to call attention to that which is local in the store?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Newsstands of Tomorrow Get Mixed Reviews Today" -

Some of what I learned from newspapers today - 30 Aug

+ That the November election in North Carolina is up for grabs = News & Observer
+ That we have many unmarked train crossings in NC, and failing to stop at each can cause death = News & Observer
+ That an investigation into these deaths in Afghanistan appears to be moving forward in a fair manner = The New York Times

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Palin's Wikipedia Entry Gets Overhaul" - NPR

Some of what I learned from newspapers today - 29 Aug

+ That one of our neighborhood restaurants is earning a rave review = News & Observer
+ That news of the choice of a Republican Vice Presidential candidate is evolving quickly = The New York Times
+ That the renovation of a square near home in Nice, France has now been completed = Nice Matin
+ That while I love lots of windows in a house, there are many negatives that need to be addressed = The Wall Street Journal
+ That there are significant challenges, even with high fuel prices, in reducing automobile use = The New York Times

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some of what I learned from newspapers today - 28 Aug

+ That our local regional newspaper might sell its Chapel Hill office - The Independent
+ That the apparent squabbling among MSNBC on-air people seems real - The Wall Street Journal
+ That Gustav, the soon-to-be hurricane again is headed toward the Gulf and possible strike in an area including New Orleans - The New York Times

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some of what I learned from newspapers today - 27 Aug

+ That our only local department store is in serious trouble - Dillard's = Wall Street Journal and the Memphis Business Journal
+ That there is a town in Japan about the same size as my community in North Carolina that hopes to eliminate all waste going to landfills and incinerators by 2020 = The Guardian

Monday, August 25, 2008


On many levels, we have all become more interconnected than we used to be. We say this all the time, and for the most part, it is true.

But is it true when it comes to full extent of the physical, geographical communities in which we live? Do we feel a sense of being closer to neighbors or neighborhood businesses because they have websites, e-mail lists, etc?

I find myself putting more and more of those people and businesses into a pile labeled largely unresponsive.

Don't we have to go a step further on the interconnectedness front and figure out how we can follow more of the people aspect of all this? Do you know your neighbor's full "story"? Do you know the checkout clerks' stories at the supermarket? Can you communicate with them on that level, or is it limited to the mostly superficial hello?

Despite all this stuff flying about in the internet and over phone lines, we still have a huge amount of work to do.

Stay tuned. Or, better yet, stay connected!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

OBAMA vice presidential announcement

It's interesting to reflect on how the news of Joe BIDEN's selection made its way into my e-mail in-box this morning, long before I got up.

First observation is that it is surprising that no one seems to have come up with a way to alert us to news with an alarm clock. In other words, how do we say to a machine that we want "you" to wake us up if certain news is appears during the night? I have seen no such option.

Second observation is when I received the several e-mail messages of the night:

NYTimes - 1:04 AM
WSJournal - 1:06 AM
Minn Star-Tribune - 1:11 AM
Huffington Post - 1:32 AM
OBAMA campaign - 4:58 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Printing blogs

Among modern life's persistent irritants is at least my inability to print items that I find in blogs on The New York Times site and in many other places. Why is it that blog technology makes it so much harder to print what's on the screen than is the case with most websites?

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Duke CEO to make its case for Save-a-Watt" -

"Export Boom Helps Farms, but Not American Factories" -

And what has this meant for NC agricultural exports?

Here are the state figures (the years appear first and correspond to the numbers below - here is the link to a clear chart):

North Carolina Agricultural Exports by Commodity (in millions of dollars)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Amid Ruined New Orleans Neighborhoods, a Gadfly Buzzes" -

On one level it is really a great shame that this story could be written in the first place, but accepting the necessity of what occurred, this piece does a great job of profiling what someone with excellent intentions - it appears - can do when armed with a strong will, curiosity and a commitment to share a story. That's at the heart of what makes journalism so important, especially when greater accountability seems to be the key result.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Barack Obama | Change We Can Believe In | Be the First to Know" - OBAMA website

This is done extremely well, I must say. It will be very interesting to learn how many people sign up to be the "first" to learn of the VP choice and through what medium.

"New York Times to Roll Out TimesPeople Social Networking Site" -

If the New York Times does this well, it may very well succeed. I like the idea of being able to connect with - or at least follow - people who also value and read the NYT.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"John Edwards story -- the readers react" - News & Observer

I feel very strongly about the importance of fully reporting the EDWARDS story. See my comments on the second page of this article.

"Flush With Energy" -

Comparing how the US is doing with how Denmark has done on energy policy is very helpful.

There is another comparison I would like to suggest. It is Denmark and North Carolina. Denmark is a lot smaller than North Carolina with its 5.5 million population alongside of about 9 million in North Carolina.


Why cannot North Carolina - especially in this election year - adopt a plan to make it energy independent? What is unique about Denmark's wind, for example? How about the sun in North Carolina? Down the line, there may even be some offshore energy to be carefully harvested? Nuclear present and future?

Is it totally unrealistic to think that North Carolina could become the first state in the US to achieve energy independence?

Shouldn't we try?

What is the status of this bill in the state legislature - Energy Independence Act? In fact, it looks like it was passed and signed by the Governor two years ago. However, when you look at the text, it seems so little. Can't we do better? Wouldn't it serve everyone's best interests?