Latest reader comments

  • Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial Pages   16 hours 48 min ago

    As a late Boomer, my "time of transition" is slowly approaching. I am eligible for early retirement right now, but the limited Social Security benefits will keep me working for several more years. I will pay off my mortgage in a few months, but I have several needed home improvement projects that will eat up that extra cash for at least a few years. I've been told I'm one of the "lucky" ones, and I've had to bite my tongue to keep from sounding too much like the Boomer I am.

    The truth is, I don't feel lucky. I just got a revaluation of my property done by my county tax people, and it has literally doubled since it was last done. I live inside a municipality, so that's two property tax bills per year. And they won't be handled by my mortgage company anymore via escrow, which may not be an added cost but it's an added pain in the ass.

    And then there's the medical stuff. I'm in pretty good physical condition (some would say great, because of course I'm lucky), but the cost increases are insane. And I don't want to hear any crap about CON laws, because there are numerous CT scan operations in my area, but it still cost over $5,000 for that procedure. Medicare will be nice once I have it, but the supplemental insurance required? Not so nice.

    And then there's food, utilities, car insurance, and other things that are not "necessary" but are kinda necessary if I want to keep from going insane.

    I know. Everybody is struggling with the cost of living. And it's all relative.

    But we (as a society) are not doing ourselves any favors. The real estate market is out of control, and we don't seem willing to do anything (collectively) to reign it in. The same goes for health care costs. And don't whine to me about the cost of gasoline while you're driving a fricking Canyonero, which has a double-size gas tank so you don't have to stop every three days and fill it up. If aliens were watching the roads to see what kind of people we are they would think 90% of us are f**king farmers.

    So I will keep working, because I'm lucky. Relatively speaking...

  • Reply to: Dark Robinson   17 hours 6 min ago

    Bruni and other pundits really don't get what put Mark Robinson in office in the first place.

    Sure, Robinson's a dynamic speaker for churches and other crowds that agree with him. He's talking to voters that are really driven and are likely to vote in both the primary and general election. It's his base.

    What really defined Robinson for other conservative voters - the ones who might or might not show up on the day of the general - were the tv, radio, web, and direct mail ads. And that's where Robinson's story is more telling.

    Robinson's ads were confined to short bits where he touted his gun-carrying credentials and defined himself as a social conservative.

    Most of the ads run by the campaign, or on behalf of it by state or out-of-state groups, put a laser focus on his opponent, Yvonne Holley.

    The ads darkened her skin color and they chose images of her that made her appear as harsh as possible. The most common them was using her image superimposed on or in juxtaposition with video or stills - again manipulated to darken skin color - of ominous riots or protestors, portraying her has some kind of radical that would bring hoards of Black and brown people to riot in the viewer's neighborhood or town.

    I've observed political campaign advertising in NC since the early 90s and have some background in media history. I was really taken aback by what I saw in this campaign - the messaging was relentless and focused solely on that track, unlike previous campaigns where these tactics might be part of a larger mix of messaging.

    It was so successful for Robinson that the GOP campaigns for the legislature and many of the same PACs that used the tactic with Robinson, pulled out the same thing against white and Latino candidates for the legislature in the last election.

    There's no logic at play here - these mildly interested general election voters and so-called independents are motivated by raw scare tactics and racism.

    Please stop pretending that Robinson, or any other candidate, defines themselves in speaking engagements at county fairs or local Republican clubs. The image they (and their handlers) want to project is shown entirely by advertising to the larger public.

    And, most importantly, this kind of messaging is driven by a small group of big, hard-right donors - you see the same ads, often made from the same scripts and templates, running in different markets in different states.

    I'm sure the same scare tactics would be used in a Stein-Robinson match-up in 2024. They've worked the past two election cycles and there's no reason to think they wouldn't work again.

  • Reply to: Dark Robinson   1 day 13 hours ago

  • Reply to: Dark Robinson   1 day 14 hours ago

    I was hoping he cross-posted it to the Duke Chronicle (Bruni is there now), but no dice. So people will probably run into the NYT paywall.

  • Reply to: Dark Robinson   1 day 16 hours ago

    I’ll get that cleaned up when I get to my computer later this morning.