Elections 2012: How Obama won Wilson County

Wilson County voted narrowly for Barack Obama in 2008, reflecting statewide voting. In November 2012, Wilson County voted even more heavily for Obama, in contrast to trends across North Carolina.

How Obama won

obama-romney-debateThe early vote decided the race. Nearly 60 percent of the One-Stop, or early, voting was for the Obama/Biden ticket. The Democrats began Election Day with a 4,200-vote lead, an unsurmountable lead.

Both parties worked hard to turn out the vote as early and as fully as possible; the Democrats were just better at it, said Gary Proffitt, the Wilson County Republican Party chairman.

Asa Gregory, Wilson County Democratic Party chairman, said his “game plan” was to get Democrats to vote early and to recruit those people as volunteers to canvass their neighborhoods and carry others to the polls. The more people who voted early, the more volunteers who were available on Election Day.

See the results for yourself

Minorities were the majority at One-Stop voting. African-Americans make up around 40 percent of the county’s voting rolls, but they were just over half of the early voters. The biggest group of One-Stop voters were black women (7,413), followed by white women (6,289), white men (5,332) and black men (4,536). A black woman was twice as likely as a white male to vote during the One-Stop period.

2012 presidential results by county

Red counties voted for the Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan, blue counties voted for the Democratic ticket of Obama/Biden

Wilson County voted with urban counties. The state’s major metropolitan areas — Charlotte, the Triangle, Triad and Asheville — all voted for the Democrats, most of the rural areas voted for Republicans.Wilson’s six neighboring counties were split 3-3.

A longer election period meant less chance for problems. You might expect a lengthy One-Stop period would create chances for voter fraud or intimidation. But both party chairs said they had no trouble monitoring the one early voting location.

Then only about 30 percent of the county’s voters turned out Tuesday, which meant few lines and no problems, said Renea Morris, Wilson County Elections director. Wilson County was able to substantially complete its count by 11 p.m., more than two hours earlier than it did in 2008.

Wilson County, presidential results, 2012

The 2012 election divided Wilson County into the Republican-leaning west and the Democrat-favoring east.

Returns divided Wilson County. The eastern half of the county, including many traditionally black neighborhoods, voted for the Democrats. The western half of the county, including many new, predominantly white subdivisions, voted primarily Republican.

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You ask, we answer — November 2012

“When will the leaf truck pick up our street?”

leaftruck-300x217 The City of Wilson does loose leaf collections from mid-October until mid-January. But to make the most efficient use of the vacuum trucks, we send them first to the streets with the most leaves raked to the curb. We ask people be patient. If you need quicker pickup, you’re allowed to bag leaves and leave them with your regular trash.

When will city offices be closed during the holidays?

Offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23, for Thanksgiving; Monday, Dec. 24, through Wednesday, Dec. 26, for Christmas; and Tuesday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. Emergency services will be available as usual. Check your garbage/recycling schedule.

When is the Christmas parade?

The parade through downtown Wilson will be Saturday, Dec. 1, beginning at 4 p.m. (The rain date is Sunday, Dec. 2, also 4 p.m.) The Wilson Jaycees organize the parade; applications are here.

What other holiday events are going on this month?

santaclausA Downtown Christmas will be Friday, Nov. 30-Saturday, Dec. 1, 5-9 p.m. both night. Friday’s event include the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. in front of the Wilson County Courthouse led by Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose. Entertainment will be provided by local elementary school children singing carols and holiday music. Saturday night will include an appearance by Santa Claus. Both nights will in clude horse-drawn trolley rides, carolers, special deals from downtown merchants and more. Bankers Holiday and other events

Where do I pay city property taxes?

Wilson County collects city, county and town taxes. Its office is located at 113 E. Nash St, and can be reached at 252-399-2900. 2012 property taxes can be paid without interest through Jan. 5, 2013.  (Map, directions)

Five more questions

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You asked, we answer II — November 2012

What will I pay my bill after City Hall at the Mall closes?

The city’s Wilson Mall office will close at the end of the day Friday, Dec. 29, because of plans to demolish common areas of the mall in early 2013. But the customer service center at 208 W. Nash Street, across from the BB&T towers, (Map, directions) will extend evening hours weekdays and begin opening Saturday mornings as of Saturday, Dec. 30. New hours

What happened to the weekly high school football game broadcast on Wilson’s Channel 8?

Alas, we had to halt that broadcast due to budget constraints. Because Channel 8 is a Public, Educational and Government Access (PEG) channel, we are not allowed to seek commercial sponsorship of the broadcasts.

Where can I get a birth, marriage or death certificate?

The Wilson County Register of Deeds office maintains marriage records (1855 to present), death records (1913 to present), and birth records (1913 to present) for events that happened in Wilson County. Call 252-399-2935 or go here for more information.

When is the next City Council meeting?

Council only meets once in December due to the holidays — Thursday, Dec. 13, beginning at 7 p.m. The agenda will be finalized around Monday, Dec. 9 and available here.

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Pilgrams. Have a Great Thanksgiving and check back next month for more questions and answers.

Five previous questions

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November’s Top 10 FAQ for Wilsonians

You have questions, we have answers. Every day the City Manager/Mayor’s Office gets dozens of calls. Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions we are hearing this month:

When will the leaf truck pick up our street? The City of Wilson does loose leaf collections from mid-October until mid-January. But the actual timing of routes are scheduled to make the most efficient use of the vacuum trucks. It makes more sense to pick up a street where the majority of households have already raked than one where only a handful have. We ask people be patient. If you need quicker pickup, you’re allowed to bag leaves and leave them with your regular trash.

When will city offices be closed during the holidays? Our business offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23, for Thanksgiving. All trash and recycling routes scheduled for that Thursday will be run Wednesday, Nov. 21; Friday’s routes will be on their regular schedule.

Offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 24, through Wednesday, Dec. 26, for Christmas and Tuesday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. Both weeks Monday’s trash and recycling routes will be run on their usual schedules and Tuesday’s routes will be run on Wednesday.

When is the Christmas parade? The parade through downtown Wilson will be Saturday, Dec. 1, beginning at 4 p.m. (The rain date is Sunday, Dec. 2, also 4 p.m.) The Wilson Jaycees organize the parade; applications are here.

What other holiday events are going on this month?A Downtown Christmas will be Friday, Nov. 30-Saturday, Dec. 1, 5-9 p.m. both night. Friday’s event include the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. in front of the Wilson County Courthouse led by Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose. Entertainment will be provided by local elementary school children singing carols and holiday music. Saturday night will include an appearance by Santa Claus. Both nights will include horse-drawn trolley rides, carolers, special deals from downtown merchants and more. Information here.

The Arts Council has information about A Banker’s Holiday and other seasonal events.

Where do I pay city property taxes? Wilson County collects city, county and town taxes. Its office is located at 113 E. Nash St, and can be reached at 252-399-2900. 2012 property taxes can be paid without interest through Jan. 5, 2013.  (Map, directions)

What happened to the weekly high school football game broadcast on Wilson’s Channel 8? Alas, we had to halt that broadcast due to budget constraints. Because Channel 8 is a Public, Educational and Government Access (PEG) channel, we are not allowed to seek commercial sponsorship of the broadcasts.

What is going to happen to City Hall at the Mall? Where will I pay my utility bill? The city’s Wilson Mall office will close at the end of the day Friday, Dec. 29, because of plans to demolish common areas of the mall in early 2013. But the customer service center at 208 W. Nash Street, across from the BB&T towers, will extend evening hours weekdays and begin opening Saturday mornings as of Saturday, Dec. 30. (Map, directions)

Where can I get a birth, marriage or death certificate? The Wilson County Register of Deeds office maintains marriage records (1855 to present), death records (1913 to present), and birth records (1913 to present) for events that happened in Wilson County. Call 252-399-2935 or go here for more information.

When is the next City Council meeting? Council only meets once in December due to the holidays — Thursday, Dec. 13, beginning at 7 p.m. The agenda will be finalized around Monday, Dec. 9 and available here.

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Pilgrams.

Have a Great Thanksgiving and check back next month for more questions and answers.

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2012 shows urgency of early voting in Wilson County, N.C.

Despite the best efforts of Karl Rove and Florida ballot counters, the 2012 Elections have come to an end. What lessons can we draw from the results in Wilson County and across North Carolina?

President Obama won Wilson County before Election Day.  One-Stop, or early, voting saw 13,897 people vote for the Obama/Biden ticket, 9,667 for Romney/Ryan, or about a 59-41 percent advantage for the Democrats. While the voting on Tuesday broke for the Republicans, the Democrats began the day with a 4,200-vote lead, an unsurmountable lead here.

See the results for yourself

Local political officials acknowledged that they are working to turn out the vote as early and as fully as possible.

“That’s been our game plan since we started,” said Asa Gregory, Wilson County Democratic Party chairman — get voters to the One-Stop polling spot, then recruit those people as volunteers to turn out the vote in their communities. The more people who vote early, the more people who are available all day on Election Day to carry people to the polls.

Gary Proffitt, the Wilson County Republican Party chairman, said his party had tried but failed to match the Democrats’ early momentum.

One-Stop voting was weighted toward minorities in Wilson County. African-Americans make up around 40 percent of the county’s voting rolls, but they were just over half of the early voters. The biggest group of One-Stop voters were black women (7,413), followed by white women (6,289), white men (5,332) and black men (4,536). A black woman was twice as likely as a white male to vote during the One-Stop period.

Obama’s One-Stop advantage statewide was lessened by military voting.  Obama received more than 1.3 million votes statewide during the One-Stop period, compared to 1.1 million for Romney. But traditional absentee voting, which included those cast by deployed service personnel, heavily favored Romney, 135,746 to 64,673.

2012 presidential results by county

Red counties voted for the Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan, blue counties voted for the Democratic ticket of Obama/Biden

Wilson County fell in line with the more urban of North Carolina’s counties. The state’s major metropolitan areas — Charlotte, the Triangle, Triad and Asheville — all voted for the Democrats, most of the rural areas voted for Republicans.Wilson’s six neighboring counties were split 3-3.

A longer election period meant less chance for problems. You might expect a lengthy One-Stop period would create chances for voter fraud or intimidation. But both party chairs said they had no trouble monitoring the one early voting location.

Then only about 30 percent of the county’s voters turned out Tuesday, which meant few lines and no problems, said Renea Morris, Wilson County Elections director. Wilson County was able to substantially complete its count by 11 p.m., more than two hours earlier than it did in 2008.

Wilson County, presidential results, 2012

The 2012 election divided Wilson County into the Republican-leaning west and the Democrat-favoring east.

Returns divided Wilson County. The eastern half of the county, including many traditionally black neighborhoods, voted for the Democrats. The western half of the county, including many new, predominantly white subdivisions, voted primarily Republican.

(This is an article I’d write for a Wilson County audience, one that’d be primarily interested in a local take on the election results. I used to do these type of analyses for the Wilson Times, although this is more of a web report of course. I primarily talked to my sources about the One-Stop period — what had happened, what problems they encountered, etc. It was a fairly low-key election in Wilson County, no reports of problems, so I was trying to add some perspective.)

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Week 9

You have been appointed the public editor or ombudsman for a news organization online. It’s your job to draft a policy covering changes to articles published online, including corrections and clarifications. How will these be handled? What will be communicated to site visitors?

As a public editor, I would strive to promote transparency so I would post our policy on our site.  Every page would link to this policy with “Our commitment to you” or similar language.

If we lose your trust, we lose your readership. We understand that. Here’s how we prove it:

  • We will abide by the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Code of Ethics. You can read the whole thing here, but we shall seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable.
  • We will report only what we can reasonably prove as accurate. As journalism teachers say, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” We will make every effort to make sure that what we say is truth truly is.
  • We will correct and own our mistakes. None of us are perfect, despite what we claim in online dating profiles. We will fix errors in these ways:
    1. Typographical and similar mistakes will be fixed in the original copy.
    2. Minor misstatements of facts will be struck through and the corrected copy added so that readers can see where changes were made.
    3. Errors that violate SPJ’s Code may be taken offline, but we will explain why, if possible, the mistakes were made and what we will do to prevent them from repeating.
  • We will clarify what’s not clear. We will always try to present news in a way that will help you better understand the issues and form your own opinions. When we don’t live up to that goal, we will make changes as described in the previous section.
  • We will clearly label our opinions. Many news organizations are blurring the line between news and commentary. Not us. Any opinion pieces will be obviously those of their authors. We will also respect the opinions of others. As journalism teachers also say, “As flat as a pancake is, it still has two sides to it.”
  • We will respect your opinions. We will give you the chance to comment on every piece posted on our site. Don’t post anything offensive, profane or otherwise foul, and your opinion will be available for every reader to see. Authors will make a reasonable effort to respond to reader questions or concerns posted on our stories.
  • You have a role, too. My job is to be the readers’ advocate and to make sure we live up to our ideals. But I need your help. Please read our site and let me know how we are doing. Please contact me, Matt Shaw, public editor, with any concerns at 919-555-1212 or mattshaw@hypotheticalorganization.com.

As an adjunct to No. 1, draft a policy covering how crowdsourced content should be attributed. YouTube, for example, does this at http://www.youtube.com/t/press_broadcasting#rebroadcast.

We welcome your contributions to our site under these conditions:

  • We need to know who you are. Register as a site user here by giving us your name, email address and phone number. If you want to post as a representative of a particular group, business or organization, let us know that as well.
  • Be polite and play fair. We follow the Golden Rule around here — treat others as you want to be treated. No rude behavior or profane language, please.
  • We will respect your copy. We will not change what you write other than to fix minor spelling or other errors. If we see more significant errors, we will contact you. We reserve the right to delete any postings that violate the spirit of this agreement.
  • Be original. Don’t plagiarize. If you repeat what others have said, attribute. Bring new ideas to our forums.
  • Expect feedback. We have created a community where everything we post is up for discussion. The same is true for crowdsourced material. If you say it, you need to be here to defend it.

You did such a great job as public editor, your news organization has named you chief digital officer. It’s now up to you to hire a vice president of social media. Write the job description.

VICE PRESIDENT OF SOCIAL MEDIA — It’s a brave new world online, help us navigate it. We are an online news organization that is seeking new, loyal and engaged site users. You are someone who knows how to use social media sites to find and recruit these people.

We need someone with a mix of education and experience to accomplish these goals:

  • Understands our organization. We don’t need a journalist per se, yet you would need a basic knowledge of journalistic principals and responsibilities. You would need to read and be a fan of our site if you’re going to represent us on social media.
  • Be an outstanding communicator. We need someone who understands the impact of dramatic images and the well-chosen words.
  • Build our brand across multiple social media sites. We want visibility on the sites that everyone uses, like Facebook and Twitter, and the ones everyone will be using soon. The person needs to have an understanding of these communities and their users and be able to develop strategies for bringing them to our site.
  • Be a creative problem solver. It’s challenging today to find our audience, or, more accurately, helping our audience find us. For example, if we are preparing a series of stories about groundwater contamination, you could help us locate people with interest and expertise to add to our conversation, including soliciting crowdsourced pieces.
  • Be able to work under pressure. Today’s communications field is constant whitewater. We need people who can brave the rapids and emerge with smiles on their faces.
  • Collaborate. It’s a team effort, we need people who can build on each other’s strengths. The good news is that everyone has a chance to lead at times. Bring good ideas and we’ll give you the chance to put them into action.
  • Be willing to learn. Today’s Facebook may be tomorrow’s Friendster. You need to have a willingness to learn the new platforms and leverage them to our use.
  • Implement best practices. Our competitors sometimes have good ideas. We  want the best practices to be our standard.
  • Check your work. We will implement a constant self-evaluation program so that we know what we’re doing right and what we will do better.
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Biden vs. Ryan: The blow-by-blow of the VP debate

(Note: Bold text generally reflects repostings of others’ comments. Links are included where possible.)

10:58: My legs are cramping from my sitting on the floor and typing atop my coffee table. I definitely am not the night’s winner, although it’s been fun.

I attended a presidential debate 24 years ago — Bush vs. Dukakis in Winston-Salem in 1988 — and I remember the challenge of trying to write and listen at the same time, knowing that my reporting had to be as good as the other more seasoned reporters in the room. It wasn’t easier tonight, even though it struck me that I could pause the DVR anytime I wanted and even run back the video. But I didn’t think that was in the spirit of liveblogging.

I thought it would be easier to track the other blogs, but I didn’t get many chances to do so. But I do think I did a decent job of tracking the important takeaways from the debate. Thanks, Andy, for the assignment!

10:53: CBS Poll says 50 percent saw Biden as winner, 31 percent Ryan, 19 percent tie. Both candidates were seen as more relatable after debate. Biden seen as an acceptable president by 39 percent before debate, 56 percent afterward. Ryan seen as acceptable president by 45 percent before debate and 49 afterward.

10:52: I am waiting for a CBS Insta-Poll of uncommitted voters to see who they thought won. My gut feeling is Biden, but it was a 12-round decision, not a knockout.

10:44: @KarlRove: Yes, we saw your frustration, @JoeBiden, but it was with Ryan taking him to cleaners.

10:42: Replay of Biden saying “Oh, so now you’re Jack Kennedy?” to Ryan. How did I miss that? Liveblogging is difficult!

10:38: Fox News viewers seem to agree that Biden was “rude, rude, rude.”

10:36: CBS News is recapping some of the top comments. The remark that Biden made about his parents and neighbors being in the 47 percent is the first one played. It struck me as the most memorable, too. Ryan’s big line seems to have been Obama talking of hope and change in 2008 and “attack, blame and defame” this year.

10:32: Indecision (Daily Show blog): But… what about Big Bird?

It’s true — no Sesame Street references tonight.

10:32: Families are on stage now. Paul Ryan’s wife looks happy to greet the Bidens. Ann Romney looked like someone was waving a cut onion under her hose after first presidential debate.

10:29: Final statements. Biden: We inherited a mess. Romney says 47 percent won’t take responsibility, he’s talking about my parents, my neighbors in Scranton, people who have never had a shot. Giving these people a shot is what it’s all about. Ryan: What kind of country are we going to be giving our children? Obama had a chance, but he didn’t deliver. We offer real reforms and help to all Americans. Romney is a proven job creator. We will reapply founding principles.

10:28: What could you bring to office that no one else could? Ryan: We need people who do what they said they would. Biden: Look at my record, it’s all been about the middle class.

10:27: Biden: “He voted to put two wars on the credit card.”

10:21: Final question, military member embarrassed by election’s tone. Response? Biden: This military hero is not among “47 percent.” Ask that hero which candidate had “conviction to lift middle class.” Whether President Obama has acted wisely to protect American interests. Ryan: I thank him for service. We wouldn’t make military cuts. Look at string of broken promises. “We can’t keep spending and borrowing.”

10:20: Ryan: “We don’t think unelected officials should make these decisions.” Biden: “The next president will get one or two Supreme Court judges.” Roe v. Wade is dangerously close to being overturned.

10:15: Question about how religious beliefs influence feelings about abortion. Ryan: Can’t separate faith from beliefs. He’s a Roman Catholic. Recounting story about seeing ultrasound of daughter. Life begins at conception. Policy will be to oppose abortion except for in cases of rape, incest or threats to life of mother. Democrats support abortion in any case with public funding. Biden: Also a practicing Catholic and feels must take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. Accept church’s belief that life begins at conception, but he wouldn’t impose his beliefs on others.

10:10 p.m.: Surprise: Only 5 percent of the Forbes.com audience does not favor extending the Bush tax cuts.

10:07: NPR online poll finds 89 percent say debate is “living up to their expectations.” Looking forward to seeing polls on who’s winning. It feels like Biden, but my opinion of a draw in the first presidential debate was out of the mainstream.

10:04: Biden: “The surge will be out by the end of the summer. … That’s what the military said.” It takes months to draw down forces. Ryan: U.S. drew down troops during “fighting season,” when warmer weather allows Taliban fighters to come from Pakistan.

10:04: Viewer, Fox News: The moderator is another democrat. How in the world we can made up our minds and decide. This is very important decision for us.  They should put Big Bird as a moderator.

10:01 p.m.: From Reuters:

pic.twitter.com/8wRm5VEF

9:58: Afghanistan is now the topic. Ryan: “What we don’t want to do is lose the gains we’ve gotten.” Need to keep working toward 2014 transition. Need to make sure Afghanistan not allowed to be “launching pad for terrorism.” Biden: Purpose of going into Afghanistan was to hit terrorists and bin Laden, missions done. Also trained Afghans to do own defense. “We are leaving in 2014, period.”

9:55: Viewer, Fox News: Why is Biden, like most Democrats, allowed to be so rude in interrrupting his opponent?  The Democrats can only win by not allowing others to speak.  Did Democrats mothers never teach them that it isn’t polite to interrupt when someone else is speaking?

9:53: Biden: “Let tax loopholes expire when they’re supposed to for millionaires.”

9:51: Biden: “You think these guys are going to cut the loopholes?” Says Romney benefits from the loopholes. Only way to close would be to cut mortgage deduction. Ryan: “Wrong about that.” Biden: “The Republican Congress working bipartisanly? With a 7 percent approval rating?”

9:49: Moderator: Why no specifics? Ryan: We’ll lower tax rates 20 percent in bipartisan effort, close loopholes. Moderator: “You’ll guarantee the math will add up?” Ryan: “Absolutely.”

9:45: Taxes — Biden: Middle class will pay less, those making over $1M will pay slightly more. Ryan: If everyone paid twice taxes, federal budget still run deficit. Tax reform necessary. We’d close loopholes for primarily highest incomes.

9:44: Frank James, NPR: The back and forth and interruptions are making this feel like an argument over the Thanksgiving dinner table or in the dorm room. It’s the way people debate politics. People are accustomed to that.

9:43: Biden: “These guys haven’t been big on Social Security from the beginning.” Ryan: If you don’t have a record to run on, you try to get voters to run from opponent.

9:42: Ryan: ‘Let younger Americans have a choice of letting their money grow faster in the Social Security system.’

9:41: Why not raise eligibility two years? Biden: Voucher program will not keep up with rising costs of medical care.

9:39: Talking over each other now. Ryan saying his plan was built by bipartisan effort, Biden saying Democrats have disavowed.

9:36: Biden compares Ryan to Sarah Palin. “Every debate I hear about these panels.” Adds, “We will not privatize Social Security.” Imagine where today’s seniors would be if money invested in stock market before 2008 crash.

9:35: Question about Medicare and Social Security. Ryan says his family has benefited from programs. We owe retirees these benefits. Obamacare will take money from seniors. A mysterious panel will make decisions.

9:34: Ryan: “Was it a good idea to spend all that money on electric cars in Finland?”

9:33: Biden: Ryan sent two letters asking for stimulus money in Wisconsin. “It will create growth and jobs, his words!”

9:32: Ryan: We’ll create 12 million jobs in 4 years, 4 percent growth.

9:31: Biden: “These guys are so seized with the debt that they created.”

9:30: Biden says Romney said of GM, “Let it go bankrupt.” “Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something.”

9:28Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett: Foreign policy! Joe Biden is a lot more comfortable than Paul Ryan. Biden’s answers on Iran have been very, very strong. Tough, steeped in facts. Ryan is trying to keep up and make some points, but he looks a little lost. It’s like Paul Ryan just passed his Spanish language AP exam, and Joe Biden grew up bilingual. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/a-former-obama-speechwriter-liveblogs-the-vp-debate/263505/

9:26: Ryan: Unemployment rate in Scranton 10 percent, was 8.5 percent in 2008. “We’re going in the wrong direction. … This is not what a real recovery looks like.”

9:23: Joblessness has dropped. Is it possible to get under 6 percent? Biden recapping economic problems inherited by Obama. First mention of “47 percent” — “These people are my mom and dad … senior citizens, veterans, people fighting in Afghanistan right now.”

9:21: Ryan: Iran “the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism.” Biden: Iran being “crippled” by sanctions. “Big nations can’t bluff.”

9:20: The moderator is doing a great job of keeping the debaters on topic. Also, those are two blue-eyed men. Wow. Ryan has studied the Romney half-smirk.

9:19: Frank Ryan, NPR: Ryan continues to try to draw the contrast. One thing that’s problematic is that he says: “Let’s look at things from the ayatollah’s perspective.” Americans don’t do well putting themselves in the heads of ayatollahs.

9:18: Ryan: Ayatollahs see Obama trying to water down sanctions, going on daily talk show rather than talking to U.N. officials.

9:13: On Iran: Ryan say Iran “brazen,” moving faster toward nuclear weapon because U.S. has watered down sanctions. Romney administration would have credibility. Biden: “Most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions. … do you want to go to war?” Ryan: “We want to prevent war.” Biden: Iranians “good way away from having a nuclear weapon.”

9:12: Should U.S. apologize for burning Korans and urinating on corpses? Ryan: “Yes, we should apologize for that … we should not apologize for our values.”

9:11: Forbes.com says 63 percent of respondents expect Ryan to win debate. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2012/10/11/vice-presidential-debate-2012-live-blog/

9:09: Biden: Ryan’s statement “a bunch of malarky.” Obama has lived up to “every promise. … These guys bet against America all the time.”

9:06: Ryan says Obama slow to recognize Libyian attack as terrorist act. “What we are witnessing is unraveling of Obama foreign policy.”

9:02 p.m.: First question about Libya. Biden: “The president has led with clear vision.”

9:02 p.m.: Introductions under way — Ryan’s flagpin is at least 30 percent bigger than Biden’s. Or, as I expect Fox News to report, game over.

9:00 p.m.: It’s on like Donkey Kong.

8:59 p.m.: I have five blogs open. Let the experiment begin!

8:45 p.m.: I am trying to decide how I feel about these candidates with the idea that either could become president. Ryan strikes me as dishonest, Biden as screwy. But I haven’t seen either speak in years so I am probably buying into their late-night characterizations.

8:30ish, Oct. 11, 2012: I am going to try to liveblog tonight’s VP debate while also watching live reaction from the right and left. I am going to be interested to see if I can keep track of everything that is going on while also tracking the debate.

One thing I have already learned — Paul Ryan’s team has negotiated with the debate officials so that the moderator will address him as “Mr. Ryan” rather than “Congressman Ryan.” Apparently he does not to be associated with Congress.

Politico‘s report has been updated to say the moderator, Martha Raddatz, is supposed to call Ryan “mister,” not “congressman,” though Biden is apparently free to call him whatever he wants. The larger point — Ryan seems a little embarrassed about where he works — stands, but it’s an important clarification. http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/

Meanwhile, Fox News is suggesting Joe Biden is a loose cannon:

As he hits the stage tonight, Biden will be the beneficiary of very low expectations. His gaffe-filed tenure and over-the-top style have made him something of a political curiosity. Obama has frequently reinforced the notion of his number two being comic relief, famously calling him “Sheriff Joe.” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/11/low-expectations-high-pressure-for-biden-in-debate/#ixzz292a3mh47

Fox News is reporting that moderator ABC News’ Martha Raddatz had Obama at her wedding. Or she was at theirs. One or the other.

By the way, nine vice presidents have become president unexpectedly due to the death of eight presidents and the resignation of one. Five others were elected president after their stints as VP. So the job isn’t just official representative at state funerals.

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Thousands head to Wilson for Whirligig Festival Nov. 3-4

Fun will be in the air Nov. 3-4, 2012, in downtown Wilson, N.C., for the annual Whirligig Festival, one of the best new family events in North Carolina.

Whirligig Festival

The Whirligig Festival is expected to attract more than 20,000 people to downtown Wilson Nov. 3-4.

Here’s what you need to know:

What’s a Whirligig Festival? Two days of music, kids’ games and activities, contests, special events, nearly all of which is free, plus food, drinks, arts and crafts for sale.

When is the Whirligig Festival? It is always the first full weekend of November, which is Nov. 3-4 in 2012. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday are noon-5 p.m.

Who will be there? More than 20,000 attendees, more than 200 vendors or exhibitors, non-profit organizations, and many performers. The Band of Oz will be the headlining act when it performs Sunday, Nov. 4, 1-5 p.m.

Where is Wilson? Wilson is at the intersection of U.S. 264 and Interstate 95, in the heart of eastern North Carolina. We are 40 minutes east of Raleigh and the Triangle. The Whirligig Festival is in downtown Wilson; set in-car navigation systems for 100 Pine Street, Wilson 27893, to find free convenient parking.

Why a whirligig festival?

Vollis Simpson and one of his 'whirligigs'

Vollis Simpson of Wilson has attracted international attention in the art world for his fanciful wind-driven pieces he calls ‘whirligigs.’

Vollis Simpson, a celebrated folk artist, built fanciful wind-catching devices he called “whirligigs” out of scrap metal, machinery, bicycle parts and other objects. Some are as tall as 50 feet or more. Simpson’s art has become high prized among collectors. Four of his pieces were installed in downtown Atlanta during the 1996 Olympic Games. He created a 55-foot tall whirligig for Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum.

Meanwhile, many people come to Wilson each year to see Simpson’s works. Simpson’s farm field attracted thousands of motorists each year off I-95, so many that it was considered Wilson’s top tourist attraction, even without advertising.

A public-private partnership is currently working to relocate 30 of Simpson’s largest works to the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. The whirligigs are currently being restored, rebuilt and made to last for decades. The park is scheduled to open in downtown Wilson in time for the 2013 Whirligig Festival.

Band of Oz leads entertainment lineup

The three stages will feature dozens of acts, including:

Band of Oz

The Band of Oz will perform noon-5 p.m. Nov. 4.

The Band of Oz(noon-5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4) is one of the most popular beach music acts, performing more than 200 shows a year in the Southeastern U.S. The band was formed in 1967 to play at high school and college events. It has been on the road full-time since 1977. The eight-member band includes a full-horn section to perform a variety of beach, pop and soul music.

The Wallers (5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3) are a family act, a brother and two sisters, all three of whom are lead vocalists. They are backed by a five-piece band performing Motown standards, pop and soul classics, and today’s hits.

Without Further Ado 
(10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3) is a five-member group that prides itself for “a no nonsense, get-right-down-to-it, approach to music.” The group covers songs from artists as diverse as Patsy Cline, The Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

East Coast Rhythm & Blues
(10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3) 
is a seven-member band out of Raleigh that performs Motown, soul and oldies at venues in the Carolinas and surrounding states.

The Impacts
(1-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3)
 are experienced musicians playing songs from the 1950s-1970s. The group includes several former members of the beach group, Bob Collins and the Fabulous Five.

A full entertainment schedule for the 2012 festival will be released in late October.

Media contact: Matt Shaw, City of Wilson’s communications coordinator, 252-399-2310; cell, 252-299-3078; or MattShaw@WilsonNC.org

Editors: Full-sized photos are available here. Please credit photos courtesy of the Wilson Whirligig Festival.

If you intend to cover the 2012 Whirligig festival and need technical assistance, please contact me. We can provide photos and video to outlets unable to be in Wilson that weekend. I will also be on site and available by cellphone, 252-299-3078, all weekend.

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Week 6 assignment

When I daydream about a life where I have time for things like daydreaming, I often find myself wishing I could write an overview of the UNC football scandal. The main story, its spinoffs and diverse group of characters — the Shaky Chancellor, the Absentee Professor, the Globetrotting Lovebirds, to name four — have become so convoluted over the past two and a half years that I have wanted an “Idiot’s Guide,” so why not write one myself?

Publication: Inside Carolina, part of the Scout.com network. It’s easy to pick IC because I have been a member since the day it started more than 11 years ago as a result of a merger of uncbasketball.com and thetarpit.com. Also, the ongoing negative publicity has split the community. UNC fans and alumni need to regain perspective.

Audience profile: Fans of college revenue sports, particularly UNC football and basketball. I could not find demographics for Inside Carolina.com, but Scout.com says it has 34.4 million unique users on its network of 200 sites covering college sports, the NFL, Major League baseball, high school and other sports sites. Those users are 57 percent male and 62 percent between the ages of 25-54. Nearly 24 percent have a household income of more than $100,000 per year.

Inside Carolina has a print magazine that is published 10 times a year. It has an average circulation of around 35,200. The readership is 71 percent male. More than half its readers are between the ages of 35-54 and have incomes falling between $50,000-$100,000.

Purpose of publication: Inside Carolina covers UNC sports, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, olympic sports, and basketball and football recruiting. It is the only media outlet to have staff coverage of every UNC football and men’s basketball game, both home and away. It has both free content and subscriber-only content that is accessed by people who pay around $10 a month or $100 per year. Annual subscriptions include the print magazine, which is also sold on newsstands. The website also includes free and premium message boards on a variety of subjects.

Frequency of publication: The website is updated several times a day. The magazine is published monthly from August-May and one mid-summer publication.

Competition: A number of traditional and electronic publications cover UNC athletics. These include The News & Observer, The Daily Tar Heel, The Fayetteville Observer, The Durham Herald, The Chapel Hill NewsTar Heel Illustrated, Tar Heel Blog, among others.

Proposed online content: What I would be interested in creating would be a multimedia project that would bring perspective to the scandal. This would include these pieces:

  • A timeline of events dating from the first reports in June 2010 of a possible NCAA investigation up until present day. The timeline would include links to video from press conferences and interviews
  • A gallery of the players and personalities, including pictures, video links, and descriptions of their roles
  • Audio or video interviews with the people involved
  • A breakdown on every football player and coach including what was charged, what was proven and not proven, extenuating circumstances, and where the players and coaches are now
  • Background information on the media companies and reporters involved in the coverage, soft of a who’s who guide
  • Analysis of news stories, including sources, language and conclusions

Information challenges: The story is so long and complicated that it would take a week to compile even a basic timeline and identify all the major players. In fact, I read ahead on the assignments just to make sure that Week 7 or 8 didn’t order us to “write the online content you described in Week 6.”

Response to information challenges: It would be tremendously fun and rewarding to dig into this type of research. Most of the stories would still be easily accessible online.

Style guide: I would use the AP Stylebook and adapting to any rules Inside Carolina uses.

Conclusion: I don’t actually have to do this, right?

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Making headlines

Part 1 of my J711 assignment for Week 5:

Headline: Not dead, but still voting
Problem: Confusing. Aren’t all (non-Chicago) voters not dead?
Solution: ‘Potentially dead’ voters alive, angry
Source: WRAL, Sept. 18, 2012, http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/11555751/

Headline: Man shot by Fayetteville officer charged with attempted murder
Problem: The officer was charged with attempted murder?
Solution: Charges filed against man shot by Fayetteville officer
Source: WRAL, Sept. 18, 2012,  http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/11562734/

Headline: BPA Associated With Obesity in Children and Teens
Problem: I find BPA to be an obscure term
Solution: Study links plastic material, obesity in children
Source: Wall Street Journal, The Juggle blog, Sept. 19, 2012,  http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2012/09/19/bpa-associated-with-obesity-in-children-and-teens/

Part 2:

Before:

Several factors are driving efforts like these. Ships in North American waters are now required to burn low-sulfur oil, which costs 60 percent more than bunker fuel. The United Nations’ International Maritime Organization is also phasing in restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions by commercial ships.

Meanwhile, the price of bunker fuel, which accounts for most of a vessel’s operating cost, has been rising steeply – 600 percent over the last 10 years.

Wind, of course, is cost- and emission-free. But none of the designs under consideration would replace a ship’s engine, only supplement it.

After:

Several factors are driving these efforts:

  • Ships in North American waters are now required to burn low-sulfur oil, which costs 60 percent more than bunker fuel.
  • The United Nations’ International Maritime Organization is phasing in restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions by commercial ships.
  • The price of bunker fuel, which accounts for most of a vessel’s operating cost, has been rising steeply – 600 percent over the last 10 years.

Wind, of course, is cost- and emission-free. But none of the designs under consideration would replace a ship’s engine, only supplement it.

Source: New York Times, Published Sept. 8, 2012, in The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/09/09/2330580/winds-of-change-on-high-seas.html#storylink=cpy
Part 3:
Before:
My Home States
After:
Coming of age in North Carolina: Or how I learned to navigate a state split by class, race and patriotism
Part 4:
Rivera vows to return from injury, rejoin Yankees
Yankees’ Rivera: ‘I am coming back’
Closer not ready for career’s end: Rivera say he’ll recover, return to N.Y. mound
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