Tea Party pandering in NC

Rather disturbing to read this today about NC’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Pat McCrory:

Pat McCrory sent a tweet at the state GOP convention that drew little attention: “Proud to support @NCGOP‘s resolution against Agenda 21.”

And congratulations to the N&O for not being wishy-washy, “Democrats say…” about this but straightforwardly calling it like it is:

With his statement, the moderate Republican mayor staked his flag with the most conservative members of his party and the tea partiers who believe the United Nations endorsement of sustainable growth, public transportation and open space policies is part of an international conspiracy.

McCrory endorsed a resolution calling Agenda 21 “a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control.”

I swear, the Republicans in this state are an absolute embarrassment.   As for McCrory, evidence suggests this is completely a pander and that the man knows better.  Here’s a follow-up:

Foxx, the Democrat who succeeded McCrory, accused him of “pandering.

“If there were ever a Republican considered ‘progressive’ on smart growth, it was Pat McCrory as mayor of Charlotte. He pushed for higher taxes to support transit and policies that encouraged dense, urban development. If he’s pulling away his support of progressive growth policies, it’s against the grain of what Charlotte has been doing, even under his tenure as mayor.”

The headline to this reads: “Dalton accuses McCrory of pandering to Tea Party.”  Of course, “McCrory panders to Tea Party would have been more accurate.”

What also really bugs me is that McCrory is always seen as such a moderate and reasonable Republican despite doing things like this.  What’s it going to take for people to realize he’s not actually so reasonable.  Even if he doesn’t believe this embarrassing Tea Party crap, the fact that he’s willing to endorse him does not speak well of him at all.

Photo of the day

I never even bothered to try and watch the Transit of Venus.  I assumed it would be ultimately difficult to see well and underwhelming.  Perhaps I’m forever ruined by the 1986 trip my dad and I took to Key West to see Halley’s Comet (Key West offered the best viewing from the US) only to get a sense of: really?  that’s it?  Famous comet: yes.  Impressive astronomical object to view: most definitely the case in 1986.   Maybe it will be better in 2061.  Also, I figured there’s be awesome Transit of Venus photos on-line.  Naturally, Alan Taylor has curated many of the best.   Now this is a cool view:

Venus moves across the Sun in this image captured by Japan’s satellite Hinode, on June 6, 2012. One of the rarest astronomical events occurred yesterday, when Venus passed directly between the sun and Earth, a transit that won’t occur again until 2117. (Reuters/JAXA) 

Coke, marketing, and minorities

Really interesting piece in the Post about a former Coke marketing executive who now greatly regrets his former work.  The key to Coke strategy during his time was not market share, but “share of stomach.”  Coke was simply trying to supply more and more of the liquids that people drink.   Apparently it was considered a great day when they surpassed milk in the American diet.   Anyway, this one bit really bothered me:

Putman, whose positions at Coca-Cola included U.S. head of marketing for carbonated drinks, said in the interview that among his achievements was tailoring the company’s national advertising campaigns to specific groups. The approach helped Coca-Cola intensify marketing to target audiences such as African Americans and Hispanics.

“It was just a fact that Hispanics and African Americans have higher per capita consumption of sugar-based soft drinks than white Americans,” he said. “We knew that if we got more products into those environments those segments would drink more.”

Today that work is one of Putman’s greatest regrets. Statistics consistently show that the incidence of obesity is highest among minorities. The higher price and relative scarcity of many healthier alternatives to soda in low-income communities — as well as the lack of marketing to promote those that are available — effectively mean that low income minorities have fewer choices, Putman said. [emphasis mine]“The game is rigged by the power of the soft drink industry and how much money they put against all the competition in that space.”

Now I have no doubt that all this marketing led to an increased share of stomach among minorities, but please, let’s not remove all sense of personal agency here.  I just don’t really buy the emboldened bit above.  What are all the healthy beverage choices I have on the beverage row of my upscale Harris Teeter in Cary that are not available in corner bodegas, etc.?  They don’t sell water or milk in a corner grocery or 7-11?  And one can pretty much always choose to drink water.   No matter where you live or how rich you are, soft drinks always present a more tantalizing choice than water or healthier beverage options.  Now maybe I have way more options of non-processed food (pretty sure that I do) and I’ll give you that, but the idea that poor/minorities have little choice but to consume Coke?  I don’t think so.

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