Thursday, July 1, 2010

State Tax; Afghanistan; Charlotte; Gamecocks

Welcome to July. Just a few short takes today. And, with July 4th just a few days away, be sure to participate in the survey to the right.

No State Income Tax? Not Really!
I get a kick out of the reason athletes—Lebron James, for instance—may want to play for teams in Florida or any other states which have no state income tax. To do so will save some taxes but not completely. Most states, including North Carolina, tax athletes and entertainers when they perform within our borders. It’s a payday and they worked in North Carolina to earn the income.

For instance, when the Miami Heat plays in Charlotte, or when the Tampa Bay Bucs play in Charlotte, or when a Florida ice hockey team plays in Raleigh, the visiting team is supposed to withhold taxes for paydays in North Carolina. It may cover just one game day or it may cover practice days as well. Same goes for concert performers at various venues across the state. Tonight, I believe Phish is playing at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in the Raleigh area. The members of the band are supposed to pay income tax on the payday. Just thought you’d like to know…

The Change in Stances on Afghanistan
It’s interesting that when George W. Bush was President, he and his staff were criticized for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most Democrats were constantly “yelling” for the United States to get out of both arenas. But, now that Barack Obama is President, most of those same Democrats think it’s the right thing to stay while the Republicans who supported the wars under President Bush are against the continued presence and the senseless deaths of American soldiers now headed by President Obama.

It’s politics as usual. When asked for my thoughts, I’m quick to want to bring all United States troops from all over the world back to United States soil and let all the other countries fend for themselves. Why should we keep an army in Korea? How about Germany? And the many other locations worldwide? Let’s bring all troops home and beef up our borders and pour the money into the needs at home. Maybe it’s a radical stance, but if someone wants to bring troops home from war zones, why not from peaceful zones? Or, maybe, it’s because of our being there that it’s a peaceful zone. Hmmmmm?

Democratic Convention in Charlotte?
Speaking of politics and somewhat peaceful zones, there’s a good chance the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte which would go a long way to help the Queen City overcome its image as an overgrown country town. Charlotte is up against Cleveland (what?), Minneapolis (wasn’t it held recently in St. Paul?) and St. Louis (a heartland state without the need for a political boost in two years).

For statewide Democrats, especially Governor Bev Perdue, and for President Obama having the convention in Charlotte would help their re-election prospects in North Carolina (and South Carolina), and each might need the boost by then. With 15 electoral votes, North Carolina might be the key state for President Obama. It would also be a huge financial windfall for Charlotte which has the downtown air-conditioned basketball arena for the daily activities and the Panthers football stadium for President Obama’s nighttime rock-star-style acceptance speech.

While much of political conventions is mundane, there are times I would love to be in the gallery, blogging or tweeting. I grew up in a family that took an active interest in politics. Even though I was just eight-years-old at the time, I remember my grandmother being upset when soon to be NC Governor Terry Sanford deplaned in San Francisco and announced his support at the Democratic Convention for John Kennedy for President instead of sticking by good old boy Southerner Lyndon Johnson who eventually was Kennedy’s choice for Vice President.

Of course, conventions then were much better than today. Rarely was a nominee decided prior to the convention unlike now when the primary voting pretty much takes care of that. Conventions today are about posturing, speeches, message, and determining the Party Platform, much of which is never followed line by line once that party gets the power.

As a political junkie, I welcome the DNC to Charlotte and hope that’s the selection. And, since I mentioned Terry Sanford, who was the Democratic nominee for Governor of North Carolina in 1960 (he was elected that fall), can you name the Republican nominee for NC Governor in 1960? Hint: he was also the nominee in 1964? He lost twice. Take a guess and respond in the comments section below. Anonymous responses are welcomed.

Ray gets his CWS Title at South Carolina
Personal congratulations to friend Ray Tanner and to his “Carolina” Gamecocks baseball team for winning the College World Series in Omaha this week. Tanner is head coach at the Columbia SC university and has been so for the last 14 years. His life in college baseball had been at NC State since enrolling there in the late 1970s before taking the Gamecocks top spot in 1996. Ray played for the Wolfpack 1977-80 and then was an assistant coach to Sam Esposito from 1980-87 and was head coach 1989-1996, getting the job when he was 28-years old.

Ray bled Wolfpack Red as much as anyone, but he left NC State when the idea for increased support for the baseball program waned under then athletics director Todd Turner. He went to much greener pastures as far the college baseball is concerned. Ray told me about the day he was hired. He was as assistant coach for USA Baseball and the team was training in Tennessee. South Carolina Athletics Director Mike McGee called Ray and told him a plane was on its way to ferry him to Columbia for the announcement. Ray suggested the announced should be faxed to the media and let it go at that. McGee insisted Ray return to Columbia, and he did to find reporters from every South Carolina television station and daily newspaper as well as many of the radio stations throughout the state. It was an event and showed Ray the importance of Gamecock baseball in South Carolina.

While Elliott Avent has done a nice job at NC State since following Tanner and while major improvements were made to Doak Field after Ray left, Wolfpack fans are left to wonder if Tanner had stayed in Raleigh would the NC State program be of the same level as that at Carolina, the one in Columbia.

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