Jul 10, 2009

Q & A with Meck Deck Blogger, Jeff Taylor

Following is my interview with Jeff Taylor, blogger for the Meck Deck blog ( http://charlotte.johnlocke.org/blog/) put out by the John Locke Foundation:

1. What's your background? Where are you from, your previous profession, eduction, etc.

Born in New Jersey, grew up outside of Akron, OH, joined the mass exodus from the Rust Belt to land in Charlotte in 1978. Graduated from Independence HS in 1983, from UNC in '87. Majored in philosophy, which means I am qualified to hold no specific job, but can tell you at great length why that is so. Fell into journalism, wound up in DC for 13 years, first working for the Evans-Novak Political Report, then as a Washington correspondent for Investor's Business Daily. Came to my senses, moved back to Charlotte in 2003. Slid into being a Charlotte presence for Carolina Journal and the John Locke Foundation. I think I first wrote for CJ in 1989, so that is also a full-circle deal. Latest piece was on Jim Black's oddly lop-sided fine settlement via scrub land.

2. How did you get involved in blogging?One of my steady freelance gigs was with Reason magazine, and I started blogging at Reason's Hit&Run blog from its inception in November 2002. Blogging, particularly short, link-heavy posts, just fits the way my brain works -- you know, like a ferret on crack. But at the same time, sometimes is harder to write short and make it meaningful. That's why I look to Nietzsche, Mencken, and Bierce as proto-bloggers.

3. How would you describe your political philosophy?

Government is a fire-axe. When you get it out and start swinging it around, you better have a damn good reason.

4. What trends in Charlotte-Mecklenburg politics most concern you?

Apathy. You do not have to look any further than the turnout in Republican precincts in November to see that. But I do see some spark in the Tea Party movement which, properly understood, is a protest movement against the local status quo leadership. Why someone in power has not embraced that message is baffling to me. It might cost a few mea culpas, but the alternative is to get rolled over by Democrats this fall. A close second is our county and city elected leaders being more or less completed controlled by professional staff, which in turn explains the out-of-control spending and debt levels.

5.Where do you get your news?

We still get the The Charlotte Observer delivered at home, although I sometimes wonder why. Too often there is no news in it. Case in point, and I emailed Rick Thames on this and have yet to hear anything back, is the lack of any July 1st these-laws-take-effect-today story. That is just a staple of covering local government. The N&O had one for the Triangle region, but Charlotte got zippy. Really hard to figure that one. I also rely on the world's greatest Web site, Fark.com and Bloomberg's business coverage. David Mildenburg covers banking and finance for Bloomberg from Charlotte and he is really required reading. Pretty much all of Bloomberg is, as they usually drill down better than other outlets. My home page is Google news, so a fair amount comes from there. Used to listen to talk radio, but I just wound up angry and depressed. Also I get ideas from Twitter and try to cruise by the local TV station sites everyday. TV news on a TV is almost uniformly unwatchable or simply too slow for me. Not their fault -- ferret crack-brain, remember.


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