Monday September 8 | Open Phones

September 8, 2008 at 7:56 am | Posted in Coming Up | 37 Comments

We open the phones to listeners this morning. Topics include the Democratic and Republican national conventions, the Candidates choices for running mates, the NC Governor’s race, Chief Rodney Monroe’ new crime fighting policies, The United Way of the Carolina’s fund drive and C.E.O. pay scandal and anything else on your mind.

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  1. About the Conventions: I was struck with how sarcastic Republicans were despite their responsibility in the failures of our country for at least 5 years of the last 8. Ruining our budget with excessive spending & corruption and illegal actions beyond belief. Sarah Palin is very attractive and delivers a great line (the bulldog one was my favorite) but on the taxes she’s more of the same in that she claims she protected taxpayers by refusing the bridge to nowhere but the money still went to Alaska for other projects saving us nothing. I also find it amusing that the guy who admittedly cheated on his first wife, put pressure on federal regulators to help a savings in loan (Keating) that was committing fraud which taxpayers had to cover in the end, and used his second wife’s beer fortune to fund his political ambitions is considered the more Christian alternative.

  2. It’s not about her Daughters pregnancy, as to being selected, it’s much more about her 4 month old
    ‘Special Needs’ child, which she seems to not understand what that entails. She should not have been offered the position to run, she should not have accepted when offered. If the child were older and didn’t need further possible medical care, which ‘Downs’ can bring on, than maybe, but not a new born with ‘Downs’!

    And the women who are supporting her pick leave one wondering as well, They seem to not see the Importance as well, are there really that many women in our society that think like that!

    I would question a Father accepting under the same conditions!!

    As for the ‘sexism’ talking point, seems that was left out when those using it would attack Hillary and other Women in Power. They didn’t Vet her and the Voting Public is Owed Answers to Questions, especially running for VP!!

  3. Actually, the pregnancy of Palin’s daughter DOES MATTER! Her own daughter has proven that abstinence only education does not work (though I’m not going to say it NEVER works). Teens need access to information about pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control. Palin needs to accept this and admit that abstinence only doesn’t work, because it becomes a policy issue and this is one issue that I completely disagree with her on. They are lucky that she ended up with a pregnancy, as opposed to HIV or another STD. We need to teach sex education in schools and keep funding programs to help support teen mothers (programs which Palin has specifically vetoed).

    The choice of Palin has made me more sure that I will NOT vote for McCain. In fact, I’m going to campaign for Obama.

  4. It’s outrageous to suggest that those who don’t vote for Obama are racist! What does someones race or sex have to do with their ability to lead? It’s clear that Obama is unqualified based on his energy policy, economic policy and foreign policy.

  5. I am sick of hearing about how John McCain is a mavarick. We have had 8 years of a cowboy and look what that got us!

  6. What’s with the double standards of Palin and her female supporters using womanhood as a defining quality for leadership though with Obama and his African American supports are not allowed to talk of race as a positive at all? Black supports seem to be ostracized from talking about how he would do to support black Americans it’s likened to him being a black supremacist.

    Also the sexism shield is thrown in front of Palin whenever uncomfortable questions are asked of her. Isn’t she supposed to be their to help negotiate with other world/nuclear powers. Do you think Putin or other less equality prone leaders care if they hurt her woman sensibilities? She’s a poor stand-in for Hillary.

  7. I am a foreigner, and I was amazed to hear Sarah Palin telling people that going to Iraq was a divine mission…how many people have died there since it all started? I think it it is scary.

  8. im a new immegrent from israel,i came here becouse i wanted a more peacfull life
    and i was strike by the poor haelth care sistem you have here.
    in israel we use to pay about 20$ a month and the finest doctors take care of you

    is it possible that israel has a better haelth care system ? it sure do! and somtimes it is cheaper for us to take aflight to israel and go to a doctor there,than to treat ourselfs is mandatory in israel and it works grate
    and if somthing works grate in israel
    it will work just about anywhere in the world

    and about sera palin,i dont think she can represent people like me
    i dont have the right to vote and im steel working on my english
    and there are milions like me
    she is as far as it gets from us

    so most of the immegrent that i know are shoket

  9. Palin will sit down for multiple interviews with Gibson in Alaska over two days, most likely Thursday and Friday, said McCain adviser Mark Salter.

    Political interviews are never done like this. Because it makes the questioning entirely at the discretion of the person being interviewed and their handlers.

  10. I had watched the Democratic Convention, but I could not watch the Republican mockery. I am appalled that the tone was that of the Bush style for 8 years. I had to leave the TV when watching Sarah Palin talk. For her to take that tone her first time on the national setting was arrogant. I realize that there are parts assigned to the players but how dare they.

    And furthermore to have put the press on notice to be nice to Sarah Palin is in direct conflict with all of the deep dives we do on “ALL” political candidates. Sarah Palin is an insult to Hillary Clinton, Condy Rice, and all women who work for our country without getting special treatment because they are a women.

    This should be about public service.

  11. Sarah Palin and the New Minority

    In all awareness, she was picked to keep the base from eroding. Plain and simple.

    She is a poster child for the base. I feel like they picked her because they knew her negatives don’t matter to people who don’t want to know the truth. As long as things look OK, they will continue support, regardless of inexperience, or cronyism. It’s all image. Just look at the support of GWBush in 2004. All the evidence in the world wouldn’t sway the base supporters, because of identity.

    When Rick Davis (McCain’s manager) says this campaign is not about the issues, it’s about personality, I think he’s talking solely to the support base of GWB. Personality? No Issues? That has to be an insult to any responsible adult. That is literal insanity! But to them, it reinforces the beauty of the pick they found in Palin. She’s the ultimate distraction from our MAJOR CONCERNS.

    Barack Obama has survived 20 months of national media scrutiny and not one dishonest claim has surfaced. Palin is in the spotlight for less than a week and her lack of basic honesty and decency is like finding candy in a candy store. McCain is even willing to promote this dishonesty. The funniest one is her “I sold the governer’s jet on Ebay”. Yeah, it was listed but never sold. Why even say it if it’s not true. Like anyone cares.

    The joke the Republicans are playing on America, would be quite funny, if it didn’t involve controling our treasury, our 10,000 nuclear warheads, and our 3,000,000 strong military. As well as being responsible for the initiation of sound fiscal and health policies.

    Barack Obama is aware of the joke they are playing. How well he can articulate that fact, I feel, will determine his and our success over the next four years.

    But we shall see.

  12. Dear Americans – You have an heavy responsibility in November. You are choosing not just the future President of the USA but you are also choosing someone who’s actions affect everyone else who lives on this fragile planet. Give it serious thought – your vote affects EVERYONE not just Americans.

  13. Sarah Palin’s nomination as the Republican VP is not only the most blatant case of political pandering in memory, but it points out the weakness of John McCain. He caved to the far right and showed that he is a “maverick” only when it suits his purposes.

    I also think Sarah Palin spelled out her qualifications during her acceptance speech when she compared herself to a Pitbull with Lipstick. She is qualified as – dogcatcher.

    One or the last callers was rambling on about a “One World Government” He reinforces axiom that has been result of the last 2 elections, and could happen again we don’t mobilize behind Obama.


  14. As a African American female who has worked since I was 17 years old (now close to retirement), I was a single parent, sometimes working two jobs just to keep the roof on. I’ve worked to put my daughter and my grandson through college. Now, after 8years of Bush/Cheney and Republican Party irresponsibility, I am very concerned for my future as I get older and also very concerned for what the future may hold for my grandson. It is hard to believe that people, even the ‘intelligent’ network anchors, could lookd at Sarah Palin and speech she gave at the RNC and say that she gave a great speech. She READ a speech that was crafted by Karl Rove and his vitriolic writers. It was filled with sarcasism, distortions and untruths. It ridiculed the values that this country was built on – volunteerism and community. How is that a great speech. There was no solid content about the the real, critical, vital issues that are important to all of us – the economy, jobs, environment, alternative fuels, health care, education for our children. What are doing? Why is the media focused on McCain/Palin’s sharp jabs at Obama and the Democats and not on the issues? HAS EVERYBODY LOST THEIR MINDS!!!!! Well, I’m not stupid, and I’m not asleep. I know that the differences between sanity and getting our country and values back and the insanity of more of the same is Obama/Biden.

  15. My big question is how much of WFAE’s budget is paid for by our tax dollars? Every time I tune in it sounds like I am listening to the Dem headquarters which wants everyone to believe that they exude the main stream thinking in the US which could justify the use of tax payers dollars. Put politics aside the fact is main stream thinking is not made up of the Democrats talking points. Main stream thinking is a misnomer because it would have to include the 25% to the left and right! Right there you can see that the main stream is going to include ideological thinking from both sides! Any talk show that alienates the conservatives like WFAE, is ignoring half the US population all the time pretending to represent the main stream. Just come clean, you are the Dems propaganda machine!

  16. Response to Rick from Fort Mill:
    Did you listen to the same program that I did this morning? If there was a slant to the Democratic side, it came from the callers and the emails, not from WFAE. The phones were open to all listeners.
    And as a side note, would you be as virulent in your position if the calls were slanted to the right?
    I doubt it.

  17. Rick,

    Thanks for your comments. As we’ve stated many times in the past, about 9 percent of our budget comes from federal dollars. The other 91 percent is from listeners and underwriting by local companies. As for Charlotte Talks ignoring one political party or the other, the show today was open phones. Anyone can call, write or blog no matter their political party. The phones are open. Nor do we ask about affiliation when someone calls in or writes. Mike generally takes calls in order of their coming in or if more than one call is on a related topic. Far from alienating any party, we try very hard to balance any panel we have that may be political. For example, tomorrow’s show is about the conflict between social and natural justice. Many scholars think that conflict fueled the separated ideologies of the two parties. For that reason I’ve decided to put Professors on the show who have examined this issue in their classrooms. I wanted to avoid any imbalance and so kept the panel from having obvious Democrats or Republicans. We go through that type of vetting process on many, many shows. Our recent show on the National Debt is another example. I went with Professors to avoid the listeners having to hear a debate on the debt from members of two of the countries political parties. We think this better serves the listener and hope that most of you agree.

  18. On today’s show I heard disgust with McCain making a political decision in picking Palin but no one seems to think that Biden’s selection was political. I heard outrage over Palin’s connection with religion. Meanwhile Obama joined Rev. Write’s hateful church to gain street cred in Chicago. No complaints. I heard some say that Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy means abstinence only education flat out doesn’t work. Is that a logical conclusion? I heard someone imply that McCain/Palin would “force” mothers to carry Downs Syndrome babies to term, really. Why are people so disappointed that Palin or Bristol didn’t get an abortion? Why pick on Bristol anyway? She’s 17. Biden’s son is a lobbyist being sued for swindling millions. No complaints. I heard several say that McCain was more Bush. He voted with Bush 90% of the time. Anyone who follows politics know that McCain has been a thorn in the side of Bush most of the time. I heard no complaints over Obama voting with Democrats 97% of the time. Palin gets criticized because she had a speech writer. Did Obama write his own speech? Did Palin’s speech writer invent Palin’s biography and resume? On experience, can anyone make the argument that Obama (#1) has more experience that Palin (#2). I’d love to hear it. We hear outrage over military deaths under Bush but no one seemed to care when there were 4417 military deaths during Clinton’s first term.

    How is it possible to have an honest debate when it’s so one-sided?

    I can say from first hand experience that Tim Ross and Wendy Herkey are fair minded and don’t alienate conservatives as stated in a previous post. Their intensions are to do quite the opposite but they’re fighting a loosing battle unless Mike challenges some of the outrageous, hateful comments espoused on open lines. He really needs to get his news from some more balanced and varied sources so he can better recognize hypocracy.

  19. Andre makes a very good point. The callers/listeners are the ones that are biased. The race between McCain and Obama has been pretty much neck and neck yet the callers today didn’t reflect that ratio. McCain/Palin are up 10 points among likely voters in the latest Gallup pole. I can say with certainty that WFAE listeners are not an accurate sample of the voters. Can anyone make that case?

  20. As an over-60 Democrat, I really don’t want universal healthcare.

    However, since my insurance went up 35% when I turned 60 (I’ve not had any year in the last 10 when my healthcare expenses exceeded $500, excluding dental), I will let the government furnish me with the same coverage Mrs. Dole and her husband have from our federal government.

  21. I agree with Tina from Scotland that more Americans should experience life abroad, there is a big world out there and a lot can be learned from engaging with it. However I profoundly disagree with her assertion that all immigrants are naturally Republicans, I’m an immigrant myself and I don’t find myself that way inclined, I tend to feel that the whole political system here is somewhat broken. Her suggestion that the American health system is better than anywhere in the world is just plain wrong, yes if you are middle class (or better) you can get good treatment here, but what if you are not? The UK’s NHS (National Health System) is far from perfect, but few people there would put up with the American system. For example the US health care system represents 15% of GDP, whereas for most western Europeans the number is close to 9%-10% and on any measure of effectiveness, such as life expectancy, number of live births etc, the US is behind. It strikes me that in general people in the US are against the government ‘giving out’ money, unless of course they are at the receiving end, in which case it is somehow essential to the American way of life.

  22. I wonder why health care isn’t part of the national debate and Bristol’s pregnancy is?

  23. The problem that I have with today’s show didn’t concern the caller’s views, it regards the host’s implicit agreement with those hateful and racist views by snickering or even laughing out loud after comments such as “McCain has early Alzheimer’s” and “Republicans are racists and sexists”. Today’s show resembled Air America more than Public Radio. I listen to Public Radio to hear a balanced discussion of the issues. Not once did I hear Mike Collins challenge either the Alzheimer’s comment or the racist/sexist charges. I expect a host to either challenge outrageous comments or cut off hate speech. Otherwise, you become Sean Hannity.

  24. Dale:

    I received your email on this as well, and wanted to respond in two ways– one, I think that if you go back and listen to the whole show, you’ll hear that the purpose of this show was to let the listeners be the pundit and give their opinion of the race as it stands now after the Conventions. You’ll hear that Mike didn’t challenge the opinions of any side. As is our policy, no caller or emailer was turned away from the discussion- we took and read as many calls and emails as we could cram into the hour on all sides of the issue. We also invited everyone to continue the conversation after the show on the blog as you have done (which is GREAT- I’m happy so many people are participating!). This show was about hearing what other people in our community think about the election- that’s it. When we have a panel of experts or candidates themselves on, you’ll hear a lot more challenging of issues and positions (on all ends of the political perspective), but that was not the purpose of today’s show and we said that right from the beginning. Second, you sound like a perfect candidate for our Average Joe’s series on Charlotte Talks. It’s something we do once a month on the show to find out how our listeners feel about a variety of topics. We strive to find a diverse panel each month to talk about what’s important to them- and EVERYTHING on those shows come from the panel- they literally create the content of the show. I’d love to have you email me and throw your hat into the ring for an upcoming Average Joe’s panel. Please email me at and tell me a little bit about yourself. (and that goes for any reader who’s interested in sharing their opinions and beliefs on Charlotte Talks!)

  25. As Tim and Wendy have mentioned, it is vital to our program to have a varied and balanced conversation. Not only is it not “fair” to have one side represented on our show, it’s not interesting! After hearing many similar viewpoints reiterated by callers, we had a listener call in to say that he was outraged at the “ignorance he was hearing from his radio.” He described himself as a social conservative and wanted to set some of our previous callers straight. I screened the phone calls this morning, and after speaking with this person, we immediately turned Mike’s attention to taking the call. He did and I think it added to the conversation. When the switch gets flipped like that, I think it can make for the most interesting and insightful radio. Sometimes we depend on you, our listener, to change the conversation and that’s one of the reasons we do Open Phones.

  26. Thanks Tim Ross for your reply to my question. The problem of bias is real, just read the other comments. When Mike sided with a Obama caller and added that executive experience means nothing in light of the United Way fiasco, is what is going to cause all tax dollars to be with held from NPR. That is such a cheap shot at Palin it just shows that Mike has no accountability to challenge callers views from such cheap shots. To be fair, I could see he wisely resisted agreeing with many of the other cheap shots although when he sides with 1 in 10 its all he needs to do to legitimize the other 9. Dianne the other Day did the same, a caller called asked why Biden did not get pressure to step down when his wife died, her guest explained that he wanted to but his colleagues had to urge him to come back to work, this hypocritical answer was an admission that the media did not pressure him to resign but sided with his colleagues to go back to work, and Dianne with all the sympathy she could muster agreed with this response which amplified the bias! NPR (Dianne) thought it was just fine to side with the media’s pressure on Palin and not on Biden because Biden for a moment considered staying home. The same could be said for Palin when asked a couple weeks ago if she would be picked for VP she thought the question “at this time” was “out of the question”. Did Dianne raise this point? No! Then today Terry had Tom Friedman on and asked Tom to explain how Palin could be against the theory that man has caused global warming. Tom explains that being from Alaska and that 2500 world scientists have a consciences that man has caused it. Again Tom gave the impression that looking out her window Palin should immediately know that the ice has all melted and that every scientist on the planet agrees that it was man caused. I won’t explain here that today there is more ice on the poles than just 2 years ago and we are right now in a period of global cooling, but you would never know that because Terry left the assertions by Tom go by unchallenged which we have come to expect from NPR. NPR needs to come clean and simply endorse the liberal agenda and let the tax payers decide if they want to continue support 9% or NPR’s budget. Or they could be serious and challenge and question many of the currents of thinking that make up the main stream. I’d love nothing better than for McCain and Sarah answer tough question and be continually challenged on how they will govern and the same for Obama and Biden, if they were held to a much higher accountability then maybe we could avoid the reckless irresponsible governance that we have had to endure under the Bush regime!

  27. Rick,

    Great comments. Especially the last one about the election staying focused on the issues. I hope that most Americans want that. I can only tell you that I have never once, not once in 12 years, come to the station with an agenda of any kind. In fact, some of my best show ideas come from friends and colleagues all over the political spectrum. The show we’re doing tomorrow was recommended to me by a great friend and colleague who works for a decidedly conservative organization. I can easily take a spin around the radio dial and hear folks clearly espouse one candidate or issue over the other and I think any reasonable person would agree that NPR has never done that. You could certainly argue that is happens in a more subtle way on public radio and I’d respect your argument, but having worked here for 12 years, I’d respectfully disagree that it happens here or anywhere on the level that you suggest. I can also tell you that it was a strong mandate that we covered both of the coventions with equal time. In fact, our talk show believes strongly in equal balance within a show or over time even though that is no longer mandated due to the dissolution of the Fairness Doctrine. We are even working on a new code of ethics at the station that prohibits any overt or public political affiliations of any kind. We strongly believe in balance here although we certainly understand that not everyone may agree. That’s what makes these blogs so vital and important to the conversation on Charlotte Talks. Please, everyone, keep it going.

  28. One last thing Rick. I think Wendy wrote to another blogger, Dale, about our Average Joe show. You sound like a great candidate as well. We seek a diverse set of voices on those panels and you’d make a great voice for an upcoming show. If you’re at all interested, please write to us at and tell us a little about yourself and what you’d love to talk about. See Wendy’s entry above to learn more about those shows.

  29. Dear City Council members and fellow citizens,

    I urge the Council to unanimously approve the Charlotte Bicycle Plan tonight. As gas prices have risen this summer, I’ve started making an effort to use public transportation and bicycle three days a week. While the current bike lanes and greenways are great, they are few and far between. I still feel uncomfortable bicycling on many busy streets where there are no other options for me to travel. I believe a comprehensive bicycle plan is very important in relation to the excellent transit plan for the city. This will give people more options in combining modes of transportation and in a single trip so they can walk, bicycle, and ride transit. Becoming a more bicycle friendly city will not only help the national and international view of Charlotte, but will help the citizens become less car dependent, exercise more, use less fossil fuels, and reduce the pollution in our air.

    As architect Arrol Gellner recently wrote, “Cars in their present form are no more a permanent fixture of our built environment than were the oxcart, the chariot, or the horse and buggy. We happen to live in the historical apogee of the internal-combustion automobile, but even the smallest degree of historical perspective makes plain that it’s merely a temporary visitor — and an increasingly troublesome one — on planet Earth.” “We shouldn’t regard our cars — not to speak of the oil they run on — as the be-all and end-all of American society. We should also recognize that history has a way of casually demolishing institutions that seem impregnable, and the internal combustion automobile is surely one of these. Something better, simpler and kinder to the earth is no doubt on the way, assuming that we’re smart enough to welcome it.” (Source:

    We must look beyond today’s car obsessed culture and recognized the bicycle as a green, zero emission vehicle of the future. The health of our wonderful city will depend on it.



  30. “I won’t explain here that today there is more ice on the poles than just 2 years ago and we are right now in a period of global cooling…”

    That is a completely false statement. I would like to know where you got these facts. Just recently it was shown that the North Pole ice is now an island and not a continuous ice flow. This is the first time that has ever happened in modern human history.

    Canada and Russia are now competing for resources and ship routes because the lack of ice has opened up more places for oil exploration. Kind of ironic however, since it’s the burning of fossil fuels that brought us a lack of ice. Please cite your source for your comments.

  31. It wasn’t me that made the claim you question but I don’t doubt it. Your reference to “modern human history” isn’t really relevant. Over the billions of years that earth has existed there has been many global climatic events, all before humans. that includes ice ages that melted without our help.

  32. good job on the huge anti-palin show. You people should really be ashamed WFAE. Mike wanted to know about those protestors during mccains speech. He should have called it what it was: disrespectful. Especially from the left press that got them in there. Also brilliant how mike challenged the Scottish caller but gives the leftist callers the full soapbox. Especially the callers saying palin isn’t qualifed don’t get challenged about the top ticket Obama’s 150 days in the senate.

    It was downright telling when Collins chuckled under his breath when the caller said McCain has undiagnosed alzhemiers.

    Please don’t ever say again that mike plays it down the middle. Everyone of these callers were anti-palin even though she enjoys much more support than anyone else running.

    Shame on you mike Collins and WFAE.

  33. GQ,
    I appreciate your comments, but I also encourage you to read through the comments before yours. Many listeners have made remarks regarding the show and all of us at Charlotte Talks have joined the conversation as well. As you will read, the idea of Open Phones is for our listeners to call in and voice their opinion. This particular edition encouraged listeners to ‘play political pundit.’ You heard the voices of fellow listeners, and I wish we could have heard yours.

  34. I do not hear any public outcry when the media takes shots at the liberal platform. No one mentioned the unenlightened views expressed in Deford’s post “Does Obama Owe a Debt to Black Athletes?” In his post, Deford alludes to the idea that Obama has a chance at the American presidency only because whites associate him with popular black athletes. I think these ideas are disgusting and have no basis in enlightened thought. Obama graduated from Harvard Law and has a measurable record in shaping state and national politics, so the question of whether he owes a debt to athletes or sympathetic whites is unfounded. Why is the mainstream media so obstinate to the idea that an African American can make it to an executive office without some kind of assistance from whites? Are we now going to argue that Obama and other successful blacks are welfare candidates, attributing exceptional talents and accomplishments to generous whites?

  35. Give me a break.

  36. @Gregg – study your calculus… it’s the RATE of change, not that change doesn’t take place. The extreme rate of change can be attributed to modern human activity.

  37. Particularly Americans?

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