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Archive for September, 2012

Two spit-take inducing columns in The N&O today

To anyone who remembers how The News & Observer for two years used everything in its journalistic arsenal to undermine and delegitimize the election of the majority-Republican Wake County school board that was elected in 2009, today’s column by Executive Editor John Drescher is a real laugher.

The demagoguery in news columns and editorials aimed at the newly-elected Republicans was a new low for journalism, if not for the N&O itself. Now Drescher is shocked, shocked, I tell you, that the Democrats on the are themselves the meanest sort of partisan hacks:

This was the first point [Kevin Hill, chairman of the Wake school board] made in the meeting. He made it emphatically. “I truly feel we have got to get the politics out of the school board,” Hill said.

For a second there, Hill, an earnest former principal, had me thinking he might be right. Gosh, maybe all those 5-4 votes had nothing to do with party affiliation. Maybe we were seeing partisanship that didn’t exist.

Since then, Hill and his colleagues have done everything possible to prove they are partisan, culminating with a party-line 5-4 vote this week to fire Superintendent Tony Tata after less than 20 months on the job.

There’s one thing about North Carolina’s Democrats: they never shut up until they get their way. They whine, whinge, cry, bluster, demagogue, accuse opponents of racism, classism, homophobia, and, to quote Andy Griffith, “I don’t know what all.” With their more than a century of power-holding in jeopardy, these embarrassing attributes are especially evident.

Still, the craven partisanship of the new Democratic majority on the board was, apparently, a surprise to Drescher, even though it was as predictable as pollen in the springtime.

OK, on to the next spit-take-inducing column in today’s News & Observer. We all know how alleging racism is the coin of the realm for liberals and Democrats in North Carolina. The state’s major papers play along and cover the demagogues who use this tactic as if, well, the seriousness of the charge demands serious coverage. Every race-baiting politician, activist, or clergy member understands this.

But what happens when a journalist or a newspaper is accused of racism? Well, the big guns come out and declare that such an accusation is outrageous, beyond the pale, and a danger to democracy. To wit, Charlotte Observer editorial page editor Taylor Batten’s blog defense of cartoonist Kevin Siers for a cartoon he did depicting Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton wearing a pink “Hello Kitty” t-shirt instead of a Superman shirt:

The NFL pundits are all atwitter, analyzing to death the Observer’s editorial cartoon on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. What was cartoonist Kevin Siers saying? Is Charlotte jumping off the Camwagon? What does this say about race in the Bible Belt?

Puh-leeze. Maybe Stephen A. Smith thinks such breathlessness makes for good TV. Apparently ESPN’s Smith and Skip Bayless and so many other NFL talking heads find it easier to speculate than to go to the source and ask.

I, personally, think the racism charges in this case are as off-base as most of those that The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer routinely treat with chin-puling seriousness on their metro and editorial desks. Still, it’s interesting to see the defensive reaction of the media when they’re accused, even irresponsibly, of racism. Remember that next time, guys, when you hear it in the political realm.

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70 Federal Agencies Owe Back Taxes Withheld From Employee Checks

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another bureaucratic blunder is unearthed.

As of December, 70 federal agencies owed the U.S. Treasury $14 million in unpaid taxes that were withheld from federal workers’ paychecks, according to a federal audit released Thursday.

Unlike private businesses, federal agencies are exempt from paying federal income taxes. However, like private employers, federal law requires agencies to withhold and pay employment taxes on behalf of their employees, such as Medicare and Social Security withholdings.


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Democratic Strategist Gary Pearce: “Even strong Democrats believe the Wake school board flunked this test.”

Veteran Democratic political strategist Gary Pearce weighs in on his blog with his some very interesting analysis of the firing of Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata by the Democratic majority on the school board. Here’s a taste but the entire blog is worth the read.

Tedesco may be the big winner here. He may stir up enough votes in Wake County to get elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Coble now has an excuse not to give the schools more money.
And Tata gets a years’ pay so he can start (some critics theorize) running against Senator Kay Hagan in 2014.
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Will Their Success Be Derided Too?

Kudos to two NC State students who have created a business that offers customized lawn care packages. They hope they can expand the business across the state and the country.

For Walsh and Walser, this is just the beginning. Go Pro Lawns has already been featured in The Triangle Business Journal and The Premiere in addition to participating in the Southern Ideal Home Show.

Both Walsh and Walser have personal landscaping companies that they manage individually as well.

“This is just something I’ve always done year-round,” Walsh said. “We both did landscaping heavily in high school too. I’m glad I finally found a business model that works off of my degree.”

Though they are students, Walsh said they don’t let school get in the way of entrepreneurship.

“We determined this was a good product that could be very profitable and provide a professional quality to the homeowner,” Walsh said. “We now have investors and many of them are blown away by our product.”

Good for them. But I hope someone prepares them for the criticism to come. It won’t be long before they’ll be derided as being money-grubbing businessmen who don’t pay their fair share and who’ve become successful on the backs of others.

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More Ridiculous Government Intervention

New Jersey voters will have to decide whether to pass a state law that would require pets to be secured while in a car. Violators could be charged with animal cruelty.

Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a Democrat and dog owner, introduced the legislation out of concern that loose pets riding on motorists’ laps can be “more of a distraction than a cellphone, especially if the animal is hopping from seat to seat, trying to sit on your lap, or worse, jump down by your feet.’’

The legislation is supported by 48% of voters who don’t own a dog but by just 38% of those who do own a dog.


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Electric Vehicles Sales Are So Bad, Car Companies Trying To Lure Customers With Leases

There’s simply very little marketplace demand for electric vehicles despite progressive cheerleading and huge government subsidies. So, car companies are trying to figure out how to move the white elephants.

Nissan joined General Motors last week in offering deeper lease discounts on its premier electric car. The latest deal on the all-electric Leaf brings the lease payment closer to the level of a comparable non-electric car, not counting the gas savings, an analysis for USA TODAY by Edmunds.com finds.

While cheap leases are a boon to consumers, they’re also a sign that motorists aren’t embracing electric cars with enough vigor to be willing to pay the steep price premiums they carry.

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The Orange County Divide

Driving in Orange County today, I got a firsthand view of the two very different constituencies in the county.

First, I saw an SUV pull out of a driveway framed by a Romney/Ryan sign and a Pat McCrory sign.

A few minutes later, I found myself driving next to a hybrid that carried an Obama sticker and a “War Isn’t The Answer” sticker.

There’s a reason we have stereotypes; they’re based in reality.

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A Victory For Free Speech On A College Campus

If colleges and universities expect to live up to the ideal of being marketplaces of ideas and free exchange,the right to free speech must be protected. In this story, the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports on a victory for free speech involving Christopher Newport University, which had prohibited students from protesting a speech by Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. The university has now changed its policy.

As described here on The Torch yesterday, the controversy over the university’s “Demonstration” policy began last week when CNU refused to waive a 10-day notice requirement for student groups wishing to engage in “demonstrations” on campus, despite the fact that Representative Ryan’s September 18 appearance was only publicly announced two days prior, on September 16. 

CNU’s decision generated controversy, student outcry, and strongly critical letters from both FIRE and theACLU of Virginia. Our letter pointed out that CNU’s “Demonstration” policy defined student “demonstrations” as “the assembly of a group of persons to express their views on an issue”—a definition so broad as to cover virtually all expression between students on campus. In addition to condemning the punitive and unreasonable 10-day notice requirement, we also criticized the policy’s establishment of a miniscule free speech zone, which limited student “demonstrations” to a single 20′ by 20′ square of CNU’s 260-acre campus.   

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“By 1:30 to 2 o’clock they complain about how hungry they are.”

Imagine the concern if a child told a teacher she’s hungry. There would calls for government to “do something.” So why is there no concern over new federal school lunch requirements that are leaving some kids hungry — all in the name of fighting obesity?

The biggest part of the problem with the new school lunch is the reduced amount of protein from meat in the meal from previous years, says Brenda Kirkham, art and publications teacher at Wallace County High School. She came up with the idea of theWe Are Hungry video (set to the tune of fun.’s We Are Young) because she felt like she was “starving” after lunch.

“We wanted to give kids a voice and make fun of something that’s very frustrating for us — but not be over-the-top angry.”

Linda O’Connor, an English teacher at Wallace High who wrote the lyrics for the song in the video, says students have been complaining all year that they’re not being offered enough food. “Most of our kids are active in physical education and sports, and they work on farms. That two ounces of meat daily wasn’t enough. By 1:30 to 2 o’clock they complain about how hungry they are.

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Rasmussen Daily Tracking: Presidential Race Tied At 46% Each

From Rasmussen comes this today:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows both President Obama and Mitt Romney attracting support from 46% of voters nationwide. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. See daily tracking history.

When “leaners” are included, it’s Romney 48% and Obama 46%. Leaners are those who are initially uncommitted to the two leading candidates but lean towards one of them when asked a follow-up question. 

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