Aug. 24, 2013 @ 01:14 AM

Editorial: A good place to streamline N.C. government

Finally, an idea from Florida worth emulating. Of course, it was an accident, but an accidental worthy idea is still a worthy idea.

Florida has been without a lieutenant governor for five months (he resigned amid a scandal), and all that has happened is the state has been saving money from not paying a lieutenant governor and his staff and not paying for his travel.

Which raises an old question: Does anyone really need a lieutenant governor?

Aug. 23, 2013 @ 01:27 AM

Editorial: Statistics alone don't support the Moral Mondays arguments

A recent Charlotte Observer editorial, in connection to plans for a “Moral Monday” protest in Charlotte, cited some “eye-opening statistics” put out recently by the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity to make the case that poverty issues should be a priority even in “one of this state’s wealthiest regions.”

We don’t doubt the need.

But we maintain that sloppy thinking and bad statistics undermine any argument, and that’s the case here.

Aug. 23, 2013 @ 01:21 PM

Editorial: N.C. avoids a ride on the crazy train

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk said Tuesday she won’t run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Kay Hagan.

North Carolina Republicans should sigh a giant sigh of relief, while Democrats should be sad to see her stand aside.

Aug. 19, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

Editorial: Bad bill richly deserved this veto

Gov. Pat McCrory deserves praise for vetoing a drug test requirement for people applying for welfare and food stamps — a bill that he correctly described as fiscally irresponsible and potentially intrusive.

Aug. 17, 2013 @ 01:37 AM

Editorial: A bipartisan effort at exclusion

Tom Campbell, the executive producer and moderator of the “NC SPIN” show on North Carolina politics, points out one area of election law in which both Republicans and Democrats seem to be in agreement: making it nearly impossible for third parties and independent candidates to get on the ballot.

Aug. 16, 2013 @ 08:35 PM

Editorial: Nice work if you can get it

It’s hard to know which to be more envious of, being 24 years old and making enough money to support two average North Carolina families, or being 24 and receiving a pay raise of $23,000 after only about three months on the job.

Fortunately, we can be envious of both at the same time — and we can do it twice.

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 01:28 AM

Editorial: Snafu in food benefits just keeps rolling

If it’s any consolation to those Caldwell County residents who have been struggling to get by on trips to local food banks because of weeks-long delays in the processing of government food benefits, the same problems are being felt everywhere in North Carolina – including the state capital.

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 10:12 AM

Don't be so quick to condemn UNC's Hairston

A little perspective, please.

UNC basketball player P.J. Hairston has proven he has poor judgment and impulse control. He has not proven he is beyond redemption or that he is a university-destroying, one-man cloud of disrepute.

Jul. 25, 2013 @ 06:07 AM

Editorial: Caldwell County unemployment not helped by N.C. budget

One effect of the budget approved Wednesday by the General Assembly will be a higher unemployment rate in Caldwell County, at least in the short term.

Jul. 24, 2013 @ 05:45 PM

Editorial: Gov. McCrory off the mark on teachers' tax cuts

Gov. Pat McCrory seems to realize his and his party’s reputation among the state’s public school teachers is subterranean, but he’s not helping by making things up.

Jul. 21, 2013 @ 06:25 AM

Editorial: Don't spend it all in one place

What are you going to do with your $84 a year?

That’s how much you might get from the tax cuts passed by the General Assembly this week.

Sorry, that’s presumptuous, and probably inaccurate. We don’t know how much you are paid, but statistically it’s likely that you won’t get that much.

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 06:26 AM

Editorial: The 21st-century answer to the tinfoil hat

If you're really worried about the federal government using drones and heat-sensing technology to track you from the air, there are new outfits for you: Stealth Wear.

Jul. 19, 2013 @ 06:23 AM

Editorial: N.C. immigration measures need further study

On immigration, the state House took a sensible step back from hasty action and amended the so-called “RECLAIM NC” Act to have the state Department of Public Safety study many of its proposals and bring the results back to the General Assembly for further action later.

However, one non-study provision is still moving forward — an item prohibiting companies from receiving state and local contracts unless they comply with E-Verify requirements for employees. This one needs more study as well.

Jul. 16, 2013 @ 06:31 AM

Editorial: Incompetence

Four years ago at this time, North Carolina’s General Assembly had not passed a budget. Democrats led both chambers. On July 14 that year, Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said the failure to pass a budget two weeks past the start of the fiscal year was an example of Democrats’ incompetence.

Jul. 14, 2013 @ 06:27 AM

Editorial: Importance of taxes overstated

You can find a statistic to say anything you want.

For instance, according to the recent study “Vital Statistics on Congress” by the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, the most effective president since Lyndon Johnson, as measured by the ability to win votes in Congress, is – put down your coffee so you don’t spit on anyone – Jimmy Carter, by a wide margin over George W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Jimmy Carter fans, take this statistic and run with it.

John Hood of the conservative John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, in a column that ran in the News-Topic on Friday, similarly has run with a statistic that he contends illustrates that the tidal wave of budget cuts and social legislation coming out of the General Assembly has not had, will not have, cannot have any serious effect on North Carolina’s ability to recruit businesses, as left-leaning critics contend.

Jul. 13, 2013 @ 07:56 AM

Editorial: Legislators keep at 'pressing' issues

Thank goodness the General Assembly passed its budget and tax reform measures or we don’t know where the legislators would have found the time for all the bills they have been discussing the past week or so.

Oh, wait. That’s right, there is still no budget or tax plan.

Jul. 13, 2013 @ 06:43 AM

Editorial: Would would he say it?

Gov. Pat McCrory has stepped into something.

In an interview Wednesday in Wilson with a reporter from The Wilson Times, McCrory said in answer to a question about whether he would ever talk with the Moral Monday protesters: “I go out in the crowd all of the time. Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them, and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves ‘moral’ by cussing me out, but that’s the way things go sometimes.”

The only problem with that answer is that no one has ever seen the governor mingling with protesters, let alone in the day or two before that interview.

Jul. 10, 2013 @ 04:24 PM

Editorial: Redistricting ruling was predictable

That a three-judge panel ruled unanimously on Monday to uphold the legislative and congressional districts drawn by Republicans after the 2010 census should have been a foregone conclusion.

Jul. 05, 2013 @ 09:21 AM

Editorial: Caldwell County economic progress slow but steady

Efforts to reduce the local unemployment rate are like trying to lose weight for the long haul: It can seem maddeningly slow, and you might wonder whether everything you’re doing is actually working.

Jul. 03, 2013 @ 11:44 AM

Editorial: N.C. Senate uses shady moves to pass abortion bill

Pay attention only to legislative leaders' methods, not their pet issues, and you might think the legislature was still being run by Democrats.

Didn’t the Republicans promise something better? For decades they complained about Democratic arrogance, back-room dealing, shady procedural moves, bills written (or overhauled) in secret, oddly coincidental timing – and those were just the minor complaints.

But they just can’t help themselves. Now that they are in power, secret power plays are so much easier than an open, democratic process that they just can’t help acting like the Democrats they criticized.

At least as far as this applies to one bill the Senate passed Tuesday, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory agrees.

Jun. 28, 2013 @ 12:53 PM

Editorial: Ready or not, here it doesn't come

Someone should show the public the math that says the new formula for distributing transportation money will result in more projects because on its face, it just makes no sense at all.

Whether it will or won’t is now a moot point. The bill passed, and Gov. Pat McCrory signed it Wednesday, so right or wrong, here it comes. Or doesn’t, if the math is wrong -- or fictional.

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 01:11 AM

Editorial: Who's the outsider, Gov. McCrory?

Gov. Pat McCrory caused a little bit of a stir earlier this month by referring to the “Moral Monday” protesters – who gather at the Legislative Building every Monday and stay until some of them get arrested – as “outsiders.” Most of the outrage we saw was at the use of the term, particular among that portion of protest sympathizers who are lifelong North Carolinians.

We didn’t think much of it. In fact, we had nearly forgotten about it.

And then we learned that McCrory was born in 1956 in Columbus, Ohio, and his family did not move to Greensboro until the mid-1960s. And that's not all.

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 01:09 AM

Editorial: Be aware of Lenoir street barricades

Lenoir Fire Chief Ken Briscoe said during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Committee of the Whole that in the intense storms we have had recently, emergency crews often must scramble from fallen tree to flooded street to erect barricades, and only after all are blocked off do they have time to cycle back and see what can be done.

But an unmanned barricade apparently is a puzzlement or even an irritant to some drivers, who get out of their cars and move it or else drive around it and continue on toward the hazard, Briscoe said.

Jun. 25, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

Editorial: A reading assignment before budget vote

Before members of the Lenoir City Council meet this afternoon to adopt a budget whose final outcome is greatly uncertain because of legislative malfeasance in Raleigh, maybe they should read some short fiction.

There is some solid research that shows that the reading won’t make the budget any better, but it might make the council members feel better about their predicament.

Researchers at the University of Toronto conducted an experiment in which 100 students were given either a piece of short fiction or a factual essay to read; all of the work was by accomplished writers. After reading, each student was given a survey measuring their emotional need for certainty and stability – they had to agree or disagree with statements such as “I dislike questions that can be answered in many different ways.”

Those who read the short fiction gave answers expressing less need for order and more comfort with ambiguity.

Jun. 22, 2013 @ 01:46 AM

Editorial: Legislators leave local governments hanging

It’s all but certain now that local governments will have to fly blind into the start of the new budget year.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenberg, said Thursday that the General Assembly likely would pass a resolution next week to let the state keep operating under the terms of the current year’s budget even after June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

That’s an option that municipalities can’t take without incurring significant pain for either themselves or taxpayers.