Oct. 12, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

Editorial: Courts bring no justice for Furniture Brands executives

The wealthy have nothing to fear from this nation’s courts, and the average citizen has nothing but an uphill climb to get justice.

That is a long-held belief in this country, and Judge Christopher S. Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware did nothing but reinforce it Friday when he overruled objections to the plan to pay bonuses to seven top executives of Furniture Brands International if the company reaches certain benchmarks when it exits bankruptcy protection in December.

Oct. 10, 2013 @ 01:24 AM

Editorial: Some DHHS pay can be defended, but some can’t

Most of the payroll decisions that Aldona Wos, state secretary of health and human services, has made can be defended as judgment calls, even if you disagree with them.

But two of them can't be -- and no one has even tried.

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 01:46 PM

Editorial: Congress is dysfunctional by design

If you make the bed, you ought to have to lie in it.

Unfortunately, no one in Congress is feeling any of the effects of the shutdown, and likely never will.

Oct. 03, 2013 @ 01:29 AM

Editorial: Bring on the giant snowmen, we're ready

Scrooge does not reside at the News-Topic.

As we noted in an editorial months ago, we liked the 35-foot-tall snowman that Larry Smith set up at his Christmas tree lot on Morganton Boulevard last year. It simply violated the city’s rules for allowable advertising, and in general we support rules that keep society safe and sane.

Now those rules have changed.

Sep. 24, 2013 @ 02:44 PM

Editorial: Lenoir gains a showplace for region's hopes

Easy prediction: The stretch of U.S. 321 in front of the former headquarters of Broyhill Furniture Industries is going to be a standard part of every tour of the Lenoir area by economic development officials hosting prospective businesses.

On the west side will be the Broyhill building, now being renovated for its new life as the headquarters of rapidly growing Exela Pharma Sciences, a pharmaceutical company. On the east side, farther off the road, will be what is now called the Expo building, which soon is going to be renovated – though that word may be inadequate to describe the facelift the outside of the building is going to get – to become the new headquarters of rapidly growing Greer Laboratories, also a pharmaceutical company.

Sep. 22, 2013 @ 01:47 AM

Teachers deserve more, but ... wow

North Carolina’s teachers deserve better than they have gotten in recent years from this state’s legislature.

They are paid too little, shown too little respect, given inadequate tools to do the job in the modern age, and too often blamed for real and perceived wrongs in the schools.

But what Lt. Gov. Dan Forest called for Wednesday in Greensboro is pure insanity.

Sep. 17, 2013 @ 01:25 AM

Editorial: No bonuses should go to proven losers

If you dropped a bomb on a business and destroyed it, you would be charged, tried and sent to prison.

If you happen to be an executive with phenomenally poor judgment, you expect to get paid millions of dollars.

Sep. 15, 2013 @ 01:47 AM

Editorial: Furniture Brands' woes felt most by workers

Sewage flows downhill, a cleaned-up version of an old saying goes.

Furniture Brands International workers and retirees probably have a renewed sense of why that saying endures.

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 01:01 AM

Editorial: Next time, fix these mistakes

The Republicans who lead the N.C. General Assembly passed a “bad budget” that was not balanced and made the “wrong” decision to eliminate pay raises for teachers who get master’s degrees. In fact, that was “a mistake.”

All of the above is the judgment of the Republicans’ House majority leader, Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, who made these startling admissions Thursday night during what might be called an interrogation by the Hibriten High School Parent Teacher Association.

Sep. 08, 2013 @ 01:25 AM

Editorial: Living large on the backs of taxpayers

The highest-paid state employee we know of is a temp.

There’s good and bad news in that. The good is that he’s a temp, so the state won’t be issuing Tiffany paychecks to him much longer. The bad is that this fits a growing pattern of excessive pay in one particular state department.

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 01:32 AM

Editorial: You can't just take your ball and go home

Presidents of the United States, current and past, have been criticized from the right and the left for issuing “signing statements” with new laws passed by Congress that essentially say the executive branch will not enforce those laws, or will not enforce certain parts of them.

What then to make of Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to ignore a couple of laws that the General Assembly passed over his veto?

Aug. 31, 2013 @ 01:24 AM

Editorial: Wrong impression on Starnes' spending

The NC Insider, a political news publication in Raleigh, reported this week that in the first four months of this year, the campaign of Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, the House majority leader, spent nearly $7,000 on furniture and decorations for his office.

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 01:12 AM

Editorial: Not in a month of Sundays can we compare

Liberals sometimes seem to suffer from protest envy.

They grow up learning of the vastly unequal society that existed at the time of the great civil rights protests of the 1960s, seeing clips of news coverage of the anti-war protests of the Vietnam War years, hearing boomers’ onanistic, fanciful recitations of the wonderful things that their generation accomplished while stoned and naked and also organizing impromptu outdoor music festivals. Who wouldn’t be envious?

They look around today, and the barriers and battles all seem smaller, the villains less sinister.

Yet the rhetoric they choose to employ is lifted virtually without change from the 1960s.

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 01:02 AM

Editorial: A perpetual campaign in N.C.?

You may not have realized it, but the 2016 race for governor is well underway.

Less than 10 months after the last election, and more than three years before the next chance to cast a vote, we already have two declared candidates for the Democratic nomination.

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 01:17 AM

Editorial: Half measures

If we dealt with serial killers the way the United States is dealing with the leadership of Syria, instead of arresting them we would have someone hide in the bushes outside their house and shoot them with a BB gun each time they went outside.

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 01:14 AM

Editorial: The difference between funny and mean

It is true that journalists, as a group, have a reputation for being bad at math.

That is a generalization, of course, but if you pick a journalist at random and demand a calculation, you’re apt to hit a dry well.

That said, Gov. Pat McCrory’s dig at journalists during a visit to Asheville this week, saying they didn’t understand his tax and budget priorities because those are “too complex” – “They don't have economics degrees, they've not been in business,” he said – was sophomoric and likely to come back to bite him in the end.

Aug. 26, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Editorial: N.C. can stand on principle, or it can be in movies

Providing tax incentives to lure business is like any other loophole in the tax code. Ideally, you wouldn’t do it – no one would. Everyone would play by the same rules and make their decisions based on every other factor, not on taxes.

But the playing field is not level. In any area of business, some cities and states are willing, even eager, to cut deals.

Aug. 24, 2013 @ 11:39 PM

N.C. can stand on principal, or it can be in movies

Providing tax incentives to lure business is like any other loophole in the tax code. Ideally, you wouldn’t do it – no one would. Everyone would play by the same rules and make their decisions based on every other factor, not on taxes.

But the playing field is not level. In any area of business, some cities and states are willing, even eager, to cut deals.

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.