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January 2005 archives

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Monday, January 31, 2005

State revenues: Most popular proposals for increases are wrong

Once again, the North Carolina General Assembly convenes amidst predictions of a great “shortfall” in state money. And, once again, there is talk of raising taxes — or at least continuing some taxes that were supposed to be temporary. There...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Rules for living — Partaking of the fruit

Here are some guidelines for those who seek happiness for themselves and for their neighbors. Love others. That doesn’t mean you have to like everyone you meet. Some people are crude, shiftless or mean — just not very appealing. But...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Trends: Good ideas tend to be taken too far

When a good policy gets fashionable, someone will always take it to ridiculous extremes. For instance: People ought not to express racial prejudices, and nowadays doing so isn’t popular. But some people would go too far and prohibit certain language...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Justice: Do we really need a new dimension?

Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. wants the General Assembly to create a commission that would develop a new level of appeal for some people convicted of major crimes. The proposal comes as the result of some people having served...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sudan: The killing goes on ...

If the government of Sudan could be trusted, we could be assured of an end to a lot of slaughter, slavery, rape and plunder. Sudanese officials, urged on by Secretary of State Colin Powell, signed an agreement this month to...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

School scores: Let our guide be Esse Quam Videri

North Carolinians have taken understandable pride in the fact that their state has been recognized for its leadership in testing to assure that children perform acceptably in reading and math skills. At last report, 70 percent of our youngsters met...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tax values: Sometimes cutting rates can be costly to citizens

State law requires that property be revalued for tax purposes every eight years. Some counties have more frequent revaluations, as they are allowed to do under the state law. Recently, commissioners in one eastern county voted to have property revalued...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Ms. Rice: Cool in the hot seat

Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee left the impression that American foreign policy will be in good hands while she is secretary of state. Ms. Rice, responding under considerable pressure to senators who were not always at...

Friday, January 21, 2005

Magistrates: Hiring and firing process is awkward and inefficient

A part of the mess in the Wayne County magistrates’ office can be blamed on the convoluted system by which magistrates are hired and supervised. Of course, any system could be made to work smoothly if that were the goal...

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Undeterred: Navy is pushing ahead on practice landing field

Arrogance. That seems to be the best word to describe the attitude and conduct of the U.S. Navy in its obsessive pursuit of locating an outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties. It has ignored objections of property owners,...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Success! United Way director puts the credit where it’s due

Steve Parr was touched. He is the United Way director in Wayne County, and the astounding results of the 2004 campaign had been announced. Parr is a rather humble fellow, and a couple of nights after the announcement he was...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thieves foiled: Teen who kept his pants on ended up with some consolation

Okay, it’s true: What Deshawn Hull did was a little crazy. Deshawn is 17 and lives in Charlotte. On a recent morning, as he walked to the school bus stop, two jokers in a white Ford Focus came along and...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Broad view: Needs of all should trump the needs of a district

Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis recently circulated a flier around the Capitol that showed Uncle Sam blown up to obesity. Under the drawing was a caption that said: “Uncle Sam needs a diet.” He does, and Lewis is in the very...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

An anti-abortion Hoosier seeks the chairmanship

The Democratic Party’s position on abortion alienates it from many Americans with whom it otherwise might have much in common. Among them are Roman Catholics, including Hispanics, many religious blacks and evangelical Christians. These groups, particularly the latter, might well...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Dan Rather: He dodged another bullet — almost

Dan Rather claims to have been “shot at (and missed)” in the process of reporting the news on several continents. He dodged another bullet in the findings of an “independent investigative panel” looking into the “60 Minutes” fiasco concerning President...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Too sensitive? Man files lawsuit seeking to ban inauguration prayer

If you keep a prayer list, add Dr. Michael Newdow’s name to it. If ever a man needed divine guidance, it is he. Newdow, an atheist from Sacramento, Calif., is determined to wipe religion out of every facet of government....

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Too bad (hee hee): Traffic-light camera program in jeopardy

There has always been a problem with the way those traffic-light cameras worked. Now there are two problems. They work like this: A camera is aimed at an intersection that is governed by a traffic light. It is positioned so...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bribery: Democrats’ accusations hit the nail on the head

Democrats have accused Republican commentator Armstrong Williams of bribery for taking money from the U.S. Department of Education. They are right on target. It is not surprising that there are bureaucrats in government who would be willing to pay someone...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sen. Burr: Nothing sinister about his backers

Sen. Richard Burr has been subjected to criticism and suspicion for having received more in political action committee contributions than any other candidate for the U.S. Senate this past year. Individuals and editorialists keep pointing out Burr was the darling...

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Dubious Data: Voter-IQ story is winner. (Or would that be loser?)

The Chicago Tribune uses consultants each year to compile a list of winners of its Dubious Data Awards — the biggest goofs in the reporting of stories that don’t really exist. These are the kind of stories that usually are...

Friday, January 7, 2005

Gonzales: New approach for new era

Alberto R. Gonzales is undergoing scrutiny by the Senate to determine his suitability for confirmation as U.S. attorney general. Some retired generals and admirals have questioned his credentials, pointing to what they regard as his lack of respect for international...

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Humbug: Judge gives magistrates a rude Christmas present

Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell has explained why he notified Wayne County Magistrates Remona McIver and Sandra Castle on Christmas Eve that they were losing their jobs. The terms of all magistrates were to expire on Dec. 31. Braswell said...

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Aid to Asia: A hard question about ‘government’ giving

Now that the U.S. government has raised its pledge to $350 million for the tsunami victims in southern Asia, let’s go ahead and face the hard question: Should the government give anything at all? The question is a hard one...

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Revote: Holding a new election will be an expensive error

In a situation in which there was no good choice, the state Board of Elections has made the worst one possible. It has ordered a new statewide election for commissioner of agriculture. Thus, it threw out more than 3.3 million...

Monday, January 3, 2005

Wrong reward: Pollution-for-sale policy unacceptable

State Attorney General Roy Cooper and Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight are concerned over a plan to allow the town of Butner to increase by 2 million gallons a day the release of effluent from its sewage treatment plant...

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Thoughts on a ticking clock

Photographer Dennis Hill offers an interesting thought in the Argus Eye column today, as he often does. If you haven’t done so already, look at his photograph at the top of the page opposite this one. Hill’s clock, poetry in...