Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tired of political BS? Try this

Tired of political BS? Here's a slightly different take on the same subject:
Cow patty bingo.

What do you think? Could this be the answer to campaign finance reform?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Honor Helms' AIDS legacy? No way

So, the $48 million AIDS relief bill that passed the U.S. Senate won’t be named for the late Sen. Jesse Helms R-N.C.
What in the world was Sen. Elizabeth Dole thinking?
Helms, the conservative who died July 4, spread public fear and misunderstanding about the disease in America by making statement such as this one:

“There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in
origin to sodomy.”
He inflamed prejudice against homosexuals by blaming AIDS victims for its development and spread of saying it was a punishment sent from God for their disgusting behavior.
Late in his life he joined in the effort to help stop the disease’s spread in Africa, and direct U.S. funds to ease sufffering there. Yet he never developed compassion for victims here, or tempered his hate-filled statements about homosexuals.
That’s Sen. Helms' legacy on AIDS, and nothing will erase it. It was wrong for the country then, and it’s wrong now to try and honor it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bush: 'The marketplace works'

In his news conference today, President Bush proclaimed, "The marketplace works." He was referring to the high price of gasoline inspiring people to drive less and to drive vehicles that get better fuel economy.

But we wonder how the people defrauded by mortgage brokers and subprime lenders, who are facing the loss of their homes, feel about the president's much-revered "marketplace"? It seems to us that a good part of the foreclosures and bad credit debacle could have been avoided if the government had decided to rein in the marketplace as it was building the financial house of cards that is in the process of collapsing. For instance, many of the subprime mortgages were made by lenders who didn't have to follow the rules that apply to banks. It was a free-for-all in the marketplace. And it doesn't look to us as if that free-for-all has worked out very well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Offshore drilling? Symbolism vs. reality

President Bush today announced he is lifting a White House ban on offshore drilling to try to drive down soaring energy prices. This is, by all accounts, an empty symbolic gesture that won't have any short-term impact on high gasoline costs.

Congress banned offshore drilling in 1982 and the ban continues. Oil companies already control 68 million acres that they aren't drilling on. Further, even if drilling began tomorrow, it wouldn't lower gas prices for years, and even then, only a few cents.

The president just wants to beat up politically on the Democrats, who control Congress, by bludgeoning them for not wanting to expand oil drilling offshore or allow it in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

We're always up for beating up on politicians, but we'd have a more welcoming attitude toward Bush's symbolic efforts if he showed as much concern for energy conservation, by pushing for better fuel economy standards for cars, and more money for mass transit, for instance. He should be working to develop long-term alternative energy solutions that don't cause the food shortages and rising grocery prices resulting from Washington's beloved but increasingly problem-filled corn-for-fuel program.

Instead of meaningless symbolic gestures, how about some real leadership for a change?

Obama spoof needed words to make it clear

Is this image patently ridiculous or is it patently offensive?

The New Yorker says it's satire, a suitable lampoon of the fear-mongering that has haunted Barack Obama in his presidential campaign.It used “The Politics of Fear,” drawn by Barry Blitt, on its July 14th cover.

Obama’s campaign thinks it’s offensive.
Daily Views thinks it’s a splendidly-drawn spoof of the outrageous rumors Obama's critics (and crazies) have manufactured, but needed words to make its intent clear. Simply printing the title, "The Politics of Fear” on the cover with the image would have done it.

Here’s what others are saying.
Click here to read the take of African-American online columnist Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute.
Click here to see what says, and here to read the liberal Huffington Post’s reaction.
Vote in an MSNBC poll and click here to see how opinion is running.

What do you see when you look at a presidential candidate drawn dressed as a Muslim and his wife drawn as a terrorist? An obvious satire or a tasteless image?

Friday, July 11, 2008

FFQ: Two principled (but opposite) men?

Welcome to Freaky Friday Quiz, an occasional feature you’ll see in The Daily Views when the heavy lifting gets too much and the weekend gets too close.
Today’s quiz comes with irony (check out definition 3(a).

A worker for the state of North Carolina who had to “retire” after refusing to lower the flag to honor the late Sen. Jesse Helms was acting on principle and taking the same kind of uncompromising stand that earned Helms such admiration, wasn’t he?

Read about it here.
Read what bloggers in Raleigh, Washington and New York are saying.

Now, what do you think? Weigh in, and feel free to use irony.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oh, so that's what Mary Easley will do

Exactly what will First Lady Mary Easley do at N.C. State University to earn $170,000 a year?

And what has she done well enough in the past there to earn her an $80,000 a year raise?
Bring well-known speakers to town, among other things.
This statement today from Provost Larry Nielson sheds more light on the details of Ms. Easley’s role, and her high-rolling salary.
It also gives N.C. State’s take on why her new role and raise missed scrutiny by the UNC Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s 16 universities.
Here's the link.
Here are excepts:
“Over the past two years, Mrs. Easley has built the Millennium Seminar
series into a highly visible and well-received program, having brought to campus
national figures such as David Gergen, Robert Reich, Charlie Rose, Senator
Lindsey Graham, Donna Shalala and others. Speakers already arranged by Mrs.
Easley for this coming academic year include former senator Bill Bradley and
NCAA President Myles Brand.

Having someone of Mrs. Easley's background presented us with an excellent
opportunity to take our Public Safety Leadership Initiative and Administrative
Officers Management Program (AOMP) to the next level by creating a center.

Part of Mrs. Easley's new responsibilities will be to work broadly across
the university and the community to conceptualize, implement and direct a formal
Center for Public Safety Leadership. This center will, through teaching,
research and community engagement, develop best practices in the administration
and leadership of "first response"—the work of police, firefighters, port
officials, emergency medical personnel, homeland security official and

The creation of this center is consistent with our strategic plan priority
in public policy and with the goals of the University of North Carolina Tomorrow
initiative to enhance the capacity of North Carolina's communities and
government agencies. This is an opportunity for our university – and for Mrs.
Easley – to make a strong and favorable impact on a vital workforce

In addition to her work as center director, she will teach two classes
annually in the AOMP.In her new position, Mrs. Easley will also lead the
development of our academic programs relating to the legal professions. In this
capacity, she will co-coordinate our pre-law advising program, develop
collaborations with law schools in the region and institute a variety of
seminars, workshops and other events that support the significant number of our
students who want to pursue careers in the legal profession.

Mrs. Easley's appointment is subject to the approval of the UNC Board of

Historically, NC State has interpreted Board of Governors policy to mean
that salary increases associated with fixed-term appointments such as the one
offered to Mrs. Easley do not require Board of Governors approval.

UNC General Administration has advised us that our interpretation of board
policy differs from theirs and that of other UNC institutions. Therefore, all
such affected contracts, including Mrs. Easley's, will be reviewed in the
ordinary course by the UNC Board of Governors at its next regularly scheduled

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Touchdown! UNCC scores state money

Rejoice, 49er fans. Buzz with happiness.
No, football hasn’t been approved by the campus poo-bahs. This is even bigger. UNC Charlotte’s top needs fared very, very well in the new state budget.
Here’s a quick rundown, according to David Dunn, vice chancellor for university relations and community Affairs:

    • The Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) got $56 million, the full
      amount needed to build it. That’s the university’s top capital priority.
    • The budget provides $34 million for enrollment growth for the UNC system. That’s a
      critical development, particularly for fast-growing campuses such as UNCC.
      Otherwise the cost of educating additional students who have enrolled since last
      year would have to be paid from existing operating budget. For UNCC, it amounts
      to some $6 million. Some 700 new students are expected for the fall semester.
UNCC still lags behind other research and doctoral-granting campuses in per-student funding. Lawmakers did nothing to make up for historic disparities in the state funding formula.
Still, N.C.’s fourth largest campus fared well at a tight economic time when lawmakers could have held back on higher education.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Obama's moving where?

Barack Obama's much-ballyhooed move to the center (e.g., "Obama vows to expand Bush's faith-based initiative" and "Obama Addresses Critics on 'Centrist' Moves") is inspiring torrents of verbiage among the punditocracy. The New York Times' Bob Herbert, for instance, calls it a very dangerous game for a man who first sold himself as someone unlike the other politicians.

We know the world is not as it was in 1992. Gas prices and the existence of the word "Brangelina" are enough to make that point. But this hasn't changed: If you're perceived as a liberal, you are probably not going to win the general election. Even if most Americans think the Iraq war was a mismanaged mistake rooted in lies and deception. Even if most Americans think George W. Bush is the worst idea since New Coke.

But did these left-hand-wringers not notice a few things? Let us mention them: McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, won by convincing people he was moderate, not a flaming liberal.

Barack Obama already has hurdles to surmount, even with people comfortable with the idea of a black man in the White House. He's perceived as an elitist -- which shows how susceptible Americans are to even the hint of elitism, since his background is far more modest than John McCain's. He's perceived as non-patriotic, because some years back he spurned those silly flag lapel pins. If he doesn't convince voters he isn't a left-winger he hasn't got a prayer of winning in November. If he weren't trying to move to the political center in time for the general election, you could make a good case that he's too politically dumb to be president.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Helms' face: principle or bigotry?

Jesse Helms defined the face of North Carolina to the nation in the late 20th century, perhaps more so than any other political figure has.

But was that firebrand face one of integrity and principle or one of fear and bigotry?
Here are two conflicting views:
David S. Broder described Helms in 2001 as "the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country." Broder was writing, in part, about Helms' infamous "hands" ad against his Democratic challenger in 1990, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.
Supporters such as Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-Banner Elk, said this: "Senator Helms was the truest of patriots. His passion for conservative principles and the vigor with which he pursued them was second to none."
Click here to read what other foes and supporters said when he died early today at age 86.
The state’s voters were sharply divided on Helms’ politics, too. His wins were close ones.

What do you think? Did Helms’ face reflect North Carolina?
What is the lasting legacy of having a polarizing, provocative figure represent us for 29 years?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Easley: OMG! Sexism! N.C.: LOL!!!!

Gov. Mike Easley earns $135,000 a year. He now officially makes less than his wife, Mary, whose new role at N.C. State University vaulted her salary from $90,000 to $170,000 July 1.
That amazing raise has Tar Heel eyebrows shooting high as July 4th bottle rockets and tongues wagging harder than Rover’s hindparts.
Now the gov has called critics of his wife out. He says it's sexism.

Read about it here. Watch the video here.
Sexism! OMG!
LOL!!!! governor.
Governor, your wife’s salary is more than four times what the average North Carolina household earns a year, according to the Census. Her raise alone is double what the average household earns. That - not sexism - is the issue.

What do you think? Would we blink twice if a man got that kind of pay boost?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A gift for N.C.'s globe-trotting gov

We have the perfect going-away gift for N.C.’s globe-trotting First Couple, Mike and Mary Easley.

The summer issue of Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine is out. The cover story: "Authentic and Romantic Italy."
It includes these appealing bargains: A guest room in a trulli house in Trullidea, Puglia, for $135 a night and a guided shepherd’s breakfast tour in Val Di Kam, Sicily (freshly-made cheeses, bread and olive oil served in a village courtyard) for $39.

Tips such as that would have saved taxpayers a load of cash when Mary and Gov. Mike jetted to Italy on official business in May. Ditto for the First Lady’s "cultural" missions to France, Russia and Estonia, where one dinner bill featured $647 worth of comfort food such as pheasant stuffed with homemade sausages. (For cryin’ out loud, think about the N.C. barbecue that would have bought!)

What do you do with a governor who brushes aside such exorbitant travel like crusty bread crumbs?
Send him a subscription to Budget Travel ($12 a year, $20 for 2 years and just $25 for three years!) to the governor’s mansion – COD.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Are you a symbolic patriot?

It’s a red, white and blue week, and (surprise!) patriotism has flared over the presidential race like a turbo-charged bottle rocket.
Retired general-gone-slightly-loopy Wesley Clark questioned the value of John McCain’s military service in critiquing his fitness for the White House. (Read about Clark’s remarks here.

Critics of Barack Obama dredged up old photos of the candidate standing by, not covering his heart, during the national anthem. (Read Obama’s response here.)

But what exactly is the American patriot litmus test?
Do you wear a U.S. lapel pin? Do you know the U.S. flag code and place your right hand in the proper place while singing the national anthem? Is your Old Glory folded properly and displayed?
Those are symbolic actions. What about these?
Would you risk your life and livelihood to speak out against repression practiced in your own country?
Would you defend the First Amendment rights of a fellow citizen who uttered words or ideas you found repulsive or dangerous?
Those are harder actions. Yet they directly support the principles in the U.S. Constitution.
What do you think? What makes an American a patriot?