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N&R taking heat for gun ad


Yet another letter to the editor in today’s N&R taking our local paper of record to task for running a big-ass full-page ad for the Reidsville Ace Hardware holiday gun sale featruing everything from Derringers to Rugers.

Today’s letter is from Lee Zacharias–who also happens to be my former UNCG professor:

I cannot begin to say how upsetting it was to me to turn the front page of Sunday’s paper to a full-page ad for guns from Ace Hardware, whose price “says it all … only while supplies last … limit two per customer per day.”

In the wake of school shootings, mall shootings, fast-food shootings, theater shootings, not to mention an indecent interval since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, I’m astonished by this ad and its prominence in the paper. Ace Hardware sells nuts and bolts. It sells many hardware essentials, but I will never patronize the store again and want to know if the chain paid extra for its placement, because, if it didn’t, the News & Record has no excuse.

Even so, the paper should have refused to run this ad. I once served as a juror on a capital murder case, and I recognize some of the models of the pistols. These are not guns that are used for hunting. Nor are they generally stored in a drawer beside the bed to protect a house from intruders. I call upon every like-minded person to join me in boycotting Ace Hardware.

Lee Zacharias

More letters here and here, with one of the readers announcing she had cancelled her subscription, saying she “cannot support a paper that chooses to run full-page ads for guns.”

The only thing that would make this situation even funnier would be if the N&R had run the ad opposite Susan Ladd’s column. Surely the brains down on East Market Street new better than to do that, but never assume.


Ed Hardin: PC sportswriter of the moment

If he didn’t already have it, the N&R’s Ed Hardin officially earned his politically correct sportswriters card with yesterday’s column on the Panthers’ victory over the Redskins:

Carolina might be the best team in the NFL, but you couldn’t really tell Sunday because Washington might be the worst team in the NFL.

….The holiday celebration broke out early in the stands, where a huge crowd came to watch a clinic. It was over by halftime when Newton had 167 yards and four touchdown passes, throwing darts into the end zones and ignoring the fool in burgundy and gold holding a sign proclaiming this to be “(Racial slur) Country.”

Side note —Panthers and Cowboys will square on Thanksgiving Day in the ‘best color rush sets yet.’


Re: Wilkins vs. Blust?

Rumor has it that the Greensboro City Council’s lone conservative member—District 5 rep Tony Wilkins—will challenge incumbent District 62 Rep. John Blust in next March’s primary.

Neither Wilkins nor Blust have commented, but speculation is the challenge would come about because Blust is not conservative enough, specifically regarding Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill restructuring the Gboro council, which Blust strongly opposed.

With that in mind, N&R’s Doug Clark says it is Wade—not Blust—who should be challenged:

Blust has impeccable conservative credentials. He’s consistent in applying him, unlike the majority of Republicans in the legislature whose primary governing principle is preserving and building power. It is not “conservative” to apply state power over local government nor to rule rather than represent.

Anyone who would challenge Blust would have to argue that he was wrong to listen to the people rather than to join with the ruling majority in Raleigh. How is that a winning election issue?

On other matters where Blust has run afoul of legislative leaders — fighting for democratic procedures within the legislature —opposing him would be another mistake.

Blust fought Democratic leaders and Republican leaders for the same faults — rushed votes, lack of transparency, hidden provisions, overriding the wishes of rank-and-file members, entrenched leadership, etc.

Who is going to make a case against Blust’s integrity on these kinds of issues? Only someone who intends to became a tool of legislative leaders. We have too many legislators like that already.

I don’t think Wilkins would do that or will do that.

Someone may run against Blust. But if someone wants to run to be a true representative of the people, rather than a ruler over them, he or she should run against Sen. Wade instead.

Don’t know if Clark and Blust are FB friends—the representative has over 2500 friends—he might note that Blust appears to be among the politically panicked here in North Carolina (which now includes Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, in case you missed it) over the Syrian refugee crisis.

But I guess that’s politics—you agree with some issues and disagree on others, although that increasingly seems not to be the case these days.


Say Yes $1 office space

Rhino reports the Greensboro City Council’s Community Services Committee signed off on office space for the Say Yes to Education program in the city’s downtown library—at a cost of $1 per year.

I’ll assume the matter will move on to the full council, where hopefully more questions will be asked. Council member Justin Outling—recently re-elected to the council after being appointed to fill Zack Matheny’s District 3 seat—asked city Assistant City Manager Chris Wilson some pointed questions regarding “information as to what is ‘minimal budgetary impact'” to the city. But here’s the real issue:

Even more so than the city councilmembers, the Guilford County commissioners have a lot more questions about the threat of hidden costs the county will have to take on due to the initiative. That’s because, unlike the city, the county funds the school system. In fact, as it is now, nearly half of Guilford County’s budget each year goes toward funding school operations and paying off existing school debt – so the commissioners are skeptical of anything that might drive that percentage up, no matter how attractive it looks on the surface.

Regarding the county, Commissioner Alan Branson said —-according to the Rhino—“there’s been talk of wraparound services the county will be expected to provide in support of Say Yes, but he added that they don’t know much about those yet, and he said the board didn’t want to get into a position where they are being hit up for a lot of expenses they didn’t sign up for.”

Stay tuned.


Happy Holidays Keith Mabe

Rockingham County Commissioner Keith Mabe will spend the holidays in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of driving while intoxicated in September.

N&R reports Mabe was transferred to the Caswell County jail, possibly because —-as part of the statewide Misdemeanant Confinement program—-that facility is better able to deal with Mabe’s health issues.

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Heads up Margaret Spellings II

N&R’s Syllabus blog details UNCG students’ demands, partially outlined during Monday’s protests.

In addition to fully fund programs that study marginalized communities, respecting the dignity of students, staff, alumni, and broader community, eliminating the “rape culture” on campus, resolving the student debt crisis, mandatory inclusive consent training for all freshmen and transfer students, a fully fund and staff an on-campus LGBTQ center and a living wage of $15 per hour and support the unionization for all campus workers, the students are also calling for —-last but not least— the removal of UNC system president Margaret Spellings “due to her history of discriminatory statements and actions targeting traditionally marginalized communities, in particular LGBTQ people.”

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Queen of Self-Righteous Indignation tackles Mock Indignation

For starters, yet another N&R letter to the editor criticizing Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott’s reactionary decision to suspend traffic stops for minor violations.

More than a few readers have written in opposing Chief Scott’s policy change—so many in face that our own Queen of Self-Righteous Indignation— N&R columnist Susan Ladd —couldn’t take it any more:

In letters to the editor and on social media, some people have called this move dangerous and illegal or implied that it is a dereliction of duty.

…..“It is my opinion that we don’t pick and choose which laws are to be enforced,” City Councilman Tony Wilkins told a commenter on his Facebook page. He later told the News & Record, “I have asked Chief Scott and Assistant City Manager (Wesley) Reid to give me an explanation as to how this action is in compliance with the chief’s oath administered during his swearing-in ceremony.”

Enough already.

….Stops for minor infractions often become fishing expeditions. Police search twice as many black drivers as white drivers, but white drivers are more often caught with contraband.

So please muffle the mock indignation.

Irony here is Ladd’s self-righteous rants over HB 263— a law passed by the General Assembly—went on and on, and yet Chief Scott makes a unilateral decision not to enforce the law and, well, we all just need to muffle the mock indignation.

Bottom line is Chief Scott should have had his fingers on racial disparity in traffic stops—not like it’s an old issue–instead of letting the NYT parachute in and expose it to the world. Even in that event— a reactionary policy change—then admitting you don’t know where it will lead —-doesn’t exactly show strong leadership. And believe you me there’s a dearth of that around here.

Not sure if that’s Self-Righteous Indignation or Mock Indignation. I’ll let you interpret for yourselves, dear readers.

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UNCG sympatico w/ Mizzou

Given last week’s black student protests at Guilford College to show sympathy with similar protests at the University of Missouri, I wondered how long it would be before we’d see protests at my alma mater UNCG.

Not long:

There wasn’t one major incident that prompted UNC-Greensboro students on Monday to demand an end to what they called racist and unequal practices.

There were many.

At a demonstration outside the campus center, students stood alongside their peers at the University of Missouri and elsewhere and asked for the university to do better.

“What happened at the University of Missouri is not a singular occurrence,” said Carly Springs, a junior who’s majoring in psychology. “Campuses all over the U.S. refuse to recognize the experiences of marginalized students and continue to uphold white supremacy.”

Of course the irony here is UNCG chancellor Franklin Gilliam—on the job barely a few months—is not only African-American but has built his academic career around the concept of social justice:

Gilliam has launched new campaigns to elevate the School of Public Affairs’ mission of public service, which comprises graduate programs in public policy, social welfare, and urban planning; an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in public affairs (one of UCLA’s most popular); and active research centers, including the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, the Institute for Transportation Studies, the Center for Policy Research on Aging, and the Luskin Center for Innovation.

Under his leadership, the school has begun major initiatives to spotlight and disseminate the research of faculty and students on pressing issues such as immigration, drug policy, prison reform, low-income families and youth, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, and economic development.

Gosh I wonder how many students were aware of that when they took the streets on Monday afternoon. For what it’s worth, Gilliam really stuck it to them when students demanded UNCG hurry up and rename Aycock Auditorium, considering the namesake was one of the key figures in the state’s white supremacy movement of the late 19th century.

“We’re a university. We have to do our own due diligence,” Gilliam responded.

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Re: Guilford sheriff charges animal shelter director

In case you missed it, N&R reported last week that Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes has filed misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against the former director of the county animal shelter, just days after Guilford’s district attorney announced there was insufficient evidence to file charges.

District Attorney Doug Henderson said he would review the charges and decide whether or not to prosecute. Barnes also requested that the case be transferred to Davidson County, where former animals shelter director Marsha Williams and and two other former employees face felony animal cruelty charges.

Barnes said it made sense to combine the cases, but it would also remove any conflict of interest questions due to ties both Barnes and Henderson have with the United Animal Coalition, the nonprofit that took over shelter operations in 1998.

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Gboro community policing II

in a Sunday front-pager, N&R rehashes NYT numbers on racial disparities in Gboro police traffic stops and does a little research on its own.

Straight to the money pull quote regarding Police Chief Wayne Scott’s just-announced policy of no longer initiating traffic stops for minor infractions:

Scott’s decision to temporarily suspend those stops is uncharted territory for Greensboro. Even Scott acknowledges he doesn’t know where the experiment will lead or what his department will do with the findings.

I would have to say this is the epitome of what Triad Conservative describes as a “novel application” that the “weak minded and venal” in Greensboro will continue to pursue.

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