UNC Fraud Report Released

David Price Live at 8:30 a.m. — Budget Talks Continue In D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Budget talks continue in D.C. as another deadline approaches, and another deadline has been missed.

Congress had an informal deadline set for a week ago Monday to set the foundation for a budget deal that will help avoid another shutdown January 15, but no agreements were made. One of the lead budget negotiators, Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, told the Washington Times that these discussions should be moving at a faster pace. Some members wanted the formal deadline December 2.

On October 1, a 16-day partial government shutdown began when an agreement on the debt limit—among other things—could not be reached as Republican and Democrat ideas didn’t align.

The half-month shutdown was halted when an extension to January 15 was made, but if a plan is not in place by that date, it all begins again.

U.S. Congressman David Price of North Carolina’s 4th District joins Ron Stutts on the WCHL Tuesday Morning News at 8:32 a.m. to discuss the progress of the talks in Washington.

Price is also currently active on the issue of the Iran interim nuclear agreement. He says he’s opposed to Congress imposing additional sanctions at this time. Tune in for his thoughts on that topic as well.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/david-price-live-830-m-budget-talks-continue-d-c/

Obama, In Speech, To Focus On Income Disparities

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is renewing his focus on the income gap between rich and poor.

He’ll deliver an address later today to argue his case that income inequality and wage stagnation are threatening upward mobility and retirement security.

White House says Obama will reiterate his call for an increase in the minimum wage and promote possible economic benefits of the troubled health care law.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/obama-speech-focus-income-disparities/

When “Kinda Like” Makes Us Kinda Stupid

“I’m really starting to kinda like that guy.”

This is what I’m hearing from my liberal friends about Pope Francis, now that it’s clear he’s more interested in defending the meek and ministering to the poor than he is in, say, angrily crusading against other people’s sexual foibles.

He’s been doing this all year long, you know. His first public remarks emphasized the virtue of humility—he concluded by asking the crowd to bless him, remember? (You don’t remember. It’s okay.) He moved into smaller quarters, began ministering to prison inmates and other downtroddens, criticized fellow Catholics who’d let themselves become partisan ideologues, elevated the fight against poverty, emphasized social justice and compassion for the poor, exhorted bishops and priests to get their hands dirty by working with the lowest amongst us, and actually practiced what he preached by unabashedly laying hands on a man with a horrific skin condition, in full view of the world, and comforting him when no one else would.

And now, most recently, a papal exhortation that blasts unrestrained capitalism as a “new tyranny,” denounces the rapidly growing inequality of wealth, appeals to political leaders to address the root causes of poverty, and urges the rich to think of others beside themselves. My leftie friends are beyond excited. (I know because they’re all posting about it on Facebook.)

I wish I could say I told you so.

Oh wait! I can! I wrote about this on March 15, two days after he was elected. I was one of the first lefties on the “I kinda like this guy” train. In fact I wrote those exact words eight months ago. “I. Kinda. Like. This. Guy.”

Hooray for me!

But–

Okay, here’s the thing.

I share the sentiment about Pope Francis, I do. I think he’s been wonderful, both for the Church and for the world. I think he’s got the right idea. I think he’s got his priorities straight. And I like him for all of those reasons.

But I gotta ask, y’all:

Why is it we’re only willing to “like” somebody when they start agreeing with us?

I mean, seriously? We’re that shallow?

Let’s go back and look at Pope Francis again. I wrote in March—and I still believe—that he espouses all the tenets of the Catholic worldview, even the ones that make lefties uncomfortable. He’s opposed to the death penalty and abortion. He’s opposed to both greed and lust. He’s been willing to dispense with some traditions if they impede the Church’s higher callings—ministering to the poor, for instance—but he still respects the value of tradition for its own sake.

How do American liberals respond to this?

One of two ways, usually. Either A) they embrace him in those moments when he publicly sides with them and shuff everything else under the rug, or B) they remain unmoved altogether and continue denouncing him because he still hasn’t come around on women priests or gay marriage or whatever else.

Either way, it comes down to the exact same thing:

“I like you only to the extent that you’re willing to agree with me. And if you don’t agree with me, then out the door with ya.”

It’s not just Pope Francis. Hey, quick, who’s your favorite Fox News personality? If you’re a liberal—I’m assuming most of the people reading this are—then I’ll bet you said Megyn Kelly. Or maybe Shepard Smith. Why? Well, gosh, because every now and then they say something I agree with. So I “like” them.

But this is crap, people.

This is a horrible, horrible way to think.

It’s completely fine, of course, to say, “Hey, that guy’s not as bad as I thought he’d be,” or, “Wow, I didn’t expect to agree with her as often as I do.”  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But when we’re only willing to listen to the arguments we already find appealing—when we become unwilling to listen to anything we don’t already agree with–and when our respect for this or that political figure hinges entirely on whether he or she falls in line with our preconceived notions—then we make ourselves dumb. We stop questioning ourselves. We stop thinking about the words that are coming out of our mouths. We start thinking of all our political opponents as irrational, stupid, unlikable, and evil. And we lose the ability to change our minds.

This is the problem with American politics today.

So let’s do something about it. Right now.

Today, instead of fawning over the people who pander to our preconceived ideas, let’s take a moment to celebrate the people who’ve made us think twice about something we thought we believed, people who’ve disagreed with us in a way that made us think differently. Instead of going on Facebook and sharing links on the basis of “Wow, I’ve always believed this, but this article just said it better than I ever could”—let’s instead share links on the basis of “Wow, I’ve never believed this—and maybe I still don’t!—but this article really made me think.”

I’ll start. I can think of several off the top of my head.

I definitely consider myself a progressive—I’m not particularly enamored with the idea of tradition as an end in itself, hanging on to tradition for its own sake. But I’m a little warmer to the notion now that I’ve read Edmund Burke’s Reflection on the Revolution in France and Michael Oakeshott’s essay “On Being Conservative.” Those are terrific pieces about the value of tradition—even if you still disagree when you’re done, you’ll understand the argument a lot more.

In 1999 there was talk of jacking up taxes on cigarettes, and I was all for it. I’m still in favor of it—but less so after I read a column by George Will, of all people. His argument: the government could easily run cigarettes into oblivion by raising taxes so high they became impossibly expensive (“the power to tax is the power to destroy,” as John Marshall said), so the fact that they weren’t doing that indicated that they didn’t really want to cut smoking—all they wanted was to raise taxes just enough to maximize revenue while leaving smoking rates basically where they were. He had a point.

Around the same time, the Taliban—still on the rise in Afghanistan then—started drawing major international flak for destroying ancient Buddhist statues and priceless works of art. There was a global outcry. Everyone was outraged. I was outraged. Then I heard a defender of the Taliban on TV say—I’m paraphrasing—“Look, the Afghan people have been starving to death for years and you’ve said nothing. We knock down a statue and now there’s an outcry?” Well, shoot. Probably the most cynical argument I’ve ever heard in my life—“why are you getting upset about this, when we’ve done all this other stuff that’s even worse?”—but I had to admit, the guy was kinda right. Mass starvation is worse than a broken statue.

Then a few years later I read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. Terrific book. I agreed with most of its points already, and most of its facts and findings only bolstered the opinions I came in with—except for one. Schlosser argued that companies in the food industry take advantage of the influx of undocumented immigrants (who can’t appeal to labor laws because they’ll be deported) to drive down wages, commit all sorts of legal violations, stop caring about sanitation, and pass the resulting unsafe product on to you. Prior to reading Schlosser I hadn’t thought about “illegal immigration” as anything more than a trumped-up wedge issue; after reading Schlosser I realized it was a legitimate concern that demanded action.

It made me think in ways I hadn’t expected to.

And for that reason, I “kinda like” it.

How about you? What books have you read that made you think differently? What public figures have made you change your mind? Who’s the person you disagree with 99.9 percent of the time, but gosh, they always have such insightful and challenging points to make?

Who do you like?

Comment below. We can help make politics better. Pope Francis would approve.

(At least I assume he would. You know. He seems like a decent guy.)

http://chapelboro.com/columns/aaron-keck/kinda-like-makes-us-kinda-stupid/

Latest Poll Finds New Republican Front-Runner For Senate

RALEIGH – Public Policy Polling(PPP) released their latest poll on the North Carolina Senate race this week, and for the third time in as many months found a different Republican front-runner to challenge Kay Hagan this fall.

“The top choice among Republicans to be their U.S Senate candidate next year would be Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest,” says PPP director Tom Jensen. “We find him polling at 18%, 13% for Congresswomen Virginia Foxx, 12% for Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, and 10% for Congresswomen Renee Ellmers. Everybody else who we tested drew single-digits.”

The poll also shows the probable Republican candidates are struggling with name recognition. Only Forest and Berry were recognized by over half of respondents.

Jensen says the lack of name recognition is leading to a wide-open race.

“In January, Virginia Foxx had the lead and last month Cherrie Berry had the lead,” says Jensen. “I think when you see a different leader every month like that, it just shows how really wide open the Republican Senate race is. None of the folks are particularly well-known at that point, and that means it is really up for grabs. Just about anyone could win the nomination.”

Currently, North Carolina’s two senators are Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan. Hagan’s term will end in 2015. Jensen says while Hagan is currently leading by a fairly wide margin, the race will certainly tighten closer to election date.

“She has leads ranging from 10 to 19 points against these Republicans,” says Jensen. “I think that Hagan is in a pretty decent position, but it is still going to get closer. We see a lot of undecided Republicans in all of these matchups simply because Republican voters are not familiar with their potential candidates”

According to Jensen, Dan Forest and Patrick McHenry poll the best in direct competition with Hagan.

Because of the lack of recognition of Republican candidates, Jensen says Hagan’s approval numbers may be a better indicator of how close the race could be this fall.

“On that front, we find voters pretty closely divided,” says Jensen. “42% of voters think she is doing a good job and 39% disapprove. When you have someone who’s approval ratings are so closely divided like that, you are likely to have a pretty close race.”
http://chapelboro.com/news/latest-poll-finds-new-republican-front-runner-for-senate/

Lottery and Drones Bring Bipartisan Divisiveness

Are you tired of the partisan divisiveness that is poisoning the political environment of our state and nation?

Do you wish that the politicians from the two parties would work together more often on issues of common concern?

Me too.

Maybe we are getting what we wished for, thanks to the North Carolina lottery and our country’s use of unmanned drone aircraft to target and kill our enemies throughout the world.

Welcome to the world of bipartisan divisiveness?

You might get tired of this form of divisiveness, too.

The legislature, then controlled by Democrats, established the state lottery at the urging of Democratic Governor Mike Easley, whose pro-lottery positions were major campaign planks.

It was a popular issue for the governor, too. Schools needed the money. People wanted to play the games and were going across state lines to buy lottery tickets. A lottery would be a voluntary tax. Free money. 

Most Republicans opposed the lottery’s establishment. So did lots of Democrats. Liberal Democrats agreed with libertarian Republicans that running a gambling business is not a proper function of government.

Government, they said, should encourage its citizens to work and save for their future, not on fostering dreams of getting rich by winning the lottery. Certainly, they continued, government should not stoop to the low level of a carnival barker selling chances on games in which the odds of winning are stacked against the player.

Some lottery opponents argued that having state officials deal with the gaming industry would have special pitfalls. Don’t expect to lie down with dogs and not come up with fleas, they warned.

Today, the lottery is an established part of state government, and there have been fewer fleabites than expected.

But, with Republicans now in charge of state government, they could ditch the lottery.

Will they?

Governor Pat McCrory recommends only a first step, suggesting that the state “reallocate a portion of money away from the bloated and frankly annoying advertising and the large administration costs of the lottery commission.”

Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger and one-time vigorous lottery opponent Representative Paul Stam are not pushing for lottery repeal, only reducing advertising and administrative expenses and fees.

Even these modest proposals have put the lottery back in play. Some Democrats will join Republicans to cut the lottery’s wings. And some Republicans will vote with Democrats to maintain or enhance the lottery’s profits.

More lottery divisiveness, but it is bipartisan divisiveness.

Similarly the bitter partisan divisions in Washington collapsed for a moment last week after Senator Rand Paul filibustered the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Paul used his speaking time to call for accountability and clear policy for the use of drone aircraft for targeted killings. Specifically, Paul demanded to know whether the U.S. president has the authority to direct the killing of some presumed enemy within the United States.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham denounced Paul for trying to tie the president’s hands in the fight against worldwide terrorism. Meanwhile, liberals like Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson supported Paul. Robinson wrote, “The way we use drones as killing machines has to be consistent with our freedoms and our values. For grabbing us by the lapels, Rand Paul deserves praise.”

How much authority should the president have to call for drone strikes against suspected enemies of the country?

The question is divisive.

Bipartisan divisive.

Enjoy it while you can.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch.” During UNC-TV’s Festival, the program airs Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch
Next week’s (Thursday, March 21 at 5 p.m.) guest is Terry Roberts, author of “A Short Time to Stay Here.” (Note the Sunday airing will be preempted by UNC-TV’s Festival programming). The program will also air at Wednesday March 20 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). In addition, airing at 11:30 Wednesday on UNC-MX will be a classic Bookwatch program featuring Haven Kimmel author of The Solace of Leaving Early.
 
A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.
 
More about Terry Roberts:
 
Madison County, north of Asheville and up along the Tennessee border, has been the location of two novels featured recently on Bookwatch: Ron Rash’s “The Cove” and Wiley Cash’s “A Land More Kind than Home.” Now there is a third fine Madison County novel. Terry Roberts’ “A Short Time to Stay Here” is a story of World War I and more than 2,000 Germans interned in a resort hotel in Hot Springs. It is a story of love, killing and conflict of different cultures that come together in explosive and surprising fashion.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/lottery-and-drones-bring-bipartisan-divisiveness/

The Sequester Game is "OVER-RATED"

Washington, DC
 

OVER-RATED *clap* *clap* *clap clap clap*

It’s all a game in Washington – a very overrated one. Just like in basketball, baseball or pretty much any sport, numbers don’t lie. Unless the people twisting them to back-up their point of view are.

No one will deny that the arbitrary spending cuts that Washington self-imposed on the nation are at best, an inconvenience. Slicing $85 billion dollars for 7 months worth of the year is no joke, but President Obama has all but predicted an economic catastrophe.

But that’s where the numbers tell a different story. $85 billion dollars is only about a 2-3% cut in the Federal budget. If it were an average American making $40,000 a year, it would mean about an $1,000 decrease in pay. Well, that doesn’t sound insignificant! But what if you were a millionaire or billionaire? Would $20,000 of your $1 million salary seem like much to you? If you were dealing with trillions? Mere pocket change.

The PR war is underway – and the Democrats are winning. But should they? President Obama has made it abundantly clear the impacts he expects from the Sequester. Travel delays from poorly funded Air Traffic Controllers, fewer government jobs – the White House has even announced that spring tours of the national symbol will no longer be available. That’ s just to name a few. The picture that has been painted looks grim.

But, is The White House guilty of political gamesmanship? Evidence of air traffic delays had been non-existent in the 3+ days up until the “Snowquester” on the East Coast. The day the Sequester took place, an order for new TSA uniforms was placed for over $50 million. 400 new Defense related job postings were uploaded on Day 2 of Sequester, and Spring Tours of the White House have traditionally been done by non-paid volunteers. Guilty? As charged.

Both sides are guilty of their own gamesmanship. Republicans have seemingly refused to negotiate with Democratic leaders. But can you blame them? Republicans in the House are responsible to their constituencies, who want to see spending cuts. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi have denied any need for any spending cuts or entitlement reforms.

No one will say that spending cuts are easy – and they’re certainly not popular. Scarcity is a basic economic principle that the U.S. government has recently ignored. If the current national debt were broken up and distributed evenly amongst the population, you and I would each owe over $55,000 each. Entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all within about 10 years of insolvency. Young people are wondering why they have to pay the bills for a benefit they will certainly not enjoy under current circumstances.

Democrats have a vested interest in playing the blame game here – and they’re winning. About 40% of people in a recent Pew Poll said that they would primarily blame the Republicans for the Sequester, compared to just 20% for Democrats. Far from a majority, but it points to the media/PR war in Washington. Democrats know that if they can point enough fingers, that winning back the House in 2014 will be that much easier.

So what does all this mean? Well so far, the economy has barely noticed the on-set of spending cuts. While tax and entitlement reform, in addition to modest cuts to discretionary spending seem like a balanced idea, neither side will come out of their corners to deal. So long as the Sequester that Obama set up to look like the apocalypse is barely noticed, Republicans will stay where they are – happy that they could cut SOME spending, somehow.

What’s most ironic about the whole situation is that both parties are saying the same thing. The Sequester isn’t a good idea – yet, it was Obama’s bill that got us here. It’s a Congressman’s job to represent his or her District. A guy like John Boehner must stay true to his constituents. Sure, he’s the Speaker of the House, but his ultimate responsibility is to his people, most of whom are Republican. Same goes for Paul Ryan in Wisconsin or Aaron Schock in Illinois. Paging David Price… What’s your position?

The Sequester so far is a snoozer. Only, it had the hype of a March Madness match-up. In the stands, watching close by, it feels like a blow out so far. The hype is OVER-RATED.

I’m not writing to endorse the Republicans or the Democrats. Perhaps I’m here to try and strike a balance in the finger pointing that the Democrats are by all measures, winning. I AM writing to encourage both sides to get something done. I’m also encouraging anyone out there reading this to have a more critical eye on what’s being sold in the media – the blame should fall squarely between each party.

In between the two parties? Well that’s you President Obama. Perhaps you should stop accusing Republicans of playing the political game until you do the same. Step off the soap box, roll up the sleeves and moderate a healthy, balanced conversation that reaches a moderate solution: close tax loopholes, trim spending and reforms entitlements. Otherwise, I feel you too are OVER-RATED.

Ryan Watts is a Chapel Hill native and recent UNC graduate in Political Science and Business Administration. Now living in Washington DC, he works as a Consultant. You can find him on Twitter @RyanVWatts or at his blog.

image by paul-w via flickr

http://chapelboro.com/columns/hill-to-hill/the-sequester-game-is-over-rated/

The Sequester Game is "OVER-RATED"

Washington, DC
 

OVER-RATED *clap* *clap* *clap clap clap*

It’s all a game in Washington – a very overrated one. Just like in basketball, baseball or pretty much any sport, numbers don’t lie. Unless the people twisting them to back-up their point of view are.

No one will deny that the arbitrary spending cuts that Washington self-imposed on the nation are at best, an inconvenience. Slicing $85 billion dollars for 7 months worth of the year is no joke, but President Obama has all but predicted an economic catastrophe.

But that’s where the numbers tell a different story. $85 billion dollars is only about a 2-3% cut in the Federal budget. If it were an average American making $40,000 a year, it would mean about an $1,000 decrease in pay. Well, that doesn’t sound insignificant! But what if you were a millionaire or billionaire? Would $20,000 of your $1 million salary seem like much to you? If you were dealing with trillions? Mere pocket change.

The PR war is underway – and the Democrats are winning. But should they? President Obama has made it abundantly clear the impacts he expects from the Sequester. Travel delays from poorly funded Air Traffic Controllers, fewer government jobs – the White House has even announced that spring tours of the national symbol will no longer be available. That’ s just to name a few. The picture that has been painted looks grim.

But, is The White House guilty of political gamesmanship? Evidence of air traffic delays had been non-existent in the 3+ days up until the “Snowquester” on the East Coast. The day the Sequester took place, an order for new TSA uniforms was placed for over $50 million. 400 new Defense related job postings were uploaded on Day 2 of Sequester, and Spring Tours of the White House have traditionally been done by non-paid volunteers. Guilty? As charged.

Both sides are guilty of their own gamesmanship. Republicans have seemingly refused to negotiate with Democratic leaders. But can you blame them? Republicans in the House are responsible to their constituencies, who want to see spending cuts. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi have denied any need for any spending cuts or entitlement reforms.

No one will say that spending cuts are easy – and they’re certainly not popular. Scarcity is a basic economic principle that the U.S. government has recently ignored. If the current national debt were broken up and distributed evenly amongst the population, you and I would each owe over $55,000 each. Entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all within about 10 years of insolvency. Young people are wondering why they have to pay the bills for a benefit they will certainly not enjoy under current circumstances.

Democrats have a vested interest in playing the blame game here – and they’re winning. About 40% of people in a recent Pew Poll said that they would primarily blame the Republicans for the Sequester, compared to just 20% for Democrats. Far from a majority, but it points to the media/PR war in Washington. Democrats know that if they can point enough fingers, that winning back the House in 2014 will be that much easier.

So what does all this mean? Well so far, the economy has barely noticed the on-set of spending cuts. While tax and entitlement reform, in addition to modest cuts to discretionary spending seem like a balanced idea, neither side will come out of their corners to deal. So long as the Sequester that Obama set up to look like the apocalypse is barely noticed, Republicans will stay where they are – happy that they could cut SOME spending, somehow.

What’s most ironic about the whole situation is that both parties are saying the same thing. The Sequester isn’t a good idea – yet, it was Obama’s bill that got us here. It’s a Congressman’s job to represent his or her District. A guy like John Boehner must stay true to his constituents. Sure, he’s the Speaker of the House, but his ultimate responsibility is to his people, most of whom are Republican. Same goes for Paul Ryan in Wisconsin or Aaron Schock in Illinois. Paging David Price… What’s your position?

The Sequester so far is a snoozer. Only, it had the hype of a March Madness match-up. In the stands, watching close by, it feels like a blow out so far. The hype is OVER-RATED.

I’m not writing to endorse the Republicans or the Democrats. Perhaps I’m here to try and strike a balance in the finger pointing that the Democrats are by all measures, winning. I AM writing to encourage both sides to get something done. I’m also encouraging anyone out there reading this to have a more critical eye on what’s being sold in the media – the blame should fall squarely between each party.

In between the two parties? Well that’s you President Obama. Perhaps you should stop accusing Republicans of playing the political game until you do the same. Step off the soap box, roll up the sleeves and moderate a healthy, balanced conversation that reaches a moderate solution: close tax loopholes, trim spending and reforms entitlements. Otherwise, I feel you too are OVER-RATED.

Ryan Watts is a Chapel Hill native and recent UNC graduate in Political Science and Business Administration. Now living in Washington DC, he works as a Consultant. You can find him on Twitter @RyanVWatts or at his blog.

image by paul-w via flickr

http://chapelboro.com/columns/hill-to-hill/the-sequester-game-is-over-rated-2/

Holding Back The Tide

North Carolina Republicans are trying to do what the Democrats did in our state for 50 years:

Hold back the tide!

Until about 1960, North Carolina was part of a “Democratic Solid South.” But a Republican “Southern Strategy” and changing loyalties brought about a rising GOP tide that attracted conservative Democrats who followed Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms into the Republican Party. That rising tide led to Republican control of most Southern state governments by the turn of the millennium.

But not in North Carolina.

Fighting back the rising tide, the Democrats did not lose control of both houses of the legislature until 2010.

How did Democrats do it? How did they stay in power for so long when the tide of voter preference was against them?

Democrats will tell you that it was the moderate progressive leadership of strong office holders whose programs appealed to North Carolina voters.

Republicans will say that Democrats gerrymandered legislative districts to give themselves unfair advantage, that they used their power to freeze Republicans from leadership positions and to extort political contributions that gave them an unfair advantage.

In short, they point out that Democrats built up a series of walls, bulwarks and other barriers to hold off the Republican tide.

Ironically, at the moment the Republican tide finally crashed through the Democratic bulwarks in North Carolina, the tide has turned against them.

According to figures that Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program of the Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, shared with journalists last month, the demographic trends in North Carolina do not favor Republicans.

For instance, since 1996, the percentage of voters who are white has declined from 80 percent to about 70 percent, while black, Latino, Asian and other voters increased from about 18 percent to about 30 percent. The Republican advantage among white voters is a declining benefit. More worrisome for them is a recent declining trend in Republican voter identification, which declined from 40 percent in 2004 to 33 percent in 2012, while the Democratic identification held steady at 39 percent.

The growth of North Carolina’s population from other parts of the country might have favored Republicans in earlier times. Not now. In the 2012 presidential election Romney got the votes of 55 percent of those who were born in North Carolina and 52 percent of those who moved here more than 10 years ago. But of those who moved here in the last five to ten years, he got only 38 percent.

So, can Democrats rejoice and ride these trends to victory and a return to control in the next election?

No. A rising tide is not a tidal wave. It will not lift all boats in every election contest.

To return to power, Democrats will have to overcome the same kind of bulwarks they built to hold off the Republican tide, which is not an easy task.

Meanwhile Republicans will use their hard-earned power to keep it, raising money, recruiting candidates, clearing out government offices, giving their loyalists positions and giving their supporters the government contracts and benefits that keep them happy and generous.

The favorable tide can contribute to Democratic success, but to win again Democrats will have to learn from Republicans how they finally seized power. Build a platform for North Carolina that resonates with the new electorate. Provide support for the thinkers who can articulate and sell that platform. Recruit and support candidates with an appeal broad enough to win crossover support.

In short, stop demonizing Republican leader Art Pope and his colleagues and learn from them how to take power away from an entrenched minority.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage.

This week’s (February 16, 20) guest is Ping Fu, author of “Bend, Not Bread.”

A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.

Bookwatch Classics (programs from earlier years) airs Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4).

This week’s (February 20) guest is Pamela Duncan author of “Plant Life.”

One of North Carolina’s most successful and admired business leaders grew up in unbelievably oppressive circumstances in China during the Cultural Revolution. Starved, beaten, denied basic education, she survived and has prevailed. She tells this story of her challenging pathway to success in this country in her new book, “Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds.”

The book’s title comes from advice from Ping Fu’s “Shanghai Papa,” who told her, “Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”

Ping Fu is the founder and CEO of Morrisville-based Geomagic. It develops 3D software that makes possible the exact duplication of 3D objects using small machines called 3D printers. In 2005, Inc. Magazine named her Entrepreneur of the Year. A few weeks ago, Geomagic was acquired by one of its customers.

As “Bend, Not Break” moves on to the national bestseller lists, it will inspire readers and draw scrutiny from some skeptics who may find Ping Fu’s journey too amazing to be real.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/holding-back-the-tide/

On Smoking Legislation

I was always told never to attack the man but you can always attack his words with the facts. Recently, Alan Culton stated in his commentary of February 6 that he was upset about those pesky Liberals of Orange County who were taking away the rights of all residents of Chapel Hill to smoke in public. Well…

Fact one, the last time I looked the State House, Senate and the occupant of the Governor’s Mansion were all REPUBLICANS, not those pesky LIBERIALS he was complaining about. In fact the General Assembly has been run by the Republicans since the 2010 elections. And smoking is not the only right they wish to take away from us and Mr. Culton here in Chapel Hill. But that’s another story for another day. Second I don’t know what Constitution Mr. Culton follows but the one I live by was signed by 39 delegates on September 17, 1787 and it has no amendments regarding abortions and after looking over the 27 amendments that have been added to the Constitution since its original signing, our government has never ratified one that covers this medical procedure which by the way has been legal since January 1973. But that’s another story for another day. Lastly I would never hitch my wagon to a business that has to look for new customers overseas because their American customers keep dying from the continuing use of their products here at home. And this is our story for today.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/the-commentators/on-smoking-legislation/

Quick Hits Around Washington

Washington, DC
 

– Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, didn’t take long to cause a commotion once out of office. Her office released hillaryclintonoffice.com causing rumors predicting a 2016 run to gain further traction. The new site, launched January 30th, is undergoing further development, though it is worth noting that hillaryclinton.com now forwards to this new URL.

– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been making the media rounds this week, appearing on David Letterman’s The Tonight Show on Monday night, drawing praise from the notoriously liberal, Letterman, for his wonderful work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Christie, who has been critical of his own party’s leadership, has recently become a very vocal voice for bi-partisanship and is now an overwhelming favorite to be re-elected to the same office in 2013. When asked if he would run for President in 2016, Christie said that when he last polled his family, it was 6 votes to none for NOT running. He plans to re-evaluate their stance moving forward.

– The Wall Street Journal published an article on Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, and his “Red-State Model” that he hopes will generate momentum for the party in future years. With the stable of appealing candidates is in short supply, Brownback hopes that his state’s success of slashing the budget (and taxes), weaning people off entitlements and the ensuing strong jobs record will move people to the economic right. Meanwhile, states like North Carolina are likely headed in a similar policy direction, according to Brownback.

– Barack Obama continues his dual-threat ground game this week in Minneapolis (on Monday) as he pushes for greater gun control measures. Obama was in Nevada last week to launch his immigration reform push. Both issues are hot topics in North Carolina. 41.3% of North Carolina households self-reported having a gun in 2012, while 25% of NC’s population growth in the last 20 years can be attributed to Latinos (according to the NC Governor’s office).

Have a question about what’s going on in Washington? Let us know.

 

Ryan Watts is a Chapel Hill native and recent UNC graduate in Political Science and Business Administration. Now living in Washington DC, he works as a Consultant. You can find him on Twitter @RyanVWatts or at his blog.

image by paul-w via flickr

http://chapelboro.com/columns/hill-to-hill/quick-hits-around-washington/