It was announced recently that every K-3 teacher in the state would be provided with a new iPad for the 2018 school year.
Someone who is not familiar with politics in North Carolina might see this as a benefit to teachers. However, the decision was made by North Carolina School Superintendent Mark Johnson, who is a Republican, which means that according to mainstream media it is by definition a bad idea. The article in the News & Observer about the new iPads finds every negative thing you can think of about the deal.
It does mention that the iPads are being bought with money that was allocated for teachers in 2016 but never spent. So it would seem that Johnson found $6 million that has been sitting in an account not helping anyone and decided to use the money to provide up-to-date technology for primary school teachers. How could this be a bad thing? According to the News & Observer, the money should have been given to the teachers for them to spend how they see fit.
But the real issue is that since it is a Republican idea it is by definition bad. If Gov. Roy Cooper, who is a Democrat, had found $6 million lying around in some account and decided to do the same thing, the front page of the News & Observer would have huge headlines and probably a photo of Cooper handing an iPad to the most politically correct teacher they could find. It would be heralded as a huge advance for education in the state.
The mainstream media at some point are going to have to admit that occasionally Republicans do good things. But that didn’t happen this time.
The mainstream media are also down on the General Assembly putting constitutional amendments on the ballot for the people to decide how they want the state to be run. It seems the Democrats are being kind of undemocratic and claiming the Republicans are trying to take power away from the Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, and that is only partially correct. The Republicans are asking the people to take power away from the governor, and it is an extremely North Carolinian move.
North Carolina has traditionally had one of the weakest governors in the United States. It goes back to Colonial times when the people of the state didn’t like their governors appointed by the king of England. They didn’t want their elected governors to have much power, so they didn’t. Until former Gov. Jim Hunt decided he wanted to run for a second term in 1980, the governor could only serve one four-year term. Until Hunt decided in 1996 that he wanted to be able to veto bills, the governor had no veto power. They were all Democrats, so it was a good old boys club and the good old boys in the legislature didn’t think their good buddy Jim Hunt was going to veto anything important, so they said, what the heck, it will make our friend Jim happy – why not give him what he wants.
So if the Republicans wanted to be true traditionalists they would have a constitutional amendment on the ballot to limit the governor to one term and take away his veto power.
Along the same lines is the fact that President Pro Tem of the state Senate Phil Berger is considered the most powerful elected official in the state.
But it’s not by chance the Democrats did it. In 1988, Republican Jim Gardiner was elected lieutenant governor – the first Republican to serve as lieutenant governor since 1901. The legislature had Democratic majorities in both houses, so they went about taking away much of the power of the republican lieutenant governor and giving it to the Democratic president pro tem of the Senate.
Before that, the president pro tem of the state Senate had been a job that most senators served in for two years, but suddenly it became a really powerful position and the result was that Sen. Marc Basnight from Manteo served as president pro tem for 17 years, from 1993 to 2010, when the Republicans took over.
So when the Democrats complain about how powerful Berger is, they have no one but themselves to blame for Berger having as much power as he does. If the Democrats had not changed the laws to take away power from a duly elected Republican lieutenant governor, they might not be in the fix they are now.
With the Ku Klux Klan back in the news, it seems like a good time to pat ourselves on the back. In 2009, The Rhinoceros Times became the first, and according to experts the only, newspaper in the country to sue the KKK, win a permanent injunction against the KKK and a cash payment of $25,000.
We sued for unfair trade practices because the KKK was wrapping its recruitment letter inside pages of The Rhinoceros Times and delivering them to homes. We won an injunction, which the KKK violated, so we were back in court where we received a permanent injunction and $25,000.
Recently I was talking to my mother who had just gotten her air-conditioning fixed and I said, “I can’t believe people were crazy enough to live in North Carolina before there was air-conditioning.” She said, “You mean people like yourself?”
I had forgotten that I had grown up without air-conditioning and the first house the Muse and I bought in Greensboro didn’t have air-conditioning.
But it made me wonder if there are going to be some consequences to not sweating enough. People in North Carolina used to sweat a lot more than they do now, and some medical folks think that sweating is very healthy.