Recent reader comments

  • Reply to: Wednesday News: Swing and a miss   5 hours 14 min ago

    I need to learn to stop writing these headlines until the bills are done and on the way to the Gov...

  • Reply to: Wednesday News: Swing and a miss   12 hours 35 min ago
  • Reply to: Tuesday Twitter roundup   1 day 12 hours ago

    "Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal..." :)

  • Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages   3 days 11 hours ago

    J. Peder Zane once more claims his crown as the king of racist jackasses:

    The Rev. William Barber II has a genius for issuing ugly, inflammatory statements that make situations worse.

    He was at it again when he described the detention of an illegal immigrant who has exhausted his appeals as an “evil” comparable to slavery. “Our brothers and sisters from Mexico,” he said, “should not be treated like black people were during slavery by the slave patrol which would then snatch them up.”

    I’m sure Rev. Barber knows that enslaved people had no legal recourse while Samuel Octavio-Butler has been granted numerous opportunities to argue his case since he tried to enter the country with fraudulent papers in 2014. I’d also bet Rev. Barber believes that President Trump’s rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants has made it harder to address this difficult issue.

    Nothing can cure a racist of his writer's block quicker than an appearance of (Bishop) William Barber. It gets under his lily-white skin and drives him crazy until he can concoct an innuendo-laced diatribe and release his inner demons.

    In fact, Barber's analogy is spot-on. Those slave patrols had two major goals. In addition to the obvious (capture), the more important goal was to send a message to other slaves that escape was pointless, and would eventually lead to even more punishment. ICE didn't work so hard to get Samuel because he was a danger; it did so because people were helping him, providing sanctuary. And those people had a lesson to learn, too.

    It’s time we stand up, step back and focus on the basic choice we must make: whether we should ease restrict or immigration policies.

    A growing group, especially on the left, believes we should ease restrictions. They support sanctuary cities, an end to most deportations, citizenship for undocumented people already here and asylum laws that would cover people hoping to escape poverty – which might be half the world. When U.S. Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina denounced Octavio-Butler’s detention, they were suggesting that our current laws should not be enforced.

    What Zane fails to mention is that both Price and Butterfield, along with their Democratic colleagues, have been trying to address and improve our current laws, only to be obstructed by xenophobic conservatives like the author. Breaking up families like Octavio-Butler's, or keeping them separated like refusing to allow Hania Aguilar's father from attending his 13 year-old daughter's funeral after she was brutally raped and murdered here in the land of plenty, are not laws that we should uphold. Period.

    I reject that globalist view because I am a nationalist — I believe we should put the needs of Americans first. Unfettered immigration will hurt us because the vast majority of newcomers would be poorly educated, low-skilled workers who are a drain on society.

    A 2013 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that the average migrant with less than a high school education would cost $115,000 over a 75-year period. If their descendants don’t graduate college, and only 6.2 percent do now, they, too, will be a fiscal burden. College-educated immigrants, by contrast, are net contributors.

    The downside of low-skilled immigration will only intensify as automation reduces their opportunity for work; our national debt will only grow as this, in turn, intensifies calls for more government spending.

    As usual, Zane has very little idea what he's talking about. As some readers know, I was a factory manager for over 20 years. We employed both high-tech automation processes and old-fashioned manual assembly production lines.

    Over the years, I've monitored the work habits and productivity of hundreds of employees, both immigrant and native-born. Aside from the language barrier that sometimes made things difficult, Hispanic immigrant workers adapted quickly to each new job, showed up for work on time, every single day, and worked hard, paying attention to detail, for the entire day. I can't say the same thing for many of my native-born American workers.

    But on top of that dependability, there was something else that I didn't expect: Hispanic workers were dynamic, and re-organized themselves into the most efficient and productive system at their means. One of my (American) supervisors quipped, "Well it's just common sense, really." To which I responded, "Then why didn't you think of it?"

    That type of organic improvement to existing processes is evidence of higher-level cognition; the ability to recognize problems others don't see, and develop solutions for them. If that's what J. Peder Zane considers a "burden" on our society, then we need more of that burden.

  • Reply to: Absentee ballot fraud in NC09 may do more damage than we thought   4 days 10 hours ago

    A few years ago before my mom passed away, she asked me to come over and help her fill out an absentee ballot. I'd never done it before, and just assumed it would be easy. I was wrong.

    You have to have two witnesses sign off on your ballot. They have to actually watch you vote. And only one of those witnesses can be a relative. Think about that for a minute, and imagine if you lived alone. Like my mother did (and me, for that matter). You can't get one witness now, and another one later, because they both have to watch while you vote. Or their signature is invalid.

    So you have to arrange to have two people, one not a relative, to come to your house at the same time. Or you can go to where those two people are. But what if you don't have any means of transportation, which may have been the main reason you requested an absentee ballot in the first place? We were lucky (I guess), because my mom's next-door neighbor was at home, and didn't mind coming over.

    But even though they were friends, and went to the same church, it still felt awkward asking her to sign a legally-binding document. It was also awkward for both of us to watch while my mom made her ballot choices, standing just far enough away that we couldn't "see" who she was actually voting for.

    Absentee voting might be easy for some, but it can be virtually impossible for folks who live alone.