Opinion: Dislike Common Core? Blame the State Board of Education

TerryStoopsby Dr. Terry Stoops

Recently, I have encountered folks who blame the N.C. General Assembly for introducing the Common Core State Standards to North Carolina.  The truth is that the appointed members of the N.C. State Board of Education (SBE), under the leadership of former N.C. SBE chairman Bill Harrison, were responsible for adopting and implementing Common Core standards.

Admittedly, some of this confusion can be blamed on my September 2013 Spotlight report, 60 Questions About Common Core: Answers for North Carolinians.  In that piece, I identified a handful of state legislators — Rep. Hugh Blackwell, Rep. Bryan Holloway, Sen. Jerry Tillman, Sen. Jean Preston, and Sen. Dan Soucek — who inserted Common Core in legislation they sponsored during the 2011-12 session.  It appears that, in an attempt to be succinct, I may have confused some readers.

Opinion: A Sheaf of Obamacare Alternatives

KatherineRestrepoby Katherine Restrepo

In the midst of January’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama exalted the miniscule benefits of his signature health care legislation.  He then transitioned to a defensive disposition, challenging critics and Republican members of Congress to cough up a better alternative to the extant black letter law.

What about the sheaf of market-oriented alternatives that have been floating around in Congress for the past decade?  You can click here to read Chris Conover’s Forbes article with more in-depth information on the matter.

Don’t let scammers play on your emotions, Attorney General warns

RoyCooperRALEIGH, N.C. — Watch out for scammers and con artists who play on your emotions to try to win your trust and steal your money, Attorney General Roy Cooper warned consumers today.

“Con artists will use your search for romance or your desire to help a loved one to rip you off,” Cooper said. “Don’t let scammers manipulate your feelings to worm their way into your heart and your wallet.”

Cooper urged consumers to educate themselves about frauds and rip offs during National Consumer Protection Week, March 2-8, 2014. Consumers should be especially wary of two popular types of scams, sweetheart scams and grandparent scams, Cooper said.

Polling Snapshot: Michelle Obama, Economic Confidence, Eating Habits and More

ChartThe following are highlights from today’s opinion polls:

Federal Spending Cuts:  Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Likely U.S. Voters think thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program of the federal government. One-in-four (24%) disagree. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.  Support for across-the-board spending cuts is down slightly from 63% in October and 62% at the end of 2012.  However, when the military is taken out of the equation, support for spending cuts drops to 31%. Fifty-five percent (55%) do not think thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program – except the military. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.  There’s an even more dramatic fall-off in support for budget cuts if entitlement programs are taken out of the mix. Just 15% of voters think thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every part of the federal budget – except entitlement programs. Sixty-two percent (62%) do not support spending cuts if entitlement programs are excluded. Twenty-three percent (23%) are undecided.  But only 23% think it’s even somewhat likely that government spending will be significantly reduced over the next few years. (Rasmussen Reports)

Wildlife Commission Offers Kayak, Fish and Float Workshop in Fayetteville

NC WildlifeFAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is hosting the 3rd Annual Kayak, Fish and Float workshop on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville.

The free workshop will include fishing how-to seminars and demonstrations of popular fishing kayaks. Mark Patterson, of the N.C. Kayak Fishing Association, along with Hobie Kayak Pro Angler Capt. Jerry Dilsaver, will present workshops throughout the day on the following topics:

  • Kayak Safety and Rigging;
  • Offshore Fishing for King Mackerel;
  • Inshore Kayak Fishing for Redfish, Flounder and Speckled Trout; and,

Opinion: Look Before You (Statistically) Leap

John Hood

John Hood

by John Hood

Last Friday, some 44,000 discouraged North Carolina workers suddenly disappeared.

Relax. It’s not as mysterious and tragic as it sounds. What happened was that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its long-awaited revision of five years of household-employment data for North Carolina and the rest of the country.

Jones advocates for F-35 maintentance facility at FRC East

WalterJonesWASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) was joined by four fellow members of the North Carolina congressional delegation in advocating for funding of the F-35 Vertical Lift Fan Repair and Test Facility at Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East.  In a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Congressman Jones and his colleagues explained that because the initial operating capability for the F-35B is projected to be achieved by the end of 2015, funding for the FRC East facility should be included in the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget to ensure that the aircraft are maintained in top condition.

The Duggar Family to Stump for Mark Harris in Raleigh

MarkHarrisRALEIGH, N.C. — Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, along with the family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” will stump for Mark Harris, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, at an event in Raleigh on Friday, March 14.  The event will kick off with a rally and a hot dog supper before hearing from the campaign and guest speakers.

Jim Bob Duggar is a former Arkansas State Representative and the entire Duggar family is active in helping many conservative candidates run for office, including traveling across the country in 2012 during the presidential primary.  They are also co-founders of Life United, which seeks to educate and motivate Christians to run for office to end abortion in America.  Their television show on TLC, Nineteen Kids and Counting propelled them to the national limelight in 2008 for their large family and conservative, faith-based lifestyle.

Woody White Issues Statement Opposing Defense Secretary’s Budget

WoodyWhite1WILMINGTON, N.C. – Woody White, who is seeking the Republican Congressional nomination in North Carolina’s 7th District, issued a statement today opposing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s military budget cut proposal:

“On Monday February 24th, Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel announced a significant budget cut to our defense department and military service members and retirees. While Iran is flexing its muscles and Russia is creating an international crises in Crimea, Sec. Hagel is proposing to reduce our military to its smallest size since the end of World War II.

State waste management director to retire June 1

RALEIGH – Marking 30 years of working in environmental and public health protection, Division of Waste Management director Dexter Matthews is retiring from the state agency he has led for 13 years, effective June 1. During his tenure, Matthews guided division efforts leading to landmark legislation establishing the Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 and led division action following the 2006 fire and explosion at the EQ hazardous waste facility in Apex.

“Losing Dexter this spring will be a great loss for the department and for the state,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “We will miss Dexter’s vast knowledge of waste management practices as well as his commitment to protecting the environment and providing excellent customer service.”