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Easter a time to count our blessings

Last week and next, the House is in recess so it is great to be back home in North Carolina. This past weekend I was incredibly lucky and honored to have the opportunity to serve as the grand marshal and honorary starter for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway. What an incredible event and such a fun day. As I said to the crowd on April 13, I’m proud to be your congressman, which means I go up to Washington every week and tell them to keep their ...

20 hours ago | | | Email

The stupid hounding of Condoleezza Rice

If Condoleezza Rice were as self-pitying and politically crass as Attorney General Eric Holder, she would be wondering aloud what it is about her race and gender that accounts for the hostility to her.Rice’s speaking gigs on college campuses and her ascension to the board of the Internet company Dropbox have sparked protests calling for her to be disinvited, cashiered and generally isolated and shamed.Condi Rice is not a natural lightning rod. She’s such a di...

20 hours ago | | | Email

US still has some growing up to do

I spent the past couple of weeks at Beth Israel Hospital, flat on my back and getting all kinds of tests that led to the discovery of what is known as an ablation. I finished my hospital run with a stent inserted in my wrist. It was intended to correct my heartbeat, which was irregular, and to ward off any discovered blockage.All jobs were professionally, sublimely done.At such times, one will think about many things. I read more papers than usual, watched many History C...

1 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

ACA gets it right on maternity insurance

Despite early setbacks, millions of people have now enrolled in private insurance plans that meet new standards set by the Affordable Care Act. All of these policies must now cover a broad set of benefits, including prescription drugs, mental health treatment, and hospital stays. Still, one of the most common complaints about health reform is that insurers must now cover maternity care. Why, a middle-aged man will sometimes complain, should he have to buy a more expensive plan for a benefit h...

1 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

The racist threat from the right

Another U.S. shooting spree has left bullet-riddled bodies in its wake, and refocused attention on violent, right-wing extremists. Frazier Glenn Miller, a former leader of a wing of the Ku Klux Klan, is accused of killing three people outside two Jewish community centers outside Kansas City, Kan. As he was hauled away in a police car, he shouted “Heil Hitler!” Unlike Islamic groups that U.S. agencies spend tens of billions of dollars targeting, domestic white supremacist groups en...

1 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Playing games with the numbers

The irony seemed to completely escape Gov. Pat McCrory Wednesday as he took the podium at a Tax Day event to heap praise on last year’s tax package that gave huge breaks to millionaires and large corporations while asking many small businesses and most North Carolina families to pay more.McCrory hailed the tax changes as a boon to the state’s future just two days after a legislative committee charged with coming up with a way to increase teacher pay acknowledged there w...

2 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Who opposes school choice — and why?

RALEIGH — Liberal activists may fume, and left-wing editorialists may grind their teeth, but legislative leaders are going to defend their 2013 opportunity scholarship bill against lawsuits by the teacher union and other special interests.Senate leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, House Speaker Pro Tem Skip Stam (the main architect of the program), and other leaders won’t be defending school choice because they oppose public education. They won’t be def...

2 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

This is Day 2 of earning for yourself

RALEIGH — The weather is getting warmer, the plants are in bloom, and people are starting to spend more time outside. Yes, it’s springtime, and as we get more comfortable with the season change, one thing continues to put a damper on things — tax day. April 15 arrived yesterday, but do you know exactly how long it took you to pay those taxes?If we add up every tax you have to pay — federal, state, property, etc. — how long would it take? What is the co...

4 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Rand Paul’s foreign policy problem

The oil-services company Halliburton is an old obsession of the anti-Bush left, and evidently of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.The libertarian standard-bearer and almost-certain Republican presidential candidate suggested to audiences a few years ago that Vice President Dick Cheney’s views on the Iraq War were influenced by his time as CEO at Halliburton. Cheney had opposed going into Iraq during the Persian Gulf War under the first President George Bush; then, after a stint at Hal...

4 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Mississippi falls back to hateful ways

Mississippi, my adopted home state, place that I love, is reverting to its old ways, which many of us who live here had believed and hoped to be in the distant past.Mississippi is using religion to discriminate against minorities, and politicians are pandering to the lowest common denominator of voters, making hay of hate. This time, the targets are gays and lesbians.

5 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

That big lie on women earning less

To paraphrase the line often attributed to Mark Twain, there are lies, damn lies and the “equal pay” statistic.The factoid that women earn only 77 cents of every dollar earned by men is the focal point of a feminist cargo cult. It has its own movement and its own quasi-holiday, the so-called Equal Pay Day, marking how far into a new year women supposedly have to work to match what men made the prior year.The figure is presumed to clinch any debate over the co...

6 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Precautions should be taken when preserving food

It’s here! It’s the time of year for all “food preservation buffs” to sharpen their skills and tools for the 2014 fresh produce season. Proper working equipment, up-to-date research-based recipes, food safety knowledge, and fresh high-quality produce are keys to delicious-tasting meals on your kitchen table throughout the year.The three main ways to preserve food include canning, freezing and drying. The method you choose depends on several things....

7 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Friends of Robeson Library to hold annual dinner

The annual meeting of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library is scheduled for April 22 at the Pinecrest Country Club in Lumberton. Attendees will enjoy a social hour, a delicious dinner and a keynote speech by Brenda McKean.Our speaker for the evening has written two volumes titled “War at My Doorsteps.” These books take place during the War Between the States and relate to events on the home front and how ordinary citizens coped with the experiences during th...

7 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

Ryan plan puts US back on track

This week, I heard from countless constituents concerned with Washington’s out-of-control spending and unsurmountable debt. I’d like to share a letter I received from a constituent in Concord:“My wife and I are most concerned about the huge and growing debt the U.S. has accrued. I urge you and Congress to do what is necessary to cut government spending as necessary to get rid of the deficit. Ronald Reagan said it best when he said the problem with U.S. government ...

7 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

The dangerous work of journalism

Journalism is not a crime. This is the rallying cry in demanding the release of four Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. Three of them — Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed — have just passed their 100th day of incarceration. The fourth, Abdullah al-Shami, has been in jail for more than six months. They have been charged with “spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist organization.” Of course, the only thing they were doing was ...

8 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

NC teachers rank low on priority list

Most of the talk about the General Assembly session that begins next month is about giving teachers a raise, though it is far from clear how many teachers will see an increase and how large the raise will be.Gov. Pat McCrory has proposed increasing salaries for starting teachers first and says raises for veteran teachers will depend on state revenue collections for the year. And the revenue news this week was not good.The legislature’s Fiscal Research Division says...

9 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

FCC should just let markets work

RALEIGH — In February, Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler declared that the North Carolina General Assembly had no authority to determine telecommunications policy in North Carolina.Well, OK, Wheeler didn’t single North Carolina out for particular scorn. But he did say that in the coming months, the FCC might decide to challenge state laws, like the one the North Carolina legislature enacted in 2011, that govern the ability of cities and counties to create thei...

9 days 20 hours ago | | | Email

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