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The Rhinoceros Times

®

Vol. XXII No. 52

© Copyright 2012 The Rhinoceros Times

Greensboro, North Carolina

www.rhinotimes.com

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Music hall funds hitting sour note by alex jakubsen Staff Writer

Less than a month after the celebrated unveiling of the site plan and design for the proposed $60 million Greensboro Performing Arts Center (GPAC), the funding for the facility is still a question. Private pledges from unknown sources reportedly account for $20 million, and earlier this month the city was considering going $40 million into debt by issuing limited obligation bonds for the

project. Limited obligation bonds do not require voter approval, but have a higher interest rate. However, at its Dec. 4 meeting, the City Council voted to place bonds for GPAC on the ballot for the November election. Now, according to the city councilmembers on the GPAC Task Force finance committee, it is not certain if the city will be able to piece together funds to service $20 million in debt. And (Continued on page 31)

Looking back at year of mishaps by Scott D. Yost county editor

Photo by John Hammer

If you look very closely you might see a couple of the snowflakes we had before Christmas at Piedmont Winterfest on Davie Street next to Cafe Europa in downtown Greensboro.

Greensboro Trees Live To See Another Day by john hammer editor

Councilmember Nancy Vaughan held Duke Energy’s feet to the fire at a meeting between Duke Energy and the City of

Rhino Rumors From staff and wire reports

This is our last issue of 2012, and we’d like to thank all of our readers, and in particular all of our advertisers, for supporting us in the last year and for the past (Continued on page 34)

Greensboro on Friday, Dec. 21 in city hall. To hear the Duke Energy side of the story, what we had in Greensboro was a failure to communicate. The representatives of Duke Energy didn’t back down one inch on the trees that were trimmed, even the ones trimmed all the way to the ground. After the meeting, in answer to a direct question, Duke Energy General Manager Ron Adams said that they only cut trees where the property owner had been notified and given permission. The street trees that had been on Woodlawn Avenue in Westerwood, according to

Adams, were cut only after the city had given its permission but (Continued on page 32)

The most important event in Guilford County politics in 2012 happened in 2011. That’s because 2011 is the year Republican legislators in Raleigh shrunk the Guilford County Board of Commissioners from 11 members to nine and drew new district lines that made it likely that Guilford County would be run by a Republican majority for years to come. Going into the November election, many people thought Guilford County might remain a county controlled by Democrats. However, in hindsight, it turns out the Republicans in Raleigh

did their work well. Before that change, Guilford (Continued on page 26)

Inside this issue High Point News............ 6 Entertainment Guide...... 9 Uncle Orson Reviews... 10 Puzzles.............. 12,22,24 Yost Column................ 13 Scott’s Night Out.......... 14 Rhino Real Estate........ 15 Letters to the Editor..... 23 Comics......................... 28 Editorial Cartoon.......... 34 under the hammer....... 35

Photo by John Hammer

Last week the City Council held a secret, private, illegal meeting behind locked doors and armed guards to have their official portrait taken. But despite all of that here are exclusive photos of the council preparing for the shoot.


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Rookie Mistakes Hurt Republicans by john hammer editor

My friends who don’t vote because they say there is no difference between the two parties were once again proven right at the first regular meeting of the new ninemember Guilford County Board of Commissioners with a Republican majority. For the last 14 years the board had been controlled by Democrats, and for the last four run with the iron fist of former Chairman Skip Alston. After a much ballyhooed takeover of the Board of Commissioners by Republicans, the first order of business of this Republican board was to raise the salaries of some of Guilford County’s highest paid employees who had been receiving illegal compensation approved by county manager Brenda Jones Fox, and to appoint two Democrats to plum positions on powerful governing boards. A far better course of action, the course that many conservatives who voted for a more conservative board expected, would have been to not give anybody raises, to fire Fox who got them in the salary hike mess to begin with, and to appoint conservative Republicans to the boards that control county policy. But it turns out the newly elected commissioners are behaving exactly like what they are – newly elected commissioners. Chairman Linda Shaw is behaving like a liberal Democrat, as she has for the last couple of years, and it would appear Commissioner Bill Bencini is supporting Shaw, Fox and the policies of the Democratic board controlled by Alston. The Republicans were given a rare opportunity in their first meeting to grand stand and prove they were going to govern differently – looking out for the taxpayers first, not putting the highly paid county staff first and the taxpayers a distant second. But the only Republican who did anything to be proud of is Commissioner Jeff Phillips, who not only voted against the raises, but made a motion to rescind the raises, which failed for lack of a second. It’s a rookie mistake not to nail down a second before you make a motion, but Phillips is a rookie. You would certainly have expected one of the new Republican county commissioners, Alan Branson or Hank Henning, to have at least seconded the motion. For that matter, Shaw or Bencini could have seconded the motion, as a courtesy for a fellow Republican commissioner at his first meeting, but it certainly doesn’t appear that Shaw and Bencini are on the same team with Branson, Phillips and Henning. For the rookies, seconding a motion does not mean that you agree with the motion, it only means you think the motion is worthy of discussion. Since the whole county had been discussing the illegal raises, it certainly seems they were worthy of discussion and the commissioners did end up discussing them. However, Henning voted with Shaw, Bencini and the Democrats to give the inexplicable raises to the department heads. At least Phillips and Branson kept their heads and voted against them. But there, in the first big vote, the three rookies should have learned a valuable lesson – the county staff is not their friend. The county staff will tell them all kinds of things, and in some cases even the truth, but that is rare. And with Fox at the helm it is extremely rare to get the truth from the staff. They should also have learned that the current county attorney, Mark Payne, who is a direct

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Call the Professionals!

(Continued on page 29)

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The Rhinoceros Times, an award-winning newspaper, is published weakly by Hammer Publications, 216 W. Market St., Greensboro, North Carolina. The Rhino Times is intended to entertain and inform its thousands of readers worldwide. Mailing address: P.O. Box 9421 Greensboro, NC 27429 News: (336) 273-0880 Advertising: (336) 273-0885 Fax: (336) 273-0821 Beep: (336) 273-0898 Website: www.rhinotimes.com Letters to the Editor: letters@rhinotimes.net

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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Tony Wilkins Gets Feet Wet On Council by alex jakubsen Staff Writer

Newly appointed District 5 City Councilmember Tony Wilkins survived his first regular meeting last week without any major mishaps. Wilkins was not welcomed, recognized or introduced by Mayor Robbie Perkins or any of the other councilmembers at the beginning of the meeting Wilkins had been appointed by a 5-to-4 vote on Dec. 4, with councilmembers and Perkins claiming that some of his blog posts were inappropriate for a public figure. Wilkins said he had felt ambushed by the attacks on his character during the selection process, some of which painted him as a racist, but said he hoped the council could move on and serve the citizens of Greensboro. At the Tuesday, Dec. 18 regular meeting Wilkins said very little and voted in support of every motion. Wilkins said he is still in “listen and learn mode.” Wilkins, who was appointed to replace Trudy Wade, who resigned from the council to serve in the North Carolina Senate, said, “I feel like that guy who replaced Babe Ruth.” Wilkins said, “Although I sat quietly through most of the meeting, I had spent three days asking about the items on the agenda.”

The View is jusT The sTarT

He said that Wade had advised him to read the agenda packet and be as prepared as possible. Wilkins noted that the first vote he cast as a councilmember was for a resolution in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. He said he had mixed feelings about that being his first vote and said the horrific event filled him with sadness and anger. The resolution extended condolences to those affected by the murders and instructed the city manager to go forward with a “gun turn-in day” and gun safety education. Wilkins said he was moved by the standing ovation the council received when they voted unanimously to issue a cease-and-desist order to Duke Energy to stop tree cutting and pruning operations in Greensboro. He said he saw a grown man crying in the gallery after that motion passed. Two of Wilkins’ votes, to give the city attorney a raise and to negotiate a lease agreement for the proposed Sebastian Medical Museum, may disappoint some Wade supporters used to a strong fiscal conservative. Councilmember Zack Matheny voted against both. However, Wilkins said he plans to move forward in a conservative direction. “I think the residents will see me as a conservative

and good steward of the taxpayer dollar,” said Wilkins. On the issue of raising City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan’s salary from $153,500 to $162,000 a year, Wilkins said he understood the raise to be automatic and conditional upon Shah-Khan’s six month performance review being satisfactory. Wilkins said his limited experience with Shah-Khan had been satisfactory. “He had responded quickly and adequately to all of the questions that I had asked,” he said. He said that Shah-Khan, who had worked for the City of Charlotte, had also agreed to sit in on a meeting of the Greensboro Complex Operational Study Subcommittee of the War Memorial Commission to provide information on how the Charlotte Coliseum operates. Wilkins said his input was helpful. Wilkins also voted with the 7-to-2 majority to authorize the Greensboro city manager to enter into negotiations to lease 500 Benbow Road for the Sebastian Medical Museum. Councilmembers Matheny and Dianne Bellamy-Small both voted against that motion, saying they lacked confidence in the organization’s finances. Wilkins pointed out that although he had voted for the motion, he had not committed any money to the museum. “No money

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will change hands until it is approved by the City Council,” he said. In fact, that item was one of the only items on the agenda that prompted Wilkins to speak. He confirmed with City Manager Denise Turner Roth that the motion only gave her the authority to negotiate, but not to commit any money. Going forward, Wilkins said he plans to be conservative in his approach to city spending and put an emphasis on public safety. He also said he had received calls about improving High Point Road and plans to pursue it. To help keep a finger on the pulse of District 5, Wilkins said he has begun setting up a community network by selecting a representative from each of the district’s precincts to talk to informally about issues. The first person he selected for the network was one of his opponents for the District 5 council seat – McArthur Davis. Wilkins said he made the selection the night he was appointed to the council, and that he chose Davis because he knew they would have political disagreements. The other precinct representatives that Wilkins has selected so far are Kathleen Sullivan, Mark Walker, Dennis McLoughlin, Alan Stockard and Jon Firebaugh.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Voters Tell Hammer, Yost: Keep Day Jobs by Scott D. Yost county editor

Daffy Duck, O.J. Simpson and Chuck Norris didn’t win any seats in the Tuesday, Nov. 6 election, but they did get some votes. In that election, some races on the ballot in Guilford County allowed voters to stray from a predetermined list of candidates and write in any name they chose, and, in this year’s election, as in past elections, the county’s voters demonstrated a lot of creativity when it came to writing in votes. Some voters used the opportunity to be funny, while others used the chance to send political, religious or personal messages to whoever might see those votes. In the election, in Guilford County, a lot of the usual suspects were write-in contenders. For instance, in every Guilford County election, Disney and Looney Tunes characters, for some reason, are always popular with write-in voters. This year was no exception. Votes for Donald Duck and Daffy Duck were cast three or four times – and Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd also did well. Snoopy pulled in a vote for soil and water district supervisor, and other children’s favorites were well-represented – with votes in various races going to SpongeBob, Big Bird, Bozo, Winnie the Pooh, Papa Smurf, Captain Planet, Stinky (from the old Our Gang television series) and Sailor

Moon, though the voter spelled it “Salor Moon.” Other fictional characters also fared well: Mayor McCheese got a vote, as did Spiderman, Optimus Prime from the Transformers movies, Santa and Willy the Whale. Sasquatch – who got a vote in the atlarge school board race ­– may or may not be a fictional character. In a few cases, voters put an emoticon after their write-in choice to indicate those weren’t serious selections. Guilford County Board of Elections Deputy Director Charlie Collicutt said that county election officials have been sifting through the names to find cases where someone has received five votes or more. He said that’s the threshold at which county election officials must report names to the state. Collicutt said he can’t explain people’s proclivity to be funny on ballots, but he said there seems to be one very clear trend when it comes to write-in votes. “A lot of people vote for themselves,” Collicutt said. The name of the person who casts a ballot isn’t known by the election workers checking the write-in votes – but Collicutt said he thinks it’s safe to assume many of the ordinary names cast were voters voting for themselves. Some, such as Greensboro resident

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Ethel Albertina McGirt, wrote out their full names, while others, such as Kenny at NCAT (presumably meaning that Kenny is a student at A&T), only gave a first name. Some lazy voters such as “KSR,” only put their initials, and one wrote in “Me.” Collicutt said that writing in a candidate’s name is an option in non-partisan races that aren’t for judicial seats. For instance, this year people had an option for writing in names for Board of Education and the soil and water district supervisor races. Collicutt said partisan races fall under a different rule. He said that, in partisan races – such as for president or governor – someone must have submitted a petition at least 90 days before the election for there to be a write-in option on the ballot in that race. In order for someone to have a possibility of winning a partisan seat as a writein candidate, the candidate must have submitted 100 or more names of registered voters at least 90 days prior to the election. In statewide and federal races, a write-in candidate must turn in a petition of at least 500 names. In the partisan races, only a candidate who has submitted a petition can win, no matter how many write-in votes they receive. The only two write-in candidates that could have won in partisan races in Guilford County through write-in votes were Virgil

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Goode, who was running for president, and Donald Kreamer, who was running for governor. Those two only got a smattering of write-in votes on county ballots. Some voters use the blank space on the ballot to send a political message. For instance, in the District 9 Board of Education race, some of the write-in votes were cast for Anybody, Anybody Else and Anyone Else. Also in the school board race, one voter wrote, “None of the Above.” In the District 1 school board race, someone wrote in “Not Foster” – referring to incumbent Carlvena Foster. In the District 3 school board race, votes were cast for Anybody but Her, Anyone Else, Anybody Else and Anyone but Darlene – referring to incumbent Darlene Garrett. Other write-in votes seemed to signal voter resignation. In the at-large school board race, one voter wrote in, “Accept.” In the District 7 school board race, a voter went to the trouble of writing in “Undecided” when it seems that simply not voting would have served the same purpose. Along those lines, “NA” got a vote in one race. One voter in Guilford County was so taken with our president that he or she wasn’t content with just voting for him once; so President Barack Obama got a write-in vote on that ballot for the at-large Board of Education seat. Other candidates (Continued on page 7)

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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Page 5

Schools, HP Continue Glacial Pace In Deal by paul C. clark Staff Writer

The High Point City Council in closed session on Thursday, Dec. 20 considered an offer by the Guilford County Board of Education to sell High Point 10 acres on Shadybrook Road – next to the High Point Athletic Complex and Miracle Field for children with disabilities – for $300,000. The issue is expected to be reconsidered in closed session at the City Council’s Jan. 7 meeting. According to sources familiar with the deliberations, the City Council decided not to vote on the issue at last week’s meeting, held at the High Point Chamber of Commerce, because some councilmembers were absent and High Point Mayor Bernita Sims wanted the full City Council to consider the school board’s proposal. The $300,000 price must have been approved by the school board in closed session at its Tuesday, Dec. 18 meeting, because as recently as Dec. 13, the school board wanted $335,000 for the land, according to High Point officials. High Point wants to use the land for parking, a shelter for children with respiratory problems and a new soccer field for the Miracle Field complex. The earlier $335,000 price was arrived at by the school board in a closed session at its Tuesday, Dec. 4 meeting. At the end of that meeting, the school board went into closed session to discuss and give its attorneys instructions for the sale of real property but did not vote in public session after the closed session. The school board and the City of High Point have been dickering for months over the price of the 10 acres, which was once intended for a middle school Guilford County Schools now acknowledges will never be built. Both Guilford County schools and High Point have paid for appraisals for the property. The school board commissioned an appraisal in December 2011, which valued the property at $400,000, and which everyone involved on the High Point side of the squabble said was based on faulty information and on the faulty assumption that the High Point City Council would rezone the property for apartments. High Point City Manager Strib Boynton on April 11, 2012, wrote Guilford County School Superintendent Mo Green offering to buy the 10 acres for the 2011 county assessed tax value of $294,300. On June 13, 2012, Green, acting for the school board, wrote Boynton asking that the City of High Point conduct a separate appraisal of the property. The results of High Point’s appraisal were

submitted to the city on Oct. 27, by Michael S. Clapp & Associates. Clapp & Associates valued the property at $255,000. Clapp did write that the property’s value would be increased if the High Point-Guilford County Schools shared-use agreement was terminated after its expiration date – from $255,000 to $335,000 – the last price the school board asked of High Point. High Point and the school board have a shared-use agreement for the entire High Point Athletic Complex/Miracle Field/10acre site that would have to expire for the land to be worth $335,000 under High Point’s appraisal. Despite the Clapp appraisal, it’s still hard to see how the land’s value would increase, even without the restrictions of the shareduse agreement, if that agreement expired. The High Point City Council is still unlikely to rezone the 10 acres, which in addition is subject to watershed restrictions. That makes the $255,000 figure seem more accurate. The school board said it would accept $300,000. High Point originally offered $294,300 for the land, but dropped its offer to $255,000 after the Clapp appraisal. The difference between High Point’s original offer and the school board’s latest price is $5,700 – probably less than the two sides paid, combined, for the two appraisals. Under the shared-use agreement, the school board gets free use of the High Point Athletic Complex for school games and regional, conference, state and national competitions – and gets to keep the gate receipts from such games. According to High Point officials, before the approval of the shared-use agreement, the school board paid High Point $50,000 a year to use the High Point Athletic Complex, and High Point would probably start charging the school board that amount again if it cancels the shareduse agreement. In other words, by demanding $80,000 more for the 10 acres, Guilford County Schools is risking having to pay $50,000 a year to use the Athletic Complex – $500,000 every 10 years, or $1 million every 20. And that’s if High Point doesn’t raise the price. If the shared-use agreement is not terminated by either party after the expiration date, it will automatically renew for another 10 years. High Point has no incentive not to terminate the agreement if the school board won’t sell the 10 acres and if High Point can get $50,000 a year from the school board. The agreement does not cover the adjacent Simeon Stadium, which the school board owns.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

HIGH POINT

HIGH POINT

HIGH POINT

HIGH POINT

HIGH POINT

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro HIGH POINT

HIGH POINT

HIGH POINT

Bernita Sims Reflects On Things Mayoral by paul C. clark Staff Writer

High Point Mayor Bernita Sims is a small woman. You don’t notice her size when she sits at the dais at High Point City Council meetings, but it was evident at her Dec. 3 swearing-in ceremony at the High Point Theatre, where she barely topped the lectern, and it’s apparent when she’s seated in her usual corner at Becky’s & Mary’s Restaurant on Washington Street.

Bernita Sims But Sims has a large amount of confidence and ambition. That was apparent not only before the Nov. 6, 2012 election, but before the May 8 North Carolina primary. At that time she said, in strong terms but off the record, that she would win the mayor’s seat whether or not former High Point Mayor Becky Smothers ran for reelection, whether or not two white Republican candidates split that vote and whether or not the High Point City Council voted to reinstate a primary for City Council races. Smothers did not run for reelection, former Councilmember Chris Whitley and developer Coy Williard split the conservative vote, and High Point skipped the primary, making it possible for a candidate to become mayor with only a plurality of votes. Sims, until Dec. 3 the Ward 1 representative to the City Council, got 33 percent of the vote, beating Williard’s 27 percent Whitley’s 18 percent. At Becky’s & Mary’s on Friday, Dec. 7, Sims discussed the campaign, her reorganization of the City Council and what she thinks needs to be done to put High Point on the right track. Being mayor is equally a change for Sims. The mayor does most of the public speaking and much of the liaison work for the City Council, which is almost a fulltime job in itself. In her last months as mayor, Smothers delegated most of the public speaking engagements to Whitley.

Now the burden falls on Sims. After a long day of meetings on Monday, Dec. 10, Sims said, “One thing that’s amazing to me is the diversity of people with whom you interact.” Besides her confidence and her height, there are probably many things some High Pointers don’t know about Sims, despite her decade on the City Council. As Ward 1 councilmember and now as High Point’s first black mayor, Sims is well known in Wards 1 and 2, the two majority-black wards. She’s well known to followers of the High Point City Council. But Smothers, except for one term won by Arnold Koonce, has been the public face of the City Council since 1992 – a long time for any mayor, and some young High Pointers may not remember anyone else in that role. Sims, despite being born and raised in High Point and attending High Point city schools, did her senior year of high school at Central High School in Seat Pleasant, Maryland. She attended the University of the District of Columbia for two years, majoring in communications. Sims moved away from High Point for much of her professional career, working in Kansas City, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Her resume shows a series of corporate jobs, including senior property manager for National Housing Partnerships in Washington, vice president of operations for Bolton Property Management in Atlanta, vice president of operations for Omega Realty in Atlanta and human resources executive for La-Z-Boy Furniture once she returned to High Point in 1997. She now works as night manager of a High Point hotel. Sims argues that her time outside of High Point has better prepared her to serve as mayor of High Point. “I think it would be the diversity of the knowledge I bring to the table,” she said when asked about her qualifications. “I have lived all over this country, so I don’t come with a preconceived idea about High Point. I think if you’ve lived here all your life and you’ve never lived anywhere else, you’re making decisions based on limited knowledge.” Sims won the mayor’s seat in the threeway race against Whitley, who had 20 years on the City Council, and Williard, who touted his business experience. Williard’s campaign was interpreted by some as an effort to block Sims’ election, and Sims has some bitterness over the campaign. “Coy to this day doesn’t speak to me,” she said. “I tell him, why do you personalize this? Whitley didn’t do that. The next day he called me to congratulate me. It’s not personal. If Coy won, I would have called him to congratulate him, and the next thing I would have said is, ‘How can I help in the transition.’ He did none of that.”

Despite any lingering animosity, Sims remained adamant that she would have won even had Williard not filed to run. “You forget what my part in all this is, I would have prevailed anyway,” she said. “I might have had to work a little harder, but at the end of the day, I still would have won.” Sims dismissed many of the positions taken by other candidates for City Council as gimmicks, including that taken by unsuccessful at-large candidate Elijah Lovejoy, who said he would ask High Point City Manager Strib Boynton for a menu of 2 percent, 4 percent and 6 percent budget cuts. “That’s not how budgets work,” Sims said. “Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there’s another guy sitting in the room telling me ‘I really have some concerns about our streets and roads, and I want to make sure you put more money into resurfacing of streets.’” Sims said Whitley and Williard said they would revisit the High Point budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year – this fiscal year, which is halfway done.

“I’m not Chris and I’m not Coy,” she said. “We’re not going to revisit the budget. It is what it is.” Sims did say that, if the City Council or staff find any savings, they can put them back into the city’s general fund, but that taking this year’s budget apart and putting it back together makes no sense. “I can’t see what that does,” she said. “We’re beginning another budget as we speak. To me that is just a total waste of time. I don’t see the reasonableness of that happening.” It has been no secret to people following High Point politics that Sims has been planning to run for mayor for years. Her campaign came together in what seemed like a perfectly timed sequence of events: Smothers decided not to run; former Councilmember Bill Bencini, who also wants to run for mayor and whose father was mayor, is off taking a turn as a Guilford County commissioner; and the City Council, despite complaints from some councilmembers, did not vote to reinstate a City Council primary, which (Continued on page 30)

Uptown Succeeding In Its Fundraising by paul C. clark Staff Writer

The High Point City Project’s efforts to raise $450,000 to hire the Miami-based architectural firm Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. (DPZ) to redesign High Point’s city core are succeeding, and City Project Director Richard Wood said last week that architect Andrés Duany, a founding partner of the firm, will come to High Point in May 2013. Wood said the City Project has raised $385,000 in pledges toward the goal. He said the City Project has $135,000 in hand and expects to raise the rest in time for Duany and his team to come in May. The City Project is planning on Duany’s first planning session to be a public one at the High Point Theatre. The City Project brought Duany to High Point for a visit in March. In a series of meetings with High Point officials, business groups and the public, he critiqued High Point and made suggestions for its architectural improvement. If the City Project hires Duany, his May visit will be to work. Architect Tom Low, the director of the Charlotte office of DPZ, has said that he worked for a year to get Duany to come to High Point, and that DPZ, if hired, would open a design studio in a central location

where a 50-50 mix of High Pointers and outside experts would spend seven to 10 days brainstorming on High Point’s future. The High Point Theatre meeting would be the first of the DPZ team’s brainstorming sessions, which Wood said would last 10 to 12 hours a day. Wood said, “They’ll leave with a master plan.” DPZ is perhaps best known for designing entire master-planned towns, including Seaside, Florida, and Kentlands, Maryland. In Greensboro, his firm designed the Southside and Willow Oaks neighborhoods. Seaside was used as the setting for the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show, which gave the company exposure. The area that the DPZ team would redesign includes properties fronting North Main Street in the Uptowne area, downtown and the furniture market showroom district, and the area north of High Point University’s main campus, including a neighborhood north of Lexington Avenue and Oak Hollow Mall. Most of the study areas would be mixed-use developments. Mixed-use, in planning terms, means a mixture of residential and office, commercial or industrial uses. DPZ has a plan for its High Point master plan project. That would have Duany (Continued on page 25)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Day Job (Continued from page 4) or former candidates did well in that race, with write-in votes cast for Bob Dole, George W. Bush, Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, Rick Santorum and Al Gore. One write-in vote for soil and water commissioner this year was cast for Kirk Perkins. In a famous debacle four years ago, a transient with a history of mental illness filed to run for that seat using a fake name – the name of Commissioner Kirk Perkins. The imposter won but then skipped out of town before taking his seat. At that time, county election officials said that Perkins had found “a hole” in the system that allowed him to register using a fake name – the system was set up to prevent fraud in voter registration, but not in candidate registration. Speaking of the soil and water race, Andrew Courts got a write-in vote this year. Courts was the second-place finisher in that 2008 soil and water race – however, Courts never got to take the seat because the board that had the power to fill the vacancy chose long-term soil and water board incumbent Herb Hendrickson, the man who came in third in that race, behind fake Perkins and Courts. In Guilford County there were also spaces for write-in votes in the presidential race and the governor’s race. Alan Keyes, Bill Clinton, Colin Powell Mike Huckabee, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Trump, Marco

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rubio, Ralph Nader, Sarah Palin and Thomas Jefferson all got votes for president, as did Jesse Helms and Jesse Ventura. Also pulling in votes for president were Gaius Julius Caesar, Morgan Freeman, Underdog and country comic Larry the Cable Guy. Celebrities, both alive and dead, were popular choices for write-in voters. Bill Murray, star of Groundhog Day, got a vote for the at-large school board race, as did Britney Spears, perhaps because her popular music video, “Hit Me, Baby, One More Time,” features Spears dancing seductively in a school hallway. Speaking of singers and music, many musical styles were represented. Grateful Dead front man, the late Jerry Garcia, got a vote, as did the late Bob Marley, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Rick James. (If dead people can vote, they certainly should be able to get votes as well.) The very much alive Jimmy Buffet, and 50 Cent also pulled in one vote each. Other celebrities pulling in votes from various races were Marilyn Monroe. Stephen Colbert and Donnie Wahlberg. Brody of Showtime’s hit series Homeland made it in, as did Snooki from MTV’s Jersey Shore. The only write-ins from the world of sports were LeBron James and the Oregon Ducks. Some voters used the write-in box to display their religious sentiments: They voted for God, God’s will, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, Christian and

God Help Us. Other deities were represented as well. For instance, His Holiness the Dalai Lama got a write-in vote. Some well-known local figures, such as attorneys and former candidates got votes, including Charles Winfree, Jim Rumley, Lewis Brandon and Clyde Albright, who managed to get votes in several races. Former mayor of Summerfield and current Town Councilmember Dena Barnes, the wife of Sheriff BJ Barnes, got a vote for District 3 school board. Outgoing Commissioners John Parks, Paul Gibson and Billy Yow all got votes as well. The Rhino Times was represented in the write-in votes: Editor John Hammer got votes for the High Point City Council, the school board and the soil and water supervisor seat. Scott Yost and Scott D. Yost both got votes, as did Orson Scott Card, best selling author and Rhino Times columnist. Not all the write-in votes have been catalogued yet. However, so far it looks as though Rhino Times writer Paul Clark and Alex Jakubsen were left out of the mix. Guilford County Elections Director George Gilbert said one of the only serious write-in campaigns he can remember was when The Rhinoceros Times Editor John Hammer ran for mayor in the ’90s. “No write-in candidates have, in my experience, garnered any significant number of votes, except in municipal elections,” he said. “The best example,

Page 7

of course, being that of Hammer’s run for mayor.” Hammer finished second in the three-way race for mayor beating one candidate on the ballot but finishing far behind former Mayor Carolyn Allen. Gilbert added that there was a “serious write-in candidate in an otherwise uncontested Ward race in High Point a number of years ago.” According to Gilbert, as a general rule in countywide and statewide races, write-ins don’t win. He said that rule usually holds in smaller races as well. “The only exception I can think of is in the Sedgefield Sanitary District where, occasionally, they have not had enough candidates file to fill all the seats,” Gilbert said. “I believe write-in candidates have actually been certified as winners there on occasion.” There were some way-out write in votes that made it onto Guilford County ballots this year. Some of those were “Space,” “Poison Ivy” (either the plant or the villainess played by Uma Thurman from the Batman movie), and “The Beaver” – presumably referring to Mel Gibson’s widely panned 2011 theatrical flop. Though perhaps that vote could have been for Beaver from the old Leave it to Beaver TV show. And it looks as though one man even used the write-in opportunity to send a message to his ex-girlfriend. He wrote, “S---- You,” followed by the woman’s first and last name.


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

The Sound of the Beep What follows has been transcribed from the answering machine tape on our comment line 273-0898. We edit out what is required by the laws of the state, of good taste and of good sense. The limit on phone calls is one minute and each caller may make up to two calls per week. If you have something to say, call our comment line at 273-0898 and start talking at The Sound of the Beep. This is a message for all of those people who are thinking about banning guns, before you come out and say we’re banning guns, go back and read some history of the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. They took away the guns. And remember, after you take away the guns from all the good people, the only people left with guns are the bad people. And they will get them anyway. Remember, they’ve taken away the drugs, but people get drugs anyway. So, before you speak real fast, you better go back and read some of your history. Thank you. %%% Hello Mr. Hammer. As usual, I see you are down on Obama. Well, what’s new with that? Y’all folks ought to find someone else to mess with. Give the man a chance. I bet if he wasn’t black, y’all wouldn’t be down on him like that. And what about Tricky Dick? As many lies as he told, you can’t … about Obama. %%% Editor’s Note: Go back and read a few “Clinton Watch” columns. It’s his politics I don’t like. %%% Hey, I just want to say I appreciate The Rhinoceros. I read it every week. And I got a bit of a thing on my mind. School system here, Guilford County school system is bugging me about $6 and something that my son owes on his lunch bill. And, yet, they let somebody else run up $250,000. And they want to bug me for $6? I am totally upset about that. I think the Guilford school system stinks. %%%

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In reference to the comment about Hammer throwing in Hussein when he talks about Obama, the caller is right. John, why don’t you call Obama by his real name? According to the United States Justice Foundation out of Houston, Texas, his real name is Barry Soetoro. He is the acknowledged son of adopted father Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen. Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship. To be a citizen there can be no other alliance – allegiances. And he is listed as a citizen. Indonesian-born foreign student from his public schools. Every time a child is registered in an Indonesian school the child’s name and citizenship status had to be verified through the government. Obama, or should I say Barry, has spent $2 million to hide his real own foreign-bought birth certificate and college records from America. %%% Continuing my call. Socialism at work, ain’t it great? And, oh, by the way on that certificate under the religion he is listed Islam. Also, John, find out some information about the National Security Agencies new 1 million square foot facility being built in Utah at a cost of $2 billion. Data storage facilities to spy on the citizens of the US. This information all came from the US Justice Foundation out of Houston, Texas. I’ll assume it’s a legitimate organization. It’s sad to know that we have this kind of stuff going on, and money is being spent now to still hide his college records from America. We need to know everything about this man before he’s reelected. Thank you very much. %%% You know, we spend millions bombing other countries. But we have children born in this country going to bed hungry at night. What is wrong with us? Where are our priorities? Thank you. %%% Editor’s Note: We spend billons bombing other countries. %%% Yes, Steely Dan Fan Man. You know, I wish people would get it straight the difference between entitlements and something that you actually earned. I’m on disability and Medicare. I get Social Security Disability Income and Medicare, and that’s it. I don’t get any handouts. I get an entitlement, because I am entitled to it, because I paid for it. I don’t get any help from the state. I (Continued on page 25)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Uncle Orson Reviews Everything Sayings, Film Adaptations, CO2 Science by orson scott card

Several high school students my wife and I know had the same assignment from a high school teacher: Get one saying each from people they knew. All three decided to ask my wife and me. Since they all had the same teacher, they couldn’t very well show up with the same sayings from us. Yet we couldn’t play favorites among the three. No doubt about it. My wife and I would have to come up with three separate sayings each. The trouble with sayings is that even if you’re a witty person, as my wife is, and even if you write for a living, as I do, creating characters who sometimes say clever things, it’s very hard to come up with something pithy and quotable on demand. I remember my friend Robert Stoddard’s all-purpose quotation from college days: “He who shall, so shall he who.” Yet even though this epigram is equally applicable to all situations, we didn’t feel we should rely on his creativity. Then it dawned on me. Practically everything that people say is quotable, if you say it portentously enough. In fact, the very next thing my wife said seemed to me a perfect demonstration of that fact:

“I’m going to make some oatmeal. Oatmeal makes the world a better place.” Engrave that in stone. Or at least stick it to the fridge. Then I remembered her oft-repeated maxim: “Avocado makes any food better.” (She stands by this even when I offer counter-suggestions. “Ice cream?” “Yummm.” “Mustard?” “Not a food.”) My own ideas sound contrived by comparison with her epigrams. “Since you’re not listening, does it matter whether I tell the truth?” (I like that one, but since it’s a question I’m not sure it qualifies as a maxim.) “Subscribing to a magazine you don’t read doesn’t make you smarter.” “I’ve been young and I’ve been old. Young is better, but only old people know how much.” “If you sing loud enough, the melody is whatever note you’re singing.” (This is the guiding maxim of extremists everywhere.) And here’s the maxim that I’d love to say to President Obama: “If you don’t know what to do, don’t insist on getting your way.” But it really all comes down to: “I’m going to make some oatmeal. Oatmeal makes the world a better place.”

.... Watching Peter Jackson make a joke out of Tolkien’s magnificent Lord of the Rings and of Tolkien’s amusing but much slighter The Hobbit may lead some people to think that great works of literature are inevitably trashed when converted to film form. But that is not true. Peter Jackson’s mistakes all came from a combination of hubris, reliance on false formulas from screenwriting classes, and, with The Hobbit, the greed of financiers who wanted to stretch a one-movie story into three films. Jane Austen was every bit the genius that Tolkien was. Like Tolkien, she took the existing literary conventions of her time and reinvented them into something new and transformative. Like Tolkien, she changed everything that came after. And, like Tolkien, her individual works remain masterworks that can be read and understood without professorial intervention. Translating a story from fiction to the screen is hard, and it has taken several tries with many of Austen’s novels to get them right. Fortunately, the BBC recognizes the necessity of making more than one attempt, and the results have been quite stunning.

One thing is obvious: It is very hard to make a Jane Austen story work well within the two hours of a feature film. It takes time to develop relationships and societies, and you can’t tell a Jane Austen story without doing that. In my opinion, the only perfect featurefilm adaptation of a Jane Austen novel has been Emma Thompson’s script of Sense and Sensibility. Others have been good – there’s a decent feature-length Pride and Prejudice (the one starring Keira Knightley) and a very credible Persuasion (starring Amanda Root). Otherwise, however, the successful screen adaptations have been at miniseries length. Everybody knows that the best Pride and Prejudice is the Colin Firth miniseries. But it isn’t the only one, and isn’t even the best Jane Austen miniseries. On Dec. 16, Jane Austen’s birthday, some Austen-loving friends joined us to celebrate the day by rewatching the BBC miniseries of Emma, written by Sandy Welch and directed by Jim O’Hanlon. I can only marvel at the way this writer and director, joined by an astonishingly (Continued on page 24)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

No. 1223

BYWORDS By Joe Dipietro / Edited by Will Shortz

Across

57 House of the speaker?

1 S e w e r, a t t i m e s

5 8 Wr i t e r

7 Dregs of society

60 Big guns

11 “ I ’ m n o t d o i n g s o well”

61 F = ma formulator

15 ___ it up (dress flamboyantly)

6 2 Ve r y w i d e s h o e s p e c 6 3 Te x t c h a n g e s

1 9 S h e r p a ’s t o o l

6 5 R o c k e t c e n t e r, o n c e

20 Kind of street21 Accurse

66 ___ admin

67 “Not doable”

22 Grams

23 Drank quickly

24 Allocated dollars for digs 26 &&&

27 “___ time now” 2 8 S m o k e r ’s convenience 3 0 To i l i n g a w a y

3 2 S a n t a ’s b o o t b l a c k ? 34 “___ ever!”

35 Paisley refusals 37 Gets up

38 Density symbol

4 0 A n t i - a p a r t h e i d o rg . 42 1970 hit for Neil Diamond 43 De novo

44 Lies in the hot sun 46 Shacks

48 Marine rescue grp. 50 Fancified

52 Really desire, with “over” 53 Precipitate

For any three answers, call from a touch-tone phone: 1-900-285-5656, $1.49 each minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800814-5554.

68 Govt. money guarantor

69 Its capital is S y d n e y : A b b r. 70 “O Sole ___”

71 Just ___ … or “Just ’___” 73 Crones

74 From way back

7 7 I t ’s n e e d e d f o r s e l f checkout 79 Alternative to broadband 81 Fixed rate

82 Capital north of Cyprus 83 Mat material

84 Not yet out of the closet?

85 Attach a handle to 87 Preceded

89 Give a rude awakening, say 90 Flexible, electrically

92 Derby features 9 4 Tu r n b l u e , s a y 95 Do wrong

96 Bubbling up 97 Ruination

9 8 L e o n a r d N i m o y ’s “___ Not Spock” 100 “Fish Magic” painter

103 Rapper who played Brother Sam on “Dexter” 105 1996 Olympian noted for performing on an injured ankle 11 0 F o r m l e t t e r s ? 111 “ N o _ _ _ ” ( “ D o n ’t ask me”) 11 2 B a s i c a l l y

11 4 B r e a k s o n e ’s b a c k 11 6 B o s t o n p l a y e r, f o r short 11 7 Tr i p l e C r o w n winners must lead their league in these 11 8 To o - g o o d - t o - b e t r u e o ff e r, o f t e n 11 9 R o m a n t r a g e d y writer 1 2 0 F l o r i d a ’s S a n i b e l , e.g. 121 Zebra feature 122 They’re run up 123 Like some dough Down 1 Unhappy king of legend 2 Prefix with -metrics 3 Ve g a s c a s i n o

4 R o s e a n n e ’s h u s b a n d on “Roseanne” 5 Suit 6 Made de novo

7 Certain baby food

8 So-called “Goddess of Pop” 9 Samovars

1 0 I t ’s p a r t t h i s , p a r t that

11 W h o m S h e l l e y w e p t for 1 2 “ Wa t e r M u s i c ” composer 1 3 F r. t i t l e

1

2

1 6 Wo o l l y

17 English royal 18 Covers up

3 6 I t ’s a l m o s t n o t h i n g

39 Prefix with -porosis 4 1 To o k t u r n s recklessly

42 Things may be written in it 4 4 C a p ’ n ’s m a t e 45 Kind of well

47 Piece for nine

49 Hockey area in front of the crease 51 Seemingly forever

54 Long-running TV show featuring the Hortons and the Bradys 55 Fishing boats

56 South American zoo animal

6

7

23

24

27

28

32

33 38

44

8

9

10

11

25

41

46

36

48

52 59

61

62

63

82 85 90

86

91

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96

64

65 69 74

80

81

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84

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88

93

99

103

104

111

112

116

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118

119

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121

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123

59 Revolutionary 1960s Chinese youth

60 Open ___ 64 They’re often behind glass

67 Prompt 68 Apocryphal 69 ABC, for one 7 0 Wa l l S t . c r e d e n t i a l 71 Small boat made of wickerwork

107

108

113

73 Quibblers split them

74 The Sun Devils’ sch. 75 Sci-fi or western

76 Result of a bang-up job? 78 One running

80 Beta carotene and others 86 Go out

100 109

114

72 “___ / Had ’em” (classic two-line poem about fleas)

76

95 98

106

75

89

94

97 105

56

60

73 79

55

49

68

78

54

31

53

58

77

18

43

47

72

17

37

42

67

16

26

57

66

15 22

35

51

14

30

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45

71

13

29

39

70

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50

2 9 S p o r t s a n n o u n c e r ’s scream

33 Newspaper section

5

20

25 Street opening

31 Lost-parcel inquiries

4

19

1 4 “ Wa t e r m a r k ” vocalist

15 Really bugging

3

8 7 Tr i c k - w i n n i n g

attempt in bridge

88 ___ beer 90 Dwellings 91 TV announcer who

101

102

110 115

101 Put up 102 Lamb specialty 104 Unwilling to budge

106 Kick back

broke the news of

107 People conquered

murder

1 0 8 Wo u n d p r o t e c t o r

J o h n L e n n o n ’s

by the Spanish

93 Earn hand over fist

109 Much merriment

96 Firenze friends

11 3 H e a t o rg .

99 Rumpled

11 5 G o t _ _ _ ( d i d g r e a t )

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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Page 13

Yost Says He’s Sure This Year Will End by Scott D. Yost county editor

Anyway, my present to you this year is the same as it was this time last year: advice that will make you a lot of money. Buy Apple stock. Right now it’s bouncing around between $380 and $390 a share and it should hit over $500 by this time next year, and, while nothing is a sure thing, what can you put your faith in if not in the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad and the Mac?

Yost Column, Dec. 21, 2011

Well, another year has bitten the dust and, at this time each year, I always like to glance back and take a look at the winners and losers of the past 12 months. You know, each year I like to give my assessment on those things that were up and those that were down. It was a busy year, so this is likely to be just my first batch of people and things that were up and down in 2012. Now, 2013 is almost upon us, so let’s not dilly-dally one moment longer … Up. Debates. The year started with the 703 debates held to determine the Republican presidential candidate, and it ended with everything from a slew of county commissioner debates, to three presidential debates (two between Mitt Romney and Obama, and one between Romney and a very life-like Obama mannequin). There was even – and I promise I’m not making this up – a debate between Clint Eastwood and a chair. There were so many Republican primary debates at the start of 2012 that, earlier this year, I was thinking about starting a franchise of “debate bars” that are essentially like sports bars with this difference: Instead of encouraging people to come out for basketball and football games and cheering on their favorite teams, people would come out to watch political debates and cheer on their favorite candidates. You know, like a sports bar it would have a lot of TVs, but instead of team jerseys and player cutouts, the place would be decorated with political paraphernalia, and everyone could come and drink and cheer for their candidates in the debates. (I may still use this idea, so don’t steal it.) Down and then up. Duke basketball. So far in this college basketball season, the beloved Blue Devils are off to an absolutely roaring start. They’ve beaten three top-five teams in a matter of weeks and they’re just getting started. Indiana, the previous number one, got knocked off, so now Duke is sitting pretty in the number one spot and all is right in the basketball world. Recently, I heard a sports analyst on ESPN who pointed out that Duke was 3-0 against top-five teams, while every other team in the nation was 0-39 against top five teams. So all that’s good news for Duke basketball in 2012. The bad news for the year is what happened three months into 2012: In March, Duke got knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round by a junior varsity girl’s team from George Washington Carver High. Very embarrassing. Let us hope and pray that nothing similar happens in the coming months. Way, way, way down. Flying car scientists. As everyone knows, the future was supposed to be here in 2001. And that future – I am quite certain – was supposed to include flying cars. Well, it’s now over a decade past the dawn of the future, and the flying car scientists are still feeding us the same old bull about how the flying car is “just around the corner now.” Yeah, right. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am tired of listening to these blowhards. Fooled me once, shame on me; fooled me 24 times, shame on you. Just what is the deal with the flying car and why is it taking so [deleted]-ing long!? Up. Honey Boo Boo. This delightful young modern day Shirley Temple stole all our hearts when she burst onto the television scene in August with the hit show, “Here comes Honey Boo Boo.” Let me tell you something: This is only the first that you’ll hear of this precocious pubescent prodigy. The little darling is only 7 years old, but I can guarantee you that this foul-mouthed fledgling phenom will still occupy the national spotlight 20 years from now. True, it will be under newspaper headlines like, “Former child star totals stolen car and assaults officer while jacked up on cocaine.” And the subheads will be really creative stuff like, “Honey Boo Boo makes yet (Continued on page 14)

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Yost (Continued from page 13) another big boo boo – violates her probation.” It’s not exactly the podium at the Oscars, but, still, fame is fame and the spotlight is the spotlight. Down. The Natural Science Center. If I’m not mistaken, which I rarely am, a few years ago the Natural Science Center people promised our city a penguin colony with 16 to 20 penguins by 2012 – which, I might note, has already come and gone. And now they’re saying it will be 2013. In other words, they feel that Greensboro’s penguin colony is now “just around the corner.” Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope that the Natural Science Center people don’t turn out to be the new version of the flying car scientists. Down. Chick-fil-A. Listen, I’m not going to use this space to interject my thoughts on the whole gay marriage issue, but I am going to offer my thoughts on Chick-fil-A. What is Office Depot’s view on the legalization of medical marijuana? Or how about Applebee’s stance on premarital sex? And why in the world doesn’t Burger King weigh in on the abortion debate? Do you know why? Well, I can tell you: Burger King doesn’t weigh in on the abortion debate because it’s Burger King. It makes and serves hamburgers. It is not a political party or a public issues think tank. It is Burger King. And you are Chick-fil-A. You kill chickens and fry them in peanut oil and slap them on a bun and you are very good at that – very, very good at that in fact. On offering political advice? Not so much.

Scott’s Night Out Before 2012 came to a close, I wanted to work in pictures of the lovely mother and daughter team of Gina-Robyn Burrow and her mom, Gina (top left). I’ll bet that Gina hears all the time, “Well, I certainly see where your daughter gets her good looks!” The top photo was taken at Schmoozefest at CityView last month. The last photo is one I pulled from SNO in 2008 – of Gina with friend Robin – so Gina-Robyn would know what kind of hijinks her mom was up to back then. Anyway, that’s a wrap for 2012; I hope everyone has a very happy New Year. – Scott D. Yost.

Up. The salaries of Guilford County department heads. In 2012, Guilford County staff gave out raises to 15 county department heads in secret and, in the case of seven of those raises, they did so illegally. The move angered just about everyone connected to county government, especially many of the county’s 2,400 employees – the vast majority of whom haven’t had raises in four years. And what’s the supposed reason county administration hasn’t been able to give out raises to most of its employees? It’s because, they explain, the county’s budget has been “cut to the bone,” so there’s simply no money in there for raises. You know, I mean, there’s no money there unless you’re a county department head who’s already raking it in. In that case, there are limitless pots of gold stashed away in the basement of the Old Guilford County Court House. Speaking of Guilford County… Down. Literacy among Guilford County government’s staff. Listen, Guilford County has been cutting employees for the last four years (evidently so department heads can get higher pay). Anyway, apparently some of the people who were

sent home packing were the county’s copy editors. Commissioner Linda Shaw was elected chairman of the board earlier this month and so county staff had to make a nice new mounted placard to go in front of her seat at the commissioners meetings, which are broadcast all over the world on the worldwide web. Well, Shaw’s plaque should have said, “Linda Shaw, Chairman” – however, instead, here’s the sign …

As you can see, what the sign actually said was, “Linda Shaw, Chairmen.” You know, like she was just one of many chairmen of the Board of Commissioners that we have running around the county this year. Down. The price of gas. I never thought I’d find myself jumping for joy over $3.12 cent a gallon gas prices, but, these days, I am. In January of 2012, a CNNMoney. com article said, “The new year has greeted Americans with the highest January gas prices ever, and some analysts say prices could get close to $5 a gallon in some areas during the warm-weather driving season.” However, a few months ago when gas was almost $4 a gallon, my 99-year-old grandmother, Nana, who lives in Florida, gave me a heads up. She is always saying to me that “Jesus speaks to me,” and she told me that Jesus told her gas prices were going to start falling. A few days later, the price of gas began to drop like a rock. By the way, I talked to her last week and she – again, I am not kidding – told me the stock market was going to really take off in either March or April. She said: “It’s going to be big – the Dow will go up. The Nasdaq will go up. Everything will go up. Jesus said so.” Up. Apple stock. 2012 was a great year for Apple, which saw the release of the new iPads, new iPods, and the absolutely magical iPhone 5, with the newest version of my best friend forever, Siri. Two yeas ago, on Dec. 9, 2010, when Apple stock was right at $318 a share, I wrote “Here’s my Christmas present to everyone in Guilford County: Apple’s stock price will be over $400 a share by this time next year. Probably over by a lot.” Apple’s stock went way over $400 in 2011, and then, last year, when it was bouncing around $400, I said again, buy Apple stock because it would be over $500. It got up to over $700 this year and now it’s about $523. Once again, my Christmas present to all Rhino readers is investment advice that will make you a lot of money: Apple stock will be over $800 a share by this time next (Continued from page 27)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Page 23

Letters to the Editor Unable to choose “choose life” Dear Editor, Dec. 7, 2012, a date which will live in infamy – the unborn of America were suddenly and deliberately attacked by a judicial force of questionable intellect and vacuous character. As advocate for the pre-born, I direct that all measures be taken for their defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us … On Dec. 7, 2012, US District Court Judge James Fox ruled that North Carolina cannot proceed with the sale of “Choose Life” license plates. Judge Fox ruled that a law passed by the North Carolina legislature in 2011 is unconstitutional, calling it “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.” It is unconstitutional to choose life? Shame on you, James Fox. Debra McCusker

Keep right to work status Dear Editor, Back in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, many workers found themselves working at companies in primitive conditions that no person should have to work in, and there were companies that paid slave labor wages that needed unions. Nowadays, the unions are not about representing the workers. They are about collecting the union dues so they can fund the party of choice who represents their particular political views. One retired from Lorillard after 34 years of service belonged to the tobacco workers union while another who retired from Gilbarco after 35 years of service belonged to the Teamsters union. The unions of today have very little interest in truly representing their members. They are more interested in threatening and bullying those who do not want to join a union. The right-to-work law in North Carolina is a savior for those who do not support forced union membership. Forced unionization does not work and it can lead to violence for those who do not want to join. Several states have decided they have had enough of this forced

unionization and beccome right-to-work states, which is a great thing for those who do not want to join a union. Steven M. Shelton

Human control not gun control Dear Editor, Adam Lanza’s mother had just petitioned the court to get an order to have him involuntarily committed. She was going to put him in an institution in (I think?) Washington State. He knew she was going to have him committed and he didn’t want to go. Need a motive? Look no further. He had serious psychological issues. His mother, doctors, family, teachers and others knew it. The problem and solution lies with his mental health issues. How do we get parents to report their kids? Who do they report them to? Anyone with this kind of psychological profile should not be allowed to own or have access to firearms. Can doctors, counselors, teachers, etc., report them without violating their right to privacy? Not unless the law changes to not only allow, but require it. Then, give law enforcement the authority to take appropriate precautions to deal with it. I listened to President Obama’s speech on this the other day, and he did mention mental illness as one thing they need to address, along with gun control laws. But the media and politicians are only focusing only on gun control. That is not going to solve the problem. It is primarily a “human control” problem, not a gun control problem. Ramon Bell

a hoax) couldn’t stay home and work for a change? He seldom misses a day flying in his favorite toy, where he gets his cheeseburger just the way he likes it. Staying home and working apparently doesn’t cross his mind. Bob Guertin

For coffee pals, past and present Dear Editor, Good morning. Welcome to America. This is my country. I moved my family to Greensboro in

1981. As a carpenter I would stop for a coffee break at 10 a.m. Recently, Lyn Rachell (92 years old) and I were talking about when we first met each other. We believe it was at the original Krispy Kreme on Battleground and Mill Street around 1982. One of our other coffee shop buddies at the time was Victor Holehauser, 93 years old. The reason I remember is that one is short and one is tall, and before I met them I thought of them as Mutt and Jeff. Victor was in the Air Cadets in 1938, and Lyn was in US Army in the Battle of (Continued on page 32)

Recomending Christmas staycation Dear Editor, Our sorry excuse for a commander in chief should be called Nero II. While the world and the US are burning with significant issues to be resolved, our prevaricator and apologizer in chief is off to fiddle in Hawaii to the tune of $4 million. Nice. The boy-man imposter (his Hawaiian birth certificate has been proven to be

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Uncle Orson (Continued from page 10) good cast, understood Austen’s brilliant material and brought it to life with a depth and completeness that, if anything, improved on the original. Now that we’ve seen more of Jonny Lee Miller in the series Elementary, it makes his achievement as Mr. Knightley in Emma all the more wonderful – because both performances are so brilliant and so different from each other. Romola Garai, perfect in the title role, makes Gwyneth Paltrow’s pathetic misunderstanding of the character all the more reprehensible – because Paltrow’s mistakes were entirely her own, and not caused by the script or the underlying material. Most important, however, is the way that Sandy Welch filled in elements that were implied but not fully developed in Austen’s novel. The father, instead of merely being annoying, is treated with love and compassion; we agree that Emma cannot leave him. We also see the tragic dilemma underlying Emma’s life; that she does not belong to herself. Yet she manages to find joy and cheerfulness in her dilemma. She is young and imperfect and sometimes causes harm. But she maintains a close friendship with the one person who speaks truth to her. And, together, they find a road out of the lonely life that fate had designed for her. Every step of the way, we are shown that lonely life by the apposite character, Miss Bates (Tamsin Greig), also trapped in a life devoted to the care of an aging parent. Like Emma, Miss Bates retains a commitment to uncomplaining good cheer in the midst of her loneliness and sacrifice; the fact that Emma never understands her similarity to Miss Bates does not prevent the filmmakers – and us – from experiencing it. The BBC Emma is a gorgeous example of using one medium to shine a bright light of understanding on a story first told in a different one. It can be done; it has been done; and each work, the book and the film, is elevated by having experienced the other. Peter Jackson, in adapting Tolkien, treated story elements he did not understand with

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From last week’s issue S O O N Y I

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Ever since the whole global-warming fracas began, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has been fudging and faking evidence and statistics in order to give the illusion that there was proof of human-caused global warming. This is well known among scientists, though unmentioned by our monolithic true-believer media, whose science coverage has become a mere church choir in the religion of eco-puritanism. The IPCC has performed illegitimate and unjustified statistical manipulations; it has reworded reports after scientists signed off on them, and without their knowledge. These are the kinds of things that you sudoku_348A only do when you know that the evidence Created by Peter Ritmeester/Presented by Will Shortz does not make your case. Nobody steals an election they’ve2actually won. Through all of this, they have insisted that global 8 human-caused 5 9 warming 2 is a fact, and that anyone who resists it is 6 4 and 3 in the 7same category as creationists Holocaust-deniers. 9 6 8 3 This namecalling is another confession that they haven’t 1 3got the data 2 to make their case. If you have the data, you don’t have to call names. The science5speaks for itself. One reason they have been able 7to get away with this is the lack9 of 6 data to contradict them. That is, the data we have

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such contempt that future generations will watch his story changes with stunned outrage (as some of us do now). And the self-indulgent three-feature version of The Hobbit will be regarded as a sad joke. As the cost of computer effects drops and the quality improves, it will not be such a massive undertaking to reenvision and remake Lord of the Rings in the future. Just as the miserable Gwyneth Paltrow Emma was later put to shame by the brilliant BBC Emma of 2009, so also there will someday be films of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in which scriptwriters who actually understand the story they’re working with bring Tolkien’s story to fruition on the screen. All Peter Jackson really brought us was the New Zealand scenery and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

From last week’s issue

L A A T S S E H E D D I K A R E T T N I A N T I G H R T I E I M W P A T O C H F O E F P R E W H I O R G W E N

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had up to now did not say what they claim it said – but it didn’t say anything else, either. That’s because everything was based on computer models, and computer models are only as good as the data that is fed into them. The people running the simulations were all True Believers, and so they always came up with “results” that mirrored the biased data they had been fed. But finally there is real data to feed into the computers. In a Dec. 18 Wall Street Journal essay, Matt Ridley reports on a conversation with Nic Lewis, one of the educated people keeping tabs on the global warming science issues for those of us who don’t have access to the latest reports. If it weren’t for people like Lewis, we laypeople would have no choice but to believe the deceptions of True Believers like the IPCC. Lewis is part of the reason we know about the previous lies and manipulations by the IPCC, but no one denies that the deceptions took place. Now, however, because Lewis is an honest observer, he reports that real data shows that there is a genuine statistically probable effect from atmospheric carbon emissions. What genuine scientists, faithfully reporting their actual findings, now report is that the mechanisms claimed to cause global warming may in fact contribute to a rise in temperature – but they do so at a rate far, far lower than that assumed by the True Believers. We are finally getting a pretty good idea of the actual effects of carbon dioxide emissions. Comparing global temperatures over the past 100 to 150 years with the fluctuations in carbon dioxide emissions from human activities gives us – at last – a reasonable basis for estimating how sensitive global climate is to changes in carbon dioxide levels. Keep in mind that carbon dioxide is far from being the major greenhouse gas. Methane is far more important, and the most important, water vapor, has such unpredictable effects that it is left out of all the models. That’s because water vapor, besides being a greenhouse gas, also forms clouds, which by their high reflectivity, bounce sunlight out of the atmosphere without converting it to heat. Storms also funnel heat from near the surface up to the higher atmosphere. We have no way of predicting or modeling how much the albedo and storm effects balance with the greenhouse effect, nor even to what degree global warming would increase cloud cover. As Ridley says in his article, “As one Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a senior role in combating climate change admitted to me the other day: ‘We don’t even know the sign’ of water vapor’s effect – in other words, whether it speeds up or slows down a warming of the atmosphere.” Says Ridley, “Climate models are known to poorly simulate clouds, and given clouds’

very strong effect on the climate system – some types cooling the Earth either by shading it or by transporting heat up and cold down in thunderstorms, and others warming the Earth by blocking outgoing radiation – it remains highly plausible that there is no net positive feedback from water vapor.” This matters a great deal – the global warming alarmists’ warnings absolutely depend on the idea that carbon dioxide’s warming, if real, will then be greatly amplified by water vapor increases. But this remains entirely a matter of faith. For all we know, increased water vapor may be the ecosystem’s natural way of damping down the effects of global warming – whether that warming is astronomical or human caused. We can now calculate with some reliability just what a doubling of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would do to global climate. “Given what we know now,” said Ridley, “there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen.” Ridley quotes Lewis as saying that, assuming a doubling of CO2 – the IPCC’s worst-case scenario – and even assuming “another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than” one degree Celsius. Says Ridley, “A cumulative change of less than 2O C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good – that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland’s ice cap will melt only very slowly.” Historical evidence shows that global temperatures have been warmer than they are now, following natural cycles alone, in historical times. There seems to be a regular warming-and-cooling cycle, with cooling represented by the Little Ice Age of 1350 to 1850. In 1000 A.D., global climate was warmer than it is now. The same cycle seems to have corresponded with the collapse of agriculture and population during the cooling phase in the late Roman Empire and through the Dark Ages – a plagueridden era like the Little Ice Age. The historical evidence suggests that eras of global warming are natural, that they are beneficial, that they can best be called “good weather.” When you add to this the fact that all of human history has taken place in a ten thousand year lull in the great Ice Age that has dominated the last million years of Earth’s climate history, and I, for one, wish that we could control and warm the climate through mere carbon dioxide emissions – because when the major astronomical cycles bring back the Ice Age, our descendants will very much wish for a means of causing global warming on a vast scale. (Continued on page 27)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Uptown (Continued from page 8) and Low leading the High Point effort, with Freeman Kennett Architects of High Point; Hall Planning & Engineering of Tallahassee, Florida; The Community Land Use and Economics Group of Arlington, Virginia; and the Crabtree Group engineering of Salida, Colorado, working as subcontractors. The plan would have DPZ hold workshops from May 8 to May 14. DPZ would produce the master plan, a parking analysis, building floor plans, an economic feasibility study, recommendations for Main Street, a proposed zoning ordinance and a regulation plan. Peter Freeman and John Kennett of Freeman Kennett Architects have already done architectural renderings of some of the changes the City Project would like to make to High Point. They include many of the things Duany has suggested, including slowing down traffic on Main Street to encourage shopping, possibly adding roundabouts; encouraging apartments on second floors over businesses; and adding large mixed-use developments and entertainment venues to make High Point more of a destination city. The City Project already has drawings for a proposed amphitheater at 102 S. Main St. The proposed amphitheater complex would include not only the amphitheater but a large “water wall” and small parks,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

and would be used for furniture market events, movies, outdoor plays and laser shows. Other already drawn projects include proposed recreations of the old plank road down High Avenue, redesigns of the YWCA on Gatewood Avenue and the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library on North Main Street and several large residential and retail mixed-use developments for different parts of the city core. The City Project and private investors have already succeeded in making improvements to some areas of the core of old High Point, including the renovation of buildings on Washington Street, $4 million in city-funded street and sidewalk work on Washington Street and numerous facade renovations funded by a facade grant program approved by the City Council. Wood and High Point officials said the city has so far spent $22,000 on facade grants, which have attracted $363,000 in matching private spending on facades. Wood said, “It shows what a little public investment can do to generate a lot of private advancement.” High Point City Manager Strib Boynton said that, between the money donated for the DPZ study and private-sector money spent on facades, $750,000 has gone into neighborhood improvements, not including privately funded renovations of buildings on Washington Street and in Uptowne. Boynton said he has heard complaints

Page 25

over the three years the City Project board has been working. “Throughout the whole process, folks have been asking, ‘Where’s the private sector?’” Boynton said. “Well, the private sector has been involved.” The DPZ study may clash with the city having already hired the Chapel Hill office of Denver-based Clarion Associates to rewrite High Point’s zoning ordinance. Duany has attacked most downtown

Beep (Continued from page 8) did get food stamps at one point, and that’s only because I had to wait two-and-a-half years for disability to get me what I had coming. And I’m very upset with people lump these two things together. It upsets me to no end. %%% Yes, thank you. I love The Rhinoceros Times. And I’m thinking about these poor little children that were shot. The gun controls are not going to help. The only thing is going to help is when they stop these violent shows on TV, these violent things at the movie theater, these violent videogames. This gives kids ideas. They can’t think of it on their own. And until they stop that, no gun control is going to

building codes as impediments to private development, and especially to the development of old-school, or New Urban, downtowns, whichever you want to call them. He called for throwing out most of the rules generated by city planners. Meanwhile, Clarion Associates is planning to rewrite High Point’s entire development code over a period of two years, possibly generating many more regulations.

help. Please pray for all of the children and their families. %%% This is a quick note to all you selfish, immature, uninformed right-wing gun nuts out there who believe these selfish, immature, uninformed right-wing Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Second Amendment is a correct interpretation of the US Constitution. Regardless of how much you and five of the nine justices would like to think that the decision is intellectually and legally defensible and justifiable, it is clearly not. Your infantile obsession with guns is an obvious and undeniable symptom of your ethical, moral, mental and physical weakness, and your need to try and overcome your continually and (Continued on page 27)

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mishaps (Continued from page 1) County had the largest board of any county in the state – not to mention one of the most contentious. Now the board should be a little more manageable and a little calmer. Many other changes have taken place this year as well, as a result of Guilford County’s radical political makeover. In early 2012, it looked like Guilford County’s new board structure might be in jeopardy due to a lawsuit over a lack of representation in a newly formed District 6. However, on Thursday, Feb. 23, US District Court Middle District of North Carolina Judge William Osteen slated an election to provide representation for District 6 while keeping the basic structure of the redistricting in place. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Republican plan that had begun a year and a half earlier in Raleigh was hatched in Guilford County. In the election, former Democratic Commissioner Kirk Perkins, who had been a commissioner for eight years, lost to Republican newcomer Alan Branson in District 4, and, in a big shocker for many political observers, Paul Gibson, a highly popular at-large commissioner for the previous eight years, lost the District 5 race to Republican Jeff Phillips – a candidate whose only prior political experience was a failed congressional race two years earlier. Those two victories, along with Republican Hank Henning’s defeat of Linda Kellerman in District 6, gave the Republicans a 5-to-4 majority on the board – which hadn’t seen a Republican majority in 14 years. The new board proceeded to elect a Republican chairman, Linda Shaw, as well as a Republican vice chairman, Bill

Bencini. So Guilford County government at the end of 2012 looks markedly different than it did at the start of the year. As important as the new arrivals were to the board in 2012, the departure of the commissioners who had been a part of the board for many years was even more profound. Gone was Commissioner Skip Alston, who had served on the board for 20 years and been chairman for the last four. Also gone was 12-year Commissioner Billy Yow, the county’s fiery conservative counterweight to the liberal Alston. Commissioners John Parks and Mike Winstead were also off the board, and the new board – which was made up of younger faces – had lost 76 years of commissioner experience. Citizens are still waiting for perhaps the most important change in county government: In 2012, Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox announced she would resign on Jan. 31, 2013. Sometimes dramatic change is a thing to worry about. However, in the case of Guilford County, big changes from the recent past are a very welcome occurrence. From October 2010 straight through the end of 2011, Guilford County saw a string of one scandal after another and, at the beginning of 2012, it would have been hard to imagine that Guilford County could continue to generate such an impressive number of scandals. However, this year Guilford County government did its best to keep the scandals and outrageous actions at 2011 levels. In May, The Rhinoceros Times reported that Fox, before announcing her retirement, had slipped into the board’s consent agenda

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a removal of the cap on retirement bonuses for long-time employees such as herself. The commissioners therefore unknowingly approved a $61,000 bonus for Fox after failing to read the fine print in their meeting packets. Fox then threatened to sue the county if the commissioners took her large bonus away. However, the commissioners still voted to reinstate the cap, thus doing away with Fox’s large retirement bonus. Fox has not sued as of yet, and it will be interesting to see what she does once she’s out of county government. In June, The Rhinoceros Times revealed that Fox was under investigation by the FBI and the IRS for several questionable actions she had taken in 2010 and 2011 – as well as for a shady deal she orchestrated with Wachovia Bank several years earlier. The federal agents were interested in Fox’s secret real estate deal in 2010, when she signed over the county’s entire real estate acquisition rights to a High Point Realtor who, Fox claimed, walked into her office on a cold call. The federal agents were also interested – the highly unusual circumstances surrounding the purchase of a building at 325 E. Russell Ave. in High Point, which the county purchased, without any attempt to negotiate the price, from a close friend of former Commissioner Steve Arnold. Fox was front and center on many other scandals in 2012 as well, but none of it was enough to get the willfully negligent majority of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to fire Fox. However, one commissioner finally made that motion in 2012: At a meeting in June, out of the blue, former Commissioner Perkins blurted out a motion to fire Fox. Though there were certainly other commissioners who wanted Fox gone, Perkins’ motion failed to get a second from the stunned board. Some commissioners said later they were caught totally by surprise by the motion. For years, Perkins had remained steadfast in his desire to keep Fox as county manager, and, as Perkins’ critics pointed out, it was only after the election heated up and Perkins found himself in a tight race – one he eventually lost – that Perkins made the motion, which he did without so much as consulting other commissioners who he was well aware wanted Fox gone. One particularly interesting major mishap this year happened when Fox, along with Tax Department Director Ben Chavis, worked very hard behind the scenes to open a county-run DMV office that would have operated out of the Tax Department’s downtown Greensboro headquarters in the Independence Building. The plan to have Guilford County run a DMV office was voted down overwhelmingly by the Board of Commissioners once the board found out about it in The Rhinoceros Times – but that was only after Guilford County staff had invested many man hours and other resources into the failed initiative.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Also, because Guilford County drew out the process for so long, that meant much longer lines than usual for county residents at the county’s two open DMV offices. In August, after Guilford County’s failed attempt to open a DMV office downtown, a private vendor finally opened a new DMV office in Golden Gate Shopping Center – the same shopping center where a DMV office had been shut down by the state in 2010 due to allegations of fraud. In October 2012, the Board of Commissioners went into a closed session where staff discussed giving raises to 15 county department heads, seven of whom the board sets salaries for. County staff claims the commissioners approved the raises by consent. However, it’s hard to know because there was no vote in open session as is required by law. On Thursday, Dec. 13, the new Board of Commissioners, in its first regular meeting, got off to an inauspicious start by voting to uphold the raises for department heads that staff had illegally given out. Only Phillips and Branson voted against affirming the raises. In 2012, Guilford County continued to destroy the long-standing relationships it has had for years and years with other local governments. For instance, the county has always outsourced the operation and maintenance of its parks to the cities of Greensboro and Burlington and the towns of Gibsonville and Jamestown. However, in 2012, the county decided to end those relationships and instead bring all park operation and maintenance in house. That will happen on Tuesday, Jan. 1, and it remains to be seen how that will work out for the county. Some county officials are very apprehensive about the prospects of the new Guilford County parks and recreation department. In 2012, Fox angered many City of Greensboro employees, as well as state court workers, when she kicked those city and court workers out of county parking places they had had for years – in some cases, 30 years. The parking spots went to county employees who had been on a waiting list for parking, and that move led to the dissolution of other longstanding agreements between the county and the city. Fox also upset many residents in eastern Guilford County when she filed to rezone hundreds of acres of the Guilford County Prison Farm from agricultural to corporate park. A food distribution company had shown interest in building a large facility on the Prison Farm land, but that company pulled out and, even after it did, Fox continued with her rezoning efforts. Fox does not own the property; the county does. Her attempt to rezone the property was what is known as a “third party” rezoning, and the move greatly alienated county residents in the area. The Guilford County Planning Board shot the idea down quickly when they heard Fox’s request. (Continued on page 32)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Uncle Orson (Continued from page 24) Meanwhile, keep in mind that there is nothing unnatural about the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere. All the carbon in the coal and oil and natural gas that we dig or pump up from under

Beep (Continued from page 25) entirely self-justified inferiority complex. Unfortunately, we all have to grow up sometime. Because intelligent, responsible citizens need to stop child’s games. It’s time to throw away your guns, your Barbie Dolls and your crayons and become big boys and girls. For the first time in your life, show some courage and do the right thing. %%% I wish there was some way the Supreme Court justices could read your paper. This is the country we’ve gone into since they’ve taken prayer out of school. Anything to do mention with God they take it out. We was founded on the other way. That’s what this country was founded on, and we’ve got so smart we’ve taken everything out. And this is the end result. The thing of it is, anybody that’s conscious has got enough sense to tie their shoes, this is not the end. (Continued on page 29)

other means of generating energy. Instead of worrying about carbon emissions, we need to search desperately for a means of powering our transportation and heating and cooling our habitations that does not depend on a resource that, once it runs out, is gone forever. My fear is that because of all the lies and deceptions, all the oppression of dissent and nastiness of the global warming alarmists, the general public, once free of those delusions and lies, will think that all warnings and dangers are false. In other words, we have been through three decades of massive wolf-crying about a nonexistent wolf, so that people won’t believe in the need to deal with the real wolf of depleting resources. We have a responsibility to future generations to leave them with the resources necessary to sustain a modern society. It is a sin to burn it all up when we don’t have to. CO2 is a non-issue and always has been – only the eco-puritans took it seriously and then foisted it on laypeople who trusted in “science.” The net effect of their falsehoods will be a loss of trust in real science, and that’s a crime. Because there are dangers to the environment, and serious consequence from burning up resources that can never be renewed. And thanks to the global warming clowns, I fear that nobody will pay attention. Meanwhile, the IPCC is due to put out

another report. Let’s see if they actually tell the truth this time, or continue to suppress facts, twist statistics and lie, lie, lie in support of their blind faith in evil human-caused global warming.

Yost (Continued from page 14) year, and that’s no joke. Nothing in life is a sure thing, but Apple is the closest thing we have in this imperfect world. Next time I talk to my grandmother, I’ll ask her about it just to make sure Jesus thinks so as well. Down. End of the world prognosticators. You know, Thursday night – the night that was supposedly the night before the end of the world – I called my bosses up on the phone and let them have it, and then I went out and spent all my money on women and whisky and then, the rest of the money, I just squandered. Because, why not? I mean, it was the end of the world and you can’t take it with you. And then I wake up on Friday, Dec. 21, and there’s nothing – no black hole, no zombie apocalypse, no planetary collision, nada. I’ll tell you what, I just can’t win for losing.

the surface was once atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is fertilizer for all plant life. For millions of years, the coastal jungles of the dinosaur era sequestered natural atmospheric carbon dioxide and kept it out of circulation. In effect, we have starved for CO2 for millions of years because all those plants selfishly drank up all the atmospheric carbon they could and then thoughtlessly died without returning it to the atmosphere. We’re only putting it back where it started. And every serious climate scientist has to admit this fact: Whatever else our carbon dioxide emissions might be doing, they are definitely fertilizing forests and grasslands all around the world. Where humans are involved, that means orchards and grainfields. If we really did reduce our CO2 emissions, it would cause a worldwide decrease in crop yields. That’s a fact, not a computer model. The real limiting factor should be this: The supply of oil and coal is finite. It was larger than the alarmists of the 1970s and 1980s supposed, but that doesn’t mean that we will never run out. It is quite possible that in a mere two centuries of fossil fuel consumption, we will use up the entire supply of accessible sequestered carbon. That, not groundless fears of global warming, is the reason we need to find

Page 27

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Speed Bump by Dave Coverly

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Page 29

Rooky (Continued from page 2) employee of the Board of Commissioners, is confused about who he works for. He is a county employee who doesn’t work for the county manager. His direct report is to the Board of Commissioners and, as he well knows, a majority vote of the commissioners is the only way his salary can legally be raised. Lately Payne’s legal advice seems to be from the perspective of the county manager. A closed session with Payne to make certain that his loyalties lie with the Republican majority that now runs the county, and not the county manager who works for them, would be in order. Henning, who ran as a conservative, in his first meeting voted to give some of the highest paid employees in Guilford County government raises. The Lilly Ledbetter act, which staff cites, does not deal with equalization of pay. All it does is extend the time period during which an employee can sue. So the law against discrimination didn’t change with Lilly Ledbetter, only the amount of time the county could be sued. In other words, Lilly Ledbetter is nothing more than a smokescreen. A commissioner who had done some research could have asked the county attorney for a list of counties in North Carolina who had been sued by their white male sheriff because he was being discriminated against under the Lilly Ledbetter act. The number is zero. Attorneys familiar with employment law say that it is an extremely difficult lawsuit to win because you have to prove that the jobs, and the people in the jobs, are identical. The sheriff, for instance, got a raise because he was compared to a county dentist III. Sometimes the sheriff might say that his job is like pulling teeth, but really it isn’t. A dentist may want to be able to lock up unruly patients, or those who had garlic for lunch, but he can’t. It is an absurd argument that the sheriff needs a raise because dentists are paid more. The new commissioners need to learn that they cannot trust the staff to give them reliable, accurate or even honest answers. Some commissioners like to only ask questions that they have researched before the meeting, so they can force the staff to give answers that make some sense. But the new Republican majority didn’t stop at just giving out raises to those who needed them the least, they also appointed former Chairman Alston to the Guilford County Board of Health and new Democratic Commissioner Ray Trapp to the Board of Social Services. If the Republicans want to reduce spending and bring forth a more conservative county government they can’t appoint free-spending Democrats like Alston and his protégé Trapp to powerful boards that run county departments. The Social Services Board runs the Social Services Department, and appointing a liberal Democrat to that board is not going to help reduce spending. The newly elected commissioners might

not have known what they were doing, but in that case it is always appropriate to ask for more time. Trapp is replacing former Commissioner John Parks on the Social Services Board. Parks is a Democrat he was appointed by a board with a Democratic majority. It is partisan politics and that is how the game is played. The Democrats didn’t put former Commissioner Billy Yow on the

Beep

Social Services Board because Yow is a Republican. The appointment to the Social Services Board has in the past been a controversial appointment. The last time the Republicans had a majority, two Democratic county commissioners sued the Republican board when an attempt was made to remove them. Eventually the Republicans figured out a way to remove them and get a Republican majority on that board, but Alston was fit to be tied and declared he would fire the county employees involved if he ever got the chance.

Now the new Republican majority evidently has no problem putting liberal Democrats in plum positions. What Phillips, Branson and Henning should have learned from that is that they can’t trust the person they elected chairman to behave like a Republican or a conservative. The Republicans need to start acting like Republicans, real soon, or some of the folks who worked hard to get them elected are going to sit on their hands in the next election, or better yet work to beat them in the primary and find some conservatives who want to serve.

(Continued from page 27) The school shooting is not the end. This is just the beginning. This is what happens when a country absolutely refuses to have anything to do with religion and when one person rules like the flag up at King, North Carolina. When they wanted to fly the Christian flag, the man said, no, I don’t want it flown. So, they’ve taken it down. They should go back. Say, we’re going back. For five years we’re going back to religion and see what happens. %%% It’s Sunday, and all the newscasts are about the Connecticut shooting and gun laws. Yes, we, as Americans, have the right to have a gun for protection and hunting. How many hunters use a Bushmaster rifle to hunt deer, bears, ducks or squirrels? The gun owner is responsible for that gun, or guns, or any action of those guns. The new law should be – the new law should be – held responsible – gun owners to be the same accountable as the one that stole or used the gun and used it in a crime. North Carolina needs the death penalty. Corporal punishment works. We don’t need someone sitting … %%% Editor’s Note: The AR-15 is actually a popular hunting rifle. %%% Hi. This is in light of the situation in Newtown, Connecticut. The nation mourns. We continue to mourn with the use of violent crimes that are happening all across the schools and campuses of this country. They say it’s the youth. It’s how we’re raising our children. It might be mental illness. It might be broken families. It might be the accessibility to guns and firearms. I think it would be an interesting study to look into the background of the killer on Virginia Tech, in Texas, Columbine, in Colorado, and now in Newtown, Connecticut. I bet if you look into the medical history of each of those gunmen, they were all on Ritalin at one time. We are over-medicated … %%% We need to stop medicating our children. We have become a violent society. Kids are left unattended in front of computer games, in front of violent computer games, (Continued on page 30)

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Page 30

Sims (Continued from page 6) would have left Sims, a Democrat, running head-to-head against a single Republican candidate. Nevertheless, Sims claims she had no master plan. “There was not a plan,” she said. “As much as people may want to give me credit with being all that strategic and whatever, I never sat down and put pen to paper and set a strategy. That never happened.” Sims also claims she did nothing to aid the City Council’s failure to restore a primary for City Council races. The City Council eliminated them several years ago, at the same time that it switched High Point City Council races to even-numbered years in an effort to capitalize on the turnout for national and state elections. What High Point voters want, according to Sims, is experience – although that doesn’t explain why Whitley, who had been on the City Council twice as long as Sims, came in so far behind Williard, who had no council experience, and Sims. It may explain why some of the candidates who made the City Council itself an issue, claiming the council was leading High Point into disaster, didn’t win. “As much as people say experience doesn’t matter, I think people want someone who is at least experienced in some part of government,” she said. “And I think they want people who can articulate what they’re feeling and wanting. If you go to the polls, are you going to vote for someone who only sees doom and gloom? I think in this race, there was some of that, and that didn’t resonate with the voters.” Sims included in that category rhetoric about high property values in High Point and about this year’s property tax increase, which followed a Guilford County property revaluation. “When you start talking about property values in High Point, like we have something to do with that,” she said. “When you talk about us having the highest property tax in the state, you can’t compare us with Greensboro, which has twice the residents we do, or Asheville, which is sort of a retirement community. I don’t think that resonates with voters.” During her campaign, Sims met with many groups, including High Point First, an influential behind-the-scenes group of businesspeople and opinion makers. She said that, during one such meeting, she told a group that High Point, as a city, and its business groups, haven’t done a good job of selling a coherent view of High Point to the world. “You guys are sitting in this room, and you’re saying our job is to help economic development, and in a quiet sort of way make sure we should be working with all those little things that make economic development happen, and meanwhile you guys can’t get together and decide the story to be told,” she said. “Who outside this city’s limits knows? That’s what matters. That’s how you get the buzz that

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Greensboro is alive and popping. Someone is telling the story. We can’t get together and decide on branding ourselves.” High Point faces challenges not only with development, but with redevelopment – one area in which Sims will probably differ from Smothers. Sims has been a stronger supporter of the High Point City Project, a public-private partnership created by the City Council to redevelop old High Point neighborhoods. With D.H. Griffin proposing a 431acre business park north of High Point, competition for funds between supporters of northern development and redevelopment of old High Point neighborhoods is likely to get heated. During the mayoral race, Williard at one debate proposed paying for all the City Project proposed redevelopment in eight old High Point neighborhoods at once – a position from which he rapidly retreated after being attacked by Whitley over what it would cost. Sims supported both the City Project and Griffin’s proposed business park. She said the City Project’s goals can only be achieved by short-term and long-term planning for the eight neighborhoods and by attracting private investment to each in turn. She said Griffin’s business park is also a matter of long-term planning. “The way that I see it is, our council is going to have to sit down and really look at all these proposals that are on the table and then prioritize the things we can and can’t do,” she said. “When we look at the proposed business park out there at I-40, It will be 20 years at least before that has any buzz happening.” The City Council on Nov. 19 voted 7 to 2 to approve the annexation of the 431 acres, effective in May 2013. On the recommendation of Boynton, the City Council did not rezone the land and made the annexation contingent on Griffin getting the property rezoned and a development agreement for it approved by the City Council by March 2013. Sims was asked if Griffin needed a vote on the project before the election of the new City Council, while he knew he had the votes. “I don’t know if he needed it,” she said. “He may have wanted it. It may have been dancing with the devil you know. It may have been a lack of understanding of the project. There are five new members of council. If he came in with this in January, how many councilmembers do you think would have understood this? I don’t think his ask or request was unreasonable, given the size and scope of the proposal. If we were talking about 20 or 30 acres, maybe we could have pushed it off into the next council.” Sims said she sympathizes with farm and homeowners near the proposed business park, but that there is no way to stop the urbanization of Guilford County. “I’ll never forget Arnold Koonce, when I came on council, when we did the Westside Development Plan for Davidson

County,” she said. “Those people were complaining about property being annexed and redevelopment. Arnold Koonce’s response was, ‘If you don’t want to see this development happening, all you have to do is get together, and when the property comes up for sale, buy it, and then you don’t have to worry about it.’ But these developers can offer a whole lot more money.” At the City Council’s reorganization meeting on Thursday, Dec. 6, Sims did away with the City Council’s traditional committee system, leaving all meetings controlled by the mayor’s gavel. She said she did so because of the lack of experience of many first-time councilmembers. She said she may revisit the issue in a year. “I don’t want this council to come off looking like rubes,” she said. “Who, on this council, except Becky and maybe [new Ward 4 Councilmember] Jay [Wagner], could run a planning and zoning meeting? And Becky has told me she doesn’t want to chair anything.” Sims said that, as mayor, she may push for a return to four-year, rather than twoyear, City Council terms. “I believe it is fundamentally unfair for these people to hold two-year terms,” she said. You work

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

a year and you run a year.” Sims said she would not make a priority of reinstating primaries, the lack of which helped her get elected, or to return City Council elections to odd-numbered years. She said that holding them on evennumbered years has driven up turnout. “I’d say we were closer to 50 percent than the 13 percent we traditionally had deciding elections,” she said. “We have people say, ‘National issues dominate the election.’ I don’t think so, because a ton of them voted, and I don’t know if they voted so much on issues as for people. I think the reasons for changing our election cycle and process of the elections worked. Probably even with a primary and a general election, it would work, but I disagree that people are not paying attention to what we’re doing and what is said. I think they’re listening.” Sims’ swearing in, at least, drew hundreds of people, many of whom do not regularly come out for High Point political events. As she was finishing her lunch, a supporter came up, apologized for not making the swearing-in ceremony and asked how she was doing. He asked, “No headaches?” Sims responded, “That’s why they make Advil.”

Beep (Continued from page 29) violence in the movie theaters, violence all around, and accessibility to guns. Interesting. But I would almost bet dollar to donuts that all four of these estranged mental people that broke fire onto innocent lives from kindergarten classes, to movie theaters to college campuses, at one time somewhere, somehow Ritalin or a drug was put into their bodies before the ages of 10 years old so they wouldn’t be a problematic child. I never medicated my children, but I was told to medicate them. It’s a big buzzword once they’re in first grade. Oh, this one needs Ritalin. %%% This is Pam calling in with my yearly message. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night, and God bless us every one. %%% Yes, I want to talk about that tragedy that happened Friday in Connecticut where those kids got killed. I blame the NRA and the Republican Party. Because those two are one of the reasons why stuff keeps going on. All this gun violence and killing really doesn’t make no sense. I mean those guns don’t kill. It’s the people behind the guns. But no matter how many times they can pass all this gun regulation stuff, they will never stop gun violence. Sooner or later, or somehow, someway the bad guy always has a gun. It’s always the crazy ones, and the racist ones that have more guns than the normal people or the sick ones that have more guns. But other than that, the Republican Party and the NRA are the ones

I blame for this tragedy that happened in Connecticut. They are the ones to blame for it. I mean they’re crying for them kids, but nobody cries for the kid that gets killed in the hood every day by gun violence from drug dealers and thugs. Why ain’t nobody crying about that all the time? But other than that I think the Republicans and the NRA. Peace. %%% Guns don’t kill people. It’s people killing people. The gun has no mind of its own until you put the person behind it. How do we stop these mental deviants from going around shooting people? Mental illness is such a big health issue nowadays, and most of these people don’t have insurance, or they don’t want to take medicine for their problem. So, what do we do? You know, do we start banning knives because people can kill with knives, and frying pans, and baseball bats? Do we ban that? Insurance is such a big factor in all of this, and the money. Thank you. Have a nice day. %%% Yes, I would like to know how much longer Bev. Perdue is got in office. I will be so glad when she gets out of there. She has done more damage than anybody I know of. People that retired from the state school system worked for their insurance. She turns around and makes them pay for their insurance now. So, don’t ever say anything about the Republicans taxing people. I think the Democrats are the greedy ones, and we’re not supposed to have to pay for (Continued on next page)


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sour note (Continued from page 1) even if successful, that leaves a $20 million hole in the financing. Greensboro Councilmember Nancy Vaughan, who sits on the Financing Options Committee, said, “I don’t want to say we’re back at the drawing board.” However, she said, some funding sources were being reconsidered or are off the table completely. In November the committee was considering using the general fund to service $20 million of the debt for the GPAC. It was proposed that debt service for the other $20 million would come from user fees and a portion of the hotelmotel tax revenue and revenue from video sweepstakes. Vaughan said that funding anything beyond the $20 million is way up in the air at this point. However, she said additional contributions from the city have not been ruled out. Vaughan did say the city was trying to piece together money to pay for $20 million but one of those potential sources, the tax on video sweepstakes, was taken off the table when the ban on video sweepstakes was upheld by the North Carolina Supreme Court. The finance committee had considered using money from the Economic Development Fund, but both Vaughan and Councilmember Zack Matheny, who also sits on the committee, vigorously opposed the use of those funds for the center. The committee was scheduled to present a financial plan to the full City Council at its Tuesday, Dec. 18 meeting, but has put it off until the Jan. 15 meeting while they study their options. “I believe Zack and I encouraged them not to do that because we didn’t have any answers,” Vaughan said. “I didn’t think the meeting on the 18th would go well.” Vaughan said she thought the GPAC could be a good thing for the city, but said, “Our first commitment is to the City of Greensboro and its financial health.” Raising the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) tax from 8 cents to 9 cents is another option being talked about, according to Vaughan. Vaughan said that while the city has said from the beginning that the GPAC can be funded without raising taxes, it isn’t very realistic. “You can really never promise that you aren’t going to raise taxes,” she said. Vaughan also said she had concerns about the accuracy of the proposed budget for the project. She said that Coliseum Director Matt Brown had said that the GPAC as currently proposed would cost in the mid to upper $60 million range, rather than $60 million, although the task force consultants from AMS Planning & Research disagreed. Matheny said the city is now reviewing if they have enough money in user fees and the hotel-motel tax to service $20 million in debt.

He said the remaining $20 million of the $60 million budget may be up to the state government, federal government and additional private donors. Matheny also said that the design would likely have to be revamped to bring it back into the $60 million range.

Beep (Continued from previous page) that insurance. That’s what we worked for all them years. That’s the good we got from the State of North Carolina. Nothing. %%% Yes, the government continues to say there’s no inflation. Though I bought a carton of eggs, dozen eggs at the beginning of the year for $1.34. Just paid $1.88 at Wal-Mart, same place, different price. That’s a 40 percent increase. That’s a 40 percent inflation on eggs at Wal-Mart, but the government says there is no inflation. I don’t know how folks keep up with all these high prices. %%% John, you missed a good story last week. They had Mayor Perkins domestic hearing in district civil court. There was a lot of interesting testimony. I really am sorry you missed it. Maybe you can check out the judge’s ruling later. Thank you. %%% Does the Texas Longhorns basketball program now have illegal classes where nobody teaches, nobody attends classes, and they get free A’s? Odd. They stomped Chapel Hill where that’s rampant. %%% Yo, this thing in Connecticut was really bad, and it’s terrible to think about it happening to your own child. But I wonder if people would think about all these drunk drivers that have killed people over the years, how many people they have killed. If they would get up in arms as much about that as they have about the guns, and the guns don’t kill. Like they say, it’s the person with the gun that’s got a loose screw. But they should think about other things besides the gun. It’s not just the guns. They’ve been using clubs and knives ever since the world began. So, people should think about different things and not just try to blame it on the guns. Because like I say the guns aren’t the problem, it’s the people that have them in their hands. Some of them are unstable. Thank you. %%% Yes, this is for John Hammer. I would like to know why he has not published none of my call-ins or letters in the last two or three months. I have written or called to the Beep four times, and I’ve wrote one four-page letter, and neither one of them have appeared in his paper. And he talks about free press, free press. What kind of (Continued on next page)

Page 31

CHILDRENS

Schedule CHECK US OUT ON THE OPEN HOUSE PAGE

Greensboro Natural Science Center 4301 Lawndale Drive

New Holiday Shows

Laser Holidays will have visitors of all ages singing along to a mix of classic and modern holiday tunes as a dazzling laser show dances across the 40 foot dome, daily at noon. The Light Before Christmas 3D teaches two children the meaning of Christmas, daily at 2 p.m. Admission is $3 in addition to general admission. For information, visit www.natsci.org.

Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato

Now through Dec. 30: They were miners, fathers, mothers, soldiers, farmers and children. They are revered by their descendents and have been visited by millions. This collection of rare, shocking and completely accidental mummies combines science, art, history and cultural anthropology to immerse the visitor in a world of a Mexican city over 100 years ago where deceased residents were naturally mummified in their crypts. For information, call (336) 288-3769 or visit www.natsci.org.

Keeper Talks

Daily at 11:30 a.m., 2 and 3:30 p.m., Keeper Talks are wonderful way to learn more about Animal Discovery residents from the experts. Keeper Talk schedules are posted daily at the entrance to Animal Discovery, which is subject to change during inclement weather or issues with animal health or safety. Talks are free with general admission.

Greensboro Children’s Museum 220 North Church St.

Ring in the New Year with Big Bang Boom It’s almost New years and the Children’s Museum is celebrating early. Join them for a fun family festival from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28 for music, arts and crafts, snacks and entertainment, all free with admission. There will be a festive parade and New Year’s hats and noisemakers. Big Bang Boom will close the day with a rocking performance at 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.gcmuseum.com or call 574-2898.

$4 Fun Friday Nights Every Friday night, admission is just $4 from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.gcmuseum.com or call 574-2898.

Children Are Our Future This schedule brought to you by your friends & neighbors at (336) 282-4414


Page 32

Letters (Continued from page 23) the Bulge. The two of them are still the best of friends. Thirty years have come and gone, and many have sat in the “coffee shop” with us. Therefore, I am asking you to please print our Christmas greeting so that we may reach as many friends and family as possible. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all our friends at The Rhino Times. There is a big round table at the Micky Dee. There is no one left but you and me. A tradition that started a long time ago, from Krispy Kreme to Dunkin Donuts we did go. Strangers at first, and then through the years, close friends who have learned to share their tears. In the corner of Battleground and Cone we have settled down, the coffee at McDonald’s is now our “preferred ground.”

Beep (Continued from page 31) free press is that? Surely, he could have print one of them. If a little slander or lies or anything like that in them, I’m just telling my opinion on what was going on. And I wrote a letter on Nov. 27 telling him that the Tea Party and the moderate Republicans … %%% Yes, continuing. I just remarked how the Tea Party and the moderate Republicans is at each other’s throat. I didn’t think there would be another Republican president in the next 50 years. Hillary Clinton would be there in 2020 or 2024. If the Tea Party hasn’t gone away by then, there will never be another Republican Party. And I wish he would print – find that letter and print it for me. I had a lot of information in there. %%% Yes, I was just noticing today the number of cars that were not using their headlights in the rain. People, it’s a North Carolina law. So, why don’t the police and all enforce this law? Oh, yeah, it’s raining. %%% Please consider a public records request asking for a copy of the Guilford County Department of Human Resources study which led to most department directors and other employees receiving annual raises of $2,000 to $14,000 while most county employees received only a $250 one-time bonus for lack of a better word. Maybe county employees should consider joining a union for better representation. %%% Editor’s Note: We’ve made that request.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Through the years there were many a friend who sat at that table. Today many are gone and some are not able. There’s one thing we know, and we know for sure, when we reach that “big coffee cup in the sky,” the fellowship we have shared will never die. Alexander Kohanowich and coffee shop buddies

b. Electrical signals only c. Both b and c d. Turn head towards direction going Answer: b. Join the 21st century, hand signals are obsolete except for bicycles.

One man’s driving test

9. Best vehicle occupancy a. Yourself b.Yourself plus one other taciturn person c. Several going wherever d. You and your pet. Answer, b. c is bad, an unruly pet is worse.

Dear Editor, A satirical 55-plus driving test. 1. Suggested speed, normally: a. Five miles under the posted limit b. Posted speed c. Five miles an hour over d. Ten miles an hour over Answer: c. Everyone does it, and is expected to do so. Try 40 mph on Wendover. You won’t go far wrong; nothing immoral here. 2. Traffic lights, approaching: a. Brake fully when it turns yaller b. Foot off pedal, prepare to stop c. As above, but consider going through if closely tailgated d. Floor it! Answer: b and c. You’ll seldom get a ticket at a traffic light, better to avoid a accident. 3. Signals, when to use: a. Never, what business is it of yorn which way I’m a going b. Why bother? c. Only when someone is behind me d. Always, get into the habit Answer: d. I like my Katz to know where I’m bound. 4. Braking, how much: a. As little as necessary b. Through a sharp curve c. Approaching another vehicle or an intersection d. Hard if necessary Answer: a and d. Braking through a curve is dangerous. 5. Acceleration a. Minimal b. Moderate c. Considerable d. Severe Answer: b and c. Get her moving, with minimum fuel loss. Sometimes you need to go fast to blend in on high speed roadways. 6. Speed traps and work zones, how to circumvent a. Go down to posted limit b. Go down to posted limit if workers present c. Don’t pass a cop (any law enforcement vehicle) d. Same roadway, what’s the difference? Answer: a and c. A chicken way for the Gestapo to make money 7. Signalling, how to: a. Arm signals only

8. Steering: a. Hands on wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock b. Hands on wheel and 10 and 4 o’clock c. Just use one hand, you’ve got power steering d. Use your knees, see 11a Answer: b. Recommended by c and d

10. Driving in rain, snow and/or ice at night a. Do it all, the trip must go through b. Any two of the above c. Any one of the above d. None of the above

Mishaps (Continued from page 26) One of the biggest advances for the county is that, in 2012, the county finally opened its giant 1,032-bed jail in downtown Greensboro. The jail, which cost nearly $100 million fully furnished, was the largest single construction project in Guilford County history and it went off without a hitch. Well, almost without a hitch: Guilford County may be the only county in the world that could put a giant labor-intensive building in the middle of a downtown area already strapped for parking without planning any parking for the new facility. The funny thing about the situation is that Guilford County owned the giant parking lot behind the YMCA that was right across the street from the new jail. Many said that lot would be an excellent parking lot for the jail and also a perfect site for a large parking deck to serve the jail and other facilities in the area. However, in one of the most bizarre decisions of the year, the Board of Commissioners voted to sell that lot to the YMCA for $2 million rather than keep the prime property for much needed jail parking. Still, Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes is delighted to finally have his new jail that he fought for for years, even if his employees have nowhere to park. On Thursday, June 7, the 2012-2013 county budget was adopted by a unanimous vote for the first time since anyone in county government can remember, and the second surprise was that the budget contained a tax decrease – the first time a Guilford County budget has brought taxes

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Answer d. Don’t be a hero. Why all the four-wheel drive vehicles in the piedmont? So you won’t have to be stuck at home with the ol’ lady. 11. On eating, drinking, texting, etc.: a. Do it all b. Eating and drinking c. Caffeine and perhaps nicotine d. None of the above Answer: c. Any stimulan (besides alcohol) will help to enliven your senses to condition yellow. Hey, I don’t drink and drive. I drink and then drive. 12. If ticketed: a. Pay costs and fine b. Plead nolo contendere c. Ask for prayer for judgement d. Not guilty Answer d. I once asked for a prayer for judgement. The judge said he’d do al lthe praying in his court. John Taylor-Hall Editor’s Note: The Muse said you forgot one. She has noticed the disturbing trend of people driving down the center turn lane in order to merge into traffic.

down in 14 years. That is a little deceptive, however, because the commissioners were helped by a countywide revaluation of property – which happens every eight years – a revaluation that left many questions in its wake. Some citizens are now paying a lower rate but paying more in taxes due to a higher assessed value on their property. The 2012-2013 county budget, which was thrown together quickly in the days leading up to the June 7 commissioners meeting where it was adopted, lowered the county’s property tax rate to 78.04 cents per $100 of property value from the previous rate of 78.24 cents. Looking forward, the good news is that, despite the supposedly unlucky number 13 in the year 2013, next year should be a much better year for Guilford County government than recent years – largely because the county will have a new manager. The commissioners now seem interested in finding a new county manager who is very different from Fox. Many commissioners have expressed a desire to find an open manager who works well with others and can hopefully repair the damage Fox and her administration has done in recent years. Given the last several years of county government, there’s really only one direction to go. It’s hard to imagine that the new board could select a worse manager, and some new commissioners have expressed a desire to provide actual oversight in 2013, rather than to continue the board’s tradition of turning a blind eye to wrongdoing and failing to honor the duties they swore to uphold.


N.C. Dietetics Board Goes After Michelle Obama (a CJ Parody)

Board ups aggression Trees since court ruling dismissing lawsuit

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, December 27, 2012

(Continued from previous page)

according to a letter from the city attorney, being cut, Duke Energy people who see the his understanding was that Duke was not man problem as making sure door hangers allowed to maintain its lines or replace get on the proper doors and Romie. It’s streetlights. hard to believe this group is going to come But he said Duke was anxious to get up with anything that will mollify the back to “vegetation management” because people who came home from work to find every day they didn’t work on the system their neighborhoods clear cut. “would eventually have an impact.” The meeting started with a statement by Corbett indicated that Duke Energy Perkins, where he said that he and Johnson wanted to get back to work. He said the started out on the council in 1993 and that reason they didn’t stop cutting when asked of all the situations he had dealt with, “I to by the city was because they didn’t don’t recall one where people got so mad. want to lay off tree crews right before I mean as angry as this one that we have Christmas. Later he said Duke Energy had here.” He said, “This has turned from an plenty of work to keep the crews busy in issue into a cause. We’ve got people all the area, but not in Greensboro, until the over Greensboro and they are all saying the State Dietetics Boardon nutrition officers triedHe to serve City Council meeting Jan. 15.enforcementsame thing.” added,cease-and-desist “From a council papers to Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, but He also said they would like to respond perspective we have to react to that.” were unable to get past Secret Service agents in the Time Warner Cable Arena. (CJ to callsby forDon assistance from customers. Here Perkins was politely corrected by photo Carrington) The result of the meeting is that Duke Johnson who said, “We don’t have to, we CJ. “But ment became national story whenwill CJ choose Energy and thea City of Greensboro to.”Mrs. Obama reaches a naaudience. Shehad hasn’t reported on the court with Steve set up a committee with battle members from the tionwide Perkins said that Duke stirredtaken up a a single continuing Cooksey, thefrom Charlotte-area city staff and Duke Energy blogger, to come big old hornets nest andeducation he expectedcredit it to program on Greensboro. organic farming, and who sued board to onthe First up with ideasthe to present CityAmendCouncil spread beyond on Jan.grounds, 15, and until thenitthe moratorium Corbett said, “It’s she won’t keepnot herworking mouth right shut ment saying censored his still on cuttingwhen will remain in place. said they were sorry that about He mealworms and also compost. All website it urged him to remove now.” said she from thought hadtalk ignited so quickly, but blamed about whole grains and most root anJohnson advice column thetwo site.or three itthis peopleBy from the neighborhoods that lady, were of the problem on communication. He vegetables is getting downright dansingling out the first devastated should be on the committee. said that people demanded reliable electric however, the board has ratcheted its gerous. We’re afraid Sasha and Malia Perkins suggested Randal Romie, who is a service and todaughters] provide reliable electric [the Obamas’ might get the normally aggressive efforts at policing landscape architect, and Johnson agreed to service Duke had to trim trees. He said,a frightening notion that they can pack foodie talk to a whole new level. accept“We him. So the committee a balancing act for usfirst and consulting in this case healthy lunch without normally don’twill paybe made close “It’s up of people from the city who agreed with we got out of balance.” attention to people who live outside a licensed nutritionist. It’s scary, I tell this tree Carolina,” trimming program in the beginning Corbett said, “I don’t want to make North Nan E. Staight, the you.” and, according to Duke approved the trees any excuses but we felt like we were

he did want to check that out. Since the trees were in the street right-of-way, Duke Energy didn’t need permission from the By Lief e. Green property owner. Nutrition Correspondent But he said that in every case where trees RALEIGH were cut on private property, Duke he North Carolina Board of had Dinotifiedetetics/Nutrition the property ownerhas and decided received permission. ThatLady certainly isn’t Obama’s the story that First Michelle that is being told by people who say they advocacy of healthy eating amounts to came home to find the trees in their yard practicing nutrition without a license, “trimmed” by Duke crews,Carolina. which means which is illegal in North cut to Buoyed the ground. by a recent court decision The meeting was chaired by Mayor to dismiss a suit brought against the Robbie Perkins. Also representing the board by a diet blogger who likewise council were Councilmembers Vaughan, had been targeted by the state board, Yvonne Johnson and Marikay Abuzuaiter. officials say they will become even City Manager Denise Turner Roth and more aggressive towardandanyone who Director of Engineering Inspections gives unlicensed diet advice. Butch Simmons represented city staff. Board Director Burill told The urban forester whoCharla reportedly signed Carolina Journal the clear first lady has Mike been off on all of this cutting, sent a cease-and-desist letter because Cusimano, was not at the meeting and was she at gave advice on one of her not the nutrition City Council meeting Tuesday, many18recent campaign trips totodemand North Dec. when the council voted aCarolina. moratorium on tree cutting by Duke. years,that thetreenuIf itOver werethe notpast for five Vaughan, cutting moratorium could have nearly fallen by trition board has investigated 50 the wayside. After meeting for 40 minutes individuals or organizations — includPerkins was ready to go and tried get ing personal trainers, nurses, andtoeven things wrapped up. However, Vaughan Duke Integrated Medicine, a wellness asked understanding centerwhat — Duke that Energy’s have offered advice of the moratorium was. about what people shouldDuke eat. Energy SeniorThe Viceboard’s Presidentaggressive Jeff Corbett enforcesaid that

T

board’s director of enforcement, told

Staight said Obama’s “Let’s

Page 33 Move!” initiative was particularly troubling. The project’s website has an entire section about food and nutrition titled “Eat Healthy!” “The pagebutopens with this sencommunicating, we weren’t.” tence: ‘Parents play a Johnson thankedand himcaregivers for his apology. key roleasked in not Roth foronly moremaking notice healthy of tree choices for children andsome teaching chiltrimming and said that agreement dren to to make healthy choices for themneeded be reached on the debris left selves,’when Staight said. offers a set of behind Duke trims“It trees. dietary guidelines. It’sabout completely irThere was a lot of talk replanting. responsible and outrageous a layThe right species in the right for places is evidently goal. person tothe say that, and it violates our Perkins said that much of the present regulations.” problem caused by the fact the Thewas board attempted to that deliver trees that are letter being to cutthe down olddurand its warning firstare lady people don’t understand, if they didn’t ing September’s Democratic National need to be cutindown in the past years, Convention Charlotte, but20Staight why has to cut themher to enthe said suddenly the SecretDuke Service rebuffed ground. forcement attempts. Corbett “We to come Sincesaid, then, shedon’t said,want Obama has back every year. It is exceptionally been careful to schedule campaign visexpensive.” its to North Carolina on short notice so Abuzuaiter asked thepep trees she could land, give awhy quick talk on to Lawndale Drive had been trimmed but not supporters, and then leave the state becut foredown. nutrition officers could get to her. Corbett said admits if they could leave a tree Staight the board’s enthey did. forcement efforts grew more difficult that Obama’s whether acamtree inVaughan October suggested as President should come down or not should be the paign saw North Carolina voters warm property owners’ decision. to Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Adams said, “Our processfor should be that “When Obama America it is the homeowner decision. All of the wrote off North Carolina, it became trees that we remove should have property obvious that the first lady wasn’t goowner ing toapproval.” return,” Staight told CJ in late Vaughan“We’re said people came because home from October. worried, if work and found their trees on the ground. Obama loses the election, they’re movAdams said that they gotten ing to Hawaii, and should there’shave no way wea (Continued on page 34) CJ can get her.”

E.A. MORRIS

FELLOWSHIP FOR EMERGING LEADERS The E.A. Morris Fellowship is seeking principled, energetic applicants for the 2013 Fellowship class. Applications available online or at the John Locke Foundation. Application deadline is November 30, 2012. Please visit the E.A. Morris Fellowship Web site (www.EAMorrisFellows.org) for more information, including eligibility, program overview and application materials.

Eligibility

• Must be between the ages of 25 and 40, must be a resident of North Carolina and a U.S. citizen • Must be willing to complete a special project requiring leadership and innovative thinking on a local level • Must be willing to attend all program events associated with the fellowship • Must not be the spouse of a current or past Fellow.

Timeline

September 15, 2012: Application period opens November 30, 2012: Applications due January 3, 2013: Finalist notifiction & invitations to Selection Weekend February 2-3, 2013: Hello/Goodbye Gala & Selections Weekend

March 15-17, 2013: Retreat 1 — Pinhurst, NC June 14-16, 2013: Retreat 2 — Blowing Rock, NC October 18-20, 2013: Retreat 3 — Coastal NC February 1, 2014: 2013-14 Fellowship ends/Hello Goodbye Gala

www.EAMorrisFellows.org Contact Karen Palasek | kpalasek@johnlocke.org 200 W. Morgan St., Ste 200 Raleigh, NC 27601 | 919-828-3876 | 1-866-553-4636


Page 34

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rumors (Continued from page 1) 21 years. I often get asked by people what they can do to support the paper because, since it’s free, readers aren’t asked to provide any financial support. What I tell them is to support our advertisers. Anytime you can spend money with one of our advertisers you are helping us. It is even a bigger help if you mention you saw their ad in The Rhino. Thanks and Happy New Year. ---

We count down the issues left in the year every Wednesday when we do a final check before sending the front page to the printer. So the first week, it’s – one down and only 51 to go. It’s amazing how quickly it becomes – 45 down and seven to go. But this year, every week we have said – one down and 51 to go, but, since the world is going to end on Dec. 21, it’s really only 50 to go. Well, by our reckoning we have already sent the last paper to print, number 51, and now we are on overtime. So we are charging time and a half for this paper.

Trees (Continued from page 33) door hanger. When asked about trees in the city rightof-way, Roth said that the city did not go out and look at the trees before they were cut because “It is ultimately Duke Energy’s decision.” Although the meeting was open to the press it was not open to the public, so it caused some confusion when Robin Amelkin spoke about what happened to her neighborhood, Oak Ridge Meadows, in 2011. Evidently Amelkin had walked in, been directed to the meeting and sat at the table with everyone else. The city people thought she was with Duke and

the Duke people didn’t know who she was. Amelkin had the same complaint as other homeowners – Duke Energy came on her and her neighbors’ property and “it was really devastating.” She also said that although there were a couple of door hangers in the neighborhood, most people had not been notified and the management company was not notified. Corbett said Duke Energy would share with the city its complete plan for vegetation management in 2013 in the City of Greensboro. If nothing else comes out of this meeting at least we’ll know where they plan to attack next.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

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Last year we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a special edition. This year, more in keeping with our usual practice, we forgot our 21st anniversary until it was long past. However, it does seem worth noting that a newspaper born in a bar is now old enough to legally buy a drink.

Congratulations to the Proximity Hotel, which in was named as one of the top 500 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. The Proximity is one of only eight hotels in North Carolina to be included on this list. The press release lists all kinds of reasons why the Proximity won, but we think it is because they found out the owner walks to work every day. Way to go, Dennis.

--Congratulations to Art Pope, who will be appointed deputy budget director by Gov.elect Pat McCrory. Pope is a former state legislator who reportedly understands state budgets as well as anyone in Raleigh.

Under

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(Continued from next page)

Here in the South, where there are lots of guns, you might expect someone at the News & Record to know an automatic weapon from a revolver, but evidently they don’t. It appears they know guns are bad and that is all they need to know. Editorial writer Doug Clark wrote an editorial last week about banning “assault rifles.” He’s a little behind the times. Assault rifles are fully automatic and have been effectively banned in this country since 1934. What he might mean is an assault weapon, which is a term the Clinton administration invented for a gun that looks like an assault rifle. Words do have meaning.

gun control, which was the topic of the day assigned by the White House, and he got reamed by The New York Times. Perhaps The New York Times would like reporters to go one step further and only ask questions written by the White House press office and pre-approved, then the president would not be required to actually think during a press conference, but could hand out pre-written answers. In fact he wouldn’t have to attend the press conference at all. The New York Times is now taking the White House position against the rest of the liberal media for not being loyal enough to the president. It boggles the mind.


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

I’m not going to go back and take a long look at 2012 because I find it too depressing. I am still trying to deal with the fact that the majority of my fellow Americans who went to the polls and voted on Nov. 6 thought that President Barack Hussein Obama was doing such a good job he deserved another four years in the White House. I said it before the election and still feel the same way today – our country survived four years of Obama but I’m not sure we will survive eight years without sustaining serious damage. It is a huge and enormously resilient country that can take a lot of damage, but there is a limit. The government can’t provide everything for everybody, which seems to be the goal of this administration. It particularly can’t provide everything for everyone if it has to borrow a third of the money to do it. The policies are making it more and more difficult for small businesses, the backbone of this nation, to continue to operate. I’m not looking forward to the next four years and don’t think that the country will be better in four years than it is today, although if the economy isn’t better in four years, I don’t know how any small businesses will survive. The Republicans, who deserve the moniker the Stupid Party now more than ever, did manage to hold on to a majority in the House. With one house of Congress, the Republicans can block any major lifechanging legislation like Obamacare, although it’s too late for that. Obamacare has already passed and it’s also passed its biggest constitutional challenge. Obamacare still has a huge challenge from the Catholic Church, and I guess we’ll find out just what kind of Catholic Chief Justice John Roberts is. We may find that Roberts doesn’t believe in freedom of religion either. If the Republicans were not the Stupid Party, they would also control the Senate. But they managed to put up some candidates for the Senate who were so dumb or out of touch that it was extremely difficult for rational people of any political persuasion to support them and they managed to lose ground in the Senate. Mitt Romney’s campaign advisors would have looked brilliant if he had won. Now you have to question their decision not to go after Obama on Benghazi and to continue to talk about some fiscal plan that was only described with broad hand gestures. It appears that the Romney campaign never made up with the far right – the base of the Republican Party – and spent so much time courting independents that they deserted the one that brought them to the dance. The Republican Party is in desperate need of leadership. And it needs a leader who recognizes that he is going to be going up against Obama for the next four years,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

and that on every single issue the media are going to take the side of the president. Long term the Republicans have to figure out how to get some representation in the media other than Fox News.

,,, I am not an economist and I don’t play one on TV, but I do pay bills, make a payroll every two weeks and know some basic economic principles. Obama is always talking about increasing taxes on the rich by taking away special tax breaks for the rich. His entire economic policy seems geared, not toward taking action that would improve the economy, create jobs or lower the deficit, but simply toward punishing the rich, whomever they are. The philosophy is wrong. The rich should be rewarded for making more money because if the rich don’t have money to invest then we are all left to depend on the government for everything. If you think about it, that is exactly what Obama wants. If rich people can’t invest in businesses then the only entity left to invest is the government, which means the government controls everything. Then there is the reality problem. Obama seems to think that everyone is an hourly employee and if the government wants more of their money, the government just raises the tax rates and takes the money out of their paychecks. But it doesn’t work like that. A great example of why it doesn’t work the way Obama says that it does are tax-free municipal bonds. Cities like Greensboro borrow money by selling bonds. When a city goes to the bond market it gets to borrow money at a lower interest rate because rich people can buy municipal bonds and they don’t have to pay income tax on the interest income. It provides a reliable tax-free income stream for the rich and inexpensive money for towns and cities. According to Obama that isn’t fair. The rich are not paying their fair share and they need to pay more, so he is proposing to take away that tax break, which only applies to the rich because nobody else can afford to buy municipal bonds. Great, if Obama has his way the government will start taxing municipal bond interest and sticking it to the rich. Except the folks who will end up paying the price, making up the difference, are not the rich. They won’t lose a dime. It will be you and me and every other property and car owner in towns and cities that sell bonds. We will see our property taxes go up because the cost of bonds will go up. If the bonds are not tax free then rich people are not going to buy them at the same price. And they are rich. They don’t have to buy our bonds. They can invest in pork bellies, river barges, oil wells, solar powered speedboats, flying cars or

Page 35

anything else. There is never a shortage of investments out there. Without the taxfree status, the interest rate that cities and towns will have to pay on their bonds will increase and either the cities and towns will raise taxes or expenses will be cut somewhere else. But the average taxpayer will foot the bill, not the rich. The rich will still buy bonds, but demand a higher interest rate to cover their taxes. So Obama can go out in front of a union audience and make a great speech about how he has closed a tax loophole for the rich and not a single reporter will ask him if he plugged that hole with money from the middle class. But that is how he will have done it. Obama may not know that. He may believe that when he taxes the rich, they pay. No doubt his friend Warren Buffett will call him up and say, “Good job, Barry. You really stuck it to us.” But Buffett will know he isn’t paying a dime more in taxes than he wants to pay. The economists who advise Obama have been quoted as saying that he has no idea how the economy works and doesn’t understand basic economic principles that those who run businesses, no matter how small, have to learn. Obama has no background or experience in economics. Going to Harvard Law School doesn’t make you an economist. He has virtually no experience in the private sector other than doing some work for a private law firm. But none of that matters because, as he frequently tells anyone who questions him, he is the president of the United States.

,,, A lot of folks who are not gun control nuts are talking about the need for gun control following the horrific killings at Sandy Hook. If you fall into that camp, please don’t fall into the “ban assault weapons” camp. The term assault weapon was invented by the Clinton administration for a ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004. Go ahead and look it up and see if there was a great drop-off in people being shot during that time. Or you can believe me when I say I can’t find one. Also, during the ban on assault weapons, to make us all safer was the Columbine shooting. The ban on assault weapons was a typical Clinton action that had much more to do with form than function. The Clinton administration got to define assault weapon, since it is not a real term. They defined an assault weapon as a weapon that had characteristics that made it look like a military assault rifle. So an assault weapon is defined by how it looks not what it does. If a semi-automatic rifle had a detachable magazine and any two of the following characteristics it was banned – a folding or telescopic stock, a flash suppressor

By John Hammer or barrel that can accommodate a flash suppressor, a pistol grip, bayonet mount or grenade launcher. During that ban a fellow newspaper publisher showed me a gun he had recently bought and pointed to a threaded hole in the side of the gun and said, “If I put a bolt in that hole, possessing this gun is a felony.” During the ban on assault weapons, I think a bolt would have been considered a bayonet mount or one of the other illegal features. It had nothing to do with how the gun operated, but simply how it looked. Assault weapons are very popular with hunters and gun enthusiasts because they are light, accurate and dependable.

,,, It is hard to believe that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton can have one of her ambassadors murdered by terrorists while he is supposed to be in a safe house in a secure American compound and not have to testify about it because she doesn’t feel well. It is absurd that she can simply send a note to the committee that says, “Hillary can’t attend the hearing today because she has a bad cold and she bumped her head.” For those who still have jobs, could you get out of work because of a bump on the head days ago? Benghazi was a disaster where the actions of the State Department cost four American citizens their lives. It appears that relatively low-level State Department employees are going to take the blame, but at the very least Hillary Clinton needs to answer questions about what happened. Why weren’t the guards armed? That’s a question that needs to be answered. Why wasn’t help sent to the compound during the seven hours it was under siege? Maybe she could start with those. All the media wants to write about is how many countries Hillary Clinton has visited while secretary of state. Who cares? So she likes to travel. It’s not how many countries she has visited that is important, but what she has done. What has she done as secretary of state? Is the Middle East closer to or further away from some kind of lasting peace? What exactly has she accomplished? A list of her accomplishments might convince some doubters that she has done a stellar job.

,,, You can’t get any more toady than The New York Times. Last week The New York Times criticized the Associated Press and other White House reporters for not sticking to the White House script during a rare press conference held by President Obama. Ben Feller of the Associated Press, who used to work for the News & Record, asked a question about the fiscal cliff, not about (Continued on previous page)


Page 36

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Rhino12-27-12  

Greensboro Trees Live to See Another Day, Music hall funds hitting sour note, Looking back at year of mishaps

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