Friday, July 29, 2016

Black Lives Matter - Even Children In Flint Michigan

I have been appalled at the White Nationalists like Rudy Giuliani who think the "Black Lives Matter" movement is aimed only at police.

Today's report of special investigators into the poisoning of Flint, Michigan's water system should disabuse people of that notion. Six more public officials with responsibility for water quality in Flint have been charged with felonies in connection with the poisoned water.

When asked why the officials acted as they did, the prosecutor answered that, to those officials, the people of Flint didn't matter.

The majority of the population in Flint is black.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Election And Related Stuff

This has been a busy month. Things have happened too fast to keep up.

I have been following the two party conventions. I have a good idea what is going on. Not least because national security policy, international relations, military affairs, public policy and related matters has been my profession all my adult life.

I know a lot about government, though I have never held high office.

My role has been like that described by C.S. Lewis in his poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

“No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.” 

Even so, I know a lot and will be sharing my thoughts as  time goes by.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tories Lie - Public Suffers

A week ago, voters in the United Kingdom voted by referendum to leave the European Union (EU).

Results so far: the pound went into free fall against the dollar, though it has recovered slightly; both the governing conservative party and the labour party are in turmoil; prominent supporters of the decision to leave the EU have admitted they lied about the benefits; gasoline prices are up; real estate prices are down; the whole political system is in what Brits refer to as a "shambles."

Advocates of leaving the EU didn't say "Make the UK Great Again" but they might as well have. Still, at this point it seems likely the outcome will be to diminish the size, economic power and influence of the United Kingdom. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland may very well leave the UK so they can remain in the EU.

Some of the "leave" advocates hoped to negotiate special arrangements allowing the UK full access for their goods and services to the internal EU market, with the right to exclude movement of EU citizens into the UK. This seems unlikely. EU officials have made it clear they will not allow "cherry picking."

Two groups of UK citizens are particularly dismayed at the vote: young British citizens, who had been able to explore job opportunities an all 28 EU member countries but now can only search for employment within the UK; older UK citizens who had been living abroad for many years, and whose living arrangements are now in great turmoil.

Immigration was an issue, but not for the reason Americans might think. It had nothing to do with refugees from the Middle East - it was resistance to immigration from new EU member countries like Poland. The reason many older Brits objected is they had been told by the government that EU immigration had forced the government to reduce funding to the universally revered National Health Service. That explanation was a lie.

Anti-immigrant sentiment might also stem from a modern version of the old assertion that "Wogs (a derogatory term for racial and ethnic groups seen as inferior) begin at the Channel." But there seems to be no polling data to support this. There is data supporting concern about the NHS.

This may not be the end of forces pulling the EU apart, I have thought for some years now that the common European currency (the Euro) has been a bad idea poorly executed. I don't see how the zone can survive, but it seems hard to give up, even on ideas that don't work.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Free State Of Jones

Sunday Liz and I and some neighbors went to see the movie: The Free State of Jones.

Don't miss it.

It is a very well researched and well produced movie about events during the Civil War in Jones County, Ms. involving Newt Knight, his paramour, an escaped slave named Rachel, and their neighbors and families. The story seems fantastic in many ways, but is mostly true.

It ties Civil War events together with Reconstruction and with a 1946 trial of a descendant of Newt and Rachel, who was charged with violating Mississippi's anti-miscegenation laws by marrying a white woman.

The film has obvious connections with current events in Ferguson, Mo., Charleston, etc.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow objects to the film. I think he misses the point. He actually misses several points.

So I want to offer some thoughts that differ from Blow's analysis (

1. The film depicts the origin of the observation that the Civil War was a "Rich Man's War and a Poor Man's Fight;
2.  The film shows people, both white and black standing up against the power structure of the day, but imperfectly;
3.  There are no heroes, just people who did what they had to do;
4.  The Civil War was a lot more complicated than Gone With The Wind

I'll say no more for now.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Axel Oxenstierna (Sweden) 1634 On Wisdom

"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?" Letter to his son, 1634.

The Brexit vote last night verified Oxenstiern's observation. More succinctly: The world is governed by fools.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Next To Last Doolittle Raider Passes - Only One Left

David Thatcher, an Army Air Force gunner decorated for helping save the lives of four seriously wounded fellow crewmen in the Doolittle Raid on Japan of April 18, 1942, America’s first strike against the Japanese homeland in World War II, died Wednesday in Missoula, Mont. He was 94 and the next-to-last survivor among the mission’s 80 airmen.

While it was not a large action, it was the most imaginative and perhaps the most consequential early action in the war. Among the consequences was that Japan removed a large carrier task force from the Indian Ocean to their home waters and goaded them into the disastrous (for them) attack on Midway.

Here  is a link to the NYTimes article about Thatcher.

If you have not seen the movie, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, I strongly recommend it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Good Advice Out of Vermont

Watching Bernie Sanders wrestle with the challenge of acknowledging the end of the Democratic nomination contest, I am reminded of Senator George Aiken (R-Vermont) advice to President Johnson: "Declare victory and bring the troops home."

It was good advice at the time, and would be good advice now.

Let's hear it for Vermont.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Mohammad Ali: The Greatest; 1942 - 2016

It was sad to learn of Muhammad Ali's passing.

He was a truly great American. Not just because he was a great heavyweight boxing champion, but because he was a strong man of principle.

We watched the History Channel remake of "Roots" last week. It wasn't about Muhammad Ali, but it put Ali's life and that of all descendants of slaves in the historical context of slavery in America. This is an American saga. I can't say it is enjoyable, but we all need to watch it.

So often our children only learn about this saga during Black History Month. I find that objectionable - this isn't "Black History" - it is American History and we need to own it.

Last night we watched "Red Tails," the story of the Tuskegee Airmen in combat against Germany. It is a good movie, which I hadn't seen before. I lived in Mississippi during the war, and I know what it was like for African Americans.

In recent years, we have heard a lot of talk about "American Exceptionalism." I agree we are exceptional. We are exceptional in part because of people like the Tuskegee Airmen, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis Armstrong, Hank Greenberg. We laughed at observations by Will Rogers, a Cherokee. We simultaneously cheered and discriminated against Jackie Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Clemente, Roy Campanella. We march to tunes by John Philip Sousa (hispanic). The list of our inner contradictions goes on and on.

Can you imagine America without Jazz and Ragtime? Without Cajun music and cuisine? Without Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese and Japanese cooking?

What other country of European origin would have elected Barack Obama and reelected him four years later? That's pretty exceptional. And yet our legacy of past dominance by white supremacists isn't over. As William Faulkner once wrote - "The past isn't dead - it isn't even past."  We need to fix that.

We are great because of our diversity. We should celebrate all Americans.

You got a problem with that?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Round Up The Usual Movies

This weekend I did a lot of channel surfing. Each Memorial Day, we are treated to a variety of war movies - mainly World War II movies. It was a good review of events.

Some thoughts:

1. The Republican candidate for president, who has  never served in public office (elected or appointed) or in the military, claims he is equipped to be president because he attended a private military high school.

No he isn't.

More to the point, to even utter such a claim reveals an incredible level of contempt for the profession of arms and the skill and knowledge of the Americans who practice it.

2.  Over the past few days, I re watched "The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far." a good contrast between the results of good military planning (D-Day) and over-optimistic and over-confident planning (Operation Market Garden).

Over confidence isn't uncommon in human conflict. A recent example was when George W. Bush's chicken hawk staff dismissed General Shinseki's estimate of the requirements to occupy Iraq. Apparently they thought Shinseki just scribbled a guess on the back of an envelope. That's not how professional military planners work.  Shinseki's was a staff estimate, not a guess. And it was pretty accurate.

3. Our Constitution establishes civilian control of the military. For this to work, we can't require presidents to themselves be military professionals. But they need to take the profession seriously and to treat the profession with respect.

That's a challenge.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Where Hillary is Coming From

Some Young people don't identify with Hillary Clinton. They should. The days Hillary Clinton lived through could come back again. Without an Equal Rights Amendment, there's no guarantee they won't.

Here's some background: ""

Saturday, May 14, 2016

West Virginia and Kentucky Coal Mining Jobs - What Really Caused Job Loss?

My grandfather was a coal miner.

He started working in the mines in 1902, as soon as he turned 16.

There weren't any other jobs in Palo Pinto County, Texas, even then, for a young man with a third grade education, but that was as far as Texas public education went.

Labor saving devices consisted of mules, who became blind in the perpetual darkness of the mine shafts.

My grandfather lost his job in 1917.

Why? Technology.

In 1917, the mine's only customer, the Texas and Pacific Railroad,began converting its steam locomotives from coal-fired to oil-fired. Over the next year, the coal mines shut down all nineteen shafts at the Thurber mine.

That's not all.

In 1916, the US Navy took delivery of its first oil-fired battleship and never built another coal-fired one.

In one fell swoop, the Navy got rid of its biggest logistical and strategic problem and saved money at the same time. No longer did they have to worry about coaling stations. After entering World War I in 1917, the US Navy quickly addressed underway refueling.

The first operational underway replenishment was achieved by the United States Navy oiler USS Maumee. Following the declaration of war, 6 April 1917, she was assigned duty refueling at sea the destroyers being sent to Britain. Stationed about 300 miles south of Greenland, Maumee was ready for the second group of U.S. ships to be sent as they closed her 28 May. With the fueling of those six destroyers, Maumee pioneered the Navy’s underway refueling operations under the direction of Maumee's Chief Engineer Chester Nimitz, thus establishing a pattern of mobile logistic support which would enable the Navy to keep its fleets at sea for extended periods, with a far greater range independent of the availability of a friendly port.

After WWI most navies pursued the refueling of destroyers and other small vessels by either the alongside or astern method, convinced that larger warships could neither be effectively refueled astern nor safely refueled alongside, until a series of tests conducted by Rear Admiral Nimitz in 1939-40 perfected the rigs and shiphandling which made the refueling of any size vessel practical.

Japan continued to use astern refueling of small ships, which slowed down her surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The US Navy had already perfected the alongside method, which proved crucial to operations in the Pacific. The Soviet Union also continued to use the astern method.

From 1923, about the time my grandfather came out of the mine shafts for the last time, coal mining entered a long period of decline:

1923        704,793
1943        418,703
1953        293,106
1963        141,646
1973        148,121
1983        175,642
1993        101,322
2003         71,023
2010         86,195
2011         88,000 
2013         80,396
2014         74,931 

I'm pretty sure my grandfather didn't know about the effect that changes in battleship design had on the market for coal, but since coal mining was the only job he knew, he went looking for another one. He found a coal mine in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beneath what is now the state fairgrounds. By 1923, he decided  it was too dangerous in the mines and became a chauffeur instead.

In 1917, reductions in coal mining reflected replacement of coal by oil for many heavy energy users.

The current reduction in coal mining may stem from a similar cause. The New York Times recently reported: "The most immediate challenge to the coal industry is the hydraulic fracturing revolution that has produced a glut of natural gas over the last four years, making the fuel cheaper to burn and stimulating a relentless switch by utilities away from coal." Regulation changes may have little to do with it.

Nevertheless, it matters little to miners who have lost jobs.

Maybe we need to think more creatively about what miners do or can do.

For example, can miners operate heavy equipment for other purposes than removing coal from the ground? What can miners build that needs building? What can miners dig that needs digging?

Government planners, scientists and economists should be able to foresee where the world is going and how to use existing skills to go there. We should be able to foresee what skills will be needed in the future and to develop them.

By and large, such planning tasks are beyond the ability of private businesses worried about quarterly profits.

We need a long term vision.

We once had such people.


Monday, May 2, 2016

America First?

When I first heard Donald Trump use the slogan "America First," I wondered if anyone working on his campaign was aware of the history of the "America First Committee" and what a discredited slogan that became after Pearl Harbor.

Last week, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC explained the sordid history of "America First" so that anyone should be able to understand not to use it:

Apparently Donald Trump doesn't get it.

For those unfamiliar with the history, here is Wikipedia's brief account: "The AFC was established on September 4, 1940, by Yale Law School student R. Douglas Stuart, Jr. (son of R. Douglas Stuart, co-founder of Quaker Oats), along with other students, including future President Gerald Ford, future Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver, and future U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart. Future President John F. Kennedy contributed $100, along with a note saying "What you all are doing is vital." At its peak, America First claimed 800,000 dues-paying members in 450 chapters, located mostly in a 300-mile radius of Chicago." The
 Not content with using a discredited slogan, last week Trump gave what was presented as a major foreign policy address. Slate's Fred Kaplan commented that the speech, read from a teleprompter, "—was even more incoherent than his impromptu ramblings of the past several months. In fact, it may stand as the most senseless, self-contradicting foreign policy speech by any major party’s presidential nominee in modern history."

I take exception to Kaplan/s remark, but only because Trump is not yet a "major party's  presidential nominee. It may seem like splitting hairs, but Trump is not the nominee until the Republican convention declares him the nominee.

That being said, if Trump is nominated, he will easily qualify as the most ignorant presidential candidate since I started noticing such things around 1940. 

How do I know? National security policy and international relations have been my profession for more than sixty years. And I was paying attention long before that.

Believe me!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jackie Robinson, American

Last night and tonight we watched the Ken Burns documentary about Jackie Robinson.

The movie reminded me not only what a great athlete he was, but what a strong-willed and courageous man. And his wife Rachel was extraordinary.

Born in 1919, son of a sharecropper, grandson of a slave, a man of skill and determination.

Last night's episode showed the baseball season of 1947 when Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and led them to the World Series.

I was ten years old and was learning the finer points of the game.

We lived in Midwest City, Oklahoma, east of Oklahoma City, just across the street from Tinker Air Force base, where my father was stationed. He managed the base fast-pitch softball team, and taught me the finer points of the rules, including how to keep score. I became the team's official scorekeeper.

We went into Oklahoma City a few times to watch the Oklahoma City Indians play in the Texas League. I kept a score card for those games as well, and that summer listened to major league games over the Mutual Broadcasting System. That's how I knew about Jackie Robinson.

We all knew that Jackie Robinson was a negro and that he played for the Dodgers.

The significance of a negro playing in the major leagues went over my head. It was just a fact that I knew.  I didn't know if there were others or if there would be others. I just knew that he was a good player and clearly belonged there.

My fifth grade teacher was a baseball fan. All of the games were played during the day but the teacher brought her radio to class and let us listen to the game.

Since I knew how to keep score, I drew a giant score card on the black board and recorded everything that happened.

I rooted for the Dodgers, but it didn't matter. On Monday, October 6 the Yankees on the seventh and final game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Jackie Robinson got seven hits, stole two bases and scored three runs in his first World Series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Je Suis Belge

Terrible news from Belgium this morning.

We lived in Belgium for three years and have many friends there.

Good people.

The airport at Zaventem near Brussels was our closest international airport. Went in and out of Zaventem many times.

We also lived for a year in Paris. Bad times there as well.

By the way, Belgium is not a stranger to terrorism. In 1979, General Alexander Haig was completing a five-year stint as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He was driven each day from his Chateau to his office at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) at very high speed along a route that varied from day to day among a small number of fixed routes. His last day in office was to be June 25, 1979. A group of assassins positioned a bomb along one of the routes and waited patiently for the general to select that route. On June 25, Haig unknowingly selected the route with the bomb. His staff car, traveling at very high speed along narrow Belgian roads, followed closely by a car full of body guards, crossed over a bridge with a land mine. The mine was detonated just after the rear tires crossed over the mine. General Haig's car sped away undamaged, but the chase car crashed into the crater, wounding three of Haig's bodyguards.

The general's only business that day was to deliver a farewell address to the officers on the SHAPE staff. As he stepped up to the podium, he announced: "I can't tell you how glad I am to be here today!" The assembled officers roared with laughter.

Authorities later attributed responsibility for the attack to the Red Army Faction (RAF). In 1993 a German Court sentenced Rolf Clemens Wagner, a former RAF member, to life imprisonment for the assassination attempt.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Precursors to Trump

The first election I remember is 1948. Republicans were certain of victory. President Truman was not as popular as Roosevelt had been. The country had had a Democratic party president since 1932. The Democratic party had split into three parts: (1) the Democratic Party (which dominated in the South and was the party of white supremacy); (2) the Progressive Party, headed by former Vice President Henry Wallace of Iowa; (3) the State's Rights Party headed by Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

The deck seemed stacked against Truman.

But Truman ran a very vigorous and effective campaign while the Republican Dewey played it safe.

Not only did Truman win the presidential election, the Democratic Party regained control of both houses of Congress.

This outcome shocked the leadership of the Republican party.

I don't remember any charges that the Democrats had stolen the election.

Republicans addressed the issue of how they could have lost a sure thing.

Across the South, beginning in Virginia in 1950, Republicans began recruiting white supremacists from the Democrats. They believed it was their only chance.

They went after the young folks. By 1954, they were using charges of corruption to enhance their recruitment efforts. Even so, it was clear that it was not corruption, but racial concerns that formed the basis of Republican recruitment.

Then came the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

Recruitment of white supremacist Democrats stepped up an has not diminished to this day.

Donald Trump and his staff understand this.

The Republicans have long since become the White Supremacist Party.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Donald Trump - Replay of Gorgeous George?

Image result for gorgeous george
Gorgeous George

One of the problems of growing older is that one remembers too much.

As I watch and listen to the commentariat puzzle over the Donald Trump phenomenon, it occurs to me that Trump is following the very successful model of the professional wrestler, Gorgeous George.

You can look it up:

My original observation was that watching Trump strut about the stage, arms akimbo, he bears a great resemblance to the fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. There's some truth to that, as well.

I think the main difference is that Mussolini took himself and his outrageous fantasies seriously. Gorgeous George did not. He knew he was putting on a show.

The big question is, does Donald Trump understand this?

Who knows?  Gorgeous George turned professional wrestling into a great, money-making show in the early days of television. It was also a fantasy show for children.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016 NC Election Update

Last week's news of the death of Associate Justice Scalia has already had an effect on the 2016 election in NC. Before Scalia's passing, the US Supreme Court might have granted North Carolina's petition to stay the Federal Court ruling on redistricting. Afterwards it became unlikely.  Last Friday, Chief Justice Roberts announced there would be no stay.

Also on Friday, the General Assembly adopted a revised redistricting map and changed primary elections for the US House of Representatives to June 7th. All other primaries will be held as scheduled on March 15.

The June 7th primary date still depends on the Federal Court's approval of the proposed redistricting.

And that's not all:

NC Supreme Court - in 2015, the General Assembly passed a law changing the procedure for incumbent Supreme Court justices from an election against opponents to a retention election with no opponents. That change is being challenged as a violation of the NC constitution. Last week, a three-judge panel including Superior Court Senior Judge Ben Alford  of our own court announced plans to strike down the law. If that decision stands, the Board of Elections will have to open a filing period for Supreme Court candidates. Whether there will be a primary election depends on how many candidates file. Many uncertainties at this point;

Voter Identification Verification Act - under challenge in Federal Court. Federal judge has issued injunction against enforcing three provisions of the law. Final decision expected in June. More uncertainties.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Federal Judges Throw Out NC Redistricting Of House Districts - Throw March 15 Election In Turmoil

Three federal judges on Friday threw out the congressional voting maps the Republican-led General Assembly drew five years ago, ruling that congressional districts one and twelve were gerrymandered along racial lines.

The judges ordered that new maps be submitted to the court no later than February 19th and that no elections for House of Representatives are to be held until new maps are approved by the court.

It appears that  action by the state will require calling the General Assembly into special session. In any event, the March 15 primary election will be disrupted, at least to a certain extent. Some absentee ballots have already been mailed to voters for the March 15 primary. It is probable that congressional district boundaries will be altered not only for the two affected districts, but also for any adjacent districts whose boundaries are changed. Boards of election will have to send out revised voter registration cards to all voters affected by revised boundaries and voting machines in affected districts will have to be reprogrammed.

It seems likely that Pamlico County's districts will not be directly affected, but there will still be some reprogramming.

This could become chaotic. 

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rethinking The Oriental Growth Management Ordinance And Comprehensive Plan

Good for Janet Alexander.

A couple of days ago, she asked a good question on the Oriental Facebook site:

"Now what happens to the walmart property? Will the land be annexed to town before a new business moves in?"

A reader advised her to look at Town Dock.
She replied: "I have been reading town dock but did not see anything about the property being formally annexed to town."
Larry Summers commented: "The state legislature has substantially blocked any annexation except voluntary. They have even reversed some prior annexations. In addition,the Town of Oriental's Ordinance Changes five or six years ago prohibit any building over 6000 square feet. That would eliminate Walmart, Dollar General, Town and Country several of the churches and fish houses. The ones that are currently inside the town limits are grandfathered in."
Some thoughts:
1. We need to act now;
2.  Oriental's Growth Management Ordinance is just an ordinance and can be amended;
3.  Oriental's Long Range Plan omits any planning for annexation;
4.  Oriental has no business or commercial district - the town has only residential and mixed use;
5.  A decade ago the Town flubbed the ball on extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ);
6.  NC general statutes still allow involuntary annexation - just with more hurdles;
7.  Without effective planning, we will continue to drift. 
These facts feed in to an obvious plan.

More later.
More later.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Flip Flops

I get a bit tired of candidates accusing each other of "flip-flops."

I suppose no one remembers Ralph Waldo Emerson, who penned perhaps the last word on the subject:“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. ”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Mahatma Gandhi also touched on the subject; he often changed his mind publicly. An aide once asked him how he could so freely contradict this week what he had said just last week. The great man replied that it was because this week he knew better.

--- Gandhi

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

--- John Meynard Keynes

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wal Mart Revisited

Today's Town Dock posts an article from 2013 describing the Town Board meeting of October 1, 2013 addressing whether the Town should make water available to the planned Wal-Mart Xpress, to be located outside the Town.

Under North Carolina law, the Town was under no obligation to make the water available.

Here is the article:

Another article reports public discussion at Town Hall during a September special meeting:
During that meeting, Oriental Business owners spoke in opposition. Bama Lutes Deal, owner of the restaurant, Village Food Emporium, told the Mayor and Board that if they provide water to Walmart, the town "would be extending a courtesy to something that is a threat to your community. That,” she said, “seems counterproductive to me.”

If a business outside the town limits seeks water service from the Town, Deal said, the Board should first take in to consideration whether that store “would have a negative impact” on the in-town businesses. She suggested the Board had not looked closely at Walmart’s impact and was “missing the point of who it represented.”

Now less than three years later, Wal Mart is leaving town, but not before driving Town and Country and the Town's only pharmacy out of business and leaving the Town a shambles.  It seems we have not even begun assessing the damage.

I have a lot of thoughts about the consequences, but I think it is most important to consider carefully who we elect to our governing body.

I found the meeting of the Town Board held October 1 2013 shocking for a number of reasons. Most shocking is the disdain shown by that board to both the residents and the businesses of the Town.

None of the incumbents should have been reelected. Unfortunately some were and they continued to do damage to the Town's interests.

Too often when governments blunder, some incumbent will proclaim, "we can't undo what happened - let's just look to the future, not the past."

If it really made sense to not look back, we would just leave airplane wreckage on the mountain and send NTSB home. Instead, if we are wise, we see what lessons can be learned, including how to do better in the future.

I'll have more to say about that, but we must start by recognizing that Oriental has been badly served by some elected officials.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wal-Mart To Close All Wal-Mart Express Stores - After Driving Our Local Grocery Stores Out Of Business

Today's Washington Post reports that Wal-Mart is abandoning its Wal Mart Express concept and closing all Wal-Mart Express stores.

This has been very damaging to Pamlico County's economy.

Let's hear from all those folks who cheered Wal-Mart on, citing all the new jobs and low prices.

Turned out to be a fantasy, but one that has played out for decades in small towns across America.

Some of us saw it coming.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Immigrants Following The Rules - Don't Come Here

Photo of a young Belgian professional couple and their children arriving in Perth, Australia, for a planned two year adventure.

Their first choice was to spend a couple of years in the US. There was no way to make it happen.

Australia's gain is our loss.