Spare change

By Steve Woodward

Remember “hope and change”? Seems today we are without much of the former and afflicted by too much of the latter. That’s what happens when China’s Wuhan lab swindles an election that results in Barack Obama’s third term.

Mostly we hear about only one kind of change: climate change. There is this growing faction worried about the weather (when they’re not perplexed about new Wuhan virus variants and monkeypox).

Upon reflection, I find change to be, at best, tedious, and at worst, dispiriting. One recent morning a Rivian electric “pickup truck” passed by me as I walked my dog. Definitely not a truck. A vehicle Pete Buttigieg would drive. This had me thinking about what has changed in my lifetime. From the respected and talented, to the absurd and abhorrent.

Autos

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Any Jeep / Rivian R1T.

Cadillac Coupe de Ville / Tesla S Coupe.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost / Smart car

Celebrities

John Wayne / Alec Baldwin.

Sammy Davis Jr. / Will Smith.

Johnny Carson / Stephen Colbert.

Johnny Carson

Frank Sinatra / Justin Beiber.

Broadcasters

Vin Scully / Keith Olbermann.

David Brinkley / Chuck Todd.

Walter Cronkite / Norah O’Donnell.

Howard Cosell / Stephen A. Smith

Athletes

Johnny Unitas / Deshaun Watson.

Bill Russell / LeBron James.

Nancy Lieberman / Brittney Griner.

Pele (man) / Megan Rapinoe (?)

Along with …

Sam Walton (WalMart) / Jeff Bezos (Amazon).

Jack Walsh (GE) / Doug “Woke” McMillon (WalMart).

Marcus Welby / Anthony Fauci. (TV “doctors”)

John F. Kennedy / Joseph R. Biden.

Pride in country to pride in everything but.

Buddy, can you spare a time machine?

Fully furnished

By Steve Woodward

When Moore County Schools put an aging Aberdeen Primary School on the sales block, focus naturally was on who would bid for the seven-acre parcel and its structures.

Apparently, Moore County Schools administrators never contemplated what would become of the contents inside the school, everything from furniture, to educational supplies, to janitorial supplies.

A sale was closed last April between MCS and Sandhills homebuilder Ron Jackson (photo nearby). The Pilot reported his offer of $400,000 did not attract a competing bidder during a three-month process. 

Under terms of the deal, Jackson is prohibited from erecting another school. He says he plans to build homes after razing the old school building, but he is renovating the gymnasium. It will re-open in the fall as Freedom Hall, an intended community events facility.

Meanwhile, tables, chairs, rugs and supplies, paid for by Moore County taxpayers, were abandoned. Jackson says he has no idea as to the value of what was left behind. He is not selling any of it. He has been giving it away to churches, private schools and charitable organizations.

The tale thus has a happy ending. But we are left contemplating why Moore County Schools apparently has no process to sell or relocate furnishings when it sells a school property. We must conclude that this saga represents the classic definition of financial negligence on full display.

Asheville East

By Steve Woodward

Sometimes it is utterly impossible to comprehend how a quaint little town with boutiques and cozy eateries can be populated by so many raving lunatics. If you guessed this is a reference to Asheville, you would be wrong. Today we are examining the madness gripping Southern Pines.

Specifically, let us ponder the mental instability that afflicts the editorial board assembling periodically in the Pennsylvania Avenue offices of The Pilot. Have you noticed that the “news”paper’s logo features a compass depicting the nearby communities it views dismissively outside of not-very-Southern-Pines? If you read its editorial page, you might also notice that The Pilot has no moral compass.

This depravity was particularly magnified in the June 24 lead editorial in which the author (editor John Nagy, presumably) concludes that only zealous vigilance and opposition to the threat posed by traditional Judeo-Christian (American) values can stop creeping ideologues from messing up our state’s economic utopia.

“Best for Business, But for How Long?” bemoans the editorial’s headline. By way of background, it seems the once credible financial news network CNBC recently anointed North Carolina “America’s Top State for Business in 2022”.

CNBC goes on to observe that, while the statehouse is Republican ruled and the Governor’s mansion is occupied by a veto-happy Democrat, North Carolina leaders display a remarkable habit of dropping all pretense of dedication to party when it comes to funneling corporate dollars into the tax base.

CNBC does not seem to notice that more than a decade of conservative taxation and cautious spending might have something to do with driving North Carolina’s economic growth and attractiveness toward its preimenence as a business destination.

Governor Roy Cooper plays along with CNBC’s unity theme, but only to a point, noting that he has vetoed “a lot of bad legislation” (in fact, no NC governor has issued more vetoes). One has to wonder how the private sector might feel about employees residing in a state where the governor stopped a bill requiring sheriffs to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? The bill would have detained felons and other bad guys until ICE rides to the rescue. Cooper vetoed it July 11.

But enough about where we are today, flush with business investment dollars, warns The Pilot. Beware the culture warriors among us, the enemy within that would place decency, morality and religious freedom ahead of “progress”, economic and social.

“Don’t let the creep of the culture war risk the reward of economic growth and prosperity,” opines The Pilot.

If Republicans re-gain (veto proof) supermajorities after the November elections, why they might dare to pass legislation to grant parents decision making power in public education. Why, what if these overzealous parents reject transgender grooming in classrooms and tick off a few woke CEOs in the Triangle?

And then there is the looming threat that Republicans would represent the will of their voters by drafting legislation to rein in abortion of innocents and defend life. Why that would be catastrophic. Right up there with prayer in schools and the Pledge of Allegiance

Only radical ideologues would issue such a frenzied warning. But they hide in plain sight in the pages of an agenda driven news organ, a shameless appendage of the unmoored Left. And they’ll be shocked by the dissenters in values-centered outposts such as Aberdeen, Carthage and Pinehurst.

But do take your chances. By all means, alienate parents in an effort to “own” our children inside government indoctrination centers. Absolutely allow transgenderism and baby killing to rage. Anything to keep the engines of commerce humming.

It’s worked out so well in California, Illinois and New York.

Insanity

By Steve Woodward

From whence do these insane teen-aged gunmen come? Is one of them living among us in Moore County?

Yes. Almost certainly one lurks in every community.

And yet Moore County Schools administrators, and some members of the school board, continue to view the threat in the abstract and with little sense of urgency. They fill the vacuum created by their lack of intellect with willful arrogance.

School superintendent Tim Locklair recently invested considerable time revising a regulation to address how the public is “allowed” to reject age inappropriate books in school libraries. But as to the matter of resources allocated to protecting schools, there are no regulation revisions ongoing. Instead, we must wait for money to be budgeted.

While we wait, and debate, the next gunmen is emboldening himself in the shadows of our society. How long can we assure one another that “Uvalde (Texas) will never happen here”.

Yet of the 13 Moore public schools that are not guarded by “resource officers” all are elementary schools, in which the youngest and most vulnerable children reside. The Uvalde killer targeted an elementary school. The 2012 Sandy Hook killer in Connecticut also ended defenseless grade school lives.

But during the July 11 Moore Board of Education meeting the discussion was only about proposed budgeting to deploy more campus police. A schools security official facing questions has few ready answers to basic questions. What is rapid deployment training? Why is there no provision to prepare campus police by providing trauma medical training? Why is there not an established document of understanding delineating which law enforcement officer is in charge amid an active shooter emergency at one of our schools?

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan’s observations should stop school administrators, law enforcement, board members, principals, teachers and parents in their tracks.

“You know what was obvious about the shooters in Uvalde and Highland Park? They were insane and dangerous,” she writes. “Anyone bothering to look could see, certainly family members or close friends. The killers physically presented themselves in the world as demons you’d meet in hell.

“On social media they posted sick and violent videos and pictures. They had made threats. The Highland Park shooter had threatened to kill his family; police had been to the house and removed his weapons. The Uvalde shooter made threats online and posted pictures of dead cats. They were loners, in their heads and obsessed with social media.”

Last year, then-school board chair Libby Carter fear mongered for months on end by imposing heightened security during board meetings due to what was described as a credible threat. It was later revealed by the state bureau of investigation that no such threat was on its radar.

We never will know what Carter, or the Moore Schools administration and its police force, knew back then. We won’t know in the future when another threat emerges.

What we do know today is that Moore County Schools is contemplating hiring 12 new officers while filling two currently vacant slots. During a July 11 presentation we learned the positions are offered in a shockingly inadequate salary range of $31,000 to $42,000 (not including benefits). We learned that training, weaponizing, equipping and buying vehicles will cost taxpayers $1.179 million initially, and close to $800,000 annually going forward.

Meanwhile, the force in place has not received active shooter training since 2017, was last exposed to threat/risk assessment training in 2018, and never has undergone trauma medical training.

Even more alarming, when board member Bob Levy asked about chain of command in the event that a school police officer responds to a 911 alert involving an armed individual on a local school campus, Moore Schools administrators appeared to tap dance as fast as their legs would permit to allay Levy’s concerns.

Fellow board member David Hensley ultimately received acknowledgement that there are no existing memorandums of understanding detailing how response to an active shooter will go down, or how other local law enforcement agencies would become involved in coordinating that response.

A slogan visible at Pinehurst Elementary School declares to all who enter that the school is “in the business of play”. For the sake of our community, something less cryptic needs to be demanded for all Moore County schools. It’s well past time to exit the business of law enforcement.

Babel

By Connie Lovell

Have you been wondering why the majority of Americans have been thrust into the background of American culture?  Do you watch television commercials and wonder who is buying this stuff?    Each crazy news cycle brings an element of chaos new to our experience.  Media narratives, remixing messages and images into new stories are causing us to doubt our beliefs.  But, as the Eagles sing, “There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes.” 

We have arrived at the tipping point when years of cultivation have harvested a new crop of rules and a militant group of regulators.  Ideologies identified like alphabet soup now guide our domestic and monetary policy.  Regulations labeled DEI or ESG, for example, are litigated into the context of domestic policy, not legislated in Congress.  ESG, “environmental, social and governance” standards reach into every aspect of your daily life.  When applied to climate change and social justice ESG sounds like good medicine, but to really understand the insidious impact of these regulations, you need to follow the money.

The finance industry, asset managers, celebrity executives, and legal experts have applied ESG using some very creative scoring to pick winners that advance a liberal agenda.  Decisions about credit and loan applications now reflect the “good” habits of businesses and institutions.  No longer is sound manufacturing and policy practice enough.  Compliance with ESG regulations influences loan decisions.  At the recommendation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, FSOC, banks will soon be rated on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The balance of power has shifted to those compliant with a liberal agenda.  

The advance of ESG is not limited to institutions.  Consider students applying to college or for student loans.  Community Service is an expected line item on any application but what is judged to be a valuable endeavor and who are the judges?  Is teaching Sunday School as valuable as saving a whale?  Achievement is only partly considered when applying for higher education. Environmental, social, and governance standards are also used to weigh the worth of the applicant.  

We are culturally and environmentally ripe for this limitation on our personal freedoms.   Lessons learned as children to modify behavior and accept certain conditions for the benefit of all are second nature.  The Covid pandemic has shown us how far we are willing to go, how much we are willing to give, to signal our compliance for the greater good.  Requiring a vaccine passport to attend the theater or enjoy a night out was unimaginable a few years ago.  Accepting these modifications to our liberty can be a righteous obligation or subjugation of our freedom.  But which is it?  Is it both?

 Applying ESG and other constraints shepherds people to certain behaviors that they may otherwise avoid.  Banks are complicit in advancing this ideology as a board policy adding energy consumption, for example, or social activism as criteria for credit consideration.  Say you want to build a railroad to transport produce but can only get a loan to buy a fleet of electric trucks, you would buy the trucks.   Think of the entertainment industry.  If you want to produce a miniseries about white rabbits you will need to pass through the judgment of banking institutions to secure financing, but if red rabbits are trending, even though only 3% of the rabbit population is red, you, by necessity, must comply to tell your story.  

And your story is told on your cell phone.  It is your new curriculum vitae.  It provides a trove of discriminatory evidence which can be used to determine your ESG score.  Using too much fuel? Visiting the recycling center regularly?  Got your booster?  The data collected in that little device can incriminate you.  New technologies allow tracking your activities and spending behavior.  The culprits who invaded the White House on January 6 were busted by cellphone tracking.  Ballot harvesting operations during the 2020 election were first identified through cellphone tracking and then brought to light with surveillance cameras.  Data miners have the drop on you.

 The babel of abbreviations and mystic language is designed to confuse and disorient us into thinking we are out of step with the world.  The fuzzy language is a “thin disguise” for altering the Constitution without legislation.  Application of ESG and other forms of subjective scoring redirects capital to a progressive agenda and away from merit-based investment. This wonky, all of government initiative, discriminates against those that do not toe the liberal party line.  

Knowledge is power.