Ashe heap

By Steve Woodward

I’ve recently escaped the encampment known as Asheville, North Carolina, where masking is pronounced and pronouns are never masked.

Asheville reminded me of remote Japanese islands after Japan surrendered to end World War II. Its people are walking around in masks as if the war on the Wuhan Virus is still raging, and we’re only one bad data point removed from returning to 100% lockdowns, vaccines at gun point and citizen street patrols.

And, I sensed they’d actually prefer this scenario. Dude, c’mon! Mask up. My spouse was scolded entering a restaurant in the “arts district” for her failure to wear a mask during the six-step walk to our table. Fortunately, I was parking the car, or we would have moved along. (I snuck in, undetected by the mask cops).

Before there we mask mandates in Asheville, it appears there were stringent tattoo, body piercing and gender reassignment mandates. It’s a population grounded in government control and “woke” culture. But behold, says the tourism bureau, don’t miss breathtaking autumn colors and horizons dominated by mountain peaks. So we lowlanders flock annually.

I, too, enjoyed the scenery, and the confines of the Grove Park Inn, where unmasked weekend guests crowded the grand lobby even as the staff was suffocating behind “mandatory” face diapers per a county mandate. The young adult crowd seemed comfortable spending $10 for a lobby bar beer, and untold thousands of dollars for rooms and amenities to accommodate wedding guests, even as all complied with masking while meandering, but never when seated, talking, eating, drinking, and hugging. Some day, will they look back and regret their complicity after history unveils the farcical conditions under which we now live? The mask surely will join the ranks of the 1970s leisure suit. No one will admit to having worn one. But, alas they did not have iPhones in the ’70s.

Face coverings are not the lone weapon against societal norms. Did you know that hotel guests are destroying the planet and starving people? At The Grove Park, an Omni property, guests are urged to “opt out” of housekeeping services. By passing up on clean sheets and towels, you authorize Omni to donate a meal to a community organization. (No details about who coordinates it; are we talking a cheese sandwich or a four-course feast? No clue.). If you insist on being a jerk and expecting housekeeping, a guest still can earn “green” points by hanging a used towel. Or, leave it on the floor, you planet killer, and the staff begrudgingly supplies a fresh towel.

As with many hotel chains, green initiatives are marketing schemes designed to reduce operational costs. These cutbacks only have escalated during the Wuhan virus era. The Grove Park’s many corridor walls are covered by photos of the rich and famous who’ve stayed in the hotel since 1913, guests who were welcomed with deference and denied nothing. In 2021, if you want coffee in the morning forget about room service. There is no such service. But please brew your own cup in a Keurig device. It’s a paper cup, of course. Did Thomas Edison sip his coffee from a paper cup?

Closer to home, The Pilot, a newspaper serving Southern Pines but ideally suited to an Asheville constituency, complained in an editorial that the county school board is being derailed by “politics”. The editorial proclaims a school board is a “nonpartisan arena”. Sure, and Jeffrey Epstein’s island was a spa and spiritual retreat.

Apparently, there is nothing partisan about nonchalance toward “Critical Race Theory” as a continuous anti-American thread woven into social studies curricula. Nothing partisan about pandering to a “land trust” shaming Moore County Schools until it accepted a racially motivated plea to purchase a former school property on the cheap. The three newly elected, “political” school board members voted against the land grab; and even brought a member over to their side in a 4-3 vote to ban CRT from curricula in Moore schools.

Everything is political, and always has been. Everything is not perverse, however. You would not know that given the intent of so-called local Republicans in waging recent campaigns to defame Lydia Boesch and Kevin Drum, Pinehurst Village Council members, and Maureen Krueger, the former district attorney.

Political cannibalism is an enduring trait of the Republican Party for reasons that remain elusive. But there he was, Pinehurst Mayor John Strickland, recently claiming council members Boesch and Drum committed “ethics violations” on the flimsiest charges since the Steele Dossier was used to target Donald Trump’s presidency. In the case of Drum, the charge was made weeks ahead of his re-election bid on November 2. Drum lost to a pair of first-time, novice candidates, including Strickland crony Patrick Pizzella.

Krueger made the fatal mistake of accepting a nomination to become President of the Moore Republican Women’s club, an award winning club regionally and nationally, and the state’s largest. The spouse of the current district attorney, Michael Hardin, whom Krueger did not endorse in 2020, mounted an expensive campaign to oppose Krueger for the club presidency. In a secret-ballot election on November 3 Krueger received two-thirds of the vote to easily secure the position. But if she was trying to sow seeds of division in the club, Victoria Hardin also scored a victory, perverse though it was.

Republicans at all levels of government have to figure out how to be more skeptical of the many frauds who slither into our midst. Consider the 13 House Republicans who last week voted in favor of the Biden administration’s $1 trillion “infrastructure” bill that will allocate a scant $110 billion for legitimate infrastructure projects (The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2021).

The Village Council’s perversion may yet bring down its conspirators. Boesch, whose ethics violation is alleged to be talking to a village employee without permission, correctly sensed that Strickland and two fellow council members colluded to prepare a statement denouncing her before a scheduled October public meeting. Member Jane Hogeman was reading “her” statement rather matter-of-factly when Boesch interrupted to ask who had authored it. Hogeman was caught off guard and soon acknowledged that it has been “passed around”.

Boesch hired a well established attorney, who warned the council that it very likely violated state opening meetings laws by meeting on the sly to craft its denunciation of Boesch, herself an attorney.

Even the most betrayal minded Republicans can not mask their intentions forever.

Adorable pawns

Unmasking the failure of public education

By Steve Woodward

Parents have begun to accept that their kids can’t breathe in school. Turns out there are a lot of things they can’t do.

They can’t read. They can’t add and subtract. They can’t stop thinking about sex. They can’t reason. They can’t wait for Thanksgiving Day to be over.

In a world turned upside down, educators demand (pretend) that students will be absolutely safe but are not concerned, apparently, that they know absolutely nothing. The dirty little secret has been unmasked. School performance across Moore County for 2020-21, an academic year sacrificed at the hands of hysterical lockdowns, unreliable “virtual” learning and cancellations of everything, went from lackluster to alarming. Thank God, administrators say, consoling themselves, there were fewer runny noses and scraped knees.

The problem, laments longtime Board of Education member Ed Dennison, is that parts of Moore County are occupied by too many “disadvantaged families”. And how does the Moore County school system show it’s compassion? Let us count the ways.

It allocates tens of millions of dollars drawn from a bond referendum to build Taj Mahal schools in Aberdeen, Pinehurst and Southern Pines for the same reason dogs lick their privates — because it can.

(Case in point, courtesy of fiscally focused board member David Hensley, who reported via Facebook last September: The Moore County Board of Education spent $37,875 per student building the new Aberdeen Elementary School. Contrast that with The Academy of Moore County, a charter school and Moore County’s only “A” rated school, (which) spent only $8,333 per student to build (its) new school. Phrased another way, the Moore County Board of Education spent almost FIVE TIMES building a new school (more) than what the county’s only “A” rated school spent.)

(Another Hensley Facebook nugget from last June: At $47,500 per student seat, Pinehurst Elementary is, by far, the most expensive elementary school ever built in the state of North Carolina. Had the previous Board of Education spent the state average of $26,278.43 per student seat for new public school elementary school construction, Moore County could have FIVE new, 800-seat elementary schools, not three.)

Meanwhile, schools in “disadvantaged” north Moore County remain decrepit and in need of innumerable repairs. But even after blowing its wad on south Moore school construction, the school board’s four disciples of Superintendent Bob Grimesey had a chance to do the right thing and take a fiscally sound vote. This could have happened September 22, just last month, when the board decided the time had come, once and for all, to decide what to do with 17 acres formerly occupied by the old Southern Pines Elementary School.

The back and forth on this debate is well known to those who pay attention (never enough, by the way). The board finally voted 4-3 (chair Libby Carter and her three sock puppets) to “sell” the land to a fly-by-night Southern Pines Land Trust for an apprised value of $685,000. The other board members exercised common sense and backed selling the land to a commercial developer at a fair-market price that was projected to come in around $1.5 million .

Never mind that the Land Trust, in collaboration with the Left wing Southern Pines Town Council, stole the land to build a park that will keep west Southern Pines effectively racially segregated. The real gut punch here is the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Moore County schools left on the table to pander to a racially charged cabal without regard for how the additional funds from a private sale would have benefited students across the board. The land belonged to the school system. The board was obligated to sell it to the highest bidder. It betrayed the community.

Carter lamented that she wanted to separate the board from endless forays into the “real estate business” under the false pretense that it is laser-focused on quality education. But that does not square with:

  • A board that twice has voted 4-3 to force kids to be masked all day in classrooms despite overwhelming bodies of evidence that masks are not effective and more than likely pose a mental health threat. Elementary school children especially are distracted and despairing of their filthy masks.
  • A board that is hell bent on ramming down the throats of students so-called Social Emotional Learning and Climate surveys to learn as much as possible about their sexual proclivities, gender insecurities and emotional states. Currently, Moore County schools are surveying parents about the implementation of surveys by a third party, Panorama, a data mining operation backed by Tech tyrant Mark Zuckerberg. What could possibly go wrong?
  • A board on which three members refused to condemn the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in history and social studies curricula. CRT would, for example, condemn Thanksgiving Day as a celebration of the disenfranchisement of native Americans. In other words, “Tell granny you’re sitting out next Thanksgiving.”
  • A board that has refused in recent years to deny Superintendent Grimesey a contract extension amid a downward spiral in school wide performance numbers.

A local sage wisely observed that the Moore County school performance stats are so categorically disappointing that it is impossible to cherry pick them. But three categories shine light on the big picture staring county educators in the face.

  • 55% of third graders are not reading at grade level across Moore County public schools.
  • 49% of all eighth graders are not proficient in reading. (In other words, they probably can not pronounce “proficient” or tell you what it means).
  • In grades three through eight, only 46% of students are performing at grade level in math.

The third rail of public education is the teachers themselves. In Moore County, the time seems ripe to re-evaluate both who is teaching our students and why they’re forsaking them. Let’s not repeat the mistake made in allocating new school funding. Let’s spread the blame around.

Alternative reality

By John Rowerdink

President Joe Biden’s August 31 speech on the Afghanistan withdrawal was ripe with statements requiring further examination.

  1. He says it’s an amazing success but does that comport with what you’ve seen?
  2. Then, in the next breath, he says there was no way to end this in some semblance of an honorable, organized way. It can’t be both an amazing success and an unavoidable mess. Which one have you seen unfold over the last couple of weeks?  Who are you going to believe — Biden or your lying eyes?
  3. He continues to confuse the decision and support for ending the war with the disgusting way he did it. 
  4. He continues to blame President Trump for this mess. Here are two questions about that:
    • With all we know about President Trump, do you think he would let himself be viewed as weak by the rest of the world?
    • Biden reversed all kinds of other decisions Trump made but he left this one in place. So where does that buck stop?
  5. If you see the list of military equipment we left behind, it will make you sick.
  6. How could the president, our diplomats and our military brass be so wrong about the Afghan army’s ability to hold the country for a few years? Did we not work with these people for 20 years?
  7. He said we would get every single American out before we left. Did we do that? No.
  8. We said we would protect the thousands of Afghans who worked with us and get them out if they wanted. Did we do that? No.
  9. We got about 123,000 people out. 5,000 of them were Americans who wanted to leave; 6,000 of them were our troops; and by all accounts, not many of them were the 60,000 Afghans who helped us during the war (give him 12,000 of them). Who were the other 100,000 that we got out and how were they selected? How good was our rushed vetting process? Did we just take whoever the Taliban decided to allow into the airport?  What’s the chance that some of them are terrorists?
  10. We gave the Taliban a list of the Afghans who helped us during the war. What do you suppose they’ll do with that list now that we’re gone?
  11. He says we will still get these people out. Yeah, right.
  12. He talks about our support for women and girls. Go back to Afghanistan in a few months and ask women and girls how they’re doing under the Taliban.
  13. In the days ahead, watch how many of our dollars the Biden administration is going to give the Taliban. So we fight them for 20 years, we then quit and leave them billions of dollars of our military equipment while we plead for them to help us. Then after we’re gone, we send them more taxpayer dollars. How disgusting is that? Is that what he calls an amazing success?
  14. His military advisors wanted him to leave 2,500 troops there to assist the Afghan army, which they had been doing for many months with no loss of American life. The bipartisan Afghanistan Study Group in Congress recommended that we leave troops there. Military testimony to their 2020 report warned that a withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 U.S. service members from Afghanistan would result in “catastrophic consequences for the security and stability of Afghanistan, including the potential resurgence of terrorist organizations that could threaten the U.S. homeland”.
  15. Our NATO allies wanted us to stay and continue to support this NATO mission.
  16. We have 28,000 troops in South Korea more than 60 years after the Korean War, successfully keeping the peace. We have 320,000 troops in Europe more than 70 years after the end of World War II. Was it really so hard to keep 2,500 in Afghanistan? 
  17. But no, Biden wanted zero and this screwed up mess is what we ended up with. 
  18. The President of the United States is living in an alternative reality

Land grab

By Steve Woodward

(Editor’s note: The content of this post reflects the author’s informed opinion and is not necessarily endorsed by the Moore County Republican Party)

The Pilot‘s August 8 editorial presumes to instruct our county board of education on making “the right choice” with regard to the sale of land formerly occupied by Southern Pines Primary School. Allow me to interject that “the right choice” would have been to do some research on the topic.

For if one does not choose to conclude that the editorial begins with a false assertion and an erroneous claim, the only other conclusion is that the writer is lying in order to make a racially charged argument for the Land Trust’s proposed land grab.

To wit, the opening of paragraph five: “The rules are complicated, but the school board is not obligated to take the highest bid. It can accept the lesser offer if it deems it to be in the best interest of the community.”

To the contrary, the rules certainly are not complicated, while the board certainly is obligated to accept the highest bid for the 17-acre parcel. These are plainly cited by a state general statute and by the state’s constitution. In other words, law dictates what the board must do. A few examples. First, “local school boards have statutory authority … to own, purchase, and sell real property.” And, as one sales option, “bids are solicited and received at one time and opened publicly, and the highest responsive offer is conveyed to the school board.” 

But, but … what about the section allowing non-competitive sales to a non-profit or a trust seeking land owed to its “cultural, historical, natural or scenic significance”? The statute addresses this plainly. “The exception listed above is discretionary, not mandatory.” Which leads to the constitutional authority granted school boards to dismiss low bids. This is hiding in plain sight in Article 9, which holds that the constitution prohibits “school boards from donating real property or selling it for less than its fair market value” unless another school would be built on the land. 

The Land Trust’s plan for the land includes “affordable housing for minority teachers”, along with a museum, an outdoor learning lab and “entrepreneurial opportunities” (black-owned businesses, in other words). Thus, this pandering editorial begins with falsehoods and goes on to advocate for converting the land into “a mixed-use hub … focused on serving its historically black community.” 

The Pilot’s “right choice” envisions a permanently segregated Southern Pines. That’s a false choice. The board’s only choice is to comply with the law and the North Carolina Constitution, sell to the highest bidder and allocate a projected $1.5 million in proceeds across all of Moore County’s structurally deteriorating schools.   

Afraid of freedom

By Steve Woodward

The Left is mounting a new surge in the war on freedom. First, China unleashed a manageable virus that the Left declared a pandemic that would slaughter civilization. More than a year later, the Left has unleashed a “variant” of the deadly manageable virus. Their compliant foot soldiers are donning masks and trembling yet again. It’s like old times.

Once again, as Americans, as Constitutionalist Conservative Republicans, we have a choice to make. Do we comply with Lockdown 2.0? Do we torture school children with mask wearing to signal only virtue (certainly not to signal common sense or scientific guidance)? Do we surrender?

A time will come.

Or, do we anchor ourselves in God given, inalienable rights. We’ve talked about this, taken it for granted all of our lives. Do we believe it? Do we truly believe we are granted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and are we willing to fight for it? Philosophically, some certainly are willing.

But that’s not going to be enough if this Leftist surge persists. We will need to have the courage to raise our voices, to hold elected “leaders” to account, to use all legal remedies at our disposal, and to remove our children from schools that see them as little more than pawns.

On Monday afternoon the Moore County Board of Education convened a regularly scheduled business meeting during which it debated on its mask policy for students and teachers when school begins. A vote was deferred to Aug. 9. The same board voted in July to reject attempts by Gov. Roy Cooper to extend mask mandates when children return to school. But that was before the almighty Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a new edict: masks for the vaccinated; masks for children; and masks for everybody else. Let the good times roll. Can we form an organization to control the most dangerous disease? The CDC.

The Moore school board’s Leftists (there are four) undoubtedly have taken a Kool-Aid bath in a taxpayer funded hot tub (pardon the imagery) and are ready to reverse course on masks. The new Pinehurst Elementary School lobby logo proclaims that it is in the “business of play”. But this school board’s leadership is in the business of playing all of us. Comments during Monday’s board meeting confirmed a bias toward masking children regardless of consequences, psychological or otherwise.

The more sinister Monday agenda item was brought to us by chair (Queen) Elizabeth Carter, and Stacey Caldwell, who is woke, shook and otherwise over the legal limit for Kool-Aid consumption. The board was expected to consider, and I quote, “limitation on length of commentaries … by individual board members (the traumatizing trio elected in November 2020),” and, “enforcement of the net 60-minute restriction on time allotted for public comment.” However, Carter permitted little discussion before proclaiming that she would enforce the 60-minute limit (because it already is on the books) beginning Aug. 9, while moving the meeting to a large auditorium at Union Pines High School. The logic is mystifying. Encourage more public attendance but cut off comments on a hard stop.

Mask the children. Mute the board members who are not welcome in the hot tub. Muzzle the public because all of the eye rolling is really bad for the optical health of the Carter Four.

Let us return to where we started. What will we do in the 61st minute?