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Opinion Letters

If you have been following the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, you have recently learned that 85 individuals control more wealth than the less wealthy half of the world’s population… that’s 3.5 billion people. It just underscores the extreme differences in wealth in our world. With that on my mind, I couldn’t help but think of North Carolina’s hardworking teachers who are now ranked 46th in pay in the country. I’m sure you are aware of the decision by our state legislature to give a bonus of $5,000 over four years to 25 percent of the teachers in each school district. This 25 percent are to be chosen, somehow, by the principals and superintendents, leaving the other 75 percent to wonder why they were not included. Oh, and of course, the teachers are also giving up their recourse to due process, which opens the door to political based control.

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A critical skill for magicians is to be able to misdirect your attention while executing the deception. “Look at this hand while I fool you with the other one.” Such is the current attack on climate change by those who try to convince us that it’s not an important issue. The new strategy is not so much to deny that climate change isn’t happening, but rather to state that it has happened before and is natural process. So why should we worry?

This change from “it isn’t happening” to “it’s happened before” would be irrelevant and silly if it weren’t so dangerous. The basic fact is true. The earth has been both significantly warmer and colder than now. Likewise, ocean levels have been both higher and lower than they are now. So what’s the big deal?

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The draught in California points out the conflict between the environmentalist and the unemployed people who live in the bread basket of California. The unemployment rate in this area is extremely high. This problem has to do with deciding how to the divide up the water supply between the farmers and a little fish called a smelt. Currently the smelt is winning the war and thousands of farmers and unemployed migrant workers are losing. The U.S. Government is backing the smelt in this instant.

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This is not a partisan concept. The North Carolina State Board of Elections always stressed this at every training seminar for the l00 county boards of elections the entire 13 1/2 years I served on the Board. Five and one half of those years were by appointment by Democratic Governor Jim Hunt and eight years by Republican Governor Jim Martin, and the same emphasis was put on following the laws and making it as convenient as possible for the voters to exercise their rights.

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