25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Opinion Letters

The trend is clear. Republicans at all levels want to privatize our public schools. Why would they want to do this, and how is it being done?

A tuition-free basic education for all, publicly accountable and locally run, is a basic American right. Our public school system is the great leveler. Anyone, no matter the circumstances of their birth, may have a shot at the American Dream. To do this, a public school system must accept all who live in its jurisdiction and teach a core curriculum which prepares each student for life in our diverse society.

The very nature of tax funded, “public” schools requires that we must teach all who come including the disabled, minorities, and foreign language students. They can't be run at a profit. They are not businesses. Their purpose is to educate students, not to make money.

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There's a song I heard that's asking, "Do you know where your heart is? Do you think you can find it? Are you trying to trade it for something? Do you know what your fate is? ... Do you know where your love is? Do you think you've lost it? Do you think you can find it? Do you know where the end is? Do you think you can feel it? .. (One Republic, "Say" All I Need).

These questions seem to be coming from all directions and being asked by most everyone. Modern life seems to have more questions than can find answers. Life seems so uncertain and complicated. Relationships are difficult and found wanting of more depth and meaning than ever before. It seems many are more than willing to try anything that will give them some sense or feeling they can trust in. And what they find more often than not leaves them more disappointed and disillusioned. World governments seem on an ever ending search for a world peace, even though their peace is a different form of peace than what most are seeking or really wanting, and that is a peace from within.

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The word austerity seems to have saturated world and national news of late, sometimes used in a positive vein, but often displaying a strong negative quality. One fellow in Greece insisted recently that austerity (as employed by his government) is a “crime.” I think most of us would agree that to be austere is simply to be moderate in one’s financial dealings, more temperate perhaps, self-restraining, or even self-denying.

When I was unceremoniously nudged into retirement by my employer a few years ago (at the same time our economy tanked) my wife and I quickly realized we had to seriously curb our spending to coincide with our severely reduced income. This is what intelligent people do, and this is what countries have to do as well. So I will gladly argue the point with the gentleman from Greece, that to limit spending isn't a crime, arguably it's a crime not to when times get tough.

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Macon County Commissioners discussed “sweepstakes parlors” at their May 15, 2012 meeting. One wonders if their primary concerns are issues of morality, public health and safety, or gaining a new revenue source.

The North Carolina law restricting these gambling establishments has been put on hold while its constitutionality is determined by the State’s Supreme Court.

The morality question seems settled nationally. Over many years the U.S. has moved from public gambling being limited to Nevada, to near universal availability. Most states now have their own lotteries, Indian casinos have flourished, and riverboat or ocean gambling is easily accessible. Our State sees no morality problem with its own lottery.

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