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John Hood column: Pivot back to markets

During the past four years, state policymakers in Raleigh adopted a series of sweeping changes in public policy, including a new state tax code, school choice, new energy policies, election laws and historic reforms of the regulatory process. Some North Carolinians have welcomed these changes. Others have decried them. Few would deny, however, they have been dramatic and far-reaching.

  • icon Posted: February 28

Recent Headlines

Saturday 02/28/2015
Chris Fitzsimon column: Senate leaders push to legalize discrimination
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

This was a remarkable week indeed at the General Assembly. It is now clear legislation supported by Senate leaders would allow public employees to refuse to provide state services based on race.

Letter to the Editor: Man defending home did the right thing
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:16 pm

The thug that broke in to the house on River Bend Road made a decision that cost him his life.

Letter to the Editor: Snowed in workers shouldn’t be punished
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:17 pm

In speaking with several people about their absences from work during the last ice/snow event, it has come to my attention many people are being written up for choosing safety over work. This perplexes me.

Letter to the Editor: Time for Hickory to realize its future
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:17 pm

On Feb. 26, the FCC voted to place Internet service providers in the realm of common carriers. For the average user, this means little will change regarding service, unfortunately, unless they act.

Friday 02/27/2015
Scott Hollifield column: It doesn’t make the heart grow fonder
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 10:48 am

According to new research, the risk of a heart attack is 8.5 times higher in the two hours following a bout of intense, fist-clenching rage than in the two hours following something less emotionally stressful, such as watching a monkey ride a dog like a horse on YouTube.

Thursday 02/26/2015
Letter to the Editor: Food stamps for cold donuts, energy drinks?
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 10:26 am

In celebration of tax season, I would just like to enlighten people of how some of their tax money is being used.

Larry Clark column: Hard work can overcome extreme differences
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 6:24 pm

I would have spent more time watching the dusting of snow, but I watch several early-morning TV newscasts and reveries have a tough time flourishing in such an atmosphere.

Wednesday 02/25/2015
Letter to the Editor: Giuliani an American hero; Obama decidedly not
Updated: February 25, 2015 - 9:35 am

I am more than a little surprised that, after six years of the Obama administration, Albert Davis ("Past-his-prime Giuliani doesn't deserve attention") doesn't agree with Mayor Giuliani. Oh, I recognize we cannot truly know what's in another's heart, but hardly a day goes by that Obama doesn't do something that, in the least, reminds me he and I don't share a common respect and love for the United States, its institutions, history and even law.

Letter to the Editor: Man defending home did the right thing
Updated: February 25, 2015 - 9:36 am

The thug that broke in to the house on River Bend Road made a decision that cost him his life.

Letter to the Editor: Food stamps for cold donuts, energy drinks?
Updated: February 25, 2015 - 9:34 am

In celebration of tax season, I would just like to enlighten people of how some of their tax money is being used.

D.G. Martin column: The ’57 Chevy: two stories about the same car
Posted: February 25, 2015

What is it about a 1957 Chevrolet?

Tuesday 02/24/2015
Andy Wells column: Too much to ask
Posted: February 24, 2015

I was driving home after a recent Senate debate on changes to the state’s unemployment insurance program and marveling at how two people – or two groups of people – looking at the same problem can reach completely different solutions.

Letter to the Editor: Oil spills indicate all is not well
Updated: February 24, 2015 - 11:01 am

I have wondered for some time why rational explanations don’t seem to exist for the rash of oil train crashes, resulting in huge fires and some pipeline spills that have polluted rivers and a town with tarry oil. I recently did a search on the Internet and uncovered some technical documents that lead me to believe there are simple explanations. The Bakken crude oil and tar sands oil, which the Keystone XL pipeline is supposed to carry, have the common characteristic that they contain much higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than most other crude oils. Furthermore, the presence of high levels of organic solvents is critical for their ability to be pumped through pipelines and loaded into rail cars.

Letter to the Editor: Nutrition panel tells all
Updated: February 24, 2015 - 11:02 am

The U.S. Advisory Panel on Dietary Guidelines has finally mustered the courage to recommend Americans eat less meat and dairy products. It lowers our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity, and also slows the rate of climate changes, with its own devastating consequences.

Letter to the Editor: Past-his-prime Giuliani doesn’t deserve attention
Updated: February 24, 2015 - 11:03 am

Rudy Giuliani is accusing President Obama of not loving his country, and suddenly it’s a hot topic in the media. Obviously, we are paying too much attention to a politician whose glory days are over.

Sunday 02/22/2015
John Hood column: The song remains the same
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

Governors make lots of decisions. They propose budgets. They hire Cabinet secretaries and other key officials. They appoint members to governing boards. They sign or veto bills. They offer or withhold clemency to criminals.

Letter to the Editor: Story about Rand Paul misleads on his views
Posted: February 22, 2015

In response to your recently published article, “Paul on vaccines, thin line between medicine and politics,” I believe Rand Paul’s views have been somewhat misrepresented and misconstrued by mainstream media.

Saturday 02/21/2015
Letter to the Editor: New jobs going to illegal immigrants
Posted: February 21, 2015

What’s the measure of how well a political party serves the American people? The author of “Democrats continue to lead the way on job creation” (Letter to the Editor, Feb. 13) says its jobs created during a presidential term. Plausible, but misleading. Quoting a June report from the Center for Immigration Studies:

Chris Fitzsimon column: Time to bring back some help for low-wage workers
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

Half the states in the country currently provide help for their low-wage workers with a state Earned Income Tax Credit patterned after the federal EITC that former President Ronald Reagan called the best anti-poverty program Congress ever created.

Friday 02/20/2015
Letter to the Editor: Democrats continue to fail on foreign policy
Updated: February 20, 2015 - 1:25 pm

The Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy agenda started with Obama's apology tour in Cairo, where his criticism of America could have come straight from al-Qaida talking points. Obama's "red line" in Syria was a humiliating joke as was HilIary's "reset" with Russia, and Putin has outsmarted Obama at every turn. Ukraine has begged for U.S. help, but Obama is too afraid of Putin to comply. ISIS has seized a third of Syria and Iraq, and has now infiltrated Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya. ISIS beheads Americans, and Obama heads to the golf course. ISIS rapes, tortures and kills women, children, Christians, Jews and even Muslims. Another 21 Christians were beheaded last week. Obama claims he will "degrade and defeat" ISIS but refuses to define defeat. The facts on the ground are clear: ISIS is winning this war.

Larry Clark column: Cass Ballenger loved doing things for people
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 6:24 pm

Cass Ballenger enjoyed public service. By the time I got to the Record in 1978, he was in the state Senate after serving eight years on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners and one term in the N.C. House.

Scott Hollifield column: Crushing hopes and dreams, one email at a time
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 10:48 am

About 800 applicants to one of Carnegie Mellon’s esteemed computer science programs were thrilled to learn they had been accepted to the prestigious Pittsburgh-based university until they learned they were not.

Thursday 02/19/2015
Larry Clark column: Hope blooms in spite of winter’s wrath
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 10:27 am

The Lenten roses drooped under the ice this week. They’re already in bloom. The morning sun made them perky again, and they were as colorful as ever.

Letter to the Editor: Grading schools not a productive measure
Posted: February 19, 2015

What is the real agenda in the grading of our public schools? Is it to recognize a problem, so we can improve or accomplish a hidden agenda of privatization? I personally have an issue with politicians telling professional educators how to do their job. Furthermore, after looking at the timed tests my third- and fifth-grade grandchildren have to take, I would love to see how well our legislators would do if they had to take the test.

Wednesday 02/18/2015
D.G. Martin column: A Black History Month Valentine
Updated: February 24, 2015 - 11:32 am

Each February we celebrate Valentine's Day and Black History Month.

Letters to the Editor: Solar energy legislation needed in North Carolina
Updated: February 19, 2015 - 10:56 am

North Carolina’s 2007 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act mandated that 12 1/2 percent of the state’s electricity by 2021 be generated by clean energy. Solar generated electricity has flourished in N.C. North Carolina now ranks fourth nationally in solar installation. And Raleigh and Charlotte are now among the 42 cities of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. where solar energy is less expensive than utility rates. Decisions this year, however concerning tax credits, third-party sales and net metering may determine the fate of N.C. solar development.

Tuesday 02/17/2015
Letter to the Editor: Lent an opportunity to live healthier life
Updated: February 17, 2015 - 10:34 am

This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert before launching his ministry.

Letter to the Editor: Coach Smith remembered for kindness away from court
Updated: February 17, 2015 - 10:33 am

Coach Dean Smith's contributions to my life have been extremely important to me over the years. His wisdom, kindness and willingness to invest in my life was a tremendous blessing to me and my family.

Letter to the Editor: Read the fine print when being vaccinated
Updated: February 17, 2015 - 10:30 am

In reply to your editorial of Feb. 10 on “Vaccinations in North Carolina,” I feel I must comment on the nationwide push for mandatory vaccinations. The science surrounding vaccinations has never been proven as suggested in your editorial because the effects of vaccines or the concept of herd immunity has never been studied to any great extent, especially in the United States.

Letter to the Editor: Old Hildebran school a testament to past
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 6:10 pm

My family has lived in Hildebran for six generations and counting. We all began our education in this small town, and a number of us have chosen careers in education ourselves. Although traditional teaching no longer takes place at Hildebran High School, the building is undoubtedly a testament to how our town has valued the importance of education, regardless of what our country’s history involved (war, economic hardship, social turmoil, etc.).

Letter to the Editor: Helping out children provides future lessons
Updated: February 17, 2015 - 10:33 am

What a nice article about the three Hickory police officers and civilian employee who helped a 15-year-old boy who was caught shoplifting. What a generous thing to do. I commend those ladies. By finding new clothing for him, I'm sure they made him feel better about going back to school with something to show, even if the clothing was basic. Surely his confidence and self-esteem were enhanced. I would have done the same thing. I have.

Sunday 02/15/2015
John Hood column: Freedom is our goal
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

“What do you people want?”

Letter to the Editor: Farewell to valuable Charity Chase volunteer
Posted: February 15, 2015

Justin Rink, a CPA with Rink & Robinson in Hickory, passed away Feb. 2. As part of his many contributions to the community in his relatively short life, Justin worked for many years as part of the team that put on Hickory’s Charity Chase, a half-marathon that raises money for local organizations that benefit children and young adults in the Catawba County community and one that has become well-known to runners throughout the Southeast.

Letter to the Editor: America’s citizens need tough love
Posted: February 15, 2015

Has living the American dream now become fathering a baby, not marrying the mother and then going about life as if it's all about me? I believe our country is in worse shape than anybody will ever admit, so drastic times call for drastic measures. The time has come for accountability and responsibility.

Saturday 02/14/2015
Letter to the Editor: There is no justice for accused killers
Updated: February 14, 2015 - 1:35 pm

Seems this area has become a center for drug users and sellers. Not an appetizing thought. Who raised these people?

Letter to the Editor: More work needed to make US work
Updated: February 14, 2015 - 1:34 pm

I would like to tell you my thoughts on President Obama trying to give free community college education to everyone. I personally like the fact he is trying to push for better education, and I can understand that. The fact the government wants the taxpayers to pay almost $60 billion to fund this program is irrational.

Chris Fitzsimon column: The disingenuous gas tax hike
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

If you are looking for a sign about what sort of legislative session to expect this year, the gas tax increase passed by the state Senate this week is an ominous one.

Friday 02/13/2015
Letter to the Editor: Democrats continue to lead the way on job creation
Updated: February 13, 2015 - 9:54 am

For a Libertarian-minded Republican to acknowledge the income inequality is real is what I call progress.

Scott Hollifield column: Blast from the past – the high cost of kids
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 10:48 am

Author’s note: Please enjoy this random yet prophetic column I wrote nearly 14 years ago, as about eight people did at the time. I will be back next week with breaking monkey news.

Letter to the Editor: City Council, Wright miss the bigger point
Updated: February 13, 2015 - 6:05 pm

I’ve read the articles concerning Mayor Rudy Wright having signs made, some of which were too large, and not knowing or specifying the size requirements. Furthermore, it appears unethical to use his own business or a business he is associated with to perform work for the Boost Hickory committee. It seems like a conflict of interest. Articles in past Hickory Daily Records have shown some members of the council have no regard for conflict of interest matters, and anyone who reads the paper regularly will have a few come to mind.

Thursday 02/12/2015
Larry Clark column: Dinner with Dean an experience with integrity
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 10:27 am

I was able to participate in a newspaper seminar several years ago in Chapel Hill. Actually, it was a few more years ago than several, but the gathering was memorable because of the good fortune to have dinner with Dean Smith and William C. Friday.

Letter to the Editor: Old Hildebran School could serve new purpose
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 6:10 pm

Hildebran is a struggling community. Economically and culturally, we are an area that has become nothing more than a gas station pit stop, between Hickory and Morganton. What council members consider an eye sore could have been utilized to battle both of these problems.

Wednesday 02/11/2015
D.G. Martin column: Who could succeed Tom Ross?
Updated: February 24, 2015 - 11:32 am

Five years ago, when the University of North Carolina board of governors was searching for a candidate to replace Erskine Bowles, I wrote in this column, “The Board will be looking for the new president who has two critical qualifications:

In 2014 election, most North Carolinians had no choice
Updated: February 11, 2015 - 11:01 am

It is well acknowledged the right to vote is the basis for American democracy. One of the main reasons Americans revolted in the Revolutionary War was to fight to have the right to a truly democratic, representative government. But do we really have the right to elect a representative government when given no choice in candidates?

Tuesday 02/10/2015
Other Views: Vaccinations in North Carolina
Updated: February 10, 2015 - 11:28 am

Government has long been fairly ambivalent about the health choices we make. You are welcome, without interference, to eat poorly, smoke a pack a day and overindulge in alcohol, so long as the consequences remain contained to you.

Friday 02/06/2015
Walter Hart guest column: School letter grades don’t tell the whole story
Updated: February 06, 2015 - 7:16 pm

Last week, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction released a letter grade for each school for the 2013-14 school year. While test scores matter, people know they only tell “part of the story” and schools cannot be accurately graded using just one measure.

John Hood column: Fair is not foul
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

At the beginning of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, three grotesque witches enter the stage with thunder rumbling in the background. You may recall that the witches ending up chanting in unison: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair/Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

Chris Fitzsimon column: McCrory’s uneven State of the State address
Updated: February 28, 2015 - 4:15 pm

Gov. Pat McCrory was all over the place in his State of the State speech Wednesday night in an address that was long and oddly disjointed, full of lengthy and detailed homespun anecdotes about water fountains and student teaching, while lacking specifics about major new policy proposals like business incentives, Medicaid expansion, and how to pay for $2.5 billion worth of borrowing for highway funding and renovation of state buildings in Raleigh.

Thursday 02/05/2015
Scott Hollifield column: Oh, those pesky government hand-washing rules
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 10:48 am

According to legend, 19th century Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck once quipped, “Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made.”