I have nearly two months worth of assorted emails to share about, well, stuff — everything from college football coverage to Hitler.
Pretty much runs the gamut.
Let’s start, then, with college football coverage.
Got this note from James Briggs who was happy with our coverage of the N.C. State victory over Florida State a couple of weeks ago.
Quick note to say “nice work” by the sports department to get an article in on the NCSU win over FSU in the Sunday paper. I also get the Greensboro paper on Sunday mornings and the game ended too late for them to get a report in on the game.
MY TAKE: Thanks back at you James. Sports departments are often in a no-win situation when a team they cover plays late at night. Our sports editor Bob Sutton makes a plan about where stories will be placed on a page and then is pretty much tied to it — especially when a game ends in the 11 p.m. range. In this case, he made the call to make NCSU and FSU the dominant story on the page early in the evening. It wasn’t psychic ability, just good luck in this case, as Bob would point out himself. He’s been criticized plenty when we guess wrong. In this case, it helped that our own writer, Conor O’Neill, staffed the game.
Speaking of criticism, one caller to the sports department didn’t like the photo we used with the N.C. State story of a Florida State running back breaking into the clear. She didn’t leave a phone number where she could be reached. Had she done so Bob would’ve told her that the photo we used was the only one we had available on our deadline.
Dean Smith column rang true
I wrote a column in late September about the recent spate of scandals at UNC and how it could use a man like Dean Smith again. The column got a very nice response.
My name is Mark Isley, and I am a teacher and athletic director at Southern Middle. I wanted to thank you for writing the outstanding column Sunday about Coach Smith. You see, I was a manager for Coach Smith from 1982-86, and I can attest from first-hand experience what a truly extraordinary man he is. Your column expressed perfectly what a great man Coach Smith is and why UNC needs a man like him now. Thank you so much for reminding your readers about his principles, his character and his legacy.
MY TAKE: Even for someone who isn’t a UNC fan, the legacy of coach Smith and the way his conducted his career remains a standard all in college athletics should try to meet.
Indebted for feature on government debt
I hear from George Adams of Burlington almost every day about one thing or another. In fact, I get so many messages, some wind up in my spam folder.
He’s got two entries in the emailbag this month. This is the first, about a feature he asked us to produce on how much debt local governments have.
I want to thank you for today’s article on local government debt! I believe it will give taxpayers a better understanding of how much we owe locally and what’s at stake for them when presented with future demands by local government.
I still contend that a new State Law is needed to force local and the state government to place current debt at the bottom of all their press releases demanding more taxes and more bells and whistles. A beefed up new Open Meetings Law should be enacted forthwith penalizing each elected official for any hint of
a violation. The existing Law should be sanitized to the bone to prevent frivolous ad dons that may be simply a slick way to avoid public scrutiny.
Thanks again for this bold move in the directions of the public good.
MY TAKE: I told George that there is very little bold about reporting what government does or using public records to do so. It’s how things are supposed to work. We in the media face no retaliation for doing so. We are happy to supply the information.
And I would love to see the Open Meetings Law and public records laws become even more open. But North Carolina lawmakers go out of their way to close the laws even more. Why? Well, nearly all got their starts on county boards of commissioners or city councils. They protect their own.
And the League of Municipalities and N.C. Association of County Commissioners are pretty strong lobbying groups — often fueled by taxpayer funds.
Ain’t that a blip?
Immigration, the DOJ and the sheriff
I got several attaboys for a column I wrote about the flap involving the federal government and Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson over profiling Hispanic residents. Oddly enough, I got compliments from people on both sides of the issue.
Here are a couple.
That was a great editorial. I think it summed up the feelings of a lot of people. We need to resolve this and not at taxpayers expense.
A+ for your column today. It touched a lot of bases and, of course, I loved the dig at the county attorney.
That was an outstanding column this morning.
I hope people are paying attention to what you write. It’s time for cooler heads to prevail.
MY TAKE: Thanks to all who wrote in.
Supporting the military
Our city editor Brent Lancaster passed these notes along to me in September after our story about the accidental death of an Alamance County resident who is in the military.
I was in Norfolk with the reserves all of last week, but Betsy had saved the article about Sarah McCoy for me. I just wanted to thank you for doing such a good job on this- I think you really did her justice. A couple of people at work have also mentioned what a nice article it was.
I would just like to chime in, (as a military family in a non-military town) with a big THANKS to the Times News. You have always treated veterans right.
I was so proud to forward the article about McCoy to their shipmates all over the country!
I knew Roselee would do a fantastic job, and McCoy was important enough for the front page, above the fold. Thank you!
When Stuart, McCoy and Schaefer were deployed together, I found that many folks in Burlington were baffled by the whole concept. But everyone was supportive and prayerful and patriotic beyond our wildest dreams.
I am thankful to the Times News for lifting up our older veterans and for setting the tone in Burlington: BURLINGTON SUPPORTS ITS TROOPS!!!
MY TAKE: Coming from a military town to a non-military town it was my goal to tackle issues involving veterans and deployed military personnel from here in the best way possible. It’s good to know that people notice. And, of course, Roselee came here with me from Jacksonville, home of Camp Lejeune, she also understands how important it is to write with sensitivity but also knowledge when it comes to the military.
Springtime for Hitler …
A couple of weeks ago I bemoaned the state of letters to the Open Forum and specifically mentioned the frequency with which people who write about politics compare political leaders they don’t like to Adolf Hitler. It’s an absurd thing to do on any level and is meant to illicit a negative response to the politician targeted. I’ve seen people do it on both sides of the political aisle and find it highly offensive hyperbole in all cases. No recent American politician resembles the worst mass murderer of the past 100 years.
Here’s George Adams’ defense of comparing a politician to Hitler.
I agree with your comment that both parties could potentially partisan themselves out of existence if they are not careful. I do not agree with your comment about letter writers who reference Adolf Hitler when speaking about Mr Obama. Mr Obama rose to power in a country desperate for relief from two wars, one of which targeted the wrong country, because he was a great orator. He was compared to Jesus Christ by the liberals and to Adolf Hitler by some of the conservatives.
I think the point of the conservatives was to point out that Mr Obama rose to power simply because of his speech making abilities with people having little or no knowledge of him as a person or what he stands for as a person.
One thing is for sure, I think both sides can agree that he does stand for spending more taxpayers dollars on anything he chooses and ignoring the constitution when it suits his campaign .
Again our point is to compare the meteoric rise of Hitler , because of his ability to make speeches , to the same unchallenged background checks that didn’t take place with Obama.
I believe it is a legitimate question to ask of any candidate before the public rushes to vote for them. Even if your candidate says all the things you want to hear you should ask yourself what kind of person is he or she, are they family oriented, do they go to church and if so what kind of church, have they ever held a legitimate job, do they associate with know radicals who hate our country and finally if they are an incumbent , what have they done while in office?
I don’t know of any legitimate conservative who is claiming the Obama is Hitler. Although the next for years might change our opinions if he continues to by pass congress and issue edits that simply are illegal in my opinion. Right or wrong has nothing to do with Executive Orders used to subvert our government of checks and balances set up for the public’s protection by our founding fathers. This willful disregard for our constitution should worry liberals just as it does conservatives!
MY TAKE: You’re wrong. In fact, on the subject of Hitler, you couldn’t more wrong. It is the goal of a politician to fire up the faithful. They’ve done it throughout history. But because someone can draw a crowd, does not a fascist dictator make.
It’s an absurd notion.
And I’ve never heard anyone at all compare Barack Obama to Jesus.
Political rhetoric is horrid on both sides at the moment. I wouldn’t believe a word supporters of either candidate said at the moment.
And ain’t that a blip, too?