Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers:
The Dispatch, Lexington, N.C., on finding ways to demonstrate your support for county's teachers:
Schools have always needed support from parents, but that's true more than ever today in North Carolina. Many educators feel demoralized after actions by the North Carolina General Assembly that affected tenure and pay. They also feel handcuffed by some of the requirements placed upon them by testing regimens. A simple thank you won't relieve all these concerns, but it can provide a morale boost to let teachers know their efforts are appreciated.
No official events are planned in Davidson County's three systems related to promoting schools, which is occurring some other places. But that doesn't mean parents don't have opportunities to show their support. T
This can come from attending Parent Teacher Organization meetings or parent-teacher conferences, chaperoning a field trip, participating in open houses and fund drives, and supplying needed items for classrooms. It also can mean lobbying legislators and seeking changes to laws that potentially harm teachers. Educators play such a critical role in the development of children into adults, and they certainly deserve vocal advocates in their corner.
Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram on limiting filibusters sets bad precedent:
It is truly unfortunate that Democrats who control the U.S. Senate felt the need to overturn decades of Senate precedent by eliminating filibusters on presidential appointees.
The change repeals the rule requiring 60 votes to cut off debate on a nomination in order to hold an up-or-down floor vote on the nominee.
The move helps to raise the already fever pitch of partisan animosity in Congress and sets a troubling precedent for the future of the Senate.
While the change in the filibuster rule does not affect votes on legislation or U.S. Supreme Court nominees, it could lay the groundwork for a future Senate majority to eliminate filibusters against votes on those issues as well. While Republican senators complain about the Democrats' unilateral action today, they already are promising retribution when they one day again control the Senate.
It is understandable to see why Democrats felt they had no choice but to exercise this so-called "nuclear option." Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block an unprecedented number of President Barack Obama's nominations to administration positions and federal judgeships. Since 1949, 147 presidential nominees have been blocked by the use or threatened use of a filibuster, according to the Congressional Research Service, and of that total, 79 have been nominees proposed by Obama.
The partisan rancor that has brought a paralyzing gridlock to Congress already has stalled efforts to enact sorely needed reform measures on such vital public policy issues as immigration. Now it threatens the very workings of Congress to a point where lawmakers of good faith who hold opposing views might never have an environment in which to work out compromises for the good of the nation.
Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal on proceeding with caution on cellphone use in flight:
The good news is that the agencies that regulate portable electronic devices on airplanes are loosening their rules. The bad news may be that you sit next to a loud talker on your next flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration has decided that we can use some of our electronic devices from gate-to-gate, that is, eliminating the requirement that we hit the off button until the plane reaches 10,000 feet.
Next up is the decision to be made by the Federal Communications Commission on whether we can use our cellphones to make phone calls.
The FCC will meet on Dec. 12, and a decision is expected then. Most likely, the commission will say yes, according to media reports. That's how it should be. Once the FAA and the FCC determine that there is nothing inherently dangerous to either air passengers or to the nation's tower-based cellphone system, then the government should get out of the way -- mostly.
The airlines will now decide if they will allow passengers to use these devices. There's almost no opposition to using electronic tablets or laptops on board, or even to texting when above 10,000 feet. But there is opposition to cellphone calls.
Flight attendants and pilots worry that planes will be even noisier than they are today and that passengers will annoy each other to the point that arguments, or worse, break out in the cabin. And, a Delta Airlines survey in 2012 found that two-thirds of passengers aren't likely to approve, either. Too many of them have been stuck in closed spaces with rude cellphone users who talk too loud or use inappropriate language.
The airlines can look to commuter railroads that set aside separate cars for those who want quiet. And this may be where the FAA steps in, requiring that cellphone calls be made from a limited portion of the cabin and that no extra fee be charged for quiet seats.
With safety assured, it is time for the agencies to step aside so airlines can handle passenger comfort.