SPINCycle for April 1, 2010

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Welcome to this week`s edition of SPINCycle.

Welcome to our Easter edition of SPINCycle. This week we’ll ask our panel to talk about North Carolina not getting a gold, silver or bronze medal in the race to the top funding, about Governor Perdue under the microscope, a 65 billion dollar shortfall in transportation funding and a close vote to continue the ban on terminal groins along our coast.

The panel includes: former legislator, Gene Arnold; Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch, John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation and Cash Michaels, columnist with the Wilmington JournalTom Campbell will moderate the discussion.

Tom Campbell`s Spin
With March Madness about to conclude, we need to look at the process that produces these teams.  Read this week’s column “
Basketball Factories”.

Heard on the Street

Happy April Fool`s Day
Used to be people took great joy in playing April Fool`s jokes on others. Have we lost our senses of humor? Seems like everyone is too pinched up and serious today, but we couldn`t help but chuckle at the big one Carolina Journal published this morning. We won`t spoil the fun for you but a
visit to their site should make it obvious.

March Madness
Even as tulips burst into full bloom, the colors of Easter make our vistas beautiful and temperatures soar into the 80`s, we are not through with basketball. UNC will try to salvage their season with a win in the NIT finals tonight while Duke plays in the Final Four Saturday.

Much as we love college basketball, we also recognize how college sports have gotten out of control. Yes, they produce millions for their schools and are great sources of pride for fans, but things are greatly out of kilter when the head basketball coach makes more than the brightest and best professors. What business are these schools in? By the way, our interview with former UNC President Bill Friday offers some good insights into college sports. The first part of this special 600th edition show airs next week on NC SPIN.

The most damming thing we`ve seen about college sports is the graduation rates of basketball players in last year`s NCAA tournament. There are some schools, like Wake Forest, Carolina and Duke who graduate a very acceptable percentage of their basketball players, but too many don`t. Few are the schools that graduate 70 percent of their black students. Read the report to see who does and doesn`t graduate acceptable numbers of students. Only 1 in 100 will ever play pro ball, so these kids who have worked so hard will find themselves with no degree and no pro career after having made millions for their college. Read more about this in this week`s My SPIN, “Basketball Factories.”

Tough times in government
These are hard days. Unemployment is hanging at the 11 percent level, causing havoc in retail, automotive and home sales.  Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are talking seriously about laying off 600 teachers. Durham Schools are giving teachers a choice between furloughs and layoffs. Most every government, with the exception of the Town of Cary, is dealing with deficits. And the state will have to address this issue when the legislature comes back to Raleigh next month. We reported last week that a big layoff of state employees looks likely.

Lost race to the top
North Carolina learned this week we did not get funding in the first round of the Race to the Top funding from the federal government. There is widespread speculation that part of the reason for this involves our cap on charter schools. Tennessee, which also had a cap, has relaxed theirs and they secured 500 million. Senator Larry Shaw says this will be a priority for him when the short session convenes in May. President Obama has made it clear he wants alternatives for parents over failing schools. For more discussion on this topic, be sure to catch this week`s NC SPIN.

Memo to State: Offshore drilling coming, ready or not
Governor Perdue was upset that she hadn`t been informed about President Obama`s planned announcement about offshore drilling until the night before it was made. We were informed before President Bush left office that the moratorium on offshore drilling was being rescinded and have had time to establish policies for our state. So far we have formed study committees and little else.

Obama announced offshore drilling might be located off the coast of Virginia. We couldn`t help but wonder if he was talking about the projected reserve of natural gas some 40 miles off the North Carolina Coast?

In our opinion, the President didn`t handle this well with regards to the states or even with Congress.

We have to play catch-up now, determining if we want to be players or not. At stake could be big revenues in licensing, perhaps revenue sharing, refineries and fleet services to support the drilling.

Testing program to change
The State Board of Education is formally agreeing that our state`s testing program is not working and is proposing changes in measuring accountability. The ABC program was designed to measure how well our teachers and our schools were teaching curriculum and how well our students were learning. We decided, foolishly, to design our own tests rather than use national tests. We reported to you several months ago that this was coming and will likely be later this summer before a formal replacement is adopted. The board might decide to have students take the SAT or ACT college entrance exam prior to graduation or WorkKeys, a test that measures readiness for the work force.

This Board of Education appears willing to consider reforms that might improve North Carolina`s schools.

Media bias
Charges of bias in the media have been around almost since the first publication came off the press. And they are true. Despite what anyone will tell you, everyone has prejudices depending on their age, sex, nationality, race and other factors. Try hard as you might, you cannot escape them, especially when you are charged with reporting the news. We try to be as objective as we can, but we won`t deny our biases.

We do get amused when publications get caught in their biases. Jon Ham in his Media Mangle column in Carolina Journal pokes at The News and Observer for blasting conservative Republicans but allowing liberals and Democrats off the hook. Worth reading.
Huckabee coming

Mike Huckabee was one of the more interesting and real persons on the campaign trail in 2008. He is coming to the Triangle April 22nd to appear in the SAS Health Care & Life Sciences Executive Conference. Should be worth attending.

President coming to Charlotte
President Obama, still cheerleading his health reform plan, will come to Charlotte tomorrow. We are told he will face Tea Party activists who oppose his every breath. It is too much to hope that the event will be civil.

Orr writes the President
Bob Orr, former candidate for Governor, former Supreme Court Justice, head of the NC Institute for Constitutional Law and sometimes NC SPIN panelist, gets back on his soapbox on targeted tax incentives for corporations in our state. In a column in today`s Charlotte Observer, Orr asks the president to do something about the nationwide practice. Indeed, most have come to the conclusion that the only way to stop giveaways by states (and local governments) is to have Congress step in and declare them illegal.

Orr is right, to our way of thinking. We don`t have money to give teachers pay raises but we can give $400 million to a company to create 450 jobs. Our understanding is that a 1 percent pay increase amounts to about $110 million. Read his op ed piece.

Five weeks and counting
The Primary Elections are five weeks away. Incumbent Senator Richard Burr is making his move with voters. Expect him to go up on TV next week. None of the Democrats vying to run against him have the money to go on TV. The voters will go to the polls knowing little about the candidates. Best known, of course, is Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and most pundits pick her to lead the ticket. Even so, she doesn`t have a commanding lead over Cal Cunningham or Ken Lewis, both of whom are praying for a second place finish and a shot at a runoff election with Marshall in June. But without money, none can win against Burr. The DSCC may have pledged support for Cunningham but there was little money attached. He believes he will get the bucks if he makes the runoff.

But nobody else has any money either. Pickin`s are slim in the 2010 elections so far.

(Note to Campaign Media Buyers:  NC SPIN is a great value!  Contactus@ncspin.com for a media kit.)

Perdue still under the microscope
Last week we sounded support for Governor Perdue and the beating she is taking in the press, saying if someone had specific information about misdeeds by the governor they should come forward. This week GOP chair Tom Fetzer did exactly that, releasing information about Perdue appointees and campaign contributions to her campaign. We recant our support. There are sufficient questions to warrant more candor from the Governor.

We will have a good discussion on this week`s NC SPIN. Let us know how you come down on it.

Next week
We are brimming with excitement about our interview with former UNC President Bill Friday, conducted two weeks ago at the beautiful Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center on the Centennial Campus in Raleigh. We edited parts of this interview into two NC SPIN shows, the first of which will air next week, April 11th. This is no hype, folks. This is some good TV. Bill Friday is candid, funny, humble and well worth hearing. Please plan to catch these shows. We will have a full DVD copy of the entire interview available for sale and will give more details about this next week.

Thanks to the Telegram
For some time The Raleigh Telegram has helped its 6,500 subscribers stream the NC SPIN videos each week. Randall Gregg and his team are producing a great online newspaper. We thank them and encourage you to take a read.

Become a fan on NC SPIN’s Facebook page, check out some pictures from our Evening with Bill Friday and join the discussion.

Until next week, watch out for the SPIN!

Claire Cox-Woodlief, Editor
Tom Campbell, Publisher

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NC SPIN | 851 Washington Street | Raleigh, NC 27605 | US

Note: Can’t wait to hear more about the testing program to change. DCN Publisher

Superintendent congratulates Tyrana Battle for serving as chairwoman – Source: The Rocky Mount Telegram

State Superintendent June Atkinson and others congratulated Tyrana Banks Battle for serving as chairwoman of the 2010 Accountability Conference held in Greensboro during February. (Read more @ The Rocky Mount Telegram)


Private jets and chefs, limo and driver, skybox suites, are job perks that many CEOs have to endure.  It is reported that the heads of America’s 500 biggest companies’ total aggregate compensation amounts to $5.1 billion each a year.  Standard & Poor’s says a chief executive officer of a top 500 company was paid, on average, $10.9 million in 2008.

Excessive executive compensation has taken center stage since the government’s bailout of banks began.  Americans expressed outrage as CEOs and other executives responsible for the financial crisis pocketed millions from bonuses to Golden Parachutes.  In 2008, CEO perks alone amounted to an average of $364,041 – or nearly 10 times a full-time worker’s the median pay.   The economy tanked for those workers, but many companies were bailed out with more than $700 billion in taxpayer money, as well as low-interest loans and guarantees.

In a display of Obama administration “kicking butt and taking names” Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg recently slashed executive pay at companies that still depend on government funds.  A once-prestigious roster of corporate titans like American International Group (AIG), Citibank, Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, General Motors and GMAC got slammed by Feinberg.  Kenneth Feinberg is a lawyer appointed by President Obama to oversee pay at firms receiving "exceptional assistance" from the government’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and have not yet substantially repaid the funds.

To Corporate America Obama said, "This is America, we don’t disparage wealth. We don’t begrudge anybody for doing well. We believe in success. But it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms that are struggling pay themselves huge bonuses even as they rely on extraordinary assistance to stay afloat."  To soothe angry Americans’ backlash to the bailouts, Obama’s administration issued guidelines limiting salary for top executives at some firms receiving TARP funds and requiring that additional pay be in the form of restricted stock, vesting only after the company repays its debt, with interest, to the government.  Congress then added rules curbing bonuses for top earners at TARP-funded firms and barred those firms from paying bonuses that equal more than a third of their total compensation.

The pay cut affects around 120 top executives of the six companies.  But, at the end of the workday all the executives whose pay was affected can still live large.   AIG Chief Executive Robert Benmosche’s previous $10.5 million annual pay package has been cut to $3 million. Feinberg approved $9 million in compensation for GM Chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre Jr., including $1.7 million in cash; and $6.27 million for new chief financial officer Chris Liddell, including $900,000 in cash. At the GMAC lending company, the new CEO, Michael Carpenter, will receive $8 million -all in stock.

At Chrysler Group LLC just one employee among the top 25 executives is getting overall compensation of more than $1 million: $1.02 million.  None of the Chrysler executives is earning more than $500,000 in cash, and just one is getting $500,000 in cash.   At Chrysler Financial direct compensation will increase by 10 percent.  Only eight Chrysler Financial executives will make more than $500,000 in cash.  Feinberg reiterated that Chrysler Financial is shutting down and therefore must pay all of the compensation in cash because the company is to shut down by the end of 2011.  An African American, Darryl R. Jackson, headed the company.

Bank of America and Citigroup and have repaid all or some government assistance, getting them out from under Feinberg’s authority.  In the case of Citigroup, it turned out to be a good investment for the government.  The Obama administration is in final preparations to sell its 27 percent stake expecting to net more than $7.5 billion, by far the largest profit returned from any firm that accepted bailout funds.

The mantra of most of the companies was that such salary slashing puts them “in jeopardy of losing top talent to competitors”.  If they stay in place; or move to firms not affected by government oversight; these executives will still land in some pretty high cotton.

(William Reed – www.BlackPressInternational.com)

See related:

William Reed

The Political Agitator Will Be A Guest On The Morning Show with Dave Perkins On FM 99.3 Today

Curmilus Dancy II – The Political Agitator and founder of Dancy Communications Network (The DCN) will be a guest Thursday April 1, 2010 8:00 AM on Jammin 99 The Morning Show with Dave Perkins. The show can be heard on FM 99.3 and on the internet at http://www.jammin993.com. The topic of discussion will be the history of the Senate District 3.

Hear the interview with Frankie Bordeaux on Jammin 99.

Hear the interview with Dr. Florence Arnold Armstrong on Jammin 99.

For more information about the show please email me @ thepoliticalagitator@embarqmail.com


NC Highway Patrol Wants YOU!!!

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol offers a career opportunity to qualified people seeking employment in public services and law enforcement.  State Highway Patrol is currently distributing application packets for a Basic Patrol School, scheduled for 2011.  At this time there is not a set date for when the 2011 Basic Patrol School will begin.  The application packet contains the orientation and will include information on the basic qualifications and requirements of the hiring process. 

The following are the requirements needed to start the process for becoming a North Carolina State Trooper.

Minimum – 21 years as of date of application. Maximum – 39 years of age or less. (The applicant may not have reached their 40th birthday on the first day of Patrol Basic School.)

No Maximum height.

Weight must be commensurate with height and body frame.

Physical Condition
Must be in excellent physical condition with no obvious condition which will impair performance of Patrol duties.

As a minimum, an applicant must have graduated from an accredited high school or hold an approved General Education Development Certificate (GED); college or university level education desired..

Must be a citizen of the United States, and must be a legal resident of or reside in North Carolina as of the date he/she reports to Basic School.

Criminal History
Must not have pled guilty to, entered a plea of no contest to, or have been convicted of any crime other than a minor misdemeanor; must not, during the three years preceding the date of his/her application, have been convicted of a traffic offense which required suspension or revocation of driving privileges; or held a drivers license which was in a state of suspension or revocation; must not have accumulated more than eight points against his/her driving record during the preceding three years or anytime after the date of the application. As of date of application or thereafter, applicant must meet the minimum standards for law enforcement officers established by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Training and Standards Division.

Acceptance of Conditions and Benefits
Must be willing to live and work in any section of the state and to be transferred at the discretion of the Patrol commander.

Vision Requirements
Must have 20/20 vision in each eye; uncorrected vision of no more than 20/100 in each eye corrected to 20/20 in each eye with corrective lenses. Must not be color blind or affected by night blindness; must pass depth perception test.

Physical Fitness Test
Physical Fitness Test administered under the guidelines of The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas, Texas. Prospective applicants must attain as a minimum, a score at the fiftieth (50th) percentile for his/her age and gender to receive further employment consideration.

Written Tests
Prospective applicants who meet the fiftieth (50th) percentile requirement on the Fitness Standards Test will be given the Law Enforcement Candidate Record (LECR). This test contains a verbal and recall section and a biographical data section.

Polygraph Examination
Must submit to and complete a polygraph examination.

Background Investigation
Must satisfactorily complete a thorough background investigation, including a check of State and Federal Bureau of Investigation records.

Please visit the following web site http://www.nccrimecontrol.org/SHPApplyNow to get started in our process or:


First Sergeant Steve D. Greene

North Carolina State Highway Patrol

Commander’s Office, State Recruiter, Raleigh, NC

(919) 733-5027


ROCKY MOUNT HIGH TEACHER – Betsy Augustine Hester

Rocky Mount High School

308 S. Tillery Street

Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804

Dear Friends,

Some of you already know me, but if not let me use this letter to introduce myself. I am Betsy Hester, a theater and English teacher at Rocky Mount High School, affectionately known as “Senior High.”  My purpose for writing this letter is to invite you to join me on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts to see the stage production of Timothy Tyson’s highly acclaimed memoir, Blood Done Sign My Name.

Dr. Tyson wrote this memoir about his life and his father, Vernon Tyson, a courageous Methodist minister who used his pulpit and his voice to fight for racial justice during the Civil Rights Era. In addition, it is about the brutal murder of “Dickie” Marrow in Oxford, North Carolina in 1970. Some of you may have already read the book, and understand why I say, “This is a must read.” Also, some of you may have had the pleasure of hearing Tim Tyson as the guest speaker at the 20th Anniversary celebration of “The Wright Center” last spring.

Thanks to Tim Tyson’s personal gift of 100 copies of his book, I have been teaching it to my students for four years now, and when I learned his book was being performed on stage, I was elated. Mike Wiley, a playwright and actor, collaborated with Tim Tyson, and he now brings his one man play to us. Mike performs every character, and through his genius and talent, he weaves the stories of “Dickie” Marrow, Vernon Tyson, Tim Tyson, and the healing of America.  He travels and performs with the celebrated gospel singer, Mary Williams, and together they bring audiences both to tears and to their feet everywhere they perform.

There’s more. Nash-Rocky Mount Schools selected me as the “High School Teacher of the Year” for 2010 and with that came a $1,000 award. After months of contemplating how best to use this gift, I decided to donate my award as the “deposit” to bring this play here. Mike Wiley will perform for our students at “Senior High” earlier in the day on the 29th. I also contacted Sheila Martin at The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, and she was as excited as I am and has joined me in my efforts. Now, “Blood Done Sign My Name” is coming to Rocky Mount!!!!!!

Will you join me? Will you be there? There are 1100 seats in the “Minges Auditorium.” My goal is to see that theater filled to capacity!! The price of the tickets is $10, available for advance purchase through the Dunn Center box office. I promise you will be as inspired as I am when you see this outstanding performance. 

With deep appreciation,

Betsy A. Hester

NRMS “High School Teacher of the Year”

Source: Rep. Angela Bryant