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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls on Congress to fund the overdue remaining balance of $39.2 million owed to Swain County from the North Shore Road settlement agreement made with the federal government back in 2010. 

Imagine, just for a moment, that it is 2010 again. The economy, which was on the verge of a catastrophic collapse just over a year ago, has pulled out of its nosedive and is now showing some tentative signs of recovery. President Obama, the first year of his administration now in the books, is beginning to find his stride and looking forward to a new year.

The day after I stood before the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and watched Missouri Senator Roy Blount introduce “for the first time, ever, anywhere, the 45th President of the United States of America,” on Jan. 20, 2017, I joined half a million people in the day-long Women’s March on Washington.

By Martin A. Dyckman • Guest Columnist

Americans are asking why we now have a president whom they wouldn’t trust to manage their finances, teach their children or date their daughters. The answer, of course, is the Electoral College, which was created mainly to protect us from just such a person as Donald Trump.

That’s usually said in a resigned tone of voice, as if there’s nothing that can be done to prevent another such dysfunction. In fact, the Electoral College can be reduced to a figurehead formality in an amazingly simple way. That’s by state legislatures enacting a compact to cast their electoral votes for whichever candidate wins the popular vote nationwide. It’s alive, if not well, in North Carolina in the form of Senate Bill 440. I’ll get back to that.

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist

This is a letter my wife and I sent to President Donald Trump:

I write with no expectation of influencing your administration — except, perhaps, to prompt scornful laughter from any minion who happens to read it — as you have proved yourself immune to public opinion. We intend, rather, to inspire others to speak out and to add to the documentation by which history will judge how Americans coped with our greatest national crisis since the Civil War.

As the new year dawns and I take account of everything that’s happened in the past 12 months, it’s Donald Trump that grabs the top spot in my “what the hell happened here” category.

I’m a proud American, and for some reason that seems something unpopular to say these days. I’m no patriot and have never been tested in that manner or served in the Armed Forces, but I still cherish what this country stands for: freedom, equality, a place where one can rise to the level of their own ability, a place that lends a hand to those struggling to gain freedom or achieve success. Above all, a place that strives to achieve a moral high ground in both domestic and international relations.

By Norman Hoffman • Guest Columnist

Some time ago a cartoon had Donald Trump’s press secretary and Kelly Ann Conway dressed as Burger King employees under a banner “Home of the Whopper” and Conway saying, “Do you want lies with that?” Lies seem to be the staple of the Trump administration.

Something newspaper editors never say: “I wish that fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.”

Well, thanks to the nature of the online world that we currently live in, I’m going to buck tradition: I wish fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.

Few presidential decisions have been as unjust, unwise and cruel as Donald Trump's threat to deport nearly 700,000 young Americans if Congress can't come together within six months to save them.

For comparison, consider Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears, Woodrow Wilson segregating the federal workforce and Franklin D. Roosevelt ordering Japanese Americans into concentration camps. The underlying factor in all four instances is racism. To deny that is to be part of the problem. If the “sanctity of borders” isn’t naked hypocrisy, why isn’t there a clamor over the nearly 100,000 Canadians who are estimated to have overstayed visas?

Although Haywood County’s municipal elections in Canton, Clyde and Maggie Valley will garner the most attention through November, state legislative campaigns will fire up shortly thereafter — if not sooner.

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