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Because They Don’t Pursue Happiness

The news outlets continue to be saturated with conversation about the atrocity that happened near Roanoke, yesterday. The talking heads are demanding to know why. I do not understand how this helps ratings. The question has been answered many times, but since they ask again, I will answer. Evil is, by definition, irrational and senseless. It does not ask how it can benefit the planet, friends and neighbors, or generations to come. It just destroys. That’s why it’s called senseless.

I happened to be driving through the area as the story broke. At first, the radio stations entertained lame, canned conversation. Slowly, information trickled in, and I continued to channel surf. What stands out and hits me hard is the sadness in the voices of the on-air personalities who knew the victims. The first dude I heard spoke with the weirdest voice for radio. It took awhile to realize he was crying. It is because of their pain that I feel compelled to break with personal policy and call attention to a media spectacle.

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Framing Art

The City of Asheville is considering regulating busking. The problem, we are told, is safety. Buskers crowd sidewalks. Crowds gathered to watch them crowd sidewalks and spill onto roads. This can be a problem for people in wheelchairs.

Proposed were three busking zones to measure 3’x4’, 5’x6’, and 4’x8’. Buskers objected, saying they weren’t consulted and, worse, city representatives had said they would solicit their input for shaping relevant policy a priori.

Pianist Andrew J. Fletcher argued he couldn’t fit his piano into the littlest zone, which would go where he normally plays. He said:

I don’t like the concept of art in a box. Art exists to destroy boxes and to get people to question things.

The city will proceed with marking the zones, but implementation is on-hold.

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We Want Affordable Housing, Jobs, Tourists – Psych!

Asheville City Council approved raising the fines on persons found renting housing short-term from $100 to $500.

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Nobody likes domestic violence. I suspect even the perps would rather it not exist. But is what government is doing helping the situation? Saith the Smoky Mountain News of Western Carolina University’s struggle:

Title IX is just one of the many laws and regulations governing how universities respond to sexual violence. Under the Clery Act, higher-education institutions receiving federal funding must issue an annual security report detailing the types of crimes occurring on and near campus, whom the crime was reported to and when it happened.

Although the Clery Act is four pages long, the Department of Education’s interpretation of how it should be implemented is more than 300 pages and includes what Hudson estimated to be 118 obligations of the school.

At the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, WCU created a position for someone to oversee compliance with the Clery Act. The position was created at the recommendation of a report on campus security issued by the University of North Carolina. The report included 36 recommendations for the institutions in the UNC system.

Tom Shanahan, general counsel for the UNC system, said . . . certain recommendations were based on helping institutions ensure they were keeping up with those regulations.

On top of that, students, faculty, and employees must complete online training in identifying and protecting against sexual assault. Students can’t even register until they complete it.

WCU is having problems funding the required positions and programs. To help, a $30 student fee was approved.


First Price, Second Price

A new fire and rescue training center for Haywood Community College has a 20-percent overrun. But that’s the way government does business: Sell ideas on the cheap and demand more when too much is sunk to turn around.

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First Naive Suggestion

Finally, somebody explains why certificates of need have any purpose:

Steve Heatherly, president and CEO at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, said repealing the certificate of need law would allow other providers to perform the most profitable procedures on patients with the best insurance and leave hospitals like his to serve those who can’t pay and provide services that are hard to make money on.

That is, the market is not favoring a type of hospital business, and so government must be used to force an alternative outcome. Running a gedanken through my weary mind, I imagine no certificates of need and hospitals unable to stay in business and so becoming “other providers” themselves with charities moving in to take care of the indigent. Why, a bunch of other providers could conglomerate and work out of the same building and share databases, too. Or maybe something amazing, beyond the framework of forced containment of ideation, will happen.

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Second Naive Suggestion

Bob Bourke of Macon New Beginnings led a public meeting on the subject of, as the Macon County newspaper puts it, “how to solve the homeless population.” Of course, anybody reading this would say deregulation would make housing more affordable for all income levels. Surely a bungalow with a light bulb four inches from a closet door, or a window without screens, makes a nicer home than that wad of cloth the man on the street was sleeping under this morning.

The thoughtful article leads us to believe New Beginnings, a new homeless initiative, is somehow connected to the attempts to shut down The Father’s House, which was sheltering the homeless in conditions, better than that wad of cloth, but not up to code. Speaking of New Beginnings’ strategy, Bourke stated:

We need to find a solution for Macon County. Whatever you all, whatever the community thinks needs to be done for these members of our community, that’s what we at Macon New Beginnings wants to help make happen.

I guess that’s what they call the chains of addiction. I get a creepy feeling when I think of being homeless and having the community mind come together to shape my destiny. How many of these guys turn to the streets after turning to drinking because some nag at home can’t stand they way they breathe, tie their shoes, make a sandwich, etc., etc.? In fact, I am inclined to safely state it is efforts of one person to lord it over another that lead to a whole bunch of the world’s problems.

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Demand for food from pantries has not decreased in spite of vast economic growth, free and reduced school meals, and 20 percent of the country receiving food stamps. MANNA FoodBank of Western North Carolina reported double-digit increase in demand over the last five years, and experts fear the program is not reaching the neediest among us. The trend is national.

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Commissioner Likes Light

Newspapers are filled with stories of opposition to Duke Energy’s Western Carolinas Modernization Project. An exception occurred in Tryon, where, rather than signing a petition to reject power transmission from South Carolina to Asheville, commissioners decided to invite a speaker from Duke to better inform any decision. Please remember, Duke says the line is needed because Asheville was so green, it NIMBY’d down a former attempt to build a power plant closer to the high demand.

“I’d rather see an ugly pole than be in the dark,” said [Commissioner George] Baker.

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Those Daffy Girls

While we’re on the subject of weird science, NASA apparently has not yet gotten the memo about gender identity. It hosted a program that earned a headline in the Hendersonville Times-News:

NASA Science for Girls: Exploring Light and Color.

I suppose that is because girls can’t do math. What’s next? Arab science? Gay science? Actually, I don’t care so much about a girls-club educational and fun activity so much as the extra-Constitutionality of the whole affair.

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