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Tuesday 'toons: The Olympics as metaphor

Letters to the editor: Hearing aids, addictions and fracking

We've devoted so much space to the Amendment One debate over the past month that many letters on other topics got overrun. Here are more than a dozen.

Wednesday in The Chapel Hill News

Here is a look at today's local headlines. Please see The News & Observer and for complete coverage of President Obama's visit to Chapel Hill. (The CHN goes to press Monday nights, too early to get that Tuesday story in today's edition.)

COUNCIL PANS HOUSING: "Icky," "a nightmare" and "lousy timing." The Chapel Hill Town Council had strong words for a planned hotel an student housing at MLK and Estes Drive Monday night. Katekyn Ferral has our report.

CHAIR TO SIT OUT VOTE: The Chapel Hill town attorney explains today why a citizen advisory board member can vote on a project even if she has already expresssed opposition to it. So why is Planning Board Chair Del Snow planning to recuse herself from her board's next vote on Charterwood?

FAIRIES, AND DRAGONS AND KNIGHTS, OH MY!: Durham school teacher Jeff Kass didn't find the Renaissance fairs "fantastical enough," he told me Saturday. So he's started one himself. Read about the Festival of Legends.

Bair Pollock says Carolina Flats has some pluses, too. Margaret Gifford and Jackie Helvey have proof squirrels like pizza.  And parents in the CHCCS are still upset with plans to end Chinese dual language instruction and make Frank Porter Graham a Spanish magnet school.

Thanks for writing, and if you're planning an endorsement letter, please keep it to 200 words and get it in by noon Monday to give it the best chance of getting in the paper. The CHN reaches 38,000 homes Wednesdays and Sundays from Fearington Village to Hillsborough.

Thanks for reading,



Today in The Durham News

Here's a look at today's local headlines:

But first, you'll want to read staff writer J. Andrew Curliss' latest on ousted DA Tracey Cline. Find the main story in today's N&O here and get links to Judge Hobgood's ruling and other materials HERE.

In The Durham News:

AND THEY'RE OFF: All five seats are up on the Board of County Commissioners. And a whopping 14 candidates, including four incumbents, want them. Staff writer Jim Wise hast the list.

CHARTER SCHOOL APPROVED: The state approved the new high school planned for Durham. DPS already has 10 percent of school-age kids enrolled in charter schools and fought this proposal, which it said would undermine the district's own efforts in science, technology, engineering andmath education. Read out story and tell us what yoiu think, and see the conversation this has generated on my Facebook page.

RENTAL REDUX: Love that word redux, which basically means repeat or again. The city's proposed rental inspection programcomes back to the City Council tomorrow night. The last time it covered 37 percent of Durham, but some said it was too broad. Read Jim's preview.

Bob Wilson (and NCCU, see left) takes on the let-it-all-hang-out crowd, Mayor Bell says why he's backing Obama again and you should too, and a Falconbridge reader asks ... what was Bob thinking with last week's crime column?

What's on your mind? Tell us at And thanks for reading,


Scotty, not politicians, sells papers

When politicians don't like stories about them in The N&O, they say we're "just trying to sell papers." The latest politician to make this charge is Tracey Cline, the Durham district attorney who was the subjct of a three-day series in early September.  Actually, that kind of work doesn't typically sell papers. Sales of The N&O on Sept. 4-6, when we ran our "Twisted Truth" series about Cline, were down from a year earlier.

What does sell papers is winning sports teams. The Hurricanes' NHL championship and Duke and UNC NCAA men's basketball championships all were big sellers, especially the day after the final game. While politics does not typically sell papers, Barack Obama's election in November 2008 was a big seller.

Anything about American Idol winner Scotty McCreery of Garner also sells The N&O. For example, on Saturday, Oct. 8, we published a Scotty poster page to mark his appearance that day at Walnut Creek. McCreery was celebrating the release of his album, "Clear As Day," and his 18th birthday. We sold about 1,500 extra copies of The N&O that day.

We put Scotty on the front page today after he sang the national anthem Wednesday night before the opening game of the World Series. It's too soon to say whether that sold any papers but it could not have hurt. The N&O's Thad Ogburn, who has written several stories about McCreery, reports today that McCreery, a pitcher, hopes to play for the Garner High Trojans in the spring.

--John Drescher






Triangle business leaders discuss entrepreneurship with Obama's jobs council

For those wondering where the Triangle's leading entrepreneurs went this morning, they were all in Durham meeting with Obama Administration officials and some of corporate America's biggest names.

The occasion was a convening of Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which includes former AOL CEO Steve Case, Citigroup Chairman Dick Parsons, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

It was one of five similar economic meetings held across the Triangle this morning in advance of Obama's appearance today at the Durham headquarters of LED-maker Cree.

The group that met at Durham's American Tobacco Campus was focused on entrepreneurship.

After a tour of American Underground, the the ATC space designed to foster start-ups, the council members joined Triangle business leaders at the headquarters of advertising agency McKinney.

The goal, as stated by Austan Goolsbee, chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, was to talk about things that both the government and the private sector can do to make life easier for entrepreneurs.

The issues raised this morning will be familiar ones to anyone who has followed similar discussions in the past: Access to capital, particularly early seed money; the transfer of promising technology from the labs and classrooms of the area's universities to the private sector; the existence of a mentoring network to help entrepreneurs grow; and the access to talented employees.

Obama Administration unveils list of excess property, including one Triangle building

The Obama Administration has deemed 14,000 federally-owned properties across the country as excess real estate, but just one appears to be located in the Triangle.

The building is a 5,912-square-foot laboratory just south of Tryon Road in Raleigh that is operated by the Agricultural Research Service at N.C. State University.

The administration unveiled its list of properties today. More than 7,000 of the properties are plotted on an online map, including the Raleigh building.

There are a total of 110 properties in North Carolina that are identified as being excess.

Many are located in national parks, national seashores or national wildlife refuges. The building in Raleigh is the largest actual structure on the list.

Obama has proposed that a Civilian Property Realignment Board help the government sell or get rid of its excess property.

The administration estimates the project could save taxpayers $15 billion over the first three years.

The birth certificate debate

There are more than 160 comments on the wire story about President Obama's birth certificate.  People are mad at each other over this. There's a lot of "So's your old man" quality to the discourse.  One commenter asked another commenter if he wore a tin foil hat all day. (I favor the armadillo helmet worn by Sheev in the Dukes of Hazzard movie; it beats tin foil like a drum in screening out government mind-probe waves).

Some of the commenters are still suggesting that the birth certificate released today is a forgery and want some scientific analysis and testing.  Fine with me. Bring in a bi-partisan team of scientists. And after they're done and determine that it's legit, we can all speculate as to whether they were bought off.

A certain segment of the body politic will never be convinced that a group of conspirators didn't get together in the summer of 1961, convince the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser  to print a bogus birth announcement and pay off a bunch of doctors and nurses to gin up a phony birth certificate for a baby boy they had a hunch might be president some day.

These conspirators were particularly far-sighted, because in 1961, it didn't look too promising that a baby of an African dad would grow up to be president of the United States any time in the next two centuries.  Given the fact that people of African ancestry were encountering some difficulties in the summer of '61 gaining admission to certain public schools, drinking from certain water fountains, getting seated at certain lunch counters, sitting anywhere they wanted in certain motion picture houses, being able to live in certain parts of town and, oh, for another example, vote in certain states, picking Barack Hussein Obama as the Chosen One was a real long shot bet for Manchurian Candidate conspirators. Of that you can be certain.

You really have to hand it to them.






How 'Obama has an iPad' morphed into a untrue controversy

Detailed here, a rather minor item Obama having an iPad got reported, distorted, Drudged, and swallowed hook, line and sinker. Welcome to the new journalism.

One of Twitter's top five this week was the greatly exaggerated death of action film star Jackie Chan who is alive and well.

With "don't ask" repealed, a second chance for one UNC student

Big day today for Sara Isaacson. She's in Washington D.C., witnessing history.

Isaacson, 22, is the UNC-Chapel Hill student dismissed from the ROTC program earlier this year after letting her commander know she's a lesbian. Under the don't ask, don't tell policy, coming out forced her from the program.

But with President Obama's signing today of a repeal to that controversial legislation, Isaacson is looking once again at a military commission.

But as you'll read in today's story, this won't be a case of Isaacson simply picking up where she left off. Her dismissal has changed her, and not for the worse, she says.

Read on.

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