Packing heat

Well, it turns out that NC’s own (and failed Redskins QB) Heath Shuler no longer needs worry about any crazed maniacs attacking him.  He’ll be packing heat when back in the NC Mountains.  Likewise, Tea-Party sponsored Renee Ellmers will be able to take out any “Victory Mosque” Muslims who come after her in Raleigh.

WASHINGTON — In the wake of the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., two members of the N.C. congressional delegation plan to carry concealed weapons more often in their home districts, while a third is considering getting a permit to do so.

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a Waynesville Democrat, told reporters right after the shooting that he would start carrying his weapon more often in the 11th District, which covers the far western mountain counties. He obtained his current permit in early 2009, according to Haywood County records.

Shuler was among a handful of House members who said publicly that they will be armed back home. But others will be, too.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a freshman Republican from Dunn, has had a concealed carry permit since February 2010, according to Harnett County records.

“I have one. And I’ll be carrying,” she said recently when asked.

We can all breathe easier now.

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Greatest Classical Music Composers

Interesting essay in the Times today by Anthony Tomassini who makes the case for his top 10 classical music composers.  Admittedly, I’ve got not nearly enough exposure to be a fair judge (though, I do have a decent bit of classical on my Ipod and WCPE programmed in my car stereo), but it was really interesting and got me thinking.  He chose Bach as number 1.  Sure, Bach is great, but #1?!  Much to my dad’s dismay (he worships Mozart), I’d have to say Beethoven is clearly the greatest.  His symphonies, especially, are transcendent like nothing else in classical music.   I don’t think I could even do a top 10, so here’s my top whatever I get up to:

  1. Beethoven
  2. Tchaikovsky
  3. Mozart
  4. Chopin
  5. Rachmaninoff
  6. Schubert

Chopin and Rachmaninoff will always be special for me because at the peak of my piano abilities (literally 20 years ago), I was actually able to play some of their better works.  That was such a thrill to actually be able to play their music myself.

“Astronaut Mark Kelly”

Being an astronaut is certainly cool, but ask yourself how many times you’ve heard a reference to Gabrielle Giffords’ husband that did not actually refer to him as “astronaut Mark Kelly”? I honestly cannot recall the last time I heard a reference to him that did not attach the “astronaut” tag. Is there any other job, title, etc., out there that’s even close in always seeming to be referenced in relation to a person? The psychic hold of “astronaut” on the American public really is pretty amazing.

Wake schools, Stephen Colbert, and the Tea Party

The inmates are running the asylum in our local school system.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s good to see that the travesty that is the Wake County Republican school board has now garnered national attention for their folly.  The Post had a big story about it earlier this week:

RALEIGH, N.C. – The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood.

But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to “say no to the social engineers!” it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts.

And as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits – logic thatcritics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation.

What’s always been so frustrating about this to me is just how much of it is based on ignorance (isn’t that always the case, though, especially when Republicans are behind policy changes).   Most of the people so unhappy that their kids are being bused too far were having their kids bused because growth has been so fast (because everybody wants to live in a school system with no bad schools).  Instead of the growth, though, it was much easier to simply scapegoat (the sensible and effective) busing for socio-economic diversity, which is a very small portion of the overall busing.

Stephen Colbert, clearly following the Post’s lead, got a hold of the story and did his typically terrific satire:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Lastly, the media scholar in me cannot resist noting how the media got this wrong.  Other than the fact that Tedesco spoke at a Tea Party rally after he was elected, in no way was this a “Tea Party-backed” board or any such thing.  Did Tea Partiers vote for these guys?  Sure, but that’s because they vote for Republicans.  The effect is essentially the same, of course, as sadly our new school board majority seems to have the sense and intellectual coherence of a typical tea party rally, but in this case a good story, “Tea-party school board take over!” got ahead of the actual facts.

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