School Closures

All NC public school buildings will be closed until May 15 because of coronavirus BY T. KEUNG HUI MARCH 23, 2020 01:08 PM  Note: The Raleigh News & Observer and McClatchy News Sites are offering full coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus to all, with no payment...

Message from District 11 Democrats

NC 11th Congressional District Democratic Party March 23, 2020  COVID19 Update: As you may know already all NC county conventions are postponed to April 25 and will be virtual. All District conventions are postponed to May 16 and will be virtual. Stay tuned for...

Why Your Vote Is Safe in North Carolina

The North Carolina Board of Elections has issued the following assurances about election security:   No Evidence of Successful Attack North Carolina elections officials have no evidence than any election system or voting system in the state has ever been the...

This Week in the Blog, June 11, 2018

In American Numbers Game, Penny digs into the truth behind some of the current administration’s “great successes.”  The master of hyperbole in the White House would have you believe that no one has dealt with natural disaster as well as he has, but...

American Numbers Game

Golf and Hurricanes: a Story of Two Sets of Numbers By Penny Smith In an age of truthiness, even numbers lie. Well, one could argue they have always concealed facts (see Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”). Yet the skewed...

What I’m Reading: June 3, 2018

By Penny Smith Both of these pieces are printed in the latest issue of The Atlantic magazine. The first one is the cover story, has gotten a little play around on the web and goes a long way toward explaining resentment about “the elite.” The second is a casual essay...

This Week In the Blog, 5-28-18

Who do you know who could draw a comparison between James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty:  Truth, Lies and Leadership, and Green Eggs and Ham?  That’s right!  Penny is back!  Penny read all the way through Comey’s book and concludes that it only...

Let Us Now Praise Honorable Men

By Penny Smith One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read is James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which came with equally powerful photographs by Walker Evans. Eschewing traditional journalism, Agee distills the experiences of tenant farmers during the...

What I’m Reading 5-27-18

By Penny Smith James Comey, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. New York, 2018.  The number of Americans who, as children, heard the phrase “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am” surely outnumbers those who managed to avoid one of...

This Week in the Blog, May 14, 2018

This week’s selection of blog posts is quite the gold mine because there are two weeks worth of posts. Swamp People is an update on just how fetid Trump’s circle of appointed officials and hired advisers really is.  It is a world of influence and bribery,...

Worse Than Ever?

By Penny Smith Ezra Kline, one of the more thoughtful of our newest generation of political analysts and founder of the web site VOX, recently penned an interesting article on our current climate of democratic despair: “American Democracy has faced worse threats than...

A Movement to Watch: Rebirth of the Poor People’s Campaign

By Penny Smith The most recent New Yorker  (May 14, 2018) contains an extended essay on the Reverend William Barber (“The Southern Strategist” by Jelani Cobb, pp. 68-75), written by a fan. However, if you have ever heard Barber speak or have read transcripts of those...

What I’m Reading 5-14-18

By Penny Smith Daniel S. Pierce, Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community. Gatlinburg, TN: Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2017.  When I first moved to western North Carolina I naively thought that I could compile a definitive...

Swamp People: With Apologies to the History Channel

By Penny Smith Because I have an inexplicable fondness for American Pickers, I’m privy to advertisements for another History Channel Show, Swamp People. Set in the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, it’s a reality show about alligator hunters. Given my attraction to most...

GSMNP: You Got Got to Love It

By Penny Smith Friday was a difficult day for Margaret, my partner with dementia. So I decided we needed to spend Saturday doing something she still likes to do – ride through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, accompanied by the two terriers, in search of...

What I’m Reading 5-6-18

By Penny Smith David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. New York: Vintage, 2017. David Grann is a staff writer for the New Yorker as well as the author of several well-received books (The Lost City of Z, The Devil and...

Results: 2018 Primary Election

These are results pulled from the North Carolina State Board of Elections web site.  All precincts have reported in Jackson County and NC District 11.  Results are considered to be preliminary until the Board of Elections has certified them....

Mark Watson Park: A Brief Meditation on the Good Life

By Penny Smith One of the pleasure of life in Jackson County is the number of parks available for dog walking, an exercise in which I routinely engage. For example, there’s the walkway at the Cullowhee Recreation Center, the Village Green in Cashiers, part of the...

Civilization

By Penny Smith One of my book clubs read Brian Morton’s Florence Gordon last month. Its protagonist is a feisty, indeed cranky, elder feminist, who takes few prisoners. When a man tries to jump the line in a local drug store, she immediately admonishes him. To his...

What I’m Reading, 4-30-18

By Penny Smith Edward Bernays, Propaganda. New York, 1928. Yep, that’s right, this is a book originally published in 1928, but it continues to be in print, because the message is so prescient. I had heard about it, read summaries, but hadn’t read the whole thing until...

Build That Wall!

By Penny Smith It’s difficult to capture Big Bend National Park in words. It’s vast and varied, but it’s in Texas and everything there is supposed to be big.  It’s isolated — over 560 miles from Houston, where I once lived and from which I started my visits, so...