Too Many of This and That In North Carolina

During the week of September 22-28, the Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, and winner of the Gov. Rick Perry Talk Alike Contest, made the remark that North Carolina has too many journalists, and I quote: “We’ve frankly got enough psychologists and sociologists and political science majors and journalists. With all due respect to journalism, we’ve got enough, We have way too many.” The Governor was “reportedly” offering his views on career options facing present and future workers. The Governor went on for some reason to buttress his reasoning with the additional riposte that his economic policies were “too complex for the journalists.” [Source: The Charlotte Observer,, September 28, 2014].

This naturally brought forth howls of protests from wounded journalists and huzzahs from the crowd that wishes to ship all intrepid, nosy, bothersome reporters and paparazzi off to North Korea “where they would have a lot more material” as one political wag and sarcastic friend of mine declared. All this got me to thinking. The Governor could be starting a “How much is enough (or too many) campaign” to carry him for three more years in North Carolina. By way of explanation, in North Carolina, the gubernatorial elections are held in the off year, the year after the national Presidential elections. For instance, the next Presidential election will occur in 2016 while North Carolina’s Gubernatorial Election would be in 2017. Apparently this was decided political eons ago so that the campaign backers and Super PAC funds would be so broke that North Carolinians would not have to hear the non-stop headache-inducing political ads that are descending on us now. So  the Governor of North Carolina is starting early with a few test issues and you can never start too early in political campaigning.

His first foray into the “too many” political slogan was the issue of whether in our state’s school’s class rooms, we had too many teachers’ assistants. So back in 2013 a lot of political hot air was expelled within the annual budgetary process of the General Assembly over whether the Governor’s judgement that NC had too many extra teachers was true. All kinds of teacher gerrymandering based formulas based on counties’ populations, future rates of growth and numbers of needy school children were aired as formulas to help scientifically and dispassionately decide the issue of exactly how many or how few teachers’ assistants were actually needed. There was  no data to help anyone out on either side of this bitter debate, so a sharply defining decision exhibiting the all important appearance of “strong leadership” was announced with little debate to cut  all the teachers’ assistants out in the KG and early primary grade school years across that state saving truck loads of monies. Then he or someone else, perhaps, another one of those pesky reporters extended the Governor’s “too many” concept to the states’ many but largely unknown coal ash ponds. When I first heard of this coal ash issue, I like everyone else, did not know “beans” about origin of coal ash ponds in the coal fired process of generating the electricity that I depend on in every facet of my modern life. much less that it was a “problem.” And actually, coal ash ponds did not sound so bad to me, especially when compared to the “stink” raised about the pig farm waste floods and leaks that “surfaced” several years ago in North Carolina. Phew! I have driven by some of those huge porcine farms that raise the bacon I gave up eating decades ago and nothing could smell worse than those places. Besides to my knowledge, I really never have smelled a coal ash pond.

As I tried to think independently and on my own about this new mysterious issue, I decided to give coal ash ponds the benefit of the doubt and see if there could be any benefit to them, that we might actually need them. I remembered that a lot of home remedies and even modern day products were made from coal and thought coal ash ponds might be valuable resouces we should not necessarily dismiss out of hand. I then got a bit carried away and thought I might be on to something here that no one has thought of and that people were getting too upset over coal ash ponds.

I remembered that the very powerful smelly shampoo I use every morning that smells so bad it keeps away all of NC’s mosquitoes through the summer, protecting me from all the equine viruses that cause the deadly encephalitis brain infections. That of course is not its main use which is to control my epidemic dandruff. My shampoo really is coal based and does wonders for my seborrhoeic dermatitis driven dandruff which is why I never wear dark clothes, only white shirts and ties up top. My dandruff is so bad, people think Tinkerbell has been sprinkling me with magic fairy dust, or that my colleagues in a recent business meeting thought my ideas were so bad they threw all the powdered sugar doughnuts at me. Now it seems the political process has sidestepped the question of whether we have too many coal ash ponds and decreed they do not have to cleared up 10 more years or so.

I think perhaps the Governor and his economic development team could be making a grave economic mistake here of giving in to the pressure of the environmentalists and committing to doing away with the coal ash ponds by sneding them to be frozen permanently in the Dakotas. If my coal based shampoo is good enough for my dreaded dandruff (friends dread to have me rest my head on the cushions of their furniture), and coal tar based topical medicines are still routinely used for “the heartbreak of psoriasis,” there could be real potential for new tourism business and a lot of dollars for North Carolina to make up for the lost football scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill, as I am sure those students need extra teachers’ assistant.

For decades, the rich and famous have migrated to places like Hot Springs, Arkansas and the similarly named Hot Springs of Madison County, North Carolina,and the now forgotten hot lithium springs of decades ago in Chase City Virginia,  or floating and soaking in the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea as cures for “what ailes you,” I think the coal ash ponds could be marketed as novel skin treatments for the rich and gullible. I know from the epidemiologists that we have more rich people than ever before. So if there are “too many” rich people, maybe we could put them to good use by “soaking them” for a good cause, namely the rest of us.We could charge them big bucks for the privilege of soaking in the hot gooey coal tar with the sales pitch that it could do something healthy> It could be wisely priced so it is not as expensive as all the stuff my wife buys to keep her skin young. I have secretly tried some of it and found it always stings my skin something awful. And boy does it cost a lot of money.

I should think that soaking in hot coal ash sludge would cause unwanted excess skin to slough off, germs would be killed, and those misguided psoriasis genes in skin cells would change their little RNA minds in a hurry about starting to make any more psoriasis. And I am sure that like the products my wife buys for her skin from those late night cable tv sales shows, any number of helpful doctors would endorse coal ash, I think I might if it would help NC’s economy. Why I would think that soaking in a coal ash pond could be a sure fire treatment that kills all germs on contact! After all I am sure as a physician that we all have “too many” microbes, germs, fungi and other dermal terrorists on our skins’ surfaces, just waiting to invade and start some immunologic insurrection, chopping off the heads of my valiant neutrophil and lymphocyte cells who spend their lives defending me.

And I think the Governor is onto something good here, there are lots of things we have too many of, potholes in the roads, rabid foxes and skunks, skunks for sure in and of themselves, unpainted barns with no more “See Rock City,” messages, professional sports playoffs on late night television, late night television in general, news about terrorists, out of control professional athletes who abuse their wives, abused spouses, bridges and schools needing repair, school children needing extra help through the teachers’ assistants…no wait, I am back where I started. This is too complex. My head hurts, I think I will go soak in a nice warm coal ash pit for a while and relax.


North Carolina’s Governor could continue this campaign along for the next three years crusading against all kinds of evils and undesirable besides just journalists that we have too many of. I can think of all the people that wear embarrassing outfits to WalMart to shop in, bankers who are supposedly still destroying our economy, Democrats who are overspending our tax dollars, Republicans who won’t spend our tax dollars on anything helpful, lawyers who get criminals off with light sentences, criminals who get off with light sentences like the inebriated man a few years ago in Morganton, NC who required several car loads of deputy sheriffs to corral him as he chased cows around in a big field with a knife thinking they were aliens. And of course there is the whole Area 51 and the alien problem, as supposedly we have way too many of them but that is too contentious an issue and I won’t get into that. Maybe the Governor had in mind all the arguing journalists, the so-called “talking heads” that we have on almost all news shows nowadays. There are two camps of them, those that yell and scream at each other and worst of all interrupt each other constantly which does not set any kind of good example for our young people trying to learn to be good citizens who can hold their own in a debate or discerning discussion, or the other camp where fake people with gobs of pancake make-up talk so cheerfully about all the depressing news. After I listen to them I realize I cannot remember anything they have said because the have not said anything. They are as my Texas sister says, “a bunch of doodleheads.” Yes, I think that is what we have too much of nowadays, doodleheads.


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