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The Daily Planet's Opinion: July 2016
Saturday, 09 July 2016 13:54

Let’s back a ‘signature bridge’

We enthusiastically back the idea of transforming the Bowen Bridge into a “signature bridge” as part of the I-240 improvements (using Alternative 4B) on the I-26 Connector through West Asheville, downtown and North Asheville.

A signature bridge, like the Golden Gate in San Francisco or Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, S.C., can give a community a distinct identity, add to its aesthetic beauty and even draw more tourists.

Given downtown Asheville’s unique Art Deco architecture and chic look, along with West and North Asheville’s funky vibes, the current Bowen Bridge connecting them clashes — with its structural ugliness and dysfunction.

So how would this “signature bridge” be financed?

Additional costs for the bridge above and beyond the standard “may require local funding,” according to Rick Tipton, division construction engineer with the state Department of Transportation’s Asheville office.

He also noted that there will be a committee of local people — likely from Asheville, Buncombe County and DOT – to consider and make recommendations regarding the aesthetic features of the project.

Regarding the key issue of funding, we favor the idea of getting grants —  derived from the hotel room tax— from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.

The Candid Conservative: A corrupt culture of convenience
Saturday, 09 July 2016 13:50
Special to the Daily Planet

“The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation, but false progress.”

Sydney J. Harris

The problem

Our culture is unraveling. Where it ends, no one knows. What we do know is the world is designed toward self-correction – and that surrender to and recovery from stupid is always painful. 

Examples abound whereby 21st century America is busily dismantling paradise behind a false screen of progress. Here are a few examples.



Today’s America has a thing for get-out-of-responsibility-free passes. Nowhere is this passion more visible than in our devotion to the dark magic of drugs.

Whether it’s the opportunity to take a pill to compensate for poor lifestyle choices – think most cases of high-blood pressure and Type II diabetes – or a substance that can help us swim through life’s miseries, we love getting by and getting high.

Nothing in life is free and drugs are no exception. The more one pursues artificial escapes from the responsibilities or difficulties of living, the more one is drawn to repeating that action. That leads to addiction and that’s a problem because addiction turns people into social predators. Our track record for long-term drug addiction treatment pretty much matches our cinematic capacity for rehabilitating zombies.  

Those advocating legalizing drugs find comfort in the fantasy that ready availability, regulation and low costs will fix many of the problems associated with an out-of-control drug culture.

Legalizers consistently miss one point – we can liberate addicts from the problems of access, but we cannot absolve them of consequences. Recreational drugs, without exception, are physically or psychologically addictive. The addicted don’t just fade away and die – they first suck the life out of their families and community.


Postponement politics

Peel away the reasoning behind deficit spending, artificially suppressed interest rates, and hyper-active government printing presses, and it all comes down to one agenda – keeping us smiling so those in power stay in power. Ironically, there is no appreciable difference in a drug-user addicted to painkillers or a country addicted to goofy monetary policy.

Absorbing the idea of trillions in debt is like grasping the majesty of heaven. It’s beyond our paygrade. One look at the National Debt Clock and most people glaze over like a teenager facing a lecturing father.

Add entitlement promises, underfunded retirement plans, student loans, consumer debt, and spiraling healthcare demands, and our future is resting on the fragile foundation of a gazillion trillion borrowed dollars. 

Yes, we’ve been well-programmed to believe government has a magic button that at the appropriate moment will make everything OK. That sleight of hand is called “denial” – a trait typical to all addicts – including irresponsible societies wishing to fly now and pretend it’s OK for someone else to pay later.


culture of victimization

 All white knights need a damsel in distress. That’s the essential foundation of the left. To be heroes they have to manufacturer victims. 

College campuses, where everyone is free to be anything but a Christian, conservative or patriot are becoming increasingly distracted from the business of education in favor of guarding sensitivities. Special little snowflakes of all races, genders and proclivities are demanding “safe zones” where they can be guaranteed no visual or auditory cues will melt their little brand of individuality. Flashback to 1930s Germany reveals the same brand of: “I’m so right I shouldn’t have to endure any exposure to those who are wrong” thinking. America’s college campus brand of Nazism will not end well either.

One of my favorite examples of a culture hooked on victimization is what we’re doing with our veterans. Instead of hanging the politicians who threw them into Vietnam II and III (Afcrazystan and Iquacked), we’re adding insult to injury by mass marketing PTSD as a permanent condition.

PTSD is real, but it’s also very treatable and in no way a free pass from the responsibility of rebuilding one’s life following trauma exposures. 

In today’s America, we’re turning warriors into permanent victims with an identity formed around suffering versus a dedication to finding ways out of the maze. For those vets who resent the insinuation, may I suggest you read up on the horrors of Auschwitz – and the courage with which so many of those victims overcame to live productive lives? You can too and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

In today’s wacky American model, women, minorities, the gender confused, the poor, the old, the young, the unhealthy and the mentally ill are all victims. By the time you add those numbers, there’s a small minority of Atlas-like figures holding up the weight of the country.

In all this “I’m a progressive-liberal-socialist-democrat and I’ll save you” nonsense, there’s a key ignored fact — the minute you claim victim status you cease to be an equal. 


Accountability gap

Name anything good about life – joy, happiness, prosperity, love, opportunity, freedom, etc. – and you will find responsibility is a crucial ingredient in the mix.  Nothing good exists without accountability. 

In today’s America, we’re working like the devil to figure out how to keep the good stuff and discard that pesky old accountability thing. That’s the psychological equivalent of deciding restrooms can do quite well without the hassles of toilet paper.

Examples abound – starting with our current President. Mr. “Constitutional Scholar” has done more to undermine America’s model of governance than any man in history. His indifference to his oath of office – which keys on upholding the Constitution above all other responsibilities – has been nothing if not remarkable. 

And he’s apparently pulled it off with little more consequence than prematurely grey hair and an increasingly fixed grimace. It’s not hard to skip accountability in a culture that avoids its own with enthusiasm.

Students want the timeout rewards and opportunities of advanced educational exposures, but don’t want the responsibility of paying off student loans.  

Baby boomers insist on full Social Security and Medicare benefits — and we’re just peachy with dumping the costs on our off-spring. That’s necessary because we skipped the accountability of making sure those in governance didn’t rob our contributions.

Ours is a country full of people dedicated to eating and drinking too much and exercising and sleeping too little. The result is lifestyle related illnesses requiring medical interventions that, again, no one wants to pay for.

Then there are our churches – sanctuaries of complacency passionately echoing the comforting message of God’s love while ignoring his matching less-than-comfortable call for accountability. 

Sorry, guys – in all cases – opportunity doesn’t work without accountability.



My favorite uncle once shared the advice of his childhood mentor, “Sell the things of man – buy the things of God.” That admonition is relevant to more than just economics.

It’s man who’s trying to sell the silly notion that opportunity, equality, freedom, prosperity and the like can be obtained without matching dedication to responsibility. It’s God – check out the Bible for written instruction and nature for practical confirmation – who unflinchingly asserts that good things rot without accountability as surely as food spoils without refrigeration.

It thus behooves us to ignore the message of an increasingly foolish culture and skip advice from those whose collar and cuffs don’t match. If you want the goodies, get busy, get creative, get focused on earning such through personal accountability.  In doing so you will be much more able to navigate the tumultuous times ahead – and you’ll skip the hidden tax on your character that comes with any effort to take what we don’t earn.

When all else fails, remember the immortal words of Cuba Gooding’s “Rod Tidwell” character in the movie Jerry McGuire: “I feel for you, man. But a real man wouldn’t shoplift the pootie.”

Jerry had the character to admit his transgression. An increasing number of Americans don’t.

Thanks for spending a few minutes with a candid conservative!

Carl Mumpower is a psychologist and former elected official. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




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