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Opinion Editorial

Jim Davis is right about this much: Hospitals in North Carolina shouldn’t be using any monopolistic muscle to try to prevent competition that will benefit patients and the larger public.

The freshman state senator and orthodontist from Macon County is wrong on another score. “Health care is a business …,” Davis recently told The Asheville Citizen-Times.

It's not a business, in any traditional sense, and that's why North Carolina employs the Certificate of Need laws that are now the subject of a review by a House study committee.

Davis, in his comments to the Asheville newspaper, was reflecting on whether Mission Hospital in Asheville had used the Certificate of Need laws and something called a Certificate of Public Advantage to hold down competition.

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Over the next few days, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature will proudly proclaim how they are protecting the sanctity of marriage.

Their Democratic counterparts will just as loudly shout about how Republican leaders are damaging the state’s ability to recruit jobs.

Another round of divisive legislative debate is in store as GOP legislators attempt to insert language into the state constitution to ensure that same-sex marriages never take place in this state.

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Like the retail Christmas season, the election cycle seems to start earlier and earlier. Hope persists that maybe this time we can vote the right people in and all will be well and good. However, our electoral system seems to continually produce elected officials who are more naughty than nice. Is it possible that the very structure of our system is at fault.

Imagine an electoral process where representation was alphabetical and not ideological. For instance, people whose names were in the range of Gardner thru Gorecki voted for a congressman to “represent” them. Such a system would be silly, arbitrary, and a poor method for people to express their political will. However, it would in certain ways be superior to what we have now. At least it would be pretty hard to dole out pork barrel projects according to where folks were located in the phone book.

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When the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground on September 11, 2001, it took with it any illusions Americans might have harbored about the nation’s invincibility, leaving many feeling vulnerable, scared and angry. Yet in that moment of weakness, while most of us were still reeling from the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of some 3,000 Americans, we managed to draw strength from and comfort each other.

Suddenly, the news was full of stories of strangers helping strangers and communities pulling together. Even the politicians put aside their partisan pride and bickering and held hands on the steps of the Capitol, singing “God Bless America.”

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