My friends at The News & Observer have been on a roll recently. There was Andy Curliss’ story a couple of Sundays ago making clear that Gov. Mike Easley rushed the legislature into session to approve a $242 million incentive package for Dell computers when the competition, particularly from Virginia, wasn’t nearly as stiff as we’d been led to believe. Virginia’s incentives–according to secret documents unearthed by Curliss–were initially topping out at $37 million.

Then there was Pat Stith and David Raynor’s story this week showing that the owners of one in three vehicles in the Triangle are probably paying too high a property tax on them because local tax offices don’t adjust values for high mileage, and often don’t tell people it’s grounds for appealing their valuation.

But my favorite story recently was Keung Hui (pron. Kern, by the way) throwing a light on the curriculum at Cary Christian School. It focused on a booklet called “Southern Slavery, As It Was” that’s used in ninth grade classes on the Civil War. The booklet, as Hui summarizes it, “attempts to provide biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren’t treated as badly as people think.”

You can see one quote on the Front Porch, page 7. Or, Hui reported, there’s this: “Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence.” It goes on and on.

One of the authors of the booklet, Douglas Wilson, is behind the “classical Christian” philosophy on which the school is based. He is scheduled to be the graduation speaker in May. The booklet’s other author, Steve Wilkins, is on the board of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate group that is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report.

School principal Larry Stephenson told Hui the booklet was used to foster debates in class.

We started imagining some of the other sides of some of the other historical topics that might be under discussion at Cary Christian School:

  • The plague: Allowed for a burst of European population growth!
  • European conquest of North America: Opened casino gambling opportunities!
  • Nazi Germany: Vital to development of the U.S. space program!
  • Segregation: Created community–not just one, but two!

    And in current affairs, there’s the positive side of the reelection of George W. Bush: A date when we know for sure he’ll be out of office–Jan. 20, 2008.