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People have been dying in our state mental hospitals for lack of care; our parole system is so broken criminals on parole have murdered 580 people – and, now, Governor Easley says, at the end of his term, that it’s a shame the mean ole News and Observer hasn’t treated him ‘nicer.’

The governor puts it this way: “My job,” he says, “Is to be nice to other people and their job is to be nice to me. Just because they’re not doing theirs, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do mine.”

Alright, let’s grant Governor Easley a surplus of personal politeness and charm – but, that said, his definition of ‘niceness’ seems to have an odd twist. After all, is letting a mental patient die after sitting in a chair for two days without care – ‘nice’?

The governor also says it’s a shame that after 33 years of government service, with three weeks left until his retirement, the News and Observer did a ‘hatchet job’ on his State Correction Secretary, Theodis Beck. One almost feels the governor could have been describing himself. But if we’re gonna define success in governing based on a standard of niceness – well, was the governor and Secretary Beck losing track of thousands of paroles ‘nice’ – or negligent?

N&O editor John Drescher was pretty diplomatic in his response to the governor. He could have simply paraphrased Harry Truman and said, They say we give ‘em hell, but we’re just talking about their records and they think it’s hell.

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