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The Daily Planet's Opinion: Congrats to Oscar Wong for setting terrific example... Craft beer pioneer given top N. civilian, Scounts' awards
Thursday, 25 May 2023 21:39

We extend our hearty congratulations to Asheville’s Oscar Wong, who recently was honored for his efforts as the city’s craft beer pioneer and for his civic contributions over the years.

Specfically, Wong, 82. received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine — the highest civilian honor that state Gov. Roy Cooper is empowered to bestow. 

On May 3, Lou Bissette, a former Asheville mayor and Wong’s long-time friend, presented the governor’s award to Wong on “Oscar’s Night,” which drew around 400 people to the Asheville Crowne Plaza Hotel. 

Also at the event, at which the Daniel Boone Council of the Boy Scouts of America held its Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner, Wong was honored by the scouts as the founder (in 1994) of Highland Brewing and the “godfather” of Asheville’s craft brewing scene. 

Perhaps topping everything was the announcement that, as of May 16, a bronze plaque commemorating Wong would be displayed at Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria at 42 Biltmore Avenue in downtown. The 28-by-28-inch plaque will hang on the front of the building, just steps award from the basement in the rear, where Highland was launched.

“While Highland has grown into a regional craft beer powerhouse, with two locations in Asheville and distribution in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia, Wong has remained the same humble, generous, lovable man he was when slinging around bags of grain in Barley’s unglamerous lower level,” John Boyle, a reporter/columnist for the website, wrote recently, after the awards gala.

Also, the website wrote the following about Wong:

 “As the son of Chinese immigrants, Wong was born and raised in Jamaica, eventually moving to the U.S. to study civil engineering at Notre Dame. After a successful career in engineering, Wong in 1992 relocated with his family to the sleepy town of Asheville, North Carolina, to retire and settle down. Before Asheville was celebrated as the mecca for craft beer lovers, Wong was unassumingly brewing beer in the downtown basement of Barley’s Taproom as a post-retirement hobby. Over time, the hobby turned into a real business, and thus Highland Brewing Company was born. Years later, Wong headed to a much larger manufacturing facility in East Asheville where the brewery is headquartered today.

“When Wong founded Highland in 1994, he launched Asheville’s first craft brewery since Prohibition and unknowingly ignited a craft beer revolution across the Southeast. Fast forward to today, Asheville claims the title of “Beer City USA” with one of the highest rates of breweries per capita in the U.S. Today, Highland serves as North Carolina’s largest native brewery and has been celebrated as one of the South’s best breweries.”

To all that, we say “bravo” to Wong for his efforts and deserved success!

It was the worst television show in history
Thursday, 25 May 2023 21:37
Syndicated Columnist

You may remember. In last week’s column, I asked the question: Why would CNN give its “avowed enemy, twice-impeached, once-indicted, election-denying, conspiracy-inspiring, serial adulterer, pathological liar and accused rapist ex-president — who’s still the subject of four separate criminal investigations” — an hour of prime time, largely unchallenged, to spew even more lies?

That was the right question last week, before CNN’s Town Hall (on May 10) with Donald Trump from New Hampshire. 

But it’s an even more important question this week, after the fact – and after we’ve all suffered what will be remembered as the worst hour of prime time in television history. It made “The Jerry Springer Show” look like a picnic.

Why did CNN do it? What purpose did it serve, other than to legitimize Donald Trump as someone who should be seriously considered worthy of a second term – which, by any standards of decency or democracy, he should not.

We knew CNN’s Trump Town Hall would be a disaster, and it was.

It didn’t take long. Only one minute into the town hall, Trump told his first lie: that the 2020 election was rigged and ripe with voter fraud (it was not). 

He then proceeded to spit out one lie after another. That Mike Pence had the authority to single-handedly overrule the Electoral College (he did not). That Pence was “in no danger” on January 6 (ask the Secret Service). That under the Presidential Records Act a president has authority to take any documents he wants from the White House and do anything he wants with them (he does not). That January 6 was a beautiful day (it was not) and members of the armed mob who attacked the Capitol were full of love (they were not).

The list goes on. That Barack Obama also stole classified documents (he did not). That the FBI never raided Joe Biden’s home (they didn’t have to, Biden invited them in). That Trump never asked Georgia election officials to “find” him a certain number of votes (he did, and it’s on tape). That he built hundreds of miles of border wall (he did not). That then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi is responsible for what happened on January 6 because she didn’t mobilize the National Guard (she didn’t control the National Guard, he did). He even asserted that people in Washington’s Chinatown don’t speak English (they do).

Throughout the evening, CNN host Kaitlan Collins repeatedly interrupted Trump, denying or fact-checking every lie. She was fearless. She was awesome. 

But CNN made her job impossible. Under the format, Trump could just ignore her, blather on, repeat his lies, and roll right over her. In the end, he even sneered at her and said: “You are a nasty person.” And the audience cheered!

That was CNN’s worst move. They not only gave Trump an undeserved, national, hour of prime-time television, they invited an in-house audience of MAGA Republicans to cheer him on. 

It was not, as promised, a representative group of New Hampshire Republican voters. It was a raucous crowd of 400 Trumpers. Who selected members of the audience? The Trump campaign? Nobody from the audience asked one single critical question.

In fact, it was just another Trump rally. They applauded when he promised to pardon those convicted of violence on January 6. They applauded when he said he’d end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours (how?). They applauded when he insisted that he, not the Supreme Court, overturned Roe v. Wade. 

Most shamefully, they laughed and cheered when Trump mocked columnist E. Jean Carroll.

That must have been the most disgraceful moment of the entire evening. One day after a Manhattan jury unanimously concluded that they believed Carroll, not Trump, and found him liable of sexually abusing and defaming her, Trump expressed no regrets. Instead, he made fun of her – “what kind of a woman would do that?” – and defamed her even more, calling her a “wack job.” Carroll should sue Trump for another $5 million!

One thing the CNN Town Hall did accomplish. It squashed any speculation that Trump might change somewhat to appeal to independent or undecided voters in 2024. 

No way. No more than he would “pivot” once he became president. Trump is what he is and always was: a totally disgusting, amoral, egotistical, pathological liar and sexual predator who once tried, lest we forget, to overthrow the United States government. 

The fact that he was once president is a colossal embarrassment. 

The idea that he should ever again be entrusted with the job is unthinkable.
©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC



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