Astronaut's words inspire lottery official

Staff WritersDecember 6, 2005 

State lottery Chairman Charles Sanders has been fond of quoting astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio whenever talk at the lottery commission's meetings has turned to money and taking the low bidder for products or services. Sanders has made it no secret he prefers buying based on quality, not price.

"When he was orbiting and they asked how he was doing," Sanders has said of Glenn, "he would say, 'How would you feel inside 150,000 parts that were awarded on the low bid?' "

Sanders had made the comment again on Friday while visiting Nashville to get a first-hand look at the Tennessee lottery -- and then came within inches of bumping into Glenn himself as the commission gathered at the Nashville airport to depart. Glenn had flown in for a funeral.

Dome took the chance to ask Glenn about his comment.

"What I said," Glenn said, "was right before launch. And they asked how it was going. And I said, 'How would you feel sitting on top of 2 million parts that were built by the low bidder on a government contract?"

He laughed.

Sanders did, too, when told the story.

Bush plan has Duke ties

Is a Duke University professor behind President Bush's plan for victory in Iraq?

The New York Times reported Sunday that the 35-page-document entitled "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" was in a computer file created by "feaver-p."

The document was posted on the White House Web site and was the subject of a speech by Bush last week at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Since June, Peter Feaver has been a special adviser for strategic planning and institutional reform for the National Security Council staff. He is on leave from Duke, where he is a professor of political science and public policy.

Feaver's expertise is in the areas of security studies, civil-military relations and nuclear weapons, according to his resume on the Duke Web site. His recent research, in collaboration with Duke professor Christopher Gelpi, has focused on public opinion that shows Americans would support a war with escalating casualties as long as they felt assured of U.S. victory in the end.

Last week, the president's speech was peppered with the word "victory." Recent polls have shown a decline in public support for Bush's handling of the war.

Feaver, who has written frequent opinion pieces in U.S. newspapers, cannot talk on the record with reporters since he took the job in Washington, said Mike Munger, chairman of Duke's political science department.

In response last week to a request by The News & Observer to talk about the war, Feaver wrote: "Alas, I am working in the government now and so I am not allowed to do phone interviews on this topic."

Day-care official to retire

Peggy Ball, head of the state division that regulates day care, is retiring at the end of January. Ball has worked for the state Department of Health and Human Services since 1994. She started working for the state in 1976.

Ball, director of the Division of Child Development, implemented the state's star rating system for day-care centers in 2000. Higher child-care subsidies are offered for each star on a license.

"We were absolutely the first state in the country that built quality ratings into our regulatory system, and everybody's been trying to copy us since," she said.

The star rating program was a finalist for Harvard University's 2004 Innovations in Government Award.

"Peggy has worked tirelessly with her fine staff to ensure that North Carolina child care is more than just watching a young child," Health and Human Services Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom said in an e-mail message to staff. "She wants to ensure that it also provides a high-quality learning experience that will ensure that young child's future success."

Rob Kindsvatter, the division's administrative section chief, will be acting director.

Women mixed on legislation

NC Women United, a coalition of 40 organizations, on Monday gave the legislature mixed grades on work on health care, housing, pay and domestic violence issues of interest to the group.

In all, 11 of the 23 bills Women United supported became law. Some failed, and others are still pending.

For example, the minimum pay for state employees went up about $2,000 a year, but the state did not expand the state's hate crimes law to include protection based on age, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Curliss can be reached at 829-4840 or

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