A Brief History of America’s No-Good, Very-Bad, Horrible 25-Year Import Rule

BY DOMINIC COLETTI

Most station wagons are not fast cars. They sit one step above minivans in terms of coolness. Of course, the Audi RS4 Avant isn’t most station wagons. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s an all-around great car. Everything about it screams performance and luxury, and there’s enough cargo space to actually haul things. But we here in the US can’t have it. Americans have decided that SUVs are the way to haul the family and cargo. Thus, Audi hasn’t made the car available for sale here. With most other products, that wouldn’t be a very big deal. One would simply buy the car in Europe and ship it here (cheaper than you might think). There’s only one small problem: You can’t actually import most European cars.

US Customs and Border Protection will deny entry to any car not made compliant with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) unless it is at least 25 years old. In addition, cars less than 21 years old are required to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, ostensibly to ensure emissions are within acceptable ranges. American standards are far less stringent than European ones, and emissions are emphasized much more in European marketing. Since most European (Euro-spec) cars are in fact compliant with US standards, they should be eligible for import. However, the EPA requires the vehicle pass a series of tests set up by the EPA inn order to be deemed compliant with US standards. Because Euro-spec cars aren’t built for the US, manufacturers don’t bother getting them certified. Thus, many perfectly good cars are ineligible for import. As an example, the British Honda Civic Type R, engineered for speed and not economy, gets 30.6 MPG for the British model compared to only 25 in the US. That said, the engine is exactly the same, meaning the difference comes in tuning. The banned car is more efficient than the legal one.

As for safety, the US and European Union (EU) use very similar ratings systems for crash tests. While the RS4 Avant hasn’t been tested by Euro-NCAP (Europe’s automotive safety authority), the A4 (on which the RS4 is based) received five stars from the agency. However, neither the Euro-spec A4 nor the RS4 is legal for import. The most absurd part of the safety argument is that while the RS4, with its cutting-edge safety technology is banned in the United States, a Yugo could be imported despite its not having a single airbag. The US-spec A4, with the exact same safety features, earned Good safety ratings across the board in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (the American crash test agency). Some will argue that the rule exists to shield Americans from inferior cars such as the Nissan Tsuru (basically a ’90s Sentra built for the Mexican market), but Europe and Japan are all members of the United Nations World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations which seeks to create a uniform set of regulations that protect car-owners.

As a result, the US has several options to make it easier to import these safe vehicles that automakers consider unprofitable for the American market. The best option is to simply join the World Forum and become signatory to prior agreements on the matter, allowing a universal standard of vehicle codes to regulate American automobiles. This would result in the free trade of automobiles across the world while not compromising safety. With this increased trade comes the greatest part of all, cheaper cars for Americans. When the American market opens to the whole world, there is more competition in the US market (not to mention considerably more supply). This results in Americans having to spend far less for cars that are just as safe as their modern family-moves. For high schoolers in particular, this would lead to newer, safer, more efficient cars becoming within reach, saving them thousands of dollars.

“Cary’s Got Talent” Overview

BY ELISE BAGLEY

“Cary’s Got Talent”  showcased a wide variety of our student body’s wacky and impressive talents. This year’s eclectic array of acts ranged from singing and dancing to grape throwing and ventriloquism! Here are some fast facts about the winning talents:

In 3rd place… Michael Faltz and Micah Patchin!

These two Cary High seniors, opening the second half of the show, engrossed the audience with their extraordinary grape throwing (and catching) skills. Michael even caught one thrown across the auditorium!

In 2nd place…  Allie Jessee and Mr. Jessee!

Allie sang “Gravity” while Mr. Jessee accompanied her on the piano. It was a beautiful performance and a heartwarming father-daughter moment thoroughly enjoyed by those in attendance.

In 1st place… Abby Davis!

Abby played the guitar while performing her original song “Take it All.” Abby is an aspiring musician whose most recent album, Bonus Room, is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. Read her interview with The Page‘s Jake Bryant.

Best Overall… the Super Skippers: Elise Bagley, Megan Mersh, Scott Venable, and Sam Denham!

The Super Skippers were entertaining as always, jumping and flipping in and out of ropes as the crowd watched in awe. What ultimately gave this group the “Best Overall” title was the ever iconic “butt jump roping” act (often featured at Cary High Pep Rallies)!

Overall, “Cary’s Got Talent” was a blast, and hopefully we’ll see you there next year!

Affirmative Action: The Facts

BY ELISE BAGLEY

Affirmative action has been a controversial program ever since its initiation in 1961. The latest controversy comes from Students for Fair Admissions, which originally sued Harvard in 2014 over their affirmative action policy.

What is Affirmative Action?

Affirmative action is defined as a policy that favors groups of people who tend to suffer from discrimination. In 1961 President Kennedy issued an executive order that instructed federal contractors to use affirmative action to ensure that minority applicants receive the same consideration in employment applications. This policy is frequently used in the college admissions process for elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. Universities are allowed to consider race as a part of their admissions process, but the school cannot have a quota on the number of minority students that they admit.

What are the Benefits of Affirmative Action?

While it may seem counterintuitive to consider race in the admissions process, it has proved to be beneficial to the campus as a whole. Affirmative action has increased diversity by 23% in universities which plays a major role in a student’s education. Diversity drives innovation and fosters creativity in students while promoting student growth and understanding of the world around them. In order to succeed in an increasingly global business world, one must be able to collaborate and understand different backgrounds, cultures, and religions.

What are the Drawbacks of Affirmative Action?

This program may have been implemented to put an end to discrimination, but it can potentially promote “reverse discrimination” by accepting less qualified applicants because they are a minority. This can lead to an overall less qualified student body and high dropout rates of minorities in affirmative action schools.

What About the Harvard Case?

This case is different than many previous because it alleges that the Harvard undergraduate admissions program is “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies and procedures” against Asian-American applicants. Past lawsuits have not gained such national momentum, as they often feature a white student suing, but this time it’s a minority group. Harvard has denied these claims and defends their use of race in admissions, yet continues to state that race is never used against an applicant or as a deciding factor for any applicant. Students for Fair Admissions filed the case in November 2014 and the case is expected to head to the Supreme Court. Over the course of the hearings, Harvard has been forced to reveal some of their admissions policies, and it has been confirmed that it is harder for Asian American students to be admitted into the school. The arguments on this topic are complete in federal court, but it is likely it will take a few months to hear a decision. Considering the current status of the trial, it is possible it may end up in the Supreme Court.

Toyota Announces 2019 Supra to Debut at Detroit Auto Show

BY DOMINIC COLETTI

In a press release just before Halloween, Toyota announced that the long-awaited 2019 Supra will debut in January at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The release described the release timeline as “one of the worst-kept secrets in the auto industry.” It’s the one part of the car that has been so poorly masked. Toyota has tantalizingly held the car just barely in the public eye for some time, debuting only masked versions thus far. Having whet the appetite of both auto enthusiasts who remember the original and new enthusiasts, the reveal will be one of the most anticipated events at the Auto Show this year.

If leaks are to be believed, the car will have a straight-six powertrain producing 335bhp and 332 lbs ft of torque, which will allow its 3300 lbs to careen to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. Toyota developed the car with BMW, who was working on a replacement of the Z4, another well-respected sports car. The motor is part of the German partnership, as is the gearbox, which is purported to be an eight-speed automatic. The top speed is unknown as of yet.

Though the release date and some specs have been common knowledge for some time now, much remains to be seen. For example, we’ve never seen it except in camo. We don’t have any idea what the interior will look like. What is clear so far is that whenever the Supra finally comes to production, we’ll have a fun-to-drive, quick, aggressive, bona fide Porsche killer.

Baker Unseats Four-Term Sheriff Harrison

BY DOMINIC COLETTI

Democrat Gerald Baker has unseated four-term incumbent Donnie Harrison in the race for Wake County Sheriff. Harrison has been relatively popular in recent years, making his deputy’s victory surprising.

In this most recent term, Wake County began partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The county can transfer detainees to federal custody if they are suspected to be in the United States illegally. Harrison described the policy as being essential to public safety, while Baker said he was concerned the program tears families apart. The American Civil Liberties Union, while not endorsing any candidate, mentioned Baker’s opposition to what it considered an inhumane policy.

The sheriff’s race was seen by some as a referendum on Harrison’s ICE policy in Wake County; however, Rep. George Holding, who endorsed the policy, won his race against Linda Coleman.

Police brutality also played a role in Harrison’s downfall. In April, a Wake County deputy loosed a dog on a Raleigh man. Kyron Dwain Hinton suffered serious injuries at the hands of a Wake County Deputy and two Highway Patrol Officers in the incident.  The Deputy is still on administrative leave and Hinton has sued the sheriff’s office over the incident.

Recap of the 2018 Midterms

BY STEPHEN ATKINSON

Heading into 2018 midterms, Democrats had one primary goal: win the House. And, as polls, pundits, and Nancy Pelosi had predicted, they did. According to current vote totals, Democrats have a 223-200 advantage over Republicans in the House, and when more results are released in the coming days, it’s likely this number will settle around 229-206, which is slightly better for the Democrats than many expected.

The Senate races, however, told a different story. Republicans performed better than expected, winning by close margins in Florida, Texas, and Indiana—all states Democrats had hoped to win. Most likely, Republicans will have an expanded 53-47 majority (the current count is 51-46) in the new Senate. So while Democrats hoped for a “blue wave” this election, most pundits agree that it did not happen; voter turnout was high, but high across both parties.

How did the two parties react to news of the results? President Trump enumerated his party’s successes in a post-election news conference, and Nancy Pelosi expressed hopes of passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill in the new Congress, one that would certainly require compromise with Senate Republicans but could unite the two parties around a common issue.

In North Carolina, Democrats broke the Republican supermajority in the NC House, making ground in suburban areas, where candidates like Julie Von Haefen and Sydney Batch secured victories in historically Republican districts. Republicans still hold majorities in both state houses, but they will no longer be able to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto power.

Six amendments to the state constitution proposed by Republican legislators were also on the North Carolina ballot. A coalition of left-leaning organizations invested millions of dollars in a campaign to oppose all six. The two most controversial, which would have transferred powers from the Governor to the General Assembly, failed to pass. But North Carolinians voted in favor of the remaining four: an income tax cap, increased rights for crime victims, protections for hunting and fishing, and a photo-ID voting requirement.

With key gains, but overall mixed results, Democrats will set their sights on winning NC majorities in 2020. A new, less gerrymandered district map, likely to be established before then, might make that outcome possible.

 

What’s at Stake in the 2018 Midterms

BY STEPHEN ATKINSON

The 2018 midterms are this Tuesday, November 6th. In addition to voting for local and statewide positions, North Carolinians will elect candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives. Across the country, however, many states will also vote for their U.S. Senators. (About one-third of the Senate is elected every two years—this year, no North Carolina seats are up for election.)

The main focus of midterm elections is control of Congress. Republicans currently have majorities in both houses, and Democrats see this election as an opportunity to win back influence. Nancy Pelosi has expressed confidence that Democrats will win a majority in the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats are up for election. And the polls so far indicate that this is likely. However, the chances are stacked against the Democrats in the Senate. Based on current polling, Democrats would likely have to win six “toss-up” races (in Florida, Nevada, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana, and Montana) and pull upsets in long-shot conservative states Texas and Tennessee—all for a 50-50 split in the Senate. Because of this, many are predicting that the Republicans’ current 51-49 advantage will grow.

According to polling averages from RealClearPolitics.com, Democrats currently have a seven point advantage over Republicans in a “generic ballot,” which means that across the country, voters are, on the whole, more likely to vote Democratic in congressional races. Most attribute this advantage to Donald Trump’s low approval ratings (which have hovered around the low 40s for most of his presidency) and the Democrats’ efforts to increase voter turnout. But why is it still so likely that Republicans will win the Senate? Luck is a big factor—many of the seats up for election this year are safely Republican. Also, even if a greater nationwide population votes for Democrats, Republicans are still likely to win lower-population states that, in the Senate, receive the same amount of representation as other larger states.

The Democratic Party’s popular advantage is more likely to have an effect in the House elections because of the legislature’s proportional representation. Thus, if Democrats lost the House, it would be a big blow to the party’s message of opposing President Trump. Similarly, if Republicans lost the Senate, it would be a stunning rebuke of Trump’s presidency.

Some have speculated this election may signal a “realignment” in the US party map, as Democrats look to win races in traditionally conservative Southern states. The charismatic Democrat Beto O’Rourke is challenging the well-known Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, and in Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams is in a dead-heat gubernatorial battle with Secretary of State (and, controversially, overseer of elections) Brian Kemp. Success for Democrats in these Southern states relies heavily on high voter turnout. So far, early voting numbers have been high—but high across the spectrum, including likely Republican voters, who have had their own “get out the vote” push as a response to the Kavanaugh hearings. So it’s not clear who will come out Tuesday night with the upper-hand. Most likely, both parties will find reason to claim victory, but, as the 2016 elections proved, polls can be unreliable, and nothing is guaranteed.