The Locker Room

March 14, 2011

Locker Room has moved

Posted by CJ Staff at 2:49 PM

Locker Room has moved to a new location. Please join us at our new home: http://lockerroom.johnlocke.org.

The old Locker Room has served us well since Aug. 19, 2003. In the first post more than seven years ago, we posted the following:

The Locker Room will feature fast and informative insights to breaking news around North Carolina, with incisive opinions and commentary from all The John Locke Foundation staff, fellows and scholars.

Log on every day to read what's going on in The Locker Room.


The same still applies to the new and improved Locker Room. We have uprgraded to the latest version of WordPress for the new version, and, as on our regional blogs, have added the ability for readers to register and comment on our posts.

We invite you to head over to the new Locker Room and register to join in on the conversation.

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Contrasting market-based environmentalism with environmental policy that relies on markets

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:50 PM

The concept of "market-based environmentalism" is actually a form of socialism. Advocates use the language of markets to distinguish this form from traditional command-and-control socialism based on explicit central economic planning. 

That's the argument Roy Cordato made today during his presentation to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society. In the video clip below, Cordato explains why the basic concepts of market-based environmentalism can't work.

2:45 p.m. update: Click play below to watch the full 1:02:51 presentation.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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No, Keynesians, widespread death and capital destruction is not good for the economy

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:38 AM

Depend upon it, after a natural disaster there will be people willing to state that the rebuilding process will be good for the economy. It is, after all, a very visible process. What the soothsayers miss are all the unseen alternative uses of all that money and capital being used in rebuilding -- that is, what that money and capital would be building if the disaster had not wrought such destruction and forced rebuilding to replace societal wealth, rather than add to it.

Larry Summers, former director of the White House National Economic Council, is one:

Friday's massive earthquake is yet another challenge to Japan's recovery but it may provide a jolt to the economy over the short term, Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University and former director of the White House National Economic Council, told CNBC. ...

"If you look, this is clearly going to add complexity to Japan's challenge of economic recovery," Summers said. "It may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP, as a process of rebuilding takes place."

If you can see hints of the White House's stimulus fallacy behind such thinking, you're on the right track. Summers confuses good for GDP with good for the economy, but good for GDP doesn't take into account capital destruction, although it does favor spending -- including spending by government. Also notice his concern with the short term, bearing in mind Keynes' famous retort, "In the long run we're all dead!" (We've reached the long run with the stimulus; we have spent ourselves into far worse unemployment than the White House's worst-case-scenario-without-a-stimulus prediction, and now we are flat broke.)

Even as Japan begins to rebuild, this devastation cannot be said to be good for their economy. Electrical, water, and transportation infrastructure has been destroyed. Businesses have been destroyed. Cars and homes have washed away. Fields have been covered in sea mud. And most horrific of all, tens of thousands of people have been killed.

No, the tsunami was not good for the Japanese economy, short term or long.

P.S. My colleague Dr. Karen Palasek wrote about the exact same fallacy with respect to the Indonesian tsunami; I recommend her column "Tsunami and the Broken Window."

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New at CJO: Feds split on release of Wake school lunch data

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:12 AM

David Bass' latest Carolina Journal Online report focuses on a disagreement between two federal agencies over the use of school lunch data in helping Wake County school officials make assignment decisions.

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Brooks handicaps the GOP contenders

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM

David Brooks, a conservative by New York Times standards, offers TIME his thoughts about the Republican presidential contenders:

I'm a little meh. Some people are interesting, like Newt Gingrich, but Newt Gingrich is not going to be President. I wouldn't let that guy run a 7-Eleven, let alone a country. No management skills. There are a couple leaders: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels. Haley Barbour's a good governor, but he looks like the kind of guy Michael Moore would cast: Southern guy, heavy guy, was a tobacco lobbyist. I just don't think that's going to fly.

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TIME handicaps a Gingrich presidential run

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AM

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s potential 2012 presidential bid attracts attention this week from TIME:

Gingrich has reportedly told supporters he's leaning toward an early-April announcement of his candidacy.

It won't be an easy one. He has always operated on a Wagnerian scale, and there's little doubt he feels qualified to lead the U.S. through what he awkwardly calls "a crossroads that we cannot hide from." Yet he is also one of the most divisive figures in politics. Though he may have high name recognition, he is disliked by roughly half of those who are familiar with him — a stigma matched within the GOP only by Sarah Palin. He has a flair for hyperbole that seems antithetical to executing a well-disciplined national campaign. And he has a personal life for which he says he has sought God's forgiveness. "He's one of the most creative thinkers out there," says Tom Quiner. Quiner's wife agrees but then pauses. "I don't know," she says. "He's got some baggage."

Presidential material or not, Gingrich can give a good speech, as evidenced by his address at the John Locke Foundation’s 20th-anniversary dinner in 2010.

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Just who was protesting in Wisconsin?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

In an article that otherwise offers a relatively sympathetic portrayal of the Wisconsin protesters’ arguments, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Drake Bennett nonetheless offers a portrayal of protesters that hardly suggests a group of hard-working public servants:

Within the Capitol, … protesters chanted, sang, played drums, deployed yogic oms, and — though few gave the impression of being gainfully employed — conducted long conversations about the sanctity of workers' rights. There were about 60 holdouts camped out on the ground floor, mostly in their late teens or twenties. Many were unkempt and unshaven, but comfortably so, as if they usually looked that way. Some wore pajamas, others had inked hash-marks onto their arms for each day they'd passed there—a few had gotten up to 17. None had left the building since the weekend. They talked about staying until the 14 Senate fugitives returned, though it was unclear whether that would be a sign of victory or defeat.

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Another reason to think twice about cap-and-trade policies

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:44 AM

Forget the arguments that global warming alarmism has no merit. The latest Bloomberg Businessweek offers (in an update of this January article) another good reason to avoid dubious cap-and-trade schemes for carbon emissions: the likelihood of criminal abuse of the system.

Europe’s carbon market is under siege. Since November, criminals have hacked the computer systems of national registries or have stolen company passwords in Romania, Italy, Greece, Austria, and the Czech Republic and made off with more than $80 million in emissions allowances. That figure is a Bloomberg calculation based on data from registries and companies that have reported thefts. European authorities are on the case, but so far the robberies remain unsolved. “Our hypothesis is that at least the recent attacks against the EU emissions trading registries around Europe are linked to organized crime,” Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, the European law enforcement agency, said in an e-mail.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:36 AM

Sara Burrows' latest Carolina Journal Online report previews this week's activity for the N.C. General Assembly. 

John Hood's Daily Journal explains why public broadcasting should be free from government funding.

Linkable Entry

March 13, 2011

R.I.P. Joe Morello

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 7:57 PM

From the Associated Press - Legendary jazz drummer Joe Morello, whose virtuosity and command of odd time signatures made him an integral part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet on such classic recordings as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," has died at age 82.

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March 11, 2011

Freedoms we don't even realize we have III

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:46 PM

Earlier entries in this series: I and II.

Had you ever realized we used to have a freedom to buy whatever light bulbs we wanted and toilets that could flush effectively on the first try? Since we weren't vigilant, those unrecognized freedoms were taken from us.

Following is a snippet from Sen. Rand Paul's comments at a recent hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

This is what your energy efficiency standards are. Call it what it is. You prevent people from making things that consumers want. I find it really appalling and hypocritical and think there should be some self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light-bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine. I really find it troubling – this busy-body nature that you want to come into my house, my bathroom, my bedroom, my kitchen, my laundry room. I just really find it insulting and I find that all of the arguments for energy efficiency – you’re exactly right we should conserve energy, but why not do it in a voluntary way? Why do it where you threaten to fine me or put me in jail if I don’t accept your opinion? In America we believe in trying to convince our neighbors, but not trying to convince them through the force of law. I find this antithetical to the American way.

Sen. Paul understands. There are so many freedoms we don't even realize we have, which is why the Founders in their wisdom constructed the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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New at CJO: This week's legislative action recapped

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:09 PM

Sara Burrows' latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive reviews this week's activity for the N.C. General Assembly.

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Krauthammer tackles Obama's take on Social Security

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:39 PM

Charles Krauthammer's latest column at Human Events examines the Obama administration's treatment of the long-term need for Social Security reform:

Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three -- Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- Social Security is the most solvable.

Back-of-an-envelope solvable: Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett's check gets redirected to a senior in need.

The relative ease of the fix is what makes the Obama administration's Social Security strategy so shocking. The new line from the White House is: no need to fix it because there is no problem. As Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew wrote in USA Today just a few weeks ago, the trust fund is solvent until 2037. Therefore, Social Security is now off the table in debt-reduction talks.

This claim is a breathtaking fraud.

The pretense is that a flush trust fund will pay retirees for the next 26 years. Lovely, except for one thing: The Social Security trust fund is a fiction.

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New at CJO: Legislative leaders challenge Perdue's tax refund plan

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:40 PM

Anthony Greco's latest CarolinaJournal.tv report focuses on Republican legislative leaders' concerns about Gov. Beverly Perdue's plans to shift state funds in order to pay for tax refunds.

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N.C. Supreme Court upholds death sentence in the Precious Whitfield murder case

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:30 PM

The N.C. Supreme Court voted 6-0 to uphold the death sentence for Eric Glenn Lane, who was convicted of killing 5-year-old Precious Ebony Whitfield in Goldsboro back in 2002.

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N.C. Supreme Court rules against Libertarians, Greens in ballot access suit

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:22 PM

The N.C. Supreme Court ruled* today against the state Libertarian and Green parties in their challenge of North Carolina's petition signature requirements for access to the state election ballot.

Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson writes:

In the present case, the two percent party recognition requirement of N.C.G.S. § 163-96(a)(2) may burden minor political parties somewhat, but it does not impose a severe burden. First, minority parties seeking recognition pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 163-96(a)(2) have over three and one-half years to acquire the requisite number of signatures. Second, section 163-96(a) places few restrictions on signatories. While these persons must be “registered and qualified voters in this State,” they need not register with or promise to vote for candidates of the party seeking recognition. N.C.G.S. § 163-96(a)(2). Signatories are even allowed to vote in a primary of a major party. See id. Third, a handful of supporters can acquire the requisite number of signatures. During the 2004–2008 election cycle, for example, over eighty-five thousand signatures were collected for the Libertarian Party by only five people.

Moreover, section 163-96(a)(2) does not impose a severe burden in that the two percent signature requirement is readily achievable. For instance, in 2008 the two percent threshold required signatures from only 69,734 of North Carolina’s approximately 5,734,000 registered voters. Further, a minor party has met the two percent recognition requirement eight times in the past five gubernatorial elections.

Third parties still could see ballot access restrictions loosened, despite this new Supreme Court opinion, depending on the response to the Electoral Freedom Act under consideration now in the legislature.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this entry listed an incorrect vote in this case.



 

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Raleigh is not the only city wasting money on an amphitheater

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:10 AM

My hometown, Mesa Az, has a white elephant that loses money.

The [Arizona] Republic examination found that revenue dropped from $2.3 million to $366,446 over four years, and the number and caliber of bookings has steadily declined.

And of course the solution is to pump more taxpayer money into the 32 year-old amphitheater.
 
The Raleigh city council has not learned from other cities.  Its downtown amphitheater is likely to meet the same fate and it is only a year old. I guess it is too much to expect.  Council members did built a money losing convention center and subsidized a hotel.  Wilmington's answer to a money losing convention center is to subsidize a hotel.  NC cities hire expensive consultants who always say that the solution to failure is more taxpayer money.

 

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Cleveland County principal posts anti-charter video

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:02 AM

Did the principal of King's Mountain Intermediate School in Cleveland County, Henry Gilmore, use school district resources to produce the video posted below? Did he have permission from parents to use their children in the video?



Of course, it is possible that "hggilmore," who posted the video on YouTube, is not Henry Gilmore III, principal of KMIS.

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The Atlantic’s coverage of the infamous Duke PowerPoint

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:50 AM

Readers of The Atlantic might remember a recent Caitlin Flanagan article, “The Hazards of Duke,” that examined an infamous PowerPoint presentation from a female student assessing multiple male sexual partners.

The initial article now has generated an exchange in the magazine’s pages between Flanagan and the editor of The Duke Chronicle:

Although I took issue with several parts of “The Hazards of Duke” (January/February Atlantic), Caitlin Flanagan’s statements and assumptions about The Chronicle’s news sense with regard to rape charges against a former Duke sophomore misrepresent the paper’s coverage.

To say that The Chronicle and its editors found these accusations “of relatively little interest” is baseless speculation, and to say we covered the story “far more briefly” than the Karen Owen story is inaccurate. The Chronicle published three stories about the rape charges. All three ran on the front page, two of them as the lead story. We have continued to monitor developments in both story lines as they have occurred.

Lindsey Rupp Editor, The Chronicle, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Flanagan's response?

It is not I, but Lindsey Rupp, who has mischaracterized the essential facts of the case. On what did I base my assertion that The Chronicle covered the rape accusation far more briefly than it did the Owen PowerPoint? At the time my essay appeared in The Atlantic, the paper had published three articles about the rape case, and one letter from an associate dean of the university who questioned the paper’s journalistic ethics in its reporting of those stories. The paper refused to allow its readers to comment on the first two of those stories. In contrast, the paper published a total of 27 pieces concerning, either directly or indirectly, the Owen episode, which garnered a total of 225 reader comments.

This might be the most national attention the Chronicle has received since the even more infamous “Duke lacrosse rape case.”

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The news media’s future

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM

Those interested in the future outlook for mass media might be interested in The Atlantic’s new cover story, in which James Fallows discusses the impact of recent changes:
One by one, the buffers between what people want and what the media can afford to deliver have been stripped away. Broadcast TV was deregulated, and cable and satellite TV arose in a wholly post-regulation era. As newspapers fell during the rise of the Internet, and fell faster because of the 2008 recession, the regional papers fell hardest. The survivors, from The New York Times to the National Enquirer, will be what British newspapers have long been: nationwide in distribution, and differentiated by politics and class. The destruction of the “bundled” business model for newspapers, which allowed ads in the Auto section to underwrite a bureau in Baghdad; the rise of increasingly targeted and niche-ified information sources and advertising vehicles; and the consequent pressure on almost any mass offering except for sports—all of these are steps toward a perfected market for information of all sorts, including news. With each passing month, people can get more of what they want and less of what someone else thinks they should have.

You might remember John Hood’s 2008 presentation to the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society, in which he discussed the growing importance of ideological media.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AM

State lawmakers are trying to figure out how to plug a multibillion-dollar hole in the state budget. Joseph Coletti offers an update on that process — including his own recommendations — during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

While Coletti is focusing on the state budget picture, Stanford and Hoover Institution economist Michael Boskin outlines some of the challenges associated with red ink in the federal budget.

Rick Henderson will examine some recent silliness involving state licensing laws, including a dispute over who has the right to display a barber pole. Jenna Ashley Robinson of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy will discuss the impact of left-leaning bias within college campus faculties.

And we’ll hear highlights from the recent legislative debate about a bill to scrap four North Carolina high school end-of-course tests.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:37 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features Charlotte Observer banking reporter Rick Rothacker, who discusses his book Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte's Big Banks

Roy Cordato's guest Daily Journal explains why state lawmakers should repeal — and not replace — North Carolina's corporate income tax.

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