The Locker Room

February 04, 2011

New CJO exclusive: Lawmakers have known since 2003 they could kill Golden LEAF

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:46 PM

Rick Henderson's latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive highlights a 2003 memo from a legislative staffer that suggests lawmakers could have dissolved the Golden LEAF and two other tobacco settlement trust funds at any time.

In recent years, Democratic legislative leaders had cited legal concerns about proposals to divert money from those funds. 

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Guv's defense team

Posted by Rick Henderson at 3:08 PM

In case you missed it, the News & Observer's Andy Curliss reported that Gov. Bev Perdue has hired ace criminal defense attorneys Joe Cheshire V and Wade Smith to advise her in the ongoing investigation of her campaign finances.

Cheshire and Smith run separate downtown law firms, but between them have represented numerous prominent political figures, among them Easley and Phipps. Others include former U.S. Sen. John Edwards; former U.S. Reps. Frank Ballance and Charles Taylor; and former state Sen. R.C. Soles.

Cheshire and Smith also represented two of the three Duke lacrosse players who were exonerated in 2007 in a case that drew national attention.

Smith is a former chairman of the state Democratic Party and a longtime ally to Perdue.

The State Board of Elections fined the Bev Perdue Committee $30,000 for failing to report campaign flights in August. After the fine was levied, additional information about the "aircraft provider" program devised by her 2004 and 2008 campaigns came to light.

The Perdue Committee's year-end campaign
report suggests that she brought Cheshire and Smith aboard after January 1, because neither's firm received any money from the committee in 2010. So this story may be far from over.

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:20 PM

Rick Henderson's latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive examines the groups pushing Gov. Beverly Perdue and state lawmakers to support extending state tax increases that are scheduled to disappear this summer. 

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:32 PM

Anthony Greco's latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive recaps the first full week of action at the N.C. General Assembly.

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N.C. Supreme Court throws out Google incentives lawsuit

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:11 AM

The N.C. Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal in a case challenging tax incentives offered to entice Google to come to North Carolina. The specific appeal dealt with taxpayers' standing to challenge the incentives.

In an unsigned opinion, justices agreed that a discretionary review of a unanimous Appeals Court ruling in the case was "improvidently allowed."

Thus the appellate ruling stands in favor of the state and against plaintiffs including 2008 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Michael Munger and state Libertarian leader Barbara Howe.

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Senate Introduces Eminent Domain Amendment

Posted by Daren Bakst at 11:53 AM

The NC Senate just introduced the same identical eminent domain amendment (SB 37) as the House amendment (HB 8).

Here's the brief language:

Private property shall not be taken by eminent domain except for a public use. Public use does not include the taking of property in order to convey an interest in the property for economic development. Just compensation shall be paid and, if demanded, shall be determined by a jury."

The amendment is a good start, but is inadequate in its current state to provide proper protection for property owners.  For example, the state blight law could always be amended to do an end-run around the prohibition against taking property for economic development. 

The amendment doesn't address the Federal Express case and other situations where the government takes private property from one private citizen for the sole and exclusive use of another private citizen, unrelated to economic development.

The legislature should be commended for getting the ball rolling and now the amendment needs to be fixed up.

I provide detailed information on what an amendment needs to cover, as well as a model amendment, in my latest report.

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They should have listened to Barney Fife's sage advice

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:42 AM

Right Angles readers already know that Congress is investigating a television advertising campaign for ObamaCare featuring Andy Griffith.

This reminds me of the comments WTVD solicited from the John Locke Foundation last summer.

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If the Deroy Murdock interview piqued your interest ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:32 AM

... in his take on the ills associated with ObamaCare, you might enjoy watching the entire half-hour presentation he delivered at N.C. State University for the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and N.C. State's Society for Politics, Economics, and Law.

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Speaking of Reagan ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:14 AM

Byron York's latest Washington Examiner article notes Sarah Palin's role this weekend in celebrating the 40th president's legacy.

Being seen as Reaganesque is at least one leg up in any primary contest.

Which makes it interesting that the GOP politician who will have the most prominent role in celebrating Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday here in Southern California this weekend is Sarah Palin. On Friday night, the 2008 vice presidential candidate, an unquestionably divisive presence among Republicans, will deliver an address at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara -- an address modeled, no less, on Reagan's famous 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing," that made him a star in the party.

"We can think of no one more fitting to honor our time's greatest defender of freedom, Ronald Reagan," says Ron Robinson, head of the conservative Young America's Foundation, which owns and runs Rancho del Cielo, Reagan's old ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains. "Governor Palin understands that freedom in our nation now stands on the precipice. She knows what Ronald Reagan knew: 'Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.' "

Palin's high-wattage appearance at the Ranch Center event stands in contrast to events at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. The library is the official, establishment repository of the Reagan legacy, and it will host veterans of the Reagan administration this weekend for a concert and military-flavored celebration of the centennial. There will be video tributes from both Presidents Bush, as well as appearances by close Reagan associates like Edwin Meese. But you won't see a hot-button presence like Palin.

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Reagan's 100th birthday

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:10 AM

If Sunday's commemoration of Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday spurs you to learn more about the 40th president, you might want to consider the books described here, here, and here.

In the meantime, here's a short video from the Heritage Foundation honoring Reagan's legacy.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AM

Gov. Beverly Perdue has decided not to back privatization of state liquor sales, and John Hood thinks that decision might have something to do with Perdue’s yet-to-be-publicized ideas about the future of video gambling in North Carolina. Hood explains in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Jon Ham will discuss media reaction to the recent high-profile Arizona shootings, while Terry Stoops will respond to comments from retired Army general and new Wake County public school superintendent Tony Tata.

Fayetteville State University economist Petur Jonsson explains that his colleagues should not ignore virtue as they try to gauge why people make certain choices. Speaking of choices, Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, explains that lawmakers writing the next state budget face no easy choices this year.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:56 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features libertarian syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock's description of government-run health care as "bad medicine."

Donna Martinez's guest Daily Journal explains that plugging the state budget hole requires a re-evaluation of government's proper role.

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Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 06:30 AM

The world's greatest website -- -- has gotten wind of NC DOT deciding that citizen input on traffic questions is a violation of state licensing laws.

Let's follow along with some of the comments. Don't forget to point and laugh in the general direction of NC DOT's Kevin Lacy:

You can't practice engineering without a license? What the fark does that mean!? You can't do math without a license?

This is North Carolina. He might as well have been practicing witchcraft.

So basically they're after this guy because his report looked too good? Too professional? It sounds like those teachers who demand, if you made 100% on the test, "you must have been cheating".

I believe the real reason for all this: they want to force out which "traitor" engineer created this report, so they can blacklist him somewhere for city projects.

Chalk up another victory for the "the government is there to help" crowd.

I have it under great authority, it is illegal to write in complete sentences, or "author-quality" work, in SC, unless you are a licensed Writer. Reason being, if the average person sees you writing in proper grammar, they would assume you are a professional writer--and that would be fraud.

Guvmint. The gift that keeps on giving. And taking.

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