The Locker Room

October 04, 2010

First it was climategate, now it's splattergate

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:41 PM

My guess is that by now most of you have seen the global warmists' sense of humor on display--you know how exploding children can be so hilarious. But if you haven't, be sure to check out Jon Ham's post over at the Right Angle blog. After you watch that you should then catch Marc Morano's commentary on what some are calling "splattergate" over at Fox News.

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:43 PM

Your concern for "working Americans" doesn't include these folks.

Piping Mad: Fair People at the Mercy of a Government Gone Fowl from Kevin Hicks on Vimeo.

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Facebook group gets behind candidates

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 1:56 PM

The Keep the Diversity Policy in Wake County Facebook group recently weighed in on county commission races. Enloe High School senior and West Virginia native Jocelyn Wilson commented:

November elections are coming up!! I know there are a lot of high school students now able and NEED TO VOTE along with a lot of college students who NEED TO VOTE. If there is one lesson we have learned from the recent school board it's the consequences of not making your voice heard in the ballot box!

This group is encouraging students to support Lindy Brown, Steve Rao, Jack Nichols and Don Mial for county commissioner!! [Emphasis added] These candidates, like the students, are concerned with the direction the school board has taken. They believe it is essential to protect the excellence of Wake County Public Schools that we all know and love.

Why does their opinion matter? Because the Board of County Commissioners is responsible for all funding towards school board projects. They have power and influence over schools, including the ability to slow projects that they deem inappropriate. We need county commissioners that recognize what makes Wake County Public Schools great.

SO GO OUT AND VOTE NOVEMBER(and watch for updates from this group!)
In other words, vote for Democrats because they make good obstructionists.

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North Carolina's role in shaping the U.S. Constitution

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:46 PM

We live under the U.S. Constitution because states accepted the document back in the late 18th century.

The states' role in ratifying that Constitution attracts little attention today, but N.C. History Project Director Troy Kickler addressed that problem during his lunchtime presentation to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society.

In the video clip below, Kickler answers a question about the importance of North Carolina's Anti-Federalists.

2:15 p.m. update: Click play below to watch the full 51:16 presentation.

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

Today's presentation is linked to the recent Citizens' Constitutional Workshops Kickler and Michael Sanera have hosted at the John Locke Foundation offices.

Follow the links to watch the full content of the Aug. 7 workshop:

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The problem is that it's Obama's recovery

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 11:54 AM

A couple weeks back it was announced by the National Bureau of Economic Research that the recession was not only over but that it had been over since June 2009. Was this "Bush's recession"? No question, at least in the sense that it was inaugurated during the Bush administration, and I would argue, by the policies of Bush's appointee to the head the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. But the problem for President Obama is that it's his recovery. Sixteen months after the end of the recession and 21 months into his misnamed stimulus package the economy is suffering under a 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Obama's recovery has worse unemployment than Bush's recession at it's peak. Now that's what I call dumbing down success.

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Legacy preferences ARE a bad idea -- but so are racial preferences

Posted by George Leef at 10:47 AM

In today's Pope Center piece I discuss the war on college legacy preferences being waged by Richard Kahlenberg. I think he makes a solid case against legacy preferences, but when he tries to distinguish that sort of admissions preference from preferences for students based on race and ethnicity (that is, preferences for "diversity") he fails badly.

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Etheridge buys a Republican, cheap

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:22 AM

Republican party leader Linwood Parker is featured in campaign ads for Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge.   Why is the longtime Republican campaigning for Democrat Etheridge?  According to this article in the N&O here, Parker's price was $340,000 federal stimulus check for Four Oaks and a NCDOT road for the Four Oaks industrial park.  In my opinion, Etheridge got a good deal.  He uses taxpayer money to buy a Republican who is helping him buy the election.  So much for campaign finance reform.  Why use interest group money for your campaign when you can use taxpayers money.  No wonder Tea Party activists are angry at both the Democrats and Republicans.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:15 AM

  • Left-leaning Public Policy Polling finds that North Carolinians don’t think the Ground Zero Mosque is pertinent to state politics.

  • Democrat Elaine Marshall names her campaign across the state the “Kitchen Table Tour."

  • highlights B.J. Lawson’s long-shot odds in the 4th Congressional District against Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price.

  • Political science professors analyze “no” votes on health care reform for three Tar Heel congressmen, and how those votes are impacting their re-election efforts.

  • PPP: 57 percent of North Carolinians disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, compared to 39 percent who approve.

  • N.C. Senate hopefuls differ on tax policy.

  • N&O: Tea Party candidate Ilario Pantano targets Mike McIntyre in the 7th Congressional District.

  • The Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone writes that if polling numbers are accurate, the McIntyre-Pantano contest is “a real race."

  • Local Tea Party activists are favoring GOP candidates.

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Bringing government down to size

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 07:30 AM

One of the themes that's emerging as I look at the North Carolina budget is the need to rethink how government works. Gov. Perdue and the legislative leaders next January cannot simply do less of the same thing or tax more to fund the same projects. State government's role in society has to change. Transparency and openness is a big part of that change.

L. Gordon Crovitz quotes from Don Tapscott's MacroWikinomics, which covers similar ideas, in his column today:

"Why not open-source government, education, science, the production of energy, even health care?" [...] Mr. Tapscott says politicians should view government as a "platform" rather than the dominant provider of services. Asked recently for an example by city officials in Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Tapscott urged them to focus on releasing data. He suggested they disclose information on where bicycle accidents occur, which he said would prompt someone in the city to analyze the data, mapping the risky areas online and giving bicyclists ways to reduce risks. Using wikinomics terms, Mr. Tapscott says, "Government can become more of a context provider than a content creator." [emphasis added]

Becki Gray and I will be going across the state this month to show Freedom Club members the tools available to help state and local governments provide more information to citizen taxpayers.

Join us.

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Another example of the ‘giving back’ fallacy

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:51 AM

Nancy Gibbs uses her latest TIME column to explore Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s recent decision to give $100 million to help improve Newark, N.J., schools.

In comparing Zuckerberg’s actions to those of wealthy business titans of the past, Gibbs buys into the false story line that amassing wealth obligates people to “give back” to society.

It’s a story line that ignores a crucial question: How did these titans get their money in the first place? In most cases, they started or built businesses that provided products or services many people wanted to buy. In other words, they “gave society” something of value.

Their donations to charitable causes mark a second act of giving. Which act is more valuable is open to debate.

Economist Dwight Lee discussed this issue in a presentation this spring to the John Locke Foundation. Lee contrasted the “magnanimous morality” that attracts praise from people like Gibbs with the “mundane morality” of the market.

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Joe Klein — yes, Joe Klein — shines a light on the spend-and-tax cycle

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:50 AM

Another Joe, the John Locke Foundation’s Joe Coletti, has spent several years explaining to audiences across North Carolina that this state’s lawmakers have employed a spend-and-tax policy that has produced a government much more expensive than North Carolina taxpayers can afford.

Now Joe Klein’s latest column for TIME mentions that the same malady has plagued California:

"We have a history of boom and bust," says Dan Schnur, chair of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. "We spend ourselves crazy, then the economy tanks and we've got a budgetary mess on our hands. In the past, there's always been another boom to bail us out. There was aerospace, then high tech, then construction. Now people are wondering, Who's going to save us next? Is it possible that no one will?"

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The rich are getting richer, so we should tax those extra riches away from them

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:49 AM

That headline reflects, of course, the policy prescription that big-government types support after reading the data cherry-picked for a new Bloomberg Businessweek report.

Fans of Thomas Sowell’s work will see through the fog created by these statistics, which hide some important facts. Among them: The use of “household income” rather than average income per person skews the picture, as does the false assumption that membership in the “top 20 percent of households” and the “bottom 20 percent” is static.

Setting the statistical squibbling aside, a story like this one is designed to support the Obama administration’s push for tax hikes on families earning more than $250,000 a year. Roy Cordato explains below why that’s a bad idea.

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The power of the purse

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AM

If Republicans secure the big national election wins pundits are predicting, they’re still not likely to have enough votes to override a presidential veto. Since President Obama is unlikely to part voluntarily with ObamaCare, the GOP might need to find an alternative to killing it outright.

The latest Bloomberg Businessweek outlines one such strategy: Hit government where it hurts.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will take as much as $20 billion over the next decade to write and support new regulations. The law Obama signed in March provided only $1 billion. Health-care reform is designed to add as many as 32 million people to insurance rolls by 2019.

GOP strategists are already plotting how they can defund health care, starting with sitting on the President's 2012 budget request, due in February. Aides to Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the second-ranking House Republican, have carved out other ways they hope to choke off new health programs. Among the targets, they say, is funding for the health insurance exchanges that states are supposed to create so consumers can compare plans and buy coverage.

Also in their sights are the new agency meant to oversee research comparing the effectiveness of treatments and any funds Obama requests to hire federal workers to implement the law.

Want more reasons for fighting ObamaCare? Try this one, that one, and another one.

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Pension fund problems

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

Regular readers in this forum have learned about the long-term liabilities of North Carolina’s health plan and pension fund for government workers and retirees.

In the latest Bloomberg Businessweek, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie explains how he’s trying to address a similar problem in the Garden State:

Governor, what is your biggest headache these days? Our pension system [for state and local workers] in New Jersey is $46 billion underfunded. Even if the state made every dime of its contribution for the next 15 years, at the end we'd be $85 billion underfunded. Our health benefit plan is $67 billion underfunded.

What's the most important pension reform you'd like to make? Raising the state worker retirement age to 65 from 62 is very important. I think also eliminating cost-of-living adjustments. The COLAs are an extraordinary cost driver in our pension costs. We also need to increase the pension contribution that public-sector employees are making to a uniform 8.5 percent [of salary]. Right now, a state employee pays anywhere from 3 percent to a high of 8.5 percent.

The unions aren't just going to lie down and take this. They're already fighting. But I went before the firefighters' convention and I said, you know, I understand why you're angry. For 20 years governors have been lying to you about the kind of benefits they can provide you. I'm the first guy who's telling the truth, which is if we don't do these reforms, we are going to wind up with you not having a pension in 10 or 15 years.

How did that go over? Better than you thought it would. In the beginning, probably a third of the folks there were booing. When we got done, it was much less than that.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:40 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features a report on unresolved questions associated with Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign flights. 

John Hood's Daily Journal urges North Carolina policymakers to avoid rewarding University of North Carolina mismanagement by pushing another "massive" higher-education bond package.

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