The Locker Room

November 11, 2009

Is the free market a friend or foe of the environment?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:15 PM

The question in the headline set the stage for a lunchtime debate at Campbell University Law School between Bill Holman and Fred Smith.

Holman is the former N.C. secretary of environment and natural resources who now serves as director of state policy for Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Smith is president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

In the video clip below, both address the wisdom of approaching global warming policy with a government-run cap-and-trade scheme.

3:30 p.m. update: Watch the full 1:16:58 recording by clicking the play button below.

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

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Note how quickly Hayek's relevance followed that Keynesian revival

Posted by Jon Sanders at 1:55 PM

Thanks for posting that Schlaes editorial about Hayek's relevance, George. I can't help remember that it was not even a year ago that the Wall Street Journal observed that "We're All Keynesians Now."

Facts have a nasty habit, however, of intruding upon statists' free-lunch schemes and demand-curves-slope-up-this-year dreams. We saw a sterling example of rude facts' trespass when, despite promises that the Obama stimulus would keep peak unemployment at 8 percent rather than the predicted 9 percent, post-stimulus unemployment reached 10.2 percent with no clue as to whether that was the peak or just another step in the upward climb.

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One-note klaxons still wailing rrrraaaAAAAAACISM over Wake Co. school board vote

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:59 AM

The latest being Terry's find. Not that it took a Nostradamus or anything, but I predicted as much election night.

Accusing people of racism appears to be the only way the Angry Left has to confront political disagreement — the idea of attempting persuasion through reason and fact never seems even to occur to them (but then I suppose it wouldn't when you can dismiss what people actually say is important to them because you have convinced yourself you are a mind-reader, and their minds always read "Just ignore what I say 'cuz I'm actually a cross-burnin', horn-honkin' racist").

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Hayek's relevance

Posted by George Leef at 12:32 AM

In this Bloomberg piece, Amity Schlaes says that every economist has his day and it now seems to be Hayek's time. She refers to him as the "master of gloom" for his argument that embracing welfare state ideas put a nation on the road to serfdom.

Gloomy, yes -- but is Hayek's analysis realistic? He didn't say that a country would immediately become a tyranny after adopting some kind of "social safety net," but rather that doing so would begin a process of increasing politicization that has a self-accelerating tendency. That is, the bigger and more powerful the state becomes, the more social and economic trouble it causes, which in turn leads to still more coercive programs to deal with those problems.

The last two years in the US provide strong evidence in favor of Hayek's argument, I would say.

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New Wake County school board members = Ku Klux Klan

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:11 AM

In a letter published in the Garner-Clayton Record (and the Durham Herald-Sun), Orange County resident Mark Hamblet compares the Klan-backed White Citizens Council to the "five 21st-century disciples for neighborhood schools and (re)segregation, with their photogenic spokesperson, John Tedesco."

Note to Mr. Hamblet:

I understand you are mad at Wake County voters and the democratic process they used to elect the five school board candidates you appear to despise. But letters like this will not win any fans to your cause.

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Obamacare and the law of unintended consequences

Posted by George Leef at 09:13 AM

I would bet that no member of the House who voted on the ponderous Pelosi bill last week had read the whole thing. But even if someone had managed that, simply reading a bill is not sufficient. Those who purport to represent us must also evaluate the likely effects of legislation. Knowing what a bill says just gets you to the more important question: what will it do?

What legislation will do means not just what the bill's supporters want it to do, but also the unintended consequences. Among the probable unintended consequences of the federal government's proposed control of health insurance is the decline in the number of doctors. Pols like David Price assume that they will always be able to get medical care, but what about the rest of us? If anyone were to ask one of the zealous supporters of the bill about this prospect, would you get an answer, or just the kind of bombast that greets questions about constitutionality?

What puts me in mind of this is the following letter published in today's Wall Street Journal:

Government Can't Marshal Doctors Who Aren't There
Dr. Herbert Pardes ("The Coming Shortage of Doctors," op-ed, Nov. 5) leaves out the most important cause of a shortfall of personnel in the medical profession: the manifest hostility of the current environment facing physicians. There is a growing reluctance of bright ambitious young men and women in high school and college to make the commitment necessary to pursue pre-medical studies.

Most of us enter the profession not with expectation of great wealth but expecting a secure and substantial living appropriate to the years of study and training required, the rigors of practice, and the continued maintenance of high standards of performance. Above all we expect autonomy and the ability to configure our work to suit ourselves and our patients best.

These expectations are totally unrealistic today, and the passage of ObamaCare into law would serve only to make a bad situation incalculably worse. One can only wonder at the motivation and judgment of individuals planning to become doctors today. The country should anticipate seeing physicians seeking early retirement in droves, and the ranks of medical schools thinning out. Don't say no one warned you.

George B. Goodman, M.D.

Sewickley, Pa.

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Good bits from Camille Paglia

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:59 AM

The headline of Camille Paglia's latest article at is "Pelosi's victory for women," but I found her discussion of other subjects much more compelling.

On Richard Dawkins:

On science, Dawkins was spot on -- lively and nimble. But on religion, his voice went "Psycho" weird (yes, Alfred Hitchcock) -- as if he was channeling some old woman with whom he was in love-hate combat. I have no idea what ancient private dramas bubble beneath the surface there.
On the death of Claude Lévi-Strauss:
Continuing on the theme of overrated male writers, I was appalled at the sentimental rubbish filling the air about Claude Lévi-Strauss after his death was announced last week. The New York Times, for example, first posted an alert calling him "the father of modern anthropology" (a claim demonstrating breathtaking obliviousness to the roots of anthropology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and then published a lengthy, laudatory obituary that was a string of misleading, inaccurate or incomplete statements.
On college costs:
What mal-education goes on at killer prices at the elite schools! Skyrocketing tuition costs are legalized piracy. It's a national scandal, which the mainstream media has shamefully neglected. A few weeks ago, I was bemused to discover the bill from my first semester (fall 1964) at Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton. [snip] The grand total my parents owed for the semester was $413.50 -- for which I received the superb education that is still the basis of my professional life as a teacher and writer.

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Does the Constitution still matter?

Posted by George Leef at 08:40 AM

Walter Williams points out in this column that the Obamacrats clearly don't think so. Even to ask about the constitutionality of the proposed political takeover of the health care industry is "not a serious question."

As Williams shows, if you take the view that the Constitution is a "living document" that can be stretched and twisted to permit anything the politicians want, there's nothing left of it. The First Amendment or any other part of the Constitution can be chopped away for the sake of political expediency of those in power. Every American should regard that prospect with horror.

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A bunch of presumptuous meddlers

Posted by George Leef at 08:25 AM

John Stossel says that the members of Congress who support the ponderous legislation to "reform" health care are just a bunch of presumptuous meddlers. They don't understand that no person or group has the necessary information to devise a system to serve hundreds of millions of people. Read his column here.

In one of the "Dirty Harry" movies, Clint Eastwood says, "A man's got to know his own limitations." Unfortunately, once people get elected they usually forget that they have any limitations and imagine themselves capable of using their power to coerce in ways that make life better. The bad consequences of their arrogance are felt by ordinary people, not the politicians.

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Grades and goodies for sale at Rosewood Middle School

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:59 AM

Lynn Bonner of the News & Observer has reaction to the plan here. Speaking of the plan, when you donate more, you get more!

$20 donation - two 10 point credits for two separate exams

$30 donation - the above and a pass to a 5th period dance

$60 donation - the above and a pizza party with a friend

$75 donation - the above and your picture taken with the principal or teacher

$100 donation - the above and the student may attend the 5th period dance with a date (choose one: administrative assistant, janitor, cafeteria worker, substitute teacher, teacher's assistant, media coordinator, secretary, bookkeeper, messenger, office machine operator, clerk, stenographer, court transcriber, hearing reporter, statistical clerk, dispatcher, license distributor, payroll clerk, bus driver, mechanic, repairer, electrician, heavy equipment operator, stationary engineer, skilled machine operator, carpenter, compositor/typesetter, garage laborer, car washer, greaser, gardener, groundskeeper, maintenance worker, or security guard)

$150 donation - the above except the student many attend the 5th period dance with a teacher, administrator, or guidance counselor

$200 donation - the above except the student many attend the 5th period dance with the superintendent, a deputy/associate/assistant superintendent, school business official, director or administrator of district-wide program, psychologist, psychometrist, psychiatrist, psychological-social worker, school consultant, non-classroom teacher, dentist, speech therapist, school social worker, community worker, attendance officer, attorney, architect, engineer, registered nurse, computer programmer/operator, film inspector, projectionist, graphic artist, drafter, engineering aide, nurse (licensed, practical, or vocational), dietitian, photographer, radio operator, scientific assistant, or technical illustrator

$250 donation - the above and the student gets a $50 dollar Olive Garden gift certificate toward an after-school date with any of the above school employees

$500 donation - the above and the date to the Olive Garden is unchaperoned (teacher donations prohibited)

H/T: RaymondSims, AdrianHands, NC DPI

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Tart's sour grapes

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:19 AM

After coming in third in the recent Wake County school board election, outgoing board member Horace Tart is sounding off.

Keung Hui of the News & Observer has the details here. Keung quotes Tart twice in the article, and both quotes reflect why most voters preferred to vote for John Tedesco and Cathy Truitt, rather than incumbent candidate Tart.

Quote 1: "If we make any changes, we'll run into big trouble."

Quote 2: "When they get on the board, they'll see the facts and the reality and won't be able to keep the campaign promises they made."

These kinds of status quo sentiments reflect the evolution of Tart from parental advocate to spokesperson for the WCPSS status quo to Wake County resident.

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Speaking of global warming

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:10 AM

Daren Bakst addressed the topic last night during a Politics, Law, and Economics Lecture at Campbell University.

Daren contends that policies adopted to fight global warming actually constitute “an attack on the poor.”

Click play below to watch the 50:31 presentation.

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Beware the global warming models

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:09 AM

George Will offers this valuable observation about the certainty of global warming data in his latest Newsweek column:

There is much debate about the reasons for, and the importance of, the fact that global warming has not increased for that long [11 years]. What we know is that computer models did not predict this. Which matters, a lot, because we are incessantly exhorted to wager trillions of dollars and diminished freedom on the proposition that computer models are correctly projecting catastrophic global warming. On Nov. 2, The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Ball reported some inconvenient data. Soon after the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—it shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Thinking Man's Thinking Man—reported that global warming is "unequivocal," there came evidence that the planet's temperature is beginning to cool. "That," Ball writes, "has led to one point of agreement: The models are imperfect."

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FDR-style big government stops us from killing each other?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:08 AM

Raina Kelley assures us in the new Newsweek that our political turmoil tends to boost murder rates.

A study from Ohio State’s Randolph Roth offers one notable exception to the trend:

On a positive note, Roth credits FDR for falling murder rates in the 1930s as Roosevelt's New Deal "increased Americans' faith in the country, their leadership, and one another."

It looks as if it’s time for another dose of Amity Shlaes to help shed light on the true impact of the Roosevelt presidency.

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Zakaria discerns a basic truth

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:07 AM

Forget his assertion that President Obama has exhibited “intelligent centrism” in handling the financial crisis. Please.

Despite that odd assessment, Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria nails one key point in discussing this month’s electoral success for Republicans across the country:

Part of the answer is that despite the economic turmoil, few people seriously believe the answer is a turn to socialism.

For more on the election results, you’ll find John Hood’s analysis here.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Karen Welsh's report on teachers' concerns about a state-mandated furlough. 

If you missed it Tuesday afternoon, David Bass' new CJ exclusive discusses a new public-private partnership designed to speed construction of the Interstate 485 loop around Charlotte.

John Hood's Daily Journal examines the disconnect between politicians' desire to see new jobs in North Carolina and their willingness to promote policies that increase the cost of doing business.

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