The Locker Room

July 11, 2008

Immortal Words of Rand and Shell Games

Posted by Daren Bakst at 4:56 PM

I wanted to sum up what was happening with the annexation moratorium in one brilliant sentence.  I just couldn't find the right words.

Luckily, Senator Rand's own words (used to address another issue) capture the current annexation political environment.  Click here to hear my feelings about the current annexation political environment as expressed in the immortal words and voice of Senator Rand.

HT: Mitch Kokai

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Annexation Politics and Rand

Posted by Daren Bakst at 3:51 PM

The forced annexation moratorium bill is stuck in the Senate Rules Committee.  It is stuck there because of one person: Senator Rand.  One way to get it out of committee is through a discharge petition (see Rule 47(b)), but that requires two-thirds of the Senators to support the petition--not an easy thing to do.

As I explained before, the Senate rules do not prohibit this moratorium bill from being considered.  There are limits on what can be considered in the short session, but the good news is bills that implement the recommendations of select committees are expressly allowed.   The moratorium bill is the recommendation of the House Select Committee on Municipal Annexation.

The rules that govern what can be considered in the short session are found in the adjournment resolution.  Support for my explanation is found in the legislative librarian's memo on eligible bills for the short session and in the bill drafting division's explanation of what can be considered in the short session.

Rand is trying to make claims to the contrary in hopes that people will buy that the rules prohibit the bill from being considered.  Unfortunately for him, it is crystal clear that the bill can be considered.

He has said "a bill must be the result of a joint study by the house and the senate."  There is absolutely no such requirement.  Other legislators have been parroting his misleading claim though.

I hope facts and our own eyes will let everyone see the truth.  Rand is basically repeating the Groucho Marx quote: "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”  BTW: I thought someone else said that, but apparently it was Groucho Marx.

Let's keep this simple: The bill can be considered.  Rand doesn't want it considered and can do whatever he wants, and he is.

One other issue of interest on the annexation front.  Senate Democrats are saying they will seek a study bill in the Senate--but some at least won't support the moratorium.  Let's be clear on the study issue as well:

- Last year, the Senate could have participated in an annexation study committee but didn't want to, and actually killed the idea of a joint committee.

- Even if they decided to study the bill on their own or as part of a joint committee, there would be no time for them to do so--they wouldn't meet during the session next year, and there isn't enough time for them to consider the issue during the fall.

- The last thing anyone that opposes forced annexation should want is the anti-property rights Senate (i.e. this is the same body that killed the bipartisan eminent domain constitutional amendment) to study the issue by loading up some committee with NC League of Municipalities reps.

- The House annexation committee has done a good job and is fully capable of coming up with good recommendations, and has made enough progress to finish its work in the fall.

Bottom Line

- The rules expressly allow the moratorium bill to be considered.

- Senator Rand is the sole reason, as of now, why thousands of North Carolinians will be victimized by forced annexation in the upcoming year.

- A Senate study bill is a sham and a way to divert attention from the fact that the Senate is killing the moratorium bill.

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'Corporate welfare weekly'

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:10 PM

From the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law:

Raleigh, NC. During the first week of July 2008 the following “incentives” were publicly announced: 

$80,000,000.00 to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, by Concord and Cabarrus County. The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC. July 7, 2008.
$11,000,000.00 to Sanvik, Incorporated, by Alamance County. The Times News, Burlington, NC.  July 7, 2008
$250,000.00 to Galexe Pharma Sciences, Incorporated, by One North Carolina Fund.  The News-Topic, Lenoir, NC. July 1, 2008
$250,000.00 to Stanley Furniture Company, by One North Carolina Fund. The Graham-Star, Robbinsville, NC. July 8, 2008
$62,000.00 to Sencera International Corporation, by the One North Carolina Fund. Triangle Business Journal, Raleigh, NC. July 7, 2008
The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law compiles this information from media sources only as a public service to all North Carolina taxpayers.

The Institute's Jeanette Doran will speak to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society Monday at noon. 

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Economic ignorance on display

Posted by George Leef at 1:50 PM

Sheldon Richman writes here about the pathetic display of economic ignorance by John McCain and the rest of his GOP rivals for the nomination (except for Ron Paul, who has a solid grasp of economic reality).

Of course, the Democrats are no better.

The biggest howler is the idea that the government can stimulate the economy. That's simply impossible. The best the government can do is to follow Thorea's advice and get out of the way of productive people.

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Forget the knowledge, just gimme the credentials!

Posted by Jay Schalin at 12:19 AM

On the Pope Center site, a student who returned to school at age forty tells an interesting story about how his distance learning classes at East Carolina University were so easy he couldn't continue, despite a 3.9 average.

His experience illustrates one of education's biggest failings: any sort of "education" major is likely to feature a dumbed-down curriculum. He probably should have ignored the education part and concentrated on learning the subject matter (info technology), since he had 20 years experience in his field and wanted to teach at the community college level where it isn't necessary to have all kinds of mind-numbing education credentials. Instead, he followed a bum steer from the school's counselors.

Who knows how many competent people have rejected K-12 teaching as a career because they couldn't deal with meaningless education courses designed for Forrest Gump to pass?

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Another occupational licensing issue

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:05 AM

Midwives want state licenses. Why? So they can cut out competition.

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Bring out your dead!

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:38 AM

Donna Martinez's discussion of the "organ ambulance" reminds me of an earlier discussion of the same topic.

(Beware of mild profanity in the last few seconds of the video clip.)

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Re: whiners

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:33 AM

Well, in fairness, the reason "U.S. exports are at a record high and the trade gap decreased" is because of the recent decline in relative value of the U.S. dollar. The "trade gap" or "trade deficit" has always been a trumped-up concern, anyway; a bit like bewailing a "trade deficit" with your local grocer.

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A nation of whiners

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:23 AM

Former senator (and McCain advisor) Phil Graham took a lot of heat by saying that Americans are in a "mental recession" and have become "a nation of whiners." As you would expect, McCain was quick to distance himself from Graham, and Obama used it as an opportunity to take shots at both.

While it was a poor choice of words, it is important to put Graham's statements in context. His subsequent comments do just that. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline...We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today."

Today, the AP reports that U.S. exports are at a record high and the trade gap decreased much more than economists expected ($2.4 billion below forecasts). I doubt that this news will vindicate Graham - the media is way too busy whining.

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Re: Toddlers to be taught 'human rights'

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:12 AM

Terry, what a thoroughly redundant idea. Only the colossal fools at the UN would believe that toddlers need to be taught that they have a right to expect food, to be looked after, to have a voice, and to choose what toys to play with. That's like thinking babies need to be taught how to cry or cats need to be taught to look at their owners with cool diffidence.

Naturally, being the UN, they are trying to inculcate the next generation with the idea of positive rights — i.e., privileges bestowed upon them by Nanny Government after having taken from others — as opposed to negative rights, which are rights bestowed upon each individual equally by the Creator God and cannot, must not be taken from him by any government.

It is entirely unnecessary to teach toddler to expect to be cared for. What is necessary is to teach them to grow into self-sufficient individuals who don't look to government to provide their "rights" to be provided but who look to government only to protect their rights, from outside rogues and states, from other government forces, and from fellow citizens.

No, as I've written before, we are all born as little socialists:

You're handed everything you need; you think you're entitled to everything other people have, and sometimes you just go and take it; you have no idea how money works, what it is, how you get it, and how to use it; you believe all the phony scary stories your friends dream up; your hero is some man who lives to give you a whole buncha stuff once a year, talks to animals, and lives in the one place in the world that's safe from global warming; you think a bicycle is great transportation; you think trains are really cool; being asked to do even the slightest amount of work is the worst thing anyone has ever said to you; you think the opposite sex is icky; you're whiny; you smell bad; and you throw a fit at the dinner table.

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Easley playbook in action

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:40 AM

Earlier this year, Governor Easley used a bunch of cute kids in a television commercial promoting water conservation. Now, the Atkinson campaign has a bunch of cute kids declare, "If I could vote, I would vote for June Atkinson."

Richard Morgan's campaign has yet to release any videos.

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Toddlers to be taught about "human rights"

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:36 AM

The Telegraph reports that British nursery schools are adopting a UNICEF (naturally) program that teaches toddlers about "human rights" as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention includes 54 articles that aim to increase government power, redistribute wealth, and promote kumbaya and warm-fuzzies.

I'll let a proponent of the program speak for herself.

"It is helping children be aware that they have a lot of things in common with children everywhere, such as the right to clean water and being cared for. It's about awareness that we have different experiences but being tolerant.

"There are very simple things they can understand, like the right to be looked after and have food.

"It also looks at how much the children are given a voice. In practice it would be looking at can the children choose what toys are out to play with, and where it's possible do they have a choice of whether they are outside or inside."

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Latest dispatches from the political trail

Posted by John Hood at 07:36 AM

• The gubernatorial candidates have reported their second-quarter fundraising numbers and cash on hand. Beverly Perdue raised $2.3 million and has $1.4 million in the bank. Pat McCrory raised just over $1 million in the second quarter and has about $700,000 in the bank. PPP's Tom Jensen discusses what the polling shows about Libertarian Mike Munger's potential effect on the gubernatorial race, along with Bob Barr's role in the presidential contest.

• The Elizabeth Dole-Kay Hagan race doesn't quite make Congressional Quarterly's list of the most-competitive Senate races in the country, which include Democratic takeover bids in Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Alaska, Oregon, and Maine, and a Republican takeover bid in Louisiana. The News & Observer rates a Hagan ad attacking Dole on gas prices to be a “stretch,” while Dole finds herself in a predicament about securing funding for a Rowan County bridge that state officials want to toll, an idea opposed by local officials.

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How it's really done, pt. 3

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:02 AM

We all know the new $21 billion state budget is the product of many hours of open debate among the 120 members of the N.C. House and 50 members of the N.C. Senate.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

"Under the Dome" helps us peek at the real process, with a nugget about the insertion of $500,000 in the budget for a proposed Museum of the Marine. Neither the House nor the Senate had originally approved the money. And there's some dispute about who ultimately decided to include the funding. But one representative claims credit. (See "Tucker's abracadabra.") 

See previous installments of the "How it's really done" series here and here

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM

The prospects looked dim in the closing days of the legislative session for new state tax credits targeting parents of children with special education needs.

That’s despite the bipartisan support documented in the latest edition of Carolina Journal Radio. You’ll hear comments of support from Sen. Malcolm Graham, D-Mecklenburg, and Rep. Marvin Lucas, D-Cumberland, along with Darrell Allison of Parents for Educational Freedom North Carolina and Leslie Petruk, a parent who could use the credits to help cover costs of services for her elementary school-age son.

Speaking of taxes, the closing months of President Bush’s administration could mark the end of the Bush tax policy. Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board explains why rejection of the Bush tax policy would mean bad news for Americans. You’ll also hear former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole discuss taxes; that’s one of the highlights of Americans for Prosperity North Carolina’s recent “Take Back Our State” rally. That rally also featured comments from AFP President Tim Phillips.

Jon Ham will join us to discuss the future of the print media, and Paul Chesser will discuss the work of his group, Climate Strategies Watch.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:42 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features David Tuerck of Boston's Beacon Hill Institute, which recently calculated potential costs from global warming policies North Carolina is considering.

Donna Martinez's guest Daily Journal raises questions about a proposed "organ ambulance." 

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