The Locker Room

October 13, 2004

Touching for the Kerry's evil

Posted by Hal Young at 10:38 PM

As startling as John Edwards' claim of the gift of healing for the Democratic nominee -- I think Ben Shapiro characterizes it about right in this morning -- Edwards' statements actually align Kerry with other prominent world leaders.

North Korean megalomaniac Kim Il Sung comes to mind, which has a nice Axis-of-Evil, why-are-we-messing-with-Iraq connection to it. Fits the campaign and all that.

But a more distinguished parallel is the ancient practice of the kings of England and France (another tie-in !), who held scheduled audiences to lay hands on the scrofulous -- a practice known as "touching for the King's evil".

And in an eerie coincidence, perhaps the foremost practitioner of the art chose the American electoral season, including the original March inauguration date, as the designated season for scrofula treatment, 106 years before the Constitution:

On this day in the year 1683, King Charles II in council at Whitehall, issued orders for the future regulation of the ceremony of Touching for the King's Evil Ö to appoint fit times for the 'Publick Healings;' which therefore were fixed to be from All-Hallow-tide till a week before Christmas, and after Christmas until the first week of March ...

Indeed, the practice was at its height in the reign of Charles II. In the first four years after his restoration he touched nearly 24,000 persons.

Of course, John Kerry gives me sufficient reason to be fearful without signs and wonders attending. But it's nice to have a historical precedent.

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UNC columnist says this flag-burner needed to be heard

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:39 PM

To all: I commend this article to you by virtue of its unintentional, self-parodying comedy. This fellow attempts to sanctify someone who walked up to a College Republican information table, took out a lighter and burned one of the CR members' American flags, and then started raving about the draft.

The columnist leads by discussing how the (former) flag owner, Richard Bean, merely "watched [the protester] go to jail" ó which means the man will "forfeight his right to vote." *gasp!*

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NASCAR to hold race in Charlotte; women, minorities hardest hit

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:05 PM

From the Charlotte Observer (requires registration):

A group that claims NASCAR tracks are unsafe environments for minority and female fans is planning its first protest at Saturday's UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. ...

"We will have a strong presence in Charlotte," said Shawn Griffith, a filmmaker working on a documentary that he says shows racism among stock car racing fans....

But Brown, who said he became concerned about minority fans' safety at NASCAR events based on his own and others' experiences, said he has no monetary motives in forming NAMRF.

"The Confederate flag is everywhere," he said. "NASCAR officials say they discourage flags on track property, but it's everywhere."

Brown said he believes NASCAR should begin a flag trade-in program, where any fan could trade in a Confederate flag and receive a flag representing his favorite race driver's team in return.

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Democracy, and Variations Thereof

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:05 PM

While some of the problems with democratic societies can be traced to the peculiarities of democracy itself, this article from the Acton Institute offers some ideas to ponder when juxtaposed against our current political/moral debates.

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Re: They don't need an education lottery--a good first step

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 1:58 PM

Not taking lottery money on the grounds that it is immoral is a good first step. Now this charter school needs to go the extra mile and refuse all government funds, recognizing that theft is also immoral.

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They Don't Need an 'Education Lottery'

Posted by Paul Chesser at 12:42 AM

A charter school in Idaho turned down $10,000 from its state's lottery because it would set a poor moral example for its students.

The North Star Public Charter School turned down the money because it came from the Idaho State Lottery and school officials decided that taking gambling money would conflict with the school's mission of developing virtuous citizens.

"We couldn't in good conscience take the money," said Gale Pooley, co-founder and chairman of the school board. "It's the less fortunate and the poor in the communities who are buying these tickets, and children are the ones who will pay for it."

The director of the lottery association, whose goal I'm sure is only to "help the children," denigrated the school's leaders as "holier-than-thou" types for not taking his money.

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Re: Mistakes Admitted

Posted by Paul Chesser at 12:20 AM

Roy, Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic addresses your first point on tax rates for those who earn more than $200,000, although he doesn't go as far as you do and recommend a larger tax cut. He does suggest an answer that would likely win President Bush some support:

Here's what President Bush should say about this issue in tonight's debate at Arizona State University:

Here's why I think the tax rates in my plan for Americans making more than $200,000 a year are fair and good for the economy.

The first thing you need to know is that, under my plan, upper-income Americans are hardly getting off scot-free. Those making more than $312,000 pay a 35 percent marginal tax rate. Those making $200,000 to $312,000 pay a 33 percent marginal tax rate.

That means that, under my plan, the federal government takes at least a third of every additional dollar these families make. I think that's enough.

My opponent wants to raise that to as high as 40 percent. I think that's too much.

And so on.

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Mistakes admitted

Posted by Hal Young at 12:05 AM

I think Roy's right on target, both on the root cause of President Bush's policy mistakes (when his aim pulled too far to the left) and the best response (grab your opponent and pull him over his center of balance).

I missed a similar opportunity with a reporter this week who asked whether homeschoolers had a negative impact on school funding -- a new argument locally though it's been tried in other states. I was a bit surprised, and told her that since they represent 5% or less of the state's school-aged kids, I really wouldn't see that as a threat to public school budgets. Which is true as far as it goes.

On the other hand, what I should have said was gracious, NO, we're helping the school system by paying bucketloads of property taxes and taking none back in the form of educational services. In fact, local districts ought to be encouraging more of these families, thanking them, not worrying about some conjectural budget twitch.

I also could have raised the question that, with both Wake and Johnston counties singing the blues Tuesday night about overcrowding, modular classrooms, and the cost of new construction, has anyone considered the impact of dropping five thousand new students in one district and twelve hundred in the other, if homeschooling were outlawed tomorrow ? How would that suit your budgets ?

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Re: Election? What election?

Posted by Andrew Cline at 10:12 AM

Yes, that cartoon was from the point of view of a Sox fan. And as John Kerry acknowledged on Friday, Sox fans live in a fantasy world, where there is always hope that one day the less competent, less disciplined, and less skilled will prevail. And thus, because this is real life and not the movies, their dreams are dashed year after year.

I leave you with two quotes:

"I'm not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up."

- Curt Schilling on Monday.

"If we'd sent anybody else out there but me tonight, we would have won the game."

- Curt Schilling on Tuesday.

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the outsourcing "crisis"

Posted by George Leef at 10:06 AM

In the best tradition of demagogic populism, Kerry and Edwards continue to screech about outsourcing. But thanks to Bruce Bartlett and the internet, the crushing refutation is readily available. You can read it here.

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Keep your eye on the coast

Posted by John Hood at 10:06 AM

But not for tropical weather. The storminess Iím talking about is the potential for electoral wind-shifting.

There are two highly competitive state senate contests on the coast. Both districts are currently held by Democrats. In District 2, centered on New Bern, Scott Thomas has a rematch against the GOPís 2002 nominee, former Craven County commission chair Chuck Tyson. In District 6, centered on Jacksonville, Cecil Hargett didnít get a rematch with his 2002 opponent, and instead will face car dealer and Democrat-turned-Republican Harry Brown.

These are swing districts in any event, and attracting lots of attention and dollars from both sides, but look out particularly for the Republicans. Iíve just noted in the voter-registration data that there appears to be a net increase of 3,000 Republican voters in Craven and a 4,300 net Republican increase in Onslow, respectively. These increases are larger than the margins by which Thomas (1,700) and Hargett (970) won in 2002.

If the GOP were to win these two seats, that would likely bring their numbers in the senate to at least 23 (there are 22 Republican-leaning seats already in the latest map, but I'm not assuming that the GOP will defeat Sen. David Hoyle in Gaston, so call it a 21-seat starting point). To get to 26, obviously, Republicans would have to win Hugh Websterís swing seat in Alamance, which seems likely; Democrat Walter Dalton's swing seat in Rutherford-Cleveland, which is iffy; and one other surprise victory. That could be Hoyle going down in a GOP turnout surge in Gaston. It could be an eastern Democrat such as A.B. Swindell in District 11 or John Kerry in District 5. It could be an urban Democrat such as Janet Cowell in Raleighís District 16 or Martin Nesbitt in Ashevilleís District 49.

Could be. But any would properly be seen as an upset. Still, a closely divided senate, at least, seems like a reasonable prediction at this point unless Bush/Burr/Ballantine momentum collapses at the last minute, the way Bush/Vinroot did in 2000.

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Why can't the president admit to his mistakes?

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 09:28 AM

One of the mantras of the Kerry campaign is that George Bush is unwilling to admit to his mistakes, and on this point the Johns are clearly right. My hope is that if in tonightís debate the President is asked to admit to three mistakes that he has made during his presidency that he will finally fess up.

1. He needs to acknowledge that his tax cut was too small especially for those earning over $200,000 a year. He should have the guts to admit that had he given these intense investors, job creators, entrepreneurs, and wealth creators a bigger tax cut, the recovery would have come along much more quickly and everyone would be better off.

2. He needs to come clean on his mistake not to push harder for his judicial nominees in the face of people like John Edwards and Hillary Clinton on the senate judiciary committee.

3. He needs to acknowledge that getting in bed with Ted Kennedy to engineer the federal takeover of education known as No Child Left Behind was a terrible idea and that if he could he would take it all back.

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