The Locker Room

May 13, 2010

The new transcendentalism

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:17 PM

Thoreau would be proud. According to the News 14 Carolina story,

The peach tree at Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary School near downtown Raleigh is already starting to sprout fruit. It's second grade student Ben Watson's favorite part of the school's natural learning garden.

"I love to sit under the peach tree and just write poems and draw pictures about it," he said.
Anyway, it turns out that Ben Watson is quite talented. Here is one of his poems:
A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, bleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
hunches leeches, wrenched teachers.

What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, smooth velvet
richness, splashy juices.
I beseech you, peach,
clench me into the sweetness
of your reaches.
Ok, that was actually "Peaches" by Peter Davison. I am sure Ben is talented, though.

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New Carolina Journal online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:47 PM

Don't have time to watch the entire video of this morning's news conference related to the Racial Justice Act? The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report.

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More students and many, many more teachers

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:34 AM

Education Week links layoffs to excessive employment of teachers over the last decade. From the article,

The NEA’s annual “Rankings & Estimates” report shows that from 1999-2000 to 2007-08, student enrollment increased from 46.6 million to 48.9 million, an increase of about 5 percent. The number of K-12 classroom teachers during that time period rose from 2.89 million to 3.2 million, an increase of 11 percent. Figures over the same time period from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data appear to confirm the pattern.
At this point, the link between layoffs and hiring is just a hypothesis, but it is one worth exploring.

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James K. Galbraith: Delusional

Posted by Rick Henderson at 11:51 AM

In a fascinating Q&A between Washington Post lefty wunderkind Ezra Klein and unrepentant Keynesian economist James K. Galbraith, the good professor says the danger posed by America's long-term deficits is "zero."

What is the nature of the danger? The only possible answer is that this larger deficit would cause a rise in the interest rate. Well, if the markets thought that was a serious risk, the rate on 20-year treasury bonds wouldn't be 4 percent and change now. If the markets thought that the interest rate would be forced up by funding difficulties 10 year from now, it would show up in the 20-year rate. That rate has actually been coming down in the wake of the European crisis.

So there are two possibilities here. One is the theory is wrong. The other is that the market isn't rational. And if the market isn't rational, there's no point in designing policy to accommodate the markets because you can't accommodate an irrational entity.


I'll allow my colleagues who are better schooled in these matters to comment. What really got my attention, though, was this:

Unemployment is at 10 percent. If we got busy and worked out things for the unemployed to do, we'd be much better off. And we can certainly afford it. We have an impending energy crisis and a climate crisis. We could spend a generation fixing those problems in a way that would rebuild our country, too.


Yes, let's work out things for the unemployed to do, with the "us" no doubt being the government, which is now spending more as a percentage of GDP than it has since the end of World War II, can't pay its bills, and somehow can't seem to get that pesky unemployment rate below 10 percent. That's the ticket.

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GOP lawmaker, Charlotte crime victim raise concerns about Racial Justice Act

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:23 AM

Rep. Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Jennifer Shelton, widow of a slain Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, held a morning news conference to discuss their concerns about misuse of North Carolina's new Racial Justice Act.

Click play below to watch the 20:29 news briefing:

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Can the US avoid being Europeanized?

Posted by George Leef at 09:06 AM

Daniel Henninger has an excellent WSJ column today, in which he argues that the GOP needs to make people understand that it is the "We're Not Europe" Party.

The trouble with Europe (some countries more so than others) is high unemployment, slow economic growth and a populace that demands welfare instead of going out and working. Everything Obama has been doing accelerates our slide into that swamp.

Henninger writes, "Obama would never say it is his intention to make the US go stagnant by suppressing wealth creation in return for a Faustian deal on social equity. but his health system required an astonishing array of new taxes on growth industries. He is raising taxes on incomes, dividends, capital gains and interest. His energy reform requires massive taxes. His government revels in 'keeping a boot on the neck' of a struggling private firm. Wall Street's business is being criminalized."

Right -- Obama will never say that, but reality requires trade-offs. You simply can't have a robust, job-generating economy at the same time you have the federal government sucking in vast amounts of resources for the politicians' visions of an egalitarian nanny state.

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Terminology matters

Posted by George Leef at 08:41 AM

In this post Professor Steve Horwitz comments on the fact that younger people are favorably inclined toward "libertarian" but much less so when asked about "capitalism." Why? Well, maybe because they erroneously associate the current economic mess with "capitalism" even though capitalism had nothing to do with the antics of the Fed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailouts, etc.

Maybe we should ditch "capitalism." In any event, it's vital to get people to understand that our economic malaise is due to government meddling, not the system of voluntary investment, production and trade ("capitalism") that has mostly been driven out of existence through government meddling.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 07:30 AM


  • State law won't let Will Breazeale run as an independent candidate after he lost the 7th Congressional District's Republican primary.

  • Error made by election officials leads to big changes in the Republican's Senate District 47 primary, The McDowell News reports.

  • The Civitas Institute says that Public Policy Polling's survey showing a tight Burr/Marshall race was taken from a skewed sample.

  • PPP poll has a runoff election between Marshall and Cunningham tied.

  • The Lexington Dispatch: runoffs are a cherished part of American government, but the results often aren’t tidy.

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A series of tax increases

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:32 AM

You’ll also have to wait a while before Fortune posts Nina Easton’s latest column, “How Obama plans to pay for his agenda: A little tax here, a little tax there, and soon you’re talking real money.”

But we’ll give you a little taste of it now:

Not long ago House Democrats were pushing a more overt “millionaire’s tax.” At least the intention was clear Instead, the White House is pursuing a drip, drip, drip of microtaxes on the nearly 3.5 million households Obama considers wealthy enough to fund his government plans. And, oh, how those nickels and dimes add up. “We estimate that the health reform law will take an additional $52,000 on average from the top 1%” of earners, concluded the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. Households affected by the expiration of the Bush tax cuts — along with other tax hikes in his budget — will pay an additional $17, 925 on average. Citizens, especially the so-called wealthy, aren’t going to be happy about the onslaught of new tariffs.

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Fortune chronicles Blackwater’s makeover efforts

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:30 AM

Xe, the company formerly known as Blackwater, hopes to win a contract to train Afghanistan’s national police force.

The latest Fortune magazine offers an update (not yet linked online) of the Moyock company’s efforts:

The contract in Afghanistan, which the Pentagon will award early next year, could go a long way in improving Xe’s financial outlook. [CEO Joseph] Yorio tells Fortune the company lost half its revenue when it left Iraq. (The private company won’t disclose figures, but sources say at its peak Blackwater had annual sales north of $1 billion.)

If you’re interested in a little more history, check out Jean Palmer-Moloney’s 2008 presentation to the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:16 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sara Burrows' on an unintended consequence of the federal war on salt: an attack on country ham. 

John Hood's Daily Journal contrasts the words liberals use with the actual meaning of those words, using "education is our top priority" as an example.

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