The Locker Room

March 14, 2007

Did Mr. York address this one?

Posted by Hal Young at 10:43 PM

I'm in Nashville on business this week, and all the buzz locally (defined as Steve Gill's morning show on WLAC-AM)is whether former Senator Fred Thompson is going to run.

Gill had Hugh Hewitt on the program the other morning, and Hewitt thinks it's too late in the cycle for Sen. Thompson to start a campaign now. I'm willing to look into the possibility, though; presently I'm thumbs down for Guiliani and McCain, and only a tenuous thumbs-horizontal on Romney.

Wm F. Buckley made the comment years ago about supporting "the rightwardmost viable candidate", but please, surely, can't we get someone more rightward than these three?

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John Edwards + climate fearmongering = really daffy climate fearmongering

Posted by Jon Sanders at 9:59 PM

The vapidity of Edwards' rhetoric — which is by itself remarkable — even infests his attempt to sound electably concerned about the climate.

Listen to this stab at unmitigated climate fearmongering by Edwards speaking at Bennett College:


If you were to read this analysis of what happens if the climate temperature changes on the face of the earth rises three to eight degrees over the course of the next 75 years, it's frightening. It will make world war look like heaven. Migration of hundreds of millions of people, not enough food, not enough water, incredible political upheaval -- and we, the United States of America, we are 4% of the world's population. We are making 25% of the world's greenhouse gases. We are not an example for good.

Speaking of vapid, get a load of that hopelessly ridiculous campaign slogan: "Tomorrow Begins Today."

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Guilford football players 1, Palestinians 0

Posted by Jon Ham at 3:39 PM

All charges have been dropped against six Guilford College football players who had been charged with ethnic intimidation by three Palestinian exchange students. This smelled fishy from the start, with witnesses saying early on that the Palestinians were trying to start trouble.

Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann said he dropped charges of assault and ethnic intimidation after reviewing witness statements from nearly 30 people. All six players faced assault charges, while five were charged with ethnic intimidation.

The Palestinian students told a magistrate judge they were taunted with racial slurs and called "terrorists" as they were beaten and kicked during a Jan. 20 fight on campus, according to court papers. Two of the students attend Guilford College, and the third man attends North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Police investigated the incident after the students went to a magistrate judge, who issued warrants for the football players. Police didn't file their own charges.

Neumann said witness statements "differ as to how the incident began, how it erupted, who was involved." 

Whatever happened to the "they had it comin'" defense?

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People's Cube on Hillary's Southern Exposure Tour

Posted by Jon Ham at 3:02 PM

The People's Cube has fun with Hillary Clinton's really bad Southern accent recently. Here's "Dixie" updated for the N.Y. senator's benefit:

Well I went down South to the land of cotton,
Midwest accent soon forgotten,
Look away, look away, look away, it's a scam.
In Dixie land with a Reb accent I adorned
Early on a frosty mornin',
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie land.

Chorus:

Then there I was in Dixie, Hill-Ray! Hill-Ray!
In Dixie land my accent's grand,
To jive and lie in Dixie,
Away, away, my accent mouth from Dixie,
Away, away, my accent mouth from Dixie.

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York assesses Edwards' chances during Raleigh visit

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:56 PM

John Edwards does not have the right message for a winning presidential campaign, according to National Review White House correspondent Byron York.

York assessed the Edwards campaign this afternoon during his Headliner appearance in Raleigh for the John Locke Foundation. York cited pros and cons of all the leading Republican and Democratic contenders, saving North Carolina's most familiar candidate for his final comments.

York says Edwards gets 12 percent of the support from Democrats in the latest Washington Post poll.

He's doing well in Iowa. He's campaigning hard there. He's doing well in Nevada. He won South Carolina in 2004.

The thing that seems interesting about him is he's morphing from the "Two Americas" candidate in 2004 to the anti-war candidate of today. And I've never seen a candidate go around, and his entire appeal seems to be: "I made a mistake. I made a mistake. I made a mistake."

He knows that Democratic voters want someone who will repudiate their vote in favor of the war in Iraq, and so he's running around at every opportunity saying, "I made a mistake. I was wrong. Please vote for me." I don't know that is going to work.

The other problem for Edwards is I think he's the candidate who is most addicted to pledging sweeping change. "There's going to be sweeping change. We need to do this to eliminate poverty. We need to get out immediately in Iraq." And I think that most research shows that voters will say they want sweeping change, but they don't vote for sweeping change.

And I think Edwards has stuck himself as the candidate representing sweeping change in a country that really, really doesn't want it. He misreads the polls, and he misreads the political journalists who are misreading the polls saying that there is some sort of momentum for sweeping change when there in fact is not.

So I don't look for him to actually to score big on that front. 

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Political pressure in the open

Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:47 PM

Five years ago Gov. Mike Easley said he wanted Golden LEAF created so that the state's tobacco money would be used as an aggressive economic development engine, "one that operates outside the grasp of political pressure."

That pretense is all out the window, as The News & Observer reports today about his speech to the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry:

Gov. Mike Easley wants the nonprofit charged with overseeing the state’s share of tobacco-settlement money to become more aggressive in economic development.

The Golden LEAF Foundation needs to use more of its money to help build infrastructure in rural communities to attract new employers and jobs, Easley told reporters after a speech in Durham today.

“They are charged with the responsibility of building economies in areas where we didn’t have economies,” Easley said. We are “asking Golden LEAF to step up, be a little active, a little more aggressive.”...

Easley didn’t offer many specific steps Golden LEAF should take. But he did say that the organization is limited by the restrictions of its nonprofit status and may need to reduce the size of its board.

And Golden LEAF should be more closely involved with efforts to land economic development projects, he said. “We need to stay more engaged with them, keep them in the loop,” Easley said.

The arm-twisting can get pretty painful, as I reported back in 2002. Smaller board, fewer arms to twist.

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What about Ron Paul, Mr. York?

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 1:39 PM

That's the question that I didn't get a chance to ask Byron York at today's headliner.

Althouth he has little chance of winning the primary, I hope Ron Paul at least injects some ideas into the debate that wouldn't otherwise have been there. He's the only candidate asks the question, "Is it constitutional?" Maybe he'll shame the other candidates into taking more free-market positions.

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Church of the Environmental Evangelists

Posted by Chad Adams at 11:21 AM

The Global Warming Crowd really says some amazing things (from the Summit Daily News):

" . . . The next section of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, focusing on global warming impacts, is due to be released at a meeting in Belgium next month. A draft version of the report says that, within a few decades, hundreds of millions of people will face water shortages, while tens of millions will be flooded out of their homes. Tropical diseases like malaria will spread, pests like fire ants will thrive and by 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos. By 2080, hundreds of millions of people could face starvation, according to the IPCC draft report."

Facts are this:

1) There are already water shortages in parts of the planet and always will be, it's a big planet.

2) Floods are also historical and will occur again and again as will forest fires.  In some ways, floods and fires are actually necessary for good things to happen.

3) Fire ants do just fine with or without global warming, they're just a successful species.

4) Polar bears aren't in trouble.

5) People have always faced starvation and will again with or without global warming.  If the continent were covered in ice , many more would face it.
 

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Not a problem. Got that? It's not a problem!

Posted by Paul Chesser at 11:20 AM

Great news from The News & Observer today. They report, based on an study in the current Journal of the American Medical Association, that "Immigrants are no strain on Medicaid" -- so the headline says. That's because, they say, "Between 2001 and 2004, the state spent less than 1 percent of its total annual Medicaid budget on care for such immigrants...." We're talking just North Carolina's expenditures, by the way.

Here are the numbers from the JAMA article: 48,391 received emergency Medicaid care; of those, 99.2 percent were undocumented. 93 percent were Hispanic.

So, comprende? There is "no strain on Medicaid!"

I might as well add this personal observation while I'm on the subject. Yesterday I went to get some inoculations at the Wake County Health Department for a foreign trip I'm going to take in a few months. The place has at least a half-dozen clinics, and the one I was in had at least 90 percent Latinos there for services. Other clinics I saw also had large percentages of Hispanics. Needless to say, Medicaid represents only a small portion of taxpayer-subsidized health care.

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Politics and ethanol

Posted by George Leef at 08:52 AM

Holman Jenkins has a wonderful column in today's Wall Street Journal on the politics of ethanol. He's absolutely right in saying that the US corn/ethanol industry isn't opposed to OPEC, but rather wants to become part of it.

Jenkins refers to the investment that's pouring into various biofuels initiatives. This is similar to the efforts by capitalists to find new energy sources in the 1840s as whale oil became ever more costly. Luckily, politics stayed out of the energy market back then. Today, with politics intruding into just about everything, we'll probably waste huge amounts in subsidizing economically inefficient but politically well-connected ventures. Here we have yet another excellent example showing why we'd be better off with a laissez-faire minimal state.

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The Center for Teaching Quality blog talks teacher pay

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:51 AM

I did not catch Bill Ferriter's commentary about my teacher pay article when he posted it in late February. Sorry, man. Mr. Ferriter is a middle school language arts teacher in Wake County, was teacher of the year in 2005-2006, and calls himself "The Tempered Radical."

Mr. Ferriter found that I "seemed committed to spin and to pushing politics." He came to this conclusion via the pick-and-choose method of criticism. Rather than engaging substantive issues, such as the myth of the "national average" or the recruitment and retention issue, Mr. Ferriter took issue with two minor points.

In the Spotlight, I said,

In addition, states in the region that compete with North Carolina for teachers rank significantly lower in adjusted average compensation. South Carolina is tied for 21st with Alabama, Maryland ranks 30th, Virginia ranks 33rd, and Florida ranks 36th in the final ranking.

Mr. Ferriter points out the $600 advantage that North Carolina has over South Carolina is not "significantly lower." Fair enough, but I clearly refer to a group of states in this sentence. Within the region, the differences are significant. My next sentence reads,

The adjusted average compensation for North Carolina teachers is nearly $600 more than South Carolina and Alabama, almost $3,500 more than Maryland, over $5,200 more than Virginia, and over $6,600 more than Florida.

Mr. Ferriter's next point dealt with merit pay. He said, "Even more interesting is the complete lack of information in this piece on how merit pay will benefit teachers." It is not hard to understand why Mr. Ferriter believes that a discussion of merit pay is an "unrelated" conclusion to the report. Judging from his comment above, he wants to know how merit pay would benefit teachers. I want to know how merit pay would benefit students.

Indeed, in the first sentence of the conclusion, I clearly say that the goal is to find a way to use teacher pay to "help students learn." If you follow the endnote to a research study that Mr. Ferriter calls "unconvincing," I elaborate on it. By the way, he does not say why the Duke University study (of a merit pay pilot program in North Carolina) is unconvincing. It is more accurate to say that the study was inconvenient for Mr. Ferriter, so he disregards it.

In a more recent commentary, Mr. Ferriter claims that my discussion of teacher pay questions the status of teaching as a profession. Rather, I assume that teaching is a profession, and as such, can find ways, like using merit pay, to create a "deep enough candidate pool to make fine-grade choices about who "makes the cut" in our classrooms."

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A sensible analysis of global warming

Posted by George Leef at 08:07 AM

Most of the chatter about global warming assumes that warming is all cost and no benefit, while measures to slow or stop it are all benefit and no cost. That's very childish thinking.

Professor George Reisman takes a reasoned look at the costs and benefits here.

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Are you bad if you "outsource" your haircuts?

Posted by George Leef at 07:58 AM

Tibor Machan argues otherwise here.

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