The Locker Room

August 14, 2009

In case you missed him ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 6:09 PM

Joe Coletti analyzed public concerns about health care reform for Jeff Atkinson during WBTV's 7 p.m. "cover story" report.

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A great reason to start shopping Whole Foods

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 5:09 PM

On Wednesday I posted this on the Locker Room. Today ABC News is reporting the Obamanistas are boycotting Whole Foods. 

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Obama in Montana

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:14 PM

Maybe the president should move to Montana permanently, and take Frank Zappa's advice, become a dental floss tycoon. Indeed, this is probably the closest he should ever come to the health care industry.

 

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Delusions of Progressive Grandeur

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 2:54 PM

The Nation magazine, seeing its socialized health care dream go up in smoke, is lashing out against the Blue Dog Democrats.

Proving that they live in an impenetrable ideological bubble, their Aug. 12th editorial states here:

The Blue Dogs parade as "fiscal conservatives" and "moderates," false advertising that the mainstream press mindlessly echoes. In fact, they are the epitome of a Washington captured by moneyed interests. They aren't working to ensure that healthcare reforms are paid for; they are laboring on behalf of insurance companies to protect their obscene profits. The Blue Dogs are maneuvering on behalf of Big Pharma to make sure the government won't negotiate reasonable drug prices. They're doing their best to derail reasonable tax hikes on the affluent, hikes that would make insurance affordable for working- and middle-class families. Even on the Blue Dogs' signature issue--the "pay-go" rules, which they insist must be passed into law--they exempt reductions in the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans and, of course, the cost of any military adventure whatsoever.

And this is how the Progressives plan to counteract the thousands of average citizens who have come out against their socialized health care dream at town hall meetings.

What the country needs--what Obama needs, whether he realizes it or not--is an independent, mobilized, progressive citizens' movement that takes on the corporate lobbies, from Big Pharma to Big Oil to Wall Street; challenges the legislators who are in their pockets; and demands affordable national healthcare, renewable energy, empowerment of workers, regulation of Wall Street and more. That movement should go after the conservatives and the compromised in both parties--anyone who stands in the way of reform.

 To this I say, fat chance.

To get an eye witness account of the grassroots anger against Obamacare, see Jon Sanders' report on the NC "Hands Off My Healthcare" bus tour here

I spoke to thousands upon thousands of my fellow North Carolinians in small towns and big cities, and in between stops, watched the news and heard what the president, the Democrat leaders in Congress and their mouthpieces in the media said about us.

I make them this challenge: Go to the rallies and say that. You really think attendees were bused in by Big Insurance? Watch them arrive. Watch senior citizens be helped out of their vehicles and into their walkers to stand in the hot sun. Dare you call them angry mobsters? See the veterans who served in Europe, Japan, Korea and Vietnam walk in on uncertain knees to take yet another stand against statism. Look them in the eyes and call them Nazis, if you can.

 

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Jon Sanders in the Windy City talking health care

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:05 PM

Actually, Jon is not in Chicago, but he did chat with former WPTF afternoon man Jerry Agar in a segment that airs this weekend on WGN.

You can hear part of that conversation here.

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The Spin on Wind Turbines

Posted by Daren Bakst at 2:02 PM

Environmental groups and other wind power proponents are trying to "spin" a recent bill passed by the state Senate.  The House still has to take up the bill.

The New York Times has a recent article entitled "North Carolina Moves to Limit Wind Projects."  This article title is similar to the one I discussed recently from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Let's get to the facts:

The NC Senate passed a bill (SB 1068) that would help promote wind power, not limit it.

Under the current Ridge Law, almost all tall buildings and structures that exceed 40 feet would be banned from the ridgelines.  By any reasonable interpretation of the law, it would ban commercial scale wind turbines, which can be as tall as 500 feet or the height of a 50-story skyscraper. 

As the NC Attorney General Roy Cooper wrote in 2002, the only types of windmills that would be allowed are "the traditional, solitary windmill which has long been in use in rural communities." In other words, a small grain mill would be allowed, but tall, electricity-generating turbines wouldn't be.

The NC Senate, instead of simply restating what existing law would allow, decided to promote wind power by expressly allowing some tall wind turbines--those that are 100 feet (not including the blades) and are used primarily for personal residential use.

Before this change, these turbines wouldn't have been allowed--now they expressly are allowed.

The wind power proponents want to make it seem like wind turbines somehow are getting less protection than other structures.  In fact, the opposite is true: wind turbines are getting special treatment.

The following is a brief summary regarding the bans on tall buildings and structures along the ridgelines:

___________________________________________________________

Current Law:
Bans All Wind Turbines* and Almost All Structures

NC Senate Bill:
Allows Some Tall Wind Turbines--Still Bans Almost All Structures

What Wind Power Proponents Want:
Ban Almost All Structures But Create a Special Exception for All Wind Turbines

*Doesn't include traditional rural windmills  _______________________________________________________________

Since the Senate didn't create a massive exception for all wind turbines, the wind power proponents are trying to spin the story so it looks like the Senate just passed a new law to ban wind power.

A recent op-ed I wrote also discusses this issue.

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Grassroots Tyranny in Lillington

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 1:35 PM

Malinda Harris has been denied a place to live on the street where she grew up in Lillington by 3-2 vote of the Board of Commissioners.  Her "crime?" She wanted to replace her home that recently burned with a mobile home. The Board ignored the fact that the lot next door and the one across the street have mobile homes.  What gives the Board this power?   The Conditional Use Permit process gives local governments almost unlimited power to decide how you will use your hard earned property.

According to WRAL here

Under the current ordinance, someone wanting to put a mobile home within town limits must get a conditional use permit. The planning board recommended to the board that it allow the mobile home, given Harris’ circumstances, but in a 3-2 vote, the request was denied.

Of course, the three commissioners who voted against Harris could not be reached for comment. They don't want to explain their arbitrary decision to the media or anyone else.

They did suggest that she put a modular home on the site,  "but Harris said that would be out of her price range."  I guess it is also a crime to be poor in Lillington.

We recently mailed this checklist to more than 3,000 city council candidates providing them a quick and easy way to evaluate the operations of their city government.   In the introduction, we remind city council candidates that, "The Declaration of Independence charged King George III with 27 acts of arbitrary rule. City zoning and land-use regulations can be equally arbitrary and capricious."

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DMV got the Poole cue

Posted by Paul Chesser at 1:04 PM

It's a "no duh" in juvenile parlance about political patronage in the North Carolina DMV, as WRAL reported yesterday, but the story is worthwhile and reveals yet another cog (not necessarily the identity, but how it was done) in the Mike Easley operation:

The names of the DMV employees have been redacted from the public documents, but the high ranking influence is clearly spelled out. Applicants were recommended by Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, then-Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, former Sen. John Kerr and Ruffin Poole, Easley's former legal counsel (emphasis mine), among others.

"There's a fair amount of pressure to hire people," said Wayne Hurder, the former DMV deputy commissioner who compiled the list. "People had to have their finger in the DMV pie...."

Hurder also said Poole often influenced hirings.

"He called, and everyone knew he spoke with the authority of the Governor's Office. What happened at N.C. State rang true from my experience," Hurder said.

And among the final strokes of Easley's patronage were the hiring of adviser Dan Gerlach as president of Golden LEAF, while his now-colleagues at the McGuire-Woods law firm -- John Merritt, Edgar Roach and yes, Ruffin Poole -- are LEAF board appointees of the former governor's. I hope someone other than the useless Roy Cooper is checking this one out, too.

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Cap-and-tax on hold?

Posted by Rick Henderson at 11:24 AM

Four Democratic senators are balking at passing a bill limiting greenhouse gas emissions this year, Bloomberg reports.  North Dakotans Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, along with Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Nebr.) want cap-and-trade provisions stripped from the Senate energy bill, allowing a separate vote on a bill featuring new subsidies for renewables but no limits on greenhouse gases. Dow Chemical lobbyist Peter Molinaro says such a move would likely sink the "climate-change" measure. (Dow, by the way, backs cap-and-tax.)

“Doing these energy provisions by themselves might make it more difficult to move the cap-and-trade legislation,” said Molinaro, who is based in Washington. “In this town if you split two measures, usually the second thing never gets done.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would not allow the full Senate to vote on a stripped-down bill. But unless Reid can pull four Republicans to his side, he won't be able to get a 60-vote majority to force a vote on a bill including both components.

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Political hack joins Perdue's office

Posted by Paul Chesser at 11:23 AM

The News & Observer reports today that Governor Perdue has hired a new communications adviser (who will not be part of the communications staff?!) and while the newspaper makes an issue of the hire in the midst of tight budgeting, of greater interest (at least to me) is who it is. Pearse Edwards is leaving the administration of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire to join Perdue:

Edwards "will be advising not only communications but policy and government relations," (Perdue spokesman Tim) Crowley said.

Edwards, a North Carolina native, has been Gregoire's communications and external relations director since January 2008, according to news accounts. He previously worked for Microsoft and former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, who is now the U.S. secretary of commerce.

In a similar role for Gregoire, Edwards likely contributed to a letter she sent (PDF, brilliantly critiqued by our friends at the Washington Policy Center) to the state's congressional delegation in June urging members to vote in favor of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade energy tax legislation. As I blogged about last month, Gregoire has made a habit of fudging data on melting snow-pack and has passed around a laughable document that shows how many "green jobs" (like truck drivers!) are created thanks to policies that limit fossil fuel use. The crowning gesture, however, was this:

As for Gregoire, she is far down the global warming road and has shown no sign of turning back, despite mounting evidence of global cooling the last decade (despite increasing CO2 emissions). When the Washington legislature refused to approve the state’s participation in WCI’s cap-and-trade agreement, the governor issued an executive order implementing the program anyway. “I wanted cap-and-trade,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t get it.”

This is the shop where Pearse Edwards has dwelt for the last several years. Doesn't hold promise for how honestly Gov. Perdue will pursue her agenda, and whether he will affect her tactics. Watch.

 

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WRAL-TV: Edwards to admit paternity?

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:57 AM

WRAL-TV in Raleigh cites anonymous sources in reporting that former Sen. John Edwards is expected to soon admit that he is the father of his former mistresses' 18-month old daughter.

Along those lines, I'm curious to see how violently Rielle Hunter threw Edwards under the bus in her 9 hours of grand jury testimony last week.

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OK, now I'm convinced

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:07 AM

Here's my favorite passage in today's News & Observer article about the UNC system's chancellors defending their taxpayer-funded golden parachutes:

Rosemary DePaolo, in her seventh year as chancellor at UNC-Wilmington, said the retreat rights policy, while difficult for those outside academia to digest, is a critical piece of the compensation package for people considering a leadership post at a public university. The jobs are stressful, and potential chancellors want to know they'll be taken care of, she said.

Yes, these payoffs are "difficult for those outside academia to digest" because they make no sense. Plus, they're easy to abuse

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

What will the new N.C. budget mean for taxpayers across North Carolina? Becki Gray will address that question in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

We’ll also continue the health care reform discussion, with comments from North Carolina’s U.S. senators — Richard Burr and Kay Hagan — and reaction from Joe Coletti.

Both Democracy North Carolina’s Bob Hall and CJ’s Don Carrington will discuss recent developments in the State Board of Elections investigation into former Gov. Mike Easley.

Plus Daren Bakst will explain why North Carolina’s energy mandates are bound to cost thousands of jobs and cause a significant dent in the state’s economy.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Friday interview features Donna Martinez's conversation with John Hood about the future of the "death tax."

Joe Coletti's guest Daily Journal discusses some of the themes he's covering during the John Locke Foundation's six-city tour promoting consumer-driven health care.

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