The Locker Room

January 16, 2009

Your Saturday is planned

Posted by David N. Bass at 2:33 PM

The 2009 march for life is taking place in downtown Raleigh tomorrow. The rally begins at 1 p.m in Nash Square. More information here.

And, if you're twiddling your thumbs for something to do tomorrow morning, check out The Mayor's Unity Day breakfast. "Join other citizens and community leaders in open dialogue to learn and share ideas on how to enhance understanding of diverse cultures, build inclusiveness, and strengthen human relations in our growing city." Oh, rapture!

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"Stimulus" is not what the economy needs

Posted by George Leef at 12:53 AM

Naturally, the short-sighted politicians (pardon the redundancy) who are in charge in Washington are committed to the political expedient of spending prodigious amounts of money in order to "stimulate" the economy. It can't, however, as Sheldon Richman explains in this column.

You have to wonder -- does Obama the supposed intellectual ever bother to read things written by people who reject the idea that government officials know how to manage the economy? Does he even know that such a case exists?

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Re: Government stimulating government – the song from the off-Broadway smash "RENT Seekers"

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:40 AM

Joe, your last post inspired me. I can just see Barbra Streisand in the role of Gov. Perdue singing:

Government people,
Government people who need government people,
Are the rent-seekingest people in the world.

We're spenders needing other spenders
And yet letting our government pride
Hide all the waste inside
Acting more like criminals than criminals

Are very special people
They're the luckiest people in the world

With each victim
After every other special victim
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you can never fill the hole
The budget is all hunger and thirst
But first
Be a government person who needs people

Government people,
Government people who need government people,
Are the rent-seekingest people in the world.

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Government stimulating government

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:57 AM

Gov. Bev Perdue asked for $15 billion in taxpayer money funneled through the federal government to pay for state ($7.5 billion), county ($3.5 billion), city ($2.8 billion), and school ($1.1 billion) projects. She's counting on another $900 million in secondhand taxpayer money to bail out the state Medicaid program. This more than offsets the good idea she had in asking state agencies to find ways they can save seven percent of their budgets in the year ending June 30.

Rhode Island, instead of asking for a larger federal share of a Medicaid program the state can't afford, has received a waiver turning it into a federal block grant that can limit growth in the program.

Rule number one: Don't tax your citizens through the federal government - whatever the state gets in federal assistance roughly equals what taxpayers have had taken from them by the federal government.

Rule number two: If you get a stimulus check, don't use it as an excuse to create more programs.

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Re: Fear the buttons

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:39 AM

Shelley, I know what you mean about the premature declaration of having heard it all — that's why, after some consideration, I opted to place any new, remarkable absurdity within the top percentile of the stupidest things I've ever heard. Your example would make at least the 95th.

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Forget Terrorists, Fear The Buttons!

Posted by Shelley Gonzales at 11:14 AM

When I think I've heard it all and could not possibly be surprised by another absurd piece of legislation, I have been proven wrong yet again. Apparently our legislators think we need to be protected from the evils of buttons and string! Last year, Congress passed HR 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This passed both houses of Congress with virtually no opposition in August of 2008. The lack of opposition must mean it is a good bill right?

So what is HR 4040? It is a vague piece of legislation requiring all businesses that produce any products meant for children under 12 years old be tested for lead by a third-party laboratory; toys, diapers, clothing, etc., and even the individual inputs for these items (buttons, string, fabric, and so on). Tested for lead? Buttons? String?

Sound unbelievable? Wait until you hear the costs of such regulation. A close relative of mine has her own children’s clothing line and recently checked into what it would cost to test ONE button for lead. The answer she received? $25.00 each! Yes, you read correctly, $25.00 to test ONE button for lead. A cost like this for buttons alone is enough to drive any company out of business, small or large. The total cost to test just one finished product (buttons, string, zippers, and fabric) could be up to $180.00!

Worse, punishment for non-compliance with this new law is up to 5 years in prison and up to $15,000 per offense! What a shame. If being bad policy weren't enough, implementing it during a time of recession, when our country cannot afford to put additional people out of work, would be even more detrimental. Not only will it significantly increase unemployment, but it will also bankrupt the small businesses that many have worked so hard for over their lifetimes to build. Is this American? No way!

This ridiculous and unfair piece of legislation targets a huge number of small businesses in the United States. Most Americans still have no idea it even exists. Those who are aware of this bill are doing everything they can to prevent it from being implemented in February 2009.  

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A clarification for the record

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:40 AM

I know that my article this morning carries a headline beginning "Ugly, Noisy, Sometimes Offensive," but please read on; I assure you the column is not about me, it's about the Free Expression Tunnel at NC State and the latest "hate speech" controversy at UNC. The gist:

One wishes earnestly but with little reason to hope that somewhere at N.C. State or within the UNC system could be found an educator who could use the incident as a teachable moment about the importance of free speech and the free society’s ability and responsibility to use more speech rather than tyranny to overpower noxious speech. They all apparently want to use the incident to justify stifling speech on all UNC campuses. ...

Rather than wasting time hammering out speech policies that are bound to be unconstitutional and are demonstrably unnecessary anyway (some scribbles at one university on one day on a "free expression" wall means it's high time to rewrite the speech codes throughout the whole system?), it would be much wiser to drop the issue entirely and let N.C. State students return to their time-tested, well-practiced way of dealing with free expression that's offensive: ignore it, drown it out, or just clown it on the side. If UNC wants to export a lesson from the Free Expression Tunnel, what better lesson could they find? Imagine: UNC students systemwide able to deal with offensive ideas with aplomb rather than immediately being reduced to a mewling, quivering heap.

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Why we need another Maggie Thatcher

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:53 AM

Our AEI friend Steve Hayward posted this over on the Ashbrook Center Blog, No Left Turns.

Why We Love Maggie, Reason 12,896

Claire Berlinski’s wonderful book, "There Is No Alternative": Why Margaret Thatcher Matters includes this little gem:

When PM Thatcher told the Marxist leader of the Congo that "I hate Communists," the translator rendered it thus: "Prime Minister Thatcher says that she has never been wholly supportive of the ideas of Karl Marx."

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New Deal and Unemployment

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:43 AM

See the details from The Heritage Foundation here. 

 But for the sake of argument, lets cede the point that anyone receiving government employment assistance is ‘employed’. Does that end up changing the the impact of New Deal spending on unemployment? No. As the chart above shows, even when using the numbers preferred by the leftist proponents of big government, the story is still the same: Unemployment never made it near the 1970-2008 5.5% normal unemployment rate until well after the U.S. entered World War II.



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Judge OKs God in Obama inauguration ... wow, that was a close one!

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:38 AM

A federal judge has given Obama the OK to reference the Almighty when taking the oath of office:

A group of atheists and agnostics had sued in federal court in Washington hoping to prevent Obama from adding ["so help me God"] to the 35-word inaugural oath outlined in the Constitution.

The lawsuit also sought to prohibit Obama's chosen inaugural ministers, the Revs. Joseph Lowery and Rick Warren, from offering prayers at inauguration.

Has there been a president who didn't speak of the Divine in his inaugural address? It began with George Washington in 1789:

...[It] would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.

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She's for the bailout after she was against it

Posted by David N. Bass at 07:58 AM

North Carolina's new junior senator, Kay Hagan, has decided to support the bailout after she opposed it. Why does that sound familiar?

Reports the AP:

Hagan said President-elect Barack Obama provided her assurances that the new money [$350 billion in bailout funds] will be invested transparently and with accountability. Her vote on Thursday helped approve the bailout infusion.

"Another reason I'm looking very closely at this is because of the heavy investment of the banking industry in our state," Hagan said in an interview, noting that there are about 154,000 jobs directly related to the financial industry in North Carolina. "It's huge in our state."

The Democrat from Greensboro was vocally opposed to the bailout measure during her campaign. She said at the time that Washington needed to be helping out regular Americans, not rushing to aid Wall Street leaders by "giving them our money and crossing our fingers."

"It's a fix for Wall Street, not Main Street, and this isn't a situation where we can afford to only address half the problem," she said in a statement at the time. Hagan avoided taking a position in October until after the Senate had passed the bill.

Sorry, the words "transparency" and "bailout" can't go together It's a universal law of government.

The Senate vote on releasing the bailout funds was 52-42. North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr also did a switcheroo - he voted against releasing the funds after voting in favor of the original bailout in the fall.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:00 AM

As Gov. Beverly Perdue completes her first week on the job, former Gov. Mike Easley returns to private life. Now that Easley has stepped off the state’s political stage for the first time in 16 years, how will North Carolina remember him? That’s a topic John Hood addresses in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

One of the issues the new governor’s former legislative colleagues could address this year is annexation reform. You’ll hear highlights in this week’s program from a recent meeting of a study group looking at ways to improve the state’s 50-year-old annexation law.

You’ll also hear a discussion about improving North Carolina’s public school testing program. How can the state take steps to ensure parents and taxpayers can compare North Carolina students’ test performance to the performance of students in other states and nations?

Michael Sanera will share details from his recent report explaining the problems associated with Wilson’s government-owned fiber-optic cable network. And Hillsdale College’s David Bobb will tells us why all Americans need to understand at least the basic details of the U.S. Constitution.

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Business Week ranking of best high schools

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:00 AM

The best high schools in North Carolina according to Business Week:

Best Overall Academic Performance: Green Hope High School (Wake County)

Best Low-Income: Monroe High School (Union County)

Best Improved: Independence High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg)

GreatSchool's Parent's Choice (public): Raleigh Charter High School (Wake County)

GreatSchool's Parent's Choice (private): Providence Day School (Charlotte)

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:57 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features Donna Martinez's conversation with George Leef about the poorly named Employee Free Choice Act, also known as the card-check or union bullying bill.

Jon Sanders' guest Daily Journal dissects the debate over free expression in the UNC system, especially the bizarre decision to question free expression within N.C. State's Free Expression Tunnel.

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