The Locker Room

November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman dead at 94.

Posted by Michael Moore at 10:25 PM

Milton Friedman, a free-market warrior passed away today.  Godspeed Dr. Friedman!

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Pork futures on the rise?

Posted by Chad Adams at 4:47 PM

Smithfield Foods Inc. is looking at a walkout from their union folks in the Tar Heel area. Currently at 300 workers, the strike could become much larger. (gotta love unionized labor) But there is much more to this story.

While workers are complaining about work conditions, "A company spokesman, Dennis Pittman, told The Fayetteville Obsverer that Smithfield recently complied with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement request for the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and gender of workers at the plant."

About 600 workers were found to have unverifiable information.

But in perspective, the plant employees 5,000 workers and slaughters up to 34,000 hogs a dat running 24/7. This is the LARGEST pork-processing plant in the world!

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Teacher Pay

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 3:33 PM

It's that time of year again.

The National Education Association published their annual teacher pay ranking, and North Carolina's average teacher salary appears to lower than the national average. The NEA ranking does not include the 8 percent raise passed by the legislature this summer, but you will still hear the ranking used by legislators to justify another big across-the-board raise for teachers.

As in past years, you can expect a JLF report that adjusts teacher pay for pension contribution, cost of living, and teacher experience. That report will likely show that North Carolina's adjusted teacher pay is above the national average.

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CBPP's report on Medicaid costs

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:20 PM

The Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) finds that Medicaid costs are growing slower than Medicare and private health insurance in an attempt to show that Medicaid is a good deal.

But the slowdown was largely due to an improving economy, as the paper admits, and steps taken by states to limit their payments. North Carolina, for example, froze reimbursement rates for the past two years.

CBPP and others complained about cost-containment steps at the time, but are happy to report the results. The latest report concludes:

Most Americans expect to receive quality medical care and long-term care and look forward to having access to medical advances that will prolong life and improve health.  These medical advances generally add to costs.  Addressing the twin phenomena of escalating health care costs and high health care expectations is a problem that cannot be solved primarily through Medicaid.  It ultimately will have to be addressed as part of a broader national effort to reform the overall U.S. health care system.

In other words, someone is going to have to ration care. CBPP would prefer the government do it, despite the evidence. Some of us would prefer to use prices.

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This is just too funny

Posted by Jon Ham at 2:56 PM

Pollution curbs global warming. Now, what's the Sierra Club position going to be on this?

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the despicable CNN

Posted by George Leef at 2:49 PM

In its story on the death of Milton Friedman, CNN chooses to take its quotation from some nobody at a "progressive" think tank, saying that Friedman's economic approach was good for creditors and bankers, but bad for workers. That's utter rubbish.

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Milton Friedman, R.I.P.

Posted by Andrew Cline at 2:46 PM

Milton Friedman has died

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Still, it's better timing that Dan Rather

Posted by Jon Sanders at 2:35 PM

House majority leader Rep. John Boehner: "I'll be the first to admit it: The Republican Party took a beating this election cycle."

As hopelessly and hilariously welcome-to-last-week as that sounds, it's lighting-fast comprehension when compared with the terrapin speed of Dan Rather. Dan Rather, two years ago: "If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story."

Let alone being first to admit it, Rather still hasn't even gotten in the queue, as our Donna Martinez recently learned, to the amusement of the Triangle.


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Joanne Jacobs

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:32 PM

Education blogger Joanne Jacobs will be visiting JLF on November 29. I encourage everyone to check out her blog at and buy her book, Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds.

I pity the fool that does not go to the November 29 event.

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RE: Dr. Melanchthon, please call your office

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:00 PM


I am amused that the title of the article is, "Pope Considers Lifting Celibacy Rule," even though the third paragraph says, "The Vatican stressed the meeting would not open a general discussion of the celibacy requirement." Whoops.

I doubt that the Catholic Church will make any changes to the vow of celibacy for utilitarian (shortage of priests) or political (pressure from Milingo's fringe group) reasons. The discussion will seem to center on priests that left the Church, married, and want to return to ministry.

The debate is likely related to the dispensation granted to married Protestant ministers who convert to Catholicism. If a married Protestant minister wishes to become a Catholic priest, the Vatican will occasionally permit it. So, there are a few married Catholic priests (in full communion with the Church) out there. Milingo may try to argue that there is no distinction between dispensations granted to Protestant converts and his merry band of hubbies.

Overall, I am not surprised that Pope Benedict will initiate a dialogue about this. It is a theological issue and Benedict is a first-rate theologian.

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Re: House Dems reject Pelosi's pick

Posted by Paul Chesser at 1:44 PM

Joe, maybe this means the Democrats won't monolithically follow Pelosi and a liberal agenda, and the newly elected "conservatives" there will resist any arm-twisting and horse trading.

 I'm delusional, aren't I?

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Re: Does she really...?

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:21 PM


I think Speaker Pelosi meant that they would take money and special interests as expected, rather than dazzling. Kind of the way China expected tribute states to kowtow. The former GOP leadership learned that gifts can be white elephants.

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Thank you, O.J. Simpson!

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:30 AM

Your new show, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened," is paving the way for more TV news "hypothetical exposťs." The Fox Network's "two-night event" is advertising (and this is not a joke):

Taking their inspiration from Fox, reportedly WRAL News program plans to follow suit regionally.

Apparently, this will be their first entry into this rich, rich field:

I'll let you know of other, future such programs as news breaks.

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Does She Really Believe It? Otherwise known as "say what?"

Posted by Chad Adams at 12:30 AM

As the Dems begin their reign in Congress, this from Nancy Pelosi.

She vowed that after 12 years in the minority, "we will not be dazzled by money and special interests." 

Reality check, is there really a Democratic majority w/o money and special interests? 

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Court decisions and unanticipated consequences

Posted by George Leef at 12:25 AM

Just like other governmental decisions, court decisions can have unanticipated (and undesirable) consequences. Griggs v. Duke Power is a good example, as Ohio University economics professor Lowell Gallaway explains here.

In brief, Gallaway argues that Griggs, by virtually outlawing the use of general ability tests, gave an unwitting boost to the quest for college credentials.

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House Dems reject Pelosi's pick

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:21 AM

Steny Hoyer is the new Majority leader according to the WaPost.

Hoyer won overwhelmingly -- 149 to 86 -- despite heavy lobbying by Pelosi for Murtha.

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Sadr City may be safer than Columbus on Saturday

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:15 AM

The Columbus Dispatch reports: 

Afraid for the safety of its students, the University of Michigan is sending police officers to Saturdayís football game with Ohio State and giving out a cell-phone number that its fans can use for police "support," officials said yesterday.

They also are advising Michigan students to: avoid High Street, carpool to the game in a vehicle that doesnít have Michigan plates, keep the wraps on Michigan clothing until inside the stadium, stay in groups, stay low-key and donít fight, even if harassed.

Go Blue! 

(h/t anonymous Buckeye) 


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Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:07 AM

Doesn't Senator Robert C. Byrd look a lot like Senator Palpatine from Star Wars?



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Re: Blue Dog Lesson Learned?

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 10:00 AM

After carefully considering the facts, I've come to the conclusion that Patrick McHenry is an idiot.

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Stretching the concept of security

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:03 AM

There are no more hungry people according to the USDA, but some people lack food security. Of course, since one of  the government's roles is to provide security, you know where this one is going.

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Blue Dog Lesson Learned?

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 08:59 AM

Patrick McHenry, among others, has taken one lesson from Heath Shuler's victory last week: don't vote for free trade. Trade is the one area where Democrats will continue to grow more unilateral, particularly if abetted by Republicans. Republicans gave up their comparative advantage in spending and honesty, so now to protect themselves, they want to give away another advantage? Let's see if they blow another chance to reclaim their identity tomorrow.

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No news here, move along

Posted by Jon Ham at 08:05 AM

Two cooler-than-average months in a row and the 1934 hottest-year-ever record not in jeopardy don't rate a single news story.

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For you avid book readers

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:04 AM

The annual library book sale began yesterday and runs through Sunday.  More than 500,000 books are on sale and some are even conservative/libertarian.  The prices drop on Saturday and Sunday.  For example, on Saturday hard covers are $2 and paperbacks are 50 cents.  I go on Sunday when you can get a box of books for $5 and a bag for $2.  They provide the boxes and bags, but I take a hand truck to handle the full boxes.  See details here. 

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