The Locker Room

September 16, 2005

Re: Tone and feeling

Posted by Paul Chesser at 7:06 PM

This juvenile "columnist" was fired because she screwed over the people she quoted -- you know, the ones she supposedly respects? That is the offense. She deceived them. They should be offended about that. As for the acerbic nature of the column, it was over the top and in my opinion ineffective, but I can still handle that.

Coletta probably overreacted by firing her, but I take him at his word that he did so because of her transgression, not because of her views. And yes, a more aware editor probably would have addressed that transgression up front. But I haven't seen anything yet that tells me Coletta is insincere about his stated reasons for letting her go, or that he is just caving in to the P.C. pressure.

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Congressional Hearings on Kelo

Posted by Daren Bakst at 5:28 PM

Next week, the full Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold hearings on the Kelo decision. The Senate has a tentative witness list available.

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Re: tone and feeling

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:33 PM

Donna: "nonsensical junk" from who?

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Re: tone and feeling

Posted by Donna Martinez at 4:30 PM

Folks, put your hankies away. I wouldn't have used the words she did, but what strikes me is that Jillian Bandes has illustrated once again how soft we've become in this country. How about just vehemently disagreeing with her, rather than firing her?! For goodness sake, I'm regularly offended by nonsensical junk from Cindy Sheehan, but I don't call for reporters to stop giving this woman a platform. I refute her arguments. No one has to agree with Bandes' opinion, or the words she used to make it. By the way, if you want to see Bandes defend herself, tune in Sunday at 11 a.m. for NBC 17's "At Issue." Bandes joins me, Cash Michaels, Monty Knight and WPTF's Kevin Miller for a pretty feisty segment.

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Daily Tar Heel editor — before the "sexed up" column

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:05 PM

Shannon Blosser sent me this blog posting by DTH editor Chris Coletta in August. A few snippets:

... here's the thing -- at the DTH, our columnists speak for themselves. Not the DTH; not even anyone else on the DTH opinion staff. Themselves. It might be ridiculous; it might be offensive. But as long as it's not libelous or inaccurate, we'll run it.

Now, I'll make suggestions. I'll say, "Hey, you should probably add this or say this." But I won't tell the writers what to do. I do that with the editorial board members; they represent the entire board, and I'm in charge of that board. Not the columnists, though. I'm just here to clean things up a bit after they write....

Because in a newspaper -- a public forum based on dialogue -- it's not my job (or my right) to stifle anyone's opinion. Not hers, and not yours.

Jillian will run her next column Tuesday. And I'm looking forward to it. She's a good writer; she's acerbic; hell, she's fearless.

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Gas price watch — revisited in response to Travis' post

Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:45 PM

Gas prices in Raleigh and Fuquay stayed at $3.39/gal. (regular) during Labor Day weekend, then slowly started to fall throughout the week. All stations on my commute were at a uniform $2.99 by the end of the week. This week continued the slow decline, although over the last couple of days prices have fallen at a quicker place.

In reference to Travis' comment about "expectations of future prices": I was able to avoid the peak prices last week by hoarding and lowering consumption (not driving during Labor Day weekend). Also, now that prices are falling, and because I expect lower prices at the pumps the next time I stop, I am not filling up my car. I rode till I was on "fumes," and put if 5 gallons Monday evening at $2.89/gal., which was the lowest price I had seen. By Wednesday night, I stopped and added 7 gallons, at an even lower price of $2.87 (in F-V). Still, by paying attention, I was able to avoid purchasing any gas in the $3/gal.-and-up range, and the most I paid for a gallon of gasoline during The Panic was $2.89, and that was for just 5 gallons.

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Maybe it's good I didn't finish

Posted by Jon Ham at 3:06 PM

I've always regretted taking a job to support my wife and three kids before finishing my doctoral dissertation in political science. Now I'm not so sure it wasn't the right thing to do, at least if this guy is any gauge:

"Honestly, the French Quarter is cleaner than it's ever been in 22 years," said resident Mike Howell, who has a doctorate in political science and tells fortunes for a living in Jackson Square, the bustling core of the city.

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For my professors

Posted by Jon Ham at 2:10 PM

It's something I've noticed a lot lately: prices changing demand.  The only problem is that current prices cannot change (shift) demand; prices only change quantity demanded.  What people usually mean when they say "changing demand" is really "changing quantity demanded".  This may seem trivial, but as my headline suggests, I have an obligation to my professors to make the distinction.

Please refer to this tutorial from Rochester (a very solid econ program) for details.  Slides 39-46 are good.

To appease the economists in the Locker Room, I will note that expectations of future prices can and do shift demand.  There, now everyone is confused.

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More overreach

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:52 AM

The NC Department of Transportation has a new online survey with just five questions. Among priorities listed for NCDOT is "Building new roads for economic development," and bike paths are listed with rail and bus as "other transportation options."

Another question starts: "The state faces many important issues such as education, health care and the economy."

L'économie c'est l'etat? What next?

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D Stands for "Demand Slopes Down"

Posted by Kent Lassman at 11:50 AM

Lynne Kiesling highlights
a simple economic concept that somehow evades many otherwise sensible people: People change behavior based on information they glean through prices. Somewhat fancied up with jargon, an economist may try to explain elasticities which is the rate of that change.

On Lynn's mind today: Gasoline. One might expect that when prices go up, people would consume less. This observation was made several times here inthe Lockerroom.

Check out the graphic
created by Professor James Hamilton (also linked through Lynn's post) at the econobrowser blog. Sure enough, when prices spiked post-Katrina, demand for gasoline plummeted. Hamilton also points out another commonsensical notion. Elasticities -- how we react -- changes at different price points. The same graphic shows relatively higher prices and growing consumption early this summer. All this shows is that consumers didn't mind paying more -- up to a point. We found that point with Katrina.

Yes Virginia, demand curves do indeed slope downward. Here's hoping that policymakers take heed...Leave prices alone. The market does just fine without your "help."

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What's-her-name came to town yesterday

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:50 AM

Not that anyone noticed, but Cindy Sheehan brought her bus tour through Raleigh yesterday. You might remember her. She was a brief fad of the media before Hurricane Katrina made landfall and the savants of the press determined that President Bush didn't hate dead soldiers' mothers so much as he hates poor black folk.

It's not that Sheehan didn't try to recapture their attention. She reportedly said, "Congress, this administration and the media ... the mainstream media — their hands are blood-stained." Sad, really. Her plight seems reminiscent of The Onion's account of another forgotten provocateur: Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-To-Door Trying To Shock People.


"Look at me, suburban dung/blood-stained media. Does this shock you?"

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The UNC EDC

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:45 AM

While UNC has been lambasted by many a member of the community for its supression of free speech (see every major newspaper in NC), I'd like to take a moment to highlight another fault of the university. In his annual state of the university speech, UNC Chancellor James Moeser stated the university's intention to go into the housing business.

There are many problems with this announcement. First, the intention of the university is to get, as Tommy Griffin, the chair of UNC's Employee Forum, "lower-paid folks ... closer to work, take the bus and not have to pay $3 a gallon for gas." In other words, create the need to facilitate our dream to make a community dependent on mass-transit. And, instead of having the consumer take the hit for higher gas prices, spread that cost among all taxpayers in the area buy subsidizing bus services.

Apparently unbeknownst to the administrators of Chapel Hill or the town residents, a plan that requires more tax revenue to run will result in higher taxes, most likely higher property taxes. So, in attempting to build more affordable housing for faculty and staff, the university's humanitarian goal may have the result of raising property taxes for everyone else. But, perhaps the university can use their state tax dollars to help those professors who aren't making enough live closer to the university.

If this is the case, then not only will there continue to be, as Tony Waldrop, UNC's vice chancellor for research and economic development said, a "cost-prohibitive housing market" in Chapel Hill, but business in the town will run even further away from the business-adverse Franklin St., once the economic engine of Chapel Hill.

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Chancellor Moeser's reaction to the Daily Tar Heel controversy

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:50 AM

"UNC Should Foster Intellectual Debate" is the headline to UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser's statement in The Daily Tar Heel, who write, "as the first public university in America, Carolina has a long history of fostering free speech and intellectually challenging ideas." Here's more, with some emphasis added:

The University was born in the shadow of a new federal government that championed individual rights, particularly free speech. Thus it is no great surprise that this institution has continued to cherish and encourage this important freedom, often going to great lengths to protect it.

Consider the Speaker Ban Law of the early 1960s. School of Law Dean Gene Nichol wrote a recent column for The News & Observer of Raleigh detailing the strong leadership of our chancellor during that trying era, William B. Aycock, who vehemently challenged the law. The law forbade state campuses from hosting speakers who were "known Communists" or "advocated the overthrow of the Constitution."

Chancellor Aycock worked tirelessly to repeal the ban and assure that Carolina and the other public universities in North Carolina could once more become arenas of free expression.

"It would be far better to close the University than to let a cancer eat away at the spirit of inquiry and learning," Chancellor Aycock said of the Speaker Ban Law.

How right he was!

Today, free speech is again part of the basic underpinning of our great University.

We should be aware, however, that threats remain and that there are those who would take advantage of our liberal stance.

Indeed, Ms. Bandes' column is the kind of issues that can test our commitment to free expression. We should not allow ourselves to be divided and conquered.

As a premier institution of higher learning that places a premium on freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry, we should demonstrate the courage of our convictions and continue to show that Carolina is a haven for the free and robust exchange of ideas -- regardless of their popularity or support.

Now for the Paul Harvey moment: the Daily Tar Heel controversy was their publication of David Horowitz's ad and column opposing reparations for slavery. I replaced Moeser's original text of "Mr. Horowitz's ad and column are the kinds" with "Ms. Bandes' column is the kind" in order to delay the dropping of that shoe.

The chancellor's statement dates from April 2, 2001. Tune in next time to read a DTH board editorial stating: "The best way to fight speech is with more speech, not to censor ideas you don't like."

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The Sun President?

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:23 AM

Is the criticism for a slow response leading President Bush to overreact? Consider this line from last night's speech: "I as president am responsible for the problem and the solution."
 

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Hate mail of the week

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:14 AM

Received today, although I'm not sure why this one's so late to the game:

From: DEMETRIOS GIZAS
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 20:51:55 -0400
To:
Subject: Front Crap Magazine

Sanders,

I read your "criticism" of professor Christensen in this trashy Jew site. My question is: are you a bastard Jew or a Jew bastard?

Patrick Stetson

My reply: "What brought you to that column at this late date? Concerning your question, cherish it; it’s yours. I’ll let you answer it to your own imagination."

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Re: Tone and feelings

Posted by Paul Chesser at 09:56 AM

Jon H., anyone who knows me knows I generally am not overly concerned about tone and feelings. But Bandes was excessive, even by Coulter-ish standards, by talking about "sexing up" Arabs and then quoting them directly as if they agreed with the idea. Not that she should have been fired for it (and let's all remember she wasn't getting paid for it, and is not entitled to any microphone other than her own), but in my opinion definitely worth targeting for criticism and in need of correction for her journalistic practice.

Hell-oooo!

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All this talk about tone and feelings

Posted by Jon Ham at 09:33 AM

Paul, I must disagree that the "tone" of Ms. Bandes' column was an issue. Hell-oooo. It was a column! It was opinion! I just heard Kevin Miller also chastise Ms. Bandes on his WPTF morning show about her tone, scolding her and saying she could have made her points without "offending anyone." Boy, I'm glad Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine didn't buy into that view. 

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Re: Fired Daily Tar Heel columnist

Posted by Paul Chesser at 09:12 AM

Jon, I agree that a reprimand was more in order than a firing, and the editor should demanded a rewrite or spiked it. And Chris Coletta admits he should have done a better job of scrutinizing it.

I'm glad to see that Jillian Bandes is somewhat repentant about her tone and about offending those she quoted (and says she respected), but she's still holding to her stance that she committed no journalistic transgression. She did.

You're right, it's too bad that this has blown up into a free speech issue rather than a bad writing/editing lesson.

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Educational assistance for hurricane evacuees

Posted by Hal Young at 08:52 AM

Larry Scholer at the Heritage Foundation's Insider Online summarizes efforts to make private schools accessible to families displaced by Katrina.

Meanwhile, I know several groups in the homeschooling community that are doing the same thing in support of their own educational option.

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Inhale, exhale

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:50 AM

From the New York Times:

Over three days of testimony, between declining to answer questions on specific cases and legal issues, Judge (John) Roberts made clear that his approach to interpreting the Constitution is more varied and flexible than the originalism subscribed to by Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. President Bush has singled them out as models for the sorts of justices he planned to appoint.

"I think the framers, when they used broad language like 'liberty,' like 'due process,' like 'unreasonable' with respect to search and seizures, they were crafting a document that they intended to apply in a meaningful way down the ages," Judge Roberts said Wednesday.

He said he would consider not only how the framers of the Constitution understood those words, but also how courts have interpreted them and how they apply to evolving societal conditions.

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Hot Wieners

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 08:50 AM

In the N&O.

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The DTH firing

Posted by Jon Ham at 07:55 AM

The firing of columnist Jillian Bandes by the Daily Tar Heel at UNC continues to reverberate. A senior writer at TownHall.com (full disclosure: she's my oldest progeny) had this to say:

The difference between Bandes and other college columnists is that she offended the wrong people, according to academia. Instead of railing against our “oppressive, patriarchal society,” “institutional racism,” or America’s “fascist foreign policy,” she railed against suicidal cultural sensitivity in dangerous times. Had she offended academia-approved groups like whites, conservatives, males, and Republicans, she could have counted on the campus community to shout down anyone who disagreed with her—in celebration of free speech and open debate, of course.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

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