The Locker Room

June 17, 2009

Amazon warns affiliates about the taxman

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:02 PM

Mark Binker's story at news-record.com on the potential damage to Amazon affiliates generated some personal anecdotes of how these small businesses will be affected by the new click-through tax proposed by the House.

Amazon's email stated

We regret to inform you that the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) appears ready to enact an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that would leave Amazon.com little choice but to end its relationships with North Carolina-based Associates.

But the governor wants even more.

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Edwards launches PR campaign by pledging to not launch PR campaign

Posted by David N. Bass at 5:00 PM

From Under the Dome:

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards says he is spending his time with his family at their home outside Chapel Hill and volunteering in some anti-poverty efforts in Latin America.

But he has no plans to push to restore his name like former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Rob Christensen reports.

His reputation, Edwards says, "is not something I’m focused on. The only relevance of it at all is my ability to help people. That's the only reason it matters. I'm not engaged in, or interested in, being in a P.R. campaign."

Isn't pledging not to launch a PR campaign a de facto PR campaign?

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Questionable marina deal (first reported in CJ) attracts feds' interest

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:29 PM

Today's proceedings in the Easley investigation produced an unexpected nugget: the feds want information about a Southport marina deal that led to an ethics complaint against the former governor.

Carolina Journal first reported on this issue in 2006. Learn the background of the story here, here, here, here, and here.

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Spend less, Tax less. Come on. You can do it.

Posted by Becki Gray at 4:19 PM

In a just released Triangle Business Journal online poll, 57% of the 680 respondents said no thanks to more taxes. Seems most folks believe that government should do just what the rest of us have to do – live within our means. Gov. Perdue apparently has not gotten the message, asking the legislature today to raise taxes by $1.5 billion. The state budget can be balanced with no taxes and still preserve education, programs for the needy and other essential government functions. Coletti outlines exactly how in his Can Do Budget. The Governor and legislative leaders can do it - they just have to want to.

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Witness Intimidation & Global Warming

Posted by Daren Bakst at 3:07 PM

I was browsing the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee web site and found this interesting allegation (from the press release):

"Intimidation and abuse of witnesses who disagree with ruling Democrats must not be permitted in the Energy and Commerce Committee, 20 of the panel’s Republicans told Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass., Friday. At issue is the curious case of an energy company executive who, within hours of challenging the cost analysis of Waxman-Markey global warming legislation, found himself the target of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission inquiry requested that day by Chairman Markey."

Here is the Republican letter to Waxman and Markey, Markey's original letter to FERC, and FERC's response.

It really wouldn't be that surprising if this was intentional.  Environmental extremists (from both parties) have attacked anyone that dare challenge the global warming/anti-poor movement.

In 2006, Senator Rockefeller and Senator Snowe sent a threatening letter to Exxon because they didn't approve of Exxon's funding of nonprofit organizations that  dare to question the extremist agenda.  A lowlight from the letter:

In light of the adverse impacts still resulting from your corporations activities, we must request that ExxonMobil end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth. Further, we believe ExxonMobil should take additional steps to improve the public debate, and consequently the reputation of the United States. We would recommend that ExxonMobil publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it. Second, ExxonMobil should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history. Finally, we believe that there would be a benefit to the United States if one of the world's largest carbon emitters headquartered here devoted at least some of the money it has invested in climate change denial pseudo-science to global remediation efforts. We believe this would be especially important in the developing world, where the disastrous effects of global climate change are likely to have their most immediate and calamitous impacts.

Notice that the threats from the extremists don't just come when there is a question of whether global warming is a threat, but also when someone criticizes the policy choices being made to address global warming.  The "deniers," as the extremists offensively call anyone that challenges their agenda, can even believe that global warming is a threat but simply disagree with the solutions, yet they still will be called "deniers" or "skeptics." 

The extremists lump everybody together trying to give the impression that these evil people deny that warming has occurred--I don't know of any "skeptic" that denies there has been warming.

When you have no arguments, this is what you have to do--attack your opposition.  The environmental extremists know how to attack, I'll give them that.

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More proof of the law of unintended consequences?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:31 PM

Those who push for tax hikes rarely mention the potential changes in behavior that those tax hikes might generate.

Mark Binker has discovered one likely change

Perhaps our leaders need to review the law of unintended consequences or considering Thomas Sowell's admonition to think beyond stage one.

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RE: Before and after

Posted by Rick Henderson at 1:14 PM

When I was an editorial writer in Las Vegas, Harry Reid used to say "That was then, this is now."

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Before and after

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 1:07 PM

Before: "'I don't believe that you can raise taxes in an economy with folks struggling the way they are,' Perdue said."

“First task: Fill N.C. budget hole”
The News & Observer
October 23, 2008
After: "Gov. Beverly Perdue told legislative leaders Tuesday that she wants the state budget that begins July 1 to include $1.5 billion in new taxes."
"Perdue wants $1.5 billion in taxes"
The News & Observer
June 17, 2009

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New GOP chairman criticizes Democrats for timing of 2009 legislative reception fundraiser

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:57 AM

Two days into his new job, state Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer hosted a news conference to criticize Democrats for scheduling a fundraiser next week to honor Democratic legislators.

Fetzer explains why he has concerns about the fundraiser, and he answers questions about his goals as state GOP chairman during the 21:31 briefing. Click play below to watch.

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"The private health industry's time is up"

Posted by Rick Henderson at 10:17 AM

This op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor from Sen. Bernie Sanders, S-Vt., is refreshing I suppose for its honesty (even though I'm not assuming Sanders wrote the headline):

First, should all Americans be entitled to healthcare in the same way we respond to other basic needs such as education, police, and fire protection? Second, if we are to provide quality healthcare to all, how do we accomplish that in the most cost-effective way?

The answer to the first question is pretty clear, and one of the reasons that Barack Obama was elected president. Most Americans believe that all of us should have healthcare coverage, and that nobody should be left out of the system. The real debate is how we accomplish that goal in an affordable and sustainable way.

To me, the evidence is overwhelming that we must end the private insurance company domination of healthcare in our country and move toward a publicly funded, single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach.

Smarter people than me can point out all the fallacies in Sanders' setup: Private education and fire protection and police (security) services are thriving in the U.S. even though the government offers all as "free" entitlements in many communities.

But Sanders, in his bombastic way ("With thousands of different health benefit programs designed to maximize profits, private health insurance companies spend an incredible 30 percent of each healthcare dollar on administration and billing, exorbitant CEO compensation packages, advertising, lobbying, and campaign contributions"), spells out where health-care policy is headed if the Democrats' "reform" agenda survives. So thanks, Bernie!

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Based on that track record …

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:08 AM

You'll find a mix of good and bad in Fareed Zakaria's latest Newsweek cover story on the future of capitalism.

What struck me as particularly interesting was the following passage:

Consider our track record over the past 20 years, starting with the stock-market crash of 1987, when on Oct. 19 the Dow Jones lost 23 percent, the largest one-day loss in its history. The legendary economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote that he just hoped that the coming recession wouldn't prove as painful as the Great Depression. It turned out to be a blip on the way to an even bigger, longer boom. Then there was the 1997 East Asian crisis, during the depths of which Paul Krugman wrote in a Fortune cover essay, "Never in the course of economic events—not even in the early years of the Depression—has so large a part of the world economy experienced so devastating a fall from grace." He went on to argue that if Asian countries did not adopt his radical strategy—currency controls—"we could be looking at?.?.?.?the kind of slump that 60 years ago devastated societies, destabilized governments, and eventually led to war." Only one Asian country instituted currency controls, and partial ones at that. All rebounded within two years.

Rather than listen to these guys, it might make sense to rely on those who have had greater success pointing to the real problems in the economy.

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What do you get when the pols run the car companies?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:07 AM

The most powerful of the pols ensure that the car companies don't close any inefficient, unproductive operations that employ the pols' constituents. See George Will's description of Barney Frank's recent effort to save a GM parts-distribution center in Norton, Mass.

Perhaps of more interest is Frank's excuse: closing the Norton operation would have forced GM to truck parts from Philadelphia to New England, thus contributing to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Wll responds:

Nowadays, green reasoning is the first refuge of scoundrels. Global warming has become like God: It is an explanation for everything and an all-purpose excuse for the political class to do whatever it wants to do. What a large portion of it wants to do—what it has a metabolic urge to do—is boss people around. It can maximize its opportunities for doing that if it maximizes the number of people dependent on government, and the number of ways in which they are dependent.

I suspect Roy Cordato would agree.

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The wisdom of crowds?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:06 AM

Jon Meacham's latest editor's note in Newsweek offers this factoid:
66 percent of registered voters say the deficit and debt pose a "very big threat to our country and its future," more than twice as many as say global warming does.

Given those numbers, one wonders how poll respondents would respond to the following question: Would you support government climate policies that would have virtually undetectable impacts on global warming while simultaneously costing the economy jobs and investment that would help us reduce the national debt?

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Michael Lowrey's report on a recent N.C. Supreme Court case involving the rules surrounding use of marital conversations in criminal cases.

John Hood's Daily Journal tests the claim that increased government spending equals progress.

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