The Locker Room

November 18, 2009

Mind of the South

Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 5:21 PM

Although historians disagree regarding W.J. Cash's conclusions about the Old and New South, they agree that all serious scholars of Southern history and culture must be familiar with Mind of the South.  In it, the North Carolinian predicted the Civil Rights Movement.  He died an untimely death in Mexico City in 1941.  Some question the cause of his death, considered a suicide by Mexican officials; Cash had been a fierce critic of the German Nazi and Italian Fascist regimes, and had feared that Nazi spies had been following him a couple days before his death.

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Harvard Med School dean gets it right

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:30 PM

In today's Wall St. Journal, Harvard School of Medicine Dean Dr. Jeffrey Flier identifies all of the major problems facing the American health care system. As he points out "tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care." He concludes that proposals coming out of Congress and the White House deserve a failing grade when it comes to addressing these problems. What I find particularly gratifying is that he further concludes that all of these proposals will simply perpetuate the status quo--a point I made several weeks back in this Daily Journal. Flier notes that "in effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants."

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Wednesday afternoon humor courtesy of the Onion

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 3:39 PM

Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

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Eco-nannies target our TV sets

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:03 PM

The advocates for the eco-nanny state, after going after the toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, light bulbs, automobiles and other planet ruining choices we have made, are now targeting our choices in TV sets. And of course, they are starting their crusade in California (Is there any doubt that the CA of the Southeast, North Carolina, will not be far behind?) According to this AP story "If adopted, the regulations will require televisions sold in California to be more energy efficient beginning in 2011. The requirement would be tougher in 2013, with only one-quarter of the TVs on the market currently meeting that standard." That's right, 75 percent of the TVs currently being watched by Californians would be outlawed in 3 years. Once again, no matter what the problem, too much liberty is always the cause.

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Garner and Urban Planning

Posted by Daren Bakst at 2:17 PM

Now Garner wants to build up its downtown.  The town has tried to take steps to revitalize the downtown, but it has failed.

From the News and Observer article about this new "vision" for Garner:

To make this plan succeed, property owners in the Main Street and Garner Roadareas would have to agree to sell their homes to make way for new construction.

The town would likely have to invest some serious cash in hopes that the private sector would follow suit. Drivers would have to be willing to veer off busy U.S. 70 to patronize new stores and restaurants downtown.

If a desire for development in downtown existed, it would happen on its own.  Now, the town will apparently try and spend the citizens' money to buy properties, and don't be surprised if eminent domain is used in some fashion.  Economic incentives certainly would be used.

Why is there a need for a downtown when even according to the mayor, most residents don't even know where the downtown is located?

The planners will tell us (from the article):

But towns like Garner need a downtown focal point, said Eric Bosman, a planner with Urban Collage, an Atlanta firm hired by the town.

"As you zoom down 70, you see restaurants and developments that could be anywhere," Bosman said. "They don't necessarily signify the heart or soul of Garner, North Carolina."

Why do they need a focal point?  Because some out-of-state planner likes downtowns.  What is the heart or soul of Garner?  Maybe Applebees and Target are the heart of the town.  Maybe the convenient developments and restaurants are what makes Garner desirable to its residents.  Also, why does a small downtown area somehow constitute the character of a much bigger municipality?

Let's also just get real.  My "vision" tells me that people aren't going to be clamoring to visit the charming tiny downtown of Garner, North Carolina, regardless of what is spent.

We all have "visions" of where we would like to live.  This doesn't mean we should force fellow residents to pay for our vision.

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'The Greatest American Hero' then and now

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 1:47 PM

Fox News does the world another great service. They profile the cast of "The Greatest American Hero" on their Then/Now feature.

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RE; Docs and mammograms

Posted by Rick Henderson at 1:03 PM

As Kathleen Parker noted today, the release of this report comes at a really lousy time for supporters of Obamacare.

A government report urging people to limit the use of a costly screening procedure that's long been touted as a lifesaver should make people nervous when that same government insists that it must take over the delivery of health care to save costs.

It'll only fuel suspicions that a primary feature of Obamacare will be big-time rationing.

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Leave those entrepreneurs alone

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:33 AM

A new National Bureau of Economic Research paper written by Silvia Ardagna (Harvard) and Annamaria Lusardi (Dartmouth) argues that entry regulation discourages entrepreneurial activity.

Furthermore, individuals who report having business skills are less likely to enter entrepreneurship in countries with higher entry regulation. Finally, we also find that individuals who know other entrepreneurs are less likely to start large businesses in countries with higher levels of entry and contract enforcement regulation.

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Re: a pluperfect example

Posted by George Leef at 12:21 AM

I'd like to know how much money we're wasting on the government office that puts out this false and deceptive crap. Send them all packing and stop blowing money on propaganda operations.

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Corporate Social Irresponsibility and Cap and Trade

Posted by Daren Bakst at 11:56 AM

Many companies are supporting cap and trade because they will make lots of money if it passes (e.g. General Electric) or they think it is better for their bottom line to be at the table working out this bad policy instead of fighting it.  I'm sure there are other self-serving reasons as well that are motivating some of these companies, such as public relations. 

Regardless, these companies, by supporting cap and trade, are supporting:

- Higher energy prices
- Less disposable income
- Weakening the economy
- Fewer jobs
- Hurting the poor (since a cap and trade is regressive)

You can see lists of many of these unethical companies here.  The organization that has developed these lists, called the No Cap and Trade Coalition, is asking people to boycott these companies.

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Doctors oppose government panel's mammogram recommendation

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:52 AM

Good Morning America never mentioned that the mammogram rationing recommendation was made by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a panel appointed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Just seven years ago, the same panel said women should get mammograms starting at age 40.

Karen and Jon have already questioned this recommendation for its health effects. It also casts doubt on the trust we should place in any government panel of experts whose role is to determine what medical treatment is best for 300 million Americans.

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A pluperfect example of government incompetence ...

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:53 AM

can be found in Coletti's link this morning. Regular incompetence would be mistaking how many congressional districts there are in a state, or spending government money thinking it would stimulate the economy, or thinking it's good to spend millions of dollars to save a handful of jobs, or simply fabricating job-saved numbers out of whole cloth because your chief just chided the Chinese about the importance of an open society.

But to do all of them together — spend the money, pretend it's good for the economy, invent the districts, and make up a laughably small number of saved jobs; in other words, to say we spent over $60,000 per job to save under 100 jobs in three NC districts that don't even exist — well, that's the kind of colossal incompetence one can only get with a large, intrusive federal government.

The Obama administration is not too big to fail, it's too big a fail.

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Re: Jobs "created or saved"

Posted by Jacob Burgdorf at 10:51 AM

For those wondering how many phantom districts there are nationwide in the recovery plan, the answer is 440 with $6.4 billion credited to them.

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Easley campaign manager Jay Reiff appears at the U.S. courthouse

Posted by Rick Henderson at 10:06 AM

Jay Reiff, who managed former Gov. Mike Easley's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, and the unsuccessful 2008 gubernatorial campaign of former state Treasurer Richard Moore, showed up about 8:45 this morning at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, where a grand jury is hearing testimony in the Easley probe. Reiff was accompanied by Wake County attorney Michael Weisel, who was seen in attendance at the State Board of Election hearings investigating Easley.

CJ Executive Editor Don Carrington photographed the men outside the courthouse. Weisel's on the left, Reiff on the right.

Reiff's testimony may fill in some crucial gaps in Easley's fundraising anomalies. The election board suggested that Reiff was the author of a fundraising plan for Easley that would have allowed donors who had given the maximum allowable contributions to Easley to provide additional donations to the North Carolina Democratic Party and then have that money channeled back to Easley. The board subpoenaed Reiff to testify but could not compel him to appear because he was in Virginia and outside the board's jurisdiction.

For all of Carolina Journal's coverage of the Easley scandals, go here.

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Does going to college add to human capital?

Posted by George Leef at 10:04 AM

That's the subject of my Clarion Call piece today. The education establishment assumes that students add a lot to their mental toolkit by taking college courses, but I doubt that that's true for many of them. To keep weak and indifferent students happy enough to stay enrolled, many schools have so watered down their standards that students can pass courses and get their degrees without going beyond the capabilities they had in high school.

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98.3 jobs "created or saved" in NC Congressional districts that don't exist

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:59 AM

According to the federal government's the stimulus is working so well, it's creating jobs in places that don't exist. A couple highlights:

  • $3.9 million in stimulus projects created or saved 2 jobs in the 37th district
  • $1.3 million in stimulus projects created or saved 40 jobs in the 86th district
  • $70,000 in stimulus projects created or saved 54 jobs in the 91st district

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Obama's invincible ignorance

Posted by George Leef at 09:08 AM

Obama blathers away about how the government must "rein in" businesses that are "too big to fail." The crucial point he fails to grasp is that if it weren't for governmental actions creating moral hazard (such as the guarantees for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), institutions of all sizes would manage risk far more sensibly.

Econ professor William Anderson covers this latest burst if foolishness from the Oval Office in this Freeman column.

We could add that there is nothing in the Constitution that permits government bailouts of businesses of any size, for any reason. Obama boasts that he used to teach constitutional law, but he has a really pathetic understanding of the Constitution.

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The world refuses to bow back

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:54 AM

That's how Michael Barone describes the response to President Obama's efforts to appease the community of nations.

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Reagan and Ike? Really?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:12 AM

In making a case against Sarah Palin for Newsweek’s latest cover story, Evan Thomas offers the following surprise:
The two greatest postwar presidents understood this. Dwight Eisenhower governed in the 1950s by deftly uniting center and right, and Ronald Reagan did the same in the 1980s.

Did a copy editor mistakenly slice “Republican” out from between “postwar” and “presidents”? If not, Thomas must be conceding that Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton all paled in comparison to Ike and Reagan. Interesting.

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Speaking of John Hood ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:10 AM

I recalled his latest missive on ObamaCare while reading Robert J. Samuelson’s new Newsweek column on the Obama administration’s health-care reform proposals:
Their sweeping overhaul of the health-care system—which Congress is halfway toward enacting—would almost certainly make matters worse. It would create new, open-ended medical entitlements that would probably expand deficits and do little to suppress surging health costs. The disconnect between what Obama says and what he's doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president and his allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both.

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An addition to John Hood's reading list

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:09 AM

The latest Newsweek previews a new biography of John’s favorite president:

Polk is easily our least-known consequential president. He fought the Mexican War; expanded the Union by settling claims to Texas and the Oregon Territory and by acquiring California and the Southwest; and solidified national economic policy. And—Merry is wholly persuasive in this—he accomplished most of his goals as a result of his own initiative. He was a most astute political leader.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:01 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Karen McMahan's report about a 14-year-old eastern North Carolina boy whose life story and death inspired others to fight big government. 

John Hood's Daily Journal focuses on the importance of freedom in improving people's lives.

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