The Locker Room

June 18, 2009

So where's the emergency?

Posted by Rick Henderson at 4:58 PM

You probably noticed the breathless recent news stories (like this one from the AP) about the Obama administration's latest report on climate change and wondered what has changed, especially since, as AP reporter Seth Borenstein noted that "The document ... contains no new research, but it paints a fuller and darker picture of global warming in the United States than previous studies."

What's new is that the environmental community needs to scare lawmakers and the public as much as possible in hopes that they can shove the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill through Congress before the opposition gets organized.

Say you're really convinced that the United States needs to do something now to curb greenhouse gases. Well, based on this post from Jim Manzi in The Corner (read the post and follow the links), you should consider Waxman-Markey a disaster.

As Manzi says,

The legislative strategy appears to be to cut whatever side deals are necessary to get the swing Democrats to support it. This mostly has meant giving away special allowances and spending programs to pretty much every industry or region that actually produces greenhouses gasses at sufficient scale to play the lobbying game. There does not seem to be any line in the sand that they will not cross. At this point, the side deals seem to have consumed the cap. That is, when you look under the hood, there is not really a material binding cap in this bill for at least a decade.
In fact, the bill would allow industries to increase greenhouse gas emissions until 2020 or later without penalty.

Moreover, the really scary White House report appears to rely on science about as sound as voodoo, according to Roger Pielke Jr., an environmental science professor at the University of Colorado.

[Why] is a report characterized by [White House] Science Advisor John Holdren as being the “most up-to-date, authoritative, and comprehensive” analysis relying on a secondary, non-peer source citing another non-peer reviewed source from 2000 to support a claim that a large amount of uncited and more recent peer-reviewed literature says the opposite about?
(Hat tip: the NYT's John Tierney.)

The goal appears to be to get some mechanism in place to some day tax the you-know-what out of energy-intensive industries even it does nothing to deal with the "imminent crisis" the Al Gore crowd won''t shut up about.

Linkable Entry

A story of Iranian government tyranny

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:50 PM

A Canadian journalist tells how he was mistaken for a protester and dragged off by Iranian government thugs:

I was walking by a checkpoint and an officer grabbed me and forced me onto a motorcycle. As soon as we stopped, I was grabbed from the bike by another officer and slapped across the head. Seven officers ran up to join in the slapping, and one punched me in the head. A large officer, about 6 foot 4 and dressed in camouflage, grabbed me by the neck, pinching my jugular but not my windpipe. His leather gloves cut through my skin and I was pinned against a van, my arm bent high behind my back.

I was then thrown onto a second motorcycle with one police officer in front of me and another behind, slapping me more and cursing during the quick ride around the corner.

For more go here.

 

 

Linkable Entry

Americans for Tax Reform Overview

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:12 PM

AFT has put out a quick overview of the Obama Presidency so far. They call it Obama's First 150 Days: By the Numbers. It's a good thumbnail sketch of the damage.

Linkable Entry

Re: College Graduation Rates

Posted by Daren Bakst at 2:32 PM

Michael, you make a very good point about transfers. 

It is very difficult to come up with data on the students that transfer and then graduate at another institution.

This transfer data is not part of the completion (graduation) rate because, in part, of the difficulties in securing an accurate number on transfers.  The other question is whether an institution should be able to consider a student that doesn't graduate from its institution (but graduates somewhere else) as a graduate for graduation rate purposes?  I don't think so--it would be misleading.

One of the chilling things that some states are doing is tracking students within their own state, and now states are trying to create multistate data networks to track students.  The idea is to have this data to identify whether students eventually graduate.  However, these data systems are used to track a lot more about students than just graduation rates.

Another point that isn't captured by a graduation rate number is why students don't graduate.  There is an assumption (I think) that students don't graduate within six years because of academic reasons (or due to some failure on the part of institutions).  There are many other reasons why students don't graduate within the six-year period, including financial reasons.

These other reasons don't make a difference in determining whether tax dollars to subsidize financial aid are worth the investment, however these other reasons do matter when evaluating the effectiveness of postsecondary institutions.  I also strongly caution anyone against trying to make apples to apples comparisons across institutions.  Institutions have a wide variety of missions and cater to different populations.

Linkable Entry

The Sotomayor nomination

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:03 PM

This forum has had no shortage of commentary about the nomination of federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

N.C. State political science Professor Andy Taylor offered his thoughts today during a joint Federalist Society/John Locke Foundation luncheon. Click play below for a snippet of Taylor's presentation dealing with the high court's reaction to her appellate rulings.

2:35 p.m. update: Watch the full 55:44 recording by clicking the play button below.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

Linkable Entry

re: College graduation rates

Posted by Michael Lowrey at 1:08 PM

Careful John. It’s useful data to be sure but there’s a big elephant in the room with this data set: transfer students.

As the report’s notes point out:

Unfortunately, given the way IPEDS collects the completion data, students who transfer out of their starting institution are counted as not receiving a degree in six years even if they receive a degree from the second (or subsequent) institution in six years. The graduation rate reported here is therefore the “institutional” graduation rate rather than the “total” graduation rate. The 1996/2001 Beginning Postsecondary Student Study, conducted by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, shows that many students switch institutions and then graduate, often taking longer than the six year cutoff. This survey
suggests that the “individual graduation rate” is about 8 percent higher than the average institutional graduation rate.


Oh, and of course, the transfer rate can vary by school.

Linkable Entry

BB&T investors lose $93 million to feds

Posted by Paul Chesser at 12:12 AM

Among the banks returning TARP funds to the federal government this week was BB&T, which considering the libertarian convictions of recently departed president John Allison, surprisingly accepted bailout money even though BB&T did not need it. In a December interview with The Charlotte Observer Allison explained why he took the funds:

ALLISON: We took it for two reasons. One, there was a lot of regulatory pressure on the large banks to take TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program). They very strongly -- very strongly -- encouraged banks our size to participate. And, if you allowed your competitors to get it and you didn't, it would hurt you relative to your competitors, so you had an obligation to your shareholders to take it. ... It would be like the original [economic stimulus] program, where they gave everybody up to, I think, $600. Well, you could have been opposed to that, but if they were giving everybody else $600, why wouldn't you take yours?

However, we still would have rather there not been a program. The net effect has been negative to us. A lot of banks have been helped that otherwise we would have been able to acquire. [The government was] supposed to give the money to very healthy banks, but they're also giving it to banks that are very marginal.

OBSERVER: What are you using your TARP money for?

ALLISON: Just for general purposes. We're still growing our lending business, [but] we already had enough capital. The other thing is, the Treasury is encouraging banks to acquire marginally healthy banks, and TARP money could be used for that purpose. [But] we already had enough money to do acquisitions.

Now upon repayment, it appears BB&T regrets it accepted TARP money:

Seven months after it accepted $3.1 billion from the federal government, BB&T Corp. - a longtime opponent of big government - repaid the money with interest Wednesday....

BB&T said it accepted TARP loans despite the bank's philosophy because regulators strongly urged it to. The bank said Wednesday that it had paid $93 million in interest on the government loan and indicated that it wasn't happy about the expense or the distraction.

"This was, in fact, an excellent investment for the American taxpayer," chief executive Kelly King said in a statement - subtly refuting critics who called the TARP loans a bailout.

Does the RICO Act apply to the federal government?

Cross-posted at American Spectator.

Linkable Entry

On average, about half of NC college students graduate

Posted by John Hood at 11:23 AM

The American Enterprise Institute has just published a new study that examines graduation rates in American higher education. The upshot:

At a time when college degrees are valuable--with employers paying a premium for college graduates--fewer than 60 percent of new students graduated from four-year colleges within six years. At many institutions, graduation rates are far worse. Graduation rates may be of limited import to students attending the couple hundred elite, specialized institutions that dominate the popular imagination, but there are vast disparities--even among schools educating similar students--at the less selective institutions that educate the bulk of America's college students. At a time when President Barack Obama is proposing vast new investments to promote college attendance and completion, and has announced an intention to see the United States regain leadership in such tallies, these results take on heightened significance.

Duke University shows up as having one of the highest graduation rates (94 percent) among the nation’s most competitive universities. Here are the other North Carolina findings:

93 percent-Davidson College

89 percent-Wake Forest University

83 percent-UNC-Chapel Hill

73 percent-Elon University

69 percent-NC State University

65 percent-UNC-Wilmington

63 percent-Appalachian State

62 percent-Meredith College

61 percent-Queens University

58 percent-Guilford College

57 percent-Gardner-Webb University

56 percent-High Point University

54 percent-UNC-Asheville

54 percent-East Carolina University

53 percent-Lenoir-Rhyne College

53 percent-Pfeiffer University

52 percent-Campbell University

52 percent-Salem College

51 percent-State Average

51 percent-Elizabeth City State University

51 percent-UNC-Charlotte

50 percent-UNC-Greensboro

49 percent-Belmont Abbey College

48 percent-NC Central University

48 percent-Western Carolina University

47 percent-Wingate University

45 percent-Warren Wilson College

45 percent-Winston-Salem State University

43 percent-St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College

42 percent-Catawba College

42 percent-Johnson C. Smith University

41 percent-Greensboro College

41 percent-NC A&T State University

40 percent-Methodist University

38 percent-Mars Hill College

38 percent-Barton College

36 percent-Fayetteville State University

36 percent-Shaw University

35 percent-Bennett College

34 percent-UNC-Pembroke  

32 percent-Livingtone College

31 percent-Lees-McRae College

31 percent-Saint Augustine's College

31 percent-Montreat College

30 percent-Mount Olive College

28 percent-North Carolina Wesleyan College

Linkable Entry

Forced Annexation debate begins in the House J2 Committee

Posted by Becki Gray at 11:14 AM

As the meeting continues, staff explains the new bill, incorporating provisions from House Bills 524, 645, 727. First impression - the new bill combines the worst of the proposals and does nothing to ensure property rights for citizens being annexed against their will.

Rep Earl Jones (D Guilford) expresses concerns about the annexation of dough nut holes (cities exclude low income pockets in an annexed area because there is low revenue but high cost to provide services). Under the new bill, if 75 percent of the property owners in a low income area the city is required to annex. If 75 of residents want to be annexed, the city can but doesn't have to.

Rep Folwell (R Forsyth) asks about oversight - it is provided by LGC not county commission. He argues that oversight needs to be by a body that is accountable to voters - a county commission is a better choice. Anything in the bill that would make people being annexed who do not want water and sewer pay for it anyway? Yes.

Rep Pat Hurley (R Randolph) expresses concerns as well about Local Government Councils (LGC) oversight as they are not elected and seem to have an interest in cities expanding their revenue in conflict with property rights.

Rep Hugh Blackwell (R Burke) has concerns about abated taxes when services are not provided. Would they be prorated until services are provided? Summary of the annexation process and remedies are required per the bill. What are the remedies? Appeal to LGC then file in court.

Plan for the rest of the day:
Session at 1:00, will meet again 10 minutes after session, he will keep the meeting to 2 hours. Speakers will have 3 minutes only. He will hear amendments that have been submitted prior to session. Vote on PCS will be this afternoon.
 

Linkable Entry

Re: Annexation Reform Debate

Posted by Daren Bakst at 11:09 AM

The current "combo" bill being considered ignores the provisions of HB 645 (the only bill that addresses anything substantive).

The J-2 Committee was barraged by the grassroots to fix the original proposed committee substitute bill (PCS) that was a combination of the League's bill and an equally bad bill, HB 524.  The PCS took the worst parts of those bills and then added even worse provisions.

On Monday, despite the intent to push through this PCS bill, the J-2 Committee switched gears and seemed to be concerned about real annexation reform.  There was hope that the J-2 committee might actually fix the "combo" bill to include real reforms.

Instead, the current "combo bill (the new PCS) is even worse than the original PCS bill that already was a disaster.

The question now is whether amendments will be considered in the committee later today, and whether any of them will pass.  If not, I believe (not sure though) that the grassroots will strongly oppose passage of the bill out of J-2.

Here's the lowlights of the new PCS:

- Allows municipalities to provide services to areas that don't need services
- Expressly allows (for the first time ever) municipalities to duplicate existing services.  Example: A city could contract with the county to provide one extra sheriff to an area that has excellent police service and the city could then say: "We provided police protection."
- Municipalities could annex even if they couldn't provide police protection, fire protection, AND water and sewer.
- Directs the LGC to provide meaningless oversight.  The LGC isn't exactly a neutral-body: there are five appointed members to the LGC--four have direct ties to municipalities.
- The LGC isn't particularly adept at overseeing anything beyond limited debt issues (See the Randy Parton Theater for its ineptness when it tries to do anything more)
- Ignores the call for counties, which can at least provide a representative voice, to provide the oversight.
- The PCS continues to force property owners to pay for the costs of getting the water and sewer lines to their properties--the same water and sewer services they didn't want or need in the first place.  These costs can easily exceed over $10,000.
- There's no vote.

The J-2 Committee has a chance today to fix these problems.  Some members on the committee need to start showing some leadership.

Linkable Entry

Annexation Reform debate continues today

Posted by Becki Gray at 10:21 AM

House Judiciary 2 Committee chair, Rep Rick Glazier (D Cumberland) answers a question from Rep Dale Folwell (R Forsyth) on the plans for annexation reform today. The committee substitute bill that combines provisions of the three annexation bills will be voted on this afternoon. It has to get through the House Finance Committee, then the House floor. The bill would then go over to the Senate, through their committees and floor vote. Possibly come back to House for concurrence on any changes. Glazier indicates the session will be wrapping up in 3 to 4 weeks. If anything is going to be done this session, it has to be done now.

Linkable Entry

About that "45 million Americans lack health insurance" claim

Posted by George Leef at 09:51 AM

That is one of the selling points Obama and his socialist allies are using in their effort to yoke Americans to his plan. In this column, Larry Elder takes a close look at that figure and shows it to be thoroughly misleading.

Linkable Entry

More "first seen in CJ" moments

Posted by Rick Henderson at 09:25 AM

The front page of today's N&O reports on the N.C. Revenue Department targeting large families to verify the exemptions they claimed on income-tax returns. 

Regular readers know that this story was first reported by Carolina Journal Associate Editor David Bass in an exclusive pubilshed May 14.

Read the exclusive here

The "Under the Dome" post about former Gov. Mike Easley's marina deal that Mitch Kokai highlighted yesterday also made the N&O's front page today.

Linkable Entry

Speaking of the governor's pursuit of higher taxes ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:04 AM

WTVD sought the John Locke Foundation’s comments last night on the advisability of $1.5 billion in additional tax hikes. We’re supporting instead a no-new-taxes alternative Can-Do Budget.

Linkable Entry

Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Jeff Taylor's report on the strange math associated with former N.C. House Speaker Jim Black's payment of a $500,000 fine.

John Hood's Daily Journal examines the politics associated with Gov. Beverly Perdue's call for up to $1.5 billion in new taxes next year.

Linkable Entry

<< Last Entry

Archive

<< June 2009 >>
S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

John Locke Foundation

Carolina Journal Radio

Carolina Journal Online

© 2014 John Locke Foundation | 200 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC 27601, Voice: (919) 828-3876
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use