The Locker Room

December 2, 2010

Edwards update: Mellon family members to visit grand jury?

Posted by Rick Henderson at 5:14 PM

That's one possible implication of this report from ABC11, whose reporters spotted a helicopter landing at RDU with "members of the Mellon family on board."

That would be relatives of the late Bunny Mellon, who reportedly provided lots of money to support John Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter. The federal grand jury investigating the possible abuse of Edwards' campaign funds is meeting in Raleigh.

Stay tuned ...

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A good use of the F-word (I mean "filibuster," of course)

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:48 PM

Republicans didn't win control of the U.S. Senate in the recent election, but they certainly won enough seats to sustain a filibuster.

South Carolina's Jim DeMint explains in a brief National Review note why he might push the filibuster option to block President Obama's new nuclear arms treaty:

Many of us have been concerned that the START Treaty would weaken our national security, and recent revelations of previously undisclosed talks with Russia on missile defense and movement of Russian tactical nuclear warheads only raise more questions that must be answered. I’ve asked for the full negotiating records, as have been provided to the Senate on previous treaties, but the Obama administration has continually denied that request and promised that missile defense was never part of the negotiations with Russia. But we have now learned that the State Department did in fact meet with Russia to specifically discuss missile defense, after months of denying these discussions ever took place.

With the additional news that Russia moved warheads near the borders of our NATO allies this spring — warheads that are conspicuously not covered by START — it’s time to get some straight answers and for the State Department to provide the full negotiating records.

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Human Events columnist pans Cancun climate conference

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:52 PM

You can read about the conference's "phony claims" in Brian Sussman's report here.

Meanwhile, JLF's Roy Cordato will address climate change issues in a presentation to an Americans for Prosperity crowd gathering at 7:30 tonight at the Locke Foundation office in Raleigh.

Two years ago, Roy discussed a Civitas poll that showed 64 percent of North Carolinians objected to policies that would address global warming by raising gasoline prices and electricity rates.

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Kinston voting rights case heads to federal court

Posted by Rick Henderson at 2:29 PM

At The Corner, the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky notes that a challenge by several Kinston residents to the U.S. Department of Justice's interference in the city's move to make local elections nonpartisan will have a hearing in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Friday.

As Carolina Journal reported last year, in 2008, 64 percent of Kinston voters backed a referendum changing local elections from partisan to nonpartisan.

The Department of Justice overturned the election, saying it violated the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Spakovsky writes:

Justice claimed that removing the Democratic affiliation of candidates on the ballot would prevent the same black voters who approved the Kinston referendum from choosing the “right” candidates in town elections. In short, the Justice Department “knew” for whom Kinston’s black community should vote, and that certainly couldn’t be a Republican. The refusal to honor Kinston’s request was an abusive, partisan misuse of the Voting Rights Act — the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

In April, reported that several Kinston residents were filing a lawsuit challenging USDOJ's decision.

The residents' complaint (PDF) is here.

Spakovsky concludes:

On Friday, Hashim Mooppan will argue on behalf of the Kinston residents. He is an associate of Jones Day and a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who now works with veteran civil-rights litigator and former Reagan Justice Department official Michael Carvin. Hopefully, they will overcome the plaintiffs’ standing problems and get a fair hearing from the court.

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New CJO exclusive: Charlotte airport considers 'opting out' of TSA

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:22 PM

Sara Burrows' latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive focuses on Charlotte-Douglas International Airport's consideration of replacing federal airport security screeners with private contractors.

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Watch this---right now

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 2:13 PM

British MEP Nigel Farage delivers a sincere, articulate and impassioned speech against the Euro Project.

First posted on Right Angles , this is a must-watch-right-this-very-minute video. HT: Donna Martinez

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Unions need political power

Posted by George Leef at 11:33 AM

They will do all sorts of underhanded things to win elections, including impersonating a candidate on the internet. Mike Antonucci reports on a case in Rhode Island.

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Comparing Barack Obama to ... Chris Christie?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:28 AM

Surely you've noticed the uncanny resemblance between the president and the governor of New Jersey.

No? Try reading the latest Newsweek, which explains that the two men "have a lot in common."

Despite their remarkable similarities — really, it can be tricky to tell the two apart — author Andrew Romano notes with a hint of surprise that Gov. Chris Christie has a better record of success.

There are many reasons Christie is outpacing Obama. In the Garden State, a governor can pass his agenda without a Senate supermajority, and he doesn’t have to endure the same radioactive levels of scrutiny and vitriol as the commander in chief. But Christie’s success isn’t solely circumstantial. As his time in Trenton has proved, and as last week’s event in Hackettstown confirmed, it’s also the product of his distinctive approach to governing.

The easiest way to understand why Christie has flourished and why Obama has faltered is to look at the jobs they held before entering politics. From January 2002 to December 2008, Christie served as New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor; earlier, Obama spent 12 years as a constitutional-law professor at the University of Chicago.

Of course, Romano says nothing about the vast differences in political philosophy employed by the top elected leaders in Washington and Trenton. One of these men believes government must be circumscribed to its proper role. The other believes government should provide the (taxpayer-funded) answer to every conceivable problem.

If only we could tell which one is which.

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Alter should stick with the education reform theme

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:09 AM

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek tends to win little support in this forum for his political analysis, but he has made some valuable observations about education reform.

In his latest column, we find some additional nuggets of wisdom:

Seniority is the two-headed monster of education—it’s expensive and harmful. Like master’s degrees for teachers and smaller class sizes, seniority pay, [Bill] Gates says, has “little correlation to student achievement.” After exhaustive study, the Gates Foundation and other experts have learned that the only in-school factor that fully correlates is quality teaching, which seniority hardly guarantees. It’s a moral issue. Who can defend a system where top teachers are laid off in a budget crunch for no other reason than that they’re young?

In most states, pay and promotion of teachers are connected 100 percent to seniority. This is contrary to everything the world’s second-richest man believes about business: “Is there any other part of the economy where someone says, ‘Hey, how long have you been mowing lawns? … I want to pay you more for that reason alone.’ ” Gates favors a system where pay and promotion are determined not just by improvement in student test scores (an idea savaged by teachers’ unions) but by peer surveys, student feedback (surprisingly predictive of success in the classroom), video reviews, and evaluation by superiors. In this approach, seniority could be a factor, but not the only factor.

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What was that about a government big enough to give you everything you want?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:00 AM

The latest Newsweek treats us to this observation from Lisa Jackson, administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is set to phase in new air and water pollutant regulations Jan. 1:

You need to separate what happens inside the Beltway echo chamber here with what happens in the countryside. People expect their government to take care of them and their families. Not special interests, not highly paid lobbyists. This agency plays an important role that way. I understand that people need a villain, but this agency is not the villain. [Emphasis added.]

Expect the government to take care of you, and you end up with problems like the EPA.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:52 AM

Anthony Greco's new Carolina Journal Online exclusive focuses on Raleigh's potential smoking ban in public parks. 

John Hood's Daily Journal places Republicans' 2010 election gains in perspective.

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