The Locker Room

January 21, 2010

Air America deja vu

Posted by Jon Sanders at 7:52 PM

Back in 2006, when Air America declared for bankruptcy, as they did today, I asked:

Just how many times has that thing died, anyway?

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Exclusive on Poole indictment

Posted by Rick Henderson at 6:41 PM

The latest CJ Exclusive on the indictment of Ruffin Poole (including a link to the indictment itself) is here.

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Ruffin Poole indicted by grand jury

Posted by David N. Bass at 4:28 PM reports:

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted the lawyer for former Gov. Mike Easley on a slew of charges, including extortion and money laundering.

The federal grand jury has been investigating Easley's dealings with friends and contributors while in office.

Ruffin Poole, who was Easley's lawyer during the governor's two terms in office, was named in a 51-count indictment that also included several counts of mail fraud and a notice that federal prosecutors planned to seize any property linked to criminal activity.

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Re: “Charter-like schools without charters”

Posted by Becki Gray at 4:07 PM

Terry, I checked the statutes written when charters were established.  North Carolina law makes it pretty clear what a charter school is. No mention of "charter-like schools without charters".  

NCGS § 115C‑238.29E clearly outlines how a charter school operates:

  (a)       A charter school that is approved by the State shall be a public school within the local school administrative unit in which it is located. It shall be accountable to the local board of education if it applied for and received preliminary approval from that local board for purposes of ensuring compliance with applicable laws and the provisions of its charter. All other charter schools shall be accountable to the State Board for ensuring compliance with applicable laws and the provisions of their charters, except that any of these charter schools may agree to be accountable to the local board of the school administrative unit in which the charter school is located rather than to the State Board.

 (b)       A charter school shall be operated by a private nonprofit corporation that shall have received federal tax‑exempt status no later than 24 months following final approval of the application.

 (c)       A charter school shall operate under the written charter signed by the entity to which it is accountable under subsection (a) of this section and the applicant. A charter school is not required to enter into any other contract. The charter shall incorporate the information provided in the application, as modified during the charter approval process, and any terms and conditions imposed on the charter school by the State Board of Education. No other terms may be imposed on the charter school as a condition for receipt of local funds.

 (d)       The board of directors of the charter school shall decide matters related to the operation of the school, including budgeting, curriculum, and operating procedures.

(e)       A charter school's specific location shall not be prescribed or limited by a local board or other authority except a zoning authority. The school may lease space from a local board of education or as is otherwise lawful in the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located. If a charter school leases space from a sectarian organization, the charter school classes and students shall be physically separated from any parochial students, and there shall be no religious artifacts, symbols, iconography, or materials on display in the charter school's entrance, classrooms, or hallways. Furthermore, if a charter school leases space from a sectarian organization, the charter school shall not use the name of that organization in the name of the charter school. At the request of the charter school, the local board of education of the local school administrative unit in which the charter school will be located shall lease any available building or land to the charter school unless the board demonstrates that the lease is not economically or practically feasible or that the local board does not have adequate classroom space to meet its enrollment needs. Notwithstanding any other law, a local board of education may provide a school facility to a charter school free of charge; however, the charter school is responsible for the maintenance of and insurance for the school facility.

 (f)        Except as provided in this Part and pursuant to the provisions of its charter, a charter school is exempt from statutes and rules applicable to a local board of education or local school administrative unit. (1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 731, s. 2; 1997‑430, s. 4.)


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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:44 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report on N.C. congressional reaction to Massachusetts stunning Senate election.

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“Charter-like schools without charters”

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:32 PM

In North Carolina's Race to the Top application, the state calls North Carolina's "innovative" district schools "charter-like schools without charters." The report gives Lt. Governor Walter Dalton credit for the phrase (see page 154).

The defining characteristic of a charter school is...wait for it...a charter. A charter-like school without a charter is just another public school.

So why use the phrase? North Carolina's charter school cap may jeopardize the state's application for nearly $470 million in federal funds, so they created this "charter-like" school category. I think the bizarre "charter-like" phrase actually calls more attention to our cap.

Update: The only reference to the phrase that I could find comes from a charter school evaluation report from 1998. The phrase does not appear on the New Schools Project website, even though the application refers to their redesigned high schools as "charter-like" schools.

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Libertarians' fight for ballot access

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:27 PM

The N.C. Libertarian Party's fight against state ballot-access restrictions involves important fundamental constitutional issues.

That's a key point Jason Kay made today during a presentation to the John Locke Foundation and the Federalist Society. Kay, senior staff attorney for the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, discussed the history of the Libertarians' court fight and some of the key legal issues to be resolved in the case.

In a 2-1 decision, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state's current restrictions. The majority held that the state's current law must be considered constitutional unless Libertarians can make an overwhelming case against it.

In the video clip below, Kay explains why that's a problem for other fundamental rights.

Watch the entire 48:53 presentation by pressing the play button below.

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Re: Another whoops moment for the IPCC

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:55 AM


 I am glad you used the Times of London article.  AP science reporter, Seth Borenstein,  provides his whitewash of the news in the N&O here.  "The year 2350 was apparently transposed as 2035." and ...they [the mistakes] are not significant in comparison to the entire report..."   

I guess Seth's journalistic standards told him that this part of the Times report was not newsworthy.

...the prediction was based not on a consensus among climate change experts but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999. That scientist, Syed Hasnain, has now told The Times that he never made such a specific forecast in his interview with the New Scientist magazine

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 11:22 AM believe that the people of MA voted to fill "Teddy Kennedy's seat" in the US Senate with a Republican because they were mad at George Bush.

People are angry, and they're frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years. -----President Obama to George Stephanopoulos


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Pope Center "Spirit of Inquiry" Best Course Contest

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 11:16 AM

The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy kicked off its third “Spirit of Inquiry” Contest on January 15. The goal of the contest is to find, reward, and publicize the best courses in North Carolina—those that invite open inquiry, allow students to explore ideas, and encourage freedom of thought.

Students can nominate courses here.

Students who nominate the winning courses will receive a $250 gift card for the student bookstore at their university. The winning professors will also be rewarded at a banquet in the fall. Nominations close May 15.

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Why NC should protect private care

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:13 AM

Before Canadians could legally pay for private medical care, they were stuck on waiting lists until their condition became dire. Americans on Medicare, in contrast, used their income to pay for specialist visits when they felt a need.

That is not the conclusion of a paper in the January 2010 International Journal of Health Services, a publication more driven by political beliefs than by facts, or of a prominent progressive in North Carolina, but it is a logical conclusion from the findings.

The study used data from a 2002-2003 health survey. Canada's Supreme Court did not strike down provincial government-run health insurance monopolies until 2005. So Canadians age 65 and older had to go on a waiting list instead of seeing a specialist. As Sally Pipes explained, her mother died in Canada because it took too long to get the care she needed for her colon cancer.

That is why North Carolina should follow the lead of Arizona and protect our freedom of health care choice.

Crossposted at

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Prevailing wage laws: one blunder NC has not made

Posted by George Leef at 11:02 AM

In the new issue of Cato Journal, I have an article on so-called prevailing wage laws. The feds have the Davis-Bacon Act and 31 states have enacted similar laws. They require that on construction projects funded in whole or part by government money, workers' pay will be set by government rather than determined by competitive bidding. North Carolina is one of only nine states that never went for this bit of anti-competitive nonsense.

Prevailing wage laws are just a way for construction unions to stifle competition by the use of government power. They drive up costs without any compensating benefits -- a price-fixing conspiracy hiding by a mask of claimed but non-existent public benefits.

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Another Whoops moment for the IPCC

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 10:52 AM

Once again the IPCC finds itself in the position of having to explain that it screwed up. And as usual, the screw up skewed the evidence in the direction of global warming alarmism. In its 2007 report the UN panel claimed that the Himalayan glaciers would completely disappear by 2035. Today it is being reported in the Times of London that the IPCC is apologizing for its "flawed prediction." According to the Times:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said yesterday that the prediction in its landmark 2007 report was “poorly substantiated” and resulted from a lapse in standards. “In drafting the paragraph in question the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly,” the panel said. “The chair, vice-chair and co-chairs of the IPCC regret the poor application of IPCC procedures in this instance.”  

The Times goes on to note that:

...the prediction was based not on a consensus among climate change experts but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999. That scientist, Syed Hasnain, has now told The Times that he never made such a specific forecast in his interview with the New Scientist magazine.

Over the last few months, through the release of the Climategate emails, the IPCC reports have been shown to be not only extremely biased but sloppy in their data and information gathering. The famed Hockey Stick graph has now been shown to be a fraud, with Micahel Mann, its fabricator, under investigation by his employer, Pennsylvania State University. In a report last week it was exposed that much of the climate data used to show warming over the last few decades has been doctored. And now this. The real question should not be whether global warming alarmism is a hoax, but when will the next shoe drop demonstrating that it is.

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Edwards admits paternity — no surprise

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:07 AM

John Edwards has admitted that Rielle Hunter's child, Francis Quinn, is his own. It's not a shocking admission. Just another lie in the morass of lies that has consumed Edwards' life.

In a statement released to NBC News, Edwards said it was "wrong" for him to have denied paternity and that "hopefully one day, when [Francis Quinn] understands, she will forgive me." He also said that he's been able to spend time with his daughter over the last year and hopes to continue doing so in peace.

This is the final nail in the coffin of Edwards' political career. In August 2008, he told ABC's Bob Woodruff that allegations of his fathering the child were "absolutely not true." He then feigned interest in a paternity test when, most likely, he had coordinated with Hunter to have her refuse a test. There is now no reason for even his closest political allies to put any stock in what he says.

The timing is also noteworthy, with Edwards' former aide, Andrew Young, set to release his tell-all exposé in early February. For a while, Edwards convinced Young to claim paternity of the child to cover the former North Carolina senator's indiscretions.

It's alarming how close this man came to the Oval Office. It's equally alarming how slothful the press was in reporting this story. A trashy tabloid using unnamed sources outscooped them all. For shame.

Cross-posted on AmSpecBlog.

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What is the greatest threat we face?

Posted by George Leef at 09:48 AM

British author James Delingpole, writing in the Telegraph says that it's eco-fascism.

Good, but it's not just eco-fascism we must combat; we're also threatened by many other mutations of fascism.

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Ignoring Massachusetts

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:11 AM

President Obama acknowledges that Scott Brown should be seated before the Senate goes back to overhauling health care, but he is not rethinking the strategy, just the tactics. He wants the divisive, partisan, polarizing plan Democrats have been crafting in secret with special interest lobbyists to be the plan.

I think it is very important for the House to make its determinations [on the Senate Bill]. I think, right now, they're feeling obviously unsettled and there were a bunch of provisions in the Senate bill that they didn't like, and so I can't force them to do that. Now I will tell you, and I've said this before, that the House and the Senate bill overlap about 90 percent. ... And so, it does seem to me that there should be a way of, after all this work and all this pain, there should be a way of taking what's best in both bills and going ahead and getting that done.

So the President thinks the voters of Massachusetts should just put a sock in it.

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Will nails it

Posted by Rick Henderson at 08:03 AM

In a terrific postmortem of the Democrats' health care agenda, George Will offers this conclusion:

Some liberals consider the legislation's unpopularity a reason to redouble their efforts to inflict it on Americans who, such liberals think, are too benighted to understand that their betters know best. The essence of contemporary liberalism is the illiberal conviction that Americans, in their comprehensive incompetence, need minute supervision by government, which liberals believe exists to spare citizens the torture of thinking and choosing.

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Senate Democrats on borrowed time, money

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:43 AM

The follow quote comes from an AP article titled "Democrats propose $1.9T increase in debt limit":

"We have gone to the restaurant. We have eaten the meal. Now the only question is whether we will pay the check," said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. "We simply must do so."

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sara Burrows' report on the state's consideration of a new tax on online hotel bookings.

John Hood's Daily Journal explores the curious case of ConAgra, which is the target of both Labor Department fines and targeted tax breaks at the same time.

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