The Locker Room

December 23, 2004

More polling on 2004 issue priorities

Posted by John Hood at 2:37 PM

Public Opinion Strategies, a major GOP-leaning polling firm, released some of its polling for the 2004 election cycle. It’s interesting and speaks to the controversy last month about which issue was the central one in explaining the presidential outcome. As I wrote at the time, no one issue can be selected as the reason why a candidate wins in a close election of varying factions. You have to bring your whole coalition, your whole team to the game to win.

That having been said, Public Opinion Strategies shows again that if you have to pick a single issue to signify the 2004 vote, it is foreign affairs. Here's the trend line on the POS question about voters’ top election concerns (they could apparently choose more than one):

ISSUES.....for the years 1996/2000/2004

Global/Security................ 6%/10%/61%
Health Care/Schools.........29%/43%/18%
Soc Security/Medicare...... 9%/30%/ 3%

Linkable Entry

On NC State and in-breeding

Posted by John Hood at 1:23 PM

On John’s “Daily Journal” column over at Carolina Journal Online today, offering up suggestings for improving transportation policy in North Carolina, I’d add these thoughts:

• North Carolina is one of only three states that doesn’t let its counties build roads. I don’t know the resulting effects but it might reduce the pork-barreling since Charlotte as a county, for one example, could control its own future with its revenues, growth plans, etc. without the maternalism of Raleigh determining what’s good for Charlotte.

• North Carolina, for all practical purposes, has only one school for civil engineering – NC State. And like all monopolies, it has gotten stodgy, non-competitive, and behind the times. (Compared to its glories in the 1940s.)

The state DOT is dominated by NC State grads. You cannot find a Georgia Tech, Perdue, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, engineer anywhere. Therefore DOT, who controls every cubic yard of concrete poured in the state and hasn’t had an original thought with its inbred engineering staff since 1955, can be blamed for many of our problems.

To your six-point program, add 7 and 8.

7. Fund larger, more competitive engineering programs at UNC-Charlotte and one or two more sites – Chapel Hill? – and prohibit staffing them from other in-state programs. This will fix the current supply problem of lock-step, inbred engineers in five to ten years. (Applies to other engineering disciplines as well – waste water, storm control, power, mechanical, etc.)

8. Fire the top engineer in DOT and bring in someone from a state with great roads who is a graduate of another school. Give him complete authority to clean house and recruit out-of-state.

Linkable Entry

IRS vs. Giving

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 1:22 PM

Our friend Ted Balaker has a fine, but ultimately depressing piece up on the Reason site on changes in the tax code designed to stick it to folks who donate used cars to charity. You know, those good-for-nothing types.

Mr. President, may we please ditch this absurd tax code, ASAP?

Car Donating Bastards of America.

Linkable Entry

Re: Christmas Songs

Posted by Paul Chesser at 09:54 AM

Some of these Christmas songs that aren't Christ-focused are still significant and embraceable, if you understand the context under which they were written and sung. My dad reminds that "I'll Be Home for Christmas" was first popular during World War II when he was a little boy.

"It was written from the point of view of a serviceman away from home on Christmas; some stayed away forever," he writes. "I always think of those men when I hear the song."

I also found this little history, cited here partially, about the song from the Library of Congress:

In 1943, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" joined "White Christmas" to become one of America's most popular homegrown holiday songs. Recorded in a rich baritone by Bing Crosby, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" shot to the top ten of the record charts (as "White Christmas" had for Crosby the previous year) and became a holiday musical tradition in the United States.

On October 4, 1943, Crosby recorded "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records. Within about a month of its being copyrighted the song hit the music charts and remained there for eleven weeks, peaking at number three. The following year, the song reached number nineteen on the charts. It touched a tender place in the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were then in the depths of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific and Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.

In December 1965, having completed the first U.S. space rendezvous and set a record for the longest flight in the U.S. space program, the astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell hurtled back to earth aboard their Gemini 7 spacecraft. Asked by NASA communication personnel if they wanted any particular music piped up to them, the crew requested Bing Crosby's recording of "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

Linkable Entry

HOV Update

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 09:38 AM

I thought the penalties for violating HOV rules on Charlotte's new HOV lanes sounded pretty stiff, and I've got no problem with that. But it turns out they were not supposed to be so stiff, and I've got a problem with that.

Fines for HOV violations are supposed to be $10, not $100. The Highway Patrol already wrote up several $100 tickets and the NC DOT evidently firmly believed it was a $100 fine and used that number in press releases and on signage.

The thing is, no one actually bothered to read the law. This seems to be a recurring problem with DOT, which exists in its own little world. (Recall that I-485 and I-77 planners did not talk to each other before noticing that they were set to merge six lanes into two.)

The $90 difference in fines is not the issue. NC DOT must get its act together and quit acting like they are paving cow tracks to the farmer's market.

Linkable Entry

Re: Ten Minutes with the President

Posted by George Leef at 08:38 AM

Very good points, George.

I'd add this: Federal officials under the executive branch are often responsible for violations of the rights of ordinary American citizens -- the IRS, BATF, DEA, Transportation Security and so forth. Mr. President, you should firmly instruct all your cabinet heads that it will be expected of them that they will make it known to all their subordinates that such conduct will not be tolerated. Federal employees who violate the rights of citizens will be fired and prosecuted. Cabinet officers who fail to police their departments must be replaced. Furthermore, you should establish a White House ombudsman to whom Americans who believe they have been victimized by the federal government can complain.

An announcement that the President is going to crack down on federal lawlessness would be a terrific Christmas present for the American people.

Linkable Entry

Get a Lawyer, You Naughty Teacher

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:00 AM

Now I ask you, how long before a teacher like this, who revealed the truth about Santa Claus to his class, becomes the target of a lawsuit for inflicting emotional duress on one of his students?

Linkable Entry

But He Sure Can Socialize

Posted by Paul Chesser at 07:40 AM

Would you feel good about sending your kid to this school?

One of the 10 teens arrested during a fight at Smithfield-Selma High School last week is a convicted felon who attended the school despite his criminal record.

Roger Watson, 18, is well known by Smithfield police officers. Police picked him up in August during a raid of street-level cocaine dealers. He pleaded guilty to selling cocaine, a felony, in October and received three years' probation.

A probation officer stops by his house on Oak Street in Smithfield each evening to check up on him, his mother said.

In addition to the cocaine charge, his record includes misdemeanor convictions of possessing a .22-caliber handgun, resisting arrest, assault, possessing marijuana, and breaking into a house and stealing $2,000 worth of goods.

Watson's arrest last week stemmed from a student brawl just before the winter break. Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said all 10 of those arrested had thrown punches and refused to disperse.

Smithfield-Selma Principal Phil Lee said he had been aware of Watson's legal troubles because the police notify the school when they charge a student with a felony.

Lee would not comment specifically on Watson's case. He said he evaluates whether a student accused or convicted of a crime presents a danger to other students. A student who does present a danger can be suspended, expelled or sent to an alternative school.

"We know what's going on in terms of the legal issues," Lee said. "It's our job to make sure we determine whether or not that child can remain in the school environment."

Sounds like there is a lot of good "socialization" going on there.

Linkable Entry

Re: Christmas

Posted by Paul Chesser at 07:12 AM

Enjoyed another secular aspect of the holidays last night:

Laugh-out-loud funny.

Linkable Entry

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