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September 23, 2009

Ba-rack loves the brainwashed children

Posted by Jon Sanders at 5:55 PM

To paraphrase Brownsville Station, ev'rbody knows that worship ain't allowed in schools, but things are different when the president is sort of god.

He is the Anointed One. He's above the Pope, for cryin' out loud. He deserves his own chapter in the Bible.

That being the case, we've already changed Christmas carols to reflect the new Nativity — the birth of his presidency. It follows, of course, that schoolchildren are taught to sing:

Red and yellow,
Black and white,
They are equal in his [Obama's] sight

P.S. That dude Jesus was a community organizer, too!

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New NC poll on health care debate

Posted by John Hood at 1:55 PM

Civitas went into the field earlier this month with a flash poll on North Carolina voter attitudes about the health care debate. Here are some of the key findings

• Respondents were closely divided when asked whether they favored (48 percent) or opposed (47 percent) the plan advanced by President Obama and the Democratic Congress.

• Pluralities of respondents believed that the plan would reduce the quality of their care (45 percent) and increase its cost (48 percent).

• Recent protests didn’t move the needle much.

• Obama’s job approval is down to 44 percent approve/46 percent disapprove.

• Gov. Perdue’s public image remains horrendous: 29 approve/50 percent disapprove.

I think a fair reading of these data is that the public probably wants some form of health reform to pass but isn’t sold on the specifics of what’s currently being debated. More voters believe those specific provisions will hurt them than believe the provisions will help them. This is a picture, in other words, of a real debate in the real world in front of voters who are paying some attention but need a lot more information and discussion before a consensus emerges.

Meanwhile, the Perdue administration is a mess. 

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Free Money! Come and Get It!!

Posted by Becki Gray at 1:05 PM

In a special notice sent this morning from Rep Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Wilson), constituents living in Edgecombe, Wilson, Nash, Halifax and Northampton counties are encouraged to meet with local providers at a workshop in Rocky Mount to learn how small and historically underutilized businesses can “gain access”  to the federal stimulus money.   

 The workshop is sponsored by the NC Recovery office where citizens are also encouraged to find competitive grants where “applicable funding opportunities” are available.  

 All of the state’s needs must be met if the stimulus folks are out beating the bushes for projects to fund.  And if that’s true, why don’t they just stop spending rather than adding to the trillions of dollars of debt the federal stimulus package is imposing on the American people.  

 For more on the stimulus package and real accountability of where the money is going in North Carolina, visit Capitol Monitor’s Stimulus Watch.


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Health care specificity lacking

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:40 AM

The Kaiser Family Foundation has looked at the all of the proposals so far to change health care and offers a useful side-by-side comparison. Given the lack of details from the president, Kaiser provided the following footnote.

*President Obama's health reform proposal reflects the eight principles he announced in February 2009. As a candidate, President Obama released a more detailed health reform proposal.

To be fair, Kaiser was able to provide information on some elements of the plan, but in the following six ares, the best they could offer was "Not specified."

  • Employer requirements
  • Premium subsidies to employers
  • Tax changes related to health insurance
  • Benefit design
  • State role
  • Long-term Care

Even the president's latest "plan" is more promises and platitudes than policy proposals. It does offer a bit more detail on two items. 1) Employers with more than 50 employees would be required to provide insurance or pay a tax (labeled a fee). 2) Insurance companies would pay a new tax for high-value insurance policies. There is also a small role for states in pilot programs for medical malpractice changes, but not enough to indicate what role the states will have in the Obama system.

NOTE: No dictionaries were used to draft this post.

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President vague, offers no plan

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:58 AM

This time on foreign policy.

Ben Smith at Politico writes, "His full remarks offer a broad tour of American foreign policy, with few hints on the most pressing questions before him."

Par for the course. As is the self-aggrandizement masquerading as self-deprecation:

I have been in office for just nine months, though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me.

Smith quoted a White House blog post by Denis McDonough before the speech was just as soporifically non-specific on the specifics.

Specifically, he will put forward four pillars that are fundamental to the future that we want for our children in the 21st century: non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace and security; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.

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Breach of Decorum Nothing New

Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 11:47 AM

Although Representative Joe Wilson (SC) violated protocol when he shouted "You lie!", the House is tamer today than in times past. 

Two examples: When during a speech a fellow Congressman made fun of John Randolph of Roanoke's hunting dogs, Randolph wanted to duel.  Fortunately hot heads cooled down.  In 1856, Preston Brooks caned William Sumner.

(Although not during the antebellum era, this account is even better: One tradition describes St. Nicholas--yeah, Santa's namesake--walking across the hall at the Council of Nicea and punching Arius, who said the Logos and Jesus did not always exist.) 



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Re: It's only fitting

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:18 AM

Mitch, I appreciated what you just wrote: "Much of what passes as environmental policy today is an effort to 'do something' — rather than accomplish something tangible".

It's a mentality I lampooned a while back:

“Don’t just stand there; do something!” The well-worn expression favors action over inaction when faced with a problem. When catastrophe looms, some people naturally spring to work immediately. Others react as does the bird transfixed by the snake; they are the ones who need such a reminder to be snapped back to reality.

Action is warranted when the problem is immediate. But especially when the problem is perennial — or as in the case of “global warming,” the problem is theoretical — the “do something” mentality can lead to very silly actions, whether it’s “fighting global warming” by using only one square of toilet paper per restroom visit, creating a talking cartoon fish to get people to stop pouring grease down their drains, believing that chanting the word “vagina” helps fight sexual assault ...

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Net Neutrality is back

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:05 AM

Holman Jenkins provides a brief history of net neutrality from AOL to Google and discusses some of the debate between content providers and access providers. This paragraph is particularly telling and relevant for North Carolina, which has agreed to pay Google and Apple to put server farms in the state.

And Google has allies. The greatest fear of Microsoft, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo is having to plumb their deep pockets and offer competing payments to broadband carriers to speed their bits to consumers. They much prefer spending their money to sprinkle server farms around the globe, assuring fast, reliable access for their customers in a way that no newcomer can easily replicate.

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What's all the debt going to do to the dollar?

Posted by George Leef at 08:45 AM

Finance professor Michael Rozeff argues here that the enomous debt the federal government has taken on -- orders of magnitude greater than anything we have ever seen -- is going to drive the dollar down. That's putting it too mildly. The dollar is going to plunge.

But I'm sure Obama has a plan. He'll blame it all on greedy businesses.

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It’s only fitting

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:06 AM

Much of what passes as environmental policy today is an effort to “do something” — rather than accomplish something tangible. I base that assertion on the fact that climate-change policies such as a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions would have no noticeable impact on reducing global warming.

Given that assertion, it’s only fitting that Newsweek’s first “green rankings” of big companies rely heavily on measures that have nothing to do with outcomes:

Ranking companies based on sustainability is a huge challenge. That's largely because comparing environmental performance across industries is a bit like analyzing whether Tiger Woods or LeBron James is the world's greatest athlete—there's an inevitable apples-and-oranges element. …

Despite those obstacles, we worked hard to design a ranking system that makes sense. More than half of companies' overall Green Scores are based on their environmental policies and reputation, industry-neutral metrics that help even the playing field for companies in carbon-intensive businesses.

In other words, companies win points for adopting policies that sound good, whether they work or not. It’s the thought that counts, no matter the cost to customers.

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A ‘liberal’ comes to grips with illiberalism

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:05 AM

Regular readers of this forum and John Hood’s columns know that the political labels “liberal” and “conservative” are a bit misleading these days, since many of those considered conservative today are actually free market-oriented classical liberals, while present-day liberals are often illiberal collectivists who believe the government should oversee as much of our day-to-day lives as the American public will accept.

It’s nice to see that Newsweek columnist Jacob Weisberg at least notices the contradiction between liberty-loving liberalism and nanny-state paternalist collectivism, even if his latest piece seems to endorse as “defensible” the efforts “to exhort, nag, nudge, tax, and regulate people for the sake of diminishing purely self-destructive behavior.”

I’m sure John Hood would be happy to see Mr. Weisberg and his ilk yield the label “liberal.” That would enable those who love liberty to reclaim the word.

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Speaking of politicians overplaying the significance of partisan attacks on the president …

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:04 AM

… the latest Newsweek includes snippets from a brief interview with South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn.

I highlight this piece not because of Clyburn’s playing of the race card. Instead I point to a statement that should remind us that illiberal collectivists are prepared for a long struggle to create a single-payer health-care system:

Will a health-care bill be passed?

A health bill will pass in some form soon. You will see significant progress. But it will be gradual just like the civil-rights bills in the '60s. We didn't get all we wanted right away. It took some years. But we started at the beginning and compromised and worked it out until it was done. This is what we have to do about health care.

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Newsweek editor puts today’s partisanship in perspective

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AM

I’ve taken Newsweek editor Jon Meacham to task in the past for his misreading of current politics and history.

Today I salute him for noting in his latest editor’s column that the partisan attacks on President Obama represent nothing exceptional in the annals of American politics:

Given our short national attention span, it may come as a surprise to some that our present ferocity is the historical rule, not the exception. …

But the airbrushing of what has come before leaves us ill equipped to judge the significance of the passing scene. That is why the sooner the political conversation takes into account the fact that there has never—never—been a golden age of bipartisanship, the better. There have been, it is true, eras in which there was more rather than less cooperation across party lines, but rival forces have always tried to destabilize one another. …

For Obama's supporters to say that he is facing unprecedented hostility, then, is overstated.

You don’t need to agree with Mr. Meacham’s conclusions to thank him for looking deep enough into the past (the preceding three decades or so) to be able to put current events in perspective.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Donna Martinez's report on Hillsborough's decision to drop plans for a ban on smokeless tobacco products in town-owned parks. 

John Hood's Daily Journal explains why North Carolina could end up wasting money if it buys into the latest trendy school-testing proposal originating from the nation's governors.

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