The Locker Room

November 24, 2008

Turkeys keep Raleigh safe

Posted by Becki Gray at 4:14 PM

According to a new report cited in today's Triangle Business Journal,  Raleigh has the lowest incidence of violent crime and serious property crime in North Carolina. " The crimes tracked, which come from FBI data, include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft."  Perhaps, in part, because Raleighites are willing to do just about anything to protect their fellow citizens – including beating off car jackers with frozen turkeys.   See that report here.

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NYC Goes Green - And they mean it this time

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 3:12 PM

From The New York Times:

In its struggle to make New York more green, the Bloomberg administration has tried discouraging people from using plastic bags. It has taken out ads beseeching residents to use cloth bags and set up recycling bins for plastic bags at supermarkets.

But now the carrots have been put away, and the stick is out: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has called for charging shoppers 6 cents for every plastic bag needed at the register.
Why am I not surprised?

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How much does educational malpractice cost us?

Posted by John Hood at 2:59 PM

Try $2.5 billion, according to an organization called Strong American Schools. That's the cost to taxpayers for remedial education at public universities, so it doesn't include the additional cost of tuition and fees paid by the remediated students. The Heartland Institute's School Reform News reports on the implications:

According to the study, the majority of students said they had taken a rigorous course load in high school. Some even had taken advanced courses said to be similar to college courses.

Even so, the majority of the students said their high school courses were too easy, according to the report.

Part of the reason so many students wind up in remedial college courses, said Neal McCluskey, an education policy analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington DC, is that not all of them actually belong in college. Some would be served better by going to vocational school or spending a few years in the workforce before moving on to higher education.

“One of the biggest problems is that we as a society, especially political leaders, say that everyone essentially needs to go to college—that the American dream runs through ivy-covered buildings,” McCluskey explained. “No political leader, or most, won’t say, ‘Well, lots of kids don’t have the wherewithal to go to college.’ People don’t want to think leaders are condemning their kids to a second-class existence.”

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The social costs of smoking

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:41 PM

We all know smoking is bad for smokers. Many believe smoking is also bad for society. They urge governments to take more and more steps to stamp out smoking.

That doesn't make sense to Duke professor emeritus John Staddon, who offered his retort during today's John Locke Foundation Shaftesbury Society presentation.

Click the play button below to view Staddon's effort to debunk the notion that smoking generates social costs that merit government intervention.

4:25 p.m. update: Watch the entire 40:44 presentation by clicking the play button below.

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

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Television and happiness

Posted by David N. Bass at 1:16 PM

This is a good read from the Washington Post in light of Mark Bauerlein's take on the media culture and youth (chronicled by Mitch here). Bauerlein pointed out that teens and young adults are continually barraged by sensory experiences, television one medium among many. From the article:

Happy people spend more free hours socializing, reading and participating in religious activities, while unhappy people watch 30 percent more television, according to new research on American life.

In a study that is among the first to compare daily free-time activities with perceptions of personal contentment, researchers found that television hours were elevated for people who described themselves as "not too happy." On average, the down-and-out reported an extra 5.6 hours of tube time a week, compared with their happiest counterparts.

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Re: Kakistocracy

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:56 AM

David, in answer to your question, at least this century. Our government leadership has been like the Peter Principle on steroids via occurring in the context of government.

Incidentally, I like the alternative word proposed by your link: cacocracy, since it is also reminiscent of catastrophe and seems to mean "rule by caca."

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Posted by David N. Bass at 11:01 AM

How long have we had one of these?

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Worthy reads for today

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:56 AM

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Breaking the wind power myth, pt. 3

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

One of our favorite media promoters of global warming alarmism, Bryan Walsh of TIME, sinks his teeth into residential wind farms in his latest article.

Wind is a great form of alternative energy, Walsh tells us. So why haven’t more people turned to wind to help power their homes? The government hasn’t devoted enough confiscated money for that purpose, of course:

What's really held back residential wind power has been the lack of federal subsidies, which have fed the growth of other renewables like solar and large-scale wind. "We've had zero federal assistance," says Ron Stimmel, [a] small-wind expert.

Walsh doesn’t seem to understand that a venture that survives only with taxpayer help is not viable on its own. For more on the myths connected to wind power, see Daren Bakst’s report here.

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Herzlinger made the same point

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:43 AM

The latest TIME cover story includes a sidebar titled “Five Truths About Health Care in America.” The first two truths are “The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other nation,” and “Yet the U.S. is not healthier for the money.”

Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger made the same basic point during her recent John Locke Foundation Headliner presentation and in an interview with Carolina Journal Radio:

Health care is a major issue for our economy, and there are two parts of it that will command attention. … One of them is that our health-care costs make us globally uncompetitive. We spend 17 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] on health care. Countries with whom we compete spend 10 percent. We cannot point to quality excesses in our health-care system that would justify the enormously higher amount that we spend.

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TIME highlights Fayetteville’s military-friendly efforts

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:40 AM

The latest TIME draws attention to efforts in Fayetteville and Cumberland County to support and promote the military:
The campaign is being driven by both patriotism and economics. Base realignments will bring 20,000 new soldiers (on top of the almost 50,000 already stationed) by 2011, and the military's economic impact in the area will go from $5 billion to $6.5 billion in the process, says Breeden Blackwell, the county commission chairman. "You can see why we take care of our investment," he says.

You might remember a summer Carolina Journal article that also focused on issues linked to the North Carolina’s strong military presence.

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John Hood in National Review

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:37 AM

The latest print (dead-tree) version of National Review features John Hood’s take on the Obama win. After detailing the president-elect’s successes and John McCain’s failures, Hood offers this assessment:
I don’t deny that Republicans should reengineer their campaign machinery from top to bottom, or that the conservative movement should enter a period of introspection and renewal. With regard to the latter, I believe that only a coherent, easy-to-explain combination of tax relief and government reforms that draw on the movement’s libertarian and traditionalist strands — call it a bold fusion of liberty and virtue — has a chance of addressing the concerns of America’s broad middle class and assembling an electoral majority. But some perspective is called for here. Any political scientist using standard predictive models would have forecast a Democratic victory months ago, long before the general election was under way. Despite it all, McCain attracted 46 percent of the popular vote. And with every electoral cylinder firing for the Dems, their 2008 gains got them back to the status quo ante of 1993, but no further.

Hood mentioned similar ideas during the John Locke Foundation’s post-election panel discussion. Click the play button below to hear his comments.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:31 AM

Thanksgiving week's first Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sam Hieb's report on Greensboro's response to a failed bond referendum for retrofitting War Memorial Auditorium.

John Hood's Daily Journal analyzes key themes in an interview Gov.-elect Bev Perdue granted to the Triangle Business Journal.

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