The Locker Room

November 24, 2009

Dear Attorney General Cooper:

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 9:23 PM

You should investigate my actions as a policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation regarding the health insurance overhaul being debated in Congress. I hope your stamp of approval for my policy recommendations might make them more acceptable to members of the state legislature and of Congress.

Twenty legislators sent a letter to you and Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin in a blatant attempt to keep Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina from exercising its Constitutional right to participate in public debate. Taking their cue from the White House snitch line and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services silencing of Humana, these bullying legislators wrote:

Even if there is no apparent violation of existing statutes, we think this is bad public policy that deserves further scrutiny.

"Bad public policy" is a remarkable standard for legislators to offer as a basis for criminal investigation given some of the laws they have sponsored and passed. Many taxpayers may think it is not a good use of their money for legislators to harass private companies who disagree with proposed legislation.

If you decide to scrutinize groups or individuals based on bad public policy, instead of acting as a seal of approval for good policy, you might want to fix your attention on these legislators and their cohorts who voted to raise taxes by a billion dollars a year, raise the cost of electricity by $1.8 billion through 2021, and generally make the state a more expensive place to live and work.

Sen. Stan Bingham Sen. Katie Dorsett Sen. Ellie Kinaird
Rep. Alma Adams Rep. Larry Bell Rep. Angela Bryant
Rep. Susan Fisher Rep. Rick Glazier Rep. Pricey Harrison
Rep. Verla Insko Rep. Marvin Lucas Rep. Paul Luebke
Rep. Marian McLawhorn Rep. Grier Martin Rep. Garland Pierce
Rep. Ray Rapp Rep. Deborah Ross Rep. Alice Underhill
Rep. Edith Warren Rep. Larry Womble

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Joseph Coletti

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I'm shocked ... shocked!

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 5:15 PM

Words cannot describe the surprise that I felt upon reading this headline in Business Week:

A Big Loophole in Cap and Trade

Surely this must be a joke. A government program riddled with harmful loopholes that benefit the politically connected? Say it isn't so, Capt. Renault.

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Sarbox on the chopping block?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 5:06 PM

Those who see the negative unintended consequences of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 might see a sign of optimism in this Business Week feature.

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Bad, bad consumer-driven health care!

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:58 PM

That's the impression you might take away from Business Week's coverage of General Electric's move to a consumer-directed health plan.

One suspects Joe Coletti would offer a slightly different perspective.

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Mandated Health Insurance

Posted by Daren Bakst at 3:26 PM

Does Congress have the power under the Constitution, and specifically the Commerce Clause, to force individuals to buy health insurance?

The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) has published an article arguing that Congress doesn't have the authority.

George recently posted on this question last week and specifically he highlighted an article by Sheldon Richman.

It is hard to see how not buying health insurance would constitute an activity that Congress could regulate under the Commerce Clause.  This analysis could get real long, so I just want to point out that Commerce Clause jurisprudence focuses on the regulation of "activities" that affect interstate commerce.  This suggests affirmative acts by the regulated entity.  Doing nothing (i.e. not buying health insurance) is not a affirmative act and would not be an "activity."

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Indispensable treatment of Climategate

Posted by John Hood at 1:13 PM

It’s an unfortunate scandal name, admittedly, but I’m going with it for the purpose of calling to your attention Iain Murray’s excellent summary of the issues involved. Murray is a vice president at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in D.C. and a blogging colleague of mine at National Review. Here’s the key graf of his thorough and measured Pajamas Media piece on the latest disclosures:

So what does this all mean? It does not mean that there is no warming trend or that mankind has not been responsible for at least some of the warming. To claim that as result of these documents is clearly a step too far. However, it is clear that at least one branch of climate science — paleoclimatology — has become hopelessly politicized to the point of engaging in unethical and possibly illegal behavior.

To the extent that paleoclimatology is an important part of the scientific case for action regarding global warming, urgent reassessments need to be made. In the meantime, all those responsible for political action on global warming should stop the process pending the results of inquiries, investigations, and any criminal proceedings. What cannot happen is the process carrying on as if nothing has happened.

This could prove to be climate science’s Vietnam.

UPDATES: CEI is now suing NASA in wake of Climategate scandal. CBS reports that Congress may investigate the contents of the leaked emails.

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ObamaCare versus freedom

Posted by George Leef at 12:55 AM

In this excellent CSM article Sue Blevins and Robin Kaigh point out five of the most galling provisions in the ObamaCare bill that take away individual freedom and replace it with federal coercion.

As Benjamin Franklin said, those who would give up some liberty in exchange for security deserve neither. (I think he should have added that they usually get neither.) Most of us, though, don't want to give up freedom. It's forcibly taken away by the votes of people like David Price, who claims to represent us.

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School attorney switch up?

Posted by David N. Bass at 12:47 AM

T. Keung Hui on the News & Observer's education blog points out that the Wake County School Board might soon have new attorney, if the incoming majority decides to axe its relationship with Tharrington Smith LLP.

Faithful followers of state and local government politics will recall that lawyers for Tharrington Smith were, in part, responsible for OK'ing a controversial fine settlement for former State House Speaker Jim Black.

At the time, attorneys neglected to mention the settlement to the school board, which elicited the ire of several of members.

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Washington (state) can't afford its health care promises

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:48 AM

Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire values the care of those in her charge so highly, she may end the state's subsidized health insurance plan to save $160 million. And people wonder why the mammogram decision last week raised concerns about rationing.

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Novartis plant ribbon-cutting in Holly Springs

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:56 AM

Novartis opens its influenza vaccine plant in Holly Springs today.

This is the plant for which Holly Springs had to beg and borrow to cover it's promised $20 million incentives. The state kicked in another $21 million. Former Senator Dole found a spare $1 million in the federal cookie jar (after voting to stop overspending). The federal Department of Health and Human Services also contributed $487 million.

Just in time for the end of H1N1 season.

Bonus fact: The federal Department of Health and Human Services put up $487 million to pay for the plant in a "partnership" with Novartis.

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Does Obama understand scarcity?

Posted by George Leef at 09:14 AM

You have to suspect not, given that he keeps saying that the economy is going to have a robust rebound at the same time the federal government is sucking up vast amounts of capital to fund its spending spree.

In this excellent WSJ column George Melloan points out the inconvenient truth: government deficits impede private growth. "Feeding the government and starving free enterprise looks like a prescription for long-term economic stagnation. It's not unlike what we witnessed in the depression of the 1930s," he writes.


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Sorry kids, but politicians really care only about themselves

Posted by George Leef at 08:26 AM

That's the message in Thomas Sowell's latest column.

Forget the fairy tale about how democracy gives us leaders who are smart enough to take care of your problems. It gives us "leaders" who know how to spend other people's money in ways that help them get elected and re-elected. The housing debacle is a good example. It couldn't have happened without politicians pretending to do good with vast amounts of money taken from taxpayers.

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Adams and Jefferson debate the issues of the day

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:10 AM

Former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson discussed the hot political topics of the day during a joint appearance Monday at the N.C. Museum of History.

Of course, that day took place in 1808. Still, modern-day viewers will recognize many of the disputes Adams' Federalists and Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans encountered two centuries ago.

In the video clip below, the presidents discuss their response to attacks from Islamic regimes.

Click the play button below to watch the entire 1:21:40 presentation.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Jim Stegall's report on Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools' efforts to institute a form of merit pay for teachers. 

John Hood's Daily Journal examines the faulty logic behind North Carolina's new click-through tax.

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