The Locker Room

February 25, 2010

New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:53 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Rick Henderson's report on Sen. R.C. Soles' guilty plea for a misdemeanor connected to his shooting of a former law client.

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Gurley says he'll rule abortion motion out of order

Posted by David N. Bass at 2:38 PM

Taxpayer-funded abortion could rear its head at the Wake County Commissioners’ meeting this Monday, but chairman Tony Gurley says he’ll rule any motion aimed at getting the funding back into the county’s employee health insurance plan out of order.

Commissioners were deadlocked Feb. 15 over the question of whether to ratify a decision by county staff to remove the coverage. Wake’s original plan covered elective abortions — those considered unnecessary for medical reasons — into the second trimester of pregnancy. Once staff found out about it, they removed the coverage out of concern that it ran afoul of a 1981 N.C. Supreme Court decision.

That move elicited the ire of liberal commissioners. Since the commission is tied 3-3 on the issue, the determination by staff stands. Commissioners could make a motion to put the elective abortion funding back in the county’s plan, but so far they haven’t given any indication they might.

County attorney Scott Warren confirmed this afternoon that Monday’s agenda does not have the abortion issue on it, though a commissioner could bring it up during the meeting. Gurley promised to rule it out of order, though.

“If anyone on our board wants to have an agenda item for abortion, they need to let us know ahead of time and it needs to be on the agenda as a separate item,” he said.

A call and e-mail to Lindy Brown — a commissioner who voted against the motion to ratify county staff’s decision to nix the funding — was not returned.

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Soles pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon charge

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:27 PM

Courtroom observers say he'll pay $1,000 plus court costs.

2:35 p.m. update: Here are some details.

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One Size Does Not Fit All

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 2:06 PM

I don't need a 95 gallon recycle bin. Neither do I need a 95 gallon trash can.

But the City of Raleigh, in its infinite wisdom, is slated to saddle me with both. I already have the trashcan--and it takes my family of 2 approximately 3 weeks to fill it up. Our current recycle bin, at 18 gallons, is just about right. I'm sure we don't recycle everything we're supposed to, but even if we did, there's no way we could fill a 95 gallon cart in two weeks.

Moreover, there's no space in my tiny yard to store such a monstrosity.

For every family like mine, I'm sure there's some other family in Raleigh that's elated about the new, larger bins, and probably would love to have a second trash can.

But this system doesn't really work for either family. Only a few lucky median families with the requisite 1.7 children, 2-car garage, and serious recycling habits will be pleased with the new plan. This is the inevitable outcome when the City runs waste management: no choices for homeowners, and one-size-fits-all policies.

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Of course he's not an arrogant elitist!

Posted by David N. Bass at 1:59 PM

President Obama, speaking today at the (sham) health-care summit, said he was entitled to a longer opening statement because he's the president.

OK, at least he didn't call himself "the one."

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Let's hear it for capitalism

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:34 PM

We'll have to wait a while for Commentary to post John Steele Gordon's full review of the new book, The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism. But his first three paragraphs are worth quoting in full:

In the 17th century, Thomas Hobbes described the life of mankind before the development of civilization as "poor, nasty, brutish, and short." But even in Hobbes' day, that was an accurate description of life for the vast majority of the people in the world. Eighty percent of the population lived at a subsistence level. Famine, plague, filth, and grinding, unending toil were their lot.

Today, however, a mere 359 years after Hobbes published his immortal phrase in his masterpiece, Leviathan, the average person in the developed countries (a category quickly growing in number) lives at a level of luxury and ease that would have been utterly unimaginable to Thomas Hobbes. Sheer physical labor has nearly disappeared as a means of earning a living (except for professional athletes earning millions a year), while myriad machines function as servants for the average citizen. What happened to alter so profoundly an economic system that had been in place since the dawn of agriculture more than 12,000 years ago?

The answer, in a word, is capitalism. An economy that had been marked by control from the top and by a deep fear of change morphed, in Hobbes' native England over the course of a single century, into an economic system based on individual initiative that sought to maximize profit and that welcomed change.

And capitalism is not done working its magic, if you believe Steve Forbes' latest book, How Capitalism Will Save Us:

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Re: Binker blasts Young's book on John Edwards

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:29 AM

David, regarding your post: As with most things making it in print in the old media, you heard it here first:

The thing about Andrew Young's book about John Edwards

The guy is a known liar — i.e., we know he lied about John Edwards during the campaign, we know he lied about his paternity of Rielle Hunter's child — and we are supposed to take his book now as the real truth?

Pardon me if I can't help thinking he's doing what he's been doing for years: telling people what they want to hear about John and Elizabeth Edwards.

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Binker blasts Young's book on John Edwards

Posted by David N. Bass at 11:04 AM

The Greensboro News & Record's Mark Binker doesn't think much of Andrew Young's account of the John Edwards scandal. Binker's analysis is good, particularly the part about Young's character:

Young spends the book veering between the personas of a betrayed political idealist who didn't fully understand the world around him and a savvy, jaded campaign insider. One cannot be both, and the swings give readers the queasy feeling they are being "spun" throughout rather than told an honest tale.

Aside from questions of veracity, Young's judgment is also subject to challenge. By his own account, he was willing to lay down not only his own career and reputation for Edwards, but sacrifice his family's well-being.

Who in his right mind would uproot his children and expose them to such seamy characters? Can we trust such a person to sort through the wreckage for us?

Indeed. How could any self-respecting father expose his children to such liars and (in Rielle Hunter's case) downright weirdos?

Several times in the book, Young writes that he hopes the memoir will allow his children to understand his actions one day. But how could it? "Son, I pretended to father the child of my bosses' mistress because he gave good speeches and was going to save the world." Please.

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Health insurance price controls

Posted by George Leef at 09:57 AM

Trying a populist tack, Obama's new "health reform" bill centers on federal price controls to prevent "unreasonable" increases in health insurance rates.

Professor Steve Horwitz explains in this Freeman article that there are two serious problems with that. First, price controls always wreak economic havoc because government officials cannot know what the price of insurance or anything else should be. Second, this is (another) attack on the rule of law. Laws must be clear and knowable; empowering bureaucrats to decide when an increase is "unreasonable" is not consistent with the rule of law.

The year plus we've been living with Obama's regime has made it clear that the president has no understanding of economic principles and will trample upon the rule of law whenever it suits him.

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Obama isn't anti-business

Posted by George Leef at 08:20 AM

Really! He's not. As Daniel Henninger explains in his WSJ column today, Obama likes businesses (at least those willing to go along with his notions) and wants to make them his partners in the great remaking of America.

Lenin expropriated the business owners in Russia and had some of them executed. Obama isn't like that at all. He wants to -- and to a considerable extent has -- buy the allegiance of high-profile businesses with government money and favors.

We must not confuse Obama's willingness to use business executives as props with a belief in capitalism, which is not pro-business but rather pro-competition. Obama is gung-ho for crony capitalism and state capitalism, but laissez-faire capitalism gives the government no role in directing economic activity. He doesn't like that at all.

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Learning from Canada's schools

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:46 AM

In a Washington Times op-ed, Lance Izumi and Jason Clemens of the Pacific Research Institute explain why Canada's education system is sweet.

Several Canadian provinces provide direct per-student grants, similar to vouchers, to private independent and religious schools. In British Columbia, the provincial government funds children attending eligible private independent schools through per-student grants to those schools, with the amount dependent on the operating costs of the receiving school. In Alberta, private independent and religious schools can receive per-student grants that are a percentage of the per-pupil funding for the public schools. In addition to empowering parents of all income levels, provinces with school-choice programs have seen higher student achievement.

According to a study by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, "achievement scores are not only higher generally in the provinces that fund independent schools, but also higher particularly among students from less advantaged backgrounds." The study also found that in these provinces the competition fostered by the choice programs correlated with improved public schools and higher achievement by public-school students. The impact of Canadian decentralization and the country's school-choice policies can also be seen in international testing comparisons.

On the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a system of tests measuring the performance of 15-year-olds in reading, math and science literacy, Canada bests the United States by a wide margin. In math, the U.S. scores 474, well below the international average of 498, and far below Canada's 527. On the 2006 Progress in Reading Literacy Study exam, multiethnic British Columbia and the other pro-school-choice provinces of Alberta and Ontario all significantly outscored the U.S. in fourth-grade reading. The Canadian performance is more noteworthy given that the United States outspends Canada by about 20 percent per student in the latest available international statistics.
Izumi and Clemens do something that most school choice proponents fail to do - describe how common and effective school choice is around the world.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:42 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Donna Martinez's report on a leading global warming alarmist's support for nuclear power, an opinion offered during a recent protest linked to UNC-Chapel Hill's coal-burning cogeneration plant. 

John Hood's Daily Journal explains why voters should seek candidates who "talk bluntly and frequently" about fundamental issues of the state's competitiveness.

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