The governor has named a new "CEO" for North Carolina's public school establishment. Cumberland County school superintendent Bill Harrison will take on that role, along with the additional title of chairman of the State Board of Education.
Watch the 20:56 news conference to learn more about the new roles for current board Chairman Howard Lee and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.
As youíll see in Janeís full presentation when itís posted this evening, she wonders why universities are not looking for cost containment but instead continually look for more money. In this Triangle Business Journal report, Duke University announced today that it has raised $308 million to offer more financial aid to students who are having a hard time coughing up the $50,000 a year tuition. No word on any cost savings or containment efforts.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that federal revenues spent on birth control and family planning will help save states money on social services and therefore should be considered economic stimulus. Of course what she is more than suggesting is that procreation among poor people is a burden to society and therefore needs to be stifled by the Feds. This is completely consistent with the views of those who were the pioneers of the progressive movement during the early part of the 20th Century. Most of Pelosiís intellectual forefathers and mothers were ardent advocates of eugenics, a philosophy based on pseudo science, which suggested that population growth among the lower classes needed to be controlled because they were a social burden. For example, economist John Maynard Keynes, father of "stimulus package economics" was on the board of the British Eugenics Society and Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was an outspoken believer and advocate of Eugenics who saw her organization as a tool of accomplishing her goals in this area.
At the meeting of Wake County Mayors last Monday, Raleigh Mayor Meeker suggested that the Wake County Commissioners and the Wake County School Board members should be elected at the same time from the same districts. According to the N&O here, (second story) he argued:
Meeker said the goals of the changes would be to reduce voter confusion
and to allow school board and county commissioner candidates from the
same district to campaign together. Meeker said such joint campaigning
might lead to better coordination between the two bodies.
Sorry, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of a central principle of the American system of government. James Madison in Federalist #51 here explains a way to control the predominately powerful legislative branch.
In republican government, the legislative authority
necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the
legislature into different branches [House and Senate]; and to render them, by different modes of
election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other
as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the
society will admit.
The same principle is offered in his discussion of the overlapping nature of the states and the federal government, in what Madison calls a compound republic.
In the compound republic of
America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two
distinct governments [states and federal], and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among
distinct and separate departments [three branches]. Hence a double security arises to the rights
of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same
time that each will be controlled by itself.
What Madison recognized and Meeker does not is that governmental structures must be designed to produce conflict. The House of Representatives is often inconflict with the US Senate, even when one party enjoys a large majority. In addition, the states and the federal government are designed to be in conflict with each other.
Why? Because that conflict produces information and that information informs the public. Thus the rights of the people are protected from a government or a portion of a government that would seek to consolidate power and violate the rights of the people.
Be thankful, the current conflict between the school board and the commissioners is a sign of health not disease. Or as a wise man once said, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government." ...
The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC's THIS WEEK.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?
PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
Notice the thinking here. The government has decided to make itself the default provider of education as well as, more recently, children's health insurance. These are things that many dedicated private individuals and groups have proven quite adept at being able to provide ó there is no compelling reason for them to be state-issue goods. But they are, and that places on parents the burden to choose either the "free" service paid for by taxpayers or one of the costly, private services paid for by themselves.
Predictably, the government is spending itself into a hole trying to do with coerced funding what individuals bearing the risks themselves are able to do, better, with voluntary funding.
So what's the government's solution? Get out of things government doesn't need to be into? No, no, no ó it's getting into another industry to try to reduce children.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich is citing former Gov. Mike Easley's logic.
The Illinois governor is using the outcome of a public records fight in North Carolina to argue that he should not have to release information on clemency cases, the State Journal-Register of Springfield, Ill., reports.
A newspaper in his state is seeking the files, but an attorney for Blagojevich objected to making them public, citing a case decided by the N.C. Supreme Court that said clemency files are property of the Governor's Office.
Yes, this is the same guy who wanted to send Oprah to the U.S. Senate. And you thought Caroline Kennedy's maybe-kinda-sorta race for Hillary's empty seat was insane.
"The reason we pay as much as we do to traders is to manage the risk in the tails of the distribution," derivatives expert Mark Brickell, a former J.P. Morgan managing director, quotes [the developer of value at risk, Dennis] Weatherstone as saying. "That's the hard part. For events inside the tails, it is not so difficult nor so remunerative."
Obama was angry that Merrill Lynch used $1.2 million of TARP money to remodel an executive suite. Excuse me, but didn't Merrill have to hire a decorator and contractor? Didn't they have to buy the new furnishings? What's the difference in that and Merrill loaning that money to a decorator, contractor and goods supplier to remodel Warren Buffet's office? Either way, stimulus in the private sector occurs. Are we really at the point where the bad PR of Merrill getting a redecorated office in the process is reason to smear them? How much money will the Obamas spend redecorating the White House residence? Whose money will be spent? I have no problem with the Obamas redoing the place. It is tradition. 600 private jets flown by rich Democrats flew into the Inauguration. That's fine but the auto execs using theirs is a crime? In both instances, the people on those jets arrived in Washington wanting something from Washington, not just good will.
No one in either party seems to dispute that America needs to create jobs and increase investment. I hate to be the one who says this out loud, but where do those things come from? They come from companies and the wealthy - not the focus of Obama's plan at the moment.
To some extent this is understandable; he figures this economic crisis requires emergency measures, so he proposes massive federal spending plus giving money directly to individuals. But let's think hard about the effectiveness of those measures.
Mammoth federal spending will certainly create jobs directly, providing a shot of Red Bull to the economy. But as a long-term means of employing people it's unsustainable, and some economists argue that it accomplishes nothing, since deficit spending is really just taking out a mortgage against America's future prosperity.
The other main part of Obama's plan, giving cash directly to individuals, isn't very effective, as we saw when President Bush and Congress tried it last year. Obama is calling his plan a tax cut rather than a tax rebate, but since it's a one-time tax credit rather than a reduction in tax rates, it's the same thing. And once again we can expect that people will save most of the money, especially since none of it will go to high-income people who might actually spend it.
So am I suggesting that we stimulate the economy by sending government checks to Bill Gates and Paris Hilton? Of course not - just the opposite, really. Rather than spending more, our plutocrats need to invest more, since private investment creates long-term jobs. So let's offer high earners the very modest help of just leaving them alone, not doing what Obama proposed during the campaign and reducing their investment incentives. He advocated increasing the capital gains and dividend taxes on couples earning $250,000 or more - exactly what we don't need.
The Obama team has hinted that it realizes as much and will not push for investment tax increases this year. Instead, the new administration may just wait for those rates (as well as ordinary income tax rates on the wealthiest) to rise as they are scheduled to do at the end of 2010. A question: If leaving those rates low is good for the economy now, might it not still be wise later?
For another critique of the Obama plan, see Roy Cordatoís recent guest Daily Journal.
Bashing Joe Klein is not as fun as you might think. His utter disregard for facts and unwillingness to present sober, reflective analysis are more embarrassing than aggravating. Itís generally best to ignore him.
But Kleinís latest tribute to President Obama offers good fodder for discussion:
He came to us as the ultimate outsider in a nation of outsiders ó the son of an African visitor and a white woman from Kansas ó and he has turned us inside out. That he leads us now is a breathtaking statement of American open-mindedness and, yes, our native liberality. Even before his first act as President, and no matter how he fares in the office, he stands as a singular event in our history.
Thatís another way of saying the American people have voted for a symbol of ďprogress,Ē no matter whether the man behind that symbol is worthy of their faith.
If Klein were capable of focusing on his current subject matter the trademark sarcastic pessimism heís honed during the last eight years, he might be able to spot the potential danger in considering Obama a success story before heís accomplished anything. Alas, Iím not going to hold my breath that Klein has it in him.
In a TIMEprofile of new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a predecessor in that post offers some interesting advice:
As chief of staff, Emanuel will have to act as a traffic cop, referee and gatekeeper, deciding which decisions go to the President and which don't and guarding against end runs to the Oval Office. That's not exactly a formula for making or keeping friends. "You say no most of the time and let the President say yes," says Erskine Bowles, who held the chief of staff job and worked alongside Emanuel in the Clinton White House. "Rahm will always have the backbone to say no."
Letís hope UNC President Bowles has someone in his administration who can ďjust say noĒ to any forthcoming ideas designed to stifle free speech on UNC campuses.