The Locker Room

May 27, 2010

Obama forms commission to look into the oil spill...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:31 PM

The administration has been on it from day one...

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:46 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sara Burrows' report on the legislative debate surrounding the H.E.L.P. Small Business Act, Democrat-sponsored legislation that has attracted criticism from Republicans and from advocates of free markets and limited government. 

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UK Privacy Victory: Lesson for U.S.

Posted by Daren Bakst at 1:22 PM

Britain is scrapping its national ID card pushed by Gordon Brown and the labor party.  The new coalition government is responding to privacy concerns (and cost concerns) by getting rid of this scary program.

Will the U.S. respect privacy as well by getting rid of the Real ID Act?

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Re: Certificate of Need

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 12:52 AM

Joe--We know you're confused, now let's get to the point:) I could imagine the state, using the same kind of process that is uses for health care services, examining applications by local governments to build concrete slabs, etc., to see if people's concerts and conference needs are already being met by existing facilities in the area and issuing or denying CONs based on their assessment. Of course, private entrepreneurs would not have to go through such a process. They will automatically go out of business if the venues they build are not needed.

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This needs no explanation!

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 12:17 AM

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."- Cicero, 55 BC 

HT Warren Coats Jr.

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'Charter-like' schools on the fast track

Posted by Rick Henderson at 11:29 AM

From the General Assembly, JLF's Becki Gray tweets that the Senate has adjourned until noon so the Education Committee can cram through S.B. 704, the legislative fig leaf North Carolina will offer the Obama adminstration in hopes of getting $400 million from the federal Race to the Top program.

To meet the Obama administration's deadline for the second round of funding, the state must have its application completed by June 1, so the Senate would have to pass the bill unamended (probably today) and then send it to Gov. Bev Perdue lickety-split to meet the deadline.

In a CJ Exclusive published Monday, Jim Stegall mentioned the concept behind the bill first articulated by state school board chief William Harrison:

At the conclusion of the regular May meeting of the [school] board, Harrison informed board members that he was working on a proposal to allow each school district the option of converting one of its lowest-performing schools into a charter school.

In an interview, Harrison expanded on the idea. “We’re trying to provide an alternative for some schools that haven’t done well,” he said. “One intent of the charter school legislation was to give schools the opportunity not to be restricted by state board policies and legislation.” His proposal, which is still being drafted, could allow these “district charters” greater flexibility in terms of staffing, programs, and operations.

Under Harrison’s plan, the newly converted charters would still fall under the control of their local school boards, unlike traditional charters which have their own independent boards. In the district charters, the selection of the principal, setting of the budget, and other major decisions would be made by the local school board, but these schools would be freed from some district rules, including hiring and firing of staff and compensation.

The standards for student achievement, however, would be the same as for other charter schools, and any district charter that failed to meet those standards would lose its charter and revert to being a regular district school. “With freedom comes responsibility,” Harrison said.


If I'm reading the bill correctly, lawmakers removed the only provision of Harrison's proposal that might make a difference: the one giving these kinda-charters the flexibility to hire and fire staff and set compensation (think performance-based or merit pay).

The language reads:

A school operated under this subdivision remains under the control of the local board of education, and employees assigned to the school are employees of the local school administrative unit with the protections provided by G.S. 115C-325.


Sounds a lot like teachers in what the bill calls "restart" schools would have the same privileges and perks as their colleagues in regular district schools.

Some reform, eh?

David N. Bass wrote about the run-up to the House vote on S.B. 704 here.

John Hood explained the pretensions behind the bill here.

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Improving Transit For Next to Nothing

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 10:59 AM

The state of North Carolina and the City of Raleigh are continually telling citizens that we need new, improved, top-of-the-line public transit. (In Raleigh's case, we are told, this is the only thing holding us back from being a "world-class city"!)

But according to City-Go-Round, a website promoting smart phone and internet apps to help people use transit, North Carolina and Raleigh have a bigger problem: lack of transparency.

Across NC, 24 transit agencies lack open data. In and around Raleigh, 0 of 6 transit options provide data. The offenders include Capital Area Transit, the Wolfline, Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority, the Town of Cary, Chapel Hill Transit, and the Durham Area Transit Authority.

Perhaps state and city officials should look into fixing this small problem before they tackle light rail or bicycle lanes.

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Re: Certificates of Need

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:27 AM

Roy,

I'm confused. If the government is building a convention center or a concrete slab amphitheater next to one, why would it need a certificate of need? The principled: government only does what's needed. The practical: what government agency would tell itself not to do something?

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Will more money help?

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:16 AM

Many programs in North Carolina are both broke and broken. Feather O'Connor Houstoun offers clues to help decide if a program needs more than money, or instead of money, "that is, [if it's] underperforming due to lack of focus on outcomes and results, indifferent leadership or low imagination quotient."

O'Connor Houstoun offers six guides, but one should sound very familiar:

Clue number four: Questions about performance and "How do we know how we're doing?" are met with bluster or thinly-veiled disdain. An overly sensitive response may be a legacy of prior fault-finding leadership, but it may also be a sign that the organization is defending unseen work practices that serve the workforce better than they serve the public. Inflexibility about work rules, schedules and overtime restrictions are often wrapped in rhetoric about the "lives and families at stake," but may really be about a system that facilitates second jobs and lifestyles supported by guaranteed levels of overtime.

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A kinder, gentler D'Annunzio

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:53 AM

Tim D'Annunzio, one of two Republican candidates in the North Carolina's 8th Congressional District runoff, holstered his rhetorical handguns yesterday at a town hall forum, even going so far as to answer questions about his past.

That's in contrast to a "let's-get-it-on" press conference Monday where D'Annunzio refused to answer allegations of past drug use, criminal activity, and unorthodox beliefs — and blustered at anyone who tried to ask him.

Charlotte's WCNC-TV has the details:

Republican congressional candidate Tim D'Annunzio took questions Wednesday, offering what he called "context" about scandals from his past that have many Republican party leaders speaking out against his candidacy.

"I’m okay with who I am enough to where I don’t really care how people try to define me," D'Annunzio told the group at a town hall meeting in Stanly County's Oakboro.

SNIP

Wednesday night in Oakboro, D'Annunzio offered an olive branch. "I don't fault anybody in the Republican Party. I want those people to come back," he said.

He admitted to using drugs in his past and acknowledged a criminal record. (He had previously admitted these things on a controversial blog he writes called "Christ's War.")

"For a year I struggled with that, and I overcame (sic) it. Not a lot of people do, and I thank God that I was able to," D'Annunzio said.

Asked about his temper, he laughed, "I'm Italian," and promised to fight passionately for issues important to conservatives in his District 8.

The runoff is scheduled for June 22. D'Annunzio's opponent is former sports broadcaster Harold Johnson.

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Rand Paul, self ownership and the freedom of association

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 09:47 AM

Reason online has published an excellent article by Jacob Sullum explaining how the same libertarian principles that lead to the abolition of slavery and Jim Crow laws also explain Rand Paul's views on legally preventing private businesses (and consumers for that matter) from choosing who they want to do business with.  These are the principles of self ownership and freedom of association. This passage from Sullum's article captures the point:

Paul's position is based on the same principle that led to the abolition of slavery and the long struggle for equality that followed it: the principle of self-ownership.

If we own ourselves, it follows that no one else can own us—the most obvious way in which slavery violates human rights. It also follows that we own our labor, which means we decide who benefits from it and under what terms, and the fruits of our labor, which means we control access to our property. All these rights were flagrantly violated not only by slavery but by the racist Jim Crow regime that succeeded it, which forced businesses to discriminate against blacks as customers and employees.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 aimed to eliminate state-imposed segregation and all other forms of official discrimination against blacks. While wholeheartedly supporting that goal, which belatedly implemented the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal treatment under the law, Paul expressed qualms about the provisions banning private discrimination, which impinged on the same liberties—freedom of contract, freedom of association, and property rights—that were routinely disregarded under Jim Crow. Paul noted that liberty would not mean much if it did not include the ability to say and do "abhorrent things."

But ultimately that is the problem, liberty does not mean anything to progressives. It didn't in the early 20th Century when they were advocating eugenics and the military draft and it doesn't in the early 21st Century when they are advocating forced busing and mandatory universal service. "Civil rights" stopped being about freedom and rights several decades ago. This is why the term has largely been abandoned in favor of "diversity," taking any concern for liberty and rights completely out of the equation--(see Wake County Schools controversy).

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 09:09 AM

...you believe that certificates of need should be issued before opening new hospitals, emergency clinics, nursing homes, etc. because you fear an over abundance of health care services, but believe that no such certificates are necessary before the government builds a new amphitheater, convention center, or sports arena.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:45 AM


  • Republican Thom Goolsby begins with a large lead over Democrat Jim Leutze in Senate District 9 race. Julia Boseman is the retiring Dem incumbent.

  • Civitas Poll has bad news for Congressman Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, in the 7th Congressional District.

  • Judge dismisses a suit that seeks to make it easier for unaffiliated candidates to get on the ballot.

  • Charlie Cook: Republicans should be doing “some soul searching” after losing a 10th straight congressional special election.

  • Democrats claim that Tim D’Annunzio’s Social Security fix is dangerous. Yet more fireworks in the TNT-laden 8th Congressional District.

  • Cal Cunningham, facing an uphill battle against Elaine Marshall, wins the endorsement of two former opponents in the Dems' U.S. Senate primary.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report on state legislators' efforts to substitute "charter-like" schools for real charter schools in a battle for federal education dollars.

John Hood's Daily Journal discusses the same issue as an example of the "politics of pretense."

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