The Locker Room

August 27, 2008


Posted by Daren Bakst at 6:00 PM


I'm going with Chinese democracy.

For those unfamiliar with GNR, these lyics may just spark your memory:

"She's got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain
To quietly pass me by"

I'd like to include more, but I can't risk it.

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And now for the bill

Posted by Becki Gray at 3:59 PM

on the Boat Veto

It costs the taxpayer about $62,500 each day the General Assembly is in session. That includes the legislators’ per deim, mileage, keeping the lights on at the building and paying staff.  Today’s session lasted just 40 minutes while each body voted to override Easley’s veto on House Bill 2167, Increase the Width of Boats That May Be Transported on Highway Routes.  That’s comes out to $1,562.50 per minute for today’s business.

In addition, an earlier fiscal note run on the bill estimates a loss in revenue to the Highway Fund at between $9,252 and $37,008 annually.  The revenue loss is because under the new law, boats and boat trailers under 10 feet are now allowed to be towed any time, including holidays, weekends and at night and all without a permit.  Last year there were 5,461 permits issued for towing boats with fees ranging from $12 - $48 depending on the size of the boat.

See the Senate 39 -0 vote here and the House 95 -8 vote here

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Easley Veto Override, N&O Coverage

Posted by Chad Adams at 3:55 PM

Of all the issues to bring the legislature back in session, clearly the most important of all was the width of boats on our roads.  The N&O reports that the "legislature originally approved the bill earlier this year with little debate."  So, is that really the case?  You can follow the entire process here.

During this two month period it was in the legislature it was heard before three House committees, two Senate committees, and  was amended during four of those committee hearings then again on the Senate floor. As amendments were being discussed it was obvious that safety was always an issue. One legislator even noted that "over a number of years the law on the books had not been enforced and there was no overwhelming evidence of mayhem on the roads."  

Clearly the bill did not just sail through the legislature with little debate.   (HT-MA)

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Want to vote? Can't read English? No problem.

Posted by Becki Gray at 3:43 PM

Session Law 2001-288 , Ballot Instructions in Spanish requires that all ballot instructions be printed in both English and Spanish in counties with a Hispanic population greater than 6%. According to the US Census Bureau, the overall Hispanic population in North Carolina is 6.7%. You can check the percentage for each county here. The State Board of Elections prepares the Spanish translations for the county boards of elections.  

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Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:41 PM


Which is more likely to arrive first: Chinese democracy or the Guns N' Roses album with that title?

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FBI and Guns N' Roses Practice "Chinese Democracy"

Posted by Daren Bakst at 3:30 PM

This is a bit much:

"Federal authorities say they have arrested a blogger suspected of streaming songs from Guns N' Roses unreleased album, 'Chinese Democracy,' on his Web site."

FBI agents arrested 27-year-old Kevin Cogill on Wednesday morning on suspicion of violating federal copyright laws."

Come on.

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Speaking of highway safety and questionable policies

Posted by John Hood at 3:04 PM

North Carolina's foray into red-light cameras some years ago was among the cases studied by researchers trying to determine if the technology increased highway safety. The conclusion:

"The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don't work," said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the University of South Florida College of Public Health. "Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections."

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One Stop Voting Registration

Posted by Becki Gray at 2:43 PM

Pursuant to a law passed in 2007, North Carolinians can register in person and vote on the same day at a one-stop voting site. This year One Stop voting begins October 16 and ends November 1.

Session Law 2007-253 says in order to vote at a one-stop voting site, a voter must do two things. 
1. Anyone wishing to vote must complete a voter registration form with the following information:
        Date of birth,
        Residence address,
        County of residence,
        Date of application,
        Political party affiliation, if any, in accordance with subsection (c) of this section,
        Telephone number (to assist the county board of elections in contacting the voter if needed in processing the                 application),
        Drivers license number or, if the applicant does not have a drivers license number, the last four digits of the                 applicant's social security number.  

However, the applicant does not really have to have a drivers license or social security number, the State Board can assign a unique identifier number to an applicant without either for voter registration purposes.

2.  Anyone wishing to vote must provide proof of residence by presenting any of the following valid documents that show the person's current name and current residence address:

  • A North Carolina driver’s license with current address or
  • A utility bill with name and current address
    • A telephone or mobile phone bill
    • An electric or gas bill
    • A cable television bill
    • A water or sewage bill or
  • A document with name and current address from a local, state, or U.S. government agency, such as:
    • A passport
    • A government-issued photo ID
    • U.S. military ID
    • A license to hunt, fish, own a gun, etc.
    • A property or other tax bill
    • Automotive or vehicle registration
    • Certified documentation of naturalization
    • A public housing or Social Service Agency document
    • A check, invoice, or letter from a government agency
    • A birth certificate or 
  • A student photo ID along with a document from the school showing the student’s name and current address or
  • A paycheck or paycheck stub from an employer or a W-2 statement or
  • A bank statement or bank-issued credit card statement


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Roy called it

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:38 AM

AP news today:

Republicans are putting John McCain's presidential prospects above their wish to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Members of the GOP platform committee voted Wednesday to stick with an energy plank that doesn't mention drilling in the refuge, saying it would only highlight an area where they differ with the Arizona senator. McCain opposes drilling in that protected land, and some committee members said they would rather bring him around on the issue once he's in the White House than widen their disagreement now.

Dr. Roy Cordato a week ago:

Republicans, who for years have been calling for lifting the ban on ANWR exploration and who have been supporting it in Congress are now getting behind proposals that rule out such drilling. Why?

Because there has been one Republican who has opposed it all along and continues to do so. His name happens to be John McCain, and it is his agenda on energy-related issues that appears to be driving the "conservative" party. No matter who is elected president or which political party takes charge of Washington in January, The Audubon Society's priorities are safe.

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Watch your attitude

Posted by George Leef at 12:18 AM

James Bovard, that famous scourge of government meddlers, writes here about the latest threats to freedom from the federal bureaucracy.

When government officials can make vague rules and enforce them according to their whims, we have lost something very important -- the rule of law.

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Making ourselves miserable for no reason

Posted by George Leef at 11:53 AM

On the Mises site today, Sean Corrigan has this superb essay on the demand by anti-growth types that we make ourselves miserable so that they can feel good about "saving the planet."

The piece contains some very interesting history on Nazi Germany's infatuation with "alternative" energy in the 1930s.

Here's a sample of Corrigan's zesty writing: "It is critically important, however, to recognize such an instance of 'fatal conceit' as being all too characteristic of those who pander to the modern day danse macabre of exhaustionism and collectivist penury which so infuses both the anti-humanist Greens and the rent-grubbing business types who hypocritically seek to line their pockets by pandering to these latter-day Savonarolas."

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Senate votes to override veto, too

Posted by Becki Gray at 11:41 AM

House Bill 2167, a.k.a. the Wide Boat bill goes over to the Senate.  Sen. Clark Jenkins (D-Edgecombe) makes a motion that the bill pass not withstanding the objections of the governor.

Sen. Edward Jones (D-Hertford) said he made a mistake when he voted for the bill initially and argued safety issues associated with the bill.  Asked that “we do not endanger the citizens of North Carolina because of the whim of a few.” 

Sen. Marc Basnight (D-Dare) argues that the wide boats do not pose a danger and that other states don’t restrict the transport of wide boats so North Carolina shouldn’t either.  He sees “no point in government creating a problem.”

The Senate votes 39- 0 to override the governor’s veto.


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More dreaming on other people's dimes

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:28 AM

The N&O has a story today that opens thus:

A swimming pool. Space for art and choral music. A billiards table. High levels of security. And assured access for people with disabilities.

It's about senior citizens dreaming about what [other people can be forced] to put into "senior centers." Also on the wish list are "elevators, walking trails, volleyball courts, nutrition training, environmentally friendly construction, more activities for men and movie screenings with discussions afterward."

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The vote on the Boat Bill Veto

Posted by Becki Gray at 11:18 AM

The House considers the governor's veto of House Bill 2167, a.k.a. the Wide Boat Bill.  Rep. Arthur Williams (D-Beaufort) was called on to debate the bill and in very short comments said “This is not a safety issue.  It is an economic issue.”  He then called the question cutting the debate off and calling for an immediate vote on the bill.  His motion calling the question passed 74-22.  The bill then passed notwithstanding the governor’s veto 92–7. The vote is over the 3/5 requirement for override a veto.

The bill is now being considered by the Senate.


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The Obama/Ayers picture clears

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:15 AM

Well, the picture has been clear for anyone not grasping at straws to pretend that the Anointed One didn't just accidentally rub elbows with an unrepentant leftist terrorist, but the release of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge documents (thanks in part to our pal Jerry) is helping:

The massive collection of newly released documents — 140 boxes full of them — includes agendas that clearly put Obama and Ayers in the same room for meetings of Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational initiative that Ayers was instrumental in starting and that Obama chaired in the 1990s. ...

Stanley Kurtz, a contributing editor for the conservative magazine National Review, thinks Obama’s association with Ayers should raise questions in the minds of voters who wonder of Obama is as mainstream as he claims to be.

“The fact that Obama and Ayers were working together stems from the pretty sharp left-leaning ideology that both of them shared to some extent,” Kurtz said.

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Watch the boats

Posted by Becki Gray at 11:07 AM

It seems somewhat fitting that you need a boat to get around today as the General Assembly begins a special session to consider the Governor's veto of House Bill 2167.  The rumors swirling about this morning are that the governor’s folks are trying to reach a compromise on the bill.  Points being negotiated include lowering the blood alcohol level for the boat towers to .04 and requiring all boat towers to be at least 18.  Restrictions on night time towing is also up for discussion.   Even if these changes are made, I’m guessing Hood and a lot of the rest of us will still stay off the back roads during boat towing season.  See his Daily Journal here

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Tax Increment Financing Reminders

Posted by Chad Adams at 10:55 AM

It's always good to look back at what people promised the citizens of North Carolina when they advocated for more government spending.  In this case, Amendment One which led us down the path to the Randy Parton Theater failure was promised to do something entirely different.

“This amendment will help create jobs,” stated Brenden Blackwell, first vice president of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, on the group’s website. “We do have a lot of depressed communities, and this will be a way that could help us. Amendment One will give communities and counties a proven tool that has helped reinvigorate local economies across the country.”

“After rampant job losses and an economy that remains unstable, there is no better time for North Carolina to have this tool,” said Leslie Bevacqua Coman, Steering Committee chairman of North Carolinians for Jobs and Progress, the main group lobbying for the measure.

From NCCBI: Officials said Amendment One bonds most often will be used to redevelop abandoned factories and plants into small business centers, build new manufacturing plants and affordable housing, spur community revitalization, build business incubators and commercial development and clean up environmentally damaged areas"

Truth is, NONE of the promises made by the advocates of this policy have come true.  No new jobs, no saving of cities, a failure by the Local Government Commission and Roanoke Rapids paying millions of taxpayer dollars chasing what they believed these folks had said.  Amendment One (Tax Increment Financing) has been a failure at this point, a dismal, costly failure!

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Fight the temptation ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:46 AM

... to utter a statement like this one after Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech:

"What is he talking about? It's all Greek to me." 

Of course, Jon Sanders will be happy to know that the stage has not been designed to look like a cathedral.

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School Choice and Dems

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:39 AM

National Democrats cheer school choice and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, seemingly more understanding of how choice can help, but North Carolina Democrats can't even support a 101st charter school and just hate on vouchers and tax credits.

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Re: 'tension' and the First Amendment

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:59 AM

George, regarding your post, why is it that statists are so eager (a) to find a tension between the First Amendment and a favorite principle of theirs and (b) to seek resolution by countermanding the First Amendment?

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Where the First Amendment doesn't apply

Posted by George Leef at 09:02 AM

In this Townhall column Ed Feulner discusses our antiquated labor laws and mentions something that gets far too little attention, namely the tension between the National Labor Relations Act and the First Amendment. In their eagerness to prop up unions and shield them from criticism, the politicians who voted for the NLRA chose to place restrictions on freedom of speech by employers. They are not allowed to directly communicate with workers once a union has been certified. The union is the sole representative of all the workers and management is forbidden to bypass the union and communicate with the employees.

That might be about quality issues, as Feulner mentions. Management has to bargain with the union, not just convene the workers for a discussion. More significant, I think, is the prohibition against communicating directly to the workers what the company is offering in wage and benefit increases. In the early 1960s, a General Electric executive named Lemuel Boulware wanted to diminish the perception that unions are responsible for all economic gains and came up with a strategy of formulating GE's "fair, firm offer" and telling the workers about it prior to contract negotiations with the union. The union cried foul and the case went to court. GE lost, the Second Circuit holding that it was a violation of the "duty to bargain in good faith" that the NLRA imposes on employers to undercut the union that way.

Freedom of speech? Oh, that..... well, it's not an absolute and has to take a back seat to more important concerns, like making it appear that unions are the cause of all improvements for workers.

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Climbing the SAT ladder

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:59 AM

Over the last decade, North Carolina's students have made some impressive gains on the SAT exam. We need to better understand how and why this happened.

State officials claim that their emphasis on raising academic standards was responsible for the improvement. But consider a few other possibilities:

1. We have added nearly 200,000 students to our public schools since 2000, a 15 percent increase. Have we been importing talent?

2. The state's public charter schools have grown rapidly and will serve over 30,000 this school year. Did North Carolina's charter schools help to raise SAT scores?

3. The home school population has more than doubled since 2000. What role do tens of thousands of home school students play?

4. SAT preparation classes, programs, and publications are affordable and accessible. Are students just better prepared for the test?

I know one thing for sure: I will not give DPI or the State Board of Education a pat on the back until I know for sure that they deserve it.

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Latest dispatches from the political trail

Posted by John Hood at 08:09 AM

• Campaign in Cabarrus County, Beverly Perdue touts biofuels and promises more state spending on education and health care. Perdue and Pat McCrory will speak and answer questions next month at a meeting of the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, but not together.

• Elizabeth Dole's campaign says ad campaigns funded by out-of-state groups have cut into her support, but vows to fight back. Creative Loafing reports on a dispute within a state Democratic Party caucus that might hamper turnout efforts for Kay Hagan and other candidates. Hagan's challenge to Dole will be one of the Senate races highlighted today at the national convention in Denver.

• The Greensboro News & Record's Doug Clark comments on Perdue's efforts to delink herself from Mike Easley while also emphasizing her service in Raleigh.

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I wonder whether she'll win praise as a 'maverick'

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

The woman leading efforts to improve D.C. schools gets a three-page profile in the latest Newsweek. Michelle Rhee's unwillingness to accept conventional wisdom about public education leads to passages such as this one:
Rhee does not seem interested in the rituals of political nicety, and, while she says she's a Democrat, she can be very scornful of her own party. "It's embarrassing to be a Democrat when you hear Democrats talk about education," she says. "The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party that looks out for poor black kids, yet the kind of rhetoric they spew about … [how the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind law is] 'sucking the life out of our teachers'—come on. Get real. I believe that until the Democratic Party breaks ties with the teachers unions, we are not going to see the true reform in this country that we need."

If a Republican had taken a similar shot at one of her party's core constituencies, you can bet the article would have included the word "maverick" at least once.

It's nice to know that Newsweek is willing to take more than one shot at the damage teachers' unions cause to public education.

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It's time again to listen to the wisdom of Sowell

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:56 AM

Robert J. Samuelson laments in his latest Newsweek column that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain has shown evidence that he would put forward an economic plan to address serious long-term problems:
By all rights, we should be having a fierce debate over the role of government. What should it do, for whom and why? What works? What can we afford? Who should pay? These questions would suggest a campaign that seriously engages the future, but instead and not surprisingly, we have a bidding war between candidates to see who can promise the most appealing package of new spending programs and tax cuts.

As if often the case, Thomas Sowell delivers a one-liner that should help Samuelson understand why the candidates aren't addressing these important issues:

Economists may say that there is no such thing as a free lunch but politicians get elected by promising free lunches.

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The work of a free-market copy editor?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:54 AM

Familiar with the straight-down-the-line Democratic Party shilling that makes up Anna Quindlen's typical fare in Newsweek, I couldn't believe the subheadline of her latest column:

In the future, all presidential candidates should be sent to a secure, undisclosed location with lemonade and some Adam Smith.

Huh? Adam Smith? A font of classical liberal, free-market ideas? Anna Quindlen believes presidential candidates should imbibe some material that would make them question big-government, collectivist schemes?

Fear not, ye illiberals. Ms. Quindlen says nothing about Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, or Friedrich von Hayek in her column. While the subheadline suggests a pretty good idea, it's not an idea you'll find in the column that follows.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:49 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Daren Bakst's latest research about the drawbacks linked to government-mandated energy-efficiency programs.

John Hood's Daily Journal dissects the controversial boat-trailer bill that brings legislators back to town today for a veto session.

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