The Locker Room

August 27, 2010

SBI audit: Just the tip of the iceberg?

Posted by Sara Riggins at 3:20 PM

While the recent scandal surrounding the SBI Crime Lab has not had any trouble making headlines, the very text of the independent audit inadvertently suggests that this might only be the beginning.

In the concluding portion of the recently issued independent review, it states:

"This report is not an indictment of the SBI Laboratory. This was a review of a subset of tests conducted by one Lab Section within a defined period of time. It was not a comprehensive review of all Sections and all tests conducted by the lab." [Emphasis added]

While those statements may have been included as an effort to bolster the public's trust of the embattled lab, it instead begs the question: if the review had in fact been comprehensive, what would have been exposed?

As is often the case: the deeper you dig, the more you find.


h/t: Daren Bakst

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Sowell discusses moral hazards

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:17 PM

Thomas Sowell's latest Human Events column highlights the problem of "moral hazard":

Although "moral hazard" is an insurance term, it applies to other government policies besides insurance. International studies show that people in countries with more generous and long-lasting unemployment compensation spend less time looking for jobs. In the United States, where unemployment compensation is less generous than in Western Europe, unemployed Americans spend more hours looking for work than do unemployed Europeans in countries with more generous unemployment compensation.

People change their behavior in other ways when the government pays with the taxpayers' money. After welfare became more readily available in the 1960s, unwed motherhood skyrocketed. The country is still paying the price for that-- of which the money is the least of it. Children raised by single mothers on welfare have far higher rates of crime, welfare and other social pathology.

San Francisco has been one of the most generous cities in the country when it comes to subsidizing the homeless. Should we be surprised that homelessness is a big problem in San Francisco?


We hear a lot of talk about "safety nets" from big-government liberals, who act as if there is a certain pre-destined amount of harm that people will suffer, so that it is just a question of the government helping those who are harmed. But we hear very little about "moral hazard" from big-government liberals. We all need safety nets. That is why we "save for a rainy day," instead of living it up to the limit of our income and beyond.

We also hear a lot of talk about "the uninsured," for whose benefit we are to drastically change the whole medical-care system. But income data show that many of those uninsured people have incomes from which they could easily afford insurance. But they can live it up instead, because the government has mandated that hospital emergency rooms treat everyone.

All of this is a large hazard to taxpayers. And it is not very moral.

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Krauthammer examines the liberal response to popular dissent

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:11 PM

In a new column posted at the Human Events website, Charles Krauthammer discusses (il)liberals' preferred response to popular dissatisfaction with their policy proposals:

Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."

That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

-- Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the tea party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

-- Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

-- Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

-- Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

Now we know why the country has become "ungovernable," last year's excuse for the Democrats' failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities -- often lopsided majorities -- oppose President Obama's social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a Ground Zero mosque.

What's a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that pre-empts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument. The most venerable of these trumps is, of course, the race card.

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New CJO exclusive: Carrington updates the Perdue campaign flight story

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:22 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Don Carrington's report on advice Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign offered to donor "Buzzy" Stubbs to deal with free unreported campaign flights Stubbs arranged for Perdue.

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Sense from surprising sources

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:56 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger:

We must not raise taxes or borrow money to cover up fundamental problems. 

David Brooks:

Stimulus size is not the key factor in determining how quickly a country emerges from recession. The U.S. tried big, but is emerging slowly. The Germans tried small, and are recovering nicely.

The economy can’t be played like a piano — press a fiscal key here and the right job creation notes come out over there. 


If you look around the world today, you see that a two-class system is coming into being. Some countries are undertaking fundamental reforms. In those places, weaknesses have been exposed. Orthodoxies have been shattered. New coalitions have formed.

This is happening in Britain, where a center-right government is reining in a government that had spun out of control. It’s also true in Sweden and other consensus-based countries, where there is so much emphasis on consistent, long-range thinking.

In other countries, political division frustrates long-range thinking. The emphasis is on fixing things for next month or next quarter. The U.S., unfortunately, is struggling to get out of Group 2.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:03 AM

  • Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is set to begin his fall campaign ads Monday.

  • Democrats kick off the election season with 82 events across the state.

  • The GOP and Ilario Pantano strike back after former GOP candidate Will Breazeale’s endorsement of Democrat Mike McIntyre in the 7th Congressional District.

  • Republican candidate Harold Johnson is reassured of his party's support in the 8th Congressional District.

  • Top Republican National Committee official says that Democrats are panicking over election-year economy.

  • Republican Ashley Woolard finds that attacking U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s connection to Charlie Rangel is the main way to gain traction in the campaign.

  • McIntyre has “no comment” on Breazeale endorsement.

  • GOP polling firm has Republican Jackie Warner leading incumbent Democrat Rick Glazier in the 45th State House District.

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UNC gets a new president

Posted by George Leef at 08:49 AM

In today's Pope Center piece Jay Schalin writes about the new president of the UNC system, Thomas Ross.

Ross is currently the president of Davidson College. He says that as UNC president, his focus will be on educational excellence. (Could he say anything otherwise?) Given his political inclinations, one has to suspect that his ideas about makes for an excellent university won't exactly dovetail with those of Locker Room readers. The Pope Center will have more to report after Ross takes office early next year.

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History repeating itself

Posted by George Leef at 08:22 AM

The authors of this WSJ article today point out the parallels between the "recession within the Depression" of 1937-8 and our current economic troubles. The causes are remarkably similar -- government meddling in the economy. Obama seems to revere FDR as a "great" president (after all, statist historians always rank him as one of the greats) and is plodding along in his steps with one policy or regulation after another that increases government power and whittles away at free enterprise.

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In case you missed him ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:00 AM

John Hood explains in the new WRAL documentary “Focal Point: Fatal Distraction” why new laws might not represent the best way to limit drivers’ cell phone use:

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

If you have a hard time believing that cocaine-fueled monkeys will do much to stimulate the economy, join the club. Joe Coletti will discuss the craziest North Carolina projects funded by federal stimulus money in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Terry Stoops will address the growth in home and private school options in North Carolina, and you’ll hear excerpts from Melana Zyla Vickers’ recent Pope Center report on the amount of extra help and attention colleges offer to the growing number of students diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, and other disabilities.

Plus we’ll hear some spirited defenses of capitalism. Forbes CEO and former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes will assess the American public’s response to anti-market policies enacted in Washington during the past 18 months. Southern Methodist University professor Dwight Lee will discuss the importance — and difficulty — of making a moral case for markets.

Linkable Entry

New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features Donna Martinez's conversation with Terry Stoops about his recent study of North Carolina public school end-of-course test questions.

Donna Martinez's guest Daily Journal says Labor Day offers a good opportunity to consider the importance of people who hire labor.

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