The Locker Room

July 28, 2010

Kerry playing 'ketchup' on tax dodge

Posted by David N. Bass at 3:35 PM

John Kerry has now realized that living in the People's Republic of Massachusetts means you have to pay the taxes of the People's Republic of Massachusetts — and millionaire/billionaire ketchup dynasties are no exception.

From The Boston Globe:

Senator John F. Kerry announced yesterday that he will voluntarily pay $500,000 to Massachusetts tax collectors on his luxury yacht, a pledge made hours after state officials had begun inquiring into whether he had attempted to evade the payment by docking the boat in Rhode Island.

The state Department of Revenue had just started looking into Kerry’s use of the $7 million sloop and into reports that it had been spotted repeatedly in Massachusetts since it was registered in March. Officials could have subpoenaed the ship’s log to see where the yacht had been, according to a Department of Revenue official who declined to be identified by name because tax cases by law are confidential.

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Seven Year Terms for U.S. Senators

Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 2:23 PM

It could have been so.  Seven-year terms were included in the original draft of the Constitution, but at the Constitutional Convention, Hugh Williamson of North Carolina suggested six year terms.   His reasoning was that six years "was more convenient for Rotation."  After some disagreement and questioning, the delegates agreed to Williamson's suggestion

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Posted by David N. Bass at 2:04 PM

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Amber alert ... severe thunderstorm warning ... Basnight fundraiser

Posted by Rick Henderson at 1:51 PM

Under the Dome reports the comical/embarrasing/scandalous story of the Kill Devil Hills town clerk distributing information about a fundraiser for Senate Pro Tem Marc Basnight using the town's tax-funded e-mail server.

It was all an innocent mistake, Mary Quidley told the N&O's Ben Niolet.

"I did it because I figured it was something our citizens might want to know about not thinking that I was supporting the campaign," Quidley said.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:36 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report about a federal appeals court ruling against North Carolina in an air-pollution dispute with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Poll: 70 percent oppose banning Jesus' name from invocations

Posted by David N. Bass at 11:14 AM

Civitas has an interesting poll out showing bi-partisan opposition to banning Jesus' name from invocations in the state House:

Both Democratic and Republican voters in North Carolina disagree with the policy forbidding guest chaplains in the state House from mentioning Jesus in the opening prayer session according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, 70 percent of voters said they disagree with the policy that forbids chaplains from mentioning Jesus in their prayer. Twenty-seven percent of voters said they agree, and three percent said they are not sure.

Republicans oppose the guidelines by a 74 percent-24 percent margin. Democrats also disagree with a 70 percent-26 percent margin in opposition. Moreover, unaffiliated voters also oppose the policy by 61 percent-31 percent.

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Re: Report: N.C. fourth laziest state in the union

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:10 AM


Don't miss the interviews at Watkins Grill in the WRAL report.   Too bad Troy and Michael Moore were not there to explain how thinking is really hard work.

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What Americans know about the 4th of July, Not much

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:02 AM

Thanks to the folks at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for posting this Jaywalking episode. Watch to the end to see grandpa.

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Government employees still have better benefits

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:51 AM

The Wall Street Journal summarizes findings of an annual Labor Department report on benefits.




Private sector

Employer-sponsored health insurance



Employer share of individual premiums



Employer share of family premiums



Enrollment in employer plan



Retirement plan available



Participation in retirement plan




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Report: N.C. fourth laziest state in the union

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:35 AM


North Carolinians spend more time watching TV, relaxing and thinking than residents in most other states, according to a BusinessWeek study released on Tuesday that ranks the Tar Heel state the fourth laziest, behind Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Residents on average each day spend eight hours sleeping, nearly three hours watching TV, about 25 minutes thinking and nearly an hour socializing, according to the study. The average North Carolinian, aged 15 and older, spends nearly three hours working.

I don't agree with the categories here. How is "thinking" lazy? We could use a lot more of that in North Carolina and the country as a whole. And getting an average of eight hours each night is healthy, not lazy.

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Two Democrats call Obama "divisive"

Posted by George Leef at 09:25 AM

Today's lead WSJ op-ed piece by Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen argues that Obama has proved to be the very opposite of the "post-partisan" so many Americans thought they were voting for.

Maybe they are surprised, but I'm not. A "community organizer" steeped in leftist economic fantasies and group resentment could scarcely be expected to adopt a sensible approach to the presidency -- one that depoliticizes the nation. Instead, Obama has turned up the heat on the burners as far as they can go.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:55 AM

  • Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and his Democratic opponent Elaine Marshall are well off but not wealthy, reports the N&O.

  • State Rep. Bruce Goforth, a Buncombe County Democrat, lost his primary in May and has now decided to resign rather than complete his term.

  • State Supreme Court hearing on third party ballot access case to be held in September.

  • Kissell-Johnson race in the 8th Congressional District makes CNN’s list of 50 most vulnerable House seats.

  • Former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney adds $5,000 to Burr's campaign kitty.

  • Civitas poll shows Burr leading Marshall 44-37 percent.

  • A June campaign fundraiser hosted by Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight had a big invite list.

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Economic uncertainty highlighted again

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:53 AM

Though he's less explicit about the issue than some other observers, Newsweek's Robert J. Samuelson highlights in his latest column the impact of economic uncertainty on the current American economy:

The rebound in profits ought to be a good omen. It frees companies to be more aggressive. They’re sitting on huge cash reserves: a record $838 billion for industrial companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (companies like Apple, Boeing, and Caterpillar) at the end of March, up 26 percent from a year earlier. “They have the wherewithal to do whatever they want—hire, make new investments, raise dividends, do mergers and acquisitions,” says S&P’s Howard Silver-blatt. Historically, higher profits lead to higher employment, says Mark Zandi of Moody’s Except for startups, loss-making companies don’t generate new jobs.

So far, history be damned. The contrast between revived profits and stunted job growth is stunning. From late 2007 to late 2009, payroll employment dropped nearly 8.4 million. Since then, the economy has recovered a scant 11 percent of those lost jobs.

Samuelson examines the role of executive stock options, unions, imports, and immigrants as factors contributing to the lagging job growth.

In a throwaway reference, though, Samuelson names another factor that's undoubtedly playing a role.

But it’s unclear whether corporate elites were so traumatized by the crisis that they’ve adopted a bunker mentality. That, as much as uncertainty over Obama’s policies, is fearsome.

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Boycotting Israel

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:41 AM

As a left-of-center columnist, even by Newsweek's standards, Jacob Weisberg is not the sort of writer you'd expect to raise much fuss about the latest half-baked political statements from celebrities such as Meg Ryan and Elvis Costello.

But because those two stars' latest actions involve a cultural boycott of Israel, Weisberg does take note and responds.

The stronger case against a cultural boycott of Israel is based on consistency, proportionality, and history. That supporters of this boycott seldom focus on China or Syria or Zimbabwe—or other genuinely illegitimate regimes that systematically violate human rights—underscores their bad faith. Boycotters are not trying to send the specific message, “We object to your settlement policy in the West Bank.” What they’re saying is, “We consider your country so intrinsically reprehensible that we are going to treat all of your citizens as pariahs.” Like the older Arab economic boycott of Israel, which dates back to the 1940s, the cultural boycott is a weapon designed not to bring peace but to undermine the country.

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2010 AYP results for urban counties

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:38 AM

AYP Status – A federal measure that determines how subgroups (e.g., race/ethnicity, sex, disability, and socioeconomic status) performed on state tests. For a school to make Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP), all subgroups in the school must score proficient on state tests.

Guilford: 69 schools out of 116 (59.5%)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg: 97 schools out of 168 (57.7%)
Winston-Salem/Forsyth: 44 schools out of 81 (54.3%)
Wake: 61 schools out of 159 (38.4%)
Durham: 13 schools out of 52 (25.0%)

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Barone sees signs of Democratic 'thumping'

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:32 AM

Michael Barone's latest article for the Washington Examiner dissects Democrats' spin about the fall elections. 

[T]his Democratic spin sounds a lot like the Republican spin back in the 2006 cycle. If the numbers don't change too much from 2004, Republicans said then, we can hold on. If the numbers don't change too much from 2008, Democrats think now, they can hold on.

But the Republicans, as George W. Bush said, took "a thumping" in 2006. And most signs suggest Democrats will take a thumping this year too.

To see why, take a look at the generic ballot question -- which party's candidate will you vote for in elections to the House? The current average shows Republicans ahead by 45 to 41 percent. Ten of this month's 15 opinion polls asking the question had Republicans ahead; Democrats led in four (twice by 1 percent), and one poll showed a tie.

Keep in mind that the generic ballot question historically has tended to underpredict Republican performance in off-year elections. Gallup has been asking the question since 1950 and has shown Republicans leading only in two cycles, 1994 and 2002, and then by less than the 7 and 5 points by which they won the popular vote for the House in those years.

So the Republicans' current lead in the generic ballot question suggests they may be on the brink of doing better than in any election since 1946, when they won a 245-188 margin in the House -- larger than any they've held ever since.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sarah Okeson's report on the impact of new Build America Bonds on local school and government debt. 

John Hood's Daily Journal explains the senselessness of spending taxpayer dollars on high-speed rail and a Charlotte streetcar line.

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