The Locker Room

September 29, 2006

School Choice

Posted by Daren Bakst at 4:56 PM

First, I think it says a lot about JLF that we do and can disagree about important policy issues, such as school choice. 

Both Roy (con) and Lindalyn (pro) have made excellent arguments.  I'm not just saying that (I'm getting paid to say that).

I really like the "idea" of school vouchers.  However, in practice, I don't think it will work unless we want government control of private and homeschool education.

I'm not convinced that there aren't possible ways around the regulatory problem (possibly a very narrowly crafted constitutional amendment), but I doubt it.  I wrote this quickly so please bear that in mind.

I want to address some of Lindalyn's well-made points:

1) The fact that regulation already is imposed on private education (and DPI wanted to regulate private education) are arguments against vouchers, not for vouchers.  The government feels empowered to regulate even when there is not even an indirect relationship between the government and private education.  Imagine what will happen when there are vouchers. 

2) The voting public hasn't been able to stop the education mess that exists now--why should we expect the public to stop government control of all education.  I agree that many people will and have helped to stop government control, but private and home-school education always will be on the defensive--at some point, and in only takes one enacted bill, there will be a loss.  Good luck trying to get rid of government control once it exists--it won't happen. 

3) The voting public will act accordingly--it will legitimately demand that when money is spent on education, the schools, even the private schools, should be held accountable.

4) One only has to look at what is happening to higher education to see how vouchers will be the government's excuse for control of education.  Take the money--pay the consequences.  Secretary of Education Spellings and the Administration (all likely school-choice advocates) are arguing for more accountability from all institutions of higher education, including private colleges.  They even want to track all students (like is done on the K-12 level).  The recent panel recommended uniform testing.  The government wants better consumer information and measurable learning outcomes.  When school-choice advocates make the accountability arguments themselves, even in higher education, then I think it is fair to assume that it will happen to private K-12 education (which doesn't even come close to the quality of our nation's higher education system).

5) Technically, vouchers are voluntary--practically, they are mandatory.  What private school can possibly compete without accepting students that have vouchers?  If a private school didn't accept vouchers, the bad public relations, probably from school-choice proponents, would coerce them into accepting vouchers.

6) Finally, I want to address Clint Bolick's statement "The position of school-choice critics is akin to resisting the demise of communism because the free markets that would emerge might be subjected to government regulation. This is hardly a Hobson’s choice.” 

Actually, using the metaphor, the critics are not resisting the demise of communism.  They are trying to ensure that in the small place where freedom does exist, the communists aren't given the ability to impose their will.

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Climate alarmism writ small

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:50 PM

Presumably, Al Gore would shriek that more people smoked in September than August:

Meteorology bureau KNMI said on Wednesday the September of 2006 was shaping up as the warmest September in 300 years.

Weatherman Harry Geurts also said that this year's July was the warmest July in three centuries.

Geurts said it was remarkable that two exceptionally warm September months have been recorded in quick succession.

The September of 1999 was the last September to be called the hottest September in 300 years. In 1994, July and November, were also awarded that distinction.

I'm waiting for the day that the climate alarmists start reporting that, say, this Monday was the warmest Monday in the past 40 years, or (since global warming also "causes" global cooling) Tuesday was the coldest Tueday in the past 60 years, ad nauseam.

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No kilt but still a Scotsman

Posted by Jon Ham at 3:45 PM

More music by a Scotsman, who happens to be playing a Gibson J-50, the same guitar I have.

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Re: One-two punch

Posted by Paul Chesser at 3:14 PM

For further illumination, watch Stephen Colbert's expose' on "smokism" -- about 4 minutes (Caution: A mature theme is discussed):

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Ye cats. Here I rise to Moore's Scots-music bait.

Posted by Jon Sanders at 2:36 PM

This is Albannach, formerly Clann an Drumma, at the Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain:

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Those Terrible Clinton Years

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:31 PM

Oliver Stone says George Bush has "set America back 10 years." I guess he's changed his opinion of the first Clinton term. At least one thing is different.

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You knew it had to happen — the one-two punch

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 2:25 PM

Al Gore has finally done it — he has linked smoking to global warming. Wow! Maybe NC is a bigger contributor to global warming than I thought. And just think, if we can now link global warming to obesity we will have really hit the jackpot. All of society's evils will be caused by smoking. Smoking causes global warming, which causes obesity, therefore smoking causes obesity — oh yeah, but quitting smoking causes people to gain weight (ugh, my head is going to explode.)

Fri Sep 29 2006 09:04:05 ET

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned hundreds of U.N. diplomats and staff on Thursday evening about the perils of climate change, claiming: Cigarette smoking is a "significant contributor to global warming!"

Gore, who was introduced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the world faces a "full-scale climate emergency that threatens the future of civilization on earth."

Gore showed computer-generated projections of ocean water rushing in to submerge the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, parts of China, India and other nations, should ice shelves in Antarctica or Greenland melt and slip into the sea.

"The planet itself will do nicely, thank you very much what is at risk is human civilization," Gore said. After a series of Q& A with the audience, which had little to do with global warming and more about his political future, Annan bid "adios" to Gore.

Then, Gore had his staff opened a stack of cardboard boxes to begin selling his new book, "An Inconvenient Truth, The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It," $19.95, to the U.N. diplomats.

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Scots-Irish Roots: Cousins from across the Ocean.

Posted by Michael Moore at 1:52 PM

Well, I have to add this to the music list for today because North Carolina is blessed beyond measure with folks whose roots go to the Highlands of Scotland and the shores of Ireland.  Here is what happens when musical cousins get together: GIT-R-DONE!


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This weekend's Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:29 PM

If you've ever tried to wade through the educational gobbledy gook to figure out what SAT scores tell us about North Carolina public schools, you might enjoy hearing Terry Stoops' take on the subject.

Terry stops by the Carolina Journal Radio room in the latest program, as does Joe Coletti. Locke friend, economist extraordinaire, and erstwhile Cincinnati Reds fan Mike Walden explains his latest venture, and noted historian Wilfred McClay makes us put on our thinking caps.

If you live outside CJ Radio's air signal, check out the weekly podcast. 

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Essay Contest

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:26 PM

ISI has money available for those college students interested in free markets, entrepeneurship, and the enhancement of individual freedom and markets.  They are sponsoring an essay contest.  If you think you've got the goods, go here.

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Sheldon Richman takes on a communitarian

Posted by George Leef at 1:22 PM

In another of his sharp essays, Sheldon Richman here takes issue with a communitarian type who complained on NPR about how we're supposedly losing the sense of community because of tax cuts. What Sheldon does to this guy is the intellectual equivalent of what US dive bombers did to the Japanese carriers at Midway.

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Politics, Not Education

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 11:40 AM

Today's Daily Journal only reinforces the points that Roy Cordato made last week. Liberals ought to latch onto publicly funded vouchers, to wrest further control of all education; conservatives ought to avoid publicly funded vouchers like the plague. Public education's sad record, one point of the story that appears today, should make it clear that education, whether it is necessary, obligatory, or superfluous, ought not to be controlled or administeredby the state--under any scheme or new arrangement one might imagine.

Like cars, sometimes a non-working system needs to be junked entirely. No new engines, new spending, new mechanics will do. Public education is just such a junker, albeit the current reality. That's neither a necessary nor sufficient argument for its continued operation. A bad reality is not an inevitable reality. History affords ample evidence of same.

What is really troubling is the fact that public education apologists seek to 'fix' the acknowledged failures of the current reality by contaminating the private education stream, which is exactly what vouchers make possible. All it would take is for the authorities to require the state's end of grade test to be given in schools that accept publicly funded vouchers—under the unimpeachable banner of 'accountability,'— to end the independence of these schools. That's why homeschoolers resisted being vacuumed into the state education oversight system, and flooded the Legislature with protests.

Government education tends always to further the ends of the state, not necessarily the parents, or the children in their charge. And there is no evidence that individuals are even served adequately by the state, particularly under a compulsory attendance system.

Roy is correct. What amounts to excusing the state's incompetence (by any non-statist quality metric) is advocating false 'freedom of choice' (at someone else's expense). Public vouchers, as every private school owner and operator knows, will enable the state to extend its influence beyond the current public schools, and override the choices and sacrifices of parents and administrators of students in non-state schools. Officially and unofficially school-choicers care nothing about the choices of parents who have placed their children in these non-public schools, and have said so. They want to 'tear down the wall between private and public education' (near the end of the article).

That is is why the arguments ought to fall out between liberals and conservatives in the way that Roy described. It's way past the time for this populist but destructive politicking in education.

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Michelle Malkin vs. the UNC Law Professor

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:21 AM

Read all about it here. Good ol' fauxtography plays a key role in Prof. Eric Muller's ridiculous case of tu quoque.

Essentially, the controversy boils down to this:

How dare Malkin criticize that singer-turned-skank Charlotte Church for trading in her wholesome image to try "very, very hard to shock and offend" when Malkin herself has been the subject of a Photoshop of her in a bikini in 1992?

Good gracious, the hypocrisy!

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Today's Traffic Report

Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 11:05 AM

If you notice that today's traffic in downtown Raleigh is worse than usual, thank City of Raleigh officials.  From Raleigh's website:

Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh and sections of three other nearby streets will be closed to motorists to accommodate the second annual Capital City Bike Fest to be held Sept. 29-30.

In addition to Fayetteville Street, the sections of Hargett, Martin and Davie streets from Salisbury to Wilmington streets will be closed to from 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 to 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct.1.

Capital City Bike Fest will be roaring down Fayetteville Street on Friday, Sept. 29 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Bike Fest is a family friendly motorcycle lifestyle event featuring live music, food, motorcycle gear manufacturers and vendors, custom bike builders and more. The two-day event is headlined by country rocker David Lee Murphy and the ultimate Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band Second Helping

Bike Fest will kick-off Sept. 29 with a police escorted charity ride to benefit the Triangle United Way. The charity ride will leave Ray Price Harley-Davidson on South Saunders Street at 1:30 p.m. and travel to Bike Fest sponsor locations. Charity ride participants will parade down Fayetteville Street to begin the festivities.

For more information about Capital City Bike Fest, visit

I'm so glad we spent millions to reopen Fayetteville Street.  Otherwise, where would the city host biker rallies?



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Re: Cartoon Friday

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:59 AM

So, Joe, do you think NBC will have a better time keeping "Veggie Tales" from using its TV forum to promote Christian values than UNC had had keeping John Edwards from using his university gig to promote his campaign for president?

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Arizona's Disgraceful 9/11 Memorial

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:51 AM

Here is the latest on the Arizona 9/11 memorial. The Republican Party is running this ad to dethrone the governor. It is very effective.

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Cartoon Friday

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:40 AM

With the success of ACME's catalog of products for a certain cartoon character, my interpretation leans toward the cartoon as spoof.

Veggie Tales is a great program and here's Big Idea's explanation for the edited version on NBC. Maybe then more kids will get to sing The Hairbrush Song or Billy Joe McGuffey to their parents.

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Still a magical place

Posted by Paul Chesser at 10:40 AM

Doug Clark, an editorial writer for The News & Record, recounts in his blog a meeting his editorial board had with Democratic Rep. Alma Adams, whom he described as in "deep into Jim Black denial."

I brought up the Mike Decker case. He pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting $50,000 for changing parties and keeping Democrats and Jim Black in power back in 2003. I asked, Is it OK for a party to stay in power through bribery? Adams answered that she doesn't know whether that happened. Do you think Decker might have pleaded guilty, risking a term in federal prison, if it didn't happen? I asked. Decker's done some strange things, she said.

Wow. Here's Decker essentially admitting to taking a bribe for political reasons. It's a recorded fact that he switched parties and provided the key vote keeping Black and the Democrats in power. It's a recorded fact that he then received money from Black and Black's supporters. But, somehow, it could all be something that Decker made up?

Clark has obviously forgotten what "a magical place" the General Assembly is, one in which amazing tricks are performed regularly. So it's not impossible that Jim Black would be returned to the House Speaker's post, since so many know the magic formula to make it happen.

Click on the lady in the hat.

Hat tip: Sam Hieb, our new Piedmont Publius.

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"Tearjerkers": Songs that Make grown men Cry like a Baby.

Posted by Michael Moore at 10:35 AM

This week’s music topic needs to be on crying songs, hey Sirius is having a George Strait weekend and he really knows how to sing a "Tearjerker."  In the words of Briscoe Darlin from Mayberry, NC: "That makes me Cry."  For your listening pleasure:



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Principals Make the Difference

Posted by Lindalyn Kakadelis at 10:10 AM

USA Today’s article about the “Baltimore Experiment” reminds me of Joe Clark, and his leadership in New Jersey.  How much more money needs to be wasted, and student lives ruined before the education establishment admits  what needs to happed in schools? Judge Manning - here is the answer for the problems in high schools.

The article is right on target:

“Reformers tout dozens of ideas, all of which have their appeal: schools within schools, charter schools, magnet schools, arts-focused schools, high-tech schools, service-oriented schools, schools that train kids to be teachers, builders, entrepreneurs, hoteliers or chefs, and schools that have extended days, weeks or years.

Talent Development High School is none of these.

Yet it's working, on a simple, common-sense principle: Find a dynamic principal with high expectations, give him what he needs, and let him hire the teachers he wants. Provide a rigorous curriculum and massive intervention for freshmen who read and do math at elementary school levels. And then get out of the way.”


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Re: just another conspiracy

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:59 AM

George, apropos of your post, I had seen that cartoon by Dwane Powell and considered posting it, but I couldn't tell whether the cartoon was promoting the idea of a gasoline price conspiracy or spoofing it. It does both equally well:

The rhetoric — ACME Gasoline Price Setter, Bowels of the White House, Target: Nov. 7 — is so overblown as to suggest parody.

But it could be that only to someone with any knowledge of economics could a cartoon featuring an "ACME Gasoline Price Setter" appear to spoof the idea of an electoral price conspiracy. A recent, very irresponsible Gallup poll found that when given the option, a large proportion of the people in America who answer pollsters' questions will opt for the conspiracy choice:

42 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the Bush administration "deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall's elections." Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not believe in this conspiracy theory, while 5 percent said they had no opinion.

Hey, while we're on the subject of markets and elections, I have been watching the elections futures markets, and for nearly two weeks the Bid/Ask on for GOP retaining control of the U.S. House has been above 50 cents (currently it's 56.9/57.0).

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Re: Another Intolerance from the Tolerance Crowd

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 09:22 AM

Since it deals with sports, perhaps, Michael, you should send it to the folks at Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio to consider the professor for the "Just Shut Up" award. I won't hold my breath waiting for them to consider the professor for the well-deserved award.

As for "Veggie Tales," I will never admit this to the middle school kids in the youth group I work with (I spend time jokingly trying to get them to stop singing the "Hairbrush" song), but Veggie Tales is a great program for children. It's entertaining and gets kids thinking about God in new and unique ways. I can understand NBC's decision, however I think they are in the wrong on this one. Why edit Veggie Tales when local broadcasters on Sunday morning are going to show religious programs from local ministries? 

But the producers of Veggie Tales believes they can still continue their ministry even with the current rules in place. I wish them luck and simply say, "Oh, where is my hairbrush? Oh where is my hairbrush?"

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It's just another conspiracy

Posted by George Leef at 09:14 AM

The declining price of gasoline, that is.

Last Sunday's New & Observer had an astoundingly silly cartoon indicating that the reason why gas prices have been falling is that Bush and Rove are manipulating them prior to the election.

Now I read that some leftist writers are arguing that falling gas prices just has to be another right-wing conspiracy. Check out this article at TCS, linking to some of the frenzied theorizing and giving the whole notion a pummeling.

Some people just can't get past the idea that everything that happens must be caused by the decisions of particular people. The concept of spontaneous order is evidently incomprehensible.

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Another Intolerance from the Tolerance Crowd

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:06 AM

Here is another example of intolerance academic crowd as reported by the Center for Arizona Policy. Don't miss the letter to the editor.  Also CAP notes that NBC edits out all references to God in its broadcast of "Veggie Tales."

 "Well known University of Arizona Wildcat Basketball coach Lute Olson took flack last week for endorsing a Christian radio station on a billboard. Olson’s face appears on the billboards that encourage Tucsonans to listen to 88.5 Family Life Radio. A U of A faculty member took him to task in Arizona Daily Star letter to the editor. Katrina Trevor, Ph.D, a faculty member at the university, wrote that his endorsement of Christian radio is in conflict with his employer, the university. Because of his highly visible role at the university his first amendment rights are apparently unavailable to him. Why is it that those who speak of diversity and tolerance are attempting to silence a man who is endorsing an organization he believes in? And why does the diversity and tolerance crowd only speak out against Christian values? Their message is simple: we are diverse and tolerant unless you are a vocal Christian. That doesn’t seem to us like a very tolerant message. We support you Coach, so turn up the music and enjoy 88.5 Family Life Radio!"

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All aboard, legislators!

Posted by Paul Chesser at 07:56 AM

You've read about his fun ferry cruise at the Tall Ships festival this summer.

Now get ready for David King's train par-tay!

The pages' car

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