The Locker Room

September 30, 2009

Must-reading on the Edwards fiasco

Posted by John Hood at 7:07 PM

The Politico’s lengthy exploration of the relationship between John Edwards and his former aide, Andrew Young, is compelling and more than a little weird. Absolutely must-reading for any students of North Carolina politics — or narcissistic phonies.

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The Raleigh beggars cartel

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:22 PM

Raleigh has a government enforced beggars cartel. That's right entry into the beggars market, and therefore competition among beggars, is controlled by a licensing law, which is the way cartels are traditionally enforced. And this cartel is indeed enforced. People are arrested for begging without a license. Personally, I am for free market begging. If people want to earn a living by asking other people for voluntary contributions I say go for it. The only time the government should be involved is if there is harassment or force involved. But of course if Raleigh's beggars cartel is eliminated their will be more competition and cartel profits will be reduced. As points out, one local beggar boasts that "he can make $20 an hour panhandling, but he must have a permit from the Raleigh Police Department." The point is that it's probably because he has to have a permit that he can make $20 and hour--presumably tax free.

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Military History: Dead or Alive? (Part Deux)

Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 3:21 PM

Like a pop star must do periodically to stay relevant in a changing music market, military history reinvented itself.  It is now influenced heavily by social historians and their concerns.  That is why more books emphasize various aspects of war, including the homefront and the role of minorities in conflicts. 

Which leads me to ask: what is military history?   Is it strictly a narrative about battlefield tactics or something much more comprehensive?   What was military history seems now to be a subpoint within a broadening category.  

That said, many of my peers in grad school believed that battles and strategies were irrelevant to understanding the overall purpose of various wars.  That led the other view (which was in the minority) to say, well, "it was called a WAR for a reason."   Although I appreciate the changes in military history, my fear is that historians will concentrate so much on various social aspects of the Civil War, for instance, that they will forget when the sieges and battles occurred.   You can't have a proper understanding of the former without knowledge of the latter.

You can read David Koon's essay here (I am posting it now because I forgot to provide a link in the earlier post.)





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Kong Mao

Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:20 PM

The horrific legacy of Communism is the 800-ton gorilla in this grotesque idea of the Empire State Building honoring the anniversary of the Communists seizing power in China.

Used to be the only time the Empire State Building would be under the stinking feet of primitive barbarism, it was cinematic fantasy. Presumably, this is more of that "Change We Can Believe In."

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You're campaigning? Shh!

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:34 PM

Scott Lassiter has run afoul of the town of Apex's sign ordinance by trying to park a promotional van wrapped in advertisement with his picture and a website on public roads. Sounds like just another overreaching town ordinance, of which plenty of others already exist. The difference is that Lassiter is running for town council, so his promotional van graphics are political speech. Right, Daren? And yet another nuisance law protects the establishment.

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Citizen soldier program must shape up or be terminated

Posted by David N. Bass at 1:25 PM

The Citizen Soldier Support Program needs to shape up fast or risk losing its funding and being terminated, university officials say in new documents obtained by Carolina Journal.

On Aug. 17, Kimrey Rhinehardt, vice president for federal relations at UNC general administration, sent an e-mail to UNC system president Erskine Bowles about a recent internal review of the CSSP. That review, first reported on by CJ in late August, identified a number of problems in the program, among them a spotty record on personnel matters and history of misappropriating funds to irrelevant activities.

In her e-mail, Rhinehardt set a late October deadline for the program’s leadership to make improvements, or face elimination:

I think that the CSSP leadership should be permitted a supervised opportunity to dramatically improve the Program subject to review by their National Advisory Committee and Review Committee. If momentum does not tend toward progress by October 23, 2009, then remaining federal funds should be returned and the program should be terminated.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp made similar remarks to the UNC-CH Board of Trustees last Thursday. “We need this program to show dramatic improvement in a short period of time to remain viable,” he said.

The CSSP is funded by nearly $10 million in federal defense dollars, including a $5-million earmark obtained by N.C. Congressman David Price, D-4th, in 2005. The program is meant to help veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

As CJ, and later the News & Observer of Raleigh, revealed, the program pays half of its full-time employees six-figure salaries, has paid a Kansas-based consultant hundreds of thousands for “critical thinking,” and allows one of its staffers to live out-of-state and be reimbursed for travel between her home and Chapel Hill. Yet the program has a dubious record of accomplishments.

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Military History: Dead and Alive

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:59 AM

The academy may have killed military history, but the demand generated by the general public - the history enthusiasts - should keep it alive and well.

But it is not for everybody. I was assigned Robert Quimby's The U.S. Army in the War of 1812: An Operational and Command Study (2 vols.) in one of my U.S. history courses at UVA. (For those in the know, it was HIUS 704: The Early American Republic.) That was tough.

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State Board of Elections schedules Easley hearing Oct. 26

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:44 AM

You'll find details here.

Click here for Carolina Journal's coverage of dubious deals involving the former governor.

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Military History: Dead or Alive?

Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 11:46 AM

David Koon at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy disagrees with John J. Miller at National Review.   Koon argues here that military history is not dying but is in the earliest stages of a revival.    

 David was a former research intern at the North Carolina History Project and contributor to  He wrote the following pieces: Hillsborough Convention, Federal Emergency Relief Administration and Polio.


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Charlotte's police enlist landlords, sorry no badge or gun

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:07 AM

My op-ed in the Charlotte Observer here explains. 

The City Council's Community Safety Committee recently considered an ordinance that would require Charlotte's rental property owners to work for the police department without pay. If they refuse, the city will revoke what, for all intents and purposes, is a license to operate. That means the city would put those rental property owners out of business.

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Why would anyone leave the "single payer" health care utopia?

Posted by George Leef at 09:50 AM

In order to get treatment, that's why.

Starry-eyed leftists love to praise the Canadian model of health care socialism. It seems so wonderfully egalitarian and progressive to get rid of the nasty remnants of the free market like individual choice, responsibility, and competition. If you read this Wall Street Journal editorial you'll discover that there's a severe downside to this socialist dream: people can't get the treatment they need.

Canadians can come to the US to get medical care they need, but what happens if the US adopts anything like the Canadian model? Where will they go then? And where will WE go?

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German Elections

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:35 AM

Berlin no longer has a wall but is still divided. The Left Party won most of what was Communist East Berlin with the socialist SPD and the Green Party taking the rest.   The Germans call it "die Mauer im Kopf"--the wall in the head. A similar result for the former East Germany.



 File:Bundestag Wahlkreise 2009 Erststimmenmehrheit.svg

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Re: Even Howard Fineman ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:25 AM

This is not the "man bites dog" story associated with the earlier post, but The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti discusses Obama's overexposure in his latest piece as well:

Faced with the choice, President Obama prefers the comforts of celebrity to the duties of leadership. In addition to Letterman, there was his appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last March and his running commentary in the ESPN broadcast booth during baseball's All-Star game last July. You might imagine a lame-duck president making such media appearances, but not one barely nine months into his term. Obama clearly sees himself as a sort of salesman-in-chief, and considers endless speechifying and interview-giving as the best way to further his agenda. The adoring crowds, raucous applause, and obsequious press coverage that accompany his appearances are cherries on top.

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Tax reform in California

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:23 AM

The Wall Street Journal praises a new plan to reform taxes in California. The plan has much to recommend it: a less progressive personal income tax, a lower top marginal rate, lower income tax payments for all individuals, and no corporate income tax. The plan also calls for replacing most of the sales tax with a new value-added tax (VAT) that will exclude business-to-business purchases. The VAT has proven far easier to raise most places where it has been tried because it gets embedded in the cost of goods, so raises some concern. But the overall approach is similar to the reform Roy Cordato has described and is a marked improvement on most of the ideas floating around North Carolina.

Read the whole California report for yourself here.

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We need a real debate on health care

Posted by George Leef at 09:23 AM

That's Holman Jenkins' argument in this WSJ column today. He writes, "Someday this country will have a health care debate that's not abject in its idiocy."

Maybe that's not quite accurate. The Obamacrats case for their "reform" legislation is abject in its idiocy, with a parade of disinformation, non sequiturs, and phony appeals to emotion. Opponents have tried to raise real issues, such as the harm done by governmental meddling with the insurance market and the mess the tax code makes of health insurance, but Obama won't discuss such ideas, preferring the dodge that "people are lying about my plan."

If you've been wondering why the Beloved Leader is sticking with a terrible plan that a large percentage of the population abhors or at least distrusts, Jenkins provides a convincing explanation: the unions want it. They expect to dragoon lots of health care workers into union ranks. Those people won't be paid much if any more due to unionization, but the union brass will collect money from them. So think of Obamacare as special interest legislation for the benefit of union officials, who will in turn kick back some of the benefits to the Democratic Party.

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Question the President's lobbying for a Chicago Olympiad? You're a traitor

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 08:52 AM

John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats claimed that it was patriotic to dissent on questions of war and peace. Now Democrats, led by the White House, are questioning the patriotism of RNC Chairman Michael Steele for daring to criticize the president's personal pitch to get the Olympics for Chicago.

The LA Times subheadline reads: "Some Republicans, including RNC leader Michael Steele, criticize President Obama's trip to Copenhagen to support Chicago's 2016 bid. The administration fires back at their patriotism."

But many Chicagoans are now hoping the games go someplace else, because of the monetary costs and potential harm to South Side communities. Even many of those who support the city's bid don't want to pay for it.

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Raleigh city council member to go on China junket

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:51 AM

Reports the News & Observer:

City Council member Mary Ann Baldwin used $1,800 of her campaign war chest to pay for a forthcoming trip to China with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Baldwin said the trip offers chances to learn about the Chinese economy and she viewed it as an extension of her council duties.

The trip, scheduled for Oct. 24 to Nov. 1, includes nine days of sightseeing, with stops at China's Great Wall and Tiananmen Square. Harvey Schmitt, the chamber's president, said the trip is being billed as a way for participants to familiarize themselves with China to gain a better understanding of the nation's economy and people.

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Even Howard Fineman is sick of Obama TV

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:13 AM

Fineman, one of Newsweek’s stable of veteran left-leaning scribes, offers this assessment:

Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he's not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.

The president's problem isn't that he is too visible; it's the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words "I" and "my." (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.

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A tale of two courts

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:12 AM

You might remember a recent entry in this forum in which Robert Bork described the current U.S. Supreme Court as very liberal.

Bork and Newsweek’s Dahlia Lithwick are apparently watching different movies. Lithwick offers this description of the court’s last session in her latest column:

On balance, the term continued a clear trend in which big business always prevails, environmentalists are always buried, female and elderly workers go unprotected, death-row inmates get the needle, and criminal defendants are shown the door.

I guess we can expect a thoughtful, moderate, centrist take from Lithwick as she reports on the new court’s proceedings this fall.

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‘Saving’ jobs through protectionism

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:11 AM

The latest Newsweek features a debate about the merits of free trade. Columbia’s Jagdish Bhagwati offers a simple response to those who tout protectionist policies:

The problem with the opposing side is you think protecting steel will create jobs in the steel industry. But you are opening up a whole series of additional effects. One, of course, is that downstream industries typically become more uncompetitive. When President Bush put on steel tariffs, the effect was to price out a whole lot of steel-using industries, including autos. There was a famous study that about 200,000 jobs may have been lost.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:00 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Hal Young's report on continuing efforts to secure annexation reform. 

John Hood's Daily Journal examines why it makes no sense for the federal government to assume more debt for new programs.

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