The Locker Room

August 30, 2005

Re: Senate leadership [suppressed giggles] at its finest

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:40 PM

In light of Chad's news below, allow me to reprise a post from back in June, responding to Rep. Alma Adams's statement about the NC General Assembly,

This is a magical place. All kinds of things happen.

I agree with Rep. Adams. The NC General Assembly really is a magical place. For example, just recently they made names on the Board of Governors ballot vanish into thin air and even made time stand still! And now, they've made law without even voting!

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Just too good to not print. Senate leadership at its finest.

Posted by Chad Adams at 9:51 PM

Oops: Bill Signed Into Law Never Passed N.C. Senate

The General Assembly learned Tuesday that a bill signed late last week into law by Gov. Mike Easley actually never passed the Senate.

A clerical mistake made it look as though a bill on auctioneer licensing passed the Senate during a marathon session on Aug. 12, according to Senate officials.

But the Senate never took up the measure. Since it had already been approved by the House in May, the measure went straight to Easley's desk. It was signed into law Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, told his colleagues Tuesday morning of the mistake.

An 1895 state Supreme Court opinion determined that such a mistake can't be fixed simply by recalling the law back to the General Assembly.

The measure has the force of law because it was signed by Easley and the presiding officers of the House and Senate, said Gerry Cohen, director of the General Assembly's bill drafting division.

However, it could be challenged, so the General Assembly must pass another law repealing the erroneous law, Cohen said.

Before leaving Tuesday, the Senate approved just such a bill that would repeal the law. The House would have to agree to the repeal before it adjourns for the year.


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Gas price watch — evening edition

Posted by Jon Sanders at 6:25 PM

On the drive home, $2.55/gal. was still the price at the pump of Kangaroo/BP, Amoco, Hess and Raceway. KMart, about a half-mile south, was up to $2.59 — 15 cents higher than yesterday morning, when I topped off there. Exxon, across the street from Raceway, was still at $2.79. And there were still cars at the pumps there.

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And the Burning Question on the Minds of North Carolinians Is -

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 6:13 PM

What does state Sen. Harry Brown's (R) wife look like? That honeymoon is the most expensive in state, possibly world, history.

Oh, if we have any U.S. Attorneys in the state not chasing down cold medicine, could you spare eyeball for the ongoing conspiracy that passes for government in Raleigh? Some RICO here, some RICO there, pretty soon the whole town will be doing the perp walk.

Bonus observation: My future write-in candidate for all N.C. offices: Hugo Chavez, at least you can trust that shifty little bastard.

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States of emergency declared in Va., Tenn., Ga., S.C.

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:06 PM

The governors of the four lottery states surrounding NC have just announced states of emergency for their economies owing to the massive pullout of all that Money That Should Be Spent in North Carolina Instead. I guess it really was a lot.

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Re: Honeymoon

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 4:00 PM

Of course, private gambling should now be legal in the state.

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Re: announcing the NC lottery

Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:57 PM

Gosh, Hal, it's good to know our elected officials have finally SAVED OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. As disgusting and sleazy as this process was, we can all sleep soundly knowing that public schools will never, ever face a funding crisis again. This, I predict, will cut down on man-hours spent lobbying the NC General Assembly by at least two-thirds. Problem solved! Right?

JLF alumnus Mr. C over at PEER Review is right now telling Floridians the good news. (Who is Mr. C? Here's a hint.)

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Re: Announcing the N.C. Lottery

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:55 PM

OK, the lottery has passed, my problem never was with gambling, but with socialist-monopoly gambling. Now that the state has freed-up gambling on the demand side, it needs to be freed-up on the supply side. A special session of the Senate should be called to make it legal for anyone who wishes to supply gambling services in the state--from churches who want to offer bingo to Donald Trump who might want to open a casino--to go ahead and do so. As one lottery supporter who called in to WPTF's Bill Lumaye Show stated, people have a right to use their money however they choose.

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Re: Jude Wanniski, RIP

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 3:52 PM

I was lucky enough to meet Jude on several occasions while I was in DC, and talk to him many more times on the phone. An original thinker if there ever was one. Just this weekend I was reading some of his latest musings.

Here's my pointless attempt at summing up Jude's life.

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Honeymoon Hero?

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:51 PM

Harry Brown, the freshman senator whose honeymoon made today's Senate victory possible, is either a victim or accomplice of the Basnight sausage machine. The evidence points to the latter--former Democrat vaguely in support of the lottery who happens to be out of reach for the critical vote. He can still claim that he stood firm on principle. John Garwood could also have held the lottery at bay if he had chosen to pair with a lottery supporter.

If private gambling were legal in the state, I'd set odds on Brown and Garwood facing primary challengers next year. 

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Jude Wanninski, RIP

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:40 PM

Jude Wanninski, former Wall Street Journal editorial page editor, the person who coined the phrase "supply side economics," author of the classic The Way the World Works, and one of the architects of Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cuts, died suddenly yesterday at the age of 69. Read about Wanninski's life at

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Announcing the N.C. Lottery

Posted by Hal Young at 3:40 PM

WRAL reports that the Senate has just passed the lottery on Lt. Gov. Perdue's tie-breaking vote.

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Gee, Officer Krupke!

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:39 PM

American High school students are falling acdemically farther behind their international counterparts. It's not the fault of achievement in the lower grades (we are told). And by the way, the smaller schools initiative won't solve the problem either. This announcement from Microsoft's Bill Gates, despite the fact that he is famously funding lots of activity in the small schools direction. Most of those projects are just getting underway. Too bad. Have no great expectations there, says Bill.

So what's up? Just about every possible villain has been proposed to explain/excuse American educational deficiencies. Maybe our problem is that we can't seem to settle on a villain, just one villain or scapegoat, and stick with it. The only untried excuses so far seem to be "American kids are /lazy/stupid/drugged into mindlessness." It seems unfair, frankly, that these have not been given a fair shot in the debate thus far.

This article from the Teacher's College Record is typical of how we identify the source of educational problems in America today. It was written by a teacher, for teachers.

In essence, it offers the following wisdom: "It's Just Our Bringin' Upke"--or one of a hundred other randomly selected possibilities."

With this, they have published in a peer-refereed journal. Now there's an insight.

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Gas price watch — lunchtime update, and a question for "liberals"

Posted by Jon Sanders at 1:30 PM

I've seen some upward movement in the pump price along my morning commute in Raleigh. Background: yesterday the low price in SE Raleigh was $2.50/gal. This morning it was $2.49/gal. All of these prices refer to the per-gallon pump price of regular unleaded along the same two-block stretch of South Saunders Street.

Now, the Kangaroo/BP remains at $2.49. Amoco, Hess and Raceway have all risen six cents a gallon to $2.55. Across the street from the Raceway, Exxon's price is $2.79. That's a 30-cent-per-gallon variance in price that occurs in the space of two blocks. And there were cars at the Exxon pumps.

This question is for "liberals": Should Exxon sue Kangaroo/BP, Raceway, Amoco and Hess for unfair competition, or should the Exxon consumers sue Exxon for price-gouging?

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Czech it out

Posted by Jon Ham at 1:19 PM

Czech President Vaclav Klaus tells his European brethren to beware of all the "isms" that are really just socialism and collectivism in disguise:

As substitutes of socialism, Václav Klaus cited “environmentalism (with its Earth First, not Freedom First principle), radical humanrightism (based – as de Jasay precisely argues – on not distinguishing rights and rightism), the ideology of ‘civic society’ (or communitarism), which is nothing less than one version of post-Marxist collectivism which wants privileges for organized groups, and in consequence, a refeudalization of society […], multiculturalism, feminism, apolitical technocratism (based on the resentment against politics and politicians), internationalism (and especially its European variant called Europeanism) and a rapidly growing phenomenon I call NGOism.”

He made his remarks in a speech entitled “View from a Post-Communist Country in a Predominantly Post-Democratic Europe.”

(Hat tip: Instapundit)


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Re: Most scientific studies are wrong, study says

Posted by Hal Young at 1:00 PM

If not Yogi Berra, then Monty Python?

GC: I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired.

All: Yes, yes...

GC: I'm certainly not! And I'm sick and tired of being told that I am.

Announcer: Mrs. Havoc-Jones.

Mrs. Havoc-Jones: Well, I meet a lot of people and I'm convinced that the vast majority of wrong-thinking people are right.

Announcer: There seems like a consensus there. Could we have the next question, please?

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Is this why they work at night?

Posted by Hal Young at 12:16 AM

WISE crack from an old movie 

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Rick Thames: Editor or Flim-Flam Artist?

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 11:52 AM

I'd have to go with the latter based on The Charlotte Observer's atrocious, sprawling series on race and lending of the past few days. Thames intones that, "Today we learn that to be black in America is to be much more likely to pay a higher interest rate for a home purchase loan."

Well, no, Rick we have not, no matter how much you'd like to think so in pursuit of whatever journalistic prize the series is designed to win. The series shows that -- shock -- the better your credit history, the lower the interest rate lenders will offer you. It is a bullet point right there in the gotcha story: "Blacks on average have less wealth and more credit problems." Lenders want more reward for more risk. Next?

Further, contrary to the Observer's assumptions, income level is not the same thing as credit worthiness. It could very well be the case that a borrower with a lower income and a better credit history is more attractive to lenders that borrower with a higher income and a more spotty credit history. And even borrowers with identical incomes could look very different to lenders based on differences in credit histories. Make one of these borrowers white and one black, and boom, "proof" of racial bias. That would be wrong, of course.

Let me put this in concrete terms as the Observer evidently has trouble with abstractions. A couple years ago, my wife and I resolved to redo our kitchen, an expensive proposition for anyone. We had some cash put away for the task, but we discovered that Home Depot was offering a promotion whereby they'd toss in a free sink and some other stuff if you used their credit card to buy the stuff. As long as you paid everything off in six months, no interest charge or fees applied. This was obviously a good short-term deal for us. Free stuff and a six-month float on a large budget item. But it came with a catch.

Applying for and securing the Home Depot credit line meant that our credit score would take a hit. We were, after all, essentially adding thousands of dollars to the credit obligations that we could, in theory, be responsible for far into the future. Future lenders would have to consider that additional potential obligation as they gauged our credit worthiness, indeed to do otherwise would be irresponsible lending. Now would knocking a few points off of our credit score be related to race in anyway? No. Would it be related to race if we were black? Rick Thames thinks so.

And there are other huge problems with the series, only one of which I'll bother with now, and that is the portrayal of a local black mortgage broker as some sort of race traitor for finding higher interest loans for black customers. Were this the UK I'd advise Fred Warren to sue the Observer. Instead, Warren quite correctly asks the paper's erstwhile interrogators: "Which is worse trying to make a loan so a family can become homeowners, even if it is a little higher rate, or shutting them out?"

Fred Warren is working hard trying to keep Charlotte a great place to live. Can't say the same about the local Knight Ridder outpost.

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Re: Most scientific studies are wrong, study says

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 11:49 AM

I think Paul Messino's grandfather is Yogi Berra.

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Important Interview in Discover Magazine

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 11:28 AM

Retired EPA meteorologist, now living in North Carolina, Charles Hossler just sent me this interview from Discover Magazine with William Gray, as the prologue points out, considered by many to be the world's most famous hurricane expert. Primarily the interview is about hurricanes, their intensity, and his predictions for the future. But as all such discussions do these days, the questions turned to global warming. The questions and answers below provide a glimpse at Gray's views. I guess he didn't get the memo about the science being settled.

You don’t believe global warming is causing climate change?
G: No. If it is, it is causing such a small part that it is negligible. I’m not disputing that there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and ’40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle ’40s to the early ’70s. And there has been warming since the middle ’70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.
That must be a controversial position among hurricane researchers.
G: Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing. But no one asks us. If you don’t know anything about how the atmosphere functions, you will of course say, “Look, greenhouse gases are going up, the globe is warming, they must be related.” Well, just because there are two associations, changing with the same sign, doesn’t mean that one is causing the other.
With last year’s hurricane season so active, and this year’s looking like it will be, won’t people say it’s evidence of global warming?
G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle ’90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

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Gas price watch: overnight price spike, revisited

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:59 AM

Well, Hal, on my morning commute the pump prices were the same to one-cent-per-gallon cheaper. I hedged yesterday morning and topped off at KMart at $2.44/gal. I really should do that whenever I have the time, anyway; I seem to get slightly better gas mileage with a fuller tank.

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Hey, At Least There's Progress

Posted by Donna Martinez at 10:25 AM

We can talk all day about the poor policy decision made by elected officials years ago to create and heavily subsidize Raleigh's Exploris museum, but that would be a waste of time. It's here and it continues to receive public dollars. However, recent actions-including staff layoffs-by Bonnie Hancock, a new executive, provide a glimmer of hope that the museum will be weaned off the Wake County public dole, at least in part. This Triangle Business Journal story contains the following encouraging paragraph:

County Manager David Cooke says he will meet with Hancock within the next week or so. He says commissioners are looking for progress in several areas, including private fundraising, debt reduction, cost controls and ticket sales.

So who is this new exec who's willing to make tough decisions and seems to be one of the first to understand the museum is a money pit for public dollars? Here's an interesting profile of Hancock and the museum from Raleigh News & Observer op-ed columnist Rick Martinez.

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Most scientific studies are wrong, study says

Posted by Donna Martinez at 08:40 AM

Although I agree with the findings, it does raise the interesting question: If what you say is true, shouldn't I think there's a good chance you're wrong?

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Re: No Wet Newspapers Today

Posted by Hal Young at 08:05 AM

Definitely check it out. The Times-Picayune staff's blog had some of the more interesting commentary yesterday, and you don't often get to see 224-point type on the front page.

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The police are forced to steal

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:03 AM

The Times-Picayune provided one account of a police officer and National Guard personnel trying to siphon gasoline from a vehicle to use for the generators at a nearby hospital, which ran respirators and other medical equipment for critically ill patients.

We're getting gas so they can keep on ticking, you know?" the officer said.


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No complaints about wet newspapers today

Posted by Paul Chesser at 07:48 AM

There is no home delivery of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans today, it's only available online (PDF file). But how is anybody down there even going to get that version?

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Re: The Overnight Spike

Posted by Hal Young at 07:37 AM

Well, since my commute costs me over $7 every day, I get lots of opportunity to fill up anyway, so I hedged my bet last night. FWIW on my drive in this morning, I saw one station at $2.46 and several in the $2.49 range.

According to Gas Buddy, there's a station in Shelby selling at $2.24 this morning, and a "Sheetz" store in Raleigh is posting $2.39. If you want to see a 40-cent price jump, you can drive from New Bern St. to South Saunders St. here in Raleigh, and nobody had to change a sign to do it.

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