The Locker Room

March 31, 2009

For UNC fans hitting the road this weekend

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 9:50 PM

Some of the great music venues in Detroit. It's been more than a decade since I left, but they're still close to my heart. Too bad Electric Six will be on the road.

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Details of the Smoking Ban

Posted by Daren Bakst at 4:16 PM

Tomorrow night, the House is scheduled to consider HB 2, the smoking ban bill.

Here are some points about the smoking ban that aren't getting as much attention: 

1) The ban prohibits smoking for:

- Home-based businesses in which the individual(s) works in a building on the same property that a house is located (not in the house).  For example, a farmer that is working in a barn, or a mechanic working in an detached garage.

- A person that drives an employer's vehicle (even if the person is the employer).  For example, a truck driver or an employee that uses a company car for business and private use.

- All private clubs--this even includes nonprofit organizations that are formed specifically for association purposes such as veterans organizations.

-  Nursing home patients that have smoked all their lives

2) Some restaurants will have advantages over other restaurants

The state's restaurant association, which has decided not to oppose the bill so long as everybody's property rights are violated, also is supporting this bill that appears to give some restaurants (i.e. some of its members) an advantage over other restaurants.

The smoking ban prohibits smoking in almost all private enclosed areas (and local governments can even ban smoking for their own unenclosed areas).  The bill doesn't prohibit smoking in private unenclosed areas (nor should it--I'm sure the "extreme extremists" wanted to).

This means then that restaurants with private unenclosed dining areas, such as outdoor seating, could allow smoking.  Note that the bill prohibits smoking in either "public places" and "places of employment"--both definitions are "limited" to enclosed areas.

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Policy on prisons, probation, and parole

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:11 PM

Our friends at the Texas Public Policy Foundation have done great work on ways to save money on corrections while maintaining public safety. We looked at one example, jail diversion for the mentally ill with crisis intervention teams (CIT). Marc Levin offers sentencing reform, electronic monitoring, and performance-based probation funding. See some of his recommendations at

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Scary Corruption Charges in Johnston

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 1:56 PM

This case of official corruption in Johnston County involving the prosecution of DWI cases merits close attention going forward.

It certainly looks like an organized effort to shake down vulnerable defendants for cash, justice be damned. As such, I wonder what the chances are that the practice was limited to just Johnston.

Linkable Entry

Gone but not forgotten

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:53 PM

As the years pass since the demise of the old Soviet Union, it's important to remember the truth about that communist regime.

So says Yuri Maltsev, the Carthage College economist and former adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev. Maltsev addressed the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society in a special Tuesday session.

Click play below for Maltsev's explanation of his reasons for speaking out about a regime that's been dead for 17 years.

6:15 p.m. update: Watch the entire 1:03:54 recording by clicking the play button below.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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Expanding Americorps and the threat of mandatory national service

Posted by George Leef at 1:52 PM

James Bovard takes a very critical look at Americorps (which Congress and Obama plan to greatly expand) in this article.

Does this program do any good? Little or none, answers Bovard, who sees it as just a prop on the stage of political theater, writing, "Congress continues to fill AmeriCorps ranks because it puts a smiley face on big government. Whether or not they produce anything, as long as AmeriCorps' gray shirts are out there getting PR for helping people, Leviathan can be portrayed as a giant engine of compassion."

Right now it's just a waste of resources, but Bovard is concerned that it's going to morph into something far more nasty, namely compulsory national service. How many members of Congress would think it immoral or unconstitutional for the government to commandeer two years of the life of every young person? Not many. Undoubtedly Obama would be happy to sign such legislation.

Linkable Entry

Republicans tout independent redistricting

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:25 AM

Legislative Republicans used their regularly scheduled weekly news conference this morning to tout Senate Bill 25/House Bill 252, a constitutional amendment to create a new independent commission to carry out redistricting.

Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, and Rep. Bill Current, R-Gaston, explained that plan, while Reps. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, and John Blust, R-Guilford, discussed some other redistricting-related legislation they've filed.

Click play below to see the 25:27 news conference.

Linkable Entry

State Health Plan: one problem at a time

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:43 AM

The House committee on insurance canceled its meeting this afternoon and will instead meet on Thursday.

Maybe they're going to focus first on the $250 million for this year instead of unpopular changes.

Defined contribution plans, such as HSAs, can help with the next budget and the $30 billion unfunded liability for retiree health benefits.

Linkable Entry

Rising sea levels -- another scare story

Posted by George Leef at 10:23 AM

Here is a hard-hitting story from the Telegraph (UK) that focuses on the work of a Swedish scientist who contends that there is no evidence that sea levels have been rising. The scare story is based on defective computer models and some data twisted so as to produce the trend that the climate change alarmists want.

Linkable Entry

Report: one in five females will become teen mothers in N.C.

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:42 AM

Over one in five females will become teen mothers in North Carolina, according to a research brief by the nonprofit Child Trends.

N.C.'s projected rate is 22 percent, 4 percent higher than the national average reported in the brief.

The authors estimate that nine states will have teen pregnancy rates 25 percent or greater:

  • Mississippi: 30 percent
  • New Mexico: 29 percent
  • Arizona: 28 percent
  • Texas: 28 percent
  • Arkansas: 28 percent
  • Nevada: 27 percent
  • Oklahoma: 26 percent
  • Kentucky: 25 percent
  • Tennessee: 25 percent

Colleen Calvani, a CJ contributor, has an interesting report on unwed birthrates in N.C. on pg. 5 of this month's issue.

Linkable Entry

What's the difference between the NY Times and Pravda?

Posted by George Leef at 09:40 AM

The New York Times isn't printed in the cyrillic alphabet.

Here is a revealing story on the Times' decision to kill a story last fall on the connection between Obama and ACORN because it could have hurt their preferred candidate.

Linkable Entry

More on the declining news media

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:55 AM

The latest print version of National Review includes James DeLong of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's assessment of the demise of traditional mainstream news media outlets.

Among his most interesting observations are those focusing on the impact of the market power these outlets once consolidated in newsgathering and dissemination.

But that market power was also the industry's undoing. It is a truth universally acknowledged that any organization that escapes the discipline of the market university, foundation, government agency, industrial enterprise gets captured, inch by inch, by its staffers, and its market power is then turned to their benefit, which may take the form of money, ease, ideological satisfaction, or all three.

So it was with McNews. Pay went up, and parroting some alpha source such as the New York Times greatly reduced the demands and stress of the job. For many, journalism was not just a job but a chance to make a difference meaning, in most cases, a chance to promote the vague ideology of state power exercised in the interests of the victim du jour. For an explanation of why this mindset came to dominate the once-honorable blue-collar trade of newspapering, you might ask a cultural anthropologist but the same ideology dominates universities, foundations, and government, so the answer would probably be denial.

For John Hood's take on the future of news media, click here.

Linkable Entry

Tracking transparency efforts

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 08:52 AM

Looking to pitch its computer services to governments, NIC Inc. has created a site that purportedly tracks government transparency efforts. is an easy grader - Why offend potential customers? Still, it would be nice to have some honest appraisals.

For more objective measures of state and local efforts in North Carolina, you have to read the JLF Spotlight on transparency and check out our transparency portal when it goes live. On the national scene, you can check Sunshine Review and ATR Center for Fiscal Accountability.

Linkable Entry

Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:37 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Roy Cordato's reaction to the state's latest unemployment numbers. 

John Hood's Daily Journal examines the facts associated with the success of federal welfare reform.

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