The Locker Room

March 4, 2011

New CJO exclusive: Supporters, critics squabble over proposed charter changes

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:26 PM

Sara Burrows' latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive focuses on the war of words surrounding charter school legislation in the General Assembly.

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Freedoms we don't even realize we have, and the thieves who covet them, II

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:25 PM

If this is going to be a series, then here's the original entry.

Courtesy of Jenna Ashley Robinson, I learned today of another overlooked freedom we have that the feds under Obama wish to take away. As the AP reports,

In the pastures of northeastern Vermont, Jasper Hill Farm's Ayrshire cows feast on grass and clover, producing a fresh, sweet milk that fuels some of the country's most beloved cheeses.

"Our approach is to distill the landscape," says Mateo Kehler, cheesemaker and co-founder of the creamery. ...

Kehler and other artisanal cheesemakers swear by "raw" milk - straight-from-the-udder and unpasteurized - saying it gives their products personality and depth of character by retaining the good bacteria that otherwise are killed during pasteurization. Selling raw milk is illegal in most states, but federal law allows cheese made from raw milk as long as it is aged for 60 days, a period intended to kill harmful bacteria.

But the Food and Drug Administration is re-examining its regulations, a move that has caused concern among cheese makers. They worry that the agency will lengthen the mandatory aging period or, possibly, ban raw milk cheeses altogether. FDA officials are meeting next week in Washington with members of the American Cheese Society to discuss the issues. ...

Had you ever realized we have a freedom to buy artisan cheese made from raw milk, and that such a freedom -- without we remain vigilant -- could be taken from us? There are so many freedoms we don't even realize we have, which is why the Founders in their wisdom constructed the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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Reflections on public comment periods

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 2:44 PM

Nearly three years ago, Eddie Davis, then president of the NCAE and Democratic candidate for superintendent of public instruction, had an idea.

Davis is pitching a 10-point plan that included holding a public comment period before state education board meetings...(T. Keung Hui, "Five want to lead schools," The News & Observer, April 19, 2008)
The fact that Mr. Davis is a Democrat didn't bother me. I care about ideas, and he had a very good one.

Now, I am told that some are defending the State Board of Education's decision to not allocate time during their monthly meeting for a public comment period.

Logically, other boards and commissions, such as the Wake County Board of Education, should not permit public comments either. After all, the citizens of North Carolina, like the residents of Wake County, should know that there are plenty of opportunities to be "involved in the board's policymaking process."

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New CJO exclusive: This week's legislative recap

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:57 PM

Anthony Greco's latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive recaps this week's activity for the N.C. General Assembly.

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Deroy Murdock on union thuggery

Posted by George Leef at 12:08 AM

Deroy Murdock has an illuminating column today on the tactics employed by union protesters against those who oppose their bilking of the taxpayers. The union zealots not only think they are entitled to other people's money, but also entitled to use force to keep the flow of money coming.

If labor unions were voluntary associations of people who come together to improve their conditions by the use of peaceful means, there could be no principled objection to them. Unfortunately, the labor movement long ago gave up on voluntarism and peaceful methods. They have relentlessly pursued special interest legislation that allows them to coerce membership, coerce "bargaining" and coerce those workers who don't wish to obey union dictates.

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Don't cut education budgets!

Posted by George Leef at 11:43 AM

In his TGIF column my Freeman colleague Sheldon Richman argues that we should not cut educational budgets. Instead, we should entirely divorce government from education. The ideal budget cut would be 100 percent, forever. Government provision of education ensure high cost and low efficiency by severing the connection between payment and performance of services.

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Two things that repeat themselves: history and op-eds

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:42 AM

In what is sure to become an annual event, the News & Observer published a "charter schools are segregated" op-ed today by Mark Dorosin, attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, and company.

The April 2010 version:

Missing from the [Race to the Top] debate is the reality that North Carolina charter schools are a national leader in racial isolation and hyper-segregated learning.
The March 2011 version:
Although charters are funded partially by taxpayer money and technically are open to any student, many are racially and socioeconomically hypersegregated, exclusive programs that more closely resemble private schools.
If the authors truly cared about "segregated" schools, they would object to the nearly 250 district schools that have non-white populations of 90 percent or more.

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Reason Foundation expert offers basic ideas to guide federal transportation policy

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:15 AM

If we're not going to throw federal tax dollars at pointless high-speed rail projects, are there other more appropriate ways to spend those dollars on transportation-related projects?

Sam Staley of the Reason Foundation says yes. In a new National Review article titled "Transportation-policy crossroads," Staley offers some basic ideas to guide federal transportation spending.

Congress should narrow the scope of federal transportation-policy priorities to four core principles:

  • Fund only projects that have true interstate-commerce ramifications;
  • Fund only projects that have a significant impact on the national transportation network;
  • Enable state and private-sector financing for transportation projects to leverage and, in some cases, substitute for national taxpayer funding; and
  • Fund research into safety and technology that is beyond the scope and capability of state departments of transportation.

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Author of 'The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism' tackles the West's greatest problems

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:04 AM

In offering a mixed review of Dambisa Moyo's new book, Kevin D. Williamson of National Review (author of his own Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism) offers this description of the greatest threats ahead for Western societies:

The U.S. and Europe have the worst kind of problems: ones that are easy to understand but difficult to solve. Our worst problem is that democratic governments lack the kind of robust fiscal controls that prevent the political class from pillaging the productive economy to feather the nests of its own members and their clients. (China has relatively strong fiscal limitations: a police state and poverty.) The West is in trouble not because Beijing is lending us money, but because of why we are borrowing it: At every level — federal, state, local, county, school district, sewage-treatment authority — we have disfigured our institutions such that they function principally as wealth-transfer mechanisms for the benefit of the political class. The word for this is "corruption," and it is at least as much a moral problem as an economic one. We are our own disease.

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Lileks praises the Obama budget

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:55 AM

In his latest back-page column for National Review, James Lileks offers words of encouragement to the Obama administration's budget writers:

Thus this brilliant budget, which jacks up spending to $46 trillion over the next ten years. (The official term for a number that large is a "Zimbabwe.") Granted, there are cuts. The Zeppelin Corps will be merged with the Dirigible Reserve, for example. As the president noted in a speech to Ohio Blacksmiths Local 203, the Equine Motivational-Instrument Security Act, which has been subsidizing buggywhip production since 1901, will be rewritten so we're doing more with less — the subsidy will be cut 50 percent, and the government will partner with buggywhip producers to find new ways to inspire horses, using our 21st-century understanding of brain chemistry and animal psychology. "There are those who say the federal government shouldn't be in the business of making horses run faster," the president said, his chin tilted up to indicate resolve in the face of strawmen. "I say a nation crisscrossed with high-speed stagecoach lines is equipped not just to help business compete. They will also carry the mail and provide easy access to jobs for tomorrow's schoolmarms."

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The author of 'The Truth About ObamaCare' shares some of that truth

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:33 AM

The federal health care reform law has generated plenty of debate in Raleigh in recent weeks. As the flap over House Bill 2 nears its conclusion, you might be interested to hear a critique of the federal law from Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute and author of The Truth About ObamaCare.

Click play below for an excerpt from this weekend's new edition of Carolina Journal Radio:

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My top ten list

Posted by George Leef at 09:01 AM

Top ten books about higher education, that is. In today's Pope Center piece I give my picks for the most important books people should read if they want to understand higher education in America -- and ask readers to suggest others they would recommend.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:11 AM

The new Republican-led General Assembly could take important steps to place North Carolina environmental policy on a less destructive course. Roy Cordato makes that recommendation in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Terry Stoops explains why lawmakers looking for state budget savings might want to investigate the state’s growth in public school course offerings, plus you’ll hear from supporters of the new Free the Vote Coalition, which is fighting to loosen North Carolina’s electoral ballot-access restrictions for third parties and independent candidates.

Sally Pipes, head of the Pacific Research Institute and author of The Truth About ObamaCare, shares her concerns about the year-old federal health care reform law. You’ll also hear Attorney General Roy Cooper defend the state’s controversial DNA database.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:00 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with N.C. State professor and Modern Age editor R.V. Young about the poor state of college writing instruction. 

Karen Palasek's guest Daily Journal focuses on new insights that challenge traditional ways of thinking about leadership.

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