The Locker Room

August 4, 2010

New CJ Exclusive: Questionable N.C. Stimulus Projects

Posted by Rick Henderson at 8:44 PM

Eight projects funded by the Obama administration's stimulus act made a list of 100 wasteful projects compiled by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. CJ Associate Editor Anthony Greco examines the projects in the newest Carolina Journal Online exclusive.

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If you think new financial regulations are a good idea ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:48 PM

... the latest Fortune magazine column from Becky Quick might prompt a reassessment of that position. (It's not yet posted online.)

Quick's no foe of regulation in general, but she notes some of this particular legislation's more dubious elements:

Granted, the Founding Fathers wrote in small print. But come on. Four pages [of the U.S. Constitution] to run a country, vs. 848 pages to run a bank? Really?

And in its 800-plus pages, the FinReg bill manages to create even more questions than it answers. Like what defines "risky" behavior for the banks, when an institution is too big to fail, and what the competitive field will look like in the new financial world. On many of those basic questions, the new legislation essentially punts, leaving the decisions to be determined by the regulators at some future point. And that means that instead of clarity, this law makes the financial landscape even hazier. 

Follow these links for more discussion of the problems linked to the latest round of financial regulation "reform."

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:01 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Rick Henderson's report on UNC Public Television's decision to quash a report from the UNC-Chapel Hill journalism school that criticizes the television outlet's actions in the recent Alcoa dispute. 

Click play below to revisit part of Henderson's discussion of the Alcoa controversy during a recent edition of Carolina Journal Radio:

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Butterfield, Rangel conflict of interest

Posted by David N. Bass at 2:38 PM

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st, got $4,000 in donations from embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel in 2004 and 2008. Butterfield's Republican opponent is calling for him to return the campaign cash.

Butterfield, however, also serves on the House Ethics Committee that is investigating Rangel's questionable tax activities. As such, he'll influence the final determination.

The big question now is whether Butterfield will recuse himself.

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Poll: Basnight leads GOP challenger 49-39 percent

Posted by David N. Bass at 1:52 PM

Civitas has a poll out showing state Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, D-Dare, under 50 percent.

Basnight leads his Republican challenger, Hood Richardson, 49-39 percent.

Democratic support for Basnight remains strong as 76 percent said they would vote for him if the election were held today. Conversely, Republicans favor Richardson by a 67 percent-21 percent margin. Unaffiliated voters are also behind Richardson with a 47 percent-31 percent margin of support.

However, among voters who say they are definitely voting in November, Basnight’s lead shrinks to just one percentage point, 47%-46%.

“Senate President Marc Basnight is a North Carolina institution, but his district is changing underneath him, with many new voters moving in and those voters don’t have the same loyalty to him that long-time residents do,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “Senate District 1 is certainly ‘in play’ this year, the question is, can Richardson raise the money to be competitive?”

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Education in Need of Reform?

Posted by Amanda Vuke at 11:27 AM

Sometime humor is the best medium for conveying truth. Here's a brilliant piece I saw this past weekend.

It's the second part of a series. Part 1 seen here. Part 3 seen here. 

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:45 AM

  • "Fraiser" star stumps for Republican Ilario Pantano in Wilmington. Pantano's opponent is Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre in the 7th Congressional District.

  • Speaking of the 7th, Republicans fire back at Democrats' criticism of the Hollywood fundraiser.

  • GOP'er Renee Ellmers (Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge's opponent in the 2nd Congressional District): Defund ObamaCare after the midterms.

  • Public Policy Polling survey shows Richard Burr and Elaine Marshall neck and neck.

  • The Rockingham News profiles Judge Robert Hunter, running for the North Carolina Supreme Court this year.

  • A fourth candidate hopes to enter the 12th Congressional District race.

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Marceaux would fine citizens $10 for not having guns

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:34 AM

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Gingrich blasts the idea of a substantive lame duck congrssional session

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:24 AM

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich uses his latest Human Events column to argue against the prospect of a substantive "lame duck" congressional session after the November election.

Political observers have suggested that Democrats — if rejected at the polls in November — would return to Washington at the end of the year to enact legislation that would have no chance of passing in 2011. Gingrich looks to the historical example of the defeated Federalists of 1800 as he makes a case against such an underhanded ploy.

Are the Democrats about to make the same mistake the Federalists made? 

Democratic leaders today have been sending clear signals that they are willing to use the lame duck session of Congress to pass the most unpopular and destructive parts of their agenda.  Like the Federalists’ actions in 1801, any attempt by the outgoing Congress to pass legislation they were unwilling to defend in an election would be an attempt to thwart the will of the people.

As destructive as the Democratic Congress and President Obama have been in the past 18 months, it is worth remembering that things could have been a lot worse if not for the vocal and consistent activism of the American people opposing the Democrats’ radical agenda.

The Orwellian named Employee Free Choice Act, which would strip workers of the right to a secret ballot when deciding when to join a union, is not yet law.

The job killing energy tax – or cap and trade – passed the House but remains hung up in the Senate. 

The Democrats have also not been able to pass an amnesty bill for illegal immigrants.

And let’s not forget that President Obama’s ‘Deficit Commission’ is expected to recommend tax increases, possibly in the form of a value added tax (VAT), that could raise the cost of everything Americans buy.  Conveniently, the Commission will not report its findings until after the November 2nd elections, just in time for a lame duck Congressional session.  

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Questions about the Racial Justice Act

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:09 AM

The first five death row inmates have filed bias claims associated with North Carolina's new Racial Justice Act.

Supporters and critics of the act expect many more claims. Some seem unconnected with the act's stated goal: ensuring that racial bias did not lead to death sentences. Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby is a skeptic who "points to motions that have been filed in pending cases his office is prosecuting where defendants accused in killings are claiming racial bias even when the defendants and victims are of the same race." documented similar concerns about the Racial Justice Act earlier this year.

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Barone turns the clock back more than 40 years for an election analogy

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:59 AM

Michael Barone's encyclopedic knowledge of American political history helps him with his latest Washington Examiner column, in which he compares the Democrats of 2010 to their counterparts in 1966:

Some compare 2010 to 1994, when Republicans picked up 52 House seats and won majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. That was a reaction to the big government programs of the first two years of the Clinton administration.

Others compare this year to 1982, when Democrats picked up 26 House seats and recaptured effective control of the House two years after Ronald Reagan was elected president. That was a recession year, with unemployment even higher than it is now.

Let me put another off-year election on the table for comparison: 1966. Like 1994, this wasn't a year of hard economic times. But it was a year when a Democratic president's war in Asia was starting to cause unease and some opposition within his own party, as is happening now.

And it was a year of recoil against the big government programs of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The 89th Congress, with 2-1 Democratic majorities, had passed Medicare, federal aid to education, anti-poverty and other landmark legislation.

Democrats only failed, as they have in this Congress, to pass organized labor's top priority: then repealing section 14(b) which allowed state right-to-work laws, now the card check bill to effectively eliminate the secret ballot in unionization elections.

In 1966, Republicans gained a net 47 seats in the House. That left Democrats with a 246-187 majority but without effective control.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:51 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sara Burrows' report on the end of North Carolina's global warming commission. 

John Hood's Daily Journal reminds us that complex problems have no simple solutions.

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