The Locker Room

September 4, 2009

Charlie's rant

Posted by David N. Bass at 4:08 PM

When desperate, accuse the opposition of hating minorities. U.S. Rep Charlie Rangel, a Democrat from New York floundering in a stew of "ethical challenges," is following that advice:

Rep. Charles Rangel said Tuesday that "bias" and "prejudice" toward Obama are fueling opposition to health-care reform.


"Why do we have to wait for the right to vote? Why can't we get what God has given us? That is the right to live as human beings and not negotiate with white southerners and not count the votes. Just do the right thing," he said.

That makes 53 percent of the American population racists.

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NYT has the solution: raise taxes in an election year

Posted by David N. Bass at 3:49 PM

And here I thought The New York Times editorial page was on President Obama's side! Maybe not.

The NYT's editorial team is encouraging the president to fess up about the need to raise taxes to handle insane deficits. They even have the huevos to recommend that, assuming an improving economy, Obama and company start the bilking next year. That's "the natural time to start raising taxes," they write.

Of course, that also happens to be an election year. Raising taxes then is just plain stupid -- not just from an economic viewpoint, but from a political one, too. Really -- tax hikes in an election year? I thought we covered that in campaigning 101.

But the NYT doesn't get that. It suggests "simply acknowledging the obvious and acting accordingly" when it comes to raising taxes.

These folks are long past due a trip outside of Manhattan.

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:38 PM think that Joe Biden's claim that the stimulus package "saved or created 500,000-750,000 jobs" while the unemployment rate went up to 9.7 percent (which means there was a net job loss) makes perfect sense.

By the way Biden also said that the success of the stimulus package has "surpassed expectations." Now let's see. The expectation of the administration back in February was that the SP was going to keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent, as noted it is 9.7 percent. Yes, I do see a consistency in Biden's "logic."

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Advice to politicians

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:27 PM

If you don't say things that aren't embarrassing, you don't end up getting embarrassed on YouTube (or Twitter or the LockerRoom or ...)

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More lies and "fishy" stuff about ObamaCare

Posted by George Leef at 2:10 PM

Manhattan Institute's Paul Howard, writing in City Journal, shows that the regime's plan ignores direct solutions to the affordability problem in order to impose a vast, bureaucratic system on everyone. And now that opposition is coming from great numbers of Americans, they're resorting to pseudo-religious arguments to sell it. Read the piece here.

Great closing line: Obama's plan is a "fiscal shell game with a few Biblical allusions thrown in."

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Orwell and Hayek

Posted by George Leef at 11:36 AM

Sheldon Richman's column today compares George Orwell and F.A. Hayek. They were contemporaries and knew each other's work.

What's striking about Orwell is that, despite his insights into totalitarianism and the fact that he was willing to challenge some of the shibboleths of collectivism, he was not able to get out of the box of leftist thinking about the essence of capitalism. He wrote, for example, that capitalism leads to war. That's a staple of the leftist mind, sort of a firewall against thinking that would lead to the collapse of the crucial idea that the state must, absolutely must, intervene in the economy. Orwell couldn't get past it, even though Hayek had forcefully argued that true capitalism leads to peace and commerce, not war.

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Apples and oranges

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:18 AM

One reason the idea of a cap-and-trade scheme for carbon dioxide emissions wins support from otherwise clear-thinking people is the fact that cap and trade has worked in the past to reduce the threat of acid rain, primarily sulfur dioxide.

But Fred Schwarz explains in the latest National Review why the analogy fails:

The key point to understand is that sulfur is an impurity, present in fossil fuels in small amounts (usually less than 1 percent). But carbon is fossil fuels; it's what they're made of (usually 75 to 90 percent).

In other words, you can use an expensive scrubber to remove sulfur; the same idea does not work for carbon.

Basically, cap-and-trade for sulfur dioxide creates an expense item in a company's budget; cap-and-trade for carbon dioxide creates an entirely new, very expensive business model. Acid-rain reduction has turned out to cost American industry only $1 [billion] to $2 billion per year, much less than predicted, but according to a Heritage Foundation study, the cost of Waxman-Markey would be easily 100 times as great.

Schwarz goes on to note the difference between a localized acid-rain problem and the worldwide dimension of carbon-dioxide emissions. Unlike the case of acid rain, local action — even nationwide action — on carbon dioxide would do nothing to counteract increases from "rapidly industrializing Third World nations."

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School facilities money for charter schools?

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:03 AM

The N.C. Institute of Constitutional Law believes that charter schools may be entitled to school district funds for school facilities. (The Charlotte Observer has the details here.)

Text of the NCICL letter follows:

Dear Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners:

For over one hundred years, the Constitution of North Carolina has required that public schools be funded uniformly within each county of our State.

At present, no monies from the capital outlay fund are being appropriated to several public charter schools and/or their students within your jurisdiction, including Sugar Creek Charter School, Socrates Academy, and Community Charter School, among others.

On behalf of Sugar Creek Charter School, Socrates Academy, and Community Charter School and/or their students, we ask that you explain why you have failed to fund the education of North Carolina students enrolled at these public charter schools in substantial uniformity with other public schools in your jurisdiction.

Please respond within two weeks, although we would appreciate a more prompt response earlier than this deadline.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter of such great importance to the public school
students of Mecklenburg County and of North Carolina.


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Time to reset state government

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:45 AM

Mitch Daniels says state governments need to adjust to permanently lower revenue than past trend. Indiana has done that Bev Perdue missed her chance this year. Scott Mooneyham doesn't think her Budget Reform and Accountability Commission (BRAC) will do the trick.

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Jonah Goldberg addresses the Hitler hubbub

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:43 AM

With all the Nazi talk clouding the health-care debate these days, you might be interested in the reaction of the man who wrote Liberal Fascism (with its cover featuring a Hitler-mustachioed smiley face). 

In a brief article for the latest print version of National Review, Jonah Goldberg tackles the reductio ad Hitlerum this way:

The simple truth is that I do not think it is in the cards for America to go down a Nazi path. I never said otherwise in Liberal Fascism, either.

It's important to keep in mind that, as bad as various other avowedly fascist regimes were, only the Nazis did what they did.

But Goldberg does more than dismiss the Hitler hyperbole:

As I make clear in Liberal Fascism, the obvious and pressing threat is not from a Hitlerite-Orwellian dictatorship but from a Huxleyan namby-pamby mommy state. That sort of system could seduce Americans into becoming chestless subjects of the State in exchange for bottomless sefl-gratification and liberation from the necessity of adult decision-making. Yes, there's a danger that such a society could then be susceptible to some darker vision that lionizes the lost manhood of a half-forgotten past. But, by that point, this would be America in name only, if even that ("U.N. District 12" has a nice ring to it).

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No one should die, and no one should go broke

Posted by Rick Henderson at 10:40 AM

If you're on the social networking site Facebook and have any liberal friends, you've probably seen this 

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

Yesterday, the radical-lefty groups and Democratic Underground were encouraging people to post this on their Facebook pages, but for all anyone knows, the command came straight from Obama World Headquarters. (Bonus question: Is Time's Michael Scherer urging readers to follow along?)

Setting aside the obvious policy prescriptions embeded in this appeal, I've already seen several responses, some more clever than others:

No one should die because the government decides curing them is too expensive, and no one should go broke from paying high taxes. (If you agree, consider posting this as your status for the rest of the day.)


No one should care because he can't afford a healthy diet. No one should hide because he can't afford a caring elf. No elf should try it because he can't care for his Ford. Gerald Ford should carry a dead elf to Nome. Gnomes and elfs try diets that Ford can't afford. Shazam.

My favorite, however, was posted by my friend and former Rocky Mountain News colleague Steve Oelrich, who's gone back to college (and is still awaiting unemployment benefits):

No one should die, and no one should go broke. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

 So I did.

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Failing schools

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:08 AM

Three of Durham's five traditional high schools continue to fail their students despite years of state interventions, writes Lynn Bonner. At Southern High, just 32.5 percent of students passed end of course exams last year.

Charter schools that had these results would have been shut down long ago, but the state board of education instead will dump in more resources. They justify it with statements like

"When progress doesn't occur, there's an individual story about why it doesn't," Pat Ashley, a state education official, told the State Board of Education on Thursday. "We'll work with the superintendents and the principals and talk about what needs to happen to make change in those schools."

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Government can't "grow the economy"

Posted by George Leef at 08:43 AM

Government officials can't improve upon the free market when it comes to identifying good investment opportunities and their efforts at boosting the economy almost always end up wasting resources.

Michigan, which has led the US in unemployment for quite a few years now, is an object lesson. State politicians have embraced the notion that the way to "grow the economy" (to use that annoying phrase of Bill Clinton's) is to use targeted tax breaks to lure in companies. As this editorial in today's Wall Street Journal points out, however, this approach has been a bust for Michigan. North Carolina has had a lot of experience with this too.

It's easy to see why this lousy policy is politically popular -- the governor gets to take credit for whatever little successes occur. In contrast, a policy of just reducing taxes across the board and getting rid of costly regulations that drive investors away works far better, but doesn't give the gov a photo opportunity.

As public choice economic theory points out, elected politicians tend to sacrifice the general interest in favor of their own particular interest. That's what is behind this foolish policy of targeted tax breaks.

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Thank you pro-health care rationing folks

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 07:43 AM

Or so says Moe Lane here at

Thanks in large part to your activities - and according to Rasmussen:
  • 49% “have a favorable opinion of those opposing the health care reforms at town hall meetings” (41% last month).
  • 59% “say the town hall protesters are citizens reflecting the concerns of their neighbors (49% last month).
  • 56% “say that it’s more important for Congressmen to hear the view of their constituents rather than explain the proposed health care legislation.”

And, best of all?  While Democrats disagree on all three of those - Republicans and independents don’t.

So.  Speaking for the Republican party: much obliged.  Can we count on your invaluable assistance, if and when the Democrats in Congress find the courage to again address cap-and-trade?

Moe Lane


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Stein builds on Steyn’s work. Children? Anyone? Anyone?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:01 AM

Mark Steyn has spent much of his time in recent years discussing the negative consequences of abnormally low birthrates.

In the latest Fortune, Ben Stein picks up the theme, examining why more Americans are following the lead of Europeans in pursuing the demographic “death spiral”:

[B]y pure luck, my wife and I do have a dutiful, helpful son and daughter-in-law. How this happened I am not quite sure.

But my son is an aberration, as far as I can tell. Look around you. The costs and benefits of having children in affluent America are wildly off kilter. Too much cost, too little reward. Often the cost-benefit analysis of children prints out "Get a German shorthaired pointer instead."

Many people are doing that, and the birth rate is collapsing. But if we stop having enough children, because their value is so low relative to their cost, the society grinds down. It's happening right now. The native-born upper middle class barely replace themselves in America, if they do at all. In a way we are committing suicide as a class, possibly in part because of the burdens of child rearing in modern life.

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Even a ‘public option’ supporter can reject this bill

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

Allan Sloan of Fortune has no problem with the “public option” portion of the health-care reform proposals circulating through D.C. (He should, of course, as demonstrated by posts here, here, and here.)

But Sloan raises a different objection to the only concrete plan on the table:

My problem is that any piece of legislation that runs more than 1,000 pages -- the House version weighs in at 1,017 -- is certain to contain enough ambiguities, contradictions, and just plain mistakes to ensure years of lucrative employment for countless lawyers and lobbyists and experts who will pick away at it.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:58 AM

The scandal surrounding former N.C. First Lady Mary Easley’s contract at N.C. State University exposed another issue that has raised red flags for good-government advocates: so-called “retreat rights” for university administrators who leave their jobs. Jane Shaw will discuss that topic in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Jeanette Doran of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law will join us to discuss the significance of a recent court ruling that North Carolina lawyers cannot be forced to pay for judicial election campaigns. We’ll also learn why some state lawmakers want to rewrite the rules for state contracts.

Troy Kickler of the N.C. History Project will discuss recent developments in the efforts to compensate people sterilized as part of North Carolina’s government-sponsored eugenics program. And HansMarc Hurd from a new U.S. Army unit in Garner will offer some thoughts about the recent Iranian presidential election.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with Dr. C.L. Gray, founder of Physicians For Reform, about the fundamental philosophical differences that drive the health-care reform debate. 

Roy Cordato's guest Daily Journal identifies who really supports the status quo in the health-care reform debate.

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