The Locker Room

April 5, 2006

Million-dollar tumblers

Posted by Jon Ham at 11:25 PM

Tim Blair has the scoop on a tumbling troupe in Australia that has taken the taxpayers for nearly $1 million in grants. And we think the NEA is bad.

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Re: "The man" was right about something!

Posted by Hal Young at 6:05 PM

According to our guest at the Shaftesbury Society yesterday, if you're wrong less than 82% of the time, you're ahead of the game. Congratulations!

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"The man" was right about something!

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 3:54 PM

Sorry, Paul - I just noticed your post from earlier today. It said that I was right about the misinterpretation of the Annual Survey of Local Government Finances. I often make incorrect predictions and analyses, so I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my accomplishment.

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Re: Fuzzy on Medicaid

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:05 PM

The worst line in the articles I've seen so far about the Massachusetts plan:

What to do about the 45 million Americans without health insurance has flummoxed both the Bush administration, whose proposal for "health savings accounts" fizzled, and that of Bill Clinton, whose broad plan for health-care changes fell flat.

First, there's the ironic scare quotes around health savings accounts with no mention of them as HSAs

Second, there's the soft peddling of the socialized health system of Hillarycare

Third,  HSAs have decidedly not fizzled. Over 3 million people have enrolled in HSAs and high deductible policies, with a significant portion previously uninsured.

For more on HSAs, employer-provided care, Massachusetts, and Medicaid, see my new Spotlight

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Re: Fuzzy on Medicaid

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:00 PM


The best summary of the Massachusetts legislation is here. The bill requires everyone in Massachusetts to get health insurance, with some allowance for individuals to use pretax dollars and additional subsidies for those with lower incomes. Massachusetts faced losing federal Medicaid dollars if the legislature did not figure out a way to deal with the uninsured, who are currently covered by a state pool for the uninsured. Residents will have to report what health inusrance they have on their state income tax return and face a fine if they don't have a policy.

Gov. Mitt Romney faced some really bad alternatives, such as completely placing the onus on employers. The current bill still requires employers with 11 or more employees to provide health insurance or pay a $295 fine per employee. But Gov. Romney can eliminate the employer requirement with a line-item veto.

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Trader Joe's, not Aldi

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:02 AM

Even though the two stores are owned by the same parent, word that a Trader Joe's might open in Cary is drawing much better reviews than when ALDI tried to open earlier. Of course, if I had to choose whether my neighbor bought a Hummer or a Saturn that I'd get to drive sometimes, I'd have different preferences than if I actually had to buy the car.

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Liberals allowed to be racist? Take two

Posted by Jon Ham at 11:38 AM

I heard Don Imus and his sidekicks jump all over Roger Clemens this morning for saying that when the Japanese and the Koreans were playing in the World Baseball Classic all the dry cleaners were closed. Clemens was criticized by Imus, Bernard, "Dr. Phil" and Charles for his lame joke that used racial stereotypes.

But in the next 30 minutes these same outraged humanitarians 1) said NBC didn't even "throw a taco" at Natalie Morales as a replacement for Katie Couric, 2) made lesbian jokes during the news item about the women's basketball championship, and 3) made a dubious Hispanic joke during a news item about Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera.

As I've said before, imagine Rush, Hannity or Boortz making similar comments and being met with the same lack of concern by anyone.

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Re: Fuzzy on Medicaid

Posted by Jon Ham at 11:25 AM

Found the Conference Committee Final Bill from this site.

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The king is dead?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:10 AM

Three Republicans from the Wake County delegation to the N.C. House are convinced Democratic Speaker Jim Black will leave the House's top job soon.

Reps. Russell Capps, Nelson Dollar, and Paul Stam held a joint news conference this morning at the Legislative Building to outline reform ideas for the next speaker. "Every day it becomes more evident there will be a change in the Speakership by opening day of the General Assembly," Dollar said. "Yet more important than changing the representative who holds the gavel is changing how the House operates."

The three Republicans hope to lay the groundwork for a new leadership style in the House. They want:

*A three-term limit on all future speakers. (Black is midway through his record-tying fourth two-year term.)

*Each party to determine its membership on committees.

*Budgets limited to budget items. Legislation that deals with items other than appropriations and revenue would be considered separately.

*No additions to the budget bill that do not appear in the House or Senate versions of the budget.

*No "floating" members of House committees.

*No closed-door sessions of the budget's negotiating "conference" committee.

*An independent redistricting commission.

*Revised House rules that would employ standard parliamentary procedures for House business.

"It doesn't really matter who the speaker is as long as the rules are followed," Capps said. "But when the rules are thrown into the trash can day by day and session by session, then there's no representation for the people of North Carolina."

Stam says he's noticed a huge change in the concentration of House power. He served in the chamber for one term in 1989 and 1990, then returned after a 12-year absence. "When I left the House in 1990, it was a chaotic participatory democracy," Stam said. "When I came back in 2003, it was a very ordered oligarchy.

"Power was so concentrated that I was really shocked," he added, "and shocked -- really -- that members of the majority party were willing to give away all of their influence on opening day."

The Republicans do not believe they will play a role in removing the speaker, since Democrats hold a 63-57 majority in the House. Still, they believe Black will leave the job soon. "I believe it's much more than likely that that will happen," Dollar said.


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Free riding

Posted by Jon Ham at 11:07 AM

Why buy a bike if you can get someone else to buy one for you? What's good for Denmark has got to be good for Orange County, right?

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Fuzzy on Medicaid

Posted by Jon Ham at 10:50 AM

Universal healthcare and pay-for-performance?

What's up in Mass.? Can anyone provide the 411?

Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt.

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Incentives-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat

Posted by Jon Ham at 10:36 AM

The city by the bay has lost its allure to filmmakers, it seems. To win them back tax breaks are being enacted.  They hope to lure directors who have gone to cities like Vancouver, where it's cheaper to film (and where you don't get homeless bums in the background of every shot). After reading this story I have only one question: Is everyone in public office in San Francisco named Alioto?

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As Prophesized

Posted by Jon Ham at 09:24 AM

Terry was right.

Doom and gloom with misrepresented numbers.

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Powerline's Johnson at Duke

Posted by Jon Ham at 08:24 AM

Powerline Blog's Scott Johnson spoke at Duke University last night at an event sponsored by the Duke Conservative Union. The crowd was not great, but that could have had something to do with the trouble the group apparently had getting "permission" to advertise the event (yes, apparently you have to get permission for such things at Duke) and the fact that the main access door of the event venue required a card key.

Nevertheless, Johnson gave a fascinating account of what happened on Sept. 9, 2004, the day the blog he co-authors was homebase for a nation of sleuths investigating the CBS "60 Minutes" Texas National Guard documents. That notoriety vaulted Powerline into the top ranks of political blogs, a position it maintains today.

Kudos to the DCU for sponsoring this event. Go by their blog site, Duke New Sense, for a visit.

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