The Locker Room

July 5, 2005

Barf alert

Posted by Jon Ham at 9:42 PM

As they say on lucianne.com when a particularly offensive lefty-bias story is posted, "Barf alert!" This latest one is from The Guardian and it reports on a UN "human development report" that finds that rich countries spend 25 times more on their defense budgets than they give away to benighted socialist hell holes in the Third World (that's my characterization, not The Guardian's).

First reaction: This is news? You might as well write a story saying that American middle-class families spend 10,000 times more on their kids' educations than they give to burnt-out winos begging at freeway ramps. That "study" would be just as relevant to anything in the real world.

 

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Boom Boom - Out Go the Lights

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 8:22 PM

Didn't think there was much to say about the fireworks we enjoyed last night at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden just across the Catawba in Belmont. The Charlotte Philharmonic put on a nice show, helpfully including a rendition of the Star Wars theme to just about put the boys into orbit, and the actual explosives were quite inventive, bright, and close. All-in-all, a fine, if low-key, event for the 4th.

Then I hear of the riot that marred uptown Charlotte's "Sky Show" last night. There seems to be some reluctance to call it a riot and admit that thousands of people were causing mayhem and firing guns on city streets, requiring an all-hands scramble from the Charlotte Police Department. Somehow I do not think we've yet had a full accounting of the property crimes and assaults that took place during the unrest, even though police are examining surveillance video from the transit center, across the street from the new uptown arena.

I wonder if we'll ever get the whole story.

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Re: Barry logic

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 5:05 PM

Here's a problem that school reformers often have when critiquing DPI, and it also defies logic: they expect that reform can or will take place within the existing monopoly. Reform in this case usually means adding some options—always at the discretion of the public education authorities—that weren't available before.

If we take the premise that monopoly is bad (true, for government- established and run monopolies like DPI), as most public school reformers do, then it makes no sense to stand up and talk about how to make the monopoly "better," whether academically better or physically safer. Both changes would be desirable, of course, but are we likely to get that outcome while DPI-run schools command thousands of tax dollars per family? Of course not, for the same reason that Marion Barry isn't going to reduce D.C.'s crime/murder rate. There's no compelling reason why he should bother, since his election efforts haven't suffered, while attempting to do so would seriously upset the crony apple cart of D.C. politics that keeps him riding high.

The point is not whether the existing monopoly in either example could do a better job at 'keeping the body count down,' the point is that safeguarding and other functions are currently in the hands of government-sanctioned monopolists. What we know about monopolists under these circumstances is that they are free to pursue their own agenda— not necessarily the one contained in their job description. Remember: they get paid anyway.

It's no surprise that we don't get the services we pay for under any kind of protected monopoly. Expecting the culprits to reform themselves should be viewed with skepticism, as should reform efforts that require the cooperation of the monopolist provider. Instead of marvelling at how stupid this is in the one circumstance, we need to develop a learning curve when it comes to education in general.

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Opportunity in Adversity

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:37 PM

An interesting piece in the American Spectator on the coming confirmation battle over whomever is the Supreme Court nominee advanced by President Bush.

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Marion Barry Logic

Posted by Janie Neeley at 3:11 PM

"If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate." --Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington, DC

DPI officials recycle this tortured logic to make us feel safer in our
schools.

Interestingly enough, the DPI building (a.k.a. "The Pink Palace") has some of the most advanced security measures in place. I guess they really do understand how hard it is to work (or learn) if you are "….worried about getting bullied, beaten up, shot or robbed."

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The Gun was Jumped

Posted by Paul Chesser at 1:43 PM

Hey, wait a minute gang! Conservatives were all gravely mistaken about the Kelo decision!

It really wasn't so bad after all!

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Celebrating freedom freely ... elsewhere

Posted by Hal Young at 12:41 AM

An inconvenient work schedule caused me to reconsider an old habit of thought and economy, and thereby blow up some things this past weekend. "Unsafe and insane" indeed.

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