The Locker Room

June 8, 2005

Brilliant Mind of the Day

Posted by Chad Adams at 5:45 PM

After years of spending by the General Assembly at twice the rate of inflation and population growth.. After doing so and borrowing millions from trust funds across the board. . After doing so for years and even stealing money from cities and counties . . . After passing the buck on Medicaid expenditures to counties. . After spending $1billion more than they take in. . Rep. Luebke still doesn't get it.

"It just underscores the fact that we are in a revenue pinch," bill sponsor Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham said during the hourlong debate.


After asking myself what color the sky is in Rep. Luebke's world, I had to wonder what political reality would have to occur for Rep. Luebke to figure out that growing government faster than the ability to pay for it might have something to do with the state's SPENDING problem.

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Market for other-than-light rail?

Posted by Hal Young at 5:35 PM

... John Quintero's June 1 column in the News & Observer got me thinking.

Mass transit is perhaps the signature characteristic of a Northern city. Such systems work due to high population densities, favorable development patterns and a cultural mind-set that makes people willing to share a cramped train car with people from all walks of life. The Triangle lacks all of these things.

Yet the region still wants to invest extensively in a transit system. The reason: All "real" (read: Northern) cities have trains, so for the Triangle to be a real city, it needs a train, even a train no one rides. ...

Instead of spending public money on attempts to turn the Triangle into the New York of the Piedmont, the region should invest in the things that make it unique. Raleigh-Durham is a livable place that offers a wealth of cultural amenities, economic opportunities, creative people and family-friendly conditions. It is a good place to live, work and raise a family. Accepting and promoting those things is more fundamental to long-term prosperity than attempts at mimicking Northern cities.

After making my first trip to NYC last summer, and having looked down on high rise apartment buildings and just started to realize something of the density issue -- how many thousands of people live in the real estate of a single city block -- it seems obvious to me that Northeastern-style, downtown transportation systems simply have no place in Raleigh. Sorry 'bout that.

But following John's comments, what could work? Raleigh is just the center point of a basically rural community, grown up. From where I live in Johnston County, it looks like new residents aim to keep it that way -- they don't seem to rush uptown, they move into Clayton, Knightdale, and other surrounding bedroom developments. Forget moving people around downtown -- has anybody really looked at longer range commuter rail as an option, to allow people to live where they want to live, in outlying areas, but dispense with the drive in to work downtown?

So much of the transit proposition seems to fantasize about behavior shifts far beyond the basic "park and ride" v. "ride and park" decision. I for one would seriously consider a train ride from Selma to Raleigh and back, if the price were right and the schedule worked. Currently, neither do. But I for one could do a lot with an extra two hours a day to read, write, or nap.

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Re: wi-fi

Posted by Hal Young at 5:30 PM

It's supposed to work that way, isn't it? Seems like I remember that.

Speaking of light rail ...

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Re: Wi-fi

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:50 PM

Hal--what usually isn't considered is that if the market isn't providing it, maybe it ain't needed. Let's start with light rail.

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Ted Kenndey Blames Janice Rogers Brown for Childhood Asthma Deaths

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:38 PM

"JANICE ROGERS BROWN'S RECORD SHOWS NOT ONLY THAT SHE LACKS THE COMMITMENT BUT THAT SHE'S HOSTILE TO ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTION. ALTHOUGH LOCATED HERE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE D.C. CIRCUIT AFFECTS ALL AMERICANS BECAUSE ITS DECISIONS HAVE BROAD NATIONAL IMPACT. SOME CASES, SUCH AS THOSE INVOLVING REVIEW OF NATIONAL AIR QUALITY STANDARDS UNDER THE CLEAN AIR ACT AND NATIONAL DRINKING WATER STANDARDS UNDER THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT CAN ONLY BE HEARD IN THE D.C. CIRCUIT. WE HAVE HAD THE GROWTH IN THIS COUNTRY OVER THE PERIOD OF THESE LAST FOUR YEARS. WE HAVE DOUBLED THE DEATHS FOR ASTHMATIC CHILDREN IN THIS NATION. WHY? I THINK YOU CAN POINT TO THE RELAXATION AND THE CHANGE IN THE CLEAN AIR ACT AND THE RELAXATION OF RULES AND REGULATIONS. AND AS A RESULT OF THAT, CHILDREN IN THESE DOWNWIND STATES FROM A LOT OF THESE COMPANIES THAT ARE BURNING THESE TOXINS HAVE EXPERIENCED A DRAMATIC INCREASE IN THE -- THEIR BREATHING DIFFICULTY AND IN ASTHMA DEATHS. THAT IS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE CHANGE IN THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT."

Ted Kennedy on the floor of the Senate, today.

My friend Jonathan Adler responds:

"Senator Kennedy is correct that asthma mortality rates have increased over the past 25 years. Yet over that same time period, air pollution has declined. More important for the charges he's hurling on the Senate floor, asthma mortalitry rates have declined, albeit slightly, since 1999. So much for blaming asthma rates on the Bush administration."

All this is from today's NRO blog The Corner.

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Re: Might-y Reporting

Posted by Paul Chesser at 3:02 PM

I sent to The News & Observer's public editor, Ted Vaden, my complaint yesterday about the paper's reporting of Adam Sapikowski's possible "post-prom party" after he murdered his parents. He told me he would raise the issue internally and put it on The N&O's new "Readers' Corner" blog, which he has done.

I commend The N&O for creating this blog, and Vaden has already addressed some interesting issues on it. I also responded to his "Silent Mike" post from last Friday. Looks like a good forum to voice opinions on the paper's reporting.

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Wi-fi ain't radio

Posted by Hal Young at 11:58 AM

In an interesting step back away from market-killing communication regulation, Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has introduced a bill which would "prohibit municipal governments from offering telecommunications, information, or cable services except to remedy market failures by private enterprise to provide such services." The entire bill, HR2726, is not much longer than the description.

So how about that? The government will only provide needed services if the market fails to do so?

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My investigation of Colorado's "LGBT Studies" program

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:35 AM

Published in FrontPage Magazine today.

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Meck County Commission to Residents: Drop Dead

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 10:31 AM

With apologies to the Daily News, the arrogance the Mecklenburg County Commission displayed last night in passing a bloated $1.24 billion budget is stunning. Anyone one who does not like paying ever higher chunks of their income to the county can either sit back and take it or move away. That is the message coming from chairman Parks Helms and fellow Democrats.

Norman Mitchell declared all the new spending buys Mecklenburg a higher quality of life. This is news to many residents, but is still the spin of the day for a budget that doles out public assistance spending to one out of seven county residents. If you do not like that, Commissioner Mitchell invites you to leave.

"You can be sure that as soon as you leave, there will be someone there to take your place," he says.

Which is the tax-hiking majority on the commission's way of saying there is a sucker born every minute.

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Re: old/scary news

Posted by George Leef at 10:27 AM

Note the use of language here. "Black and Hispanic applicants" are supposedly "harmed" unless elite colleges and universities continue the practice of granting strong racial preferences.

Of course, it isn't really the case that ALL black and hispanic college applicants are affected. Only those who apply to elite institutions and wouldn't make it without the use of preferences. In the groupthink that dominates the Left, policies that have an impact on any members of a group are considered to have an impact ON THE GROUP. That's untrue, but in the world of politics (to leftists, everything is political), it's thought important to maintain group solidarity in order to maintain the maximum leverage.

Then look at the word "harmed." The hidden assumption is that not being admitted to one of the elite schools will be a harm to a black or hispanic student who wants to go to college. As Jon points out, not going to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. does not mean that the kid doesn't get a college education at all. It means that he goes to some less selective school. Nor is that harmful. In 2003, Rothman, Lichter and Nevitte showed that graduating from an elite college is neither necessary nor sufficient for success later in life.

So once again, we have a phony appeal to group solidarity in order to maintain a policy that has no benefit other than to make liberals who want desperately to be seen as dedicated to "inclusiveness" feel good.

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Thomas Sowell on excuse-mongering

Posted by George Leef at 10:22 AM

I have never read a better column by Sowell. This one is a 10. Put it in the highlights reel.

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Old news repackaged as scary news

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:34 AM

Reported today in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscriber site) under the misleading headline "Dropping Affirmative Action Would Harm Black and Hispanic Applicants but Help Asian Applicants, Study Finds":

Disregarding race in college admissions would cause sharp drops in the number of black and Hispanic students enrolled at elite institutions, according to a new study by two researchers at Princeton University.

The study, described in an article published in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly, also found that eliminating affirmative action would significantly raise the number of Asian-American students, while having little effect on white students.

Note that phrase "at elite colleges"; that's key. Advocates for ending racial preferences have always said that minority enrollment would initially decline at the top colleges, but would be recaptured by minority enrollment increases in the lower-tier institutions, as students would be better matched with institutions according to their abilities. For that reason, we've argued that graduation rates for minorities would improve. The results in California after Proposition 209 bear that prediction out.

One other thing — I think NAS President Stephen H. Balch's comments in the article bear quotation: "That it's Asian students who bear the brunt of affirmative-action policies at elite institutions strikes me as an interesting finding in and of itself. One of the dirty little secrets in all of this is that one of the chief losers is a minority group."

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Unintended Consequences

Posted by Jon Sanders at 07:35 AM

I covered Sunday’s unity rally at the Durham Armory for today’s column in the Raleigh News & Observer about the aftermath of the May 25 cross burnings. Two amusing observations:

Before the proceedings kicked off, some guy came out and read out a list of about 50 sponsors, which included some socialist party. Call it progress when even socialists recognize the value of such a capitalist tool like event sponsorship.

Then there was Durham County GOP chair Steve Monks, who got the crowd worked up with a stirring recollection of how his parents stood up to the Klan in Texas. You should have seen the faces of those who, mid-applause, realized they were cheering a Republican. Priceless.

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