June 05, 2009
Why does Obama want Sotomayor on the Court?
Posted by George Leef at 4:13 PM
Among other reasons why the two are so simpatico is that the judge has a terrible record on property rights issues. This Washington Times editorial goes into the details.
Despite the blather about deciding cases with "empathy," it's clear that Sotomayor is one of those jurists who is reflexively in favor of state power.
Mary Easley and the Spirit of '76
Posted by George Leef at 3:23 PM
Writing at NRO's PhiBetaCons, Jane Shaw discusses the Mary Easley situation. You can read Jane's thoughts on this highly publicized instance of slurping at the public trough here.
The Easley case, like so many other things lately, brings to mind this line from the Declaration of Indepenence: "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat our their substance." Back then, Americans could plainly see that they were being milked to pay for needless government officials. We need to rekindle the Spirit of '76.
Re: Dorothy Sayers
Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 2:37 PM
Thanks for the tip, Hal! I'll definitely have to look for Douglas Wilson's book, as well as Josephine Tey. I always keep an eye out for new mystery writers. I can only reread Death on the Nile or Gaudy Night so many times...
You should check out Michael Innes' mysteries. He's a Scottish novelist and academic. (In addition to some great mysteries, he wrote a lot of literary criticisms. I love his work, but I always feel rather stupid after reading it--I have to stop frequently to look up definitions or track down his many allusions!
I also enjoy Catherine Aird, mostly as a mental break. It's light reading, but very entertaining.
Re: Dorothy L. Sayers
Posted by Hal Young at 1:43 PM
We're firm believers in the classical education theory; I can recommend Douglas Wilson's book based on Sayers' essay, Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning, though at the time he was more skeptical of homeschooling than he is now.
Sayers is absolutely my favorite modern fiction writer - excellent characterizations and dialog, and her plots hold water well. She was Oxford educated in the classical liberal fashion and knew how to use it. I re-read The Nine Tailors at least once a year, and Murder Must Advertise is a gem. Hers are the standard for all other mysteries here.
The BBC did several outstanding productions of Sayers' stories in the 1970s, with Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter. That series only covered the stories which didn't include Harriet Vane; a second series about a decade later filmed the remaining novels, but I haven't seen them yet.
If you like Sayers you might also enjoy Josephine Tey, who was also the daughter of an Anglican village clergyman. Tey is darker than Sayers (her protagonist always seems to be recuperating from an injury or a breakdown or something) but her style is similar.
Dorothy Sayers: More than just a mystery writer
Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 12:54 AM
Dorothy Sayers is one of my favorite mystery novelists. (I recommend all of her novels featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.) I didn't know until very recently that she also published a well-received translation of Dante's Divine Comedy as well as numerous academic and religious works.
In this essay, she tackles education, suggesting that we (or England, rather) return to the medieval method: teaching the Trivium and the Quadrivium.
Given her low opinion of education in 1930s England, I'd hate to think what she would say of today's public education system.
H/T: Thomas Croom (via Facebook)
North Carolina's Contribution to Conservative Thought
Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 12:48 AM
Reading today's CJ interview with Ramesh Ponnuru, I was reminded about Richard Weaver and his ideas. An Asheville, North Carolina native, Weaver is considered by many as a father of post-World War II conservatism. He wrote such works as Ideas Have Consequences. Weaver would be the first person to argue that one should not abandon the past and its lessons when planning for future success.
Why economic meddling must fail
Posted by George Leef at 12:38 AM
You'll never find a better explanation than Sheldon Richman gives in this column today as to why government meddling with the economy cannot make conditions better -- except for the politically favored. This is just as true no matter which party happens to have its grubby hands on power.
We often hear pundits talking about the "chance" that the Obama economic program will work. Liberals say they're pretty sure it will, while conservatives usually say that it doesn't have much chance. Richman's column makes it clear that chance has nothing to do with it. Government intervention in the economy -- which is not a machine, but rather a vast network of trading relationships -- necessarily means taking resources away from uses that satisfy consumer desires and putting them into uses that politicians want.
The ugly truth about this is that while the pols claim that they're doing all of this to help the average American, the only winners are people, companies, and organizations that are savvy at playing the political game. The hapless average American is bilked to pay for it, including money spent on propaganda to keep him enthralled with "our democracy."
HASOE: Mysteries abound
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:00 AM
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (HASOE) report is a frustrating document.
Let's talk about what they propose to spend money on.
$4,350,355 (FY 2010-2011) for the Focused Education Reform pilot program. The Public School Forum, who will receive a portion of this money, has no business complaining about teacher layoffs. Put simply, the House chose to sacrifice teacher positions so that the Forum could finish their pilot program (see Opportunity Cost).
$13,000,000 (recurring) for Dropout Prevention Grants. This expenditure is unconscionable.
$1,228,350 (recurring) for the Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy. The program is located in Sampson County. Larry Bell (D - Sampson, Wayne) is the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education (HASOE). I just thought you would like to know that.
$2,108,434 (FY 2010-2011) for Appropriations to Non-Public School Organizations. I don't like pass-through funding, but even if I did, I would find these funding priorities really, really strange. Communities in Schools and Teacher for America have strong track records in North Carolina but don't receive the most funding.
Anyway, Teacher Cadet and NC Network funds are small payoffs to NCAE and Project Enlightenment is a payoff to the Wake County Public School System. Individual pass-through recipients include the following: Communities in Schools ($160,750), Schools Attuned ($820,911), ExplorNet ($300,000), Teacher Cadet ($60,000), NC Network ($312,625), Science Olympiad ($22,500), Teach for America ($50,000), NC Math & Science ($100,000), and Project Enlightenment ($200,000).
Next step: Change the locks
Posted by Rick Henderson at 10:59 AM
The N&O's Andy Curliss reports that a state House budget committee voted to defund the Millennium Speakers Series at NC State, which provides the biggest portion of former First Lady Mary Easley's salary. "That money would be redirected to three community college programs for
deaf students that faced cuts in next year's budget, which begins July
1," Curliss writes.
Two Democrats joined five Republicans in the 7-6 vote.
To restore that money now, legislators would likely have to find a
similar cut somewhere else, said Rep. Mickey Michaux, a key budget
If the university starts towing Easley's car when it's parked on campus, you think she'll get the message?
The provision specifically says that there will be no state funding for the speakers series or the public safety center.
[Provision sponsor Rep. Hugh] Blackwell
[R-Burke] said he included the safety center language in the amendment to ensure
that the university doesn't change course and add the program later.
"Just covering the bases on that one, so to speak," he said.
As always, to keep up with CJ's continuing coverage of the Easley scandals, point your browser here.
It isn't hard to guess why Perdue made this move
Posted by David N. Bass at 10:50 AM
From the News & Observer of Raleigh:
Five key members of former Gov. Mike Easley's state Highway Patrol security detail have been reassigned to typical trooper duties, officials said Thursday.
The shakeup involves the head of the detail and others who had handled assignments with the Easley family in recent years, including accompanying them on overseas trips and a fishing trip to Florida last year.
The action was ordered by Gov. Beverly Perdue in recent days to reduce the number of troopers assigned to protect the governor, patrol officials said. The detail now numbers about 20 people. Some troopers who had worked with Perdue while she was lieutenant governor have stayed with her as she ascended to the governor's office.
As governor, Perdue has taken a different approach than Easley regarding security. She has flown twice to Atlanta on Delta airlines, for example, without any troopers accompanying her. She also took a Caribbean vacation without security. Records and interviews show that Easley did not travel without troopers and that his wife, Mary, took security on European trips.
Take Back Our State Tea Party full-length video
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:40 AM
If the highlights from Wednesday's event left you wanting more, click play below for the full 1:27:52 video.
Adventures in Cryptic Reporting
Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 10:10 AM
So, what did Triangle-area Muslims think about Barack Obama's speeches in Cairo and the Middle East?
I've read this N&O story three times and still do not know. It evidently involves changes in U.S. policy in the region, but beyond that I cannot tell.
The question is, could the reporter? The persons she interviewed seemed very informed and I, for one, would have liked more details on what specifics they thought might "mend ties between the two worlds and to resolve the conflicts raging in Afghanistan and Iraq and between Israelis and Palestinians."
The story as written makes me suspect that specifics were mentioned, but were edited out either by the reporter on the fly or by an N&O editor.
RE: U.S. Senate tries to define 21st century skills
Posted by David N. Bass at 09:48 AM
You left out the sixth component: (6) In order to become productive members of our 21st democracy, students must be taught the values of social justice, sustainable living, and civic responsibility in expectation of one day voting for Barack Obama.
It's not that far fetched of an idea, either, as evidenced by the widely circulated video showing elementary school students singing the praises of Obama.
The line that always gets me from that ballad to the chief is the part about "changing" and "rearranging" the country. It reminds me of the mobster's threat to "rearrange your face."
Dog Bites Man
Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 09:46 AM
Today, Jane Shaw writes about the AAUP's unsurprising argument against cuts to the UNC system.
The North Carolina chapter of the American Association of University Professors (NCAAUP) is lobbying the state House of Representatives for “progressive tax hikes” to cope with the current fiscal crisis.
U.S. Senate tries to define 21st century skills
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:32 AM
Senate bill 1029, the "21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act," would spend $100 million a year to advanced 21st century skills. The bill is sponsored by John D. Rockefeller, Olympia Snowe, and John Kerry.
North Carolina's education leaders really want our public schools to get jiggy with 21st century skills...na na na na na na na nana.
According to the bill, "21st century skills" (which are really 19th and 20th century skills) includes five components.
(1) Students must be prepared in the core subjects of English, reading, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics, government, economics, art, history, and geography.
(2) In order for our Nation's students to be prepared to succeed in our communities and workplaces, students need 21st century content, beyond the traditional core subjects, that includes global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, and health and wellness awareness.
(3) Students need to go beyond just learning today's academic context to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills, creativity and innovation skills, collaboration skills, contextual learning skills, and information and media literacy skills.
(4) Information and communications technology literacy is the ability to use technology to develop 21st century content knowledge and skills, in the content of learning core subjects, and students must be able to use technology to learn content and skills so that the students know how to learn, think critically, solve problems, use information, communicate, innovate, and collaborate.
(5) Educators need to incorporate life skills into pedagogy, including leadership, ethics, accountability, adaptability, personal productivity, personal responsibility, self-direction, and social responsibility.
Politico pans pols' Web sites
Posted by David N. Bass at 09:17 AM
Remember how important Barack Obama's Web presence was to his victory in '08? Well, Politico has a scathing report on the quality of five representatives' Web sites -- titled "Members' websites stuck in '70s."
At the top of that list is North Carolina's own Congresswoman Sue Myrick (visit her Web site here). The Politico's verdict:
Myrick has the makings of a cohesive layout — a home page laid out on a three-column grid, clear navigation along the top of the site — but the elements are slightly askew, creating a look that Matt Ipcar of Blue State Digital calls unprofessional.
“Think of a bank,” said Ipcar. “If you went to a bank and your bank’s website looked like the Myrick site, would you put your money there?”
Ipcar added that, like a résumé or a business card, a website should be polished enough to exude a sense of trust and professionalism.
Taylor Stanton, Myrick’s press secretary, said she is in the very early stages of updating the site to make it more interactive and user-friendly.
A solid Web presence is good, but there is another issue here -- spending unholy amounts of taxpayer dollars on a trendy Web site that, in addition to providing communication and information outlets for constituents, also happens to be a great campaign tool.
So maybe there is a silver lining to Web sites that look similar to a GeoCities template.
Free Krispy Kreme doughnut Friday
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:59 AM
After all, you can't fight for freedom on an empty stomach.
I would avoid free ice cream offers, though.
Re: Coming attractions
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:52 AM
They could do a whole series just on Part 4, "Pet programs get easy millions" (to be published on June 13).
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:15 AM
The News & Observer tells us this morning that we can look forward to a new five-part series titled:
The Generous Assembly: Why Legislators Can't Fix The Budget
The first installment is scheduled Sunday. One wonders whether the N&O writers will point to Joe Coletti's well-documented "spend-and-tax" pattern.
This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:08 AMOnce the N.C. House finalizes its budget plan, House and Senate negotiators will hash out their differences and set the actual budget that will govern state government’s tax and spending policies for at least the next year. Joe Coletti offers an update of the budget process during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
The largest chunk of the state budget covers public education. Some lawmakers would like local school systems to have more flexibility in deciding how to spend those tax dollars. You’ll hear Rep. Rick Glazier’s ideas about a pilot project for school budget flexibility, along with reaction from Terry Stoops.
You’ll also hear highlights from the first forum tied to the State of Our Constitution series. Legal, historical, and political science experts discussed the N.C. constitution’s role in taxation during a session inside the historic Chowan County courthouse in Edenton.
Plus Donna Martinez and I will discuss some of the best recent entries from this forum during the latest edition of Locker Room Talk.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AM
This week's Carolina Journal Friday interview features a conversation about the future of conservatism with National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru.
Daren Bakst's guest Daily Journal pleads with the N.C. House to treat people like dirt. (You'll have to read the piece to understand.)
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