July 13, 2009
Government records law is a little more open - for now
Posted by Becki Gray at 8:15 PM
The third reading vote on the Open Government Act, House Bill 1134 passes the House tonight with no additional debate. The vote is 107 - 5 with Reps. Leo Daughtry, R Johnston, Phil Haire, D Jackson, Annie Mobley, D Hertford, Russell Tucker, D Duplin, and Frank Iler, R Brunswick voting no.
Rep Bill Owens, D Pasquotank, said last week he hopes to "fix" the bill when it moves over to the Senate. Previously suggested "fixes" include allowing government agencies to recover legal fees and including attorneys representing local government opinions in those that could be relied upon when determining if records were indeed public and have to be released. Rumor has it that attempts to add the School of Government's opinion to the list as well will be proposed when the bill moves over to the Senate.
Open government still has a long way to go. And yes, they should pay.
new State Board of Ed members confirmed
Posted by Becki Gray at 8:00 PM
The House and Senate meet in a joint session tonight to consider House Joint Resolution 364 that confirms the governor’s appointments of three new members to the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is made of eight members from districts across the state, three at large members, the Lt. Gov and State Treasurer. With little debate and mostly ceremonial, Reggie Kenan from the 2nd district, Wayne McDermitt from the 8th and Patricia Willoughby at large are confirmed by the House and Senate as new members of the State Board of Education for terms ending in 2017 - when today's fourth graders will graduate from high school - just how many will depend largely on what kind of job these folks do in the next eight years.
You might be a progressive if...
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 6:49 PM
....when faced with an industry that is 99 percent controlled by government, you will always blame any problems that arise on the 1 percent that isn't.
Sirico on Benedict XVI
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:05 PM
Listening to the mainstream media's reporting of Pope Benedict XVI's latest encyclical you would think that the Pope was several degrees to the left of Karl Marx on so called "social justice" issues. For a very different take read Father Robert Sirico's commentary in The Wall St. Journal. Referring to Caritas in Veritate Father Sirico concludes:
Much of it stands squarely with a long tradition of writings of a
certain "classical liberal" tradition, one centered on the moral
foundation of economics, from St. Thomas Aquinas and his disciples,
Frederic Bastiat in the 19th century, Wilhelm Roepke, and even the
secular F.A. Hayek in the 20th century. It also clearly resonates with
some European Christian democratic thought.
Father Sirico's Acton Institute has devoted an entire page on its web site to thoughtful commentary on the Pope's latest teachings.
CRS on Sotomayor
Posted by Daren Bakst at 3:20 PM
As the Sotomayor hearings begin, this report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) may be of interest. It may not be objective though, at least according to some people.
Ed Whelan at the National Review Online has criticized CRS and its report. Wendy Long (at NRO) also has criticized the report arguing that the report:
"is anything but 'objective and non-partisan.' It reads like the anonymous memo put out on Capitol Hill by the White House Counsel's office labeling Sotomayor a 'nonideological and restrained jurist.' (Hmm . . . maybe that's the source of the CRS research.)"
"CRS is one-upping the White House doubletalk about Judge Sotomayor that is intended to obscure the liberal judicial activist, and frankly, the sub-par judge that she really is."
Obama says stimulus worked as intended
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:10 PM
Obama is claiming that his stimulus plan is working just as he intended it to. That's interesting, he must have been lying about his intentions back in January when he proposed it. According to the blog political math here's what the Prez was predicting--i.e. saying his intentions were back then, compared to reality.
|Unemployment Rate|| |
|Predicted Unemployment without the Stimulus||8.7%|
|Predicted Unemployment with the Stimulus||7.9%|
|Actual Unemployment with the Stimulus||9.4%|
Make sure you check out the full post here. There is a great video to go along with it.
Walk right in, sit right down
Posted by Becki Gray at 1:45 PM
Winston Salem officials are apparently entering private homes to “make sure things improve” on properties reported to be an eyesore. And to get things moving, neighbors are encouraged to report problem properties to the city’s Neighborhood Services department:
Neighborhood Services conserves and improves the city's existing housing stock, promotes the stabilization and revitalization of deteriorating and disadvantaged neighborhoods, and provides assistance in the planning and implementation of improvements a neighborhood may wish to undertake.
To summarize, D. Ritchie Brooks, Winston Salem’s Neighborhood Services has this to say, “"We're building up or tearing down in everything we do. We welcome you to help in building a better community."
Operation Impact is a division of Neighborhood Services where neighbors report neighbors and a team then “visits” the home that has been reported. When some homeowners have complained about city officials showing up and demanding entry to inspect their homes, police officers are then “invited” to come along. A recent WXII 12 report relays a Winston Salem city official explanation; “…we have had problems in the past with some owners refusing entry.” Imagine that.
This is in light of House Bill 866, as reported earlier, that was signed into law on July 2, authorizing cities to condemn and demolish private homes they deem unsafe. It should also shed additional light on other property right issues currently before the General Assembly. Eminent domain concerns are not receiving the attention needed to keep government from seizing private property. Legislation claiming to reform forced annexation laws does not protect homeowners from the strong arm of the League of Municipalities.
And now that Winston Salem officials are apparently free to walk right into private homes in that city, surrounding area citizens have another reason to hope they aren’t annexed into the city limits.
The Iranian election's impact
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:30 PM
The recent furor over the Iranian election has exposed major problems within the structure of the Islamic regime.
That's the assessment of U.S. Army First Sgt. HansMarc Hurd, featured speaker during today's John Locke Foundation Shaftesbury Society meeting.
Click play below for one highlight from Hurd's presentation.
2:10 p.m. update: Watch the full 50:25 recording by clicking the play button below.
You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.
Oath of office for Supreme Court Justices
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:25 AM
The Heritage Foundation's "Morning Bell" daily email here compares Judge Sotomayor's record to the oath of office that she will take if confirmed. Heritage concludes:
Before she is confirmed to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,
Senators must engage in questions like the ones above to assure that
she will be able to uphold her oath to impartially decide cases and
that she will do so according to what the law says–rather than how she
would seek to change the law. The American people, and the
Constitution, deserve at least this much.
Tea parties -- the original and the present ones
Posted by George Leef at 11:00 AM
Novelist Ed Cline writes here about the original tea party and those of the present.
The patriots did not want to be subservient to the King and his minions. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a statement to that effect. "We're entitled to live our own lives and will not be pawns of autocratic rulers!" was the message of the original tea party.
Americans are already far more subservient to the state and less in control of their lives than the Americans of 1773 were and rebellion against the omnipotent state is thoroughly justified and long overdue.
Jim Black moved closer to home
Posted by David N. Bass at 10:16 AM
Former House Speaker Jim Black has reportedly been moved to a prison closer to home -- in Georgia.
From the AP:
Former North Carolina House Speaker Jim Black is being moved from a prison in Pennsylvania to one in Georgia.
The Charlotte Observer said Saturday that more than 150 of Black's friends had written prison officials asking for leniency because of the failing health of the 74-year-old Black and his wife.
Former Mecklenburg commissioner Parks Helms said Black was being transferred to a prison in Jessup, Ga., about 300 miles south of Charlotte. Black had been serving his 63-month sentence in Lewisburg, Pa., after his conviction for accepting illegal payments as speaker.
The Silence of the Fleeced
Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:35 AMJoe writes,
Adding back the federal money, the compromise budget calls for between $20.2 and $20.6 billion in spending this fiscal year. Compare that to the $20.3 billion actually spent in the just-ended fiscal year.
If this is eating beans, they're organic beans cooked with pancetta, served with a nice risotto, and a bottle of San Pellegrino.
If that is eating beans, then maybe this is how Gov. Perdue et al. plan to eat out our substance:
It’s time to read Donna’s column again
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:45 AMTIME asks this week:
Can Community Colleges Save the U.S. Economy?
If that article piques your interest, you might enjoy Donna Martinez’s latest guest Daily Journal.
Oh, no! Shrinking sheep!
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:43 AMTIME’s resident global warming alarmist, Bryan Walsh, warns (in a print-version story similar to this one) that — horror of horrors! — global warming is improving the survival rate of small wild sheep in Scotland.
I found most interesting the following quote from Christina Holzapfel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oregon:
As the environment changes, individuals that can’t change are lopped off. … What’s left is a different kind of population that can evolve and move forward.
Since Bryan Walsh can't seen to change his global warming alarmist line, does this mean he’s in danger of being “lopped off”?
National Review columnist on John Edwards
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:41 AMRob Long’s dissection in the latest National Review of the Mark Sanford train wreck includes this description of our former senator:
[S]mug, cowardly John Edwards, who cheated on his ill wife, allegedly fathered a child out of wedlock, forced an underling to take the rap, and then simpered and caviled his way through a bunch of weasel-worded interviews, flipping his hair and grinning like Damien in Omen II.
I’d offer one caveat: Edwards looks more like Damien in Omen III.
What Texas can teach us
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:40 AMAs our lawmakers consider a plan to boost taxes by roughly a billion bucks, perhaps they would appreciate Kevin D. Williamson’s assessment in the latest print version of National Review of the characteristics that have helped Texas thrive:
Texans are building Bell helicopters and Lockheed Martin airplanes, Dell computers and TI semiconductors. Always keeping an eye on California, Texans have started bottling wine and making movies. And there’s still an automobile industry in America, but it’s not headquartered in Detroit: A couple thousand Texans are employed building Toyotas, and none of them is a UAW member.
There are those who would look at this and say, “Not bad for a state with no income tax and a part-time legislature that meets only every two years.” And there are those who would say, “You could only accomplish this in a state with no income tax and a part-time legislature that meets only every two years.” Texas’s formula for success is classical conservatism: Low spending enables low taxes, while a liberal regulatory environment attracts the capital that makes capitalism work. Texas has a state government that is structurally incapable of the grand political ambitions that characterize states such as California and New York, which leaves the private sector with a relatively open theater of operation. With conservatives at the national level looking to the states for models of what works, Texas can provide a blueprint for a prudent and bipartisan conservatism that is neither hostage to ideological excess nor relegated to merely tring to put Leviathan on a leash.
Why government-run health care should never happen
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:39 AMMark Steyn explains it well in the latest National Review:
Americans have convinced themselves that they — or, at any rate, their uninsured neighbors — urgently need the magic Euro-cure-all. If they get it, it will improve their health not a wit.
But it will make a lot of other things worse. Government-directed health care is a profound assault on the concept of citizenship. It deforms national politics very quickly, and ensures that henceforth elections will always be fought on the Left’s terms. I find it hard to believe President Obama and his chums haven’t looked at Canada and Europe and concluded that health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. He doesn’t say that, of course. He says his objective is to “control costs.” Which is the one thing that won’t happen. Even now, health-care costs rise faster under Medicare than in the private sector.
By the way, to accept that argument is to concede a lot of the turf: Why is the cost of my health care Barack Obama’s business? When he mused recently about whether his dying grandmother had really needed her hip replacement, he gave the game away: Right now, if Gran’ma decides she doesn’t need the hip, that’s her business. Under a government system, it’s the state’s business — and they have to “allocate” “resources,” and frankly at your age your body’s not worth allocating to. Why give you a new hip when you’re getting up there and you’re gonna be kicking the bucket in a year or two or five or twenty?
Sally Pipes discussed this problem in the clip below.
Why government-run health care might never happen
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:37 AMGeoff Colvin’s latest column for Fortune explains that facts might stand in the way of the Obama administration’s goal of winning support for “universal” health care:
The latest polling looks great for President Obama: It shows that Americans love national health care. If history and polling trends are any guide, however, that will change. Voters right now are in what the famous pollster Daniel Yankelovich called the Wishful Thinking stage -- a moment in the life of an opinion analogous to the dreamy early days of a relationship. Yankelovich believed opinion evolved through seven stages: Dawning Awareness, Greater Urgency, Reaching for Solutions, Wishful Thinking, Weighing the Choices, Taking a Stand, and Making a Responsible Judgment. In the next few weeks, when voters discover what national health care will cost and how it would affect their own care, romance will give way to reality.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:35 AM
This week's first Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sam Hieb's report about a landfill controversy in Greensboro.
John Hood's Daily Journal offers an ancient Greek history lesson. Trust me, it's interesting.
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