August 16, 2006
Spot the Bad News — we're not living in a "starving world" any more
Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:46 PMWNCT News reports: "Speaking at a conference in Australia's Queensland state, [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor of nutrition Barry] Popkin states that the transition from a starving world to an obese one has occurred with dramatic speed.'"
When people stop starving to death, that is, incredibly, treated as bad news by Prof. Popkin.
Another anniversary Sept. 11
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 9:42 PM
A number of other Lockeans and Locker Room readers already have read David McCullough's 1776 (Simon & Schuster, 2005), so this entry might ring a few bells.
As we mark the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, few of us are likely to think about another interesting anniversary.
September 11 will mark the 230th anniversary of a meeting involving Ben Franklin, John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and the British Admiral Richard Howe (Lord Howe). The Continental Congress in Philadelphia sent the three-man delegation to discuss Howe's peace overtures. Little more than two months after the treasonous Declaration of Independence, Washington had been humiliated in the battle of Brooklyn and America's fate was far from certain.
The Staten Island meeting lasted several hours, during which Lord Howe did most of the talking. "It is desirable to put a stop to these ruinous extremities, as well for the sake of our country as yours," said the resplendently uniformed admiral. Was there no way of "treading back this step of independency?" There was not, he was told, and the meeting came to nothing, as expected.
I've seen no evidence of any great oratory emanating from this meeting, so its significance probably warrants the solitary paragraph listed above. But we ought to be proud that the Founders turned down this expedient opportunity to repent and rejoin the British empire.
On a much lighter note, I found some humor among McCullough's weighty discussion. Because of the style of print used for Thomas Paine's The American Crisis, his immortal opening line seems to say: "These are the times that try men's fouls."
Re: hypocritical fun
Posted by Jon Sanders at 5:36 PM
Daren, on the flip side of the issue, remember Emerson’s dictum that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Not that hypocrisy is good, but obsessively avoiding hypocrisy isn't. One can take ideological consistency to the point of foolishness. Imagine a libertarian deciding to walk to work, avoiding the public roads, and seeking to compensate every property owner whose land he crossed along the way.
Re: Hypocritical fun
Posted by Daren Bakst at 4:54 PM
Here is an article that criticizes a book on liberal hypocrisy and an interview with the author that wrote this article and a book that defends hypocrisy.
I'm interested in everyone's thoughts. Is hypocrisy a good thing?
HT: Joel Schwartz
Hypocritical Fun (Al Gore, his own Inconvenient Truth)
Posted by Chad Adams at 4:45 PM
From UnionLeader.com Aug. 13
To Gore’s way of thinking, manmade carbon emissions are contributing mightily to global warming and Americans must take the lead in ending those emissions, even if it means paying an astronomical price and falling further behind in global competition.
So what is American Al Gore himself doing in this do-or-die effort? Apparently not much. In a column in USA Today last Thursday, a scholar reveals that the former (and future?) Presidential candidate is a rank hypocrite when it comes to saving the planet.
Gore and his wife reside in two huge homes. One is a 20-room, eight-bathroom mansion in Tennessee. The “smaller” one is a 4,000 square-footer in Arlington, Va. And they own a third.
It costs energy to run these hovels, but even though utility companies in both areas offer “green” alternative electricity programs for a few cents more per kilowatt hour, Gore hasn’t signed up for one.
Author Peter Schweizer writes that Gore’s office confirmed this last week, but said the Gores are now looking into switching utility offerings. Just now? How convenient.
Perhaps Gore was too busy cashing his oil company dividends to make the switch to all things green? That’s right. Gore’s family owns a great deal of stock in Occidental Petroleum, one of those big, bad oil companies that has been accused of drilling in sensitive areas.
Re: hypocritical fun
Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:18 PM
Joe, it's clear from your post that the age of the Limousine Liberal is passing, but the time of the SUV Statist is upon us.
Welfare Reform: 10 years and counting
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 4:02 PM
Federal welfare reform is 10 years old. One of my associates at The Heritage Foundation, Robert Rector, is perhaps the single most important person behind this reform. (We co-edited "Steering the Elephant: How Washington Works." He is also one of the smartest guys in DC.)
Starting in the early 1990s, his research provided the intellectual groundwork for this major public policy reform. His research was so persuasive that even Bill Clinton was won over and signed the bill to the horror of many of his liberal supporters. (Popular voter support was probably on Clinton's mind also.) Here is Robert's recent House testimony documenting the success of the reforms. I urge you to read it or at least review the graphs, they tell a dramatic story. The 1960s War on Poverty created a crisis for the poor and black communities and welfare reform has begun to reverse the trends.
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:57 PM
Barack Obama provides the latest example of left-leaning double standards. He's a piker compared to Al Gore, and is about par for the Senate but Drudge has the story about Obama's "better you than me" approach to environmentalism:
He [Obama] says part of the blame for the world's higher
temperatures rests on gas guzzling vehicles. Obama says consumers can
make the difference by switching to higher mileage hybrids.
the Senator said, "It would save more energy, do more for the
environment and create better world security than all the drilling we
could do in Alaska."
"After the meeting... Obama left in a GMC Envoy after admitting to favoring SUV's himself," claimed local News Channel 6.
Sexual predators targeted
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:05 PM
Gov. Mike Easley has signed into law new restrictions targeting sexual predators.
Those who attended today's Civitas Institute luncheon heard criticism that the new law omitted a key provision.
Civitas President Jack Hawke says his latest poll shows 75 percent of N.C. voters support 25-year mandatory minimum sentences for first-time convicted sexual predators.
The new law does not include that provision.
WARNING: Don't drink and Fly!
Posted by Michael Moore at 2:45 PM
A man was arrested at the Charlotte airport for being on the runway drunk, my first thought was "only in Mecklenburg County."
Re: Back to the garden
Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:40 AMYes, Jon H., but ...
you were watching the "Woodstock" flick on VH-1 Classic!
Back to the garden
Posted by Jon Ham at 12:35 AM
just watched the movie "Woodstock" on VH-1 Classic, and let me say that there are
some pretty embarrassed 60 year olds out there in America tonight — or
there ought to be anyway.
p.s. Noticed Martin Scorsese was an assistant director on this. Never knew that.
Good Ol' Ned
Posted by Jon Ham at 11:43 AM
I just read Ned Lamont's recent stump speech on the WSJ Opinion Journal. I found it interesting that Ned used his experiences as an entrepreneur to help him form his campaign. Because his campaign was an apparent success (we're still waiting for November), Ned thinks these very ideas will help him as a Senator.
I'm a little confused as to why Ned thinks his experience as an entrepreneur will help him appeal to voters across his state and that it will help him be a good U.S. Senator.
"In 1984," says Neddie, "with a loan from People's Bank [not affiliated with China], I started Campus TeleVideo from scratch. Our offer was unique: Rather than provide a one-size-fits-all menu of channels, we let the customers design their cable system based on the character of the community being served."
I think Ned's choice of business is great. He identified a group of individuals that desired a service, and then he provided that service. This is very similar to his victory in the primaries. A certain group of rather unique individuals petitions Ned to provide a service. He does so with great success. But, when the market is expanded (in this case, to include Independents and Republicans) the number of people willing to pay for the service Ned offers, will decrease considerably. What's ironic is that the very service that Ned provided as an entrepreneur that brought him success in business (to provide options beyond the "one-size-fits-all menu") is exactly the thinking that he ignores when he portends that he'll be Conn. next US Senator.
Ned also makes another crucial error in his overly ambitious proclamation that he'll win in November. He cites his past experiences of "be[ing] in every part of the business" as reasons for his business succes and why he is suited to be a Senator. Ned fails to tell us how "pulling cable, hiring workers, picking a good health-care plan, closing deals, listening to customers and fixing problems" exactly equates with being a successful U.S. Senator.
But, to give him the benefit of the doubt, I can understand how to some extent hiring workers, finding a health-care plan, and listening to customers might help. However, how do these experiences compare with Lieberman's, a three-term incumbent? Don't you think Joe's got a leg-up?
Further, don't you think it's a bit disingenuous for Ned to knock the importance of experience (we can't put our trust "in a career politician") right before he touts his own?
Come on Ned, who you tryin' to fool?
Minimum wage facts
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:55 AM
As we prepare for a $6.15 minimum wage in North Carolina, here's some food for thought.
Big dog shoots the moon
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 09:53 AM
Just when we thought defending the old solar system was big and expensive enough, scientists have defined three additional objects out there as planets. The Plutonians (a dog-loving people) will be glad to know that they are pretty much officially recognized as occupying a sovereign planet now, and not just some super-cold chunk of rock on the fringe of the solar system. But troubles may still be ahead. Charon, formerly a satellite colony and mere dump station for Pluto, can legitimately claim it is no longer just a doggy service department, declare political independence, and get on with the process of diversifying industry. Analysts are observing the long-range implications with interest.
Spot the Real Medicaid Reform
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:51 AM
Compare what "Honest" Ernie Fletcher is doing with Medicaid in Kentucky with "Rocket" Bill Richardson's plans in New Mexico. The New Mexico plan, like many recommendations of North Carolina's Blue Ribbon Commission (PDF),
would spend more state money to get more federal matching money. This
is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to excess use of medical
care by the overinsured. Paul Gessing writes in National Review:
According to the governor’s office, this plan — if enacted in its
entirety in the upcoming legislative session — would cost the state $77
million a year. But as statehouse speaker and Richardson ally Ben Luján
told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The plan is affordable to New Mexicans, because it leverages $250 million in additional federal Medicaid funds.”
Just a note to Ben, you really don't get the car and $2,000 when the commercial says $2,000 cash back.
Exclusionary rule silliness
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:43 AM
William Tucker offers in this article a good history of the "exclusionary rule" and its excesses.
Look for the minor role big-haired boxing promoter Don King played in this process.
Bless His Heart: Elizabeth City man can no longer Drive his cart...
Posted by Michael Moore at 09:34 AM
This article today out of Elizabeth City, NC only shows that regulation is everywhere....
Re: UNC-Rocky Mount
Posted by George Leef at 09:14 AM
The most annoying thing about this idea -- even more than the squandering of taxpayer money to enrich the consultants who get to do the evaluation on the feasibility of turning NC Wesleyan into part of UNC -- is the economic development rationale. Just as we keep hearing that building a new sports stadium will be a big economic boost for a city, we are told that dumping lots of taxpayer money into the creation of another low-level state university will pull up the economy of eastern North Carolina by the bootstraps.
Nonsense. A few people in Rocky Mount will profit nicely if this academic marriage goes through, but the notion that it would be a tonic for eastern North Carolina is fanciful. Drive just a few miles from Greenville, the site of the huge East Carolina campus, and you find poor people living in poor towns. If ECU hasn't cured poverty in the region, why think that a much smaller UNC-Rocky Mount would?
Note also that this project is evidently driven by its supposed economic benefits with hardly any thought given to the educational merits or demerits. Is there any educational need for an expansion of college capacity in the area? If so, why wouldn't NC Wesleyan and ECU take advantage of it and expand?
The Global Transpark was expected to be a great boost for eastern NC, but it's a flop. There have been plenty of other government projects that were supposed to revitalize areas and have flopped. Here's the root of the problem -- when people get to play around with taxpayer money, they don't bear the cost of being wrong. Big dreams just sail through without hard scrutiny when the taxpayers will eat the loss. That's why we should keep politics out of education, transportation, and just about everything else.
Government wants people to be dependent not independent
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:10 AM
Once again city government responds to "established" business interests by enforcing regulations that run entrepreneurs out of business. N&O reports that "Taco trucks get the runaround."
There was once a time when immigrants could buy a cart on a shoestring and sell anything on the streets. Many of our relatives got their start up the economic ladder in just this way. Now local government puts them out of business and "assists" them by helping them go on welfare.
My preference is to see Fayetteville Street look like this photo of a NYC street. People engaging in market transactions that benefit both parties.
UNC-Rocky Mount: The Debate Continues
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 09:07 AM
The News and Observer today
chronicles, once again, the debate going on in Rocky Mount in regards
to bringing North Carolina Wesleyan into the UNC system. Just a small
refresher - Rocky Mount business leaders and politicians believe
changing the status of the small private college into a public
university, to be known as UNC-Rocky Mount, would help the area's
economy. A budget provision of $50,000 was included into the budget to
pay for the study.
A few observations from the article and debate:
- The article says that the budget appropriation may not be enough.
However, one consultant told UNC leaders that for about $25,000 more
they could get a survey that would basically tell them what they wanted
to hear if they had their mind already made up on the issue. UNC
President Erskine Bowles said the system would be open in the study and
there is no reason to believe that they would not, but this could be
something to keep in mind when the study is completed.
- How many times do we have to hear the phrase "Third World" in
reference to eastern North Carolina? In the article Tom Betts, a
retired Rocky Mount businessman uses the line that others used during
the legislative session, when he said,"Unfortunately, there are parts of Eastern North Carolina that are almost like a Third World country."
Really? Something tells me there are people who live in countries like
Ghana where health care is nearly 50 years behind modern technology
would love to live in eastern North Carolina. It's an absurd comparison
Re: Snakes on a Plane
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 08:51 AM
Don't forget Snakes on a Plane: The Phone Call.
Cinema History on August 18, 2006?
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:12 AM
On Friday, Snakes on a Plane, starring Samuel L. Jackson, will be unleashed.
It is difficult to describe the internet phenomenon surrounding Snakes on a Plane, but I find the Snakes on a Blog website a good introduction to SOAP.
For further information, see SOAP on Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary, Salon.com, NPR, and The Hollywood Reporter. Buy a SOAP t-shirt here.
Smithsonian and NPR Do Revisionist History
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:42 AM
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum "looks at life around the schoolhouse in the 19th century." NPR and Museum Director Betsy Broun have some very spurious ideas about American education in the 19th century.
1. NPR says, "The whole idea of universal, free education was an invention of the 1820s and 30s. Before then, children were taught at home or in church."
Universal, free education as an invention of the 1820s and 1830s? No way. And NPR does not mention that, before the 1820s and 1830s, children were also taught in private schools and academies, proprietary schools, mechanics institutes, old field schools, military academies, and colleges.
2. Broun says, "Suddenly it occurred to people that, 'Gosh, if we're going to continue a democracy we're going to have to educate a population.'"
Suddenly? These debates were going on throughout the 18th century in England and in America. One does not need to look further than the dissenting academies in England and their various offspring in America to witness a vibrant debate about the role of education in preserving liberty.
3. NPR argues, "After the Civil War, there was much discussion about educating former slaves and their children. Education was seen then -- as now -- as a path to success."
Wow, there is a lot more to it than that. I will defer to Troy Kickler, who is the director of the North Carolina History Project and an expert in Reconstruction social history.
Re: SAT v. ACT
Posted by Hal Young at 01:00 AM
That's because at the time you and I took it, Mitch, the SAT ("Scholastic Aptitude Test") was meant to be a predictor of collegiate propects, while the ACT was and is actually an achievement test. In fact, the Division of Nonpublic Education does not consider the SAT an acceptable means for satisfying the state's requirement for a "nationally standardized test ... [to] measure achievement" in religious, private, or home schools ... but the ACT is okay.
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