December 21, 2010
Re: NC won't have a 14th
Posted by Becki Gray at 4:49 PM
While North Carolina's population has grown 18% in the last decade, the state's budget has grown 63%. Maybe it's finally time to tie growth in government to growth in population. Had we done that 10 years ago, we would not be facing a $3.7 billion shortfall.
Re: N.C. won't have a 14th ...
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:41 PM
Had the new Census figures led to one more change in congressional district allocations, North Carolina would have picked up a 14th seat.
The Tar Heel State fell about 15,000 votes short of picking up another district.
HT: Dallas Woodhouse
Judge favors N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law in public-records dispute
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:34 PM
From the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law:
WAKE COUNTY JUDGE ORDERS STATE TO TURN OVER PUBLIC RECORDS, RULES FOR NCICL
RALEIGH, December 21, 2010- Today, the Wake County Superior Court under Presiding Judge Paul G. Gessner handed the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (NCICL) a victory in its case against the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, and Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall, in her official capacity (Defendants).
The case centered around NCICL’s request for public records and for information pertaining to an apparent lobbying law violation involving Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. (“Spirit Aero”).
"It’s a major win for open government and the accountability of lobbyist activities around the state,” said Robert F. Orr, NCICL’s executive director and senior counsel.
In a six page order, Judge Gessner concluded as a matter of law that “the records and information sought by Plaintiff to wit, an explanation of what action or inaction Defendants took in response to Plaintiff’s complaint of lobbying law violations, is not confidential records or confidential information so as to except that information from the Public Records Law or to permit Defendants to refuse Plaintiff full and complete access to that information.”
The Judge further concluded as a matter of law that the State’s interpretation that the records sought were confidential violates not only the public records laws but also Article I, §§ 14 and 18 of the North Carolina Constitution. The State has been ordered to provide the records NCICL requested including “a complete explanation of what procedural actions have taken place in regard to any lobbying law violation including fines levied or referrals to the District Attorney of Wake County.”
N.C. won't have a 14th congressional seat
Posted by David N. Bass at 11:40 AM
As expected, the Tar Heel State fell short of the necessary growth to pick up a 14th congressional seat — despite an 18 percent jump in population from 2000 to 2010.
South Carolina will pick up another congressional seat, for a total of seven districts.
Interestingly, Utah gained a 4th seat. After the 2000 census, North Carolina edged out the Beehive State for an additional seat. Looks like Utah has exacted its revenge.
Update: Here's a useful map of gained/lost congressional seats nationwide. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Washington State gained seats.
Lousiana, Missouri, Iowa, Illonois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey lost seats.
A Draconian Harassment Policy of Her Own
Posted by Jay Schalin at 11:24 AM
After I wrote a story about Duke’s party culture last week,
in which I identified the Duke Women’s Center as the source of lots of “selfish
hedonism” propaganda, I received an email from somebody who reminded me that
the Women’s Center has been involved in several other recent flaps. For one,
the Center initially
refused to include the school’s pro-life organization—Duke Students for
Life—at an event named, weirdly enough, the “Week for Life.” The Women’s Center
relented only after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education contacted them and helped the D.S.F.L launch a campaign to
publicize this blatantly political exclusion.
Additionally, my informant told me that the Women’s Center
is also behind Duke’s absurdly severe (and likely illegal) sexual harassment
policy, in which "perceived power differentials may create an
unintentional atmosphere of coercion." In other words, in the example
provided in this F.I.R.E.
report, a member of the men’s basketball team, whose championship athletic team
status renders him “powerful” on campus, can be considered guilty of
“non-consensual sex” if he dallies with a Dukette, even if she was the
aggressor. (F.I.R.E's still working on this one.)
When parents were parents
Posted by David N. Bass at 10:45 AM
Remember the days when parents, rather than the government, were responsible for packing lunch for their kids? I don’t, but that’s because I’m a member of Generation Y, and the only federal government I’ve known is the nanny state one. But I’ve heard tell that in days of yore, parents were parents.
That truth came to mind again when I read this article in The Washington Post, which discusses five myths surrounding federally subsidized nutrition programs in public schools. One of those myths, according to WaPo: “Most students who don’t participate in the National School Lunch Program eat a healthy lunch brought from home”:
Even if eligibility for free lunch is problematic, students can always brown-bag it, right? That's not what I've seen in school cafeterias across the country.
In the USDA's most recent comprehensive study of school food, 62 percent of students chose the school lunch and about 10 percent of the students brought lunch from home on the day being surveyed.
What happened to everyone else? Some did not eat lunch (4 percent of elementary students and 8 percent of high school students). Others bought food from a la carte options in the cafeteria, left the campus to purchase food, or bought from vending machines or school stores.
That means one-in-ten parents packed a lunch for their kids — and maybe less if the kids packed the lunch for themselves.
I’m not arguing this is conclusive evidence of parental neglect. But it does raise some ominous questions about the direction our culture is taking, particularly given the fact that advocacy groups are pushing for universal school lunch for all kids, regardless of family income. The state continues to replace mother and father as nurturer and breadwinner.
Ban Happy New Year as offensive
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 10:11 AM
In the spirit of banning the phrase "Merry Christmas" as being offensive to non-Christians, I think we should also ban happy new year. After all, there are many cultures that do not celebrate the new year on January 1. These include the Chinese, the Jews, many of the Orthodox Christian faith, the Balinese, the Iranians, the people of Andhra Pradesh, India, the people of Karnataka, and oh so many more. It is time that we Western cultural elitists stop being so damn insensitive.
York examines public reaction to ObamaCare
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:25 AM
Byron York's latest Washington Examiner article explores the public's response to federal health care reform:
If you look at a year-long graph of public attitudes toward the national health care law, you'll see that the last time a majority of Americans supported the Democratic plan was July 2009 -- before there actually was a Democratic plan. Once voters found out what was in Obamacare, they opposed it.
Opposition peaked in December 2009, when Democrats used their filibuster-proof majority to push the bill through the Senate on a straight party-line vote. Opposition remained high through March 2010, when House and Senate Democrats pulled out all the procedural stops to pass the final parts of the bill. After that, public opinion has remained remarkably steady: by a margin of 10 to 15 percentage points, Americans don't approve of Obamacare.
Why? One obvious answer is that it's a bad law. But that, of course, is unacceptable to Democrats who staked their careers on it. So they've come up with other explanations.
Appeals Court grants Oak Island a win in a long-running fight with property owners
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:02 AM
In the latest stage of an eight-year court battle between Oak Island and property owners affected by proposed changes at the dead end of Oak Island Drive, a unanimous three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has reversed a lower-court ruling and ruled in the town's favor. The appellate judges say the latest version of the dispute, linked to development plans the town unveiled in 2008, should be hashed out with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
In other opinions released this morning:
- A unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a lower-court ruling favoring Mecklenburg County in a dispute with the Simply Fashion store in Freedom Mall linked to the county's plans to convert the entire mall property into county offices.
- A unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a ruling in favor of Moore County government in a workers' compensation dispute with seven employees who claimed injuries in connection with their work in a county building that had once housed an electrical wiring assembly manufacturer.
- A unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a ruling against New Hanover Regional Medical Center in a workers' compensation dispute involving a nurse.
- A unanimous three-judge panel rejected the argument from a convicted murderer in Cleveland County that his conviction should be overturned because jurors learned that he had been handcuffed and shackled when he was initially arrested.
- A unanimous three-judge panel ruled that a lawsuit stemming from a go-kart accident at a Wake County amusement park that led to the amputation of a 9-year-old girl's toes must proceed in Wake County, not in Durham County where it was initially filed.
- A unanimous three-judge panel granted a new trial to a defendant in a Mecklenburg County drug case who objected to the prosecution relying on the arresting officer — rather than a chemical analyst — to identify substance taken from the defendant as cocaine.
How do you get to be one of Europe's strongest economies?
Posted by George Leef at 08:37 AM
Europe has lots of economic basket cases these days, thanks to governments that spend far too much and employ far too many people to do nothing productive. There are, however, some nations that are doing well and one of them is Sweden. "Aha!" statists will say, "that proves that socialism works." But as Alvaro Vargas Llosa points out in this Independent Institute piece the reason why the Swedish economy is faring well is because the nation has turned sharply away from the welfare state, central planning mode of the 1960s.
Speaking of change … or the lack thereof
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:08 AMThe following comment in TIME’s print edition (tied loosely to this story) from Mark Halperin struck me as odd:
[B]y ending the year with a bipartisan-compromise tax deal, Obama showed he is capable of delivering the kind of change that was supposed to be the hallmark of his Administration.
Why is this odd? The two most highly publicized pieces of the tax deal involve preserving the status quo: maintaining current income tax rates for all taxpayers and extending current unemployment benefits.
The kind of change voters wanted in 2008 was the kind that leads to no real change? Interesting.
So much for appeasing our enemies
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:05 AMWasn’t the election of President Obama supposed to help reduce the likelihood that terrorists would want to attack us?
Imagine my shock — shock! — to read Fareed Zakaria’s latest TIME column, which tells us that a May 2010 Homeland Security Department report documented that the “number and pace of attempted attacks against the United States over the past nine months have surpassed the number of attempts during any other previous one-year period.”
Bernanke: Learning history’s lessons?
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:04 AMWhile Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is attracting attention as TIME’s Person of the Year, the magazine also features an interview with last year’s honoree: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
At least one question takes Bernanke to task for his policies:
Would it be beneficial to the economy if I created new dollars out of thin air whenever I wanted? If it isn't good for me to do it, why is it good for you and the Fed to create new money at whim? —Jonathan DuPree, MARTINSBURG, W.VA. The Federal Reserve is buying Treasury securities in order to lower interest rates, which in turn helps people buy houses and cars and promotes investment by firms. That leads to a stronger economy. These policies are not leading to increases in the amount of currency in circulation.
Gee, artificially low interest rates. That has worked so well in the past to strengthen the economy.
Bernanke’s approach — and President Obama’s decision to support it — prompted Roy Cordato to dub this administration’s anti-recessionary policies “George W. Bush on steroids.”
About those 2,000-page bills
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AMIn helping to dedicate his school’s new constitutional studies center, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn decried the modern growth of government. A recent issue of Imprimis recounts the following passage from Arnn’s address:
As the government has grown, it has become a powerful interest in the everyday affairs of the nation. Increasingly, bureaucracy is a factor in every operation our citizens undertake. In the management of our businesses, in the accomplishment of our jobs, in the rearing of our children, and in the very caring for our own bodies, there now are rules too numerous to count. Ominously, these rules now seek even to intrude into the electoral processes by which our free people choose their representatives.
These rules originate in laws passed by Congress that are much too long for anyone to read. After these laws are passed, they are enhanced, expanded, interpreted, and complicated by regulatory agencies. We forget therefore the words of the Father of the Constitution, James Madison:
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
All these developments, so long entrenched in our politics, are presented by their proponents as a natural extension of the original principles and the original institutions of the nation. Doubtless those who argue this also believe it, but it cannot possibly be true.
Arnn described the influence of government growth in American higher education during a 2007 presentation in Raleigh to the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society.
Click play below to watch Arnn’s entire presentation.
New Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AM
Kristy Bailey's new Carolina Journal Online exclusive focuses on accusations that UNC Health Care is using taxpayer dollars to help win its competition for business with WakeMed.
John Hood's Daily Journal outlines key elements of electoral redistricting reform.
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