February 27, 2009
Posted by Daren Bakst at 7:34 PM
Jeff, I Don't See a Gun to Your Head
Posted by Daren Bakst at 6:55 PM
In defending the proposed smoking ban that would ban smoking in public places and workplaces, Republican House member Rep. Jeff Barnhart, R-Cabarrus offered this brilliant little nugget:
"Property rights are important, but your health rights are more important," Barnhart said.
First, what health rights? Jeff, this is a helpful guide to rights.
Jeff, here's the thing: You don't have to expose yourself to second-hand smoke. You have what I like to call a "choice." So your "health rights" already are protected--by you!
The ban isn't a conflict between property rights and health rights--it
is a conflict between the "right" for people like you to be free of
you go and freedom, property rights, and other individual rights.
I'm sure you're a great guy, but I'm going to have to say that freedom
and individual rights are more important than your desire to impose
your wishes on everyone else against their will. Even private clubs aren't protected in this bill.
Personally, I'd like the right to be free of watching big government
state politicians blather on every channel of my television, but I
understand that some networks want to provide blathering state
politicians to their audiences. Amazingly, through not turning on
the television or switching to the correct stations, I can protect
myself from this harm.
Also, could you explain to me how the following has anything to do with protecting people from smoke:
- Prohibiting lodging establishments from having more than 20 percent of their rooms as smoking rooms.
Are you going to die of the smell of smoke?
- Allowing local governments to ban smoking in unenclosed areas such as parks.
- Prohibiting an employer with one employee (who happens to smoke) or
multiple employees (who all smoke) from allowing anyone to smoke.
Is it more dangerous to smoke where you work than in other locations?
- Prohibiting smoking clubs/cigar bars where people go to smoke.
Jeff, it isn't just about health is it? You hate smoke and never
want to have to deal with it (be it in the air or in the smells of the
walls). Jeff, I hate smoke too. The difference is (and
maybe this is due to my Montessori
preschool education), I avoid being exposed to second-hand smoke.
I choose non-smoking rooms at hotels--it is real easy to do, just say
"Yes" when the front desk clerk asks you if you'd like a non-smoking
room. Remember, because I do want to help, say "Yes" not
"No." "No" is bad if you don't like the smell of smoke.
Jeff, if there's an invisible gun to your head that fires when you
don't expose yourself to second-hand smoke, then please disregard this
Disturbing rhetoric from the Commander in Chief
Posted by George Leef at 2:11 PM
Throughout the campaign, I kept seeing glimpses of Obama's authoritarian personality. Not surprising -- people who want to expand the role of the state can't really have much of a "live and let live" side.
Still, I'm surprised at how boldly he now announces his view that individual liberty must be subordinated to the overriding good of society. Consider these sentences from his Feb. 25 speech: "I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whateer the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on your country -- and this country needs and values the talents of every American."
It's not just the erroneous notion that more seat time in classrooms is necessarily good for everyone that bothers me. Think about that big, ugly assertion about the relationship between individuals and the state--that unless you remain in school as long as the president thinks you should to become as productive as he thinks you should be, you are "quitting on your country." It "needs" your talents. The Founders envisioned a very limited government that existed only to protect the rights of the people. Our 44th president sees things differently. The people are expected to do the right things to fulfill the plans envisioned by those of superior wisdom who run the government.
The old toilet paper, global warming connection back again
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 2:03 PM
Yes, first it was Sheryl Crow telling us to use only one square. Now it's the far left Natural Resource Defense Council telling us that we have to toughen it up and stop using those darned extra soft two ply sheets. They claim that our buts are doing more damage with these little squares of softness than driving a hummer. Of course, neither one is doing much damage and both are doing a lot of good. (God bless Hummers and soft bathroom tissue.) Here's what NRDC is saying:
"This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council.
generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of
the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution."
Well if the NRDC wants us to stop squeezing the Charmin for the sake of future generations, my question is, what have future generations ever done for us?
Atlas Shrugged sales stimulated
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:39 PM
As things have gotten worse, sales of Atlas Shrugged on Amazon.com have climbed, reports the Economist.
Posted by George Leef at 11:42 AM
In this column Sheldon Richman takes a look at Obama's optimistic talk about the economy.
There is no reason to be optimistic. As Sheldon points out, we've just made a gigantic economic mistake thanks to government policies that brought on the housing bubble and now we're stuck with a president and majority party intent on replicating most of the socialistic agenda of the British Labour Party (redistribution of wealth, national health care, more union power, increasing government control over business and industry). We know how that turned out and how it must always turn out. Politicizing the economy squelches initiative and diverts resources away from production and into politics. That's why, by the mid-70s, people were calling Britain the Sick Man of Europe. Capital was fleeing and interest groups wrangled over the division of a shrinking national output.
Thinking that the same results do not await us is foolish. It's like thinking that next time, water might go uphill.
I haven't done this, but I'd bet that if you looked at Labour Party rhetoric back then, it would have also sounded optimistic.
I have to wonder if the optimism is just a facade. What if Obama had stood up and said, "Look people, my intention is to create a welfare state dedicated to social justice and environmentalism. That is going to mean falling national output, but I regard that as a small price to pay for the construction of a better America. You'll have less freedom and less money, but you should be happy about that because I'm setting our priorities straight." I believe that's what our arrogant, authoritarian president actually thinks, but of course he can't say that. Not in public at least. So he puts on the smiley face about economic expansion. It buys time for his transformation to get locked in. There might be a political rebellion if enough people realized what his agenda really entails.
More on Wake vs. CMS
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:35 AM
Charlotte Observer columnist Fannie Flono weighs in on a Queen's University of Charlotte research study that shows that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) does just as well as Wake County Schools (WCPSS), despite the fact that CMS does not engage in Wake County style social engineering.
I found this comment to be a curious one:
But there's something Wake parents should understand. CMS's plan has created increasing numbers of high-poverty, low-performing schools. It's struggling mightily to overcome that trend, and it's costing a lot of money. The obvious question is: how much money? Fannie does not say. Does she even know?
According to DPI figures, CMS does spend slightly more money per student than WCPSS, around $328 per student (child nutrition excluded). But CMS receives more state ($54 per student) and federal ($130 per student) funds because it has more low income children. CMS spends an additional $144 per student in local funds, which is where funds for teacher recruitment and retention, as well as a vast number of other functions, come from.
It is possible that a significant portion of the additional $144 per student goes to high-poverty, low-performing schools. A good editorial would have informed the reader of this additional, per student expense.
Update: I forgot to mention that Wake County ($6,115 for 9,671 teachers) has an average teacher salary supplement that is higher than CMS ($5,697 for 9,761 teachers). Local dollars fund salary supplements. The supplements add local dollars to teacher salaries, most of which are funded with state dollars.
The Giant Flushing Sound
Posted by David N. Bass at 09:29 AM
I contribute a column to today's American Spectator online that discusses Australia's proposed toilet tax and a toilet rebate program in Cary, North Carolina.
Edward J. Rozek, RIP
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:22 AM
My mentor at the University of Colorado just passed away. I first met Ed when I entered the PhD grad program in political science fresh out of the army in 1973. As his obituary records here, he was a remarkable person and teacher. He will be missed.
Born in Poland in 1918, Mr. Rozek fled his homeland after Adolf
Hitler's army swept through Europe. He escaped via Hungary, Yugoslavia
and Italy to France, where he joined the First Polish Armored Brigade,
which took part in the defense of Paris.
As a young soldier, Mr. Rozek was captured by the Nazis, who held him and other POWs in a slave-labor camp.
"Rats used to run over him at night," Elizabeth Rozek [his wife] said. "He used
to say that he didn't like the accommodations, so he escaped."
Along with another prisoner, Mr. Rozek made his way to Budapest,
Hungary. After narrowly escaping from a German SS officer and
falsifying papers, he made his way to England. There, he became the
commander of a reconnaissance platoon in the First Polish Armored
He fought from Normandy to northern Germany and was wounded three times, his wife said.
In 1949, Mr. Rozek left for America with $50 in his pocket and a suitcase filled with books.
"He decided that the only way to stop war . . . and to break this cycle is to teach," his wife said.
Working his way on a dairy farm and at a gas station, Mr. Rozek
attended Harvard University, where he earned his doctorate in
philosophy. In 1956, he became a professor of comparative governments
at the University of Colorado.
In 2003, then-U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., read a tribute to Mr. Rozek into the Congressional Record.
"As the famous philosopher Sidney Hook said of Dr. Rozek in the dedication to his book Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy,
Ed is truly an 'embattled fighter for free men, free society and a free
university against fascism, communism and totalitarian liberalism,' "
the entry states. "May God bless Dr. Edward Rozek and his epic legacy
of service to free people everywhere."
Stimulus money and the meaning of shovel-ready
Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:12 AMGoodness, Joe, your news sounds as if that money might be Keynes-wasted.
I thought ev'thing was s'posed to be "shovel-ready" — perhaps that term really meant they had the shovel at hand ready to knock each other upside the head till they thought of how to spend all that frigging money?
Charlotte Convention Center offers free space
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:22 AM
WBTV reports here that the Charlotte CC is offering free space for local businesses to hold meetings. This is not news. The Raleigh Convention Center has been offering free space since it opened its doors last September. The only way these money pits can operate is to offer free space and even pay people to use them. But city council members feel compelled to build these white elephants using taxpayers' money.
Get this from a local businessman:
Matt Sielsky, owner of Matt's
Chicago Dog, said he has noticed fewer events at the Convention
Center than five years ago when his business first opened.
We reported in 2007 on the problems at the Raleigh CC and Charlotte CC here. In September 2008, we documented the free space and the $2.3 million in discounts offered by the Raleigh CC here.
How to spend stimulus money
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 08:00 AM
Just in case you thought North Carolina's share of the
manna from heaven money from Washington was well thought out, read this morning's Raleigh News & Observer. A sample of quotes from organizations getting the housing money:
- The challenge will be to ensure these resources will be allocated in a way that they get spent. It's not like we have a network of folks ready to jump. - Chris Estes, executive director of the N.C. Housing Coalition in Raleigh
- The state has to decide how they're going to spend it. - Denise Neunaber, executive director of the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness
- We'll absolutely find something to do with it. - Rae Buckley, a senior planner for the town of Chapel Hill [Chapel Hill?]
Ms. Neunaber also told the N&O that there is no state-level coordinating agency to decide how to spend $22.2 million in taxpayer money to rescue people from foreclosure.
Which reminds me, there are some tea parties today.
This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:56 AMCity and county government costs the average North Carolinian 5 percent of his personal income. That’s according to the latest edition of the Center for Local Innovation’s By The Numbers report. Chad Adams will explain the implications of a growing local government tax burden during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
State government spending also has grown substantially in recent years, and top lawmakers credit an increased focus on education. You’ll hear their comments on the subject, along with reaction from Terry Stoops. Speaking of education, you’ll hear Sen. Martin Nesbitt’s concerns about a recent shake-up within North Carolina’s public school leadership team.
As lawmakers grapple with large holes in the state budget, does it make sense to maintain the Golden LEAF organization? Brian Balfour of the Civitas Institute says no. He’ll explain his position.
And we’ll learn details about a new Web site called StopInternetPredators.org. Stacie Rumenap of the national group Stop Child Predators will explain how the new site can help parents keep their kids safe from harm.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:49 AM
This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features Donna Martinez's conversation with John Hood about Mike Easley's legacy as North Carolina governor.
Daren Bakst's guest Daily Journal offers more reasons for lawmakers to reject a new state smoking ban.
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