There has been some recent discussion of North Carolina adopting a
national popular voting system for President of the United
States. This plan was apparently dead for the short session, but
it appears to have a little bit of life. Next year, I'd expect it
to get far more consideration.
The bill got hurriedly pushed through the Senate last year along party lines
(D's for it, R's against it). It died out in the House.
Given that it already has passed the Senate, anything can happen this
short session. Last year, as I mentioned, it passed the Senate in
a mad rush. The House needs to be on the alert for this misguided
Here's how I described the proposal more than a year ago in a Carolina Beat:
"If a plan introduced in the legislature gets passed, and it
might, North Carolina would make a compact with other states to support
the Presidential candidate that receives the most votes in the nation.
This plan, referred to as national popular voting, is a response to the
rare situation when the President wins an election despite receiving
fewer popular votes than the losing candidate."
"The biggest problem with the plan is that
it ignores the will of North Carolinians. If every single citizen of
North Carolina voted for one candidate, the state would still have to
support the opposing candidate if that individual received more
national popular votes. This plan should be called the anti-North
Carolina popular voting plan...
If such a plan were passed, North
Carolina will be letting out-of-state citizens decide the candidate
that the state will support in Presidential elections. The legislature
will be saying that the voices of North Carolinians don’t matter. It
will be a sad day when North Carolinians have to defend their right to
have a voice in Presidential elections. Unfortunately, that day has
A satellite annexation is a type of voluntary annexation (not
involuntary) that permits local governments to gobble up areas that are
not contiguous to its borders.
On Wednesday, the House Local Government II Committee is considering an annexation bill
that would permit the town of Maggie Valley to satellite annex an area
that is beyond the normally required three mile limit.
This is typical of the legislature, particularly in the area of
satellite annexations. It passes local bills to exempt local
governments from restrictions in the annexation law.
Even if the
annexation law were amended, the legislature always could create
exceptions for local communities whenever it wants. This is
precisely why a constitutional amendment is needed
to protect against eminent domain abuse--the legislature would ignore
any statutory protections when it benefits their political interests.
A constitutional amendment would prohibit the legislature from
ignoring protections from eminent domain abuse--the only way the
legislature could get around constitutional protections would be to
pass another amendment, which would be very difficult.
North Carolina can look north or south for ways to make health insurance more affordable, and so expand coverage. A bill in New Jersey would allow individuals buy insurance across state lines and a new Florida law allows some insurance policies to skip some of the mandated benefits (although the state isn't perfect).
U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick wants to drill for oil off the North Carolina coast and she thinks $4.00 per gallon gasoline might encourage approval this year. The Republican said Thursday she wants to overturn a long-standing moratorium on drilling for oil and gas off the Atlantic Coast.
The Charlotte Observer reported Myrick has introduced a bill to give states authority to allow drilling within 100 miles of their coast.
A similar bill passed the House in 2006 but didn't make it through the Senate. Myrick says the sharply increased gas prices improve the chances for approval.
The Division of Coastal Management has a page on the moratorium on offshore drilling that affects North Carolina. Below is pictured the Manteo Exploration Unit:
Fans of the TV show “Lost” noticed more than one interesting turn of events during the season finale last night. For Locker Room readers the most interesting turn was what happened to John Locke. For the uninitiated, one of the key survivors of the crash of Oceanic 815 is named John Locke. As the other survivors try to escape the island, Locke decides to stay. In fact, he replaces Ben as the leader of the “Others.”
Flash-forward about 3 years and the six survivors who escape the island are confronted by death and funeral of a mysterious man named Jeremy Bentham. In the final scene of the show, the casket is opened and there lies John Locke, the survivor not the philosopher.
Now the press and the blogosphere are all a buzz about the reason the writers used the names of two philosophers in the series. Perhaps one of the writers had a course in philosophy in college and the only thing that stuck was the names. Or perhaps the there is a connection between the philosophy and the meaning of the show. I will leave it to quicker minds than mine to figure this out, but I will tune in next season for the answers.
A couple months ago I shared my experience taking the train to work. It wasn't a bad trip, it just cost more and made life more inconvenient than driving.
Cat Warren politely mentions JLF in her op-ed detailing her friend's travails taking the bus from Clayton to Raleigh. Cat never mentions how full the bus is that her friend and fellow NC State women's studies professor Deborah Hooker rides for free with "people who appear poorer than she." They pay $2 per person because they don't work for the state.
Hooker usually takes 25 minutes to drive to work, but needs 20 minutes just to get to her unofficial park & ride facility and get on a bus for a 35-minute trip before transferring to another bus for what should be another 10-minute ride after another wait: "Standard commuting time with a little luck and no traffic tie-ups? About an hour and 20 minutes -- more than three times longer than a car trip."
Warren then compares this experience with her TTA bus ride from Durham (pop. 209,009) to Raleigh that is "always full" and takes a half hour and concludes...not that the number of bus commuters from Clayton (pop. 12,943) to Raleigh is too small to warrant direct service, but that "public transportation in the Triangle, circa 2008" is "uneven, underfunded, [and] cobbled-together."
Scott Mooneyham nails it. The state needs to get serious about conducting comprehensive evaluations of early childhood programs like "More at Four" and "Smart Start." He says,
Each year, hundreds of millions of state dollars are spent on preschool and child-care programs in North Carolina. And each year, very little assessment takes place showing exactly what taxpayers are getting for their dollar. ... that initial group of Smart Start attendees have now gone through high school. How hard would it be to examine how well they performed through their school years compared to peers from similar socio-economic backgrounds?
Indeed, the "fade-out effect" is a serious concern. If preschool and child care programs do not produce significant gains in social and cognitive development or those initial gains are not sustained as the children go through school, then these programs are simply a waste of money.
It is worth the time and money to find out how these students fare as they progress through school.
Our AEI friend Steve Hayward posted this quote on the Ashbrook Center's blog. It is from Princeton professor of physics Freeman Dyson's review of two new books in the New York Review of Books.
All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world.
Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists—most of whom are not scientists—holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.
Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.
If you’re trying to find online budget information from a state agency or local government, good luck. The John Locke Foundation recently awarded low government “transparency” grades to government units across North Carolina. Joe Coletti will explain the findings in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
You’ll also hear Chad Adams rebut legislators’ arguments favoring targeted tax incentives, and Roy Cordato will tackle the misguided policy proposals from advocates of “sustainability.”
We’ll hear East Carolina economics professor Gary Zinn discuss his ideas for improving the eastern North Carolina economy, and we’ll learn why the state could soon see a $3.7 million study of North Carolina’s aging population.