The Locker Room

September 30, 2010

McIntyre morphs into Helms, then Pelosi

Posted by David N. Bass at 4:50 PM

Check out this (somewhat) disturbing ad from Republican Ilario Pantano's campaign in the 7th Congressional District.

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N.C. Republican chairman addressess Carter fine, Hoyle appointment, and election preparations

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:46 PM

N.C. Republican Party chairman Tom Fetzer raised new questions this afternoon about the State Board of Elections' $100,000 fine of Democratic campaign donor Rusty Carter and panned the appointment of retiring Democratic Sen. David Hoyle as North Carolina's new revenue secretary. 

Fetzer also assessed during a news conference at state GOP headquarters in Raleigh Republicans' chances of winning control of the General Assembly. Click play below to watch the 26:27 briefing.

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Perdue gets passing grade from Cato ... barely

Posted by Rick Henderson at 2:44 PM

The Cato Institute's annual report card on governors' fiscal policy is out, and our own Bev Perdue gets a gentlewoman's D from the libertarian policy group.

Perdue received a score of 41, the lowest of any Southern governor and nine points below the national average of 50. (You can download a PDF of the full report, including methodology, here.)

Here's how Cato's Chris Edwards summarizes Perdue's year:

Governor Perdue had only been in office a short time when she signed into law a giant package of tax increases to raise $1 billion a year. Middle-income earners were hit with a 2 percent surtax on their income taxes, while higher earners and corporations were hit with a 3 percent surtax. In addition, the state sales tax rate rose by one percentage point. These are supposed to be temporary tax increases, but temporary increases often become permanent. Perdue also broadened the sales tax base, increased the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, and hiked taxes on beer, wine, and liquor.

Seemingly oblivious to the damage caused by these large hikes, Perdue has recently toured the state to tout her plan to create jobs by providing narrow tax “incentives.”

If there's any consolation, the top-rated governor was -- yes - Mark Sanford of South Carolina. And the only Democrat to get an A, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, is in danger of losing his bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

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Coffee shortage in Cuba

Posted by George Leef at 12:51 AM

Remember the old joke: What would happen if the communists took over the Sahara? Answer: Nothing for a while, but in 50 years there would be a shortage of sand.

Something very similar has happened in Cuba. The coffee harvest has been declining steadily under the Castro regime. Read about it here.

The socialist paradise has shortages of almost everything and yet American intellectuals keep telling us that Cuba should be our model.

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Wireless Generation receives $6 million state grant

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:30 AM

As predicted, the state began doling out millions to Wireless Generation, a company that had ties to former governor Jim Hunt. Curiously, Hunt no longer serves on the WG Board of Advisors.

The one-year, $6 million grant will "expand the reading assessments pilot that began in 2009 into additional schools for grades K-3 and for at risk students in grades 4 and 5."

Update: There does not seem to be any hard feelings between Hunt and WG. Hunt and Wireless Generation CEO Larry Berger recently participated in an NBC Education Nation panel discussion titled, “A Fresh Start: Leveling the playing field before school begins.”

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JLF legal expert calls for end to state-maintained prescription drug database

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:18 AM

You might have heard about the recent controversy surrounding N.C. sheriffs and their potential access to the state's prescription drug database.

Daren Bakst argues that the current debate misses two key points. First, the state never should have set up a database. Second, no law enforcement agency should have access to its information, including the SBI.

Daren offers more detail here and in the video clip below.

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Re: The only cure left

Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 11:09 AM

George Leef's comment on today's Wonderland piece by Daniel Henninger is well taken. I would like to point out what I think is a crucial observation in Henninger's commentary. From the piece:

The United States doesn't have Eurosclerosis yet, but the Democratic Party does. That's because the party has welded itself forever to the public-sector unions, as the social democratic parties have in Europe (see the current wave of national strikes in Spain and France). Strong growth has no meaning to the public sector, so its foot soldiers don't waste time pushing it. Exhibit A is the Obama administration's abandonment of trade deals with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama. corrected

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Re: Love is Hate....

Posted by George Leef at 10:36 AM

I was going to post Prof. Horwitz's article, but Roy beat me to it.

It's utterly astounding to see a famous economist (or any economist) arguing that war has the beneficial side-effect of stimulating the economy. Sure, it lowers unemployment, but if people are employed to do things that not only do not contribute to the production of goods and services that people enjoy, but leads to destruction, we are not accomplishing anything worthwhile.

I wonder if Krugman would say that building the pyramids in Egypt was economically good because it stimulated the economy -- or can he understand that it was a huge diversion of resources away from the production of things the people wanted into the production of things the rulers wanted?

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Want to know what professors of education believe about teacher training?

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:25 AM

Steve Farkas and Ann Duffett of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute just released a fabulous new report, Cracks in the Ivory Tower? The Views of Education Professors Circa 2010.

I graduated from two large schools of education (University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia) and find the report to be spot on.

• [Professors of education] are far more likely to believe that the proper role of teacher is to be a “facilitator of learning” (84 percent) not a “conveyor of knowledge” (11 percent).

• Asked to choose between two competing philosophies of the role of teacher educator, 68 percent believe preparing students “to be change agents who will reshape education by bringing new ideas and approaches to the public schools” is most important; just 26 percent advocate preparing students “to work effectively within the realities of today’s public schools.”

• Only 24 percent believe it is absolutely essential to produce “teachers who understand how to work with the state’s standards, tests, and accountability systems.”

• Just 39 percent find it absolutely essential “to create teachers who are trained to address the challenges of high-needs students in urban districts.”

• Just 37 percent say it is absolutely essential to focus on developing “teachers who maintain discipline and order in the classroom.”

• The vast majority of education professors (83 percent) believe it is absolutely essential for public school teachers to teach 21st century skills, but just 36 percent say the same about teaching math facts, and 44 percent about teaching phonics in the younger grades. (p. 9.)

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Love is Hate, War is Peace, wealth destruction is wealth creation and Paul Krugman is a good economist

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 09:53 AM

Professor Steve Horwitz has a great article on today's FEE in Brief, sent out by the Foundation for Economic Education. He takes on a rather silly and naive blog post by Paul Krugman which makes the claim, and from an economics perspective the sophomoric error, that war is wealth creating. Horwitz also takes on Krugman's claim that economics is amoral and therefore it is perfectly ok for economists to suggest that war, in extreme circumstances, might be a good anti-recession policy. Horwitz devastates Krugman's arguments:

When...we borrow from future generations to spend on goods and services connected not to the desires of consumers, but rather to the desire of the politically powerful to rain death and destruction on other parts of the world, we are not allowing individuals the freedom to do the things they think will make themselves better off.  And we are certainly not extending that freedom to those killed in the name of our economy-enhancing war.  At a very basic level, the idea that any kind of spending is desirable overlooks the fact that spending on war (and, I would argue, public works as well) actively preventsSending soldiers off to almost by definition wealth-destroying, no matter what it does to GDP or unemployment rates.  The only way one can view economics amorally, as Krugman wishes to, is if one is only concerned with total GDP and not its composition.  However, it is the composition of GDP, in the sense of how well what we’ve produced matches consumer wants, that ultimately matters for human well-being.  It’s easy to create jobs and generate spending, but those do not constitute economic growth, and they are not necessarily indicators of human betterment. people from enhancing their wealth through production and exchange linked to consumer demand...

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The only cure: economic growth

Posted by George Leef at 09:21 AM

Daniel Henninger's Wall Street Journal column today correctly argues that economic growth is what the nation needs. Not "stimulus" or bailouts or innumerable special interest group projects or any other gimmick dreamed up in the White House.

Here's what he didn't say. Economic growth is something that occurs through the spontaneous order of the free market (what's left of it!). The government can't mandate it or catalyze it. All it can do is get out of the way. Stop absorbing vast amounts of money and resources for political projects. Stop inhibiting entrepreneurs with bogs of regulations. Stop helping parasitic lawyers and other interest groups that are bent on siphoning away profits from successful firms. Stop corporate welfare.

Doing those things is impossible for Democrats because their biggest support groups all depend on government redistribution.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:15 AM

  • Republican Thom Goolsby maintains a 17-percent lead over Jim Leutze in state Senate District 9, according to a Civitas poll.

  • Civitas: GOP’er Bill Rabon leads Democrat David Redwine 53-34 percent in the 8th Senate District.

  • More from Civitas: Republican Ilario Pantano leads by 1-percent over Democratic incumbent Mike McIntyre in the 7th Congressional District.

  • The Davidson County Dispatch stresses the importance of voter education this election season.

  • Democrats hold rally at North Carolina Central University.

  • Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has opened up a 49-36 percent lead over Democrat Elaine Marshall, says Public Policy Polling.

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The Government, Health Care, and You

Posted by Amanda Vuke at 08:07 AM

Tracy Walsh, spokeswoman for Patient's First and breast cancer survivor, was on the road in NC this week with AFP's Spending Revolt tour. Part of the tour's message was that Health Care Reform was an irresponsible use of money, and needed to be repealed ASAP.

Tracy shared her story -- showing the personal side of health care. Her life was saved because of early screening. As a mother of five her primary concern once she found out she had pre-cancer in her early forties was living to raise her children, who then ranged in age from 6-14. 

 Her doctor gave her several options, and she and her husband chose the double mastectomy for her cure. Tracy told her doctors that she was so blessed during this time with the options, care, and support she had around her. That's when Dr. Cooper told her that under the stimulus plan that had recently passed future cancer patients would not be allowed the same options. 

Health Care Reform posed similar problems. In the end, with government-run health care, the government, not you and your family, decides which treatment options you will receive. 

 What it comes down to, Tracy said, is how much the government thinks you are worth and consider how much productive life they think you have -- that's what decides your treatment. Likely, the cheapest option for them is what you will be assigned to take, even if it's not best for you and your family.

 Unfortunate, but probably true. One reason this upcoming election is vitally important. 

You know, I can't help but wonder if Tom Wilson got it right in yesterday's comic:

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:58 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Donna Martinez's report on N.C. House Democratic Leader Hugh Holliman's battle with Republican Rayne Brown in District 81.

John Hood's Daily Journal explores how redistricting has led to relatively uncompetitive legislative election contests in the state's largest metropolitan areas.

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