September 6, 2006
Rhino fights the KKK
Posted by Jon Ham at 9:32 PM
Our friends at The Rhino Times in Greensboro have been victimized by the Ku Klux Klan. It seems the Klan has been inserting fliers into copies of The Rhino
and throwing them on lawns in Greensboro, making it look as if the
paper accepted the inserted advertisement. Publisher William Hammer
Some people are going to think it's an advertisement we accepted. We would never in a million years, for
any amount of money, accept any form of advertisement from an
organization like the KKK.
We believe in freedom of the press,
but when it comes to the stuff they're putting out there, and damaging
legitimate publications, that's a whole other thing.
The Rhino has filed suit in Guilford County Superior Court to put a stop the the Klan's duplicity.
Politics of disaster in coastal N.C.
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 8:30 PM
North Carolina attracts some attention in Marvin Olasky's new examination of the built-in flaws in federal disaster programs.
North Carolina resident Betty Minchew, whose oceanfront rental house blew away during Hurricane Hugo in 1989, ... made use of cheap federal flood insurance -- first using government money to rebuild her house and then building two other beachfront rental houses in the same hazardous area. She said, "Hugo was good to me.... We had a lot of little shacks out here. Hugo got rid of those, and people built nicer, prettier places." When hurricanes are good to people economically, something is awry.
Later, Olasky generalizes the theme:
Just as welfare for the poor brought about multigenerational dependency on government, so welfare for the rich has also birthed a moral hazard: act irresponsibly and the government will still provide a stipend.
Re: Easley broke constitution
Posted by Paul Chesser at 7:23 PM
But at this time, you still wouldn't know it from looking at the N&O's home Web page. Clay's still there though.
RE: Money & Happiness
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 5:14 PM
I think your analogy holds. It's a tragedy in a different way, but certainly the governmental money point is valid—throwing money at a situation is not the same as recovering from a loss or fixing a problem.
Intelligence, compassion, hard work, responsible behavior, and even acceptance in a bad situation can probably all contribute to some betterment of people's lives, even without additional money to spend. But money without any of the foregoing, especially when dispensed by government agencies, is simply a political gambit.
Re: Money and Happiness
Posted by Chad Adams at 4:32 PM
I like the point you made: "They clearly have no idea how to make things better, money or not.
They remain distraught, disconnected, and to all appearances, quite
miserable. The point here is that the money isn't the problem (it can
cause problems), the loss is the problem. Obviously, then, a heap of
money isn't the cure. "
can be applied to almost any situation with respect to governmental
assistance. You mention the word "they" which refers to the
widows of 9/11 who did suffer a horrendous loss, but whose lives have
not been assisted by the money. One could easily apply the same
notion to public education or public assistance. "They" (public
education administrators) have no idea how to make things better, money
or not. They remain distraught, disconnected and to all
appearances, quite miserable." Apply it also to many of those on
Money isn't the answer to many of these woes
without internal mechanisms to deal with the reality that life is about
the ability to deal with the inevitability of loss and pain.
RE: Money & Happiness
Posted by Michael Moore at 4:15 PM
Here y'all go, this article
from Eden, NC tells about happiness and economic standing. Bless
their heart, just dance to some dancin' music and you'll know what I'm
talkin' about, and you really don't need money to be in paradise.
RE: Money & Happiness
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:40 PM
Your original blog, and the article to which it linked, make important but somewhat dissimilar points. I have friends and extended family members directly affected by the deaths at the World Trade Center, and money is an issue, but perhaps not quite in the way the article emphasized. If money and monetary awards have made things somehow worse for some familes since 9/11, it is probably because you see family infighting over 'spoils' no matter what the cause of a person's death,—that's not peculiar to victims of this attack. It also appears that money hasn't made things better—and that's no surprise.
Money is at the center of the 9/11 widows' lives, I believe, because the person who is missing cannot be. Somewhere I think the article makes this point, and it is the key point. Some victim's families had plenty of money before 9/11, received private settlements from their spouse's business assets, and just like the families who came suddenly into great wealth, have spent very extravagantly following their personal loss. They clearly have no idea how to make things better, money or not. They remain distraught, disconnected, and to all appearances, quite miserable. The point here is that the money isn't the problem (it can cause problems), the loss is the problem. Obviously, then, a heap of money isn't the cure.
Former Rep. Paul Miller pleads guilty
Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:59 PM
To fraud charges after falsely claiming he paid $20,000 on a 20-year-old federal student loan.
Re: Easley broke constitution
Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:38 PM
Meanwhile, The N&O homepage's (at this moment) big headline is "Clay Aiken to be appointed to committee."
The White House has announced that President Bush intends to appoint Clay Aiken -- or Clayton Aiken, as he is listed in the press release -- to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Not a constitution-breaking governor in sight.
Different Standards for Miniseries
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:24 PM
Drudge points to this story that shows "fake but accurate" only applies to news programs, not FICTIONAL miniseries.
Judge: Easley broke NC constitution
Posted by Paul Chesser at 1:50 PM
Gov. Mike Easley and others violated the constitution in 2001 by intercepting $225 million headed for state pension funds to help cover a budget shortfall, a Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday.
Easley has defended taking the state's contributions to the pension funds, saying it was his legal duty to balance a budget that was off by $850 million. Some of the money was repaid by the end of the 2001, but $130 million is outstanding.
Fourteen current and former state workers sued, arguing that the decision hindered the financial soundness of the pension plan.
After hearing oral arguments in February, Superior Court Judge Joseph John agreed that the Easley administration and other state officials violated a state constitution provision requiring that retirement funds be used only for their intended purpose.
Re: CATS keeps growing
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:40 PM
Your post reminds me of this Motown classic:
Like a snow ball rolling down the side of a snow-covered hill, it's growing.
Like the size of the fish that the man claims broke his reel, it's growing.
Like the rose bud blooming in the warmth of the summer sun, it's growing.
Like the tale by the time it's been told by more than one, it's growing.
Every day it grows a little more then it was the day before.
Somehow I expect the number will not be an even $500 million. That would imply an element of guesswork in the calculations of the well-trained government planners.
Money = Happiness
Posted by Chad Adams at 1:39 PM
You have to look at the context of the argument
I'm making. Having money isn't the problem, nor is earning
it. The problem is that if you're simply given money you won't
have an appreciation for the value of it. Overly simplified, it's
the old "teach a man to fish vs giving a man a fish" philosophy.
There's a lot of truth to that analogy, but rarely do otherwise
rationale people think in those terms. John Edwards still thinks if you
give enough poverty stricken people money they won't be impoverished,
but then we've just raised the bar on what is now to be considered
impoverished. Someone long ago, having returned from Haiti where
there is REAL poverty, once told me, "only in America do the poor drive
Sadly, it's far easier elected officials to simply take money
from someone that earns it, give it to someone who didn't and then take
credit for improving their life in some way. Sadly, that's
becoming the American way. Self-reliance, making educated
decisions in life, giving value to hard work, overcoming obstacles, all
of these are what makes individuals and families stronger. But it
is far easier to be lulled into thinking that someone or something is
responsible for your monetary success and failure in life.
CATS Keeps Growing
Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 1:30 PM
Well, $427 million is officially the old number for the 9.6 mile light rail line in South Charlotte. New number to come.
Do I hear $500 million?
Former Durham lawmaker enters guilty plea
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:27 PM
At the top of WPTF's local newscast at 1 p.m., the headline of this story was, "Lying to Uncle Sam!"
The jokes start ... now!
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:22 PM
I wouldn't normally comment about Raleigh's own American Idol runnerup, but this story begs for ridicule.
Parents: Beware the Nanny State
Posted by Jenna Ashley Robinson at 12:52 AM
Doctors now say that better design and stricter government regulation is needed to protect children from a scourge that injures more than 24,000 children in the U.S. every year.
The villain in this story? Grocery store shopping carts.
Apparently parents cannot be expected to actually mind their own children. The government must step in and save us all.
More on Money = Happiness
Posted by Matt Mittan at 11:59 AM
From today's Myrtle Beach Online:
"For Phyllis Tydings, earning an extra few dollars an hour could mean the difference between living off credit cards and having financial freedom.
Tydings, a Concord Home Depot cashier, makes $8.76 an hour - higher
than the $5.15 minimum wage. But she still struggles to pay the bills.
She makes about $800 a month; her husband, Shelby, a landscaper, makes
about $1,300. Together, their income falls well below the
$3,950-per-month "living wage" that some advocates say the Tydings
family would need to meet basic expenses."
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't that come out to over
$24 an hour? Does this mean everyone making less than that are
living miserable existances? Are they all just victims
of 'the man'? Also - I thought the difference between 'living off
credit cards and having financial freedom' was being responsible enough
to not spend more than you make - not whether a 'living wage' is
mandated or not.
Nuclear Power, AIDS Research, and an End to Poverty
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:48 AM
Iran has conveniently found a cure for AIDS the day before the UN votes on sanctions. An even bigger surprise is the potential magic ingredient.
expect Iran to announce that nuclear power is a terrific jobs creation
tool with a multiplier of 7 according to economic development models
and that they expect to eliminate world poverty through nuclear
technology sharing and the export of nuclear waste.
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 11:45 AM
Michael Moore notes:
"remember that animals have rights too and we need to respect them"
I'd like to quote the late (great) Murray Rothbard on the issue of animal rights..."I'll recognize animal rights when they petition for them."
Posted by Matt Mittan at 11:30 AM
Money may not be able to buy you happiness but it sure can sooth the bitter sting and stress of daily living. I think the people who talk most about money not equaling happiness are the people who don't have any.
Posted by Matt Mittan at 11:25 AM
I know a thing or two about "BAR" in these here hills of western NC. In fact, we just had a black bear get into our trash Monday night and make a big mess of things. But I don't blame the bear and I'm not going to shoot it. We built in HIS path along the ridge. These bear have been moving about freely for ages and it's only over the past few generations that bear encounters in this area (I live in Black Mountain - home of lots of Black Bears) have become common place. I have at least 6-8 bear encounters a year here at my house and on the horse pasture out back. Rather than trap, shoot or block the bears though, I do somthing Steve Erwin never figured out... I keep a respectful distance between me and them when they are around and I teach my children what to watch and listen for. Encroachment into wild areas has as much to do with bear encounters as anything else. But rather than put all kinds of restrictions on development how about we see an easing of zoning regulations and a reduction in city tax rates - then maybe people wouldn't be so apt to build out into Yogi's territory. Hey, Boo-Boo?
Re: How American dummies succeed
Posted by George Leef at 11:21 AM
In his excellent book The Joy of Freedom, economist David Henderson contemplated this question: If American education is so bad, why is it that the US economy performs so well compared to nations where most of the kids outperform ours?
One possible answer, of course, is that our schools must really be excellent, a response that the National Education Association would embrace. But that's not it.
Rather, Henderson pointed out, it's the case that formal education is not the only or even the most important source for knowledge and skills. Much of what people need to know to succeed at whatever they do is learned in places other than schools, usually under the impetus of some chance to make or save money.
The legal profession is a good example. Many lawyers practice in areas they either never studed in law school. They learn what they need to know about their field of practice on the job. Even if someone went to a law school where the profs can't or don't teach worth a darn, that's no handicap at all.
Does Money Really Solve Problems
Posted by Chad Adams at 11:20 AM
Over the course of the past century, much of the public has been
lulled into believing money and the right to have it, solves societal
problems. Public education can be fixed, if we put enough money
into it. Poverty can be fixed, if we put enough money into it
(attn. John Edwards). We're not even allowed to make mistakes
anymore without legal counsel telling us that our mistakes aren't
actually ours and thus we're entitled to compensation for making
them. Even the bizarre reparations movement has a belief that
somehow money given for century old injustices is a solution.
But in this piece,
we find some truth to the axiom that money can simply create more
problems. Widows and survivors of 9/11 are steeped in the many
problems that instant money creates. An excerpt:
During the feverish days following the attack, Congress established
a billion- dollar compensation fund, and grieving wives became
overnight millionaires. No one could have known that for many of them, the money would
destroy their lives once again, attracting jealousy, resentful
relatives and making them even more depressed. Some would become
squandering, spendaholic widows, their payouts fuelling addictions
which could not replace the husbands they had lost. Others would become
embroiled in legal battles with their families, their lives eaten up by
In the absence of core values, financial acumen, and meaning in
life, people who are simply given financial security, rarely become
"better" people and, more often than not, actually become more
dependent in the long run.
Why students don't write well
Posted by George Leef at 11:19 AM
The main reason, according to University of Delaware English professor Ben Yagoda, is that they don't read much -- at least not much edited prose. He makes his case here.
Boys Get the Dogs: Bar (Bear) Season is coming.....!
Posted by Michael Moore at 10:40 AM
in the Asheville paper reminds me today that bear movement picks up in
the fall before winter, also BAR (Bear) season opens next month in the
Great State of North Carolina. So Boys get the hounds and hit the woods. Also remember that animals have rights too and we need to respect them!
Git R' Done!
Euphemism watch: "leading academics," "top professors," "leading scholars"
Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:55 AM
Background: My exchange with a "leading academic."
From the UK's Daily Mail:
The 9/11 terrorist attack on America which left almost 3,000 people dead was an "inside job", according to a group of leading academics.
Around 75 top professors and leading scientists believe the attacks were puppeteered by war mongers in the White House to justify the invasion and the occupation of oil-rich Arab countries.
A "top professor" and a "leading scientist."
Farm policy fallacies
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:44 AM
Locke friend E.C. Pasour Jr. tackles "farm policy" in American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (ISI Books, 2006).
Pasour reminds us that U.S. agricultural programs have changed little since the days of the New Deal, when conditions were much different for farmers.
Among his findings:
Government farm programs also encourage favor-seeking activity at the expense of profit-seeking activity. Profit-seeking through the entrepreneurial market process is socially beneficial because it leads to an increased output of goods and services. Favor-seeking, in contrast, refers to attempts by individuals and groups to increase their wealth through income transfers, credit subsidies, and other government programs. The spending of money for lobbying, campaign contributions, and so on to achieve these restrictions on competition is socially wasteful because the result is a reduction in output of goods and services. Consequently, farm program benefits to the farm sector come at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. In addition to an expenditure of some $70 billion per year on U.S. farm programs, including subsidized food programs, food costs to consumers are increased -- sometimes substantially -- as is the case for sugar, dairy products, and peanuts.
How American dummies succeed
Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:44 AM
Robert J. Samuelson, citing Charlotte's Central Piedmont Community College as one example, explores this question in his Washington Post column today: "With about 12 million students, the nation's 1,200 community colleges help answer this riddle: Why do Americans do so badly on international educational comparisons and yet support an advanced economy?"
His answer, in a nutshell, is that the free market pushes the workforce where it's needed.
The American learning system has, I think, two big virtues.
First, it provides second chances. It tries to teach people when they're motivated to learn -- which isn't always when they're in high school or starting college. People become motivated later for many reasons, including maturity, marriage, mortgages and crummy jobs. These people aren't shut out. They can mix work, school and training....
Second, it's job-oriented. Community colleges provide training for local firms and offer courses to satisfy market needs.
Lots more common sense therein.
New Jersey + eminent domain =
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:43 AM
Abuse of government power.
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:34 AM
From Carrboro to Durham.
Walter Williams analyzes discrimination
Posted by George Leef at 07:31 AM
All it amounts to, argues Professor Williams here is the exercise of personal choice.
I especially like his question to students: "Are you going to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire you?" Of course not -- the students are going to discriminate.
The political crusade against discrimination is an attack on equality before the law; the people who wage it would never dream of allowing their own freedom to make choices -- to discriminate -- to be taken away, but they desire to deprive others of it.
It should be "Labor and Capital Day"
Posted by George Leef at 07:05 AM
So argues Kevin Hassett here.
Hassett raises an important point -- labor and capital are not enemies, as in the erroneous Marxist view, but complementary assets. A lot of progress has been impeded by the failure to comprehend that cooperation is mutually beneficial, whereas obstructionism and militancy is not.
Freedom works -- ask an Estonian
Posted by George Leef at 06:22 AM
The New York Times' sensible columnist, John Tierney, recently wrote about the "Baltic Tiger." That is, Estonia, which is prospering under the resolute free market policies of Mart Laar. Since the NYT column is "premium content" and available only to those who have paid, I'm pasting in a summary of his piece from NCPA:
Economists call Estonia the Baltic Tiger, the sequel to the Celtic
Tiger as Europe's success story, and its policies are more radical than
Ireland's, says columnist John Tierney. On this year's State of
World Liberty Index, a ranking of countries by their economic and
political freedom, Estonia is in first place, just ahead of Ireland and
seven places ahead of the United States (North Korea comes in last at
Estonia transformed itself from an isolated, impoverished part of the
Soviet Union thanks to a former prime minister, Mart Laar, a history
teacher who took office not long after Estonia was liberated. He
was 32 years old and had read just one book on economics, "Free to
Choose," by Milton Friedman, which he liked especially because he
knew Friedman was despised by the Soviets. Laar was politically
naïve enough to put the theories into practice:
o Instead of worrying about winning trade wars, he unilaterally
disarmed by abolishing almost all tariffs.
o He welcomed foreign investors and privatized most government
functions (with the help of a privatization czar who had
formerly been the manager of the Swedish pop group Abba).
o He drastically cut taxes on businesses and individuals,
instituting a simple flat income tax of 26 percent.
o Wages have soared thanks to jobs created by foreign companies
like Elcoteq of Finland, which bought a failing electronics
factory and now employs more than 3,000 people making phones
for Nokia and Ericsson.
o Foreign investors worked with local software engineers to
create Skype, the Internet telephone service, and the country
has become so Web-savvy that it's known as E-stonia.
o The growth over the past decade has produced so much
unanticipated revenue that the tax rate is being gradually
reduced to 20 percent.
Source: John Tierney, "New Europe's Boomtown," New York
Times, September 5, 2006.
One particularly nice touch -- when the economy booms and revenues flood into the treasury, the government cuts taxes! That's the big point leftists never understand, that resources are better used in the private sector than if sucked into the state to be allocated according to the whims of politicians who won't bear the costs of their mistakes.
<< Last Entry