March 31, 2008
When we-know-better-than-you nanny-staters work at cross-purposes
Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:45 PMA funny story at WRAL.com today:
In December, Gov. Mike Easley said it was everyone's "patriotic duty" to conserve water in the face of the worst drought in North Carolina history.
Dadian heard Friday that most of his rain barrels would have to go. The Wakefield Plantation Homeowners Association decided having too many rain barrels didn't fit the neighborhood's image.
“To maintain the visual impression, especially from the street, for our community,” Greg Barley, with the Wakefield Plantation Homeowners Association, said of the reason behind the rain barrel limit.
How is this different from what he has been doing?
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:36 PM
Former Vice President Al Gore has announced a new global warming advocacy campaign.
Meanwhile, the John Locke Foundation is preparing for a Headliner event Wednesday that will focus on the actual science and economics of global warming initiatives. It should offer a sharp contrast to Gore's "lawyer's brief" for alarmism.
Government e-mail scandals
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:22 PM
As North Carolina state government grapples with the proper policy for retaining e-mail records, the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society heard a presentation today on two computer records scandals that rocked Washington in the last two presidential administrations.
N.C. State University associate professor Ed Gehringer discussed his research into the missing Clinton administration e-mail messages of 1998 and a flap over congressional e-mail records during the Bush administration.
Audience members also asked Gehringer for his thoughts about the best policy for retaining state records.
4:20 p.m. update: Watch the entire presentation here.
Do not sweep, vacuum or inhale
Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:18 PM
Not a whole lot of news on compact fluorescent bulbs, but the absolute impracticality of them is illustrated in a consumer advisory piece in yesterday's News & Observer of Raleigh. A sampling:
Because they contain trace elements of mercury,
disposing of the lights or cleaning up a broken one is not a simple
Americans discard an estimated 670 million mercury-containing bulbs
a year, potentially releasing as much as four tons of mercury into the
environment each year....
Disposal options: Don't throw fluorescents in the
trash. The light will break and release mercury. In a landfill, it
could contaminate the ground. If you must throw a burned-out CFL into
the trash, seal it first in two plastic bags to prevent leakage.
The preferred method is to take CFLs to a recycling facility or hazardous waste facility.
In the Triangle, you can take them to North Wake Household Hazardous
Waste Collection off Durant Road in Raleigh or South Wake Solid Waste
Management Facility off N.C. 55 in Apex....(both these locations are more than a half-hour from where I live)
Cleanup: If a CFL breaks, air out the room for at
least 15 minutes. Shut off the central air conditioning or heating and
close all doors so that mercury does not spread through the house.
Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard
and place them in a glass jar or sealed plastic bag. Use duct or other
adhesive tape to clean up any remaining powder. Clean the area with
damp paper towels and dispose of the towels in a jar or bag.
CFL don'ts: Do not use a vacuum cleaner: It will
disperse the mercury particles. Never use a broom to clean up mercury.
That also spreads mercury particles.
If the mercury gets on your clothes, seal the clothes in plastic and discard or take to a hazardous waste facility.
But besides all that, they're really worth it!
Cross-posted at Cooler Heads.
Union clout with Democrats will cost Colorado plenty
Posted by George Leef at 11:32 AM
Here is an illuminating Denver Post story about the way labor unions are using the Democratic convention in Denver to squeeze money out of the taxpayers.
I guess we should be glad the Democrats aren't holding their convention in the Raleigh Convention Center!
Andy Morriss speaking in Raleigh next Monday
Posted by George Leef at 11:07 AM
University of Illinois professor Andy Morriss, who recently co-authored a paper for the Pope Center (on legal education in the state), will be the guest speaker for The Adam Smith Club of Campbell University at its annual banquet. The date is Monday, April 7, at the North Raleigh Hilton.
The subject of Andy's talk will be his forthcoming book entitled Regulation by Litigation, on the ways that interest groups now try to get regulations they desire by going to court and seeking favorable decrees from judges. A talk worth hearing!
If you're interested, call 910-893-1307, preferably by April 3.
The bracing reality about entitlement reform
Posted by John Hood at 09:36 AM
In a new paper, the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl has done an excellent job of
presenting the fiscal challenges caused by Social Security, Medicare,
and Medicaid in the coming decades. These core elements of the American
welfare state have tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities
through 2050. To put it in perspective, the programs add up to 8
percent of gross domestic product now. They'll total nearly 19 percent
of GDP in 2050 — roughly what the entire federal budget currently
consumes. Riedl charts a path to reform, but points out that there are
no easy, painless solutions. Relying on tax increases, however, can
certainly be seen as the most painful “solution”:
Increasing taxes by
10.2 percent of GDP today would come to $1.394 trillion, or $12,072 per
household. It could mean raising income tax rates by at
least 120 percent—and probably more because tax increases slow economic
growth and dampen new revenues—with additional raises thereafter. Funding all of the promised benefits would require raising the 35
percent income tax bracket to at least 77 percent and the 25 percent
tax bracket to at least 55 percent.
NC has a new competitor
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:09 AM
Michigan plans to create a whole new industry in the state with tax credits for movie and video production. The Senate Fiscal Agency concluded, "the fiscal impact of the bills is such that the tax revenue generated from the additional activity would be unlikely to offset completely, or in some cases, even offset significantly, the cost of the proposed credits and deductions, even over the long run." The Mackinac Center says the economic impact will be barely noticeable.
Reality doesn't deter supporters, however, as this snip from the Detroit Free Press illustrates.
The state's Film Office Director Janet Lockwood said Friday that 60 scripts have been submitted for review and potential qualification for incentives in just the last three weeks -- since it became clear the legislation would become law. That compares to a pre-incentive pace of about a half-dozen per year, Lockwood said.
"We already have a film in pre-production," she said, "People are pulling shoots out of other states ... and moving them here. We have the best incentives in America, at least for now."
One of the bill's main sponsors demonstrates the bad assumptions leading to the giveaway: "We're in a state of economic crisis. People are looking for immediate answers," the paper quote Andy Meisner saying. "This is an immediate boost. It's very real and more tangible than many of the other things we do."
So they're paying for rocks to break regular windows and replacing them with stained glass -- Mr. T approves.
Latest dispatches from the Gov. Trail
Posted by John Hood at 08:57 AM
• The Campaign Diaries blog puts North Carolina's gubernatorial race in the top 4 races to watch for the fall.
• Beverly Perdue talks about health care, military bases, and other issues during a sit-down with the Elizabeth City Daily Advance.
• “Under the Dome” discusses Fred Smith's former stake in a Raleigh restaurant.
Today's Carolina Journal online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:51 AM
The first Carolina Journal Online exclusive of the week features the John Locke Foundation's latest Regional Brief. It shows that neighbors of Raleigh's Neuse River Greenway are more likely than other potential greenway users to oppose the project.
John Hood's Daily Journal examines the "Patchwork Nation" approach to political analysis.
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