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Archive for October 5th, 2009

Elaine Marshall a Global Warming Skeptic?

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, hopes to challenge Republican Sen. Richard Burr next year. Am I reading too much into this comment, per the Asheville Citizen-Times? Is Marshall a global warming skeptic? Her comment gives me hope that she hasn’t signed on to the myth that the science of climate change is settled.From the Asheville paper:

With climate change, Marshall said she didn’t know enough to comment about bill introduced by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2050.

Climate change was something to which the government should pay attention, but it might be too early to take large steps, she said.

“We have got to have good sound science before we start spending money,” she said.

Here, here.

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More affirmative-action lending on the way

Affirmative-action lending took off in the 1990s as a result of the poverty lobby’s insistence that everyone should be able to own a home, even if they can’t pay the mortgage. Durham should be more than familiar with that line of reasoning. The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act enshrined that line of reasoning in statute, and institutions like Durham’s Self-Help Credit Union took up the call for mortgages for deadbeats. Experts blame this risky lending for the financial meltdown of the past year, so, of course, the Obama administration’s answer is to give us more of it:

As our old Hoover Institution friend Peter Schweizer points out in his Forbes column “Expanding the CRA,” in the nine years running up to the economic crisis, banks operating under the constraints of the CRA to offer more than $4.2 trillion in loans to people they would ordinarily not lend money to. Now they want to expand the CRA to cover credit unions, other mortgage lenders and insurance companies. This would mean trillions more in what Peter refers to as affirmative action lending.

Insanity reigns in Washington.

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Beefed Up Radio Coverage of Chapel Hill?

Triangle Business Journal reports on an ownership/management move for WCHL in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Barry Lefler, currently the GM at NBC-17 in Raleigh, is buying into the radio station and has is setting a high bar:

“Our need to communicate has not changed, but communications media are changing. And it is happening rapidly. This presents us with enormous opportunities to develop integrated local media to create a new “medium of record” for Chapel Hill-Carrboro and the growing surrounding areas. That is my objective.”

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Time For Perdue, Basnight, and Hackney To Trade Places With These Folks

North Carolina businesses are on the losing end of legislative policy again, thanks to the inefficiency of government bureaucracy. Common sense tells me that if Gov. Perdue, Sen. Basnight, and Speaker Hackney were the ones tearing their hair out over the never-ending –and now, incorrect — paperwork required of the state’s regulatory and revenue maze, this problem would be short-lived. The News & Observer reports that roughly 180,000 businesses are impacted by this new sales tax mess, and they may not even know what’s coming, should they use the incorrect sales tax forms. (emphasis is mine)

“That would be bad,” said agency spokesman Thomas Beam. “They’d have to file amended returns. There could be interest on the unpaid amount. More than anything it would be a lot of work.”

The state Revenue Department won’t distribute correct tax forms until next month. Meanwhile, the agency has created a link to an online worksheet that will calculate the correct sales tax rate. For businesses that don’t file online, the Revenue Department’s tax technicians will take information by phone and calculate the correct rate.

Can you say migraine?

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“but they did it anyway”

In this editorial, the Herald-Sun rightly decries the lack of ethics by public officials, as demonstrated by a series of recent stories.

It rattles our belief in the honesty of public officials to realize that, in all of these cases, the people involved must have known what they were doing was wrong, but they did it anyway.

From the local police to the governor’s office, we must demand honest government. In most cases, we get it. But too many public servants have shown that, for them, ethics just isn’t a big concern.

For this reason, we must have a healthy skepticism of government and government officials. It used to be that journalists filled the role of Skeptic in Chief. These days, however, many journalists have abdicated their responsibility, opting instead to function as advocates for or against policy and politicians.

A great example of this lack of healthy media skepticism and the turn to advocacy is pointed out by the Business and Media Institute in this interview, which is based on this study.

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