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Archive for December, 2009

The Obama approach: Wage war on critics, not terrorists

Remember when the left continually griped that average people’s rights were being trampled nationwide under George W. Bush, but they could never document any instances? Well, now we have one, but you probably won’t hear much about it in the legacy media:

Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber.

Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.

One former federal prosecutor makes an excellent point:

“To go into this one reporter’s house and copy his computer files and threaten him, it strikes me that they’re more aggressive with this reporter than with the guy who got on this flight.”

That’s sort of been the Obama approach: wage war on critics, not terrorists.

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Newt Gingrich in Triangle Jan. 13

He is one of the brightest and most provocative thinkers of the last 20 years. So what does Newt Gingrich see for the future of this country? He’ll discuss it in his keynote speech on Jan. 13 in Cary as part of the John Locke Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration. Details and registration information here.

By the way, Gingrich weighs in on political correctness and the attemtped terrorist attack aboard Northwest #253 here.

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It’s Tragic, But It Doesn’t Mean We Need a Law

My heart breaks for Michael Lindsay-Calkins, whose wife and son were killed last week at a railroad crossing in Efland. The News & Observer reports the Highway Patrol is saying the mom, Erin, was talking on her phone when she drove into the path of the train.

It’s just an awful, heartbreaking story.

However, it doesn’t mean that cell phone use should be banned. From the N&O:

Recent studies have focused on cell phone use as a significant highway safety problem. One survey by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center found that nearly 60 percent of licensed adult drivers in North Carolina had used their phones while driving.

The General Assembly has outlawed cell phone use for school bus drivers and for all drivers under age 18. A state law that took effect Dec. 1 bans all drivers from using cell phones to send or receive e-mail and text messages. Several legislators have called in recent years for a ban on all cell phone use while driving.

We don’t need a study to tell us that getting distracted while driving can be dangerous. But so can a lot of other everyday activities.

What about children? I routinely see people doing a “Linda Blair” head spin as they mess with kids in the back seat while driving 70 miles an hour down I-40. Should we ban kids from cars? No. I change lanes and stay well ahead of them.

What about pets?

What about talking to the person in the passenger seat?

What about listening to the radio?

What about lipstick?

What about drinking coffee?

What about eating a Big Mac?

What about reading paperwork?

What about looking at a map or messing with the GPS?

The list of distractions that can become dangerous is endless. Life is full of risks and we can’t legislate them away. Most importantly right now, we should pray for Michael Lindsay-Calkins and his family.

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We’re Number 8!

North Carolina ranks eighth in religiosity, according to Pew Research. Number 1 is Mississippi. NH/Vermont is at the bottom of the list.

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Duke prof: An Ice Age is a’comin’ regardless

Maybe we should hope for global warming so we can save all our fuel for the next Ice Age:

Writing in Technology Review Duke University prof Franklin Hadley Cocks says even if a worst case scenario for global warming happens in a couple thousand years we’ll be headed into the next Ice Age.

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Elizabeth to John: Give Rielle what she wants

Elizabeth Edwards is telling her philandering hubbie, former N.C. senator John, to shut up and give Rielle Hunter what she wants rather than let her air dirty laundry in a court battle. At least that’s what The National Enquirer says.

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University of No Candor System is at it again

Will they never learn? Why must NC State be subjected to another secret chancellor search, with various UNC functionaries saying this candidate’s list is the best ever, trust us? Have they earned that trust? The disgrace that was James Oblinger, who was the secret choice by a search committee that had signed confidentiality agreements, speaks against the practice. So do other universitiesevery university system, in fact.

The UNC System is the most secretive system in the nation, and the results stink for themselves. A candidate who’s afraid of public scrutiny from the get-go ought to raise suspicion, not be rewarded in being allowed to duck the public entirely. Otherwise, he’s led to believe from the very beginning that he has no need to worry about public scrutiny, and he acts accordingly.

Anyway, here’s the same ol’ same-old from UNC, which astute readers might recall is a public university system:

The search committee for a new N.C. State University chancellor has given a list of three finalists to UNC system President Erskine Bowles, who pronounced himself thrilled with the candidates.

“This pool is terrific in every way,” Bowles said.

Bowles said he was interviewing the candidates and would likely make his recommendation to the UNC Board of Governors – which has the final say – at the board’s Jan.8 or Feb.12 meeting.

NCSU and system leaders are keeping candidates’ names secret, saying that is the only way to ensure the best pool of applicants.

No, it’s the only way to ensure they get the proper yes-man to wink and nod at their ongoing shenanigans, treating the university like a place to create sinecures and golden parachutes for all their buddies. They don’t want another Marye Anne Fox coming in and trying to root out all the deadwood. Running her out of town was such an unpleasant business. We’ve got a good thing going at NC State; we don’t need public scrutiny to screw it up!

P.S. Why does the press put up with that?

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A Look At Year #1 of Perdue

John Hood assesses the first year of the Perdue administration in this piece. Here’s a sample:

We’re all tempted by wishful thinking when times are tough. Perdue and her aides ought to resist the urge. Their first year in office was awfully rough. They didn’t dig the fiscal and ethical holes left by Mike Easley. But they failed to negotiate them effectively. Early on, Perdue seem to signal that she’d be against any significant tax increases in the midst of recession. Later, she signed one of the largest tax increases in North Carolina history, and continues to sing the praises of federal borrowing as a solution to the state’s problems.

Hood’s piece is worth your time. On the broader subject of state spending habits, expect a slew of governors to turn to the feds for more cash. Politico.com reports that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (a Republican who may as well be a liberal Democrat) and David Paterson (a liberal Democrat) are already wagging their fingers at Congress, saying their states need help.

This country’s downward economic spiral won’t end until there is a fundamental change in economic policy. We must return to an embrace of capitalism, limited regulation, and tax policy that provides stability and opportunity to entrepreneurs who, only then, will invest, expand, and employ more workers. Here are the thoughts of one of the most ardent supporters of capitalism — Steve Forbes — on what leads to crisis and what leads prosperity.

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Newt Gingrich in Triangle Jan. 13

He is one of the brightest and most provocative thinkers of the last 20 years. So what does Newt Gingrich see for the future of this country? He’ll discuss it in his keynote speech on Jan. 13 in Cary as part of the John Locke Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration. Details and registration information here.

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I’m Posting This on My Office Wall

From Fortune comes this gem of a headline, which I plan to enlarge and post on my wall:

Obama’s efficiency expert

The story is equally humorous. Here’s the reporter’s description of Jeff Zients, President Obama’s efficiency czar (emphasis is mine):

The 43-year-old Zients — Obama-like in his youth, drive, and intellect — built his career at two Washington-area consulting firms, the Advisory Board Company and the Corporate Executive Board.

I guess that means we can count on Mr. Zients for some hope and change as he tries to improve the efficiency of the continually expanding behemoth bureacuracy known as the federal government. In the understatement of the year, a former colleague of Zients describes his task this way:

“I imagine there’s a tremendous amount of complexity getting your hands around something like the government.”

Gee, ya think? And it’s particularly tough when your boss is the very person who keeps expanding the bureaucracy you’re supposed to improve. I give Mr. Zients one year before be packs it in to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with family.

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