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Archive for February, 2010

Tsunami predictions overblown?

Maybe Hawaii and Japan will get lucky. According to the New Zealand Herald, the waves that have arrived are not threatening:

“A tsunami of half a metre has been measured at the Chatham Islands and ten centimetres at East Cape. The Chatham Island activity was first recorded as 20 centimetres, but has been upgraded to 50 centimetres.”

Here’s where you can watch live coverage from KGMB-CBS in Honolulu: http://www.ustream.tv/cbsnews

The tsunami Twitter feed is #Tsumani.

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Who is N.C.’s most liberal U.S. House member?

Like you didn’t already know. So I don’t have to put D’s and R’s by their names, the top eight are Democrats and the bottom five are Republicans.

Here’s the list rated on their degree of liberalism by National Journal. The number at the left of their name shows where they rank among 435 House members; the number following their name is the composite liberal rating awarded by National Journal:

1st: Mel Watt, 95.2 (tied with the likes of Henry Waxman and Linda Sanchez, and ahead of Barney Frank).
35th: David Price, 88.7
88th: G.K. Butterfield, 79.0
143rd: Brad Miller, 70.0
169th: Bob Etheridge, 63.5
214th: Larry Kissell, 51.2
239th: Heath Shuler, 45.5
247th: Mike McIntyre, 43.2
274th: Walter Jones, 34.2
348th: Howard Coble, 18.0
395th: Sue Myrick, 11.5
411th: Virginia Foxx, 8.7
413: Patrick McHenry, 8.5

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Freedom Communications coming out of bankruptcy

Freedom Communications, the Irvine, Calif.-based newspaper chain that owns several dailies and other publications in North Carolina, expects to come out of bankruptcy by March 31. Good news for folks in Burlington, Gastonia, Kinston, Jacksonville, Shelby, Havelock, New Bern, and Surf City.

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Is Stephanopoulos getting spokesman pay from Obama?

Ask yourself: If Robert Gibbs were hosting “Good Morning America” this morning, would he have done anything different from George Stephanopoulos? The former Clinton flack is shameless in his huckstering for Obama. It’s simply embarrassing. Watch the video at the link.

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Easley-style trick in Iowa

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) or his staff must be reading old Carolina Journal stories.

He was caught by reporters yesterday announcing some “500 green-collar jobs” in Newton, IA. Only problem was, as one reporter pointed out, he’d already announced those jobs in August.

If you recall, CJ’s Don Carrington caught then-Gov. Mike Easley doing the same thing back in 2005.

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Yet Again, Kids Who Need Help are Left Behind

It is truly painful to read stories like this one from the LA Times, which details how California’s education establishment has successfully fended off competition from charter schools. In this case, the losers are kids with special needs. As the story points out, the irony is that Big Education’s frequent argument is that charters don’t serve enough kids with special needs.

Newsflash: the education system’s problem with charters has nothing to do with children. Their fight against charters is about maintaining power and control.

In the end, the board turned down all but four charter bids, opting instead primarily for internal, teacher-led proposals. Even though the district has struggled most with improving secondary education, no charter received a high school and only one, Magnolia Science Academy, will run a middle school — on a campus it will share with a separate teacher-run school.

The teachers union fought hard to limit the charters. Every new charter would have effectively reduced the union’s membership — potentially corresponding to more L.A. Unified layoffs during the current district budget crisis. And a growing nonunion charter workforce gradually reduces union clout not only on pay and benefits issues, but also on matters such as class size and the direction of future reforms.

The union’s pressure on board members got a boost from Maria Elena Durazo, who heads the L.A. County Federation of Labor and who personally called on board members the day before the vote.

Here in North Carolina, the fear of competition from charter schools is equally clear. JLF’s Terry Stoops explains our state’s glaring double standard of accountability for public charter schools and traditional public schools. What would happen if the tougher charter standards were applied to all the schools? More than 150 would be closed.

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New York’s technocrats run wild

Eminent domain abuse is taken to new heights (Prospect Heights, actually) in New York City. Now it’s not just “blight” that can justify local bureaucrats and planners to take your property, it’s “underutilization”:

In New York, this creative definition of blight is the new central-planning model. Consultants have also cited “underutilization” in West Harlem, where the city’s Economic Development Corporation wants to take land from private owners and hand it to Columbia University for an expansion project.

Central planners just don’t want to deal with that messy mechanism called a free market.

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Sen. Ellie Kinnaird Files for Re-Election

WCHL reports that Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, a Democrat, filed for re-election to the General Assembly. It would be her seventh term in the N.C. Senate. Senate District 23 covers Orange and Person counties. Right now it looks as if two Republicans will compete in the May primary for the right to challenge Kinnaird in the fall: Jon Greg Bass and Ryan Hilliard.

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Let Them Compete

Four hospitals/medical providers want to expand their facilities and services in Wake County. There’s only one problem — and it’s a BIG one. They have to get the state’s permission to do so since North Carolina clings to an antiquated federal mandate from the 1970s, which no longer exists. It’s called the Certificate of Need law. This law gives the state authority to decide who can compete and who can’t. The big losers, of course, are the consumers of health care, as JLF’s Roy Cordato explains in this report written several years ago.

The answer is simple: repeal the Certificate of Need law and allow health care providers to compete.

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