The theme of the week appears to be finding less overt ways to block access to the Free Expression Tunnel. It turns out that locking arms and physically preventing students from passing through the FET also cuts shuts down the only handicap-accessible tunnel on campus (and is also a far worse violation of students’ rights than is scribbling an offensive drawing, and also puts protesters at the real risk of committing assault, not that university officials would mention those things).
Anti-FE(T) activists are now bleating for prior university approval of tunnel graffiti, and Thomas Stafford, the vice chancellor for student affairs at NC State, is wanting a week without speech in the FET (that is, if he can get the “right people” and “right groups” on board).
Now Chancellor Randy “No Problem Too Small” Woodson is offering another pacifier: adding a “diversity course” to the university’s general education requirements.
Meanwhile, student editors at Technician are defending the importance of the tunnel and free speech in several staff editorials. Kudos to them, especially for this NCSU-tradition-minded defense of the tunnel:
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… It could be argued that the Free Expression tunnel is not required for the function of the University, but it is has become a part of the University’s culture and identity. Whether students agree or not, the Free Expression Tunnel is something unique that sets the University apart in terms of freedom. The University gives students space on its property to deface, beautify or use to their own purpose without restraint. Not many students can boast their universities allow that.
Ultimately, the Free Expression Tunnel is a symbolic expression of students. It is a collage of different points of view, varying skill levels and levels of involvement. It is an expression of things that happen on campus. Students asking why we need the Free Expression Tunnel should ask what they want to express, not just in the Free Expression Tunnel.
Students’ asking the University to shut down the Free Expression Tunnel is sad. For the selfish desire of security from opposite points of view, they want it silenced. But shutting it down would be a symbolic blow to free expression of all students, including themselves. Next time theses students walk through the tunnel, they should write what they think, not think to silence what others write.
The latest from Cumberland County officials is that Rep. Rick Glazier’s lead over GOP challenger Jackie Warner is down to just 20 votes. There are nearly 1,000 provisional ballots still to be counted. Incredible. From the Fayetteville Observer:
The Board of Elections is scheduled Wednesday to spent most of the day counting by hand 946 provisional ballots cast on Election Day, which could affect the ultimate outcome in the Glazier-Warner contest.
“I feel really glad,” Warner said after the tally. “I’m hoping I’ll pick up some more votes with the provisional ballots.”
Voters whose addresses are in doubt or vote in the wrong precinct are given provisional ballots that are inspected later.
The board is scheduled to do a voter canvass Friday, when the returns from last week’s elections become final.
Warner already has asked for a recount, but election officials said they can’t do it until after Friday’s canvass.
For more on the several races that are still being finalized, check out this Carolina Journal story by David Bass.Read full article » No Comments »
What in the world is NC State teaching about the First Amendment? From the Technician’s latest story about the debate over free speech in the Free Expression Tunnel: (emphasis is mine)
According to another student at the meeting, the question of how long it will be before physical violence is rising among the student body.
The student also suggested the name of the Free Expression Tunnel be changed to the “expression tunnel,” with students required to obtain approval for writings in the tunnel prior to painting.
The idea of the Speech Police is alive and well at NC State.Read full article » No Comments »
That quote comes from JLF’s Joe Coletti, who describes in this Carolina Journal story the fallacy of the state’s Certificate of Need law, which purports to hold down health care costs by limiting supply, but which actually does the opposite.
Theoretically, by allowing fewer providers of expensive services — such as open-heart surgery, organ transplants and air ambulance service — fewer people would use them. This would keep insurance premiums low and reduce the amount of tax dollars spent on Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured patients.
This premise was false, Coletti said. The hospitals that were allowed to provide the services developed monopolies and were able to charge higher rates for them.
When states have repealed certificate-of-need laws, Coletti said, competition has pushed prices down.
Currently, 82 of 100 North Carolina counties have only one hospital. Insurance companies must pay the price the hospitals charge or they lose an entire county of customers.
“If a hospital were allowed to open up across the street,” he said, “the insurance company could go to the original hospital and say, ‘Guess what, we can’t pay you what you want and we don’t have to worry anymore because you have competition.’”
When insurance companies have negotiating power, they pay lower costs and can in turn charge lower premiums, he said.
Will the new General Assembly address this counterproductive, outdated law when it convenes in January? We’ll see. In the meantime, you can read more about the CON law, as it’s called, in this 2005 piece by JLF’s Roy Cordato.Read full article » No Comments »
Could it be that Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs thinks the sales tax hike was defeated by Orange voters because they just didn’t know enough about it? From the Chapel Hill News:
The campaign, which had a logo, website and advertisements ended up costing the county just under $36,000, but some say it may have not been effective.
“I was struck, while handing out literature at the polls, by people who didn’t know what it was,” Jacobs said.
Perhaps one day the commissioners will take to heart that a growing number of Orange County residents reject the continual expansion of government — and the continual push for more taxpayer cash to fund it. In 2008, Orange voters also rejected, by a 2-to-1 margin, the proposed land transfer tax hike.
A great example of the county’s irresponsible spending: the $45,000 appropriated earlier this year for Commissioner Jacob’s breast-feeding initiative.
TROSA, the Durham organization considered the last stop for hard-core addicts, graduated another class of clean-and-sober people from its program on Sunday. This time, 19 men and women completed the intense, no-nonsense two-year program.
And guess what. TROSA turns around lives without government funding. Congratulations to all the dedicated staffers and donors — and the 19 men and women who’ve made it back.Read full article » No Comments »