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Archive for September, 2011

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Over at sister blog The Locker Room, Mitch Kokai blogs about the discovery of yet another bureaucratic boondoggle, paid for by American tax dollars. This time it involves sending checks to deceased federal retirees. I have an idea: how about collecting the money from the family members who cashed the checks for their deceased loved ones?

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Berkeley Student Gov’t President Flirts With Censoring Campus Events

The bake sale at Berkeley, conducted by the College Republicans and designed to point out the blatant discrimination of racial and gender preferences in college admissions drew this response from Vishalli Loomba, president of the Associated Students of the University of California.

Loomba, Berkeley’s student government president, said she is concerned about students potentially feeling ostracized due to the bake sale.

“I have heard that from numerous students who have said this makes students feel unwelcome on campus,” she said. “For that reason alone, we should think about what events we have on campus.”


Fascinating that a student government president who on one hand claims support for “any students on campus — (having) political discussion” would at the same time flirt with censoring campus events based on who might be offended. Ironically, the student government group had no qualms conducting its own event that would offend the members of the student body who reject racial and gender preferences in college admissions as overt discrimination.


Yards away, Berkeley’s student government — the Associated Students of the University of California — hosted a phone bank in support of SB 185, state legislation that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during the admissions process.


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Perdue is second Democrat in 24 hours to urge end of democracy

By now everyone’s heard about Gov. Bev Perdue’s comments today at a meeting of the Cary Rotary Club:

“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

By all accounts, Perdue did not smile, smirk, roll her eyes or give any other kind of clue that this was a joke. But that’s what The News & Observer says in their headline. It seems that a “clarifying” comment from Perdue’s office forced the use of “joking” in the headline, because, from the original reporting, it was anything but obvious:

It’s unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious — but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea.

The inimitable Allahpundit at HotAir.com (see above) is as suspicious as I am:

The News-Observer claims in their headline that she was “joking” but I think that’s because they can’t quite believe a sitting governor would be so stupid as to say this publicly.

Allah also points out that Perdue’s suggestion is part of a trend in Democratic circles:

In case you’re keeping score, this makes twice in the past 24 hours that a prominent Dem has called for less democracy as the solution to America’s problems. The first was former Obama budget guru Peter Orszag, who argued yesterday in TNR that Congress should rely more heavily on independent commissions (like IPAB!) and automatic “triggers” of the sort that are guiding the Super Committee’s work on deficit reduction.

Are Democrats trying to get us accustomed to the idea that democracy is messy and technocrats can do things better, sort of like Mussolini and Hitler? Or are they just really bad at standup comedy?

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Attention Chapel Hill Officials: It Happened Again Today

Chapel Hill officials are working toward banning cell phone use while driving on town streets. Supporters of a ban say phones are a dangerous distraction. I continue to say that many things are distractions. Are we going to ban them all? This morning I had yet another experience — this time near Hwy 70 and I-85 — where a distracted driver became a driving hazard to me and those around me. Was the woman talking on the phone? No. She was busy talking to a child in the passenger seat.



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Political Implications of the Marriage Amendment

Carolina Journal’s David Bass has an interesting piece about the political implications of the May 2012 constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Political analysts say that a marriage-amendment referendum scheduled for the primary election next year will have consequences for both parties, even though lawmakers in the General Assembly tailored the ballot question’s timing to minimize the political impact.

The scheduling of the referendum increases the likelihood that it will pass because Republican primaries for top state and federal offices might still be in play, said Peace College political science professor David McLennan. In contrast, Democrats probably won’t have key races to drive turnout, he added.

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Finally, the Postal Service Comes Up With a Good Sales Idea

The U.S. Postal Service needs to generate revenue, and I like what they’ve come up with: put a living person, rather than a deceased icon, on a stamp. They’re taking nominations from the public. Good. USPS is thinking like a real business that needs to turn a profit in order to survive. The question is, who will it be? Will USPS resist an attempt to get political or make a liberal social statement? We’ll see. Ultimately, if it were up to me, I’d bid the contract for daily snail mail and allow competition to bring down the cost and increase the service.

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Thursday at Duke: The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America

If you can make it to Duke University late Thursday afternoon, there’s a fascinating speech about libertarian views and politics. Details here. It’s free and open to the public.


The Hayek Lecture Series, Duke University
Cordially invites you to

a Lecture at Duke University

with our special guests

Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie

– Editors of Reason Magazine

The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America

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2 Out of 3 Likely Voters Get It

From Rasmussen comes a lot of interesting data about likely voters’ views of government subsidies for so-called “green” energy alternatives. Voters believe in the free market. Roughly two out of three — 64% — understand that if a firm can’t attract private investors, government subsidy is likely to be wasted.


Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely U.S. Voters think free market competition is more likely than government subsidies and regulation to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% believe government subsidies and regulations are the better way to go. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But then 71% of voters say private sector companies and investors are better than government officials when it comes to determining the long-term benefits and potential of new technologies.  Sixty-four percent (64%) think it’s likely that if a private company which cannot find investors gets funding from the government, that money will be wasted.


For more on the debacle that is the “green” economy, go here.

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Urban Ministries’ stacked video game

Urban Ministries of Durham is getting some national pub for its video game SPENT, which is designed ostensibly to show the player what it’s like to live on a $9/hour wage. As you play it, however, you realize the deck has been stacked to make you fail and to engender shame in the player that makes more than $9/hour.

False assumptions and false choices abound. Just look at this one:

With the governor and Durham’s mayor out campaigning to get more people on the free-lunch dole, does anyone think that getting a free lunch in a school in Durham makes one an object of ridicule. It’s actually the opposite.

My wife, a teacher, went through the lunch line at her school a while back and, when she got to the cashier, actually took out money and paid. The child behind her in line asked, “Why are you paying for your lunch? It’s free.”

Like the imagined ostracism of kids taking free lunches, much of SPENT is imaginary. It also seems designed to discourage anyone who actually thinks they can work hard and get ahead. Way to go, Urban Ministries.

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Unsightly Trash Cans to Draw Fines in Chapel Hill

From WCHL comes the story of what’s deemed an important use of local resources in Chapel Hill:

Starting Monday, September 26, the Town of Chapel Hill will begin cracking down on residents who do not clear their trash containers or roll-carts from the road. 

Violators who do not clear the bins from the curb by 7 p.m. on the same day as trash pickupcould be fined $25 per day.


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