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Archive for October, 2011

I Offered My I.D., But Poll Worker Said No Thanks

I voted Saturday in Orange County, where county voters have just one ballot item to decide: the quarter-cent sales tax hike. When the poll worker asked my name and then started to hand me a form to sign, I asked if she’s like to see my drivers license. She replied that she didn’t need it. It was very clear that anyone could have walked in, given my name, and voted in my place — an unbelievably insecure voting system.

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Shame on Richmond

The way the mayor and police chief in Richmond are handling the controversy over the blatant double standard regarding protests shows how much some venues have become governments of men and not of laws.

In addition to charging an arm and a leg to Tea Party activists for three gatherings in the past, the city made them jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops. But the Occupy Richmond rabble have had carte blanche to occupy city parks, make a mess of everything and flout the law, all without any fee or hoops to jump through:

Why police have not already removed the protesters is not clear. A section of the city’s code makes it “unlawful for any person to camp, tent, encamp or quarter upon any public grounds, parks, playfields, playgrounds or any public property owned or maintained by the city.”

In March, the code was used to break up a group of 20 anarchists and homeless people who had set up camp in Monroe Park near Virginia Commonwealth University for more than a week to bring attention to homeless issues. Eight people were charged with, and later convicted of, remaining in the park after dark.

A spokesman for Richmond police was unavailable for comment.

I heard on the TV news tonight that Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones has scoffed at the Tea Party’s request for a refund of the $10,000 they had to pay the city for their gatherings. Reportedly, he says he is sympathetic with the Occupy Richmond demonstrators because of his ties to the civil rights era.

It’s nice to see the Democratic mayor be so committed to enforcing the laws without fear or favor. When politicians let their personal preferences and biases dictate what laws will be enforced, then there is no law. Richmond’s voters need to remember that at the next municipal election. And the next mayor should have a long talk with the police chief, and show him the door, too, if he doesn’t have an attitude adjustment.

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What Happened to Being Inclusive and Welcoming?

The 99%-ers are turning on other 99%-ers. 

The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.


And, true to form, the 99%-ers think all this is unfair.


Some protesters threatened that the high-end meals could be cut off completely if the vagrants and criminals don’t disperse.

Unhappiness with their unwelcome guests was apparent throughout the day.

“We need to limit the amount of food we’re putting out” to curb the influx of derelicts, said Rafael Moreno, a kitchen volunteer.

A security volunteer added that the cooks felt “overworked and underappreciated.”

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Supreme Court Ruling Thwarts Chapel Hill Elections Program

The State Board of Elections has taken its first steps to respond to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling dealing with taxpayer-financed election campaigns. The board told Chapel Hill it could not use “matching funds” in its taxpayer financing program, dubbed voter-owned elections. Recently on Carolina Journal Radio, I talked with Daren Bakst, John Locke Foundation director of legal and regulatory studies, about the ruling and its implications. You’ll find the transcript of that interview here.


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Occupy Duke: “We do not have an agenda” and “I love sleeping in tents”

If you need an afternoon chuckle, say hello to the Occupy Duke protest movement. I’ve bolded some of the more entertaining elements.


The general assembly meetings of Occupy Duke operate on policy of consensus decision-making adopted from the Wall Street movement, Karklina said. With an indefinite time-frame and goals, the Duke movement—independent from Occupy Durham—hopes to include academic discussions such as teach-ins and debates, and creative expressions such as dance, music and banner-making.

“We do not have an agenda, and what I have been getting through the general assembly that we had earlier today… was that people don’t necessarily feel that there needs to be certain agendas or demands,” Karklina said.

The first night of encampment, favored by the clear weather, consisted of games and discussions intended to create a community atmosphere between campers and passers-by.

“I love sleeping in tents. If you think that people will stay in K-ville during January and February for a three-hour basketball game, this is a pretty worthy cause to camp out for,” sophomore Sarah Ludwig said.

Ludwig said the encampment creates a space where people feel comfortable expressing differing opinions. She noted that one male student passing by stopped to argue, saying the top one percent—people with an annual salary above $506,000, according to the Real Time Economics blog of The Wall Street Journal—are intelligent and deserve their earnings.

The discussions Saturday night were periodically interrupted by drunk students returning from a night out, Ludwig noted.

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Occupy Raleigh made to clean up its act

The Occupy Raleigh demonstration at the State Capitol had become a hazard to pedestrians walking along Morgan Street. I took a walk today and nearly stumbled several times trying to get from one end of the sidewalk on the south side of the Capitol to the other end. It was filled with coolers, cardboard signs, boxes of food, blankets, tarps, and all manner of junk.

Well, around 2 p.m. today we heard that the cops had insisted that the demonstrators de-occupy Raleigh, so we walked the one block to the Capitol to check it out. We were greeted by a middle-aged woman yelling, “They’re making us leave, but our ideas remain. They’re making us leave, but our ideas remain.”

It turns out she was premature in her assessment of the police crackdown. All they wanted, it seems, was that the demonstrators get rid of all the junk and food boxes blocking the sidewalk. “It was attracting homeless people,” one Capitol police officer told me.

Here are a few pics of the disgruntled protesters loading their stuff into pickup trucks and cars. Things were quiet until the TV folks arrived, then everyone began the ritual chants of the American left-winger, beginning with the traditional “Hey, ho,” and moving on to “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”

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Federal Judge Rules John Edwards Trial Will Go Forward

John Edwards’ attempt to have his case thrown out has failed. The judge says it will go forward.



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City of Durham TV Show Advocates “Yes” Vote on County Transit Tax

I write today at Carolina Journal about the City of Durham’s campaign to get voters to vote “yes” on the county’s half-cent transit tax that appears on the Nov. 8 ballot.


A Durham resident has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections over a City of Durham public affairs TV show he says promotes a “yes” vote on Durham County’s half-cent transit tax referendum. Durham City Attorney Patrick Baker told Dick Ford he knows of no legal prohibition that prevents the city from advocating for its sister government’s referendum, which will be decided Nov. 8. Early voting began last week. 

At issue for Ford is an October installment of “CityLife,” hosted by Beverly Thompson, director of the City of Durham Office of Public Affairs. The nearly 40-minute program begins with Thompson citing traffic congestion, high gas prices, and the growing population. She then asks, “So what’s the game plan for the future?” and introduces guests “to talk about the Durham Bus and Rail Investment Plan and how it will tackle this issue.” 

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Obama’s slacker-bailout move

If you’ve got lots of student debt, thank public education, Democratic welfare politics, and your parents.

You can blame public education for failing to give you even the most rudimentary education in economics.

Thank Democratic welfare politics for giving you the notion that you deserve stuff for free and that somebody else can pay for it.

Blame your parents for not filling the gap in your economic education and for not disabusing you of harmful socialistic ways of thinking.

So now you’re a hopeless slacker, living in your old bedroom at home when you’re not carrying a “Kill the Rich” sign at an Occupy Wall Street protest, all the while texting your friends on your iPhone and keeping track of all the other slacker losers friends via Facebook on your MacBook Pro, typing whenever you don’t need to flutter your fingers to show solidarity with a left-wing speaker using a bullhorn, and circulating petitions for a student-loan bailout.

You got that undergraduate degree in sociology and that master’s degree in counseling, and suddenly you realize that you’re only trained to be a parole officer, and that doesn’t pay enough to pay off your $60,000 in student debt.

A story in The News & Observer highlighted the sob story of Alison Wadsworth, an UNC-Chapel Hill grad who got a law degree and an MBA from Campbell University. Now she’s working as a sales clerk with a huge college-loan debt.

Note to Alison: We. Don’t. Care. You chose to incur this debt for your glam degrees. You ought to have to pay it back with no help from the taxpayers. But, as much as Obama claims this won’t cost the taxpayer anything, taxpayers will likely end up paying off most of your loan. Under Obama’s new guidelines, you never have to pay more than 10 percent of your salary as a loan payment, and after 20 years you’re free to quit paying at all.

Now, if one day you’re actually working as a whizbang lawyer or CEO somewhere, you’ll be one of the lucky ones, and maybe you’ll actually pay off your ill-advised loan. But thousands of kids with huge student loans are working as baristas, waitresses, and unemployed actors. Their small pittance of monthly payments will never pay off their loans. And after 20 years, the taxpayer will suck it up.

In fact, as with most liberal programs, there is no incentive to do the right thing. Just the opposite, in fact. Most student-loan “victims” will be content to pay the minimum for 20 years and then stick the taxpayer. To say this is an affront to kids and parents who actually did the responsible thing and paid their own way is an understatement.

But, hey, it’s just another step down the “redistribution of wealth” road that Obama and his czars have put us on.

(Photo credit: Carolina Journal‘s David N. Bass took the accompanying photo at an Occupy Raleigh “general assembly” in Moore Square on Oct. 2.)

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Occupy Wall Streeters Stumped By Economic Reality

In 3 minutes, businessman, entrepreneur, and job creator Peter Schiff shares economic and tax code reality with a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters. They’re clearly stumped and stick to the Leftist, redistributionist talking points no matter what. It would be easy to simply chuckle at this video, but it’s actually pretty sad. People are genuinely frustrated, but if we hope to turn this country around, economic reality must be faced and appropriate policies must be enacted. “Rich” people are not the enemy. Those who seek to engender jealousy and anger toward successful people should be ashamed of themselves.

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