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Archive for October, 2011

Raleigh Has Spent $40,000 to Police Occupy Protesters

Raleigh citizens, it’s your tax dollars at work, as reported by Carolina Journal’s David Bass.

In Raleigh, city government spent $26,300 for additional police protection during a kickoff rally the weekend of Oct. 15, according to estimates from the Raleigh Police Department. Since then, the additional tab for policing protesters lined up on the sidewalk near the Capitol grounds has been $1,500 per day.

The public costs aren’t confined to the Tar Heel State. Occupy Seattle already has cost the city an estimated $105,000. In Boston, that figure was expected to be more than $2 million by the end of October. New York City puts the cost of overtime for police at $1.9 million.

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Tear Gas, Flash-Bang Projectiles, and Heroin

From Oakland and from Boston come the latest news from the Occupy movement.

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Seen on the Durham Freeway

Today I drove next to a compact car with two stickers attached to its bumper:

Obama 08

Torture is a moral issue

I’m just wondering if the driver thinks being a key force behind the toppling and subsequent execution of a foreign leader — all under the guise of a humanitarian effort — is a moral issue. I continue to be amazed by the Leftists who decry waterboarding, but have little problem with what just occurred in Libya with the current administration’s blessing.

 

 

 

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“These guys are not your typical fly-by-night, let’s-steal-a-cow kinda people”

I am stunned at the depths to which some will sink to make a buck by stealing. Unfortunately, bad people will use a bad economy to do even worse things.

 

The down economy has triggered all sorts of bizarre behavior, like dognapping and people who steal human hair. The latest, reported by the Associated Press, is found in the pastures of Oklahoma, where one rancher recently checked on his livestock to find two gutted Black angus calves. The thieves left the entrails and took the meat, along with another 400-pound calf. It cost the rancher around $1,800.

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A Victory for Religious Freedom

The Heritage Foundation lays out last week’s legal victory for religious freedom as it relates to military veterans.

 

Last week a federal judge approved a settlement agreement that will help ensure that religious freedom is respected at the Houston National Cemetery and other national cemeteries around the country.

Several veterans groups, represented by the Texas-based Liberty Institute, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agreed to a consent decree that requires the VA to acknowledge the religious freedom rights of veterans’ groups and families and allow the inclusion of religious language and prayers in military burials.

The rifle salute, the solemn playing of Taps, and the presentation of the folded flag to family members are important, iconic rituals of a military funeral. During many veterans’ burials, volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) also include recitation of a prayer and express condolences to the families of the deceased. At the Houston National Cemetery, however, mere mention of such unauthorized religious sentiment has been met with increasing official hostility and censorship.

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Market Forces at Work

This week, two great examples of market forces and competition at work.

First, Netflix has learned a hard lesson about market forces in the wake of its recent price hike and amateurish handling of a change in the way it distributes movies. Incredibly, the company appears to have not anticipated that its customers would react quite negatively to both. Third quarter financials show that 800,000 subscribers have fled Netflix. You have to wonder how a CEO can survive a clear demonstration of his lack of respect for his customers and market forces.

Netflix’s downfall leaves Hastings — the only CEO the company has ever had — in a precarious position.

Once regarded as one of the savviest leaders in technology and entertainment, Hastings has turned into a punching bag for frustrated Netflix customers and shareholders. Many of them are still befuddled by his recent decision making.

After Netflix’s higher prices kicked in on Sept. 1, Hastings amplified the outrage by outlining a plan to toss the DVD rental business onto a separate website called Qwikster. The split from the Internet streaming service got panned so badly that Hastings reversed course in less than three weeks.

“I am not a quitter,” Hasting said Monday after the AP asked him if would heed some investor calls for him to resign. “We made some mistakes, but I think our 10-year track record is extremely positive. We are going to focus on making this a great global streaming business. I am very excited about that.”

 

The second example of competition in action came yesterday when I opened a checking account with a credit union that’s offering 2.51 percent interest for making a certain amount of debit transactions per month. The credit union is capitalizing on Bank of America’s much-panned move to charge customers a $5 fee for debit card use. When I closed my old account (not at B of A, by the way), the teller asked why I was leaving. When I told her it was for the higher interest rate being offered by her competitor, she shook her head and said her bank has lost a lot of customers over this and needs to do something about it. That “something” would be a win for consumers, which is what competition brings and why policies that thwart competition are so ill advised.

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Right Place Right Time? Yes. Overrated? No.

Thanks to JLF’s John Hood for pointing me to a Weekly Standard cover piece about the president’s political skill, or lack thereof in the writer’s view. Writer Noemie Emery concludes that Mr. Obama’s political skill is overrated. I disagree. While the story is a superb summary and analysis of then candidate Obama and the voting coalition that propelled him to the White House, I see Mr. Obama as quite adept politically, at least up until the past  year or so, when he went completely tone deaf to that coalition’s widespread rejection of his economic policies. For most of the first two years, however, he managed to continue Bush administration foreign policies — policies he and many of his supporters denounced during the 2008 campaign — without drawing much real scrutiny or criticism. And, he’s managed to continue pushing failed economic policies that are still cheered by many in the mainstream media. Based on the red-meat rhetoric he recently spouted to the faithful on his campaign stops in North Carolina, I’d say he has political skill. The question is, can rhetoric lead to a second term? And if it does, where will this country find itself? Here’s a sample from Emery’s piece that I find particularly enlightening:

 

Good politicians are in sync with their times, understand them, and deal with their challenges. But Obama is at odds, and often at war, with his own. In an age when debt is a problem, he is a big spender; when government has to cut back, he wants to expand both its expense and its reach. Nothing that happens appears to deter him, not the massive pushback from the American people in the 2009 and 2010 elections; not the crisis in Europe, kicked off by the collapse of Greece’s finances in April 2010, which caused an austerity panic all over Europe, and should have driven home the most cogent of lessons: that exactly as he was trying to turn his country into a social democracy like those of old Europe, which the American left had long admired, the European social democracies had been forced to admit that their model could not be sustained. 

The result is that Obama is now an outlier among the world’s leaders: the one head of a first world industrial nation who is not calling for cutbacks and thrift. In Britain, David Cameron plans cuts of $130 billion; in France, Nicolas Sarkozy raised the retirement age and has limited pensions. “We can’t finance our social model,” said the president of the European Council, facing the reality that longer life expectancy, a smaller work force, and regulations and policies that inhibit productivity have called a halt to an era of generous benefits. Obama alone is hopelessly enamored of the past.

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How Many Wiggly Fingers Does It Take to Approve a Coup?

The movement that claims pride in being leaderless is seeking to, well, oust its leader in Charlotte. I’ll leave it to you to determine how many wiggly fingers it takes to agree to a political coup.

 

Shope, 47, a Charlotte gem cutter, said Friday he has done nothing wrong and that he won’t quit. He accused a small group of about eight young people at the camp of being too radical and spreading “rhetoric and lies.”

The conflict reflects the movement’s struggle to remain inclusive and without a leader one month into the local offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, the protest that has spread across the country.

It also highlights the role of social media and the Web in the modern era of protests.

In expelling Shope, Occupy Charlotte asked him to relinquish his popular Facebook page and website, the group’s main outlets of communication.

 

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NC radio to keep Occupy Wall Street spokesloony as show host

NPR last week fired on-air “Soundprint” hostess Lisa Simeone for actively working as a public relations operative for the radical left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement. As I posted last week, that raised the question of whether they would also fire her from her post as hostess of an NPR-distributed opera show produced by Davidson College’s radio station.

Now we know. NPR cashiered Simeone, but WDAV, the Davidson station, plans to keep her on and distribute the show itself:

NPR will no longer distribute the member station-produced program “World of Opera” to about 60 stations across the country because the show host helped organize an ongoing Washington protest, a network official said Friday evening.

Instead, North Carolina-based classical music station WDAV, which produces the show, said it will distribute the nationally syndicated program on its own beginning Nov. 11. The station said it plans to keep Lisa Simeone as host and has said her involvement in a political protest does not affect her job as a music program host.

NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm said the network disagrees with the station on the role of program hosts but respects its position.

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More from the Marshall-Miller Occupy contingent

As posted earlier, NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and U.S. Rep. Brad Miller have cast their lot with the Occupy movement. As more reports surface of these filthy anarchists and their “occupations,” surely they must be having second thoughts. In New York, even the liberal-leaning Manhattan populace is fed up:

“They are defecating on our doorsteps,” fumed Katherine Hughes, a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. “A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids.”

Fed up homeowners said that they’ve been subjected to insults and harassment as they trek to their jobs each morning. “The protesters taunt people who are on their way to work,” said James Fernandez, 51, whose apartment overlooks the park.

Why would politicos as astute as Marshall and Miller align themselves with these miscreants? Here’s a clue:

The Democrats are crazy to align themselves with people — bums, essentially — who will annoy if not enrage the vast majority of voters. That Democrats are willing to take a chance on being the “Occupy Wall Street” party is the clearest possible evidence of how desperate they are, and how much they fear next year’s elections.

UPDATE: Video below added later. Pretty much says it all about who Democrats are getting in bed with. Whether that’s a smart thing, they’ll find out later.

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