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Archive for May, 2012

Edwards Not Guilty On 1 Count; Mistrial Declared On 5 Other Counts

The jury in the John Edwards trial has spoken.

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The Marketplace Speaks

When I was a kid, JC Penney was my mom’s favorite store, so I’ve been watching with interest the retail giant’s attempt to rebrand itself. So far, it’s been a bust. And when the marketplace speaks, those who want to survive are forced to listen or die. Now JC Penney executives are forced to find out what its target customer really wants, rather than imposing something the customer doesn’t want. In the private sector, the company must listen or close its doors. In government, however, the tendency of those in charge is to simply tell the customer they don’t know what’s best for them. Here’s hoping government officials watch how JC Penney responds.

 

 

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Nanny Bloomberg and The NYC Food Police To Ban Sale of 16-Ounce Sodas

The folly of progressive policy is once again on display in New York City, where the man dubbed “Nanny Bloomberg” again seeks to impose a ridiculous ban on something he has deemed bad — big cups of soda. Since the mayor is an intelligent man, I have trouble accepting that he truly believes banning 16-ounce-plus sodas will somehow prevent people from becoming fat. Thus, I can reasonably conclude that this ban – like progressive policy in general – is more about control and expansion of state powers.

Restaurants, delis, movie theater and ballpark concessions would be affected, because they are regulated by the health department. Carts on sidewalks and in Central Park would also be included, but not vending machines or newsstands that serve only a smattering of fresh food items.

At fast-food chains, where sodas are often dispersed at self-serve fountains, restaurants would be required to hand out cup sizes of 16 ounces or less, regardless of whether a customer opts for a diet drink. But free refills — and additional drink purchases — would be allowed.

Rather than impose bans, the solution is to make people responsible for the impact of their health behavior through higher premiums for their health insurance.

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Fascinating Twist In The Debate Over Racial Preferences In College Admissions

From Insidehighered.com comes this fascinating story:

WASHINGTON — A brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeks to shake up the legal and political calculus of a case that could determine the constitutionality of programs in which colleges consider the race or ethnicity of applicants. In the brief, four Asian-American organizations call on the justices to bar all race-conscious admissions decisions, arguing that race-neutral policies are the only way for Asian-American applicants to get a fair shake.

 

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Stunning Statistics About Disability Claims

Medical and technological advances mean that soldiers who once would have died in combat are now surviving, but with very serious physical and emotional problems for which they need – and deserve – assistance. But the statistics in this story are really stunning about the number of vets claiming disability benefits.

A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.

What’s more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.

The story goes on to include questions about why the numbers are so high. One reason, among several, is this:

Government officials and some veterans’ advocates say that veterans who might have been able to work with certain disabilities may be more inclined to seek benefits now because they lost jobs or can’t find any. 

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When Did Compromise Become A Goal?

We have sadly come to a point where compromise is assigned virtue and principle is deemed a vice. Hence, all the gnashing of teeth over gridlock. I say that’s nonsense. Principles are key to effective policy. I am a free marketer and a believer that government’s role should be limited to core areas of expertise, and that a robust free enterprise system, coupled with personal ethics and responsibility, lead to prosperity, personal accomplishment, and the ability to help the less fortunate.

And that’s why I scratch my head at some of the comments from Joe Calder, who spoke to his graduating class at Cary Academy and discussed the future for his generation with the Cary News. The headline of the story is “At Cary Academy, a call for self-Reliance.”  Sounds good, and Mr. Calder makes some comments I can agree with. But he also equates compromise with advancing democracy, and that’s where he and I part company. Compromising my core principles leads to poor policies.

As his graduating classmates go to the polls this fall for their first presidential election, they should reshape politics by looking to results instead of the scoreboard, said Calder, the liberal-leaning son of a corporate lawyer and a real-estate investor.

“When you start to look at politics like a game, with winners or losers, instead of a struggle to find out what the best policies are, then I really think you start to lose, in a sense, the virtues of democracy,” said Calder

With better education in civics and politics, he said, Americans could compromise more easily, run their government more efficiently, and cross old obstacles.

I’ll ask Mr. Calder the same question I ask other progressives who want “compromise.” Exactly which progressive principles are they willing to give up in order to achieve the compromise they believe is virtuous?

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Alleged $10 Unpaid Cat Fee Gets Durham Councilman An Obnoxious Letter From Tax Office

Durham councilman Eugene Brown is unhappy taxpayer after receiving a letter from the city he describes as “overkill,” alleging he didn’t pay a $10 cat license fee in 2010. To make matters worse, the tax office hasn’t responded to his letter. Now he has a firsthand look at government bureaucracy.

 

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Wonder Where The Money Goes?

Take a look to see where the federal cash goes. The Weekly Standard links to a revealing chart that shows the impact of our entitlement society.

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Cary News Headline: “Morrisville bond survey under investigation”

What’s going on in Morrisville as the town council looks at potential bond projects and results of a survey used to gauge support? From the Cary News:

The Morrisville Town Council on Tuesday asked for an internal investigation into the survey results after one councilman found what he called “ballot stuffing ” which potentially skewed support for some bond projects.

Councilman Mark Stohlman said he found that 12 nearly identical surveys were sent from the same IP address listing support for a $20 million bond package. Stohlman said he traced it back to a person associated with the town.

The information has not yet been confirmed independently, and the name of the individual has not been released.

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Trade/Tech Schools Respond To The High Unemployment Rate

Yesterday I caught the last few seconds of TV commercial that shows at least one hair styling/cosmetology school sees the opportunity in the rotten job market for college graduates. Essentially, a 20-something woman makes the pitch that just months earlier she’d been an unemployed college graduate, but by enrolling at XYZ school, she’s poised to actually get a job, etc., etc., etc.

Kudos to the school for finding a need and filling it. What a pity that years of failed economic policies have created the need. As this story points out, nearly half of recent college graduates either can’t find a job or are underemployed. Is this really a “recovery”?

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