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D’oh! Aquarium Nurses Injured Bald Eagle, But Lauds Wind Turbines That Kill Them

Today we’re treated to yet another irony of progressive thought. In his Environment-focused weekly newsletter, JLF’s Roy Cordato relates his experience at the North Carolina Aquarium at Ft. Fisher. Here’s what you see after paying your $11 entry fee.

Surprisingly, the first thing that we saw was not a tank full of fish or a cage with indigenous NC birds or a mock pond with different kinds of turtles and frogs. Those things came later. What we were confronted with was a sign proclaiming the evils of coal power and the dangers of global warming.  Reading further we were exhorted to support a plan, with a minimum $5.00 contribution, to use 100 percent wind power at the aquarium.

The truth, not mentioned anywhere at the aquarium, is that at no point in the foreseeable future will any of the electricity used to run the aquarium actually come from wind turbines, no matter how many 5 dollar bills are contributed. As the poster notes, the $5 one donates will not go toward actually powering the aquarium with anything. That happens when the state pays the aquarium’s electricity bills. Those donated dollars instead will be used to purchase “renewable energy certificates” (RECs), which are nothing more than subsidies to the wind power industry to produce wind power somewhere — not in North Carolina.

And then, the sad but true irony.

Finally, I’d like to note that one of the aquarium’s exhibits is a bald eagle with an injured wing. Indeed the aquarium boasts about taking the bird in and helping it to survive. Of course, the irony is that wind power is a notorious killer of bald eagles. In fact, President Obama has recently found it necessary to issue an exemption to wind power companies allowing them to kill this endangered species without penalty. By subsidizing wind power, the NC Aquarium will be contributing to the now legalized slaughter of this national symbol.

To sign up for Roy’s weekly Environment-focused newsletter, click here.

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Will Liberal Feminists Care That Men Are Being Left Behind?

It turns out that women are crushing men when it comes to raising capital on crowdfunding websites.

On Kickstarter, where backers make contributions in exchange for rewards, women-led companies account for less than 10% of technology projects. But roughly two-thirds of women-led technology ventures reached their fundraising goals versus just 30% of technology ventures with male founders, according to a new academic study.

Overall, women are 13% more likely than men to meet their Kickstarter goals, even after controlling for project type, amount being raised and other factors, according to the analysis, which examined 1,250 projects in five categories that sought at least $5,000 between 2010 and 2012.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for liberal feminists to care that, just as with higher education, men are being left behind. They’ll just keep calling for special privileges for women.



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Political Prof: 2014 Electorate Looks Like 2010, Not 2012

Carolina Journal’s Dan Way asked Meredith College political science professor David McLennan for perspective on the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan, Republican N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Libertarian Sean Haugh.

Some pundits consider Hagan among the most vulnerable Senate Democrats, and in light of that, she is shifting to the political center.

“She’s got advertising out saying she is the most moderate candidate,” McLennan said.

“So turning the table and attacking Tillis, and the General Assembly, is just part of the same strategy of trying to say … she reflects more North Carolinian views, and she’s moderate just like North Carolinians,” McLennan said.

“She’s trying to get away from anything that can be hung on her that says Washington, D.C., Barack Obama, Affordable Care Act, immigration failure, whatever it may be,” he said.

One potential pitfall to running as a moderate could be the makeup of this year’s midterm electorate.

“There is some evidence out there right now that suggests the voting electorate in November 2014 is going to be more similar to the voting electorate in November 2010 than it was in 2012,” McLennan said.

“So if we have an electorate that looks like 2010, you might say that makes North Carolina a little more conservative than moderate,” McLennan said. The voting mix in 2012 was more middle of the road.

Fascinating analysis.

Stay on top of the day’s latest on the campaign trail by checking in each weekday over at sister blog The Locker Room. That’s where Rick Henderson blogs the latest political news.

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Chapel Hill/Carrboro Schools Superintendent Nervous About Competition?

Throw competitive forces into the mix of virtually any industry or situation, and everybody involved steps up their game. That’s one of the reasons the school-choice reformers in the legislature are to be commended for their substantial work on providing parents with more choices. Clearly, traditional public schools are starting to notice that parents have options. Case in point: this column written by Tom Forcella, superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools for the Chapel Hill News. As the traditional school year begins, he writes that he is changing his mindset to what he calls “consumerism.”

First, our public schools are, and have been since inception, a community hub. Strong schools drive our economy, our commerce, our kinship, and our quality of life. Thomas Jefferson suggested an educated citizenry is the basis of an indispensable democracy. Thus, it is vital that we maintain a focus on healthy and vibrant public schools.

Second, the support of our community – via both student attendance and tax funding – is crucial to the existence and well-being of our schools.

We do not want to wake up five years from now and wonder why thousands of our students have decided on other educational alternatives. This has been the reality of many of my superintendent colleagues from other parts of our state and nation. That scenario would devastate our school district and severely impede our community.

So, before that happens, we need to make sure that, as a school system, we instill confidence in our consumers. We also need to tell the stories of our schools. Amazing things happen in classrooms throughout Carrboro and Chapel Hill on a daily basis.

I do not agree that people making choices outside the traditional system would “severely impede our community.” The point is to have an educated citizenry, not to circle the wagons around a one-size-fits-all system. That said, I take Mr. Forcella’s column as an acknowledgement that parents and taxpayers are consumers — not cogs in a system.

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More Progressive Vitriol

Sadly, some progressives seem to prefer slinging mud and insults at those with different points of view over having a rational discussion of ideas. I’ve blogged here many times about the vitriol and vulgarity that adorns way too many vehicles that drive my route between Orange and Wake counties.

Today’s installment of progressive thinking came to me courtesy of a very new-looking car that I noticed because it was so pretty. As I got closer, I saw the car was adorned with two bumper stickers.

On the right end of the bumper was a white dove with clouds in the background — a universal symbol for peace and tranquility.

On the left end of the bumper was a hateful anti-Republican vulgarity that I won’t repeat.

And no, the driver isn’t likely to ever see the irony.

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Is the Postal Service going IRS on us?

My wife, who does all our charitable and political giving, recently sent some money to the Republican State Leadership Committee. She dutifully put a check in the postage-paid envelope the RSLC sent us. She also put a return address sticker on it that contains our correct address. And then she put it in the mail.

A couple of weeks later we got this back:


Notice that the RSLC address was not penned by my wife, but was pre-printed on the form behind the window in the envelope. I called the RSLC today and spoke with Jill Bader in their press office. She says that, indeed, is the RSLC’s correct address, and that she has no idea why the Postal Service says this letter is “not deliverable as addressed.” She said they’d look into it.

It was my wife who first advanced the notion that maybe the Postal Service was doing something similar to the IRS, which targeted conservative groups prior to the 2012 election. If some partisan hack in the Postal Service decided to put yellow “not deliverable” stickers on anything that looked like a check to a Republican fundraising group or conservative organization, that could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars not received. I’m just sayin’.

Wondering if this has happened to anyone else.


Holly Springs Elementary School PTA Pushes Liberal Talking Points

Over at sister blog The Locker Room, JLF’s Terry Stoops has posted the Facebook message/event supported by the Holly Springs Elementary School PTA – a group that has clearly chosen liberal talking points over a reasoned policy debate about education.

You can read the Facebook posting/message for yourself right here.

I invite the PTA members to spend some time with education facts, available here.







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“fears fanned by activists and environmental pressure groups”

Next week, officials from the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission will be in Raleigh for one of four scheduled public meetings about hydraulic fracturing — fracking. JLF’s Jon Sanders’ new report on fracking looks at common questions and misconceptions. 

“Exploration for and recovery of natural gas in North Carolina holds the promise of job creation, wealth creation, revenue generation, and a new domestic industry in the state,” said report author Jon Sanders, JLF Director of Regulatory Studies. “Yet the process of hydraulic fracturing — ‘fracking’ — has raised several concerns. Some are legitimate questions informed by a reasonable skepticism. Others are fears fanned by activists and environmental pressure groups.”

As I blogged recently, the lifting of North Carolina’s moratorium on fracking has at least two area entrepreneurs eyeing how their products can not only help the industry but, in the process, expand their businesses.

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What About the Moms Who Need Part-Time Jobs?

Force businesses to pay entry-level workers more. That’s the mantra from progressives who say the minimum wage doesn’t support a family. Well, they’re right on that account. But that’s an issue of the value of the job duties to the business, not the value of the person hired to work. Carrie Lukas takes on progressives in Seattle, where the minimum wage was forcibly raised to $15 per hour, this piece for the Independent Women’s Forum.

Reality check No. 1 is that there are already far too few minimum-wage jobs for high schoolers and those with few skills or limited education. As the Employment Policy Institute recently reported, in the Seattle area the unemployment rate for 16- 19-year-olds with less than a high school diploma sits at a shocking 31.4 percent. That means that almost one in three teens looking for work—note that they are seeking positions that pay the current minimum wage, not $15 an hour—can’t find an opening. Their inability to find a job today doesn’t just mean less money for movies and going to the beach this summer. It means they won’t start a work history and gain the valuable skills and experience that are necessary for future jobs, ones that pay more and start them toward long-term careers.

And what about moms trying to balance work and family life?

But, this law will also shape the lives of many adults who are responsible for families. Proponents of the higher minimum wage have argued that the new mandate will particularly help women, who account for two-thirds of minimum-wage workers. This statistic also suggests that women will also be far more vulnerable to the potential job losses created by the new minimum wage. Nationally, women also account for nearly two-thirds of part-time workers, positions that are also are more likely to pay the legal minimum. As employment costs rise, businesses will be tempted to cut and consolidate part-time positions in favor of fewer, more highly skilled workers. That’s bad news for those who need or prefer part-time schedules to balance their work and family responsibilities.

It is yet another example of progressive policy hurting the very people the Left claims to speak for and wants to help.

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“It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which they will go to try to justify this stuff”

Carolina Journal’s Dan Way has been keeping us abreast of the repeal of the Durham gun registry by this session’s legislature. That’s the good news. The bad news? The documents still exist in Durham, and officials are pointing the finger at each other about what to do with them. The story begins with Archie Smith, Durham County’s Clerk of Court for Superior Court.

Smith has been unable to transfer custody of the files to Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews, and said Valone’s call for destroying the tens of thousands of documents would not be a straightforward process.

“They’re not something that belongs to the state,” he said, because the registry was created as the result of a “local bill” in the General Assembly applying only to Durham County.

The records are “not mine to get rid of. They don’t belong to me as an individual or me as the clerk. I’ve got no authority to do anything with them. The statute simply said that the requirement to keep them was no longer there,” Smith said.

“If I were to take and spray some Kingsford charcoal lighter fluid to them and light a match, the next thing you know, here would come somebody from the county saying those were county records, you weren’t supposed to do that,” he added.

Durham County spokeswoman Dawn Dudley said neither the county manager nor county commissioners had a position on the repeal legislation or what to do with the controversial records. She said that was a matter for Smith and Sheriff Mike Andrews to decide.

“The county commissioners … didn’t ask for this 80 years ago, they didn’t ask for it now. They would love for it to just disappear, too,” said state Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, who sponsored the repeal bill.

Woodard said there could be some historical value to keeping a handful of some records in the gun registry.

“Just pick some from early eras, determine that the registrant is deceased, and let’s put them on file so that historians could look at them, and take the rest out by the boxload and put them in an incinerator,” Woodard said.

No surprise that this situation isn’t sitting well with Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina.

Valone dismisses the notion that information on the gun registrations is unique. He said such data is readily available from other venues, including the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

“It’s bureaucrats justifying trying to retain data they’re no longer supposed to have, trying to retain some of the power the state is no longer allowed to have, and it’s unsurprising. It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which they will go to try to justify this stuff,” Valone said.

Don’t be surprised if it takes an act of the legislature to begin the process of destroying these records.

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