I’m not easily offended, but an outrageous act by Craven Community College officials at New Bern, North Carolina is more than offensive. Students in the automotive program had respectfully spent many hours to airbrush an image of their instructor on the hood of a rebuilt car that they gave him. The hood was on display at the student center. What’s wrong with that you ask?
Well, the instructor was shown with a cigar in his mouth—taboo in Craven campus expression. The administration had earlier banned smoking on campus that led to problems for them. A spokesman said that the artwork must go because it “sends a message that we don’t want to send.” I also have a message to send to these craven neo-fascists.
In addition to this violation of free expression (“speech,” if you prefer), freedom of association by smokers has been banned by the pathetic people in charge of this institution. The students make more sense than the addled administrators. Students felt their rights were violated and they were naturally offended. One said, this “feels like they’re trying to step on our toes.” This is much more serious than stepping on toes; it tramples on our individual freedoms.
Now, I don’t use the word “fascism” lightly. But words have meanings and that one fits this case. Jonah Goldberg, in his book “Liberal Fascism,” has the view that “ideas and impulses” prevalent in America today “come to us through an intellectual tradition that led directly to fascism” in Europe.
Among many examples, he points out that the Nazis held antismoking drives and were obsessed with public health. The mantra, health “is not a private matter” didn’t originate in America. It comes from a Hitler Youth manual. The German national-socialists despised cigarettes and thought their use would degenerate racial purity and even foster homosexuality.
I know, America hasn’t gone that far…yet. However, I think we are allowing the obsessions over personal health to take us toward “totalitarian extremes,” as Goldberg calls it. Incrementally, we are losing our individual rights here in formerly “the land of the free.”Read full article » No Comments »
Public housing projects have been dismal failures. Yet, government officials persist with a condescending attitude that some folks “need taking care of” in these institutional disasters. The mayor of Navassa says so. Not only is this insulting to the folks who don’t think of themselves as wards of the state, but it’s wasteful of other people’s money. The results are not pretty—crime-infested areas, boarded up buildings surrounded by chain-link fence, millions of wasted dollars and corrupt nonprofit organization officials.
Apparently, Brunswick County officials believe they have immunity to the welfare-disease called “public housing.” Didn’t they learn anything from the Wilmington Housing Authority debacle? Unbelievably, they hired the former director, with corruption “blemishes” in his past, as an advisor for an $8.5 million project.
The goal? Get people out of “trailer parks in unsanitary conditions,” according to a Brunswick County commissioner. Couldn’t some partnership with private housing businesses work to that end? With some direct subsidies, wouldn’t most “low- to moderate-income folks” be able to buy low-priced manufactured houses? Many of these are well-built, modern, comfortable and attractive.
The folks targeted by local government and nonprofit groups are expected to be able to afford rents ranging from $425 to $700 per month on yearly incomes of $23,000 to $35, 000. Constructing 64 rental units in this $8.5 million project would cost $133,000 per unit. Surely, with this huge potential subsidy, deals with private developers, manufactured home companies and local home loan banks could be struck.
If only half the planned cost of each public housing unit went to subsidize private housing, an additional $65,000 fixed home loan at 5 percent for 30 years would cost the folks less than $350 per month. The proper role of local government would be to provide sewer and water service. Officials could also give folks a tax break until they could afford higher taxes.
Wouldn’t this be a classic win-win situation? Government would provide an appropriate public service; folks would own homes of their own; local businesses would profit and the taxpayers would feel better about this charitable venture. The elimination of nonprofit organization bureaucracies, waste and fraud would be a bonus benefit to citizen taxpayers.Read full article » No Comments »
The StarNews reports that the North Carolina Supreme Court has accepted an appeal of the 2-1 Court of Appeals decision upholding state Sen. Julia Boseman’s legal adoption of the son of her former partner Melissa Jarrell. As you will remember, Jarrell went to court after the breakup in an attempt to question Boseman’s claim to joint custody of the boy.
While the Boseman case gained a lot of notoriety, for obvious reasons, sticky cases related to same-sex domestic partnerships, break-ups, and child custody are becoming more common, particularly in the Durham-Chapel Hill area where local judges have been more amenable to adoption and custody claims from gays and lesbians. Should be interesting to see what the Supreme Court does with a set of issues that past laws and precedents were obviously not originally intended to resolve.Read full article » 1 Comment »
Sen. Richard Burr stopped by WWAY for an interview yesterday. His remarks reflected a strategy you can see in other Republican statements: focusing more ire on the Left leadership of Congress than on the president:
“I think the President can speak to the speaker and the majority leader in the Senate, encourage them to go back to the table and seek out new ideas, get input from Republicans on the agenda,” Burr said. “But at the end of the day, I think if the President leaves it up to speaker Pelosi and leader Reid, we’re going to continue to see months and months of continuation of an impasse that is more driven based upon parties and ideology than agreements for the American people.”
Despite the drop in Obama’s approval rating over the past year, he’s still far less disliked than the leaders of Congress — thus the choice of rhetorical strategy.Read full article » No Comments »
That’s how the Jacksonville Daily News suggests she make good on her self-generated nickname “the Jobs Governor.” From today’s editorial:
It’s also time for Perdue to stop going after every federal stimulus dollar she can get her hands on. North Carolina taxpayers are on the hook for funding their share of the bill for the irresponsible stimulus spending…
A better idea would be for Perdue to take a leadership role in lobbying Washington, D.C., for more responsible fiscal policies than for more reckless spending.
It’s interesting to note that a recent Harvard University study concluded that tax cuts were a better method for pulling an economy out of recession than massive government spending.
If Perdue wants to be known as the jobs governor — fulfilling the state motto, to be rather than to seem — we wish her every success in that endeavor. Unfortunately, her fiscal policies to date are hampering that effort. A change in those policies could result in a more positive direction for the state’s economy.
JLF’s Joe Coletti, director of fiscal and health policy studies, made a similar point in a recent release:
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State government can take steps that would improve economic conditions, Coletti said. “We’ve seen that increased government spending clothed in the name ‘stimulus’ has done nothing to improve the unemployment picture,” he said. “Perhaps lawmakers will consider another path: limit spending to essentials, lower tax rates, and reduce burdensome regulations. Those steps would prompt entrepreneurs and investors to step off the sidelines and help the economy grow again.”
Guess who’s running for the Republican nomination to take on Mike McIntyre in the 7th District Congressional race this year? Ilario Pantano, the Gulf War vet charged with murdering two Iraqis and later acquitted. From the StarNews piece:
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Ilario Pantano, who also has worked on Wall Street and as a deputy in the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination on Thursday.
The Wilmington resident joins Will Breazeale in seeking the GOP nod.
The StarNews reports that Joe Wall, executive director and general counsel for the state association of ABC boards, insists that North Carolina’s system of alcoholic beverage controls “works well” and shouldn’t be subjected to sweeping changes, much less to full privatization.
I disagree. Moreover, I’d ask Wall what he means by “works well.” It obviously doesn’t work well for customers, who pay high prices to shop at dismal stores. It doesn’t work well for North Carolinians who resent the scandalous administration of many local ABC boards, including New Hanover’s. It doesn’t work well for taxpayers who will be forced to fund capital projects that North Carolina could pay for by privatizing the state‘s ABC stores and using the hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds to finance construction without having to issue so much public debt.
Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie has more to say on the subject here.Read full article » 2 Comments »
The Brunswick stew cook-out originally scheduled for this Saturday in, of course, Brunswick County has been delayed due to the forecast of wintry weather. So you still have time to make your plans to attend, napkin at the ready.Read full article » No Comments »
I guess we already knew that John Edwards was no longer welcome at the Edwards compound near Chapel Hill, and that he was essentially living at the Figure Eight home. But with the couple’s confirmation of a separation and recent reporting about the former senator chatting up lady bartenders around town, the situation appears to have been clarified.
John Edwards now resides in the Wilmington area, no doubt to the delight of
hundreds dozens of local residents. It’s probably too much to ask that he now become a Squall Lines reader.
The Jacksonville Daily News nails it on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding corporate expenditures on political speech:
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[I]n response to those who question why corporations might be recognized as having the same free speech rights as individuals, Justice Antonin Scalia in a concurring opinion argued: “The (First) Amendment is written in terms of ‘speech,’ not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals …”
The advocacy group Public Citizen responded to the court’s ruling by calling for a constitutional amendment specifying that for-profit corporations are not entitled to First Amendment protections. At least they’re seeking to effect change the proper way, as opposed to several members of Congress who vowed to continue pursuing a legislative route.
Reformers focus on reducing politics via suppressing speech, when the problem is too much governance. Want to get money out of politics? Then limit government power, not our freedoms to oppose it.