Progress Energy is going to raise their rates by roughly 3.4% for residential customers. That’s rough enough in a tough economy and for those on fixed incomes, but the reason for it is even more interesting.
Progress Energy customers in North Carolina will pay more for electricity beginning Dec. 1, reflecting increases in the cost of power plant fuel and energy-efficiency programs, according to the utility company.
Hmm. . . raising rates for “energy-efficiency programs?” I’m not entirely sure that makes sense, but I don’t see the media clamoring for a better answer. Usually, efficiency LOWERS cost. Can you imagine hearing that your cost for ANYTHING increases because of efficiency? C’mon Progress, you can do better than that!
I wish they were announcing new nuclear facilities and a long term plan to keep energy rates low to strengthen the economy by having cheap reliable power and rejecting wasteful solar/wind projects that cost jobs. Alas I digress.
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From the StarNews:
Occupy Wilmington N.C. issued a press release today stating the group has filed for a non-profit status and has about 1,000 members. The release states the goal of the group, inspired by Occupy Wall Street, is to improve the local economy and “empower the people of Wilmington and surrounding areas to take charge of their financial situation.”
Occupy Wilmington has set up a toy and clothing drive downtown for those in need and plans to undertake projects such as job skills workshops.
One has to wonder if public funding will come next for yet another 501-c-3. I think that last line is essentially the mantra of almost all other 501c3 pro-incentive, economic development groups. But this group would most likely oppose ANY large corporation that wanted to provide jobs to people that could help them “take charge of their financial situations.”
On a positive note, no arrests yet for the occupiers in front of city hall. Although I’m not sure the city would allow other businesses to conduct their business adjacent to a major road project on a sidewalk in violation of the ADA.
Who are the leaders of the Occupy movement going to be, will they hold a press conference? Yesterday they were supporting verteran’s rights.Read full article » No Comments »
Once upon a time in America parents were responsible for the care and education of their children. Increasingly, federal and state governments, presume to shift that “burden” onto all citizens. Politicians under pressure from nagging social justice interest groups, create myriad programs to relieve parents of their responsibilities.
Here in North Carolina, for example, Head Start, Smart Start, Even Start, More at Four, Preschool Exceptional Children, Title I Preschool, Early Intervention and Child Care Subsidy programs all have cost more than $3 billion during the past three fiscal years. Yet, few independent, objective studies exist to evaluate the effectiveness (or lack of it) of these expensive, bureaucratic projects.
Aside from the demeaning assumptions that parents can’t “handle” childcare, what is the larger societal damage that results? On the economic side, some believe that this spending amounts to redistribution of our wealth. From the standpoint of cultural destruction many of us think that these programs result in dependency—loss of the virtue of self-reliance and even personal freedom. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of even good intentions rarely get due consideration; until it’s too late.
John Locke Foundation Analyst Terry Stoops suggests that the state role in childcare should be limited to health and safety regulation of daycare facilities. I agree. Mr. Stoops recommends eliminating childcare and preschool programs; replaced with a refundable tax credit for parents of preschool children. I’m not sure this is advisable, but it’s worth study and consideration.(link)
Implementing Stoops’ recommendations could save billions of dollars for state and federal taxpayers and still provide parents with a subsidy (assuming that’s a desirable social expense). Under this policy parents would, at least, be responsible for choosing how they will care for their own children. The government should have no role in raising children, but we seem to be sinking deeper into a smothering economic and cultural Nanny State.Read full article » No Comments »
“The state is moving closer, though somewhat tentatively, to build a government-run pier in Carolina Beach,” according to a recent article in the Wilmington StarNews. (link)
To paraphrase words by the late General Douglas McArthur in an address to Congress in 1951: Old government projects never die, they don’t even fade away—they continue to lurk in the minds of politicians and bureaucrats forever.
In this case, CB schemers want to keep the grandiose pier project alive in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon appear from Raleigh with bundles of other people’s money. They made some land deals that put local taxpayers on the hook for $4.3 million—naughty, not nice.
N. C. Aquarium (a wholly-owned division of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources) director David Griffin gives CB operatives hope with an email suggestion that $1.15 million may be available to help bail out their misguided real estate ventures. Mr. Griffin is “committed to building the pier,” but didn’t offer any hope for funding design and construction “in the near future.” Some of this loot; $0.35 million suggests Griffin, could come from the aquaria admission fees fund.
We were under the impression that the General Assembly adults now controlling state spending required that aquaria fees had to be used for operating expenses, rather than for expanding aquaria-mania.
Oh, well, as we say, old government projects never die….Read full article » No Comments »
People in public agencies that try to hide their activities generate suspicion—understandably. It’s natural to use other people’s money more wastefully than they would their own. Further, lax oversight and attitudes of entitlement lead to corruption. Such seems to be the case with New Hanover County Community Action Inc. a “nonprofit” organization almost fully funded with taxpayer’s money.
“Watchdog” Patrick Gannon of the Wilmington StarNews has dogged the story, but he’s waited weeks to sniff out information requested. His investigation could help concerned citizens decide whether Community Action deserves more of our money. We should know how it spends millions of dollars—more important, we deserve to learn what actual benefits result from CA activities. (link)
Armed with the state Public Records Law Mr. Gannon requested a list of CA agency employees, including salaries; budget reports; names of directors, and meeting minutes. He’s waiting. The law is on his side, but government operatives know how to stall, obfuscate and use the rules for self-serving purposes. These publicly funded special interest nonprofits as well as official government agencies must be strictly accountable to the citizens.
Some limited information is now available online through state and some local governments (for example, NCOpenBook.gov). Newspapers periodically expose the operations and failures of government programs and bureaucrats. Wilmington Watchdogs.Blog.StarNewsOnline.com provides that local press connection. The John Locke Foundation offers a “portal to transparency” online through NCTransparency.com. But more needs to be done.
John Locke Foundation analyst Joseph Coletti writes in the JLF policy report, Agenda 2010 (p. 10): Governments should help citizens to understand how they pay for public services. He explains that as public budgets become more complex, it’s more difficult to monitor how our taxes are spent—or, in my opinion, more often misspent. (link)
Coletti offers some recommendations, but unless a larger body of citizens persistently demand transparency and accountability from all levels of government, the puzzle of how our money is spent and our misgivings about the increasing amount of earnings taken from us will become more troublesome; increasing our suspicions about government.Read full article » No Comments »
The news over the past week has done little to build public confidence in law enforcement.
Item 1 – Town of Leland – The NC Department of Justice reported 89 deficiencies in the police department ranging from officers forgetting to write their names on top of training rosters to records that either went missing or were never stored. Documentation proving citizenship was even missing and one officer was relieved of duty on Oct. 7th, but never acknowledged by the town manager, any council members or the police department. The public also has seen NO accountability for these massive “deficiencies” as of yet. Starnews coverage here, WWAY coverage here.
Item 2 – Bladen County – Sheriff Prentis Benston has placed Sgt. Charles Weathers on administrative leave and asked for an SBI investigation to look into possible sexual violations involving a minor. This stems from a social services call alerting the sheriff to the possible offense. Coverage at WWAY here and WECT here.
Item 3 – Pender/New Hanover – Former Pender County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Sloan got convicted of “crimes against nature” after his solicitation for prostitution charge was dropped. This involved Sloan soliciting another male and due to NC law not recognizing sex between men, the solicitation charge was dropped, kinda quirky. Here at the StarNews, here at WECT and here at WWAY.
Item 4 – NC prison inmate Allen “Frog” Strickland, of RC Soles fame, has been transferred to a prison closer to the former senator. Insiders say the transfer came at the behest of Soles and prison officials will NOT disclose who signed off on the transfer. This is another potential example of cronyism that is being hid from the public yet again.
There is nothing positive about any of this, but Attorney General Roy Cooper did find time to comment on Duke Power wanting to raise their rates. So much for law enforcement!
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Unconfirmed, but reliable, information shows that Allen Strickland of Tabor City/RC Soles fame, is being transferred to Bladen Correctional Facility from western NC. Why Strickland is being transferred is unclear at this time.
Additional information has been provided that indicates cronyism and favoritism is alive and well, but I’ll await the state’s comment on this matter.
One also should ask as to how much District Attorney Jon David knew of this transfer as well.
As always, more questions than answers in all matters related to Soles. Methinks he is getting lonely.Read full article » No Comments »
Presidential candidate Herman Cain has referred to the organization Planned Parenthood as “planned genocide,” driving liberal journalists and feminists wild. This heresy threatens one of their sacred government-promoted programs: birth control by abortion. Mr. Cain has clear historical evidence to back this statement. (link)
Meanwhile press agitators divert attention to such unsubstantiated and foolish claims as old “sexual harassment” charges—much as liberals did in the Senate hearings to defame Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Black men and sex seems to fascinate liberals. But they can’t whitewash their infatuation with eugenics out of existence, writes author Jonah Goldberg. Others, including a niece of the late Martin Luther King, also know the sordid history.
Chapter 7 in Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” chronicles American and Nazi adventures into eugenics: “rounding up racial defectives to forced sterilization.” This chapter titled “Liberal Racism: The Eugenic Ghost in the Fascist Machine,” details the story.
Since the early 1900s western intellectuals “embraced the idea that nations were organic entities in need of direction by an avant-garde of scientific experts and social planners.” Self-appointed “progressive elite understood what needed to be done…Eugenics fit snugly within this new worldview.” Thomas Malthus’ predictions of expanding populations and limited resources were shared by Charles Darwin; overbreeding by the “unfit” had to be stamped out. Goldberg writes: “…progressive projects from Prohibition to the birth control movement, were grounded in this quest to tame the demographic beast.”
American academics, financed by Rockefeller and Harriman fortunes, launched a “eugenic crusade.” A long list of British intellectual socialists supported the movement. Eugenics and economics “complemented each other.” John Maynard Keynes “the founding father of liberal economics, served on the British Eugenics Society’s board of directors in 1945.”
Even some prominent blacks put on the white eugenics sheets. W.E.B. DuBois thought that “the worst blacks were overbreeding while the best were underbreeding.” He supported Margaret Sanger’s “Negro Project.” Sanger organized the American Birth Control League that we now know as Planned Parenthood. She’s the mother of “planned genocide.”Read full article » No Comments »
A story in the StarNews today asserts that Wilmington Downtown Inc. (partially taxpayer funded) is making tremendous headway in dealing with empty space and jobs in downtown Wilmington.
Wilmington Downtown Inc. leaders told city official Monday business is picking up downtown and the group is seeing more growth than it had three years ago. ”We’re killing it,” said Dave Spetrino, chairman of WDI’s Board of Directors. “We are going in the right direction. I am very encouraged by the future.”
Sounds wonderful right? But wait, let’s look at some of their “facts” before we go too far.
A net gain of 19 new street level businesses so far in 2011 including a new Courtyard by Marriott being built,
“Slightly” more than 150 jobs created and business occupying about 33,000 square feet of space,
WDI’s small business loan program also provided $310,000 to eight borrowers leading to 123 new jobs,
Downtown Sundown Concert Series averaged about 2,200 people each week, many from outside the Wilmington,
Since July, downtown has gained 62 jobs.
There is more to their “kumbaya” letter to the Wilmington City Council. The problem is that NONE of their “facts” can really be proven to be related to their efforts. One could argue that the loan program was, but that would mean that other loan programs don’t exist. They also don’t list the jobs that have been lost in the same time or businesses that have closed.
There is no discussion about how long it took to get the Marriott through the planning department and it should have started going up last year. And if you really want to discuss WDI’s impact, you also have to track the past five years which have been devastating. As the economy tanked the taxpayer subsidized organization said they could save things. In good times, they justify their existence by taking credit for the success. But in truth, their success pales by comparison to the business climate in numerous cities around the south and even NC. Heck, one could argue that Leland had proven to be FAR more successful than downtown because they are growing faster WITHOUT needing to subsidize the existence of groups that really don’t matter. It’s just sad that city leaders don’t ask any tough questions.
Yet another terrible headline, but alas, I’ll stand by it. This is just an update because numerous stories about climate change are finding their ways into the headlines all over the place. I’ll start with WWAY’s story about the snowstorm this past weekend.
Freakish weather disasters – from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast US to the record floods in Thailand – are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost, says a draft summary of an international climate report obtained by The Associated Press.
Then we look overseas to find the Europeans wanting to raise the price of flying (not like they don’t have a massive monetary nightmare on their hands).
A European program to charge airlines for their greenhouse-gas emissions could raise round-trip ticket prices from the United States by more than $30 starting next year. The European Union’s directive on the program says the money “should be used to tackle climate change” to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, fund research and adapt to climate changes.
And finally. . . and this is where the story will eventually go, peanut butter prices are skyrocketing due to a bad harvest. There is no doubt that the peanut situation will be blamed on the Global/Climate/Chaos stuff.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – Trick-or-treaters might want to hold on to those Reese’s Cups this Halloween as sharp increases in peanut butter prices have begun going into effect following one of the worst peanut harvests in decades.
No word on whether NC Attorney General Roy Cooper will go after supermarkets for price gouging on peanut butter to the poor.
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