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Archive for January, 2013

Frivolouser & Frivolouser

That great symbol of Buncombe County, showing a lot of smoke being blown from behind the mountains, appeared on the Merriam-Webster website in a list of ten words that describe what one hears from behind the dais. An etymology was thrown in with an extra sentence us Yankees didn’t get in our North Carolina history classes:

Bunkum was born in American politics. In 1820, North Carolina Representative Felix Walker gave a particularly long and wearisome speech that contributed little to the matter at hand. The politician defended his speech on the grounds that he was speaking for the people in his county.

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McHenry Holds Stupid Scissors

Representative Patrick McHenry responded to gerrymandering by opening an office in the outer reaches of his re-district. The district was redesigned to reach out, grab, and dilute the Democrat vote in ultra-liberal Asheville. The branch office will be at Black Mountain’s town hall.

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Better than Gummint

I would like to share a happy story, just because it is so remarkable.

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Fill in the Snakes

DWI offenders who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer must have their blood drawn and sent to Raleigh.

In a rational world, one might conclude somebody would have to be drunk to prefer volunteering their blood to a puff of air. Unfortunately, this witch trial does not establish guilt; it sends gobs of blood to Raleigh. In order to unclog the year-long backlog at the crime lab, Senator Tom Apodaca has introduced Senate Bill 3 to request a western regional lab.

If I may, I would call attention to the fact that driving is more important than voting; which is probably as it should be. However, no attempt is made to hold people accountable for doing their small part to rejuvenate the economy or keep the peace while under the influence, not just of alcohol, but crazy mushrooms and whatnot. I was wondering if any studies had been conducted to determine what percentage of voters are stoned out of their gourds.

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That Ever-Booming Recovery

Today’s news is replete with economic indicators:

  • Fifty bank-owned properties in northwestern North Carolina will be auctioned. Not too long ago, if bank-owned was in the lexicon, it wasn’t used very much.
  • Whitely Products closed its Franklin facility, leaving 100 people unemployed. The factory closed suddenly after its bank failed to give it the money it required to continue operations. Whitely closed its Indiana facilities as well.
  • People in Columbus are turning to thievery.
  • An audit discovered dozens of innkeepers are evading Haywood County’s 4% tourist tax. Maybe this is a sign we should raise taxes and exempt more exotic excursions for the rich than travel and entertainment.
  • Gun sales are up.
  • And so is unemployment.
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Bravissimo!

Senators Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) filed Senate Bill 2 to exempt North Carolina from establishing a state-based health insurance exchange or a state-federal partnership exchange.

The bill also directs the N.C. Department of Insurance to return unspent taxpayer funds awarded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month to create a state-federal partnership exchange.

[Standing Ovation]

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I-26 Meeting

The Hendersonville Times-News has published a good summary of events leading to nothing; that is, improvements made to I-26 between Hendersonville and Asheville that were supposed to start three decades ago. If you want to let the DOT know what you think, please show up at the public meeting this Thursday.

What: The N.C. Department of Transportation workshop
When: 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31
Where: Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, Virginia C. Boone Building, at 1301 Fanning Bridge Road in Fletcher
Information: Contact Dre Major, NCDOT Project Development and Environmental Analysis Unit, at 919-707-6028 or ujmajor@ncdot.gov

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A Good Agenda for a Change

Americans for Proseperity has released a nice agenda for North Carolina:

•Passage of the state budget without tax increases;
•Lower overall tax burden in North Carolina;
•Support for Constitutional Spending Limits that could include: Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) that would limit government spending to the increase in population and inflation and/or legislative supermajority requirement to raise taxes;
•Keeping North Carolina as a “Right-to-work State,” by implementing it into the state constitution along with the state’s ban on public employee collective bargaining;
•Dedicating all North Carolina Education Lottery revenue to school construction; or support ending all state-run gambling;
•Elimination of North Carolina’s Estate Tax – also called the “Death Tax”;
•Promotion of legislation that allows for the exploration and production of North Carolina’s energy resources;
•Advocating a “rollback” of North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard;
•Blocking the creation of a North Carolina Healthcare Exchange;
•Allowing the purchase of health insurance from any state;
•Passage of legislation to get the state of North Carolina out of the liquor business;
•Ending all “welfare for politicians,” known as taxpayer-funded elections;
•Protecting free and political speech rights by deregulating campaign speech;
•Ending the Golden Leaf Foundation;
•Converting the Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities into a refundable tax credit;
•Increasing the number of non-public school choice options available to parents;
•Repeal of the corporate income tax and elimination of all corporate welfare;
•Simplifying and lowering individual income taxes;
•Promoting the elimination of redundant committees and commissions in order to shrink the size of government in North Carolina;
•Expanding recently passed tort reforms, including “loser pays”; and
•In general, greatly reducing the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens.

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Curing Hunger withi Bylaws

This afternoon, AM 570 WWNC host Pete Kaliner was giving Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith a hard time over the city’s new Food Policy and Food Council and whatnot. Personally, I don’t like the idea because its latest iteration came out of the UN, and it originated in the dark recesses below purgatory. Kaliner objected to the advocates’ push for the program without a budget when funding was clearly necessary for its objectives. Smith preferred not to discuss funding because the program had a dynamic structure.

Kaliner asked about human nature. On the one hand, progressives slam conservatives for being so greedy and not giving one hundred or a thousand for you, and one for me. On another hand, they expect government control of anything to be run with magnificent perfection, with nobody tempted to take more than their fair share from the edible urban gardens.

Curiously, at a meeting later in the evening, a dude from public housing, whose name sounded something like Roberto Allardo, asked if people in public housing might be allowed to plant gardens in their yards. Smith recalled a discussion he had had with the housing authority’s director Gene Bell about an attempt to have a community garden at one of the developments. The spot of ground wasn’t all that, and nobody but Henny Penny (Rotarian Don Swaby) was interested in tending it.

There are two morals to the story, which I have not fully developed. One, which I’ve mentioned repeatedly, is that socialism works in homogeneous cultures, where people share at least a common work ethic. It fails in mixing pots where one culture insists on no play before work and another values recreation so highly, they don’t mind others working to support their habits. The other is that community gardens work well in tropical paradises, but not where people have to exert themselves before the ground will produce big, juicy, and yummy food.

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Work-Free Economy of Throwing Money

Oh, please. If redistribution by government was going to repair the economy, don’t you think it would have done so by now? Regardless, the NC Community Development Initiative has awarded $5.85 million for economic development and job creation.

[The Housing Assistance Corporation of Hendersonville’s] three-year $300,000 grant is one of 19 awards to nonprofits from the initiative’s new Community Enterprise Fund. The program provides $210,000 to $300,000 over three years for organizations to implement strategic economic development plans in the communities they serve.

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