Old posts

This are the posts I could retrieve and restore, with the original posting date to the best of my knowledge:

Divorce the state from marriage

Orinally posted Feb. 2009

As a Catholic, it pains me when Church leaders get diverted by issues manufactured by politicians to increase their power. “The desire to rule is the beginning of all heresies.” (St. John Chrysostom). The “Marriage Amendment,” clearly intended to discriminate against a group of people, betrays the Church’s long-standing commitment to social justice.

As a libertarian, it appalls me when a religious or political leader proposes laws revoking any God-given right, and betraying the fundamental American principle that all persons are created equal.

Government has no right to “license” or give permission for marriage. Marriage is a sacred undertaking, a sacrament, instituted between two persons, before God — not the State. Mary and Joseph did not have a marriage license. Martha and George Washington did not have a marriage license.

An interesting historical note: States began issuing marriage permits as a way to prevent interracial marriage, just as they introduced gun permits to stop African-Americans from using guns to resist oppression.

Gitmo Precursor

Originally Posted: Feb. 19, 2009

On this day in 942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the round-up of 120,000 Americans of Japanese heritage, more than two-thirds of whom were American citizens.

No search warrants, no court orders, no trial – just the stroke of a presidential pen.

They were taken to 10 “relocation camps” — facilities called concentration camps or internment centers in other parts of the world — in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas.

Roosevelt’s action was fueled by anti-Japanese sentiment among farmers who competed against Japanese labor, politicians who sided with anti-Japanese constituencies, and the general public, whose frenzy was heightened by the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor.

No Japanese-American was ever charged with any act of treason or sabotage against the United States. On the contrary, one of the most decorated units in World War II was the the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of Nisei – American-born sons of Japanese immigrants.

Mom was wrong

Originally posted: Feb. 11, 2009

Let me see if I understand this correctly. The Treasury Secretary admits we’re in a financial crisis caused by the ineptitude of private businesses, the failure of the Federal executive and U.S. Congress to fulfill their legal responsibility to provide oversight, and overspending and over-borrowing by businesses and consumers.

He insists we must act now avoid a disaster greater than we’ve every had before. In order to avoid these dire consequence, we must give the Federal government more power and let them spend more money; we must encourage businesses and individuals to take out more loans and spend more money. And we must impose even more restrictions on individual rights.

The President of the United States dismisses arguments from anyone who says we should do nothing, questions the need for Federal government action is not allowed to participate in the debate, and points out that it was government action and incompetence that put us in the situation in the first place.

Where have we heard this style of argument before? Oh yeah, after 9/11

Mom was wrong. In Obamanomics, money does grow on trees.

Hog Farm Bill
Originally posted Feb. 5, 2009

This is spending money we don’t have for things we don’t need. (author unknown)

Ok, I’m trying to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt, because something tells me that this change-thing is not just a slogan to him. I have a gnawing feeling he might yet defy the Washington-insiders, Beltway Bandits and assorted apparatchiks he’s surround by.

It’s getting increasingly more difficult for me to maintain my cock-eyed optimism as he tries to push his economic bailout legislation. It was heard enough to swallow an attorney general who was part of granting a pardon to someone on the FBI’s ten most wanted list, a secretary of state whose husband gets “payments” from foreign leaders, an treasury and health and human services secretaries who can’t fill out their income tax forms correctly.

But when the president warns us not to let the “perfect be the enemy of the essential” and wails that he is sick and tired of “rewarding failure,” he’s pushing me perilously close to going over the top.

The only thing stimulating about the stimulus package is that it will stimulate further economic degeneration. It’s not a stimulus package at all, it’s not an omnibus spending bill, nor is it pork. It is a very large hog farm!

This “stimulus” package is the equivalent of the USA Patriot Act, until now was the worst piece of legislation every passed by Congress. It’s being rammed down our thoughts the same way the un-Patriot Act was, using fear, intimidation and class warfare.

Yes, he can do it, because he and the Democrats have the votes. But this is not change we can believe in.

Bills call for independent redistricting

Originally posted Feb. 3, 2008

Two Republican representatives have introduced bills to amend the State Constitution and make significant changes in the way North Carolina is governed. Libertarians could easily support most, if not all, of these proposals.

The bills call for independent redistricting referendum and recall, a gubernatorial line-item veto,a 3/5 vote of both house for the General Assembly to raise or impose a new tax, and stripping legislative and Congressional redistricting power from the GA.

Four bills were introduced by Rep. John Blust (R-62:

* HB 44 would require a 3/5 vote of both houses of the General Assembly to raise taxes or impose a new tax

* HB 48 would give the governor a line-item veto on appropriations bills

* HB 47 would allow citizens to petition to propose a referendum to amend the State Constitution

* HB 48 would allow citizens to petition to recall an elected official.

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-36) offered HB 35 which would turn over legislative and Congressional redistricting to the new agency in the executive department. The amendment would allow citizens to propose redistricting plans to the agency set up to redistrict and establishes specific criteria to evaluate the redistricting plans.

Legislative Day 4

Originally posted Feb. ? 2009

It’s Day 4 of the legislative session and legislators will be considering more bills to address the critical issues of the day.

Families visiting Marines deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan from Camp Lejune will be able to do their “patriotic duty” to pay taxes” and “support the troops” by paying the hotel room occupancy tax to Jacksonville authorized by HB 30 from Rep. W. Robert Grady (R-15).

Rep. Grady also will offer HB 31, adding Holly Ridge to list of municipalities allowed to regulate golf carts, thus addressing a serious traffic and safety hazard.

HB 32, offered by Rep. Larry Bell (D-21), will add Clinton to the list of municipalities authorized to issue notices to “chronic violators” of the city’s overgrown vegetation ordinance. A Bush League spokesman had no comment on this bill.

Easy out, the wrong way

Originally posted Jan. 17, 2009

Government hiring freezes and across the board spending cuts “require no thought and therefore no forethought” and are not they way to run local government, writes Chad Adams in the Center for Local Innovation newsletter. Chad is the director of CLI, a project of the John Locke Foundation. Politicians always take the easy way out, the wrong way out. Read the full article:

CLI Newsletter: January 16, 2009

By Chad Adams

All indications are that this local budgeting cycle will be one of the worst in decades. City and county managers have been making adjustments, minor and major, for months now in an effort to stave off draconian measures. Sadly, one of the most common and press worthy ideas is also one of the worst and shows a remarkable lack of management. Hiring freezes have become one of the most popular ways in which local managers and elected officials deal with lean times. Newspapers love to rush to print with it and local leaders say it shows how tough times are and that they’re prepared to deal with it. And it does save money, but is it really effective and why is it a bad idea?

Managers are quick to point out that the number one cost to local government is staff so it follows that not hiring new people or replacing those that leave will save money. And it does save money, but lacks true effectiveness from a taxpayer standpoint. A hiring freeze is simple and easy to understand. Managers are simply told that they cannot fill open positions, ask for new ones, or fill vacancies created by people that retire or leave. Any positions that must be filled go before the local elected board and everyone thinks they’re doing a marvelous job.

If one were to take this approach to business, the ineffectiveness becomes obvious. Let’s say that a team of widget makers decides to enact a hiring freeze. They have twenty widget makers and five widget sellers and two administrative staff that take care of paperwork. They’re having a tough time and sales are down. Several of their sales guys retire because they can. So the company then has virtually no sales force and enacts a hiring freeze. Does that help? Absolutely not, unless the remaining sales team can ramp up sales by themselves and it might very well leave lots of widget makers sitting around doing nothing.

The same criticism can be leveled at “across the board cuts” which do little to address whether one department or group is more effective than another. Such cuts simply cut the good and bad equally.

Obviously, local government is far more complex, but the analogy still holds. The point is that hiring freezes require no thought and therefore no forethought as to the consequences of such an action. A far better approach is for managers to ask department managers to determine ways to cut costs. Maybe they don’t fill a position, maybe they merge some positions, or maybe they trim down a program that isn’t effective. The point is that the approach should be about trimming costs and still providing services. It also puts the onus of performance on the people who are leading the departments within local government. Such an approach is also easily explainable and has many long-term benefits. When such approaches are enacted, such cost-cutting can be carried forward. If a local government can save 5% without sacrificing levels of service to the public, such savings are recurring and benefit the community when economic times get better.

Local government should be about providing the highest level of service for the lowest possible cost. Leaders in local government often lose sight of such approaches to satisfy temporary shortfalls. And while this is a serious time of shortfalls for local government, it is also the time they should be most wary of making bad decisions. In North Carolina tough times can be an opportunity for creative approaches, I won’t hold my breath.