Save on booze, but don't drink & drive

Talk about a mixed message. “Save $50 at your local ABC Store, but don’t drink and drive.” That’s the message of a full page ad today’s News & Observer. It’s apparently paid for by, so at least it’s not our tax dollars at “work.”

Goldman for school board

Debra Goldman is running for Wake County School Board in District 9. If elected, she will be “my” school board members. I meet her at the American Majority’s Activist Training Day Aug. 29. I like her and I like her platform. So for what it is worth, this is an endorsement.

Debra wants to put citizens at the top of the school board organization chart. What a concept. She believes “Parental involvement is the most important factor in determining the educational success of our children.” And I would add, grandchildren.

That’s why she’s one of four school board candidates endorse by the Wake Schools Community Alliance, the group that’s championing neighborhood schools versus the busing for diversity policy of the existing school board. Chris Malone (District 1), John Tedesco (District 2) and Deborah Pickett (District 7).

Her platform calls for “sensible assignment policies which keep students close to home, allowing parents more opportunities to support their children and their schools.” Debra wants parents to have the choice of sending their kids to year-round or traditional schools. She wants the school board to be fiscally responsible.

“We must stop wasting money on less important administrative functions, and refocus every dollar possible into the classroom,” she said.
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'Politicians Say the Darndest Things' file

“The implementation of reform was not successful. I don’t think you can call it a complete failure, but certainly it has not measured up to our expectations,” said Rep. Verla Insko, a Chapel Hill Democrat.

Rep. Insko, who co-chairs the legislative oversight committee for mental health, was commenting on the state’s decision to keep the Dorothea Dix Hospital at least partially open.

The “reform” Rep. Insko refers to resulted in millions of dollars scammed from taxpayers by people posing as mental health care-givings, millions of dollars in cost overruns in the building of a new hospital and the death of mental health patients due to the negligence, incompetence and basically criminal acts of state employees posing as mental health care-givers.

“I don’t know you’ll ever convince partisan folks out there one way or another, but the bottom line is, it had too many holes in it,” said State Auditor Beth A. Wood, commenting on her release of an interim report on the investigation into NC State’s hiring of Mary Easley.

The report concluded, “The salary paid to Ms. Easly is excessive when compaired to the responsibilities assigned and others in similar positions.”

Ya think?

“This is a business. They go to where the money is, where they save the money,” commented Gov. Beverly Perdue after signing into law a bill giving moviemakers a 25 percent rebate on their production expenses in North Carolina.

Madam Governor, it is not “business” to take from money from people who’ve earned it and give it to a group who have not.

Democracy inaction

The General Assembly adjourned last week, so we relatively safe — for a while. You might have been taught that democracy is the “rule of the majority. Critics say democracy is really “rule by the majority who show up.”

This session provides a more accurate definition of democracy: “rule by the minority of special interests groups, lobbyists, and government employees who get access to entrenched incumbents to get what they want, despite the demands of the majority of the people.”.

Despite two study commissions, several pubic hearings attended by thousands of opponents of forced annexation, and a deluge of email and calls demanding annexation reform, legislators kowtowed to the taxpayer-funded League of Municipalities and did nothing.

On the other hand, Marc Basnight, Senate president pro tem used his power to ban the use of plastic bags by large retailers in Outer Banks counties. It’s unclear whether the restaurant he owns in the area will be affected.

Following up on the “success” of the welfare grants to Google and Dell, the GA gave $12.5 million to Apple Computer. Small businesses didn’t fare so well. Bars and restaurants will take a hit when the state ban on smoking in their establishments goes into effect January 1.

The governor who during the election proclaimed she’d be “in charge of education” sat idly by while the legislators cut teachers salaries and other parts of the education budget. She ordered teachers to take time off and initiated across the board cuts in state agency budgets, the worst way to cut spending.

Then she hired “communications policy advisor” for a salary of $136,00) to join a communications director (salary $115,2OO), a senior adviser for government relations (salary $153,000) and a policy director (salary $160,000) already on her staff.

Worth reading in the News & Observer:

Legislation is tailored for a state in transition

Wins, losses, near misses and hangers: Session recap

The session’s big winners and losers

The Generous Assembly

Take the money and run (for office)

North Carolina Libertarians were surprised and somewhat stunned to receive a windfall from the State … a check for $39,361.50. This represents funds from the $3 write-off on the state income tax form. A party spokesperson said that although they did not believe the write-off was legal, they would take the money since it is in effect a donation directly from taxpayers.

Coincidentally (or not) there’s a connection between the amount and the number of voters registered Libertarian in August 2005,  just before the Democrat-Republican controlled  State Board of Elections kicked us off the ballot. If those 13,000 voters each marked the block on their tax form, it would come to $39,000.

There is also some poetic justice in this beneficence. The Libertarian Party will be able to pay off the debt incurred as a result of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina election laws. They are still waiting a decision from the Court of Appeals.

Even so, the state  Libertarian Party still needs to raise money in order to compete in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Even though North Carolina law says only parties with registration of 1% should be on the tax form, a revenue department bureaucrat either didn’t now the law, or ignored it, and put the party on the tax form.

Libertarian way to lower health care costs

“In my family, we’ve had to talk about some of the difficult choices. I hope we won’t ever have to make them, but if and when the time comes, we will.

“We will make those decisions about our family, our loved ones ourselves.  No government bureaucrat will do it.

“Because we will have to live with it.  And that’s the essence of Libertarianism, folks: I decide for my life, I live with the consequences.  And you have the same freedom.”

So writes Rachel Hawkridge in an article for, ” Libertarianism 101: How to Lower Health Care Costs. Rachel is a Seattle libertarian activists and a regional rep on the Libertarian National Committee.

Question for city council candidates

Local government has perhaps the most direct impact on our lives, yet it is the level of government most people ignore. Turnout for municipal elections is generally abysmal.

On the other hand, it is probably where libertarians can have the most impact, whether or not they actually run for office. The John Locke Foundation just published a checklist “Crucial Questions: A Checklist for City Council Candidates and Citizens.” It has some zingers … especially for libertarians. The questions are short, direct and can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” although it is doubtful any politician would be so bold.  Here are a few:

  • Are supporters of new taxes or tax increases required to prove that they need them.
  • Does the city reject the use of targeted incentives and eminent domain to attract businesses?
  • Do land use and zoning regulations minimize detailed regulatory control and maximize market trends?
  • Does the city require a vote of the residents in any area the city intends to annex?

It’s a great tool to use when attending a candidate forum. I intend to try a few of these out in Cary.

Watch what you say

From the White House website:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

You can start with the previous post on Liberty Point.

By the way, I learned in high school that using “a lot” is a piece of land; using “a lot” to mean many is grammatically incorrect. The author even has the audacity to quote “our second president” (John Adams) that “facts are stubborn things.”

So are rights, Mr. President. I for one plan to add to my daily e-mail speed dial.