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Archive for December, 2010

Heels’ bizarre bowl win

N&O’s Luke DeCock on UNC’s crazy win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl:

It was a farcical series of events that featured bizarre play-calling, oddball officiating, and multiple unpenalized salutes from the Volunteers – coming on a day a salute might have cost a team a bowl win elsewhere – endless explanations from the excruciatingly verbose Lipski – who may be among the best the Big Ten has to offer, but came off as a total buffoon Thursday – and one extremely angry orange-clad crowd.

Funny, the ESPN guys were praising Big Ten ref Dennis Lipski’s sorting out of the chaos, though they did wonder why a blatant personal foul against the Volunteers was overlooked. And I have no idea what Butch Davis was thinking when he called a draw with no timeouts left. But the real bonehead move was the personal foul that put the Tar Heels within field goal range. With all the controversy head tackles are generating, you’d think a defensive back would be more aware, especially with the game on the line. I guess not.

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Thomasville’s new bus route

In the spirit of the holidays, I’ll not reflexively pooh-pooh Thomasville’s trial bus route, paid for with $80,000 in federal stimulus money funneled through the High Point Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Instead, I’ll praise this High Point Enterprise editorial:

During this pilot project, those operating it must keep meticulous records on ridership numbers, chart the opinions of riders and also gather information from Thomasville citizens in an effort to gauge the real consumer demand for such service. And then there’s the matter of funding such a system in the future, if the need for public transportation in the city is demonstrated by this pilot project.

…But such systems are expensive, don’t usually cover their operating costs and end up requiring local tax dollars from citizens in addition to state and federal subsidies. They can “take” more than they “give back.”

Evidently they’re not grasping that concept in Greensboro, where a ‘green panel’ will attempt to ‘boost bus ridership.’

That’s going to take some doing, because the other night I saw two GTA buses cruising down Friendly Avenue with a total of one rider.

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Meanwhile, out in California….

A sign that maybe —-just maybe —they’re catching on out there?

Business owners will have more time to comply with California’s tough diesel emission standards for trucks, school buses and construction equipment under relaxed rules that air quality officials adopted on Friday.

The Air Resources Board passed the new regulations unanimously, saying businesses struggling during a recession needed more time to replace or upgrade aging equipment. In addition to extending the time for compliance, they offer businesses various options to meet the standards.

Hell apparently has frozen over here in North Carolina. But never underestimate the persistence of regulators.

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G’boro’s ‘sustainability action plan’

The N&R reports (unposted) the Greensboro City Council will ponder an “action plan” from the city’s Community Sustainability Council to “slow the production of emission while creating green jobs and saving money.” Note the board was created under former Mayor Yvonne Johnson, who was defeated in the 2009 municipal elections, and headed by Joel Landau, also defeated in the 2007 election. Take from that what you will.

As you can imagine, you have to spend money to save money:

The CSC estimates the recommendations will cost a minimum of $12.3 million. But the return on those investments could be more than double, the action plan estimates.

….”This is not a comprehensive plan,” Landau said. “These are all things that pay for themselves so that it is budget neutral in the first year.”

Yet another liberal program that “pays for itself.” Again I submit there is no such thing.

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More state debt woes

North Carolina has borrowed $2.4 billion from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits, “yet another twist in the Gordian knot of state economic and budget problems that Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, and Republican state House and Senate majorities will have to solve next year,” reports the N&R’s Mark Binker.

Binker raises the possibility that the “state could borrow through bonds to repay the money.” He doesn’t attribute that suggestion to anyone, but don’t think it’s not on the minds of more than a few legislators, in spite of the fact that it’s total insanity.

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Death panels, alive and well

NYT reports:

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Star columnist E. Thomas McClanahan appears in yesterday’s N&R and explains the Constitutional implications of Obamacare:

Government benefits expressed in this way are known to political scientists as positive rights, which differ from the negative rights with which we’re more familiar. Negative rights generally describe things the government cannot do — take your stuff without due process, stifle your right to express your point of view, lock you up without cause, etc.

Positive rights describe things the government says it will do for you. A good example was the Second Bill of Rights pushed by President Roosevelt. Everyone, he said, should have the right “to a useful and remunerative job … to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing … to adequate medical care … to a good education” and more.

McClanahan concludes that “once upon a time, Barack Obama seemed to understand the kind of opposition a personal mandate would generate.” I’m not exactly sure when that was, given the 2001 interview where he discussed “what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.”

It’s Obama’s world, we only live in it.

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South Elm redevel: All about community

Funny, my goings on here in G’boro take me down South Elm across Lee Street just about every day, so wondered for quite some time when the planned redevelopment would begin. Now I know:

The city Redevelopment Commission is looking for a master developer who would like to turn the seven-acre site into a mix of retail, office space and housing.

It’s the last phase of the $11 million redevelopment project, which began in 2006 with participation from neighbors of the surrounding communities.

The commission hopes it will be a new model by which other redevelopment projects are measured.

“It really has to be about community,” said Jerry Leimenstoll, chairman of the City Council-appointed redevelopment commission. “I can’t stress that enough. That is why we exist.”

Project Web site states the city’s “proactive commitment to the responsible renewal of South Elm Street’s ecological, social and economic balance.”

I totally agree that South Elm needs something to happen, and I don’t necessarily disagree that maybe gov’t needs to give it a little kick start. But as you can imagine, the group-think- social engineering lingo bugs me. It’s typical of city government, and it’s a big reason why municipalities around the country are facing bankruptcy.

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Re: Special teams meltdown

Ed Cone passes along Nate Jackson’s analysis of the Giants’ special teams meltdown vs. the Eagles.

So the question I’ve been pondering all week is which is worse —— kicking to DeSean Jackson or letting an offensive guard run a kickoff back 70 yards? Mind you the resulting Patriots TD and the end of the first half was ultimately the difference in a game the Packers desperately needed.

Methinks the latter.

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Bev: ‘I hate incentives’

Another quotable quote from Gov. Bev Perdue, via the High Point Enterprise:

“I hate incentives,” the first-term Democratic governor said during the roundtable phone interview with media representatives from across North Carolina.

In a perfect world, Perdue said she would prefer that incentives payments to private employers didn’t take place. The dilemma, the governor said, is that North Carolina and its communities can’t “unilaterally disarm” from offering incentives when other states keep playing the game.

The Enterprise, however, takes note of an “irony of timing” —– a press release issued by the governor’s office announcing Novartis was receiving a pledge of $3.7 million for an operation in Wake County.

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Forsyth commissioners spike mini-golf course

Forsyth County commissioners spike a proposed miniature golf course at Triad Park, “a signal that the stronger Republican majority on the board might take a closer look at spending.”

I would say that pulling the plug on a mini-golf course isn’t necessarily indicative of commissioners’ commitment to tighten the county’s belt, except for the fact that the projected cost was $1.3 million.

I’m no expert, but that sounds awfully high.

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