Triad legislative districts deviate from population averages

Civitas has a fine post that details the population changes in various legislative districts in North Carolina as calculated by the recent US Census data. Several state house and senate districts appear to present a problem for redistricting because many of them are more than five to 10 percent below the ideal population levels.


PEFNC applauds approval of SB 8 by House Education Committee

PEFNC applauds approval of SB 8 by House Education Committee
Parental school choice takes another big step forward
RALEIGH – North Carolina families are one step closer to having their hopes and dreams realized thanks to the House Education Committee’s approval of Senate Bill 8 this morning.The measure will eliminate the state’s cap of 100 charter schools and establish a commission overseeing charters, among other provisions. Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) is pleased that the updated bill addresses concerns regarding food and transportation for low-income students and will lead to more quality schools in our state.

But more importantly, it provides hope for the more than 20,000 parents currently on charter school waiting lists and for those like Sylvia Wolff, who wants to start a charter in Corolla so students can receive more individualized attention and not endure a two hour ride to and from school.

“This is democracy at its best,” PEFNC President Darrell Allison said. “Government is responding to the desires of its citizens. Republicans and Democrats are working together to address their differences. I think we will see more of this as the charter bill moves forward. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation. It is a win for elected officials who work across the aisle on important matters like this as well as a win for children across our state. I applaud this type of collaboration and it’s our hope that we will quickly see a charter bill passed in the days to come.”

The bill is expected to go to the House Finance Committee and then to the House floor for a final vote.


Schedule Announced for Statewide Listening Tour on Regulatory Reform

Schedule Announced for Statewide Listening Tour on Regulatory Reform

Raleigh, N.C. – The Joint Committee on Regulatory Reform today announced the remaining dates in a statewide listening tour to receive feedback from the public on burdensome state rules and regulations.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Harry Brown (R-Jones), Sen. David Rouzer (R-Johnston), Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake) and Rep. Pat McElraft (R- Carteret), is tasked with scrutinizing state regulations on the private sector and targeting outdated rules and regulations that should be eliminated. It is comprised of nine senators and nine representatives, appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg.)

The first meeting of the joint committee took place last Friday, March 11 in Wilmington. Below is a schedule of the remaining meetings, which are open to the public:

Charlotte – Monday, March 21

Central Piedmont Community College – West Campus

Harris Conference Center

3216 CPCC Harris Campus Drive

Charlotte, N.C.

Signup to make a two minute statement: 12:30 p.m.

Meeting: 1 to 3 p.m.

Triad – Monday. March 28

Guilford Technical Community College – Jamestown Campus

Koury Hospitality Careers Center Auditorium

601 High Point Road

Jamestown, N.C.

Signup to make a two minute statement: 12:30 p.m.

Meeting: 1 to 3 p.m.

Eastern N.C. – Monday, April 4

Pitt Community College

Goess Building, Rooms 137-139

1986 Pitt Tech Road

Winterville, N.C.

Signup to make a two minute statement: 12:30 p.m.

Meeting: 1 to 3 p.m.

Western N.C. – Friday, April 15

Blue Ridge Community College

Thomas Auditorium

180 West Campus Drive

Flat Rock, N.C.

Signup to make a two minute statement: 12:30 p.m.

Meeting: 1 to 3 p.m.

Raleigh – Thursday, April 21

Legislative Building Auditorium (3rd Floor)

16 W. Jones Street

Raleigh, N.C.

Signup to make a two minute statement: 12:30 p.m.

Meeting: 1 to 3 p.m.

A website for the committee has been launched at regreform. Written comments may also be mailed to Regulatory Reform Comments, 16 West Jones Street, Room 2007, Raleigh, N.C. 27601.

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“Are we attacking the roots of radical Islam or helping to crate it?”

Jack Hunter is a columnist from Charleston and writes for many publications, including The American Conservative. His libertarian take on American foreign policy is refreshing.


Unconventional Wisdom

Via Taxpayers for Common Sense:

The polarized positions that have solidified around deficit reduction on the Hill and in the headlines have spawned a crop of polls asking what Americans will stomach when it comes to budget cuts. Conventional wisdom holds that voters want to cut anywhere except where it hurts, and any cut will hurt somebody somewhere. But poll results show how willing Americans are to make hard choices when asked the right questions.

Take the poll released last month by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. The poll simply asked if respondents would cut, freeze or reduce spending on 18 federal programs including education, social security and infrastructure. Respondents increased spending on 15 programs, were equally divided on whether to cut, freeze or increase defense and unemployment, and targeted only foreign aid for cuts.

But in another poll conducted last week by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, voters’ responses changed dramatically depending on phrasing and specificity. When asked whether cutting "national security" was a good idea, only 46 percent said it was "mostly" or "totally" acceptable. But when asked about "eliminating funding for weapons systems the defense department says are not necessary," more than 75 percent of respondents said such cuts were acceptable. Indeed, respondents were less likely to cut any area of government presented as a "program," i.e. agriculture, rather than a specific policy, such as reducing subsidies to farmers and ranchers.

Another poll providing even more targeted questioning drives this point home. Conducted by the Program on Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, the poll gave respondents facts about the federal budget and asked them to reduce the deficit themselves. First, they were given a list of 31 programs in the discretionary budget to cut or increase, then shown the Office of Management and Budget’s 2015 spending projections. Not only did the vast majority make overall cuts to the budget, national security programs were at the top of the cut list, contradicting conventional wisdom — and Republican and Democratic budget plans — that paint defense spending as off-limits. These choices held true across voters of both parties and "red" and "blue" districts.

The polls also found support for reforming entitlements. Again, consensus emerged when voters were given informed choices: While more than 75 percent of respondents to the WSJ/NBC poll said cutting Social Security would be unacceptable, a majority would support gradually raising the retirement age to 69 by 2075. Respondents also endorsed many common-sense reforms we have advocated for years. For example, most Pew poll respondents said they didn’t want to cut infrastructure, but the PPC poll found support for cutting federal funding for highways. Respondents to the WSJ/NBC poll would cut subsidies to build new nuclear power plants, repeal tax deductions for the oil and gas industries, and eliminate agricultural subsidies for large farms. A whopping 79 percent of PPC respondents supported "eliminating spending on so-called earmarks for special projects and specific areas of the country."

The true finding of these polls is that Americans are capable of making hard choices when given the tools to do so. The old saw that voters want to have their cake and eat it too is not necessarily true when they know what the ingredients are. With all the static in Washington over the deficit, it’s up to lawmakers to turn down the partisan noise and empower taxpayers with information — and real choices.

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Betts reflects on Broder

The dean of the NC political press reflects on the passing of the dean of the national press corps:

In a business where the press corps is sometimes derided as a pack of hyenas on the trail of blood, and where the term Gentlemen of the Press most often sparks a round of derisive laughter, David Broder was a rare figure who lived up to the image. He was a gentleman of the press.


The Philosophical Foundations of Austrian Economics

Via The Mises Institute:

David Gordon discusses his upcoming online Mises Academy class How to Know: The Epistemology of Ludwig von Mises, a five-week course starting April 7.

Critics of Austrian economics often condemn Mises as dogmatic, but in fact he advocated a very commonsense method of procedure for economics. He developed his views in reaction to criticisms of economics by the German Historical School, on the one hand, and the logical positivists, on the other. Both of these movements sought to undermine economic theory in order to clear a path for socialist measures that economic theory demonstrated were unworkable. In this course, we will first explain Mises’s method in an easy-to-understand way. We will then see how Mises vindicated economics against its critics.

Mises did not develop his new ideas in a vacuum. To the contrary, he was influenced by thinkers such as Windelband, Rickert, Croce, and Collingwood, who had attempted to delimit the place of history within human knowledge. Mises had his own ideas about this, and we’ll look at what he says about the philosophy of history in Theory and History.

In Epistemological Problems of Economics, Mises calls the science of human action “sociology”; and though he later abandoned this for “praxeology,” the term suggests a crucial link. Mises was heavily influenced by the sociology of his friend Max Weber, and a significant part of his thought consists of modifications and criticisms of Weber’s views. One lecture will be devoted to “Mises versus Rand.”

Although Mises’s main philosophical contribution was his elaboration of a conception of economic knowledge, he made interesting remarks on a wide variety of philosophical problems. In particular, his doctrine of the “ultimate given” has an important bearing on his account of freedom and determinism. He also applied his account of praxeology to criticize certain ethical theories and to construct a variety of utilitarianism that stresses the benefits of social cooperation through the free market.

Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on understanding Mises. Although we’ll devote some time to critical reactions to him, the main task of the course is to enable you to understand Mises better.

The course consists of five lectures, beginning Thursday, April 7. Here is the schedule for the lectures:

Week 1: Praxeology: A Commonsense Method of Economics

Week 2: Mises versus the German Historical School and the Logical Positivists

Week 3: Mises and the Philosophy of History

Week 4: Mises and Weber

Week 5: The Ultimate Given, Determinism, and Ethics.

The lectures will last for one hour, followed by 30 minutes for questions and discussion. Readings will consist of selections from Mises’s books, includingHuman Action, Epistemological Problems of Economics, Theory and History, and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, as well as other works. There will be weekly quizzes, which I guarantee won’t be hard.


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