In case you missed her …

Becki Gray analyzed the upcoming N.C. candidate filing period for Time Warner Cable News’ “Capital Tonight.”

Leef’s latest Forbes column documents New Mexico’s ongoing battle against civil asset forfeiture

George Leef shares with Forbes readers details of the continuing fight against civil asset forfeiture in one Western state.

Back in summer, the [New Mexico] state legislature unanimously passed a bill that defangs the civil asset forfeiture viper and Governor Martinez promptly signed it into law.

Amazingly, however, civil asset forfeiture continues in New Mexico, as officials in Albuquerque and other cities scoff at the law.

On November 18, two state senators supported by the pro-liberty litigators at the Institute for Justice filed suit in state court to compel all New Mexico officials to obey the law. This step is necessary because city officials are so desperate to keep their gravy train rolling that they have continued to act as if nothing had changed.

The Institute for Justice has released a fascinating report on this battle.

“Albuquerque officials,” the report states, “have responded to these landmark reforms with defiance. Albuquerque has continued to run its lucrative civil asset forfeiture machine despite the legislature’s clear command that only criminal forfeiture is allowed.”

Especially brazen is the city’s decision to purchase an even larger lot to store vehicles it plans to confiscate from non-criminals. The city council recently approved a $2.5 million bond issue to pay for the lot and it intends to use the proceeds from civil asset forfeitures to service the bonds.

The Institute for Justice report also gives us a good look at the sort of cases that Albuquerque’s forfeiture machine generates. Claudeen Crank’s car was stolen by a stranger and taken on a drunken joy ride. After the police arrested the perpetrator, they seized her car on the grounds that it had been used in a crime and was thus “guilty” and subject to forfeiture.

Oh, stow your politics and just enjoy Thanksgiving

Once again, the Angry Left is flooding social media and the Internet with holiday how-to’s. Not how-to’s for recipes and decorating ideas, however. Rather, they’re for their apparently unquestioned need for boorishly waylaying family members with insufferable political lecturing on a day supposedly set apart for all to give thanks to God together.

Here’s what I wrote last year on this same subject:

You might be ‘progressive’ if … you think the purpose of holidays is for causing political arguments with your other family members.

Everything is political,” so you plan ahead to harangue your “incorrect” relatives (as if such boorish behavior could ever be persuasive).

This week has seen a flourishing of tips on how to lecture your family on “progressive” politics on the day you — well, they — gathered together to give thanks.

It used to be understood that proper dining etiquette was to avoid controversial topics, especially politics.

Rudeness aside, these regrettable dining companions are also costing themselves valuable, cherishable experiences. It would be a shame for them to go throughout life without realizing what unlikely friends Stanley Fish and Dinesh D’Souza did.

As Fish perceives, there are more important things to life than politics. Breaking bread with friends is one of the greatest.

Politics is, of course, a part of life. So are the activities that take place in bathrooms, and they aren’t polite subjects either, as necessary as they are for the health of the body. Politics is messy, dirty, foul, and entirely necessary for the body politic, but that doesn’t mean we should revel in it or worse, exalt it.

As Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” And there we find family, friends, food, music and the arts, sports, and so on, and yes, even politicians and political accomplishments, but none to the detriment of the rest.

There are so many things in life more important than politics. Don’t trade them in sight unseen in favor of a meaningless cheap shot over pumpkin pie.

“Hey, other energy sources get subsidies, too!” About that…

My newsletter discusses the differing federal subsidies for different electricity sources. The data come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which compiled the report earlier this year in response “to a September 2014 request to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) from U.S. Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield, Chairman of its Subcommittee on Energy and Power.” (Anyone familiar with the energy debate in this state can understand why lawmakers might want these data.)

Here’s the first of four graphs from the newsletter:

See my colleague Dr. Roy Cordato’s report on the proper way to compare energy subsidies: not by looking at gross subsidies, but net subsidies.

JLF report highlights factors that boosted N.C.’s business tax climate ranking from No. 44 to No. 15

Recent tax reforms have propelled North Carolina from No. 44 to No. 15 in the Tax Foundation’s annual index of states’ business tax climates.

A new John Locke Foundation report highlights the positive changes that have produced rapid improvement in the rankings. JLF also continues to push for additional reforms.

The John Locke Foundation will continue to offer suggestions for lawmakers seeking ways to improve the state tax code, said Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar.

“Recent recommendations to abolish the corporate income tax, reduce or repeal capital gains taxes, and replace depreciation with business expensing fit with the overall theme of improving North Carolina’s tax code,” Cordato said. “Reformers should continue to focus on reducing the tax system’s bias against productivity and job creation, reducing favoritism and special carve-outs, simplifying the tax code, and reducing the overall burden on taxpayers.”

Russian propaganda efforts

Daniel Wiser documents a disturbing new report for Washington Free Beacon readers.

Russia and other authoritarian states are attempting to co-opt Western social media websites and news outlets to disseminate their own propaganda after unsuccessful efforts to shut them down, according to a new report.

Author and journalist David Patrikarakos wrote in a report for the Legatum Institute, a pro-democracy think tank, that autocratic governments initially tried to block their citizens from using social media sites and Internet services amid fears that they would express their discontent and mobilize against the state. China is reported to have denied access to Google’s email service and search function last December, while Russia briefly banned Wikipedia in August due to a drug-related post.

Still, people have found ways to communicate online and bypass government censors, Patrikarakos wrote.

“Such methods have mostly proved ineffective in stifling social media-based interaction and the dissent that invariably comes with it,” he said. “The truly effective option left open to the authoritarian state is therefore to counteract unauthorized information flows with propaganda of its own—most usefully within the same medium.”

Patrikarakos referred to this technique as “social media hacking,” in which governments appropriate social media sites and Internet search algorithms to spread disinformation and shape a favorable narrative.

Sowell laments the ‘disappearing governors’

Thomas Sowell explains in his latest column posted at Human Events why he’s disappointed by some recent departures from the Republican presidential field.

Some of us think someone who is going to govern from the White House ought to have had some experience governing somewhere else before, if only so that we can get some idea of how good — or how bad — he is at governing.

How good someone may have been in business, or in a profession, or as a member of Congress, is no real clue to what that individual will be like when it comes to governing the country.

Certainly choosing a first-term Senator on the basis of his political rhetoric is something that has not turned out well in the case of Barack Obama, and may turn out to be truly catastrophic, as international terrorism spreads.

The withdrawal of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and then of Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, are major losses — not because we know that either of them would make a great president, but precisely because we have no idea whether either of them would have been great or awful.

The primary campaign is supposed to help us find out such things. Instead, the media have turned this into a side show about Donald Trump.

Nor was this all media political bias. The Fox News Channel, which broadcast the first “debates,” opened up the second-tier candidates’ session with a question about Donald Trump, who was not even present, rather than about the nation’s problems, which have been all too present.

The media instinct for the flashy and clever irrelevancy seems to be non-partisan. The fact that we may be at a crossroads in world history does not seem to spoil their sense of fun and games.

Much of the time that could have been spent bringing out what candidates with governing experience have to offer was spent instead interviewing not only Trump himself but even members of his family.

The growing federal regulatory burden

Michael Bastasch reports for the Daily Caller on the Obama administration’s latest regulatory plans.

While millions of Americans prepare to stuff themselves with Turkey and pie, the Obama administration quietly released its plans for 2,224 federal rules Friday — a preview of just how many more regulations the president is attempting to issue before he leaves office.

President Barack Obama’s Unified Agenda for Fall 2015 is his administration’s regulatory road map and lays out thousands of regulations being finalized in the coming months. Obama has developed a habit of releasing the agenda late on Friday before a major holiday.

Indeed, Obama’s Spring 2015 agenda detailing the status of more than 2,300 regulations was released the eve of Memorial Day weekend. Obama’s Fall 2014 agenda featuring more than 3,400 regulations was also released the Friday before Thanksgiving.

While Obama’s latest release features fewer regulations than the last two, it shows the administration is determined to churn out as many rules as it can before the end of 2016. This includes major energy and environmental regulations coming down the pipe, like new rules for coal mines and rules banning common pesticides.

Obama has already put out several major environmental regulations this year, including limits on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, more federal control over U.S. waterways, new hydraulic fracturing regulations and stricter smog rules.

In the last week alone, the Obama administration imposed $1.8 billion in regulatory costs, according to a new report by the right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF). This brings the total cost of regulation in 2015 to a whopping $183 billion — about half from final rules and the other from proposed rules.