This Would Make a Good Plot for a Movie

The ABA Journal reports that:

On Thursday … an identical twin … testified he committed a murder and his brother was wrongly convicted of the crime in 2005….

In Cook County, Illinois, court on Thursday, Smith said he and his brother were both gang members who sold drugs, but he was the man who fired a gun into a group of people, killing one man and wounding another.

The shooting victim who survived had identified Smith’s twin, Kevin Dugar, in a photo lineup that did not include Smith. (Smith has a different last name than his brother because he uses his mother’s maiden name.)

Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Rogala said in court that Smith has nothing to lose by taking the rap. He is serving a 99-year sentence for attempted murder in a different case, and he came forward only after an appeals court upheld the conviction.

According to the Tribune, the brothers had impersonated one another for years and they still looked identical in the court appearance Thursday.

N.C. Supreme Court affirms $3 million award against DOT in suit linked to fatal crash

Without comment, the N.C. Supreme Court has affirmed a lower-court ruling that will force the state Department of Transportation to pay $3 million to the families of three people killed in a Charlotte auto accident in 2009.

The award is based on the finding that DOT should have installed a traffic light at the intersection where the accident took place. A nearly 90 mile-per-hour race between two vehicles led to the accident at Riverpointe Drive, Palisades Parkway, and Highway 49 that killed a 2-year-old girl, her mother, and a 13-year-old boy in another car.

Newsflash–Charlotte’s New South image shaken

It’s not news until the New York Times reports it:

This has always been a place that has prided itself on order, consensus and a can-do corporate mentality that turned a locale with no real geographic reason to exist into one of the hemisphere’s financial dynamos.

It has also gained a reputation for racial amity, from its nationally recognized commitment to busing and integrated schools in the 1970s and ’80s, to the election of Harvey Gantt in 1983 as one of the South’s first prominent black mayors.

But the fatal police shooting on Tuesday of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott, and the protests that have followed are among numerous bumps and jolts that have shaken Charlotte’s sense of itself recently as it emerged from a successful small city to a more complicated larger one.

….After decades in which it willed itself to big-city status, Charlotte in the last decade has had to grapple with a host of big-city problems, including a corruption scandal that brought down a mayor, a recession that shook the banking industry to its foundations, a previous fatal police shooting of a black man in 2013 that sent angry residents into the streets and, this year, a high-profile culture war with the state legislature over an anti-discrimination ordinance.

There has also been a growing realization here of the depths of poverty that have come to coexist alongside the comfortable New South reality enjoyed by the city’s business class.

HB2 is not mentioned until the last third of the story, noting that as a result Gov. Pat McCrory “now finds himself in a difficult re-election race against his Democratic challenger and potentially alienated from voters in the state’s largest city.” Indeed that may be true, but somehow I don’t see it as a good thing for Roy Cooper that he doesn’t rate a mention by name in the paper of record.

Red tape’s price tag

Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon highlights a new report detailing the costs associated with selected Obama administration regulations.

Regulations issued under the Obama administration could cost taxpayers roughly $350 billion, according to a new report released by Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.).

McCain highlighted 25 major final and pending regulatory actions, including the president’s health care law and numerous new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, and noted how they affect the state he represents.

“Over the last eight years under the Obama administration, and especially since the president’s 2014 State of the Union address when he committed to using his ‘pen and phone’ to circumvent Congress, the American people have been hit with a barrage of federal regulations that are saddling Arizona’s economy, hurting small businesses, strangling middle class families, and robbing taxpayers—to the tune of $348.7 billion,” McCain said.

“My report exposes 25 federal regulations under the Obama White House that are harming critical sectors of Arizona’s economy, ranging from energy and the environment to health care, retirement, and tourism,” he said. “With job and economic development continuing to lag across our nation, we must not cease in our efforts to undo the red-tape that is unfairly burdening hardworking Arizona families.”

The report is the latest in McCain’s series on wasteful government spending. The new report focuses exclusively on regulation, including Obamacare, which has left 14 of 15 Arizona counties with only one health care provider.

McCain listed 107 regulations created by Obamacare that have incurred $48.5 billion in costs.

The report features numerous regulations from the EPA, including the Waters of the United States rule that would place more than 60 percent of all surface water in the country under the control of the federal government. The rule, which went into effect last year, will cost $462.9 Million.

The agency’s Clean Power Plan to regulate power plants, which the report says could lead to double-digit increases to utility bills, will cost $8.4 billion. The EPA’s ozone standard could cost up to $25 billion.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation resulted in over 22,000 pages of new regulations. Its 127 new regulations are costing taxpayers $36.2 billion.

Stossel and Supreme Court appointments

John Stossel‘s latest column at Human Events explores the links between presidential power grabs and Supreme Court appointments.

Because presidents think Congress is failing when it doesn’t pass legislation they like, they nominate Supreme Court justices who may give them leeway. Franklin Roosevelt tried to increase the size of the Court to squeeze in more justices who supported his programs. George W. Bush nominated his own White House Counsel.

The media call President Obama’s current nominee, Merrick Garland, “a centrist.” But he is “centrist” only in that he sides with Democrats who want to ban guns and Republicans who want government left free to do most anything in Guantanamo Bay. Garland repeatedly supports increased government power — and fewer checks.

Shapiro went to Chicago Law School when Obama was a professor there. He says Obama understands the limits the Constitution places on presidents but ignores them. He ignores them so often that the Supreme Court has overruled Obama unanimously more often than any modern president.

When Congress rejected Obama’s immigration plan, he just imposed it via executive order. The Supreme Court overturned that, but the final vote blocking it was close, 4-4. But what will the next court do?

I hope Hillary Clinton doesn’t get to replace Justice Scalia because she sounds a lot like President Obama. On her website, she says things like, “If Congress won’t act, I will ask the Treasury Department … to use its regulatory authority!”

Donald Trump is no better. He says he’ll impose the death penalty on anyone who kills a cop.

“But the executive has no say over that,” points out Shapiro.

Presidents cannot pass laws. They execute laws passed by Congress. Congress is supposed to reject legislation it doesn’t like. That’s its job. Most legislation is bad.

The price of appeasement

Victor Davis Hanson of National Review Online contends recent trends in American foreign policy point in a bad direction.

Wars often seem to come out of nowhere, as unlikely events ignite long-simmering disputes into global conflagrations.

The instigators often are weaker attackers who foolishly assume that more powerful nations wish peace at any cost, and so will not react to opportunistic aggression.

Unfortunately, our late-summer calm of 2016 has masked a lot of festering tensions that are now coming to a head — largely due to disengagement by a supposedly tired United States.

In contrast, war, unlike individual states, does not sleep.

Russia has been massing troops on its border with Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin apparently believes that Europe is in utter disarray and assumes that President Obama remains most interested in apologizing to foreigners for the past evils of the United States. Putin is wagering that no tired Western power could or would stop his reabsorption of Ukraine — or the Baltic states next. Who in hip Amsterdam cares what happens to faraway Kiev?

Iran swapped American hostages for cash. An Iranian missile narrowly missed a U.S. aircraft carrier not long ago. Iranians hijacked an American boat and buzzed our warships in the Persian Gulf. There are frequent promises from Tehran to destroy either Israel, America, or both. So much for the peace dividend of the “Iran deal.”

North Korea is more than just delusional. Recent nuclear tests and missile launches toward Japan suggest that North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un actually believes that he could win a war — and thereby gain even larger concessions from the West and from his Asian neighbors.

Radical Islamists likewise seem emboldened to try more attacks on the premise that Western nations will hardly respond with overwhelming power. The past weekend brought pipe bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey as well as a mass stabbing in a Minnesota mall — and American frustration.

Prison bars for the IRS commissioner

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online believes impeachment is not enough for embattled IRS commissioner John Koskinen.

He shouldn’t be impeached. He should be imprisoned.

When the feds couldn’t make ordinary criminal charges stick to the organized-crime syndicate that turned 1920s Chicago into a free-fire zone, they went after the boss, Al Capone, on tax charges. Under Barack Obama, the weaponized IRS has been transformed into a crime syndicate far worse than anything dreamt of by pinstriped Model-T gangsters — because Al Capone and Meyer Lansky did not have the full force of the federal government behind them.

If you do not know the story — in which case, shame on you — a brief recap: After years of pressure from Democratic grandees including Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Senator Chuck Schumer, the IRS began targeting conservative nonprofit groups for various kinds of illegal harassment. Applications for nonprofit status were wrongfully delayed and denied, while investigations into those organizations’ tax statuses were turned into partisan fishing expeditions in order to expedite harassment against donors, volunteers, and political activists. This involved organizations that are under the law explicitly permitted to engage in political activity. Democratic officials at the state level joined in and continue to do so, with California attorney general Kamala Harris demanding donor lists from California-based nonprofits that came into her crosshairs — with no legal justification.

This is a flat-out illegal campaign of criminal harassment and intimidation of political activists involving the criminal misuse of federal resources for illegal partisan political ends.

This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

We’ve heard a lot about teacher pay and education spending during this year’s election campaign season, but Terry Stoops wishes politicians and pundits would spend more time pondering a bigger problem: the “persistent failure” to boost male African-American public school students’ academic achievement. Stoops analyzes the issue during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Jon Guze discusses the “ban the box” movement targeting employment application forms. State Budget Director Andrew Heath addresses the economic data associated with Gov. Pat McCrory’s proclaimed “Carolina Comeback.”

You’ll hear University of North Carolina system President Margaret Spellings recount her first session working with the N.C. General Assembly. Plus you’ll learn about the work of a state blue-ribbon commission studying North Carolina’s infrastructure needs.