CMS board still dysfunctional

Were you expecting anything else? Per the UPoR:

Thursday’s gathering of Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members may feel a lot like the breakfast table the morning after a couple fights.

Tuesday night, the board went public with rifts that members have spent more than a year trying to mend or gloss over.

At a time when they’re trying to rally public support for a student assignment review, some board members acknowledged that they don’t trust each other.

As they work to unite a diverse community, black board Chair Mary McCray talked about a racially divided board and white member Paul Bailey told everyone to “get over it – it’s done, it’s over, it was 200 years ago.”

And before they voted to give Superintendent Ann Clark another year to run Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, some members were vocal about how little they wanted to do that.

The one thing all nine members seemed to agree on was that the discussion leading up to a 6-3 vote to extend Clark’s contract was not their finest hour.

Draft registration for women?

It’s an open question, now that the Obama administration has decreed that women should serve in more military combat roles. Morgan Chalfant of the Washington Free Beacon offers details.

The Obama administration’s decision to open up all combat roles to women has led to a heated debate over whether women should have to register for the draft and has sparked both legislation and legal action that could change the Selective Service’s rules.

It remains to be seen what the impact of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s December order compelling all services to allow women into combat roles will be on Selective Service registration, which is currently only required for men. Dual lawsuits are challenging the constitutionality of the Selective Service Act, and new legislation in Congress also seeks to encourage debate on women’s role in the draft.

Reps. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) and Ryan Zinke (R., Mt.), both of whom opposed the administration’s decision to open up combat roles to women, introduced a bill last week that would require women ages 18 to 26 to register for the Selective Service. The lawmakers, both of them military veterans, said that Carter’s order forced the issue.

“This discussion wouldn’t be happening if the administration didn’t force the services to integrate combat arms by decree. And it’s hard to find anyone who is enthusiastic about compelling draft registration for women, but the administration up to now has made this all about equality and fairness,” Hunter, a Marine reserve officer, told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement. “So in that regard, the decision to integrate combat units without exception has prompted the necessity to now discuss whether women should be required to register with the selective service.”

“This is the dilemma that the administration created and obviously it failed to think things through all the way,” Hunter added.

Stossel probes Cruz’s emulation of Obama campaign tactics

No one would confuse conservative U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz with President Barack Obama, but John Stossel‘s latest column at Human Events explains one connection between the two political figures.

Politicians tailor their messages to different audiences. Facing New Hampshire’s primary, Ted Cruz talked more about “free-market principles” and a “commitment to the Constitution” and said “no one personality can right the wrongs done by Washington.” Politico ran the headline “Ted Cruz, born-again libertarian.”

I’m skeptical. Campaigning in Iowa, Cruz had emphasized religion and social conservatism.

But politicians no longer just target voters state-by-state — they target by person.

Last election, President Obama beat Mitt Romney partly by doing just that. Obama had 50 people working in data analytics. Romney had four.

“The campaign manager for the Obama campaign said the biggest institutional advantage they had was its use of data,” observes Cato Institute fellow Emily Ekins.

Conservatives had data too, she says, but “Republican insiders tended to be a little bit closed-minded when it came to new methodologies.”

Not Cruz. He told my producers recently, “I bought a copy of David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager’s book, ‘The Audacity to Win,’ gave it to our senior team (and told them) we are going to nakedly and shamelessly emulate this.”

The Obama campaigns kept detailed computer records on individuals likely to vote for Obama. On Election Day, volunteers concentrated on getting just those voters to vote.

Likewise, this year the Cruz campaign didn’t send volunteers to every single door to ask people for their vote. They saved precious time by knocking only on doors of likely Cruz voters who might need a nudge to go to the polls.

Cruz technology manager Chris Wilson told us that the campaign will then do “whatever it takes. We go to their house. We’ll bug them until they either turn out to vote or get a restraining order against us.”

The Supreme Court and Obama’s global warming agenda

Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller describes the “crippling blow” the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt to President Obama’s global warming agenda.

The court won’t allow the EPA to implement its so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030. This is a big win for the 29 states suing the federal government to stop a rule expected to cripple the coal industry.

“Five justices of the Supreme Court agreed with North Dakota and other parties that EPA’s regulation would impose massive irreparable harms on North Dakota and the rest of the country and that there was a substantial likelihood EPA was acting unlawfully,” Paul Seby, an attorney with law firm Greenberg Traurig representing the state of North Dakota, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

States asked the Supreme Court to halt implementation of the CPP after a lower court rejected their appeal in January. Now, Morrisey and the Obama administration will make their oral arguments on the merits of the law in front of federal judges in June.

“Make no mistake – this is a great victory for West Virginia,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who’s leading the states against the EPA, in a statement on the announcement.

Morrisey argues the CPP amounts to “double regulating” by the EPA, since coal-fired power plants — the main target of the rule — are already being regulated under another provision of the Clean Air Act. States also argue the CPP is in effect a federal takeover of their energy policies.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues,” Morrisey said.

This is the second major EPA regulation to be held up by the courts in recent months. Last year, federal judges issued a stay on an agency rule redefining “waters of the United States” — this sparked backlash from nearly every industry from farmers to energy producers.

Socialism on the rise?

Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute hopes the answer is “no.” He explains why in his latest column for National Review Online.

Less than three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, socialism seems to be undergoing something of a revival.

A self-professed “democratic socialist” is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he is running neck and neck with a party icon. Polls show that more than a quarter of Americans have a favorable opinion of socialism, which might not sound so bad until you learn that that includes 43 percent of those under age 30, and 42 percent of Democrats. Meanwhile, barely half of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism. Democrats, in fact, are as likely to view socialism positively as they are capitalism.

What accounts for this collective historical amnesia?

Perhaps people can be forgiven for having come to the belief that capitalism is synonymous with Wall Street shenanigans or bank bailouts. That’s what politicians, academics, and the media have pounded into us for years. When was the last time you saw a movie where businessmen weren’t greedy and evil, if not outright murderers. Perhaps we need to be reminded of what free-market capitalism really is, and how much better it has made our lives.

After all, if one looks at the long course of human history, our existence was pretty much hand to mouth for most of it. All that began to change in the 1700s with the development of modern — that is, capitalist — economics.

But one doesn’t have to go back 300 years to see the advantages of free-market capitalism. Consider that in the last 25 years, a period during which much of the world has embraced free markets, a billion people have been lifted out of poverty, and the global poverty rate has been slashed from more than 37 percent to less than 10 percent.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431071/socialism-v-free-market-capitalism

Implications of New Hampshire’s Democratic vote

Brendan Bordelon of National Review Online explores the impact of Bernie Sanders’ big victory over Hillary Clinton in this week’s New Hampshire primary.

Clinton may love the Granite State, but the feeling isn’t mutual. The once-prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination suffered a crushing rejection from the same voters who back in 2008 reinvigorated her collapsing campaign against Barack Obama. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders trounced her in nearly every demographic, especially young and rural voters. Many major news outlets called the race for Sanders within one minute of the polls’ closing at 8 p.m. Eastern time. …

… Pageutte blames New Hampshire’s youth for Clinton’s disastrous loss, pointing to their single-minded obsession with free college education. But the exit polls paint a different picture. Though Sanders won voters under 30 by a huge margin — 84 to 15, almost identical to his margin in Iowa — he also won the majority of women voters. And he beat Clinton by a whopping 45 points among independents.

Free college tuition wasn’t their issue. Nearly six in ten voters said they were voting for the candidate they found trustworthy and who cared about people like them. Those voters went for Sanders in a landslide — over 90 percent of voters who rated trustworthiness as most important voted for him. “It just seems like Sanders cares more about the people,” said Karen Benzekri, a mom and high-school teacher who spoke to National Review moments after casting her vote for Sanders in Nashua. “He just has more in common with everyday people on a number of issues.”

New Carolina Journal Online features

Dan Way reports for Carolina Journal Online on N.C. reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

Jon Sanders’ Daily Journal explains the links between occupational licensing red tape and income inequality.

Campaign dispatch, February 10, 2016

clock-384646_1280• Down to the wire: Chief Justice of the U.S. John Roberts says the plaintiffs suing the state over its congressional maps must file a response by Tuesday explaining why the order demanding new maps should not be put on hold until after the March 15 primary. If Roberts (or all the justices) let the order go forward, the General Assembly will have to convene a special session and have new maps drawn and approved by next Friday — or, possibly, delay at least some of the races contested in the primary. Stay tuned to Carolina Journal for more details as they arise.

• Wake County Republicans held a straw poll, and the big winners were … Sen. Ted Cruz for president, incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (though not by much over Greg Brannon), incumbent state Rep. Nelson Dollar, 2nd District congressional challenger Jim Duncan, and those opposing the Connect NC bond package. The results are here.

• Davie County Republicans will be able to watch a debate among some Senate candidates, even if the incumbent doesn’t show. Challengers Larry Holmquist and Brannon have agreed to a televised debate in Mocksville — as has Pattie Curran, who’s challenging 5th District Rep. Virginia Foxx. Problem is, neither Burr nor Foxx has agreed to a primary debate. Wonder if the sponsors will have empty chairs on stage?

• Speaking of debates, Democrat Ken Spaulding, a Durham attorney seeking the party’s nomination for governor against Attorney General Roy Cooper, dispatched a couple of supporters wearing chicken costumes to the Department of Justice. Cooper has refused an invitation to debate Spaulding March 1.

• The low-key campaign of Democratic state treasurer hopeful Ron Elmer got a boost from the political arm of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. SEANC’s PAC endorsed Elmer over former Wake County Democratic Party chairman Dan Blue III, citing in part Elmer’s vow to slash investment fees in the state pension plan.