Civitas Review

When Green Goes Too Far on Campus

Jan
25

By Jenna A. Robinson

Many American universities are now “going green.” To some extent, this makes sense. Universities are huge enterprises that stand to save hundred of thousands of dollars by cutting down on waste, using energy more wisely, and making better use of the resources they already have instead of always insisting on new, better, and more of everything. When green is frugal, it should be welcomed on campus.

But in many cases campus greening, now called “sustainability,” goes far beyond smart moves to use resources more wisely. It has become a matter of religion. Read More »

Intolerance in the Academy

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Jan
22

By Jenna A. Robinson

Last week, a new finding about ideological imbalance made headlines all over the country. According to Matt Woessner, an associate professor of political science and public policy at Penn State Harrisburg, liberal professors now outnumber their conservative counterparts by a ratio of roughly 5 to 1. Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, said the imbalance might be even worse than that—with faculty who vote Democratic outnumbering those who vote Republican by 9 to 1 or even 10 to 1.

Those inside the academy respond that the imbalance doesn’t matter since professors leave their ideology out of their work.

But Jonathan Anomaly, a lecturer and research professor with the Duke/UNC Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program, recently discovered that this is not the case. Read More »

Academic Study: NC's Spending Growth "Unsustainable"; Pension Liability Far Larger Than Reported

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Jan
22

A new study released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University takes a close look at financial health of North Carolina state government. Among the findings:

  • Real (inflation-adjusted) state spending per capita has increased fourfold in North Carolina since 1970. Three sources of revenue allowed for this increase: (1) tax increases, (2) increased debt, and (3) increased federal transfers.
  • North Carolina’s long-run spending trend is unsustainable
  • State spending as a percentage of GDP has more than doubled from 1970
  • The true shortfall in the state's pension system is $34.5 billion rather than $3.4 billion when using more realistic discount rates—a tenfold increase in the unfunded liability

Read the whole study here.

Group Looks at N.C. Counties' Suspect Voter Registration Numbers

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Jan
21

VOTE-FRAUDThe Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), headed up by J. Christian Adams, has sent statutory notice letters to 37 counties in several states – including North Carolina, informing them that they appear to not be complying with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).  Here is an example of the letter sent to election officials in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The PILF news release says that publicly-available data showed that the counties either had "more registered voters than eligible living citizens, or a number of registrants that is implausibly high."

Below are the North Carolina counties receiving notices – the list includes the top five counties in terms of voter registration in the state. If you live in one of these 12 counties, now is a good time to get involved and contact the members of the local Board to see what is being done about these serious problems.

Brunswick
Buncombe
Cabarrus
Chatham
Dare
Durham
Forsyth
Guilford
Mecklenburg
Orange
Union
Wake

This isn’t the first time PILF has sent notices to counties around the country.

“In August 2015, PILF sent notice letters to 141 counties across the country with more registrants than people alive. PILF has since filed litigation in federal court against two of these counties whose voter rolls had become corrupted.  The first suit, against Clarke County, Mississippi, resulted in a consent decree that will force local election officials to begin removing ineligible voters prior to 2016 election. The other, against Noxubee County, Mississippi, is still pending.

The latest set of letters brings the grand total to 178 counties that may be violating federal law. Recent studies estimate the number of inaccurate or invalid voter registrations may exceed 20 million.”

The PILF release also stated that they had “also asked officials in New Hampshire and Wisconsin to provide information about efforts to detect non-citizens and prevent aliens from participating in elections in those states.”

I just wish they had asked the same question of North Carolina.

Update – A Spy, Drug Dealers, Cronies, Hemp and the NCGA

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Jan
15

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You may remember the legislation that started out as a license plate bill for retired registers of deeds in March of 2015, but mysteriously became the “Hemp Bill” on September 28, 2015 and was ratified the next day. All this, just two days before the end of last year’s marathon legislative session. Civitas looked at the way the bill was introduced and the characters behind the resulting legislation in an article titled, A Spy, Drug Dealers, Cronies, Hemp and the NCGA.

While the rushed-through legislation made industrial hemp production legal in North Carolina four months ago, this News and Observer article suggests that they haven’t raised the $200,000 in private funds needed to support the operations of the Commission. The N&O article implied that the commission will be appointed after the money is raised. This leaves us to wonder; just who is responsible for raising the money? Here is how the legislation reads:

  • 106-568.54. Limitations. The Commission shall not meet or undertake any of its powers and duties under this Article until it has obtained funding from sources other than State funds of at least two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to support operations of the Commission. Funding from non-State sources for the Commission's activities may be returned to the donor or funder if not spent or.

While A Spy, Drug Dealers, Cronies, Hemp and the NCGA did not weigh in on the merits of the bill, we did raise questions as to the process and the cast of characters that played such a major role including Bruce Perlowin, a notorious drug dealer, his wife – a KGB spy, Republican leadership, consultants and lobbyists – all with major stakes in the success of the resulting legislation.

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