Daily Journal

Accountability Is No Gimmick

Newspaper editors should welcome the opportunity to highlight a candidate’s unwillingness to participate in a public debate.

CJ Ticker

  • Latest N.C. employment report contains "excellent" news.
  • N.C. Supreme Court decides to bypass the Court of Appeals and address the lawsuit challenging new opportunity scholarships.
  • The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restores same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting for North Carolina's November election.
  • JLF report calls for reduction or repeal of N.C.'s capital gains tax.
  • Gov. McCrory rejects special session dealing with economic incentives. Video here.
  • New JLF report focuses on chemical composition of fluid used for fracking.
  • N.C. Supreme Court affirms a 2013 state Utilities Commission ruling approving a Duke Energy Progress rate hike.
  • Gov. McCrory appoints Appeals Court Judge Bob Hunter to Supreme Court seat being vacated by Chief Justice-designate Mark Martin. Hunter is running for the seat in November.

Other Opinions

Common Core

The Winstom-Salem Journal wonders why the legislature rejected Common Core if it wasn’t serious about finding a better set of standards.

Prison conditions

It’s time for the General Assembly to look at whether the state’s prisons are becoming not simply warehouses but torture chambers for the mentally ill says the Raleigh News & Observer.

Redistricting flaws

North Carolina needs a better system to make sure more of its voices are better represented. The 2014 election results simply underscore that point once again says the Rocky Mount Telegram.

School calendar

The Burlington Times- News says that with greater flexibility to schedule school calendars, school systems could better fit the academic year to match that of universities and community colleges.

Coal-ash cleanup

Independent commissions, especially those that limit the ability of the governor to appoint members, can skew the balance of power in favor of the legislature says the Wilmington Star-News.

After the Midterms, GOP Must Lead
The 2015 Congress should be bold and specific in its moves to make America more dynamic and secure.

Media Mangle

When the Price of Access Is Too Steep

Media outlets should think twice about maintaining cozy relationships with murderous regimes.

How to downplay an embarrassing story

The N&O buries the one moment of real drama at the Democratic National Convention.

Death of a narrative

The world's media found the neo-Nazi meme in stories about the school shooting in France just too enticing.

Lead Story

JLF Promotes Swanson as 25th Anniversary Approaches

November 21, 2014, By CJ Staff

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — As the John Locke Foundation prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary with new programs and initiatives, the free-market think tank is also announcing the promotion of Executive Vice President Kory Swanson to the post of president and CEO. Longtime president John Hood is taking a new job as president of the John William Pope Foundation, a Raleigh-based grantmaker, but will remain chairman of the JLF board of directors.

11.21.14 - Friday Interview: Fighting College Free-Speech Restrictions

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Stroll through a college campus, and you expect to hear debate about a range of good, bad, and even crazy ideas. But too many colleges place limits on debate or restrict the free exchange of ideas to small, out-of-the-way sections of campus. Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, recently discussed higher education free-speech restrictions with Mitch Kokai for Carolina Journal Radio.

11.20.14 - Smaller Firms Brace For Obamacare Price Shocks

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — The employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is formally known, requires businesses to provide health coverage for employees, or pay a $2,000 tax per worker. It also requires certain coverage provisions that ratchet up compliance costs. The mandates have been delayed twice for medium-size businesses employing between 50 and 99 workers. They will take effect in 2016.

Editorial Cartoon


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11.21.14 - Obama’s plan offers hope for Triangle immigrants

RALEIGH — Mercedes Garcia’s phone started ringing Wednesday, a whole day before President Barack Obama’s prime-time speech on his immigration plan. The 36-year-old, a native of Mexico, came to this country as a child with her parents. She has gotten married here, given birth to four children here and held numerous jobs here; and she considers Raleigh home.

Related Immigration Articles:
Lawyers expect many undocumented immigrants in Charlotte to seek help
Advocates try to jump-start immigration reform
CMS team sets path for more immigrant volunteers
JLF: Confusing stats on Hispanics and illegal immigrants
Feds asked to ensure immigrant children can get education
Solutions elude CMS on undocumented volunteers

11.21.14 - Solar power backers: leave friendly NC laws alone

RALEIGH — Solar energy advocates urged North Carolina legislators on Thursday to resist pressure from big energy interests and leave in place incentives that have sprouted an industry that employs 3,000 statewide. The sun could generate 20 percent of the electricity North Carolina uses by 2030 if lawmakers make no changes after returning to work in January, solar power boosters said.

Related Energy Articles:
JLF: How energy subsidy comparisons should be calculated but aren't
Questions linger over Beyond Coal campaign
Lawyers in governor’s lawsuit also represented Duke
Coal ash commission meets as McCrory sues
Coal ash chair: ‘Everyone will share’ cleanup costs
Commission makes recommendations for fracking rules

11.21.14 - Questions linger over Beyond Coal campaign

ASHEVILLE — The North Carolina Beyond Coal Campaign sought to show wide support in October when it named 80 Western North Carolina companies as backing a call to shut down Duke Energy’s Lake Julian plant. A month later, the effort by the Asheville-based Western North Carolina Alliance and the San Francisco-based Sierra Club continues to face questions over whether it really had that backing nailed down, something charity watchdog groups said raises concerns.

Related Energy Articles:
JLF: How energy subsidy comparisons should be calculated but aren't
Solar power backers: leave friendly NC laws alone
Lawyers in governor’s lawsuit also represented Duke
Coal ash commission meets as McCrory sues
Coal ash chair: ‘Everyone will share’ cleanup costs
Commission makes recommendations for fracking rules

11.21.14 - State auditor fires Gruber

RALEIGH — State Auditor Beth Wood has terminated a contract with MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber after the health care policy expert came under fire for controversial comments involving how the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Gruber was among the policy experts who helped President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats build the health care law, which some people call “Obamacare.”

Related State Government Articles:
McCrory sues legislature over commissions
Feds lower unemployment tax increase for NC employers
NC legislature’s longtime administrator retires
NC soil lab uses fee to help spread the load
McCrory touts plan for ailing NC buildings
Expansion gives NC Zoo’s polar bears more room to roam

11.21.14 - Consultant: Red wolf effort should expand to other states

RALEIGH — A new independent review calls for extensive changes to rescue the federal government’s struggling, unpopular Red Wolf Recovery Program in five Eastern North Carolina counties. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is faulted for creating “an atmosphere of distrust” among landowners, and for a weak understanding of the causes behind a perilous decline in recent years of the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves.

Related Environment Articles:
For the American chestnut tree, life follows death
Coyote-hunting controls approved for red-wolf protection
It’s the season for Carolinas deer-vehicle crashes
Another armadillo spotted, but this time deceased
Red wolf program evaluation extended to Nov. 14
State will host meeting to discuss deer farming expansion

11.21.14 - State releases draft of film grant program

WILMINGTON — The N.C. Department of Commerce is firming up details surrounding the state’s new $10 million film grant program, set to go into effect Jan. 1. This week, the department posted a tentative draft of the program’s guidelines to the N.C. Film office’s website, detailing how productions will apply for grant awards and the specifics of the required audit.

Related Economic Incentives Articles:
JLF: N.C. film incentives are good old-fashioned corporate welfare
Tax incentives only one factor in attracting industry
Linamar may get $2 million more in tax money
Drone operator seeks millions from city
Lassiter: Incentives must be repaid if Chiquita moves
Film advocates dubious about new NC incentives
Commerce ‘Sustainability’ Official Still On Job

11.21.14 - Mecklenburg DA’s office to review surveillance cases

CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office will review hundreds of criminal cases after a judge unsealed related records that allowed police to secretly track cellphones in their investigations. The records give the fullest account to date about cellphone surveillance conducted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Related Police/Public Safety Articles:
Durham crime up for year, but trending down
Asheville police chief Anderson to retire
Fire department merger would keep same goals
Fire chief wades into murky Asheville Police Department waters
Panel says ex-SBI agent Deaver should get back pay but not his job
Charlotte won’t fight release of cellphone tracking records

11.21.14 - Scotland County sheriff seeks new election

LAURINBURG — Scotland County Sheriff Shep Jones is requesting a new election after accusing the Republican winner, Ralph Kersey, of attempting to buy votes. This week, the Scotland County Board of Elections voted 2-1 to dismiss a complaint filed by Jones on Monday, but he is pursuing the matter with the state. The Democratic sheriff has accused Kersey and his campaign workers of approaching voters Nov. 4 and offering them food, alcohol, cigarettes and possibly cash for their votes.

Related Elections Articles:
Robinson, Bradshaw file for recounts
Cooper promotes nonpartisan redistricting
Pollsters explain why they were wrong on Senate race
Turnout, machine troubles lead to long election night
Turnout: NC sets record for midterm election
Election Day means change to NC voters, Congress
Races Take Shape as 2012 Primary Season Officially Gets Underway

11.21.14 - Tuition and fee increases likely at NCSU

RALEIGH — Tuition for all students at N.C. State University should increase by at least 3 percent in each of the next two academic years, and a special fee for engineering students should jump from $90 annually to $1,000, a committee of the university’s trustees decided Thursday. For undergraduate students from North Carolina, that means tuition would rise $182 next year, then another $187 a year later, to $6,407.

Related Higher Education Articles:
UNCW cost for N.C. residents likely to increase
In wake of Wainstein report, UNC reached out to top donors
UNC-CH leaders look at early impact of Wainstein report
Harvard and UNC-CH sued over their admission policies
Group sues UNC-CH on use of race in admissions
University of Louisville hires top campus lawyer from UNC-CH

11.21.14 - Judge: Sectarian prayer allowed at county meeting

WINSTON-SALEM — Forsyth County commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt, who had led the battle for seven years to keep the county’s policy of allowing sectarian prayer in place, sat on one side of a federal courtroom Thursday morning. Janet Joyner, who, along with other county residents, sued Forsyth County over the county’s prayer policy in March 2007, sat on the other side.

Related Local Government Articles:
Mecklenburg seeks end to small refund checks
Union commissioners want to repeal litigation moratorium
JLF: What government costs cities and counties
Residents, musicians voice concerns about busking
Wake County Commissioners: Democrats sweep four seats
Sales tax for schools no sale with voters

11.21.14 - Halifax Media Group acquired by New Media

WILMINGTON — Halifax Media Group, owner of StarNews Media and 35 other newspapers and affiliated websites, has agreed to be acquired by New Media Investment Group Inc. New Media, a publicly traded company, said it will pay $280 million in cash for Halifax, subject to adjustments. The deal is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2015.

Related Media & Internet Articles:
Wilson asks FCC to override NC telecom law
Triad to get additional area code, will have to dial 10 digits
Consultant: Time Warner/Comcast merger needs scrutiny
AT&T to bring high-speed fiber optic broadband to Charlotte
Google Fiber works to bring ultra-fast Internet to Charlotte
Google praises Charlotte’s Google Fiber application
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Locke, Jefferson, and the Justices
Equal Rights for All
Free Choice for Workers, A History of the Right to Work Movement
Jesse Helms - Here's Where I Stand