Latest Crystal Coast Tea Party News and Views

 

FOR OUR BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS,

CLICK HERE.

Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriot groups   (Everyone is cordially invited to any of our meetings.  If you can, come an hour or so early to eat, chat, and get acquainted!):

MOREHEAD CITY GROUP, Weekly Meeting:   Every Tuesday @ 6 PM, Golden Corral in Morehead City, NC, on Arendell Street.

WEST CARTERET GROUP, Semi-monthly Meeting:   On the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays @ 6:30 PM, Ribeye’s Restaurant, Cape Carteret, NC.

JACKSONVILLE-ONSLOW TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:   Every Tuesday @ 7pm, Logan’s Roadhouse on Western Boulevard in Jacksonville.  For more information, contact ThomasHAustin@hotmail.com.


 

  

Can’t We PLEASE Put These Folks In Prison?

Most readers will be at least somewhat familiar with the efforts of North Carolina’s Jay DeLancy and his Voter Integrity Project, but do you know that James O’Keefe, the video prankster who makes a specialty of exposing the fraudulent practices of the liberals behind such organizations as ACORN, also has a focus on voter fraud?

Yep. And, standing on the shoulders of DeLancy’s VIP, his Project Veritas Action group just finished an expose on voter fraud in western North Carolina. The seven-minute video is below, and it’s a dilly.

  

Those Rascally Russian Rapscallions

Via the Washington Post’s late edition yesterday, reporter Ellen Nakashima had up a short article on the Obama administration’s belated admission that the White House computer networks had been breeched by Russian hackers.  In explaining the severity of the breech, the Obama folks did what they do best; they lied through their teeth.  Here’s a key excerpt from the announcement by White House officials:

White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked.

“In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network,” said one White House official.  “We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity. . . .  Unfortunately, some of that resulted in the disruption of regular services to users.  But people were on it and are dealing with it.”

Scott Johnson of Powerline reported this two weeks ago, and his sources say the problem is much worse than the President’s minions are admitting.  From Johnson’s latest post on this issue, HERE, he says this:

The computers in the Executive Office of the President have been down for two weeks because they were hacked by a foreign power–the Obama administration now says Russia–and administration technical personnel are having trouble bringing them back on line.  This is a huge story, obviously, and it is inconceivable that PowerLine knew about it, but no one in the vast Washington press corps got wind of the fact that computer systems belonging to the White House and dozens of important federal agencies (National Security Staff, to name just one) had been hacked and were out of commission.

The Powerline story also links to Johnson’s earlier posts on the breech.

  

Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” turns Fifty

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech, presented in 1964 in support of the presidential candidacy of Senator Barry Goldwater.  This was about two years after Reagan had switched his registration from Democrat to Republican, and about two years before he would run for the governorship of California.  The speech, about a half-hour long, is rousing, and I remember well seeing it for the first time on the college dormitory television soon after my 23rd birthday.  It propelled Reagan even further into the national conservative limelight, and today is ranked as one of the greatest speeches in American political history.

In recognition of the speech’s significance, I have created a new page (HERE) under the menu category “Education / Historic Events”, and on that page you will find the official video of the speech, as well as the text transcript of it.

Over the course of his career and his presidency, of course, Reagan gave many excellent speechs.  The “Boys Of Pointe Du Hoc” speech given at the commemoration of the D-Day 40th anniversary on June 6, 1984 is one, the speech at the Bradenburg Gate in 1987 in which he said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” is another.  But there are more, many more, and for those who wish to see a complete list, go HERE.

  

Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Option Referendum, Revisited

A majority of the attending members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, at their vote meeting of October 7th, decided that we should oppose the proposed quarter-cent sales tax option for Carteret County.  However, in the interim since then, at least one member of the Carteret County Commissioners has come before us to argue that we should reconsider.  The Commissioner was Co-Chairman Robin Comer, and his remarks are summarized in my earlier post about the meeting, HERE.

Even among a slate of all-Republican Commissioners, we don’t often see complete unity on an issue.  However, it appears that in this case, the other Commissioners are fully in accord with Co-Chairman Robin Comer’s views.  Therefore, I think we should lend an ear to their arguments, and consider them carefully.  Toward that end, the following points are added to the ones summarized in my previous post:

  • If the referendum passes and the quarter-cent sales tax is implemented, it is expected to generate $2.5-million annually.  If it does not pass and the Commissioners are forced to turn to a property tax increase instead, the property taxing rate would need to rise about 1.49-cents per $100 valuation in order to generate the same amount of revenue.
  • Since Carteret County’s economy is so dependent on tourism, and the attraction of our navigable waterways such an integral part of our appeal to tourists, the County estimates that over half (between 55% and 60%) of the revenue raised from the quarter-cent sales tax will be paid by visitors to the County rather than by County residents.  This helps to ensure that all the beneficiaries of waterway maintenance participate in its cost.
  • Like most of our readers, I am generally opposed to tax increases of any stripe.  However, to keep this in perspective, consider the following; were any individual to spend $10,000 within Carteret County in a given year on goods and/or services subject to the tax, his total expenditure from the quarter-cent option would be only $25.
  • To lessen the burden of the quarter-cent tax on our County residents even further, food, gasoline, prescription drugs, certain agricultural supplies, and motor vehicle purchases are exempted.
  • In answer to the question of what will be done with any quarter-cent tax revenue that exceeds the amount needed for waterway maintenance in any given year, Robin Comer and other Commissioners have stated that consideration would be given to using some of the funds for ditching projects within the County to address flooding problems.
  • The Commissioners intend to set up a Waterways Management Committee (WMC), with each of the seven members to be appointed by the Commissioner from their district.  In this way, the dredging agenda from all areas of the County will be given equal consideration when the WMC votes on waterway priorities.  This method will ensure that, for example, the Newport River will not be disenfranchised in favor of Taylor’s Creek or other waterways.
  • To address the concerns of those who fear that the revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax would soon get diverted to other uses, the Commissioners have pledged, in a formal resolution, HERE, to isolate the revenues and related expenses within the County budget in order to make them transparent to the public.  The key phrases (edited for brevity) from the resolution are:

Whereas, the Board of Commissioners intends to allocate … tax proceeds for waterway dredging and maintenance and intends to appoint a waterways management board to prioritize the need for these purposes and administer the funds to accomplish same; and

Whereas, to distinguish and separate the revenues produced by this … tax …, a Special Revenue Fund will be established to receive and account for the sales tax revenue.

Now, there be it resolved, that the Carteret County Board of Commissioners hereby states its intent to use the revenues from … the tax … for waterway dredging and maintenance within Carteret County with a schedule implementation date of April 1, 2015.

Within the last few days, I have personally spoken to four of the seven current Commissioners, as well as to Mike Mansfield, the candidate running for a seat on the Board from District 3.  All four Commissioners have assured me that the vote for the Resolution (see above) was unanimous, and that they, along with Mansfield, are fully committed to seeing that the revenue from the quarter-cent option, should the referendum pass, be dedicated now and for the foreseeable future to waterway maintenance and dredging.  Chairman Robinson, moreover, declared that, with the way the Commissioners and County fiscal staff intend to set up the Special Revenue Fund, any other use would be so conspicuous as to invite the immediate condemnation of the concerned citizenry, and any Commissioner voting to allow such a diversion would put his re-election in jeopardy.

Let us make no mistake.  For as far into the future as we care to contemplate, waterway dredging and maintenance will continue to be vital to the economy of Carteret County, so the money to continue doing it MUST come from somewhere.  Since the federal funding has virtually dried up for projects other than maintenance of the Beaufort Inlet channel, and the State funding is available only in the form of a 50/50 match, the Commissioners have only two viable alternatives for finding the bulk of the needed money; either it comes from sales taxes, or from property taxes.

Resource materials on this issue are now up on the County website’s Home Page.  To view the informational brochure directly, click HERE, and to read the FAQ, click HERE.

  

Five Key Implications if Baghdad Falls to ISIS

That’s the title of an article from earlier this month by Patrick Poole, PJ-Media’s national security and terrorism correspondent. Since it appears Saigon_Evacuationthat it may be only a matter of time before ISIS takes the city, in spite of the Obama administration’s air campaign, Poole’s points, HERE, are worth considering.

Let’s all hope that our Green Zone troops and other Americans in Baghdad don’t end up being evacuated like the Saigon evacuees, pictured at right.

  

SCOTUS and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Earlier this week I put up THIS post about how the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which has the potential of resulting in the curtailing, or perhaps even the rescinding, of the Court’s previous invention of the “disparate impact” doctrine.  The doctine was initially established in a case known as Griggs versus Duke Power Company, from 1971.

A couple of months ago, in the September issue of The American Spectator, Washington Free Beacon reporter and American Spectator contributor Bill McMorris put up an excellent article about Griggs v. Duke Power, and how, over the course of the last 40+ years it has been subject to the law of unintended consequences.  McMorris article is entitled “How The Supreme Court Created The Student Loan Bubble”, and here’s a taste:

The saga began in 1969 when Willie Griggs, a black man born in the segregated South, decided he was overdue for a promotion.  In order to get one, per Duke Power Electric Company rules, he had to pass two aptitude tests and possess a high school diploma.  Griggs smelled racism.  The tests surveyed employees on basic math and intelligence questions.  None of Duke’s fourteen black workers passed.  Griggs and twelve others sued the company for discrimination.  A district court and federal appeals court accepted Duke’s claim that the tests were designed to ensure that the plant operated safely.  Duke bolstered its case by pointing out that it offered to pay for employees to obtain high school diplomas and that white applicants who failed to meet the requirements were also denied promotions.

The Supreme Court wasn’t buying it.  This was North Carolina after all.  <snip>  Griggs found that if blacks failed to meet a standard at a higher rate than whites the standard itself was racist—a legal doctrine known as disparate impact.

and

“Despite their imperfections, tests and criteria such as those at issue in Griggs (which are heavily…dependent on cognitive ability) remain the best predictors of performance for jobs at all levels of complexity,” University of Pennsylvania Professor Amy Wax has found.

<snip>

“Most legitimate job selection practices, including those that predict productivity better than alternatives, will routinely trigger liability under the current [Griggs] rule,” Wax wrote in a 2011 paper titled “Disparate Impact Realism.”

The solution for businesses post-Griggs was obvious: outsource screening to colleges, which are allowed to weed out poor candidates based on test scores.  The bachelor’s degree, previously reserved for academics, doctors, and lawyers, became the de facto credential required for any white-collar job.

We know what happened next.  The federal government’s provision of Pell Grants and low interest student loans resulted in an abundance of funding to pay for college tuition and study materials, which in turn allowed the higher education institutions to both raise tuition and create frivolous and/or easy majors (Women’s Studies, African Studies, Native American Studies, Underwater Basket Weaving) to entice even the lazy students into signing up.

McMorris’ article at The American Spectator is HERE, and the full article is well worth the time it takes to read it.

The current case to be taken up by SCOTUS is known as Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs versus The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.  It is a very important case because of the potential for the Court to back away from the “disparate impact” doctrine established by Griggs v. Duke Power.  For more on the current case, check out THIS article on the ThinkProgress website from earlier this month.

  

Good Attendance at Fundraiser for Senator Sanderson

A barbecue fundraiser to benefit Senator Norman Sanderson was held this afternoon at the home of Stacy residents Chris and Kathryn Chadwick.  The weather was perfect, the food was bountiful, and the crowd was sizeable.  Below are a few images of the event:

     

I have no idea how much money was raised, but I think it is safe to presume that a good time was had by all.  Good luck, Senator Sanderson!

  

Highlights of the CCTPP Meeting of Tuesday, 21-Oct-2014

At our regular meeting on Tuesday evening of this week, the usual business was enhanced by two informal discussions, headed up by Eric Broyles and by Carteret County Commissioner Robin Comer.

First up was Eric Broyles, Chairman of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party, who brought the gratifying news that the Morehead City Town Council had, at least for now, dropped the idea of adding more median strips to the Highway-70/Arendell Street corridor.  Although Eric had obtained hundreds of signatories to a petition against the median additions, the Town Council anticipated his presentation in opposition and moved expeditiously to kill the proposal.  However, since this idea seems to be part and parcel of the NC Department of Transportation’s “Super-70″ concept, we should not think that a stake has been driven through it’s heart.

Second up was Commissioner Robin Comer, who had come to suggest that the CCTPP, in voting to oppose the quarter-cent sales tax option on the ballot for Carteret County, had not given sufficient weight to the RobinComer1urgency of finding money to continue the vital dredging projects in the County.

Although those who do not own a boat may not give it much thought, he said, keeping our waterways dredged is an indispensible part of maintaining the Crystal Coast as a vacation spot for out-of-state visitors and for the in-state weekenders as well.  And, since Federal funds for dredging have virtually dried up, the Commissioners had viewed the anticipated $2.5-million from the sales tax as a source for that purpose.

Although NC law would not permit the revenue to be formally dedicated to dredging, the Commissioners would have the revenue set up on the county’s books as a special “appropriated use account”, meaning that related revenues and expenditures from it would be readily identifiable to the public.  In this way, citizens could easily tell if the quarter-cent sales tax revenue was being diverted to other purposes.  He could not, of course, guarantee that a future Commission would not see things differently, but he believes that the current Commission is unified in favoring this plan, and would honor the commitment for so long as they held office.  It would be up to us and other conservatives in the County to continue electing conservative commissioners, people who would also honor the original commitment.

Although not all own boats, most of our members are long-time residents and property owners in the County, and understand well the importance of maintaining our waterways.  Running a boat aground can be an expensive proposition, and a visitor doesn’t have to do so but once in a supposedly navigable waterway to dampen his or her enthusiasm for returning to the same locale.  Indisputable, the economy of Carteret County is dependent on tourism, and the appeal of our waterways to fishermen and recreational boaters undergirds that tourism.

Several of the attending members were of the opinion that, had the NC General Assembly written the law in such a way as to permit the revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax option to be formally dedicated to a specific purpose, such as dredging, then our vote might have been to endorse rather than to oppose passage of the referendum.  However, according to Senator Sanderson (also present) a change in the law to that effect does not seem to be in the cards in the short term.  Therefore, Commissioner Comer is right in pointing out that we must get the revenue to dredge from somewhere, and if the ballot referendum for the quarter-cent sales tax option does not pass, the Commissioners will be forced to look at increasing the property tax.

  

UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Holt: Where is your apology to Mary Willingham?

Earlier today, he special report prepared by independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein on UNC-CH “no-show” classes for athletes was released.  The report is damning, and in response to questions about its content from reporters, UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt moved quickly to say that heads would roll, and she apologized to the student athletes for “prejudging their capabilities”.

But not a word about Mary Willingham.

As regular readers will know from my three previous posts this year on this subject, Mary Willingham was an academic advisor to the UNC-CH athletic department, and she was the first to call attention to the fact that many of the school’s athletes were essentially illiterate, either at the point they dropped out, or at graduation in those rare instances in which they actually gained a diploma.  For her efforts, the University effectively sacked her.

In the first (HERE) of my three earlier posts, I merely noted Willingham’s assertions as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In the second, HERE, I wrote at some length about the problem and presented an example of an essay written by one UNC-CH athlete to satisfy an assignment in a African-American Studies class.  In the third, HERE, I wrote about the extensive efforts on the part of UNC-CH Chancellor Folt and the University to discredit Willingham and her claims, aided and abetted by CNN, among others in the mainstream media.  In light of the revelations contained in the Wainstein report, this paragraph from an article written by CNN reporter Sara Ganim in mid-April of this year seems astonishing:

Without actually naming her, UNC released a summary report that implied she incorrectly deduced that 60% of the sample were reading below a high school level, and that 8% were reading below a fourth-grade level.  “Outside experts found no evidence to support public claims about widespread low literacy levels,” UNC said in a statement.

Although early accounts focused on Julius Nyang’oro, the former professor and chairman of the African Studies department at UNC-CH, the Wainstein report now puts Debby Crowder in the line-up.  Crowder was second in command to Nyang’oro within the Department.  Conveniently, both Nyang’oro and Crowder are retired.

The full article at the Charlotte Observer is HERE, and it is well worth reading.  To read the full Wainstein report (in PDF form), click HERE.

And another thing.  The article from the Charlotte Observer mentions one Alphonse Mutima, and identifies him as a Swahili professor.  I ask you, dear reader, WHAT THE HELL does UNC need with a SWAHILI PROFESSOR?  Jeez, Louise!

  

Clinton’s Folly, Twenty Years On

Tuesday, October 21st, marked the twentieth anniversary of the nuclear reactor agreement that the Clinton administration signed with North Korea, in which the Clinton negotiators, acting on behalf of a new, young, and inexperience President, recklessly and foolhardily agreed to the North Korean demands.

First and foremost, North Korea demanded that, in exchange for stopping work on their domestic development of nuclear power plants (which the west knew could produce weapons-grade fissile material), the United States and the international community would supply them with two light-water reactors (which could not), each of 1-gigawatt capacity.  But also, in addition to the reactors, the Norks demanded that, while the two new reactors were under construction, the US was to supply them with one-half million tons of heavy fuel oil each year until construction was completed.  These shipments, along with the reactor construction efforts, continued until, in 2002, it became manifestly apparent that the North Koreans were cheating in multiple ways, and the deal feel apart.

In an article yesterday from Commentary Magazine, HERE, author Michael Rubin writes in detail about the deal the Clinton minions struck (known as the Agreed Framework, as it was not a formal treaty), and their motives in striking it.  And what did South Korea, our allies, think of the deal?  An excerpt:

On October 7, 1994, President Kim Young Sam of South Korea blasted Clinton’s deal with the North, saying, “If the United States wants to settle with a half-baked compromise and the media wants to describe it as a good agreement, they can.  But I think it would bring more danger and peril.”  There was nothing wrong with trying to resolve the problem through dialogue, he acknowledged, but the South Koreans knew very well how the North operated.  “We have spoken with North Korea more than 400 times.  It didn’t get us anywhere.  They are not sincere,” Kim said, urging the United States not to “be led on by the manipulations of North Korea.”  While Kim Young Sam was right to doubt Pyongyang’s sincerity, his outburst drew Clinton’s ire.  The administration did not want any complications to derail a deal, and Clinton was willing to ignore evidence that might undercut the initiative.  Two weeks later, Gallucci and Kang signed the Agreed Framework.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Can you say “eye-ran”?

For more on the Agreed Framework, THIS link is to the WikiPedia page.

  

The “China Creep” Continues Apace in the South China Sea

A new report from the defense analysts at Strategy Page details the process by which China continues their encroachment on areas of the South China Sea (SCS).  An excerpt:

For over three decades China has been carrying out a long-term strategy that involves first leaving buoys (for navigation purposes, to assist Chinese fishermen) in the disputed water, followed by temporary shelters (again, for the Chinese fishermen) on islets or reefs that are above water but otherwise uninhabited.  If none of the other claimants to this piece of ocean remove the buoys or shelters, China builds a more permanent structure “to aid passing Chinese fishermen”.  This shelter will be staffed by military personnel who will, of course, have radio, radar, and a few weapons.  If no one attacks this mini-base China will expand it and warn anyone in the area that the base is Chinese territory and any attempts to remove it will be seen as an act of war.  The Vietnamese tried to get physical against these Chinese bases in 1974 and 1988 and were defeated both times in brief but brutal air and sea battles.  The Chinese will fight, especially if they are certain of victory.  All of this could end badly, with a major war no one wants.  That’s how these things develop.

The full article is HERE.

  

US-DOJ Expert says the new NC Voter ID law is just too complicated for the Black Folks in North Carolina

In an article from earlier this week on the Brietbart website, J. Christian Adams reports on some of the testimony during the recent hearings before the federal District Court for the middle district of North Carolina, which then ruled that some provisions of the new NC Voter ID law could not be implemented for the November 4th election.  Days later, the District Court’s ruling was enjoined by the US Supreme Court, of course, so all the provisions of the law will be in effect.

However, the testimony from political scientist Charles Stewart, the expert hired by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice to hold forth against the changes to the voter law, provides an invaluable insight into why the US-DOJ, the NC-NAACP, the NC League of Women Voters, and others are so opposed to the new law.  Herewith, two excerpts from Stewart’s testimony:

It’s also the case that — well, yes, so it would, empirically more likely affect African Americans.  Also, understanding within political science, that people who register to vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be less sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs.  That also tells me from the literature of political science that there are likely to be people who will end up not registering and not voting.  People who correspond to those factors tend to be African Americans, and, therefore, that’s another vehicle through which African Americans would be disproportionately affected by this law.

and while on the witness stand:

Stewart:  People who have lower education and who have less – that pay less attention to public affairs will have greater problems figuring out how to vote, yes.

Q.  Okay.  So your testimony is that African Americans are less sophisticated than white voters; is that right?

Stewart:  My understanding is that African Americans have lower levels of education in North Carolina, and I know from the public opinion work that African Americans report that they paid less attention to public affairs on average than white voters do probably because of the differences [in] the education.

Q.  Do you think they are less able to figure out what the rules are for when you have to register to vote and when you have to go vote?

Stewart:  The ability to figure these things out is related to one’s education.  As I said, that ability — those average abilities are due to differences in things like education.

Q.  Okay.  So then you are saying that African American voters have less ability to figure out what the rules are for voting?

Stewart:  I said African Americans have less education, which leads to an ability to navigate the rules of the game.

By now, almost everyone understands how easily a North Carolina citizen can become registered to vote, even under the new law.  But I agree with journalist Adams that the expert witness is basically saying that African-Americans are too dumb to be able to adapt to the new procedures contained in the law.  What does that say about the opinion that Obama, Holder, the NAACP, and the LWV have about the capabilities of black North Carolinians?

The article by J. Christian Adams is HERE, and the actual trial transcript of Charles Stewart’s testimony is HERE.  For more on the acceptable forms of identification needed to obtain the requisite Photo ID, go to THIS link and click on the “Outreach and Education” topic.

  

SCOTUS To Review “Disparate Impact” Travesty of Griggs versus Duke Power

The US Supreme Court doctrine of “disparate impact” first arose in the 1971 Griggs versus Duke Power Company case, in which SCOTUS ruled that Duke Power Company could not require a high school diploma and a minimum IQ from their successful job applicants.  The history of the doctrine and the case from which it sprang is explained very well in THIS somewhat technical article by Amy Wax, which appeared in the pages of the National Affairs quarter back in 2012.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

At issue in Griggs was the requirement that employees hired into service jobs at the power company’s facilities had to possess a high-school diploma and achieve a minimum score on an IQ test.  The plaintiffs argued that these rules disqualified too many black job applicants, thereby violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that job criteria with an adverse or exclusionary effect on minorities — even if those criteria were “neutral on their face, and even neutral in terms of intent” — could violate the Title VII ban on race discrimination in hiring.  The Court further stipulated that employers could escape liability for “disparate impact” only if they demonstrated that their adverse selection practices had “a manifest relationship to the employment in question” or that they were justified by “business necessity.”  In examining the criteria for positions at the Duke Power Company, the Court found insufficient evidence to satisfy the job-relatedness defense, and so ruled against the utility.

According to the Griggs Court, the purpose of the newly established disparate-impact rule was to “achieve equality of employment opportunities” by removing “built-in headwinds” and “barriers that had operated in the past” to impede minorities’ workplace advancement.  In Griggs and several subsequent cases, the Court has repeatedly stressed that the doctrine’s goal is fully consistent with a competitive meritocracy — one in which businesses remain free to seek out, hire, and promote the best and most productive workers regardless of race and to adopt personnel practices that best achieve that result.  The purpose of the rule, according to the Court, is not to enact affirmative-action or group quotas for employment, but simply to eliminate arbitrary disadvantages suffered by minority job-seekers.

Despite this assertion, the development of the Griggs doctrine has proved anything but friendly to meritocratic objectives.  Although the Supreme Court has never held that all workplaces must be racially balanced, lower courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is charged with administering Title VII, have firmly embraced the presumption that the racial profiles of particular workplaces should reflect the racial composition of the broader population.

The Griggs case was decided by Justices Harry Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, Byron White, Potter Stewart, John Harlan, William O. Douglas, Hugh Black, and Chief Justice Warren Burger, who wrote the opinion for the 8/0 unanimous majority.  Justice William Brennan took no part in the deliberations or in the decision.

Now there is a new case in which disparate impact is the linchpin, and the Supreme Court has agreed to take the case on appeal.  The designation is Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs versus The Inclusive Communities Project, Incorporated, and  Nicole Flatow of ThinkProgress has written a brief article about it.  According to Flatow, the case:

… concerns the placement of subsidized low-income housing in Dallas.  A community group that connects individuals with this housing under the federal Section 8 program for housing subsidies argued in a lawsuit that the state was approving developer tax credits for such housing only in low-income and minority-heavy neighborhoods, while denying Low-Income Housing Tax Credit applications in majority-white and majority-Hispanic neighborhoods.

This is an important case, as any ruling that effectively rescinds the disparate impact doctrine will have far reaching effects throughout the American economy.  And it is generally assumed that because SCOTUS has granted cert (agreed to take the case), there must be at least four justices who are in a frame of mind to overturn or rein in the “disparate impact” doctrine.  I certainly hope that view does not turn out to be wistful thinking.

The full article is available on the ThinkProgress website, HERE.

  

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 6: US Senate

This, the sixth and last installment of my series on the candidates that will be on the ballot in the Crystal Coast area, will deal with the United States Senate race between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis.

It was recently reported that this year’s North Carolina Senate race was expected to become the most expensive Senate contest in the history of American politics.  If this comes to pass, it will be primarily due to the huge amounts of television advertising purchased by the Hagan campaign, who’s funding outstrips that of Thom Tillis by almost two-to-one.

Hagan defeated Senator Elizabeth Dole in the election of 2008.  Since then, according to the June 30th tally maintained at the OpenSecrets website, HERE, she has raised over $18-million, a staggering sum.  She has spent only a fraction over one-half of that total, leaving her with a KayHagan_1campaign war chest containing almost $9-million.  And according to the CrowdPAC website, HERE, almost 62% of Hagan’s fundraising has been from out-of-state contributors, and about 44% of those contributions were considered large.

As to her voting record, according to CrowdPAC records Hagan voted the liberal line 88% of the time.  And in a revealing factoid, combining the voting record for the special interest groups Americans for Better Immigration (NumbersUSA), Heritage Action for America, and FreedomWorks, Hagan voted for their agendas an average of 6% of the time.

Perusing the summary of overall voting ratings compiled by the numerous special interest groups at the VoteSmart website, HERE, we see that, in recent years, Hagan’s rating from NARAL is 100%.  However, when we switch to ratings from conservative groups, we see 11% from AFP, 11% from the ACU, and 16% from the Club For Growth.  Citizens Against Government Waste rates her at 23%, while the National Taxpayer’s Union puts her at 12%.  On second amendment issues, GOA rates her at 10%, while the NRA rating is 0%.  And on the all-important issue of immigration reform, FAIR rates her at 0%.

It is safe to say that we know where Kay Hagan stands.  She is a stalwart liberal, and has signed on to the Obama agenda for as long as he is President.

With respect to Hagan’s opponent, I can’t add much to what I wrote a few weeks after the May 6th primary election, HERE:

I will not try to pretend that Thom Tillis, in and of himself, is a desirable candidate from the perspective of a conservative.  Tillis is a moderate, and if elected this fall, can be expected to behave in office much as other moderates have behaved, such as Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr.

But in this instance, we conservatives cannot consider Tillis’ candidacy in ThomTillisisolation.  We must acknowledge the basic fact that, however disgusted we may be at the prospect of sending another moderate, go-with-the-flow Republican off to Congress, the alternative is another six years of Kay Hagan, and probably of Harry Reid.

This choice is made even harder by understanding that Thom Tillis is fully aware that we conservatives, if we vote at all for a senatorial candidate, will feel constrained to vote for him when we realize that Hagan is the only viable alternative.  His primary campaign strategy was predicated on that assumption, and he did not even tip his hat to the Tea Party wing of the GOP.

So, tea partiers, welcome to the real world.  Man up, get your mind right, and prepare to do what we must do this fall.  If it helps any, think of it as denying the election victory to Kay Hagan, rather than awarding it to Thom Tillis.

That assessment, and that advice, stands.  We must elect Thom Tillis to the Senate.  But rest assured, if I live to see Tillis compile a six-year record as a moderate, I will be among those who strongly consider advocating for a primary challenge in 2020.

  

John Kallam, Jr., Another Man of Principle

From the online News-&-Observer, this very brief Associated Press story about the resignation of a Rockingham County magistrate:

— A North Carolina magistrate has resigned, saying marrying a same-sex couple violates his religious beliefs.

Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam, Jr. sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins on Thursday saying when he took his oath of office, he didn’t take it with the understanding that he would be required to marry same-sex couples.

Kallam wrote that marrying gay couples “would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself.”

Kallam declined further comment when reached at his home Thursday afternoon.

Kallam’s resignation, effective Oct. 31, comes a day after North Carolina magistrates were ordered to perform civil marriages for same-sex couples or face suspension or dismissal.  The directive was issued after a magistrate in Pasquotank County refused to marry two men, citing religious objections.

  

What’s West of the Crystal Coast?

In idly perusing a map of the United States this morning, it occurred to me to wonder:  If I got into an airplane and took off from Michael Smith airfield in Beaufort and flew directly west to the Pacific Ocean, how USMap_FlyDueWestmany states would I fly over?  Do you know?  Without cheating, see how many you can name before you click on the thumbnail graphic, on which the red line indicates the approximate course the plane would take.

By my reckoning, you would overfly South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

If you really want to get mischievious, put this in the form of a quiz for the kids and/or grandkids.

  

USDA Officials move to protect Kay Hagan

The television stations are reaping a ton of money for campaign advertising this season, among them the ads by Thom Tillis highlighting the apparent improprieties relating to the Hagan brothers’ solar energy grants.

In the latest news, intrepid Carolina Journal reporter Don Carrington is reporting today on the moves undertaken by the USDA, first from their North Carolina offices in Raleigh and then from their offices in Washington, to deny CJ access to the USDA energy grant records relating to taxpayer funding of Senator Kay Hagan’s husband and brothers-in-law.  The two grants, totaling about $300K, were to a company called JDC Manufacturing, the name of which is drawn from the initials of the three Hagan brothers, John, David, and Charles.  Charles Hagan, known by his nickname “Chip”, is Kay Hagan’s husband.  It turns out that the USDA Rural Development honcho in Raleigh who is assumed to have green-lighted the grants is a man named Randall Gore, who was nominated for his job by President Obama in 2009 after being recommended by the recently-elected Senator Kay Hagan.

I expect to read more about this in the coming days, but the link to the current article is HERE.  Carolina Journal also published a related story three days ago, and that link is HERE.

  

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 5: US House of Representatives, District 3

Most political observers view this race as having been decided back in May, when the primary election voters choose incumbent Republican Walter P. Jones, Jr. over Taylor Griffin, his Republican challenger.  Now, Jones’ is favored to win handily over his current opposition, a fellow named Marshall Adame, a Democrat, retired US Marine officer, and Vietnam veteran of Mexican-American heritage.  Now mounting his second campaign for the District 3 seat, Adame (pronounced ah-DOM-me) and his wife Becky have been residents of Jacksonville for over forty years.  He has extensive experience in the Middle East, having served, after his retirement from the Marines, as an advisor to the US Department of State and to American defense contractors on training and management assignments in Iraq and Egypt.

As to his policy views, according to an article that was published in The Onslow Times just before the primary election this spring, Adame opposes fracking, school vouchers, and the new Voter ID law, but favors teacher tenure and “living wage” legislation.  And in September, Adame announced his endorsement by the eastern NC chapter of the AFL-CIO.

Additional information on candidate Adame’s political positions can be found on his VoteSmart page, HERE.  Some samples include his support for the Union Movement, ObamaCare, passage of Equal Rights legislation for women, Living Wage legislation mandating an increase in the minimum wage to at least $12/hour, and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  On the flip side, he decries the Supreme Court decision in the Citzens United case.

In an interview on Public Access TV in late September (28-minute auto-start video HERE), Mr. Adame also revealed his support for the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, and advocated for a renewal of President Johnson’s “War On Poverty”.

Next, to a question posed in the 2014 Wilmington StarNews14 Voter Guide (HERE), candidate Adame said that “Comprehensive immigration legislation from Congress is essential to our economic and social expansion.  I will work hard in the Congress to achieve a comprehensive immigration bill.”

In September of last year, while traveling in the Middle East, Mr. Adame wrote an essay offering his views on what was then President Obama’s stated intention to punish, if not depose, Syrian President Assad for failing to heed the “red line” that the President had warned him not to cross.  The following is how candidate Adame advised President Obama, in summary:

Mr. President, I am asking that you sit down with Russia, enter consultations with the new Iranian leadership, talk to Iraq, Assad’s neighbor and bring the force of international condemnation and sanctions, perhaps even a type of blockade, against Syria.  Or even charging Assad with Crimes against humanity at the International Court in The Hague.  If you are able to do that and Assad persist in thumbing his nose at the world while his people suffer, then increase substantially the aid the U.S. already provides to the rebels trying to over throw him, but be prepared upon their victory, to be utterly rejected by them and even threatened with war if you continue to mettle in their affairs and plans which will include the destruction of Israel as is the mantra of all Islamic states.

The essay cited above is just one of SEVERAL that Mr. Adame wrote for publication at the liberal blog Daily Kos beginning in late 2007.  Herewith are some interesting excerpts from his other essays:

On the candidacy of John Edwards (December, 2007:

Strength of character is not common today in Washington.  Over the past seven years our halls of greatness in Washington D.C. have turned into passages known well by the elite and privileged.  A place where corporate influence and the pursuit of personal gain and advantage has managed to drown the will of the people, where even those elected representatives of conscience and morals are quickly derailed or compromised, leaving them to no effect.

I believe John Edwards has the strength of character and the moral temperance to overcome the forces in Washington that are so easily succumbed to and to overcome them for the sake of the greater good and security of the American people.

<snip>

I believe John Edwards is qualified, ready, sincere and determined in his quest to do what is right for America and I have decided to support John Edwards for President.

On President Bush’s dilimma in Iraq (December, 2007):

Iraq does not need, nor should it get, any U.S. Combat force assistance.  All U.S. combat Forces should be withdrawn from Iraq, and that withdrawal should commence tomorrow morning.  I am confident that all U.S. Combat Forces and equipment could be out of Iraq within one year if we started today.

<snip>

… We brought a living hell upon these people of Iraq.  Although very bad under the Saddam government, life in Iraq has never been as fearful and dangerous as it is today.  The blood of Iraqis who supported the coalition, specifically, who supported the Americans, and who cannot leave Iraq, will most certainly flow.  They trusted us and would most certainly be killed in revenge for having done so.

On President Bush’s record in office (March, 2008):

We invaded a country, Iraq, that did not pose a direct threat to the United States or it’s interests in the world, created an entire generation of terrorist in doing so and caused immeasurable anti American sentiment throughout the world, including among our own allies.

<snip>

Hurricane Katrina devastated the homes of over a hundred thousand people in New Orleans Louisiana and more in Mississippi in one day.  Our government knew it was coming, knew it would be devastating and knew it would require considerable assets for rescue and recovery.  President Bush all but ignored Katrina’s victims.  Most of Katrina’s were poor and African American.  Those without political power, money or voice were left to suffer by our President.

On his endorsement of Barack Obama for President (April, 2008):

Senator Obama, to me, represents a kind of renaissance in politics where trust, truth and fidelity to principle will once again grow and bloom in our White House in Washington DC.  I believe, like a vine wraps itself around whatever it touches , this new beginning will too weave itself throughout our Capital and our country.  To me Barack’s candidacy represents spring after a long, dry and devastating summer of an untrustworthy President in the White House.

My expectations are high and my hope higher still.  I expect an end to the War in Iraq and hopefully the warring in Iraq between her own people.  I expect the return of our civil rights and liberties and a government’s respect for “Rule of Law” in America.

On his opposition to “torture” and his anticipation of Barack Obama’s Presidency (April, 2008):

Using our September 11, 2001 national tragedy as his spring board, and justification for every thing his did after that, President Bush led America into the dismal swamp of patently un-American behavior and immoral governance, much of which we shall never recover from.  For example, President Bush formally endorsed torture as a means of carrying out our country’s goals and achieving its ends.  With that, America entered into the practice and policy of “The ends justify the means”, thereby validating every third world tyrant and dictator who follow that ideology as a matter of course and forever ceding that moral ground we had stood on for so long as a people.  At that point, we became the very thing we have despised, criticized and fought against since our own conception as a country.  President Bush’s divisive leadership set American against American in struggles of ideology which have gone beyond the bounds of sane discourse and into the realm where many Americans now see those of differing ideology as “the enemy”.  [ NOTE: Although not explicitly stated, I assume Mr. Adame's term "torture" is intended to refer to waterboarding. ]

<snip>

Eight years in the desert President Bush took us into is coming to an end.  Soon America will speak and Barak Obama will take the helm of American government.  Senator Obama is our highest and best hope in restoring American governance to its intended place as a representative servant to us all, and an example to the world of what America is and who Americans are.

On the threat posed by Republicans and the Tea Party (June, 2011):

The Republicans are close to succeeding in eliminating Medicare, lowering taxes on corporations and billionaires while raising taxes on the working class, ending labor unions, privatizing our prisons and even some military responsibilities and , in the name of security, curtailing a few more of our Constitutional and moral liberties and rights while finding more and more reasons to remain in never-ending war …

<snip>

Although fewer in government every day, there are those who are standing against the right wing tide plaguing America.  One of those, for example, is North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue who courageously uses her veto pen to stave off the uncompromising dismantling of North Carolina’s Education System, Unemployment assistance to unemployed workers throughout the state and voting rights which, only after decades of struggle were achieved for rich, poor, white, black, brown and red, educated and uneducated alike.

On his lifelong regard for JFK, and on how he envisions liberal Progressivism (June, 2013):

I very much admired Jimmy Carter when he was President.  I think it was the way he came to office.  Eight months prior to his becoming President I did not even know his name.  Only in America can a person of humble beginnings grow up to become the President of The United States.

So much for Marshall Adame, whose judgment and policy views seem to be very much in line with most liberal Democrats in general, and with President Obama’s in particular.  For more, Mr. Adame’s website is HERE.

Frankly, I don’t see much point in writing extensively about Walter Jones in this post.  He has been in office for twenty years now, and what I had to say about him was contained in a post I put up before the primary election, HERE.  I will only add that, although Jones was not my preference for the Republican candidate, he is considerably better than a committed liberal like Marshall Adame.

  

Midwives to the birth of the “Nuclear Navy”

At the Atlantic Magazine, their technical editor Robinson Meyer has up a fascinating account of the initial development of the submarine USS Nautilus, the first nuclear powered American Navy vessel.  Meyer’s account is drawn from a 1959 article, also published in the Atlantic, that was written by Commander E. E. Kintner, a subordinate to Hyman Rickover, the man now known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy”.

I urge everyone to read the full account for themselves, HERE, but this excerpt will give some idea of what to expect:

At the 60th hour, however, difficulties began.  Carbon dust from the brushes depositing in the windings caused difficulty in the vital electrical generating sets.  Nuclear instrumentation, operating perfectly at the beginning of the run, became erratic, and the crews could not be sure what was happening within the reactor core.  One of the large pumps which kept the reactor cool by circulating water through it began making a worrisome, intermittent whining sound.  We had not had any check on “crud” build-up; we feared that heat transfer would be so reduced by this point that the core would burn up.  The most pressing problem, however, was caused by the failure at the sixty-fifth hour of a tube in the main condenser into which exhausted turbine steam was being discharged.  Steam pressure fell off rapidly.  The Westinghouse manager responsible for the operation of the plant strongly recommended discontinuing the run.  In Washington, the technical directors of the Naval Reactors Branch was so concerned that he called a meeting of all its senior personnel, who urged Rickover to terminate the test at once.  But the Captain was adamant that it should continue …

In this year, the sixtieth since the USS Nautilus, the United States Navy has an inventory of eighty nuclear powered vessels.  The crews of those ships owe a lot to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover’s dogged insistence that, unlike those to be built by the Soviets in ensuing years, American ship-borne nuclear powerplants be designed to be as near to indestructible as was humanly possible.

  

Brent Bozell Punctures the Karl Rove Balloon

Last week, in a piece published at the Politico site, Brent Bozell (Chairman of the conservative group “For America”) pointed out what a dismal record Karl Rove has of getting conservatives elected, in spite of his recent advice to Republicans to “offer a positive, optimistic conservative agenda to make independents who disapprove of Mr. Obama comfortable voting Republican”.

Rove’s problem is that he advocates conservatism, but he promotes moderate candidates over conservative ones, a fact for which Mr. Bozell cites numerous examples.  Here’s a long but telling excerpt:

Rove has never cared about conservatism and has spent his entire career opposing any Republican who might be successful in promoting or implementing a conservative agenda.  Rove belongs to the same tradition of moderates who fought Barry Goldwater in 1964, who pushed back against Ronald Reagan in 1976, and did everything they could to stop Reagan again in 1980.  They said Reagan would be a disaster for the party and even the country.

Today, Reagan is one of the most well-remembered American presidents and remains the standard-bearer for what it means to be a conservative Republican, popularizing a small government message that GOP moderates said was too extreme to resonate with voters.  As with Rove’s predictions about Mitt Romney’s chances in 2012, GOP moderates couldn’t have been more wrong about Reagan.

Rove and his ilk have opposed every significant conservative leader who has ever dared to challenge liberal or moderate Republican orthodoxy.  A history lesson: Moderates wanted Gerald Ford and then George H.W. Bush over Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980.  Similarly, Karl Rove and his friends wanted Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2010.  They wanted Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in 2010.  They wanted David Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in 2012.

Karl Rove kneecapped tea party candidates in 2010.  He called Rick Perry’s policy prescriptions, many which have had great success in Texas, “toxic.”  Rove said Sarah Palin lacked “gravitas.”  He has said Rand Paul “causes GOP squeamishness.”

Right on, Mr. Bozell!  And for his full article, click HERE.

  

Trigger Happy Much?

Earlier this fall, on September 4th, South Carolina Highway Patrol officer CopsAbusePowerSean Groubert was parked behind a fuel station when he was passed by a pick-up being driven by a man who was, apparently, not wearing a seat belt.  Officer Groubert started his patrol cruiser up, and with his dash cam continuing to record video, followed the man into the fueling station.  Click the video below to see what happened next:

Three weeks later, Officer Groubert was charged with “high and aggravated assault and battery”.  If you viewed the video, as I did, you may be forgiven for thinking that attempted murder would have been more appropriate.

Full article, from the online Reason Magazine, is HERE.

  

NC-BDE versus FTC: SCOTUS Hears The Case

I have posted three times previously about this case, NC Board of Dental Examiners versus Federal Trade Commission, both because it is a case originating in North Carolina and because it provides a good example of the sort of rent-seeking behavior that results in unnecessary government regulation of services to the public.

My first and second posts are HERE and HERE.  In my third post back in August, HERE, I said the the Supreme Court would not hear the case until the 2015 session.  I was wrong, as THIS post by Damon Root today at the online Reason Magazine attests.  The Court is hearing oral arguments today.

  

Room Occupancy Tax — A Viable Alternative?

Even though there are no presidential aspirants on the November 4th ballot, voters will nevertheless have many choices to make.  One of them is on the issue of allowing Carteret County to impose an additional quarter-cent sales and use tax, which some of our Commissioners hope to devote entirely to dredging projects within the County.

The folks in the Wilmington area are going a different way.  The following is excerpted from a short piece under the “Town and County” section of Carolina Journal’s October issue:

New Hanover County commissioners have approved using room-occupancy tax revenues from unincorporated portions of the county as a stopgap method to pay for dredging Carolina Beach and Mason inlets.

The room-occupancy tax in New Hanover County is six percent.  If the Carteret County voters reject the local-use sales tax referendum next month, our commissioners may have to look to New Hanover County’s example.

  

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 4: NC Senate, District 2

This contest pits incumbent Republican Senator Norman Sanderson against challenger Carroll G. Ipock II, a Democrat more often referred to as Carr Ipock.  Ipock is a retired Weyerhaeuser executive, and for over twenty years, he was a representative on the Craven County School Carr_IpockBoard.  Not unexpectedly therefore, Ipock is running on an education platform, meaning he favors the expenditure of more taxpayer dollars on early childhood education, including expanding Smart Start.  He supports historic preservation, opposes fracking, and wants the NC General Assembly to comply with the ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid.  On the plus side, he wants to eliminate ferry tolls and supports the Cherry Point marine base (but so does his opponent).  For more, his excellent website is HERE.

In the NC Senate, Senator Sanderson sits on the Appropriations, Commerce, Finance, and Government Program Evaluation committees, SenNormSanderson2and serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee.  He is now, or at one time was, endorsed by the American Conservative Union (ACU), the National Rifle Association (NRA), and Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC).  In the conservative vote rankings maintained by NC Civitas, he was tied for first place in the recently concluded NC General Assembly session.

We most often see political candidates from afar, as images displayed on our television screens or as small figures standing at a podium, soliciting votes from the members of the crowd before them.  This process generally suffices for conveying to the public, with very broad strokes, where the candidate stands on the major issues of the day.  However, to really connect with an electorate, and to reassure them that he or she is genuine, is someone who holds the same core values as they, and is someone who will be responsive to their views, a candidate must appear at smaller venues and engage with the attendees in frank discussions or Q-&-A sessions.  In this way, the audience will come away more confident in their assessment of the candidate, whatever that assessment may be.  If the assessment is favorable, the candidate may benefit from a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising and advocacy.

I have never met a political candidate who appears to understand this better than Senator Sanderson.  He appeared as a speaker at our recent Tea Party Rally at Fort Benjamin Park in Newport, and over the course of the last two years, has appeared many times before the attending members of the CCTPP to update us on legislative affairs and to answer our questions, both on the issues and on his specific votes.  In every instance, the Senator was responsive to a fault and never evasive, even when there was considerable pushback on his policy views.  Our members consider him to be a bonafide conservative, and we hope you will vote for him in November.  For more, his website is HERE.

In the next installment of this series, I will look at the race between Walter Jones and Marshall Adame for the U.S House of Representatives seat for District 3.

  

SCOTUS to decide how long is Too Long

Suppose a police or highway patrol officer notices that one of your tail-lights is out, and pulls you over. After warning you to get the light fixed (or maybe giving you a ticket), he begins to have a gut feeling that you have illicit drugs somewhere in your car. He asks if you are willing to CopsAbusePowerconsent to a search but you, being a sensible person, refuse. Your refusal makes him even more convinced that you have something to hide, and based on probability, he figures it has to be drugs.

At this point, the cop does not have anything that would constitute probable cause, but he is loathe to just let you go, so he orders you to sit tight while he calls in a drug-sniffing dog and his K9 handler.  You protest, and say to the officer that you have a pressing engagement soon, and ask how long you will have to wait.  The cop tells you that you must wait until the dog and his handler arrive, however long that may take.

So, what are the limits in this situation?  Does the cop have the right to blow your whole day if the handler and his dog are delayed?  Without arresting you for something, can he just detain you for an extra minute, an extra hour, two hours, three, what?

We may soon have a definitive answer.  Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take on appeal the Rodriguez versus United States case, a lawsuit which bears directly on the issue of traffic stops and their duration.  Here is an excerpt from the cert petition, the document in which SCOTUS outlines their justification for taking a case on appeal from a lower court:

This Court has held that, during an otherwise lawful traffic stop, asking a driver to exit a vehicle, conducting a drug sniff with a trained canine, or asking a few off-topic questions are “de minimis” intrusions on personal liberty that do not require reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in order to comport with the Fourth Amendment.  This case poses the question of whether the same rule applies after the conclusion of the traffic stop, so that an officer may extend the already-completed stop for a canine sniff without reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification.

What, exactly, is a “de minimus” intrusion, expressed in terms of time?  The lower court, from which the case was appealed, defined it as from seven to eight minutes.  In a similar case from Nevada (State versus Beckman), a lower court had said that nine minutes was too long.

Orin Kerr, a distinguished George Washington University law professor and one of the principle law bloggers at the Volokh Conspiracy, put up a post on this case back in February, as well as a second on October 2nd, HERE.  An excerpt from the first post:

Although the Supreme Court has held that the use of the dog is not a search, the length of a warrantless stop must be reasonable.  The officer can’t delay the driver forever.  This raises a question of Fourth Amendment law that has led to a lot of lower court litigation: If the officer has no reasonable suspicion that drugs are in the car — that is, he only has a hunch — how long can the traffic stop be delayed before the dog arrives and checks out the car?

My take is that ten minutes should be an absolute limit, less if the suspect has articulated an urgent need to be on his way.  By the end of next year, the Supremes will have defined a limit, or dodged the issue.  I’ll be interested to see which way they go.

  

Shale Oil Production: The Paradox

Back on September 30th I posted THIS piece entitled “Hydraulic Fracking: an Economic Miracle”, in which I lauded the increased production of petroleum products from U.S. producers based on hydraulic fracking of shale oil deposits.

But various factors of late have caused the world price of oil to fall significantly.  North Sea crude dipped below $90 per barrel (42-gallons) last week, and is now hovering around $91.  West Texas crude is now around $87 per barrel.  And while this development is causing some relief at U.S. gasoline pumps, it has also caused rising concern about whether the American shale oil producer can sustain his operations, given the fact that it typically costs 3-4 times as much to produce a barrel of shale oil as compared to conventional oil extraction methodologies.  Hence the paradox — the higher the price of crude, the more incentive producers have to invest in shale oil deposits and the fracking technologies needed to extract oil from them.  Conversely, the more shale oil that is produced, the less global demand there is for crude oil, so the price drops.

As Emily Latella often said, if it isn’t one thing it’s another.  For more details on the current state of oil prices, check out THIS article from The American Interest.

  

CCTPP Candidate and Referendum Preferences

The attending members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots and the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party held their votes recently, and our list of candidate preferences is now up.  To view the list, proceed through the menu structure by first selecting “About Us”, then “Tea Party News/Views” then “Our Candidate Preferences”.  Alternately, you may just click HERE.

For those who may wish to print this list, this tip:  printing the entire web page on which the list resides will cause the printout to spill over to a second page.  The best way to print the list without printing the header, menu, etc., is to first click the list image itself.  In most browsers, this will cause the list to appear by itself on a new page.  It may then be printed by the usual method, and it should fit onto a single page printout.

  

The Truth About Ebola Transmission

I don’t know if they have dealt with the issue on any of their news broadcasts, but on Friday Fox News put up an interesting article explaining in detail the methods by which the Ebola virus may be transmitted between humans.  Among the salient points:

  • People who are infected with Ebola are not contagious until they become ill.
  • Initial symptoms of Ebola include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
  • Ebola is transmitted only through direct contact with bodily fluids from a person who has exhibited symptoms.
  • What is “direct contact”?  Direct contact occurs when bodily fluids— such as blood, saliva, mucus, vomit, urine or feces— from an infected person, dead or alive, have touched another person’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open cut, wound or abrasion.
  • The disease is not spread by water or directly by food, nor is it transmitted by air like respiratory illnesses such as measles and chickenpox.  Coughing and sneezing aren’t common symptoms of Ebola, but if a symptomatic patient coughs or sneezes, and the saliva or mucous comes in contact with another person’s eyes, nose or mouth, these fluids may transmit the disease.
  • When someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread that specific species of the virus.  People who recover from Ebola develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.  Nonetheless, Ebola has been found in semen for up to three months after the person recovers.
  • Ebola can live outside of the body — on surfaces like countertops or doorknobs, for example — for several hours.

The complete article is HERE.

 

  

In South China Sea News, U.S. to Re-Arm Vietnam

Yahoo News reported on Thursday of last week that the Obama administration, amid growing concerns about the Chinese antics in the South China Sea, has decided to ease the ban on selling military arms and equipment to Vietnam.  From the article:

“It’s useful in trying to deal with the territorial disputes in the South China Sea to bolster the capacity of our friends in the region to maintain a maritime presence in some capacity.”

Some 40 percent of the world’s seaborne trade passes through the sea which is claimed in part by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia as well as China and the Philippines.

The full article is HERE.