Roundup: Orr Talks, Tax Matters and a Dead Rhino
A sampler of bland, inevitable, infuriating, curious and just plain dumb
A grab bag:
Jerry Orr speaks! And he doesn't say anything all that explosive to WFAE-FM's Julie Rose. Although he does make the curious assertions that airport authorities tend to be "more nimble and business-like than city-run airports" (that depends on the authority and the city) and that authorities "tend to have less political involvement," which is a weird claim considering the bill that would create Charlotte's airport authority calls for no less than seven public bodies, plus the governor, to appoint members. What Jerry means is that such authorities tend to have less involvement by people named Curt Walton.
No experience! You can make a pretty good case that President Obama could have picked someone with a more extensive record managing transportation projects than Anthony Foxx, as Kevin Siers does here. But to argue that a dearth of transportation experience means automatic disqualification for the job is to ignore history.
Well, to ignore the present, actually. Ray LaHood is a former schoolteacher, youth services director, congressional aide and chief of staff, and U.S. representative, although he did serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A transportation journal did a nice roundup of the last 10 secretaries, discovered that fully half had no significant experience with transportation — including Liddy Dole and Andrew Card — and concluded that "Foxx is likely to do just fine." I hope so — although you can be sure Ted Cruz & Co. will be asking their share of "Are you now, or have you ever been" questions during the confirmation hearing, just 'cause it makes for good TV for the knuckleheads.
The Tar Heel tax loophole! More like swiss cheese that's mostly holes. If you haven't seen it already, check out The News & Observer's excellent series on the $1 billion or so the state has gone without because of a broad series of tax breaks and exemptions in the state's tax code.
This is quality investigative journalism, the kind your mama and the newspaper industry used to make. It deserves your attention, if for no reason other than that it's really hacking off some people who have a problem with the idea that government exists. Using a reader's comment to illustrate anything is a touchy business, but this guy — the first commenter on the first story — appears to be more than your standard troll, and he's got the libertarian/get-off-my-lawn bullshit down:
This article painfully illustrates exactly what is wrong with liberals.
You folks presume that the money collected by the government is an entitlement on their part and that any reduction in those tax payments represents cheating the government out of what is rightfully theirs. That is because you see government as an entity apart from the people, existing to mandate compliance to the state rather than as a vehicle whose limited powers are derived solely from the people for our benefit.
a) No, we presume that the money collected by the government is what's reserved by law for public use, as determined by one or more duly elected public bodies. b) Therefore, we think of government as the precise opposite of "an entity apart from the people": an expression and manifestation of the people's will. This is the way representative government works. You may have it confused with feudalism. It's a common error.
Government is instituted to serve its citizens with the convenience of providing certain defined duties, ones we have deemed more conveniently performed as a collective rather than duplicating all those functions individually and by ourselves.
Yes, uh-huh, that is in fact why we pay taxes …
You people have turned that function and the payment for those services on its head. And then you take it one step further.
Wait — turned the legitimate function of government "on its head" or taken it "one step further"? Where exactly is your head, anyway?
You demand that government establish a plethora of entitlements for its citizens which once put in place can never be revised or diminished. Again, it is because you believe government has autonomy and superior standing over the people who authorized its very existence.
a) Stop telling me what I think, especially since that's not what I think (straw man alert). b) Of course the "plethora of entitlements" can "be revised or diminished"; see sequester, the. c) No, that's the arrangement, you're the one insisting that government is something separate from "the people," who the hell do you think make up "the government"?
The ultimate result of that ignorant thinking is that government grows bigger and bigger, further separating itself from the source of its authority while collecting more and more taxes from fewer and fewer people.
THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SERIES IS THAT THE STATE GOVERNMENT ISN'T COLLECTING "MORE AND MORE TAXES"! THE "FEWER AND FEWER PEOPLE" ARE THE ONES PAYING NO TAXES AT ALL! GAAAAAAAAH!
Aren't you glad newspapers can provide a public forum with their comments sections?
Throw 'em out! This is worth keeping a very close eye on. That housecleaning looks a tad too convenient to me.
'Bye, Rhino! This is some mildly sad news, that the Rhinoceros Times, the right-wing free weekly ("Be More Than An Observer," yuk, yuk) is moving to online-only. It's sad in a way, because it's a scrappy, goofy little publication, with its snarky coverage of City Council meetings and columns by talk-radio hosts who presumably need another medium to get their message out.
It's just a sign of the times, though. Check that — it was a sign of the times in 2009. I'm surprised it's taken the parent company, such as it is, this long to pull the plug. Finally, the Rhino Times is free to be what it's always been anyway: a local conservative blog. They just printed it, for some bizarre reason. Now they can be "more than an observer" with the rabble on the web, just like the rest of us, including the Observer.