Open thread: Why do businesses hate North Carolina?

If you listen to tax-nuts at the John Locke Puppetshow, you'd think North Carolina has erected DO NOT ENTER signs at our state borders. According to the Puppets, our onerous state taxes and burdensome regulations are bad for bidness and must be rolled back.

Not according to this story.

California-based Shutterfly plans to invest $31.5 million in the operation over the next three years. The facility is expected to create 233 new jobs and open sometime during the third quarter. The new jobs are expected to pay an average annual salary of about $38,324. "We chose North Carolina for its business-friendly environment and skilled labor force," says Jeffrey Housenbold, company chief executive.

On the Horse Being Out of the Barn

For those of you who haven't seen the news, the U.S. trade deficit has hit another all-time high and will set an even bigger record by the end of the year. According to an article in The Washington Post:

The Commerce Department reported Monday that the current account trade deficit increased 3.9 percent to a record $225.6 billion in the July-September quarter. That represented 6.8 percent of the total economy, up from 6.6 percent of the gross domestic product in the spring quarter.

The current account is the broadest measure of trade because it tracks not only the flow of goods and services across borders but also investment flows. The figure is closely watched by economists because it represents the amount of money that must be borrowed from foreigners to make up the difference between what America imports and what it sells overseas.

Please follow below the fold...

Gouging is good

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I set out this morning to tackle one of the creepiest things ever produced by the John Locke Foundation . . . a wide-ranging treatise on the glory of price gouging. But before I could dig in to dismantle it, I found that NC Policy Watch had already shredded the Puppetshow "report." In what appears to be a new enthusiasm for smacking down the wackos on the right, NCPW has a column entitled Radical Right Reality Check which really looks promising.

This week, our market fundamentalist friends have saved us the trouble of digging beneath the surface by putting the pro-price gouging, pro-usury spiel right up front in the press release that accompanies their new “Macon Series Report” ... North Carolina’s Price-Control Laws: Harming Those They’re Meant to Help. Here are some zingers from the report:

John Edwards' Dilemma

I liked John Edwards when he ran for President in 2004. Everything that he has done in the intervening two years has caused me to like him even more. Yet, even as I wish him God speed, I'm wondering if John Edward's Achilles heel is not his peculiar relationship with the good citizens of North Carolina.

When I moved here and first became acquainted with Senator Edwards, he was in the first stages of a Presidential bid. What I saw play out during the Summer and Fall of 2003 was instructive. It was obvious that the voters of North Carolina were becoming restive. Back in 1998, voting for a Democrat to be Senator in the midst of the Clinton follies forced a conservative electorate to the very edge of where they wanted to be.

The thought that Edwards would simply throw overboard their tentative approval for an ill advised Presidential fling was more than they could stand. Even a distracted John Edwards came to appreciate his growing estrangement from the voters of North Carolina.

Happy anniversary to us!

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If you've ever started a business, you know that it's sometimes hard to remember exactly when everything finally came together. And so it is with BlueNC, which first found its footing in the murky days of winter last year. After a bit of a false start, followed by a graceful recovery and relaunch, BlueNC as we know it today had its first official entry posted by Lance on December 18th, 2005.

So thank you to Lance - and to all the wonderful people who have contributed time, ideas, energy and encouragement over the past 12 months. It's been a most excellent ride!


Richard Morgan Speaks (and speaks and speaks and speaks...)

The Pilot ran an interview with Richard Morgan today that covers lots of ground.

Q: Just curious: Have you given any thought to running for U.S. Congress next time around?

A: My second term, there were some folks -- who are my enemies now -- that talked to me about filing for Congress in the 2nd District when Moore County was split in two districts. They felt that I could beat [David] Funderburk on his first time, 1992. And I looked at them at that time then and I said, "I just got to the General Assembly, and I've still got a lot to do. And besides, I don't want to go to Washington."

When I schedule appointments there, honestly, I fly up there and get there about 9 or 10 o'clock and schedule appointments midday so that I can be on a flight back at 4 o'clock. I don't like to be in Washington more than two or three days.

Killing them softly, again

I don't often rerun my entries, but today I'm compelled to do that with a piece I wrote in April. My reason for renewed interest is a column in the N&O by editorial page editor Steve Ford, decrying the pain that prisoners may endure when being executed. It's a strange world we live in where we're worried more about how we kill people than whether we kill them in the first place.

Here's my original entry:

Nowhere does the lunacy of public policy shine brighter today than in the area of capital punishment. Here in North Carolina, the latest sad chapter is enough to make a grown man cry. Or maybe even fry.

At issue is the nature of cruel and unusual punishment -- and whether those on death row should have to endure the pain and knowledge of their executions as they happen. There are too many facets of the capital punishment debate for me to take on tonight, so let's just focus on the one in the news.

N.C. prison officials have proposed using a controversial medical device to make sure death row inmate Willie Brown Jr. is unconscious and not experiencing pain during his April 21 execution. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard had given prison officials until noon today to submit a proposal to abide with his ruling last week. Howard had ordered that Brown's execution could only go forward if medically-trained professionals were present to make sure Brown is unconscious before paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs are administered.

Jack of all tirades

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There are probably some things more annoying than whining Republicans, but I can't think of any today. That's because I just got my very own copy of Citizen News, the bi-monthly newsletter from the John William Pope Civitas Institute. The lead story in this edition is by Puppet President Jack Hawke, entitled "Republicans Win the Vote, Lose the Election."

In the 2006 election, Republican candidates for the state House received 31,703 more votes than Democrat candidates. The Republicans also received a majority of 51 percent of the vote in state House races. Yet, in spite of receiving more than 31,000 more votes than the Democrats, the Republicans not only failed to gain the majority, they lost five seats.

Archive 5-8-08: Killing The American Spirit (political cartoon)

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Can you tell I am one of those lunatic Al Gore freaks?

Thought so.

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