Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Three great Christian websites

Go to Gary North's web site to read excellent books on the Bible and Christian thought. Not only are the books interesting, challenging, and timely, they really are free.

The
Blessed Economist runs a great blog that addresses economics and political philosophy in a biblical sense. Though I'm not saying I agree with everything posted, it is all very thought provoking.

Steve Scott has an interesting blog,
From the Pew. Like the Blessed Economist, Scott offers insight into economics and liberty, all from a biblical perspective. Once again, I'm not saying I agree with everything posted. But, good reading nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dream the impossible dream

Last week, a very intellegent and successful individual was lamenting the waste that is government. He commented, "Schools need to teach finance so that students understand the problems that result from government programs."

Obviously, he had not given his logic much thought. To think that government-run schools would teach the ills of government is to dream the impossible dream.

Professor Jeffrey Herbener teaches economics at Grove City College. He does not hunt for the Chimera in government-run schools. Read the wonderful speech he gave at the Mises Institute's 25 Anniverary Celebration -- I was lucky enough to see it firsthand.

The excerpt below is from Herbener's speech Misesian Economics in Truly Private Schools, available on Mises.org. -- Jim








Misesian Economics in Truly Private Schools


Posted on 10/29/2007

State interference in education usurps the child's rights and displaces the custodial role of the parents in exercising those rights. That the state would seize the custodial rights from the parents demonstrates that it has its own interests in mind. The state must resort to force because neither the child nor the parents want the natural arrangement to be overturned. Because the state rests on compulsion its activity extinguishes the very basis for the development of the personalities of children, which is freedom.

Monday, October 29, 2007

We know the ending ...

This Tuesday, the Olentangy school board is set to vote on its latest Five-Year Forecast. The forecast will have to be approved at the meeting since it must be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education by the end of the month. So ...

We know the ending of this fictional play: The district is in dire need of a levy. Yet, we don't know the how the playwrights will get us there.

You see, the district has to show need where none exists. And, the need has to equal the millage submitted to the county auditor just a few weeks ago.

Oh, sure, this forecast will look different from the one submitted in May, but the storyline is already set, and the ending already approved.

I'm certain that the board discussions will have the same ring of truth as the Soviet Show Trials -- the
Moscow Trials -- during Stalin's Great Purge. The sentences were a given, but the drama was in the political machinations the court used to arrive at its decisions.

Machinations will be on display at the board meeting this Tuesday. Go to see if everyone is on-cue; government doing the people's business. No purge this time, just plunder.


Even when you know the ending, the performances and scripted dialogue can be a delight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Math in Olentangy School District

The Olentangy school board will be voting on its new Five-Year Forecast this Tuesday. Consider the math used in forecasting with the math used in the classroom. You will see the same nonsense appearing in both -- they are both trips down the rabbit hole, adventures with Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Of course, the district's Progress math concepts are used for different purposes: In the classroom to dumb-down the curriculum; in the Five-Year Forecast to obfuscate and spin a tale of woe and fiscal crisis.

Here's a previous post on Everyday Math, the administration's fluff math of choice.

Next week, I will post on the new Five-Year Forecast -- a true tale of misadventure and deceit.




Everyday Math, constructivist education, and Olentangy


Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth



Everyday Math and Olentangy: This is a great YouTube.com video on the differences between traditional math and the current flavor of the constructivist, Progressive education in vogue at districts such as Olentangy. In fifteen minutes, you will understand why district students struggle through math.

You will also find yourself wondering why the administration adopted such a mess. Simply ask Olentangy's Executive Director of Elementary Learning why the district continues to embrace failed programs such as Everyday Math. I can only imagine his response.

The video's M.J. McDermott is able to effectively explain the issue since she has not been inculcated into the current education mess. She is a successful user of math; not some educationist living the life of PT Barnum's fool.

Constructive Education and Olentangy: The constructivist education philosophy is centered on teachers and students being co-equals in the discovery of knowledge.1 The teacher holds no special place since knowledge is relative, therefore the simple understanding of a third grader is equal to the supposed learned knowledge of the professional teacher.2

Constructivism is an application of Progressive education, the pedagogy - philosophy - that has permeated public schools for over to a century. As these ideas have taken greater hold of education - most notably since the Sixties, student achievement has gone downhill - this despite a tremendous influx of dollars and technology.

Even though constructivist math - fuzzy math - had been a failure for years, Olentangy decided to adopt the Everyday Mathematics program for its students. Well, the district will not say they have adopted Everyday Mathematics. Instead, the district will use doublespeak to say that they have adopted their curriculum maps, and not any single math program. But that simply confounds means with ends.

The maps are the ends, the definition of what is to be learned - the equivalent of architectural blueprints. The textbooks are the means to achieve the ends - the building tools and materials. Funny, your tax dollars pay for Everyday Mathematics textbooks yet the district staff do not even claim that they use the textbooks to teach math. Staff members say the books are simply a resource, similar to putting a child's plastic hammer in the toolbox instead of the steel hammer.

Go ahead and ask your administrators about Everyday Mathematics, you will hear them spin a tale of educationist gobbledygook. Hold on to your own head so that it doesn't counter spin in response.

[1] Check out rantings of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and The Teachers College Record from Columbia University's prestigious Teachers College.

[2] Administrators and teachers who buy into this philosophy may actually be the overpaid, co-equals of their students.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The cure for wildfires ... acronym soup

My latest post the Blog at Mises.org(Mises.org):









The cure for wildfires ... acronym soup


Of course, chaos is the entrée.

As of yesterday, here is the response from the Department of Homeland Security ...

No additional comments needed. This dispatch speaks for itself.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Multiple Wildfires
Los Angeles - San Diego, CA
Executive Summary #5




Major Response Operations: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) is at Level I operations with all Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) activated. The Region IX Response Coordination Center (RRCC) is activated at Level II with all ESFs, the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) activated. The FEMA Joint Field Office (JFO) is established in Pasadena, CA. FEMA Region IX has activated an Emergency Response Team - Advance (ERT-A) that has arrived at the JFO. The Emergency Response Team - National (ERT-N) Red is deployed to the JFO and will be operational on 25 Oct 07. Eight (8) Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) have been issued. Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) - Bothell is deploying two (2) Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicles (MEOV) to the JFO in support of communication needs. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has deployed a temporary Power Planning and Response Team (PPRT), a Temporary Housing Team, a Tiger Team, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) specialist, electrical engineer and a subject matter expert. Two FEMA safety officers have been deployed to the JFO. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has deployed two (2) Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) to San Diego, CA, TO BE BASED AT THE DEL MAR FAIRGROUNDS AND MARCH AIR FORCE BASE (AFB) RESPECTIVELY. HHS has also deployed an Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) to the JFO. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has deployed a liaison to the JFO. A NUMBER OF MOBILE DISASTER RECOVERY CENTERS (MDRCs) HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED: SAN DIEGO - ONE (1) ARRIVED YESTERDAY; THREE (3) EN ROUTE FROM PASADENA TO SAN DIEGO EXPECTED TO ARRIVE TODAY; THREE (3) EN ROUTE TO PASADENA TO BE DISPATCHED LATER; TWO (2) EN ROUTE FROM FORT WORTH, TX TO PASADENA WHICH WILL BE DISPATCHED TO SAN DIEGO ON 25, OCT 07; ONE MDRC AT MOFFETT FIELD IS AWAITING A DRIVER AND WILL BE DISPATCHED UPON ARRIVAL. SIXTY (60) USDA FOREST SERVICE STRIKE TEAMS WERE REQUESTED OF WHICH TEN (10) HAVE BEEN FILLED. THE REQUEST IS UNDER REVIEW. THE USDA HAS ALSO APPROVED THE ISSUANCE OF "DISASTER FOOD STAMPS" FOR FIRE VICTIMS IN ALL AFFECTED COUNTIES. THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY FAMILY REGISTRY AND LOCATOR SYSTEM (NEFRLS) HAS BEEN SET UP. NEFRLS reports 119 calls and 32 registrations as of 1900 EDT 10 Oct 07. THE REGISTRATION CALL VOLUME IS NOT KNOWN AT THIS TIME. A JOINT HOUSING TASK FORCE (JHTF) HAS BEEN STOOD UP AT FEMA HQ. INITIAL OPERATING HOURS WILL BE 0800 - 1700 EDT. EPA AND OPS WILL DISPATCH SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS AT FEMA HQ TO SUPPORT THE NRCC AND THE REGION ON AIR QUALITY ISSUES. THE INITIAL COMPOSITION OF THE TASK FORCE WILL INCLUDE, EPA, HHS, OSHA, DOE (POTENTIALLY), USCG AND FEMA. THE PURPOSE IS TO ADVISE ON AIR QUALITY ISSUES IN SUPPORT OF REGION IX. THE ATLANTA FEDERAL INCIDENT RESPONSE SUPPORT TEAM (FIRST) HAS ARRIVED AT
QUALCOMM STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO. HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) HAS APPROVED FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE TO FOUR CALIFORNIA COUNTIES.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Homeschoolers for Ron Paul

Here's something worth joining and supporting, Homeschoolers for Ron Paul.

From their website:


Homeschoolers for Ron Paul is a group of concerned home-educators who believe that parents should be free to make educational choices for their children without government interference. Ron Paul is committed to protecting parental rights, including the freedom to home-educate, and he has proven this with a consistent voting record and continued recognition of homeschoolers and their achievements.

Our goal is to form a nation-wide network of home-educators who support Dr. Paul's bid for the Presidency. We will use this network to gather and disseminate information- sharing Dr. Paul's message of educational-freedom with other homeschoolers.
Liberty in education includes the right to educate your children at home. Who better than the parent? Certainly, many disagree -- the NEA has a legislative platform statement advocating the end to the right to homeschool. Yet, why should the state and its minions have a monopoly on education?

Support Paul so that your children can learn, and not be indoctrinated.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

As always, Lew Rockwell is spot on

Excerpt from Lew Rockwell on Mises.org(Mises.org):











The First and Next 25 Years

Posted on 10/22/2007

But how rarely do we consider the source when it comes to state-funded education! There is an assumption that people make that education when sponsored by the state will be objective and keep the student's best interest at heart. This assumption makes no sense whatever, but it is nonetheless widely held. We encounter this often in dealing with the issue of elementary and secondary schools. If someone attends a Baptist or Catholic school, people ask how they can stand all that religious indoctrination. But have you ever heard a student in public school questioned as to how they can stand all that statist indoctrination? It's not likely.

read the whole article ...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Join the Central Ohio Ron Paul Meetup Group

The Columbus Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group

The mission:

The mission of this group is to organize, mobilize, and get active in spreading the Ron Paul message throughout Central Ohio. Our goal is to do our part to see Ron Paul achieve success in the Republican Primary and, ultimately, the presidential race. We also plan to have a lot of fun along the way.

Join and support Ron Paul ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Millage hullabaloo

Here's an interesting spin from the Olentangy School District ...



Districts do not "contend with two tax millage amounts," they simply apply the effective rate against their property valuations in order to calculate tax revenue. Couldn't be simpler.

Funny, when pushing levies, the district never implies that the tax effect on individuals due to a new levy will increase with property values. Yet, when it's in their favor, the district acts dumbfounded that the tax payments on individual properties do not increase with property values.

What the district fails to mention -- and the reason for its spin -- is that property taxes have been increasing at an annualized rate of between 7% and 9% (depending on the years included). Your voted mills reduce to the effective rate even as your wallet gets thinner.

The district implies that residents are paying less, yet tax bills detail a whole different story. Hmm.


School Funding: Millage Collection and Reduction – an explanation
by Becky Jenkins, Treasurer

Millage. What does it mean, and why do some Ohio schools collect less than what is voted?

The question is an interesting one and is often related to the frequency with which Ohio school districts are on the ballot.

Millage is the factor applied to the assessed or taxable valuation of real and personal tangible property to produce tax revenue. In a technical sense, a mill is defined as one-tenth of one percent or one-tenth of a cent (.01) in cash terms.

Schools often contend with two types of millage amounts. One is the full “voted millage” and the other is the “effective millage.”

The voted millage amount is the amount that voters approve. However, the amount goes through a reduction each year to adjust for rising home values, a factor commonly referred to as House Bill 920 (HB920). The millage amount that is actually collected by a school district after that reduction is then called the total effective millage.

How significant can that reduction be for a school district? As an example, while Olentangy residents have voted in 62 mills, currently the district is only collecting 35.36 mills.

Another way to think about it is to consider the last operating issue passed by Olentangy voters. While the request was for 10.5 mills, even in the first year of collection Olentangy only captured 10.2 mills. Fast forward to today and we are only collecting 8.66 mills.

Each school district has a different effective (or actually collected) millage. For a comparison of some of our local school districts, see the chart.

School funding is a very complicated issue, and millage is only one part. Because Olentangy is so heavily reliant on local tax dollars, millage is one area we monitor very closely.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Too many laws?

Many non-Christians look at the Bible as a book replete with laws, rules, and regulations. Yet, according to Rousas John Rushdoony - Christian writer and father-in-law of Gary North (see link on the left sidebar) - rabbinical traditions have counted 613 separate laws in the Torah, our Old Testament. Six hundred thirteen. And, many of these laws were subsequently repealed by Jesus's blood.

According to Rushdoony, current local, state, and federal laws number in the millions. Millions! And, what have we gotten for all those laws, rules, regulations, etc? Certainly not Heaven on Earth.

Is Christianity heavy-handed with its number of laws? Not at all. Is government heavy-handed? Absolutely!

note: Thanks to Steve Scott at
From the Pew for the Rushdoony count.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Scott Galloway's $400,000 gift of taxpayer dollars

Olentangy Residents,

In July, Olentangy school board member and candidate, Scott Galloway, celebrated a night of giving; giving the gift of taxpayer dollars of course.

Galloway and the rest of the board unanimously amended the superintendent's contract effective July 17 and added almost $400,000 in salary and benefits. That's a lot of money given the cry for an additional levy. Actually, it's a lot of money no matter how you put it. Of course, it's all for the kids. Yeah, right!

Keep in mind that the superintendent was already one of the highest paid in Ohio. And, that was before the new amendments.

The new contract is a wonder to read. It removes the original accountability language and replaces it with guaranteed dollars.

In true double-speak, the bonus that was based on performance, and is now just another salary component, is classified in the contract as "at-risk compensation." At-risk? Come on, the bonus is guaranteed and is to be paid out before the school year begins.

In a bit of irony, the Ludwig von Mises Institute recently published my
article on such types of gifts; gifts where the elected officials stand proud as they give your tax dollars away in their name. In addition, the Institute also published my article regarding those who end up suffering from the district's -- and Galloway's -- profligate spending habits.

I really don't know what's worse: the board giving away your tax dollars; the superintendent accepting those dollars while whining about budget shortfalls; or, the spin that was placed on this whole mess. Some people have no shame at all.

Remember this as the board and superintendent just agreed upon the "need" for a March levy; despite the fact that none is needed until 2009.


And, more importantly, remember this at the ballot machine.

Galloway claims he is for fiscal accountability, yet his true nature is exactly the opposite -- by $400,000 of taxpayer money.

Galloway wants your vote ... and your money.

Read the provisions of the contract (here). You will be amazed, shocked, and troubled. I was.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Olentangy Weekend Read

Scott Galloway -- incumbent candidate for the Olentangy Board of Education -- runs on a campaign of fiscal accountability. Yet, he voted for the proposed levies, the largest tax increases in the district's history. And, he never took the time to publicly review the State Standard Analysis report. He calls himself fiscally responsible. A pretty liberal definition wouldn't you say.

From an older post:


I am revisiting the series of posts I did on the Olentangy State Standard Analysis report - now one year old and one month old. (over a year and a half now -- Jim)

If the proposed state funding formula passes both Ohio houses, the Olentangy School District gains more than $4 million in state aid over the projections contained in the district's October Five Year Forecast. That means the district needs to find only $10 million in expenses over the next 27 months - a 4% reduction - in order to go another year before asking for another operating levy. If the district holds the line on salary increases in the upcoming teachers contract negotiations, the $10 million deficit is almost zero.

The Olentangy State Standard Analysis report identified well over $10 million in yearly savings, savings that could have been applied starting last year. But, for some reason - there are many reasons I can think of - neither the board nor the administration want to discuss this report in public. I imagine that time flies when you're spending someone else's money.

This report should be serving as the basis for understanding rising costs and requisite soon-to-be-proposed property tax increases. But the report is obviously being kept from the sunshine of public debate. The reason? I guess you will have to ask your board members why the public should not be given the opportunity to hear debate on this important report; a report funded by local tax dollars.

You'd think that with possible levies on the horizon, the board would want to get a handle on costs ... you'd think anyway ...

note: click to read installments one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven

Word for the day: fungible

My latest blog posting at Mises.org(Mises.org):









Word for the day: fungible

Fungible means interchangeable. The word comes into play when (inter alia) earmarked funds end up in a general account. These funds are then free to be used for purposes other than intended.

Example: You would like to go on a vacation but you have unpaid car repair bills. A wealthy uncle hears that you are having financial trouble and sends money to help. However, he would never agree to pay for your vacation –- he’s nice, but not that nice.

Once your uncle’s money is deposited into your checking account, you are free to spend it as you please. You then get to pay off your bills and go on vacation. In essence, you paid your bills (a necessity) while your uncle funded your vacation.

On Wednesday, NPR had a
report on SCHIP and those who would have benefited from it. Sure, SCHIP is gone for now, but like a toothache, it will return with a vengeance at night or over some weekend -- when we least expect it.

Read one likely recipient's story:

Baron and her son live in Southern California, where housing costs are high. Their rent and utilities run $24,000 a year. Barron is the executive director of a nonprofit group, Guitars in the Classroom, and makes $32,000 a year. Between rent and health insurance, "We've now overspent my pretax income and I haven't bought groceries yet," Baron says. "That's why my sofa is 11 years old and I'm driving around a falling-apart van with no automatic wheelchair lift."

Barron isn't complaining. She has savings that will last her another year or two. She's hopeful that her nonprofit will begin to do better, and she has the smarts to check out her options.


Would SCHIP have assisted Baron with her medical expenses, or would it have allowed her to continue chasing her dream: Guitars in the Classroom? You be the judge. I say she should get a day job and pursue her dream after hours. With programs like SCHIP, the taxpayer simply ends up funding Guitars in the Classroom.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Crime: not being regulated

The Columbus Dispatch has an article about the criminal Bob Munley. His crime? Producing homemade tea, unregulated and at home nonetheless. The state regulators cannot have that. So much for Liberty.

Any risk associated with his tea is accepted by the consumer. See, you can purchase and consume FDA-approved drugs that are lethal, but woe to him that produces tea at home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I call them Fascists; Walter Williams calls them Nazis. We're both right

I've called them fascists and ratfinks, while Walter E. Williams calls them Nazis. We're both right. It doesn't matter whether they are your neighbors, elected or unelected officials, or just some petty organization ... They are all, in William's words, cowards; too afraid to tell the rest of us to our face that we are not eating the right foods. So, they resort to laws and machinations to get the job done. Cowards. I like that ...

Read Williams' article The Freeman:

an excerpt:

Americans who’ve demanded government subsidized health care have been unwitting dupes, or as Comintern called those types, “useful idiots,” for America’s lifestyle Nazis. We’ve given them excuses to interfere with every aspect of our lives in the name of health-care costs. If a behavior impacts health-care costs, today’s lifestyle Nazi is Johnny-on-the-spot with a proposal to regulate that behavior.

Here’s my wager: I bet the lifestyle Nazis are also strong proponents of piecemeal repeal of our Second Amendment guarantees. Why? They want us to be defenseless. If, for example, C. Everett Koop wants me to stop eating meat and Robert Cohen wants me to stop drinking milk, let them physically stop me. I doubt they would risk the possibility of grave bodily injury. They’re cowards. So instead they want to enlist Congress and the courts to go after weak sisters—America’s restaurant owners and businessmen.

Many of us mistakenly label these people “nannies,” an inappropriate term for those who’d use the coercive, brutal powers of government to impose their values on others. More fitting labels are: tyrants, totalitarians, and yes, Nazis.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An evening of satire

I am passing on my invitation to all of you. Just think of the delicious satire awaiting you as the AFL-CIO and others tell their side of history. Belly laughs guaranteed. -- Jim

The AFL-CIO American Prospect Campaign for America's FutureDemos Economic Policy Institute
Invite you to a public discussion of an important new book:

THE SQUANDERING OF AMERICA
How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity
by Robert Kuttner
Please click here to RSVP and participate in this critical discussion.

Place:
AFL-CIO,
Samuel Gompers Room,
815 16th St., NW, Washington, DC
Date:
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Time:
5:30 pm refreshments
6:00 pm program begins

Richard Trumka, Secretary Treasurer, AFL-CIO
Robert Kuttner, author, editor, activist
Brief remarks by Diane Straus Tucker, The American Prospect
Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
Robert Borosage, Campaign for America's Future

Refreshments will be served, and presentations will be followed by questions from the audience and discussion.
About the Book
The incomes of most Americans today are static or declining. Tens of millions of workers are newly vulnerable to layoffs and outsourcing. Health care and retirement burdens are increasingly being shifted from employers to individuals. Two-income families find they are working longer hours for lower wages, with decreased social support. As wealth has become more concentrated, the economy has become more recklessly speculative, jeopardizing not only the prospects of ordinary Americans, but the solvency of the entire system. What links these trends, writes Robert Kuttner in this provocative, engaging, and necessary book, is the dismantling of the mixed economy and the consolidation of political and economic power by a narrow elite, which blocks the ability of government to restore broad prosperity to the majority of citizens. To restore an economy of broad prosperity, we need to take back our politics.

Kuttner--one of our most lucid economic critics--explores the roots of these problems and outlines a persuasive, bold alternative. In Business Week, The Boston Globe, and The American Prospect, he has established himself as a prophetic voice connecting economics and politics. Here he demonstrates how our economy has fallen hostage to a casino of financial speculation, creating instability as well as inequality. He debunks alarmist claims about supposed economic hazards, such as Social Security and Medicare, and exposes the genuine dangers: hedge funds and private equity run amok, sub-prime lenders, Wall Street middlemen, and America's dependence on foreign central banks. He describes how globalization of commerce has been used by business less to promote free trade than to escape the balanced regulation that delivered widespread abundance in the decades after World War II.

While our financial security has weakened under President George W. Bush, Kuttner also faults many Democrats for failing to offer compelling alternatives. Now, with financial markets in crisis and public opinion supporting a more active role for government, he offers a new model of managed capitalism that can deliver security and opportunity, and rekindle democracy as a check on concentrated wealth.

Here is a passionate, articulate naming of the problem and a call for reform. The Squandering of America sets out a path for reclaiming our democratic politics--and our prosperity.

Reviews

"In this new and wise book Robert Kuttner walks among the wreckage strewn across the landscape by the fundamentalist ideology that took hold in Washington and says there is still hope of averting lasting economic calamity. But his message is clear: Hurry!"--Bill Moyers

"Robert Kuttner is a prophet whose time has come. This lucid, passionate, razor-sharp book carries a message as urgent as it is clarifying." --Hendrik Hertzberg

"Ten years ago, in Everything for Sale, Robert Kuttner powerfully demonstrated the difference between respect for markets and worship of markets. His new book is just as persuasive and powerfully argued. I hope that this time we heed the warnings, rather than living through the consequences of ignoring them again."--James Fallows

"If I could assign one book to all the presidential candidates it would be this one. Robert Kuttner, perhaps the most insightful economic commentator in the country, has done it again."--Barbara Ehrenreich

"Robert Kuttner is the intellectual guru of our country's New Progressive Era. The Squandering of America diagnoses our government's illnesses and tells us how to cure them."--Senator Sherrod Brown

"The Squandering of America brilliantly explains how we once created a cooperative and equitable prosperity, how that economy was captured by a financial elite, and how to reclaim America's economic and political future."--William Greider

"If you want to understand why America's prosperity, power and prestige are under siege, read The Squandering of America. This is more than a fine book; it is an education for the tumultuous times that lie ahead."--Jeff Faux

"In The Squandering of America, Bob Kuttner tells the story that the financial elites and free-market ideologues would rather not be told: that broad prosperity and economic security, once the foundation of our middle-class economy, are disappearing as quickly as the polar ice caps." --Senator Byron Dorgan

"In a time of great commotion in American politics and economics, no one connects the dots more clearly or wisely than Robert Kuttner. This is must reading for anyone who wishes to understand why they are feeling so anxious about the economy." --Barry Bluestone


Economic Policy Institute1333 H Street, NW; East Tower, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mussolini Lives!

At the Ohio Statehouse nonetheless.

Never can have too many councils. Enact this bill -- together with Strickland's energy re-regulation plan -- and we are back to Italy in the 1920's and 30's.

Thank goodness parents are idiots. Otherwise, state representatives from both sides of the aisle would have nothing to do.

According to the Ohio School Boards Association:

HB 254, sponsored by Rep. Jon Peterson (R-Delaware) and Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) received proponent testimony this week. HB 254 would establish the Ohio Child Wellness Advisory Council, and establish nutritional standards for certain foods and beverages sold in public and chartered nonpublic schools.

Those providing supportive testimony on the bill included JoAnne Robinett, supervisor of student nutrition for Beavercreek City Schools, and Jan Ritter, a dietician at Nationwide Children's Hospital.


Can you even imagine what organizations will be lobbying the council, and who will be sitting on it? Greed and nanny-ism!

NEA Hypocrisy

Mike Antonucci of the Education Intellegence Agency noted the following:


2) NEA to Take On "Violent and Indecent" TV Programming. EIA has no special knowledge of this project, but we'll all learn more tomorrow as representatives of NEA, the National PTA, the National Council of Women's Organizations and the Parents' Choice Foundation hold a press conference at the National Press Club to announce a "major grassroots initiative" to tackle the problem of the "rise in violent and indecent television programming" for children.

I'm 3,000 miles away, but if you're in DC tomorrow, they are serving a continental breakfast at 8:30!
Funny, the NEA and its minions have no problems introducing their perverse nonsense within public schools. Probably just a Progressive educationist thing as only professional teachers seem to be able to identify violent and indecent. And, woe to any parent who dared disagree.

A little late, but instructive

The US is neither a democracy nor a nation that can claim to be "under God."

Democracy: Nope. In many instances it is a Leviathan bureacracy that serves its own will, the public be damned.

"Under God": Please. An appointed minor apparachik doesn't want God to offend anyone, even the taxpayer and voter.

I say I'm late simply because pressure forced the Leviathan to withdraw. But you can bet that it has already recoiled, waiting to strike again.



Religious words such as God, Lord banned by Architect of the U.S. Capitol
Contact your congressman and senators today!

Dear ,

According to U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave, our nation’s legislators are now prohibited from using references to God in certificates of authenticity accompanying flags flown over the Capitol and bought by constituents. Such references include: "under God" in the pledge, "God bless you," or "in the year of our Lord, 2007." Never before has this official prohibition been leveled.


Architect of the Capitol Steven Ayers said he has removed the words because reference to God and the Lord may offend some Americans. He now prohibits them from being placed on official documents such as flag certificates.

Musgrave was astonished when she flew a flag over the U.S. Capitol building as a tribute to a senior citizen, and the accompanying certificate she received was edited with all religious references removed.


The congresswoman was more astounded when, upon further investigation, she discovered the certificate was censored by order of The Architect of the Capitol, an unelected very low-level official who manages the flag office.


Responding to a request for a flag flown over the United States Capitol in honor of a World War II veteran's 81st birthday, the congresswoman ordered the flag and a certificate to state: "This flag was flown for Mr. John Doe on the occasion of his 81st birthday, the eleventh day of July, in the year of our Lord, 2007. Thank you, Grandpa, for showing me what it is to be a true patriot -- to love God, family, and country. We love you!"


When the flag and certificate came back from the flag office, each reference to the Lord and God were removed. A group of lawmakers confronted architect Stephen Ayers seeking to find where he had the authority to restrict their freedom of speech and religious expression. Ayers refused to give the lawmakers a clear justification of his authority to delete the religious references. For more information: Capitol flag policy assailed (Washington Times).


Take Action! Forward this to your family and friends.


Take Action
Send an e-mail to your representative and two senators. Ask them to put a stop to this nonsense. A low-level employee should not have the authority to ban the use of religious words.
Forward this to your family and friends and ask them to send an e-mail to their representatives and senators.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Legends and Prodigies

My latest blog postings at Mises.org(Mises.org):









Legends and Prodigies


I just got back from the Ludwig von Mises Institute's 25th Anniversary Celebration. What a truly wonderful event. But, I have to make one point clear: Do not believe for a moment that name of the event implies that the movement started by Mises is 25 years old. It's not. In fact, the movement is much, much younger.

Certainly the ideas and ideals of Mises are a century old, and the institute itself has existed for the 25 years as stated, but the movement’s center of mass, its standard-bearers -- the next generation – were widely visible in the audience, and, to my great satisfaction, they were more than a couple of years younger than 25.

The movement is growing and getting younger every year. And, that’s what made this event so very exciting and hopeful.

In 1976, the rock group
The Band decided to retire from years of relentless touring. In order to celebrate, The Band invited some of rock's legends to gather for one final evening. That event, filmed by Martin Scorsese, became the documentary The Last Waltz.

In New York City over the weekend, the legends of Liberty met for a few days of celebration. However, this event was no last waltz. It was, instead, a time for folks like me to hear and meet some of the real rock stars of the free market. In particular, we watched Robert Higgs receive a well-deserved Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty.

Personally, I felt a bit of irony in finally meeting Higgs. Our paths had crossed once before – when he was writing
Crisis and Leviathan oddly enough. Higgs was a professor at Lafayette College during some of the period that I was a student there. Sadly, my realm was a fraternity across the Quad from where Higgs wrote his seminal treatise.

To think, I could be saying today that I was a student of the winner of the 2007 Schlarbaum award. Alas, instead of scholarship, I was wasting those years of my youth on less erudite pursuits. (note to young readers: Do not waste this stage of your intellectual journey. At every opportunity, take advantage of Higgs and the rest of the legends of Austrian Economics.)

Rock guitar hero
Jorma Kaukonen – of 60’s San Francisco group Jefferson Airplane fame – has a guitar and music camp in, of all places, the Appalachian hills of Southeastern Ohio. The Fur Peace Ranch is not some fantasy camp where folks get to live out a lifelong dream as a weekend rock star. The camp is simply a place where a man who loves the guitar is able to transfer some of his knowledge to others.

This is exactly what the Mises event was about: a chance for the legends to share their wealth of knowledge and years of scholarship with everyone on the room, especially the students.

You see, the students are the key. They are the ones who have the time and energy to grab the standard that reads,
Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. And, they are the ones to introduce subsequent generations to the essentials of Liberty that run through Mises to the legends in attendance at the event. In short, they are the ones who decide whether the movement of Liberty lives or dies.

I am reminded of the shampoo commercial from a few decades ago where the announcer says, “And she’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on.” All the while, the TV screen is dividing to show how quickly a good idea can spread.

We have a good idea, and now we have students who have the knowledge and desire to tell two friends, and so on, and so on. Based on both the number and the energy of the students in attendance, the future looks bright indeed.

Some final notes …

To the legends (both those in attendance and those who could not make the event): The Mises movement exists today only because of your efforts and sacrifice. Thank you.

To the students in attendance: I expect you to be leading the movement over the next 50 years. And, I expect to be reading your books and articles; scholarship that advances the cause of Liberty no matter how dark the times.

To the students who could not attend: Grab any opportunity you have to learn from the legends. They truly want to teach you all that they have learned and discovered.

To those who gave generously in order to sponsor students at the event: You have done a great service for the cause of Liberty. It is the youth in the audience who will devote their lives to challenging government, as well as the ideas that allow government to continue to grow and consume.

To Lew Rockwell and the rest of the Mises organization: Your prodigies are top notch. Job well done!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ron Paul and the Anti-Positivist


Pictures do tell a thousand words: Mission accomplished ... Jim Fedako (the anti-positivist) and Ron Paul. Both originally from Pittsburgh. Taken 10/13/2007.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A sign that the end is near

What is the sign? I actually agreed with something from the Teachers College Record, Teachers College, Columbia University. The TCR typically espouses a Marxist-laden worldview. But, when they get it right, they get it right.

Geoffrey R. Stone of the University of Chicago wrote:

Just as it is not the business of Columbia University to declare some views “right” and other views “wrong,” it is similarly not the business of the United States Senate to enact resolutions condemning the constitutionally protected expression of private citizens.

...

But it is not a legitimate role for the Senate of the United States to pass formal resolutions condemning the expression of constitutionally protected views. Do the supporters of this resolution honestly believe that it would be appropriate for the Senate to officially condemn those who question the integrity of Vice President Cheney, or the wisdom of Justice Scalia, or the candor of President Bush? Such expression, like MoveOn.org’s attack on General Petraeus, is not only protected by the First Amendment, but it is essential to the functioning of a self-governing society. For the very same reasons that Columbia University should not declare particular ideas, perspectives, or questions “out of bounds,” the United States Senate should similarly foster “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” debate and not attempt to intimidate citizens by official public condemnation. Such a tactic smacks of the abuses of the McCarthy Era.

The freedom of speech can be ugly, but interference from the state is much, much worse. -- Jim

Thomas B. Fordham and the distrust of parents

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation claims it advocates for school choice, yet it only means choice within the bounds set by government. Read its Gadfly article To our libertarian friends.

My response:

Editor:

In this passage from "To our libertarian friends," Liam Julian exposes his views as a blend of mistrust in parents and the assumed omniscience of government:

But strict libertarianism fails in education reform not merely because of its political infeasibility, but because it prizes individual liberty so greatly that it must allow parents to make dreadful educational choices that could set up their children for failure. Thus, the strict libertarian's k-12 paradox: Allowing parents the liberty to make such decisions on their children's behalf stymies liberty (the child's rights, really) more than encourages it.


Julian obviously prizes the collectivist solution for the failures of public education. To that end, I have to ask him what he thinks of parents who choose to live within the city school limits of most any urban area in the US -- his home in DC being the top of the list. Assuming that residence is a choice, what does the selection of failed city schools say about parental decision-making under the Julian model? What does it say about his ability to choose a proper home?

I agree that choice is the solution. However, where there is government and tax dollars, there is no real choice. Of course, real choice is never a Julian solution. When he speaks of choice, he means choice within limits; limits set by government under advisement of fellows such as Hess and Finn (note "Leave no (none, zero, nada) child behind?" where both writers share their lack of constitutional proficiency).

I will buy the Julian solution the moment he decides to send his children to the lowest performing DC school. Though, I will assume -- on almost no chance of being wrong, that Julian has chosen to live in an area zoned to protect his slice of society's supposed responsibilities.

The libertarian view is that he is wrong on this account: viewing government as the provider of choice all the while using government to limit property usage in the suburbs.

The irony is that the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation advocates for parental choice with regard to charter schools, yet takes a stand opposite choice when government is removed. Is it possible that Julian and TBF have it right and that government serves as a protection from a parental frontal lobotomy? For without government, parents appear to lose the ability to act in the best interest of their children.

Does TBF actually believe in choice; parental choice?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ron Paul and arbitrage

Great little posting on the Mises.org blog that combines Ron Paul and the economics of arbitrage:








Arbitraging Ron Paul's Online Odds
Robert Murphy

I admit I haven't personally participated in any of this stuff, so I can't speak from experience. But it seems that there are several gambling web sites with often different odds on Ron Paul. With the possibility of shorting a Ron Paul contract on Intrade, one can make a guaranteed profit (assuming the transactions costs aren't too high). Let me give a quick example.

According to this article, there are sites out there that still have 25-to-1 odds against Ron Paul's nomination. (Note: You should be careful that this is indeed for the GOP nomination, not to become president.) That means if you bet $50 on Ron Paul, they would pay you $1300 if he got nominated.


On the other hand, at Intrade right now a Ron Paul contract (which pays $100 to the owner if RP wins the nomination) is selling for around $6. So if you sold 10 of these contracts, you would raise $60. Out of that, you could pocket $10, and use the other $50 to wager on RP at the site offering 25-1 odds.

So if Ron Paul doesn't get the nomination, you're still up that initial $10. If Ron Paul wins it, then you get $1300 from the first website, and you owe $1000 to the people who bought your 10 contracts at Intrade, leaving you with an additional $300 profit.

Obviously there are transactions costs and timing issues, but you get the point. If a site is offering better odds than Intrade, you can short the Intrade Ron Paul contracts and use some of the money to wager on Ron Paul. That's the beauty of Intrade; you can go either way.

Disclaimer: I haven't personally used any of these sites, so I can't vouch for them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Unpublished letter to the editor

Dear Editor:

In the article, "Once again, Southwest tells a flier to change" (The Dispatch, Saturday October 6, 2007), Joe Winiecki of Largo, Florida cried foul when Southwest Airlines denied him a seat on one of their planes until he changed his offensive T-shirt. Winiecki "argued that the airline was violating his free speech" when they denied him a seat. Southwest has agreed to apologize.

So, now we have individuals demanding rights that do not exist, and property owners meekly acquiescing to those demands. What a sad state of affairs.

Winiecki, no such right exists. The right to free speech does no mean that I can say my fill on your property, so it follows that you cannot express what you choose on someone else's property: Southwest Airlines in this instance. Winiecki asks, “Who’s to say what's offensive and what's not?" The property owner has that right, absolutely.

The rights that founded this nation are protections from government, yet we continue to allow those rights to be misconstrued to mean the exact opposite. Now we allow government to abrogate our rights while we demand nonexistent rights over other's property. Shame on Winiecki and others who demand that which is not theirs. Shame on an education system that continually teaches and promotes such nonsense.

To Southwest: No apology is warranted. In fact, I would be upset having to sit on a plane with Winiecki and his perverse T-shirt. Moreover, I am now less likely to fly on your planes since you are unwilling to keep them clean.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A twisting of history

The clergy played no small role in the education of colonists, including the linking of biblical principles with the ideas and ideals of Liberty. Without the church, no Declaration or Revolution. Yet, today, government assists those who seek to quiet the church. A strange twist to the history that founded "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Read Clergy being briefed on free speech for Election '08 from OneNewsNow.com.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The real offense

As always, the real offense committed by track star Marion Jones was making false statements to federal investigators. Funny, politicians bureaucrats, etc. lie all the time. Yet, making false statements to the voting public is not an offense at all. Oh, it's offensive, but it is legal.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Dream of Fascism

From Saturday's Future of Freedom Foundation Update:



Saturday, October 6, 2007


At the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the cartel-creating agency at the heart of the early New Deal, one report declared forthrightly, “The Fascist Principles are very similar to those we have been evolving here in America.”
— David Boaz

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Titles and Honesty

My latest blog postings at Mises.org(Mises.org):







Titles of no real value

posted October 6, 2007

NPR had a recent story on the National Transportation Safety Board, profiling two of its investigators. The story provides a clear window into the inner workings of our federal government. Certainly, some will listen in pride as the investigators allude to the value they and government provide. Yet, the free market ear will reveal a whole lot of nothing.

The first segment of the report focused on just one of the many NTSB employees investigating the collapse of the I-35 bridge. The gentleman -- identified as a "senior highway accident investigator for human performance" -- will spend well over a year conducting witness interviews -- and who knows what else -- in order to understand the reactions of drivers during the collapse. (Note to investigator: They panicked. That's what people do in such circumstances.)

Reams of interviews and analysis, backed by hundreds of appendices packed with data, charts, etc., will be printed and stored somewhere -- probably in the mushroom mines just north of Butler, PA. Those mines, along with gigabytes of e-storage, will house the accident reports for the eons. But, for what purpose?

No value is being created by NTSB employees. Sure, their titles are fancy, and they produce mines (er, mountains) of stuff, but it's all just an extravagant waste. Pull back the curtain on such government programs and the wizard looks oh so average. He's not an omniscient oracle. No, he's simply an average Joe pushing paper in a government office; wasting his time and my money.




Honesty and the state

posted October 2, 2007

The blog A Soviet Poster a Day offers a different poster from the Soviet Union on an almost daily basis, with a little history and explanation for each one (note: the politics of the blog are not libertarian).

My favorite is
How to raise a child like Lenin: Don't you lie - ever! The stern yet beautiful teacher instructs her remorseful student in the virtues of the state: the politicians and their apparatus. The blogger, Alexander Zakharov, writes, "The message was quite clear – Soviet leaders are the most honest and sincere people of the world and every Soviet child should do his best to be like them."

Hey, wait a second! Drop Soviet for American and you have the very same thing being taught everyday in public schools. Some strands of indoctrination never seem to go out of style.

Economics and Education

Response to an education listserve post:



"When that becomes a bit more obvious, let's return to the question whether there is indeed a link between EDUCATION and ECONOMIC.. WORLD LEADERSHIP."

John,

Life is never so easy. Part of the energy driving the US economy is contributed by foreigners educated in their home country. Example: Indian software developers make up a growing number of the US-based IT professionals. Yet, these individuals are not products of the US education system. In addition, offshore IT professionals perform services that are credited to US corporations.

Under your concept of economic accounting, the US education system is credited for the contribution of foreign-trained workers.

Human capital moves much quicker than physical capital. If I became The Glorious Leader of some impoverished island nation, improvements in education would not be my solution to encourage economic prosperity. By reducing or eliminating taxes, regulations, tariffs, and other such blights, the economy would turn around quickly. Of course, the citizens would quickly see that The Glorious Leader provides nothing, so I would always have the incentive to create programs and blame their failures on a host of made-up reasons.

You are confounding cause and effect. Take Ohio for instance: The current tax and regulation structure provides a disincentive for companies to move here. The political class refuses to accept this fact. What do they do instead? They raise taxes and "invest" more in education. So, like India, Ohio-educated workers move to areas that provide high-paying jobs. It is much easier for a new graduate to leave Ohio than for a start-up company (or expansion of an existing company) to make a go here.

Your solution for Ohio would have to be: raise taxes in order to pour more money into education. The result: more companies and graduated will leave the state, further impoverishing the area. You would then blame the education, and propose a new round of taxes, etc. A quick spiral to the bottom would be the result.

Hey, is it possible that you are Ohio's governor?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The new idol: the state

A very interesting read from Michael S. Rozeff ... -- Jim




Fictions and False Gods
by Michael S. Rozeff
Modern states are fictions of the mind brought to life. They are false gods. False gods are worshipped. They are represented in clay, wood, and stone. We make them seem authentic to us. It will seem insane to deny their credentials, when we have their shapes and images in front of us. When we use them to send us to the deaths that we crave. When we give them credit where none is due. When we fear them and obey their imagined instructions. Yet these false gods are nothing more than projections of our own minds. They are ultimately made up and counterfeit. They are vain imaginings of the mind used to nullify our being. They are used to reduce us from human beings to ciphers. The false priests of the state preach the false god of the state in the temples of Washington, London, Beijing, Moscow, Tokyo, and Caracas.

Smash these idols. Utterly destroy them. Let no remnant of them remain.

States as we know them are a prime evil. They are ridiculous and absurd institutions in which a few men and women, operating with subnormal ethical and supernormal violent capacities, control the lives of millions upon millions of other normal people while demanding submission, obedience, and loyalty to the ultimate authority they proclaim for themselves. They are the sinful and false extensions of our imaginations into bonds of violence that chain us.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Sons of Leviathan

My latest article published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute (Mises.org).


The Sons of Leviathan

By Jim Fedako
Posted on 10/02/2007
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Robert Higgs identified the Leviathan as an opportunistic beast, using crises — real or manufactured — to expand its realm, to slither its tentacles into the remaining halls where large amounts of liberty are found. Any national or international event can be spun into the need for more government, more interventions, and more intrusions of its slimy appendages.

We have seen this time and time again, as the Leviathan strikes while the masses tremble. Somehow we are calmed by the sight of this powerful yet ugly serpent-like creature, believing that it is only grasping what it needs in order to protect us, and praying that it will release its grasp once the crisis passes.

However, government never willingly releases its hold of liberty. No, and in fact, any taste of the liberty that remains in possession of the masses simply whets government's appetite for more. That which we give up in a momentary shudder of fear is gone forever.

Nevertheless, crises never seem to arise often enough for those wanting more power. Therefore, government will manufacture events, or spin the innocuous or unrelated incident into a crisis, whenever it desires more of the people's liberty. While Higgs's scholarship shows how this occurs at the national level, it also occurs at the local level as the sons of the Leviathan seek their own bits of power, the tidbits dropped from the mouth of the great beast.

Not four miles from my home is an old bridge that captivates many. Folks like the bridge's style, simple beauty, and setting. The bridge, a registered national historic place, spans a section of the Olentangy River that still holds its natural qualities — a stretch of the water designated as a state scenic river.

Local and state officials — led by the county engineer, an elected official — wanted to tear down this bridge years ago. They regularly cited its age, restricted traffic flow, and possible structural deficiencies as reason to replace it with a modern — though institutional-looking — cement span. In opposition, local residents and other nature lovers have fought government all along. They have used every possible means to stop the destruction of their favored bridge. In fact, they even appealed to laws that protect areas designated as state scenic rivers and bridges deemed historic — anything to stop the state (you just have to love it when laws impede the state and its local minions).

The two groups — bridge lovers and government officials — locked horns, with neither side gaining ground. But, that all ended with one tragic event: the collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis. Finally, a crisis.

Within days, the county had re-evaluated the structure of the bridge and determined that it was indeed deficient. Well, the bridge wasn't actually deficient, but there was some slight evidence that overweight vehicles may have continued to cross it. So, they closed it down.

After years of battles, it only took one national event to change the balance of power at the local level: government had won. No voices arose from bridge lovers in defense of their span. No, they simply rolled over in the face of the fear; they blinked. And with that, years of battle ended, and their bridge is gone.

It certainly appears that local governments used the timing of a national tragedy to pursue their goals. The closing of the bridge was now an issue of safety, and government always claims a monopoly on the ability to provide safety. And, more important, the majority of local citizens have come to agree with government on this.

OK, so this incident is not really a matter of negative rights, but it does show how even local governments take advantage of any situation, large or small. And how local residents willingly concede that government is security.

More to the point: in June of 2001, a local resident was arrested for possession of pipe bombs, assault rifles, etc. This individual and his fellow conspirators were bombing and shooting in the state park not seven miles from my home, in an outlying suburban area. The man had strong ties to national groups that advocate violence as a means to achieve political ends.

Even though there was strong evidence to believe that harm would result from the groups' activities, and given that this all occurred after Oklahoma City, it is hard to imagine today that the arrest was only considered minor local news. The Leviathan could not advance, not yet anyway.

A few years later, another local resident blustered about bombing a local mall. There was never any evidence that he possessed the wherewithal to execute his plans. Yet, post-9/11, this arrest achieved much greater attention. The Leviathan was allowed to advance because a majority of local residents have accepted — no, embraced — the belief that only government can provide safety in a crisis, and that safety is more valuable than liberty.

Finally, there are the debates over how much money is required by the various local governments to protect us in the event of a major natural disaster. Katrina has become the cry for more funding, because many believe that there can never be too much money spent on safety.

Given this, the city administrator rolls out the most fantastic scenario of catastrophe and emphatically states, "We have to be ready for this." Not to be outdone, the police and fire chiefs one-up the administrator and each other with scenarios bordering on the bizarre, claiming that "the city must be ready for these also." Then, in unison, council members and local media race to bring attention to the need for more government, and the local Leviathans smile.

Of course, money is the solution, and more is always needed. However, dare question them and they will scream, "Katrina, Katrina, Katrina!" The crisis drives it all.

So, we have a closed bridge, reduced liberty, and additional taxes. Yet, many claim that we are safer for all of this. But, are we safer, or is government safer? I venture to say that the local Leviathans are smug and more comfortable in our need for them. We, on the other hand, are in more danger than ever of losing the remnants of liberty that we still hold in our possession.

We must be vigilant with regard to the great Leviathan, as well as its local sons. They all exist solely to rob the liberty we hold dear.

Listserve Response

Response on another listserve regarding the belief that government can cure societal ills.

John,

Government schools are a well-established failure.

Two things:

1. Society doesn't fail anyone; nor does it possess the ability to problem-solve. Society is just the arbitrary aggregation that some -- such as yourself -- hide behind when they want others to act in a certain manner. There is no concrete construct that is society. There are, instead, people acting in their own interest within some geographic area. However, when those people act other than how you would like, you create society out of the ether, establish its failures, assign your true means and ends to government, and hope that coercion and compulsion bend individual wills to your liking. This is the same manner by which the free market is condemned and interventionist government -- the vaunted third way -- is promoted; a sophist ploy.

2. It is the height of arrogance to allude to your ability to judge failures and successes, and then propose changes. We all have our opinions, but do not begin to claim that you can judge the failures and successes of acting individuals, and then propose top-down, government solutions that will force-fix supposed ills. Really, John, you aren't that bright. No one is.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sheeple, plain and simple

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Columbus City Schools will begin "monitor(ing) preschoolers' weight and refer obese children to a weight-management program."

Amazingly, parents -- acting as sheeple -- hand their children over to the state-run school system -- acting as wolves -- without even a baa.

Long gone is the cry, "Don't Tread on Me!" It's been replaced by a faint, pathetic whimper of the masses before the state.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ron Paul Dispatch: Straight talk from a Texan

Straight talk from Ron Paul -- that's all you will get from the man.

Read the following article and then sign the petition at the bottom. Name another candidate who actively fights nonsense such as mandatory mental health screening for children. Go ahead, name one.

Act now. Bush is eager to sign this legislation. -- Jim



Ron Paul's
Texas Straight Talk
A Weekly Column
9/30/2007


Congressional Control of Health Care is Dangerous for Children

This week Congress is again grasping for more control over the health of American children with the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Parents who think federally subsidized health care might be a good idea should be careful what they wish for.

Despite political rhetoric about a War on Drugs, federally-funded programs result in far more teenage drug use than the most successful pill pusher on the playground. These pills are given out as a result of dubious universal mental health screening programs for school children, supposedly directed toward finding mental disorders or suicidal tendencies. The use of antipsychotic medication in children has increased fivefold between 1995 and 2002. More than 2.5 million children are now taking these medications, and many children are taking multiple drugs at one time.

With universal mental health screening being implemented in schools, pharmaceutical companies stand to increase their customer base even more, and many parents are rightfully concerned. Opponents of one such program called TeenScreen, claim it wrongly diagnoses children as much as 84% of the time, often incorrectly labeling them, resulting in the assigning of medications that can be very damaging. While we are still awaiting evidence that there are benefits to mental health screening programs, evidence that these drugs actually cause violent psychotic episodes is mounting.

Many parents have very valid concerns about the drugs to which a child labeled as “suicidal” or “depressed,” or even ADHD, could be subjected. Of further concern is the subjectivity of diagnosis of mental health disorders. The symptoms of ADHD are strikingly similar to indications that a child is gifted, and bored in an unchallenging classroom. In fact, these programs, and many of the syndromes they attempt to screen for, are highly questionable. Parents are wise to question them.

As it stands now, parental consent is required for these screening programs, but in some cases mere passive consent is legal. Passive consent is obtained when a parent receives a consent form and fails to object to the screening. In other words, failure to reply is considered affirmative consent. In fact, TeenScreen advocates incorporating their program into the curriculum as a way to by-pass any consent requirement. These universal, or mandatory, screening programs being called for by TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health should be resisted.

Consent must be express, written, voluntary and informed. Programs that refuse to give parents this amount of respect, should not receive federal funding. Moreover, parents should not be pressured into screening or drugging their children with the threat that not doing so constitutes child abuse or neglect. My bill, The Parental Consent Act of 2007 is aimed at stopping federal funding of these programs.

We don’t need a village, a bureaucrat, or the pharmaceutical industry raising our children. That’s what parents need to be doing.

The Parental Consent Act of 2007 can be found here:
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc110/h2387_ih.xml


1. Locate your own Congressman here http://www.house.gov/writerep/ and request that they co-sponsor HR 2387, The Parental Consent Act of 2007

2. Sign and forward this petition to everyone you know:
http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Romans 13

The final word. For now anyway ... -- Jim



Romans Chapter 13
by Chuck Baldwin

DIGG THIS
It seems that every time someone such as myself attempts to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to resist an unconstitutional or otherwise reprehensible government policy, we hear the retort, "What about Romans Chapter 13? We Christians must submit to government. Any government. Read your Bible, and leave me alone." Or words to that effect.

No doubt, some who use this argument are sincere. They are only repeating what they have heard their pastor and other religious leaders say. On the other hand, let's be honest enough to admit that some who use this argument are just plain lazy, apathetic, and indifferent. And Romans 13 is their escape from responsibility. I suspect this is the much larger group, by the way.

Nevertheless, for the benefit of those who are sincere (but obviously misinformed), let's briefly examine Romans Chapter 13. I quote Romans Chapter 13, verses 1 through 7, from the Authorized King James text:

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."