Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Government lies? I'm shocked!

From the blog at LewRockwell.com:

What? More Lies? I'm Shocked, Shocked!
Posted by Christopher Manion at April 17, 2008 09:02 AM

Remember when those poor Brits were captured in Iraqi waters last year, bringing Bush to the brink of war with Iran?

Well, it turns out they weren't Iraqi waters. The U.S. occupation force had changed the border between Iraq and Iran! Only -- and this exemplifies their crafty, twenty-first century strategic brilliance -- they didn't bother to tell Iran!

Of course, this blunder was kept secret for a year, and hats off to the London Times for its persistence -- the documents were released only after the Times lodged a Freedom of Information suit. The documents included this gem from Tony Blair's Defence Secretary -- who knew the whole thing was bogus a year ago! From April 13, 2007:

"[Top Secret] The exact coordinates to the Op Line have not been published to Iran."

"History will vindicate us," blurted Blair on one of his visits to Bush early in the war.

Tony, history is not vindicating you, it's convicting you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Cotton Swab: the new mark of the beast

According to the Associate Press, the feds "plans to begin collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency ... That would be a departure from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons."

And it's a departure from the ideals that founded this once-free nation.

Keep in mind that this nonsense only happens with our consent. Not the actual collection -- no consent is required, but the continued expansion and intrusion of government is done with our collectve consent. We have done it to ourselves.

Some trust in chariots1, I suppose.

note: Psalm 20:7

Friday, April 25, 2008

Social Justice: The Church subservant to the state

We've been down this devilish road before: The Church partners with government (the Church's embrace of public education in the 19th and early 20th centuries comes to mind) as a means to right some perceived social injustice. In the end, government is strengthened, and the Church weakened. Why?

Simple. Those who direct their faith toward government quickly lose sight of God -- the Old Testament is replete with examples.

First the Church says that it will partner with government to solve some perceived social ill. As government becomes the agent of change -- the solution, the Church forgets that, only with God, are all things possible.

Over time, these Christians become a little more statist, and a little less Christian. In the end, Christ is replaced by the state in hearts and minds.

Using coercive taxation as the means to do God's work is an insult to God. God doesn't need plunder to do His bidding. And, he certainly does not want offerings to be coerced. God wants to win hearts, not elections.

Theft at the ballot box is still theft. Coveting your neighbors wealth as a means to run some program is not of God. And, placing your faith in the state is nothing less than worship of an idol.

The social justice movement is not of God. No, it is of the world; of man and state. And, nothing good can come of it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Leed: a ticket to a greener career

A recent post of mine over at the Blog at Mises.org.

LEED: a ticket to a greener career

Government green included, of course.

Can you answer the following questions correctly (take a guess if you like, I did)?

1. Which two of the following are considered sources of potable water in LEED? (Choose two.)
A. irrigation wells
B. captured rain water
C. municipal water system
D. municipally supplied reclaimed waste water

2. For a 200-occupant, all-residential condominium, the architect's plan indicates the use of bicycle racks that hold 10 bicycles inside the parking structure. What must the architect do to comply with SS Credit 4.2, Alternative Transportation: Bicycle Storage & Changing Rooms?
A. replace the bicycle racks with bicycle lockers
B. increase the number of bicycle racks to hold 30 bicycles
C. provide two shower/changing rooms in the parking structure, one for each gender
D. confirm that the bicycle storage location is within 200 yards of the building entrance

(correct answers are: 1 = A,C; 2 = B) (source: Green Building Certification Institute)

If you answered both correctly, you are well on your way to LEED accreditation and likely first dibs on a green career.

Here's how Wikipedia defines LEED: The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

According to the USGBC (a corporatist entity), "Accredited Professionals (LEED APs) have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles and the LEED Rating System."

I suspect that at some point, LEED accreditation will be required for all professionals working on building projects -- certainly for government projects anyway.

The city school district of Columbus, Ohio, recently adopted the LEED standards. Sure, going green is expensive -- adding almost 10% to the cost of a building, but according to Columbus schools facilities executive Carole Olshavsky,"That's an insignificant cost if you look beyond the immediate building. If you look at the global impact, that's negligible."

Yes, simply wave away short-term costs with the promise of a global benefit.

Hey, if you can identify potable water and count bike racks, this gig is yours!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Teacher's Socialist Rag

Our socialist friends over the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development embrace ever effort to collectivism our once-free nation. As you read the excerpt from ASCD's Educational Leadership (below), keep in mind that the title of the organization and magazine imply that the goal is education and curriculum. Hardly!

What We Can Do (from Whose Problem is Poverty)

It's a canard that educators advocating socioeconomic reforms wish to postpone school improvement until we have created an impractical economic utopia. Another canard is the idea that it's impractical to narrow socioeconomic inequalities, so school reform is the only reasonable lever. Modest social and economic reforms, well within our political reach, could have a palpable effect on student achievement. For example, we could

  • Ensure good pediatric and dental care for all students, in school-based clinics.
  • Expand existing low-income housing subsidy programs to reduce families' involuntary mobility.
  • Provide higher-quality early childhood care so that low-income children are not parked before televisions while their parents are working.
  • Increase the earned income tax credit, the minimum wage, and collective bargaining rights so that families of low-wage workers are less stressed.
  • Promote mixed-income housing development in suburbs and in gentrifying cities to give more low-income students the benefits of integrated educations in neighborhood schools.
  • Fund after-school programs so that inner-city children spend fewer nonschool hours in dangerous environments and, instead, develop their cultural, artistic, organizational, and athletic potential.

I say, "Just teach reading, writing, and math. And, teach it right!"

Note for you Olentangy folks: The district implements just about every program that is highlighted in Educational Leadership.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Albert Jay Nock

From today's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Money does not pay for anything, never has, never will. It is an economic axiom as old as the hills that goods and services can be paid for only with good and services.
— Albert Jay Nock, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man [1943]

Friday, April 18, 2008

What if Boxer Shrugged?

My latest post over at the Blog at Mises.org.

What if Boxer Shrugged?

Like Atlas holding the sky on his shoulders, our federal representatives hold the weight of the Earth and our future on theirs -- an awesome and sobering responsibility.

Imagine for a moment that you are Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee. In your omniscience, you recognize that "
Bush's new climate strategy (is) 'worse than doing nothing ... the height of irresponsibility.'" That is to say, you recognize that socialization of the means of production must happen now; you cannot afford a stroll down the meandering path of Bush's enlightened Fascism.

The end -- our end -- is near unless you act, and act now. How could you possibly sleep? Or find time to fund raise for that matter? Oh, the responsibilities of the selfless public servant.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A relative student shortage

The teacher shortage is an oft-played tune, yet it appears that we are suffering from a student shortage. What? According to the Education Intellegence Agency (EIA), the number of teachers continues to grow faster than the number of students.

Teacher shortage? Huh!

From EIA:
Public School Workforce Swells While Enrollment Growth Flattens. America loves its public school teachers. So much so that it continues to hire legions of them while growth in the number of students continues to peter out. An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures shows that while K-12 enrollment grew only 2.45% between 2001 and 2006, the K-12 teacher force grew by 5.71% over the same period.

State level figures further illustrate the phenomenon. Twenty-five states had fewer K-12 students in 2006 than in 2001. Of these, 14 (Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont), had more K-12 teachers in 2006 than in 2001.

Even in states with significant spikes in enrollment, teacher hiring is keeping pace – and often greatly exceeding – that growth. Nine states (Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Texas) experienced double-digit growth in the K-12 teacher workforce from 2001 to 2006.

Per-pupil spending continues its steady upward spiral, with an increase of more than 25% (unadjusted) in the same five-year period. Spending on compensation tracked closely with a 24.51% increase. Oregon is the only state that did not experience double-digit growth in spending over that time.

The full state-level table is available at
http://www.eiaonline.com/districts/USA06.pdf. District-level tables will be updated with the latest figures over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Feds vs. the Constitution

An excellent article from The Independent Institute.

The Feds vs. the Constitution

Today all branches of the United States government—legislative, executive, and judicial—disregard the Constitution in order to suit their political objectives and personal preferences, according to Charlotte Twight (Boise State University).

“Most members of Congress now reflexively claim the power to federalize at will almost any aspect of American life, the Constitution notwithstanding,” Twight writes in “Sovereign Impunity,” the cover article in the spring issue of The Independent Review.

Twight begins her analysis by examining four bills passed by Congress—the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, the alternative minimum tax, and REAL ID legislation—and argues that each was an unconstitutional expansion of the central government’s power at the expense of individual liberty. She then examines President George W. Bush’s unwillingness to veto unconstitutional bills and his controversial use of signing statements.

Lastly, Twight examines three cases in which a narrow majority of the Supreme Court has undermined the First Amendment (FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life), the Fifth Amendment (Kelo v. City of New London), and the Interstate Commerce Clause (Gonzales v. Raich).

Will the erosion of Constitutional checks on government power subside? Twight is not optimistic. “Most people identify with one of the two dominant political parties, neither of which now upholds the limits on national government power prescribed by the Constitution,” she concludes.

“Sovereign Impunity,” by Charlotte Twight (The Independent Review, Spring 2008)
“Limited Government: Ave Atque Vale,” by Charlotte Twight (The Independent Review, Spring 2006)
More by Charlotte Twight
Spring 2008 issue of our quarterly journal, The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy
Special Internet subscription offer—6 issues for the price of 4! (Scroll to bottom.)
Become an Independent Institute Associate Member and receive new Institute publications FREE.

Tom Dooher: 2008 Education Minnesota RC

It's all about the pension and health care. No, it's about the kids. No, wait, it's about more money and higher salaries. Nope. It's about the kids.

Or, it's using the kids to get a bigger piece of the tax pie. Yep. That's it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A modest proposal for the next superintendent

Here's a modest proposal for the next Olentangy superintendent:
  1. Negotiate modest union contracts
  2. Negotiate reasonable healthcare increases
  3. Return to staffing ratios from 2000
  4. Introduce zero-based budgeting
  5. Institute real academic reforms (rid the district of Everyday Math, etc.)

Pretty modest stuff, and very reasonable.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Real Pain in the Neck

A recent post of mine over at the Blog at Mises.org.

A Real Pain in the Neck

My congressman, Pat Tiberi (R-OH), is a generous man, always on the lookout for ways to expand the realm of the federal government into ever aspect of life. He feels for his constituents -- like a lord tending to his serfs. However, tears in private settings do not deliver votes. So, in order to keep his seat of power, my lord pronounces his big heart and big initiatives on posts throughout his land. To that end, Tiberi sends out a regular email to his constituents.

In the latest version of Tiberi's Capitol Notebook, our hero notes that, during a recent audience with one of his serfs, he learned about the trials and tribulation of those suffering chronic pain. Since a man of action does not sit idle, Tiberi researched the issue and soon found two other lords who also have serfs in the same predicament. Luckily, these masters were a little ahead of the issue, having co-introduced the National Pain Care Policy Act to "address the lack of education, access to care and research surrounding chronic pain." Relief is just around the corner.

According to Tiberi:

The bill would authorize the Institute of Medicine to conduct a special conference on pain care, establish a permanent authorization for the pain consortium at the National Institutes of Health, create a grant program for pain care management and education, and direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to implement a pain management public awareness campaign. Right now, the bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health.

Missing from this solution is any help for the serf whose pain started this whole mess. Missing is any recognition that government committees and panels, whether blues ribbon or otherwise, produce nothing; nothing save waste.

In the end, our serf will have to work a little longer and a little harder in order to pay for the increased misallocation of resources; resources that moved away from the entrepreneurs in the market to bureaucrats sitting in conference rooms, feasting on policies, regulations and catered meals.

That, my friends, is a real pain in the neck.

Sign of the Times

A local landscaping company has this motto: We show up. That is a poignant statement of the times, I suppose.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Davis and Parting Gifts (a revisit)

The gifts: Salary increases, extended contracts, and the big news: 6.5% annuities that Davis appears to have slipped into administrator contracts without notifying the board.1

Salary increases and extended contracts. It appears that Davis gave his friends a nice parting gift. And, it appears that he forced the new superintendent to keep Friends of Davis for an extended period. You see, it would have been helpful to the new superintendent if administrator contracts was short term. This would have allowed the new superintendent the opportunity to evaluate his staff and decide which FOD are worth keeping -- if any. But, we can't have FOD on the chopping block, can we.

The annuities is a real piece of work. To change the language of employee contracts without notifying the board is unethical at best. And, to expect board members to vote on contracts without having the opportunity to read them is simply wrong. But, this is all par for the Davis tenure.

At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader, board member Smith rightly called the superintendent into question. Of course, the bobbleheads sitting in the other board seats simply nodded when cued by with Davis.


1. In public at least, but who really knows what went on behind closed doors. All it took was a little nudge nudge, wink wink, and the Monty Python troupe -- the Olentangy board -- knee-jerked its approval for any Davis idea.

Thumbing Their Noses at the Law: some folks have no shame

It certainly appears that Davis and the board have no respect for the public's right to know, and no respect for the law. They have no common decency, but we knew that already.

Last evening, when "rogue" board member Jennifer Smith1 smartly called into question the board's actions regarding the hiring of a superintendent search firm, Davis and the other board members thumbed their collective nose at both the law and their public. A bold move to say the least, but a move that will haunt them.

So, now these morons back away from their power trip in order to orchestrate a reenactment worthy of a Moscow Show Trial. Yes, the board is now revisiting its decision to hire former superintendent Reimer and his search firm. Read the agenda for the meeting this Friday and note that Reimer's name is missing from the presentation. Even when this board and administration act in the light, they are still hide information from their public.2

Going in our favor is board member Smith. She has proven herself to be a true district watchdog. Sorry board and administration, with Smith on watch, you are going to be forced to play above board. No more funny business behind closed doors.


1. Yes, the power-drunk superintendent publicly called one of his employers, an elected board member, a "rogue." Such a comment is outrageous. Yet, it is symptomatic of the evil that is the Olentangy board of education and administration.

2. The OFK supporters know all about the funny business at the district, yet they never mentioned any of this to the OFK foot soldiers -- the ones who looked their neighbors in the eye and said that the district is doing a great job. Huh!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It gets even odder

Odd: Former superintendent Reimer -- under cover of Franklin County Educational Service Center -- is trying to get back on the payroll. Very interesting. Seems like the revolving door leads right back to the administration and the tax dole. I wonder how that vote went.

Odder: The agenda changed right before the meeting. The wording of Board Action Item B was amended from:
"Approve Scott M. Davis as a district volunteer effective April 14, 2008"
"Approve Scott M. Davis as a district volunteer effective April 14, 2008, to assist when necessary, as a consultant to the board in order to ensure continuity during the superintendent transition period."
Hmmm. Is the board so inept that it requires the former superintedent to hire the incoming superintendent? A very strange turn of events.

Question: Is Davis really Olentangy's Putin? Refusing to return power to the people -- the elected board. Some folks are truly drunk on power. Scary.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Davis and Parting Gifts

Just as Clinton held a going-away pardoning session, I suspect that Davis will hold a going-away gift-giving session tonight.

Folks, Here's your opportunity to attend a board meeting that is about giving; giving away your tax dollars. Something is in the air with regard to some of the contracts on the meeting agenda. And, I think that some FOD's (Friends of Davis) are going to receive a gift that keeps on giving.

Attend and watch for yourself.

Olentangy Local Schools Board of Education Meeting
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 ‐ 6:00 p.m.
Olentangy Administrative Offices
Board of Education Conference Room
I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
__________ __________ __________ __________ __________
S. Galloway D. McFerson T. Meider J. Smith J. Wagner‐Feasel
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Approve Agenda
V. Board President's Report
A. Approve a resolution recognizing Superintendent Dr. Scott M. Davis for his service to the district
VI. Board Action Item
A. Recognition of Scott M. Davis for his service to Olentangy Local Schools
VII. Superintendent's Report
VIII. Treasurer's Report
IX. Public Participation Session #1 ‐ For General Comments
X. Discussion Items
A. Revisions to Elementary, Middle School and High School 20 minutes
Student Handbooks for 2008‐09 Exhibits A‐1, 2, 3
Chris Heuser, Carla Baker, Mark Raiff
B. ESC Conversion 20 minutes
Scott Davis, Jenny Hooie, Becky Jenkins
C. Public Participation 15 minutes
Scott Galloway
XI. Public Participation Session #2 ‐ Regarding Action Items
XII. Board Action Item
A. Approve contract with Franklin County Educational Service Center (FCESC) for
superintendent search services at a cost of $1,500.00 plus expenses
B. Approve Scott M. Davis as a district volunteer effective April 14, 2008
XIII. Treasurer's Action Item
A. Approve resolution to issue bond anticipation notes Exhibit B
Page 2 of 4
XIV. Superintendent's Action Items
A. Specific Human Resource Items ‐ Certified Staff
1. Recommend administrative contract renewal to individuals listed on
the attached exhibit for the 2008‐09 school year Exhibit C
2. Recommend administrative contract extension to individuals listed on
the attached exhibit for the 2008‐09 school year Exhibit D
3. Award administrative contract to individuals listed on the attached exhibit
for the 2008‐09 school year, pending successful background checks and
receipt of necessary documentation Exhibit E
4. Award administrative stipend to the following individual for the assumption of
additional duties at Olentangy Orange Middle School as needed:
Beck, Cathy L., Olentangy Orange Middle School, Athletic Director, effective
April 9, 2008, at $35.95 per day
5. Approve automatic non‐renewal of certified contracts pursuant to Articles 25
and 53 of the Negotiated Agreement, and all other non‐renewals Exhibit F
6. Approve renewal of certified contract for individuals listed on the attached
exhibit for the 2008‐09 school year Exhibit G
7. Approve additional certified teacher period/preparation compensation to
individuals listed on the attached exhibit for the 2007‐08 school year, as
required by Article 32 of the Negotiated Agreement Exhibit H
8. Approve medical leave of absence for the following individual for the 2007‐08
school year:
Brady, Elizabeth P., Olentangy Shanahan Middle School, Intervention Specialist,
effective April 7, 2008
9. Accept, with regret, the following certified resignations for the 2008‐09 school year:
Davis, Maggie A., Oak Creek Elementary School, Grade 1, effective at the end of
the 2007‐08 school year
Giusto, John C., Olentangy Liberty Middle School, Grade 8, effective at the end of
the 2007‐08 school year
Sass, Amanda L., Olentangy Liberty Middle School, Grade 8, effective at the end
of the 2007‐08 school year
Sorrells, Lori L., Olentangy High School, English, effective at the end of the 2007‐08
school year
10. Accept, with regret, the following certified resignations for the 2008‐09 school year,
for the purpose of retirement:
Ash, Della E., Wyandot Run Elementary School, Grade 3, effective at the end of the
2007‐08 school year
Tarpy, Elizabeth H., Arrowhead Elementary School, Grade 5, effective at the end
of the 2007‐08 school year
11. Approve supplemental contract for individuals listed on the attached exhibit
for the 2007‐08 school year, pending successful background checks and
receipt of necessary documentation Exhibit I
Page 3 of 4
XIV. Superintendent's Action Items
A. Specific Human Resource Items ‐ Certified Staff, continued
12. Approve pupil activity supervisor contract for individuals listed on the attached
exhibit for the 2007‐08 school year, pending successful background checks
and receipt of necessary documentation Exhibit J
13. Approve modification of previously accepted retirement, for the purpose of
retirement, for James Wightman for the 2008‐09 school year, revised effective
date October 13, 2008
B. Specific Human Resource Items ‐ Classified Staff
1. Award continuing contract to the following non‐teaching employee for the 2008‐09
school year:
Curtin, Marcia M., Aide
2. Award classified contract as listed below for the 2007‐08 school year, pending
successful background check and receipt of necessary documentation:
Damko, Jean E., Walnut Creek Elementary, Playground Aide
3. Award classified contracts as listed below for the 2008‐09 school year, pending
successful background check and receipt of necessary documentation
CMF Department:
Bashant, Lauren I., Shanahan Middle School, Custodian, 2nd shift
Mangrum, Troy D., Liberty Tree Elementary, Custodian, 2nd shift
Reese, Judy A., Olentangy High School, Lead Custodian
Richardson, Donald G., Oak Creek Elementary, Lead Custodian
Pupil Services Department/Clerks:
Campbell, Deborah Shufelt, Kathryn
Cannon, Theresa A. Smith, Lisa L.
Constantino, Dilys Valentine, Bonnie
Dove, Luann M. Walters, Ann T.
Rack, Elaine K. Wright, Cheryl T.
4. Accept, with regret, classified resignations for the 2007‐08 school year:
Fouts, Buffany D., Transportation, Driver, effective March 19, 2008
Heller, Linda M., Indian Springs Elementary, cafeteria aide,
effective March 10, 2008
Skeens, Sherry M., Transportation, Driver, effective March 19, 2008
5. Approve classified substitute workers as listed for 2007‐08 school year,
pending successful background checks and receipt of necessary
Allen, James W., Driver
Bando III, Narciso D., Custodian
Forney, Charlotte K., Custodian
Loy II, Jimmie D., Custodian
Scheetz, Jennifer V., Secretary/Aide
Stansberry, Tracy A., Custodian
Page 4 of 4
XIV. Superintendent's Action Items
C. Approve revisions to Elementary, Middle School and High School student
handbooks for 2008‐2009 Exhibits A‐1, 2, 3
D. Approve purchase of lawn equipment for Orange High School from Baker Vehicle Systems
in the amount of $62,310.75.
E. Approve purchase of replacement vehicles from Germain Ford of Columbus, LLC in the
amount of $122,849.40.
F. Approve purchase of equipment for maintenance department from Bobcat Company in
the amount of $82,230.00.
G. Approve purchase of telephone switch for Orange High School from Netarx, Inc. in the
amount of $78,806.35.
H. Approve purchase of music equipment for Orange High School from The Loft Violin Shop
in the amount of $15,000.00.
I. Approve purchase of music equipment for Orange High School from Wenger Corporation
in the amount of $19,800.00.
J. Approve purchase of music equipment for Orange High School from Piano Warehouse in
the amount of $31,240.00.
K. Accept bids and approve purchase of band room equipment for Orange High School from
National Educational Music Company in the amount of $91,950.00.
L. Accept bids and approve purchase of band room equipment for Orange High School from
Music & Arts in the amount of $47,354.45.
M. Approve Subdivider Agreement and Right‐of‐Way Easement with Del‐Co Water Company,
Inc. for Elementary #13.
N. Approve purchase of band uniforms for Orange High School from Fred J. Miller Company in
the amount of $33,025.00.
O. Approve purchase of football uniforms for Orange High School from Roush Sporting Goods
in the amount of $47,009.92.
P. Approve purchase of lawn equipment from Voss Brothers in the amount of $25,047.28 for
Orange High School.
Q. Approve pupil activity supervisor contract for the following individual for the 2007‐08 school
year, pending successful background checks and receipt of necessarydocumentation:
Feasel, John J., Olentangy Shanahan Middle School, Spring Season, Girls Head Lacrosse
Coach, Group 6, Step 0 at $2,047.00
Executive Session
Motion by _______________________, seconded by _____________________, to enter into executive
session at _____ ( ). m. to discuss the employment of public employees and prepare for collective
bargaining with employees.
The board reentered open session at _____ ( ). m.
XV. Adjournment

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Market: turning waste into a resource

Latest post of mine over at the Blog at Mises.org.

The Market: turning waste into a resource

It's the market that turns waste into a resource, not government-mandated recycling.

According to TwinCities.com:

Jimmy Robbins II of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont said it's gotten to the point where wood shavings, which are popular with horse farms, are worth more than the lumber.

"We use every part of the tree. Everything is consumed," Robbins said. "It's become so valuable you can't afford to not sell everything."
Oh, and it's the market that enforces conservation of value, whether the item is gold or sawdust.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Academics under Davis

A blog reader asked about the academic performance of the district under Davis. One thing to note is that, as far as I can tell, the board never discussed academics while Davis was superintendent, save the annual CIP review. That is a huge departure from the previous superintendent.

Of course, you can blame this issue -- and, most other issues -- on a board that has no backbone. Davis runs the show. To wit: He is noted in the paper as having selected a short list of replacements. Folks, government in the US is not supposed to be a fiefdom, where the king picks his successor.

Back to academics. I haven't seen any improvements. The last I saw, the district is ranked in the 90's. So, Davis took a district ranked top 15 -- or better -- in demographics and produced results well below expectations. To be fair, Reimer did no better. But, at least he was paid much less.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Balancing the books, Olentangy style

Balancing the books, Olentangy style: starring Ma and Pa Kettle

With the budget process in full swing, it's time for a classic short: Ma and Pa Kettle starring as district administrators in Balancing the books, Olentangy style.

Let me set the scene:

While district administrators excitedly present their new budget, the board (off camera) furiously takes note, all the while beaming with pride. Somewhere in the audience, a Wendy's bag crinkles.

In the very next scene, board president Galloway leans toward the microphone, heart racing, "Folks, what we have here," voice rising, "is a presentation for the annual Ohio School Boards Association conference. We're goin' to Columbus."

Meider, shaking, asks, "Does this mean another celebration?"

Galloway smiles, "It sure does. Break out the balloons and start printin' the awards."

McFerson laughs, "Yes, oh yes. Awards all around!"

Galloway, turning to the press, half winks and clarifies, "Oh, and remember, Galloway has 2 L's."

Standing, Galloway clears his throat and begins, "For I'm a jolly good fellow, for I'm a jolly good fellow ... "

Feasel nods to the audience, baton on hand, and signals the OFK chorus to pick up the tune ("For he's a jolly good fellow").

The meeting room becomes a ruckus. Camera fades. Scene ends.

And you wonder how a three year-old law got missed during one of these district working sessions.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Income of the next superintendent: the bidding is about to start

OK, why wait? Let's start the bidding now ...

The next Olentangy superintendent's income will be ______?

I'll start. $240K, since we just have to have a superintendent more expensive ... er, more experienced ... than our Dublin neighbors.

I bet the board is just giddy, beside its collective self, dancing and singing, "We're getting a new superintendent, we're getting a new superintendent, ..." Not because they want to see Davis leave, but because now they get to spend more tax dollars on a newer model. Kids in a toy store, spending their gift money.

note: Income includes base, annuities, bonuses, etc.

Wise words from FFF

From today's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

[I]t was artfully contrived by Augustus that, in the enjoyment of plenty, the Romans should lose the memory of freedom.
— Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [1776]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

When the workers become management

This post of mine is almost two years old, but it is timely given the current union negotiations.

When the workers become management

You just have to love it: The contract talks between the Ohio Education Association and its professional staffers appear to have stalled. Could a strike be imminent?

"What," you say, "one union suing another? How could that be possible?"

Picture this situation: A union which constantly complains about wages and working conditions being struck by another union over similar issues? What happened to the worker’s paradise and the evils of management?

The OEA and Ohio Professional Staff Union have an acrimonious history with law suits, strikes, and grievances marring what should be a marriage of worker bliss. It appears that scarcity is even recognized by unions when it’s their bottom line taking the hit.

Regardless of who wins or loses, this is quite an enjoyable situation. I hope that public educators make this into a real teaching moment. Each union seeks to enrich itself at the expense of all others; other unions included. Fair wages, huh!

Ludwig von Mises was correct, union logic collapses whenever and wherever the divergent views of individual unions are confronted by the realities we all face everyday. One can only dream that these negotiations end up as the next reality show.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

At least some folks didn't forget April Fools' Day

I would have forgotten that today was April Fools' Day save for a few misguided readers of this blog. Here's my favorite comment from an April Fool:
Jim, you want to ignore the fact that there are market forces in government because it doesn't fit your political ideology.
"[T]here are market forces in government ..." You just have to love that one. This April Fool must still be working his way through either Das Kapital or the latest rants and raves from the favorite socialist writer of the NY Times, Paul Krugman.

There are political forces in government -- just recall the levy campaign. But, there are no market forces.

Consider this: Private teachers get about one half of the salary of government teachers.

Or, consider this: No district is willing to hire a teacher with 25 years experience and credit all 25 years on their salary schedule. Why? There is neither a market nor value for such an employee since no measurable performance improvements occur after five years of teaching. None. Yet, their salaries continue to rise.

That's right, wages rise even after performance plateaus. The reason? Politics.

The correct statement is: There are political forces in government. The concepts of market and politics are not tautologies -- they are not substitutable. That is, unless, of course, you spend your days dreaming of the coming workers' utopia.

And, on this April Fools' Day, a few readers are deep in a Soma-induced sleep. Dream well!

Is Christian Social Justice Christian?

Of course not. But, I'll let Laurence M. Vance explain.

The Myth of the Just Price
Laurence M. Vance

But here is Robert L. White, a Christian, in Biblical Economics: Economic Myths versus Biblical Values, published just a couple of years ago:

The working of the market economy over the last 20 years has resulted in increasing inequalities, persistent poverty, chronic unemployment, and more persons without health insurance.[49]
These increasing inequalities are "far beyond what could be considered fair and just according to historical standards."[50]White holds master's degrees in economics and divinity, and has worked as both a pastor and an economist. He was actually one of those 4,800 government economists I mentioned previously. I hope that White's Gospel preaching was more biblical
than his economic pronouncements. Here is some more of White's "biblical economics":

If some have too much and others have too little, the answer from the Bible is that nobody should have too much and nobody should have too little. Everyone should have enough.[51]
There is enough to go around so long as each of us takes only what each person needs.[52]
The concept of fairness is that people are obligated to give back in proportion to what they have received.[53]
Social justice requires that a just society be characterized by a continual improvement in the prospects of the least advantaged.[54]
There is no theoretical or empirical reason to expect all of society's economic objectives to be met systematically by the market. In other words, justice, equity, and fairness cannot be assumed to occur automatically, and therefore need to be intentional goals and objectives in the realm of public policy.[55]
According to White, the free-market economy is an "idol."[56] There is a cultural war waging "between the prevailing 'free-market' ideology and biblical values."[57] Today's "prevailing economic ideology" promotes "greed and consumerism over the common good."[58] The lesson we are supposed to receive from Jesus' feeding of the multitudes is that "if bread is broken and shared, there will be enough for all."[59] Because he believes that "the rich have been getting richer and the poor poorer,"[60] White deplores reductions in tax rates.[61] He rightly decries increased defense spending, but only because it diverts the funding of social programs.[62] He favors national health care and environmentalism.[63] He is also very concerned about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.[64] In short, he rejects laissez-faire in favor of government intervention.

White, of course, is not alone. When noted Christian economist Donald Hay proposed eight biblical principles relating to contemporary economic life, he not only specifically excluded private property rights,[65] he also stated that "the government should not hesitate to use the traditional tax and transfer mechanisms to ensure that those without the means to acquire the basic necessities of life are provided for."[66] But White is typical. His trinity is the state, the earth, and social justice. He is a statist through and through.

read the whole article here.