Friday, May 30, 2008

Olentangy School Board: A proposed policy

As long as the district is adding policies, here's one that is a must:

WHEREAS, as a public school district, Olentangy Local Schools is a entity of state government; and,

WHEREAS, state law requires school board members to conform to state-mandated ethical behaviour; and,

WHEREAS, school board members must not lead other elected officials astray of state ethics laws;

THEREFORE, be it resolved by the board that school board members, whether acting in their private or public capacities, will not pay to take the Ohio governor on golf outings or to hockey games, activities prohibited by state law and common sense.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tax Farmers

Burton Folsom, Jr., details the origin of farm subsidies in America in his article, The Origin of American Farm Subsidies.[1] Like a lot of government programs, it's easy to assume that farm subsidies have been with us from the day of the signing in Philadelphia during the summer of 1776. In actuality, farm subsidies have a relatively short history.

Folsom notes that President Coolidge fought one of the first subsidy programs with the words, "Such action would establish bureaucracy on such a scale as to dominate not only the economic life but the moral, social, and political future of our people."

This wise warning was ignored by the nation's next two presidents, Hoover and Roosevelt. And, exactly as Coolidge pronounced, farm aid subsidies were the beginning of our long, wretched history of redistributing wealth to those who can grab hold of the politician's elbow.

Some of us are taxpayers while others are tax recipients. Ludwig von Mises long ago describe the real class structure of modern society: Two classes exist, those who pay the taxes, and those who receive them.

This
link takes you to some of the biggest welfare recipients -- er, tax recipients -- of my county, Delaware County, Ohio. With a few clicks you can find similar data for your county or state.

Some of the farmers receiving federal subsidies have such a tough life. Imagine getting close to $100,000 per year from the federal government, almost $1 million over the last ten years. Not a bad way to make a living.


We keep paying and they keep cashing.

Go to the
Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Farm Subsidy Database to learn more.[2]

And, when given the opportunity, thank those who farm tax dollars for a living.


note:

[1]This article was published by
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in their monthly magazine, The Freeman.

[2] While I do not subscribe to the politics of EWG, they have a wealth of data to mine.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Behind Closed Doors: The emergency action!

Oops ... I forgot to mention that the new board policy (see previous post) was adopted via an emergency action -- the policy was adopted after one reading with NO opportunity for community input. The board is quickly circling the wagons? Why?

From Tuesday's board agenda:


XII. Board's Action Items
A. Approve resolution, under the authority of Board Policy File #1081‐Suspension of Policies, to suspend Board policy, File #1080‐Policy Adoption, in order to take an emergency action to adopt a new board policy concerning the safety and security of executive session

Behind Closed Doors: What are they hiding?

Isn't it ironic that the Olentangy school board adopts the policy below soon after being called to task for violating Ohio sunshine laws? What are they hiding behind closed doors? Certainly not sunshine!

Note: You just have to love the repeated use of the phrase "confidentiality is necessary to the proper conduct" of government business. Proper conduct is what's been missing at board meetings

From Tuesday's board agenda:

Resolution to Adopt Policy
Presented for Board of Education Approval May 27, 2008


WHEREAS, Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22(G) authorizes the Board of Education to go into executive session to discuss certain matters that are confidential by law, or when confidentiality is necessary to the proper conduct of the Board’s business; and

WHEREAS, Ohio Revised Code Section 102.03(B) provides that no public official shall disclose or use, without appropriate authorization, any information acquired in the course of the official’s duties that is confidential by law, or when confidentiality is necessary to the proper conduct of government business; and

WHEREAS, the Board desires to act in furtherance of these laws and the public policy supporting these laws, and for the proper conduct of its business; and

WHEREAS, the Board also desires to allow family members and other persons to reach Board members in the event of an emergency;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Board hereby adopts the following policy:

File: 1072.1

SAFETY AND SECURITY OF EXECUTIVE SESSION

Board members shall not take any electronic communication devices into an executive session entered into for any reason authorized and/or required by the Sunshine Law. “Electronic communication device” shall include, without limitation, any audio or video recording device, cell phone, BlackBerry®, personal data assistant, pager or other two-way communication instrument. A medical device, such as a hearing aid, used solely for the purpose of amplifying sound, shall not be considered an “electronic communication device.”

Except as otherwise expressly provided in this policy, Board members shall leave all electronic communication devices and all personal effects or accessories that could be used to conceal such devices, such as brief cases, purses, backpacks, book bags and overcoats, in the secure possession of the treasurer or designee before entering into executive session.

The treasurer or designee will monitor the electronic communication devices in his or her secure possession during executive session. In the event of an emergency communication, the treasurer or designee will interrupt the executive session to notify the Board member receiving the communication. The Board member shall be excused from executive session to attend to the emergency communication. A Board member who does not wish to have his or her electronic communication devices monitored while the Board is in executive session shall express this intent to the treasurer in writing, and the intent will be honored unless and until it is revoked by a subsequent written notice.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Guns and Property

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










Guns and Property



An apparent clash of rights is being debated in Ohio. Senate Bill 184 extends (inter alia) the right to possess loaded firearms, including the right to possess firearms despite the objections of (say) a landlord.

Do these two rights stand in opposition? No. The only real right being debated is the right of property. And, the right of the landlord to own and control his property supercedes any secondary property right, such as the right to possess a firearm.

Those who claim that the right to bear arms extends beyond their property have no understanding of the rights their guns protect.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fascism, Tiberi style

US Rep Pat Tiberi is tauting a plan that would have put Mussolini to shame. According to Tiberi and his fellow Republicans in DC, the state and industry must conjoin in order to solve the supposed energy crisis.

This ambitious plan was brazenly lifted from Italy of the 1920's and 30's, with Tiberi functioning as Ohio's Giovanni Gentile.


When did the Republicans drop the individual for the collective?

To think, if it wasn't for the voices of those like US Sen Robert Taft -- aka Mr. Republican -- the US would have continued down FDR's fascist path in the 1930's and 40's -- the very same path that Tiberi believes will solve our economic woes and lead to Tiberian Utopia.

Hey, Tiberi, the problem is folks like you; those whose ambitions and plans exceed their abilities. Read Mises's Socialism or Omnipotent Government, or Hayek's Fatal Conceit.

Time changes things. And now it's the Republicans with the big plans for big government.

From Tiberi's most-recent constituent email:

Dear Friend,

Today was the 15th consecutive day that the average price of gas per gallon set a record high. During the coming holiday weekend, I know many of you are changing your normal Memorial Day weekend plans, just like you’re changing your normal routines to pay for filling up the tank so you can drive to work or drop your children off at school.

When Democrat Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House gas was $2.33 and now nearly 16 months later, paying $4 for a gallon appears to be coming. While it may seem we’re playing the “blame game,” the truth is the rising price of gas is not a Republican issue it’s not a Democrat issue, it is an American issue because it’s affecting every single family across the country regardless of their political ideology. The thing is, in the House the Democrats are in the Majority and they control the bills that are brought to the Floor for a vote. As gas prices are causing rising prices at the grocery store and around every corner, the time for leadership is now.

I have voted in favor of increased gas mileage standards, I have voted for suspending deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, I have voted for alternative energy incentives, I have voted to give the U.S. the ability to investigate OPEC nations for alleged price fixing, and I have voted for the federal gas tax holiday. But it will take more. We have a production deficit in this country. The bottom line is among many approaches like those above, we also need to increase the production of energy to see a real dollars and cents difference in gas prices. Below is a plan outlined by House Republicans this week to do just that and I’d like to share it with you.

This plan is not set in stone. We’ll all have to give a little – gas producers and conservationists, Republicans and Democrats – to get to a real solution. But I am committed to increasing energy production, whether that is the production of biofuels or gasoline, I know the status quo, is unacceptable. I hope as we move into the summer the Majority will allow us to debate elements of this plan so we can transition to a 21st century energy plan.

Sincerely,

Pat Tiberi
Ohio’s 12th Congressional District



Courtesy of the Republican Conference:

The Change America Deserves: Lower Energy Prices

When it comes to energy production, while our global competitors are pursuing 21st Century technologies, America is stuck in the 1970s. On electricity production alone, for example, just to keep up with new demand, by 2030, the United States must build 747 NEW coal plants, 52 NEW nuclear plants, 2,000 NEW hydroelectric generators, and add 13,000 NEW megawatts of renewable power. The dire need to increase domestic oil and gas production is no different. Yet, the Democratic Majority refuses to lead.

Republicans are committed to a comprehensive energy reform policy that will increase the supply of American-made energy, improve energy efficiency, and encourage investment in groundbreaking research in advanced alternative and renewable energy technologies. With 21st Century technologies and the strictest standards in the world, America can and must produce more of our own energy right here at home and protect our environment at the same time. That’s the change America deserves.

How Republican Solutions Will Fix It:

The Change America Deserves: Meeting Our Energy Needs with American Made Energy



The comprehensive House Republican plan will fund research and development of technologies and innovations which advance the use of renewable and domestically available energy sources, increase energy efficiency, and ease the environmental impacts of energy use.


1) Increasing the Production of American-Made Energy in an Environmentally-Safe Way
a. Support actions that reduce America’s dependence on energy from unstable foreign governments and dictatorships by increasing environmentally-safe production of oil and natural gas in areas such as the arctic coastal plain and in deep ocean energy resources; and
b. Promote unconventional fuels such as coal-to-liquids technology and recovering our vast oil shale reserves by:
Increasing access for environmentally responsible development of conventional and unconventional domestic oil and natural gas production;
Providing coal-to-liquids financing and tax incentives;
Advancing the commercialization of the nation's two trillion barrel shale oil resource, 80 percent of which occurs on government-owned land in the West. This is enough to supply America's energy needs for over two centuries.
2) Promoting New, Clean, and Reliable Sources of Energy

a. Encourage more production of environmentally-safe energy to increase the use of our vast domestic supply, reduce emissions, and keep coal-dependent communities strong; and
b. Expand emissions-free nuclear power, including long term nuclear waste storage solutions and recycling spent fuel by:
Providing production and investment tax credits for all new base-load electricity projects such as advanced nuclear power and clean coal; and
Providing production and investment tax credits for all new base-load electricity projects such as advanced nuclear power and clean coal; and
Allowing immediate expensing for new renewable or zero emission power.
3) Cutting Red Tape and Increase the Supply of American-Made Fuel and Energy

a. Expedite permitting for enhanced oil recovery projects, including CO2 delivery and injection, as well as permitting for new refining capacity;

b. Improve environmental review and permitting to encourage the deployment of technologies which increase the efficiency of existing power plants; and

c. End ill-advised policies that have led to the proliferation of unique gasoline and diesel fuel formulations known as “boutique fuels,” which have fragmented our motor fuels distribution system, choked off supply, and exacerbated the already-painful Pelosi Premium.

4) Encouraging Greater Energy Efficiency by Offering Conservation Tax Incentives

a. Support technologies to help increase energy efficiency in all sectors of the American economy, including removing bureaucratic regulatory barriers that prevent businesses from upgrading their facilities with newer, more efficient energy technologies, by:

Making home energy efficiency upgrades tax deductable;
Providing incentives for home builders and homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient;
Offering investment expensing for industrial and commercial building efficiency upgrades;
Extending the residential and business solar and fuel cell investment tax credits, with enhancements to the residential solar credit ($2,000 per ½ kw installed);
Extending the fiber-optic distributed sunlight investment tax credit; and
Increasing the energy efficiency of government-owned buildings.

Westerville and Pickerington to join the Commonwealth of Independent States

That's right, both cities are proudly pushing income tax increases that will be paid by a minority of residents. What a perversion of democracy!

Shame on the officials pushing these taxes. And, should they pass, shame on the residents for using the ballot box to enslave their neighbors.

Time for these two cities to secede the US and join the CIS. Their comrades await them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guns, Guns, Guns

The NRA is looking to change Ohio's gun laws. I have only one issue with the proposed law: the provision that allows tenants to keep firearms against the wishes of the landlord. The second amendment does not supercede the right to property. So, if a landlord says no guns, then no guns. Property rights must always come first.

Time to talk to my wife

The feds are saying that inflation is low but my wife keeps saying that things are getting more expensive every day. Who should I believe? Hmmm.

For those economists out there, inflation is the creation of new money and credit. We know that the FED is increasing the money supply, so we know that we are suffering inflation.

What most folks call inflation is a general rise in the price of consumer goods and services. This is the result of the ever-increasing supply of money; money used to fund the war and a sundry list of wasteful programs, especially the evil programs that transfer wealth -- the Marxian aspect of our current political environment.

Of course my wife is right. And, of course, the feds are wrong, deceitful and wrong. Prices are rising regardless of what the feds models,
hedonic adjustments, indexes, etc., say.

Ohio's Keynesian Revolution

Bad ideas never die, they are simply recycled and repackaged.

Turning their backs on the supply-side economics of Reagan, the Ohio Republicans at the statehouse have embraced the ideals of the FDR Democrats; the Republicans are now trying to spend their way out of recession.

First off, these folks are spending our money on programs that benefit special interests. Not you or me, but those who lobby and contribute to campaigns. That's how government works.

To justify their largess, the Republicans claim that the extra $1.57 billion will create 57,000 jobs over the next five years. Now, it is possible that the spending scheme will create 57,000 jobs, but the Austrian School of economics has shown that at least 57,001 jobs will be lost over the very same period.

Government interventions in the market never create or improve, they simply switch, distort, and enervate.

Taxes exert a huge burden on a rustbelt state, discouraging firms from moving here. Yet, the boneheads at the state -- and in the Republican Party -- believe in taxing and spending.

Keep in mind that government interventions distort economies, always. When the state provides fund for certain programs, investment occurs within those areas. Once government funding stops, those very same areas suffer job loses. This is true because government never spends in areas that are productive. Why? If those areas had any chance of being productive, the areas would have attracted private investment. That's how markets work.

To believe otherwise is to believe that the folks at the statehouse can predict the markets better than the entrepreneur and invester; sort of like believing in the Chimera.

This is why programs, once started, tend to continue: Government fears the "recession" in the sectors distorted by previous government interventions. There is no other way to explain the amount of money wasted on "research" at OSU. The state fears having to lay-off all those researchers who produce nothing of any real value.

In the end, Republicans are now Democrats, taxing and spending. I must have missed the sign that said, "Entering the rabbit hole."

Olentangy School Board: Time for an ethics investigation

Thanks to OVN reporter Matt Gerish, the investigative legwork is already done. Simply copy and paste his article in an email to the Ohio Ethics Commission, follow up with a phone call, and the process takes over.

It's time this nonsense stopped.

Please note: This in not the first time that board member McFerson has been linked to questionable activities, but this instance stands out since the smoking gun is printed in the newspaper. The attorney mentioned in the article is Greg Scott from Scott, Scriven, and Wayhoff, the same law firm that provided the bogus "opinion" regarding the district's ability to close schools if the levy had failed.

They're all coming home to roost.

By the way, how are the district's knee-jerk supporters -- OFK, this blog's resident district apologists (Stan, etc.), and the other bobbleheads -- going to explain this one away.


Superintendent candidates named; process in question
Discussions among board members behind closed doors show a desire to hide the candidates and the process from the public.
By MATT GERISH
Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 10:36 PM EDT


Five candidates have been selected as finalists in the search for a new Olentangy superintendent -- but questions remain about the process used to find them.

School boards in search of new administrators often turn to outside sources such as the Ohio School Boards Association or regional educational service centers for help.

The Olentangy school board was asked to vote April 8 to approve the Educational Service Center of Franklin County as the search firm to find the district a new superintendent.

During that meeting, board member Jennifer Smith raised concerns that the board violated Ohio's Sunshine Laws by allowing the center to give a presentation to the board behind closed doors about the services it would provide in locating the district's next superintendent.

Ohio's Open Meeting Act and Public Records Act are commonly referred to as the Sunshine Laws.
The statutory laws are based on the idea of openness in government and the right of public access to records, meetings and activities of government.

Public bodies are allowed to meet behind closed doors in what are referred to as executive sessions for only very specific purposes.

Smith suggested the center's presentation didn't qualify.Board President Scott Galloway said later that the district's legal counsel reviewed the issue, but it was unclear whether a violation had occurred.

The school board brought the center back April 11 to give the presentation before the public.

Smith gave the lone dissenting vote to approve a contract with the center for $1,500 plus expenses to find the next superintendent.

Smith said the board had not done its due diligence by considering only the Educational Service Center of Franklin County for the job.

An outline distributed at the closed-door meeting and obtained by the Olentangy Valley News shows that the Educational Service Center of Franklin County was all but approved a month before the board actually voted and that it may have been chosen in hopes of selecting a candidate as quickly as possible while keeping the process out of the public eye.

Board Vice President Dimon McFerson handed out the draft outline to board members regarding the search process during a March 18 executive session.

McFerson and Galloway are acting as the sole board liaisons for the superintendent search firm and were responsible for selecting the five finalists last week.

During the March 18 closed-door meeting, McFerson said the board should consider the Educational Service Center of Franklin County, which employs former Olentangy Superintendent Bill Reimer.

In the outline, McFerson said it wouldn't be necessary to put the process out for bid because the search for a superintendent is "all about who you know and have contact with."

McFerson said Reimer and the Educational Service Center of Franklin County already know the top candidates in the state.

McFerson's suggested process was to have Reimer bring the five best candidates to the board.

"All of these will be working somewhere and will have to be talked into applying. (Reimer) knows a great deal about them because he has probably talked to them in the last few months," McFerson wrote.

"We just might get lucky and find the person we want using this quick process and not have to spend the bigger dollars to do the longer regular process," he wrote. "If we proceed this way and fill the job, there may be some in the superintendent ranks that complain they didn't get a fair shake. So be it."

McFerson and the Educational Service Center of Franklin County both have said the top candidates already have jobs and won't want anyone to know they're interested moving to Olentangy.

In McFerson's outline, he said the right search firm would be able to hide the candidates and the process from the public and the press.

"We want the search firm to keep all paperwork. They can be protected from Freedom of Information Act requests. Our lawyer will explain how this works," McFerson wrote. "We will need to give a few interviews along the way but they will be general in nature. Absolute confidentiality must be maintained throughout the process. If leaks occur, top candidates often remove their names or deny they are interested if cornered."

Discussion regarding the search for a new superintendent continued April 1, when the Educational Service Center of Franklin County met with the board for a presentation in a closed session.

On April 8, McFerson defended the board's actions after Smith suggested it broke the law.

"I'd just like to publicly state that in my view there was no violation whatsoever of the Sunshine Laws. We talked in a global sense about the process we would put in place for the hiring of the superintendent. It's a most elaborate, delicate issue," McFerson said. "I did not violate any Sunshine Laws, nor do I believe any of my colleagues violated Sunshine Laws."

Smith later said that if the board were talking only in a "global sense," then it wouldn't warrant talking behind closed doors.

On Friday, May 16, the district announced five candidates had been selected for interviews with the board. All five candidates come from Ohio. They are:

*Valerie Browning, superintendent of Greenview Local Schools in Jamestown;
*Davis Estrop, superintendent of Lakewood City Schools;
*Todd Hoadley, superintendent of Olmsted Falls City Schools in Olmsted Falls;
* Scot Preble, superintendent of Granville Exempted Village Schools; and
* John Richard, superintendent of Perry Schools in Massillon.

The five candidates were chosen by Galloway and McFerson after they spent May 15 looking through all the applications.

The board will begin interviews of the candidates Thursday, May 22 and hopes to have a new superintendent hired by mid-June.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama: the über socialist

Obama is over-the-top, the über socialist. Yet, more and more Americans want government to control their neighbors. And, these folks are willing to exchange their Liberty in order to reduce their neighbors' Liberty (similar to pathology that Ludwig von Mises termed the Fourier Complex). I'll never understand it.

Over at LewRockwell.com






May 18, 2008
Drudge picks up on Obama's dietary edict
Posted by James Ostrowski at May 18, 2008 09:16 PM
Drudge has linked to the hitherto obscure story about Obama's apparent plan to regulate our daily caloric consumption. It's in red letters.
HT Jim Brownfield

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Public Goods of Tatum O'Neal

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


The Public Goods of Tatum O'Neal

By Jim Fedako
Originally posted on 11/24/2007
[
Subscribe or Tell Others]


I recently finished reading A Paper Life, the autobiography of the movie star Tatum O’Neal. I know, in a time of the ever-growing Leviathan, such a diversion is pure Hollywood puffery. However, tidbits of insight can be found in such a book, as seemingly inconsequential stories shed light on the fallacies of government.

As is well known, Tatum was born into a Hollywood family, destined to be a star. Though she received an Academy Award, money, and fame, she faced many personal hardships. While these hardships make her life interesting and worth retelling, they are not the reason for this article. Instead, I want to focus on one minor aspect of her life: Tatum is a high school dropout.

A high school dropout?!? Indeed, although that revelation is only significant in its insignificance. Let’s see why.

Education is defined as a public good. There is the technical definition of a public good – a good that is nonexcludable, nonrivalrous, subject to free riders, and, hence, only produced through government action – as well as the popular definition – any good where the benefits accrue to the arbitrary aggregation called society. Since the Austrian school has shown that no good can satisfy the former definition, we will set it aside. For the rest of this article, we will focus on the latter definition, as this is the one continually hammered into the minds of public school students and repeated ad nauseam by government agents, the mainstream media, and most economists.

The collectivists love to produce studies that purport to show that government programs are an investment. State-sponsored studies always show that coerced tax dollars invested in public education produce a positive return for society, as well as for the collectivists’ partner-in-crime: government. Raise your taxes today in order to fund failing public schools and the net result will be an improved economy and reduced government expenditures over the long haul. Or, at least that is the storyline.

The inverse is also assumed true. Reductions in taxation, while leading to reduced current government expenditures, greatly increases long-term societal costs, viz., reduced productivity, more crime, etc. In addition, whenever a child drops out of school before the state-mandated years of schooling, he or she becomes a drag on both the economy and society. So, based on this logical syllogism, Tatum O’Neal is now a cost that society must bear.

But, I’ve checked my accounts and have found nothing wanting. And, as evidenced by my willingness to exchange my scarce time for her story, Tatum has added to my life. In my world, she is a benefit and not a cost.

However, that is not the way the collectivists think. They assume that anyone who lives outside their ideals is a burden, and they have the equations, models, and studies to prove it. Though, based on my actions, they are wrong. And, based on my beliefs, they are evil.

My children are educated at home, learning that creationism is truth. Uh, oh, I can almost hear hairs bristling as many collectivists read that statement.[1] They will claim that my children’s understanding of the world will lead to the fall of science and civilization. My instruction is a loss to society, so government must step in. However, I’m not denying gravity or molecular structures; I am only teaching a strongly held belief of mine in an area of science that will always be subject to debate.[2]

However, I am instructing my children on the a priori truths of praxeology. They are learning that government cannot arrange society and direct its path in any manner that does not lead to socialism and slavery. They are learning that praxeology is nonrefutable; it is truth. This, I assume, is even more offensive to the collectivists than creationism. So be it.

The natural sciences are never to be taken as truth since future knowledge can quickly overturn current paradigms.[3] That is understood but never accepted by many collectivists.[4] It’s not enough to mandate years of education, the collectivists also want to mandate the outcome – they desire to indoctrinate. And, they do not care about the institution of family, as family gets in the way of the new order and the new socialist man.

Sure, at some level, most education is indoctrination. Even the a priori truths can be manipulated by those pursuing an agenda of state control – manipulated but never refuted. Because of education as indoctrination, it is the role of the parent to choose the education they desire for their children, regardless of whether it is my children’s homeschooling or Tatum’s no-schooling.

A centralized system of education always leads to an homogenized understanding of the world. With no one able to challenge the status quo, no advancement in science or understanding can occur. That is a true statement – always. If the market place of ideas is substituted for the approved ideas of the governing class, only the ideas of the statists will become education. All other ideas will be declared, by governmental decree, subversive to the collective ends. Those ideas will be banned as treasonous.

The movement of public education is always in the direction of greater centralized control over ideas and outcomes. Since public education is government education, it has to follow the same trajectory as government itself. That has to be so. Therefore, based on the majority’s desire for more interventions, beneficial debate and exchanges of ideas will be banned and the state will assume authority over the mind. This state of affairs is certainly not good for the public, nor is it a public good.

So, believing that society is worse off due to the paths chosen by Tatum and me is to believe that society has a right to intervene, with government its agent of action.

The next time someone places a government program on the balance, claiming that today’s expenditures will yield returns in the future, rebuke them. Rebuke them for robbing you at both ends of the candle. The collectivists desire to steal your tax dollars today in order to make certain that no more autobiographies such as A Paper Life are written tomorrow.

That Tatum is a dropout, only earning a GED later in life, is no debit to my account. That my children are learning creationism at home is no debit to anyone else’s account – excluding, of course, the collectivists who desire full compliance with their ends. Tatum and I are simply two individuals acting in our own best interests. As long as we agree that Liberty and Property are to be protected, with neither of us pursuing government control as our ends, our means are of little consequence. And, in fact, based on the division of labor, our means will support each other’s ends.

What a wonderful way to organize society.


Notes:

[1] Of course, not all collectivists are evolutionist, nor are all libertarians creationists. And, many evolutionists and creationist have looked to government as the means to squash the other side’s views. However, since the current government curriculum includes evolution, I am simply singling out the collectivists who stand with government on the forced instruction of this topic.

[2] Not that teaching gravity and molecules as fiction would change the logic and require government intervention.

[3] Other than the a priori sciences

[4] See [1] above.

Jim Fedako, a homeschooling father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, maintains a blog:
Anti-Positivist. Send him mail. See his archive.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Payday Lending, RIP

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









Payday Lending, RIP

Ohio has effectively shut the door on payday lending. The state legislature -- a bunch of nanny do-gooders -- recognized the seen: the closing of 1,600 payday stores and the loss of some 6,000 jobs. But these same folks missed the unseen: the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars invested in these businesses; with investment losses to be suffered by many unknown Ohioans.

Of course, these losses are bound to ripple through Ohio's rust belt economy, creating unpredictable effects.

These types of state interventions in the market reduce future investment in capital. An investor has to consider the consumer, the market, and the state. Of those three, the state has become the most volatile, the greatest unkown.

Payday lending is gone in Ohio. Current and future Investors in the state will have to wonder if the whims of the legislature have finally trumped property rights in the Buckeye State, with the state willing and able to alter ownership and control of property with the stroke of a pen.

Is Ohio any different from the troubled countries to our south? I am no longer certain that it isn't.





Sunday, May 18, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Who funds Olentangy for Kids?

I commented a while back about the fact that district vendors and suppliers helped finance the OFK campaign. "John" took issue with that statement, claiming that vendor or supplier money did not fund the campaign; the money was raised by residents and local businesses that supported the levy.

Well, here's the actual breakdown of the $59,490 raised by OFK (as filed by OFK with the county board of elections):

  • 32% -- Vendors and suppliers
  • 16% -- District union and staff members
  • 25% -- Developers
  • 19% -- McConnell family
  • 8% -- Community members

Hmmm ... See any conflict of interest with the first three listed above?

73% of the campaign funded by those with a financial stake in the outcome.

Comments "John?"

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ohio State Senator Harris: the face of the new Republican Party

Gone is Reagan; a forgotten memory in the halls of the Republican Party. Oh, sure, the photos of Ronnie still hang on the walls, but any hint of conservatism is a dusty relic, locked in the dusty attic of the Progressive Right.

In Ohio the Republican Party -- under the leadership of senate president Bill Harris -- lead the charge to close payday lenders. In doing so, any vestige of individualism and property rights, and the Grand Old Party, gave way to the new Nanny Do-Gooder Party.

Harris and his fellow Republicans prove the old adage that the only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is ten years. That's right, Harris is the 2008 face of the ideals that were the Democratic Party of the 1990's.

It's time that the Republicans drop Progressive ideology and return to classical liberalism. Let the Democrats hold onto the belief that, through government, society can be perfected, leading to the socialists' dreamed utopia.

Harris and fellow Republicans believe that they know best. They want to decide the rules that govern all trade and commerce between willing individuals. Arrogance? You bet! Deluded? Absolutely!

Of course, WE, allow them to continue their road to our serfdom. And, we cheer them on. A sad state of affairs.

A nation founded on "Don't Tread On Me!" reduced to children seeking the warmth of the state, in all matters, private and public.

As long as WE allow Harris and the state to usurp our Liberties, they more they will take. WE have failed our ancestors. WE have failed our Founding Fathers and our Patriots!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

America's Siberia

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











America's Siberia
by Jim Fedako


It appears that the Appalachians are about to move again. Earthquakes? Shifts in tectonic plates? Not this time. Instead, the movement will be the result of an even more damaging force: congressional legislation.

As a young buck growing up in Pittsburgh, I enjoyed riding my bike through the hills and valleys of the Appalachian Plateau of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Today, residing in Central Ohio, the Appalachians are far from my horizon. However, not to fear, while I can no longer open my front door to rides in the Appalachians, the feds are slowly, and graciously, bringing the Appalachians back to me.

A new bill introduced and passed in the House includes the addition of four more Ohio counties to the Appalachian Region. Though geologists may growl at the addition of glaciated plateaus and till plains to the region associated with rounded mountains and deep river valleys, classifications of rock formations and topography have no impact on those intent on redistributing money to likely voters in the next election.

On a recent camping trip to Kentucky, I was able to once again experience the wonders of the road network that crisscrosses the northern portion of that state. The sites and sights are fantastic, as is the surface of almost every road I traveled. For a cyclist, the road condition is a key factor in the enjoyment of a ride, yet there wasn't a single Pittsburgh-sized pothole to be found within these impoverished mining and timber sections of Kentucky. Smooth and safe roads beckoned at every intersection. And this got me thinking.

The book, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia in the Cold, details the failure of centralized planning to encourage economic growth in the hinterlands. For years, Russia has been trying to settle the wilds of its frozen tundra. First, the tsars encouraged population movements, then the Soviets commanded it. The result today is cities crumbling in Siberia, far removed from population centers and markets.

As these cities age, Russia is burdened by their very existence. A solution under a system of interventionism does not exist. And, an authoritarian government cannot simply let its masses exit the tundra and find their own productive places to live and work; places likely within the already burdened population centers of Moscow, etc.

We look at such a system – centrally planned cities that are inefficient and unprofitable, and far removed from centers of commerce – as vestiges of the Evil Empire. Yet, the US does the very same despite knowledge of Ludwig von Mises’s clear refutation of the ability of central planners to achieve anything greater than general starvation.

Russia suffers due to the cost of supporting the residents of cities that are not efficiently located. At the same time, the US suffers due to redistributive measures that support residents in regions that no longer provide jobs. In both cases, residents remain in areas that are unproductive while the rest of their respective nations suffer due to the redistribution of wealth from economically productive regions to economically unproductive regions.

As noted above, the US House is looking to make matters worse by proposing an increase in the area receiving tax-funded support. So the Appalachians move farther west in Ohio, possibly encompassing counties that are near tabletop flat; counties where the unemployment rate is not much different from the state or national average. Not only are these proposed counties non-mountainous, they are productive, with an ample supply of jobs.

Of course, counties that are designated as Appalachian by the feds receive loads of federal dollars. For the local politicians, being designated Appalachian is a cash cow. Federal appropriations include dollars earmarked for rural poverty assistance. Whether it’s the smooth asphalt on roads that have little residential or commercial traffic, or the war-on-poverty-type programs such as federal support for education, counties benefit from being declared rural and impoverished. And the politicians – local, state, and federal – benefit at the polls by being the providers of this fattened pork.

Yet, the Appalachian Region is impoverish because high-paying jobs do not exist there. So, instead of having acting individuals move to areas of economic prosperity, the feds attempt to chain rural residents to areas where the golden years have long gone.

You hear the politicians claim that the infrastructure needs to be improved, and then jobs will follow. This is similar to the pronouncements coming from the Soviet planners of yore. However, both claims are fallacious and without merit. Building a new school and paving additional roads in the Appalachian regions will not encourage businesses to relocate anymore than doing the same in Siberia resulted in profitable enterprises.

Business owners – entrepreneurs – are not fooled by the plaintive tales spun by the vote-hungry class. Businesses locate in areas that the owners deem most profitable. The lure of paved roads, new schools, and government support programs, are not enough to counteract (say) the physical distance to market.

In addition, by extending the Appalachian region to the already profitable glaciated plateaus and till plains, the feds will lock even more voters into lives of tax dependency. Federal dollars will be spent by local and state politicians in a manner not too different from the Soviet planners; local infrastructure will be increased where it is not needed, and support programs will be created or expanded.

Sure, in the short-run, some rural residents will benefit by being employed in these governmental works-projects. But these very same residents will be unemployed once the projects or programs go belly-up or lose federal funding. The cycle of poverty will continue.

As harsh as it sounds, the only way to improve the lives of rural residents in the Appalachian region is to remove government support. Let these folks face the true cost of their decisions. Some will accept reduced lifestyles and remain to enjoy the natural features of these still-wild regions, while others will migrate to areas where they can attain higher-paying jobs. Either way, acting individuals will demonstrate their preferences within a market environment. And, US taxpayers will not have to continue funding what has become America’s Siberia.

Jim Fedako, a former professional cyclist who lives in Lewis Center, OH, is a homeschooling father of five and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Mother's Day Gift from the State

Mothers of Ohio, here you go. Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray is using your tax dollars to provide you with the gift you desired all along. Though, for some reason, you couldn't recognize that desire -- a breakdown of Thymology I suppose.

Regardless, here it is. Enjoy. Cordray knew you would.

Thankfully, my mother lives in Florida and is unaware of Cordray trumping my measly gift. Well, at least I paid for mine.

Hey, wait a minute, I paid for both!


May 8, 2008

Gift to Ohio Moms: Tools for Financial Security


Columbus, Ohio

As Ohio families recognize Mother's Day this weekend, Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray is trying something new to encourage those moms in their quest for financial security.

The Treasurer's office will make available online its newly-revised Women & Money 2008 Workbook, from Saturday, May 10 through Saturday, May 17. The workbook contains information on a wide variety of personal finance topics and is used as part of the office's annual Women & Money free financial workshops held during the summer. The Workbook is usually distributed only at the workshops.

The most recent statistics from the Institute for Women's Policy Research indicate that female senior citizens in Ohio are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as their male counterparts. Women of all ages in Ohio are earning about 75 cents for every dollar which men earn, while more than a quarter of the state's households with children are headed by women.

"Women in Ohio are working hard, and raising families... many times, as the sole head of their household," said Treasurer Cordray. "Every bit of financial information they can get will help them balance their needs and their resources. Many of the 3,000 women who attended our Women & Money workshops last year told us that the workbook they took home guided them and reminded them of the steps to take toward financial security. We are now making the newest updates to this educational information available before this year's workshops even begin, in hope of sparking broader resolve to increase our financial knowledge."

The 280-page Women & Money 2008 Workbook has twelve sections covering the following topics: Budgeting, Credit & Debt, Elder Care, Entrepreneurship, Estate Planning, Home Ownership, Identity Theft, Insurance, Investments, Kids & Money, Retirement Planning, and Supportive Financial Attitudes. The Workbook (and each section, which can be downloaded individually) is available for free download during the week of Mother's Day. A gift card option will be available for Web site visitors to send, for those who wish to offer a link to the Workbook as a Mother's Day gift. The workbook and other information can be found at
http://www.yourmoneynowonline.org/.

The Workbook will also be distributed to attendees of Treasurer Cordray's 2008 Women & Money workshops. These free conferences will be held between May 5 and July 14 in the following Ohio cities: Dayton, Youngstown, Cincinnati, St. Clairsville, Toledo, Lima, McArthur, Columbus, Akron, and Cleveland.

To learn more about the Women & Money workshops, or to sign up for one in your area, call 1-800-228-1102 or visit
http://www.yourmoneynowonline.org/.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Brookings Institute: the apologists of collectivist interventions.

The Brookings Institute is one of the apologist think tanks advocating collectivist interventions. The proof: The call to collective action and the claim of collective benefits. Sure, it's subtle, but the siren song of so-called social benefits is the standard reason for government intervention in the US. And, it's the driver of our general movement toward socialism.

Call an end a public good, claim a social benefit, and theft via government is justified; it's considered ethical. In fact, it's considered unethical for government NOT to plunder wealth in order to produce the so-called public good.

We have moved from the ideals of freedom that founded this nation. We have allowed property to be subsumed by society, as well as it's apparatus of coercion and compulsion: government.

It is up to each one of us to continue to point out theft that occurs in the name of society. Theft is theft, no matter who receives the plundered wealth.

-- Jim



Brookings
Sunday May 11, 2008

Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance: A Simple Way to Reduce Driving-Related Harms and Increase Equity
Transportation, Climate Change, Regulation, U.S. Economy, Environment
Jason E. Bordoff, Policy Director, The Hamilton Project Pascal J. Noel, Policy Analyst, The Hamilton Project

The Brookings Institution

April 17, 2008 — This draft is subject to revision. The completed paper will be released at an event about infrastructure policy sponsored by The Hamilton Project to be held on July 17, 2008 at The Brookings Institution.

Overview

If you are like most Americans, you eat too much when you dine at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Now imagine that Americans paid for gasoline on an “all-you-can-eat” basis—paying a set fee each year for as much as they use. People would invariably drive more since there would be little cost to doing so. The idea may seem absurd, but that is how auto insurance is priced today. Drivers who are similar in all respects –age, gender, driving record –pay roughly the same premiums whether they drive 5,000 or 50,000 miles per year, even though the likelihood of being involved in a collision increases with each mile driven. (Some firms do offer a modest discount for driving below a certain number of miles, but even that is based on a self-reported estimate.) And just as people consume more when they do not bear the cost of the extra food, so too do they drive more when they do not bear the cost of the additional miles driven. The increased driving that results imposes significant costs on society: more traffic accidents, increased congestion, decreased air quality, growing greenhouse gas emissions, and deepening dependence on oil. The current system is also inequitable, as low mileage drivers (particularly low-income people and women) subsidize the accident costs of high mileage drivers.

A better approach is simple and obvious: pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) auto insurance. With PAYD, insurance premiums would be priced per mile driven. Pricing insurance per mile is more equitable, as low-mileage drivers would no longer subsidize high-mileage drivers. And with insurance costs that vary with miles driven, people would be able to save money by reducing their driving, thereby decreasing driving-related externalities like carbon emissions and congestion. PAYD is a simple and pragmatic reform. Moreover, it is more politically feasible than alternatives like a gas tax because PAYD does not increase the cost of driving in the aggregate; it saves money for those who drive less than average, shifting the cost to those who drive more, and thus are responsible for more driving-related harm. And since geography is already a key risk factor in pricing insurance, those in rural areas where people drive more will not be disproportionately impacted because their premiums will be determined relative to how many miles the average driver in their area drives.

With insurance costs that vary with miles driven, we estimate that drivers nationwide would reduce miles traveled by an average of 8 percent. To put that in perspective, it would take a one dollar increase in the gas tax to achieve an equivalent reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). An 8 percent reduction in VMT would yield social benefits of $51.5 billion, largely from reduced congestion and accidents. It would reduce carbon emissions by roughly 126 million tons per year, which equals 8.4 percent of the carbon emitted by cars and trucks. And PAYD can achieve these gains while actually reducing the cost of driving for most drivers. Roughly two-thirds of households would enjoy reduced premiums under PAYD, and the average savings for those two-thirds of households would be $270 per car per year, equal to 28 percent of the average annual U.S. car insurance premium
.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom or government?

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









Mom or government?

It's tornado season here in Ohio.

This afternoon as a few funnel clouds were forming miles from my house, I received a call from my mother living in Florida. Seems she was not about to wait for her son to make his yearly Mother's Day call as she had urgent news. CNN and other news outlets were reporting funnel clouds and tornados in central Ohio, with my county noted as a likely target. This was sometime before 2:00. I turned on the TV and hit the web for detailed updates. Luckily, the storms passed overhead without even a significant touchdown.

With the menace long gone, I received another phone call; an automated call from the county 911 department notifying me of the tornado warning. This was 2:25, with the warning to expire at 2:30. And, more importantly, with the storms no longer in the county or even a threat to adjoining counties.

Then I learned that Franklin County -- just to my south -- also had a delayed tornado warning because "Franklin County EMA deputy director Jim Leonard said the communications room is not manned during weekends and holidays, but there are two people on-call at all times."

Do I complain to management? No way. Those folks are looking for complaints as a means to justify additional funding. Do I keep my mother happy? You bet! Her warning was neither delayed nor costly.

Remember mom, and not just on Mother's Day.

President George W. Bush's Inaugural Address


The inaugural address that would spark the return to Liberty. Short of Ron Paul, don't hold your breath.

note: voice-over by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, philosopher extraordinaire.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Delaware County tax dollars at work

The stated goal of the Delaware-Union ESC: Our goal is to provide each student with a safe learning environment that enhances self-esteem and strengthens academic and social skills. (Funny, golf isn't listed here)1

The wonderful results below are the product of your tax dollars.2 The issue is not just the quality of work, it's the subject matter and the language used.


Self-esteem?!? What a bunch of nonsense!


From Our Way: Alternative Education


Forever: By Judy Blume

By a student from Delaware Hayes H.S.

The book Forever by Judy Blume was about a teenage girl who fell in love. It talks about how the main character goes through losing her virginity, with all of the emotions and everything that has to come with this. After leaving for the summer for a job, she ends up developing feeling for another guy. After she tells her boyfriend about these feelings he ends up breaking up with her. Then she soon realizes that forever doesn’t always mean forever.

I thought this book sucked, for the fact that things don’t really happen like that, but the book did make a good point. A person may say forever and a someone may believe it. Forever doesn’t always mean forever. That’s the only point this book make.



Notes:

1. In reference to the issues with the current superintendent.

2. Olentangy residents support the Delaware-Union ESC

Friday, May 09, 2008

Ron Paul is #1

From the blog at LewRockwell.com:





Posted by Lew Rockwell at 05:12 PM

Ron's The Revolution: A Manifesto will be #1 on the May 18th New York Times bestseller list, to the cheers of every good libertarian and conservative, and to the snarls of every bad guy. How sweet it is.





A comic that says it all

This is the truth! -- Jim


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hooie tells a lie

According to interim superintendent Jenny Hooie (as quoted in ThisWeek Olentangy), "The spirit and focus of these negotiations was about students and about how our work can be better aligned to help students academically."

Great spin, but not an once of truth.

I've read the contract, it's all about the union and the teachers.

All for the kids?!? That's just a bunch of Hooie!

More wise words from FFF

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Wednesday, May 7, 2008 A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation, in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.
— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty [1859

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Olentangy Schools: burning taxes at both ends of the negotiation table

The tentative negotiated agreement for teachers includes this little nugget: Taxpayers are now responsible for funding 12 additional days of paid leave for union officials. So, we -- the taxpayers -- pay for folks at both ends of the negotiation table. Amazing.

On top of that, the union president get three additional free periods per day. So, we -- the taxpayers once more -- pay to have the union president walk the halls inciting nonsense. Doubly amazing.

Hey, Olentangy for Kids. Did you mention this to your neighbors during the campaign?

All about the kids? Read the contract and see who it's really about.

note: Of course, the administration gets its goodies too.

It's all about the kids! Yeh, right!

Our socialist friends over at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development are all about the kids. Yeh, right.

Here's the pull-out quote: Through whole-school planning, collaboration, ongoing staff development and monitoring of interventions, your school too can change, can grow, can "consciously give children good experiences."

Good experiences, but no education. The whole child movement is nonsense, though it fits into the current worldview of the educationists-- education is not about learning, it's about feel-good indoctrination. Whether it's the Spanish teacher instructing kids to forge legal documents when not watching R-rated movies, or the English teacher leading children into lives of moral decadence, formal education is a relic.

Olentangy folks, when you hear a superintendent candidate go on about the "whole child," turn and walk away. The last thing this district needs is another leader tapped into the nonsense that is the ASCD and Progressive education.


We've been there, done that, with nothing to show.

From ASCD:

It's All About the Children

Can you imagine schools that did not consider the needs of their students? Could you believe in a school that just plodded along doing the same old thing, accepting the same old low achievement from children in poverty, children of diverse backgrounds, or children of immigrants or migrants? Would you want your child to go to a school based on power, coercion, control, and punishment? Instead, let's imagine a school that actually communicates with both students and parents, a school where teachers are not frustrated, a school whose entire staff consider themselves both leaders and collaborators, a school where adults care for the students--and work to ensure their success in life.

Yale University's Dr. James Comer, the renowned founder of the School Develop
ment Program and a commissioner of ASCD's Whole Child Initiative, emphasized the importance of caring adults in the life of all children, particularly children who might not make it in a more tradional (sic) setting. But he also explained that school transformation is a framework, not a model. Through whole-school planning, collaboration, ongoing staff development and monitoring of interventions, your school too can change, can grow, can "consciously give children good experiences."

Comer spoke of his own childhood, when all the adults in his community, though impoverished, were "locked in a conspiracy to raise him up!" Do adults in your school community have such a conspiracy?
Note: It helps that a large number of teachers and administrators are not subject-matter experts. These folks have no knowledge to impart on future generation so they revert to the lazy, feel-good nonsense that is progressive education. And, for whatever reason, parents are oftentimes lead astray by teachers and administrators sounding the ASCD party line.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Republican Hypocrisy

U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) is now claiming to be a fiscal conservative. Funny, he continually votes for more government spending. In fact, he even uses his constituent email (latest one below) to congratulate himself on his contributions to bigger government and greater spending. Pure hypocrisy.
TIBERI MARKS TAX FREEDOM DAY, SUPPORTS MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS
Day Marks When Average American Works Off Their Tax Obligation

U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) today recognized Tax Freedom Day, the day the average American pays off their tax obligation and begins to actually spend their salary rather than send it to the government.

“This year’s tax obligation represents a little more than 30 percent of our annual income. That’s actually a little less than last year, because of the Economic Stimulus Payment, many taxpayers will receive beginning next month,” said Congressman Tiberi, a member of the Ways and Means Committee that oversees tax policy. “It’s unconscionable to think that while Americans work more than a third of the year, just so they can pay taxes to the government, the Democrats are planning on imposing the largest tax hike in history, increasing tax bills by an average of two thousand dollars! I believe people know how to better spend their money than the federal government does, and I believe we should be returning more of it to taxpayers’ wallets.”

The Tax Foundation calculates Tax Freedom Day by dividing the government tally of taxes collected each year by the income earned each year. The Foundation then converts that percentage into days worked. For more information, go to
The TaxFoundation.org.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed


What a great movie.

Of note: It is very interesting and enlightening to listen to Richard Dawkins -- current chief atheist -- as he puts forth his ideas on the ultimate beginning.

Dawkins comes across as both arrogant and foolish. His arguments have no teeth.

Go see the movie for yourself.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Drew Carey and Reason.tv - Battle of the Bacon Dogs

Consider this: The recipient of our Declaration of Independence -- the king -- had nothing our local do-gooders. Gone is the cry, "Don't Tread on Me!"