Friday, January 30, 2009

Wanna bet?

Gov. Strickland spoke on Wednesday, delivering his mandate from on high. The centerpiece is his vision of the state and the family; his Education Plan. In essence, Strickland believes that the state must raise its children (not your children anymore) as the state sees fit.

The Republican-controlled Senate is not going to put up a fight. Why? The Republicans also believe that the state has first claim to its children.

And, in a Hegelian dialectic, parents will quickly embrace the state as the true caregiver, having first claim to all children in Ohio.

So the state will force students to attend 20 more days of school; 20 more days of socialist indoctrination. In addition, the state will force students to perform service projects in the name of the state (Youtube Nazi Germany to get a sense of where this is going). Finally, the state will remove children from their parents at a younger age (mandatory all-day kindergarten).

Wanna bet that the Republican Senate accepts this plan?

Wanna bet that parents quickly embrace the state in its more intrusive role? (The Faustian bargain of the state as caregiver versus the struggles of parenthood will be negotiated -- by all parties -- in favor of the state).

Wanna bet that the taxpayers roll over and gladly fund this nonsense?

Any takers?


note: To Christian readers: Christian writer Doug Phillips likes to ask this question (paraphrased), 'Do you really believe that it's God's plan to have His children raised in the Canaanite schools?'

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Julie Feasel Flips and Flops

School board president Julie Feasel is loose with her figures and the truth. From observations over these last few weeks, it is now clear that she had no idea of the actual cost of Wade's contract prior to voting on it -- not a clue. It is also clear that we are getting another superintendent who can play the super majority of the board.

We now know that the administration and board lied to the community. Not once, but at least twice.

If it wasn't for board member Smith, Wade, the administration, and Feasel and the super majority would all be snickering -- Wade because he outplayed the board, the adminstration because they have a superintendent who will run the show, and Feasel and the super majority because they always enjoy sticking it to the taxpayer.


From Jen Smith:

Members of the Media,

At last evening's board meeting, Board President Julie Wagner Feasel cited a figure of $261,223 (not inclusive of moving cost, house settlement payment or vacation sell-back costs) as the total compensation of Wade Lucas' first full contract year. This is clearly much different than the $196,225 figure that she cited before voting on the contract on January 20th.

What is startling is that four school board members voted on a contract having no idea what the cost of that contract was- a cost of nearly $1.4 Million. To vote on a
contract with no regard for the cost of that contract, is blatant disregard for
taxpayer money -- the money which funds our school district -- and a failure of
their fiduciary duty to represent Olentangy residents. Board members should be good stewards of public funds, and the first step of that is to know the cost of board action being taken.

The new figure of $261,223 was announced by Feasel in response to a public participant, Patrick Grubbe, who spoke during public participation and asked to see district calculations of the superintendent contract costs. Feasel cited what she believed Scott Davis would've made had he still been superintendent (which is incalculable given that his contract ended and a new contract would have to be negotiated) as well as compensation for David Axner. In disseminating information about Davis and Axner, Julie Feasel clearly violated board policy 1077 which states " . . each board member will be allowed to make a brief clarifying statement regarding any statement said by the public during the public participation session. "[Policy link at bottom] Patrick Grubbe never mentioned Scott Davis or David Axner, so she was not clarifying any statement made by him, but rather speaking out of order.

When Mr. Grubbe asked Feasel for her numbers and her calculations that she cited, she said they were her own "personal notes" so she did not have to share the information he requested. Why is the President of the school board counter-transparent? Why is she unwilling to share her figures and how they were derived?

I hope you report on these issues and offer our community residents the correct information. I sent out one correction to the Media last week stating that the $196,225 figure was incorrect. Julie Feasel confirmed that last night.

Jennifer Smith

http://www.olentangy.k12.oh.us/district/board/policy/govprocess/1077.html

District administrators, sleep well

We pay Andy Kerr, operations and facilities director, and other district administrators (including administrators in the transportation department) thousands to be "weather watchers." Hey, can I just keep my taxes and I'll call in the two-hour delays.

Olentangy Local Schools will maintain its pre-scheduled two-hour professional development delay for Thursday, January 29. However, a.m. preschool is cancelled and all non-public transportation services will operate on a two-hour weather delay.

During this two-hour delay, the school district will continue to monitor the weather and road conditions. Should the district choose to cancel classes, the district will again notify local television and radio stations and an updated message will be posted on the district's Web site at www.olentangy.k12.oh.us/cancellation.html and broadcast on the district's listserves.

FAQs and additional information on Olentangy's cancellation and delay policy are available at www.olentangy.k12.oh.us/district/faqs/delay.html.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sunspots, Skating, and Sanity

My latest article on LewRockwell.com -- the best-read libertarian website in the world:




Sunspots, Skating, and Sanity
Jim Fedako


It’s easy to feel isolated from the mainstream, especially with the media crafting images of a collective mass blindly worshipping the state. While it may be true that the center of this mass has turned onto the road to serfdom, the mass itself is not as cohesive as the media lead us to believe. Recently, I became aware of a fracture in the collective mass in an area where I thought a fracture could never exist.

Years ago, I started noting something a local TV weatherman mentioned each December. As soon as the temperature turned cold, he would tell viewers that he was installing a backyard skating rink. He even offered to provide installation advice to anyone who called him at the station.

Six years ago, with an approaching winter, I decided to build a rink for my kids’ enjoyment and to ward off my winter blues. I called the weatherman and got the necessary details, built the rink, and waited for the first real cold spell.

Now, a backyard skating rink in Ohio is an iffy proposition. Sure, the water will sit waiting for the cold, but the real cold may never come. While I have my good years and my bad years, this year has turned out to be exceptionally good. We are having a blast skating just about every evening.

Recently, in place of our evening skate, I took my older children to a meeting of the local chapter of the Campaign for Liberty. The topic was global warming and the guest speaker was none other than my local weatherman. As he and I chitchatted before the event, I thanked him for inspiring our backyard fun.

The meeting began and the weatherman rose and addressed the audience. Keep in mind that this gentleman has one of the most recognized faces and trusted names in Central Ohio. Sure, he occasionally gets his temperatures wrong, they all do. However, he is trusted as someone who tells the truth, as he knows it.

His presentation was to the point: There is no proof that human activity is causing global warming. None. Coming from a member of the mainstream media, this statement had quite an impact – coming from this man, even more so.

Over the next 20 minutes, he captivated his audience by detailing the holes in the supposed science of global warming. He successfully indicted the government and its agents for being inept and for working an agenda.

That night, there was no talk of CO2 as a poisonous gas, slowly cooking the Earth’s atmosphere. Instead, my media hero stated the true science of weather: temperatures rise and fall with the number of sunspots, and it is all cyclical. More sunspots, higher temperatures. My skating rink is hard as ice because the sun currently has no spots. No spots, colder temperatures. That is easy science. That is real science.

According to this weatherman, most meteorologists do not support human-induced global warming. Therefore, it would appear that the science of weather is not on the side of human-induced global warming – sorry Al Gore.

The night did not end there. The speaker was more than just a skeptic of global warming; he was a friend of liberty. He presented his political views – views strongly shared by the audience. That is when I realized that we are not alone in our fight.

And it was the realization that sanity does exist – in places I would never expect to find it – that made the evening special. The collective herd is not running as one toward the cliff of socialism. There are the recalcitrant few who still believe in liberty. And these folks have the ability to save our future.

Of course, the audience that night was predisposed to liberty. Nevertheless, trusted voices like my weatherman can halt the herd and expose its agitators – revealing the lies and manipulations for all to see. If only the herd will listen.

Don’t bet that the world will race off the cliff. Many will question the prevailing nonsense if they hear the truth from a trusted voice. And, remember this: like water, most folks simply seek the path of least resistance, without bothering to look toward the horizon and impending doom. For them, politics and economics are best left to the supposed professionals. Yet, with a little coaxing, the right voice can open their eye and allow them to see the approaching cliff and to embrace life and liberty over socialism and chains.

The state’s hold on the collective mass is fractured, and, through each fracture, light shines. Support the efforts of organizations such as the Campaign for Liberty. Help get the trusted voices before the ears of the uninformed and misinformed. Those willing to face the raging herd need as much support as we can give. Liberty lost is liberty never regained.

January 26, 2009



Jim Fedako is a homeschooling father of sixwho lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com




Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quotes from FFF

From recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Monday, January 26, 2009

A strong and well-constituted man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds all included) just as he digest his meats, even when he has some tough morsels to swallow.

— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche,
On the Genealogy of Morals [1887]

Friday, January 23, 2009

The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

— Alexis de Tocqueville,
Democracy in America [1835]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When men get in the habit of helping themselves to the property of others, they cannot easily be cured of it.

— The New York Times, in a 1909 editorial opposing the very first income tax

Monday, January 26, 2009

Leaving Holes Undug, Paper Unprinted

A recent article of mine over at Mises.org:










Leaving Holes Undug, Paper Unprinted

Jim Fedako





I had a busy weekend. I dug a hole, filled it in, and dug it out once again. I shoveled my driveway and then threw the snow back so that I could shovel it a second time. I vacuumed the carpet in our family room, shook out a bag of Cheerio dust, and vacuumed the same as before. Based on the prevailing view of political economy, I worked and therefore eased our economic crisis.

Of course, I haven't been paid for my efforts, but I hear tell that Obama will reward my labor in the near future. His paper payment, though late, will be his way of paying me for a weekend of hard work.

But, is it true that labor alone is the key to fixing our economic woes? Or, do we need to once again produce value based on consumer preferences? Let's take a look.

When Obama pays me for my weekend of repetition, he will be papering over nonsense. I produced nothing, so I have nothing of additional value to bring to the market. In essence, Obama is simply funding a winter planting of Lysenko wheat — he's printing dollars that will reap nothing save bare fields and embarrassment, and if pushed to its logical end, starvation.

Sometimes the easiest way to understand economic truths is to abstract away from paper money. Consider a farmer's market where folks come from afar to truck and barter. To simplify the explanation, let's assume that this market is the only market for our contrived agrarian society.

So farmers and others bring their wares in order to exchange them for what they desire but cannot or do not produce. Would anyone suggest that, in order to improve this society's standard of living, farmers should spend their free time digging holes, only to fill them in again? Of course, such a question is subject to the political views of the day. Certainly, the local Nobel-laureate wannabe might suggest as much, but the farmers would set pitchforks to britches and send this village idiot on his way.

If, on the other hand, someone suggested that, in order to raise the standard of living, farmers save real goods — their produce — to lend to the local ironsmith so that he could produce better plows, the farmers would set pitchforks to ground, lean on the handles and muse, Seems that fellow's onto something.

After the roundabout process is lengthened and new plows brought to market, the farmers would be able to trade for those plows and reap a larger harvest. And it is the larger harvest — the larger supply — that will ultimately lead to an increased demand and improved economic conditions for all.

What if it became evident that our smithy was hopelessly unfit for the task of creating an improved plow? All the invested wares are now sunk, with losses all around. Would our farmers agree to continue funding the hapless ironworker even though nothing of value would ever come from his forge? Or, would the farmers cut off their investment, forcing the smithy to take some other employment so that the forge and iron works could end up in the hands of someone better suited for the task? The questions are rhetorical and the answers obvious.

Next, let's assume that a true crisis hits our society: a late freeze nips most of the early-planted crops. Would our farmers now chase down the village idiot for advice? Would digging holes suddenly make sense? Of course not. The farmers would either attempt a replant or look for other means to produce foodstuff or value for their own survival and trade.

What about a sudden change in preferences? Suppose farmers qua consumers no longer desired (say) parsnips as before. In the short run, farmers who grew parsnips would have to modify their exchange ratios (i.e., lower their prices) in order to clear the market. In the long run, those very same farmers would have to adjust future production to meet demand, or suffer a loss. But no new holes need to be dug.

When we add paper money back into our example, things get a little cloudy. Money becomes the intermediate step in the process when a farmer trades, say, wheat for corn. First, the farmer exchanges wheat for money, and then he exchanges money for corn. Nevertheless, there is no way for additional paper notes to bring more corn or wheat to our market. Paper simply allows the market to be more efficient by facilitating indirect exchanges. That is all paper can do; it can do nothing else.

The blob in DC — regardless of party — wants us to believe that digging holes and printing paper are better than saving wares and improving plows. They want us to believe that only they — and their printing presses — can improve the economy. Why?

The answer is simple: they produce nothing but paper and waste. They are a drag on the economy. Truth told, in spite of their ever-present lapel pins displaying the American flag, the DC folks are unable to guide our economy any better than Kim Jong-il can guide the economy of North Korea.

In order to bring our economy back on track, government needs to get out of the way of entrepreneurs and capitalists. We need to leave holes undug and paper unprinted.




Is science the arbiter of truth?

Not according to Stephen Hawking. As he explains, "No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory."

note: from the Karl Popper page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wade Lucas: Muddled Self-Importance and Nonsense

When I consider sources of new knowledge, I never turn to an Ed.D dissertation. Why? Well, read this one from Wade Lucas, the district's new superintendent. It contains statements of muddled self-importance and nonsense, and little else. Mull over this bit of delusion:

The results of this dissertation will help provide state legislators and educational leaders with information to make plans for a more effective instructional program in Ohio.
Anyone wanna bet that the folks listed -- or anyone for that matter -- are using his dissertation for anything other than a doorstop?

This is my favorite, Wade concludes, "in other words, incentives do have a positive effect on student achievement." But, didn't ol' Wade fight for the big bucks up front. Is he stating that incentives only motivate students? Or, is he admitting that he is only about the money -- the tax dollars?

note: The dissertation is a torture to read. But you might as well read it since it's costing us $28,950. Within the education field, muddled self-importance and nonsense is all you are ever going to get -- at any price.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The cow and the ice cream

From a reader. A quick assessment of our current situation:
From a teacher in the Nashville area:

We are worried about "the cow" when it is all about the "Ice Cream."The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade this year. The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class president.

We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.

To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members. We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.

The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support. I had never seen Olivia's mother.

The day arrived when they were to make their speeches Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best. Every one applauded. He sat down and Olivia came to the podium.

Olivia's speech was concise. She said, "If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream." She sat down.

The class went wild. "Yes! Yes! We want ice cream."She surely would say more.

She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream?
She wasn't sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it. She didn't know. The class really didn't care. All they were thinking about was ice cream.

Jamie was forgotten. Olivia won by a landslide.

Every time Barack Obama opens his mouth he offers ice cream and sixty percent of the people react like nine year olds. They want ice cream.

The other forty percent know they're going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess.

Empty Pots and Free Riders

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








Empty Pots and Free Riders

Jim Fedako




My work provides free coffee in the employee break rooms. The unspoken convention is that anyone finishing a pot brews a replacement. Simple enough. Yet I will hit the occasional streak where, time and again, I have to brew a pot that was emptied by some unknown coffee drinker - the coffee free rider.

Sure, it's just a minor gripe, but it is irksome at times. This is especially true considering that it only takes 30 seconds to start a new pot. My real issue is this: When I am rushing to my first meeting in the morning, I never know if an empty pot of coffee awaits me. So my morning hangs in the balance, dependent on a pot that may have been mysteriously emptied by a free rider.

Amazingly, in three years, I have never encountered a free rider. Not once. They are an elusive bunch, leaving no clues.

One would surmise from the free rider literature that, over time, more folks would join the free riders and I would face more empty pots per week. However, that has not been the case.

While it is true that free riders cause me some annoyance, the alternative - coerced action - would be much worse. Either I live with free riders or I surrender my freedom. You see, to bring free riders into line is to bring me into line. In the end, the same rules that snare free riders will snare me. And who wants to live with chains?

So I'll ignore the free riders. The price of freedom is never free.



Friday, January 23, 2009

Wade and Feasel run the numbers

Wade and Feasel run the numbers, Olentangy style


Just our luck. The district recorded the climax of the contract negotiations between the board and Wade. The video shows Wade runnin' the numbers, with Feasel proudly showing her command of public finance.

Who is the man talking sense? Why Billy's the ghost of the forgotten taxpayer. Somehow, common sense entered the board room, only to be obfuscated out the door by the sophistry of the public servant and his elected enabler. And Billy certainly got cheated. We all did.

Remember, it's all about the kids -- all 1.3 million of them.

Olentangy's Wade Lucas, ASCD, and the Whole Child

Good ol' Wade wants to fight for the whole child (when he's not fighting for cold, hard cash), and so does the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (the Fourth International of government education).

According to ASCD's Whole Child
website:

We Stand for Whole Child Education

In a time of rapid change and innovation, our education system is struggling to keep pace. The global marketplace is a reality; yet, as demands for a highly skilled and educated workforce and citizenry grow, too many communities have narrowed the curriculum, eliminated or reduced support for families, and failed to develop the talent of their youth.

We can do better.

Please support policies and practices that ensure

  1. Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Each student learns in an intellectually challenging environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
  3. Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
  4. Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
  5. Each graduate is challenged by a well-balanced curriculum and is prepared for success in college or further study and for employment in a global environment.
Funny, it doesn't mention an outrageous salary for the superintendent. Wade must have snuck that past the board as can-do number six.

Note: Of course, the list of can-does eliminates public education as a means to provide for the whole child, whatever the whole child nonsense really means.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Wade McLucas

A secret boardroom photo of Wade McLucas accepting the offer.

Note: it really is all about the kids. The money means nothing to him -- the money meant nothing to the super majority of the board.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wading in the deep end

Yes, Wade and the super majority of the board have ventured into the deep end of financial nonsense (Wade is swimming in taxpayer money -- all for the kids).

Courtesy of Jennifer Smith:

Olentangy Residents,

Attached is the Superintendent contract that was approved tonight; all votes 4-1 (my dissent).

Here are some of the terms for the $1.3M ($303,000 annualized) 4 year, 4 month contract:

  • Base Salary Total: $725,846
  • Board-Paid 14% STRS (retirement) and STRS Employee share (10%) and pick-up on the employee share(10% on the 10%) Total: $225,013
  • 10%, 11%, 12% and 13% annuities Total: $85,447
  • Car/Cell Allowance Total: $46,950
  • Educational Stipend Total: $28,950
  • Board-Paid Medicare Tax: $12,864

  • 30% payout if he stays the full term length: $83,088
  • Moving Expenses: $11,000
  • Difference between sale price of house and 95% of appraised value: up to $30,000 + cost of appraisal
  • The ability to sell back vacation days: $36,888 if all allowable days are sold back (4 in first 4 months, 10/year for 4 years= 44 days)

The next board meeting is next Tuesday, January 27 at 6PM. I hope you can attend.


Jennifer Smith

Monday, January 19, 2009

CS Lewis and FFF

From a recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation.

This is one of my favorite quotes. The reality is this: we all look in the mirror and see a busybody. Just pray that your internal busybody never attempts to use government in place of the soapbox. This is what divides the casual busybody from the nanny do-gooder: the former uses argumentation while the latter uses legislation. And the latter always ends up the evil authoritarian.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we “ought to have known better,” is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

— C.S. Lewis

That Jefferson Again!

From Freedom Watch:

"What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?"

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1787

Seeing the Future

The folks over at The Daily Reckoning can see tomorrow anyway. Here is their review of the inauguration:

Tomorrow, the man called Obama takes up the president’s job. Poor man. He seems like a decent sort. A shame...something like that happening to him.

But he hung around with the wrong crowd – lowbred types in high political circles – and look where it has gotten him. Tomorrow, he’ll be called upon to stand before a hundred million viewers, put his hand on a Bible, and lie.

To the question – will he swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States America – he will give the answer he has rehearsed. Yes, I can! Then, like almost every American president since John Quincy Adams, he will ignore it.

The Delaware County Commissioners: the new Progressives

According to the Delaware County Political Reporter, the commissioners are looking for a new professional economic development coordinator, and they are looking for a star. So the commissioners are omniscient enough to select a star, a star who will be able to lead Delaware County into the promised land.

We've been here before. And we will be here again. Think Olentangy superintendents when contemplating the ability of any elected official -- or group of elected officials -- to select a star. The same holds true when conceiving of the ability of any government official to be a star -- whatever star means in government.

The commissioners are stating this: We will spend a lot of money on a professional economic development coordinator, who will then be -- by definition -- a star.

Hey Commissioners, just work to lower taxes and leave the concept of stars to the private sector. You are not that good, and your coordinator will not be that good. Remember, we are talking government, not Steeler football.

Note: The Delaware County Political Reporter is enamored with the idea of a professional economic development coordinator. They link to this site which provides certification in that field. The certification requirements sound like a rehash of a WPA project.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming to a classroom near you

"The union advantage continues to give workers an incentive to fight back against employers unwilling to pay decent wages, even with all the obstacles to organizing that workers face today."

-- from "Why Teach Labor History", American Federation of Teachers.

Yes, the teachers unions want teachers to indoctrinate their students on the benefits of ... unions. Go figure.

Children are learning that unions protect workers from employers unwilling to pay decent wages. Guess what? For public schools, the taxpayers are the employers. So children are learning that fighting for increased tax burdens to benefit school employees is the right thing to do.

Not only do we pay for this nonsense in the short run, but we also pay as our country is slowly turned to socialism (by unionized teachers) in the long run.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Either way, it's a mirage

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








Either way, it's a mirage

Jim Fedako




As they debate ways to improve the economy, Obama and Congress are acting like two lost souls staggering through the desert, arguing over the height of palm trees in a far off mirage.

On one hand, it's an argument over whether $10 billion or $30 billion worth of energy tax breaks must be included in a stimulus package. On the other hand, it's an argument over whether the lush palm tree are 10 feet or 30 feet tall.

In both cases, the stated ends are an illusion -- an improved economy through the printing press or shade and water under the swaying palms.

For the latter, dehydration is the issue. For the former, it's delusion.



Sunday, January 11, 2009

FFF and Adam Smith

From recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.

— Adam Smith, An Inquirey into the Natureand Causes of the Wealth of Nations [1776]

FFF on Patrick Henry

From recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The great object is that every man be armed.... Everyone who is able may have a gun.... Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense?

— Patrick Henry

Going to Pravda for the truth

Bill Anderson gets it right over at the blog on LewRockwell.com:




Pravda on Global Cooling
Posted by Bill Anderson at January 11, 2009 06:18 PM

According to Pravda, the earth is heading for a long cooling trend. Forget global warming; we are headed for another ice age. No doubt, the following words will make Al Gore angry:

The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.

It used to be (supposedly) that the "free" press of the USA stood for truth, while Pravda (which means "truth" in Russian and was the official paper of the Communist Party) was a nest of lies. My, how things have changed! I will take Pravda over the New York Times any day!


Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com




Strickland hands the keys to the inmates

Yes, give the unions more control. It's worked before (that's sarcasm by the way).

Strickland names four to state Board of Education
Three of governor's first appointments have union backing


Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:05 AM

By
Catherine Candisky

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Gov. Ted Strickland appointed four people to the state Board of Education yesterday, including three with strong ties to teachers unions.

It was the governor's first opportunity to fill seats on the 19-member panel, and it comes just weeks before Strickland is to unveil his proposal for fixing Ohio's school-funding system.

Two appointees are union-backed candidates who lost their bids Nov. 4 for elected seats on the board; a third is a recently retired executive of Ohio's largest teachers union.

Strickland named:

• Dennis Reardon of Pickerington, retired executive director of the Ohio Education Association.
• Martha Harris of Cleveland Heights, who finished a distant second in a five-person board race to former U.S. and state Rep. Mary Rose Oakar. Harris has 35 years of teaching experience.
• Tracey Smith of Van Wert, who also lost her bid for an elected seat on the board. Smith has been a social studies teacher for Van Wert City Schools since 2000 and is a legislative liaison for the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
• N. Daniel Green of Gallipolis, who served 20 years on the board of Gallipolis City Schools and is a retired postmaster.

Harris and Smith will serve alongside the candidates who defeated them.

Their election bids were supported by a first-time coordinated effort of the unions representing Ohio teachers and school employees: the Ohio Education Association, Ohio Federation of Teachers and Ohio Association of Public School Employees. (Two of their seven candidates won.)

The appointments also should give Strickland more influence over the board, which he says he is depending on for support of his school-funding plan.

Strickland is expected to detail his proposal in his State of the State address on Jan. 28.

The state board consists of 11 elected members representing districts across the state and eight members appointed by the governor. All serve four-year terms.

ccandisky@dispatch.com

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Government: Club or Prison?

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








Government: Club or Prison?

Jim Fedako



Does government function as a club or a prison? In particular, are local taxing districts — local governmental entities — simply clubs where residents voluntarily pay fees set by an elected board? Or, are these districts nothing more than prisons, so to speak, where the governing body extracts fines and penalties from land and labor? First, let us look at unions and monopolies.

It is customary to characterize traditional labor-union policies as monopolistic schemes aiming at the substitution of monopoly wage rates for competitive wage rates. However, as a rule labor unions do not aim at monopoly wage rates. A union is intent upon restricting competition on its own sector of the labor market in order to raise its wage rates. But restriction of competition and monopoly price policy must not be confused.

In the quote above, Mises distinguishes the union from the monopoly. While both seek to obtain advantages in the market, the monopoly is concerned with each good, whether sold or unsold. The union, on the other hand, cares only about members covered by its contract. Those unemployed are not its concern whatsoever. In other words, both unions and monopolies seek to reduce supply in order to reap a higher price, but only the monopoly cares about the
supply foregone.

The monopolist is concerned with the employment of the whole stock available. He is equally interested in every fraction of this stock. If a part of it remains unused, it is his loss. Nonetheless he chooses to have a part unused because under the prevailing configuration of demand it is more advantageous for him to proceed in this way. It is the peculiar state of the market that motivates his decision.

The monopoly seeks to reduce supply and increase the price in order to obtain a monopoly profit. Therefore, the monopoly considers each widget withdrawn from the market when developing its business plan. The monopoly will only withhold a widget if, by withholding the widget, the monopoly reaps a greater profit. Contrast that with the union.

The prevailing labor-union policies are restrictive and not monopoly price plicies. The unions are intent upon restricting the supply of labor in their field without bothering about the fare of those excluded.

The union has no concern with the marginal employee; the first one cut off from union membership. The union only concerns itself with those holding a union card.

Those not admitted must go into less remunerative jobs or must remain unemployed. The unions are not interested in the fate of these people.

The leadership of a union may weigh the benefit of adding union members when it considers the amount of union dues foregone. But the adding or subtracting of union members still leaves the greater majority of workers outside the union, and outside the concern of the union.

The key here is that a monopoly faced with a warehouse full of widgets or acres of underutilized capital has to account for each widget withdrawn from the market. The union faced with billions of laborers does not have to account for those denied union membership — withdrawn, so to speak, from the union-control sector of the economy.

OK, let us look at local taxing districts.

In order to generate additional tax revenue, local school districts in Ohio must place operating levies on the ballot.[1] School districts can tax land, income, and sales — under special arrangement with their county government. Once approved by 50% + 1, these taxes are paid by all residents subject to the tax.

The school district has options for taxing income. A school district can construct its income tax levy to garner votes from certain residents by exempting those very same residents from the tax, or from the full brunt of the tax.

In addition, state law exempts senior citizens and others from a portion of their property bill. The school district's partner in crime — the state — reimburses the school district for lost property taxes out of revenue generated by state-wide taxes and fees. Of course, nonexempt residents and businesses throughout the state pay the property tax exemptions — the state only has what it steals.

Regardless, all exemptions assist the school district with its efforts to garnering support for a new levy. This is done through the creation of a pool of voters who are not subject to the tax they are being asked to approve — redistribution of sorts at the local level.

Just like a local taxing district, a club can raise its fees. Depending on the structure of the club, the fees can be raised by the governing body or through a vote of the majority of members, or by any means granted in its charter. And, just like the school district, the club can create fee structures that benefit some over the rest.

So, on the surface, the club and the local taxing district function the same with regard to their respective fees and taxes. However, we have to look just a little deeper.

Since the school district is only concerned with garnering a majority of votes, the district has no concern for the no voters should the levy pass. Those folks must pay the new tax regardless of their vote or belief.

Not so with the club. The club must concern itself with every individual since the club stands to lose if members leave. In this sense, the club is the monopoly balancing its increased fee against the number of members — and their dues — that may leave should the fee increase.

The school district, on the other hand, acts similar to the union: the district is not concerned that residents may leave in the face of a new tax levy. In Ohio anyway, the property tax rate for a levy adjusts so that any tax revenue lost due to reduced property values is levied on the remaining properties. In other words, if residents begin putting their homes up for sale, causing property values to fall, or businesses dismantle and relocate capital, the remaining residents and businesses must pay additional taxes in order to keep the school district whole.

This protection from property values provides an incentive for school officials to propose the largest levy that will win approval of the majority of voters, no matter how small the majority.

Is government a club or a prison? It is certainly not a club, but is it a prison? Some will argue that government is not a prison at the local level since residents can vote with their feet. However, for those who want to keep their current property, government creates a prison housing the innocent who must continually plead guilty and pay all fines or penalties handed down.

Notes

[1] I am using local school districts since they are the largest local taxing districts in Ohio. What follows is an oversimplified review of Ohio school district tax laws.




Friday, January 09, 2009

Coming to a wallet near you

The end result of government intervention in the economy -- the quadrillion-dollar bill. Coming to a wallet near you (HT: Jeffrey Tucker)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Go ahead, Dave Yost. You can say it.

Say what? Republican.

What Dave Yost over at YostPost forgets is that the economy was ruined by the Republican agenda (remember, Bush is still in the White House). Oh, sure, Obama and the Democrats will try to snuff out any remaining embers. But the fire was originally doused by Bush. And where was Yost when that bucket of water was being filled?

Yes, Dave. You can blame the Republicans, and then you will be consistent. Of course, that would take a big stance from a Republican elected official. But I think you have it in you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mises, Meet Yerkes

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








Mises, Meet Yerkes

Jim Fedako




The direction of all economic affairs is in the market society a task of the entrepreneurs. Theirs is the control of production. They are at the helm and steer the ship. A superficial observer would believe that they are supreme. But they are not. They are bound to obey unconditionally the captain's orders. The captain is the consumer. Neither the entrepreneurs nor the farmers nor the capitalists determine what has to be produced. The consumers do that. If a businessman does not strictly obey the orders of the public as they are conveyed to him by the structure of market prices, he suffers losses, he goes bankrupt, and is thus removed from his eminent position at the helm. Other men who did better in satisfying the demand of the consumers replace him. — Mises, Human Action




Mises never ventured into one of Bill Yerkes's pizza shops. For if he had, he never would have written those words above. You see, Yerkes — the self-proclaimed "Pizza Nazi" of Central Ohio — takes orders from no man. In his shops, he alone is supreme.

OK, to be exact, Yerkes does take food orders, but he determines what he produces in his shops; he determines the menu and the presentation. And if you don't like it, take a hike. Do not believe me? Visit a Bono Pizza shop and test him yourself … if you dare.

Now, Yerkes is not the only recalcitrant entrepreneur. Pittsburgh has its Primanti Brothers. In these restaurants, each sandwich is topped with fries and coleslaw — that's right, the fries and coleslaw go between the bread. And if you ask for either on the side, they'll direct you out the door and to the Wendy's across the street.

Given that these two examples seemingly refute Mises, I have to ask this question: How could Mises have built the science of economics on such a glaring error? The consumer as the captain. Huh!

Ok, so what is really going on here? Both of these business models have been successful in their respective cities. Oh, sure, the owners and employees huff and puff on their turf, but they can do so only because the consumer is willing to enter their stores in order to purchase their offerings. And what offerings indeed.

The Bono pizza is a blend of imported cheeses, delicious meats, and fresh vegetables, cooked in one of Yerkes own patented wood-fired ovens. The crust is a handmade, hand-tossed delight. And then there is the sauce. Bono Pizza is the best pizza around.

Primanti sandwiches are also tasty meals. While I am not a big fan off fries, adding them to a mess of coleslaw and a grilled meat, all smashed between slices of Italian bread, creates a sloppy, hearty mess. Very Pittsburgh, and very good.

It is amazing the number of sins that good food can cover. However, I am being too harsh. Yerkes is an excellent host, as long as you play by the house rules — his rules. And Primantis is always a warm spot to relax and eat. Of course, they both have to be.

Mises never claimed an entrepreneur could not decide what he produces. Mises simply noted the truth that an entrepreneur can stay in business if and only if he produces that which the consumer desires. Should the product that the entrepreneur desires to produce coincide with the product that the consumer desires to purchase, all the better. However, life does not have to be so Pollyannaish.

In the market, the entrepreneur does not need to have a great attachment to his product, certainly not to the extreme of the Yerkes and Primantis of the world. The entrepreneur likely does not care what he produces. Oh, sure, he may enjoy making a certain product in a certain manner, but most companies with staying power are more sensitive to the wants of the consumer than to the products they produce.

If they were not, the consumer would seek out the entrepreneur willing to satisfy current desires. You see it all the time as stores and restaurants come into favor, and then quickly go out of favor. The entrepreneur who senses changing preferences can keep his position at the helm. Not the captain, mind you, just the helmsman keeping the ship on the ever-changing course of consumer desires.

Mises was not refuted, and his passage above remains correct. There is room for Yerkes and Primantis in the science of economics. They will keep their shops only as long as the consumer desires their food. Should preferences change, and Yerkes and Primantis remain obstinate, they will be forced to relinquish the helm — and their capital — and become captains once again.




Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Progress Ohio and assorted nuts

Starting with ACORN, of course. And here I thought ACORN was discredited by its activities during the recent presidential election.

Ironically, the Progressive movement began as a collectivist effort to use government to create a supposed Eden-on-Earth. Now those who go by the same name have lost any claim to the moral high ground -- they are being exposed for who they always were.

Watch out.

Media Advisory
Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Brian Rothenberg, 614-207-3237

'Jobs and Economic Recovery Now!' Campaign Calls on Congress to Support the
Obama Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan

Columbus, OH - Amid a worsening economic crisis that has left nearly 2
million Americans without jobs and over 2.5 million more without homes this
year, ACORN, Progress Ohio, MoveOn and other community groups will participate
in a press conference on January 6th at 12 noon urging Ohio's Congressional
Delegation to stand up for struggling out-of-work Ohio families by supporting
the jobs and economic recovery package being proposed by President-Elect Barack
Obama and Congressional Leaders.

One week before the new 111th Congress is sworn into office, the Campaign
for Jobs and Economic Recovery will discuss why Congress' very first act should
be passing the Obama jobs and economic recovery plan which will create millions
of jobs through smart public investments that will also ensure a stronger
American economy down the road.

Addressing the worst economic crisis the nation has seen since the Great
Depression, President-Elect Obama, during his
December
6th radio address
, outlined a plan that will create or save at least three
million jobs in 2 years by making sound long-term investments in energy
conservation, renewable energy technologies, schools, healthcare and
transportation, including the single largest investment in U.S. national
infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.

The plan includes careful, targeted spending with strong "use it or lose
it" accountability measures. Following 8 years of misguided economic policies
that gave priority to tax breaks for multimillionaires and big corporations, the
Obama plan will get America's disappearing middle-class working again.

WHO: ACORN, Progress Ohio, MoveOn and other Community Organizations

WHAT: Press Conference Call Urging Ohio's Congressional Delegation to
Support President-Elect Obama's Economic Recovery Plan

WHEN: Tuesday, January 6th, 12:00 noon

WHERE: Ohio State House, High Street sidewalk in front of the McKinley
monument, Columbus, OH, 43215

Monday, January 05, 2009

Children: Wards of the State

Can you be forced to volunteer? Not according to Webster's. But in a world more Nineteen Eighty-Four than free, the doublespeak definition of volunteer is actually twisted on its head.

For those folks who think that the talk of the Obamaian goal of a conscripted youth -- where young adults serve the state -- is all conspiracy nonsense, note that our youth are already conscripted by most public schools -- as well as by the leftist Columbus School for Girls. [1]

The creation of a national youth corp of folks required to volunteer for the state will occur in the next few years, and it will likely occur without fight. You see, it's tough to fight when you already allowed your children to be conscripted by your local schools.

When I sat on the Olentangy school board, it was staunch Republicans who were suggesting mandatory volunteering. The right loves the state as much as the left.


note: Gary North (link on left) always wonders how families can send their children to be indoctrinated in very expensive schools. Why waste the money when the state will do it at no extra charge?


Community work
Students' service should be special
Many schools now require more hours of volunteering

Monday, December 29, 2008 3:09 AM
By Jennifer Smith Richards


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Taylor Knore, 14, volunteers frequently at Pickerington's Fairfield Elementary School. She is a freshman at Pickerington North High School. She is reading to first-graders in Amy Jarrell's classroom."

All do-gooding is not created equal.

Not for college admissions officers, anyway. And not for many high schools that require their students to fulfill community-service requirements before they graduate.

"I'm sure students are being told to pad their resumes or do stuff to get it on their applications for college," said Cass Johnson, director of admissions at Otterbein College in Westerville. "What I advise students is to -- rather than have this huge laundry list -- find a couple of things you are really passionate about."

The odd canned food drive or an occasional stint serving dinner in a shelter is nothing to turn up your nose at, admissions officers say. But students increasingly need to show that they'll devote more than an afternoon to a cause.

"Everybody doesn't have to go to a Third World country and build something to be impressive," said Mabel Freeman, who heads undergraduate admissions and first-year experiences at Ohio State University. But, she said, "It's amazing how many students are pre-med that show nothing in the way of community involvement in terms of volunteering at a hospital."

High schools are looking for ways to get students to find a cause they can stick with.

The Wellington School, a private school in Upper Arlington, used to have designated community-service days on which students were expected to pitch in on a volunteer project.

"We got away from doing that, because it was not mean-ingful to everyone," said Chris Robbins, who is the upper school's dean of students. "We encourage kids to pursue a variety of different service activities, because we want it to be meaningful."

Wellington doesn't require a specific number of volunteer hours. But it does have a teacher who identifies volunteer opportunities and encourages students to lend a hand.

At Columbus School for Girls, a Bexley private school, students are required to serve at least 60 hours before they graduate, and at least 10 hours per year as upper school students. A committee there spent a lot of time hashing out what would be considered "quality" volunteer experiences and what wouldn't.

"We will offer suggestions to students, but students really have to make their own choices about what they do. We will determine if something really does not constitute community service," said Veronica Leahy, who heads the English Department and is co-chairwoman of the service club. "The idea is to expose students to what is out there and hope that they will be inspired to return to some of these places to do further volunteer work."

Several public schools also require students to volunteer to graduate.

New Albany-Plain students need to log 25 hours. Hamilton schools will require students to complete 80 hours by 2010 (this year's grads must complete 60.) Westerville schools encourages all students in grades three through 12 to complete three hours. And lots of districts, including Bexley, make community-service activities part of class projects.


Of course, not all students are pitching in just to pad their resumes. Take Taylor Knore, a freshman at Pickerington North High School. She volunteers in a first-grade classroom at Fairfield Elementary, which is near her home, nearly every day.

Then, when she's done there, she heads down to the school's latchkey program and helps out with homework.

"I love little kids. They're so much fun, they're so cute and a bundle of joy. I love helping out," she said. "I'm sure it'll look good on my college application or something."

Fairfield Principal Ruth Stickel, who used to be the assistant principal at Taylor's middle school, is proud of the 14-year-old's attitude.

"She's only a freshman and she's giving up a lot of her after-school time. A lot of kids wouldn't do that," Stickel said. "She's just doing it because she wants to."

jsmithrichards @dispatch.com

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Irrelevant: Paul over at SaveHilliardSchools

Paul over at SaveHilliardSchools is having levy remorse. Seems ol' Paul had a tough time converting millage into dollars and is now upset with his new tax bill. If Paul -- the useful idiot of the Hilliard School District -- is upset with his new tax bill, can you even begin to imagine the feelings of those whose no votes were undone by Paul's loud yes vote and active support?

Of course, Paul is simply playing the field as he spins from pro-levy to anti-levy with the prevailing winds. Sadly, he has become irrelevant in the Hillard tax debate. He may talk tough now, but the school board, administration and levy supporter know that Paul has a very squishy backbone -- he may not even be a vertebrate.


note: To think, while Paul moans, there are folks in the Hilliard district who will lose their homes next year, all because of the levy Paul supported. Amazing!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Olentangy's Five-Year Forecast

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the number one purpose or objective of a five-year forecast is [t]o engage the local board of education and the community in long range planning and discussions of financial issues facing the school district.

Hmmm. Note the and in the first clause. Was anyone -- save the sycophant finance and audit committee -- engaged in any discussions on anything related to the latest five-year forecast? Anyone?

Was the board even involved?

Funny, the district was in dire need of a new levy this time last year, but that need has now gone away. So why didn't the district treasurer and board notify the community about the tax windfall and lower-than-predicted expenses as soon as the information was known? Why?[1]

Seems no one was engaged in the process -- other than the administration and their tax-seeking unions.

notes:

1. The district knew most of the new tax/expense numbers BEFORE the vote last March. So did the board and Olentangy for Kids. I guess they just didn't want good news to spoil their tax parade.

Good point: Whom does Obama owe?

Lew is asking the right questions over at the blog on LewRockwell.com:




Reid, Seat Burris
Posted by Lew Rockwell at January 3, 2009 08:06 PM


Harry Reid might as well go ahead sit Roland Burris in the US senate. It now emerges that Reid told Blago not, under any circumstances, to appoint a black man, since he would lose to the Republicans. But I like Burris (and his wife). He's a dignified machine pol who looks like a senator, unlike the squirrely Reid. (I leave ideology aside, since it is not an issue.) Burris would definitely raise the tone of the place. Besides, it is hilarious to see Blago get his choice. But now we need the truth - not about Blago - but about Obama and his ties to the Chicago machine. Who were his patrons? Who got him his senate seat? Whom does he owe?

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com




An email scam: nice try

Considering the financial mess created by the Bush administration (only to be acerbated by the Obama administration), why would Danyla want me to invest her late father's savings in real estate and the transportation industry in the US? Seems just a little fishy. Hmmm -- Jim


From: dany@umaster.org
To: a@y.ca
Sent: 1/3/2009 6:37:54 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

Subj: Hi

Good day,

It is my pleasure to contact you for a business venture which i intend to establish in your country. Though I have not met with you before but I believe, one has to risk confiding in someone to succeed sometimes in life. There is this amount of Two Million Five hundred US Dollars $2,500.000.00) which my late father deposited in Senegal which he wanted to used for his political reason in our Country before he was assassinated by his opponents.

Now i have decided to invest this money anywhere safe enough for security reasons.I am soliciting for your assistance to help meto secure this fund to your holding on my behalf and will assist me in investing this fund in any lucrative business. I will like to invest part of the money into these three investment but, if there is any other business that is better than what I am suggesting, I will be very glad to follow your advice.

1). Real estate
2). The transport industry
3). Hotels management

You shall be entitled to a significant portion of the fund..If you can be of an assistance to me i will be pleased to offer you 20% of the total fund while the balance will be invested by you.I await your soonest response, if you're interested in helping me out and thanks for your anticipating co-operation.

Respectfully yours,

Danyla Otokore.

Note: If you are interested in my proposal, here is my alternative email address dani20@inmail24.com. Thank you for your time.

It's all in the contract

Considering the mess an 80-page teacher contract creates, I can't even begin to fathom the nonsense caused by Ford’s 2,215 page 2007 master contract (HT The Intellectual Redneck).















































Now, how can anyone claim that unions benefit the economy?