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InsiderOnline Blog: November 2004

Smoked Out

Sue Jeffers, a bar-owner in Minneapolis tells a sad story about her fight against the smoking ban in her town. She didn't win. The last two paragraphs are great.

So, I will now go back to running my bar. I will have to work longer and harder. I will not hire as many people as I try to gauge the impact of this ban. I will try to keep my staff and customers safe enforcing yet another regulation. I will sweep up the cigarette butts on the sidewalks and apologize to my neighbors for the increased noise, litter, and vandalism. I will likely terminate the lease of my neighbor so I can tear down the building and provide a safe place for my staff and customers to smoke.

I am a business owner. I don’t want to blow smoke in your face, in your homes, or even in your business. I want to run my business. Please don’t force your regulations on me. What is more important--jobs and revenues or an exaggerated health risk? While smoke-haters rejoice the new ban, my booths will sit empty and family-run bars and restaurants will slowly, but surely, fade away from the Minneapolis landscape. I will grow old waiting for all those nonsmokers to come pouring through my door.

 

Posted on 11/30/04 04:20 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

So Much New Stuff

Under "Latest Summaries." 

And many, many more.

 

 

Posted on 11/30/04 03:48 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Stadium Swindling

Paul Chesser of the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina provides some perspective on the subsidizing of sports stadiums, something the taxpayers of Charlotte are dealing with right now. Good reading for D.C.-area residents right about now. More on the broken promises of such stadiums, here.

 

Posted on 11/30/04 11:22 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

More Reform

Ryan Zempel at the C-Log has more on economic appointments in the Bush administration.

And, the Policy Weblogger links to an Adam Smith Institute mini-book on  making the flat tax a reality.

 

Posted on 11/30/04 10:54 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Snap, Crackle, Pop-- Commerce Secretary

Bush named Kellogg's CEO Carlos Gutierrez to Don Evans' vacated Commerce Secretary spot yesterday.

Quin Hillyer, over at The Corner, points out the different spins on the appointment from the NYT and AP. NYT manages to use "multi-millionaire," "$9 billion-a-year," and "corporate executive" in just the first two sentences. Impressive. Hillyer has also just been added as a new Townhall.com C-Logger, so check him out sometime.

But once you get past the spin about Gutierrez, you find a really great American story about a Cuban immigrant who worked his way up from cereal delivery man to CEO. Here's hoping he handles Social Security as well has he does cornflakes.

Posted on 11/30/04 09:56 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Loving Local Liberty

The Claremont Institute's The Remedy blog announces the beginning of another Claremont blog, Local Liberty, which covers just that.

Today we have commentary on the millions of public money that Los Angeles County Supervisors can dole out on their own, individual discretion, illegal immigration and the politica changes it has effected in Long Island, and the property rights revolution in Oregon.

Posted on 11/29/04 05:33 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Readying for a Fight

Heritage's Dr. Feulner offers tips for the tax reform fight in his column:

This won’t be easy, of course. The current system has developed over decades, and every confusing element of it has champions in Congress and lobbyists ready to fight for them.

All these reforms probably will be a tough sell in Congress. But departing Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma has an idea that could speed the transition: Allow taxpayers to fill out returns under the current system and under a reformed, flat-tax system. Then they could put the returns side-by-side and file the one that benefits them. Most people are sure to prefer the simple system, especially since it will usually save them money in the long run.

 

Posted on 11/29/04 01:11 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

The Economic Reformation

Bush's director of the National Economic Council is going back to the private sector. Now that Bush has a chance to reshape his economic team, what should he concentrate on?

Well, there's tax reform and Social Security reform, of course. Heritage's David John has mapped out a Social Security plan of action, here.

But, Bruce Bartlett of the National Center for Policy Analysis says that doing away with the Clinton-created NEC might be the key to quickening reform.

I have never been a fan of the NEC as an organization. It always has seemed to be an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy that added little to the implementation of economic policy. Indeed, I think the NEC has tended to get in the way, making it harder for established agencies like the Treasury Department and Council of Economic Advisers to do their jobs.

Posted on 11/29/04 11:54 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Staying Busy Over Thanksgiving

While I'm signing off the blog here for a couple days, there's no shortage of things on InsiderOnline.org to keep you occupied. Please check out the latest summaries of conservative research, the Fall edition of the Insider magazine, and the features are always fun reading.

If you get done with all of that, check out the American Council on Science and Health's Thanksgiving menu, from which we learn, "No human diet can be free of naturally occurring chemicals that are rodent carcinogens. Of the chemicals that people eat, 99.99% are natural."

Mmmm, carcinogens. Find out how many you're eating already, think about how good they taste, and then rejoice that the government isn't regulating them yet.

The Heritage Policy Weblogger brings our attention to something we should be REALLY thankful for.

And from our friends at the Federalist, a great Thanksgiving quote:

"Measured by the standards of men of their time, ... [the Pilgrims] were the humble of the earth. Measured by later accomplishments, they were the mighty. In appearance weak and persecuted they came -- rejected, despised -- an insignificant band; in reality strong and independent, a mighty host of whom the world was not worthy, destined to free mankind." ---Calvin Coolidge

Y'all have a blessed Thanksgiving and keep safe!

 

Posted on 11/24/04 02:42 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

It Works! It Really, Really Works!

The Policy Weblogger finds a great example of how free-market health care can work, and get you better care and better prices. It's all in the eyes.

Posted on 11/23/04 02:59 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Speaking of Fundraising...

The Ashbrook Center in Ohio has taken to Blogads on Powerline (scroll down a bit; it's on the left). Very cutting edge. Who says we conservatives aren't 'with it,' as the kids say.

 

Posted on 11/22/04 12:50 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

ATR Finds a New Fundraising Source

Note for future development campaigns: Grover Norquist picks up some money from bet-losing liberals.

 

Posted on 11/22/04 11:03 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Congrats to Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

GPPF got high marks in a Georgia magazine's poll of its readership (mostly business leaders and politicians). From a press release:

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is ranked No. 1 for highest integrity and No. 3 for most knowledgeable among the state's associations or business organizations in the November-December issue of James magazine, which is sent to Georgia politicians and business leaders.

The Foundation is an independent think tank that proposes practical, market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians.

"The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is not thought of as a governmental affairs group in the traditional sense, but its influence is enormous, as evidenced by its top placement in the Highest Integrity category," the magazine reports. The survey listed the top 15 in each category.

The magazine, published by Insider Advantage and named after Georgia's founder, James Oglethorpe, touts an insider's view of state politics. Ahead of the Foundation on "knowledgeable" were the Medical Association of Georgia (1) and the Soft Drink Association (2).

I'm glad to see a conservative public policy voice in the state so well regarded. Very encouraging.

Posted on 11/22/04 10:55 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Prepare to be Condescended To

Amy Ridenour notes a new poll from Gallup that says only one third of Americans believe the theory of evolution is "well supported by evidence." Not surpisingly, many of those who don't believe the theory are conservative Christians. I can't wait for the new wave of nose-in-the-air op-eds from liberals about this one.

Posted on 11/19/04 01:01 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

A Good, Quick Read

Peter Schramm of No Left Turns has a good suggestion for today, an important anniversary in our nation's history.

Posted on 11/19/04 10:05 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Tons of New Studies

Check out the database often. The latest entries pop up in the right column under Latest Summaries. Click on Summaries above to see a comprehensive list, do a word search, or search by Topic Areas. You never knew policy research could be so fun.

For instance, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute tells us what the citizens of that great state are thinking about in the Wisconsin Citizen Survey. See what I mean? Fun!

Posted on 11/18/04 03:45 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

On Desperate NFL Promos

Go read the Heritage Policy Weblogger on the recent Monday Night Football/FCC kerfuffle. The gist: vote with your remote, chill with the government regulation.

Posted on 11/18/04 03:37 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Go and Make Spending Restrainers of All Nations

Jon Caldara of Colorado's Independence Institute tells how his organization is spreading the good news about TABOR, even in blue states like Maryland, even while liberals in Colorado attempt to tear TABOR down. From II's weekly newsletter:

Fiscal Policy Center Director Penn Pfiffner made, yet another, Taxpayer's Bill of Rights tour stop. This time it was the taxpayers of Maryland who wanted to hear how a Colorado-style TABOR amendment could benefit their state. Penn met with legislators, lobbyists and several radio and television outlets to explain the success of Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

Still amazed that states around the country recognize that Colorado's TABOR amendment saved us from the fiscal nightmare that engulfed many other states like California. Yet the rage this year is to trash your Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, and blame it for budgetary problems brought on by Amendment 23.

For more on TABOR, see here, here and here.

Posted on 11/18/04 01:51 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Goodbye to an Original Watchdog

Reed Irvine, one of the early watchdogs of the liberal media, died Tuesday. At 82, he had been keeping an eye on Big Media since he founded Accuracy in Media in the 1960s. He's not a household name, but he planted some of the first seeds for the revolt against legacy media that has become so loud this election season all around the blogosphere and the nation.

Mr. Irvine was truly a man ahead of his time. Heck, he started a campaign to "Can Dan" Rather in the late 80s. Visionary!

On a personal note, I remember Mr. Irvine fondly. As a journalism student at The University of Georgia just a couple years ago, I relied on AIM's research to refute my professors whenever possible. With AIM's help, I raised quite a ruckus in my "Race and Gender in the Media" class (Yes, there is such a thing.).

I once called Irvine my senior year to see if I could get a comment on a term paper I was writing about media bias. I left a message on his machine at 2 p.m., and never dreamed he would call back. But sure enough, come 5 p.m., Reed Irvine was on the other end of my cell phone, giving a lengthy interview to a 22-year-old with a term paper. That kind of accessibility is just one of many things the MSM could learn about from Mr. Irvine.

Here are a couple thoughts on Irvine from The CornerEditor and Publisher, World Net Daily, and AIM co-worker Cliff Kinkaid.

Posted on 11/17/04 02:08 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Announcing No One

John Hood of The John Locke Foundation tells who he might appoint as Secretaries of Commerce and Education in the second Bush administration-- no one. Now that would save money.

 

Posted on 11/16/04 01:28 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Where Do You Rank?

The new U.S. Economic Freedom Index ranks the 50 states using policy variables like the size of the welfare programs and regulatory machines, then links those rankings to economic prosperity. Go here to read the report and find where your state ranks. My home state (N.C.) is No. 24, yuck. Both Ga. and Fla. are in the 11-20 range, so the ol' Governor may want to take a look if he wants to compete for businesses.

You can also go here to sign up for Heritage's event on this report, featuring two of the authors (it can also be watched live online). Here's the description:

Dr. Lawrence J. McQuillan of the Pacific Research Institute, with the assistance of economists Ying Huang and Robert E. McCormick of Clemson University, has created a U.S. Economic Freedom Index. Published in association with Forbes, the Index is an important tool, not only for policymakers, but also for those seeking an improved understanding of the link between economic freedom and financial prosperity. Using data from more than 100 policy variables, this indispensable report examines five types of government intervention – fiscal, regulatory, judicial, size of government, and welfare – to rank America’s 50 states on their level of economic freedom. Which States are soaring? Which States are sliding? Our distinguished panelists will tell you.

The Commonwealth Foundation of Pennsylvania is already advertising the Keystone State's poor Index showing (No. 45) in order to encourage the Foundation's free-market philosophy. They're hosting a breakfast on the subject Monday. Looks like it's already becoming a useful tool. From a Foundation press release:

"Despite -- or perhaps because of -- Pennsylvania politicians' attempts to generate economic prosperity through taxpayer subsidies and government intervention in the marketplace, the commonwealth ranks 45th among the 50 states in economic freedom," said Grant R. Gulibon, senior policy analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation.  "And that lack of freedom is shrinking Pennsylvanians' paychecks."

 

Posted on 11/16/04 11:49 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Heaven Forfend!

Liberal campus activists and other local intellectual lights are positively fuh-reaking out over the prospect of a Western Civ course of study at The University of North Carolina. Everyone on the blue, blue island of Chapel Hill is appalled that they may have to study the rich, white men who, by the way, created our great liberty-loving nation. Horror of horrors!

Me: uhh, it didn't have one already? Let me get this straight. I had been paying NC taxes until this past year for a minor in sexuality but not Western Civ?

Read Jon Sanders' take on this on the John Locke Foundation blog (includes fun, paranoid, lefty campus e-mails). He's on the front line of this fight (me: I can't believe we actually have to fight for Western Civ). Sanders also offers a typically paranoid, lefty political cartoon from the local paper. To cheer him up, I offer another political cartoon from the same paper, this one from cartoonist John Cole, who gets it.

UPDATE: Jon Sanders informs me that the proposal is simply for students to have the option to study Western Civ. It would not be required. So, now let me get this straight. To liberals, more majors to choose from=less academic freedom. Sorry, they're gonna have to run that nuance by me one more time.

 

Posted on 11/15/04 03:23 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

The Trouble With Socialism

Heritage Policy Weblogger explains what happens when a health care plan ala Hillary and Kerry is actually put into place. The short version: it doesn't work and even the Democrat governor of the state has to call it a disaster. Read the Weblogger and send it on to those of your friends who still think socialized health care is a good idea.

Posted on 11/15/04 02:42 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Give Me Back My Stuff!

According to a new Goldwater Institute study:

Arizona law enforcement agencies have used a legal tactic known as civil asset forfeiture to confiscate over $64.5 million of private property since 2000, a new Goldwater Institute report documents.  Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to confiscate property connected to a crime without ever filing criminal charges against the property owner.

The report shows asset forfeitures constitute a sizable percentage of many agency budgets. Statewide, nearly one of every five dollars received from confiscated property—almost $11 million—went directly into the pockets of prosecutors and police in the form of employee compensation.

The report argues that the due process clauses in the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions require law enforcement officials to impartially administer law, but Arizona’s civil forfeiture law threatens that goal.

Posted on 11/15/04 01:15 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Apparently, Colin Powell is...

Announcing his resignation.

Posted on 11/15/04 10:22 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Florida Court of Appeals Strikes Down School Choice

The full 1st District Court of Appeal in Florida struck down the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program on Friday-- a program that already has 730 children currently participating statewide. The program will be allowed to continue while this case moves to the Florida Supreme Court. From the Institute for Justice press release:

In an 8-5-1 ruling, Judge William Van Nortwick declared that Opportunity Scholarships violate the Florida Constitution’s Blaine Amendment by “aiding” religious schools that receive scholarships from participating students, even though Opportunity Scholarships aid parents and children, not schools.  Judge Van Nortwick also wrote a nearly identical opinion in August striking down the program when a three-judge panel of the same court first heard the case.

But courts in other states with similar provisions, including Wisconsin and Arizona, have rejected that argument, ruling that neutral school choice programs aid parents and children, not schools. IJ also points out that several other publicly-funded scholarships in Florida have always let parents and students choose religious schoools if they so choose. This ruling also endangers 11 other scholarships and grants, IJ argues.

 

Posted on 11/15/04 09:53 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Terrorist or Bush Supporter?

That is the question for a Durham, N.C. writer for the local lefty tabloid, The Independent. Unfortunately, she doesn't know the answer. Thank you, Melinda Ruley, for putting a good face forward for my hometown.

 

Posted on 11/12/04 09:44 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

Election Aftermath in Colorado

Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute in Colorado has a few words in the Institute's weekly e-mail about the Left's victories in his home state this election. Republicans and conservatives were happy all over the nation Nov. 3 with the notable exception of Colorado, where Democrats took the U.S. Senate seat, the 3rd Congressional District, regained the state House and Senate and passed a ton of taxes.

So how did Democrats orchestrate such an incredible coup? Colorado's Amendment 27 (campaign finance reform) was supposed to eliminate big money from concentrated interests in elections. Didn't happen. As the Rocky Mountain News reported, a handful of very wealthy and very liberal individuals outspent Republicans three to one. We call them the Axis of Ego. It's interesting that the Left worked so hard to keep big money out of elections yet was the beneficiary of four very wealthy individuals who used campaign finance law to purchase power under the gold dome.

But Caldara's not giving up:

Keep in mind that in our twenty years, Independence has worked mostly with gridlocked state government due to a Republican controlled legislature along with Democrats in the governor's office. Even with that combination, our ideas of flat tax rates, charter schools, open enrollment, and privatizing governmental services like RTD have become reality. We are looking forward to working with the new leadership as we take on new challenges. Any way you look at it, it's going to be fun!

It's a whole new ballgame and we are ready to play.

 

Posted on 11/10/04 03:03 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Saying Goodbye to a Fellow Fighter

Larry Reed of the Mackinac Center says farewell to a great fighter in the quest for limited government-- the late Richard H. Headlee of Michigan.

Hat tip, The Corner.

Posted on 11/09/04 02:46 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Reporter Meets Free Market, Confusion Ensues

You've got to read this to really understand where the mainstream media are coming from (and then laugh at them). This is a Q&A exchange between a Raleigh News & Observer staff writer and Robert Goldberg of the Manhattan Institute. They're talking about the flu vaccine shortage. Questions from the staff writer include:

  • How much profit is enough?
  • Do you think everyone should be vaccinated under some sort of universal coverage?
  • What's wrong with the government assuring people of $25 flu shots?
  • Why should consumers be asked to pay more money for flu shots, with the pharmaceutical industry being among the most profitable sectors in the economy?
  • What's wrong with getting a break on the cost of a flu shot?

And my personal favorite:

  • What do you think of proposals to figure out the value of vaccines by calculating the costs of existing without them, looking at hospitalizations, lost productivity and the like?

Goldberg then finds himself explaining to a grown woman who lives in a capitalist society (and purports to report the news about that society) that, "the way markets work, you don't have somebody sitting in a chair saying, "Here's what the price should be."

Oh. My. Gosh. She's ready for a whole new government agency to handle determining prices of flu vaccines (uhh, isn't that what caused the shortage?). She has no idea this is not necessary and never has been. It fazes her not that there is no Bureau of Toothbrush Pricing or Ministry of Fried Chicken Distribution (knock on wood!) because we don't need them. Also, keep in mind that the News & Observer is a 100,000 circ. paper, which means this young lady has to have been a reporter for between two and five years to even be writing for it.

Yikes, and I'm the ignorant red-stater?

Read Heritage's take on what really caused the shortage. Hint: it's something we red-staters (at least my red state of N.C.) like to call the "gummint." 

Posted on 11/09/04 01:16 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

If You Still Feel Like Gloating...

... go here.

If you feel like getting started on some policy problems, go here. Gloaters are also welcome when finished gloating.

Plenty of rich, wonky goodness for you in the InsiderOnline.org database.

Posted on 11/09/04 12:45 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

I Knew He Was Gonna Say That!

President Bush yesterday said he earned political capital in this election and he's going to spend it-- on Social Security and tax reform. What a smart investor!

Now, the conservative movement can get behind him and try to figure out exactly how to fix both. In light of all that, I present the first edition of the new Insider, which is being mailed this week. After the redesign of this site, we at The Heritage Foundation redesigned the print Insider as well, and the first issue is filled with features about-- you guessed it-- Social Security and tax reform. 

Read about the changes to the Insider here. And check out the pdf version or your own print version for a good read on timely issues. We hope the magazine will be helpful to all of you fighting for these big reforms. Let's get started!

Posted on 11/05/04 02:13 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Lessons in American Democracy

Tara Ross just lays it out for the Electoral College haters, here. The Founders never intended a direct democracy, and what they gave us is infinitely better:

Despite (Founders') strong statements against democracy, the Founders were also strong advocates for self-government, and they often spoke of the need to allow the will of the people to operate in the new government that they were crafting. "Notwithstanding the oppressions & injustice experienced among us from democracy," Virginia delegate George Mason declared, "the genius of the people must be consulted."32 James Madison agreed, speaking of the "honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government."

Their fierce opposition to simple democracy ran headlong into their determination to allow the people to govern themselves--and they knew that voters in small states would need to be free to govern themselves, just as would citizens in large states. The Founders reconciled these seemingly conflicting needs by creating a republican government, organized on federalist principles, in which minorities would be given many opportunities to make themselves heard.

Read it and print it for your friends who cry foul over the Electoral College, though I have a feeling there will be fewer this year than in 2000.

Posted on 11/04/04 02:07 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

What's on the Agenda?

Top priorities for Bush's second-term? Tax reform, Social Security reform, and tort reform.

Yeah, we've  got  that.

Check out InsiderOnline.org research on all the new reforms that may come up this term. Conservatives disagree on how to reform, but we'll figure it out. Get started here.

Posted on 11/04/04 12:49 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

For Wonky Updates...

If election-fever is making you sweat right now, try No Left Turns for Ohio analysis (including Dems trying to suppress Republican votes; won't hear about that on CNN!), The Corner for those crucial every-3-seconds updates, and the Townhall C-Log for colorful poll experiences.

If you're still undecided (ha!), check InsiderOnline.org's Federalism, Governing and Elections section for information on the candidates' positions and more mouthing off about this nearly-over election.

Daschle v. Thune also has... Daschle v. Thune updates, and the Locker Room has the Burr v. Bowles NC Senate race handled. More blogs on individual races as I find them. In the meantime, take a deep breath.

UPDATE: Policy Weblogger sends this link to New Hampshire blogging.

Posted on 11/02/04 12:13 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

Tired of Looking at the Electoral Map?

Take  break. Try this map on for size. The Lexington Institute's education project has developed this map, which points out all the schools in Virginia that are failing according to No Child Left Behind standards. Don Soifer, who created the map said it has been useful in pushing school choice in the state. 

 

Posted on 11/01/04 11:28 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

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