Thursday, February 14, 2008

Obama’s Global Tax Proposal Up for Senate Vote

A nice-sounding bill called the "Global Poverty Act," sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, is up for a Senate vote on Thursday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations. —

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We're #5! We're #5! We're #5!

In the WSJ, Mary Anastasia O'Grady replicates the 14th edition of the Index of Economic Freedom (researched and produced by the WSJ and the Heritage Foundation)-- and discusses the connection between economic freedom, productivity and prosperity...


Are the world's impoverished masses destined to live lives of permanent misery unless rich countries transfer wealth for spending on education and infrastructure?

You might think so if your gurus on development economics earn their bread and butter "lending" at the World Bank. Education and infrastructure "investment" are two of the Bank's favorite development themes.

Yet the evidence is piling up that neither government nor multilateral spending on education and infrastructure are key to development. To move out of poverty, countries instead need fast growth; and to get that they need to unleash the animal spirits of entrepreneurs.

Empirical support for this view is presented again this year in The Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, released today. In its 14th edition, the annual survey grades countries on a combination of factors including property rights protection, tax rates, government intervention in the economy, monetary, fiscal and trade policy, and business freedom.

The nearby table shows the 2008 rankings but doesn't tell the whole story. The Index also reports that the freest 20% of the world's economies have twice the per capita income of those in the second quintile and five times that of the least-free 20%. In other words, freedom and prosperity are highly correlated.

The 2008 Index finds that while global economic liberty did not expand this year, it also did not contract. The average freedom score for the 157 countries ranked is nearly the same as last year, which was the second highest since the Index's inception. This is somewhat of an achievement considering the rising protectionist and anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S., the uncertainty created by spiking global energy prices, Al Gore's highly effective fear mongering about global warming, and the continuing threat of the Islamic jihad....

Although overall global economic liberty did not expand, there were a few stars. Egypt was the most improved economy in the world, implementing major changes to its tax policies and business regulation environment and jumping to number 85 from 127th place last year. Mauritius was the second-best performer, moving into the top 20 from No. 34 last year. Trade liberalization and improved fiscal policies, including a flat tax, made Mongolia the third-best performer, and put it in the category of "moderately free" economies....

protectionism and bullying

Steven Landsburg on free trade and protectionism in the New York Times (hat tips: Melanie Hughes and Linda Christiansen)...

Landsburg is the author of two popular-press books I use in my Econ courses: The Armchair Economist and Fair Play-- provocative books on the "economic way of thinking"...

In the days before Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary in Michigan, Mitt Romney and John McCain battled over what the government owes to workers who lose their jobs because of the foreign competition unleashed by free trade. Their rhetoric differed — Mr. Romney said he would “fight for every single job,” while Mr. McCain said some jobs “are not coming back” — but their proposed policies were remarkably similar: educate and retrain the workers for new jobs.

All economists know that when American jobs are outsourced, Americans as a group are net winners. What we lose through lower wages is more than offset by what we gain through lower prices. In other words, the winners can more than afford to compensate the losers. Does that mean they ought to? Does it create a moral mandate for the taxpayer-subsidized retraining programs proposed by Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney?

Um, no. Even if you’ve just lost your job, there’s something fundamentally churlish about blaming the very phenomenon that’s elevated you above the subsistence level since the day you were born. If the world owes you compensation for enduring the downside of trade, what do you owe the world for enjoying the upside?

I doubt there’s a human being on earth who hasn’t benefited from the opportunity to trade freely with his neighbors. Imagine what your life would be like if you had to grow your own food, make your own clothes and rely on your grandmother’s home remedies for health care. Access to a trained physician might reduce the demand for grandma’s home remedies, but — especially at her age — she’s still got plenty of reason to be thankful for having a doctor.

Some people suggest, however, that it makes sense to isolate the moral effects of a single new trading opportunity or free trade agreement. Surely we have fellow citizens who are hurt by those agreements, at least in the limited sense that they’d be better off in a world where trade flourishes, except in this one instance. What do we owe those fellow citizens?

One way to think about that is to ask what your moral instincts tell you in analogous situations. Suppose, after years of buying shampoo at your local pharmacy, you discover you can order the same shampoo for less money on the Web. Do you have an obligation to compensate your pharmacist? If you move to a cheaper apartment, should you compensate your landlord? When you eat at McDonald’s, should you compensate the owners of the diner next door? Public policy should not be designed to advance moral instincts that we all reject every day of our lives.

In what morally relevant way, then, might displaced workers differ from displaced pharmacists or displaced landlords? You might argue that pharmacists and landlords have always faced cutthroat competition and therefore knew what they were getting into, while decades of tariffs and quotas have led manufacturing workers to expect a modicum of protection. That expectation led them to develop certain skills, and now it’s unfair to pull the rug out from under them.

Once again, that argument does not mesh with our everyday instincts. For many decades, schoolyard bullying has been a profitable occupation. All across America, bullies have built up skills so they can take advantage of that opportunity. If we toughen the rules to make bullying unprofitable, must we compensate the bullies?

Bullying and protectionism have a lot in common. They both use force (either directly or through the power of the law) to enrich someone else at your involuntary expense. If you’re forced to pay $20 an hour to an American for goods you could have bought from a Mexican for $5 an hour, you’re being extorted. When a free trade agreement allows you to buy from the Mexican after all, rejoice in your liberation — even if Mr. McCain, Mr. Romney and the rest of the presidential candidates don’t want you to.

trade, trade, go away-- come again, some other day?

John Harwood in the WSJ on diminishing support for "free trade" among Republican voters...

That's not good...

By a nearly two-to-one margin, Republican voters believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy, a shift in opinion that mirrors Democratic views and suggests trade deals could face high hurdles under a new president....

Six in 10 Republicans in the poll agreed with a statement that free trade has been bad for the U.S. and said they would agree with a Republican candidate who favored tougher regulations to limit foreign imports. That represents a challenge for Republican candidates who generally echo Mr. Bush's calls for continued trade expansion, and reflects a substantial shift in sentiment from eight years ago....

The new poll asked a broader but similar question. It posed two statements to voters. The first was, "Foreign trade has been good for the U.S. economy, because demand for U.S. products abroad has resulted in economic growth and jobs for Americans here at home and provided more choices for consumers."

The second was, "Foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy, because imports from abroad have reduced demand for American-made goods, cost jobs here at home, and produced potentially unsafe products."

Asked which statement came closer to their own view, 59% of Republicans named the second statement, while 32% pointed to the first....

With numbers like that-- among Republicans-- is it time for a Ross Perot/Pat Buchanan redux?

what does God think about work and entrepreneurship?

Scripture gives us a strong indication. Genesis 2 is most famous for its description of marriage. But what preceded that? Work. We learn that work without relationship is not fulfilling, but that our Kingdom work precedes even marriage. In Genesis 1, we’re told that we’re made in the image of a Creator God—and thus, we are built to work, to create, to be “entrepreneurial”, and so on.

Unfortunately, society and some within the Church are neutral or even hostile toward those who are productive, those who operate businesses, and those who take risks within the economy.

On Saturday February 23rd at 8:15 AM, following the Saturday Morning Men’s Bible Study at Southeast Christian Church, I’m going to host a showing of the Acton Institute’s movie “The Call of the Entrepreneur” in the Fireside Room—a movie about a farmer, a banker, and a Chinese businessman. After the 58-minute movie, we’ll have a panel discussion about work, wealth, and entrepreneurship within a Christian worldview—with Doug Cobb, Bill Heinz, and me.

The movie has a light Christian touch—and so it’s ideal for people who might have mild to significant allergies toward the Church. We hope to see you there—and hope that you know people who would benefit from the movie and our discussion.

You can view the movie’s trailer at:

Friday, February 8, 2008

AFAI launches radio campaign; promotes SJR7

From Micah Clark:

(Indianapolis) - The American Family Association of Indiana PAC has launched a groundbreaking radio ad campaign urging Hoosiers to contact their legislators in support of traditional marriage. The ad titled "Confused Children" features children questioning the implications of same-sex marriage in Indiana.

These powerful new 60-second spots are, have or will air on radio stations in the following cities across Indiana:

Franklin / Greenwood
Fort Wayne
Michigan City
South Bend

The ads are appearing on talk, country and Christian formats on both AM and FM bands.
More ►

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mike Pence: Democrat rewrite will destroy successful HIV/AIDS program

Members of Congress and community leaders will hold a press conference 90 minutes before the House Foreign Affairs Committee mark-up of legislation to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The conference will underscore the importance and success of the current PEPFAR policy programs and highlight provisions in the Democrat rewrite that threaten to destroy the popular, successful HIV/AIDS program.

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Representative Mike Pence (R-IN)
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Represenative Don Manzullo (R-IL)
Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Representative Marilyn Musgrave
Rick Warren, Senior Pastor, Saddleback Church
Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship
Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman, High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC)
Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America
Dr. Ezra Suruma, Minister of Finance, Uganda
Dr. Obi Ideh, OB/GYN, Lagos, Nigeria
Day Gardner, President, National Black Pro-Life Union

Thousands sign marriage protection petitions

Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana says nearly 8,000 Hoosiers have signed petitions asking Scott Pelath (D - Michigan City) to allow a committee hearing, a vote and to support SJR 7: the Marriage Protection Amendment.

“Rep. Pelath is the one person now standing in the way of allowing Hoosiers to have a voice on the issue of same-sex marriage in Indiana. Rep. Pelath’s decision to allow SJR 7 to go to the full House floor, or to block the measure will determine if two million Hoosier voters, or a lone unelected judge, will decide the future of marriage in Indiana,” said Micah Clark, Executive Director of AFA of Indiana.

Same-sex marriage advocates want to use the courts to force society, including schools and churches, to embrace homosexual or polygamous relationships as the moral and legal equivalent of a married husband and wife.

Currently, Iowa, a state where its House passed an amendment in 2005 but the Senate refused, is embroiled in a legal battle after a judge overturned Iowa’s 1998 DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in favor of same-sex marriage.

Around a dozen states have had legal challenges to their marriage statutes from homosexual activists seeking to redefine marriage. Thirty states have protected their marriage laws from similar lawsuits with constitutional amendments. — AFAI

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Senate looks to extend bogus stimulus package

From the C-J, an update from Julie Davis on the Senate's version of the stimulus plan (a topic I have addressed quite a bit elsewhere)...

In a blatant attempt to buy our votes with our own money-- or more properly, the next generation's money-- the Senate is now looking to pass a $200+ million stimulus package.

The House proposal now looks like it was put together by cheapskates. Usually, the Senate is more circumspect, but here they're even more profligate.

An economic aid plan to send rebates of $600-$1,200 to most taxpayers passed a key test Monday in the Senate, where Democrats are pushing to add more than $40 billion in help for seniors, disabled veterans and the unemployed.

Democrats were ratcheting up pressure on Republicans to support the add-ons, part of a proposal to pump $204 billion into the economy over the next two years. The House passed its $161 billion economic stimulus package last week with overwhelming backing from both parties.

The Senate voted 80-4 Monday evening to advance that package, setting the stage for a test-vote as early as Wednesday on Democrats' much larger proposal.

The Senate measure would send $500-$1,000 rebates to a wider group of people than the House measure covers, add $14.5 billion in jobless benefits and include $5.6 billion in renewable energy tax breaks over the next 10 years. The rebates would extend to 20 million senior citizens and 250,000 disabled veterans left out of the House bill because they don't earn enough to qualify....

"All Americans should know that their rebate checks will not be delayed a single minute as a result of our debate," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV said.

This pandering is going to make me violently ill...

Drew Carey on the "struggling" middle class...

There are certainly policies which do unnecessary economic damage to the middle class, the lower-middle class, and the working poor-- most notably, our government's insistence on monopoly provision of educational services, Social Security, and payroll taxes.

But Drew makes a wonderful set of points in this ReasonTV production-- with quite a bit of help from Michael Cox-- with research from his book with Richard Alm, Myths of Rich and Poor.


if I hear one more person say...

This or that candidate knows how to "run the economy"...

It's most often said of supporters of Romney who has the strongest business background, but I've heard it debated among those in the Romney, McCain and Huckabee camps. (No one in the Paul camp would make such an error!)

This is not a centrally-planned economy. So, the President will not run the economy. In fact, he (or she) probably won't influence the day-to-day economy all that much-- other than, perhaps, trying to run it into the ground.

Is having a business background preferable? Perhaps. But keep in mind that being "pro-business" is not the same thing as being "pro-market". Often, business leaders seek anti-market measures in trying to enrich themselves at the expense of the general public.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Walker honors Stewart

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) joined others, Monday, in presenting a resolution he co-authored honoring Tony Stewart during a ring ceremony on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives. Stewart received his 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard champion’s ring from Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George after the resolution was read.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Thanks, Kevin

WCSI News Director, Kevin Keith, is moving up and out of his current position at the Columbus-based radio station.

Kevin has been a genuine champion of fair-and-balanced news reporting.

During his tenure he has interviewed a number Indiana Libertarian candidates along side Republicans and Democrats. Dr. Eric Schansberg, Mike Kole, myself and others have been honored to sit at the microphone at WCSI's studios — thanks to Kevin Keith.

Kevin's last day will be Friday, February 1st.

He will be missed!

Rights vs Liberties

Question for Indiana Libertarians and conservatives:

One year in jail + $10,000 fine for speaking one's mind.

Is this "social tolerance"?

Watch 2-minute video, then answer.

HB 1076 would provide a greater penalty for insulting a homosexual outside a gay nightclub than punching an elderly grandmother outside a hospital (unless the grandmother happened to be a lesbian).

By specifying specially protected persons against bias (such as national origin) it excludes others (such as state origin) by default. Calling someone a dumb Mexican will be constituted a hate crime. Calling someone a dumb New Mexican will not be constituted a hate crime.

While Libertarians are to be praised for their support of human rights, they should object when those "rights" replace liberties.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Noonan on talk radio and presidential politics

The second half of Peggy Noonan's essay in the Wall Street Journal-- this time focusing on the Republican race and the connections to talk radio...

As for the Republicans, their slow civil war continues. The primary race itself is winnowing down and clarifying: It is John McCain versus Mitt Romney, period. At the same time the conservative journalistic world is convulsed by recrimination and attack....

The rage is due to many things. A world is ending, the old world of conservative meaning, and ascendancy. Loss leads to resentment. (See Clinton, Bill.) Different pundits back different candidates. Some opportunistically discover new virtues in candidates who appear at the moment to be winning. Some feel they cannot be fully frank about causes and effects.

On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues....

And this needs saying, because if you don't know what broke the elephant you can't put it together again. The party cannot re-find itself if it can't trace back the moment at which it became lost. It cannot heal an illness whose origin is kept obscure....

And now, her assessment of Romney vs. McCain-- and the perception thereof...

Mr. McCain is in the middle of a shift. Previous strategy: I'm John McCain and you know me, we've traveled through history together. New strategy: I'm the old vet who fought on the front lines of the Reagan-era front, and I am about to take on the mantle of the essentials of conservatism—lower spending, smaller government, strong in the world. He is going to strike the great Reagan gong, not in a way that is new but in a way that is new for him.

In this he is repositioning himself back to where he started 30 years ago: as a Southwestern American conservative veteran of the armed forces. That is, inherently if not showily, anti-establishment. That is, I am the best of the past.

Mr. Romney, on the other hand, is running as I Am Today. I am new and fresh, in fact I'm tomorrow, I know all about the international flow of money and the flatness of the world, I know what China is, I can see you through the turbulence just as I saw Bain to success.

It will all come down to: Whom do Republicans believe? Mr. Romney in spite of his past and now-disavowed liberal positions? Or Mr. McCain in spite of his forays, the past 10 years, into a kind of establishment mindset that has suggested that The Establishment Knows Best?

Do conservatives take inspiration from Mr. Romney's newness? Or do they take comfort and security from Mr. McCain's rugged ability to endure, and to remind?

It is along those lines the big decision will be made.

GOP and fiscal conservatism don't mix

From Robert Novak at further evidence that fiscal conservatives continue to be marginalized within the GOP. Apparently, if you want fiscal conservatism, you're going to have to look elsewhere.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell completely shut down any negative talk about earmarks during the closed-door Senate GOP retreat Wednesday at the Library of Congress, rejecting demands by anti-earmark reformers.

Sen. Ted Stevens, the senior Republican senator and former Appropriations Committee chairman who is under federal criminal investigation, delivered a pro-earmark lecture. He was seconded by two other appropriators, Robert Bennett and Kit Bond.

A footnote: The House Republican retreat at the Greenbrier resort, starting Thursday, scheduled a full-scale debate on earmarks. There was little chance, however, for the GOP congressmen to pass a quarantine on Republican members requesting earmarks this year.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are liberals open minded?

When I was in high school a teacher challenged me to be more open-minded -- like her.
As a flaming liberal her view was that conservatives -- like me -- had closed our minds to her way of thinking. The thought that liberals -- like her -- never considered conservative views never entered her "open" mind. (Perhaps the door was open; but her thinking was so cluttered there was room for reason.

In his more recent column, Larry Elder points us to "a biennial survey conducted by the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies uses a scale from 0 to 100 — 0 meaning shoot-the-person-on-sight hatred, and 100 meaning find-a-place-for-him-on-Mount-Rushmore adoration. The 2004 survey then asked 1,200 adults to define themselves politically."

"Sixty percent of these extreme liberals gave Messrs. Bush and Cheney a 0. In other words, six out of ten Americans on the far left found that no evil, heinous person in the world could be worthy of more hatred than Bush and Cheney."


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

we're all Keynesians-- again?!

From the editorialists at the WSJ, more on the Bush/Congress rumblings about "economic stimuli"-- and Bernanke's fumble in front of Congress-- a topic of recent blogging activity with more to come: not a good sign...

So famously declared Richard Nixon back in 1971, in what we thought was a different economic era. But after yesterday, we're not sure what decade we're in. With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and President Bush both endorsing temporary tax cuts and more federal spending as "fiscal stimulus," an inflation-adjusted version of Jimmy Carter's $50 rebate can't be far behind.

Appearing before Congress, Mr. Bernanke told Democrats what he thought they wanted to hear. The former academic economist blessed a "fiscal stimulus package," as long as it is "explicitly temporary." How new federal spending can be "temporary," he didn't say, as if a dollar collected in taxes or borrowed and then spent can be recalled.

The "temporary" line was thus a dagger aimed directly at the heart of Mr. Bush's desire to make his tax cuts permanent. The Fed chief did aver that, "Again, I'm not taking a view one way or the other on the desirability of those long-term tax cuts being made permanent." But of course refusing to endorse something is itself a point of view -- a point Democrats were already joyfully repeating yesterday.

Instead, Mr. Bernanke embraced the explicit Keynesian notion that the government should write checks to "low and moderate income people," who will spend it quickly and thus lift consumer demand. In the academic literature, this is called having a higher "marginal propensity to consume" than the more affluent, who tend to save more.

We're all for putting more money in the hands of the poor and moderate earners, especially via stronger economic growth that will give them better paying jobs. But the $250 or $500 one-time rebate check they may now receive has to come from somewhere. The feds will pay for it either by taxing or borrowing from someone else, and those people will have that much less to spend or invest themselves. We are thus supposed to believe it is "stimulating" to take money from one pocket and hand it to another....

No wonder stocks sold off yesterday after Mr. Bernanke endorsed this 1970s' economic show.

A fiscal stimulus that really stimulates would change incentives, and do so permanently so workers and investors can know what to expect and take risks accordingly. One problem with the increasingly "temporary" nature of the Bush tax cuts is that they are beginning to introduce new political risk into economic decisions. Though they expire in 2010, everyone understands that a new President and Congress could act to raise taxes as soon as next year. Mr. Bernanke could have educated the public about this business expectations problem, but then Democrats would have been upset....

Mr. Bernanke can expect to get pressure no matter what he does, and perhaps he figured the way to get more monetary running room was to give Congress what it wants on spending. If so, it doesn't inspire much trust in us that he can hold fast on monetary policy either. And speaking of the 1970s, what markets may really fear is that we are entering another period of "stagflation," slower growth with rising prices, and without political or economic leaders who understand what to do about it.

One truth that Mr. Bernanke did speak yesterday is that it is a mistake to rely on monetary policy alone to spur economic growth. It's a shame, then, that his testimony makes it that much less likely that we'll get any genuine "stimulus" from fiscal policy.

payback for Pence?

Apparently, Planned Parenthood has decided to get (much) more aggressive in opposing pro-lifers and supporting pro-choicers in Congress. For years, Democrats and then Republicans in control of Congress were perfectly willing to send federal taxpayer monies to Planned Parenthood. But in the most recent Congress-- after the Republicans had lost their majority-- Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) proposed a bill that would prohibit any federal funding to abortion providers.

Either PP is finally getting its political act together-- or the Pence proposal has finally awakened both the Republicans in Congress and the PP politicos.

From Brody Mullins in today's WSJ (hat tip: Linda Christiansen)...

For the first time, abortion-rights advocate Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. is launching a major effort to elect pro-abortion-rights candidates to Congress and the White House in November.

The nation's largest reproductive-health-care provider plans to spend $10 million in hopes of persuading one million people to vote for abortion-rights candidates in the 2008 election. Planned Parenthood will roll out its election plans today to mark the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal.

With its "One Million Strong" campaign, Planned Parenthood becomes the latest Washington interest group to launch an independent effort to elect candidates who back its priorities. Since Congress enacted a campaign-finance-reform law banning large financial contributions to the Republican and Democratic parties, a growing number of individuals, labor unions, corporations and other interest groups have started or boosted their own campaigns to elect like-minded candidates....

In all, Emily's List hopes to exceed the $46 million it raised for the 2006 election. Another abortion-rights organization, Naral Pro-Choice America, plans to spend $10 million on the general election.

Together, the efforts by the three abortion-rights groups are the most aggressive attempt by abortion-rights advocates to elect like-minded candidates -- most of whom are likely to be Democrats....

Until recently, Planned Parenthood hadn't played a role in elections. In 2004, the organization endorsed Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry for president, marking the first time it had endorsed a presidential candidate in its 90-year history. In 2006, Planned Parenthood lent its backing to a handful of Democratic candidates for governor.

Officials at Planned Parenthood say they decided to move into the campaign arena because they say reproductive rights are under assault by Republicans....

are Bush and the Congress causing the stock market plunge?

Two scenarios are possible here:

They may be bringing unnecessary attention to a soft economy, causing people to think things are worse than they are. Interestingly, falling consumer confidence can become a self-fulfilling prophecy to some extent.

In dealing with a soft economy, the proposals for short-term band-aids are perceived as so bad or meaningless that the market is responding negatively.

Today's news

Dungy Staying in Indianapolis WCSI News
The Indianapolis Colts held a press conference this afternoon to announce that Tony Dungy will remain as head coach for the Colts for the 2008-2009 season.

Downtown Luncheon to Address Education in Global Economy — WCSI News
Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus is taking reservations for "Maintaining America’s Competitiveness in the 21st Century Global Economy: The Role of P-16 in Education."

Local Man Dies — WCSI News
A former Democrat Party activist and Cummins executive has passed away. Richard better known as “Dick” Stoner died Saturday.

Man Kills Woman Before Committing Suicide — WCSI News
Indiana State Police are calling the deaths of two people in Decatur County a murder-suicide.

Cemetery Fraud — WCSI News
In what state officials called a raid of 22 million in trust fund money has the owner of a cemetery and funeral home on State Road 135 and his wife facing multiple criminal charges.

Family Court Project gets $10,000 grant — WCSI News
The Four-County Family Court Project in Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson and Lawrence counties will receive a $10,000 grant from the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration.

Sheriffs Department Sex Offender Registry — WCSI News
Beginning January 28th, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting state mandated annual registration of convicted sex and violent offenders, who reside or work within Bartholomew County.

Renewable Energy Bill Considered In House Committee — WCSI News
An Indiana House committee is expected to vote this week on a bill that requires most electricity suppliers in the state to increase renewable energy resources.

Governor's Property Tax Bill Advances To Indiana House — WCSI News
A committee vote has sent the property tax plan proposed by Governor Mitch Daniels to the full Indiana House of Representatives.


Here are the options...
Yes, I know it's against the law to carry a pistol on the trail, but which
would you prefer – breaking a bureaucratic rule or getting your brains knocked
out and then being decapitated?

That question was raised by Charley Reese while commenting on the woman recently murdered while hiking the Apalachian Trail. She "might be alive today if she had tucked a pistol into her backpack or fanny pack." [source]

Monday, January 21, 2008

Libertarianism for 1st graders

from Joshua Katz on

I remember only one event from first grade. It happened on the first day of school...The school had a milk program, where parents could pay each week for their children to receive a pint of milk at snack-time. My parents had paid, and so I was to receive milk at snack.

As the school day began, the teacher settled down the class and taught us the basic rules for the classroom. Some were familiar...However, one was new and unusual – if you have something to say, raise your hand, don’t just shout or jump out of your seat....

Nonetheless, this rule immediately struck me as wise and worth obeying. I was quite clear that any reasonable person would choose to follow this rule, given that the consequence would be that all others would follow it too. Even lacking universal assent, it would work unilaterally too – those who choose to follow it can simply ignore anyone jumping around and screaming to get his point across. I resolved to follow it immediately and flawlessly.

Such was my state of mind when snack time came around, and the teacher asked, "Who has a milk account?" I responded the way I considered proper – by raising my hand. My fellow milk-drinkers, though, immediately began to jump out of their seats and shout. Having just learned of the alternative to such behavior, I considered their actions atrocious and quite unsuited for polite society. I kept my own counsel, and kept my hand raised.

You can probably figure out where this all led – I didn’t get any milk that day....

Libertarians often find themselves in a similar position. We support principles that we know everyone else has learned, and it seems that most people in polite society believed in them at some point. We were taught as children about not hitting other people, and we still believe it. Sure, we have more developed philosophies now, stronger arguments for why we ought not to hit people, but the basic principle remains. There are basic rules, like not hitting people, without respect for which no human society can function.

Even the rules regarding self-defense find themselves expressed in elementary school terms. The only viable defense, when caught hitting another child, is "he started it." Any just teacher will recognize that, even if the response was not quite proportional, the child who hit the other first deserves at least more blame. So, libertarians grow up understanding, along with everyone else, that the only time it might ever be acceptable to use force is in response to an aggressive attack. Then we find our neighbors advocating all kinds of force – wars of aggression, taxation, imprisonment for non-violent crimes. It seems as unfathomable to us that people would promote such things as it did to me that the only way to get milk was to break the hand-raising rule. No parent allows their children to take toys away from other children, but rather they encourage their children to share their own toys. Yet the children grow up to think that they can take away people’s property to give it to others, and to not share their own wealth.

As a result, we libertarians often find ourselves tongue-tied in debate. We can address all the economic issues, and point out the utilitarian benefits of liberty, but that’s not what we really want to do. We want to point out the morality of freedom, the evil of coercion – but we are unable, precisely because it is so obvious to us. We cannot effectively answer those who say "We must imprison drug users because it’s the government’s job to protect people from themselves," because it is so unbelievable to us that anyone would think it acceptable, nay, obligatory, to hit someone who has not hit someone else himself. I am often reduced to looking at such a person with a mix of horror and incredulity, and wondering how someone can think such a thing.

We make what seem to us completely obvious points – that we ought to follow our basic moral codes, and the necessary rules for civilization. We think that this ought to work, just like I expected raising my hand to work. We are puzzled by those who proudly and arrogantly proclaim that they are above the rules for civilization, just as I was puzzled by the fact that the children who broke the rules got their milk.

Consider the masses who laugh at libertarianism. Ask them just what, exactly, they oppose. Is it the idea of private property? Is it opposition to theft, or to murder? These are the fundamentals of our position, are they not? Or do they challenge the application of the position to specifics? Would they maintain that it is something other than theft to take away money from Peter to give it to Paul? What word is more applicable?

You’ll quickly find that most don’t oppose anything specific at all. They just think libertarians are weird, kooky – and to a certain extent, we are. While the diversity of the movement continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we remain a somewhat eclectic bunch. How could it be otherwise in a world with a public education system, where "normal" folks are taught never to look behind the curtain? Yet, this is no argument against our positions. In an insane world, only those who appear out of step with the rest will be sane. I appeared weird to my classmates, too, when I sat quietly, following the rules, and raising my hand. When breaking important rules is profitable, why not join those who break them? Look around you – success is in the government sector! Why not join in? Why not indeed. How about – because it is wrong to hit people?...

Most people will not spontaneously become libertarians when they become aware of the contradictions, but if libertarian ideas are in view when they are made aware of it, then they are likely to be persuaded. This is how our movement will grow. So, our goal must be outreach and education. We must remember, though, never to beat anyone over the head with our message – we need only to put it out there, to present it well, and they will come, just as supporters from all communities have flocked to Ron Paul....

Our message, although dressed up and more cogently argued, really is nothing more than the kindergarten creed. But adults cannot embrace what they learned in kindergarten, they fear they will look foolish. So we must argue for it through economics and through philosophy, but the message is still the same – don’t hit people. Go forth and spread the word.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

America's 2nd Muslim Congressman will be from Indiana

INDIANA — Andre Carson, grandson of the late Congresswoman Julia Carson, is favored to win the March 11 congressional election. The special election was called after the elder Carson's untimely death. The younger Carson would be the second Muslim to serve in the US Congress. [source]

Carson told journalist Ruth Holladay that he frequently attends the Nur-Allah Islamic Center in Indianapolis and was influenced as a teen by Malcom X and Nation of Islam (NOI) members. While he claims he is not a member of the Nation of Islam, the group's leader, Louis Farrakhan, spoke at the elder Carson's funeral in December.

Acceptable racism

From it's racialist perspective, the National of Islam can be understood as the black counterpart to the white Christian Identity Movement (CIM). Both embrace nationalist racial fervor and harbor intolerant views of other races. Both favor racial separation and anti-semitism is a common theme in both groups.

The difference is that the NOI is typically accepted as a valued alternative cultural component while the CIM is universally condemned. An example is David Shaheed of Marion Superior Court (Indianapolis). He is not only a practicing Muslim, but serves as an Imam. The racialist views of Shaheed's religion are seldom questioned. Imagine, however, the furor that would arise if a Superior Court judge were a minister of the Christian Identity Movement. Or image the media frenzy if a Christian Identity Movement minister were a welcomed speaker at a white congressional leader's funeral. Shaheed, by the way, is Carson's father-in-law.

What are the chances?

Carson's victory on March 11 can best be described as "inevitable."

Carson's district, Indiana's 7th, has been drawn to isolate Democrats in their own political ghetto. It encompasses much of Indianapolis. Outer areas of the city are attached to surrounding Republican strongholds. The district has been written off by Republicans who dutifully run token candidates. The GOP's sacrificial lamb for this election is State Rep. Jon Elrod. Note Elrod's views on Medicaid and Social Security by clicking on his site below.

Carson currently serves as a councilman on the Indianapolis City-County Council.

View Carson's Web site here ►
View Elrod's Web site here ►
View Christian Identity Web site here ►
View Nation of Islam Web site here ►

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy 80th Birch Bayh

Birch Bayh turns 80 years old January 22.

Also turning 80 this year are:

Fats Domino
Eddie Fisher
Orson Bean
Joyce Brothers
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Rosemary Clooney (d 29-Jun-2002)
James Coburn (d 18-Nov-2002)
Tony Franciosa
James Garner
Che Guevara (d 9-Oct-1967)
Robert Indiana
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Roddy McDowall (d 3-Oct-1998)
Walter Mondale
Roger Mudd
John Nash
Fred Rogers (d 27-Feb-2003)
Marion Ross
Vidal Sassoon
Shirley Temple
Dick Van Patten
Andy Warhol (d 22-Feb-1987)
James Watson
Adam West
Ruth Westheimer

Burton, Ellsworth win CMF Gold Mouse Awards

Congressmen Brad Ellsworth and Dan Burton recently received "Golden Mouse" awards for their Web sites.

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) considers accessability of 618 congressional sites, including Senate and House Members, committees, and leadership.

View lists of award winners ►

Friday, January 18, 2008

No Nukes? Go Nukes!

Two in a row on this topic-- this entry inspired by excerpts from Spencer Reiss' review of Gwyneth Craven's Power to Save the World in the Wall Street Journal...

"Power to Save the World" is a picaresque, flat-out love song to the bad boy of the great American energy debate -- as good a book as we're likely to get on a subject mired in political incorrectness, general unfathomability and essentially limitless gut fears. It's also the latest plot point for one of the few unassailably positive byproducts of global-warming mania: the quiet emergence of pro-nuke greens, led by such impeccable apostates as Whole Earth founder Stewart Brand and James Lovelock, the British chemist best known for his Earth-is-a-living-organism "Gaia hypothesis."...

The book's subtitle -- "The Truth About Nuclear Energy" -- could come straight off some forlorn industry-group handout. That's not meant as criticism.

In fact, it's hard not to read Ms. Cravens's book as a 400-page indictment of the nuclear power industry's tragic-comic inability to tell its own story. Going all the way back to Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986) -- disasters that look a lot less disastrous in retrospect, as Ms. Cravens discovers -- the industry has swapped missionary zeal for a hair shirt and a defensive crouch....

...half the fuel in America's nuclear reactors -- in other words, the source of 10% of the country's electricity, far higher in (shock, horror) super-nuclear Vermont -- comes from dismantled Soviet bombs. A Coke can will handily contain all the uranium needed for a legendarily high-powered U.S. lifetime of electricity. (The coal equivalent is 68 tons.) Here's a fun fact: Walking through Grand Central Terminal's granite corridors hits you with more radiation than a similar stroll through a nuclear power plant. Special for paranoids: Depending on where you live, a third or more of your daily dose of radiation comes from your own body's isotopes. Cheers!...

Of course, nuclear power's funnest fact is: zero carbon....

Toward the close of "Power to Save the World," Mr. Anderson lets Ms. Cravens in on a wry engineering (and science-fiction) term for magical fixes: unobtanium. In today's energy discourse, unobtanium includes hydrogen, biomass, cellulosic ethanol, negawatts, Jimmy Carter's cardigans and any other dream technology that someone can come up with to avoid focusing on the epic problem of keeping an ever-brighter planet's lights burning.

Another cute bit of knowing jargon pops up in Richard Rhodes's introduction to "Power to Save the World." It neatly encapsulates 98% of public discourse about nuclear power: "secondhand ignorance." Ms. Craven's firsthand portrait of the devil we know won't fix that by itself, but it is -- appropriately -- illuminating.

oh no, another sub-optimal tax cut from Bush?

Among income tax cuts, economists distinguish between those that
a.) simply send money to people; and
b.) those that cut marginal tax rates on income.

Bush's two modest tax cuts, early in his administration, were one of each. And most of what I'm hearing about contemporary proposals is cutting more checks for people.

Unfortunately, economists are not nearly as excited about A as they are about B. Both types of tax cut can put the same amount of money in people's pockets-- and thus, both increase consumption and investment. But only B gives people a greater incentive to engage in productive behavior (since they get to keep more of the fruits of their labor).

Connecting this to economic theory, A is a Keynesian tax cut and B is a "Supply-side" tax cut (since it directly changes the incentives for product and labor supply). Bush's tax antics are making it easier for me to teach Macro. But it's a sub-optimal policy choice.

The other problem with A is that it does not increase productive behavior. So, it is merely moving resources from one area to another-- or here, from the future to the current. We would finance such tax cuts with more debt. Thus, future taxpayers will pay a greater tab while current taxpayers catch a break.

Unfortunately, a crucial point like this will probably be relegated to the sidelines, trampled by the political excitement of sending and receiving a big check from the government. The argument will get some play, but probably not enough to influence policy-- when most of our leaders don't understand basic concepts in economics.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


News from the statehouse is Senate Bill #2 SCHOOLBOARD ELECTIONS AT GENERAL ELECTION TIME passed out of committee, 6-4, YESTERDAY!!! The bill still has a long ways to go, but it's a start. Republicans voted for, and democrats against, this very important piece of legislation that would take school boards out from under the thumb of the teachers union, and their wasteful spending on fancy school buildings and needless travelling to fabulous vacation destinations to learn how to deliver "social justice" to students who desperately need to learn how to read, write, compute, and think. Legislators have tried to pass this twice before. Let's pray we get lucky, and the third time is charms! It's time we had a school board that represented this COMMUNITY and PARENTS instead of the homosexuals, illegal immigrants, school architects, and liberal dingbat educational consultantants out of IU, California and Vermont.

Billie Whitted

Defending free speech means defeating HB 1076

Indiana House Bill 1076 adds hate crime provisions to Indiana's legal system.

Specifically HB 1076, "Requires law enforcement officers to receive training in identifying, responding to, and reporting bias crimes." Requiring Indiana's police to be subjected to the subjective philosophy of multiculturalism should be, in itself, reason to defeat the bill."

HB 1076 also "Allows an individual who suffers a personal injury or property damage caused by a criminal offense to bring a civil action to recover damages, including punitive damages, if the person who committed the offense knowingly or intentionally selected the victim because of specified" racial or behavioral peculiarity.

In other words, if a black guy mutters "cracker" while robbing a white guy, the white guy can bring civil action against the black guy. However, if the white guy calls the black guy "cracker" during a hold up, the black guy has no cause for civil action since "cracker" is not deemed a racial slur when passing from white to black.

Some worry that the speech, alone, will constitute a crime. Because the legislation includes the behavior characteristics of sexual orientation and gender identity, it is suspected that the law would be used by gays to sue critics who cause them emotional discomfort.

Classes of persons identified by HB 1076 are victim's actual or perceived:

• color
• creed
• disability
• national origin
• race
• religion
• sexual orientation
• gender identity
• sex
• homelessness

Not covered are:

• hair color
(Assaulting a blond while telling a blond joke will bear no addition risk of liability.)

• state origin
(Hating someone from Mexico is wrong; hating someone from New Mexico is ok.)

• age
(Mugging the elderly will still be illegal, but uttering slurs such as "geester" and "curmudgeon" will not lead to civil action.)

• attractiveness (Robbing people because you think they are ugly will carry no additional liability. You may even say, "you're ugly" while you snatch the victim's MasterCard.)

• intelligence
(Saying "dumb blond" during a purse snatching will also be perfectly OK.)

• atheism
(While faith-based muggings are included, attacking someone for not being religious bears no additional consequence. Or is believing nothing a creed?)

• home style
(Homeless victims may seek punitive damages if targeted specifically because of their homelessness. Residents of YMCAs, flop houses, rescue missions and card board boxes, however, will be exempt from the law's provisions.)

Read the bill here ►

Indiana's 3-step tax plan scam to raise taxes

1 - Raise property taxes in 2007
2 - Promise to lower property taxes by increasing sales tax in 2008.
3 - Lower property taxes to their pre-2007 rate.*

Net result: Property taxes remain the same but we feel good about increased sales tax.

*In reality, property taxes will be lowered, but not as low as pre-2007 rates.

Opinion: How diversity
and multiculturalism promote racism

by Kenn Gividen

The 2008 Mindy Lewis Above and Beyond Diversity Awards were presented Monday night. The recipients and Ms. Lewis are to praised for their efforts to advance a harmonious culture.

Good intentions, however, do no always produce the desired outcome. The awards should remind us that efforts of multiculturalists often result in more discrimination, more racism and more resentment among people groups.

Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D., and Gary Hull, Ph.D. are among those who point to the adverse effects of multicultural programs. Racism, they note, is the notion that one's race determines one's identity. By emphasizing ethnic diversity multiculturalism promotes racism.

Properly our focus should be on individual achievement.

"The diversity movement claims that its goal is to extinguish racism and build tolerance of differences," say Berliner and Hall. Collective identity, however, defies individualism. Acknowledging the worth of individuals, regardless of race, is the valid alternative.

Humans are not viewed by multiculturalists as individuals, but as mere racial components. "To the multiculturalist, race is what counts—for values, for thinking, for human identity in general," they add.

Diversity proponents further the notion of celebrating differences. That requires emphasis on racial distincitves; those attriubes that make us different. It "means we're being urged to glorify race...we're being asked to institutionalize separatism."

In short, multiculturalism fails to build bridges between races. Rather, it cuts deep chasms of separation by over-emphasis of racial distinctives and identity.

Read the complete article by Berliner and Hall here ►

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

a tax increase is a tax decrease?

This was an odd thing for the C-J to use to supplement their description of Governor Daniels' "State of the State" address and his property tax plan.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has asked for a tax increase in each of his four State of the State addresses:

Perhaps it was just convenient to note that there is a tax increase within his property tax reform proposal (as in other years)-- or maybe the C-J is trying to influence/tilt the debate.

In any case, on net, the governor's proposal reduces taxes-- at least, at the state level-- by about $700 million. True, local governments would still be able to increase local option income taxes to make up for lost property tax revenue. But at most, Daniels' proposal is revenue-neutral, not a net tax increase.

Baron, Mike and me on politics and family

From Sunday's Jeff/NA News-Tribune, three essays from Sodrel, Hill, and me-- on politics and family...

Baron's essay emphasizes political activity, but also calls people to pay attention to local issues and encourages policy debate. Mike's essay reads like a primer on U.S. Civics-- emphasizing knowledge and the purpose and processes of politics over political activity per se.

My essay is more similar to Mike's in focusing on knowing what we're doing in politics more than activity for its own sake. Here's part of what I wrote:

Over and above politics, my wife Tonia and I want to teach our kids to have a coherent Christian worldview of government: When is it appropriate to use government as a means to various ends? In what context is it okay for the government to take money from some people in order to give it to others? (When one child takes a toy from another, I often half-joke with them that they can't do that since “you're not the government”.) When should we get the government to prevent people from doing something - or to force them to do something else? Under what conditions should our country attack another country?...

The most poignant moment in the campaign was when one of my sons asked if I would win. I said probably not. He asked if I would finish second. Again, I said probably not - that I'd probably lose by a lot. I could see the puzzled look on his face, because he usually sees me being “successful”. It was a great opportunity for me to convey the crucial idea that you have to do the right thing, even if you don't think that you'll win.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The new AIDS: S.F. gay community an epicenter for new strain of virulent staph

For sounding the alarm on gay-related health risks I've been saddled with the slur, "homophobe," and consigned to piƱata status by militant gay-extremist hate groups.

But the new strain of highly resilient staph bacteria may be difficult for even the most obstinate of militants to deny.

Below is the report from the San Francisco Chronicle:

A new variety of staph bacteria, highly resistant to antibiotics and possibly transmitted by sexual contact, is spreading among gay men in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, researchers reported Monday.

The study released online by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found the highest concentrations of infection by the drug-resistant bug in and around San Francisco's Castro district and among patients who visit health clinics that treat HIV infections in gay men in San Francisco and Boston.

The culprit is a form of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bug that was once confined to hospitalized patients but, since the late 1990s, has been circulating outside medical settings, afflicting anyone from injection-drug users to elementary school students. A strain called USA300 has been a leading cause of MRSA infection in this decade, and an exceptionally drug-resistant variant of it is now on the loose, researchers say.

The study estimated that 1 in 588 residents living within the Castro neighborhood 94114 ZIP code area is infected with that variant, which is resistant to six types of commonly used antibiotics. The risk of contracting this difficult-to-treat bug is 13 times greater for gay men than for the rest of the city's population, researchers found.

"We probably had it here first, and now it is spreading elsewhere," said Binh An Diep, a researcher at San Francisco General Hospital and lead author of the report. "This is a national problem, and San Francisco is at the epicenter."

The germ typically causes boils and other skin and soft-tissue infections and, despite its resistance to some drugs, is still treatable by surgical drainage and several classes of antibiotics. What is unusual in this case is the high percentage of infections - up to 40 percent - occurring in the buttocks and genitalia.

Although researchers have stopped short of declaring this form of staph a sexually transmitted disease, the infections are found where skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activity.

Most of the infections are limited to the skin surface, but the bacteria can invade deeper tissues or disseminate through the bloodstream. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, various forms of MRSA are causing 95,000 of these more costly and potentially life-threatening infections - and 19,000 deaths - annually in the United States.

Until last year, staph infections had never been linked to sexual activity. Early last year, New York City physicians traced three instances of staph infection apparently spread by sexual contact. Their report was published in February in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

A month later, doctors from the Albany Medical Center in New York reported in the Journal of Urology three cases of multi-drug-resistant staph in the groins of three patients - one of whom developed a form of rapid-tissue destruction popularly known as "flesh-eating bacteria" disease. The patients recovered after treatments with surgery and antibiotics.

San Francisco General Hospital physicians have been battling an aggressive strain of MRSA, called USA300, since 2001. The most recent study estimates that this strain alone is infecting about 2,000 city residents a year.

But the latest problem is being caused by a new variant of USA300 that was first detected in a San Francisco patient in 2003. Among the six antibiotics it is resistant to are three that are normally considered for treatment of suspected MRSA. The study estimated that 200 cases of this highly drug-resistant variant are turning up in San Francisco each year, mostly among gay men.

"We are nowhere near the peak," Diep said. "The peak will occur when it spreads into the general population."

Diep said there is reason to believe that the more drug-resistant strain will make that leap because it is just a slight variant of USA300, which became one of the most common strains of MRSA in the United States only a few years after it was first detected.

The latest study focuses on the spread of the more drug-resistant strain in San Francisco and Boston, but reports of the bug are turning up in New York and Los Angeles.

Just why the new, more drug-resistant variety is concentrated among gay men is not yet known. Patients infected with HIV appear to run a higher risk of infection, but the study suggests that gay men are being infected with the staph germ regardless of whether they are HIV-positive.

One factor that could be in play is a medical history of heavy use of antibiotics, which creates conditions for breeding drug-resistant strains. Any patient, HIV-positive or not, who has had high previous exposure to antibiotics might be more susceptible.

The good news is that, once the public is aware of the risk, there are ways to prevent the spread of drug-resistant staph. It can be as simple as soap and water.

"Taking a shower after sexual contact may minimize contamination," said Dr. Chip Chambers, director of infectious diseases at San Francisco General, a co-author of the study. "Ordinary soap will do. It dilutes the concentration of bacteria. You don't need antibacterial soap."

Chambers stressed that some people, no matter how fastidious, could be more prone than others to staph infections. They could have unknown genetic traits or a history of antibiotic use that raises the risk.

"Despite one's best efforts, it is still possible, of course, to get a staph infection," he said. "This is why if one has a cut or open wound that it is important to clean it out and keep it clean."

The new variant of USA300 is resistant to the antibiotics erythromycin, clindamycin, tetracycline, Cipro-like antibiotics and drugs in the penicillin family. It also does not respond to mupirocin - a gel that is often used to kill MRSA growing in people's noses.

That still leaves a variety of antibiotics that will kill the new USA300 strain, but they tend to be more expensive and require intravenous drips. One common oral antibiotic, Bactrim, is still effective against it.

Chambers also pointed out that researchers at San Francisco General have shown that many skin sores and boils caused even by these drug-resistant strains of staph often can be treated without any antibiotics, just by surgical drainage of pus.

One of the paradoxes of bacterial infections is that using antibiotics to treat them is one of the quickest ways to promote antibiotic resistance. Although the drugs sometimes are essential, overuse is weakening their effectiveness worldwide. [source]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

News for January 15, 2008

East to offer C4 Biomed Classes
Columbus East High School will begin a new biomedical sciences program when school starts in August. Bartholomew Consolidated School Board voted unanimously Monday to join a number of schools nationwide piloting the Project Lead the Way four-course sequence in the district’s C4 advanced Health Careers curriculum. BCSC offers a PLTW Engineering sequence. The biomedical program, supported by four years’ state funding, will begin with the Principles of Biomedical Sciences course. If successful, the course will be joined by one new course, open to all students in C4-participating schools, each fall for the next three years.

Mindy Lewis Diversity
BCSC school board awarded the 2008 Mindy Lewis Above and Beyond Diversity Awards Monday night. The awards went to Jay Cherry, Nancy Conner, Peggy Myers, Mary Ellen Nelson, and Dana Nyffeler. BCSC is very excited about the interest being generated for the Columbus Signature Academy. Director of secondary education Bill Jensen says there are already over 500 applicants for the 480 spots in K-9.

Indiana Legislature
The Indiana General Assembly is discussing Property Taxes in some form just about every day. State Representative Milo Smith says he had a chance to speak with Governor Mitch Daniels last week and says just yesterday, there was some good news on the House Floor where democrats and republicans on both sides of the isle said they would like to work together to see the Governors plan for property tax relief implemented. His plan would increase the state sales tax to 7 cents on the dollar, shift child welfare and some school costs to the state, limit local government spending to a rolling six-year average personal income growth, require referendums for major building projects and eliminate township assessors.

Flat Rock FD Fundraiser
The Flat Rock Volunteer Fire Department is going to have a fundraiser this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the fire department on State Road 252. Doyle Swanson says the fundraiser is for a new tanker. Cost for the meal is $6.95 for all you can eat, but the fire department will also take any other donations that you are willing to give.

Commissioners Pass Zoning Ordinance
WCSI NewsThe Bartholomew County Commissioners passed a comprehensive replacement zoning ordinance on the first reading for the county on Monday. The plan will now go to city council Wednesday night for approval and be read and voted on a second time at the commissioners meeting on January 28th. Bartholomew County Commissioner Carl Lienhop said the plan needed to be updated. The commissioners passed the ordinance after changes were made to the including an increase in the number of very small animals allowed on a particular property and changing telecommunications towers to conditional use from permitted use.

Delinquent Taxes to Come From Rebates
The Bartholomew County Commissioners passed an ordinance Monday that may leave some people without a Homestead Credit rebate. The ordinance allows for the 2007 additional Homestead Credit to be applied to delinquent property tax bills. Commissioner Carl Lienhop said the law was passed by the state to help counties. The commission also appointed Dennis Crider to the city plan commission to complete the term vacated by Joan Tupin Krietz.

Agreement Makes Meijer Founding Partner Of Colts' Stadium
WCSI NewsThe Indianapolis Colts have made retailing giant Meijer a Founding Partner of the team's new Lucas Oil Stadium. Meijer will have a themed area at the stadium, and also receive signage and advertising opportunities. Lucas Oil Stadium will be complete in time for the 2008 football season. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company operates 24 stores in Indiana. Meijer's Indianapolis Market Director Mike Frattini calls it a "very logical step" to broaden the company's relationship with the Colts. A statement from the team did not indicate a financial arrangement.

Study Finds Nursing As Biggest Job To Fill In Indiana
Registered nurses are in greater demand across Indiana than any other profession, according to a new study. The Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University has found that the number of nursing jobs will grow 30-percent by 2014. Rachel Justis with the IBRC says the need for registered nurses ranks first in seven of the state's 11 economic regions. A majority of the nursing expansion is expected in the southern half of Indiana. The average nurse's salary in the state for 2006 was well over 51-thousand-dollars. Accountants, auditors, elementary school teachers, and medical and health services managers are other Indiana "hot jobs," according to Justis.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Commission Approves Capital Projects

The following Capital Projects were recommended for approval during Friday’s meeting of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education:

Fort Wayne—New Construction and Renovation Project at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

Logansport—New Construction and Renovation Project at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

Greencastle—New Construction and Renovation Project at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

Senator Vaneta Becker votes against pro-life bill

Senator Vaneta Becker yesterday became the only Republican on the senate health committee to vote against Senate Bill 3, a bill that would protect Indiana pharmacists from being forced to dispense drugs that would be used for abortion, euthanasia, assisted-suicide or mercy killing.

The senator joined four of the most strident Democratic abortion supporters in the senate in opposing the bill, including Sen. Sue Errrington, a long-time Planned Parenthood employee and lobbyist, and Sen. Vi Simpson from Bloomington. Senator Becker's vote against the bill came in spite of hearing testimony from Karen Brauer, an Indiana pharmacist fired by K-mart in 1996 after refusing to dispense abortion-causing drugs in violation of her personal conscience.

more ►

Is Ron Paul an anti-gay racist?

Noting Ron Paul's association with the Mises Institute and libertarian Lew Rockwell, James Kirchick offers his musings in The New Republic that bear the title Angry White Man. The subtitle is more poignant: The bigoted past of Ron Paul

Kirchick points to past newsletters published by Paul that bear such phrases as "opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions," "if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be," and that black representative Barbara Jordan is "the archetypical half-educated victimologist" whose "race and sex protect her from criticism."

We then learn that libertarians are divided into two camps: The "urbane" CATO institute variety and the "neo-Confederates." We are left with the impression that Paul's views more accurately mesh with the like of Samuel T. Francis than Milton Friedman.

more ►

News for January 11, 2008

Cummins President Receives Award
Joe Loughrey has been named Global Business Person of the Year by the World Trade Club of Indiana. The award recognizes outstanding contribution to furthering Indiana’s international commerce. Loughrey was honored because of Cummins’ global success and because of his work in a statewide initiative to advance manufacturing and logistics. Loughrey will accept the award Jan. 29 at the Omni hotel in Indianapolis.

Another Meeting Scheduled
Due to a big turnout at Thursday’s informational meeting for Signature Academy students and their parents, BCSC school officials will conduct two more sessions at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Columbus Learning Center lecture hall and Lincoln Elementary School. School staff will be split between both locations. The upcoming deadline to enroll is Tuesday.

Phone Scam Reported in Seymour
Seymour Police Department is asking people not to respond to a telephone scam that hit the area Thursday. Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbot said they had three calls on Thursday. Initial investigations show that a person is calling local residents and saying that if they will meet the caller with $1,800 in cash they will receive a check for $25,000 or $30,000. None of those people reporting calls met with the caller or callers, Abbott said, but he said the public needs to know not to give any personal information to anyone over the telephone.

Arts Council Seeks Help with Tree Sweaters
The Columbus Area Arts Council is still seeking people who knit and crochet to help out with a public art project. Warren Baumgart, Executive Director for the arts council, says the project is knitting tree cozies for downtown. To get yourself or your group involved contact the arts council at 376-2539. Monday is the deadline to sign-up.

Worton Sworn in as Columbus Police Chief
James Worton was sworn in by Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong as Chief of the Columbus Police Department Thursday. Worton said he was grateful for attendance of his friends and family and that he was looking forward to the challenge of his new position.

Floyd Police Seek Suspect in Marijuana Operation
Floyd County police have charged a 38-year-old man with cultivating marijuana after investigators discovered nearly 600 fully grown pot plants and a pot-growing operation at the man’s residence. Police have asked Florida authorities for help in locating Thomas Hoffman, the owner of the home. He’s wanted on a felony warrant and was last believed to be in Florida. The plants were discovered after a neighbor of Hoffman contacted police about a suspected burglary in progress.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Walker: Eliminate Property Taxes on Homes

(STATEHOUSE) –Republican state senators say they are “intrigued and interested” by a new plan unveiled at the Statehouse today. Senate Joint Resolution 8 (SJR-8) would completely and permanently eliminate property taxes on owner-occupied homes statewide.

“I support the permanent removal of levies from dependence on property taxes,” Sen. Greg Walker said. “I also realistically acknowledge that the legislation may not unwind all the complexity in one general assembly session. Yet, we must start the process of constitutional protections now.”

more ►

News for January 10, 2008

Floyd Police Seek Suspect in Marijuana Operation
Floyd County police have charged a 38-year-old man with cultivating marijuana after investigators discovered nearly 600 fully grown pot plants and a pot-growing operation at the man’s residence. Police have asked Florida authorities for help in locating Thomas Hoffman, the owner of the home. He’s wanted on a felony warrant and was last believed to be in Florida. The plants were discovered after a neighbor of Hoffman contacted police about a suspected burglary in progress.

Nashville Boil Order
The town of Nashville has issues a boil order for State Road 46 West residents between the addresses of 2596 State Road 46 West to 4726 State Road 46 West, including Hickory Hills Drive, Somerset Lake, Cardinal Drive, Mockingbird Lane, Yellowwood Lake Road and Bambi Lane. Residents are asked to boil their driving and cooking water until Wednesday, January 16th until 3:00 PM.

Shelby Judge to Seek Re-Election
A Shelby County judge has announced his intention to seek re-election on Tuesday. Judge Jack Tandy has served as a judge in Shelby County since 1985. He began his judicial career in Shelby County Court, which became Shelby Superior Court No. 2 in 1989. Tandy successfully ran for the judgeship of Superior Court No. 1 in 1990 and is currently serving in that capacity. Superior Court No. 1 handles criminal felony and civil cases such as divorces and personal- injury matters and all the juvenile cases filed in the county. Juvenile cases include delinquency, paternity and child-welfare cases.

ISP Celebrating 75 Years
As the New Year of 2008 begins, the Indiana State Police are celebrating their 75th year of dedicated service to the citizens of Indiana . To celebrate this milestone, special anniversary cars have been commissioned. The anniversary cars are a throwback to the original black 1933 Chevrolet, complete with a bright INDOT yellow stripe. The Superintendent and all district Public Information Officer’s are receiving the new design, which will give Hoosiers across the state a chance to view this special car.

Bartholomew County Democratic Chair Steps Down
The Bartholomew County Democratic Party Chairman has announced his intent to step down. Scott Andrews says in a press release serving Bartholomew County has been a true “pleasure”. Andrews cited family and work as deciding factors in his decision to step down. Further, Jeff Schroer, who has been the committee treasurer for the past seven years, and who has served with Andrews at his request, has also indicated he will resign. The resignation will be effective February 1, 2008, or at such time as a new chairman has been elected pursuant to party rules. A caucus has been called for January 28, 2008 in order for a new chairman, treasurer, and secretary to be elected to the Central Committee.

Washington County Memorial Hospital
Washington County Memorial Hospital ’s EMS Department was named the recipient of a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to house a new Disaster Response truck and trailer for District 8 in Indiana . The grant, totaling over $174,000 provides a Ford F-350 truck and a 28 foot trailer that contains medical supplies to be used to treat patients in the event of a declared federal disaster or large-scale emergency situation. The truck and trailer contain enough medical supplies to provide care to approximately 300 people before needing to be restocked.

Search Warrant Sends 3 to Jail
Columbus Police Department narcotic officers served a search warrant at a Taylorsville Motel Saturday night, which resulted in the recovery of a substantial amount of crack cocaine. 30 year old Camille Mitchell of Indianapolis was arrested for dealing cocaine, possession of marijuana, and visiting a common nuisance. 37 year old Robert Driscoll and 40 year old Michael Whites, both of Edinburgh , were charged with felony possession of crack cocaine. An undercover Columbus Police Department Officer stated that the investigation remains ongoing and future recoveries and arrests highly probable.

  • Despite public meeting, landowners feel REX is imminent

  • Groups hope to snuff changes to smoking ordinance

  • Council gets its feet wet

  • Unknown factors leave fire’s cause undetermined

  • Smoke fills council chambers once again: New council vows to exclude private clubs from ban

  • Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department gets new clothes

  • Leading the way

  • The bridge is out

  • Clearing a road for retirement

  • A life of dedication
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    Advance America Releases Property Tax Repeal Study


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    [Indianapolis, IN] Eric Miller, Founder of Advance America today released the results of a professional study of their Property Tax Repeal Plan conducted by a respected professor at Indiana University, Dr. Craig L. Johnson.

    Miller was joined by the following Legislators who support the Constitutional Amendment to Repeal Property Taxes: Senator Phil Boots, Senator Dennis Kruse, Senator Brent Steele, Sen. Greg Walker, Senator John Waterman, Rep. Jim Buck, Rep. Woody Burton, Rep. Eric Koch, Rep. Cindy Noe, and Rep. Jackie Walorski. Also in attendance were individuals representing numerous taxpayer groups around the state and Attorney John Price who is the Chairman of the Indiana Property Tax Repeal Alliance, Inc.

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    Walker co-authors spending limits bill

    (STATEHOUSE) –Legislation to control and manage local debt was approved today by the Senate State Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. Senate Bill 18 is co-authored by Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus).

    “Approximately 24 percent of the net property tax levee is used for debt service, and the average annual increase of school and local debt was about 9.5 percent per year from 2000 to 2006,” Walker said. “If we want to control property taxes, we must control government spending. This bill encourages local government to pay off debt rather than extend it.”

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    Supreme Court to hear Indiana voter registration case today

    Indiana's strickest-in-the-nation voter registration law — one that requires requires anyone voting in person to present a current government photo ID — will be challenged in the United States Supreme Court today.

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    Wed., Jan. 9, 2008 — U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Indiana Democratic
    Party v. Todd Rokita and William Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

    America’s Exhibit Number One: an article in the Washington Times which
    begins, "voter turnout among Democrats improved slightly last year in Indiana,
    despite a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls
    ..." It goes on to describe a University of Missouri report that found Indiana's
    voter turnout increased about two percentage points, with the highest percentage
    of Democrats. Photo ID law didn't hurt turnout in Indiana By Stephen Dinan, November 27, 2007