March 12, 2009
The Sun or CO2: which is a better fit?
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 4:12 PMAt this week's International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute and co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation, climate scientist Dr. Willie Soon discussed the possibility that the temperature variations over the last 120 years is better explained by changes in solar radiation (the sun) than increasing carbon dioxide concentrations.
The pair of graphs below, from Soon's PowerPoint presentation, looks at changes in Arctic temperatures and correlates them with both variables. You decide which is the better fit (click on the image for the full size):
The picture is similar for global temperatures.
(For Soon's entire presentation click here and go to Tuesday 7-8:30 AM.)
Budget(s) on the way
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:20 PM
Gov. Beverly Perdue won't be the only one rolling out a state budget plan next week. (We learn some of its details here.)
Joe Coletti has been cranking out the numbers for his alternative plan as well.
Sell government golf courses
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 1:22 PM
Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute's Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, argues here that Phoenix should sell its six city owned and operated golf courses.
Cities argue that
municipally owned businesses can turn a profit and offer a desirable
service. Then why doesn't Phoenix open up gas stations and sell fuel at
subsidized costs? By contrast to golf courses, that might actually help
working people make ends meet.
Trust me, I'm not suggesting that
cities get into more businesses. Rather, cities should stick to
providing essential public services like police and fire, and leave it
to the private sector to furnish the goodies.
Phoenix ought to
sell its golf courses and collect taxes on them to fund the essential
services that are in such dire straits. Or perhaps they can use the
proceeds to provide a "golf course dividend" rebate to taxpayers, who
can use it to pay their mortgages, buy food--or among the lucky, play
North Carolina's cities are also in the golf course business. JLF reports show that they lose lots of taxpayer money. The JLF "City and County Issue Guide 2008" summarizes the losses noting Thomasville lost more than $600,000 per year and Wilson lost more than $200,00 per year. For complete details see JLF reports on golf courses owned and operated by these cities: Thomasville, Lexington, Wilson, Burlington, Gastonia, Goldsboro, Mooresville and Sanford.
EMC Postpones Ruling on GHG Reporting
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:39 AM
At this morning’s Environmental Management Commission
(EMC) meeting, the commission decided that it would postpone any ruling
on whether or not to add greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the Annual
Emissions Reporting rule, which would require emissions of CO2 and
other GHGs to be reported to and recorded by the state, until its next
meeting in May.
This decision was allegedly made in lieu of a recent 1,400 page proposal by the EPA
of “a rule that requires mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions from large sources in the United States,” and the fact that
the commission members needed time to analyze just exactly what the EPA
has said concerning the possibility of national reporting.
However, it also might because there is a great deal on contention
about whether or not the EMC has statuatory authority to even rule on
this issue, as Daren Bakst notes in his most recent spotlight.
This delay is great news, especially when you have an all time high of 41% of people saying that "seriousness of global warming" is exaggerated, according to a new Gallup poll.
Parents for Educational Freedom reacts to U.S. Senate vote
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:36 AM
From Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina:
North Carolinians Eye Fate of D.C. Scholarship Program
Educational leaders speak out for more, not less, innovative programs
Raleigh, NC (March 12, 2009) – North Carolina educational leaders are reacting to a U.S. Senate vote on Tuesday to cease funding the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as part of the omnibus spending bill.
An amendment failed this week that would have removed language cutting funding for the scholarship program from the stimulus bill. North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan (D), whose three children attended private schools, was among those who voted against the amendment to save the program, which currently serves more than 1,700 low-income, mostly minority children.
Darrell Allison is President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, a statewide nonprofit organization that supports increased educational options. “North Carolinians should heed these national decisions,” said Allison. “In tough economic times, government needs an innovative approach to education now more than ever.”
Unless a separate reauthorization bill is passed, participating families who currently receive up to $7,500 a year for tuition at nonpublic schools will have to return to the public school system.
“This is another situation of lawmakers not making an informed decision or—worse—not funding an exploratory program because the results don’t fit their political agendas” said Julie Emmons, M.Ed., who is an adjunct instructor at Elon University. “Research on K-12 vouchers and the D.C. program in particular compels us to look at the issue more openly. Unfortunately, most people put more research into what kind of car they buy than they do into the type of education our children receive.”
Emmons warned that the decision could have a trickle-down effect on educational policy at the state level. “North Carolina lawmakers are also showing a tendency to ignore the efficacy of charter schools,” she said. “The waiting lists at these schools demonstrate a growing disconnect between policy makers and parents.”
Principal Rita Haire at High Point Christian Academy expressed similar disappointment. “The people who should be advocating for the success of at-risk, minority and low-income students are instead denying them the same educational opportunities that their own children enjoy,” said Haire, a doctoral candidate in education at UNC-Greensboro. “The driving force behind such decisions should be what is in the children’s best interests, not politics.”
“We stand with the families in D.C. in hoping that Senator Hagan and her colleagues to put politics aside and pass a bill reauthorizing scholarships for the district’s neediest children,” Darrell Allison concluded. “All children, regardless of socioeconomic background, deserve a chance to succeed.”
You might remember that PEFNC has pushed for education tax credits in North Carolina, including credits for parents of children with special needs.
Report praises NC's improved graduation rate, but...
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:35 AM
In a new report from the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University, researchers praise North Carolina for posting a 3.6 percent increase in the statewide graduation rate, but they caution,
This progress, however, must be tempered with the acknowledgement that except for Kentucky all of these states [Tennessee, Alabama, New York and North Carolina] still have overall graduation rates below the national average. The report does not explain how these states increased their graduation rate, but they suggest that Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) awards may have had a role.
Re: Comparing 1774 and 2009
Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:23 AM
George, apropos of your post, I have been considering a comparison between the early years of the Revolutionary War and the present day in that the deck is so stacked against those fighting for liberty that, for now, the freedom fighters' strategy (as was Gen. Washington's) is to avoid ignominious defeat, wage battles that are most likely losing propositions but that will at least delay tactical advance to the illiberal forces, and always be prepared for a chance of victory à la Trenton, Princeton, and Saratoga — victories for morale as well as for the vitality of the cause of liberty, clearing a path for freedom's eventual triumph.
IBD runs my op-ed on Obama and higher education
Posted by George Leef at 08:48 AM
Today's Investor's Business Daily runs an op-ed piece of mine on how Obama fudges the Bureau of Labor Statistics data to make it seem as though the country desperately need to put more people through college.
I also take issue with his notion that there would be some big prize for the country if it were to, as he wants, have the world's highest percentage of college grads by 2020.
Editorial provokes morning chuckle from lowly policy analyst
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:11 AM
This Charlotte Observer editorial tackles a serious issue - public school layoffs. It makes a few good points. For example, I agree that the county manager "should exhaust all other kinds of reductions before he asks for cuts that might require teachers to lose their jobs."
But the chuckle-worthy passage comes a bit later in the editorial.
The state can help. Gov. Bev. Perdue can make good on her pledge to get more money into the classrooms in her budget to be unveiled next week. No sleight-of-hand, please, governor. Those dollars must not be given from one pot only to be taken away from another. Early scenarios still show deep cuts in public school funding. School systems would still have to make up millions. (Emphasis mine) Nearly everyone expects to see some "creative budgeting" when Perdue unveils her budget next week!
Comparing 1774 and 2009
Posted by George Leef at 08:09 AM
Writer Edward Cline compares the situation Americans faced in 1774 with that of the present day here.
So, what was going on in 1774? Parliament had passed the Intolerable Acts, a series of laws meant to put the colonists firmly under the thumb of the British crown. The people were to be squeezed and ordered about for the purpose of raising revenue for the government -- for spending that suited the King and his retinue.
I have been thinking about the comparison this way. The king and his minions didn't care about the freedom of the colonists, but merely saw them as resources for the fulfillment of the government's aims. That's exactly how the Obama/Pelosi/Reid gang see us. Our rights to pursue our own aims in life end as soon as they conflict with their glorious vision for a "better" society. Individual liberty means as little to Obama as it did to King George.
But what about the Austrians?
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:00 AMJoseph Epstein tells us in the latest Newsweek that many economists have lost their credibility, since they failed to predict the current economic crisis.
I notice that he mentions no Austrian economists, who would gladly tell anyone who agrees to listen that an economic boom based on artificially inflated credit is bound to bust. It’s all about malinvestment.
Samuelson sees through the rhetoric
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AMOne of Newsweek’s most sensible writers, Robert Samuelson, offers this early assessment of our new president;
To those who believe that Barack Obama is a different kind of politician—more honest, more courageous, more upfront—please don't examine his administration's recent budget. If you do, you may sadly conclude that he resembles presidents stretching back to John F. Kennedy in one crucial respect. He won't tax voters for all the government services they want. That's the main reason we've run budget deficits in 43 of the past 48 years.
Barack Obama is a great pretender. He constantly says he's doing things that he isn't, and he relies on his powerful rhetoric to obscure the difference. He has made "responsibility" a personal theme, and the budget's cover line is "A New Era of Responsibility." He claims that the budget begins "making the tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline." It doesn't.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM
Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Daren Bakst's latest research into potential carbon dioxide regulation the Environmental Management Commission is considering.
John Hood's Daily Journal discusses the role of monetary policy in our current economic mess.
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