Feed aggregator

Heartland Daily Podcast – Michael Bastasch: Upcoming ICCC10 Panelist, Talking Energy Policy

Somewhat Reasonable - 3 hours 12 min ago

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow Isaac Orr talks with The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch. Bastasch is going to be a panelist at the upcoming International Conference on Climate Change taking place in Washington D.C. on June 11 and 12. Bastasch and Orr discuss energy policy.

During the podcast, Bastasch and Orr touch on many topics including the climate change debate and renewable energy. Orr explains that his preference for oil and coal are based on renewable energy’s inability to compete at this time with fossil fuels. Bastasch explains that the time where renewable efficiencies equal that of fossil fuels may still be a ways off. Bastasch also gives a sneak peek as to the content of his presentation at ICCC10.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Weekly: Global Warming Skeptic Embarrasses Environmental Defense Fund in TV Debate

Blog - Education - 4 hours 44 min ago

If you don’t visit Somewhat Reasonable and the Heartlander digital magazine every day, you’re missing out on some of the best news and commentary on liberty and free markets you can find. But worry not, freedom lovers! The Heartland Weekly Email is here for you everyFridaywith a highlight show. Subscribe to the email today, and read this week’s edition below.

Why Does John Kerry Invest in Fossil Fuel Stocks?
Ron Arnold, The Daily Caller
John Kerry talks a good game about how we should all reduce our carbon footprint, but he doesn’t put his wife’s money where his mouth is. Kerry invests in at least 365 securities connected to fossil fuel industries.  Among the “sinners” in Kerry’s portfolio: ExxonMobil and a Canadian firm with ties to the Keystone XL pipeline. READ MORE

  

Obamacare Strains Emergency Rooms
Jim Waters, The Heartlander
Yet another Obamacare promise broken: Three-quarters of doctors responding to a nationwide survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians indicate they have seen an increase in ER visits since Obamacare became law. READ MORE

  

Video – Heartland Friend Marc Morano Embarrasses the Environmental Defense Fund in TV Debate
Jim Lakely, Somewhat Reasonable
Carol Andress, director of legislative operations for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), was humiliated in a televised debate with CFACT’s Marc Morano. It is impossible to overstate what a blow-out this debate was for Morano. He was the Harlem Globetrotters to EDF’s Washington Generals.  READ MORE

 

Featured Podcast: Dr. Brad Rodu on FDA’s Missing Tobacco Data
Heartland Senior Fellow Dr. Brad Rodu urges the Food & Drug Administration to “show its work.” Rodu says the raw data of taxpayer-funded studies on tobacco use are being kept from the public. Meanwhile, government agencies selectively release sound-bites to media outlets and spin the story towards preferred narratives. LISTEN TO MORE

ORE

 

 

Heartland – A Great Nonprofit If you love The Heartland Institute and its efforts on behalf of individual liberty and smaller government, tell the world! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference. GreatNonprofits – a review site like TripAdvisor – honors highly reviewed nonprofits with its Top-Rated Awards. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and takes only 3 minutes! GET STARTED NOW

No, Affordable Oil Will Not Cause A New Great Depression
James M. Taylor and Justin Haskins, Forbes
Fracking for oil and natural gas has created thousands of jobs in the United States. With those jobs come billions of dollars in government tax revenues and immeasurable U.S. economic benefits. What’s not to like? Democratic Party strategist Robert Weiner claims, implausibly, that America’s new energy boom will cause a new Great Depression. READ MORE

 

A New Threat to Privacy: Automated License-Plate Tracking
Jen Kuznicki, The Heartlander
“It’s alarming that one company said they gathered about three million records a day, scooping up info to sell to other companies and possibly the government,” said Melissa Ngo, privacy consultant and former senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “This is personal information about where you’ve been and where you’re likely go to, because most of us have set patterns for work, school, and home life.” READ MORE

 

How Google and Netflix Profit From FCC’s Net Neutrality Power Grab
Warner Todd Huston, The Heartlander
“Net neutrality is massive regulatory protectionism for government-crony businesses,” said Seton Motley, president of Less Government. “It outlaws charging bandwidth-hog companies for being bandwidth-hog companies, which means our Internet access prices skyrocket to augment the profits of companies like Google and Netflix.”  READ MORE

 

Bonus Podcast: Bruno Behrend on Common Core
Heartland Senior Fellow Bruno Behrend joins Dave Elswick to discuss the latest on Common Core. Behrend and Elswick talk about the popular perceptions of Common Core and public education, and why even more government control is not the solution to our educational problems.  LISTEN TO MORE

Obama Threatens States that Refuse to Expand Medicaid
Sean Parnell, The Heartlander
“The real scandal here is the citizens of states send their tax dollars to Washington, DC and the feds will only let them have their money back if they do what Washington wants them to do. It would be a great campaign theme for the various presidential candidates: The only tax money going to Washington should be for what the federal government needs to fulfill its limited, constitutional obligations.” READ MORE

RE

 

Why Government Deficits and Debt Matter
Richard Ebeling, Epic Times
CBO calculates that by 2025 “modest” annual budget deficits will add more than $7.5 trillion to the existing $18.3 trillion of federal government debt, for a total a decade from now of almost $26 trillion. This will be more than a 40 percent increase in the federal government’s debt over the coming ten-year period.  READ MORE

  Invest in the Future of Freedom! Are you considering 2015 gifts to your favorite charities? We hope The Heartland Institute is on your list. Preserving and expanding individual freedom is the surest way to advance many good and noble objectives, from feeding and clothing the poor to encouraging excellence and great achievement. Making charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations dedicated to individual freedom is the most highly leveraged investment a philanthropist can make. Click here to make a contribution online, or mail your gift to The Heartland Institute, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago, IL 60606. To request a FREE wills guide or to get more information to plan your future please visit My Gift Legacy http://legacy.heartland.org/ or contact Gwen Carver at 312/377-4000 or by email at gcarver@heartland.org.  

 

Heartland Weekly: Global Warming Skeptic Embarrasses Environmental Defense Fund in TV Debate

Somewhat Reasonable - 4 hours 44 min ago

If you don’t visit Somewhat Reasonable and the Heartlander digital magazine every day, you’re missing out on some of the best news and commentary on liberty and free markets you can find. But worry not, freedom lovers! The Heartland Weekly Email is here for you everyFridaywith a highlight show. Subscribe to the email today, and read this week’s edition below.

Why Does John Kerry Invest in Fossil Fuel Stocks?
Ron Arnold, The Daily Caller
John Kerry talks a good game about how we should all reduce our carbon footprint, but he doesn’t put his wife’s money where his mouth is. Kerry invests in at least 365 securities connected to fossil fuel industries.  Among the “sinners” in Kerry’s portfolio: ExxonMobil and a Canadian firm with ties to the Keystone XL pipeline. READ MORE

  

Obamacare Strains Emergency Rooms
Jim Waters, The Heartlander
Yet another Obamacare promise broken: Three-quarters of doctors responding to a nationwide survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians indicate they have seen an increase in ER visits since Obamacare became law. READ MORE

  

Video – Heartland Friend Marc Morano Embarrasses the Environmental Defense Fund in TV Debate
Jim Lakely, Somewhat Reasonable
Carol Andress, director of legislative operations for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), was humiliated in a televised debate with CFACT’s Marc Morano. It is impossible to overstate what a blow-out this debate was for Morano. He was the Harlem Globetrotters to EDF’s Washington Generals.  READ MORE

 

Featured Podcast: Dr. Brad Rodu on FDA’s Missing Tobacco Data
Heartland Senior Fellow Dr. Brad Rodu urges the Food & Drug Administration to “show its work.” Rodu says the raw data of taxpayer-funded studies on tobacco use are being kept from the public. Meanwhile, government agencies selectively release sound-bites to media outlets and spin the story towards preferred narratives. LISTEN TO MORE

ORE

 

 

Heartland – A Great Nonprofit If you love The Heartland Institute and its efforts on behalf of individual liberty and smaller government, tell the world! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference. GreatNonprofits – a review site like TripAdvisor – honors highly reviewed nonprofits with its Top-Rated Awards. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and takes only 3 minutes! GET STARTED NOW

No, Affordable Oil Will Not Cause A New Great Depression
James M. Taylor and Justin Haskins, Forbes
Fracking for oil and natural gas has created thousands of jobs in the United States. With those jobs come billions of dollars in government tax revenues and immeasurable U.S. economic benefits. What’s not to like? Democratic Party strategist Robert Weiner claims, implausibly, that America’s new energy boom will cause a new Great Depression. READ MORE

 

A New Threat to Privacy: Automated License-Plate Tracking
Jen Kuznicki, The Heartlander
“It’s alarming that one company said they gathered about three million records a day, scooping up info to sell to other companies and possibly the government,” said Melissa Ngo, privacy consultant and former senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “This is personal information about where you’ve been and where you’re likely go to, because most of us have set patterns for work, school, and home life.” READ MORE

 

How Google and Netflix Profit From FCC’s Net Neutrality Power Grab
Warner Todd Huston, The Heartlander
“Net neutrality is massive regulatory protectionism for government-crony businesses,” said Seton Motley, president of Less Government. “It outlaws charging bandwidth-hog companies for being bandwidth-hog companies, which means our Internet access prices skyrocket to augment the profits of companies like Google and Netflix.”  READ MORE

 

Bonus Podcast: Bruno Behrend on Common Core
Heartland Senior Fellow Bruno Behrend joins Dave Elswick to discuss the latest on Common Core. Behrend and Elswick talk about the popular perceptions of Common Core and public education, and why even more government control is not the solution to our educational problems.  LISTEN TO MORE

Obama Threatens States that Refuse to Expand Medicaid
Sean Parnell, The Heartlander
“The real scandal here is the citizens of states send their tax dollars to Washington, DC and the feds will only let them have their money back if they do what Washington wants them to do. It would be a great campaign theme for the various presidential candidates: The only tax money going to Washington should be for what the federal government needs to fulfill its limited, constitutional obligations.” READ MORE

RE

 

Why Government Deficits and Debt Matter
Richard Ebeling, Epic Times
CBO calculates that by 2025 “modest” annual budget deficits will add more than $7.5 trillion to the existing $18.3 trillion of federal government debt, for a total a decade from now of almost $26 trillion. This will be more than a 40 percent increase in the federal government’s debt over the coming ten-year period.  READ MORE

  Invest in the Future of Freedom! Are you considering 2015 gifts to your favorite charities? We hope The Heartland Institute is on your list. Preserving and expanding individual freedom is the surest way to advance many good and noble objectives, from feeding and clothing the poor to encouraging excellence and great achievement. Making charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations dedicated to individual freedom is the most highly leveraged investment a philanthropist can make. Click here to make a contribution online, or mail your gift to The Heartland Institute, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago, IL 60606. To request a FREE wills guide or to get more information to plan your future please visit My Gift Legacy http://legacy.heartland.org/ or contact Gwen Carver at 312/377-4000 or by email at gcarver@heartland.org.  

 

Categories: On the Blog

Newly-Released Study Questions Administration’s Conclusions on Ozone

Somewhat Reasonable - 4 hours 57 min ago

What if “global warming” actually improved ozone levels? A new study from the University of Houston, that collected information the impact of climate change on ozone at ground level, found that when the temperature was routinely higher than normal, in one of the most polluted cities in the country, the ground ozone levels were actually lower, because of other, more impactful side effects of natural climate change. The higher the land surface temperature, the researchers at the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science found, the higher the pressure gradients, which in turn increase offshore winds, which in turn contributed to more days with lower ground-level ozone levels.

This means, of course, that the Obama Administration’s and the EPA’s conclusion that global warming means more higher-ozone days is now in question. Okay – of course, it was always in question, since the conclusion was far from “settled science,” – but in this case, there’s empirical evidence that not only is global warming a phenomenon that could have positive natural impacts, but that the generally-accepted practice of limiting carbon emissions so as to limit land temperature levels so as to limit higher ozone days is flawed, at best. In fact, according to the ICA researchers, higher land temperatures could be responsible for cleaning up cluttered and carbon-choked coastal cities worldwide.

The White House is not likely to acknowledge these results. After all, they’ve claimed that global warming-caused inevitable higher ozone levels are responsible for everything from asthma to hurricanes to the rise in international terrorism. They’ve used such claims as an excuse to throttle industry, including electricity-producing coal plants, and to circumvent the free market, insisting that untested alternative energy sources, not supported by the free market, should receive billions in taxpayer subsidies. After all, they’ve already claimed that such measures will actually reduce global warming, too, and such a conclusion is clearly in question. It’s far from likely that they’ll abandon the “settled science” in order to take a clearer, more comprehensive, fact-based view of climate change and how it truly impacts the human population.

Categories: On the Blog

You Ought to Have a Look: Human Progress Linked to Better Environment

Environment Suite - In The News - 5 hours 55 min ago
You Ought to Have a Look is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science posted by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. (“Chip”) Knappenberger. While this…

Mr. President, Don’t Scapegoat Private Schools

Education - In The News - 5 hours 55 min ago
Latest Study Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing Morris M. Kleiner Featured Event May 15 Featuring Ned Mamula, Petroleum Geologist,…

Can Inequality Get Worse If Poverty Gets Better?

Budget and Tax Suite - In The News - 5 hours 56 min ago
Latest Study Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing Morris M. Kleiner Featured Event May 15 Featuring Ned Mamula, Petroleum Geologist,…

In Holding NSA Spying Illegal, the Second Circuit Treats Data as Property

Law Suit - In The News - 5 hours 56 min ago
Latest Study Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing Morris M. Kleiner Featured Event May 15 Featuring Ned Mamula, Petroleum Geologist,…

How Much Profit Is There in Thwarting Financial Innovation?

FIRE Suite - In The News - 5 hours 56 min ago
Latest Study Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing Morris M. Kleiner Featured Event May 15 Featuring Ned Mamula, Petroleum Geologist,…

Opt Out Tests If Child's a “Mere Creature of the State”

Education - In The News - 5 hours 56 min ago
Latest Study Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing Morris M. Kleiner Featured Event May 15 Featuring Ned Mamula, Petroleum Geologist,…

The Civil Disobedience Charles Murray Wants Has Arrived

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - 6 hours 36 min ago
While Charles Murray has been out promoting measured civil disobedience in an effort to restore individual liberty, thousands of parents and children have been…

Climate Change and the New Iconoclasts | Ricochet

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - 7 hours 41 min ago
The ancient city of Constantinople was heralded as a “new Rome” and quickly replaced the old one in splendor and importance. As the western Roman Empire…

Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat

Somewhat Reasonable - 9 hours 40 min ago

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the “normal” baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.)

A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe. Al Gore even predicted the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.

Now, in May 2015, the updated NASA data show polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 average.

During the modest decline in 2005 through 2012, the media presented a daily barrage of melting ice cap stories. Since the ice caps rebounded – and then some – how have the media reported the issue?

The frequency of polar ice cap stories may have abated, but the tone and content has not changed at all. Here are some of the titles of news items I pulled yesterday from the front two pages of a GoogleNews search for “polar ice caps”:

Climate change is melting more than just the polar ice caps

2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse

An Arctic ice cap’s shockingly rapid slide into the sea

New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at ‘unprecedented rate’

The only Google News items even hinting that the polar ice caps may not have melted so much (indeed not at all) came from overtly conservative websites. The “mainstream” media is alternating between maintaining radio silence on the extended run of above-average polar ice and falsely asserting the polar ice caps are receding at an alarming rate.

To be sure, receding polar ice caps are an expected result of the modest global warming we can expect in the years ahead. In and of themselves, receding polar ice caps have little if any negative impact on human health and welfare, and likely a positive benefit by opening up previously ice-entombed land to human, animal, and plant life. Nevertheless, polar ice cap extent will likely be a measuring stick for how much the planet is or is not warming.

The Earth has warmed modestly since the Little Ice Age ended a little over 100 years ago, and the Earth will likely continue to warm modestly as a result of natural and human factors. As a result, at some point in time, NASA satellite instruments should begin to report a modest retreat of polar ice caps. The modest retreat – like that which happened briefly from 2005 through 2012 – would not be proof or evidence of a global warming crisis. Such a retreat would merely illustrate that global temperatures are continuing their gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age. Such a recovery – despite alarmist claims to the contrary – would not be uniformly or even on balance detrimental to human health and welfare. Instead, an avalanche of scientific evidence indicates recently warming temperatures have significantly improved human health and welfare, just as warming temperatures have always done.

[Originally published at Forbes]

Categories: On the Blog

The Slow Death of Common Core

Blog - Education - 9 hours 53 min ago

Think about the major policy undertakings of the Obama administration over the past six and a half years. It began with a “stimulus” that wasted trillions in the quest of generating jobs, but did little to nothing in achieving that goal. That was followed by ObamaCare which most agree has been a disaster for the nation’s healthcare sector and, finally, Common Core, a one-size-fits-all testing program intended, we were told, to improve learning standards in the nation’s schools.  The only thing it has achieved is the opposition of parents, teachers unions, and entire states.

In the April edition of The Heartland Institute’s School Reform News, one could find headlines that included “Arizona House Votes to Repeal and Replace Common Core”, “Arizona House Votes to Repeal Common Core”, ”West Virginia  House Passes Common Core Repeal Bill”, and “Ohio Bill Would Protect Students Opting Out of Common Core Tests.”  In March, some 19 states had introduced legislation to either halt or replace Common Core. Do you see a trend here?

One trend of significance was noted in a commentary by Jason L. Riley in the May 6 edition of The Wall Street Journal. “The Soccer Mom Revolt Against Common Core” cited a national poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University earlier this year that put “approval for the new standards at 17%, against 40% who disapproved and other 42% who were undecided. A breakdown by gender had Common Core support 22% for men and only 12% for women.”

Perhaps the greatest surprise among these numbers is that the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Educational Association, as Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation noted in February “is no longer a cheerleader for Common Core national education standards.” In a letter to the union’s three million members, its president, Dennis Van Roekel, took Common Core to task for its failure to even provide information for implementing it in their classrooms.  The American Federation of Teachers had raised similar concerns nearly a year earlier!

Writing on September 2014, Joy Pullman, a Heartland Institute research fellow whose expertise is education held forth on the “Top Ten Things Parents Hate About Common Core.” Among them was “The senseless, infuriating math.”  “If Common Core hadn’t deformed even the most elementary of our math abilities so that simple addition now takes dots, dashes, boxes, hashmarks, and foam cubes, plus an inordinate amount of time”, you are not going to get the right answer.

Parents in growing numbers have discovered, as Pullman notes, that “when they do go to their local school boards, often all they get are disgusted looks and a bored thumb-twiddling during their two-minute public comment allowance.”  Pullman says, “The bottom line is, parents have no choice whether their kids will learn Common Core, no matter what school they put them in.”  That, obviously, is changing as state after state pulls out of the Common Core program.

In a new book by Samuel Blumenfeld and Alex Newman, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children”, Blumenfeld points to “Growing levels of illiteracy, plunging international rankings, the decline of critical-thinking skills, mushrooming decadence, mass shootings, and companies that can’t find the skilled workers they need—these have become some of the atrocious hallmarks of U.S. public schools.”

“Common Core schemers are engaged in what can only be described as consumer fraud with monumental implications for education and the future of America.”  The bottom line is that “the scheme was never field-tested before being foisted on America.”

There is no part of student’s education that Common Core does not impede or corrupt. In the area of science, Blumenfeld says “Instead of teaching children about science—real science—the standards will offer students a steady stream of controversial propaganda presented as unchallenged fact.” Regarding climate change “students will be required to learn that human activities are mostly to blame, even though this notion is disputed by countless scientists and a vast, growing body of actual scientific observational evidence.”

Closest to home are Common Core’s “National Sexuality Education Standards” aimed to begin the “sexualization of children in kindergarten” says Blumenfeld. “Is learning about ‘homosexual marriage’ before first grade in government schools really ‘age appropriate’ or necessary?” But it gets more radical “with graphic lessons promoting everything from masturbation and fornication to transgenderism and homosexuality.”

We shouldn’t be surprised at the backlash Common Core has received from both parents and teachers unions among others. Like the “stimulus” and ObamaCare, Common Core demonstrates a thorough lack of understanding of the values of individuality that have underwritten our nation’s free market economy, helped create a respected healthcare system, and which parents have expected the educational system to pass on to new generations.

Instead Common Core teaches collectivism—socialism—and degrades various elements of education from math to English to science.

It cannot be removed from our nation’s schools soon enough.

[Originally published at Warning Signs]

The Slow Death of Common Core

Somewhat Reasonable - 9 hours 53 min ago

Think about the major policy undertakings of the Obama administration over the past six and a half years. It began with a “stimulus” that wasted trillions in the quest of generating jobs, but did little to nothing in achieving that goal. That was followed by ObamaCare which most agree has been a disaster for the nation’s healthcare sector and, finally, Common Core, a one-size-fits-all testing program intended, we were told, to improve learning standards in the nation’s schools.  The only thing it has achieved is the opposition of parents, teachers unions, and entire states.

In the April edition of The Heartland Institute’s School Reform News, one could find headlines that included “Arizona House Votes to Repeal and Replace Common Core”, “Arizona House Votes to Repeal Common Core”, ”West Virginia  House Passes Common Core Repeal Bill”, and “Ohio Bill Would Protect Students Opting Out of Common Core Tests.”  In March, some 19 states had introduced legislation to either halt or replace Common Core. Do you see a trend here?

One trend of significance was noted in a commentary by Jason L. Riley in the May 6 edition of The Wall Street Journal. “The Soccer Mom Revolt Against Common Core” cited a national poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University earlier this year that put “approval for the new standards at 17%, against 40% who disapproved and other 42% who were undecided. A breakdown by gender had Common Core support 22% for men and only 12% for women.”

Perhaps the greatest surprise among these numbers is that the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Educational Association, as Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation noted in February “is no longer a cheerleader for Common Core national education standards.” In a letter to the union’s three million members, its president, Dennis Van Roekel, took Common Core to task for its failure to even provide information for implementing it in their classrooms.  The American Federation of Teachers had raised similar concerns nearly a year earlier!

Writing on September 2014, Joy Pullman, a Heartland Institute research fellow whose expertise is education held forth on the “Top Ten Things Parents Hate About Common Core.” Among them was “The senseless, infuriating math.”  “If Common Core hadn’t deformed even the most elementary of our math abilities so that simple addition now takes dots, dashes, boxes, hashmarks, and foam cubes, plus an inordinate amount of time”, you are not going to get the right answer.

Parents in growing numbers have discovered, as Pullman notes, that “when they do go to their local school boards, often all they get are disgusted looks and a bored thumb-twiddling during their two-minute public comment allowance.”  Pullman says, “The bottom line is, parents have no choice whether their kids will learn Common Core, no matter what school they put them in.”  That, obviously, is changing as state after state pulls out of the Common Core program.

In a new book by Samuel Blumenfeld and Alex Newman, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children”, Blumenfeld points to “Growing levels of illiteracy, plunging international rankings, the decline of critical-thinking skills, mushrooming decadence, mass shootings, and companies that can’t find the skilled workers they need—these have become some of the atrocious hallmarks of U.S. public schools.”

“Common Core schemers are engaged in what can only be described as consumer fraud with monumental implications for education and the future of America.”  The bottom line is that “the scheme was never field-tested before being foisted on America.”

There is no part of student’s education that Common Core does not impede or corrupt. In the area of science, Blumenfeld says “Instead of teaching children about science—real science—the standards will offer students a steady stream of controversial propaganda presented as unchallenged fact.” Regarding climate change “students will be required to learn that human activities are mostly to blame, even though this notion is disputed by countless scientists and a vast, growing body of actual scientific observational evidence.”

Closest to home are Common Core’s “National Sexuality Education Standards” aimed to begin the “sexualization of children in kindergarten” says Blumenfeld. “Is learning about ‘homosexual marriage’ before first grade in government schools really ‘age appropriate’ or necessary?” But it gets more radical “with graphic lessons promoting everything from masturbation and fornication to transgenderism and homosexuality.”

We shouldn’t be surprised at the backlash Common Core has received from both parents and teachers unions among others. Like the “stimulus” and ObamaCare, Common Core demonstrates a thorough lack of understanding of the values of individuality that have underwritten our nation’s free market economy, helped create a respected healthcare system, and which parents have expected the educational system to pass on to new generations.

Instead Common Core teaches collectivism—socialism—and degrades various elements of education from math to English to science.

It cannot be removed from our nation’s schools soon enough.

[Originally published at Warning Signs]

Categories: On the Blog

EPA Violates the Law, Lobbies for More Power

Somewhat Reasonable - May 21, 2015, 5:20 PM

Environmental Protection Agency building and sign, Washington, DC

President Obama and the cronies in his administration (with his tacit support) continue to violate laws, rules and regulations. Obama and his friends evidently believe the rules don’t apply to them.

Let’s review just a few examples:

* President Obama, who promised to run the most transparent presidential administration in history has instead arguably run the most secretive and opaque administrations. In March, the White House announced it was removing a regulation subjecting its office to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests – in other words the White House was exempting itself from public scrutiny and oversight. An Associated Press investigation showed that secrecy had increased dramatically under the Obama administration. The AP analysis showed the government censored or denied outright 244,675 of the 704,394 requests made, that’s 36 percent of the time, more than any previous President. On another 196,034 other occasions, the government said it couldn’t find records or the government determined the request to be unreasonable or improper. Requests for NSA records were censored or denied 98 percent of the time. In addition the administration has prosecuted more government whistleblowers for leaks and reporters for not revealing their sources than any administration in history.

* Obama’s Justice Department, against the recommendation of its career prosecutors, dropped charges against and refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for intimidating white voters at a Philadelphia polling station.

It has steadfastly refused to uphold the nation’s immigration laws by prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants arrested in the U.S. Regardless of how one feels about current immigration laws, the Justice department’s job is to enforce the laws we have not ignore them until the President gets a law more to his liking – the Attorney General is the peoples prosecutor, not the President’s private attorney.

The same justice department, under former Attorney General Eric Holder, aided and abetted gun runners in delivering firearms to Mexican drug cartels and then tried to use the fact that Mexican drug lords got firearms from the U.S. to call for stricter gun laws that it had been pushing for before the ATF let the guns walk, and implement new firearm sales reporting requirements. A number of the agents at the ATF that reported their agency’s wrongdoing were transferred, demoted or forced out, while those in charge of the pernicious program dubbed “Fast and Furious,” were promoted. When Congress wanted to know more botched law enforcement effort, Holder stonewalled, fighting in court Congress’ attempts to obtain e-mails and documents relating to the program to determine, who knew what and when.

* The administration used the IRS as its own personal partisan attack dog, denying or delaying non-profit status for conservative foundations and tea party related groups, and launching tax investigations into critics of the administration that already had non-profit status. When caught out on this, the executive in charge of the IRS office that administers non-profit applications, Lois Lerner, denied targeting the groups, then later admitted the groups were targeted. Lerner was found in contempt of Congress for refusing a subpoena to testify. But, the Obama justice department came to her rescue by refusing to prosecute her for contempt of Congress. Lerner later claimed that her computer crashed resulting in the loss of her e-mails, and remarkably, for a government computer linked to the IRS server, there were no backups. In the months since Lerner was relieved of duty, tens of thousands of these missing e-mails have been found and released; 6,400 of them just last month (more than five years after Lerner’s wrongdoing).

* And then there is the State Department. Under former Secretary of State, now presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, it ignored requests from the diplomatic compound in Benghazi to beef up security, it ignored warnings that an attack was planned, and then after the attack took place and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel were killed, blamed the attack on riots in response to a film that almost no one had seen or heard of. Subsequent investigations showed the attacks were planned, coordinated acts of terrorism, having nothing to do with a movie and the State Department knew this fact, when it falsely claimed the film was the instigating factor. In the aftermath, it has been revealed that in violation of State Department rules (and federal policies for conducting official business in general) Secretary Clinton conducted official business through a private e-mail account (all official business is supposed to be conducted through an department employees’ government accounts) and rather than preserving those e-mails for the public record, once again as required by department policy, she destroyed them.

I have rehashed these myriad instances of malfeasance, to show a pattern, and by way of revealing how unsurprised and not-shocked I am by the revelation that one more agency in the Obama administration has been found violating the rules that are meant to keep it honest.

The New York Times has revealed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ginned up support for its proposal to expand its control from navigable waters in the United States to basically all waters of the U.S. through grassroots lobbying, in violation of federal law but with the full support of the Obama administration.

The controversial WOTUS rule intended to skirt limits the Supreme Court has placed on the EPA’s control over wetlands, has many critics, but you wouldn’t know if from the comments received by the EPA. Gina McCarthy, the agency’s administrator, told a Senate committee in March that the agency had received more than one million comments, and more than 87 percent favoring the agency’s proposal.

Why so popular? As the Times reports:

The Obama administration is the first to give the E.P.A. a mandate to create broad public outreach campaigns, using the tactics of elections, in support of federal environmental regulations before they are final. Test[ing] the limits of federal lobbying law, the agency orchestrated a drive to … enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama.

While federal law permits the president and political appointees, like the E.P.A. administrator, to promote government policy, or to support or oppose pending legislation, the Justice Department, in a series of legal opinions going back nearly three decades, has told federal agencies that they should not engage in substantial “grass-roots” lobbying, defined as “communications by executive officials directed to members of the public at large, or particular segments of the general public, intended to persuade them in turn to communicate with their elected representatives on some issue of concern to the executive.”

Late last year, the E.P.A. sponsored a drive on Facebook and Twitter to promote its proposed clean water rule in conjunction with the Sierra Club. At the same time, Organizing for Action, a grass-roots group with deep ties to Mr. Obama, was also pushing the rule. They urged the public to flood the agency with positive comments to counter opposition from farming and industry groups.

The results were then offered as proof that the proposal was popular.

At minimum, the actions of the agency are highly unusual. “The agency is supposed to be more of an honest broker, not a partisan advocate in this process,” said Jeffrey W. Lubbers, a professor of practice in administrative law at the American University Washington College of Law and the author of the book “A Guide to Federal Agency Rulemaking.”

“I have not seen before from a federal agency this stark of an effort to generate endorsements of a proposal during the open comment period,” he said.

Obama’s EPA has a long history of pushing ethical boundaries and skirting the edges of the law.

In January of this year I reported on a PR move the EPA tried to hide that was discovered through a FOIA request. Recognizing public opinion polls consistently showed the public was not buying the administration’s global warming hype, a memo discovered through a FOIA showed the EPA convince the public that children and minorities faced special health risk due to human caused climate change. As I wrote at the time:

EPA’s decision to shift the debate from concerns about melting ice caps and declining caribou and polar bear populations, to promoting the idea global warming poses a direct threat to public health, especially children’s health, and air and water quality.

Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will [they] ever have a chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat. Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of the issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly – and consistently – unpersuasive argument to make. However, if we shift from making this issue about polar caps [to being] about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans

The problem for EPA is, there has been no serious research linking global warming or greenhouse gas emissions to human health problems or air or water pollution.

More recently, as detailed in story in the forthcoming July Environment & Climate News, on March 2, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blasted EPA for first saying it had conducted a thorough search for the requested documents and then retracting its claim years later in a footnote to another document. Lamberth wrote, “[T]he recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency at large.”

Lamberth accused EPA of foot-dragging on the FOIA requests until after the 2012 presidential election. A February 2014 Environment & Climate News article reported the Energy & Environment Legal Institute had obtained emails showing the Starbucks located in the J.W. Marriott Hotel near EPA’s Washington, DC headquarters served as a an “off campus” meeting place where EPA officials and environmental activists regularly met to plot strategy. By not meeting at EPA headquarters, the activists avoided signing in at the agency. Absent the FOIA request, their meetings would have remained secret.

“Either EPA sought to evade Landmark’s lawful FOIA request so the agency could destroy responsive documents, or EPA demonstrated apathy and carelessness toward Landmark’s request,” Lamberth said. “Either scenario reflects poorly on EPA and surely serves to diminish the public’s trust in the agency.”

With those two scandals as background, and new Obama administration misdeeds being discovered almost daily, I was frankly more surprised the New York Times reported on the EPA’s illicit lobbying efforts than I was by the EPA’s acts.

Sometimes the paper whose motto is “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” actually publishes news fit to print.

Categories: On the Blog

Will Congress Finally Defend Its Constitutional Turf – to Stop the EPA’s Assault on Water?

Somewhat Reasonable - May 21, 2015, 3:13 PM

Boy with rubber boots jumping in…-the EPA’s Jurisdiction 

It is an empirical fact – a metaphysical certitude. Government overreaches.

And the Barack Obama Administration has the longest, most overactive arms ever. With many, many, MANY power-grabbing hands.

Obama’s Legacy of Overreach

Obama Amnesty ‘Unprecedented’ Threat to Constitution

Obama Is Breaking The Law By Repeatedly Making Changes To ObamaCare Without Going Through Congress

Net Neutrality Power Grab Is Worse than ObamaCare

The Coming Climate Onslaught

President Obama readies a sweeping list of executive actions.

And on, and on, and….

Glaringly absent in all of this power-grabbing – has been actual, tangible Congressional opposition to any of it. Which is yet another Constitutional problem.

The Founding Fathers created a limited, delimited federal government. It is only supposed to do what the Document expressly grants it the authority to do.

A fundamental component of this limiting is the balance of powers. The three Branches – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary – are supposed to respectively do what each is expressly told to do. And nothing else.

The Founders envisioned each Branch jealously, vociferously defending its turf – and thus its power. That inter-branch tension would serve as a check on them all.

That protection has been eroding for decades. The Legislative – Congress, the only elected representatives of We the People – has for at least a century been ceding more and more of its power.

To the Judiciary

The Senate has been way too lax in its Advise and Consent authority over the Executive’s appointments of judges and Justices. Far too often the President’s nominees are given a cursory glance – and thoughtless approval.

Those in robes have thus felt increasingly free to perversely find more and more emanations from penumbras in existing statute. They write law – Congress’ job – rather than merely interpret and enforce it.

In response to which Congress has done…nothing. The Senate also has the responsibility of impeaching rogue judges – they almost never do it.

To the Executive

As we noted above, the Obama Administration has been in unprecedentedly huge fashion over-using the overly huge regulatory apparatus. But this, too, precedes this President by decades.

The countless Executive Branch Departments, Commissions, Agencies and Boards are supposed to enforce existing law. They are instead incessantly going well beyond these bounds – writing new law with no Congressional tether.

President Obama placidly asserted that he would do this on steroids – unilaterally use his pen and his phone to write law to end-run the Congresses we elected to stop him.

Because he knew the Congresses we elected to stop him – wouldn’t.

Congressional Republicans have only paid lip service to opposition. They talk a big game – and then do nothing.

And Congressional Democrats?

Sheila Jackson Lee: Writing Executive Orders for Obama to Sign ‘Our Number One Agenda’

Well that sort of defeats the purpose of being in Congress, does it not?

Well, there might be an Executive overreach so egregious, its implications so damaging – that Congress in bipartisan fashion might actually, finally do its Constitutional duty.

Farmers, Congress Take Aim at EPA Water Rule

Republicans and some rural Democrats are sharpening their attacks against a forthcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that they say could vastly extend the agency’s reach over waterways and agriculture.

GOP lawmakers and Democrats from agriculture-heavy districts contend the Waters of the United States rule amounts to executive overreach….

What is the EPA doing?

In March, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed new rules that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority on streams and wetlands that feed into major rivers and lakes.

The EPA says 60 percent of the nation’s streams and wetlands are not protected from pollution.

That actually means 60% of the nation’s streams and wetlands are protected from government. The EPA won’t stand for that.

This is actually an instance where the Judiciary has done its duty in reining in the Executive. In fact, it’s done it twice.

(There have been) two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited what waterways the government can regulate and the proposed rule is meant to clarify which smaller ones they include.

Why would that stop the EPA? Clearly, it won’t. So Congress must.

Congress will play host Tuesday to three hearings that will touch on the rule, including one on Senate legislation that would require the EPA to submit a different regulation that follows certain principles and specifically includes some bodies of water, groundwater and soil water.

The federal government is out of control. One of the fundamental problems is the Branches are failing to stay in their respective lanes.

It is WAY past time for the respective Branches to get back in them. Or be forced therein.

Congress must reclaim its Constitutional lawmaking authority. Starting now.

[Originally published at Red State]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Dan Ikenson: Export-Import Bank

Somewhat Reasonable - May 21, 2015, 1:22 PM

In this episode of the Budget & Tax News podcast, Cato Institute trade policy expert Dan Ikenson joins managing editor Jesse Hathaway to talk about the Export-Import Bank, a government export credit agency created in 1934 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Ikenson says the Export-Import Bank, or “Ex-Im,” picks winners and losers in the American economy by favoring some businesses over others. By subsidizing the cost of private businesses’ exports, Ex-Im actually drags down non-subsidized businesses in a wide range of industries. Instead of helping small businesses sell their goods abroad, most Ex-Im spending goes to a small number of large multinational companies, like Boeing.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Scientists Battle Eco-Bullies, ‘March on Monsanto’ Menace

Somewhat Reasonable - May 21, 2015, 8:57 AM

Research scientists are banding together and refuting radical environmental activists who have harassed them and their colleagues, calling the forthcoming progressive “March Against Monsanto” this Saturday in Chicago, and related global protests on genetically modified organisms, a “menace.”

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) include plants which are cross-bred with other flora to resist pesticides, and pests, and increase food production.

Leftists fear this food source is unsafe, and have railed against it, with increasing effectiveness in Europe. At one time, leftist activists claimed that genetic engineering could create “Franken-foods,” or food products as scary and threatening as the Frankenstein monster of movie lore.

The March Against Monsanto stirs up irrational fears and anger in good people by using myths and manipulating the facts,” says geneticist Dr. Haro von Mogel, on his blog, March Against Myths About Modification. “We know that MAM will not be able to marshal the science to support their views, so they will resort to name-calling and innuendo.”

Dr. von Mogel says progressive activists have already called his voluntary association “shills” for the biotechnology industry. “Par for the course,” says the geneticist. “But when we go to our demonstrations we will go with kindness and a desire to help people learn more about genetically engineered crops. We will not stoop to their level.”

Radical leftists are gathering on Saturday at the federal plaza in downtown Chicago, and in other U.S. cities, including Portland, Washington DC and Seattle, and globally in Ottawa, Brisbane, and Amsterdam.

Scientists and science activists plan to simultaneously march in downtown Chicago, and post on social media to help “bust some mammoth-sized myths” about genetically modified organisms.

“We’ve got information to pass out, fully referenced on our site, so people can look up the information themselves,” says Dr. von Mogel. “If we can put a smidgen of doubt, and desire to investigate, into the minds of people, they will gain the power to defend themselves against those myths.’

For more information on the counter-demonstration, go to: http://www.mamyths.org

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Greg Walcher: Solar Still Too Expensive, Unreliable and Inefficient

Somewhat Reasonable - May 20, 2015, 3:56 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Managing Editor of Energy & Climate News H. Sterling Burnett speaks with Greg Walcher. Walcher is president of the Natural Resources Group and a Heartland policy advisor. Walcher discusses his forthcoming paper, “Not Ready Yet: Why Homeowners Still Find Solar Power Too Expensive, Unreliable, Inefficient, and Undependable.”

Walcher has a wealth of experience on energy and environmental issues both from the private sector and the public sector perspective; the latter having served as the Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. He discusses the high costs associated with solar power installations, the subsidies non-solar users are paying through net-metering laws to people who install solar power on their homes and the unreliability of solar power.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog
Syndicate content