Solar and Wind Power Losing Worldwide Support

In his state of the union speech in January President Obama claimed that the U.S. was closer to “energy independence” than ever. He was referring to solar energy while ignoring that his administration has been the most anti-fossil fuel energy than any previous one.

The U.S. has the greatest energy reserves, coal, oil and natural gas, of any nation in the world, but Obama has been waging a “war on coal”, delaying the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, and slow to issue permits to explore for new sources of energy reserves on federal lands. The impact on the economy is incalculable, but it is driving up the cost of energy for everyone and every industry.

Meanwhile, Obama keeps talking about “green jobs” and doubling the nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.” This another fantasy to which he clings.

As Taylor Smith, a senior policy analyst for The Heartland Institute, points out “Despite years of favorable public policy, including renewable power mandates and billions in subsidies, solar power still produces only about 0.2 percent of the nation’s electricity. The National Conference of State Legislatures says power from most large, utility-scaled solar installations still costs about 35 percent more than electricity from natural gas plants; many other experts estimate the levelized cost is even higher.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office even with the inclusion of wind energy.

From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent. That’s what happens when Environmental Protection Agency regulations force coal mines to close along with coal-fired plants that previously produced 50 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Suffice to say, Obama is the enemy of fossil fuel production and the energy it provides for electricity production and our transportation needs. That makes him the enemy of the American people.

In February, the National Review had an article, “Europe’s Green Collapse”, by Stephen Moore in which he noted that “Not long ago nearly all the nations of Europe bought into this same dream of a green energy free lunch as they legislated tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for solar and wind power while directly and indirectly taxing and capping carbon-based energy.”

That policy was set in motion by the United Nations Kyoto treaty in 1997. It was based on the global warming hoax that called for a reduction in so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions. The U.S. did not sign onto the treaty and Canada withdrew from it in 2012.

The Earth, however, has been in a natural cooling cycle for going on seventeen years, the result not of any manmade gases, but because of the Sun has been producing lower levels of solar radiation. The hoax is based largely on the utterly false claim that carbon dioxide warms the Earth when, in fact, it plays virtually no role whatever in the Earth’s climate. The Earth is likely to remain cooler for decades.

That fact has been brutally clear in Europe where the cold has been comparable to the temperatures the U.S. has been encountering. Moore reported that “In January Brussels announced with little media fanfare that the European Union is ditching their renewable-energy standards.” It is a matter of economic survival for Europe.

What is astonishing is the way both the U.S. and Europe adopted renewable energy production because it is unpredictable and mindlessly expensive. A major factor why the global warming hoax is collapsing, it has cost everyone here and in Europe billions in loans and subsidies. Both solar and wind require a backup from traditional power sources that utilize coal, oil and natural gas.

“Thanks to about $33 billion a year in government subsidies, Germany currently gets 25 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power, and that is scheduled to rise 40 to 45 percent by 2025.” Watch Germany abandon its plans. “The EU admits that the cost of electric power in member nations is often 50 to 100 percent higher than in the U.S,” noted Moore. “Manufacturers are starting to move plants out of the EU and even to, of all places, the U.S.”

“Here is a textbook case of how centralized industrial planning—or ‘government investment’ as we now say—usually leads to catastrophically wrong bets.” In the U.S. it began in the 1970s when President Carter spent billions on renewable energy and projects like the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, a predecessor of Solyndra and other companies that went bankrupt shortly after receiving loans during the Obama administration’s first term in office.

Under Obama’s “stimulus” program, 83 percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Acts Section 1705 loans went to solar energy projects with wind receiving 11 percent of the funds.

“What saved the U.S. economy from replicating the Euro-industrial malaise was the entirely spontaneous oil-and-gas boom driven by technology and billions in investment by wildcat entrepreneurs…” That’s called capitalism. The sooner we get the U.S. government out of “investing” in such nonsense, the better.

As with everything else Obama has to say, his advocacy of renewable energy, like Carter’s, has proven to be a massive, costly failure.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORIES:

The Further Withering Of Wind Power
Electric cars can go only half as far in freezing weather…
Is Fracking Safe? The Top 10 Controversial Claims About Natural Gas Drilling

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is of a wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains of California, taken July 2001 by Stan Shebs. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Nationwide “War on Common Core” rallies planned on Booker T. Washington’s birthday 04/05/2014

170px-Booker_T_Washington_retouched_flattened-crop

Booker T. Washington, author, educator, Republican.

On April 5th, 2014 rallies against Common Core will be staged across Florida and America organized by Eye On US Education (EUSE). The rallies will be under the banner “War on Common Core.” This date was chosen because it is the birthdate of Booker T. Washington. According to the Booker T. Washington Society there are forty-five schools across America named after him. Schools in Florida named after Booker T. Washington are located in Miami and Pensacola.

Booker T. Washington was a Black educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Blacks were solidly Republican in this period, having gained emancipation and suffrage with their support.

Washington was on close terms with national Republican Party leaders, and often was asked for political advice by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Washington, as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, was the first Black ever invited to the White House.

Washington’s long-term goal was to build the community’s economic strength and pride by focusing on self-help and schooling.  He believed that education, black owned businesses, and hard work were the keys to success.

Washington raised funds to establish and operate thousands of small community schools and institutions of higher education for the betterment of blacks throughout the South.  The schools which Washington supported were founded primarily to produce teachers – as literacy and education are the keys to their future.

Quotes:

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.

There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts.

If you can’t read, it’s going to be hard to realize dreams.

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.

Booker T Washington Quote

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is of Booker T. Washington holding a Carnegie Hall audience spellbound during his Tuskegee Institute Silver Anniversary lecture,  in 1906.

Common Core As “Technologically Necessary”: A Looming Shift In Sales Pitch?

The term Common Core is so negatively charged that Common Core State Standards (CCSS) proponents are trying their hardest to ditch the term– not ditch CCSS– just the term. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee suggested that states “rebrand” the CCSS product– give it a shiny new name in order to fool the public into thinking its gone.

In my own district, neither CCSS nor its PARCC test were mentioned by name in the letter home to parents regarding the upcoming PARCC pilot test.

In my remarks on March 2, 2014, as a member of the Common Core panel at the first annual Network for Public Education (NPE) conference, I advised that CCSS must die and that if it doesn’t, it could morph into another classroom standardizer.

Today (Sunday, March 16), I received this comment to my post on Bill Gates’ rallying teachers to support CCSS:

Just this last Thursday we had a rainmaker (“expert educator” and CEO) come to our town, Willard Daggett, who was brought here by our award-winning (NY State) superintendent, Luvelle Brown to speak to the “benefits” of Common Core and other areas of “college preparedness.”

In his hours of bloviating what you got from this was essentially that the “industry” is fast forward on technology at all costs. All of the new “techno-learning tools” were being lauded and at least w/Willard Common Core was scarcely mentioned and when done so he backed off his full-on support of CC. That I think in large part due to the firestorm surrounding it.

I believe we will at the least see a restructuring of CC and a repackaging of it and a greater emphasis on shoving technology down the throats of every district. That certainly seems to be where the money is going at the moment. And from the capitalists point of view it makes sense as the schools will increase their debt burdens through the years w/this technological imperative meaning a constant revenue stream for all sorts of suppliers (Gates being only the obvious and largest financier) and the shutdown of even more schools who can’t keep up with the debt which of course then means even more transfer of public funds to private institutions. [Emphasis added.]

Technology in order to accommodate PARCC testing is indeed “where the money is going” in my district. On the same day that I found out that the class I teach for students who wish to become teachers (called STAR Teaching Academy) is to be cut next year due to budget issues, out computer labs are getting a complete upgrade in order to accommodate the testing tied to CCSS. Slowly but surely, all that is not “core related” is being choked out of the school budget.

At the same time that the “consequences” of PARCC are being “delayed” in Louisiana (not removed; not erased; just delayed), the pilot testing is still required. And that means money spent on the PARCC-required technology.

It makes sense, then, to “rebrand” CCSS into a technological savior. Turn the public’s attention away from the spending of so many millions on CCSS-assessment technology while programs and staff are being cut.

So, one of the ways that CCSS can morph and can make the money spent on technology appear tied to the “standards” (whatever they might be called in an effort tonot call them CCSS) is to refocus on how useful untested CCSS will certainly be (tongue in cheek) for Promoting Technological Prowess Necessary to Compete in the Global Economy.

To this end, several web pages already exist in an attempt to sell CCSS (insert new name here) as a Technological Pal. Here is one from Fresno, California, and from the now-infamous Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) (infamous for its $1 billion iPad purchase), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Staff Development for Educators (SDE), Common Core and Ed Tech (CCEDTECH)– CCEDTECH is promoted by Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Monterey, California, Office of Education (MCOE).

The list goes on.

In order for CCSS (or whatever it is called) to survive, its sales people (not the least of whom are Bill Gates and Arne Duncan– more on the Gates-Duncan-CCSS triangle in my next post) must reshape CCSS into That Which Is Necessary.

Districts are blowing amazing amounts of increasingly scare funding to meet CCSS technology requirements.

Let’s just tell them that it wasn’t only for the tests.

Let’s tell them that it was for the sake of meeting the *technological rigor* of CCSS (insert more fashionable name here).

Advice to Young, Unemployed Workers by Jeffrey A. Tucker

We are now in the fifth year of very choppy hiring markets for young workers. The latest unemployment numbers once again leave them out from posted gains. Not even the boom in temporary employment included them.

The United States has one of the highest rates of unemployment among 20-to-26-year-olds in the world. Nearly half of the U.S. army of unemployed is under the age of 34. As for those who are hired, there is a huge gap between wage expectations and paycheck realities, which is exactly what you would expect in a post-boom world. A survey by Accenture finds that more than 41 percent of recent U.S. college graduates are disillusioned, underemployed, and not using their college degrees in their work.

The young generation faces challenges unlike any that most people alive have seen. This situation requires new adaptive strategies.

What follows, then, is my letter of advice to young workers.

Dear Young Workers:

Even if it weren’t for the economic stagnation, you would already be facing a tough market. That’s because you are showing up at the job marketplace nearly empty-handed. Our society long ago decided it was better for you to sit in desks for 16 years than to gain any real work experience in the marketplace that is likely to hire you later.

Even if it were legal for you to work when you are capable of doing so—from the age of maybe 12 or 13—the government has imposed these wage-floor laws that price your services out of the market. Then you are told that if you stay in school, you will get a great, high-paying job right out of college. Then it turns out that employers aren’t interested in you. You are beginning to sense that employers think you have few marketable skills and have no demonstrated predisposition to produce.

Here’s the root of the problem: People have been lying to you all your life.

As a young child you were repeatedly fed slogans about the equality of everyone. The urges to compete and win were suppressed in your childhood games, while sharing and caring for others were exalted above all other values.

Then at some point—somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10—something changed. All that caring/sharing stuff ended and a world of dog-eat-dog began. You were expected to get perfect grades, to excel at math and science, to be perfectly obedient, to stay in school for as long as possible. You were told that if you did that, everything would work out for you.

It does work out for some. But only a small minority of people are disposed to both compliance and rote learning. And even for those people, not everyone gets what he’s been promised. As for the rest, there is no plan in place. Those who fall through the cracks are expected to make it on their own somehow.

How do you make it? It all comes down to remunerative work. And there’s the barrier you face right now. You have the desire and you are looking for some institution that values what you have to contribute. But you can’t find the match.

Consider: Why does any business hire an employee? It happens based on the belief that the business will make more money with the employee than without it. The business pays you, you do work, and, as a result, there are greater returns coming in than there would otherwise be.

But think through what this means. It means you have to add more value than you take out. For every dollar you earn, you have to make it possible for the business to earn a dollar plus something extra. This task is not easy. Businesses have costs to cover in addition to your salary. For example, government mandates that businesses be insured. You have to be trained. There could be healthcare costs, too. There are uncertainties to deal with. All of these add to the burden that you place on the business, which adds to the costs of hiring you.

What this means is you have to be more valuable than you think. Why are minimum wage jobs so hard? Because it’s difficult for an inexperienced worker to be worth paying that much. The employer has to extract as much value as possible from the relationship with you just to make that relationship happen at all. That can’t happen right away because odds are you are losing the company money in the first months of employment simply because you are untrained. You end up scrambling like crazy just to earn your keep.

If you already understand this rule—that you must add more value than you take out—you now know more than vast numbers of young workers. And this gives you an advantage. While everyone else is grumbling about the workload and low pay, you can know why you are having to hustle so much and be happier for it. You are producing more for the company than you take out. Doing that consistently is the way to get ahead. In fact, it’s the key to life.

But in order to get ahead, you have to be a player in the first place. It does little good to sit around and wait for the right job at the right pay. Forget all your expectations. If something, anything, comes along, you should jump on it immediately. No job is too menial, despite what you have been told. The goal is just to get in the game. Yes, you have much higher salary expectations, and those might be met someday. But not yet.

The first step is to get into the game at some wage, just something, somewhere. The fear that such work, whatever it is, is somehow beneath you is a serious source of personal undoing. Those who are willing to perform the most “menial” of jobs are the people who can make a good life for themselves. Just because you perceive the job as “menial” does not mean it is not valuable to others and especially, ultimately, to you.

You learn from every job you have. You learn how to interact with others, how a business runs, how people think, how bosses think, and how those who succeed get ahead versus those who fail. Working is a time for learning, as much as or more than school.

People’s number-one fear is that their job will somehow define their lives. Hence, they conclude that a job stocking shelves at Walmart will redefine or dumb down who they are. This notion is absolutely untrue. That job is a brick in your foundation.

In order to get any job, you have to do more than drop off a resume or file one online. You have to emerge from the pack. That means that you have to sell yourself like a commodity. You have to market yourself (and marketing is the least-appreciated and yet most-crucial feature of all commercial acts). That is not degrading; it is an opportunity. Find out everything you can about the company and its products. After you apply, you need to go back and back, meet the managers, meet the owners, all with the goal of showing them how much value you will add to their enterprise.

In this new job, success is not hard, but it requires discipline. Just follow a few simple rules. Never be late. Do first whatever your immediate supervisor tells you to do. Do it much more quickly and thoroughly than he or she expects. When that is done, do some unexpected things that add value to the environment. Never complain. Never gossip. Never partake in office politics. Be a model employee. That’s the path toward thriving.

It’s not just about adding value to the company. It’s about adding value to yourself. The digital age has given us all amazing tools for accumulating personal capital. Get a LinkedIn account and attach your job to your personal identity. Start putting together that essential network. This network is something that will grow throughout your life, starting now and lasting until the end. It could be the most valuable commodity you have outside your own character and skills. Take possession of your work experience and make it your own.

While doing all this excellent work, you need to be thinking about two possible paths forward, each of them equally viable: advance within this one firm or move to another firm. You should go with whichever is to your best advantage. Never stop looking for your next job. This is true now and always throughout your life.

A huge mistake people make is to embed themselves emotionally in one institution. The law encourages this attitude by tying all sorts of advantages to the status-quo job you currently hold. You get health benefits, time off, scheduled raises, and it is always easier to stick with what you know. To do so is a mistake. Progress comes through disruption, and sometimes you have to disrupt yourself to make that progress happen.

To be willing to forgo the security of one job for the uncertainty of another gives you an edge. Average people around you will sacrifice every principle and every truth for the sake of security. People, with very few exceptions, fear the uncertainty of an unknown future more than the seeming security of a known status quo. They will give up every right and every bit of their souls for the promise of security (whether it be through a paycheck or an armed police officer), even to the point of personal misery or obeying a wicked despot (whether it be a boss or a dictator). You can break free of this tendency, but it takes courage, risk-taking, and a conscious act of defying convention.

You should always think of yourself as a productive unit that is always on the job market. You can go from institution to institution, always upgrading your skills and hence your wages. Never be afraid to try something new or to plunge into a new work environment.

Clever finance management here is crucial. Never live at the level that matches your income. Your standard of living, instead, should match your next-best employment opportunity, the one you have forgone or the one you might take next. If you stick with this practice—and it requires discipline—you will be free to choose where you work and to take greater risks. You will also develop a cushion should something go wrong.

At the same time, there could be advantages to sticking around one place, even as everyone else around you is moving from here to there. Even if that happens, you should still think of yourself as being on the market. You are governing yourself. Don’t let yourself be beholden to anyone, but understand also that no one owes you a living. That’s the only way to make clear judgments about your career path.

At every job, you are going to learn so much about human ethics, psychology, emotions, and behavior. Most of what you will learn will be enlightening and encouraging. Some of it, however, is not pretty and might come as a shock.

First, you will discover that people in general are extremely reluctant to admit error. People will defend an opinion or an action until the end, even if every bit of logic and evidence runs contrary. Sincere apologies and genuine admissions of error and wrongdoing are the rarest things in this world. There is no point at all in demanding apologies or in becoming resentful when they fail to appear. Just move on. Neither should you expect to always be rewarded for being right. On the contrary, people will often resent you and try to take you down.

How do you deal with this problem? Don’t get frustrated. Don’t seek justice. Accept the reality for what it is. If a job isn’t working out, move on. If you get fired, don’t seek vengeance. Anger and resentment accomplish absolutely nothing. Keep your eye on the goal of personal and professional advancement, and think of anything that interrupts your path as a diversion and a distraction.

Second, we all want to believe that doing a great job and becoming excellent at something will lead to personal reward. This is not always or even often true. Excellence makes you a target of envy from those around you who have failed by comparison. Excellence can often harm your prospects for success. Meritocracy exists, and even prevails, but it is realized through your own initiative, and it is never just granted freely by some individual or institution. All personal and social progress comes about because you alone push through the attempts of everyone around you to stop it.

Third, people tend to possess a status-quo bias and prefer to follow orders and instructions; most people cannot imagine how the world around them might be different through initiative and change. If you can train yourself to imagine a world that doesn’t yet exist—to exercise the use of imagination and creativity in a commercial framework—you can become the most valuable person around. You might be among those who can be real entrepreneurs. You might even change the world.

As you develop and use these talents, and as they become ever more valuable to those around you, remember that you are not infallible. The commercial marketplace punishes pride and arrogance and it rewards humility and the teachable spirit. Be happy for your successes, but never stop learning. There is always more to know because the world is ever-changing, and none of us can know all things. The key to thriving in this life is to be prepared to not only change with it but to get in front of the change and drive it.

From where you are now, unemployed with few seeming prospects, your future might look hopeless. This perception is not true. There are barriers, to be sure, but they are there to be overcome by you and you alone. The world does not work like you were told it works when you were a kid. Deal with it and start engaging the reality around you right now just as it is, using intelligence, cunning, and charm. You are the decision-maker, and whether you succeed or fail ultimately depends on the decisions you make.

In many ways, you are a victim of a system that has conspired against you. But you get nowhere by acting like a victim. You don’t need to be a victim. You have free will and the capacity for self-governance; indeed, you possess the human right to choose. Today is the day to start exercising it.

Find a Portuguese translation of this article here.

20121129_JeffreyTuckeravatar (1)ABOUT JEFFREY A. TUCKER

Jeffrey Tucker is a distinguished fellow at FEE, CEO of the startup Liberty.me, and publisher at Laissez Faire Books. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminar “Making Innovation Possible: The Role of Economics in Scientific Progress.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Common Core’s End Game: Redistributing Grades

Ending inequities in academic outcomes drives much of the decision-making for bureaucrats who run our schools. Ultimately, the education bureaucrats, who are beholden to Washington, express much anxiety over losing federal aid. The message from Washington is that outcomes will be equalized.  It’s in the President’s proposed education budget and new guidelines to eliminate “disparate punishment” on the basis of race. Merit and fairness are cast aside, as both rewards and punishments are redistributed.

When I teach college English, the topic of communism comes up because many writers, such as Richard Wright, were at one time communists. But I inevitably get students who think redistribution of wealth is nice-sounding.  Karl Marx’s dictum, “To each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” resonates with young adults who have been raised on tolerance and social justice.  But then I challenge them on the reality of this precept.  Would you share your cars, I ask.  How about your electronics?  How about your grades?  What if I redistribute the grades, so everyone gets the class average?  That’s when there is an objection!

Of course, they mind. It turns out that there is some resentment about similar efforts at redistribution they had been forced into when they did group projects in school.  Inevitably, there were one or two students in the group who did most of the work.  But the slackers still got the benefit in terms of their grade.

The Common Core standards are intended to replicate such redistribution on a national scale.

The main impetus behind Common Core is closing the achievement gap because it’s the main objective of school boards, superintendents, principals, and many teachers.  The way to close the achievement gap is by redistributing grades.

This may sound far-fetched or conspiratorial.  But the language is there even in the many reports produced by commissions and committees promoting Common Core. For example, the report by the Gordon Commission, “To Assess, to Teach, to Learn: A Vision for the Future of Assessment,” calls for recognizing “collective knowledge” in the Common Core assessments for the “21st century.” This report, authored by 30 “scholars, policymakers, and practitioners” (including Bill Ayers ally Linda Darling-Hammond who is in charge of one of two national Common Core tests) and 50 consultants, was commissioned by the Educational Testing Service, the company that puts out the SAT, which was changed on March 5, 2014, to align with Common Core.

Common Core redistributes grades in three ways, primarily:

  1. By lowering standards.
  2. By assigning points for behaviors and attitudes instead of academics.
  3. By grading students as a group instead of individually.

It does this in the areas of Math, English, and Science.

Lowering Standards in Math

Algebra is delayed until ninth grade (from eighth grade).  Here in Atlanta, the president of Georgia Institute of Technology said a student who had not had algebra in eighth grade and calculus by senior year wouldn’t be qualified for admission.

As in the other disciplines, Common Core math emphasizes “process.”  So, those students who arrive at the correct answer through the straightforward old-fashioned methods suffer when they fail to explain the process through convoluted diagrams, drawings, and explanations.  A student who comes up with the wrong answer but performs the required task of demonstrating process may get more points than the student who arrives at the correct answer.  But if we really look at the boxes and visual representations of math problems, we see that Common Core math speaks to those who do not grasp the concepts abstractly, but need visual representations.  It’s like using fingers and toes to do calculations.  Those who are able to memorize, work the calculations, or even do the math in their heads, will be punished.  Those who need the pictures will be rewarded.

Lowering Standards in English Language Arts (ELA)

Reading experts, like Maryanne Wolf, describe various levels of literacy or reading ability.  Beginning readers “decode” words, moving along slowly on the page.  “Fluent” readers read effortlessly and quickly.  They read with such ease that they are able to spend most of their mental energy analyzing what they are reading, bringing in prior knowledge, and adding new ideas.  Fluent readers read with pleasure; decoding readers struggle.

Under the pretext of “close reading” of short excerpts, Common Core forces the fluent readers to stay on a short passage until the entire class or group understands the content.

Section B of the Publishers Criteria reinforces reading as decoding by demanding that “All students (including those who are behind) have extensive opportunities to encounter grade-level complex text.”

Curiously, this section insists that rather than improving their own reading skills, struggling students be pulled along: “Far too often, students who have fallen behind are only given less complex texts rather than the support they need to read texts at the appropriate level of complexity.”  More opportunities for catch-up are embedded in the charge to “build progressions of texts of increasing complexity within grade-level bands that overlap to a limited degree with earlier bands (e.g., grades 4-5 and grades 6-8).”

Common Core discourages teachers from using any information beyond the text at hand.  For example, the sample teaching instructions for the Gettysburg Address bewildered teachers who were told to teach this seminal, historically and literarily important document “cold.”  Students in such class discussion are discouraged from bringing in outside information to the class discussion so as to level the playing field.

Common Core’s emphasis on “visual literacy” and speaking and listening skills also redistributes grades from fluent readers to struggling readers.  Students up through grade 12 are evaluated on “Speaking and Listening Standards” – abilities formerly mastered by first grade. Under Common Core, 11th and 12th graders have to demonstrate their ability to “Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions . . . with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics.  . . .”

So, much of class time is spent on group reading of very short passages, watching videos, playing educational computer games, and then having discussions among groups of students.  Students are graded on their ability to collaborate and accept diverse views. Thus, we jump ahead to another means of redistributing grades: rewarding compliant behavior.

Assessments Based on Attitudes and Behaviors

Another lengthy report, on assessments, sponsored by the Department of Education and titled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” on new assessments, encourages following the KIPP charter school character report card, where students are graded on behaviors and attitudes. Sample measurements go beyond the simple “citizenship” segment of report cards of yore. Teachers evaluate the student on 24 characteristics, under the categories of “Zest,” (“Invigorates others”) “Grit,” “Self Control – School Work,” “Self Control Interpersonal,” “Optimism” (e.g., “Believes that effort will improve his or her future”), “Gratitude,” “Social Intelligence” (e.g., “Knows when and how to include others”), and “Curiosity.” The report also encourages the use of biometric computer measurements.

The evaluation of such “noncognitive” skills indicates a violation of personal boundaries between teachers and students, and between data companies and students.  And why should a student be graded on his ability to “invigorate others”?  This places the burden of other students’ performance on the student.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

NGSS are not technically Common Core standards, but they are standards developed by the same group, Achieve, a consortium of corporations and some governors, that developed the other Common Core standards.  Many, however, fear that they are the next phase in the imposition of federal standards.  Ten states have already adopted them.

During a March 5, 2014, hearing on Georgia SB 167, an anti-Common Core bill, opponents objected to the fact that the bill precludes the implementation of NGSS.

As in the standards for ELA and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education.”  They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context.”

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object.  Writing at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog, they charge that standards “slight” essential math skills and effectively eliminate high school physics.  They claim that the “practices” strategy of NGSS is an extension of the failing “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s.

As in ELA and math, “knowledge” in NGSS is shirked, while attitude is assigned high importance.  Students are given ideological lessons on such things as “Human impacts on Earth systems.” According to section ESS3.C, in grades K-2, students should understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students should learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.”

As I learned from attending the hearing on SB 167, ending inequities in academic outcomes drives much of the decision-making for bureaucrats who run our schools.  Philip Lanoue, superintendant of Clarke County Schools, one of the many state employees testifying against the Common Core withdrawal bill, praised Common Core for “equaling the playing field” and “closing the achievement gap.” Principals, teachers, and superintendants spoke about how Common Core “engages” students and involves “critical thinking.” (Teachers opposed to Common Core risk their jobs if they speak out.)

Sure, students are engaged when they work on fun projects.  Most would rather do that than read, write, or solve math problems.   Pretending to be pundits, or “critical thinkers,” as they repeat politically correct pieties, appeals to students’ vanity.  Common Core makes lagging students feel good about themselves, and it makes administrators look good.

Ultimately, the education bureaucrats are beholden to Washington.  Much anxiety was expressed at the hearing about losing federal aid were SB 167 to pass.

The message from Washington is that outcomes will be equalized.  It’s in the President’s proposed education budget and new guidelines to eliminate “disparate punishment” on the basis of race.  Merit and fairness are cast aside, as both rewards and punishments are redistributed.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

Warning for Floridians: National Hurricane Center to Issue New Storm Surge Map

If you think your property insurance costs are going through the ceiling, then gird yourself for more rate increases. Florida resident Pat Wayman in an email states, “Hold onto your wallets… the govt is making a map of more vulnerable areas!  The insurance companies must love this administration. If you loved the last insurance rate hike, this one should hit you like a tsunami.” Or perhaps a hurricane?

Wayman notes, “Remember that new flood insurance bill that was signed into law? Taxpayers in non flood zones will further subsidize those in flood zones. Both our Senators voted for the bill and Rick Scott went to D.C. to lobby for it. Here is the link to an Insurance Journal article outlining the bill. The journal states, ‘The bill would scale back big flood insurance premium increases faced by hundreds of thousands of homeowners. The measure also would allow below-market insurance rates to be passed on to people buying homes in flood zones with taxpayer-subsidized policies.'”

Beginning with the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) will issue the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map for those areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States at risk of storm surge from a tropical cyclone.

Developed over the course of several years in consultation with emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, and others, this new map will show:

  • Geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur; and
  • How high above ground the water could reach in those areas.

The Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map is an experimental National Weather Service product that provides valuable new information on the storm surge hazard associated with tropical cyclones.

Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. However, many people do not understand this term or the threat it represents.

Here are some things to know about this map:

  • The first map will usually be issued at the same time as the initial hurricane watch or, in some cases, with a tropical storm watch. The map is based on the latest forecast track and intensity for the tropical cyclone, and takes into account likely forecast errors.
  • The map shows inundation levels that have a 10-percent chance of being exceeded, and can therefore be thought of as representing a reasonable worst-case scenario for any given location.
  • The map is subject to change every six hours in association with every new NHC full advisory package. Due to the processing time required to produce the map, it will not be available until about 45 to 60 minutes following the advisory release.

The map will be part of an interactive display made available on the NHC website (http://www.hurricanes.gov) in situations where hurricane watches and warning are in effect for portions of the continental U.S.

The map will be experimental for at least two years, during which time comments from users will be solicited and gathered. Dissemination of the underlying raw data, including the provision of shapefiles, will not be available during the experimental period. At the conclusion of the experimental phase, based on the input, NHC will determine if the map would become an operational product.

For additional information, please visit the NHC Storm Surge website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge.

Zoned Out: Why and how we should seek to restore a free market in land By Nathan Smith

I once knew a man who was finishing his basement so that his daughter and son-in-law could live there. I spent a lot of hours down there with a nail gun before the city planners nixed the project. My in-laws in Modesto, California had to move out of their house into a mobile home on their own farm, because their kids needed a place to live. The law, for some reason, allowed them to put a mobile home there if seniors would be living in it, but not to accommodate a young family.

In run-ins with zoning laws, ordinary people encounter the perversity of government first-hand in ways that should make them receptive to the message of freedom and property.

You see, modern American society does not have a free market in land. Government interference with land use causes many of society’s problems. For example, in recent decades, people have started moving out of richer states into poorer ones, as high-productivity metropolitan areas refuse to accommodate population growth, driving housing prices and rents sky-high. While expensive real estate reflects high demand, the distortions originating with urban planners have made it difficult for young people to get a start in life. Artificial limits on supply, including zoning laws, building height restrictions, parking requirements, rules on maximum occupancy and minimum lot size, drive prices higher.

Without restrictions like these, real estate developers could build more high-rises and townhomes. Housing supply would rise, prices and rents would fall, more affordable cities would attract more people, and metropolitan productivity would raise national GDP.

Exclusion Zones and Enviromental Harm

Zoning can be a form of class warfare. Government power is deployed on behalf of rich people, to keep poor people out of their field of vision. In the early twentieth century, some officials used zoning laws to exclude racial minorities from white neighborhoods. Today, class has replaced race as a main motivator for exclusion. Even when officials claim other intentions, zoning’s effects are the same. Government interference with land use blocks people from stretching scarce dollars by sleeping more people in a room, for example, or converting single-family homes into multi-family homes. High property taxes and onerous construction codes make housing less affordable for everyone, especially the poor.

Zoning also harms the environment by forcing people out of cities, where they live less environmentally friendly lifestyles. By segregating residential, industrial, and commercial land use, it forces people to live farther from the places where they work and shop, causing more automobile dependency, asphalt, and urban sprawl. A free market in land would not eliminate sprawl, of course. Some people want a house and a yard. But the rise of suburbia in post-WWII America was driven not only by preferences, but significantly by zoning laws.

This Land is Their Land

Zoning tends to have an anti-density bias, but it often frustrates lovers of the rural life, too. When I moved to central California two years ago, I took a liking to the orchards and vineyards that surround the city, and looked for places in the countryside. That should have been easy. Agriculture generates low value per acre compared to residential rents, so people like me, with city jobs but a taste for the rural life, could easily offer landowners more than the land’s agricultural opportunity cost.

Unfortunately, the Fresno County Division of Public Works and Planning has zoned most of the land here “exclusive agricultural” in order “to protect the general welfare of the agricultural community from encroachments of non-related agricultural uses which by their nature would be injurious”—how, pray tell?—“to the physical and economic well-being of the agricultural district.”

The name of this regrettable agency contains the telltale word planning. It is curious how often America fails to learn the lesson of its own victory in the Cold War: Markets are better than planning. Read a zoning ordinance and you will quickly get the strange sense of reading a Gosplan document. Why must non-agricultural operations be limited to ten percent of a plot of land and three employees? Why are riding academies permitted (subject to director review) but arts and crafts schools prohibited? Why not leave such decisions to the market?

Externalities and Other Canards

The only legitimate economic rationale for zoning is that land use often has positive and negative local externalities. What I do with my land can affect my neighbors’ quality of life. If I fill my front yard with flowers, the whole street benefits. If I fill it with trash, my neighbors’ street views and property values are spoiled. A factory next to a suburb is an eyesore. A cafe may enliven a neighborhood, but patrons compete with residents for scarce parking. In the face of local externalities, the usual theorems about the efficiency of the market cease to hold, and zoning laws can, in principle, raise social welfare by mitigating activities with negative externalities, and/or encouraging activities with positive ones. Possibly, though I doubt it, the Fresno County Division of Public Works and Planning could find some feeble argument from local externalities to justify allowing riding academies but not arts and crafts schools in “exclusive agricultural” districts.

But there’s a better way to deal with externalities, elucidated by Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase in his 1960 article “The Problem of Social Cost.”

Coase considered, as an example, the problem of a rancher whose cows sometimes stray into the neighboring farmer’s field and destroy his crops (a negative externality). Does the farmer have a claim against the rancher, or do the rancher’s cows have a right to roam where they will? Should fences be built? Should one of them halt operations? What is the efficient solution? What is the just solution? Coase claimed no insight about justice, but he showed why, if efficiency is our goal, it does not matter whose side the court takes, as long as (a) rights are defined clearly, and (b) they are made tradable.

Suppose the following monetary values:

Rancher’s profit: $10,000

Farmer’s profit: $20,000

Damage to crops: $15,000

Cost of fencing: $15,000

The socially efficient solution here is for the rancher to halt operations. Fencing is too expensive. The rancher’s profits are lower than the farmer’s, and too small to offset the damage to crops.

Now, suppose a judge sides with the farmer, making the rancher liable. The rancher will shut down because his profits do not suffice to buy out the farmer or pay for the costs of fencing. But if the judge sides with the rancher, he will still shut down, the farmer will pay him a little over $10,000 to shut down. Either way, we get the efficient solution.

If, instead, the values are…

Rancher’s profit: $50,000

Farmer’s profit: $10,000

Damage to crops: $15,000

Cost of fencing: $15,000

… then the farmer will shut down, either because—if a judge rules against him in his dispute with the rancher—crop damage is causing him to lose money, or because—if a judge rules in his favor—the rancher buys him out. Whatever the efficient solution is, Coasean bargaining will find it, once the law clearly defines property rights in causing, or in being free from, externalities.

Bargaining Our Way to Pleasantville

Zoning laws should be replaced by a free market in land, with Coasean bargaining to deal with local externalities. The solution would be imperfect, due to transactions costs. But the system would get better over time, as entrepreneurial developers wanting to gentrify or commercialize neighborhoods would learn the best ways to acquire, from residents, the appropriate rights–perhaps involving complicated option contracts or Elinor Ostrom-style solutions to commons problems. And all of these alternatives would be supported by common law approaches to dispute resolution and contract, which have been thoroughly crowded out by municipal codes.

By contrast, centrally planned systems tend to ossify over time, as they grow increasingly more starved for the market pricing information that could provide signals about the efficient use of resources. Of course, the local knowledge of people on the ground is the foundation of community. That too is lost when town planners purport to know more.

Market flexibility is especially important now because technology wants to reorganize cities. Already, in an age of smartphones and laptops, when one hardly needs bookshelves or desks, young people with large student loans who want to live in Manhattan might find six-in-a-room lifestyles quite tolerable for a few months or years. Let the market decide. On the other hand, solar power and mobile data could open up attractive lifestyles in the foothills of the Sierras if they weren’t zoned “exclusive agricultural.” Let the market decide. Let the people decide.

In the future, cheap driverless taxis will make acres of urban parking obsolete. Even the home kitchen might become optional when driverless cars offer cheap 24-7 delivery of hot restaurant meals. Let the market decide. We need to get the old zoning boards out of the way, and leave people and markets free to discover the lifestyles that best suit them in the 21st century.

ABOUT NATHAN SMITH

Nathan Smith is a professor of economics and finance at Fresno Pacific University and the author of Principles of a Free Society and Complexity, Competition, and Growth. He blogs at Open Borders: The Case (openborders.info).

NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Common Core: Unconstitutional, Unethical and Unnecessary

Per requests from hundreds of our concerned readers, parents, teachers, clergy and even school leaders – here is a simple and condensed version of the “3 Arguments Against Common Core”. In going through my archives of numerous notes and articles on Common Core that I have put together for the past year, I have tried to simplify this argument by coming up with these “3 bullet points” as to how know that Common Core is: 1.) Unconstitutional, 2.) Unethical and 3.) Unnecessary.

Unconstitutional

1. Education is not provided for in the U.S. Constitution, therefore, through the 10th Amendment, it is a power reserved for the states. CCSS violates the U.S. Constitution because it mandates standards from the national level.

2. There is a U.S. Supreme Court case which support the point made in (1) above.

3. Common Core is a violation of three federal statutes: (1) General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), which forbids the federal government from meddling in the state’s education programs; (2) Department of Education Organization Act (DEOA), which prohibits the federal government to develop curriculum and program of instruction, textbooks and other instructional materials, and (3) Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which prohibits the federal government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency.

4. The issue of data mining violates the 4th Amendment, in addition to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which has protected student and family privacy in the educational setting. The Obama administration unilaterally wrote this federal law without Congressional approval, violating the balance of powers inherent in our constitutional republic form of government. There are currently a few lawsuits attempting to correct this egregious violation of law.

5. CCSS violate state constitutions and statutes which empower states to develop educational policies, standards and curriculum to states and local school districts.

6. “The whole education by a national state,” Hitler wrote, “must aim primarily not at the stuffing with mere knowledge but at building bodies which are physically healthy to the core.” But, even more important, he had stressed in his book the importance of winning over and then training the youth in the service ‘of a national state’-a subject he returned to often after he became the German dictator. Folks: Common Core is a national standard education! This is not what the Founding Fathers of America envisioned for America and for good reason!

For more information on the legal ramifications of the CCSS please read this article: http://watchdogwire.com/florida/2013/09/06/the-case-against-common-core-state-standards/

Unethical

1. Stakeholders who pay taxes – parents – are left out of the equation. This is “education without representation”.

2. Similar to point (4) above under the unconstitutional illegal section, it intrudes on student and family privacy which is not only illegal, but also unethical because privacy is so delicate.

3. CCSS were implemented in an insidious way, without giving citizens a fair opportunity to weigh in on what they really were. The costs of its implementation is so hefty that it will place a strain on the state and local economies. This is unethical in that so many are already hurting. Their economic well being was not taken into consideration, and they are being forced to finance something that is completely against their interests. In the law, this is known as a conflict of interests and arguably is unethical. Read this article that touches upon the great expense that the taxpayers will have to pay to implement CCSS, which, as the article also suggests does not provide any benefit in exchange for a $1 billion price tag.

4. Common Core is actually a step in the process toward achieving a longtime goal of the United Nations and its supporters: a one-world education system. The UN has long sought to harmonize global educational standards and billionaire, Bill Gates – one of the primary figures behind Common Core – has expressed devotion to a similar agenda. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Rockefeller-allied organization with a dubious history of financing everything from “population control” and pro-abortion forces to various United Nations agencies and schemes.

If you have time, please take the time to watch this video by Robin Eubanks. It is telling, and it speaks to the issue of one-world-government and how they will use education to indoctrinate the people.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3aaw03zSPy0[/youtube]

 

5. The tax-funded “abortion giant”, Planned Parenthood, which participated in writing the National Sexually Education Standards, will be given full access to American children. They performed over 334,000 abortions in this country last year.

Unnecessary

1. It is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel of education – yet again. We should stick to the educational system that got this country to the moon! That is, a classical form of education. Reinventing this wheel is just another huge “money maker” for the parties who are dictating this form of education – and that is why Jeb & Neil Bush are pushing this harder than any two brothers on the planet.

2. It is unnecessary to create a national standard for education. What is necessary is that we abolish the Federal Department of Education. Studies show that ever since the federal government’s involvement in education has gone up, education has gone down. Again, the term Government and the term Education should never be in the same paragraph – let alone in the same business. The day that our government has total control over our education system is the day that we lost our country.

3. The increased number of assessments that will be introduced with CCSS will increase in the classroom, diminishing instructional time. This is counterproductive and actually harms the educational process. This is what awaits our beloved school teachers and as of now, they have no clue how detrimental this will be to their teaching strategies and time management.

We hope this brings some clarity and simplicity to this controversy with Common Core. Just keep in mind three powerful aspects of the makeup and face of Common Core: Big Government (backed up by the liberal Obama administration who wants to see everything “standardized” across the country). Big Money (backed up by the unethical Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who have “deeper pockets” than the Grand Canyon) / and Big Business (Planned Parenthood – the “abortion giant” – who have their eyes on every single teenager in our school system with their abortion business soon to boom when they get a hold of our beloved children).

Need I say anymore, other than, please read these messages we are sending out and share them with your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, educators, administrators, church leaders and anybody who cares about the welfare of our beloved United States of America. This is truly a TEAM effort and everybody has to do their share. I sent this same, exact message out way back in August, when the school year was just kicking off. It is still not too late to get involved. We can still “Reverse the Curse” and rid our beloved schools from this socialist disease. Please do not be left out in the cold and not know what Common Core is, as every single American citizen in our country should know by now all about this ever-controversial “unproven & experimental” set of educational standards.

And, the more experts look into it – the bigger the controversy grows, only because more and more people are now looking beyond the facade of the two other programs that lured those same 45 states into this whole mess in the first place – “No Child Left Behind” & “Race to the Top”. It was all a big, giant “smokescreen” with these two former programs posing as “baits”. Sure, the money was great and easy to collect. It was a very well orchestrated plan, and now, those “more educated” states who see “how the rabbit was pulled out from inside the hat” – want to know how that rabbit got there.

Abra Kadabra: COMMON CORE!!

And, as of recently, the Obama administration has handed out stimulus packages (e.g., “Race to the Top” grants) and handed out waivers from the “No Child Left Behind” states that have adopted Common Core. Obama has even made stimulus money available to states on condition that they would collect extensive data on children to control education decisions. A truly state-led program would not need “bullying” by the Obama administration to get support.

Since we are speaking about Education – please educate yourself and stay up on this controversial issue we call the “Curse of Common Core”. Share this message with others; try to read up on it as much as you can; ask questions at your children’s respective school; ask your children about their classroom exercises and review their homework; Be prepared and do your own homework so that there are no more “magic tricks” pulled right before your very own eyes.

And whatever you do – don’t get caught with your pants down…that’s what Planned Parenthood is counting on.

Tenth Anniversary of legalized “therapeutic” prostitution in San Francisco

Here is the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexualityagain—offering a 2004 California State approved certificate for what amounts to therapeutic prostitution. The “course” provides credits toward the PhD and all other sex ed degrees at the IASHS. Note the “baby massage” is included with the “erotic” training and remember the IASHS has sold child pornography to Hustler and has advocated child adult sex in publications and it is implicit in its mission statement. As you know, most of our “trained” researchers have been trained at the Kinseyan IASHS or by their graduates, on downward.

image003

For a larger view click on the image.

The World Net Daily article below includes the police view of the IASHS as establishing scientific cover for giving certificates for current open door policy to California Sexual Trafficking:

Basically, what the district attorney is saying to the pimps, the panderers and traffickers of women is, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing because we’re not going to do anything about it.'” The new law also does away with restrictions against sexually suggestive advertising and loosens restrictions on trainees. …[USING] a “culturally sensitive test to all applicants, in the applicant’s own language, to confirm basic proficiency in massage before issuing a permit.” Goodwin says the term “culturally sensitive” casts a wide net in San Francisco, pointing out that some massage schools are explicitly prostitution oriented, such as the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality’s program in “Sexological Bodywork.”

LAW OF THE LAND: Prostitution legal in San Francisco? City quietly passed measure liberalizing massage industry.

Originally posted: July 20, 2004 1:00 a.m. Eastern

Ten weeks before San Francisco shocked the nation by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the city quietly took another step in America’s cultural
revolution by liberalizing its massage permit laws to the point where some critics call it de facto legalization of prostitution.

Addressing the issue of sex workers in the massage industry, outgoing Mayor Willie Brown, with the nearly unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors, signed a new law Dec. 5 that redefines it as a public health issue rather than a matter of law enforcement.

The law went into effect July 1. By removing a requirement that applicants submit to fingerprinting and provide photo IDs, the measure opens the door to include most anyone in the massage industry, including convicted pedophiles and rapists, asserts Brian Goodwin, a massage therapist in San Rafael, Calif., near San Francisco.

Goodwin, largely through his website, has been a relatively lone voice sounding the alarm about legislation that has received scant attention in the press. “Basically, San Francisco’s new massage law is the only massage law in the world written specifically for the benefit of criminals, to help criminals to commit crimes, especially those crimes related to sex-slave trafficking, prostitution, rape, pedophilia, etc.,” Goodwin says.

After its passage, the leading public lobbyist behind an effort to decriminalize prostitution in the massage industry, David Palmer, hailed San Francisco’s “humane and compassionate” approach to the issue.

“San Francisco has not chosen to take a standard route to separate or distinguish adult entertainment from therapeutic massage,” Palmer, president of the San Francisco
Coalition of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, said in the July issue of the trade newsletter Massage Today. “San Francisco is a trendsetter,” he added. Palmer’s website acknowledges the ordinance comes at the end of a long process that began with the Board of Supervisors establishing a Task Force on Prostitution in March 1994. The task force’s final report, in 1996, admitted San Francisco “may not unilaterally legalize or decriminalize prostitution.”

Nevertheless, the panel urged the board to “remove authority for the licensing of massage parlors, masseuses and masseurs and escort services from the Vice Crime
Division’s jurisdiction and place it with agencies already qualified to grant other standard business licenses.”

At the time, the task force received wide media coverage and was roundly condemned in local newspaper editorials. Also, the first attempt to act on the recommendations, under the leadership of Supervisor Tom Ammiano in 1999, received attention. But passage of the recommendation Nov. 18, led by Supervisor Chris Daly, received barely a mention — one paragraph in the San Francisco Examiner in November, buried in a listing of recent board decisions, with no reference to the 1996 Task Force on Prostitution that inspired the changes. The item in the Nov. 21 Examiner reads:

In other actions: The board adopted a measure sponsored by Supervisor Chris Daly that transfers the licensing and regulating of massage parlors and massage practitioners from the Police Department to the Department of Public Health, in effect, saying that massage is more a health concern than a criminal one. [Supervisor Tony] Hall cast the lone vote in opposition.

Daly did not return a request for comment by press time, but in January, he told the Examiner the regulatory change would in no way affect the police department’s
jurisdiction in enforcing illegal activities such as human trafficking and prostitution, said to be an increasing problem. But Goodwin sees the city easing up on enforcement,
noting on June 24, San Francisco District Attorney Harris dropped all criminal charges in a prostitution sting operation, declaring, “Prostitution and regulatory violations at the clubs raise complex issues involving worker safety, exploitation of women, equity and fair notice.”

San Francisco Police Department Capt. Tim Hettrich summarized the city’s response: “Basically, what the district attorney is saying to the pimps, the panderers and traffickers of women is, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing because we’re not going to do anything about it.'”

Opening the door

How does San Francisco’s new massage law open the door to prostitution?

Under the old law, Police Code 27, applicants for a massage permit were required to undergo an identification process that included photographing and fingerprinting. That has been removed from the code, along with a section that prevented anyone convicted of prostitution from getting a permit. The latter omission was one of the main objections voiced by Hall. The new law also does away with restrictions against sexually suggestive advertising and loosens restrictions on trainees. Previously, the trainee could work only for the massage school in which he was enrolled, and the trainee permit could not be renewed beyond three months. The new law also has a trainee permit, but its only requirement is the payment of fees and registration as a student, and it can be renewed indefinitely.

For a full permit, the director of the Department of Public Health must administer a “culturally sensitive test to all applicants, in the applicant’s own language, to confirm
basic proficiency in massage before issuing a permit.” Goodwin says the term “culturally sensitive” casts a wide net in San Francisco, pointing out that some massage schools are explicitly prostitution oriented, such as the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality’s program in “Sexological Bodywork.”

The most drastic change, he says, is how violations are treated.

Under the old law, violators were misdemeanor criminals, threatened with revocation of the massage permit and up to six months in jail and a fine.

Under the new law’s Section 1928, however, violations no longer are crimes but simply treated like parking tickets, with “administrative fines.” The law may be violated as often as desired, as long as the fines are paid.

“The ramifications of this law have yet to be seen,” says Goodwin, who believes the previous law’s inclusion of identification requirements served as a deterrent to sex
traffickers who enslave women and children as prostitutes.

The old ID requirements also served to deter the San Francisco Bay Area’s 8,000 registered sex offenders from becoming massage therapists, he says.

But now, Goodwin contends, anyone can quickly acquire get a “trainee” massage permit by paying the fees and lying about identity.

RELATED STORIES: 

US reports rare case of woman-to-woman HIV transmission – Yahoo News

Study finds current US Penal Codes based on Scientific Fraud and Child Sex Crimes

HEALTH ALERT: Condoms never FDA-approved for sodomy

Climate Truth versus US Government Climate Policy

There are two absolutes that need to be considered when talking about the Earth’s climate.

The first absolute is that science, by definition, can never be settled. If you ever hear anyone, including scientists, say that a scientific theory, such as manmade global warming, is settled, then you know he or she is not telling you the truth.

Scientific theories are just that, theories, which must over time be tested using scientific methods, repeatedly tested again and proven using facts – not emotion.

The simple fact is that the Earth’s climate is impacted primarily by our star – the Sun. Solar activity has been theorized and proven over time to be the best predictor of changes in our climate.

Leaders, in academia, the public and private sectors, must therefore look at proven climate science models when making short and long term policy decisions. Currently, policy makers are using the wrong (CO2 Theory) model rather than a proven (e.g. Relational Cycle Theory) model to predict future climates.

A failure to use the proven model (best science) could lead to bad policy and social disruption, wasted resources, and worst case, possibly international discord, if not conflict.

The second absolute is man cannot control the weather. This is common sense. If anyone tells you that man can control the weather (climate) by changing his behaviors you should at the very least be skeptical, or better, just walk away.

Fact: The Earth’s atmosphere is made up of 0.039% parts of carbon dioxide (CO2). The proponents of bad science (CO2 Theory) say that by reducing CO2 emissions, man can control (change) the Earth’s climate.

The fact is that there were times when there was significantly more CO2 in our atmosphere than today and yet the temperature was colder. CO2 emissions come primarily from water evaporation due to the Sun shining brightly on our vast oceans and seas.

Natural global processes cannot be changed and will produce exponentially more CO2 than mankind can ever emit from any of his activities or the use of Earth’s abundant resources, such as oil and natural gas.

It is prophetic that on Monday, March 10th, 2014, about 28 US Senators stayed up all night discussing climate change on the floor of the US Senate. The question is: Did they discuss and promote good climate science or bad climate science, and therefore good climate policy or bad climate policy? The answer is sadly no.

Dr. Lawrence W. Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education, wrote, “Sound policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people.”

Time will tell whether we have taken the ‘sound climate policy’ approach and headed down the road to redemption for all of mankind, or else decided to take the road to perdition.

RELATED VIDEO: Joe Miller reports, “Several hundred global warming activists converged on Washington, D.C. earlier this month, protesting the Keystone Pipeline and urging radical solutions to limit carbon emissions. Of course, those radical solutions did not include limiting their own personal carbon emissions. At least one honest interviewee, who flew from Colorado to the nation’s capital, admitted that he would not give up air travel, no matter how polluting. But some attendees were more committed to the cause, even signing petitions to lower the sun’s temperature.” Watch it all here:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/5w4VdgE9aEk[/youtube]

Wealth Inequality: Predictably Irrational by Max Borders

Note: A new video on income inequality has gone viral. In this video, the authors want us to believe that wealth inequality is far away from our national “ideal” distribution.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM[/youtube]

 

The following is my response to the video and the study on which it was based:

Everyone knows the social sciences are fuzzy. Economists, political scientists, and anthropologists bring their moralistic baggage into the ivory tower as soon as they decide what to study and what not to. Social science is value-laden. But there is baggage and then there is a naked agenda. In the first case you might be a victim of selection bias or other unconscious human processes that cause you to misinterpret your data. In the latter case you simply start with a political agenda along with its (often dubious) premises, and go from there.

Michael I. Norton of Harvard and Dan Ariely of Duke fall into the latter category. In a 2010 study, Norton and Ariely appear to be engaging in a kind of democracy-by-proxy. They claim that Americans really want more “wealth redistribution,” and they have the evidence to prove it.

Here’s their own description of the findings from a Los Angeles Times piece, “Spreading the Wealth.”

We recently asked a representative sample of more than 5,000 Americans (young and old, men and women, rich and poor, liberal and conservative) to answer two questions. They first were asked to estimate the current level of wealth inequality in the United States, and then they were asked about what they saw as an ideal level of wealth inequality.

In our survey, Americans drastically underestimated the current gap between the very rich and the poor. The typical respondent believed that the top 20% of Americans owned 60% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% owned 10%. They knew, in other words, that wealth in the United States was not distributed equally, but were unaware of just how unequal that distribution was.

When we asked respondents to tell us what their ideal distribution of wealth was, things got even more interesting: Americans wanted the top 20% to own just over 30% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% to own about 25%. They still wanted the rich to be richer than the poor, but they wanted the disparity to be much less extreme.

What should we conclude from this? Norton and Ariely did succeed in proving that Americans don’t know who has how much money.

Strangely, Norton and Ariely proceed to ask the same Americans who are ignorant about the current wealth distribution what their “ideal” distribution is. Those surveyed then dreamed up what they thought would be a good breakdown, even though no such ideal exists in that great Tablet in the Sky. From all of this surveying, they conclude something that cannot readily be concluded:

[O]ur results suggest that policies that increase inequality—those that favor the wealthy, say, or that place a greater burden on the poor—are unlikely to reflect the desires of Americans from across the political and economic spectrum. Rather, they seem to favor policies that involve taking from the rich and giving to the poor. [Emphasis added.]

Notice “suggest” and “seem.”

You see, Norton and Ariely can’t claim those surveyed favor coercive redistribution. They merely infer it—and in curious fashion. Absent any context, the most ardent libertarian surveyed might wish that poor people had more resources and yet not support forced redistribution. I know I do. But even if they learned most people favor redistribution at some point, we cannot conclude such desires justify forced redistribution, much less prove that redistribution is a good thing.

And this is where Norton and Ariely’s malpractice really begins.

Academic socialists with bees in their bonnets are eager to point out which quintile has what at every turn, as if concern for the poor somehow automatically translates into worries about the assets of the rich. One reason they do this is they believe laypeople are ignorant: If they were enlightened, they would change their minds and want to alter the distribution.

Somehow, though, this self-same group of distribution-ignorant Americans—when polled about a complete abstraction like the distribution of assets over quintiles—suddenly becomes endowed with a magical insight. Again, Norton and Ariely want us to think this special insight provides justification for redistributionist policies. But why should we think that Americans factually ignorant in one area would have some sort of mystical authority on the timeless and intractable questions of justice?

In other words, Norton and Ariely conclude that asking Joe Sixpack, Jill Accountant, and Barb Waitress their thoughts about an abstraction like national income quintiles limns some great truth about right, wrong, and the good. Even the venerable soft egalitarian John Rawls would likely have bristled at this, for it is an intrusion into a discipline (philosophy) that demands more than what amounts to the naturalistic fallacy dressed up in finery of Gallup and Zogby.

I wonder: Did any of their respondents have the option of saying, “I don’t think there is such an ideal distribution”? To me the whole exercise is as meaningful as asking people what should be the ideal distribution of vehicle types. Suppose for simplicity there are five categories of vehicle: cars, pickups, buses, local trucks, and transfer trucks. Someone with no concept of the function of each vehicle might say each category should have 20 percent of all vehicles—i.e., 20 percent are cars, 20 percent are trucks, 20 percent are buses, and so on. But once we start to think about what each vehicle does, we might conclude that it makes sense for there to be a different, rather unequal, distribution. Similarly, the distribution of assets in quartiles just doesn’t tell us anything substantive about the function of wealth (e.g., opportunities, quality of life, upward mobility, or what is likely to make any given person better off). The “ideal distribution” is meaningless because it is completely divorced from much more important questions about the way wealth works, which may have much more to do with human well-being than some distribution at some slice in time.

Now, speaking of Rawls, Norton and Ariely actually start their paper by claiming their study is Rawlsian: “We take a different approach to determining the ‘ideal’ level of wealth inequality: Following the philosopher John Rawls (1971), we ask Americans to construct distributions of wealth they deem just (”Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 6, no. 9 (2011), doi: 10.1177/1745691610393524).” People may have good reasons to disagree with the late Rawls, but his theory is elegant and sophisticated. Norton and Ariely have no business hitching their wagon to Rawls’s A Theory of Justice.

Rawls’s theory was a product of a philosophical reasoning. His theory requires people to think about what sort of society they would want to be born into if they didn’t know what their own circumstances would be. Rawls thought people would want a high degree of political freedom, but also security; they would want the least well off to be cared for lest they themselves be born as the least well off. Most importantly, perhaps, Rawls’s theory—right or wrong—was a product of philosophical deliberation, not about opinion polls in which people simply come up with a distribution and have academics point to the results as Utopian. So when it comes to Rawls’s work, one can only conclude that Norton and Ariely are shrouded in a veil of ignorance.

Norton and Ariely also never consider the possibility that some of their respondents might want to see a different wealth distribution carried out through means other than forced redistribution by the state. For example, might we rid government of all the favor-seeking schemes that protect the assets of banking CEOs and agribusiness moguls and shift costs onto the poor and middle class? If people had greater information about the circumstances of time and place—like the effect of taking X dollars from businessman B means B can afford to hire fewer people—would they think differently about matters? Ask people for idealized abstractions and you’ll get idealized abstractions. After all, aren’t people “predictably irrational”?

Maslow’s Covered

In his own critique of Norton and Ariely, George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux reminds us that money ain’t everything:

That Americans “drastically” underestimate the wealth of “the very rich” compared to the wealth of “the poor” reveals that the difference in the number of dollars owned by “the very rich” compared to the number of dollars owned by “the poor” translates into a much smaller—that is, far more equal—difference in living standards. In other words, differences in monetary wealth are not the same as differences in living standards.

Indeed, maybe the reason Americans misjudge the actual wealth distribution is that most consider themselves wealthy in Boudreaux’s more subjective sense—at least when it comes to the things that matter. (Bill Gates might be able to fly in a private jet, but we can both fly. He might be able to afford $10,000-per-plate caviar, but we can both eat well.) Standard of living is different in important ways from the measure of assets distributed over a population.

As far as “the gap” is concerned, one of the major themes of this book is: If your goal is to alleviate poverty or perhaps to raise the baseline for what constitutes a minimum level of income that would allow most everyone to escape distress, that’s something reasonable people can talk about.

But that is not the same thing as worrying about what assets the wealthy control.

Suppose you asked the same Americans in the Norton-Ariely study, “If you could guarantee that every poor person in America had their basic needs met, would you agree to abandon your ‘ideal’ wealth distribution?” Their answers might surprise you. That’s because many people conflate the distribution of wealth and concern for the poor. Indeed, we don’t find any upper limit on income anywhere in Rawls, either. Rawls’s only criterion was that the least advantaged benefit from inequality. If you’ve ever been to North Korea or Cuba, it’s pretty obvious that they do.

Max Borders

Max Borders

ABOUT MAX BORDERS

Max Borders is the editor of The Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also cofounder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

Legal Attack on “Buffer Zone” Protecting Planned Parenthood Abortion Facility

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, stepped-up its legal attack on a Portland, Maine city ordinance, designed to restrict pro-life speech, by adding an additional plaintiff and filing a motion yesterday for a preliminary injunction to immediately stop the enforcement of the City’s ordinance.

At issue is Portland’s Ordinance 17-108 which establishes a 39-foot “buffer zone” around the City’s only abortion facility.   Pro-life counselors are subject to a $100 fine if they enter the 39-foot radius around the facility’s entrances, including the public sidewalk. Consequently, the ordinance creates a free speech dead zone which effectively prevents pro-life counselors from compassionately reaching out to women who are contemplating an abortion or who have already had one.

The Thomas More Law Center filed the original federal lawsuit on February 12, 2014, on behalf of Marguerite and Daniel Fitzgerald, as well as two of their teenaged children. The Fitzgerald family are Evangelical Christians who have been participating in pro-life activities outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic for over a year. The buffer zone prevents them from engaging in pro-life activities motivated by their religious belief that abortion is the deliberate destruction of innocent human life.

The newly added plaintiff, Leslie Sneddon, has engaged in sidewalk counseling at the abortion facility for over a year.  The compelling and compassionate reasons for her actions as a sidewalk counselor are revealed to the court in an affidavit:  She had four abortions and now feels compelled to peacefully counsel other women against making the same life-altering, life-ending decisions she made. She understands what they are feeling and why they are contemplating abortion.  She attempts to counsel them so they may choose life for their baby. However, with the 39-foot buffer zone she can no longer have an intimate, more private conversation.

Click here to read entire motion and brief for the Preliminary Injunction

TMLC Senior Trial Attorney Erin Mersino, one of the attorneys handling the case, commented: “One of the saddest parts of this case is that Leslie who has had four abortions herself and wishes to help other post-abortive women through gentle conversation and discussion of counseling options can no longer do so.  The so-called ‘buffer zone’ makes this impossible as our client is forced to stand across a busy city street, and yell to have her message heard.  In her case, the ‘buffer zone’ has made her efforts to help women, for whom she shares a great deal of empathy, unlawful.”

Refusing to Associate Isn’t Wrong by Brian Lasorsa

I was troubled by a column that ran in The Freeman last week. Many other libertarians and conservatives were, too. Author Casey Given offered a convoluted critique of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1062, colloquially known as the “antigay bill” and the “religious liberty bill,” depending on whom you ask. Given claimed that hidden beneath the proposed legislation lurks a “homophobic push to protect the right to discriminate against gays.”

To be clear, the bill makes no reference to sexuality. Not a single line, word, nor letter alludes to sexual orientation. Given acknowledges this but, like other critics, believes that we can deduce malice through a faulty analysis of existing federal statutes. In other words, since the Civil Rights Act (CRA) only prohibits discrimination against race, sex, and religion, and since SB 1062 isn’t an override of the CRA, Arizona must be trying to take advantage of certain loopholes.

We have a term for this: cherry-picking.

SB 1062 does one thing and one thing only: It aligns Arizona state law with the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, expanding the circumstances under which religious liberty can be used as a defense against claims of discrimination in court. “It does not (unlike the recent, equally controversial Kansas law) prescribe the outcomes of those hearings,” Brandon McGinley writes at The Federalist. That means, had SB 1062 passed, a jury still would have been able to find an individual guilty of unlawful discrimination if his or her religious freedoms weren’t in jeopardy of facing “substantial burden” otherwise.

The definition of “substantial burden” is a question for the courts. It can pertain to several categories of people—homosexuals, polygamists, unwed sexual partners—as well as to a diverse group of activities, including meal service and overnight accommodations. Was the legislation reactionary? Who knows? Maybe its sponsors’ actions were sparked by the Christian woman in New Mexico who declined to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony and was subsequently charged with (and fined $7,000 for) violating the state’s Human Rights Act. Or maybe they were further encouraged when a husband and wife in Oregon, citing their Christian values, refused to bake a cake for another lesbian couple’s wedding and were forced to shut down their business.

Either way, the motivations behind these laws and the laws’ effects in the real world are completely separate discussions. And to condemn a state legislature as “bigoted” while failing to elucidate the broad and comprehensive nature of the bill in question is not only a cheap rhetorical ploy but also a careless interpretation of its text.

Let’s move past Arizona’s legislation, though. Libertarianism is deeply rooted in the freedom of association. The author’s portrayal of this right as an “excuse” seemed to be the highest point of contention for readers. As one commenter explained, “The thing that bothers me isn’t different viewpoints within libertarianism. Rather, it is promoting viewpoints that try to change the meaning of libertarianism from consistent defense of liberty to something quite different.” If libertarians can defend the KKK’s right to free speech without being charged with racism, we should be able to defend discriminatory business practices—be they against homosexuals, blacks, or any other category of human beings—without facing accusations of bigotry, a criticism much more fit for the cultural realm than the political one.

Individual liberty is not a social commentary. It doesn’t aim to form a consensus on the “right” or “wrong” way to exercise a freedom; it merely acknowledges the virtue of that freedom’s existence. Discrimination is nothing except the act of making a distinction, and in our communities it can have an ordering function as effective as those which govern the marketplace.

ABOUT BRIAN LASORSA

Brian LaSorsa is a columnist in the United States. He is an advocate of the Austrian School of economics and enjoys spending money on classic literature and slasher films.

ACTION ALERT: Support Offshore Energy Exploration in FL!

Currently, Federal Government policies ban offshore oil and gas exploration and development in 87% of the offshore areas it controls. These areas have a huge potential to produce the oil and natural gas our nation needs. The first step towards making this happen is to find out how much oil and natural gas exists offshore. We can do that through seismic surveying.

Tell the Obama Administration that you support seismic surveying.

Take Action

Right now, the Obama Administration is considering whether to allow these surveys for the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. If federal officials decide against allowing these surveys, we won’t be seeing offshore drilling any time soon. It’s vital that these surveys are approved so our nation can get moving on accessing the abundant energy resources off our coastlines.

You can help ensure offshore drilling becomes a reality.

Take ACtion

Expanding offshore drilling could create 280,000 new jobs nationwide and 9,000 jobs in your state. It could contribute up to $23.5 billion to the U.S. economy every year. Let’s make sure our nation can begin enjoying these great benefits that have been blocked for decades. Let’s make sure Washington approves offshore seismic surveying.

The letter to the Administration reads:

I urge you to approve the environmental impact statement that would allow seismic surveying off Florida’s coastline.

As a resident of Florida, I want to see our state enjoying the benefits that offshore oil and gas production could bring. If the federal government were to allow offshore drilling, it could create 9,000 jobs in Florida, and boost our economy by $700 million.

Allowing seismic surveying is the first step in making offshore energy exploration a reality. The last surveys were done over thirty years ago. Technological advances since then allows surveys done today to be much more accurate. This process can be done safely and without harm to marine animals.

Our state needs the jobs and economic growth that offshore energy production would create. Our nation would also benefit from producing more energy here instead of relying so heavily on foreign imports. This is a win-win situation for our nation, but it can only happen if seismic surveying is approved.

I urge you to allow such surveying to take place.

Homeland Security Order: Retreat From Illegals and Drug Smugglers

One of our responsibilities is to provide facts on issues that may negatively affect the safety of the Republic, in order that American Citizens will be provided with the truth on issues that the Obama administration and the left of center liberal media establishment, works at covering up many of those facts daily.  The below listed published article provides complete details on our summary of the new Rules Of Engagement issued to the US Border Patrol.

On the first day of his appointment, new Rules of Engagement were issued to the Border Patrol by Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, who has no Law Enforcement experience and is the first African American to head DHS.   The new Rules Of Engagement, bars self-defense from rock-throwers, and match the recommendation of a report by an Illegal Immigration advocacy groups and the Mexican government. They want to reduce policing of illegal immigrants trying to illegally enter the United States at the Mexican border.  Obama agrees with the new Rules Of Engagement and desires for more lenient policing of illegal Immigrants violating Federal Law at the US/Mexican border.

The report by the Police Executive Research Forum was commissioned by DHS, it encourages lawlessness at the border by Illegal aliens, puts Border Patrolmen in much more danger, bars Border Patrolmen from standing in front of smugglers’ vehicles to prevent smugglers from entering the United States, and prevents Border Patrolmen from shooting at people who are attacking them with large rocks (those rock assaults have put Border Patrolmen in the hospital with critical head injuries).

Three U.S. Border Patrolmen were killed in recent years, including one who was shot during a clash with drug smugglers carrying AK-47 assault weapons provided to them by agents of the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious illegal drug running operation (the illegal Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation continues to be covered up by Holder). The Border Patrol has been attacked 6,000 times since 2007, and they have been “assaulted with very large rocks” 1,713 times since 2010, resulting in the serious injury of Border Patrolmen.

Despite the 7,713 attacks on Border Patrolmen, they have responded with deadly force only 43 times—-or 0.00056% of the time they were dangerously attacked.

Instead of tighten up policing rules to protect the lives of Border Patrolmen, Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security is doing exactly the opposite, he is putting them in more danger and telling them to run away, and seek shelter from attack,  if they are attacked by Illegal Immigrants.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the new rules are being challenged by mid-level DHS officials and Veteran Border Patrolmen, who argued that the new rules barring self-defense from rock-throwers “could create a much more dangerous environment, especially for agents operating in rural or desolate areas, often alone, where concealment, cover and egress is not an option.”  But Johnston overrode the internal opposition by Veteran Border Patrolmen, and forced the implementation of the advocacy groups’ new Rules Of Engagement; Johnson demonstrated his incompetence on the first day on the job by putting Federal law Enforcement lives more in danger.

The new Rules Of Engagement will encourage drug cartels and human smuggling cartels in Mexico to get much more aggressive.  These unconscionable new Rules Of Engagement, should be grounds for Speaker Boehner to take action against DHS for  intentionally putting the lives of Federal Law Enforcement Officers in danger, and creating fear for the families of those dedicated Federal Law Enforcement Officers.

Obama is doing to Federal Law Enforcement Officers what he did to US Combat Forces in Afghanistan, forcing new and very dangerous Rules Of Engagement on them (those new and dangerous Rules Of Engagement in Afghanistan increased personnel Killed In Action by casualties by 458%).

If the Speaker of the House doesn’t take “immediate” and “firm” action to oppose these new and dangerous Rules Of Engagement for Border Patrolmen at the Mexican Border that are preventing them from defending themselves and telling them to “run”, like the speaker has failed for 17 months to establish a Select House Investigative Committee with subpoena authority on The Battle of Benghazi, there should be a change in leadership in the House.

RELATED COLUMN: DHS Orders Border Control, Retreat From Illegal Throwing Rocks and Drug Smugglers Vehicles