Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Margaret O'Brien for State Representative

Portage Councilwoman Margaret O'Brien has announced her candidacy for State Representative in the 61st district.

The 61st district includes the cities of Portage and Parchment, and Oshtemo, Texas, Alamo, and Praire Ronde, and western Kalamazoo Townships. Portage Councilman Larry DeShazor is also running as a Republican and Julie Rogers is running as a democrat.

O'Brien is a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo County who works as a realtor. She was first elected to the Portage city Council in 2003 and reelected in 2007.

Margaret is a staunch conservative. She is pro-life, and she hasn't just said so, she has volunteered for pro-life causes. She supports the right to keep and bear arms. She supports limited government and opposes tax increases and spending increases. She supports greater education freedom. She supports protecting jobs from illegal immigrants.

O'Brien has fought for fiscal responsibility in Portage. One major issue that she has been involved with is special assessments. These charge homeowners for work on the roads that they live on. This might make sense on purely residential streets, but it made no sense on Oakland Drive, a major thoroughfare. This was a major controversy, with homeowners between Milham and Romence posting homemade signs in their yards saying how much the special assessment would cost. Eventually, the Council put a measure on the ballot to end special assessments, and it was passed by voters.

Margaret has been endorsed by current State Representative Jack Hoogendyk. She deserves the support of Republicans in the August 5 primary election.

See Margaret's website:
Watch her declaration of candidacy.

Cooney for Congress?

The news is reporting that Kalamazoo City Commissioner Don Cooney will run for Congress against Fred Upton. Cooney has a reputation as very liberal. He has close ties to the Green Party. He has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.

I wonder what his position on light bulb choice is?

There don't seem to be any news articles online at this time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

End the Silence

I know what you're thinking. But this post has absolutely nothing to do with any sort of gay rights movement. It's more about a very dangerous silence than any out there: the silence that is the global warming debate. It's really a one sided deal with schools showing films such as Al Gore's "An Inconvient Truth" and the media acting like it's a settled issue. However, today I'm going to do my part to break that silence and submit some evidence that needs to be considered by all. Here's a couple speeches from Michael Crichton.

The first one is called "Aliens cause Global Warming." It points out that the science behind the global warming movement is not science.

The second I consider to be one of the best cases against this assumption that global warming is an issue. It's called "The Case for Skepticism on Global Warming." It points out many of the flaws in the arguement for global warming.

Now why do I call this silence dangerous? It's quite simple. Because of this global warming concern, people are denied sources of fuel that would help lower fuel costs. These high fuel costs make it harder and harder for struggling families to bring home much of a paycheck. Regulations on third world countries force people there to deal with weak or unhealthy forms of energy for cooking heat or simple development within their country. This isn't a debate where we can side on caution. Because if we enforce stupid regulations that hurt people and it ends up being for no reason at all, then we will have caused needless death and suffering. This is the sort of thing where we need to be sure we're right.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--Environmentalism

This update focuses on environmentalism. Ethanol subsides lead to rising food prices and third world riots. More evidence comes in against global warming hysteria. The Earth has not warmed since 1998. Earth Day was founded to celebrate Lenin's birthday.

Ross Kamisky: Do-gooders and Politicians Support Faulty Ethanol Policy
Steven Hayward: Happy Earth Day
Deroy Murdock: Global Food Riots: Made in Washington, D.C.
Arthur Robinson: Nobel Prize for Death
Deroy Murdock: Oil Drilling America
Walter Williams: Big Corn and Ethanol Hoax

Chris Horner: W Goes Green?
William Jasper: 2008 Climate Debate
William Jasper: Weather Channel Founder’s Forecast
Thomas Sowell: Cold Water on "Global Warming"
John Lott: No Global Warming Crisis

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Third Party News

The Constitution Party held its national convention this weekend. Pastor, author, and 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin was nominated over former Republican Presidential candidate Alan Keyes. Baldwin's website can be seen here.

The Libertarian Party will hold its national convention next month. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, who led the fight to impeach President Clinton, is the frontrunner for the nomination. Former Democrat senator and recent presidential candidate Mike Gravel is also running, along with a slew of others.

Ralph Nader is running as an independent, or possibly Green Party candidate. Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is running for the Green Party nomination.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a new documentary from actor Ben Stein on the subject of Darwinism and intelligent design. It is well-produced and entertaining. It takes a position sympathetic of intelligent design, but allows Darwinists a chance to give their views as well.

Expelled features a number of interviews. Stein talks with many of the leading proponents of intelligent design. They make an interesting case, at least for further study of the issue.

Stein also interviews the most virulent critics of intelligent design. They are given a chance to make their case, but Stein also shows that some of their statements are false. The Darwinists also make some revealing admissions. Atheist Richard Dawkins attacks God and Christianity in the most caustic terms. Michael Ruse claims that life may have formed on the back of crystals. Dawkins admits that scientists have no idea how life began, but says that aliens may have designed it, just not God.

Expelled details the efforts of Darwinists to suppress debate of the issue. A string of scientists were fired or denied tenure after advocating or even mentioning intelligent design. The media either ignores or misrepresents the issue. Darwinists rhetorically attack or even sue schools that broach the issue.

Expelled doesn't delve too deeply into the scientific details, which would be tough for this sort of documentary. But it does have some fascinating animation of the complexity of the cell.

Expelled also explores the moral and political implications of Darwinism. It shows that Darwinism was closely tied to the eugenics movement, which sought to prevent the reproduction of those people seen as less fit. It also formed a part of the ideological basis of Nazism, though of course most Darwinists weren't Nazis.

Expelled ends with a call for freedom of inquiry on this important issue. It is a movie that conservatives should see.

Expelled is playing at the Kalamazoo 10 theater.

Connecting Hitler and Darwin
'Expelled' goes easy on Darwin-Nazi link

Pain at the Pump

With gas prices at or near record highs (even adjusting for inflation) these two articles that appeared previously on this blog are more timely than ever.

Gouging by Government
Alternative Energy Inanity

Read them if you want to know the real story behind high gas prices.

Sowell on College

Thomas Sowell explains why college costs so much in this series of articles.

The Economics of College: Part I Part II Part III.

College costs so much because government funnels so much money to colleges that charge high prices. Once again, big government liberalism makes problems worse.

Previous: Why Does College Cost So Much?

Michigan Politics

Political News from Kalamazoo and Michigan.


Gazette: Rogers running again for House
Gazette: Two more seek Kalamazoo Co. sheriff's job
Gazette: Haenicke's son-in-law seeks county board seat
Gazette: Former MSU Extension chief seeks county seat
Gazette: Comstock resident plans to run for township supervisor
Herald: WMU junior runs for county commission
Saul: University Board Candidates

Other Politics:

NRA: Michigan: Registration Reform Assigned to Senate Committee!
Saul: Homeschooling parents say bill would strip their rights
Herald: Political groups aim to focus on elections next year
Herald: College GOP selects 2008-09 e-board
Gazette: Interim official chosen as drain commissioner

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Take Back the Nonsense

Feminists on campus held their annual Take Back the Night event on Thursday, April 10.

Group fights sexual assault in Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night offers an opportunity for sexual assault awareness, education at WMU
Take Back the Night has come a long way since Bailey administration, is an important event
Take Back the Night, because sexual assault affects everyone
Letter to the editor: Sam Kallen

The event received lavish publicity in th Herald and a write-up afterwards. The event is supposedly to combat rape on campus. The event sponsors' primary means of doing this is to "raise awareness" by recounting stories of sexual assault.

The promotion of the event has raised questions whether there might be another agenda. Last year, its promotion featured the claim that "one in four" women have been raped. This year, an editorial promoting the event mentioned the claim.

"I was raped. I am your sister. Cousin. Mother. Girlfriend. Wife. Classmate. Friend. Nobody wants to talk about this. But I deal with it every day." So reads one of the flyers for Take Back the Night, an annual event held by FIRE!, the sexual assault peer educators on campus, that serves to raise awareness and empower survivors of sexual assault. Considering the statistic that one in four women will experience sexual assault, as the flyer's message states, you know someone who has been raped.

The problem that often arises with the "one in four" statistic is definition: what is rape? Definitions vary to the extremes and encompass a great deal of gray area. The only way to change the confusion and gray area is to create opportunities for awareness and education. Take Back the Night is WMU's biggest annual event about sexual assault, and it is a powerful one.
The problem with the "one in four" statistic is that it is not true. The only definition of rape that makes it true is one that includes non-rape. Letter-writer Sam Kallen takes a skeptical look at the statistics.

One in four raped? According to a 1988 study by Ms. 20 to 25 percent of women will be the victims of a rape or an attempted rape in their lifetimes. At WMU, there are 12,918 females enrolled in the undergraduate program in the fall of 2007 (last semester). If it is true that one in four were raped during college, then that would be 12,900 (students) / 4 (one in four raped) / 5 (years at school) = 645.9 rapes per year or 322 per semester. Were there 300 rapes last semester? 80 rapes a month? 2.6 rapes a day? If so, we must have the most lax security force possible. It's a veritable rape-a-thon going on here at WMU.

Here are the statistics from the WMU DPS Crime Report: Forcible Sex Offenses: Total Crimes Reported: 2004 - 8, 2005 -10, 2006 - 4.

In 2006 there were 13,076 enrolled female students according to the university statistics. If it were true that there were only four reported cases of rape, then instead of a one in four statistic, we at WMU have a one in 3,269 rape rate, which is roughly 00.0305 percent. This is 161 times less than those claimed by the anti-rape promoters.
Of course, it is doubtless true that some rapes go unreported. But 99% of them?

The recent and extremely valuable article The Campus Rape Myth by Heather MacDonald explains the origin of the phony "one in four" statistic.

The campus rape industry’s central tenet is that one-quarter of all college girls will be raped or be the targets of attempted rape by the end of their college years (completed rapes outnumbering attempted rapes by a ratio of about three to two). The girls’ assailants are not terrifying strangers grabbing them in dark alleys but the guys sitting next to them in class or at the cafeteria.

This claim, first published in Ms. magazine in 1987, took the universities by storm. By the early 1990s, campus rape centers and 24-hour hotlines were opening across the country, aided by tens of millions of dollars of federal funding. Victimhood rituals sprang up: first the Take Back the Night rallies, in which alleged rape victims reveal their stories to gathered crowds of candle-holding supporters; then the Clothesline Project, in which T-shirts made by self-proclaimed rape survivors are strung on campus, while recorded sounds of gongs and drums mark minute-by-minute casualties of the “rape culture.” A special rhetoric emerged: victims’ family and friends were “co-survivors”; “survivors” existed in a larger “community of survivors.”


If the one-in-four statistic is correct—it is sometimes modified to “one-in-five to one-in-four”—campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No crime, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20 or 25 percent, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in America, was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants—a rate of 2.4 percent. The one-in-four statistic would mean that every year, millions of young women graduate who have suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience. Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency—Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence. Admissions policies letting in tens of thousands of vicious criminals would require a complete revision, perhaps banning boys entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergrads would need to take the most stringent safety precautions. Certainly, they would have to alter their sexual behavior radically to avoid falling prey to the rape epidemic.

None of this crisis response occurs, of course—because the crisis doesn’t exist. During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory had discovered that asking women directly if they had been raped yielded disappointing results—very few women said that they had been. So Ms. commissioned University of Arizona public health professor Mary Koss to develop a different way of measuring the prevalence of rape. Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had experienced actions that she then classified as rape. Koss’s method produced the 25 percent rate, which Ms. then published.

Koss’s study had serious flaws. Her survey instrument was highly ambiguous, as University of California at Berkeley social-welfare professor Neil Gilbert has pointed out. But the most powerful refutation of Koss’s research came from her own subjects: 73 percent of the women whom she characterized as rape victims said that they hadn’t been raped. Further—though it is inconceivable that a raped woman would voluntarily have sex again with the fiend who attacked her—42 percent of Koss’s supposed victims had intercourse again with their alleged assailants.
That's right. The statistic comes from classifying non-rape as rape.

Angry feminists commenting on Sam Kallen's letter cited even more ridiculous statistics. "Angela Simon, WMU Doctoral Associate" claimed

It is only through facing the reality-- that far more than 1 in 4 college women , 1 in 6 women in general, and 1 in 33 men are sexually assaulted each year and that there is a culture which produces an environment in which 60% of victims don't feel comfortable reporting their experience--and in creating change that we will see progress and that we can re-create the new culture and safe environment that is needed so desperately.
That's about 3000 rapes per year at Western for those of you keeping track.

So what is the point of all this? Certainly rape is a serious issue. Why trivialize it with such bogus statistics?

What do they advocate? Rape is illegal and severely punished. There is no pro-rape lobby. Do rapists care if women hold rallies? Encouraging the reporting of genuine rapes is fine, but there is no need for bogus statistics for this.

Sam Kallen argues

Why is this a problem? Because it perpetuates anti-male propaganda. There is already enough going against us [men] without the need for women to be afraid whenever they see a man walking down the street. I am all for protection, and I am all for safety, and I am totally against rape, but I think it's important to realize the damage that a campaign chanting "One In Four" might do to men. "All men are rapists" sounds a lot to me like "all blacks are criminals." It simply isn't true.
The feminists' actions strongly suggest that they have an anti-male agenda. If "one in four" women are raped, and most rapists are friends or relatives, then something approaching one in four men are rapists. This is an outrageous slander. It suggests an anti-male, anti-American worldview, for any society that tolerated this would have to be considered evil.

Feminism is a twisted view of the world that implies hatred of men and any women who resist the feminist agenda.

Another questionable claim coming from the Take Back the Night crowd appears in this letter from Dr. Robert Wait.

Speakers and organizers of TBTN were stalked and harassed by members of anti-feminist political groups, and rumors were spread that the event would be disrupted. Participants in the event had to provide for their own protection. They were stalked even as they walked peacefully to Kanley track to commemorate sexual violence experienced by female (and male) participants.

It is hard to believe that hardcore anti-feminists would try to prevent or disrupt this event, but that's exactly what happened three years ago. The opposition to TBTN was organized and planned, and occurred with the knowledge of members of Judith Bailey's administration. Hopefully, we we'll never again see a repetition of these sorry events on this campus.
Wait doesn't bother to name these anti-feminist groups, but rumors at the time implicated the College Republicans after we pointed out that the speaker for the first Take Back the Night event was Dr. Edith Fisher. The stalking and harassing is almost certainly wholly fictitious.

Fight Back with Poetry
Don't Bring an Umbrella to a Gunfight
Planned Parenthood Covers Up Rape
Take Back the Night
End the Campus Gun Ban

Saturday, April 19, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--National Defense

This update focuses on national defense. Terrorists threaten our security and liberals threaten our military. Democracy is not the answer to security.

Pat Buchanan: Onward the Revolution!
Pat Buchanan: Should We Fight for South Ossetia?
Phyllis Schlafly: New Proof of Reagan's Wisdom
Phyllis Schlafly: Supremacist Judges Attack Our Military
Don Devine: Conservatives Agree on Democracy?
Joseph Farah: The Gravest Threat of All
Ron Paul: Constitutional Responses to Terrorism

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Ending Registration

The Michigan State House of Representatives passed a bill to eliminate handgun registration. The bill passed overwhelmingly, which means that it is likely to pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor. All pro-gun bills, including "stand your ground" and various improvements to concealed carry, have passed by significant margins since concealed carry passed in 2000.



Michigan House Bills 4490 and 4491 pass House
Legislative Update

Michigan House Bills 4490 and 4491 passed out of the Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee by a vote of 8 - 1. The Bills were sent to the full House April 16th.

These bills would (1) eliminate the current requirement in the Michigan handgun licensure law that pistol owners obtain safety inspection certificates; (2) require that all existing records of inspection certificates maintained by local and state law enforcement officials be destroyed; and (3) eliminate the misdemeanor crime of failing to have one's pistol inspected.

House Bill 4490 would repeal Section 9 of the handgun licensure act (MCL 28.429), which requires people who purchase or otherwise come into possession of a pistol in Michigan to obtain a safety inspection certificate from their local police department (or local sheriff, if they reside in a part of the state without an organized police department). That section also requires local law enforcement officials and the State Police to maintain records of safety inspection certificates. The bill would require state and local law enforcement officials to destroy all of their existing records of pistol safety inspections within one year.

House Bill 4491 would repeal Section 228 of the Michigan Penal Code (MCL 750.228) under which a person who fails to have his or her pistol inspected as required is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days, or a fine of up to $100, or both. The bill would also eliminate other references to Section 9 and safety inspections contained in the Penal Code. House Bill 4491 is tie-barred to House Bill 4490, meaning it could not take effect unless both bills were enacted.

Roll call vote results:
HB 4490, Yeas 93 Nays 15.
HB 4491, Yeas 92 Nays 16

Bills now move to the Senate.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Taxes, Big Brother, and Unintended Consequences

The Herald hits the nail on the head with this Quotes and Comments article. McCain is the only candidate who has the American taxpayer's best interests in mind.

The Thought Police are at it again in France. Freedom is Slavery!

The unintended consequences of ethanol continue to rear their ugly heads. Luckily, Senator McCain is leading the charge to stop these damaging programs. Democrats lack both the courage and foresight to solve this problem.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Berlusconi Wins!

Silvio Berlusconi has been elected again as Premier of Italy. This follows two years of leftist Romano Prodi. Berlusconi is a conservative. His election was by a large margin.

Berlusconi Wins Italian Election, Set for Third Term as Premier
Italy: It's a landslide

Monday, April 14, 2008

2008-2009 Leadership

Congratulations to our newly elected leadership.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The WMU College Republicans received an award for being a "5-star RSO" during the 2007-2008 school year.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--North American Union

This update focuses on the North American Union. Plans continue, but many citizens are resisting these efforts. Trade impacts American sovereignty.

Phyllis Schlafly: North American Union: It's the real deal
Michael Howe: Promoting the North American Union
Jerome Corsi: Inside the hush-hush North American Union confab
Jerome Corsi: Leaders push PR campaign for North American alliance
Dennis Behreandt: Creating a Transatlantic Common Market
Jerome Corsi: North American Army created without OK by Congress

Jerome Corsi: Mexican official says NAFTA includes superhighways
Ron Paul: Taxes or Tolls on the TTC
Ron Paul: Paving Paradise

Phyllis Schlafly: Creating Jobs in Europe, Not America
Michael Howe: China advances on U.S. trucking
Phyllis Schlafly: It's Still The Economy, Stupid

More information:
North American Union: Eagle Forum Stop the NAU Stop SPP
Trans-Texas Corridor: Corridor Watch

Registration Leads to Confiscation

Registration leads to confiscation. This true of gun registration. And it is also true of Michigan Democrats' latest plan to force home-schoolers to register with the government.

Michigan home-schoolers recently held a rally in Lansing to protest HB 5912, sponsored by many Democrats. Legislators have reportedly been flooded with mail on the issue.

What's the point of registration? Home-schooling is perfectly legal in Michigan, not to mention a fundamental human right. Why should home-schoolers have to identify themselves to the government?

The only argument offered in the article is the following.

State Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing, said the bill will help address questions of truancy, as school officials will know if students are being home-schooled or simply not showing up to school.
If parents are homeschooling, they will know whether or not their children are truant. If students are not enrolled in school, then parents must not want them to be, so they aren't truant. If there are any legitimate questions about truancy, they can be resolved by simply asking the parents. There is no need for a giant database.

"I think it's reasonable that we know where and if our children are being educated, whether it's in a public school, private school, or at home," said Bauer, who co-sponsored the bill.
Our? Who's we? Rep. Bauer is saying here that children belong to the government, not parents. They aren't your children, Joan.

Wisconsin, California and Arizona have registration requirements similar to the proposed Michigan legislation.
What's the big deal? Home-schooling could never be outlawed, right? Well, in California, a judge recently ruled that home-schooling is illegal. This ruling endangers 166,000 home-schoolers in California. The case is currently under review.

In Utah, a paperwork error by a local school district gave a liberal judge an excuse to order that children be taken away from a family. They had to flee the state.

In Germany, a family has been repeatedly harassed by the government for home-schooling. Their daughter was taken from them, and they were forced to flee the country.

It was only a few decades ago that home-schooling was illegal in Michigan and most other states.

One major advocate for this bill is bound to be the MEA. The more children who can be forced into government schools, the more money for the teachers unions.

Home-schooling threatens government, because home-schoolers don't get government indoctrination about how much we need government. That's why statists want to restrict it.

This bill must be defeated.

Looting Michigan

The "takings coalition" is never satisfied. Raising taxes wasn't enough. Big special interest groups are planning to take even more from Michigan taxpayers.

The big energy providers are apparently planning to lobby the legislature to reimpose a monopoly. This will cost consumers 2-3 billion dollars.

A UAW union strike at American Axle in Three Rivers has shut down many auto factories. Just what Michigan needs. Of course, unions are creatures of government privilege.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) continues to profit from selling its own super-expensive health insurance. It costs a lot more than comparable coverage, with the profits going to the MEA. They pressure local school boards to continue this racket, including by raising taxes.

And of course there's Lansing's newest plan to give our tax dollars to movie studios. Nick at Right Michigan has an excellent deconstruction of the plan.

All this is the governmental equivalent of stealing anything that isn't nailed down.

Local News

Political news from around the area.

MAY 6 TAX VOTES School-tax formula shares wealth

Dispatcher running for Kalamazoo Co. sheriff

Champion to make bid for prosecutor seat

Candidacy costs young St. Joseph County prosecutor his job

No more `suffering in that basement': WMU holds open house showcasing renovated art-school facilities

College Dems elect new executive board

Reflection Room, in infancy, could be start of interfaith center

Friday, April 11, 2008

Concealed Stupidity

The recent article on concealed carry in the Herald has spawned quite a debate in the comments section. Conservatives have made intelligent, rational arguments. Liberals have responded with paranoia and bigotry.

To get the full flavor of the argument, you really have to read the whole thread.

Commenter "Jerry McKraker" is obsessed with who is a "tough guy", even though the pro-concealed carry commenters have said nothing of the sort. Then there's this:

Think about the police, or tha Marine Corps. Most people join those institutions in the hopes that they will be able to shoot someone.
This is what happens when liberals can't debate the facts.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


This update focuses on the United Nations. The UN threatens American freedom and sovereignty. The Law of the Sea Treaty remains before the Senate. The US Supreme Court delivered a victory for sovereignty against the World Court in the case Medellin v. Texas.

Thomas Kilgannon: The Supreme Court Stands Alone
Ted Cruz: SCOTUS Rejects Authority of World Court
Kami Dalton: Surprise: The UN is Against Press Freedom
Thomas Kilgannon: UN Charges U.S. With Discrimination
Phyllis Schlafly: Congress Contemplates Giving Cash to Foreigners
Gregory Hession: Health Threat From EU and UN
Roy Moore: UN-American
Douglas Stone: Law of the Sea Treaty: Tunnel Vision on the Oceans
Brian Farmer: Will America Get LOST?

More information:
Get US Out of the UN
Eagle Forum: United Nations

Corrupt Politicians Against Transparency

The Herald has an article about the efforts of some students to implement transparency in university spending by creating a searchable website of contracts.

More interesting is the first comment on the article. It is by the now former Speaker of the Senate of the WSA. He is fanatically opposed to the concept.

He starts by objecting that the website would cost too much money. This objection has been shown to be bogus by the states that have implemented such a system. He also argues that such a system would hurt Western's competition with other universities. Isn't it possible that some potential students might be impressed by a university committed to transparency in its spending?

With these red herrings out of the way, he gets to his real objection: elitism. How dare ordinary people want to know how the university spends its money? Who do those rubes think they are? Don't they know what's good for them?

He asks how average people can evaluate spending by administrators. While the average citizen may know less than the average administration bureaucrat, there are plenty of citizens who do know something: faculty, legislators, businessmen, contractors, rival contractors, accountants, lawyers, and plenty of others who may be knowledgeable on some particular aspect of university spending. This is the error of socialists: An individual expert may know more than an individual citizen, but the citizens together know far more than the experts.

Doubtless there will be some things that citizens won't understand. Let them ask questions. If there are reasonable explanations, the university can provide them. If not, the administration may be forced to save taxpayers money.

He concludes:

The university does a great job at spending money effectively and efficiently while always keeping in mind the research and educational mission of the university. Both the administration and the board of trustees examines where money is going and if that is what is best for the students and well being of WMU.
What a relief! It turns out that the university didn't hire Judy Bailey, give away a million dollars, spend another half a million settling with Bailey, agree to take a building that cost two million a year to operate, pay professors an average of $136,000 dollars per year, and repair the damage when Judy Bailey broke a window in her house when she locked her keys inside (and that's just the ones we know about over the last two years). They always spend our money effectively. Always!

Then there's the Sangren Hall parking lot, which was covered with snow for the last five months, when it wasn't baking over the summer. How dare anyone want to park there?

Ironically, the author of this comment was convicted unanimously by the WSA Judicial Council for flagrantly and willfully violating the WSA Constitution. Why wouldn't he want transparency in government?

Chamber for Communism

The Gazette has an article documenting support for the KRESA tax hike. Supporters make some very interesting arguments that deserve examination.

"It would be economic suicide to take that $11 million out of the schools right now,'' said Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First, the county's economic-development agency.

"The amount it would take off tax bills is not enough to have a real impact on citizens or the cost of doing business, but it is enough that the impact would be pretty immediate for school districts. It would devalue homes. We would immediately lose jobs and lower the quality of children's educational experience. It would devalue the long-term economic structure of our economy.''

Kitchens said failure to renew the millage would undermine attempts to brand the Kalamazoo area as the Education Community. "You can't be the Education Community if you don't invest in education,'' he said.
Perhaps "Southwest Michigan First" stands for "Southwest Michigan government employees First, and the rest of you can go to hell". Where is the evidence that more education spending will improve education results?

George Erickcek, a senior analyst with the local W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, takes issue with the notion that government spending automatically depresses the economy.

Erickcek said renewing the education tax likely would help the local economy more than decreasing local taxes by the 1.5 mills.

If the $11 million is given back to taxpayers, not all that money would be recycled into the local economy, Erickcek said.

Individuals might put some of their $90 in the bank, spend it on Internet purchases or otherwise withdraw it from the local economy. Businesses also may take that money elsewhere. For instance, Pfizer Inc., the county's largest taxpayer, would save almost $700,000 in taxes if the school levy is not renewed, but it's unlikely those savings would be spent locally.

"If instead you give that money to schools, it goes into salaries. And right there you've already made a difference'' in the local economy, Erickcek said. "That's a job and a worker with income, and he or she is spending that money.''

"The idea that the tax decreases economic activity, that's not true,'' Erickcek said. "If you raise taxes and spend the money on government services, then you do get a small increase in economic activity. In economic terms, it's known as the balanced-budget-multiplier effect.''

However, Erickcek said the $11 million represents a small fraction of the local economy. The bigger issue, he said, is the need to invest in education at a time when the county needs highly skilled workers to compete in a global economy.

"It's the old adage of putting your money where your mouth is,'' Erickcek said. "If the community is convinced that education is important and that we're living in a world where talent and knowledge are gaining more power, then you should be putting more money toward schools.''
None of those government employees will save money or spend it outside the county, right? Maybe Erickcek should go back to school. If government takes money from taxpayers, then they can't spend money and create a multiplier effect. You can't buy locally if you don't produce locally. If you do, it will be consumed, locally or not. But higher taxes discourage real investment and production. And where is the evidence that more education spending will improve education results?

But Chamber President Steward Sandstrom said Dodge is referring to challenges throughout Michigan. Locally, however, Sandstrom pointed out that the local economy is finally getting some positive momentum, citing recent announcements about job expansions here.

Voting down the education tax could stymie future growth, he said.

In fact, Sandstrom said, he's not sure "if $11 million is enough'' for the schools. He said local leaders need to be thinking about preschool and other programs that will boost academic outcomes.

"On the face of it, cutting school funds is not a good idea,'' Sandstrom said. "We need to take the long view of growing our economy through a better education system.''
Where is the evidence that more education spending will improve education results? Michigan teacher compensation is near the highest of the states, but results remain mediocre compared to other states, much less other countries. How will spending more money on higher benefits for the same teachers help?

Cutting taxpayer budgets isn't good for the economy.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Promises, Promises

March concluded the College Democrats' "Neoconservative Awarenwess Month". Let's take a moment to look back.

The Democrats made sweeping promises for their month.

Over the course of the month we will probe topics spanning nearly four decades, setting the course of U.S. policies and positions, placement in the global arena, and some of the current and future domestic reality.

Some of the topics will include the Iran-Contra affair and the Regan violation of the Arms Export Control Act, NeoConservative support of terrorism, the balance of powers and checks and balances, the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses, illegal wiretaps and searches (without a warrant), the Bush Administration’s monitoring of war protesters, violation of the Geneva conventions, the abusive NeoCon monetary and fiscal policies, detainment of citizens and non US citizens without warrant, representation, charges presented and a timely trial, imperialism by the Bush administration and election tampering in four elections over the past eight years.
By my count, the Democrats promised to discuss 18 topics. What was their actual record? Over the next month, they discussed Iraq, and none of the other topics. That makes them one for 18. See for yourself.

They also promised "we will blog every week day in March on the topic". They actually blogged 11 days out of 21. Readers can decide whether this counts as one broken promise or ten.

It seems that the College Democrats went to war against neocons without a plan. Mission accomplished!

A genuine campaign to educate people about neoconservatism and how it differs from real conservatism would be welcome. But it appear that the College Democrats have no clue what it actually is. A graphic on their website shows pictures of six people, one of whom is Pat Buchanan, a paleoconservative who is a vehement critic of neoconservatism.

Will Obama or Hillary break as many promises as the College Democrats? And if so, would that be good or bad?

Movie Welfare

The state government is proceeding with its ridiculous plan to give our tax dollars to movie studios.

Movie incentives come with price tag

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — When Gov. Jennifer Granholm signs tax incentives aimed at making Michigan the country's most attractive place to make movies, they may come with a hefty price tag.

The marquee piece of legislation will give film studios up to a 42 percent refundable credit on production expenses in the state — the most lucractive in the United States.

For example, if an out-of-state studio has no Michigan Business Tax liability and spends $10 million on production in the state, the state will cut it a check for $4 million. The credit otherwise can be used by in-state and out-of-state studios to reduce their state taxes.

So the government is giving our tax dollars to Hollywood movie studios. That'll have the economy turned around in no time!

At least Nancy Cassis has the right idea.

Cassis, however, criticized the idea of refundable tax credits and said the state should be helping all Michigan businesses.

"We support credits, but going beyond and giving certain favored companies or businesses a check in the mail hurts all those other businesses that are here right now, today, paying taxes," she said. "They are not receiving any relief. They are trying to hold on."
It's tempting to make a joke about the dating game here. It's not really surprising that Democrats would support a scheme like this. What excuse do Republicans have?

If tax cuts are a good idea, why not cut taxes for everyone? In reality, this is giveaway to a special interest. Government should stop pretending that it can pick winners and losers better than the market.