Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


It’s the Sun. Shhhh!! by maliab
September 7, 2011, 7:41 pm
Filed under: World | Tags: , ,

In some of his last works, the author Michael Crichton made an effort to point out that environmental non-profits are a business.  And not a struggling one either.  That fact–that non-profits must still behave as businesses, raising money on the strength of their ideas (or scare tactics)–is one that seems to be lost on a good portion of the media.  And the more left-wing the goals of the non-profit, the more people seem to miss the fact that there’s more than altruism behind the activist organizations pushing a “green” agenda.  There are reputations at stake, and money and influence to be pedaled.  And let’s not even get into the whole topic of grants.  Former Vice President Gore has practically made an industry out of environmental hysteria.  And I’m not just talking about the profits inherent in boring people senseless through books and lectures.  (I dunno, I guess some people like to be bored, or are willing to do anything to cure insomnia . . . or something.)  There’s also the millions he’s made investing in green companies that have then been awarded generous government grants  To be clear–I’m not suggesting that Mr. Gore is less than sincere in his beliefs.  I’m just pointing out that his beliefs very conveniently line up with the interests of his wallet.

But I shouldn’t only pick on the former VP.  Back in 2008, the Sierra Club’s 501(c)(4) listed an annual income of $84,438,083 and assets of $61,407,872.  Their COO earned $235,414 in compensation that year.  That may not reach the levels of the biggest corporations, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at.  (And for the record, Grassroot’s annual income doesn’t even come close.  Our entire yearly budget could probably be covered by their paper clips and printer cartridge allocations.)

My point (and there is one, if you’ll just bear with me) is that the picture painted by the environmental lobby where they are portrayed as the caring, future-oriented types backed-up by pure science, and anyone who disagrees is a troglodyte “denier” is as false and biased as anything else you can hear from an activist political group.  With so much money and political capital in play, we shouldn’t be surprised when such groups avoid, bury, or denounce anything that questions their worldview (and money stream).  Like the new report that we human may be just a tad vain and self-centered in taking all the credit for global warming:

The results from an experiment to mimic Earth’s atmosphere by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, tell researchers that the sun has a significant effect on our planet’s temperature. Its magnetic field acts as a gateway for cosmic rays, which play a large role in cloud formation.

Consequently, when the sun’s magnetic field allows cosmic rays to seed cloud cover, temperatures are cooler. When it restricts cloud formation by deflecting cosmic rays away from Earth, temperatures go up.

Or, as the London Telegraph’s James Delingpole delicately put it:

“It’s the sun, stupid.”

This new finding of 63 scientists from 17 European and U.S. institutes from an experiment that’s been ongoing since 2009 is, if we may paraphrase Vice President Joe Biden, a big deal. Which is exactly why the mainstream media, with so much invested in global warming hysteria, is letting last week’s announcement from CERN pass like a brief summer shower, ignoring it.

Even CERN’s own director general, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, is trying to avoid the meaning of the findings.

He told Germany’s Die Welt Online that he’s “asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate.”

But, as British science writer Nigel Calder points out, Heuer would have no reservations about entering “‘the highly political arena of the climate change debate’ provided” his results endorsed man-made warming.



Dale’s Latest on Transit, Energy, and the Rest by maliab
August 30, 2011, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Economy, World | Tags: , , , ,

Dale of Charley’s Taxi is back with the latest headlines on transit, funding, energy, zoning, and highways.  Highlights for this week include yet more eye-opening material on what I’m going to have to start calling “the Honolulu Rail Debacle.”  (One tiny bright spot in the whole mess–we’re bringing back the word “debacle”, which is just plain darned fun to say.)  And then there’s the not particularly surprising news that most legislators have no background knowledge of business.  I don’t know whether I should be relieved that the incompetence and obstructionism comes from ignorance and lack of experience or not, but it sometimes seems like our elected officials would have to know a lot about business to be able to muck things up so thoroughly.

QUOTES

PBN has long been in favor of mass transit, and we continue to be. We’re not saying, “Don’t build something.” We’re saying, “Don’t build an elevated rail project, and don’t build anything as it’s currently proposed.” This project cannot be fixed, and we are extremely concerned that its enduring legacy — should construction ever start — will be as our “rail to nowhere” effort. — Pacific Business News Editorial

I guarantee you this – I’m going to do my damndest to see that money [$1.5 billion from feds] comes in. It should be okay. But to predict an absolute outcome, only a fool would do that.” — Sen. Daniel Inouye to HART board

“Performance.gov tracks out progress on the administration’s efforts to create a government that is more effective, efficient, innovative and responsive. Importantly, the site is also a valuable tool for sharing best practices across the government – supporting learning and coordination across agencies.” — Jeff Zients, OMB

TOP HEADLINES
Green Scissors: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending 2011, Heartland Institute, 8/24/11

Study shows traffic accidents in Michigan costs the state US $4.4 billion more than crime, Traffic Technology Today, 8/25/11

The Henry Ford of Our Time, John Steele Gordon, American Enterprise Institute, 8/26/11

Is the Country on Empty?, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Special Issue, Inside ALEC, July/August 2011

U.S. has 200-year supply of coal, and 100-year supply of natural gas.

Impacts of Potential Oil Shale Development on Water Resources, Anu K. Mittal, GAO 11-929T, Testimony to House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Committee on Natural Resources, 8/24/11

US Geological Survey estimates that Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, about half of it recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions. Equals entire world’s proven oil reserves.

News in Hawaii

Elevated rail project leads Oahu in wrong direction, Pacific Business News Editorial, 8/26/11

Inouye to HART: “I’ll do my best.”, Hawaii News Now, 8/25/11

How the city misled the public, Walter Heen, Benjamin Cayetano, Cliff Slater, Randall Roth, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 8/21/11

TAXES & ECONOMIES

Harkins: Upgrading U.S. infrastructure more important than cutting deficit, Jennifer Jacobs, DesMoies Register, 8/26/11

Nation’s economic growth slides down to 1 percent, Peter Schroeder, The Hill, 8/26/11

What’s Better for the Environment: Raising the Gas Tax or Fuel-Efficiency Standards?, Infrastructurist, 8/25/11

Labor chief: Obama needs to focus on job growth, not cutting the deficit, Kevin Bogardus, The Hill, 8/25/11

Green Scissors 2011: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending, Eli Lehrer, Autumn Hanna, Benjamin Schreiber, Tyson Slocum, Heartland Institute, 8/24/11

Office of Management and Budget puts accountability online, Joe Davidson,Washington Post, 8/24/11

CBO estimates show Congress faces huge test on debt, unemployment, The Hill, 8/24/11

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Loans at Lowest Rates, Bradley Keoun, Phil Kurtz, Bloomberg, 8/22/11

U.S. Travel: Overseas visitor spending driving growth, Danny King, Travel Weekly, 8/20/11

Forget Corporate Jets. Government Limousines Show They’re Stealing You Blind, Iain Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute, 8/19/11

HIGHWAYS & BRIDGES, PPP & TOLLING, DRIVING ISSUES

DUI, Uninsured Motorists, Tolling, PPPs, Variable Pricing, RUCS and Sustainable Transportation

Study shows traffic accidents in Michigan costs the state US $4.4 billion more than crime, Traffic Technology Today, 8/25/11

Drivers not happy about toll hike, Steve Metsch, Casey Toner, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/25/11

Big Brother Bloomberg, Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review, 8/25/11

Interview with Donald Shoup: Los Angeles Making Strides with ExpressPark, Damien Newton, LA.StreetsBlog, 8/24/11

HNTB survey shows Americans top concerns are poor road conditions and congestion, Traffic Technology Today, 8/23/11

The Wrong Road to Transportation Solutions, Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation, 8/19/11

TRANSIT
Watchdogs seek cost information on Dulles Metro line, Dana Hedgpeth, WashingtonPost, 8/27/11

Should a ‘Walker’s Paradise’ Save Plenty of Room for Parking?, Saqib Rahim, NYTimes, 8/25/11

TTC may ban criminals who assaulted transit workers, Metro Mag, 8/25/11

California’s Goofy Train Fixation Could Bankrupt the Country, Roger Hedgecock, Human Events, 8/26/11

No tram line for city centre and 4m-a-year loss, Brian Ferguson, The Scotsman, 8/26/11

What Does Opposition to Government Rail Projects Have to Do with Individual Liberty?, Matt Welch, Reason, 8/25/11

San Francisco High Speed Rail on Varney & Co., FoxNews, 8/24/11

Traveling back to the future on intercity buses, Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, 8/23/11

Dulles Metrorail Silver Line vs Bus Rapid Transit, Steve Lafleur, New Geography, 8/19/11

ZONING, HOUSING & LAND USE

TODs, Eminent Domain, Property Rights

How To Save The Housing Market: Destroy Houses, Massimo Calabresi, Stephen Gandel, Time, 9/05/11

The Evolving Urban Form: Beijing, Wendell Cox, New Geography, 8/29/11

America’s Gambling Craze: Playing with Fire, Neal Peirce, Citiwire, 8/25/11

Suburbanized Core Cities, Wendell Cox, New Geography, 8/26/11

Universal Principles for Creating a Sustainable City, Sven Eberlein, Planetizen, 8/11/11

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Rigged For Failure, Investors Business Daily, 8/24/11

Last year, 3 oil rigs moved out of Gulf of Mexico. Now, it’s 10.

Is the Country on Empty?, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Special Issue, Inside ALEC, July/August 2011

U.S. has 200-year supply of coal, and 100-year supply of natural gas.

Impacts of Potential Oil Shale Development on Water Resources, Anu K. Mittal, GAO 11-929T, Testimony to House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Committee on Natural Resources, 8/24/11

Not Free to Choose: The Reality behind Clean Energy Standards, Kenneth P. Green, American Enterprise Institute, 8/23/11

Cities Mean Coal, Energy Facts, 8/23/11

What New Emissions Standards Will Mean to Automakers, Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review, 8/22/11

The EPA’s giant green jobs-killer, Michael A. Walsh, NYPost, 8/21/11

Ozone Standards Not Scientific Either, Adam Peshek, Reason, 8/19/11

Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises, NYTimnes, 8/18/11

Where to put spent U.S. nuclear fuel, Robert Bryce, Politico, 8/18/11

Climatology Professor Rebuts Smear on Skeptical ScientistJames M. Taylor, Heartland Institute, 8/15/11

The Wind-Energy Myth, Robert Bryce, National Review, 8/12/11

New Study Touts Benefits of Expanded Oil Trade with Canada, Christine Hall, Competitive Enterprise Institute, 8/09/11

The Economic Opportunities of Shale Energy Development, Timothy J. Considine, Robert W. Watson, Nicholas B. Consodine, Manhattan Institute, Energy Policy & the Environment Report No. 9, June 2011

Global Carbon Markets Dirty Secret, Will Evans, Center for Investigative Reporting, 5/21/11

Lawsuit by low-income groups may delay climate law, Sarah Terry-Cobo, CaliforniaWatch, 2/09/11

MISCELLANEOUS

Perry: Gates Gave China Fighter-Jet Superiority, William chedsey, Newsmax, 8/27/11

49% of Newborns on Food Assistance Programs, Newsmax, 8/27/11

How to Keep Your Cell Phone going as Long as Possible, Christopher Mims, MIT Technology Review, 8/27/11

Crime and the Great Recession, James Q. Wilson, City Journal Summer 2011 vol. 21. No. 3.

The minister of magic steps down, The Economist, 8/27/11

The Henry Ford of Our Time, John Steele Gordon, American Enterprise Institute, 8/26/11

Cheeky: Rick Perry Bills the Feds for Illegal Immigrant Imprisonment Costs, Erika Johnsen, Townhall, 8/26/11

Arming the Cartels, Geoprge H. Wittman, American Spectator, 8/26/11

Astronomers discover planet made of diamond, Ben Hirschler, Reuters, 8/25/11

Study: 80 Percent of Lawmakers Lack Academic Background in Business, Economics, FoxNews, 8/25/11

Employment Policies Institute found that 55.5 percent of lawmakers majored in a government-related field or “humanities. Only about 8 percent majored in economics, 14 percent studied business or accounting in college. These numbers raise questions about legislators’ ability to tacke otuch economic challenges.

Let’s Put a Stop to the War On Salt, Luke Pelican, Jacqueline Otto, Fox News, 8/15/11



Gingrich Event on Maui by maliab
August 16, 2011, 6:05 pm
Filed under: World | Tags: , ,

Politically speaking, he may be a polarizing figure, but for pure interesting-ness, it’s hard to beat Newt Gingrich, famed leader of the Republican Revolution during the Clinton years, creator of the (oft-imitated but not equaled) Contract with America, and the preferred target of the Left for most of the Nineties.  He is also the subject of most of the neater political stories that I’ve heard.  Back in my post-college years, my friends on the Hill used to talk about the fact that he had a dinosaur skull in his office and tell stories about his wit (which occasionally came at their expense).  One liberal-leaning guy I know (who saw in him in Iowa recently) mentioned that Gingrich seemed the most literate and interesting speaker of the GOP candidates that abound in Iowa this this time of year.  Well, Hawaii may not have a Straw Poll or early primary to boast of, but some of us will be lucky enough to see Speaker Gingrich this weekend at the Tea Party event on Maui.  If you can make it, I highly recommend you go (and let us know what you thought).  For more details,you can contact Tea Party Maui.  Here is the info from their original announcement:

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, August 20th. Come and spend an hour listening to and asking questions of Speaker Newt Gingrich. As you know, Gingrich is an icon of recent American history and a 2012 Presidential candidate. He is an author, film maker, and historical scholar. He was the architect of the 1994 Contract with America that led to the end of 40 years of Democrat Party rule in the U.S. House of Representatives and multiple years of BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGETS.  He is also one of the most interesting speakers you will hear on Maui in 2011. Newt has a broad knowledge of politics and puts past and current events into perspective with his in depth knowledge of history.

Speaker Gingrich will be on Maui this Saturday, August 20th. The event begins at 5:30pm at the Door of Faith Church, 432 Waiehu Beach Rd, Wailuku click here for a map (out by Sack n’ Save). The event will last about 1 hour, possibly 1 1/2 hour during which he will speak and answer questions. The event is free and open to the public; there will be plenty of parking and seating.



Dale’s Energy, Transit, Taxes (and More) Update by grassroothawaii
August 12, 2011, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Economy, Hawaii Sunshine, World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today, we have another update for you from Dale of Charley’s Taxi on the latest headlines in transit, taxes, energy, zoning, and more.  Some highlights (or lowlights, depending on how you look at it) from this edition include the questionable relationship between the rail project and the unions, the probability of a “double-dip” recession, an analysis of what causes cities to grow or shrink, and the effort to empirically demonstrate the existence of media bias.  Enjoy:

QUOTES

The bulk of [budget cuts] will have to be found by cutting real military capability and as a result, accepting real additional risk to the country’s security. — Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution

“I drank so much vodka I could barely stand up. But I had to get home somehow and decided to do something I had never done before. 

I took a bus.     And here’s the good news. I arrived home safe and sound, cozy and warm, and able to go to work the next morning.  

All of which is remarkable because I had never driven a bus before.” — Henry at AA meeting

The effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go; with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all. — F.A. Hayek

The al-Qaeda network is fully prepared to continue the jihad against the American infidels by launching deadly attacks, but your outdated and rusting transportation infrastructure needs to be completely overhauled for those strikes even to be noticed.— Ayman al-Zawahiri

TOP HEADLINES
The Debt-Limit Debate: Addressing Key Concerns, Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, 5/26/11

The Debt Ceiling: What is at Stake? Vernoique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner, MercatusCenter, GMU, 4/28/11

Glimpse into daily life in North KoreaJean H. Lee, David Guttenfelder, MSNBC, 7/23/11

Journey into North Korea, MSNBC PHOTOGRAPHS

The Official 1984 Reagan ScorecardJonathan Rowe, Paul Glastris,Washington Monthly,

How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home, Paul Emrath, National Association of Home Builders, July 2011

Obama Undercuts Case for HSR and Rail Transit, The Antiplanner, 8/04/11

What the Budget Control Act Means for U.S. Defense, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute, 8/02/11

Why Did America Destroy Its Great Cities?, Frank Gruber, Huffington Post, 8/02/11

CBO: Federal Loan Guarantees for the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants, August 2011

Intoxicated on Independence: Is Domestically Produced Ethanol Worth the Cost?,Scientific American, 7/28/11

The U.S. May Need More Lawyers!, Clifford Winston, Robert W. Crandall, Huffington Post, 7/29/11

The Obama EPA’s Brave New Future, Heritage Foundry, 7/28/11

Higher fuel standards mean higher death toll, Washington Examiner EDITORIAL, 7/28/11


When it comes to population growth, Houston is No. 1, Rice University, 7/06/11 

News in Hawaii

CEO of troubled rail car company that won Honolulu bid steps down, Gene Park, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 8/05/11

Inouye, Akaka, Cantwell and Johnson Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Facilitate Business Travel, Trade with Asia-Pacific Region, Hawaii Reporter, 8/04/11

‘Sinkhole State:’ Hawaii is in the 47th Worst Financial Position of All 50 States,Hawaii Reporter, 8/03/11

Trains Helped Kill the Greek Economy – They’ll Kill Hawaii’s too, Panos Prevedouros, Fix Oahu, 8/01/11

The New Airline & Air Service Strategy Metrics, Boyd Group International, 8/01/11

American Airlines is dropping SFO-Honolulu this fall.

Honolulu Rail in Illegal Pact with Local Unions, Panos Prevedouros, FixOahu, 7/29/11

Ansaldo Honolulu’s parent firm rethinking rail car business, Gene Park, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 7/29/11

Rail Bid Judges Ignored Ansaldo’s Past Problems, Michael Levine, Honolulu Civil Beat, 7/28/11

New vehicle charging station powers up at Capitol garage, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 7/28/11

Solar Power Plant on Oahu Does not Pass Muster, Panos Prevedouros, Fix Oahu!, 7/27/11

Traffic Accident Investigation on Oahu: Stuck in the 1980s, Panos Prevedouros, FixOahu!, 7/28/11

TAXES & ECONOMIES

Brutal: Dow Plunges Amid ‘Double-Dip’ Recession Jitters, Guy Benson, Townhall, 8/04/11

Editorial: An Unwelcome Debt Milestone, Investors Business Daily, 8/04/11

US debt exceeds entire economy GDP, markets alarmed

Academic Panel Sees 50% Chance US to Plunge Into Recession, MoneyNews, 8/03/11

Political DerivativesNicole Gelinas, National Review, 8/03/11

Moody’s, Fitch: US Must Do More to Avoid Rating Downgrades, MoneyNews, 8/03/11

Where’s Your Budget, Mr. President?, Paul Ryan, Wall Street Journal, 8/03/11

Meredith Whitney: US Headed for Double-Dip Recession, Forrest Jones, MoneyNews, 8/02/11

What the Budget Control Act Means for U.S. Defense, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute, 8/02/11

Military Spending and the Budget Deal, Christopher Preble, Cato @ Liberty, 8/01/11

When a cut is not a cutRep. Ron Paul, The Hill, 8/01/11

Europe Declares War on American Ratings Agencies, Soeren Kern, Pajamas Media, 7/30/11

Finish the 710 Freeway, James E. Moore II, LA Times, 7/29/11

Crumbling transportation infrastructure could cost US $3.1 trillion, Metro Magazine, 7/28/11

African American Middle Class Eroding As Unemployment Rate Soars, John Roberts, FOX News, 7/28/11

Motorists’ Group Endorses “Trip Bonds” Legislation, American Highway UsersAlliance, 7/28/11

Solving the Long-Term Jobs Problem, Arnold King, Nick Schultz, The AmericanEnterprise Institute, 7/27/11

Greenspan: Fed Should Have Let Banks Fail, Greg Brown, MoneyNews, 7/27/11

Herman Cain Interview on Creating Jobs, Dick Morris, 7/27/11

Behind economic hard times, fear of the new, Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 7/22/11

HIGHWAYS & BRIDGES, PPP & TOLLING, DRIVING ISSUES

DUI, Uninsured Motorists, Tolling, PPPs, Variable Pricing, RUCS and Sustainable Transportation

China falls in love with SUVs, Malcolm Moore, Telegraph UK, 8/04/11

Busting Congestion in Chicago (or Any other City), Reason TV, 8/03/11

Top 10 New-Car Deals for August, Jim Gorzelany, Forbes, 8/03/11

Taking transit – a testimonial at AA meeting, TollRoadsNews,  7/28/11

Golf cart drivers aim to be legal in small town, The Tennessean, 7/28/11

INRIX launches its Traffic app on Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry cell phone platformsTraffic Technology Today, 7/25/11

New traffic camera website aiming to drive down congestion across the UK, Trarffic Technology Today, 7/25/11

6 Reasons Driving Has Peaked in U.S. CitiesEric Jaffe, Infrastructurist, 7/14/11

Replacing the Tappan Zee BridgeManhattan Institute, 6/22/11

INRIX TRAFFIC! App Now Available on App Store

TRANSIT
Frustrating, dangerous Metro problems for the disabled, Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 8/06/11

Driving services help senior mobility without spending public money, Pamela M. Prah, Stateline, 8/04/11

Antonio Villaraigosa pushes bus-only lanes as MTA chairman, Ari Bloomekatz, Cornelius Pollmer, Los Angeles Times, 8/04/11

Low-Fare, Curbside Bus Operators Picking Up Amtrak Market Share, Don Stacom,Hartford Courant, 8/01/11

Chinese rail crash scandal: ‘official steals $2.8 billion’, Malcolm Moore, Telegraph UK, 8/01/11

China Imposes Blackout on Train Wreck Coverage, Sharon LaFraniere, NY Times,  8/01/11

With 210 injured, 35 fatalities, more concerns that government sacrifices people’s lives and safety for world’s largest public works project and cloaks failures in secrecy or propaganda.

A new third rail, The Economist, 7/30/11

Japan has operated bullet trains for 47 years without a fatal accident.

Report casts doubt on forecasts for California high speed rail, Dan Weikel, LA Times, 7/29/11

Cambridge used a now-obsolete survey method, made unrealistic assumptions, failed to properly analyze what would happen to ridership for varying levels of train service, and did not consider the impact of airline competition…But the bigger take away from all this is that there are now two independent reviews that show things are lacking here.

Al-Qaeda Claims U.S. Mass Transportation Infrastructure Must Drastically Improve Before Any Terrorist Attacks, The Onion,  7/28/11

Significant repairs and upgrades are needed for the militant group to consider destroying any roads, bridges or railways with terrorist attacks.

Using Market Processes to Reform Government Transportation Programs, Report No. 2: Improving Transit with Competitive Contracting, Wendell Cox and Ronald Utt, Heritage Webmemo #3312, 7/07/11

Public transportation has to change to remain viable, according to a new Heritage Foundation analysis. For decades, transit’s principal problem has been insufficient cost control rather than insufficient revenues. Over the past 25 years, transit’s operating cosdts have been approximately $15 billion (on a passenger mile basis). Had transit agencies kept costs within inflation – as most businesses do – transit would have been able to provide 40 percent more service in 2009. Without government unable to provide more subsidies, a much better solution is for transit systems to use competitive contracting to reduce costs and improve quality of service.  — Wendell Cox and Ron Utt

John Charles responds to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, John Charles, Cascade Policy Institute, 7/25/11

Los Angeles Metro Bus System Compares Favorably With Its Peer Group, Tom Rubin, New Geography, 7/28/11

KRM dead, Racine County to get back $300,000 in past rental car fees, Stephanie Jones, TheJournalTimes, 7/25/11

MetroAccess Knowingly Places Hundreds of Disabled Paratransit Passengers at Risk, Bus riders Union of Austin, TX, 4/02/11

ZONING, HOUSING & LAND USE

TODs, Eminent Domain, Property Rights

Plant a Garden, Go to Jail for 93-Days?! Nanny of the Month, Korchula Productions, July 2011

Growth controls = Housing Collapse, Sterling Burnett, National Review Online, 8/05/11

How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home, Paul Emrath,k National Association of Home Builders, July 2011

Rural US disappearing? Population share hits low, Hope Yen, Associated Press, 7/28/11

Moving From The Coast, Wendell Cox, New Geography, 7/28/11

Program Offers Cash Incentives To Live Downtown, CBS Detroit, 7/25/11

In the five-year, $4 million “Live Downtown” program, first-time home buyers will get a $20,000 forgivable loan. Renters will get a $2,500 first year allowance, and $1,000 the following year. Employees who already own a home in the city will be given up to a $5,000 grant for exterior improvements.

Why Amnerica’s Young and Restless Will Abandon Cities for Suburbs, Joel Kotkin, Forbes, 7/20/11

When it comes to population growth, Houston is No. 1, Rice University, 7/06/11

Why Some Cities Are Growing And Others Shrinking, Dean Stansel, Cato Journal, Summer 2011

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Beaver Fever Fanaticism: EPA Eco-Radicals Are Hurting Families at the Tap, Christopher Coffey, Pajamas Media, 8/07/11

Blame the Washington Bureaucracy for High Gas Prices, Rob Bluey, Heritage Foundry, 8/04/11

New Process Could Make Canadian Oil Cheaper, Cleaner, Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review, 8/03/11

GM Confirms Slow Chevy Volt Sales, Mark Modica, National Legal and Policy Center, 8/02/11

CBO: Federal Loan Guarantees for the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants, August 2011

Higher fuel standards mean higher death toll, Washington Examiner EDITORIAL, 7/28/11

Issa launches investigation into Obama’s new fuel economy standards, Andrew REstuccia, The Hill, 7/29/11

Grow Our Way Out, IBD, 7/29/11

President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard, US DOT, 7/29/11

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole in Global Warming Alarmism, James Taylor, Forbes, 7/27/11

America’s power grid too vulnerable to cyberattack, US report warns, Mark Clayton, Jewish World Review, 7/28/11

The Obama EPA’s Brave New Future, Heritage Foundry, 7/28/11

Intoxicated on Independence: Is Domestically Produced Ethanol Worth the Cost?,Scientific American, 7/28/11

MISCELLANEOUS

Obama’s War on the Welf-Made Man, Lurita Doan, Townhall, 8/08/11

2011 Hall of Fame Shannon Shane speech, 8/07/11

Parents: Hone Your Kid’s BS Detector!, Doug Giles, Townhall, 8/07/11

DEA Letting Cartels Bring Drugs Over the Border, Helen Whalen Cohen, Townhall, 8/06/11

USPS Bailout on the Horizon, Trey Kovacs, Open Market, 8/04/11

Anti-terror plan allies White House with Muslim groups, Neil Munro, Daily Caller, 8/04/11

Documents: Feds allegedly allowed Sinaloa cartel to move cocaine into U.S. for information, Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times, 8/04/11

Communist Party USA Officially Endorses Barack Obama, Vision to America, 8/04/11

Policing Beltway Lobbyists, Jonathan H. Adler, National Review Online, 8/02/11

UCLA professor’s new book empirically demonstrates liberal media bias {VIDEO],Jamie Weinstein, 8/01/11

Plug-and-Play Batteries: Trying Out a Quick-Swap Station for E.V.’s, Bradley Berman, NYTimes, 7/31/11

The U.S. May Need More Lawyers!, Clifford Winston, Robert W. Crandall, Huffington Post, 7/29/11

Gunwalker: William Newell Circles the Wagons, Patrick Richardson, PM, 7/28/11

NHS delays operations ‘as it waits for patients to die or go private’, Martin Beckford, Telegraph UK, 7/28/11

3D printing: the technology that could re-shape the world, Shane Richmond, TelegraphUK, 7/28/11

Obama to Banks: We’re Not Defaulting, Charlie Gasparino, Fox Business, 7/25/11

Germany’s Choice – Part 2, Stratfor Global Intelligence, 7/26/11



American resources – for American jobs, revenue and prosperity by grassroothawaii
August 9, 2011, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Economy, Hawaii Sunshine, World | Tags: ,

A vital part of the solution to our economic and employment crisis is right under our feet

By Paul Driessen

A frequent refrain during budget and debt ceiling debates is that we need revenue enhancement: higher tax rates, reduced deductions, eliminated credits. But doing this, especially amid today’s massively expanding regulations, will kill more jobs and further reduce government revenues.

There is a better way. Huge revenue sources are literally under our noses, or more precisely our feet.

America is blessed with vast oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth and other natural resource riches – to compliment our ultimate resource: the creative, competitive, innovative spirit of our people.

Finding and developing these resources would generate millions of jobs and billions, even trillions, in new government revenue and societal wealth. It would prevent default and downgraded credit ratings, reduce the need to cut government programs, shrink unemployment and welfare payments, avoid having to send hundreds of billions of dollars overseas each year for foreign energy and minerals, and reduce the need to borrow $120 billion out of every $300 billion the United States is now spending every month.

Many of these untapped resources are on federal public lands in our western states, Alaska and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Many more are on private land and onshore and offshore state-owned lands.

Leasing, exploration, extraction, transportation, processing, utilization and exports unleash economic activities and revenues on extraordinary scales: business activity, investment and profits, along with lease bonus and rental payments, permit fees, royalties and severance taxes for each
unit produced, direct and secondary jobs, taxes on corporate profits and workers’ income, property taxes on equipment and facilities.

These activities also generate billions of dollars in purchases of equipment, food, supplies, raw materials, hotel lodging, special services and myriad other items. All this means still more employment, newly enabled consumer spending, more local, county, state and federal revenue, and other
economic benefits.

Newly developed horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) techniques have enabled companies to unlock previously unavailable natural gas riches in conventional and shale gas deposits. That increased production, in turn, has reduced industry’s cost for energy and raw material
feed stocks.

The American Chemical Council says this is reopening idled plants and creating jobs. In 2010 it helped increase chemical and plastics exports by 17% and 10% respectively, turning a $100 million industry balance of trade deficit into a $3.7 billion surplus. Other industries could soon see similar
benefits.

America’s OCS generates over $19 billion annually in bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenue, IHS Global Insight has calculated. Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil field alone has generated hundreds of billions in government revenues since 1978, and the state of Alaska has collected a whopping $157 billion (in
2010) dollars from statewide oil and gas development since 1959. Millions of jobs were created and sustained.

In the Lower 48 States, Marcellus Shale deposits stretch across 95,000 square miles of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, western Maryland and eastern Ohio. In Pennsylvania, say the state Labor and Revenue Departments, Marcellus fracking activities created 72,000 jobs (with an average $73,000
salary) between October 2009 and March 2011. Workers and royalty recipients paid $214 million in personal income taxes attributable to Marcellus development, while Marcellus drillers paid $1 billion in state taxes 2006-2010 (and another $238 million just during first quarter 2011).

The shale gas economic success story is being repeated in West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas and other states: thousands of jobs created, billions in royalties and taxes collected. New York should take note.

Taken together, America’s oil industry sustains 9.2 million direct and secondary jobs (5.3% of all US employment), generates $533 billion in total annual payrolls, contributes $1.1 trillion to US gross domestic product (7.5%), invested $2 trillion in capital improvements since 2000, and
accounted for $190 billion in 2010 oil production. The largest integrated oil companies alone paid $1.95 trillion in corporate income, severance, property, excise and sales taxes, between 1981 and 2008, says the Tax Foundation.

We have it in our power to put many of our 20 million unemployed and involuntary part-timers back to work, generate trillions in revenue, and slash our chronic indebtedness. We just need to take action.

* End the leasing moratorium and “green flu” backlog on drilling permits in formerly accessible areas of the Gulf of Mexico. By the end of 2012 America could create 230,000 jobs in Gulf Coast and dozens of manufacturing states, produce 150,000,000 barrels of oil (worth $15 billion), reduce oil imports
by a like amount, and generate $12 billion in tax and royalty payments, says IHS Global Insight.

(Right now, we are losing over $1 billion annually in Gulf royalty payments, because Gulf oil and gas production is down 220,000 barrels a day, thanks to DOI, EPA and White House foot dragging.)

* End leasing and drilling bans in the East Coast, West Coast, Western Gulf and Alaskan OCS, Rocky Mountains and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  America could produce up to 40 billion barrels of oil (worth $4 trillion at $100 a barrel) . create 114,000 to 160,000 jobs . and generate $547 billion
to $1.7 trillion in new government revenues over the next few decades, according to ICF International.

* Open up some of the nearly 500 million acres of public lands that are now closed to mineral exploration (nearly 70% of all public lands). We could repeat these petroleum-related gains, and end our near-total dependence on China for rare earth metals that are essential for smart phones, smart
bombs, night vision goggles, hybrid and electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and a host of other modern technologies.

Unfortunately, Congress and the EPA, Interior Department and White House are doing just the opposite.

EPA denied Shell Oil permits to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, after Shell had spent $5 billion acquiring and exploring leases. EPA also blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas. During construction, the project would generate 130,000 US
jobs, plus $600 million in state and local tax revenues – plus $5 billion in property tax and other government revenues during the pipeline’s life. EPA’s excuse? The projects would contribute to global warming!

EPA is also imposing thousands of pages of new rules on coal-fired power plants that provide 48-98% of the electricity in 26 states, including our most important manufacturing centers. Experts say the actions will raise electricity rates 20-60 percent, shutter up to 60,000 megawatts of
electricity generation, kill 3.5 million jobs in six Midwestern states, and cost those six states $42-82 billion in lost annual GDP.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar continues to stall OCS leasing and drilling, and keep Western States oil, natural gas, oil shale, shale gas, coal, uranium and metals deposits off limits.

Meanwhile, our state and federal governments are spending over $10 billion annually, subsidizing wind and solar energy, and bankrolling radical environmental activism on energy, climate and public land issues.

Americans deserve a complete and honest accounting of how much revenue and how many jobs have been lost to environmental excesses. We have a right, and a duty, to develop our resources – rather than depleting other countries’ energy and minerals, while saddling our children with more joblessness and
debt. It’s a perfect time for bipartisanship and true leadership.

Committee hearings and briefings could discuss and evaluate industry, government and independent analyses of our vast energy, mineral, job and revenue opportunities. They would go a long way toward revealing the enormity of our self-inflicted wounds – and charting a responsible path forward.

___________

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.



The Ideology Behind the Continental Divide by grassroothawaii
June 29, 2011, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, World | Tags: ,

By Cannon Brooke

After reading Paul Jacob’s post on the Continental Divide, I thought it would be fitting to comment on it and give the perspective/analysis from someone a little younger.

Jacob’s juxtaposition of liberal and progressive ideology was spot on, however, it lacked the background needed for greater discussion. After reading his article, he missed an important element to the dialogue – positive vs. negative liberty.

True, today’s ideological impasse is not well understood and, more than likely, is the primary reason for a lot of the vitriolic debate we have on government.  But after a little unpacking, it really boils down to different means to the same end.

The differentiation between positive and negative liberty to the untrained eye seems to be understood as freedom is freedom – pretty simple. But it is the variation that is salient to the discussion. I use the term liberal in the classical sense, since the word has been unjustly appropriated by the left and used in lieu of progressive.

Essentially, positive liberty is the liberty guaranteed to you by law, an unconditional right that no one can take this away from you. In most democratic countries, an example of positive liberty is the freedom of speech. Further, inherent in this conception, is the ability of citizens to participate in government with centralized structure and agency. In other words, positive liberty can be defined as the resources to act and the power to fulfill societies potential. Most progressives believe that the agency [the state] is justified in protecting the structure [social arrangements]. For instance, when the state uses positive liberty by addressing economic conditions that make some less free than others, the economy can be inimical to liberty for progressives.

Negative liberty, on the other hand, is the freedom from interference by other people or agencies. Negative liberty is based off the concept of individualism, but in order for this to work, a line must sharply delineate where individuals can act unconstrained. Similar to positive liberty, negative liberty acknowledges a legitimate use of force by an agency, however, limits the power and role of that agency considerably. Another way to view negative liberty is that the particular liberty is the individual’s because no law has restricted their exercise of it. This is where liberals sharply contrast with progressives. Liberals believe that the state hinders liberty.

Understandably, the topic of negative vs. positive liberty seems like an academic debate, however; the implications in reality can turn out disastrous.

The problem is that perceptions of “justice” and “fairness” are too arbitrary, and they can easily be veiled as tyranny and restraint. I agree with Paul Jacob’s view that government is a force that is institutionalized and needs to be constrained by law and the people. Indeed, there seems to be quixotic sentiments towards government acquiring more power in the name of fairness. I find certain unease in the notion of positive liberty; this concept seems to carry with it an uncomfortably close danger of authoritarianism. What I find confusing is how progressives are confortable with the moral hazard that the paradox of positive liberty evokes.

There is an agreement between liberals [libertarians] and progressives—the understanding of the social contract theory—that acknowledges that in order to obtain protection from those who prey on the weak, we all enter into the social contract by submitting to the rule of law.

Nevertheless, the difference between liberals and progressive that is that liberals have a watchful eye on government and progressives are more willing to acquiesce liberties.

After all, constraint is the antithesis of liberty…

What do you think? Please comment!

Cannon Brooke is the policy analyst summer intern at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

Cannon is from Seattle, Washington, and holds a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Western Washington University. Much of his research is on policy and qualitative analysis, concentrating on American government, the legislative process and demographic trends.



Dale’s News Round-Up by maliab
June 29, 2011, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Economy, World | Tags: , , , ,

Dale Evans, President of Charley’s Taxi distributes a regular newsletter featuring the  latest news on “Energy, Funding, Highways, Transit, and Zoning.”  It’s an interesting and entertaining collection of headlines from around the world, and she has graciously given us permission to reproduce it here for Grassroot readers.  We’ll be linking to Dale’s newsletters on a regular basis, so come back regularly for the latest news.  (And be sure to check out the full newsletter by clicking the link . . . otherwise, you might miss the story about the train to nowhere.

 
June 29, 2011
QUOTES
Good decision making is not only a question of better and more rational information, but also of institutional arrangements that promote accountability, and especially accountability towards risk. We see accountability not just as being a question about periodic elections, but also about a continuing dialogue between civil society and policy makers and about institutions holding each other accountable through appropriate checks and balances. Thus we replace the conventional decisionistic approach to megaproject development with a more current institutionalistic one centred on the practices and rules that comprise risk and accountability. We also hold that our approach must be based on actual experience from concrete projects. The purpose is to ensure a realistic understanding of the issues at hand as well as proposals that are practically desirable and possible to implement. — Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk
TOP HEADLINES
City rails against future of tram line, Ian Swanson, Edinburgh News, 6/27/11Farmers markets seek federal funds, Emily Battle, Fredericksburg.com, 6/25/11

Application for low income communities in “food deserts” through local “regional planning agency” (MPO)

Young Kiwis fear apartment living, Charlie Gates, Stuff.NZ, 4/28/11

Worst fear is being cut off from outdoor pursuits.

News in Hawaii

Honolulu Council Should Push for Rail Transparency, Honolulu Civil Beat, 5/02/11

Click here to read the entire newsletter.




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