Walter Williams: blacks do not need government “help”

In his latest column, George Mason University economics professor Walter Williams argues that blacks do not need any “help” from the government in order to succeed. In that, Williams follows in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass, who famously replied to the question “What should we do with the Negro?” “Do nothing with us!”

There is a huge race and poverty industry that would wither on the vine if America took Williams’ advice. Putting those wasted resources to beneficial use would be an economic boost.

Australia’s renewable energy industry ‘grinds to a halt’

What is making a strong industry grind to a halt? Oh, the removal of government support in money and guaranteed business. We’re told that’s kryptonite to strong industries.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Australia’s investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In the six months to June, just $40 million was invested in large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, the lowest level since the first half of 2001, according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF’s Australian unit.

The investment tally compared with $2.691 billion in 2013, the second largest annual inflow of funds to the clean energy sector behind the peak year of 2010.

In February, the government appointed a panel to review the aim of generating 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020.

If my math is correct, 41,000 Gwh would be approximately one-sixth of the electricity currently consumed in Australia (this site pegs it at 225.4 billion kwh). Until this year, Australia was paying between $1 billion to up $3 billion annually just chasing that goal. No wonder there’s a pullback to question the wisdom of it.

NC legislature two steps ahead of the cursive “comeback”

According to Education Weekcursive is ready for a comeback.  The article offers an instructive anecdote.

When an undergraduate in her university’s [University of Illinois] Rare Book and Manuscript Library asked for help with a manuscript she was reading, library director Valerie Hotchkiss assumed it was something difficult. An obscure Latin text, perhaps, or a letter by Marcel Proust.

It turned out to be a letter by John Ruskin, and it was in English. To Hotchkiss, Ruskin’s handwriting appeared neat and clear. “What’s the problem?” she asked.

“Oh, I don’t do cursive,” the student said.

[snip]

According to Hotchkiss, it is impossible for most undergraduates to use manuscripts written between the 17th and 20th century.

“They will be locked out of doing research with literary papers and archival collections. They will not even be able to read their grandmother’s diary or their parents’ love letters,” she writes. “When the ability to read cursive disappears, our connection to history—and even to our own past—is lost.”

Legislation passed in 2013 requires elementary schools in North Carolina to teach cursive.  While other state legislatures ponder similar legislation, our public schools provide cursive instruction for all elementary school students.

Dispatches from the campaign trail, July 22, 2014

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• The left-leaning website Camel City Dispatch interviews Josh Brannon, the Democratic nominee facing incumbent Republican Virginia Foxx in the 5th Congressional District.

• Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th, pens a guest column for CNN.com saying the Dodd-Frank financial reforms have been a failure.

• State Court of Appeals judges Bob Hunter and Sam J. (Jimmy) Ervin last week pledged to run constructive campaigns in their race for the N.C. Supreme Court. Hunter, who called Ervin his “good friend,” suggested he would denounce attack ads from independent groups stating any “untruths” about Ervin.

• Candidates are lining up to run for the judicial seat being vacated by retiring Appeals Court Judge John Martin. First up is attorney John Arrowood, who was appointed to the court by former Gov. Mike Easley and served two years on the bench. If more than two candidates file, the top vote-getter will win the seat; there will be no runoff.

Does the media care about boomerang teachers?

We’ve heard countless reports of teachers who flee North Carolina public schools for higher pay.

But some of these teachers return to North Carolina after finding that public schools in their destination states were less than ideal.  These “boomerang” teachers rarely receive the kind of attention that their departing counterparts do, but they have an important, often cautionary, story to tell.

In a recent thread on the Organize 2020 Facebook page (below), one teacher informs others that she works with a teacher who returned to North Carolina after teaching in Houston for a year (or possibly less).

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Forced unionization and its economic impact

Bill McMorris details for the Washington Free Beacon an interesting study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute about the impact of states’ contrasting labor laws.

Forced unionization cost the economy nearly $650 billion in 2012, according to a new study.

A state-by-state comparison of growth and employment rates found that right to work laws, which free workers from coercive unionization, boost competitiveness for local economies, as well as wages. Per capita income increases more than $13,000 per year for a family of four, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank.

The reason for the disparate growth rates, according to CEI Vice President Aloysius Hogan, is that investment capital generally migrates to business climates that are amenable to growth. Entrepreneurs and other small businesses—the primary drivers of employment—have a higher chance of profitability and survival when they are free to control costs and negotiate with workers directly. Their success increases employment opportunities in the region.

“Right to work laws attract businesses and create more jobs and ultimately create more prosperity and wealth for individuals,” Hogan said in a phone interview with the Washington Free Beacon.

About half of states currently have right-to-work laws on the books. Even traditional union strongholds are beginning to embrace such policies to drive growth. Indiana and Michigan became the 23rd and 24th right to work states in 2012, despite strenuous union opposition.

However, the business community has celebrated the new policies. Michigan jumped 21 places in the American Economic Development Institute’s annual ranking of business-friendly states, making it the most-improved state of 2014. Nine out of the top 10 states are right to work.

These findings should not surprise regular readers in this forum.

A fresh concept: Examining the facts of global warming and climate change

Nancy Thorner documents for Heartland.org interesting findings from Heartland’s recent 9th International Conference on Climate Change.

Speakers addressed myths of climate alarmism, specifically refuting the often-repeated assertion that 97 percent of scientists disagree with so-called global warming skeptics. On the contrary, speakers noted, only 0.5 percent of the authors of 11,944 scientific papers on climate and related topics over the past 21 years have said they agree most of the warming since 1950 was manmade, and that is only one of the necessary preconditions for an asserted global warming crisis. Speakers also cited the Remote Sensing Systems satellite record which shows there now has been no global warming for 17 years and 10 months.

During the opening dinner, meteorologist Joe Bastardi explained extreme weather events are not becoming any more frequent or severe as the planet warms. To the contrary, Bastardi documented how hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other extreme weather events are declining in frequency and severity. To the extent there are short-term increases in extreme weather events at some places within the overall global decline, Bastardi showed those follow weather and climate patterns that existed long before recent global warming.

During the breakfast session on Day 2, Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore chronicled the radicalization of once-noble environmentalist groups. Standing before photographs of himself leading environmental protests and provocative actions against whalers and other corporate entitites, Moore explained how Greenpeace and other environmental activist groups are now harming human health and welfare by demanding so many resources be dedicated to the fictitious global warming crisis. True environmental progress would be made fighting for land conservation and other real environmental concerns rather than trumped-up global warming claims, Moore explained.

Patrick Michaels, a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and former program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society, explained during the Day 2 luncheon how government research grants are promoting the false notion of an alarmist consensus. Large government research grants are handed out almost uniformly to scientists who will promote the idea of global warming crisis, which ensures more budgetary dollars for government agencies addressing the topic and subsequently more research grants for the participating scientists, he noted.

Those interested in more of Patrick Michaels‘ thoughts on the political nature of climate science might want to revisit his April 2012 John Locke Foundation Shaftesbury Society presentation.

Kudlow contends economic weakness at home hurts American foreign policy

Larry Kudlow writes in a column posted at the Daily Caller that President Obama’s ineffective economic policies are producing negative international consequences.

Across his remarkably successful presidency, Ronald Reagan repeatedly made the link between the U.S. economy and U.S. international security and defense. He consistently argued that weakness at home leads to weakness abroad.

Reagan was aiming at the dismal Carter years. But he understood for all times that economic strength at home sends a powerful signal for international security overseas. …

… [Vladimir] Putin may recognize that Russia’s economy is a thin deck of cards. But he surely doesn’t fear the weak American economic position. Ditto for the broken economic dictatorships in North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, and the rising economic dictatorship in China. They don’t fear us.

In fact, America’s economic weakness is so worrying, one suspects our friends are losing respect for us too. Whether in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or Israel, our allies know that America has been the backstop for freedom. If not us, who?

But can they say that now?

As I testified [last] week before the congressional Joint Economic Committee, at 2.1 percent average real growth, the U.S. is lagging far behind the 4.1 percent average recovery pace of the post-war business cycles. The Reagan recovery averaged 5 percent annual growth at the same point as the Obama recovery.

Obama’s stock market from the depth of the meltdown does beat Reagan’s market and the post-war average for equities. But here’s a very worrisome trend. Over the entire post-war period, average yearly growth has been 3.2 percent. And in the 1980s and ’90s, growth was 3.7 percent. Since 2001, however, under Republican and Democratic presidents and congresses, as the dollar lost over a third of its value growth has dropped to only 1.8 percent annually. Something has clearly gone very wrong.