Another cliche of progressivism

In this Freeman piece, Max Borders takes on another cliche of progressivism — that because resources are scarce, government must step in to manage them.

About those “wage gaps”

The Democrats are trying to capitalize on the phony idea that because on average men earn more than women do, the labor market is unfair and we must elect Democrats to close the wage gap. But as Walter Williams points out in this piece, there are other wage gaps. Asians earn more than whites and older people earn more than younger people. Is it necessary for the feds to enact laws to close all such “gaps”? Is it even any business of the government at all?


Dispatches from the campaign trail, April 22, 2014

• 6th Congressional District Democratic contender Laura Fjeld is on the air with a commercial hitting broadcast and cable outlets in Greensboro and cable in the Triangle.

• Debate day! (Tomorrow is, too!) Time Warner Cable News and McClatchy Newspapers are sponsoring the 7 p.m. contest featuring Republican U.S. Senate candidates Greg Brannon, Heather Grant, Mark Harris, and Thom Tillis. Time Warner Cable subscribers can watch the debate on Channel 14; everyone else can view a livestream here.

• The left-wing publication Mother Jones unearths audio and transcripts of a 2012 appearance by Brannon on the Bill LuMaye Show (TalkRadio 850AM) in which the now-Senate candidate offered somewhat evasive answers to questions from callers asking about 9/11 conspiracies.

• The Washington Post notes the challenges facing incumbent Sen Kay Hagan and other Democrats in motivating voters to support them with President Obama not on the ballot.

• First-term Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-9th, who touts his ability to work with Democrats when needed, faces a long-shot primary challenge from Tea Party favorite Mike Steinberg. Steinberg and Pittenger also contested the 12-man 2012 primary for the district.

Self-described “bleeding heart liberal-far, far left” teacher assisting Wake commissioner

Some Wake County middle school teachers have received the following email:

To: MartinMS Staff Group@STAFF
From: Jennifer Bryant/MartinMS/WCPSS
Date: 04/17/2014 01:53PM
Subject: Take Action


I am writing this to make a request of you that is for the benefit of all of us who are educators.  There is a county commissioner who has children at Martin.  Her name is Caroline Sullivan. She has asked for assistance from us that she and other commissioners believe will make an impact on our pay.

As we all know, our salary and supplement has not been increased in quite a while.   What she would like from us are narratives about the impact that our low pay has had on our lives.  In other words, she wants to have letters and emails to prove to other commissioners that many of us have to work second jobs to supplement our income, or leave the state and get higher pay, or even leave Wake County to live in a smaller county that doesn’t necessarily increase our pay, but offers a lower cost of living.  Ms. Sullivan wants to hear the stories of how talented educators can’t afford to teach and that some of us struggle financially. For example, at Cary High School, there are two teachers who are considering moving to Virginia because they could earn $40,000 more a year.  She wants to know about those of us who tutor, take summer jobs, or work at other part time jobs throughout the school year because we can’t afford not to.   She wants to know about those who have left because they can make more money at a job that doesn’t require a college degree and is less stressful.  The letters/emails do not need to be angry or critical of politicians or a political party, but can be matter-of-fact.  The county commissioners have had ONE (yes, ONE) teacher come to their meetings to explain what is happening and will happen if the situation doesn’t improve.  She wants commissioners and the public to realize how many teaching jobs are at stake, and what we stand to lose.  Her goal is to present 200 narratives/letters to let the commissioners see for themselves how many people are affected.

This is the time to speak up.  We cannot stand idly by while others who do not care about education are making decisions that affect our profession and WCPSS.  The superintendent has said that we need to be vocal and is supportive of this effort.   (Emphasis added)

If I haven’t convinced you to speak up, read this story:  At a commissioners’ meeting, one representative said that not increasing teacher pay is not a big deal because most teachers are women who are married to men who make plenty of money in the private sector. (!) Yes, this is what this representative believes.    This is the perception.  We must change this.

Please consider sending an email to her or to me.  Her email is and my home email is  Spread the word to all of your friends in education.  We MUST take action!!


Sullivan represents District 4, which includes western Raleigh and Cary.

Some bad news for those who think biofuels will help stop global warming

A new Associated Press report will do nothing to bolster those who think biofuels can help cool the planet.

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

When a reviewer isn’t as quick to leap to conclusions as an author

Like other recent reviewers, Clive Crook of Bloomberg View notes serious problems with a new book that’s won lavish praise from the left: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

In addition to intellectual ambition and tireless excavation of the historical record, Piketty brings a zeal for accessibility: He writes in non-technical language, with almost no mathematical apparatus to confound the interested non-specialist.

All of which is grand. So what’s the problem?

Quite a few things, but this to start with: There’s a persistent tension between the limits of the data he presents and the grandiosity of the conclusions he draws. At times this borders on schizophrenia. In introducing each set of data, he’s all caution and modesty, as he should be, because measurement problems arise at every stage. Almost in the next paragraph, he states a conclusion that goes beyond what the data would support even if it were unimpeachable. …

… Piketty’s terror at rising inequality is an important data point for the reader. It has perhaps influenced his judgment and his tendentious reading of his own evidence. It could also explain why the book has been greeted with such erotic intensity: It meets the need for a work of deep research and scholarly respectability which affirms that inequality, as Cassidy remarked, is “a defining issue of our era.”

Maybe. But nobody should think it’s the only issue. For Piketty, it is. Aside from its other flaws, “Capital in the 21st Century” invites readers to believe not just that inequality is important but that nothing else matters.

This book wants you to worry about low growth in the coming decades not because that would mean a slower rise in living standards, but because it might cause the ratio of capital to output to rise, which would worsen inequality. In the frame of this book, the two world wars struck blows for social justice because they interrupted the aggrandizement of capital. We can’t expect to be so lucky again. The capitalist who squanders his fortune is a better friend to labor than the one who lives modestly and reinvests his surplus. In Piketty’s view of the world, where inequality is all that counts, capital accumulation is almost a sin in its own right.

Rasmussen isn’t buying Obamacare spin

Pollster Scott Rasmussen explains for Real Clear Politics readers why he’s not ready to share President Obama’s enthusiasm about updated enrollment numbers tied to the federal Affordable Care Act.

President Barack Obama announced triumphantly that 8 million people selected a private insurance plan through the health care exchanges created by legislation known as Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. He added his own interpretation of the numbers: “This thing is working.”

At the same time, however, Democratic candidates across the country still see the health care law as a drag on their campaigns in the midterm elections. After four years of trying, there is still no evidence that the president’s signature piece of legislation has become popular. If the law was really working, and voters were excited about it, Democratic candidates would be talking about it all the time, rather than trying to change the subject.

There’s a simple rule to evaluate contradictions like this. When the numbers and the behavior disagree, there’s something wrong with the numbers.

You might not want to hold your breath waiting for Sen. Kay Hagan to run new ads touting her consistent, unquestioning support of Obamacare. Refusing to breathe could be bad for your health.

Obama’s ‘manhood problem’

David Brooks might like the crease in President Obama’s pants, but that hasn’t stopped him from suggesting during a network television interview that the president’s manliness may be in question in other parts of the world. The Daily Caller offers details.

New York Times columnist David Brooks claimed President Barack Obama has a “manhood problem” internationally, with observers particularly in the Middle East viewing him as weak and indecisive on issues such as the civil war in Syria and the Ukraine-Russia standoff.

Brooks made the claim on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” responding to assertions made by NBC reporter Chuck Todd that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine will affect what other adversaries of the United States believe they can get away with.

“Basically, we’ve also had an assumption that borders are basically going to be borders,” Brooks said. “And once that comes into question — as in Ukraine, Crimea or anywhere else…”

“All bets are off,” Todd offered.

“All bets are off,” Brooks agreed. “And let’s face it. Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a — I’ll say it crudely, but a manhood problem in the Middle East. Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin?”

“I think a lot of the rap is unfair,” he added. “But certainly in the Middle East, the assumption is he’s not tough enough.”

Todd agreed, saying many even within the administration believe Obama’s “rhetoric” is not “alpha-dog enough.”