More intolerance this weekend from a Leftist driving in front of me on a North Carolina highway. The vehicle –driven by a female — was plastered with no less than 10 bumper stickers, several of which were rude anti-religious messages. And there was the predictable support of abortion as well. But here are two of the bumper stickers I found particularly ironic — irony I suspect is lost on the driver.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness & Senseless Acts of Beauty
Doing My Best to P**s Off The Religious Right
North Carolina distilleries face serious competitive barriers and regulatory challenges, thanks to our ABC laws. Unlike craft breweries and wineries, which are allowed to sell their products to customers who tour their facilities, distillers are prevented from selling directly to customers.
Scott Maitland is calling for reform.
In this presentation, he will share his experience as a distillery proprietor, discuss the state of distilling across the country, compare the birth of North Carolina’s craft brewing industry with the birth of the spirits industry, and make his recommendations for change.
Please join us Monday, February 23 at Noon at the downtown office of the John Locke Foundation for Scott’s remarks and discussion.
Delicia Hare is trying so hard to help her son, Christian. She applied for and received an Opportunity Scholarship so Christian can thrive in a school that meets his needs, which wasn’t the case in a traditional public school classroom. And now, North Carolina liberals and their powerful allies are using the courts to try and deny Delicia and Christian this opportunity. It’s heartbreaking.
Whether Hare’s son and about 1,200 other children in North Carolina can continue to use vouchers from the Opportunity Scholarship Program will come before the N.C. Supreme Court in the coming days. The state’s highest court is scheduled to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling that the Opportunity Scholarship Program violates the N.C. Constitution. The hearing is slated for Feb. 24.
Last August, Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that the Opportunity Scholarship Program violated a number of the provisions of the N.C. Constitution. He said that providing taxpayer money for the vouchers without curriculum or teacher certification requirements “does not accomplish a public purpose.”
He also said the program ran afoul of the state’s landmark Leandro decision, which required the state to provide every child with the opportunity to have a “sound, basic education.”
Representatives from two plaintiff groups who brought the lawsuits, the N.C. Association of Educators and the N.C. School Boards Association, did not respond to requests for comment.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, NCAE President Rodney Ellis said, “Vouchers for private schools are an affront to a state that has a long and cherished history of public education. … Using public money to pay for private schools is part of a broad assault on public schools — and on the constitution of our state.”
Will the Supreme Court let the powerful liberal elite in this state prevent this mom from helping her child? We await their decision.
Freedom is more than a slogan. It’s a very set of principles that should guide our lawmakers. Thankfully, we’re blessed with many reform-minded legislators who are working hard to protect and expand our freedoms. To help guide the conversation, we’ve created the First in Freedom Index. John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood unveiled the new Index during JLF’s 25th anniversary dinner celebration on Feb 7, 2015. North Carolina ranks No. 23 in freedom among the 50 states and No. 5 in the Southeast.
Over at sister blog The Locker Room, Julie Gilstrap points out a great commentary by Brian Lewis, formerly a teachers union lobbyist. Lewis writes about his new embrace of giving education options to all parents and kids.
Congratulations, Mr. Lewis. We welcome you into North Carolina’s Education Freedom Movement, where we believe every child should have the opportunities that children of means already enjoy.
Writing for the Independent Women’s Forum, Julie Gunlock explains what’s to come as we await the new government guidelines for what we should and shouldn’t eat. All sorts of folks have weighed in — no pun intended — on your personal eating habits, including someone deemed a “food systems consultant.”
The last decade in North Carolina has been one of much-needed advances for parents looking for a fair shake for their children — a school and/or environment that works for THEM, not for the status-quo system. And now, as National School Choice Week nears, the John Locke Foundation invites you to a very special breakfast to discuss choice and options, and where North Carolina goes from here. We hope you’ll join us.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Raleigh City Club, 28th Floor Wells Fargo Building, 150 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Price: The Breakfast is Free, but we do need your registration
As American’s largest annual celebration of educational opportunity, National School Choice Week (January 25-31) illustrates the inclusiveness and diversity of the school choice movement. In honor of this week, the John Locke Foundation is hosting a breakfast event highlighting all types of education options for families.
Mr. Bob Bowdon, Founder of Choice Media, and Director of the documentary film, “The Ticket: The Many Faces of School Choice” will give his view from a national perspective. Representative Paul (Skip) Stam, Pro Temper of the North Carolina House of Representatives, will share a view from the General Assembly. Dr. Michael Fedewa, Superintendent of Schools for the Raleigh Diocese, will provide us with a perspective on working with the families currently receiving a North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship. Mrs. Jeannie Metcalfe Vice Chair of the Winston Salem/Forsyth County School Board, will share their District’s choice plan for traditional public school families.
Charter schools, home schools, and virtual schools, will be highlighted. A screening of the documentary, “The Ticket: The Many Faces of School Choice,” will also be included in this timely program. The film focuses on different forms of school choice while traveling on a whistle stop train tour across America.
JLF’s Roy Cordato takes on the media narrative that has emerged over the past several weeks as lower gas prices have taken hold — that lower gas prices are bad for us. Actually, no.
Gasoline and other petroleum-based fuels are an input into every production process everywhere, some more than others. For example, agriculture — from planting and harvesting to feeding and maintaining livestock to transporting agricultural products, sometimes from one part of the country to the other or around the world — is fuel intensive. The USDA describes agricultural production as “sensitive to energy costs” and notes that “higher energy-related production costs…generally lower agricultural output, raise prices of agricultural products, and reduce farm income.” Of course, this means that the opposite is also true. Lower energy costs will result in greater output, higher farm income, and lower food prices. This is welcome news in an inflationary environment where food prices have been increasing at over twice the inflation rate in general.
This relationship between lower oil prices, increased productivity and lower prices is not just true of agriculture but of industries across the economy. And it is not simply about lower gasoline and energy costs but the cost of all petroleum based products, many of which are an integral part of production activities — plastics and chemicals immediately come to mind. The lower the costs of these inputs, the lower the costs of production across the board, the greater the increase in output and job growth, and the lower the prices for consumers.
So while the argument that people are better off because lower gas prices leave them with more to spend on other things is true as far as it goes, the fact is that those other things will also likely cost less because of the supply side effects of lower oil prices generally.
But if the only analysis of cheaper oil and gasoline that a person is exposed to comes from the mainstream media, he would think that these lower gas prices are causing nothing but misery. Suddenly, a media that, over the years, has assumed the oil industry had the power to raise prices at will and was earning exorbitant profits (which has never been true) suddenly seems to believe that as goes big oil, so goes America. CNN.com has this story titled “Cheap Oil is Killing My Job” about job loss in the industry. Included in the article is this plea to readers: “Are you worried about losing your job because of the oil meltdown? Share your story with CNNMoney!” And back in November, when the price of gas was just beginning its fall, The Washington Post lead with the headline “Why $3.00 a gallon gas is a bad sign for the global economy.”
The John Locke Foundation will focus on freedom as it monitors activity within the N.C. General The John Locke Foundation will focus on freedom as it monitors activity within the N.C. General Assembly in 2015. JLF Vice President for Outreach Becki Gray delivered that message Monday.
Gray recapped during a Shaftesbury Society speech the conservative and market-based reforms state lawmakers have pursued since Republicans took control of the state legislature in 2011. Gray also looked ahead to the new legislative session, which starts with an organizational session Wednesday.
In this video clip, Gray previews a new First in Freedom initiative, which will offer a “freedom test” lawmakers, voters, and taxpayers can use to determine whether new legislation makes sense for North Carolina.
Content is king in the TV and movie world these days. As this piece details, more and more people expect to be able to access content quickly and cheaply. And that has more and people and businesses getting into the business of content. It’s a wonderful thing to see: competition and choice leads to more and more options and pressure on providers to follow through on promises.
Veteran industry analyst Gary Arlen says viewers are embracing the “any program, any platform, anytime” promise that media companies have been espousing for several years. Now comes the reality that audiences expect to find any show they want to see and the “frustration that it may not be so easy to find that promised array of content.”
Arlen’s perspective here is right on. He is reminded of the 1980s, when cable networks started to blossom and young audiences at the time did not recognize the difference between the free over-the-air broadcast channels and cable-only networks. “Today, the variety of streaming over-the-top programs that can be seen on the same flat panel, big-screen TV display that delivers traditional TV channels has blurred the distinction,” he says.
What consumers want and expect is for their needs to be met, and when it comes to TV/movie content, those needs are only partially being fulfilled. That’s an opportunity for providers.
Those of us who embrace freedom and free markets must find a way to help people understand that the same dynamics — competition leading to more choices and better services — exists in OTHER areas of life as well, including the marketplace for health insurance and health care. Let’s hope that members of Congress jettison Obamacare and embrace competition and choice so that every person who wants insurance can find a plan tailored to his/her needs and cost considerations. Let’s jump in, just as we’ve jumped in to the TV/movie content marketplace.