Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday April 4, 2011

Google announces Gmail motion. Google announced on Friday: “The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion — now you can control Gmail with your body.” See Gmail motion for more.

Local elections tomorrow. On Tuesday April 5 voters across Kansas will vote in city and school board elections. For those who haven’t yet voted and haven’t decided who to vote for, here’s the Wichita Eagle voter guide. You can get a list of the candidates, along with their responses to questions, customized for your address.

Wichita City Council this week. On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council has these items on its agenda: Under the city’s Economic Development Tax Exemption (EDX) program, Cox Machine Inc. seeks forgiveness from paying property taxes on a building addition. … The YMCA seeks permission to issue Industrial Revenue Bonds to finance its new downtown facility. Normally these bonds are used as a vehicle for granting tax exemptions, but as an institution that is already tax exempt, this consideration doesn’t apply in this case. … Pixius, LLC files petitions seeking special assessment financing under the city’s facade improvement program for a downtown building. While this financing is a loan that must be repaid, city documents indicate this is just the first time Pixius will ask the city for money. City documents note that Pixius emerged from bankruptcy in 2006. These documents don’t say that Pixius used bankruptcy to avoid paying back millions to the U.S. Government. … Rupert Investments, LP files petitions seeking to use the same special assessment financing for facade improvements at the buildings occupied by J.P. Weigand & Sons on Market Street. … Two housing developments seek housing tax credits.

Public defender to present. This Friday’s meeting of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Jama Mitchell, Deputy Public Defender, 18th Judicial District, speaking on the topic “Justice in Sedgwick County From a Defense Perspective.” The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club. … Upcoming speakers include Kansas Senator Chris Steineger on April 15, Friends University Associate Professor of Political Science Russell Arben Fox on April 22, and Wichita State University Political Scientist Ken Ciboski on April 29.

What it means to be a libertarian. A video from LearnLiberty.org: “What does it mean to be a libertarian? According to Dr. Jeffrey Miron, libertarians have respect for individual decisions. Libertarians are different from Republicans and Democrats, because both of those groups attempt to use government to advance their ideas of how people should act or behave, while libertarians think that individuals should be able to live their own lives as they see fit.” … Miron’s most recent book is Libertarianism, from A to Z, described as an “encyclopedic exposition of libertarian thought.” An interview with Miron by Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie is at Libertarianism From A to Z With Jeffrey Miron. This video is available on YouTube through LearnLiberty.org, a site which has many other informative videos.

Profits and prices. In the June 1963 issue of The Freeman, Leonard E. Read explains the role of profits and prices: Let us reduce this debate to manageable proportions and reflect on what, for example, motivates a person to put his savings into a hamburger stand. The answer comes clear: to make as good a living as possible. We know from daily observations that it is the hope of profit, not humanitarian concern about the meatless diet of the population, which is responsible for the venture. Observe, however, that a large profit — the enterpriser’s aim — signifies customer approval. By keeping his eye on his own gain, he assures that others are well served. Their repeated purchases, leading to the enterpriser’s profit, prove this. Imagine how different this situation would be were the hamburger man to concentrate not on his own gain but only on the good of others! … Humanitarian? Yes, indeed: Assume that a surgeon has discovered how to do a brain surgery, that he can do only one a month that 1,000 persons a year need such an operation if they are to survive. How is the surgeon’s scarce resource to be allocated? Charge whatever price is necessary to adjust supply to demand, say $50,000! “For shame,” some will cry. “Your market system will save only wealthy people.” For the moment, yes. But soon there will be hundreds of surgeons who will acquire the same skill; and, as in the case of the once scarce and expensive “miracle drugs,” the price then will be within the reach of all. … Look to the improvement of your own position if you would be most considerate of others! And this is sound advice whether one’s business consists of earning profit or doing basic research or practicing medicine or saving souls or whatever. The best charity is to set an example by which others may learn to help themselves.

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