Articles of Interest


Kansas liberal Republicans, student rights, greenwashing, historic preservation, Sotamayor.

Can we please send Steve Rose to a political science class?

The northeast Kansas blog Kaw & Border has a few words of criticism for Johnson County Sun publisher Steve Rose. Specifically:

In this case, the “adjusted fact” was his view that tax cuts have put Kansas in a financial crisis, the few good observations were some long overdue spending cuts, his strawman was the Kansas Chamber and “conservatives”, and his nonsensical point that drastic spending cuts in Calfiornia will be so terrible that Kansans won’t want it and, as he puts it “citizens will rebel, even if it means increased taxes.” He seems to imply that a high tax, high spending state, even one in a budget crisis, is preferable to one where our government spends within our means, people have money in their pockets, and government size is in line with what people really need.

If it weren’t for the fact this man influenced the opinion of thousands of Johnson Countians who rely on his weekly column for information and insight into what is going on with Kansas politics, we wouldn’t waste our time disecting his drivel.

Rather, we’d take up a fund to send Mr. Rose to a political science class — because his ignorance of the facts and political realities of the present do a great disservice to his readers.

Do Student Rights Interfere with Teaching and Learning in Public Schools?

“We have unwittingly transformed K-12 schools from places where educators are expected to shape character, set boundaries, and foster respect to ones where they are hesitant and unsure of their authority. … The survey firm Public Agenda has reported that 47 percent of superintendents would operate differently if ‘free from the constant threat of litigation’ and that 85 percent of teachers indicate that “most students suffer because of a few persistent troublemakers. … Fully 77 percent of teachers report that ‘if it weren’t for discipline problems, I could be teaching a lot more effectively.’”

The American Enterprise Institute articles reports more on this topic.

Claims of ‘Greenwashing’ on the Rise

“The so-called green movement has sprouted a fresh crop of lawsuits: greenwashing claims, in which companies are getting sued for making bogus eco-friendly statements about their products. Lawyers, environmentalists and marketing groups say that, during the past year, they’ve seen an uptick in greenwashing suits, which are questioning everything from household cleaners to automobiles for their greenworthiness. No surprise, they note, given the thousands of purported green products flooding the market.”

Consumers and environmental groups challenge eco-friendly statements on products reports on the details of this trend.

Historic Preservation Tax Credits Under Review in Jefferson City

More recently, Washington, D.C.-based economist and historic preservation proponent Donovan Rypkema has estimated that during the last decade, state historic tax credits led to more than $2 billion in rehabilitation of old buildings, brought Missourians $1.3 billion in additional income, and helped create 40,000 jobs.

But critics of tax credits, such as University of Missouri–Columbia economics professor Joseph Haslag, zero in on the total money returned to the state. He figures that the state receives just 3 to 4 cents for every dollar of goods and services produced in Missouri. So, for every dollar of a tax credit, the state would have to produce $25 to $22 of final goods and services for the state to get its money back.

“I think the only justification for historic preservation tax credits is the existence of an externality — we like to look at old, well-maintained buildings,” said Haslag, who is also executive vice president of the Show-Me Institute. “There is no economic development justification for the preservation tax credit.”

Read more at Policy Pulse, a publication of the Show-Me Institute.

Sotomayor’s bias against private property

From The Washington Times:

If you thought Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s controversial stances on racial issues were problematic, you should get a gander at the Supreme Court nominee’s apparent hostility to property rights.

Judge Sotomayor served as the senior judge on one 2006 case, Didden v. Village of Port Chester, which respected University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein described as “about as naked an abuse of government power as could be imagined.” Her judicial panel’s ruling might be the worst violation of property rights ever approved by a federal appeals court. It is part of a pattern of Judge Sotomayor’s pro-government rulings that run roughshod over the most basic of private property rights. …

These cases are extremely worrisome. Judge Sotomayor’s apparent bias against private property does not recommend her nomination for the nation’s highest court.

The Sotomayor Rules: Some were made to be broken.

From Kimberly A. Strassel in the Wall Street Journal.

Rather, it is Judge Sotomayor’s biography that uniquely qualifies her to sit on the nation’s highest bench — that gives her the “empathy” to rule wisely. Judge Sotomayor agrees: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she said in 2001.

If so, perhaps we can expect her to join in opinions with the wise and richly experienced Clarence Thomas. That would be the same Justice Thomas who lost his father, and was raised by his mother in a rural Georgia town, in a shack without running water, until he was sent to his grandfather. The same Justice Thomas who had to work every day after school, though he was not allowed to study at the Savannah Public Library because he was black. The same Justice Thomas who became the first in his family to go to college and receive a law degree from Yale.

By the president’s measure, the nation couldn’t find a more empathetic referee than Justice Thomas. And yet here’s what Mr. Obama had to say last year when Pastor Rick Warren asked him about the Supreme Court: “I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don’t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation.”


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