© 2008, Benjamin Hummel. To see more cartoons like this go to www.politixcartoons.com.
Aside from the free booze and copius attention from beautiful women, another perk of working at the Independence Institute is the gratification of seeing your name in lights. Senior fellow Dennis Polhill got the star treatment after being quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog. Senior fellow Barry Poulson attempted some one-upmanship after getting his article, State Income Taxes and Economic Growth, in the most recent edition of the Cato Journal. As impressive as both of those are, neither could reach the stature of my article featured in Highlights Magazine where I implored kids to delve more deeply into the fine art of pipe cleaner sculpture.
One of the more recent adventures the Independence Institute’s undertaken is the journey into the government spending abyss. Much like the National Money Hole, the spending abyss consumes our tax dollars ever quicker and ever more recklessly. Thus the need for some oversight and the creation of our Colorado Spending Transparency Blog to help promote sunshine in Colorado. Here is our mission statement:
We want the state and every other government in Colorado to put their check registries and contracts online in a searchable database. We want to know where all the money goes and not just from some annual report that breaks down a budget by category. Taxpayers and I have a right to know where and how every single dime of our money is being spent.
One of the first steps on this journey was citizen activist Natalie Menten’s work on the Jefferson County school district. She requested and received the credit card receipts from January 2007 to August 2008. These are the receipts from Jeffco teachers and administrators spending our money. The results are eye opening… $10,000 at Starbucks, an iPod, and a down payment on a Carnival Cruise just to name a few of the more questionable expenditures. To hear more on Natalie’s findings, take a listen to Natalie and Amy Oliver on our latest ivoices.org podcast.
Just like Natalie says, “It becomes very easy to spend someone else’s money, unless that someone is watching.” With that we stand by our motto of NO TAXATION WITHOUT INFORMATION!
The teachers unions traditionally try to block school reform efforts. Some Democrats are taking a stand for education reform despite the unions’ opposition. Join Independent Thinking host Jon Caldara and his guests Democrats for Education Reform executive director Joe Williams and the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno as they discuss the education reform movement within the Democratic Party. Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 p.m. to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.
2008 was by all intents and purposes and sweeping victory for all things blue. The Presidency, the House, the Senate, Colorado, my mood…. A thorough Democratic victory would normally push school choice advocacy two steps back, but this victory was different. Surprisingly, two very independent minded (read: relatively unconnected to unions) Democrats were appointed House and Senate leaders- Terrance Carroll and Peter Groff, respectively. These two guys in those two positions are a big win for school choice, so says Ben DeGrow in his Denver Post op-ed. Bear in mind, the teacher’s unions are not in good shape at the moment, despite Colorado taking the proverbial blue bath. The CEA and the Colorado Federation of Teachers spent a combined total of more than $6 million to defeat Amendments 47, 49, and 54. And 54 ended up passing! Add to that the failure of Amendment 59, the TABOR killer masquerading as an education fund, plus both leaders in Colorado’s legislature and you’ve got one heckuva rain on the union’s parade. Let’s see what gains we can achieve in the school choice arena in the next few years, now that we’ve got an advantage.
Will the current economic situation put the big chill on global warming alarmism or will the reality of science? Can a promise of 5 million green jobs rescue the American economy? Those are just a couple of the questions climate and environmental expert James Taylor (not the singer) from the Heartland Institute will address when he visits the Independence Institute. And just to whet your appetites, we dabbled a bit on a couple of those issues in our latest ivoices.org podcast.
Join us for our Fire and Rain: Environment and Economy event on Thursday, November 20, at our offices. Reception with James Taylor will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 10-minute video on the demise of the Vikings of Greenland and Mr. Taylor’s presentation. For more information call 303-279-6536 or visit our website. To RSVP contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe we can get sweet baby James to break out his guitar!
The Independence Institute’s biggest night of the year (and only “high brow” event) is finally here! We are, as the young people say “stoked,” to have the lovely lady to the right as our guest of honor. If you got a ticket already, great – we’ll see you there. If not, it’s too late… we’ll see you next year right?
Michelle Malkin did me the honor of coming on my radio show last night, and I have to say, it was plainly obvious she has a major crush on me. Don’t sweat it Michelle, it’s completely natural. We are really excited to have her as the keynote speaker at our annual Founders’ Night dinner tomorrow. We talked about that of course, in addition to the power of blogging and new media, the attack on her during the DNC, the misery of November 4th, and the future of the GOP. Here is the whole conversation we had, courtesy of 850KOA.