Archive for October, 2011

VIDEO: How Social Media, Blogging is Changing the World

Posted by on Oct 31 2011 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

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Colorado Online Education: iVoices Audio

Posted by on Oct 28 2011 | education,, PPC

Colorado’s online schools have been taking a bit of a PR beating lately. This podcast is a response. Here is an excerpt from podcast host Ben DeGrow:

An investigative report and a requested legislative audit have shined a negative light on K-12 online education in Colorado. Michael Horn, executive director of education at the Innosight Institute, makes the case that students will benefit far more from updated funding, accountability and teacher policies than from an additional regulatory burden. Colorado can learn from recent changes made in Utah and from the new Nation’s Digital Learning Report Card that promote blended and full-time online learning options.

Listen to the iVoices podcast here.

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How Blogging, Social Media Is Changing the World

Posted by on Oct 28 2011 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Tonight’s Devils Advocate show on Colorado Public Television is a special one. When you have a public affairs show on Friday nights at 8:30, you know who tunes in. I don’t want to name names or hurt anyone’s feelings, but my fans love Star Trek and their mother’s meatloaf. That’s why tonight’s episode is a perfect fit. It’s all about the Internet world of blogging and social media. With newspapers cutting payroll and staff each quarter, more and more folks are turning to the Internet to get their news and opinion. Blogs are filling an enormous void the mainstream media has left wide open. Tonight, Michael Sandoval from and David Thielen from join me to talk about the rise of blogs and social media. Tune in to Colorado Public Television channel 12 tonight at 8:30 to hear all about it from the people right at the center of the blogging universe.

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Prop 103 Debate on Public Radio

Posted by on Oct 27 2011 | Economy, education, Government Largess, PPC, Proposition 103, Taxes

There are few times when we at the Independence Institute agree with the Denver Post editorial board. When it happens, our first reaction is… “Check the calendar. Is it April fools?” As far as we can tell, it’s October, so the Denver Post must be completely serious when they wrote this editorial opposing Rollie Heath’s Proposition 103 tax hike. (Side note: I wonder if the Post editorial board is more disturbed by the fact that they agree with us or that they agree with Mike Rosen?)

You can imagine the predicament Rollie Heath finds himself in: he can’t even sell a tax increase (for the children) to the Post editorial board. He must know he has a loser on his hands. Thankfully however, Rollie can always find a friend in Colorado Public Radio. There’s no way CPR would give Rollie a tough appearance.  It would have to be all softballs and sunshine when a Boulder Democrat talks raising taxes on public radio right?

Rollie could not have been more wrong.

Rollie did get his appearance on Colorado Public Radio, just as you’d expect. But unexpectedly, CPR decided to invite our Penn Pfiffner on as the opposition. Sorry Rollie! Take a listen to this CPR audio of the two men debating Rollie’s massive tax increase: $3 billion over the next 5 years. Then after digesting Rollie’s justifications for raising taxes during a recession, take a look at these two research papers by the Independence Institute. The first explains what we all intuitively know: raising taxes kills jobs. Lots of them. Over 11,000 jobs lost in Colorado, that’s the real cost. The second is a quick Issue Backgrounder from Penn Pfiffner himself. It is Penn’s analysis of this huge tax increase.

The writing is on the wall for Proposition 103. Rollie Heath essentially failed to sell fresh chocolate chip cookies to a hungry Cookie Monster. Turns out, Cookie Monster couldn’t stomach what Rollie was selling in this economy. Who knew?

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We’re Talking Occupy Denver and Prop 103

Posted by on Oct 26 2011 | Government Largess, Idiot Box (TV Show), occupy denver, PPC, Proposition 103

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Rationing Under Obamacare? Who Knew??

Posted by on Oct 25 2011 | Health Care, health control law, obamacare, PPC, Regulation

It’s a simple law of economics: when you prevent prices from rationing goods and services, something else must ration them. During the Nixon administration’s price controls, it was long lines and waiting that rationed gasoline. When you expand “free” medical services – like Obamacare does – price is no longer a factor. Therefore, something (or someone) else must do the rationing.

Washington state knows a thing or two about rationing medical services. According to this Investor’s Business Daily article, Washington has had to put a cap on how many times they allow Medicaid recipients to visit the emergency room each year. In this case, it is the political class who is doing the rationing.

Our Health Care Policy Center director Linda Gorman reminds us in the article that our health care system is politically controlled. Thus, politicians are in control of medical decisions and they are the ones doing the rationing like in Washington state.

When health care systems are politically controlled, politicians direct resources away from the seriously ill who need expensive advanced medical care, to the healthy voter,” said Linda Gorman, a senior fellow at the conservative Independence Institute. “Relatively few voters need advanced care, so catering to the healthy makes political sense.

Good point Linda. When you allow the political class to make medical decisions, you have to be honest who they have in mind when making those decisions.

Makes you sick, doesn’t it. (pun intended)

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Fall Independent Women’s Luncheon

Posted by on Oct 25 2011 | Events, PPC

Allow me to be sexist for a moment here. Guys, this blog post doesn’t apply to you. Ladies, please listen up:

Tickets are still available for the Fall Independent Women’s Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 27th at the Denver Country Club from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Our keynote speaker will be Nicole Neily who serves as Executive Director of the Independent Women’s Forum. Nicole will be speaking on the issues of the day and how women have played an important role in the history and direction of our country.

Tickets are $40.

To RSVP online, go here. Or call Mary MacFarlane at 303-279-6536 ext. 102 or email

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3 Strikes: “Clean” Energy, You’re Out

Posted by on Oct 24 2011 | Economy, energy, Environment, Government Largess, PPC, Taxes

The idea has been rammed down our throats for ages now: We need energy independence! We need “clean” energy! So said Jimmy Carter. So says Bill Ritter. So says President Obama. But Amy Oliver, William Yeatman, and Michael Sandoval with our Environmental Policy Center want to prove that there is no such thing. It’s a myth. “Green” energy, “clean” energy, whatever you want to call it, is a myth. Don’t believe me? Read Amy and Michael’s new piece called, “Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret: Cancer.”

Putting aside the massive taxpayer subsidies to even get these green fantasies off the ground… putting aside the giant corporate welfare monstrosity that has been built around this ineffective industry… putting aside all the lies and empty promises… the Solyndra’s if you will. Putting aside all that, what do you get? You are left with an energy source that can barely charge a cell phone, that requires minerals from China and other foreign countries (where’s the “independence” in that?), that requires “dirty” energy backup sources to keep the lights on, causes pollution on an embarrassing large scale, and, according to the unfortunate people living at ground zero of the “new energy economy,” causes Cancer.

Mining in China has turned towns and hamlets into “cancer villages.” Rivers run murky white to shades of orange. Fish and ducks are dead. And villagers bury friends and neighbors who die of cancer in their 30s and 40s.

Turns out, “clean” energy is so incredibly toxic that it is killing the people in proximity to it. You want to see a wasteland caused by a fuel source, look no further than solar. Sheesh. The bottom line is this… Well, I’ll let Amy give you the bottom line:

The bottom line is that all energy sources come with some type of risk and to assume that solar panels are an economic and environmental panacea is wrong, despite what the Denver Post and other New Energy Economy cheerleaders would like us to believe.

Let me repeat. ALL energy sources come with risk and reward. It’s just that some are more efficient than others. And when it comes to the conventional lines that separate “dirty” and “clean” energy, what classifies as “dirty” is millions of times more efficient than the half-baked, “clean” energy we’re seeing these days.

It might be hard to hear this, but the green energy fanatics out there have to hear it from somebody: your clean domestic energy source has proven be none of those three things. It’s not clean. It’s not domestic. And it’s not an energy source. It’s no more an energy source than my cell phone charger is. It’s power is laughable. And it is killing people. This is our reality until the technology gets better.

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If Thomas Jefferson Could Take It, So Can You!

Posted by on Oct 24 2011 |, PPC, The Founders, Thomas Jefferson

Those sympathetic to the British Crown spent a lot of time hurling insults and demonizing the American Patriots of the 18th century. Today many on the left, sympathetic to the centralization of power in Washington, DC hurl insults at the modern day Tea Party. The similarities between the two are striking says Rob Natelson in his blog post. Rob sat down with one of my minions on to talk about the attacks heard back in the 18th century and how they relate to the attacks on the Tea Party in the 21st century. (Side note: the attacks in the 18th century were much more creative and clever). Listen to Professor Rob Natelson explain the similarities in sentiment between the attacks then and now. Take pride Tea Parties, if John Hancock could take it, so can you.

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Prop 103: Kills Jobs, Has Little Effect on Education

Posted by on Oct 21 2011 | Economics, Economy, education, Government Largess, PPC, Proposition 103, Taxes

As you may have noticed, we at the Independence Institute don’t like tax increases of any kind. We especially don’t like them during rough economic times. (Side note: Have you heard the good news yet?! Colorado’s unemployment rate is DOWN to 8.3%! Hooray?) The evidence is pretty clear. If Proposition 103 passes and we get a massive tax for the next five years, all of our jobs will be in jeopardy. Just like these falling dominoes over here. Aside from just losing around 11,000 jobs if we tax ourselves into oblivion, there’s also the education side to the argument. Prop 103′s proponents say the tax hike is “for the kids.” (What tax hike isn’t really?) But nowhere does it say that the money raised from Prop 103 must go to education. Remember all that Ref C money and where it went? Yeah, me neither.

Thankfully, Charlie Leonard of the Aspen Times wrote on the education side of Prop 103. He cited two important points: one, that the money isn’t guaranteed to go to education to begin with. And secondly, even if all the money went to education, that doesn’t mean OUTCOMES – the stuff that matters – would improve. Charlie writes,

According to the nonpartisan Independence Institute, “Americans have increased spending on K-12 education by 50 percent over the past 30 years, and doubled spending over the past 40 years. Educational outcomes, as defined by test scores and international comparisons, have barely budged. Some school districts such as those in Washington, D.C., and New York City spend the highest amounts per pupil and have worse outcomes than Colorado’s test scores. The neighboring state of Utah spends $2,700 per pupil less than Colorado and enjoys better outcomes.”

And there you have folks. There is very little connection between money spent and educational outcomes. It’s not as if the more you spend, the more our kids learn. Not even close. So why tax ourselves into despair for the kids nothing?

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