Archive for January, 2012

VIDEO: Scott Renfroe, Former Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon

Posted by on Jan 31 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

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Another Attempt at Hollywood Handouts

Posted by on Jan 30 2012 | Corporate Welfare, Economics, Government Largess, PPC

Have no fear Hollywood! Your favorite Colorado legislator Tom Massey is back again with another movie-making corporate welfare bill. You may remember him from a gem of a bill last session that would have implemented a 10 cent movie ticket tax at your local theater in order to subsidize movie production in Colorado. Thankfully it failed, even after the tax was re-written to be a “voluntary” donation. The Reason Foundation’s Harris Kenny wrote an op-ed for us outlining the bad economics regarding movie production subsidies. Yes, subsidies for Hollywood might attract some movie-making in Colorado. However, that is not the full story. To see the big picture, you have to ask, “at what cost?” Harris shows that the cost of handouts are much larger than any benefit movie production might bring.

I learned this morning in the Chieftan that despite his lack of success in subsidizing Hollywood movie producers at rates higher than New Mexico and Utah for the past 7 years, he is determined to shake some more pennies from Colorado taxpayers before he gives his final farewell. Details of what Rep. Massey is cooking up are uncertain, but we do know that he’s been working with Governor Hickenlooper on his master plan. With Hick’s blessing, there’s no telling what corporate welfare scheme they’ll be able to sell to the public.

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Scott Renfroe and former Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon Join Me

Posted by on Jan 27 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Be sure and tune in to the Independence Institute’s public affairs TV show Devil’s Advocate this Friday night. It’s the usual half-hour of public affairs excellence, but in two segments. First I am joined by Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) to discuss his bill to ban red-light cameras in Colorado. Then former Colorado Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon sits down to give his take on the current state of politics in Colorado. That’s Friday, January 27 at 8:30 p.m. on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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School Choice Week: Kids Aren’t Cars (Really???)

Posted by on Jan 25 2012 | Uncategorized

Join Liberty on the Rocks and the Independence Institute as we celebrate School Choice Week to promote educational choice and excellence!

We will be showing the 9-part short film series Kids Aren’t Cars, which takes a deeper look into the state of public education in America, and the reasons why we are falling behind the rest of the world. The film highlights examples from Midwestern states and shows the impact organized labor and the assembly-line system has had on educating our children.

Reception starts at 6 pm, with the movie starting at 6:30 pm. The film will be followed by a brief discussion with the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center’s Ben DeGrow and Pam Benigno.

This event is FREE and open to the public – so please invite family and friends to help us celebrate school choice week!

To learn more about the movie and watch a trailer, check out the Kids Aren’t Cars website:

Facebook page can be found here:

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I am Still Here!

Posted by on Jan 25 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), Media, PPC, radio

Since my late night radio show on 850 KOA ended last week, I’ve been bombarded with the most heart warming messages from fans on my blog, on my Facebook wall (both of them), via Twitter, on YouTube, in person, and through email. It’s sometimes difficult for me to fully understand the kind of impact my radio show and commentary has had on people over the years, so all this outpouring of love from you guys means a whole lot. I cannot thank you enough for your support.

Getting all this love the past week from so many people from all over the country got me thinking: I wonder what someone on the Left thinks about me leaving nightly radio… hmmmm… and then the phone rang. It was Jason Salzman. He wanted some commentary from me on leaving my nightly radio spot for his blog, The Big Media Blog. We chatted for awhile and in no time, I got to read his latest blog post about me. I’m glad he will miss me. And I’m glad he decided to publish some of the best material I gave him. Thanks for giving us the Left’s perspective Jason.

However, I wonder if most people on the Left believe I was “advancing evil” every night like Jason does.

Whether you think my ideas are evil or not, you can still listen to me spew something on the radio on a weekly basis. I have a new time slot, this time on 630 KHOW. That’s right, you didn’t get rid of me yet! I’ll be on KHOW from 5 to 8pm every Sunday, with appearances on both KOA and KHOW as a fill-in host when needed. Which means now I’ve got a regular gig AND I’ll be coming out of the bullpen in relief. And don’t forget about my Public Television channel 12 show, Devils Advocate!

Thanks again to everyone who left me encouraging messages. It means a lot. For those on Left who thought I’d go away quietly. Sorry. I’m still here.

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VIDEO: Losing Local Voices in Colorado Media

Posted by on Jan 24 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

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Losing Local Voices in Colorado News Media

Posted by on Jan 20 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Put the kids to bed a little earlier tonight to catch my TV show Devils Advocate on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. I’ll be chatting with Independence Institute investigative reporter Todd Shepherd and President/CEO of the Colorado Broadcasters Association Justin Sasso on the decline of local voices in our news media. We’ve lost some great local columnists, talk show hosts, radio hosts, editorial writers, and even cartoonists in the past few years. As someone who enjoys the local perspectives, what can we do to mitigate these changes? Tune in tonight to Colorado Public TV, channel 12 at 8:30, repeated the following Monday at 1:30pm.

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Colorado House Takes on Obamacare

Posted by on Jan 20 2012 | Government Largess, Health Care, health control law, obama, obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

Just found some more great news regarding the resistance to Obamacare. According to the Colorado News Agency, the Colorado House passed a resolution yesterday calling for a constitutional convention to repeal Obamacare. Looks like were beating back this health care takeover on all fronts!

Keep it up everyone!

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Independence Throws Left, Right Combo at Obamacare

Posted by on Jan 20 2012 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Economic LIberties, Health Care, health control law, obama, obamacare, Originalism, PPC, U.S. Constitution

Obamacare is headed to the Supreme Court. Great news! The cherry on top is that The Independence Institute is filing not one, but TWO amicus briefs (amici) on behalf of liberty and against the health care takeover. Constitutional scholars Dave Kopel and Rob Natelson take on the Medicaid mandate in one and the individual mandate in the other. Before I get into the Obamacare briefs, let’s take a step back and understand what this means. Dave Kopel has a rich history of influencing major Supreme Court decisions. For example, both the Heller and McDonald decisions were influenced by Dave’s Second Amendment work. For Dave’s most recently submitted amici, visit his website and go to the “In the Courts” section. There’s a half dozen briefs listed there that are just from this past year. To say that Dave is prolific is an injustice. He’s more like Gandalf casting unconstitutional demons out of Mordor Washington, DC.

Ok, back on track. The first brief on how the Medicaid mandate is unconstitutional was filed earlier this week (PDF here). I won’t get into the details because, well, I’m not what you call a “reader,” but I was able to get through Rob Natelson’s summary on his blog. The gist of the argument is quite simple: the Feds are big bullies. If the country were a playground, they’d be going around giving all the state’s wedgies and stealing their milk money. But it’s actually worse than that. Rob makes the case that it’s not only bullying, but also hostage taking. In other words, a bully with a taste for kidnapping. Double bad. Built into the Medicaid mandate in Obamacare are requirements that the states expand their Medicaid programs… OR ELSE. The “or else” part is the threat of withholding federal Medicaid funding. Hence, a large sliver of each state’s budget held hostage. As Rob puts it,

Since federal Medicaid funds are a huge portion of all states’ budgets, the effect is to subordinate state fiscal policy to the whim of federal officials. This is clearly unconstitutional.

Stay tuned for details and PDF of the other amicus. It will focus on the unconstitutionality of the individual health insurance mandate. Word is, Rob and Dave work their magic on the Commerce Power and the Necessary and Proper Clause. I also hear that they plan to sit down for an podcast with my main minion Justin Longo on both briefs. I’ll post the brief and the podcast here when they come out.

Until then, say NO to bullying.

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Independence Institute brief on Medicaid mandate

Posted by on Jan 19 2012 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Health Care, Spending Clause, Tenth Amendment

On behalf of the Independence Institute, Rob Natelson and I wrote an amicus brief on the Medicaid mandate currently before the Supreme Court. (The ACA requirement that states must drastically expand Medicaid eligibility, or lose all their federal matching funds for Medicaid.) Here’s the Summary of Argument:

By imposing the Medicaid mandates in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), Congress exceeded the scope of its enumerated powers. If allowed to stand, those mandates could be the death-knell for the Constitution’s finely calibrated system of federalism. The states truly would be little more than agencies for Congress to “commandeer” at will.

The Founders created and the People ratified a Constitution protecting the States’ role as limited “sovereigns.” As this Court has ruled repeatedly, the states’ sovereign “independence” entitles them to make decisions within their sphere based on their own policy judgments, free of federal coercion. As explained below, this rule and the closely-related principle of federal non-coercion is of particular constitutional importance in financing health and social services.

In sustaining the Medicaid mandates, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overlooked both Founding-Era constitutional principle and modern Supreme Court doctrine. It also overlooked aspects of the Medicaid mandates that particularly aggravate their coercive qualities. Insofar as the ACA authorizes withdrawal of all Medicaid funds from States that choose not to submit to the Medicaid mandates, that statute slashes at the heart of American federalism. It is unconstitutional and void.

Intelligent comments are welcome, although experience suggests that there will also be plenty of comments from twits who have not read the brief, yet proclaim their absolute certainty about supposedly fatal errors in its legal reasoning. Rob’s summary of brief is available on his blog.

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