Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 4, 2016
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How GMOs Could Help Biodiversity
The American Interest

By modifying the genes of plants, scientists have discovered ways to make food crops more resilient to drought and pestilence, and to increase crop yields, to boot.

Koch brothers’ new group will take on poverty, educational quality
Fredreka Schouten, USA Today

The political and policy empire controlled by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is building a non-profit wing its leaders say will work to address deep-seated social ills and “revitalize civil society.” Its initial efforts will focus on poverty and educational quality.

Theft-by-Government Continues Through Eminent Domain
A. Barton Hinkle, Reason.com

Governments ignoring the constitutional limitations to eminent domain.

How Ordinary People Are Giving Glimpses of God’s Restoration
James Clark, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

It’s easy to say that ordinary people can effect meaningful change. However, words alone are not proof. Without substantive evidence, any talk of our power to change the world may be nothing more than wishful thinking.

conversation-mark-interface-symbol-of-circular-speech-bubble-with-quotes-signs-inside_318-56572In the recent Iowa Caucus, young Democrats favored the socialist Bernie Sanders by a margin of six to one, while older voters went overwhelmingly for the more traditionally progressive Hillary Clinton.

The support of an old socialist by young voters and socialism should remind us of that old quote . . . you know the one, the one by . . . Churchill?

When it comes to citing famous quotations, a good rule of thumb is to attribute any unknown saying either to Anonymous or to Winston Churchill. Churchill’s eloquence and wit is second only to that great proverb maker Anon., so one is generally on safe ground by claiming him as the original source. Most people won’t know any better anyway.

Alas, one particular quote of relevance today that is often mistakenly attributed to the great Brit is,
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What do we care about? How does the economic system affect our purpose in life? How can it enhance our purpose?

Those are the questions Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, tackles in his presentation before the Aspen Institute.

From the time your writer opted to publicly proclaim his policy opinions in a variety of forums that are privately funded, he has incurred estrangement from ideologically opposed friends and family members, as well as receiving threatening emails and even frightening phone calls from complete strangers.

From the above experiences, it was easy to glean progressives can be very nasty (comments I receive often remark negatively on my choice of eyewear). Most tellingly, however, presume to know the private funding sources for the think tanks wherefrom much of my opinionated work emanates.

This last serves two purposes. The first is to discredit personal opinions as merely corporate or political propaganda. It’s a silly tactic to be sure, but one employed often against writers in the public sphere. The second is to name and shame any company or individual with which the progressives in question disagree. These enemies of debate, which include religious shareholder activists affiliated with As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, cannot abide private giving to causes with which they disagree. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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acton-commentary-blogimage“As all the media attention attests, the sad story of Flint is not limited to itself,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. “The entitlement mentality is like a drug ruining not just American cities but spreading to the country as a whole. The entitlement mentality is like a drug ruining not just American cities but spreading to the country as a whole.”

As a native of Flint, Michigan, I am very saddened by the contaminated water crisis that has broken out in my hometown and has now gathered international attention. What’s even sadder is that I am not terribly shocked that such a crisis could take place there. Flint has long been Exhibit A in the story of the decline and fall of a once-proud industrial city in the age of globalization; it is also a prime example of why monopolies in politics, business and labor are inherently prone to collusion, complacency and even corruption. Flint is what happens when we avoid competition out of a false sense of “solidarity.”

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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How School Choice Could Improve Life for Teachers
Mary Clare Reim, The Daily Signal

While it’s often easy to see the success school choice programs have on students, what’s often missing from this conversation is the acknowledgment that teachers are also empowered by school choice.

Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water
Abby Goodnough, New York Times

As officials try to track how many children in Flint, Mich., have been exposed to lead, underlying troubles prevalent among low-income families add to concerns.

Poll: 7 in 10 voters support school choice
Bonnie Kristian, The Week

A strong majority — 70 percent — of likely voters support school choice, finds a new poll funded by the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group.

Will Sanders and Trump voters push America away from market capitalism?
James Pethokoukis, AEI

Donald Trump says Bernie Sanders is a probable “communist” and “total whack job.” Sanders calls Trump a “pathological liar,” his policy ideas “pathetic.” Trump would cut taxes by $12 trillion over the next decade, and Sanders would raise them by $14 trillion. Also big differences on issues such as climate change and immigration.

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. recently stirred up a bit of hubbub over his endorsement of Donald Trump, praising the billionaire presidential candidate as a “servant leader” who “lives a life of helping others, as Jesus taught.”

For many evangelicals, the disconnect behind such a statement is more than a bit palpable. Thus, the critiques and dissents ensued, pointing mostly to the uncomfortable co-opting of Trump’s haphazard political proposals with Christian witness.

As Russell Moore put it:

Richard Muow picks up on this same point over at First Things, noting that this “third temptation” has lured many Christians throughout church history, and was aptly warned against by Abraham Kuyper, the great Dutch statesmen and theologian. (more…)