RFAOn this week’s edition of Radio Free Acton, we talk with Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner and the American Enterprise Institute about whether or not Big Business is good for economic freedom. Spoiler alert: it’s problematic.

We also talk with Michael Van Beek of the Mackinac Center, our co-sponsors for Carney’s recent lecture at Acton’s Mark Murray Auditorium, and find out a bit about what our fellow Michigan think-tankers are up to over at their headquarters in Midland.

Listen via the audio player below:

nigerian-rescueDuring the night of April 16, 2014, dozens of armed men from the jihadist group Boko Haram captured over 300 Christian girls aged 12 to 15 who were sleeping in dormitories at Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeast Nigeria.

Some of the kidnapped girls have been forced into “marriage” with their Boko Haram abductors, sold for a nominal bride price of $12, according to parents who talked with villagers. All of the girls risked being forced into marriages or sold in the global market for human slaves.

The kidnappings were the focus of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ social media campaign that garnered much attention last year. What has received considerably less attention is the rescue of many of the women that had been kidnapped by the terrorist group.

Nigeria’s military said it has freed nearly 700 Boko Haram captives in the past week (though it’s still unclear how many—if any—of the “Chibok girls” were rescued). Many of the woman have begun to share stories about their horrific ordeal.

A woman named Musa was rescued from forced marriage to one of her husband’s killers:
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greece for saleGreece has had to deal with a very uncertain economic outlook over the past decade or so, but now it’s getting downright ugly. Greece owes over $1 billion this month in debt repayments, along with pensions, government salaries and other obligations. They likely don’t have the money.

The rapidly deteriorating Greek economy makes its already daunting debt pile even harder to manage, a key point of contention between Athens and its lenders. The [European Commission’s] latest forecast reckons that Greece’s debt will reach a whopping 180% of GDP this year, much higher than expected in recent months. Greece’s most recent bailout agreement called for its debt-to-GDP ratio to fall to 110% by 2022, which looks nearly impossible without some sort of restructuring, write-down, or default.

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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
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New York City Underreported School Violence to State, Audit Shows
Kate Taylor, New York Times

A review of violent episodes at 10 public schools in New York City found that the Education Department failed to report nearly a third of the cases to the state, as required, according to an audit the state comptroller released on Wednesday.

Pence, GOP leaders get pastors’ ‘rebuke’ for RFRA fix
Robert King, Indianapolis Star

A pastor who stood behind Gov. Mike Pence last month when he signed the “religious freedom” bill stood in the heart of the Statehouse on Monday and publicly rebuked Pence for the “betrayal” of signing the “fix” that quelled the national backlash.

The Wild Ideas of Social Conservatives
Ross Douthat, New York Times

[T]he basic social conservative analysis has turned out to have more predictive power than my rigorously empirical liberal friends are inclined to admit.

A conservative anti-poverty agenda: Strengthening the family
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

Conservatives tend to prefer an indirect approach to fighting poverty. That means we don’t have to have big government “anti-poverty programs” with “anti-poverty” branding in order to effectively fight poverty.

FosterParentImageSome of the earliest documentation of children being cared for in foster homes can be found in the Old Testament and in the Talmud, notes the National Foster Care Parent Association (NFPA). And early Christian church records also show children were boarded with “worthy widows” who were paid by collections from the congregation.

The modern foster care movement also has roots in religious-based charity. In the mid-1850s, the work of Charles Loring Brace, a minister and director of the New York Children’s Aid Society, became the foundation for the foster care movement as it exists today.

As a result of the New York Children’s Aid Society’s placements sectarian social agencies and state governments became involved in foster home placements. But once the state became involved, the values of government bureaucrats began to trump religious convictions in determining what was best for children.

A prime example is new laws and regulations regarding gender identity and sexual orientation that conflicts with the values of religious foster parents. In The Weekly Standard, Jeryl Bier explains how the federal Department of Health and Human Services is weighing in and requiring “affirmation”:
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Endless desktop operating system

Endless desktop operating system

While Internet access is nearly ubiquitous in the West and in many other parts of the world, about 5 billion people still cannot access the world marketplace and information engine that is the ‘net. Some places don’t have connectivity or a ready power supply; for other people, the cost of a laptop is out of their reach. (Yes, smart phones and tablets can access the Internet, but they don’t offer the storage, keyboard, mouse or operating system that a computer does.)

Matt Dalio, CEO of Endless Computers, sees an opportunity to change this. While traveling, he noticed that many people, even in remote parts of the world, had large-screen televisions. He wanted to see if he could create a system, using those tv screens, that would allow for Internet access. (more…)

comix-experienceWhat would you do if you hated independent bookstores? Maybe you work for Amazon.com or a bookseller shot your dad or you just want people to read less. For whatever reason, you want to see small businesses that sell books go out of business. What should you do to help destroy your local bookstore?

As San Francisco is finding out, the best strategy for destroying small booksellers is to simply raise the minimum wage.

In November, 77 percent of voters approved San Francisco’s Proposition J, which will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. But the ramifications of that vote are already being felt. A few months ago San Francisco’s best-known science-fiction bookstore, Borderlands Books, published the following on its website:
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Blog author: ehilton
Monday, May 4, 2015
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global shopping cartAt The Stream, Anne Bradley writes about the freedom that free trade brings. Why does free trade matter?

  • We live in a world of scarcity: we have unlimited wants and limited means (resources) to satisfy those wants.
  • As individuals, we aren’t good at producing everything we need to survive. We are limited in our talents and opportunities.
  • We flourish when we are free to trade the things we are better at producing for the things we are not as good at producing.

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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, May 4, 2015
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Prison Fellowship Praises Koch Decision to Not Ask Job Applicants About Criminal Record: Represents Gospel Message of Redemption
Ray Nothstine, Christian Post

Prison Fellowship praised the decisions by Koch Industries and other companies to no longer ask about criminal history on job applications, in an interview with The Christian Post, noting that the move is consistent with the redemptive message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Redefining Marriage Would Erode Religious Liberty and Free Speech Rights of Citizens and Churches
Carl H. Esbeck, Public Discourse

Finding a right to same-sex marriage in the Fourteenth Amendment would threaten the religious liberty of citizens and organizations who support marriage and silence or chill the speech of dissenters.

NC religious conservatives lobby for ‘religious freedom’ law
Associated Press

Religious conservatives are lobbying North Carolina lawmakers to pass legislation that supporters say protects expressions of faith but that opponents contend would legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Egypt Islamists get life for Kerdasa church attack
BBC

A court in Egypt has sentenced 69 Islamists to life in prison for setting fire to a church in a town near Cairo.

An employee at Indiana-based Carson Manufacturing

An employee at Indiana-based Carson Manufacturing

There is a group of workers out there who are uniquely qualified for many jobs, intensely interested in working and being as independent as possible, often joyful in attitude and thankful for the little things many of us take for granted.

They are adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities.

I’m not talking about “pity” jobs here. I’m talking about people with real talents who are looking to share those talents with others in a way that is mutually beneficial. Most of us call that a “career” but for the disabled, a career can be hard to come by. Chalk it up to misunderstanding, ignorance and prejudice. However, businesses are getting on board.

More and more companies out there are realizing there’s an untapped pool of talent that makes for very good workers,” [said] Peter Bell, President and CEO of Eden Autism Services, “Employers are becoming interested in hiring these people not because it’s charity, but because it’s the right business decision.”

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