Congratulations to my friend, Chris DeRose, on the release of his second book, Congressman Lincoln: The Making of America’s Greatest President.
Chris’ book came out today as he launches his book tour.
Here is the Amazon description of Chris’ book:
A biography of the early years and personal struggles of the famous frontier politician who led the United States during its darkest hours, centering on his little-known congressional years. This the story of an Abraham Lincoln many Americans aren’t at all familiar with. Lincoln as a reluctant husband in an abusive relationship; Lincoln who came within moments of fighting a duel with a political adversary; the first and only president to patent an invention; the first future president to argue before the Supreme Court.
Though remembered as a Republican, and even more as a figure that transcended partisan politics, Congressman Lincoln reveals Abraham Lincoln as a master political strategist and member of the Whig Party, the one to which he belonged for the majority of his career. Before he appealed to the America’s purest instincts, he argued “The Whigs have fought long enough for principle and ought to begin to fight for success.” Before “malice toward none,” Lincoln bragged of his opponent “I’ve got the preacher by the balls.”
Lincoln the policymaker is remembered for his conduct of the Civil War, and his handling of slavery. But even during his Presidency, Lincoln was concerned with a broad array of issues. As a party leader, candidate for Congress, and member of the House, Lincoln worked on stimulus spending, international trade, banking, and even the Post Office. And it would be in the Thirtieth Congress that Lincoln would first move to halt the expansion of slavery, carefully crafting a bill for gradual emancipation in the District of Columbia.
This is the story of America at a critical time. The tale of a Congress that ended a conflict, unsure of what they had gained aside from a seat strapped to a powderkeg, of a party aiming to win the Presidency at all costs, paving the path for its own extinction, and of a country charting an irreversible course toward Civil War. Moreover, it is the story of the man who lead the United States during its darkest hours and his role at the center of this gathering storm. This is the story of Congressman Abraham Lincoln.
By Stephen Slivinski
It’s like a bad re-run. A few legislators are trying to revive Arizona’s film production tax credit (SB 1170) that lapsed in 2011.
According to the last annual report on the effectiveness of the credit, in 2009 four media companies completed production on credit-approved projects. After taking into consideration the small bit of sales tax revenue the film generated while in production, the state paid out a net of just over $2 million in tax credits. That’s an average of half a million dollars per project.
How many jobs did that create? About 41 jobs directly related to the project and another 20 that were presumably from the ripple effect on the local economy. An analysis by economists at the W.P. Carey School at Arizona State University shows that these jobs were temporary and, thus, the post-production employment impact of this tax credit was “minimal.”
States like Washington and Iowa terminated their film credit programs last year and others have suspended them until their effectiveness can be studied. The general consensus among analysts is that these credits cost more than they’re worth and their existence owes more to star-struck policymakers than it does to economic logic.
The legislature this year, just as they did last year, should avoid putting Arizona taxpayers back on the hook for film production. Arizona doesn’t need to buy another ticket to this overpriced flop.
Stephen Slivinski is a Senior Economist for the Goldwater Institute.
Arizona Department of Commerce: Motion Picture Production Tax Incentive Annual Report for 2009 (PDF)
Tax Foundation: Report on Film Tax Credit (2011)
by Nick Dranias
Many local governments in Arizona want us to believe they have gone to extreme lengths to tighten their budget belts. But when you hear that Tucson is using its sign laws to squelch artistic murals on the historic Rialto Theater because the murals aren’t purely for artistic purposes—they also promote shows at the theater—your realize budgets can’t be that bare. Then there are the pool cops of Maricopa County, who are aiming to shut down weekend pool parties used by Phoenix-area resorts to boost their business during this recession.
Any government that can waste resources on such measures has too many idle hands on the payroll. The fact that local governments can’t recognize this shows that streamlining budgets requires more than a commitment to saving money. It requires a guiding philosophy of limited government.
In many cases, cities and counties cannot focus limited resources on core functions because they cannot identify what functions are core. Laws against genuine public nuisances have no higher standing than crack downs on wall murals and bans on resort pool parties where guests might eat or drink too close to the water. Resources are stretched because government officials are using them to perform needless and often abusive tasks.
Fortunately, local governments can look right at the Arizona Constitution for guidance on identifying core functions: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”
Officials who accept this basic principle of limited government are unlikely to prosecute businesses for such offenses as painting wall murals on their own property that also advertise their business and planning some outdoor fun to attract more customers. No function of government is a core function if it has nothing to do with protecting and maintaining individual rights.
Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is Director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.
Brought to you by the Arizona Republican Party
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the state house,
Democrats were complaining, continuing to grouse.
With the budget a bust, and no money to spare,
The Democrat solution? Never cut! Don’t despair!
“Blame Brewer, blame Republicans,” the Dems all agree,
“We have no answers or solutions!” They would decree.
Lujan and Sinema nestled snug in their beds,
With visions of stimulus flowing in from the feds.
Running out of options and all out of dough,
They seemingly just say – “nothing must go!”
As Republicans work into the night to close the gap,
It’s as if Democrats just woke from a long summers nap!
When out on the Capitol lawn there arose such a clatter,
The media sprang from its perch to see what’s the matter.
Away to the windows they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But the state’s AG, and the ninth floor so near.
The perennial candidate so lively so quick,
His repeated defeats, so comic, so tragic.
More rapid than eagles his patrons they came,
He whistled, he shouted, and called them by name.
“Now Kyrsten, now David! Now Albert and Rebecca!
Now Chad! Now Phil, Martha and Anna!
Let’s hang them out to dry, let’s blame them for it all!
Next year’s an election, we must hinder and stall!”
“But what if the voters should find out our course?”
Said the group’s leader without an ounce of remorse.
“You shouldn’t be worried,” said the AG,
“The third times the charm, and you’ll surely see,
A special present for taxpayers around our great state.
Return to reckless spending, and a burdensome tax rate.”
And they heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Good riddance to prudence, and thanks for your support,
You’ve set the state back for which there is no retort.
I’ll see you on the trail, for it’s still in my blood,
Even if year after year, they’ve found a me a dud.”
This was too good not to reprint here for you’all to read:
And it came to pass in the Age of Insanity that the people of the land called America , having lost their morals, their initiative, and their will to defend their liberties, chose as their Supreme Leader that person known as “The One”.
He emerged from the vapors with a message that had no meaning; but He hypnotized the people telling them, “I am sent to save you. My lack of experience, my questionable ethics, my monstrous ego, and my association with evil doers are of no consequence. For I shall save you with Hope and Change.
Go, therefore, and proclaim throughout the land that he who preceded me is evil, that he has defiled the nation, and that all he has built must be destroyed.” And the people rejoiced, for even though they knew not what “The One” would do, he had promised that it was good; and they believed.
And “The One” said “We live in the greatest country in the world. Help me change everything about it!” And the people said, “Hallelujah! Change is good!”
Then He said, “We are going to tax the rich fat-cats.” And the people said “Sock it to them!” “And redistribute their wealth.” And the people said, “Show us the money!” And then He said, “Redistribution of wealth is good for everybody”
And Joe the Plumber asked, “Are you kidding me? You’re going to steal my money and give it to the deadbeats??” And “The One” ridiculed and taunted him, and Joe’s personal records were hacked and publicized.
One lone reporter asked, “Isn’t that Marxist policy?” And she was banished from the kingdom!
Then a citizen asked, “With no foreign relations experience and having zero military experience or knowledge, how will you deal with radical terrorists?” And “The One” said, “Simple. I shall sit with them and talk with them and show them how nice we really are; and they will forget that they ever wanted to kill us all!” And the people said, “Hallelujah!! We are safe at last, and we can beat our weapons into free cars for the people!”
Then “The One” said, “I shall give 95% of you lower taxes.” And one, lone voice said, “But 40% of us don’t pay ANY taxes.” So “The One” said, “Then I shall give you some of the taxes the fat-cats pay!” And the people said, “Hallelujah!! Show us the money!”
Then “The One” said, “I shall tax your Capital Gains when you sell your homes!” And the people yawned and the slumping housing market collapsed. And He said, “I shall mandate employer- funded health care for EVERY worker and raise the minimum wage. And I shall give every person unlimited healthcare and medicine and transportation to the clinics.” And the people said, “Give me some of that!”
Then he said, “I shall penalize employers who ship jobs overseas.” And the people said, “Where’s my rebate check?”
Then “The One” said, “I shall bankrupt the coal industry and electricity rates will skyrocket!” And the people said, “Coal is dirty, coal is evil, no more coal! But we don’t care for that part about higher electric rates.” So “The One” said, “Not to worry. If your rebate isn’t enough to cover your expenses, we shall bail you out.. Just sign up with ACORN and your troubles are over!”
Then He said, ” Illegal immigrants feel scorned and slighted. Let’s grant them amnesty, Social Security, free education, free lunches, free medical care, bi-lingual signs and guaranteed housing….” And the people said, “Hallelujah!!” And they made him King!
And so it came to pass that employers, facing spiraling costs and ever-higher taxes, raised their prices and laid off workers. Others simply gave up and went out of business and the economy sank like unto a rock dropped from a cliff. The banking industry was destroyed. Manufacturing slowed to a crawl. And more of the people were without a means of support.
Then “The One” said, “I am the “The One” – The Messiah and I’m here to save you! We shall just print more money so everyone will have enough!” But our foreign trading partners said unto Him, “Wait a minute. Your dollar is not worth a pile of camel dung! You will have to pay more…” And the people said, “Wait a minute. That is unfair!!” And the world said, “Neither are these other idiotic programs you have embraced. Lo, you have become a Socialist state and a second-rate power. Now you shall play by our rules!”
And the people cried out, “Alas, alas!! What have we done?” But yea verily, it was too late. The people set upon “The One” and spat upon him and stoned him, and his name was dung. And the once mighty nation was no more; and the once proud people were without sustenance or shelter or hope. And the Change “The One” had given them was as like unto a poison that had destroyed them and like a whirlwind that consumed all that they had built. And the people beat their chests in despair and cried out in anguish, “Give us back our nation and our pride and our hope!!” But it was too late, and their homeland was no more.
You may think this is a fairy tale, but it’s not..
It’s happening RIGHT NOW !!!
(Written by a Pastor’s Wife somewhere in America)
Goldwater Institute News Release
July 16, 2009
Phoenix–The Goldwater Institute announced today that it is seeking an appeal in its legal challenge against Mesa’s cultural facilities impact fee. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Rayes gave the Goldwater Institute an opening-round defeat in its challenge to the fee, which is imposed on all new homes. Cities have limited authority to impose impact fees so that development pays its own way. However, Mesa used the fees to pay for museums and performing arts centers, rather than the necessary public services strained by the impact of new development.
“No matter how desirable, cultural facilities are not a ‘necessary’ public service as required by the impact fee statute,” said Clint Bolick, Director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. “The City did not show that new development created a need for new cultural facilities.”
Despite that, Judge Rayes deferred to the City’s judgment. The Goldwater Institute believes it has a very strong and factual case, and after consultation with its client, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, decided to appeal the ruling.
More information about the case can be found at http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org/case/63. The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.
Thoma’s creativity will grace the entrance to the City of Goodyear’s Public Works and Water Resources building
The taxpayers of Goodyear will foot the bill for Thoma’s art at a pricetag of $54,000.
Good grief, Goodyear. Couldn’t you find some local artist to donate his/her work to get some exposure?
We sure hope there’s no complaining about your budget, increasing water rates or laying off employees after voting for this $54K contract.
Speaking of taxpayer-funded art, maybe the city of Goodyear should take a lesson from the City of Tempe who awarded a $500 gift to local 16-year-old high school student, Max Ellinger. Max designed the artwork which will be displayed on Valley Metro buses. Cost to the taxpayers: $500. Exposure for local aspiring art student Max Ellinger, priceless.
Congratulations Max and to the taxpayer of Tempe who both benefitted.
by Gayle Plato
Phoenix rising from the ashes, an image we all know in this town. She is reborn after devastating challenges and rises again, eternal. In spite of bad times and economic downturns, we can depend on our warrior spirit to smartly retreat. Lean down the government costs and funnel any revenue to the most important programs, helping the needy among us. Help schools function, hospitals heal, and citizens be safe from crime. Face the burn of caustic fiscal devastation; Phoenix can rise again from the ashes.
Unless, the Phoenix City Council and a few other supporting municipalities, see everything through the windows of the light rail ride, or the netting of the stimulating jellyfish. Phoenicians make art without honoring the logic and science of the numbers. We are at prime Mayor, and the Fibonacci numbers of this golden strand of reality are on the wall like a gang tag.
I propose the City of Phoenix go back to the drawing board; in light of the severe recession. We need a referendum, City Council to rescind funding the superfluous, and crack the books to scale back. Turn off the light rail today and funnel any of that money including stimulus dollars into buses. It is a Crazy Train of debt, with future growth questionable at best. We need to take every extra dime and focus on the infrastructure that really matters. Finally, we need to demand a change of spending practices; a panel of citizens and politicians must start to oversee all spending of tax dollars. Billions are spent with very little accountability and only a few politicians in charge, and that is a waiting disaster. No Parent Teacher Organization could get away with doing that from a candy bar fund raiser.
I also ask that the 2.4 million dollar expense of the ‘art’, called, Her Secret is Patience, be scrapped if it costs one dime more. With a name only Ralph Waldo Emerson could love; she sounds more like horse running in the fifth and looks more like( I’m sorry but really) a glow-in-the-dark condom. Yet this art is a tad better than the horrifically ugly library near me, Desert Broom- the Big Rusted Tin Roof, or the infamous broken pots on the 51, a.k.a. Piestewa Pottery Barn. At least I can check out a book at the library and get in and out of town on the freeway.
It’s funny, but in truth, there are people who work for the city, getting fired this year while we pay for poorly installed art and light rails to a pancake house. There are thousands of children who could benefit from really good programming not happening or being cut, as we see money funnel into broken toilet bowls and multi-million dollar prophylactics. Let alone the stimulus redistribution of our hard earned wealth. No one is immune from this spending disease.
If my business slumps and I fall behind, I have to face reality. I do not go on spending, and if need be, I make drastic cuts. Anything not necessary is gone, and certain behaviors of business-as-usual discontinued. Families in this Valley are cutting to the bare bone, trying to pay for upside down mortgages, or worrying about rent paid to landlords in foreclosure. None of us wants to see completely irrelevant art, useless transportation, nor wasted future spending on upkeep and improvement. What are many businesses doing? Closing up shop on half of their locations. Schools and hospitals, day care centers, and local parks are shutting down. Yet, we can all ride the rail around if we lose our houses or cars I guess.
According to Valley Metro numbers, the light rail has exceeded expectations, with 34, 000 people per day ridership. Okay, let’s round that up to 35K. That means, if I do my math, dividing up the ridership by the overall cost as published of 1.4 billion (with more to come), each rider could have been given $40,000. That will buy a few decent cars. So those of you riding from the IHOP to the Capitol, would you have rather had a new car? Specifically, how about a Pontiac as I hear they are going outta style soon.
Phoenix is not alone in it’s future going out of business sale. But this bird will not be able to rise from the ashes of a fire sale. We cannot wait until the place goes up in flames as the blindfolded local leadership all lay down in ditches. My secret Mayor Gordon, City Council, my secret is not patience, but prudence.
You have to admit that this was absolutely phenomenal.
I have always held that liberals should not be able to claim exclusive ownership or title to the arts, especially if we’re going to subsidize it!
This piece was composed by John Williams and performed by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero.
Here is the MSNBC video (much clearer)
Ann and Nancy Wilson are mad about real, 21st century feminists, Governor Sarah Palin, using the song, “Barracuda” in her presentations. So angry are they that they’ve asked a judge to issue a cease and desist order against using the song.
Last time I checked, music was still a form of art and for anyone to enjoy.
Until the Wilson sisters ask a judge to censor YouTube, here’s a video for our readers:
The Phoenix New Times has finally gone too far and should be shut down. Its August 14th edition contains not just one, but hundreds of photographs of young children completely naked in provocative poses. How is this not child porn? According to the definition provided by Cornell Law School, child porn includes “lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any (minor).” The New Times didn’t post the pictures on its website, tellingly, they are only in the print edition (we would not link or post to them regardless). Somewhat less offensive pictures are on the website, such as the cover picture.
The New Times’ excuse is that the children’s mother took the pictures as “art.” That doesn’t get around the law however. Because then any child pornographer could use that excuse (“Johnny’s mom took the pictures and said it was ok for me to display them for anyone who wants to see them”). Parents have been prosecuted before for sharing naked pictures of their children .
What is the difference between this and what the Phoenix New Times did? Marc Greenberg and Jeff Libman ran a website (like the Phoenix New Times runs a newspaper/website) which provided nude pictures of children modeling, some with the permission of their parents. The two men were prosecuted for child porn, and the court found that posing in yoga positions was enough to constitute sexually suggestive photographs. Similarly, the children in the New Times photos are posing in what looks like yoga/sexually suggestive positions.
ABC-15 covered the story, and says the Phoenix Police is investigating. Let’s hope some family groups get involved and have the New Times prosecuted. This is outrageous. If allowed to continue, it only encourages pedophiles, because it whets their appetite for more, and their next prey will not have the approval of their parents, since very few parents permit their children to be exploited.
Consider the audience – a look through the Phoenix New Times reveals that their readership is the “prurient” type, based on the hundreds of pornographic adult types of ads it contains. This is evidence the photographs were not displayed as “art” but rather to appeal to the prurient interests of its readership. If they had been meant as “art,” they would have been featured in an art magazine, not an “adult entertainment magazine” as many refer to the New Times.