Thursday, September 20, 2007

(Note Bene: the following fantasy satire has been superceded by the truth. Remarkable! Thanks to LGF)

Coming Soon to Speak at Columbia!

On August 1,1939, Columbia University's School for Public and International Affairs (SIPA) is sponsoring an appearance by Dr. Joeseph Goebbels, Germany's Reichminister for Propaganda and National Elightenment, to participate in a question and answer session with university faculty and students. SIPA is initiating a year-long series of lectures and events entitled "Germany: Six Years of National Socialism", which will include academic experts as well as officials and critics of the Third Reich.
The opportunity for faculty and students to engage Dr. Goebbels came about after German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop initated contact with Columbia through SIPA faculty members who are experts on German history and politics.
Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler emphasized that such events must allow ample time for students and faculty to pose questions that challenge the views expressed by the speakers. President Butler will introduce the event by challenging Dr. Goebbels on a number of his controversial statements and his government's policies, including his statements regarding undue Jewish influence in the Anglo-American democracies, and his call for the segregation and containment of the Jewish people in Europe. The US government has accused the German government of supporting violence and discrimination against Jews living in Germany, including last year's alleged wide-scale violence against German Jews (the so-called "Kristallnacht") and reports of imprisonment of Jews, intellectuals and political opponents.
President Butler further stated, "I would like to add a few comments on the principles that underlie this event. Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas—to understand the world as it is and as it might be. To fulfill this mission we must respect and defend the rights of our schools, our deans and our faculty to create programming for academic purposes. Necessarily, on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs many, most or even all of us will find offensive and even odious. We trust our community, including our students, to be fully capable of dealing with these occasions, through the powers of dialogue and reason."
After his appearance at Columbia, Dr. Goebbels will conclude his visit to the United States with a speech to the German-American Bund in Madison Square Garden on the night of August 2, 1939.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cutting Michigan's Throat.

The Democrat-controlled Michigan House of Representatives, along with Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm, are insisting on an 18% increase in the state income tax in order to close the $1.7B budget deficit by $1.1B. The State Senate, headed by Republican Mike Bishop, proposed a cuts-only solution that was DOA. The Senate may now
retune this proposal with a mix of cuts and a smaller income tax hike.

The total Michigan state budget is $45.2B, so the $1.7B shortfall is about 3.8% of the total. Here is the breakdown of the 2006 budget:

  • Education $14.7 (Billions)

  • Health Services $10.0

  • Human Services $4.4

  • Transportation $3.2

  • Police & Prisons $2.5

  • Government $2.3

  • Unemployment $2.0

  • Lottery Admin $1.6

  • Revenue Sharing $1.1

  • Regulatory $0.9

  • Tax Credits $0.9

  • DNR & Ag $0.7

  • Business Funds $0.6

  • Debt Service $0.3
The standard histrionics have been employed by the Governor in resisting cuts in the budget in favor of higher taxes to "protect education". This is a red herring: cutting the budget does not have to take a single dollar that is actually delivered as a dollar of real value to education. The state government must become more efficient in delivering value to schools, and that means jettisoning irrelevant administrative overhead and educational programs of dubious worth. See if you can find a few at the state's education website.

Education should not take a disproportionate hit, only its share, which would be 35% of the total shortfall, or about $550M. It also may be true that inefficiency is even worse in other spending areas, but the education portion of the budget is so huge that it has to be part of the budget balancing equation. Businesses routinely face the challenge of cutting overhead while maintaining the ability to grow value. Why can't it be so for the state government?

But it is truly economic suicide to hike income and other taxes while the state reels from job losses and possesses a nation-leading unemployment rate.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gather at the River.

Project Healing Waters helps disabled vets of all ages, using flyfishing as a tool for rehabilitation and healing. God Bless their work. You can support them here.