Monday, January 26, 2009

Atlas Shrugged: From fiction to fact in 52 years

by Stephen Moore

Some years ago when I worked at the libertarian Cato Institute, we used to label any new hire who had not yet read "Atlas Shrugged" a "virgin." Being conversant in Ayn Rand's classic novel about the economic carnage caused by big government run amok was practically a job requirement. If only "Atlas" were required reading for every member of Congress and political appointee in the Obama administration. I'm confident that we'd get out of the current financial mess a lot faster.

Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.

For more on this commentary, go to The Heartland Institute

Thursday, January 22, 2009

FIRE's open letter to Pres. Obama on speech codes

January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (202-456-2461)

Dear President Obama:

I write to you on this historic day to offer my heartfelt congratulations on your inauguration. Your achievement is a testament to the enduring promise of our great democracy and the constitutional ideals upon which our nation was founded.

As President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), I write also to request your assistance in ending abridgements of free speech on our nation's college campuses. Because you have taught constitutional law, you are particularly attuned to the importance of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. We therefore sincerely hope that you will help to eliminate censorship on college campuses and restore respect for robust expression in higher education.

Like most Americans, you likely would be surprised to learn how often the right to free expression is violated at our nation's colleges and universities, despite the fact that the vitality of these institutions relies upon the free and open exchange of ideas. In just the last year, FIRE has defended basic constitutional freedoms in some truly remarkable cases at both public and private schools.

To read the rest of this letter, go to FIRE's Web site

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lincoln may not have welcomed Obama's election

by Leonard Pitts

On Tuesday, Barack Obama will stand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and take an oath making him the nation's first president of African heritage.

The statue of Abraham Lincoln, which sits facing the Capitol in a temple two miles away, will not give two thumbs up. Neither will it weep, commune with the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. or dance a Macarena of joy.

The point is obvious, yes, but also necessary given that when Obama was elected in November, every third political cartoonist seemed to use an image of a celebrating Lincoln to comment upon the milestone that had occurred. Lincoln, they told us, would have been overjoyed.

For more on this commentary, go to McClatchy Newspapers

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweatshops offer world's poor hope, not despair

by Nicholas Kristof

Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.

The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

For more on this commentary, go to The New York Times

Friday, January 16, 2009

Law prof, newspaper stand up for couple judge deems too old to raise grandkids

by Lisa Falkenberg

Hi, Pa!” exclaimed 2-year-old Rafael Sierra as he ran toward his step-grandfather’s outstretched arms.

Arnold Del Bosque scooped up the beaming boy while gripping plastic bags stuffed with toys. Arnold’s wife, Yolanda, took their younger grandchild, 1-year-old Luis, into her arms, already laden with a Playskool “Busy Gears” set and two Happy Meals.

It wasn’t Christmas. It was visitation day last Friday at the Child Protective Services office on Chimney Rock.

For Arnold and Yolanda, regaining the right recently to visit the grandchildren they’d raised since infancy was their first win in a painful custody battle.

Last week came another.

Juvenile Court Judge John Phillips, who ordered the boys removed from the Del Bosques’ La Porte home last year after remarking in court that the 50-something grandparents were too old to raise them, recused himself from the case.

But he didn't go quietly.

For more on this commentary, go to The Houston Chronicle

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Musgrave admonished for co-mingling settlement funds

CHARLESTON - The state Supreme Court has sanctioned a Point Pleasant attorney for mishandling the proceeds of a settlement awarded to a Mason County physician five years ago.

Finding that he "co-mingled client finds with his own business funds," a hearing panel subcommittee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, the prosecutorial arm of the state Bar, recommended Raymond G. Musgrave be reprimanded for his action.

In addition to a reprimand, the Board also recommended the Court order Musgrave's practice to be supervised for a year, he establish a client trust account with the Bar's Foundation, complete six additional hours of continuing education in the area of law office management and pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Staffing privilege dispute results in suit against hospital, fellow physicians

HUNTINGTON - A Mason County family physician is alleging that officials at Pleasant Valley Hospital conspired to harm his ability to practice medicine by revoking his staffing privileges without justification.

The suit raises similar allegations a Charleston surgeon leveled at the state's largest hospital resulting in a multi-million verdict in his favor last year.

For more on this story, go to The West Virginia Record

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Alan Greenspan - The real culprit of the current economic crisis

by Stefan Karlsson

With no one denying anymore the obvious fact that America is in a deep slump, the discussion has instead shifted to why it happened. The Austrians (including me) who predicted these problems based on Greenspan's low-interest-rate policy know of course that the main cause was that low-interest-rate policy, with his numerous bailouts of failed financial institutions also creating a moral hazard that encouraged risky behavior.

But non-Austrians who for various reasons seem determined to exonerate the central bank have instead offered various other explanations. I will not here answer them all here. Instead, I will simply comment on the most common alternative explanations and the various arguments used for the explicit purpose of exonerating Greenspan.

For more on this op/ed, go to Mises. org.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Levine admits to misconduct with one patient, but denies others

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An attorney for a former Mason County doctor accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with three of his patients said Tuesday that his client admitted to some of the claims against him, but denied others.

Jack Levine was practicing at Pike Community Hospital in 2007 when accusations against him first surfaced, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported.

Levine, who operated a drug treatment program at the hospital, has been accused of taking advantage of patients who came to him looking for help.

For more on this story, go to WBNS-TV 10

Friday, January 2, 2009

False arrest case moved to federal court

HUNTINGTON - A Mason County man who alleges the actions of two fellow residents and two sheriff's deputies led to him being falsely arrested and subsequently prosecuted will now have to prove his case in federal rather than state court.

David Mohler, attorney for Mike Cooper, moved to have a civil suit filed against his client from Mason Circuit Court to U.S. District Court.

In his notice of removal filed Nov. 19, Mohler, with the Charleston law firm of Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love said federal court is the better venue to test the claims Shawn Barker levels against Cooper and the other defendants in violating his rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to U.S. Constitution.

For more on this article, go to The West Virginia Record

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Substitutions

by Gary North

Well, it’s that time of the year again. All over America, smart people are sending out last-minute charity donation checks to get their income tax deductions for 2003, making sure they get stamped, dated receipts from the Postal Service (this costs an extra 37 cents).

Other smart people are making last-minute sales decisions on investments that did well, offsetting the capital gains tax by selling investments that did poorly.

But most people aren’t this smart. They are spending their time looking forward to New Year’s Eve parties and the bowl games (husbands, anyway) on New Year’s Day. College football teams that nobody outside of the home town paid any attention to three months ago will fight it out for mythical second through tenth place, which will entitle them to be forgotten by January 2nd. One team will wind up number one. The public will remember which one until at least Super Bowl XXXVIII, just as they remember the winners of Super Bowls past: Packers, NFC (I), Packers, NFC (II), Jets, AFC (III: Joe Namath > Earl Morrall/Johnny Unitas) . . . ?

This op/ed piece was originally published on Dec. 31, 2003 on where it can be read in full.