Morning Reads for Tuesday, April 10th

April 10, 2012 5:32 am

by Jason · 25 comments

Here in Georgia…
- It has apparently been rough for judges in North Georgia over the last two years.
- In order to keep gas and others costs downs, some school systems in Georgia are cutting bus stops.
- We’re getting close to $4/gallon.
- $31 million in tax refunds are unclaimed by Georgians.
- Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law is being challenged in federal court.

National stories of interest…
- 62% disapprove of Barack Obama’s handling of gas prices.
- Coca-Cola has cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
- The Fix argues that Ron Paul is more important than Newt Gingrich.
- Netflix, which supported SOPA, has launched its own PAC.
- FiveThirtyEight takes a look at Ron Paul’s campaign, comparing it to four years ago.
- Tim Lynch argues that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is not responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin.
- Steve Chapman explains why attacks on the Supreme Court are bad for our Constitution.
- The Obama Administration is backing off a requirement for federal contractors to discloses their political donations.
- Ken Rosenthal says that the Miami Marlins should suspend Ozzie Guillen.
- Is Iran willing to compromise on their nuclear program?
- The Supreme Court is about to take up its first post-Citizens United case.
- FDR would have opposed Social Security today.
- Scholars from the Mercatus Center looked at stimulus funding passed since 1953, finding that it does little to nothing to get the economy moving.
- Sen. Dick Lugar is facing an ad barrage in support of his primary opponent from conservative groups.

A few that I like…
- Braves drop to 0-4 to start the season.
- Chipper Jones will be back in the lineup tonight.
- Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion.
- Here are some tips for spending less on gas.
- Pro Football Talk takes a guess which players teams will select in the upcoming NFL Draft.

ryanhawk April 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

Cutting bus stops? How about cutting it all together or charging for bus service. If parents are home they should provide transportation. If they are not home, whomever is watching the kids should provide transportation. If nobody is watching the kids, we’ve got bigger problems than bus fare.

The NYT had an unintentionally hilarious article on “bare bones” budgets in Texas’ schools yesterday. They were asking parents to pay for bus service, making kids within walking distance walk to school, etc…. All things that should be expected anyway, especially in the midst of a great recession. They even quoted a kid complaining about walking in the rain. All they needed was a quote about walking uphill both ways and it could have been an Onion article.

wicker April 10, 2012 at 9:18 am

“If parents are home they should provide transportation.”

Would vastly increase traffic and public safety issues. Plus in rural and some suburban areas, the nearest school is many miles away, making getting your kid to school and then getting to work on time prohibitive, especially for those with long commutes.

“charging for bus service”

Yeah. Like low-income people can afford that. Do you want low-income kids to attend school or don’t you?

Lots of nonsense that has been used to turn public schools into social welfare centers are unnecessary, but bus service is not one of them. Where I am originally from – a low income, very rural area – taking away bus service would have meant a substantial number of kids not going to school at all.

ryanhawk April 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

If parents don’t want to take the time to drive their students to school or if congestion is an issue they should be more than willing to pay for bus service. Low income students can receive the same discounts they receive for lunch. As it is today school transportation is just another entitlement. I walked. My father rode a bus that dumped rural county kids at the city limit signs from which they walked (all kids in the city limits walked ). K-12 transportation is not a natural monopoly requiring govt. provision for efficient delivery.

saltycracker April 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

When bus transportation was eliminated from 1.5m. were sidewalks available ?
Better take a look at the sidewalks/bike paths around your schools. Ever try to get them ?

Schools in GA are designed and built for 1,000 or more students to be delivered by bus or car to these massive and sometimes multiple campuses.
Riding a bike or walking to these schools is not in the cards.

Asking parents to pay ? We sure need to throw more money at education, lottery, student loan, property tax, sales tax, grants, fund raisers, state & federal funding just isn’t enough.

ryanhawk April 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

Lack of access for pedestrians would be a problem. But almost everyone has a car or bus fare. What’s their excuse for shifting their transportation costs to their neighbors? Most feel no need to make an excuse — they are entitled and their entitlement mentality is the problem. Your points about runaway public spending perfectly illustrate the need to shift costs back to where they belong — namely to the people who benefit.

saltycracker April 11, 2012 at 8:05 am

The feds Are involved in bussing. Don’t you suppose it’d be like the free lunch program but worse as the fares would fall on those that are stepping up and heavily involved now ?

ryanhawk April 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

I don’t know much about the free lunch program though I’ve heard it’s badly abused, and agree that a free or reduced bus fare program would likely be similarly abused. I don’t agree with the solution of giving up and letting the government pay for everybody’s transportation. I know it’s tempting for many to “get some of their money back” by supporting this kind of scheme, but you just end up imposing higher and higher costs on your neighbors.

Dave Bearse April 10, 2012 at 6:59 am

Dick Lugar’s re-election circumstances illustrate the GOP’s increasing extremism and that GOP bipartisan is approaching the meaning of fiscal conservatism—a few adherents, but generally lots of talk and a record demonstating an inability to walk the talk.

wicker April 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

Oh please. The Democrats don’t have this problem because they don’t have any moderates at all, especially when it comes to those who represent safe or reliably Democratic areas. The only context that you guys complain about the lack of moderate Democrats is when Republican-leaning areas vote for Republicans instead of a Democrat who deviates from the party line on two or three issues and then gets to scream “look at me, look at me, I’m a moderate!”

If moderate Democrats existed, ObamaCare would have never passed. That is not a statement on the merits of ObamaCare, but rather how hypocritical liberals are when they bemoan the lack of moderate Republicans.

zedsmith April 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I’m laughing at this worldview where the democrats are all leftists because they don’t want to soak the poor. The real Leftists are greens and communists, and have deep reservations about supporting neoliberals and dixiecrats. This belief— common among republicans— isn’t an indication of democrat drift leftwards, its an indication of a republican drift rightwards.

But then again, I support out Communist atheist mooslim president, so I can’t be trusted.

wicker April 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

“Tim Lynch argues that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is not responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin.”

And his logic is unassailable. Lynch also stated another key fact: that initially (before it became a liberal cause celebre) the focus of the pressure applied by the media and the Martin family was the Sanford Police, not the demonization of Zimmerman as a racist. Zimmerman’s racial views – or for that matter his own race – should have never been an issue. The issue should have always been why Sanford Police never charged Zimmerman, and moreover never made an adequate investigation (instead they impeded such an investigation by refusing to release the 911 tapes). And as Lynch says, it was the Sanford Police who wrongly dragged “Stand Your Ground” – an excellent law that I fully support – into this mess.

It is probably because the Cato Institute is a more libertarian outfit than a traditional conservative one, which means that they are far more likely to all state power (as opposed to the traditional GOP stance of being suspicious of the business regulators and social welfare bureaucrats while giving the police and military carte – and crony capitalists in many cases – carte blanche).

Charlie April 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

Your second paragraph is the heart of a column I’m still debating about writing, but frankly still don’t want to.

As I wrote in my first column – one I still completely stand by – there was a brief period where there was hope we could have a legitimate national discussion. It passed too quickly. Now there are two versions of the story that anyone on either “side” can believe. Because the police didn’t do their job, the truth will likely never be known, and justice will likely never be served.

griftdrift April 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

“Because the police didn’t do their job, the truth will likely never be known, and justice will likely never be served.”

Bingo

Dave Bearse April 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I think much of what transpired may well be revealed to the public.

I’ve stayed out of it since a few days after it made national news because all that seems certain is that the Sanford police and prosecutors grossly bungled the investigation, and that Zimmerman is culpable to the extent he disobyed a directive to disconintue following Martin (not that that’s a prosecutable crime).

elfiii April 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

“Because the police didn’t do their job, the truth will likely never be known, and justice will likely never be served.”

And we know this for fact because?

David Staples April 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

Diesel is already $4 per gallon. Here’s a related article:

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/roswell-a-reason-to-1318358.html

This raises a few questions. What are they planning on doing with all of the glycerin that is a byproduct of biodiesel production? Will they be testing their fuel to make sure it’s up to ASTM standards? Perhaps it may be better for the city / county governments to work out a deal where they can collect the various oils (vegetable, animal fats, etc.) and sell them to a private business that would produce the biodiesel and sell it back to the county instead of the county being involved in biodiesel production? Who is going to be responsible for the biodiesel production? Will they have to hire an additional employee (or more) just for this purpose? There’s a reason I buy my biodiesel from a company that knows what they’re doing instead of making my own.

Calypso April 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm

David, I know you run bio-diesel in your big pick-ups, but do you know if it will run (and is there any kind of conversion required) in a 2011 VW Jetta TDI?

David Staples April 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm

No conversion required, but I’m not sure what the repercussions would be of running it in a 2011 TDI. I know that if you’re going to run B100 in your vehicle and it’s been running D2 (what I like to call dirty diesel), you have to change your fuel filter after you run a tank of it because it actually cleans out all the gunk from your fuel system. Yep, it’s that much cleaner. There’s also B20, which is 20 percent biodiesel and should work just fine with any vehicle and is usually easier to find. Not sure what part of town you’re in, but there’s a Citgo on Hwy 9 in Alpharetta that carries it. Nowhere around me has it, but I’ve got a 600 gallon tank at the house and get it delivered from SA White Oil Company in Marietta as I need it. You can also go to SA White directly to fill up if you live / work in the area.

Calypso April 12, 2012 at 6:43 am

Thanks.

Three Jack April 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Santorum drops presidential bid, socons everywhere in mourning.

Romney….hmmm, Mitt Romney……geez, Willard Mitt Romney….no way, I just can’t do it. This is the GOPer left standing, Mandate Mitt….#%^* it, Gary Johnson for president!

Calypso April 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Would you accept Gary Johnson for Mitt’s VP choice?

Three Jack April 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Why? I don’t accept Mitt as the nominee. The VP (no matter Mitt’s pick) is nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

ryanhawk April 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

You sound exactly like the Ralph Nader voters I remember laughing at in 2000. No way were they going to vote for that moderate Al Gore. Of course they ended up electing George Bush…. which worked really well for the Nader crowd.

Three Jack April 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm

ryanhawk, laugh all you want, but it will not cover the fact that fiscal conservatives failed to nominate a candidate yet again. So as usual we are left with the choice of evil or (maybe) lesser evil.

And I thought the Supreme Court elected George Bush…must have gotten some bad information.

Baker April 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm

@ryanhawk: Couldn’t agree more.

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