Saturday, January 29, 2022

Former President Trump's statement of support for Morgan Ortagus

Morgan Ortagus
by Rod Williams, Jan. 29, 2022 -The following is former President Donald Trump's statement of support for Morgan Ortagus as reported by TNJ: On The HIll

I am told the very strong and impressive Morgan Ortagus is exploring a run for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. I couldn’t be happier because she’s an absolute warrior for America First and MAGA!

Morgan was fantastic in her role working with Secretary Mike Pompeo at the U.S. State Department and understands the threats posed by China, Russia, Iran and others, and will be tough, not just roll over like the Democrats and RINOs. 

She serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves and will fight for our Military. She won’t bow to the Woke Mob or the Leftist LameStream Media. Morgan Ortagus will have my Complete and Total Endorsement if she decides to run!

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Trump endorses Morgan Ortagus for the 5th Congressional District, upsetting Trump loyalist supporting Robbie Starbuck.

Morgan Ortagus
by Rod Williams, 1-28-2022- Trump has weighed in on the race for the Republican nominee for the newly redrawn Fifth Congressional District and picked a preferred candidate. Trump on Tuesday endorsed Morgan Ortagus. She served as a State Department spokesperson during his administration. 

This has upset some of Trump's most loyal supporters.  The most loyal of Trump supporters appear to be coalescing around the candidacy of Robby Starbuck. Starbuck is of Cuban-American heritage, is a recent California immigrant, and works in the music business. He started his campaign months ago before the 5th Congressional lines were redrawn when a Republican running against long-time incumbent Democrat Congressman Jim Cooper would have been a suicide mission. Starbuck has been appearing anywhere for months where any two or three Republicans would gather.  He has been spotted at First Tuesday, the Davidson County Conservative groups joint Christmas party, Jack Johnson's big annual barbeque, and various other events.  He has been the featured speaker at a Moms for Liberty event and other events.

In addition to picking up local support, Starbuck has also picked up national support, picked up the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn,  conservative activist Candace Owens, nut-job conspiracy theorist Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and other endorsements. He has also made national news, having made appearances on Fox News.

It is not a surprise to any knowledgeable political observer that if the 5th Congressional District was redrawn to favor a Republican, that new names would emerge as potential candidates.  In addition to Robbie Starbuck and Morgan Ortagus, other potential candidates include Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, former Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, and retired Tennessee National Guard Brigadier General Kurt Winstead (link).  I expect other names to be floated or candidates to announce in coming days. 

The Trump announcement of his support for Ortagus has caused consternation among some local Trump supporters, or at least I have been told. Politico says it is a "firestorm," but the evidence for that seems to be more national than local. So far, Facebook and Twitter have not been set ablaze with chatter about this, but it is still early and word may just now be getting out. Trump's most loyal supporters are loath to criticize Trump no matter what he says or does, so they may not know how to respond.  They may be waiting to see which way the wind blows.

I am not that informed about Morgan Ortegas, I think few are at this point. One of the criticisms of Ortagus from Trump supporters, but not from Trump, is that in 2016 she was a supporter of Jeb Bush in the GOP primaries. Another criticism is that her wedding was officiated by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I do not really know where she stands on the issues.  She is a former contributor to Fox News. 

For more on this topic see link, link, link, and link

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Democrats In Congress Too Liberal, Most Voters Believe

 press release, Thursday, January 27, 2022 -A majority of voters think congressional Democrats are too liberal, and agree with the Senate GOP leader that voters don’t want to “fundamentally transform America.”

A new national telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports finds that 55% of Likely U.S. voters believe Democrats in Congress are too liberal on most issues. Sixteen percent (16%) think congressional Democrats are too moderate, while 20% think their policies are about right. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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Friday, January 28, 2022

The latest Keystone Cops approach to curbing climate change: John Kerry, U.S. Climate Envoy, Tells Top Polluters ‘We Must All Move Faster.’

by Rod Williams, Jan. 27, 2021-   If the government determined it would be in the nation's best interest if people drank less alcohol, it could ban alcohol, or it could preach that drinking alcohol was bad for you and try to persuade people to drink less.  It could also tax alcohol or it could subsidize everything that is not alcohol. For more on the latest Keystone Cops approach to curbing climate change read, John Kerry, U.S. Climate Envoy, Tells Top Polluters ‘We Must All Move Faster.’

For my views on climate change policy, follow this link

Isn't this interesting? At the same time John Kerry is jawboning to get the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions, A federal judge revoked Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases, ruling the Biden administration failed to consider climate change when it sold them. Also, the Biden administration is urging OPEC to produce more oil. 

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Nut-job U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene Endorses Robby Starbuck for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional Seat

by Rod Williams, Jan. 28, 2022- US Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14), the poster child for nut-job Republicans, has endorsed Robby Starbuck in his race for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District.  While this does not totally disqualify Robbie Starbuck in my estimation, this endorsement makes me considerably less inclined to favor his candidacy, certainly not more inclined.   Starbuck could regain his lost ground if he would disavow this endorsement. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a Q-anon supporter.  She was a regular contributor to a conspiracy website. She has supported almost every right-wing conspiracy theory circulating. She touts the Pizzagate theory, the Clinton Kill-list, mass shootings as a false flag theory, and 9-11 as an inside job theory.  She has advocated executing Democrat politicians.  She has equated the Democrat Party with Nazies. She continues to claim Trump won the election in a landslide and that the election was stolen.  Her Covid-19 theory is that Dr. Fauci is criminally liable for helping create the virus as a bio-weapon. She has suggested that space lasers caused fatal wildfires in California. Can we admit, she is a class A nut-job?

While Marjorie Taylor Green is a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, Trump has not endorsed Robbie Starbuck.  Former President Trump is supporting another potential candidate for the Fifth Congressional District. Trump is supporting former State Department spokesman Morgan Altergas. 

For more see link, link, link.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Cooper says he will return his campaign contributions to donors. Who are his big contributors? What will Odessa Kelly do?

Cooper has announced his retirement and says he will return his campaign contributions to donors.
Below are some highlights from Cooper.s Sept. 30th 2021 financial report:

Ending cash on hand $1,065,331.90 

Contributors to Cooper for Congress.  

Joan P. Ashe, wife of former Republican mayor of Kxoville Victor Ashe, $500.

Councilman Robert Nash, $350

Philip Ponder, $550

Bridgestone Americas PAC, $1000

Brown-Forman PAC. $2500

Comcast Corporation PAC, $2000


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. PAC, $1000

I do not see a path forward for Odessa Kelly in her run for Congress. She may however place her name on the ballot to enhance her name recognition in Davidson County. There is some speculation that she may challenge John Cooper for mayor, next time around and it is my understanding that she could legally use her campaign funds raised in her bid for Congress in a campaign for mayor. Here are highlights from her September financial report.

Ending cash on hand $154,786.32

Notable contributors to Odessa for Congress.

ACTBLUE $90121.68

Rachel Bell, judge, $300

Barbara Clinton, $550

LEAD THE WAY 2022, Phoenix, Arizona, $14512.25

Michael M Hodge,NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action a / Organizing Director , $700

Erika Leaf,  Eugene, Oregon $5550


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Nashville law on home businesses challenged in TN high court

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Nashville music producer and a hair salon owner are taking their fight to run businesses out of their homes to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Lij Shaw, a Nashville music producer, has been battling this fight since 2015. It all started when he got a letter from the city saying he had to shut his home studio down because it violated a residential zoning ordinance. The law states that if you live in a residential zone, serving clients on the property is against the law. (read more)

This is great news.  While the Metro Council gave temporary relief to those working from home as as an accommodation to combat Covid-19, that relief expires in 2023. My hope is that the Courts will provide permanent relief. For more on this issue see the following.

Shaw and Raynor vs. the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

The Beacon Center, December 5, 2017 -Who would have thought it would be illegal to make music in Nashville? Unfortunately, the city’s ban on home-based businesses means local musicians, hairstylists and other aspiring entrepreneurs face steep fines and potential imprisonment if any customers physically come to their homes to do business. Nashville residents Lij Shaw and Pat Raynor have both lived this nightmare. 

Lij operates a successful recording studio in his home, while Pat undertook an expensive renovation to her home to open up a hair salon that met all of Tennessee’s health and safety standards. Both Lij and Pat ran their businesses for some time without any trouble. Then one day, the city government threatened to fine and take them to court unless they shut down their home-based businesses.
This ban has done real damage to their ability to earn an honest living. Lij has lost significant revenue since being ordered by a city officer to stop publishing his address in advertisements for his business. Meanwhile, Pat has been forced to rent a costly and inconvenient commercial studio just to keep her hairstyling practice in business.

Home-based businesses have been a common and legitimate use of property for entrepreneurship for centuries. They cost less to get off the ground, they promote healthy work-life balance, and they create jobs that otherwise might not exist. Anyone who has taken a piano lesson in their teacher’s home or sent their child to daycare in a neighbor’s home has been a client in a home-based business.
Even Nashville’s government knows it would be outrageous (and impossible) to find and destroy every home-based business in the city, so it enforces its client prohibition with an unwritten don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. Rather than reform this unfair law, the city solicits anonymous complaints on its website, turning neighbor against neighbor and shutting down home-based businesses without any evidence of harm to anyone.

Most Nashville home-based business owners never get in trouble for violating the client prohibition. Many aren’t even aware of it. But the ban can be as disastrous as a lightning strike for the unlucky few who get caught. Those local entrepreneurs, like Pat and Lij, find their very livelihoods threatened.

This arbitrary law has nothing to do with regulating traffic or noise in residential neighborhoods. The city zoning code allows home-based daycares and short-term rentals to serve up to 12 clients a day on the property. People who live in historic homes are also allowed to use their homes for special events such as wedding receptions and catering dinners up to several times a week.

Lij’s and Pat’s outlawed home-based businesses are as neighborhood-friendly as the businesses Nashville already permits. There’s no good reason for Nashville to shut them down, so Lij and Pat are fighting back. They’ve teamed up with the Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center of Tennessee to vindicate their constitutional right to use their home to earn an honest living.

Home-Based Businesses: Finding the American Dream at Home
Home-based businesses offer people an accessible path to entrepreneurship. There are many reasons people aspire to start a business. Perhaps they want to be the next Mary Kay or Steve Jobs, who famously launched the multi-billion dollar company that is now Apple from his garage. Perhaps they are tired of the 9-to-5 and want to be their own boss. Or perhaps they want to fill a need in their community and earn an honest living doing it. Whether their dreams are modest or ambitious, starting a business out of their homes can make it more cost-effective for would-be entrepreneurs to succeed.
Opening a brick-and-mortar business can cost thousands of dollars more, depending on industry and location. In Nashville, for example, rents for office and retail space are at an all-time high—around $23 per square foot for office space and $25 per square foot for retail space—making it difficult for small and independent businesses to thrive. And that’s on top of other costs necessary to open a business, including acquiring all of the necessary permits, insuring the business and hiring employees. These high startup costs can prevent people with great business ideas from ever pursuing them. That’s bad for everybody.

Home-based businesses, however, allow an entrepreneur to figure out what works and what doesn’t before taking on the expense of commercial space. One study found that most needed less than $25,000 to get going—a sum many business owners can pull together from personal savings or loans from family and friends. Particularly in lean economic times, the low cost of starting a home-based business can significantly reduce the risks inherent to starting a business.

Additionally, some small businesses just make more sense in the context of the home, particularly those operated by only one person. An overwhelming 60 percent of home-based businesses are run by people who work by themselves. For an individual who just wants to personally offer tutoring, tax preparation or music lessons, it likely will never make sense—or be financially viable—to obtain commercial space.

Nashville’s Home Occupation Law
Nashville, Tennessee is a booming city with a diverse economy. World-renowned for its thriving music scene, the city bills itself as “Music City, U.S.A.,” but many of its roughly 685,000 residents also find work in the healthcare, publishing, banking, and transportation industries. Many others—the focus of this lawsuit—work from home.

The Institute for Justice analyzed Nashville’s business records and found at least 1,600 home-based businesses operating within the limits of Nashville’s consolidated city-county jurisdiction. These businesses provide a valuable contribution to Nashville’s economy, and to their proprietors, they provide a livelihood.

Unfortunately, many of them are illegal. A provision contained in Nashville’s residential zoning ordinance prohibits any so-called “home occupations” from serving clients on the property. This home-business client prohibition was added to the city’s zoning code in 1998 without public debate or any record of why the law exists.

The Nashville government evidently has some misgivings about this prohibition because it maintains a don’t-ask-don’t-tell enforcement policy toward enforcement. The local Department of Codes and Building Safety, known as “Codes,” investigates home-based businesses only when somebody complains.

“It’s not something you could drive by and notice,” explained Codes Assistant Director Bill Penn to a columnist for The Tennesseean in 2015. “It’s something neighbors would have to turn in.”
Nashville also doesn’t seem to want its home-business ban to apply as broadly as it does because Nashville allows at least three kinds of home-based businesses that serve clients: day care homes, owner-occupied short term rentals, and historic home events. Those businesses are allowed to serve 12 clients per day in most cases.

Amazingly, the home-business law’s defenders even boast about how well Nashville’s illicit home-based businesses fare under this enforcement scheme. “I’ve got tons of small businesses in my neighborhood, and nobody’s complaining about them,” said Nashville Councilman Carter Todd, explaining his ‘no’ vote on a 2011 bill that would have legalized home-based businesses. “I’ve got—down the street, there’s a tutor. Farther down the street, there’s a woman that teaches swim lessons. All these things technically may be against the law, but they don’t bother anybody, nobody complains about it, and [the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy] works.”

But that’s simply wrong. Neither Pat Raynor’s nor Lij Shaw’s home-based business could be seen or heard from the street, but Codes ordered them to shut down anyway, accusing them of no violation other than simply having a business.

In December 2016, Lij and Pat applied to the city to rezone their homes to allow Lij’s home recording studio and Pat’s hair salon to serve a limited number of clients. 

Their neighbors turned out overwhelmingly in support, presenting the Nashville Metro Council with petitions bearing the signatures of 39 and 44 of their neighbors, respectively. But it was not enough for the government. Several months and public hearings later, their applications were denied. Lij and Pat are left with no options other than to sue for their right to work from home.

Lij Shaw
Elijah “Lij” Shaw, a single father and lifelong record producer, moved to Nashville in 1991. He has recorded nationally renowned, Grammy Award-winning performers such as John Oates, Jack White, Wilco, Adele, and the Zac Brown Band. He’s been living in the same house in East Nashville since he bought it in 2000. When his daughter Sarayah was born in 2005, he was inspired to take charge of his work life and find a way to better support his family. So he invested thousands of dollars to convert his detached garage into The Toy Box Studio: a professionally soundproofed recording studio where he could record his musician clients on his own property, all while remaining close to Sarayah as she grew up.
It was a perfect setup. Well-respected musicians use The Toy Box Studio—the 2015 Grammy winner for Best Roots Gospel Album was mixed there—and Lij operated for 10 years without incident. His soundproofed studio can’t be seen or heard from the street, and his clients park in his driveway. None of his neighbors have ever complained to him about traffic or noise.

But now Nashville is threatening to destroy Lij’s investment and uproot him from his neighborhood. In September 2015, Lij opened his mailbox to a letter from the Nashville government ordering him to cease and desist the operation of his home recording studio. A month later, an officer from the Nashville Codes Department called and ordered him to shut down his business or be taken to court. Lij was able to ward off an inspection by agreeing to take his address down from his website, but the officer warned that if Codes ever caught him recording in his studio—or even podcasting—he would be taken to court and shut down.

Pat Raynor
Pat Raynor, a lifelong hairstylist, became interested in working from home after her husband Harold passed away in 2009. His 10-year battle with a debilitating medical condition left Pat with extensive medical bills, exacerbated by the loss of Harold’s income. Pat, who values hard work and cherishes her independence, resolved to do whatever it took to stay in the home she and Harold had bought together in 1999.

Pat still pays the mortgage and property tax on that home. Those are fixed costs, and Pat must work in order to afford them. But working comes with costs of its own. As a sole proprietor, Pat pays both income tax and self-employment tax to the federal government. She is 66 and must drive to and from work, which has become moderately hazardous for her in the dark and sometimes icy winter months. Renting a commercial hair salon costs $135 per week, no matter how much she makes. She realized that she could eliminate the costs of commuting and renting by moving her business into her home.

Tennessee state law allows home salons, and Pat invested over $10,000 to renovate her home and obtain a Residential Shop license from the Tennessee State Board of Cosmetology. She opened for business on April 24, 2013. Pat is friends with most of her neighbors and counts many of them among her clients. It was easy for those neighbors to get to her house, and because Pat only works by appointment and didn’t put a sign out front, she wasn’t generating traffic from curious walk-ins the way a downtown barbershop might have. With no commercial rent and no commute, this arrangement was safe, comfortable and affordable—a perfect way for Pat to keep working in her “youthful old age.”

Alas, Pat’s home-based hair salon was short-lived. On November 26, 2013, Nashville sent her a cease-and-desist letter, ordering her to shut down her home-based business. Pat called the city’s Codes Department—which wouldn’t tell her who had complained—and learned that her state shop license was no protection against Nashville’s client prohibition. She was told to clear out her salon and schedule an inspection. After the city no-showed the first two times it told Pat to have her home ready, it sent three agents to verify that she was in compliance. They warned her never to cut hair in her home studio again, or she would be taken to court.

Legal Claims
Residential zoning laws are a relatively modern creation. They restrict property rights by their very nature, and the U.S. Supreme Court did not clear them as constitutional until 1926. In Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., the Court held that municipal governments, if allowed under state law, could exclude industrial uses from municipally-defined residential zones. But whatever an industrial use may be, it’s clearly not Lij’s or Pat’s quiet, by-appointment-only home studios. As originally authorized by the Supreme Court, zoning laws were not meant to tell people how to behave inside their homes.

Since 1926, however, zoning laws have grown far more intrusive in scope. In 1974, the Supreme Court held that a New York college town could use its residential zoning laws to prohibit unrelated graduate students from signing a lease together as housemates. Together with a follow-up case holding that zoning laws could not be used to prohibit grandparents from living with their grandchildren, the Belle Terre decision remains the Supreme Court’s last statement on the constitutionality of zoning laws. As a result, municipal governments today believe themselves free to abuse the zoning power to regulate or prohibit almost anything they want, even if doing so has no plausible connection to a legitimate government interest like health or public safety.

That is what has happened in Nashville. Lij and Pat are law-abiding citizens who have the overwhelming support of their neighbors, no criminal record, and a safe and unintrusive home-based business–far less intrusive than the many home-based businesses the city allows. It’s unfair of Nashville to single Lij and Pat out.

Nashville’s home-business law is “dishonest,” according to Metro Councilwoman Burkley Allen at a February 2017 Planning Commission hearing on Lij and Pat’s SP applications. City officials know that home-based businesses are everywhere, yet they adhere to a don’t-ask-don’t-tell enforcement policy that admits law-abiding Nashvillians are better off lying to the government about their home-based businesses.

Furthermore, residential zoning laws cannot be used to regulate a home-based business that can’t be seen or heard from the street. Residential zoning laws are meant to maintain the character of residential neighborhoods—not tell residents how to behave inside their homes. The Tennessee Constitution, which affords greater protection for substantive due process than its federal counterpart, prohibits such an intrusive regulation of someone’s use of her own home. The government could never prohibit Lij or Pat from having a friend over for a visit. It doesn’t make sense that the government could prohibit them from having customers over.

The Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center have teamed up to affirm Lij and Pat’s right to work from home. Their victory in court will expand legal protections for property rights, recognize meaningful limits on the zoning power, and vindicate the right of all Tennesseans to earn an honest living in their homes.

My Comment: I support the right of Lij Shaw and Pat Raynor to continue to earn a living by operating thir non-intrusive businesses out of their home. We all know of people who operate a business out of their home. Most do not get caught. When one routinely engages in activity that is technically illegal but the authorities just look the other way, that is not rule of law. That makes the authorities "the law" rather than the enforcer of law.  I support the work of the Beacon Center in fighting for justice for people like Lij Shaw and Pat Raynor.  To make a financial contribution to The Beacon Center, follow this link.

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Banning Critical Race Theory in schools isn’t enough

Just as conservatives changed the courts, so too do they need to overhaul the education system

by Dan Buck, The Spectator World, January 26, 2022- While pundits bicker about whether bills targeting critical race theory in schools are ethical or constitutional, an equally important question is whether they’re effective. While such legislation is a workable stopgap to loathsome practices like affinity groups, it can only work as a temporary measure.

CRT is manifested not primarily as a set of explicit ideas to be taught like the freezing point of water or the causes of World War Two. Rather, it’s a philosophy that informs the instruction, curriculum, and policies of various districts. We cannot outright ban CRT from our schools anymore than we can ban the influence of philosopher John Dewey. When the culprit is a belief system, bans are the wrong tool.

..  — but what about the bigger picture? CRT links to a larger philosophy called critical pedagogy, which, in short, conceives of schools not as places of learning, classically understood, but as loci of activism. It manifests in practices like “action civics,” where students spend class periods researching political issues, forming solutions — invariably always big-government ones — and attending protests. In ethnomathematics, students discuss how they can use math to measure their activism or just how important it is to be right.  ... Within this broader philosophy, students do not master skills and acquire the knowledge they need to succeed in the future, but rather now. Banning CRT would have no effect on these practices when the fault is an entire approach to education itself. ... (subscribers, continue reading)

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Monday, January 24, 2022

Republican leaders get real about climate change. “We’re not doing any left-wing stuff.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
By Arian Campo-Flores, Wall Street Journal, Miami, Jan. 23, 2022 - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the coastal city of Oldsmar recently to unveil projects including sea walls and drainage systems intended to address flooding. The state is seeing rising sea levels, and Florida’s environmental and economic successes are intertwined, Mr. DeSantis and other speakers said.

“What I’ve found is people, when they start talking about things like global warming, they typically use that as a pretext to do a bunch of left-wing things,” said Mr. DeSantis at the event. “We’re not doing any left-wing stuff.”

Governors and lawmakers in several Republican-led states, including Idaho, South Carolina and Texas, are taking a similar approach as concern about climate change increases. ... A December analysis of five surveys by Florida Atlantic University researchers concluded that the share of self-identified Florida Republicans who say they believe in climate change rose 5 percentage points to 88% over roughly two years beginning in October 2019, ... Mr. DeSantis outlined a proposal to dedicate more than $270 million to 76 projects aimed at bolstering defenses against rising sea levels and flooding. (link)

Rod's Comment: It is heartening to see Republicans take climate change seriously and it is also heartening to see some Democrats get real about climate change.  Up until this point, most climate policies have been driven by climate warrior romantics who have supported feel-good measures that have been ineffective and in many cases made climate change worse.  At the same time, the Republican response has most often been denial that climate change is even real, and those who know better and should be leaders have been intimidated by the Republican base. 

I think we are starting to see fewer spiritualist tree-huggers at the table sitting climate policy and more engineers, economists, and other realists. At least I hope so.  As the world continues to warm, it is time for a new approach.  We need to abandon the Paris Accords, which have been an abject failure.  We need a price on carbon with carbon border adjustments and we need to embrace nuclear energy.  Those are the most important things that need to happen and there are more.  I would like to see Republicans take the lead and endorse realistic climate policies. 

We must admit however that those policies that could slow and then halt global warming may never be adopted or they may only slowly be adopted. It may still be a while before most of the world accepts that the climate change policies we have followed for the last fifty years have been a failure. We can not put all of our hope on the world adopting wise policies any time soon. Climate realism calls for policies that slow climate change but also policies that acknowledge that the world is warming and deals with it, such as geoengineering, technological innovation, mitigation, and adaptation. 

For more of my post on climate change, follow this link

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University of Memphis Cancels Plan to Pay Professors to Create CRT Curricula

National Review,  January 10, 2022 - The University of Memphis has scrapped plans for a social-justice program that would have paid some professors $3,000 to add critical race theory principles to their curricula, according to a new report.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee told the Washington Free Beacon that he contacted the public university after reading reports about the program, ....

“The University of Memphis informed my office that the initiative will not move forward. We welcome robust debate on college campuses, but taxpayer dollars should never be used to fuel a divisive, radical agenda,” Lee said. “Ending this program was the right decision, and I thank the university for hearing our concerns.” (link)

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New TN Bill Introduced To Keep Males Out Of College Women’s Sports

 New TN Bill Introduced To Keep Males Out Of College Women’s Sports

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Study finds a High Degree of Bias in Cost-Benefit Analyses of Public Investments

by Rod Williams, Jan. 23, 2022-  New research finds there is a high degree of bias in cost-benefit analyses of public investments. Anyone who has served as a member of a legislative body such as the Metro Council, School Board, or State legislature has seen those studies that say if you spend this amount of money on this project, the return will be widely enormous.  The message is that only a fool would not support a project with this kind of return. The project may be building a new road, a new bypass, or bridge, building a fixed rail mass transit project, building an industrial park, developing a water project, improving traffic control, building a park or greenway, building a new health clinic, financing a new sports stadium, or anything.  Always, the return will be enormous.  

If you have not served in government but work in a sector, non-profit or for-profit, that is trying to get funding from government or maybe funding from United Way or some big philanthropy organization that dispenses money, your organization may have produced such cost-benefit analysis reports or paid an outside consultant to produce them for you.

Researchers at St. Ann's College have studied this issue and have found that cost-benefit analyses underpin most public investments and that they cannot be trusted.  They find that cost-benefit analyses are highly inaccurate and biased. The benefit tends to be inflated by 50 to 200 percent according to this study.

The bottom line is that most cost-benefit analyses are BS. The benefit is highly inflated and based on an opinion that cannot be proven or disproven.  Also, the cost is often understated. Cost overruns are almost the norm on public projects.  Also, cost-benefit analysis rarely calculates the opportunity cost.  Such studies should ask if this project is not funded what will be the benefit of letting the public keep the money and spend that money to buy homes, buy cars, send their kids to college, and fund  retirement accounts.  Money not spent on the subject project does not just disappear or sit idle. It gets used for something else and that something else may have an even greater return. If you should read a news story stating a cost-benefit analysis for a certain project, take it with a grain of salt.  Assume it is most likely fantasy. 

For more on this study, follow this link.  At that link, there is a link to the full research paper for those who want to dig deeper.  For another study that comes to the same conclusion as the St. Ann study see, Too costly to be beneficial from Value Research.

This reminds me of a story: 

A growing company needed to hire someone in management to help with the companies finances. The CEO interviews three candidates, a mathematician, an accountant, and an economist. He interviewed them separately and after all of the questions about credentials and experience asked each the same final simple question. 

"What is two plus two?" he asked the mathematician. "That's easy," the mathematician replied. "It is four."

Next, he interviewed the accountant and asked, "What is two plus two?"  The accountant said, "There is a 99 percent probability that it is four with a plus or minus factor of .2."

Then he interviewed the economist. "What is two plus two," the CEO asked.  The economist, glanced both directions, leaned forward, lowered his voice, and said, "What do you want it to be?"

Substitute "consultant" for economist.  The consultant will never tell the person for whom he is consulting that the project is not worth funding. 

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Former Senator Bill Frist warns of the dangers of climate change but wimps out on the solutions.

Bill Frist
by Rod Williams, Jan. 19, 2021 - Former U.S. Tennessee Senator and medical doctor, Bill Frist wrote an editorial appearing in The Hill today titled, Your health (and you thought climate change was not about you)

On the one hand, I am pleased.  For way too long sensible Republicans who actually knew better allowed themselves to be silenced and intimidated by the Republican base and loud-mouthed radio pundits leading that base who poo-pooed the idea of climate change. Vocal climate change skeptics kept Republicans from taking a seat at the table trying to solve the problem of climate change and the only advocates of climate action were liberals who wasted untold buildings of dollars on programs that were ineffective or only made a marginal impact, and advanced programs that actually made climate change worse. So, I am pleased to see any Republican step forward and say climate change is real and needs to be taken seriously.

Frist says we are seeing the effects of climate change on peoples’ health already, from increased cases of asthma in children to more heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and vector-borne diseases like malaria. He says if you’re not seeing these repercussions in your community now, chances are you will soon.  

Frist says that viewing climate change through the prism of health, there are five facts to consider and he discusses each. The factors he addresses or these:
  1. Extreme temperature events will be more common. 
  2. Water systems will be contaminated. 
  3. There will be a decrease in the available food supply. 
  4. Certain deadly diseases will become more common. 
  5. Mental and emotional health will be impacted. 
This is all good. I applaud him.  Then however he wimps out.  This is what he says we need to do:

For 2022, consider becoming more active in your community’s environmental organizations, weigh in with your elected officials, reduce purchases of single use plastics and buy more sustainably sourced products. Consider focusing personal investments only in companies that are environmentally minded or make net-zero emissions commitments and make small changes at home like reducing energy consumption or reducing red meat in your diet.

That is more feel-good nonsense. We are not going to solve climate change by switching from plastic straws to soggy paper straws. Plastic is way down the list of things contributing to climate change. It may make you feel good to invest in green companies, but enough people will not do it to make a difference. Anyway, a lot of those "green" companies are simply greenwashing.  We cannot win the war on climate change by hugging a tree and imploring people to do the right thing.

The world continues to warm.  We need a new approach.  We need to abandon the Paris Accords which have been an abject failure.  We need a price on carbon with carbon border adjustments and we need to embrace nuclear energy.  Those are the most important things that need to happen and there are more.  Frist offers no serious proposals.

After addressing the issue, I wish Bill Frist would have advocated bold, meaningful solutions. 

For more of my post on climate change follow this link

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