Scanning the week’s national news, views and clues with you and yours in mind

By Malia Hill

“To have striven, to have made an effort, to have been true to certain ideals—- this alone is worth the struggle.”  —- Sir William Osler

Each week, we’ll be monitoring the web to find the most interesting, challenging, or important items for those who are concerned about liberty, accountability, and big government.  Here are some of the highlights from the past week:

Democracy and Broadband in Iowa

From the Public Interest Institute comes this study on how increased broadband access will benefit Iowa.  Why should we care out here in Hawaii, which initially seems to have little in common with the Midwest?  Well, in short, appearances are deceiving.  A lot of the benefits discussed, especially those touching on economics, education, family, and healthcare are just as applicable to us.  And, like Iowa, we deal with issues of access and remoteness once one moves away from the city center(s).  Not to mention that it’s good to read something encouraging broadband growth that doesn’t conclude that the ultimate answer lies in government intervention and the taxpayer’s wallet.

You Can Take My Lightbulbs When You Pry Them From My Cold, Dead Hands

Of all the ridiculous examples of expansionist, intrusive government, few can top the debate over the coming ban of standard incandescent 100-watt lightbulbs that was to go into effect January 1st.  Now it looks as though a Congressional compromise may have pushed off enforcement of the ban temporarily (though it would still go in effect—insert your exasperated comment about Congress here).  In the meantime, you can read this summary of the debate from the National Center for Public Policy Research, or just enjoy this requiem for the bulb from Reason.tv.

Democrats Pretend Not to Recognize Occupiers at School the Next Day, Might Unfriend Them on Facebook

Ok, not literally, but that’s the feel you get from this report about the attempts of Democrats in Congress trying to distance themselves publicly from the increasingly unpopular Occupy Movement (despite occasional attempts to co-opt some of their language and themes).  Though the Congressional Progressive Caucus was set to meet with Occupy activists, once word of the meeting was leaked to reporters, the event was cancelled.

Over-thinking Education is Dumb

Apparently, everything we know about education is wrong.  Ok, not everything.  But the mantra that we should be pouring in more resources (this is politician-speak for “money”) into smaller classes or higher spending ratios is deeply flawed according to this new working paper out of Harvard.  Of course, the evidence for the ineffectiveness of our current approach has been staring us in the face for years, but maybe an actual Harvard study will encourage decision-makers to start applying a little common sense.  Hey, it could happen.

It’s Raining Regulations

Paul Jacob’s “Common Sense” is nearly always worth reading, though be forewarned that often the only sense present is coming from the author.  As in this recent post commenting on the fact that in some jurisdictions, even collecting rainwater for your own use is verboten.  First the lightbulbs, now the rain.  Either the government is stocking up for a killer party, or government regulation has passed being intrusive and has now entered the realm of the totally bizarre.

Misplaced Energy

Feeling a bit chilly this winter?  Wish the government was thinking seriously about how best to advance our energy policy?  Why not just warm yourself with a nice fire made from hundred-dollar bills?  Because that would be less wasteful than the strategies currently being pursued by the White House.  As Gary Palmer points out in this article for the Alabama Policy Institute, it’s time to stop digging and start drilling.

Have a news tip or perspective to share?  We welcome your views.  Comment below or email us at maliah@grassrootinstitute.org  Views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect that of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

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