Grassroot Perspective – April 16, 2003-New Hope for Free Markets in Africa's Most Populous Nation; Reports of More Icebergs are Misleading; The Folly of Protecting Teens from Work

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”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– New Hope for Free Markets in Africa’s Most Populous Nation

By Lawrence Reed

Mackinac Center for Public Policy

With nary an exception, countries that gained their independence from
colonial powers in the 1960s turned immediately to socialist central
planning. The intellectual classes were nearly unanimous in their
support for socialism, and thoughtful opposition was virtually
nonexistent. Now the abysmal poverty and corruption those policies
produced are animating a whole new class of activists and intellectuals
on behalf of free market alternatives. New think tanks springing up,
like IPPA in Nigeria and IREN in Kenya, are almost all committed to
thrusting a stake through the heart of the socialist idea.

CONTACT: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 140 West Main St, PO Box 568
Midland, MI 48640, 989/631-0900, fax 989/631-0964, email

Above article is quoted from Heritage Foundation, The Insider 2/2003

– Reports of More Icebergs are Misleading

By S. Fred Singer

Published: The Heartland Institute 02/01/2003

Contrary to opinions held by some researchers, a new analysis of more
than 20 years of historical data has found no evidence that the
increasing number of large icebergs off Antarctica’s coasts is a result
of global warming trends.

“The dramatic increase in the number of large icebergs as recorded by
the National Ice Center database does not represent a climatic change,”
said Brigham Young University electrical engineering professor David
Long, who, with Cheryl Bertoia of the U.S. National Ice Center, reports
these findings in a recent issue of EOS Transactions, a publication of
the American Geophysical Union. “Our reanalysis suggests that the number
of icebergs remained roughly constant from 1978 to the late 1990s.”

“Dr. Long’s analysis shows that the increase is only an ‘apparent
increase,’ and that it is premature to think of any connection between
this kind of iceberg (growth) and global warming,” said Douglas
MacAyeal, a University of Chicago glaciologist who tracks icebergs. “His
research, particularly with his amazing ability to detect and track
icebergs, is really the best method” for determining the actual rate of
the creation of icebergs. Using BYU’s supercomputers, Long enhanced
images of the waters around Antarctica transmitted by satellite.
Comparing that data to records from the federal government’s National
Ice Center, which tracks icebergs larger than 10 miles on one side, he
determined previous tracking measures were inadequate, resulting in a
gross undercounting. An additional recent spike in large icebergs can be
explained by periodic growth and retraction of the large glaciers that
yield icebergs every 40 to 50 years, he said, noting previous research
done by other scientists. Long is careful to distinguish between the
birth of large icebergs and the widely publicized collapse of the Larsen
B ice shelf last year, which yielded many smaller icebergs. Other
scientists have clearly shown, Long said, that event was the result of
localized warming. Referring to his current study, Long said, “This data
set is not evidence of global warming. Nor does it refute global
warming.” Long and his student assistants have pioneered the use of
images generated from the SeaWinds-on-QuikSCAT satellite for tracking
icebergs. The NASA satellite carries a device called a scatterometer,
which measures wind speed and direction by recording the reflection of
radar beams as they bounce off ocean waves. Until recently, the
resolution of the images generated by the scatterometer was too low to
distinguish icebergs. Long’s team developed a computer processing
technique that produces images sharp enough to reliably track icebergs.
The BYU group has been working with the National Ice Center since 1999,
when Long rediscovered a massive iceberg, the size of Rhode Island,
threatening Argentine-shipping lanes. The Ice Center had lost track of
it because of cloudy skies.

Source: D.G. Long et al., “Is the number of icebergs really increasing?”
Eos 83, No. 42, October 24, 2002.

Above article is quoted from Heartland Institute, Environment & Climate
News, February 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– The Folly of Protecting Teens from Work

By James Bovard, October 2002

Protecting teenagers from work is one of the worst things you can do to
kids. Some child-labor groups are campaigning to impose new restrictions
on freedom of contract. While some prohibitionists might have good
intentions, pervasive restrictions on youth labor would be a menace both
to kids and to society.

The Associated Press reported that 73 teens were killed on the job in
2000. This is far fewer than were killed and wounded in the narcotics
business. Most drug dealers do not abide by the federal regulations for
youth labor. Insofar as the government drives kids out of legitimate
jobs, they could end up in tasks that are far more dangerous.

Some activists urge new restrictions on teens working in the
food-service industry. But the accident rate of teens working in
fast-food restaurants is probably lower than the health-injury rate of
devoted customers of fast food.

A recent Associated Press article, entitled “Teens working summer jobs
may be exposing themselves to danger that parents don’t see,” lamented,
“Federal and state laws on child workplace safety can be confusing. And
what teenager even thinks about reading them?”

The article quoted a 16-year-old supermarket cashier, who said he “was
trained how to handle spills, falls, and broken items.” The Associated
Press reporter asked the teen what he knew about federal labor laws and
he replied, “We have signs posted all over the place, but I don’t think
anyone reads them.”

The article did not include any speculations about the role of
government schools in producing semi-illiterates who cannot understand
the official federal notices about work rules.

What is the alternative to private employment? Federal programs, which
wreak their own carnage.

The government fails to keep statistics on the number of teens whose
work ethics are fatally damaged in federal summer-job programs. The
General Accounting Office noted as early as 1969 that some kids hired in
the government summer programs “regressed in their conception of what
should reasonably be required in return for wages paid.” Sen. Lawton
Chiles (D-Fla.) complained in 1979 that “young people get such a strong
message of cynicism and corruption that it cannot fail to carry over
into their attitudes about work, crime, and society.”

Washington, D.C., has one of the largest summer-job programs. I visited
some of the Washington sites in 1989. At the Marion Barry Youth
Leadership Institute (named after the city’s role-model mayor), young
people “worked” by having a rowdy talk over whether “women are not
interested in sex” and whether “men want women to be submissive.”

The director explained to me that the teenagers were learning
“conversational skills.” Many participants were shouting, throwing paper
clips, and punching each other, and few were paying attention to the
group leaders. In the afternoon, the youth were paid to work at
basketball — a frequent occupational “skill” underwritten by big-city
summer-job programs.

The summer programs often reveal a genius for divorcing jobs from work.
The New York Times reported in 1992 that Bridgeport, Connecticut, youth
workers were assigned to the SWEAT Team; but, instead of signifying
arduous work, the acronym referred to Students Who Entertain Artistic
Thoughts. In the first week of their “jobs,” the “workers” went to a
local dance, took a trip to Spike Lee’s Block Party in New York, and had
a “brotherhood picnic.”

Robert Woodson of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
observes, “The programs instill a false sense of work in kids and make
it more difficult for them when they go out and try to get a real job.”
Elijah Anderson, a University of Pennsylvania sociologist, wrote, “In
many black communities, the [summer youth program] has … a reputation
for being ‘a sham’ and a ‘waste of time.'”

Federal job programs continue to be largely a “feel-good” experience —
the opposite of many of the tasks open to entry-level workers.

Sabotaging youth labor

The federal government has a long history of throwing wrenches into the
youth-employment market. While newspaper headlines proclaim “Child Labor
Violations Widespread,” little attention is paid to the actual
violations. In the Washington, D.C., area, one pizza shop operator was
found guilty because he allowed 17-year-olds to deliver pizza, which the
Labor Department considers a “hazardous job” for young people.

The Labor Department launched a highly publicized investigation of the
Food Lion grocery chain in 1992 for child-labor violations; Food Lion
representatives claimed that Labor Department officials had told them
that “90 percent of the violations relating to hazardous conditions
involved workers under the age of 18 – putting cardboard into
nonoperating balers.”

On April 20, 1992, the Washington Post reported,

“Inspectors sometimes find dozens of violations in a single community. A
crackdown in the Ocean City-Rehobeth Beach area in August [1991] turned
up 182 minors illegally employed in more than 30 businesses, including
gas stations, hotels, and T-shirt and novelty shops.”

But what is the danger in allowing teenagers to sell T-shirts in an
ocean resort area during the summertime? Would the feds prefer the kids
were lying out on the beach getting skin cancer?

Child-labor laws received a black eye in 1993 when a Labor Department
enforcer warned the Savannah Cardinals baseball team that it must fire
Tommy McCoy, a 14-year-old bat boy, because he could not work after 7
p.m. while school is in session or after 9 p.m. during the summer.

The team’s fans were outraged and announced plans for a “Save Tommy’s
Job” night. After the Labor Department was sufficiently embarrassed,
Labor Secretary Robert Reich announced that the policy was “silly” and
decreed that bat boys would be exempt from the federal restrictions.
Reich announced, “It is not the intent of the law to deny young
teenagers employment opportunities, so long as their health and
well-being are not impaired.” Reich did not explain how federal
enforcement of restrictions on all other industries and occupations did
not “deny teenagers employment opportunities.”

When I was 16, I spent the summer toiling for the Virginia State Highway
Department. My favorite task was working with a chainsaw — an experience
that proved invaluable for my future work as a journalist. It was much
more inspirational than baling hay or fighting snakes in trees while
picking peaches, as I did the prior two summers — largely because
federal restrictions banned me from getting other work.

The following summer, when I was 17 and working construction, I learned
an important lesson when the foreman announced, “Red, you aren’t walking
fast enough for $4 an hour.”

My months with the highway department also provided valuable insights
into the nature of government work.

I can still recall two of the foremen jawing angrily about why the state
government was having them build a road — instead of simply hiring a
private company — “because the private companies do a better job, and
cheaper, too,” one of them said.

The job also provided a chance to work along with a prison convict gang.
Some of the convicts were busted on drug charges, and would talk at
length about their dubious experiences in the criminal justice system.
One guy from Richmond admitted that he was dealing – but insisted that
he had never met the person whose testimony at trial sent him to prison.

Competition and labor unions

Many of the advocates of new restrictions on teen work are labor unions
who profit either from having kids confined to classrooms or blocked
from competing with their members.

The Child Labor Coalition, one of the highest-profile advocates of
restrictions on teen labor, includes the American Federation of
Teachers, the National Education Association, the Teamsters Union, the
Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and
Commercial Workers International Union.

Ironically, federal restrictions on freedom of contract have only
increased economic exploitation. People almost never petition Congress
to restrict their own freedom of contract; rather, one group petitions
politicians to restrict someone else’s freedom for its own benefit. Just
as no man is entitled to a share of his neighbor’s income, no man is
entitled to have his neighbor’s freedom restricted in order to boost his
own income.

Jobs can boost teen safety simply by keeping kids “off the street.”

On July 16, the National Center for Victims of Crime and the National
Council on Crime and Delinquency released a report that found that
“teenagers are twice as likely as any other people to be shot, stabbed,
sexually assaulted, beaten, or otherwise attacked.”

George Tita, assistant professor of criminology at the University of
California, Irvine, commented that teens’ crime vulnerability,

“has more to do with who you hang out with than where you live. We know
that if you sell drugs, are involved in drugs, are involved in gangs,
your chances of being a victim of crime, especially violent crime, is
much, much greater than for those who aren’t.”

The fact that some teens have job accidents should not be invoked to
lock all teens into a risk-free cocoon. Teens have more accidents in
almost everything they do — from auto wrecks to broken condoms.

Teenage years are a time of trial and error and the government cannot
protect kids from all danger without also “protecting” them from
personal growth. Destroying jobs is not the same as saving lives.

James Bovard is the author of Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse
of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years (St. Martin’s Press,
August 2000).

Above article is quoted from the Future of Freedom Foundation

”Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)”

“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by
which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 1789

“The history of humanity,” said John Ruskin, “is not the history of its
wars, but of its households.”

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’