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'Little House on the Prairie's' Contribution to Freedom

June 10, 2015 in Economics

By Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki

“Not ‘Harry Potter’!” says Alice, age five. “I want ‘Little House’!”

It’s the age of negotiated bedtime reading. My husband and I oblige, and tonight we read from “Little House in the Big Woods,” the first installment of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s fictionalized autobiography. We take turns reading: Alice reads, then I do, then Scott does. Then Alice reads again. It’s never enough.

What draws her in? A lot of things. The characters are mostly female, young, and strong. Laura herself begins “Little House” at four, an age that wins our daughter’s ready empathy. Not unlike the first volume of “Harry Potter,” “Little House in the Big Woods” introduces an unknown world; done properly, that’s always exciting. As generations already know, the story is clean and earnest, without affectation or smarm. And it’s told in words that Alice can read all on her own—a great confidence builder.

It’s sometimes hard to fathom, though, just how different Laura’s life was from our own: churning butter, salting meat, boiling down maple syrup… Megan McArdle discussed all this in a recent piece for Bloomberg. The “Little House” books open up a lost world for today’s kids—and for today’s adults:

[A]s an adult… what really strikes you is how incredibly poor these people were. The Ingalls family were in many ways bourgeoisie: educated by the standards of the day, active in community leadership, landowners. And they had nothing.

We’re not just talking a different skill set, then. The skills came of necessity, and of hardships almost wholly unknown today: “Little House” contains the actual sentence, “They had never seen a machine before”—because, well, they hadn’t.

‘Little House’s’ Place in American History

I am no one’s idea of a nationalist, but the least harmful nationalism I know is the simple idea that nationhood comes from a group of people experiencing history together, and understanding it as a shared experience. “Little House” is one of those shared histories, and it’s one of the finest pieces of Americana that I know.

It’s also a story with a special connection for American libertarians: Wilder had only one surviving daughter, whose name was Rose Wilder Lane. Although less remembered today, Rose was a journalist and a successful author in her own right. Unlike her frontier mother, Rose lived an urbane and world-traveling lifestyle; she even separated from her husband, in an era when such things simply were not done. Scholars still argue over just how much of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Drug Policy Alliance Releases B-Roll Footage for Television Outlets and Online News Featuring 'Everyday' People Using Marijuana

June 10, 2015 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

New Open-License Footage Shatters Stereotypes and Captures the Responsible, Modern-Day Marijuana Consumer

B-Roll Project Follows DPA Stock Photo Series Depicting Regular People Using Marijuana

To combat the predominant, stereotypic images of people who use marijuana, and to encourage news outlets to use images that accurately reflect modern-day marijuana consumers, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is releasing free, open-license B-roll footage for editorial use.

June 10, 2015

Drug Policy Alliance

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How Is Obamacare Working?

June 10, 2015 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

We haven’t heard much about Obamacare from the media lately (with the exception of Paul Krugman, who slips a paragraph into every other column — regardless of topic — to tell us how well it’s working). It’s as if both supporters and opponents of the health-care law are holding their collective breaths as they wait for the Supreme Court, which is expected to decide any day now whether the law will be able to survive in its current form.

Obamacare’s opponents have mostly been caucusing behind closed doors trying to decide whether and when to offer an alternative — and how much to offer — should the Court require the law to be implemented as written — that is, without subsidies on federally run exchanges.

The law’s advocates, meanwhile, may have been left speechless by the news that Obamacare has tied an all-time low for public support, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Just 39 percent of registered voters back the law, tying an all-time low last reached in April 2012. Fifty-four percent oppose it, and while that’s not a record, it represents a six-point increase in opposition over the past year.

As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on subsidies, an interim report.”

Or maybe the law’s supporters simply have little response to the ongoing spate of news suggesting that, Krugman notwithstanding, the law is still not working very well. For example, insurance companies have begun submitting their requests for rate increases for 2016, and those requests suggest that premiums could skyrocket next year. Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington. Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without Obamacare, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Obamacare plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.

In fairness, those rate-hike requests are just that — requests. State regulators are likely to trim them back, significantly in some cases. And other insurers in those states may be seeking smaller increases. We haven’t seen any data weighting increases by the number of people …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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800 Years on, the Magna Carta for Our Time

June 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Robin Koerner

June 15th 2015 marks exactly 800 years since the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John, in an English meadow called Runnymeade.

The Magna Carta is widely regarded as the document that marked the beginning of the Anglo tradition of constitutional liberty that would eventually lead to the writing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

The writers of the U.S. Constitution wished to preserve the natural rights they already held, including those truly fundamental rights that were first provided by the Magna Carta.

As Hatton Sumners, a former Congressman (D) from Texas, rightly said, “A straight road runs from Runnymede to Philadelphia. Our Constitution came up from a self-governing people.”

In true celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, and the liberty upon which the United States was founded, it seems appropriate to demand the return of our inherent rights as human beings, and remind the government that it works for The People, rather than the other way around.

Accordingly, I’m inviting “We The People” to support this non-partisan and non-ideological demand for the return of all our basic freedoms – a demand made in the spirit of our nation’s Declaration of Independence that both recalls and insists that the only justification for our government is to protect our Life, our Liberty and our Pursuit of Happiness. (I’m posting it at www.MagnaCarta.US where you can lend your weight to it.) Given the aim of keeping it focused only on what unites Americans – a basic desire for liberty and justice for all – what would you add?

Whereas our Rights, enumerated in our Constitution, have been won with blood against tyrants for one thousand years;

Whereas that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;

Whereas whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it;

Whereas, when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce those Rights, it is the Right, it is the duty, of the People to throw off such Government;

Whereas, under the Patriot Act and other legislation, even free speech has been criminalized and …read more