Another Excessive

…and a community responds.

An employee of a Mom and Pop hardware store in Cape Coral, FL, placed a half-dozen American flags where they could be seen on the hardware store’s property; the flags were to honor the man’s six relatives who were veterans of the United States military.

Foul. It turns out that the location was on city property—the right of way to the hardware store—and Cape Coral has an ordinance against planting signs and banners, including the American flag, on the city’s rights of way. The city ordered the man to move the flags.

Excessive

The Dearborn Heights District 7 Board of Education chose a less severe punishment for the honor student who was initially expelled after a pocketknife was found in her purse at a football game.

On Monday, after two hours of deliberation, the board voted 6-0 to allow [the high school senior] to take online classes. She then will be able to graduate with her class in 2015.

A lesser punishment than originally imposed? She still was punished, severely. Because zero tolerance. Because, the Board of Education persons claim, state law.

Yet Another Reason for Smaller Government

German factory orders fell 5.7% in August, real GDP is stagnant or falling in many European countries, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded France to AA from AA+….

There’s more.

[T]he 18 euro area countries had zero real growth in the volume of production during the second quarter of 2014. Euro area real GDP grew only 0.5% in 2013 after falling 1% in 2012. In other words, output was lower in mid-2014 than it was at the end of 2011.

And yet—or because:

Another Reason for Smaller Government

Even with lives at stake—lives in the middle of a budding pandemic—Big Government bureaucracies are more interested in protecting turf and responsibility ducking than they are in their fundamental task of protecting American citizens’ safety from foreign problems.

Worse, one of the bureaucracies involved in this cynical ego-based Federal road block has nothing to do with the medical questions involved. First, the experts, at least by training and experience, if not by smooth performance:

Who Pays for Political Campaign Travel?

In the case of some Democrats, like President Barack Obama, it looks like us taxpayers pay a significant fraction of the costs. As Mark Knoller of CBS News noted the other day,

Under Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, the government must be reimbursed for parts of presidential political travel.

“When a trip is for political or unofficial purposes, those involved must pay for their own food and lodging and other related expenses, and they must also reimburse the government with the equivalent of the airfare that they would have paid had they used a commercial airline,” states the Congressional Research Service in a 2012 analysis of “Presidential Travel: Policy and Costs.”

Crony Capitalism and Big Government

California’s health insurance exchange has awarded $184 million in contracts without the competitive bidding and oversight that is standard practice across state government, including deals that sent millions of dollars to a firm whose employees have long-standing ties to the agency’s executive director.

Several of those contracts worth a total of $4.2 million went to a consulting firm, The Tori Group, whose founder has strong professional ties to agency Executive Director Peter Lee, while others were awarded to a subsidiary of a health care company he once headed.

Russian Aggression

…in eastern Ukraine, but not only there.

Russia plans to increase defense spending over 20 percent in 2015, with a lot of the additional money going to rebuilding Soviet era facilities in the newly acquired Crimea. This includes radar stations and naval facilities.

Naturally, all of this will support Russia’s continued occupation of partitioned Georgia, and it will facilitate Russia’s pending aggression against the Odessa Oblast of western Ukraine on the Sea of Azov, which stands between the Sea and Moldova, another Russian target as it seeks to restore the Soviet empire. It also eases Russian support for Vladimir Putin’s ally and BFF, Bashar al Assad in Syria.

Richard Feynman on Theory

Cross-posted from Ricochet. It’s behind the paywall, but Ricochet is well worth the subscription price; I heartily recommend it.

Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist who taught at Cornell University, but he also was a just plain scientist.

He had a thought on theory.

You cannot prove a vague theory wrong. If the guess that you make is poorly expressed and the method you have for computing the consequences is a little vague then…you see that the theory is good as it can’t be proved wrong. If the process of computing the consequences is indefinite, then with a little skill any experimental result can be made to look like an expected consequence.

No Travel Ban?

In a recent Fox News op-ed, Dr Tom Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, argued against a “travel ban” covering the western African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the nations hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic.

I answered most of his objections here.

In his latest piece, though, he raised a new objection, and he sounded like he actually meant it.

When a wildfire breaks out we don’t fence it off. We go in to extinguish it before one of the random sparks sets off another outbreak somewhere else.

The Left and “Free” Speech

On the matter of Common Core,

Employees of at least one school have been directed not to express opinions in public or by texts, email, social media or traditional media, according to notes taken at a faculty meeting last week that were obtained by The Town Talk.

[Rapides Superintendent Nason "Tony"] Authement said there is not a district policy about social media.

“We are not communicating any procedures, policies or expectations about posting on social networks,” he said.

Of course. Instead,