Friday Facts: May 17, 2013

 May 17, 2013 

It’s Friday! 

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Quotes of Note

“[P]erhaps it would make more sense if our planners, and some developers, would awake from their dogmatic slumbers. Their job should be to facilitate the quality of life that people seek, not to tell them how to live. That means admitting that the future of both America and, particularly, Southern California, is likely to remain largely suburban for years to come.” – Joel Kotkin

“[White House Press Secretary] Jay Carney, whose unenviable job is not to explain but to explain away what his employers say, calls the IRS’ behavior ‘inappropriate.’ No, using the salad fork for the entrée is inappropriate. Using the IRS for political purposes is a criminal offense.” George Will

“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” – Winston Churchill


The deadline is Tuesday to register for the Foundation’s May 23 Leadership Breakfast, “The Future of Education,” keynoted by education entrepreneur and turnaround expert Sajan George. 8 a.m at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. ($25.) For information and registration, go to

June 6: Michael B. Horn, co-founder and executive director of the education practice at the Clayton Christensen Institute, keynotes the Foundation’s June 6 Leadership Breakfast, “Customize The Class.” 8 a.m. at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Horn will share how innovation can disrupt the factory-based education system and transform learning into a student-centric approach where all students can achieve their full potential. ($25.) Register at 

July 11: Mark your calendar! Education expert Jay Greene will be the keynote speaker for the Foundation’s annual Friedman Legacy event, which will take place in Athens this year. Details to follow.


Got students? The Foundation officially launched its Student Outreach Scholarship (SOS) Program at the April 23 Leadership Breakfast. Supporters’ tax-deductible contributions cover the charge for qualified students to attend events, giving them an opportunity to hear national speakers on free-market ideas and to network with Georgia’s business, community and political leaders. Find out how to apply to attend events or to contribute at


More evidence school choice works. Participation in school choice programs increased the percentage of African-American students who enrolled part-time or full-time in college by 24 percent, according to a new study.

Pell melee I: From 1970 to 2010, the Federal Pell Grant Program expanded from 176,000 recipients to 9.6 million recipients. Some schools, like the Southern University of New Orleans, have 76 percent of students receiving Pell Grants despite a 4 percent four-year graduation rate. Only 12.9 percent of students with SAT scores below 700 finished school within six years, yet received roughly $5 billion in Pell Grants.

Pell melee II: About $40 billion is spent annually on the Pell Grant program, which awards a maximum of $5,550 to needy students.A huge proportion of this flows to people who simply aren’t prepared to do college-level work. In Bloomberg View, Michael Petrilli proposes solutions, including limiting the time that low-income college students can receive Pell Grants and reducing federal dollars so that universities and colleges become more selective in choosing prepared students.


Autonomous autos: More than half of global consumers (57 percent) stated they would be likely to ride in a car controlled entirely by technology that does not require a human driver, according to a Cisco Customer Experience Report. The most trusting consumers were in Brazil (96 percent), India (86 percent) and China (70 percent), nations with some of the greatest traffic congestion.

Gaming the system: There’s been a massive decline in senior bus passengers in Luzerne County, Pa., after allegations that bus drivers were counting “ghost riders” to increase state funding. Drivers manually log senior riders, and each senior rider adds 30 cents in funds for the county transportation authority from the state lottery system. Senior ridership was counted at 71,754 in June 2012 but was 22,101 in April as automated counters were installed. Source: Mass Transit magazine

Energy and environment

Emission recession: Between 2000 and 2010, carbon dioxide emissions fell in 32 states and rose in 18 states, according to a report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, from 2009 to 2010, only 14 states saw a decrease in emissions, as the United States rebounded from the recession and energy consumption increased in most states. 


Starting early: Millennials (ages 18 to 34) are starting to save for retirement earlier than any other generation, according to a new study. Many are investing by age 22, compared with baby boomers who started on average at age 35, according to USA Today. That’s a good thing, because the current U.S. “fiscal gap” – the present value difference between future projected spending (including servicing the official debt) and future taxes – grew to a mindboggling $222 trillion last year — the largest of any country in the world relative to the economy. Taxes on future generations would have to increase by 21.5 points to close the fiscal gap.

Health care

Government outreach overreach: Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute chronicles a plethora of missteps that target regulated industries as the Obama administration tries to implement the Affordable Care Act, the latest of them being a request for “donations” from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Facilitating medical volunteerism: The Missouri Legislature has passed the Volunteer Health Services Act, which, if signed into law, would allow out-of-state medical professionals to easily provide free, charitable care to Missouri’s neediest – an activity that the state’s licensing law currently complicates. States should let people help people, and in this case, the helpers are highly trained for the purpose. Source: Show-Me Institute

Social media

Join us! The Foundation’s Facebook page has more than 2,050 “likes” at and 960 Twitter followers at There’s a new Facebook page to like: The Foundation’s SOS Scholarship Page at

YouTube: You’re invited! The Foundation’s new and improved YouTube page has almost 90 new videos and nearly 10,000 new views this year alone. Organized to make it easier for you to find and use resources, the page will also offer new material in HD quality for a richer viewing experience. Subscribe to the channel to make the best use of our resources:

This Week in The Forum: Business has been using sophisticated data to drive decisions for decades. Education is beginning to do the same, and it was showcased at a conference in this week. Paige Kowalski from the Data Quality Campaign discussed how states moved ahead with significant data investments, even during recent recession budgets, and Bob Swiggum, the state Department of Education’s chief information officer, demonstrated how the state can track the academic success of students after they finish high school and use that information to improve K-12 programs. In “Checking Up on Health,” Benita Dodd’s roundup includes reports on who’s teaming up against teeth whitening; the work on abuse-proof drugs; doctors’ misdiagnosis rates and lies about cause of death. Read Benita’s posts this week on owls and the federal government and Florida’s proposed commuter rail boondoggle. Find these and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Agencies’ Bias Reinforces the Case for Limiting Government,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Armed Forces Day is Saturday: Thank our troops!

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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