Friday Facts: May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013 

It’s Friday!

Tuesday is the registration deadline for the Foundation’s June 6 Leadership Breakfast, “Customize The Class,” 8 a.m. at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Michael B. Horn, co-founder and executive director of the education practice at the Clayton Christensen Institute, 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.) Find out more at; register at

Quotes of Note

“The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away.” – John S. Coleman, address to the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, 1956

“Let’s count the flaws in the current malpractice system. It’s absurdly slow and inefficient for injured patients, taking an average of five years to settlement and consuming over 50 percent of awards in attorneys’ fees and administrative costs.” – Philip K. Howard, author of “The Death of Common Sense”

“Republicans and conservatives might want to coalesce around a position of tight welfare and generous immigration rules. That is something Milton Friedman would no doubt regard as the ideal outcome. As another late great economist – William Niskanen, a member of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and chairman of the Cato Institute – once put it: ‘Better to build a wall around the welfare state than the country.'” – Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal


There’s an app for that: Commuters in Albuquerque, N.M., are now able to get the latest information on bus schedules delivered instantly to their mobile phone. Using AT&T Global Smart Messaging Suite is more responsive, flexible and helps both riders and the transit agency’s bottom line. More than 50 percent of the calls to the city’s 311 contact center were related to transit – the No. 1 question being, “When is the next bus coming?” Each call cost the city about $2 to answer. Source:

Health Care

Hurry up and wait: Proponents of ObamaCare argue for a more fair, egalitarian approach to health care, but John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis maintains that the Affordable Care Act actually will speed Americans toward a two-tiered system of health care. Get ready for waiting times that could easily exceed those in Canada!

Bigger than countries: A record 72,600,000 people were enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month in fiscal 2012, up from 71.7 million in fiscal 2011, according to a recent report to Congress. If Medicaid was a country rather than a U.S. government program it would be the 20th most populous nation in the world, just ahead of Thailand, (pop. 67,091,089), and just behind the Congo, (pop. 73,599,190). Source:

Back to the future: Dr. Michael Ciampi of South Portland, Maine, took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical. The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s Web site. The decision allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls. Source: Maine Sun Journal


Online courses: The University System of Georgia is one of 10 state university systems and public universities that announced a partnership Thursday to explore how the fast-developing world of massive open online courses (MOOCs) can improve academic quality and achievement. They are partnering with one of the leading platforms for MOOCs, Coursera. Joining the USG are the State University of New York (SUNY), the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee Systems, University of Colorado System, University of Houston System, University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico and West Virginia University.

Georgia’s K-12 online learning system – more than 100 courses and 20,000 instruction resources – is now available to parents, students and teachers. Teachers can use the resources in class as part of their lesson plan or assign them as homework, remedial instruction or extra credit. Access them at Online courses on the Georgia Virtual School are free to anyone, even college students brushing up on skills they might have glossed over in high school, but there is a fee for anyone wanting academic credit. Source: Augusta Chronicle


Will home Internet go the way of the landline? Americans are increasingly ditching their home Internet service and opting to save money by using their smartphones and free Wi-Fi services, The Wall Street Journal reports. The telecom industry, too, is starting to experiment with offering wireless service as an alternative for home Internet access as cellular networks get faster and are able to carry more traffic. Verizon Wireless offers a home Internet modem that uses its fourth-generation LTE network; AT&T has pitched similar technology as the best way to provide Internet service in remote areas.

Energy and environment

Extremist on extreme weather? The United States is undergoing its longest stretch in recorded history without a major hurricane strike (Category 3 or worse), according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. The number of tornadoes is also at an all-time low, even with enhanced detection capability. Droughts are less frequent and less severe than in prior, colder centuries. The number of wildfires is in long-term decline, despite a recent change in wildfire policy that no longer actively suppresses wildfires. Just about any way you measure it, extreme weather events are becoming quite rare, James Taylor points out in Forbes magazine.


July 11: Education expert Jay Greene is the keynote speaker at the Foundation’s annual Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, which will be marked with a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Athens Country Club. ($30.) Find out more at; register at

Mark your calendar: The fourth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum takes place Friday, October 11, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Last year, hundreds of Georgia’s legislators, businesspeople and interested citizens attended to hear national policy experts discuss free-market solutions to Georgia’s challenges. Details to follow.

Got students? The Foundation’s Student Outreach Scholarship (SOS) Program uses supporters’ tax-deductible contributions to 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 to this Program at

Social media

Join the Foundation’s 2,060 friends on Facebook at get daily policy news, views, updates, Quotes of Note and photos. Nearly 1,000 Twitter followers get their Foundation news at Find out about student scholarships to attend Foundation events at

YouTube: Matchbook Learning’s CEO and founder, Sajan George, was the keynote speaker last week at the Leadership Breakfast. View his speech on the Foundation’s YouTube channel. The channel is a rapidly growing resource for rich, fact-filled public policy discussions, both new and historical events, including Georgia Legislative Policy Forum sessions, Leadership Breakfasts and Policy Briefing Luncheons. Subscribe to the channel to make the best use of our resources:

This Week in The Forum: Benita Dodd blogged about technology and public transportation. In “Checking Up on Health,” she writes how hospitals see Wal-Mart as the competition; who’s joining the insurance marketplace in Georgia; the wave of ObamaCare-related taxes to come and more. Clayton Christensen Institute co-founder Michael Horn writes about the emergence of hybrid models in blended learning (Horn is the featured speaker at the June 6 Leadership breakfast.) Foundation Editor Mike Klein writes that education entrepreneur Sajan George explains why teachers are no longer “sage on the stage”. Find these and other recent posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Education Reform: Chalk It Up to Technology,” by Benita Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at Join The Forum at Become a fan of the Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at


« Previous Next »