Friday Facts: October 5, 2012

It’s Friday!


October 16: The deadline is Friday, October 12, to register for “A Portrait of The Iron Lady,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum keynoted by author John Blundell, policy and advisor and longtime friend of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She turns 87 on October 13. Join the Foundation and mark her birthday. Blundell, a free-market leader, is author of, “Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of The Iron Lady.” This event is at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Registration is $60 and includes a copy of Blundell’s book. Register at Seating is limited; register early!

October 9: Georgia’s voter registration deadline is October 9. Stand up and be counted! To find out more, go to

Quotes of Note

“When more of the people’s sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free government.” – President Grover Cleveland

“I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe … Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. – From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.” – Daniel Webster

“We want a society in which we are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. That is what we mean by a moral society – not a society in which the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.” – Margaret Thatcher


Half of U.S. adults are now owners of a tablet or a smartphone, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The survey also revealed that one-third of adult tablet and smartphone owners are using their mobile devices to catch up on news stories and watch videos at least once a week, a habit that could mean “major implications for how news will be consumed and paid for,” according to Pew.

A new pediatric medical device being developed by Georgia Tech and Emory University could make life easier for every parent who has rushed to the doctor with a child screaming from an ear infection. Soon, parents may be able to skip the doctor’s visit and receive a diagnosis without leaving home by using Remotoscope, a clip-on attachment and software app that turns an iPhone into an otoscope.

Grocery shopping on line … on rail line, that is:  The virtual grocery store company, is launching more than 100 sites at commuter rail stations in Boston, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The virtual store technology features billboards of larger-than-life grocery aisles on the train platforms. Commuters with smartphones and tablets simply scan a QR code on the billboards to download a free app and start shopping by scanning bar codes of products displayed in the “aisles.” Source: Metro Magazine

Taxes and Regulation

Costs without environmental benefits: The United States is a leader in forest certification programs, which certify sustainable forestry practices. However, some environmentalists are working to establish an international standard for certification. This monopoly on certification could dramatically hurt the United States (and Georgia) because three-quarters of our nation’s certified lands could be excluded from the market, meaning significant reduction in domestic production, the loss of American jobs, and sending U.S. dollars overseas. For more information, see the study released this week by the American Consumer Institute.

No free lunch: Free checking accounts are becoming increasingly rare as the enormous costs of new regulations hit banks’ bottom lines. According to the just-released 2012 Checking Survey by Bankrate Inc., only 39 percent of banks still offer free checking accounts, a sharp decline from the 76 percent of banks in 2009, before enactment of the massive Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute. The study also found that the average minimum balance required to avoid a monthly fee rose 23 percent in the past year, to $723.02 for non-interest-bearing accounts. (Read the Foundation’s analysis of Dodd-Frank’s Durbin amendment.) Source: Heritage Foundation


A case for choice: A significant percentage of students who want to join the military upon graduation are learning it’s not an option at all, notes Mary Laura, director of state policy for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. They have a public school education, and diplomas to prove it, but don’t possess the skills necessary to enlist. She notes that 30 percent of high school graduates fail the Armed Forces Qualification test because they cannot pass the reading and math portions.

The London Times Higher Education ranked Georgia Tech 25th in the world this year. We have been unable to locate Georgia Tech in the top 25 college football rankings, however. Must be an oversight.

Social media

This Week in The Forum:  Georgia voters can move public education forward or they can become the first state in the nation to reject a constitutional amendment that would guarantee public school choice options for families, Foundation Editor Mike Klein writes in his Forum article.  In Checking Up On Health, Benita Dodd focuses on the cost of sick workers and “presenteeism,” the return on investment of wellness programs, understanding high-cost biologic drugs and privacy challenges for young adults. Read this and other recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at

YouTube: Four new videos from the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum are posted on the Foundation’s YouTube channel. Watch Kelly McCutchen explain the Foundation’s “Plan B” for transportation in Georgia; Larry Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education shares the Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy; John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute discusses The Greatest Force for Good, and Craig Lesser moderates a panel, which includes Brooke Rollins of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, discussing Policies to Encourage Innovation in the New Economy.

Hundreds of photographs from the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum are posted on the Foundation’s Facebook page. We have more than 1,700 Facebook “likes” at “Like” us for timely policy news, daily views, quotes and photos from recent events. And join our 760-plus followers on Twitter at

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Washington is Gambling With Our Money. And Losing.,” by Andy Frankenberger.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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