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Illinois, Supreme Court, term limits, initiative, democracy, gerrymandering

Illinois’s Chicken-and-Fish Supreme Court

A constitution is the law of the land only to the extent that it’s enforced. And in Illinois, the right of citizen initiative — provided for in the state constitution — is not enforced. The constitution’s wording is explicit: “Amendments . . . may be proposed by a petition signed






term limits, Congress, 74%, polls, Rasmussen Poll

Agreeable America

Americans actually agree on a lot of things; it’s a pity that today’s media and political debates play up the discord. Or so argues A. Barton Hinkle at The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sure, he admits, “[a] lot of people seem willing to tear your head off over the smallest thing.” But






Truth in Accounting, TIA, Financial State of the States, Sheila Weinberg, initiative, democracy

Initiative Surplus?

Only nine out of 50 states can pay their bills and meet their obligations; 41 cannot, barring major tax increases or spending cuts. That’s what we learn in last month’s “Financial State of the States” report from Truth in Accounting (TIA). Alaska is in the best shape, “with $11 billion






Spain, Catalan, self determination,, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Mises

Self-Determination, Anyone?

An election can be a clarifying event. So can the suppression of an election. Over the weekend, more than two million Catalans, greater than 40 percent of those eligible, voted in a referendum on independence from Spain. To which Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared, “There was no independence referendum in






great fiction, government, citizen, initiative, term limits, Paul Jacob

The Great Faction

Politics isn’t a pretty business. Frédéric Bastiat called the beast it serves “that great fiction” not because it doesn’t exist — intrusive state power sure persists — but rather because what it promises cannot really happen: “everyone living at the expense of everyone else.” What can we do? How do






Tim Eyman, Washington, initiative, free speech, tax, taxes

Know Your BS

“Help me get my B.S. in the voters pamphlet,” read the subject-line of Tim Eyman’s email.  Eyman is a practitioner of the art of the voter initiative, foremost in his state, Washington, and one of the most effective nationwide.* This particular call to action concerns the voter pamphlet statements about






Milton Friedman, democracy, initiative, referendum, Free to Choose, public interest,

Free to Choose

“I think that the most effective way one could possibly move toward greater freedom in the United States, toward a smaller role of government, would be if we could only have a more democratic society.” Who said that? A Democrat? No. The speaker quickly added, “I don’t mean a capital-D,






Nick Tomboulides, U.S. Term Limits, Young Americans for Liberty National Convention, experience, proof

The Junk Bond State

What a pleasure — comparing notes with Nick Tomboulides, executive director of U.S. Term Limits, my old job. Speaking on a panel last week at the Young Americans for Liberty National Convention,* Illinois came up. Nick agreed that if the Land of Lincoln had a term-limited legislature, we would never






Anthony Scaramucci, reactionary, Trump, partisan, ideologue, ideology, "The Mooch", politics,

Reactionary America

With the meteoric transit of Anthony Scaramucci — into the Trump Administration and then, in an eye-blink, out of it — I have never been more convinced of the vital importance of state and local activism. Yes, it’s been a chaotic week in Trumptown. The new White House Director of






Minneapolis, shooting, police, body camera, Justine Damond, Australian

Left Wondering Why

In Minneapolis’s Fulton neighborhood a makeshift memorial has sprung up. Amidst flowers, a handwritten sign reads, “Why did you shoot and kill our neighbor?” Police have yet to offer public comment on the police shooting of Justine Damond, the Australian woman killed in the alley behind her home last Saturday






Independence Day, 1776, July 2, July 4, Brexit, British, freedom

Brexit 1776-2017

These united States* got their start, officially, on July 2, 1776. That’s when the Second Continental Congress voted to separate from King George’s government across the water. But it was two days later when that same Congress approved its formal Declaration, and it was the wording of that Declaration that






democracy, the people, politicians, cowardice, marijuana, asset forfeiture, initiative, term limits, police brutality

Today’s Leaders

We have a new president. Many people put a lot of trust in him — and many more hate him and seek to bring him down. In both cases, presidential politics takes up an inordinate portion of our brain space. Over the weekend I twice wrote about four heroic senators,






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