Posts Tagged ‘Independence Institute’

The Left’s proudest moments. But it wasn’t…

January 1, 2014

This year might have marked the high point for the Left in Colorado.After a decade of well-funded, well-coordinated advances, the Left got most of what they wanted. With renewal energy mandates on rural electrics, attacks on fracking, legalizing voter mischief, and anti-gun laws, 2013 should have been the Left’s proudest moment. But it wasn’t.Thanks in great part to the multi-year efforts of the Independence Institute, anti-guns bills–like a ban on concealed-carry on campus–failed. The Left‘s massive “for the children” educational tax increase, Amendment 66, went down in humiliating defeat. Education reformers were re-elected in Douglas County, and reformers were swept into office in Jefferson County and Loveland school district. And for the first time in state history, State Senators were recalled.The message of 2013 was loud and clear – real Coloradans, not urban elitists funded by Michael Bloomberg, control the destiny of this freedom-loving state. Could this be the turning point in Colorado history? Well, that largely depends on you. Those who have invested in Independence over the years made these 2013 victories and so many others possible. We thank them all. I want to be thanking you in coming years for even greater victories that YOU made possible by investing TODAY! Please invest in the Independence Institute right now by making a tax-deductible contribution HERE.And remember, every time you give to Independence, a Leftist dies a little inside. Happy New Year!

Straight on,

Jon Caldara

You can’t say that we didn’t warn you Colorado!

April 9, 2012

(Denver) – Recently, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board of Directors decided to refer a hybrid request to the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), to approve a revised plan to implement the FasTracks project. Included in this plan is a 100% increase in the RTD sales tax, dedicated to completing the FasTracks project.

A local citizens group, ‘Truth About Transportation‘ (TAT), has studied the promises made by RTD in 2004 versus what RTD will actually deliver.

You can read the details of the entire 2004 FasTracks plan from RTD here.

Those promises included:

  • A 12 year completion plan. (2017) to complete the project
  • At a cost of $4.7 billion
  • Provided by a 0.4% sales tax
  • New and expanded rapid transit in nine major travel corridors, funding over 119 miles of light rail and commuter rail
  • And a plethora of other promises made and not kept

Truth About Transportation is a citizens group that opposes any further tax increase to fund the FasTracks project, beyond the 0.4% sales tax that voters approved in 2004. TAT believes that RTD should be held accountable to voters to deliver what was promised in 2004.

TAT will be highlighting this lack of accountability and failure to deliver, over the next several months.

For more information you can contact Ken Katt at 303.338.9149. You can visit the TAT web site at or email us at


Our Mission at Truth About Transportation –TAT: To provide useful and accurate information to Colorado citizens about the transportation issues which may affect their daily lives.

obamacare: Fatal Attraction?

March 5, 2010

Remember that scene from the movie Fatal Attraction?  The crazed, psycho-bitch Glenn Close is drowned in the bathtub and we all have this sigh of relief – she’s dead, it’s over, we’re saved.  And then she pops up, knife in hand, ready to kill again. Didn’t you feel that same sigh of relief when Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts – Obama Care is dead, it’s over, we’re saved.  But now popping up from the bathtub is Reconciliation. Glenn Close with a butcher knife looks tame by comparison.

Here’s a fun, six-question Health Care Reform survey on Facebook.  Check the results when you are done.

Must Attend Events: What are you up to on March 10? I hope you can join us at these two very important events. The first is the Taxpayer Day at the Capitol. From noon to 1pm on the west steps of our State Capitol, we at the Independence Institute will be joined by other taxpayers to show the legislature we — the taxpayers of Colorado — are the most important special interest group!

The second event followed on the heels of Taxpayer Day is our Health Care Policy roundtable discussion co-hosted with the Heartland Institute. This will take place from 2 to 5 PM at the Denver Public Library downtown. You can RSVP online here or call us at 303.279.6536 to register for any event, anytime.

The Audacity to Ignore Results: Obama likes to believe that he’s the audacious type. And what could be more audacious than facing quantifiable clear results in one state and ignoring them completely? In this Wall Street Journal piece, the devastation of Massachusetts’ Romney Care is revealed: “…average Massachusetts insurance premiums are now the highest in the nation. Since 2006, they’ve climbed at an annual rate of 30% in the individual market. Small business costs have increased by 5.8%. Per capita health spending in Massachusetts is now 27% higher than the national average, and 15% higher even after adjusting for local wages and academic research grants. The growth rate is faster too.” And what does our audacious president think about this mess? He wants to take the incredible Massachusetts health care failure and apply it to the entire United States! It’s the health care “big dig!”

Why are We Always Stuck in Traffic?? Senior fellow Randal O’Toole presented on the future of transportation in Colorado just last week. If you were not able to make the event, you can watch it all here on this YouTube playlist. Randal presents devastating facts against “high-speed” rail, RTD’s vision, and the overbudget and underfunded FasTracks debacle. With these critiques come Randal’s suggestions on what ought to be done to reduce congestion, reduce pollution, and get us where we need to be going faster.

A 2nd Look at 21st Century Learning: Speaking of events you may have missed, check out this YouTube video playlist from our February 11 event with guest speaker Randy DeHoff from the State Board of Education. See what 21st Century Learning is, how it fits into Colorado’s new academic standards and future assessments, and whether it’s a passing fad or the wave of the future.

Transparency Update: The Denver Post editorial board has joined the transparency party we’ve been having the past couple years! To that, we say “Welcome!” I wrote a blog entry about the Post‘s investigations into our three biggest school district’s spending habits. Even the Post can’t overlook spending thousands upon thousands on Starbucks, pizza, and trips to Vegas.

Also regularly check out our Colorado Spending Transparency (COST) blog, where transparency czarina Amy Oliver-Cooke keeps us updated on how state and local government spends your money.

Must See TV: We’re about a third of the way through the 2010 Colorado legislative session: Does your wallet feel lighter yet? On this Friday’s Independent Thinking, reporters Ed Sealover from the Denver Business Journal and Eli Stokols from Fox 31 News join me to discuss the legislative session thus far. If you are a Colorado politics junkie, be sure to tune in and get your political fix from the reporters who cover the Capitol. That’s this Friday at 8:30 PM on KBDI Channel 12, Denver.

Must Hear Podcast: House Bill 1330 would create an “all-payer health claims database” in Colorado. Bill supporters claim government can reduce health care costs through “transparent public reporting of health care information.” In fact, the bill is a transparency Trojan Horse. It will make your most personal actions transparent to government officials, officials who have no business keeping track of what kind of health care you buy or what you pay for it. Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman sits down with Transparency Czarina Amy Oliver to discuss this privacy-smashing bit of legislation. Give a listen here.

Perspective: In this week’s op-ed, Linda Gorman reveals the privacy nightmare in House Bill 1330: The Transparency Trojan Horse. Just because a piece of legislation has the word “transparency” in it does not mean it is actually promotes transparency. Unfortunately, the word has been co-opted recently to mean the government spying on us citizens, not the other way around.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

LIBERTY ALERT: Your Health Care Privacy is at Stake!‏

March 3, 2010
Hey everyone,
Please take a few minutes and read this special op-ed by Independence Institute Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman titled, “House Bill 1330: The All-Payer Database is a Transparency Trojan Horse.”
Here are the nuts and bolts of this devastating legislation:
House Bill 1330 would create an “all-payer health claims database” in Colorado. Bill supporters claim government can reduce health care costs through “transparent public reporting of health care information.” In fact, the bill is a transparency Trojan Horse. It will make your most personal actions transparent to government officials, officials who have no business keeping track of what kind of health care you buy or what you pay for it.

The bill authorizes the state to collect information on every health care transaction in the state, including information from private medical records, insurer files, and hospitals.

People who refuse to comply can be fined. There is no limit to the fines that may be assessed.”

Point blank, our privacy and basic civil liberties are at stake here folks.
House Rep. Kefalas and Kagan, Apuan, Court, Fischer, Gagliardi, Levy, Miklosi, Pace, Primavera, Rice, Riesberg, Solano, Tyler, Vigil are sponsoring it on one side.  Senator John Morse is sponsoring it on the Senate side.
If you’d prefer to listen to a 15 minute podcast on this monstrosity, you can listen here.
If the state government is mandated to collect all of our private medical information in the name of “transparency,” we’ve clearly deviated from what the word means.  Transparency is a mechanism that allows the citizens to account for government’s actions, NOT for the government to keep track of its citizens’ most private information!  This government is supposed to serve us, not spy on us!
As soon as I find out the next step this horrible piece of legislation is taking, I will let all of you know.  I have a couple sources who are closely following it and will provide me up to the minute information.
Please stay tuned!
Thanks for listening,
Justin Longo
Legislative Director, Libertarian Party of Colorado
“Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism.” -Mises
Please forward this e-mail to friends and family who are concerned about defending our freedoms!
Urge others to sign up to receive these free alerts at:
You can read past “LPCO Liberty Alerts” at:
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My contact information:
Justin Longo
Legislative Director, LPCO
Phone: (703) 994-7104

What’s that Smell?

December 23, 2009

Dave Kopel’s latest newsletter (see the link on the blog roll) unloads yet again with logic and reason. Bits and snips, with links below.

To subscribe to this free e-mail newsletter, please send a request to:

Aiming for Liberty

David Kopel
Merril Press
December 4, 2009

Videocast on Aiming for Liberty

Dave Kopel with Jon Caldara
Independent Thinking, KBPI 12, Denver
November 27, 2009

Dave and Independence Institute President and program host Jon Caldara discuss his new book on this KBPI television broadcast, now available on YouTube. Part 1 is here:, Part 2, here: and Part 3, here: The playlist with all three is here:

New Law Review Articles by Kopel

The Right to Arms in the Living Constitution

David B. Kopel
Cardozo Law Review de Novo, Forthcoming; U. Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-34
December 17, 2009

“This Article presents a brief history of the Second Amendment as part of the living Constitution. From the Early Republic through the present, the American public has always understood the Second Amendment as guaranteeing a right to own firearms for self-defense. That view has been in accordance with �lite legal opinion, except for a period in part of the twentieth century.”

The Keystone of the Second Amendment: Quakers, the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the Questionable Scholarship of Nathan Kozuskanich

David B. Kopel with Clayton E. Cramer
Widener Law Journal, Vol. 19, 2010, forthcoming
December 19, 2009

Kopel and Cramer examine the historical underpinnings of historian Nathan Kozuskanich’s claim that the right to arms in the 1776 Pennsylvania constitution only guaranteed a right to serve in the commonwealth’s militia.

Kopel on the Health Bill

Health Bill and Gun Ownership

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 24, 2009

Dave responds to a putative rebutal of his concerns that the Government’s expanded role in health care may lead to ‘wellness programs’ that preclude firearms ownership.

Is the Senate health plan anti-gun?

Susan Ferrechio
The Washington Examiner
November 24, 2009

Ferrechio’s article includes Dave’s concern that a government putting itself in charge of people’s health may decides that habits such as firearms ownership are prohibitively expensive.

What’s that Smell?

Dave Kopel
America’s 1st Freedom
December, 2009

“Nearly everyone has heard of the corruption-plagued organization ACORN. Yet many gun owners are unaware of the organization’s strong anti-gun activities and ties.”

Missouri Court Upholds Statute Against Gun Possession While Intoxicated

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 20, 2009

“In the 1979 case People v. Garcia, the Supreme Court of Colorado dealt with a similar statute. The ruled that the statute only applied to ‘actual or physical control.’ So if a person is drunk in his living room, and owns a gun which is stored in his downstairs closet, the statute would not apply. The Missouri decision is consistent with the Colorado standard, since Richard actually was possessing the handgun.”

Bloggingheads TV on Moses as the essential American hero

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 10, 2009

Dave here agrees with Bruce Feiler’s argument, in an interview on Robert Wright’s BloggingHeadsTV, that Moses is a figure of great interest as an exemplar to some of America’s most influential leaders.

United States v. Skoien

United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
November 18, 2009
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software.

The decision refers to Dave’s work on Heller on p.7, note 2.

Another Good Night for the Second Amendment

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 4, 2009

“In sum: A bad night for advocates of gun show restrictions. Another fine night (as were election nights 2006 and 2008) for Democrats with A ratings from NRA. And good news for Second Amendment advocates in blue New Jersey and purple Virginia.”

Will the Arms Trade Treaty Provide Effective Embargos on Human Rights Violators?

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 2, 2009

“Thus, the ATT might, at most, lead to more nominal embargos of arms; but nothing in an ATT can have greater force in international law than a Security Council order already does. Accordingly, the ATT will be of little or no use in achieving its purported objective. To the contrary, the ATT may be positively harmful, since it will probably declare a ‘right’ of governments to acquire arms. This ‘right’ could be used to claim that arms embargos outside the ATT system (e.g., unilateral embargos by the US, or the EU) are violations of international law.”

The Most Important Right to Arms Vote of 2009

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 4, 2009

“Repeal of the Canadian registry would, accordingly, be of tremendous global significance. Repeal would also shatter the claim by the Canadian gun prohibition lobby that gun control in Canada is an irreversible ratchet.”

Kopel on McDonald v. Chicago

The Kopel Amicus Brief

Brief Summary of the Kopel Brief

David B. Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 23, 2009

Here is a brief summary of the complete amicus brief, linked below, that Dave has written for the case of McDonald v. Chicago

Amicus Brief in McDonald v. Chicago: On Behalf of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, Et Al.

David B. Kopel
Independence Institute; Denver University, Sturm College of Law
November 22, 2009

Here is a link to the full text of Dave’s brief on this important post-Heller case.

McDonald v. Chicago

Dave Kopel with Jon Caldara
Dave Kopel’s Second Amendment Podcast
December 1, 2009

Kopel and Caldara discuss Dave’s completed amicus brief and the importance of this case.

JoshCasts: Interview with Dave Kopel on McDonald v. Chicago

Dave Kopel with Josh Blackman
Josh Blackman’s Blog
November 23, 2009

Here’s a podcast in which Law Clerk and Blogger-Tweeter Josh Blackman interviews Dave about the McDonald v. Chicago brief.

Dave’s Blogging on the Other Briefs in McDonald v. Chicago

Congressional brief in McDonald v. Chicago

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 23, 2009

Here is Dave’s reaction to the Congressional brief filed in the McDonald case. “Counsel of Record is former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement. Much of the brief recapitulates the lengthy historical record of congressional action (including but not limited to Reconstruction) to protect the individual right to arms from federal or state infringement.”

Academics for the Second Amendment brief in McDonald

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 23, 2009

“Well before Reconstruction, the Second Amendment was considered to be mainly a guarantee of a right to own and carry guns for personal protection. Back in 1998, I wrote a hundred-page article, The Second Amendment in the Nineteenth Century, 1998 BYU Law Review 1359, which focused mainly on cases and treatises. Olson/Hardy/Cramer have gone further, and brought forward extensive evidence about the understanding of the public and of elected public officials.”

McDonald amicus: Don’t trust Fairman and Berger

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 23, 2009

“Erik S. Jaffe has written a very interesting brief for the CalGuns Foundation. In short, the argument is: ‘Charles Fairman’s and Raoul Berger’s Work on Fourteenth Amendment Incorporation of the Bill of Rights Is Deeply Flawed, Inaccurate, and Should Not Be Relied Upon by this Court.’ ”

Cato brief in McDonald v. Chicago

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 23, 2009

“An outstanding brief, as one might expect. The bulk of the brief (21 pages, comprising Part I) shows that from the Founding Era into through the framing of the Fourteenth Amendment, national citizenship was paramount to state citizenship. Part II briefly argues that Slaughterhouse violated canons of constitutional construction such as by interpreting the Privileges or Immunities Clause to make it nothing more than a reiteration of the Supremacy Clause.”

Institute for Justice brief in McDonald v. Chicago

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 23, 2009

“The most important part of the brief is Part III, which begins: ‘To enslave a class of people requires three basic things: destroy their self-sufficiency, prevent them from fighting back, and silence any opposition.’ The brief then goes on to argue that the the Court should resist suggestions that it hold that the Privileges or Immunities clause makes the first eight amendments applicable against the states, but does nothing else.”

McDonald amicus briefs: Academics, Congress Redux, and California District Attorneys

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
November 25, 2009

“The new Kates-Ayers brief begins with a survey of the 17th-18th century philosophical view, with which the American Founders agreed, that self-defense was among the most fundamental of all rights, that it was also a duty, and that the right necessarily implied the right to use arms in self-defense.”

Privileges or Immunities Extravaganza

David Kopel
The Volokh Conspiracy
December 21, 2009

“The Question Presented by the Court asked if the bans should be considered unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause, or under the Privileges or Immunities clause. There’s been plenty of interesting scholarship recently on Privileges or Immunities. Here’s a guide to some of the most important articles.”

More of Dave’s Podcasts on the Case

Interview with Alan Gura

Dave Kopel with Alan Gura
Dave Kopel’s Second Amendment Podcast
December 7, 2009

Here is Dave’s lengthy (50 minutes) interview with Alan Gura, the lead attorney in the Heller case, now involved in McDonald v. Chicago.

McDonald v. Chicago: Is the 2nd Amendment Incorporated in the 14th Amendment? An Explanation of the Basic Constitutional Issues in the Case.

Dave Kopel with Jon Caldara
Dave Kopel’s Second Amendment Podcast
December 7, 2009

Dave and Jon Caldara discuss Dave’s early work on his amicus brief, and the issues and precedents at stake in McDonald v. Chicago.

Stephen Halbrook Christmas Special.

Dave Kopel with Stephen Halbrook
Dave Kopel’s Second Amendment Podcast
December 17, 2009

Kopel interviews Stephen Halbrook, the leading legal defender of the Second Amendment over the last three decades. 53 minutes.

More available at the sidebar link!

Jon, the baptist…

December 10, 2009

Okay,the debate rages on… is,  Jon Caldara the new John the Baptist? I would contend that, in fact, he is not! Jon, after all does double bend overs that incite lust among the female staff at The Independence Institute!

Read on…

Beware! Evil Lurks in Teachers Refunds: Those of us who are not bleeding heart, emotional hippies are used to being called names: selfish, mean spirited, malicious, greedy and sometimes even, Jon Caldara. So it comes as no surprise that the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) president calls us “sinister” in a recent letter to his members. An excerpt from the letter,

“Dear DCTA member, BEWARE: You may have gotten a letter from the Independence Institute explaining how you can drop your Every Member Option (EMO) contribution to DCTA/CEA. It reads like a public service message telling you how to save money. But the motives behind the message are much more sinister.”

Well, I’m sorry unions. I’m a sinister kind of guy. therefore I am going to provide some resources to the teachers of Colorado, so that they might learn how to obtain the EMO refund, which can be up to $63. Along with our Independent Teachers website that houses a boatload of information on the refund, we made a video and recorded a podcast discussing the finer points of the refund. I think we’ve taken sinister to a whole new level.

Second Amendment Royalty on Wow, I’m still in awe. I just finished listening to this epic podcast with Dave Kopel interviewing none other than Alan Gura himself! Or as Dave refers to Mr. Gura, “the Luke Skywalker of the Second Amendment.” Gura is the man behind the DC v. Heller Supreme court gun rights victory. Now Mr. Gura is taking on the new McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case. This case will decide whether the Second Amendment is enforceable at the state and local level via the 14th Amendment. In other words, this case is hugely important! Give a listen here.

Northern Colorado Invasion: Our transparency super-star Amy Oliver-Cooke is leading the invasion of Northern Colorado in the battle of ideas. Check her out this week in the Fort Collins Coloradoan as she lays out the “unimaginative failure” of Colorado’s Long Term Fiscal Stability commission.

Kopelization: If you support the Second Amendment and the right of self-defense, then you definitely don’t want to miss Research Director Dave Kopel’s newest book, Aiming for Liberty: The past, present and future of freedom and self-defense. The perfect stocking stuffer for the true civil libertarian.

Oh Canada: Our recent trip to Canada in search of real people with real stories of Canada’s version of Obama Care inspired this video on Obama Care and medical innovation, with a special shout out to us. Well, the good folks at reason have put out yet another video including footage shot at our Canada trip. Check out this heartbreaking story of Canadian citizen Cheryl Baxter’s nightmare experience with Canada’s single payer health care system, and how she finally got the surgery she needed here in the states. It also includes some great insight from our friends up north at the Fraser Institute.

Must Hear Podcast: The transition for the Denver school board was going to be tough enough, but then newly elected Andrea Merida took things to a whole new level when she decided to be sworn in early and bounced off outgoing board member Michelle Moss just before key votes on the district’s reform plan were made. Over at, Education News Colorado editor, and eye witness, Alan Gottlieb joins Ben DeGrow to recount the dramatic confrontation and discusses what might be in store from the DPS Board in the future.

Check it out here.

Must See TV: On This week’s Independent Thinking, Colorado State Senator Ted Harvey and Kevin Miller from the National Freedom Initiative join me to talk about the conflict between social conservatives and the freedom movement, or as Kevin puts it, “Freedom nationally, virtue locally.” Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 p.m. to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Perspective: In this week’s op-ed, Jessica Peck-Corry suggests that Governor Ritter “should write a guidebook on how to buy a top post in his administration.” She’s talking about the Governor’s Energy Office.

Money quote from the piece: “Ritter’s defenders may believe that global warming represents a universal concern that should be held above the political fray. But talk to the residents of western Colorado, many of whom are out-of-work energy workers displaced by the toxic mix of a faltering economy and anti-energy public policy.”

Check out the whole thing here.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

Happy Birthday I2I !

November 19, 2009

Happy birthday Independence Institute! Your detractors are many, and you just keep on treading along. Indeed, as so many cry out that you are insignificant they have to create counter organizations to oppose what you stand for.

Story HERE, and be sure to read the comments! 😀

And just what does the Independence Institute have to say concerning Obamacare? Well, here is a very small part…

© 2008, Benjamin Hummel. To see more cartoons like this go to

TABOR Defense War Room, and More

October 15, 2009

Things are heating up in Colorado politics that’s for sure. Must be that Algore global warming thing. Just don’t mention all that snow, and record low temps. Enjoy!

And just what is it that our friends in Golden are up too?

TABOR Update: Are the proponents of higher taxes and bigger government gearing up for an assault on Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights? You bet they are. Is the Independence Institute ready to educate the uninformed about the many benefits of our tax and spending limitations? Absolutely we are. Anytime and anywhere. In fact, our resident TABOR rock star Barry Poulson has been doing just that.

Read: Barry’s new Issue Paper, “A Fiscal Roadmap for Colorado.” In it, Barry presents some important measures to preserve and strengthen Colorado’s fiscal constitution.

Read: Barry’s recent “TABOR Amendment has Saved Colorado” op-ed in the Denver Post.

Watch: Barry on this episode of Independent Thinking, along with State Representative and TABOR Warrior Kent Lambert.

Listen: Barry on the David Boze radio show, 770 KTTH, Seattle, Washington.

Seeking Technology Advisors: The Independence Institute is currently looking for advisors to assist the organization in the advancement of technological innovation. We are specifically interested in individuals who have market experience in the areas of software engineering, network administration and online marketing, and who share the Independence Institute’s free market and individual liberty philosophy. If you feel that you may fit this role, please apply here.

Charter School Victory: Last week brought a rare bit of uplifting news from the Colorado Supreme Court: The state’s top justices said they weren’t interested in hearing the Boulder Valley School District’s legal challenge to the Charter School Institute (CSI), the special state authorizer for many Colorado charter schools. As noted on our GoBash blog, this was a good decision. Listen as our Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno and CSI chairman Alex Medler discuss the legal victory for families and charter schools on a new iVoices podcast.

Must-Attend Western Slope Event: “Prison spending, Sentencing and the Colorado Budget: How many more prison beds can we afford?” That is the topic of an upcoming panel event in Grand Junction co-sponsored by the Independence Institute and Club 20. The all-star panel includes Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, Colorado Department of Corrections Director Ari Zavaras, Colorado Department of Public Safety Director Pete Weir and State Senator Morgan Carroll. That’s October 22 from 4:00 PM-6:30 PM at the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction. The event is free and will fill up fast, so RSVP quickly to Angeline Roles at (970) 242-3246, or

Save The date: Can you believe it, the Independence Institute turns 25 years young this year!! So save the date and book your seats now for our 25th Annual Founders’ Night Dinner with keynote speaker P.J. O’Rourke…it’s going to be huge! That’s Thursday, November 19, at the Infinity Park International Ballroom in Glendale, CO. Details and RSVP info here. Or you can call Mary at (303) 279-6536, or email her at Hurry, this event is filling up fast.

Must Hear Podcast: The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take another crack at the Second Amendment and hear a case involving Chicago’s gun ban. Over at, Jon Caldara sits down with Second Amendment Project Director Dave Kopel to find out what this might mean for the Second Amendment and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Give a listen here.

Must See TV: Health insurance mandates like in Massachusetts? Or maybe health care rationing like in Oregon? Check out ex-Colorado State Senator Ken Gordon and Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman on Independent Thinking as they join host Jon Caldara to talk about the state of the health care debate in Colorado. Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 pm to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Perspective: Colorado’s tax and spending limits are under attack, just as they once were in California. Check out our resident TABOR superstar Barry Poulson in the Colorado Daily newspaper as he asks the all important question: Do we really want to follow California’s disastrous abandonment of fiscal discipline? Barry’s answer is obviously a resounding no.

Check out the whole thing here.

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

I2I newsletter

August 27, 2009

Jon Caldara at the Independence Institute brings us this newsletter. Commie’s cry, go ahead, it’s alright to whine…

Benefits of the H1N1 “swine” flu scare – Dave Kopel is wearing one of those surgical masks around the office.  The women here are saying the place never looked better.

He’s Not My Doctor! Remember those anti-Bush bumper stickers that read, “He’s not my President”? Well, I am pleased to announce that we at the Independence Institute recently debuted our new awesomely awesome “He’s Not My Doctor” bumper stickers. If you’d like to show the world that Obama is not your doctor, email Mary MacFarlane at and send her your name, address, and primary email account, and we’ll send you a brand spanking new bumper sticker – free of charge! PS – Due to the overwhelming demand, please limit your requests to just 2 per household. Thanks!

Free our health care: Our brilliant Health Care Policy Center director Linda Gorman alerted me to a couple great health care links. First, we have the Free Our Health Care Now online petition, that some 732,000-plus people have already signed. Let’s help spread the word to our elected officials that we do not want a government takeover of our health care. As much as some may want to see doctor’s offices resembling the DMV, I prefer that didn’t happen.

Second, we’ve got the Conservatives for Patient’s Rights website, which has a large amount of important links and resources.

And of course don’t forget our Patient Power Now blog, written mostly by health care policy analyst Brian Schwartz, with special guest appearances by Linda Gorman herself. Be sure to check out the John Goodman Health Policy Blog, where Linda is a featured writer.

Does Obama care violate the constitution? That’s the question posed by Independence Institute Senior Fellow and constitutional law expert Rob Natelson (and the answer appears to be a big, fat yes). Guest blogging over at The Cauldron, Rob lays out what he calls “profound” constitutional difficulties with “empowering the federal government with decisions over the life, death, and health of three hundred million Americans.”

Not only does Rob find constitutional issues with a federal takeover of health care from an “Originalist” perspective but also points out several glaring issues in the context of modern Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Meet the “Second most hated woman in America” (or so says Sean Hannity): Come to our personal legislative briefing with Minnessota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Join us for an update on all the latest national issues — health care, cap and trade, stimulus and more — on Monday, August 31. RSVP online here.

Sexism run amok: Can you believe September 9th will be our 10th Independent Women’s Lunch?! I can’t believe I’ve let the women have this much fun without us. This time the keynote speaker is Lisa Schomp, CEO/President of Ralph Schomp Automotive. RSVP required!

Light rail losing its luster with the media? I recently saw a pig fly by my window and I think it had something to do with this Denver Post piece by editorial board member Chuck Plunkett. In an op-ed titled “Prius effect: Energy efficient cars undercut the appeal of light rail,” Chuck cites, and even agrees with some of the work of the Independence Institute’s own Randal O’Toole from the Center for the American Dream.

Money quote from the piece, “Light rail–useful from the gritty aired 1970s to not so long ago, when cars drank gasoline like frat boys drink beer–is now obsolete, and a transportation option that our environment can no longer afford.”

R.I.P. Rose Friedman: The wife of one of the greatest economists the world has ever known died last Tuesday of heart failure. Rose Friedman, who happens to be a damn good economist in her own right, was believed to have been 98 years young. I’ll never forget the day that I met both Rose and Milton Friedman. I was walking into an elevator as they were walking out. The elevator doors opened and I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Has anyone ever told you that you guys look just like Rose and Milton Friedman?!” To which they replied, “Well, that’s because we are!” And so we went an ate breakfast together. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I mean, it’s on the same level for me as getting to hang out Pete Townshend. It doesn’t get much better than that. Rest in peace, Rose, you and Milton will truly be missed.

In honor of both Rose and Milton, I urge you to watch the series Free to Choose, available in its entirety here.

Must See TV: What’s the state of property rights in Boulder County? Land use attorney Bob Hoban and Gary Zimmermand of the No Trail Alliance join guest host Jessica Corry on Independent Thinking to discuss the taking of private property in Boulder County to build a nature trail. Tune in this Friday night at 8:30 pm to KBDI Channel 12; repeated the following Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.

Perspective: Ex-Independence Institute mintern (minion/intern) Todd Hollenbeck reminds us all of the desperate and shrill tactics opponents of TABOR used to try and scare Colorado voters into saying no to TABOR in 1992. You will probably be hearing some of the same half-truths and outright lies about TABOR soon enough, so check out Todd’s piece, “Your tax dollars: Will they say anything to get them?”

Until next week…

Straight on

Jon Caldara

More on healthcare…

August 11, 2009

Jon Caldara (see sidebar) gets this healthcare debate going in the correct direction, as The Independence Institute always does. Enjoy!

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