Are public schools reluctant to celebrate people? Fewer and fewer public schools are being named after Presidents or other noteworthy individuals, according to a study of school naming trends by the Manhattan Institute. The institute found, for example, that in Florida twice as many public schools are named after manatees than after George Washington. Also, schools built in Arizona in the last two decades are almost fifty times more likely to be named after such things as a mesa or a cactus than after a President; in Minnesota, 14 percent of schools built before 1956 were names after Presidents, compared to only 3 percent of schools built in the last decade. The institute found similar results in all seven states it surveyed.
At least it’s not a tax increase! As the nation gets ready to celebrate its independence from tyrannical rule, the state of Virginia plans to nail drivers who commit moving violations with new fines amounting to thousands of dollars for a single offense. Is this a needed safety initiative? Nope. Virginians want new funding for roads, and, as Mencken might say, the state has decided to give it to them good and hard. In order to increase spending on roads by 41 percent without raising taxes, the Virginia legislature created a new system of “abuse” fines that went into effect on July 1. Now, a Virginian who fails to signal a turn can be charged with reckless driving and assessed a $1,050 fine on top of the normal $100 ticket. But fear not, tourists to the Capital area: Out-of-state drivers are exempted from the new “abuse” fines; only the “normal” fines apply to out-of-staters. Seems that the state wants to victimize only its own citizens—those who’ve invested in a house, put down roots in a community, i.e., those who might be more reluctant to leave and never come back. (Via Out of Control.)
Can patriotism be bought for $7 billion? The European Union spends $7 billion annually promoting the concept of the European Union—which raises the question: How great can the European Union be if they have to spend $7 billion to promote it? (Via Cato@Liberty.)
Tufts and Johns Hopkins get top honors—in suppressing student speech. Tufts University and Johns Hopkins University have been named the top transgressors of student free speech by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, reports the Boston Herald. Tufts earned its place at the top of FIRE’s first ever “Red Alert” list by ruling that two articles published by the student magazine Primary Source constituted harassment. One of the articles was a satirical Christmas carol about affirmative action entitled “Come All Ye Black Folk,” and the other article was a fact sheet on Islamic fundamentalism published during Islamic awareness week. Similarly, Johns Hopkins shares the top honor for its ruling against a student for a Facebook advertisement of a “Halloween in the Hood” party. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff: “You don’t have a right not to be offended,” he said. “Just feeling harassed doesn’t mean you are harassed. Harassment is a particular pattern of behavior directed at a person.”