As regular visitors to our Web site know, we post new Current Comments — “CCs” — five days a week. Current Comments provide the Mackinac Center with a unique forum for addressing breaking issues, such as September’s county property tax controversy, or for reflecting on important topics, such as the perennially disputed “Proposal A.”

During this holiday week, we are offering a year-end retrospective. The following is a list of the 25 Current Comments that generated the highest rates of traffic at our Web site among the articles posted in 2004.1 Please note that these are opinion pieces; we have excluded Current Comments that were primarily news-driven — for example, Michigan Education Digest, or the Center's news releases. The five news releases that drew the most intense interest this year are listed underneath the Current Comments below.

One final note: In looking back at the successes of 2004, we would be remiss not to mention two Mackinac Center staff who don’t get bylines, but help make our Current Comments a truly dynamic forum. LeAnn K. Hadley, the Mackinac Center administrative assistant who serves as our “Web secretary,” deftly manages a constant flow of text, while helping maintain an error-free format and graciously accommodating last-minute requests. Daniel E. Montgomery, our graphic arts manager, routinely surprises us with the freshness and vigor of the visuals he creates to enhance our Current Comments and bring them to our readers' attention. Our hats are off!

The Top 25 Current Comments of 2004

  1. "Tax Cut Stories Miss the Picture," by John R. LaPlante

  2. "Undereducated Today, Outsourced Tomorrow?" by Andrew J. Coulson

  3. "County Tax Shift: It Quacks, It Waddles; It’s a Duck," by Jack McHugh

  4. "Union Subjects Religious Objector to Modern-Day Inquisition," by Dale D. Buss

  5. "Playing Monopoly With Detroit’s Kids," by Andrew J. Coulson

  6. "Make America Safer by Making Government Smaller," by Lawrence W. Reed

  7. "Storm Drain," by Justin W. Marshall

  8. "Pivotal? Probably Not," by Lawrence W. Reed

  9. "Government Policies Make Gas Situation Worse," by John R. LaPlante

  10. "AFL-CIO Says: Union Rules Hurt Us," by John R. LaPlante

  11. "Are Jobs the Object?" by Dr. Gary L. Wolfram

  12. "Why Socialized Health Care in Canada Is Not the Model to Follow," by Dennis Owens

  13. "Home Schooling: An 'Encouraging and Robust' Movement," by Tait Trussell

  14. "Are Targeted Incentives Constitutional?" by Michael D. LaFaive and Jeffery Weeden

  15. "Dancing Around Education: A 170-Year Waltz With Reform," by Brian L. Carpenter

  16. "Asian Food for Thought," by Andrew J. Coulson

  17. "Adam Smith’s Principles of a Proper Tax System," by Jack McHugh

  18. "Alexander Graham Bell Meets George Eastman," by Lawrence W. Reed

  19. "Strange Lessons in School Discipline," by Andrew J. Coulson

  20. "Is Affirmative Action the Right Fight?" by Andrew J. Coulson

  21. "Sinful Sin Taxes," by Michael D. LaFaive

  22. "Earth Day, Not Doomsday," by Russ Harding

  23. "Spurring Economic Growth and Jobs in Michigan," by Michael D. LaFaive

  24. "Political Correctness Suppresses Education," by Tait Trussell

  25. "'Proposal A,' 10 Years Later," by Lawrence W. Reed

Five News Releases

  1. "Victory for Free Speech: Michigan Appeals Court Sides With Think Tank, Rejects Teachers Union’s Lawsuit"

  2. "Remembering a Giant: A Tribute to Richard H. Headlee"

  3. "National Survey Suggests Union Workers at Odds With Union Officials Over Organizing Tactic: Majority Would Not Forgo Private-Ballot Elections"

  4. "U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Finds Ohio’s Targeted Investment Tax Credit Unconstitutional: Michigan’s MEGA 'Is Subject to Very Substantial Doubt,' Says Plaintiffs’ Attorney"

  5. "Lawmakers Could Balance Budget by Cutting Spending and Selling State Assets"



  6. 1 Weighing Web traffic invariably requires some rough assumptions, since articles that were posted at different times of the year must be compared to each other on an equal footing. Most of the pieces listed here, however, would appear on a list of our top Current Comments under any set of reasonable assumptions.

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    Thomas A. Shull is senior editor for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich.