Hillary's Smear Campaign
Yet, when an opportunity presented itself in the debate, Mrs. Clinton, without so much as a blink of an eye or the slightest blush, denounced Sen. Obama for representing "Tony Rezko in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago." Her accusation invites scrutiny. Not so much for the truth of the accusation (the facts are quite straightforward and completely benign) but as a window into Mrs. Clinton's character and as a lens with which to see whether a Clinton presidency will be a vehicle for change.
Comment: More on the photo above.
Saying No to CoerciveCare
On Monday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "universal" health-care plan was shot down by a committee in the state's Senate, 7-1. The most vociferous opponents were not fiscal conservatives, but labor unions that launched a last-minute revolt against its most crucial feature: an individual mandate that would have forced everyone to buy coverage.
This defeat has national political implications. Hillary Clinton, for example, has denounced Barack Obama for refusing to include an individual mandate in his health-care plan. Yet many California unions argued that a mandate would force uninsured, middle-income working families to divert money from more pressing needs toward coverage whose price and quality they cannot control.
The unions are correct: This is exactly what is happening in Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney enacted a similar plan two years ago as governor. (And Mr. Romney's plan is the inspiration for both the Schwarzenegger and Clinton plans.) The experience in the Bay State deserves a lot more scrutiny than it has been getting.
Massachusetts uses a sliding income scale to subsidize coverage for everyone up to 300% of the poverty level -- or a family of four making around $60,000. Everyone over that limit is required to pay for their own coverage if their employers don't provide it. All this has inflated demand, which, combined with onerous regulations on insurance suppliers, has triggered premium increases of 12% for this year -- double last year's national average.
No one is escaping the financial sting. The state health-care bill for fiscal 2008-2009 is expected to touch $400 million -- 85% more than originally projected. Still the state won't be able to fully shield those it subsidizes from the premium increases. But uninsured folks who don't qualify for government help really get pounded. Before the hike, the cheapest plan for uninsured couples in their 50s cost $8,200 annually. Now, unless government bureaucrats hand them an exemption, they might well find it cheaper to pay the penalty -- up to half the price of a standard policy -- than purchase insurance. That is, pay to remain uninsured. This is legalized extortion: TonySopranoCare.
The government response to rising premiums is, unsurprisingly, price controls. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority -- the bureaucracy created to oversee RomneyCare -- is considering prohibiting underwriters from raising premiums more than 5% for unsubsidized plans, meanwhile requiring them to cover 40-odd benefits from hair prostheses to chiropractic services. If companies can't scale back coverage, they'll have to compromise care; and the Connector is perfectly willing to assist.
Comment: Universal Health care sounds great until you shine the light of the free market on it. Good quote: "Now, unless government bureaucrats hand them an exemption, they might well find it cheaper to pay the penalty -- up to half the price of a standard policy -- than purchase insurance. That is, pay to remain uninsured. This is legalized extortion".
Ahmadinejad tells West: Accept Israel's 'imminent collapse'
Speaking to a crowd on a visit to the southern port of Bushehr, where Iran's first light-water nuclear power plant is being built by Russia, Ahmadinejad further incited his listeners to "stop supporting the Zionists, as [their] regime reached its final stage."
"Accept that the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end," the Iranian president said in a televised speech.
He added, "What we have right now is the last chapter [of Israeli atrocities] which the Palestinians and regional nations will confront and eventually turn in Palestine's favor."
Comment: All Madman alerts
Lou Dobbs alert: Illegal immigrants may get rebates
In their bipartisan zeal to quickly cut a deal on an economic stimulus bill, GOP lawmakers overlooked something that will certainly inflame the conservative base _ illegal immigrants could receive a tax rebate check from the government.
The text of the House passed bill contains language making "non resident aliens" _ illegal immigrants _ ineligible for the tax rebates. But every year, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants use individual taxpayer identification numbers, known as ITINs, to file income tax returns with the IRS. These ID numbers are used instead of Social Security numbers.
Wiki: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (or ITIN) is a United States tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 9xx-7x-xxxx or 9xx-8x-xxxx. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number.
ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have Federal tax return and payment responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code. Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN, unless they meet an exception.
In 2006 1.4 million people used ITIN when filing taxes. Federal tax law prohibits the IRS from sharing data with other government agencies including the INS, ensuring illegal immigrants that the tax information will be confidential and not be used to deport them.
Comment: Call me crazy, but adjust the stimulus package to exclude illegal immigrants!
My big, fat, unpaid credit card bill
So that week, I made an appointment with a financial counselor. As it happens, he's dating a friend. But as a lawyer for a New York nonprofit called the Financial Clinic, which helps people in serious credit card debt, David Friedman works with people like me all the time.
"We demonize credit card companies, and we should," David told me, as we sat in his office. "But a lot of what I see is a failure of people to advocate for themselves."
I liked a lot of things about talking to David. He was honest about my problems but also encouraging. He seemed nonjudgmental about the damage I had done. Mostly I liked that I walked into that session a little bit helpless. But I left with a plan.
"We have to stop the bleeding," said David. That meant two immediate things: getting my credit cards under the limit and trying to raise my credit score, which had been officially branded "poor."
I had an idea: "What about transferring my balance to a no-interest card?" I asked. "Or getting them to raise my credit limit?"
"You could try that," he said, with the tact of a hairdresser telling the old woman she might not look like Jennifer Aniston. "But I'm pretty sure you won't qualify."
Comment: From Salon.com. May require a one day site pass (view an ad to get in). This is a really good read!
George Will: Fairness on the ballot
The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative (MoCRI) would amend that state's constitution to say: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."
The phrase "affirmative action" came into vogue in the years after the 1976 Democratic platform endorsed "compensatory opportunity." That obfuscating phrase appeared immediately after the platform said "we must insure that all citizens are treated equally before the law." Advocates of affirmative action have long denied that it involves racial preferences. Now Missouri is insisting that a ban on such preferences would eliminate all affirmative action.
Comment: Needed in every state! The crux is this phrase: "or grant preferential treatment to"
Veep Watch: Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Approval Rating Soars
Since Gov. Pawlenty is one of the most likely candidates to fill the #2 slot on the 2008 GOP ticket, I thought I’d bring to your attention this story which illustrates the transcendent popularity of the Governor known simply as “T-Paw”.
Comment: A McCain - Pawlenty ticket? I think so!
A Mortgage 'Tweak' We Don't Need
One of the most dangerous proposals is now moving through the House of Representatives. The Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act was voted out of the Judiciary Committee recently. It takes aim at Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings to make it easier for buyers to rewrite the terms of their mortgage contracts in court. It would do this by changing how a debtor's principal residence is treated in bankruptcy, allowing mortgage contracts to be modified by the courts.
In short, if this bill becomes law a mortgage would no longer be a matter between a borrower and a lender, but instead, between a borrower, a lender and a judge. Rather than interpreting private contracts, judges would suddenly be able to rewrite them.
Current bankruptcy law has existed for more than 100 years, and was designed to promote homeownership by making mortgages secure from outside meddling. Strong contracts make for a vibrant mortgage industry. Weakening mortgage contracts would endanger the future of American homeownership by making it harder for homebuyers to obtain a loan.
Comment: Bad for business, bad for prospective homeowners, bad for investors!
“The Bible According to Google Earth”
Here’s a cool idea realized: a Sydney, Australia-based art collective called The Glue Society has re-created scenes from the Bible as if captured by Google Earth’s ubiquitous satellites.
Comment: Click link for 4 Google Earth (simulated) Bible scenes
Lieberman Rules Out Running With McCain
"No, I'd tell him, 'Thanks, John, I've been there, I've done that. You can find much better,'" Lieberman told The Associated Press during an interview Tuesday in his Senate office. "I'm not seeking anything else."
The Connecticut senator said he was unequivocally ruling out sharing the GOP ticket with McCain.
Lieberman's endorsement of McCain in December and the campaigning he since has done in states such as New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida have stoked speculation that the Arizona senator might choose Lieberman as his running mate.
Lieberman planned to be back on the road for McCain as the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests near.
Lieberman's flirtations with Republicans worry Democrats. His defection to the GOP could tip the balance of power in the narrowly divided Senate away from Democrats, who need Lieberman's vote to maintain their fragile 51-49 Senate majority.
Lieberman, in his fourth term, said his decision to endorse a Republican should not be seen as a step toward him jumping to the GOP.
"I don't have any intention of leaving the Democratic Party," he said. "I want to be a senator."
But Lieberman did say that if McCain wins the nomination, he'd likely attend the Republican convention.
"I'd probably be more welcome there," he said.
Comment: Joe, you can stay at my house! Call me.
Bush: Faith Helped Him Beat Drinking
President Bush called his one-time struggle with alcohol an "addiction"—a blunt characterization of his life before he relied on his faith to help turn it around.
"Addiction is hard to overcome," Bush said, speaking Tuesday at a faith-based center that helps former prisoners get job training and other help.
"As you might remember, I drank too much at one time in my life," the president said. "I understand faith-based programs. I understand that sometimes you can find the inspiration from a higher power to solve an addiction problem."
Increasingly, Bush has reflected in candid terms about his days of drinking. Last month, he told some young recovering addicts to stick with their fight against drugs and cited his own experiences with alcohol years ago. He said at that time that "addiction competes for your affection ... you fall in love with alcohol."
Comment: Candid, interesting, encouraging.
Middle-age is truly depressing, study finds
Middle age is truly miserable, according to a study using data from 80 countries showing that depression is most common among men and women in their forties.
The British and U.S. researchers found that happiness for people ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe follows a U-shaped curve where life begins cheerful before turning tough during middle age and then returning to the joys of youth in the golden years.
Previous studies have shown that psychological well-being remained flat throughout life but the new findings to be published in the journal Social Science & Medicine suggest we are in for a topsy-turvy emotional ride.
"In a remarkably regular way throughout the world people slide down a U-shaped level of happiness and mental health throughout their lives," Andrew Oswald at Britain's Warwick University, who co-led the study, said on Tuesday.
The researchers analyzed data on depression, anxiety levels and general mental health and well-being taken from some 2 million people in 80 countries.
Comment: The answer is "joy". And the source is Christ! Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." On a personal note ... I missed the slide down into depression!
paleoevangelical: The U.K. Church of the Jedi
NPR: Help Wanted: The Gospel According to Yoda
Comment: Not unlike a belief in Elvis! Google "Church of Elvis" for such vanity!
Updated: More on the Jedi church:
Official UK Church for The Jedi Site
The Jedi Sanctuary
Paulsen Formally Announces U.S. House Campaign
State Rep. Erik Paulsen formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday.
The Republican from Eden Prairie is running for the 3rd District seat currently held by his political mentor, U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., who plans to retire when his term ends at the end of the year.
Paulsen, so far the only Republican in the race, has served seven terms in the Minnesota House, where he led the GOP majority from 2002 to until the Democrats took over after the 2006 elections. He is a project manager for a Fortune 100 Company, and he and his wife, Kelly, have four daughters.
Three Democrats are also in the race: state Sen. Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, Edina Mayor Jim Hovland and attorney J. Ashwin Madia, an Iraq war veteran. Businessman David Dillon of Brooklyn Park is running as an Independence Party candidate.
Comment: My congressional district
- Dan Brown preached a great message from 1 Timothy 5:17-25 this morning.
- Roger and Nathan were with us for dinner.
- Brother came by and beat me at pool 7-4! (Another humiliating loss)
- Kathee and I visited Dave P from church at North Memorial Hospital
- We looked at (just the outside) of a $ 1.1 million home in Golden Valley.
Back to work tomorrow.
Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler
The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050, which one expert, Henning Steinfeld of the United Nations, says is resulting in a “relentless growth in livestock production.”
Americans eat about the same amount of meat as we have for some time, about eight ounces a day, roughly twice the global average. At about 5 percent of the world’s population, we “process” (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total.
Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.
To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
Comment: Interesting article.
What’s Cholesterol Got to Do With It?
The lipoproteins LDL and HDL became “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol,” and the lipoprotein transport vehicle was now conflated with its cholesterol cargo. Lost in translation was the evidence that the causal agent in heart disease might be abnormalities in the lipoproteins themselves.
The truth is, we’ve always had reason to question the idea that cholesterol is an agent of disease. Indeed, what the Framingham researchers meant in 1977 when they described LDL cholesterol as a “marginal risk factor” is that a large proportion of people who suffer heart attacks have relatively low LDL cholesterol.
So how did we come to believe strongly that LDL cholesterol is so bad for us? It was partly due to the observation that eating saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol, and we’ve assumed that saturated fat is bad for us. This logic is circular, though: saturated fat is bad because it raises LDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol is bad because it is the thing that saturated fat raises. In clinical trials, researchers have been unable to generate compelling evidence that saturated fat in the diet causes heart disease.
Comment: Consider dialog from the Woody Allen movie, Sleepers:
Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Dr. Melik: Incredible.
Stimulus Deal Spurred by Fears Of Voter Backlash
The speed with which Washington hashed out the plan was driven mostly by the drumbeat of bad economic news. Behind the scenes, it was greased by other powerful motivations. Congressional Democrats needed to demonstrate they were capable of results after a year of gridlock. Republican lawmakers, up for re-election, wanted to show sensitivity to voters' economic woes. And the White House didn't want "recession" added to its legacy.
Comment: Consider that we are not even officially in a recession, that some economists do not believe we are are headed for a recession, and the speed of the "deal".
Wells Fargo: U.S. will 'skirt recession'
Wells Fargo Private Bank economists believe the United States will avoid recession in 2008, a pair of investment strategists told a Denver audience on Tuesday.
"Wells Fargo believes the United States will skirt a recession," which is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, said Erik Davidson, senior director of investments for Wells Fargo Private Bank's Mountain Midwest region, which includes Colorado.
Comment: Encouraging financial perspective.
Ketcham didn’t say it
Your Heavenly Father is too good to be unkind and too wise to make mistakes
Robert Ketcham didn’t really say it. Well, okay, he said it, but he wasn’t the first.
Not only was Ketcham known for frequently saying, “Your Heavenly Father is too good to be unkind and too wise to make mistakes,” but also the quote was reproduced by the thousands and could frequently be found framed in the foyer of our Regular Baptist churches. Recently a reader asked whatever happened to those placards, which were dropped from our catalog a while back. So I devoted a couple of lunch hours to tracking down a bit more of the story.
Comment: He said it, but not the first! Still a great quote!
Five friends killed in early morning crash at airstrip
Comment: In John Travolta's neighborhood.
Rachel and I drove out on Medicine Lake late this afternoon. Pics:
Maryanne, the artist
We had a great time out on the ice. We drove at about 35 mph straight N and exited at Clifford French park.
This was a first for me, I gave blood via the apheresis blood donation method. "Apheresis" is Greek for "taking away". The apheresis method takes 2 units of blood platelets and returns the blood plasma. Details:
- One has to have an iron count of greater than 40. Mine was 44 today.
- The machine that does the process is a Baxter ALYX Component Collection System (picture above)
- There is just a single needle in the arm (just like whole blood donation)
- The Alyx system has three bags. Bag 1 is the whole blood, bag 2 is the red platelets, and bag 3 is the plasma.
- There are 4 cycles each with 2 phases. The first phase draws whole blood into the first collection bag. A centrifuge separates the platelets from the plasma filling bages 2 and 3. The second phase pumps the plasma back into the donor.
- For me the process took 23 minutes.
- One can view the deep red whole blood being removed, then the light pink, then clear plasma being returned.
- When completed: bag 1 is empty (a temporary holder of whole blood); bag 2 is full of red platelets; bag 3 (temporary holder of plasma) is empty.
If in the Twin Cities and interested, visit the Memorial Blood Center to donate. The Wiki article (top link) explains the process. My own explanation is from a layman's perspective, so it may not be completely accurate.
John MacArthur: What does it mean to pray without ceasing?
To “pray without ceasing” refers to recurring prayer, not nonstop talking. Prayer is to be a way of life — you’re to be continually in an attitude of prayer. It is living in continual God-consciousness, where everything you see and experience becomes a kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to Him. It should be instant and intimate communication — not unlike that which we enjoy with our best friend.
To “pray without ceasing” means when you are tempted, you hold the temptation before God and ask for His help. When you experience something good and beautiful, you immediately thank the Lord for it. When you see evil around you, you ask God to make it right and to use you toward that end, if that is His will. When you meet someone who does not know Christ, you pray for God to draw that person to Himself and to use you to be a faithful witness. When you encounter trouble, you turn to God as your Deliverer.
Comment: N.T. references
The darker side of interest rate cuts
Compelling as it may be, a rate-cutting policy may not always have the desired salutary effect; after all, Japan effectively had interest rates of near-zero percent for years without emerging from its economic gloom. And it carries its own costs. Lower rates boost the economy by making big purchases such as houses more affordable. They can also help banks rebuild their balance sheets, by enabling them to borrow at lower rates and lend at higher ones. But lower rates also tend to reduce the value of the dollar, which has already fallen sharply in recent years amid a surge in U.S. consumption funded by overseas borrowing. Further declines in the dollar raise the risk of boosting inflation, which hurts consumers by reducing their purchasing power.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., says the Fed's latest round of rate cuts risks adding to pressure on the dollar. He notes that unlike the Fed, the European Central Bank has been holding its interest rate target steady. So the latest Fed rate cut puts U.S. short-term interest rates, at 3.5 percent, below the 4 percent level of the euro zone. That differential tends to make the euro, which has already appreciated sharply against the dollar in recent years, even more attractive to investors shopping for places to put their money.
Indeed, currency analysts at Merrill Lynch wrote this week that they expect the dollar to fall further if the Fed continues to cut rates. The analysts write that they see dollar negatives in the "the erosion of the [dollar] as a safe haven, the lack of private sector buying, central bank flows and a widening interest rate differential." The worries about the strength of the dollar point to the Achilles heel of the U.S. economy: the fact that U.S. consumers have been financing their consumption by borrowing cheaply overseas.
Comment: Summary: rates go down, Dollar devalues. Gold goes up (most people don't care) but so does oil (and most people do!)
Coyotes invade metro suburb
In the heart of a Plymouth neighborhood, the Johnson's backyard attracts the birds, the bunnies and Thursday afternoon around lunchtime.
"I grabbed the camera and took a picture of it," said Stephanie Johnson.
A coyote stopped by their backyard.
"Oops there it is," said Johnson thumbing through the photos on her camera.
Stephanie Johnson captured Minnesota's most plentiful large predator from just inside her home.
She spotted it prancing along the tree line while the temperature hovered around zero.
"Kind of scary now, it's still cool."
The picture shows the coyote near their compost pile. She took the picture, it slipped around the corner and as gracefully as could be, jumped the neighbor's fence.
"Either a fox or a coyote, we have wetland in the backyard and it wonders through the backyard," said Dawn Swanson who lives down the street.
Plymouth police say the neighborhoods are prime habitat, full of wetlands, wildlife and plenty of forested cover.
This latest sighting is the only one we know of that neighbors have caught on camera, but it's likely not the only one around.
Comment: This is about a hundred yards from my house. Map below:
View Larger Map
If elected: Fiscal Mantra for McCain: Less Is More
[McCain] aid that he would consider resuscitating the work of a bipartisan tax-reform commission, appointed by Mr. Bush, whose 2005 report on simplifying the tax code was largely ignored by the administration. Using the process that has been used to close military bases, Mr. McCain said he would ask Congress to vote yes or no on an entire tax-simplification program.
Mr. McCain now favors the extension of the Bush income tax cuts, saying that letting them lapse would amount to a tax increase that would damage the economy. He said the Democrats’ plans to allow the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for households making at least $250,000 would simply redistribute wealth and lead to an endless fight over who was truly affluent.
Comment: My son says every Presidential candidate should take macro-economics. Here's The final report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform (pdf) (Suggestion: read the 2 page executive summary!)
As for the economics, oh my. The most this temporary tax cut will do is goose consumer spending for a quarter or two this year. Since the IRS is saying it won't be able to cut the checks until midyear, any recession might well be over, if it even begins. The money to pay for these rebates has to come from somewhere, which means from other taxpayers or from bondholders who lend money to the Treasury. Either way, Congress and the White House are taking money from someone to pass out to someone else. The income effects are thus a wash, as the economists put it, while the substitution effects (higher taxes on the best income producers to finance consumption among the lowest) are negative.
Americans lucky enough to qualify should enjoy this little windfall while they can, because the politicians are already planning to take it all back next year. After they're re-elected.
Comment: I'll take it if I get it, but my children and grandchildren will pay for it!
|@ PRISON||@ WORK|
|You spend most of your time in a 10X10 cell||you spend most of your time in an 6X6 cubicle|
|You get three meals a day, fully paid for||you get a break for one meal and You have to pay for it|
|For good behavior, you get time off||For good behavior, you get more work|
|The guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you||You must carry a security card And open all the doors yourself|
|You can watch TV and play games||you could get fired for watching TV and playing games|
|You get your own toilet||you have to share the toilet with People who pee on the seat|
|They allow your family and friends to visit||you aren't even supposed to speak To your family|
|All expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required||you must pay all your expenses to go To work, and they deduct taxes from Your salary to pay for prisoners|
|You spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out||you spend most of your time wanting To get out and go inside bars|
|You must deal with sadistic wardens||They are called 'managers'|
Comment: sent to me by a bored family member who works for a major Fortune 500 company!
Medicine Lake Ice Shanties: Community on ice
Comment: Audio slide show from the Star Tribune. Tomorrow will be a good day to check this out! See last week's posting.
Another slide show from the Minnesota Post
- Our garage opener finally died. We had hoped it would make it to Spring, but today it conked out. Tomorrow, very early (between 7 and 9 am - no sleeping in tomorrow!), Superior Garage Door will be here to replace it. (It's been acting up for a year (January 19th, 2007). I am having a half horsepower Liftmaster w. battery backup installed.
- My nice recliner is going in to Yankee Furniture Restoration for repairs. Roger loaded it in the truck last night and we just need to drive it down to Plymouth (Hwy 55) and drop it off.
- Blood donation at noon.
- Study for the Singles Bible Study at the library (Ephesians 1:3-14).
- I hope to see Rachel before dinner while it is still light. I want to drive her down to see the Ice Shanties.
- Rachel is coming for dinner.
Critiques of Spending Plan Retrace Old Debate
Most economists praised the deal as a necessary effort that by increasing the public debt to put cash swiftly into the hands of ordinary consumers, could limit the severity and duration of a recession and very likely spare some jobs.
Another big factor is that an increasing share of goods sold in the United States are made overseas. During the 2001 recession, 18 percent of what Americans spent on food and manufactured goods was imported, according to the Commerce Department. By 2006, the share had risen to 21 percent. “A great deal of any stimulus is going to be sent overseas,” said Alan Tonelson, a research fellow at the United States Business and Industry Council, a trade association of small manufacturers that lobbies to limit imports.
The most fervent proponents of free markets criticized the plan as a damaging intrusion by government that incurs public debt for dubious subsidies.
“The economy is working these things out,” said David R. Henderson, a libertarian economist at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. “We’ve got the housing crisis and the subprime, and all these things take a while to settle. The government just doesn’t have the discipline to kind of let things work out.”
“One of the factors that’s currently souring this economy is the prospect that taxes are going to be rising in the future,” said William W. Beach, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. “I’m concerned about the bang for the buck.”
Comments: My son and I were having a discussion about the merits of a tax rebate this morning. Both of us on on the libertarian side ... give it time and the economy will right itself. Meanwhile:
- Will Washington ever make the tax code easier? In my lifetime?
- The Steve Forbes' "fairer and flatter" idea resonates with me!
Flashback to 1999: New York Times: Flat-Tax Follies
The best point scored in the debate was by Senator McCain. He noted that what keeps overall rates high is the ability of powerful business groups to get tax breaks in return for campaign donations. ''Every time we pass a tax bill,'' he said, ''we add another special loophole and a special deal for the special interests.''
Don't Spend Your Stimulus Rebate!
If Uncle Sam sends you a check of a few hundred dollars as part of the new economic "stimulus" package, don't bother trying to stimulate the economy with it.
By far the smartest thing you can do with the money, if you can afford to, is to save it instead.
Comment: Best not to count one's chickens before they hatch ... but if and when that check comes, save it or invest it! I predict that thousands of Americans will be buying HD TV's, IPODs, and other gizmos! Don't be one of them.
Updated: Rebate details: Senate under pressure to approve stimulus deal to get tax rebates to workers in May
Under the agreement announced by the White House, Boehner and Pelosi, individual taxpayers would get up to $600 in rebates, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child. In a key concession to Democrats, 35 million families who make at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get $300 rebates.
The rebates would phase out gradually for individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 and for couples with incomes above $150,000. Contributions to IRA and 401(k) retirement accounts and health savings accounts would not count toward the income limit.
Bono confesses sins to 'father' Al Gore
Having climate campaigner Al Gore round to your house is to open yourself to a self-flagellating guilt trip, Irish rock star Bono confessed Thursday.
Sharing a stage with the former US vice president at the annual gathering of world movers and shakers in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, the U2 frontman joked that their friendship was a source of pressure on the domestic front.
"He's been round my house and it's like... here's the recycler Al, you know... I've got a posh car, but it runs on ethanol Al," Bono said.
Acknowledging that a career in rock music was not always conducive to a green lifestyle, Bono compared a conversation with Gore to an act of religious contrition.
"It's like being with an Irish priest. You start to confess your sins," he said. "Father Al, I am not just a noise polluter, I am a noise-polluting, diesel-soaking, gulfstream-flying rock star.
"I'm going to kick the habit. I'm trying father Al, but oil has been very good for me -- those convoys of articulated lorries, petrochemical products, hair gel."
Comment: At least Bono understands that Al is the High Priest of the Global Warming religion!
Rambo takes on Texas Ranger in Republican race
Rambo is lining up with Republican hopeful John McCain in the battle for the White House which could see him slug it out with Walker, Texas Ranger.
"I like McCain a lot," said US actor Sylvester Stallone, who plays the Rambo screen hero, as he threw his support behind McCain, who is taking a lead in the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
Hard on McCain's heels though is Mike Huckabee, already backed by Chuck Norris the actor who plays the Texas Ranger in the hit television series.
Stallone said of McCain, a Vietnam war veteran who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, that "there's something about matching the character with the script."
Comment: I hope these celebrity endorsements are taken with a grain of salt!
The King James Version Only Debate in Light of “The Translators to the Reader”
Excerpt: None .... read full article at link above
Comment: Worthwhile article.
The poet, Saw Wai, was arrested Tuesday, a day after his poem "February 14" was published in the popular weekly entertainment magazine "A Chit," or "Love," according to friends and colleagues who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing reprisals.
The eight-line poem in Burmese is about a man brokenhearted after falling for a fashion model, whom he thanks for having taught him the meaning of love.
But if read vertically, the first word of each line forms the phrase: "Power crazy Senior General Than Shwe."
Than Shwe, 74, who has headed the junta since 1992, has little tolerance for criticism. He keeps himself sequestered in his remote, newly built capital, Naypyitaw, deep in the countryside.
The junta regularly arrests dissidents and critics, and drew the world's condemnation after turning its troops on peaceful anti-government protesters last September. More than 30 people, including Buddhist monks who led the protests, were killed in the crackdown.
Saw Wai regularly writes innocuous love poems for Burmese-language magazines and journals. He is also a member of an organization of local artists and actors called White Rainbow which helps HIV-infected orphans.
"You have to be in love truly, madly, deeply and then you can call it real love," reads the poem for which he was arrested.
The verse ends with a call for unity in the name of love: "Millions of people who know how to love please clap your hands of gilded gold and laugh out loud."
The Burmese word for million is "Than" and the word for gold is "Shwe."
Comment: This article has blogworthy written all over it! Than Shwe is sometimes referred to as the The Bulldog of Burma!
Second Look Project
Comment: Abortion facts website sponsored by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Informative. Worth a look:
- Second Look Project: Statistics
- Second Look Project: Fetal development
- Second Look Project: US Law
- Second Look Project: Roe reality check
Below is a link that graphically illustrates the abortion holocaust!
46,000,000 and counting
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page. Look for the small blue dot above this text: "Click on that blue dot, and multiply in your mind by the number of dots you see on this page".
HT: The World from my window
HT: Ben Smith: The Politico
Gore’s Gay Marriage Gambit
Gore, who as vice president supported the Defense of Marriage Act, has put up a video on his Current TV Web site in which he stands up for gay marriage: “Gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women — to make contracts, to have hospital visiting rights, to join together in marriage, and I don’t understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage…”
Hillary and Say's Law
"But this stimulus shouldn't be paid for," Hillary Clinton said to Tim Russert in a recent interview, when he reminded her that she'd omitted a price tag somewhere. Shouldn't be?
Say hello to that old ghost from the past we thought banished by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. It's called "Keynesian Economics."
Ironically, even the brilliant John Maynard Keynes disowned it. After meeting with a group of Washington "Keynesians" in 1944, he said he was the only non-Keynesian in the room. His brainchild, government spending to stimulate demand, had been converted from its originally intended limited application to an all-purpose economic panacea by politicians, academics and journalists.
The fundamental principle of the Keynesians, one that Lord Keynes would have scoffed at, is that government can deliver something for nothing. To be sure, government does transfer income and wealth to favored constituencies, such as rice farmers or ethanol producers, from people who pay taxes. Washington calls that economic stimulus. The costless "stimulus" Sen. Clinton had in mind would be broader, although tilted toward low-income earners. The intent is to pump up consumer demand by showering "tax rebates" on people with a "greater propensity to spend."
Comment: Italized for emphasis!
There can be no demand without supply. A central element of Say's Law is that recession does not occur because of failure in demand or lack of money. The more goods (for which there is demand) that are produced, the more those goods (supply) can constitute a demand for other goods. For this reason, prosperity should be increased by stimulating production, not consumption. In Say's view, creation of more money simply results in inflation; more money demanding the same quantity of goods does not represent an increase in real demand.
Comment: Government needs to get out of the way and free the markets with less regulation! Sending checks to citizens (there's a part of me that wants it for myself!), will just create more consumption, not more production. Since much of what is consumed is produced overseas, it will not even help U.S. factories!
Obama's Clinton Education
One of our favorite Bill Clinton anecdotes involves a confrontation he had with Bob Dole in the Oval Office after the 1996 election. Mr. Dole protested Mr. Clinton's attack ads claiming the Republican wanted to harm Medicare, but the President merely smiled that Bubba grin and said, "You gotta do what you gotta do."
We're reminded of that story listening to Barack Obama protest his treatment by the now ex-President Clinton on behalf of his wanna-be-President wife. "You know the former President, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Mr. Obama told a TV interviewer. "He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts -- whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas."
Comment: The say anything, "gotta do what you gotta do" political speech is "so wonderfully Clintonian"!
'Thermonuclear Tuesday'? Only if you go to caucuses
Although the entire caucus normally lasts a few hours, the presidential preference voting will be among the first orders of business.
People attending the DFL caucuses will be able to cast a secret ballot for a presidential candidate between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Caucusgoers are not obligated to stay for the remaining caucus business.
Similarly, those who attend the GOP caucuses will conduct a vote during the first half-hour and can forgo the rest of the meeting.
However, it is not possible to vote in either party's preference ballot without going to the caucus location.
Comment: Good article from the Star Tribune with all the details: what happens, how to find caucus location, etc.
U.S. can learn from Japan's deflated economy in the 1990s
Then, as now, asset values rose to stratospheric heights. Then, as now, the bubble eventually popped. And then, as now, people initially believed the economy would soon regain its bearings.
But in post-bubble Japan, the economy didn't recover as expected. Instead, it stagnated — year after painful year — until the 1990s had earned the chilling sobriquet "the lost decade."
Now, as official Washington mobilizes to head off a possible recession, lessons from Japan's brush with prolonged economic misery are being revisited. They may offer a guidepost for everything from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's handling of interest rates to lawmakers' calls to jump-start a moribund economy with tax cuts or social spending.
The scale of Japan's 1980s boom and subsequent bust was breathtaking. In the five years before its 1989 peak, the Nikkei stock average rose 275%. Property prices became so inflated that the tiny spit of land surrounding the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo was briefly worth more than the entire state of California. At the time, Japan's seemingly unstoppable rise inflamed fears among Americans that the United States had slipped into permanent economic inferiority.
When the bubble finally popped in late 1989, stock and property prices nose-dived in tandem. In less than three years, the Nikkei stock average fell 63% from its peak of 38,916. It didn't hit bottom until April 2003 and a total decline of 80%. At Monday's close of 13,326, it remains a fraction of its record high.
Comment: Japan's economic experience explains the Fed's dramatic rate cut and the bi-partisan support for an economic stimulus package!
Paul Harmon, Missionary appointee to Uruguay:
Paul and Jo Anna Harmon are supported by Fourth Baptist Church, but I've yet to meet them. But I know Paul's Mom and Dad, Ralph and Karla; and we know their daughters as well. I just became aware of Paul's blog and comment him (and his blog) to you. Paul and Joanna are raising support to leave for Uruguay in a matter of a few months. I've added this blog to my links (lower right) and hope you will visit it.
Blog: Harmon's Heart
Lindsay T, Christian school teacher who serves on the Metro Women's Center Board:
Lindsay T and Colleen Tronson of Metro Women's Center started a blog and it too is worth visiting. Add both to your RSS reader!
Blog: Metro Womens Center
Dan Stahl, General Mills employee who serves as the web servant for Metro Womens Center:
Dan Stahl is the web master for Metro Women's Center an he and I just completed a major rewrite of the MWC website. Late last year, we converted all of the MWC email over to the educational version of Gmail. We formerly had 90 MB of email space for 5 email accounts, now we have 6 gigabytes of space for each of 8 email accounts. That's progress!
Metro Womens Center
I find it very encouraging to see these young adults serving the Lord in these ministries.
Extraordinary! Great! Revolutionary!
"Being a Mac user is like being a Navy Seal: a small, elite group of people
with access to the most sophisticated technology in the world, whom
everyone calls on to get the really tough jobs done quickly and
'Friend' inflation: Facebook popularity categories may boost egos but devalue the term
How did we arrive at this strange state of non-friend friends? Here's how.
A student's popularity has never been a mystery on campus. You see that everyone greets the campus tour guide while the wallflower silently slips by. You know the starting quarterback has a larger social circle than the treasurer of the biology club.
Comment: More terms:
- The Top Friend application.
- Popularity ranking.
- "I Have An Entourage."
- BFF = "Best Friends Forever"
Observation: People need real community, and it will not be found on the Internet, in a bar, or anywhere outside of a relationship with Christ. That relationship enables genuine community with others of God's family!
paleoevangelical: Good News, Bad News
As Abortion Rate Drops, Use of RU-486 Is on Rise
The pill, often called "miffy" after its chemical name mifepristone and brand name Mifeprex, also has helped slow the decline in abortion providers, as more physicians who previously did not perform the procedure discreetly start to prescribe the pill.
"The impact and the promise is huge," said Beth Jordan, medical director of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. "It's going a long way towards normalizing abortion."
Stratford Connecticut settlement map
Comment: My Sister, Mother, Kathee and I are planning a trip to Stratford Connecticut this Fall. Nancy (sister) has done extensive genealogical study on the Peets. John Peat was our first ancestor in the new world. This map shows his property (lot 67). Stratford Historical Society.
"No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses"
The Florida Bankers Association is urging its members to adopt new rules.
Not additional guards or cameras, but a dress code for customers.
The group rolled out a "No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses" program, which includes lobby signs asking customers to remove those items before approaching a teller.
Those who refuse would be directed to an area with more security or a more experienced teller.
"Bankers aren't just going to hope robbers won't come," FBA president Alex Sanchez said. "The 'No Hats' program is one more layer of protection for banks, employees and bank customers."
The dress code is optional, and some banks say they have no plans to adopt it. Wachovia, among the largest banks in Florida, is one of them.
Comment: A common sense approach - like "No shirt, no shoes, no service" in a restaurant or store!
Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Comment: These is no except of the letter - readers are encouraged to click through and read it in its entirety. I'm not old enough to remember much about Martin Luther King, but I am old enough to have a knowledge of the gross racial injustices on the black race. I witnessed first hand the "colored" rest rooms and the "colored" drinking fountains. I remember at a Junior High class end of year party that negros* were not permitted to attend a swim event. Reading MLK's Letter From a Birmingham Jail is an appropriate way to remember him this day! (* as they were then called!)
What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores
For a $1,399 fee, TradeLine adds the borrower’s name to a stranger’s recently paid-off loan just before the account is closed. The account, with its perfect payment history, is then added to the borrower’s credit record in 30 to 45 days.
Ted Stearns, chief executive of TradeLine Solutions, said he came up with what the company calls its “seasoned primary accounts” program using a “loophole” in the law. Adding a single account can raise a credit score by 35 to 40 points, he said. But most clients purchase three accounts, at $1,399 for the first one and slight discounts for subsequent ones, to increase a score from say 560 to 700, he said.
The program’s concept, he said, is similar to someone’s buying a car and taking over somebody else’s car loan or lease account at the time of purchase — except, in this case, there is no balance on the account. The original borrower is unaware that a new name is being attached to the account, he said. Mr. Stearns defended his program. “I am a legal entity that conducts business throughout the state of California and the entire continental U.S.”
But Craig Watts, consumer affairs manager at the credit analysis firm Fair Isaac Corporation, said the program raised red flags.
“They’re falsifying the person’s credit history, and that’s one definition of loan fraud,” Mr. Watts said. Even if TradeLine has found a legal loophole to offer the program, the people using the program are knowingly raising their credit scores artificially when applying for a loan or refinancing, he said, adding, “If the borrower is deliberately misrepresenting himself and his credentials to the lender, that’s loan fraud.”
Comment: This legal “loophole” is fraud!
Who Needs a 401(k)? I’d Rather Have a Castle
[There is] a newly overwhelming lust for space. In 1950, the average American home measured just 938 square feet. By 2005, the average had grown to 2,434 square feet.
The rise in house sizes has not been accompanied by qualitative leaps in the use of space. Yes, there have been innumerable technological advances in everything from heating and air-conditioning to kitchen appliances. Home theaters and so-called mud rooms, for changing into and out of foul-weather garments, have become the rage.
But as Mr. McGinn notes, “Unlike the robber baron-era mansions, modern-day megahomes don’t feature dozens of bedrooms or entirely new kinds of rooms — they mostly just take the rooms you’d find in a normal house and make them really, really big.”
The challenge of filling up those rooms, he adds, is being met by outsize furnishings like the “extreme ultra king bed” that is 12 feet long and 10 feet wide.
Book: House Lust: America’s Obsession With Our Homes
Above is an aerial picture of where I grew up (in Fort Wayne Indiana):
Address: 4061 S Monroe Street, Fort Wayne, IN, 46806
My parents bought this house for $ 9,600 in 1950. It had 2 bedrooms, and 1 bath. Along the way, my Father built a bedroom in the attic and finished the basement. My Dad also built the garage in the backyard (note the alley). The inset picture in the upper left is not the exact house, but a home currently for sale in the same neighborhood that looks much like my boyhood home (remove the dormer and it is almost identical!). My guess is the square footage (with the finished basement and attic bedroom) was about 1,200 sq. ft.
The Christian Woodstock
Explo .... saw evangelicals shedding some of their cultural conservatism. Every night, Christian rock music had the delegates in the Cotton Bowl swaying and singing before Mr. Bright or Mr. Graham took the stage. On the final night of the event, tens of thousands of other Dallas residents joined the students for a "Jesus Music Festival" featuring the music of Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. The young people in attendance danced to the music and pointed their index fingers to the sky in the "one way" symbol of the Jesus Movement.
Looking back, it is hard to appreciate just how revolutionary these steps were for evangelicals in 1972. Crusade's Mr. Bright, one of the most influential evangelicals of the post-World War II generation, had long rejected rock music -- along with long hair and dancing. Less than a year before Explo, he told a reporter that rock 'n' roll "wasn't for us . . . because of the complaints of ex-addicts." At the time, conservative evangelicals strongly associated rock music with drug abuse. Mr. Bright's son Zachary remembers telling his father: "You can have a conservative view of music and keep what worked for you, or you can win [young people to Christ]." "I'd rather win," Campus Crusade's president responded.
The organization's embrace of rock music at Explo '72 went a long way toward revolutionizing evangelicalism's relationship with popular culture. Only a few fundamentalists seriously swim against the cultural tide today. Explo may not have changed the world, but it changed American evangelicalism.
Comment: Article is about how Mike How Huckabee became "a hip evangelical politician". I was with Campus Crusade for Christ in '71-72, but left before Explo '72.
In short, there is virtually no empirical evidence that tax rebates are an effective response to economic slowdowns. The increased personal saving doesn't help the economy because the federal budget deficit, which can be thought of as negative saving, offsets all of it in the aggregate. The main benefit of a tax rebate would seem to be political -- giving politicians a way of appearing to be doing something about the nation's economic problems that is superficially plausible.
A new rebate probably won't do much harm. But anyone who thinks it will prevent a recession -- if one is actually in the pipeline, which is not at all certain -- is dreaming. It's an insult to Keynes even to call a tax rebate Keynesian economics. It should be called "feel good economics" because its only real effect is to make politicians feel good about themselves and buy re-election with the public purse.
Comment: Better: make Bush's tax cuts permanent!
New credit-score method forgiving
Fair Isaacs Co. of Minneapolis, the company that devised the complex algorithm that computes the credit score used by 90 percent of the nation's top 100 banks, has tweaked it so that bad credit risks will be more broadly separated from the good ones.
The fifth generation of the formula comes at a critical time as lenders more closely scrutinize customers for creditworthiness following the collapse of the subprime mortgage sector.
"It predicts the likelihood a person will become 90 days late or more — seriously delinquent — on any credit obligation in the next two years," said Craig Watts, spokesman for Fair Isaacs.
The credit score has become as common as the penny. Everyone has one, and many haven't a clue what to do with it.
Visa USA recently found that two of every five consumers hasn't ever checked their credit score and have no idea if it's good or bad. And just one in five checked it at all last year.
Comment: Sad to think that ignorance of one's FICO score (in the story ... not the excerpt) could cost one $ 100 per month for 30 years!)
Living History: In the real Old West, the outlaws didn't always win
In mid-December 1882, five men robbed John Devine's store at Deep Creek (now Ibapah), Tooele County, and fled toward their hideout, pausing en route to rob a sheep camp and a cattle ranch.
A posse went in pursuit, but the bandits seized them, relieved them of their guns and horses and sent them back to town on foot.
One month later, the engineer of the Central Pacific's Train No. 1 pulled into the Montello water stop, just west of the Nevada-Utah line, at 1 a.m. The engineer climbed down to investigate the red caution lights blinking frantically on the tracks ahead. He was immediately surrounded by masked men who robbed the train crew of their watches and cash, then locked them in the tank house.
They then ran to their real prize, the Wells Fargo express car. Its safe, guarded by a single expressman, nearly always carried large sums of cash and gold.
Aaron Y. Ross, the quick-thinking Wells Fargo guard on duty that night, awoke to the sound of the bandits pounding on his express car door. "Give me time to get my boots on, will you?" he called, as he piled boxes in front of the door and barricaded himself behind piles of merchandise.
Comment: Interesting Wells Fargo history article from Utah.
How thick is the ice?
I called Harties to check. He informed me that the ice is 16"-20" thick with no dangerous areas on the lake.
Comment: Dan S and I connected this morning to review the Metro Womens Center website. Then we took a drive down to Medicine Lake to check out the Art Shanty project. The temperature was -10!
The ones I liked:
- The "office scene". We enlisted a bystander to sit in the office. He in turn took our picture.
- The "refrigerator" house. The walls are festooned with refrigerator doors. It's like "the viewer is inside the refrigerator ... the inside of the house is the the outside of the refrigerator".
- The yellow house is the "ice taxi stand". The artist is "Kate". The taxi stand has decorated ice taxis to take patrons on a tour of the lake.
I'm about ready to leave to take Kathee down to view. It's worth the trip! See yesterday's post for details!
Update: We just returned ... but I did not have my camera with me:
Kathee calls this one the "Party Shanty". It was off the trailer and in motion. It is powered by pedal-power.
The spaceship is still under construction but advanced beyond the time of this photo. The middle section swings (not sure why!) and the dome is now completed.
NTSB's findings on bridge collapse have political consequences
Some DFLers have tied the bridge collapse to Pawlenty's veto of a transportation and gas-tax bill last year. But the governor said today that the report helps separate transportation funding from the bridge issue.
"It shifts the debate where it should be, which is: have that debate about those needs, do it in a respectful, factual manner, and quit exploiting the bridge tragedy to advance their political agenda," Pawlenty said.
"I would hope people would at least have the decency to correct their statements," he said of those who said his veto helped bring down the bridge.
Comment: Answer: They will not!
Mich. couple killed in accident leave $1.6 million to surprised friends, neighbors
Farmer Willis Hatch and his schoolteacher wife, Arlene, lived simply but blissfully together for 57 years before dying in an auto accident in November.
Now, about 70 of their friends and neighbors are surprised to find themselves a collective $1.6 million richer as the beneficiaries of the late couple's frugality and generosity.
Judging by the amount of money they doled out, the couple had many friends, including fellow parishioners at Alto United Methodist Church, where many of the beneficiaries are members.
"We, the whole church, are obviously grateful to them, and grateful to God that he gave them to us," said the Rev. Dean Bailey.
Added Bailey's wife, Jan: "They left a lot to the people they'd loved, and I think everybody was surprised."
That included the Baileys, who were notified that the Hatches had left the church about $50,000 toward a fund trying to raise $800,000 for a new building. Their gift, said the pastor, represents "about a year's worth of our fundraising capability."
Comment: My parents grew up in Alto and I have cousins there. My folks were married in the Alto Methodist Church.
Who's getting abortions? Not who you'd think
By contrast, Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., calls herself a “reformed murderer” for undergoing two abortions when she was young.
Now an outspoken anti-abortion campaigner, King says the best way to reduce abortions among black women is to dissuade more of them from premarital sex.
“We give free sex education, free condoms, free birth control,” she complained. “That’s almost like permission to have free sex, and the higher the rate of sexual activity, the higher the rate of unintended pregnancy.”
Anti-abortion activist Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union says many blacks are unaware of their community’s high abortion rate.
“We don’t talk about it,” Gardner said. “It’s a silent killer among us.”
She contends that abortion-rights supporters tempt black women into abortion by suggesting they can’t afford to raise the child. But Gardner also acknowledges that some black women make this argument on their own.
“We had the whole civil rights movement — now we’re in a place where we’re moving further toward equality,” Gardner said. “So women think, ‘For once, I can see the American dream. I can have the house and the job, but it would postpone it to have another child. I can’t afford to take time off.’ ”
Comment: So called by Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Energy independence will reduce or eliminate terrorism.
- A big push for alternative fuels will break our oil addiction.
- Energy independence will let America choke off the flow of money to nasty countries.
- Energy independence will mean reform in the Muslim world.
- Energy independence will mean a more secure U.S. energy supply.
Excerpt: ... we're woven in with the rest of the world -- and going to stay that way. Today, in addition to gasoline imports, the United States is buying crude oil from Angola, jet fuel from South Korea, natural gas from Trinidad, coal from Colombia and uranium from Australia. Those imports show that the global energy market is just that: global. Anyone who argues that the United States will be more secure by going it alone on energy hasn't done the homework.
Comment: Good article. Additionally the sad fact is that alternative fuels are less cost effective than oil (for example ethanol!). Forthcoming book: Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence