Why would these people vote against this bill during an election year? Maybe they're morally indignant against rewarding the financially incompetent. Maybe they know their constituents are by and large already sick and tired of the Federalies bailing out incompetent financial institutions. People hate subsidizing failure, just as a dad feels apprehensive about buying his kid another car after he totals the first one.
No plan should be put into action untiul we have rock-solid assurances that the reckless activities that sank these financial institutions will come to an abrupt end.
Some people find this rather amusing, but I don't. I believe that stories like this actually reinforce the Islamofascist prejudice that Western-style freedoms by necessity leads women down a sleazy path.
If the rest of PETA isn't condemning this letter from its vice president Tracy Reiman, that proves that the organization is 100% certifiably insane. Literally, clinically insane.
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.
Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.
Anybody venture to guess how much human milk that would require? One blogger does the math:
Ben & Jerry's makes 13,000,000 gallons of ice cream per year. Call it 36,000 gallons per day. It takes 1 1/2 gallons of milk to make a gallon of ice cream. So 54,000 gallons of milk per day. Cows can produce roughly 5 gallons of milk per day. Humans, roughly 1/3 of a gallon.
So, what PETA's suggesting is replacing 11,000 cows with 160,000 humans. 160,000 full-time, lactating humans.
Tonight a number of Christian organizations will be attending a Ramadan dinner whose guests include Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some are incensed:
Ahmadinejad is a menace to freedom-loving people the world over, and the sight of religious groups embracing him is nauseating," Donohue told UPI. "The Catholic League is proud to take part in this rally, and we encourage people of all religious groups to have a contingent represent them on Thursday evening."
The Christian groups behind the event to honor Ahmadinejad are the American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, Quaker United Nations Office, Religions for Peace and the World Council of Churches, UPI reported.
Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, encouraged people to protest the event.
"As if beating, imprisoning and killing women, Christians and other Iranians is not enough, Iranian leaders' thirst for death spills over its borders to kill and wound American military and innocent civilians in Iraq," she said.
"Ahmadinejad has grabbed the baton of his genocidal predecessors to threaten the extinction of the Jewish people and their homeland Israel. This is history repeating itself, proving again that evil exists and there is never a lack of 'useful idiots' to support the embodiment of evil."
Jesus himself dined with dubious sorts - but in what context? For those of you who brought your Bibles, turn to Matthew 9:10-12:
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
How are these organizations acting as physician to a morally sick Iranian government that seeks to destroy Israel, persecutes its citizens (especially women and non-Muslims), and that wages war against the United States through guerilla forces in Iraq and, every great once in a while during this century and the previous one, through Hezbollah?
Here is an official statement about the event by Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee. Read it and point out where you see the physician at work. I am intrigued by this portion (emphasis added):
A major purpose [of the dinner] is to continue dialogue with the Iranian people and their president.
Iran has a massive dissident population, especially among its youth. Who at the dinner represents the dissidents?
The Mennonite Central Committee statement is here. Exectuive director Arli Klassen appears to realize that Iran is our enemy:
"As Christians, we take Jesus' Sermon on the Mount very seriously and say 'Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you,'" Klassen said. "Right now the U.S. and Iran are defining each other as enemies and so, as Christians, we are trying to promote dialogue, understanding and bridge-building, rather than leading to war."
I will nitpick one portion of this - does Iran as a whole, or just its government, define the United States as an enemy? Has MCC met with its dissidents population in order to foster greater understanding of Iranian culture?
This catches my eye:
"Many persons around the world have interpreted your public rhetoric as a threat to destroy the state of Israel," said Ron Flaming, MCC's director of international programs, in a September 2007 meeting with President Ahmadinejad.
"This does not match what some of us have heard you say privately, where you stated that there is not a military solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," Flaming said. "If it is not your intention to destroy Israel, for the sake of understanding, for the sake of peace, for the sake of a bridge, we urge you to clearly and publicly say so."
Has it not occurred to you that the president of a totalitarian government might be conning you, Ron? Not having Ahmadinejad's exact words, I cannot assess them. But this quote from a 2006 appearance in Malaysia, seems pretty clear:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate halt to fighting in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.
"Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented," he said.
Perhaps Flaming is misinterpreting calls for short-term ceasefires with a desire for a long-term plan that allows Israel to continue to exist? I wasn't listening in on Flamong's conversations, so I don't know what he heard.
First, Congress could eliminate or reduce the capital gains tax...
Second, Congress could cut corporate taxes and small business taxes in general...
Third, the SEC should suspend the "mark-to-market" accounting rules for long-term assets that are driving firms into bankruptcy. Essentially, these regulatory rules are forcing firms to value their assets at much lower prices than what they would be worth long-term. The intent of mark-to-market regulation was to keep firms from overvaluing themselves and deceiving investors. Instead the law has artificially devalued financial institutions as a whole, which hurts their investors...
Fourth, Congress should repeal Sarbanes-Oxley, which is driving away entrepreneurial spirit. This law, passed in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom collapses, was intended to rein in corporate fraud. But the rules it put in place have not protected America from perverse profit motives brought on by the "too big to fail" philosophy. It has instead frightened off new business ideas with bureaucratic nightmares—$3 million per startup annual accounting fees—that are weakening the economy.
First, suspend the mark-to-market rule which is insanely driving companies to unnecessary bankruptcy...
Second, repeal Sarbanes-Oxley...One firm told me they would bring more than 20 companies public in the next year if the law was repealed. Its Sarbanes-Oxley’s $3 million per startup annual accounting fee that is keeping these companies private.
Third, match our competitors in China and Singapore by going to a zero capital gains tax. Private capital will flood into Wall Street with zero capital gains and it will come at no cost to the taxpayer. Even if you believe in a static analytical model in which lower capital gains taxes mean lower revenues for the Treasury, a zero capital gains tax costs much less than the Paulson plan. And if you believe in a historic model (as I do), a zero capital gains tax would lead to a dramatic increase in federal revenue through a larger, more competitive and more prosperous economy.
Fourth, immediately pass an "all of the above" energy plan designed to bring home $500 billion of the $700 billion a year we are sending overseas.
No plan would be complete without elimination of the Community Reinvestment Act. Everybody (other than foreign enemies who want to see the United States fall) loses when lenders are forced to make bad mortgages - borrowers lose their homes, lenders like Fannie and Freddie wind up with unmarketable mortgage certificates.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election.
Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign issue after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.
"If true, this capitulation by Democrats following months of Republican pressure is a big victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices," said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio.
Democrats had clung to the hope of only a partial repeal of the drilling moratorium, but the White House had promised a veto, Obey said.
The House is expected to act on the spending bill Wednesday. The Senate is likely to go along with the House.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were created by the United States government, and we allow these institutions to funnel cash to politicians. The cast of Deliverance wasn't this incestuous. You want to see the Dow go up? Place a ban on campaign contributions from these entities. You want to see it go up further? Put an end to government sponsored enterprises. Completely privatize Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and their kin. If they can't stand on their own, competent financial firms will buy out their sorry hides. Central planning over lending is eating our lunch. It's time for central planning to eat it.
Today's subject is Freewill by Rush. Here is a live performance of the song.
Note the running clothes dryers on stage - concert tours must not leave a lot of time for doing the laundry.
This song goes wrong by confusing the definition of "free will" - autonomy over one's thoughts and deeds, the ability to act without coercion that impels to do otherwise. Let's look at the chorus:
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill I will choose a path that's clear, I will choose freewill
First: people coerce, religious (or secular) belief does not. Paranoia ("phantom fears") does not coerce, either, unless it is rooted in brain chemical imbalances. According to Wikipedia, the "kindness that can kill" refers to socialism - socialist governments do coerce.
Second: the last line is a non sequitur, which brings an entirely new topic into the song. The "path that's clear" reference is relevant not to whether one has the ability to choose, but whether one can recognize the best of available choices. Sometimes the wisest path is hazy, other times it's not but human foolishness chooses another - you see both kinds of freewill at work on Wall Street.
Here's the Quote of the Week, from the latest issue of the EIA Communiqué:
There is no incompatibility between a woman who's a teacher and who works as a sex worker. I can't imagine what the problem would be." – Catherine Healy, national coordinator of the Prostitutes Collective in New Zealand, discussing the case of a primary school teacher who is moonlighting as a prostitute. Prostitution is legal in New Zealand. (September 21 New Zealand Herald)
Update: In comments I addressed feminist opposition to Palin:
As to why feminists hate Palin, there's more to it than simply the fact that she opposes many of their policies. Palin defies the Stepford Wife conservative stereotype that the feminists have long preached as gospel. She does far more than desecrate the feminist image of womanhood - by discrediting false prophecies about conservatives she undermines the credibility of the prophets. The false prophets are fighting back.
I should qualify this comment by specifying gender feminism (using Christina Hoff Sommers' term) as the brand of feminism under question.
For all you fans of Palin Derangement Syndrome - check out these opening words from a 1993 Time Magazine article on Texas' first female US senator:
Gloria Steinem flew to Texas all the way from New York City to call Senate candidate Kay Bailey Hutchison a "female impersonator." Actress Annie Potts of Designing Women pooh-poohed the Republican's vague stance on abortion rights, saying, "She's just the same old thing in a skirt." Columnist Molly Ivins hung the epithet "Breck girl" on her, comparing the way the candidate tossed her blond hair to the slow-motion antics of models in the shampoo commercial. But Hutchison, the Texas state treasurer, survived those and many other attacks. Last week she defeated Democrat Bob Krueger, winning the seat vacated in January by Lloyd Bentsen and becoming the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.
That Breck Girl epithet is a lot older than many of y'all thought...
A senior Saudi cleric has said purveyors of horoscopes on Arab television should face the death penalty, a paper said on Sunday, days after another cleric argued death for TV owners.
"Sorcerers who appear on satellite channels who are proven to be sorcerers have committed a great crime ... and the Muslim consensus is that the apostate's punishment is death by the sword," Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan told al-Madina daily.
Read this transcript from John McCain's appearance on The View. Whoopi Goldberg actually asks John McCain if a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution could open the possibility of a return to slavery.
This should have been McCain's response:
"The Constitution must be interpreted according to the original intent of its authors. The Founders did not enumerated a right to abortion [the subject of the conversation]. Their original intent did include rules for amending the constitution. None of those amendments addressed abortion, but one did outlaw slavery. Whoopi's worries on that issue are unfounded."
Update: You can write the program here - as I did.
I missed one irony in the Jesus/Pilate flap, pointed out by James Taranto - Cohen is Jewish.
To our mind, though, the bigger blunder consists in likening Obama to Jesus. Cohen is not a Christian, which means he does not believe Jesus is the Messiah. But most Americans do, making this a problematic comparison given that some of Obama's critics have accused him of having a messiah complex.
Even more problematic: Cohen's analogy likens his political ally Obama to a man his faith regards as a false prophet.
I'll be honest with you. I'd been giving consideration to third-party candidates. As a conservative with a renewed pledge to bear the legacy of America's Founders, I wasn't going to simply concede to the McCain ticket unless he made a credible (and what might be viewed as a radical) choice for vice president.
McCain is a good man, solid in character, and fully capable to lead our country into the future. But America also needs a fresh, reputable outsider who isn't afraid to confront Washington corruption, government gridlock or partisan paralysis. When I heard Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was McCain's choice, I knew she was a woman whom Americans could support and trust. Sarah is tough, smart, competent, credible and confident enough to fight those even in her own party. I believe she even will help to keep McCain accountable and in check.
Regarding the lipstick on a pig quote, I think the proper Palin response should be this: "A champion of pork like Barack Obamaa would do well to look for a different metaphor."
This quote from Tennessee Congressindividual Steve Cohen is a doozy:
Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about. Pontius Pilate was a governor.
My immediate thoughts:
Gee, I wonder how former governors Bill Clinton and Howard Dean reacted to this?
Is it really a good idea to reinforce the messianic aura that surrounds Obama and that has given so much fodder to Team McCain?
And most importantly:
Does "community organizer" - in the sense as applied to Obama - really describe what Jesus did on Earth?
The answer is no. A community organizer is a local political activist. Jesus did not lobby the Judean or Roman governments, although he did publicly criticize the former. (Obama, by contrast, does not have a record of criticizing his locality's entrenched political class.)
(The only community Jesus organized on Earth was a seminary with a 91.7% successful graduation rate - or higher, if you count latter apostle Matthias and non-Apostolic members of Jesus' circle like Lazarus, Mary and Martha.)
Acording to Stanley Kurtz's article on Obama's tied to ACORN, one community organizer function is to arrange peaceful mass protests, a phenomenon that is not cited in the New Testament and is thus not comparable to the doings of either Jesus or Pilate.
If anyone associated with this campaign has a parallel with the Gospels, it's Obama's Weather Underground cronies, not any of the candidates. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn would have felt at home with the Zealots, the faction that sought the violent overthrow of the Roman government.
They have a good point about the GOP convention playing one of their songs grossly out of context, but they could have presented their case in more diplomatic fashion. I present mine in Rottweiler comments
I have a question for the segment of Obama's supporters who supported him from the beginning and who believe that Palin is not sufficiently experienced: if that's such an important criterion, why did you choose a first-term senator over Hillary and Biden?
Some people say that Bristol Palin's pregnancy proves that abstinence-only sex education doesn't work. This assumes that Bristol did not know the existence of contraceptives, that people will always use them once gaining that knowledge, and that contraceptives are 100% effective. (Is this how they explain John Edwards?)
Note the contrast between the dominant attitudes toward the other-party veep picks: conservatives roaring with laughter at Biden, liberals screaming with rage at Palin.
Some said that McCain should have made a "safe" pick. I have news for y'all: HE DID. His other choices were either yawners, non-conservatives, weak conservatives, a Mormon (many Christian voters are alienated by a religion that says its followers are Christians and Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox aren't), a guy who hasn't completed his mission to clean up Louisiana's hive of political scum and villainy, and really great guys whose age would be a PR liability (like Richard Armey, my favorite old-guy Republican). Who does that leave?
As president, I'll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War. But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.
Note that McCain is not promising that there won't be a return to the Cold War; only the government that started that war can make such a promise. He is promising diplomacy, which he hopes will sway Russia to seek peaceful coexistence with us.
This was his best moment:
My friends, if you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you're disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist (applause) enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an -- an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed.
Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.
Update: When the protesters interrupted, he shoudl have taken the high road and said, "Don't tase them, bro."
My sister Heather and her husband, they just built a service station that's now open for business. Like millions of others who run small businesses, how are they -- (applause) -- how are they going to be better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio -- (cheers) -- or you're trying -- you're trying to create jobs from clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia. (Cheers, applause.) Or you're trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota. (Cheers, applause.) How are you -- how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?
"In the 32-year history of Focus on the Family, we have offered prayer, counseling and resource assistance to tens of thousands of parents and children in the same situation the Palins are now facing. We have always encouraged the parents to love and support their children and always advised the girls to see their pregnancies through, even though there will of course be challenges along the way. That is what the Palins are doing, and they should be commended once again for not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances.
"Being a Christian does not mean you're perfect. Nor does it mean your children are perfect. But it does mean there is forgiveness and restoration when we confess our imperfections to the Lord. I've been the beneficiary of that forgiveness and restoration in my own life countless times, as I'm sure the Palins have.
"The media are already trying to spin this as evidence Gov. Palin is a 'hypocrite,' but all it really means is that she and her family are human. They are in my prayers and those of millions of Americans."
Ed Morissey has been there. Check out what he has to say.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce? The "strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country" is dependent on five factors:
Liberty. Laws regarding commerce and property rights are relatively fair and consistent. Taxation levels, while far from ideal, are such that (except in a few areas) they do not choke out business startups and growth. The streets are free from warfare and from government pogroms.
Culture. Society generally encourages private-sector employment; in several African nations, by contrast, the college-educated gravitate heavily toward government jobs. The rate of crimes against person and property, except in various urban neighborhoods, is not so high that businesses are driven away.
Entrepreneurs. These are the people responsible for the organization of an entire company, the establishment of its entire product line, and the assumption of the risk inherent in the venture.
Investors. Businesses must be financed. Outside sources such as banking institutions and stockholders routinely invest in established businesses, and occasionally provide capital for startups. Investors assume some degree of risk.
Labor. Traditionally this term is used to signify all non-managerial positions within a company. I use it to refer to include all non-entrepreneurial positions in a company. The common usage of "labor" and "management" insinuates that managers (including entrepreneurs) don't really do anything, that their organizational duties isn't really "work." I use "entrepreneur" and "labor" to distinguish between those responsible for an entire company and those responsible for portions of it.
Happy Commerce Day! Drink a toast to the Bill of Rights, peaceful citizens, Bill Gates, Wall Street, and all your coworkers.