why didn't the Democrats...
get rid of subsidies to oil companies?
They like to complain about them-- quite reasonably-- but unfortunately, they have not taken action in eliminating them.
Thanks for coming! I plan to post a lot of interesting articles and comment on a wide range of things-- from political to religious, from private to public, from formal writing on public policy to snippets on random observations.
get rid of subsidies to oil companies?
They must be pre-paid!
Kyle had an awesome sermon on Sunday. In the second of a three-sermon series on "bumper sticker beliefs", he tackled society's overarching obsession with tolerance. I encourage you to listen to it, but will list some key take-aways here...
Some miscellaneous stuff from the opening:
-Tolerance is a core value, but most people can't define it (at least in a coherent manner).
-He has a funny line about a Christian approach to "alternative lifestyles".
-He wrestles with the traditional and new definitions of tolerance-- from recognize and respect (accepting) to seeing all as equally valid/true (approving).
-He asserted that Matthew 7:1 is now the world's most popular verse (although most people in the world read it like a stereotypical "fundamentalist"-- without appropriate context!).
-As an aside, one should read the entire passage and note the extent to which judgment is common and crucial to the passage!
Kyle posed five questions in determining whether one should "tolerate" something or not (under the new definition of tolerance):
1.) Is there sin in my life that I haven't dealt with? Obviously this is a red herring if taken to any extreme (no one could judge anything), but rampant, pre-meditated, unaddressed sin-- especially in the same arena in which one is trying to critique others-- is ridiculous.
2.) Is the person a Christian or non-Christian? Here, Kyle used the huge text in I Corinthians 5. Often, we reverse the Biblical injunction and spend the most time/energy in critiquing the world, then the Church, then ourselves.
3.) Have I dealt with this situation personally? Instead, the common response is often gossip. Or in the case of a community of faith that practices “church discipline”—to let the elders take of it. But the Biblical injunction, in Matthew 18:15-17, is to take care of business mano-y-mano. This is quite difficult to do—not just to correct but to restore. See: Galatians 6:1.
4.) Is this a “disputable thing” (a la Romans 14:1)? If so, leave it alone!
5.) Is love my motivation in approaching this situation? If not, check your heart!
Kyle used a quote from Josh McDowell to underline this point:
Tolerance says, "You must approve of what I do."
Love responds, "I must do something harder; I will love you, even when your behavior offends me."
Tolerance says, "You must agree with me."
Love responds, "I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced 'the truth will set you free.' "
Tolerance says, "You must allow me to have my way."
Love responds, "I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk."
Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.
I caught bits of Richard Land's interview with Arthur Brooks this weekend on his radio show.
From Stephanie Simon in the WSJ (hat tip: Linda Christiansen)...
Flush with cash, Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide are aggressively expanding their reach, seeking to woo more affluent patients with a network of suburban clinics and huge new health centers that project a decidedly upscale image.
The nonprofit, which traces its roots to 1916, has long focused on providing birth control, sexual-health care and abortions to teens and low-income women. While those groups still make up the majority of Planned Parenthood's patients, executives say they are "rebranding" their clinics to appeal to women of means -- a move that opens new avenues for boosting revenue and, they hope, political clout.
Two elegant new health centers have been built, and at least five more are on the way; the largest, in Houston, will be 75,000 square feet. They feature touches such as muted lighting, hardwood floors and airy waiting rooms in colors selected by marketing experts -- as well as walls designed to withstand a car's impact should an antiabortion protest turn violent.
Planned Parenthood has also opened more than two dozen quick-service "express centers," many in suburban shopping malls. Some sell jewelry, candles, books and T-shirts, along with contraception....
Antiabortion groups point out that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, reported a record $1 billion in annual revenue in its most recent financial report -- about a third of that coming from federal and state grants to care for low-income women. The nonprofit ended the year with a surplus of $115 million, or about 11% of its revenue, and net assets of $952 million.
"Why are we giving them so much money?" asked Jim Sedlak, vice president of the anti-abortion American Life League. "As they reach out to more and more affluent customers," he added, "that will bolster our argument that we shouldn't be giving them any government funds."...
[And] some of Planned Parenthood's political allies question the allocation of those resources.
Last spring, the nonprofit -- which has 882 clinics nationwide -- dropped its crusading mission statement setting out the rights of all individuals, no matter their income, to "reproductive self-determination." In its place, Planned Parenthood adopted a crisp pledge to "leverage strength through our affiliated structure to be the nation's most trusted provider of sexual and reproductive health care." Ms. Richards says the new statement implies expanded services for all -- she's especially eager to draw more male patients -- but some outsiders wonder why it no longer mentions affordability or access."This is not the Planned Parenthood we all grew up with... they now have more of a business approach, much more aggressive," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, who runs abortion clinics in Texas and Maryland.
Ms. Hagstrom Miller competes with Planned Parenthood for abortion patients -- and finds it deeply frustrating. She does not receive the government grants or tax-deductible donations that bolster Planned Parenthood, and says she can't match the non-profit's budget for advertising or clinic upgrades. She has carved her own niche by touting her care as more holistic -- and by charging $425 for a first-trimester surgery at her Austin clinic, compared with $475 at the local Planned Parenthood. (Both Ms. Hagstrom Miller and Planned Parenthood say they work out discounts and payment plans for the needy.)
"They're not unlike other big national chains," Ms. Hagstrom Miller said. "They put local independent businesses in a tough situation."...
Even as the total number of abortions in the U.S. has dropped, the number performed by Planned Parenthood has grown steadily, to nearly 290,000 a year....
Independent providers often consider Planned Parenthood a partner in the fight to preserve abortion rights, but they'd like to see the nonprofit focus more on expanding access for the destitute or for isolated rural residents....
The strategy draws new patients -- and revenue. In Illinois, for instance, Planned Parenthood officials say they take a loss of nearly $1 on each packet of birth-control pills distributed to poor women under the federal Title X program, which funds reproductive care. But the group makes a profit of nearly $22 on each month of pills sold to an adult who can afford to pay full price out of pocket....Their payments can then be used to subsidize other operations -- health care for the poor, sex education for teens, or political activism....
The new strategy is also designed to protect Planned Parenthood from any cutbacks in government funding while strengthening its ability to pursue its political agenda....
Nationally, Planned Parenthood's political-action arm plans to raise $10 million to influence the fall campaign. Under federal tax law, the health-care wing of Planned Parenthood cannot support political candidates but can mobilize voters and advocate on issues such as abortion rights and sex education in schools.
To encourage the new wave of patients to join the cause, an express center in Parker, Colo., sells political buttons next to the condoms and sets out invitations to activism by the magazine rack. A 52,000-square-foot center opening this summer in Denver uses about 20% of its space for health care; roughly 40% is for meetings, including political work....
From Gary North via LewRockwell.com...
If voters can be made to feel guilty about their economic success, they can be manipulated. This is why the politics of guilt manipulation is at the heart of the welfare state.
In a systematic political program to make people feel guilty, the Social Gospel movement within Protestantism has played an important role for over a century. Economist-historian Murray Rothbard in a 1986 essay, "The Progressive Era and the Family," described this development.
In many cases, leading progressive intellectuals at the turn of the twentieth century were former pietists who went to college and then transferred to the political arena, their zeal for making over mankind, as a "salvation by science." And then the Social Gospel movement managed to combine political collectivism and pietist Christianity in the same package. All of these were strongly interwoven elements in the progressive movement.
The Social Gospel movement, which began in the United States in the 1880's, shared an ethical principle with the Progressive movement, which began at the same time and in the same social circles. This ethical principle can be summarized as follows: Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.
The heart of the welfare state is theft. Rothbard described it accurately in a 1993 essay, "Origins of the Welfare State in America."
When the government, in short, takes money at gunpoint from A and gives it to B, who is demanding what? . . . Who are the demanders, and who are the suppliers? One can say that the subsidized, the "donees," are "demanding" this redistribution; surely, however, it would be straining credulity to claim that A, the fleeced, is also "demanding" this activity. A, in fact, is the reluctant supplier, the coerced donor; B is gaining at A's expense.
But the really interesting role here is played by G, the government. For apart from the unlikely case where G is an unpaid altruist, performing this action as an uncompensated Robin Hood, G gets a rake-off, a handling charge, a finder's fee, so to speak, for this little transaction. G, the government, in other words, performs his act of "redistribution" by fleecing A for the benefit of B and of himself.
Defenders of the welfare state may wax eloquent about justice and fairness and the moral high ground. But no matter how lofty the rhetoric may be, as you are listening, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Where is the gun?
2. Who is holding the gun?
3. At whom is the gun pointing?
Today, there is a small, dedicated movement within the evangelical Protestant camp that regards Federal tax increases and Federal welfare increases as crucial to extend the kingdom of God in history. This is a recent development.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL GOSPEL
Until about 1970, the Social Gospel was confined to the mainline Protestant denominations, which were run by theological liberals. These men were the theological representatives of the Progressive Movement. Their goal in life was two-fold: (1) to undermine orthodox Christianity; (2) to persuade their listeners that the kingdom of God is the welfare state.
From the 1890's until America entered World War I, the primary financier of the Social Gospel was John D. Rockefeller, Sr. He put up at least five percent of the seed money to launch the Federal Council of Churches in 1908. He was a staunch supporter of Social Gospel projects. This was due to the influence of his chief business adviser, Rev. Frederick T. Gates, a theological liberal and dedicated Progressive. He worked with John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to manage the charitable giving.
After 1917, the primary financier of the Social Gospel was John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The best study of his influence is The Rich Man and the Kingdom: John D. Rockefeller and the Protestant Establishment, the published version of Albert Shenkel's Harvard University Ph.D. dissertation. I have read both versions. He covered the subject well.
Rockefeller's main spiritual adviser was Harry Emerson Fosdick, the most influential American Protestant radio preacher for over two decades, from the mid-1920's until Billy Graham went on the air in 1950. Rockefeller put him on the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1917. Three years later, he hired Fosdick's brother Raymond to run the Foundation, which he did for the next four decades. Rockefeller built the famous Riverside Church for Rev. Fosdick after Fosdick, a Baptist, resigned from his pastorate in a large New York Presbyterian Church. Fosdick had been brought up on heresy charges after Rockefeller sent Fosdick's 1921 sermon, Shall the Fundamentalists Win?, to tens of thousands of pastors. His defense lawyer, John Foster Dulles, got him off on a technicality in a 1924 church trial, but Fosdick resigned anyway.
The Social Gospel movement was recognized by all parties as being grounded in theological and political liberalism. But this began to change sometime around 1970, when the Social Gospel was systematically imported into a small but vocal sector of Protestant evangelicalism. It was re-baptized with the language of evangelicalism. The goal was to get inside the non-mainline Protestant churches. Mainline churches have been losing members by the millions after 1960, the year of Rockefeller's death.
In 1977, the testament of the movement appeared, Ronald J. Sider's book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. One of the chapters is "Is God a Marxist?" Sider was a bit evasive, but generally concluded that God is more like a fellow traveler. The book was co-published by the Protestant evangelical InterVarsity Press and the Roman Catholic Paulist Press – an extremely rare joint venture, then as now. The book sold over 300,000 copies. It became a brief fad. The fad faded rapidly with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The neo-evangelical pastors who had thought Jimmy Carter was the incarnation of Christian politics in 1976 switched allegiance when their parishioners switched allegiance.
I had started the Institute for Christian Economics in 1976, but began publishing my newsletter, Christian Economics, in 1977. So, Sider and I appeared as rivals at the same time. Ironically, both of us had earned a Ph.D. in history.
In 1981, I hired David Chilton to write a critique of Sider's book. Chilton produced Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators in three months. Boxes of it arrived the day before I debated Sider at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. That had been my goal. Good timing! (If you know how printers work, this was nearly miraculous timing.)
Chilton's book was devastating. I have written my share of polemical books, but I have never seen anything to match it. He showed, point by point, that Sider was a bad theologian and a worse economist. Sider responded with an updated volume, in which the cover promised "With answers to my critics." One critic was missing: Chilton. "Chilton? Who's Chilton?" Chilton went down Sider's memory hole and has remained there ever since.
I had him write an updated response. Then I had him write another. Sider wrote two more updates, ending with 1997's 20th anniversary edition, in which he backed off from his socialist rhetoric and recommended about eight of Chilton's suggested free market economic reforms to reduce poverty. But he still failed to mention Chilton. Chilton died within weeks of the appearance of Sider's lukewarm backpedaling. I wrote an essay about his concealed renunciation: "The Economic Re-Education of Ronald J. Sider."
Sider's place was taken in the 1980's and early 1990's by a sociologist, Tony Campolo, who is a fine speaker with a sense of humor. His influence in evangelical circles suffered a major setback in 1998. He had been one of Bill Clinton's spiritual counselors. That seemingly exalted position of influence did not survive the Lewinsky scandal.
I never got around to writing my critique of Campolo. Too bad. I had the title: Campolo: Compassion or Compulsion? I also had a great idea for a cover. He is quite bald. So, the cover I had in mind featured two drawings of Campolo: one with a Van Dyke beard, right fist held high, and the other with him in a loin cloth in front of a spinning machine. It was a shame that the Lewinsky scandal broke when it did. I would have loved that cover.
The other tireless laborer in the evangelical Left's ideological field has been Jim Wallis, the head of Sojourners and the author of God's Politics. He lacks Sider's ability to deal with academic issues. He also lacks Campolo's sense of humor. But he makes up for it in outrageousness.
Let me give you a taste of Mr. Wallis' theology.
Overcoming poverty must be a bipartisan commitment and a nonpartisan cause. The religious community will ask Democrats to stand firm against this budget violence against poor people, to make the moral choice of favoring the poor over the rich – which is also a biblical choice. Democrats must get religion on the budget.
Social Security is an expression of national values – and for Christians, our biblical priorities. It is about protecting the American dream, but also honoring God's community by providing opportunity and dignity. Fostering dignity for families, children, and elders in need is the true measure of our compassion, the true measure of our commitment to – and covenant with – the common good. Those who want to radically change a system that has worked so well are saying, in principle, that "me" is better than "we," that private solutions are better than shared responsibility. They want to weaken and shrink the places where we solve problems in common. They would rather each of us seek our own private solution to the issues of security, which always works to the detriment of the most vulnerable.
Of course, there is no verse in the Bible proposing that the civil government provide either food for the poor or old age pensions. But this does not matter to Mr. Wallis. Why not? Because, he says, the Bible does not offer a system of economics.
The Bible doesn't propose any blueprint for an economic system, but rather insists that all human economic arrangements be subject to the demands of God's justice, that great gaps be avoided or rectified, and the poor are not left behind. ["Seattle: Changing the Rules," Sojourners Magazine (March-April 2000).]
According to the biblical prophets, the greatest moral offense of poverty is the inequality that often lies behind it. When poverty abounds and the wealthy refuse to share their prosperity, God gets mad. . . .
If the congressional leadership has its way, American inequality is about to take a giant step forward with their efforts to destroy or gut the estate tax – an effective measure to combat inequality that has been working for 100 years.
I have set up a department on my Website: Questions for Jim Wallis. I cite chapter and verse for a list of these and similar political assertions. Mr. Wallis has yet to respond.
Somehow, this does not surprise me.
Christian economist William Anderson has exposed Wallis for what he is: an apologist for raw Federal power, a man who "decided that an expanded, violent state was just fine, provided it was aimed at people who actually produced something." He put it this way in 2004
I have never read an issue of Sojourners without finding at least one (and usually many more than one) demand to increase the power and scope of the state. Yes, for all of your claims that you take a jaundiced view of state power, there is no one in the world of organized Christianity who has championed Leviathan more than you. I have come to believe that you oppose U.S. conflicts not so much because they are immoral, but rather because they take resources away from the government's being able to wage war on productive people at home.
I plan to edit a book by Christian economists on this baptized Social Gospel/Liberation Theology movement, which is aimed at naïve and well-meaning evangelicals who barely know their Bibles and do not know economics. I hope there are some economists out there who would have as much fun as I would in producing such a book. For details, send an email to email@example.com.
-Tampa Bay has the best record in baseball, having spent more time in first place year than all other years combined.
Doug Bandow with a review of Bill Kauffman's book, Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism...
The one constant of the wars so regularly and enthusiastically promoted is that they will be fought by Middle America. Members of today's public warrior class are private pacifists. The Bill Clintons, Dick Cheneys, Paul Wolfowitzs, and conservative pundits and activists who fill the Neocon Greek Chorus never don a uniform. A few, like George W. Bush, carefully choose the right uniform to avoid actually ending up in combat. But all chirp their thanks for the sacrifices of those who do join and fight. Some, like President Bush, even prattle on wistfully about how they wish they could join today's romantic struggles.
Worse, these faux patriots attack anyone who dares criticize the war – any war, whichever one it happens to be – as being a wimp, defeatist, or even traitor. This demonization has been made easier by the fact that opposition to war has in recent years has been concentrated on the Left. The same people who "lost" Vietnam are determined to "lose" Iraq, we are told.
Yet a different, or more complex, story comes from Bill Kauffman, onetime Senate staffer and think tank editor turned essayist and author, who lives in upstate New York – quintessential Middle America. He observes:
"[T]here is a long and honorable (if largely hidden) tradition of antiwar thought and action among the American Right. It stretches from ruffle-shirted Federalists who opposed the War of 1812 and civic-minded mugwump critics of the Spanish-American War on up through the Midwestern isolationists who formed the backbone of the pre-World War II America First Committee and the conservative Republicans who voted against U.S. involvement in NATO, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam. And although they are barely audible amid the belligerent clamor of today's shock-and-awe Right, libertarians and old-fashioned traditionalist conservatives are among the sharpest critics of the Iraq War and the imperial project of the Bush Republicans."...
Kauffman highlights these conservatives for peace running back throughout U.S. history. What sets Ain't My America apart from most foreign policy books is that it is less about foreign policy and more about America. Kauffman is a fine stylist, a literary composer whose editorial symphony appeals to the spirit as well as the mind. He discovers an eclectic mix of antiwar patriots as he joyously romps through the American tradition.
Kauffman appropriately begins with the nation's founders, men whose views on war are dismissed as quaint by most politicians today....There is, Kauffman observes, George Washington's Farewell Address, which is "as close to an expression of early American political omnifariousness as one might find," a veritable "sacred text among conservative critics of empire." American children typically read it, or parts of it, but how many learn that, as Kauffman writes, "Washington's valedictory amounts to a repudiation of U.S. foreign policy from 1917 to the present"?...
Current political heroes include Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), the sole antiwar voice in the Republican presidential race, and Rep. John "Jimmy" Duncan (R-Tenn.), an old line conservative who told Kauffman: "I've become convinced that most of these wars have been brought about because of a desire for money and power and prestige." Duncan, ever gracious to those around him, "is a throwback, a Taft Republican in search of a party of peace and frugality," as well as "a glorious anachronism as a representative of a place and a people," enthuses Kauffman.
Most disastrously, writes Kauffman, "the Republicans in the age of George W. Bush have become a War Party, nothing less and certainly nothing more. Dissident GOP voices are rare and unwelcome echoes." Even more tragic is the fact that the so-called Religious Right has joined the War Party. Notes the waggish Kauffman: "The Christian conservatives who have supplied Bush with an indispensable, almost blasphemously enthusiastic following might consider alternative Christian political traditions," such as that of William Jennings Bryan, "Or, if I am not being too much of an originalist, a biblical fundamentalist, that of Jesus Christ."
Conservatism once was an honorable term, associated with "decentralism, liberty, economy in government, religious faith, family-centeredness, parochialism, smallness," notes Kauffman. But he thunders: "The cockeyed militarism of the Bush administration, and the historical ignorance and cowardice of the subsidized Right that has cheered him on, have poisoned the word conservative. For years, if not wars, to come."...
It was a lefty-righty matchup for the ages.
Make that a righty-lefty matchup for the ages.
Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous pitcher for the Staten Island Yankees, eventually got the matchup he wanted: right-hander vs. right-hander, which resulted in a game-ending strikeout after a long and bizarre pitcher-batter sequence — make that batter-pitcher sequence.
On Thursday night at KeySpan Park in Coney Island, the Yankees led the Brooklyn Cyclones, 7-2, when the 22-year-old Venditte, making his professional debut, strolled to the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning and took part in his own version of the double switch.
Venditte, a switch-pitcher from Creighton who can reach 90 miles an hour from the right side and the high 70s from the left, retired the first two batters he faced while pitching right-handed.
Still pitching right-handed, Venditte allowed a single by Nicholas Giarraputo. Up next was designated hitter Ralph Henriquez, and he and Venditte engaged in a routine more vaudeville than Mudville.
As Henriquez walked to the plate, Venditte, assuming Henriquez would bat left-handed, stood behind the pitching rubber with his glove on his right hand and the ball in his left. Henriquez, looking out at Venditte, then stepped across the batter’s box, determined to hit right-handed and gain a righty-lefty advantage. Seeing this, Venditte quickly switched his custom-made glove to his left hand and put the ball in his right, hoping to gain a righty-on-righty advantage.
Henriquez stepped out and began asking the home-plate umpire, Shaylor Smith, to lay out his options, then summoned his third-base coach. With the matter unresolved, Henriquez again stepped across the batter’s box in an attempt to bat left-handed. Again, Venditte switched glove and ball. The cat-and-mouse game reached full comedic gear when Henriquez again strolled across the batter’s box to hit right-handed, and Venditte responded with the old switcheroo, setting up as a righty.
“My interpretation of the rule is that we each get to switch once,” Venditte said before Friday night’s Yankees game against Hudson Valley at Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island. “After that, I thought I had the final decision.”
Pat McMahon, the Staten Island manager, and Edgar Alfonzo, the Brooklyn manager, trotted onto the field for a discussion with Smith, setting off a series of separate discussions by confused members of the teams, which are Class A affiliates of the Yankees and the Mets.
In the midst of those discussions, Venditte tossed warm-up pitches — with both arms.
“I don’t think the umpires really knew how to handle it,” Venditte said. “It’s not something you see every day.”
After a seven-minute delay, Smith ordered Henriquez to step into the box as a right-handed batter, and Venditte, now pitching right-handed, proceeded to strike him out, swinging.
When asked before Friday’s game if he had ever seen anything like it before, McMahon paused before uttering softly, “Uh, no.”
But Venditte, drafted this month by the Yankees in the 20th round, said he was involved in a similar situation during his sophomore year against Nebraska. In that game, umpires ruled that Venditte had to declare which arm he would use before throwing his first pitch and could not switch until the at-bat ended. Venditte decided to pitch left-handed, and a right-handed batter “hit a laser,” he recalled, “but fortunately, it was caught.”
McMahon, who said Friday that he was waiting for an official ruling from higher baseball authorities on the subject of switch-pitching to switch-hitters, said that the way he understood it, “the rule dictates that the hitter establish the box and the pitcher establish the throw, and then each team can make one move, and then it’s play ball.”
“That’s the rule that we got from the rule book of minor league baseball,” he said.
McMahon, who said he shared that interpretation with Smith before Friday night’s game and would go over it with umpires as part of ground-rules discussions before every game, tipped his cap to Venditte.
“I thought Pat handled it very well,” he said. “Here you had a switch-hitter facing a young man who throws with both arms. It’s a unique experience and one that players and umpires will probably take a little time to get used to.”
Good stuff from Mr. Rove in the WSJ (hat tip: Linda Christiansen)...
In Raleigh, N.C., last week, Sen. Obama promised, "I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills."...Why should we stop with oil companies? They make about 8.3 cents in gross profit per dollar of sales. Why doesn't Mr. Obama slap a windfall profits tax on sectors of the economy that have fatter margins? Electronics make 14.5 cents per dollar and computer equipment makers take in 13.7 cents per dollar, according to the Census Bureau. Microsoft's margin is 27.5 cents per dollar of sales. Call out Mr. Obama's Windfall Profits Police!...
Mr. McCain came close to advocating a form of industrial policy, saying, "I'm very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they've made, but their failure to invest in alternate energy."
But oil and gas companies report that they have invested heavily in alternative energy. Out of the $46 billion spent researching alternative energy in North America from 2000 to 2005, $12 billion came from oil and gas companies, making the industry one of the nation's largest backers of wind and solar power, biofuels, lithium-ion batteries and fuel-cell technology.
Such investments, however, are not as important as money spent on technologies that help find and extract more oil. Because oil companies invested in innovation and technology, they are now tapping reserves that were formerly thought to be unrecoverable. Maybe we are all better off when oil companies invest in what they know, not what they don't.
And do we really want the government deciding how profits should be invested? If so, should Microsoft be forced to invest in Linux-based software or McDonald's in weight-loss research?
Mr. McCain's angry statement shows a lack of understanding of the insights of Joseph Schumpeter, the 20th century economist who explained that capitalism is inherently unstable because a "perennial gale of creative destruction" is brought on by entrepreneurs who create new goods, markets and processes. The entrepreneur is "the pivot on which everything turns," Schumpeter argued, and "proceeds by competitively destroying old businesses."
Most dramatic change comes from new businesses, not old ones. Buggy whip makers did not create the auto industry. Railroads didn't create the airplane. Even when established industries help create new ones, old-line firms are often not as nimble as new ones. IBM helped give rise to personal computers, but didn't see the importance of software and ceded that part of the business to young upstarts who founded Microsoft.
So why should Mr. McCain expect oil and gas companies to lead the way in developing alternative energy? As with past technological change, new enterprises will likely be the drivers of alternative energy innovation.
Messrs. Obama and McCain both reveal a disturbing animus toward free markets and success. It is uncalled for and self-defeating for presidential candidates to demonize American companies. It is understandable that Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the Senate, would endorse reckless policies that are the DNA of the party he leads. But Mr. McCain, a self-described Reagan Republican, should know better.
Well, McCain like Bush were only self-described "Reagan Republicans". In fact, they're both just Republicans...
"Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is...If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am...Apparently the rats of resentment and vindictiveness are always there in the cellar of my soul."
--Mere Christianity, book 4, ch. 7
An AWESOME, potentially life-changing quote on dealing with your responses to circumstances. So often, we'll blame "the rats", but the greater problems are the rats inside!
Recently, I asked whether being "anti-Obama" will be enough for McCain to win the Presidency in November.
Thought for the day:
Generalizing from what I've observed from my 1.5 campaigns in the 9th District...
It seems as though Republicans and/or conservatives-- laypeople and talk radio-- are mostly interested in trashing Obama than in lifting up McCain. Why?
Last week, Survey USA released a poll showing Hill with a 51-40 lead on Sodrel. I had 4.3% with 5% undecided.
With news of Sonny Landham's bid as a Libertarian for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, given an aspect of his professional career from 30 years ago, we have statements of embarrassment in the blogosphere and wise-acre comments from a political science professor.
Been quite busy with the campaign this week...I hope to get back in the groove on Sunday.
Here's what I wrote to the C-J (wearing my econ prof hat) about their recent story and editorial on single-bid contracts for the provision of roads. I don't think they published it, but in any case, here it is:
From David Mann in the Jeff/NA News-Tribune, news of a voluntary solution to the public smoking problem...
From News of the Weird...
There are difficult legal, moral and ethical issues concerning the treatment of human, animal and plant life. Here's a nugget from News of the Weird on how Switzerland handles plant life.
Health care in the Inca empire probably wasn't anything to envy, but a skull surgeon was around if you needed one. Researchers studying over 400 skulls exhumed near the Inca capital city of Cuzco observed that several dozen had been bored, cut, or scraped completely through the skull wall, usually on the front or left side. The reason? It's possible the openings were made to relieve fluid pressure from head injuries, perhaps from the blow of a right-handed opponent's weapon. The procedure, called trepanation, was similar to a modern-day craniotomy.
The researchers found trepanation to be a surprisingly common practice among the Incas, and sometimes the surgery was repeated. One skull had been operated on in seven different locations.
Older skulls were less likely to show signs of healing after being perforated—which indicates the earliest surgical attempts were often fatal to patients. But by the 15th century, success rates seem to have risen to almost 90 percent, and surgeons had agreed on a technique: They carefully scraped away bone material with a sharp tool, avoiding damage to the brain beneath.The other neat thing is how this underlines the amazing and tentative work of archaeologists and anthropologists.
Juan Williams in the WSJ on the importance of fathers-- and the importance of "disappearing fathers"-- for Father's Day.
Walter Dean Myers, a best-selling author of books for teenagers, sometimes visits juvenile detention centers in his home state of New Jersey to hold writing workshops and listen for stories about the lives of young Americans.
One day, in a juvenile facility near his home in Jersey City, a 15-year-old black boy pulled him aside for a whispered question: Why did he write in "Somewhere in the Darkness" about a boy not meeting his father because the father was in jail? Mr. Myers, a 70-year-old black man, did not answer. He waited. And sure enough, the boy, eyes down, mumbled that he had yet to meet his own father, who was in jail.
As we celebrate Father's Day tomorrow, we should reflect upon a sad fact: It is now common to meet young people in our big city schools, foster-care homes and juvenile centers who do not know their dads. Most of those children have come face-to-face with their father at some point; but most have little regular contact with the man, or have any faith that he loves or cares about them.
When fatherless young people are encouraged to write about their lives, they tell heartbreaking stories about feeling like "throwaway people." In the privacy of the written page, their hard, emotional shells crack open to reveal the uncertainty that comes from not knowing if their father has any interest in them. The stories are like letters to unknown dads – some filled with imaginary scenes about what it might be like to have a dad who comes home and puts his arm around you or plays with you.
They feel like they've been thrown away, Mr. Myers says, because "they don't have a father to push them, discipline them, and they give up trying to succeed . . . they don't see themselves as wanted." A regular theme of their stories is that they feel safer in a foster care home or juvenile detention center than on the outside, because they have no father to hold together the family. There is no one at home.
The extent of the problem is clear. The nation's out-of-wedlock birth rate is 38%. Among white children, 28% are now born to a single mother; among Hispanic children it is 50% and reaches a chilling, disorienting peak of 71% for black children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly a quarter of America's white children (22%) do not have any male in their homes; nearly a third (31%) of Hispanic children and over half of black children (56%) are fatherless.
This represents a dramatic shift in American life. In the early 1960s, only 2.3% of white children and 24% of black children were born to a single mom. Having a dad, in short, is now a privilege, a ticket to middle-class status on par with getting into a good college.
The odds increase for a child's success with the psychological and financial stability rooted in having two parents. Having two parents means there is a greater likelihood that someone will read to a child as a preschooler, support him through school, and prevent him from dropping out, as well as teaching him how to compete, win and lose and get up to try again, in academics, athletics and the arts. Maybe most important of all is that having a dad at home is almost a certain ticket out of poverty; because about 40% of single-mother families are in poverty.
"If you are concerned about reducing child poverty then you have to focus on missing fathers," says Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, based in Gaithersburg, Md. This organization works to encourage more men to be involved fathers.
The odds are higher that a child without a dad will have more contact with the drug culture, the police and jail. Even in kindergarten, children living with single parents are more likely to trail children with two parents when it comes to health, cognitive skills and their emotional maturity. They are in the back of the bus before the bus – their life – even gets going....
In his own life, Mr. Myers often looked down on the man in his house: his stepfather, who worked as a janitor and was illiterate. He felt this man had little to teach him.
Then his own son complained one day that he, Myers, "sounded just like granddad" when he told the boy to pick up after himself, to work harder and show respect to people.
"I didn't know it at the time," says Mr. Myers of his stepfather, "but just having him around meant I was picking up his discipline, his pride, his work ethic. . ." He adds: "Until I heard it from my son I never understood it."
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Leonard Read's brilliant essay, "I, Pencil".
In my Bible reading this morning, I noticed that Mark 6:52 explicitly connects their faith failure in handling the "rough seas" to their failure to "understand" the feeding miracle earlier that day.
Kudos to Blue Indiana for pointing out a Republican congressional candidate's error in asserting that China is drilling for oil off of the coast of Cuba.
From World, news about one more silly regulation...