Sunday, December 28, 2008
Atheist decides Africa needs God!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Clinton taxes - whew!
New York Senator Hillary Clinton and her husband spend a lot of time on the Presidential trail deploring the "wealthy" and "well-connected." As their newly released tax records for 2000 to 2007 show, they know of whom they speak, says the Wall Street Journal.
o The former, and perhaps future, first couple earned $109 million over the past eight years, putting them among the top .01 percent of taxpayers.
o The bulk of the Clintons' income came from speech-making ($51.9 million) and book-writing ($29.6 million).
It is understandable why the couple took so long to release their returns, and is still reluctant to release other information, says the Journal. Their political status has given them access to wealthy folks who've helped make them rich.
o Bill Clinton raked in as much as $15 million working as an adviser and rainmaker for billionaire financier Ron Burkle's Yucaipa firm.
o The former President also took in $3.3 million in consulting fees from InfoUSA CEO Vinod Gupta, who has also helped fund Hillary Clinton's White House bid.
Meanwhile, the Clintons also made liberal use of the charitable deduction:
o They claimed $10.2 million in charitable giving over the eight years.
o Intriguingly, nearly all the donations went to the Clinton Family Foundation, which has disbursed only half the money.
o The Clintons can thus use the foundation for, strategic giving, such as the $100,000 it donated last year to a local South Carolina library -- the day after Hillary Clinton debated in that key primary state.
There are other examples of such politically targeted philanthropy and it's worth noting that most of the foundation's disbursements came only after Hillary announced her Presidential run, says the Journal.
Source: Editorial, "Clinton Tax Lessons," Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2008.
Low teacher pay?
Supporting the almost-universal belief that teachers are underpaid, Education Week published an article on January 10 stating, "public school teachers nationwide make 88 cents for every dollar earned in 16 comparable occupations," including accountants, architects, clergy, computer programmers, insurance underwriters, physical therapists, and registered nurses.
The long-lived conventional wisdom is that teachers are underpaid. That belief is virtually unanimous. But it runs contrary to many respectable research studies that conclude teacher salaries are at least equal to, if not in excess of, compensation for comparable
o Jay P. Greene and Marcus A Winters found that the average public school teacher in the United States earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, and the average public school teacher was paid
36 percent more per hour than the average non-sales white-collar worker and 11 percent more than the average professional specialty and technical worker.
o Richard Vedder, an Ohio University professor of economics and senior fellow at the Independent Institute found that teachers earn more per hour than architects, civil engineers,
mechanical engineers, statisticians, biological and life scientists, registered nurses, university-level foreign-language teachers, and editors and reporters.
o Michael Podgursky, an economics professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and expert on teacher compensation concluded that when adjusted for annual weeks of work, teacher pay and benefits compare favorably with those of other college-educated workers.
To objectively evaluate teacher benefits relative to other occupations, several relevant conditions need to be factored in. For example:
o Teachers work about 20 percent fewer days annually than other white-collar workers.
o Consequently, a teacher paid $60,000 per year is actually being paid $72,000 at the adjusted rate.
o Add another 25 percent (on average) for retirement and health insurance, and the annual benefit package increases to $87,000.
Source: Richard G. Neal, "Report Finds Teachers' Pay Is More than Adequate Across the Country," Heartland Institute, April 1, 2008; based upon: Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, "How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?" Manhattan Institute, No. 50, January
2007; Richard Vedder, "Comparable Worth," by Richard Vedder, Education Next, Spring 2003; and, Michael Podgursky, "Is Teacher Pay Adequate?" Education Working Paper, Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia, April 4, 2006.
For Green and Winters study:
For Vedder study:
For Podgursky study:
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Tony Perkins on the 50-50 marriage myth
One of the common myths about marriage in America is that "50 percent of all marriages end in divorce." But that figure is derived, not from long-term analysis, but from the fact that the raw number of new divorces each year is roughly 50 percent of the raw number of new marriages. These numbers are distorted by the fact that people with successful marriages usually marry only once, while people with failed marriages have often married and divorced multiple times.
Fortunately, new data from pollster George Barna included a more meaningful statistic. Of all Americans who have ever married, only one-third have ever been divorced. This two-to-one ratio of marital success should encourage young people who may actually fear the "50-50" marriage myth.
Another misconception is that a person's religion and values have nothing to do with marital success. Barna found that the percentage of people who have been divorced after marrying is lower among Catholics, evangelicals and conservatives than it is among non-Christians and liberals. That's not to mention the fact that more born-again Christians (84%) have been married in the first place than atheists and agnostics (65%).
The anti-Christian teacher
Farnan recorded his teacher telling students in class: “What country has the highest murder rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rape rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rate of church attendance? The South!” Farnan said he took the tape recorder to class to supplement his class notes.Somebody will say, "But it's true!" What if teacher, instead of "church attendance" had said "Blacks" or "Mexicans" or "Muslims" (the latter is probably not true) or "grits."
What would Jesus cut?
Florida lawmakers are slashing services to the poor with a rusty sling blade.Your response?
They do that rather than eliminate special-interest tax exemptions for corporations and wealthy residents.
Evangelical leaders such as Joel Hunter are questioning the morality of a regressive tax system that targets low-income residents, and then hits them with the deepest cuts.
It's a new twist on injecting Christian ideology into government.
And how better to press the case than with Jesus' own words:
Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me. Whatever you neglected to do unto one of the least of these, you neglected to do unto me.
Would the "least of these" be the 8,000 terminal Medicaid patients who may be eliminated from hospice care because of budget cuts? In their final days do we deny them some small measure of comfort, even if it is nothing more than a caring face at the end?
Would the "least of these" be low-income transplant patients, whose medications are on the budget chopping block?
"People will die if we end up doing that," said state Sen. Steve Geller, D-Cooper City. "I guess maybe that will help the budget because dead people don't require services, but it is an unconscionable way of reducing the budget."
McCain response ad
Team McCain already has a response ad to Hillary's "3 a.m." sequel aimed at him — and he kicks at Obama for good measure.Script For "Ready" (:30)
ANNCR: It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep.
But there's a phone ringing in the White House and this time the crisis
is economic. Home foreclosures mounting, markets teetering.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama just said they'd solve the problem by
raising your taxes. More money out of your pocket.
John McCain has a better plan. Grow jobs, grow our economy not grow
It's 3 a.m., time for a president who is ready.
McCain doesn't talk faith
Raised Episcopalian, McCain now attends a Baptist megachurch in Phoenix. But he has not been baptized and rarely talks of his faith in anything but the broadest terms or as it relates to how it enabled him to survive 5 ½ years in captivity as a POW.
In this way, McCain, 71, is a throwback to an earlier generation when such personal matters were kept personal. To talk of Jesus Christ in the comfortable, matter of fact fashion of the past two baby-boom era presidents would be unthinkable.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Ponnuru on McCain
Do you agree?
I got an email a few weeks ago to which I have been meaning to respond:
Now that the primaries are over, I have slowly been coming around to McCain. I’m reassured by the fact that you’ve been such a strong supporter. Here’s the stumbling block I still have, and I’d be very interested in what you make of it. McCain came out and said that he doesn’t care much about the social issues. As the author of The Party of Death, doesn’t that bother you? It bothers me. I’ll vote for him, but I’m not enthusiastic. It’s the same way I’d feel if Giuliani were the nominee.
Good question. I hope you don't mind that it has taken me so long to get back to you, and that I have added two links to your email. Short answer: McCain needs 270 electoral votes, not 270 enthusiastic electoral votes; and pro-lifers need him to veto the Freedom of Choice Act, not to veto it enthusiastically.
For a longer answer, let me draw an analogy to the civil-rights movement. (I know pro-choice folks hate this analogy, but I’m not using it here to draw a moral equivalence.) John F. Kennedy does not seem to have cared much about the issue; it was a check-the-box question for him. (Bobby Kennedy was reportedly a different story.) It would nonetheless have been a setback for the civil-rights movement if the Democrats had nominated someone who wasn’t at least nominally committed to the cause. And one reason the civil-rights movement was able to get an ally as president was that it did not insist that the president had to have an emotional attachment to the cause.
Would I prefer it if McCain brought to the life issues the passion of Sam Brownback? Sure. But a country capable of electing a Brownback president wouldn’t need him.
"Now if I remember the movie correctly, doesn't Rocky get the crap beat out him and then loses to the black guy?" ---Jay Leno
Here's to the losers...
- I have felt sorry all week for Charlie Ross, last night's vanquished. He is one of the best state legislators in the nation. Period. Smart, savvy, insightful. But I knew this would happen.
- The other guy was more likeable with a better ground game.
- Charlie graduated from Harvard. Served his country as a pilot. Been a man of one wife. Good family. Great lawyer. Incredible track record as a lawmaker.
- He must feel sick.
- I know he feels sick, because it feels like death to want two things as badly this year as Charlie wanted them - lieutenant governor and now congressman - and to be ready for the moment by your awesome history and...lose. Not even close, really. Either time.
- Here's to the guys who prepare, serve, run and lose (and for reasons that feel inexplicable to them). Politics is hard stuff. Thanks for taking it on, Charlie.
- One more thing. No one analyzing the race will say so today, but Charlie lost in some substantial measure to his voting for bringing casinos 800 ft. on-land. He had the foot of the governor firming in the middle of his back, of course, but that position can't win in the dead center of the buckle of the Bible belt - Rankin County and surrounding third congressional district area.
- There were essentially no other positions that Gregg Harper and Charlie Ross disagreed on. It cost Charlie Don Wildmon's endorsement (powerful stuff, as most elections will attest) and mine (not powerful stuff, believe me - although I do have a microphone that reaches fifteen stations across Mississippi and beyond). It cost Charlie the religious right. But sans that vote on casinos, I don't doubt for a minute that Charlie would be congressman-elect this morning.
- Here's to you, friend. One of the most talented politicians and legislators Mississippi ever said "no" to. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but it makes political loss easier. God bless.
Labels: Mississippi politics
Conservatives (and liberals) as givers
Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at
o Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
o Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.
o Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.
o Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.
o In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.
o People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.
Reviewing Brooks' book in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Justice Willett notes that
Source: George Will, "Bleeding Hearts but Tight Fists,"
Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, hold the...whole darned burger
According to McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, McDonald’s will aggressively promote the homosexual agenda. In remarks on McDonald's Web site concerning the company becoming a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Skinner wrote: "Being a socially responsible organization is a fundamental part of who we are. We have an obligation to use our size and resources to make a difference in the world … and we do."
The company gave an undisclosed amount of money to the NGLCC in return for being recognized as a major promoter of the homosexual agenda. In return, NGLCC placed Richard Ellis, vice president of communications of McDonald’s USA, on the NGLCC Board of Directors.
Ellis was quoted as saying: "I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce team and ready to get to work. I share the NGLCC's passion for business growth and development within the LGBT community, and I look forward to playing a role in moving these important initiatives forward."
McDonald's refused to comment to World Net Daily on the placement of its executive on the board of the "gay" advocacy organization but did send an e-mail confirming the corporation's support for the agenda of the homosexual business lobby.
"McDonald's is indeed a Corporate Partner and Organizational Ally of NGLCC. Our vice president of U.S. communications, Richard Ellis, was recently elected to its board of directors," said Heidi M. Barker, senior director of media relations for McDonald’s. NGLCC describes itself as promoting the LGBT community first and always, including same sex marriage.
NGLCC gives credit to sponsors such as McDonald's for its financial and other support that helps in its work. "Through the commitment of our corporate partners, the NGLCC has been able to advance the ideas and causes of the LGBT business community," the Chamber said.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Father-daughter talk (on conservatism)
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.
She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had t o be the truth and she indicated so to her father.
Her father responded by asking how she was doing in school.
Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.
Her father listened and then asked, 'How is your friend Audrey doing?'
She replied, 'Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.'
Her wise father asked his daughter, 'Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask h im to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.'
The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, 'That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!'
The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, 'Welcome to conservatism.'