Tuesday, December 30, 2008
(H/T: National Review)
Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Circular Letter, 1815
by James Armstrong
Beloved Brethren: — We have ever studiously endeavored to select as the subject of our Circular addresses to you, such doctrinal and practical subjects as we thought best calculated to confirm, comfort, and encourage you in the discharge of those social and religious duties incumbent on you as professors of Godliness, that your light might shine before men — proving what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God — exhibiting to all, that the motives of your conduct in life, did not arise from a mere speculative belief, but from an experimental, saving knowledge that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Now, having the same end in view, and being influenced by the same motives that have hitherto governed us; we present you with a few reflections, on Conformity to the World, "be not conformed to this world," saith the Scriptures of eternal truth. Romans 12:2.
It is obvious that if a radical change in the nature of man as a creature, were produced at conversion, there would have been no need of this injunction; nor is it reasonable to suppose that if this had been the case, it would ever have come from the pen of an inspired Apostle, who had been himself, the happy subject, in a special manner, of the gracious influence of the spirit of God, and thereby made a true convert; but that, nature is an abiding principle, is deducible from Scripture, and abundantly confirmed by the experience of God’s people in every age of the Church; and if an abiding principle, vain, and delusory must be all notions entertained by mortals, of attaining perfection, and infallibility in this life; whilst, therefore, imperfection and fallibility are the sure heritage of all the descendants of Adam; the dire evidence of our disobedience, the fruitful source whence all our miseries flow; the sacred injunction "be not conformed to this world," claims our highest regard; by it we are cautioned against joining in the sentiments and participating in the customs of this vain and sinful world, knowing those sentiments to be contrary to the form of sound words, and these customs, contrary to the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ. Many customs exist among men that are expressly prohibited in God’s word, and therefore, not to be participated in by us; these customs differ, in different countries; sometimes differ, in different sections of the same country. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, is of universal import, as much so, as any other precept in the decalogue; yet this divine command is not universally obeyed by the civilized world, and it is to be feared, not observed by some of the professed followers of Christ as it ought — in some, portions of our own country, to the praise of the glory of God’s grace, it is observed with religious scrupulosity, in others; the only apparent signs of any obedience at all, is the cessation of labor in the field, and of work in the shop; being by men of the world, too generally viewed merely as a day of recreation, of visiting, receiving visits, and sumptuous feasting. That the Lord’s day is thus spent by men, worldly men, and consequently a favorite worldly custom, prevailing in the circle of our observation, to a degree that portends no good to the cause, or to the followers of Christ, few or none can deny; and all, especially real Christians; sensible of their duty, and alive to their privileges, must acknowledge that, their profession, their love, to the Redeemer and his cause, call on them to resist this idle, sinful, worldly custom, with Christian firmness and holy zeal, for it is clear to demonstration, that in whatever proportion a Christian yields to this, or any other custom of the kind, claiming no higher authority than that of the world; will the evidence diminish that, his heart is right with God; for whosoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Again: Who is he that overcometh the world; but he that believeth that Jesus is the son of God? Although this custom may be justly and sincerely deplored, by the humble followers of Jesus, who go to the sanctuary and keep Holy-day, on this, first day of the week; yet, it is not, in our opinion, the only reprehensible, worldly custom, nor the only one, that has entailed many evils on the human family, but others, equally destructive to correct moral principles, and which appear to have arisen in the dark ages of bigotry and superstition; have for centuries, loaned an officious regulating hand, not only to the moral, but to the religious world, thus constituting in a measure, them habit and marking the character of thousands, binding them down to the observance of days and of color in dress; and now countenanced and cherished in this enlightened age of the Church, by many professing christians under the clearest convictions of mind, that the authority to observe those days and this, color in dress on particular occasions, rests solely on primitive usage, and public suffrage; and not on the word of God; such, out, of many, we conceive the custom, and such, the native tendency resulting from the practice, of observing Christmas holydays, and the holydays of Easter, and Whit Sundays. Were those holydays and these Sundays, which are by worldlings confessedly kept, on the ground of its being a religious custom, only morally observed; they would have a greater claim on Christian charity, for a quiet passage to the religious ones of future generations, leaving it to them, to inquire into the origin, nature, and design; but the fact is otherwise, these days are not morally observed, in our section of country, and should the redeemed of the Lord, unmindful of the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free from Pagan idolatry and Jewish ceremonies, yield to their despotic sway, and suffer them to pass — the religious ones of future generations would be as destitute of correct information on those points, as we — they, like us, must resort to the traditions of men, or forever remain ignorant of their origin, &c. Availing ourselves of this source or information, we find that Christmas day, was celebrated at an early period in the Christian church, as the day of our Redeemer’s nativity — this we learn from tradition; and of course, as it relates to the day, renders it doubtful in fact — none it appears, have been able to ascertain, or fix it with any degree of certainty; perhaps beyond conjecture none has attained, and if left to conjecture, it must then rest, or be fixed on, according to the probability of that conjecture. From the circumstance of the shepherds being out with their flocks on the night of his birth, ‘tis as likely to have been in a fall, as a winter month — as likely, perhaps more so, to have been in September than the 25th of December. Easter and Whit Sunday resting on the same slender foundation, and equally undetermined with that of Christmas, as to the time, when the events took place, which they are said to commemorate, appear to be kept with a view, the former, to perpetuate the recollection of that day on which the blessed Redeemer burst the bands of death, and came forth out of the grave, the first born from the dead, leading captivity captive; and the latter, as the day on which he gave extraordinary and special gifts, for glorious purposes unto men — being the fiftieth day after Easter, commemorative then, of the descent of the "Holy Ghost upon the Apostles in the visible appearance of fiery cloven tongues, and of those miraculous powers which were then conferred upon them." — That the events or facts took place, of which it is said these days are commemorative we have no doubt, and admitting them to have taken place on those very days, it will not follow that we are bound to observe them any more than we are bound to observe the day of his miraculous conception — the word of God must be our guide in all matters of Christian practice, and not the traditions of men — it is in vain we search the scriptures to find a divine warrant, either direct or implied, authorizing us to observe any of those days, whether we search in regard to the days themselves, or their respective holydays — if any thing else can be wanting, to confirm any humble follower of Christ in the opinion that this is wholly a worldly custom, let such a one seek its identity and learn its character from the conduct of its numerous advocates — to recite the acts of violence and of cruelty, practised on the creatures of God, for amusement and for gain — the vices and follies of men committed on those holydays, would be to incur the charge of indecorum, and to wound the feelings of the truly pious and humble follower of Jesus — when, where, or with whom the practice of observing these holydays as such, originated, to us, is of little consequence, since we know ‘tis not founded upon the word of God, and perceive clearly that after the manner in which they are observed by many, it tends to confirm people in their sins, rather than to save them from their sins, and without this, in a moral sense, no man has any credible evidence that he is fitted for another world, and but little evidence that he is fit for this; but beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak, yet it is possible that some who have been transformed by the renewing of their minds, rather than to be thought singular, may be justly chargeable with conformity to the world in this respect, if not directly, indirectly, by suffering their servants, apprentices, children, or others under their immediate charge to be prowling the roads, and uniting with the giddy throng at houses of public entertainment, making willing sacrifice to Bacchus of their morals and their health, and as a just consequence of their idolatrous offering, return, not unfrequently with aching heads, maimed and diseased bodies. Brethren, though you should incur the charge of singularity by not conforming to this custom of the world, in not suffering those under your charge to visit these places of public resort on those days, yet nobly dare to be thought singular, in whatsoever things are lovely and of good report.
Conformity to the world does not, in all cases, in all instances, consist in the observance of days, in meats or in drinks, or in gambling, according to modern refinement; purchasing, aiding or effecting sale of lottery tickets, living on the fortunes of the wheel, but may consist in superfluous, or indecorous apparel; either of these in dress are repugnant to the word of God, it calls us to lay aside all superfluity of dress, to adorn ourselves in modest apparel, &c. 1 Timothy 2:9. Yet notwithstanding this plain passage of scripture, the people of God have suffered, themselves to be dictated to, and in many instances governed by the world in this respect — and what for? Is it because men have been accustomed to attach ideas of office, of greatness, and of sanctity to dress? However, ludicrous it might appear to us at the present day, to see men wearing Phylacteries, and the size of these proportioned to the supposed attainments of the individual in the Divine life; yet we find the same notions, the same pride, and the same love of greetings cherished; but in another way — ‘tis not dress, nor its color, nor its shape, that sanctifies the heart and perfects the believer in Christ — the world has been officious enough to prescribe a dress for mourning, and none appears to tyrannize more over the tenderest feelings of the human heart, than this; and none holds the people of God in greater apparent bondage — in how many instances do we find that a brother, or a sister, on losing a friend or near connexion, forego the privileges of the church, perhaps for several days, merely because circumstances have rendered it so, that they cannot appear in a full mourning dress — Brethen, do not barter your privileges in the church for the sake of saving appearances with the world — suffice it, for us to know that this custom did not originate with the religion of Jesus, but is repugnant to its simplicity — the language of scripture is, "let the dead bury their dead," for ‘tis to be presumed that the living, those who have been made alive cannot be ignorant how to bury theirs — suffer not yourselves to be held in bondage by this custom of the world, ‘tis likely, it cherishes as much pride, and more hypocrisy than any other of the kind, because more universal — let us always bear in mind that when we made a profession of the religion of Jesus, we did by this act, profess to all, that we had it in our own souls, that we were the happy subjects of its gracious influences; now, if we conform to the customs of the world, how shall we prove to others, the sincerity of our profession? — It is the fruit of the tree, that is the proper evidence of its nature — as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also — conforming to the world tends to bury all distinction between believer and unbeliever — tends to confirm unbelievers in their rejection of the truth, and to retard the progress of the gospel, rather than promote it. To treat particularly at this time, were we fully competent, of all the days and customs which the united labor of superstitious ages have brought to view, as fit days and customs to be observed by all men indiscriminately, and have succeeded too well in imposing upon the civilized world — the tacit assent yielded thereto, with little or no regard to the end in view whether the promoting of the kingdom of God, or of Baal, or of any other favorite idol, and to say nothing of the imposing influence such customs have on the human mind, claiming primitive antiquity and supported by public suffrage, would far exceed our limits — we therefore, brethren, would only put you in remembrance of what the Apostle wrote to the Romans: "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind, he that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord, and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it;" but on the other hand, let us recollect the fear the same Apostle expressed to the Galatians, when he "saw they had given themselves up to observe days and months, and times, and years."
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
This multi dimensional surpassing of the imaginative powers in order to shape modifiable chess pieces into a landscape or an architectonic composition requires flexibility and a fresh conceptual approach. It further adds to the pleasure of the game, which is Jürg Hassler’s real aim: to free chess from its restrictive and rigid conventions.
Just what I always wanted! Actually, I think a lot of people want life to be this way--disconnected from rules and standards. But the sad result is not freedom but a game no one really wants to play.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
But who are these staunch centrists and what policies really excite them? It turns out that most of them don't really care much about politics one way or the other. They don't care what you stand for so long as you are energetic and entertaining (and so long as their friends like you). Personally, this explains a lot about the recent election and the state of political intelligence in our country.
Ordinary Americas have not suddenly lurched to the left (nor can we conclude that they have come home to the right, should we do well in 2010). Rather, it seems that most Americans, for whatever reason, just don't really care to think about it too much. In one respect, it is comforting to know that Americans aren't just dying to be socialists (for the most part). But it's shocking to recognize the state of most people's political acumen (specifically, the lack thereof). American politics is less about policy nowadays and more about your number of friends on Facebook.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Well . . . Paulson decided he'd just go another direction on that one. I'm not really sure what direction that might be (these guys seem to know), but I'm guessing it has something to do with printing up a big stinkin' pile of fresh money and handing it out. Now why didn't I think of that?!? Aaarrrggghhh . . .
Oh, and, the best part? All this will be solidly pinned to the Bush administration (which deserves only some blame) with no more mention of the Democrat policies and criminality that really got us here (Community Reinvestment Act and Acorn thugs). When things really start to get bad, about two or three months after Obama (may he live forever) takes office, his socialist schemes will never be blamed for taking us from bad to worse. FDR booted. Have a nice day.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
. . . As I said on the post-2006 NR cruise, it requires a perverse genius on Bush's part to get damned as a lunatic right-wing cowboy when 90% of the time he's Tony Blair with a ranch. As we've seen these last few months, John McCain was so accustomed to running against his party the old dog was incapable of learning the entirely novel trick of running for it. What about the other star names in this year's primary season: Rudy Giuliani? Well, there's a pro-life gun-nut. Mitt Romney? Technocrat governor of a deep blue state. Mike Huckabee? Compassionate conservatism on steroids.
In other words, I don't think the problem these last few years has been "right-wing extremism".
Let's see what's on the agenda, in no particular order:
- Strengthen Civil Rights Enforcement
- Combat Employment Discrimination
- Expand Hate Crimes Statutes
- End Racial Profiling
- Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families
- Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation
- Increase Fuel Economy Standards
- Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard
- Invest In A Clean Energy Economy And Create 5 Million New Green Jobs
- Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank
- Ensure Freedom to Unionize
- Protect Striking Workers
- Raise the Minimum Wage
- Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Expand Paid Sick Days
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Expand Early Head Start and Head Start
- Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit (This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students.)
- Reverse Bush Tax Cuts
- Provide Universal Health Care
- Strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board
- Expand Corporation for National and Community Service
- Expand the Peace Corps
- Protect and Strengthen Medicare
- Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership
- Support a Woman's Right to Choose
- Fight Gender Violence Abroad
- Protect Title IX
- Promote Women in Math and Science
- Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
- Fully Fund the Community Development Block Grant
- Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing throughout Metropolitan Regions
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
And then we need to pull ourselves together. We still live in the greatest country on the planet. It will take more than an election to change that. The sun still comes up in the east. Life goes on. God is still on His throne. For Christians, this world isn't really even our home. We're just pilgrims on our way to glory. We still have the same Great Commission we had yesterday.
Things may get tough in the coming days. Stay strong. We conservative Americans are not the type to just roll over and die. We will fight on. We only truly lose if we give up. So don't give up.
"Those of you voting in Louisiana or Connecticut this week won't have the option of voting for Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr for president. In both states, Barr's campaign insists it had more than enough signatures to put his name on the ballot. But in Louisiana, the courts determined that Barr's campaign missed the filing deadline. That was in part because state offices were closed the week of the deadline, due to Hurricane Gustav. No matter. A federal court determined it would be too expensive to reprint the state ballots to include Barr's name.
In Connecticut, state officials initially said the Barr campaign came up about 500 names short of the 7,500 signatures required to put Barr's name on the ballot. They later acknowledged that they had made an addition error. Barr was only 321 names shy of the minimum. The state then admitted that state officials had actually lost 119 pages of signatures—almost certainly enough to put Barr over the top. Nevertheless, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Barr would not be on the ballot, citing testimony from Connecticut officials that it would be "nearly impossible" to reprint the ballots to include him.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the tables were turned. Both the Republican and Democratic parties somehow missed that state's deadline to include Barack Obama and John McCain on the Texas ballot. Barr's campaign sued, noting the equal protection problems with allowing the two major parties to skirt campaign rules while holding third party candidates to the letter of the law. Barr was right — Obama and McCain should have been kept off the Texas ballot. But Barr's suit was dismissed by the Texas Supreme Court without comment. Apparently, the Democratic and Republican parties are, to borrow a now-tired phrase, "too big to fail." They're allowed to break the rules."
Monday, November 3, 2008
In other news: VOTE VOTE VOTE FOR MCCAIN! DO IT RIGHT NOW! Hey, if you've got the time, drive up to Pennsylvanian and vote there, too! :)
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
And don't miss Dominion Family. Cindy has posted a video on why she won't vote third party, a common sense reminder on life after the election, and a great Mark Steyn quote, among other things, for another:
McCain vs Obama is not the choice many of us would have liked in an ideal world. But then it’s not an “ideal world”, and the belief that it can be made so is one of the things that separates those who think Obama will “heal the planet” and those of us who support McCain faute de mieux. - Mark Steyn
No, John McCain is not my first choice. And I protested that by voting for Fred in the primary even though he had already dropped out. But Obama is my ABSOLUTE LAST CHOICE. I'll take the 98% pro-life candidate over the 100% pro-death infanticide apologist any day. I'll take Sarah Palin over Joseph J-O-B-S is a Three Letter Word Biden any day, every day.
Maybe in an uncontested state (Texas?) you have the privilege of a "protest vote". Here in Ohio, where every vote counts, and illegal votes count more than others, I will not treat my vote so callously.
Maybe my point of view is different because I'm a woman. Because I'm a mother. I can just imagine my oldest one day asking me, "Mommy, why is it illegal for blogs to disagree with President Obama?" and having to answer, "Because, Sweetie, Mommy voted for
There are no perfect candidates. No perfect turn-outs. No perfect situations. No perfect voters. The world isn't perfect. It won't be perfect until Jesus comes again and Obama isn't Him, no matter how many magazine covers give him a halo.
Each of us makes choices every day that aren't perfect. (Where to attend church, for example. I've yet to find a perfect one. Must be all those imperfect people inside or, at the very least, all those less than perfect pastors. I get to say that because both my dad and my husband are pastors. And they're this close to perfect, anyway.)
And, because I can, here's a scripture exhortation: "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." Proverbs 24:10.
Some of you are fainting. This is not the time to faint. This is fighting time. Maybe I'm fighting for my girls. Maybe I'm fighting for the good of my country. Maybe I'm fighting so that my testimony as a Christian is not mocked. All I know is I am not ready to roll over and let evil sweep over me. I'm not fainting. No matter who wins the election, our work is cut out for us. Don't rest. Don't faint.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
They won't have that chance again, as Obama has cut them off from further access to the campaign. Apparently, they prefer to only answer softball questions. Well, they won't have to worry about interviews like this once the "Fairness Doctrine" swings into play.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
UPDATE: Mark Steyn points out what Obama had to disable to accept these donations.
UPDATE 2: Here's what one enterprising conservative did.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Joe the Plumber makes Obama's dangerous and unfair policies easy for everyone to understand. He has worked hard (not been lucky) all his life to reach the arbitrary point of making more than $250,000 a year. Obama wants to make sure he makes it no further, hires no more workers, produces no more valuable services and has no more money to invest in other companies. He wants to steal Joe's money so that he can promise it to people who don't even pay taxes now, practically ensuring that our country's resources are allocated in the least productive way.
We don't need more government control of our money and our lives; we need less. We need them to get out of the way and let us do what Americans have always done: work hard and achieve the best way of life of the face of the earth.
UPDATE: Here's an exchange he had with Diane Sawyer.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday ordered Ohio's top elections official to verify the identity of newly registered voters by matching them with other government documents.
U.S. District Judge George C. Smith in Columbus ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must perform verification required by the Help America Vote Act. That includes matching new registrants' information against information in databases maintained by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration.
The order was the result of a lawsuit the Ohio Republican Party filed against Brunner, a Democrat.
"Plaintiffs assert, and the court agrees, that it is hard to imagine a public interest more compelling than safeguarding the legitimacy of the election of the president of the United States," Smith wrote in his ruling.
Brunner also was ordered to establish a process by which Ohio's 88 county election boards can access information generated by the checks.
Residents registering to vote must provide their name, address, date of birth and either their driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Brunner has said the state matches registration information against data in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles system and the Social Security database. But she also has said federal law doesn't say what should be done if a mismatch is discovered, and it is up to counties to check the system for flagged registrations and investigate if warranted.
An after-hours call seeking Brunner's comment on the ruling was not immediately returned Thursday.
Republicans, who have been at odds frequently with Brunner, hailed the ruling.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Ohioans need to find some sharp, non-criminal and conservative Republicans to elect ASAP. Governor Taft destroyed our party. It's high time we started putting it back together.
UPDATE: More disturbing info: voters from Chicago and no observers allowed! And here's FOX reporting on it. That last one will BLOW YOUR MIND.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
H/T: Spunky Homeschool
In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy. "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
What a surreal couple of days . . .
At this point who knows? But I will say that I'm proud of my congressman. He listened to us. That's kinda what they're supposed to do, isn't it?
I'm going to admit it: I'm glad that President Bush's terms are just about over. I really admire and respect the man personally but politically - not so much. No Child Left Behind, prescription drugs, immigration, massively ridiculous "bailout" that no one is even sure is going to work or what the final cost would be? No, thanks. (sigh)
Where, oh where, is the solid conservative (a la Ronald Reagan) LEADER that our country needs? (another sigh)
Edited to add: Mike Pence (R) sent this around this weekend. And:
Thomas Sowell called the bailout a "tragedy of tremendous magnitude".
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Also: McCain won the debate!
Friday, September 26, 2008
UPDATE: Here is an article explaining why these rules are good in the long run (found by Stephen). Not quite sure what the policy implications are either way . . .
Also, as Byron York points out, if Pelosi has a majority in the House, why do we not have a bill? She can't because she needs it to look like its not a Democrat hustle (which it is).
Conventional wisdom seems to say that a McCain seen as delaying the deal will be bad, politically. However, I believe just the opposite is true: House Republicans (and, I bet, many other members of Congress) are receiving numerous calls and emails demanding that they NOT do the Paulson Plan. McCain may benefit greatly if he is seen as stopping a reckless quick-fix deal, one that essentially nationalizes the mortgage industry and sets up more opportunities for seedy politicians and "private" government-appointed CEOs to soak up a little extra cash on the side (since this was, in fact, what got us in the mess to begin with--see Stephen's post for more details).
This analysis, of course, fails to touch the heart of the matter: what is the real solution? What deal should we be rooting for? My conservative instincts tell me that, whatever the solution, the government needs to keep its hands out of the free market. However, it seems that the government has already messed things up to such a high degree that nothing short of "limitless government money" (otherwise known as our money) can effect a turnaround. Paulson and Bush (and several other smart folks) are even saying it should be considered an investment that will one day pay us back and perhaps show a tidy profit . . . for the government. My fear is that we will be out the initial $700B and they will also keep (and spend) the profits, too (if they materialize).
Some have suggested that rolling back capital gains and corporate tax rates will help. Another idea is to repeal some of the more over-zealous post-Enron accounting rules. At the end of the day, Congress and the President will have to do something, seeing as how they have painted themselves into such a tight corner. I have been wondering whether or not I should contact my representatives, but, so far, I have been unable to figure out what I want them to do.
There is one thing I would like to have explained: Just what would happen if we do nothing. Bush says it will be 1929 all over again. I just don't buy that. I could see it being bad for some of the big dogs on Wall Street and in Congress, but how exactly will it be bad for me? Bear in mind, I know nothing about advanced banking policy or the intricacies of our complex economy. Maybe it would be that bad. Maybe I should have bought some of that gold they keep advertising on the radio. Or maybe it would pretty much be okay. As Rush said today, it all comes down to who you trust. It's easier if you ask, Who do you NOT trust? Unfortunately, most of the people on my "don't trust" list are the ones who will be finalizing the deal. Maybe we should just ask them to SLOW DOWN. Take some time to get it right, and give us the time to figure out what that looks like.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
"Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.'' ...
What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets ...
But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.
That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''"
For more details, check out the AEI article by Peter J. Wallison that Hassett links to.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Whatever needs to be done, I think it has become obvious to all financial conservatives that a massive "bailout" (could be called a buyout?) forcing taxpayers to risk $700B on bad debt is NOT the answer. Bernanke and Paulson keep saying the alternative would be worse for "everybody." Just who is this everybody? I suspect it includes a lot of their banking pals. Meanwhile, Democrats are just stalling until they figure out 1.) how they can get money from this scheme, and 2.) how they can socialize our entire economy. Why can't we just sit back for a while and see what happens?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
So far, the only solution being talked about is more of the same failed monetary policies that got us into this mess in the first place – more fake money, more debt, more usury. It is time to demand a return to ... the constitutional principle of sound money."
-- Chuck Baldwin, at the 2008 Conservative Leadership Conference
Supporting monetary reform is an issue by no means limited to social liberals. The Constitution Party's platform states:
"The Constitution Party recommends a substantive reform of the system of Federal taxation. In order for such reform to be effective, it is necessary that these United States:
- Return to the money system set forth in the Constitution;
- Repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and reform the current Federal Reserve banks to become clearing houses only; and
- Prohibit fractional reserve banking."
Update: Ron Paul endorsed Chuck Baldwin today.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Keep in mind that this bill proposes to give the Treasury Secretary unlimited (and largely unguided) authority to spend $700B on . . . something. Not very reassuring . . .
Newt Gingrich also weighs in.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Bad Accounting Rules Helped Sink AIG
by Zachary Karabell at WSJ
"The current meltdown isn't the result of too much regulation or too little. The root cause is bad regulation ...
The collapse of Enron in 2002 triggered a wave of regulations, most notably Sarbanes-Oxley. Less noticed but ultimately more consequential for today were accounting rules that forced financial service companies to change the way they report the value of their assets (or liabilities) ...
Beginning last year, financial companies exposed to the mortgage market began to mark down their assets, quickly and steeply. That created a chain reaction, as losses that were reported on balance sheets led to declining stock prices and lower credit ratings, forcing these companies to put aside ever larger reserves (also dictated by banking regulations) to cover those losses."
I've read a few other articles suggesting that FAS 157 (the accounting change discussed above) is in part to blame for the crisis.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Are Fannie and Freddie Too Big to Fail?
by Frank Shostak at Mises
"The key to FF operations is the buying of home loans from mortgage originators such as banks ...
Due to an implied government guarantee, the FF were able to raise funds relatively cheaply by selling their debt to investors. This in turn enabled them to pay higher prices to the originators of mortgages than potential competitors could pay ...
As a result, the FF have become the dominant force in the housing market."
Would Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have needed bailing out if the Federal Reserve hadn't always stood ready to guarantee their debts? There has never been an explicit guarantee, but the market has always believed that the Fed would never allow Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to fail.
Why is everyone shocked when the Fed bails out large corporations? That's what we gave it the power to do.
Of course, the answer is there shouldn't have been a Federal National Mortgage Association or a Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. There shouldn't be a Government National Mortgage Association or a Student Loan Marketing Association. There shouldn't be a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. There shouldn't be a Federal Reserve System. There shouldn't be fractional-reserve banking.
For more information about our nation's monetary system, watch Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve, a short video by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
(H/T: The Common Room)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Barbara Curtis, especially here and here. Fair warning: Curtis is now a practicing Catholic. Doesn't bother me, might bother you. Curtis is the mother of twelve children (four with Down Syndrome - 1 biological, 3 adopted), author of multiple parenting books and teaching guides, and contributor to Focus on the Family.
Spunky, especially here, here, and here. Spunky is a homeschooling mom of six and her blog is always sharp, insightful, and a daily "must read" for me.
For the record, Spunky has not decided whether she'll vote for McCain-Palin. Barbara Curtis is supporting them wholeheartedly. Regardless of their view of the election, they both comment on the attacks of the far left (mainstream media) and the far right (Vision Forum). Anything that has Doug Phillips "holding hands" in unity with Gloria Steinem, as one of Spunky's commenters put it, is enough to give me pause.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
As you can see it was packed! But at least we could hear some of the words . . .
Then we passed through a gate, just as security personnel closed it off. We were only seconds away from being shut out at the back. Even this area filled quickly. Meanwhile, we shuffled through security. All umbrellas had to be abandoned at this point. We never saw ours again, but we left with one that looked very similar!
And so, we got into the rally! What a crowd!
The girls were pretty excited about it. I held them up for a (very little) bit of it, so they could see some of the speakers.
When we got there (about 10:00), Anthony Munoz was just finishing up his remarks. Personal Note: Karen and I ate at the Golden Lamb for one of our first anniversaries--very nice place, great service.
After a few campaign songs (they even dared to play "Barracuda"), the Straight Talk Express rolled up and out came our 2008 Republican ticket! We didn't get to see all that much of this part due to the frantic waving of signs and cheering. Gov. Palin spoke first, mostly repeating the high notes from her convention speech. But it was awesome to hear her say it live!
Here's my favorite picture: Mr. and Mrs. Palin and some guy in a light blue shirt. Actually, McCain was very warmly received and I find that he's really starting to grow on me. That will probably dissipate about the time he "mavericks" us all a few weeks after the election, but right now, I really like the guy. Regardless, Sarah was THE reason we made the trip, and I don't think we were alone.
We decided to leave just before McCain got finished (about 11:00). Here's a shot of the bus. We got to see it again as it was heading south on I-71 (which they blocked for the occasion). Then we grabbed a bite to eat and hit a few bookstores . . . our definition of a great day!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Right...I hasten to add that I find those email forwards ("He's a Muslim! His middle name is Hussein! But he's Muslim! And his name is Barack Hussein Obama! Get it? OBAMA? OSAMA?") both annoying and disgusting. The truth is bad enough.
But at the least, this little clip demonstrates his speaking ability. I mean, wow, he's such a great speaker (/sarcasm).
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
BTW, all the other speeches were great, too. Steele, Romney, Giuliani and even Huckabee seemed to really hit the right notes tonight. Finally, I am excited about being a Republican again!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Edited: Ok, my beloved has already posted this. Guess I should've checked his links first...
H/T: The Anchoress
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Welcome back! In our last episode, I argued that conservatives should support McCain/Palin even if they are opposed to women holding public office (or even a public job). Stephen's response in the comments can be summed up as follows: 1. Governor Palin has not done a good job raising her children and 2. Women should not work outside the home, lest they undermine the institution of the home. In this post, I'll try to refute both of these points.
First, we consider the quality of the Palin family. Before even attempting to pass judgment, it might help to ponder the very subjective nature of the exercise itself. How do you know if your family is successful or if your children are being raised correctly? I can tell you that mine is and my children are, but I can't tell you at exactly what point that would no longer be the case. I know when my wife is being submissive and when I'm being sacrificial, and I know when those things aren't quite working out. What I can't do is make a sweeping judgment one way or the other. We know when our family is going right and when it's not, but sometimes it's hard to nail down. Now that's my own family.
Let's talk about your family. I can look at your family and make some judgments. If your only discussions with your wife happen via lawyer and your kids are on crack, I might be safe in pronouncing your family a complete failure. But what if your family is...well, normal? I might not prefer your family's decision to have taco night every Tuesday, but really, what business is it of mine? What if your wife only cooks 4 meals a week instead of all 7? Does that mean she is unsubmissive? It would certainly be inappropriate for me to make that call, particularly if you (as the husband) are supportive of it. What if your wife prefers to send her kids off to public school instead of nurturing them at home? Is she failing as a mother at this point? It sure doesn't seem like my place to say it. I might prefer my wife to do that, but that doesn't mean I need to be critical of your wife.
Family decisions are just that: Family decisions. The Mom and the Dad make decisions about how their family will work, and they live them out. We outsiders can make certain observations about the wisdom or foolishness of these choices, but, at the end of the day, how is it our business to tell someone else how to run their family? This is exponentially more true if the family under scrutiny happens to be happy with the choices they've made and are able to showcase a few well-adjusted, normal kids to boot.
This is case with Governor Palin's family. BTW, check out these great behind-the-scenes pictures from Friday's rally. You'll see a family that works. You'll see a mom that loves her kids and has made every provision for their education, comfort and well-being. Their decision to give birth to a child with Down's Syndrome surely indicates an intense amount of character and selfless love, as a selfish mother would do what many other selfish mothers do every day: have an abortion. Her oldest son is selfless enough to serve his country in Iraq. Her husband is happy with her role as wife and mother, despite the sacrifices they have had to make. Who are we to sit in judgment of this family and declare Mrs. Palin a bad mother, a judgment directly at odds with her own husband's. Clearly, this line of criticism is utterly and profoundly absurd.
Secondly, let us discuss the role of a virtuous woman. Proverbs 31 provides the clearest picture in all the Bible of a successful and productive wife and mother:
10: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11: The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12: She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13: She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14: She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15: She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16: She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17: She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18: She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19: She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20: She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21: She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22: She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23: Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24: She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25: Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26: She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27: She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28: Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
This woman is BUSY! She works hard for her family, both inside and outside the home. She runs a small business. She does not always remain in silent "submission" to her husband; rather she speaks wisdom. And her husband and children love her for it! I'll admit that not all women (or men) are capable of so much. Family is a complicated balancing act, and sometimes trade-offs have to be made. However, each family bears responsibility for its own decisions. Note also that all women are not called to be under subjection to all other men (Ephesians 5:22). I can't boss your wife around just as you can't boss mine. Rather each wife is to submit to her own husband. The husband, as head of the home, will ultimately answer to God for his family's success or failure. The wife, as heart of the home, will answer for how she followed his leadership. Both are responsible for providing for and serving the family. So long as a wife acts in accordance with her husband's leadership, she is being submissive. Whether or not she holds a position in a business or even in government has no bearing on this formula.
Sarah Palin seems to be doing her job as mother and wife. Her husband and children seem to think so. Who are we to argue with them?
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Fred replaces Arnold at the Republican National Convention. It just might be worth paying attention to now.
*singing* O what a beautiful day *singing*
Yes, I often burst into show tunes around here. It's a curse and a blessing, depending on who you ask.
Perhaps it is not ideal for the average woman to lead our nation (or the average man for that matter), but we certainly don't have to settle for just any woman. We will be selecting a specific woman, hopefully one in the tradition of Margaret Thatcher, et al. There are capable women, and Sarah Palin is one of them. On the other hand, many men are completely undeserving and incapable of effective leadership. Are we to choose a less-capable man over an experienced, battle-tested woman? It seems far more reasonable to select the best individual, regardless of gender, color, ethnicity, etc.
If we are waiting for a perfect government, why vote at all? We're only going to experience that in the Millenium, and we won't be voting then, either. Perhaps it was simpler to live in the age of kings, where citizens did not have the ability to elect their leaders. Yet, we find ourselves in a different situation; one quite unique in the span of history. Americans have the right to vote. What should guide our sacred decision? Since we will never have the opportunity to vote for a perfect candidate, we must settle on a candidate we prefer.
In this election, the choice is clear for those holding to pro-life conservative principles. The McCain/Palin ticket would protect the unborn and uphold other important conservative positions. Obama/Biden favor infanticide and other repugent positions. I place specific emphasis on the abortion debate because Stephen has planted his flag so firmly on that ground. His comments from December 18 on this blog:
There was a time when America was a just society. She's never been perfect, but she long strove to respect the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of all men.
Yet when our nation relinquished its respect for every human life, it ceased to be the society those great men envisioned and built. When America left this foundational principle, it lost the essential character of justice.
This is why abortion is the most important issue in an election. Reinstating respect for every human life is the only way America can again be a just society. Only then will it be worth fighting for freedom and safety.
I concede that there are many political obstacles, but what better way to undermine these obstacles than by electing a president who has deep pro-life convictions? If we ever hope to see America restored to her former glory, this is the only strategy to pursue.
Stephen, rightly, feels a strong commitment to fighting against the horrid practice of abortion in this country. How then can he justify not giving his support to such a clearly pro-life ticket in the face of a possible victory by the rabidly pro-abortion opposition? How can regarding Palin's gender outweigh the need to fight for unborn children? Christians have a duty to stand for what's right. God is sure to honor our stand against "our nation's greatest reproach" far more than He would be impressed by clever theology we have derived concerning the place of women in society. Let's protect their right to be born and then worry about their place in the home.