Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Worth consideration

I admit it. I read through some blog/article comment strings. Someone posted these quotes into the thread.

"I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading them or driving them out of it"
-Benjamin Franklin

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they COULD and SHOULD do for themselves."
-Abraham Lincoln

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers have acquired too much, in order to spare to others who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equaled industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, 'to guarantee to everyone of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.'"
-Thomas Jefferson

"The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of wealth], and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional."
-Samuel Adams

(sorry, I couldn't resist the sam adams label!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Reporters: A tail of two types

I wrote an angst-filled piece a while ago titled "Reporters are idiots" and made that point using the coverage of the bailout package as my prime example. Today, I was at one point enthused by one example of good journalism and enraged by many examples of bad journalism.

First the bad:

Drudge and Limbaugh both picked up this link, and I now know why. It's a columnist who is just as ticked off about how the housing crisis has been covered and who has been blamed. It is reposted here in an Latter Day Saints publication. The writer, "Orson Scott Card, is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist" according the byline, and he laments in his opening about how journalism has fallen far from what he thought it was in the days of Watergate and "All the President's Men."
This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.
He continues into a concise enumeration of the sins of Fred Raines, Chris Dodd and Barnie Frank, who resisted oversight for the "government sponsored companies" Freddie Mac and Fanny May, stating that its as if the pentagon was allowed to make political contributions in order to lobby for more defense spending (wouldn't the left howl at the thought).

And now the good.

Sam Taylor, of the Bellingham Herald is holding the Whatcom County Council's feet to the fire because of a pay-raise they approved without public discussion... See his work here. Good job Sam.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Destroying Joe

Just came across this link with Joe answering reporters questions early on. All I heard about this interview before was just that he "leaned against his black Durango" as he spoke. Listen to him! He's quite the talker!


Obama is still smarting from the way "Joe the Plumber" got him in a pickle with taxpayers. That much is obvious from the way his aids in the media are now trying to discredit Joe.

Joe Wurzelbacher has people looking for dirt on him, using redundant phrases like "not properly vetted" to conjure up their last mudslinging effort on Palin. Bidan and Obama are complaining that they've never met a plumber in their neighborhood who made $250k a year, missing several crucial points:

1) Wurzelbacher never claimed to make that much. He said he wanted to buy a company that makes that much (mind you this is GROSS INCOME!). What incentive is there for Joe to do so if he knows working harder as a business owner is going to earn him the right to have more of his work taken from him?

2) Wurzelbacher exposed a critical flaw in Obama's mentality and worldview: he believes taxes should be designed to "redistribute wealth." This absurd notion is blatant socialism, which denies the value of work and it's power to CREATE wealth.

Slinging mud at Joe the Plumber ("he's not licensed," "he owes backtaxes," etc.) may ultimately backfire on Obama. People have taken a liking to this guy because they relate to his real difficulties. He's out there trying to scratch a living and simply wants to keep what he EARNED.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Part of the problem

In memory of Claire vg Thomas

I can't believe she's gone. She was so incredibly alive. She had an impact far beyond most people. No one will ever play the organ the way she did. I have constantly found myself hungering for that sound ever since her last performance of Messiah. I remember she was so weak that she actually was missing some notes -- which was so unusual -- but it didn't matter to any of us in the choir because she still projected the strength and message of the music so exquisitely. One of my most precious memories with Claire are recorded here.

She will be missed... But now she and Marilyn are again praising God together. So many times they performed "I know that my Redeemer liveth" here on this earth. What I would give to see it performed now!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Reporters are idiots

Sorry folks. I just have to say this because every once in a while, reporters have to get a slap in the face for accepting conventional "wisdom" and reciting it constantly like it is their own personal creed.

Today's example: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the revised bailout package, which, as conventional wisdom runs, would provide a likely jump in the stockmarket. Nice try. What bugs me so much though, is that every time a reporter gives a stock reading, they tie it to some piece of good or bad news. "Stocks rose dramatically on the heels of news that..." or "the Dow plunged 200 points at the opening on fears of another bank collapse."

Ok, granted there can be pretty definite links sometimes. But today, they finally got called on one of their stupid moments: the Dow dropped anyway.

Here's a piece in the Financial Times that is revealing in this regard:
(Bush) told Americans they should expect the legislation to take some time to make its full impact on the economy. “Exercising the authorities in this bill in a responsible way will require careful analysis and deliberation. This will be done as expeditiously as possible, but it cannot be accomplished overnight.”

Reaction on Wall Street turned increasingly negative after the vote. The S&P 500 – which rose as much as 3.6 per cent ahead of the decision – fell 1.4 per cent, closing below its level on Monday after the House voted against the bill. It was the worst week for US stocks since markets re-opened after the September 11 2001 terrorists attacks.