With the latest controversy in Germany and the ongoing scandal over priests charged with sexual abuse, it is clear that the Catholic Church, being a human enterprise, occasionally falls short, and its leaders sin greatly. But these lapses do not overshadow the good the church has accomplished in the past and — more to the point — can accomplish in the future. Although the church has been disparaged at times throughout its long history, and sometimes for good reason — critics can point to instances in which its power has been misapplied, from the Crusades through the Inquisition, right up until
In May of 1541, Spanish explorers under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado camped on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon and joined together in a celebration of thanksgiving. Nearly a quarter-century later, French Huguenot colonists at Fort Caroline, Florida, set aside a day for solemn praise and thanksgiving in June 1564. In the summer of 1607, English settlers in Maine united with Abnaki Indians for a harvest feast. Three years later, English colonists in Jamestown held a jubilant day of thanksgiving when fresh supply ships arrived, providing the surviving colonists with much-needed food after a severe winter and disastrous drought.
As Paul Krugman details in a recent column, many mainstream economists are concerned that a depressed economy may be the new norm. The case “was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the IMF’s big annual research conference,” he writes. Robert J. Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor at Northwestern University, has dismissed the job-creating potential of technological optimists’ favorite projects like biotechnology and self-driving cars, and concluded: “The future of American economic growth is dismal, and policy solutions are elusive.” Among others, the economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps has deplored the decline of America’s innovative spirit.
For everyone then alive, it remains a moment frozen in time. I was a 19-year-old Vanderbilt University sophomore having lunch in the Gold Room, Vanderbilt’s snack bar. I was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair and in the act of inserting a hot dog into my mouth when one of the ladies who worked the counter came in from another room where there was a television. In a voice as devoid of emotion as if she were announcing, “They say it’s going to rain this weekend,” she said, to no one in particular, “They say the president’s been shot.”
Whether it’s a second shooter on the grassy knoll, inconsistencies in the Warren Commission investigation, or the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, Americans are still drawn to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. But what contributes to the durability of these conspiracy theories? Certainly their plausibility has something to do with it. But like a good conspiracy theory itself, there’s more to it than the immediate explanation. In the days following President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the National Opinion Research Center was in the field polling a stunned nation.
Anyone with a modicum of knowledge regarding public health will agree that the most important, devastating, and preventable issue facing America is the human toll of cigarettes. Yet our nation’s main health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will issue regulations within the next few weeks that could harm our nation’s 45 million smokers. Smokers trying to quit have an extremely difficult time, yet a new technology which might ease their path — electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes — is facing relentless opposition from public health agencies like the FDA and CDC, and their antipathy is certainly not based on science.
“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” This, I trust everyone knows, is the inscription on the back wall of the Lincoln Memorial in DC, visible above the awe-inspiring statue of our greatest president, greeting us and inducing reverence as we enter what is, in my opinion, the finest public building anywhere. On facing walls, to left and right, are carved in stone Lincoln’s two greatest speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln’s personal contributions to his enduring memory.
In the aftermath of last week´s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, much has been said about what the results portend for Republicans in the next election cycle. But let´s not lose sight of the lessons learned only last year. After the shellshock of the 2012 election abated, the Republican National Committee released their “Growth and Opportunity Project” report, which observed that “the perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.”
I recently wrote a brief summary critique of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “analysis” of the “social cost of carbon.” In a nutshell, I argued: (1) the EPA analysis fails to recognize that U.S. policies would have virtually no effect on temperatures or “climate” regardless of which climate model is assumed to be the most useful; and (2) the analysis is poor methodologically and inconsistent with analytic guidelines that have been imposed on executive agencies by the Office of Management and Budget. My observations elicited several comments, varying substantially in analytic quality, to which I respond below in this article.
Today, the phrase “social engineering” has fallen into disgrace. Yet the policy of social engineering, the idea of which goes back to Plato’s time, is still with us today, most conspicuously in the Affordable Care Act. Within the first few weeks of its rollout, Obamacare began to show the telltale signs of social engineering: nothing worked the way it was originally planned. Soon the words “debacle” and “fiasco” were being routinely employed by the media to describe Obamacare’s first month — the same words that have been so appropriately applied to the ill-fated social engineering ventures of the past.
Georgia’s recent presidential election was another milestone for democracy, but the small nation faces ongoing intimidation and illegal occupation of two of its territories by Russia. Whether Georgia integrates into the West or becomes annexed into President Putin’s greater Russia is critical for Georgians and consequential to the United States. Russia is seeking to strengthen its sphere of influence, especially in countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Although some of Moscow’s tactics are brutish, outrageous, and unacceptable, it is understandable that it seeks to reclaim a central role on the world stage.
The ways in which changes to tax policy would redistribute wealth drives many of today’s debates in Washington. The fiscal cliff fight that ushered in the year hinged on whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended for all Americans or only the bottom 98 percent. Last year, a report on Mitt Romney’s tax proposal aroused intense controversy and scarred the Romney campaign when it claimed that “a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed … would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”
"Wherever people discover that money is being spent, either privately or by public officials, they commonly develop opinions on how it ought to be spent ... each person thus becomes his own fantasy despot, disposing of others and their resources as he or she thinks desirable,” wrote Kenneth Minogue in The Servile Mind. Pundits are starting to realize that the problems with Healthcare.gov, the troubled Obamacare website, are not merely technical. High-level managerial issues have started to surface, particularly with this week’s publication by the Washington Post of a memorandum written in 2010 by health care economist David Cutler.
President Obama requested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take a “breather” from his harsh criticism of the U.S. strategy regarding Iran during a call betwee the two leaders, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. The request came as the administration girds up for a push in the next six months to reach a final settlement on Iran´s nuclear program. The president reportedly urged Netanyahu to tone down his rhetoric for the sake of diplomacy and urged him to dispatch officials to Washington who could help negotiate a resolution agreeable to both countries. The president called Netanyahu last Sunday, promising to
In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.” I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37?percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president.
Cher told her fans on Wednesday that she does not celebrate Thanksgiving. In fact, she appears to deplore the American holiday, calling in the “beginning of a great crime.” Cher said that the American settlers were guilty of taking land from native Americans who had no concept of property ownership and also intentionally infected them with smallpox. “You don’t celebrate the holiday I thought?” a fan asked Cher. “I DON’T,” Cher replied emphatically. She said that, to her, Thanksgiving is a day to see family, eat food together and watch a movie. “Not 2 celebrate the beginning of a GREAT Crime.” When asked
For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional. Such as the one just spectacularly blown up in the Senate. To get three judges onto a coveted circuit court, frustrated Democrats abolished the filibuster for executive appointments and (non-Supreme Court) judicial nominations. The problem is not the change itself. It’s fine that a president staffing his administration should need 51 votes rather than 60. Doing so for judicial appointments, which are for life, is a bit dicier. Nonetheless, for
Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are starting to sour on the new pope. In response to Pope Francis’ first Apostolic Exhortation, in which the pontiff denounced “trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” these two paragons of the far right – both of whom regularly invoke the teachings of Jesus to bolster their own political views – have suddenly turned their backs on the man whose actual job description is to speak for Jesus. Sarah Palin complained that Pope Francis sounded “kind
President Obama's weekly remarks: Hi, everybody. On behalf of all the Obamas — Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and the newest member of our family, Sunny — I want to wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. We’ll be spending today just like many of you — sitting down with family and friends to eat some good food, tell stories, watch a little football and. most importantly, count our blessings. And as Americans, we have so much to be thankful for.
LEE COUNTY - The Lee County Sheriff´s Office has arrested a juvenile in connection with two random attacks reported in Lee County. Traveshia Blanks, of Fort Myers, is charged with two counts of battery on a person 65 years of age or older. On Tuesday around 3:50 p.m., deputies responded to a report of a group of people who randomly attacked an unsuspecting victim (Snip)We talked to students from nearby Cypress Lake High School who didn´t seem to think the teens did anything wrong. "I´m not gonna say it´s not right and it´s not fun, because it is fun," said
President Obama is concerned these days with the "young invincibles," the 20-somethings he needs now to buy into his program, but who probably won´t because they feel (you guessed it) invincible and think they will stay so for quite a long time. But it takes one to know one, as the irony is Obama himself is, or once was, an ultra-invincible, unstoppable and doing what people said couldn´t be done. Could he become world famous on the strength of one speech? Yes, he could. Could he beat Hillary Clinton, a president´s wife and a feminist icon? Yes, he could. Could he
One day after a new poll showed that only a minority of Americans trust President Barack Obama, the president told an audience that his policies are based on kindness. “Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” Obama told his audience of wealthy investors, high-tech donors, journalists and fellow Democrats Tuesday, only two months after he slashed at GOP legislators, calling them arsonists, nuclear blackmailers, economic wreckers, hostage-takers, obsessives and irresponsible extremists. “When I think about what I’m fighting for, what gets me up every single day, [kindness] captures it just about as much as anything,” he told his audience at the DreamWorks
For Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, enough was enough. The Senate´s top Republican had watched a Tea Party-driven government shutdown sink the GOP´s already-weak brand and jeopardize McConnell´s own chances of ever becoming majority leader. The solution, he concluded, was that the party´s so-called Establishment had to start fighting back against its most conservative wing. McConnell, an ardent Obamacare opponent, and other Republican pragmatists in Congress, supported the conservatives´ mission to defund Obamacare during budget negotiations, which led to the 16-day shutdown. But the pragmatists also accepted that their odds of success were virtually nil. Democrats ruled the Senate and White House, those
In the wake of the Obamacare fiasco, President Obama’s poll numbers are collapsing in two industrial Midwestern states — the quintessential swing state of Ohio and his home state of Illinois. In Illinois, the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found Obama’s approval rating falling to just 50–46 positive in a state he carried by 17 points just a year ago. His biggest drops in support came among women voters (only 50 percent positive) and Hispanics (only 51 percent positive). Without his overwhelming support among African-Americans (92 percent), his approval rating would easily be in the low 40s. The liberal website
So this is how first lady Michelle Obama imagines Americans should spend their Thanksgiving dinner: Talking about Obamacare. That’s her call to supporters, via an email invitation to Democratic Party backers, The New York Post reported. “As you spend time with loved ones this holiday season, be sure to talk with them about what health care reform can mean to them,” she said, in the email that contained 14 talking points that could be raised. Among her touted topics, The Post reported: Talk about the need to sign up for Obamacare. And, ask guests to bring W2 tax forms, or