Doug Archives

Creation Debate: Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham

Tickets sold out immediately for the Answers in Genesis Museum’s night of debate between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Ken Ham, proprietor of Answers in Genesis. The topic is “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”

Since tickets sold out so fast, the debate will be live-streamed on the Internet at . The debate will be on Tuesday, February 4th, at 7pm. Should be interesting.

Did Democratic Dominance Doom Detroit?

I posted something on my personal Facebook page about how one of the booming businesses in Detroit is photographing the dilapidated buildings. I labeled my link to the article, “Documenting decades of Democratic dominance.” Can you tell I like alliteration?

This bothered one of my Democrat friends who said that my bias was showing, and that blaming Democrats for Detroit was like blaming Republicans for the Katrina response. His contention was that both were unfair. I, and some other friends of mine, had to point out a few differences.

  • The Republican administration wanted to come into Louisiana before the storm hit to be ready when it arrived, but the Democrats in the state capitol wouldn’t allow it.
  • The Democrats at the city level in New Orleans failed to use the resources they already had to evacuate their own people.
  • Democrats have been running Detroit for 50 years. To say that blaming their policies is unfair, is to make one wonder how long one party has to rule a city for their policies to actually affect that city.

So no, the analogy isn’t even close. And the devastation in Detroit wasn’t caused by Mother Nature, either.

This is yet another example of how Democrats seem to take the stance that it’s never their policies that failed, and in fact the best way to solve any problems they cause is to do the same thing with more money. That has always been Paul Krugman’s solution regarding stimulus spending. That has always been the solution for failing public schools, poverty programs, and every other idea that just isn’t panning out the way they thought it should.

Oh, and when ObamaCare drags down our economy, expect the same excuses, because we’re hearing them already. Republicans are being accuses of “sabotaging” it, when all they did was make the Democrats own it by not voting for it. As it is, the need to a revamp of the website, and delaying key parts of the law, are not sabotage by any means. But Republicans will get the blame while the Democrats will throw more money at a program that was sold as a way to reduce the deficit.

Blame is useful, if it is honestly applied. Using it, we can find our mistakes, and correct them. Democrats will never accept it, even after a half century track record. Does that give you confidence?

What Will Liberalism Do To New York City? Detroit, Anyone?

Bill de Blasio was recently elected as the mayor of New York City. De Blasio is a liberal Democrat, as opposed to the liberal Republican Michael Bloomberg, who just left the post. The NY Times wrote a rather hopeful piece on de Blasio just before the end of the year, which included this paragraph.

His administration could be a redemptive moment for a national left whose policies were often blamed for the crumbling of urban centers in the 1960s and 1970s, yet has now started to reassert itself in smaller jurisdictions with bold new approaches on issues like income equality and poverty.

1960s and 70s? How about the 2010? Detroit anyone? Anyone? Bueller? That city had half a century of Democratic rule, and look where it is now! But the Times conveniently forgets this, preferring to suggest that Democrats only screwed up 50 years ago, and really haven’t had a chance since then. These “bold new approaches” are simply novel ways of destroying the economy, which hurt the poor the most.

Denying Communion to Pro-Abortion Politicians Gets a Higher Profile

This issue has been in the news before, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen an opinion from this high up in the Catholic church.

To deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians who are Catholic, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, “makes perfect sense” because it is a discipline that goes back to St. Paul, “the very first years of the Church,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and now the chief justice at the Vatican’s highest court.

In an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on Dec. 13, Cardinal Burke explained that it is necessary to protect the Sacrament, the Communion wafer offered at Masses, from “being profaned, being violated by someone receiving unworthily,” someone “who knows that he or she is unworthy and yet presumes to come forward and to take the Holy Eucharist.”

For our Catholic readers, what’s your take on this?

Court Strikes Down ObamaCare Contraception Mandate: 6 Take-Aways

Good news on the religious liberty front. Gabriel Malor writing at Ace of Spades give a great rundown of the main points of the district court judge’s ruling with regards to forcing the Catholic Archdiocese of New York to cover, or exempt themselves, from the ObamaCare™ requirement that they cover contraception or abortion. In a snark-less post, it’s just a matter-of-fact examination of the ruling, and why this may have a very tough road to the Supreme Court, assuming it’s appealed that far.

Some highlights (but, as they say, read the whole thing):

This is the first litigation to result in a final injunction against the contraception mandate for religious non-profit organizations that come within the Obama Administration’s purported exemption to the mandate.The 7th, 10th, and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals have all found the mandate to be an unacceptable burden on the free exercise of religion for for-profit businesses that don’t come under the exemption. This case is important, though, because it recognizes that even the act of having to claim the exemption is an unacceptable burden on religion.

Very late in this case, the government realized that, although the Archdiocese and its constituent organizations are covered by the mandate, the regulations might not actually force a third party they designate to provide the objectionable contraception coverage. The judge was not amused:

The Obama administration has handed out so many exceptions to the law, it can no longer claim the law serves a compelling purpose.

The administration, as it has frequently done with respect to disobeying laws it does not like, argued that it had to enforce the contraception mandate in such an infringing manner because it could not do it any other way. The district court pointed out the obvious flaw in this line of thinking:

A very interesting and damaging ruling.

Next Step: Accepting "Open Marriage"

Now that same-sex marriage has been accepted by some states, it’s no longer a draw for the evening news, so ABC News in America has decided to move on to the next big thing; open marriage. These are marriages where fidelity is more of a suggestion than anything else. It’s not polygamy, which at least formally acknowledges, in one manner or another, a lasting relationship with more than one spouse. Instead, open marriage, or polyamory, means two people are legally married while continuing to see other people.

So ABC News decided to present a generally positive quote-unquote “news” piece about those for whom commitment is something only for mentally disturbed people. The most critical thing said in the whole segment was that reporter Nick Watt thought it just wasn’t his thing, and that his wife wouldn’t like it. But the rest of the segment, including questions to a psychologist, was generally positive. Not a hint of an opposing viewpoint.

This is what passes for “news” in the 21st century; one-sided advocacy journalism. Even if Watt isn’t personally in favor of it, showing one side only, on a controversial topic, on a news show, is advocacy.

Do other news organizations do it? Yes, on both sides of the aisle. But while Fox News and the Wall Street Journal get lambasted anytime they don’t play it down the middle, so many liberal news watchers have such a blind spot when something like this airs. Conservative media bias is outrageous. Liberal media bias is…hey look, a unicorn!

The other issue, of course, is that those who said that same-sex marriage would lead to a slippery slope have been, yet again, proved absolutely on target. We aren’t falling for it, but the news media is pushing.

UN Data Shows More Guns, Less Violence

“More guns, more violence”, so goes the mantra that, apparently, many liberal politicians and their voters keep chanting. In one way, it sort of makes sense, if you think about it without considering anything else other than the number of guns.

However, there were some maps made by the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime that tend to set this mantra on its ear. Remember, now; this is data from the UN, not some conservative think tank.

The map shows that where gun ownership is higher, the number of homicides is, generally speaking, lower. In most cases, where the country is orange or red on the gun ownership map – the high end of the scale – they’re green on the homicides map, meaning the low end. Places like the US, which no one would deny is awash in guns, to those places in Europe where you can still get them, more guns mean fewer homicides. And all these values are population based; per capita.

And to just reinforce the point, when the country is green on the gun map – where it’s difficult to get guns – you’re extremely likely to see red on the homicide map; one might say figuratively and literally. Fewer guns in Central and South America, Africa and Russia don’t translate into rainbows and unicorns, unfortunately.

It’s time to stop chanting and take an honest look at the facts. The unicorns might just be grazing in another field entirely.

More ObamaCare Broken Promises

President Obama gave something of an apology in November for his promise that if you liked your health care plan or doctor, you could keep them, period. Turns out what he meant was that if he liked them, you could keep them. And he turned out to be very difficult to please.

But he’s not the only one who was going around making that promise. Here’s a link for the occasions where these Senators went and did likewise.


Baucus actually wrote most of the bill that eventually became ObamaCare, and was a major player in health care policy for decades before, so his transgression is especially grievous. They were fed a line, which a few of them at least should have known to be false, and parroted it to the people.

The American people were not promised a website; they were promised that they could keep their plan and doctor. Will these Democrats pay a price for this? Will saying something so transparently false hurt them at the ballot box? Do Democratic voters really want people who lie this brazenly, or are just tools for those that do, representing them? Will they vote them out? We’ll see, but hold not thy breath.

Does Religion Cause the Most Wars?

Sam Harris, says in his book The End of Faith that faith and religion are “the most prolific source of violence in our history.” The three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history, begs to differ.

For those wars, the authors note the causes of each. Consider this; they categorize 123 as being religious in nature, which is an astonishingly low 6.98% of all wars. However, more than half of them, 66, were fought in the name of Islam. Take those out, and the percentage of non-Islamic religious wars is a mere 3.23%.

So the next time someone tries to use the Crusades as a way to paint religion as the primary source of all war, just ask them, “Is that the best you can do?” Takes quite a bit faith to believe that.

A Chilling Effect

What if I told you that ice levels in Antarctica have reached 35-year record highs? What if I told you that the rise in the surface temperature of the earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that? And what if I told you that the lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace?

Well figure out what you would do if I told you, because I’m telling you. And I’ll tell you this as well; many climate scientists aren’t sure what to do. They’re trying to come up with explanations, but so far they’re just theories plucked out of thin air.

When the facts don’t fit the theories, scientists claim that they will rework the theories. Well, so far, we’ve seen little reworking and more digging in. And here’s another “what if”; what if the media gave this as much attention as they did stories of a spot here or a point there where warming is occurring? This isn’t weather, as they love to say; this is a pause in the warming of the climate that they’re having trouble figuring out. What if people were told about this, or is liberal orthodoxy in the media having a chilling effect?

Suing Educational Success

Hurricane Katrina caused unimaginable devastation to the city of New Orleans and to the state of state of Louisiana itself, but it did provide an opportunity to push the reset button on some of the city’s and state’s policies. One of these resets has occurred in the area of education.

Last year, Louisiana’s legislature established a voucher program for poor kids who would otherwise be stuck in failing public schools. It received bipartisan support, and is part of a larger set of reforms statewide; that reset button. Here are some of the results:

  • Last spring, Louisiana’s graduation rate reached an all-time high, with 72.3 percent of students graduating from high school on time, up from 64.8 percent in 2005.
  • About 85 percent of students using Louisiana’s vouchers are black. In Louisiana, where 45 percent of blacks remain in poverty, this can only be a good thing economically, both for the kids for whom many more doors open when they have a high school diploma, and for the state economy, as more workers with a better education helps deal with unemployment.

When he was in Louisiana this month, President Obama said these words in a speech. “Let’s give everybody a chance to get ahead, not just a few at the top, but everybody. If we do that, if we help our businesses grow, our communities thrive and our children reach a little higher, then the economy is going to grow faster. We’ll rebuild our middle class — stronger.”

Now that sounds great, and it’s exactly what the school voucher program is doing; giving everybody a chance to get ahead. Which is why it’s rather incongruous of the President’s Department of Justice to be suing the state to essentially halt the program, on the grounds that if poor black children leave terrible schools for better ones, those failing schools become less diverse?

And here we get to the crux of the matter. To the Left, results don’t matter if they are achieved by proving liberal policies wrong; in this case, the idea that the government is the best educator of kids. Further, diversity has not been negatively impacted, and in some cases, has improved, so they’re making stuff up just to protect their orthodoxy, and hurting school children in the process.

Don’t listen to this administration’s rhetoric, watch what they do. Their politics are more important than the outcomes.

Another City Spending Its Way to Bankruptcy

I’ve written before about the problems big cities are facing when it comes to Cadillac pensions. San Bernadino, California and Detroit, Michigan declared bankruptcy largely due to this. And now comes word that another California city may follow in their footsteps.

Desert Hot Springs , a resort town of 26,000 warned that it will run out of money by March due to burdensome salary and pension costs. That would make it the third California city along with San Bernardino and Stockton to succumb to that. Amy Aguer, the interim director of finance, said nearly 70 percent of the city’s budget was consumed by police costs, most of which were spent on salaries and pension payments.

Now, part of this problems is the California public employees’ pension program, Calpers. The cost charged for participating keeps going up. Karol Denniston, a bankruptcy attorney in San Francisco said, "Calpers keeps increasing costs and many of these cities have cut costs down to where there is nothing else left to cut." And I’m sure that contributes to the problem, but I really don’t think it accounts for 70% of Desert Hot Springs’ budget.

But the main thing is, if they do go under, who gets paid? Do the pensions get cut in order to pay off creditors? That’s a difficult question to answer. It’s a case of competing promises. The root causes of all of this, though, are those initial promises. Russell Betts, a council member, stated the obvious when he sad, "It’s obvious we can’t continue with salaries and pensions that are in the stratosphere, no matter how much love there is for our police department.” Sure, it’s obvious now, when the problems arise. But if you’d said anything like that years ago, you’d have been labeled as someone who “hates” the police, or public workers in general. “We should be paying our police more than our football players!”, some might shout, even though I’m sure that Desert Hot Springs doesn’t have a national football team. But anyway…

That’s a nice sentiment until you have no money left. I’m not suggesting what Desert Hot Springs should be paying its cops, nor suggesting that such pensions aren’t deserved. It’s just that when you overpromise, sooner or later someone’s got to pay the piper. And even if it’s shared pain between pensioners and creditors, promises get broken.

The solution is to state the obvious before having to break those promises. The problem is that there are too many voters and council members who think that government money is limitless, which is only true until it isn’t. Sure, stating the obvious – that we should live within our means – may get you called ‘heartless’, among other choice adjectives, but it must be said.

That’s kind of like how those of us who were against this huge set of promises we often call ObamaCare were treated. We’re stating the obvious, but we’re being called ‘heartless’, all because we don’t want to go bankrupt. We’re already going bankrupt, that much is for sure, but we’re rather not hang another boulder around our neck while trying to stay above water. As I’ve mentioned before, federal pensions and existing entitlements alone cost more than we take in in taxes. Among the many promises that ObamaCare will not fulfill is that it will reduce the deficit. We can’t afford that.

I feel like I’m council member Cassandra sometimes, warning of danger that is obvious to anyone who would see, but not being believed, in spite of so much evidence surrounding us. Website glitches are sideshows. Economic realities will bury us.

ObamaCare Navigators Exposed

James O’Keefe has been exposing fraud with his Project Veritas for years. The oxen that have been the target of his goring have been of the variety that liberals tend to hold dear, which is why, while saying they don’t like fraud, they typically try to marginalize him. And when that doesn’t work, people like Rachel Maddow just make stuff up.

The latest group to find themselves in front of the cameras of Project Veritas are the ObamaCare “Navigators”, those 50,000 folks who will, if you need it, give you help in getting signed up for the Healthcare Exchanges. Once those exchanges are actually, y’know, working. They’ll get you the lowest premium, even if they have to tell you to commit fraud.

And it’s not just the fraud that is of concern. Enrollment information is being shared with a political group called Battleground Texas, one that is trying to get more Democrats elected. There’s more in the video, and O’Keefe says this isn’t the last of what he has. Hopefully he’ll get to the issue of no federal background checks being required for these folks.

O’Keefe’s undercover videos were a major reason that fraud was uncovered in the group ACORN, and it seems like these Navigators are cut from the same cloth. In fact, in some states, they’re one and the same, with former ACORN people forming more groups under different names and supplying people to work as Navigators.

Yup, if you liked ACORN, you’ll love the ObamaCare Navigators, because both groups seem to have the same agenda. And competence.

Climate Models That Aren’t Modeling

In October of 2012, I noticed an article noting that global warming had essentially stopped since 1997. Well, it’s still stopped, and Professor Judith Curry from the Georgia Institute of Technology is taking a closer look at it.

A paper by her in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics not only explains the pause, it suggests that the scientific majority have underestimated the role of natural cycles and exaggerated that of greenhouse gases. This is the foundation on which the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC report we keep hearing about) is built, and she’s shaking it to the core.

Imagine that; nature – the massive ecosystem that is our planet Earth – has more influence than man.

Check out this article that includes a graph of what all the various and sundry climate models have predicted, and then a line showing reality. The climate is now at a point at the bottom of the lowest prediction model. On top of that, Professor Curry says that this is likely to continue until at least 2035. She presents evidence of natural cycles that can be documents for the past 300 years in making this claim.

Now, accept or reject Professor Curry’s data or conclusions, we still are left with the nagging issue of predictions, used by the UN, that were presented with 95+% certainty. Somebody didn’t tell Mother Nature. Well, more likely, as Prof. Curry said, “The growing divergence between climate model simulations and observations raises the prospect that climate models are inadequate in fundamental ways.”

“Inadequate.” That’s putting it mildly. Not unlike our climate, actually.

Is the "Cure" Worse Than the Disease?

OK, so let me get this straight. The problem that ObamaCare was trying to fix was this: uninsured people got free healthcare at emergency rooms, but this cost was borne by taxpayers.

So the solution is to subsidize their insurance. The subsidies come from their tax refund via the IRS. Where does the money come for these subsidies? The taxpayer. And for those not getting subsidies for their ObamaCare insurance, many are seeing rate increases to also offset these lower cost plans. And since the Supreme Court called this a tax, then again, the money is coming from the taxpayer.

And since those subsidized plans don’t really get subsidized until folks get the credits on their tax refund, they have to front both the cost of the plan and the cost of the often huge deductibles, until tax time. How about that? The poor give Uncle Sam a no-interest loan. How compassionate.

Here’s the bottom line: The problem was that taxpayers bore the cost of the poor getting free health care. The solution is that the taxpayers bear the cost of insurance for the poor, and the poor bear the full cost of the insurance and thousands of dollars of deductible until sometime the following year. Does that make sense to anyone?

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