Doug Archives

Tax-cutting Democrats?

Well, maybe they’re not being vocal about it, but Investor’s Business Daily did not something in Nancy Pelosi’s press release on the economic stimulus package making its way through Congress.

We’re so used to Democrats pushing tax hikes as the answer to all of America’s problems that we were taken aback to find the following words buried in Pelosi’s release on the stimulus deal: "Economists estimate that each dollar of broad tax cuts leads to $1.26 in economic growth."

Gee, that sort of sounds familiar. It’s almost, though not quite, like what the much-reviled supply-side economists have been saying for, oh, 30 years or so.

Pelosi, and other Democrats now suddenly touting tax cuts, may be on to something. We might demur on the notion that all tax cuts must be "broad" to be effective. Evidence really lies more strongly with giving tax cuts to those who would start new businesses or expand old ones. But it’s refreshing to hear a Democrat admit the obvious — that tax cuts work.

Now, their base may have other thoughts on this, which is why I’m sure we haven’t heard much about this being trumpeted by Pelosi’s office.  It has been Received Wisdom, from the Democrats’ point of view, that tax cuts — letting people keep their own hard-earned money back to them — is somehow bad, economically and morally.  Here we see that, behind closed doors (and within unread papers), they may, in fact, not think that, at least economically. 

IBD, though, notes that not every tax cut has the same effect.

But not all tax cuts are created equal — something, unfortunately, Democrats don’t seem to get. They think giving tax cuts — or, more accurately, cash — to those with lower incomes results — presto! — in stimulus. That’s not the case. Rebates are like welfare checks.

In fact, investors and entrepreneurs create economic growth, new jobs and higher incomes. They’re the risk takers who build our economy. But today they’re taxed at the most punitive rates.

The biggest bang for the tax-cut buck, therefore, comes from lowering rates for those who will actually take the money and create or expand a business with it — not just spend it at Wal-Mart.

New research shows this to be true. In the broadest such study ever, University of California economists Christina and David Romer looked at every tax change in the U.S. after World War II.

Their unambiguous conclusion: "Tax cuts have very large and persistent positive output effects." Indeed, a tax cut of just 1% boosts GDP by about 3% for several years, they found.

This is a truth that the Democratic base really isn’t ready for, but baby steps are good.

[tags]tax cuts,Democrats,Nancy Pelosi,Investor’s Business Daily,economy[/tags]

Canada’s Torture "Watchlist"

Whew, I’m sure we feel better after this report.

Canada’s foreign ministry, responding to pressure from close allies, today said would remove the United States and Israel from a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured.

Both nations expressed unhappiness after it emerged that they had been listed in a document that formed part of a training course manual on torture awareness given to Canadian diplomats.

The article goes on to note it was all a misunderstanding, though it’s not quite clear if the misunderstanding was that the US and Israel were on the list, or that anyone found out that the US and Israel were on the list.

And what were those things that got us on the list in the first place?

Under ”definition of torture” the document lists US interrogation techniques such as forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding prisoners.

Folks, if that’s "torture", the word no longer has meaning.  Blindfolding?  You want to debate waterboarding, that’s fine.  But if that debate is going to take us down a road that leads to the banning of blindfolding, then the Left needs to come clean on this before the debate starts. 

Some say they’ll know torture when they see it, and for most people that ain’t it.

Stem Cell Miracles

Again we find that stem cells could be the cure for things that had been incurable.

Heart attacks occur when the heart muscle is starved of oxygen, usually because the arteries that supply it with blood become blocked with fatty deposits. A bypass operation restores this blood supply, but the lack of oxygen leads to permanent scarring of the heart muscle.

Even after the operation the heart’s activity does not return to normal. "If you have a large heart attack like this and you are lucky and are referred for a bypass operation, your quality of life will be permanently affected because the pumping function of your heart is reduced," said Raimondo Ascione, the surgeon who is leading the research. "Your tolerance to exercise is reduced so you can’t really enjoy your life."

The trial will involve patients with the worst prognosis, those who have scarring on at least half of the left ventricular wall. "It’s the worst heart attack you can have. Most patients just die," said Ascione.

The team will extract bone marrow from all 60 patients and separate out a class of stem cells that makes up 1% of the tissue. Previous studies have suggested that this cell type is able to regenerate heart muscle cells and blood vessels. By using the patient’s own cells there will be no problems with tissue rejection.

But again, as well, is a missing word in the article.  It’s implied in that last quoted paragraph, but it’s not said by name.  These are adult stem cells, from the patient.  Very little these days is said about adult stem cells, because of the agenda of folks who want embryonic stem cell research to get federal funding. 

The question isn’t whether or not embryonic stem cells would be useful.  The real question is; if adult stem cells have such wide, varied uses, and have been proven to work time after time, why do we want to step into the ethical quagmire of using embryos?

[tags]stem cells,Raimondo Ascione,heart disease,medicine[/tags]

An Educated Citizenry…

…is apparently the gay-rights crowd’s worst enemy. Via the Jawa Report we read that what is being called, vaguely, the "Citizens Bill of Rights" has provisions that are not mentioned on the ballot.

Miami voters are being asked Jan. 29 to approve a ‘Citizens’ Bill of Rights” that would, among other things, promote religious freedom, clean air and scenic beauty. It would also ban discrimination on the basis of domestic relationship status, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression — though relatively few people are aware of it. The proposed city charter change hasn’t drawn much attention. The actual ballot wording never mentions gay or transgender rights. On Monday, even some leading gay and Christian activists didn’t know anything about it.

Apparently, the gay-rights groups don’t have the guts to fight for what they want. They prefer to sneak it in under the radar.

Heddy Peña, executive director of SAVE, Miami-Dade County’s largest gay-rights group, said her organization has been sending out e-mails urging supporters to vote yes. ”We’ve been trying not to call special attention so that it becomes highly politicized,” Peña said. “You politicize it and you have a fight on your hands.”

Politicize? Sorry, more like "publicize". I think the real fear hear is the latter, not the former. Giving the issue a fair hearing and fair representation is not politicization; it’s underhanded. Knowing they can’t sell their issue on its merits, they do what they always accuse the Religious Right of doing; force it down our throats.

Floridians, you have six days to get educated.

[tags]Florida,gay rights,homosexuality,transgender,Miami,Heddy Peña[/tags]

The Script Keeps Playing Out

You know, the one where the socialist dictator does whatever he can to stifle dissent and prop up the failing socialist economy? How many times does it need to be repeated?

First off, Chavez v. farmers.

President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to take over farms or milk plants if owners refuse to sell their milk for domestic consumption and instead seek higher profits abroad or from cheese-makers.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez pours powder milk on his desk during his weekly broadcast.

With the country recently facing milk shortages, Chavez said “it’s treason” if farmers deny milk to Venezuelans while selling it across the border in Colombia or for gourmet cheeses.

“In that case the farm must be expropriated,” Chavez said, adding that the government could also take over milk plants and properties of beef producers.

“I’m putting you on alert,” Chavez said. “If there’s a producer that refuses to sell the product … and sells it at a higher price abroad … ministers, find me the proof so it can be expropriated.”

Addressing his Cabinet, he said: “If the army must be brought in, you bring in the army.”

Hugo calls anything that goes against his socialist vision “treason”. So here we see that central planning of the economy is failing, there are shortages, farmers are trying to get the best price for their product, and the government is ready to send in the army. Yeah, a socialist paradise.

Well, if you don’t believe that it is, you’d better not say that to loudly. Here is Chavez v. dissent.

Judge Monica Fernandez, a Venezuelan human rights advocate, was shot on January 4 in what police ruled a botched car robbery. The night before, she was branded an enemy of the state on state television. Coincidence?

For those who still have this belief that George W. Bush is the real dictator and the worst terrorist, please open your eyes and see what real creeping totalitarianism looks like.

[tags]Venezuela,Hugo Chavez,socialism,Monica Fernandez,totalitarianism[/tags]

CNN Readers Respond to ‘Race and Gender’ Story

And they’re not happy with it.

Within minutes of posting a story on CNN’s homepage called “Gender or race: Black women voters face tough choices in South Carolina,” readers reacted quickly and angrily.

Readers want media to focus more on the candidates and how they feel about the issues not their gender or race.

Many took umbrage at the story’s suggestion that black women voters face “a unique, and most unexpected dilemma” about voting their race or their gender.

CNN received dozens of e-mails shortly after posting the story, which focuses largely on conversations about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that a CNN reporter observed at a hair salon in South Carolina whose customers are predominantly African-American.

The story states: “For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?” Read the story

An e-mailer named Tiffany responded sarcastically: “Duh, I’m a black woman and here I am at the voting booth. Duh, since I’m illiterate I’ll pull down the lever for someone. Hm… Well, he black so I may vote for him… oh wait she a woman I may vote for her… What Ise gon’ do? Oh lordy!”

Frankly, it’s very heartening to hear this, after the news reports that the African-American women at Atlanta’s Spelman College were seriously fretting over this very question. Possibly, maybe, hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for identity politics.

[tags]identity politics,CNN,Spelman College,South Carolina,Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama[/tags]

New “Stones Cry Out” Contributors

Back when we moved over to the new WordPress version of “Stones Cry Out”, we made mention that we were looking for some new contributors.  Well, we’d like to finally announce that we have two new voices to add to the current set of stones; Rusty Lopez and Mark Olson.  You can click on the “Bios” link to the right to read up on their backgrounds, and what they bring to the blog.

Rusty has blogs for both culture and photography, and is now our official West Coast Stone.  Mark comes to us with a stint on World Magazine’s BlogWatch under his belt (which is, unfortunately, no longer active).  They still, of course, have their own personal blogs as well (links in the Bios) but we’re glad to have both of them to add to the voices at “Stones Cry Out”.

Welcome Rusty and Mark!

Why I Hate Polls

Alert: Dead Horse Being Beaten!

I just wanted to reiterate that I’m no big fan of polls, and Mark Alexander, writing for this week’s Patriot Post, puts it well.

[I]t is worth familiarizing oneself with the practice of Pollaganda, a propagandistic disinformation technique where political polling masquerades as “objective journalism” and instead advances a liberal bias.

Americans who participate in public-opinion polls about political performance are not political analysts, national-security specialists, economists or policy experts. They are folks who hold common labor and professional jobs in order to support their families and make ends meet. They are thus the backbone of our nation. Unfortunately, a large measure of their perspective on politics, national security, the economy and public policy is shaped by the MSM.

Pollaganda uses outcome-based opinion samples (polling instruments designed to generate a preferential outcome) reflecting prior-opinion indoctrination or cultivation by the media. The results are then used to manipulate public opinion further by advancing the perception that a particular opinion on an issue enjoys majority support. The MSM then presents this “data” as if it were “news.”

I say “outcome based” because most polls reflect intentional propagation of a particular bias by Leftmedia television and print outlets to manipulate public opinion. They accomplish this by first indoctrinating viewers with “reporting” that reflects a particular bias, then conducting “opinion polls” which, of course, reflect that indoctrination.

Then the media uses poll results to proselytize further by treating the results as “news,” which, in turn, induces “bandwagon” psychology—the human tendency of those who do not have a strong ideological foundation to aspire to the side perceived to be in the majority—and thus further drives public opinion toward the original media bias, ad infinitum.

Pollaganda, then, is self-perpetuating.

What he said.

[tags]polls,The Patriot Post,Mark Alexander,pollaganda,news media[/tags]

Abortions Down, Way Down

Abortions are down to the lowest level in decades.

A new report by an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood finds that the number of abortions nationwide have fallen to their lowest point in 30 years and have declined 25 percent since 1990. Pro-life groups point to laws limiting abortions, the effectiveness of pregnancy centers and abstinence education as the reason why.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute report finds just over 1.2 million abortions in the United States in 2005, down nearly 25% from their high of 1.6 million in 1990.

The number of abortions are now at their lowest point since 1.179 million in 1976.

Additionally, the report shows the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women age 15-44) down to 19.4 per thousand — the lowest since 1974. That was the first full year following the Roe v. Wade decision.

The Guttmacher report speculates that the lower abortion rates may be due to “more women carrying unintended pregnancies to term,” implicitly acknowledging that attitudes toward abortion and pregnancy may have substantially changed.

When Planned Parenthood opposes any and all restrictions on abortion, you just gotta follow the money. A more informed public is their worst nightmare, in spite of their PR to the contrary.

Dr. Randall O’Bannon, the director of research and education for National Right to Life, told the new figures are welcome news.

“Today’s numbers confirm what we have known for years — if women seeking abortion are fully informed about the risks surrounding abortion, the development of their unborn child, and public and private assistance available in their area, they are more likely to reject the idea of abortion,” he said.

“Women’s Right to Know laws, parental involvement laws, bans on partial-birth abortion — all of which continue to be enacted by the states — not only help women facing crisis pregnancies, they also raise the public’s awareness about abortion and the humanity of the unborn child,” he said.

“What the pro-life movement has done, and continues to do, has saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” O’Bannon concluded.

There’s some good news for ya’.

[tags]abortion,Planned Parenthood,Alan Guttmacher Institute,Dr. Randall O’Bannon[/tags]

A Brokered Convention?

Huckabee, McCain and now Romney have all taken 1st place in a primary or caucus. Does this mean the Republicans are headed for a brokered convention? The Moderate Voice thinks so. Donklephant is wondering. John Gizzi at Human Events hopes so (it’s good for business; he’s political reporter).

What do you think? And would this be a good thing or a bad thing for Republicans? Would a moving target for Democrats give them less of a chance to do opposition research, or do you think they’ve got a dossier on the whole GOP field already?

[tags]US president,brokered convention,Republicans,The Moderate Voice,Donklephant,John Gizzi,Human Events[/tags]

The Islamic “DaVinci Code”?

A very interesting article in Asia Times about 60-year-old documents, hidden away for all that time, that could shake Islam to its core. If it can be proved that the Koran’s origins are not what is claimed, it would be monumental. First, some background on why it would be so.

No one is going to produce proof that Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave three days after the Crucifixion, of course. Humankind will choose to believe or not that God revealed Himself in this fashion. But Islam stands at risk of a Da Vinci Code effect, for in Islam, God’s self-revelation took the form not of the Exodus, nor the revelation at Mount Sinai, nor the Resurrection, but rather a book, namely the Koran. The Encyclopaedia of Islam (1982) observes, “The closest analogue in Christian belief to the role of the Koran in Muslim belief is not the Bible, but Christ.” The Koran alone is the revelatory event in Islam.

The Koran is Islam. The question then is…

What if scholars can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Koran was not dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammad during the 7th century, but rather was redacted by later writers drawing on a variety of extant Christian and Jewish sources? That would be the precise equivalent of proving that the Jesus Christ of the Gospels really was a composite of several individuals, some of whom lived a century or two apart.

The documents in question, hidden by the Nazis, and who’s photographs are now in a Berlin vault, do exist. That’s apparently not in question.

It has long been known that variant copies of the Koran exist, including some found in 1972 in a paper grave at Sa’na in Yemen, the subject of a cover story in the January 1999 Atlantic Monthly. Before the Yemeni authorities shut the door to Western scholars, two German academics, Gerhard R Puin and H C Graf von Bothmer, made 35,000 microfilm copies, which remain at the University of the Saarland. Many scholars believe that the German archive, which includes photocopies of manuscripts as old as 700 AD, will provide more evidence of variation in the Koran.

The question is, do they damage the Koran’s authenticity or claim of origin? That’s a question that may not be answered soon, as access to the photographs is being heavily restricted. And then there’s always the reluctance on the part of Muslims.

Apart from the little group at the University of the Saarland and a handful of others, though, the Western Academy is loathe to go near the issue. In the United States, where Arab and Islamic Studies rely on funding from the Gulf States, an interest in Koranic criticism is a failsafe way to commit career suicide.

And perhaps, not just their career, either.

[tags]Islam,Koran,DaVinci Code,Mohammad,Berlin,Yemen,Gerhard Puin,H C Graf von Bothmer,University of the Saarland[/tags]


It doesn’t get any more blatant than this. Here’s Hillary Clinton talking to people in a Las Vegas neighborhood.

A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.

“No woman is illegal,” Clinton said, to cheers.

Ever, or just where border crossings are concerned? Just wondering.

[tags]Hillary Clinton,politics,presidential election,pandering,Las Vegas,Nevada,illegal immigration[/tags]


Mark Earley on “The Heroes of 2007”, and what it says about atheism.

[tags]Mark Earley,Breakpoint,atheism,Christopher Hitchens,Richard Dawkins[/tags]

Bible Quizzing Weekend

3 of my kids, some more from our church, and a bunch more from homeschool classes that meet at our church, have formed 4 teams of Bible quizzers. These kids read and study the year’s text from which questions will be asked (this season it’s Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians), and compete with teams from other CMA churches in our zone in monthly quiz meets.

This weekend is the Southeast District Bible Quiz Invitational. It’ll be a great time for all the kids to really see what they know. The zone to our northeast, the Tri-State zone, has some really serious competition for us, and since many of the kids on our teams are new, this’ll be an eye opener. Some of those Tri-State kid can answer questions after little more than a burp from the Quizmaster.

Scripture memorization is a great way for kids (and adults) to get the Word in their hearts. My family has a number of passages we’ve memorized around the dinner table, but add a little friendly competition and some recognition, and the kids can really get motivated. (And really show up the adults.)

I’d recommend it if it’s available in your denomination. There are a number (Christian Missionary Alliance, Salvation Army, Nazarene to name a few) that offer it, so see if yours does. The Bible Quiz News website, sponsored by a quiz materials supplier Acme, is a good site for news and schedules.

[tags]Bible quizzing,scripture memorization[/tags]

The Polls Before the Polls

Against all polling data, Hillary Clinton barely topped the New Hampshire Democratic primary. The Clinton supporters are cheering, and the Obama supporters are a bit surprised. As I’ve said numerous times, I’m not a big fan of polling, mostly because emotional responses or answer to questions the respondents know little about are quite useless bits of data. However, how you plan to vote the next day or within the next week is something that people would know about themselves. Last minute changes of heart considered, the numbers should be close.

ABC News’ polling unit, however, is calling this a polling fiasco.

There will be a serious, critical look at the final pre-election polls in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire; that is essential. It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong. We need to know why.

But we need to know it through careful, empirically based analysis. There will be a lot of claims about what happened – about respondents who reputedly lied, about alleged difficulties polling in biracial contests. That may be so. It also may be a smokescreen – a convenient foil for pollsters who’d rather fault their respondents than own up to other possibilities – such as their own failings in sampling and likely voter modeling.

Fair enough. But there’s something I’m not hearing that, were this sort of polling fiasco to happen, say, next November, the cry would be deafening. Basil notes it at “Stop the ACLU”.

The polls were wrong. Very wrong.

And all the Democrats seem okay with that.

But I wonder …

Suppose it was November. And suppose the Democratic nominee was leading the Republican nominee in all the polls. And suppose the Republican ended up winning.

What would happen?

I think you’d hear all the Dems calling “fraud” and saying all those polls couldn’t have been wrong, so the election must have been stolen.

Today, though, the silence is deafening.

The evil Diebold machines of 2004’s Bush re-election suddenly became as innocent as doves come the 2006 Democratic sweep into Congress, and they could have been a factor in the NH primary. And yet, not a peep from the Democratic establishment. Now, for my part, I’m no fan of electronic voting machines; there just too many ways for things to go wrong and lose a boatload of votes. However, if the Democrats are OK with them today, and were OK with them in 2006, there is absolutely no excuse for any bellyaching if the Republican wins in November. It’ll be too little, way too late.

The pre-primary polls were way off, some say that Diebold could have influenced the outcome, and no outrage at all from the Democratic party. Quite a 180 from 2004, eh?

[tags]elections,Diebold,polling,Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama,Democrats,New Hampshire[/tags]

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