Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
LONDON: An island nation that bulked up on debt and lived beyond its means. A plunging currency. And a financial system edging toward nationalization.
With the pound at a seven-year low and still falling, and the British banking system requiring ever-larger rounds of government support, it is no wonder that observers in recent days have pronounced this city "Reykjavik-on-Thames."
While that judgment seems exaggerated, there are uncomfortable echoes of Iceland's financial downfall in Britain's trajectory. And for ordinary consumers, who enjoyed a long boom that transformed the drab United Kingdom of old into Cool Britannia, fears are growing that Britain could return to the economic stagnation of the 1970s.
The pound has dropped 7.6 percent against the dollar this week and 4.2 percent against the euro.
Even though there has been a steady drumbeat of gloomy economic news for months here, the mood this week has darkened dramatically.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
But we have at least one confirmed incident of Hamas's launching rockets from a media headquarters: Al Arabiya reporter Hannan al-Masri is live on the air in Gaza when she is told that Hamas has just fired rockets from inside the Al Arabiya studio building, news which apparently strikes her as quite humorous. Watch the video below and turn on the subtitles feature. The first laugh might be dismissed as nervous laughter, but the second one can't. She is clearly amused by the launch. If the Israeli Air Force responded by striking the building housing Al Arabiya, it would have been completely justified in doing so.Follow the link to watch the video.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
– Once called for changing the Clean Air Act to require a balancing of costs and benefits in setting national clean air standards – a fundamental weakening long sought by big polluters who believe it would help them resist cleanup; – Urged the federal government to devalue senior citizens in calculating the benefits of federal regulations because “A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.” This is a concept dubbed the “senior death discount,” and that environmentalists forced EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman to renounce in 2003; – Argued that it “might be better” to help future generations deal with global warming by “including approaches that make posterity richer and better able to adapt” than by “reducing emissions.” – Even raised questions about the value of cleaning up Love Canal, reducing arsenic in drinking water and using child restraints in automobiles?Progressives would’ve screamed, of course. But what will they do now that President-elect Obama appears poised to nominate Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein to head the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)? For it’s actually Sunstein who has articulated the views noted above regarding clean air and the other issues involving costs, benefits and risk.
I will use less energy. And we will too. The world demands more and more energy. Where will it come from? We at Chevron are working to provide more of it, both responsibly and efficiently. And we’re developing alternatives. But it’s just as important for all of us to do more with less.So should Putin be Chevron’s poster boy? They give credit to CEI, but I can't find it at their site. My favorite Putin defender will explain to you how the problem is all Ukraine's. But he is so one-sided that he isn't interesting to rea.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
We are asked to believe that a man of supposedly great financial sophistication couldn't understand a tax liability that tens of millions of Americans (including me) must pay every quarter.There are other reasons to question Giethner's judgment. Jeff Gerth of Politico writes:
As president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Timothy Geithner often preached that gargantuan financial firms like Citigroup should be held to the highest regulatory standards to make sure they couldn't take on too much risk. But when it came to supervising Citigroup in recent years, the record shows that the New York Fed eased the reins as the company blew billions on subprime mortgages and other risky deals that ultimately forced the biggest bank rescue in U.S. history. ... Poor risk management and weak capital levels were central to Citigroup's undoing. One enforcement agreement in place before Geithner took office in 2003 - an order requiring quarterly risk reports - was lifted during his watch. A ban on major acquisitions also was eliminated a year after it had been imposed in 2005. Afterward, in 2006 and 2007, Citigroup aggressively expanded into the subprime mortgage business and bought a hedge fund and Japanese brokerage, among other assets. A year later, as the global financial crisis took hold, Citigroup took losses and writedowns of more than $50 billion. The New York Fed brought no public enforcement case, although examiners privately sent a critical letter to the company in the first half of 2008.Byron York in NRO
Geithner accepted reimbursement for taxes he didn't pay.What if I didn't pay taxes? - Roger Simon - Politico.com:
Would it be OK if I stopped paying my taxes until Barack Obama names me to be his secretary of the treasury? That is a deal I would like to get. That is the deal financial wizard Timothy Geithner got. He didn’t pay all of his federal taxes for years. Then, after Obama decided to name him treasury secretary, Obama’s vetting team discovered Geithner’s little oversight. Not paying your taxes is considered serious for some people. But not for Geithner, a Wall Street “wonder boy”...The coverup
... So in November, Team Obama announced that Geithner had this little problem and was paying his back taxes with interest and that it was all an honest mistake and no big deal, right? Wrong. They decided to keep it a secret. But The Wall Street Journal discovered it and blew the whistle Tuesday.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
"Each member of the legislature, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration: 'I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governour of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and Punisher of the wicked, and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.'"Via American Minute
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
But an even more fractious battle is emerging over the array of generous defined-benefit pensions, employer-subsidized healthcare plans, job protections and degree- and seniority-based pay scales struck by states, districts and locals of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. Evidence that such compensation fails to reward high-quality instruction or lure collegians into teaching, along with No Child's provision that all teachers must be well-versed in the subjects they teach, are forcing states and districts to rethink teacher compensation. The development of a statistical technique called value-added assessment -- which allows individual student test-score growth to be measured against those in the same grade -- also means that teacher performance can be objectively measured and rewarded accordingly. This is a battle already seen in districts such as D.C. Public Schools, where Chancellor Michelle Rhee is sparring with the AFT local over a pay plan that would allow teachers to increase pay by as much as $43,000 a year if they subject themselves to more-rigorous performance evaluations, as I've noted this month in Labor Watch, a newsletter on labor reform published by the Capital Research Center. But it is the mounting costs of the lavish retirement deals -- fueled by the upcoming retirement of Baby Boomers -- that will likely force states into embracing performance-based pay plans.This article is at the national level, but we have the same huge problem in Washington.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Harvey C Roys, Jr., MD - 1918-2009Harvey C. Roys, Jr., MD was a leader in medicine and the church in the Seattle area for 50 years. He improved many lives in both areas. He was in college in the late 1930s preparing for medical school when the University of Oklahoma took young men into medical school after 3 years of college. He earned the MD in 1943, did a one year internship, then entered the Army and served in The Battle of Okinawa in a field hospital for the 57th Field Artillery Batallion & earned the Bronze Service Star. Seeing ugly, painful tropical skin diseases, he chose to specialize in dermatology. He married Ruth Jacobson of Seattle on Aug 9, 1947. They traveled to New York City for his specialty training. He had a private practice in the Medical-Dental Building downtown from 1950 to 1988, then he worked with family practitioners, teaching them about skin diseases. Adjunct Prof at the University of Washington Medical School. He was board certified and became a "go to" guy: When you don't know what you are seeing or need a second opinion ask Harvey Roys. He retired in the early 1990s, but he continued to care for people, i.e., be a medical doctor, the rest of his life. Active in the Southern Baptist Church, he was a popular preacher and often took the place of sick or vacationing pastors. He started at least 3 churches in the Seattle area - Lake Washington, now Lake City, Baptist in Lake City, Seattle, Bothell First Baptist and one in Juanita/Kirkland. He was the senior pastor at Brooklyn Avenue Baptist Church in the University District of Seattle in the 1960s. He continued preaching until about age 75. He always enjoyed telling jokes and playing chess. He is survived by Ruth Jacobson Roys of Seattle, sons Harold in Upland, California, Curtis in Issaquah, Washington and Charles in Eastham, Massachusetts and daughter Virginia Hebron in Lake Forest Park, Washington. Service: 2 pm Saturday, January 10 at Bayview Manor, 11 W. Aloha St., Seattle. Note: Parking is very limited at Bayview Manor. Arrive early to park on the street and walk a few blocks. HIs obituary was in both Seattle newspapers on Wednesday. Seattle Times
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good. I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith. But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing. First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall. ... Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates. Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted. And I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.Read the whole thing.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
In A Short Course in Brain Surgery, filmmaker Stuart Browning shows the callousness of "single-payer", government-run health care systems as practiced in Ontario, Canada. His film highlights the plight of Lindsay McCreith, an Ontario man with a cancerous brain tumor who went to Buffalo, NY to receive the timely medical care that is rationed in his home country.It's only a few minutes. Watch it.