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Thursday, December 30, 2004

That 'Sluggish' Economy
To look closely at international economic data is to be reminded that countries with comparatively low tax rates and regulatory burdens consistently outperform countries with high ones. Of course it's nice to know that America's "sluggish" economy remains a world-beater. It's even better to know why.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Looking for Answers
Many who consider themselves Catholics believe they are justified in rejecting those teachings they don’t agree with. Often there is an inadequate understanding of the Church’s teaching, and unfortunately the Church’s teaching on issues such as contraception or homosexuality is caricatured in the media. Yet, even the most honest and well-researched disagreement with the Church on an issue of faith or morals is problematic, because it involves replacing God’s laws with our own private judgment.

The antidotes to this problem are faith and humility. We all need to pray for an increase in faith. Faith means that we accept God’s Word not necessarily because we naturally agree with it, but because we accept the authority of God as the source of all truth. The virtue of humility, on the other hand, inclines us to recognize not only our God-given dignity and talents, but also our personal limitations and our need for divine wisdom and grace.

At the other extreme, there are those who short-circuit the educational process by looking up the answers and copying them down without learning and understanding the material. I had classmates who would take this a step further. They would look up the answer and then work backwards so that it would look like they actually solved the problem when they hadn’t. While the problems with these approaches are rather obvious, at least my classmates correctly identified the source of the right answers.

When it comes to God’s Word, we can be tempted to take similar approaches. These approaches are rightly criticized as being fundamentalist (inadequately taking into account the complexities of the human condition and the fact that revealed truths are at the same time “mysteries” of faith) and proof-texting (taking God’s Word out of context and improperly using a passage as a shortcut to defending our understanding of the Church’s teaching).

Yahoo! News - 'Law & Order' Star Jerry Orbach Dies
This is sad. Lenny Briscoe is one of my favorite TV characters of all time. I'll watch Law and Order reruns on TNT just for the first half and then turn it off once his part is done. Plus, from interviews I've seen, Jerry Orbach seems like a good guy.

Carney calls pay hike plan 'too much'
Another example of the News-Journal's favortism towards Democrats: the article makes it seem as though Carney was ahead of the game in criticizing his propsed raise. In reality, he had nothing to say until State Senator Charlie Copeland raised the issue. Copeland's comments are added as an after thought in the article.

$100,000 is way too much for a part-time job. We're essentially paying him to spend most of his time laying the groundwork for his run for Governor in 2008. As DelaVoice says,
The problem with the pay recommendations for Governor and Lt. Governor is that nobody goes into it for the money, so there is no reason for them to be paid as if it were a merit position. Unlike judges who have to make a very real economic decision between staying in private practice or serving as a judge, there are people who line up to be Governor and Lt. Governor, at great expense to themselves and their supporters. Because we don’t need to pay them better, we shouldn’t pay them better. That’s the beauty of a free market. Clearly, the people in the role now are happy with the pay grade, because they chose to be there – and there were equally qualified people ready to fill their shoes if the electorate so chose.
That's an excellent point. We shouldn't pay our elected officials too much. Get those who are in it for the money out of there. For example, the President's annual salary is "only" $400,000. What would he get if he were the CEO of a company even 1/4 of the size of the federal government. There's no shortage of people looking to run for offices; we shouldn't have to pay them a "fair" salary.

Jonah Goldberg on International Aid on National Review Online
Nobody objects when the United Nations helps victims of natural disasters, so U.N. defenders always use disaster relief and peacekeeping as their chief tool for fundraising. The problem is that the United Nations is not an impartial philanthropic organization. It is a political institution where a broad coalition of nations hope to curtail the power and influence of the United States. France uses the organization to leverage its relatively meager power by rallying African and Arab nations against us. Kofi Annan uses his megaphone to decry the moral and legal legitimacy of American foreign policy. Its Human Rights Committee is festooned with torture states, but it seems capable of issuing only condemnations inconvenient to the United States. And we foot the bill.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Choose The Blue
This site was started to encourage liberals to purchase products from companies that give money to Democratic candidates and committees. I wonder if they realize that Republicans could use this list for the opposite purpose?

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