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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Prediction Scorecard & 2010 Predictions

2009 Prediction Scorecard & 2010 Predictions

Well, it seems that no matter how low Katie Couric’s ratings go, she’s going to hang on indefinitely at CBS.  I’m going to have to give up on that forecast.  Maybe she’ll just go away.  I saw that Katie did win an award from Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center—the “Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews”.  Couric received this distinguished award for making the following comment in one of her “hardball” interviews with President Obama: “You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused.  Is your confidence ever shaken?  Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard.  Damn, I’m not going to get the things done I want to get done, and it’s just too politicized to really get accomplished the big things I want to accomplish?’”
Some things never change.  So how did I do with the rest of my 2009 predictions?
  1. Fairness Doctrine.  I was right, the Fairness Doctrine was not re-imposed by Congress.  I suggested a back door approach and that’s the approach the Obama Administration is taking.
  2. Iraq.  Right again.  Obama has not pulled all our troops out of Iraq.
  3. Osama Bin Laden.  On target.  His current status will remain the same in 2009. 
  4. New York Yankees.  Yes, they made it to the World Series in 2009 and they won.
  5. Washington Redskins.  Wrong, they did not make it to the NFL playoffs.
  6. Chicago Cubs.  Too easy.  They did not, as I predicted, make it into the MLB playoffs in 2009.
  7. Katie Couric.  Gone, gone, gone!  Wrong, wrong, wrong!
  8. Cuba.  The US will recognize Cuba. No, not yet, but they are inching that way.
  9. Economy.  Yes, the media continues to say encouraging things about Obama policies and stokes the fires for an economic resurgence, but the economy has stalled.  However, roaring “Jimmy Carter” type inflation has not YET returned.  I’ll take ¾ of a point.
  10. Spiritual Resurgence.  There will be signs of a spiritual resurgence with a positive impact on serious moral problems that confront our nation.  The book, “God is Back” does indicate a worldwide spiritual resurgence, but I do not yet see any clear signs of a positive impact on the serious moral problems that confront our nation.  I’ll take just ¼ of a point.
I scored six out of ten on my forecasts.  My forecast is not worth betting on, but fortunately no one knows the future except God.
So, here are my predictions for 2010.
  1. Republican Resurgence.  The GOP not only gains seats in both sides of the US Congress, but amazingly takes control of the US House of Representatives.  This is a clear repudiation of the far left policies of the current administration and the Democratic leadership in general.
  2. Chicago Cubs.  Once again they do not make it to the playoffs.
  3. Tiger Woods.  Takes the entire year off, but keeps his marriage together.
  4. Janet Napapolitano.  Gone as the Director of Homeland Security.
  5. Domestic Terrorist Attacks.  A marked increase.
  6. Obamagate.  The Obama administration is rocked by a huge scandal that includes at least one of his top aides.
  7. Climategate.  In spite of the best efforts of the media to kill this story, it continues to grow and expand to include top officials at NASA.
  8. The Economy.  It continues to struggle with high unemployment and as inflation ramps up dramatically toward the end of the year.
  9. Supreme Court.  The Court rules in favor of Citizens United and against the FEC in a precedent setting case that changes the political landscape by allowing individuals and corporations to both donate to candidates for federal office.
  10. Obamacare.  Sadly, it passes in a seemingly toothless form, but sets the stage of one-payer socialized medicine. 
There you have it, my predictions for 2010.  May not all of them come true.  A Happy New Year to one and all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow we will celebrate a gift of love like no other in the history of the world.  God sent His only Son from heaven above.  Just think of that, God the Father sent His Son to save us—everyone ever born—from their sins.  It’s an incomprehensible love—which one of us would send our son (or daughter) to suffer and die for anyone else, no matter how “good” they are?  Yet God did not discriminate.  In fact, Jesus died for everyone who has been or ever will be born, no matter how vile or disgusting they are.

All you and I have to do is believe in Jesus as our Savior.  We can’t buy our way into heaven.  We can’t earn our way into heaven.  There is nothing whatsoever we can do to get into heaven on our own.  It comes only by God’s amazing grace.  Wow!  That is the most incredible, wonderful Christmas gift of all.

Jesus came down from heaven, a perfect place, to live the perfect life that you and I cannot.  And then this sinless Son of God (who was both true man and true God) suffered and died for our sins.  But most important of all, He was victorious over the grave.  His resurrection gives you and me a 100% guarantee that we too will live forever in the perfect place called heaven.

God put the “merry” in Christmas.  It wasn’t merry for Jesus and it wasn’t merry for God the Father, but it is merry for you and me because of what God has done for us.
We were without hope, without God’s plan of salvation.  But God in His infinite mercy came to our rescue.

That’s why on December 25th we can sing and rejoice and make merry knowing that God has done it all for us.  He has saved us from our own stupidity and foulness.  He is the Savior of the World.

So indeed, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism

Is there such a thing as American Exceptionalism?  Is America really different or better or greater than any other nation?  If it is better or greater, what is the reason?

When asked recently if he believed in American Exceptionalism, President Obama said, “Sure, I believe in American Exceptionalism just like an Englishman believes in English Exceptionalism.”  On the surface of it, that sounds realistic.  After all, England and the Magna Carta laid the foundation for a free and democratic society.  English common law led the way to a government of laws, rather than of men.

The French gave us great art and led the way in invention.  They built the Suez Canal and made the world smell better with their perfumes.  Germany gave us great music and the Bible in the language of the common man.  Spain, where I am writing this from, had the foresight to finance Christopher Columbus, who, on his way to India, stumbled across the New World.  Many, many countries have enriched culture, made discoveries, and brought inventions to the world, so why would America be “Exceptional” or unique among the world’s nations?

Are Americans smarter than any other people?  Of course we are not.  Does America have more natural resources than any other nation?  No, many poor nations in South America and even in Africa have more natural resources than the United States.  Some would argue that Germany and Japan and South Korea make better cars.  Others would say that culture is richer in Latin America or that other nations are more advanced in science, mathematics, or even music.  So how can one state that America is superior or unique or better than any other nation?  Is American Exceptionalism just nationalism, as President Obama has stated?

Should we as Americans discard American Exceptionalism as a silly idea?  A spokesman for the national association of social studies (formerly history) teachers said recently, “Get over it, America is just another country, like any other country, no better or worse.”  Was he right?  Is Obama right?  Is America just another country, no better or worse than any other country?

Rather than opinion, what does the hard evidence indicate?  Let’s start with immigration to and from the United States.  Are there just as many people heading south across our border into Mexico and Latin America as there are headed north?  No, of course not.  But Obama might argue that’s just because our economy is so much stronger and better than Mexico and South America.  Or he might say that you can’t compare the United States with third world nations.  OK, let’s set aside for a moment the reason Mexico and South America are to a great extent relatively poor, third world nations, and agree that it’s not fair to compare them to the US.  We’ll also exclude Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe for the same reasons, although it’s hard to argue that Japan is a third world nation.  

Nevertheless, we’ll limit our comparison to Europe.  Is there any desire for those in Europe to visit and stay in the US?  And, let’s forget the politicians and other privileged classes of Europe who live in luxury.  In fact, I’ll use just a simple example.

My friend Bob runs a large printing and shipping operation in Virginia.  Not too long ago, a young Frenchman who had traveled to the US applied for a job.  Bob asked him why he wanted to come to the US to work and live here.  He had a simple, straightforward answer, “Everyone knows what a great place the United States is,” he said.  “Everyone wants to come to the US.  Everyone knows that the US is the greatest country in the world.”  Apparently not everyone, according to our President.

Admittedly, it can be argued that this simple example is not a scientific study.  But, in fact, surveys in Europe and around the globe indicate that people everywhere envy, respect, and admire the United States.  They all wish they had the widespread prosperity and freedom of the United States.  They stand in awe of the American “can do” spirit.

But the fact that Americans enjoy broader and deeper prosperity more than any other nation in the world is not the cause of American Exceptionalism.  It is representative of American Exceptionalism, but the great spread of prosperity, and the movement from poverty to riches that is possible in the US, is made possible only because of individual freedom.  That freedom is the cause of our prosperity and the reason that America is the land of opportunity as no other nation in the history of the world is or has ever been. 
Although freedom itself is a part of American Exceptionalism, it too is an effect of what makes America truly exceptional.  

Alexis de Tocqueville set about to discover the greatness of America when he traveled to this nation in the 1830s.  At that time, America wasn’t markedly more prosperous than any other nation, but it was free and the people were constantly in “the pursuit of happiness,” as the Declaration of Independence stated it.  What was it, de Tocqueville wondered, that gave the United States this special greatness?

He said he looked for it in our institutions and in our industry, but it was not until he discovered our churches afire with the flame of righteousness that he identified America’s greatness.  Or, as another writer put it, “America is great, because America is good.  When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Alexis de Tocqueville identified public virtue as the source of American greatness.  Virtue is that part of the American character that makes a man accept personal responsibility for his actions.  It is virtue that causes him to work diligently to support his family.  It is virtue that causes him to be a good citizen.  It is virtue that causes a husband and wife to instill these same values in their children and to be faithful to each other.  It is virtue that encourages each of us to be our brother’s keeper.

But where does such public and private virtue come from?  Virtue, public and private, doesn’t happen accidentally.  It doesn’t come out of the blue.  It isn’t automatic.  

Personal virtue is a reflection of God’s love for us.  The God who blesses us with faith in Jesus as our Savior, grants us, through his Holy Spirit, the opportunity and the ability to show our appreciation for God’s love by exercising public virtue.  It’s not that we are perfect.  We are indeed just like every other person in the world, imperfect.  We sin against God and against each other every day, but God’s love for us constrains us to show our appreciation and love for him by acting in virtuous ways.  We are to care for each other.  We are to show compassion.  We are to understand and appreciate our fallen state and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Recently two Englishmen, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, wrote the book, God is Back.  What is clear from reading this book is that what sets apart Europe from America more than anything else is America’s faith in and dependence upon God.  As secular and even anti-Christian as America has become in the 21st Century, it is clear from Micklethwait and Wooldridge’s empirical study that it is America’s faith that sets this nation apart from Europe.  

Yes, it is faith that comes to us by God’s grace that is the source of American Exceptionalism.  By God’s grace we come to faith, by His grace we strive to live lives of virtue.  When we strive to live a virtuous life, we are blessed by God with freedom and freedom leads to wide and broad prosperity.  Free markets and free speech do not create a perfect society.  There is no perfection on this earth.  The earth is not an enduring place.  Heaven is the home that God created and intended for us.  It is to be our destination, and it is our destination by God’s grace through faith.

Yes, President Obama, America is, as people all around the world instinctively recognize, an exceptionally great nation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Curious Publishing Ethics

Curious Publishing Ethics

What a curious episode in the annals of The Washington Post and its fellow travelers at Newsweek, Time, CBS, ABC, NBC, and sundry other mainstream news outlets that recently put their selective principles on display for all to see.  Did you read the story that broke on Monday, November 23 about prominent climatologists in the UK and the US who have been fabricating and hiding documentation that appears to reduce “Global Warming” from settled science to junk science?  You didn’t hear anything about it if you rely on the mainstream media giants named above.  E-mails between leading climatologists in the US and the UK, which have now been posted on the web, show that the earth is not warming, but rather is in a cooling phase.  Moreover, the hidden data indicates that these acclaimed climatologists have data that indicates the earth has apparently been cooling since the 1960s.  Yet in public, they have continued to assert that the earth is flat, the sky is falling, and that you and I have caused the earth to warm.  These climatologists and their friends in the left-leaning news media say that you and I have to reduce our carbon footprint to avert disaster.  We have to reduce our standard of living and enact painful, job killing taxes to survive. 

When the damning e-mails were released due to their website being hacked or because of a whistleblower (no one apparently knows what exactly happened), were the giants of the mainstream media who got conned outraged?  Did they pour their venom on those who tricked them and the American public?  Did these paragons of self-proclaimed virtue rage at the corruption and dishonesty of “scientists” who have foisted a hoax on the world?  Did these guardians of the public interest shout the news of this scandal from the housetops and over the airwaves?

The answer is no.  The silence was deafening.  There were no front page stories or lead stories on the nightly news.  There was only silence.  Integrity took a holiday.  Their principles were apparently set aside.  There was no righteous indignation.  

The Washington Post sanctimoniously announced that it was above revealing the content of private correspondence.  The other minions of the print and broadcast media took their marching orders and remained silent.  Apparently the public did not have a right to know.
Remember, these are the same folks who are always too eager to publish classified information that can damage the United States and its men and women in uniform.  All the way back to Daniel Ellsberg, the Post has published purloined papers with exuberance and glee because, as they stated, the public had a right to know.  They never hesitated to put stolen classified documents right on the front page.  Scoundrels like Ellsberg were celebrated.

You may recall more recently that the Post eagerly published classified information on Extraordinary Rendition and Waterboarding, in an attempt to put the US in a bad light.  There was no concern for alerting our enemies in the field how to prepare for enhanced interrogation techniques.  No qualms about trashing the US.  After all, the public has a right to know!

Ah, but when the worm turns and their pet Global Warming theory has been exposed as an apparent hoax, intentionally perpetrated by corrupt “scientists,” it's not worthy of any coverage whatsoever.  Did the cat get their tongue?

Who are these climatologists?  They are much quoted men in the US and in the UK, who, according to the now published emails, have not only stonewalled requests for historical climate information, but have also falsified data.  Their cover-up includes deleted e-mails, altered data, and a campaign to deny academic peer review of any paper which would undercut their assertion that global warming is settled science.  Along the way they have vilified legitimate scientists as “skeptics” and even “deniers” (in a clear attempt to equate these men with those who deny the Holocaust).  

As noted earlier, it’s not clear if their e-mail correspondence was “hacked” as they claim, or whether it was a courageous whistleblower inside the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) that posted the e-mails on the internet.  What is clear is that the e-mails are not taken out of context and that Phil Jones (Director of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit) and many renowned climatologists around the globe apparently intended to deceive the public and to discredit any other climatologist who disagreed with them.
These are men of low character.  If it were not for the Wall Street Journal, FOX News, The Washington Times and bloggers as well as those in talk radio, this cover up would never have come to light.  This scandal is far worse in its potential impact than Watergate.  Some of the actions proposed in Europe and in the US could condemn those in third world countries to permanent poverty and squalor.  

Sadly, those who have only been reading the mainstream news media and turning on ABC, CBS and NBC have not heard a word about this scandal.  It apparently reaches into NASA (Gavin Schmidt of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies) and major US universities (Michael Mann, director of the Pennsylvania State University Earth System Science Center).  Moreover, it’s likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg.   Who knows how many other government and United Nations officials, along with other high profile scientists in think tanks and universities, are accomplices to the men already implicated in this cover up?

It’s a nasty, ugly story.  One e-mail even suggests violence against another climatologist because he had the temerity to challenge their data.  Other aspects include attempts to blacklist those who disagree with their argument that the globe is not only warming, but it is caused by man.

Prior to the release of these emails when Michael Mann was asked by the Wall Street Journal about the charge that he and his colleagues suppress opposing views, he said he “won’t dignify that question with a response.”  Perhaps we could now classify his response as arrogant dishonesty.

Where is the liberal outrage at this hoax that has been perpetrated on the American people, and indeed people around the world?  Where is the commitment to disclose the truth?  What about the public’s right to know?

Only one Republican Senator, James Inhofe, has called for a full investigation.  Have laws been broken?  Should there be demands for resignations?  Where is the outrage? 

The fact that the globe is cooling is, as Al Gore might say, an inconvenient truth that gets in the way of the political movement to take more and more freedom from the average American.  Without global warming, what excuse will they have to tell you and I what kind of light bulbs we can use, what kind of cars we can drive, how and when we can heat our homes, how many children we can have, how we can use our property, and all the other restrictions on our freedom that they seek?

Shame on you in the news media who deign to print only what advances your biased point of view.  Shame on you who do not truly believe the public has a right to know.  Shame on those of you who countenance dishonesty.  Shame on you who are willing to compromise the integrity of science to advance your corrupt ideology.

May your readership and your audience continue to decline until you become totally irrelevant.