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Harbingers

Forerunners of things to come...

Techtonic uncertainty in the U.S. economy

People tell me there are few things more unsettling than riding out an earthquake, when the ground is shifting underneath you. This is what is currently happening in the U.S. economy, and, as a consequence, businesses, including banks, are very reluctant to commit money to anything other than highly secure and very near term investments. It is commonplace for lending institutions to demand 40% down on a mortgage, for example, and if you need capital to start a new venture, and you're not a member of a tightly knit ethnic clan whose other members have substantial savings, or a major player in the startup business with a sterling track record, you may as well forget it.

Sacred Scripture, Traditions, and the Magisterium

The continuing foofaraw over where President Obama was born is complicated by important issues of Constitutional interpretation. Ever since the famous case Marbury v. Madison, the country has accepted the Supreme Court as the official interpreter of the Constitution. The continuing jurisprudence of that august body interprets the section of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution on citizenship as granting that citizenship to all who are born or naturalized in the U.S.

The up side and the down side of $5/gal. gasoline

With the summer driving season arriving in a couple of months, and with the growing unrest in the Middle East, it is a virtual certainty that gas prices at the pump will exceed $5/gallon. As with any significant change, there are pluses and minuses. MSN Money blogger "doubleace" has posted a rather detailed look at the pluses, and I see no reason to add to his excellent work. See "Why you should love $5 gas." My only thought is to provide some balance to this perspective by considering possible negatives.

Moral cowardice and face-saving capitulations

Full disclosure: according to the standard news media narrative, I'm what you call a right-wing extremist. Not only do I believe in downsizing government. Not only do I believe government has no business funding abortion (Planned non-Parenthood) or left-wing propaganda (the CPB) or government dominated health-care (the PPACA, popularly — or, depending on your perspective, notoriously — known as Obamacare). I actually believe our country is in danger of losing its soul over these and similar issues. So, naturally, I'm not in favor of "compromise" over these issues that are, as far as the Democrats are concerned, essential to preserve in the budget. The question is, do the Republicans have the moral clarity to insist on the so-called budget riders being a part of any continuing resolution or FY 2011 budget resolution?

The Pitiful Patter of PETA

The GLBTQI (note the extra letter, recently added — see LGBTQI) folks have their own GLBTQI-friendly translation of the bible. (See, for example, Good News for Modern Gays, by Sylvia Pennington.) Now PETA wants to get into the act and inform translation committees that they should remove the species-ist references in the bible.

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