Here's what President Barack Obama said about our high rate of unemployment in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry: "The other thing that happened, though — and this goes to the point you were just making — is there are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," adding that "you see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate." The president's statements suggest that he sees labor-saving technological innovation as a contributor to today's high rate of unemployment. That's unmitigated nonsense. Let's see whether technological innovation causes unemployment. In 1790, farmers were 90 percent, out of a population of nearly 3 million, of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, fewer than 3 percent of Americans were employed in agriculture. Through labor-saving technological advances and machinery, our farmers are the world's most productive. As a result, Americans are better off.
As the symbolic World Trade Center Cross was moved to its permanent display site at New York’s 9/11 Memorial Museum on July 23, an atheist group filed a lawsuit to have the inspirational symbol banned from the museum. Discovered by construction worker Frank Silecchia in the rubble of the Trade Center two days after the attack, “the 17-foot-tall cross became an icon of hope and comfort throughout the recovery effort in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks,” noted a museum press release. Joe Daniels, 9/11 Memorial president, told CNN News that the cross is “an important part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could.” In a service prior to the installation of the massive cross in the museum, Father Brian Jordan, a Franciscan monk who ministered to workers and blessed human remains at the site of the attack, blessed the symbolic relic, noting that after 10 years of shuffling to different sites, “the World Trade Center Cross has finally found its home.” Added Father Jordan, “I am grateful to the leadership of the Memorial Museum for their sensitivity, compassion, and professionalism. I urge all those who believe in the consolation and power of the Cross to visit it in its future home in the Memorial Museum.”
The official body count from the Norway terror attack was still changing even early this week. Some of the victims had not even been located yet — let alone buried. But across the world, “experts,” journalists, politicians — just about everybody with an opinion, really — was already either on offense or defense. The media-driven witch-hunt began almost instantly. Israel haters and Palestinian activists are trying to pin the killer on Israel. Anti-Christian zealots are screeching about the “dangers” of Christianity. Leftist political opportunists are working fiendishly to link the terror to right-of-center parties and activists across Europe. And critics of Freemasonry are hyping his membership in Oslo’s Masonic lodge.
In her essay "For the New Intellectual," Ayn Rand warned that the United States would go bankrupt — financially and morally — if we allowed intellectuals and political leaders to define commercial pursuits as inferior to noncommercial pursuits, if we permitted the productive and the creators of wealth to be defined as looters, and if we refused to see the unrestricted growth of government power as a threat to freedom. To avoid national bankruptcy, Rand called for an intellectual defense of business and capitalism, a defense of productivity, success, individualism and wealth. She said we are fed instead a steady diet of "the whining injunctions that we must love everything, except virtue, and forgive everything, except greatness." Said Austrian economist and social philosopher Ludwig von Mises, "Under capitalism, the common man enjoys amenities which in ages gone by were unknown and therefore inaccessible even to the richest people."
In what critics say is political correctness run amok, the Houston National Cemetery has banned Christian prayer at the funerals of military veterans. U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) is now demanding a congressional investigation of the cemetery after he went undercover and discovered the ban is still enforced at funerals there. On July 8 Culberson attended undercover a burial at the cemetery, where he witnessed members of the honor guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars being prohibited from making any references to God. Culberson explained, The Obama administration had told the nation and me they were not interfering with the prayer said over the graves of veterans. And I went undercover to personally verify that claim. Culberson contends the effort is part of a larger agenda:
Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park has made some unwanted headlines after a lesbian visiting the park with her partner was asked to turn her T-shirt, which included the message “Marriage Is So Gay,” inside out to avoid offending other park patrons. In early July, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, same-sex partners Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton visited the park with some friends, including the friends’ eight- and five-year-old daughters. Odom wore a shirt with a message that was “intended to be a statement supporting same-sex marriage,” reported the paper. As the group entered the park, an employee taking tickets told Odom that she would have to turn her shirt inside out. “I questioned why,” she recalled to the Sentinel, “and he told me because it was a family park.” While Odom complied, she and Tipton later contacted “the recently formed Campaign for Southern Equality, a support group for gay, lesbian and transgender people who are the subject of discrimination, harassment or violence,” the Sentinel reported. “The campaign’s Jasmine Beach-Ferrera suggested the couple write a letter to [Dollywood] as a first step.”
North Dakotans who love the fierce Indian mascot of their state university are circling the wagons to battle an attack from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The governing body of American collegiate sport, which critics say was seized by political correctness many moons ago, no longer allows its members to use ”offensive” Indian names. So the Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota might have to ride off to the Happy Hunting Ground. (Fighting Sioux logo pictured.) The name is supposed to be phased out by Aug. 15. If it isn’t, that could mean heap big trouble for UND. The Associated Press reports that the university could be “blacklisted” by other teams if it keeps the proud name and logo of the warrior Sioux. Retaining the name would also invite “scorn,” it noted.
The latest poll by the Washington Post-ABC News, published last week, provided one more indication of President Obama’s increasing difficulties in generating support for his reelection campaign. When 1,001 people were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?” almost half responded negatively, with one-third strongly disapproving, up from 24 percent just two months earlier. And when they were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy?” nearly six in 10 disapproved, with more than four in 10 strongly disapproving. When asked how he was handling the federal budget deficit, 60 percent disapproved, an increase of eight percentage points since January.
McDonald’s, and more specifically, the Happy Meal, continues to be a point of contention for those behind the nanny state. As a result, the Happy Meal has been targeted for a number of reforms. In San Francisco, for example, Happy Meals are no longer permitted to include toys so that they may be less enticing for young children. Now, a new McDonald’s policy will make Happy Meals healthier by cutting French fries orders in half and including fruit. And though the changes have not been well-received by customers, McDonald’s plans to continue enforcing the policy. Under the new policy, McDonald’s will be offering apple slices, half-portions of French fries, and healthier beverages such as one-percent milk and fat-free chocolate milk. The Blaze contends McDonald's is kowtowing to political pressures:
The Obama administration is seducing states with $500 million grants to get them to enroll kids into accredited, pre-kindergarten programs. The Early Learning Challenge (ELC) is yet another bribe under Obama’s “Race to the Top,” the $4.35 billion incarnation of an endless stream of education “reform” projects implemented since President Dwight D. Eisenhower catapulted education to national prominence in 1957 following Russia’s launch of Sputnik. ELC is run jointly by the U.S. Departments of Education (DoE) and Health and Human Services (HHS). All grants will have been awarded by year’s end. While at least two states have already received windfalls for signing on ($700 million for New York and Florida), some 14 states’ education agencies are still dithering. They know only too well that carrots come with strings, many of them turning out to be unfunded mandates. State Departments of Education are virtual clones of the federal parent, typically referred to as a State Education Agency (SEA); they receive pass-through money from the U.S. DoE plus revenues from state taxes. Every time an SEA takes federal bait, it loses more of its autonomy through federal oversight, although at this point it’s hard to imagine how much more state and local agencies have to lose. ELC follows a textbook oversight scenario, typical of federal agencies providing grant monies to states: