If Robert Taft had been a baseball player instead of a United States Senator, he might have led the league in left-handed compliments. As it was, he was often “damned with faint praise” by people who, while paying tribute to the power of his intellect, quite often suggested both the man and the mind had come of age in the wrong century. The Ohio lawmaker would hear himself praised as one possessing “the best eighteenth-century mind in America” by people who obviously considered an 18th-century mind ill-suited to mid-20th-century politics. Others, frustrated by the Senator’s stubborn insistence on examining the facts of any controversy before deciding whether to go with or against the prevailing political winds, were fond of saying, “Taft has the best mind in the Senate — until he makes it up.”
Taft was no Lone Ranger. He believed very much in political parties and could be as highly partisan as a Republican as Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman were as Democrats. Yet he was not afraid to deviate from party orthodoxy or fly in the face of popular sentiment. He drew the wrath of the press and public for arguing against the post-World War II war crimes trials at Nuremberg. “Today, the government has become a busybody,” Taft said in a campaign speech in 1944, “determined to meddle with everybody else’s business, to regulate every detail of private enterprise and even in many cases to set in motion direct government competition with private enterprise.” But while Taft was declaring there was “hardly a field of activity into which the government has not intruded itself,” he was also advancing legislation to create a federal housing program and provide federal aid to education.
“Anytime a parent has to bury a child is, in my opinion, the most stressful and excruciating experience a family can go through,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told the Arizona Republic. Few would disagree. Many, however, would take issue with Tester’s proposed solution to the problem of giving parents “time to grieve and sort out what has happened without having to worry about losing their jobs.”
Tester’s motto apparently being “There oughta be a law against that,” his solution is to force employers to give parents time off after the death of a child. Thus, he has introduced the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011, which would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 to mandate up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave — or, as Tester put it in a press release, “job-protected time-off” — for an employee who has just suffered the death of his child.
In 21st-century America, when one wants something, one does not try to persuade others to adopt his position. Instead, he turns to the government to impose his will on others. Therefore, when some of Tester’s constituents experienced the deaths of their children and thought they deserved more time off, they wrote to their Senator, prompting Tester to introduce his legislation. Similarly, thousands of people have signed an online petition urging Congress to pass Tester’s bill.
Following the Eurozone summit meeting in Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced the results of the late-night negotiations: "From a series of national debt crises, the situation was evolving into a systemic concern, threatening the stability of the Eurozone as a whole. This threat has been contained."
First, the holders of Greek sovereign debt have voluntarily agreed to accept a write-down of their holdings by 50 percent which would be sufficient, he said, to bring down Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio from its current level of 150 percent to 120 percent by the year 2012.
Second, in exchange for additional austerity measures, Greece will receive another $140 billion from the IMF by the end of the year.
Third, the “rescue fund,” or European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), will be leveraged so that it will have available approximately $1.4 trillion to loan to countries that get into financial trouble in the future.
Next, the banks affected by the write-downs will be required to raise their net capital ratios from the current five percent to nine percent by next summer, and further austerity measures will be applied to those states applying for financial help in order to qualify for it.
Tim Tebow just doesn’t seem to get it. The NFL quarterback, whose mother ignored a doctor’s advice to abort him, and who himself has ignored critics who consistently minimized his college successes and predicted failure at the professional level, publicly thanked Jesus after leading the Denver Broncos to an improbable come-from-behind victory over the Miami Dolphins in his debut as a starting NFL quarterback October 23.
Tebow apparently does not yet understand that the liberal major media — which has successfully blockaded nearly every meaningful mention of God from their realm of influence — and the culture at large aren’t interested in his wholesome, guileless image and his desire to give credit where credit is due.
“First off, I have to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my teammates … they believed in me for more than 60 minutes,” Tebow told reporters after a game in which he played poorly for 54 minutes, before engineering two touchdown drives — including his own two-point conversion — in the final six minutes, to tie the game at 15 and set up an overtime field goal for an 18-15 Broncos victory.
“You can’t lose confidence in yourself or you’ve lost already,” said Tebow. “When you get knocked down, you’ve got to keep getting back up.”
The U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a “rogue websites” bill that has managed to attract bipartisan support even though it would force Internet Service Providers to create a list of banned websites and prevent users of those websites from accessing their sites. The list is all too similar to the “ban lists” that are found in China.
Breitbart.com reports: “US lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday that would give US authorities more tools to crack down on websites accused of piracy of movies, television shows and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.”
Entitled the Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill reads:
A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order, including measures designed to prevent the domain name of the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) from resolving to that domain name’s Internet Protocol address.
It is the House version of a bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year called the Theft of Intellectual Property Act or Protect IP Act.
All summer long, news sources reiterated complaints about the once-vaunted No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act as being unachievable. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, many state governors, the teacher unions, and other worthies called for “waivers” to underperforming schools and a serious overhaul to NCLB, ostensibly because many (even most) schools could not reach the goals of 100 percent proficiency in math and reading by 2014. Indeed, many could not even make significant progress toward that goal in the interim years.
So, now that debate in Congress is proceeding about an extreme makeover to NCLB, what issue is taking front and center stage? Not “waivers,” or even academics, but two anti-bullying amendments aimed at making it a federal crime for children to “bully” (definition open to interpretation) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. If passed, the further hyper-sexualizing of children will be codified and enshrined, while normal sexual development will be impeded through ever-more aggressive sex propaganda like New York City’s highly contentious new HealthSmart curriculum, utilizing, as always, K-12 health classes as the vehicle of choice for its campaign of graphic proselytizing.
A housing manager in Britain has been demoted for speaking out against homosexual marriage. So now, aside from not being able to speak about the danger of Islam, Britons may not mention any problems with the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
According to London’s Daily Mail, the Trafford Housing Trust socked manager Adrian Smith, a Christian, with a demotion and $22,000 pay cut for crossing what it says is the line between free speech and homophobia.
Problem is, Smith commented at his Facebook page, which is open only to friends, and did so on his own time. So he is taking his employer to court.
Equality Gone Too Far
Smith’s offense? He mildly opined that two men cannot be married. The BBC reported in February that although the government is permitting churches to perform legally binding cermonies, “[t]here are no plans to compel religious organisations to hold ceremonies”, noting that “the Church of England has said it would not allow its churches to be used.”
Smith saw the report and commented on his Facebook page thusly: “An equality gone too far?”
The nature of the relationship between “universals” — Humanity, Justice, Goodness, etc. — and “particulars” — this human being, this instance of justice, and that instance of goodness — is a matter that philosophers have been busy at work trying to iron out for millennia. On a reasonably broad spectrum, there are two rival poles: the one is represented by Plato, the other by John Locke. Plato insisted that not only are universals real, they are ultimately more real than particulars. Universals are eternal, immutable, and incorruptible while particulars, in contrast, are temporal, mutable, and corruptible. For example, individual human beings come and go, but the universal of Humanity is always and forever the same. It is the universal that invests the particular with identity and, thus, renders us capable of recognizing it as the particular that it is. From this perspective, particulars stand in relation to universals as shadows stand in relation to the objects that cast them: particulars depend upon universals for their being.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is probing a $730 million conditional loan commitment to Severstal, a Russian company operating mainly in the steel and mining industry. Writing to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the California Congressman questioned whether Severstal North America, a subsidiary of the powerhouse Russian manufacturer, should benefit from public financing to improve and expand facilities in Dearborn, Michigan.
The North American division of the company has struggled to penetrate the U.S. steel market, and it sold three of its U.S. mills in March. Consequently, Severstal North America received a conditional loan approval from the U.S. Energy Department in July to help retool and expand its factory in Dearborn.
Severstal is owned and controlled by Alexei Mordashov, who is worth $18.5 billion and is one of the wealthiest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine. In Issa’s letter, he asked Secretary Chu why taxpayer money is needed when "announcements made by Severstal during the loan consideration process indicated that the company had ample means to carry out the project."