A thousand years from now, when scholars and archeologists in some future civilization want to know what America was like, they could do no better than dig up a stash of Montgomery Ward catalogs, from 1900 to when it was discontinued in 2001. First, they will find depicted thousands of products available to the general public at very moderate prices. They will find that most of these products were made in the U.S.A. They will find a nation with a very high standard of living, continually improving its technology in all fields of endeavor.
The beauty of the catalog is that it will provide the future researcher with a pictorial view of a society and all of the objects it used in its daily life during a specific year of its existence. And behind all these objects were thousands of factories that manufactured all the products Montgomery Ward was selling. The future investigators will not realize from the pictures that the catalogs from 1930 to 1945 depicted a nation during a great economic depression. The only thing that indicates something about the general condition of the economy is the number of pages of each year’s catalog. For example, the 1906 catalog has 1148 pages, while the 1933 catalog has only 494 pages. You can easily trace the condition of the U.S. economy by simply making a graph of the number of pages in each year’s catalog.
The catalogs also show us the continued improvement in the products being offered. One can see the evolution of the washing machine and refrigerator, the cooking stove, and home heater, radios and phonographs, television sets. It shows capitalism at work, constantly making life easier and better. And the process never ends even though the economy goes through its ups and downs.
Ron Paul just scored another victory in his campaign for the presidency. Just last year, the Texas congressman barely even registered in the Values Voters Summit straw poll. This year, however, with 37 percent of the vote, he didn’t just walk away with it; he left second place contestant Herman Cain in the dust. With 23 percent of voters backing the latter, Paul beat Cain by a full 14 percentage points.
Long time self-avowed “social conservative” Senator Rick Santorum came in at third place with 16 percent.
This is as ironic a twist of events as it must be exasperating for Santorum: It is Santorum, most definitely not Paul, who is supposed to be “the values voters’” candidate. In fact, to hear the former Pennsylvania Senator tell it — and he spares no occasion to tell it — “values voters” are his main body of support. If the media was as interested in marginalizing Santorum as they are in doing the same to Paul, “values voters” would be known simply as “Santorum people.” Yet Paul defeated Santorum not only among the latter’s “people”; he defeated him by a vast margin.
Even as I write this, already the masters of GOP spin are laboring inexhaustibly to reduce the significance of Paul’s achievement. It isn’t, though, that they are diligently in search of ever more ingenious ways by which they can explain away Paul’s viability. There are no ingenuous explanations in the coming to this effect. Moreover, there aren’t even many disingenuous explanations. Rather, there are essentially two strategies of which Paul’s detractors continually avail themselves to dismiss him:
An Ohio judge has ruled against a public school science teacher who was fired for allegedly pushing his religious beliefs on his students, and for keeping a Bible on his desk. The Rutherford Institute, the legal advocacy group representing him in an appeal of the termination, insisted that the charge has more to do with the teacher’s efforts to get students to think critically about the issue of evolution.
According to the Associated Press, Knox County Common Pleas Judge Otho Eyster ruled on October 6 that the Mount Vernon, Ohio, school board was justified in dismissing John Freshwater, a 24-year teaching veteran with an exemplary record. “Eyster noted in his two-page decision that he reviewed more than 6,300 transcript pages from a hearing held before a state referee,” reported the AP. “That hearing officer recommended … that Freshwater’s contract be terminated, and the school board formally fired him within days.”
The Rutherford Institute explained that in 2008 the Mount Vernon school board voted to suspend the science teacher, citing concerns about his conduct and materials found in his classroom, specifically those related to his views and teaching on the issue of evolution.
A Colorado landowner ignites his cigarette lighter and holds it close to tap water running from a faucet in his home. A few seconds pass, and the single flame bursts into a ball of fire that sends the man reeling backward.
This shocking scene appears in the 2010 documentary Gasland, produced and directed by filmmaker Josh Fox, which he touts as an exposé on the evils of a particular method of drilling for natural gas called hydraulic fracturing or “fracing,” pronounced “fracking.” Fox claims that nearby drilling contaminated area groundwater, causing the fireball to burst from that Colorado tap.
What Fox ignores is the fact that the landowner, Mike Markham, lodged a complaint with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) in May of 2008, and while investigators did find methane in Markham’s well water, they determined it to be strictly from natural sources. “There are no indications of oil and gas related impacts to [the] water well,” reads the report, and the regulatory agency declared the issue resolved in September of the same year.
The anti-Christian policy of the Egypt military rulers became even more readily apparent as they blamed Christian victims and “enemies of the revolution” for a series of violent clashes which left over two dozen people dead. In another tragic example of a military junta blaming its victims for its oppressive actions, Major General Adel Emara denied widespread reports of the military’s actions, which murdered dozens of Christians, According to one Associated Press report, Emara “tried to clear the military of any blame in the killings. He denied troops opened fire at protesters, claiming their weapons did not even have live ammunition. He said it was not in ‘the dictionary of the armed forces to run over bodies ... even when battling our enemy.’ "
The Coptic Church — which Emara seems to consider the “enemy” of the ruling council of Egypt of which he is a member — experienced a very different side of Egypt’s military than that which is being creatively constructed by the regime. As Alex Newman wrote previously for The New American:
Anti-Coptic violence in Egypt, of course, is hardly a new phenomenon. Islamic extremists have been bombing Christian churches there for years. But in the post-Mubarak era the attacks have intensified — and this weekend's state-sponsored violence might be the start of a whole new chapter. ...
When news broke yesterday that United States intelligence agencies thwarted an Iranian government-sponsored assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador, the blogosphere immediately lapsed into a frenzy sifting through the information released by the Justice Department. A number of experts have come forward questioning the data provided by the federal government, suspicious that there might be some underlying intent at play.
According to the Justice Department, Manssor Arbabsia and Gholam Shakuri conspired to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the United States. Targets included Israel’s embassy in Washington, as well as those of Israel and Saudi Arabia in Argentina. The Justice Department claims that the Qods Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was involved in the plot, as well as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, who turned out to be an informant of the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Likewise, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the plot “was directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government. High-up officials in those agencies, which is an integral part of the Iranian government, were responsible.”
On Wednesday, the trial of former Soviet military officer and arms dealer Viktor Bout, 45, opened in the U.S. district court in Manhattan with a strong assertions from Assistant Attorney Brendan McGuire.
“One hundred surface to air missiles, 20,000 machine guns, 20,000 grenades, 740 mortars, 350 sniper rifles, 10 million rounds of ammunition and five tons of C-4 explosives,” McGuire told the jury in his opening statement. “Viktor Bout wanted to provide all of it to a foreign terrorist organization he believed wanted to kill Americans. He had the experience to do it, he had the expertise to do it, he had the will do it. He wanted to do it.” McGuire asked the court, “Why — for the money?”
According to Viktor Bout’s own words, as recounted by the undercover DEA agent responsible for Bout’s capture, Louis Milione, in a television interview on the CBS show 60 Minutes, prior to his arrest Bout told Milione that he would be able to supply "anti-personnel mines. Fragmentation grenades. Armor-piercing rockets. Money laundering services. And all within the context of speaking about a shared ideology of communism and fighting against the Americans.” (Emphasis added.)
Now that the Senate has officially and resoundingly defeated President Obama’s jobs bill (The American Jobs Act), the question remains: just how do real jobs grow? Matt Welch, writing in the November issue of Reason magazine, reminds his readers of what doesn’t work: government promotion of ideology. The Solyndra debacle is the most recent but not the only example. In May 2010 the President gushed over the positive impact Solyndra was having in growing jobs in the “green” sector:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been pressuring the National Park Service to locate sites related to the histories of women and minorities, particularly Latinos, which could be added to the National Register of Historic Places or otherwise preserved as parks or properties.
The UN's list of climate-change tricks continues to grow with news this week from the World Climate Report. It accuses the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of predicting exaggerated risks of extreme weather attributed to anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
In its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), IPCC made the claim that "intense precipitation events" have been increasing in severity across more than half of the globe since 1950. It based the finding on a method called the fixed bin approach, which categorizes average daily rainfall into ranges or "bins" (e.g., one-half to one inch, one to two inches, or more than two inches) and ranks these bins as a percentile of all precipitation events.
However, when used to determine trends in annual precipitation, the fixed bin method can produce false results indicating extremely severe storms that were not actually so harsh. Long before AR4's publication, researchers with the University of Virginia, the University of Colorado, the Cato Institute, and New Hope Environmental Services exposed fixed bin flaws in the 2004 International Journal of Climatology.