Wednesday, December 10, 2008

President -Elect Gump

Its fairly well-known that Barack and Mrs. Obama were plagued by numerous unsavory associations throughout the Senator's campaign for the presidency. You'll remember the bigoted Reverend Wright, of course, and his fellow odd-ball cleric Michael Pfleger, and there were also the former terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn as well as convicted felon Tony Rezko, and don't forget that Palestinian terrorist sympathizer Rashid Khalidi.

Now it seems that Obama is also connected to the corrupt and foul-mouthed Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich who was arrested yesterday for trying to profit from the sale of Obama's Senate seat. There's no evidence that Obama was involved in the matters which precipitated Blagojevich's arrest, but still. Blago and the President-elect evidently go back a long way, and we have to wonder how many more crooks and nuts Obama has been holding hands with over the years.

Like a political Forrest Gump, Mr. Obama keeps turning up in the company of Illinois' most odious characters. One almost expects that by the time he's completed his first term he'll have been found to have had ties to Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.


For Tanya

One almost has to chuckle at the spate of anti-theist ads littering this year's Christmas landscape. The anti-theists are evidently not content to see Christmas simply secularized, they want to persuade Christians to abandon the celebration altogether. Such a dreary, gray, sterile world they'd have us all live in.

On the other hand, Hot Air links to an atheist at Dizzying Intellect who posts a mild rebuke of his fellow non-believers and adopts the sort of attitude toward those with whom he disagrees that one might wish all people, atheists and Christians, would adopt.

Unfortunately, a commenter at DI named Tanya spoils the mellow mood by displaying a petulant asperity toward, and a sad ignorance of, Christian belief about the afterlife. Tanya writes:

I've lived my life in a more holy way than most Christians I know. If it turns out I'm wrong, and some pissy little whiner god wants to send me away just because I didn't worship him, even though I lived a clean, decent life, he can bite me. I wouldn't want to live in that kind of "heaven" anyway. So sorry.

Tanya evidently thinks that "heaven" is, or should be, all about living a "clean, decent life". Perhaps the following tale will illustrate the sophomoric callowness of her misconception:

Once upon a time there was a handsome prince who was deeply in love with a young woman. We'll call her Tanya. The prince wanted Tanya to come and live with him in the formidable city his father, the king, had built, but Tanya wasn't interested in either the prince or the city. The city was beautiful and wondrous, to be sure, but the inhabitants weren't particularly fun to be around, and she wanted to stay out in the countryside where the wild things grow. Even though the prince wooed Tanya with every gift he could think of, it was to no avail. She wasn't smitten at all by the "pissy little whiner" prince. She obeyed the laws of the kingdom and paid her taxes and was convinced that that was good enough.

Out beyond the countryside, however, dwelt dreadful, awful orc-like creatures who hated the king and wanted nothing more than to kill him and his heirs. One day they learned of the prince's love for Tanya and set upon a plan. They kidnapped her and sent a note to the king telling him that they would be willing to exchange Tanya for the prince, but if their offer was refused they would torture Tanya until she was dead.

The king was distraught and told the prince of the horrible news. The prince, all the rejections he had experienced from Tanya notwithstanding, still loved her deeply and his heart was broken at the thought of her peril. With tears he resolved to his father that he would do the exchange. The father wept bitterly because the prince was his only son, but he knew that his love for Tanya would not allow him to let her suffer the torment to which the ugly people would surely subject her. The prince asked only that the father try his best to persuade Tanya to live in the beautiful city.

And so the day came for the exchange and the prince rode atop his horse out of the beautiful city to meet the ugly creatures. As he crossed an expansive meadow toward his enemy he stopped to make sure they released Tanya. He waited until she had fled, oblivious in her near-panic that it was the prince himself she ran past as she hurried to the safety of the city walls. He could easily turn back now that Tanya was safe, but he had given his word that he would do the exchange and the ugly people knew he would never go back on his word.

The prince continued stoically and resolutely into their midst, giving himself for Tanya as he had promised. Surrounding his steed they set upon him, stripped him of his princely raiment, and tortured him for three days in the most excruciating manner. Not once did any sound louder than a moan pass his lips. His courage and resolve to endure whatver they subjected him to were fortified by the assurance that he was doing it for Tanya and that because of his sacrifice she was safe. Finally, wearying of their sport, they cut off his head and threw his body into a pool of offal.

Meanwhile, the grief-stricken king, his heart like wax within his breast, called Tanya into his court. He told her nothing of what his son had done, his pride in the prince not permitting him to use his heroic sacrifice as a bribe. Even so, he pleaded with Tanya, as he had promised the prince he would, to stay within the walls of the wondrous and beautiful city where she'd be safe forevermore. Tanya considered the offer, but she decided that she liked life on the outside far too much, even if it was risky, and she didn't really want to be too close to the prince, and, by the way, where is that pissy little whiner anyway?

Merry Christmas, Tanya.


Foreign Competition

There have been a lot of forecasts in recent years of the coming American economic senescence. We're hearing that the United States is destined to be eclipsed by China, India, a united Europe and maybe, one can hardly say it without gasping, even Russia. Rod Hunter at The American takes a contrary view. Citing a book by economist Robert Shapiro, Hunter points out that problems each of these would-be competitors faces over the long run are intractable and will act like heavy anchors on the economy of these nations.

Take demographics for example. China, Japan and Europe all have rapidly aging populations which will need to be supported by a shrinking cohort of younger workers. This is really a recipe for economic calamity since either the elderly are going to have to be forsaken or the young are going to be heavily taxed to support them. Either scenario bodes ill for the economic vitality of a nation.

Russia is no threat at all to American economic supremacy since the productivity of the average Russian worker is the same as that of the average Botswanian.

India has little manufacturing, and, like China, has very poor infrastructure which is essential for moving goods and sustaining a vibrant economy. Moreover, the heavy hand of government stifles initiative and flexibility both these economies need in order to thrive.

The United States is poised to avoid all of these problems and others Hunter discusses as well. Read his essay to see why.

Thanks for the tip to No Left Turns