Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Take a trip to the outermost reaches of our universe and back again all in about six minutes:
Materialist scientists are fond of pointing out the vastness of space and asking why God would have created the universe so big and so old just for us. The fact is that according to the consensus cosmological view, in order for living things to exist at all the universe had to go through a long process of stellar evolution in which all the elements needed for life were forged in the cores of stars and then scattered throughout the cosmos when the star died and exploded.

This process took billions of years, during which time the universe was continuously expanding. Thus, if the cosmologists are correct, the age and size of the universe are not just happenstance. The universe had to be as old as it is and thus as big as it is if living creatures were going to exist anywhere in it.

It may very well be that it all exists just for us. We certainly wouldn't be here were it not this old and this vast.

Thanks to a commenter at Uncommon Descent for the link to the video.

"Trust Me"

Our president certainly seems intent upon burnishing his reputation as a flim-flam man. As Stephen Hayes notes at The Weekly Standard, two years ago the president was insisting that the last thing government should do in a troubled economy is raise taxes on the people who create jobs and manufacture goods.

Now he's blaming the Republicans for the stalemate in resolving the debt ceiling "crisis" because they refuse to go along with his plan to do exactly what he said was the worst thing to do two years ago. Here's Hayes:
In a 75-minute meeting Sunday night, President Obama once again demanded that more than $1 trillion in tax increases be part of any deficit reduction package attached to a vote on the debt ceiling. In the session, Obama rejected a Republican proposal to seek $2.5 trillion in spending cuts and reforms, and insisted on higher taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals.

It’s a curious position, given the anemic economic growth and rising unemployment. And it’s even more curious considering that Obama himself has warned about the deleterious effects of raising taxes in a struggling economy.

In August 2009, on a visit to Elkhart, Indiana to tout his stimulus plan, Obama [said that] ... "Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we’ve instead cut taxes....You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession.”

Obama [went on to reiterate] his opposition to tax hikes during a recession and making an argument about timing. “We have not proposed a tax hike for the wealthy that would take effect in the middle of a recession. Even the proposals that have come out of Congress – which by the way were different from the proposals I put forward – still wouldn’t kick in until after the recession was over. So..., the last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up – take more demand out of the economy and put business further in a hole.”
In the president's defense it's possible that he doesn't see the current economy with its 9.2% unemployment and less than 2% growth as troubled. However, economic growth was actually better in August of 2009 (at about 6%) than now, and unemployment (9.7%) wasn't too much worse, so I don't know why he would think that the economy can better sustain a tax increase now than it could then.

It's puzzling why Mr. Obama was against raising taxes before he was for it, and I wish someone in the media would ask him to explain.

But that's not the only part of the debt limit debate that he has done a back-flip on. In 2006 he was totally opposed to raising the debt limit at all, a move which he now says is absolutely necessary. On March 16, 2006 Senator Obama said this:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.
Now he wants us to have confidence in his leadership and trust that he knows what he's doing. I don't think that's a good idea. Mostly because of his policies our debt problem today is far worse than it was in 2006 and, we've arguably had an even greater failure of leadership in the last two and a half years than we did in any presidency in the last eighty years.


Via Hot Air: The website Rebel Pundit conducted an experiment at a Chicago literature festival asking people which of a group of books they would like to see banned. One assumes that the attendees of a book fair would provide a good cross-section of the most well-read and reasonably well-educated folks in Chicago, which makes the results of this unscientific sampling all the more disconcerting:
Since the results showed that those who participated voted overwhelmingly to ban conservative books it would appear that the book-banners were mostly liberals. The sun seems to be setting on the day when liberals stood foursquare for freedom of the press and freedom of speech and the right to say things which they may personally find offensive. Nowadays it seems that the many on the left couldn't care less about the First Amendment, at least to the extent it protects those with whom they disagree.

Or maybe these folks are just dunces who don't comprehend what they're saying by participating in this "survey". Of course, if that's the case it's still pretty distressing, especially when you consider that roughly 40% of the electorate is comprised of liberals in whose ranks are people too dumb to realize what a horrific statement they're making by voting to ban books they don't appreciate.

One more thought: What else does it say about these people that so many of them preferred to see books by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter banned before they would have banned Mein Kampf?