December 16, 2008
Check out this new book by former FRC director of tax policy and blogger extraordinaire, Leslie Carbone. You can find the book here. Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform, “explores the moral dimension of tax policy and calls for a fundamental tax reform.”
Book Description from Potomac Books, Inc.
“In the natural order, virtue and vice each carries its own consequences. On the one hand, virtue yields largely positive results. Hard work, patience, and carefulness, for example, tend to generate prosperity. Vice, on the other hand, brings negative consequences. Sloth, impatience, and recklessness, for example, tend toward suffering.
In Slaying Leviathan, Leslie Carbone argues that since the early twentieth century, U.S. tax policy has been designed to mitigate the natural economic results of both virtue and vice. When the government disrupts the natural order through taxation by creating incentives and disincentives that overturn these natural consequences, the government perverts its own function and becomes part of the problem-a contributor to social breakdown-rather than part of the solution or an instrument of justice.
Slaying Leviathan envisions an approach to tax policy rooted in natural justice. To achieve this goal, Carbone first traces the historical evolution of U.S. tax policy, from the 1765 Stamp Act to the 1997 tax cut. She then assesses the current American tax burden and George W. Bush’s tax cuts and explores the fundamental problems with U.S. tax policy. After providing a historical analysis of federal spending and of expanding governmental expectations, she offers a set of over-arching principles and instructions on how to apply them to tax policy proposals.”
About the Author:
“Leslie Carbone served as the director of Family Tax Policy at the Family Research Council, chief of staff to the late assemblyman Gil Ferguson of California, and a speechwriter for U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Her writing has been published in the Weekly Standard, the American Enterprise, the San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous other magazines and journals. She has lectured on more than 100 college campuses and has been interviewed on more than 250 radio shows. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia.”
December 15, 2008
According to a recent survey published by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, approximately 20% of teens (ages 13-19) and 33% of young adults (ages 20-26) have sent or posted pictures of themselves either nude or semi nude. If this statistic is not shocking enough, of the 1,280 survey participants, 39% of the teens surveyed said they have sent or posted suggestive messages, while 59% of all young adults have done the same thing.
The questions in the study were asked and categorized by the sex. When asked, “What do you think are the reasons that girls send/post sexy messages or pictures/video of themselves?,” approximately 85% of teens and 80% of young adults agree that the main reason behind sending these sexy messages is to get or keep a guy’s attention. Another popular response from both the teens and young adults was that it is a great way to get noticed.
However, when the question was asked of males, both teens and young adults surveyed said the main reason guys sent or posted sexy messages was to get or keep a girl’s attention, only to be followed by guys wanting to be fun or flirtatious.
When asked how the teens and young adults described such activities, a majority of young adults said they viewed this as flirty, while others viewed this behavior as being stupid and dangerous. When asked about a characteristic that describes the people who resort to these messages, a majority said this behavior was flirty, while many felt this behavior was stupid, desperate, immature, and insecure.
Then, why do teens and young adults still feel compelled to post provocative messages online? Is it because they feel a need to be desired or wanted by the opposite sex?
In a society that seems to be driven by the line that says, “sex sells,” this type of behavior can lead to many dangers. According to PC Magazine, online sex predators are gradually threatening the security of many teenagers through sites like Facebook and MySpace. If these sites are used properly, they can be safe places for networking. When posting semi-nude or nude pictures on these sites, a teenager is setting themselves up for potential risk of abduction, stalking, rapes, etc.
Additionally, employers and potential employers do look at this material, and the study indicates that many view this is as disgusting and disrespectful.
Let’s get back to basics. Teenagers and young adults do not need to resort to such behavior when they have respect for themselves and hold high standards. When you are a teenager, you might have a concept about what true love is, but the concept is flawed due to the overwhelming emotions that you experience. Enjoy your time being a teenager! Adulthood comes fast enough. Be patient, love comes in due time with trust in God’s plan for your lives.
Parents often recognize that their child participates in things online that they would not approve. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, “65% of all parents and 64% of all teens say that teens do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.”
This is why parental involvement is so crucial and needed. Family Research Council has a wonderful publication available online that provides ways to keep your child from engaging in risky behaviors online.
December 15, 2008
Here’s what we are looking at today.
“Single adult stem cell can self renew, repair tissue damage in live mammal,” Physorg.com, December 14, 2008.
“Should Assisted Suicide Be Broadcast Live on TV?,” Pajamas Media, December 14, 2008
“Vatican hits out at controversial abortion pill,” AFP, December 14, 2008
“Fight over gay marriage looms in Maine Legislature,” Boston Herald, December 14, 2008
“Change Is Coming To The Nation’s Abortion Laws,” Deal W. Hudson, GOPUSA, December 15, 2008
“Teens in western Kansas pledge abstinence,” Associated Press, December 12, 2008
“Taking it to the next level - the need for pro-life community organizers,” Ruben Obregon, ProLifeBlogs.com, December 15, 2008
December 12, 2008
It seems like America has been plagued by the notions of being politically correct lately. Too often, you walk into a retail store and they are offering holiday sales, not “Christmas” sales.In today’s society, you are persecuted if you say, “Merry Christmas,” because the powers that be deem it too controversial.
If your child is in school, they do not throw Christmas parties complete with Santa Claus and the goodies. Instead, they throw Holiday parties with no such entertainment (except for a controversial movie or two). If you buy a Christmas tree, the man who puts the tree on top of your car wishes you, “Happy Holidays.” I believe you bought a Christmas tree, so where is the customary “Merry Christmas?”
Now, it seems like there is an assault by the leftists and religious separatists to remove Christianity from Christmas. According to the Stop the ACLU blog, there is a community threatening to stop Christmas carols from being sung in public places. Why? Because the organizers do not want to risk alienating the Muslims or Atheists due to Christ, and this is especially odd considering that the community is 75% Christian and 1% Muslim.
Enough is enough, right? Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and giving to others in his name. There is nothing politically wrong about doing this, and it is time we return to our faith, especially in the times we are facing ahead. It will be our faith in God that will sustain us.
December 12, 2008
FRC has not officially weighed in on the various bailouts simply because the topic is not central to our mission. There is no question that financial irresponsibility, whether by government or business, impacts the family, but we have to pick our battles and the bailouts are not one of them. However, having said that, I do get a number of calls and emails from folks across the country asking for my thoughts on this parade of bailouts. I am not an economist, but I have worked with and on budgets in the private and public sector and studied the basics of our free market system. From that perspective, this latest failed effort to bailout the auto industry raises a number of questions that require answers.
First, where do the bailouts stop? Certainly the auto industry is an important part of our economy. In fact, most of our manufacturing base has left the country, so it is surely important. But you could also make the case that as our economy is increasingly driven by the service sector actions should be taken for those businesses as well. Bottom line - where does it stop?
Second, could this not be the result of poor business practices that come to light in a tough economy? Economist Walter Williams raises these issues in a recent column. Williams points to the “cozy relationship” between the Big Three and the United Auto Workers union that drives up hourly wages. Williams points to GM’s $73 hourly wage cost and compares that to Toyota’s five U.S. assembly plants where the hourly cost is $48. It doesn’t take an economist to figure that one out. But it apparently does take more than a congressman like Barney Frank.
Finally, someone needs to explain how a Washington “Car Czar” would to make sure the auto industry keeps it between the lines. I am not one of those who say government needs to run like a business. It is just not the nature of government to be efficient. Those areas that can be run like a business are the areas that governments most often privatize, but they are a small percentage of the overall responsibilities of government. Conversely, the last thing America needs is business that runs like government.
December 12, 2008
As a follow-up to my earlier post on the growing unaffordability of higher education and its effects on families, I bring your attention to a Wall Street Journal article. The author, Philip Shiskin, writes, “As the economy shrinks, joblessness expands and small-business owners lose income, many students and their parents are struggling to make payments for the second half of the academic year, which are typically due this month or in January.” The story describes one parent who is carrying $100,000 in debt for her three children while planning to fund a fourth child. Finally, it seems standard now that a good private college or university will be cost $50,000 per year. In my opinion, this “business model” is completely unsustainable and is crushing parents and young adults across America.
December 10, 2008
As a sidelight, here is a brief history of arrested Illinois Gov. Blagojevich’s moves to promote human embryonic stem cell research and cloning, starting with his own slush fund for the research in 2005.
July 2005—Executive order to set up $10 million fund
August 2005—Gov. Blagojevich sends a letter to scientists in Missouri, where debates are raging over embryo research and cloning, inviting them to move to Illinois.
March 2006—He removes legislative oversight of his embryonic stem cell research program.
July 2006—Blagojevich again uses his executive power to fund embryonic stem cell research, over the objections of the Illinois legislature.
“Blagojevich says he won’t let a lack of legislative support keep him from spending tax money on what he considers a vital need.”
August 2007—Blagojevich finally gets the Illinois legislature to pass a bill authorizing human embryonic stem cell research and cloning.
December 10, 2008
The president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Leith Anderson, has been trying to reassure the association’s board and members that the NAE hasn’t left the reservation on the issues of life and marriage. The reason? Because NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs left the reservation - a long time ago!
In a recent interview with NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Cizik stated he voted for President-elect Obama and said, “I think it’s (faith) very important, but it is not the factor nor should it be [when voting]…” Cizik said the same thing about issues like life: “It’s possible for me to disagree with a candidate on high-profile issues and still believe that on a basis of character or philosophy he is the better of two candidates.” When asked by the host, Terry Gross, if his efforts to identify with younger voters and their priorities had caused him to change his view on gay marriage he said, “I’m shifting, I would have to admit. In other words I would willingly say I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think.”
This revelation should not come as a surprise. This is the risk of walking through the green door of environmentalism and global warming - you risk being blinded by the green light and losing your sense of direction. How else can you explain enthusiastic support for what will probably be the nation’s most pro-abortion, anti-family president in our nation’s 232 year history?
The question, however, remains. If Cizik does not speak for the NAE, as the Rev. Anderson has said, why is he on Capitol Hill representing NAE and claiming to speak for Evangelicals? Is it possible for a human being to come with a disclaimer?