Yet another crown for the aged

Our grandchildren are coming in great profusion and in rapid succession.  Our other daughter had her baby:  Thomas Gene Edward Hensley.  Though I sympathize with the lad for having two middle names, I am greatly touched at the tribute, not only to me but to my recently-deceased father.  His first picture after the jump. [Read more…]

The government is shut down

Lawmakers were unable to come up with a compromise to keep the federal government open, so it’s shut down.  “Essential” government functions, such as those affecting national security, will continue.  (I know, I know. . . Why is the government doing things that aren’t essential?)  But lots more offices will shut their doors.  Most discussion has to do with the number of federal employees who won’t get paid.  But there are also the considerable number of private companies that the government owes money to who are going to get stiffed.  Since the federal government is the nation’s biggest employer and biggest spender, the economy is going to take a hit.  After the jump, a list of what stays open and what gets shut down.

What do you think will happen now?  How long will this last?  How can it be resolved without either side giving in?  Might the general public support a government shutdown this time?

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Check out the Obamacare insurance exchange

Today the Obamacare insurance exchanges go live.  Everyone without health insurance must buy some, under penalty of law, from a list of approved companies. Here is the website where the uninsured must sign up:  Health Insurance Marketplace, Affordable Care Act | HealthCare.gov.

I thought that we could all look up what we would have to pay, but, as I should have known, it’s more complicated than that.  It looks like you have to start an account and enter all kinds of information before you can even see the different plans and how much they cost.

Some of you, though, have to go through this.  I’d very much like to hear from any of you who are uninsured.  Can you afford these premiums?  Do you find this a helpful program, or do you resent the federal government forcing you to buy a product at the cost of a big chunk of your monthly budget?  Or both?

My thoughts after the jump. [Read more…]

Production vs. redistribution

Economics columnist Robert Samuelson is worried that we are moving from an affluent society (based on economic growth that benefits everyone) to a “spoils” society (an economic mindset based on taking money from other people). [Read more…]

Shutdown countdown

The federal government runs out of money at the end of the day today and will shut down tomorrow unless the House of Representatives and Senate can strike a deal to keep the money flowing.  Republicans, who control the House, are saying they won’t pass such a resolution unless Obamacare is delayed for a year.  (They earlier wanted to strip funding from it entirely.  Now they are settling for a delay.)  Democrats are refusing to back down from their signature health care legislation (a major part of which goes into effect tomorrow).

So now we are on the brink.  Tomorrow the government may shut down AND the Obamacare insurance exchange sign-ups begin.

What do you think will happen?  Do you predict a last-second compromise?  If the shutdown takes place, what impact will that have?  What impact would that have on the Republican Party? [Read more…]

The shift from freedom to tolerance

Liberals used to champion individual freedom, including religious liberty.  But, argues Family Policy Institute scholar Joseph Backholm, that concern has shifted to a new set of values centered around tolerance, the need to prevent anyone from being discriminated against.  To the point that some Democratic lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union are now opposing religious liberty laws they themselves wrote!  After the jump, read Backholm’s essay Why the Left Abandoned Religious Freedom. [Read more…]