The Penny Plan for deficit reduction

Florida Republican congressman Connie Mack has put forward an ingenious approach to deficit reduction:  cut one penny (1%) from every dollar spent for six years.  This modest across the board reduction would be in place of the percentage increases every year that have become the norm (so that even talk of reductions are actually reductions in the rate of growth).   Even some liberals are coming out in favor of this option.   One of them, ex-Clinton official Lanny Davis, explains how… Read more

Legalizing Group Marriage

Elizabeth Marquardt notes that three different strands are coming together to legalize group marriage:  the far left, the far right, and the new reproductive technology: From the fringy left: Polyamory Polyamory describes relationships of three or more people — it literally means “many loves.” Polyamorists say they practice “ethical non-monogamy,” or relationships that emphasize open communication, respect, and fair treatment of one another. The debate about legal recognition of polyamorous relationships is already well underway. A major report issued in… Read more

Baseball’s new labor agreement

Major League baseball, unlike the National Basketball Association, has a new labor agreement, one attained with no strikes, lockouts, or threats to the season.  Here are some highlights: •HGH [human growth hormone]: Baseball will be the first North American team sport with HGH blood testing once it begins next spring. All players will be tested during spring training and will be subject to random offseason tests. The sides agreed to explore in-season tests, which can be conducted on a “reasonable… Read more

Did Gingrich divorce his wife on her deathbed?

One of the most troublesome charges against Newt Gingrich is that he served the divorce papers to his first wife in her hospital room where she was dying of cancer.   The increased scrutiny due to his front-runner status in the Republican presidential  race has at least uncovered the evidence that the story is not true.  From the Washington Post: Although the thrust of the story about his first divorce is not in dispute — Gingrich’s first wife, Jackie Battley, has said previously… Read more

Luther on big business

Thanks to Tom Hering for this quotation from Martin Luther, On Trading and Usury, 1524: Of the companies I ought to say much, but that whole subject is such a bottomless abyss of avarice and wrong that there is nothing in it that can be discussed with a clear conscience. For what man is so stupid as not to see that companies are nothing else than mere monopolies? Even the temporal law of the heathen forbids them as openly injurious,… Read more

Confessing churches in Canada

In the Reformation, the catalytic issue was the sale of indulgences, but the underlying issue was the authority of the Word of God.  Today the catalytic issue has to do with sexuality, but the underlying issue, again, is the authority of the Word of God.  So says Matthew Block, Communications Manager for the Lutheran Church-Canada and editor of The Canadian Lutheran.   (He comments sometimes here as “Captain Thin”!) He has written an interesting article about how this is playing out… Read more

Take it on faith

Sally Quinn marks 5 years of doing her On Faith discussions for the Washington Post.  She says after all of this religion coverage that she is no longer an atheist.  She doesn’t have a personal relationship with God, though, and she believes that all religions are equally valid.  Still, her reflections contain some good stories: An atheist father was trying to explain to his son that there was no such thing as God. “But dad,” asked the boy, “how do… Read more

Newt as front-runner, so attacks begin

Newt Gingrich, according to some polls, has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  So, following form, the news stories are digging up unfavorable material about him. But there is a difference this time:  The stories are about how he has violated conservative orthodoxy:  His think tank to propose free market solutions to health care issues once suggested–or maybe even came up with the idea–of mandatory insurance coverage, a hallmark of Obamacare.  He once… Read more

Congress fails again

Back in August, Congress averted a government shutdown at the last minute by kicking the can to a “Supercommittee” that was assigned to find $1.2 trillion in savings.  The incentive was a provision that if the bipartisan task force failed to do so, $1.2 trillion would automatically be cut, with half from social programs (to get the liberals to co-operate) and half from defense (to get the conservatives to co-operate).  The deadline for an agreement would be Thanksgiving. Well, that… Read more

Why no two snowflakes are identical

As if to put us in the mood for winter, the Washington Post has a fascinating feature explaining why no two snowflakes are the same: Newly formed snow crystals with only a handful of molecules would be nearly impossible to distinguish. But that’s not really the issue. We’re talking about real snowflakes, which have something on the order of a quintillion molecules. (That’s the number 1 with 18 zeros.) Now, it’s not a law of nature that no two snowflakes… Read more

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