Obama goes after Independents

On the President’s concessions on the Bush tax cuts: Although his liberal supporters are furious about the decision, President Obama’s willingness to extend all of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts is part of what White House officials say is a deliberate strategy: to demonstrate his ability to compromise with Republicans and portray the president as the last reasonable man in a sharply partisan Washington. The move is based on a political calculation, drawn from his party’s midterm defeat, that… Read more

Revolt of the children

A 16-year-old boy in the Netherlands was arrested for bringing down the MasterCard and Visa websites in retaliation for their refusing to process payments for Wikileaks. More young hackers are promising more attacks. In the meantime, British university students have been rioting in protest of that country’s new austerity program, which includes raising tuition rates to a fraction of what American students pay. The British students, notorious for their political apathy previously, are breaking windows, smashing shops, burning cars, and… Read more

Advent and the Four Last Things

For those who even celebrate Advent these days, it has become the season to lead up to Christmas.  As such, it’s happy and anticipatory.  It used to be a sober time of penitence, like Lent. And the four Sundays of Advent, with its four candles in the Advent Wreath, were not all about Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love.  They were about “the Four Last Things”:  Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven. I don’t begrudge the happy Advent.  I’m glad to find… Read more

Why don’t we protect Iraqi Christians?

World editor Mindy Belz raises a good question about U.S. policy in Iraq: Three years ago I attended a meeting outside Washington with a NATO adviser recently returned from briefings with commanders of the war in Iraq. The question had been posed to them: If there should be a targeted massacre of Christians in Iraq (the word actually used was genocide), would the U.S. military respond? The answer from the commanders: No. It was December 2007. Gen. David Petraeus had… Read more

Internet war

In support of Wikileaks, an army of hackers has declared war.  Their first battle is to attack Mastercard and Visa. Hackers have declared an Internet war in support of WikiLeaks, with groups of anonymous attackers disabling major credit card websites in retaliation for denying service to the controversial website. The group, going by the name “Anonymous,” rallied its supporters in a Twitter post Wednesday, calling for them to get their “weapons” ready to attack the Visa website for the next… Read more

Unflagging a word and setting us free

Thanks to tODD for figuring out how to get into the spam filter to keep it from blocking the word “socialist.”  The filter keeps a list of words to flag that usually are associated with spam.   All that had to be done was to delete “Cialis” from the list.  Now you commenters can talk about “socialism” all you want, whether you are for it or against it, and your comment won’t get filtered. This really opens up the subject matter… Read more

Obama accepts Bush tax cuts

President Obama has agreed with Congressional Republicans to extend all of the  Bush-era tax cuts in exchange for extending unemployment benefits.  The package includes some other interesting details: President Obama and congressional Republicans have reached a tentative accord on a far-reaching economic package that would preserve George W. Bush administration tax breaks for families at all income levels for two years, extend emergency jobless benefits through 2011 and cut payroll taxes by 2 percent for every American worker through the… Read more

U.S. test scores vs. China’s

International testing data shows that American high schoolers perform at a distinctly mediocre level in reading, math, and science.  Our future imperial masters, though, scored at the very top. After a decade of intensive efforts to improve its schools, the United States posted these results in a new global survey of 15-year-old student achievement: average in reading, average in science and slightly below average in math. Those middling scores lagged significantly behind results from several countries in Europe and Asia… Read more

Sex by surprise

It is being reported that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged in Sweden with rape.  Actually, that most tolerant of nations is charging him with having sex without a condom.  Under certain conditions, apparently, that is a crime in that country.  So says this report: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing arrest for violating a Swedish law about sex without condoms, rather than a mainstream interpretation of “rape.” Yet that’s the charge reports often levy against him. Behold the… Read more

What should the government do?

Economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson points out that before we can cut government spending, we need to arrive at a philosophy of government: Modern democracies have created a new morality. Government benefits, once conferred, cannot be revoked. People expect them and consider them property rights. Just as government cannot randomly confiscate property, it cannot withdraw benefits without violating a moral code. The old-fashioned idea that government policies should serve the “national interest” has given way to inertia and squatters’ rights…. Read more

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