Do either of the candidates know what to do about the economy?

It doesn’t sound like it. Then again, does anyone?

It’s hard to see how higher taxes on the wealthy, as Obama is calling for, will produce jobs, stabilize the housing industry, or shore up the stock market. (Is it that higher taxes will give the government more money to do things? Is that the rationale?) McCain, like Obama, is calling for new regulations for investment banks. That might prevent future problems, but it isn’t clear what that will do for the ones we have today. Both candidates support the Fannie Mae takeover but are against bailing out Lehman Brothers and the other big financial companies in trouble. Actually, both sound pretty much alike in their prescriptions, except on taxes, but taxes don’t seem to be the issue one way or the other in the current finance crisis, which was precipitated by the collapse in the home mortgage industry.

Aren’t these economic woes like a hurricane that just has to run its course, whereupon we then just have to clean up, help the survivors, and rebuild?

Cranach up close–really close

Thanks to Paul McCain for alerting us to this online resource from the Getty Museum: Cranach Magnified. It allows you to see tiny details from Cranach’s paintings, which sometimes amount to surprising extras:

Following its acquisition in 2003, conservators and curators at the J. Paul Getty Museum examined Lucas Cranach the Elder’s A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion under magnification. They found a number of startling details, such as this tiny running figure on the road in the background (near right), that are indicative of Cranach’s highly detailed technique. Similarly, close scrutiny of related paintings—Apollo and Diana (Royal Collection), and Adam and Eve, (Courtauld Institute of Art)—led to similar discoveries, such as the reflection in the stag’s eye (far right). This comparative image tool is inspired by these findings.

The project initially focused on paintings executed between 1525 and 1530, and the sinuous, almost calligraphic brushwork, textured foliage, and surprisingly minute features characteristic of Cranach’s style in the late 1520s. Cranach Magnified has now been expanded to include works from across the artist’s career. By enabling close comparison of paintings related by date and iconography side by side, this tool is intended to help researchers better understand Cranach’s technique.

“Yahweh” as the Unspeakable Name

The Vatican has made a ruling that I fully agree with: The Tetragrammaton, YHWH, should not be uttered as “Yahweh”.

“In recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel’s proper name,” the letter noted, referring to the four-consonant Hebrew “Tetragrammaton,” YHWH.  That name is commonly pronounced as “Yahweh,” though other versions include “Jaweh” and “Yehovah.” But such pronunciation violates long-standing Jewish tradition, the Vatican reminded bishops.

    “As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, (the name) was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: `Adonai,’ which means `Lord,’” the Congregation said.

    That practice continued with Christianity, the letter explained, recalling the “church’s tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred Tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated.”

I might point out that the practice got a big impetus from the Roman Catholic translation of the Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, but I’m willing to let that go.

A barrier-breaking slate

The current presidential slate includes a black man and a woman. It also, let us not forget, includes someone who is disabled. John McCain’s arms are crippled, due to his injuries when we was shot down and then tortured by the North Vietnamese. (He isn’t the first disabled person to run for the office, FDR having had polio.)

Palin getting the women’s vote

Poll Shows Women Voters Shifting Support to McCain-Palin:

A new Washington Post/ABC News survey finds McCain is now ahead of Obama by 12 points among white women, 53 to 41 percent.

Last month Senator Obama held an eight point lead over McCain among white women voters in the same poll, representing a stunning, 20 point shift among that group.

The variable has to be Sarah Palin, whomsome feminists are insisting is not a woman because she is conservative. (They can say that because, in academic-speak, while a person’s “sex” is biological, a person’s “gender” is a political construction.)

This one didn’t get bailed out

The nation’s fourth biggest investment firm, Lehman Brothers, has gone under. This time a major economic player faced bankruptcy, no one bailed it out, not other banks, not foreign investors, and not the government. That is to say, this time the market is going to be allowed to work, including its important work of destroying failed businesses. What, though, will be the consequences?

Do you think all of these failures due mainly to the mortgage house of cards tumbling down means that we need to give up on free market economics in favor of a neo-Keynesian government regulation of the economy? Isn’t that where we are headed?


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