More smart people saying smart things

John Cassidy: “It’s Official: Austerity Economics Doesn’t Work”

Any decent economics textbook will tell you that, other things being equal, cutting government spending causes the economy’s overall output to fall, tax revenues to decrease, and spending on benefits to increase. Almost invariably, the end result is slower growth (or a recession) and high budget deficits. [UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George] Osborne, relying on arguments about restoring the confidence of investors and businessmen that his forebears at the U.K. Treasury used during the early nineteen-thirties against Keynes, insisted (and continues to insist) otherwise, but he has been proven wrong.

Lia Scholl: “It’s Not About Trafficking”

What’s the difference? Sex work is work not slavery. Sex work doesn’t have as many sexy people (okay, really, I don’t think Ashton Kucher is sexy, but you know!) advocating for the individuals involved. Also, sex workers may not be helped (and may, in fact, be harmed) by anti-trafficking legislation that’s so popular right now.

Jason Kuznicki: “No Irish Setters Need Apply”

It’s either the case that the faithful are motivated by a bias toward their own communities (and thus to themselves) — or it’s the case that the faithful have all independently concluded that they personally attend the most sinful and/or financially needy congregations in the world. The former may be startling, but the latter is preposterous. The money ought to follow the need. Overwhelmingly, it stays at home.

Amanda MacInnis: “Women and Vocation Panel Discussion”

I think one of the most dangerous messages in the church today is that a Christian woman’s highest calling is to be a wife and mother. This is at the least bad theology, and at the worst heresy. A Christian woman’s highest calling is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Anything else is nothing more than an adjective. And so, that means that if my husband becomes more important in my life than my relationship with Christ then I have, in a way, committed idolatry. The same goes for my kids. If they become my all-consuming, then there is something wrong there. Now this isn’t to say I don’t love my kids and I don’t give them my full attention, but they are not, and will not be, the sum of my existence.

Morgan Guyton: “Biblical literalism + magisterial inertia = sacramental Pelagianism?”

The Biblical literalists of Protestant fundamentalism often make fun of Catholics for thinking that sacramental practices are “magical.” That’s because they don’t read John 3:5 or 6:53 literally. Their Biblical literalism, insofar as it’s a practice and not just a slogan, is mostly applied to the book of Romans. Augustine’s message for us is that unless you’re a selective Biblical literalist, you’d better baptize your babies as soon as they pop out because without that water, they’re going to hell.

  • Fusina

    Thanks to all who are praying for Hermione. Had her to the animal hospital today and she has one of three things, all terminal. So she is now home and we will be keeping her comfy until she is ready to go. Considering that she marched into my room and curled up on the bed, I think she is okay with that. They offered to keep her and do all kinds of expensive stuff, but the end result would have been the same, so we opted for a quiet end.  So the current death count for my year so far is, one kitty, six friends, one cousin and a kitty dying of heart disease or a tumor, who may be getting put to sleep on Saturday, depending on how she is doing. Since she anointed my jacket with urine (I found a book of cat poems, “I could Pee on That” which I subsequently purchased on account of Hermione’s habit of peeing on the clean clothes, generally when they are still warm from the dryer) it seemed apropos that she should do that. And for anyone who wants to know what she looks like, she is a bronze colorway Egyptian Mau. No papers, just identical looks and conformation. A lovely being, and we are the richer for sharing our house with her.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

     I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a lovely kitty.

  • http://twitter.com/MAGuyton Morgan Guyton

    Thanks Fred. Check out the series I’m starting as of 9:30 am tomorrow on original sin. I start off with a look at Romans 5:12-21 that is hopefully pretty devastating for those who love to impute Adam’s guilt onto humanity.

  • Green Egg and Ham

     I am having a better theological education by reading Fred and following his links than I ever had in bible college–all 3 years of it.

    I especially focus on the epistemological and hermeneutical features of his writing and links.    I like the delicious irony of the dueling literalisms you highlight.

  • Jessica_R

    In a follow up to that couple in Washington, they both clean up quite nice! http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/12/11/15851768-way-past-wonderful-gets-more-wonderful-still#.UMgXopiIYZ8.twitter

  • Münchner Kindl

    It’s either the case that the faithful are motivated by a bias toward their own communities (and thus to themselves) — or
    it’s the case that the faithful have all independently concluded that
    they personally attend the most sinful and/or financially needy
    congregations in the world.

    Or it’s not a binary decision. It could also be related with how closely the donors know the people working in the charities or can monitor the effects of the charities.

    Since Jason feels free to speculate about people’s motives in absolute terms, I will do the same and classify him as attention-seeking, cynical teenager who thinks that by impugning everybody’s motives he comes across as clever or wise. He doesn’t.

    If Jason’s aim was about how some charities are inefficient or
    fraudolous, or to guide donors towards better charities, then he would
    go about it in a different way (the way our charity guides do): by
    listing signs of good and bad charities, by naming names and giving tips on where synergy could be created.
    By impugning the motives of all donors as selfish from the start – without any distinction between somebody who informs themselves before giving, or who gives regularly, and somebody who drops a dollar around Christmastime into the first (fraudolous) box that comes along; or somebody who thinks in long-term development vs. short-term aid. No, all donors are egoistists who are uninformed.
    He also sets up the wrong choice that there is only one right way to give. Is it more important to help children in Africa with food or medicine? Most people would say both. Is it more important to give emergency aid right now or build hospitals and teach nurses for long-term aid? Most people say both. And so we have different charities – or in cases of big groups, different branches – where some specialize in emergency intervention during a war / draught/ flood/ earthquake, and others specialize in long-term development. Often these groups work together in the field to complement each other. But all that doesn’t interest Jason in his quest to show how egoistic people are.

    In his first piece he did ethics by numbers and claimed that since dollars save most lives in Africa, everybody who doesn’t donate everything towards Africa is not doing charity. (Again, binary).

    In this piece, he comes to the conclusion that people spend for personal reasons (what a surprise), and decideds it must be a binary choice either or.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     I’m so sorry Fusina.  I wish I had something more to say but I’ve lost several pets myself and I’ve never found anything that feels right beyond “I’m sorry”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    That’s beautiful I can’t help but smile ear to ear seeing them holding hands like that.

    That’s the America I want to live in.

  • Kiba

    I’m sorry to hear about your kitty. I had something similar happen to my old black and white cat. I offer internet hugs if want them.

  • Fusina

    Thanks to all who have given sympathy, and yes, I do accept internet hugs. I am letting the kids stay home from school today to mourn–the first day you know is always the hardest. 

  • Fusina

     Showed the pic to my SO and he wandered off singing “The Lumberjack Song”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Cule/100001621659800 Michael Cule

    As to the Tories continuing their disastrous love affair with Dame Austerity, tell me about it! I’m just glad I’m out of the Civil Service now and am not faced with having to make bricks without straw, without clay and without enough people to help.

    I think the best judgement on George Osbourne’s plans are a line that Bernard Cribbens used to sing:

    “But it did no good
     Well, I never thought it would!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    All hugs and condolences to ((((((((((you)))))))))))) over your kitty.  
    {{{>^. .^<}}}
    “No heaven will not ever heaven be unless my cats are there to welcome me. ” No heaven worthy of the name would exclude beloved pets.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Fusina – You have my sympathies and condolences. The day of getting the diagnosis is always hard, and watching a pet in pain is even harder. They’re our family and they’re our responsibilities; it’s so hard losing them.

    We’re kind of in the same place with cats in our family; we lost Null this summer to kidney disease, and Uno, who was to all appearances in great health, has developed a tumor along the left side of his jaw. The day we brought him in for an exam thinking it was a rotten tooth removed, but discovered there was a mass in there, I pretty much cried all day. And the next day when he went in for a biopsy. And four days later when the biopsy results came back.

    He’s going to consult with the vet oncologist today – turns out, if you have to get this particular flavor of bad news, Colorado’s a decent state to do it in, we have vet oncologists training at CSU – to see whether chemo or radiation will dramatically increase his quality of life, or whether we should just stick to the pain killers and glucocortosoids until he’s ready to go. They’re keeping him fairly comfortable so far, and he’s eating his “food shakes” with less pain, so that’s something.

    They were/are 15 and 16 this year, but we’re not ready and we’re never going to be ready.

    If a sloppy weepy internet hug from me is of any comfort to you, please accept this one. It’s a big sad club we’re in, isn’t it?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *tea and cookies to all*

    Analysis: Democrats’ discord undercuts Obama estate tax push

    New York Senator Charles Schumer on Thursday said the Democrats’
    proposal to avert the “fiscal cliff” involves $1 trillion in immediate
    deficit reduction that includes new revenue from raising the estate tax
    to the level proposed by Obama.
    No less a power broker than Democratic Senate Finance Committee
    Chairman Max Baucus said this week, however, that he wants to hold the
    estate tax steady at current rates.

    Baucus is up for re-election in 2014 from Montana. He says ranch and
    farm owners in his state would stand to lose if federal taxes rose on
    passing property to heirs.

    “Rural Montana is much different than urban America,” Baucus told Reuters in a brief interview in the U.S. Capitol.

    MONTANA?

    Farms and ranches are actually worth more than a million bucks in MONTANA?

    Either his constituents are seriously misinformed about the value of their land or Max Baucus is trying to show his Blue Dog credentials.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     Poor kitty. :-(  I’m so sorry. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    Aw. :-( I had to have one of my kitties put to sleep a few weeks ago, and I’m still heartbroken.  Sorry to hear about your friends too, that’s pretty rough.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Even more than the Austerity piece Fred links to peeps should read the companion piece http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/12/george-osbornes-journey-from-austerity-to-cruelty.html

    Fusina: So sorry to hear about your cat :-(

  • Fusina

     Please accept some blubbering internet hugs on the loss of your furbaby. It’s never easy. Little goobers climb into your heart and curl up to nap, and in far too little time leave us behind. Still miss my Little Fluff Berkeley. Hermione is currently curled up on my bed, and she kneads when I pet her, and she is still purring in a contented manner. This is a kitty who doesn’t communicate much, but I got a lecture on the way to the animal hospital, and another on the way home. So I figure she knows what she is about, and I am just letting her take the lead on this.

  • Fusina

     Sorry to hear about your furbabies. And yeah, you are never ready. Hermione is only 5, and I expected to have her round for at least another decade.

    I love sloppy weepy internet hugs. Have one back.

  • http://twitter.com/pooserville Dave Pooser

    Fusina: Deepest sympathy. Even the day you adopt the pet you know, intellectually, that it’s just a matter of time; doesn’t make it any easier when suddenly you know exactly where you are on the countdown clock. 

    Hermione: Purr on, little sister, purr on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cphlewis Chloe P. H. Lewis

    Sympathy, Fusina. Poor kitty.

    “Farms and ranches are actually worth more than a million bucks in MONTANA?”

    I limited a search to *working* ranches and the first hit had ranches more than $25 million. This makes sense to me, actually; we  know farms have been getting much, much bigger, mechanized, technocratic; and crop insurance has to help ROI. And they aren’t making much more land.

    http://fayranches.com/ranches-for-sale/farms

  • EllieMurasaki

    The thing I think Neutrino was flailing about, though, is that this congresscritter was pointedly implying that his farm-owner constituents who will be negatively impacted by a law affecting people with property worth over a million dollars, these people are small farmers. We do not, as a country, sympathize with the owners of massive farms. We do, as a country, sympathize with the owners of little struggling farms. I don’t know how many of the latter there actually are, but there’s certainly a well-funded lobby aiming to get us to think of all of the former as among the latter. That way we’ll keep being willing to pay farm subsidies in order to help the latter and we’ll keep not noticing that farm subsidies disproportionately benefit the former and not the latter.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The caveat I suppose I should have added is “owned by individuals or families”, rather than large agribiz outfits.

  • P J Evans

     It still sounds odd, but if they’re including equipment in that value, it would be a lot easier. (The question I have is, is the claimed value real or only paper?)

  • P J Evans

    Fusina, I’m sorry to hear about your furry. Been there, have paw prints (and cat hair, and a few permanent scars from sharp claws). I don’t know what was eating mine, but she was down to four pounds and clearly not always pain-free.The vet couldn’t find anything obvious, either. But she wasn’t alone when she took her last nap; I held and petted her the whole time.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The number of owners and their relationships to one another are not things I consider relevant when judging business size. Two brothers own 42% apiece of Koch Industries (dunno who owns the rest), which by that metric would make it a small business; its annual revenue is $98 billion.

  • Fusina

     Yeah. So far Hermione seems to not be hurting, and she starts purring when I pet her–this morning she even did a few trills. And yes, holding and petting are absolutely a must.

    Hee, She left a couple of wounds on me when the doc was trying to get her temperature, and I now have a watchband that will never be gotten rid of–it is leather, and now has a Hermione fang gash in it where she tried to chomp my wrist. I do embroidered stuff, and this will probably go into a piece about her at some point. I’m kind of glad I put my watch on that morning, or I would have probably had to go to the hospital.

  • David Starner

     I think a viable American farm is going to have at least a million dollars worth of land, animals and equipment. It’s illiquid, but gets taxed as if it were cash.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Define ‘viable’.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Hee, She left a couple of wounds on me when the doc was trying to get her temperature, and I now have a watchband that will never be gotten rid of–it is leather, and now has a Hermione fang gash in it where she
    tried to chomp my wrist.

    I’ve a couple puncture scars on my left shoulder near the neck that look like a vampire had a go at me from pretty much exactly the same situation: holding him while the vet was doing undignified things to his butt. I believe the record will show that I was crooning “Go ahead, honey, bite down if it helps” while he was taking a chunk out of me.

    The cuddling and purring is so wonderful. We treasure it while we’ve  got it. I’m so glad Hermione is still comfortable and happy and full of expressions of love.

    The oncologist recommended against pursuing aggressive treatments as they’d probably hurt the cat more than the tumor, but he did suggest having an esophagal feeding tube inserted sooner rather than later since eat is currently the worst discomfort he’s in. My husband, hearing about this, looked stricken. “Will he still be able to purr?”

  • Fusina

    “I’ve a couple puncture scars on my left shoulder near the neck that look
    like a vampire had a go at me from pretty much exactly the same
    situation: holding him while the vet was doing undignified things to his
    butt. I believe the record will show that I was crooning “Go ahead,
    honey, bite down if it helps” while he was taking a chunk out of me. ”

    Apparently, someone sued my vet after their cat bit them during an exam. Granting that they were diabetic, I still find that sort of thing a bit weird. But then, there are some pet owners who shouldn’t be. Being chomped by a cat? Better than dealing with the loony-tunes drivers round here. I got flipped off by someone who didn’t think I turned right on red after stop and when it is safe to proceed as quickly as she thought I should, and which I did as soon as there were no more cars zipping through the green light the other way. I started up and she honked, and then gave me the finger as she passed me. Must say, the display of maturity and patience gave me a warm feeling in my heart (/sarcasm).

    Meanwhile, I caught Hermione drinking some water today, but mostly what she does is snooze in all her favorite places. I’m going to try giving her some tuna juice, and if she can handle that, I have some homemade turkey broth in the freezer, and I’ll hack off a chunk of it to warm up and feed her.

  • Fusina

    Apparently, someone sued my vet after their cat bit them during an exam.
    Granting that they were diabetic, I still find that sort of thing a bit
    weird.

    I feel I should explain that they did have complications from the chomping, but if one is diabetic (my Mom is, so I have a working knowledge of what one shouldn’t do when one is) there are things you can do, like not helping to hold your cat when it is in a foul mood. 


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