Is NRA grip on Congress loosening?

by Martha Rosenberg
Op Ed News

Who can forget the NRA's depiction of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents as gun grabbing "jack booted thugs" ten years ago? It cost them the membership of George H. W. Bush and other prominent members.

"To attack Secret Service agents or ATF people or any government law enforcement people as...wanting to attack law-abiding citizens is a vicious slander on good people," wrote Bush in his resignation letter.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, they say, everything will look like a nail. And if the only tool you have is a gun, everyone will look like a gun grabber.

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Religious Conservatives More Generous Than Secular Liberals

This article was brought to our attention by frequent commenter CATO:
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Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."

For the record, Brooks, 42, has been registered in the past as a Democrat, then a Republican, but now lists himself as independent, explaining, "I have no comfortable political home."

The book's basic findings are that conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure.

Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don't provide them with enough money.

Such an attitude, he writes, not only shortchanges the nonprofits but also diminishes the positive fallout of giving, including personal health, wealth and happiness for the donor and overall economic growth.
All of this, he said, he backs up with statistical analysis.

"These are not the sort of conclusions I ever thought I would reach when I started looking at charitable giving in graduate school, 10 years ago," he writes in the introduction. "I have to admit I probably would have hated what I have to say in this book."

McCain Calls for Common Sense in GOP

"Though we suffered a tough defeat last week, we will recover if we learn our lesson well and once again offer Americans enlightened, effective and principled leadership."

John McCain
Arizona Senator
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Milton Friedman - Death of a Giant

The death of Milton Friedman at age 94 ends, after more than 60 years, the greatest rivalry in modern economics—the one between the conservative great Friedman and the liberal great Paul Samuelson. Samuelson lives on, at age 91, and remembers his intellectual foe with respect.

"Milton Friedman was a giant," Samuelson said in a Nov. 16 interview from his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "No 20th-century economist had his importance in moving the American economic profession rightward from 1940 to the present."

More than anyone else, Milton Friedman was responsible for challenging the worldview of British economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed in the power of government to guide and stimulate economic growth. As an alternative to Keynesianism, he put forth a more laissez-faire philosophy known as monetarism—the doctrine that the best thing the government can do is supply the economy with the money it needs and stand aside.

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DemoGlad -Habit Forming Mood Enhancement for Democrats

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‘Monument’-al achievement: Iraqi War Memorial in St. Croix County

Little town is site of state’s first — and only — memorial wall honoring Wisconsin’s Iraq War dead
By Barbara Lyon
Dunn County News

Just beyond Dunn County’s western border sits the tiny, unincorporated hamlet of Hersey. To see it today, visitors might find it hard to believe that it was once St. Croix County’s largest town.

According to Hersey Cave bar owner Steve Schreiber, the once-bustling municipality —founded in the late 1800s by lumber baron Hersey Adam — once boasted 10 taverns, a bank, livery stable, cheese factory, churches, grocery store and mercantile exchange.

When the original wood-framed town hall burned down, it was replaced by a brick structure, built in 1872 by Civil War veterans. Almost two years ago, time and the elements took their toll on the venerable building and it was torn down.

But all was not lost. Schreiber, a local history buff who is working on a book about Hersey, salvaged the Menomonie-manufactured bricks and other artifacts.

Faced with a pile of old bricks, he pondered how he could put them to meaningful use.

It occurred to him that Wisconsin has sacrificed more than its share of soldiers in the Iraq War. A memorial wall constructed of old Hersey town hall brick, he thought, would be a fitting way of honoring the state’s fallen soldiers.

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Free trade hasn't turned out to be a great deal

Over the past five years, most Americans have seen stagnant wages and increased job insecurity. While the Dow has recovered, job creation remains historically weak. While compensation for chief executive officers has hit records, college graduates have seen their incomes drop. Growth hasn't lifted all boats.

Read more @ Cinncinati Enquirer.

Families feel the squeeze
Higher fuel, health costs hit home

“The main thing that bothers me the most is that I can’t provide for my kids like my parents provided for us,” Paul Kirk said. “There’s always a sense of doubt that you’re always going to have enough at the end of the month, but sometimes you don’t. We just can’t do things the way we’d like to.”

Read more @ Lawerence Journal-World.

Fed minutes spur another Dow record
Wall Street rallied again Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrials scoring another record close as investors grew more confident that the Federal Reserve has inflation in hand. A bid from US Airways Group Inc. for Delta Air Lines Inc. added to the market's momentum.

Read more @ Reading Eagle.


Yust Say NO!!!!

"People call us negative and anti-education. We're not anti-education...We're anti everything."
"We just want accountability..............
on account of we don't got nothin' better to do."

We're Concerned Citizens

Protecting the NO in N.Onimous.

And it's one, two, three what are we fightin' for: November 15, 1969

Largest Anti-War Protest Occurs. More than 250,000 protesters gather in Washington, D.C., in the largestantiwar demonstration to occur during the Vietnam war.

Born November 15, 1887: Georgia O'Keefe

Georgia O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, the second of seven children, and grew up on a farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. As a child she received art lessons at home, and her abilities were quickly recognized and encouraged by teachers throughout her school years. By the time she graduated from high school in 1905, O'Keeffe had determined to make her way as an artist.
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Jim Wallis: This Was A Moral Values Election

This was a moral values election.Many have now commented on the significant shifts among religious voters in the midterm elections, in what Steve Waldman described as the “Smaller God Gap” between Republicans and Democrats. Nationally, 29% of white evangelicals voted for Democrats – up from the 21% who voted for John Kerry in 2004 and the 25% who voted for Democrats in House races that year. And all evangelicals together (including Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and African American evangelical voters went 41% for Democrats and 58% for Republicans. Because that trend is also a profoundly generational one, it will likely grow in the future. An even bigger shift occurred among Catholics, with 55% voting for Democrats and 44% for Republicans – from the 47% of Catholics who voted for Kerry and the 49% for Democratic House candidates in 2004.

Read more at Sojouners.

JB Van Hollen courted 'Good Democrats'

Cary Spivak &
Dan Bice

Journal Sentinal Online

What do you do if you're the Republican candidate for attorney general and stuck at the top of the ticket is a guy who is going nowhere fast?

Abandon your party's gubernatorial candidate by urging voters to split their tickets.

That's what Attorney General-elect J.B. Van Hollen did on the eve of the election last week. His campaign slapped together a leaflet aimed at supporters of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, proclaiming: "You can be a GOOD DEMOCRAT and VOTE AGAINST Kathleen FALK."

Not the type of pitch that will earn you brownie points with your party. Aw, but what the heck, Van Hollen won, making him the only Wisconsin Republican to win a statewide seat.

Brian Fraley, Van Hollen's campaign mouthpiece, said the literature should not have bothered Mark Green, the GOP standard-bearer who lost to Doyle by 53% to 45%.

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In Britain, families go to church so kids can go to school

The lack of decent state-run schools and the high cost of private education are driving families to church schools.

By Mark Rice-Oxley
The Christian Science Monitor

LONDON – Church was never a big part of Maria Allen's life. She used to go as a child, but lapsed as a teenager. All through university and her 20s, she rarely gave it a second thought. She was a regular worshiper, she quips: once a year, at Christmas.
Then, she had a daughter, and things changed. Ms. Allen didn't suddenly find God. She suddenly found Britain's school system. And that presented a problem. She lives in a part of London that is short on decent schools. The best were either too far away or too expensive. The rest were poor. All except for one: a church school, right on the doorstep, with an excellent reputation. But to stand a chance of getting in, you have to go to church.
"We started going about two years ago, when my daughter was about 2 years old," says Allen, who says she quickly came to enjoy the community of St. Mary Abbots in London's Kensington district. "There are only a few good schools round here, and while state school education can be very good, it can also be very bad, and no one is going to take a risk with their child."

Allen says she has few qualms about her pragmatism, though she nevertheless requested a pseudonym for this article. She believes she is far from alone. The quality of education being offered at British schools is highly variable, and many parents, particularly among the middle classes, will do whatever it takes to secure the best place for their child.

A recent survey by the ICM polling institute found that 44 percent of parents were prepared to use underhanded tactics to get their child into a good school; 12 percent said they would embellish their religious credentials to help their child - this in a country where active worship has declined precipitously in the past 50 years.

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Elephant Ditto Dung

Rush Limbaugh: "This takes us to Carl Levin. I watched him on television this morning at a press conference announcing what his priorities are going to be as chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the Senate. Yesterday he was on, what was it, Stephanopoulos' show on ABC, and the question was, 'Senator Levin, your leader, Senator Harry Reid, said that the Democrats' first order of business will be investigating Iraq. Is that your first order of business?'"

Carl Levin: "First order of business, I believe, is to join hopefully with some Republicans who I think now will emerge to press the administration to change course in Iraq by telling the Iraqis that our presence there is not open-ended and that as a matter of fact we need to begin a phase redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months."

Rush Limbaugh: "Four to six months. I'll tell you, when you listen to these guys, there's a person who remains glaringly irrelevant to them, and that's the president, George W. Bush."

Bingo Rush! Bingo!


Junk Scientist Steven Milloy -- Eat My Shorts!

New sermon from the evangelical pulpit: global warming

"My total perspective on environmental issues and life in general was drastically altered. This went beyond any political, racial, or gender issues - it is a moral crisis."

Rev. Gerald Durley
Atlanta's Providence Missionary Baptist Church.

By Jane Lampman
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

As a deeply committed pastor in Atlanta's African-American community, the Rev. Gerald Durley had long thought of himself as enlightened and involved when it came to issues that hurt people's lives. He felt he was fulfilling his responsibilities to others. Until, he says, he saw the film "The Great Warming" last May.

Dr. Durley has since shown the documentary on global warming to his congregation and invited ministers, rabbis, and imams to see it. He has gone on radio to discuss the crisis and is promoting sermons on the subject. A discussion he held with Atlanta children has been edited into the latest version of the film.

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Related article from June 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine: Moving Heaven And Earth.