August 25, 2012
It’s a common narrative in many elections, and this year is no exception. Democrats care about the poor; Republicans do not. Progressives are concerned about those who have less; conservatives only care about the rich. It’s been stated so many times, many have come to believe it.
Then come periodic studies on actual charitable giving – you know, the kind where people actually give their own money instead of relying on the government. Turns out the oppositie may be true.
The latest is a recent report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy showing that those in many “red states” give more as a percentage of their income than in many “blue states.” For example, the eight highest states in their ranking (those that gave the most as a share of income) went for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. The seven lowest ranking states went for President Obama. See this chart for the details.
This is nothing new. Back in 2004, I wrote a column noting a similar study with similar results. Back then, all of the top 25 states that gave the most in relation to their average incomes all went to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, and 19 of the bottom 25 went for John Kerry.
Despite the rhetoric from progressives about “giving back” and the need for spreading the wealth around, it appears they don’t practice it as often in their private lives. That includes some in the current administration.
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December 9, 2010
This blog will be on somewhat of a hiatus during the holiday season. So, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
September 19, 2010
Before the ink could even dry on our Constitution back in the late 1700s, attempts were already made at distorting its meaning or flat-out ignoring it. A prime example was the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts, part of which enabled the federal government to criminalize criticism against government officials. It flatly went in the face of the Bill of Rights, yet many of the same people who had a part in passing the First Amendment also supported the Sedition Act. Perhaps the clear words of the First Amendment sounded good to them at the time, that is until they themselves came to power in government. Then those words became a stumbling block to their agendas.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=stephen+breyer&iid=6650877″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/6650877/supreme-court-justices/supreme-court-justices.jpg?size=500&imageId=6650877″ width=”156″ height=”201″ /]The plain words of the Constitution have always been misinterpreted, stretched inappropriately or outright ignored over the years by government officials. With this background in mind, it maybe should come as no surprise that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently told ABC News that the right of individuals in this country to burn Korans, which has been taken as a given by most in the recent media coverage of the cancelled plan to do so by a Florida pastor, is still something the courts may end up ruling on in the future.
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September 14, 2010
It looks like efforts to ban the wearing of veils have finally succeeded in France:
The French senate approved Tuesday a law banning any veils that cover the face — including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women — making France the first European country to plan such a measure. The law passed by a vote of 246 to 1, with about 100 abstentions coming essentially from left-leaning politicians. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the lower house of parliament in July and will go into effect next spring.
I blogged on this issue a while back here.
September 12, 2010
In the ongoing debate over the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque,” those opposing it have often claimed that they are not arguing that government should have the ability to stop the construction of the site. They say that the other side’s constant criticism that the opposition to the mosque represents an attempt at restricting freedom of religion is false, because they are not advocating using government force — only persuasion — to prevent the construction.
But then came recent comments last week from one of the most vocal critics of the proposed construction, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:
In a radio interview today, he said he wants the national government to step in and stop the developers from building the Islamic community center by whatever means necessary … And if that fails, he said, the state government should step in and use its considerable power to stymie the development. “The Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, could intervene because frankly he has the ability to slow it down for decades if he wants to.”
Government preventing the construction of a place of worship based primarily on the fact that a large group of citizens oppose that religion has no place under our system of government. It is becoming evident that several in the opposition to this construction are willing to use government force to prevent it. So much for that whole, “This is not about freedom of religion” thing.
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September 10, 2010
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=mosque+zero&iid=9654707″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9654707/protestors-oppose-building/protestors-oppose-building.jpg?size=500&imageId=9654707″ width=”234″ height=”163″ /]”Freedom of religion means the right of the individual to choose and to adhere to whichever religious beliefs he may prefer, to join with others in religious associations to express these beliefs, and to incur no civil disabilities because of his choice.”
— Joseph Blau
August 26, 2010
With the recent court order blocking certain expanded federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research (expanded last year by President Obama), comes inevitable criticism from those who warn of stifling ‘scientific progress.’ But such attempts typically rely on a rationale justifying the means by the ends.
Take for example a recent USA Today article noting how the head of the National Institutes of Health was “stunned” by the ruling:
“I was stunned, as was virtually everyone here at NIH,” agency director Francis Collins said. … “Stem cell research offers true potential for scientific discovery, and hope for families. This decision has just poured sand into that engine of discovery.”
Not mentioned in the article was the obvious fact that these scientists have a vested monetary and career interest in seeing federal funding continue. The report noted that the ruling would halt 143 grants worth $95 million and 22 grants totaling $54 million.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=stem+cell+research+funding&iid=4202180″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/4202180/obama-signs-order-for-full/obama-signs-order-for-full.jpg?size=500&imageId=4202180″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]What this order, in reality, does is stop an unethical and unconstitutional use of federal taxpayer money. The ruling was based on the fact that such extended funding necessarily goes against a ban on using taxpayer money to fund the destruction of embryos. And though the Constitution gives power to Congress to “promote the Progress of Science,” it limits this promotion to “securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” It doesn’t authorize the federal government to subsidize questionable research.
Even leaving aside the ethical and constitutional reasons for blocking this funding, a side benefit of this injunction is to freeze one area of federal spending. That alone is a desirable outcome given our mounting debt.
August 24, 2010
Below is a recent CNN segment highlighting a fact largely lost in the “Ground Zero Mosque” debate: There have been Muslims worshiping in the existing building for a while.
So, what is the response from those opposing the construction of the new mosque? Kick them out? If not and the current situation is fine, how small does a mosque have to be for opponents to be OK with it near Ground Zero? Tricky little facts like this sort of make the heated rhetoric over the issue seem a little overblown.
August 19, 2010
Democracy– rule by public opinion — is something lauded in our country and around the world. But the public, quite frankly, is often easily duped into believing things that just aren’t so.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obama+muslim&iid=9544144″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9544144/president-barack-obama/president-barack-obama.jpg?size=500&imageId=9544144″ width=”234″ height=”141″ /]A recent prime example might be the results of two recent polls. One Pew survey found that 18 percent of Americans actually believe that President Obama is a Muslim. That number has actually risen over time. This is despite a year and a half of Obama in office for the public to get to know him better. Another poll, from TIME, found that 24 percent believe Obama, actually a professed Christian, is a Muslim.
This perhaps can be blamed partly on the prevalence of dubious chain emails with claims about political figures that are just too good to be true. But the real blame falls mainly on Americans all-too-willing to remain ignorant of facts.