Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Are Christians the new Jews in terms of persecution? Here's a study and a Jewish rabbi who thinks so.

It turns out Christians have replaced the Jews as the most persecuted religious faith.  That's based on a new study.
In recent months, a new consensus has emerged: For the first time in millennia, Judaism has lost its title as the world’s most persecuted religion; today, that dubious honor goes to Christianity. “Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers,” wrote Rupert Shortt in a 54-page report for the London-based Civitas institute in December, which meticulously documented their persecution on a country-by-country basis. Even politicians have begun grasping this fact: German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly deemed Christianity “the most persecuted religion in the world” in November. In short, as one commentator put it last week, Christians have become the new Jews.
Here's one Jewish rabbi's take on the situation.
"If you want to understand us, study our story, learn of our pain." That is what Jews told Christians who wanted to build new bridges of respect after the Holocaust. Ironically, when Christians begin listening to the story of the Jews, they are finding reflections of themselves.

Christians who listened learned of a Jewish history written in blood from ancient to modern times. When they thought of Christian martyrdom, on the other hand, they had to turn for the most part to antiquity, to early Christianity under the thumb of Roman emperors.

That has all changed. While Jews feel threatened by the massive explosion of global anti-Semitism in the last years, coupled with Iranian and Islamist calls for the genocidal destruction of all Jews, very few Jews in 2013 are dying because of their faith or their roots. Christians, on the other hand, have become the New Jews.
That term used to be a theological one, telling the faithful that G-d's covenants with the Jewish people had been rewritten in favor of new beneficiaries: Christians. Today, however, it means that Christians have succeeded Jews as the numerically most persecuted people on the face of the earth. In a huge swath of territory from Nigeria east and north to Iran and Pakistan, millions of Christians live in fear of losing their property or their lives simply because they are Christians. In the Assyrian Triangle of Iraq, the campaign of church-burning, clergy-killing, and terror has all but decimated the historically oldest Christian communities. Egypt's Copts, a full 10 percent of her population, treated for decades as second-class citizens, now face an even more uncertain future as Egypt's constitution moves the country closer to Sharia.
Persecution can many different forms from loss of jobs, ostracism, verbal attacks to laws hostile to religious practices to physical harm and death.

I'd say it's picking up throughout the world but also in the US where the power and influence of secularism holds a greater sway on our culture.

Monday, February 25, 2013

NOM Pledges $500k to Defeat Any Rupublican Who Supports Gay "Marriage"

Today, the National Organization for Marriage pledged $500,000 to defeat any republican that votes for gay "marriage" and would support any Democrats that stood firm on traditional marriage.

"'Republicans like Branden Petersen don't realize that not only is voting to redefine marriage a terrible policy, it is also a career-ending vote for a Republican,'" said Brian Brown. "'NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage. Legislators need look no further than what happened to GOP Senators in New York. Four of them were responsible for passing gay marriage. We helped take out three of those Senators by repeatedly informing their constituents of their betrayal on marriage. They are now out of office. We will not hesitate to do the same thing in Minnesota.'"

CLICK HERE to read the release.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Background checks and gun control efforts in Minnesota.

Here's an interesting analysis on gun control efforts in Minnesota and nationally along with some interesting facts on where criminals are getting their guns by John Hinderaker at Powerline.
The idea of “universal background checks” sounds appealing, and gun experts that I talk to say that improvements in the National Instant Check System can indeed be made. Such changes, however, are neither simple nor cost-free, and their effectiveness will be limited at best. The NRA recently sent an extensive letter to all members of Congress on this topic, which you can read in its entirety here. This is the executive summary:
The National Rifle Association supported the establishment of the National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS), and we support it to this day. At its creation, we advocated that NICS checks be accurate; fair; and truly instant. The reason for this is that 99% of those who go through NICS checks are law-abiding citizens, who are simply trying to exercise their fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Since 1986, those engaged in the business of selling firearms for livelihood and profit have been required to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). All retail sales of firearms currently require a NICS check, no matter where they occur. [Ed.: In other words, there is no "gun show loophole."]
Private Sales
Regarding the issue of private firearms sales, it is important to note that since 1968, it has been a federal felony for any private person to sell, trade, give, lend, rent or transfer a gun to a person he either knows or reasonably should know is not legally allowed to purchase or possess a firearm.
Mental Health Records and NICS
According to a recent General Accounting Office study, as of 2011 23 states and the District of Columbia submitted less than 100 mental health records to NICS; 17 states submitted less than ten mental health records to NICS; and four states submitted no mental health records to NICS.
Gun Shows
A common misrepresentation is that criminals obtain firearms through sales at gun shows.
A 1997 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of state prison inmates who had used or possessed firearms in the course of their crimes found that 79 percent acquired their firearms from “street/illegal sources” or “friends or family.” Only 1.7 percent obtained firearms from anyone (dealer or non-dealer) at a gun show or flea market.
In 2010, the FBI denied 72,659 NICS checks out of a total of 14,409,616. But only 62 of these cases were actually prosecuted, and only 13 resulted in a conviction.
“Universal Background Checks”
While the term “universal background checks” may sound reasonable on its face, the details of what such a system would entail reveal something quite different. A mandate for truly “universal” background checks would require every transfer, sale, purchase, trade, gift, rental, or loan of a firearm between all private individuals to be pre-approved by the federal government. In other words, it would criminalize all private firearms transfers, even between family members or friends who have known each other all of their lives.
According to a January 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, the effectiveness of “universal background checks” depends on requiring gun registration. In other words, the only way that the government could fully enforce such a requirement would be to mandate the registration of all firearms in private possession – a requirement that has been prohibited by federal law since 1986.
Two points quickly emerge from these data. First, the federal government is doing a poor job of enforcing existing laws. Felons who try to buy guns illegally are rarely prosecuted. More important, hardly any criminals even attempt to buy guns through legal channels. Typically they either steal firearms or get them from fellow gang members or other illegal sellers. When they do obtain guns from licensed dealers, they normally have a friend–usually a young woman–buy the gun for them. Such “straw purchases” have long been illegal, but no adequate effort is made to prosecute straw purchasers. Moreover, firearms-related prosecutions have declined dramatically under Barack Obama and Eric Holder. As is so often the case, before passing new laws we should do a better job of enforcing the ones already on the books. Firearms are already heavily regulated.

Second, the background check system is largely non-functional as it relates to the mentally ill. The common element in mass shooting cases is that the shooter is nuts, by any reasonable definition, and is known to be mentally ill by any number of people, especially family members. But the mental institutions have been emptied now for several decades, and even when family members try to take their concerns to law enforcement, they generally get nowhere. One practical improvement in the NICS would be to make it easy for relatives and others to ban mentally ill people from buying firearms. A friend who is a gun dealer writes:
Legislation could require the reporting to the National Instant Check System (NICS) of individuals with known behavior problems or mental health issues that make them a danger to themselves or others. This reporting would result in a denial at the time of purchase from a dealer.
It could also institute a hot line to NICS so family members can easily report to NICS.
It would then be necessary to develop an appeal process for those who may be falsely accused by people seeking to cause them trouble.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Message To GOP State Sen Petersen

This is a message from one of your readers on our Facebook page.

Dear Senator Petersen.

I am deeply disappointed you have chosen to break with the GOP platform and co-sponsor a bill to change the definition of marriage in Minnesota. 
It has nothing to do with bigotry or discrimination.  I wish all my gay brothers and sisters the very best in their lives and no unjust discrimination, ever!  Gays and lesbians have a right to love who they want, but they have no right to change the definition of marriage for all of society.

Please think about this: If marriage is really just a public celebration of feelings, then why on earth should the government be involved in licensing it? 

But if marriage truly is something deeper, something that civilization literally depends on for its long term survival, perhaps we'd better think a bit harder about it first before leaping to a decision based on emotion.

MN giving marriage licenses for: love, commitment, and responsibility could not legally (now or challenged in the future) exclude any adult relationship, correct?  Could it apply to roommates, close friends, mother/daughter, brother/sister, two brothers; any two adult people who love each other, are committed to each other, and who feel a responsibility to each other?  Would marriage then be open to any adult pair who finds they would benefit from legal and economic benefits that are offered in marriage?

Marriage has been promoted by governments, as it is a wholly unique institution, unlike any other, because...marriage is the “only institution” that can bring forth brand new human life and bind mothers and fathers with their biological children.  No other “institution” can do this--that is why marriage in not able to be redefined.

Again, I reiterate below:

It has nothing to do with bigotry or discrimination. I wish all my gay brothers and sisters the very best in their lives and no unjust discrimination, ever!  Gays and lesbians have a right to love who they want, but they have no right to change the definition of marriage for all of society.

Also, I feel it bears reminding that the 2012 vote on amending the MN Constitution to include a traditional marriage definition was supported by many precincts.

Additionally, "no votes" were cast by those who were uncomfortable with amending the constitution, yet they were still not in support of redefining marriage in MN. signed a MN voter

Is raising the minimum wage the panacea for what ails the poor? Or is family breakdown more of the problem?

There's a push for an increase in the minimum wage by both President Obama and DFLers in the Minnesota legislature.

Will it truly help the poor or actually hurt the poor?

Here's an interesting analysis by an economist on the topic.  He points to the economic reality that raising the minimum wage will actually lose jobs for the youth and unskilled, entry level workers.  He also points to the problems resulting from family breakdown, single parent households.  That's the critical issue.
President Obama's state of the Union Address  was to me, an interesting peek into the Administration's thinking, and a revealing piece of political rhetoric (I mean that in the good sense of "rhetoric," i.e. "what arguments we use to persuade people") 
...today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong....

Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets....
What caught my eye is the "family with two kids,"  "...millions of working families." It paints a grim picture: mom, dad, two kids, trying to survive one wage earner's full-time minimum-wage job.

My thought: What planet do the president's advisers live on? Come take a look, say, at the south side of Chicago, where I grew up and live, and where President Obama spent many formative years as a community organizer and so knows it even better. Is the first-order problem of these neighborhoods that its residents live in intact families with two kids, one full-time wage earner, trying to live on the wages from a full-time minimum wage job, but  having a tough time making ends meet? Is there anyone like this?

The tragedy of the neighborhoods around where I live, and President Obama used to live, is the vast number of people with no job at all.  How does raising the minimum wage for the few who have a minimum-wage job help the vast majority who have no job at all?

Minimum wages are about teenagers and young adults, most still living at home. It's about the "dating" phase of work-force attachment, where people learn the skills and habits, and make connections by which they can move up to better jobs when they are ready to have families.

"Families" is an interesting word as well. Marriage among lower-income Americans is rare, as President Obama made clear when he came back to talk to students at Hyde Park High school and made some controversial remarks about the absence of fathers.

For example in zip code 60619, just south of the University, there are "4,967 married couples with children, and 12,745 single-parent households (2,655 men, 10,090 women)." Here's the marital status chart.

What "family" means in this speech is, by and large, a single woman with children. I'm not starting a Murphy Brown argument, but it is an interesting use of the word. I wonder how many of the Republican ears in the audience listened to "working families" and heard "single women with children and no father in sight?" More worthy of our sympathy, indeed, but a very different picture of what kind of policies might actually work.

And even then, the modern Scrooge ("are there no workhouses?") might ask, "Is there no earned-income tax credit? Is there no home heating subsidy? Are there no food stamps? Is there no schip or medicaid? Have they not applied for social security disability? Are there no section 8 housing vouchers?"

The point is not to be heartless -- government programs or not, life on the lower end of America's economic and social spectrum is pretty awful.  The point is, if we seriously want to address the problems of the "working poor," if we want policies that actually work rather than spew a lot of TV time and make us feel good, let us paint a vaguely realistic picture of what their life is like. Absolutely nobody (except perhaps illegal aliens) is trying to support a family on $14,500 from a full time minimum wage job, period.  The actual economic life of the "working poor" is a welter of government programs, transitory employment, and a lot of illegal activity

And, one huge problem facing  people who do work full time and earn minimum wage is the astounding marginal tax rates that our various social programs imply.  In fact, much of the raise from $7.25 to $9.00 will be taken away. Even more of a raise to $20 an hour will be taken away. The structure of our programs that are supposed to help people are instead trapping them. (Previous posts here and here.)

Yes indeed, let us help families to "finally get ahead!" Let us talk about lousy schools, incentive-destroying social programs, horrendous violence, life-destroying incarceration, and the war on drugs run amok. The minimum wage may slightly help the few who can get such jobs, and put such entry-level jobs slightly more out of reach for many others. But it's just irrelevant to the real, first-order problems such families face.
To truly address the needs of the poor, one can't avoid family breakdown.  Failure to do so means more systemic poverty and calls for government social programs to do more and more.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Prof Robert Lopez shares his experience growing up with two moms

Fascinating article by Prof. Robert Lopez exposes the reality of growing up with two moms.  His story has been virtually ignored because, as he puts it, "I cherish my mother’s memory, but I don’t mince words when talking about how hard it was to grow up in a gay household."

 Prof. Lopez was in town today speaking with various marriage supporters.

Here are a few excerpts from this thoughtful article. 
CLICK HERE to read the entire article.
Quite simply, growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors. People in our community didn’t really know what was going on in the house. To most outside observers, I was a well-raised, high-achieving child, finishing high school with straight A's.
 My peers learned all the unwritten rules of decorum and body language in their homes; they understood what was appropriate to say in certain settings and what wasn’t; they learned both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine social mechanisms.
I had no male figure at all to follow, and my mother and her partner were both unlike traditional fathers or traditional mothers. As a result, I had very few recognizable social cues to offer potential male or female friends, since I was neither confident nor sensitive to others. Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily. Gay people who grew up in straight parents’ households may have struggled with their sexual orientation; but when it came to the vast social universe of adaptations not dealing with sexuality—how to act, how to speak, how to behave—they had the advantage of learning at home. Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The central question in debate over marriage redefinition isn't homosexuality but 'what is marriage'.

In the debate over gay "marriage", the central question and issue is rarely discussed and that's simply, "What is marriage"?  The debate in the minds of many people is really over something which is not marriage, e.g. whether the state should sanction the purely emotional commitments between two people of the same sex on top of the emotional commitments of opposite sex persons.

Here's a great, concise discussion of what marriage really is.
For millennia, all societies have viewed marriage as an exclusively heterosexual club. But in the last few years, more and more people are saying it’s time to open the marriage door to homosexuals. After all, we are told, if marriage is all about love and mutual commitment, gay people can do that at least as well as straights—who have thoroughly messed up the institution in any event. And besides, it would be discriminatory to deny homosexuals the right to marry, no?

But according to authors of a great new book, we’re on the wrong track already if the marriage debate gets bogged down in the issues of love or rights, because marriage is founded on something far deeper. The book is called “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense,” and it’s written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and my friend Princeton professor Robby George. “What we have come to call the gay marriage debate,” these three scholars write, “is not directly about homosexuality, but about marriage. It’s not about whom to let marry, but about what marriage is.”

Girgis, Anderson, and George say that on the one side is the traditional view, which they label the conjugal view. “The conjugal view of marriage has long informed the law—along with the literature, art, philosophy, religion, and social practice—of our civilization,” the authors write. “It is a vision of marriage as a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond, distinguished thus by its comprehensiveness, which is, like all love, effusive: flowing out into the wide sharing of family life and ahead to lifelong fidelity.”

On the other side, they say, is what they call the revisionist view. They write, “It is a vision of marriage as, in essence, a loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity—a bond that needn’t point beyond the partners, in which fidelity is ultimately subject to one’s own desires. In marriage, so understood, partners seek emotional fulfillment, and remain as long as they can find it.”

Friends, homosexuality is not mentioned in the authors’ description of the revisionist view of marriage, nor is it necessary. In fact, many heterosexual couples define their marriages exactly this way, summarized as, “as long as we both shall love.” The argument is not with homosexuality, per se, but with a misunderstanding of marriage that makes supposed gay matrimony just the next step in civil rights.

The stakes for our society are high. “The health and order of society,” the authors write, “depend on the rearing of healthy, happy, and well-integrated children. That is why law, though it may take no notice of ordinary friendships, should recognize and support marriages.”

Gay-rights advocates claim that heterosexual marriage would not be harmed if gay marriage were legalized. But that’s not so. “What Is Marriage?” meticulously details some of the critical social goods at risk if we go down the revisionist marriage road—gay or straight: real marital fulfillment, spousal well-being, child well-being, friendship, religious liberty, and limited government. These are not trivial matters! The book tells us why in masterful detail.

Of course, the book also makes us think about our own marriages: Are they other-directed and God-directed, or are they merely self-directed? It’s fair to ask, are we part of the problem, or the solution?

This book, “What Is Marriage?”, makes an argument, but it’s not argumentative. Instead, it is philosophical, reasoned, and fair. It provides the kind of intellectual energy we need when so many involved in the marriage debate—on both sides—are busy producing more heat than light. 
 A lot more is at stake than most people realize.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

From neurosurgeon to politician?

It looks like famous surgeon Ben Carson is headed into the political arena which is fine.  A fresh face with a fresh perspective on the issues is certainly needed.

Carson gained a lot of attention with his remarks at the national prayer breakfast which went beyond prayer to address taxes, health care and political correctness.

What gives him added credibility or unique credibility is his background - a black youth raised in deep poverty by a single mom who rose to international fame for his work as a pediatric neurosurgeon.  Anybody can talk about the flat tax or health care but coming from Carson he generates more attention and interest.

Here's a summary of some of his comments.
At the top of his presentation, Carson explained: "Now it's not my intention to offend anyone. I have discovered however, in very recent years, it's very difficult to speak to a large group of people these days and not offend someone. You know, people walking around with their feelings on their shoulders waiting for you to say something, 'Aghhh(animated) did you hear that?' And they can't hear anything else you say, the pc (politically correct) police are out in force at all times."
But if the politically correct police were in the room that morning, nobody noticed as Carson kept them under his spell with wit, humor and candor as he talked about how he created success from a recipe of faith, childhood poverty and education.
"I'm very, very compassionate and I am not ever out to offend anyone but pc (political correctness) is dangerous. Because you see this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression and it muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them and at the same time, keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this society is being changed," said Carson. "…We cannot fall for that trick and what we need to do is start talking about things; talking about things that are important; things that were important in the development of our nation," he added.
Lamenting the state of America's education system, Carson noted that it was time for the "intellectual superstars" in the nation's schools to get more support and encouragement and pointed out that as a man of solutions he had already devised one along with his wife, to encourage smart students through the Carson Scholars Fund. Explaining that he had nothing against athletics or other pursuits in school he noted to an applauding audience: "… What will maintain our position in the world? The ability to shoot a 25-foot jump shot, or the ability to solve a quadratic equation? We need to put the things into proper perspective."
Highlighting the exploding national debt, he told the audience that it was also a big problem.
"…$16 and a half trillion, you think that's not a lot of money? Tell you what, count one number per second which you can't do because by the time you get to a thousand it would take you longer than a second but one number per second, you know how long it would take you to reach 16 trillion? 507,000 years, more than a half million years to get there. We have to deal with this," said Carson.
In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Friday, Dr. Carson talked about the reaction to his speech.
"The reaction has been overwhelming. We've been just deluged with e-mails, with calls, 99.5 percent positive and that doesn't surprise me because the way that I laid things out was really logical. It wasn't right-wing, it wasn't left-wing, it was just logic and common-sense. I think this is what people are starving for coming out of Washington D.C. I don't know where we left our brains," said the world famous brain surgeon.Carson's latest book, America the Beautiful, tackles a number of the issues raised in his National Prayer Breakfast presentation.
 You can watch and listen to his remarks here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Economics 101: How to increase jobs and economic growth. Not by raising taxes.

There's a big debate in the states over how to increase economic activity and jobs.  Several state governors want to either eliminate or seriously cut their income tax rates to attract businesses and talented workers.  Others, like Minnesota, are heading in the opposite direction.  Governor Dayton wants to put in "a new, fourth tax rate of 9.85 percent on income above $150,000 for single filers and $250,000 for joint filers. Currently, the top state income tax rate is 7.85 percent."

Polling of Minnesotans suggest they oppose the sales tax increase because it will directly affect them while they support higher taxes on the wealthy.  Because, I presume, it means somebody else will be paying higher taxes.
According to the poll released Wednesday evening, 65 percent of Minnesotans support Dayton’s plan to hike income taxes by 2 points on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans. Only 30 percent polled opposed the move. The plan, which was part of the governor’s January budget proposal, would raise more than $1 billion for the state’s coffers while lawmakers are looking to wipe out a $1.1 billion budget deficit.

The same can’t be said for the governor’s plan to lower the state’s sales tax rate from 6.875 percent to 5.5 percent while adding it to many business-to-business services and clothing purchases of $100 or more. Only 30 percent of those polled support the move to expand the sales tax to clothing and things like haircuts and auto repairs, while 55 percent of those polled were opposed. When it comes to adding the sales tax to business services such as legal and accounting work, 59 percent of those polled were opposed, 34 percent supported the move, and 8 percent said they weren’t sure.

I suspect Minnesotans might feel differently about taxing the wealthy if they knew it meant fewer jobs and slower economic growth.

I've always felt raising taxes on anybody means the middle and lower classes will get hit.  There isn't enough wealth even among the wealthy to pay for the heightened appetite for more government so invariably taxes will rise on lower income groups.  That's the case with Dayton's sales tax increase proposal.  But also, businesses will simply pass along tax increases to consumers in the form of higher prices.  And finally, the wealthy can move to lower tax jurisdictions and there are enough tax shelters available that smart CPAs and lawyers will find them so they still can avoid the full effect of tax increase proposals.

One can't legislate away the laws of economics.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pro-gay "marriage" advocates are poised to pour money into Minnesota to redefine marriage. Polling shows Minnesotans don't want it.

Pro-homosexual "marriage" advocates are planning to pour money into Minnesota to redefine marriage.
New York-based Freedom to Marry plans to pump cash into this year's Minnesota legislative fight to legalize gay marriage.

The national group, which donated more than $700,000 into the successful campaign to oppose last year's constitutional ban on gay marriage, said on Thursday that it hoped to raise $2 million to spread amongst state's debating marriage laws. It said it planned to spread $800,000 among five states, including Minnesota, to wage the fight.

“As we move toward securing the freedom to marry for our state, this investment shows the level of commitment and confidence that soon all loving and committed couples can join marriage in Minnesota," Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said in a statement.

Minnesotans United was the main organization campaigning against last year's marriage amendment and is taking charge of this year's lobbying to legalize same-sex marriage.

Freedom to Marry plans to spend cash in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island as well as Minnesota
At the same time a new poll shows Minnesotans don't want our marriage law changed.

A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll taken earlier this week found that 54% of Minnesotans support our current law while 42% want it redefined.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gov Dayton calls for legalization of gay "marriage" while the majority of Minnesotans say don't change it

Gov. Dayton called for the legalization of gay "marriage" in his State of the State address.  He claims that the defeat of the Marriage Amendment means that Minnesotans want to legalize gay "marriage".

"Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment and responsibility. I want Minnesota to be a state which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love."

Seems that Gov. Dayton is out of step with most Minnesotans as a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll reveals that Minnesotan's didn't vote to legalize gay "marriage".

"Should the Minnesota state law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Or should it be left as it is?"

42% Should Be Changed
54% Should Be Left As It Is
4% Not Sure

Ask your friends: "Did you vote to legalize gay "marriage" or just didn't want it in the Constitution.

Governor Dayton's priorities - higher taxes, more government and gay "marriage" aren't what the patient needs.

Governor Dayton's State of the State laid out a clear vision for Minnesota - more government, more taxes and gay "marriage".
Gov. Mark Dayton made an impassioned defense of his budget proposal and vision for Minnesota in his State of the State address Wednesday, blasting critics who don't offer solutions.

"Trying to cut our way to a better Minnesota is a failed experiment," Dayton said. "If you're interested in nothing more than throwing rocks and casting blame, send the rest of us a letter or a postcard."

Dayton spent much of his nearly hourlong address defending a budget proposal that would usher in the biggest tax overhaul in a generation but is also proving to be a harsh test for the new DFL leaders in both chambers.

Dayton's new budget proposal would wipe out a $1.1 billion deficit, provide direct property tax rebates for homeowners and boost money for education. To pay for that, Dayton wants to raise income taxes on the wealthy and dramatically expand the sales tax to include higher-end clothing and many services, including business-to-business transactions.

The new sales tax proposals, particularly the taxes on business-to-business transactions, are triggering strong opposition. If legislators reject that portion of the proposal, it would blow a sizable hole in Dayton's budget and prevent him from paying for many of his most prized initiatives.

"No one likes paying more taxes, even when necessary to make them fair," Dayton said. "But when taxes are unfair, and remain unfair, not only do the people who are forced to pay more rightfully resent it, but they also lose faith in their elected officials who won't change it."

Speaking to a rare joint session of the Legislature, Dayton reaffirmed his support for legalizing same-sex marriage but stopped short of calling on legislators to pass a bill this year.

"I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex," Dayton said. "I want Minnesota to be a state which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love."
The problem with his prescription for what ails us, e.g. a weak economy and social, family breakdown, is it isn't what the patient needs.  In fact, it will exacerbate our problems.  Higher taxes are ultimately paid for by families either directly through higher sales taxes or indirectly through higher prices passed on by businesses.  Higher income taxes discourages the wealthy, many of whom are business owners, to expand their businesses and hence create jobs.  And it will motivate some wealthy individuals to leave the state.

More government is called for to take over the responsibilities of parents to raise and educate their children, e.g. all day kindergarten and so forth.

And redefining marriage won't stem the tide of family breakdown but will only accelerate it.

This isn't what the patient ordered.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The crisis of too few babies and what that means for Minnesota. Slower economic growth. And abortion.

Jonathan Last, writer for Weekly Standard, has come out a with a new book on the demographic winter hitting the world and the West in particular.  Here's an excerpt from one of his recent emails talking about his new book, "What to Expect When No One's Expecting...What to Expect."
We aren't having enough babies.

And we're doomed.

That's the short version of my book, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting... What to Expect has a pretty simple premise, but the details are, to me at least, fascinating.

Because the story is not as simple as it looks. There are lots of obvious reasons why people don't have as many babies as they used to: Infant mortality, which was once a scourge, has been nearly eliminated. Urbanization and industrialization moved people out of rural farming life (where kids were useful) and into cities (where kids couldn’t work and cost more to raise). When the government started providing Social Security and Medicare benefits, it essentially set up an operation to compete with adult children in the job of caring for aging parents. And as our society accepted—and mastered—contraception (especially the birth control pill), people were able to delay childbearing indefinitely.

Those are the usual suspects.

But what shocked me, as I delved deeper into the data, was the possibility that it wasn’t just this economic change or that logistical shift that was pushing people into having fewer babies. It was that this global baby bust might be a product of modern life itself.

In academic circles, this Grand Unified Theory is called the Theory of the Second Demographic Transition.

SDT theory holds that human beings are evolving into a higher state of being, where their individual desires—for validation and expression and freedom—make having children unnecessary. Think of it as a kind of reverse Darwinism, where the wealthiest, best-educated, highest elites decide that they no longer need to reproduce in order to attain a full life. The final irony, of course, that SDT-type behavior is most pronounced in the cultural groups who are most devoted to "Darwinism," not as an evolutionary precept, but as a theological (or anti-theological, as the case may be) worldview. Go figure.

The effects of this Second Demographic Transition range from the comic to the tragic. Germany, for instance, is perhaps 30 years ahead of America on the road to demographic ruin. Over in Deutschland the field of urban planning has shifted to figuring out how to "right-size" depopulated cities by demolishing abandoned schools and buildings and turning city blocks into parks and "green space."

Japan is a bit further ahead of Germany and is set to lose perhaps half of its population by the end of this century. Last year, the Japanese bought more adult diapers than they did diapers for babies, and by 2040, there will be one Japanese citizen over the age of 100 for every Japanese newborn. All of which has set up clash of the generations, where the young and the elderly are locked in a zero-sum arrangement concerning their futures. Think I’m exaggerating? A few days ago Japan's finance minister said that the country's elderly need to "hurry up and die already."

And he didn't lose his job.

All of which is to say that the old Trotskyite trope is true: You may not be interested in demography, but demography is interested in you...
How is this relevant to Minnesota?  I sat in on a state legislative hearing where Minnesota's economist Tom Stinson talked about the "new normal" for Minnesota and the US's economies.  That new normal is slower economic growth.  Why?  A key reason is an aging population and smaller labor population.  He pointed to numbers from the state demographer showing Minnesota's total labor force barely keeping above zero growth over the next 20 years or so.  Fewer workers, growing welfare system, slower economic growth means big problems.

Where does abortion come in to play?  Nationally there are 55 million fewer Americans because of the number of lives taken by abortion over the past 40 years. That means millions fewer workers to keep our economy chugging along.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bullying of homosexual identified kids is down dramatically.

With an expected big push for anti-bullying legislation in the Minnesota legislature which goes beyond bullying to push social indoctrination, here's an interesting story reporting that bullying against homosexuals is actually down dramatically.
The seven-year study involved more than 4,000 teens in England who were questioned yearly through 2010, until they were 19 and 20 years old. At the start, just over half of the 187 gay, lesbian and bisexual teens said they had been bullied; by 2010 that dropped to 9 percent of gay and bisexual boys and 6 percent of lesbian and bisexual girls.

The researchers said the same results likely would be found in the United States.
 I'll be interested in seeing how activists for the new legislation respond to this report.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The best Super Bowl commercial?

While I didn't see all the Super Bowl commercials, I did catch the Paul Harvey "God made a farmer"  commercial by Dodge.  Refreshing and moving.

You can view the ad here.

Here's the text of the commercial.
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.