Sunday, January 17, 2010

Re-examiination time -- again

I don't find very much sympathy today for any of the programs that helped the United States, particularly after the end of the Second World War, become the world's economic super power. These include FDR's New Deal which was in place but became a stable part of American life when there was enough money to fund its programs; Medicare and Medical, obviously examples of government health care that doesn’t work and without which I would be dead; student tuition programs like the GI bill that gave us the largest well educated work force in history; and more particularly the huge infusion of money into infrastructure, e.g. the huge interstate highways system that Ike sold as essential for national defense.

Republican attacks on the bailout rely on an underclass handout image for these programs. Wall Street tycoons are the new welfare mothers in Cadillac’s. I liked this article because it helped me see that the way I personally view both the programs themselves and the way that we view them as skewed.

Read it. I think Mr. Wolff has a point, or even several!
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Does Welfare Work?

Domestic Worker Does Welfare Work?
If social welfare programs work, then countries with more extensive programs should report a smaller percent of their population living in poverty. And that is exactly what we find. According to UNICEF, the percentage of children living in poverty in 2005 was: Denmark, 2.4%; France, 7.5%, Norway, 13.4%; Canada, 14.9%; United Kingdom, 15.4%; United States, 21.9%. (Thank goodness for Mexico — 27.7%.)
The Human Development Index (HDI) measures general well-being, with special emphasis on child welfare. Ratings released in 2009, covering the period up to 2007, reveal the following: the U.S. ranks 13th, in a virtual tie with Austria, Spain, and Denmark, surpassed by some countries noted for extensive welfare programs: Norway, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Finland.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And among the disturbing reports that have convinced Benedict that gays are destroying Creation...

But in the interests of fairness and balanced coverage, a piece of private investigation: On my recent trip to San Diego, I met a young man, a former Mormon missionary who said just before midnight, "Well, hate to be Cinderella, but I 'm outta here. Got to get up early for church, St John's Episcopal. They got a gay bishop. I'm gay so I guess I'm there."
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Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian

Gay Teen
LOUISVILLE, KY—At first glance, high school senior Lucas Faber, 18, seems like any ordinary gay teen. He's a member of his school's swing choir, enjoys shopping at the mall, and has sex with other males his age. But lately, a growing worry has begun to plague this young gay man. A gnawing feeling that, deep down, he may be a fundamentalist, right-wing Christian.
"I don't know what's happening to me," Faber admitted to reporters Monday. "It's like I get these weird urges sometimes, and suddenly I'm tempted to go behind my friends' backs and attend a megachurch service, or censor books in the school library in some way. Even just the thought of organizing a CD-burning turns me on."
Added Faber, "I feel so confused."

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