Saturday, December 31, 2005

Is Romney not Christian enough?

Anyone who meets Mitt Romney comes away with a good feeling. He's a very decent man and the people of Massachusetts chose wisely in 2002. Governor Romney is certainly playing coy with his presidential ambitions, opting not to run for re-election in 2006. But the early wordis that Romney faces problems with the religous right not an insignificant force in Republican circles. A resolute chaste man who refuses to indulge in so much as foul language, Governor Romney's problem appears to be that he is a Mormon. In today's excellent profile of Romney, James Taranto of theWall Street Journal notes

The trouble is that much of today's anti-Mormon sentiment is found on the religious right, a constituency that looms much larger in the GOP now than it did in 1968, or than it ever has in Massachusetts. Ask a conservative Christian what he thinks of Mormonism, and there's a good chance he'll call it a "cult" or say Mormons "aren't Christian."

I am not a congenial basher of the "religious right" but I do think religious conservatives who hold such views on Mormonism behind their lace curtains are an increasing threat to the Republican party. It would be a shame if they foreclose opportunities for "non-Chrisitians" like Romney.

What's happening to the party of Goldwater?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The slow triumph of hope

There's good news. Some things are actually getting better for humanity. Brian McCartan is an optimist.

Judging from the headlines, 2005 was a gloomy year, indeed. Gulf Coast hurricanes, the devastating earthquake in Kashmir, ongoing war in Iraq, civil war in Sudan, renewed famine in central Africa, and the threat of a worldwide pandemic flu darkened the news. These headlines, however, obscure a far brighter underlying trend: On average, people across the planet are living longer, healthier lives, with greater opportunities for education and political freedom than ever before.

We unavoidably view our world through news articles that break up an otherwise overwhelming stream of information into digestible bites. As a result, we often "lose the forest for the trees" by focusing on sensational short-term stories that impact relatively few people. It is difficult to place these singular events in context and it is all too easy to lose sight of more fundamental developments. If we step back from daily headlines and examine broader global trends in human progress, an encouraging picture for 2005 emerges.

Let us build, then, upon the successes lost in the forest.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

SoxBlog takes a swing at the Globe's coverage of controversial Roxbury mosque

The Globe takes a belated peek at the controversy surrounding a new mosque in Roxbury. Why has it taken the Globe this long? It might have to do with political correctness or just laziness or just the inability to grasp the issue's importance says SoxBlog.

SoxBlog's Dean Barnett published a detailed piece in the Weekly Standard recently highlighting some of the unsavory characters associated with the Islamic Society of Boston's $22 million mosque in Roxbury. Moreover Barnett zooms into the cozy real estate deal worked out by ISB and the City of Boston.

When I labeled the question of why the Globe hadn?t covered this story in its own backyard as only a ?pretty good? one, the reason I gave it relatively low marks is because we all know the answer as to why the Globe ignored the story. The Globe would be incapable of covering such a matter without its trademark slavish adherence to political correctness. There?s no way the Globe could cover the controversy either honestly or accurately.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Does C.A.I.R care about its image?

Stephen Schwartz laments radical Wahhabi's inroads into moderate American Islam.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Steve Chapman remembers the late William Proxmire

Sen. William Proxmire died this past week. He was a great Senator and a Democrat with guts. Proxmire railed against mindless government spending even when it benefited his own state. They certainly don't make them like Bill Proxmire anymore as Stephen Chapman notes:

He was a philosophical anomaly, voting like a Kennedy on civil rights, the Vietnam War, the environment and the death penalty, but often expressing skepticism about federal programs. "Government has gotten too big too fast," he said in 1979. "The burden of proof ought always to be on those who want to extend government."

Those who want to extend government have had a far easier time since Proxmire left the Senate 17 years ago. Everyone would agree they don't make senators like that anymore. In truth, they never made more than one.

Kayne West call your office

Ever wonder why newspaper readership is plummeting? And why journalists are held in low esteem? Try this and this.

But perhaps some of the reason why we get slanted news is this.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The march of the nanny state

This latest push for the busy-bodies is done, of course, "for the children." While the nannycrats have their foot in the front door why don't they just head for the pantry where they can clean out the Cheez-its and other snacks in the name of fighting obesity. There may be some efficiency to the effort. Then maybe they, of all people, can work their way into the bedroom, perhaps mandating condom use for the public good of curbing overpopulation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The perils of the prediction business

Econbrowser reminds us of just how difficult it is to get a handle on how high oil prices might go.

Oil 'will hit $100 by winter'
Worst-ever crisis looms, says analyst · Surging demand to keep prices high
Heather Stewart, economics correspondent
Sunday July 3, 2005
The Observer

Oil prices could rocket to $100 within six months, plunging the world into an unprecedented fuel crisis, controversial Texan oil analyst Matt Simmons has warned.
After crude surged through $60 a barrel last week, nervous investors were pinning their hopes on a build-up in US oil-stocks to depress prices in the coming months.

But Simmons believes surging demand will keep prices bubbling well above $50. 'We could be at $100 by this winter. We have the biggest risk we have ever had of demand exceeding supply. We are now just about to face up to the biggest crisis we have ever had,' he said.

Opec producers held emergency talks last week to consider making their second 500,000 a barrel increase in production quotas in a fortnight: but the discussions were suspended last Thursday after prices dipped back below $60.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Blogger Angry Bear does us a favor

The federal budget: read the chart and weep. Or maybe it isn't so bad if you take Angry Bear's perspective.

We want your money and our cake too

Robert Musil takes on the opposition to the Solomon Amendment.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Don't bet against Robert Fogel

A contributor to Arnold Kling's EconLog says you shouldn't bet against the insight of economic historian Robert Fogel. Fogel, the 1993 Nobel Laureate in Economics, thinks long-term economic growth could prop up the social security system rather easily. He's an optimist to say the least -- thinking that economic growth is often underestimated.