Unemployment rate tracking above Obama’s projection

I have an idea. Let’s put a Democrat ACORN lawyer in charge of the economy during a recession caused by Democrats and ACORN. What could go wrong?

This: (From Hot Air, H/T Ace of Spades)

Barack Obama pushed for almost $800 billion in stimulus spending by claiming that it would save or create millions of jobs this year.  Critics pointed out that most of the spending started in 2010 and more than half of it came in 2011 or later, calling the stimulus useless at best for salvaging jobs, let alone creating them.  The White House has quietly agreed with its critics, according to the New York Times, and now says it expects to see no hiring rebound in 2009.

I can’t believe what I’m reading. Are you telling me that the Marxist-in-Chief blew trillions of taxpayer dollars on big government wastefulness, and he created NO JOBS?

Hot Air continues:

We just got done hearing Obama take credit for saving 150,000 jobs — which his administration never documented.  Now we’re hearing that the stimulus package demanded by Obama and passed over near-unanimous Republican objections won’t actually make any difference at all.  The cure, Obama and his team now admit, is private-sector growth.

Take a look at the numbers below. We are getting worse unemployment numbers for Mr. Teleprompter than if he had never spent a dime of taxpayer money at all.

Chart by Geoff from Innocent Bystanders
Chart by Geoff from Innocent Bystanders

Hot Air explains:

Actually, only the red indicators come from Geoff.  The chart itself comes from page 5 of an analysis prepared by Romer and Obama’s council of economic advisers in support of the $787 billion Porkulus plan.

We’re already past 8.8%, well on the way to 9.5%, above her predictions in either case.  They predicted that the upper curve would occur without spending $800 billion on government make-work, and that passage would prevent the severe spike in unemployment.  Now Romer admits that the upper curve will happen anyway.

Remember under George W. Bush, when unemployment averaged about 5% over the course of his two terms? Yeah, I miss him too.

Videos from Zo, Steven Crowder and How the World Works

Here’s Alfonzo Rachel’s latest video on RINOs, abortion, and our mounting debt to China:

Why can’t I talk like that? Oh, because I’m a software engineering nerd! That’s why.

And here’s Steven Crowder’s latest video on National Prayer Day:

Steven says this on Big Hollywood under the video:

For all of you atheist Libertarians who will undoubtedly be offended by this… Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to complain about it while you’re in hell.

These guys are solid across the board on issues of interest to Christians and conservatives. I am so glad to see talented Christians making a difference in the blogosphere! Bookmark their blogs! They post new videos every week.

Here is one more video by How the World Works, explaining media bias:

The media is an arm of the Democratic party.

By the way, did you see my first ever Friday night funny on media bias? It was hilarious!

Free speech in Canada, the United Kingdom and Cuba

My friend Jojo writes to inform me that I must blog about the state of free speech in Canada, so I will do it. But I am worried that my readers do not like to hear about other countries, like Canada. Just last week I blogged about Stephen Harper traveling to visit the Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and did not see a big hit count on that story, even thought I thought it was awesome!

Here is Jojo’s article on free speech. In the most Conservative province of Alberta, the “conservative” Ed Stelmach that they elected in the primaries is blocking HRC reform, and increasing the HRC budget! Since only the Conservatives can win in Alberta, all the Liberal and NDP (socialist) people vote in the primary and they end up with the equivalent of Arlen Specter as the Conservative nominee!

I had blogged about Ezra Levant’s support for Stephen Boissoin before, and about Lindsay Blackett’s intent to reform the Alberta HRC. But it looks like Stelmach is going to block Blackett’s effort to reform the Alberta HRC!

And here is the excerpt for Alberta:

Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, oversees Alberta’s Human Rights Commission. He announced plans to reform the human rights code and commission. He disparagingly called the commission a “Kangaroo Court,” and hinted at the likelihood that the government would repeal the censorship provisions in the provincial human rights code so that the commission could not be used as a weapon against free speech.

Bu Premier Stelmach sent his black Culture Minister to the back of the bus. The government’s set of amendments to Alberta’s human rights industry is preserving the censorship provisions.

Not only that, but professing Christian Premier Stelmach is rewarding the anti-Christian bigotry of Alberta’s HRC by giving them a raise – a budget increase of $1.7 million – in the middle of a recession – in a deficit budget.

Note to conservatives: have some sort of ideology test for delegates. And then we move to Ontario, where one the 4 candidates I blogged about before is promising to abolish the Ontario HRC entirely:

The fight against human rights commissions moves to Ontario with Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Randy Hillier advocating the elimination of that province’s Human Rights Commission. Mr. Hillier’s leadership campaign platform includes a number of freedom-oriented and private property rights entrenching proposals. Mr. Hillier recognizes that the Human Rights Commission is guilty of serious violations of Ontarians’ fundamental freedoms. Additionally, defending his proposal to abolish Ontario’s HRC, Mr. Hillier said that real human rights are so important that they should be defending in real courts, not delegated to Kangaroo Courts.

To vote in Ontario’s provincial PC leadership campaign, you need to be a member of the PC party by May 14th.

I haven’t heard any pro-freedom comments from the other three leadership candidates, especially in reference to human rights commissions. In fact, there seems to be a real paucity of tangible policy proposals from the other three candidates, so I don’t know where they stand, or what I can hold them accountable to, if any of them become the next leader of the Ontario PC Party.

Now on to the UK, where things are definitely taking a turn for the worst! The Australian has this report about Britain.

This is scaring the snark out of me:

Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government’s anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: “If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you.” Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: “If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings.” It took him five years to clear his name.

And this is worse still, because she just a child:

In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher’s first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: “It’s racist, you’re going to get done by the police!” Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: “An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form.”

The article is filled with anti free speech madness:

A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to “celebrate diversity”, the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.

Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.

And naturally, Christian lambs are the target of atheist wolves:

There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.

Maybe things are different in the UK, which may explain a recent exchange I had with a British atheist about a recent audio debate regarding that nurse. Read the exchange and consider how far gone the UK must be when the mere fact that a non-Christian hears something they don’t like is grounds for removing fundamental rights to free speech and freedom of religious expression.

I also noticed some comments from Ed West, who blogs for the UK Telegraph here, talks about the SECULAR THEOCRACY or ATHEOCRACY.

Excerpt:

Lib Dem MP Evan Harris felt very smug about overturning Britain’s long disused blasphemy laws last years, and was made “Secularist of the Year”, even though Britain hasn’t been in any way an Anglican theocracy since the early Victorian era. This – arresting people for having unfashionable views, however objectionable – is a real theocracy. If you want to fight for freedom, Dr Harris, fight for the peoples’ right to be racist or sexist or Islamophobic or simply rude.

This atheocracy derives from the incredibly liberal but also incredibly intolerant anti-discrimination morality that spread through Britain’s universities in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

It became known as “political correctness”, which itself became a tedious cliche because we journalists overused it…. The point of political correctness was that it closed down debate. Political correctness sought – in true Orwellian fashion– to make contrary ideas utterly verboten.

Everyone is so surprised to find out that atheist rule is totalitarian. Excuse me? Who do you think killed 100 million people in the 20th century alone? (Hint: It was wasn’t followers of Jesus, who are obligated to love their enemies). Atheism leads to fascism! Wake up!

Where on the planet are atheists in charge of states? Well, there’s North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela… Hey! What’s going on in atheistic Cuba? (H/T Mere Rhetoric)

Cuba is further limiting access to the World Wide Web for its citizens, in what many believe is an effort to rein in a small but increasingly popular group of bloggers who are critical of the government. In a move seen as aimed at anti-government bloggers, Cuba is further limiting access to the World Wide Web Only government employees, academics and researchers are allowed their own Internet accounts, which are provided by the state, but only have limited access to sites outside the island. Ordinary Cubans may open e-mail accounts accessible at many post offices, but do not have access to the Web. Many got around the restrictions by using hotel Internet services. But a new resolution barring ordinary Cubans from using hotel Internet services quietly went into place in recent weeks, according to an official with Cuba’s telecom monopoly, hotel workers and bloggers.

What does Santayana say about those who are ignorant of the lessons of history?

UPDATE: Just a reminder that the Democrats are trying to pass a hate crime bill and a bill to criminalize blogging as well, in the USA.

Interview with the atheist, part 1: the questions

UPDATE: The answers are posted here.

Recently, I have been writing about morality on atheism. In one post, I contrasted the moral behavior of a consistent, authentic Christian, William Wilberforce, with the moral behavior of a consistent, authentic non-Christian Darwinist, Adolf Hitler. In another post, I engaged an atheist commenter about who is really responsible for the mass murders in history. And the post on British novelist A. N. Wilson’s recent return to Christian faith which was partly due to his discovery of the objective moral law.

I decided to interview my atheist friends about God and morality. Yes, I have atheist friends, and yes, they read the blog, and yes, they know the Wintery Knight’s true identity. So, I arranged some lunch meetings with them, and I asked them, and recorded their responses. Later on, I will be posting their replies and my comments about their replies, then some general comments about the Christian Life.

Who is safe to talk to?

In this post, I am going to explain to you clearly how to engage your atheist friends on these issues. But be careful. Some atheists have fascist tendencies – when they feel offended, some of them want to bring state to bear against those who make them feel bad. Atheists struggle with morality, it just doesn’t sit well on their worldview, even though they sense God’s law on their hearts, like we do.

If you want some advice about who to avoid, e-mail me. The easiest way to see if the person is safe, is to ask them for reasons why someone might accept positions that they don’t hold. Ask them: “Why do people believe in God?”, “What’s good about capitalism?”, and “Why are people pro-life?” and so on. If you can’t hear any good reasons presented respectfully, then move on.

How to organize the engagement

My advice is to meet with the person one-on-one for lunch. Describe the questions, but don’t give them the list: 45 minutes is needed to get through all the questions below. You should buy their lunch. Try to convey to them that this will be a safe place for them to tell what they think, and that you will keep what they say in confidence. Explain that you will not be responding or arguing, just asking questions.

You should definitely pray about it beforehand. Ask God to help you to keep calm. Ask him to help you not to be defensive. Also, it may help if you practice these questions on safe people, like family members, first. Yes, they are impossible to persuade, but they won’t be as inclined to censor you. You need to practice hearing views you don’t agree with, and saying the words “I’m sorry!” if you offend someone.

What are the questions to ask?

Below are the questions I used last week in the 5 interviews I did so far. I have more interviews scheduled this week with an agnostic and an atheist, so I may use different questions.

1) Do you believe that the universe was brought into being out of nothing by a person (agent)? Is it possible that this agent could communicate to us, or that we could discover something about that agent? (i.e. – does God exist, is he knowable)

2) Explain to me in which religion you were raised by your parents, if any. How did your parents approach religion in the home? (strict, lax, etc.)

3) What events in your past affected your beliefs about God’s existence and knowability? (e.g. – I studied biology, comparative religions or anthropology, or I met a girl I liked)

4) What are your main objections to belief in God’s existence and knowability today? (e.g – suffering, pluralism, hiddenness)

5) This salt shaker (grab salt shaker and brandish it in a non-threatening way) exists because it is made of matter and occupies space. What is the mode of existence of moral values and moral duties, on atheism? Where do they exist, and what do they exist as? (e.g. – in people’s minds, as descriptions of behavior, in God’s mind)

6) Free will is required in order for humans to act in ways that are morally responsible. You cannot assign praise or blame to anyone if they do not have free will. What is the rationale for free will on atheism? If there is no free will, on what grounds can atheists praise or condemn any behavior? (free will means the ability to act or not act)

7) Suppose you are an atheist journalist writing a story in atheistic North Korea in which you criticize the atheist leader Kim Jong Il. His secret police  burst through the front door of your apartment and drag you off you a torture chamber. You are told that you are about to be personally executed by the dictator himself. On what basis would you plead for your life, on atheism? (i.e. – how would you persuade a powerful atheist to do right)

8) Suppose that you are strolling along the river in the winter, and you cross a bridge. Suddenly, you hear shouts for help coming from the icy water below. A little girl has fallen in the water and will die in minutes unless you jump in. There is no one else around to save her. You have no relatives/dependents. You can swim. There is an even chance that you will both die if you try to save her. Do you try? How is this rational on your worldview? (i.e. – how is self-sacrifice rational on atheism)

9) Suppose you travel back in time to the United Kingdom, when slavery is still legal! You meet William Wilberforce. He says that he has been battling slavery hard for 20 years, on the basis of Christian convictions, but that today he wants to let you try it in his place. On atheism, on what rational grounds could you try to persuade them? (If they say yes, ask them if they are pro-life and what they have done to support the pro-life movement)

10) Consider the heat death of the universe, which is the theory that the amount of usable energy is going to run out at some point in the finite future, as it disperses in space. On atheism, what is the ultimate significance of your moral decisions? How does it does it affect your fate, or the fate of anyone else you act on ultimately? What does it matter to you and to the species ultimately whether you act morally or not? (i.e. – how do your good and evil actions change where you and everyone else ends up?)

11) What is your purpose in life, and why did you choose that purpose? Is it just yours, or for everyone else too?

12) Suppose Jesus appeared to us right now and addressed you directly with the following words: “I’m really here and you need to follow me in order to flourish and achieve the goal for which I created you”. He then glares suspiciously at me, snatches a few fries from my plate, eats them, and then disappears. Later on, the Ghostbusters show up and confirm that Jesus was no ghost, but really God stepping into history. And everyone in the restaurant saw and heard exactly what you and I saw and heard. How would you proceed? How would you find out what to do? (i.e. – the atheist now knows Christianity is true, and I want to see what they think they should do in order to act like a Christian)

13) What would be the most difficult thing about becoming a Christian for you? Would it be the moral demands? The demands on your time? The unpopularity, humiliation and persecution that you would face? How would you feel about publicly declaring your allegiance for Christ and facing the consequences? (i.e. – they have become a Christian, what is the most difficult adjustment from your current life?)

Your assignment

If you are an atheist, please go ahead and answer the questions, and e-mail your answers to me. Don’t leave a comment, use e-mail. This is not about winning and losing, it is about promoting understanding between two opposing teams. I will post non-polemical atheist responses as separate blog posts, and link to your blog if you have one. Answers must be 1-2 lines, at most.

If you are a Christian, start practicing these questions on your safe or Christian friends, and write down their answers. Read the materials below and understand the arguments. Then interview some of your atheist friends and write down their answers. Send me the results of your interviews and I will post them as separate blog posts. Send me any other questions you think of, too!

NOTE: If I interviewed you and you didn’t get all these questions, e-mail me your response to the ones I missed and I’ll add your reply to the list. But you can’t change the answers you already gave!

Atheists: come up with your own list of difficult questions and send them to me. I will post my replies in a separate blog post and link to your blog. Your questions should expose my weaknesses, but not be insulting. This is getting to know each other, it’s not the time for snarkiness. I am doing an interview series on Christians in a couple of weeks, and I may include your questions in my list.

Debates on atheism and morality

My summary of the William Lane Craig (of Biola) vs Shelly Kagan (of Yale) debate at Columbia University on the topic “Is God Necessary for Morality?” is here.

Here are some prior debates on the rationality of morality on atheism.

  1. From Christianity Today, a written debate: Douglas Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens
  2. From the University of Western Ontario, a transcript of a public debate: William Lane Craig vs. Kai Nielsen
  3. From Schenectady College, a transcript of a public debate: William Lane Craig vs Richard Taylor
  4. From Franklin & Marshall College, William Lane Craig vs. Paul Kurtz (audio, video1, video2, video3, video4, video5, video6, video7)
  5. From the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, William Lane Craig vs. Louise Antony (audio1, audio2, video1, video2)

Further study

A good paper by Bill Craig on the problem of rationally-grounding prescriptive morality is here. My previous posts on this blog on this topic are here and here. The first one is about whether atheists can use an ungrounded, arbitrary standard to judge God for his “moral failures”, the second (better) one is on why the concept of morality is not rationally grounded on atheism.

Are Obama’s bailouts just pay-offs to left-wing special interest groups?

We looked at whether Al Gore’s global warming alarmism was just a scam to increase his already considerable wealth by misleading people desperate to find meaning in life with a bunch of faith-based lies. This time, let’s take a look at Obama’s bailout activities and see whether the the bailouts are to stimulate the economy, or to reward people who voted for him.

For instance, California recently cut $74 million from its state budget by lowering the salaries of unionized workers. How did Obama respond? By threatening to withhold stimulus money unless the unions got the money back.

The radically leftist Los Angeles Times has the story. (H/T Hot Air)

Reporting from Sacramento — The Obama administration is threatening to rescind billions of dollars in federal stimulus money if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers approved in February as part of the budget.

Schwarzenegger’s office was advised this week by federal health officials that the wage reduction, which will save California $74 million, violates provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Failure to revoke the scheduled wage cut before it takes effect July 1 could cost California $6.8 billion in stimulus money, according to state officials. …

The wages at issue involve workers who care for some 440,000 low-income disabled and elderly Californians. The workers, who collectively contribute millions of dollars in dues each month to the influential Service Employees International Union and the United Domestic Workers, will see the state’s contribution to their wages cut from a maximum of $12.10 per hour to a maximum of $10.10.

And we know from Michelle Malkin that Obama is pressuring private companies to shaft their shareholders in order to give his union buddies a better deal than they deserve.

Greed is good – until it gets in the way of a union-friendly restructuring deal. President Obama, generous recipient of Wall Street largesse, angrily derided a group of hedge fund managers this week as “speculators.” The miffed president suggested that uncooperative firms were selfish for holding out on the government’s Chrysler bankruptcy plans and refusing to make “sacrifices” to benefit the United Auto Workers.

The “sacrifices” involved Chrysler debt holders agreeing to sell the debt to the government at prices determined by union-beholden bureaucrats instead of bankruptcy courts. The hedge firms balked. Obama sneered that the dissenters were looking for “unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout.” But the holdouts never took banking bailout funds from Washington. And the targeted financial executives were simply doing what good money managers are supposed to do: put their clients’ fiduciary interests first.

Michelle Malkin also reports on how Obama wants another $19 billion for his peeps at Fanie Mae. Remember, democrats caused this recession by forcing banks via regulations to make loans to Democrat voters against all common sense. Obama gets happy leftist feelings of superiority by redistributing wealth from the producers to the victims. And he thinks that if you went to expensive private schools and Harvard thanks to a rich grandmother, then you would feel good about him redistributing your money, too.

The story from Yahoo News Michelle links to says:

Fannie Mae (FNM.P), the largest provider of U.S. home mortgage funding, said on Friday it needs more capital from the U.S. Treasury after a $23.2 billion loss in the first quarter, and warned government housing programs would cut deeper into its profitability.

The government-controlled company said its regulator requested $19 billion from the Treasury under a funding commitment that on Wednesday was doubled to $200 billion. The credit, in the form of senior preferred stock purchases, was established as soaring losses led the government to push the company into conservatorship in September.

As the nation’s housing market reels in its worst downturn since the 1930s, credit-related expenses accounted for the majority of Fannie Mae’s loss, at $20.9 billion. It also took a $5.7 billion loss on mortgage securities.

Provisions for credit losses soared 85 percent as the U.S. economy faltered, expanding delinquencies — which have wreaked havoc on the entire financial system — to consumers with better credit, it said.

Oh, and here is news of a prospective bailout of Obama’s buddies in the left wing media.

Inquisitr.com and Free Republic reported: (H/T Gateway Pundit)

At the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington DC Saturday evening (May 9), President Barack Obama ended on a serious note, pledging his undying support for journalists and specifically newspapers.

President Obama spoke about media job losses and changes in the industry, then quoted Jefferson, “if he had the choice between Government with newspapers or newspapers without Government, he’d choose the latter.” The gushing was perhaps understandable at a press function, but it’s what he said next that foretold of a newspaper bailout.

Obama told the crowd “Your ultimate success is essential to success of our democracy” before shortly saying “Government without a tough and vibrant media is not an option for the United States of America.”

The notable thing in context is that Obama primarily in the speech talks about newspapers, with other media outlets being mentioned second (collectively), or when making a joke (for example, noting that Jefferson hadn’t seen Cable News.) It would appear from the speech clearly that Obama holds the mainstream media, and particularly newspapers above online media. It is clear that when he talked about “tough and vibrant media” that he is referring to mainstream media, and newspapers in particular.

He concludes with the line that the problems in the media industry are “problems worth solving,” which sounds an awful lot like the final word that there’s going to be a newspaper bailout.

And remember I blogged recently about Michele Bachmann’s effort to prevent taxpayer money from going to ACORN while they are facing criminal charges.

It’s like Bush and Haliburton. Only that Bush stuff never actually happened, but this Democrat stuff is actually happening. Everything the Democrats hated about Bush? Like opposing dissent and free speech? Bush never did any of it. Democrats are the ones who are authoring hate crime bills and criminalizing blogging. Yeah, fascism is a solely a phenomenon of the left. Always has been, always will be.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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