HUGE natural gas discovery in Louisiana! And Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania!

Bobby and Supriya Jindal
Bobby and Supriya Jindal

GREAT NEWS! Oh, I know that I usually say some depressing things on this blog… but I’m going to make up for all that right now by bringing out the Bobby and Supriya Jindal picture to illustrate this exciting story.

Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal, courtesy of commenter ECM. The title is “U.S. Gas Fields Go From Bust to Boom”.

Excerpt:

A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation’s energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery — known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains the gas — could hold some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years’ worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.

“There’s no dry hole here,” says Joan Dunlap, vice president of Petrohawk Energy Corp., standing beside a drilling rig near a former Shreveport amusement park.

Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.

The discoveries have spurred energy experts and policy makers to start looking to natural gas in their pursuit of a wide range of goals: easing the impact of energy-price spikes, reducing dependence on foreign oil, lowering “greenhouse gas” emissions and speeding the transition to renewable fuels.

…The natural-gas discoveries come as oil has become harder to find and more expensive to produce. The U.S. is increasingly reliant on supplies imported from the Middle East and other politically unstable regions. In contrast, 98% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is produced in North America.

Coal remains plentiful in the U.S., but is likely to face new restrictions. To produce the same amount of energy, burning gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as burning coal.

Read the whole thing!

Why Democrat policies discourage men from marrying, part 1

This article is the first of a three-part series on how Democrat policies discourage marriage and child-rearing. Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here.

How women’s voting grew government and destroyed the need for fathers

Let’s start with a research paper written by economists John Lott, then at Yale University, and Lawrence Kenny, then at University of Florida. The peer-reviewed paper was published by in the University of Chicago’s Journal of Political Economy. The abstract summarizes the argument I am about to make in their abstract to the paper.

This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross‐sectional time‐series data for 1870–1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did.

Now let’s look at this article by John Lott from Fox News, available here.

For decades, polls have shown that women as a group vote differently than men. Without the women’s vote, Republicans would have swept every presidential race but one between 1968 and 2004.

The gender gap exists on various issues. The major one is the issue of smaller government and lower taxes, which is a much higher priority for men than for women. This is seen in divergent attitudes held by men and women on many separate issues.

Women were much more opposed to the 1996 federal welfare reforms, which mandated time limits for receiving welfare and imposed some work requirements on welfare recipients. Women are also more supportive of Medicare, Social Security and educational expenditures.

Studies show that women are generally more risk-averse than men. This could be why they are more supportive of government programs to ensure against certain risks in life.

Women’s average incomes are also slightly lower and less likely to vary over time, which gives single women an incentive to prefer more progressive income taxes. Once women get married, however, they bear a greater share of taxes through their husbands’ relatively higher incomes — so their support for high taxes understandably declines.

Marriage also provides an economic explanation for why men and women prefer different policies.

Because women generally shoulder most of the child-rearing responsibilities, married men are more likely to acquire marketable skills that help them earn money outside the household. If a man gets divorced, he still retains these skills. But if a woman gets divorced, she is unable to recoup her investment in running the household.

Hence, single women who believe they may marry in the future, as well as married women who most fear divorce, look to the government as a form of protection against this risk from a possible divorce: a more progressive tax system and other government transfers of wealth from rich to poor. The more certain a woman is that she doesn’t risk divorce, the more likely she is to oppose government transfers.

And I have to quote his interesting conclusion:

During the early 1970s, just as women’s share of the voting population was leveling off, something else was changing: The American family began to break down, with rising divorce rates and increasing numbers of out-of-wedlock births.

Over the course of women’s lives, their political views on average vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50 percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well as more educational and welfare spending.

But for married women this gap is only one-third as large. And married women with children become more conservative still. Women with children who are divorced, however, are suddenly about 75 percent more likely to vote for Democrats than single men. So as divorce rates have increased, due in large part to changing divorce laws, voters have become more liberal.

The article also explains what statistics were used to arrive at these conclusions.

Based on this research, I argue that as government grows, it takes over all of the traditional responsibilities of the mothers and fathers, because socialists don’t trust parents to raise their own children. Government provides and controls day care, policing, counseling, schooling, finances, etc. As the sphere of government increases, there is less money for families to spend, and less influence for parents.

And as men see that there is nothing for them to do, they begin to withdraw from responsible behaviors like marriage and child-rearing. Men need to be needed, valued and respected for doing tasks that only they can do. Men rise to challenges if they are in control. Men don’t like to share authority with anyone, especially a meddling feminist-marxist state! More government means fewer manly men.

Let’s take a quick peek ahead to tomorrow’s topic to see why the welfare state is hostile to marriage and family.Stanley Kurtz, writing in the Weekly Standard, talks about feminism, contraception, abortion and the welfare state.

In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for “shotgun weddings.” These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we’ve come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?

Two things prompted the Swedes to take this extra step–the welfare state and cultural attitudes. No Western economy has a higher percentage of public employees, public expenditures–or higher tax rates–than Sweden. The massive Swedish welfare state has largely displaced the family as provider. By guaranteeing jobs and income to every citizen (even children), the welfare state renders each individual independent. It’s easier to divorce your spouse when the state will support you instead.

The taxes necessary to support the welfare state have had an enormous impact on the family. With taxes so high, women must work. This reduces the time available for child rearing, thus encouraging the expansion of a day-care system that takes a large part in raising nearly all Swedish children over age one. Here is at least a partial realization of Simone de Beauvoir’s dream of an enforced androgyny that pushes women from the home by turning children over to the state.

…There are also cultural-ideological causes of Swedish family decline. Even more than in the United States, radical feminist and socialist ideas pervade the universities and the media. Many Scandinavian social scientists see marriage as a barrier to full equality between the sexes, and would not be sorry to see marriage replaced by unmarried cohabitation. A related cultural-ideological agent of marital decline is secularism. Sweden is probably the most secular country in the world. Secular social scientists (most of them quite radical) have largely replaced clerics as arbiters of public morality. Swedes themselves link the decline of marriage to secularism. And many studies confirm that, throughout the West, religiosity is associated with institutionally strong marriage, while heightened secularism is correlated with a weakening of marriage. Scholars have long suggested that the relatively thin Christianization of the Nordic countries explains a lot about why the decline of marriage in Scandinavia is a decade ahead of the rest of the West.

Democrats are anti-family, and pro-big-government. The reason why there is a huge weakening of marriage and skyrocketing rates of out-of-wedlock births is because Democrats have replaced the need to marry competent, responsible men with an anonymous welfare check from the state, thus depriving children of fathers. Women don’t need men to rise to the occasion when they know that a welfare check, social programs and a divorce settlement is there to back them up.

This series will be continued tomorrow with another scholar and another data point.

Why do conservative Catholics support Obama so strongly?

Let’s see what the story is, from Hot Air:

I know I’ve said this before on the site, and I know many devout Catholics’ experiences are different, but having grown up in the Church, there’s nothing here that surprises me. Most Catholics I know treat the Church’s commands as essentially hortatory, to be politely ignored when need be — as in the case of torture — which is why I can’t quite fathom the outrage over a pro-choicer as adamant as The One speaking at Notre Dame. His job approval this month among Catholics is 70 percent, and 65 percent among those who attend church weekly. They’re fighting a losing battle here.

Allahpundit then goes on to quote the findings here:

Even Catholics who consider themselves “conservative” politically are more likely to approve than disapprove of Obama’s job performance [49/40]…

In fact, 53% of Catholics voted for Obama for president in November, almost identical to the 52.9% of the popular vote Obama won in the 2008 election. Catholics’ 67% approval of Obama in his first 100 days is slightly higher than his overall 63% average approval rating for the same period. Thus, relative to the population, Catholics have become a bit more supportive of Obama as president than they were in the election.

This news makes the Wintery Knight sad… so sad, that he is tempted to cry tiny icicle tears.

I am an evangelical Protestant Christian who believes in the inerrancy of the Bible (in the autographs). I think that one of the reasons why evangelical Protestants are more politically conservative than Catholics (and some mainline Protestants) is because there is more emphasis on free market capitalism in evangelical Protestantism.

Evangelical Protestants are also more conservative on the exclusivity of salvation than Catholics are. We believe that salvation is based on knowing God, not on doing good works. I think some Catholic voters are being swayed by Obama’s emphasis on helping the poor, even by government redistribution of wealth. This is also true for mainline Protestants, who seem to be increasingly concerned with social justice instead of economic liberty, and they are also soft on exclusive salvation.

UPDATE: Commenter ECM says that I should not make too much of this poll, because it is done by Gallup and their polls lately have been way off.

UPDATE: And now I’m going to rebut my own post: Pastor Joel Hunter says Obama Displaying “Wisdom and Balance” During First 100 Days. (H/T The Pugnacious Irishman)

Excerpt:

As someone who is completely pro-life (concerned about the vulnerable outside the womb as well as inside the womb), I am encouraged by the vision (and budget) President Obama has cast for empowering those marginalized with the resources they need to become responsible citizens.

…By supporting sex education and contraception, we reduce the number of unexpected pregnancies and thus reduce the likelihood of abortion. Also, by supporting expectant mothers who are feeling pressure to have an abortion because of financial concerns, education interruptions, or the baby having development problems, we again decrease the likelihood and therefore the incidence of abortion.

…Even the overturning of the Mexico City Policy had a pro-life side to it, in that sex education, contraception and family planning almost certainly will decrease the number of abortions performed.”

It’s the social justice that does them in, and I should write something about how social justice suddenly became the main job of the church instead of spreading the Gospel and answering speculations against it. What do you expect when people abandon truth? If religion is about meeting people’s needs, then everybody goes to Heaven and we should all focus on making people feel good about their sins in the here and now.

EVERYBODY: Say it with me: when you subsidize something, you get more of it. When you tax something, you get less of it. Subsidizing pre-marital sex gives you more pre-marital sex, and more accidental pregnancies, and more abortions. Reduce government subsidies and support for risky sex, and you lower the number of abortions.

UPDATE: Maritime Sentry has a much more reliable Rasmussen Reports poll shows that Catholics are more serious about their faith than the flawed Galup poll indicated.

Bill H.R. 1966 would make blogging a crime, punishable by up to two years in prison

UPDATE: Welcome readers from Small Dead Animals! Thanks for the link, Kate! Canadian readers, this post that I wrote is an index to most of my recent posts on your free speech troubles with the Human Rights Commissions. I hope and pray that you guys can get your civil liberties restored, and be the True North Strong and Free, again!

UPDATE: If you are looking for the story on the hate crime bill that adds pedophiles to the list of “protected” groups, see here.

Wow, check out this story from OpenMarket blog.

Excerpt:

Under a recently-introduced bill, H.R. 1966, bloggers would face up to two years in prison if they “harass” public figures by criticizing them in a “severe, repeated, and hostile” manner, and thereby cause them “substantial emotional distress.”

I guess fascism is coming along faster than I thought.

U.C.L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh, the author of a First Amendment treatise, has concluded that the bill is unconstitutional. I agree, as I explain here. As a federal appeals court noted in DeJohn v. Temple University (2008), “there is no harassment exception to the First Amendment’s free speech clause.” Speech that causes emotional distress can be protected,as the Supreme Court made clear in barring a lawsuit by Jerry Falwell over an offensive parody.

Wow, it’s like the left is doing everything they accused Bush of doing, which he never did. The fascist policies they imagined were all projections onto Bush of what they intended to do themselves! Now I get it. It wasn’t conservatives who were in favor of government control of private lives, it was the progressive left.

The bill is a telling example of how the American Left has turned against free speech and civil liberties. The bill’s sponsor, Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and nearly all of her 14 co-sponsors are liberals. All of them backed the federal hate-crimes bill passed by the House yesterday, which is designed to allow people who have been found innocent in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. (That bill has been criticized by four members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, including law professor Gail Heriot, and by civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer. Advocates of the federal hate-crimes bill once cited the defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case, who were innocent, as an example of people who should be prosecuted in federal court).

And don’t forget about the hate crimes bill: I wrote previously about the two ways in which that bill is unconstitutional.

Michele Bachmann evaluates Obama’s first 100 days

Representative Michele Bachmann
Representative Michele Bachmann

I do recommend that you watch at least the CNBC video clip below, as she is wearing my favorite color (white).

And here she is again on Fox News with Liz Claiborne.

She makes even swine flu seem terribly interesting.

Thanks for the Maritime Sentry for the butterflies videos.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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