I was raised in a hard-core Baptist family. We went to church five times a week, and with each close encounter, I sank deeper and deeper in the shame of simply being human. I also developed a keen nose for "fundamentalism" in all its odious forms. So when I found this article by Fred Block, of the Longview Institute, I wasn't surprised to see the parallels he drew between religious fundamentalism and the Gospel of the Free Markets, as preached by the John Locke Foundation.
Market Fundamentalism is a quasi-religious faith that unregulated markets will somehow always produce the best possible results. It rests on the idea that markets are natural and government regulations are artificial. Similar to other fundamentalisms, it paints the world only in black and white. Taxes, by definition are bad, so another round of tax cuts is always desirable since individuals, argue the fundamentalists, are sure to use the money more wisely than governments. A parallel logic lies behind the enthusiasm for replacing government workers with private contractors — even for such delicate tasks as interrogating prisoners — since market employment, they say, provides incentives for efficiency that government employment always lacks.
For all intents and purposes, the issue of gun control in America is dead. As I've said on several occasions, this is a battle that progressives fought long and hard - and lost. So be it. But that still doesn't excuse the lunacy of a bill recently sponsored by Howard Coble (NC-6) that would hog-tie ATF investigators as they attempt to weed out unscrupulous gun dealers. The Greensboro paper has the story.
Opponents view the bill — the ATF Modernization and Reform Act — as a Trojan horse that looks good on the surface by enabling federal inspectors to issue fines up to $15,000 and suspensions up to 90 days. But its inner details set a standard of proof so high that the ATF would lose its most powerful tool in fighting corrupt or dangerously careless dealers, said Daniel Vice of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington.
Submitted by Robert P. on Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:21pm
Let's say you're self-employed, maybe running a small company like many of my friends. Maybe running a web-design company, or a you are a free-lance writer, or whatever. Things are going well, you're thinking of maybe expanding, maybe taking "that" vacation with your spouse, maybe being able to send the kids to college. Then, this happens.
Hundreds of actors, artists, musicians and writers in California are facing massive increases in their health insurance premiums, a situation that could face other consumers who don't have employer-sponsored health plans, advocates and lawmakers said.
Cigna Corp., which has sold insurance to members of the entertainment industry through their professional associations for 25 years, is raising premiums for actors and others by an average of 82%, with some hikes as high as 254%.
Under the Cigna increases, premiums on its point-of-service plan will rise to $1,022 a month for single members in the Los Angeles area beginning Jan. 1. Family point-of-service coverage would jump to $2,485 a month.
If you've driven recently on US 70 from Raleigh to Kinston, you faced the extremely unpleasant burden of seeing gigantic billboards plastered with the grinning mug of NC Senator Fred Smith, a proud "conservative" who makes a living slopping at the public trough for highway contracts.
And of course you won't be surprised to see on his website that one of his big issues is ... you guessed it ... building more highways! If only the mean old liberal Democrats would get out of the way and let his company pave over the rest of the durn state, all would be well and good. (You really have to read where Fredly whines about "liberal Democrats" three times in two short paragraphs. It's a hoot.)
Submitted by Robert P. on Fri, 11/24/2006 - 9:51am
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drop the approval ratings for Elizabeth Dole into below 50 territory by the end of 2007. This is a Mission Possible, very possible, very, very, very possible. It might be a waste of time if she doesn't run, but just in case...
The latest Survey USA Senate ratings show a 52% Approval for Senator Dole and a 40% Disapproval. This seems likely to drop below 52% anyhow, but when you look at the numbers you can see how easy it will be to get her down below 50%.
Submitted by Gordon Smith on Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:38am
Elections have consequences. One consequence for Bill Peaslee, "[NC] state Republican Party's chief of staff and top political strategist since April 2001," is his new understanding of being unemployed in America. His buddy and lackey "Chairman Ferrell Blount confirmed his resignation before the polls closed election night"
The Republicans are dropping like Cadillac-driving welfare mothers. Why? Because Republicans got taken to the woodshed for their miserable stewardship of our state and nation:
WCNC (AP): " In county commission votes and races for sheriff, Democrats did well across the ballot in a part of the state where Republicans have historical links dating to the Civil War and an advantage in voter registration. In Ashe County, for example, Democrats now have a majority on the county commission and the sheriff's post for the first time in about 15 years."
" "The Democratic Party is well-organized and fired up," said Ashe County Sheriff-elect James Williams, who beat his Republican opponent with 51 percent of the vote. "I think everybody worked hard. ... Folks were just ready for a change."
Submitted by Betsy Muse on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 11:43pm
This year, like last, I find myself overwhelmed as I count my blessings. This has been a wonderful year - almost magical. Much of the wonder, joy and magic can be attributed to one man. Larry Kissell.
Obviously, I'm still high on whatever happened November 7, 2006. I don't ever want to get over that feeling. Hopeless to hope in one short day.
Larry's bid for a seat in congress has helped bring me a renewed sense of excitement toward politics and the electoral process. I have had a chance to watch and write about a regular guy challenging a multi-millionaire incumbent and coming miraculously close to walking away with the seat. He is still fighting for it. Larry is insisting that every vote be counted - even the Republican votes. I'm thankful he's fighting to protect the democratic electoral process.
Through Larry's campaign I have reconnected with some old acquaintances here in Charlotte and I've made many new friends. I've also had a chance to meet many BlueNC friends at the different events I've attended. I'm thankful Larry's helped me connect with so many wonderful people.
I thought you might enjoy a little virtual scrapbook of campaign events. Feel free to post your own pictures or memories from the past year in the comments.
Submitted by Robert P. on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 8:12pm
The 2006 Senate race should have been a no-brainer for the Republicans. In contrast to 2008, when Senate Republicans make up 21 of the 33 seats up for reelection, in 2006 they made up only 15 of 33. Among those were the red state Senate seats of VA and MT and the deeply purple incumbent seats of OH, PA, and MO. Only RI, a truly Blue state, posed a serious opportunity for pick-up. The Republicans held 55 seats and left the 2004 election talking about how to win the veto-proof majority they would need in 2006. It seemed likely with Democrats in danger in FL, WA, NJ and MI; leaving open seats in MD and MN; and Democrats up for reelection in deep red states like ND and NE. This was the future that Democrats were facing in November 2004. Yet, Republicans self-destructed at every turn.
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