Archives

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thanks to the guys at Pacific Coast Christian Church in San Clemente for a great men's retreat this past weekend in Murrieta!  You "band of bro's" rock!
400-408David Barton, founder and president of Wallbuilders (wallbuilders.com), on the killing of George Tiller.
413-423David Barton
428-437Dean Broyles, President of the Western Center for Law & Policy (wclplaw.org), an affiliate attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, and at the center of the controversy in San Diego over the city attempting to close down a home bible study.
Where two or more are gathered in Christ's name, there San Diego County officials will be also. For a suburban California family, this was the shocking reality during last month's Good Friday holiday. A local pastor and his wife invited a dozen or so people to their house for a Bible study, only to be interrupted by a San Diego employee who threatened to fine the couple for breaking an obscure County land code.
People at Pastor Jones's church are stunned by San Diego's actions, particularly its investigation of the group's activities. According to the family's attorney, Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law & Policy, the officials asked pointed questions such as, "Do you have a regular meeting in your home?" "Yes." "Do you say amen?" "Yes." "Do you pray?" "Yes." "Do you say, 'Praise the Lord?'" "Yes."
What business is it of the county's how the Joneses' worship? This is not communist China. The Joneses aren't operating an underground church in violation of state law. This is their home! And like every other American, they enjoy the freedoms of religion, assembly, and speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Broyles told reporters, "If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly... for poker night? What about... Tupperware parties?"
Every citizen in the nation should take this attack seriously. It matters little whether they agree with the Joneses' beliefs. If we allow the government to take their rights away, ours are next. Meanwhile, county officials have not budged on their insistence that a home Bible study of 15 people is a "religious assembly" that requires a "major use permit," which can cost upward of $10,000. Obviously, California is so desperate for income that it's willing to persecute men and women of faith to get a few pieces of silver.
As Christians from other states have learned, the government can use inconsequential rules on parking or zoning to regulate religion. In this instance, the application of those rules is, as Broyles says, "misplaced." Apparently, the size of government has grown so much that bureaucrats, like those in San Diego, are struggling to justify their existence. They have to invent controversies like this one just to keep busy. With California facing a budget shortfall, I know just where officials can start cutting unnecessary spending.
443-452Dean Broyles
458-508Michael Spencer, is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky, who describes himself as "a post-evangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality."  He blogs at internetmonk.com. 
512-523Michael Spencer
528-538Larry Greenfield, Vice President & Fellow in American Studies at The Claremont Institute (claremont.org), on Obama's foreign policy, especially with the Middle East, and why 80% of Jews voted for him.  Larry also extends an invitation to attend a dinner with George Will, next Monday evening, June 8, 2009, at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, where Mr. Will will receive the prestigious Salvatori Prize in the American Founding.  For more information go to claremont.org.
544-554Larry Greenfield
The plan is for the federal government to take a 60 percent ownership stake in the new GM. The Canadian government would take 12.5 percent, with the United Auto Workers getting a 17.5 percent share and unsecured bondholders receiving 10 percent. Existing GM shareholders are expected to be wiped out.
GM's bankruptcy filing is the fourth-largest in U.S. history and the largest for an industrial company. The company said it has $172.81 billion in debt and $82.29 billion in assets.
As it reorganizes, GM will rely on $30 billion of additional financial assistance from the Treasury Department and $9.5 billion from Canada. That's on top of about $20 billion in taxpayer money GM already has received in the form of low-interest loans.
Albert Koch, who helped Kmart Corp. through its Chapter 11 reorganization, will serve as GM's chief restructuring officer.
GM will move forward with four core brands — Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC — and cut four others [Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and Saab]. The company plans to cut 21,000 employees, about 34 percent of its work force, and reduce the number of dealers by 2,600. GM said it was finalizing a deal to sell Hummer, and plans for Saturn are expected to be announced within weeks.
 
• Neil King Jr., Jeffrey McCracken And Mike Spector, WSJ (6/2/09) Potential Conflicts Abound in Government Role.
Key Points:  1) There are huge conflicts of interest here. 
From the story, "The federal government is likely within weeks to emerge as the principal owner of a storied U.S. corporation whose factories and products touch the lives of tens of millions of Americans. It will simultaneously serve as the company's regulator, tax collector, customer, pension backstop and lender."   "Obama aides have wrestled for weeks over how to portray the government's increasing involvement as an active player in the private sector."
2) The car you want will be more expensive. 
Democrats want to make more fuel-efficient small cars that are neither profitable, nor do they sell – they're just 17% of sales.  Which means, rather than backing off their environmental agenda, they will pour more of our tax dollars into propping up the new GM. 
"The government has conflicting policy objectives now," says John Casesa, a veteran Wall Street auto analyst who now heads his own advisory firm. Mr. Obama's new regulations will "cost a lot of money" and "create substantial risk to the government earning a good return on its investment," he says.  That could force the government to pump more money into a new GM down the road.  "The government will open its pocketbook again to help these companies rather than back off on its environmental agenda," Mr. Casesa says. "It can't have it both ways."
3) The government will come up with new regulations that favor the companies they own, GM and Chrysler, over those they don't Ford and the imports. 
"Once the federal government is not simply a regulator, but is all of a sudden also on the receiving end of regulations, that fundamentally alters the politics of how the government interacts with the car industry," said John Graham, an auto safety expert who served as President George W. Bush's regulatory czar within the OMB.  That neutrality issue will be particularly pointed when it comes to Ford Motor Co., which alone among the Big Three has not received federal assistance. Mr. Graham and others worry that the government could find itself tilting key regulatory or purchasing decisions in favor of GM or Chrysler because of its interest in those companies.
• CNBC (6/1/09) The 31-Year-Old in Charge of Dismantling GM.  He has no business background, he's not an economist, he didn't go to business school, he's almost done with law school and obviously hasn't passed a bar exam, his experience was working with "an authority on the effectiveness of foreign aid" out of college for a few years.  He was one of Hillary's "top economic advisors" before signing on to Team Obama.  Now, he gets to oversee the rebuilding of GM for the White House.
It is not every 31-year-old who, in a first government job, finds himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism. But that, in short, is the job description for Brian Deese, a not-quite graduate of Yale Law School who had never set foot in an automotive assembly plant until he took on his nearly unseen role in remaking the American automotive industry.
/ Mr. Deese's role is unusual for someone who is neither a formally trained economist nor a business school graduate, and who never spent much time flipping through the endless studies about the future of the American and Japanese auto industries.
/ Mr. Deese's route to the auto table at the White House was anything but a straight line. He is the son of a political science professor at Boston College (his father) and an engineer who works in renewable energy (his mother). He grew up in the Boston suburb of Belmont and attended Middlebury College in Vermont. He went to Washington to work on aid issues and was quickly hired by Nancy Birdsall, a widely respected authority on the effectiveness of international aid and the founder of the Center for International Development.
But he wanted to learn domestic issues as well, and soon ended up working as an assistant for Gene Sperling, who 17 years ago in the Clinton White House played a similar role as economic policy prodigy. Eventually, Mr. Deese headed to Yale for his law degree. But his e-mail box was constantly filled with messages from friends in Washington who were signing up to work for the Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns. Mr. Deese chose Senator Clinton's.
"He was pretty quickly functioning as the top economic policy staffer through her campaign," Mr. Sperling said. "He could blend the policy needs and the political needs pretty seamlessly." On the day that the Clinton campaign ended, Mr. Deese left her concession speech and received a message on his BlackBerry from a friend in the Obama campaign urging him to sign on immediately to Mr. Obama's team.
• WSJ's Political Diary (6/1/09) Quote of the Day II.
"UAW president Ron Gettelfinger noted Thursday that the union got GM to move production for 160,000 units of its of a small Chevrolet from China to the U.S. 'It should be built here if it's going to be sold here,' said Gettelfinger. The UAW president is a smart guy but it sounds like he hasn't been paying attention. Being unable to build small cars profitably is one of the reasons GM got into trouble in the first place. If the union gets to dictate production decisions based on what's good for its membership, there is no reason for GM to ever emerge from bankruptcy" -- Fortune Magazine auto writer Alex Taylor III.
628-638 – • Stanislav Mishin, Pravda.ru (4/27/09) American capitalism gone with a whimper. 
• Stanislav Mishin, Pravda.ru (5/30/09) Once More, Russia Says "No" To Western Perversion.
(:37) Susan Boyle again performs the song that got her fame on the finale of Britain's Got Talent this weekend.
(:51) Piers Morgan reacts to her finale performance and tells of the hard week she's had.
(:14) Winner is announced and Boyle comes in second to a dance troop named "Diversity"
657-700
• WSJ's Political Diary (6/1/09) Quote of the Day I.
"Nice try, Mr. President, but I'm not buying the poor-choice-of-words defense for Sonia Sotomayor [in her statement] 'I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life' . . . You spin the speech that's dealt you. But it seems clear to me that Sotomayor, to quote that great jurist Dr. Seuss, meant what she said and said what she meant. This was no throwaway line or off-the-cuff linguistic stumble along the lines of the judge's other controversial comment about appeals courts making policy. Rather, Sotomayor was deliberately and directly disputing remarks by then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that a wise old woman and a wise old man would eventually reach the same conclusion in a case. . . . Moreover, if Sotomayor regretted that YouTube moment, she had the chance to revise and extend: Her remarks were reprinted in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal. Knowing the multi-layered editing process of law journals, I'd be shocked if Sotomayor did not at least have the chance to review the transcript of her speech and make any tweaks" -- Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.


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