LICENSE PLATES

Sue Hoell: ‘Tennessee’s Choose Life license plate wouldn’t be too bad if right next to it was a picture of a flag-draped casket.’

WAL-MART

Kathi: ‘The point I was trying to make about your rationale for buying Wal-Mart stock was that we could excuse almost anything by saying ‘nothing I personally do would affect that’ – such as not voting in a national election.’

☞ Here’s the difference (I think). ‘What if everybody’ didn’t vote? Really bad. But ‘what if everybody’ bought WMT stock when it seemed to be a bargain and used their profits to support good works? Not bad at all, I think.

I’LL LET YOU WRITE YOUR OWN CAPTION

Any headline I wrote would just get me in trouble. Click here with the speakers on. (The amazing thing – to me – is that Dueling Banjos was originally arranged and performed by a couple of nice Jewish boys from New York.)

DEBT CLOCK

Mike Wallin: ‘I am confused – now you approve of a balanced budget? When I expressed my concern about still paying taxes on Spanish American War debt you made it seem like I was over-reacting. Please Explain.’

☞ Some debt is fine. Personally, it makes sense to borrow for an education but not for a vacation. Nationally, it makes sense for the government to run a big deficit in a recession – and a modest one in good times, if it’s being used to finance an investment in the future (but not to finance tax cuts for the wealthy or unprovoked, discretionary wars). I would argue that the attack on Afghanistan was provoked and that, certainly, hunting down Al-Qaeda is completely necessary. But Al-Qaeda are mostly not in Iraq.

When Reagan took office, the National Debt was equal to about a third of our Gross Domestic Product. Quite manageable. The problem is that it is now more like two-thirds . . . it is headed straight up . . . we’re not borrowing for a brighter future, but for short-term consumption and to blow things up.

ZARQAWI

Ron McGee: ‘Why not ask Sirota, whom you quoted about Bush not going after Zarqawi, why Clinton didn’t go after Bin Laden?’

☞ He did, but missed. And it was also a much harder time to lob missiles and kill people on foreign soil, because it was less obvious to the world why we needed to.

THOSE ADS

Suzanne Cole: ‘Thanks for pointing out the Faith in America ads. If you liked them, perhaps you’ll also like the latest ad from my denomination, the United Church of Christ, called Ejector Pew.’

Lee: ‘I [also] belong to a United Christian Church, whose ads weren’t allowed on some stations because they were too controversial! Imagine that. Jesus’ message of love towards all, the same message that got him killed, is still controversial today.’

☞ I think the ground is beginning to shift. The current Washington Monthly has this article in its latest issue: WHEN WOULD JESUS BOLT? MEET RANDY BRINSON, THE ADVANCE GUARD OF EVANGELICALS LEADING THE GOP. My own amateur reading of the New Testament leads me to think that the natural home of Christians is not with the party of the rich and powerful, the party of the preemptive strike, the gun show loophole, shock and awe, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib – or the party that opposes inclusion of gays and lesbians in existing hate crimes legislation – but rather with the party that offers a hand up to the downtrodden, health care for their children, a loving welcome to a widely diverse America . . . all that liberal stuff (leavened, happily, by a good dose of practical market economics, as personified by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and of smart, tough foreign policy – strength being only as good as the strategic thinking behind it – as personified by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.).

Tomorrow, more on those annuities

 

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