A Handful of Random Musings


After yesterday’s heavy post, I don’t have any thoughts deep enough to develop into full-length posts. Most of what remains comes under the heading of political or economic, so if that’s not your style, today’s not your day…

Mormonism: The Flex Religion

Mitt’s gone, but the flip-flopping remains. While I’ve not seen any pundits draw this observation, Romney’s playing to the poll figures not only made him the Republican version of Bill Clinton, but it perfectly mirrored the former MA governor’s religion.

How so? Well it seems to me that Mormonism itself is as poll-driven as the former presidential candidate. Take a look at the bad press Mormonism has received in years past for upholding certain politically incorrect doctrines, and not a month goes by before the LDS’s head prophet comes up with a revelation that addresses the bad press and spins church doctrine in a more politically correct direction. Believe me, such PR corrections come around like clockwork. When the LDS was lambasted in the media for its doctrinal stances on women or on dark-skinned members, the head prophet quickly received a convenient new revelation from “god” and changed church doctrine to appease the peasants.

Explains a great deal about Mr. Romney when you think about it.

Hand That Economist Some Goat Entrails, Stat!

It amazes me that vast herds of economists are stumbling around wondering where this recession came from. Business Week has an article discussing how economists are suddenly waking up to the possible problems of unlimited free trade with countries whose costs of living are a tenth of what ours are. They talk about the fact that such trade may actually only benefit a rich few here in the States while hurting the middle class masses.

Ya think?

And in other economics news, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Monday that had economists agog that American companies seem to be rolling in dough, though the majority of their non-boardroom employees aren’t enjoying that largess.

Someone needs to tell today’s economists to move out of their tony Chevy Chase, MD, neighborhoods and meet the common man!

Meanwhile, I’m going back to college to get my doctorate in economics considering it doesn’t seem to take more smarts than what you’d need for an adult continuing-ed class in flower arranging.

You Are Getting Sleepy, Sleepy…

Is it just me or does anyone else find Barrack Obama’s rise to prominence eerie? Here’s a man who never held any national public office until a few years ago, has yet to complete one full term of office at the national level, yet may very well become the next president! I find the whole thing unnerving and have got to wonder what spell people are under. There’s just something about Obama that gives me the creeps. (And don’t even try to play the race card with me; I’ve been an Alan Keyes supporter for many years.)

Wither CT?

Again, is it just me or has Christianity Today magazine become utterly irrevelant? Not only has it lost its cutting edge, but in an effort to seem culturally-aware, it lost whatever doctrinal center it may have once possessed.

Mormonism: The Redux

Prediction: Just as 9/11 seemed to put Islam on the religious map, I predict that Mitt Romney’s failed campaign for the White House suddenly gets people interested in Mormonism’s claims. Prediction #2: A few years from now, Mormonism will be hip with the “enlightened” crowd in the same way that the disaffected suddenly “discovered” Islam.

…And a Bowl of Tea Leaves, Pronto!

For years, this blogger has contended our economy is caught in what promises to be an unending string of boom and bust cycles with the busts lasting longer and longer each cycle.

And now, here comes the science!

Yep, I definitely has to get me one of them economics PhDs.

A Little Too Close to Home

From 'The New Yorker'

Intelligent cartoons? Yep, that’s from The New Yorker.

Like they say, it’s always good to end with a laugh.

26 thoughts on “A Handful of Random Musings

  1. Pingback: Lingamish forum dead « Lingamish
  2. “They talk about the fact that such trade may actually only benefit a rich few here in the States while hurting the middle class masses.”

    Sorry – that’s rubbish. It benefits the economies of the other countries, which should be borne in mind.

    Put another way – isn’t protectionism just a form of racism?

    • Custard,

      Actually, it’s not rubbish when its you. It may be fine to talk in generalities, but when your career up and disappears overnight, the idea that your former job is now benefiting someone in Pakistan isn’t much consolation, especially when you lose your home and everything else.

      As for protectionism being a form of racism, I highly doubt it. The guy in Ghana who has everything he needs may not know he needs an iPod and a cell phone until someone tries to convince him he does. At that point, the longing for the kind of work that will afford him those luxuries kicks in and then he sees protectionism as racism, whereas it never crossed his mind before.

      Greed is a strange thing. It makes people dissatisfied with their lives, lives that once seemed perfectly fine. And we Westerners can barely understand this, which is why we try to lay our framework of thinking over the top of peoples who don’t think like we do. We can’t seem to understand them except through our lens.

      And that is largely what a comment about “protectionism” reflects, as if it is impossible for anyone to have a good life unless that life looks exactly like ours. Truthfully, that kind of “globalized” thinking may indeed be the real racism at work here.

  3. When ExxonMobil’s CEO received a $400 million bonus (which was not all cash, but in various paper forms of “wealth” that can vary in value minute by minute), ExxonMobil had about 80,000 employees. Each employee could have received a $5,000 bonus or a one-year raise of $2.40 per hour based on a 40-hour workweek…if it had been cash. So much “wealth” today is not cash ready to be spent on hard goods and immediate services, but stocks, bonds, real estate, and other intangibles. Still, if I had been an employee of ExxonMobil, I would have liked a $5,000 bonus of intangibles.

    What angers me about Bush’s “economic stimulus” package is how so many conservative pundits, many of whom earn salaries far superior to mine, dismiss, if not downright mock, the size of the check I will receive. A $300 to $600 tax rebate would pay for one to two classes at the community college I attend or several tanks of gas.

    The Democrats proposed an “economic stimulus” package that would have no effect on me whatsoever unless (a) I lost my job, thus entitling me to higher unemployment benefits; (b) fell ill, thus entitling me to whatever was their health care plan; or (c) had trouble paying my heat bill. I could get money, then, if I was jobless, ill, and cold. I say this neither to dismiss nor mock such proposals, but to point out the big difference.

    One plan gives me money I can spend on whatever I want to spend it on. The other plan gives me money only if something bad happens to me. This is the typical right-left division. The right would prefer to let me keep my own money or pay me back what government took. The left “wants to help,” but does not want me to spend my money on my own ideas.

    This is why I’m never crazy about tax increases. I, you, and most of the rest of the readers here won’t see a dime from that tax increase.

    Our economy suffers because typical Americans refuse to work as hard as they could work. They refuse to save and invest as much money as they could save and invest.

    If you don’t believe me, ask yourself: How many ExxonMobil employees would save and invest a $5,000 cash bonus and work harder the next year because of it? I think you know the answer: Few and very few.

    On the flip side, though, the typical corporation will not spend the money it needs to spend. The typical factory, for example, is open twenty-four hours a day, and workers work swing shifts. Instead, if the factory was twice as large with twice as much equipment, all of the workers could work during the day and go home at night. They would be a lot happier.

    I could say more, but suffice it to say, economics is called the dismal science for a reason. Anything you do has an economic effect. There is no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, as right-wing economist Walter Williams is fond of saying. There is no magic to it. If Americans work less (for whatever reason) and spend more (for whatever reason), then more of them will go broke. If more of us slow down and spend less, even, then that will adversely affect parts of the economy. We cannot have it all.

    • Michael,


      When United Healthcare’s CEO made $1.2 billion in compensation a couple years ago, it set a new standard of astonishing greed that—I think—marked the end of capitalism. I think about all the people who had their healthcare claims denied while that guy got his billions…well, it’s just pornographic. There’s no other word for it.

      I disagree strongly, though, that Americans don’t work hard enough. I think nearly every survey of productivity will back me up on that, too. If anything, we don’t have anything left over after all our work is done. That explains why churches find it hard to get anyone to participate in the work of the ministry and why we’re relegated so much of ministry in this country to “professionals.”

      Our economy suffers because we put it on steroids and jacked it up to unsustainable levels. Our economy suffers because we’ve made all of life disposable. Our economy suffers because we’ve divorced it from your street and mine. It now only exists on a national and global level rather than a local one.

  4. merry

    None of the presidential candidates give me the creeps, except for Hillary, but only because a conservative talk show host once compared her laugh to that of the Wicked Witch of the West! (I thought it was kind of unfair, myself!) But none of the candidates are qualified to be president. Can we start over and get some fresh candidates!?

    Romney was actually my favorite before he left. I don’t think the religion of a president influences people that much or causes them to convert. At least I have not seen evidence of it. The Clintons claim to be Christians, so are the Bushes and Obama. Have they influenced many people to convert to Christianity?

    I don’t even know if I’ll be voting anymore. Ron Paul is my next choice, but it will be a miracle if he wins.

  5. I have also been astounded by the rise of Obama but what do I know, I don’t even have a vote. But he does not give me the creeps; Alan Keyes, on the other hand, does give me the creeps yet, much like you, I would be hard pressed to find a reason why because I know very little about Alan Keyes, his ideas or his policies.

    the “creeps” is just a subjective feeling….

    • Robbo,

      I dunno. I don’t think this is a subjective feeling about Obama. He’s come out of nowhere, has no credentials to speak of, he talks in vague generalities that others eat up as profound but are nothing more than empty platitudes, and yet he’s poised to take over our country’s leadership.

      That’s scary on any level, not just a subjective one.

  6. Elizabeth Anne

    I don’t love all of Obama’s ideas, but I can see the appeal. Keyes? Drove his own daughter out of his house, literally and figuratively. The only candidate that makes me angrier is Ron Paul, who has ties to several White Supremicist organizations. Not good.

    • Elizabeth,

      I think you make an unfair comment about Paul. The fact that a few crazies support him doesn’t make him crazy, too. The groups you speak of have been dying to get back on the gold standard and a pure constitutionalism for decades. The fact that these are Paul’s positions, too, has you rejecting him through guilt by association. I’d like to see us get back on the gold standard and recover a pure constitutionalism, but that doesn’t make me a supporter of the Aryan Nation!

      As for Keyes’s lesbian daughter, you may need to stop reading Wikipedia for your background info. I’m not sure I want to get into that, either, since all the facts aren’t in and the spin will never let people who aren’t closer to the situation know any better than what the spin says, whether it’s left or right.

      • Elizabeth Anne

        No, the problem with Paul is that he published his congressional newsletter with statements like “It’s reasonable to assume that 95% of the black male population of DC is criminal”. He can claim he didn’t write it, but it went out on his letterhead, and he didn’t bother repudiating it until it came up on the campaign trail, and THEN, it was halfheartedly done. I’ll freely admit that I may be misinformed about Keyes (I’m basing my statements on his daughter’s claims, not wikipedia – that’s a bit insulting), but there are an awful lot of pictures of Paul with his arm around W.S. leaders and grinning.

  7. Dan: “you may need to stop reading Wikipedia for your background info”

    Whoa! Is that ever true! Exepting for bland articles on subjects like chemistry, physics, geography, technology, etc., Wikipedia is not much better than an agitprop tool, especially when it comes to the biographies of living persons (or even some dead ones). The place is a veritable battleground for various partisans engaged in “editing wars”, “wiki stalking”, and whatnot. One has to take what’s published there with a a grain of salt.

    As for Obama’s sudden popularity, I attribute it to his ability as a good speaker who is able to project confidence and poise and affability to his audience.

    • Oengus,

      Except I find Obama to be a maddeningly vague speaker who doesn’t so much convey truth as he sells a feeling. Listen to him long enough and you readily see that he practically exemplifies “there is no ‘there’ there.” In fact, with a few slight modifications you could make Obama-isms of great quotes throughout time:

      John Paul Jones – “I have not yet begun to begin!”

      Abraham Lincoln – “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here until we say it.”

      Leo Tolstoy – “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing what needs changing the most.”

      And thus, we have defined the entire Obama campaign.

      Again, I’d like to know the spell he cast to stupify the masses who have voted for him so far.

      • David Riggins

        Again, I’d like to know the spell he cast to stupify the masses who have voted for him so far.

        Considering the options, it’s no wonder people are turning to someone they consider untainted by Washington. People will grasp at the warm expression of concern, and Obama’s ability to turn a phrase and appear like he cares resembles Reagan more than the most ardent Republican. And as the mantle of Camelot falls on his shoulders, he’s beginning to look messianic to some. If he continues on the path he is, he might very well win the prize with percentages we haven’t seen in decades. Hailed as a “Uniter” and promising nothing concrete, he can appear to be effective, and actually accomplish a lot while doing little. Rising on a tide of worldwide change he can seem to be the implementer of those changes, and be praised for miracles he had no part in.

        But wait for the boasting…

    • Oengus,

      As to Wikipedia, I looked up one of the great Catholic theologians/saints of the Middle Ages one day and someone had written in the entry that his cause of death was AIDS.

      No agenda there!

  8. Pondering our uncertain future

    Obama’s main appeal seems to be the seemingly “fresh” approach his platform is built upon. He’s being heralded as a messianic type, a “great uniter” who even the Arab and European nations are watching with glad anticipation. Who knows — Barack Obama may be just the man to finally bring about world peace in the Middle East and elsewhere. I’m not a fan of him myself, but even watching a clip of him on YouTube the other day — I found myself mesmerized. He is having that effect on the bulk of the population. Why — it doesn’t really add up. What do we really know about this man? Very little. But even those who really don’t like what the Democratic Party stands for find themselves transfixed by the man. There is something in his demeanor .. the masses are just running after him.

    Perhaps Barack Obama really can bring about “change we can believe in. If anyone on the political scene can unite this broken world and usher in some semblance of peace (finally), it could be him.

    Irregardless, it looks certain that the freshman senator from Illinois IS going to be our president, and very soon.

    • Pondering,

      The Bible mentions another leader who will rise up and be a great uniter, a man who will have worldwide appeal, one who will bring about “peace,” and who will be mesmerizing, adored, and the leader of masses of people.

      Let’s just say that the man mentioned isn’t on the side of Jesus and leave it at that. 🙁

    • Yep, Pondering, that pretty much encapsulates it right there. The article even referred to the fog that settles over people’s brains when Obama speaks, talks about the fact that there is no “there” there, and that not thing he says really comes from him but from some other famous person (who probably would not think much of Obama in the long run).

      Yes, scary. Very, very scary.

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