Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
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Seattle CEO Praised for Raising Employees’ Salaries to $70K Now Says He’s Struggling to Stay Open
Ray Nothstine, Christian Post

The CEO of a Seattle-based credit card processing company who promised employees an automatic salary of $70,000 is now renting out his house to try and keep the company afloat.

Why The Little Sisters of The Poor Are Right to Be Concerned About Their Religious Freedom
Elizabeth Slattery, The Daily Signal

The Obama administration continues its persistent attack on the Little Sisters of the Poor following their challenge to the Obamacare abortion drug mandate.

Lawmakers to demand full accounting on human trafficking report
Alex Wilts and Matt Spetalnick, Reuters

Senior U.S. lawmakers expressed concern on Tuesday about whether the State Department’s annual global report on human trafficking may have been watered down due to political considerations and vowed to demand a full accounting at a Senate hearing this week.

Why Conservative Governors Are Embracing Criminal Justice Reform
John G. Malcolm, The Daily Signal

It used to be that, like entitlement spending, criminal justice reform was a third rail in politics—touch it, and you could be sure that your next opponent would run a commercial saying you were “soft on crime.” It was a one-way ticket to “Loserville.”

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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US Democratic leader Pelosi calls papal encyclical an asset in climate change
Fox Business

Pelosi said Pope Francis’ encyclical “really made an important impression on the world” and noted that citizens “who might reject a policy initiative spoken by a government official in the United States, really cannot ignore his holiness Pope Francis on the subject.” Pelosi made the comments Monday during a visit to the Milan Expo 2015 world’s fair focusing on food security issues, and as President Obama prepared to unveil later in the day new regulations demanding steep greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants.

Obama says climate change a danger to future generations, national security
Fox News Latino

Obama also said Monday that, as Pope Francis made clear in his encyclical on climate change, the fight against this global problem is “a moral obligation.”

US President Obama unveils Clean Power Plan
Vatican Radio

The Clean Power Plan is widely seen as the cornerstone of President Obama’s desire to secure a global treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, an event which Pope Francis’ recently-released Encyclical Laudato si’ also seeks to influence.

Heartland Daily Podcast – Craig Idso: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
H. Sterling Burnett, Somewhat Reasonable

Burnett and Idso discuss the work of the center in general and in particular his response to the Pope Francis’s comments and encyclical on climate change. In his recently released paper, “Stewardship and Sustainable Development in a World of Rising Atmospheric CO2: A Biblical Perspective on Humanity’s Relationship to the Biosphere,” Idso agrees with the Pope that we must be concerned with making the world a better place for present and future generations. In contrast to the pontiff, however, Idso argues increased CO2 and continued, broadened use of fossil fuels is the way to accomplish that goal.

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tip-logoThere are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe.

Modern-day slavery, also referred to as “trafficking in persons,” or “human trafficking,” describes the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

Every year since 2011, the State Department releases the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, a congressionally mandated report that looks at the governments around the world (including the U.S.) and what they are doing to combat trafficking in persons through the lens of the 3P paradigm of prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Countries are ranked in tiers based on trafficking records: Tier 1 for nations that meet minimum U.S. standards; Tier 2 for those making significant efforts to meet those standards; Tier 2 “Watch List” for those that deserve special scrutiny; and Tier 3 for countries that fail to comply with the minimum U.S. standards and are not making significant efforts. As Reuters explains,
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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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Many people believe that market economies create a dog-eat-dog environment full of human conflict and struggle. But as Prof. Aeon Skoble explains, the competition in markets encourages people to cooperate with one another for mutual benefit.

(Via: Cafe Hayek)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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Ex-Im and Planned Parenthood: Where are Our Priorities?
Casey Mattox, The Federalist

Boeing donates to Planned Parenthood, and is the primary beneficiary of Ex-Im. The Senate has voted to continue funding both.

Is the Government Playing Politics With Human Trafficking Rankings?
Jennifer Teng, The Weekly Standard

Cuba, Malaysia rewarded by the State Department.

Major U.S. metropolitan areas differ in their religious profiles
Michael Lipka, Pew Research

The religious face of America is largely a Christian one, with roughly seven-in-ten Americans belonging to that faith. But some of the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas have a very different look.

A Libertarian View of Francis’ Laudato Si
Donald Devine, Library of Law and Liberty

A fragile planet with limited resources means a zero-sum situation in which the richer deprive the poor majority of necessities. Even where serious commitments have been made by the West to reduce carbon emissions, the richer nations are unwilling to confront the underlying problem of consumerism among their populations.

If you want to see what happens when a government fails its basic responsibilities of maintaining law and order, read this fine and saddening piece by Detroit Free Press columnist John Carlisle, “The last days of Detroit’s Chaldean Town.” In it you’ll encounter the fraying of the town’s social architecture built around faith, family, work, and government.

At a conference a few weeks ago I was involved in a discussion about the ‘worst’ jobs we had ever had. Mine was cleaning the meat room at a grocery store run by four Chaldean brothers in an area just a bit further east of Chaldean Town. I worked at a “training wage” for the better part of a year, I think, while in high school. I didn’t mind transferring out to make a bit less bagging groceries.

Joseph Sunde has written a fair bit on how “hard work cultivates character.” Earlier today I was reading through a classic speech by the famed American pastor Russell Conwell, which includes this bit of wisdom: “There is no class of people to be pitied so much as the inexperienced sons and daughters of the rich of our generation.” Conwell’s point was that the rich most often attained wealth by working smarter and harder. But “as a rule the rich men will not let their sons do the very thing that made them great,” thereby depriving them of the very same experiences that enabled the creation of wealth in the first place. This is actually as true for the moderately rich as it is for the extremely wealthy. As Michael Novak has put it, “Parents brought up under poverty do not know how to bring up children under affluence.”

So even though I hated that job cleaning the meat room at the Chaldean market, which closed some years later, I was sad to see it go and I’ll always carry those experiences with me and try to pass their lessons along to my own children. The rise and fall of Chaldean Town also has some things to teach us about flourishing at the community level.

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, August 3, 2015
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Are Pope Francis’ views on climate change costing him supporters?
Sabrina McLaughlin, Patheos

“Laudato Si” was heralded in advance of its release by many of the national progressive Catholic organizations and thinkers I have come to admire (the Franciscan Action Network, NETWORK, Father James Martin, S.J., etc.), and it is still bring promoted and discussed online and in the media. When I attended mass in the weeks following the release of Laudato Si, I was expecting to hear this highly anticipated teaching referred to and passed on to the people from the pulpit. However, I was disappointed when other topics took precedence in the homilies that I heard during those masses. Laudato Si and its pressing message and urgent call to action seemed to be ignored.

Pope Francis sides with climate change
Ray Johnson, Press Republican

In late June, Pope Francis issued a 184-page encyclical, “Laudato Si.” This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision but evolved over many months, with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences playing a leading role.

Pope politics: How the ‘Francis factor’ could upend 2016
John Gehring, MSNBC

A pope who denounces “trickle down” economics and insists climate change is an urgent moral issue is recalibrating a values narrative in U.S. politics that in recent years has been off kilter. Less than two months before the pope visits the United States and becomes the first pontiff in history to address Congress, a “Francis factor” could prove to be one of the most intriguing storylines of the 2016 election.

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The Rains Came - Beginning of the Flood Vittorio Bianchini (1797-1880/Italian)No, it’s not a regular flood. It’s a flood of immigrants – some legal, some not. Europe is getting swamped; what’s the damage going to be?

The American Interest reports that the Italian Coast Guard rescued almost 2,000 people over the weekend, bringing the number of immigrants to Italy this year alone to 90,000 (170,000 last year). The financial strain for Italy and other EU nations is becoming more and more apparent.

Many of the migrants keep making their own way to the more economically vibrant north. This in turn creates the kind of dysfunctional political dynamic on display between France and England in recent days, where the migrant crisis festering in Calais has seen as many as 5,000 migrants each day for the last six days try to force their way across the Eurotunnel by hiding in trucks and boarding trains. Eurotunnel authorities warned over the weekend that increased security at Calais, promised by both French and British ministers, would only displace the problem to other, less well-guarded ports.

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dan-price-gravityThey say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. What they don’t often mention is that, like a parade route, both sides of that road are crowded with well-wishers cheering you on.

In a country where we give children “participation trophies” for merely showing up and “doing their best,” it’s not surprising that we applaud business leaders simply for “trying to make a difference.” As long as their intentions are good, why should we criticism their efforts?

I was reminded of that pervasive attitude after writing about Dan Price and Gravity Payments. My article in April on “Why the $70,000 Minimum Wage is Doomed to Fail” was the most criticized piece I’ve ever written for this blog. As one commenter wrote, “We just witnessed a CEO become a humanitarian and I’ve never seen so many people wish for his failure.”

This was a typical reaction to the article, and an all-too-common response to any criticism of good intentions, especially in the business world. Merely pointing out that a policy is likely to conflict with the norms of economics and human behavior is enough to get you labeled a cold-hearted pessimistic scrooge. Why focus on the negatives, people say, when someone is merely trying to do good?

The reason, as the old proverb implies, is that when divorced from prudence good intentions can lead us to be worse off than we were before. That was the reason I was critical of Price’s decision to pay every one of his 120 employees a minimum of $70,000 a year. I thought then—and believe still—that is could lead to unemployment for the company’s workers.

However, in my article there was one thing I was clarly wrong about. I assumed the policy would lead to the company’s bankruptcy within 5 years. A new article in the New York Times shows that the company many not last even that long.
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Blog author: ehilton
Monday, August 3, 2015
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Classroom in Dharavi; photo courtesy of Medium

Classroom in Dharavi; photo courtesy of Medium

It’s a rare person who doesn’t like to travel. It’s exciting and fun to see new things, whether it’s a natural phenomenon or a man-made wonder. Some like to travel for the food: local specialties and exotic fare. Travel is good: it broadens our horizons, gives us new ways of seeing our world and often leads us to new friendships.

But can travel be more than that? Can it do more good than simply what we gain from it? Yes, it can.

Medium recently published Travel As a Force For Good: Social Enterprise and Community Impact, part of a series on travel and social enterprise. Two of Medium’s writers, Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll, explored various parts of the globe, seeking new horizons, but also see how travel can positively impact local communities.

Many homes in the developing world use oil to heat and light their homes. It’s easy to get and inexpensive, but it creates thick black smoke, which in turn creates breathing issues. Medium’s travelers were in a Maasai village near Arusha, Tanzania, to visit a local family. Unfortunately, it was a short visit:

We followed Kisioki into the hut’s central room and I was accosted by acrid smoke. Within seconds, I could barely see. I labored to breathe. I blinked repeatedly, trying to clear the smoke and sting from my eyes.

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