Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
By

Let Sikh Americans Serve in the U.S. Military
Simran Jeet Singh, On Faith

Why we should repeal the ban against turbaned Sikhs in the Armed Forces.

Understanding America’s ridiculously large $17 trillion economy by comparing US metro areas to entire countries
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

The table above helps to put America’s ridiculously large $17 trillion economy (GDP in 2013) into perspective by comparing America’s largest 20 metro economies in 2013 based on data released today by the BEA) to the economies of entire countries with similar GDPs in 2013.

Report Finds Slight Growth in Population of Inmates
Erick Eckholm, New York Times

Breaking three consecutive years of decline, the number of people in state and federal prisons climbed slightly in 2013, according to a report released Tuesday, a sign that deeper changes in sentencing practices will be necessary if the country’s enormous prison population is to be significantly reduced.

Women religious fight human trafficking
Michael O’Loughlin, Crux

They traverse an “underground railroad” system as they make their escape from their captors. They stay in safe houses, scattered across the country to hide and protect them.

logoAmericans in the 21st century are living through a period of rapid social and economic change, says Peter Augustine Lawler and Richard Reinsch, and our established ways of thinking about public questions have not been serving us well. The changes are forcing us to ask what it means to be a free person in a free society.

But how do we answer that question without resorting to radical individualism?

(more…)

On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, the West Michigan World Trade Association will sponsor a panel discussion: ‘US and EU Sanctions on Russia: How They Affect You.’ Andy Wahl, WMWTA president notes that “This topic is very much on the minds of our members and of critical importance to many in the wider business community.” The panel will discuss:

The recent annexation of Crimea, subsequent downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and ongoing unrest in East Ukraine have significantly altered US and European Union (EU) relations with Russia. Both these geopolitical developments and the resulting sanctions present significant challenges to US companies doing business with the Russian Federation, directly or through European affiliates. Strategic questions that arise include:

  • Which market segments are or could be lost as a consequence of Western export bans?
  • How might sourcing channels be affected by Russian responses?
  • What are the legal and ethical implications of US products reaching consumers in Crimea, bypassing Ukraine?
  • How are shipping rates and the prices of commodities likely to change in the face of global uncertainty?
  • What impact will political tensions have on commercial risk profiles in the Baltics, Moldova, the Caucasus, and other adjacent areas?

Members of the discussion include: Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, Dr. Gerry Simons, Professor of Economics at GVSU, editor of the Seidman Business Review, and a native of England; Brian Gill, a Russian-speaking lawyer who worked at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and Dr. Joel Westra, Professor of Political Science at Calvin College and a specialist in multilateral and regional security.

The event will take place at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Grand Rapids Campus. A reception will begin at 6PM and the panel discussion will start at 6:30PM. To reserve a seat or to learn more about this event, you can contact Rebecca Climie at manager@wmwta.org or 616.301.0032. The cost is $20 or $15 for WMWTA members.

Former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “war on poverty” – Jan. 8, 1964

Former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “war on poverty” – Jan. 8, 1964

Last week the U.S. Census Bureau released its report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013. The agency announced that “in 2013, the poverty rate declined from the previous year for the first time since 2006, while there was no statistically significant change in either the number of people living in poverty or real median household income.”

Sure to spark reactions from both sides of the political aisle, the report, along with this year’s 50th anniversary of the U.S. government’s launch of a “war on poverty,” present an opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of the United States’ domestic poverty alleviation strategy to date.

But amid the necessary analysis and debate about government’s role in helping the least among us, it is essential to keep at the forefront of our thinking the primary figure poverty alleviation efforts are intended to help: the human person. Through taking the time to recognize each individual’s unique gifts and creative capacity, we can more fully appreciate his/her contribution to society and form relationships that enable this flourishing to take root.

Ismael Hernandez, founder and executive director of the Freedom and Virtue Institute, echoes the importance of recognizing people’s true nature. He says, “The person needs to be called by name, the ‘poor’ need for us to dump that label and look at them as unique and unrepeatable human beings, not simply another token belonging to an expansive and yet shallow sea of sameness.”

(more…)

LittleSistersofthePoorIt seems such a subtle distinction: “freedom to worship” as opposed to “religious freedom.” The phrase, “freedom to worship,” started appearing in 2010, and in 2013, President Obama made the following remarks in his address for the annual Proclamation for Religious Freedom Day:

Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as we choose.” He then refers to the history of this right. “Because of this protection by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose.”

It seems as if the president is equating the two, doesn’t it? But Sarah Torre says there are not the same, and equating the two is dangerous. In fact, it’s a lie. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, September 22, 2014
By

o-WOMEN-AT-WORK-facebook-1050x700.jpg.pagespeed.ce.PapYl9sXixChristians not only have a duty to work for virtue in their souls and the production of material goods in the world, writes Acton’ Dylan Pahman at Humane Pursuits, but also to encourage and enable others to fulfill this divine commandment.

One might object that locating our self-worth in our work, even if only in part, is misguided. Our American, capitalist culture is overworked and work-obsessed, or so the story goes. We work so much and overvalue it to the point that people who are not currently able to work feel ashamed.

Certainly, one can place too much value in a job. There is a grain of truth to that caution. But abuse does not negate use; overvaluing work does not justify undervaluing it. And the latter fails to acknowledge the dignity of work and those who could be workers.

It is a dignity, I would add, that is grounded in duty. The nineteenth-century Russian Orthodox philosopher Vladimir Solovyov argues that such a duty is part of the natural and God-given order to the world.

Read more . . .

The Cato Institute, as part of this year’s recognition of Constitution Day, offers a series of videos featuring prominent scholars, educators and entrepreneurs answering the question, “Why Liberty?” Each has a different and personal perspective on the meaning and importance of liberty, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Below, the Rev. Robert Sirico offers his answer to the question, “Why Liberty?”

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, September 22, 2014
By

Are We Catholics First or Americans First?
Heather King, Aleteia

The law of the land and the Higher Law.

Indentured Insomnia: Why the Poor Can’t Sleep at Night
Orion D. Jones, Big Think

How much sleep you get is strongly correlated with how much money you make, according to a Gallup poll that compared annual income with people’s average nightly rest.

Surviving childhood in Africa
BBC

Significant progress has been made in cutting child mortality, which is falling faster globally than at any point in the past two decades, according to Unicef. But despite that, more than six million children die every year before the age of five, mostly from preventable causes.

How Obamacare Forces You to Subsidize Plans That Cover Elective Abortion
Sarah Torre, The Daily Signal

Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that’s just another broken promise. Here are three things you need to know about abortion and Obamacare.

Cover-ScrutonDuring student protests in Paris in 1968, Roger Scruton watched students overturn cars to erect barricades and tear up cobblestones to throw at police. It was at that moment he realized he was a conservative:

I suddenly realized I was on the other side. What I saw was an unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans. When I asked my friends what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was this ludicrous Marxist gobbledegook. I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defence of western civilization against these things. That’s when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down.

Scrunton, an philosopher who specializes in aesthetics, is one of the most intriguing conservatives in England. In a recent interview for Prospect, Scruton talks about his new book, How To Be a Conservative.

Here are six quotes from that interview:
(more…)

householdairpollutionWhat is the world’s deadliest environmental problem?

Household air pollution. According to the World Health Organization’s latest report air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk, and the main cause is entirely preventable:

Around 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels (i.e. wood, crop wastes, charcoal, coal and dung) in open fires and leaky stoves. Most are poor, and live in low- and middle-income countries.

Such inefficient cooking fuels and technologies produce high levels of household air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants, including small soot particles that penetrate deep into the lungs. In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can be 100 times higher than acceptable levels for small particles. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth.

Household air pollution (HAP) caused by the inefficient use of solid fuels results in 4.3 million premature deaths each year – almost three times as many as died from from AIDS. HAP is also an important contributor to ambient air pollution, which caused a further 3.7 million deaths in 2012. Additionally, more than 50 percent of premature deaths among children under 5 are due to pneumonia caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.

What is household air pollution?
(more…)