pathetic uncle samThe Affordable Care Act [ACA] has seen more than it’s share of disasters. The clunky website got off to a horrendous start, the “fixes” didn’t work, Kathleen Sebelius got raked over the coals (“Don’t do this to me!”) at a House hearing, and not enough young people are signing up.

The solution? The White House has created an “ACA Bracket” (Get it? Huh? Get it?) site where young folks can go and vote for their favorite GIFs and then head on over to HealthCare.gov and get signed up.

How bad is this website? The word “doomed” comes to mind, as in “If this is the best our government can do, we are doomed.”

There’s a dancing duck proclaiming “I’m so excited” about free birth control, a cat in a tux with a disco-glitter background telling you about rebates, and Michelle Obama “raisin’ the roof” with some woman in mom jeans. Horrifying, absolutely horrifying. (And I’ve seen “The Shining.” Twice.) (more…)

PaulRyanAP-500x333At National Review Online, Acton’s Director of Research, Sam Gregg, takes issue with a New York Times article that takes a “dim view” of Congressman Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.). Specifically, Gregg takes on author Timothy Egan’s charge that Ryan suffers from “Irish-Amnesia” because the congressman suggests that we in the United States have created a culture of dependency.

Such attitudes and critiques, the piece argued, reflected a type of ancestral amnesia on Ryan’s part. Egan reminds his readers that some English politicians warned against intervening in the Irish famine of 1845-1852 on the grounds that the market would sort out the shortages and that, in any case, many of the Irish were lazy and needed to learn how to fend for themselves. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Quality Education is Not Rocket Science
Anthony Esolen, The Imaginative Conservative

What I’m trying to say here is simple enough. My advice to all of you who are building anew: Do not be played for chumps! This is not quantum physics. Children learn naturally, and if they are treated well, they will learn most things with ease.

Iran’s Oppressed Christians
Liana Aghajanian, New York Times

“When you’re Christian in Iran, you can’t speak. You have to keep quiet and not talk about the truth that you know and that you believe in,” he told me. “There is no such thing as a comfortable life in Iran.”

Education and Christian Faith
Jeff Haanen

A hard question to ask is this: Did Jesus rise from the dead? On Sunday, Christians would say, “Oh, yes. Absolutely.” But when pressed in a public school context, many of those same teachers would say, “Well, that’s what I believe.”

Freedom – A Poverty Program That Worked?
Lawrence Reed, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

America’s unofficial poverty program for most of the nation’s history could be called, in a word, “liberty.”

Here's the Caption.

The Brad Pitt of Acton.

In this edition of Radio Free Acton, Paul Edwards goes behind the scenes at the premiere of For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, the new curriculum produced by the Acton Institute that examines God’s mission in the world and our place in it. Edwards looks at the curriculum itself, speaks with some of the folks who made it, and gauges audience reaction to the premiere. You can listen via the audio player below:

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, March 17, 2014
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girls girls girls“It’s not OK to buy and sell us. We are not for sale.”

Vednita Carter wants this to be perfectly clear: human beings are not for sale. It’s a battle, she says, one where she is on the front lines.

Carter used to be a prostitute. But don’t think of a woman wearing outrageous outfits, standing on a street corner. No, think sex trafficking.

At 18, she was hoping to make money for college when she responded to an advertisement for “dancers.” At first, she danced fully clothed, but her bosses and then-boyfriend soon pressured her into stripping and, eventually, prostitution.

Carter eventually left the streets, with the help of a friend. She realized, though, that many women in the same situation had no one to help, so she created Breaking Free, a non-profit that helps sex trafficking victims over the age of 16 get off the streets and re-build their lives. Breaking Free provides rehab services for those with addictions, help with education and job skills, and an intensive 14-week course called “Sisters of Survival.” (more…)

Bill GatesIn a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Bill Gates — the richest man in the world — shares his thoughts on poverty and inequality:

Should the state be playing a greater role in helping people at the lowest end of the income scale? Poverty today looks very different than poverty in the past. The real thing you want to look at is consumption and use that as a metric and say, “Have you been worried about having enough to eat? Do you have enough warmth, shelter? Do you think of yourself as having a place to go?” The poor are better off than they were before, even though they’re still in the bottom group in terms of income.

The way we help the poor out today [is also a problem]. You have Section 8 housing, food stamps, fuel programs, very complex medical programs. It’s all high-overhead, capricious, not well-designed. Its ability to distinguish between somebody who has family that could take care of them versus someone who’s really out on their own is not very good, either. It’s a totally gameable system – not everybody games it, but lots of people do. Why aren’t the technocrats taking the poverty programs, looking at them as a whole, and then redesigning them? Well, they are afraid that if they do, their funding is going to be cut back, so they defend the thing that is absolutely horrific. Just look at low-cost housing and the various forms, the wait lists, things like that.

Read more . . .

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, March 17, 2014
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depression breadlineWork is good. It gives meaning and purpose to our lives. It affords us an avenue for our God-given talents. It provides our income, gives service to others, and fashions our society. We are, in God’s image and likeness, workers and creators.

Reihan Salam and Rich Lowry, at National Review Online, are talking about the need for work; not just jobs, but work – real, meaningful work. In their discussion, they note that the Democratic party (the “blue collar” party) doesn’t seem as interested in work as it once was. In fact, now the Democrats want to “liberate” us from work. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, said in an interview with CNN that Americans, freed from working 40-hour weeks, could now “follow one’s passion.” Clearly, Pelosi is unaware that many of us find passion IN our work.

Salam and Lowry say that this attitude is the hallmark for this era: “Worklessness is a central challenge of our time.” It’s not just that people don’t have jobs, or their hours are being cut so that employers can avoid giving benefits, or that hiking the minimum wage will actually put more people out of work. No, say Salam and Lowry. It’s far more than that:

What are the effects of worklessness? (more…)