CNN reports how Chavez is looking more and more like Lenin.

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) — As thousands of students marched in the streets in support, a Venezuelan television channel denied accusations that it was inciting violence against the government.

President Hugo Chavez’s administration shut down one station that was critical of him, and has opened an investigation into the remaining opposition station, Globovision.

Globovision’s director, Alberto Ravell, was unimpressed. “We are not going to change our editorial line that we are not afraid of the threats from this government,” he told CNN.

Chavez’s government is so extreme that it even attacked CNN for showing the world anti-government protests. Minister of Communication Willian Lara said that “CNN lies to Venezuela,” adding that he worries that journalism is being used “to present political propaganda under the guise of news, in a systematic manner.”

What’s even more amazing is the number of other South American nations that are supporting Chavez like Bolivia’s new president, for example. What’s happening?

Will socialism win Latin America?

Blog author: jspalink
posted by on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

“Root of all evil” or liberator of mankind? Samuel Gregg examines the role that money plays in a free economy, particularly the way it “allows people to engage in the greater specialization of economic production which produces growth.”

Read the full commentary here.

Blog author: jspalink
posted by on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The news coming out of the World Bank in recent weeks has largely focused on the departure of Paul Wolfowitz and the nomination of Robert B. Zoellick to head the bank. At the same time, a little noticed power struggle was underway at the World Bank over policies related to “reproductive health” and family planning. Michael Miller takes a closer look at the bank’s Malthusian enthusiasm.

Read the full commentary here.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Speaking of Milton Friedman, here’s a link to a paper that looks interesting: “Transcendental Commitments of Economists: Friedman, Knight, and Nef” (HT: Organizations and Markets).

Acton president Robert A. Sirico’s reflection on Friedman’s legacy last year noted, “Friedman was a true Enlightenment disciple and feared that truth claims could lead to coercion.”

Blog author: kschmiesing
posted by on Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Or so reports Catholic News Service today.

In and of itself, the item is not that big a deal: The Vatican will be installing solar panels atop the Pius VI Hall, where the pope holds his general audiences. It does seem, however, to be indicative of greater emphasis being placed on environmental stewardship by the leadership of the Catholic Church (among other eccesial bodies, as has been much remarked on this blog). There was no official comment from the Vatican, but the news writer linked the story to the wider context:

Even though Vatican City State is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, a binding international environmental pact to cut greenhouse gases, its inaugural solar project marks a major move in trying to reduce its own so-called carbon footprint, that is, the amount of carbon dioxide released through burning fossil fuels.

Blog author: dwbosch
posted by on Friday, May 25, 2007

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Here’s my favorite photo, for reasons our friends at Zombietime completely missed but I’m sure Jordan (our resident anti-misanthropist) will appreciate:

Photo credit: zombietime.com

If it’s hard to see what the little blue sticker to the left says, here’s a better view:

In other words, stop killing our children for oil, but make sure we can kill them for convenience.

"Concourse of hypocrisy" indeed.

Blog author: dwbosch
posted by on Friday, May 25, 2007

Glenn Reynolds links:

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped slightly last year even as the economy grew, according to an initial estimate released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration.

As Randy would say, "Yo Dog, check it out…" One data point does not a trend make, but it’s obviously possible to comfortably grow the economy and domestic output without increasing CO2.

Sorta like reducing taxes while growing tax revenues, I guess.

This should be a wakeup call to conservatives who contend that any whiff of man-made greenhouse gas management will destroy the most powerful economy on earth. It’s also a poke in the eye to all those Goreons out there driving their SUVs to global warming worship services to commiserate on the evils of America and pray they could be more like the EU (whose gas problem was worse in 2006, by the way).

DOE’s report is linked here. I thought about lifting some key bits from it but there’s so much good info summarized in here that you really should take 5 minutes and read the whole thing.

Don’t get too cocky – 2006 was mild weather-wise, which helped a lot. But as long as our economy keeps seeking more ways to save money on fossil fuels and make alternative energy more profitable, U.S. man-made CO2 emissions have the potential to significantly ease off. And that’s a good thing.

By the way, if you want to see a great example of economic impacts tied to CO2, check out the big down-blip in 2001 on page 3.

[Don's other habitat is evaneglicalecologist.com]

Blog author: mvandermaas
posted by on Thursday, May 24, 2007

…The Milton Friedman Choir:

Via the Brussels Journal

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Thursday, May 24, 2007

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13 TNIV).

I’ve been working on a paper on vocation the last few days, and ran across that verse. One of the complaints against the theological grounding of vocation has been the claim that there is no biblical justification for speaking about calling as referring to anything but our call to conversion.

The passage in Galatians 5 may make that connection between the general vocation and the particular calling, albeit implicitly.

I also ran across this quote by Richard Baxter, dating from 1682 and his treatise, How to Do Good to Many:

Every Soul you convert, every brick that you lay in the building tendeth to make up the House and City of God. But as all motion and action is first upon the nearest object, so must ours; and doing Good must be in order: First we must begin at home with our own Souls and lives, and then to our nearest Relations, and Friends, and Acquaintance, and Neighbours, and then to our Societies, Church and Kingdom, and all the world. But mark that the order of execution, and the order of estimation and intention differ. Tho God set up Lights so small as will serve but for one room, and tho we must begin at home, we must far more esteem and desire the good of multitudes, of City and Church and Commonwealth; and must let no bounds to our endeavours but what God and disability let.

In Baxter’s case, the relative valuation of the soul over the body is clear, so that material concerns must always be oriented toward the spiritual.

Blog author: jarmstrong
posted by on Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Both of our major political parties have missed what seems so obvious. One says that we need more tax cuts to strengthen the economy. This is correct. The problem is that they are not willing to also make serious budget cuts. That party has spent more than any previous administration. The other political party wants to expand federal government by spending more of our money by raising taxes. The first plan helps the economy in the short run but not in the long term. The second is an even worse disaster I think.

Look, budget deficits are not a good thing, at least not in my simplistic understanding of economics. What individual would decrease their revenue, at least for the short term, and then also increase spending, for the long term? I know, cutting tax rates generates more money in the long run and thus the government benefits. I agree with that proven principle. Ronald Reagan advanced it and to the astonishment of all his enemies it worked.

What I do not think is a proven fact is that you can keep raising government spending, so as to increase deficits, and not someday have to "pay the piper." The late Milton Friedman, a hero of mine, continually noted that the burden of government is best measured by the level of our spending, not by the level of our tax rates. John Stossel pointed this out very clearly in his syndicated column that appeared in my paper today.

Here is the bad news. Your FICA and Social Security taxes currently exceed the expenditures of these programs. But by 2017 or 2018 this will all change when the baby boomers start to retire in massive numbers and begin to drain the system. Stossel gives President Bush some credit for the falling deficit because of his tax cuts. This plan has shrunk the deficit, at least to some extent. Cutting taxes and cutting deficits are not opposites. Both can and should be done. There is enough blame to go around in Washington. I want to decrease tax rates even further but I also want to seriously decrease federal spending.

John Stossel notes that the anti-Federalist writer Melancton Smith (1787) wrote: "All governments find a use for as much money as they can raise." That is the real issue and few will admit it, whether Republicans or Democrats. One party generally does a better job with this issue than the other but the difference is more one of degree than of deep and true principle, or so it seems to this amateur. I am open to seeing this differently but I think the obvious is pretty obvious. We need to grow the economy, allow people to keep their own money so they can spend it and create new jobs, and limit the role of government in solving every social ill we face. I believe there are some pressing issues that demand federal solutions. I am not a libertarian Luddite. But I also believe that at some point we had better face this deficit issue and slow spending or we will soon face financial and social chaos like we have never imagined.

John H. Armstrong is founder and director of ACT 3, a ministry aimed at "encouraging the church, through its leadership, to pursue doctrinal and ethical reformation and to foster spiritual awakening."