Monday, September 28, 2009
On one subject, I have no opinion.
Not because I don't want to have an opinion, but because I can't make up my mind as to which side to be on.
It has to do with an ongoing struggle between business and government over something called "net neutrality."
The Roanoke Times editorial page makes its position clear this morning with "Net neutrality would protect consumers."
And I must say, I agree with most everything written.
But then I think about the other argument. The one having to do with businesses being allowed to fashion their businesses in any way they see fit.
Should users dictate to providers how they deliver their product?
I want to say no, but the internet has thrived over the years because of its free and unfettered nature. So ...
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For more information, go here.
No, it's what's hanging outside.
From the back of the strip club's building it looks like this:
Well, we can't be havin' that.
But there may be more to this (RACISM!) than meets the eye. It turns out that there had been another sign hanging above that strip club - a locally notorious establishment known as Club Velvet. Had been until local authorities got involved and launched an investigation, that is.
From River District News:
“No stadium in shockoe” sign has Club Velvet in troubleHere's how the building looked before the government stepped in with its heavy hand:
Zoning violation or free speech? A large sign hanging on the side of Club Velvet proclaiming “No Stadium in Shockoe” has earned the night club a zoning violation for exceeding the allowed size and not receiving approval from the city. However, owner Sam Moore is appealing based on a political campaign sign exemption. [link]
Oh, and Club Velvet now has masses of free advertising as the NAACP action rockets across the internet.
Smooth move, dudes.
* Photos courtesy of River District News.
** Click on images to enlarge.
*** For the record, Club Velvet won its fight against the city back in May.
Everyone has read the accounts in recent years of the Episcopal Church (USA) disintegrating over the issue of "inclusion." Inclusion of openly gay clergy, that is.
Well, the issue is now having a similar impact on another leftist church denomination - the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
(I should mention the fact that I grew up in the Lutheran faith. But the churches I attended were of the Missouri Synod denomination, or LCMS. It and the Lutheran Church-Wisconsin Synod are historically conservative - seriously so - and thrive because of it.)
Roanoke County church votes to break with ELCAThis, again, is the predictable result of liberal churches' efforts to be more inclusive. It drives loyal parishioners out. Odd definition of the word, if you ask me.
By Courtney Cutright, Roanoke Times
One of the largest evangelical Lutheran churches in Western Virginia on Sunday afternoon took the first step to split from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
By a majority of 70 percent, members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Southwest Roanoke County, voted to separate from the largest Lutheran church in North America.
The move comes on the heels of the ELCA's decision last month in Minneapolis to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy. Previously the ELCA had required gay clergy to remain celibate.
Senior pastor Mark Graham said his church does not "want to be seen as anti-gay or against homosexuals," but the ELCA's statement goes against the church's interpretation of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. [link]
Anyway, the Evangelical Lutheran Church is now inclusive. Probably happily so. Contentedly.
And when all those happy, contented churchgoers next meet in that phone booth, they can celebrate their effort. They are now ... inclusive.
Cuba Pins Hopes On New Farms Run for ProfitNot quite is right. The Cuban government still controls the means of production and siphons off the top what it considers necessary to feed the starving masses. But it's a start.
By William Booth, Washington Post Foreign Service
Ceiba Del Agua, Cuba -- Faced with the smothering inefficiencies of a state-run economy and unable to feed his people without massive imports of food, Cuban leader Raúl Castro has put his faith in compatriots like Esther Fuentes and his little farm out in the sticks.
If Cuba is searching for its New New Man, then Fuentes might be him. The Cuban government, in its most dramatic reform since Castro took over for his ailing older brother Fidel three years ago, is offering private farmers such as Fuentes the use of fallow state lands to grow crops -- for a profit.
Capitalism comes to the communist isle? Not quite, but close. Raúl Castro prefers to call it "a new socialist model." But Fuentes gets to pocket some extra cash. [link]
Castro's Cuba enters the 20th century. Who'da thunk it?
Can New York Times columnists be far behind?
"Israel is looking like the new leader of the Free World. The previous leader, the United States, resigned this role last week at the United Nations to take the position of global community organizer."
"Leader of the Free World no more," editorial, September 28, 2009
So says New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
It must be Monday.
Here's to Germany's awakening:
Merkel Wins Majority for Tax-Cut Coalition in Germany
By Tony Czuczka and Brian Parkin, Bloomberg
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’ll press ahead with tax cuts and labor-market deregulation after winning re-election with enough support to govern with the pro-business Free Democrats.
With Germany struggling to recover from the deepest economic slump since World War II, voters spurned plans by Merkel’s Social Democratic challenger to raise taxes on top earners. Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s SPD had its worst postwar result in what he called a “bitter day” after sharing power with Merkel for four years and governing for the previous seven. [link]
So high tax, ponderous regulation Germany has seen the light and is mending its ways.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the Democrats are working feverishly to devise a host of tax increases that will make things worse.
Merkel needs to have a talk with these geniuses.
How happy those men and women of dignity must be:
The dead end kidsThe inclination is to blame Obama for this. But the last increase in the minimum wage was signed into law by George Bush.
By Richard Wilner, New York Post
The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent -- a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. -- meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.
And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults -- aged 16 to 24, excluding students -- getting a job and moving out of their parents' houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession -- in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost. [link]
However, Obama is on record as favoring another raise. To $9.50 an hour. I guess 52.2% of our young people being unemployed isn't enough for him.