Vinny Minchillo takes note of GM's 30,000 job cuts and suggests it should be to on one's surprise. He takes note that Toyota is now 1 percentage point behind GM in US sales. He has some advise for GM: It's the product stupid.
Oh my... another proclamation from the hardest working man in soul business...our newest Pope, saying that candidates for the seminary must be free of gay tendencies for three years... STOP!...Alright...O.K...we're getting to the point now where we've run the gamut of ridiculousness where the whole gay priest thing is concerned.
As a cradle Catholic who's having a whole lot of trouble with this institution lately, I'm still trying to figure out why my church needs to go from starting brush fire after brush fire to total self-immolation with the flick of a...proclamation. Not that sexually abusing children is a brush fire but there's been no evidence that this is linked at all to homosexuality.
If homosexuality is indeed against church law (especially for priests) then whoever chooses to break that law already has and will continue to do so until well, hell freezes over. But it's this three year thing that has me totally undone. Who's keeping track of this three year fast?...Two years, nine months....Wait! You've got three more months to go!...Please...
Say a kid wants to enter the seminary out of high school. I'm guessing he's about seventeen or eighteen years old. Well, according to the new "proclamation", he should not have acted on a gay tendency since he was fourteen or fifteen...Wow!... At that age I was barely able to act out any tendency worse than overeating.
Say a young man of twenty four or twenty five wants to enter the seminary. He's gay and has a vocation to the priesthood. Whether he admits or not to having sexual relations in a given period of time isn't going to stop him from seeking priesthood today any more than it would have a year ago. I mean this is just common sense.
Is this spiral of stupidity meant to confuse and confound the many of us that yearn for the Church to come up with some tangible answers to it's problems...or something else? Whatever's going on, please give us something...anything that makes sense.
William F. Buckley Jr.Maybe we could just, you know, take a break from the Murtha mess and the rivalries that underlie it -- large as they are -- and note a notable birthday, that of William F. Buckley, Jr. which date occurs this Thanskgiving.
Appropriately enough. As our brother becomes an octogenarian, some of us rosy-cheeked sexagenarians would offer thanks for the blessing of such a life and career as Bill Buckley’s.
The most flagrant offense likely to be charged to Bill Buckley, on his 80th, is that of helping generate a conservatism capable of entering into the kinds of disputes that now rage over Iraq, the Supreme Court, federal spending, federal power, etc.
. Life would unquestionably be quieter, absent our brother Bill. Also more fraught with peril and/or pure tedium. Without Buckley, without his wit and grace and brains, the dominant liberalism of post -World War II America might have washed all dissent out to sea. There would have been no conservative comeback; no Goldwater, no Reagan. The present menace to life and limb would be the Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile, instead of the jihadist suicide bomb. Our taxes would certainly be steeper, our lives more bureaucratized, our hands less free to improvise and invent.
That is because the essence of conservatism, as Bill Buckley understood and began advertising it, half a century ago, was Christian freedom as shaped by tradition. It was a proposition at odds with all the ends of human manipulation.
Manipulation, by those who understood themselves to be wise and generous at heart, was the style of the times: the product mostly of Depression times and vain, boastful science. Buckley and fellow believers in the higher freedom began as a scattered lot. Gradually they came together under his leadership and inspiration, to preach the gospel of human freedom as mediated by the spirit of Christianity.
Buckley founded National Review in 1955. In 1960, a then-18-year-old Texan with whom I am on intimate terms discovered the publication and its learned, impassioned writers; swooned dead away with passion; subscribed; read every issue at a single sitting.
National Review wasn’t just a journal -- a mass cogitation. It was an ongoing, often hilarious, argument with society’s most facile assumptions. Out in front of its readership NR shoved the expostulating, bickering, needling, wise-cracking likes of Willmoore Kendall, Russell Kirk, James Burnham, Frank Meyer, Whittaker Chambers, and the editor himself, William F. Buckley, Jr.
Some of those once-esteemed names occasion head-scratching in modern conservative purlieus. Well, they didn’t always. They inspired and invigorated. To be in those days young -- and conservative -- under such auspices and influences was very heaven. It seemed there was something after all to work for, something to fight for.
Life wasn’t a square, linoleum-floored, thermostatically controlled room with a single light bulb. It was a banqueting hall - a place, as NR showed us, for Stradivariuses, Stratocasters, or both at the same time, playing merry accompaniment for each other. It grooved. I believe that might be it: National Review grooved, after the manner of all enterprises organized around the purposes of human freedom. In the 21st century many have come to think of conservatism as a political blunt instrument: something for beating liberals over the head with on Fox News. And the variety of conservatives -- bewildering! Free-marketers, pro-lifers, "intelligent designers," "strict constructionists," Reaganites, even "W." fans! Something for everybody! Come one come all!
Well, don’t you see, that’s why they did come and still do -- because a creed of freedom lived out in gratitude to the God whose service is perfect freedom was about the richness of all life. You could speak with a modified prep school accent, like Bill Buckley; or with a Texas twang; or in a language with no resemblance to English. Still, you were conservative. And probably are now -- that is, if you prize the nobly ordered freedom depicted for so long, so ably, so engagingly by Bill Buckley.
For whose sterling gifts, O Lord, make us truly thankful.
The Texas Legislature has now been given another deadline – June 1, 2006 -- to come up with a constitutional funding system for the state’s public schools. As expected, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the current system of funding schools from local property taxes is unconstitutional.
Yet, while the Court ordered an overhaul of the tax system, it did not rule that lawmakers must order vast new spending for public education. Rather, it found not enough evidence that facilities in poor districts are underfunded by the current system that provides about $33 billion a year for public schools.
Simply put, the court ruled that the state’s control of local taxation, which requires rich districts to contribute money to poor districts, amounts to a state property tax. This is true because the current school property tax rate cap of $1.50 per $100 valuation has been reached in too many districts.
The court ruling notes that 48 percent of Texas districts, with 59 percent of the students, are taxing at the cap, and 67 percent of the districts, with 81 percent of the students, are taxing at or above $1.45.
Writing the 7-1 majority opinion, Justice Nathan Hecht notes: “The current situation has become virtually indistinguishable from one in which the State simply set an ad valorem tax rate of $1.50 and redistributed the revenue to the districts.”
He also writes:
“The tax rate cap that makes the public education funding system a state property tax is also intended to keep the system efficient. The two roles of the cap are inseparable. To remove the cap so as to allow districts meaningful discretion in setting tax rates at higher levels would be to increase the revenue disparity among the property-rich and the property-poor districts, creating the financial inefficiency that the cap is intended to prevent…The constitutional violation cannot be corrected without raising the cap on local tax rates or changing the system.”
It is clear that the system must be changed, and that is what John Sharp’s tax restructuring commission is looking into. The former comptroller, appointed to head the commission by Gov. Rick Perry, has said that businesses are willing to pay more for public schools in order to reduce the reliance on the property tax – if the system is fair. The hope is that his commission can recommend a restructured system that the Legislature can agree on.
Lawmakers couldn’t agree in the regular session earlier this year, nor in two special sessions called by Gov. Perry. But the court-imposed deadline of June 1 puts the pressure on the Legislature to unite behind a new system in time for districts to plan for the 2006-2007 school year.
Justice Hecht, in the majority opinion, recalls language of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the San Antonio ISD v. Rodriguez case, which was the first case to challenge the constitutionality of the public school finance system in Texas more than 30 years ago:
“The need is apparent for reform in tax systems which may well have relied too long and too heavily on the local property tax. And certainly innovative thinking as to public education, its methods, and its funding is necessary to assure both a higher level of quality and greater uniformity of opportunity. These matters merit the continued attention of the scholars who already have contributed much by their challenges. But the ultimate solutions must come from the lawmakers and from the democratic pressures of those who elect them.”
Wine and food pairing is far from an exact science. It is highly subjective, lends itself to experimentation and can be downright fun. Wine tastes different by itself than it does with food and sometimes, the right wine can elevate a good meal into a great meal. DallasBlog's wine consultant, Lance Storer conducts some experiments with surprising results.
Roman Kikta thinks the US needs more immigrants not less although he would like to see a selection and management process put in place first. On whole, from the viewpoint of a high-tech entrepreneur he thinks the US is missing many boats and is about to lose the race.
The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the state's school finance system is indeed an unconsitutional defacto statewide property tax. The court, however, ruled that the system does not fail to provide for a "general diffusion of knowledge," as alleged by the plaintiffs, which represent school districts throughout the state. The court ruled 7-1, with judge Scott Brister dissenting. Judge Don Willett, who was just invested on the court this week, did not participate in the ruling.
We had technical problems with our DALLAS DEBATES section which made it impossible to link the Iraq War reference to the ongoing debate about that issue on our site. That problem is now fixed. When you hit Iraq War, it takes you to the discussion by Dallas Bloggers. Please feel free to join the debate. And, bear with us as we work through our technical problems.
We love the images of Thanksgiving Day dinner – a beautiful turkey, gleaming golden brown with a just enough moisture on the skin that you are convinced that the meat underneath is succulent and delicious.
Then you carve it.
And this is where you feel a bit like Chevy Chase in “Christmas Vacation.” The turkey lets out a huge sigh of steam, shrivels, and you gnaw on the meat like eating a piece of jerky.
It’s time for a change in approach! Sandra Lewis suggests brining your turkey this Thanksgiving to produce that moist, tender taste you long for.