Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bill Clinton’s welfare reform undone by Obama


 When the Republicans took over Congress in 1994 they were able to work with President Clinton and get Welfare reform passed which Clinton signed. However, since President Obama got in office he has been trying to stimulate the economy and he abandoned welfare reform.
  • President Ronald Reagan  after delivering a speech on television in this 1987 photo.By Doug Mills, APPresident Ronald Reagan after delivering a speech on television in this 1987 photo.

    Editor’s note: This article was co-authored by Susan A. Carleson and Robert Knight.

    We knew things weren’t good, but nearly one seventh of all Americans on food stamps? Forty-three million people?

    That’s the news this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which noted that only 30 million were on food stamps as recently as 2008. For Big Government fans, this news should trigger a high five. But wait – many of those high fivers are lamenting the “epidemic of obesity” among the poor. Remember, liberalism need not be consistent or effective; it just has to be caring.

    For the average American this food stamp spike should be a wake up call. It exposes two things: One, Obamanomics’ massive government spending is not improving the economy; and, two, poorly designed welfare programs create ever more dependency. Food stamps and other welfare programs were meant to be a safety net for people down on their luck, not a way of life passed from one generation to the next.

    Over the years, the federal government has grown exponentially. The notable exception occurred in 1996 with the passage of welfare reform, which marked the first and only repeal of a Great Society entitlement program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

    That reform, which reversed the incentives for states to increase their welfare rolls, was an unqualified success by every measure. Caseloads dropped by more than two-thirds – from a record 5 million families in 1994 to just 1.6 million families in 2009. Recipients left welfare in droves — most of them to work — and earnings rose as child poverty fell.

    But, following the 2008 election, liberals in Congress and the White House began to dismantle this historic achievement. In the first “stimulus bill” they undermined the 1996 reform, made it easier for states to increase their welfare caseloads without having to meet federal work requirements, and added a host of new welfare programs. These destructive policies must be reversed.

    Ronald Reagan was the first modern president to truly appreciate the wisdom of America’s founders about the virtues of limited government. He understood the dynamics of spending and the inherent danger of overburdening taxpayers and free markets.

    In the early 1970s, when California was headed toward bankruptcy because of its profligate welfare spending, then-Gov. Reagan tapped Robert B. Carleson to design and implement a plan to salvage the state’s budget. And it worked. Welfare rolls plummeted and the state’s most needy received a long-delayed benefit increase. It was a true American success story.

    The ultimate triumph of these efforts was the historic welfare reform of 1996, which freed millions of Americans from the narcotic of dependency. While Bill Clinton deserves credit for ultimately signing this landmark legislation, it was in fact the product of 30 years of Ronald Reagan’s dream and Bob Carleson’s tenacity.

    Ronald Reagan was a man of strong beliefs, and he surrounded himself with policy experts who understood big bureaucracy and who knew how to roll back its overreach through common sense approaches. Sadly, people with those attitudes and know-how have not been in positions of power for many years. And the country has drifted, some would say lurched, leftward in its acceptance of big government.

    But as we all saw last November, complacency reached its limit. Americans now hunger for a return to sensible policies that instill individual responsibility, reduce government and taxes, increase prosperity and create real – not make-work – jobs.

    A new organization, the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP), has been formed to assist this effort by serving as a proxy for “What Reagan would do.” Comprised exclusively of men and women who served under Ronald Reagan and who understand what works, the Center ( will offer public policy officials guidance and advice on welfare and entitlement reform.

    For a detailed look at the 25-year fight that truly reformed welfare, see Bob Carleson’s book Government Is the Problem: Memoirs of Ronald Reagan’s Welfare Reformer (American Civil Rights Union, 2010)

    As we celebrate Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday on February 6, it is appropriate to recall his words:

    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

    This is America. We can do better than offer our children more and more food stamps.

    Robert Knight

    Robert Knight is an author, columnist and frequent contributor to Townhall.

EPA wants cars to average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025

Is the EPA out to help you? Take a look at this article from the Wall Street Journal.

The United States of EPA

Ms. Jackson’s agency takes over automobile design.

re’s one good way to consider the vote in 2012: It’s about whether to re-elect President Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, which these days runs most the U.S. economy.

The EPA heaved its weight against another industry this month, issuing a regulation to sharply increase fuel economy. Under this new rule, America’s fleet of passenger cars and light trucks will have to meet an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, a doubling of today’s average of about 27 mpg. By the EPA’s estimate the rule will cost $157 billion, meaning the real number is vastly greater.

The fuel-economy rule is classic Obama EPA. Until this Administration, fuel standards were the remit of Congress, via its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. In 2007, the legislative branch raised those standards with a bill requiring the U.S. fleet to hit 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40% increase. The industry is struggling to keep pace with those steep requirements.

President Jackson is now casting aside 35 years of Congressional prerogative. Because the Obama EPA has declared carbon dioxide a “pollutant,” and because cars emit CO2, Ms. Jackson is citing the Clean Air Act in her bid to commandeer Detroit. While the EPA officially worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Nhtsa, the agency previously in charge of efficiency standards), it’s clear the EPA is calling the shots.

At least when Nhtsa was overseeing efficiency, it was charged by Congress with taking into account vehicle safety and a rule’s effect on the economy and consumer demand. The EPA can’t be bothered with such detail.

Associated PressEnvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson

The National Automobile Dealers Association, which has opposed the EPA rule, has compiled Obama Administration documents showing the average price of a new vehicle will increase by $3,100 by 2025, thanks to the cumulative fuel-efficiency rules. Vehicles that currently cost $15,000 or less will effectively be regulated out of existence. The rule will reduce the mass of a car by 15% to 25%, decreasing safety.

The only way Detroit can hit these averages will be by turning at least 25% of its fleet into hybrids. But hybrid sales peaked in the U.S. two years ago at 3% of the market and are declining. The EPA’s $157 billion price tag includes only the estimate of what manufacturers will have to invest in new technology, not the billions more that will hemorrhage when nobody buys their EPA-approved products.

Yes, 13 automakers agreed to this standard in July, confirming behavioral science on hostages. The industry has been living for years under the threat of California’s strict efficiency mandate. Federal law pre-empts states from setting their own standards, and the Bush Administration refused to grant California a waiver. But the Obama administration made clear to automakers that their choice was between one crushing EPA-devised rule, or a national patchwork of crushing rules from California and acolyte states. They chose the federal poison.

House Republicans are pushing to return efficiency standards to the one regulator Congress has decreed: Nhtsa. They note that not only are California bureaucrats dictating federal policy, but the EPA has wasted $25 million to duplicate or demolish Nhtsa rules.

The EPA is seeking to impose, by fiat, greenhouse gas reductions that even a Democratic Congress rejected with the Waxman-Markey bill in 2009, and that would drive policy at least 13 years past this Administration. It’s all more than a tad authoritarian. Welcome to the Obama-Jackson Presidency.

“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 4)

“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 4)

Woody Allen interview 1971 PART 4/4

Uploaded by on Jul 21, 2008

Woody Allen interview from 1971, just after the worldwide release of ‘Bananas’


David Mishkin

David Mishkin

God and Carpeting: The Theology of Woody Allen by David Mishkin

March 1, 1993

This is an archived article. It originally appeared on March 1, 1993. Some information may be outdated.
A red-haired boy sits next to his mother in the psychiatrist’s office. She is describing her son’s problems and expressing her disappointment in him. Why is he always depressed? Why can’t he be like other boys his age? The doctor turns to the boy and asks why he is depressed. In a hopeless daze the boy replies, “The universe is expanding, and if the universe is everything…and if it’s expanding…someday it will break apart and that’s the end of everything…what’s the point?”His mother leans over, slaps the kid and scolds: “What is that your business!”

This scene from Annie Hall typifies Woody Allen’s quest for understanding! Allen touches on various topics and themes in all his cinematic works, but three subjects continually resurface: the existence of God, the fear of death and the nature of morality. These are all Jewish questions or at least theological issues. Woody Allen is a seeker who wants answers to the Ultimate Questions. His movie characters differ, yet they are all, in some way, asking these questions he wants answered. They are all “Woody Allens” wrestling with the same issues. He explains:

Maybe it’s because I’m depressed so often that I’m drawn to writers like Kafka, Dostoevski and to a filmmaker like Bergman. I think I have all the symptoms and problems that their characters are occupied with: an obsession with death, an obsession with God or the lack of God, the question of why we are here. Almost all of my work is autobiographical—exaggerated but true.1

But Woody Allen does not allow himself to dwell too long on these universal problems. The mother’s response to her red-haired son’s angst is typical of the comedic lid the filmmaker presses over his depressing outlook to close the issue. True, Woody Allen has made his mark by asking big questions. But it is the absence of satisfactory answers to those questions that causes much of the angst—and humor—we see on the screen. Off screen we see little difference.

Allen’s (authorized) biography, published in 1991, sheds some light on his life and times. Woody Allen, whose given name was Allan Konigsberg, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Allen describes his Jewish family and neighborhood as being from “the heart of the old world, their values are God and carpeting.”2 While he did not embrace the religion of his youth, his Jewishness is ever present in his characters, plots and dialogue. Jewish thought is intrinsic to his life and work.

One can see this in the 1977 film Annie Hall, where Allen’s character, Alvy, is put in contrast to his Midwestern, gentile girlfriend. In one scene he is visiting Annie’s parents. Her grandmother stares at him, picturing him as a stereotypical Chasidic Jew with side locks, black hat and a long coat. The screen splits as Alvy imagines his family on the right and hers on the left. Her parents ask what his parents will be doing for “the holidays”:

“We fast, to atone for our sins,” his mother explains.

Annie’s mother is confused. “What sins? I don’t understand.”

Alvy’s father responds with a shrug: “To tell you the truth, neither do we.”

Nothing worth knowing can be understood by the mind.3

Allen suggests that the greatest thinkers in history died knowing no more than he does now. He often uses humor to poke fun at pretentious intellectuals who spout textbook answers. In another Annie Hall scene Alvy is standing in line at a movie theater. The man behind him is trying to impress his date. Alvy is annoyed, and when the man begins commenting on pop philosopher Marshall McLuhan, Alvy turns and informs him that he knows nothing about McLuhan. To prove his point, he escorts McLuhan himself into the scene. The philosopher deftly puts the object of Alvy/Allen’s scorn (a Columbia University professor of TV, media and film) in his place. Alvy steps out of character and, as Woody Allen, he looks into the camera and sighs: “Boy, if life were only like this.…”

Allen’s films do not merely expose and poke fun at pseudo-intellectuals; they point out that no school of human thought can provide ultimate solutions. Allen’s lack of faith in the world’s systems generates some great one-liners:

He tells how he was caught cheating on a college metaphysics exam: “I was looking into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.”4

He also pokes fun at existentialism, commenting on a course he took in the subject: “I didn’t know any of the answers so I left it all blank. I got a hundred.”5

His first wife studied philosophy in college: “She used to prove that I didn’t exist.”6

Psychology also figures into Allen’s scripts—many of his characters are seeing a therapist.

In Sleeper, Allen’s character wakes up 200 years in the future, where he quickly discovers that the future holds the same old problems as ever. Lamenting the wasted years, he remarks:

“My analyst was a strict Freudian. If I had been going all this time I’d probably almost be cured by now.”7

In another film he describes the unproductive nature of his own therapy:

“My analyst got so frustrated he put in a salad bar.”8

So much for faith in therapy! And when it comes to science, Allen asks and answers the questions, “Can a human soul be glimpsed through a microscope? Maybe—but you’d definitely need one of those very good ones with two eyepieces.”9

The political process as a means of change is also shrugged off:

“Have you ever taken a serious political stand on anything?” he is asked.”Sure,” he responds, “for twenty-four hours once I refused to eat grapes.”10

And, finally, it is the questions of the human soul—its mortality and morality—that seem really to preoccupy the filmmaker.

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.11

In his early writings fear of death provided a great platform for a punch line:

“It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”12“It is impossible to experience one’s own death objectively and still carry a tune.”13

“Death is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down.”14

“What is it about death that bothers me so much? Probably the hours.”15

Allen’s concern for his own mortality is ever present in his writings as well as his filmmaking. In one short story he dreams he is Socrates in ancient Greece, about to be executed for crimes against the state. His friend tries to calm his fear.

Friend: “What about all that talk about death being the same as sleep?”Woody: “Yes, but the difference is that when you’re dead and somebody yells, ‘Everybody up, it’s morning,’ it’s very hard to find your slippers.”16

The absurdity of Allen’s humor helps to cushion the seriousness of the subject. Could it be that his comments are so clever and funny that the laughter drowns out the genuine note of anxiety over those issues? In his later films Allen began dealing with death more realistically:

In Hannah and Her Sisters his character Mickey Sacks is tested for a serious medical problem. He agonizes over the possible results only to learn they are negative. Mickey is elated—he leaves the office literally jumping for joy. Yet the next scene shows him depressed again. He realizes that the encouraging test results are but a postponement of death which is still inevitable. In despair, he attempts suicide. Failing that, he goes to a movie theater. The Marx Brothers’ film Duck Soup, an old favorite of his, is playing. The film provides a temporary escape; it even cheers him. His immediate answer to depression is that one should enjoy life while one can. However, that answer apparently did not satisfy Woody Allen, the writer, as Hannah and Her Sistersis one of the few films in which Allen provides a happy ending. Later films raise the same concerns—and usually conclude on a less optimistic note.To you I’m an atheist, to God I’m the loyal opposition.17

Allen’s fear of death is inextricably linked to his uncertainty about the existence of God. He ponders in an early essay:

“Did matter begin with an explosion or by the word of God? And if by the latter, could He not have begun it just two weeks earlier to take advantage of some of the warmer weather?”18

Again, glibness is his antidote to grappling with the hard questions. The eternal is brought down to the level of the earthly, and therefore minimized.

Yet, Allen never fully embraces the position of atheist. Once, when asked if he believed in God, he replied with a typical Allenesque formula:

“I’m what you’d call a teleological, existential atheist—I believe that there’s an intelligence to the universe, with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey.”19

He ponders spiritual matters, but a punch line always yanks the focus to the sublime, then to the ridiculous. Other examples include:

“I keep wondering if there is an afterlife, and if there is, will they be able to break a twenty?”20“There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from Midtown and how late is it open?”21

Woody Allen is, in the words of his biographer, “a reluctant [he hopes there is a God] but pessimistic [he doubts there is] agnostic who wishes he had been born with religious faith [not to be confused with sectarian belief] and who believes that even if God is absent, it is important to lead an honest and responsible life.”22

Never kill a man, especially if it means taking his life.23

The existence of God is an issue which would not only answer the questions of death and an afterlife, but also the problem of how we ought to live now. Two of Allen’s films which best deal with this issue were made 14 years apart: the 1975 cinematic spoof on the Napoleonic wars and Russian novels, Love and Death, and the 1989 critically acclaimed piece, Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Love and Death was the last of his all-out, zany comedies and the beginning of his on-screen grappling with issues of God and morality. In it Allen plays the part of Boris who denies the existence of God but would truly like to have real faith.

“If I could only see a miracle,” Boris argues, “a burning bush, the seas part.…Uncle Sasha pick up a check.” Or, “If only God would give me some sign. If He would just speak to me once, anything, one sentence, two words. If He would just cough.”

Boris is often debating with his wife Sonia on these important issues of life:

Boris: What if there is no God?…What if we’re just a bunch of absurd people who are running around with no rhyme or reason?Sonia: But if there is no God, then life has no meaning. Why go on living? Why not just commit suicide?

Boris: Well, let’s not get hysterical! I could be wrong. I’d hate to blow my brains out and then read in the papers they found something!

Later in the film Boris attempts to assassinate Napoleon. Standing over the French emperor, he prepares to shoot. But his conscience (not to mention his cowardice) prevents him from pulling the trigger. His previous philosophical ramblings come to a halt when the rubber meets the road. Boris concludes that murder is morally wrong. There are universal standards and there is even a reason to act morally.

The film ends with Boris being executed for a crime he did not commit. Could it be that Woody Allen was punishing his own character for believing, even momentarily, that there are indeed moral standards and even accountability?

After all, the logical conclusion in following such a path would be to acknowledge the existence of God. Keeping his own role of skeptic intact, Allen gives the plot a twist. In the jail cell his character is visited by “an angel of God” who promises Boris that he will be released. Since the angel’s word proves to be false, Boris again has a reason to be cynical. But in his final scene he speaks optimistically (after all, this is a comedy),

“Death is not really an end; think of it as an effective way to cut down on your expenses.”

As always, Allen’s one-liners are successful in reducing or obscuring the seriousness of the subject matter.

In Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen tackles the issue of morality on a much more serious level. Wealthy ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal has been having an extramarital affair for two years. When he attempts to end his illicit relationship, his mistress threatens to tell his wife. When backed into an impossible corner and offered an easy way out, Judah finds himself thinking the unthinkable.

Judah’s moral confusion is presented against a backdrop of the religion of his youth. Though he has long since rejected the Jewish religion, he is continually confronted with memories that activate his conscience. He remembers the words of his childhood rabbi:

“The eyes of God are on us always.”

Judah later speaks with another rabbi, a contemporary of his. The rabbi remarks on their contrasting worldviews:

“You see it [the world] as harsh and empty of values and pitiless. And I couldn’t go on living if I didn’t feel with all my heart a moral structure with real meaning and forgiveness and some kind of higher power and a reason to live. Otherwise there is no basis to know how to live.”

These words are ultimately pushed aside, as Judah succumbs to the simple solution of hiring a hit-man to murder his demanding lady in waiting. After the crime, Judah experiences gut-wrenching guilt. Judah Rosenthal finds the case for morality so strong that after the murder he blurts out:

“Without God, life is a cesspool!”

His conscience pushes him to great despair as, again, he examines the situation from a past vantage point. He envisions a Passover seder from his childhood. The conversation becomes a family debate over the importance of the celebration. Some of the relatives don’t believe in God and consider the ritual a foolish waste of time. The head of the extended family stoutly defends his faith, saying, “If necessary, I will always choose God over truth.”

Perhaps this is why Judah rejected his religion—he could not see faith as anything other than some sort of noble delusion for those who refuse to accept life’s ugly truths. As Judah continues to dwell on his crime, he has another vision in which his rabbi friend challenges him with the question: “You don’t think God sees?”

“God is a luxury I can’t afford,” Judah replies. There is a final ring to the statement as Judah decides to put the entire incident behind him.

Judah almost turns himself in; however, the price is too high and so he chooses denial, the most common escape. “In reality,” he says in the last scene, “we rationalize, we deny or else we couldn’t go on living.”

Another character, Professor Levy, speaks on morality in one of the film’s subplots. Levy is an aging philosopher much admired by the character played by Woody Allen, a filmmaker. The filmmaker is planning a documentary based on Levy’s life, and we first see the professor on videotape, discussing the paradox of the ancient Israelites:

“They created a God who cares but who also demands that you behave morally. This God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, who is beloved to him.…After 5,000 years we have not succeeded to create a really and entirely loving image of God.”

Levy eventually commits suicide. Despite his great learning, his final note discloses nothing more than the obvious: “I’ve gone out the window.”

Professor Levy’s suicide leaves Allen’s character stunned. Still, his humor ameliorates the situation as the filmmaker protests,

“When I grew up in Brooklyn, nobody committed suicide; everyone was too unhappy.”

The final comment on Levy’s suicide is a surprising departure from Allen’s security blanket of humor:

“No matter how elaborate a philosophical system you work out, in the end it’s gotta be incomplete.”

Remember, all of the dialogue is written by Woody Allen. Though his own character supplies comic relief to this dark film, his conclusions are just as bleak. Everyone is guilty of something whether it’s considered a crime or a misdemeanor.

Yet, Allen’s theological questions rarely address the nature of that guilt. The word “sin” is reserved for the grossest offenses—the ones that make the evening news—or would, if they were discovered. Judah Rosenthal’s crime is easily recognizable as sin, while various other infidelities and compromises are mere misdemeanors.

Sin against God is not something Allen appears to take seriously in any of his films. When evangelist Billy Graham was a guest on one of Allen’s 1960s television specials, the comedian was asked (not by Graham) to name his greatest sin. He responded:

“I once had impure thoughts about Art Linkletter.”24

However, when he distances himself from the personal nature of sin and looks to crimes or sins against humanity, Allen speaks with a passion.

In Hannah and Her Sisters the viewer is introduced to the character of Frederick, an angry, isolated artist who is disgusted with the conditions of the world. Of Auschwitz, Frederick remarks to his girlfriend:

“The real question is: ‘Given what people are, why doesn’t it happen more often?’ Of course, it does, in subtler forms.…”

In Allen’s theology, all have fallen short to a greater or lesser degree, but ironically, his view of human imperfection never appears in the same discussion as his thoughts about God.

He does admit to being disconnected with the universe:

“I am two with nature.”25

But he doesn’t mention a connection with a personal God because he doesn’t see a correlation between human failures and the question of connectedness to God.

While Allen is a unique thinker, he seems to be pedestrian when it comes to wrestling with problems of immorality and even inhumanity. While he calls the existence of God into question, he does not deal with our responsibility in acknowledging God if he does exist.

It is simple to analyze sin on a human level. The more people get hurt, the bigger the sin. But the biblical perspective is quite different: Any and all sin causes separation from God. One cannot view such a cosmic separation as large or small based on degrees of sin. Ironically, one of Allen’s short stories underscores the foolishness of comparison degrees of sin:

“Astronomers talk of an inhabited planet named Quelm, so distant from earth that a man traveling at the speed of light would take six million years to get there, although they are planning a new express route that will cut two hours off the trip.”26

The biblical perspective of separation from God is similar. Having “better morals” than the drug pusher, the rapist or the ax murderer makes a big difference—in our society. We should all strive to be the best people we can be, if only to improve the overall quality of life. But in terms of a relationship with God, doing the best one can is like being two hours closer to Quelm. God is so removed from any unrighteousness that the difference between “a little unrighteous” and a lot is irrelevant.

The question his films and essays never ask is: Could being alienated from God be the root cause of our alienation from one another…and even our alienation from our own selves?

“It’s hard to get your heart and your head to agree in life. In my case they’re not even friendly.”27

Woody Allen has a unique way of expressing the uneasy terms on which many people find their heads and their hearts. Perhaps that is why he has received 14 Academy Award nominations. Allen will shoot a scene as many as twenty times, hoping to capture the actors and scenery perfectly. His biographer says “he doesn’t like to go to the next thing until what he’s working on is perfect—a process that guarantees self-defeat.”28

Is filmmaking Woody Allen’s escape from the world at large? His biographer notes, “He assigns himself mental tasks throughout the day with the intent that not a moment will pass without his mind being occupied and therefore insulated from the dilemma of eschatology.”29

It is a continual process—writing takes his mind off of the ultimate questions, yet the characters he creates are always obsessed with those very same questions. Allen determines their fate, occasionally handing out a happy ending. And he seems painfully aware that he will have little to say about the ending of his own script.

There is much to be appreciated and enjoyed in Woody Allen’s humor, but it also seems as if he uses jokes to avoid taking the possibility of God’s existence very seriously. Maybe Woody Allen is afraid to find that God doesn’t exist, or on the other hand maybe he’s afraid to find that he does. In either case, he seems to need to add a comic edge to questions about God to prove that he is not wholehearted in his hope for answers.

Will Woody Allen tackle the problem of his own halfhearted search for God in a serious way in some future film or essay? Maybe, but if the Bible can be believed, it’s an issue that God has already dealt with. The prophet Jeremiah quotes the Creator as saying: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)


  1. Eric Lax, Woody Allen, (New York: Knopf Publishing, 1991), p. 179.
  2. Ibid., p. 166.
  3. Manhattan, 1979.
  4. Lax, p. 141.
  5. Stardust Memories, 1980.
  6. Lax, p. 150.
  7. Sleeper, 1973.
  8. Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986.
  9. Woody Allen, “My Speech to the Graduates,” Side Effects, (New York: Random House Publ., 1980), p. 82.
  10. Sleeper.
  11. Lax, p. 183.
  12. Woody Allen, “Death (A Play),” Without Feathers, (New York: Random House Publ., 1975), p. 106.
  13. Woody Allen, “My Philosophy,” Getting Even, (New York: Warner Books, 1971), p. 25.
  14. Allen, “Early Essays,” Without Feathers, p. 108.
  15. Allen, “Selections From the Allen Notebook,” Without Feathers, p. 10.
  16. Allen, “My Apology,” Side Effects, p. 54.
  17. Stardust Memories.
  18. Allen, “My Speech to the Graduates,” Side Effects, p. 82.
  19. Sleeper.
  20. Allen, “Selections From the Allen Notebook,” Without Feathers,p. 8.
  21. Allen, “Examining Psychic Phenomena,” Without Feathers, p. 11.
  22. Lax, p. 41.
  23. Love and Death, 1975.
  24. Lax, p. 132.
  25. Ibid., p. 39.
  26. Allen, “Fabulous Tales and Mythical Beasts,” Without Feathers, p. 194.
  27. Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1989.
  28. Lax, p. 322.
  29. Ibid., p. 183.


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Obama’s Budget Would Deepen Already Unprecedented Deficits

Obama’s Budget Would Deepen Already Unprecedented Deficits

Everyone wants to know more about the budget and here is some key information with a chart from the Heritage Foundation and a video from the Cato Institute.

The President is responsible for submitting an annual budget to Congress and has the authority to veto legislation, including irresponsible spending. Most Administrations have run small but manageable deficits, but President Obama’s unprecedented budget deficits pose serious economic risks.



Obama's Budget Would Deepen Already Unprecedented Deficits

Source: White House Office of Management and Budget.

Chart 24 of 42

In Depth

  • Policy Papers for Researchers

  • Technical Notes

    The charts in this book are based primarily on data available as of March 2011 from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The charts using OMB data display the historical growth of the federal government to 2010 while the charts using CBO data display both historical and projected growth from as early as 1940 to 2084. Projections based on OMB data are taken from the White House Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The charts provide data on an annual basis except… Read More

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    Emily GoffResearch Assistant
    Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy StudiesKathryn NixPolicy Analyst
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What about climategate? Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal:

Climategate 2.0

A new batch of leaked emails again shows some leading scientists trying to smear opponents.


Last week, 5,000 files of private email correspondence among several of the world’s top climate scientists were anonymously leaked onto the Internet. Like the first “climategate” leak of 2009, the latest release shows top scientists in the field fudging data, conspiring to bully and silence opponents, and displaying far less certainty about the reliability of anthropogenic global warming theory in private than they ever admit in public.

The scientists include men like Michael Mann of Penn State University and Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, both of whose reports inform what President Obama has called “the gold standard” of international climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The new release of emails was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the original climategate leak and with the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. And it has already stirred strong emotions. To Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), for example, the leaker or leakers responsible are attempting to “sabotage the international climate talks” and should be identified and brought “to justice.”

One might sympathize with Mr. Markey’s outrage if, say, the emails were maliciously rewritten or invented. But at least one scientist involved—Mr. Mann—has confirmed that the emails are genuine, as were the first batch released two years ago. So any malfeasance revealed therein ought to be blamed on the scientists who wrote them, rather than on the whistleblower who exposed them.

Consider an email written by Mr. Mann in August 2007. “I have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre, and his thus far unexplored connections with fossil fuel interests. Perhaps the same needs to be done w/ this Keenan guy.” Doug Keenan is a skeptic and gadfly of the climate-change establishment. Steve McIntyre is the tenacious Canadian ex-mining engineer whose dogged research helped expose flaws in Mr. Mann’s “hockey stick” graph of global temperatures.

One can understand Mr. Mann’s irritation. His hockey stick, which purported to demonstrate the link between man-made carbon emissions and catastrophic global warming, was the central pillar of the IPCC’s 2001 Third Assessment Report, and it brought him near-legendary status in his community. Naturally he wanted to put Mr. McIntyre in his place.

The sensible way to do so is to prove Mr. McIntyre wrong using facts and evidence and improved data. Instead the email reveals Mr. Mann casting about for a way to smear him. If the case for man-made global warming is really as strong as the so-called consensus claims it is, why do the climategate emails show scientists attempting to stamp out dissenting points of view? Why must they manipulate data, such as Mr. Jones’s infamous effort (revealed in the first batch of climategate emails) to “hide the decline,” deliberately concealing an inconvenient divergence, post-1960, between real-world, observed temperature data and scientists’ preferred proxies derived from analyzing tree rings?

This is the real significance of the climategate emails. They show that major scientists who inform the IPCC can’t be trusted to stick to the science and avoid political activism. This, in turn, has very worrying implications for the major international policy decisions adopted on the basis of their research.

That brings us to the motives of the person calling himself “FOIA” who leaked the emails onto the Internet last week.

In his introductory notes, he writes: “Over 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Every day nearly 16,000 children die from hunger and related causes. One dollar can save a life. . . . Poverty is a death sentence. Nations must invest $37 trillion in energy technologies by 2030 to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels. Today’s decisions should be based on all the information we can get, not on hiding the decline.”

For the service he has performed in pursuit of this larger end, FOIA deserves not opprobrium but gratitude.

Mr. Delingpole is a contributing editor of the Spectator and author of “Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors” (Publius Books, 2011).


Rex Nelson mentions “Nutt to Memphis” rumor at Little Rock Touchdown Club Meeting on 11-28-11

Yesterday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting Rex Nelson during his SEC roundup mentioned the popular rumor that got started last week that Houston Nutt had been contacted by Memphis. Of course, at the time Larry Porter had not even been fired. I called someone I knew in Memphis and they told me that there was no word that the administration was withdrawing their support from Porter. I concluded the rumor was false. Then on Sunday Larry Porter was dismissed.

Below is an article I got off the internet:

5 Reasons Why Memphis Should and Should Not Hire Houston Nutt

Posted by on Friday, November 11, 2011 · Leave a Comment 

Five Reasons Not to Hire Coach Nutt:  

1.  It is too soon to give up on Coach Porter.

One of the most important reasons not to hire Coach Nutt if you are Memphis is because Coach Porter is still in the process of building a program.  While the Tigers have struggled in Porter’s two year tenure, they are showing signs of improvement.  Memphis has a lot of underclassmen contributing on this year’s team, and this year’s experience under Coach Porter’s guidance will prove invaluable and help the program out in the long run.  He still has not gotten the depth necessary yet to compete at a top level, but he is only a few recruits away from making Memphis a threat.

2.  Despite Coach Nutt’s success his conference record is not good.

Coach Nutt has an impressive resume, but he only has a 52-58 conference record spanning the last fourteen seasons with Arkansas and Ole Miss.  Since he has been at Ole Miss his conference record is a pathetic 10-20.  It certainly seems like teams that are familiar with Coach Nutt’s system have success against him, a fact that should concern every Tiger fan that wants Coach Nutt.

3.  Houston Nutt may use Memphis as a stepping stone to get back to a major program.

Should Memphis hire Coach Nutt there is a possibility that Coach Nutt will leave as soon as a vacancy at a bigger program becomes available.  He did it to Boise State in 1997 when he left the Broncos after only one season to go coach Arkansas.  If you are curious about the damage a coach who leaves after one year can cause, look across the state to a Tennessee team that is still trying to rebuild after Lane Kiffin left to coach USC.  Add to this issue the fact that the Tiger’s have recently been spurned by a certain basketball coach who left because of the money and prestige of another program and you have a leadership group who wants to make sure that does not happen again.

4.  Coach Nutt is too expensive.

Houston Nutt is making almost 2.5 million dollars this season, while Larry Porter is only making about $316,500.   When you compare their salaries, Houston Nutt is making almost eight times as much as Coach Porter, and thanks to Coach Nutt’s buyout clause Ole Miss has to pay him six million dollars next year to not coach.  There is no way Memphis can afford to keep Nutt satisfied financially when bigger programs are always lurking and can shell out millions of dollars at a time for a coach.

5.  Coach Porter is a better recruiter than Houston Nutt.

Let me remind everyone that Coach Porter is the 2007 and 2009 National Recruiter of the Year and he is bringing in talented players.  Coach Porter only has one full recruiting class under his belt and he is getting talented players to commit to Memphis.  On the other hand, Coach Nutt won early on at Ole Miss with Ed Orgeron’s players, but failed to bring in the talent necessary to continue to have success at Ole Miss.

Five Reasons to Hire Coach Nutt:

1.  Hiring Coach Nutt will bring some energy and enthusiasm to a dwindling fan base.

There is no doubt that the hiring of Coach Nutt will create a buzz that will permeate throughout the city. Season ticket sales will increase, people will begin to take Memphis football more seriously, and Tiger fans will have a reason to be excited about their football program.  It will also change the fans perspective of the Memphis football program, because right now the perception of most fans is that Memphis does not care about its football program.  Hiring Houston Nutt will show that Memphis is willing to pay top dollar for an elite coach.

2.  Coach Nutt has an impressive resume.

Coach Nutt has a notable resume that includes 19 years of head coaching experience; fourteen of those years are in the SEC, which is one of the best conferences in the nation.  He has three SEC West titles and he is a three time SEC Coach of the Year.  Also, Houston Nutt’s overall record as a head coach at the FBS level is 104-77 and he has four bowl wins too.

3.  Hiring Coach Nutt will make Memphis more appealing to major conferences.

With conference realignment taking place Memphis needs to do everything it can to make itself more appealing to major conferences.  Hiring Coach Nutt will show the nation that Memphis is committed to their football program and willing to pay top dollar for an elite coach.  Houston Nutt has extensive experience coaching in a major football conference, and he will add instant credibility to a program that is desperate for a spot in an AQ conference.

4.  Houston Nutt is undefeated against C-USA teams since becoming a head coach at the FBS level.

Since becoming a head FBS coach in 1996 Houston Nutt has dominated C-USA teams.  He is an impressive 7-0 against Conference USA foes, and Memphis needs somebody who will get them wins inside their conference.  The last time Memphis had a winning record in conference was  in 2008 when the Tigers went 4-4 in conference play.  In fact, Memphis is a staggering 2-19 in conference since 2009, and the Tigers are in desperate need of somebody who can led them to more conference victories.  With his undefeated record against C-USA opponents Houston Nutt can bring a swagger to the Memphis program and make them belive that they can win games against conference foes.

5.  If you cannot bet him, join him.

Memphis knows first hand how good a football coach Houston Nutt is after taking some severe beatings from him in the past.   No Memphis football team has ever defeated Coach Nutt since he became head coach of Arkansas or while he was at Ole Miss.  Houston Nutt’s Rebel teams have all but eradicated the once intense rivalry between Memphis and Ole Miss. In the two contests since Houston Nutt became the Rebel’s head coach he has beaten Memphis by a combined score of 86-38.

CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from games.

Photos by JD Meredith and Joe Murphy.

Steve Sullivan, Wally Hall and Jim Harris talk at Little Rock Touchdown Club on 11-28-11

I enjoyed the Little Rock Touchdown Club and have posted a lot about it all fall. I have links below to earlier posts. Yesterday Wally Hall and Steve Sullivan had some good insights. Below are some of the thoughts of Jim Harris that he shared at the lunch.

BUILDING THE DEFENSE: How nice it would be if the state of Arkansas produced a handful of Parade All-American high school defensive stars or Rivals 4- and 5-star prospects like the states of Alabama and Louisiana have developed. Both Alabama and LSU have built their superb defenses mostly with homegrown talent. And, Donta Hightower’s case at ‘Bama, his Tennessee hometown is between Nashville and Birmingham and within an easy drive of Tuscaloosa.

Draw a circle with a 200-mile radius from Fayetteville, and do the same with Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge. Then note where many of the top high school players in the country have been produced the past five years; you’d see the disadvantage Arkansas faces in recruiting.

Within the state, Arkansas has produced just a handful of defensive players, period, in the past six years.

Petrino’s job in building a defense to match his prolific offense isn’t the same as what Les Miles and Nick Saban face. Petrino has to employ a much wider net and, if he wants a defense as dominant as LSU’s, somehow convince a half-dozen stars from other states to snub their home university and play for Arkansas instead. To be fair, LSU under Miles has extended its reach for defensive talent from east Texas to the mid-Atlantic (Sam Montgomery, for example, was one of the top prep players in South Carolina in 2009).

Arkansas’ been lucky in its past if the Hogs pulled in a couple of those playmakers occasionally. Usually, the source of that talent was Texas.

It’s no accident that Oklahoma State is ranked No. 3 in this week’s BCS poll, as much time as the Cowboys have spent recruiting Texas for 75 percent of their roster. It didn’t just start with current coach Mike Gundy.

Les Miles got things rolling in his time in Stillwater before landing the LSU job. The guy can recruit.

He’ll also eat grass, and he’ll make indecipherable declarations and surprise fans with out-of-the-norm calls. But he won’t point across the field at Nick Saban or Bobby Petrino or any other coach and curse him, fully aware that the TV camera is on him.

He also wasn’t running the score up on Arkansas early in the fourth quarter when LSU was throwing the football. Arkansas was still using run blitzes to futilely stop the LSU rushing game. We’re certain if Petrino and Arkansas had played it vanilla in the fourth quarter, Miles would have done the same.

Related posts:

Petrino upset with Miles over field goal

I remember when USC beat Arkansas 70 to 17 back in 2005. The score was 49 to 7 in the first half and USC could have made it 100 to 7 if they wanted to but they put in their subs in the 3rd quarter. However, Wally Hall said they ran up the score because […]

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 3)

Earlier I wrote about where I think Arkansas could win a national championship with just two more wins. Below is a portion of an article by Jim Harris of the website Arkansas 360: AND ON BOBBY: Schlabach, on Arkansas’ coach: “I said when he was hired that Bobby Petrino would make Arkansas a contender for […]

The most significant game in Arkansas razorback football history? (Part 2)

A few days ago it looked like we would not have the opportunity to play into the national championship game, but now all that has changed. Life is funny that way sometimes. The Arkansas News Bureau reported: “I think we’ll have the opportunity,” Bequette said. “That’s what I believe.” All we got to do is […]

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 2)

Earlier I wrote about where I think Arkansas could win a national championship with just two more wins. Below is a portion of an article by Jim Harris of the website Arkansas 360: STILL THERE’S LES AT LSU: Schlabach, in saying that LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the country, had high […]

The most significant game in Arkansas razorback football history?

Wally Hall actually said on his radio program on Nov 22, 2011 that the Arkansas v. LSU game on Nov 25, 2011 is the most significant game in razorback history. I have to respectfully disagree. I will agree that it is in the top 5, but I will start a  list today of other games […]

After blowout at Arkansas, Vols coach Dooley felt like celebration after Vandy win was warrented

I saw the end of the Tennessee/Vandy game on tv and my brother-in-law went to the game (pictures from him below). I have written about the game earlier on this blog so I will not go into that again. I just wanted to comment on the video clip above. I think it is fine that […]

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 1)

Earlier I wrote about where I think Arkansas could win a national championship with just two more wins. Below is a portion of an article by Jim Harris of the website Arkansas 360: What kind of college football polling world do we live in now that a No. 3 Arkansas could win Friday at No. […]

Mangino speaks at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 3)

Mangino at a 2007 KU basketball game Eric Mangino is a fine coach. Here is a portion of an article by Jim Harris: Jim Harris’ Notebook: Mangino Ready To Return; Big Week For Central Arkansas by Jim Harris STRANGE YEAR: Mark Mangino noted the unusual college football season, from six more more teams being in […]

Mangino speaks at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 2)

Mangino at a 2007 KU basketball game Eric Mangino is a very good speaker. Here is a portion of an article by Jim Harris: Jim Harris’ Notebook: Mangino Ready To Return; Big Week For Central Arkansas by Jim Harris 11/14/2011 at 3:37pm It’s easy for fans who don’t follow Kansas football closely to forget just […]

Johnny Majors speaks at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 12)jh80

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News of Pat Summerall’s conversion brought a smile to Tom Landry’s face jh38

  I got to ask Pat Summerall a question at the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting back in October of 2010. Summerall had pointed out that Tom Landry was the defensive coordinator and Vince Lombardi was the offensive backfield coach when he played for the Giants.  Summerall had shared how he had recovered from his […]

Auburn’s Pat Dye at Little Rock Touchdown Club on Oct 3, 2011

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Bobby Bowden’s Christian Faith (Part 5) jh28

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Little Rock Touchdown Club speaker Bobby Bowden’s testimony (Part 4) jh27

2010 idllewild baptist church bobby bowden FSU head coach speaking sermon Uploaded by backflow3908 on Feb 7, 2010 2010 exciting Idlewild baptist church Bobby Bowden guest speaker FSU head coach speaking sermon pastor ken whiten talks about faith in Jesus Christ, God. small story about his mom. __________________________________ When I attended the Little Rock Touchdown […]

Lloyd Carr speaks to Little Rock Touchdown Club

Yesterday I got to hear Lloyd Carr speak to the Little Rock Touchdown Club. Below is how the Arkansas Democrat Gazette covered it. LITTLE ROCK — Lloyd Carr coached Tom Brady at the beginning of his 13-year tenure as Michigan’s head coach and Ryan Mallett at the end. Now, Brady and Mallett are New England […]

“Tip Tuesday” Advice to Gene Simmons


Gene Simmons Family Jewels

In the sermon at Fellowship Bible Church at July 24, 2011, teaching pastor Brandon Barnard made a great point about the two choices that you have. You can walk down the pathway of purity or impurity. The pathway of impurity is both persuasive and inviting. 

Proverbs 5:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

3For the lips of a forbidden[a] woman drip honey,
   and her speech[b] is smoother than oil,

Proverbs 6:24

English Standard Version (ESV)

24to preserve you from the evil woman,[a]
   from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.[b]

Proverbs 7:10-20

English Standard Version (ESV)

  10And behold, the woman meets him,

    dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.[a]
11She is loud and wayward;
    her feet do not stay at home;
12now in the street, now in the market,
   and at every corner she lies in wait.
13She seizes him and kisses him,
   and with bold face she says to him,
14“I had to offer sacrifices,[b]
   and today I have paid my vows;
15so now I have come out to meet you,
   to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16I have spread my couch with coverings,
   colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
   aloes, and cinnamon.
18Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
   let us delight ourselves with love.
19For my husband is not at home;
   he has gone on a long journey;
20he took a bag of money with him;
   at full moon he will come home.”


After his marriage to Shannon will he be faithful? Is Gene Simmons going to continue to have affairs with other women that are evil? However, the Bible calls her an “evil woman.” What kind of future will have with an evil woman that is not your the wife of your youth?  Later in chapter 7 Solomon says, “All at once he follows her,    as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast[c 23till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare;    he does not know that it will cost him his life.27Her house is the way to Sheol,    going down to the chambers of death. ”

Related posts:

Advice to Gene Simmons Part 5, Fellowship Bible Church sermon on purity

Gene Simmons Proposes To Shannon Tweed Kiss singer/bassist Gene Simmons proposed to his longtime girlfriend Shannon Tweed in Belize recently, TMZ reports. The couple has been together 28 years and share two children, 22-year-old son Nicholas and 18-year-old daughter Sophie. Simmons popped the question on the A&E reality show ‘Gene Simmons Family Jewels,’ which has followed the life of the Simmons brood since […]

Advice to Gene Simmons Part 3, Fellowship Bible Service July 24, 2011

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Does Gene Simmons need advice? (Part 2)

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Advice for Gene Simmons

I watched with great interest the first episode of Gene Simmons show two days ago when his wife left him because of his repeated unfaithfulness. Nerve editors are divided on the subject of Chelsea Handler, by which I mean that I find her kind of funny and Ben made a barfy face when I said […]

Max Brantley versus Davy Carter, Carter is on right track

Here’s a brief video for those who want more information about the flat tax.


The Flat Tax: How it Works and Why it is Good for America

Uploaded by  on Mar 29, 2010

This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video shows how the flat tax would benefit families and businesses, and also explains how this simple and fair system would boost economic growth and eliminate the special-interest corruption of the internal revenue code.

Max Brantley loves the suggestion to raise taxes (because he thinks the government is smarter than us) and on Nov 28, 2011 (Arkansas Times Blog)  he wrote:

Roby Brock’s Talk Business has a good report on Republican Rep. Davy Carter’s plan, as chair of the House Revenue and Tax Committee, to hold hearings next year on income tax reform in Arkansas.

Unlike many others in his party, Carter understands sensible reform isn’t all about cutting. He’d like to reshape income tax brackets in a “revenue neutral” way.

That can’t be done through income tax brackets alone, as a practical political matter. It would mean a new higher bracket for the wealthy or dramatic shifting of the overall income tax burden to higher income people. That’s not what Carter has in mind, however.

TAX REFORM TALK: From Rep. Davy Carter.

  • TAX REFORM TALK: From Rep. Davy Carter.

I am glad that Davy Carter is a conservative and will not consider raising the highest tax rate in Arkansas above 7%. That is crazy for several reasons but I will mention one of the most harmful. In 1970 when Dale Bumpers raised the top income tax rate in Arkansas to 7% it did not affect many people but as time has gone by now many are having to pay that top rate. That will happen again if the liberals are allowed to raise the top rate. It is a bait and switch operation. They promised in 1970 that not many would have to pay the 7% but that is not the case now!!!!

John Brummett wrote on June 4, 2011:

If you start ranking the great governors of Arkansas, you talk about Win Rockefeller on seminal reform and on brave advancements in race relations. You talk about Dale Bumpers on raising income taxes and reorganizing government and advancing free textbooks and child immunizations and two-year community colleges.

Mike Huckabee recently moved to Florida? Why? The answer is easy. Huckabee wants to avoid Arkansas’ high state income tax. Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times wants to call Huckabee a tax fugitive, but who can blame him.

Liberals like Brantley and Ernie Dumas want to praise former Arkansas governor Dale Bumpers for raising the state income tax to 7%, but that is the reason our state has the highest state income tax in the area (all bordering states have either lower state income taxes or no state income tax).

Is it any surprise that during the last census that the seven states that do not have an income tax grew in population?Arkansas has suffered from bracket creep and in 1929 you had to make 5 times the average wage to pay any state income tax at all, but now over 66% of tax payers in Arkansas pay at least some of their income at the 7% level.

Ernie Dumas in his article “Arkansas” A tax myth-maker too,” Arkansas Times, April 13, 2011 asserts:

Until Gov. Dale Bumpers raised income-tax rates and other taxes in 1971, Arkansas had by far the lowest per-capita state and local taxes in the United States. Afterward, we were still 50th but within shouting distance of 49th.

Here are the real facts  according to Greg Kaza of the Arkansas Policy Foundation:

(June 2006) Democratic Gov. Dale Bumpers and the General Assembly raised Arkansas’ top income tax rate to “broaden the tax base” in 1971(1). Yet Arkansas’ per capita income, expressed as a percentage of the U.S. total, has barely improved, moving from 71 (1971) to 77.7 percent (2005) over the 34-year period, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 1971 income tax increase reversed a decades-long strong growth trend and left Arkansas with the highest income tax rate among bordering states (Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas).

Income Stagnation: The 1930s

One has to turn to the 1930s-the decade of the Great Depression-to find weaker income growth than in recent years.

Arkansas per capita personal income was 44 percent of the U.S. in 1929, the first year data was compiled in the BEA time series. The Great Depression started that year, and by the time it ended in 1933 Arkansas per capita income had fallen to 41 percent of the U.S. By decade’s end (1939) it had returned to 44 percent.

Growth Decades: The 1940s, 1950s & 1960s
Arkansas per capita income increased as a percentage of the U.S. in the next three decades.
In 1941, at the onset of World War II, Arkansas per capita income was 47 percent of the U.S. It was 59 percent at war’s end in 1945 and again in 1949. It was 56 percent in 1950, 62 percent a decade later in 1960, and 68 percent in 1969. If this growth rate had continued Arkansas would have exceeded 100 percent of the U.S. average in the current decade (2000-2009).

To summarize, Arkansas per capita income increased from 44 to 71 percent of the U.S. total between 1939 and 1971.

Anemic Income Growth (1971-2005)

The trend in recent decades is anemic growth in Arkansas per capita personal income. Fiscal policy changes affect economic behavior with a time lag. Arkansas per capita income was 71 percent of the U.S. in 1971 and 76 percent in 1973. Income growth stagnated for the rest of the decade, reaching 77 percent of the U.S. in 1979. It fell to 75 percent in 1989, and was 76 percent in 1999. Today, Arkansas per capita income, at 77.7 percent of the U.S., is barely above its high point of the 1970s.

Recently I read the report “A short history and recent trends in the Arkansas income tax,” by Richard Sims, Arkansas Business and Economic Review, December 22, 1993 and here is a portion of it:


Since its introduction in 1929, Arkansas‘ statutory income tax structure has changed very little. However, due to changes in the economy and in inflation, the real effects of that tax structure have changed substantially. This report looks at the effects that rising incomes and inflation have had on the Arkansas income tax structure. In addition, the report looks at the changing profile of Arkansas taxpayers in recent years, and provides a brief comparison ofArkansas taxes in relation to other states and the federal tax system.

Arkansas‘ Income Tax Structure: Original and Revised

In 1929 Arkansas became 12th among the states to adopt an individual income tax. The structure contained five rates and net income brackets with a top rate of five percent applying to net income over $25,000. That original structure remained in place until 1971 when a new middle-income bracket was added and the rate on net income over $25,000 was increased to 7.0 percent. The rates and brackets revised in 1971 remain in place today. The 1929 original and the revised current tax structure are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Arkansas Individual Income Tax Structure

 1929 Original Net Income Rate first $3,000 1.0% 
next$3,001 to $6,000  2.0% 
next$6,001 to $11,000 3.0% 
next $11,001 to $25,000  4.0% 
over $25,000 5.0% 
1971 Revision (Current) 
Net Income Rate first $2,999 1.0%
 next$3,000 to $5,999 2.5% 
next$6,000 to $8,999 3.5% 
next$9,000 to $14,999 4.5% 
next $15,000 to $24,999 6.0%
 over $25,000 7.0% 

Source: Arkansas Legislative Tax Handbook, 1992, Bureau of Legislative Research.

In 1975, the earliest year for which records on income tax collections by income group is available, only the top 4.0 percent of Arkansas taxpayers would have had any of their income subjected to the top 7.0 percent rate. By 1991, around 66.0 percent of the state’s taxpayers would have had some of their income subjected to this top rate–a rate once reserved for only the highest income earners.

The 1929 tax structure provided for exemptions of $1,500 for a single person and $2,500 for married individuals. In 1947 the state raised the exemption to $2,500 for singles and $3,500 for married persons. In 1957 the personal exemption was converted to a credit of $17.50 for singles and $35.00 for married persons. In 1987 the credits were increased to $20 per person. Finally, in 1991, low income Arkansans were exempted from paying income tax if their gross income did not exceed $5,500 for an individual or $10,000 for a married couple. For most taxpayers, the $20.00 credit remains in effect today.

The Value of Exemptions as a Share of Per Capita Income

Table 2 shows how the value of the personal tax exemption or credit has diminished over time. The figures shown represent the personal exemption or credit for a single individual as a ratio of the per capita personal income in the year in which the credit was first enacted. In 1929, for instance, an individual would have been exempted from any tax until their income reached a level which was equal to 490 percent of the Arkansas per capita income for that year. In 1947 with the first statutory change in the exemption, that individual would have still been exempted up to an amount equal to 340 percent of the per capita income level. By 1957 the value of the exemption (which was changed to a tax credit that year) had declined substantially, falling to 130 percent of per capita income. At the time of the next change in the personal credit (1987), the value of that credit was only 17 percent of the per capitaincome level. For most taxpayers (all those not officially classified as low income) in 1992, the value of the personal credit was only 13 percent of per capita income.

Table 2 Personal Exemptions and Credits As a Percent of Per Capita Income

 Arkansas Year of Value of Per Capita Enactment ExemptionIncome Ratio 1929 $1,500 $ 308 490% 19472,500 737 340% 19571,6001,247 130% 19872,000 11,980 17% 19922,000 15,439 13% 

Source: Arkansas Legislative Tax Handbook, 1992, Bureau of Legislative Research; Per capita personal income data is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, unpublished data, April, 1993.

In other words, whereas in the first year of enactment of the income tax, the personal exemption would have allowed an Arkansan to earn almost five times the average per capita income before paying any tax.

Little Jimmy Dickens: The oldest living member of the original Grand Ole Opry

Dickens performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 2004

Little Jimmy Dickens: The oldest living member of the original Grand Ole Opry

From Wikipedia:

James Cecil Dickens (born December 19, 1920), better known as Little Jimmy Dickens, is an American country music singer famous for his humorous novelty songs, his small size, 4’11” (150 cm), and his rhinestone-studded outfits. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 60 years and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Born in Bolt, West Virginia, Dickens, who is related to Charles Dickens, began his musical career in the late 1930s, performing on a local radio station while attending West Virginia University. He soon quit school to pursue a full-time music career, and travelled the country performing on various local radio stations under the name “Jimmy the Kid.”

In 1948, Dickens was heard performing on a radio station in Saginaw, Michigan by Roy Acuff, who introduced him to Art Satherly at Columbia Records and officials from the Grand Ole Opry. Dickens signed with Columbia in September and joined the Opry in August. Around this time he began using the nickname, Little Jimmy Dickens, inspired by his short stature.

Dickens recorded many novelty songs for Columbia, including “Country Boy,” “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed” and “I’m Little But I’m Loud.” His song “Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)” inspired Hank Williams to nickname him “Tater”. Later, telling Jimmy he needed a hit, Williams penned “Hey Good Lookin’” specifically for Dickens in only 20 minutes while on a Grand Ole Opry tour bus. A week later Williams cut the song himself, jokingly telling him, “That song’s too good for you!”

In 1950 he formed the Country Boys with musicians Jabbo Arrington, Grady Martin, Bob Moore and Thumbs Carllile and. It was during this time that he discovered future Hall of Famer Marty Robbins at a Phoenix, Arizona television station while on tour with Grand Ole Opry road show. In 1957, Dickens left the Grand Ole Opry to tour with the Philip Morris Country Music Show.

In 1962 Dickens released “The Violet and the Rose,” his first top ten single in 12 years. During 1964 he became the first country artist to circle the globe while on tour, and also made numerous TV appearances including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In 1965 he released his biggest hit, “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,” reaching number one on the country chart and number fifteen on the pop chart.

In the late 1960s he left Columbia for Decca Records, before moving again to United Artists in 1971. That same year he married his wife, Mona, and in 1975 he returned to the Grand Ole Opry. In 1983 Dickens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He joined producers Randall Franks and Alan Autry for the In the Heat of the Night cast CD “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” performing “Jingle Bells” with the cast on the CD released on Sonlite and MGM/UA for one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers.

Recently, Dickens has made appearances in a number of music videos by fellow country musician and West Virginia native Brad Paisley. He has also been featured on several of Paisley’s albums in bonus comedy tracks along with other Opry mainstays such as George Jones and Bill Anderson. They are collectively referred to as the Kung-Pao Buckaroos.

With the passing of Hank Locklin in March 2009, Dickens became the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 90. He still makes regular appearances as a host at the Opry, often with the self-deprecating joke that he is also known as “Willie Nelson after taxes.” At the 2011 CMA Awards, Jimmy was dressed up as Justin Bieber, and made fun of Bieber’s recent paternity scandal.

Conway Twitty (Left), Little Jimmy Dickens (Center) and Sammi Smith clown around while performing at the Mid-South Coliseum on November 2, 1968.  Ms Smith is a member of the Waylon Jennings group.

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

Conway Twitty (Left), Little Jimmy Dickens (Center) and Sammi Smith clown around while performing at the Mid-South Coliseum on November 2, 1968. Ms Smith is a member of the Waylon Jennings group.

Birth name James Cecil Dickens
Also known as Little Jimmy Dickens
Born December 19, 1920 (1920-12-19) (age 90)
Origin Bolt, West Virginia,
United States
Genres Country
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1936 – Present
Labels Columbia Records, Decca Records, United Artists Records