Monthly Archives: November 2011

Grover Norquist is right, Brantley is wrong

Max Brantley went on another tyrade about raising taxes instead of cutting spending (“How to raise taxes,” Arkansas Times Blog, November 28, 2011). However, spending is the main problem and it appears that Democrats do not want to cut a dime. Instead, they blame Glover Norquist for all their problems.

Does Norquist deserve all the blame? Charles Krauthammer set the record straight below:

The Grover Norquist myth

Charles KrauthammerNovember 28, 2011

WASHINGTON — Democrats are unanimous in charging that the debt-reduction supercommittee collapsed because Republicans refused to raise taxes. Apparently, Republicans are in the thrall of one Grover Norquist, the anti-tax campaigner, whom Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called “the 13th member of this committee without being there.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid helpfully suggested “maybe they should impeach Grover Norquist.”

With that, Norquist officially replaces the Koch brothers as the great malevolent manipulator that controls the republic by pulling unseen strings on behalf of the plutocracy.

Nice theory. Except for the following facts:

•Sen. Tom Coburn last year signed on to the Simpson-Bowles tax reform that would have increased tax revenue by $1 trillion over a decade.

•During the debt-ceiling talks, House Speaker John Boehner agreed to an $800 billion revenue increase as part of a Grand Bargain.

•Supercommittee member Pat Toomey, a Club for Growth Republican, proposed increasing tax revenue by $300 billion as part of $1.2 trillion in debt reduction.

Leading, very conservative Republicans proposing tax increases. So why does the myth of the Norquist-controlled anti-tax monolith persist? You might suggest cynicism and perversity. Let me offer a more benign explanation: thickheadedness. Democrats simply can’t tell the difference between tax revenue and tax rates.

In deficit reduction, all that matters is tax revenue. The holders of our national debt care not a whit what tax rates yield the money to pay them back. They care about the sum.

The Republican proposals raise revenue, despite lowering rates, by opening a gusher of new income for the Treasury in the form of loophole elimination. For example, the Toomey plan eliminates deductions by $300 billion more than the reduction in tax rates “cost.” Result: $300 billion in new revenue.

The Simpson-Bowles commission — appointed by President Barack Obama and endorsed by Coburn — used the same formula. Its tax reform would lower tax rates at a “cost” of $1 trillion a year while eliminating loopholes that deprive the Treasury of $1.1 trillion a year. This would leave the Treasury with an excess — i.e., new tax revenue — of $100 billion a year, or $1 trillion over a decade.

Raising revenue through tax reform is better than simply raising rates, which Democrats insist upon with near religious fervor. It is more economically efficient because it eliminates credits, carve-outs and deductions that grossly misallocate capital. And it is more fair because it is the rich who can afford not only the sharp lawyers and accountants who exploit loopholes but the lobbyists who create them in the first place.

Yet the Democrats, who flatter themselves as the party of fairness, are instead obsessed with raising tax rates on the rich as a sign of civic virtue. This is perverse in three ways:

1) Raising rates gratuitously slows economic growth, i.e., expansion of the economic pie for everyone, by penalizing work and by retaining inefficiency-inducing loopholes.

2) We’re talking pennies on the dollar. Obama’s coveted Bush tax cut repeal would yield the Treasury, at the very most, $80 billion a year — offsetting 2 cents on the dollar of government spending ($3.6 trillion).

3) Hiking tax rates ignores the real drivers of debt, which, as Obama himself has acknowledged, are entitlements.

Has the president ever publicly proposed a single significant structural change in any entitlement? After Simpson-Bowles reported? No. In his February budget? No. In his April 13 budget “framework”? No. During the debt-ceiling crisis? No. During or after the supercommittee deliberations? No.

As regarding the supercommittee, Obama was AWOL — then immediately pounced on its failure by going on TV to repeat his incessantly repeated campaign theme of the do-nothing (Republican) Congress.

A swell slogan that fits nicely with the Norquist myth. Except for another inconvenient fact: It is the Republicans who passed — through the House, the only branch of government they control — a real budget that cut $5.8 trillion of spending over the next 10 years. Obama’s February budget, which would have increased spending, was laughed out of the Senate, voted down 97-0. As for the Democratic Senate, it has submitted no budget at all for 2 1/2 years.

Who, then, is do-nothing? Republicans should happily take on this absurd, and central, Democratic campaign plank. Bring Simpson-Bowles to the House floor and pass the most radical of its three deficit-reduction alternatives.

Dare the Senate Democrats to vote down the grandest of all bargains. Dare Obama to veto his own debt commission. Dare the Democrats to actually do something about debt.

Washington Post Writers Group

Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist based in Washington.

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 123)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below:

Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

On May 11, 2011,  I emailed to this above address and I got this email back from Senator Pryor’s office:

Please note, this is not a monitored email account. Due to the sheer volume of correspondence I receive, I ask that constituents please contact me via my website with any responses or additional concerns. If you would like a specific reply to your message, please visit This system ensures that I will continue to keep Arkansas First by allowing me to better organize the thousands of emails I get from Arkansans each week and ensuring that I have all the information I need to respond to your particular communication in timely manner.  I appreciate you writing. I always welcome your input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you in the future.

Therefore, I went to the website and sent this email below:

Here are a few more I just emailed to him myself:

Balance the budget by 2014 without raising taxes. Budget deficits are merely a symptom of two larger problems: a sluggish economy and runaway spending. Restoring economic growth requires low tax rates, and runaway spending is the most dangerous threat to pro-growth tax relief. Balancing the budget with spending cuts will improve the country’s ability to deal with the massive Social Security and Medicare liabilities that will come due when the baby boomers retire.

  • Under President Obama’s budget, Washington is projected to spend $3,618 billion, raise $2,118 billion, and run a $1,500 billion deficit in 2010.
  • Tax revenues strongly correlate with economic growth. The recession is chiefly responsible for collapsing revenues.
  • Spending has increased 19 percent faster than inflation since 2008.
  • The projected $1,500 billion budget deficit represents a post–World War II record 10.3 percent of GDP. More than 41 cents of every dollar Washington spends in 2010 will be borrowed

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 12)


“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 12)

This is “Music Monday” and I always look at a band with some of their best music. I am currently looking at Coldplay’s best songs. Here are a few followed by another person’s preference.

My son Hunter Hatcher’s 9th favorite Coldplay song is “Clocks.” Hunter noted, “Best piano drive i’ve ever heard. Steady yet not over done. And the follow of the off beat drums is a perfect fit.”

Here are the 11 Best Coldplay Songs:

1. Don’t Panic (Parachutes)
2. Clocks (A Rush of Blood To The Head)
3. Easy To Please (Brothers and Sisters)
4. Talk (X&Y)
5. Spies (Parachutes)
6. White Shadows (X&Y)
7. Things I Don’t Understand (B-Side)
8. Green Eyes (A Rush of Blood To The Head)
9. Speed of Sound (X&Y)
10. The Scientist (A Rush of Blood To The Head)
11. Sparks (Parachutes)

Related posts:

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 4)

Dave Hogan/ Getty Images This is “Music Monday” and I always look at a band with some of their best music. I am currently looking at Coldplay’s best songs. Here are a few followed by another person’s preference: For the 17th best Coldplay song of all-time, Hunter picks “42.” He notes, “You thought you might […]

Documentary on Coldplay (Part 2)

The best band in the world. Below I have linked some articles I have earlier about the search for meaning in life the band seems to involved in. Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion formed Coldplay in 1996 while going to University in London. The young band quickly established themselves in the […]

Review of New Coldplay song with video clip

I am presently involved in the counting down of the best Coldplay songs of all time, but I am also in a series here reviewing the upcoming songs on Coldplay’s new cd that will be released soon. Here is a review from Rolling Stone: Coldplay Debut new song ‘Charlie Brown’ June 6, 2011 Coldplay debuted […]

Documentary on Coldplay (Part 1, the song “Yellow” featured)

Great documentary on Coldplay. I have written a lot on Coldplay the last few years and I see something spiritually happening with the group as they continue to search for a deeping meaning in life. Coldplay Max Masters – Part 1 of 7 Uploaded by thepostbox on May 6, 2009 The ASTRA Award winning music documentary […]

“Woody Wednesday” Will Allen and Martin follow same path as Kansas to Christ?

Several members of the 70′s band Kansas became committed Christians after they realized that the world had nothing but meaningless to offer. It seems through the writings of both Woody Allen and Chris Martin of Coldplay that they both are wrestling with the issue of death and what meaning does life bring. Kansas went through […]

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 3)

 This is “Music Monday” and I always look at a band with some of their best music. I am currently looking at Coldplay’s best songs. Here are a few followed by another person’s preference:   Hunter has chosen the song “Viva La Vida” as his number 18 pick. Hunter noted, “The violin synth is a […]

Review of New Coldplay songs (video clip too)

Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall Published on Jun 28, 2011 by ColdplayVEVO The new single, taken from Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall EP (featuring two more new tracks). Download it from Music video by Coldplay performing Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall. (P) 2011 The copyright in this audiovisual recording is owned by […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 4 “The Reformation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970’s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer makes three key points concerning the Reformation: “1. Erasmian Christian humanism rejected by Farel. 2. Bible gives needed answers not only as to how to be right with God, but concerning the meaning of life and what is right and what is wrong, and concerning mankind and nature. 3. The people of the Reformation did not have humanism’s problem, because the Bible gives a unity between God—as the ultimate universal—and the individual things.” What a great difference this made in the world!!!


A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part1)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 2)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 3)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 4)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 5)

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

10 Worldview and Truth

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

E P I S O D E 4

T h e


I. The Reformation as a Reaction Against Medieval Religious Distortions of the Biblical and Early Christian Church’s Teaching

A. Illustration from Luther.

B. Luther—German; Zwingli—Zürich; Thomas Cromwell—England; Calvin—Geneva.

C. Biblical view of salvation (grace only) and its effect on certain aspects of church construction.

D. Real meaning of destruction of artwork in Reformation.

E. The Reformation rejected.

1. Medieval distortion of Church’s having made its authority equal to the authority of the Bible.

2. Medieval distortion of Church’s having added human works to the finished work of Christ for salvation.

3. Medieval distortion introduced by Aquinas: mixture of biblical thinking and pagan thought.

F. Summary of humanistic influence in church.

1. Illustrated by Raphael’s School of Athens and Disputà.

2. Illustrated by Michelangelo’s making pagan prophetesses equal to Old Testament prophets in Sistine Chapel.

G. For William Farel and the other Reformers it was the Scriptures only.

1. Erasmian Christian humanism rejected by Farel.

2. Bible gives needed answers not only as to how to be right with God, but concerning the meaning of life and what is right and what is wrong, and concerning mankind and nature.

3. The people of the Reformation did not have humanism’s problem, because the Bible gives a unity between God—as the ultimate universal—and the individual things.

4. The Reformation was no golden age, but it did aspire to depend on the Bible in all of life.

II. The Reformation and the Arts

A. German Reformation music tradition peaks in Bach.

B. Significance of Cranach’s and Luther’s friendship.

C. Dürer’s identification with Luther evidenced in his diary; significance of his work.

D. Rembrandt’s paintings show that he understood that his sins had sent Christ to the cross, and that Christ is the Lord of all of life.

E. Point is not to romanticize Reformation art but refute view that reformation was either hostile to art and culture, or did not produce art and culture.

F.Wittenberg Gesangbuch , Geneva Psalter, and revival of congregational singing.

III. Comparison of Renaissance and Reformation.

Both sought freedom. In the South license resulted from lack of absolutes; in the North freedom lasted through absolutes.


1. Can you clearly differentiate between the key ideas of the Renaissance and the Reformation, respectively?

2. “The Reformation is simply the last gasp of medieval Christianity. Once exhausted, the truly modern and humane force of the Renaissance dominated the West.” Comment.

3. “As a man thinketh, so is he”—the renewed emphasis upon the Bible’s teaching in the Reformation had practical results. If some of these results are no longer common among us, how far may this be attributed to a de-emphasis upon biblical teaching today?

Key Events and Persons

Erasmus: c. 1466-1536

Dürer: 1471-1528

Lucas Cranach: 1472-1553

Martin Luther: 1483-1546

Farel: 1489-1565

Johann Walther: 1496-1570

Calvin: 1509-1564

Erasmus’ Greek New Testament: 1516

Luther’s 95 Thesis: 1517

Reform at Zürich: 1523

Wittenberg Gesangbuch: 1524

England breaks with Rome: 1534

Calvin’s Institutes: 1536

Geneva Psalter: 1562

Rembrandt: 1606-1669

Raising of the Cross: 1633

Bach: 1685-1750

Related posts:

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 1 0   Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode X – Final Choices 27 min FINAL CHOICES I. Authoritarianism the Only Humanistic Social Option One man or an elite giving authoritative arbitrary absolutes. A. Society is sole absolute in absence of other absolutes. B. But society has to be […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 9 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IX – The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence 27 min T h e Age of Personal Peace and Afflunce I. By the Early 1960s People Were Bombarded From Every Side by Modern Man’s Humanistic Thought II. Modern Form of Humanistic Thought Leads […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 8 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VIII – The Age of Fragmentation 27 min I saw this film series in 1979 and it had a major impact on me. T h e Age of FRAGMENTATION I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 7 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason I am thrilled to get this film series with you. I saw it first in 1979 and it had such a big impact on me. Today’s episode is where we see modern humanist man act […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 6 “The Scientific Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 6 How Should We Then Live 6#1 Uploaded by NoMirrorHDDHrorriMoN on Oct 3, 2011 How Should We Then Live? Episode 6 of 12 ________ I am sharing with you a film series that I saw in 1979. In this film Francis Schaeffer asserted that was a shift in […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 5 How Should We Then Live? Episode 5: The Revolutionary Age I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Francis Schaeffer noted, “Reformation Did Not Bring Perfection. But gradually on basis of biblical teaching there […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 4 “The Reformation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IV – The Reformation 27 min I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer makes three key points concerning the Reformation: “1. Erasmian Christian humanism rejected by Farel. 2. Bible gives needed answers not only as to […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance”

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance” Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 3) THE RENAISSANCE I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer really shows why we have so […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 2 “The Middle Ages” (Schaeffer Sundays)

  Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 2) THE MIDDLE AGES I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer points out that during this time period unfortunately we have the “Church’s deviation from early church’s teaching in regard […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 1) THE ROMAN AGE   Today I am starting a series that really had a big impact on my life back in the 1970′s when I first saw it. There are ten parts and today is the first. Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why […]

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY

The opening song at the beginning of this episode is very insightful. Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis This crucial series is narrated by the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer and former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop. Today, choices […]

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 1) ABORTION OF THE HUMAN RACE

It is not possible to know where the pro-life evangelicals are coming from unless you look at the work of the person who inspired them the most. That person was Francis Schaeffer.  I do care about economic issues but the pro-life issue is the most important to me. Several years ago Adrian Rogers (past president of […]

Jason Whitten’s Christian testimony

Oh my gosh! Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten takes down Melissa Kellerman after being forced out of bounds at the game in Arlington, TexasOh my gosh! Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten takes down Melissa Kellerman after being forced out of bounds at the game in Arlington, Texas
A lot of people got a big laugh out of the November 24, 2011 Thanksgiving game between Dallas and Miami when Jason Whitten caught a pass and ran out of bounds and knocked down a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. It was funny because she got up laughing and was not hurt.
Close-up: Miss Kellerman, a student originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, has been a cheerleader in the squad for four yearsClose-up: Miss Kellerman, a student originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, has been a cheerleader in the squad for four years.
One thing that is not a laughing matter to Jason Whitten is his committment to Christ. Above the video clip shows his testimony followed by this article below by Baptist Press.
DALLAS (BP)–Jason Witten remembers the pain.The Dallas Cowboys tight end remembers the screaming, the confusion and all the other terrible consequences of domestic violence. He doesn’t want others to experience what he did growing up. So he’s doing something about it.While many NFL players occasionally throw a requisite bone to charities to satisfy their team’s public relations staff, Witten is the rare breed who cherishes self-sacrifice. He devotes untold hours to a myriad of different organizations, mostly involving children, the underprivileged and survivors of shattered homes. He also recently started his own foundation, S.C.O.R.E., which supports families in crisis.

“I’m trying to break the cycle of family violence,” Witten told BPSports, the sports website of Baptist Press, on the Web at

Witten, 26, a six-year Cowboys veteran and one of the best tight ends in the NFL, grew up with an abusive father in the greater Washington, D.C., area. When Jason was 11, his mother relocated Jason and her two other sons to Elizabethton, Tenn., to live with her father, Dave Rider. Jason saw a model of true biblical manhood from Rider, who was also his football coach at Elizabethton High School. Eventually, Jason’s mother, Kim, became a Christian as well.

“It’s amazing how God works in our lives,” said Witten, whose Cowboys finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs this season.

Even though his NFL career consumes much of his life, Witten’s spiritual calling is never far from his mind. He launched S.C.O.R.E. (which stands for “Support, Community, Overcome, Rebuild, Educate”) in December 2007 to assist several nonprofit organizations in Texas and Tennessee in preventing domestic abuse and helping victims recover.

The foundation’s first event, a Christmas party at a family entertainment park, raised support for 30 clients of The Family Place, a domestic violence shelter in the Dallas area. In September, thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Allstate Foundation, Witten teamed with the Texas Council on Family Violence to make a public service announcement to air on TV.

Witten has been active in charitable work since his first NFL season. As a member of the 2003 Cowboys Rookie Club, he made visits to various Dallas-area charities. He also is involved with the Salvation Army, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the United Way, and each summer he runs a large youth football camp in Elizabethton. In 2007, he was one of four finalists for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Witten placed his faith in Christ as a 10th-grader during a Fellowship of Christian Athletes retreat in Nashville. He and his wife Michelle have been married five years and attend Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. Witten admits he has learned much from Michelle and the godly family she was raised in — a luxury he didn’t have as a child.

“My wife is so strong in her faith and is such a follower of Christ,” he said. “Having her beside me encourages me. It’s neat to experience the [Christian] walk with her.”

The Wittens have two young boys, C.J. and Cooper, who inspire Jason to be the kind of father figure he lacked early on. They also provide living proof of the benefits of a loving family structure, which he is trying to support through his foundation.

“It’s about being a man and a role model,” said Witten, who says he holds no grudge against his father. “We take in not just the mothers involved [in domestic abuse] but the children affected by it. That’s something we’re really active in, and also underprivileged children as a whole. God has blessed me enough to do it because of the game I play.”

A can’t-miss prospect since high school, the 6-foot-5, 266-pound Witten played linebacker and defensive end before finding his calling at tight end at the University of Tennessee, where he earned All-Southeastern Conference honors as a junior after setting single-season school records in catches (39) and receiving yards (493).

The Cowboys drafted him in the third round (69th overall) after his junior year, and his career has since been on a Hall of Fame trajectory. He has averaged 918 yards and nearly five touchdowns a season since 2004. In 2007, he enjoyed a career year with first-team All-Pro numbers. His 96 catches and 1,145 receiving yards established Cowboys records, while his seven touchdowns marked a career high.

“I was very humbled by it because there are so many great tight ends,” Witten said. “It was obviously a great experience … because you put so much effort in it, and to see it pay off….” He also spread the credit around, noting, “I have a lot of great players around me.”

Witten enjoyed another sterling year last season, with 79 catches for 952 yards and four touchdowns en route to his fifth straight Pro Bowl appearance. All this comes despite a broken rib he suffered in Week 8, an ankle sprain in Week 16, and the media circus surrounding teammate Terrell Owens’ alleged complaint in mid-December that Witten and quarterback Tony Romo were scheming plays to deny Owens the ball.

While the offseason will provide time to reflect on his accomplishments, Witten is more intent to do some ongoing introspection as a follower of Christ.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be at. I fall every day. It’s the challenge of being closer to God. I need to grow every day, and I believe I am.”
Joshua Cooley, a regular contributor to BPSports (, writes from his home in Germantown, Md.

We got to control spending or we will end up like Europe

Great article below:

Europe’s Disaster Is Headed Our Way

Nov 14, 2011 12:00 AM EST


As an author who has just published a book on the crisis of Western civilization, I couldn’t really have asked for more: simultaneous crises in Athens and Rome, the cradles of the West’s law, languages, politics, and philosophy.

So why should Americans care about any of this? The first reason is that, with American consumers still in the doldrums of deleveraging, the United States badly needs buoyant exports if its economy is to grow at anything other than a miserably low rate. And despite all the hype about trade with the Chinese, U.S. exports to the European Union are nearly three times larger than to China.

Until March, it seemed as if exports to Europe were on an upward trajectory. But the euro-zone crisis has stopped that. Governments that ran up excessive debts have seen their borrowing costs explode. Unable to devalue their currencies, they’ve been forced to adopt austerity measures—cutting spending or hiking taxes—in a vain effort to reduce their deficits. The result has been Depression economics: shrinking economies and unemployment rates approaching 20 percent.

As a result, according to the new president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, a “double dip” recession in Europe is now all but inevitable. And that’s lousy news for U.S. exporters targeting the EU market.

But there’s more. Europe’s problem is not just that governments are overborrowed. There are an unknown number of European banks that are effectively insolvent if their holdings of government bonds are “marked to market”—in other words, valued at their current rock-bottom market prices. In our interconnected financial world, it would be very odd indeed if no U.S. institutions were affected by this. Just as European institutions once loaded up on assets backed with subprime U.S. mortgages, so most big U.S. banks have at least some exposure to euro-zone bonds or banks. One institution—MF Global, run by former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine—just blew up because of its highly levered euro bets. Others are biting their fingernails because it is suddenly far from clear that the credit-default swaps they have bought as insurance against, say, a Greek default are worth the paper they are written on.

But the third reason Americans should care about Europe is more important even than the risk of a renewed financial crisis. It is the danger that what is happening in Europe today could ultimately happen here. Just a few months ago, almost nobody was worried about Italy’s vast debt, which amounts to 121 percent of GDP. Then suddenly panic set in, and Italy’s borrowing costs exploded from 3.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Today the U.S. gross federal debt stands at around 100 percent of GDP. Four years ago it was 62 percent. By 2016 the International Monetary Fund forecasts it will be 115 percent. Economists who should know better insist that this is not a problem because, unlike Italy, the United States can print its own money at will. All that means is that the U.S. reserves the right to inflate or depreciate away its debt. If I were a foreign investor—and half the debt in public hands is held by foreigners—I would not find that terribly reassuring. At some point I might demand some compensation for that risk in the form of … higher rates.

Athens, Rome, Washington … The shortest route from imperial capital to tourist destination is precisely this death spiral of debt.

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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University and a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His Latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, will be published in November.

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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 they threw a pass in the 4th quarter. At the time I said that what Arkansas needed to do was build a championship team and take care of USC on the field. Complaining about the other team scoring does no good. It seemed to me that the same thing happened yesterday between Petrino and Miles.

A little story about that game in LA between USC and Arkansas. My friend Sherwood Haisty had recently moved out there and he got a ticket to the game. After USC scored on the opening drive, Arkansas was able to tie the score 7 to 7 and my friend called me from the stadium. We rejoiced together that Arkansas was rising to the occasion. However, needless the say, that was the last time we visited on the phone that night.

I am disappointed that we lost but we should not be unrealistic. I personally was pleased that in Houston Nutt’s 10 years that we actually were SEC West Champs three times. In November in 1998 and 2006 we were still in the national championship conversation. Last year we were leading #1 Alabama in the 4th quarter and the same could be said about our game with eventual national champ Auburn. This year we played ourselves into position to possibly win the national title by the time we had finished the first 11 games this year. I am very proud of our razorbacks.


Below is from Orlando newspaper:

Bobby Petrino, Les Miles have a testy postgame handshake | Video
SEC, college football— posted by matt murschel on November, 25 2011 7:03 PM

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is not a happy camper.

After watching his team jump out to a 14-0 lead over top-ranked LSU, the Razorbacks watched as the Tigers ran away with a 41-17 win.

With a BCS bid clearly on his mind, LSU coach Les Miles continued put the foot on the gas and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to put away Arkansas.

Petrino didn’t quite see it that way and made his point know several times during the game. So much so, that CBS announcers Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist both pointed it out during the broadcast.

At one point, Petrino pointed to Miles across the field and voiced his displeasure with what I am sure he thought was running up the score.

The postgame handshake between Miles and Petrino was short and sweet to say the least.

Picture below from Arkansas Times Blog.

The impossible dream

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The problems of the USA vs the problems of Europe

I really enjoyed this article.

Economic News We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Nov 23, 2011 11:15 PM EST


Let’s take a pause from the cascade of negativity on this day of thanks and be grateful that 90 percent of Americans have jobs—and that we’re not Europe, says Zachary Karabell.

As we turn to Thanksgiving, let us a pause for a moment and take a time-out from the storm of gloom that has descended across this land and so many others. If you pay even passing attention to politics, to the economy, to Wall Street, or to public sentiment, you know the mood is bleak. The litany of woes is well known—ranging from a sclerotic and debt-plagued Europe to a dysfunctional Congress to a possibly slowing China to high unemployment and widespread dissatisfaction with an economic system of uneven rewards. It is enough to make Agnewesque nattering nabobs of negativism proud.

The cascade of negativity, however, is starting to detach from the lived reality of many, many millions—and I don’t mean the 1 percent tucked away in gated communities surrounded by the tumbleweeds of foreclosure. There is much to be thankful for, and all is not as bad as it seems.

First, for Americans, we can be thankful that we are not Europe. This is not a gratuitous dig at European problems, which if they become much more severe will most certainly be our problems. It is, however, a recognition that the task facing Europe is much more complex than whatever challenges America faces. Americans have both the material question of how to sustain affluence and the existential one of what America is to be in a post-American world. But we do at least have one currency and one government, however inept it is. Europe is engaged in a multi-decade experiment to weave together disparate nations that share anything but a warm and fuzzy collective history, and trying to do so now under financial duress. Let us hope they succeed and give thanks that we are not them.

We can also be thankful that about 90 percent of Americans have jobs, 90 percent are current on their mortgages, and 90 percent are current on their credit-card payments. Yes, many of those jobs are poorly paid and deadening, agreed and acknowledged. But contrary to the common refrain, the vast majority of Americans take on debt they can afford, within their means, and work hard to create lives for themselves and their families. This is not a statistical portrait of a profligate people or of a nation drowning in debt.

And we can give thanks that the numerical construct called the “U.S. economy” is growing slightly rather than contracting mightily, and that unemployment remains structurally high but is not getting structurally higher. Solving a structural problem requires time and space, neither of which exists when the system is shedding jobs by the millions, as it was in 2009. While our political class has demonstrated little aptitude for addressing these issues, the American economy at least is stable, even as it remains troubled.

There are also pockets of innovation and imagination that continue to amaze and intrigue, with a particularly high concentration in Silicon Valley. Apple is only the most noticeable exemplar. And though the economic virtue of social media has yet to be demonstrated, the combination of venture capital and thousands of startup companies trying to give people the tools to reduce energy consumption or find the latest app to fit their needs is a potent one. The problem is that there aren’t more such pockets, but we at least should celebrate those we have.

We also can recognize that for the world as a whole, this remains the most robust period of wealth creation and poverty annihilation the human race has ever known. From the engine that is China to swaths of sub-Saharan Africa that are finally emerging from their decades of despair, from the favelas of Rio to the teeming apartment blocks of Mumbai to the tumultuous changes of the Arab Spring, much of the world has moved beyond the United States and Europe and is shaping its own destiny.

The vast majority of Americans take on debt they can afford, within their means, and work hard to create lives for themselves and their families.

Capitol Debt Showdown
Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo


While Americans at times seem at sea in the midst of these changes, it is a world that generations of Americans strove to create, a world where ideas, goods, and, yes, money flow relatively freely. The downside is greater systemic risk; the upside is an explosion of energy and growth. The downside is relentless pressure on wages in the affluent world and real strains on the environment; the upside is the demonstrable ease of producing food, goods, and diversion on an unprecedented scale. None of this is perfect, far from it, and we all know the problems. But we live in a dynamic era, though you wouldn’t know that listening to the grim words and watching the grim faces of the denizens of the old capitals of the world, in Washington, Berlin, Tokyo, Paris, and London.

So as financial markets roil and dance on the edge, and as the political season shines bright lights on all that ails us, as Europe engages in a slow-motion train wreck that is still likely to end well short of our worst fears, in the real world of real people, much of this is both abstract and unreal. The anxiety is ubiquitous, but most people are simply going about their lives, striving and often succeeding in a world that is far less dire than our daily dose of commentary would suggest.

Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

Zachary Karabell is president of River Twice Research and River Twice Capital. A regular commentator on CNBC and a contributing
editor for Newsweek/The Daily Beast, he is the coauthor of Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World and Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends on It.


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“Soccer Saturday” Argentina’s fancy win over Brazil

Lionel Messi saved the day once agian!

Arkansas comes up short against LSU

We were yelling our heads off at my house when raced out to a 14-0 lead, and we were excited in the 3rd quarter when the razorbacks intercepted a pass at the ten and then followed that up with a 60 yard gain a few plays later with a chance to tie the score. However, LSU rose up and stopped us inside the 10 and we had to settle for a field goal.

Still a great year and it was super to be in the national championship conversation this late in the year. Our only two losses have to the two best teams in the nation. That reminds me of 2006 when we finished 10-4 and our four losses came to teams who finished in the top 5 (USC, LSU, Wisconsin, and Florida).

Here is story from Yahoo Sports below:

No. 1 LSU powers past No. 3 Arkansas, 41-17

By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer19 minutes ago

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)—Tyrann Mathieu returned a punt 92 yards for a score, LSU punished third-rankedArkansas with 286 yards rushing, and the top-ranked Tigers secured a spot in the SEC championship game with a 41-17 victory Friday.

Kenny HilliardSpencer Ware and Jordan Jefferson all scored on the ground for LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC), which is 12-0 for the first time and will play No. 13Georgia next weekend in Atlanta.

A win over the Bulldogs would assure the Tigers their third trip to the BCS title game in nine seasons. Though at this point, LSU might be able to get there even if it loses.

Arkansas took a surprising 14-0 lead on Tyler Wilson’s TD pass to Jarius Wright and Alonzo Highsmith’s 47-yard fumble return, but LSU stormed back by scoring 41 of the next 44 points in the game.