Author Archives: Everette Hatcher III

My name is Everette Hatcher III. I am a businessman in Little Rock and have been living in Bryant since 1993. My wife Jill and I have four kids (Rett 24, Hunter 22, Murphey 16, and Wilson 14).

CELEBRATING AND REMEMBERING LITTLE ROCK NATIVE FRANK BONNER! Frank Bonner (born Frank Woodrow Boers Jr., February 28, 1942 – June 16, 2021) was an American actor and television director best known for playing sales manager Herb Tarlek on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati!

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Popular on Variety

Frank Bonner (born Frank Woodrow Boers Jr., February 28, 1942 – June 16, 2021)[1] was an American actor and television director best known for playing sales manager Herb Tarlek on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

Frank Bonner
Born
Frank Woodrow Boers, Jr.

February 28, 1942

Died June 16, 2021 (aged 79)
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1970–2014
Spouse(s)
  • Sharon Gray

    (m. 1966; div. 1971)​

  • Mary A. Rings

    (m. 1972; div. 1975)​

  • (m. 1977; div. 1980)​

  • Catherin M. Sherwood

    (m. 1981, divorced)​

  • Gayle Hardage

    (m. 2006)​

Life and careerEdit

Bonner was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of Mamie Grace, a singer, and Frank Woodrow Boers, a saxophone player.[2] Bonner started his acting career in the experimental 1967 independent film The Equinox … A Journey into the Unknown, which was re-shot and re-edited as the 1970 cult classic Equinox (credited as Frank Boers, Jr.).[2]

In 1978, Bonner was injured in a parachute accident. Bonner was being towed by a 4-wheel-drive vehicle when the ascendancy parachute he was hanging in collapsed in a freak wind at the El Mirage Dry Lake Recreational Area in 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Bonner fell 20 feet and suffered internal and back injuries.[3] This accident led to his appearance with crutches on TV, most noticeably in the WKRP in Cincinnati, season 2 episode – A Family Affair as well as an All-Star Special episode of Family Feud.

He reprised the role of Herb Tarlek in the 1991 spinoff The New WKRP in Cincinnati and in a 2004 rock video for Canadian indie rock band Rheostatics(for the song “The Tarleks”, from their album 2067).

Bonner appeared as a guest star in one episode of the sitcom Night Court in the 1980s. From 1988 to 1990, Bonner played the role of Father Hargis, headmaster of the fictional St. Augustine’s Academy, on the TV show Just the Ten of Us, which was a spin-off of Growing Pains. Bonner also appeared in one of the early episodes of the television show Newhart.

Bonner also directed several episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati as well as other TV sitcoms, including Who’s the Boss?, Head of the Class (starring WKRP alumnus Howard Hesseman), Evening Shade, Newhart and every episode of the NBC Saturday morning sitcom City Guys. Bonner also appeared in five episodes of Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and directed four episodes.

Bonner died June 16, 2021, at his home in Laguna Niguel, California, of complications from Lewy body dementia.[2]

Ned Beatty, Acclaimed Character Actor in ‘Deliverance,’ ‘Network’ and ‘Homicide: Life on the Street,’ Dies at 83

The Oscar-nominated Kentucky native also was memorable in ‘Nashville,’ ‘All the President’s Men’ and two Superman films.

Ned Beatty, who made a sparkling feature film debut in Deliverance before turning in noteworthy efforts in Nashville, Network and Homicide: Life on the Street as one of the most respected character actors of his time, has died. He was 83.

Beatty died Sunday of natural causes at his Los Angeles home, his daughter Blossom Beatty told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Kentucky native also portrayed Lily Tomlin’s good ol’ boy hustler-lawyer husband in Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975), was a slippery Miami district attorney in Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men (1976) and elicited laughs as Lex Luthor’s (Gene Hackman) bumbling sidekick Otis in Superman (1978) and its 1980 sequel.

White Lightning 1973 

I wrote about this yesterday too. 

Burt Reynolds in White Lightning

Posted on the 12 June 2013 by Nguzan

Burt Reynolds as Burt Reynolds as “Gator” McKlusky in White Lightning.

Vitals

Burt Reynolds as Bobby “Gator” McKlusky, paroled moonshine runner

Bogan County, Arkansas, Summer 1973

Background

This was the first of the “hick flicks”, a series of films that became popular in the ’70s. The story was usually the same, an anti-hero would use his muscle car to face off against a corrupt, and usually fat, Southern lawman with illegal booze as the story’s MacGuffin. Burt Reynolds himself would be associated with this subgenre, with his appearance in White Lightning, the more lighthearted sequel Gator, and the wildly popular Smokey and the Bandit. This first, 1973′s White Lightning, is the most gritty of the trio.

Additional hick flicks include low budget fare such as Macon County Line and Moonrunners, the latter of which would go on to inspire The Dukes of Hazzard.

Now, while my personal dream is to own a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T – the Dukes’ choice – the pants in that show are a little too painted-on to warrant a BAMF Style entry for my first car week series. I may give in in the future, as a Charger is a tempting vehicle to write about.

White Lightning is set in the fictional Bogan County, Arkansas, run by the corrupt sheriff J.C. Connors. Connors was played by Ned Beatty, in one of his first films since his debut a year earlier in DeliverenceThe film was shot on location in Arkansas, with many local landmarks visible on screen.

Burt plays Gator McKlusky, a former moonshine runner serving time in an Arkansas prison. His brother is killed during the opening credits by Connors, sending McKlusky on a personal mission to get even.

What’d He Wear?

After ditching his ultra-’70s white suit and polyester shirt, Gator arrives at the old McKlusky homestead in his staple outfit throughout the film, a blue work shirt and dark jeans with boots. There are slight variations on each one as the plot thickens, but the core remains the same.

Gator’s first shirt is a sky blue polyester snap-down. It is a very typical shirt as seen in these types of movies, with Western-style single-pointed shoulder yokes in the front and a rear pointed yoke. Since it is the mid-’70s, the shirt has long point collars. Not quite disco collars, but still on the large side.

A mustache-free Burt takes some getting used to.A mustache-free Burt takes some getting used to.

Burt wears the shirt with the double-snapped cuffs unfastened and rolled up his sleeves to his elbows, as he does with all of his shirts. There is a white button worn unfastened at the collar and five silver-rimmed pearl snaps down a front placket. There are two chest pockets, each with a flap that closes with a single snap.

The shirt is worn with a pair of dark blue denim jeans. They are a standard pair with five pockets and belt loops. Thankfully, they are boot cut and roomy throughout the leg. As the decade progressed and Burt slid into the role of the Bandit, jeans became tighter, lighter, and flared. I wasn’t around in the mid-’70s deep South, but I’d guess that most good ol’ boys scoffed at any man in a pair of painted-on jeans. The jeans have rounded rear pockets with a brown “X” stitched at the top corners of each pocket.

2013-06-08 02.14.19 pm s1mOh, so that’s why they call it “sky” blue!

Burt’s belt is black canvas with two prongs. There are two rows of silver-rimmed holes across the whole belt. A large silver rectangular clasp fastens the belt in the front. This is sometimes switched up for a brown or black solid leather belt, but the canvas is Gator’s go-to.

Gator wears two sets of plain-toe boots during the film as well, a black pair and a brown pair. We don’t see much of them, since Gator almost always has his jeans over them, but they appear to have button-fastened sides and travel a substantial length up each leg. Underneath, he wears a pair of white tube socks.

For a brief scene where Burt romances the middle-aged county clerk, Gator wears a dark blue polyester version of his first shirt. It is the same cut, with the snaps appearing to be more of a blue pearl, although that could just be the shading of the shirt having an effect. Like the first, he wears the top button and top snap unfastened and rolls the sleeves to his elbows. This shirt is also worn with the dark blue jeans. However, he wears the jeans with a brown leather belt with a rounded brass clasp.

WL-s2

Burt’s final shirt, worn for the final half of the film, is a blue chambray utility shirt. Unlike the others, this has buttons instead of snaps, with six blue buttons fastening down from his collar to his waist. The top button, worn unfastened, closes on an extended tab.

The last shirt has shoulder seams instead of the large Western-style yokes. It slightly resembles a darker version of a U.S. Navy utility shirt and may indicate Gator’s military history. The collars are large and soft, but not quite as imposing as those on his polyester snap-downs.

Burt, hard at work on the script for Gator.Burt, hard at work on the script for Gator.

It has two chest pockets with straight button-down flaps. Gator utilizes each pocket, keeping his cigarettes in his right and his green-covered notebook (for his “life story”) with a pencil in his left.

Gator’s jeans with the last shirt are also a different pair. They are more of a medium-dark wash with squared pockets. Thankfully, they are also a roomy boot cut. Burt wears the jeans with both his black canvas belt and a solid black leather belt. Both pairs of boots are also seen with this outfit.

Burt is pretty much attached at the hip to his car in this one. And every other movie he's made.Burt is pretty much attached at the hip to his car in this one. And every other movie he’s made.

Gator’s single accessory is a large, unexplained pinky ring, worn on his right hand. The ring is gold with a flat, square face that appears to be engraved.

Maybe the ring gives him mystical driving ability?Maybe the ring gives him mystical driving ability?

Go Big or Go Home

White Lightning, filmed in 1973, is something of an anomaly of its genre. It is what many of the later similar films of the ’70s should have been, an updated version of the Thunder Road type story. Instead, studios and family audiences stepped in the way and ruined the verisimilitude of the gritty chain-smoking whiskey runners who cursed and stole each other’s women while facing off against deadly corrupt lawmen. Instead, we were given clean-cut jokesters who let out a few “Aw, hecks” before speeding off from the bumbling sheriff who can’t seem to get his hat off the ground.

(It may seem like I’m taking a lot of digs at The Dukes of Hazzard. In fact, the show was/is a favorite of mine while growing up and I have all seven seasons on DVD. It just doesn’t quite classify as BAMF-y as White Lightning does.)

Gator does seem to break one inviolable rule of the South though: Never steal a man's gun.Gator does break one inviolable rule of the South though: Never steal a man’s gun.

Like Don Draper and many of our fathers and grandfathers, Gator is loyal to his Lucky Strike unfiltered cigarettes, always keeping a pack handy in his pocket and lighting up with a match in his downtime. He’s also not opposed to drinking, with Lone Star beer seeming to be his drink of choice.

Lone Star, the “official beer of Texas”, was first brewed by Adolphus Busch in 1884. Twenty years later, the Lone Star Brewery was built on Jones Avenue in San Antonio. It closed for Prohibition in 1918 but opened its doors instantly when the law was repealed fifteen years later. The first beer to be called “Lone Star” in its present formula was first brewed in 1940. The logo seen throughout White Lightning, boasting of the “pure artisan water”  used in the brewing process, was first printed in 1967. This would be short-lived, as the beer was acquired by Olympia Brewing Company in Washington by 1976 and, after a series of acquisitions, the Texas brewery was phased out. In 1999, Pabst purchased Lone Star and announced its re-introduction , keeping the brewing local to Texas. Now, you can again drink like Gator McKlusky with the shield-and-star logo on the Lone Star labels. However, I wouldn’t recommend his method of drinking a tall boy while driving.

Drinking in a bar is fine, though.Drinking in a bar is fine, though.

Not only was Gator a BAMF, but it goes without saying that Burt Reynolds is also. During the filming of the chase sequence that ends with Gator’s Ford flying onto floating barge, stunt driver Hal Needham accidentally landed the car just a bit too short, landing on the barge’s stern with the rear of the car dipping into the water. Burt, who had been watching from behind the camera, instantly dove into the water, swam to the barge, and helped pull Needham from the car. Needham recovered and enjoyed a long, successful partnership with Burt Reynolds, directing him in hit films such as HooperThe Cannonball RunStroker Ace, and – of course – Smokey and the Bandit. Burt paid tribute to Needham by making sure to mention him during his guest appearance on a third season episode of Archer.

How to Get the Look

Gator has a revolving wardrobe of similar clothes throughout the film. The base look is a blue snap-down long-sleeve shirt, dark jeans, black boots, and a black canvas belt.

WL-s1cropThe shirts:

  • Sky blue Western-style polyester snap-down shirt with two snap-flapped chest pockets
  • Dark blue Western-style polyester snap-down shirt with two snap-flapped chest pockets
  • Medium blue chambray button-down utility shirt with two button-flapped chest pockets

The jeans:

  • Dark wash 5-pocket boot cut denim jeans
  • Medium-dark wash 5-pocket boot cut denim jeans

Footwear:

  • Black leather boots with button-fastened sides
  • Dark brown leather boots with button-fastened sides
  • White tube socks

Other:

  • Black canvas belt with two rows of silver-rimmed holes and a large silver rectangular clasp
  • Brown leather belt with a rounded brass clasp
  • Black leather belt with a rounded silver clasp
  • Gold pinky ring with a flat, square, engraved face

Also, if you’re trying to channel Burt Reynolds, you may be tempted to wear a mustache. In 1973, Burt’s epic mustache wasn’t yet a part of his image. Sorry.

The Car

For his “mission”, the authorities give Gator a car that impresses him and us, a brown 1971 Ford Custom 500 four-door sedan with a blue interior and a 429 Police Interceptor engine. The car, as the G-men explain, is built for running moonshine and is fitted with a four-speed Hurst manual transmission and a set of Cooper Tire Wide Runner polyglas tires on black steel wheels.

I would do just about anything to spend one day as Hal Needham.I would do just about anything to spend one day as Hal Needham.

We see shots of both a four-speed manual and the three-speed column-shift automatic, which was the actual standard transmission with the ’71 Custom 500, but the film emphasizes the four-speed.

And how!And how!

At this time, most Customs and Custom 500s were fitted with either the base inline six-cylinder engine or a small-block 289 ci or 351 ci V8. If a customer, whether police or civilian, wanted a larger engine, Ford’s full range of large-block V8s, including the 427 ci and the 429 ci, were available with transmissions from overdrive and four-speed manual to the SelectShift automatic three-speed. By 1972, the three-speed SelectShift had been made standard on all V8-powered engines. 1972 was also the last year for the base Custom, with the Custom 500 continuing for a few more years, mostly for fleet sales, ending U.S. production in 1978.

One of Ford’s top-of-the-line engines in 1971 was the 429 Cobra Jet, a version of the Ford 385 engine (named for the 3.85″ crankshaft stroke). The Ford 385 was offered as a 429 ci or a 460 ci for most production cars, with additional options for trucks and utility vehicles. The engine in Gator’s Custom 500, the 429 Police Interceptor, was a slightly enhanced version of the 429 Cobra Jet with 11-1 compression. It was rated at 375 horsepower and accompanied a Holley 4-barrel carburetor. With an engine like that, averaging less than 9 mpg, the 1971 Ford Custom 500 could pass anything… except a gas station.

A day in the life.A day in the life.

1971 Ford Custom 500

Body Style: 4-door sedan

Engine: 429 cu. in. (7.0 L) Ford 385 V8 “Police Interceptor” with a Holley 4-barrel carburetor

Power: 375 bhp (279 kW)

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Wheelbase: 121 inches (2700 mm)

Length: 216.2 inches (4660 mm)

Width: 79.2 inches (1800 mm)

Interestingly, a 1971 Custom 500 was also chosen in an early episode of The Dukes of Hazzard (Episode 5, “High Octane”) as Uncle Jesse’s old moonshine runner. He fuels the car on the Dukes’ trademark whiskey and runs until he is out of gas to avoid revenue agents.

Music to Drive By

While the film’s theme song is perfect for the eerie opening, it doesn’t do much for fast driving through the dirty back roads of Arkansas. Tarantino liked it enough to use it in Inglourious Basterds though, and that film’s soundtrack is now one of the few places it can be heard.

Instead, this would be the time to listen to great tracks from the Outlaw Country movement of the ’70s, particularly led by Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson. Musicians like those guys felt country was getting too soft and wanted to bring back the authentic outlaw sound of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers.

Of course, another option would be to download Jerry Reed, a friend of Burt’s who later starred with him (in Smokey and the Bandit) and against him (in Gator), who provided plenty of music for these Southern flicks of the ’70s.

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Dan Mitchell article Everything You Need to Know about Bad Government in California

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Everything You Need to Know about Bad Government in California

California is a fascinating state for people who follow public policy. It has some immense advantages, such as climate, coastline, and natural resources.

But it also has high taxes, absurd regulations, a bloated bureaucracy, and a costly welfare state.

The net result of all these factors is mixed. There are some sectors that are still thriving, such as high tech, but there’s also evidence that the Golden State is losing ground.

And the comparative data will probably get worse over time because many taxpayers and businesses are now fleeing to lower-tax states.

Since I specialize in public finance, I’m tempted to say bad fiscal policy is California’s biggest problem. And that may actually be the case.

But if someone asks me for an example of what’s wrong with the Golden State, I’m going to direct them to this story in the Los Angeles Times.

The California Legislature on Monday approved a $100-million plan to bolster California’s legal marijuana industry, which continues to struggle to compete with the large illicit pot market nearly five years after voters approved sales for recreational use. …State officials initially expected to license as many as 6,000 cannabis shops in the first few years, but permits have been issued only for 1,086 retail and delivery firms. In 2019, industry officials estimated there were nearly three times as many unlicensed businesses as ones with state permits. …The $100 million would go to local agencies with the most provisional licenses for growing, manufacturing, distribution, testing and retail operations. Some of the money can be used by cities offering equity funding to cannabis businesses owned by people of color.

Yes, you read correctly.

The state did a smart thing (removing legal prohibitions on marijuana), but did it in the worst possible way (burdening the sector with high taxes and red tape).

As a result, there’s still a very robust black market.

Here are some additional details about how politicians and bureaucrats have made it difficult to operate a legal business.

Many cannabis growers, retailers and manufacturers have struggled to make the transition from a provisional, temporary license to a permanent one renewed on an annual basis — a process that requires a costly, complicated and time-consuming review. …some face two to four years to get through the licensing process. Many would face the prospect of shutting down, at least temporarily, if they don’t get a regular license by current state deadlines, Kiloh said. …Supporters of legalization blame the discrepancy on problems that they say include high taxes on licensed businesses, burdensome regulations… A key requirement to convert from a provisional license is to conduct a CEQA review to indicate how pot farms and other cannabis businesses will affect the surrounding water, air, plants and wildlife, and to propose ways to mitigate any harms. However, Kiloh said, some cities are just setting up ordinances and staffing to process licenses, meaning many businesses cannot meet the looming deadline. …industry officials note the money will go to a small fraction of California cities, and only those that have already decided to allow cannabis businesses. …said Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path cannabis store in Sherman Oaks. “The real problem is CEQA analysis is a very arduous process,” he added. “I think it would be good to have more reform of the licensing system instead of just putting money to it.”

Wow, provisional licenses, permanent licenses, CEQA analysis, taxes, regulations, reviews, and ordinances.

Sounds like my regulatory obstacle course.No wonder so many buyers and sellers of pot prefer the black market.

And Mr. Kiloh is correct. The solution is to deregulate, not to dump more money into the system.

No wonder California is a mess.

P.S. The late (and great) Walter Williams joking speculatedwhether California should set up East German-style border controls to prevent taxpayers from escaping.

P.P.S. There is a pro-secession group in California, though they should be careful what they wish for.

California and France have raised taxes so much that it has hurt economic growth!!!

I’ve shared some interested rankings on tax policy, including a map from the Tax Foundation showing which states have the earliest and latest Tax Freedom Days.

There’s also a depressing table showing that the United States “earns” a lowly 94th place in a ranking of business-friendly tax system.

Heck, there’s even a map showing the states with the highest wine taxes, as well as a map showing which states have the lightest and heaviest tax burdens compared to income.

So I was very interested to see this table from the Tax Foundation revealing which countries have the most punitive regimes for penalizing success.

Portugal has the dubious honor of having the most progressive (i.e., discriminatory) tax system in the developed world.

I don’t think anyone is surprised to see France in second place, though I confess that I was not expecting to see pro-reform success stories such as Chile and Canada in the top five.

And I’m totally embarrassed that the United States is #8, worse than such garden spots as Greece, Mexico, and Belgium.

Though it’s important to understand that the Tax Foundation is relying on a narrow definition of progressivity.

One way to measure and compare the progressivity of income tax codes across countries is to express the level of income at which each country’s top tax bracket applies as a multiple of that country’s average income.

That’s a useful bit of information and it shows one aspect of progressivity, but it’s also a bit misleading since it implies that the Swedish tax system (with a top tax rate of 56.7 percent) is less progressive than the Slovakian tax system (with a top tax rate of 21.7 percent).

You won’t be surprised that I think a ranking that purports to show the burden of “progressive” taxation should include the top tax rate.

Speaking of which, this is why I like the Tax Foundation’s measure of progressivity on the state level.

The…table also shows the gap between the top marginal tax rate and the marginal tax rate on $25,000 of taxable income. …Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have progressive rate structures that rise after $25,000. California, New Jersey, and Vermont have the most progressive rate structures by a wide margin.

Who could have guessed that California would be the worst state, though I’m not surprised to see New Jersey (the worst place to die) and Vermont (worst place for self reliance) have such poor ratings as well.

And is anyone even remotely shocked to see that states with no income taxes manage to avoid any problems with ‘so-called” progressivity? Not surprisingly, they also grow faster and create more jobs.

The moral of the story, at the very least, is that America needs a simple and fair flat tax.

And not the Obama or Hollande version.

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 376 (The Stooges) They have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” Featured artist is Luchita Hurtado

The Stooges

The Stooges, also known as Iggy and the Stooges, were an American rock band formed in Ann ArborMichigan in 1967 by singer Iggy Pop, guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton, and bassist Dave Alexander. Playing a raw, primitive style of rock and roll, the band sold few records in their original incarnation and gained a reputation for their confrontational performances, which often involved acts of self-mutilation by Iggy Pop.[6]

The Stooges
The Stooges performing at the Hammersmith Apollo(2010)
Background information
Also known asIggy and the Stooges, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the Psychedelic Stooges
OriginAnn ArborMichiganUnited States
GenresProto-punk garage rock[1] hard rock[2] punk rock[3] avant-punk[4]
Years active1967–1971 1972–1974 2003–2016[5]
LabelsElektra Columbia Virgin
Associated actsMC5 The Iguanas The New Order Minutemen Sonic’s Rendezvous BandDestroy All Monsters
Websitewww.iggyandthestoogesmusic.com
Past membersIggy PopScott AshetonRon AshetonDave AlexanderJames WilliamsonBill CheathamZeke ZettnerJimmy ReccaBob SheffScott ThurstonTornado TurnerSteve MackayMike WattToby Dammit

After releasing two albums—The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970)—the group disbanded briefly, and reformed with a different lineup to release Raw Power (1973) before breaking up again in 1974. The band reunited in 2003 until dissolving in 2016 following the deaths of Scott Asheton and saxophonist Steve Mackay. Ron Asheton participated in the reunion until his death in 2009.

The Stooges are widely regarded as a seminal proto-punk act.[6][7][8] The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.[9] In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them 78th on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

HistoryEdit

Formation (1967–68)Edit

Iggy Pop (born James Newell Osterberg) played drums in several Ann Arbor-area bands as a teenager, including the Iguanas and, later, the Prime Movers. The Prime Movers nicknamed Osterberg “Iggy” in reference to his earlier band.[10]

Osterberg was first inspired to form the Stooges after meeting blues drummer Sam Lay during a visit to Chicago. Upon returning to Detroit, Osterberg sought to create a new form of blues music that was not derivative of historical precedents.  Ron Asheton(guitar) and Scott Asheton (drums) and Dave Alexander (bass guitar) composed the rest of the band, with Osterberg as main singer. Osterberg became interested in Ron Asheton after seeing him perform in the Chosen Few (a covers band), believing “I’ve never met a convincing musician that didn’t look kind of ill and kind of dirty, and Ron had those two things covered!”[11] The three nicknamed Osterberg “Pop” after a local character whom Osterberg resembled.[12] Shortly after witnessing an MC5 concert in Ann Arbor, Osterberg began using the stage name Iggy Pop, a name that he has used ever since.

Though the Stooges had formed, Iggy Pop attributes two key motivating influences to move the band forward. The first was seeing the Doors perform at a homecoming dance for the University of Michigan. The second was seeing an all-girls rock band from Princeton, New Jersey called the Untouchable perform. In a 1995 interview with Bust Magazine, he relates:

The band’s 1967 debut was at their communal State Street house on Halloween night, followed by their next live gig, January 1968.[13] During this early period, the Stooges were originally billed as the “Psychedelic Stooges” at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan, and other venues, where they played with the band MC5 and others. At one of their early Grande Ballroom performances, Asheton’s guitar neck separated from the body forcing the band to stop playing during the opening song, “I Wanna Be Your Dog“.

The group’s early sound differed from their later music; critic Edwin Pouncey writes:

First two albums and first breakup (1968–71)Edit

The Stooges soon gained a reputation for their wild, primitive live performances. Pop, especially, became known for his outrageous onstage behavior—smearing his bare chest with hamburger meat and peanut butter, cutting himself with shards of glass, and flashing his genitalia to the audience. Pop is sometimes credited with the invention or popularization of stage diving.

In 1968  Elektra Records sent DJ/publicist Danny Fields to scout the MC5, resulting in contracts for both that band and the Stooges. The contracts were at different pay rates: MC5 $20,000, the Stooges $5,000, as revealed in the 2016 Jim Jarmusch film, Gimme Danger. In 1969, the band released their self-titled debut album; sales were low and it was not well-received by critics at the time.

In 1970, their second album, Fun House, was released, featuring the addition of saxophonist Steve Mackay. On June 13 of that year, television recorded the band at the Cincinnati Pop Festival. While performing the songs “T.V. Eye” and “1970”, Pop leapt into the crowd, where he was hoisted up on people’s hands, and proceeded to smear peanut butter all over his chest. In a broadcast interview at WNUR Northwestern University radio station in Evanston, Illinois in 1984, Stiv Bators of the Lords of the New Church and the Dead Boys confirmed the long-standing rumor that it was he who had provided the peanut butter, having carried a large tub from his home in Youngstown, OH and handing it up to Iggy from the audience.

Fun House was also poorly received by critics and the general public. Alexander was dismissed in August 1970 after arriving at the Goose Lake International Music Festival too drunk to play.[15] He was replaced by a succession of new bass players, including former roadie Zeke Zettner[16] and James Recca. Around this time, the band expanded their line-up by adding a second guitar player, roadie Bill Cheatham,[10] who was eventually replaced by James Williamson, a childhood friend of the Ashetons and Alexander.

By this time, the Stooges, with the notable exception of Ron Asheton,[10][17] had all become serious heroinusers. The drug was introduced to the band by new manager John Adams.[10] Their performances became even more unpredictable, and Pop often had trouble standing up on stage due to his extreme drug abuse. Elektra soon eliminated the Stooges from its roster, and the band had a hiatus for several months. The final line-up was Pop, the Asheton brothers, Recca and Williamson.[10]

The breakup of the Stooges was formally announced on 9 July 1971.[18]

Raw Power and second breakup (1972–74)Edit

With the band having broken up, Pop met David Bowie on 7 September 1971 at Max’s Kansas City,[17][18] and the pair instantly became good friends. The next day, on the advice of Bowie, Pop signed a recording contract with pop music manager Tony DeFries‘ company, MainMan. A few months later, Tony DeFries and Pop met Clive Davis from CBS/Columbia Records and got a two-album recording deal.[18] In March 1972, DeFries brought Pop and Williamson to the UK,[18] and the pair attempted to reconstitute the Stooges with British musicians, but finding no suitable additions, brought the Asheton brothers back into the band (this “second choice” decision rankled Ron Asheton, as did his change from guitar to bass). This line-up, billed as Iggy & the Stooges, recorded their third album, the influential Raw Power, which was released in 1973.

At the time, the album (which showcased Williamson’s intensely melodic solos and chromatic riffs, in contrast to Asheton’s minimalistic, groove-oriented approach) was criticized by diehard fans who said that Bowie had mixed it poorly (in subsequent years, various unofficial fan recordings were assembled and released as the album Rough Power; in 1997, the album was re-mixed by Iggy Pop and re-released). Although the album sold rather poorly and was regarded as a commercial failure at the time of its release, Raw Power would go on to become one of the cornerstones of early punk rock.

With the addition of a piano player (briefly Bob Sheffand then Scott Thurston[10]), the Stooges toured for several months, starting in February 1973. Around this time they also made a number of recordings that became known as the Detroit Rehearsal Tapes, including a number of new songs that might have been included on a fourth studio album had the band not been dropped by Columbia soon after the release of Raw Power. In 1973, James Williamson was briefly dismissed due to criticism from the band’s management company (likely pertaining to his tempestuous relationship with Cyrinda Foxe, a close friend of road manager Leee Black Childers); guitarist Tornado Turner replaced him for a single gig (on 15 June 1973 at the Aragon Ballroom, ChicagoIllinois[19]), but Williamson soon returned to the group.[13]

The Stooges disbanded in February 1974 as a result of dwindling professional opportunities; this factor was compounded by Pop’s ever-present heroin addiction and erratic off-stage behavior.[13] The last half of the band’s last performance of this era (on 9 February 1974 in Detroit, Michigan) was captured and was released later (in 1976) as the live album Metallic K.O. (along with the first half of an earlier show on 6 October 1973 at the same venue). A 1988 expanded release of the album with the title Metallic 2X K.O. included the two halves of each show. In 1998, the album was re-released under the original title with the order of the shows reversed, (mostly) expanded tracks and more complete set-lists.

Members:

  • Iggy Pop
  • Ron Ashton
  • Scott Ashton
  • James Williamson
  • Dave Alexander

—-

—-

So messed up, I want you here
In my room, I want you here
Now we’re gonna be face-to-face
And I’ll lay right down in my favorite placeAnd now I want to be your dog
Now I want to be your dog
Now I want to be your dog
Well, come onNow I’m ready to close my eyes
And now I’m ready to close my mind
And now I’m ready to feel your hand
And lose my heart on the burning sandsAnd now I want to be your dog
And now I wanna be your dog
Now I want to be your dog
Well, come onSource: LyricFindSongwriters: Dave Alexander / Iggy Pop / Ron Asheton / Scott AshetonI Wanna Be Your Dog lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management

Francis Schaeffer taught young people at L Abri in Switzerland in the 1950’s till the 1980’s (pictured below)

Image result for francis schaeffer labri
Image result for francis schaeffer labri
Image result for francis schaeffer labri
Image result for francis schaeffer labri

Francis Schaeffer noted:

They have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

Francis Schaeffer pictured

—-

 “They are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one…
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

—-

Francis Schaeffer also observed:

The peak of the drug culture of the hippie movement was well symbolized by the movie Woodstock. Woodstock was a rock festival held in northeastern United States in the summer of 1969. The movie about that rock festival was released in the spring of 1970Many young people thought that Woodstock was the beginning of a newand wonderful age.

Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970himself was soon to become a symbol of the endBlackextremely talented, inhumanly exploited, he overdosed in September 1970 and drowned in his own vomit, soon after the claim that the culture of which he was a symbol was a new beginning. In the late sixties the ideological hopes based on drug-taking died.

After Woodstock two events “ended the age of innocence,” to use the expression of Rolling Stone magazine. The first occurred at Altamont, California, where the Rolling Stones put on a festival and hired the Hell’s Angels (for several barrels of beer) to police the grounds. Instead, the Hell’s Angels killed people without any cause, and it was a bad scene indeed. But people thought maybe this was a fluke, maybe it was just California! It took a second event to be convincing. On the Isle of Wight, 450,000 people assembled, and it was totally ugly. A number of people from L’Abri were there, and I know a man closely associated with the rock world who knows the organizer of this festival. Everyone agrees that the situation was just plain hideous.

(How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210)

 In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

The Stooges sang:

Now I’m ready to close my eyes
And now I’m ready to close my mind

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnotes #97 and #98)

A common assumption among liberal scholars is that because the Gospels are theologically motivated writings–which they are–they cannot also be historically accurate. In other words, because Luke, say (when he wrote the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts), was convinced of the deity of Christ, this influenced his work to the point where it ceased to be reliable as a historical account. The assumption that a writing cannot be both historical and theological is false.

The experience of the famous classical archaeologist Sir William Ramsay illustrates this well. When he began his pioneer work of exploration in Asia Minor, he accepted the view then current among the Tubingen scholars of his day that the Book of Acts was written long after the events in Paul’s life and was therefore historically inaccurate. However, his travels and discoveries increasingly forced upon his mind a totally different picture, and he became convinced that Acts was minutely accurate in many details which could be checked.

What is even more interesting is the way “liberal” modern scholars today deal with Ramsay’s discoveries and others like them. In the NEW TESTAMENT : THE HISTORY OF THE INVESTIGATION OF ITS PROBLEMS, the German scholar Werner G. Kummel made no reference at all to Ramsay. This provoked a protest from British and American scholars, whereupon in a subsequent edition Kummel responded. His response was revealing. He made it clear that it was his deliberate intention to leave Ramsay out of his work, since “Ramsay’s apologetic analysis of archaeology [in other words, relating it to the New Testament in a positive way] signified no methodologically essential advance for New Testament research.” This is a quite amazing assertion. Statements like these reveal the philosophic assumptions involved in much liberal scholarship.

A modern classical scholar, A.N.Sherwin-White, says about the Book of Acts: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming…Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must not appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken this for granted.”

When we consider the pages of the New Testament, therefore, we must remember what it is we are looking at. The New Testament writers themselves make abundantly clear that they are giving an account of objectively true events.

(Under footnote #98)

Acts is a fairly full account of Paul’s journeys, starting in Pisidian Antioch and ending in Rome itself. The record is quite evidently that of an eyewitness of the events, in part at least. Throughout, however, it is the report of a meticulous historian. The narrative in the Book of Acts takes us back behind the missionary journeys to Paul’s famous conversion on the Damascus Road, and back further through the Day of Pentecost to the time when Jesus finally left His disciples and ascended to be with the Father.

But we must understand that the story begins earlier still, for Acts is quite explicitly the second part of a continuous narrative by the same author, Luke, which reaches back to the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while[c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the opening sentences of his Gospel, Luke states his reason for writing:

Luke 1:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things[a]accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those whofrom the beginning [b]were eyewitnesses and [c]servants of the [d]word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having [e]investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellentTheophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [f]taught.

In Luke and Acts, therefore, we have something which purports to be an adequate history, something which Theophilus (or anyone) can rely on as its pages are read. This is not the language of “myths and fables,” and archaeological discoveries serve only to confirm this.

For example, it is now known that Luke’s references to the titles of officials encountered along the way are uniformly accurate. This was no mean achievement in those days, for they varied from place to place and from time to time in the same place. They were proconsuls in Corinth and Cyprus, asiarchs at Ephesus, politarches at Thessalonica, and protos or “first man” in Malta. Back in Palestine, Luke was careful to give Herod Antipas the correct title of tetrarch of Galilee. And so one. The details are precise.

The mention of Pontius Pilate as Roman governor of Judea has been confirmed recently by an inscription discovered at Caesarea, which was the Roman capital of that part of the Roman Empire. Although Pilate’s existence has been well known for the past 2000 years by those who have read the Bible, now his governorship has been clearly attested outside the Bible.

Featured artist is Luchita Hurtado

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Dan Mitchell: “I was a big fan of (and occasional guest on) John Stossel’s TV show, and I’m now a big fan of his videos!”

Defending Capitalism, Part I

I was a big fan of (and occasional guest on) John Stossel’s TV show, and I’m now a big fan of his videos (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

So it was an honor to appear in his latest video about “Capitalism Myths.”

It’s a two-part series. In this first video, we discussed three myths about free enterprise.

Myth #1 – Capitalists get rich by ‘taking’ money from others.

Since voluntary exchange, by definition, is mutually beneficial, this is a truly absurd argument. Indeed, only the most vapid politicians and pundits suggest otherwise.

The most definitive research in this area came from Professor William Nordhaus of Yale, who estimated that, “innovators are able to capture about 2.2 percent of the total social surplus from innovation.”

Translated from economic jargon, that means the rest of society gets nearly 98 percent of the value created by rich entrepreneurs.

Myth #2 – The rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer.

This is an issue I’ve repeatedly addressed, showing how poverty was the natural state of humanity until capitalism appeared a few hundred years ago.

Now we are incomprehensibly rich by comparison. At least in market-oriented nations.

Focusing on more-recent data, I’ve shown that living standards have dramatically increased in the post-World War II era.

In the video, John and I also discussed the Census Bureau’s data showing that the middle class is shrinking, but only because more people are becoming rich.

Myth #3 – Monopolies destroyed the free market.

Supporters of government intervention commonly argue that capitalism produces monopolies, meaning big producers capture the market and exploit consumers.

This is a rather puzzling argument since monopolies almost always are the result of government favoritism.

Even if we go back to the days of the so-called Robber Barons, we find that the consumers were only exploited when politicians decided to prohibit competition.

P.S. Next week, the second video will look at four other myths about capitalism.

P.P.S. On a related note, I have a five-part series (Part IPart IIPart III, and Part IV, and Part V) on “The Case for Capitalism.”

The climate-change hustle

John Stossel: Through 50 years of reporting on scares, only COVID proved true

I hear that climate change will destroy much of the world.

“There will be irreversible damage to the planet!” warns a CNN anchor.

Joe Biden says he’ll spend $500 billion a year to fight what his website calls an “existential threat to life.”

Really?

I’m a consumer reporter. Over the years, alarmed scientists have passionately warned me about many things they thought were about to kill Americans.

Asbestos in hair dryers, coffee, computer terminals, electric power lines, microwave ovens, cellphones (brain tumors!), electric blankets, herbicides, plastic residue, etc., are causing “America’s cancer epidemic”!

If those things don’t get us, “West Nile Virus will!” Or SARS, Bird Flu, Ebola, flesh-eating bacteria or “killer bees.”

Experts told me millions would die on Jan. 1, 2000, because computers couldn’t handle the switch from 1999. Machines would fail; planes would crash.

The scientists were well-informed specialists in their fields. They were sincerely alarmed. The more knowledge you have about a threat, the more alarmed you get.

Yet, mass death didn’t happen. COVID-19 has been the only time in my 50 years of reporting that a scare proved true.

Maybe you accepted the phrase I used above: “America’s cancer epidemic.” But there is no cancer epidemic. Cancer rates are down. We simply live long enough to get diseases like cancer. But people think there’s a cancer epidemic.

The opposite is true. As we’ve been exposed to more plastics, pesticides, mysterious chemicals, food additives and new technologies, we live longer than ever!

That’s why I’m skeptical when I’m told: Climate change is a crisis!

Climate change is real. It’s a problem, but I doubt that it’s “an existential threat.”

Saying that makes alarmists mad.

When Marc Morano says it, activists try to prevent him from speaking.

“They do not want dissent,” says Morano, founder of ClimateDepot.com, a website that rebuts much of what climate activists teach in schools.

“It’s an indoctrination that’s so complete that by the time (kids) get to high school, they’re not even aware that there’s any scientific dissent.”

Morano’s new movie, “Climate Hustle 2,” presents that dissent. My new video this week features his movie.

Morano argues that politicians use fear of global warming to gain power.

“Climate Hustle 2” features Sen. Chuck Schumer shouting: “If we would do more on climate change, we’d have fewer of these hurricanes and other types of storms! Everyone knows that!”

But everyone doesn’t know that. Many scientists refute it. Congress’ own hearings include testimony about how our warmer climate has not caused increases in the number of hurricanes or tornadoes. “Climate Hustle 2” includes many examples like that.

“Why should we believe you?” I ask Morano. “You’re getting money from the fossil fuel industry.” After all, Daily Kos calls him “Evil Personified” and says ExxonMobil funds him.

“Not at all,” he replies. “I’m paid by about 90% individual contributions from around the country. Why would ExxonMobil give me money (when) they want to appear green?”

Morano’s movie frustrates climate activists by pointing out how hypocritical some are.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio says he lives a “green lifestyle … (using) energy-efficient appliances. I drive a hybrid car.”

Then he flies to Europe to attend a party.

I like watching Morano point out celebrities’ hypocrisy, but think one claim in his movie goes too far.

“Stopping climate change is not about saving the planet,” says narrator Kevin Sorbo. “It’s about climate elites trying to convince us to accept a future where they call all the shots.”

I push back at Morano: “I think they are genuinely concerned, and they want to save us.”

“Their vision of saving us is putting them in charge,” he replies.

And if they’re in charge, he says, they will destroy capitalism.

—-
State of the Union 2013

Published on Feb 13, 2013

Cato Institute scholars Michael Tanner, Alex Nowrasteh, Julian Sanchez, Simon Lester, John Samples, Pat Michaels, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Michael F. Cannon, Jim Harper, Malou Innocent, Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus and Neal McCluskey respond to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address.

Video produced by Caleb O. Brown, Austin Bragg and Lester Romero.

_______________

In the past I have written the White House on several issues such as abortion, medicare, welfare,  Greece, healthcare, and what the founding fathers had to say about welfare programs,   and have got several responses from the White House concerning issues such as Obamacare, Social Security, welfare,  and excessive government spending.

Today I am taking a look at the response of the scholars of the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute scholars to the 2013 State of the Union Address.

Amy Payne

February 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

State of the…Climate?

Swept into office four years ago based, in part, on promises to slow sea-level rise, President Obama initiated a radical climate agenda. It seems we are seeing a rerun in 2013. It is worth asking what is different four years after his first State of the Union Address?

There have been four more years of no global warming. In 2010, there had been no significant world temperature increase for over a decade. The streak is now 16 years long. We have four years of costly lessons on the waste and inefficiency of green-energy subsidies.

The scientific basis for catastrophic climate change gets weaker and weaker. The economic argument for green subsidies has already collapsed. It is time for the administration to quit using both arguments to justify a regulatory and fiscal power grab.

David W. Kreutzer, PhD, research fellow in energy economics and climate change, Center for Data Analysis

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Daniel Mitchell: “Politicians and bureaucrats are (self-interested) conduits for taking money from one group of people and giving it to another group of people. Milton Friedman famously explained that this is why they largely don’t care about how much money is spent or how effectively it is spent”

Milton Friedman – A Limit On Spending


Pandemic Emergency Spending Riddled with Fraud

Politicians and bureaucrats are (self-interested) conduits for taking money from one group of people and giving it to another group of people.

Milton Friedman famously explained that this is why they largely don’t care about how much money is spent or how effectively it is spent.

No wonder government programs, agencies, and departments waste so much money, year after year, decade after decade.

This observation about careless profligacy also applies to so-called emergency spending.

I’ve repeatedly written about the perverse impact of unemployment benefits that are so excessive that people have big incentives not to work.

But that’s just one problem with that program. Axios has a depressing report on how the turbo-charged benefits that were part of the coronavirus legislation triggered staggering levels of fraud.

Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year, some experts say. …fraud during the pandemic could easily reach $400 billion, according to some estimates, and the bulk of the moneylikely ended in the hands of foreign crime syndicates… Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, a service that tries to prevent this kind of fraud, tells Axios that…50% of all unemployment monies might have been stolen… Haywood Talcove, the CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, estimates that at least 70% of the money stolen by impostors ultimately left the country, much of it ending up in the hands of criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere.

USA Today reported on one Nigerian scammer who feasted on American tax dollars.

Mayowa is an engineering student in Nigeria who estimates he’s made about $50,000 since the pandemic began. After compiling a list of real people, he turns to databases of hacked information that charge $2 in cryptocurrency to link that nameto a date of birth and Social Security number. In most states that information is all it takes to file for unemployment. …“Once we have that information, it’s over,” Mayowa said. “It’s easy money.” …prepaid debit cards issued by some state unemployment offices paved the way for fraud this year, security experts said. …Asked whether he feels bad about stealing from unemployed Americans, Mayowa pointed out that 70% of his peers in school are working the scams as side hustles, too.

But it’s not just the unemployment benefits.

The government also has been sending out “stimulus” checks to people, even if they were employed all during the pandemic.

And they didn’t even need to be alive, according to a report from CNS.

The federal government sent nearly 1.2 million “economic impact payments” authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to people who were dead and, therefore, not qualified to receive them, according to a report published today by the Government Accountability Office. …On its website, the IRS describes individuals who are not eligible for an “Economic Impact Payment”… “Taxpayers likely won’t qualify for an Economic Impact Payment if any of the following apply: … You can be claimed a dependent on someone else’s return. … You are a nonresident alien. … An incarcerated individual. A deceased individual.”

Hundreds of foreigners also got handouts, as reported by the Washington Post.

Hundreds of people have cashed U.S. stimulus checks at Austrian banks in recent months. Some of them appeared puzzled by the unexpected paymentsor were ineligible for the payouts, according to bank officials and Austrian media reports. …He and his wife received $1,200 each, although neither is a U.S. resident or holds U.S. citizenship — key eligibility requirements. …Similar instances have been reported in other countries.

By the way, it’s not just Austrians who received handouts. NPRhas a story featuring people all over the world who got $1200 checks from Uncle Sam.

And let’s not forget the PPP program, which was another big chunk of the coronavirus handouts.

The Wall Street Journal has a report on the rampant fraud in that program.

The federal government is swamped with reports of potential fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program, according to government officials and public data…the government allowed companies to self-certify that they needed the funds, with little vetting.The Small Business Administration’s inspector general, an arm of the agency that administers the PPP, said last month there were “strong indicators of widespread potential abuse and fraud in the PPP.” …The watchdog counted tens of thousands of companies that received PPP loans for which they appear to have been ineligible, such as corporations created after the pandemic began… Given the limited criteria Congress set for the program, he said, “The scandal is what’s legal, not what’s illegal.”

Reason also has a story about PPP waste.

…carmaker Lamborghini has benefitted from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)… Within days of receiving $1.6 million in PPP loans for his construction and logistics businesses, Lee Price III of Houston bought himself a 2019 Lamborghini Urus for $233,337, plus a $14,000 Rolex watch and close to $5,000 worth of entertainment at a strip club and various bars around town.…His scheme was audacious but hardly original. The DOJ had already brought similar fraud charges against Miami man David T. Hines, who had allegedly spent his ill-gotten PPP loans on a new $318,000 Lamborghini Huracán EVO. …Loan recipients include companies founded by members of Congress and prominent D.C. lobbying firms. Presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s family businesses, including their media and real estate concerns, received PPP loans, as did the clothing brand of rapper and aspiring president Kanye West.

We already knew that the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a bigger burden of government.

None of us should be surprised that we also wound up with record levels of waste.

P.S. Remember, “more government” is not the answer to any sensible question.

P.P.S. At some point, we will run out of “other people’s money.”


By Historical Standards, Today’s Americans Are Fantastically Wealthy

I’ve spent several decades trying to convince people that we should have free markets and small government in order to increase national prosperity.

Indeed, I’ve even pointed out how very small increases in annual growth can lead to big improvements in living standards over just a couple of decades.

But some folks on the left are not very receptive to this argument. They genuinely (but incorrectly) seem to think the economy is a fixed pie (which also explains, at least in part, why they are so focused on redistribution).

So let’s share some hard data in hopes of getting them to understand that more prosperity is possible.

We’ll start will this chart of inflation-adjusted per-capita economic output in the United States, which comes from Oxford University’s Our World in Data.

The obvious takeaway from this data is that Americans are much richer today than they were after World War II. Adjusted for inflation, we’re now about four times richer than our grandparents.

Some of our friends on the left may be thinking these numbers are distorted, that average output has only increased because the rich have gotten so much richer.

Well, it is true that the rich have gotten richer. But it’s also true that the rest of us have become richer as well.

Which is why I shared data earlier this year showing median living standards rather than mean (average) living standards.

Folks on the left may also suspect that the post-1950 data is an anomaly. In other words, maybe I’m guilty of cherry-picking data.

That’s a common practice in the world of policy, so I don’t blame people for being suspicious.

So take a look at this chart, which I also first shared earlier this year. It shows that the increase in living standards has been even more dramatic if you look at changes since 1820.

By the way, none of these observations are new. Back in 1997, Micahel Cox and Richard Alm wrote a must-read article for the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s Annual Report.

Here are some of their findings.

What really matters…isn’t what something costs in money; it’s what it costs in time. Making money takes time, so when we shop, we’re really spending time. The real cost of living isn’t measured in dollars and cents but in the hours and minutes we must work to live. …A pair of stockings cost just 25¢ a century ago. This sounds wonderful until we learn that a worker of the era earned only 14.8¢ an hour.So paying for the stockings took 1 hour 41 minutes of work. Today a better pair requires only about 18 minutes of work. …In calculating our cost of living, a good place to start is with the basics—food, shelter and clothing. In terms of time on the job, the cost of a half-gallon of milk fell from 39 minutes in 1919 to 16 minutes in 1950, 10 minutes in 1975 and 7 minutes in 1997. A pound of ground beef steadily declined from 30 minutes in 1919 to 23 minutes in 1950, 11 minutes in 1975 and 6 minutes in 1997. Paying for a dozen oranges required 1 hour 8 minutes of work in 1919. Now it takes less than 10 minutes, half what it did in 1950.

These two visuals from the article are very informative.

First, look at how consumer products went from rare luxuries early in the 20th century to everyday products by the end of the century.

Equally important, these products have become cheaper and cheaper over time.

As illustrated by this second visual from the article.

All the data in the Cox-Alm article is more than 20 years old, so the numbers would be even more impressive today.

Indeed, you can see some more up-to-date data from Mark PerrySteve Horwitz, and James Pethokoukis.

Professor Don Boudreaux put these numbers in context a few years ago in a column for the Foundation for Economic Education. Here’s some of what he wrote.

What is the minimum amount of money that you would demand in exchange for your going back to live even as John D. Rockefeller lived in 1916? …Think about it. …If you were a 1916 American billionaire you could, of course, afford prime real-estate.  You could afford a home on 5th Avenue or one overlooking the Pacific Ocean…  But when you traveled from your Manhattan digs to your west-coast palace, it would take a few days, and if you made that trip during the summer months, you’d likely not have air-conditioning in your private railroad car.…You could neither listen to radio (the first commercial radio broadcast occurred in 1920) nor watch television. …Obviously, you could not download music. …Your telephone was attached to a wall.  You could not use it to Skype. …Even the best medical care back then was horrid by today’s standards: it was much more painful and much less effective. …Antibiotics weren’t available. …Dental care wasn’t any better. …You were completely cut off from the cultural richness that globalization has spawned over the past century. …I wouldn’t be remotely tempted to quit the 2016 me so that I could be a one-billion-dollar-richer me in 1916.  This fact means that, by 1916 standards, I am today more than a billionaire.  It means, at least given my preferences, I am today materially richer than was John D. Rockefeller.

The bottom line is that we have become richer and we can continue to become richer.

But how fast things improve is partly a function of government policy. If we can impose some restraints on the size and scope of government, that will give the private sector some breathing room to grow and prosper.

In other words, we don’t need perfect policy, but it is important to at least have good policy.

Will Biden Resuscitate Obama’s Reprehensible “Operation Choke Point”?

Some policies will improve with Biden in the White House, most notably trade, but also government spending (not because Biden is good, but rather because Republicans will go back to pretending to be fiscally conservative).

But some policies will move in the wrong direction. Biden is awful on tax policy, for instance, though I expect Republicans in the Senate will block his class-warfare agenda.

Biden is also very bad on regulatory issues. Unfortunately, this is an area where the new President (and his appointees) will have plenty of authority to shift policy in the wrong direction.

I’m especially worried that Biden will resuscitate an Obama-era policy of strong-arming banks so they won’t do business with unpopular industries. This video, which I first shared back in 2016, explains this reprehensible policy

Norbert Michel of the Heritage Foundation, in a column for Forbes, provides some additional background on the policy.

Choke Point consisted of bureaucrats in several independent federal agencies taking it upon themselves to shut legal businesses – such as payday lenders and firearms dealers – out of the banking system. Given the nature of the U.S. regulatory framework, this operation was easy to pull off.Officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), for instance, simply had to inform the banks they were overseeing that the government considered certain types of their customers “high risk.” The mere implication of a threat was enough to pressure banks into closing accounts, because no U.S. bank wants anything to do with extra audits or investigations from their regulator, much less additional operating restrictions or civil and criminal charges. Banks are incredibly sensitive to any type of pressure from federal regulators, and they know that the regulators have enormous discretion.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon elaborated on the left’s campaign to politicize the banking system.

Banking was used as a weapon against legal, solvent businesses by the Obama administration during Operation Choke Point, a program to deny the disfavored access to banking services. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. labeled certain businesses “high risk,” including firearms and ammunition dealers, check-cashers, payday lenders and fireworks vendors. Unelected regulators, not Congress or courts, marked these industries as “dirty business” and made it “unacceptable for an insured depository institution” to offer them banking services. …With Democrats unable to ban guns legislatively, Rep. Carolyn Maloney admonished banks at a recent hearing to not “finance gun slaughter.” When she urged JPMorgan to deny credit for legal firearm sales as other banks had done, the CEO responded, “We can certainly consider that. Yes.” At the same hearing, Rep. Rashida Tlaib challenged bank CEOs: “Will any of your banks make a commitment to phase out your investments in fossil fuels and dirty energy?” The CEOs declined to defend fossil fuels… Letting political intimidation dictate the availability of private credit endangers freedom and stifles productivity growth and job creation. …The use of political intimidation to allocate capital is an assault on economic efficiency and freedom.

There is, however, a bit of good news.

The Trump Administration ended Operation Choke Point back in 2017.

And, although it is happening at the last minute, the Trump Administration is now trying to strengthen the rule of law so banks won’t feel pressured to discriminate against certain industries in the future.

In a column published yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, Brian Brooks and Charles Calomiris of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) explain the new rule that their agency has unveiled.

…there have been too many allegations of banks cutting off vital services, credit and capital that legal businesses rely on to create jobs, meet community needs and support the economy. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where we serve as acting comptroller and chief economist, respectively, on Friday proposed a rule to prevent banks from discriminating against legal businesses and individuals.The rule would require bankers to do what they do best: assess risk and underwrite credit decisions. …politically driven discrimination against particular industries has threatened fairness in banking. Under the Obama administration, Operation Choke Point, in which the OCC did not take part, involved regulators discouraging banks from serving legal and constitutionally protected businesses such as payday lenders and gun and ammunition sellers. …the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 added to the OCC’s traditional mission of safety and soundness the obligation to ensure fair access to financial services… Banks may not exclude entire parts of the economy for reasons unrelated to objective, quantifiable risks specific to an individual customer.

Sadly, if Biden has the same attitude as Obama about the rule of law, a future OCC can reverse anything Trump’s people adopt.

I’ll close with a libertarian-minded observation.

Because I believe in freedom of association, I think banks should have the liberty to discriminate against specific businesses, or even entire industries.

But there’s a big difference between banks choosing to discriminate and being coerced into such behavior by government regulators.

So it was disgusting that Obama’s regulators went after industries they didn’t like, such as gun dealers.

But it would be equally reprehensible if a Republican Administration went after an industry it didn’t like, such as legal marijuana.

P.S. The broader lesson to learn from Operation Choke Point is that regulatory power for governments is a vehicle for corruptionand malfeasance.

——

The Case Against Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Policy, Part II

In Part I of this series, I expressed some optimism that Joe Biden would not aggressively push his class-warfare tax plan, particularly since Republicans almost certainly will wind up controlling the Senate.

But the main goal of that column was to explain that the internal revenue code already is heavily weighted against investors, entrepreneurs, business owners and other upper-income taxpayers.

And to underscore that point, I shared two charts from Brian Riedl’s chartbook to show that the “rich” are now paying a much larger share of the tax burden – notwithstanding the Reagan tax cuts, Bush tax cuts, and Trump tax cuts – than they were 40 years ago.

Not only that, but the United States has a tax system that is more “progressive” than all other developed nations (all of whom also impose heavy tax burdens on upper-income taxpayers, but differ from the United States in that they also pillage lower-income and middle-class residents).

In other words, Biden’s class-warfare tax plan is bad policy.

Today’s column, by contrast, will point out that his tax increases are impractical. Simply stated, they won’t collect much revenue because people change their behavior when incentives to earn and report income are altered.

This is especially true when looking at upper-income taxpayers who – compared to the rest of us – have much greater ability to change the timing, level, and composition of their income.

This helps to explain why rich people paid five times as much tax to the IRS during the 1980s when Reagan slashed the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

When writing about this topic, I normally use the Laffer Curve to help people understand why simplistic assumptions about tax policy are wrong (that you can double tax revenue by doubling tax rates, for instance). And I point out that even folks way on the left, such as Paul Krugman, agree with this common-sense view (though it’s also worth noting that some people on the right discredit the concept by making silly assertions that “all tax cuts pay for themselves”).

But instead of showing the curve again, I want to go back to Brian Riedl’s chartbook and review his data on of revenue changes during the eight years of the Obama Administration.

It shows that Obama technically cut taxes by $822 billion (as further explained in the postscript, most of that occurred when some of the Bush tax cuts were made permanent by the “fiscal cliff” deal in 2012) and raised taxes by $1.32 trillion (most of that occurred as a result of the Obamacare legislation).

If we do the math, that means Obama imposed a cumulative net tax increase of about $510 billion during his eight years in office

But, if you look at the red bar on the chart, you’ll see that the government didn’t wind up with more money because of what the number crunchers refer to as “economic and technical reestimates.”

Indeed, those reestimates resulted in more than $3.1 trillion of lost revenue during the Obama years.

don’t want the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to have more tax revenue, but I obviously don’t like it when tax revenues shrink simply because the economy is stagnant and people have less taxable income.

Yet that’s precisely what we got during the Obama years.

To be sure, it would be inaccurate to assert that revenues declined solely because of Obama’s tax increase. There were many other bad policies that also contributed to taxable income falling short of projections.

Heck, maybe there was simply some bad luck as well.

But even if we add lots of caveats, the inescapable conclusion is that it’s not a good idea to adopt policies – such as class-warfare tax rates – that discourage people from earning and reporting taxable income.

The bottom line is that we should hope Biden’s proposed tax increases die a quick death.

P.S. The “fiscal cliff” was the term used to describe the scheduled expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. According to the way budget data is measured in Washington, extending some of those provisions counted as a tax cut even though the practical impact was to protect people from a tax increase.

P.P.S. Even though Biden absurdly asserted that paying higher taxes is “patriotic,” it’s worth pointing out that he engaged in very aggressive tax avoidance to protect his family’s money.

President Joe Biden Will Be Bad, but a President Kamala Harris Would Be Worse

Joe Biden has a very misguided economic agenda. I’m especially disturbed by his class-warfare tax agenda, which will be bad news for American workers and American competitiveness.

The good news, as I wrote earlier this year, is that he probably isn’t serious about some of his worst ideas.

Biden is a statist, but not overly ideological. His support for bigger government is largely a strategy of catering to the various interest groups that dominate the Democratic Party. The good news is that he’s an incrementalist and won’t aggressively push for a horrifying FDR-style agenda if he gets to the White House.

But what if Joe Biden’s health deteriorates and Kamala Harris – sooner or later – winds up in charge?

That’s rather troubling since her agenda was far to the left of Biden’s when they were competing for the Democratic nomination.

And it doesn’t appear that being Biden’s choice for Vice President has led her to moderate her views. Consider this campaign ad, where she openly asserted that “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”

The notion that we should strive for equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity is horrifying.

For all intents and purposes,Harris has embraced a harsh version of redistributionism where everyone above average is punished and everyone below average is rewarded.

This goes way beyond a safety net and it’s definitely a recipe for economic misery since people on both sides of the equationhave less incentive to be productive.

I’m not the only one to be taken aback by Harris’ dogmatic leftism.

Robby Soave, writing for Reason, is very critical of her radical outlook.

Harris gives voice to a leftist-progressive narrative about the importance of equity—equal outcomes—rather than mere equality before the law. …Harris contrasted equal treatment—all people getting the same thing—with equitable treatment,which means “we all end up at the same place.” …This may seem like a trivial difference, but when it comes to public policy, the difference matters. A government shouldbe obligated to treat all citizens equally, giving them the same access to civil rights and liberties like voting, marriage, religious freedom, and gun ownership. …A mandate to foster equity, though, would give the government power to violate these rights in order to achieve identical social results for all people. 

And, in a column for National Review, Brad Polumbo expresses similar reservations about her views.

Whether she embraces the label “socialist” or not, Harris’s stated agenda and Senate record both reveal her to be positioned a long way to the left on matters of economic policy. From health care to the environment to housing, Harris thinks the answer to almost every problem we face is simply more government and more taxpayer money — raising taxes and further indebting future generations in the process.…Harris…supports an astounding $40 trillion in new spending over the next decade. In a sign of just how far left the Democratic Party has shifted on economics, Harris backs more than 20 times as much spending as Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016. …And this is not just a matter of spending. During her failed presidential campaign, Harris supported a federal-government takeover of health care… The senator jumped on the “Green New Deal” bandwagon as well. She co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate that called for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.” …she supports enacting price controls on housing across the country. …The left-wing group Progressive Punch analyzed Harris’s voting record and found that she is the fourth-most liberal senator, more liberal even than Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Similarly, the nonpartisan organization GovTrack.us deemed Harris the furthest-left member of the Senate for the 2019 legislative year. (Spoiler alert: If your voting record is to the left of Bernie Sanders, you might be a socialist.)

To be fair, Harris is simply a politician, so we have no idea what she really believes. Her hard-left agenda might simply be her way of appealing to Democratic voters, much as Republicans who run for president suddenly decide they support big tax cuts and sweeping tax reform.

But whether she’s sincere or insincere, it’s troubling that she actually says it’s the role of government to make sure we all “end up at the same place.”

Let’s close with a video clip from Milton Friedman. At the risk of understatement, he has a different perspective than Ms. Harris.

Since we highlighted Harris’ key quote, let’s also highlight the key quote from Friedman.

Amen.

P.S. It appears Republicans will hold the Senate, which presumably (hopefully?) means that any radical proposals would be dead on arrival, regardless of whether they’re proposed by Biden or Harris.

P.P.S. Harris may win the prize for the most economically illiterate proposal of the 2020 campaign.

——

Will Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Plan Lead to an Exodus of Job Creators?

After Barack Obama took office (and especially after he was reelected), there was a big uptick in the number of rich people who chose to emigrate from the United States. 

There are many reasons wealthy people choose to move from one nation to another, but Obama’s embrace of class-warfare tax policy (including FATCA) was seen as a big factor.

Joe Biden’s tax agenda is significantly more punitive than Obama’s, so we may see something similar happen if he wins the 2020 election.

Given the economic importance of innovatorsentrepreneurs, and inventors, this would be not be good news for the American economy.

The New York Times reported late last year that the United States could be shooting itself in the foot by discouraging wealthy residents.

…a different group of Americans say they are considering leaving — people of both parties who would be hit by the wealth tax… Wealthy Americans often leave high-tax states like New York and California for lower-tax ones like Florida and Texas. But renouncing citizenship is a far more permanent, costly and complicated proposition. …“America’s the most attractive destination for capital, entrepreneurs and people wanting to get a great education,” said Reaz H. Jafri, a partner and head of the immigration practice at Withers, an international law firm. “But in today’s world, when you have other economic centers of excellence — like Singapore, Switzerland and London — people don’t view the U.S. as the only place to be.” …now, the price may be right to leave. While the cost of expatriating varies depending on a person’s assets, the wealthiest are betting that if a Democrat wins…, leaving now means a lower exit tax. …The wealthy who are considering renouncing their citizenship fear a wealth tax less than the possibility that the tax on capital gains could be raised to the ordinary income tax rate, effectively doubling what a wealthy person would pay… When Eduardo Saverin, a founder of Facebook…renounced his United States citizenship shortly before the social network went public, …several estimates said that renouncing his citizenship…saved him $700 million in taxes.

The migratory habits of rich people make a difference in the global economy.

Here are some excerpts from a 2017 Bloomberg story.

Australia is luring increasing numbers of global millionaires, helping make it one of the fastest growing wealthy nations in the world… Over the past decade, total wealth held in Australia has risen by 85 percent compared to 30 percent in the U.S. and 28 percent in the U.K… As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average American or Briton. …Given its relatively small population, Australia also makes an appearance on a list of average wealth per person. This one is, however, dominated by small tax havens.

Here’s one of the charts from the story.

As you can see, Australia is doing very well, though the small tax havens like Monaco are world leaders.

I’m mystified, however, that the Cayman Islands isn’t listed.

But I’m digressing.

Let’s get back to our main topic. It’s worth noting that even Greece is seeking to attract rich foreigners.

The new tax law is aimed at attracting fresh revenues into the country’s state coffers – mainly from foreigners as well as Greeks who are taxed abroad – by relocating their tax domicile to Greece, as it tries to woo “high-net-worth individuals” to the Greek tax register.The non-dom model provides for revenues obtained abroad to be taxed at a flat amount… Having these foreigners stay in Greece for at least 183 days a year, as the law requires, will also entail expenditure on accommodation and everyday costs that will be added to the Greek economy. …most eligible foreigners will be able to considerably lighten their tax burden if they relocate to Greece…nevertheless, the amount of 500,000 euros’ worth of investment in Greece required of foreigners and the annual flat tax of 100,000 euros demanded (plus 20,000 euros per family member) may keep many of them away.

The system is too restrictive, but it will make the beleaguered nation an attractive destination for some rich people. After all, they don’t even have to pay a flat tax, just a flat fee.

Italy has enjoyed some success with a similar regime to entice millionaires.

Last but not least, an article published last year has some fascinating details on the where rich people move and why they move.

The world’s wealthiest people are also the most mobile. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) – persons with wealth over US$1 million – may decide to pick up and move for a number of reasons. In some cases they are attracted by jurisdictions with more favorable tax laws… Unlike the middle class, wealthy citizens have the means to pick up and leave when things start to sideways in their home country. An uptick in HNWI migration from a country can often be a signal of negative economic or societal factors influencing a country. …Time-honored locations – such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – continue to attract the world’s wealthy, but no country is experiencing HNWI inflows quite like Australia. …The country has a robust economy, and is perceived as being a safe place to raise a family. Even better, Australia has no inheritance tax

Here’s a map from the article.

The good news is that the United States is attracting more millionaires than it’s losing (perhaps because of the EB-5 program).

The bad news is that this ratio could flip after the election. Indeed, it may already be happening even though recent data on expatriation paints a rosy picture.

The bottom line is that the United States should be competing to attract millionaires, not repel them. Assuming, of course, politicians care about jobs and prosperity for the rest of the population.

P.S. American politicians, copying laws normally imposed by the world’s most loathsome regimes, have imposed an “exit tax” so they can grab extra cash from rich people who choose to become citizens elsewhere.

P.P.S. I’ve argued that Australia is a good place to emigrate even for those of us who aren’t rich.

—-


Question of the Week: Which Department of the Federal Government Should Be the First to Be Abolished?

I was asked last week which entitlement program is most deserving of reform.

While acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare also are in desperate need of modernization, I wrote that Medicaid reformshould be the first priority.

But I’d be happy if we made progress on any type of entitlement reform, so I don’t think there are right or wrong answers to this kind of question.

We have the same type of question this week. A reader sent an email to ask “Which federal department should be abolished first?”

I guess this is what is meant when people talk about a target-rich environment. We have an abundance of candidates:

But if I have to choose, I think the Department of Housing and Urban Development should be first on the chopping block.

Raze the building and put a layer of salt over the earth to make sure it can never spring back to life

I’ve already argued that there should be no federal government involvement in the housing sector and made the same argument on TV. And I’ve also shared some horror stories about HUD waste and incompetence.

Heck, I even made HUD the background image for my video on the bloated and overpaid bureaucracy in Washington.

It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing about housing in Article I, Section VIII, of the Constitution. For those of us who have old-fashioned values about playing by the rules, that means much of what takes place in Washington – including housing handouts – is unconstitutional.

Simply stated, there is no legitimate argument for HUD. And I think there would be the least political resistance.

As with the answer to the question about entitlements, this is a judgment call. I’d be happy to be proven wrong if it meant that politicians were aggressively going after another department. Anything that reduces the burden of government spending is a step in the right direction


Milton Friedman on Spending

October 3, 2020 by Dan Mitchell

I identified four heroes from the “Battle of Ideas” video I shared in late August – Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. Here’s one of those heroes, Milton Friedman, explaining what’s needed to control big government.

Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! PART 160 Part FF (It was my privilege to correspond with Charles Darwin’s grandson, the eminent professor Dr. Horace Barlow, Neuroscience, Cambridge, December 8, 1921-July 5, 2020) In my 32nd letter on 4-18-20 quoted H.J. Blackham on where humanism leads “On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit…”

________________

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Manuel Spitschan @mspitschan

Had the honour and pleasure of speaking at the Craik Club today at @CambPsych, where I got to meet Horace Barlow and John Mollon.

——

April 18, 2020

Dr. Horace Barlow,  Cambridge CB3 9AX, England

Dear Dr. Barlow,

As you know I have been writing you since 2015 and I was so thrilled to get a detailed letter back from you in November of 2017 that answered several of the questions that I have asked you about Charles Darwin’s views. In many of the letters I have written to you have referred also to Solomon and his words in the last book he wrote which was ECCLESIASTES. Well, Ricky Gervais has written and starred in a film series on Netflix called AFTER LIFE that reminds me of a modern day Solomon looking in vain for the meaning in life UNDER THE SUN in the fictional town Tambury which is really filmed in London.

Today I got to ask a question to Ricky and he took time to answer me and I thought you would enjoy some of my open letter to Ricky which I published today:

I have been a big fan of yours for 20 years now and I have taken an interest especially in your philosophical views concerning atheism and your attacks on Christianity, and since 2016 I have written you 9 letters basically concerning the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of nihilism. Then I ran across your series AFTER LIFE and Tony reminded me so much of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes and the nihilism that Solomon embraced.

Today, Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask you on your Twitter Live broadcast “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark you answer my question with the following comments:


Not, I mean he [Tony] dabbles with it [nihilism] but a lot of this stuff is like he is being provocative and he is trying to sort of hurt people. No, It is difficult to say. I don’t. The one thing he wants he can’t have so he is angry. He has to compromise. He had the perfect marriage and he doesn’t know how to act or feel anymore. He is confused. He is in pain. He is ill. He is probably ill you know. If you are not right in your [mind] then you are ill, and you can’t just step out of it. You know. You even know you are not normal or well, but what can you do? You don’t feel good. That will do. Did we get serious then? That won’t happen again!

It seems to me that you would classify Tony as angry and confused but not a nihilist. You are the writer so you should know, but let me ask you if you can philosophically back up the view that Tony is not living the life of a nihilist (one who does think there are no rules for his life and no purpose for his life and no basis for morality).

As a member of the British Humanist Association you are familiar with the view of optimistic humanism. Let me share some views on that:

Paul Kurtz – (writer of Humanist Manifesto 2 in 1973 and Dr. Kurtz was a very kind gentleman who took time to correspond with me.)

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“The universe is neutral, indifferent to man’s existential yearnings. But we instinctively discover life, experience its throb, its excitement, its attraction. Life is here to be lived, enjoyed, suffered, and endured…Again–one cannot ‘prove’ this normative principle to everyone’s satisfaction. Living beings tend instinctively to maintain themselves and to reproduce beyond ultimate justification. It is a brute fact of our contingent natures; It is an instinctive desire to live.”

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J.P. Moreland – “2 Objections to optimistic humanism: #1 There is no rational justification for choosing it over nihilism. As far as rationality is concerned, it has nothing to offer over nihilism. Therefore, optimistic humanism suffers from some of the same objections we raised against nihilism. Kurtz himself admits that the ultimate values of humanism are incapable of rational justification!!!!!!  #2 Optimistic Humanism really answers the question of the meaning of life in the negative, just as nihilism does. For the optimistic humanist life has no objective value or purpose; It offers only subjective satisfaction, one should think long and hard before embracing such a horrible view. If there is a decent case that life has objective value and purpose, then such a case should be given as good a hearing as possible.

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R.C. Sproul:Nihilism has two traditional enemies–Theism and Naive Humanism. The theist contradicts the nihilist because the existence of God guarantees that ultimate meaning and significance of personal life and history. Naive Humanism is considered naive by the nihilist because it rhapsodizes–with no rational foundation–the dignity and significance of human life. The humanist declares that man is a cosmic accident whose origin was fortuitous and entrenched in meaningless insignificance. Yet in between the humanist mindlessly crusades for, defends, and celebrates the chimera of human dignity…Herein is the dilemma: Nihilism declares that nothing really matters ultimately…In my judgment, no philosophical treatise has ever surpassed or equaled the penetrating analysis of the ultimate question of meaning versus vanity that is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes

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The humanist H. J. Blackham was the founder of the British Humanist Association and he asserted: On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967). Francis Schaeffer comments concerning Blackham’s assertion, “One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has exited forever and in ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.”

The 5 Conclusions of Humanism according to King Solomon of Israel in the Book of Ecclesiastes!!!!!

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The Humanistic world view tells us there is no afterlife and all we have is this life “under the sun.”

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Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher) notes Solomon limits himself to “under the sun” – In other words the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death. It is indeed the book of modern man. Solomon is the universal man with unlimited resources who says let us see where I go. Ravi Zacharias 

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“The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus us (Matter)”

1st Conclusion: Nothing in life truly satisfies and that includes wisdom, great works and pleasure. A) Will wisdom satisfy someone under the sun? We know it is good in its proper place. T

But what did Solomon find out about wisdom “under the sun”? Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (Living Bible): I said to myself, ‘Look, I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge.’So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish[c]—but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more my wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress.” (That is NIHILISM!!!!)

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KJV and Living Bible Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 8, 10, 11: I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,And then there were my many beautiful concubines.10 Anything I wanted I took and did not restrain myself from any joy…11 But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere…

2nd Conclusion: Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced!!!!!Ecclesiastes 4:1 (King James Version): So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 7:15 (King James Version) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.If you are a humanist you must admit that men like Hitler will not be punished in the afterlife because you deny there is an afterlife? Right?

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3rd Conclusion – Death is the great equalizer. Just as the beasts will not be remembered so ultimately brilliant men will not be remembered. Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Here Solomon comes to the same point that Kerry Livgren came to in January of 1978 when he wrote the hit song DUST IN THE WIND. Can you refute the nihilistic claims of this song within the humanistic world view? Solomon couldn’t but maybe you can.

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4th Conclusion – Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

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Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

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I can not think of a better illustration of this in action than the movie ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. On May 4, 1994 I watched the movie for the first time and again I thought of the humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. I thought of the passage Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

5th Conclusion – Life is just a series ofcontinual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16).

I first starting studying Ecclesiastes in 1976 when I heard Adrian Rogers give a sermon on the nihilism of King Solomon. These facts in Ecclesiastes inspired the author of the song DUST IN THE WIND. Kerry Livgren of KANSAS, who wrote the song noted, “I happened to be reading a book of American Indian poetry and somewhere in it I came across the line, ‘We’re just dust in the wind.’ I remembered in the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES  where it said, ‘All is vanity,’ ” Livgren said of the passage that it reminds man he came from dust and will return to dust.

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I remember a visit in 1976 that Adrian Rogers made to our Junior High Chapel service at EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, and it was that day that I personally began a lifelong interest in King Solomon’s life, and his search for satisfaction as pictured in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

(Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope in back)

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Solomon was searching for meaning and satisfaction in life in what Rogers called the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into Learning (1:16-18), Laughter, Ladies, Luxuries, and Liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and Labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

(Edward John Poynter Painting  below of Solomon)

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Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

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King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 sums up his search for meaning with these words, “…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

After hearing the sermon by Adrian Rogers in 1976, I took a special interest in the Book of Ecclesiastes and then the next year I bought the album POINT OF KNOW RETURN by the group rock group KANSAS. On that album was the song “Dust in the Wind”  and it rose to #6 on the charts in 1978. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of KANSAS become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

(That is the same reason I am excited about Ricky’s series AFTER LIFE!!!)

_____________________

Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more. I was hoping the members of KANSAS would keep looking for something more than just material pursuits UNDER THE SUN.

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of KANSAS became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture.
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, cell ph 501-920-5733, everettehatcher@gmail.com

—-

(END OF LETTER TO DR BARLOW)

I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

In my 28th letter on 12-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s statement, “I am glad you were at the Messiah, it is the one thing that I should like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it is a horrid bore to feel as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every subject except Science. It sometimes makes me hate Science.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 29th letter on 12-25-19 I responded to Charles Darwin’s statement, “I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds…gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dullthat it nauseated me…. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his loss of aesthetic tastes in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 30th letter on 2-2-20 I quote Dustin Shramek who asserted, “Without God the universe is the result of a cosmic accident, a chance explosion. There is no reason for which it exist. As for man, he is a freak of nature–a blind product of matter plus time plus chance. Man is just a lump of slime that evolved into rationality. There is no more purpose in life for the human race than for a species of insect; for both are the result of the blind interaction of chance and necessity.”

IIn my 31st letter on 3-18-20 I quote Francis Schaeffer who noted, “Darwin is saying that he gave up the New Testament because it was connected to the Old Testament. He gave up the Old Testament because it conflicted with his own theory. Did he have a real answer himself and the answer is no. At the end of his life we see that he is dehumanized by his position and on the other side we see that he never comes to the place of intellectual satisfaction for himself that his answers were sufficient.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his loss of his Christian faith in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 32nd letter on 4-18-20 quoted H.J. Blackham on where humanism leads On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility

Horace Barlow pictured below:

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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

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His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 41 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Featured artist is Marina Abramović)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 40 Timothy Leary (Featured artist is Margaret Keane)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 39 Tom Wolfe (Featured artist is Richard Serra)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 38 Woody Allen and Albert Camus “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide” (Feature on artist Hamish Fulton Photographer )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 37 Mahatma Gandhi and “Relieving the Tension in the East” (Feature on artist Luc Tuymans)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 36 Julian Huxley:”God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” (Feature on artist Barry McGee)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Feature on artist Shahzia Sikander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 33 Aldous Huxley (Feature on artist Matthew Barney )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 32 Steven Weinberg and Woody Allen and “The Meaningless of All Things” (Feature on photographer Martin Karplus )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 31 David Hume and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist William Pope L. )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 30 Rene Descartes and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist Olafur Eliasson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 29 W.H. Thorpe and “The Search for an Adequate World-View: A Question of Method” (Feature on artist Jeff Koons)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 28 Woody Allen and “The Mannishness of Man” (Feature on artist Ryan Gander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

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DAN MITCHELL ARTICLE The Continuing Story of Tax Migration

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The Continuing Story of Tax Migration

The bad news is that federalism has declined in the United States as politicians in Washington have expanded the size and scope of the national government.

The good news is that some federalism still exists and this means Americans have some ability to choose the type of government they prefer by “voting with their feet.”

  1. They can choose states that tax a lot and spend a lot.
  2. They can choose states with lower fiscal burdens.

You won’t be surprised to learn that people generally preferoption #2.

Researchers have found a significant correlation between state fiscal policy and migration patterns.

And it’s still happening.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, Allysia Finley and Kate LaVoie discuss some research based on IRS data about taxpayer migration patterns.

Here’s some of what they wrote.

New IRS data compiled by research outfit Wirepoints illustrate the flight from high- to low-tax states. …Retirees in the Midwest and Northeast are flocking to sunnier climes. But notably, states with no income tax (Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Wyoming) made up four of the 10 states with the largest income gains. On the other hand, five of the 10 states with the greatest income losses (NY, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, California) ranked among the top 10 states with the highest top marginal income tax rates. …Florida gained a whopping $17.7 billion in AGI including $3.4 billion from New York, $1.2 billion from California, $1.9 billion from Illinois, $1.7 billion from New Jersey and $1 billion from Connecticut. California, on the other hand, lost $8.8 billion including $1.6 billion to Texas, $1.5 billion to Nevada, $1.2 billion to Arizona and $700 million to Washington.

Here’s a very informative visual, showing the share of income that either left a state (top half of the chart) or entered a state (bottom half of the chart).

Our friends on the left say that this data merely shows that retirees move to states with nicer climates.

That is surely a partial explanation, but it doesn’t explain why California – the state with the nation’s best climate – is losing people and businesses.

Heck, I even have a seven-part series (March 2010February 2013April 2013October 2018June 2019, December 2020, and February 2021) on the exodus from California to Texas.

Let’s return to the Finley-LaVoie column, because there’s some additional data that deserves attention. They point out that states with better policy are big net winners when you look at the average income of migrants.

The average taxpayer who moved to Florida from the other 49 states had an AGI of $110,000… By contrast, the average taxpayer who left Florida had an AGI of just $66,000. In sum, high-tax states aren’t just losing more taxpayers—they are losing higher-income ones. Similarly, low and no income states are generally gaining more taxpayers who also earn more. …When blue states lose high earners, their tax base shrinks, but their cost base continues to grow due to rich government employee pay, pensions and other benefits. …The result is that low-tax states are getting richer while those that impose higher taxes are getting poorer.

As you can see, Florida is a big beneficiary.

And I shared data a few years ago showing that states such as Illinois are big net losers.

Let’s conclude by asking why some politicians, such as the hypocritical governor of Illinois, don’t care when they’re on the losing side of these trends?

I don’t actually know what they’re thinking, of course, but I suspect the answer has something to do with the fact that departing taxpayers probably are more libertarian and conservative. So if you’re a big-spending politician, you probably are not very upset when migration patterns mean your state becomes more left-leaning over time.

That’s a smart political approach.

Until, of course, those states no longer have enough productive people to finance big government.

In other words, every government is limited by Margaret Thatcher’s famous warning.

Texas vs. California, Part VII

To begin the seventh edition of our series comparing policy in Texas and California (previous entries in March 2010, February 2013, April 2013, October 2018, June 2019, and December 2020), here’s a video from Prager University.

There will be a lot of information in today’s column, so if you’re pressed for time, here are three sentences that tell you what you need to know.

California has all sorts of natural advantages over Texas, especially endless sunshine and beautiful topography.

Texas has better government policy than California, most notably in areas such as taxation and regulation.

Since people are moving from the Golden State to the Lone Star State, public policy seems to matter more than natural beauty.

Now let’s look at a bunch of evidence to support those three sentences.

We’ll start with an article by Joel Kotkin of Chapman University.

If one were to explore the most blessed places on earth, California, my home for a half century, would surely be up there. …its salubrious climate, spectacular scenery, vast natural resources… President Biden recently suggested that he wants to “make America California again”. Yet…he should consider whether the California model may be better seen as a cautionary tale than a roadmap to a better future… California now suffers the highest cost-adjusted poverty rate in the country, and the widest gap between middle and upper-middle income earners. …the state has slowly morphed into a low wage economy. Over the past decade, 80% of the state’s jobs have paid under the median wage — half of which are paid less than $40,000…minorities do better today outside of California, enjoying far higher adjusted incomes and rates of homeownership in places like Atlanta and Dallas than in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Almost one-third of Hispanics, the state’s largest ethnic group, subsist below the poverty line, compared with 21% outside the state. …progressive…policies have not brought about greater racial harmony, enhanced upward mobility and widely based economic growth.

Next we have some business news from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Business leaders fear tech giant Oracle’s recent announcement that it is leaving the Bay Area for Austin, Texas, will lead to more exits unless some fundamental political and economic changes are made to keep the region attractive and competitive. “This is something that we have been warning people about for several years. California is not business friendly, we should be honest about it,” said Kenneth Rosen, chairman of the UC Berkeley Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics.Bay Area Council President Jim Wunderman said… “From consulting companies to tax lawyers to bankers and commercial real estate firms, every person I talk with who provides services to big Bay Area corporations are telling me that their clients are strategizing about leaving…” Charles Schwab, McKesson and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have all exited the high-cost, high-tax, high-regulation Bay Area for a less-expensive, less-regulated and business-friendlier political climate. All of them rode off to Texas. …the pace of the departures appears to be increasing. …A recent online survey of 2,325 California residents, taken between Nov. 4 and Nov. 23 by the Public Policy Institute of California, found 26% of residents have seriously considered moving out of state and that 58% say that the American Dream is harder to achieve in California than elsewhere.

Are California politicians trying to make things better, in hopes of stopping out-migration to places such as Texas?

Not according to this column by Hank Adler in the Wall Street Journal.

California’s Legislature is considering a wealth tax on residents, part-year residents, and any person who spends more than 60 days inside the state’s borders in a single year. Even those who move out of state would continue to be subject to the tax for a decade… Assembly Bill 2088 proposes calculating the wealth tax based on current world-wide net worth each Dec. 31. For part-year and temporary residents, the tax would be proportionate based on their number of days in California. The annual tax would be on current net worth and therefore would include wealth earned, inherited or obtained through gifts or estates long before and long after leaving the state. …The authors of the bill estimate the wealth tax will provide Sacramento $7.5 billion in additional revenue every year. Another proposal—to increase the top state income-tax rate to 16.8%—would annually raise another $6.8 billion. Today, California’s wealthiest 1% pay approximately 46% of total state income taxes. …the Legislature looks to the wealthiest Californians to fill funding gaps without considering the constitutionality of the proposals and the ability of people and companies to pick up and leave the state, which news reports suggest they are doing in large numbers. …As of this moment, there are no police roadblocks on the freeways trying to keep moving trucks from leaving California. If A.B. 2088 becomes law, the state may need to consider placing some.

The late (and great) Walter Williams actually joked back in 2012that California might set up East German-style border checkpoints. Let’s hope satire doesn’t become reality.

But what isn’t satire is that people are fleeing the state (along with other poorly governed jurisdictions).

Simply state, the blue state model of high taxes and big government is not working (just as it isn’t working in countries with high taxes and big government).

Interestingly, even the New York Times recognizes that there is a problem in the state that used to be a role model for folks on the left.

Opining for that outlet at the start of the month, Brett Stephens raised concerns about the Golden State.

…today’s Democratic leaders might look to the very Democratic state of California as a model for America’s future. You remember California: People used to want to move there, start businesses, raise families, live their American dream. These days, not so much. Between July 2019 and July 2020, more people — 135,400 to be precise — left the state than moved in… No. 1 destination: Texas, followed by Arizona, Nevada and Washington. Three of those states have no state income tax.

California, by contrast, has very high taxes. Not just an onerous income tax, but high taxes across the board.

Californians also pay some of the nation’s highest sales tax rates (8.66 percent) and corporate tax rates (8.84 percent), as well as the highest taxes on gasoline (63 cents on a gallon as of January, as compared with 20 cents in Texas).

Sadly, these high taxes don’t translate into good services from government.

The state ranks 21st in the country in terms of spending per public school pupil, but 27th in its K-12 educational outcomes. It ties Oregon for third place among states in terms of its per capita homeless rate. Infrastructure? As of 2019, the state had an estimated $70 billion in deferred maintenance backlog. Debt? The state’s unfunded pension liabilities in 2019 ran north of $1.1 trillion, …or $81,300 per household.

Makes you wonder whether the rest of the nation should copy that model?

Democrats hold both U.S. Senate seats, 42 of its 53 seats in the House, have lopsided majorities in the State Assembly and Senate, run nearly every big city and have controlled the governor’s mansion for a decade. If ever there was a perfect laboratory for liberal governance, this is it. So how do you explain these results? …If California is a vision of the sort of future the Biden administration wants for Americans, expect Americans to demur.

Some might be tempted to dismiss Stephens’ column because he is considered the token conservative at the New York Times.

But Ezra Klein also acknowledges that California has a problem, and nobody will accuse him of being on the right side of the spectrum.

Here’s some of what he wrote in his column earlier this month for the New York Times.

I love California. I was born and raised in Orange County. I was educated in the state’s public schools and graduated from the University of California system… But for that very reason, our failures of governance worry me. California has the highest poverty rate in the nation,when you factor in housing costs, and vies for the top spot in income inequality, too. …but there’s a reason 130,000 more people leave than enter each year. California is dominated by Democrats, but many of the people Democrats claim to care about most can’t afford to live there. …California, as the biggest state in the nation, and one where Democrats hold total control of the government, carries a special burden. If progressivism cannot work here, why should the country believe it can work anywhere else?

Kudos to Klein for admitting problems on his side (just like I praise the few GOPers who criticized Trump’s big-government policies).

But his column definitely had some quirky parts, such as when he wrote that, “There are bright spots in recent years…a deeply progressive plan to tax the wealthy.”

That’s actually a big reason for the state’s decline, not a “bright spot.”

I’m not the only one to recognize the limitations of his column.

Kevin Williamson wrote an entire rebuttal for National Review.

Who but Ezra Klein could survey the wreck left-wing Democrats have made of California and conclude that the state’s problem is its excessive conservatism? …Klein the rhetorician anticipates objections on this front and writes that he is not speaking of “the political conservatism that privatizes Medicare, but the temperamental conservatism that” — see if this formulation sounds at all familiar — “stands athwart change and yells ‘Stop!’”…California progressives have progressive policies and progressive power, and they like it that way. That is the substance of their conservatism. …Klein and others of his ilk like to present themselves as dispassionate pragmatists, enlightened empiricists who only want to do “what works.” …Klein mocks San Francisco for renaming schools (Begone, Abraham Lincoln!) while it has no plan to reopen them, but he cannot quite see that these are two aspects of a single phenomenon. …Klein…must eventually understand that the troubles he identifies in California are baked into the progressive cake. …That has real-world consequences, currently on display in California to such a spectacular degree that even Ezra Klein is able dimly to perceive them. Maybe he’ll learn something.

I especially appreciate this passage since it excoriates rich leftists for putting teacher unions ahead of disadvantaged children.

Intentions do not matter very much, and mere stated intentions matter even less. Klein is blind to that, which is why he is able to write, as though there were something unusual on display: “For all the city’s vaunted progressivism, [San Francisco] has some of the highest private school enrollment numbers in the country.” Rich progressives have always been in favor of school choice and private schools — for themselves. They only oppose choice for poor people, whose interests must for political reasons be subordinated to those of the public-sector unions from which Democrats in cities such as San Francisco derive their power.

Let’s conclude with some levity.

Here’s a meme that contemplates whether California emigrants bring bad voting habits with them.

Though that’s apparently more of a problem in Colorado rather than in Texas.

And here’s some clever humor from Genesius Times.

P.S. My favorite California-themed humor (not counting the state’s elected officials) can be found here, hereherehere, and here.

High-tax states are languishing but  zero-income-tax states such as Texas are growing rapidly!!!!

Much of my writing is focused on the real-world impact of government policy, and this is why I repeatedly look at the relative economic performance of big government jurisdictions and small government jurisdictions.

But I don’t just highlight differences between nations. Yes, it’s educational to look at North Korea vs. South Korea or Chile vs. Venezuela vs. Argentina, but I also think you can learn a lot by looking at what’s happening with different states in America.

So we’ve looked at high-tax states that are languishing, such as California and Illinois, and compared them to zero-income-tax states such as Texas.

With this in mind, you can understand that I was intrigued to see that even the establishment media is noticing that Texas is out-pacing the rest of the nation.

Here are some excerpts from a report by CNN Money on rapid population growth in Texas.

More Americans moved to Texas in recent years than any other state: A net gain of more than 387,000 in the latest Census for 2013. …Five Texas cities — Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth — were among the top 20 fastest growing large metro areas. Some smaller Texas metro areas grew even faster. In oil-rich Odessa, the population grew 3.3% and nearby Midland recorded a 3% gain.

But why is the population growing?

Well, CNN Money points out that low housing prices and jobs are big reasons.

And on the issue of housing, the article does acknowledge the role of “easy regulations” that enable new home construction.

But on the topic of jobs, the piece contains some good data on employment growth, but no mention of policy.

Jobs is the No. 1 reason for population moves, with affordable housing a close second. …Jobs are plentiful in Austin, where the unemployment rate is just 4.6%. Moody’s Analytics projects job growth to average 4% a year through 2015. Just as important, many jobs there are well paid: The median income of more than $75,000 is nearly 20% higher than the national median.

That’s it. Read the entire article if you don’t believe me, but the reporter was able to write a complete article about the booming economy in Texas without mentioning – not even once – that there’s no state income tax.

But that wasn’t the only omission.

The article doesn’t mention that Texas is the 4th-best state in the Tax Foundation’s ranking of state and local tax burdens.

The article doesn’t mention that Texas was the least oppressive state in the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Soft Tyranny Index.

The article doesn’t mention that Texas was ranked #20 in a study of the overall fiscal condition of the 50 states.

The article doesn’t mention that Texas is in 4th place in a combined ranking of economic freedom in U.S. state and Canadian provinces.

The article doesn’t mention that Texas was ranked #11 in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index.

The article doesn’t mention that Texas is in 14th place in the Mercatus ranking of overall freedom for the 50 states (and in 10th place for fiscal freedom).

By the way, I’m not trying to argue that Texas is the best state.

Indeed, it only got the top ranking in one of the measures cited above.

My point, instead, is simply to note that it takes willful blindness to write about the strong population growth and job performance of Texas without making at least a passing reference to the fact that it is a low-tax, pro-market state.

At least compared to other states. And especially compared to the high-tax states that are stagnating.

Such as California, as illustrated by this data and this data, as well as this Lisa Benson cartoon.

Such as Illinois, as illustrated by this data and this Eric Allie cartoon.

And I can’t resist adding this Steve Breen cartoon, if for no other reason that it reminds me of another one of his cartoons that I shared last year.

Speaking of humor, this Chuck Asay cartoon speculates on how future archaeologists will view California. And this joke about Texas, California, and a coyote is among my most-viewed blog posts.

All jokes aside, I want to reiterate what I wrote above. Texas is far from perfect. There’s too much government in the Lone Star state. It’s only a success story when compared to California.

P.S. Paul Krugman has tried to defend California, which has made him an easy target. I debunked him earlier this year, and I also linked to a superb Kevin Williamson takedown of Krugman at the bottom of this post.

P.P.S. Once again, I repeat the two-part challenge I’ve issued to the left. I’ll be happy if any statists can successfully respond to just one of the two questions I posed.

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MUSIC MONDAY Paul McCartney to publish 900-page lyrical ‘autobiography’

Paul McCartney, photographed by his daughter Mary McCartney in 2020.Show captionMusic books

Paul McCartney to publish 900-page lyrical ‘autobiography’

The Lyrics, a ‘self-portrait in 154 songs’, will look at the people, places and circumstances behind songs written in boyhood, with the Beatles and beyondAlison FloodWed 24 Feb 2021 12.00 EST

It will be “as close to an autobiography” as Paul McCartney “may ever come”: the former Beatle is set to publish The Lyrics, a deep dive into his life, based on conversations he had with the prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon.

The Lyrics, a two-volume, 900-plus page “self-portrait in 154 songs”, will be released on 2 November. It will be “a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account” of McCartney’s life, said publisher Allen Lane, and will cover the musician’s earliest boyhood compositions – he wrote his first song at 14 – through the Beatles catalogue to Wings, solo albums and his present life. The book will cover “the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what [McCartney] thinks of them now”.

The Lyrics by Paul McCartney.
The Lyrics by Paul McCartney. Photograph: Penguin Random House

McCartney said: “More often than I can count I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs.

“Some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.”

Muldoon, the Pulitzer prize-winning Irish poet, edited the book, which is based on conversations he has had with McCartney. “Sir Paul and I met regularly over a period of five years for two or three hour sessions in which we talked in a very intensive way about the background to a half dozen songs,” said Muldoon. “In a strange way, our process mimicked the afternoon sessions he had with John Lennon when they wrote for the Beatles. We were determined never to leave the room without something interesting.”

Muldoon said that he was “struck again and again by what you might term Paul McCartney’s ‘scholarly’ disposition” during the process.

Paul Muldoon.
‘We were determined never to leave the room without something interesting’ … Paul Muldoon. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

“He’s one of the most buoyant, upbeat people I know, but his general demeanor shouldn’t suggest that he’s anything but a deep thinker. He looks long and hard into every aspect of life and I believe readers, old and new, will be struck by a book that will show that side of him. He’s going to come out of this book as a major literary figure,” said Muldoon.

“His insights into his artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed: that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”

The volumes will also include material from McCartney’s personal archive, including never publicly seen drafts, letters and photographs. “We learn intimately about the man, the creative process, the working out of melodies, the moments of inspiration,” said the publisher.

McCartney said he hoped what he had written would “show people something about my songs and my life which they haven’t seen before”. “I’ve tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others too,” he said.

McCartney’s previous books include Blackbird Singing, a collection of lyrics and poems spanning 1965-99; High in the Clouds, a children’s book written with Philip Ardagh; and the picture book Hey Grandude!, based on his relationship with his eight grandchildren and illustrated by Kathryn Durst.

_-

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 97 THE BEATLES (The Beatles and Paramhansa Yogananda ) (Feature on artist Ronnie Wood)

February 4, 2016 – 5:22 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 96 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song “Eleanor Rigby” Part B and the issue of LONELINESS) Featured artist is Robert Morris

January 28, 2016 – 5:31 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 95 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song “Eleanor Rigby” Part A and the issue of DEATH ) Featured artist is Joe Tilson

January 21, 2016 – 5:42 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 94 THE BEATLES (The Beatles and the Gurus on SGT. PEP. ) (Feature on PHOTOGRAPHER BILL WYMAN )

January 14, 2016 – 5:16 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 93 THE BEATLES (Breaking down “REVOLUTION 9” Part B) Astrid Kirchherr is featured Photographer

January 7, 2016 – 5:06 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 92 THE BEATLES (Breaking down “REVOLUTION 9” Part A) Featured photographer is John Loengard

December 31, 2015 – 5:35 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 91 (WHY WAS H.G.WELLS ON THE COVER OF SGT. PEPPERS? Part B) Featured Artist is Claes Oldenburg

December 24, 2015 – 5:36 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 90 (WHY WAS H.G.WELLS ON THE COVER OF SGT. PEPPERS? Part A) Featured Artist is Ellsworth Kelly

December 17, 2015 – 5:11 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 89 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song “BLACKBIRD” Part B (Featured Photographer is Jürgen Vollmer)

December 10, 2015 – 1:52 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 88 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song “BLACKBIRD” Part A (Featured Photographer is Richard Avedon)

December 3, 2015 – 5:24 am

 FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART THE BEATLES Part 87 George Bernard Shaw Part B “Why was Shaw on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S?” Featured Photographer is Henry Grossman

November 26, 2015 – 5:44 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE, THE BEATLES Part 86 George Bernard Shaw Part A “Why was Shaw on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S?” Featured Photographer is Robert Whitaker

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 85 (Breaking down the song “When I’m Sixty-Four” Part B) Featured Photographer and Journalist is Bill Harry

November 12, 2015 – 5:03 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 84 (Breaking down the song “When I’m Sixty-Four”Part A) Featured Photographer is Annie Leibovitz

November 5, 2015 – 4:57 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 83 THE BEATLES (Why was Karlheinz Stockhausen on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s? ) (Feature on artist Nam June Paik )

October 29, 2015 – 5:27 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 82 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song DEAR PRUDENCE (Photographer featured is Bill Eppridge)

October 22, 2015 – 5:34 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 81 THE BEATLES Why was Dylan Thomas put on the cover of SGT PEPPERS? (Featured artist is sculptor David Wynne)

October 15, 2015 – 5:48 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 80 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” ) (Featured artist is Saul Steinberg)

October 8, 2015 – 5:54 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 79 THE BEATLES (Why was William Burroughs on Sgt. Pepper’s cover? ) (Feature on artist Brion Gysin)

October 1, 2015 – 5:48 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 78 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS) Featured musical artist is Stuart Gerber

September 24, 2015 – 5:42 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 77 THE BEATLES (Who got the Beatles talking about Vietnam War? ) (Feature on artist Nicholas Monro )

September 17, 2015 – 5:33 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 76 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER) (Artist featured is Jamie Wyeth)

September 10, 2015 – 5:38 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 75 THE BEATLES (Part Z WHY DID LENNON CHOOSE HITLER FOR THE COVER OF STG. PEPPER’S? ) (Feature on artist Peter Kien )

September 3, 2015 – 5:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 74 THE BEATLES (Part Y, The link between the Beatles’ song HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN and PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz) (Featured artist is Andrew Wyeth)

August 27, 2015 – 5:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 73 THE BEATLES (Part X, Why did Albert Einstein get chosen to be on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S? ) (Feature on artist John Lennon)

August 20, 2015 – 4:38 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 72 THE BEATLES (Part V Breaking down the song ” The Walrus” ) (Featured artist is Brenda Bury)

August 13, 2015 – 5:43 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 71 THE BEATLES (Part U, WHY SO MANY ALCOHOLICS ON COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S?) (Feature on Photographer Linda McCartney )

August 6, 2015 – 5:40 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 70 THE BEATLES (Part T, Lennon’s friend and drug guru Timothy Leary spent time at Swiss retreat L’Abri in 1971 with Francis Schaeffer) (Feature on artist Paul McCartney)

July 30, 2015 – 5:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 69 THE BEATLES (Part S, WHY WAS SIMON RODILLA CHOSEN TO BE ON COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S? ) (Feature on artist John Outterbridge )

July 23, 2015 at 4:24 am

9474 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 68 THE BEATLES (PART R WHY WAS JOHNNY WEISSMULLER CHOSEN TO BE ON COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S?) Artist featured today is Eduardo Paolozzi

July 16, 2015 – 4:55 am9193 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 67 THE BEATLES (Part Q, RICHES AND LUXURIES NEVER SATISFIED THE BEATLES! ) (Feature on artist Derek Boshier )

July 9, 2015 – 4:23 am6048 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 66 THE BEATLES (Part P, The Beatles’ best song ever is A DAY IN THE LIFE which in on Sgt Pepper’s!) (Feature on artist and clothes designer Manuel Cuevas )

July 2, 2015 – 1:07 am8693 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 65 THE BEATLES (Part O, The 1960’s SEXUAL REVOLUTION was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s!) (Featured artist is Pauline Boty)

June 25, 2015 – 7:04 am11897 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 64 THE BEATLES (Part P The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s song SHE’S LEAVING HOME according to Schaeffer!!!!) (Featured artist Stuart Sutcliffe)

June 18, 2015 – 4:53 am8326 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 63 THE BEATLES (Part O , BECAUSE THE BEATLES LOVED HUMOR IT IS FITTING THAT 6 COMEDIANS MADE IT ON THE COVER OF “SGT. PEPPER’S”!) (Feature on artist H.C. Westermann )

June 10, 2015 – 2:33 pm9810 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 62 THE BEATLES (Part N The last 4 people alive from cover of Stg. Pepper’s and the reason Bob Dylan was put on the cover!) (Feature on artist Larry Bell)

June 4, 2015 – 5:31 am 9929 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 61 THE BEATLES (Part M, Why was Karl Marx on the cover of Stg. Pepper’s?) (Feature on artist George Petty)

May 28, 2015 – 4:56 am9778 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 60 THE BEATLES (Part L, Why was Aleister Crowley on the cover of Stg. Pepper’s?) (Feature on artist Jann Haworth )

May 21, 2015 – 3:33 am9087 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 59 THE BEATLES (Part K, Advocating drugs was reason Aldous Huxley was on cover of Stg. Pepper’s) (Feature on artist Aubrey Beardsley)

May 13, 2015 – 12:49 pm 11068 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 58 THE BEATLES (Part J, Why was Carl Gustav Jung on the cover of Stg. Pepper’s?) (Feature on artist Richard Merkin)

May 7, 2015 – 4:45 am 9640 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 57 THE BEATLES (Part I, Schaeffer loved the Beatles’ music and most of all SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND ) (Feature on artist Heinz Edelmann )

April 30, 2015 – 4:17 am 11509 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 56 THE BEATLES (Part H, Stg. Pepper’s and Relativism) (Feature on artist Alberto Vargas )

April 23, 2015 – 9:23 am5251 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 55 THE BEATLES (Part G, The Beatles and Rebellion) (Feature on artist Wallace Berman )

April 16, 2015 – 12:30 am8725 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 54 THE BEATLES (Part F, Sgt Pepper’s & the LEAP into NONREASON and Eastern Religion) (Feature on artist Richard Lindner )

April 9, 2015 – 12:28 am10,110 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 53 THE BEATLES (Part E, Stg. Pepper’s and John Lennon’s search in 1967 for truth was through drugs, money, laughter, etc & similar to King Solomon’s, LOTS OF PICTURES OF JOHN AND CYNTHIA) (Feature on artist Yoko Ono)

April 2, 2015 – 7:05 am8315 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 52 THE BEATLES (Part D, There is evidence that the Beatles may have been exposed to Francis Schaeffer!!!) (Feature on artist Anna Margaret Rose Freeman )

March 22, 2015 – 12:30 am 11587 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

March 19, 2015 – 12:21 am8732 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

March 12, 2015 – 12:16 am9993 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

March 5, 2015 – 4:47 am6821 words

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Ned Beatty, Acclaimed Character Actor in ‘Deliverance,’ ‘Network’ and ‘Homicide: Life on the Street,’ Dies at 83

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Ned Beatty, Acclaimed Character Actor in ‘Deliverance,’ ‘Network’ and ‘Homicide: Life on the Street,’ Dies at 83

The Oscar-nominated Kentucky native also was memorable in ‘Nashville,’ ‘All the President’s Men’ and two Superman films.

Ned Beatty, who made a sparkling feature film debut in Deliverance before turning in noteworthy efforts in Nashville, Network and Homicide: Life on the Street as one of the most respected character actors of his time, has died. He was 83.

Beatty died Sunday of natural causes at his Los Angeles home, his daughter Blossom Beatty told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Kentucky native also portrayed Lily Tomlin’s good ol’ boy hustler-lawyer husband in Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975), was a slippery Miami district attorney in Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men (1976) and elicited laughs as Lex Luthor’s (Gene Hackman) bumbling sidekick Otis in Superman (1978) and its 1980 sequel.

White Lightning 1973 

I wrote about this yesterday too. 

Burt Reynolds in White Lightning

Posted on the 12 June 2013 by Nguzan

Burt Reynolds as Burt Reynolds as “Gator” McKlusky in White Lightning.

Vitals

Burt Reynolds as Bobby “Gator” McKlusky, paroled moonshine runner

Bogan County, Arkansas, Summer 1973

Background

This was the first of the “hick flicks”, a series of films that became popular in the ’70s. The story was usually the same, an anti-hero would use his muscle car to face off against a corrupt, and usually fat, Southern lawman with illegal booze as the story’s MacGuffin. Burt Reynolds himself would be associated with this subgenre, with his appearance in White Lightning, the more lighthearted sequel Gator, and the wildly popular Smokey and the Bandit. This first, 1973′s White Lightning, is the most gritty of the trio.

Additional hick flicks include low budget fare such as Macon County Line and Moonrunners, the latter of which would go on to inspire The Dukes of Hazzard.

Now, while my personal dream is to own a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T – the Dukes’ choice – the pants in that show are a little too painted-on to warrant a BAMF Style entry for my first car week series. I may give in in the future, as a Charger is a tempting vehicle to write about.

White Lightning is set in the fictional Bogan County, Arkansas, run by the corrupt sheriff J.C. Connors. Connors was played by Ned Beatty, in one of his first films since his debut a year earlier in DeliverenceThe film was shot on location in Arkansas, with many local landmarks visible on screen.

Burt plays Gator McKlusky, a former moonshine runner serving time in an Arkansas prison. His brother is killed during the opening credits by Connors, sending McKlusky on a personal mission to get even.

What’d He Wear?

After ditching his ultra-’70s white suit and polyester shirt, Gator arrives at the old McKlusky homestead in his staple outfit throughout the film, a blue work shirt and dark jeans with boots. There are slight variations on each one as the plot thickens, but the core remains the same.

Gator’s first shirt is a sky blue polyester snap-down. It is a very typical shirt as seen in these types of movies, with Western-style single-pointed shoulder yokes in the front and a rear pointed yoke. Since it is the mid-’70s, the shirt has long point collars. Not quite disco collars, but still on the large side.

A mustache-free Burt takes some getting used to.A mustache-free Burt takes some getting used to.

Burt wears the shirt with the double-snapped cuffs unfastened and rolled up his sleeves to his elbows, as he does with all of his shirts. There is a white button worn unfastened at the collar and five silver-rimmed pearl snaps down a front placket. There are two chest pockets, each with a flap that closes with a single snap.

The shirt is worn with a pair of dark blue denim jeans. They are a standard pair with five pockets and belt loops. Thankfully, they are boot cut and roomy throughout the leg. As the decade progressed and Burt slid into the role of the Bandit, jeans became tighter, lighter, and flared. I wasn’t around in the mid-’70s deep South, but I’d guess that most good ol’ boys scoffed at any man in a pair of painted-on jeans. The jeans have rounded rear pockets with a brown “X” stitched at the top corners of each pocket.

2013-06-08 02.14.19 pm s1mOh, so that’s why they call it “sky” blue!

Burt’s belt is black canvas with two prongs. There are two rows of silver-rimmed holes across the whole belt. A large silver rectangular clasp fastens the belt in the front. This is sometimes switched up for a brown or black solid leather belt, but the canvas is Gator’s go-to.

Gator wears two sets of plain-toe boots during the film as well, a black pair and a brown pair. We don’t see much of them, since Gator almost always has his jeans over them, but they appear to have button-fastened sides and travel a substantial length up each leg. Underneath, he wears a pair of white tube socks.

For a brief scene where Burt romances the middle-aged county clerk, Gator wears a dark blue polyester version of his first shirt. It is the same cut, with the snaps appearing to be more of a blue pearl, although that could just be the shading of the shirt having an effect. Like the first, he wears the top button and top snap unfastened and rolls the sleeves to his elbows. This shirt is also worn with the dark blue jeans. However, he wears the jeans with a brown leather belt with a rounded brass clasp.

WL-s2

Burt’s final shirt, worn for the final half of the film, is a blue chambray utility shirt. Unlike the others, this has buttons instead of snaps, with six blue buttons fastening down from his collar to his waist. The top button, worn unfastened, closes on an extended tab.

The last shirt has shoulder seams instead of the large Western-style yokes. It slightly resembles a darker version of a U.S. Navy utility shirt and may indicate Gator’s military history. The collars are large and soft, but not quite as imposing as those on his polyester snap-downs.

Burt, hard at work on the script for Gator.Burt, hard at work on the script for Gator.

It has two chest pockets with straight button-down flaps. Gator utilizes each pocket, keeping his cigarettes in his right and his green-covered notebook (for his “life story”) with a pencil in his left.

Gator’s jeans with the last shirt are also a different pair. They are more of a medium-dark wash with squared pockets. Thankfully, they are also a roomy boot cut. Burt wears the jeans with both his black canvas belt and a solid black leather belt. Both pairs of boots are also seen with this outfit.

Burt is pretty much attached at the hip to his car in this one. And every other movie he's made.Burt is pretty much attached at the hip to his car in this one. And every other movie he’s made.

Gator’s single accessory is a large, unexplained pinky ring, worn on his right hand. The ring is gold with a flat, square face that appears to be engraved.

Maybe the ring gives him mystical driving ability?Maybe the ring gives him mystical driving ability?

Go Big or Go Home

White Lightning, filmed in 1973, is something of an anomaly of its genre. It is what many of the later similar films of the ’70s should have been, an updated version of the Thunder Road type story. Instead, studios and family audiences stepped in the way and ruined the verisimilitude of the gritty chain-smoking whiskey runners who cursed and stole each other’s women while facing off against deadly corrupt lawmen. Instead, we were given clean-cut jokesters who let out a few “Aw, hecks” before speeding off from the bumbling sheriff who can’t seem to get his hat off the ground.

(It may seem like I’m taking a lot of digs at The Dukes of Hazzard. In fact, the show was/is a favorite of mine while growing up and I have all seven seasons on DVD. It just doesn’t quite classify as BAMF-y as White Lightning does.)

Gator does seem to break one inviolable rule of the South though: Never steal a man's gun.Gator does break one inviolable rule of the South though: Never steal a man’s gun.

Like Don Draper and many of our fathers and grandfathers, Gator is loyal to his Lucky Strike unfiltered cigarettes, always keeping a pack handy in his pocket and lighting up with a match in his downtime. He’s also not opposed to drinking, with Lone Star beer seeming to be his drink of choice.

Lone Star, the “official beer of Texas”, was first brewed by Adolphus Busch in 1884. Twenty years later, the Lone Star Brewery was built on Jones Avenue in San Antonio. It closed for Prohibition in 1918 but opened its doors instantly when the law was repealed fifteen years later. The first beer to be called “Lone Star” in its present formula was first brewed in 1940. The logo seen throughout White Lightning, boasting of the “pure artisan water”  used in the brewing process, was first printed in 1967. This would be short-lived, as the beer was acquired by Olympia Brewing Company in Washington by 1976 and, after a series of acquisitions, the Texas brewery was phased out. In 1999, Pabst purchased Lone Star and announced its re-introduction , keeping the brewing local to Texas. Now, you can again drink like Gator McKlusky with the shield-and-star logo on the Lone Star labels. However, I wouldn’t recommend his method of drinking a tall boy while driving.

Drinking in a bar is fine, though.Drinking in a bar is fine, though.

Not only was Gator a BAMF, but it goes without saying that Burt Reynolds is also. During the filming of the chase sequence that ends with Gator’s Ford flying onto floating barge, stunt driver Hal Needham accidentally landed the car just a bit too short, landing on the barge’s stern with the rear of the car dipping into the water. Burt, who had been watching from behind the camera, instantly dove into the water, swam to the barge, and helped pull Needham from the car. Needham recovered and enjoyed a long, successful partnership with Burt Reynolds, directing him in hit films such as HooperThe Cannonball RunStroker Ace, and – of course – Smokey and the Bandit. Burt paid tribute to Needham by making sure to mention him during his guest appearance on a third season episode of Archer.

How to Get the Look

Gator has a revolving wardrobe of similar clothes throughout the film. The base look is a blue snap-down long-sleeve shirt, dark jeans, black boots, and a black canvas belt.

WL-s1cropThe shirts:

  • Sky blue Western-style polyester snap-down shirt with two snap-flapped chest pockets
  • Dark blue Western-style polyester snap-down shirt with two snap-flapped chest pockets
  • Medium blue chambray button-down utility shirt with two button-flapped chest pockets

The jeans:

  • Dark wash 5-pocket boot cut denim jeans
  • Medium-dark wash 5-pocket boot cut denim jeans

Footwear:

  • Black leather boots with button-fastened sides
  • Dark brown leather boots with button-fastened sides
  • White tube socks

Other:

  • Black canvas belt with two rows of silver-rimmed holes and a large silver rectangular clasp
  • Brown leather belt with a rounded brass clasp
  • Black leather belt with a rounded silver clasp
  • Gold pinky ring with a flat, square, engraved face

Also, if you’re trying to channel Burt Reynolds, you may be tempted to wear a mustache. In 1973, Burt’s epic mustache wasn’t yet a part of his image. Sorry.

The Car

For his “mission”, the authorities give Gator a car that impresses him and us, a brown 1971 Ford Custom 500 four-door sedan with a blue interior and a 429 Police Interceptor engine. The car, as the G-men explain, is built for running moonshine and is fitted with a four-speed Hurst manual transmission and a set of Cooper Tire Wide Runner polyglas tires on black steel wheels.

I would do just about anything to spend one day as Hal Needham.I would do just about anything to spend one day as Hal Needham.

We see shots of both a four-speed manual and the three-speed column-shift automatic, which was the actual standard transmission with the ’71 Custom 500, but the film emphasizes the four-speed.

And how!And how!

At this time, most Customs and Custom 500s were fitted with either the base inline six-cylinder engine or a small-block 289 ci or 351 ci V8. If a customer, whether police or civilian, wanted a larger engine, Ford’s full range of large-block V8s, including the 427 ci and the 429 ci, were available with transmissions from overdrive and four-speed manual to the SelectShift automatic three-speed. By 1972, the three-speed SelectShift had been made standard on all V8-powered engines. 1972 was also the last year for the base Custom, with the Custom 500 continuing for a few more years, mostly for fleet sales, ending U.S. production in 1978.

One of Ford’s top-of-the-line engines in 1971 was the 429 Cobra Jet, a version of the Ford 385 engine (named for the 3.85″ crankshaft stroke). The Ford 385 was offered as a 429 ci or a 460 ci for most production cars, with additional options for trucks and utility vehicles. The engine in Gator’s Custom 500, the 429 Police Interceptor, was a slightly enhanced version of the 429 Cobra Jet with 11-1 compression. It was rated at 375 horsepower and accompanied a Holley 4-barrel carburetor. With an engine like that, averaging less than 9 mpg, the 1971 Ford Custom 500 could pass anything… except a gas station.

A day in the life.A day in the life.

1971 Ford Custom 500

Body Style: 4-door sedan

Engine: 429 cu. in. (7.0 L) Ford 385 V8 “Police Interceptor” with a Holley 4-barrel carburetor

Power: 375 bhp (279 kW)

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Wheelbase: 121 inches (2700 mm)

Length: 216.2 inches (4660 mm)

Width: 79.2 inches (1800 mm)

Interestingly, a 1971 Custom 500 was also chosen in an early episode of The Dukes of Hazzard (Episode 5, “High Octane”) as Uncle Jesse’s old moonshine runner. He fuels the car on the Dukes’ trademark whiskey and runs until he is out of gas to avoid revenue agents.

Music to Drive By

While the film’s theme song is perfect for the eerie opening, it doesn’t do much for fast driving through the dirty back roads of Arkansas. Tarantino liked it enough to use it in Inglourious Basterds though, and that film’s soundtrack is now one of the few places it can be heard.

Instead, this would be the time to listen to great tracks from the Outlaw Country movement of the ’70s, particularly led by Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson. Musicians like those guys felt country was getting too soft and wanted to bring back the authentic outlaw sound of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers.

Of course, another option would be to download Jerry Reed, a friend of Burt’s who later starred with him (in Smokey and the Bandit) and against him (in Gator), who provided plenty of music for these Southern flicks of the ’70s.

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Beatty died in Los Angeles of natural causes on June 13, 2021, at age 83! TRIBUTE

Ned Thomas Beatty (July 6, 1937 – June 13, 2021)[1] was an American actor. He was one of the top character actors in film, particularly during the 1970s and appeared in more than 160 films. He was nominated for an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, and a Golden Globe Award; he also won a Drama Desk Award.

Ned Beatty
Ned Beatty cropped.jpg

Beatty in 2006
Born
Ned Thomas Beatty

July 6, 1937[1]

Died June 13, 2021 (aged 83)

Alma mater Transylvania University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1956–2013
Spouse(s)
  • Walta Chandler

    (m. 1959; div. 1968)​

  • Belinda Rowley

    (m. 1971; div. 1979)​

  • Dorothy “Tinker” Lindsay

    (m. 1979; div. 1998)​

  • Sandra Johnson

    (m. 1999)​

Children 8
Awards Drama Desk Award(2004)
Website www.nedbeattysings.com(archive)

These nominations stemmed from his performances in films and television series, such as Network(1976), Friendly Fire (1979), Hear My Song (1991), and Toy Story 3 (2010). He had great commercial success in roles such as executive Bobby Trippe in Deliverance (1972), lawyer Delbert Reese in Nashville (1975), investigator Martin Dardis in All the President’s Men (1976), undercover federal agent Bob Sweet in Silver Streak (1976), the priest, Father Edwards in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Lex Luthor‘s bumbling henchman Otis in Superman(1978) and Superman II (1980), as a millionaire’s right-hand man in The Toy (1982), Pavel Borisov in The Fourth Protocol (1987), TV presenter Ernest Weller in Repossessed (1990), Rudy Ruettiger‘s father in Rudy (1993), attorney McNair in Just Cause(1995), Dexter Wilkins in Life (1999), the simple sheriff in Where the Red Fern Grows (2003), the corrupt Senator Charles F. Meachum in Shooter(2007), Congressman Doc Long in Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) and in animated films as the voice of Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear in Toy Story 3 (2010) and Tortoise John in Rango (2011).

Personal lifeEdit

Beatty was married four times. His first wife was Walta Chandler; they were married from 1959 until 1968 and had four children: Douglas Beatty (born 1960), twins Charles and Lennis Beatty (born 1963), and Walter Beatty (born 1966).[1] His second wife was the actress Belinda Rowley; they were married from 1971 to 1979 and had two children: John Beatty and Blossom Beatty.[1] His third wife was Dorothy Adams “Tinker” Lindsay; they were married from June 28, 1979 to March 1998 and had two children: Thomas Beatty in 1980 and Dorothy Beatty in 1983.[1] His fourth wife was Sandra Johnson; they married on November 20, 1999, and resided in California.[1] They also maintained a residence in Karlstad, Minnesota.

Beatty was not related to fellow Hollywood star Warren Beatty, both born in 1937. When asked if they were related, Ned had been known to joke that Warren was his “illegitimate uncle.”[6]

On June 29, 2012, Beatty attended a 40th anniversary screening of Deliverance at Warner Bros., with Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Jon Voight.[7][8]

Beatty supported Jesse Jackson‘s 1988 presidential campaign.[9]

Beatty died in Los Angeles of natural causes on June 13, 2021, at age 83.[10]

A review of the movie WHITE LIGHTNING made in Arkansas in 1973 ( with pictures) Part 1

 

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Burt Reynolds White Lightning Review

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Published on Jul 7, 2013

This video is for entertainment only. Attached is a review (with comments) of the 1973 Burt Reynolds movie “White Lightning”. I hope viewers enjoy taking another look at this early 70’s American classic.

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Burt Reynolds Week : White Lightning

Welcome one and all to the week of Burt Reynolds.  Now I will be going over his earliest movies as we already covered him being in Gunsmoke for 4 years.   This time around we have a guanine time line movie for you.  It’s all about stilling shine, bribes and a bit unorthodox police brutality.  So strap on your seat belts, keep a look out of smokeys and brace yourselves.  This is White Lightning.

Silly smokeys think I am gonna pull over.

You damn peanuthead, you don’t know your spoiler from second base, you know that?

Bobby”Gator” McKlusky (Burt Reynolds of Navajo Joe, Gunsmoke, Shamus, The Longest Yard, Hooper, Starting Over and City Heat) is doing a nickel stretch in Arkansas corrections for running moonshine when he finds out his younger brother Donny was murdered.  He believes that the sheriff of the county he grew up in is responsible.  He knows that Sheriff J.C. Conners (Ned Beatty of Deliverance, The Thief Who Came to Dinner, The Last American Hero, Gator, Superman, Midnight Crossing and Homicide: Life on the Street)is more crooked than a white fence and agrees to go undercover for the Feds to expose the sheriff for the dubious, heartless bastard that he is.  To do that, the Feds outfit Gator with a ’71 LTD with a V8 big block so he can tear ass around the county and sign up to run moonshine or “White Lightning” as it is called in these here parts.   Yikes, talking like that is contagious.

Ladies dig the burns, fellas. Remember that.

Gator hooks up with an ex-con mechanic name of Dude Watson (Matt Clark of In the Heat of the Night, The Outlaw Josey Wales and Back to the Future Part III) to bring Gator into the shine business.  Reluctant as hell but knows when he is whipped, Dude links Gator up with Roy (Bo Hopkins of the Wild Bunch, American Graffiti, Midnight Express and Cowboy Up) a good ole boy that needs a blocker to mess with the cops between deliveries.  Gator starts jotting down how much gets delivered and to whom, in the hopes this will tighten the noose around J.C.’s neck.  A bit of side action from Roy’s ladyfriend Lou (Jennifer Billingsley of General Hospital, Lady in a Cage and The Thirsty Dead) who could not outwit a stuffed iguana but is easy on the eyes.

I have just a few points to make about the film.  This flick was shot in 35mm Spherical and sadly recorded in Mono.  Stereo was a trifle expensive.   As the cops are chasing Gator down a dirt path I noticed the rear window in his car was indeed missing but prior to the chase he leapt in the car and it had a rear window.  Continuity people!!!!   We had a few six shooters fire more than their fare share of rounds than the revolver carried but again this tiny oversight can be ignored.

Best be good, boy or I make you squeal like me.

This film has street brawling, car chases, shoot outs and more action in just one film that I have seen in a while.  Yes fellas, you get to see a fair amount of Billingsley; now move on.  All in all it was a fun flick.

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Saline County Courthouse (Arkansas)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saline County Courthouse
Bentonpic.jpg

Saline County Courthouse (Arkansas) is located in Arkansas

Saline County Courthouse (Arkansas)
Location Courthouse Sq., Benton, Arkansas
Coordinates 34°33′53″N92°35′15″WCoordinates: 34°33′53″N 92°35′15″W
Built 1901
Architect Thompson,Charles L.
Architectural style Romanesque
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 76000465[1]
Added to NRHP November 22, 1976

The Saline County Courthouse in Benton, Arkansas is the county courthouse of Saline County. Built in 1901, the courthouse was the third built in the county. Architect Charles L. Thompson designed the building in theRomanesque Revival style, an uncommon design choice in Arkansas. The two-story brick building features a four-story clock tower at one corner, smaller towers at the other three corners, dentillated cornices, and rounded arch entrances. The courthouse has served as Saline County’s seat of government since its construction.[2]

Saline County Courthouse, Sevier & Main, Benton, AR.JPG

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b “National Register Information System”. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  2. Jump up^ “Saline County Courthouse, Benton, Saline County”. Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Retrieved May 17, 2013.

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