Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Americans Unhappy with Dems on Economy

With midterm Congress- ional elections just over three months away, American dissatisfaction with the triple-blue Democratic administration they elected to Washington in 2008 persists and continues to grow. On Tuesday, July 27, Reuters-Ipsos released a survey showing significant disapproval of Democrats' efforts to revive the troubled economy. Americans rightly consider the economy an issue of major importance and believe that the administration of President Barack Obama has not adequately addressed it. According to the survey, 67 percent of respondents said that President Obama hasn't done enough to create jobs.

The reason why this administration has not adequately addressed our nation's economic woes is that President Obama and many of the Democrats in Congress are the pawns of special interests. They only pretend to care about the American people. That's why they spent $868 billion dollars to bail out the big banks instead of punishing them for irresponsible lending. That's why we have a war in Afghanistan still going on nine years later. That's why we have a vast new government bureaucracy including abortion "coverage" to help take care of our health, and new taxes for those who don't want to be a part of it. That's also why we don't have real tax cuts for working families and small businesses and major cuts in federal spending--measures that would help the American people to rebuild the economy on a solid foundation. The corruption runs deep. It is also why Americans are unhappy with the Dems on almost every issue, not just the economy.

As Democrats in D.C. continue losing support and momentum, Republicans are gaining it. The Reuters-Ipsos poll indicated that 46 percent of Americans plan to vote Republican this November, compared to 44 percent who intend to vote Democratic. Furthermore, nearly three-fourths of Republicans (72 percent) said they are certain to vote in November, compared to less than half of Democrats.

Republican candidates for U.S. House and Senate seats appear increasingly likely to score major victories this fall. May those who win election go on to win the trust, respect and approval of their constituents through faithful public service for many years to come.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Caritas in Veritate--1st Anniversary

July 7 was the first anniversary of the release of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). In this landmark document, our Holy Father discusses globalization and its accompanying economic and social issues in the brilliant light of Catholic teaching. At the center of his discussion is the human person, redeemed by Christ. The Pope explains that God calls each man and woman to develop himself or herself fully in every aspect--spiritually, culturally, educationally, socially, economically, and so forth--and that this individual development takes place within the shared context of the family, the Church, the nation and international society. This exchange involves not merely relationships of rights and duties, points out the pontiff, but also relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. In other words, human development is not built simply on justice, on doing your job and fulfilling your religious, social and political obligations, but it is also built on charity, on freely going out of your way to do good things for other people, for the Church, for your country and for your fellowmen in other countries. Moreover, this development must be built on truth, which together with charity unites human beings into a true family of God. Into this discussion the Pope brings the "economy of gift." Human life and all creation are free gifts out of love from God, who is the source of all charity and truth. He calls us to freely answer this love with gifts of love for him and for our neighbor. To the extent that we share God's love with others, we contribute to "integral human development," which is God's Will for the human race. Part of this development is science, in which man discovers more about the good things God has made, and technology, in which he eases life's burdens, making it more worthy of man. Science, technology, economics, politics and all other fields must serve the true good of the human person and of all humanity, not the selfish interests of individuals and small groups, or else they run the risk of causing great damage to human development and interpersonal relations. With jewel-like clarity Pope Benedict shows how this all fits together and makes sense.

I cannot say enough about this outstanding encyclical. It is a priceless gift to the Church and humanity, and I have only given a poor summary of its rich contents here. I am planning to write more articles about it in the near future. In the meantime, if you like you can check out a piece I've already written about it entitled A New Vision of Globalization, which is in the list of published articles in my blog sidebar.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Umm...Where Did June Go?

I had a busy month. Tending my garden, finishing up my second book, and some other projects consumed my time, leaving less important pursuits such as blogging aside. And then in the middle of the month, my computer crashed, and I learned a few things. I'd like to tell this story in detail, in case my experience can be helpful to others.

In 2006 I purchased an HP Pavilion a1510n desktop computer with a 200 gigabyte hard drive for my work, which was mostly writing and a little AutoCAD drafting. It turned out to be a very reliable machine that met my expectations, serving me well for four years. I expected it to last about that length of time before going "kaput" and forcing me to buy a new PC. Well, I'd noticed over the past several months or so that it was taking longer to boot up when I turned it on every day. I knew that this was happening because I was adding more and more programs and files to the hard drive, but somehow it never dawned on me to do anything about it. I figured that with the 200 gigabyte hard drive I still had plenty of storage space. So one day last month, I unplugged my computer to protect it from possible damage by a severe thunderstorm. When I plugged it back in, it wouldn't boot up properly, but kept trying to restart itself over and over. I took it to a repair shop, hoping the motherboard or some lesser component was the culprit and I'd be able to recover my files from the hard drive. It turned out that the computer's hard drive had gone bad and that none of my files were retrievable. I lost more than 700 pictures, but thankfully I had nearly all of my important files backed up on CDs. I asked the technician how much it would be to replace the old hard drive with a new one of 167 to 200 gigabyte capacity and he quoted me $300.00. He recommended buying a new computer. I called HP and asked how much they would charge to put in a new hard drive, and they quoted me $500.00. I priced comparable PCs and found the new HP Pavilion p6550z for only $450.00. Buying a new computer looked like the thing to do, especially considering that I paid $600.00 four years ago for a computer with only half the capabilities of the latest model. But before forking over the cash, I decided to call one other repair shop I knew of further away with an excellent reputation and ask the technician there his price for installing a new 200-gigabyte hard drive. He said he could put a new one in in three hours for $150.00, or for just ten more dollars he could put in a 500-gigabyte hard drive, with a three-year warranty either way. Sold! I took my PC to his shop and he installed a new hard drive with 500 gigabytes. I ended up having to wait five and a half hours, but figured it was worth it to get my PC working again. I didn't want anything fancy, just the basic capabilities I needed for my work. When I returned home and set up the computer, I was quite pleased with the result--I found it not only worked, it ran faster and better than it ever did before. Within a day or so I had all my programs reinstalled and was back in business. The thing runs like a champ now with the new 500 gigabyte hard drive. It feels like having a new computer, and all for the fraction of the cost of a new computer.

I learned one valuable lesson from the technician at the first repair shop. He hinted that putting lots of pictures on a hard drive is a recipe for a crash, even if the drive seems to have a lot of space. I did have an awful lot of pictures on there, so that must have been a precipitating factor in the crash. From now on I will store most of my pictures on CDs rather than on the computer's hard drive. Another lesson I learned is that getting your old computer fixed--especially if it's just one component that's bad--can be preferable to buying a new computer. I'm quite happy with my repaired PC and look forward to using it for many additional years.