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was a bipartisan bill, as one of the co-sponsors, Sen Snowe, Olympia J. [ME], is a member of the GOP.
Olympia Snowe votes with Democrats more than Republicans. She was one of the only three Republicans in the Senate and House that voted on the $787 billion spending bill. One of those "Republicans," Arlen Specter, is now a Democrat.
Here is a visualization which performs an energy minimization mapping to group politicians by their voting record.
You can clearly see where Olympia Snowe votes in relation to the two parties. Saying this bill is bi-partisan is a more than a bit of a stretch.
Actually seeing as churches are tax exempt for property taxes and income taxes and often sit on prime real-estate while pocketing millions of dollars I would say that they do quite well for themselves.
The issue isn't about the money, but I agree with the hypocrisy of the tax exemption situation. The issue is that we have concocted this monolith known as public education. Since there is no diversity of choice, people will inevitably fight for control of the monolith. Anyone who doesn't think that people should bring up issues important to them in this public situation is effectively saying--"Hey, we're happy to take your money, but not for you to have representation. Sit down and shut up."
Let's just imagine that instead of corporations, we had "The Public Company System" that was supported by tax dollars. Inevitably, people are going to fight for what the system should produce. Instead of allowing people to produce whatever they want, we'll have this one company produce some relative percentage of every good we need.
This leads to your statement about equal time for Wiccan beliefs. I don't know if you're trying to create some reductio ad absurdum, but I really think it backfires. Why should everyone be represented minimally in one system, when they can be represented totally in another?
Why should we force people to live the "average," or "equal time" belief system, when we could just let them live their own? Public education forces this living-the-average scenario.
Name one case where a scientist has seriously demanded that any church give equal time to preaching evolution!
Name one church that has ever argued that they're entitled to $5000-$7000 a year per school child by governmental force.
The issue here is freedom, and the cause of this problem is compulsory public education. To everyone who exclaims "but they shouldn't be able to teach that in public school," I would ask why you believe in forcing people to monetarily support an institution they don't believe in.
That's a lot more intense moralizing than the creationists. Really, whose system here is more practically malicious?
If you knew that EA would send you to prison for a while or fine you thousands of dollars for placing a game on the pirate bay, would you still do it?
Punishment is a very effective deterrent, and anyone who doesn't believe that should question why we have laws in the first place. Having laws against murder doesn't deter murder--threat of punishment does.
The $55 trillion dollar outstanding CDS market was used as an argument for the government to further cartelize the banking industry. I believe that this has significantly increased the overall risk to the economy and created a false sense of security. Also, unlike other more standardized markets, there are absolutely no standards in the CDS system; most of the contracts literally are held in filing cabinets on paper between two parties and it will take months-years to clear the CDS system. This particular set of derivatives had really no risk of a global run on the banking system, purely based on the structural problems of clearing the contracts.
However, we have now further centralized our risk to a few institutions and will be headed for a wild ride when the upcoming "real" economic problems (such as the alt-A & option-ARM mortgages, lack of accrued savings) collide with our monetary and financial institution problems in the future. The government only knows one way out of this as far as I'm concerned and that is to issue money and debt without abandon.
Current wisdom today holds that this is a long-term deflationary scenario, which I think is absolutely ridiculous. Deflation occurred in the Great Depression because huge bank runs moved money out of the financial system into the First Bank of the Family Mattress. Price decreases are not confirmation of deflation, any more than the destruction of Nasdaq was. One would have hoped that the '70s stagflation would have killed this line of idiotic Monetary Keynesian thinking, but here we are again.
We are almost certainly headed for very sustained inflation in the CPI sense in the medium to long term, coupled with decreasing asset prices such as market capitalization and home equity. This is due to the fact that CPI inflation lags true monetary inflation (sometimes by years). The asset "deflation" + consumer goods "inflation" will be a slow burn process because of the massive capital injection into the banks that has prevented asset and debt liquidation from occurring.
The cartelized investment banks are now very well capitalized (I believe I heard a month ago that they were almost at 100%!!!) and barely lending. I think the real travesty will occur as soon as everyone believes that the problem has been mainly contained, as that is when the big banks will lend again and monetary expansion will occur at an accelerated rate due to fractional reserve banking. Also, who knows, maybe the government will force these banks to make loans even though the banks (wisely) don't wish to do so in the current environment.
A few thoughts
There are over 50 TRILLION dollars of these CDS out there carried by banks who use them as collateral to make loans. They are actually worthless at this time so these banks are in reality bankrupt. That is why banks can not loan right now.
This is very misleading. The $55 trillion dollar figure is the "notional" value of the CDS contracts. Most of these contracts cancel each other out. I believe the residual discrepancy between these opposing ~$27 trillion dollar freight trains is expected to be a maximum of $1 trillion. Big, but not catastrophic. Here is more info: http://seekingalpha.com/article/65104-a-misleading-chart-on-credit-default-swaps
I will agree with the poster though, the media is in fact being very pollyannish about the possible downsides that still exist. What we have heard about is the "subprime" mortgage crisis. That however, is just the tip of the iceberg--we have 4 years worth of high default rates on option-ARM and alt-A mortgages which will be unpleasant, to say the least.
Look here for more details: http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/archives/2007/11/the_reset_probl.html
Most worrisome of all, the government is involved now. More than likely they'll print U.S. currency into oblivion to pay for all of this "stimulus" and trying to keep house prices artificially high.
The system design would integrate very well with the SHPEGS concepts and combining this type of CSP plant with seasonal thermal storage and a massive air-coupled solar heat pump has a very strong potential for high summer insolation/cold winter climates like Canada and the Northern US and Europe."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source