Live this Friday night! Reply

By Tom Quiner

Scott Stilwell plays at Grounds for Celebration this Friday at 6:30 PM

I had the pleasure of working with Scott Stilwell in a musical I produced earlier this year called “A Living Heaven.”  Scott was that perfect blend of being fun, professional, and just plain good!  Check out the music section of this blog for a clip of Scott in action in the role of Jesus.

This Friday, he’s playing at Grounds for Celebration Coffee Shop from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. You’ll enjoy his great keyboard playing and vocal stylings to original music.

Grounds for Celebration is located at 2645 Beaver Avenue, in the heart of the Beaverdale Shopping district.

I plan on being there right at 6:30. I hope some faithful Quiner’s Diner readers can make it, too. There’s no cover charge, so bring the kids.  Grounds for Celebration has a nice selection of appealing desserts, including a wide variety of gelato flavors.

Should you be free to choose? Reply

By Tom Quiner

What an interesting question!  It depends on the context, doesn’t it?  It depends on the principle involved.

I pose the question in light of the great exchange in the video above between the late, great Nobel laureate economist, Milton Friedman, and a college student who is allegedly Michael Moore.  (I don’t know if it is really Mr. Moore, nor does it matter for purposes of this discussion.)

You can’t help but appreciate the way  Mr. Friedman engages the young man and forces him to think, to wrestle with a principle.

The young man has a problem with Ford Motor Company’s decision to not put a $13 part on the Pinto back in the 1960’s knowing full well that two-hundred deaths could occur as a result of their economic decision.  His chagrin seems reasonable, don’t you think?

Mr. Friedman’s response is that “no one can accept the principal that an infinite value can be put on an individual life.”  This, too, seems reasonable.

The young man disagrees, but then offers that he is a supporter of abortion rights. He explicitly states that he does not believe that human life is sacred, that principles have to be balanced.

This young man very much articulates the triumphant philosophy of the Democratic Party today.  Human life is not sacred if it is in the womb.  It can be discarded, and even more, someone else should have to pay for it.  However, their philosophy categorically rejects Mr. Friedman’s central principle:  “Individuals should be free to decide how much they’re willing to pay to reduce the chance of their death.”

The recent healthcare debate touched on this principle.  Democrats reject Friedman’s timeless arguments.   Instead, they passed legislation which reduces the consumers freedom to choose, and in fact, goes either further by requiring someone else to pay.

Are we free to choose?  Yes, if it involves aborting your baby.  No, if you would prefer not to purchase health insurance.

Should we penalize marriage? 1

By Tom Quiner

Society has a vested interest in marriage.

The institution was established thousands of years ago as society’s way to protect wives and their children.  To this very day, we see measurable benefits to traditional marriage:

Marriage reduces poverty.  The poverty rated for single mothers with children is five times higher than married women.

The poverty rate for single fathers is two-and-a-half times higher than married men.

Two-thirds of all poor children live in single parent households.

Marriage is the engine for a healthy society.  Government policy should reward marriage, not punish it. Unfortunately, a new study on President Obama’s economic policies reveal that marriage will be penalized more than ever.  The study can be found at Concerned Women for America.  The name of their report is “Obamanomics: A Summary of the Analyses and Commentary Related to the Financial Impact of ObamaCare on Women and Families.”

According to the report, President Obama’s policies will expand the “marriage penalty.”  Here are the highlights:

  • Married couples could be paying as much as $10,000 more for being married.
  • It will encourage cohabitation and divorce because of increased insurance premiums and fees for being married.
  • It will discourage married women from working because of higher tax rates.
  • Young married couples and empty nesters will be hit especially hard.
  • Financial effects are perpetual and, thus, cumulative.
  • ObamaCare increases the magnitude of the disincentives for marriage.
  • By encouraging single parenting, the bill will increase poverty.
  • It rewards the 70 percent of unmarried women who voted for President Obama in 2008.
  • The majority of taxpayer-stimulus jobs went to women, even though men suffered the majority of job losses during the current recession — costing taxpayers trillions of dollars per year.
  • Current welfare programs cost almost $1 trillion per year (twice as much as national defense, and nearly the size of the federal deficit).
  • ObamaCare is projected to add another $2.5 trillion to the cost of welfare programs.

How do we reduce poverty?  Through traditional marriage.  How can we expand poverty?  By penalizing traditional marriage.  President Obama’s policies pursue the second path according to Concerned Women for America.

Democrats take cynicism to new heights 3

By Tom Quiner

Governor Chet Culver should be ashamed.

A group called “Iowans for Responsible Government” have been running attack ads against Republican candidate for Governor, Terry Branstad.  They smear Mr. Branstad as being too liberal, that he would make Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama proud.

The goal of the ads was to tip last months Republican primary to Bob Vanderplaats.  The ads failed.

So who is this group that spent $760,000 in anti-Branstad ads?  Was it some right-wing group?  No, it turns out it was the Democratic Governor’s Association, Governor Culver’s biggest campaign donor.

Rather than use the three-quarters of a million dollars to promote a positive message and bolster Culver’s sagging reputation, they instead tried to equate Branstad’s record with the fiscally disastrous record of Mr. Culver and his national liberal soul mates.  In other words, they said Branstad was bad because he was too much like … a Democrat!

Knowing who ran the ads, does it seem deceptive?  Of course.

Does it seem hypocritical?  Of course.

Does it seem cowardly?  Absolutely.

I don’t view the Republican party as being particularly saintly, either.  However, Governor Culver’s allies have ratcheted up cynicism to new heights at a time when we voters desperately are looking for straight shooters who can balance a checkbook.

Governor Culver flunks on both counts.  I’m disappointed in him.  I say that not because of political differences. Republicans and Democrats can have legitimate and honorable differences of opinion when it comes to government policy.

But this whole affair is sleazy.

It’s dishonest.

It dishonors the Governor’s office.

Iowans deserve better.

The reason for American Exceptionalism 1

By Tom Quiner

Why has America been exceptional?

It is because we have embraced a set of exceptional values.  These values have defined and shaped our greatness.  The video clip above, taken at a forum at the University of Denver in May, talks about this very subject.  West Coast talk show host, Dennis Prager, is the speaker.

With a watershed election coming up in November, it is worth reflecting on what we believe as a nation.

America is the only nation explicitly founded in the name of Judeo-Christian values.  God handed the building blocks of the law to Moses in the form of the Ten Commandments.  Jesus refined the law by teaching us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to respect life, to forgive.

Our Founding Fathers built a nation based on these values.  They expressed them clearly.  Every human being enjoys a fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  These rights, proclaimed our Founders, flow from God, not man.

They are immutable, inalienable, sacred.

“In God We Trust” was established as America’s motto.  It is so fundamental to whom we are, that we engrave it on our coins and print it on our currency.

In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers refused to establish a state religion.  But they were adamant that there be no separation between state and God.  To that end, they carved the Commandments and sacred scripture onto the doors and walls of our most important government institutions.  Congressional sessions begin with prayer.

Our fourth President and author of the Constitution, James Madison, hammered this point home:

We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

This is a great country because we have embraced superior values.  We believe human rights flow from God, not man.  The concept of good and evil, right and wrong flow from God.

I find comfort in knowing that the vast majority of Americans embrace the same Judeo-Christian values that made America great.  And yet I am saddened that liberal elites have successfully replaced these values with those of secular Europe.  They have not done it by the ballot box, but by judicial fiat.

America is embroiled in a terrible conflict.  I’m not talking about war or the economy.  I’m talking about who we are as a nation.

Our government says we no longer have a right to life.  Abortion is the law of the land.

The notion of what is liberty has changed.  In today’s headlines, elites tell us liberty is about taxpayer-funded abortions.

The pursuit of happiness is no longer about property and personal prosperity.  It’s about celebrating alternative lifestyles.

And God is systematically being removed from the public square by liberal pressure groups.  If you’re a college professor who states that you think marriage should be between a man and a woman, you may lose your job as a result of the power of these pressure groups.

Pressure is being waged from the top down in America to discard the Judeo-Christian value system upon which the country was built.

Is this the America you really want?

Three value systems dominate the world:  Judeo-Christian; European secularism; and Islam.

The most successful value system by any standard has been Judeo-Christian.  America’s greatness lies before us to the extent that we remain true to the Judeo-Christian values that have historically defined us.  That greatness has been defined by a proactive love for liberty.  America has spread freedom to millions at tremendous cost.  This nation is wiling to sacrifice in the name of goodness and decency, just as Christ showed us.

If we continue on the path liberal elites are taking us on, we will decline.  Simply look at Europe.  The continent is dying demographically and spiritually.

I love this country.  Like America, I’m an eternal optimist.  This November’s election is the first step to slowing our drift into European secularism.  Get out and vote.  If you don’t, you have lost your right to complain.

God bless.