Integrity
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in·teg·ri·ty (in-tĕg-rĭ-tē) n. 1. Adherence to a code or standard of values; probity.  2. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.  < Latin integritas soundness < integer whole, complete.   Who minds the minders? Whom can you trust? Is anybody’s word any good? Is everybody out for himself these days? The AP reports on this brochure from Bernard (Made off) Madoff and his investment firm:  "Customers know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished... Read More
Gay Marriage
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This has been a difficult year for anybody who could be called a social conservative.  California’s state Supreme Court made California the third state to legalize gay marriage (along with Connecticut and Massachusetts). In one of the anomalies of the November elections (in which liberal/progressives made great political gains), Californians also passed Proposition 8, which struck down same-sex marriage.   The new movie “Milk” (released last month) celebrates the life of martyred gay activist Harvey Milk, who was shot down along... Read More
Moody's
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It’s déjà vu all over again.     Remember Arthur Anderson? That huge accounting firm went under primarily because of conflicts of interest. They were doing business with the very companies that they were supposed to be auditing. In other words, they had a huge financial incentive not to tell the truth, especially any bad news, about the companies they were evaluating.   When you are ready to buy a house, you always want a building inspector to go through it first. But... Read More
Black Friday
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How on earth did the day after Thanksgiving ever get that name?    “Black” Friday? Good grief. It sounds as solemn as Good Friday. It sounds like one of the Wall Street massacre days in 1929 during the great crash that ushered in the Depression.   The day after Thanksgiving is a day off school for all students and a vacation day for probably half the work force. It should be a day of sleeping in, eating leftover turkey, and cleaning the... Read More
Positive Economic News
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Newspapers, online news, and TV news get their best ratings and readership when news is bad. You know the drill:  “If it bleeds, it leads.” Negative information moves product. Nobody reads a paper to see that everything is working fine. Maybe it’s just my perception, but it seems like all the economic talk I’ve been hearing for months is alarmist and panicky. True enough—there is major commotion in the world’s economy. Companies are going out of business.  People are being... Read More
2012
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It’s over. It’s finally over. The longest and most expensive presidential campaign in our history is mercifully at an end. Regardless of your politics, please join me in praying for our president-elect and for our country. God knows that we have enough messes to work on. But at least the noise level of political woofing and barking will go down a little, right?   Right? It seems that Governor Palin retreated to Alaska and held court in Anchorage to “weigh her... Read More
Darwin
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These are heady days for London’s Natural History Museum. In September of 2009 they will open a new eight-storey, £78 million Darwin Centre, which will house the workplaces of hundreds of scientists. It will also host displays for the public.   One of their most prized artifacts are Darwin’s mockingbirds, which he collected during his 1831-1836 voyage to the Galapagos Islands 900 km west of the coast of Ecuador. As Darwin studied these birds, he concluded that species are not static... Read More
Zimbabwe and Thrift
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The news from Zimbabwe hasn’t been good in a long time, but it seems to deteriorate by the day. As bad as the political situation is, the economy is far worse. The word hyperinflation is not strong enough to describe what the collapsing Zimbabwean monetary system is doing to prices as people seek to survive. In February a loaf of bread cost $200,000 Zimbabwean dollars. Last week the price was Z$1.6 trillion. Inflation is thought to be greater than 11... Read More
Mitsubishi
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On October 7 Tammi LaFave was charged in Milwaukee court with felony murder. According to the criminal complaint, her “boyfriend,” Travis Zoellick, had pretended to buy a car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, from UWM student Haroon Khan. On Oct. 1 during the test drive, Zoellick pulled a gun on Kahn, forced him to drive to a remote location near Watertown 40 miles away, took him out in the woods, killed him, and then buried the body in a shallow grave.... Read More
Gasoline
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You know, when gas was $4.26 a gallon, I would get chain e-mails about once a week with a stirring call to action to punish the greedy oil companies. We should all go on strike on a certain day and refuse to buy gas. The theory—the robber barons of petroleum would be brought to their knees. The e-mail usually ended with dire threats of what would befall me and the country if I didn’t pass the message on to my... Read More