Bruce Walker

Francois Hollande, the new socialist president of France, plans to reduce his nation's deficit by "soaking the rich," but high income Frenchmen may not stay around to be soaked.

Friday, 13 July 2012 10:30

Moody's Downgrades Italian Bonds Again

Moody’s Investors Service announced on July 12 that it was downgrading Italian government bonds by two notches in response to the continuing financial problems of Europe. The Italian bond rating went from A3 to Baa2, which makes the sovereign debt instruments of seventh largest economy of the world just two notches ahead of “junk bonds.”  The move — which surprised Italian officials — came at a bad time for the Italian government, which was auctioning off €5.25 billion on Friday.

As the Nebraska Board of Education presented its proposal for social studies standards in public schools this year, it was met with firm resistance from concerned citizens, who pointed out that the nation's Founding Fathers and other historical figures and dates were missing from the standards. The 1998 standards, currently in effect, consist of 33 pages covering the leading figures and important dates in American history.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012 09:31

Chinese Economy Continues to Weaken

If Americans are looking at the Chinese economy to lift the United States out of recession, it would be prudent to look somewhere else. The second quarter GDP statistics for China are expected to reveal a relatively slow growth rate of 7.5 percent, weaker than growth in the same quarter of last year. If so, those numbers would mean that China’s economy is growing at the slowest rate in four years. The news pulled down stock prices around the world.

The solar flares erupting from a giant sunspot group during the first week of July were certainly on a much larger scale than America's fireworks displays celebrating the Fourth of July. The solar fireworks hurled charged particles through millions of miles of space, with one blast so intense that it temporarily disrupted radio communications in Europe. Though the charged particles from the sunspot group, labeled by NASA AR1515, did not head directly toward Earth, the solar fireworks were nevertheless sufficient to have an effect. The velocity of the particles was 700 miles per second, and the temperature on the surface of the sun where the activity was generated is estimated to be a mind-numbing 100 million degrees Celsius.

The Obama administration's problems continue to mount because of its financial support of the so-called green industry. Perhaps the most well-known example of such boondoggles is the solar panel firm Solyndra, which went bankrupt last fall after a federal loan guarantee of $535 million. And there have been a string of other such clean energy company bankruptcies since then, at a huge waste of taxpayer money.

It now appears that yet another solar energy company heavily underwritten by federal loans, Abound Solar in Colorado, will declare bankruptcy and leave the taxpayers holding $70 million in loans.

Federal District Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan III has blocked — pending a full hearing on July 11 — the enforcement of a law passed in Mississippi's last legislative session that would require that doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and that the abortion be performed by an Obstetrician/Gynecologist.

Bishop Martin NiemoellerSeventy-five years ago in Nazi Germany, on July 1, 1937, the Gestapo arrested war hero and champion of Protestant resistance Bishop Martin Niemöeller, and the lines were clear: Hitler against Christianity.

Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of 11 Brazilian banks on June 27. Some banks had reductions of a single level, but some went down three levels. This action was tied to the sovereign debt credit rating of the government of Brazil. 

A regional court in Cologne, Germany, has determined that religious circumcision of young boys constitutes “illegal bodily harm,” even when performed with the consent of the parents, and that the “fundamental rights of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.”

The case arose after the circumcision of a four-year-old Muslim boy led to severe bleeding and other complications. The German physician who performed the operation, identified in the proceeding only as “Dr K,” was charged by German prosecutors. The Cologne court declined to convict the physician, noting that “Dr K” had no way of knowing that the circumcision would be ruled illegal; however, the court held that the procedure itself was criminal.