Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 66

There is a special sadness to be seen in what Mark Steyn calls the “upside down” family tree. It is a fairly recent phenomenon caused by a declining birthrate, abetted by free abortion tolerance, in the “free” world. In essence, it is caused by having four grandparents, two parents and one child as the survivor with the family name. Having witnessed this firsthand as the lone survivor, I rejoice in the reverse effect in my own experience by having now, twenty grandchildren. May God bless my children and their willingness to procreate. Now our family tree more closely resembles an hourglass.

Other societies are not so fortunate. Japan, Russia, Spain and other stable “democratic” countries have experienced severe declines in their live birth rate. Some have even taken the matter public to encourage the increase in their population by natural means. A recent study in Japan of couples under 50 revealed a near total disinterest in the activities which would reverse the trends in the downward spiraling birth cycles.

Spain, nearly universally Catholic has had similar problems, augmented by the convenience and availability of abortion. Nearly a fifth of all pregnancies (18%) now end in abortion with the number climbing to 31% for second time pregnancies. They still have a credible rate compared to Russia which reports termination of all fetuses at nearly two thirds. Although I am presenting an abundance of percentages it would be well to not think in those terms but rather envision these precious lives being so cavalierly tossed aside. Each one is a gift from our Creator to people the earth and work to His glory.

We have absolutely no control over the doings of other nations and we should not. We do have a voice in our own destiny, however, and we need to be constantly alert to the ever increasing legislation and court decisions affecting our own. Not only is the practice a direct affront to God Almighty it is also damaging to our nation and its prospects for the future.

Is God great, or what?

I made a night time trip to Monett Saturday night to get a replacement battery for one of the cars. The critters were out in the cold drizzling rain in grand abundance. It was the usual suspects: coons, cats, opossums, 1 fox, 1 deer, and a couple who were quick enough to remain unidentified. They all had one very important feature in common. Each came equipped with brilliant reflective eyes. The size and color of the reflections varied but each had a very visible identifier.

As a result, I was able to avoid contact and will now continue to enjoy them on the next trip. I find it amazing that God in his design wisdom anticipated the headlights on our fast moving cars and equipped his creatures with such a marvelous warning device. I never cease to marvel at the preparations he built into all creatures to exist and thrive in the world He made.

More problems for Charlie Rangel

It appears that Rep. Charles Rangel of New York has accumulating problems which are about to reach the tipping point. It is well past time for some action to be taken.

His previous infractions were on personal income tax issues and abuse of valuable parking space in an official parking place. While these are inappropriate for a committee chairman they didn’t rise to the level of dismissal. The latest is another matter. It appears he has become involved in granting a favor to an oil company in exchange for support of a pet project to the tune of about a million bucks. To read the whole story, click here.

Mrs. Pelosi doesn’t seem the least concerned about any of it. Apparently this is business as usual in the House she controls and she has nary a discouraging word. While we taxpayers are being played for chumps, this scofflaw continues to rake it in and mis-report the income.

Corporate greed?

The most popular game in the media and among politicians is to attack the pay structure of corporate executives. Do they actually dominate the list of top money earners in the country; how about an untried professional who has just been picked in one of sport’s annual drafts? A fresh college graduate with the ink still wet on his degree, with appropriate skills can demand multi-year contracts in the neighborhood of $50 million dollars as the top pick for various individual teams. Player after player has received annual contracts over eight (8) figures. These are men and women who have never scored a point for any professional team in their lives.

I checked out the list of Hollywood couples and came up with a list of the top earners. Try these on for size: Beyonce Knowles/Jay Z--$162,000,000, Will Smith/Juda Pinkett Smith--$160,000,000, and David Beckham/Victoria--$58,000,000. I realize I am well behind the entertainment curve, but I have only heard of one of those six. I am more than willing to concede they are all probably very talented and likely very nice people. The question remains however, because of their kingly earnings need we accuse them of greed?

If we visit some TV personalities we find Oprah, the queen, at $385,000,000 annually, American Idol’s Simon Cowell at $45 million, Judge Judy at $30 million and Katie Couric at $15 million. For those who are on weekly shows we find they are paid by the episode with CSI’s William Petersen leading with $500,000 per, Charlie Sheen at $350,000 and seven others paid in excess of $200,000 each. Not bad for somebody reading someone else’s lines.

So, what do our executives actually earn? We came up with an average of $5,781,300 for the three hundred top executives in the country. The list was led by the little known Lawrence Coss of Green Tree financial at just over $100 million. Seems like a lot of money doesn’t it? Before you break out the torches and pitchforks I would suggest you take a look at how these pay packages are computed. There is a nominal (?) basic salary and then the perks begin. Some are minor; health insurance, pension, company plane etc. The big item is the stock options and outright inclusion. This ownership symbol is a serious driver for the executive to achieve ever greater wealth for the company inasmuch as he now has a vested interest in its performance. Given the current condition of the stock market is anyone crying crocodile tears for these folks and the equity depreciation they have no doubt suffered? A rising tide lifts all boats and we might point out an ebb tide also lowers all boats—including yachts of the rich. On average, a million dollars worth of stock is now worth only $600,000, and possibly even much less. If the exec's company has managed to maintain a higher equity I would suggest he is a worthy recipient.

If you are a politician wishing to taint an industry with an eye toward additional taxation and control, the executive salary is a great reference point. If you are a biased media source you will be equally anxious to continue the fiction. Heavens to Betsy, people, you don’t want them to attack Oprah do you?

Final thoughts

The snow was gently falling on Sunday night. Fortunately, I bought another twenty pounds of bird seed for the aviary. We shall now see how well the Jays do picking seeds from the snow covered ground.

I felt safe enough to believe that my little spat with coughing and general congestion was no longer contagious and went to Miami to share with the Saints. It was, as usual, uplifting and an experience I was delighted to share with about a dozen little kids. I am always pleased to see so many youngsters. Most congregations I see have an abundance of oldsters so it was a pleasant change. I am certain that God sees this as a plus as well. Robert Miller of Maple Grove delivered the message and we took our fellowship to dinner with us. I do like that better than just singing the last hymn and bolting for the door. My prayer is that you had a worshipful experience as well.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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