Paul Copan busts some "First Christmas" myths over at Reclaiming the Mind.
- There would have been no inns in a backwater town like Bethlehem. They would be found along main roads or in cities.
- The word for inn (katalyma) is the same one as the "guest room (of a private home)" mentioned in Mk. 14:14 and Lk. 22:11 --the room where the last supper was eaten.
Shikha Dalmia and Reason Magazine unload on Detroit's bailout request in It's 65 Million B.C. for the Detroit Three.
General Motors alone burned about $5 billion a month for the last quarter and is expected to completely exhaust its kitty by the end of this year. (The other two will follow suit shortly after.) At that rate of cash burn, the bailout money translates into five more months of life.
A comeback in that time would be hard to pull off even if these were the best run companies on the planet, rather than ones debilitated by decades of labor intransigence and management incompetence, two characteristics that show few signs of abating.
Indeed, United Auto Workers (UAW) Chief Ron Gettelfinger, who has been accompanying the auto CEOs on their taxpayer shakedown missions to D.C., had until this morning ruled out any new concessions to the Detroit Three.
... Gettelfinger is also unwilling to overhaul the rigid workplace rules that have long crimped labor productivity. For instance, these rules prevent workers from doing multiple jobs, which means that they can't be quickly redeployed in response to shifting market conditions. Nor will Gettelfinger allow the immediate shuttering of the notorious job banks program that pays laid off workers nearly their full salary for years on end.
Maybe Gettelfinger is just posturing. Happily, he has convened a UAW meeting tomorrow to "mull" some concessions. But if the threat of imminent death won't persuade him to pull out all the stops to restore the auto companies to profitability, why would he do so after receiving a $25 billion life-line from Uncle Sam? In effect, this means that the bailout will force non-auto workers--who should be saving in the event they get a pink slip themselves--to subsidize unemployed auto workers so that they can continue to draw fat checks for a few more months.
Finally, Dave Barry gives some gift recommendations in his Holiday Guide 2008: Gifts - For the Naughty (washingtonpost.com).
A man buys a gift only when he sees a clear and present need, such as he remembers that his wedding anniversary was last week. Otherwise, when a man is in a store, he is looking for practical items.
If he happens to pass by, say, a little ceramic statuette of two little smiley-face turtles with "BEST" painted on one shell and "FRIENDS" painted on the other, he is not going to give it a second glance, because he can't imagine anybody having any use for such a thing except as an emergency substitute for a clay pigeon.
The gift guide includes such jewels as the Uroclub (#2), the wearable sleeping bag (#5), the gun-shaped egg fryer, and the Zombie Yard Sculpture (#11).