Updates with others’ slogans!
A month into the Obama administration, who could it be that left-wing firebrand economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is denouncing? Is it the dividers? Is is the extremists? Is it the old way of politics?
Has anyone ever wondered if it is possible that one can land in a financial crisis when one has a steady income, no debts, and a large reserve of money in case of emergencies? Certainly, I suppose, if something devastating comes around, like an accident that requires weeks in the ICU, surgeries, and a long rehabilitation, that could bankrupt a person. Yet such accidents, on a whole, are rare, and most people who live a financially responsible life never have to plead for a bailout.
When we look at our current financial crisis nationwide, I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking. President Obama has promised us trillion dollar deficits for years to come in an effort to restore our economy. Like most right-leaning folk, I’m under the impression that our current crisis has come from overspending, living beyond our means, and not being prepared for when we hit bumpy times in the economy (like $4/gallon gas, which drives prices up all around). Perhaps, if this view is incorrect, someone will be willing to explain to me why it is so. But my impression has been that first, people individually are consumed with buying, buying, buying, even when they don’t have the money to buy. I have friends who, though they grossed over $60,000 a year, were still living paycheck to paycheck because of their deficit spending. I’ve seen people who, upon receiving their government money, have gone and blown it on new cell phones (that are shut down after two delinquent months), on fancy steack dinners, and so on, instead of buying necessities or saving up what they can. I’ve seen people struggling with hundreds of thousands of dollars of accumulated debt that came from student loans, house loans, car loans, credit cards, and so on. This is just what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard–word of mouth, or in the news, or on blogs–is even worse.
The market reacts to the bank bailout plan:
On July 4, 1864 Abraham Lincoln had much to pre-occupy his mind. Grant’s drive on Richmond had bogged down into a stalemated siege to the south of Richmond around the city of Petersburg. Grant, due to the appalling Union casualties of the campaign, was routinely denounced as a butcher in Northern newspapers, a charge echoed privately by Mary Todd Lincoln. On June 27 Sherman had been bloodily repulsed at Kennesaw Mountain, and his campaign against Atlanta appeared to be very much in doubt. Lincoln suspected that he would not be re-elected and that the Union might very well lose the war. So what did he do on July 4? He, along with Mrs. Lincoln and most of his cabinet, attended a fundraiser held on the White House lawn to build a Catholic church!
I was talking with a good friend who is both a faithful Catholic and a principled progressive the other day, and she said something which (sometimes feeling mildly guilty about how politically convenient calls to sanction pro-choice Catholic politicians are for me) I had not thought of before.
“I think the bishops are partly to blame,” she said, in regards to the difficulties pro-life Democrats have in getting elected. “There are so many fears of seeming like shills for the Republicans that pro-life and pro-choice Catholic Democrats get treated much the same.”
I’d never thought of this, but really: what a slap in the face. If you’ve taken the politically difficult stand of being a pro-life Catholic Democrat in the historically Catholic-heavy regions like New England or the upper mid-west, and the Church leadership treats your candidacy exactly the same as the pro-choice Catholic incumbant you’re running against, how much incentive is there to take the courageous stand?
And so we end up with this kind of situation.
In the last four years I’ve learned a great deal about a host of topics, including my Catholic Faith, while blogging, reading other people’s blogs, and participating in comment box discussions. And yet there are some notable dangers that come with blogging as well.
A few months ago, I did myself no great credit in a combox discussion on a friend’s post. Someone against whom I carried paper left a comment I disagreed with, and rather than sticking with a basic refutation I went all out: questioned motives, brought up old arguments, put words in his mouth, the works. An hour or two later I got an email from my friend. “Wow. Next time tell us what you really think…”
But I knew I was right. I hit reply and was pouring out the reason I’d been 100% justified in behaving that way at 70wpm. A year and a half ago, this other blogger and said such-and-such. And when I’d pointed out his obvious errors, he’d said that. And then there was that other time. And remember when over on that other guy’s blog he’s said this in the comments? And…
I took a moment to stare at the paragraphs I’d written and realized this would sound a lot more appropriate coming out of my six-year-old as an explanation for why she’d hit another kid than coming out of a thirty-year-old man who fancies himself intellectual.
As bloggers we sometimes live by the word in rather the same way that a duelist lived by the sword. And slights which, when explained to anyone else, would immediately sound small and petty, fester and become long term rivalries.
Given the source of my recent embarrassment, I’ve tried to make it a rule to think how I would feel writing an explanation of my behavior in any given conversation to a disinterested party. Given my pride, this is a strong incentive to charity, or at least calmness. Naytheless, the temptation remains. I suspect that it is a built in feature (or bug) in an avocation such as blogging.
In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots. An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8. These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement. To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.
…Salvete AC readers!…
…when my Internet Explorer 8.0 browser is downloading one of my favorite websites, InsideCatholic.com, I notice it takes twice as long as most other websites to download. Is it because there is a lot code that is being downloaded? Does anyone else experience this same situation?…
…speaking of browsers, The American Catholic looks pretty neat on the Apple Safari 3.2 browser…
…came across a great tool to search for Catholic bookstores across the U.S. It’s called Catholic Store Finder…
…has anyone noticed that the homepage for New Advent has changed formats yet again? It looks simple, spiffy, and sharp. I like the layout and how the news is displayed. Kevin Knight has done a pretty good job of transforming what seemed to be a passing hobby into a great Catholic news portal to complement PewSitter.com…
…I enjoy watching the sci-fi series firefly and I have discovered that Firefox 3.0 is twice as fast, if not faster, at downloading streaming video than Internet Explorer 8.0 when viewing the series on Hulu …
…if you still haven’t gotten your fix on Catholic news click here…
George Weigel argues that a papal delegate should be appointed to audit the Legionnaires and Regnum Christi. This is a rather drastic step, but, I think, a necessary one. An excerpt:
Assuming, as we can and must, that this remains the Holy See’s intention, it must now move without delay to address the accelerating train-wreck-heading-toward-the-cliff that the Legion and Regnum Christi have become over the past ten days, as credible reports appeared in the blogosphere that Fr. Maciel had lived a life of sexual and financial scandal, probably for decades.
The reports have emanated from those who had been advised of the Legion’s own investigation of Maciel, but there is still no formal statement from the leadership of the Legion as to what its internal investigations have uncovered. There has been no full disclosure of what is known about Fr. Maciel’s corruptions. There has been no disclosure as to the nature and extent of the web of deceit he must have spun within the Legion of Christ, and beyond. And there has been no public recognition of what faithful, orthodox, morally upright Legionary priests believe have been grave corruptions of the institutional culture of their community.
There are many good reasons to oppose the “stimulus” bill, more accurately known as the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, in addition to the basic objection that it is an act of fiscal insanity. Now we can add one more: religious bigotry.
I’d just like to remind our readers that Our Sunday Visitor will make its own contribution to the children’s college fund by doubling what would have been Mike’s proceeds from book sales on all of his OSV books through the month of February.
Michael Dubruiel is author of such books as The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas, and The How-to Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You.
The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called the “Stimulus” bill, looks like it might pass the Senate. The amount of money we are about to saddle upon our grandchildren, if not our great-grandchildren, to attempt to pay back, may be as little as $780,000,000,000. For the sake of comparison, here is a list of how much other monumental undertakings in our nation’s history cost, adjusted for inflation. Between the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 and the Great Bailout Swindle of 2008, our government will be allocating funds in less than six months that represent one-third the inflation adjusted cost of the US expenditures in WW2 over three years and eight months. This is fiscal lunacy on a cosmic scale and future generations will wonder at our abysmal folly.
Something for the weekend. The Battle Cry of Freedom was a popular song North and South during the Civil War. Of course, they sang different lyrics to the song. The Union version was such a favorite among the Union troops, that President Lincoln, in a letter to George F. Root, the composer, wrote: “You have done more than a hundred generals and a thousand orators. If you could not shoulder a musket in defense of your country, you certainly have served her through your songs.”
Updated with working video.
Caught this on Creative Minority Report by Patrick Archbold.
I decided to find out for myself what is in the Stimulus Package being debated. The version I’ve looked at is the version the House passed, and I can’t image the Senate version looks much better. Here is the results of Division A (the first 250 pages or so).
Things this package will not be used for: casinos and other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; any public work (airports, bridges, canals, dams, dikes, pipelines, railroads, mass transit, roads, etc) that does not purchase all iron and steel from within the U.S. (unless there simply isn’t enough iron available, or buying locally increases cost by 25% or more, or it is “in the best interest of the public” to buy abroad).
Hattip to Patrick Madrid and A Catholic Mom in Hawaii. The above piece of blasphemy and raw anti-Catholic bigotry was partially paid for with your tax dollars. As long as Catholics sit on their hands and do nothing this type of appalling rubbish will continue to be subsidized by the government. Here is the home page to Link TV for any of our readers who might wish to give them an e-mail full of constructive criticism.
“No, you may not stalk Hans Kung, although the offer is tempting.”
Adfero et Iudicium, it’s my attempt at Latin for “News & Analysis”. If anyone knows the correct translation, please leave me a comment. Some highlights around the Catholic blogosphere, or St. Blogs as some would say, so here we go…
…Speaking of American Catholic we’ve added some new blogs and sites on our sidebar:
As the election becomes more a matter of history than immediate emotion, it is a good time for sober analysis of what went on in the 2008 election. Yuval Levin has a very good analysis in Commentary Magazine of the phenomenon that was Sarah Palin’s candidacy. In framing the controversy he makes an interesting distinction:
In American politics, the distinction between populism and elitism is further subdivided into cultural and economic populism and elitism. And for at least the last forty years, the two parties have broken down distinctly along this double axis. The Republican party has been the party of cultural populism and economic elitism, and the Democrats have been the party of cultural elitism and economic populism. Republicans tend to identify with the traditional values, unabashedly patriotic, anti-cosmopolitan, non-nuanced Joe Sixpack, even as they pursue an economic policy that aims at elite investor-driven growth. Democrats identify with the mistreated, underpaid, overworked, crushed-by-the-corporation “people against the powerful,” but tend to look down on those people’s religion, education, and way of life. Republicans tend to believe the dynamism of the market is for the best but that cultural change can be dangerously disruptive; Democrats tend to believe dynamic social change stretches the boundaries of inclusion for the better but that economic dynamism is often ruinous and unjust.
Both economic and cultural populism are politically potent, but in America, unlike in Europe, cultural populism has always been much more powerful. Americans do not resent the success of others, but they do resent arrogance, and especially intellectual arrogance.
Addressing how Palin’s candidacy turned this cultural fact into a firestorm, he says:
Presidents during their presidencies make hundreds of speeches. Most are utterly forgotten soon after they are delivered. Even most of the speeches by a president who is also a skilled orator, as Lincoln was, are recalled only by historians and trivia buffs. Yet the Gettysburg address has achieved immortality.
Here is a beautiful video about a young nun, Sister Lauren Franko, who is in the discerning process on whether to pursue the religious life or not. Another perspective is offered of what it takes to be a nun by Sister Maria of the Cross. Both of these nuns are part of the Dominican Sisters of Summit, New Jersey. It is a very well made Photo Essay by Time.
Lincoln has been portrayed hundreds of times in films and on tv programs. I thought that no celebration of the upcoming 200th birthday of our sixteenth president would be complete without a few examples of how the 20th century on film viewed him.
Updates below ?
Michael collapsed this morning at the gym and was not able to be revived despite the efforts of EMTs and hospital personnel.
We are devastated and beg your prayers.
Please keep Michael, Amy, and their beautiful family in your prayers.
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Eternal light grant him, O Lord. And please, Holy Mother of Sorrows, be with Amy and their poor children as they face this tragedy.
(Thank you Mark Shea, you are so good with words when it comes to prayers)
Update #1 (2-4-2009 AD, 4:45pm CST):
(Biretta Tip: Jay Anderson)
Update #2 (2-4-2009 AD, 5:25pm CST)
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf is celebrating a Mass for Michael Dubruiel and his surviving family here.
Via Amy Welborn:
A year ago last week – January 30 – Legionary of Christ founder Marcial Maciel died in Houston and was, a few days later, buried in Mexico, rather than the tomb that had been constructed for him in Rome.
Over the past week, with more intensity over the weekends, rumblings have been heard about the Legionaries of Christ and their founder, Maciel. The rumblings have now reached the level of blogs, so here we go.
Updates below ?, Hans Küng accuses His Holiness of being “egomaniacal” (more below).
A dissident Catholic theologian from Germany is calling on the Pope to “resign”. Hermann Haering is the “theologian” in question who is asking for His Holiness’ resignation. Even the German Chancellor, Angela Merkell, has asked the Pope to strongly rebuke Williamson and distance himself from it–which he has already done though many in the secular world fail to recognize. What do they want, Richard Williamsons’ head on a stake?
We should always take what the mainstream media reports with a grain of salt. The mainstream media has more times than not, reported with a bias against the Catholic Church. With dissident Catholics such as Hermann Hearing, anything they say will be grasped upon quickly for a cheap shot against the Catholic Church. The smear campaign has begun in full throttle just as Fr. John Zuhlsdorf forewarned us about; Anti-Catholics and dissidents are coming out of the seeping cracks to take potshots at our Pope.
We have a very strong tendency to throw around certain Bible passages when we feel they suit our needs. First and foremost of these in dialogue about Catholic Social Teaching and the proper role of government in aiding the needy is Matthew 26:11, in which Jesus states: “The poor you will always have with you.” (NAB)
The most unfortunate tendency in using this quote is to justify doing very little to help the poor. In arguments, it is used to excoriate any governmental welfare program, noting that since the poor will always be with us, the governmental efforts will not succeed, and therefore that justifies doing nothing at all. We all know, of course, that Jesus never meant this statement to be an acknowledgement of futility, or an advocation of doing nothing. But certainly the context of the quote seems telling.
Our President is first and foremost a political animal. The fact that his reversal of the Mexico City Policy banning the use of funds for foreign groups that advocate abortion was, according to Gallup, supported by only 35% of Americans will hopefully give him food for thought.
I enjoyed watching Super Bowl XLIII for the most part. As a football fan, I tend to favor teams with quarterbacks that I like, and I like Big Ben, so I was more or less routing for the Steelers to win. However, for the drama and story, I was also routing for Arizona, who was making its first appearance at the Super Bowl. All in all, I was looking for a clean, exciting game.
To some extent, I got that. Things were a little dull in the first quarter as Pittsburgh dominated, but the Cardinals got their game together to engineer a touchdown drive to make it 10 – 7, and to also shut down the Pittsburgh offense twice, the second time with an interception that seemed to guarantee at least a halftime tie. But then Harrison managed a goal line interception when it seemed Arizona was going in for the touchdown, and he took the ball 100 yards (with time expiring) to put the Steelers up 17-7 at half.
Hands down the most moving inaugural address in American history is the second inaugural address given by President Lincoln, little over a month before his death. It is short, to the point and powerful. It is also the most important theological document written by any American President. Here is the text:
In response to a prior post in which I expressed some support for higher taxes and more wealth distribution, a commenter suggested that “no thinking Catholic can support socialistic solutions to the problems of our fallen world,” on the grounds that such solutions limit “authentic freedom.” Darwin has already ably addressed the comment as it pertains to freedom. The Catholic understanding of freedom (i.e. freedom to do the good), is very different than freedom understood as the absence of government interference with individual choice. The former describes the freedom to be virtuous; the latter the freedom to do as we wish with private property.
But I think the commenter was correct in noting that the Church recognizes a right to private property. And this suggests that there is a tension between socialism and Catholic thought.