Monthly Archives: April 2009
Hattip to Instapundit. The Heritage Foundation supplied the above graphic which compares Obama budget “cuts” of $100,000,000.00 to the appropriations bill for fiscal 2009 of $410,000,000,000.00, the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes erronously called the “stimulus” bill, which has a price tag of $787,000,000,000.00 and the estimated bill for fiscal year 2010 of $3,600,000,000,000.00. How ludicrous is all this? Ludicrous enough that the Obama supportive Associated Press makes fun of it. Ludicrous enough that even Paul Krugman is chuckling.
I have been quite troubled by the endless stream of abuse that has been directed at Pope Benedict XVI over the course of the last year. Now it may be reaching new lows. A friend of mine sent me this link to a German news site that tells of a mock “trial” in a “virtual courtroom” to be held for Benedict over his alleged role in the deaths of millions from AIDS, as well as his alleged support for anti-Semitism. Unfortunately my friend did not include a link to the translation, which he only copied into the text of the email. Here are the highlights:
“In the second hearing, the top Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong was less fortunate. Three indictments were levied against his “client” Benedict XVI. In addition to his responsibility for the spread of AIDS, the Pope also “legitimises anti-Semitism” – because he did not immediately distance himself from the Holocaust-denier and Lefebvrist Bishop Richard Williamson distances – and finally was also charged with discrimination against women and homosexuals. The indictment was supported with pictures of the Pope in front of a swastika, as well as pictures of concentration camp prisoners and dying Africans.”
Here is something I wrote over at Facebook’s “Dads Protecting Daughters”- Joe and I traded some comments there, and I thought I would open it up to the American Catholic society! Here goes:
A Safer World For All Children
We have touched upon some of the cultural issues relating to the protection and nurturing of our daughters (and sons- really this Facebook cause “Dads Protecting Daughters” directly relates to boys and girls). Now I want to bring up something on the literal street level- this is a political and economic area of concern. I am a huge “root causes” guy- the Catholic social teachings and Hierarchical commentaries are constantly saying in effect- “be courageous, look at the root causes of violence, of terrorism, of war”. I take this very, very seriously.
For something over a year now, I’ve been enjoying the EconTalk podcast, something which Blackadder of Vox Nova turned me on to. EconTalk is a weekly, one hour podcast put out by the Library of Economics and Liberty. It’s hosted by Dr. Russ Roberts, a professor of economics at George Mason University and regular National Public Radio commentator on economics, and the format is usually one of Prof. Roberts interviewing an economist about his/her recent book, or about an topic of current interest. And generally it succeeds in pursuing that fascinating middle ground of being accessible to the general listener while not shying away from discussing highly technical/academic topics.
I was inspired to post on them at this point because this week’s podcast was of a different format than usual, consisting of an extended interview of Prof. Roberts by a journalist on the difference between wealth and income, and what it means to say that we have “become much less wealthy” over the course of the recession of the last 6-9 months. Roberts also discusses the inexact nature of economics as a science and how the uncertainties of interpreting data play into policy debates.
This Newsweek article about Nobel Prize-winning economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman contained an interesting biographical detail:
Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the “Foundation” series—”It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, ‘See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism’.”
His Yale was “not George Bush’s Yale,” he says—no boola-boola, no frats or secret societies, rather “drinking coffee in the Economics Department lounge.” Social science, he says, offered the promise of what he dreamed of in science fiction—”the beauty of pushing a button to solve problems. Sometimes there really are simple solutions: you really can have a grand idea.”
I normally take great pride in being an American, but there are passages in our history which all Americans should be ashamed of. During our Civil War in many prison camps, both North and South, POWs were treated wretchedly with inadequate shelter, clothing and food. The worst by far was Andersonville.
John Henry and myself are a bit of stats geeks and we’ve been trying to figure out the most accurate way to gauge the number of visits American Catholic has been receiving by our readers. We use WordPress, Sitemeter, and Feedburner to see how we fare and I’ve entertained the possibility of using StatCounter to add to our curious habit. Then John Henry mentioned Google Reader and how it keeps tabs of the number of subscribers each website and blog has. That gave me the idea to add all of my favorite Catholic websites and see which ones have the most subscribers!
Now before you go and see who ranks where keep in mind that Google Reader only keeps track of Google account holders that add websites and/or blogs to their reader. It doesn’t keep track of how many times a site is visited and not all websites such as the Vatican (and yes even a couple of blogs such as Catholic Report) don’t even offer an RSS or Atom feed to subscribe to. If it’s any consolation Google Reader seems to be the most popular reader out there with Bloglines a close second.
Obama has picked Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel for the Department of Justice. Dawn Johnsen was the legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League back in the eighties.
In his latest article for InsideCatholic.com, Deal Hudson presents Ten Hard Facts Confronting Benedict XVI in the Holy Land concerning the plight of Palestinian Christians.
One would expect that — when presenting a list of “hard facts”, particularly a topic as provocative as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — elementary journalistic standards would require the citation of a source.
Furthermore, one might expect the placement of such statistics in context to further enable a moral evaluation.
That Hudson completely neglects to do this is frustrating, to say the least.
I am not, contrary to how it may seem at times, a leftist. I used to consider myself one some time ago, and I suppose on certain issues, such as foreign policy and immigration, I still am.
But the left’s moral logic, especially with regard to sexual issues, never appealed to me, much for the same reason most forms of libertarian economics don’t – it looks, smells, and often is extremely self-centered, and I wish I could say that without offending good-hearted libertarians who aren’t actually selfish at all.
There is a certain obessesion at times with double-standards and hypocrisy. In the debates over contraception and abortion, for example, these are the arguments I would hear over and over: