21 Responses to Movie Priests

  • With one exception, your list is trash – made up almost exclusively of americanist propaganda. I’ll grudgingly concede that #10 on your list, although full of the syrupy sentimentalism that plagued the pre-conciliar Church, at least has some redeeming qualities (for example, although the time period depicted was oppressive and patriarchal, at least it was a period in history in which the united states had not yet desecrated the world with its existence). Interesting that you placed that movie LAST on your list, almost as if you threw it in as an afterthought so as not to completely give away your ideological predelictions.

    How about setting aside your fervor for the americanist heresy for once and coming up with a list of films that reflects the full range of Catholic Social Teaching? The film reviewer for the USCCB doesn’t seem to have any problems identifying movies that move beyond your preconceived (and inherently americanist) notions of what makes a movie “Catholic”, as this review ably illustrates:


    (or at least the version of the review that existed before the reviewer was ambushed by the heterosexist rethuglican “catholic” mob and forced against his will to change his rating to “morally offensive”)

    Of course, you were probably among the dissidents who mercilessly attacked the bishops by dissenting from this particular exercise of their authority under the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

  • Exactly, i.

    This list is more reflective of the Calvinist/dualist mindset that afflicts most American Catholics (or at least those who are likely to read Neuhaus, Novak, or Weigel) than it is reflective of the mindset of the Church. In European countries, for example, you would never see these movies appear on anyone’s “top 10” list.

  • i.,

    I must say I’m puzzled by this line of comments. They confuse people who don’t know it’s a parody, and aren’t terribly constructive for those who do (at least, that’s my personal opinion). One of the goals of TAC is civil discourse. True, the individual you are parodying is often an impediment to that goal, but, then, so is uncharitable (if not entirely undeserved) mockery.

  • What should be on that list – and certainly in the top 30 or better – is the Hounds of Notre Dame. A Canadian film about a great Canadian priest, Athol Murray. Think of an extremely rugged, hard-drinking and smoking version of Fr. Flanagan. Not the flashiest of productions, but I really enjoyed it.

  • I don’t know, but several of the films seem to be about non-Americans. That may be Americanist propaganda but I don’t know how that will work.

    Also compiling a list of top movies might not be European, but it certainly is Catholic. Take a look at the Vatican’s top 45 list of movies:


    But I guess since such list making is Catholic, it really isn’t European.

  • “Keys of the Kingdom” I nominate, this may well not be on the list because it is Gregory Peck’s 1943 effort, coming a bit on the heels of “Song of Bernadette” a big success. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036983/

    Also not that well known and a movie that could possibly have some “not so sacred moments” is “We’re no angels” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098625/ with Sean Penn and Robert DeNiro. This movie really does effect me deeply and watching it the first few dozen times, I always saw as spiritually renewing and it still is. It seems so spot on in what it says and since it takes place sometime I’d say in the ’20s/’30s, it Pre-Vatican II with lots of Latin and other facets of Catholic Traditionalism.

    I would also give an honorable mention to the one man play, “Maximilian, St. of Auschwitz” which is definitely out of the scope of Hollywood movies but very well done with Leonardo DeFillipis.

    I am sure there are other movies, I enjoyed the Catholic Theater presentation with Father Pro.

    Now, that I see a Pat O’Brien movie mentioned above, though mainly a gangster movie, “Angels with dirty faces” is certainly one of the best movies ever with O’Brien playing the Priest to his boyhood friend James Cagney’s gangster. It’s just not a movie that is centralized on the Priest.

  • I did not visit National Catholic Register before writing my post.

    Everyone should see “Monsieur Vincent” and in fact, SVDP are his initials. Monsieur Vincent is easily one of the best.

  • Did you consider Cesar Romero as Father Dugan in The Runaway? An underrated movie which showed how a caring priest can help a kid heading for trouble. Then again, some of the posters here may feel that would be too much of an Americanist choice since the actor who played the little runaway boy, Felipe, grew up to be a Green Beret in Vietnam.

  • Rick, I will have to put down Hounds of Notre Dame on my to see list.

    Tom, Monsieur Vincent is a magnificent movie. I will have to see Maximilian Saint of Aushwitz. I have a personal devote to Saint Maximilian because of the way he brought Christian charity and love into the abyss of human cruelty at Aushwitz. As for Angels With Dirty Faces, what Catholic can ever forget this film clip which states powerfully our belief that as long as there is life there is hope for any sinner.

  • Sophie Scholl. One of the best movies ever.

  • largebill, I have always been an admirer of the late Cesar Romero’s work since I saw him when I was a child play Hernando Cortez in Captain from Castile. I will put the film The Runaway down on my to see list. I hope other commenters will also indicate their suggestions as to other good priest portrayals in films.

  • Philip, I haven’t seen Sophie Scholl yet, but judging from the trailer below it looks like a magnificent tribute to the White Rose resistance group against Hitler.


  • There are a few on that list I still need to catch.

    Perhaps cheating a bit, here are two nun movies featuring wonderful priests: Faustyna (1994) with soon-to-be-beatified Fr. Michael Sopocko (I’m sorry, I do not know the actor’s name), and Hildegard of Bingen (also 1994) with Fr. Volmar, played by Michael Byrne.

    These are both short films, hardly movie-length, but with fine performances and beautiful scores. Household favorites.

    As an aside, Padre on Horseback (the Father Kino story) is also popular with my family, in a sort of good-hearted Mystery Science Theater 3000 fashion…

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  • Thank you Suz! Two more films to add to my growing “to be seen” list!

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  • Donald,

    I know its not about priests but it is an inspiring movie. (Spoiler alert!!!!!!!!!) From what I’ve heard both Sophie and her brother wished to convert to Catholicism but were executed before they could.

    Its one of the few movies I think I could buy (remember, I told you I was cheap.)

  • I can’t make it through Christmas without seeing “The Bishop’s Wife” at least once.

  • Cary Grant was superb as an angel, and David Niven made a surprisingly good bishop!

  • Hands down, actor Piotr Adamczyk who demonstrated a remarkable (almost to the letter) portrayal of Karol Wojtyla in the film “Karol: A Man Who Became Pope” and the following sequel “Karol: The Pope, The Man”.

    Too bad these films have gone under the radar by both the general public and, regrettably, the Catholic community.

  • As much as I like how “Miracle of Marcellino” involves a bunch of Monks… the ending doesn’t quite seem Christian to my interpretation of the faith. It’s quite a unique movie and it being in black and white and showing the Spanish countryside and in fact, desert makes it appealing to me.

    I’ll say that even as a secondary player, “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima” works for me.

Letterman Apologizes, Palin Accepts

Tuesday, June 16, AD 2009

Governor Sarah Palin accepted David Letterman’s sincere apology which he gave last night on his CBS show regarding his crude joke at the expense of Governor Palin’s 14 year-old daughter:

Viewing the video I am impressed by his sincerity as well as his apology.  Anyone willing to continue to berate Mr. Letterman are probably doing it for political reasons as of now.  I for one appreciate that he took the time to say it during his show.

Others such as James Poniewozik of TIME magazine, Michael Russnow of the Huffington Post, and others continue to play political games and see in it more than a man expressing regret and contrition.  It is unfortunate that there are those still caught up in this scenario playing out their perceived grievances and political agendas.

Governor Palin has accepted and so should we, I do.

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24 Responses to Letterman Apologizes, Palin Accepts

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  • A good apology and a gracious acceptance.

  • Yes, it was a good apology. It reminds me of the David Letterman of old which was (or still is) endearing.

    I’m impressed in this day and age of non-apologies and bipartisan bickering. He certainly impressed me.

  • This reminds me of the situation when a business caves from a boycott by dropping support for some element of the “homosexual agenda”, there’s nothing sincere about it, however, if we continue to boycott, there is no motivation to reform. Sometimes you have to settle for the best we can get.

    I think it is time to accept this apology based on the Palin’s lead, but let’s not get all blithery over Letterman.

    I am really curious about what he means by his “intent”.

  • I’m mystified as to why anybody watches Letterman. He’s not funny and don’t people have to go to work in the mornings? Who stays up that late?

  • “He’s not funny”

    Amen to that, although he has a loyal following…!

  • I remember a fairly decent SNL skit that parodied Letterman nicely 😉 Wish I could find it…

  • First, let me say I would much prefer Palin as the GOP presidential candidate in 2012 than Mitt “vapid pretty boy” Romney or Newt “my third wife has made me a good Catlick” Gingrich.

    But let’s face it I find it absolutely amazing anyone would continue to portray Palin and her family as the ideal for family values in this country: Sarah plays up her MILF image every chance she gets and then gets upset when she is refered to as “slutty”; prior to the presidential election it was emphasized how Bristol and her baby’s father were going to do “the right thing” and get married but after the election it was obvious that it was a shotgun marriage in that the father couldn’t distance himself fast and far enough from Bristol and her family; Palin is far from the ideal mother in that her children’s well being has obviously been sacrificed on the altar of her political career, i.e. maybe if she had been at home minding the kids one wouldn’t have gotten knocked up and her son wouldn’t have had to been shipped off to the miltary to keep him out of trouble.

    Poor Dave. Anybody with a lick of sense knew he was referring to the older Palin daughter of questionable morals, but Palin saw her chance to portray herself as a victim and jumped at twiting Leterman’s comment so that it appeared he was referring to Palin’s younger daughter. Republicans like Democrats are not above distoring the facts to create favorabble perceptions of themselves.

    I know I’ll take my lumps on this website from the Palin fan club, but to you I say that I recommend that you spend some extra time in the confessional dscussing the unhealthy amount of time you spend surfing the photos on the State of Alaska website.

  • Tito:

    As a college student myself, I can safely say that I know absolutely no one who watches Letterman. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are the favorites, with a few Conan fans.

    Neither Leno or Letterman are big in the college community from what I can tell.

  • Michael,

    Intoxicated college students watch Letterman, hence why they can’t remember.

  • Michael Russnow writes “The media coverage was unfair”. A phenomenon known as the biter bit.

  • Tito:

    We at the proud institution of LSU are quite able to handle our alcohol at the relatively early time of 10:30, and so would be very able to recall whether or not we watched Letterman.

    Besides, if the stoned kids can remember watching Jon Stewart the drunk ones can remember Letterman 😉

  • Michael,

    LSU students start drinking at 10:30am? WOW, how times have changed.

    How about a WordPress pic ID?

  • Tito:

    I know, I know. Anti-drinking campaigns have worked wonders pushing the time back to 10:30. It’s weird having sober kids in the 8:00 classes. 😉

    In truth, I meant 10:30 pm, which is when those shows come on in the central time zone. By that point, the drinking has just begun.

    10:30 am is a bit early especially for a weekday, even in South Louisiana…unless it’s gameday. On gameday in the shadows of Death Valley…well, interesting things happen on gameday. Geaux Tigers!

  • On the WordPress ID, I need to sign up for a blog, but I use blogger. I have a pic ID there; I just haven’t dedicated myself to downloading wordpress to get the picture.

    Besides, I kinda like the blue square…ish thing I have right now.

  • Michael,

    “blue square…ish” is better than a “purple and gold tiger”?


  • Tito:

    You’re good. You’re darn good. Mentioning the prospect of promoting at a time when my LSU pride is high due to our performance in Omaha at the College World Series?

    You have skills.

  • “I know I’ll take my lumps on this website from the Palin fan club, but to you I say that I recommend that you spend some extra time in the confessional discussing the unhealthy amount of time you spend surfing the photos on the State of Alaska website.”

    Good one awakaman 🙂

    I admire Sarah Palin’s convictions. I am sure she was a good mayor and as far as I know, has been a good governor. Yes, she has a somewhat messy family life but so do a lot of good people. No family is perfect.

    But, that being said, I cannot believe she was really the best possible GOP veep candidate McCain could come up with, and it became painfully obvious to me during the campaign that she was in way over her head. I say that not to insult her intelligence or moral character, but as a simple statement of fact. And I do not think I am being a traitor to the pro-life or conservative cause to suggest this.

  • And all that being said, I think Letterman’s apology was sincere, Palin showed class in accepting it, and the matter should be considered closed.

  • End of the day it’s a nothing. He made a boorish crack. Went too far and caught some backlash. Apology (sincere or otherwise) is the end of it. He isn’t losing any audience over this issue as any of us who would be angered by his garbage weren’t likely to watch his show anyway.

  • I am really curious about what he means by his “intent”

    I believe all he meant was the fact that he was referring to the 18 year old troubled kid, not the 14 year old kid. His intent was to make a joke about the former, not the latter.

    awakaman – You’re right.

    Neither Leno or Letterman are big in the college community from what I can tell.

    Letterman was still pretty big when I was in college. Tito and I are showing our age. It does not surprise me that college kids are not watching Letterman. Leno is for older folks, of course. (And he is terrible. Also more offensive.)

    Besides, if the stoned kids can remember watching Jon Stewart the drunk ones can remember Letterman

    The effects of alcohol and pot are different.

    Letterman is obviously a moral giant — and the bigger person — compared to Sarah Palin.

  • Letterman is obviously a moral giant — and the bigger person — compared to Sarah Palin.

    I’m glad we have you here to tell us these things…

  • I’m glad we have you here to tell us these things…

    I wholeheartedly agree with you.

You Mean Running Up Trillions in New Debt May Not Be Good Politics?

Tuesday, June 16, AD 2009

Obama Broke

The Washington Post reported Sunday here, hattip to Instapundit, that the White House is getting nervous about the political fallout from the unprecedented spend-and-borrow binge upon which  Obama has placed the country.

“Results from a Gallup survey released last week show that although more than six in 10 Americans approve of Obama’s overall job performance, fewer than half say they approve of how he is handling the deficit and controlling federal spending. The poll also shows a decline from the previous month in the percentage of Americans who approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, although a majority still does.”

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15 Responses to You Mean Running Up Trillions in New Debt May Not Be Good Politics?

  • There you go again. Donald, do you understand the difference between a cyclical and a structural deficit? Are you aware that the vast majority of the increase in the deficit right now is cyclical?

    Let me ask you: how much of the fiscal turnarond since the last surplus is due to Obama’s discretionary spending? I’m talking from 2001 to 2012, so it captures the medium-term fiscal plans of the Obama administration. Well, 37 percent is the business cycle. 33 percent is discretionary policy under Bush – chiefly tax cuts and war spending. 11 percent comes from the continuing cost of Bush era programs that Obama has kept up (there’s your war again). Obama’s stimulus bill accounts for only 7 percent, and his proposed spending health, education, and energy account for a another 3 percent. [http://vox-nova.com/2009/06/10/blame-bush-and-the-recession/]

    As fiscal expert (and hawk) Alan Auerbach notes, the worst charge you can levy against Obama is that he is not making a concerted effort to fix the sustainability problems left by the Bush administration.

    And these numbers may actually over-estimate the impact of Obama on the budget. As TNR’s Jonathan Chait points out, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities crunched the numbers, and found that Obama’s budget would reduce the budget by $900 billion over ten years compared with keeping current policies in place [http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/06/11/the-truth-about-obama-and-the-deficit.aspx]

    But you are right about one thing, Donald– Obama is getting blamed for this because people like you (and I include most political pundits here) simply do not understand the basic fiscal math.

  • Tony, your frantic efforts to provide cover for the completely insane spending policies of the Obama administration indicates to me that the Left in this country will soon be in full melt-down mode by the Fall as the country fully awakens to the disaster of the course on which Obama has embarked the nation. As Robert Samuelson has noted:

    “Let’s see. From 2010 to 2019, Obama projects annual deficits totaling $7.1 trillion; that’s atop the $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009. By 2019, the ratio of publicly held federal debt to gross domestic product (GDP, or the economy) would reach 70 percent, up from 41 percent in 2008. That would be the highest since 1950 (80 percent). The Congressional Budget Office, using less optimistic economic forecasts, raises these estimates. The 2010-19 deficits would total $9.3 trillion; the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2019 would be 82 percent.

    But wait: Even these totals may be understated. By various estimates, Obama’s health plan might cost $1.2 trillion over a decade; Obama has budgeted only $635 billion. Next, the huge deficits occur despite a pronounced squeeze of defense spending. From 2008 to 2019, total federal spending would rise 75 percent, but defense spending would increase only 17 percent. Unless foreign threats recede, military spending and deficits might both grow.

    Except from crabby Republicans, these astonishing numbers have received little attention — a tribute to Obama’s Zen-like capacity to discourage serious criticism. Everyone’s fixated on the present economic crisis, which explains and justifies big deficits (lost revenue, anti-recession spending) for a few years. Hardly anyone notes that huge deficits continue indefinitely.”


    Contrary to your final statement, people are beginning to understand the basic fiscal math. That is Obama’s problem and yours.

  • the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities crunched the numbers

    That is a small advocacy group which is an auxilliary of the Democratic Congressional Caucus. Their number should not be cited as authoritative.

  • Donald,

    Answer this question: how much of the increase in the deficit over these years is caused by (i) the economy; (ii) the inherited legacy of the Bush years (tax cuts, war, medicare part D); (iii) new policies of the Obama administration? Tell me.

    There’s something else. One reason why the deficit look so high going out is that Obama has gotten rid of all the fiscal gimmicry that made the deficit look artificially low under Bush.

    Here’s Chait: “In recent years, Congress and the president have relied on a series of budget gimmicks to mask the size of the deficit. For instance, they would assume that certain tax breaks would expire starting a year in the future, but routinely extend them a year at a time. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers, Obama’s budget–compared to continuing current policies–would make the deficit $900 billion lower over the next decade.”

    Another issue — you do understand that high deficits does not mean unsustainable deficits, right?

  • Tony, the matterhorn of new debt is all a deliberate policy choice of Obama and all completely unnecessary. He could still attempt to change course. A good start would be to repeal the stimulus package.

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers, Obama’s budget–compared to continuing current policies–would make the deficit $900 billion lower over the next decade.”

    So the gimmick-ditching explains $90bn per year. And the rest?

    The stimulus wouldn’t have been remotely as bad had more than 20% of it actually been devoted to infrastructure improvements. Instead, it was an election lottery splurge.


  • IT is a scandal. THe real scandal is that both Republicans democrats did not heed Bush’s call to so something about Social Security. I think it is the height of folly not to take care of that first.

    What is driving the future deficts is not really Bush Spending that in many ways were a samll structural deficit. And it is not Medicare D. It is going to to be the other parts of medicare and such.

    Heck balming anyone for that is ort of silly unless we want to blame Johnson.

  • Not to fear, Obama’s soon to be on Rushmore. (Okay, at least near there.) So all is well.


  • Answer this question: how much of the increase in the deficit over these years is caused by (i) the economy; (ii) the inherited legacy of the Bush years (tax cuts, war, medicare part D); (iii) new policies of the Obama administration? Tell me.

    You may be correct on the factual point. The trouble with your discussion is that the numbers your citing are derived from projections for which the methodology employed is very much a black box. Jonathan Chait is an opinion journalist making use of the product of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities appears to have bulked up considerably in the last 25 years (I believe they once employed about 15 people) and unlike other such agencies (e.g. The Century Foundation) does generally employ properly credentialed individuals. Have a look at their site. I think you will look in vain for a refereed academic paper or for a working paper composed in a similar format and idiom. It is a cottage manufactory of press releases and Congressional testimony. Most of their fellows have been recruited from the Democratic legislative staff either of the U.S. Congress or of one or another state legislature. Others were hired off the research staffs of public employee unions. Asking these characters who is responsible for what is very much like asking Democratic members of Congress. That does not mean that they are wrong; however, consulting this source is not an optimal use of your time (or Mr. McClarey’s).

    One problem he only alludes to tangentially and you do not allude to has been the determination of Mr. Geithner (and Mr. Paulson, and various other rogues) to socialize as much as possible the cost of righting the banking system and to effect industrial restructurings so as to serve the interests of Democratic constituency groups. The higher the ratio of public debt to domestic product the more we are in danger of a currency crisis. Given that the propensity to public expenditure tends to explode during banking crises, it is simply awful timing to be attempting to effect what will without a doubt be a notable increase in the baseline of economic activity accounted for by the government’s purchase of goods and services. However, in Washington, in Albany, and in Sacramento, our politicians seem incapable of putting aside for even eighteen months their rancid ambitions and crappy little games to address a national crisis. Joseph Nocera is right, “worst political class, ever”.

  • THe real scandal is that both Republicans democrats did not heed Bush’s call to so something about Social Security.

    Adjusting tax rates, benefit levels, and the retirement age will right Social Security. It is not that difficult; it is that they are too irresponsible and poltroonish to do it.

    More salient, given our current circumstances, is the failure of Congress to heed the recommendations of Gregory Mankiw (the Chairman of Mr. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors) to address the dodgy accounting practices and undercapitalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The individual most responsible for this resistance was Barney Frank.

  • A number of points:

    * There is indeed a long-term fiscal sustainbility problem, but it has nothing to do with social secuity. The beltway talking heads just don’t get this — social security is fine, nearly all of the sustainablity comes from medicare.

    * Medicare is unsustainable because of escalating costs. See Peter Orczag’s editorical in today’s Financial Times. But here’s the rub: medicare costs are out of control because healthcare costs in general are out of control. In fact, medicare does a better than of keeping costs down than its private alternatives, but it’s still not enough. A great fallacy here is that because it’s on the government balance sheet, the sky is falling, but when it’s on the household balance sheet, we don’t have to worry about it. Much of the reason for stagnating median wages is the huge rise in healthcare costs – workers are sacrificing wages for this. So this has nothing to do with Johnson and medicare specifically, it has to do with costs.

    * Yes, the governance problems that led to the undercapitalization of the GSEs was a problem, but it had nothing to do with the financial crisis, which erupted in the private securitization markets. That’s where the vast majority of the credit losses lie, and for a very good reason — subprime loans (those things that triggered the crisis) were nearly all in the private sector.

    * I actually don’t know much about the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, but their analysis certainly raises no red flags. And if you don’t believe them, then you are at the baase-case scenario whereby Obama contributyed about 10 percent of the deficit, instead of actually reducing it on net. Jon Chait tried to delve into the differing methodologies – it’s all rather technical– one big issue is whetther the tax credits that get renewed pretty much every year, long before Obama, should get pinned on Obama.

  • Yes, the governance problems that led to the undercapitalization of the GSEs was a problem, but it had nothing to do with the financial crisis, which erupted in the private securitization markets. That’s where the vast majority of the credit losses lie, and for a very good reason — subprime loans (those things that triggered the crisis) were nearly all in the private sector.

    Rubbish. The mortgage portfolios of Fannie and Freddie constituted half of the secondary mortgage market and their bond issues constituted about two-thirds of all securitized receivables. The threat to the solvency of institutions comes not merely from subprime and alt-A loans (16% of the total) but from the prime loans of borrowers under water and out of work. It was not until August of 2008 that the national economy began to contract and a disagreeable condition in credit markets turned into a crisis precisely at the time a conservatorship had to be imposed on Fannie and Freddie. A trillion dollars worth of illiquid Fannie and Freddie issues are on the books of depository institutions in this country, and a trillion dollars worth of Fannie and Freddie issues were sold abroad, much of it ending up in the portfolios of sovereign wealth funds in the Far East. It is Fannie and Freddie issues that will (alas) be added to the national debt. It is Fannie and Freddie’s deficits that are being financed to the tune of tens of billions of dollars every quarter.

    Once more with feeling: it is a suboptimal use of your time to consult the work product of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, whether you believe them or not. There is so much literature out there from more credible venues, though it might not be sufficiently topical for your purposes. I cannot figure how Jonathan Chait is supposed to produce a ‘rather technical’ discussion when his source is not producing much in the way of technical discussions.

  • Much of the reason for stagnating median wages is the huge rise in healthcare costs – workers are sacrificing wages for this. So this has nothing to do with Johnson and medicare specifically, it has to do with costs.

    You mean the escalation of costs has nothing to do with the socialization of costs. Okey doke.

  • Art Deco — I’m sorry, but your analysis of the subprime crisis could not be more off. The GSEs had a major balance sheet expansion in the 1990s, but this had largely stopped during the “subprime years” of 2004-07. If you look at data from the Fed:

    More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

    Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

    Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that’s being lambasted by conservative critics.


    During those years, it was the private investment banks gobbling up securitzied subprime loans, not the GSEs — the GSEs held only a quarter of subprime loans sold on the secondary market.

    Another way to look at it is to see where the bodies are buried – the GSEs account for a tiny proportion (certainly less than 10 percent) of estimated credit losses out there.

    Today, of course, it’s a different story — the private securization market is dead, and the GSEs basically are the market.

  • Subprime loans constituted about 8% of all outstanding mortgage debt as of 2007. It has been a modest part of the overall problem.

Free Iran

Monday, June 15, AD 2009

In the proud tradition of news photos of beautiful women protesting against political oppression, the Boston Globe provides a series of photos of the protests over Iran’s apparently rigged presidential election, but the first is this one:

(In all seriousness, this is some of the best photo journalism I’ve seen in a long time, go check it out.)

There’s some reasonable dispute as to whether it would help or hurt the protestors for the Obama Administration to break silence on the issue and speak in support of the protestors. Given Iran’s history and the fierce national pride across the political spectrum, if Obama openly supported the protestors it might give Ahmadinejad the ability to paint Mousavi’s supporters as stooges of the US. However, the US and the rest of the world should make it clear that a violent crackdown ala Tiananmen Square would be absolutely unacceptable.

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21 Responses to Free Iran

  • Yes, and China sure did pay the price for Tiananmen, right? Most favor nation trade status, billions upon billions in foreign investment, hosting the Olympics…

    Yeah, we don’t like to talk about China. But, the good news for Iran is that 75% of its population is under the age of 30 – plenty cheap, exploitable labor to get itself back into the world’s good graces if it wants. Like Chinese communism, Islamic theocracy can learn to play ball too.

  • Joe: You’re giving me whiplash. I went from disagreeing with you quite strongly in recent days to saying “Amen!” to what you expressed here. Thanks!

  • Trade between the U.S. and Iran has been largely illegal for the last 30 years. Are the Iranian people better off on account of this fact? It’s hard to see how. Would the Chinese people be better off if the U.S. had adopted a similar set of sanctions against China twenty years ago? Again, it’s hard to see how.

  • Blackadder: Your reasoning is consequential here, which seems problematic to me.

  • I think you mean consequentialist. I deny the charge. Consequentialism is not the view that consequences matter (something it would be insane to deny), but the view that *only* consequences matter. There’s nothing intrinsically evil about not having sanctions against China or Iran or whatever, and as such whether sanctions are a good or bad idea is going to turn on whether the overall consequences of those sanctions are good or bad.

  • The “turn” you describe is what make it consequentialist, I think, for precisely the same reasons you gave with a minor adjustment: consequentialists do not say that *only* consequences matter, as you say, but, instead, that consequences are *the* criterion by which we ought to judge things, especially morally relevant actions. So, by judging things as they “turn” on overall consequences, you seem to be making a consequentialist point, which, for reasons that should be obvious, I find problematic.

  • Sam,

    That’s like saying it’s consequentialist to tell someone to take an aspirin for their headache, since whether taking the aspirin is a good idea or not turns on whether it will help with your headache. It would be consequentialist to argue that we should use an immoral means to achieve a desirable end. There’s nothing consequentialist in arguing that we should use a morally indifferent means to achieve a desirable end. Nor is there anything consequentialist about saying we shouldn’t use a given means to achieve a desirable end because it won’t actually do so.

    What, exactly, is the point of sanctions if not to help the people of Iran? If sanctions don’t actually do that, then the sanctions would seem to be pretty pointless, no?

  • I think this could lead to a clearer understanding of what my general problem is with what I see as consequential, instrumentalist reasoning (and the problems with that reasoning, perhaps). I promise to resume this one tomorrow.


  • Interesting stuff viewing those photos. I have vivid memories of similar scenes 30 years ago. A generation of young rising up to shrug off a regime that was by regional standards fairly lenient and Western influenced (for better or worse) and establish an anti- West (especially US) and oppressive regime. Thirty years later their children are attempting to shrug off the stifling regime in favor of some degree of liberty and one with (at least) a not-so-anti-Western flavor. Interesting, really.

    I agree too that Obama should be prudent in any vocal support. Better at this crucial time to do a Reagan/JPII and work through back channels to facilitate communication to and among the populace.

  • The mass protests today were organized on twitter. The mullahs apparently forgot to shut that down as they did Facebook. Those protesters in the street are the future of Iran, and I would not bet against them toppling the mullahs.

  • I think Blackadder makes a good point that at a certain point tools such as sanctions should only be used if they are effective. I am one who sees a place for retributive justice, but it has its limits and I’m not even sure it’s appropriate when dealing with groups (such as nations) rather than individuals.

    It did upset me at the time that Bush didn’t call on the Chinese government to avoid violence against the protesters back in 1989, and that there was basically no effort to distance ourselves from them afterwards. But at the same time, I have to admit that in many ways the openness to trade in the twenty years since has achieved more in getting the regime there to loosen strictures on most Chinese citizens than long term sanctions would have.

    I would like to think that there is a right balance to hit, where countries threaten disapproval of wrong actions and imposed sanctions at times because of bad behavior, but don’t let things stretch on endlessly (as with Cuba.)

    Frankly, one of the things I like about “neo-conservatism” rather than the realism of a Henry Kissinger or Brent Scowcroft (both of whose mantles the current administration was eager to assume) is that I think the neo-cons tended to assert that one should at least denounce bad regimes and seek to support good ones. (Queue someone saying that talking about “good” and “bad” regimes is dualistic…)

  • Those protesters in the street are the future of Iran, and I would not bet against them toppling the mullahs.

    I would like to think that this will happen and that the current situation will have a storybook ending (I’m a red blooded American and hence incapable of not rooting for the protesters and wishing they would kick the mullahs out on their asses), but I’m pessimistic. Typically repressive regimes either collapse under their own weight, or they are overthrown by force. The fall of the Communist regimes twenty years ago was an example of the former type. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not really getting that vibe from the mullahs.

    So that leaves option two, violent overthrow; which is all well and good, except that the people in Iran with all the weapons aren’t exactly the ones you’d want replacing the mullahs. Here, for example, is a brief analysis of the possibility of overthrow at The Corner by Michael Rubin. He says that “the key isn’t how many people are out on the street, but whether the security forces and, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, switch sides.” Am I the only one who finds that a terrifying sentence? A takeover by the Revolutionary Guard doesn’t strike me as being something to hope for. If you think nothing could be worse than the mullahs, I’d say you lack imagination. Most revolutions start with people in the streets chanting about freedom. That’s how the revolution that brought the mullahs to power started. Most of the time they end up in a much darker place.

  • “That’s how the revolution that brought the mullahs to power started. Most of the time they end up in a much darker place.”

    The historical record is mixed Blackadder. The Polish Revolution led by Solidarity led the people of Poland to a much brighter place. The 1916 Easter Rebellion, a completely hopeless and quixotic adventure, ultimately led to independence for most of Ireland. I imagine most Tories at the time of the American Revolution thought the country was ruled by mobs and was on a path to anarchy, but they were completely wrong. Rebellions and revolutions can lead to people being worse off, and they can also lead to the people being better off. If I were an Iranian I would certainly be willing to roll the dice in the hopes that something better would result.

  • Reagan didn’t just work backchannels, nor did JP II. Both spoke up loudly in support of individuals and organisations standing up for their legitimate rights.

    In this case any active participation is ill advised, but at least the moral support of the US would be of great assistance. They are asking for our support… instead of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”… we hear…. “” from the “One” who stands for change.

    There are several interesting points here. The conventional armed forces is of course the most powerful military force, but they are not acting, they almost certainly would join the protesters if it seemed likely to succeed, and/or the security forces began mass killings. The Republican Guard are loyal to the regime, but probably don’t have a taste for slaughtering their own people. The real danger is the thousands of Arabs (probably Hezbollah) that have been brought in, they have no love for the people of Iran, and no compunction about killing innocent men, women and children.

    Seriously, this is an issue that should bring all elements of the spectrum together. Toppling of the Mullahs would be good for the Iranians, the region, and US interests.

  • The historical record is mixed Blackadder. The Polish Revolution led by Solidarity led the people of Poland to a much brighter place. The 1916 Easter Rebellion, a completely hopeless and quixotic adventure, ultimately led to independence for most of Ireland.

    Those are cases where the ruling power capitulated. As I said, I don’t see the mullahs just giving up. Do you?

    I imagine most Tories at the time of the American Revolution thought the country was ruled by mobs and was on a path to anarchy, but they were completely wrong.

    The American Revolution is a somewhat different case, since the goal was not regime change but independence (the same is true, of course, of the Irish example). I would note that the Americans almost did end up with a military dictatorship, and that it was only avoided because George Washington happened to be a man of exceptional character. I somehow doubt the same can be said of the members of the Revolutionary Guard.

    I hope you’re right, though.

  • I agree with Joe here.

    Communist China gets off way too easy.

    I still abhor their human rights violations. No matter how ‘capitalistic’ they look, they still are a totalitarian regime.

    They kidnap businessmen to resolve bad business debts, suppress opposition in the Church, and still occupy foreign territory, ie, Tibet.

  • My attitude towards the PRC is indicated by the fact that I still prefer to refer to it as Red China.

  • Blackadder: I’m back for some more. Let’s pick up when you wrote:

    “That’s like saying it’s consequentialist to tell someone to take an aspirin for their headache, since whether taking the aspirin is a good idea or not turns on whether it will help with your headache.”

    This will depend on whether we understand sanctions (which includes non-sanctions) and other things as justifiable in the way that aspirin is justifiable. Medicine like aspirin seems pretty different than the valuation of the scenario according to the anticipated effects. I know it seems weird, but, as I see it, policies in general ought to be guided by a sense of what it is intrinsically for, not the mere consequences.

  • Sam,

    That would lead to the question, though: Are sanctions (or the lack of them) or formal denunciations) or the lack, for any intrinsic purpose other than reducing repression and helping the citizens of the target nation?

  • Speaking of China, Falun Gong has excellent news coverage, Epoch Times for whatever one thinks of them.

    What a sea of humanity: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/18205/

    I really feel bad for them.

  • Well, apparently Obama thinks North Korea is to be stopped at all costs: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/americas/8103807.stm

Catholic View of the Political Community (Part 2)

Monday, June 15, AD 2009

Here I continue with the slow build-up of an authentic Catholic worldview on the true nature of the Political Community- as outlined by the authoritative Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Chapter 8). This second paragraph contains more of the Old Testament outlook on Kingship, with the earthly kings of Israel finding their deepest fulfillment in Christ the King. But there is more to be said about the political community and responsibilities of citizen(s) and ruler(s). We will see the development in the social doctrine as we go forward through the Compendium’s teachings. We cannot point to one specific epoch in the history of the Church and the Chosen People, and make final assertions about things- we must look closely at how the current doctrines of the Church have developed, so we can see the consistent core principles. Here goes with paragraph 378:

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Capitalism — When People Sell Things I Don't Like

Monday, June 15, AD 2009

With the garden currently shooting up, I’ve found myself again disposed to read gardening and food related books. I finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma last week, and aside from a few gripes in regards to Michael Pollan’s understanding of economics, I enjoyed it quite a bit. On the last run by the library, I picked up a copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. The idea of moving out onto acreage and growing much of one’s own food is something that I find interesting. I enjoy gardening, I enjoy cooking gourmet food, and I think there’s a cultural and psychological value to remaining in touch with the way that humans have gained food for themselves in past centuries.

However, Kingsolver is far more passionate (and less balanced) in her jeremiads against “industrial food” than Pollan, and more prone to denunciations of what “capitalism” has done to our food culture. Indeed, so much so as to crystallize for me a trend among those who denounce “capitalism” and its impact on Western Culture. Kingsolver had just reached the crescendo of a complaint in regards to large seed companies peddling hybrids and genetically modified strains, when she turned to the subject of heirloom vegetable varieties, and her joy at paging through lengthy seed catalogs full of heirloom seeds.

…Heirloom seeds are of little interest to capitalism if they can’t be patented or owned. They have, however, earned a cult following among people who grow or buy and eat them. Gardeners collect them like family jewels, and Whole Foods Market can’t refrain from poetry in its advertisement of heirlooms….

So you see, when large agribusiness firms sell farmers seeds for field corn which are genetically modified to repel pests,
that’s capitalism. But when catalog and internet businesses build a thriving niche selling heirloom vegetable seeds, and Whole Foods ad men wax poetical over $7/lb tomatoes, that’s… Well, it certainly can’t be capitalism, can it? Not if it’s good.

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8 Responses to Capitalism — When People Sell Things I Don't Like

  • Love free market and capitalism! They are the best!

  • “In some circles, “capitalism” becomes such a scare-word that people forget what it means.”

    Unlike “socialism” in some other circles, right?


  • Great post, Darwin!

    It is ironic that things like Whole Foods are made possible only because they are one choice among many at the “capitalist” buffet table.

  • Actually, Joe, I’d agree with you that “socialism” as used in contemporary American discourse has become fairly meaningless. It’s used to mean any sort of centralization at all.

    Complicating this is the fact that many of the European groups calling themselves “socialist” these days are in fact groups endorsing technocratic oligarchy with a large social safety net.

    While on the other side, “capitalism” and even “free markets” are sometimes mis-used to endorse anything that large companies would like — even government protections of large corporations’ market shares.

  • This reminds me back during the election when the differences between the McCain and Obama tax plans were described as being a choice between socialism and unfettered capitalism, whereas in reality it was about whether the top marginal rate for the federal income tax would be 36% or 39.5%.

  • I’m currently reading Joseph Heath’s The Rebel Sell: How the Counter Culture Became Consumer Culture. Heath documents how much so-called anti-consumerism movements are defined in terms of branded goods, both negatively (‘I would never shop at Wal-Mart’) but also positively (e.g. Adbusters selling their own brand of sneakers). Heath’s view is that consumer trends are driven mainly by competitive status seeking, and that the anti-consumerist pose is simply one more strategy for gaining status and distinction through one’s consumer choices.

  • “but whose of us who are in any sense in the cultural minority should hesitate to rail against capitalism, when it is free markets which allow those of us with niche-y tastes to see our needs met as well as those of the mainstream culture.”

    If one would endorse or reject capitalism, socialism, or anything else culturally relevant based on how it allows for our tastes to be met, then, I think the reasoning that would follow would verge on relativistic. The point of having a rigorous discussion on the merits and demerits of the imperfect options we have come up with thus far is that there is a standard of justice that is worth striving for continually, I think.

  • I would tend to view most political and economic structures as relative rather than absolute goods. Thus, for instance, I see great virtue to representative democracy, but if I lived in a stable and well ruled monarchy I would be against any agitation to overthrow it for a democracy of unknown quality.

    In light of this, I think one should consider the likely results of replacing freedom with a more controlled system. Given that few people consider it worth while to spend extra money for food which is produced “organically” or “sustainably”, I think those who espouse that kind of food would do well not to seek to do away with free markets — since it is free markets which allow them to get what they want. If they somehow got their wish and saw free markets abolished while remaining a small minority, they would see not the imposition of their preferences, but in all likelihood those of the majority.

    In similar form, it is perhaps not coincidental that the Church developed a greater understanding of the advantages of religious freedom when in the space of a few decades the old Catholic monarchies of Europe were replaced by secular regimes hostile to the Church.

First Things-First Thoughts

Monday, June 15, AD 2009

Bloggers are Dangerous

I have been a First Things subscriber for years and therefore I was quite interested when I noticed their First Thoughts section where they have assembled some of best bloggers from Saint Blogs in a group blog.  Our own Christopher Blosser is there, along with Jay Anderson from Pro Ecclesia, Paul Zummo, The Cranky Conservative and Steve Dillard of Southern Appeal, just to name a few.  I have added First Thoughts to my daily blog browsing list and, after you have read The American Catholic each day (We must keep our priorities straight!) I would encourage you to check them out each day.

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3 Responses to First Things-First Thoughts

  • Behold how good and pleasant it is when bloggers type as one. The maturing of Orthodox Catholic writing outside of dead tree journals is wonderous site to behold. Mad props to our brethren for popping up elsewhere and spouting off. Mindful that the convulsions of post-election Iran- devote your prayer time to these poor oppressed folk- is being chronicled by Twitter, cell phones, et al. Saw real cool video shown on Fox News over the weekend- protestors flooding a Teheran street, clearing taken by cell phone. Thus the weapons of the laity- attention reverend clergy it is largely a lay phenomenon so get with the program- are utilized to disseminate current events in the flashlight of Holy Mama Church. Yay technology. Deo Gratias.

  • Yes, and Vox-Nova’s Jonathan Jones at Postmodern Conservative too.

  • Yes, Jonathan should probably have been mentioned in the post (although he joined Postmodern Conservative about six weeks ago, and Jay, Chris, Steve and Paul just started last week at First Thoughts, I believe).

A Big Blind Spot (From "Dads Protecting Daughters")

Sunday, June 14, AD 2009

Here is an announcement I wrote for my Facebook Cause “Dads Protecting Daughters”):

In creating this cause (Dads Protecting Daughters) to protect my daughters (and son), I thought of it as primarily addressing the threats from the outside- the political/cultural/economic ones. But recently I had a skin cancer scare (should be ok- surgery is June 17 appreciate your prayers).

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One Response to A Big Blind Spot (From "Dads Protecting Daughters")

  • Indeed. As fathers, we assume we’ll be there for our children, and only hope we’ll be able to do the right thing. And as children, we tend to assume our fathers will always be around as well — at least until they’re “old”.

    I know it was a comfort to my father that (despite having been diagnosed with Lymphoma) he lived until his children were all grown. Though since he died just as I was myself embarking on fatherhood, I sometimes find it hard now to know if I’m acting “like a father” or not. I remember how my father seemed to me, as a child. But there are so many things about which I wish I could ask, “What were you thinking back when I was doing that?” or “Did you have days like this?”

    As Christians we know our loved ones are not truly gone, but the gap and the silence of it is painful at times.

23 Responses to Flag Day

  • No, today we Catholics are celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi, Christopher, not “Flag Day.”

  • $gt$lt))&gt ~J

    This one work?

  • Sheesh, Michael. Didn’t you notice that Chris himself put up a Corpus Christi post earlier today?

    Most of us are capable of noting more than one thing a day.

  • Which, by the way, is one Corpus Christi post more than michael or anyone else at Vox Nova has written.

  • Like the kid said to Geena Davis’ character in League of Their Own, “Can’t we do both?”

  • Heather – Nope. Jesus said we can’t serve two masters. Remember?

  • S.B.

    Very good observation. I would appear that Iafrate is defined more by the rejection of one master rather than the embrace of another master.

  • Observing a holiday /= “serving a master.”

  • I would appear that Iafrate is defined more by the rejection of one master rather than the embrace of another master.

    You have no basis on which to make a “point” like this.

  • You have no basis on which to make a “point” like this.

    If I were to guess, I’d say that basis would be that you spend a lot more time behaving in an un-Christian fashion towards those you think are too “nationalistic” than you do writing anything that suggests much positive attachment to Catholicism.

    That certainly doesn’t mean this impression is accurate. Many people use the internet simply as a place to blow off and thus put only their less likable characteristics on view there. However, I can at least see how someone would come to that conclusion given the comments you generally make here.

    Food for thought…

  • If I were to guess, I’d say that basis would be that you spend a lot more time behaving in an un-Christian fashion towards those you think are too “nationalistic” than you do writing anything that suggests much positive attachment to Catholicism.

    If one of the main concerns that I express on your blog and elsewhere is the PROFOUND misunderstanding of Catholicism such that these syncretistic displays of patriotic Christianity become uncritically routine, then it is not very surprising that you (and whoever else) might consider my views and approach to be “un-Christian.”

    We simply don’t agree on what Christianity even is. Food for thought…

  • Actually, I was referring to the manner of your comments more than the content. You’re often quite rude and dismissive to other people, and are much more quick to characterize and denounce than to explain or persuade.

    I must assume that we do in fact agree on what Christianity is — we both profess the same Nicean creed and adore and receive the same Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. We are members of the same Body of Christ, follow the same earthly shepherd of the Church, worship at the same liturgy, and profess assent to the same Scriptures and Traditions.

    So it would seem to me pretty clear that you and I and all of those who write here do agree at root on what Christianity is — which is why people are put off and perplexed by your frequent characterizations of others as not really being Catholic; being syncretists; worshipping war and mammon, etc.

  • So apparently Christianity consists of dissent from moral teachings that the Church has put beyond dispute for thousands of years, while engaging in unremitting intellectual pride and outrage over faux “sins” against much more hesitant, prudential, and occasional teachings about economics (teachings that, when read out of context and exaggerated beyond all recognition, are taken to imply a firm stamp of condemnation on everything that can be called “capitalist”).

  • Darwin – Despite appearances, you and I do not agree on what Christianity is.

  • Darwin:

    For once, I’m inclined to agree with your interlocutor. I’ll even go so far as to disagree with your brotherly attempt to find common ground on the Nicene Creed.

    The two of you may recite the same Creed on Sundays, but there’s no reason to think you attach the same meanings to all the words.

  • Yeah, I guess you two are right.

    I guess this way I can at least not have concience pangs that I should step in when I see someone assailing Michael as not really being Catholic.

  • I was at a conference this weekend. A video was shown of a Richard Rohr lecture. A lot of individuals were taken in with him and his view of Catholicism. I think this is a similar case where people’s perception of what Catholicism is are quite different. Rohr and his like are on a very different wavelength.

  • You have no basis on which to make a “point” like this.

    Presumably, you mean other than your name? You freely call yourself the Catholic Anarchist. Anarchy is a rejection, an “anti” rather than a “pro,” in this case anti-government rather than pro-anything. Your Catholicism merely modifies your anarchy (hence Catholic Anarchy).

    Having read a lot of your stuff, I think it’s safe to say I very rarely if ever read anything other than you tearing something down rather than trying to propose something new, something Catholic. Indeed, you’re more focused on attacking America than promoting an alternative Catholic identity.

    Before you jump down my throat for this, allow me to point something out. SB noted that you had never posted about Corpus Christi. This is excusable; one doesn’t have to post about all the feasts. However, you constantly berate Memorial Day as a pagan alternative to All Saints Day. Yet in all your years of blogging you have not once recognized All Saints day but you post faithfully on Memorial Day. Is is that unreasonable to think that you are more concerned in truth with attacking Memorial Day with promoting All Saints Day?

    While I have no doubt that you are trying to live a Catholic life, you have allowed a small tenet of Catholicism to consume it at the very least in your blogging.

    As a result, as Darwin said, you are extraordinarily abrasive in conversations and the good parts of your message (and yes I do think you make good points sometimes, like protesting flags in the sanctuary which I initially disagreed with you on) are lost in the static.

  • Presumably, you mean other than your name? You freely call yourself the Catholic Anarchist. Anarchy is a rejection, an “anti” rather than a “pro,” in this case anti-government rather than pro-anything. Your Catholicism merely modifies your anarchy (hence Catholic Anarchy).

    I actually do not call myself “the Catholic Anarchist.” Donald calls me that. Not sure how you manage to mix the two of us up. I go by my real name.

    My website is indeed called “Catholic Anarchy,” but it’s certainly not intended to mean that “Catholic” modifies “Anarchy.” I actually thought about this for a while, as I imagined that objection would be raised. But when it came down to the sound of the name of the blog, “Catholic Anarchy” had a better ring than “Anarchist Catholic.” If I had to do it over again, maybe “Anarcho-Catholic” would have been a better choice.

    Anyway, your charge that I hold anarchism above Catholicism really holds no water. I think I have been quite clear on my blog what I mean by anarchism and why I use the term. (See the “about” page and the quote from Servant of God Dorothy Day on her use of the word “anarchism” to describe the Catholic Worker. But should you be interested in asking me questions on any positions I hold in order to “test” whether I am more of an anarchist or more of a Catholic, I’m game. I just won’t do it here in the comment box of this particular blog, as you are pushing me into some more personal territory regarding my faith. But you know my email address by now. By all means.

    Having read a lot of your stuff, I think it’s safe to say I very rarely if ever read anything other than you tearing something down rather than trying to propose something new, something Catholic. Indeed, you’re more focused on attacking America than promoting an alternative Catholic identity.

    What I propose as an alternative to americanist values is precisely historical Catholicism. The concerns I have in the blogging world are pretty specific, yes, and I am very interested in helping to expose the heresy of american patriotism. I see how you would consider that “negative.” But from my perspective, and from the perspective of Catholic and secular radicalism, “tearing down” is not negative but positive. Consider, from your own perspective, whether you would consider “tearing down” the abortion industry to be a “positive” or a “negative” thing. Maybe you’ll see what I mean.

    However, you constantly berate Memorial Day as a pagan alternative to All Saints Day. Yet in all your years of blogging you have not once recognized All Saints day but you post faithfully on Memorial Day. Is is that unreasonable to think that you are more concerned in truth with attacking Memorial Day with promoting All Saints Day?

    Again, I don’t see these things as being in conflict. My criticism of Memorial Day (which is hardly “constant,” but simply annual) is a way of shedding light on the meaning of All Saints Day. In other words, I do not “attack” Memorial Day for no reason, but to point out the meaning of Christian feasts which we simply take for granted, not fully understanding the socio-political dimension of what we are celebrating.

    While I have no doubt that you are trying to live a Catholic life, you have allowed a small tenet of Catholicism to consume it at the very least in your blogging.

    Which tenet?

    As a result, as Darwin said, you are extraordinarily abrasive in conversations and the good parts of your message (and yes I do think you make good points sometimes, like protesting flags in the sanctuary which I initially disagreed with you on) are lost in the static.

    This is a fair critique. I realize that being abrasive turns some folks off. I would choose a different tone depending on the kind of writing I am doing. Some of my influences (both theological and political) are awfully abrasive and catch similar criticism. That’s fine. I know that, in my experience, sometimes hearing a critical point of view from an “abrasive” source was just the wake-up call that I needed. But it doesn’t work for everyone, and I recognize and am fine with that.

  • Michael Iafrate, I think you have patriotism muddled with nationalism. Admittedly, so do many others, but I think your opposition to nationalism would work better if you tried to separate it from patriotism (which is encouraged by the Church, rather than nationalism, which is condemned).

  • John – Of course I realize that patriotism vs. nationalism is an important distinction. But on the contrary, I don’t think I’m the one mixing up the two. Most americans think they are “just” being patriotic, but they are in fact nationalistic.

    Yes, the Church encourages patriotism. But the patriotism encouraged by the Church need not be linked to the nation-state form, as that has only been in existence for a few centuries. I am all for being authentically patriotic, but not linking it to the nation-state. This is why I can proudly identify as Appalachian.

    I blogged about this a couple times at Vox Nova: the idea of an authentically Catholic patriotism that resists the nation-state form.

9 Responses to A Coup in Iran?

  • This could be a very dangerous situation very quickly. Serious civil unrest in a nation that has been racing to get the bomb is a frightening combination. Meanwhile the lunatics running North Korea are warning of nuclear war.


  • Good comments Donald:

    AND, I don’t really get into listening to the alarmists:

    But, North Korea building a bomb, being defiant, an alarmist type on Michael Savage’s show said they could “market” the bomb according to one guest… this same guest appeared on Relevant Radio. I think it is alarmist but it might still be a possibility.

    I believe listening to a Dennis Prager rerun show, another guest was saying if Israel hit Iran’s facilities, they may well do “Commando Raids.”

    Bleak stuff, like seeing Drudge this morning, “threatening nuclear war”, I just don’t know.

    But I would think, if there were someone that would be nervous about N. Korea’s weapons, it’d be Japan, since Japan acted real ugly in WWII and in fact, is the only nation to suffer the nuclear bomb. Or maybe we the USA is the great Satan, seeing how NK is allied with Iran it seems.

    The 3rd loose cannon is Pakistan, if things ever happened fast, that government could fall too. However, India is there ancient rival.

    I really, really feel sympathy for the Iranian people. I think they are largely good people because they have shown some “Western” inclinations in the past. So, God help us, anyone getting killed in Iran or rioting I think largely are those who want a more moderate state.

    There is 1 movie out there worth watching, “Off side” and it is about 5 young women in individual ways, try to get in to see a game with the National Football game of Iran in a world cup qualifier It’s a bit of a comedy, made in Iran and banned in Iran. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499537/ It’s an interesting take.

    I didn’t mean the long post but comments are welcome.

    And Obama said they were having a “vibrant debate”, rolls eyes!

  • Tom, a large portion of the Iranian people have been fed up with the mullahs and their crazy President for quite some time. This obviously rigged election might be the thing that causes the whole country to blow up. The mullahs will not go quietly however, and I would not put anything beyond them in their quest to hang on to power at all costs. In regard to North Korea, a nervous Japan could go nuclear overnight. The South Koreans of course have the greatest reason to feel alarm. Seoul is so close to the border that even a crude missile carrying a nuke could take it out in a matter of minutes. This could be a very turbulent summer for the world.

  • I’d been expecting this sort of thing ever since the prelim reports had someone besides the messianic midget winning.

    Praying for ’em. All I can do, I fear…..

  • I don’t see how this can be defined as a coup. The Mullahs were in charge last week, they’re in charge now and will be next week.

    The Mullahs have simply been forced to bring out in the open the fact that Iran is not a democracy. This isn’t the first time this has been the case, though they prefer to keep this fact quiet enough to allow liberals some cover.

    Frankly, I applaud what the counter-revolutionaries are doing right now in Iran, I hope this can take hold and that there would be a coup.

    Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are a cause of concern, but there are plans and mechanisms in place to ensure they are secured, deactivated, and/or destroyed in the event of political instability. Remember, unlike Iran, Pakistan’s military is not run by fanatical Islamic fascists. THey do not want their country destroyed, as it surely would be if there was a risk of it’s weapons falling into the hands of fanatical Islamic fascists.

    The threat to South Korea is not just nuclear. The DPRK has thousands of conventional artillery tubes pointed at Seoul, if

  • See this excellent roundup by Michael Totten — it would also appear ‘The Mullahs’ aren’t as cohesive a religious unit as one might suppose.

  • A country has an election. The outcome is not what you would like it to be; therefore, there had to be election fraud.

    Just continue on with the Weekly Standard neocon blather.

  • awakaman,

    dig a little deeper than that.

    Frankly, I don’t think it matters who got elected, the Mullahs run that country…. what matters is the response of the people who’ve had their legitimate aspirations of self-governance dashed once again. It looks promising, but I don’t have my hopes up just yet.

  • “A country has an election. The outcome is not what you would like it to be; therefore, there had to be election fraud.

    Just continue on with the Weekly Standard neocon blather.”

    Yep, all those Iranians out in the streets protesting and rioting over the fixed election must be neo-cons!


Corpus Christi

Sunday, June 14, AD 2009

A fitting video for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Back in the 1970s, when there was a lot of liturgical innovation going on, Dorothy Day invited a young priest to celebrate mass at the Catholic Worker. He decided to do something that he thought was relevant and hip. He asked Dorothy if she had a coffee cup he could borrow. She found one in the kitchen and brought it to him. And, he took that cup and used it as the chalice to celebrate mass.

When it was over, Dorothy picked up the cup, found a small gardening tool, and went to the backyard. She knelt down, dug a hole, kissed the coffee cup, and buried it in the earth.

With that simple gesture, Dorothy Day showed that she understood something that so many of us today don’t: she knew that Christ was truly present in something as ordinary as a ceramic cup. And that it could never be just a coffee cup again.

She understood the power and reality of His presence in the blessed sacrament. …

(Read the rest of Deacon Greg Kandra’s Homily for June 14th, 2009: Corpus Christi / The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ).

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2 Responses to Corpus Christi

The Caine Mutiny: A Review

Sunday, June 14, AD 2009

For my sins, perhaps, I have spent my career as an attorney.  Over the past 27 years I’ve done a fair number of trials, both bench and jury, and I am always on the lookout for good depictions of trials in films, and one of the best is The Caine Mutiny.  Based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk,  who served in the Navy as an officer in the Pacific during World War II, the movie addresses the question of what should, and should not, be done in a military organization when the man at the top of the chain of command is no longer in his right mind.

The cast is top notch.  Humphrey Bogart, an enlisted man in the Navy during WWI and a member of the Naval Reserve, he tried to enlist again in the Navy after Pearl Harbor but was turned down because of his age, gives the performance of his career as Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg, the captain of the Caine.  In the hands of a lesser actor Queeg could easily have become merely a two-dimensional madman.  Bogart instead infuses Queeg with pathos and demonstrates to the audience that this is a good man who sadly is no longer responsible mentally for his actions.  Van Johnson delivers his usual workmanlike job as Lieutenant Stephen Maryk, the “exec” of the Caine, a career officer who does his best to remain loyal to an obviously disturbed CO, while also attempting to protect the crew of the Caine  from Queeg’s increasingly erratic behavior.  Robert Francis, as Ensign Willis Seward Keith, is the viewpoint character, too young and inexperienced to make his own judgment he relies on Maryk and Lieutenant Keefer.  Fred MacMurray is slime incarnate as Lieutenant Thomas Keefer, a reservist who hates the Navy, spends all his time writing a novel, and eggs Maryk on to take command away from Queeg.  Finally, in a typhoon, reluctantly and only, as he perceives it, to save the ship, Maryk, with the support of Keith, relieves Queeg from command.

In the ensuing court-martial of Maryk and Keith, lawyer Lieutenant Barney Greenwald,  portrayed with panache by Jose Ferrer, reluctantly agrees to defend them.

What I admire most about the film is the realistic way that the defense is depicted.  A legal case consists of the facts, the law and people.

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One Response to The Caine Mutiny: A Review

The Degenerate David Letterman

Saturday, June 13, AD 2009

David Letterman Degenerate

[Updates at the end of this post below]

I enjoyed viewing David Letterman when he first came out.  He was nerdy, goofy, and most importantly funny.  I eventually stopped viewing his show not because he wasn’t funny anymore, but because I was no longer in college and I needed a good nights rest for the real world, ie, a job.  Once in a while I would catch his show and remember fondly my days of cold pizza and late night study sessions.

I was well aware of his politics, but unlike most liberals, conservatives do have a sense of humor, especially at our own expense.  I was able to suspend my politics to enjoy good humor because I loved to laugh.

Sadly Mr. Letterman went too far recently in one of his jokes.  Maybe he has been doing this for awhile, but I haven’t noticed since I no longer watch his show for the reasons I mentioned above.

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40 Responses to The Degenerate David Letterman

  • I stopped watching him years ago for the same reasons. I also gave up cable and broadcast TV for similar reasons (everything I need to know news, weather, or entertainment-wise I can find online anyway).

    Why, oh why, did Letterman have to follow up the excellent fisking he did on Governor Blago — which was actually better by far than a lot of “straight news” MSM interviews that were done with him — with crap like this? I suppose it was a case of a stopped clock being right twice a day 🙂

  • Yes, I stopped watching cable. And since I haven’t gotten my digital converter box, I haven’t watched rabbit ears television since this past Thursday. And I might add that it’s a good thing.

    You are correct, all the news I need I can get online and unfiltered, ie, without the leftist bias you get from most broadcast and cable networks.

  • Although as a former (newspaper) journalist I can’t help but feel there is something not so good about people being able to pick and choose only the news they WANT to hear, ignore what they don’t agree with, and find “evidence” to confirm just about any theory no matter how ridiculous.

    Of course, I realize that in the allegedly good old days when everybody watched Big Three network news, read daily newspapers, etc. they were not getting an entirely objective point of view. I make an effort to read a variety of news and politics blogs and I even listen to (gasp!) NPR News, which, no matter how liberally biased it may be, gives you information you don’t get anywhere else.

    To me the real problem with broadcast television news is that the amount of information it can provide is severely limited and inevitably lacks perspective. Plus, the nature of the medium requires visuals and relies heavily on conflict to attract attention.

    There’s nothing like watching on TV a story you just covered for a newspaper, or actually lived through or been part of, to make you turn off TV news for good 🙂

  • You make excellent points.

    But I find that I can get more accurate information online than I can watching Katie Couric babble on about the latest liberal talking points.

  • It’s disingenuous to say Letterman made the joke about Willow Palin. He later said that wasn’t what he meant, and we have no reason to assume Letterman even knew Sarah had brought Willow to New York. I didn’t know, and I automatically understood the joke to be about Bristol Palin. Bristol is 18, so the joke didn’t involve rape. Making the joke about an 18-year-old girl is bad, but not as bad as about a 14-year-old girl. David Letterman’s degeneracy ought to be evaluated on the basis of accurate information.

  • Disingenuous?

    It was Willow that attended the game.

    Regardless if it was either one of them the joke is simply disgusting.

  • Sarah Palin looks so pathetic and desparate. IMO, It’s Palin who is embarrasing her daughter.

  • Yep Palin is the one who looks pathetic and desperate, not the aging 62 year old comedian making sex “jokes” about the teenage daughters of a politician he hates in an attempt to convince the public that he is still edgy and cutting edge and not a tired man near the end of his career, who is so out of it that he can’t be bothered to get the facts straight on a news item before making an insipid attempt at humor.

  • I didn’t know most liberals don’t have a sense of humor.

  • Dave said that his joke was in bad taste and he regrets it but that he was talking about the adult Bristol Palin. He said he agreed with Sarah Palin that sexual jokes about minors are off limits. IMO, Sarah Palin is in the wrong for assuming the worst of Dave. Dave never makes any mention of under-age girls. In fact, the joke would only make sense if they were referring to Bristol Palin.

  • A first rate post on this subject at Protein Wisdom:


  • Too bad a Hoosier and a maybe somewhat basketballer has gone down this road. He’s real far from his roots. I attended Mass a few times in Evansville, southern part and even down there, there were Notre Dame coats and everything, this about 12 years ago.

    I saw Gov. Palin on CNN today but wasn’t able to watch the interview. I think she did well in responding to this, a well-balanced response.

    I worked in the business office of a Middle School which had a bunch of that age girls, including a lot of those Hmong we have in St. Paul. Just no way should one say these things and if there is confusion about who Letterman meant, he shouldn’t have said it or at least clearly identified who he meant.

  • Dang, Donald–Mr. Protein is spot on.
    The Palins also have a lot more in common with my redneck neighbors than do most of the inside-the-beltway-types. And she’s popular here in Geawgia.
    (One bumper sticker I noticed on a dusty pickup during the campaign last year stated, “I’m for Palin and the white-haired guy.”)

  • He is nothing more than a degenerate human being…. Oh, and lets not forget that we do need to pray for him…

    Oh brother, Tito!

    Surely you’ve written countless blog posts about Rush Limbaugh’s sexist humor, right? I mean, that’s way more common. Can you link to some of your posts on him in which you call him a “degenerate human being”?

  • Yeah, you just have to LOVE the response of those defending Letterman and slamming Palin because “he was really talking about Bristol” and she’s “assuming the worst about poor misunderstood Dave”.

    Is that REALLY how low we’ve sunk to in this country? Since when were the kids of politicians EVER fair game for this kind of crap? It wasn’t cool when Limbaugh made fun of Chelsea Clinton’s looks and it’s not cool now when EVERYONE piles on Palin’s kids.

  • Yes. I despise double standards.

  • This response “The Palins also have a lot more in common with my redneck neighbors than do most of the inside-the-beltway-types. And she’s popular here in Geawgia.
    (One bumper sticker I noticed on a dusty pickup during the campaign last year stated, “I’m for Palin and the white-haired guy.”)”

    It absolutely baffles me as to why she gets such criticism.

  • CMinor: So, would you find Palin more tolerable and likeable if she was making jokes about mentally challenged children on National Television? Is that what you are saying??

  • Tom your last two comments seem odd to me. I am pretty certain that cminor was not criticizing Palin, and I do not believe that cminor made any comment in this thread that is applicable to your last comment.

  • I do not have a problem with political jokes. Period.

    I expect the late night shows to poke fun at the political class.

    I laughed when Clinton was beat every night with jokes. I laugh at those about Obama, and did so with the latest Palin ones.

    I do not think we need to have anyone say if a joke is over the line or not. Folks at home can make that decision with the remote. To be honest I did not hear about the jokes until Palin let the press release fly. Had I been watching I would have laughed and not been insulted.

    Bristol, is an adult. She is fair game. She goes on national TV for interviews and has now put herself out there.

    In a larger context, I think once Sarah Palin put her whole family `out there’ for political purposes in 2008, her son the warrior in Iraq, her troubled daughter who was pregnant, her husband who had worked with a group to have Alaska secede from the Union, then I think Sarah made them all fair game. Politics is a tough business. That is not news. Sarah however decided her goals were/are more important than that of her family.

    And NO ONE..execpt Sarah Palin when she tried to make a political point about Letterman by USING her family again in a press release….thought Letterman was talking about anyone except for Bristol Palin. NO ONE. And NO ONE thought there was any rape at all in the joke. NO ONE…except Sarah Palin who wanted some press……at her family’s expense.

    Sarah Palin uses her family, and then some conservatives get all excited because she gets what she wants with the media hype.

    Sarah can not have it both ways.

    So in conclusion…….

    Listen to the Letterman joke then…..

    Read the Palin press release….

    Since there was no mention of the 14 year old in the joke….

    But there was mention of the 14 year old in the press release…..

    Ask yourself who is really to blame for this whole affair.

  • “Ask yourself who is really to blame for this whole affair.”

    An idiot fading comedian who gets cheap laughs attacking the teenage daughters of a politician he despises in order to hang on to his moment in the spotlight, and people sick enough to think the hatred disguised as humor is funny.

  • I also love the comments blaming Palin for “putting her kids in the spotlight.” As if Andrew Sullivan hadn’t spent months sickly obessessing about who Trig’s “real” mother was. As if the Palin family wasn’t trashed mercilessly by the media from the second they appeared at the GOP convention. Obama and Biden had their children onstage at the conventions too, but only conservative Republicans “exploit” their children, it seems.

    Now Palin has found she can’t even take her daughter to a sports event in New York without being slimed. I’m convinced that liberal hatred of Palin’s pro-life views is at the heart of this. Palin committed the unforgivable sin of giving birth to a Downs syndrome child. Her daughter had an out-of-wedlock baby instead of an abortion. For that the Palins must be ridiculed endlessly, months after the election.

  • Having been brought up in the television days of Jack Benny and Bob Hope and such good comedians, I think I am missing a point. Was Mr. Letterman’s crude remark about an 18 year old girl a joke?

  • Willow was the one at the game, not Bristol. So the comment was directed at her. Not that the same joke leveled at an 18 year woman is somehow OK. Actually, if I were A-Rod, I’d also be offended at the insinuation that I’d molest a 14 year old if given the chance.

    In the meantime, I’ve somehow missed Letterman’s “edgy” jokes about Biden’s kid with the drug addiction. (And yes, I thought Limbaugh’s joke about Chelsea’s looks was mean and uncalled for.)

    Even NOW, an organization with little love for Palin, has criticized Letterman. But those whose partisanship has dulled their sense of decency will go on excusing that unfunny old has-been.

  • Donna V:
    I believe that you nailed it – Palin’s pro-life stand is what the libs truly hate.

  • This is just absurd. It was not a joke, it was an obscene smear. It was not political, it was personal.

    Look how far we have come from the days when insulting a young girl or a woman’s honor was completely forbidden and was likely to get the offender disgraced, discredited, lights punched out and quite often shot…. Hey, there’s an idea. Dave vs. Todd? Hah… that’s not even fair, how about Dave vs. Sarah? What’s your pleasure? Fisticuffs? Pistols at 10 paces? leg wrestling? It wouldn’t really matter…same result. Sarah Palin 1 – Dave Letterman 0.

  • Eric,

    I said “most” liberals, not “all” liberals don’t have a sense of humor.


    Of course you would defend a 60+ year old man in making disgusting jokes about a 14 year girl being raped. You’re part of the problem.

  • Michael,

    I don’t listen to Rush and I don’t bother with him.

    Besides, when he made those Chelsea comments this website wasn’t in existence.

  • That’s still quite a broad generalization, unfair, and I’m not even sure on what the assumption is based upon.

    I surely wouldn’t say *all* conservatives don’t care for the poor. I wouldn’t think saying *most* conservatives would make it any better.

    The problem isn’t the joke–I agree with you. I am just saddened that everything takes a liberal-conservative divide when it’s unnecessary. David Letterman may be “liberal,” but I’m not sure if that subscribes every “liberal” to his specific views or brand of humor.

    I actually use the term “conservative” to describe myself. I might add (and I frequently do) that Rush Limbaugh doesn’t speak for me.

    So instead of this being a matter solely focus on the incident–which should not have happened; it took a political spin and pit liberals against conservatives, which I find to be unnecessary.

  • Eric,

    I’ve based it on my personal experience in my engagement with my liberal friends. I have been viciously attacked for clean jokes toward liberal politicians.

    I do I understand where you are coming from, but my personal experience has shown otherwise, I leave my posting as is.

    Sadly, most liberals do not have a sense of humor.

  • Tito – I’m glad you don’t listen to Rush. You get a point for that. However, you also said you no longer watch Letterman. So why single him out for his supposedly “degenerate” humor and comments and say absolutely nothing when folks like Rush and Ann Coulter do the exact same thing and with more regularity? (I’m not only talking about “that Chelsea comment.”)

    I believe that you nailed it – Palin’s pro-life stand is what the libs truly hate.

    This is kind of a stupid comment. I’m pro-life. You would no doubt describe me as a “lib.” I appreciate that Sarah Palin is against abortion (I hesitate to call her “pro-life” in any meaningful sense). I and many other “libs” in fact dislike Palin for other reasons that don’t fit into your binary and abortion-obsessed views.

  • I can’t keep track of what everybody says.

    Plus I don’t recall them saying anything offensive about other politicians under-age daughters.

  • Michael: we know you have reasons of your own to hate Palin. She’s a Republican. Her son is serving in the U.S. Army (horrors!). The Palins hunt and own guns (man, how you must despise the people of your own home state then. WVA also has, I believe, one of the highest percentages of veterans in the country. I’m surprised you can bear to set foot there.)

    The pro-life Catholic left is dwarfed by the secular left (and would be tossed overboard by the secular left in a heartbeat, come the revolution). My point stands: Palin is hated by them because she is not only pro-life but has walked the walk.

  • Ann Althouse, a University of Wisconsin law professor who leans left, but is a fair-minded woman, chides Andrew Sullivan:

    Nearly all politicians display their families. Do they brandish them? Brandish means to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly/to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner. Occasionally, one reads of some criminal swinging a baby around like a cudgel, but with politicians, the displaying of the family is non-aggressive and without any weapon connotations. Obama displayed and continues to display Sasha and Malia in the conventional political way, and I’m sure Sullivan would be steamed if anyone mocked them or said anything sexual about them.

    Bristol Palin’s abstinence effort seems pretty silly to me too, but there’s no reason to view that as opening her up to all sorts of vicious mockery. She found herself in an awfully uncomfortable spot. It’s embarrassing enough for a teenager to become pregnant by accident, but to endure this in the crossfire of a political campaign had to be excruciating. But she put up with it somehow, didn’t take the out of abortion, kept smiling, and tried to turn herself into a good lesson for others. How is this sowing something that she deserves to reap?

    Or — oh — it’s Palin who reaps what she sows. Is the girl not a person worthy of any regard? What did the girl do? “Family’s off limits. You don’t talk about my family.” Obama said that. It was intended to bind his harshest opponents to a standard of behavior. Sullivan offers absolutely no reason why the same principle does not protect Palin’s family.

  • Donna V.

    I’m surprised you can bear to set foot there.

    He lives in Toronto right now, so perhaps he can’t. 😉

  • Uhhhh…TomSVDP?

    I was replying to Donald regarding the essay he linked at Protein Wisdom. That would be the one proposing that Sarah Palin’s flyover-country normality is what has her detractors in such a lather, and makes her such a hit with those of us in flyover country.

    For the record, I like and respect my redneck neighbors (husband, relatives,)very much, and would rather deal with them than with any large random sampling of inside-the-Beltway government or media types. I’m also favorably impressed with Palin.

    In any case, I would never take a permissive view of attempts at humor that demean women or the handicapped. By anyone.

    The chivalry is appreciated, Donald.

  • By the way, dekerivers,
    Do you really think that it’s funny to imply that a young woman is a slut because she imprudently succumbed to an all-too-human weakness during a time in her life not normally associated with rational judgement or long-term thinking?

    What is it about Bristol Palin’s having reached the magic age of 18 or having made a few public statements (most of which seem to have been on the theme, “Single parenting is tough, girls; don’t make the same mistake I did,”) that makes it okay to label her a scarlet woman for the purpose of humor, or any other purpose?

    You suggest that Sarah Palin “used her family” to score popularity points–did you fail to notice the Obamas trotting out their cute daughters during the campaign, or the enthusiasm of a certain McCain child for the limelight? They aren’t being ridiculed on national television.

    By your logic, no parent should run for public office, or at least no parent who holds opinions that run counter to the sacred cows of the entertainment industry.

  • Speaking of the degenerate left. Could someone PLEASE call Obama or Biden and tell them that there is a struggling democratic movement developing in Iran, and if they would only lend it moral support it may be successful. If he won’t do it for moral reasons, perhaps pragmatism. Our problems with that totalitarian regime may some day come to an end, or at least be greatly diminished if this movement were to succeed….

    so far… nothing but twiddling of thumbs from the “One”.

  • Oh know, this link below may elongate the page, I don’t like it when that happens.

    I’m forgiving but Imus got such harsh treatment and I don’t know all of the ins and outs of that.

    One advertiser is dropping Letterman’s show and a “fire Letterman” move is underway. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2009/06/15/2009-06-15_fire_david_letterman_campaign_takes_root_protest_planned_over_comment_on_sarah_p.html

  • Pingback: Letterman Apologizes, Palin Accepts « The American Catholic

Painted Black

Saturday, June 13, AD 2009

tour of duty

Something for the weekend.  Go here to listen to the song Painted Black by the Rolling Stones played during the intro to the tv series Tour of Duty, a show whch chronicled an American infantry platoon in Vietnam beginning in 1967.   CBS failed to purchase the rights to Painted Black for reruns or DVDs, so replacement music is used instead, which is a great shame.  I have seen few videos more evocative of time and place than the intro to Tour of Duty with Painted Black.  The second and third seasons of Tour of Duty added soap opera and adventure elements which detracted from the realism of the show, but the first season is highly recommended by me for anyone wishing to see a realistic depiction of what life was like for the men who fought one of America’s more unpopular wars and who usually served their country far better than their country served them.

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2 Responses to Painted Black

  • I think the first season of Tour of Duty was well done too. To the best of my recollection, if I am correct, even though Carl Weathers who played Apollo Creed in Rocky was brought into the show to play a commanding officer later on, I thought the show had a real honest feel before then without the big name actors and pumping it up. Paint it black http://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/rolling+stones/paint+it+black_20117875.html or Painted black would be the same song. CBS once had an answer to the old ABC show Happy Days that was a more honest realistic depiction of life in the 1950s rather than being a comedy. That show did not last but it seems to be a similar attempt at the subject matter like Tour of Duty.

    After Tour of Duty, I think China Beach came along which definitely was a whole different take on the war, more romantic, I barely ever watched it. However, one of the main actors was the same guy who was Motown in the movie Hamburger Hill.

  • A great show, I really liked watching the first season.


Saturday, June 13, AD 2009

The zeal for living that my 1 year old son exhibits inspires me. He wants to explore everywhere, he is so quick to find something hilarious, he loves craziness, and he cries with passion whenever he sees his sister crying. One word keeps coming to my mind when I just look at the faces of my kids- Miracle. They keep growing and changing, but this thought keeps coming at me- they weren’t even in existence just a few short years ago- but now I can’t imagine the universe without them. They started off life as something so tiny they couldn’t be seen without a microscope- now they are undeniably eternally significant forces of life and love.

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6 Responses to Miracles

  • “Forget the political and legal stuff for the moment, and just remember this- our children are not our enemy, they are our greatest gift”

    I definitely agree on this. In whatever circumstance having a child is the greatest gift from God. And in any manner abortion is anti life, anit God. I guess that is true in all religion.

  • Each child is God’s vote of confidence in the human race; each abortion is our way of telling God that His confidence is misplaced.

  • I worked for awhile at a middle school and I had never been around children. Even while working there, children didn’t effect me. And then, I went on to another job. But about 3-6 months after, it really hit me how sweet all these little people were though already above the grade school level.

    Again, hearing it on Relevant Radio, it was summed up well, the Miracle is often the birth and a new baby coming into the world, crying or however.

    Partial birth is also the birthing process and yet, that beautiful act, is perverted with the acts of the surgeons. It is just the opposite.

  • The proudest moment of my life is and always will be the day I gave birth to my daughter. I regret that I never got to have that experience again, but I thank God I had that privilege at all, since I have relatives and friends who wanted children and never got to have any.

    Tom brings to mind something else that has been on my mind lately. In Springfield school kids on field trips and families on vacation are everywhere, touring Lincoln sites, museums, and the Capitol. Large groups of middle school age kids come through the Capitol complex nearly every day during the “spring rush” season.

    When I see little kids climb up on the Lincoln statue in front of the Capitol to get their pictures taken, or chase each other around the oak trees on the lawn, or file into one of the elaborately decorated hearing rooms to listen to one of the tour guides, sometimes, maudlin though this sounds, I get moved to tears by it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until I read this post.

    I think it’s because everything is still new and wonderful to them, they haven’t been worn down by cynicism and scandal yet, and they don’t care about corruption, pay to play, reform, taxation, and all the other stuff that keeps us grownups tied up in knots. They just know that something really important goes on there, and that important people once walked these halls and these streets, and it’s a privilege to get to see it.

    We often say that elected officials should act more like grownups. I agree, yet in some ways, maybe they ought to act more like children. At the very least maybe they ought to give more weight to what those children will think of them 20 or 30 or 40 years from now, than what the voters will think of them next year.

  • Good to hear the comments- again more universal insights I am not surprised- sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and just let the spirit flow in a more poetic direction. I didn’t start writing this post to have anything to do with abortion, I only had the first paragraph in my mind, and then something got me going thinking of the absolute opposite of the reality I experience with my children- abortion is the opposite of everything I have discovered about the joy of life in being a papa. I don’t want anyone to be misled, I don’t want anyone to have the kind of regret that comes from learning the truth about abortion after the fact. Children don’t always come at the time we plan or even seek them- and it is a 24-7 job once they are here- but my God they are the best thing ever- I don’t care how much personal freedom and space I have lost. I can’t even begin to describe the spiritual blessings I have received in accepting and loving my kids- and this is no male-only view- my wife feels exactly the same way I do- we are on exactly the same page where the children are concerned- and this is maybe where couples get into trouble- when one understands the godliness associated with parenting, and the other remains aloof and misses out by not seeing or feeling the miracle- I can see how traumatic that could be in a marriage. If my wife didn’t “get” it, I think I would feel like we were strangers somehow. Thanks be to God for my fireproofed marriage, and I pray for all those who are struggling, those marriages and relationships being challenged instead of strengthened by the children created in these unions- May the grace of God be theirs.

  • Tim, if you gave a speech like this before any group of dedicated pro-life PAC’s, I can’t help but think you’d get their endorsement immediately! Your political troubles would be over! I’m moved to tears by it!

4 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community

  • “10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” ”

    I’d say that the warnings about Kingship (Government), are some of the more accurate prophecies in the Bible.

  • Belloc however noted that the president of the U.S. acted as a prince [his word for the executive] and the country was thus spared the corruption and weakness of parliaments.

  • This may be rather more of a libertarian reading than you were thinking of — but one of the things that had always struck me about the list of evils surrounding having a king (which Donald quotes above) is that it underlines the trade off which communities make as they move from a society of direct personal relationships, to one of rulers, to one of laws.

    There is no state of primordial social goodness, in that humans as we know them are fallen creatures drawn to take advantage of others, but in the most basic organizational level of society we see people interacting with each other as people with direct relationships. However, in order to martial the centralized resources to achieve a certain level of power and prestige, a society must establish some sort of ruling power — which in turn is invariably abused to some extent.

    Those weilding power (whether kings or legislatures) are always capable of doing things that increase the common good — but also capable of either bumbling or actively abusing. There is, thus, a constant search for balance, whether to give more power to the ruler[s] so that they may try to improve society, or restrict their power to curtail their ability to harm society.

  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

    Gerald Ford