Monthly Archives: August 2009
Nat Hentoff has always been my favorite Leftist atheist. A strong pro-lifer in a New York milieu where pro-lifers are regarded with less tolerance than cannibals, Nat Hentoff is a man of the Left who always has been a strongly independent voice and mind. In an article today, which is here, Hentoff confesses to being scared of the Obama administration:
From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion. I am afraid the Onion is way off base on this one. Although I think most of the President’s policies are crazy, I have no doubt that Mr. Obama is completely sane. More’s the pity.
The gap between the right of the Republican party, which is providing the angriest critics of the reforms, and the left of the Democratic party, which thinks the proposals too timid, is unbridgeable. These groups do not merely disagree. They despise each other. Their differences are only secondarily about policy. They hold each other’s values in contempt.
These snarling extremes are nonetheless somewhat alike. They have an equal and opposite penchant for conspiracy theories. Almost a third of Republicans, according to a recent poll, believe the unsupported story that Mr Obama was not born in the US (in which case he would be disqualified from serving as president). But remember that more than a third of Democrats subscribe to the even more outlandish theory that the Bush administration knew about the attacks of September 2001 in advance.
One of the annoying qualities of national debate over the last several months (which seems to increase as Democrats become more desperate about their flagship legislation) is the attempt to find the very looniest possible elements of the right and portray them as being mainstream. Continue reading
Catholic convert Robert Novak died today. He was many things: a fellow University of Illinois alum, a devoted family man married to his beloved wife for 47 years, and a hard bitten journalist with a nose for news unrivaled in the business. Novak was a conservative, but he never let his politics get in the way of a story. Always staunchly pro-life, and respectful of Catholicism, his embrace of the Faith a decade ago came as little surprise to me. I never met him, but I will sorely miss his presence in the public square. May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.
Gallup is out with an interesting poll here showing that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in all but three states, often by substantial margins. In three states, Hawaii, Vermont and Massachusetts, liberals and conservatives are tied. Liberals are only in a majority in the District of Columbia. The state by state results are here. As a conservative I would like to thank President Obama for his hard work in swelling the ranks of conservatives in time for next year’s elections.
[Update at the bottom as of 7:39 pm CST for 8-21-2009 AD]
The Democrat and Liberal attempts at demonizing the American people having failed, President Obama could be beginning to understand that we don’t want socialized medicine.
Now come reports that the Obama Joker poster artist is a left-wing extremist, and a Dennis Kucinich supporter to boot. Not the white, conservative, racist that the mainstream media was accusing the artist of being.
In other news CBS News has reported that the liberal-oriented A.A.R.P. has lost approximately 60,000 members since the video showing an A.A.R.P. representative belittling members at a town hall meeting. The American Seniors Association has gained 5,000 new members, a rival organization to the A.A.R.P. and significantly less liberal.
CBS News reported that the A.A.R.P. response to the exodus of members as ‘with 40 million members that adds hundreds of thousands each month, losing 60 thousand is just a drop in the bucket.’
Update I: I forgot to place the American Seniors Association weblink here.
Update II: The 60 Plus Association is experiencing a spike in members following A.A.R.P.’s endorsement of ObamaCare.
I think one of the facts about Obama that will puzzle future historians is how a man so little known to the American public managed to win the White House. The ObamaCare debacle has given us a grand opportunity to fill in the blanks regarding this man who came to the White House after just four years in the national spot light. Much of what we have learned merely confirms what observant Obama watchers have already suspected, although confirmation is always useful. Here is some of what I think we have learned about our President.
William Park (InsideCatholic.com) lists, in his judgement, “the fifty best Catholic movies of all time”.
Some readers, myself included, were very surprised by the absence of The Mission. A magnificent cast (including Robert DeNiro, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson); a play by Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons) — it has, in my estimation, one of the most powerful illustrations of penance and forgiveness in cinema.
The Mission deservedly won seven Academy Awards, and made the top 15 films under ‘Religion’ selected by the Vatican, commemorating 100 years of cinema.
So why didn’t it make the list? — the author doesn’t offer much of an explanation, save that “Bolt’s screenplay for The Mission looks at the Church from the point of view of Dostoevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor.” Steven D. Greydanus, however, explores the complexities and ambiguities of The Mission for DecentFilms.com.
Question for our readers: do you agree with the list? — Do you agree with Warren’s list? Any notable omissions? What would you have selected?
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air for the above video which was produced by the Independence Institute. As Barabara Wagner learned, the Oregon Health Plan would pay for her to kill herself but will not pay for Tarceva to fight her lung cancer. But that’s just Oregon, maybe ObamaCare wouldn’t ration health care? Continue reading
A priest friend and I are reading through Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ posthumously-published work, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile, and it’s been an enjoyable read thus far, even in the places where I disagree with the author.
For the purposes of this post, I wanted to share a citation which I found very intriguing regarding the impact on art of modernity’s flight from anything which might be remotely conceived of as limitation.
The president of a small Catholic college said Friday he would rather close the school’s doors than violate the church’s teachings on contraception — Ben Conery of the Washington Times has the story:
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that Belmont Abbey College violated discrimination laws because the school’s employee health insurance plan does not cover contraception, according to a letter the EEOC sent to the school.
“I hope it would never get this far,” college President William K. Thierfelder told The Washington Times, “but if it came down to it we would close the college before we ever provided that.”
The factual conclusion reached by the EEOC could be a precursor to the commission filing a federal discrimination lawsuit against the college. (More).
From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion. In these days of the White House spamming people with unsolicited e-mails from the master of astroturfing, David Axlerod, in praise of Obamacare, perhaps the concept of privacy is a quaint 20th century notion. However, there may be a way to have Google protect the privacy of its users. Bribe the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (Red China) to require it. Google has a history of giving lap-dog like obedience to edicts issued from Peking.
Update: The White House has announced that, “We are implementing measures to make subscribing to e-mails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf,” spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement tonight. Translation from Obamaspeak: “We thought we could get away with simply spamming everybody whose e-mail address we have. Now that there is a fuss we’ll blame outside groups and pretend we are not at fault.”
The first sermon of Saint John Damascene on the Assumption of the Mother of God:
 THE memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the wisest of men; for precious in God’s sight is the death of His saints, according to the royal* David. If, then, the memory of all the just is a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God’s dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning which great things were spoken, as holy.† David addresses it in these words: “Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God.” What sort of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who holds all things in His hand, if not  that city which alone is above nature, giving shelter without circumscription* to the supersubstantial Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God’s counsel, which is from all eternity? Continue reading
The US is a nation of immigrants, and as such, many of us grew up with stories of how our ancestors came here. In what I hope can be a friendly, Friday-afternoon atmosphere, the purpose of this thread is to allow people to tell stories about how and when their ancestors came to the US.
I can trace back three stories, some sketchier than others:
My paternal grandmother’s family all Irish stock from County Cork, who’d left during the Great Famine in the 1840s and settled in Iowa. Several men out of the next generation served the Union in the Civil War, and two generations after that, twin brothers Clare and Clarence, both priests, served as chaplains for US soldiers in the Great War. One of their sisters served as a nurse in the war as well.
Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.
We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government. Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.
We are Americans, not Europeans. Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs. What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.
I have never cared for Lord Byron, his poetry or the way he misled his life, with one massive exception. From the first time I read this poem in grammar school it has had immense significance for me.
The Destruction of Sennacherib
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord! Continue reading