Monthly Archives: September 2009

Quote of the Day: Irving Kristol

Symbolic Politics and Liberal Reform, Dec. 15, 1972

“All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling,” wrote Oscar Wilde, and I would like to suggest that the same can be said for bad politics. . . .

It seems to me that the politics of liberal reform, in recent years, shows many of the same characteristics as amateur poetry. It has been more concerned with the kind of symbolic action that gratifies the passions of the reformer rather than with the efficacy of the reforms themselves. Indeed, the outstanding characteristic of what we call “the New Politics” is precisely its insistence on the overwhelming importance of revealing, in the public realm, one’s intense feelings—we must “care,” we must “be concerned,” we must be “committed.” Unsurprisingly, this goes along with an immense indifference to consequences, to positive results or the lack thereof.

Father John Jenkins Pro-Life Baby Steps

Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., released a message to the University of Notre Dame family outlining two pro-life initiatives to recompense for the scandal of awarding President Obama an honorary degree.

1.  Father Jenkins plans to attend the March for Life Anniversary of Roe v. Wade event in Washington D.C.

2.  Establish a Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.

These two initiatives are a good first start in adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church established by Jesus Himself.

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Deliver Us!

Something for the weekend.  You know that you are living in an odd cultural period when the best musicals are animated!  Deliver us from the Prince of Egypt

God is always with us in all of our travails, perhaps never more so than when He appears to us to be completely absent.  When our spirit is lowest and we give way to despair, I suspect that God is never closer to us than at those times.  As Isaiah noted so long ago,  “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

When Unions Go Bad

Occasionally unions are a good tool for righting genuine injustices in the working world, but often they later become organizations focused on their own self-perpetuation. Because all union members pay the same dues, this self perpetuation often takes the form of protecting bad workers from the consequences of their actions. The good workers, after all, will almost certainly be treated well by their employers anyway, so the only service the union can provide when there are no real injustices to fight is to take care of workers who are incompetant or just don’t care — allowing them to do the minimum and still get annual raises rather than pink slips.

According to this recent article from the New Yorker, hardly a conservative publication, the New York City teachers union has clearly reached that point and then some.

In a windowless room in a shabby office building at Seventh Avenue and Twenty-eighth Street, in Manhattan, a poster is taped to a wall, whose message could easily be the mission statement for a day-care center: “Children are fragile. Handle with care.” It’s a June morning, and there are fifteen people in the room, four of them fast asleep, their heads lying on a card table. Three are playing a board game. Most of the others stand around chatting. Two are arguing over one of the folding chairs. But there are no children here. The inhabitants are all New York City schoolteachers who have been sent to what is officially called a Temporary Reassignment Center but which everyone calls the Rubber Room.

These fifteen teachers, along with about six hundred others, in six larger Rubber Rooms in the city’s five boroughs, have been accused of misconduct, such as hitting or molesting a student, or, in some cases, of incompetence, in a system that rarely calls anyone incompetent.
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House to Acorn: Drop Dead

 

Acorn

The House has voted to cut off all federal funds for Acorn.  The vote was 345-75.  Here is a list of the 75 House members who want to continue to shovel your tax dollars to Acorn.  Everyone of the 75 is a Democrat.

In other Acorn news,  the Obama campaign website has been scrubbing away references to Acorn down the old Orwell memory hole.

You know that Acorn is toast when even the Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is calling for an investigation of Acorn.  The day before yesterday she wasn’t even aware that the Senate had voted to cut off funding for Acorn.

Lying Worthless Political Hack Fears Violence in the Debate Over ObamaCare

The Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, not content to call opponents of ObamaCare Nazis,  has now raised the spectre of political violence:

“I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw … I saw this myself in the late ’70s in San Francisco,” Pelosi said, choking up and with tears forming in her eyes. “This kind of rhetoric is just, is really frightening and it created a climate in which we, violence took place and … I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made.” Continue reading

The Crowd Size of the 9/12 Rally in Washington

capitol-view-lo-res

A controversy has blown up on the internet with claims that the 9/12 rally in Washington had about 60,000-90,000 people in attendance.  Charles Martin at Pajamas Media drives a stake through the heart of that claim here.

“Since I wrote that piece, though, we have two new sources of information. First, the ridership statistics from D.C. Metro became available after being delayed, apparently because of a fatal accident on the Metro tracks. The Heritage Foundation, using these figures, computed that Metrorail ridership was about 235,000 greater than the previous weekend. As they say, that in itself is more than three times the (unreliable and badly sourced) number reported in the legacy media.

Second, there is now a high-resolution photo from FreedomWorks, which you can see in the poster here.

His conclusions from all available evidence:

“What can we take away from this exercise? Here are the main points:

  • The estimate widely used in the legacy media is not from an authoritative source, and it isn’t even consistent with itself: “full back to 3rd Street” is around 250,000 by Park Sevice methods, not a quarter of that.
  • Many estimates, using different assumptions and different methods, arrived at numbers well into the hundreds of thousands.
  • This is clearly consistent with the panoramic photo that we can source reliably.
  • With everything above, and with several more estimates, I don’t think there is a plausible argument for any total attendance figure much less that 500,000 to 600,000. That is, nearly ten times the reported attendance.”

Acorn on the Ropes

 

1.  The second part of the San Bernardino Acorn expose of O’Keefe and Giles.  Go here to read the comments of Giles regarding her “girl talk” with the flakey Acorn employee.

 

2.  In the wake of the Acorn scandal exposed by the intrepid duo of O’Keefe and Giles, Acorn has announced that it is suspending advising new clients and is setting up an independent review board.  Hmmm, this is an amazing turnabout from the initial reaction of  Acorn to the videos  which was that the whole thing was a conspiracy against Acorn put together by Fox.  Of course the “independent review board” is stacked with cronies and supporters of Acorn, but at least Acorn is under such pressure that it has to pretend to be trying to reform itself.

3.  Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota has ordered a review and suspension of any state contracts with Acorn.

4.  Governor Schwarzenegger in California is calling for a full investigation of Acorn’s California activities.

5.  Meantime Acorn has joined the Reverend Wright, and many other groups and individuals under the Obama bus.  Obama had a somewhat different attitude regarding the organization just last year:

When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November, he reminded them of his history with ACORN and his beginnings in Illinois as a Project Vote organizer, a nonprofit focused on voter rights and education. Senator Obama said, “I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That’s what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That’s the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

6.  The Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, was asked about the Senate bill cutting off funding for Acorn, her response was as follows:  “I don’t even know what they passed,” Pelosi told The Post yesterday. “What did they do? They defunded it?”

7.  I have never liked Jon Stewart:  too liberal for my conservative tastes.  However, this clip of his show here where he lambastes the mainstream media for missing the Acorn story is a must see.  As he notes, he is a fake journalist and he feels terrible about being scooped on a story by a couple of kids.  He gets to the heart of the matter.  The corruption of Acorn has been apparent for years, but neither the media nor the politicians did anything until a very inventive “couple of kids” took the initiative to expose the corruption for all to see.  A media that ignores this type of story is a media that is worthless.  Politicians who tolerate this type of corruption and shovel taxpayer funds at a manifestly corrupt organization are worse than worthless.  What O’Keefe and Giles have demonstrated is that we do not have to put up with this state of affairs.  Look forward for more shoes to drop:    more videos are on the way.

Dad and Daughter and Baseball

MLB lawyers were able to track down and depublish the YouTube video in order to protect the interests of their corporate masters.

No worries, I found another video link which shows the little dad and daughter moment.  Click here.

Saw this late last night and I wanted to share this with our American Catholic readers.

A very touching moment when the little girl throws away the baseball and gets startled by the gasp of the fans.  She quickly turns to daddy and he’s there to give his little girl a big hug of support that it’s alright.

Hope you all can view this before Major League Baseball lawyers take down the YouTube video.

Very nice.

Rush Limbaugh, Race Baiter

I have to say, I try to keep my expectations for political personalities on the radio and television low. But this is pretty appalling:

It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white. Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.

Let me get this straight, according to Rush: 1) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for white kids getting beat up on school busses. 2) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for people cheering while white kids get beat up on school busses; 3) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for the idea that white kids are all racists and deserve to get beat up on school busses; and 4) Somehow there is a connection to be drawn here to Joe Wilson’s intemperate outburst during Obama’s speach the other night.

How do people listen to this stuff?

H/T: The American Scene

Update: Re-reading the transcript again, I still think Rush is race-baiting, although not in the sense my comments above suggest. I don’t think Rush was actually intending to make a direct comment on Obama, much less about busses and school children. Rather, he was engaging in a caricature of lefty  outrage over various political and racial issues (e.g. Jimmy Carter’s recent remarks) . I think this type of caricature is irresponsible and foments racial tensions, even if Rush’s intention was just to foment partisan outrage. Race is a highly charged issue with good reason given our country’s history, and the risks of misinterpretation are very high. Accordingly, I think it is irresponsible and, in some sense, race-baiting, to belittle these concerns and treat them as if they were trivial. While I don’t want to be humorless or disingenuous, I agree with Megan McArdle that 1) if so many missed it, it’s not a very good satire; 2) what Rush is actually doing is quite bad enough.

Also, for those interested, Michael Iafrate thinks that many of the commenters in this thread are racists. I have not allowed his comments to come through because I do not think they will lead to a productive discussion here, and I will delete any comments that respond to Michael’s accusation. If you would like to discuss these issues with Michael, he blogs at Vox Nova and Catholic Anarchy.

Medical Bankruptcy in Canada

There’s been a lot of talk about how lack of sufficient health care is a major cause of bankruptcy in the US. Some of this is based on a couple of very bad studies, which essentially assumed that anyone who declared bankruptcy who had any outstanding medical bills at all must have done so because of medical costs, regardless of the relative size of their medical and other debts. But there’s also a legitimate aspect to this, though it doesn’t have to do with medical costs. Bankruptcy is often the result of some sort of unexpected circumstances (lost job, divorce, medical problems) which drastically increases expenses or lowers earnings. Obviously, if you come down with major medical problems, you may well end up earning less regardless of your medical bills, and this can cause bankruptcy.

Illustrating this is a recent study commissioned by the Canadian government investigating the high prevalence of bankrupty among older Canadians. (via Megan McArdle) The finding: medical problems is the number two cause of bankruptcy among Canadians aged 55-65, the group with the greatest propensity to declare bankruptcy. (see pages 18-19) Continue reading

History and the End of Schism

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill

Rumors and rumors of rumors of an imminent end to over a thousand years of the Great Schism between Catholics and Orthodox have exploded over these past few days.  If these rumors are correct then not since the Ecumenical Council of Ferrara-Florence have these great Church’s been so close to unity.

In A.D. 1054 Catholic prelate Humbert and Orthodox prelate Michael Cærularius excommunicated each other.  This marks the beginning of the Great Schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Church’s.

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The Acorn Scandals Continue

O’Keefe and Giles take their pimp and prostitute masquerade to an Acorn office in San Bernadino California and are met with open arms!  Four Acorn offices across the nation have no problem with helping out a criminal enterprise involving underage prostitutes!  This has been a brilliant sting which has brought Acorn to its knees in just a few days.  Amazing, simply amazing!  Go here to read Hannah Giles’ comments on the science behind the Acorn sting. 

The mainstream media and this story?  Best summed up by ABC’s Charlie Gibson’s comment this morning on WLS in Chicago that he knew nothing about it.  If a story reflects poorly on Democrats, it might as well not exist for much of the mainstream media.  In the day of blogs and youtube, this type of partisan “ostrich journalism” is rapidly becoming extinct.  They will not be missed.

 

Update:  The New York City city council has suspended payments to Acorn and the Attorney General of New York has announced an investigation into pork barrel grants to Acorn. 

Do you trust people who profit from you?

We’re often told that we shouldn’t trust people whose only interest is to make a profit from us. I ran into a brief piece by economist Russ Roberts which stands that conventional wisdom on its head in an interesting way.

The other day I had to get some important tax receipts to my accountant. He’s in St. Louis, it was getting close to April 15, and it was very important that the papers didn’t get lost. To give my accountant plenty of time, I wanted the papers to arrive the next morning.

So what did I do? My first choice was to get on a plane and deliver the letter myself. Too expensive. Too much time.

So I did the next best thing. I went down to the airport and found someone headed to St. Louis. I told her how important it was for my accountant to have my receipts by the next day. Fortunately, she seemed really nice. She said she’d be happy to help me out. I sealed up the envelope, and she promised not to open it after I left.
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