Monthly Archives: December 2009
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. As someone who received an undergraduate degree in the teaching of social studies, I am never very surprised when a school administration decides to engage in an act of public stupidity, however, this incident is in a class all by itself.
A second grade student at the Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, People’s Republic of Massachusetts, was sent home from school after drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross. The student made the drawing in response to a class assignment that the students draw something that reminded them of Christmas. Apparently the student’s dullard teacher decided that the drawing of the cross was too violent. The school administration, in a move which hearkens back to the old Soviet Union placing dissidents in psych wards, decreed that not only would the child be sent home, but that he would have to undergo a psych evaluation.
From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion. One of the many joys of parenthood is that you get to play with quite a bit of really great stuff that is ostensibly purchased for your children. Now that my youngest will be 15 in February of next year I realize that I am running out of this excuse. I will have to find some other excuse to tide me over between the kids leaving the nest and the advent of grandchildren!
In regard to adults taking kid’s literature way, way too seriously, a wonderful spoof is Post Modern Pooh which I have found howlingly funny. A first rate review is here.
Since 2002 Ken Masugi, a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute and lecturer in Government at Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, has conducted Advent interviews with James V. Schall, S.J., author of over thirty books on political theory and theology. Fr. Schall teaches in the Government Department of Georgetown University.
The interviews themselves are a delight to read and span a variety of topics from current events to the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI to issues in philosophy, theology and ethics — and sometimes, in addition, what books Fr. Schall himself is reading at that particular moment in time.
My further, expanded thoughts on the discussions we have been having on usury and debt forgiveness.
Comments are welcome, here or there.
Iraq was also the policy that turned the public so sharply against President Bush prior to the 2006 mid-term elections, and those elections were and were correctly seen as a rejection of the war and Mr Bush’s handling of it. The war was the main issue of those elections, and the GOP lost control of Congress because it had identified itself completely with the war and its members in Congress continued to be its most vocal defenders. By national-security conservatives, I mean those members of the conservative movement who have a primary and overriding focus on foreign policy and national-security questions, and who typically take extremely hawkish positions. They were the leading advocates and cheerleaders for the invasion. Most movement conservatives supported the policy, but it was the national-security conservatives who drove the party into the ditch while the others went along for the ride.
As the recession continue to take its toll on our fellow Americans, rendering more and more of them homeless, tent cities have begun sprouting up across this great country. It would not be fair to blame President Obama for the predicament that our nation is in, but President Obama has done nothing to help the situation.
President Obama’s ‘stimulus package’ only rewarded government contractors with more spending. It is also correct to point out that former President George W. Bush’s ‘stimulus package’ did nothing more than President Obama’s spending bill.
Small businesses and the private sector in general got almost zero benefit for either porkulus spending bills. Though this recession is typical of a business cycle, there are some things that can be done to alleviate the stress the economy is undergoing and maybe expedite the expiration of the current recession. President Obama has done neither.
So it is fitting and fair to label the tent cities that are sprouting across America as Obamavilles.
When the Shah fell from power in 1979 it was after a year of strikes and demonstrations. Revolutions in Iran tend to proceed at a stately pace. After a stolen Presidential election in Iran in the late Spring, the Iranian regime found itself faced with an active and growing opposition. The regime has been unable to crush it. On December 7, huge demonstrations erupted throughout Iran on college campuses. Now cracks may be beginning to appear in an institution that is key for the survival of any dictatorship: the military. The below story was reported in Pajamas Media by Iranian exile Afshin Ellian, who fled Iran in 1983 and who is a law professor at the University of Leiden. He is the sole source I can find for this report, so take it with a grain of salt.
On December 10, a statement signed by a number of officers and commanders of the Iranian army was released. The regular army of Iran had not been involved in the suppression of the population. The statement was signed by:
•Pilots and personnel of the aviation division of the regular army (Havanirooz)
•Commanders and personnel of the 31th artillery division of Isfahan of the regular army
•Pilots and airmen of the regular army
•Teachers of the Shaid Satari University of the regular air force
•Officers and staff of the logistics training unit the regular army
•Professors and lecturers of the Imam Ali University for officers of the regular army
•Officers, staff, and commanders of the chief of staff of the regular army
In summary, they wrote:
Together we fought in the war with our brothers in the Revolutionary Guards in order to defend the country, the people, and the honor of the nation. They also emphasize that “the value of the land means the value of the Iranian nation.” This is very interesting. ??Value of the nation.
Not abstract concepts such as Iran or Islam, but the value of the nation determines the value of the land. Therefore, the weapons of the army and RG are to be used to protect the nation: “When we fought together, we could never suspect that parts of the RG would ever use its weapons against the people.”
The last section of this brief but powerful statement will surely immortalize these brave officers: “The army is a haven for the nation and will never want to suppress the people at the request of politicians. We shall remain true to our promise not to intervene in politics. But we cannot remain silent when our fellow citizens are oppressed by tyranny.”
They go on: “Therefore, we warn the Guards who have betrayed the martyrs (from the war between Iran and Iraq) and who decided to attack the lives, the property and the honor of the citizens. We seriously warn them that if they do not leave their chosen path, they will be confronted with our tough response. The military is a haven for the nation. And we will defend the peace-loving Iranian nation against any aggression.”
Continuing on with our look at Advent and Christmas movies. Damon Runyon and Bob Hope make a terrific combination in The Lemon Drop Kid (1951). Based very loosely on a short story by Damon Runyon, the film is filled with the usual Runyon collection of colorful and humorous, unlike crooks in real life, gangsters. Hope takes center stage as the Lemon Drop Kid, a cowardly and incompetent, in other words the personae Hope normally assumed in his film comedies of this period, racetrack tout. He dreams up a scam involving the establishment of an old age home for old gangster wives and molls in order to pay off gangster Moose Moran the $10,000.00 he owes him, and to escape Moose having surgery performed upon him sans anesthesia.
In the end, nobler sentiments stir within him, and Hope foils the gangsters, saves the old age home and stages an affecting reunion on Christmas eve between an elderly gangster released from prison and his wife, Nellie Thursday, after whom the old age home is named. Hope is ably supported by a superb cast including Lloyd Nolan, William Frawley and Marilyn Maxwell. The song Silver Bells featured in the video clip at the beginning of this post, which has become a Christmas favorite, made its debut in this film.
I’ve never had much use for Jimmy Carter. I view him as in the running with James Buchanan for the title of worst President of the United States, and he has always struck me as a mean and spiteful little man. Now he adds the title of bigot to his list of dishonors. In an address to the World Parliament of Religions (You know that has to give God a good laugh!) the Solon of Plains is reported to have unloaded on both Southern Baptists and Catholics.
In opposition to the vast majority of authentic scholars and historians, Carter asserted: “It’s clear that during the early Christian era women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets.” He added: “It wasn’t until the 4th century or the 3rd at the earliest that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant position within the religious hierarchy.”
Contrary to the theorizing of Carter, Pope John Paul II taught, “The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.” He added: “the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church; 1577)
Carter singled out the Southern Baptist Convention and Roman Catholic Church, claiming that they “view that the Almighty considers women to be inferior to men.” However, both Christian faiths hold to the Scriptural truth that God created men and women equal.
Carter suggests that only in permitting women to become priests and pastors could male religious leaders choose to interpret teachings to exalt rather than subjugate women. “They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter, subjugation,” he said.
“Their continuing choice provides a foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world,” said Carter. Carter goes on to list horrific violations against women such as rape, genital mutilation, abortion of female embryos and spousal battery.
Since the topic of the economic message of the parables was recently raised, I couldn’t help remembering this little snippet which for some years hung on my cube wall. Perhaps the Conservative Bible Project can include this among their free market parables? I’ll freely make it available to them, so long as they don’t embarrass me by citing my name.
One of the lesser known apocryphal gospels was that of St. Josephus Managerius whose “Gospel According to Management” was left out of the New Testament by reason of sheer irrelevance. Managerius was a Roman management consultant and inspirational speaker who became one of Christ’s lesser known followers. In his own gospel account, he gave the following address to a management seminar the day after Christ’s delivery of the parable in today’s gospel.
“Well, folks, I think we were all pretty impressed by the Master’s parable yesterday about the Pearl of Great Price, and the importance to following major spiritual upscaling opportunities. But being a trained management consultant, I’d just like to emphasize a couple of the points the Master brought up.
→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Shatner has been giving dramatic readings of some of Palin’s twitter tweats, so Palin was returning the favor. Alas, Shatner has reached the stage in life when being mocked at by a beautiful woman is about all the former Romeo of Star Fleet can hope for. It was a funny bit and demonstrates yet again that the old political campaign rule book has been tossed out the window by her. And rest assured this is a campaign. Polls this week showed a single point separating her and Obama as to favorability, with Obama falling and Palin rising. I think Palin is rewriting the old Klingon proverb of revenge is a dish best served cold. I suspect she believes it is a dish best served laughing.
Hattip to the ever vigilant Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal. My kids loved Thomas the Tank Engine videos when they were little back in the nineties. Memories of those times still brings a smile to my face when I see some Thomas the Tank Engine trinket for sale in a store. Now I learn that I was not only entertaining them, I was also indoctrinating them in my political views.
A Canadian academic, surprise!, Shauna Wilson, has disclosed the political subtext underlying the Tank Engine stories:
She also highlighted the class divide which sees the downtrodden workers in the form of Thomas and his friends at the bottom of the social ladder and the wealthy Fat Controller, Sir Topham Hatt, at the top. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama continue to spend, spend, spend away money we don’t have. With the public option now firmly established in the current Senate version of the health care bill, Election 2010 comes to mind.
Kick the bums out.
(Biretta Tip: Glenn Foden of NewsBusters)
Michael McConnell, a Law Professor at Stanford, offers this in a First Things review of Philip Hamburger’s new book titled Law and Judicial Duty:
Hamburger traces the development of modern conceptions of the law to the realization, in Europe and especially Britain, that human reason rarely provided clear answers to moral questions and therefore that an attempt to ground law in divine will, or a search for abstract reason and justice, would inevitably lead to discord. As a result, “Europeans increasingly located the obligation of law in the authority of the lawmaker rather than the reason or justice of his laws.” The task of judges, then, was not to seek after elusive notions of justice and right reason but to enforce the law of the land. Natural law shifted in emphasis from moral content to legitimacy and authority, and increasingly to an understanding of authority based on the will of the people.
This seems to me a profound explanation of how and why we understand law today the way we do. It simultaneously shows you what is wrong with the modern conception of the law and what is right.