Monthly Archives: December 2009

Senator Nelson Shoots Down Latest Compromise on Health Care Bill

Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said ‘no-go’ on the most recent health care bill that Harry Reid and the Democrats have compiled.  This most likely will derail President Obama’s efforts to have a Senate health care bill done by Christmas.

“As it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient,”

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Going Rogue

A guest post by Paul Zummo, originally posted at his blog, The Cranky Conservative.

It’s probably not a good idea generally to buy a book out of spite, but in some ways that is precisely what I did when I picked up Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue.  We had had a meeting at work, and several of my co-workers were amusing themselves with some anti-Palin jibes.  So at lunch time I decided to take a stroll to the local book store and pick up Palin’s book, prompting the “Oh, Sarah Palin” observation from the clerk, who must be wondering why anyone in the middle of enlightened Dupont Circle would be interested in the right-wing Neanderthal. And I have to admit that I also delayed reading the book until after I got home from Thanksgiving vacation so that I could proudly read the book on the Metro.

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Pray for the Unemployed this Advent and Christmas

In my brief life on earth I have not experienced such high unemployment amongst my family and friends this year than ever before.  As each week passes I hear of another friend or acquaintance who has lost his or her job.

This is the worst recession I have seen and I don’t see any signs that it will let up for the next 9-12 months.  So I find it appropriate that a simple request to all our readers to make time this evening prior to going to bed and include those that are unemployed, especially those with families and dependents in your prayers.

With extra time on our hands the unemployed can remain steadfastly busy by working on their faith through prayer and service.  For when work does come around there will not be time for such activities.

The following prayer is a traditional Catholic prayer that I have used from time to time due to the nature of my work of being an independent contractor and one that helps to put life in proper perspective and order:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
You wanted all who are weary
To come to You for support.
Lord, I am worn out
By my inability to find work.

Guide my steps to a righteous path;
Give me the patience
To find opportunities with a future.
Calm my worries and fears
As my financial responsibilities mount.
Strengthen my resolve;
Embolden my heart to open doors;
Open my eyes to see life beyond rejections.
Help me believe in me.

Let me realize other ways
To bring about Your kingdom on earth.
Let me grow as a person
That I may be worthy
For Your greater glory.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Amen.

Saint Joseph has been especially helpful for me and I strongly recommend him for those seeking employment:

Dear Saint Joseph, you were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary. Look down with fatherly compassion upon me in my anxiety over my present inability to support my family. Please help me to find gainful employment very soon, so that this heavy burden of concern will be lifted from my heart and that I am soon able to provide for those whom God has entrusted to my care. Help us to guard against bitterness and discouragement, so that we may emerge from this trial spiritually enriched and with even greater blessings from God.

Amen.

Humpty Dumpty Defines Conservatism

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll 

For whatever reason, adults on the internet often fall into relabelling each others politics with all the glee that second graders find in saying, “Am not!”, “Are too!”, “Am not!” 

Sometimes, it gets downright silly, as in this comment:

Hah! Nobody has yet addressed my basic point – American arch-liberals, direct offsprings of the Enlightenment, are under some illusion that they are “conservative”. Couldn’t be more wrong. As for me, I’m an old-style Christian Democrat with not much time for rights-based individualism, the so-called separation of church and state, lassez-faire liberalism, or muscular nationalism. I’m a corporatist, I’m fully on baord with Bendict’s world political authority, and I’ll take Catholic social teaching over American Calvinist economics any day, thank you very much.
 
Who is supposed to be the conservative again? 

Now, let’s think for a moment on what “conservative” means, if you’re not Humpty Dumpty. Continue reading

The Bishop's Wife

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As we get closer to Christmas I am going to do a few posts on some of the more obscure Christmas movies I have enjoyed.  First up is The Bishop’s Wife from 1947.    David Niven is an Episcopalian Bishop of a struggling diocese;  Loretta Young (ironically one of the more devout Catholics in the Hollywood of her time) is his wife;  and Cary Grant is Dudley, one of the more unimportant angels in Heaven, sent by God to lend the Bishop a hand.  The film is a graceful comedy which effectively and quietly underlines the central importance of faith in God as we see in this little scene:

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The film is a gem and it is a joy to watch at Christmas time.

Bill Moyers: Good Riddance

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Bill Moyers, the sanctimonious left winger who has gotten rich at the public trough at PBS, is wrapping up Bill Moyers Journal on PBS.  Moyers has adopted the pose of an above it all sage in the past few decades.  Actually, Moyers has always remained a go-for-the-jugular-partisan, as he was when, as one of LBJ’s flunkies, he helped put together the Daisy Girl Commercial in 1964, the video above, which in essence stated that kids would die in a nuclear holocaust if Goldwater were elected.

My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has a do not miss send off for the Uriah Heep of PBS here.

A Stumbling Block to School Administrators

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.

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I'm Buying it For my Kid. Really!

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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.

The Claremont Reviews Advent Interview with Fr. James V. Schall

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.

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Daniel Larison, Talking Sense

I’ve written about this before, but it’s nice to see Daniel Larison making the point with characteristic clarity in an interview with The Economist:

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.

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Obamaville Shanty Towns: Tent Cities Sprouting Up Across America

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.

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(Note: In case the above YouTube video is taken down by the Blueshirts, you can see the entire story and video here.)

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Military Mutiny Brewing in Iran?

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.”

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The Lemon Drop Kid

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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.

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