Monthly Archives: June 2010

Grammar Nazis Attack!

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Hattip to commenter RL.  Content advisory as to one incident of Nazi like nihilistic violence at the end.   (Go here to view the video, as the embedding has been disabled since I drafted the post.)

Some people think it is in bad taste to use Nazis in a humorous fashion.  I respectfully disagree.  Laughing at the Nazis is one of the best ways to remember them on the ash heap of history.  Too often they are given almost demonic status as avatars of evil which is precisely the wrong way to remember them.  I agree with the late Werner Klemperer, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who served in the US Army during WW2.  Decades after the war he would play the bumbling Colonel Klink on the television show Hogan’s Heroes.  Klemperer said that he would go to his grave happy knowing that he had helped make the Nazis look ridiculous.

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Of course Hitler is not amused which is rather the point.  Content advisory:  Hitler uses extremely rough language, but what else can we expect of Hitler?

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Hitler and his followers dreamed of a thousand year reich.  They believed that they were reshaping the future of all of mankind.  Ending up as the butt of humor is the worst fate that any true believing Nazi could have envisioned for his movement.

Attention Las Vegas Catholics

This is a request for assistance from our readers to suggest a good parish inside the Diocese of Las Vegas for my family.

What I am asking in particular is a parish that has an orthodox priest that celebrates the Mass reverently.  That is not asking much.  Preferably a holy and charitable priest.

To be more specific, though this isn’t necessary, it would be nice if the architecture of the church did not resemble a Brady Bunch-1970s style of a building.  Again, preferably, a church with pre-Vatican II type of architecture.

What do I mean by reverently?

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Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

In this spring’s debate over the healthcare bill, one of the disagreements that raised eyebrows most in Catholic circles was that between the US bishops conference and the Catholic Healthcare Association and other similar groups. The bishops claimed that the healthcare bill would lead to federal funding of abortions, while CHA et al. concluded that it would not.

In my opinion and that of numerous observers (including most of my fellow contributors here at TAC), the bishops were correct and CHA was horribly, terribly wrong.

There is another question, though… was CHA disobedient? That is, were they obliged as Catholics to accept the conclusions of the bishops conference? Was the activity of the bishops conference an act of their teaching charism which American Catholics were obliged to give their assent to?

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TLM in Houston

Tomorrow this Sunday, June 20th at 1:00pm, Houston’s Annunciation Church (1618 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003) will be hosting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as they celebrate a Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Recently ordained Father John Rickert will be celebrating.  Deacon Michael Malain will be in attendance.

For those not familiar with the parking situation at Houston’s Annunciation Church, parking will be available in the parish parking lot on Jackson Street, the street behind the church.  The Houston Astros will be playing Sunday afternoon in Minute Maid Park which stands right next o Annunciation Church, but attendees at that game are not to use any of the parish parking spaces.

This is something that will be an beautiful experience for all those interested in liturgy, music, history and the worship of the risen Lord.

Please try and attend this Mass.  Perhaps many of you have not had such an experience.   To witness and to participate in this Mass will be one of the great spiritual experiences of your life.

Their Finest Hour

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Yesterday, June 18, marked the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech to Parliament,  as he alerted Great Britain to the coming Battle of Britain.  Churchill did not sugar coat the situation for his listeners.  Britain faced a formidable enemy and the odds were against them.  However, rather than a call for negotiations or surrender, Churchill called for defiance and victory.  He starkly reminded his listeners that a victory for Nazi Germany would mark the end of Christian civilization.  Churchill was not speaking in hyperbolic terms.  He was a careful student of history, as well as writing and making it, and other than politics, history was his ruling intellectual passion throughout his long life.  He realized that the menace of Nazi Germany was sui generis and could not be lulled by appeasement or a meaningless negotiated peace that Hitler would violate with impunity, but that rather the Nazis must be resisted implacably with all the force that the Brits could muster.  Everyone who cherishes freedom is in the debt of Churchill for the words that he spoke on June 18 and his leadership at a time when the fate of the world truly hang in the balance.  This was the finest hour indeed for him and the nation he led, and no leader can have a finer accolade. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Illinois State Song

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Something for the weekend.   The State Song of Illinois with scenes from my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  My wife and I took our son down for his freshman orientation this week, some 35 years after I went through it. 

Another rendition sung on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

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Illinois is a wonderful state that has been long cursed with one of the most corrupt state governments in the nation.  Past time for the voters of the Land of Lincoln to correct this disgrace. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Is Robert E. Lee Overrated?

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Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative, and I run a blog on American History:  Almost Chosen People.  Yesterday Paul raised the question:  Is Robert E. Lee Overrated?

Yeah, the post title is somewhat deliberately provocative, but it’s also meant to be a serious question that I hope will spark some discussion.  I was going to ask it in the comments to Donald’s post below, but thought it might be useful fodder for debate in its own right.

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I've Always Suspected Most Politicians Are Zombies

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From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  Zombie Reagan?  Well, I’d certainly rather vote for a dead cat than Obama!

In the interests of bi-partisanship, it is apparently not only the Republicans who may be relying on  zombies.  In Illinois, we know that the dead have been voting for decades in Cook county!

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Since I am a Republican, I will give the late Bob Hope the last word on zombies and politics.

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The World Cup & American Idealism

If you read the comments here at TAC, no doubt you’ve seen the accusation that America suffers from a Calvinist dualism that sinisterly causes all of American conservativism’s woes like it was the Catholic Church in a Dan Brown novel. While these claims are exaggerated, there’s a bit of truth in the idea that when compared to Europe, we’re a little more dualistic.

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Scientology and Coerced Abortions

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Hattip to Big Hollywood.

The late L. Ron Hubbard’s religion-for-profit, Scientology, now stands accused of coercing employees in their SeaOrg organization into slaying their unborn children through abortions. I have always found it vastly amusing that this transparent scam calling itself a religion has been so popular among the glitterati in Hollywood, but these revelations illustrate how painfully destructive Hubbard’s money making scheme has been for so many people over the years.

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Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 1)

If you move in conservative Catholic circles much, you have doubtless heard the phrase “contraceptive mentality”. Though used frequently and negatively, I think there is value in delving a bit more deeply into what we mean by the phrase. I was moved to write this in semi-response to an interesting post by Brett Salkeld a couple months back which sought to explore the bounds of what a “contraceptive mentality” is. Another good resource on the topic is this post at Catholic Culture on the contraceptive mentality.

While recognizing the dangers of trying to be too wide ranging in subject matter in the limited space of a blog post, my goal here is to set out answers to the following:

  • What is a “contraceptive mentality”?
  • How is a contraceptive mentality contrary to how humans are “meant” to function morally and sexually?
  • How, if at all, does NFP (natural family planning) relate to a contraceptive mentality?

I think it’s easiest to think about the idea of a contraceptive mentality against the backdrop of how we function sexually as human creatures — a term I use advisedly in that I want to emphasize our rootedness in a certain biological reality of being primates with certain biological systems and instincts, while at the same time not ignoring our rational, emotional and moral sensibilities in the sense that “human animal” strikes me as implying.

Uncertainty and Conception

One thing that sets us apart from most other higher primates is that humans have fairly even sexual drive all of the time. Or, at least, men have sexual drive pretty much all of the time. Women seem to have more variation in their level of interest, and indeed there is a fair amount of evidence that one driving (though unconscious) element of their drive is that they are more “in the mood” during the times of the month when they are fertile than when they are not. Another thing that sets us apart from most other higher primates is that a woman’s fertility is not marked by unmistakable physical signs (change of color and swelling of the genital area, changes in smell, etc.) (Though Bonobos have often been compared to humans in regards to their relatively constant sex drive, they are like chimps in that female fertility is readily apparent through external signs.)
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Has Law School Become a Dead End Trap for the Unwary?

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Hattip to Instapundit.

Law Prof Brian Tamanaha explains it all:

It’s grim reading. The observations are raw, bitter, and filled with despair. It is easier to avert our eyes and carry on with our pursuits. But please, take a few moments and force yourself to look at Third Tier Reality, Esq. Never, Exposing the Law School Scam, Jobless Juris Doctor, Temporary Attorney: The Sweatshop Edition, and linked sites. Read the posts and the comments. These sites are proliferating, with thousands of hits.

Look past the occasional vulgarity and disgusting pictures. Don’t dismiss the posters as whiners. To a person they accept responsibility for their poor decisions. But they make a strong case that something is deeply wrong with law schools.

Their complaint is that non-elite law schools are selling a fraudulent bill of goods. Law schools advertise deceptively high rates of employment and misleading income figures. Many graduates can’t get jobs. Many graduates end up as temp attorneys working for $15 to $20 dollars an hour on two week gigs, with no benefits. The luckier graduates land jobs in government or small firms for maybe $45,000, with limited prospects for improvement. A handful of lottery winners score big firm jobs.

And for the opportunity to enter a saturated legal market with long odds against them, the tens of thousands newly minted lawyers who graduate each year from non-elite schools will have paid around $150,000 in tuition and living expenses, and given up three years of income. Many leave law school with well over $100,000 in non-dischargeable debt, obligated to pay $1,000 a month for thirty years. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Mr. President, Not Even Close to Good Enough

Mr. President,

Last night you gave an address using the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an opportunity to pontificate about many subjects. I am afraid that far from convincing me you are leading the federal government well in this disaster, you have removed beyond a doubt your indifference to the state of Louisiana. Since you rarely visited the state before the disaster (even when the un-repaired damage done by Hurricane Katrina should have called your attention), perhaps I, as a resident of this great state, can explain what you obviously don’t understand.

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Quick Econ Thoughts on Licensing

This was going to be a comment on Blackadder’s post which has turned into a discussion on licensing and whether it raises prices, but since I only have time to write out one thought process today I thought I’d turn it into a post.

Most folks outside economics see licensing as a way of legally certifying duties and providing a means of redress when incompetence occurs. Not only does a plumber who consistently allows sewer gases to enter a home get sanctioned civilly, he can be sanctioned by license loss and prevented from harming other households.

Let’s try two examples on our theoretical plumber here:

1) Say that we have a local economy in which licensing is not mandatory. If I want some plumbing done, I have several options: I could open up the phone book, call around, and hire the absolute cheapest guy who says he’s willing to give plumbing a job. He may do a terrible job, and set sewage to run through my ice maker.

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