Miss Me Yet?

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

110 Responses to Miss Me Yet?

  • I do believe that this calls for a guilty pleasure of mine that I reserve for this type of occasion

    I should hope you feel guilty after embedding an Abba performance…

  • That is worth at least 50 Hail Marys by itself John Henry!

  • This is good news. I do miss Bush, very much. Many are seeing Bush in a different light today then when he was president — in a more positive light.

  • Yeah, what’s not to miss? Increasing poverty rates, falling real wages, number of uninsured up, budget busting fiscal policy (war, tax cuts, Medicare part D each cost more than any of Obama’s initiatives and none were paid for). And then there is torture, war, codpiece diplomacy, global hatred against the US. Tax cuts for the rich, subsidies for energy companies, lax regulation, cronies and hacks instead of professionals, politicization of the Justice Department. Oh yeah, bring this guy back.

  • And just think Tony, he is more popular than the empty suit you voted for. Better luck next messiah.

  • But Don.

    That’s a 1970’s number.

    Is that why its a “guilty pleasure”?

  • No it’s a guilty pleasure Don because it is bad music and I love it anyway as I discussed in this post:


  • For those of you who listened to Obama’s speech tonight, compare and contrast:

  • I know it’s odd to pick on just one of the idiotic things coming from Tony’s screed, but this:

    subsidies for energy companies

    is just odd. Yes, because before George Bush, energy companies never received subsidies. Yes, that evil crony capitalism. It’s a good thing that we ended that practice under Barack Obama. I mean, it’s not like his administration is trying to single-handedly prop up the wind and solar industries.

    But that’s the thing. Most of what Tony complains about can be said fourfold for the Obama administration. I mean, politicization of the Justice Department? Hello, black panthers. Cronies and hacks in the administration? Two words: Katherine Sebelius. and Joe Biden. And so many more.

    But don’t be upset with poor Tony. All that hope and change, and what has really changed?

  • You’ll have to do better than that, Paul. Lets leave aside the phony Fox News/ Koch brothers controversies (black panthers? give me a break!). Let’s focus on the economy. Again: falling real wages, rising poverty, rising numbers of uninsured, massive unfunded fiscal loosening. And let’s focus on foreign policy – war and torture. Torture. Did I mention torture?

  • One can only imagine the meltdown Tony will be in election night this year. It is difficult for a hard core supporter of Obama to watch his administration plumb new levels of ineptitude and failure. For those seeking comic reading, you might wish to read Tony’s endorsement of Obama and a fisking of it by TAC’s Michael Denton.


  • Paul: “All that hope and change, and what has really changed?”

    Not enough. We still have war, and there is no accountability for complicity in the torture regime. We still have the domination of politics by monied interests, the theology of American exceptionalism, and refusal to stand up to Israel. We still have the most unequal society since the Gilded Era, and unions still have insufficient power to protect workers. We have no immigration reform. And we have no real chance of putting a price on carbon emissions, meaning that the suffering of the poorest countries of the world will continue.

    But it is still infinitely better than Bush, or hypothetical McCain. We have universal health care and the first reforms to curb the rise in healthcare costs. We have financial sector regulation – weaker than it should have been, but significant (judging by Wall Street outrage). And how about, in unison with an international effort coordinated by the G20, saving the world from a second Great Depression? And yes, while monetary policy did the heavy lifting, increasing public deficits (combined automatic stabilizers and discretionary stimulus) compensated for the calamitous collapse in private demand. This is basic economics, but Republicans have a history of not understanding basic economics. And then there is the direct financial sector interventions (recapitalization, asset purchases, guarantees, stress tests) that restored stability – in many cases, too lenient on the banks for my liking, but God help us if McCain and Boehner had been taking these decisions.

    I suggest you simply thank Obama and continue in the security of your economic lives!

  • The empty suit’s speech was better than I thought. But, of course Obama avoided giving Bush credit for the surge’s success, especially when he opposed the surge. Obama does not have much of knack for displaying charity to his opposition especially when he was wrong about the surge.

    Mornings Minion,
    You certainly are infatuated with “torture”. Although, maybe you should since “torture” or EIT’s saved lives more than once during the Bush administration. So, white voter discrimination at the polls is okay with you?

    Gee… Under Obama now we’re experiencing high unemployment, looking forward to multiple tax increases across the board, rising medical costs due to Obamacare, and he wants to pass Cap & Trade to make your energy bills skyrocket.

    OH! Joy! What More Could a Citizen ask for? (sarcasm)

  • Yeah, what’s not to miss? Increasing poverty rates, falling real wages, number of uninsured up, budget busting fiscal policy (war, tax cuts, Medicare part D each cost more than any of Obama’s initiatives and none were paid for). And then there is torture, war, codpiece diplomacy, global hatred against the US. Tax cuts for the rich, subsidies for energy companies, lax regulation, cronies and hacks instead of professionals, politicization of the Justice Department. Oh yeah, bring this guy back

    Until I got to the tax cuts for the rich, I was trying to figure out if Minion was talking about Bush’s or Obama’s term.

    Minion, seriously. Obama’s foreign policy has been from a Catholic perspective atrocious. Maybe it would have been better than McCain, but considering the willingness of Obama’s administration to assassinate citizens and some of the other decisions of his administration, it is very difficult to find a significant foreign policy decision that Obama has made that Bush would not have made. Indeed, he appears to plagiarized it.

  • We have universal health care

    So is your favorite flavor of kool-aid grape or lemon? I would think grape because it’s kind of like wine and that’s not so bad. But yeah, that’s a great thing to hang you hat on. I mean, it’s not like it is already leading to exploding premiums, economic uncertainty, and oh and that whole selling out of the unborn. But of course we both know that’s not much of a concern of yours.

    Anyway, nice dodge of my point, as always Tony. I know it’s tough, what with your guy crashing and burning to the point that George Bush – the guy that you so loathe and detest – is more popular than Barack Hussein Obama. Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

  • Italics off.

  • Wait a minute, is this the same MM who assured us a year back that the GOP was finished as a major political party, and would instead remain a regional rump party in the South only.

    Suffering from a little bit of unfulfilled expectations, are we?

    Well, it doesn’t surprise me that MM think Obama was still the best choice. If Obama nuked Iran and invested the entire US budget in cheese curls, he’d still be sure that any Republican would have been worse — since they’re all eeeeeeevil nihilist dualists.

    The key thing, given we live in a republic, is that most other people are a little more cognizant of reality.

  • eeeeeeevil CALVINIST nihilist dualists.

  • Also, correction on MM’s rant: We do not have universal health care, even in 2014 when the health care bill actually goes into effect. Obama’s bill was only planned to reduce the number of uninsured, not eliminate it. And that’s according to its own projections, forget what actually ends up happening…

  • Dear God, Teresa, you cannot do evil so that good might come of it. Even if torture saves lies, it is intrinsically evil, which means it can never ever be defended. Ever. If you are even suggesting otherwise, you are stepping into some very dangerous territory, and become no different from an abortion supporter. You can quibble all night taxes and spending. You might be fundamentally wrong, but you are not stepping into a moral abyss. But defend torture, and that’s exactly where you are.

  • You have a point, Michael, but at least the torture has stopped. And I fully believe a McCain presidency would be conspiring with the odious Netanyahu regime to foment war with Iran. Fundamentally, the GOP needs war and violence to lubricate its electoral engines.

  • Do you have some evidence that the torture has stopped? This would be good news indeed, but although I have heard promises that it will stopped, I have not seen concrete steps towards eliminating torture. I am afraid I am a bit skeptical; after all, we don’t know what goes on in hidden locations.

    As far as Iran, I don’t think so. Popularity is the key for McCain, and people didn’t want another war. Right now he’d be trying to solve the economy and ignoring everything else, just like Obama. If the economy were different, maybe, but America’s appetite for war is gone now and McCain aims to please.

    War and violence might help the GOP’s electoral engines, but the current outlook on the cycle suggests that they don’t need them.

  • Fair enough, let’s see what the CBO said then, shall we? It will reduce the number of uninsured by 31 million, and make sure that it becomes affordable to all, with premiums falling in the individual market quite substantively, with more modest falls in the large and small employer markets. Overall, the deficit will reduced by $130 billion, testament to the delivery system reforms, Of course, you won’t hear this on Fox News.

    And let’s not try to use the unborn as a weapon here, again. As you well know, the pro life protections embodied in this act are far superior than anything in the private market today. But don’t let me stop you using the unborn to push forward a liberal economic agenda.

  • Is it just me, or is it REALLY, really amazing that even though Obama just declared the effective end of the nation’s longest war since Vietnam, very few people I know seem to care, and that STILL isn’t going to save the Democrats from electoral disaster in November, nor is it likely to stop Obama’s downward spiral in public approval?

  • Fair enough, let’s see what the CBO said then, shall we?

    Oh, they said that, yes. But only when given some highly unrealistic assumptions they were forced to work with. Let’s not buy the bridge in Brooklyn, shall we?

  • Fair enough, let’s see what the CBO said then,

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh it’s so cute that you think that those numbers are even remotely realistic.

  • It really boggles the mind that the dominant opinion here is that Obama was the inferior choice in 2008. Given everything that has happened on the economy, it truly beggars belief! Good night!

  • I would stick with the American history and political philosophy, Paul. The economics of health care isnt really your thing.

  • And seriously, while I know that it is doubtless true that you believe McCain and Netanyahu would be forming all sorts of evil and wily plots together — that does not mean that those of us who are more realistic need have similar suspicions.

  • Awwww, looks like Tony A doesn’t like being confronted by reality. Well, toodles, Tony. I’m sure your buddies at VN will comfort you in your delusions.

  • It really boggles the mind that the dominant opinion here is that Obama was the inferior choice in 2008. Given everything that has happened on the economy, it truly beggars belief!

    Heavens to Betsy! You’re right. If we’d had McCain in we might have not had a big enough stimulus, and unemployment might be over 8% now!

  • MM,
    Just because Leftist human rights organizations call something to be “torture” doesn’t make it “torture” in reality. Pulling fingernails or burning parts of the body is torture but EIT’s are not torture. Try reading a little from Dave Armstrong on this issue.

  • To all:
    As I’ve said previously on this topic, and even my Father in law agreed, “At this point, I miss Bill Clinton!”


    How can you *POSSIBLY* say that this bloodthirsty pro-abortion monster is better than Bush?

  • By the way, regardless of one’s definition of whether waterboarding or any other practice is “torture” (and the hairsplitting by Republicans on this one always smacks of the same hairsplitting done by pro-aborts), torture was a non-issue in the 2008 election.

    George W. Bush was not running for office in 2008, though Obamanation supporters would have us think that.

    In fact, the only Republicans who supported waterboarding, etc., were voted out of the primary.

    Palin has never said anything on this issue one way or the other.

    McCain is against torture. He lost some “street cred” for opposing the thing about the CIA guide, merely because he felt that the way to reform the CIA and the Army was to reform each one directly.

    Barr opposes torture, and so does Baldwin. So using torture as a voting issue in the 2008 president election was a non-starter.

  • Exactly, GodsGadfly.

    In fact, the only torture supporter running for President in 2008 was the guy who thought it was okay to leave babies to die alone in a closet.

    You know, the one Tony supported.

  • Teresa. Waterboarding is torture. Prolonged sensory deprivation is torture. Cold cells are torture. Stress positions are torture. These have always been recognized as torture, including in law. I have a funny feeling that if Al Qaeda or the Iranian revolutionary guards captured some Americans and subjected them to exactly the same treatment, you would cry torture. But to claim it’s only torture if the other side does it is the most odious form of moral relativism. Let me repeat – you are following a line of reasoning that defends a grave intrinsically evil act. And remember, Gaudium Et Spes puts physical and mental torture up there with the very worst sins.

  • Because Gadfly, the man you loathe so much is not directly responsible for a single abortion. The man you love so much gave the order to torture and began a gravely war that led to, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of people dead, wounded, or displaced. It is pellicidly clear as to who has the most blood on his hands.

  • Technically, it doesn’t put them among the “very worst sins,” it lists them among things that are “intrinsically evil,” which means they can never be done justly. Intrinsic evil is the nature of the act and does not have to do with its sinfulness, which is bound up in the knowledge and motivations of the actor.

  • Could you possibly be suggesting, Darwin, that unemployment today would be lower under a McCain presidency? That’s pretty bizarre. I would love to hear the logic behind that one!!!

  • For example, one of your colleagues, Henry Karlson, a while back did a piece on lying as an “intrinsic evil.” He made some good points, but he conflated “intrinsic evil” with “mortal sin.” An action that is always wrong–intrinsically evil–may not always be mortally sinful, as you liberals like to say about contraception. Actions that are normally mortally sinful are not if the person lacks sufficient knowledge.
    Some acts which are intrinsically evil are merely venial sins. Again, referencing Karlson’s piece, if a parent tells a child a “noble lie” to explain a difficult concept or avoid a meltdown, that *may* be an intrinsically evil act, but it’s still a venial sin.

  • That’s pretty bizarre. I would love to hear the logic behind that one!!!

    Why is it any more bizarre than just assuming that it would have been worse absent the stimulus or other actions taken by the administration? You have offered no evidence or proof that President Obama and his minions in Congress have taken any action that directly led to enhanced economic output. You have simply asserted it as though we are to take your assessments as Gospel. Sorry, no thanks.

  • “It really boggles the mind that the dominant opinion here is that Obama was the inferior choice in 2008. Given everything that has happened on the economy, it truly beggars belief! Good night!”

    What beggars belief is that the social and intellectual world that you inhabit is so tiny that you can’t see the range of possible perspectives on economic and social issues.

    Seriously Minion, you need to leave the echo chamber you spend most of your time at over there and explore the world a little more. It’s good that you come here to be put in your place now and again, but you should go out and learn some more.

    You might discover that this president is at least as widely reviled as Bush ever was. You might also discover that his economic polices aren’t really that drastically different. They both work with the same set of Wall Street executives, they both use the government to protect powerful economic interests.

    You might finally figure out that the pathway to a moral economy is not through increasing the power of the state, but increasing the freedom of the people to do good – to create jobs, to save money, to discover and meet each other’s needs through voluntary cooperation.

    You might also figure out that it is the empty promise of the state to “take care of” everything from poor people to education and health care that is what creates the very individualism, indifference, apathy and consumerism that you believe government intervention must be used to addressed.

    You might learn that the assumption that, sans an interventionist economic regime, people will simply let the poor and vulnerable rot in the streets indicates a view of human nature and sin that is far closer to Calvinism than anything “economic liberals” with a Christian conscience believe.

  • Agreed, Gadfly, and this is why I noted torture’s rather high rank in Gaudium’s list of shame. But intrinsic evil is still the correct rebuttal against those like Teresa who claim good was done, as the objective of the act remains evil and thus can never be defended,

  • Paul, again I think you are getting a bit of your depth here. This is what I do. The overwhelming consensus is that without the emergency actions undertaken, the situation today would be far worse. You forget that in the last quarter of 2008, the specter of a second Great Depression was all too frighteningly real.

    As door quantification, this is obviously difficult. Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi estimate that without the package of monetary, fiscal, and financial sector policies, output would be a whopping 6.5 percent lower, and 8.5 million more people would be jobless. Looking narrowly at the stimulus bill, the CBO estimates that It raised real GDP by between 1.7 and 4.5 percent and increase the number of people employed by between 1.4 and 3.3 million. Now, we can argue that this was too small or not effectively targeted, but this does not give any comfort to the GOP side – a McCain presidency would have gone for something dramatically smaller, and chosen tax cuts, which is not very effective stimulus.

  • I see your Waterloo and raise you an improved Mamma Mia via Clive James.

  • I am sorry Robert H, but I have no choice but to respond with Dancing Queen.

  • My apologies to good music lovers everywhere who will now need a mind wipe after viewing this thread.

  • This is what I do.

    God help all.

  • As for the misnamed stimulus bill, it had virtually zero impact on the economy:


    What it actually did was to allow states and municipalities to use fed dollars for road and other construction projects and transfer their funds to other areas, putting off the day of reckoning for getting their fiscal house in order, and that had virtually no impact on unemployment.


  • “This is what I do.”


  • I like to shake the hand of the guy who assembled the “Miss me yet?” poster. It’s almost like he posed for the occasion.

  • The overwhelming consensus is that without the emergency actions undertaken, the situation today would be far worse. You forget that in the last quarter of 2008, the specter of a second Great Depression was all too frighteningly real.

    Perhaps the consensus at Vox Nova. While it is clear that actions had to be taken, it is not clear the money spent was spent as prudently as it needed to be. Indeed, a more thought out stimulus might have actually stimulated something. As it is, the money’s spent and no one my age can find a job. Hard to imagine it getting much worse, and there are no more arrows in Obama’s quiver. Obama had his chance and his money to save the economy, and he botched it.

    As far the benefits of healthcare reform, I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s not an accomplishment until it’s actually accomplished.

  • “It’s not an accomplishment until it’s actually accomplished.”

    Perhaps this is Obama’s (and Morning’s Minion’s) “Mission Accomplished” moment.

  • Blaming Obama for the economy is pretty foolish. Left-wing friends of mine did the same with Bush when he was elected, given that we had a slight downturn due to the one-two punch of the dot com bust and 9/11, both of which were out of Bush’s control. Partisans should remember that the massive Wall Street bailout was engineered under Bush, not Obama, and if I had to guess, I’d say that Bush may very well have done something similar to Obama’s stimulus package. After all, Bush is no fiscal conservative by any means.

    (I’m also of the opinion that if Gore had won in 2000 we would have entered a war against Iraq sooner than under Bush. Why? Because Gore most likely would have held onto most of the Clinton-era advisers who had been drawing up plans for invasion for years, and almost did launch hostilities in 1998.)

  • Could you possibly be suggesting, Darwin, that unemployment today would be lower under a McCain presidency? That’s pretty bizarre. I would love to hear the logic behind that one!!!

    No, MM. I just don’t think it would have been any worse. The only things that have happened which I find it pretty persuasive actually helped the economy are things that would have occured either way or occured before Obama came into office: the original Wall Street bailout (which may have avoided a wider banking collapse, though I don’t find the counterfactual 100% convincing there anymore) and monetary policy which either administration would have followed.

    I find it staggeringly unconvincing that the “stimulus” bill actually did much to improve the economy — especially because rather than a direct stimulus into immediate spending much of it was a dump of spending the Democrats had been wanting to do for a long time anyway (a good deal of which still hasn’t been spent.) If anything, it’s possible McCain would have got money into the economy faster as I imagine he would have been persuaded to support some sort of immediate “tax credit” which would have hit the consumer economy in the short term — though I think it would probably have been a bad idea.

    I think the Detroit bailout was a staggeringly bad idea, though it’s possible McCain would have been persuaded to do the same. And cash for clunkers and the home purchase subsidies both appear to have been total empty calories in terms of helping spur a long term recovery.

    So no — while I don’t think Obama has done anything to make the economy much worse than a McCain presidency would have, I really don’t think he’s done anything to make it better either.

    I think the magic ability of politicians to make the economy better is vastly overrated.

  • I think the magic ability of politicians to make the economy better is vastly overrated.

    This is really among the most bizarre assumptions in MM’s writings. He seems to think that Presidents have magical economic powers – that Clinton deserves credit for the prosperity of the dot-com boom (but not the bust – that was Bush’s fault!); that Bush caused the financial crisis in some way that made the Fed, Congress, and millions of Americans blameless; that the fiscal stimulus must have had positive effects because Obama wanted it too. From someone who should know better, it’s pretty amazing to see him making ridiculous causal economic claims any time it might provide an additional argument in favor of Democratic politicians.

  • Concur with the problems on the stimulus part. Work on our state Childhood Coordination committee. Stimulus passed 2/09. Got our first check 9/09. First money still wasn’t spent until 12/09. What is that, ten months. Still a lot of the money unspent due to all the red tape and figuring out what to spend it on. A total mess.

  • You miss a few crucial points. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times keeps pointing to something important – the huge shift in the private balance between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, from a deficit of 2.2 per cent of GDP to a surplus of 6.6 per cent. If that huge shift had not been counterbalanced by an increase in public deficits, the implications would have been diasastrous.

    Nobody is also noting the clear liquidity trap, when monetary policy has reached its clear limits, with short-term interests rates hovering around zero. This is precisely when fiscal policy works without crowding out.

    It seems that most of you are not quibbling with the idea of stimulus, but the size and composition. It is clear that it should be been bigger and more targeted toward what works, especially since a double dip seems likely, and with unemployemnt higher than projected. But look at the CBO’s numbers. It is patently clear that the stimulus had a huge impact on unemployment and without it, the situation would be far worse today. You forget that when we want to boost demand quickly, the quality of the project is not the essential issue. To slightly paraphrase Keynes, having somebody dig holes in the ground and cover them up might stimulate the economy more than invesment in high speed rail that takes years to put into effect.

    What works? Again, there is a great deal of consensus. Multipliers are highest for infrastruture investment and social safety nets. They are lowest for tax cuts and tax credits. I believe a major problem with the stimulus, in terms of adequate bang for buck, was that almost half of it took the form of tax cuts.

    There is an even greater problem. What really matters from a demand management perspective is the total government deficit. And what we see is loosening at the center being neutralized by tightening at the states, which (given legal requirements) are running severely procylical fiscal policies. In my view, this is having a severe negative effect.

    Oh, consensus? Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is the overwhelming consensus among serious thinkers, governments, and central banks. In fact, I can count on one hand those who claim stimulus was counterproductive – I can think of the Polish finance minister and the Bundesbank, which still thinks inflation is Germany’s number one problem (and some of the ECB who share the German view)! I don’t even count Republicans here, as I’m restricting more sample to the adults in the room, to those who think seriously about economic problems. Republicans are not in this category, where the dominant view is that cutting spending in the deepest recession in 60 years boosts growth, and tax cuts work exotic magic.

  • What works? Again, there is a great deal of consensus.

    No, there ain’t.

  • The appointment of Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court make Obama the most damaging president of our and our childrens’ lifetimes.

  • So in other words, the stimulus was better than doing absolutely nothing but probably worse than paying people to dig holes and fill them. Well, that makes me feel a lot better about Obama’s stimulus. I feel so so silly for not joining those serious thinkers in voting for Obama.

  • Of course people have been claiming its been working even before a good part of the money was spent. So let’s stop spending it if its worked so well (there is still some unspent.) And let’s put to an end talk about more stimulus.

  • >It seems that most of you are not quibbling with the idea of stimulus, but the size and composition. It is clear that it should be been bigger and more targeted toward what works, especially since a double dip seems likely, and with unemployemnt higher than projected. But look at the CBO’s numbers. It is patently clear that the stimulus had a huge impact on unemployment and without it, the situation would be far worse today. You forget that when we want to boost demand quickly, the quality of the project is not the essential issue. To slightly paraphrase Keynes, having somebody dig holes in the ground and cover them up might stimulate the economy more than invesment in high speed rail that takes years to put into effect.

    I’m not necessarily quibbling with the idea that stimulus could work in some conditions in some times and places, no. I’m quibbling with whether Obama’s stimulus achieved much of anything in this particular situation — and if it did so to any degree to which a hypothetical McCain set of actions would not have. I don’t have to deny that stimulus might work somewhere (or might even have achieved something in our economy) to deny that Obama’s had much of any impact on keeping our economy from being worse than it is.

    Also, I think it’s arguable that Keynes’ classic hole digging wouldn’t achieve that much in a modern economy such as that of the US. The issue is, in order for the stimulus spending to really kick start private demand, you need people to imagine that it will continue. In the 30s, doing WPA work wasn’t that far from what a lot of workers would have been doing anyway, and it also helped to smooth the transition from agricultural to industrial labor which was going on at the same time. (After all, the depression had effectively hit agriculture well before 1929.) We no longer have an economy that works that way, so even if you could get people to come out and dig holes and fill them in again, it wouldn’t fool people into thinking the economy was back on track and returning to normal spending patterns. Instead, they’d be struggling to put money away for the expected crash when the public funds ran out.

    Frankly, in that sense, a McCain plan which involved more basic tax credits might have been as or more efficient. (And before you get worked up about multipliers, keep in mind that a good deal of what actually got spent of the stimulus in the first 18 months was the tax credits. So if anything Obama did worked in regards to stimulus, it was arguably tax credits rather than spending.)

    Oh, consensus? Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is the overwhelming consensus among serious thinkers, governments, and central banks. In fact, I can count on one hand those who claim stimulus was counterproductive – I can think of the Polish finance minister and the Bundesbank, which still thinks inflation is Germany’s number one problem (and some of the ECB who share the German view)!

    Given the relative condition of our economy and Germany’s at the moment, are you sure your “consensus” is really in that big a position to throw stones?

  • What relative to Germany? Here is the picture:

    Germany, but the way, despite the rhetoric, implemented a sizeable fiscal stimulus. But if you really to see a country were stimulus worked big time, look to China.

  • So you said that Germany dissents from the overwhelming consensus (which I’m not convinced is actually all that overwhelming outside of your own policy circles) but then the refutation of the claim it would be okay to follow Germany’s policies is that Germany has seen roughly the same percentage changes in GDP as we have over the last couple years (while maintaining significantly lower unemployment). Hmmmm.

  • Also, in re China, given that China has an economy at a very different place from ours, I’m not clear at all that the claim that stimulus works there means it is a great idea here.

    And again, the basic fact it’s hard for your argument to avoid is that whether you and Krugman think a much larger and somewhat different stimulus would have been a good idea or not — Obama’s stimulus as it in fact existed pretty clearly didn’t have much of an effect either way (except perhaps via the tax credits) because of the way it was structured and the type and timescale of spending. Thus it’s hard to argue we would have been in a different place with McCain.

    That’s okay. You can continue to love Obama anyway. You wouldn’t be yourself if you didn’t. You just can’t expect the majority of the rest of the country to do the same because they don’t have your precommitments.

  • The different between China’s stimulus and the U.S. stimulus is rooted in each’s broader economic situation. China is in the stronger position, thus her “stimulus” will be perceived to work. Look at Japan: all their stimulus resulted in a lost decade, but they are STILL in an overall better position than the U.S. thanks to their citizen’s savings rate. These nations can AFFORD and ABSORB the costs (economic AND political) of stimulus, much in the same way Americans endured the Hoover and Roosevelt “stimuli.”

    So, no, Mr. Bush, I do not miss you. Nor do I miss your predecessor, nor will I miss your successor, and so on and so forth.

    I simply don’t understand why we are so opposed to the pain of economic contraction. Wouldn’t we be better off working towards ridding ourselves of the losses and malinvestment, over entrenching the behaviors that resulted in the collapse?


  • Actually, the person that we can “thank” for this financial fiasco is Lyndon Baines Johnson who started the GSE’s (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) which caused this economic downturn. This is another instance of government entities trying to compete in the private sector and then screwing up, and then in turn ends up screwing the American people.

    Here is my post on this subject:

  • Obama-worshipping marxists masquerading as catholic pedagogues can have their beliefs/biases, they cannot fabricate what happened nor what is happening.

    Mainly, they are irrationally irritated that us idiots, us NASCAR-loving retards, us God and gun clutching nitwits are awakening up to the fact that Obama has nothing but bull crap and that’s the way things are falling … apart.

    Right, keep castigating Bush for the same stuff Obama and his moron minions are doing ten times more intensely. If these acts were so bad, why is the obagenius repeating them at warp speed?

    This especially irriates the left elites. America won the Iraq war (despite Obama, Biden and all of them voting against funding our soldiers and repeatedly asserting the war was lost and they tacitly preferred genocide), liberated 25,000,000 people and established a democracy despite the left’s best efforts at preserving tyranny.

    Re Chiner: Don’t look now but they may be developing an unprecedented (among obama-worshipping morons) housing boom that may turn into tragic economic bust.

    You read it here.

  • MM,

    Your Krugman reference made me laugh.


  • Here is an example of why we must stop FOX News. It reports right-wing propaganda against our leader – Obama.

    Fact: Obama is trying (a judge stopped him) to end oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – so what if 130,000 people go broke and the prices of gasoline and home heating oil go through the roof – he can blame Bush!

    From FOX:

    “Today, even though President Obama is against off shore drilling for our country, he signed an executive order to loan 2 Billion of our taxpayers dollars to a Brazilian Oil Exploration Company (which is the 8th largest company in the entire world) to drill for oil off the coast of Brazil! The oil that comes from this operation is for the sole purpose and use of China and NOT THE USA! Now here’s the real clincher…the Chinese government is under contract to purchase all the oil that this oil field will produce, which is hundreds of millions of barrels of oil..

    We have absolutely no gain from this transaction whatsoever!”

    Wait, it gets more interesting.”

    Guess who is the largest individual stockholder of this Brazilian Oil Company and who would benefit most from this? It is anti-American BILLIONAIRE, George Soros, who was one of Obama’s most generous financial supporter during his campaign.”

    “If you are able to connect the dots and follow the money, you are probably as upset as I am. Not a word of this transaction was broadcast on any of the other news networks!”

    The facts are confirmed in a Wall Street Journal article. No way!! Wait!!! WSJ is owned by Murdoch!!! Gotta be lies!!!!!

    When they tire of blaming Bush they have their fall back position: call them all RACISTS!

  • Since we are talking music and economics, allow me to pull us out of the 70’s and into the 21st century.

  • Tito:

    Yeah, I kept hearing “Paul Krugman is the embodiment of Catholic social teaching” go through my head when I was reading MM’s comment.

  • Darwin, Germany dissents from nothing. The Bundesbank is a major opponent of any fiscal policy loosening. Merkel makes a lot of noises about fiscal retrenchment, but if you look at the numbers, Germany implemented a pretty sizeable fiscal stimulus in 2009. Another amazing fact is that Germany managed to avoid any increase in unemployment during the crisis, which can be traced to its subsidized short-term work program.

  • Teresa, I’ve been refuting these arguments for years now. On the Community Reinvestment Act, the idea that poor people and minorities are to blame for the crisis. Three points. First, the CRA dates to 1997, while the crisies relates to the first decade of this century (and Bush even watered down the CRA in 2004). Second, the CRA is restricted to banks and thrifts that are federally insured, while most subprime loans were issued by mortgage originators outside the jurisdiction of the CRA. Third, the most dangerous lending was made precisely by those entities not subject to the CRA. In fact, as central bankers like Ned Gamlich and Janet Yellen have noted, the CRA has been quite prudent, with impressively low default rates.

    Now, onto the GSEs. Again, you have a problem with timing – why no crisis for the past 40 years? Of course, you can point to problems with the GSEs, and I might even agree with you, but you cannot say they are responsible for the crisis. Why? Simple facts. At precisely the time of the subprime boom (2004-08), the share of agency securization fell sharply, while the share of securization by private players rose precipitously – and this is where the problem arose.

    Honestly, you have a hard time accepting that the market was at fault here. The Church has no such problem. The pope has pointed to greed, pure and simple.

  • A “consensus” that excludes the ECB and any Republican is a strange sort of beast.

  • Honestly, you have a hard time accepting that the market was at fault here. The Church has no such problem. The pope has pointed to greed, pure and simple.

    Did greed not exist prior to the first decade of this century?

  • BA,

    You’re not thinking about this right. Greed was of course at fault, but greed requires a catalyst in order to cause catostrophic economic results. Bush was of course that catalyst. Indeed, such a catalyst that home prices began to spiral to unrealistic levels back in the 90s in anticipation of his arrival on the scene.

    The lesson here is, do not elect Bush! This will cause greed to wreck the economy. Even now that Bush is no longer available to run for office, you must not elect someone just like. All Republicans are just like him. If you elect them, then greed will suddenly fission and consequence will be dire.

    You have been warned.

  • “Stay out the Bushes!”

    At least the left is staying on message, even if it’s a message the vast majority of voters – who have moved on – don’t really care about.

    Ironic that Move On and its ilk can’t seem to follow its own advice and … you know … move on.

  • Wow. I actually agree with Minion on the CRA. It originally goes back even further to 1977. No bank was EVER forced to make an unprofitable loan.

    But equating “the market” with “greed” is absurdity, it is nonsense.

    The easy money policies of the Federal Reserve encouraged reckless economic behavior. A truly free market does not tolerate recklessness, because it does not subsidize failure. I don’t disagree that greed was involved, but it was facilitated by government.

    Don’t you get it? People who are willing to work hard and honestly for their money prosper in free markets. It is those who turn to government for special favors, or who look to get something for nothing, or who live beyond their means, that are the greedy ones.

  • Wow. I actually agree with Minion on the CRA. It originally goes back even further to 1977. No bank was EVER forced to make an unprofitable loan.

    If it makes you feel better, I agree with Minion on the CRA as well (although I wouldn’t agree that no bank was ever forced to make an unprofitable loan; perhaps you just mean that the loans in question weren’t guaranteed to be unprofitable, as opposed to this just being more likely?)

  • Do you have some evidence that the torture has stopped?

    It’s kind of charming that a grownup could possibly be so naive as to think that our government or any government that ever will exist could be trusted if or when it claims not to torture.

  • On the Community Reinvestment Act, the idea that poor people and minorities are to blame for the crisis.

    Wrong, at least so far as our particular discussions went. The idea concerned the war on lending standards, which began in earnest with the 1992 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston report: “systemic underwriting issues relating to the treatment of African American and Hispanic borrowers.” And so policymakers got with the mortgage industry to change their practices and “redouble” efforts to better serve “under-served” communities. To take one of many examples: Countrywide’s ‘House America.’ Seriously, go look into that lending program. It was a wild ride for a while, with ideology in the driver’s seat.

    Such consequences were a big, and a hugely under-reported, story of our financial and housing crisis. Not the only part of the story, no of course not. But this part, so uncomfortable to think too much about, served “diversity” for a while and everybody got rich for a while, all the time feeling great about themselves and giving out lots of awards to one another.

    Cheap and easy credit – when we should have been requiring at least 10 percent down, and when we should NOT have been looking at credit offering rates as evidence of “racism,” but at default rates as evidence of racism (where there were no gaps, by the way).

    In other words, you cannot understand what happened without looking at this big issue that you so casually and ideologically dismiss.

  • I cannot believe that you guys are all arguing about which banking bill caused our economic crisis, when the banking bills have nothing to do with it.
    Both socialist and capitalist economics depend upon population growth. The presumption is that there will always be more people to work and produce, and more people to buy stuff.

    This crisis was predicted by Human Life International in 2003. They sent an appeal to President Bush to ask him to repeal NSSM-200, with a detailed rebuttal of the document, and statistics showing how the US’s worldwide population control agenda had destroyed the economies of countries like the Philippines. They predicted that there would be a worldwide economic collapse by 2008.

    Of course, they’re not the first. Pat Buchanan has been saying for years that depopulation was going to cause our economy to implode, as has Archbishop Chaput. That’s not counting the Popes.

  • A sustained population decline presents a severe problem for a society, not population stasis.

    It would have to be an inventive piece of economic theory which would have demographic factors as generators of the real estate bubble, the decay of lending standards, the proliferation of mortgage and asset-backed securities, and credit default swaps.

  • A “consensus” that excludes the ECB and any Republican is a strange sort of beast.

    And large swaths of the population of professional economists to boot, whose complaints about public spending crowding out private spending and the size of the multipliers derived from public expenditures have not been confined to obscure academic journals. Implicitly outside the consensus also is the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which showed production levels stabilizing in the Spring of 2009 before any stimulus could have had its effects.

  • The idea concerned the war on lending standards, which began in earnest with the 1992 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston report: “systemic underwriting issues relating to the treatment of African American and Hispanic borrowers.”

    I believe that a war typically involves two opposing sides. Banks were generally quite happy to lower lending standards and to seek out underserved communities, for the simple reason that doing so was making them a lot of money. If that severed “diversity” then that was just icing on the cake, but it would have happened anyway even if our society didn’t give two figs about the diversity idea (e.g. Spain).

  • BA,

    You are completely correct. But the reason the “diversity” angle is important is because it gave large-scale PC cover to both the banks (who were happy to speculate so long as prices were rising) and the government (as Clinton and Bush and Obama are of one accord here: let’s “expand opportunity”!).

    This is why I despise such corporatism and value-transferrence: governmental and big business elites have a lot of tools – including “serving the underclass” – to make out like bandits.

    In the meantime, small business – the very backbone of our economy – gets hammered time and time again.

    To put it crudely, it’s the top and the bottom verses the middle, and things could get ugly – especially since we have imported so much cheap labor and exported so many manufacturing jobs. Our elites deserve contempt.

    MM and other leftists: you care about the poor? Join the chorus to stop destroying middle class wages. Start with severely restricting immigration.

  • Jonathan,

    Why do banks need PC-cover in order to make loans? I don’t see it.

    And immigration isn’t destroying middle class wages. George Borjas’ data shows that immigration actually *raises* the wages of high school graduates (and he is at the pessimistic end of the scale when it comes to immigration).

  • for the simple reason that doing so was making them a lot of money.

    About 8% (by value) of the sum of residential mortgage debt was of the subprime variety. If I am not mistaken, the banks involved in subprime lending (Washington Mutual the exception) curtailed their subprime business in 2005; AIG also ceased writing credit default swaps on mortgage-backed securities derived from subprime infected pools. If what I have read is correct, ALT-A loans were not, ‘ere 2001, all that prone to default. The primary problem was the unwarranted inflation of prices, which affected all classes of loans.

  • The banks do not PC cover in order to make loans, although such cover was helpful when the speculation bubble was going. That was not my point. The point was that the banks (especially those backed by the government and those wishing to be granted permission to grow larger) were happy to use the mantra of “expanding opportunity” to destructively expand credit. There were perverse incentives. These things are not terribly disputable: 1). there has been a massive lowering of credit standards 2). one big, underreported factor was the PC-laden homeownership drive, covering quite a lot of people who should not have received lines of credit 3). The whole big ball of speculation came crashing down.

    Is this “blaming minorities?” Well, I blame the banks, the government, and those (many of them minorities, many of them not) who took out such loans. This is what I mean by the destructiveness of the big business / big government nexus – it’s bad for those that save and don’t speculate by taking on massive debt loads that may not be paid back.

    As for your link, we could trade links and studies all day long. But my argument would have extremely strong anecdotal evidence excluding all links and studies. From the fact that teenagers have essentially dropped out of the labor market (their entry-level jobs replaced by whom?, even as I grant the point most would rather be indoors) to the raft of news articles over the past decade about a rush of applications to processing plants and other manufacting jobs after verfication checks open up positions.

    These folks (and God bless them, I would want to leave many of those countries too) do depress American wages. Now, they aren’t taking our information-based jobs, so it’s easy to say, “who cares?” I don’t mean to suggest you don’t, but many don’t, and we all should. A sample:



  • The point was that the banks (especially those backed by the government and those wishing to be granted permission to grow larger) were happy to use the mantra of “expanding opportunity” to destructively expand credit.

    And my point was that banks didn’t need to use mantras about expanding opportunity in order to expand credit. Sure, it’s a nice thing to talk about, but the credit expansion would have happened even if diversity was something nobody cared about.

    As for your link, we could trade links and studies all day long. But my argument would have extremely strong anecdotal evidence excluding all links and studies.

    Ah yes, who needs data when you have anecdotes.

    George Borjas is the most prominent anti-immigration economist around. If even his data shows that immigration actually raises the wages of high school graduates, what are the chances that you actually could provide “links and studies” showing that immigration was destroying middle class wages? Not high, I suspect.

  • Since when does George Borjas qualify as an ‘anti-immigration’ economist? He has been an advocate for controlled and targeted immigration and I believe has produced data showing immigration is injurious to certain classes of workers.

  • MM and other leftists: you care about the poor? Join the chorus to stop destroying middle class wages. Start with severely restricting immigration.

    No comment from me. Just wanted to draw people’s attention to this.

  • “Ah yes, who needs data when you have anecdotes.”

    Data is built by observing a pattern of incidents and anecdotes, and the (many) stories from the processing, farming, manufacturing, and service sectors about expanded labor driving down wages is sufficent evidence for me.

    And as for your data and your studies – that is all well and good, but the informed opinions of right-liberal / libertarian economists does not mean they are well done, complete, or correct. To take your example of Borjas – from my second link, as elsewhere, Camarota (among others) has highlighted work that contradicts a positive or net neutral impact upon wages (see footnotes 20 to 24).

    Again, we trade studies and numbers all day long. But then again, our jobs are computer-based. What about those actually in the field of manual labor? Let’s be like Cesar Chavez and do what’s in their best interests – advocate for high wages.

  • I think you need to build a bibliography and review the studies comparatively rather than dispose of statistical studies in favor of journalism.

    As is, I doubt when you add it all up you are going to find that immigration is injurious economically to the population in aggregate. I think you will find (and I believe Borjas has found) that it is injurious to native unskilled labor. Thomas Sowell has been among the critics of free immigration and his concern for this social stratum is part of that.

    There are, of course, non-economic problems with mass immigration as a social policy.

  • Art Deco,

    Stasis is bad for the economy when the economy is based upon constantly making *more* houses and *more* cars, to sell to an ever-increasing population. The US had its economic prosperity in the 50s-early70s because of the “Baby Boom.” It started on a trend of presuming that people would continuously need bigger houses and more cars. Then the women went into the workforce because of the Pill, and there was theoretically more money to throw around, and while people started having smaller families, they had more “money.”

    Then these small families grew up, and the kids grew up immature because of the perpetual immaturity granted by the “Sexual Revolution.” So the aging Boomers have had to support their twenty-something stoner offspring, and the generation that’s supposed to be picking up the weight on the economy is playing video games.

    Meanwhile, our “service economy” is based upon taking resources from Third World nations. As someone in the Philippines said a few years ago, “How can overpopulation be our economic problem when we are an agricultural economy?” Countries like the Philippines, which provide food for the rest of the world, are depopulating and losing the workforces which are supposed to be growing the food. Less workforce means less agriculture.

    This means less food, so more starvation in the Third World, and higher prices for food in “first world”.

    The magic tricks you’re talking about in the finance and banking industries only delayed the inevitable which should have happened in the late 1990s.

  • Data is built by observing a pattern of incidents and anecdotes

    No, it isn’t (the old saying “the plural of anecdote is not data” would seem to be applicable here).

    Do you understand how you might be able to find a couple of examples of people losing jobs to immigrants even if the overall effect of immigration was to increase wages?

    the informed opinions of right-liberal / libertarian economists does not mean they are well done, complete, or correct.

    Is Borjas a right-liberal/libertarian economist? I’m sure that would be news to him. I cited him because he is the most prominent economist who take a pessimistic view of immigration. The fact that you would dismiss him as a libertarian (while simultaneously citing other portions of his research that don’t contradict what I said) is curious.

  • Godsgadfly,

    You seem to be assuming that productivity per worker is some kind of constant, which it’s not. The United States, for example, produces more food today than it did in 1900, despite the fact that far fewer people work in agriculture now than did so in 1900. Likewise, manufacturing output for the U.S. is roughly triple what it was in the 1970, despite there being fewer Americans employed today in manufacturing.

  • GodsGadfly:

    One can think of a sense of well-being as being derived from phenomena in the economic and non-material realm. The latter is not derived from technology and may advance or recede in a fashion that can be described but not anticipated.

    The former can be understood as have components readily measured (e.g. manufacturing output) and those not (domestic labor not subject to market transactions). The component of well-being manifest in production advances for a number of reasons – increase in the size of the pool of labor, increasing investment borne of deferral of gratification, technological adaptations, and refinements in the division of labor. Neither technological adaptation nor refinement in the division of labor are dependent upon ever-increasing population.

    The improvement in this aspect of well-being is not necessarily expressed in a larger number of units of merchandise or in merchandise of larger size. It may be expressed in improved quality of merchandise (my thirteen year old car being more reliable than any new car my father bought prior to 1975), in more leisure, in conveniences (comparing here the oil furnace I have with the coal furnace my grandfather tended in the winter time), in personal attention, in greater efficiency in the use of inputs, &c.

    Meanwhile, our “service economy” is based upon taking resources from Third World nations.

    I have to say, I have absolutely no clue as to what you are referring.

    Countries like the Philippines, which provide food for the rest of the world, are depopulating and losing the workforces which are supposed to be growing the food. Less workforce means less agriculture.

    1. The United States is a net exporter of food stuffs.

    2. The population of the Philippines is not declining.

  • I’m well aware Borjas is not a libertarian, but the conclusions you seem eager to attribute to him (even when that CIS report, among others, details how he thinks immigration hurts wages) are common libertarian-flavored arguments. Well, the wider borders crowd right and left is wrong, and the studies we could trade now I’m willing to bet will come to increasingly recognize this – perhaps through the lens of widespread community disunity, as has happened with David Frum.

  • Ladies and Gentlemen;
    I have enjoyed your discussion very much but would like to see it framed in the context of Catholic teaching, dogma, etc. not political left/right/libertarian idology. I can get political based discussion almost anywhere but it is much more difficult to get intellectual Catholic based reasoning on current events or political schemes. Thank you.

  • Art Deco,

    You have no idea about sweat shops? Rice production?

    Yes, the population of the Philippines is not “declining,” but that’s not what the person was saying: he was saying that it was ridiculous to say they needed to reduce their population to improve their economy.

    In any case, instead of nit-picking my meager translation of it, why not read HLI’s analysis? Or Pat Buchanan’s _The Death of the West_?

  • Blackadder,

    I’m presuming that you need workers in order to produce *money*. If twentysomethings are sitting in their parents’ basements playing games and making inane comments on the internet instead of generating income, how can they possibly be contributing to the economy?

  • In any case, instead of nit-picking my meager translation of it, why not read HLI’s analysis? Or Pat Buchanan’s _The Death of the West_?

    Time is short. I could do that, but neither are going to produce an analysis of the situation that is not derivative (or if it is original, it is likely to be completely cockeyed). Although I am aging badly in this respect, I can still read academic research in economics and geography with some degree of critical engagement as well as syntheses produced by people for whom this sort of study is their vocation. As for coming to an understanding of the normative aspect, that is much more difficult for someone with my background. I have never heard either Mr. Buchanan nor the directors of HLI are in the business of providing good secondary literature to the social encyclicals, &c.

  • You people sicken me and make me ashamed to be a Catholic. The Bush admisnistration was a shameful disgrace to our country and democracy everywhere. He bought his way on to the ticket, smeared and created lies about his own party members (McCain) stole both elections and did everything he could to undermine freedom and liberty in his 8 dreadful years. If Obama has failed in anything it is to bring the Bush criminals to justice and stand up to the cancer that is the republican party.

  • “If Obama has failed in anything it is to bring the Bush criminals to justice and stand up to the cancer that is the republican party.”

    Ted, November 2 this year is going to be extremely painful for you. Great!!!!

Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

I’m on record as not being a member of the Glenn Beck fan club. I don’t like his overly emotive mannerisms, his politics, or his theology. I’d rather the president of my alma mater was more circumspect in praising him, and I’ve written to the university to that effect. At the same time, I’m somewhat fascinated by the accounts of his rally in DC this past weekend. For instance, here is David Weigel (erstwhile Washington Post reporter and Journolist member) reporting on the event:

“It’s about as angry as a Teletubbies episode….The Democrats who pre-butted Beck’s rally by predicting an overtly political hateananny were played for suckers. They didn’t pay attention to Beck’s “Founder Fridays” episodes on Fox, his high-selling speaking tour, or his schmaltzy children’s book The Christmas Sweater. It’s not his blackboard that makes him popular. It’s the total package he sells: membership in a corny, righteous, Mormonism-approved-by-John Hagee cultural family. The anger is what the media focus on, he says, joking several times about what “the press” will do to twist his words.

Beck’s rally ends just as he said it would—without incident, political or otherwise. He’s just taken the world’s most derided TV audience, put them in the National Mall, and presided over the world’s largest megachurch. “Bring out the bagpipes,” he says. Bagpipe players then walk onto his stage, and the sound of “Amazing Grace” fills the mall.

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85 Responses to Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

  • I’m more or less on the fence about Beck, though perhaps a little less critical than you. I watched a few minutes of the event on Saturday, and am mainly glad I didn’t wade through Metro and/or traffic in order to get down there myself.

    That said, I think he gave his critics very thin gruel indeed. I don’t know that this will mark a turning point as much as he claims it will, but really, what was the harm? And I’m not sure those that were there were there for the man or for the message. Perhaps a bit of both, but I think it was more an opportunity for these folks to come out and celebrate together,

  • Goes to show you how out of the loop I am with the rest of the “well-organized, narrative-shaping right-wing smear machine” that I didn’t even know about this thing on the Mall until I read after-the-fact accounts about it online yesterday.

  • The often crazed Beck, no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil, is not to my taste; most of the people who attended his rally are. They had a good time and are motivated to change the country come November. It does not surprise me that it was not overtly political. Beck has always been far more concerned about making cultural points than political ones.

  • I’ve got this theory bouncing around in my little brain, that we’re seeing a turf war between the evangelicals and the non-religious for control of the Tea Party movement. I think the Beck event was a deliberate show of force by the religious branch.

    When the dust settles after November’s elections, any victorious Republicans are going to have to figure out to whom they owe their loyalty. The party will have less claim than usual. Right now, an argument could be made for the traditional fiscal/social conservatives, or the fiscally conservative independents. Some people like Palin straddle both groups. Not many do.

  • no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil

    Nah, just most of it it. 🙂

  • I really don’t care what I think. And, you shouldn’t either.

    It seems that a segment of the “cognitve elites” and assorted liberal brahmans react to Mr. beck with malice.

    He has got to be doing something right.

  • John Henry, I think you hit the nail on the head, especially for the last part. Increasingly, the Catholic Right is sounding like the Catholic Left, moving, as C. S. Lewis warns, from political activism in the name of Christ to Christianity in the name of activism.

    Beck infamously called on his followers to reject any church that teaches “social justice,” which either means “reject Catholicism” or “Catholicism is a collection of churches that believe different things, and you don’t have to follow the Pope.”

    For many Catholic Republicans, the meaning of “pro-life” has been lost into “voting Republican at all costs” the way “helping the poor” and “protecting minorities” have become “voting Democratic at all costs” for the Left.

    This weekend, I had a brief exchange on Facebook with a woman who had attacked one of my FB friends for criticizing Beck. She said Beck is a “good and decent man.” I pointed out her that the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding apostates is abundantly clear, and that Beck cannot be “a good man” because he’s on the fast road to Hell as an ex-Catholic. I also pointed out that Beck supports artificial contraception and opposes conscientious objection rights for pro-lifers in the medical profession.

    She replied with some ecumenical gobbledygook, and said, “I am pro-life, and that’s all that matters to me, and Glenn Beck is pro-life, and I’ve never heard him say otherwise,” and of course she said he’s her friend. I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved, and that no one who supports contraception can claim to be pro-life. She replied, “You, sir, are an evil man,” and she blocked me.

  • I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved, and that no one who supports contraception can claim to be pro-life. She replied, “You, sir, are an evil man,” and she blocked me.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call you evil, but you have a rather novel interpretation of Church teaching as regards to those who leave the Church.

  • I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved,

    It’s important to be precise here. If someone – fully knowing that the Catholic Faith is true – decides to reject it, then that may be accurate. But none of us can assess with regard to any individual person whether that is true, and it seems rather unlikely that it happens very often (if, for no other reason, than that catechesis in the United States is abysmal). As it is written, your statement is inaccurate, presumptuous, and implies a knowledge and authority to judge that you do not have.

  • @GodsGadfly – I enjoyed reading your comment. I feel that as a Catholic there is no good option when it comes to choosing between Democrats and Republicans. I suspect that Glenn Beck is probably more of a “humanist” than a Mormon. Humanists whether of the deist type or the atheist type think that morality should not be tied to religion. That makes morality a subject of endless debate since they claim there is no absolute Truth. I think Beck is just a right-wing humanist who uses religion as a shield to hide behind. For comparison there is Obama who is a prototypical left-wing humanist. (No wonder people are confused about Obama’s religious affiliation.)

    So anyway, I wrote an article that deals with some of these issues in relation to so-called gay “marriage”. I think you might find it an interesting read. I’d be interested in getting your comments.

    Here’s an excerpt:
    “Even though many conservatives claim to be motivated by religion, they are so thoroughly indoctrinated by the rationalist (atheistic) philosophies that they steadily lose ground to the so-called liberals. In fact there is little difference between most conservatives and liberals. They are mostly just engaged in a battle between themselves for power over who will reap the economic benefits of the increasing secularism of society.”

  • John Henry,

    Are you so certain that your own statements don’t imply too great of a desire to appear tolerant and inclusive to those who are always slamming Christianity for being intolerant and exclusive?

    You said his statement may be accurate, then inaccurate. Your “but” doesn’t change the substance of the statement.

    And talk about presumption… catechesis may be abysmal indeed, but there is some personal responsibility involved; if the condition of sufficient knowledge is some first class catechism course, then few are going to make it.

    Don’t underestimate the will, the desire, for things that are evil in turning people away from the Church. It isn’t all about what you know or don’t know, but what you value and devalue. If you really value goodness and truth, then you will make an effort to learn what the Church truly teaches. If you really don’t value it, then a few superficial disagreements will serve as all the pretext one needs to go one’s own way.

    This was hammered home to me quite recently in a long and drunken debate with old high school friends who are proud and vulgar apostates.

  • Joe,

    There are a few basic issues here that I want to separate out:

    1) Are people who reject the Church, knowing that the Catholic faith is true, rejecting Christ and salvation?

    I think the answer is yes, and agree with the commenter.

    2) What level of knowledge is necessary for such a rejection to be a rejection of Christ?

    I tend to think this level of knowledge needs to be pretty high; most people don’t really know that much about the Church or even basic philosophy/theology, much less have an opinion on its truth. You may have a lower standard of necessary knowledge.

    3) Should we assume that individuals we know who leave the Church a) had that level of knowledge; and b) rejected Christ and the Church in this way?

    Here I think charity demands that we assume they did not, absent strong evidence to the contrary (‘judge not, lest ye be…” and all that). We don’t know the hearts, minds, motivations, or level of knowledge of most other individuals, and so it is presumptuous, in my view, to judge them in this regard (and inaccurate to imply, as the commenter did, that our judgment is definitive).

  • There’s also the lack of sacramental support to consider. An individual who leaves the Church, even out of ignorance, loses access to the established channels of grace. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like I’m just barely functioning as a Christian, and that’s with the graces of the sacraments. I can’t imagine what I’d become without them.

  • Pinky, I’m with you 100% on that one. We are all spiritual infants in this society.


    Perhaps I’m reading you wrongly, but it seems to me that you’re saying that a person basically has to have the equivalent of a college degree in Catholic theology before they become culpable for their choices.

    But, if, as you say, people don’t even have a “basic” knowledge, then naturally it doesn’t need to be pretty high, unless you consider even this basic knowledge to be attainable only through rigorous and prolonged study.

    At the end of this road is gnosticism.

    And it doesn’t even apply to someone like Glenn Beck, quite honestly, because the man has enough material and intellectual resources to fully understand what he is accepting and rejecting spiritually. Now of course no one can “know” anything for certain, nor judge another’s soul.

    But you’d have to shut your brain off to look at someone like that and not have a pretty strong inclining as to where he’s probably headed. There is no excuse for apostasy, and I include my own as a child.

  • I mean, after explaining the “basic” teaching of the Church about God, Christ, and our reason for existence, my apostate friend said, “f— that, I don’t want that.”

    What level of knowledge do you think he needs before that becomes a mortal sin?

  • For those who may be unaware of the many odd twists in the life of Glenn Beck.


    I truly believe that the man is loosely wired to put it mildly.

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired

    ‘fraid we are everywhere.

  • Drugs and alcohol will do that.

  • That was in response to Beck’s history. No assertions about Art Deco’s youth.

  • Does everyone agree that this country and its citizens need to return to God and/or Godly principles? Would everyone agree that there is an encroaching secularism that challenges Christianity and those principles every day? So, if you said “yes” to either or both of those questions I don’t understand why anyone would take issue with Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally.

    There are some Catholics that believe that helping the poor can only be achieved thru socialism and that the Church is in favor of socialism, when the Church has consistently condemned socialism.

    Plus, there is a difference between the Church’s definition of “social justice” and liberals or progressives definition and implementation of “social justice”. The Left has perverted the meaning of social justice and called for “economic justice” and are promoting class warfare against any wealthy or “rich” person who have earned more income than lower income families due to their hard work and success. The economically disadvantaged feel that they are owed or have a right to a healthy sum or large portion of his income to achieve “equality”. The Church also teaches against progressive taxation.

    Here is a post I have written covering this subject: http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/social-justice-catholic-doctrine-versus.html

  • I deny a history of heavy drinking.

  • Joe,

    Just my $0.02, but I’d tend to say it’s not so much academic study/knowledge which is the determining factor, but whether rejection of the Church is the result of a “I prefer my way” decision or an honest (though clearly mistaken) belief that the truth is elsewhere.

    The trick is, it’s awfully hard to tell from the outside which of these has gone on in any given circumstance. We really have no idea how the final encounter between sinner and God will go.

    That’s why I think it’s generally better for Catholics not to go around speculating (or even stating flatly) where particular people are headed.

    This is not meant as any particular defense of Glen Beck, whose show I’ve never even seen, but it is something that very much bugs me about the behavior of some of the more rigorist Catholics one runs into.

    (Of course, on the flip side, I love Dante, who put some rather big name people into hell. On the other hand, he put some surprising people into purgatory and paradise as well — and he’s just too beautiful a writer for me to object to.)

  • “The Church also teaches against progressive taxation”

    Huh? That’s news to me. Does this mean the Church endorses only flat taxes (everyone pays the same dollar amount) or flat rate taxes (everyone pays the same percentage of income, property value, etc.)? Does this also mean that the Church opposes Earned Income Tax Credits and other means that effectively enable the poor to pay little or no tax, which has the same effect as a progressive tax?

    “it’s not so much academic study… but whether rejection of the Church is the result of an ‘I prefer my way’ decision or an honest (though clearly mistaken) belief that the truth is elsewhere.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself there Darwin.

  • Elaine,

    When I stated progressive, I was referring to excessive progressive taxation and not referring to the concept that people who earn more in income should pay what is considered to be a reasonable higher percentage in taxes of their earned income than lower income persons do. The key question is what percentage of taxation should be considered “reasonable” and what should be considered “excessive”?


    15. “And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. This being established, we proceed to show where the remedy sought for must be found.”

    47. “Many excellent results will follow from this; and, first of all, property will certainly become more equitably divided. For, the result of civil change and revolution has been to divide cities into two classes separated by a wide chasm. On the one side there is the party which holds power because it holds wealth; which has in its grasp the whole of labor and trade; which manipulates for its own benefit and its own purposes all the sources of supply, and which is not without influence even in the administration of the commonwealth. On the other side there is the needy and powerless multitude, sick and sore in spirit and ever ready for disturbance. If working people can be encouraged to look forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be bridged over, and the respective classes will be brought nearer to one another. A further consequence will result in the great abundance of the fruits of the earth. Men always work harder and more readily when they work on that which belongs to them; nay, they learn to love the very soil that yields in response to the labor of their hands, not only food to eat, but an abundance of good things for themselves and those that are dear to them. That such a spirit of willing labor would add to the produce of the earth and to the wealth of the community is self evident. And a third advantage would spring from this: men would cling to the country in which they were born, for no one would exchange his country for a foreign land if his own afforded him the means of living a decent and happy life. These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

  • No one who leaves the Catholic Church can possibly be saved regardless of the level of knowledge they have for two reasons:
    1. The gift of Faith is imparted at Catholic Baptism and is lost through the sin of “Rejecting the Holy Spirit” which can not be forgiven.
    2. All Catholics have the duty to know their Faith, so ignorance is no excuse.

    No one who is so dead wrong about eternity as Glenn Beck is could possibly be right about the infinitely less important field of politics.

    Read the Bible Republicans. It says among other things “The poor are entitled to their alms.” “The man who defrauds a laborer of his hire is brother to the man who sheds innocent blood.” What do you think a minimum wage below subsistence is? “Thou shalt not muzzle the oxen while he treadeth grain.” Yet the Republicans attack unions.

  • “No one who is so dead wrong about eternity as Glenn Beck is could possibly be right about the infinitely less important field of politics.”

    Rubbish, or Christ would never have said Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars. I can think of countless great leaders who were wrong about religion by my lights. I can also think of countless great saints that I most definitely would not have wanted setting economic policy or defense strategy.

  • Agreed Don. Jefferson comes to mind as an example of the former.

  • I think the common thread that runs through Bob DeClue’s comments is a misunderstanding of the Catholic view on the relationship between grace and nature. Grace builds on nature; it does not obliterate it.

  • OK, Teresa, that makes sense. The Church is not in favor of taxation that promotes class warfare or punishes the rich simply for being rich.

    It’s one thing to see the goods other people have and resolve to obtain them yourself through honest work and wise investment; it’s quite another to decide that whatever you don’t have, no one else should have either. The first kind of “envy” is not sinful while the second kind is.

  • “I can also think of countless great saints that I most definitely would not have wanted setting economic policy or defense strategy.”

    Although she is not officially a saint and may never be, Dorothy Day comes to mind here. I think she was unquestionably holy, and SOME of her economic ideas made sense (she was, for example, no fan of nanny-state liberalism), but I sure would never have wanted her to be Secretary of State!

  • @Teresa – You quoted from Rerum Novarum which was written by Pope Leo XIII in the 1880’s. I’ve been going through and reading some of the encyclicals by Pope Leo XIII and have become a huge fan of his. He clearly states the importance of private property. He also believes that the State has a role to play. And he admonishes the rich for not giving more to the poor. But I think what is most central to his teachings (and the teachings of the Church in general) is that these things can only come about when the laws of the State are based upon the laws of God. And when society accepts the Truth taught by Jesus. Charity cannot be legislated through the income tax system or any other set of laws. Charity must be a basic principle that is embraced by individuals in society through their devotion to Jesus Christ.

    While the majority of Americans at the time of the American Revolution were devoted Christians, many of the “founders” were not. People like Jefferson were deists. Today we would probably refer to them as “humanists”, although not “secular” humanists (which is really just a form of atheism).

    If you want to get a good idea of what people like Jefferson really thought about Christianity and the Bible, read “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine. (It’s available online.)

    “Age of Reason” is really quite shocking, including suggesting that Mary was a woman of low character. Humanists believe (or at least pretend to believe) that morality does not need to be based on religion. We’ve seen what comes from this sort of thinking, and the bar just keeps getting lower over time as people become conditioned to a particular level of “morality”.

    Anyway, I think Beck is just using religion to further his political agenda. The founders did this by making some oblique references to God in the Declaration of Independence. But when it came time to write the Constitution it doesn’t talk about God at all – only “we the people”. This is placing Man above God! Only the devout Christianity of the population has kept America from falling into disbelief in the past. Today’s humanist are waging a cultural war against religion using the same tactics as marxists. In this struggle we Catholics will need all the allies we can get and I think this includes other religious groups like Mormons and even Muslims. But not people like Beck, who has some of the characteristics of an anti-Christ.

  • Paul,

    What I wrote is *not* “novel.” You can find it, among many other places, in Karl Adam’s _The Spirit of Catholicism_, a book highly regarded by both “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics (and converts like Hahn and Howard) as anticipating Vatican II. Adam gives the best explanations of extra ecclesia nulla sancta and baptism by desire that I’ve ever read. His book was vetted by the Holy Office and criticized for being a bit too liberal in some of his views on other religions, and he edited them according to the Holy Office’s corrections.

    And that’s not the only place I’ve read it. But if people would spend time reading actual Catholic theology instead of watching FOX News, maybe the teachings of the Church wouldn’t seem so novel.

    In any case, Catechism 818 says that those born and raised outside the Church cannot be charged with the “sin of disunity”, implying that those who are born in the Church and leave Her *can*.

    Culpability rests on the reasonable ability to know something. If one has the ability to learn the truth and is not blocked by practicality or invincible ignorance, and one does *not* know the truth, one is culpable for that lack of knowledge. A basic knowledge of the teachings of the Church is all that’s required for culpability.

  • Beck presents himself as a knowledgeable man. He associates regularly with Catholics. He has plenty of access to know the teachings of the Church.

    He teaches a masonic concept of religions “working together.” He teaches that contraception is OK. He teaches that conscientious objection is wrong. He teaches that “social justice” = socialism (and is literate enough to have studied and learned the difference),and calls on his followers to reject any church that teaches it. He even says gay marriage is OK. I think it’s safe to say he’s consciously rejected the teachings of the Church.

  • But if people would spend time reading actual Catholic theology instead of watching FOX News, maybe the teachings of the Church wouldn’t seem so novel.

    Well, so much for intelligent discourse from GodsGadfly.

  • 500,000+ conservative voters rallying on the Mall… if I were a Leftist I’d try to marginalize Beck, too.

  • 87,000 people were at the mall. I am not a leftist. I am a Catholic and that is why I am marginalized by Glenn Beck. You can not serve two masters. The Left and Right are artificial constructs with random positions that force people to accept some type of evil with each regime change. Abortion and sodomy, promoted by the Democrtats are so obviously evil I did not find it necessary to list them, but oppressing the poor is the same as committing murder according to Ecclesiasticus, a book Protestants, the original Republicans before Vatican II, conveniently purged from the Bible. They invented capitalism, not Catholics, whose social order, and yes, justice, built western civilization. They legalized the gravest sin of usury, stole the churches property in their revolution,created both despotic government (with Luther’s divine right of kings doctrine) and a permanent poor class of Europeans and are happy to have their enemy, Catholics, serve as their useful idiots as they use fraudulent paper money and purchased politicians to rule America for their own gain. It irks me to no end that Catholics have enough people to start their own political party where they can have a 100% moral platform but instead split themselves between Democrats and Republicans as the lesser of two evils, and then begin to follow political leaders instead of church doctors.

  • Glenn Beck is not the problem for anyone here. The noose around the neck of the Church, tenaciously held there by the grasping hands of our own bishops, is the tax exempt status that stops all Christians short of our obligations to society.
    As long as the Church refuses to speak for Christ in the public square, it leaves the podium open to whoever chooses to ascend to it; Glenn Beck, Barack Obama, or Adolph Hitler. Whining about Beck doesn’t put Father Pacwa or bishop Take-your-pick in front of a microphone. Then again, considering what we often get out of our bishops when they do speak in the square, maybe we should accept Beck as the lesser of two evil effects.

  • They legalized the gravest sin of usury

    A discussion of the ambiguities and contingent circumstances to be considered in assessing whether it is moral to put a price on credit can be found here:


  • @Bob DeClue – When that other culture war against Catholicism, Kulturkampf, was launched by Otto Von Bismarck in 1800’s Germany, the response was to create the Catholic Centre Party which became a powerful political force and eventually forced Bismarck to back down.

    In Europe there is still the Christian Democrat movement which was founded on the idea of giving Christians a political voice. Wikipedia says, “In practice, Christian democracy is often considered conservative on cultural, social and moral issues (social conservatism) and progressive on fiscal and economic issues.” That sounds like what you and I are looking for. But in Europe they have a parliamentary system which gives power to minority parties, whereas in the US our “winner takes all” system insures that only two parties will dominate.

    There is also the practical problem that the Church cannot get too involved in politics because of its non-profit tax status. I was doing some reading and apparently this was not enforced very strictly until the abortion issue came around, at which time the pro-abortion groups started pushing for tighter regulation of the political activities of religious groups.

    Ultimately, we need to realize that politics reflects the culture. We need to work from the bottom up to re-evangelize America. We need to become like St. Paul and preach the Gospel throughout the (American) Empire. We have to come to terms with the fact that we are no longer living in a Christian nation. If St. Paul were alive today, he would be doing everything possible to come to Washington (Rome) to spread the Gospel. Remember though that his message was not political, and he taught that all Christians should be model citizens. It took hundreds of years, but eventually Christianity triumphed in Roman society.

  • I find most these musing about Beck to be quite interesting, often hilarious and relatively misguided.

    Mr. Beck is a commentator. He is an entertaining radio/TV personality who engages in presenting his editorial view of things. He has never claimed to be otherwise.

    He is not a teacher, preacher, religious or political leader. The reaction that he gets from the left and the right and just about every other ideological position in between is amusing because it betrays more about the opposing view than it does about Beck.

    Beck is a recovering addict. Beck felt that the Mormon Church was a good home for him to turn to God. We all know that Mormonism is a false religion. Most people, including most Mormons, don’t know that and don’t know all that much about Joe Smith’s mental delusion. What I know about Mormonism makes me sick, not the least of it being that it is stealth Masonry. What I know about Mormons is that most of them are moral people who adhere to the commandments as best they can. I also know that in practice it may be the best religion for an addict. They are certainly far more disciplined than main line Protestants and Catholics too.

    Beck calls it as he sees it and he has responded to God’s call to vocation. I don’t think he wants to be the catalyst for a religious revival in the USA, yet God gave him the biggest microphone and it seems Mr. Beck said yes.

    Unlike those who saw some of this on TV or read about it on some blog, I was at the restoring honor rally. It was wonderful. No, not because it was a particularly moving spiritual experience. We often forget how blessed we are – I can assist at Mass or go to Adoration and have a real spiritual experience. It was not wonderful because I particularly like Gospel music, the way Protestants pray or even some of what Beck talks about.

    It was wonderful because I was able to stand on the cross of the Mall and pray with other believers. The National Mall is in the shape of cross. That sort of renders the idea that we are NOT a Christian nation void huh? I was standing there with over 500,000 other Americans who believe in God and want to do His Will. People who want our country to realize that we are supposed to be a nation under God and we are supposed to act like it. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace and prayed. Sure, the prayers were a little odd, but they were good and directed to the One Triune God (despite the fact that Mormons are polytheists – the only Mormon I could identify was Beck).

    Imagine what would happen if more Americans prayed to God in public! First, the lefties’ heads will explode – that’s not only fun to watch but could be quite purging too. Perhaps God will continue to favor the USA – I say continue, because no matter how bad things are now, and they are quite bad – relativism is the religion of the modern era – yet, in all the West (Christendom) the USA alone remains strongest in adherence to God’s Will – no, not our government or our leaders – the American people.

    That is a sad comment because we are not doing a very good job – especially Catholics. Of the 70,000,0000 Americans who self-identify as Catholics – over 90% are NOT. Most of us can’t even keep 6 precepts, let alone 10 commandments. I’d rather pray with a believing heretic than a lying Catholic.

    Before any one goes and criticizes this event, especially because you may not agree with Beck – think about what you are criticizing. You are denigrating hundreds of thousands of Americans who think our country, our culture, our way of living is in such dire straits that they traveled to the capital to stand for hours on end, some over 36 hours, in the excruciating heat and humidity of DC in August to pray together. Knowing that the only answer is God. To celebrate the three theological virtues – sure, they don’t understand the virtues the way we do – that is not an opportunity for Catholic-arrogance; rather it is an opportunity to teach those who are receptive what Faith, Hope and Charity really mean. As for honoring those who serve in their vocation with Christ in their hearts, including our military men and women and the merit badge honorees and a healthy dose of patriotism – what exactly is wrong with that? Patriotism with humble acknowledgment of God is awesome; rather than some hollow nationalism that is practiced by the Republicants and the Demoncrats.

    I find it distasteful that something as monumentous as this was is denigrated simply because one has a problem with the messenger. You don’t have to like or agree with Beck in order to acknowledge that this was a healthy, necessary and wonderful event.

    Do any of you think we could get over 500,000 Catholics to have a Eucharistic procession and pray the Rosary on the Mall? Sadly, probably not.

    If Our Lady gave the West a victory at Lepanto, what do you think she would obtain for us if we did that.

    Instead of attacking Beck, how about heading his call. Get up and pray. Would any of you come to DC to Adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and pray the Holy Rosary so that God may spare us from relativism, secularism and all the other modern ills we are facing?

    That would be something to witness.

  • Two masters? Cute. You’re preaching to the wrong choir, I don’t worship Obama.

    The CBS number of 87,000 is debatable. That Glenn Beck was able to rally 500,000+ people who are rightfully concerned about the path that Obama and the Leftists Democrats are taking this country is something to be admired. Two and a half years ago the MSM was having an orgasm over Obama and believed that the entire country felt the same way. NO – we don’t like what Obama and the Left are doing to this nation.

    And who exactly are you accusing of oppressing the poor? Your statement makes no sense. I did not attend the rally, did Beck call people to oppress the poor? Resource link please.

  • “I am not quite sure what to make of this particular event, which I had assumed would be political,”

    The key word here being ASSUMED. Usually best to investigate & get some facts, don’t you think? The only effort that’d require on your part is turning on FOX for an hour in the afternoons & watching Beck’s show.

    Then you wouldn’t have been at all surprised at what happened on the Mall last Saturday.

  • A friend of mine went to the rally and was talking about it at a homeschool party last night–can you say “awkward”. He decided to go at the last minute when Chris Matthews ticked him off berating and insulting the SC Tea Party director. He said of all the buses the SC Tea Party had organized to go, they only had 6 remaining seats when he called. So it would seem that the best way to estimate would be to see how many organized groups went.

  • Paul,

    How was that not an intelligent comment? You accused me of expressing a “novel” idea, and I explained that it wasn’t. The obvious, logical conclusion is that you’re not very well-read.

    It is quite an intelligent comment to point out that people are better served reading books than watching the news, and that is my gripe with overly political Catholics of either side, and also the temptation I myself struggle the most with.

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired to put it mildly.

    Well, perhaps, Donald. I have watched Beck’s show twice and was not terribly impressed. ( I think I was put off by the fact he cried both times. Haven’t seen such weepy males since the ’70’s 🙂 His radio show is much funnier and sharper.)

    I knew nothing about Beck’s background or upbringing before I read the Wikipedia entry you posted. Really, as someone who didn’t go to Mass again for 25 years after leaving Marquette, can I blame Beck for leaving the Church after a Jesuit education? My goodness, given my education (Daniel McGuire), I’m thankful Beck and I didn’t run off to join the Shining Path under the impression that we were being good Catholics by doing so:-)

    Actually, Beck’s story confirms that this country is still great. A guy with a high school education, a guy with drug and alcohol and family problems, a guy who was at the bottom of the barrel in 1994 managed to climb out, embrace faith (I’ll take a Mormon over an atheistic addict any day), and achieve fame and fortune. Only in America!

    I didn’t like his show much and yet I was moved by the man when I saw Chris Wallace interview him on Sunday. He doesn’t strike me as insincere. He seems like a guy who is willing to admit his foibles and errors, who knows he’s very far from Presidential material, and whose populism is tempered by the knowledge there are things he doesn’t know – and he wants to! He’s searching for knowledge and he sometimes embraces spurious cranks – well, I still prefer Beck’s mistakes to the arrogance of our ruling elites, who think they don’t need to learn anything. The astounding fact is that a high school grad put F.A. Hayek on the Amazon bestseller list a few months ago – how many college grads have read Hayek? I never even heard of Hayek or the Austrian school until the mid-90’s.

    So, Beck is frequently mistaken, and sloppy and goofy – but he brought good people out on the Mall en masse to pray and reaffirm their traditional values. Are we Catholics really going to turn up our noses at him and say “Yes, we want allies in the culture war – but not those allies…not people of that faith or that background.” I’ve seen that attitude from fundamentalists. It’s no more attractive when Catholics display it.

  • The obvious, logical conclusion is that you’re not very well-read.

    Because I had a different interpretation of Church teaching than you? Yeah, that obviously follows.

    No, it was an unintelligent comment because you relied on a lazy trope rather than engage in substantive argument. Frankly it’s boring at this point to hear the “Fox News” talking point echoed back by some “independent” parrot who thinks he is above everyone else.

  • Lisa,
    I listen to Glenn Beck frequently and I almost never see a show of his where he isn’t oppressing the poor verbally. I heard him call unemployed Americans unAmerican, I heard him scream at a woman begging for a job, and I don’t need to give further examples. People have different opinions, and they always will. The fact that somebody disagrees with you or me on an issue doesn’t make them evil or unAmerican.

    I am 56 years old, and never in my life, including the Vietnam years, have I seen such an orchestrated campaign of hate, fear, and terror directed against the legally elected, in a landslide, president of the United States. I was raised in a Conservative Republican family and thought, as Glenn Beck does, that the Left was unAmerican. By the third time I read the Bible I was forced to admit that I had been wrong most of my life about politics. That doesn’t mean I think that right wing people are evil, and it doesn’t mean I think the left wing is always right. A logical analysis of either party’s so called “philosophy” reveals no consistency in either one. Me, I pray for the day that God returns Saints to rule our church, and Catholic Kings to rule the world.

  • I am 56 years old, and never in my life, including the Vietnam years, have I seen such an orchestrated campaign of hate, fear, and terror directed against the legally elected, in a landslide, president of the United States.

    You have not been paying attention. He was not elected in a landslide and I would wager you a content analysis of media would show he is treated more agreeably by the political opposition than three of his eight immediate predecessors.

  • Baba,
    I believe you are correct, the Christian Democrats are closer to Catholicism than anything in America. About the fear of losing tax exemption I think Vatican II is the real problem. Before Vatican II, legalized abortion was inconcievable, sodomy was a crime people went to jail for, and the threat of removing the Catholic Church’s tax exemption would have brought down the government quicker than a no confidence vote in the British Parlaiment.
    My wife is European, so I have an inside look at the life that the right wing demagogues are always trying to scare us with, and it really doesn’t sound so bad.
    I read a book called “Life and Work in Medieval Europe” by Pierre Boissinade. I recommend it for anyone who has never been exposed to anything but the two establishment sides of the same economic coin, capitalism and communism. In it you will find systems in both empires totally different, yet providing stability and sustaining growth for centuries.
    I submit that a stable economy is the most important function a government can perform. I remember life before LBJ debauched the currency and Richard Nixon floated the value of the dollar on the world marketplace. What I grew up in is a different world than what it is today. When I grew up crimes against nature were punished. People bought their homes and had no fear of losing them. Women stayed home to raise their children. People were secure in their families, jobs, and homes.The communities were knit together. Now we hardly ever see our spouses and our children are raised by day care, and we never know when the economic axe is going to fall on our jobs. That is no way to live. If anyone is interested I will tell you what I think caused this situation, but won’t offer it if it isn’t asked for.

  • Art,
    I am spammed with shocking, racist and worse stories, jokes, and cartoons about Obama every single day of the year. The Democrats victory in all three houses was most certainly a landslide and was a clear mandate to the president, one he seems unwilling to run with. This hatred and attack is coming through the internet more than the TV media, but it is there, it is unrelenting, it is orchestrated, and it has the purpose of bringing down our government. Since so many Republicans blindly hate Obama (Who is the most conciliatory and compromising president I have ever seen)this anti American campaign, which quite possibly could be orchestrated by radical moslems, will never even be investigated.

  • Bob,

    Some of what you say sounds good; however, some the undefined terms could cause confusion.

    What do you mean by poor? Are you referring to the poor in spirit? Because that would be most of us, including Beck. Or, are you defining the materially poor? If that is the case, then it is highly unlikely that you’ll find any poor in the United States of American. Those who our twisted government bureaucrats define as poor have far more material wealth than most of the people on the planet, more than the wealthiest of the wealthy had 200 years ago and they have more than most of us in the so-called ‘middle-class’. I am not attacking what you stated, I am simply trying to understand who the ‘poor’ that you allege Beck is oppressing are. Especially since as a TV/Radio commentator I am not sure he has any power to oppress.

    As for the rally, from my vantage point, in the middle of it, it seemed that Beck was calling the poor in spirit to pray on our knees to God for forgiveness, for virtue, for character because he recognizes that the problem in American today is a moral problem and that politics is merely the practical application of our moral state. I would also argue that we are very, very poor – morally speaking. Though I suspect we are still far better off, dismal as that is, than the rest of the Western world.

    Me thinks thou doth give Mr. Beck too much credit – he isn’t that powerful. In fact, he seems to do nothing but humbly tell us what he thinks. He also encourages his viewers/listeners to think for themselves and research his postulations on their own. That hardly seems oppressive, right wing, or even wrong. If we are too lazy to actually think for ourselves and do our own research we certainly can’t blame him.

    Additionally, I grew up in Europe and the Middle-East, not in theory, but I actually lived there, and I can tell you – it sucks. The Middle-East has been plagued by the Moslem heresy and Europe is plagued by the same heresy, albeit, without reference to God. For all of those who think that social justice is better defined by Communists/Socialists/Fascists and other collectivists rather than the Church, I will be happy to buy you a one ticket to Europe. If it is so good, go live there and leave the USA with our ‘unjust’ Constitutional Republic – we like it and the option you’d rather change it to already exists. Last I checked we don’t secure our border, so one can leave just as easily as all of those ‘poor’ Mexicans can come. Gee I wonder why the ‘poor’ from south of our border keep coming here, I mean it sucks so bad, you’d think they’d just go to Venezuela or Cuba.

  • Whoa!

    Wait a minute. Beck is now an instrument of the destruction of the American Republic that has Obama as its champion, and he’s working for the Moslems! I had no idea.

    That’s it – I’m turning him off. Thanks for pointing out this deep conspiracy. Obama is such a nice guy and has everyone’s interest at heart. Especially the millions of pre-born children he wants to kill, the US Constitution and Jesus Christ. I expect Obama to walk on the reflecting pool just to show Beck up, I HOPE he can do it and then maybe he can CHANGE water into wine – wouldn’t that be cool.

    Seriously? Please tell me that last post was an attempt at humor.

  • “This hatred and attack is coming through the internet more than the TV media, but it is there, it is unrelenting, it is orchestrated, and it has the purpose of bringing down our government.

    Gee… why would we want to attack or fight against Obama when we disagree with approximately 99% of his policies? I know you would just lie down and make nice if the president was conservative and implementing policies that you believed were hurting both America and the American people? The Left are still a bunch of hateful cranks even with being in control of both Houses of Congress as well as the presidency. I would love to know what will make the Left happy? It seems nothing at this point. Well, maybe, having absolute control over our lives — being able to tell us what and when we can eat, what kind of energy products (wind, solar, etc.) that we can use, infringing on our free speech, and removing all things related to Chistianity? This sounds a lot like socialist or communist policies.

    Since so many Republicans blindly hate Obama (Who is the most conciliatory and compromising president I have ever seen)this anti American campaign, which quite possibly could be orchestrated by radical moslems, will never even be investigated.”

    Excuuuuse Me!!!! I think I just became sick from entering the twilight zone at warp speed. What reality have you been living in? Obama is the most divisive President in American history!!! What edited clips have you seen of this president crossing the aisle? His idea of reaching across the aisle is reaching across the aisle, is reaching around with his arms, grabbing the person and dragging them across to his far leftist side of the aisle. This president has a “my way or the highway approach” to his policies. He has NOT compromised one iota!!

    He wouldn’t do what is right for the American people when it came to health care reform. He had to bribe congressman to get this debacle passed. The GOP had an alternative health care plan and gave suggestions but he refused to compromise. It was all about he and the Democratic Congress having more power and control over our lives, and nothing to do with lowering costs of health care or making health care more accessible.

    First, the Libs got a hold of our education and that has gone downhill in a big way and now there will be more bureaucracy with our health care, making it much harder for our doctors to treat us properly, higher costs, and health care rationing. Obama tries to act as a referee when speaking but then changes the rules midway during his speech by slamming the other side and violating the rule he imposed at the beginning, that obviously applies to everyone except himself.

  • Hi Bob,

    I agree that economic and job stability is very important to maintain strong families and communities. We just don’t have that in today’s economy. Maintaining the pace of “progress” dictates that this will not happen.

    I hope you’ll reconsider your opinion of Vatican II. I love the Church and it saddens me to see people in conflict over Church policies or doctrine.

    From what I have read, the US Bishops did all they could to oppose abortion. In fact they were taken to court for their pro-life positions, and pro-abortion groups demanded that the Catholic Church be stripped of its tax exempt status. This case went to the Supreme Court in 1988. (The case was United States Catholic Conference v. Abortion Rights Mobilization. The ACLU supported the coalition of pro-abortion groups.)

    We need to strongly defend the Church because she is under attack from all sides. I can’t imagine a world without the Catholic Church. I’m fortunate to be a member of a great parish with great priests.

    Peace be with you,

  • “Not quite sure what to make of this.”

    …at least some poeple are sure, such as Glenn Beck.

    Shall we just see the face? Must we dissect every creature of God? Maybe just Bob.

  • American Knight,
    Thanks for the thoughtful response and question. I am glad to see a few people on this website that still retain a Catholic sense of honor.
    Poor is a relative term and in some respects even subjective. Objectively speaking, we have teenagers in this country who live lives as luxurious and hedonistic as any Satrap in Ottoman Empire. At the same time we have a society in which much of the blue collar class are six paychecks or less away from losing their home. By contrast even the poorest serf ( a slave class) in Europe could never be evicted from his home, and his children inherited it. State constitutions in the Old South required slave owners to provide homes, food, and medical care to their slaves. In that respect many Americans are poorer than antebellum slaves.

  • Teresa,
    I am sorry, I just find no possible way to respond to what you wrote.

  • Baba,
    I know the American bishops fought abortion, but the public dissent that Vatican II encouraged with its ambiguous doctrines destroyed the Church’s appearance of solid unity and thus its political power. Before Vatican II, when a bishop spoke to a government official, the official heard millions of Catholics, now he hears just a single bishop.

  • Teresa,
    I didn’t mean to sound as abrupt as what I see when I posted to you just now. I just don’t see from rereading your posting again that there is any common experience, belief, interest, education, or personality between us that could be a basis for any type of meaningful communication.

  • Anyone,
    I am new to this website. How do you get your photo to display with your name?

  • Bob DeClue,

    Here is the link:


    It should be easy to follow. If you have any problems, just post another message or contact via email and I’d be happy to walk you through it.

  • Bob DeClue,

    I don’t blindly hate Obama. I hate him for very clear reasons: 1. He single-handedly shot down the Illinois Born Alive Protection Act. Even Hillary Clinton and NARAL dare not actively oppose Born Alive Protection. Illinois tried to pass a law making it illegal to suffocate or starve a baby born from a “botched” Abortion, and Obama called it a threat to the “right to choose.”
    2. Obama said that if one of his daughters made a “mistake” (ie, committed the sin of fornication), he wouldn’t want her “punished” by having a baby!
    3. Obama said he believes Jesus is just one of many great moral teachers.
    4. Obama is endorsed by every major New Age Guru from Chopra to Oprah.
    5. Obama says his greatest mistake was voting in favor of the Terri Schiavo Act.

    You asked for more Catholic teachings and not politics?

    How about this: “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope”–John Paul II
    “How can you say there are too many children; that’s like saying there are too many flowers.”–Bl. Teresa of Calcutta.

  • Paul, I don’t think I’m above everyone else, and one man’s “parroting” is another man’s catechesis.

    A person who is Catholic and rejects the faith is an apostate and cannot be saved. You say that this is a “novel interpretation” of mine, but it is not. You claim not to know something I’ve read in numerous Catholic texts.

    And I’ve already said that I said it in part because listening to too many secular sources and not enough Catholic ones is a fault with which I convict myself.

    I’m not “independent.” I’m conservative. I don’t like FOX News because it paints conservatives as idiots, and all the “Catholics” on it are pro-contraception and otherwise oppose a consistent life ethic. Also, there’s what Rod Dreher found out at the 2002 Bishops’ Conference, when a FOX News correspondent told him there were orders from the highest levels of NewsCorp NOT to talk about homosexuality in the Sex Abuse Scandal.

  • God’s Gadfly,
    What you wrote about Obama is true. It is also, I fear, now true of a large percentage of Americans, if not the majority. I don’t hate Obama, or other Americans for their errors, or their truths if I am the one in error. As I get older and more relatives and friends pass away, the horror of God’s justice fills my soul. Ignoring hell and its eternal pains does not make it go away. If there actually is any global warming, it is caused by the millions of souls a day who are cast into hell and increase its heat accordingly. Meditating on the four last things helps to cleanse hatred from the soul because God’s punishment on the unrepentant is greater than anything our hatred can dream up for our enemies. I know it is a joke to say “Can’t we all just get along”, and we can’t because to get along according to Christ we have to be what the politically correct call “intolerant”. We can, however, try to imitate Jesus, who hated none of his enemies, even the former Lucifer.
    On your response to Paul, there is a clear division of thought between pre and post Vatican II Literature, perhaps this accounts for different perception in some of the church’s more esoteric doctrines. I limit my trust in Catholic authors to pre 1900 writers, because the Early Church Fathers stressed fidelity to Tradition, even St. Paul who said listen not to a different Gospel, even if preached by an Angel of Light.
    I presume you have political views akin to Conservatives who liken themselves to Jeffersonian Democrats, as I once did. I was truly astounded when I discovered that this was the Liberalism condemned by the Catholic Church. It required 20 years and an entire library of Catholic saints and doctors for me to finslly understand the Catholic position and I now have no political ideology at all, except that I judge every issue independently of the party that proposes it, and in light of my own imperfect understanding and guess of what Jesus would do. I rarely vote for candidates for public office in elections because I believe there should be no compromise with evil and as a man of honor will not vote for the lesser of two evils. I did however work as a campaign volunteer for Patrick Buchanan, which will probably surprise the two people here who attacked me as Liberal and Communist in their posts.

  • Hi Tito,
    Thank you. I had 3 pictures on my computer. I used all 3 at Gravatar and two show up solid black. This one is 40 years old.

  • @GodsGadfly

    Those are the main reasons I cannot support Obama in good conscience. Abortion is murder and by supporting or voting for those politicians who support the murder of the most vulnerable innocents, catholics are supporting a grave and intrinsic moral evil.

    Yes, I do believe that in God’s eyes he sees a big difference between a terrorist who is trying to kill us, has murdered, is trying to destroy the West (yes, even from within via mosques) and an innocent baby who is an innocent human being and a “surprise” for some people due to their promiscuity, and who has committed NO crimes, and how the two are treated accordingly. There is love. But, then there is “tough love” and loving the person and hating their actions, and it seems like a decent number of catholics have totally discounted “tough love” and how that can be implemented for the common good. PLus, there is the whole defense of nation or national security issue at hand also. Our Congress and President took an oath to protect and defend this country’s citizens and they must not quash their duty to fulfill that pledge, by totally discounting the necessary use of “harsh” methods in extraordinary circumstances to achieve that goal.


  • …a bit off topic but…

    I’m a Glenn Beck fan. He makes me laugh and he’s very entertaining. I agree with many things he has said.

    But I’m getting tired of his attacks on Social Justice and the Catholic Church. And now he’s berating Dorothy Day as a “Marxist” and un-American.

    Someone needs to contact him or his people and explain to him how wrong he is about Dorothy Day.

    He isn’t that bright if he thinks Dorothy Day is pro-big-government and a Marxist.

    Has anyone tried to explain that to him?

  • Tito,

    Have you?

    Perhaps Beck can’t reconcile her involvement with socialist organizations, although I think she may have been a Episcopalian at that time.

  • I will be next week.

    Pat Gray who co-hosts the radio program with Glenn Beck ripped into Dorothy Day and that was the last straw.

    Pat Gray used to have his own local Houston talk radio program and I like him a lot, so I’ll be seeing if I can talk some sense into him.

    As far as Dorothy Day, like many saints and other people of holiness, they made mistakes prior to their conversion.

    Does anyone hold Saint Augustine’s libertine behavior prior to his conversion against him each time he is quoted?

  • @Tito

    I am a Glenn Beck fan also. I think Beck is mistaking distributism for Marxism.

    But I’m getting tired of his attacks on Social Justice and the Catholic Church. And now he’s berating Dorothy Day as a “Marxist” and un-American.

    The type of social justice that has been passed down from the Time of Jesus is not the form of social justice that Beck is attacking. He is attacking the liberal/socialist distorted version of social justice that says “spread the wealth” as well as promoting class warfare between the rich and the poor.

  • Tito,

    Most people don’t consider St. Augustine a saint. They like his ‘literary’ works and sadly, some like what he has to say precisely because he was a libertine. We live in strange times.

    Also, remember, Beck is trying to be a good guy and I like him and think he is doing a lot of good, but, he is an apostate and a Mormon – pray for him.


    I think you’ve got it right and Glen did explain that to his viewers/listeners, but without a Catholic worldview, it was somewhat inarticulate. I got what he meant, so did you, others, maybe not so much.

    The devil is cunning. Look at the words used by those who promote inequality, favoritism, theft, plunder and are the architects of the culture of death: Progressive, liberation, tolerance, choice, peace, giving back and, yes, social justice.

    Everyone of those words is ‘good’, yet in the context commonly used all stand for very, very evil things.

    Even before Glen talked about it, the words ‘social justice’ cause me to cringe. Social Justice is only valid as understood by the Church and orthodox Catholics – most of the time and in most common use, they do not mean what the Church teaches, they mean the opposite. See Isaiah 5:20.

  • AK,

    Most Catholics do consider Saint Augustine a saint.

    He’s borderline besmirching the Church with his outlandish comments about Catholic Social Justice and Dorothy Day.

  • It appears to me that Glenn Beck supporters are believers in our current form of economics they generically call Capitalism. Capitalism is as equally condemned by the church and is as intrinsically evil as communism.
    I see the following points his supporters seem to make and will respond:
    1. They grant an inordinate importance to what is called private property. This is warned against by the original apostles in the “Didache”. The Catholic concept of material goods is that they belong to God and that man is steward of them and they are to be used in the service of God. The Catholic teaching of distributism is simply that God gave the Earth to mankind as a whole so that all of us could have some of it, not so that some of us could have all of it. Conservatives have been hoodwinked into calling this redistribution and have not been taught by their appointed leaders how capitalism based on a debt money system redistributes wealth from those who produce it to those who control the paper.
    2. A belief that people own whatever they can get their hands on by whatever means they do so. This is not true. The ruling elite have consolidated the world’s wealth into their hands through the mortal sin of usury. The primary function of the Church’s inquisition was to hunt down and exterminate usury. The penalty imposed by the church for almost a thousand years was to seize all assets of the usurer and distribute them to the community he preyed off. The Bible itself clearly grants absolute ownership to the fruits of one’s labor and toil “under the sun”, and very little else. Defrauding the laborer of any portion of his fruits is one of the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. I spent fifteen years of my younger days as a fur trapper. I wonder now why every bird had a nest, every groundhog had a den, every living animal I came across had a home, but for some reason conservatives think that humans are the only life on this planet without a God given right to a piece of this Earth.
    3. A belief in the capitalist principle that something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. This is not true. A “laborer is worth his support”, for instance. The “Philokalia” warns monks to always use lay brothers to procure goods for the monastery because it is almost “impossible to buy or sell without committing sin”. The reason for this was the Catholic concept of something having a fair value. To pay less than the fair value when a sellor is distressed, or to require more than the fair value when a buyer is desperate are both violations of the 7th commandment.
    4. A belief that government regulation in general is wrong. This belief can not be supported by Catholic Tradition.
    5. A belief that Samuel Adams economic theories are actually laws and not just theory. I would be happy to correspond in depth with anyone concerning any economic principles or theories. Also an agreement with his conclusion that Laissez-faire economics(basically economic Darwinism)produces the most wealth. This is a debatble point.
    6. A tendency to quote sophisms given to talking heads by their masters as if they are facts. Please, somebody throw me a sophism and ask me to respond.
    7. A belief that because the Republican Party figured out how to perpetually milk the pro-life cow while never feeding it that they are right about everything they believe and that because the sexually amoral who want abortion took power in the Democrat party when Catholics deserted it that their platform is wrong about everything.
    8. A belief in seperation of church and state. I do not believe in seperating them.
    9. No understanding of the difference between the Free Market System our government created in this country based on Adam’s theories and the modern capitalism that the Rothschild-Rockefeller cabal replaced it with.
    10. A belief that unions are bad. Unions are the modern day incarnation of the medieval guilds. Guilds were created by the Catholic Church in the dark ages. They were structured on the old Roman Corporations which created centuries long economic growth and stability for the Roman civilization and in turn guilds created the material half of Christendom.
    11. I believe Glenn Beck supporters as a whole have a tendency to worship the founding fathers and the United States Constitution, but possess limited knowledge of them, especially the Catholics.
    12. No belief whatsoever in the laws God the Father set forth for the just government of people when he authored the Biblical books “Numbers”, “Deuteronomy”, and “Leviticus” through the hand of Moses.
    13. No knowledge that any economic systems other than Capitalism and Communism ever existed. It is not entirely their fault. I attended 6 colleges and universities after high school and none offered any courses in alternate economics.
    14. No knowledge of the Jewish and Protestant heresies that created capitalism and how the Catholic Church fought them.

    I would be very happy to enter a dialogue with anyone in depth on any of the points I listed, or any of Glenn Beck’s points I did not list.

  • Tito,

    I agree with you, most Catholics, both the Protestant and orthodox type consider St. Augustine a saint, most of the rest of the world does not and our culture is overwhelmingly secular and not Catholic.

    Beck, being an apostate and a Mormon, is going to have a problem with many, if not most of the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. Yet, he also seems to recognize the ‘mere Christianity’ that C.S. Lewis talked about. I agree that he sometimes does seem to border on anti-Catholic bigotry – perhaps that betrays a subconscious animosity to the Church, or it could be a more subversive Mormon/Masonic thingy.

    I must admit that I agree with his attack on ‘social justice’ and I don’t think it is a problem for orthodox Catholics. The type of ‘social justice’ that Beck seems to be attacking is steeped in liberation theology, Communism and other collectivist schemes designed to destroy humanity while veiling the destruction in ‘good works’. ex. the Shriners have hospitals for children, which is good and no sane person would argue against; yet, their purpose is to spread the Lucifarian religion.

    Granted the Masonic influence of the Mormon heresy may have perverted Beck, yet I see no evidence of that – yet, and hopefully never will.

    I also think that we can agree with Beck on those perspectives and issues that are in line with Catholic teaching and reject those that do not. There needs be no compromise and Beck is merely a commentator and not a theologian. It seems many people, regard those of us, like you, me and Teresa as blind followers of Beck; rather, than free-thinking individuals who happen to agree with Beck on some things based on our own criteria, which hopefully is Catholic thought.

  • Bob,

    I can’t say I agree with everything you stated; however, a couple of points ring true. Often, when we begin to escape the mass delusion perpetrated by mass propaganda, advertising and other psyops control devices we find many more points of agreement than division with each other, yet, some of our preconceived prejudice stemming from the false left-right paradigm still exist. That being said, some of what I perceive as your views stemming from the left, give me pause.

    A few comments on your points, solely from me perspective:

    1. Private property is absolutely necessary in this world to secure personal freedom and the good of the community. The truth is that the world is one giant estate and it all does belong to God. Stewardship, without temporal regard for private property, is currently impossible. Without private property no natural free market can exist – I believe God intended us to have a natural free market after the Fall and that a natural market can be redemptive.

    2. Usury is one of the gravest ills conceived by man and may have been the chief sin that gave a fertile ground for the spread of Mohammadism because it correctly condemns usury, although the Islamic definition of usury is mostly incorrect. Capitalism/Communism are essentially slightly different means to the same evil end. However, what most people in the West, when referring to ‘capitalism’ mean is a natural free market. Capitalism is effectively corporatism and will lead, if it hasn’t already, to the control of resources, wealth and people by a very few individuals and they do not have good intentions. Communism will lead to the same goal. I think Beck is grasping, imperfectly, at this idea.

    3. The price mechanism is the best way to determine the temporal value of material things. Business ethics based on Moral Truth will manage that system in justice as far as is possible for fallen man.

    4. In principle government regulation is NOT wrong and is, in fact, necessary. The problem is that Communist/Socialist government regulation benefits the few at the cost of the many and so does Corporatist/Capitalist government regulation. Until such time as we restore limited Republican (format not party) government, I believe it is a virtue to oppose government regulation because it is for the purpose of subjugation and not an authentic attempt to make things regular.

    5. I think there is a difference between creative destruction and economic Darwinism. Capitalist/Corporatist machinations are predetermined economic Darwinism; however, a natural free market will destroy the less efficient and effective actions of man for the benefit of the whole community. The elimination of horse-carriages by the automobile is a benefit. Sure the horse-carriage drivers and dung disposers lost out, but cab drivers and mechanics did not (simplistic example.)

    6. & 7. Although true to some extent, are gross generalization and I don’t think they deserve a comment in this context.

    8. It depends on what is meant by separation of Church and Sate. I think that the State should not encroach on the Church, yet the Church is designed to be the moral compass of the State. I think the original intent of the Founders is correct, I think the modern perversion is the worst thing we are facing in politics today.

    9. On this point you actually agree with Beck. The usurious, debt-paper money system is not natural, it is not free, it is not moral and it is very, very destructive. I think that is beginning to change. We need to end the Fed.

    8. Again, unions, as a concept, are NOT bad. Unions as they are in practice only benefit the money-power and the political opportunists.

    9. To paint all of Beck’s audience as ‘worshipers’ of men and a legal document, is unfair, condescending and not constructive.

    10. Ignorance may not be intentional and perhaps beyond someone’s control, but it is a bad excuse. If someone wants to be educated the knowledge is available and corporatist, liberal educational institutions are not the place to get a good education, or even a practical one. As Fr. Corapi often says, most ‘intellectuals’ have been educated into imbecility. Mr. beck is uncredentialed (although he recently received an honorary doctorate), yet he is educated.

    11. Secular Jews and Calvinists are in large part responsible for the Corporatist Capitalism & Socialism/Communism we are subjected to and the solution is quite obvious, the only question is do we have the courage to stand against the status quo.

    From your points, I am quite surprised that you do not find more in common with Glenn Beck. The beauty of knowing what orthodox Catholics have been given is that Truth is absolute and much, certainly not all, can be deduced through human reason. Beck is capable of being correct about many things, totally wrong about others, simply because he is trying to be a truth-seeker. This makes him no different than most of us and we need to be very grateful that we have the graces of Christ received through His Church, most people don’t. We also have to check our hubris, because being Catholic gives us no right to be arrogant.

  • American Knight,
    Very good. Thank you for responding. I have further comment on some points.
    5.I don’t believe the natural free market exists anymore and we are now in the C/C phase. When Reagan deregulated the financial industry the Wall Street Robber barons decimated the free market. Through gambling machinations on the stock market they drove the stock price of almost all small and midsize manufacturing concerns in the country one at a time to a price significantly below the value of their capital assets. At that point they initiated a hostile takeover and immediately liquidated them pocketing the profits but leaving a decimated rust belt behind. This concentrated the means of production into the hands of a few multinational corporate elites. Although there are many companies in the Fortune 500, they are controlled by a few interlocking directorates. As you pointed out, the net effect is the same as Communism. Modern mass media has eliminated efficiency and quality as the primary factors of product success and replaced it with marketing.
    8. After a century of struggle, unions in the US have brought us labor laws and practices almost as elightened as those King Phillip II promogated in New Spain in 1547 (?), so in practice they have benefited us all.

    Not much in common with Genn Beck:
    The corporate elite wage a class war against the produers of wealth and we are on opposite sides. In 1999 I left upper management in a fortune 100 company with the statement that “the executive board’s arrogance is exceeded only by its incompetence”. From my experience in the corporate world, I do not believe that company very different from most. I owned a small business for a while and now belong to a union and work side by side with others building the offices these pompous jackasses sit in when they call us lazy, ignorant, smuggle in illegal aliens to take our jobs and then sneer at us and tell Amwerica we don’t want to work. Art, I sat in board rooms where the air literally dripped with the contempt they held the little people of the company in. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Glenn Beck says the rich create jobs, and his listeners don’t even remember Economics 101: Demand in the marketplace creates jobs. He says the rich earned their millions and implies if your not rich you are lazy or stupid, when all their incomes are by definition unearned income. I believe God gave a few of us extra intelligence so that we could elevate our fellow man, not enrich ourselves at his expense.

  • Bob,

    I am not sure we are listening/watching the same Glenn Beck. He is a libertarian leaning conservative with a nod toward acknowledgment of politico-economic conspiracies and recognizes that America is a nation under God (of course, I am not too sure that he means the Blessed Trinity because he is an apostate Catholic and a Mormon.) As for his statement that the wealthy create jobs, I think he is referring to the entrepreneurs (small business) and not the uber-wealthy trans-nationalists. In a true free market it is the consumer that demands production, hence the creation of jobs, yet it is the entrepreneur that manages the market risk and innovates products and services, hence the creator of jobs.

    Additionally, I don’t see Reagan as responsible for the consolidation of the corporatists and neither does Glenn Beck. Beck favors blaming both Roosevelts, Wilson, Johnson and other progressives along with the trans-nationalists (Rothschild, Rockefeller, et al.)

    Reagan was a brief light in the darkness of the last 100 years of political leadership in the these United States. The machine is just too big for any one man to overcome. Reagan desired to reduce government, to promote a natural free market, to end the Federal Reserve and other than JFK, another president who fought against the money power, was shot. I am not necessarily saying they were shot because they both opposed the trans-national financiers, but it is suspicious.

    Unions may have provided benefits in the past; however, they are instruments for the Communist/Capitalist pincer movement now. That does not disparage union members, who are as much victims as the rest of us. The problem is with the opportunistic union leadership, the corruption of a criminal-political nature and the danger that union power poses to what little free market, if any, we have left. These days, unions are tools of division, class warfare and political consolidation.

    Again, I think, a more objective, second look at Mr. Beck, might show you that you do have more in common with him than you think. You just have to watch out for the misuse of words that we are all victims of – Newspeak has been slowly implemented for so long, we often get caught up in terminology rather than intent and context. In any event, none of us need agree with everything he says, but there is no denying that he has a big microphone and that for the most part he is doing more to stem the corporatist/communist tide than most.

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  • American Knight,
    I understand that it is Mormon belief that when the males die they become gods and rule over their own planets, and that females can only be saved by marrying a Mormon man, but I don’t know what saved means in their context. Do his harem serve him the way the Moslems 40 virgins do? I have no interest in learning any more of their cult. Was involved with trying to save Jehovah’s witnesses at one time and no far more about them than I want to. It is better to follow the admonition of the Apostles:”
    Speak to heretics once, maybe twice, and then have nothing further to do with them.”

  • American Knight,
    Some entrepeneurs actually take risks, start businesses and make money. As a general rule they become wealthy by some definition after doing this, not before. In a free market system, profit is the reward one receives for taking risk, and I have no objection to that. I do have objection to the biggest profits being made by companies who take no risk.

  • Wallace fought against the money system. He too was shot. You may be right about a connection.

  • Bob,

    Mormonism is a strange, twisted heresy. What we have to keep in mind is that like Freemasonry and to some degree Mohammadism, it has secret levels of initiation and most Mormons don’t know the dark secrets of the heresy. Like Masonry and Islam, on the surface and at the lowest levels of initiation it is presented as good, of course, we know that demons often appear as angels of light. Most Mormons follow the moral precepts of the heresy, which are based in truth. No heresy can get started unless it roots itself in the ancient and true doctrines of our Church. Many Mormons are ‘good’ people, in the secular term. I am not sure what they mean by ‘saved’ either. Keep in mind that most of Beck’s audience listens to him regarding practical matters and not theology.

    My only interest in discussing religion with Beck would be to address the common secular religion of the West, based on the doctrines of the Church, and also, to attempt to witness to the Truth in order to be a tool to bring him back to the Church.

    As regards risk-taking, the only way a business can avoid risk, which is inherent to business, is to use the force of the government to eliminate it through the burdensome ‘regulation’ of its competitors, through the enforcement of cabals and cartels and by socializing their loses through bailouts. The problem here is the greed of certain ‘wealthy’ individuals and the parasitic nature of politics and government. The US Constitution created an authentic free-trade zone within the United States and a protection of that zone from without. Today we have the opposite, the trans-nationalists, through our general government, control trade within the US and we are afforded little to no protection from without. See Isaiah 5:20.

  • “Wallace fought against the money system. He too was shot. You may be right about a connection.”

    So did Lincoln.

  • To all: I will leave the reading of what is written upon this mans heart and the judgment of his soul to you. Additionally, I will not be the one to bring up his past faults or make fun of his sensitivity – perhaps y’all are in a position to cast that stone, I am not.

    Respectfully, the Divine Destiny Event on 8/27 was a truly inspiring event that brought together Christians, Jewish, and Muslim leaders from across the country, for the single purpose of finding points of unity and methods for education and tolerance across the nation.
    I am mystified that so many can find fault with that noble effort, regardless of who’s in charge. Check out the Black Robe Brigade if you are truly interested in the truth about what happened that evening when over 2,000 religious leaders came together. Then take a moment to think where such a movement can lead.

    The Restoring Honor Rally was awesome!

    Not only did he manage to raise a ton of funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a group that steps in to assist families and specifically children after the loss of their parent, but, more importantly showcased these contributions were duties as defined by the Lord in James 1:27. How can we argue with that message? Because of the man who orchestrated the event? I applaud him for his efforts. His message all along was that charity is a God inspired selfless gift to others. I don’t find anything wrong with that message.

    The Rally itself was filled with inspirational speakers from various faiths, gospel songs, and badges of honor given out for faith, hope and charity. At the end of the rally over 200 clergy stood arm-in-arm on the stage – I cried like a baby and felt a presence in my heart that I had never felt before.

    His presence filled my heart and soul – it was a truly amazing day and event. I still tear up when I see a video of the geese flying overhead – the whole event was a testament to the unifying power of the Lord.

Political Miscellania 8/31/10

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news:

1.  GOP Takes Unprecedented Lead On Gallup Generic Congressional Ballot– Gallup has been running the generic Congressional ballot since 1942.  Yesterday it showed Republicans ahead by 10 points.

The Republican leads of 6, 7, and 10 points this month are all higher than any previous midterm Republican advantage in Gallup’s history of tracking the generic ballot, which dates to 1942. Prior to this year, the highest such gap was five points, measured in June 2002 and July 1994. Elections in both of these years resulted in significant Republican gains in House seats.

2. The Senate Is In Play– Albert Hunt is a political reporter who has been around forever.  He is also a political liberal.  That made his column yesterday especially interesting:

Forget conventional wisdom: Republicans have a real shot at taking control of the Senate, as well as the House, in the U.S. midterm elections.

Go here to read the entire column.   I of course have been predicting since last December that the GOP would take both the House and the Senate.

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Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

Assessing Benedict’s views of the liturgy

In “Where Truth and Beauty Meet”: Understanding Benedict (The Tablet August 14, 2010) – Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, aptly summarizes Pope Benedict’s view of the liturgy and his calls for reform

[Pope Benedict] believes that behind many celebrations of the new liturgy lie a raft of disastrous theological, cultural, sociological and aesthetic assumptions, linked to the unsettled time in which the liturgical reforms were carried out. In particular, he believes that twentieth-century theologies of the Eucharist place far too much emphasis on the notion that the fundamental form of the Eucharist is that of a meal, at the cost of underplaying the cosmic, redemptive, and sacrificial character of the Mass.

The Pope, of course, himself calls the Mass the “Feast of Faith”, “the Banquet of the reconciled”. Nevertheless Calvary and the empty tomb, rather than the Upper Room, are for him the proper symbolic locations of Christian liturgy. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist has to be evident in the manner of its celebration, and the failure to embody this adequately in the actual performance of the new liturgy seems to him one of the central problems of the post-conciliar reforms. …

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7 Responses to Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

  • Chris,

    I understand the good intentions behind your post and those you quote in it.

    It is extremely difficult for me to restrain my dislike for the Novus Ordo.

    Novus Ordoism is mediocrity incarnate, and I detest nothing more than deliberate mediocrity, than a deliberate shunning of the beautiful for the plain and the banal.

    To think that we have fallen so far from the aesthetic heights reached by the Church during the Counter-Reformation, to think that we now dishonor God by presuming to offer to him during worship a bundle of sub-par prayers, songs, and movements that reflect more the subjective desires of misguided liberals than objective standards of beauty and reverence.

    Relativism has placed objective truth, egalitarianism has replaced hierarchical truth, and emotionalism has replaced spiritual truth. These are the marks of Protestantism. I have read several articles recently detailing the rapid flight of young Protestants from their churches. One of the primary reasons they do so is because young people – as opposed to the out-of-touch liberal boomers who wrecked everything – don’t want these things. They don’t want this phony “participation”, this phony “inclusiveness”, this forced leveling of everything. They want to be confronted with the truth.

    Catholics are losing young people for very similar reasons. But at the traditional Mass I go to, I see more young families all of the time. It isn’t just old people who are “sentimental”; it is young people who reject the banality of the Novus Ordo, who want a fuller, richer, deeper spiritual experience. The Church may not gain millions of new adherents by returning to her greatest traditions, but those she does retain and attract will be of the highest quality. And that’s more important.

  • Eamonn Duffy mystifies me. The Stripping of the Altars is the finest, most moving account available of the catastrophic consequences of radical liturgical revolution. When I read it, I presumed that he was a traditionalist. In fact however he sounds like a typical product of the revolution, blind to its failure and tone deaf to its consequences. When he implies that “most Catholics” are content with the Novus Ordo, is he really unaware of the war that the bishops and clergy have waged against the traditonal Mass for the last four decades, or of the profound ignorance of the traditional liturgy that now prevails among the vast majority of Catholics under the age of 50? How can you oppose a reform of the reform that nothing in your religious education or experience prepares you even to understand? It saddens me to read someone I admire so much writing like a clueless apparatchik of the “magic circle.”

  • I’m a fairly young Catholic (32), and for years I’ve been going to a Latin language Ordinary Form at a parish that celebrates Mass in both forms.

    I like the Extraordinary Form. I just prefer the Ordinary–when it is celebrated in accordance to liturgical tradition.

    I do think that sometimes enthusiasts for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass tend to shoot themselves in the foot by excessive bitterness towards the Ordinary Form, which often turns off people who are unaware of liturgical tradition.

  • Ah yes, the ol’ unprovable Freemasonic conspiracy theory. “I know a guy who heard from a priest who knew a cardinal who swore that Bugnini was a Mason.”

  • Anywhere I have heard the Traditional Mass it has been sublime.

    The Novus Ordo, although valid, leaves far too much room for ‘innovation’, which is politically correct speak for irreverent.

    I was on holiday for the Sunday on which the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary fell this year and found a Roman Catholic parish, although the building did not look like a church, at the beach. What I had a tough time finding was the tabernacle. I blessed myself facing the crucifix, thank God they had one. Eventually, I located the tabernacle – at the back of the Church!!!!

    I was also privileged to hear a rock & roll Mass, with guitar and Lady Ga Ga like headset microphone. It was great and oh so Holy. Not to mention that the celebrant was so nice as to order all of us to remain standing AFTER we received Eucharist so as to be in the same posture, how democratic. The picnic like assembly IN the Sanctuary, with female altar servers too, was especially pleasant. I was clearly noticed for doing two things in complete and utter disobedience: I received on my tongue, while kneeling and I went back to my pew and hit my knees and bowed my head.

    Is that something wrong with the Novus Ordo? No, but it seems when you give liberals an inch, they’ll take a mile, or is that a centimeter and a meter – I can’t keep clear which ‘standard’ we’re using today, I’m sure it will change tomorrow.

    The Holy Mass MUST be the most important and sacred thing we experience – if it isn’t, why bother with the Faith at all. I don’t think the Novus Ordo is all that bad (although sometimes I struggle greatly to accept that) and I am looking forward to the better translations coming Advent of 2011. Nevertheless, the real problem is having too much wiggle room. I am a big proponent of liberty in the secular world – the Mass is not secular, it is not profane – it is Sacred and when it comes to Sacred things, innovation is not pleasant and should be discouraged.

  • I did have a deep discussion with my SD about the ‘innovative’ Mass. He has directed me in the past to seek God’s Peace and look for positive things, so I stated that the Mass I heard was ‘interesting’ – that is the most positive thing I could say.

    Actually, the rubrics were valid, so the issue was irreverence and not improper form, which is precisely the problem with lax rubrics and the Novus Ordo, as practiced, in general. In some ways we are actually given more grace when we can remain peaceful and reverent during an irreverent Mass.

    Christ told (supposedly) Gabrielle Bossis, “Even if you do nothing at Mass but try to drive away distractions, you please Me all the same. I understand.”

    I also knelt on the floor in front of the tabernacle, after I located the tabernacle, and begged Christ to have mercy on all of us, especially those charged with celebrating the Mass. It was a very powerful experience. Nevertheless, I pray that the new translation and accompanying catechesis helps prevent this blatant irreverence from continuing and spreading.

The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Pierced Vermin of the Apocalypse

Sunday, August 29, AD 2010

The  second in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.

We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose.  I like to refer to these as  The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity.  Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post.  We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin.  The  second of the Hamsters is the Pierced Vermin.

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22 Responses to The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Pierced Vermin of the Apocalypse

  • I like this series a lot, because I get the feeling you really want to write it with Caps Lock on. My one complaint is with your statement that “swollen tongues give a delightful slurred quality to speech even when the proud owner of the pierced tongue is not drunk or stoned”. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “on the rare occasions when the proud owner…”?

  • You just don’t like people who are holey-er than thou.

  • “I like this series a lot, because I get the feeling you really want to write it with Caps Lock on. My one complaint is with your statement that “swollen tongues give a delightful slurred quality to speech even when the proud owner of the pierced tongue is not drunk or stoned”. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “on the rare occasions when the proud owner…”?”


  • Fie, fie, you modern-worshiping modern type fellow, my granny never did get her ears pierced– it Was Not Done when she was a girl! (not by Good Girls, anyways)

    A little research finds that women with pierced ears was popular rebellion-style in the 20s, then went unpopular again until the 60s.

    Barbaric practice!

    (…because this is the internet, I must label: HUMOR.)

  • Foxfier, my bride of 28 years standing has never had her ears pierced. On the other hand my sainted mother had her ears pierced. I never crossed my Mom, quite a formidable lady, while she lived, and I will not risk it now!

  • *grin* Was the good lady old enough to remember the 20s? Or perhaps had a rebellious streak in her?

  • Mom was born in 1936 and tended to march to her own drum and bugle corps.

  • *blink* Wow. My grandmothers were old enough to be her mother, just barely. I keep forgetting normal families had kids a lot earlier than mine.

  • I never cared for body piercings, or tatoos. I think the church is against it as well.

  • My wife of 32 years has not had her ears pierced. No tatoos, either. Jewelry is an easy gift for Christmas, etc.

    None of the sons have piercings.

    The sons have tats. I wouldn’t call any one, “vermin.” One is an airborne ranger combat vet, still on active duty playing rugby for the Army, too. One is a MSME and former nationally ranked/medalled (competed on US Junior National Team in Greece) Olympic style weightlifter. The third is co-captain of his U rugby team and dean’s list student.

    Not that I approved or they asked my permission.

    I’m too chicken. I thought about a red cross patte on the left chest and one on the left shoulder. Problem also I don’t look so good without a shirt camouflaging the 60 y.o. chassis.

    I think dudes with tats and girly arms are vermin. My sons don’t fit that.

    And, it’s probably against Church teaching. God gave you your body and you should keep it a Temple of the Holy Spirit.

    Jasper, I’m a Jasper, too.

  • Being a builder, the only body piercings I have had have been involuntary.
    I mean, nail guns aren’t very selective what they pierce if you have them directed at the wrong target.
    Lets see if I can recall.
    1986 – nailed 2 fingers to a ceilng joist. Blood everywhere, pulled the nail, band aids to the fingers, carry on.
    1998. Nailed through end of middle finger to a roof purlin, and while yanking hand away and yelling “OUCH’ split open end of finger. Band aids, wait till shaking stops, get up on roof and carry on.
    2008. While holding piece of timber, nail gun slipped and fired nail through wrist. Uummm….grap nail head and yank out of wrist – move fingers, no damaged bones or tendons. Check entry wound, very little blood, so veins/arteries OK.
    Asked the woman to get a band aid, and she fainted 🙂

    So yeah, Don.
    I really agree that body piercings are really not the GO.

  • Don, my experience along those lines was when as a boy I accidentally sent a nail through my left foot when I stepped on it. Interestingly enough the tetanus shot hurt worse than the nail.

  • I did not get my ears pierced until I was 21 — I was probably one of the few customers of the shopping mall jewelry store that did it, who was actually old enough to sign her own consent form! I wore pierced earrings regularly after that for about 10 years or so. (Clip earrings had become pretty hard to find by the mid 1980s and that was the main reason I got my ears pierced in the first place.) Then I gradually lost interest in wearing earrings at all. Now my piercings have healed over and the only earrings I can wear are clip-ons inherited from my late mother. (She was born in 1927 and never got her ears pierced either.) My husband served in the Navy for four years but never got a tattoo and never had the slightest interest in getting one. I guess our aversion to being poked with needles by persons other than trained medical professionals trumps any desire we might have to be fashionable!

  • I thought tongue piercing took the cake. Then I saw a young man wearing beer cans in his ears. Apparently simple pierced ears were not quite freaky enough for this goofy dude; he needed to stretch the holes out so he could fit Budweiser empties through them. Perhaps that will seem mundane to him after a while and he’ll yearn to fill the holes with dinner plates or hub caps or Frisbees.

    A person who gets nose or eyebrow or even tongue pierced has one advantage over the tattooed, when fashions change or one gets tired of the look, all a pierced person has to do is stop wearing the stud and the hole will eventually close up. But stretched out ear lobes are forever. If I had to interview a fellow with ears touching his collar, I would have a terrible time resisting breaking out into song: “Do your ears hang low? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?”

    The late, great Mike Royko came up with the best description of the pierced ones; he said they looked like they had fallen face first into a tackle box.

  • Many years ago, my nephew called to see me ( he was about 17 yrs old) with a friend of his. His friend had a spike inserted between his bottom lip and his chin.

    I asked, ” What’ve you been up to mate? Eating dog’s collars?”

  • On Facebook Family Feud, one of the clues that comes up is “Name an article cf clothing that both men and women can wear.” I’ve had the question a few times, and every time I’ve missed “Earrings,” which I don’t even think of as an article of clothing.

    In any case, I’m a strong believer in a strict interpretation of the Church’s condemnation of self-mutilation. It really isn’t a small sin. Tattoos and piercings represent a fundamental lack of respect and admiration for the human body, a lack of gratitude for God’s gift, a desire for novelty, and, most importantly, a reflection of the view that the body is just an accidental containeer for the soul, and therefore property.

    Even as I have my own Manichean tendencies resulting form my own severely defective body, I still honor my genetic defects as a unique gift of God and a form of His artistry.

    I get annoyed by those who abuse drugs for self-styled suffering when they don’t know the half of it, and I get annoyed by those who would intentionally mutilate my body, when my body has been unintentionally mutilated by surgery and IVs and needles and CT/X Ray radiation.

  • “The late, great Mike Royko came up with the best description of the pierced ones; he said they looked like they had fallen face first into a tackle box.”

    How I miss reading his acerbic observations, Donna!

    ”What’ve you been up to mate? Eating dog’s collars?”

    That one goes into my stolen quotes book Don!

    “I get annoyed by those who abuse drugs for self-styled suffering when they don’t know the half of it, and I get annoyed by those who would intentionally mutilate my body, when my body has been unintentionally mutilated by surgery and IVs and needles and CT/X Ray radiation.”

    You are in my prayers GodsGadfly.

  • Thanks.

    For the annoyance, the rotten body, or both? 🙂

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In Memoriam

Sunday, August 29, AD 2010

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

Many other commenters, far more versed in statistics and politics, will have plenty to say about the governmental failures in the disaster and the progress New Orleans has made in rebuilding. These are all very worthwhile, but as someone who lived in the New Orleans area before the storm, it’s not the story I think that’s most worth telling nor is it the one I’m most equipped to tell. While the government and insurance companies both reared their ugly and greedy heads in the aftermath, there’s only so much good one gets out of rehashing old arguments and injuries. I want to remember the good that God has done for me and the city from this storm.

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19 Responses to In Memoriam

  • [Saying people deserved to die on the anniversary of their deaths is one of the most unchristian things I can think of. I will not be tolerate it, other than to say a) everyone’s location comes with natural dangers b) New Orleans is so far below sea level b/c of the federal government’s levee system which made the ground sink more]

  • If I could win a trip to anywhere on earth I haven’t visited before, the first place I’d choose would be New Orleans (as long as it wasn’t during hurricane season or Mardi Gras, since I don’t really care for drunken crowds). It seems to be one of the few places left in the United States that has a genuine Old World culture.

  • [The reasons people want to live in New Orleans are expressed in the post. Again, I am not tolerating this nonsense on this issue today. Another day, perhaps, but not today. This is your first and only warning-MRD]

  • It seems to be one of the few places left in the United States that has a genuine Old World culture.

    That it does. The city itself is different from any other city in America, in a very good way.

    As far as visiting during Mardi Gras, I’m with you; I don’t think New Orleans is at it’s best in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras. However, during Mardi Gras season you can come to a parade that’s a pretty cool environment that’s not as full of drunken crowds depending on where you go.

  • As regards those who think living in New Orleans is wrong or stupid because of its location, well, is there really any place in the continental U.S. that is completely disaster free? Anyplace on the Gulf Coast or East Coast is subject to hurricanes, the West Coast has earthquakes, mudslides, forest fires, and even a volcano (Mt. St. Helens) and the Midwest and South have tornadoes and floods. I suppose anyone who lives in those places “deserves” what they get too, right?

  • If a location requires carefully engineered public works to survive, it is reasonable to ask if resettlement should be undertaken. You might begin by asking underwriters on which portions of the territory of greater New Orleans (absent public subsidies and state compulsion) would residential and commercial development incorporate uninsurable risks.

  • Only a very small part of New Orleans proper is below sea level, most of it not.

    A priest I know was on the verge of being kicked out (“asked to leave”) of Notre Dame Seminary for the 3rd and last time. They also had their guns on 2 other men as well. Katrina hit and they were all sent to another seminary. At this new seminary, they excelled, just as they had in minor seminary. Our diocese has at least 3 fine young men as holy priests of God, possibly only due to the effects of Katrina.

  • Art Deco:

    Those questions are in fact being asked and since the footprint of New Orleans appears to be smaller, shrinking in from some of the riskier places is still being attempted (they tried to prevent resettlement immediately after the storm, but were blocked by political pressures). However, New Orleans developers are taking pains to try to take the higher land and put it to more efficient uses in order to reduce some of the risks.

    That said, the abandonment of the entire city is neither practical nor desirable.

  • Elaine,

    I disagree.

    If you live 9 feet below sea level, then deal with the consequences and don’t blame the government for a decision you consciously made.

    Your logic holds no water, pun intended.

  • If New Orleans needs the federal government to keep the city viable and to operate daily, then there is no practical nor desirable reason to continue throwing money away in the bayou.

  • There is a reason there is a national flood insurance program. There is really no “safe” area from flooding. The recent floods in Milwaukee occurred in the highest elevated neighborhoods. WRT Katrina specifically, tidal surge inundated communities over 100 miles inland. Perhaps prudence would dictate making a nature preserve from the coast line of the Gulf to 100 miles inland. More seriously, in some respects, New Orleans is better prepared for events that typically cause flooding because it has an extensive non-gravity water removal system. It wasn’t just New Orleans’s system that failed: every other system along the Gulf failed, most failing because they didn’t have a system to begin with.

    You hear the garbage with New Orleans that you hear after every natural disaster. When the Missouri and Mississippi had massive flooding a decade ago, smart people said, people should build along rivers. When earthquakes hit California, people say you shouldn’t live where there are earthquakes. When tornadoes hit the Midwest, people say you shouldn’t live in tornado alley. This is one of those areas where you can sound awful intelligent until it comes down to actually proposing a solution. There are all sorts of hazards in the world, some more easily mitigated than others.

  • Good points M.Z.

    I think it would be better if there were in fact a nature preserve from the coast and people lived further inland. Obviously for economic reasons, people tend to live near coasts.

    Another major point of consideration that has economic impacts has to do with dams and levies and other man-made mechanisms that are put into place for practical economic reasons and flood-protection measures. These things increase the pace of coastal erosion in what ever direction the water is being directed and such mega-disasters exacerbate this problem; in short, Katrina put this activity on fast-forward.

    There are estimates that New Orleans will be off shore in 85 years (2095) as coastal erosions continue. This is the result of what has been going on for some 300 years in terms of coastal erosion. The coastline will pass the city and New Orleans literally will be a fish bowl.

    There is great difficulty in letting go of a city with significant history and this should not be dismissed as arbritrary concerns; it is human to have such attachment.

    I am not sure what to do in this situation. But given that New Orleans is going to be 15 to 18 feet below sea level, if the predictions are accurated, and will be sitting by itself off the coast, surrounded virtually on all sides by water, I am not sure building 50-to-100 feet tall levees are going to protect the city or are worth the investment.

    The solution that is more economically viable, hospitable to life, and practical is obviously moving. But this is no easy task nor is it simply said.

  • When tornadoes hit the Midwest, people say you shouldn’t live in tornado alley.

    The most tornado prone metropolis in the United States is Oklahoma City, which typically has about one a year.
    The implications of most such tornados are the loss of some mobile homes and the roof on some garages.


  • I think a state law requiring the purchase of flood insurance by property owners (much as a purchase of car insurance is required) would permit the formation of viable actuarial pools. Application of underwriting standards could then limit development in selected areas.

    You would need to have a state fund to indemnify property owners whose land ceased to be utile for residential or commercial development.

  • If you live 9 feet below sea level, then deal with the consequences and don’t blame the government for a decision you consciously made.

    The federal government is in control of the levee systems. Their decisions (building the MR-GO canal and refusing to redirect the mississippi to effect the natural replenishment of the wetlands) exacerbated the situation. No one blames the government for Katrina and the placement of the city but the feds (and this both parties) with the Army Corps of Engineers in particular have made poor decisions by putting immediate economic interests ahead of long-term environmental considerations. Critiquing the feds is entirely appropriate.


    You raise good points. The wetlands have to be replenished. Unfortunately, wetlands protection is an issue that’s not glamorous to Democrats and repugnant to Republicans. Nevertheless, the wisest course of action to to protect the city from these storms by improving the wetland barriers that diminish storms before they ever reach the city. This is not an easy thing to do, but it’s long past time for someone to start considering how to do it.

  • Shutting New Orleans down isn’t sensible, if for no other reason than it’s a huge port through which billions of dollars worth of commerce passes, especially for the country’s midsection. It would take billions to upgrade one of the nearby Gulf ports
    (Mobile? Biloxi?) to take the traffic.

    Leaving aside the fact that it’s New Orleans, for pete’s sake. Yeah, I’m sentimental, but there’s something to be said for sentiment on occasion. 🙂

  • I don’t disagree with you Dale. I wasn’t advocating for shutting down New Orleans. There may be other reasonable solutions that did not occur to me. What struck me as the solution that is “more economically viable, hospitable to life, and practical,” need not be the course of action that is taken. I was simply saying that giving up on the city met these criterion better than any other solution I could think of, not that it was better.

    New Orleans is a great city with a rich cultural history and it would be a terrible thing for us lose it. I support trying to salvage the city in any way possible but only if we sincerely face the facts that are serious challenges that will have to be met — and as we can see from certain comments, people from other places in the U.S. might not be too excited about picking up the tab.

  • Eric:

    Oh, I wasn’t responding to you–for one, I heartily agree on the wetlands issue. The maps showing how much of Louisiana is being lost to the Gulf are sobering.

    Actually, I was disagreeing with brother Tito, and wanted to point out the economic importance of the city, and the lack of an alternative.

  • Not shutting the city down, but not (after a transitional period) subsidizing its maintenance either.

    If the civil engineering permits, one might devolve responsibility for the construction and maintenance of the subregional levee system on an elective authority. The authority would be empowered to set tolls and make flat assessments on personal income. Conjoined to underwriting standards, this would place on local residents the full cost of real estate development in that part of the world and move the area closer to some sort of social optimum.

12 Responses to Penguins, Butterfly and Open Thread

12 Responses to Billable Hours

  • Astral projection?

  • One year suspension seems awfully stiff. Does that mean she cannot practice law in Ohio for a full year?

    She served as a court-appointed attorney in the juvenile courts, so I might have gone lighter. From the court’s opinion:
    In mitigation, the board found that respondent has no prior disciplinary record and that she is known by clients, peers, judges, and magistrates as a competent, hard-working attorney who represents her clients zealously.

    And this:
    When confronted with the excessiveness of her fee requests, respondent initially maintained that she had worked every hour that she had billed. … Ultimately, she conceded that while she worked long hours, she did not maintain such a schedule.

  • She cannot practice law for one year. I would have voted to disbar her. She is a careless thief who initially attempted to lie her way out of her situation. This is not simply a case of sloppy record keeping, but rather someone who is too dishonest, and dumb, to be an officer of the court.

  • The thought astonishes me too restrainedradical, but since Saint Thomas More and a few others have accomplished it, it is possible!

  • I’ve legitimately billed days in excess of 20 hours. I’m not saying it was my most efficient work, but if you have an imminent deadline, it’s certainly possible, it not pleasant.

    Days longer than 24 hours are, of course, objectionable.

  • I’ve come close to 20 hours in a day Listless on occasion. Sometimes I haven’t billed my clients the last two or three since fatigue degraded my ability to concentrate and extended the time I had to give to what I was working on.

  • I was checking out the fee schedule for Ohio court-appointed lawyers (page 14). It’s $50/hour if I’m reading it right, which I suspect is well below the rate lawyers in Ohio would usually charge.

    So, the money just does not come across to me as a strong motivator for theft, and I’m willing to believe that sloppiness in recordkeeping is possible. Also, if she is going to lie, why claim more than 24 hours in a single day?

  • “Also, if she is going to lie, why claim more than 24 hours in a single day?”

    That’s where the dumb factor comes in Spambot. This was not an innocent mistake, or she would not have attempted to claim that she actually worked those hours. Her poor rate of pay would actually be an incentive to pad the hours charged. I assume that she was a private attorney appointed by the court to do that type of work. I am occasionally appointed by the court to be GAL for kids, appellate counsel for indigent defendants, and trial counsel for indigent defendants. I try to keep accurate records of my time in those cases. I realize it can be difficult in a busy day to do so, but in this case I doubt if the attorney in question was making any effort to do so.

  • “Sometimes I haven’t billed my clients the last two or three since fatigue degraded my ability to concentrate and extended the time I had to give to what I was working on.”

    To my mind, Donald, that is reasonable – provided that the client (or, when I was an associate in a large law firm, the billing partner) was not the cause of the unreasonable deadline that forced me into crunch mode. To my way of thinking, if you make me work a 20 hour day, then you should pay for that. If my poor scheduling caused the crises, then that’s obviously on me, and a write-off is appropriate. In my experience, the former situation was far, far more typical than the latter.

  • Sounds like the way my manager when I used to work at JC Penney did her schedules. She’d put the same person to work in two departments at once, or to work two shifts in a row. If you asked a day off, she assigned you to work that day. If you said you couldn’t work Sundays, she’d schedule you on Sundays every week. Oddly enough, she always seemed to be on vacation.

  • Unfortunately GodsGadfly one of the curses in life is working for a jerk. One of many reasons I am glad I have been self-employed for the last quarter of a century.

Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

Saturday, August 28, AD 2010

The debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York has raised public interest in, and opposition to, other proposed or recently built mosques and Islamic centers throughout the country.

In areas where Muslim migration or immigration has been significant, some citizens have attempted to discourage construction of new mosques. Few come right out and cite the threat of terrorism; more often they seem to resort to time-honored NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) tactics such as creative interpretation of zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I understand the need to be vigilant regarding the potential for violent subversion, as well as the dangers of taking such a politically correct approach to militant Islam that people hesitate to report obvious suspicious activity for fear of being labeled bigots (as seems to have happened in the Fort Hood massacre case).

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45 Responses to Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

  • Outstanding article — thank you!!

    Question (and please forgive this social-networking-backward-participant!):

    Why doesn’t American Catholic enable readers to SHARE this via Facebook? (Maybe I’m flunking the IQ test and missed the link??? I just did a “copy & paste” on the link above on my FB page . . . Sad to say, I am still trying to figure out this RSS stuff!!!)

    Thank you!

  • Elaine,

    You raise some very valid points. But, did Catholicism, or the perversion therof, and Catholics or any Christians for that matter murder 3000 innocents on September 11? Or have Catholics or Christians committed bombings in recent years or pose threats of bombings around the world?

    I think the problem here is that the Muslims who have proposed this mosque have displayed absolutely NO sensitivity to the families of victims of 9/11 while demanding all the tolerance in the world from those 9/11 families,as well as other citizens. These “moderate” Muslims claim that they want to build bridges but all they are doing by forcing the building of this mosque at this partiular ultra-sensitive location is burning bridges. Why is this location so important when there are over 100 mosques located in NYC already? How is this mosque being funded? By terrorist organizations or not? I believe in order for the community as a whole to benefit from this mosque our government and our citizens must be as certain as possible that this mosque is not funded by terrorist organizations and will not be used as a terrorist training center under the guise of religious freedom. If the mayor and others would be willing to look into the mosque’s financial funding I believe that this would allay many peoples’ fears.

    I do understand that the people behind the building of the mosque has a right to be built according to civil law. But, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out, if zoning laws and aesthetics can trump one’s right to build why could the sensitivity to those families who had loved ones killed by a single act of war trump one’s right to build?

    As to the issue of this mosque being two blocks away from the primary ground zero site: Would you agree that wherever the planes hit or any of its part on 9/11 should be considered Ground Zero? If so, then so should the Burlington building since a part of the plane hit that building.

    I think this whole controversy could have been avoided if the NYC commission had shown some prudential judgment and declared the Burlingtion building as a historical landmark.

  • I agree that it wasn’t a good idea for the mosque/Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero. I see nothing wrong with encouraging them to build elsewhere. The $64,000 question, however, is whether or not the local government has a right to explicitly FORBID them to build at the site. That’s where the danger of setting a bad precedent comes in.

  • Elaine a ban on construction of new places of worship would be clearly unconstitutional and would not stand up in court longer than the time it takes a Chicago alderman to pocket a bribe. No one has been disputing the right of the Flim Flam Imam and his Cordoba Initiative (Dhimmis Always Welcome!) to build this Mosque, but whether it is right for them to do so. I am keenly aware of the frequent divergence of a legal right and a moral right. My opposition might well not exist if a local group of Muslims had wished to put up a Mosque for local worship. I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.

  • I thought this post by Bob Murphy about the Glenn Beck rally today was a propos:

    Of course Mr. Beck and his fans have every legal right to hold a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Nonetheless, we are asking that they hold their rally a few blocks away, and on a different date. There are 364 other days in the year; what’s wrong with them?
    Now look, we know full well that Mr. Beck and his supporters claim that they are trying to heal racial division. Intellectually, we black Americans know that just because we have been brutalized by angry white conservative males for as long as we can remember, that doesn’t mean that all angry white conservative males pose a threat to our physical safety.

    But this isn’t about logic or rationality. This is about sensitivity to our feelings. Surely Mr. Beck can understand why a majority of American blacks wouldn’t appreciate him holding a rally on the anniversary of Dr. King’s famous speech. If he goes ahead with his plans, he won’t promote racial unity. So we ask him to hold the rally in a different place, on a different date.

  • Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.

  • As usual, Blackadder mistakes cuteness for substance. By now Blackadder is aware that the objections to the Mosque are not grounded in a general objection to anything at all being built near Ground Zero.

  • “Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.”

    Our wars being the equivalent of Bin Laden’s murder of 3,000 innocent men, women and children? Moral equivalency: the opiate of the politically correct.

  • While I agree with Donald that the proposed ban shouldn’t pass constitutional muster (there’s a case that states you can’t ban all forms of religious speech-I think it’s Rosenberger v. Rectors & Vistors of UVA), you are absolutely right in stating that the opposition to the mosque establishes a precedent that is far more dangerous to Catholics than to Muslims insofar as some are advocating legal means to interfere with the building of the mosque.

  • “I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.”

    Donald, I agree.

    If Alveda King has no problem with the rally I don’t see why any other person, of any color black, white, red, brown etc., should have a problem with Beck and others honoring Martin Luther King Jr’s message of equality for all. Yeah, and if he didn’t do anything honoring Martin Luther King the Left would make accusations about no person caring about blacks and spreading King’s message, so Your “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” according to liberalism.

    First, is that an admission that our nation is rooted in Christian values?

    Second, Did we really go to war as “Christians” or as a nation fighting against terrorism and for our nation’s national defense?

    Third, I didn’t know that a group of Christians not associated with the U.S. government went off on their own and specifically targeted a building or another location just to murder Iraqi inocents? I think your the person who is a little confused with reality, Martin.

    Fourth, Please name me one war in history that has had no civilian casualties?

  • I’m with Gen’l. (Vinegar) Joe Stillwell, “Don’t let the bastards wear you down.”

  • It isn’t even a matter of where the mosque is being built – replace the entire WTC site with the biggest mosque in the world, no problem – PROVIDED Islam changes its ways.

    I realize all the 1st Amendment issues involved here – but until I am no longer considered such subhuman filth that I cannot enter the precincts of Mecca, then I’m going to hold that Moslems must be curbed in what they do in the United States. Not stopped – not expelled; just carefully curtailed to ensure that everyone, especially in the Moslem world, knows that we have not lost our back bone.

    Tolerance does not mean going along happily with whatever someone wants to do – it is a two way street and it requires some compromise. We can easily tolerate a mosque in Manhattan – but we can’t tolerate it hard by Ground Zero…not now, and not until Islam changes its tune.

    Mark Noonan

  • Blackadder,

    I wonder if the author of that piece can find even a single black man brutalized by a conservative white man in the past 40 years.

  • We might just consider the possibility that these local pols want to limit the quantum of non-taxable property in that particular locality. Piggy, but unsurprising.

    It is not a novelty for houses of worship to face zoning tangles. Given the size of the metropolitan New York area, you will have to excuse me if I suggest that prohibiting the placement of a 13 story building of a particular character at a historic site of modest dimensions is a measure different in kind than prohibiting all construction of houses of worship in a given municipality.


    As far as I am aware, the Marine Corps does not have an icon of St. Michael on their weaponry and al-Qaeda does not do civil affairs projects.

  • Here’s my $64,000,000.03 question.

    If religious freedom/tolerance requires a $100 million mosque over the WTC site. How is religious liberty/tolerance served by denying the rebuild of THE Orthodox Church that THE muslim terrorists destroyed on 11 Sep 2001?


    No! It’s much worse than that! USMC heroes wear (gasp) US flags on their uniforms.

    Re AQ civil affairs projects: They’re helping make Americans good. They believe the only good American is a dead American.

  • Lot of assumptions in this post; the assumption that the REAL motive folks have is fear of terrorism, and that they can’t possibly object for the reasons they give:

    zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

    Evidence for this claim? I know that the blog Beers with Demo did the research to show a pattern of harassment against a church in his area, but a blanket claim that 1) Mosques are being unusually opposed and 2) it is because of fears of terrorism is a claim that requires more than just a claim to be taken seriously.

    There’s also the issue of using charged terms inaccurately. NIMBY, while meaning “not in my back yard,” also implies that something is not opposed in general. (Example, opposing wind power generators in your area while promoting wind energy in general.)
    People who are worried about Islamic terror risings from Mosques are going to be bright enough to remember the home mosques of the 9/11 terrorists were far, far away, and would appose them in general, not just specific.

    Your notion of equivalence between “there shall be no non-profit organizational buildings in our district” and “no, you may not build a triumphalist religious center on the ruins created by said religion” is mind bending.

  • Martin-
    Go troll someplace else.

  • Wow. Far-ranging discussion.

    First, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The religion piece really has no bearing on the discussion over the Cordoba Mosque proposed for Ground Zero.

    How many mosques are there in Manhattan? About a hundred? Sounds like pretty free exercise of religion to me.

    Second: I challenge any black person who reads this blogs, or any black person who’s a friend of someone who reads this blog, to tell me the date of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I had to memorize parts of it as a child (stand down, racialists: I’m Black). Never knew what day it was given; barely knew it was in August. Glenn Beck planned this rally (which I wish I had had time to attend)for the last Saturday in August. An lo and behold, what date did that happen to fall on? Why, August 28! August the 28th, which happened to be an anniversary of Dr. King’s speech!

    Why should a mosque be built at the site of a murder committed by people motivated by Islam? Why should a church of any type be built at the site of the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people (and others, including Catholic Saints)? Why should the Japanese in Hawaii build a temple at the site of the sunken USS Arizona?

    Answer? None of them should. Because it’s disrespectful. Why is this so hard to grasp? And what does it tell those who truly hate us about whether we will truly resist them?

    It is not un-Christian to stand up for common politeness.

  • Gee, RR, why didn’t you link to this much more recent article on those idiots?


    Those morons were accused of racial hate crimes and seem to be gang related. Notably, not “conservative white men”– just idiot gang members. (is that redundant?)

  • What are you trying to prove by arguing that white people no longer attack black people? For one, it’s a sad, callous, and absurd battle to fight. Do you, like, remember this one time, in, like, 1992 in LA where, like, some white cops beat up this black guy named Rodney King? White on black violence occurs a lot, as does black on white, white on white, black on black, brown on black, brown on white, brown on brown, white on brown, black on brown, etc, etc, etc.

    Also, please STOP calling it a mosque. A mosque is specifically a Muslim holy place where only prayer can be conducted. This is a Muslim community center, similar to a YMCA. It will have a culinary school, basketball courts, etc. With a prayer room on one or two of the fifteen or so floors.

    I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    It is utterly absurd to demand that “Islam” renounce its terroristic ways before the community center is built, as Mr. Noonan said. A religion cannot change its ways. People can change their ways, but abstract nouns cannot. And the people behind this community center have no terroristic tendencies to modify. Furthermore, there is no central authority for Islam as there is for Catholicism. In fact, some radical sects of Muslims hate opposing Islamic sects more than they hate America. Like al-Qaeda. Bin Laden hates America not “for our freedoms” but because we prop up the (in his mind) heretical Saud monarchy in Arabia.

    Quite frankly, it’s astounding that a debate over a Muslim community center is occurring in 21st century America. As someone who would never have voted for George Bush, I will say that I am so grateful that he modeled Christ’s love to American Muslims by not targeting them after 9/11, as seems to be occurring now.

  • Pingback: Opponents of mosque may soon see tables turned | Holy Post | National Post
  • I would like to ask everyone – Do you think that Islam can be a “moderate” religion? I am not saying Muslims cannot be moderates, but can the religion itself really ever be considered moderate since it follows Sharia law?

    If Sharia law is one of the precepts of Islam then why wouldn’t Sharia law fall under the guise of religious freedom and challenge the constitution in several capacities and force all of us citizens to respect and follow Sharia as well? Is Sharia law and the Constitution really compatible?

    If those who believe in the “letter of the Constitution” instead of the “spirit of the Constitution” with regards to religious freedom truly believe that religious freedom is absolute without taking into account our national security interests (as it seems to me) how could one deny Muslims the “right” to follow their “moderate” religion that includes Sharia Law which would also impose Sharia Laws on the non-Muslim citizens when that clearly clashes with our Constitution?

    You might want to look at a some things that Sharia law demands:

    1 – Jihad defined as “to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion” is the duty of every Muslim and Muslim head of state (Caliph). Muslim Caliphs who refuse jihad are in violation of Sharia and unfit to rule.

    2 – A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power meaning through force.

    3 – A Caliph is exempt from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking and in some cases of rape.

    4 – A percentage of Zakat (alms) must go towards jihad.

    5 – It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust.

    6 – A caliph must be a Muslim, a non-slave and a male.

    7 – The Muslim public must remove the Caliph in one case, if he rejects Islam.

    8 – A Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately.

    9 – A Muslim will be forgiven for murder of: 1) an apostasy 2) an adulterer 3) a highway robber. Making vigilante street justice and honor killing acceptable.

    10 – A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim.

    11- Sharia never abolished slavery and sexual slavery and highly regulates it. A master will not be punished for killing his slave.

    12 – Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, flogging and other forms of cruel and unusual punishments even for crimes of sin such as adultery.

    13 – Non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims and must comply to Sharia if they are to remain safe. They are forbidden to marry Muslim women, publicly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures or openly celebrate their religious holidays or funerals. They are forbidden from building new churches or building them higher than mosques. They may not enter a mosque without permission. A non-Muslim is no longer protected if he commits adultery with a Muslim woman or if he leads a Muslim away from Islam.

    14 – It is a crime for a non-Muslim to sell weapons to someone who will use them against Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot curse a Muslim, say anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam, or expose the weak points of Muslims. However, the opposite is not true for Muslims.

    15 – A non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim.

    16 – Banks must be Sharia compliant and interest is not allowed.

    17 – No testimony in court is acceptable from people of low-level jobs, such as street sweepers or a bathhouse attendant. Women in such low-level jobs such as professional funeral mourners cannot keep custody of their children in case of divorce.

    18 – A non-Muslim cannot rule even over a non-Muslims minority.

    19 – H***sexuality is punishable by death.

    20 – There is no age limit for marriage of girls under Sharia. The marriage contract can take place any time after birth and consummated at age 8 or 9.

    21 – Rebelliousness on the part of the wife nullifies the husband’s obligation to support her, gives him permission to beat her and keep her from leaving the home.

    22 – Divorce is only in the hands of the husband and is as easy as saying: “I divorce you” and becomes effective even if the husband did not intend it.

    23 – There is no community property between husband and wife and the husband’s property does not automatically go to the wife after his death.

    24 – A woman inherits half what a man inherits.

    25- A man has the right to have up to 4 wives and she has no right to divorce him even if he is polygamous.

    26- The dowry is given in exchange for the woman’s sexual organs.

    27 – A man is allowed to have sex with slave women and women captured in battle, and if the enslaved woman is married her marriage is annulled.

    28 – The testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man.

    29- A woman loses custody if she remarries.

    30- To prove rape, a woman must have 4 male witnesses.

    31 – A rapist may only be required to pay the bride-money (dowry) without marrying the rape victim.

    32 – A Muslim woman must cover every inch of her body which is considered “Awrah,” a sexual organ. Some schools of Sharia allow the face and some don’t.

    33 – A Muslim man is forgiven if he kills his wife caught in the act of adultery. However, the opposite is not true for women since he “could be married to the woman he was caught with.”

    The above are clear-cut laws in Islam decided by great Imams after years of examination and interpretation of the Quran, Hadith and Mohammed’s life. Now let the learned Imam Rauf tell us what part of the above is compliant with the US constitution?

  • Ryan-
    who are you talking to?
    NO ONE was talking about “whites never attack blacks”. Blackadder posted a quote of someone claiming that “angry white conservative males” have been brutalizing blacks for “as long as they can remember,” and someone else challenged him to find a single case of a white conservative assaulting a black person. RR then posted an article that implied but did not claim anti-Dem motives, and which five minutes of research showed to just be gang idiots.

    Secondly, go yell at the Cordoba House proponents, and even the initiative itself; half the time, they call it a mosque. (Generally when they want to drum up the religion side of it; when it’s more flattering to emphasize the “community center” side, it becomes a building that includes a mosque.)

    If the reading comprehension and careful consideration of the argument you’ve shown in this post is standard for you, no wonder you can’t see how this is a topic for valid debate. Straw men with only a nodding acquaintance to the topic aren’t very good aids to understanding.

    A wise lady once told me that if you can’t argue the other side of something, you have no business arguing your own side because you clearly don’t know enough about the topic. I try to keep it in mind, maybe you should try it?

  • In response to jihad etc…

    I am not sure where you are getting your information on what jihad and sharia is….but you have incorrect information. Jihad and sharia is much more complex then what you have stated. As I have reserached this extensively I will just point out very plainly and in layman terms what jihad is. Jihad means “struggle”.
    More commonly known in the Muslim world as an internal spiritual struggle to be better and serve God. It can also mean warfare where one needs to defend themselves when attacked- so it has two meanings to it. There are a lot of inaccuracies in your e-mail and I do not have time to go over them now…but one just to correct one is that bride money is not given for sexual organs. Bride money is called “mehr” and it is an obligatory gift that the groom must give his wife so that she is not left with nothing if he decides to leave her. It is the right of a woman and not a man. Actually in researching Muslims I found that there are a lot of similaries to Catholicism…and then there were differences as well. An interesting bit of information I came across was “Marriage helps men and women to develop along natural lines and head towards development and success through mutual co-operation. Marriage prevents immorality licentiousness and irresponsibility. The spouses in marriage agree to share rights and responsibilities to develop a happy family”….doesn’t that sound like something Catholics believe in as well? What happened on 9/11 was plain WRONG. I have friends who are Muslims and they beleive it is wrong…they say that the people who did this are crazy. So I have to think before I judge anyone and encourage you to do the same.

  • Sandy-
    please do not misrepresent your study, which seems to have been of the more modern and mild forms of Islam, as representative of Islam in general.

    Also, your definition of “mehr” is incorrect, (In Canada, it often functions like a pre-nup– often enough that a basic google will bring up a LOT of legal help boards.) as is your characterization of Jihaad.
    (links to understanding-Islam.com, which is affiliated with Al-Mawrid Islamic Research foundation out of Pakistan.)

  • Foxfier, white conservatives can’t be in gangs?

  • RR,

    Gangs are color neutral, but I’m having a hard time picturing how a conservative could be in a gang since gang life and activities run counter to conservative values. My guess is that you’re perhaps angling toward skinheads because the media like to call them conservatives. However, conservatives have about as much appreciation for neo-nazis as they do racist gangs/parties typically associated with the left, which is to say none.

  • “Gang life and activities run counter to conservative values”

    Well, it goes without saying that violence, vandalism, drug use, other criminal activity, and intimidation of non-members go against conservative values (and probably even the values of most moderates and liberals I know).

    But, isn’t it true that gang membership, especially among urban teens, basically takes the place of the families they don’t have — giving them a structure, culture and sense of belonging that they don’t get from absent or incarcerated or unknown fathers, mothers who change boyfriends as often as they change clothes, being shuffled from one relative to another, etc.?

    So in that sense, gang membership does express (albeit in a perverted or distorted fashion) one very important “conservative” value: the absolute primacy of the family as the basic unit of society, and the consequences that result when it is undermined or destroyed.

  • I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    True to some extent. But it wasn’t expansionist.

  • Actually I think in a number of areas there are limits on, if not the building of churches, at least the size of churches. Where I once lived this limit made it impractical to build a Catholic Church as the size limit was too small for what was required to meet the needs of the Catholic population without building multiple small churches. Those restrictions were placed in the 90’s as I recall. No big First Ammendment concerns have been raised. Perhaps they should.

  • Mary Margaret Cannon,

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Until recently, WordPress.com did not allow this function (WordPress.org does I believe).

    But today I noticed this option was now available and I have just finished adding this particular function.


  • Hey, why not make a page, too? You can set it up to autopublish your blog with the “notes” feed, or us
    e http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/newuser1.php

  • Foxfier,

    We have ‘something’ on Facebook, not sure what.

    I’m going to investigate and get this set-up/streamlined for greater social-networking-optimization (SNO).

  • Scott Gentries might want to take a look at this:

  • …Might strike home if the primary arguments weren’t specifically related to the history and culture of Islam, Ryan.


  • RL, if conservatives can’t be in gangs by definition then sure there are no white conservatives in gangs. There are no Catholics in gangs either then.

  • i would like to point out that the proposal only bars new buildings, and not changing the use to of already constructed ones. the mosque near to us was once a church, a church was previously a synagogue, and the nigerian christian group uses a clothing warehouse.

  • Teresa, half of what you said is inaccurate / disinformation. if the USA followed the other half, maybe they wont have millions of inmates that the taxpayer has to support.

  • I would just like to point out a couple of things that are on point:

    1. It’s not a mosque. It’s a community center, and you can read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/08/opinion/08mosque.html?_r=1&src=tptw the words of the chairman of the project, stating that one of the many goals of it is to include prayer centers for those of Christian and Jewish faiths in hopes that this will strengthen interfaith relations.

    2. I’m not usually a fan of Charlie Brooker, but he hit one point straight on the head when he said that being a 2 minute walk and around the corner is not at all the same thing as being AT the same location. He said something like, he’s used a bathroom 2 minutes away from Buckingham Palace, and has yet to be arrested for defecating on the Queen’s pillow. We’re talking about Manhattan, and if you’ve ever been there, it’s a crowded place. How close is too close, exactly?

    3. To the person who said Catholic/Christian extremists haven’t bombed or killed significant numbers of people in recent years, I ask: Have you ever heard of the Irish Republican Army? Visit Belfast or Glasgow sometime and ask around – just… be careful in which neighborhood you ask and what colors you’re wearing when you do.

  • 4. On the topic of how Muslim women are clothed, ask yourself if you’ve ever questioned the chaste garb (and lifestyle, for that matter) of nuns and priests. I bet you just take it as a matter of course, because it’s what you’re used to. Of course, there is spousal abuse and other unsavory activity that goes on among members of the Islamic faith, but again, look closer to home. Surely you cannot insist that no Catholic or Christian has ever abused another human being.

  • Brian,


    The IRA is a nationalist organization. To be more accurate, they are a violent Marxist nationalist organization looking to impose communism under the guise of being “Irish” and “Catholic”.

    Being Catholic has nothing to do with it.

    They don’t espouse anything Christian AT ALL.

    You’ve never heard them saying they are dying in the name of Jesus. Only in the name of Ireland.

    You need to do better than that to espouse your anti-Christian bigotry around here.

  • Brian,

    Again your bias is grossly revealing itself.

    Religious wear their clericals as a choice, not in being imposed.

    Whilst on the other hand Muslims force women to wear burkas, regardless of their religiosity.

  • Brian, you’re exposing your ignorance or willful blindness– the folks building it called it a mosque until their PR guys realized that was not so good. They also called it the Cordoba House, until word got around what that indicated, especially with the 9/11/11 opening date.

    Also, you’re pointing to an opinion piece in the NY Times. Not exactly hard, unbiased facts– I notice you didn’t bother to do the research Powerline did about another time that “chairman” spoke in the NYTimes.

    As Teresa pointed out above, a building destroyed by chunks of the plane on 9/11 is part of ground zero.

$13 Trillion of Debt…Nothing to Show For It

Friday, August 27, AD 2010

Recently a Senator made the following statement:

“We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet” and, “in my view we have nothing to show for it.”

What right wing Republican made that statement?  Well actually it was Democrat Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Of course Bennet’s rhetoric is completely belied by his drunken sailor voting record when it comes to spending.  However his statement is still interesting for two reasons:

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7 Responses to $13 Trillion of Debt…Nothing to Show For It

  • One economist after another says that public expenditure is an inefficient means of manipulating aggregate demand unless you have slack in the economy a good deal more severe than we have seen or says that the characteristics of the economy have changed in the last 70 years and it no longer has the practical effect it once did. The economic numbers produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate the stabilization of production levels last year occurred too quickly after the stimulus was enacted to be attributable to it. Japan went up to its eyeballs in debt over a period of 13 years to no discernable effect. Yet, not too many weeks ago, I see Joseph Stiglitz on television saying the stimulus was ‘not big enough’. You begin to wonder if there is not some hidden agenda there.

  • One other thing, Treasury issues held by the public are approaching $9 tn. The bulk of the remainder are held by the Social Security Administration as parking places for payroll tax revenue. The Federal Reserve holds about $0.9 tn.

  • Point of Information,

    The $4 trillion held by SS and Medicare trust funds is not sitting in a vault or in an FDIC-insured checking account. It’s US, nonmarket debt paper. It may as well be Confederate dollars.

    Once SS/Medicare tax receipts (cash paid by you) fall below the benefits cash pay-outs, the guvmint will need to tax you to repay to SS/Medicare the UST debt paper and they pay benefits.

    Plus, the guvimnt will need to tax somebody to just pay the interest on the other $9 trillion.

    Whence the fit hits the shan.

    PS: The $.9 trillion held by FRB – they printed that money. It’s called monetization of the debt.

    PPS: Does the debt figure include $1.6 trillion FNM/FRE directly owe and $6 trillion they indirectly guaranty?

  • The debt figure would not include loan guarantees, no. The federal government’s liabilities with regard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not the face value of the outstanding mortgage-backed securities but the future losses due to defaults.

    The Federal Reserve always maintains a stack of U.S. Treasury securities with which to trade. While I think this stack has increased some in the last two years, the large run up in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has been from the purchase of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt. It made sense to increase the size of the monetary base given the increase in demand for real balances, which is why prices have been fairly stable in the last two years, rather than declining at a 9% rate, which is what they did during the period running from 1929 to 1933.

  • Will Rogers said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know that ain’t so.”

  • Point of clarification,

    “The $4 trillion held by SS and Medicare trust funds is not sitting in a vault or in an FDIC-insured checking account.”

    That’s true, as far as it goes.
    – If it were sitting in a vault, that’d be deflationary, which would be bad.
    – If it were sitting in a checking or savings account, that would suggest it was being invested somewhere and generating a positive return. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but I think a lot of folks would get the willies if the Federal Government held $4T in stocks and corp bonds as a matter of course.

    Obviously, the Federal Government spends its FICA and Medicare tax receipts pretty much the moment it receives them. The non-marketable bonds are an IOU.

    If the Federal Government does its job well, its efforts (which cost money to perform) will continue to create an environment in which the private economy grows, which eventually provides the taxes to honor those IOUs without increasing the individual tax burden.

    If the Federal Government does a bad job, they’ll honor the IOUs via higher taxes and additional deficit spending.

Deliver Us From Blago

Friday, August 27, AD 2010

According to legend, the Vikings were so greatly feared by the people of northern Europe during the Dark Ages that they used to pray “From the fury of the Norsemen, Lord, deliver us!”

Of late, I suspect that many Illinois residents like myself are making a similar petition to be delivered from the fury of another force nearly as frightening.

I am speaking of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose trial on 24 separate federal corruption charges ended on Aug. 17 with the jury finding him guilty of just one charge — lying to federal agents — and deadlocking on the other 23. Federal prosecutors will retry Blago on at least some of the unresolved charges, but in the meantime, he has once again resumed his nationwide media blitz, protesting his innocence to anyone who will listen and making a complete idiot of himself in the process.

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5 Responses to Deliver Us From Blago

  • Bravo Elaine. Fitzgerald has dropped the charges against Blago’s brother which means that he can call the brother to the stand the next go round. That should be an amusing few days of direct examination!

  • My heavens, you know that Illinois is the Sucker State – that’s not a well-known nickname.

    It’s horrible to be an Illinoisan right now, and a Chicagoan. What terrible examples we have put into the public arena! We actually are nice people here.

  • From the perspective of an IL resident who will be going to college next year, talking about this issue at length with my friends has led the vast majority of us to decide to jump ship and leave the state as soon as possible, never coming back, more for our children’s well-being than ours. Given the unofficial motto, “I need a Zoloft,” and the state’s financial and ethical bankruptcy, claiming to be an economic or political refugee shouldn’t prove to be terribly difficult.

  • Jason, I do not blame you at all. If I were young and starting out, I think I would probably leave the state also, and that makes me very sad. Illinois was a great state once, and I hope it will be a great state again.

  • Ah, don’t despair folks. Somebody’s got to stick around and clean things up, right? And if Louisiana and New Jersey can get their act together, so can we… heck if Russia can be converted there’s still hope for us 🙂

    On the lighter side… I just went to see a local theater production of “Chicago: The Musical” and it’s actually funnier than ever because of the obvious parallels to recent events. Heck I could see a musical being made about the Blago case someday … oh wait, that’s already been done (Second City’s “Rod Blagojevich, Superstar!”).

Government Monopolies v. Competition

Friday, August 27, AD 2010

Another fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.   That government monopolies like the post office and public schools deliver inferior service at greatly inflated cost is as well established as any fact can be this side of Eternity.  The mystery to me is why we still keep making this fundamental mistake of assuming that a government monopoly is necessary rather than  looking into new measures to reach the goal sought.  The faith in government, especially on the political Left, is as charming in its naivety as it is irrational.

The last century was often a long sad failure to heed the warnings of Rudyard Kipling in his poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings.  I hope this century will not repeat this inability to learn some very simple lessons about the limits of  both government and wishful thinking.

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19 Responses to Government Monopolies v. Competition

  • That government monopolies like the post office and public schools deliver inferior service at greatly inflated cost is as well established as any fact can be this side of Eternity.

    I suppose that is why you and your Tea Party demanded government keep its hands off people’s Medicare.

  • That Obamacare is a dagger pointed at Medicare MZ is something that anyone with two brain cells to rub together could see. That Medicare is also bankrupt is obvious. Makes the prediction of this guy rather prescient:

  • I’m not a Tea Partier, nor do I wish the government to keep its hands off Medicare. Medicare is a government program and I wish they would do a better job of administering it.

    Even Obamacare isn’t a government monopoly. It may be bad or doomed to fail from the start (by design?) and lead to a government monopoly of health care, but it isn’t one as currently constituted.

  • What about government monopolies like the police, courts, and military?

  • In regard to courts restrainedradical, alternative dispute resolution is all the rage in Illinois to relieve crowded court dockets. Mediation with a private mediator is required in all cases involving kids.

    As to police, private security firms are booming because the police in most communities are unable to protect the citizenry.

    In regard to the military, that is one of the few areas in which a government monopoly is warranted, since Letters of Marque and Reprisal to private citizens are just not of much utility in modern warfare.

  • What wrong with private military companies like Blackwater?

  • Funny video. Difference between public and private schools is not the cost but the care of the parent(s) for their children. If you agree to pay for your child’s education in either time, homeschooling, or in tuition, private school, you are vested in the outcome. You care enough to get involved in more then just going to a sporting event that your child is taking part in.

    It is not about the money, it is about the family. So vouchers for terrible parents is a horrendous idea. Too bad you are so far off the mark, but keep the comedy coming. It is fun to watch general lies told by nice pretty people.

    How about next film you use the Joker from Batman? That would be more entertaining.

  • Too bad you are so far off the mark, but keep the comedy coming.

    What is truly funny Steve Zero are people who try to make excuses for truly rotten schools by blaming bad parents. Bad parents didn’t simply magically appear circa 1975, but somehow schools before that time often produced successful students who were cursed with bad parents. Family breakdown is a problem in our society but abysmal public schools do not help the situation.

  • By Steve’s reasoning people who can’t afford private schools or to have a parent staying home to teach are by default bad parents. Their children should be foresaken to the ghetto of piss-poor public schools. Not only is that wrong-headed, it’s sickening.

  • Steve,

    That’s a nice bit of water carrying for the Ruling Class – don’t pay any attention to non-government results! They don’t matter! Just keep shoveling money at the government, we promise we’ll get it right…and when is that new security gate going to be installed around the homes of the elite to keep the public school graduates out?

    The problem with public schools lies in the fact of their “free and compulsory” nature. Every parent should pay at least a nominal, direct fee for the education of their children – and should be allowed to send their child to whatever school they choose and will accept the child. No child should be compelled to attend school after about the 5th grade.

    Do that, and all education problems will resolve themselves.

  • Having dealt some with students in the public school, all the factors are relevant. Poor environments, over-worked or lazy parents, disinterested teachers, etc. There isn’t one magical factor that can turn around public schools; a foundational and gradual change is necessary.

  • I see it in terms of THEM feverishly foisting on US a command economy/central planning bureaucracy to allocate (ration) limited resources among relatively unlimited needs/desires.

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  • so vouchers for terrible parents are a horrendous idea

    SteveO, why not answer three questions to clarify your own thinking and our understanding of it.

    1. What proportion of parents are ‘terrible’?

    2. Why should the selections of non-terrible parents be constrained by the incapacities of the terrible parents?

    3. What criteria do you fancy ‘terrible’ parents will use to select schools?

    4. If the ‘terrible’ parents select for convenience of commuting, how does that leave the aggregate set of selections worse than it is now, given that people are compelled to make use of geographically proximate schools?

  • I suppose that is why you and your Tea Party demanded government keep its hands off people’s Medicare.

    Other than positing the Democratic Congressional caucus’ 1,000+ page bill will generate a state of the world worse than the one we now have, just who among those you usually tangle with says Medicare is untouchable?

  • Dodd, Frank, Obama, Pelosi, Reid must – commoin good – control the economy and install command economy/central planning because the majority are racists, christianist terrorists, or NASCAR-loving retards who are too stupid to know what’s good for them.

    Plus, once the people are reduced to an equal level of dependency and desperation (Obamacare prophecy: before 90% were well-insured; after 100% harmed by government-controlled health) and they are disarmed, it will be easier to control them.

  • T. Shaw,

    That sounds kooky. I will give you this, though. I have stopped believing Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz have been transparent about their aims and motives. Neither is an obscure figure in the economics profession. ‘Tis disconcerting.

  • I’m a kook. Sadly, I’m not alone.

    Krugman . . . I wonder what he calls the planet on which he lives.

  • Another attempt to help Steve0 think clearly.

    “If you agree to pay for your child’s education in either time, homeschooling, or in tuition, private school, you are vested in the outcome.”

    Many low-income (terrible?) parents cannot afford a significant financial investment in their child’s education.

    However, if they could CHOOSE the school where their child attends, then they could make an investment in that particular school that is much more valuable than money.

    They would have the opportunity to invest THEIR CHILD in that school. They will work hard to make sure that investment is successful.

What an Opportunity!

Thursday, August 26, AD 2010

Little did I know when I examined my office e-mails today that the path to fortune awaited:


My name is Carlos Lopez; I work with the Federal Ministry of works and housing here in Spain. I am under political Appointment with the present government in power

My aim of contacting you is to collaborate with me to transfer the sum of (9.5 Million Euros) Nine Million Five hundred thousand Euros into your personal bank account in your country of origin for investment purposes.  I am going to invest this money in your country through your assistance and help, whereby you are going to be my Invest Manager. Please when replying I want you to tell me the type of investment that will be encourage for us to invest so that we can talk about the conditions.

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5 Responses to What an Opportunity!

The United States Youngest Cardinal

Thursday, August 26, AD 2010

A Profile of Daniel DiNardo

by Jeff Ziegler

On June 17, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed “grave concern over the FDA’s current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an ‘emergency contraceptive.’ Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect — that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.”

Cardinal DiNardo expressed these concerns as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the latest in a line of responsibilities he has assumed in recent years. As recently as 1997, he was simply “Father Dan,” a 48-year-old Pittsburgh parish priest, before he was appointed coadjutor bishop of a small Iowa diocese. At the age of 54, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston, and at 58, Pope Benedict created him a cardinal — the first cardinal from a diocese in the South, and the youngest American cardinal since Cardinal Roger Mahony received his red hat in 1991.

Following the consistory of 2007, Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal DiNardo a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (2008) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (2009). In the fall of 2009, he assumed the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life efforts. He will take part in any conclave that occurs before his eightieth birthday in 2029 and appears destined to be one of the leading American ecclesial figures of the next two decades.

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9 Responses to The United States Youngest Cardinal

  • Cardinal DiNardo has been very supportive of the local Anglican Use parish.

    It would be nice if he was also a little more supportive of the Tridentine Rite as well. I don’t get the sense that he is particularly against it, but I also don’t get the impression he is promoting it either. We still only have the one Tridentine Mass per week in downtown Houston. I am unaware of any others in the diocese. Makes it difficult to cram all one million Houston-Galveston Catholics in the Cathedral.

    However, not being an insider to chancery goings on, it may be the resistance is at the parish level, and he does not think it is worth the political capital to push for it.

    On the whole, he seems to be doing a decent job.

  • My guess is that he’s so busy he can only utilize his time on certain things, hoping and praying the best for what he is unable to address such as making the Latin Mass more available.

    But I also agree with your assessment that there are some or many priests that refuse to celebrate the EF of the Latin Rite Mass.

  • Ugh. Must we call it the “EF”?

  • I prefer calling it the “Gregorian Rite Mass” myself, though not that many people may recognize it to mean the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Latin Rite Mass.

    Traditional Latin Mass may be more accurate, but I hear people calling the OF Mass the “Latin Mass” when celebrated in the Latin language, which adds more confusion.

  • Gregorian Rite Mass? A new Rite was not created. Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite is most accurate.

    As a former Houstonian, I wish Cardinal DiNardo the very best. He has a large, multi-cultural, unruly flock to shepherd, much the same as Pope Benedict has.

  • Certainly on the Cathedral, I think he did a fine job. We could have gotten an ugly monstrosity like they have in El Lay, but instead got a pretty nice one – it actually looks like a church rather than some government or multi-purpose building.

  • Living in Houston, I can say the good cardinal was strangly silent about the Pro-choice advocacy of Barack Hussein Obama in the last presidental election.

  • “Certainly on the Cathedral, I think he did a fine job. ”

    Actually, the co-cathedral is more retired Archbishop Fiorenza’s accomplishment than it is DiNardo’s.

  • Strike my last comment, that was uncharitable of me.

Proxy Morality: Advocacy and 'Solidarity'

Thursday, August 26, AD 2010

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post on how we sometimes impute excessive virtue to ourselves for being on the right side of historical conflicts, though a sort of proxy morality. I’d like to follow-up on the theme with the other area in which I think we often fall into a mentality of proxy morality: issue advocacy and solidarity with oppressed groups.

Let me start by trying to lay out a little bit more clearly what I think proxy morality is and why I think it is a danger to us. Proxy morality consists of drawing a strong sense of virtue or righteousness from identification with some cause or group. It is, I think, a dangerous tendency because it allows us to indulge in a great deal of pride and righteousness, while at the same time running of the risk of both excusing ourselves from taking any direct moral action in regards to the issues which we congratulate ourselves on due to proxy morality.

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9 Responses to Proxy Morality: Advocacy and 'Solidarity'

  • Bravo! I have always held political advocacy of the pro-life cause to be highly important. However, I have also thought such advocacy was never enough which is why I served as a Birthright Volunteer at the U of I and am in my tenth year as Chairman of the Board of the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Political involvement is never a substitute for personal help to those needing our, not someone else’s, assistance. All of this is something not to take pride in however. Most of us could do so much more. Helping others is merely to meet our minimal demands as followers of Christ. In regard to abortion this is especially true. “I do not believe it should be legal to kill unborn children in the womb.” This should be akin to saying, “I do not believe that cannibalism is a proper food choice.” In our decadent times we celebrate aspects of morality that even hardened sinners in earlier periods of the Christian era would have been aghast at trespassing.

  • I am in solidarity with the sentiments of this post. ;-).

  • Good post, and one I shall need to think about. I would only add that while simply supporting cause x is nothing, actually praying for that cause is an action that goes beyond “proxy morality” (as you are sacrificing time on their behalf). I imagine prayer allows Christians to be more involved in many issues more than just proxy solidarity.

  • I’ll just add that sometimes there appears (to me) to be a tension between the type of mentality best suited for advancing social change and a mentality focused on the development of individual virtue. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. was a tremendously successful advocate for his cause; but his personal life was far from exemplary, and many of his tactics (e.g. successfully targeting and goading extremists like Bull Connor into acting violently towards school children) are open to criticism.

    In a media-driven culture that focuses on the sensational, a measured, nuanced, and fair critique often attracts little attention, while a ridiculous simplification can often advance (or set back) a cause a great deal. It seems to me in many cases that there is a tension between being a good person and getting things done; and that (in addition to cynicism and discouragement) is the perennial temptation for those who are committed to larger causes. “The children of this world are wiser…” and all that. Proxy morality can occasionally be effective, and still be the enemy of virtue.

  • I know what you mean. I volunteered at a food bank this summer, and was surrounded by nothing but “progressive Democrats.” Come on, righties! Get out there and DO stuff!

  • Dobie,

    How old are you, now?

    I used to watch you on TV when I was a kid, in the 1950’s?

    I am gratified they’re taking time out from assisting at abortion clinics to feed people that got past the abortion factories.

  • Excellent post. At the same time, I wouldn’t hold it against people for doing nothing more than stating their positions. We have other responsibilities and limited resources.

  • Good post.

    casting a ballot or publicly agreeing with a political stance is something that typically costs us very little at a personal level

    That is true for me and for many others, but we should remember the enormous pressures which some are under. Think about the blacks who voted for McCain. That vote took a lot of guts and they were punished “at a personal level.”

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Prayers for Kmiec

Thursday, August 26, AD 2010

Although almost all of us here at TAC disagree with the direction Kmiec’s politics have taken of late, I think we are all saddened by the news that he was involved in a serious car accident on Wednesday. The article says he appears to be in good condition, but information is limited. Let us all pray that Kmiec is healed physically and spiritually from this accident.

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4 Responses to Prayers for Kmiec