Monthly Archives: August 2010

Government Monopolies v. Competition

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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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What an Opportunity!

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

Dear

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.

Continue reading

Enough is Enough: The Crusades & The Jihad Are Not Equivalents

by Joe Hargrave

One of the memes – the unconscious, uncritical, lazy thoughts that spreads from person to person like a virus – that has been particularly virulent during this ground-zero mosque controversy is that Christians have no standing to criticize the violence of Islam, given a supposedly violent Christian history. And no one event is more often invoked as an example of Christian hypocrisy than the so-called “Crusades” (so-called, because no one who fought in them called them that).

The latest and most appalling example appears in the NY Times, courtesy of a Nicholas D. Kristof. Among the many absurdities one can find in this column, including definitive claims as to the intentions and desires of Osama bin Laden, Kristof writes,

Remember also that historically, some of the most shocking brutality in the region was justified by the Bible, not the Koran. Crusaders massacred so many men, women and children in parts of Jerusalem that a Christian chronicler, Fulcher of Chartres, described an area ankle-deep in blood. While burning Jews alive, the crusaders sang, “Christ, We Adore Thee.”

What could be more logical, more pertinent, more relevant, than to invoke thousand-year old wartime excesses as proof that Christians have no grounds to criticize Islam?

Continue reading

The United States Youngest Cardinal

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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Proxy Morality: Advocacy and 'Solidarity'

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. Continue reading

Prayers for Kmiec

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.

Star Trek is For Kids

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The film was made by a group of kids in 1978.  The sad and sorry fact is that I saw worse acting and production values in some episodes of the original Trek.

The original cast was asked to comment:

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Tea Party Claims Another Scalp

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Pro-abort incumbent Lisa Murkowski, apparently was defeated in the Republican primary in Alaska for the US Senate nomination by Palin endorsed pro-life Joe Miller, a tea party activist.  This is the most stunning political upset thus far this season.  Miller was widely viewed as a sure loser going into election night, especially by the internet Journal Slate which began a story on Monday with this opening:  On Tuesday, in her home state, Sarah Palin’s favorite will probably get trounced. Joe Miller is widely expected to lose by a large margin to incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary—an embarrassing defeat for the former governor, who has endorsed Miller, but also to Miller’s other major backer, the Tea Party Express.  Go here to read this monument to far sighted political prognostication.

Real or Fake

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Economist Michelle Lee McAdoo regales the public with revelations that government spending is often wasted beyond our wildest nightmares.  Of course these outright crazy programs are merely the tip of a gigantic bloated government that is wasting our tax dollars hand over fist. Continue reading

Court Blocks Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

A bit of good news midst the gloom: A federal judge temporarily blocked the Obama administration Monday from using federal dollars to fund expanded human embryonic stem cell research (FoxNews.com).

Further analysis of the ruling from Adam Keiper and Yuval Levin @ National Review.

As expected, “stunned and disappointed” officials of the Obama administration have vowed to appeal.

Islamification & The Libertarians: The Dutch Quandary

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I’ve been trying to think of a good way to discuss a serious problem, which is the ongoing conflict between libertarians and conservatives in the United States over the proper response to the challenges as well as the threats posed by the Islamification of the West, which is well underway in Europe, has made inroads in Canada and Australia, and has not yet impacted the United States – at least until this ground-zero mosque controversy.

I follow the Campaign for Liberty’s updates on Facebook, and it is here that I witness some of the most troubling political conflict. There are many liberty-minded conservatives who follow C4L, who agree with its perspectives on many issues, but who become irate at the manner in which some C4L contributors address the issue of radical Islam (as well as illegal immigration, and the topics are not entirely unrelated). Conservatives are concerned, almost by definition, with cultural preservation and national security. Libertarians are quite naturally concerned with preserving liberty and treating everyone equally before the law. These concerns sometimes overlap, and sometimes diverge.

Though I agree with Ron Paul and other prominent libertarians on a number of issues, and even take their side on issues over which they typically disagree with conservatives, such as the war on drugs or even the “war on terror” – if by that is meant the occupation of foreign countries by American troops and the formation of an domestic police state – when it comes to the challenges posed to the West by radical Islam, many of them are, to use the most accurate and charitable word possible, naive.

Read the rest here.

Over the Transom

Here at American Catholic we sometimes receive unsolicited material.  Most of it we ignore.  However, there occasionally comes across an item that we think our readers might find interesting.  Since blog parodies are all the rage, I guess that is whatever motivated whoever did this.  I honestly have no clue who put this together, but I think I would hate to be in their satirical cross-hairs.  At any rate go here to view a parody of a blog that is teaching a new participant the rules of the blog.

The Best Candidate for Congress You've Never Heard Of

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Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Every election there are candidates running for Congress who are decided underdogs in their races, but who would make superb representatives if they can pull off an upset.  My personal favorite this cycle is Teresa Collett running in Minnesota 4.  She has an uphill fight.  In 2008 the pro-abort incumbent, Betty McCollum, won by 37 points.  However, Ms. Collett is running a feisty campaign and I believe she is beginning to gain some traction.

She is a professor of law at the University of Saint Thomas.  She has a distinguished history of pro-life activism: Continue reading

At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

Marian apparitions have always been a sign of God’s love. It truly is one of His greatest graces, which physically shows us the Blessed Mother along with her love, words of encouragement and warnings about the world in which we live. Sometimes the Church Militant heeds her call, but sadly often it doesn’t. This article will only cover a handful of Church approved apparitions (this can be a little tricky, more on this later,) but what it will show is that often the Blessed Mother appears in lands that have experienced great suffering with often more suffering to follow. Her message to bring the world closer to her Son and live according to Jesus’ teachings is one of God’s greatest graces, something that is often met with violent, evil attacks. The miraculous events surrounding her appearances often take place in the presense of great vistas; a window of sorts into God’s loving handiwork. The said could be said about Jesus at The Transfiguration and the Sermon on the Mount.

Something to keep in mind before we begin; during the early days of the Church investigative bodies were the last thing the Church was worried about at a time when the Church was trying to literally stay alive during an array of persecutions. Following the Protestant Reformation, a more detailed structure emerged for investigating appartions. They often took a long time to investigate in order to prevent any hoaxes. Most reported modern day apparitions are not approved. In the 20th Century only 8 of the 300+ reported apparitions were approved. This link from the University of Dayton, a Marianist institution, which houses the largest collection of Marian Apparitions, might be a helpful.

The year was 1300. Though parts of Spain remained under Islamic control, a liberated area, near the Guadalupe River would reveal an amazing find. A cow herder named Gil Cordero would be told by the Blessed Mother to dig, and there he would find holy treasure. Though laughed at by his fellow villagers, his faithful dig yielded a secret burial vault that would house many relics including that of a lifelike carving of the Blessed Mother. It was said to be carved by St Luke and transported to Spain in the sixth century by Bishop Leander, a relative of Pope Gregory the Great.

The vault had been placed there as Islamic armies were making their way to Spain.  The lifelike carving, which still exists today, was said to have been processed through the streets of Rome around the year 590 AD, at the direction of Pope Gregory the Great. He had been given the famous carving while he was Papal Legate in Constantinople.

The famous pontiff had ordered this procession during a terrible plague and famine that had engulfed the city, some one hundred and fifty years after the Roman Empire had collapsed.  As the procession ended, the assembled crowd saw the Archangel St Michael sheathing his sword, signifying that the famine and plague were over. (One can still see the statue of the Archangel St Michael atop the Castel Sant Angelo which commemorates this momentous event.)  The carved statue of the Blessed Mother was then sent to Spain where it remains today, seemingly unscathed after spending years underground during the Muslim conquest.

Years later a young Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus would come to pray at this now famous shrine. He was at the end of his financial rope in seeking backing for a “new way to India.” Soon after his prayer, he was granted an audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and the rest is history. Few know about this religious side of Columbus. Even fewer know that when he first caught sight of what would be known as the Americas, he had minutes before ordered his crew to pray the Rosary. In gratitude, he named one of the islands he discovered for the site at which his prayers were answered back in Spain, the isle now known as Guadeloupe. Continue reading

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