Well Now I'm Convinced

Monday, October 18, AD 2010

You know, it looks like I might have to change my mind on gay marriage.  I’ve been opposed to the concept for some time, but this video has completely changed my mind thanks to its persuasive logic.  WARNING: Extremely not safe for work or probably your own house language at this video.  Do not click on this link if you do not tolerate cussing, because there’s a lot of it.

The video, for those that didn’t feel like clicking over and having their audio canals violated, was essentially a bunch of really peeved off gay marriage advocates engaging in a collective primal scream.  The long and short of it is that gay marriage opponents are bleeping hypocrites because Rush bleeping Limbaugh has been married four bleeping times, and also because we don’t bleeping oppose no fault bleeping divorce, and bleep bleep bleep we’re just a bunch of bleeping bleeps.

Yeah.

I have to say that this video does hammer home one thing for me: the most convincing opponents of gay marriage are gay marriage supporters.

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39 Responses to Well Now I'm Convinced

  • All that being said, we would probably look less hypocritical if everyone could get on board with the universal sanctity of marriage – i.e., no divorce, etc. Kind of in the same way as pro-lifers might be more convincing if some here-unnamed idiots didn’t advocate a “life-is-sacred-except-for-rape-and-incest” perspective.

  • That’s the thing. I think for most of us in these parts, we’d have no problem with laws eliminating or at least making it more difficult to obtain no fault divorce.

  • No doubt. I just don’t think that’s typical of the most vociferous and visible elements of the group. Same as the fab fascists we see on the other side…I actually know people on the other side who you’d not only not specifically peg as gay, but who won’t even share their opinions with you unless they’re comfortable with you personally. I think I get better traction with those people precisely because there’s not nearly as much screaming.

    I just think everybody would be better off if the loud people on every side of a controversy were flatly and roundly ignored.

  • we’d have no problem with laws eliminating or at least making it more difficult to obtain no fault divorce.

    I think you mean ‘eliminate no-fault divorce’ and ‘make it more difficult to obtain a divorce’.

  • Art,

    Correct. That was quite the awful sentence construction on my part.

  • Homosexuals already have the exact same equal right to marriage as heterosexuals or anybody else in America and yes, so-called “no-fault” divorces need to go.

  • How dare they be angry about not being allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals! How horrible of them to scream when the majority won’t let them get married!

  • Yes, another convincing argument from the pro-gay marriage crowd. Thanks, NAS.

  • By no means was it an argument. Rather an attempt to elucidate your point…that because they yell and scream, they must be wrong? Or if they yell and scream we should be against them?

  • No, I’m just simply pointing out how moronic and foolish they sound. Nothing more profound than that.

  • How dare they be angry about not being allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals!

    A few years back a friend of mine was hospitalized for about a month while he was being treated for cancer. I visited him often and never had a problem; no one ever told me I couldn’t be there or asked if we were married.

  • How dare they be angry about not being allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals!

    Restrictions on visitors are characteristic only of intensive care units.

  • I think the (rare) examples of the hospital scenario are drawn from instances where blood relations (say parents) specifically ask that a gay partner be excluded from visiting the loved one in hospital. Obviously, this suggests a pretty high level of family strife to start with, nor is such behavior relegated only to gay relationships, there are plenty of cases where blood relations hate a straight boyfriend/girlfriend.

    I suppose marriage would help with this to an extent, but it’s a very outlier circumstance for there to be such nasty family in-fighting going on in a hospital in the first place. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are also other ways to achieve a similar effect, if people are that committed to fighting it out.

  • Couldn’t the hospital/treatment decision situation be dealt with simply by drawing up a health care power of attorney designating the partner as the decision maker and granting them specific permission for visitation in ICU, etc.? Of course that would require some advance planning, which may not be of help if a medical crisis has already occurred.

    Is there really anything, other than perhaps adoption, that gay couples could not ALREADY legally do the same as traditional couples if they simply got an attorney to draw up the proper papers for them?

  • Elaine,

    It is my understanding that it is not so simple. Sometimes such things are not honored. If I were not so limited in time here, I would give a more thorough response — I would just recommend ‘googling’ it to get a more detailed perspective.

    More generally, a comment or two here — in my view — reflects a deficit of empathy for gays in conservative Catholic circles. I can’t say that I’m not glad that I am indefinitely done with blogging.

  • “… was essentially a bunch of really peeved off gay marriage advocates engaging in a collective primal scream.”

    I couldn’t help but notice the exploitation of minors in the video. Why, yes, my elementary school child can say “f***” — what an stunning endorsement for gay marriage.

  • More generally, a comment or two here — in my view — reflects a deficit of empathy for gays in conservative Catholic circles. I can’t say that I’m not glad that I am indefinitely done with blogging.

    Instead of taking passive aggressive shots, why don’t you point out what comments show a lack of empathy for gays?

  • I somehow don’t imagine it would be worth arguing with you — nor any good for the endurance of my faith-life.

  • No, better to lob allegations and then play the moral superiority card when called on it rather than justifying what you’ve said.

  • If you insist; pray for me then.

  • If such agreements are not honored, then that is a matter readily solved by legislation. Rather than lobbying to change the law on marriage, why not lobby to change the law on hospital visitation? I imagine that they would be more successful at that.

    But then, securing rights is not the real agenda – securing approval is.

  • Once they regularize men marrying men and women marrying women: they will necessarily recognize three men marry each other, right? Not to mention: calves and sheep . . .

    “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” — Abraham Lincoln

    Who knows the first commandment? Hint: it is in Genesis. The vast majority do not keep it.

  • “Not to mention: calves and sheep . . .”

    Because all of a sudden, calves and sheep will have become US citizens?

  • “Because all of a sudden, calves and sheep will have become US citizens?”

    Because all of a sudden, only US citizens have the legal right to marry in the US?

    Also amen to the thesis of T. Shaw. If it’s legal rights they want, I’ll hop on the train. If it’s religious approbation they want, I’m jumping off before the next town.

  • “Because all of a sudden, only US citizens have the legal right to marry in the US?”

    If I remember correctly, they have to be citizens or planning on becoming citizens.

    And there’s also this thing called ‘consent’ which, unless the laws have been suddenly altered completely, animals cannot give. The “then they’ll be marrying animals” argument is absolutely ridiculous. Unless you happen to believe homosexuals aren’t human.

  • The homosexual folks I know certainly look human. And no, your recollection is incorrect. I have a close friend who married a resident alien who has no intention as of this moment of becoming a US citizen. I also work with a woman who is not a US citizen and who is legally married to a US citizen.

    Further, if we follow your supposition to it’s conclusion, then that would mean that no aliens residing in the US who may have been legally married in their country of origin – say, e.g., Italy – would be considered legally married in the US until an “American wedding” takes place. I reserve the right to be wrong on this, but I’m fairly confident that this is an absurd proposition.

  • “But then, securing rights is not the real agenda – securing approval is.”

    We live in a world were “rights” are highly disputed, even among people who believe in the natural law.

    I’d make a distinction that gays want acceptance, not necessarily approval. Even without the distinction, your point implicitly points to the larger, ignored problem — why do gays feel, as persons, unapproved of or unaccepted? This is where Christians have failed us.

  • Regarding the Rush Limbaugh comment:

    Jesus said: Moses only gave you certficates of divorce because of the hardness of your hearts, in the beginning, it was not so.

    Divorce courts were not always built with revolving doors in this country. So, just because we got mowed over by *that* crusade, we should allow ourselves to surrender to yet another war? How does that make sense?

  • The only reason a government has anything to say about marriage is because it is where it’s future citizens will come from. Because, by it’s nature, it is a sterile relationship a government has no reason at all to institutionalize a same sex relationship.
    Government has to promote stability for marriage. Divorce does violence to this stability. So we must work to end divorce, not compound the governments mistakes by sanctioning same sex marriage.

  • why do gays feel, as persons, unapproved of or unaccepted? This is where Christians have failed us.

    Only gays can answer that question. It seems Christians have been rather quite accepting of them as persons, while not approving of the conduct. If they feel unaccepted as persons because their conduct is not approved, I don’t know what to tell them. Divorcees probably feel the same way, but why should I abandon my morality so you feel more “accepted”? I have no need to be rude about disapproval (whether to the divocree or the SSAed), but I am not going to pretend to approve the conduct either.

  • Amusing in the video are the pre-pubescent kids who use the vulgarity for copulation, and have no idea what it means.

  • Eric Brown,

    How can a Christian approve a homosexual relationship? As a Christian, I can tolerate it – after all, I’ve my own sins to deal with and it isn’t for me to remove the mote from a gay man’s eye – but I can’t approve of it, nor accept that someone who is living in a gay relationship is doing something other than wrong.

  • Mark,

    I do not think that Eric is asking you to approve of homosexual relationships.

  • It seems Christians have been rather quite accepting of them as persons, while not approving of the conduct.

    This is the ideal. I don’t think it has always been lived out well in practice.

  • c matt,

    Do you honestly think this? Forgive me, but I sincerely find this response—so typical in conservative Catholic circles—to be pathetic, awfully disingenuous, and very delusional.

    The cavalier way in which you frame your answer, which seems to suggest that Christians have been virtually blameless in loving gay people — “accepting” them as much as possible, “while not approving” their sexual conduct is very disconcerting. In fact, this reading of your carelessly presented perception is given credence by the subsequent remark: “If they [gay people] feel unaccepted as persons because their conduct is not approved, I don’t know what to tell them.”

    It is almost as if you are suggesting that gays are the only ones at fault here — which I presume is not what you intended to say. To put it crudely, it reads as if you are saying this: Look, we love you, we accept you, we respect your rights and dignity as much as the moral law requires. If you do not feel loved and accepted, even as we do all of this, I do not know what to tell you. Maybe you should get over it? This perception stands on the edifice of a single presumption: that Christians love gays and the rise of the gay rights movement and its nihilistic “agenda” of acceptance in our culture is just baffling and perplexing. I think such a view is untenable.

    Since you said only a gay person can answer the question I initially raised (of why gays might feel unaccepted or unapproved of), I’ll answer it then. There are two things that I wish to point out, considering this from a different perspective:

    One. To experience the human condition attracted to persons of the same-sex is obviously to experience it differently. In terms of social dynamics, the lived gay experience is one of being bad. The subject of homosexuality is often avoided, discussed in hushed tones or with great hostility. More often than not, the whole subject and experience is reduced to genital acts. The problem is that sexuality is not just about sex, regardless of orientation, it is an integral part of human personality — a center-point, from which we develop self-understanding and a determining point in how we relate to others and the world.

    Flowing from such antipathy is social silence on the subject because it is, allegedly, preferable to the great antagonism in discussing it. Gay persons experience this phenomenon for great portions of their lives in silence and in secrecy. Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Whatever interior destruction or psychological trauma this may cause, all that matters is that the greater society is uncomfortable with or unwilling to address homosexuality. Keep it to yourself. Become two people, live in two worlds — subscribe to a pattern of behavior, cerebrally constructed, to mask any external manifestations of internal homosexual desires. Show us one face, live with the other. Why share it? The consequent gay jokes are unbearable anyway.

    Not surprisingly, the gay experience involves a profound sense of loneliness. Years are spent withholding a truth — and that secret begins to haunt you and becomes a focal point in one’s life. And this creates an unbearable rift in the most profound and closest of friendships because the “you” that everyone knows is a façade. The greatest difficulty for gay people — the greatest desire for those who come out of the closet is intimacy, self-disclosure, acceptance, and love because the overwhelming sentiment is that one has gone through life fundamentally deprived, in a unique way, of these things. And this sense of loneliness is the breeding ground for dysfunctional lifestyles, compulsive behavior, depression, and even suicide.

    This is why gays, in general, have a predisposition toward modernist conceptions of “freedom” — freedom from, say, religious expression confined to “unwelcoming communities” of organized religion, freedom from rigid definitions of gender roles and conceptualizations of masculinity and femininity, which to the minds of many is the only way for gays to achieve recognition and acceptance — the only way to not live a fragmented, broken life. Thus, the heart of the gay rights movement and its subsequent “agenda” is a unique bond, built on a shared experience of loneliness and isolation, which brings gays together in a somewhat nihilistic movement for self-affirmation.

    I do not believe that gay subcultures exist for the purpose of luring people into a certain way of living. They exist as safe havens for gays who have lived silent and rejected in a heterosexual world. Some families (like mine) react terribly to such revelations and some (again from personal experience) totally disown you. The principal motivation is not some in-built perversion but seeking intimacy, companionship, and the embrace of those who love you for who you are, without reducing your whole person to your sexual orientation. It is to be surrounded by people who realize that “coming out” of the closet is not a once in a life time act, but a daily task. One must prudently discern whether this or that occasion calls for revealing one’s sexual orientation because it almost always bears some sort of risk — of alienation, rejection, misunderstanding, violence, an ill-effect on some sort of a relationship, or some other consequence. For example, just last week in a conversation with two classmates (both ignorant of the fact that I am gay) one said that she “could not understand why people are like that” [i.e. gay], followed by a shudder of disgust at the idea of it. I was faced with the question, as I have been countless times before in similar situations, of whether it is prudent or necessary to “come out.” A lifetime of experiencing such a scenario, I think, illuminates why many gays when they “live openly” over identify with their sexual orientation — “being themselves” is to express the part of their “self” which was always held back.

    It is for these reasons that the grossly oversimplified and generalized “gay lifestyle” is arguably the result of such social dynamics; that is to say, the positive correlation, in many circumstances, with anonymous sexual encounters, constant living in club scenes, drugs, sexual deviancy, and an over-identification with one’s sexual orientation with homosexuality is the fruit of a common experience—it is an incorrect way of seeking true, healthy intimacy and companionship, it is a vicious response to a lifetime of internalizing silence and negative messages, of conditioning one’s self not to accept and recognize a truth about one’s self. What we see then in the sometimes exaggerated presentations of the “gay lifestyle” is the fruit of the worst kind of sin and oppression: self-deception: a way of living, borne of all the aforementioned, that opens the door to spiraling moral compromise that involves a constant need of approval from others—because it has been lacking for so long—and one might do, literally, anything to gain that approval.

    Quite obviously, I do not find such things, these patterns of behavior to be intrinsic to homosexuality—thus, they can be changed.

    Two. Failure to address this problem adequately is a major moral failure of Christians. The Catholic Church herself is facing an extraordinary deficit of commitment according to her own teachings and standards on this issue.

    In the United States there is church ministry in less than half of all Catholic dioceses in this country to homosexual persons and in each diocese that does offer such a ministry, no more than one parish does so. One has to search in vain, going through several obstacles to get into contact with anyone who knows anything about such a ministry. There is a chance too that the chapter is no longer active or is grossly under-funded. If it is active the meeting times (which tend to be once a week) may be inconvenient and one is virtually out of luck unless one can find a priest for one-on-one pastoral counseling. Though not all priests are trained for such pastoral care—I had a personal experience with a priest that was an unmitigated nightmare; I was scandalized by the lack of pastoral sensitivity and the impatience of this particular priest. While I do not think this is a widespread problem (i.e. insensitive priests), the problem extends well beyond the episode I am citing.

    The clergy has done a terrible job ministering to homosexuals. I cannot see how anyone can deny this pastoral nightmare. I cannot see how things are getting better when the problem is universal scope, reinforced by other structural problems, and is not addressed (to my knowledge) to a sufficient extent in priestly formation outside of knowing doctrines. In my experience, priests simply do not know what to say to a homosexual Catholic. I have been counseled before “not to focus on that problem” as if it is either possible or practical to ignore such an over-riding, deeply felt reality that has such far-reaching implications for one’s life—and I do not call into question the good intentions of any priest sincerely wishing to help.

    Gay Catholics find themselves with a tremendous cross, usually finding themselves victim to serious personal incoherence from hiding their sexuality, of clothing themselves with falsehoods to conform to societal standards, confused and hurt by the ambiguities of statements such as “the sin of homosexuality” and the heated disposition of public discourse over homosexual people, their rights, and place in society, is not given its proper consideration, in practice, when dealing sensitively with Catholics who are attracted to people of the same-sex. Without saying it, it is almost as if gays themselves are the problem. The issue is never framed or approached in positive pastoral terms. I do not even see how it can be at this point without substantial changes in other areas.

    Given such a problem and the aforementioned experience of gays (which is obviously my personal perceptions), I find the conservative Catholic to be perplexing. I am not sure that a gay person with an experience anywhere near to what I have described, who has established an incredible bond with another person, often reinforced in its strength by the desperate desire of gays to love will come to a crashing halt after a conversation about the Christian understanding of the ontological difference of men and women and the complementarily of the sexes. I think it would be naïve to think otherwise.

    The crusading lay Catholics defending the Church from internal dissent on the issue of homosexuality and defending the sanctity of marriage (or what is left of it) in our culture no matter the intrinsic goodness of such activities are working toward a band-aid solution, a façade unity or a sort of “Pleasantville.” This is all such activities can be without confronting their root causes, which very few seem interested in. I cannot gather such a desire from those who view those so-called “homosexualists” as vicious, demonic people out to destroy society and “get” our children rather than hurt, confused souls who need to be led from the grip of the real enemy into the loving arms of the Body of Christ.

    The vocation of celibacy is a difficult one and it can only be achieved through a deep sense of self, through spirituality, and through a support system. Celibacy is impossible without adequate resources. From what I can see, conservative Catholics are content to drop the moral standard, hard and heavy, while remaining unconcerned regarding the scant resources. Are we not our brother’s keepers?

    It seems that gay Catholics hardly get the support they need and deserve from their own. We have an obligation to build a just and moral society, which does not include legal same-sex marriage. Yet there remains a deep-seated hypocrisy in the way Catholics and other Christians make extraordinary demands—like the Pharisees placing “heavy burdens”—on gays in our society on the basis of “loving” them, yet the terrible lack of effort—like the Pharisees again, not themselves “lifting a finger”—in offering support and accommodation in a Catholic moral framework is very disheartening. It is simple to critique the moral inadequacy of society, as we all know, but it is another thing to consider how much we contribute to and perpetuate that inadequacy.

    It is for these (and other) reasons that I think that collectively conservative Catholics are suffering from a sinful lack of empathy and a lack of credibility. I am not how sure how most truly imagine how gays should react to them when they do not even love and support their own adequately. It is nothing other than Pharisaic hypocrisy even if it is done, by technicality, in the name of righteousness. This is the heart of why I think conservative Catholics find themselves constantly frustrated and frustrating in particular on this issue. It is the reason why we are all upset by so many things—we want the moral standard without any burden on ourselves, without a change in the way we live and think, and without any obligations that make us go us out of the way for our neighbors.

    By the standards suggested in the above comment, the operative definition of “accept” seems to be “merely tolerate.” We Christians are called to love and love does not merely tolerate—love is active and transformative. You do not know what to tell gays who feel unaccepted. True as it may be (and I do not think it is something to be regarded as sinful), seeking to empathize may be a good place to start. Simply saying Christians “accept” gays sufficiently enough without accepting homoerotic sex conduct (given faith’s track record on this), and if gays do not feel accepted, you do not know what to say is, in my view, not only caustic and simple, it is offensive.

  • At a certain point, we have to leave people to the fate they choose for themselves. We cannot force gays such as the ones who made this video to understand that they are loved in spite of our moral condemnation of homosexual acts. We cannot force our love upon those who do not want it.

    Push has come to shove, and lines are being drawn. What I see emanating out of the partisans of a very real, no not imagined gay political agenda is rabid hatred. Perhaps it was provoked, and perhaps much of it simply comes from their own pride, the audacity that they believe the Church has to condemn their idea of what it means to be happy or fulfilled.

    But I do agree with what Edward Feser recently argued; that conservatives who do not begin taking a hard line on divorce, fornication, contraception, and other sexual sins cannot be taken seriously on gay marriage. I take such a hard line myself. I do not hold heterosexuals to a different or lower standard.

    It’s the same deal with feminism, with abortion. Men are as responsible as women for abortion; but they are rarely the focus of the discussion. This is the fault of both sides, one out of neglect, and the other because they know that to highlight the role of men is to reduce abortion as a “women’s issue”, as having to do with “women’s rights.” The point is, men must be held to a higher standard, and so must the “straight” Christian and/or conservative.

  • I’d like to point out here a remark made by N. T. Wright. Tolerance is an enligtenment virtue. Love is what Christians are called to do. And he went on to describe the difference in these terms: If one sees another person standing on the other side of a room and they wave at each other with a plastic smile, that’s tolerance. Love, on the other hand, requires you to interact and get involved. They are really two quite different things. In society today we highly value tolerance—yet we lack love.

  • So I think what we have today are a lot of people saying it’s OK to be gay, but we’re not so get over there. And they hold them at a distance, as opposed to embracing the person even if their behavior is less than civilized.

Mildred Fay Jefferson, Requiescat In Pace

Monday, October 18, AD 2010

Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson, tireless crusader for the unborn, died on Saturday October 16, 2010 at age 84.  Born in Carthage, Texas in 1927, she overcame all the disadvantages of being black in the Jim Crow South to be the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951 and, additionally, the first female surgeon to graduate from that school.   She was professor of surgery at Boston University.  After Roe she helped found the National Right to Life Committee and was President of the Committee for three terms.  She never ceased to speak out for the unborn.

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3 Responses to Mildred Fay Jefferson, Requiescat In Pace

  • Pingback: Mildred Fay Jefferson, Requiescat In Pace : The American Catholic « Deacon John's Space
  • Dr. Mildred Jefferson was a constant inspiration to me both before and after I became National Director of Priests for Life. In recent years, I especially enjoyed talking with her about the history of the movement and the strategies for the future. She always spoke about the movement with a fresh enthusiasm, vision, and readiness to carry out the work. She did not carry her many years of service as a burden, but as a source of strength! May we all drink of that same spirit!

    Moreover, her passing should remind us of our duty to reflect on and record the history of our movement, and pass it on to the younger generations of pro-life activists. Those who have brought the pro-life movement to where it is now will not be with us forever, and their wisdom is a treasure which we should explore while we still have the opportunity to do so.

  • Quite right Father. A history of the pro-life movement by pro-lifers is needed, as giants like Dr. Jefferson pass from the scene.

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

Sunday, October 17, AD 2010

The  fifth 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,  here the Pierced Vermin , here the F-Bomb Vermin and here the Texting Vermin.  The fifth of the Hamsters is the Trashy Vermin.

I grew up in a blue collar family in which money was never plentiful.  ( I loved the old Jackie Gleason show The Honeymooners.  It was a howlingly funny show and they were more broke than we were.)   However, my parents always found money in our budget to make sure that all of us had good clothes to wear for Church and special occasions.  “Good clothes” meant a suit and tie for Dad, a nice dress for Mom, and sports jackets and ties for myself and my brother.  Now I know those of you born after 1980 will find this hard to credit, but we were not uncommon in that regard.  At Mass virtually every one was dressed that way.  (I still dress that way, and it is uncommon enough today that a visiting priest brought how I was dressed to my attention as I entered Church with my family a few weeks ago.)  Evidence of this is clear in the movies from the period.  For example, we have the film Blackboard Jungle (1955), which at the time was thought to be a shocking look at juvenile delinquency.

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

  • “I was going to say something in this category about the distaff offenses against aesthetics, but my survival instinct has just kicked in”

    As regards offenses against modesty, I touched on that in a previous post on “The Third Rail of the Catholic Blogosphere”. With regard to simple sloppiness, however, the most annoying and baffling trend I have seen is women wearing what appear to be pajama bottoms and plastic clog shoes in public. I would hesistate to go to my mailbox dressed like that, but some women go shopping, pick up their kids from school, etc. so attired.

  • Just so. In my little mission (happily full every Sunday) only two men wear coats and ties. In a too-informal age I suppose slacks and a nice shirt would be acceptable, but not shorts and tees and rotting tattoos.

  • O tempora o mores! – Cicero

  • The public high school where I teach has a dress code, so the students look nice (however, no ties or jackets).

    But, I do occassionally – two or three times per year – bring up how students dress outside of school. I bring them from the “Blackboard Jungle” days to the present, showing them the trend.

    Then, I ask what – if the seemingly unstoppable trend continues – will their children wear.

    There is always a pause for reflection, and the students understand the point that I’m making. Many of them even agree. However, few (none?) want to make personal changes to try to reverse the trend.

  • I am going to make an unconscionable statement: For the life of me, I can’t understand why people are facsinated with how others dress. No, I don’t mean that modesty in dress is no concern, nor that those Communist propagandist Che and Mao depictions don’t make me want to spank the punks that wear them; It’s just, what is the moral implication of wearing sweats in public? Granted, a church requires attention to appearance, so that we may show God our reverence, but what’s the problem if I go to the market ill-shaven and with unkempt hair? I cannot beleive that God really cares if I wear plaid and stripes, or if my socks match.

  • “I cannot beleive that God really cares if I wear plaid and stripes, or if my socks match.”

    Considering that He marks the sparrow’s fall Ike, I have never been comfortable predicting what God cares about or does not care about. Reasonable concern for one’s personal appearance is a sign often as to whether a person is just as neat or slovenly in other areas of life. It doesn’t always work that way, but I’d say it is usally a fair assumption. Neurotic concern about one’s appearance is taking things too far in the other direction.

  • I cannot beleive that God really cares if I wear plaid and stripes, or if my socks match.

    “Thou shalt not wear white after Labor Day, nor stripes with plaid, nor mismatched socks with our without sandals; for to do these things would bring shame upon yourself and your family.”

    Leviticus, page 129.

    😀

  • “I used to care about what I wore to church or wherever. That was before I had a completely incontinent unable-to-walk messy-eater father with dementia to care for alone.”

    Your dilemma, plus that of the family with young children still in diapers, are one of the reasons why I personally do not believe the “dress for church as you would if you were going to meet the pope/queen/president/etc.” standard should be strictly enforced on everyone. Modest and non-distracting dress, yes; but not 100 percent insistence on Sunday best.

    While the sentiment behind it is laudable and I admire anyone who chooses to and can adhere to it, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect it of everyone for two reasons:

    1. For most people other than celebrities and heads of state, meeting a pope, queen, president, etc. would be a once-in-a-lifetime event, while Sunday Mass is not.

    2. One does not normally have to bring infants, screaming hyperactive toddlers, sullen teenagers, or (in EMS’ case) elderly parents with dementia to an audience with a head of state AND keep them clean, changed, supervised and under control for 45-60 minutes at a stretch.

  • The rant is still good! Thanks.

    As Roger Scruton would put it:

    “Much that is said about beauty and its importance in our lives ignores the minimal beauty of an unpretentious street, a nice pair of shoes or a tasteful piece of wrapping paper, as though those things belonged to a different order of value from a church by Bramante or a Shakespeare sonnet. Yet these minimal beauties are far more important to our daily lives, and far more intricately involved in our own rational decisions, than the great works of art which (if we are lucky) occupy our leisure hours. They are part of the context in which we live our lives, and our desire for harmony, fittingness and civility is both expressed and confirmed in them. Moreover, the great works of architecture often depend for their beauty on the humble context that these lesser beauties provide.”

  • A secondary puzzlement: how do you go about dressing yourself, in general, as a Christian, this day and age? I mean, you have to dress decently, but not too nice, because that’s vain, and not too fashionably, because that means you’re paying too much attention like the gentiles do, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, because that’s stealing from the needy, but in order not to spend too much money and still look reasonably sharp, you have to pay enough attention to catch the good sales, and not just buy what you need when you need it, because spending more on clothes than necessary is stealing from the needy, unless your time really is so valuable that paying any attention to sales is a criminal waste of it, and then there’s the trial-and-error of dressing yourself, which means mistakes will be made, but is that wasting money, or is it okay to experiment because mistakes are given away in charity, and speaking of giving away clothes, is it more charitable to give away clothes while they are still in good shape and passably fashionable, or is it better to hang on to your closet like a terrier with a dead rat, which saves money which then can be diverted to other charitable causes, but also reduces the reusable aspects of a wardrobe down the road.

    But, on topic, my dad’s jeans look just like those $400 paint-spattered, grease-marked, dirty-rinsed, torn, patched, and re-torn jeans marketed to college kids, and he seems to feel no more compunction about wearing them out and and about than the youngsterlings do. How can you win this battle when you’re bookended by custom-destroyed jeans on the (hapless quasi-rebel) kiddies and honestly-destroyed jeans on the (upright conservative) septuagenarians? Sheesh.

  • “How can you win this battle when you’re bookended by custom-destroyed jeans on the (hapless quasi-rebel) kiddies and honestly-destroyed jeans on the (upright conservative) septuagenarians? Sheesh.”

    My Mom, God rest her soul, used to stop my brother and me from appearing in public in hideous garb with the command, “You are not going out in public like that!” As for my Dad, she would throw out his clothes when she determined they had reached the rag stage, and were no longer fit to be seen around the house. My Dad knew better than to dispute my Mom in this area, where she was the benevolent dictatrix of our household.

  • Offensive slogans on shirts? I remember a time when any slogans, corporate logos, et cetera on shirts would be looked down upon. The old line was “You paid for those clothes? Nike should be paying you to walk around like a billboard.”

    To EMS, I understand. I often attend 5pm Mass, where the average outfit is far more casual than I’d wear, but I wouldn’t judge the people so attired. Many people are there because the day didn’t go as planned. Moms with newborns, teenagers on their way home from a shift at McDonald’s, and people in your situation can all be reasonably exempt from the rules of fashion.

  • As for immodest clothing, well, I think that’s just fantastic. I shouldn’t, and in a work or worship setting I recognize that it’s inappropriate, but I’m just not inclined to get upset over it.

  • I wish somebody would start talking about “tattooed vermin” in my immediate physical presence, or that of many men I served with in the military. That would be funny.

  • Not half as funny as the Marine I know who has “ghost” tattooes of the names of five former girlfriends visible on his chest. As he explained to me, “Don, it is curious what can seem like a good idea at the time when you are drunk.”

  • No, I actually I think it would be at least as funny as that.

    But I find perverse humor in smug, judgmental jackasses being physically assaulted, so maybe it’s just me.

  • It’s just you Linus. What I really find hilarious is banning jackasses who threaten me with physical assault. Have fun making jokes at other websites Linus since you are now banned at this one.

  • “My Dad knew better than to dispute my Mom in this area, where she was the benevolent dictatrix of our household.”

    Thank God for Moms! (She gets the jeans, and I grab the matches…)

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Conquest

Saturday, October 16, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  Conquest theme from the 1947 film Captain From Castile.  As all University of Southern California alums know, the work was composed by Alfred Newman who bequeathed all rights in the work to the University to play at football games.

The movie Captain From Castile, based on the novel of the same name by Samuel Shellenbarger, is quite worth watching.  Tyrone Power plays Pedro de Vargas, a nobleman on the run from the inquisition who becomes one of Hernan Cortez’ captains.  Cortez is portrayed by Caesar Romero who steals every scene he is in.  He captures Cortez perfectly:  larger than life, endlessly innovative, always optimistic no matter the challenge, and overflowing with raw charisma.  The film ends before the campaign to conquer Tenochtitlan which is a disappointment.

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7 Responses to Conquest

  • Can you give any non Catholic but fair historians like Latourette from Yale that would substantiate your claim of clergy innocence only ….in the despoiling of the native peoples.
    Or are your authors Catholic only and you distrust non Catholic authors on this topic.
    Niall Ferguson of Harvard in his recent “Ascent of Money” gives a much different picture and states that for decades, 40% of Spain’s budget was funded by the silver removed by the Spanish from Peru after a clergyman presented the native leader with a Bible which the leader threw on the ground…which was then “by the book” excuse to despoil the area
    in view of one of Pope Alexander VI’s “Inter Caetera” which Noonan stated had a boilerplate reference to “the same permissions” given to the Portuguese by Pope Nicholas V in “Romanus Pontifex” whereby the Portuguese could enslave and despoil or rob any natives that resisted the gospel…see Romanus Pontifex online…middle of 4th large paragraph.

  • Sure Bill, Prescott for one. He is anti-Catholic, but even he recognizes the care that Father Olmedo showed for the Indians during the expedition of Cortez:

    “No one partook more fully of the feelings above described than Hernan Cortes. He was, in truth, the very mirror of the times in which he lived, reflecting its motley characteristics, its speculative devotion, and practical licence,-but with an intensity all his own. He was greatly scandalised at the exhibition of the idolatrous practices of the people of Cozumel, though untainted, as it would seem, with human sacrifices. He endeavoured to persuade them to embrace a better faith, through the agency of two ecclesiastics who attended the expedition,-the licentiate Juan Diaz and Father Bartolome de Olmedo. The latter of these godly men afforded the rare example-rare in any age-of the union of fervent zeal with charity, while he beautifully illustrated in his own conduct the precepts which he taught. He remained with the army through the whole expedition, and by his wise and benevolent counsels was often enabled to mitigate the cruelties of the Conquerors, and to turn aside the edge of the sword from the unfortunate natives.”

    http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=PreConq.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=2&division=div1

  • No Bill, I am not going to allow you to dominate this thread with your particular hobby horse. The historical record is clear and you simply choose to ignore it with your peculiar desire to bend it in this area. I am placing you on moderation for the time being since I have no desire or time today to watch you convert this thread to a 50 plus comment thread of Bannon Contra Mundum.

  • Bannon, I see Mac describing a priest depicted in a Hollywood movie. Seems 1947 was prior to Hollywood’s conversion to anti-Catholicism, and gratituitous sex and violence.

    I’m afraid your detraction of long-dead priests was an uncharitable and unnecessary reaction to a post on a movie and its music used as USC fight song.

    Anyhow, the movie and the music are entertaining but lacking on any other level.

    No Wait! That was FOX! ‘Nuff said.

  • who tells the conquistadors to forego their creed for gold

    I hope this is a typo.

  • Yes it was, and I thank you for catching it.

  • No problem, thank you for your post.

A warped sense of community

Friday, October 15, AD 2010

Well it looks like Cynthia Tucker has been beaten out for the most obtuse observation of the past 24 hours.  Let’s hear from Chris Mathews, who decided to turn a great story about survival into a partisan political point.

Down 2,000 feet in the ground, a group of 33 men not only survived for 69 days but prevailed. What a story of human faith, hope, charity and yes, community. I know that last word drives people on the right crazy: community.

Theirs is the popular notion that it`s every man for himself. Grab what you can, screw the masses, cash out of the government, go it alone — the whole cowboy catechism.

But how would those miners have survived, the 33 of them, and their loved ones living above if they`d behave like that with the attitude of every man for himself. This is above all, and deep down they`re in the mine about being in all there together. It`s about mutual reliance and relying on others. Not just to do their jobs, but to come through in the clutch.

Not only is this a sophomoric and shameful bit of analysis, but it further proves the point that great swathes of the left fundamentally do not understand what is meant by “community.”

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20 Responses to A warped sense of community

  • Matthews is the most moronic talking head on tv, but one:

  • I just have to share this. Remember when Obama made his candidacy announcement in Springfield in 2007? I was there covering it as a stringer for a newspaper I used to work for. Man was it cold that day….and that seems like a gazillion years ago now but I digress.

    The following incident was something I did not personally see happen, but I read about it later on another blog.

    Chris Matthews was there all set up to do his “Hardball” show live, in a small tent with electric heaters going full blast. He was all bundled up, of course, and wearing a big, fat pair of hunting socks with a red stripe at the top. A passer by called out to him, in a good-natured fashion, “Hey Chris, nice socks!” His reply: “Go (bleep) yourself”!

  • What a great product of Catholic education Chris Matthews is! He has dropped the F-Bomb live on television before Elaine:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1780729/posts

  • Are we offtopic by nailing mattew’s own faults than talking about the issue of community are we? I will admit this guy along with Michael Moore are charlatans much like from the right rush limbaugh and Sean Hannity
    Anyway I would like to ask some questions from a ‘liberal’ perspective. I think we have the same ideas about community and I do agree we have lost many of our views of the world. What did you mean by

    “It is in fact progressivism that has driven a stake into the concept of community by building metaphorical walls between neighbors.”

    I will take this one piece at the time. I speak to my neighbors with no problem. Fact is once my dog ran off and I had no time because I was going to be late for work I could not call in for that my neighbor told me if they would find her they would put her in my back yard. To my surprise (not really) i got back and there she was. I am liberal but I am just like you not some monster that locks my doors and does not talk to people. Maybe i am missing what you are trying to say here I will continue.

    ” Not only do meddlesome social welfare programs enervate the drive towards personal charity, but liberal attitudes about social mores erect further barriers. In an age when each person gets to establish his own set of social values, communities drift further apart. ”

    I have been a catholic my whole life I would like to hear what you means by this. Who defines these social values if not by people? The church? The Government? I think this is were we start parting ways a little as well. But maybe I am more conservative then most. I believe that states(or local communities) should determine some of these social issues not any fundamentalist group from right or left. I see the pro-gay movement and anti-gay movement, but are our laws based on this? In many ways yes I would say that most people don’t care unless to really effects them directly. So why are we making some laws that are not hurting society. But I guess that is how we define that too. We are going to strung up on DEFINING a great example is clinton definition on sex. I think both sides need to look at this problem in depth.

    “Those that seek to protect their children from a rancid culture are forced to withdraw into their own cocoons.”

    I think you can talk about some of these radical issues like little girls looking like 30 yr old and having sex … etc .. You will find most people on the left outraged much as yourself. Yet you will disagree we need more regulation if your a true hawk right person. Yet we can disagree with the financial issues and regulation, but I hope you can agree we need more regulation on this subject. Much are the parents fault in my experience as a substitute teacher parents from both right and left will allow there kids come into school dressed a mini- pimps and whores. I believe we need schools to start enforcing better dress codes ad sending them home. I also believe if one crazy parent disagrees o well maybe we should setup some kind of mini elections to make that one crazy parent not able to get their way. Get out of your cocoons and participate in government and your community!!

    Here is a side story that makes me sad: I was doing pre-cana with my future wife and the people had us do this back to back thing. One question they asked was “Helping my community is important to us”. We both raised our hands ( win for our relationship) . We look around and saw only about 25% of the couples with hands raised. I expected more, but that is why I believe in taxes on to give to everyone evenly because 75% of people based on this experience will not give back to society so taxes is the only way to guarantee some resources are given back to society. If it was 75% to 25% i would say maybe you republicans are right by having less taxes for everyone.

    ” Now obviously there are communities within these communities where people who have shared values can congregate – be it Church or some other organization – but we’ve become more polarized as the gulf in moral values expands.”

    Its sad, but i do agree with this point a little. I see my future family in law they are very polarized. My future wife grew up in a home with no focus on god and my fiancee told me that she feels that church makes her feel she has more a foundation because her parents seem to only care for material possessions. We need some of these values back in our society. But as educated Catholics we know that our christian brothers and sisters believe in the same values maybe not same dogma. But this country is not only made of Christians, but Hindu, Muslim, Buddhists, etc… I think many religions have very much the same ideals and we should be a country of god. Yet it seems the atheists have been winning. We could have prayer still in classrooms but maybe it should be to a general god not Jesus, or Shiva … I think our failing is we have become very polarized and not look at things in a middle ground. Yet Americans rather have nothing than something. Either prayer that is only centered on christian beliefs or nothing. This attitude is what is making things more polarized and I hope to see some new movement pushing us back to where we were in the 50s in this country were left and right can find some common ground . I hope that is not too late.

  • At this point Chris Matthews should just be chained, strait-jacketed, and shuttled around the country in a train car with steel bars as a circus exhibit of freakish lunacy, tingling leg and all.

  • “We look around and saw only about 25% of the couples with hands raised. I expected more, but that is why I believe in taxes on to give to everyone evenly because 75% of people based on this experience will not give back to society so taxes is the only way to guarantee some resources are given back to society. If it was 75% to 25% i would say maybe you republicans are right by having less taxes for everyone.”

    You could just as easily say that nobody feels any inclination to give back to their community because they know the government will forcibly take their money and do it for them.

    It’s almost as if, by constantly telling upper-to-middle-class wage-earners that they are greedy and selfish for not wanting their job salaries confiscated to pay for things like bank bailouts and abortion clinics, they give up and actually start acting that way.

    Just a theory.

  • “Are we off topic by nailing matthew’s own faults than talking about the issue of community”

    Yes, we are, and I gotta plead guilty to helping steer the thread off topic.

    I agree, Alex, sometimes we get so caught up in this liberal-conservative, red state-blue state thing that we forget to look at the real people behind it. It seems to be an occupational hazard for people who have a strong interest in politics and social issues (and I use the term “social issues” here in a very broad sense — everything having to do with society, not “just” abortion and gay marriage, though they are important)

    I personally do not know anyone who is either totally 100 percent liberal or totally 100 percent conservative. The question is where to set the balance between these two extremes.

    On a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is total anarchy and 100 is an ironclad communist police state with absolutely no freedom at all, I’m guessing that a hardcore objectivist/libertarian would set the dial around 20; most conservatives would set it between 30 and 50; liberals would set it between 50 and 75; socialists would dial it up to about 80; and hardcore communists like the Chinese and North Koreans have it cranked up to about 95. So the majority of the debate is really taking place in about the 30 to 75 range. Again, these are just rough guesses on my part, but you get the drift.

  • “He has dropped the F-Bomb live on television before”

    I should clarify that the incident I was referring to did NOT take place on the air, but while he was getting ready to go on the air. Just wanted to clear that up.

  • “I personally do not know anyone who is either totally 100 percent liberal or totally 100 percent conservative. The question is where to set the balance between these two extremes.

    On a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is total anarchy and 100 is an ironclad communist police state with absolutely no freedom at all, I’m guessing that a hardcore objectivist/libertarian would set the dial around 20; most conservatives would set it between 30 and 50; liberals would set it between 50 and 75; socialists would dial it up to about 80; and hardcore communists like the Chinese and North Koreans have it cranked up to about 95. So the majority of the debate is really taking place in about the 30 to 75 range. Again, these are just rough guesses on my part, but you get the drift.”

    This is a great point, and it also helps explain the growing chasm between “elites” in America and those without the benefit of university educations.

    I have attended roughly five different colleges in the last seven years, from community colleges to an Ivy-league university, and political science seems to be discussed among the college-educated solely in terms of academic abstractions such as “left, right, conservative, liberal, capitalist, communist” all of which are useful terminology but none of which exist purely, or have ever existed, or could possibly exist, in the actual state of reality.

    I always hear about the “growing polarization” in American politics, but the most polarization I see is between the political class which uses these terms merely as rhetorical weapons to fight over power, and the average workers and salary-earners who recognize the real issues that undergird the rhetoric.

    For example, the Bush family and the Clinton family might genuinely hate each other, and might be convinced that they have serious ideological differences based on the topics they chose for their respective senior theses at Yale or Harvard, but the American people aren’t seeing the difference anymore. To quote the man talking about the Falkland Islands war: “It’s like two bald men fighting over a comb.” And voters are sick of it. That is where the “polarization” is occurring.

  • I’ll try to be as comprehensive as I can in response to you, Alex.

    First of all, one of the problems with political theory is that it is all very generalized stuff. When I talk about the Hobbesian tendencies in society I am trying to get to an overall trend. Are left-wing individuals themselves social misfits who hate others? Most are not (Rousseau indeed was), and indeed most of my neighbors are on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me, and are all quite nice. But what I see is that the overall trend in leftist policies tends to diminish the importance of these little platoons.

    On the point about social mores, a couple of things. Here it is important to distinguish between secular leftists and religious leftists, and on these sorts of issues there might be more division on the left. Also, contrary to my previous point, I am not really talking about policies, per se. What I am referring here is a cultural clash that is beyond the political sphere. We live in an age of moral relativism where a certain segment of society seems to think that it’s pretty much anything goes out there in the wider world. There are large swaths of society that seem to think that it’s no big deal to promote teen sexuality, for instance. How can society properly function when a large segment of it think traditional sexual mores are outmoded, and in fact when those who do have a less “liberal” outlook are outright mocked?

    Yet you will disagree we need more regulation if your a true hawk right person.

    Again, I am not talking about regulations or policies in this instance.

    As for the tax issue, I think Linus made a good point. Now, I’m not saying we have to get rid of all government assistance, but the more we rely on government to be this sort of safety net, the more it discourages others from becoming more personally involved.

    I think our failing is we have become very polarized and not look at things in a middle ground.

    Well, yes and no. First of all, there’s always been polarization. We always harken back to some mythical time when everybody compromised and got along swell. This never happened. Ever. It’s actually in the foundational design (read Federalist 10) to have disagreement. Modern forms of communication make that disagreement seem more virulent than it once was – and perhaps it is to some degree – but it’s really not much different now as back then.

    Also, I think this kind of sentiment, while nice, glosses over the fact that there are fundamentally different points of view, and they are not reconcilable. I’d rather not have my kids pray in school than pray to a generic deity that isn’t the triune God. These are not things we can compromise about.

  • Oh, and it’s certainly no diversion to mock Chris Matthews. All that philosophy mumbo jumbo was just an excuse to point out how stupid he really is. 😉

  • @Elaine
    You make great points. Yet I think our politics are starting to sound a lot like post WWI Germany that is what makes me scared.

    @Paul
    “What I am referring here is a cultural clash that is beyond the political sphere. We live in an age of moral relativism where a certain segment of society seems to think that it’s pretty much anything goes out there in the wider world. There are large swaths of society that seem to think that it’s no big deal to promote teen sexuality, for instance. ”

    I agree with this statement because I do see this from my fiancee’s mother, but I think this group of people are much smaller than you think. I think many of those who are left or right will be on common ground than some of these fundamentalists on either side. I think if we had more people participating on both sides in both government and community we would not be where we are today. As I do think it feels that these 1-5% of the people that pay into the shit of moral realism are taking over from the left. As well as the 1-5% of these too big to fail companies have taken over the republicans and some democrats.

    “Also, I think this kind of sentiment, while nice, glosses over the fact that there are fundamentally different points of view, and they are not reconcilable. I’d rather not have my kids pray in school than pray to a generic deity that isn’t the triune God. These are not things we can compromise about.”

    Why I agree yet disagree with this point. I think that prayer is needed. I don’t want to push my views on others, but I think that if lead we can have multi-disciplinary view. If our pope can meet other religious leaders and be civil why can’t we teach more tolerance. I have seen some bishops go to Buddhist meditation classes. We can disagree on praying to Jesus but i think we all see that prayer is what is needed. Why do we have to disagree on this point. If your child is praying to Jesus and the next kid is praying to Shiva i see that as a win. The next step from this is those who are not Christians opening up dialog with us and that is where we can start on a common ground to do as Jesus and spread truth, but i feel that only happened from starting in tolerant position not a fundamentalist view. Jesus did not compromise on his values and god he did show tolerance and patience. All that intolerance has given us is more wars and more polarization.

    @linus

    “For example, the Bush family and the Clinton family might genuinely hate each other, and might be convinced that they have serious ideological differences based on the topics they chose for their respective senior theses at Yale or Harvard, but the American people aren’t seeing the difference anymore. To quote the man talking about the Falkland Islands war: “It’s like two bald men fighting over a comb.” And voters are sick of it. That is where the “polarization” is occurring.”

    As I agree very much with this. Both sides that i think is even more amusing is they call left “elite”, but most on the right are “elite” as well. It is not about education this term has been thrown around since the beginning and guess what the founders of this country was “elite” all of them. I think we all need to start participating because the people that are the real “elites” are going to take over and we may see our freedoms continue to leave. Bush gave us the patriot act, and yet it still there. Obama has left that law in place and from the sounds of if we are having secret trails and people disappearing. I am afraid if it continues we will be much like nazi germany soon. I think we all both right and left need to start waking up or we may lose this type forum to agree to disagree. Yet how do we get people to participate more that seems to be a problem we have had for over a century in this country.

  • “You could just as easily say that nobody feels any inclination to give back to their community because they know the government will forcibly take their money and do it for them.”
    Linus,
    I lived for several years in that social safety-netted paradise, Europe, and came away with the distinct impression that charity was not a priority there. Tax rates are high and the attitudes that “the government takes care of that,” and “given what I’m contributing, I’m taking full advantage of my entitlements” are pervasive. I believe it’s been pointed out before that the bulk of contributions in the wake of major disasters usually come from private charities in the U.S.

    “We always harken back to some mythical time when everybody compromised and got along swell. This never happened. Ever.”
    Paul,
    Funny thing–my husband got into a conversation with a very liberal religious Sister (older than he) last weekend. She told him she couldn’t think of any president who had been treated so roughly by the press so early in his administration as Obama. Not one. Amazing how keen our perception of “rough treatment” becomes when it’s happening to a public figure we like.

  • I hope Matthews never shuts up. He demonstrates what liberalism does to someone.

  • I submit that that is also a demonstration of a warped (universal it seems) sense of journalism.

    When I listen to, read, or watch the “news” I want to be informed. It’s not that difficult: How?; How many?; What?; When?, Where?, Who?; etc. Just the facts . . .

    Seems to me the universal journalist warp is the omission of facts that don’t advance the “narrative.” Regarding the Miner Miracle: Did any US journalist report that the first thing the miners requested when they were provided with the rescue tube was a Crucifix? Or, that our Pope personally blessed and sent each a Rosary? That they asked for statues of the Blessed Virgin and St. Lorenzo? There were many other faith facts that were censored.

    Finally, I wouldn’t hear/see liberal liars’ brain farts if they weren’t posted here.

  • Mr.Zummo- Thank you for your ability to articulate a fundamentally sound Catholic understanding of the co-equal principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.

    Thank you as well for using such an “equus asinus” (in the words of my beloved Latin professor), aka, Chris Matthews, to make your point.

  • It’s a mistake to conflate the political state with the social order, but it’s also a mistake to separate the two. Government can become something separate from the people, a tyrannical state, but it can also be a means by which the people practice justice and even charity.

  • but it can also be a means by which the people practice justice and even charity

    Not precisely ‘charity’, but redistribution and collective consumption. Discretionary authority in the distribution of benefits invites corruption.

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  • You know, I have to admit that I had a rather long blog written out in response to Mr. Minion’s post, but then I came to this sentence:

    The tea parties embody the worst elements of the mob rule, and mobs rarely serve the common good. There are many antecedents in history – the one that comes to mind is the riot of the Blues and the Greens against the tax policies of emperor Justinian that led to the Nika riots and the burning of Constantinople. There is no way that any of this can be seen as conservative.

    And I thought to myself, why waste time refuting that which is self-refuting.

    Affectionately,
    “that guy”

Fictional Reality

Friday, October 15, AD 2010

It’s good to know that the term “Beltway Bubble” applies beyond just the circular roadway a mile from my house out in the suburbs of Washington DC.   It looks like there is another cocoon in another old dwelling of mine in the city of Atlanta, as evidenced by this bit of insanity from Cynthia Tucker.  Ms. Tucker’s thesis is that President Obama’s political problems stem from trying too hard to cooperate with Republicans.  Buckle yourselves in for a ride aboard the crazy train.

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5 Responses to Fictional Reality

  • How can you say they got everything they wanted?

    No one knows.

    No one read the bills.

    I am wondering what she calls the planet on which she exists.

  • “Well, I think we miscalculated,” Axelrod said. “We had the idea that, particularly in a time of national crisis, there would be more of an inclination to work together.

    There might have been an inclination if their object had been to heal the financial system, heal the labor market, and stabilize aggregate demand. It was none of these things.

  • A perfect example of an oxymoron…Obama using BI -Partisanship in his enactment of policies…

  • Ah don’t we all long for Newspeak or perhaps Doublethink . . . The Ministry of Truth well help you see the “real” truth.

  • “well” should be “will”

TAC Pro Rankings Week 5(Updated)

Friday, October 15, AD 2010

It’s Friday, so it’s our normally scheduled time for pro football rankings! Ok, this is a few days late, but I had a monstrous week.

That’s something almost all NFL teams have dealt with. Everyone know has a loss, and most of those losses weren’t pretty. A few teams are really plagued with injuries (Packers & Saints), a few teams look really overrated (Vikes & Cowgirls), and a few teams puzzle (Pats & Colts). Where this end up is anyone’s guess, as this is a year for parity. 

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4 Responses to TAC Pro Rankings Week 5(Updated)

  • I think it’s significant that after the top four we all varied so wildly in our rankings. Tells you all you need to know about how much flux there’s been this season.

  • As a fan of the AFC division, I’m happy to see that 6 of the 10 are AFC teams (including 4 in the top 5). We’ll see how Sunday/Monday changes the rankings, but I think Steelers will be back at #1 after the Ravens lose to Brady & the Patriots.

  • I think it’s significant that after the top four we all varied so wildly in our rankings. Tells you all you need to know about how much flux there’s been this season.

    Yeah, I put the Saints at 5 but have no justification really for it other than down the road I think they won’t be as bad as everyone else. This poll is very fluid after the top 4. I imagine the Bucs, who didn’t get a vote this week, may end up becoming #5 if they win this week. WHICH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THEY BETTER NOT 😉

  • Sorry to go ot, but I had no idea we could “like” posts, nor that if you scrolled over a commenter’s photo you can see either their website or biographical info.

    Anyway, yeah, I might take the Bucs seriously if they win. And I’ll really have to tune out all sports radio if – shudder – the Redskins beat the Colts on Sunday night.

The True Star of the Fringe

Friday, October 15, AD 2010

My credentials as Chief Geek of this blog need refreshing.  The smartest, and best written, science fiction show currently on the air is The Fringe.    The show relates the adventures of a team working for the FBI that explore fringe events involving advanced science, extra-terrestrial aliens and other paranormal events.  It is a much better written and funnier X-files.  The team consists of two FBI agents, a mad scientist, the mad scientist’s son and a cow. John Noble does a superb job as mad scientist Walter Bishop as indicated in the above video where he engages in an inflora experiment on the friendliest of fruits.  Go here for some of the best of Walter clips.

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The Day Brother Andre Bessett & Father Solanus Casey, Two Future Modern Day Saints Met

Thursday, October 14, AD 2010

In the Early and Medieval Church future saints seemed to often cross paths. However in our day and age this is a rarity. On a sunny Detroit afternoon in the summer of 1935 two potential saints did just that.  If they lived today they would stand out like sore thumbs, two men belittled by some of their superiors who took no umbrage and continued on with their duties. In today’s world someone who chose the same path would be looked at as if they had written kick me on their backsides. After all this is the age, when our popular culture demands that any slight be met with a meltdown or protest, the louder the better. However, (Venerable) Father Solanus Casey OFM and (Blessed) Brother Andre Bessette CSC were holy men. Brother Andre will be made a saint October 17 (or is already a saint depending upon what day you read this.) Perhaps in his humble way Father Solanus Casey will be gently nipping at his heels.

Alfred Bessette (he would take the name Andre when he was ordained) was born in 1845 to a large Quebec family. Sadly for young Alfred, he would lose both parents by age 11 and would spend the rest of his childhood raised by an older sister. Twenty five years later, and several hundred miles west, Barney Casey (he took the name Solanus when he was ordained) was also born to a large family, in rural Wisconsin. He was the eldest of 16 children. His childhood was filled with hard family farm work, while at the same time that work was done under the umbrella of a faith filled home, where the Church was the glue that held the family together through tough times.

Both the young Casey and Bessette toiled at many jobs, ranging from farm labor to lumberjacks. While many were not surprised at their eventual vocation, both men carefully discerned their calling and concluded they were called to Holy Orders. Their lives wouldn’t be any easier once they were seminarians, or even after they were ordained. Ironically both men for many years worked as door men and porters, helping those who were visitors at their respective religious orders’ seminaries and monasteries.

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19 Responses to The Day Brother Andre Bessett & Father Solanus Casey, Two Future Modern Day Saints Met

  • Great post. I have a copy of an older (mid-60s) book about Father Solanus called “The Porter of St. Bonaventure’s”. It contains numerous testimonials from persons who knew him and from people who experienced miraculous healings, conversions, etc. after he prayed for them.

    Up until the early 20th century when Fr. Solanus was ordained, it was more common for seminarians who didn’t pass all their classes or who showed some other sign of intellectual deficiency to be ordained “simplex” priests permitted only to say Mass, and not to preach or hear confessions. Sometimes they were granted faculties later, sometimes they never were.

    If I’m not mistaken, St. John Vianney himself started out as a simplex priest and was only granted faculties to preach and hear confessions because the local bishop was really, really desperate to find a pastor in Ars.

    Fr. Solanus’ main problem seems to have been slowness or difficulty in learning Latin. Were he entering the priesthood today he’d probably pass seminary with flying colors. (Assuming, of course, that it was a well-run, orthodox seminary)

  • Thank you!

    Of the many blessings I have received, today I recall my visit to St Josephs Oratory atop Mount Royale in Montreal.

    I could sense the holiness of the site. And, the crutches and canes that testify to the miraculous healings!

    “Bless the Lord God on every occasion.”

    Faith, Hope and Love. Moderation in all things except virue.

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  • I too had the same book The Porter of St.Bonaventures…I lent it to someoen and never got it back..the life of Father Solanus Casey has always fascinated me..I hope and pray that he will be raised to the sainthood someday,he certainly deserves it.I also hope someone in the film industry(not Hollywood)may consider making a film based on his life and work..may God bless these two holy souls and may many more come to know them and be inspired by them..especially priests.

  • Praise be Jesus, God sends us such great Saints. I remember being blessed by someone who had the Oil of Bl. Solanus and it was a very powerful moment.
    Thand you for this very moving article.

  • This was inspiring, because today the elites make fun of or ridicule people who tell simple truths. Today’s youth are bombarded by the message they need to sing, dance, model, or be a sports star. All in a vulgar, provocative way. They are given names of inanimate objects or names of ideals often spelled in gross phonetics. Where are the Marys, Annes, Josephs or Marks? The Catholic schools should bring back study of the saints. Students should know the life of the saint their school is named after.

  • What a great comparison bewtween two wonderful men. The work of porter seems to be a means toward sanctification of a number of saints throughout history. St. Conrad of Parsham, and Ven. Jordan Mai to mention two.
    One correction if I may. The religious names ie., “Andre” and “Solanus” were taken when these men received the habit of their orders, not when they were “ordained”. Bro. Andre was never ordained. He was a religious brother and professed religious vows.

  • Great article, though I have a rather big quibble terminology-wise: Saint Andre was NOT ‘ORDAINED’; he received his ‘religious name’ of Andre when he was received into the novitiate of Holy Cross. And he was ‘PROFESSED’! ‘Ordination’ and “Profession of Vows’ are two different things. So could you fix the terminology in the article?

    On a ‘nicer’ note, I’ve read four books on St. Andre: ‘The Wonder Man of Montreal’, by Father Paul-Henri Bergeron; ‘The Miracle of the Mountain’, by Alden Hatch; ‘Blessed Brother Andre’, by C. Bernard Ruffin; and ‘Brother Andre According to the Witnesses’, by Father Bernard LaFreniere. I’ve also been to St. Joseph’s Oratory four times in my life (1972, 1974, 1975 and 1994). Loved the place-and I’m so happy that I have lived to see Brother Andre CANONIZED A SAINT! WOO HOO!

  • Dave, great post on Father Solanus and Brother Andre! From time to time I read your great posts on Church and secular matters and always enjoy them. I miss your site and think about the times we had the honor of defending God, Church and our beautiful Catholic faith! God bless you and your family.

  • I have been blesssed to have read numerous books on Fr. Solanus Casey after first hearing about him through the owner of Diocesan Publications, a national Church Bulletin Company- Mr. Robert Zelke. Mr. Zelke’s parents were unable to conceive a child for years. They went to Fr. Solanus Casey for prayers and shortly thereafter, Mr. Robert Zelke was conceived. The books on Fr. Solanus Casey explained that his seminarian education was in German- a German speaking seminary in Wisconsin. That was the major difficulty in his education. “HIS CHARISM IS: THANK GOD AHEAD OF TIME!” The faithful would come to him filled with prayer requests, and Fr. Solanus would ask them: “What will you do to thank God ahead of time for your healing!” He was asking them to display TRUST in God before the healing, as it was GOD WHO WAS THE HEALER.

    I was later blessed to make a 19 hour drive to visit St. Josephs Oratory and Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal with my sister. We could only stay over one night, but the 19 hour drive each way was nothing compared to the spiritual graces and blessings received.

  • I love the topic of this article. I used to draw some of these same parallels between these two men of God when I was a tour guide at the shrine Saint Brother Andre founded.

    But I’m rather disappointed in the lack of proper research done. This article is peppered with factual mistakes: Bessette is spelt with an ‘e’; Brother Andre was never ordained nor did he feel called to holy orders because he was a brother; he lost his parents by the time he was 12, not 11; his sister didn’t raise him, his aunt & uncle Nadeau did; brother Andre could speak some English since he had worked in New England for a few years before joining Holy Cross. Thank you.

  • Just a note about a couple of posts asserting that I made a mistake in my research. First of all I do apologize for leaving out the e in Bessette (in the title of the article) It was my mistake for which I apologize. However, I can’t correct it otherwise it would throw the entire web address off and the link would be unavailable. The other points brought up are all conjecture. Some biographies say Saint Andre was raised by his sister, others by an aunt. With regard to his knowledge of English; some believe he might have known some English working in New England. However, most believe that since he was working with others from Quebec, he may never have had to use any English. Every account I have read states that when Brother Andre met with Father Casey, Brother Andre knew no English and Father Casey knew no French, so they simply blessed each other and moved along. Thank you.

  • There was something similar in another meeting between St. Andre and Blessed Father Frederic Jansoone (spelling?) when the Brother made a visit to Ste-Anne-de Beaupre. Father Frederic was a Franciscan priest from northeastern France who worked in the Holy Land and lived at Three Rivers (Trois-Rivieres in French), near the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape. Father Frederic knelt before Brother Andre and asked for his blessing. Brother knelt in turn and said, ‘No, Pere Frederic-it is for you to bless me.’ Father Clement, an early chaplain of St. Joseph’s Oratory whose eye ailment was cured by St. Andre, found the two of them kneeling face to face.
    With regards to Brother Andre and the English language: I read in C. Bernard Ruffin’s book that he was able to switch to a passable English when speaking with visitors from English-speaking Canada and the United States. Else how he speak with the people who came from outside Quebec province?

  • Yes, Brother Andre spoke English!
    See:
    Society of St. Pius X in Canada
    Communicantes
    January – March 2004, No. 18

    Those Who Truly Live, The Saints
    The Miracle Man of Montreal
    Blessed Brother Andre
    {1845 – 1937}

    By Mr. Roger Zielke

    “In 1863, when Alfred was eighteen, he joined the many French Canadians going to work in factories in the United States. Because of the American Civil War, factories in New England needed all the help they could get, to feed and equip huge federal armies. French Canadians could work wherever they were needed and went from one town to another, as new factories were opened and higher wages were offered. Alfred ended up in Connecticut and worked in a few towns there, but from time to time he was forced to leave his work at the factories due to poor health, and take up lighter farm work. Between 1863 and 1867, he learned to speak English, which would be a great asset in his later years.”

  • My parents met Brother Andre in Springfield ,Mass.Many people are related to him in New England.I myself was brought to St Joseph`s Oratory as a baby for a blessing,as most young infants were at the time.This was 1943,of course.But people had great faith in St. Joseph.I once studied for priesthood as a young man,I wasn`t that great a speaker and knowledge of latin. If I had known of a Simplex Priesthood,I might of stayed in the order.But my faith is much stronger now,anyways.Michael we were at your retreat in CT. Great day of reflecting our faith. Peace,Richard

  • I didn’t read all comments to see if anyone else posted this. Just wanted to mention that technically it’s Solanus Casey OFM Cap. He was a Capuchin, not an OFM.
    Peace

  • A couple of other “saints” in modern years who’ve crossed paths … Karol Wotyla (when a young bishop I believe) visiting Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotundo and being told one day he would be Pope (and a couple years later requesting prayers from (Saint) Padre Pio for a lady who had cancer and then was healed miraculously. Then (Ven.) Pope John Paul II who had a deep friendship with Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and met on several occasions.

  • If there was a time i would have liked to have been a fly on the wall, this would have been it.

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Political Miscellania 10\14\10

Thursday, October 14, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news.

1.  O’Donnell-Coons race- Christine O’Donnell takes aim in the above video at the major weakness of Chris Coons in the Delaware Senate race:  he does have a history of being in favor of tax increases.  Saturday Night Live mocks O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch” ad here.  Polls show O’Donnell some 16-20 points behind Coons.  In a normal election year I would assume that she had no chance, but this is far from a normal election year.  Additionally Mike Castle had a substantial lead over O’Donnell in the polls until a few days before she beat him in the Delaware primary.

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31 Responses to Political Miscellania 10\14\10

  • From Gateway Pundit:

    Ms. O’Donnell said, “I would argue that more people would support my Catholic beliefs than his Marxist beliefs.”

    Gateway: “No wonder the state-run media hates her. She keeps bringing up the facts that they do not want disclosed.

    “Wow!

    “Coons then lied about his “Bearded Marxist” essay. He said it was satire when clearly it was not.”

    “The Caucus reported:

    “‘A feisty, aggressive Ms. O’Donnell called Mr. Coons a Marxist whose beliefs came from a socialist professor and said he would “rubber stamp” the policies of the Democrats in Washington. Mr. Coons raised questions about whether Ms. O’Donnell’s faith would drive her positions on social issues like abortion, prayer and evolution.'”

    In other words he said, Faithful Catholics shouldn’t be elected. Like: “Irish need not apply.”

    I’d vote for her in a heartbeat.

    PS: Keep moderating my comments. Every so often I feel the need to let you know what I really think.

  • I hope the GOP is gunning for 100 seats in the House and 13 in the Senate. Nov. 2/3 are going to be fun!!

  • What are your thoughts on the GOP getting the Senate? What I read at the NYT’s blog (the only one I’ve been following) says GOP a little short at 47-48, with 50 in a best case scenario, but I don’t know if you’ve seen info to make you think differently.

  • based on everything I’ve seen, here’s how it looks for the Senate pickups-

    Mortal locks: North Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas
    Close to mortal lock: Pennsylvania
    Very likely: Wisconsin, West Virginia

    So that’s six that are just about sure things. Real Clear Politics also have Buck in CO and Angle in NV in the pickup category, but those are closer. But I think both will win.

    That basically means the GOP has to pick up two of the following: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New York (Gillebrand), and Washington. DE and NY are probably going to be held, and I’m starting to thing Fiorina is a longshot in CA. That one, though, might hinge to some degree on the governor’s race. I think Rossi pulls it out in WA, leaving CT and IL as the key races. Don and Elaine might have some better idea about the IL race, but I have no idea. Blumenthal probably wins in CT, but that is going to come down the wire.

    So I see a minimum 9 seat pickup, leaving it at 50/50, with technical control by the Dems because of Biden. (I should note that no GOP seat is really in any danger. The closest is Paul in Kentucky, and he’s up 6). Right now I lean towards the GOp picking up that 51st seat.

    As for the House, I don’t even think anyone remotely believes the Dems will retain control The question is really just a matter of how large the GOP majority will be. The way things are going it looks like the only safe Dem seat is going to be the one in my district with Van Hollen, naturally.

  • Of course “GOP” control in the Senate does not necessarily translate into legislation you may want to see (or see reversed), as long as RINOs remain.

  • As a registered Republican, I wish I could say that I would be happy if the GOP re-took the legislature. But on what could I base such hopefulness?

    Oh joy, the top marginal tax rate will drop by 3%. Yay.

    Meanwhile, poor and working people of faith will be expected to stay on the GOP plantation like good little house crackers while homosexual marriage and federally-funded abortion are rammed down our throats and we’re forced to send our kids to be educated in the secular cesspool that is modern Fox Media culture. I’m so excited.

  • One addendum: I should probably put West Virginia in the same category as Nevada and Colorado. It’s a little tighter than I thought.

  • Unexpectedly, new unemployment insurance claims were reported at 462,000 (above the 455,000 dem propaganda media expectation).

    Added Obamonomics bonus: the inflation rate (including food and fuel you must have to live) is 4.8% annualized.

    Misey Index: 14.4 (9.6 + 4.8).

    I would argue that more people support economic opportunity and prosperity than dem/socialist myths.

  • But, at least the GOP will hopefully stop Obama’s assault on America. If the GOP can stop another huge bill from being passed like Obamacare was, then I’ll be happy for now.

  • I predict the GOP will take the Senate by flipping the following seats: Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas, Nevada, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington, Illinois and Colorado. That will give them 51. I also predict that Lieberman will caucus with the Republicans and that Ben Nelson will switch parties. There may be more Democrat switchers. This election is going to be a cataclysm for the Democrats, especially after they achieved what many of them perceived as political dominance for the foreseeable future in 2008, and some Democrat office holders are going to decide that it is better to switch than fight in 2012.

  • Re IL Senate race: I think it will go to the GOP but not by much, due to the fact that Mark Kirk is about as RINO as they come, plus he has run a rather lousy campaign marked by repeated gaffes and misstatements/lies about his voting record and even his military record. He is about as inspiring as a wet noodle IMHO, but if the alternative is “mob banker” and lib Dem/Obama buddy Alexi Giannoulias, some (not all) GOP voters may be able to hold their noses long enough to vote for him.

  • As usual I agree with my colleague from the Land of Lincoln. The pro-abort Rino Kirk has been running an atrocious campaign, but running against a mobbed up banker, Kirk will win it, barely. I will not vote for Kirk however. I will leave that space blank on my ballot.

  • Ach. There are three competitive U.S. House races in the broadcast zone of my local television stations. These characters + my local state Senator + Andrew Cuomo and all the ads are repulsive. The only one making an attempt to present herself as something resembling a human being is Tracy Flick Kirsten Gillibrand. I think I have found a solution.

  • Will she tell us Glenn and Bill are commies?

  • I don’t know Karlson, did they ever call themselves Bearded Marxists? O’Donnell’s point, which obviously sailed right by you, is that what is laughingly referred to as the mainstream media keeps harping on witchcraft with her, while giving her opponent a complete pass on his self-description of becoming a Bearded Marxist while in college. She is of course correct on this. Note Wolfe Blitzer “helpfully”, when she brings up the subject, asking Coons about it and saying that it was “a long time ago”, being completely unconscious that O’Donnell’s reference to witchcraft was in 1999 and referred to her teen years, also a very long time ago, and after attempting to body slam O’Donnell for a comment she made on evolution 12 years before.

  • Well, Karlson, maybe the deficit would be down if the “poor” who aren’t so poor here in America in comparison to third world countries paid there “fair” share of taxes instead of being funded by the taxpayers so they can buy fancy jewelry and other luxury items? I think everyone in America should pay there fair share of taxes ( including the poor) and just maybe we’ll get the deficit under control.

  • But, at least the GOP will hopefully stop Obama’s assault on America. If the GOP can stop another huge bill from being passed like Obamacare was, then I’ll be happy for now.

    Well, we might have some harmony and concord here. For me, if we have to go the next two years with no substantial social progress, it is worth it given we now have health care reform.

    Add to that the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the bill controlling Credit Card companies cheating consumers, student loan reform, and DC Budget Automony — none, including health care reform, whch will be repealed — I’m not too worried about a two year rest.

  • “There are three competitive U.S. House races in the broadcast zone of my local television stations”

    This is one time of year when I am eternally grateful that I no longer have a TV and just watch everything online — I am spared the constant barrage of political ads that tube watchers suffer through. Yes, there are political ads online and I do see them quite often but they aren’t nearly as annoying or obtrusive. (FWIW, the political ad I see most frequently online is for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady. Whether that’s due to his targeting the online audience, the fact that I gravitate to more news-oriented and conservative blogs, or both, I can’t say.)

    Normally I only watch TV when I am somewhere like a doctor’s office, oil change place, etc. where there happens to be a TV on. The day before the Illinois primary in February I happened to be in one of those places for about 2 hours. The incessant pummelling of political ads just about drove me nuts.

  • “Well, we might have some harmony and concord here. For me, if we have to go the next two years with no substantial social progress, it is worth it given we now have health care reform.”

    Apparently someone still believes in the tooth fairy. 🙂

    That aside, it would be interesting to know how Kurt believes those things mentioned are necessarily “social progress.”

  • We need to keep this fresh in everybody’s mind until Nov. The justice and peace cadre thinks we peasants will forget about it by Nov.

    Let’s prove them wrong.

    THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION IS FUNDING TWENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS–LET ME REPEAT THAT AMOUNT…*

    24,000,000 DOLLARS

    SO YOU UNDERSTAND IT $24,000,000.00 DOLLARS FOR NEW ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS PROCESSING FOR YOUR CONGRESSMEN** AND SENATORS !!**

    THEY ARE OBTAINING THESE FUNDS . . .

    QUOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY WEBSITE… “THIS MONEY WILL BE COMING FROM THE SAVINGS TO BE GENERATED FROM WITHHOLDING “COST OF LIVING INCREASES FOR 2010 & 2011 IN SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR THE ELDERLY AND A $2.00 INCREASE ON ALL MEDICARE RX BENEFIT CO-PAY”

  • I guess the one good thing about living in the People’s Republic of Maryland and the absence of competitive elections is that I am not inundated with ads as is Art. The only thing getting any play is the Ehrlich-O’Malley race.

  • Donald

    When she explains what communism is, it’s “raising taxes.” Seriously. Glenn Beck is a commie! Who knew?

  • No Karlson what she was doing was mentioning that one of the “Marxist beliefs” of Mr. Coons is his affinity for raising taxes which elides into her theme that he is a tax raiser. Once again, however, her main point was the rank hypocrisy of attacking her for the witchcraft remark and giving Coons a complete pass on his Bearded Marxist self-description.

  • Add to that the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the bill controlling Credit Card companies cheating consumers, student loan reform, and DC Budget Automony — none, including health care reform, whch will be repealed — I’m not too worried about a two year rest.

    Of which component of the Democratic Party are you on the payroll?

  • I would not mind the ads, Paul. But most of them are of the ‘my opponent tortures puppies’ variety. The Republican ads do tend to focus more on legislative votes than personal history, so the unpleasantness is not uniform.

  • Yeah, the few ads I have seen are by O’Malley, and they’re all just pretty much of the “Bob Ehrlich wants you to suffer and die” variety. In fact, between this election and the 2006 election I don’t think I have seen one positive ad for either Governor O’Malley or Senator Cardin. Unfortunately I also get the Virginia ads as well, and least year I got to hear all about how Bob McDonnell was going to enlist the Taliban to aid his administration. As you say, the unpleasantness has not been uniform as both McDonnell and Ehrlich are able to actually say what they want to do.

  • As usual (is this thing on?) I look forward to not voting for a single candidate from my own party, a lot of write-ins and perhaps checking the box for a few Constitution Party candidates.

    The Consumer Protection and Financial blah blah blah Act…heh, that was a good one. I hear Helicopter Ben plans on dropping another stadium full of greenbacks onto the peasants pretty soon, to make sure inflation goes up as quickly as possible.

    Cahn’t have food and energy prices going too low now, cahn we?

  • The Social Security administration is funding $24,000,000 dollars”

    Before you get all panicked about that, check out this link:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/socialsecurity/cola.asp

    Long story short: the $24 million in question is NOT — repeat, IS NOT — coming from withholding Social Security COLAs. It’s coming from stimulus funds. The “withholding” of the Social Security COLA is due to the fact that it is tied to the rate of inflation and other factors and those factors did not compute an increase being necessary for this year.

  • Elaine, et al,

    I know! The situation is more tragic, and our politician/ostriches have their collective heads in the sand.

    The $24MM is an infinitessimal part of the $1.4 trillion ($1.2 trillion last year) 2011 federal deficit.

    Robert’s Rule, Point of information: the fed gov has spent almost all the surplus $$$$ that we the people paid into the SS Trust Fund; and replaced it with IOU’s (non-public US Treasury debt instruments). All taxpayers will need to poney up general fund taxes to repay to the SS Trust Fund so it can pay benefits when (in a precious few years) the SS tax receipts are less than the current benefits obligation payables due to the rapidly expanding 65-plus portion of the population.

    Or else, Ben Bernanke will have to print $50 trillion in crisp $1 million bills (Michelle’s face on the front) to pay poor, old pensioners. Our Chinese financiers will NOT like that. They may foreclose . . .

    Linus, help me out here!

The Almighty Has His Own Purposes

Wednesday, October 13, AD 2010

My co-blogger Paul Zummo’s post here on When God Says No caused me to think again of a theme that has alway intrigued me:  the problem of God allowing terrible things to happen to innocent people.   Endless words have been written on this subject, but I have always found moving the thought process of Abraham Lincoln as he addressed this complex subject.

The American Civil War has become such a part of American folk-lore, and so romanticized by reenactments, films, movies, etc, that we sometimes risk losing sight of just how dreadful it was.  The death toll in the war would be the equivalent of us losing some six million killed in a war today and some ten million wounded, many of those maimed for life.  One quarter of the nation was devastated, a huge war debt had to be repaid and  regional hatreds created that only time would heal.  Americans tend to be optimists and to view themselves as blessed by God.  How had this dreadful calamity come upon the nation was the cry from millions of Americans at the time.

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7 Responses to The Almighty Has His Own Purposes

  • The Civil War wasn’t the Black Death or San Francisco earthquakes.

    Just asking.

    Was slavery a greater evil than civil war?

    Did Lincoln believe he was God’s instrument in punishing America for slavery?

    Did God order Lincoln to obtain the war declaration and did God make Lincoln constantly goad his generals to butcher hundreds of thousands of troops with a war strategy of attrition?

    Plus, Doid Godf will Lincoln to wage aggressive and invasive war, and targeted Southern civilians and productive assets.

    Did God use Abe to punish America for slavery?

    My grandfather’s maternal grandfather was KIA at First Bull Run with the 69th NY Militia. Did he die as punishment for the South’s sins? PS: Most Irish soldiers were fighting for the union, for acceptance as Americans not emancipation which wasn’t proclaimed until January 1863.

  • “Was slavery a greater evil than civil war?”

    Doubtless yes to a slave.

    “Did Lincoln believe he was God’s instrument in punishing America for slavery?”

    No more than we are all instruments carrying out God’s ultimate purposes whether we wish to do so or not.

    “Did God order Lincoln to obtain the war declaration and did God make Lincoln constantly goad his generals to butcher hundreds of thousands of troops with a war strategy of attrition?”

    In regard to the war T.Shaw, the coming of it was overwhelmingly popular both North and South. Lincoln was one of the few, Jefferson Davis was in this company, who thought initially that the war was likely to be long and bloody.

    In regard to a strategy of attrition, that was the fallback strategy of Grant when it became obvious that Lee could not be defeated in a war of manuevere during the Overland Campaign of 1864. Hundreds of thousands of troops slaughtered is mere hyperbole by you. Casualties, including wounded during the campaign, were around 60,000, and they put the war on the path of being won. Sherman at the same time usually relied on manuevere, and had relatively few casualties. Lincoln had no hand in the tactics and strategies used by either of the two generals who won the war for the Union .

    “Plus, Did God will Lincoln to wage aggressive and invasive war, and targeted Southern civilians and productive assets.”

    It was not an invasive war T Shaw, it was all one country. Attacking civilian assets that could be utilized by the military was common on both sides.

    “Did God use Abe to punish America for slavery?”

    I believe that God used the entire nation to punish America for the evil of slavery.

    “Did he die as punishment for the South’s sins?”

    Actually for the sins of both North and South regarding slavery in my view.

  • More importantly, our Blessed Mother is interceding for 33 Chilean miners and causing them to be safely removed from the bowels of the Earth.

    The first man I saw this morning come into the light blessed himself.

    Praise the Lord!

    Anyhow, you and I are on different wave-lenghts – same radio.

    My neighbor lost a young son to cancer many years ago. He is still wrestling with that, which is more germane to the subject (suffering) than Illinoisers’ war of northern aggression.

  • “Most Irish soldiers were fighting for the union, for acceptance as Americans not emancipation which wasn’t proclaimed until January 1863.”

    Mr Shaw, I’m quite sure that you do not speak on behalf of “most Irish soldiers” who fought and died in the Civil War. And if indeed they were fighting for acceptance “as Americans,” which they most certainly did receive, then I’m not sure they would appreciate you referring to their resting souls, 150 years later, as “Irish soldiers.”

    After all, the doors to Ireland are still open, no? Send a postcard.

  • Linus, Thanks for your help.

  • Donald – When you have time will you please contact me at (jschmidt at lexpharma dot com)? You’ll recall that I have posted a few comments here about our shared interest in the Civil War and Catholic military chaplains. My book, “Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory” (The History Press) will be in print in about 5-6 weeks and I would be most pleased to send you a copy for review. I can hardly think of a more suited reader! All My best, Jim Schmidt

  • E-mail sent Jim, and I am looking forward to reading it!

When God Says "No"

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

Msgr. Charles Pope is a Priest in the Archdiocese of Washington.  In addition to his duties as pastor at a parish in southeastern DC, he regularly celebrates High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s in Chinatown once a month.  He is perhaps the finest homilist I have ever had the privilege of hearing on a regular basis, and he demonstrates why in this blog post from the Archdiocese’s website.  He tackles what may be one of the most difficult subjects that Catholics and indeed people of all faith struggle with: why does God seemingly say no to some of our prayer requests?  He provides a fantastic answer, and in the process gives some guidance on he proper disposition we should have when praying.

1. Sometimes, “No”  is the Best Answer – We often think we know what is best for us. We want to have this job, or we want that person to fall in love and marry us. We want to be delivered from a certain illness or receive a financial blessing. We see these as good outcomes and are sure that God must also see them this way. But God may not, in fact agree with our assessment as to what is best for us. And thus his “No” is really the best answer to our prayers.

For example we may always prefer that God answer our prayer that none of our children be born with any disabilities. But God may see that the experience of disability may be just the thing that we or the child may need in order to be  saved ultimately. St. Paul prayed for deliverance from some sort of physical affliction: Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me,My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:7-10).

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5 Responses to When God Says "No"

Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

QUARTO ABEUNTE SAECULO
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON
THE COLUMBUS QUADRICENTENNIAL

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops and
Bishops of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas.

Now that four centuries have sped since a Ligurian first, under God’s guidance, touched shores unknown beyond the Atlantic, the whole world is eager to celebrate the memory of the event, and glorify its author. Nor could a worthier reason be found where through zeal should be kindled. For the exploit is in itself the highest and grandest which any age has ever seen accomplished by man; and he who achieved it, for the greatness of his mind and heart, can be compared to but few in the history of humanity. By his toil another world emerged from the unsearched bosom of the ocean: hundreds of thousands of mortals have, from a state of blindness, been raised to the common level of the human race, reclaimed from savagery to gentleness and humanity; and, greatest of all, by the acquisition of those blessings of which Jesus Christ is the author, they have been recalled from destruction to eternal life. Europe, indeed, overpowered at the time by the novelty and strangeness of the discovery, presently came to recognize what was due to Columbus, when, through the numerous colonies shipped to America, through the constant intercourse and interchange of business and the ocean-trade, an incredible addition was made to our knowledge of nature, and to the commonwealth; whilst at the same time the prestige of the European name was marvellously increased. Therefore, amidst so lavish a display of honour, so unanimous a tribute of congratulations, it is fitting that the Church should not be altogether silent; since she, by custom and precedent, willingly approves and endeavours to forward whatsoever she see, and wherever she see it, that is honourable and praiseworthy. It is true she reserves her special and greatest honours for virtues that most signally proclaim a high morality, for these are directly associated with the salvation of souls; but she does not, therefore, despise or lightly estimate virtues of other kinds. On the contrary, she has ever highly favoured and held in honour those who have deserved well of men in civil society, and have thus attained a lasting name among posterity. For God, indeed, is especially wonderful in his Saints – mirabilis in Sanctis suis; but the impress of His Divine virtue also appears in those who shine with excellent power of mind and spirit, since high intellect and greatness of spirit can be the property of men only through their parent and creator, God.

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3 Responses to Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

  • Glad to see someone else getting the true message out about Cristofero Columbo!!!!

  • As usual Don, another excellent article. I couldn’t help but think of the latest History Channel program I saw in which one of the “experts” made reference to Columbus being a “holy roller.” I wasn’t quite sure if this particular expert thought he was being generous since too many Columbus experts think of Columbus as a marauding conqueror. As I noted in my latest article, did any of these people ever wonder how and why so many Caribbean islands got their names (which ofter refer to the Blessed Mother and of her many titles?)

    Keep posting the truth Don, God only knows who might stop by and notice that what they see here doesn’t always jibe with what they are told by the mainstream media and the Big Education gatekeepers.

  • Thank you for your kind words Al and Dave.

    Dave, the Fifteenth Century was a religious time, and Columbus was noted by his contemporaries as being unusually religious. Many moderns have as hard a time comprehending religious zeal and motivation as Columbus and his contemporaries would comprehending people who think that life has no meaning beyond simple existence.

Two Momentous But Little Remembered Dates In Western & Church History

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

Recently two momentous events in Western and Church History passed with hardly a mention. Actually, these events may be better known in the Muslim world than the Christian world; the Islamic army’s desecration of St. Peter’s in Rome, along with St John Lateran and other churches in 846, and the stunning defeat of the Islamic military onslaught by Charles  the Hammer Martel at Tours, France in 732. Though these two events occurred over 100 years apart, they do point out that until the Ottoman-Turkish Islamic defeat in 1683 at the gates of Vienna; Europe was facing a never ending threat from radical Islam. Yet how is it that according to the mainstream media it was the fault of Christians, and specifically Catholics? In my last article, I wrote of the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the land at the Gates of Vienna in 1683. Some wondered why I didn’t right about Charles the Hammer Martel and some of the earlier Islamic incursions into Europe. Now is a good time to delve into that subject. (For more on Charles the Hammer Martel and the Battle of Tours please read this excellent article by my colleague Donald McClarey.)

Ask most practicing Catholics, Evangelicals and mainline Protestants who Charles the Hammer Martel was and you would probably get blank stares. Perhaps a few young people might be under the false impression that he is some sort of up and coming professional wrestler. However, you would probably stand a better chance of having someone in the Islamic world tell you about Charles the Hammer Martel. The same might be true for the sack of Rome in 846 by Muslim forces who disembarked at Ostia (the Tiber port) and marched right into Rome desecrating holy sites like St Peter’s and St John Lateran and leaving the Eternal City with their plunder. Many in the western world might be surprised why they have never heard this and why those who reside in the Islamic world are better informed of these events than in the Western World. Let us peer back into time to see what we can learn about the past and what it might mean for the future.

It is said that God can make the best out of the worst. As Charles Martel grew older and realized that his mother was simply a consort of his regal father, Charles must have realized that he could have been abandoned to poverty, or worse yet aborted (if that had happened Christianity might have been confined to Ireland!) Charles must have developed a thick skin and a courageous spirit that enabled him not to run at the first sign of trouble. Europe was in a state of near panic by 730 as the well seasoned professional Islamic Army had laid waste to much of the Middle East and North Africa leaving the homes of those past saints like Augustine in ruins. Europe was in the Dark Ages, armies were merely feudal in their makeup, a far cry from the type of regimented units needed to stop the largest invading armies Europe had seen since the days when Rome ruled the world.

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Is The US Destroying the Middle Class?

Monday, October 11, AD 2010

With a certain frequency, commentators see fit to worry as to the extinction of the US middle class. One among these, it seems, is one Edward Luce, who composed a piece on “The crisis of middle-class America” for the Financial Times. The piece profiles two families making about $70k/yr each, and worries as to the future of them and families like them. Both are, by coincidence, families of loyal Democrats, and the piece sports the requisite concerns about the potential dangers of tea party barbarians howling at the gates of the US order.

I feel myself in an odd position in regards to such stories. The particular definition of “middle class” picked for the story is a family income threshold which five years ago was frustratingly above our families income, and which now is embarrassingly below it. In this regard, I recognize myself to be uncharacteristically fortunate. However, having recently made a good deal less than this (and coming from a family which never exceeded such a total, even adjusting for inflation) I feel that I have some familiarity with the sort of middle class world being discussed — while I can’t escape the feeling that this seems a very squalid and foreign world to the Financial Times writer.

Added to this sense of class conflict is that Luce seeks to build up his story with juxtapositions of facts which sound like they mean more than they do.

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8 Responses to Is The US Destroying the Middle Class?

  • Has Elizabeth Warren’s _The Two Income Trap_ come up here before? There’s a good hour-long Youtube lecture with all you need to know about it. It’s quite relevant, especially in light of the FT.com article’s reference to the wife’s housewife mother.

    Warren notes how two incomes push up the price for major purchases while also diverting family resources into supporting the second income.

    If memory serves, the Catholic social teaching of Rerum Novarum regarded the inability of an honest working man to support his wife at home as a sign of unjust inequality. Working from this view, the feminist business model has generated profound economic inequality in the name of gender equality.

    Among the other facts the FT.com writer is thatn that male wages especially have stagnated or declined since the 1970s. People are right to wonder why their fathers or grandfathers seemed so much better off economically. They generally were.

  • To say that anyone is better off “economically” than another does not really make sense except in a popular and common misuse of the term “economy.” I think you mean to say that our fathers and grandfathers were better off financially.

    Economics deals with the use and/or allocation of scarce resources, which is pretty much all resources. Someone can be very well off financially and be an economic mess (about a dozen celebrity musicians and athletes immediately jump to mind).

    In that context, I would dispute the blanket generalization that our fathers were better off either financially or economically. After all, those days led to these days. Did those men who earned such great union wages set aside money and resources to provide for a time when such work might not be available? Or did they spend it on microwaves, designer jeans, station wagons and lava lamps? Crass conumption has been a proud and common feature of American life from the bottom to the top for as long as I can remember. Whose fault is that? The people who designed and sold the goods, or the people who consumed them with no thought toward tomorrow’s rainy weather? The answer, of course, is both. Not one among us is innocent.

    The FT piece sounds like typical Eurotrash America-bashing. Ask Greece how great “universal health care” (a nonsense term) and a fully unionized labor force is, if you can dodge the flaming trash cans being lobbed through their streets as their economy crumbles long enough to have a civil conversation.

  • People are right to wonder why their fathers or grandfathers seemed so much better off economically. They generally were.

    My grandfathers both were at the mid-point of their lives in 1930, at a time when the per capita income of the United States was about a quarter of what it is today. Somehow, I doubt their contemporaries were better off than my contemporaries in a brutely material sense. My father was at the mid-point of his life in 1954, when the per capita income of the United States was about 40% of what it is today, so, same deal.

  • I think a lot depends on where you live and how you define middle class. I think that the media tends to represent “the middle class” with examples from the very top and the very bottom of the income bracket, but ignores the vast swath in between the extremes.

    Our income is in the lower 40s with a family of five. From this perspective, 70K borders on being rich. From someone making six figures, 40K is a very small amount of money indeed. What is the reality?

    In our home, money is closely budgeted and we have no debt besides the mortgage. We have two cars, own a house, have cell phones, cable TV, unlimited long distance, broadband internet, a microwave, a dishwasher, and even go out to eat every once in a while. Is that poor?

    A closer look at our reality would reveal that we live far from work (40 miles), so as to afford our house. The ‘new’ car is five years old; the old car is 16. Our cell phones date from the early 2000s — nobody is going to steal those puppies. The TV is from the 90s. Most of our savings cushion comes from our pre-children stash. We put enough in the 401K to make the company match, but our monthly savings is meager and mostly gets eaten periodically by car maintenance. We have zero expectation of Social Security and the college fund is just two or three thousand dollars. Is that sustainable?

    We could cut back on lifestyle a bit to up the savings, but we do have the expectation of making more in the near future. But, to tell the truth, I thought we’d already be making more than we do. How long do we hold out?

    We could become a two-income household, but we do not want to outsource the raising of our children and add the expenses associated with not having an adult run the household. At what point do our ideals and aspiring middle class lifestyle undercut our financial security?

  • I share the same concerns of Jenny… The topic of this post is related also to these posts and the comments contained in them:

    The Next Great Depression
    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/10/07/the-next-great-depression/

    The Federal Reserve
    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/10/11/the-federal-reserve/

  • I had a reasonable middle-class income when I was working. Did everything right – saved the max I could into my 401(k), stayed 33 years in a job that I didn’t love or hate too badly – it provided a needed security and income (from $7,500 to $60,000 over the 33 years), and since it was a government job, guaranteed a reasonable pension for life. No fancy cars/vacations/eating out, etc. I was looking forward to a nice reasonable middle-class retirement. Until my parents who had only SS income for their retirement moved in (they paid tens of thousands to send their 3 kids to Catholic schools). Worked okay until they both started getting health problems. Then everything went to pieces. My last year of work I was taking care of 2 disabled parents alone, had to borrow heavily on credit cards just to live and keep the house in working order, had to buy a new car I did not need to accommodate the wheelchairs, had to move because Mom/Dad couldn’t walk and do the stairs. Now, on paper, with Dad’s SS and my pension, and 401(k) withdrawal, we’re making a middle-class wage. But all of his SS is used to pay back the money we owe, ditto my 401 withdrawal, and we are living pension check to pension check – not what retirement was supposed to be. In 2 years, the 401 will be completely gone, Dad will probably be dead (Mom died last year), and my $30,000/year pension is the only thing that will keep me from starving. And oddly, compared to many who used to have middle class jobs and now have no jobs, I’m doing well. I now rent in a retirement community where most people did have the middle-class life while they were working. These are folks who made a living in good paying blue-collar/white-collar middle class jobs, and still have decent SS and/or pension income so they can enjoy their retirement years (until they get sick, then forget it). Unfortunately, I think that for years to come, they’ll be the last of their breed. Many middle-class jobs are being outsourced and disappearing, and retirement plans are rapidly becoming 401(k)s where one is forced to gamble on uncertain stock/money markets. We now have executives who vote themselves lavish retirement plans for life and salaries that are 400 times their employees’ salaries. College graduates are living with Mom and Dad because their potential jobs have gone out of the country to maximize the corporate profits. Millions of people are hurting, yet the corporations are sitting on over $1 trillion in cash and not hiring people. And yet many politicians are crying about the poor yacht owner having to pay a luxury sales tax on his million-dollar yacht, and not caring that they are cutting aid to families caring for disabled parents/children. What seems to be missing in the mindset of those in charge is something that was obvious as long ago as Henry Ford of Model T fame – pay your employees a living wage so they can afford to buy your product. America’s wealth was built not on the few rich, but rather on the middle-class who could afford the houses/cars/computers, etc, that they produced – a middle-class that was until recently was growing or holding its own. Now, the rich are getting still richer, and the middle-class is becoming poorer. And neither Obama (a nobody politician who in a sane world would never have come near the presidency) and his abortion-on-demand Democrats nor the no-tax Republicans (unless they pay for unnecessary wars or buy elections – oh, wait – no taxes ever, we’ll let the grandkids pay) have the guts to do something about about it.

  • Profile: 27 yr old male that has a Undergrad and soon a master’s education. My first job out of college was making 50k. The average salary in my area for a family of four is 51k and about 30k single. That year I moved into a house after only six months at my parents. I saved roughly 10,000 for my house that is about 97k. My fiancee is a medical student. We do not have children, but we have two dogs.

    In the last 4 years some events in our own lives made us realize how people such as Jenny and EMS live. Both parties are the problem for example after one your I was laid off that job taking another job about 80 miles from my home. For a while that was fine because I was allowed to work from home on some days. Then they got acquired by HP. In the first year I noticed people leaving that were with the company for over 5 years and replaced by those nice VISA carriers. Those in the website and others point the finger to unskilled working being taken by illegals, but this is happening to skilled work as well, but legal slavery if you see how these workers live. At my job I say 2 guys replaced with 5-6 foreigners that made probably as much as the two people that was laid off. They lived in a house next to my co-worker all 6 of them with there families to afford the housing. Later that year, the company changed the terms of my employment to be that I had to come into the office everyday. At that point I decided to leave and go back to school fulltime.

    I understand many people do not have the ability to do this because of the risk to the family. As well we live in a house we know if i lost my job we can still afford it. Then came the forecloses and discounts to purchase just after we purchased our own meager house. We both felt screwed because we did the right thing and saw some friends job into houses they would have never afforded before, yet did not buy a house they could afford without these subsidies. So we live in a middle to lower middle class home and they live were my parents live that took them a decade of savings to move there so I can have the education I was able to receive. ( But life is not fair I guess )

    After I left work my dogs got sick and my fiencee broke her leg from falling down some ice stairs at the grocery story. We now have to spend over 1,000 for her leg and about the same amount for your does going to the vet. Turning around to real people. How do you handle paying 2,000 in one month for these random expenses? Do you have the means to leave your employer. As I said before we got a house that could be paid for if I lost my job using only my fiencee’s loans. As we both see it as her income until she becomes a doctor. So taking that she only makes 20,000 dollars a year in loans ( she was lucky to have a scholarship to pay for all medical school tuition and books. ) We almost missed the mortgage that month if it wasn’t for me always saving over 20% of my income we would have been already behind in our house payments.
    It is scary we do need change that is why I voted for obama. McCain had the same policies as bush, but I see obama and he has the same policies so it seems from clinton. We need new politicians I hope to see people voting not for one issue in the future. To be honest same-sex marriage and abortion should not be in the political discussion never should have gone past the states. I don’t care what you call yourself we all can agree that America and the American Dream is slipping way from both Dem and Republicans. I think we need to first come together as Americans to see what we both agree to be a problem and come up with mutual solutions. It seems that we lost that and our politicians have lost that was well. Why does the republicans say no to everything and also the democrats and make this show for all of us? Why can’t we find some middle ground ever. why are we in a America that one party needs to almost take complete control in order to pass laws that are needed? I think we both can agree we need some change and it starts with the left like myself speaking to many of you that are from the right side of the world to start talking before we expect or elected officials to do the same.

    In the end I think most people want to live with no fear. That takes a good income doesn’t need to be 1 million dollars a year but it is certainly not less than 50k for a family in this country.

3 Catholic Hospitals To Close Allegedly Because Of Obamacare?

Monday, October 11, AD 2010

CatholicVote is mounting a campaign to bring attention to 3 Catholic Hospitals that are closing. The CEO said that ObamaCare “absolutely” factored into the decision.

This is certainly a troubling concern, made more so by the allegations that the White House, the local media, and Sr. Keehan have tried their best to quiet the story.

However, one has to be cautious. The report that CV apparently relies on is based on a doctor’s opinion-a doctor that does not appear to have any knowledge of the actual discussions at the hospitals in question. This unnamed doctor alleges that it is due to Obamacare restricting the ability of the hospital to collect Medicare reimbursements and thereby making its debt unbearable.

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8 Responses to 3 Catholic Hospitals To Close Allegedly Because Of Obamacare?

  • Pingback: 3 Catholic Hospitals to Close Allegedly Because of Obamacare?: The American Catholic « Deacon John's Space
  • I agree with the overall gist of your post but I feel obliged to say that “unbearable debt” and “not profitable enough” are two quite different financial states. Your use of the phrase “not profitable enough” seems intended to imply that greed might be a factor. Exactly how much debt should Americans, catholic or otherwise, have rammed down their throats before they resist? Should we wait until the Greek debt crisis, with its concomitant violent civil unrest, looks like amateur hour compared to our own economic collapse? I do however agree that pro-life issues are a separate issue, and even more important, in this particular context.

  • Ugh, pardon my grammatical pratfall in that last sentence. Hopefully my point still came through.

  • Your use of the phrase “not profitable enough” seems intended to imply that greed might be a factor.

    I understand why you might think that, though it was not intentional. I only meant “not profitable” enough in order to have the resources to pay back its debt. I’m not accusing the hospital of short-changing patients in order to make a bigger buck somewhere else.

  • While Obamacare may not be a factor in the hospitals’ decisions, I can tell you non-profit hospitals are very afraid of what health care reform will do to revenues.

    The cover of a hospital administration magazine recently had its cover story about the potential threat to non-profits that health care reform holds. The cover photo was of a Catholic hospital.

  • Here’s from the CEO of the involved hospitals:

    “”Actually we’re doing well. We’re ahead of budget for the year. It’s more that when we look out over the landscape of health care over the next five years and the needs of these facilities, the needs of this community, we understand a different level of investment will be needed than what we can do on our own,” Cook said.

    They said much of that required investment is the result of the health care reform bill passed in Washington.

    The CEO said it means the need for more spending and less federal reimbursements.

    “Health care reform is absolutely playing a role. Was it the precipitating factor in this decision? No, but was it a factor in our planning over the next five years? Absolutely,” Cook added.”

  • Philip:

    Do you have a link for that quote?

    I’m a little confused by the quote, but it sounds like the hospitals think they’re required to expand services/facilities and combined with the other investment the hospital needs to do, the budget isn’t there so they want to bring in private investment to take over so the investment in the community can occur.

    While that may be a little more damning of Obamacare, it’s still a very tenuous connection. After all, they say the planning began before Obamacare, suggesting that much of the investment couldn’t be afforded even if Obamacare was passed.

    Regardless, CV needs to produce a lot more evidence before making the claims it’s making. A sentence quote isn’t enough.

TAC College Football Rankings: Week 6

Monday, October 11, AD 2010

There are few stories, if any, better in college football than Jarrett Lee. A guy booed off the field in 2007 for his INTs, including a game where he got crushed in the Swamp, comes back to lead LSU to come from behind wins against Tennessee and then again at the Swamp. The Mad Hatter is 6-0.

Mad props to South Carolina. Used the bye week to perfection and embarrassed a team last week had their fans booking trips to Glendale.

Finally, some real chaos. Bama’s lost their margin for error. Ohio St., Oregon, and Nebraska look like the favorites to finish undefeated in their conferences. LSU & Auburn remain undefeated in the SEC. Oklahoma and Michigan St. also remain underdogs to win out their conference. And the BCS Busters remain undefeated (Boise St., TCU, & Utah). Apparently, Boise St. is likely to be #1 when the BCS comes out next week but truly only LSU & Auburn control their own destiny.

So who gets #1? Is a one-loss Bama team better than an undefeated BCS Buster? This is a week to fight over the rankings, so let’s get to them after this reminder that LSU inspires its fans to pursue holiness!

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30 Responses to TAC College Football Rankings: Week 6

  • If Tito keeps ranking Ohio State #7, I’m going to have to even it out by ranking Oregon at #7. Dude’s rankings are skewing the results.

    😉

  • My Boise St comment is probably hard to figure unless you realize I ranked them number one and also listen to the Mark Levin Show.

    And Jay, ditto times a hundred on your Missouri comment. The only championships that are even in the same league as CU’s bogus split title are the back-to-back “lets give it to a an old ball coach who hasn’t won it before” titles for Nebraska and FSU in the early 90s.

  • If Tito keeps ranking Ohio State #7, I’m going to have to even it out by ranking Oregon at #7. Dude’s rankings are skewing the results.

    It ends up evening out, but I flipped out when I saw he ranked Nevada over LSU.

    Oh, and I seriously considered striking Tito’s votes for UCLA and Cal by putting them in a “got votes by tito” category. Fairly absurd that 3 loss teams got votes in Week 6.

  • I consider Tito’s rankings to be some kind of performance art.

  • The good thing about 6 voters is that one doesn’t skew too bad. Since it came up, I took Tito’s votes out of the excel program. Tito did hurt a few teams (Arkansas & Florida St) and super helped Nevada but most are relatively the same. The top 25 without Tito:

    1. Ohio St. 2. Oregon 3. Boise St. 4. Nebraska 5. Oklahoma 6. Alabama 7. Auburn 8. LSU 9. Utah 10. Michigan St/South Carolina 12. Arkansas 13. Stanford 14. Iowa 15. florida St. 16. Wisconsin 17. Okie St. 18 Arizona 19. Mizzou 20. Air Force 20. nevada 21. Michigan 22.Florida 23. West virginia 24. Oregon st. 25. Nc State (Receiving votes: VT, Miami)

  • Michael, from a tried-and-true blue-and-orange-blood-bleeding Gator, I can honestly say that that game was exciting. In the end, I think a really poor call by officials on the forward lateral after the fake field goal attempt literally kept LSU alive and nearly gave them the game. I give it to Miles and the LSU players that they did pull off an awesome last-second TD there, but they should have never even had the chance to do it. Then again, if my Gators would have actually played any offense at all in the first half, then this discussion wouldn’t be happening. Alas, I must admit it’s a “rebuilding year” this year for the Gators!

  • East Coast dribble and babble.

    😉

  • In the end, I think a really poor call by officials on the forward lateral after the fake field goal attempt literally kept LSU alive and nearly gave them the game

    While I think it’s close, the sportscenter after the game put up this black line that was parallel and the ball followed it pretty closely. It was tight, but I think the refs made the right call. Moreover, they didn’t have the video evidence to overturn it.

    East Coast dribble and babble.

    Ok, but explain to me your thinking behind Nevada, UCLA, and Cal. B/c that blows my mind.

  • Beware of Spartans rising…

    …although, more likely, given the Law of Post-Big Game Letdown and Crashing Expectations, it’s quite possible that Illinois will bump off MSU this Saturday.

    Being a Michigan State alum has prepared me to never get my hopes raised in life. It came attached to my diploma.

  • Ok, but explain to me your thinking behind Nevada, UCLA, and Cal. B/c that blows my mind.

    You’re the one complaining about how horrible LSU is.

    You’ve answered your own question.

    That’s what you get with a third grade degree.

  • You’re the one complaining about how horrible LSU is.

    You’ve answered your own question.

    That’s what you get with a third grade degree.

    ???

    I think LSU is very good this year, though improvements are needed if they are to survive the brutal SEC schedule on top. However, LSU has made moves towards making those improvements, and I’m excited to see how the season progresses.

    To compare LSU to Nevada is quite simple. LSU has 6 wins over BCS opponents. 2 of those opponents are currently ranked; one more was ranked when LSU played them. Nevada has no wins against currently ranked teams; one win over a team ranked at the time they played. Their other opponents are homecoming fodder for the BCS.

    UCLA has 3 losses already. 2 of which were blowouts (Stanford & Cal), one to a Kansas St. team that just got smacked around in Manhattan. They beat Houston with a third string QB and an overrated Texas club (a quality win). Cal has beaten no one of quality (unless you count UCLA).

    I could maybe buy UCLA at 25 if they hadn’t gotten crushed this weekend. I don’t get Cal being over Arkansas and Florida St. the Seminoles just creamed Miami at Miami to become an ACC contender and Arkansas has a Heisman contender-led Offense.

    I’m not trying to be insulting, I’m just trying to figure out your reasoning.

    And I would respond to the third-grade quip, but I’m too busy writing my article for the law review at the top-tier law school I’m currently attending to give it adequate treatment. 😉

  • When LSU, Alabama, and Ohio State stop dodging Boise State and TCU on their schedule, I’ll start listening to how “tough” the SEC is.

    I’ve worked in college athletics and I know the politics behind scheduling.

    Boise State deserves a shot at the national title only because alleged heavyweights are too scared to play against them, even on their own home field!

    It’s what the FBS and BCS deserves, a Boise State-TCU national title game.

    Your reasons are empty until LSU schedules a Boise State or a TCU.

  • When LSU, Alabama, and Ohio State stop dodging Boise State and TCU on their schedule, I’ll start listening to how “tough” the SEC is.

    A) This is an argument for Boise St. to be ranked higher than them. I don’t have a huge problem with Boise over Ohio St., as VT & Oregon St. have looked better of late. I put Ohio St. 1st b/c they’ve looked good, beating Miami handily. I had Oregon over them last week, but I’m worried they’ll suffer if their starting QB remains a little injured.

    B) LSU ain’t dodging anybody. Last year we traveled to Washington. We signed up for West Virginia (Big East contenders; good bowl record), North Carolina this year (ACC favorites until the suspensions hit). We signed up to play at Oregon (your current #1 team) next year. Ohio St., to its credit has scheduled series with USC & Texas recently. Alabama played Penn St. this year. While there are teams that load up on cupcakes, these teams generally aren’t doing that.

    And while there are politics behind scheduling, there are also economics. TCU’s own fans don’t come out-at TCU. Travel costs to Idaho are expensive for most teams (especially the SEC squads). It makes it difficult for many teams to justify losing the money just to give Boise or TCU a chance at the title game.

    And finally, Boise’s played Oregon, Oregon St., and Virginia Tech. It’s not like they’re being shut out. They’re playing top teams from BCS conferences. TCU played Oregon St.

    LSU is not under a moral obligation to go out of their way to schedule TCU or Boise St. LSU gives itself a healthy non-conference schedule that is competitive (with a few easier games to be sure-usually against the WAC teams Boise St. has feasted on the past few years). There are many good teams worth scheduling-teams that bring in national attention, lots of fans, and excitement both before, during, and after the game. No one is obligated to play one team more than any other.

    C) Speaking of dodge, what happened to our conversation about Nevada, Cal, and UCLA? I wasn’t talking about Boise

  • Somewhat off-topic but not totally, Joe Posnanski has a point counter-point on the BCS. The latter was written by the executive director of the BCS, and I have to say he would make most politicians blush with his over-reliance on hackneyed cliches and talking points.

  • “… it’s quite possible that Illinois will bump off MSU this Saturday …”

    Definitely. And not just because of an MSU let-down. The Illini are better than their 3-2 record indicates. Still, I pick Sparty to win in a close game.

  • I have to say he would make most politicians blush with his over-reliance on hackneyed cliches and talking points.

    Heh. Couldn’t get past the first few sentences:

    College football is flourishing. Eager fans are flocking to stadiums across the country. Folks are watching on television like never before.

    The sport is decidedly healthy. There’s no reason to monkey with it.

    Seriously?

  • “Joe Posnanski has a point counter-point on the BCS.”

    I wish sportswriters would quit going on and on and on ad infinitum about a damned playoff. It’s not going to happen. More importantly, it SHOULDN’T happen.

    Posnanski is full of it when he says Division 1-A college football doesn’t have the most meaningful regular season in all of sports. Of course it does. It may not be meaningful to HIM because HE doesn’t get to see the match-ups HE wants to see week in and week out. But so what? College football has always been about the rivalries and the conference match-ups. An Alabama-Auburn game or a Texas-Oklahoma game or a Ohio-State Michigan game is FAR more important than whether a bunch of top-10 teams play one another every week, giving Joe Posnanski a thrill up his leg.

  • I couldn’t get past the first few sentences in that either.

    But I do have a problem with the arguments made against the BCS he presents

    Arg #1: It leads to teams scheduling cupcakes-This doesn’t go away in a playoff. If rankings what matter, then you schedule cupcakes and let your season revolve around one or two big games. In fact, I think the incentive is higher to schedule cupcakes in a playoff b/c if you have a harder schedule, you have less energy to get through an additional 3-4 weeks tacked on at the end of the year. The only way to increase good non-conference games is make them not count. However, to its credit the BCS has given strength of schedule an important role, so that many teams are trying to get a marquee non-conf game to improve their chances in case of equal records, as well as getting the buzz about the team early.

    2. The BCS is illogical-there isn’t a magical formula about the rankings. Unless you say playoffs are limited to conference champions, then rankings matter and will continue to be kinda crazy. I could only accept a playoffs if they were limited to conference champions-allowing wild cards just perpetuates the problems of the BCS while diminishing the value of the bowls.

  • Which isn’t to say I defend the guy at the BCS, either. I despise the BCS, but think a playoff would be worse.

  • College football has always been about the rivalries and the conference match-ups. An Alabama-Auburn game or a Texas-Oklahoma game or a Ohio-State Michigan game is FAR more important than whether a bunch of top-10 teams play one another every week, giving Joe Posnanski a thrill up his leg

    This is true. The conference schedule is what counts.

  • Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    LSU and many, many other heavyweights are dodging the TCU’s and Boise States.

    Fresno State is famous for “taking on all comers”.

    LSU?

    Bring on McNeese State!

    Whimps.

  • LSU and many, many other heavyweights are dodging the TCU’s and Boise States.

    Except for Oregon, Oregon St., and Virginia Tech.

    LSU has played Fresno. We beat the snot of them in 2006.

    This week is the first non-BCS opponent we’re playing. They’re in an in-state school, so we’re giving the money to a local team. We only have one non-BCS team left-ULM of the Sun Belt (another state school). Not sure why playing UNC & West Virginia isn’t good enough but oh well.

    And Boise just finished playing Toledo and Wyoming. Don’t give me your nonsense. (And Boise is scheduled to play at Ole Miss next year, so don’t pretend the SEC has completely shut off Boise).

    Still no answer on why Nevada, Cal & UCLA are where they are in your rankings.

  • Michael,

    Boise is playing Toledo because LSU refuses to play them… in Baton Rouge!

    Pretty lame, but par for the course for the biggies in college football, full of excuses when their arguments run out.

    When you start scheduling the mid-major powerhouses, then you have an argument, until them, eat your roadkill and smile.

  • McNeese State for crying out loud!

    Sheesh.

  • Boise is playing Toledo because LSU refuses to play them… in Baton Rouge!

    Do you have any evidence that LSU said “screw you” to Boise?

    Pretty lame, but par for the course for the biggies in college football, full of excuses when their arguments run out.

    LSU doesn’t need to schedule flash-in-the-pan programs like Boise St. that have no fan base when it can schedule schools with bigger fan bases and more consistently good football teams like UNC & West Virginia that allow for neutral-field or home & home options. This allows LSU guaranteed better football games, guaranteed media exposure, and guaranteed money for the school and program.
    If it becomes feasible (as it was when LSU scheduled Fresno St.), LSU will do it.

    When you start scheduling the mid-major powerhouses, then you have an argument, until them, eat your roadkill and smile.

    So LSU is terrible & cowardly for scheduling major conference powerhouses instead of mid-major ones. Ok.

    McNeese State for crying out loud!

    LSU undertook a commitment to play in-state schools so that its dollars would go to help boost the programs of the smaller LA schools. It’s a fun weekend, as everyone from that area comes in. For example, when LSU played ULL last year a lot of my wife’s family came in. It makes for a great weekend for Louisiana families. Doing it twice a year is not a crime. LSU has far more interest in helping boost up McNeese, Tulane, ULL, and ULM than it does for some school in Idaho.

  • Nuf sed.

    YOU STILL HAVE SAID NOTHING ABOUT NEVADA!

    We started this off by asking you why you ranked Nevada above LSU, and why you ranked UCLA & Cal where you did.

  • I proudly serve as TAC’s token Air Force fan. The Falcons lost some key defensive personnel this past week. They might actually fall out of the rankings after a tough trip to San Diego –thanks to the job Brady Hoke’s doing, these aren’t your older brothers’ Aztecs. I still think they’re going to knock off either Utah or TCU later in the season though.

  • Where is the NFL rankings? 🙂

  • Robert:

    I’ve been swamped; expect them tomorrow.