Monthly Archives: October 2010

Fictional Reality

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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TAC Pro Rankings Week 5(Updated)

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.  →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The True Star of the Fringe

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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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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

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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Political Miscellania 10\14\10

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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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The Almighty Has His Own Purposes

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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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Truth About China

Regardless if they’re Communists or not… China is the place to be. Should we be teaching our kids Chinese?

Must-see video
CNN – Fareed Zakaria sits for a rare and exclusive interview with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

TIME
The Real Challenge from China: Its People, Not Its Currency by Fareed Zakaria

Q&A WITH WEN JIABAO – ‘The Wish and Will of the People Are Not Stoppable’

Related books on interest

A Bull in China: Investing Profitably in the World’s Greatest Market

The Post-American World

Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America

When God Says "No"

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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Pope Leo XIII on Christopher Columbus

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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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Two Momentous But Little Remembered Dates In Western & Church History

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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Is The US Destroying the Middle Class?

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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

3 Catholic Hospitals To Close Allegedly Because Of Obamacare?

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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TAC College Football Rankings: Week 6

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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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The Federal Reserve

If you’re interested in learning how to drive a stake into the heart of the welfare and warfare state then read this post…

As my original post and follow-up post explained, until a year ago I didn’t have hardly any real understanding of the monetary (and banking) system. You might find it helpful to listen to the this talk given by G. Edward Griffin. It caused a paradigm shift to occur with how I understood these matters and how I now invest. It may be one of the most important hours you ever spend studying a secular topic. You can listen to it straight off Google videos. Make the time to listen to it.

After listening to his talk watch the following helpful video on the Federal Reserve. For some unknown reason the video doesn’t automatically begin so give it a tiny nudge forward and it will begin playing.

Read the following books on the topic.

The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

End The Fed

The Case Against the Fed

Educate yourself. After all it’s October. It’s ok to be shocked and scared straight!

Columbus Day: No Apologies

by Joe Hargrave

Few days provide so great an occasion for an orgy of self-hatred (among the white elites) and faux moral outrage as Columbus Day. But long before communists, socialists, and their fellow-travelers seized control of our educational institutions and rewrote the history of the Western civilization – a revision which is force-fed to most students in our public reeducation centers – Columbus was celebrated as a great explorer and a daring adventurer who undertook great hardships to undergo the voyage that would lead to the discovery of the New World. Pope Leo XIII, on the 400th anniversary (1892) of that famous voyage, wrote of Columbus in Quarto Abeunte Saeculo:

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.

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Let's Send a Pro-Life Rocket Scientist to Congress!

I have often said that politics is not rocket science, but now we have a rocket scientist running for Congress!  Ruth McClung is a physicist who works as a rocket scientist.  She is strongly pro-life:

The value of life should not be taken lightly. Should I be elected, I would stand for the life of unborn babies. I would stand for protection of our elderly. I would also fight to defend animals against cruelty. Society must stand for those who cannot defend themselves or society is lost.

President Lyndon B Johnson said, “You know, doing what is right is easy. The problem is, knowing what is right.” I believe this statement is applicable to abortion.

I doubt that many would argue that the taking of an innocent life is wrong. The argument then begins with the question, “When does that life become a baby.”  Since I have an aunt and a cousin that both spent less time in the womb than many late term abortion babies, I cannot believe that those babies are not fully human and do not deserve the full rights of humans, including the right to life. I will support the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. My opponent is one of the 71 co-sponsors of H.R. 1964, which would nullify the national ban on partial-birth abortion.

I am also convinced that the humanity of a baby has nothing to do with whether or not it is in the womb.  At a “million cells” is it just cells, then at a “million and one cells” is it human?  There is no dividing line between non-life and life. We cannot devalue a human life in this way.  We must stand for life from the first cell!  If not, then we start down a dangerous path that will quickly lead to a culture of death in our society.  Is it not always better to error on the side of life?

I do not believe that many would suggest a young girl should do something that would cause her emotional pain for the rest of her life.  This brings me to the second life that abortion hurts – it is the life of the would-be mother.  We are giving young girls a huge choice that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  We need a society that stands up for these girls.  I understand that a girl may not be able to take care of a child at that point in her life, but I can say with surety that there will always be a family waiting to adopt that child. This will release that girl from the emotional burden that she may carry for the rest of her life.

Together, let’s stand for the value of life. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Battle of Tours

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1268 years ago today, a  Frankish and Burgundian army under Charles Martel “the Hammer”, Mayor of the the Palace of Austrasia, defeated and turned back an Islamic army from Spain.  The battle was decisive in that it stemmed the tide of Islamic conquest in the West that had conquered virtually all of Spain in less than a decade.  Tours demonstrated that if the rest of Europe was to be conquered, it would take unending war against Christians who would never stop fighting against the followers of the prophet.  Europe would remain under siege from Islam for almost a thousand years, but Charles Martel and his men had scored the first decisive Christian victory in the long war which would ultimately turn back the first Islamic attempt to conquer Europe.

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