He Leadeth Me and Paul Krugman

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

I suppose it may be a symptom of an unbalanced intellectual life, but one question that occurred to me while reading He Leadeth Me (an excellent and moving account of a Catholic priest who was  imprisoned for over two decades in the Soviet Union) several months ago was a question about the failure of the Soviet economic system. In the book, Fr. Ciszek recounts year after year of back-breaking labor for 12-14 hours a day in Siberian labor camps. He and his fellow prisoners lived in squalid conditions, and were provided with hardly enough food to keep them alive. This is all horrible, of course, and I’d recommend Fr. Ciszek’s work to anyone who has a tendency to complain about the difficulties of pursuing sanctification in their jobs.

But it seemed to me that, unless the prisoners were basically digging ditches and filling them back up again,  this type of coercion would increase economic efficiency, given that the inputs required to organize the prisoners were minimal and the workers were producing a great deal. Certainly, Soviet workers in these mines were producing more than unionized U.S. workers of the time. As it turns out, I am not the only who thought this way. As Paul Krugman helpfully explains, claims about the economic superiority of the Soviet Union were commonplace in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and many prominent economists reluctantly concluded that centrally planned economies had unique efficiency advantages:

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3 Responses to He Leadeth Me and Paul Krugman

  • Glad I’m not the only one who gets off on these odd economic digressions when reading some unrelated piece.

    One other item of interest on how planned economies tended not to work as well as might otherwise be imagined — centralized planning also tended to be very good at meeting needs well understood by the planners. However, if the planning was imperfect, so, often, the production. Thus, the USSR might achieve some feat like assuring that every collective farm had an automatic wheat harvesting machine, yet miss the detail of which collectives actually produced wheat. (That being an example I remember reading about at one point.) Obviously, at that point, the accomplishment of producing all the harvesters is semi-wasted effort.

  • I just remember what some anonymous Russian was quoted as saying “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” Slave labor is never really productive.

  • The Soviets simply recreated state serfdom with the added horrors of mass executions, mass imprisonment and man-made famine. Western useful idiots eagerly swallowed make-believe Soviet statistics, and ignored the fact that, at a much higher human cost, the Soviets were simply continuing the industrialization process that already had been well under way during the reign of the Tsars. Russia and its subject states were and are immensely rich in natural resources and manpower, and it took a truly pathological system to achieve simple industrialization in the 20th century through the type of unending misery imposed on their subjects by the Soviet Nomenklatura.

Willie Stark and Huey Long

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

In 1946 Robert Penn Warren wrote the great American political novel, All the King’s Men, which detailed the rise and fall of a Southern politician, Willie Stark.  Stark starts out as a political idealist and is utterly corrupted by the political process.  Broderick Crawford in the film adaptation in 1949 gives an astonishingly good performance as Willie Stark and delivers speeches in the film that should be carefully studied by all students of oratory.

Over the years it has been alleged that the book is a thinly veiled look at the career of Huey Long, governor, senator and virtual dictator of Depression era  Louisiana until he was assassinated by a dentist.  Warren rejected the suggestion, and he was correct.  Huey Long was always a cheerful crook and never an idealist.

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14 Responses to Willie Stark and Huey Long

  • The fictional Stark differed from Long, but there is little doubt that Long’s career was a point of departure for Robert Penn Warren.

  • That departure was a light year trip Art. Willie Stark is as different from Huey Long as Richard Nixon was from Bill Clinton. Stark is a tragic hero; Huey Long was always a lovable rogue, except for a not small fraction of Louisiana who cheered after he was gunned down.

  • There is a significant dispute whether or not Long was shot by Weiss or by his own bodyguards that continues to this day. Long’s impact continues to be felt by Louisiana.

  • Real life is certaintly much more interesting than fiction. I agree that Long may have had a national impact, had he lived.

  • “There is a significant dispute whether or not Long was shot by Weiss or by his own bodyguards that continues to this day.”

    Correct. Long’s trigger happy body guards let off a lot of rounds, 30 of so of which hit Weiss. I tend to think that Long was hit only by Weiss, but in all the confusion who could tell?

    Here is a good overview of the controversy:

    http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20100828/ARTICLES/100829308?p=1&tc=pg

  • Lovable rogue? Boris Yeltsin was a lovable rogue. Richard J. Dealy was a lovable rogue. Lyndon Johnson might be called intermittently lovable, and had the loyalty and admiration of people not otherwise known as crooked or pathological (e.g. John Roche and Jack Valenti). Long’s a stretch and Clinon is so oleagenous the term ‘lovable’ fits not at all.

  • There we will have to agree to differ Art. I found nothing lovable about Richard J. Daley, other than his inability to speak coherent English, a disability also of his son Richie the Lesser. Johnson was too cruel to be lovable. Clinton and Long are part of a venerable Southern tradition of crooked politicians who win elections partially because they put on a good show while also being utterly corrupt.

  • Inability to speak! You must be talking about Thomas M. Menino of Boston.

  • “Clinton and Long are part of a venerable Southern tradition of crooked politicians who win elections partially because they put on a good show while also being utterly corrupt.” Long’s unvenerable and unSouthern tradition is traceable to one Henry Clay Warmoth, the most corrupt carpetbagger governor in the history of Louisiana. It was by Warmoth that Long was inspired to use measures such as the undated resignation and the state constabulary as political instruments to acquire and maintain tyrannical power.

  • Actually Paul, I always thought Huey might have used Governor John McEnery as a role model:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEnery_(politician)

  • I might note Paul that my comment:

    “Clinton and Long are part of a venerable Southern tradition of crooked politicians who win elections partially because they put on a good show while also being utterly corrupt.”

    was not a slam at the South. Up North we elect corrupt politicians who can’t even put on a decent show. Chicago has turned the procedure into an art form.

  • I can’t remember the name of the book at the moment, but a relative of Weiss (a nephew?) wrote a very good book that examines the issue of Weiss’ culpability.

    As expected, the book lets Weiss off the hook, and pins the blame on the bodyguards.

    As I remember the book, it made a very compelling case, one that I believe.

    I love teaching this story in my American History class. I’m from the same small town (Ville Platte) as the Surgeon General, Dr. Arthur Vidrine, who operated on him. The story really comes to life for my students.

  • I found nothing lovable about Richard J. Daley, other than his inability to speak coherent English

    Well, he did rough up some hippies during the ’68 Democratic convention. Surely he should be given credit for that.

  • Ah, Chicago 68! As an 11 year old, I found the proceedings to be hilarious watching them on television:

    My favorite moment:

TAC College Football Rankings: Week 5

Monday, October 4, AD 2010

Update: There was a glitch that prevented the rankings from showing. The glitch is fixed and the rankings are up.

You may be wondering why there is a big picture of the Blessed Mother to lead off the post. It’s simple. I and the rest of us clad in purple & gold owe her. Big time. On the 4th down play and the last play of the game (both of them), I was furiously saying the Hail Mary in the LSU student section. If those flags aren’t miraculous intercession, I don’t know what is. I have prayed like that during a game twice-the NFC championship game against the Vikings and the LSU v. Auburn game in 2007 (Byrd’s catch with a second left-the most beautiful pass & catch I’ve seen in Death Valley). These Tigers are going to kill me, and even though they should have slaughtered the Vols, that was a rare and fun experience.

In the rest of the college football world, we now have clear front-runners in the top 2 conferences. Oregon will need a major upset to lose the PAC-10, and Alabama made quite a statement to the rest of the SEC West. In the Big 12, Oklahoma looks to take the Big 12 South with the win in the Red River Rivalry. The Big 10 is still wide open, and the ACC is anyone’s guess.

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38 Responses to TAC College Football Rankings: Week 5

  • I think I can mind read these invisible rankings.

  • “If those flags aren’t miraculous intercession I don’t know what is.”

    Actually the penalty was a sign of poor math instruction in Tennessee. 😉

  • That’s the second prayer-related story I’ve heard about the end of the LSU game today. I need to get some LSU fans as personal intercessors.

  • Rankings are now visible.

    I need to get some LSU fans as personal intercessors.

    Apparently, the Blessed Mother is an LSU fan, so getting LSU fans for intercessor may be of the utmost importance 😉

  • Y’all must not have been praying hard enough during the Capital One Bowl. That, or the Blessed Mother just love Joe Pa more.

    (I’m guessing it’s the latter. Those field conditions were ideal for the Nittany Lions – a gift from above.)

  • Y’all must not have been praying hard enough during the Capital One Bowl. That, or the Blessed Mother just love Joe Pa more.

    Between our national championship in football in 2007, the magical baseball run of that year to win the SEC, and then the next year to win the College World Series, I imagine the Blessed Mother allowed us to grow through humility and sacrifice.

    After all, if we remembered too well how badly we humiliated Ohio State in the BCS Title game, we would be too prideful.

  • Nah, she just loves Joe Pa more.

  • After the shellacking Bama applied to the Gators, I couldn’t have picked the Buckeyes for first. But dropping them to fourth?! Reminds me of the Nittany Lions getting absolutely screwed over in 1994 because Indiana made a meaningless “comeback” in the fourth quarter after JoePa pulled his starters in a blowout.

    Let me reiterate–the Buckeyes are a machine this year. Even if Denard is wearing his cape (“Superman wears Denard Robinson pajamas”) against OSU, he doesn’t play defense.

    The in-state war (MSU at UM) will define the season for each team. If Michigan beats the Spartans, they could make a run for 9 wins. If State wins, mark them down for 10.

    Oh, and wow–I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a fanbase more outraged by a 5-0 start than LSU’s. The funny thing is, the Tigers and Wolverines are mirror images of each other this year.

    Yeah, I’ll send a poll next week. 🙂

  • (“Superman wears Denard Robinson pajamas”)

    Superman must wear a lot of pajamas, as he has Chuck Norris, Tim Tebow, and now Denard Robinson pajamas. More importantly, all of them wear Drew Brees pajamas.

    Oh, and wow–I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a fanbase more outraged by a 5-0 start than LSU’s. The funny thing is, the Tigers and Wolverines are mirror images of each other this year.

    Actually, I have seen a fanbase more outraged: LSU 2009. It really is a testament to how spoiled Louisiana football fans are that our teams are a combined 8-1 and we’re not happy with either one of them.

    Oh, and definitely send on a poll. Do you have my email?

  • Yeah, Dale, I figured the other pollsters would drop Ohio State, forgetting that the Buckeyes returned the entire team that beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State’s defense shut down Oregon’s much-vaunted offense back in January, and the Buckeyes’ defense is even better now.

    And the other pollsters are either unaware or have ignored the fact that over the last 20 years the Illini have always played tough against the Buckeyes. It’s one of those “throw the records out” type of ballgames every year. (Let’s not forget that Ohio State’s one regular season loss the last time they played for the national championship was against … Illinois.)

    Finally, whatever Michigan’s final record turns out to be this year, y’all have yourselves a Heisman Trophy winner in Robinson. At this point, I’d put real money on it.

  • Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, Ohio State and Michigan fans saying nice things about the other’s team … mass hysteria!

  • Jay, this skeletal guy on a white horse just rode up and asked for directions to “Armageddon.”

  • Okie Lite had that last victory handed to them on a silver platter.

  • Ohio State is a great team, but there are greater teams ahead of them still. I could understand the belly-aching if they were ranked one more spot further.

    Besides, we have enough complaining from southern Louisiana.

  • Alabama . . . fourth? Tito, Tito, Tito. (Shakes head)

    Then again, I’m the guy who ranked USC in the top 15 because I misread the score of their game over the weekend. My bad.

  • LOL @ Paul

    Boise State is the real wild card.

    Everyone refuses to play them so they can’t be blamed for their out of conference schedule.

    But other than the Bronco’s, I find it hard to rank them higher than the other teams ahead of them.

    But yes, there is room for debate.

    But I don’t recognize the mythical national champion until we have a playoff.

    And that’s what it is, a mythical national championship.

  • Then again, I’m the guy who ranked USC in the top 15 because I misread the score of their game over the weekend. My bad.

    I was wondering why you had USC so high…

    Besides, we have enough complaining from southern Louisiana

    I don’t think I’ve complained about LSU’s rank in the poll yet. 11th is fair for a 5-0 team that just barely escaped this weekend.

    And that’s what it is, a mythical national championship.

    As I’m wearing a shirt bearing the years 1958, 2003, and 2007 in purple and gold, I ought to point out that Tolkien finds myths to contain much truth.

  • “But I don’t recognize the mythical national champion until we have a playoff.”

    Now I know you’re whack, Tito.

    I can understand not recognizing the mythical national champion, because I, too, think the BCS is a joke. But a playoff is the WORST possible thing that could happen to Division 1-A college football. The only people who care about a playoff are lefty sportwriters, the casual college football observer who’s only interested in having another office pool, and Las Vegas/gamblers.

    REAL college football fans want to see the BCS scrapped and a return to the traditional bowl alignments (with a few extra “major” bowls thrown in to accomodate the Boise States, TCUs, and Utahs of the world) and ALL THE DAMN GAMES PLAYED ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, not stretched out over a frickin’ week.

    And, yes, I understand that these criteria may define me as the ONLY REAL college football fan in the entire worlds. So be it. Everyone else can rot.

  • I’m whacked!

    Woo hoo!

    My second opinion would be to revert back to the old system.

    Where only the best conferences play for the national title each year in the Rose Bowl.

    Yep, only the Pac-12 & Big-10 (the great lakes 12) would be playing for the mythical nation title.

    Whackedy whack!

    🙂

  • is getting whacked like getting served, but for old people? 😉

    REAL college football fans want to see the BCS scrapped and a return to the traditional bowl alignments (with a few extra “major” bowls thrown in to accomodate the Boise States, TCUs, and Utahs of the world) and ALL THE DAMN GAMES PLAYED ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, not stretched out over a frickin’ week.

    I don’t know. I think the idea of trying to get the best two teams to play is fun, and college football is about fun. So I’m a little more sympathetic, especially as it tends to embarrass the lefty sportswriters who only watch football on the east coast. I think the SEC, PAC-10, and Big 12 have benefited from the arrangement. Still, going back to the traditional bowls wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. While I like being national champions, I don’t care nearly as much about LSU being better than Ohio St. as I do about us being better than Alabama. College football is about regional rivalries; the national championship is only necessary for the pros. So if it’s between playoffs and old system, I’ll take the old system.

    However, college football should be over by 11:59PM, January 1. Period.

    Where only the best conferences play for the national title each year in the Rose Bowl.

    Yep, only the Pac-12 & Big-10 (the great lakes 12) would be playing for the mythical nation title.

    Usually I would make a comment that in fact the two best conference do in fact do that in the SEC championship game, but since the SEC East went 0-5 this weekend, I’d best shut my mouth on that aspect.

    However, I’m still fairly confident that over the last decade, conference strength is: 1. SEC, 2. Big 12, 3. Pac-10, 4. Big 10, 5. ACC, 6. Big East.

  • Some football fans grossly overvalue and thus take the mere game of football far too seriously. Doing so, and the consequent obsession with winning, can be an offense against truth and one’s own dignity and can easily and insidiously lead to sins against charity toward anyone (e.g., one’s own coaches or opponent coaches/players/fans) who are perceived as standing in the way of one’s favorite team winning. It’s only a game whose object is to carry an inflated ball across a field of grass and cross a “goal line” and occasionally kick that inflated ball through two upright posts. Instead of light entertainment and a healthy diversion, football has become for some an unhealthy passion that saints would deplore.

  • Instead of light entertainment and a healthy diversion, football has become for some an unhealthy passion that saints would deplore.

    Actually, many saints like football. Some like it so much, that they have started their own team in New Orleans. It has been doing rather well of late. 😉

    Though it is certainly true that many football fans lack charity, I think football does a great deal of good as well. It is one of the few occasions that manage to bring the community together, allowing the kind of interaction that healthy societies require. Even if they are coming together for a game, they are still coming together.

    I think sports also tends to teach many virtues to both athletes and fans about hard work, teamwork, leadership, etc. While many athletes are divas, those athletes usually do not succeed in the same way or as well as virtuous ones (for every T.O., there’s a Drew Brees).

    While sports should never come before family or God, even fanatic sports fans can live a healthy and virtuous life in which sports plays an uplifting role.

  • Question:

    Is praying for an LSU victory when it looked like Tennessee won the game a wasted prayer?

    Those “Hail Mary’s” could have been used for the salvation of your soul, instead they were used for an event that has almost nothing to do with reaching Heaven and achieved eternal salvation.

    Just a question, probably a good post to write about to.

  • And on that note …

    Speaking of taking things far too seriously, it’s funny how, as soon as the preaching begins, threads suddenly tend to get a lot less fun.

    😉

  • Is praying for an LSU victory when it looked like Tennessee won the game a wasted prayer?

    Those “Hail Mary’s” could have been used for the salvation of your soul, instead they were used for an event that has almost nothing to do with reaching Heaven and achieved eternal salvation.

    Oh, I was praying before the last play (both times). Praying for other people can be a good thing, I think. Of course, it is interesting how sports games can make people when they don't often do so. As a sports fan, you can cheer and make noise, but you are largely unable to affect the result on the field before us. Similarly, we as humans are largely unable to alter the events around us. If one recognizes that we pray during sports because we can do no more, and that such is often the case in our own lives, where we pridefully think we can do more than we can, than this might help in our salvation.

  • Good point Jay.

    But I figure if this is a Catholic website, we could examine such issues (on another post).

    🙂

  • Actually, I was referring to a comment above, but I suppose it could apply to your overly-preachy preachiosity, as well, Tito.

    😉

  • I don’t have a comment, but if we have another emoticon in a row we all lose our man cards. Looking out for everybody.

  • I can’t find the firy rage emoticon. >(

  • Sadly Paul, I was unable to download the Yahoo Emoticon plug-in for the upgrade of our website. So we’ll be stuck with these basic four or five emoticons.

    🙁

  • Do they have one of those emoticons that flip the bird?

  • Sadly Paul, I was unable to download the Yahoo Emoticon plug-in for the upgrade of our website. So we’ll be stuck with these basic four or five emoticons.

    Then how on earth are we going to bring TAC to the millions of teenage girls out there? :_(

  • Do they have one of those emoticons that flip the bird?

    Never seen an emoticon bird.

    If they had, I’m sure we’d have seen it from certain people in these comboxes.

  • I’d have probably used it a time or two myself.

  • Kansas State: They haven’t played anyone, but get the chance to prove it against Nebraska. It’s a nice story-but they’ll lose big.

    Boy, when I’m right, I’m right.

Why Is This Bad?

Monday, October 4, AD 2010

Rookie hazing is common to all American professional sports.  Normally it amounts to rookies carrying veterans’ bags, being dressed up in women’s clothing for “fashion shoots,” or simply having to buy dinner for the veterans.  Well last week Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was subjected to the latter.  Unlike most rookie hazing incidents this caused headline news.  Why?  Because the bill came out to just under $55,000.  That’s a lot of steak.

This has led to all sorts of outrage.  I think this nugget from Peter King’s (never-ending) column fairly represents the typical media reaction to the story.

This doesn’t deserve a monumental amount of coverage, but one thing should be said to the Cowboy veterans who delighted in spending about $2,500 per man (one estimate I heard for the 22 to 25 men who attended this dinner) as most of America struggles to pay for weekly groceries: Stop being pigs. It’s disgusting.

This comes from the same column in which Peter King discusses his three-hour meal with Texans running back Arian Foster.  People are struggling with the grocery bills and Peter King is out carousing with football players?  What a pig.

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24 Responses to Why Is This Bad?

  • It is bad because, as the Catholic Church has consistently taught, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. When one indulges in it, one is doing evil. It is still evil even if one of the side effects (unintended from the looks of it) is to create jobs.

  • I’m probably going to regret the title of the post because it doesn’t really convey the real subject matter. My beef is with the idea that the amount spent is an affront to people who are struggling economically.

  • Almost totally correct Mr. Z.

    Except the a priori is somewhat “off target.” Some of the people criticizing rich people’s spending habits are not concerned with poor people’s financial problems. Some demagogues gain power by generating envy and antipathy toward evil rich people.

    Wrath is one of the seven deadly sins, too.

  • The type of rookie hazing you described seems harmless enough so I have no problem with that. But, when the hazing turns dangerous and deadly then I do have a problem with that type of hazing.

    Rich people spending money is a good thing. When we are taxed excessively it creates a domino effect and hurts the taxpayer, which in turn impedes their ability to patronage a certain place and then that place loses profits and might be forced to layoff some employees. Excessive taxation hurts people. Money makes the world go round. The best thing that could happen to boost our economy today is for the rich to be encouraged to spend money instead of them presently being discouraged, which is causing a sluggish economy.

  • Hopefully they all gained 20 lbs of flab in one sitting so the Cowboys can continue to stink this season, right under that ridiculous jumbotron in their fancy new clown stadium. Did the columnist mention anything about the team owners/coaches/league officials/et al? Because I can assure you that plenty of them go to sleep every night on large piles of cash surrounded by many beautiful women, thanks to the revenue happily forked over by fans.

  • Also, is it truly gluttonous behavior? The bill was high not because they consumed a lot of stuff, but because the individual price of the food and drinks was ridiculously high. But Bryant is set to make $2,000,000+ this year, so it’s the equivalent to me spending $100 on a nice meal with my wife. Are we being gluttonous just because we spent a lot, but did not necessarily over-consume?

  • So now King is the champion of the little guy? I remember a few years ago King writing in his column how disgusted he was seeing people waiting overnight outside stores to get special sale prices prior to Christmas.

  • Frankly, the one time I went to Smith & Wollensky, it rather sucked (and I didn’t spend nearly that much). It doesn’t take much to run up a bill if alcoholic beverages are involved.

    If they want to blow big bucks on barely average food, that’s their business.

  • I don’t think gluttony is necessarily restricted to quantity. It can also include exhorbitantly expensive.

  • Agree with c matt. An additional problem with these gents is that I heard on NPR recently that 60% of professional football players are bankrupt 5 years after leaving the game. This in part explains why. Not wise stewards of their multi-millions.

  • So, why is it OK for football players to stimulate the economy by spending $55,000 on one meal but it’s not OK for the Clintons to spend $2 million (or $3 million or $5 million, depending on whose estimates you believe) on Chelsea’s wedding? Didn’t we have a post on TAC decrying the excess involved there? Not that I’m a big fan of the Clintons or of over the top weddings — I did agree that seemed a bit excessive — but let’s show some consistency here.

    I suppose the argument could be made that the Clinton’s “wasted taxpayer’s money” on Chelsea’s wedding because of Bill and Hillary’s current and past employment; but by that logic, all past and current government employees should take strict vows of poverty and never splurge on anything, right?

  • @Elaine

    I must have missed that post but in any case, I believe that the Clintons had the right to spend as much money as they wanted on Chelsea’s wedding. It probably helped to stimulate the economy.

  • @ Elaine

    Thank you for the link.

    While I do think that Chelsea’s wedding was extravagant I also believe that the Clintons had every right to spend their own money as they wish.

  • Was Paul the author of that Clinton wedding post? If not, I don’t quite get the consistency argument.

  • Unless, that is, writing for TAC means that you must march in lockstep with Tito (and we know just from his outlandish college football picks, alone, that that’s not the case).

    😉

  • What’s football?

  • Well, now that I looked back I see that the two posts have different authors so they do not have to be “consistent.” Still, I thought it might be interesting to notice the contrast in approaches.

  • I have actually ate at the Restaurant. The food prices are not that out of line for a quality Steak House. What people are missing is that it was not the food bill that really got him but the bottles of WINE that all the players ordered to take home that upped the bill so much LOL

  • “Unless, that is, writing for TAC means that you must march in lockstep with Tito”

    Nah, Jay, we have to march in lockstep with Elaine. 🙂

  • “We have to march in lockstep with Elaine.”

    Well, if that’s the case you all aren’t doing a very good job of it 🙂

  • Oh, I thought it was the thousand dollar shots of cognac that put the bill over the top. I stand corrected.

    To address Elaine’s point, no I didn’t write that post nor was I overly bothered by the extravagance of the wedding, though perhaps it was over the top. And again, I don’t exactly wholeheartedly approve of the lavish dinner. My question about whether or not this was a true example of gluttony was not rhetorical. I was genuinely curious, and I think I agree with most of the responses.

    I think Philip raises an interesting point. Not only are many pro football players broke shortly after retirement, but this problem plagues pro basketball players and other athletes. In fact I believe that NBA players make NFL players look like wise financial stewards. Dinners like this are just a drop in the bucket of the types of ridiculous purchases made by American professional athletes, and in fact this particular case is slightly less bothersome only because it is an exercise in hazing, not a regularly occurring incident. When Bryant buys his $30 million mansion in north Dallas, then it’s time to start flagging down a good financial advisor.

    And to repeat, the main thrust of my post is to chide Peter King for his reasons for objecting to the dinner. As someone on a tight budget, I don’t begrudge the Cowboys for having the means to go a little nuts at dinnertime. As for the prudence of such a dinner, that’s another matter.

  • This seems to rest on the idea that the choices are between spending money and not spending money. But that’s not the case.

    While I’d like to see these players utilizing their money, I’d rather see it spent in far more productive investments. The $55,000 they spent won’t lead to a lot of other growth.

    That said, when I heard this I thought it was funny rookie hazing rather than a horrible thing.

    Unless, that is, writing for TAC means that you must march in lockstep with Tito (and we know just from his outlandish college football picks, alone, that that’s not the case).

    I think at the end of the season, I’m doing a special recap of Tito’s picks.

  • In fact I believe that NBA players make NFL players look like wise financial stewards.

    The guaranteed NBA contracts make this a lot easier. If an NBA player gets hurt and can’t play at a high level, the team still has to pay his contract for the duration (see Grant Hill, Allan Houston) unless he generously decides to release the team from the obligation. In the NFL, the team only has to pay the player their salary through the end of the season, then whatever guaranteed money he is owed (much of the money in the contracts is not guaranteed). The income of an NFL player is much less stable, which makes financial planning particularly difficult for players who are injured or who play positions in which the average career is around three years (e.g. running back).

How Europe Sees America

Monday, October 4, AD 2010

Click on the above map to be able to read it.  The original of the map is here.  Tito had a post yesterday here with a map depicting how America views Europe.  Ambrose “Bitter” Bierce in the 19th Century said that war was God’s way of teaching Americans geography.  Unfortunately, the lessons do not appear to stick.  However, the Europeans are often not that better informed about us.

For example, I have always enjoyed reading the English historian Paul Johnson, and have read almost every book he has written.  Therefore, I was dismayed when reading his history of the US to encounter quite a few factual errors, including his inability to distinguish between Albert Sydney Johnston and Joseph Johnston in the Civil War, and his apparent belief that it was the Texas Rangers and not Army Rangers who landed at Utah Beach on Normandy.

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10 Responses to How Europe Sees America

  • That map has way too much detail in it.

  • Agree with Mr. Blackadder.

    Either they are red states or they’re in various states of ruin.

    I’m emigrating to America when I retire. My new motto: “Red state or bust!”

  • I have to jump on the band wagon about there being much to much detail for a European. That’s more a Map of how American’s see our own country, allowing for everyone to have more knowledge of their own state of course.

  • Some of these are a bit puzzling: “Same last names” in Illinois? Ohio is all bars and drugs (I would think “Burning Rivers” is more evocative)? 2012 starts in Montana?

    My freshman dorm roommate came from Maryland to northern California for college. I still remember the hand-drawn “bon voyage” poster someone had drawn him, with the outline of California filled with endless palm trees. Oh boy, I thought, Someone’s never been to San Francisco before.

  • The “Same last names” tag is applied to SOUTHERN Illinois, which is culturally far more “Southern” than the rest of the state — physically it’s closer to Kentucky or Tennessee than Chicago. Of course this map might also lead one to believe that pizza was invented in the Peoria area 🙂

  • Also, try telling the residents of Nashville that everyone in Tennessee “plays jazz and is black.”

  • Pizza was not invented in Chicago, Illinois…just perfected there.

    Wow, I can’t wait to leave Afghanistan and return to the USA!

  • I believe the Salem witch trials were in Salem, Massachusetts, not Salem, Oregon

  • Apparently Nashville was confused with New Orleans… just kidding… sort of.

  • When I was in the UK in the early ’80’s, I found that just about every person I met thought of the Midwest as a massive corn field with Chicago plopped down in the middle of it. (And more than a few people mimicked the “rat-tat-tat” of a tommy gun when they said Chicago.) The few exceptions I met said “Harley-Davidson!” when I mentioned my hometown. Certainly not beer or cheese – given the excellence of native Brit brews and cheeses, they do not automatically think of America when they think of those products.

    Bawer is right. Euros flatter themselves that they “know” America, but what they know are Hollywood stereotypes. Most Euros visit NYC, LA and Disney World if they visit the States and ignore “flyover country” entirely. A trip spent in Manhattan and Magic Kingdom really doesn’t make you an authority on the States, anymore than a few days spent visiting the Louvre and Notre Dame gives you any great insight into modern-day French folk.

Why Is Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?

Sunday, October 3, AD 2010

The target of the Notre Dame Cathedral seemed a bit out of place. Every other Al Qaeda target listed by the captured Ahmed Sadiqui was secular in origin, be the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate and Alexander Platz TV tower in Berlin, or the United Kingdom movements of the British Royal family. Why Notre Dame (which means Our Lady in French i.e. the Blessed Virgin Mary) and why not any other churches like St Paul’s in London or St Peter’s or St Michael’s in Munich make the list which has caused world governments to issue terror warnings and travel updates? To understand this question one has to understand the mindset of Al Qaeda. To the tried and true jihadist, Western Europe was almost under their control until two critical events occurred; the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the Siege of Vienna in 1683, when Our Lady intervened and stopped the Islamic armies in their tracks.

Now some would falsely point out that the Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries were western victories and thus Islamic sore points, this is far from the truth. The Crusades actually were seen as a great victory in the Islamic World. Though we are now told by those in the mainstream media that the Crusades were a heinous act, they were in fact a small defensive action taken by the west to defend themselves against the Islamic armies who had been invading historical Christian lands for centuries. Long before they were Islamic lands, the Middle East and North Africa were filled with vibrant Christian centers and revelatory figures like Saint Augustine.  The very argument that Christianity was not appealing to the masses was left empty by the need of the Islamic armies to have a military conquest. Now my colleague Joe Hargrave has written a great piece on the Crusades which I highly encourage you to read. It is not my intention to go into any further detail about the Crusades for this article. I would again refer to the above link for Joe’s article or a similar article I wrote entitled; A Review of Al Qaeda’s Little Reported On War Against The Catholic Church.

Getting back to the 1571 Naval Battle of Lepanto and the land battle outside the Gates of Vienna in 1683; they were the turning point for Islamic military conquest and military failure. Islamic armies would never again threaten the heart of Europe. The hoped for world Caliphate did not come to fruition. To the militant jihadist it must have seemed as if defeat was snatched out of the jaws of victory. For the faithful Christian, especially the faithful Catholic the Islamic defeats were miraculous seen as the Hand of God working through His Son Jesus Christ and specifically His mother Mary.

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72 Responses to Why Is Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?

  • The news is saying Ramstein AB personnel are being advised to beware and not wear uniforms downtown.

    In addition to Our Blessed Mother’s aid in Lepanto and Vienna, the French intelligence service has been strong in counter-terror efforts.

    No US Catholic targets?

  • Pingback: Why Is Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda’s Crosshairs? « Deacon John's Space
  • “The defeat for the Turks at Vienna came about because of a last minute appearance on September 11 and 12, 1683, by the Polish cavalry under the leadership of Jan Sobiesksi. He had his men pray the Rosary before their lightning appearance.”

    The Polish winged-hussars were certainly an important part of the victory, but some credit has to be given to the Austrian infantry in the relief army, who fought their way into the Ottoman camp.

    “As for the battle, military tacticians still can’t figure out how the superior Ottoman Turkish Navy was defeated.”

    Prayer and superior firepower. The Holy League had more, and far more powerful, cannon than the Turks. The six sailing ships at the front of the Catholic formation that had been converted into firing platforms caused substantial damage to the Ottoman line.

    Niccolo Capponi has a great book on Lepanto, called Triumph of the West, that came out a couple of years ago.

  • Anyone interested should also read Yelena Chudinova’s novel “Mosque of Notre Dame 2048”. The English language version is not yet published but the Russian original is readily available.

  • Thank you for this post. I have a book on the battle of Lepanto that I have not yet read that I will now surely check out.

  • I re-read Chesterton’s fine poem LEPANTO every year at this time.

  • Last I heard the Cathedral of Notre Dame is owned by the French government, and that the politicos graciously let Catholics borrow state property under certain conditions alla revolucion.

  • This summer I traveled with Bob and Penny Lord as we traced the life of Saint Peter Julian Eymard and in Toulouse France on the hill over looking the river is a Shrine to our Lady where he visited often.
    Inside this shrine is the most magnificent mosaic of the Battle of Lepanto that exists. We plan to incorporate this mosaic in the program because of its importance to what happened then to keep it from recurring. Our Lady pray for us.

  • I would go back further to 732 and Charles Martellus “The Hammer”. Radical Islam simply can’t get past this one. If one believes the prophecies of hundreds of Catholic Saints (Catholic Prophecy by Yves DuPont), another French hammer is on the way. Deo Gratias

  • The Battle of Tours was on October 10th, 732 btw.

  • We need more people like you. Great post.

  • Every Catholic School in the world ought to have the pictures of Don Juan, King Jan Sobieski and Charles “The Hammer” Martel on the walls of every classroom (In a less prominent position than that of the Crucific, picture or Our Lady and the portrait of the Divine Mercy)

  • “Every Catholic School in the world ought to have the pictures of Don Juan, King Jan Sobieski…. on the walls of every classroom.”

    Check this out — I hope this link works for you:

    If this link doesn’t work, google “Rome of the West,” a blog by St. Louis resident Mark Scott Abeln, and click on his link to pictures of “Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois”.

    This is a stained glass window depicting Jan Sobieski kneeling on the battlefield to thank God for his victory over the Turks at Vienna. The windows here all show great moments in Catholic history both in Europe and in the United States, up to the 1920s when the cathedral was built.

  • Notre Dame is in the crosshairs as a chastisement because the French are the most wicked, promiscuous and blasphemous of the “Catholics”.

  • Aside from Mickey, great comments everyone. We certainly shouldn’t forget Charles Martel. Where would we be without him? I hope to get a chance to write about him, as well as the heroic martyrs of the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe. Mickey, you might want to be a little more charitable with your posts for it sounds as if you are posting from some cave in Pakistan.

    Everyone let’s keep the comments coming and perhaps even throw out some names of famous Catholics who fought the good fight and perhaps were even martyred. Sadly, even among practicing Catholics, I am sure many of the saints and heroic figures mentioned in the article or in your comments, are not known.

  • good article but we forgot what happened at the battle of Covadunga Spain thats why the battle of Lampato happened. at Covadunga Spain angels were seen to fight on the side of Catholics on the verge of being annihilated.

  • in response to who owns Our Lady of Notre Dame guess who owns the tomb of St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross the European union.guess who owns the Sistine chapel the japan government.

  • Interesting article on the Blessed Virgin, however one must also note that Catholics and Christians are not at present at war with Islam, in fact the Vatican and many Islamic centers want to keep the peace – therefore I wouldn’t use history as to re-ignite the wars of religion – as many christian sects would love to see – however for your perusal I have cataloged most Marian intercessions in times of war – Vienna and Lepanto are only 2 out of at least 90 intercessions during well known battles, for this please see the following – the major war today is in the hearts and minds of men and women, the soul is the battle ground –
    click here
    .

  • Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

    Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

    How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)

  • Another blow to Turkish pride was their defeat in Malta in 1565. Sicily and the Italian peninsula would have succumbed. Though it must be added that the Knights of Rhodes recently settled in Malta had done their utmost to provoke the Turks.

  • “French are the most wicked, promiscuous and blasphemous of the “Catholics”.

    Mickey, why such a heinous and false comment about French people? I feel peculiarly offended.
    Do you want I list all the sins that deserves an equal chastisement to America and England?
    Yes France will be chastised and America and all the west countries will be chastised too, due to their current apostasy.
    France was the most catholic country for centuries and was at the tip of the fight against Islam and heretics. She provided the greatest saints in the Chuch’s history.
    Without the French priests, monks, nuns and laymen who went in America long ago before the Brits, how many would be the Catholics here?

  • Jacques, thank you for reminding us about the great French saints. In my next article, I may write about them as well as Charles Martel. As for Mickey, I doubt he is English, American or Christian. Maybe he is posting from some cave in Pakistan.

    Mario, thank you for reminding us about the faithful in Malta who have been a beacon of hope and courage to the Christian world for centuries.

  • I don’t remember seeing this in the article, but Oct 7 is also the anniversary of US and allied forces taking care of things in Afganistan. I took great comfort that day, knowing the feast day and its history.

  • The claim the Catholic fleet was superior in firepower and size is secular lies and totally untrue. In fact Protestant countries, including Britain, either actively or tacitly supported the Islamic attempt to wipe out Catholicism. For this sin Queen Elizabeth I will be punished in hellfire as only Catholicism is the true Faith.
    I have no doubt Our Lady would truly have been weeping when England, her ‘Dowry’, sided with the enemies of the true Faith and the true Faith is Catholicism.

  • Bravo Jacques for speaking out for the Holy Kingdom of France. I study the History of Catholic France (is there any other history in France?) and this history is simply amazing. France is truly the Land of the Blessed Virgin, the Eldest Daughter of the Church and if we are to believe hundreds of Catholic Saints (and why wouldn’t we?), France will someday soon rule the ENTIRE world.

    France was given such rich gifts by God starting with the Faith which her missionaries then took around the world. France was blessed with the most incredible gifts of culture, natural resources, and people. However, the evils of rationalism, socialism, communism, and freemasonry flourished first in France and then spread around the globe like an virus. France also killed their divinely appointed King. Thankfully, by the grace of God, Luis XVII was NOT killed and the monarchy will return.

    For these crimes will France pay dearly and her people will turn back to the faith after this chastisement. France is the eldest daughter of the Church and she is supposed to set the example. There are some dark days ahead for France but peace will be restored with the lily returns to the throne.
    An excellent dvd about the Catholic history of France is “The Heart of the Lily” and “Where the World Begins”. It runs on EWTN every so often.

  • Brian Gregory, I am glad you reiterated my point that the Ottoman Turks had far superior naval firepower at Lepanto. It was Divine Providence accompanied by the courage of the Catholic Fleet that led to the Ottoman Turks defeat. I don’t see how anyone can get around this fact.

  • Seeing the images of King Jan Sobieski during a Google search, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity in looks with Lech Walesa when he was younger and had darker hair. As we all know, Walesa had a lot to do with the toppling of communism, apparently like Sobieski did with the Muslim marauders.

  • When I was in grade school ( Immaculate Heart of Mary ) I was the first to crown the new statue of the Blessed Mother. This reading has brought me back to her. Thank you.

    John Claypool

  • I’m sorry Pax Christi of Bakersfield but Lech Walesa had nothing whatsoever to do with the collapse of Communism. The secular press often associate the collapse of Soviet Communism with the American president of that time (Ronald Reagan),the British primeminister of the time (Mr. Thatcher)and Mr. Gorbachev.However,Mr. Reagan, Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Gorbachev all acknowledge the role of the Holy Father in the collapse of Soviet Communism – neither they nor the Holy Father say ‘SOLIDARITY’ brought down Communism. It is claimed in the secular media which is athiestic the Holy Father helped fund ‘SOLIDARITY’, however, ‘SOLIDARITY’s’ uprising was put down in 1981.Soviet Communism did not fall until the Holy Father consecrated the world and especially Russia to her Immaculate Heart on 25 March 1984 (‘The Feast of the Annunciation’ or ‘Lady Day’). Mr. Gorbachev did not come to power until after then unless I am mistaken but that is irrelevant. The Soviet coup took place in August 1991,during the octave of the Assumption,but ended peacefully on the vigil of the Queenship of Mary (August 22nd).Those who use the ‘Extraordinary Form’ of the Mass will know August 22nd in the traditional calendar is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the vigil of which is on 21 August. Mr. Gorbachev about the USSR officially on 25 December 1991. Our Blessed Mother told the shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 the Bolshevik (Communist) uprising would take place one year before it did (in 1918). She also promised if Russia was consecrated to her Immaculate Heart there would be peace. Russia was and there has been peace between Russia and the west, however,to save many souls Our Blessed Mother asked for the Five First Saturdays’ Devotion.

    Referring to England – England was called ‘Mary’s Dowry’ or ‘Our Lady’s Dowry’ because there was a large shrine to Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk with a replica of the Holy House. This vision was seen by Lady Richeldes de Faverches in AD1061. The shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII,however, three shrines were built there in the early 1900s.
    An Anglican shrine http://www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk/,for history see http://www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk/the_shrine/the_story_so_far.htm;an Orthodox shrine which is contained in the Anglican shrine http://www.westernorthodox.com/walsingham and the Catholic shrine http://www.walsingham.org.uk/romancatholic/ see history http://www.walsingham.org.uk/romancatholic/history.html
    In fact many events and services are truly oecumenical with members of other Christian denominations taking part as well.

    There is also the Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper in Wales http://www.ourladyofthetaper.org.uk/

  • My other comment are taken from my blog on MYSPACE.

    ‘NOTIFICATION: ‘CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR THE BENEFIT OF CHURCH AND NATION’ has launched it’s campaign ‘NOT ASHAMED’ http://www.notashamed.org.uk/ calling on all Christians to wear the symbol of our Faith – the Cross or the ‘NOT ASHAMED’ emblem especially on national ‘NOT ASHAMED DAY’ which is on Wednesday 1st December 2010

    I hope all believers, throughout the world, irrespective of their denomination, rich or poor, famous or unknown will visit their website, offer their support and wear the Sign of our Faith and if possible the ‘NOT ASHAMED’ emblem on ‘NOT ASHAMED DAY’ – Wednesday 1st December 2010.’

    Please consider doing this and letting everyone know about this UK event which I hope will go global.

    My other ‘MYSPACE’ blog I would like to draw your attention to is:
    ‘MAKING OUR FAITH MORE VISIBLE: I hope all believers will consider making their faith more visible by making the Sign of the Cross, saying ‘”God bless you”‘ and if possible wearing a cross or crucifix. Please read the Archbishop of Westminster’s 24/09/2010 ‘PASTORAL LETTER’ http://www.rcdow.org.uk/diocese/default.asp?content_ref=3031

    Thank you

  • I cannot compare better the Lepanto victory but to that of Midway: The balance of strength was strongly in favour of the Japs and truly it was a MIRACLE that the Navy’s aircrafts could drop their bombs and their torpedoes onto the japanese carriers at the very moment when the japanese hunters couldn’t take off for momentary technical reasons (they were all being replaced their bombs for torpedoes) to protect their carriers.

  • Mario, the defeat of the Turks against Malta in 1565 was also a miracle since the Turkish troops were half a million vs 30000 Malta’s knights and soldiers.
    But they were much helped by a bubonic plague outburst that occured among the turks.
    This makes me remind of the capture of Malta by the french troops of Napoleon 2 centuries later in a couple of weeks. Then the knights of Malta were only the shadows of themselves.

  • “The claim the Catholic fleet was superior in firepower and size is secular lies and totally untrue.”

    I never said the Catholic fleet was larger. The Turks had more ships. But the Holy League had much greater firepower. Capponi does an extensive analysis of the armament on the different types of ships present. The Catholic fleet was more technologically advanced, which people probably find hard to believe because of the disinformation they have been fed on the Church and science.

    “Brian Gregory, I am glad you reiterated my point that the Ottoman Turks had far superior naval firepower at Lepanto. It was Divine Providence accompanied by the courage of the Catholic Fleet that led to the Ottoman Turks defeat. I don’t see how anyone can get around this fact.’

    Because it’s not a fact. The use of the six Galleasses at the front of the Catholic formation and the devastating firepower they produced had a tremendous impact on the course of the battle. That was part of the plan put together by the Catholic leaders. Give the men who plannned and fought the battle some credit.

  • “Give the men who planned and fought the battle some credit.”

    I haven’t really heavily studied Lepanto or any of the other great Christendom vs. Muslim battles, but even if the Catholic fleet at Lepanto was not quite as outnumbered or outgunned as we have been told — does that really make its victory any less an answer to prayer? The same way that a healing accomplished through ordinary medicine may not be a bona fide miracle but is still just as much an answer to prayer as if it were.

  • “but even if the Catholic fleet at Lepanto was not quite as outnumbered or outgunned as we have been told — does that really make its victory any less an answer to prayer?”

    Don’t get me wrong. The Turks had more galleys, had veteran crews, and were led by very experienced commanders. It was a hard fought battle and certainly could have resulted in a disasterous defeat for the Catholic fleet.

    There are plenty of instances where prayer could be regarded as the difference in the multitude of events that made up the battle.

    Beyond the battle itself, it is almost a miracle that Pius V had been able to weld together the bickering factions that made up the Holy League to create a fleet that was able to defeat the virtually invincible Ottoman fleet.

  • On the contrary Brian English it is a fact. I don’t care what Capponi says.
    Victor Davis Hanson tells us Capponi announces at the outset of his book: ‘I also admit to having something of a soft spot for the Turks as a fighter,my great-great-grandfather,a Crimean War veteran, describing them as the best soldiers in the world.’ http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson071207.html

    Hanson,quoting Capponi,writes: ‘How did the Christians win the battle? They were probably outnumbered, both in ships and men. Lepanto was fought in Turkish-controlled waters near the Ottoman winter port at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth opposite Patras, the present-day Naupaktos. The Venetians had lost Cyprus and were demoralized from increasingly bold attacks on the coast of Italy.’
    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson071207.html

    First of all there is no ‘probably’ about it – we were outnumbered. Just by using the word ‘probably’ shows Capponi is attempting to ‘revise’ history. Will he dare say next the Turks were outnumbered?

    Yes,Capponi does mention the use of the six galleasses,however,I reject his claim and that of pseudo-science the galleasses would have been as successful even if God,through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin,had not willed it to be so.If the galleasses,were successful,it was because Our divine Redeemer willed it that way in response to the prayers of Our Blessed Lady because of the Masses, Rosaries and prayers offered for our victory.

    At least Capponi admits we ‘were outnumbered,both in ships and men’ and that ‘Lepanto was fought in Turkish-controlled waters near the Ottoman winter port at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth opposite Patras, the present-day Naupaktos.’He also tells us ‘the Venetians had lost Cyprus and were demoralized from increasingly bold attacks on the coast of Italy.’http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson071207.html

    Hanson,again referring to Capponi’s book,tells us ‘The Christian League ….. was never really much more than the galley fleets of Spain, the Papal States, and Venice. England and France kept clear. Both had long ago cut their own deals with the Ottomans. Indeed, during the winter of 1542 the French had even allowed the Ottoman corsair Barbarossa the use of their harbor at Toulon to refit, as he conducted raids along the Italian coast.’http://www.victorhanson.com/articles /hanson071207.html

    Brian English and perhaps Niccolò Capponi seem to imply we could have won at the Battle of Lepanto without the aid of Our Lord and Our Lady – because of superior firepower. Interesting point. Why then were the Soviet Russians defeated by the Taliban in Afghanistan? Why on the three (or four occasions) in the past when Britain has been in Afghanistan have we been defeated? Why is it the west,in spite of it’s superior firepower and inspite of the secular media which claims to the contrary,did we lose in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan?:
    (i) The Soviet Russians being athiest denied God.
    (ii)Britain had rejected the true Faith, the Catholic Faith,at the Protestant Rebellion (or Revolution).
    (iii)The western allies consisted of nations which had either become athiestic or rejected the true Faith (the Catholic Faith).
    The only way to win a war against terrorism is to ask the protection and help of Our Lord and Our Lady.

    9/11/2001 does have one thing in common with the Battle of Vienna – the date. The Battle of Vienna ran from 9/11/1683-9/12/1683.

  • “On the contrary Brian English it is a fact. I don’t care what Capponi says.”

    No, it’s not.

    “Brian English and perhaps Niccolò Capponi seem to imply we could have won at the Battle of Lepanto without the aid of Our Lord and Our Lady – because of superior firepower.”

    See my response to Elaine.

    “Why is it the west,in spite of it’s superior firepower and inspite of the secular media which claims to the contrary,did we lose in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan?:”

    Wrong again.

    “(i) The Soviet Russians being athiest denied God.
    (ii)Britain had rejected the true Faith, the Catholic Faith,at the Protestant Rebellion (or Revolution).
    (iii)The western allies consisted of nations which had either become athiestic or rejected the true Faith (the Catholic Faith).”

    Last time I checked, the Taliban didn’t follow the True Faith either.

  • Brian Gregory you have a warped view of history and of reality.

    The Soviets and British were defeated by a race of people who lived and breathed war. As soon as there hands could support weight they were holding AK-47’s. That coupled with Afghanistans extremely inhospitible geography gives you a war that cannot be won. Alexander the Great and Geghis Khan, two of historys greatest conquerers were unable to defeat the Afghans, how do you expect us to?

    And to suggest that human beings werent capable of defeating the Turks at Lepanto as well as Vienna is frankly insulting to our species. To suggest that winning battles is “all in the hands of god” is bringing us back to a very medieval viewpoint which is honestly dangerous. You want to live in an age of faith? Go check out Naples in 1342 where they would burn you alive for questioning the Pope. Or if you want a modern example, check out Saudi Arabia and see how great religion is at running that country.

    By the way, your idea that Catholiscm is the “one true faith” only causes more conflict and is pretty much the reason why thousands of people died in the 1600’s. Accept peoples differences and move on or else your going to have serious problems in the future.

  • Steve what is the point of your post? Is it to advance ego, pride or the atheist cause? What is this nonsense about Naples and the pope in 1342? The Catholic faith was started by Jesus, who was both human and divine, quite unlike the beliefs systems started by the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Stalin or Mao. Whatever your likes or dislikes are concerning Christianity, during the first 300 years the Faith grew by love and compassion, all the while the faithful were being vicioulsy killed for the kindness they exhibited. There never was a peaceful era under the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Stalin or Mao.

    We have too many examples of the pride of man thinking he could do better than God. What a disaster; from the bloody French Revolution to the Soviet death camps, to Hitler’s death camps to Mao’s Culutal revolution to Pol Pot. They all thought they knew better than God and didn’t need God. Look at where it got them. There are over 100 million dead because of it. Keep that in mind, as the people who you mock on this site pray for you.

  • In 1342 (Rennaisance period) in Naples, which was aligned with the Papacy, you could be burned alive for heresy, which would be disagreeing with the Pope.

    Yes but the teachings of Jesus are just as unreasonable as those of Mao and Stalin. In fact if you look at Christianity’s fundamental teachings, there purely Communist! Lets make everyone equal and lets share everything. Draw your own conclusions.

    I love how Christians love to point out all the things “atheists” have done, but never what they have done. And I love how Christians always point out how great there matyrs were, dying at the hands of those evil romans. Then again, Christians have been killing atheists since they have been in control. In fact, once we see Christians begin to lose power we see them become more “moderate”. If they had any power they would be exactly like the Taliban or the Saudis.

  • In fact I’d like to point out I’m not an atheist, I believe in god just I feel what he and his chruch has to say is a bunch of crap

  • Steve: you bring up 1342 – the atheists in China and the USSR were murdering tens of millions in the 20th century, not 700 years ago! You blithely ignore that the Christian wars of religion ended hundreds of years ago, while the Communist atheists got “warmed up” during the French Revolution – killing many thousands in the Vendee – and really came into their own in the century just past, slaughtering 100 million. The Inquisition was child’s play compared to the gruesome evil committed by those who believe they will not have a God to answer to.

    Your equivalence of Saudi Muslims and Christians makes me believe you are woefully ignorant of the basic tenets of both religions. You are, in fact, a prime example of the suicidal tendencies that have infected the West. No other culture on earth tears down its founding religion and the building blocks of its culture the way Western atheists attack the foundation of their society. Atheistic society will not survive. In Europe, secularism is giving way to Islamic fundamentalism. If you are European, your children and grandchildren might very well find themselves longing for the good old days of “Christianists.” I promise you, Islam will not be as gentle with you as modern-day Christians are.

  • PS. A clarification to my post above: the murderous atheist ideologues of the French Revolution were not “Communists.” The French Revolution was, however, the birthplace of the modern Left and the Great Terror has been copied many times by those who wish to place “Man” at the center of the Universe, while not hestitating to slaughter all those humans who stand in the way of “Progress.”

    That includes Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, many of whom studied in Paris in the 1950’s and learned the lessons of the French Revolution well. Ah, yes, Steve, you atheists have really done well in the world. I’m sure that eventually you’ll get it right – maybe after your crew kills 100 more people or so.

    What does it matter to you anyway? After all, humans are only glorified animals in your book. It’s not like they have souls, or are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. Nope, according to an atheist, we’re no better than any other animals (just ask PETA). Why not kill the humans you deem troublesome? There can no higher morality in your book… no good reason NOT to murder people….

  • In fact I’d like to point out I’m not an atheist, I believe in god just I feel what he and his chruch has to say is a bunch of crap

    Goody for you, Steve-o! And you feel free to say it because you know darn well nobody is going to blow you up or issue a fatwa on you for insulting Catholics.

    My, my, what a brave fellow you are!

  • Donna V, excellent posts. It seems to me that Steve represents this sort of new (but very old) way of thinking that yes there is a God, but He’s not doing it my, so he’s wrong. Talk about hubris, pride and narcissism. Yet, isn’t this the same line of thinking we saw displayed in Lucifer when he said, “I will not serve!”

  • Ah but were they killing in the name of atheism? Did Stalin say “lets go kill all the christians because there christians?” No, he just killed people for his political goals, to turn Russia into a modern country and to unify it under the Soviet banner. In fact, Stalin promoted the Orthodox church as a source of Russian nationalism.

    You dont understand the context of the French Revolution, where the church literally had oppressed people for hundreds of years. Why wouldnt they slaughter all the priests then? If a priest had taxed your family to starvation, taken your house, then said you were going to hell, wouldnt you want to kill him too?

    The Saudi government is pretty much the way much of Europe was run until the 1700’s. The Church had all the power and didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything. In fact once society starts to become secular (starting with the Rennaisance) the society begins to progress. Religion holds people back from realizing there full potiential.

    You dont understand that Christianity and communism are one in the same! Jesus taught communism and the early Christians practiced it. Our country wasnt founded on Christianity. The founding fathers detested it, I think Jefferson called it the “most digusting institution on earth”. Ben Franklin was in fact a Satanist. Look at our Constitution and then look at the Satanic bible and you’ll see some striking similaritys.

    I dont think people are glorified animals, in fact the opposite. I believe mankind is the greatest of things to ever come to this planet, it is Christian theology that makes people seem worthless and unimportant. We needed to be “rescued” and “saved” because we are scum and filthy and sinful. Everything we do is wrong. Humanity is fantastic, but Christianity by nature is pessimistic about it.

    Of course Catholics arent going to issue a fatwa (or Crusade in Christian terms) on me, but if they had any sort of real power they sure would. All religions are the same in the sense that there all intolerant once they are in charge.

    And what is your obsession with killing people? Just because I am non-religious doesnt mean I want to kill people. Perhaps you have some feelings toward ending anothers life, but are halted by the news they will go to hell after they die. Religion is a crutch for people who are fundamentally miserable and need something to make them feel good about themselves because they havent done anything of any importance.

  • The French Revolution Dave was planned and begun by the illuminized Masonic order in France and this is a fact.
    http://www.freemasonrywatch.org/frenchrevolution.html

  • A website that trafficks in conspiracy theories is not a fact site Brian

  • So ‘The New Encyclopedia Britannica’ does not deal in facts but you do and the Masons themselves are lying when they actually acknowledge they were behind it?:

    ”The New Encyclopedia Britannica’ tells us that in France there arose a political system and a philosophical outlook that no longer took Christianity for granted, that in fact explicitly opposed it… The brotherhood taught by such groups as the Freemasons, members of secret fraternal societies, and the Illuminati, a rationalist secret society, provided a rival to the Catholic sense of community.”‘

    The same website tells us: ‘Secret society researcher and author Nesta H. Webster was even more pointed, writing in 1924, “The Masonic book ‘A Ritual and Illustrations of Freemasonry’ contains the following passage, ‘The Masons… originated the Revolution with the infamous Duke of Orleans at their head.'”

    Still Steve you know best don’t you?

  • “Ah but were they killing in the name of atheism? Did Stalin say “lets go kill all the christians because there christians?” No, he just killed people for his political goals, to turn Russia into a modern country and to unify it under the Soviet banner. In fact, Stalin promoted the Orthodox church as a source of Russian nationalism.

    You dont understand the context of the French Revolution, where the church literally had oppressed people for hundreds of years. Why wouldnt they slaughter all the priests then? If a priest had taxed your family to starvation, taken your house, then said you were going to hell, wouldnt you want to kill him too?”

    In regard to Stalin, he waged a war of extermination against the Orthodox Church explicitly because they were Christian. The war entered a period of remission during World War II when Stalin needed the support of Christians for the war effort. Agressive and murderous atheism was always a hallmark of the Bolshevik movement.

    As for the Church under the Old Regime in France, it had almost no secular power, and was noted for its good works in helping the poor. The war waged on the Church by the French revolutionary regime was massively unpopular in France which was the main reason that Napoleon as First Consul engineered a concordat with Pope Pius VII in 1801.

  • The Church had all the power and didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything.

    Statements like that indicate that ignorance is alive and well and that the Church cannot be held culpable for it.

  • Steve asks: “What is your obsession with killing people?”

    Now that’s rich. Steve pops in here, accuses the Church of murder and then, when it is pointed out that secular regimes have murdered far more people, turns around and accuses us of having an “obsession with killing people. It’s always funny to me that people who attack religion for its’ “irrationality” are seldom models of reason and logic themselves.

    Steve, who thinks the Church “didnt allow anyone to think or learn or anything” apparently never learned that the modern university system was founded by the Church, as were hospitals. Do you think the Sorbonne or Oxford and Cambridge started out as secular institutions? Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of hospitals in this country have (or once had) some sort of religious affiliation? I realize that’s not the sort of thing that occurs to someone who apparently has learned his history from Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, but you really should try broadening your reading a little (if you read). You might find that Church history is a bit more complex than the simplistic cartoon you have your head.

    Finally, ah ha, the old “religion is a crutch” accusation. Gee, we’ve never heard that one before! Clearly, you’re not miserable and you do many things of great importance – like seeking out Catholic blogs so you can berate believers. My, what a highly significant existence you lead, Steve – unlike, say, a devout Catholic physician friend of mine who spends time working in Haiti as a medical missionary every year. No, attempting to destroy the faith of other people by is doing so much more for humanity, Steve.

  • Ha! Its obvious you Christians have misenterperted my statement. You continued to mention how it would be cool for me and my “crew” to kill people, as well as my apparent lack of morality which would lead me to kill people because they werent “worthy”. After all, all atheists are essentially bad people who would rape and murder if they had the chance.

    Yea thats great, but who were those unviersitys open to? Only the rich. Even earlier universities were used as priest training centers. They were by no means open to all, which you see only happening when secular authorities took over education. Religion is always exclusive.

    Haha more atheist cliches! Yea sure I dont have anything to be proud of, except I’m getting a Army commission in June and begin work in the Intelligence branch. I’m going to be making desicions that can potientially effect the foreign policy of our country. Yea sure I live an unfufilled life.

  • God help the Army if an ill educated bigot like you is actually receiving a commission. By the way, a second lieutenant doesn’t get within shouting distance of having any impact on this country’s foreign policy. Oh, and I hope you are covering your internet tracks well. Military Intelligence background checks tend to be very comprehensive.

    In regard to Universities in the Middle Ages, poor scholars regularly studied at them. Your knowledge of history is as rudimentary as your spelling.

    “After all, all atheists are essentially bad people who would rape and murder if they had the chance.”

    Not all atheists, but I wouldn’t lay any bets on you, considering your belief that it was fine that thousands of priest were murdered during the French Revolution.

    Piece of free advice: stop acting like a jackass and actually do some hard study of both history and theology.

  • Wow so I’m suddenly not qualified to lead soldiers because I dont agree with you? When have I ever said anything bigoted, I came here simply to inform Mr. Gregory that he was wrong on his warped history views.

    I think the real bigots in this community are YOU. Ever since I got here I’ve been talked to like a child, which I am not at all surprised because from exprience most Christians treat non-religious this way.

    And I never condoned the French priest killings, I merely stated I understood why the French would do that.
    Keep letting religion to rule your life, see how much you enjoy it with a god who wont even let you use your free will

  • Steve, why don’t you go back to HuffPo or Daily Kos or I Think Church Sux. com or some other site where nobody will argue with or challenge your goofy and semi-literate assertions. You’ve been talked to like a child here because you write and think like one – a nasty, bigoted one. You sound like a 14 year old who knows nothing and thinks he knows everything.

    As Donald noted, Army standards really are going down the tubes. I thought a basic knowledge of the English language was required of our military officers. You do know that many, many servicemen and women are believers, don’t you? I feel very bad for any enlisted Christian men and women who end up under the command of a such a narrow-minded bigot.

    “Keep letting religion to rule your life, see how much you enjoy it with a god who wont even let you use your free will”

    You have us confused with Calvinists. Do you know what Calvinism is? Do you know how it differs from Catholicism? No, you are ignorant of just how ignorant you are, which is why your attempts to “instruct” us are so risible.

    Good night to you.

  • “I think the real bigots in this community are YOU. Ever since I got here I’ve been talked to like a child,”

    You are a child Steve K. You are a high school student apparently at a Catholic high school. Unfortunately the money that your parents spent to send you to parochial school has been wasted, and you have developed a hatred for the Church. Oh well, you are young and have a lot of life ahead of you. Study hard, work hard and see a bit of the world after you enlist in the Army and check back here in a few years. I’ll be interested to see what you have learned. Good luck to you.

  • Donald, if Steve K. really is a high school kid, I have been a bit too harsh on him. I said similarly silly things when I was 18 (I cringe when I recall coming out of the movie theater after seeing “Reds” and saying “I think I’m a Communist.” That was, as I’m sure you can guess, before I actually knew something about Communists.)

    Your advice is sound. I hope Steve follows it.

  • I remember some of the things I said and did in High School and College Donna and I cringe even three decades later.

  • My last name starts with a C, what are you talking about? I did indeed go to Catholic school and that is indeed where I lost my faith but I have no idea where you got the idea that I’m still in high school.

    I think its disturbing that Mr. McClarey actually went looking for me online, but if you actually think my real name is Steve you are sadly mistaken.

    I am now leaving this discussion. Goodbye Christians, get off the train before it crashes into the mountains.

  • I do wish Dr Charles Krauthammer could take a look at “Steve’s” posts. If “Steve” had went to a liberal Catholic high school, he could have been turned off by their ideoloy and thought Catholicism as being silly. However, “Steve” seems quite certain of God’s existence, but questions God’s ways. I wonder if Steve went to a pretty orthodox minded Catholic school and either realizes a flaw in his own character and doesn’t want to change it, or was of another faith tradition (outside Christinaity) and refuses to acknowledge the truth of what he was taught.

    Whatever the case, I will pray for Steve and if you are reading this Steve know that we all have flaws. God points them out to us so we can become better human beings. Please keep this in mind and know that people are praying for you that haven’t the slightest clue of how you look, where you live and what you think of them. They pray for you because an interior calling brought up by their faith beckons them to pray for people they have never met, but whom they care about nonetheless. They do so because for centuries the saints and simple believers asked God to help those they never met as well following the teachings and practices of Jesus and His Apostles, along with those who initially persecuted the faith, but came into the light like St Paul.

  • Steve, you didn’t “lose” your Catholic faith at a Catholic School, you never had any faith, perhaps our Lord will give you some soon. But in the meantime please write nothing further. Your inane arguments about communism are quite dull. Just skimming your first two posts I can see you’re one of those who literally believe “religion has killed more people than all war in history.” This liberal balderdash you heard somewhere along the way during your liberal education and now you come here to talk about the truth as if you know. But the reality for all to see here is that you don’t know anything but the brainwashing bs taught in liberal schools.

    If you actually knew anything about the French revolution, for example, you’d understand that the average French person at the time of the revolution had a higher standard of living than any country in Europe and probably the world. But, like the good communist that you are (based on your writings), never let an opportunity pass to distort the facts and pedal lies.

  • “My last name starts with a C, what are you talking about? I did indeed go to Catholic school and that is indeed where I lost my faith but I have no idea where you got the idea that I’m still in high school”

    Steve, when you comment on this blog and we have your ip address and your e-mail address, it takes no great skill to learn quite a bit about people who contact us. I looked you up because of your statement about being commissioned in the army which I found hard to believe. If you are going to troll on blogs, truly a waste of time, you need to conceal your internet footprints with greater skill.

  • I suggest Steve you grow up. When the true and only Church God founded, the Catholic Church,was the Church in England before Henry VIII dared think he could make himself Pope by picking what he should and shouldn’t believe(just as you sound like you are doing)there were many chantry chapels set up in peoples’ wills to offer the Mass for their souls after death and the wealthier as part of their Mass bequests left an amount to help the poor and needy. Attached to these chantry chapels were schools to educate poor children. It was only after the 1600s, under Protestantism,that children were indoctrinated with anti-Catholic hate and teaching poor children was thrown out in favour of ‘the work house’. Perhaps you should read Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Oliver Twist’which shows how Protestant Churches really treated orphan children.
    In fact it was a Church of England clergyman in real life, the Revd. Thomas Malthus, who speaking of the poor and starving,who said ‘”the poor should die and decrease the surplus population.”‘However, this Anglican clergyman was Satan’s fool as there was not a surplus population and there never will be.
    In his short story ‘A Christmas Carol’ Dickens has Scrooge say this at the beginning – only later is it revealed to him by the Ghost of Christmas Present, quoting Scrooge back at him,that it was not for him to decide who should live or die (an arrogance of the wealthy).

    Thanks Dave,however,as I will show later while Communism is athiestic Karl Marx,it’s principal founder,as Marxism is just another word for Communism was not an athiest but a Satanist intent on bringing the world to ruin,not bettering it,who knowing he would not go to Heaven because he had chosen to side with Satan so would end up in the Abyss (Hell) which is where he wanted all mankind to go. This is in his own writings. I’ll put a link to some of them later to prove it as I never make statements unless I can back what I can say.

    As for you Steve,if you are at a school labelling itself ‘Catholic’,I wonder if your parents know the anti-Catholic,unhistorical,pro-Communist,pro-Protestant drivel you’re being taught because whoever is teaching it shouldn’t even be in a ‘public’ school (state school)teaching.

  • So,Steve, which is it? Are you at school or in the military? And if you are not a practising Catholic what are you? Lapsed Catholic,a convert to another Christian denomination or another religion!!!! Or are you an agnostic or athiest?

    I believe we have the right to know.

  • I have little doubt that Steve lost his faith at a Catholic high school. Our local Catholic high school works hard at doing this. That way, when they get to Catholic colleges, they are primed for becoming Communists.

  • I’m facebook friends with a few old high school classmates (a Jesuit school) that are defiantly atheist. Looking back on my high school education, this is not surprising.

  • A couple of points to consider: Who knows what if any truth came out of Steve’s keyboard. I have no idea if he is in high school (public or private) is in the military, or wants to be in the military. However since he says he believes God exists and still hates His ways, then we know one thing for surel Jesus said the evil one was the master of all lies.

    Another point as far as Catholic schools goes, I have worked in them and worked as an administrator in a diocesan office. There are some bad ones, but we shouldn’t discount the fact that there are some good ones. I can tell you in some of the schools I have been at recently, the religious instruction and religious curriculum is far superior than when I was a student in the 80s. Order run schools probably have the bigesst disparity. Sadly as Paul pointed out there are far too many Jesuit schools that are known for their high academic standards (which is all the parents care about) and goofy “Zen” oriented religious classes.

    A rather new phenomena to Catholic education are the students who are far more orthodox than their parents. They are serious about their faith and eagerly go to Sunday Mass (and sometimes Daily Mass at school) while their parents nurse a hangover. A recent study showed that those under 25 who go to Mass are more orthodox in their views (especially supporting the Church’s teachings on life) than their parents or grandparents.

    Yet, far too many Catholic youth don’t go to Mass because after having them baptized their parents never taught them thing one about Catholicism. I am increasingly meeting young people who say they were baptized Catholic but never went to Catholic school, CCD, and have only a vague memory of going to Mass for someone’s wedding or funeral. However, I think it should be pointed out that many of the new, more orthodox priests being ordained did go to Catholic school and want to correct the abuses that took place in the Church in the time of their parents generation.

  • I’m not in the military I’m training for the military, I get my commission in June.

    I’m a maltheist. I believe that god is a cruel and unjust and is therefor unworthy of my worship. He is a liar and a thief. I realize worshiping god only gives him more glory, glory which he does not deserve. It does not benefit me in any way to be with god or follow his base teachings.

    Thats my opinion

  • Steve this might be the most ridiculous post I have ever read. You aren’t smart enough to know the history of all the events you recite, and you are all of 18, 19, 20 21, maybe 22. In addition, you hide behind a false name and then you tell us that you are smarter than God and think that He’s doing it all wrong? Steve this is akin to a child who is barely able to mouth a few words telling a Nobel Prize Winner in Physics that he’s wrong. Please tell us that you are yanking our chain. You can’t be this ignorant.

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9 Responses to A Map Of How Americans View Europe

Comedians Poking Fun At Rahm Emanuel

Sunday, October 3, AD 2010

On October 1 President Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, announced that he will be leaving his position to a possible campaign run for Mayor of Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel is known as a feisty politician with an amiable personality.  He has also been known to be fond of four letter words.

The following is Saturday Night Live’s spoof of the White House announcement of said event:

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

Sunday, October 3, AD 2010

The  fourth 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 and here the F-Bomb Vermin.  The fourth of the Hamsters is the Texting Vermin.

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

  • As an old fogey myself, I feel exactly the same way about all of this stuff. Amen and Amen!

  • We OFs have to stick together Mark!

  • Thunderous applause (which of course you can’t hear). But it is ironic — I visit AMERICAN CATHOLIC every day when I could be solitudinous (is that a real word?).

    Life is good.

  • As usual: 100% correct.

    We OF’s need to hang together, or we’ll hang separately (B. Franklin, the archetypical OF).

    If only: we pray 1/10th as much as they text.

  • I must be grateful for my ability to text our children, since they all live far from me. I go back into the days of DA’s and Packs of Lucky’s in the rolled up sleeves of shirts, although I was far too young to smoke(and still do not).
    You failed to mention “party lines”, but that does not mean the “talking point
    memos” of todays political propoganda and their sychphant followers.

    So, I guess I am one of those cheesy texters! Although I do it at a snails pace.

  • Remember that there were a solid core of phone numbers that everyone had memorized – their own, of course, the numbers of close relatives and friends, one’s work number and emergency numbers. Nobody has to remember numbers any more – I can still rattle off my parents’ phone number 21 years after I last dialed it, but I can’t remember my sister’s cell phone number, although I call her almost daily.

    But the ability to make a phone call just about anywhere can be a blessing. Last winter, I was on a city street after dark. It wasn’t too far from my place but the block was deserted. A rather dubious character called to me from across the street and asked me to help him change his tire. All sorts of alarms went off in my head. I continued to walk away, but held up my cell phone and offered to call AAA if he needed help. He said “forget it” and then cursed me. If cell phones did not exist, I still would not have been so stupid as to ignore my instincts and put myself in potential danger, but having the cell phone certainly provided an extra measure of security.

  • I find telephones dreadful objects, and flinch whenever the household phone rings. It’s obtrusive and invasive. Hand-lettered faxes, emails and text messages offer a certain graceful silence to communication, and also time to compose one’s thoughts.

    I mean, if you use them that way. Which naturally excludes the Vermin.

    And, good gravy, the one-sided cell phone conversations trumpeted up and down the aisles of stores, not excluding furious disputes, the berating of remote children, and, uh, pitching pretty serious woo—is this the new party line? Where we are ALL forced to eavesdrop?

  • As someone who absolutely hates talking on the phone, I find texting to be a great improvement. You can leave someone a message and let him respond at his leisure, without having to interrupt him and exchange pleasantries first.

    Also, if you text very often, you can do it without looking at the phone, just like a decent typist can type without looking at the keyboard. So I actually find it safer while driving than talking on the phone, which really does take one’s attention away (much like having an engaging conversation with a passenger).

  • I think it is an absolute blessing to be able to be able to make a phone call from just about any location, but like most everything, moderation is the key. As a frequent rider on mass Transit, I find the loud talkies to be absolutely infuriating. It’s one thing to have a brief “I’m on my way home” conversation with one’s spouse, but there are people who seem intent on having rather loud conversations for the entire duration of a bus ride. The snowball effect is that I am prompted to put on my headphones, which is probably going to be part six in Don’s series. 🙂

  • The snowball effect is that I am prompted to put on my headphones, which is probably going to be part six in Don’s series.

    LOL

  • Funny… accurate… sad. Very good commentary! I wonder if it’s a generational response? I am old enough to remember rotary phones and even manual typewriters.

  • I am old enough to remember rotary phones and even manual typewriters.

    So am I, though I don’t know if I’d qualify as an old fogey at the age of 33. But even my niece, who is 23, might be symbolic of the new generation. Try prying her cell phone/text message machine away from her. I dare you. You didn’t really need that hand, did you?

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Rachmaninoff Meets Harpo Marx

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  Harpo Marx gives an interesting, yes that would be the word, interpretation to Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Minor.  Harpo (Adolph) Marx was a self-taught pianist and harpist of no small skill.  I developed a love of classical music from these type of interludes in movies and Bugs Bunny cartoons that played on the TV constantly while I was growing up.

Here is Rachmaninoff performing the piece.

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Woody Guthrie vs. Joseph Ratzinger ;-)

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

Communist Liberation TheologianOver at Vox Nova, Henry Karlson draws our attention to a video of Bono, expounding on why U2 felt compelled to cover Woody Guthrie’s song “Jesus Christ”. In short, “it’s more relevant today than when he wrote it.”

But why is it more relevant? — For Bono, “we decided to do it because of the line, “the bankers and the preachers, they nailed him in the air.”

Curiousity provoked, I took a look at the complete lyrics:

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20 Responses to Woody Guthrie vs. Joseph Ratzinger ;-)

  • Christopher

    Key word, “reduced.” One song does not prove a “reduction,” as much as just one part of the overall picture. The only reduction here is from you.

  • “You will find that a good many Christian-political writers think that Christianity began going wrong, and departing from the doctrine of its Founder, at a very early stage. Now, this idea must be used by us to encourage once again the conception of a “historical Jesus” to be found by clearing away later “accretions and perversions” and then to be contrasted with the whole Christian tradition. In the last generation we promoted the construction of such a “historical Jesus” on liberal and humanitarian lines; we are now putting forward a new “historical Jesus” on Marxian, catastrophic, and revolutionary lines. The advantages of these constructions, which we intend to change every thirty years or so, are manifold.

    In the first place they all tend to direct men’s devotion to something which does not exist, for each “historical Jesus” is unhistorical. The documents say what they say and cannot be added to; each new “historical Jesus” therefore has to be got out of them by suppression at one point and exaggeration at another, and by that sort of guessing (brilliant is the adjective we teach humans to apply to it) on which no one would risk ten shillings in ordinary life, but which is enough to produce a crop of new Napoleons, new Shakespeares, and new Swifts in every publisher’s autumn list. In the second place, all such constructions place the importance of their “historical Jesus” in some peculiar theory He is supposed to have promulgated. he has to be a “great man” in the modern sense of the world – one standing at the terminus of some centrifugal and unbalanced line of thought – a crank vending a panacea. We thus distract men’s minds from Who He is, and what He did. We first make Him solely a teacher, and then conceal the very substantial agreement between His teachings and those of all other great moral teachers. For humans must not be allowed to notice that all great moralists are sent by the Enemy, not to inform men, but to remind them, to restate the primeval moral platitudes against our continual concealment of them. We make the Sophists: He raises up a Socrates to answer them.

    Our third aim is, by these constructions, to destroy the devotional life. For the real presence of the Enemy, otherwise experienced by men in prayer and sacrament, we substitute a merely probable, remote, shadowy, and uncouth figure, one who spoke a strange language and died a long time ago. Such an object cannot in fact be worshipped. Instead of the Creator adored by its creature, you soon have merely a leader acclaimed by a partisan, and finally a distinguished charcter approved by a judicious historian.

    And fourthly, besides being unhistorical in the Jesus it depicts, religion of this kind is false to history in another sense. No nation, and few individuals, are really brought into the Enemy’s camp by the historical study of the biography of Jesus, simply as biography. Indeed, materials for a full biography have been withheld from men. The earliest converts were converted by a single historical fact (the Resurrection) and a single theological doctrine (the Redemption) operating on a sense of sin which they already had – and sin, not against some new fancy-dress law produced as a novelty by a “great man,” but against the old, platitudinous, universal moral law which they had been taught by their nurses and mothers. The “Gospels” come later, and were written, not to make Christians, but to edify Christians already made.”

    CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters, number 23

  • I heard that Arlo Guthrie made a 180 and is now a Republican…

  • “If Jesus is seen thus, if his death must be conceived in terms of this constellation of antitheses, his message cannot be one of reconciliation.”

    Exactly!

    Need to read the Screwtape Letters again. A great work with a lasting effect, but refreshers would be useful.

  • Mr. McClarey: 100% correct!

    Mr. Bono: Infallible ignorance.

    I’ve been thinking (no, really!) about Lazarus and the rich man. Do theologians “think” Lazarus would rest in the “bossom of Abraham” if he envied and hated that rich man?

  • He does not envy or hate the “preachers and bankers” that crucified Him. Jesus is true God and true man, like us in all ways except sin. To equate His sacrifice (the Crucifixion was the most disobedient, ignorant, vicious and unjust sin in the history of mankind) to man’s fallen condition is simply WRONG.

    Jesus loved us so much and was so desirous of redeeming and saving us that His Sacred Heart was filled even more with love for us in His three hours of agony on His Holy Cross; and He asked God the Father Almighty to forgive us because we didn’t know what we were doing.

  • “I heard that Arlo Guthrie made a 180 and is now a Republican”

    I didn’t believe it at first, Jasper, but apparently it’s true; this is from Wikipedia’s entry on Arlo’s politics:

    “Guthrie endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul for the 2008 Republican Party nomination. He said, “I love this guy. Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of the United States had he been there. I’m with him, because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago. I look forward to the day when we can work out the differences we have with the same revolutionary vision and enthusiasm that is our American legacy.” He told the New York Times Magazine that he is a Republican because, “We had enough good Democrats. We needed a few more good Republicans. We needed a loyal opposition.”

  • Sounds as if this rediscovering of the ‘historical Jesus’ is the 21st century version of gnosticism.

  • For Bono, “we decided to do it because of the line, “the bankers and the preachers, they nailed him in the air.”

    Bono’s rather an ingrate. What would U2 and all the other lefty multi-millionaire rock stars do without bankers advising them on tax shelters? U2 was widely criticized a few years back when they moved their business operations to the Netherlands, cutting their corporate tax bill considerably.

    This was around the time when Bono was standing on stage telling his fans (you know, the ones who made him and his fellow band members fabulously rich) that they – the little people – should pay more in taxes.

    As I recall, Our Lord also had a few things to say on the subject of hypocrites.

  • I’d be wary of putting too much stock in Arlo’s “conversion”–Libertarianism and Republicanism are not interchangeable and his remarks sound pretty noncommittal to me.

    What I find interesting is that it appears Woody borrowed stylistically from a popular ballad about Jesse James–one that cast the outlaw as a “friend to the poor” who’d “never see a man suffer pain” (never mind that the James gang occasionally shot unarmed bystanders in the course of their robberies and weren’t known for their charitable work.) The meter and the repetition of the adjective “brave” and the line “laid…in his grave” are right out of it. Was his intention to cast the Son of God as a Robin Hood-ized folk hero in the fashion of James? If so, he sold God short–and the U2 guys ought to know better.

  • The U2 sound became repetitive, the lyrics trite and ridiculous but instead of fading away quitely as other better bands such as Steely Dan and Dire Straits have done, our friend Bono would rather ride out a little bit more on the name of Jesus.

  • … nstead of fading away quitely as other better bands such as Steely Dan and Dire Straits have done, our friend Bono would rather ride out a little bit more on the name of Jesus.

    Actually, U2’s cover of “Jesus Christ” was over a decade ago, on the Folkways Woody Guthrie Tribute — I’m actually a fan of their music, if not Bono’s pontificating. =)

  • Republicanism and libertarianism might not be interchangeable, but neither are they incommensurable.

    Also the Greek of Matthew 19:21 does not translate to “give your money to the poor.” It can be roughly, but more accurately, translated as “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” As always with Koine Greek there is wide room for interpreting the wording in American. The phrase lacks the linguistic articles common to ancient Greek that would specifically denote apposition, yet there are undeniably two clauses separated by a conjunction. So it is misleading to state that Jesus was commanding the young gentleman to sell everything he had in order to give the receipts to the poor. Rather, it sounds to me like Jesus was offering simple, practical advice on how to be His contemporaneous disciple, something that clearly involved a lot of travel and study and would therefore be difficult if one were the landlord of a large estate and concerned with maintaining many material possessions.

    U2 makes terrible music. Bono should stick to working on that.

  • I challenge the rich to prove their detachment to wealth by giving it away.

  • Nate,

    I like the way you think!

    There are some rich people that do donate their money to Catholic charities, but it can be said that more money by much more well-to-do should be giving their wealth away willingly.

  • …it is the Feast Day of Saint Francis. The very saint that gave away his tremendous wealth for a life of poverty. He was justly rewarded by God with an enriching life of harvesting many souls!

  • Nate,

    I would agree that the rich can give more. Though the rich man may in fact be more detached from his goods than a poor person. St. Josemaria Escriva used to tell a story of a noblewoman who had great wealth. She paid her servents well and was quite giving. He contrasted her to a poor man he saw in a soup kitchen who had one possession in his life – a spoon. That man he noted greedily held onto that one good and was quite attached to it. That person St. Josemaria noted was not living the virtue of detachment.

    I also recall in our area about two years ago a very rich family’s home burnt down. It turns out the family’s six year old with Down’s Syndrome accidentally set fire to the house. The father said that he loved his son even more after this. This was true detachment.

    I would also add that a rich person may donate more of his time and talent that he could otherwise use for himself. Donations that are not seen and that in their own way “cost” significantly.

  • Wealth today facilitates travel, which facilitates the continuance of the mission of Christ and His church. During the age in which our Lord lived on this earth, all the money in the world dcouldn’t buy a plane, train, or bus ticket. Back then, wealth surely encouraged people to be sedentary, or at the least immobile. I again maintain that the scripture (Matthew 19:21) has nothing to do with choosing to be willfully impoverished as a way to salvation.

  • What kind of commentary did you expect from a man who gave only 1.24% of his charity’s money to the poor? I also think he has a tax and wife problem in Ireland.

    And the born agains use U-2’s music in worship services… We truly live in strange times.

  • Guthrie was the scion of one of the wealthiest families in one of the wealthiest states in America. He adopted an offensive and false hillbilly persona and a BS story about “ridin’ the rails” and was flown out to California and given a coast-to-coast radio show with support from the Governor, a US Senator, and LA’s fanciest folks. After he retired from mass media he spent the rest of his career working for the US Government.
    Enough of this hagiography already!

Praying the Holy Rosary in October

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary — by personal recommendation of Pope Leo XIII:

In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.

Beginning on September 1, 1883, with SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Leo wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, ending with DIUTURNI TEMPORIS in 1898. (Source: Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello, Catholic.net).

The spread of the devotion of the rosary is attributed to the revelation of Mary to St. Dominic, who sought her help in battling the heresy of the Albigenses. Robert Feeney’s “St. Dominic and the Rosary” gives a detailed account,

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One Response to Praying the Holy Rosary in October

  • Every day: beginning to end using a small prayer book (my grandmother gave me) with the prayers, meditations and scheduling.

    Prayer Before the Rosary
    “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and (was Russia) America, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary. I ask it for he greater glory of God, for your own honor,and for the good of souls, especually my own. Amen.”

    The Blesed Virgin Mary (my Mother); legions of angels at her bidding; and the Holy Rosary have brought me through many “issues.”

    Each day last year my Rosary was for my son in Afghanistan. Now, it’s for another son or a brother with a chronic disease.

    When my mother was dying, we left her each night with her Rosary in her hands. She prayed the Rosary all her life. When I was taking a test for a scholarship, she was simultanepusly praying that Rosary for me. I scored enough to go to college. It may not have happened otherwise.

    Today and tomorrow will be the Glorious Mysteries.

Environmentalist Proponents Jump The Shark

Friday, October 1, AD 2010

An environmental confederation in the UK got the talented screenwriter Richard Curtis to produce a short film, ironically called No Pressure, for the 10:10 campaign, an effort to remind people to do their part in reducing carbon emission 10% by 2010 AD.

Unfortunately for the environmental movement the film backfired because it reinforced the image that beneath the surface environmentalists will do anything once in power to make it compulsory to follow their vision for the future, which includes violence.

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15 Responses to Environmentalist Proponents Jump The Shark

  • ++ Pretty hilarious. I was sure it was some kind of comedic jujitsu, an anti-enviro-mental send-up. It’s not available at 1010’s website which made me more suspicious. But Richard Curtis’ wikipedia entry says that he in fact did make the video in support of the group, but they had to take it down from their website because of outrage over its gory “no pressure” message.
    ++ Either way, great comedy always has an element of believability – you just know the enviro-mentals secretly wouldn’t mind the rest of us disappearing in a pink cloud of goo.

  • Thomas,

    I can’t believe it got past the writing stage!

    These guys live in a world of their own.

  • I cannot fathom how anyone with the 10:10 campaign could possibly have believed that this ad would have benefited their cause.

  • I was shocked that it was that bad…that’s unbelievable.

  • Maybe Curtis watched Monty Python’s “How Not To Be Seen” video a few times too many?

  • Elaine: The MP videos are very funny, but that is because they are not espousing any particular political viewpoint. So I (or anyone) can simply accept them as absurd.

    Showing children and employees and soccer players blown up because they do not subscribe to a particular political philosophy moves the 10:10 video into a universe of its’ own. The Python skit was a lark – this commercial descends into radical evil. The message is: “Conform or be killed.” Lovely. I have no problem imagining the teacher hectoring the students to believe in the importance of one child per couple (for the environment, dontcha know!). A couple of children object and are blown up.

    This illustrates liberal fascism better than Jonah Goldberg’s book does.

  • That’s horrifying. How could anyone but a psychopath find that funny?

    It’s worth a look though (for adults who have been forewarned) because I think it gives us a glimpse into the mind of the film’s producer and undoubtedly the minds of eco-fascists in general. They hate humanity.

  • You gotta admit that this is much more efficient than what the Nazis had going on. To these 10:10 people the real travesty of Auschwitz was its unspeakably huge carbon footprint.

  • You gotta admit that this is much more efficient than what the Nazis had going on.

    Yeah, the device used to blow up dissenters just magically knows who the naysayers are.

    To these 10:10 people the real travesty of Auschwitz was its unspeakably huge carbon footprint.

    Well, in all fairness, the Nazis did “recycle” hair, gold teeth, and skin. That should win them some points among the 10:10 crowd.

  • Pretty darn passive-aggressive, if you ask me.

  • I agree that 10:10 is infinitely more offensive and less funny than “How Not To Be Seen”. At least Monty Python had the good sense not to show their victims’ blood and vital organs splattering everywhere in graphic and stomach-churning fashion. However, I cannot help but wonder if the 10:10 creators weren’t, shall we say, “inspired” by Monty Python but took the premise way too far.

  • Remix time!

  • In the 21st century Environmentalism and radical Islam are what the Communists and Nazis were for the 20th century.

  • Pingback: Environmental Culture of Death « The American Catholic

There Is No Shire Party

Friday, October 1, AD 2010

If imitation is a form of flattery, it must be some sort of testament to a writer’s skill when partisans of both sides of an issue become intent upon placing each other as the villains of the same work of fiction. Some examples of this are, perhaps, unsurprising. The original Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984 is such a wonderfully universal government baddie that it is little wonder that those on both the right and left see each other as being like it.

However, one of the odder (to me) manifestations of this trend is the tendency of those on both right and left who are of a certain SF/F geek stripe (and political and genre geekdom do seem to go together more often than one might imagine) to identify themselves with the Shire of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and to identify their opponent with the modernizing and destructive elements who take over the Shire under Lotho Sackville-Baggins and “Sharky” (Saruman) while Frodo and his friends are away, and who are driven out in the Scouring of the Shire.

For those less familiar with those aspects of the story that didn’t make the movie version: While Frodo and this three friends Sam, Merry and Pippin are off on the quest to destroy the One Ring, Frodo’s cousin Lotho uses the influence and affluence of belonging to one of the Shire’s leading families to run the Shire into a bit of a ditch. Most of the crops are exported, including nearly all the pipeweed, leaving Hobbits themselves with little left for themselves. Various “improvement” projects are undertaken, such as knocking down the picturesque old mill on the river in Hobbiton and putting up a large new brick structure which belches smoke and pollutes the river.

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13 Responses to There Is No Shire Party

  • To understand Tolkien and the Shire, you MUST read William Morris. There is no way around it for this. As I have pointed out in various places, Tolkien adapts Morris, and does not agree with Morris’ utopian perspective; however, once one gets beyond that, the connection becomes quite clear.

  • I’ve read a certain amount of Morris’s poetry and some of his translations, as well as of course being familiar with his PRB work. Frankly, I don’t see him as being remotely relevant to this post. And overall, I think you tend to massively overstate Tolkien’s reliance on Morris. Though there’s certainly some influence, Tolkien is very much an original and I think more infuenced by older primary sources than by Morris’ work.

  • While Tolkien’s influences may be helpful in understanding the shire, I doubt any author’s influences are essential to understanding the author. I can a read a book without knowing who the author is an understand it. It is true, that a far more in-depth and scholarly article that attempts to discern as much meaning as possible would be greatly aided by understanding Morris, but to say that one cannot comment on the Shire before reading Morris seems rather silly. Indeed, if one said they had not read Lewis, I would counsel them that reading Lewis would be helpful to their understanding, but even Lewis’s influence is not essential.

  • “Frankly, I don’t see him as being remotely relevant to this post.” Then you really do not understand Tolkien, nor the Shire, especially the Scouring of the Shire. That is, of course, not too surprising. So many American Tolkien readers really ARE that clueless to Tolkien.

    And to say one can read a work without understanding the context of the work and what is being reflected upon in the work is exactly the kind of hermeneutics Protestants encourage for exegetics, but is poor hermeneutics indeed.

  • “is exactly the kind of hermeneutics Protestants encourage for exegetics”

    http://www.paint-test-equipment.co.uk/index.php?id=37

  • “Frankly, I don’t see him as being remotely relevant to this post.” Then you really do not understand Tolkien, nor the Shire, especially the Scouring of the Shire….

    And to say one can read a work without understanding the context of the work and what is being reflected upon in the work is exactly the kind of hermeneutics Protestants encourage for exegetics, but is poor hermeneutics indeed.

    Or perhaps I think that Tolkien was writing his own work, which can be read as a work, rather than simply writing a gloss or commentary on Morris. It can often be helpful to know about an author’s influences, sometimes when an author is consciously commenting or referring to another work, it can be well nigh essential. (For example, one would miss a lot of what Powers is doing in Last Call if one had never read The Wasteland or knew nothing about the Tarot.) However, to insist that one simply cannot understand “Tolkien, nor the Shire, especially the Scouring of the Shire” unless one has read specific un-named works or William Morris (apparently not among the one’s I’ve read) is to treat LotR in a rather Gnostic fashion.

    I can appreciate that you think that Morris’ social vision is somehow relevant to Tolkien’s writing, but if you think it bears some specific relevance to what I’ve written here I would encourage to you write what you think that relevance is and actually explain that point. Otherwise, all you seem to be conveying is a rather dismissive “Ha, ha! I know the secret keys to Tolkien and you don’t so there” sort of statement. And even if this is in fact primarily what you do wish to convey, having pretty much grown up in the Mythopoeic Society I find myself fairly immune to feelings of inadequacy in response to this kind of vaunting.

  • Dale, you win.

    William Morris is that tobacco guy, right? So he does apply to this post in a way.

  • J.R.R. Tolkien re-translated and his son posthumously editted and published: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.

    I thought it was quite good. But, I am a moderately illiterate yahoo. And, I doubt it comports with the liberal world view, hell-laborers; gallowsfowl!

  • To understand Tolkien, you must read Thomas More. There is no way you can understand the Shire unless you understand ‘Utopia’.

    Just sayin’ 😉

  • Nope, Hucklebury Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court ~ and Christianity from the inside out.

    🙂

    I suspect that I must seem to come under the category of those who are “of a certain SF/F geek stripe”, but it’s really more one of a concern with good and evil, and the course of the future. Christianity gave me the “why”; Tolkien gave me the language and the metaphor.

  • That’s “Huckleberry”, of course.

    The Dark Lord made me misspell that.

    :\

  • “They see this as an indictment of ‘big business’ and an endorsement of environmentalism. Further, the very same intrusive rule making and enforcement which rightists see as symbolizing intrusive ”big government”, leftists see as the jack-booted police tactics of rightists.”

    This would dovetail nicely with Hillaire Belloc’s assertion that communism and pure capitalism are merely different roads to the same statist destination.

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Friday, October 1, AD 2010

Daniel Webster is running for Congress in the 8th Congressional District of Florida.  He is a veteran Republican politician, having served as the first Republican speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 122 years.  He has also served as the Republican majority leader of the Florida Senate.  He is a pro-life conservative.  He is not the Devil.

His opponent is Alan Grayson.  Alan Grayson is the incumbent, being first elected to Congress in 2008.  He is a pro-abort liberal Democrat.  He is doing his best to depict Daniel Webster as the Devil.

My good friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has a first rate post on this subject at his bog and has saved me quite a bit of work:

Back during the Bush years, I can recall debates in the Catholic blogosphere in which Catholics of a certain left-leaning ilk accused those on the right of having questioned the patriotism of anyone who had opposed the Iraq War.

The thing is that I don’t recall these instances of anyone’s patriotism being impugned (outside of David Frum’s infamous piece at National Review in which he accused conservative Catholic commentators Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak of being “unpatriotic”; but then, any conservative worth a damn doesn’t give a rat’s patoot what David Frum thinks or says).

And, in fact, the left’s protestations about having their patriotism questioned appears to have been nothing more than collective projection, imagining that their political adversaries were doing exactly what they would do if they were the ones trying to overcome opposition to a particular objective of national policy priority. This has been borne out since the election of President Obama: how many times have we seen the words “sedition” (also here, for example), “un-American” (also here, for example), “unpatriotic”, and even “siding with the terrorists” (not to mention “racist”) applied to critics of the Obama agenda?

But NEVER in my years have I EVER heard someone in politics say about someone in the opposition “He just doesn’t love America like I do.”

Until now:

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14 Responses to The Devil and Daniel Webster

  • Grayson’s career (and Paul Krugman’s as well) raise the question as to just where the boundaries of permissible expression of malice are within the Democratic Party.

  • On a side note…

    When I first saw the headline I thought you were posting about the classic black and white movie of the same title, based on the short story by Stephen Benet. Maybe for the weekend?

  • In 1832, the historic Daniel Webster actually confronted and exposed true evil: Democrat Party.

    From WSJ Robert Bartley (RIP), Obama, Dodd, Frank ” . . . harked back to the founder of their party. In his 1832 veto of renewing the Bank’s (Second Bank of the United States) charter, Jackson complained that its profits went to foreigners and a ‘few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class.’ Daniel Webster replied that the message was a ‘wanton attack whole classes of people, for the purposes of turning against them the prejudices and resentments of other classes.’ The tradition, of course, runs strong even today in the party of Jackson and Obama.”

    The demagogues consistently rely (when untrammelled abortion, gay privileges, teachers unions, millionaire bureaucrats, and lies, lies, lies do not work) on inciting class/race envy and hatred. None of that is Christian.

    In charity I must again state: you will not be going to Heaven if you vote democrat.

  • I would pay T.Shaw to see a debate between you and Grayson.

  • Around the fifty second mark, the Hon. Rep. Grayson makes a lovely performance.

  • I apologize in advance. Debate never solved anything involving unadulterated evil.

  • Ah, but the debate would be endlessly amusing T. Shaw which is why I would pay money to see it.

  • You definitely covered the bad, ugly, and evil Grayson very well.

  • Let us hope Teresa that the voters of his district are reading these type of critiques.

  • Regardless of the truth, your viewpoint seems biased. Political ads are no way to judge a candidate. What a man does is far more important than what he says. Focus on the good and let us judge for ourselves. Ask yourself, would Jesus approve of my action and views. Probably not.

  • Somehow Mr. Grimley I doubt if you can speak for Jesus. Grayson is a disgrace, and his berserk ads are merely the tip of an over the top iceberg of conduct which befits an elected official as well as silk stockings befit a pig.

  • Political ads are no way to judge a candidate

    An advisory from Mortimer Adler many years ago in response to the proverb, “don’t judge a book by its cover”: the cover is what the publisher wants you to see and see first; there is information in that.

  • The ads are things the man has done, are they not? Words are acts. The man’s acts are dispicable and gravely immoral.