Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Few Thoughts on Wisconsin and Unions

At the risk of losing some of my libertarian street cred, I have to say that I feel a lot of sympathy for the public employee members in Wisconsin. Even if you think that their salaries and benefits are excessive, those benefits and wages were contractually agreed to by their employers, and I’m sure that in many cases people have planned their retirements on the assumption that these contracts would be honored.

On the other hand, if having public employee unions leads to workers receiving promises of future pensions and benefits that can’t or won’t be met, then that could be a reason to reconsider whether public employee unions are such a great idea going forward. The Church recognizes the right of workers to unionize, but this right is fundamentally based not on any the supposedly good consequences that unions have for workers, but rather as an application of the right of private association. As John Paul II noted in Centesimus Annus, (“the Church’s defence and approval of the establishment of what are commonly called trade unions [is] certainly not because of ideological prejudices or in order to surrender to a class mentality, but because the right of association is a natural right of the human being, which therefore precedes his or her incorporation into political society.”

I’m willing to accept correction on this, but it seems to me that if the right to unionization is based in the right to association, then it would seem that the union relationship ought to be voluntary for all the parties involved. Forcing workers to join a union or forcing an employer to deal with a union on certain terms strikes me as being contrary to people’s association rights, not a fulfillment of them. In the case of public employee unions, the government is the employer, and so should have a wide latitude to decide to what extent it is willing to bargain with unions and to what extent it isn’t.

The Day Lincoln Jumped Out A Window

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The news is currently filled with reports of Democrat state senators from Wisconsin on the lam in my home state of Illinois in an attempt to prevent a quorum in the Wisconsin state senate and stall action on Governor Scott Walker’s public employees union bill.  Fleeing from a legislative chamber to prevent a quorum from being formed and stall legislation is a tactic probably as old as legislative chambers.  In 1841 Illinois Representative Abraham Lincoln was involved in such an attempt. Continue reading

Death Comes For The Brigadier

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A sad day for Dr. Who fans everywhere.  Nicholas Courtney, who brilliantly portrayed the Brigadier in over 100 Dr. Who episodes, has died at age 81 of cancer:

Nicholas Courtney (born William Nicholas Stone Courtney on 16th December 1929) played first Colonel and then Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, beginning in “The Web of Fear” and finally in “Battlefield”. He reprised the role for the fan video “Downtime” (later adapted into one of the Virgin Missing Adventures), and for several audio dramas for the BBC and Big Finish Productions.

He was born in Cairo, Egypt, the son of a British diplomat and educated in France, Kenya and Egypt. He served his National Service in the British Army, leaving after 18 months as a private, not wanting to pursue a military career. He next joined the Webber Douglas drama school, and after two years began doing repertory theatre in Northampton, and from there moved to London.

His first appearance in Doctor Who was in the 1965 serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, where he played Space Security Agent Bret Vyon opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor. The director Douglas Camfield liked Courtney’s performance, and when Camfield was assigned the 1968 serial The Web of Fear, he cast Courtney as Captain Knight. However, David Langton, who was to play the character of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, gave up the role to work elsewhere, so Camfield recast Captain Knight and gave the Colonel’s part to Courtney instead.

Lethbridge-Stewart reappeared later that year in The Invasion, promoted to Brigadier and in charge of the British contingent of UNIT, an organization that protected the Earth from alien invasion. It was in that recurring role that he became most famous, appearing semi-regularly from 1970 to 1975. Courtney made return appearances in the series in 1983 and his last Doctor Who television appearance was in 1989 (in the serial Battlefield). Continue reading

Pro-Life Incrementalism is Working

Over at the Corner, Michael New draws attention to a recent op-ed by Frances Kissling of the oxymoronic group Catholics for a Free Choice:

In a column that appeared in last Friday’s Washington Post, Frances Kissling, who served as president of Catholics for a Free Choice, offers some advice for supporters of legal abortion. Kissling acknowledges that recent pro-life efforts — specifically our focus on fetal development and our efforts to pass incremental laws — have been effective in shifting public opinion in a pro-life direction. She acknowledges that supporters of legal abortion are now losing, and that the pro-choice arguments that were persuasive in the 1970s are no longer working today.

As a result, Kissling suggests a shift in strategy. Specifically, she urges her pro-choice allies to support some restrictions on late-term abortions. She states that supporters of abortion rights need to “firmly and clearly reject post-viability abortions, except in extreme cases.” She even says that abortions in the second trimester “need to be considered differently.” Kissling encourages an approach that would mandate counseling for women seeking abortion in these circumstances.

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RealCatholicTV, Creating Reversions and Conversions to the Faith

RealCatholicTV has created controversy among dissident Catholics for it’s orthodoxy and frankl fidelity to the Magisterium.  For some unfathomable reason even some faithful Catholics are put off by this blunt and direct approach.

I for one don’t agree with some of those faithful Catholics because what may seem blunt and direct is actually honest and refreshing.

Souls are at stake and no amount of hang-wringing causes me any lost sleep because Michael Voris states only the Truth.

Those that are uncomfortable with the Truth being spoken should only go back to the Holy Bible and what Jesus says about watering down the Truth:

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

– the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 18:6

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For RealCatholicTV click here.

Democrat Congressman Calls For Blood in Wisconsin

 

Hattip to Instapundit. 

A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.

Am I shocked? 

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It’s On: Jefferson v. Adams!

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One of the more interesting aspects of the conflict between Jefferson and Adams is how little difference it made in the long run in American history, except, perhaps, for an early establishment of the two party tradition.  For all Jefferson’s partiality to France, when he was in office he steered a strictly neutral course.  The economic development of the country was little changed by the switch in parties in power.  The battles over internal developments that marked the conflicts between Democrats and Whigs, were matters for a later time when expansion and technological progress brought them to the fore.  The Alien and Sedition Acts which loom large in the below video:

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involved less of principle and more of politics.  Jefferson, for example, was in favor of prosecutions of federalists under state sedition laws in states which his followers controlled.  Continue reading

When Will The Moral Insanity End?

No, I’m not talking about lying this time.

I’m talking about a bill passed by the Arizona House that will ban sex or race-selective abortions. And like the other Issue I’ve been speaking out on as of late, I have previously voiced my concern and, let’s just be honest, my disgust at the whole concept of banning abortions on these morally dubious grounds. Only way back then, it was Hillary Clinton speaking on behalf of pro-abortion feminists against sex-selective abortions; now it is an Arizona Republican (Steve Montenegro) making statements such as this:

“I introduced this bill to take a stand against bigotry and prejudice.”

What!? Is he serious? I’m still trying to figure out of this is some sort of joke.

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“Carlos” (2010)

Carlos, the film, chronicles the life, and often-bungled operations, of infamous Venezualan terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, aka. ‘Carlos the Jackal’ in service to various Marxist and Islamicist fronts (bankrolled by Syria, Libya and oh, yes — Iraq).

For one so fervently committed to “anti-imperialism”, the end of the Cold War must have been quite disillusioning. The toppling of the Berlin Wall and unification of Germany, the downfall of the Soviet Union, the implosion of the Socialist bloc, the mass revolt sweeping across Europe — the culmination of these events left the once proud, once feared, once notorious “Carlos the Jackal” a relic of ages past, now bereft of support and shelter. You almost feel sorry for the guy: Continue reading

Lincoln on Washington

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Most lists of great American presidents have two names at the top:  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  There is some debate as to which should be first.  If it were possible to ask Lincoln his opinion, I have little doubt how he would respond based upon the closing of a speech that he gave to the Washington Temperance Society in Springfield, Illinois on February 22, 1842: Continue reading

Prayers for Christchurch, New Zealand

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Christchurch was rocked yesterday by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.  There have been fatalaties and substantial damage was done to that lovely city.

Christchurch residents were going about their daily business when a violent 6.3 earthquake shook their city on Tuesday 22nd February. The earthquake happened at lunchtime and by 10pm that night the death toll was confirmed at 65. Mayor Bob Parker has warned people that this figure will undoubtedly rise. Approximately 120 people have been pulled from the rubble and it is estimated that another 100 are still trapped.

Bob Parker has appealed to the public to conserve water. The earthquake has caused extensive damage to the waterways and sewerage system that were already crippled by the 4th September quake. At this time, water is only being pumped to the northwest of Christchurch and this is not at full strength. People have been asked not to shower or flush toilets unnecessarily. All drinking water must be boiled.

It is estimated that 80% of Christchurch has no power after the earthquake damaged electrical substations. Power and gas to the city centre have been cut to the CBD but in spite of this, a couple of fires have broken out.

I know readers of The American Catholic will be besieging Heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christchurch, as well as making contributions to the relief funds I am sure will be set up. 

An update from longtime commenter Don the Kiwi:

Even though this quake at 6.3 was not as strong as the last one in September last year which was 7.1, the epicentre was much closer to the city – only 10 kilometers as opposed to 40 km., and was much shallower – only 5 km. as opposed to 20. So the effect has much much stronger and more devestating. Most of the older building in the city have been flattened or damaged beyond repair, as many modern buildings have also. Many building which had been weakened from the last quake but still habitable, have now been totalled. The Christchurch Cathedral – Anglican – has lost its Gothic spire, and much of the building, although still standing, is considered a right-off.


The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is of Byzantine style, but I have not heard how it has fared this time. I will e-mail my friend Steve Sparrow in Chch to get an update.

 

I also have 2 friends from Tauranga down there – they are building contractors, and have been down there for some months doing damage assessments on mainly residential homes. In the last quake, 90,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Now there are a few more. I heard of one person who just moved back into his renovated home 48 hour before this second quake – this time, he needs a new house.

 

I have e-mailed Don with a message from my friend in Chch – he is okay, but our Basilica appears to be history, along with the Anglican cathedral. Continue reading

Dr. Bernard Nathanson: Lying for the Revolution

The death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson has undoubtedly affected all of us who are dedicated to the pro-life cause. In the decades since his defection from the pro-abortion camp and his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was one of the nation’s most outspoken defenders of innocent human life. Among the many contributions to the cause for which we can thank Dr. Nathanson is his exposure of the deceptions and falsehoods employed by the pro-abortion movement – some of which he invented himself – in order to legitimize abortion in the eyes of the public and set the stage for its legalization in the 1960’s and 70’s.

And it is quite interesting, and perhaps even providential, that in remembering the life and works of Dr. Nathanson, we can consider how they affect the ongoing debate among Catholics over the use of lies and deceptions in order to undermine the pro-abortion movement and industry.

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Bernard Nathanson: Requiescant in Pace

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One of the great strengths of the pro-life cause is its ability to make converts among its adversaries.  Bernard Nathanson was a prime example.  An obstetrician\gynecologist, Dr. Nathanson became an abortionist out of ideological committment to what he perceived as a necessary element in the liberation of women.  During his career as an abortionist, he took the lives of 75,000 unborn children.  One of them was his own child:   “In the mid-sixties I impregnated a woman… and I not only demanded that she terminate the pregnancy… but also coolly informed her that since I was one of the most skilled practitioners of the art, I myself would do the abortion. And I did.”  He was a founding member of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. 

Unlike most of his colleagues in the abortion trade, Nathanson was not a marginally skilled doctor.  He was highly trained and kept up with medical developments.  When ultrasound came along in the seventies he began to use it and quickly reconized its worth in pre-natal examinations.  It also revealed to him something he had done his best to ignore:  the humanity of the unborn. Continue reading

Washington’s Second Inaugural Address

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“Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.” Pope Leo XIII

The video above from the magnificent John Adams series depicts the first inaugural of George Washington.  Washington for me is the standard by which all our other presidents are judged.  Without him of course, in all likelihood, there would be no United States as the American Revolution would have been lost without him to lead the starving, ragged Continentals to an against the odds victory.  In turbulent times he then led the nation for the first eight years under the new Constitution, setting the nation firmly on a course of prosperity, growth and expanding liberty.  A statesman like Washington comes to a people once every few centuries if they are fortunate, and we had him precisely when we needed a leader of his calibre most.

Would that our other presidents, with the exception of Lincoln, had possessed half of his ability to lead and his wisdom to chart a sound course.  I also wish that our other presidents had one of his minor traits:  brevity.  Here is his second inaugural address in its entirety: Continue reading

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