Monthly Archives: May 2011

Why Doesn’t Warren Buffet Pay Extra Taxes?

This WSJ editorial caught my eye, because it makes a seemingly valid point about wealthy people who call for higher taxes on the rich.

I wish I had a dollar for every time a wealthy liberal has declared he thinks he should pay more taxes. That list includes Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bill Gates Sr., Mark Zuckerberg and even Barack Obama, who now says that not only should rich people like him pay more taxes, they want to pay more. “I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me,” he said of his tax-hike plan. “They want to give back to the country that’s done so much for them.”

So why don’t they? There is a special fund at the Treasury Department for taxpayers who want to make “gift contributions to reduce debt held by the public.” But very few do. Last year that fund and others like it raised a grand total of $300 million. That’s a decimal place on Mr. Zuckerberg’s net worth and pays for less than two hours worth of federal borrowing.

I understand the basic satisfaction of saying, “Look, mister, if you really want to pay more taxes, no one is stopping you,” but I don’t think that it’s actually a very good argument. The reason why people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet advocate for higher taxes but don’t voluntarily pay higher taxes than the law requires is pretty obvious: Continue reading

Tin Foil Hat Comments

It is not all fun helping to run a blog.  I assume some of you think that being a blogger merely is writing any fool thing you please and then posting it.  Well, actually that is about 90% of it.  However the other 10% involves such tasks as deleting what I like to call tin foil hat comments.  Here is one we received yesterday: Continue reading

Condescender In Chief

Charles Krauthammer has an excellent column about President Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso the other day.  Here’s a sample:

The El Paso speech is notable not for breaking any new ground on immigration but for perfectly illustrating Obama’s political style: the professorial, almost therapeutic, invitation to civil discourse, wrapped around the basest of rhetorical devices — charges of malice compounded with accusations of bad faith. “They’ll never be satisfied,” said Obama about border control. “And I understand that. That’s politics.”

How understanding. The other side plays “politics,” Obama acts in the public interest. Their eyes are on poll numbers, political power, the next election; Obama’s rest fixedly on the little children.

This impugning of motives is an Obama constant. “They” play politics with deficit reduction, with government shutdowns, with health care. And now immigration. It is ironic that such a charge should be made in a speech that is nothing but politics. There is zero chance of any immigration legislation passing Congress in the next two years. El Paso was simply an attempt to gin up the Hispanic vote as part of an openly political two-city, three-event campaign swing in preparation for 2012.

Accordingly, the El Paso speech featured two other staples: the breathtaking invention and the statistical sleight of hand.

Krauthammer continues, calling out the president for his abuse of statistics and his demagoguery.

For a man who has blown so much hot air about civility and changing the dialogue in Washington, President Obama has been in fact more overtly partisan than any president I can recall, and my political memory dates back to Reagan.  Most of the president’s major addresses contain the following elements:

1 Discussion of other side’s opposition to his plans in tone that suggests mild surprise and even outrage that other people have differing viewpoints.  President Obama often pays lip service to respecting other’s viewpoints, but when he actually gets around to discussing policy issues his tone becomes sarcastic and mocking, as though no sentient human being could possibly think other than he does.

2Erecting strawman arguments and mischaracterizing opponents’ positions. An absolute staple of any Obama speech, as highlighted by Krauthammer above.

3 – Testily dismissing opponents.  Having characterized his opponents as people who want to starve the elderly, children, women, Asians, Eskimos, and puppies, President Obama then concludes this portion of his speech with a metaphorical wave of his hand.  On several occasions he has quite literally said that Republican input was not welcome.

What a uniter, that guy.

And here’s the thing.  In a certain sense I don’t really care.  There were times during George Bush’s presidency that I wanted him to be a bit feistier and take on his opponents more fiercely.  Presidents are supposed to be above the fray, but that’s a bit of hogwash.  Presidents can be partisan crusaders as long as they keep it within respectful limits.  In other words, they should be above the level of your typical comment box antagonist.

Besides, when President Obama gets into sarcastic mode it’s one of the few times he almost seems human and non-boring.  Most of the time Obama displays two rhetorical styles: faux Martin Luther King Jr, and robot teleprompter reader.  Either he’s doing his worst impression of a dynamic speaker or else he sounds like someone who has just woken from a deep nap.  I don’t know who these people are that think he’s a great speaker, but frankly he rarely speaks like a normal man except when he’s cranky and sarcastic.  In fact, if he were more regularly sarcastic and petty then I might be able to sit through more of his talks.  At least then they would be entertaining.

No, what grates about his divisive rhetoric is that it contradicts all his campaign blabber from 2008.  Oh, sure, it’s the same nonsense we hear from all camps every election season, and I’m sure several GOP candidates this Fall and Winter will go out of their way to make some appeal to “curing our partisan discord.”  Hopefully I will have my bucket at the ready for such moments.  But not only has Obama not kept this unkeepable promise, he actually has gone above and beyond to completely obliterate any sense of being some kind of uniter.

Unfortunately we will never learn, and again we’ll fall for this cheap rhetoric in the future.  As I said, we’ll get more of the same in 2o12.  Like the rising of the sun and its setting, empty campaign promises of entering into some non partisan fairy land are sure bets.  Such meaningless dribble overlooks two facts of life:  there have been very few times in American history when we have not been subject to deep partisan divides, and there will never be a time in America where people do not have passionate beliefs that are irreconcilable with other beliefs.  That’s not to say we have to be jerks about it, but it should make us wake up to the reality that differences of opinion will always exist in a free country, and glossing over those differences by vacuous campaign rhetoric won’t bring us any closer to bridging those gaps.

The Mighty Thor!

 

I went to see the Thor movie yesterday with my family and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Thor was one of the more original superheroes devised by Marvel in the Sixties.  Doctor Donald Blake, on a vacation in Norway, stumbles into a cave where he finds Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, disguised as a walking stick.  Striking it he is transformed into Thor, god of Thunder.  As Thor, Blake finds that he has super strength, can fly by flinging Mjolnir and hanging on, that Mjolnir is close to indestructible and will return to Thor after he throws it, that he can produce lightning and thunder by striking the ground with Mjolnir, etc.  After a few issues, Thor went to Asgard and met the rest of the panoply of the Norse pantheon, including his father Odin, and his adopted brother Loki, god of mischief and eventually god of evil.

In his early years Thor had adventures on Earth, or Midgard as the Norse referred to it, and in Asgard and the other nine realms of Norse mythology.  An early feature of the series was Tales of Asgard, where episodes of Norse mythology were re-enacted, sort of Marvel Comics meets Classics Illustrated.  Eventually Thor spent most of his time in Asgard, his secret identity of Donald Blake going by the board, especially after Thor learned that he had always been Thor and that Odin had placed him on Midgard in the guise of Donald Blake in order to teach him humility.  Thor was one of my favorite comic book series as I was growing up in the Sixties.  I was fascinated by the Norse mythology background and I found the Thor stories to be more imaginative than the more prosaic and formulaic superhero adventures of most of the other comic book series.  I also found the quasi-Shakespearean language in which Thor and the other Norse “gods” spoke to be a hoot!

Though thou be truly pure of heart – in thine innocence, thou art fair misguided! The true guru thou seekest doth lie within thyselves! Heed you now these words: ‘Tis not by dropping out – but by plunging in – into the maelstrom of life itself – that thou shalt find thy wisdom! There be causes to espouse!! There be battles to be won! There be glory and grandeur all about thee – if thou wilt but see! Aye, there will be time enow for thee to disavow thy heritage – yea, thou mayest drop out fore’er – once Hela herself hath come for thee! But, so long as life endures – thou must live it to the full! Else, thou be unworthy of the title – Man! Continue reading

SATURDAY EXTRA EDITION

The following is courtesy of ThePulp.it:

The Speaker and the Scholars – Carson Holloway, Catholic Vote

Torture Didn’t Lead Us to Bin Laden – Matthew J. Franck, First Things

The Meatless Mark of Identity Restored – Rich Leonardi, Ten Reasons

Subsidiarity, Funding, and the Arts – Jordan J. Ballor, Acton Institute

Bp. Conley on Transcendence in the Liturgy & the New Translation – Fr. Z

Addressing the Church’s Attrition Problem – Margaret Cabaniss, Crisis Mag

Playing the Bully Card – Anthony S. Layne, Outside the Asylum

Movie Fails to Capture Anti-Catholic Brutality of Spanish Civil War – CNA

A Real Person Can Truly Love – Anthony Buono, 6 Stone Jars

On The Power of Personal Witness in the Priestly Proclamation – Msgr. Pope

Comedy Movie Night – Frank Weathers, Why I Am Catholic

The US/Pakistan Tightrope – George Friedman, MercatorNet

_._

If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.

For ThePulp.it click here.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Something for the Weekend.  The ending of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  This section of the Ninth Symphony gets played so frequently that we lose sight of just what a creation of genius it is.  Beethoven’s culminating masterpiece, composed, astonishingly enough, when he was completely deaf. Continue reading

Catholic Left (Academic Branch) Boehner Bashing

For many years Catholic universities and colleges have disgraced themselves by honoring pro-abort speakers.  The indispensable Cardinal Newman Society has taken upon itself the onerous task of keeping track of this ongoing betrayal of the Church and their latest report may be read here.  A prime example was Obama as commencement speaker at Notre Dame in 2009, a debacle which was covered in full by many posts here at The American Catholic.   These affairs have often drawn protests by Catholics who realize that honoring pro-aborts is no part, or rather should be no part, of what it means to be a Catholic institution of higher learning.  

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a pro-life stalwart and a Catholic, has been invited to deliver the commencement address at Catholic University of America on May 14.   81 professors at Catholic colleges and universities, organized by some CUA profs, have decided to try a little bit of payback by protesting Boehner speaking at CUA by claiming that Boehner, because he is in favor of budget cuts, is against the poor and therefore in defiance of Church teaching. Continue reading

A Plus For Emperor Palpatine?

The Galactic Empire Times brings us news of a stunning development:

The compound, only about 50 miles from the base of operations for the Imperial Storm Squadron, is at the end of a narrow dirt road and is roughly eight times larger than other homes in the area, which were largely occupied by Tusken Raiders. When Imperial operatives converged on the planet on Saturday, following up on recent intelligence, two local moisture farmers “resisted the assault force” and were killed in the middle of an intense gun battle, a senior Stormtrooper said, but details were still sketchy early Monday morning.

A representative of the Imperial Starfleet said that military and intelligence officials first learned last summer that a “high-value target” was hiding somewhere on the desert world and began working on a plan for going in to get him. Beginning in March, Lord Vader worked closely with a series of several different Admirals serving onboard the Death Star to go over plans for the operation, and on Friday morning gave the final order for members of the 501st Legion (known commonly as “Vader’s Fist”) to strike.

Kenobi and a group of his followers were eventually captured while fleeing the system, and taken aboard the Death Star, which was in the midst of surveying the recent environmental disaster on Alderaan. Darth Vader called it a “targeted operation,” although officials said four tie fighters were lost because of “mechanical failures” and had to be destroyed to keep them from falling into hostile hands.

In addition to Kenobi, two men and one wookiee were killed, one believed to be his young apprentice and the other two his couriers, according to an admiral who briefed reporters under Imperial ground rules forbidding further identification. A woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant, the Admiral said. Two droids were also reported missing.

“No Stormtroopers were seriously harmed,” Lord Vader said. “They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, I defeated my former master and took custody of his body.” Jedi tradition requires burial within 24 hours, but by doing it in deep space, Imperial authorities presumably were trying to avoid creating a shrine for his followers.

Continue reading

THURSDAY EXTRA EDITION

The following is courtesy of ThePulp.it:

5 Things A Catholic Businessperson Must Know – Dawn Carpenter, Crisis

Phoenix Poll about BishopThomas Olmstead – Fr. Z

Josef Pieper’s Contemplative Assent to the World – Thomas Austenfeld, FP

Benedict XVI Makes Two Key Vatican Appointments – Edward Pentin, NCReg

A Valuable Lesson in Humility – Pat Lencioni, The Integrated Catholic Life™

On 2 Gifts of Deeper Prayer: Silence & Spaciousness – Msgr. Charles Pope

Some Odds and Loose Ends – Thomas Storck, the Distributist Review

Benedict XVI the “Reformist.” The Prosecution Rests – Sandro Magister

Private Judgment & the Rise of Relativism – Dr. Jeff Mirus, Cthlc Culture

A Christian Economist Clarifies Fair Trade – Louie Glinzak, Acton Institute

Right and Wrong in the Liturgy – Rich Leonardi, Ten Reasons

Notre Dame Drops Charges Against Obama Protesters – Thomas A. Uebbing

_._

If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.

For ThePulp.it click here.

TUESDAY EXTRA EDITION

The following is courtesy of ThePulp.it:

Muslims Vandalize Church in Egypt in “Arab Spring” – Lisa Graas

Praying For Shriver-Schwarzenegger – Patrick Archbold, Crtv Mnrty Rprt

A Streetcar Named Moral Confusion – Zac Alstin, MercatorNet

What Would Jesus Cut? – Shawn Ritenour, Crisis Magazine

Further Proof that Catholic-Anglican Dialogue is Floundering – Carl Olson

Break-Away Episcopalian Parish Will Get Day In Court – Cal Cthlc Daily

Raymond Burke’s Opinion on Female Servers in the E.F. Mass – Fr. Z

‘No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act’ – Hadley Arkes, The Cthlc Thing

MN: Legislator Insults & Threatens Parish Priest over Marriage – Th. Peters

. . .Tancred of the Eponymous Flower comments here. . .

IN to Defund Planned Parenthood – Steve Weatherbe, The Daily Register

How Not To Argue Against Torture – Marc DeGirolami, Mirror of Justice

Irish Christian Brothers: Our Future Looks Hopeless – Sarah McDonald, CH

_._

If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.

For ThePulp.it click here.

The Right to Kill Your Kid

Right you are Klavan on the Culture!  Abortion is a perfect example of the tranformation of a fairly low level debate state by state into a national issue that haunts the nation year after year.  As the Supreme Court succeeded so well in resolving the slavery question by the Dred Scott decision, so it has succeeded in resolving the abortion issue by the Roe v. Wade decsion.  Of course that is if “resolve” means “transform an issue into a nation wide fierce controversy that will never go away until it is resolved through other means than the courts”.

Justice Scalia put it well in his dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992): Continue reading

The Return of Crisis Magazine

Crisis Magazine is making a triumphal return in the Catholic blogosphere.  InsideCatholic, the website that succeeded Crisis Magazine as an online version has reverted to the original namesake.  Their managing editor, Margaret Cabaniss, has provided a press release of this exciting news.

Here is their truncated version:

“The Morley Publishing Group (MPG)  board and staff are thrilled to resurrect a brand that, for 25 years, fought for faithful Catholicism, sound economics, and limited government,” said Laurance Alvarado, chairman of MPG.

Founded in 1982 by Ralph McInerny and Michael Novak to respond to the leftward drift of the U.S. bishops, the current staff moved Crisis online as InsideCatholic.com in September 2007. With the decline of the print industry, the transition was both necessary and opportune. Within two months, the website had doubled the magazine’s monthly readership.

“It was a win-win situation for us,” said Brian Saint-Paul, editor and new president of MPG. “However, with today’s technology — particularly the iPad, and other mobile devices — magazines can now thrive in digital form. All the readership trends suggest that at some point in the next 12 to 24 months, we’ll reach a tipping point where Americans choose mobile devices over computers for their news, articles, and other media.”

With the struggling economy, the dramatic expansion of the federal government, and the ongoing deterioration of our culture, the staff concluded that it was time for Crisis Magazine to return.

“When Ralph and Michael started Crisis, it was a sixteen-page pamphlet,” Alvarado noted. “Through their efforts, and the hard work of former and longtime publisher Deal W. Hudson, that pamphlet became the flagship publication for faithful Catholics. It’s no exaggeration to say that Crisis helped initiate a renaissance in Catholic political and economic thought.”

“That’s our inspiration and our goal,” Saint-Paul concluded.

The new site, www.crisismagazine.com, went live today at noon EST.

MONDAY EXTRA EDITION

The following is courtesy of ThePulp.it:

Marini (not Guido) says JP2 Wanted All the Liturgical Nonsense – Fr. Z

The Richness of Scripture – Mark Shea, National Catholic Register

AK Doctors Stay True to Catholic Teaching on Contraception – P. C. F.

Back from Minnesota, where a Marriage Battle is Brewing – Thomas Peters

The Pill Kills – Deltaflute, Diapers and Drivel

Detroit Welcomes New Bishops – Joe Kohn, Catholic News Service

They Say Marriage is a Dying Institution – Jennifer Hartline, Cthlc Online

Ritual of Wonder: About the Mass – Erica Bonnell, The Holy Soap Opera

Sacred Tradition Rules, Sola Scriptura Drools – Devin Rose, SJV

Ground Zero for Human Rights – Kathryn Jean Lopez, NRO

The Great Forward March of the Reform of the Reform – Anna Arco, CH

Bulldog Evangelization? – Giuseppe Ambrose, The Three Bs

_._

If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.

For ThePulp.it click here.

Conservative Reality, Liberal Fantasies

Quite correct Klavan on the Culture! It has long been a byword among the “reality based community” that “reality has a liberal bias”.  That this is total rubbish is demonstrated by viewing much of popular entertainment, usually written by doctrinaire liberals, and comparing it with reality. Continue reading

Mel Gibson and Beaver Bomb

Mel Gibson’s latest flick, The Beaver, opened to dismal ratings.  Go here to read the details.  The movie stars Mel Gibson and a beaver hand puppet (no joke, although it should be).  Jodie Foster is also around for the downhill ride and she directed the picture.  Maybe Mel should have had the Beaver direct it. Continue reading
Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .