July 21, 1861: First Battle of Bull Run

Thursday, July 21, AD 2011

History is unkind to defeated generals.  All most of us recall about Irvin McDowell is that he commanded the Union army at First Bull Run, First Manassas south of the Mason-Dixon line, and was beaten by the Confederates.  He had a long and illustrious career in the Army both before and after Bull Run, but none of that matters.  He is the defeated general at Bull Run, and after History places that stamp on him, nothing else really matters.  In John Brown’s Body, his epic poem on the Civil War, Stephen Vincent Benet has a few words on McDowell that I believe should be remembered.

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3 Responses to July 21, 1861: First Battle of Bull Run

  • An ancestor, an Irish immigrant, gave his life on that field with the 69th New York Militia. His daughter was my great, grandmother’s mother. My sister has a tin-type (or whatever) picture.

    The war was one long and bloody meat grinder. Tactics were outdated compared with the weapons: rifled muskets, and improvements in artillery and logistics. Both sides were in it for the long haul.

    Then, it devolved (if that were possible) into trench warfare: Petersburg.

    Seems no one (except Lee at Fredericksburg, then he did the opposite at Gettysburg) was able to marry the strategic offensive with tactical defensive. The attacker always had the disadvantage in casualties. Years ago (our office was across from the NY Public Library) I read a scholarly book detailing the disadvantages of the CW attacker.

    The Unon cavalry was ineffective until Gettysburg.

    The Union had the advantage in men, industrial capacity, and it was executing the Anaconda Plan.

    The Union could have lost, or lost the will to contuinue. The South was at a significant disadvantage with slight chance of success.

  • McDowell’s plan was a good one, but it was too complex for green troops. He should have tried something simpler.

    “I read a scholarly book detailing the disadvantages of the CW attacker.”

    Yes, the tacticians of the war never quite understood the effect of the rifled bullet. With one often unremembered exception: Col. Emery Upton of the Union. His approach was to launch a massed column against a short part of the front, which charged the position without bothering to trade fire with the defenders. It worked reasonably well against improvised defenses, twice at Spotsylvania.

  • Another problem with McDowell’s plan was that it relied on Patterson to hold Johnston in the valley. Patterson was completely out of his depth and did nothing. He deserves an honored place in the pantheon of Union incompetent generals.

    If McDowell had won the battle, I doubt if it would have made much difference. His army in victory would have been too disorganized to engage in pursuit, and the Union lacked the advantage in manpower that it had later in the war. McDowell would have confronted a Confederate force with enough men sufficient to stimie any advance south from Manassas. The truth was that the Union needed time to build up a huge force in the east and train it. That is what McClellan accomplished. The tragedy for the Union was that after this superb job of building an army, McClellan proved to be a useless battlefield commander, unable to effectively utilize the army he had created.

Dog Days of Summer Open Thread

Wednesday, July 20, AD 2011

We haven’t had an open thread in a while, so here we go.  The heat across most of the nation is unbearable, so blogging in air conditioned splendor is fairly attractive right now.  The temperature reached 100 degrees today at around 2:30 PM in Pontiac, Illinois as the family and I were driving back from Springfield, Illinois.  Thursday we will have more of the same.  Friday the temperature is expected to plummet all the way down to 90!  Time to dust off the winter coat!

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11 Responses to Dog Days of Summer Open Thread

  • The low tonight is 80. The low.

    I love summer.

    Oh, and if anyone is traveling this summer and driving through Virginia, do NOT drive over 80. Just a word of warning.

  • 9:17 PM and the termperature is 94 degrees. My Newfoundland blood finds it hard to accept that humans were meant to live in this type of heat!

  • You realize that this is just bait for the AGW believers (AGW = anthropogenic global warming).

  • It got up to 97 degrees in Springfield today. I was actually rooting for it to hit 100 because if it’s going to be this hot anyway, what’s another 3 degrees, and why not go for a record?


    Plus, I might be imagining things but I thought it was actually a little LESS humid today, the dewpoint went all the way down to 75 degrees, which indicates humidity a little below Amazonian jungle levels.

  • I’ve moved to Texas; I’ve been here in the Dallas area just over 1 month, and almost every day has had a high temp over 100 F, and I’ve loved it.

    Last weekend, I was back in the Chicago area, and though the temp was 10-15 cooler, the humidity was so much higher that I sweated more than I had the prior four weeks combined, even more than when I’ve gone golfing in Texas.

    To each his own, I suppose.

  • Will be headed to the mountains of Idaho for the next two weeks. 82 degrees during the day and 50’s at night. No humidity. I’ll think of you all. 🙄

  • Talk about dog days, my Chow-Chow, Chung Powe, refuses to leave our air-conditioned sun room expect to take care of toliet duties. The only thing that will delay her coming back into the sun room is sighting some of the cats next door!

  • OK, this is apropos of nothing, but I ran across this online debate about poverty, and I noticed that the average poor household has more possessions than I do. I have 12 out of 30 items; the average poor household has 14; the average household has 19. Am I just cheap, or am I living in holy denial? How many of these things do you have? How many should a Catholic have?

    (There was a tiny connection here, by the way. One of the items is air conditioning. I don’t think that’s exactly a luxury item, depending where you live. But hey, if you can’t digress on an open thread, where can you?)

  • 92 , sunny, and really, really humid here on the St. Lawrence River. Must go swimming now 😀

  • What a nation of wusses. Here in WI, we savor scorchers like this. After 6 months of winter and subzero temps, I say the hotter the better. In a few weeks it’ll all be over. So sweat it out and enjoy!

  • I agree with J.Green. The hotter the better. Here in MN we can complain about the cold and snow, but during the summertime we need to just enjoy the brief heat wave.

Rudy Giuliani Should Stay Out Of Public Affairs (Updated)

Wednesday, July 20, AD 2011

Despite my opposition to his presidential candidacy in 2008, I’ve always liked Rudy Giuliani.  Most of that stems from having grown up in New York and seeing the city’s renaissance under Mayor Rudy.  Also, despite his socially liberal views, Rudy generally refrained from head-on confrontations with social conservatives.  He always struck me as the type of guy who understood that his positions were in the minority within the party and so, unlike other social liberals, Rudy focused his fire on the left and largely kept mum on social issues.

Until now.

He may not agree with the vote in New York to legalize gay marriage, but former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the Republican Party should butt out of the bedroom and stick to fiscal policy.

“I think the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people’s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states,” Giuliani said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’d be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots.”

There are so many problems with this statement that I almost don’t know where to begin.  First of all, we need to retire the “stay out of people’s bedroom” meme.  It’s a silly cliche and it is used to shut down debate.  As is the case with abortion, I don’t think too many marriages take place in the bedroom.  The implication is that this is ultimately an issue that revolves around sexual morality, but that misses the point.  Nobody is urging that gays be prohibited from doing what they want behind closed doors.  Gay marriage opponents simply do not want the definition of marriage to be changed.  In point of fact, the libertarian position on this issue would not necessarily be for marriage to be opened to gays, but rather for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether.*  The people advocating government involvement in this area are gay marriage advocates, not opponents.

*The merits of this particular argument have been debated here and elsewhere, and I’m not particularly concerned with continuing that discussion here.  I just bring it up as an example of what the libertarian position is, not what it ought to be.

Giuliani also seems confused as to which side is making all the noise.  Conservatives aren’t the ones who started this debate by advocating for a change.  We’ve been the ones fighting a rearguard action to fend off those who would fundamentally alter the definition of marriage.  Saying that we’re the ones who need to be quiet about the issue is completely hypocritical.

Rudy then tries to have it both ways, later saying that he’s personally opposed to gay marriage but that he supports the democratic process in New York.  Well which is it, Rudy?  If you think that it’s a bad idea, why are you telling others who share your view to shut up about it?  Do you think that you can play both sides by feigning opposition while ultimately taking the side of gay marriage advocates?  More importantly, Giuliani reverts to another tired meme that is constantly trotted out during this debate.  Just because one believes in the principle of federalism it does not mean that one should not inveigh against states making bad decisions.  Curiously the same people now talking about the glories of federalism didn’t seem to have the same opinion about remaining silent on state laws when it came to the Arizona immigration debate.  Just because a state has the right to do such and such doesn’t mean that you can’t lobby the people and legislators of said state to reach a different conclusion.  This is akin to the first amendment argument wherein people use the freedom of speech as a crutch when criticized for saying something stupid.  Freedom is a two-way street, and we are allowed to criticize bad ideas and work for change within the states.

Finally, the political calculation is just off.  Perhaps it’s unsurprising that the man who waged one of the worst presidential campaigns in history is offering bad political advice, but time and again polls show that it’s on social, not economic issues that conservatives are more in line with majority opinion.  It’s one of the great fallacies of our era that conservatives should concentrate on economic issues in the interests of electoral gain.  There’s a reason New York is the first state to enact gay marriage through the legislature.  If being pro-gay marriage were a winning issue, then more states would have permitted it through the democratic process by now.  And of course this ignores the more important issue about abandoning principles in the interests of political expediency.

Update: Semi-related, here is a story linked at Creative Minority Report about Vermont Inn Keepers being sued for refusing to host a gay marriage reception.

What now Rudy?  Should gay marriage advocates stay out of Catholic innkeeper’s bedrooms?

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5 Responses to Rudy Giuliani Should Stay Out Of Public Affairs (Updated)

  • I agree with this: Rudy should stay out of politics. He started a compnay that (among other things) is consulting the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on its Emergency Plan. He should focus on helping Entergy out and stop with the politics for which he is currently ill-suited.

    PS, His “personally opposed but” stance on homosexual marriage is no different than former Governor Mario Cuomo’s “personally opposed but” stance on abortion. What a surprise – both are Catholic politicians!

  • I agree. Giuliani has been wrong on most conservative issues. LAte he learned his terror expertise: 10AM on 9/11.

    Before that, he employed islamistic terror as a gun control lever issue. Refer to his wrong-headed, liberal-biased rants on the muslim maniac Empire State Building Observation Deck massacre.

    However, Giuliani did get himself elected mayor of NYC defeating David Dinkins, the first African mayor of Moscow on the Hudson.

    Dinkins had NYC in not nearly as horrid condition as Obama, the first African president, has wrecked the USA.

  • Giuliani will get nowhere quickly this time around, just as he did in 2008. His idea that conservatives can simply ignore the gay marriage movement is preposterous. This movement is merely part and parcel of an attempt by the gay rights movement to enforce through government edict approval of homosexuality as normal. The suit against the innkeepers is only one of many examples, California approving the indoctrination of kids in gay history is another, that this is a very authoritarian movement that has little use for the freedom of opponents.

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July, Springfield and Lincoln

Wednesday, July 20, AD 2011


Well, it is time again in the McClarey household for our mini three day July vacation.  (We take a week off in June and August.)  Today we make our annual pilgrimage down to Springfield to the Lincoln sites.  We say a prayer at the tomb of Mr. Lincoln for the repose of his soul and the souls of his wife and children.  All of Lincoln’s immediate family are buried there except Robert Lincoln, a Civil War veteran, who is buried in Arlington.

We also go to the Lincoln Museum, which is first rate.  For those of you with time to kill, go here to watch a CSpan two and a half hour (!) tour from 2005 of the Lincoln Museum.

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12 Responses to July, Springfield and Lincoln

  • Hope you have a great time today, Don — but take it easy. The forecast for today: Sunny and hot, high of 98 with heat indexes as high as 116. Time to hunker down in the A/C as much as possible!

  • How true Elaine! Back in the days of the British Raj in India the Brits went on and on about how terrible the summer was in India. I have had Indians tell me that some days in summer in Illinois, with both temperature and humidity soaring, are worse than summer in India!

  • You can blame all the corn for that. Really. Moisture transpiration from all the corn and bean fields is making the humidity worse, but it’s also holding the actual air temperature down a few degrees. Actual triple digit high temps seem to be relatively rare in downstate Illinois. (The last official 100 degree high in Springfield was about 15 years ago.)

  • Ah Illinois, land of temperature extremes. Highest temperature recorded in the state was 117, and the lowest was -36.

  • We’ll be headed to Manassas this weekend to see the 150th anniversary reenactment of where the war almost all went bad for Mr. Lincoln and his picnicking Yankee cohort.

  • I will have commemorative posts for First Bull Run Jay, a name that I have always found more evocative than First Manassas, up both here and at Almost Chosen People. The battle was fascinating for what it predicted about the fighting in the rest of the Civil War.

  • It’s “First Manassas”. You can give the Yankee names to the battles y’all won.


  • Don,
    It is very nice to reflect on the past and all the good that Abe Lincoln did. It makes me think about our present day cowardice on behalf of our Catholic bishops and political leaders and the 1.3 million unborn humans being murdered every year.

  • It is hard to attack a well-established evil in a society that enjoys the support of powerful forces. The only way to win such a struggle is to fight it out until the struggle is won. Never despair, never stop fighting and never stop focusing on the humanity of the unborn. Like the slaves of yesteryear they are people being treated as property. Ultimately, as in the case of slavery, we will win this struggle, no matter how long it takes or how great the cost.

  • It seems to me that many of the political figures whom we end up revering for their honesty and integrity are NOT necessarily those who enjoy “rock star” status or have cults of personality built up around them. More often than not they seem to be second choice or compromise candidates chosen to split the difference between two wings of the party, or to satisfy a desire for “balance” on the national ticket.

    Lincoln wasn’t the front runner for the 1860 Republican nomination; William Seward was, and the convention more or less “settled” on Lincoln because Seward was seen as too radical on slavery. Abolitionists certainly wouldn’t have seen Lincoln as their political savior in 1860. Yet, it was on his watch that the slaves were finally freed (for the most part).

    Likewise I still believe that if Roe is ever overturned or legalized abortion on demand ever comes to an end, it could very well happen on the “watch” of a president who is NOT necessarily a hard core conservative, or a devout Catholic or evangelical Protestant, or even a Republican (he or she could belong to a political party that doesn’t yet exist, just as the Republican Party didn’t yet exist in 1850).

  • “Except for the politicians who infest it, Springfield is a lovely town. Filled with historical sites, it retains a small town feel. You can park on the street at very little cost, and life tends to move at a sedate Central Illinois pace most of the time.”

    I’d have to agree with that, which is one reason why hubby and I have stayed here longer (6 years and counting) than in any other community we have lived in since we got married almost 17 years ago. Actually, you don’t run into too many politicians on a regular basis unless you 1) work for certain state agencies or 2) frequent particular restaurants, hotels, bars and other hangouts favored by the political crowd during legislative session days.

Obamacare to Require Coverage of Contraception

Tuesday, July 19, AD 2011

In a move likely to surprise only those on the Catholic Left, the government received a recommendation (which it is almost sure to implement) to require all insurance companies to cover contraception as it is a preventive service. This will not allow for insurance companies to require a co-pay for these services. This includes not only all FDA-approved contraception procedures, but also all sterilization procedures as well as education and counseling for “all women with reproductive capacity.” I’m not certain, but I assume “all FDA-approved contraceptive procedures” would include some abortifacients, specifically the “emergency contraceptives” that prevent implantation (considered by some to not be abortive because they define pregnancy at implantation not fertilization).

There do not yet appear to be any provisions providing for entities to opt out of this kind of coverage, which likely means that Catholic employers are now mandated to provide insurance will have to pay for contraception and abortion.

Thanks for your hard work, Mr. Stupak.


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12 Responses to Obamacare to Require Coverage of Contraception

  • I….am….stunned.

    And if you believe that, I also have a wonderful bridge in New York with a view of Brooklyn for sale, cheap.

  • If you were the least bit informed on where federal, state, and corporate policy were presently, you wouldn’t find this shocking.

  • MZ:

    I’m not shocked. I’m just curious how the people who swore up and down that Obamacare would not promote abortion or spread contraception are going to cover their tracks.

  • Well I *am* shocked. I guess our government now wants us to emulate Europe’s national suicide.

  • End of life coverage – no.
    Preventing of life coverage – yes.


  • MZ:

    I’m not shocked. I’m just curious how the people who swore up and down that Obamacare would not promote abortion or spread contraception are going to cover their tracks.

    With displays of arrogance.

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  • They needed to pass the bill so we could find out what was in it.

    Plus, there are no jobs, Blind Man the Bernank and Tax Cheat Geithner are feverishly devaluing the Federal Reserve Note, people can’t afford home heating oil (thank God for AGW), food prices soaring, millions lose homes, there is no economic growth, Gitmo is still open, three wars still flagrant, they didn’t read Osama his Miranda righs, US drones assassinating hundreds, gays may serve in military with federal endorsement, sodomy is becoming a legal “sacrament”, and name three muslim hell holes at which the US is not at war.

    Oh yeah, Obama is soooo good for the “common good” and social justice.

  • And of course Obama’s views on marriage continue to “evolve.” He now supports the repeal of DOMA. Obama, the most anti-life, anti-social justice President in history.

  • The Catholic left is so invested in Obama now that there’s absolutely NOTHING he could do that they wouldn’t defend or try to minimize.

  • Daledog and Mr. Anderson,

    You both hit the target 10-X.

    In 2014, if we haven’t succeeded in rpealing Obamascare, it’ll be “Obama lied and Grandma died.”

Matthew Brady, Father Thomas H. Mooney, Dagger John and the Fighting 69th

Tuesday, July 19, AD 2011

The above photo is one of the archetypal Matthew Brady photographs of the Civil War.  Whenever religion in the Civil War is mentioned in a history, odds are you will see this picture.  It was taken on June 1, 1861 in the camp of the 69th New York, later to be christened The Fighting 69th  by no less an authority on fighting  than Robert E. Lee, and it depicts Mass being said by Father Thomas H. Mooney, the first chaplain of The Fighting 69th.

Born in Manchester, England, and ordained in 1853 in New York City, Father Mooney had been pastor of Saint Brigid’s in New york City, as well as being the chaplain of the 69th New York.  Archbishop Hughes of New York City, known universally by friend and foe as “Dagger John”, warned Father Mooney about the large number of Fenians, a precursor of the Irish Republican Army, who had enlisted in the regiment:

“They are incompetent to be admitted to the Sacraments of the Church during life and of Christian burial after death, unless they shall in the meantime renounce such obligations as have been just referred to. In regard to the whole subject, you will please to exercise all the discretion and all the charity that religion affords: but speak to the men and tell each one (not all at one time) that he is jeopardizing his soul if he perseveres in this uncatholic species of combination.”

The Church in Ireland and America had a mostly negative view of the Fenians due to an overall opposition to revolutionary movements in Europe by Pope Pius IX and because the Fenians called for a separation of Church and State In Ireland.

The 69th was one of the first Union regiments to go to Washington in 1861 in response to Lincoln’s call for volunteers.  Father Mooney went with it, and quickly proved extremely popular with the men and officers of the regiment.  He founded a temperance society in the regiment,  held daily Masses and confessions, and was tireless in reminding wayward soldiers in the regiment that this was a great opportunity for them to return to the Faith.  A correspondent for the New York Times reported on the high esteem in which Father Mooney was held:

As for the Sixty-ninth, they turned out more than twelve hundred muskets, leaving yet another hundred — the newly-arrived Zouaves — in their late headquarters at the College. This Regiment has grown into great fever in Washington — not a single one of its members ever having become amenable to the police authorities in any way; and its discipline and efficiency having frequently been made the subject of complimentary notice by Gens SCOTT and MANSFIELD. For very much of the good order and moral restraint existing in the ranks, it is doubtless indebted to the ceaseless and zealous exertions of Father THOMAS MOONEY, an admirable specimen-priest of the true high type, who, if he were not chaplain, would certainly be a candidate for Colonel — fate and a sanguine temper giving him equal adaptation to the sword of the spirit and the “regulation sword” — a veritable son of the church-militant. But this again is a degression.

Father Mooney’s career as a chaplain was cut short by “Dagger John”.   On June 13, 1861 the 69th was helping to emplace a rifled cannon in Fort Corcoran, named after Colonel Corcoran the commander of the 69th, near Washington.  Everyone was in high spirits.  Father Mooney was called upon to bless the cannon.  Instead, he decided to baptize the cannon.

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One Response to Matthew Brady, Father Thomas H. Mooney, Dagger John and the Fighting 69th

The Constitution Isn’t A Suicide Pact

Monday, July 18, AD 2011

But it is a document that ensures a pesky little thing called religious freedom, something that Herman Cain has seemingly missed.

Herman Cain, a Republican presidential candidate, says Americans have the right to ban Muslims from building mosques.

“They have the right to do that,” Cain said on Fox News Sunday, expressing his concerns with Sharia law. “I’m willing to take a harder look at people that might be terrorists.”

Cain’s comments were in reference to a Tennessee town that is attempting to ban a mosque in its community. “That’s not discriminating based upon their particular religion,” he said. “There is an aspect of them building that mosque that doesn’t get talked about. And the people in the community know what it is and they’re talking about it.”

“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said. “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people in the community do not like it.”

I’m the last person to deny the perniciousness of many elements within Islam, but this is nonsense on stilts.  The most deliciously ironic aspect of this comment is Cain’s relying on the “separation of church and state trope.”  So Cain doesn’t seem to think that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which it in fact does, but he does think it guarantees a separation of church and state, which it in fact does not.  And I especially have to laugh at Cain saying “They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community and the people in the community do not like it.”  First of all,  the church part of our First Amendment?  What?  Second, does anyone doubt that if an atheist or hardened leftist (I know, I’m being redundant) had said something like this he would have been excoriated by most conservatives.  Evidently only pre-approved religious viewpoints are allowed to influence people in a given community.  Perhaps Herman Cain would like to share with us which viewpoints are acceptable, this way we can be all clear in the future.

Naturally this has provided an opportunity for people to beat their chests and play “more righteously angry and conservative than thou.”  Because only a hippy could possibly think that it is a dangerous thing to start prohibiting certain religions from constructing places of worship.  This selective application of the first amendment could never be applied to Catholics, right?  No one could possibly fathom using the same precise rationale that Cain has advanced here in order justify blocking the construction of a Roman Catholic Church.

I thought the construction of the Islamic cultural center at Ground Zero was a terrible idea, but that had to do with the symbolic import of the location.  Even then, I thought the way to oppose it was through social pressure, not by the strong arm of the state intervening and prohibiting construction.  The people of the local community can certainly express their displeasure, but once we allow the state to intervene we have destroyed the concept of religious freedom.

And yes, I know that many adherents of Islam do not even believe in the concept of religious freedom.  Certainly there is a political element within Islam that makes it as much an ideology as a religion,  at least in certain quarters.  But are we willing to completely write off all Muslims as deranged fanatics unworthy of constitutional protections?  If you think as Herman Cain does, then that’s implicitly what you are saying.

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90 Responses to The Constitution Isn’t A Suicide Pact

  • Great post! I understand the reservations about building the mosque, but what he and his fellow TN citizens out to do is set up inter-religious dialogue. He might be surprised that Islam and Christianity (which is what I assume he is based on his location) share a lot of morals (family being important, God, modesty, etc). And I highly doubt that the mosque being built is interested in hate-mongering. Most Muslims are very peaceful; it’s the militant few that give Islam such a bad rap.

  • Cain is worse than Palin. That people actually supported him is an argument against universal suffrage.

  • Now that’s a juicy post, ripe for the pickin’! 🙂 I plan to respond after some sleep……and some time out with my daughter tomorrow. Blessings!

  • Herman Cain is a successful businessman who is trying to enter a line of business, politics, he is ill-suited for. He reminds me of Ross Perot in that regard. He said what he said because he is ignorant of the First Amendment and he was too proud to back down when challenged.

    He is right of course that Islam, at least as traditionally practiced in the Middle East, goes well beyond what Westerners understand as a religion. It establishes a code of law and behavior that is all-ecompassing and makes certain that non Muslims, de facto if not de jure, are treated as fifth class citizens in societies where Muslims are a majority. All of this produces a challenge for a society such as ours where Muslim immigration, due to our absurd immigration laws, is on the rise. However, dealing with this problem does not require tossing either the Constitution, or our common sense, out the window.

  • I learned everything I need to learn about Islam on 9/11/2001. I had taken a three credit theology course (got an A) and I was familiar with the orientalist, America/West hating (ignore 1,300 years of invasions, mass murders, and rapine) stuff concerning the murder cult, already.

    That militant “few” numbers several millions world-wide. The terror sympathizers, like Imam Ralph in NYC – “You must understand America deserves it.” number hundreds of millions.

    Cain is better than Obama in every respect. He would not daily incite class hatred. He would set policies that would create jobs and get us out of the poverty and desperation Obama is imposing on the people.

  • Cain should stick to making pizza dough.

  • Good post, I’m very much in agreement.

  • The concept of religious freedom under the Constitution requires the government not to establish a religion as the state religion. Islam demands to be established as the state religion at the point of a sword. Islam is a violent political system, IMHO, disguised as a “religion”. To allow it and it’s followers the freedom to “worship” (?), to build mosques that are centers for subversion and terrorism, that get subsidy monies from Saudi Arabia, is the height of insanity. The people of this country need to stop the building of any mosque anywhere in this country. We also need to deport every last forneign-born Muslim back to their country of origin. Any native-born American who was stupid enough to convert to Islam ought to be forced to register as an agent of a forneign power. Herman Cain, more power to you!

  • Cain is better than Obama in every respect.

    T Shaw, the same could be said for a ham sandwich. But we can do better than a ham sandwich.

    The people of this country need to stop the building of any mosque anywhere in this country. We also need to deport every last forneign-born Muslim back to their country of origin. Any native-born American who was stupid enough to convert to Islam ought to be forced to register as an agent of a forneign power.

    That’s nice, Stephen. I prefer to live in a free country.

  • Before the Constitution, some states had an official religion. During the antebellum years, the states gradually dropped religions from their constitutions. According to the incorporation doctrine, the Supreme Court has applied portions of the Bill of Rights to the states. It is assumed that state churches are unconstitutional.

    Is that right, though? I don’t see anything in the Constitution preventing state churches, and the incorporation of the Bill of Rights through the 14th Amendment has been haphazard and always struck me as kind of shady. I’m sure you’ll find zero support for state churches today, including from me, but I can’t quite puzzle out why they’re held to be illegal.

  • You’re right, Pinky. Up until the 1930’s the establishment clause was not considered to be applicable to the states. A series of decisions over the course of about 30 years changed all that. I think the arguments for incorporation are of dubious merit at best, but aside from Clarence Thomas no sitting Supreme Court justice and perhaps a handful of legal theorists actively seek to do away with it. So unless there is a radical change on the Court, it’s something that is here to stay.

  • I read the quotes above of Cain’s comments and I still can’t find where he said he believes or thinks Muslims, terrorist or not, shouldn’t be allowed to build a place of worship to their god here in the USA.
    I did get it that he seems to know and tried to state WHY the people in that TN. community did want a mosque there.
    Best be careful with putting words in his mouth or we’ll be eating the race card again.

  • Enough about Cain already. The guy ran a big pizza parlor. His claim to fame is that he became a multi-millionaire hawking pepperoni and sausage. Sheesh, does this qualify him to be POTUS? Yeah, I know, Obama didn’t have any cred or gravitas either, which is we’re in the mess we’re in. I got a dynamite ticket for the GOP: Perry-Rubio. Locks up the South and Latin vote and highly electable. Thoughts?

  • Anything short of Ron Paul is basically more of the same, with slightly different octane ratings. Perry-Rubio does nothing for me. Paul-Christie would be interesting.

    Back to main topic: I can’t see how you could prevent the building of a mosque under the Con; I can see how you could shut one down if it contributed to terrorist activities.

  • Perry-Rubio would be an excellent ticket Joe, and something I think likely if Palin decides not to enter the race. Whover the Republican nominee is, I suspect Rubio will be the nominee for veep if he is willing to do it.

    During the Civil War a Union general shut down a church on the grounds that the minister had been preaching treason. Lincoln instantly reversed him.

  • I read the quotes above of Cain’s comments and I still can’t find where he said he believes or thinks Muslims, terrorist or not, shouldn’t be allowed to build a place of worship to their god here in the USA.

    In the first paragraph he clearly states, in response to a question, that Americans should be able to prohibit Muslims from building mosques. If you want a link to the video of the interview, here it is, and you can fast forward to the 3:00 mark where he responds affirmatively to Wallace’s inquiry about any community being able to block the development of a mosque. That sounds like a pretty thorough rebuke of the concept of freedom of religion to me.

    Best be careful with putting words in his mouth or we’ll be eating the race card again.

    Excuse me, but let’s not become like the left where any criticism of a black man is categorized as hate speech.

  • Joe,

    As usual, you are the voice of reason.

    As eminence grise hearabouts, can you help me to understand why Aztec human sacrifice pyramids may not be erected in TN?

    Or, why a National Socialist Party and a Communist Party (that advocate the overthrow of the government) may not be instigated here?

    I think [klaxons sounding] to the the extent Islam advocates the overthrow of the government, the extirpation of other religions and the destruction of our way of life it ought not enjoy First Amendment protections.

    PS: Being from NY and all: that stuff Cain hawked really ain’t pizza.

    PPS/PZ: Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

  • Mr. Shaw…I believe that if Aztec memorials were established in TN, heads might roll.
    As for the NSP and CP, see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed. A little revolution every now and then is justified. “When in the course of human events, etc….)
    Inasmuch as the Obama regime and others have supported or facilitated the overthrow of foreign despots and governments deemed hostile to U.S. interests, it would seem that turnabout is fair play.
    As for pizza, yes, I merely extended a courtesy to Cain in the interest of civility and generosity. Since leaving NY, I have yet to find a pizza worthy of the name. I once went to an Italian Festival in Milwaukee and it was like eating Chef Boy-ar-dee.
    Finally, my mouse is ever ready to help ply wisdom around the world.

  • Excellent, Joe!

    Keep the faith.

  • Paul:

    I know I’m not your cup of tea, but I just wanted to say thank you for this refreshingly sane piece.

  • Time to rethink the entire piece Paul! 🙂

  • Oh no, there goes my street cred. 🙂

    In all seriousness, I appreciate that.

  • Folks,
    Now that we have all gotten our feel good talk out of the way, let’s all get back down to reality.

    In EVERY country that is Islamic, Christians (and all other religions for that matter) are persecuted, discriminated against and severely limited in how they can worship. Examples not limited to Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, etc…

    In EVERY country that has a sizable Islamic population they show no signs of peacefully coexisting or blending into the greater society. In fact every effort is made by Islamic communities to be a separate entity, establish sharia law and enforce that on everyone else. See France, Denmark and England.

    Other even more sizable minorities resort to outright guerilla warfare (see Thailand, Philippines, Russia, Macedonia, Nigeria and Serbia proper)

    In our own country you need only look as far as Dearborn, Mi where Christian had to go to court after being arrested to preach the gospel on a street corner at an (Arabic- read Islamic festival).

    You cannot name one example where Muslims and Christians peacefully coexist where the majority population is Muslim (no, Malaysia and Indonesia both discriminate against Christians)

    So while we all appreciate the freedom of religion, let’s not be naive. I wish things were different. I wish we could welcome with open arms Muslims like we do Buddhist, Sikhs, Hindus and every other religion, but Islam IS DIFFERENT.

    Sure, many individual Muslims are good people, but taken as a whole, let’s not live in the land of OZ regarding the belief system. We have NO examples of sizable populations of Muslims peacefully coexisting with non-Muslims of any type, NONE.

    Last note, if you lived close the Murfreesboro (I do) The Mosque will also contain enormous living facilities and sports complex, etc.

    The size and scope of this “mosque” is MUCH greater than what the press is leading on to and the needs of the present Muslim community.

    It’s not like they are building a small Mosque comparable to a Church. Within months it will attract hundreds of Muslim families from overseas, who will have no interest in becoming part of culture of the US or Murfreesboro.

    Maybe none of you thought of this or just believe the press, but they are not against a Mosque…. They are against the enormous living structure and facility being built (that happens to also have a Mosque) which will bring in hundreds of Muslim families from overseas and completely and entirely change the landscape.

    They are not a bunch of racist rednecks burning crosses who hate Muslims….
    You just are not getting an accurate picture of the SIZE and SCOPE of this project, which happens to also include a Mosque…..

  • Chris, sounds like you’re making a NIMBY argument more than anything else, which is fine.

  • The reason why an Aztec pyramid for offering human sacrifices cannot be legally erected in TN is that human sacrifice is illegal, regardless of one’s motivation. If a variant Aztec sect wants to erect a pyramid and sacrifice tofu hearts to the sun, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    The scary thing is that many of the excuses for banning Islam used to be trotted out by Know Nothings against Catholics: Loyalty to a foreign potentate, incapable of authentically belonging to a democracy, etc.

    Certainly, we know that Catholicism is true and Islam is false, but one would think that the fact that these accusations get so baldly recycled would serve as a warning that banning religions is simply a business that we do not want to get into.

  • Chris,

    – It’s laughable to suggest that the US is somehow going to become a majority Muslim country and then find itself put under Sharia. It is quite simply not going to happen, and those who try to hold this up as some boogie man only make themselves and the conservative movement they claim to be members of look silly. There is no reason to compromise our American principles in order to stem the alleged thread posed by such a tiny minority on the claim that soon they will out number us and overthrow the republic.

    – Forgive me if the idea that a new mosque might bring in “hundreds” of foreigners fails to scare me. I mean, seriously, my parish has 5,000 families, and that’s in a moderate size town which is not, to my knowledge, majority Catholic.

    What next, this?
    Muslims coming ashore?

  • I do live in this neck of the woods and I honestly have mixed feelings about the mosque.

    It does make me uncomfortable to have such a large complex that could be a magnet for people who do not wish us well. I would hope that police and neighbors would keep an eye and ear open for anything unusual. How far can they go without crossing the line into harassment? I don’t know. I sure wouldn’t want to drive someone on the edge of extremism over the cliff.

    On the other hand, I hear a lot of arguments from opponents about how they are not trying to ban a religion but enforce zoning laws. Frankly I just am not buying that argument. Objectively speaking I’m not sure how this complex will be any different than the local Baptist megachurches.

    I think the fact that this mosque was announced in the middle of the controversy around the Ground Zero mosque connected the two projects in the minds of a lot of people.

    And finally if we give local authorities the ability to ban the building of facilities for religions they don’t like, Catholics aren’t far down that list in these parts.

  • One would wish that so many of the adherents of Islam were not doing their level best around the globe to live down to the worst that critics in this country say about the members of that creed. The Constitution is quite clear that members of Islam enjoy the same religious freedom that the rest of us do in this country. That fact however does not make me happy to see growing numbers of the adherents of that faith in this country since Islam has historically had no concept of living with other faiths on the basis of equality.

    What has been happening in Dearborn, Michigan, with one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, does not make me sanguine as to the treatment that local governments will accord non-Muslims when Muslims begin to wield political power. For now, we have appellate courts to reverse local authorities when they act to infringe on the Constitutional rights of those who do not share the views of their Muslim constituents.


  • Jenny makes a good point. There are many cases where religion interests clash with zoning laws, which is why the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) was enacted about 10 years ago. In my neck of the woods three brothers who are Protestant Evangelicals have been trying to build a Bible camp on their property in northern Wisconsin only to be stymied by county zoning regs. The brothers are suing the county in federal court on RLUIPA and constitutional grounds while the county is arguing it has the right to enforce zoning laws that restrict projects on aforementioned property to single-family or recreational only.

    A mountain of briefs have been filed in the past five years. For those not familiar with RLUIPA, here is a link:

    There are many interesting cases on record cutting both ways. I saw one where a fortune teller won on religious grounds.

  • I think the picture is an interesting bit of Americana . . . ohh those bad papal alligators (or are they crocodiles). In the background, the adults have children by the scruff of the neck. My question is “Are they feeding the children to the alligators or pulling them away?”

  • Paul, as a descendant of Turkish and Arab Muslims, I want to live in a free country too. That’s why I don’t want them and their mosques in America. Their sharia law teaches them that we are infidels who should b e converted or killed if we reject Islam. We don’t need the headaches that the European countries have because they foolishly allowed Muslims to immigrate in mass. I say, when Christians are allowed to worship freely in Muslim countries without being persecuted or killed because they are Christians, only then should we consider mosque building in a favorable light.

  • This is an interesting debate. If one believes in “perfect freedom,” then it is assumed that one is supposed to support the freedom of Muslims and Nazis to set up their infrastructure (mosque and party headquarters respectively) to spread their murderous hate. (By the way, has anyone noticed that BOTH of those groups hate the Jews?) Let us never mind the fact that supporting the freedom of these groups to spread their hate automatically results in eventual conditions (Sharia Law or political dictatorship) that denies everyone else freedom.

    I have worked with Muslims more and more over the past 11 years. I always wonder why they want to go into high technology fields like nuclear energy or aerospace. It’s true that none of the ones with whom I worked were anything other than gentlemen (and coincidentally there were NO Muslim ladies with whom I worked in nuclear energy – now why is that?). But I don’t trust them and I was relieved when a Muslim who worked beside me recently resigned.

    I don’t like them. I don’t like their religion. I don’t like their Sharia Law and the way they treat women. And I darn sure don’t trust them. They are not all bad, but nevertheless….

    P.S., I don’t trust Nazis or Commies either, and all for the same reasons: their religion of hate.

  • OK, Here’s a test for all of us. Which of the following would you be LEAST comfortable as President of the United States? You can only pick one.
    Here are the choices: (I’m omitting Catholic for obvious reasons)

    1. A mainstream Protestant.
    2. A Mormon
    3. A Jehovah’s Witness.
    4. A Muslim
    5. A Jew.
    6. An atheist or agnostic.
    7. An open homosexual
    8. A multiple-divorced person.

    Comments/explanations welcomed.

  • In order from least to most comfortable:

    Atheist / agnostic
    Jehovah Witness (non-issue – they don’t participate in politics)
    Multiple-divorced person
    Mainstream Protestant

    Chances are, however, that a candidate will possess more than one characteristic, e.g., a homosexual Jew, an atheist homosexual, a divorced Protestant.

    John Jay, first chief justice of SCOTUS, said in his correspondence, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers…Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab [‘Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?’ 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.

    North Carolina Governor Samuel Johnston wrote, “It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.”

    I don’t agree with his objection against Jews, but I do agree with his objection against Muslims.

  • I’ll bite.

    I would have to say a Muslim because a traditional Muslim world view is quite different than a Western outlook.

    While I would not be comfortable with an atheist president, most atheists are awash in a Christian world view whether they acknowledge it or not.

    An open homosexual might be fine politically, but how would I explain it to my children?

  • It’s laughable to suggest that the US is somehow going to become a majority Muslim country and then find itself put under Sharia. It is quite simply not going to happen, and those who try to hold this up as some boogie man only make themselves and the conservative movement they claim to be members of look silly.

    That’s a bit condescending, but I forgive. Unfortunately the reality, and we have real life examples, is the opposite. Every Islamic country is either fully Sharia or Sharia based. In fact in Syria the Christian communities are supporting Assad because they know any Islamic government that would come into power would persecute them relentlessly. In Egypt the Coptics are already feeling the effects of the Islamic based Muslim Brotherhood.

    “There is no reason to compromise our American principles in order to stem the alleged thread posed by such a tiny minority on the claim that soon they will out number us and overthrow the republic.

    Please stop this. No one wants to “ban” Islam, ban Muslims and other such things. However Sharia law is INCOMPATABLE with American principles.

    Forgive me if the idea that a new mosque might bring in “hundreds” of foreigners fails to scare me. I mean, seriously, my parish has 5,000 families, and that’s in a moderate size town which is not, to my knowledge, majority Catholic.

    Please, stop it again…. Using the term foreigners implies “were scared of those brown people” or something similar. We’re not a bunch of red necks burning crosses in our back yards…..

    If this was a Hindu temple nobody would care, nobody would say a thing. Pick any other race/ religion you wish. It wouldn’t be an issue. So please don’t imply the “were scared of anyone but us….”

    As a side note, your post was incredibly condescending. Posting that picture, implying anyone who opposes this as racist, scared, bigoted, etc. The only thing that was missing was calling me an islamaphobe.

    I love Muslims, but I completely and totally reject Islam and its implementation via Sharia.

    I would only point out that you should try and get involved in Christians in Islamic Countries. The stories I have heard, notably in Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian territories are heartbreaking. All the theoretical talk about how we “hope” Muslims may behave as a whole goes out the window when you reality. Next time a Christian Arab comes to your Church to sell goods from Jerusalem. Pull them aside and ask them what its really like. You have to do it privately; the stories will send chills up your spine….

  • Hmm…Muslims in the lead so far. For me it would be a homosexual. I could not abide that.

  • Multiple-divorced person. That tells me that they can’t keep personal commitments. I don’t think I’d mind any of the others.

  • “Muslim
    Atheist / agnostic
    Jehovah Witness (non-issue – they don’t participate in politics)
    Multiple-divorced person
    Mainstream Protestant”

    Left handed lesbian micronesian communist anglicans have always been at the bottom of my list. 🙂

  • C’mon, Don. Make a pick. :mrgreen:

  • I don’t think Don liked it that I actually made a list from most undesireable to simply undesireable.

    “Left handed lesbian micronesian communist anglicans”

    Left handed, Micronesian and Anglican are irrelevant criteria.

    Lesbian and communist are not and should be disqualifiers for public office.

    But I am simply another right wing nut case. 😀

    As long as Obama and his Democrat are defeated, I don’t care. That’s what is important in 2012. Yes, I would vote for a Republican homosexual if it meant that that was the only way to defeat Obama. I would hold my nose and vote accordingly.

  • I realize it’s simplistic to use one piece of info as a litmus test; however, these are significant pieces of information and one can draw some inferences. If the homosexual, for example, were conservative in all other views (not likely but just imagine) and the agnostic was liberal, who would you vote for? In other words, do political and economic views trump all other considerations?

  • “If the homosexual, for example, were conservative in all other views (not likely but just imagine)…”


    Log Cabin Republicans:


    I don’t agree with their homosexuality, but….defeat Obama in 2012.

  • Point taken, Paul; however, I’d still have a hard time voting gay. I think a homosexual president would be a HUGE distraction for the nation. The jokes would never end.

  • Me, too, Joe. That’s a last resort vote.

  • I wouldn’t vote gay either, if you mean something terrible happening in the voting booth.

  • I’d vote for the person who I think will best advance the policy positions I hold. Everything else is trivial.

    A gay Republican president would be less of a distraction than Santorum.

    Let’s reword the question. Who would you vote for?

    1. Jimmy Carter, a mainstream Protestant
    2. Mitt Romney, a Mormon
    3. Dwight Eisenhower, a Jehovah’s Witness
    4. Bush adviser Suhail Khan, a Muslim
    5. Anthony Weiner, a Jew
    6. George Will, an agnostic
    7. Liz Cheney, an open homosexual
    8. Newt Gingrich, a multiple-divorced person

  • Ike with Will as his running mate

  • “I’d vote for the person who I think will best advance the policy positions I hold. Everything else is trivial.”

    Not quite. Character and leadership ability are not unimportant, along with drive. It does little good to elect someone to office with the right policy positions, if they are untrustworthy, couldn’t lead a group of sailors on leave to a bar and have the fighting spirit of a dead gerbil.

  • In answer to RR’s proposals:

    1. Jimmy Carter, a mainstream Protestant

    No. Never. Liberal Democrat nit wit. And an anit-nuke kook to boot.

    2. Mitt Romney, a Mormon


    3. Dwight Eisenhower, a Jehovah’s Witness

    Yes. Didn’t know he was a JW – I always thought they wouldn’t serve in the military or involve themselves in politics. Wikipedia says he was Presbyterian, described himself as non-denominational, and never joined the predecessor to the JWs: the International Bible Students Association (but he studied under them).

    4. Bush adviser Suhail Khan, a Muslim

    Probably not. Don’t trust Muslims, period.

    5. Anthony Weiner, a Jew

    Nope, he’s a Democrat and a pervert. Facebook photos of his genitals – Heaven preserve us!

    6. George Will, an agnostic

    Well, supposedly he helped Reagan back in 1980 and there was a big controversy over that, but I tend to distrust journalists even more than politicians. So probably not.

    7. Liz Cheney, an open homosexual

    Possibly. She supported Fred Thompson who dropped out of the 08 race, and then Mitt Romney.

    8. Newt Gingrich, a multiple-divorced person


    None of these choices are ideal. I say Palin – Bachmann 2012! Let’s put the Democrats into fits of apoplexy! 😀

  • Sorry, meant “anti” when referring to Carter as an anti-nuke kook. -10 pts for bad spelling.

  • Don, I include drive and ability in how I evaluate who best can advance my policy positions. I think character is a criterion of limited usefulness. All serious candidates for president are good liars. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t.

  • If I recall correctly, Eisenhower was a JW, but converted shortly before running for office. Ironically, he was a big supporter of adding “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Eisenhower was raise a JW. From what I can gather, he stopped practicing any religion as an adult. He considered himself non-denominational by the time he ran for office. The fact that he wasn’t properly baptized became an issue during the election. He was baptized at a Presbyterian church after he was elected.

  • Eisenhower’s religious history from Wikipedia – RR seems partly correct; the difference being the Eisenhower himself never joined the predecessor to the JWs:

    When Eisenhower was a child, his mother Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower, previously a member of the River Brethren sect of the Mennonites, joined the International Bible Students Assocation, which would evolve into what is now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915 but Eisenhower never joined the International Bible Students. His decision to attend West Point saddened his mother, who felt that warfare was “rather wicked,” but she did not overrule him. Eisenhower was baptized in the Presbyterian Church in 1953. In 1948, he had called himself “one of the most deeply religious men I know” though unattached to any “sect or organization”.

  • “I think character is a criterion of limited usefulness. All serious candidates for president are good liars. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t.”

    What an ahistorical thing to say. Some of our presidents have been quite truthful men. I would include in that category George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. Some people would prefer to be ruled by an effective blackguard than an honest weak leader, but I would say either path tends to end badly for a nation. If we fail to ask for character in our Presidents, rest assured we will have none. Or as Saint Thomas More so memorably put it in the play A Man For All Seasons: “When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”

  • Vote for whom the MSM hates the most. Go Bachman/Santorem.

    No doubt, the Bishops will have another confusing voting guide and Obama will get > 50% of the Catholic vote again. And Mark Shea will convince many Catholics not to vote for Republicans because they’re for pouting water of terrorists heads.

  • Liz Cheney, an open homosexual

    I think you have confused her with her sister Mary Cheney.

  • “This selective application of the first amendment could never be applied to Catholics, right?”

    Of course it could. Just wait until someone manages to get Catholics labeled as a hate group because of their opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

  • Chris,

    That’s a bit condescending, but I forgive. Unfortunately the reality, and we have real life examples, is the opposite. Every Islamic country is either fully Sharia or Sharia based. In fact in Syria the Christian communities are supporting Assad because they know any Islamic government that would come into power would persecute them relentlessly. In Egypt the Coptics are already feeling the effects of the Islamic based Muslim Brotherhood.

    Arguing that if the US became a majority-Muslim country, it might well use some form of Sharia doesn’t get us anywhere because it is totally unimaginable that the US would become majority Muslim in the first place. We’re talking about a religious minority which currently makes up 1-2% of the US population.

    There’s no point in discussion how to deal with Muslims and mosque construction in the US in any other way than how the vast majority will treat a tiny (and not well liked) minority. My contention is simply that it is un-American (as in, contrary to our principles) to respond to such a situation by seeking to prevent them from building mosques and generally behave as they wish so long as they remain law abiding residents or citizens. If they break the law — there’s a very simple process we can follow: enforce the law.

    I’m sorry if it seems condescending to compare some of these sentiments to the ones which led turn of the century Protestants to portray us as alligators, but frankly, I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference.

  • Dulce Machometis inexpertis.

    Some people are distracted by PC elitist bed-wetting and blinded to the facts.

    Fact: The NYC powers that be (abortionist/elitist bed-wetting/statist yellow dogs, e.g. Mayor Midget Mike, et al) refuse to permit the rebuild of Greek Orthodox St. Paul’s Church at Ground Zero.

    But, it’s a First Amendment Crisis/human wrongs issue if the filthy pagans can’t put up a terrorist recruiting center a block away, or in TN.

    DC: You’re correct. In the Nineteenth Century, no American Catholic committed mass murder, terror or savagery in the name of the Pope. Catholic conspirators were not daily proving Catholics could not be both good Catholics and good Americans.

    Call it what you like. This is the truth. Muslims almost daily do what Catholics were slandered for. Islam is the only “recognized” (so-called) religion with doctrine, theology and legal system that mandate endless war against everybody else.

    It is not difficult to understand, unless you’re a PC liberal nitwit with a slew of useless credentials from some Ivy or ND (Repreated myself three times again).

  • In the Nineteenth Century, no American Catholic committed mass murder, terror or savagery in the name of the Pope. Catholic conspirators were not daily proving Catholics could not be both good Catholics and good Americans.

    Call it what you like. This is the truth. Muslims almost daily do what Catholics were slandered for. Islam is the only “recognized” (so-called) religion with doctrine, theology and legal system that mandate endless war against everybody else.

    Bullshit. The number of real terror plots that have been busted in the last ten years on US soils is pretty small. Of the couple million Muslims in the US, the vast, vast majority are simply ordinary folks who work jobs, pray a few times a day, etc.

    This attempt to turn a religion with a billion adherents into one vast Muslim Peril is both false and bad for all concerned.

    And for the record, there actually were small but noticeable minorities of 19th century Catholics involved in all sorts of nasty doing on US soil — the Mafia, for example. Not to mention the Democratic Party. 🙂

  • Then Darwin, you go work with them in the reactor protection racks or in the containment building at a nuclear power plant. See how safe you feel.

    I don’t trust Islamist because their very own Koran says they can lie to Christians and Jews, and they can subjugate or kill them (i.e., us, you and me) with impunity.

    But I do agree with your comment about the Catholics in the Democratic Party. Their collusion with the murder of 60 million babies since Roe v Wade makes them no better than the worst Islamic terrorist.

  • If they break the law — there’s a very simple process we can follow: enforce the law.

    The propensity of institutions to enforce the law is going to be crucially influenced by elite attitudes, and elite attitudes can be in opposition to popular preference. The example of civil rights law in its effective application is instructive here. Reading news stories about the dynamic between Canadian muslims and their critics as adjudicated by administrative tribunals up north can also be instructive. As long as we have the regime class we do, I do not think conflicts like the one under discussion are going to end well as a matter of course.

  • “Bullshit.”


    Weekly Jihad Report
    Jul 09 – Jul. 15 Jihad Attacks: 35

    Allah Akbars: 5

    Dead Bodies: 101

    Critically Injured: 264

  • Of the couple million Muslims in the US, the vast, vast majority are simply ordinary folks who work jobs, pray a few times a day, etc.

    This echoes my experience in commercial aviation. Intelligent, amiable people with a shared experience with me. The discussion is beginning to remind me of this blog entry by Jen from three years ago.

  • I agree with what Jasper said.

    “This echoes my experience in commercial aviation. Intelligent, amiable people with a shared experience with me.”

    This is the same with me in nuclear power. The Muslims are always amiable and nice to your face, but their own Koran allows – even encourages – them to lie to the non-Muslim. I sure as heck was glad when the only Muslim working in the office of my current employer resigned a few months ago. They are amiable and likeable until they commit that terrorist act which their Koran demands that they commit.

    Of all the religions in the world – Hindu, Taoist, Shintoist, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, etc. – it is Islam alone that demands subjugation of the non-Muslim into Dhimmitude. Muslims have been fighting against the rest of the world ever since Mohammed first set across the sands of Arabia from Medina to Mecca. They invaded all the way up to Tours France before they were turned back in the early 700s, and they several times almost took Vienna. It was only by the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary that they were turned back at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 (I think).

    Right now we have the invasion of peace by immigration. As non-Muslims continue to use contraception and abortion, the Muslims will out-populate us and erect Sharia Law by default since they will be more numerous. It’s happening in Germany, France and England right now.

    Yeah, people will now say I am hallucinating. People said that about those who forewarned them when Hitler first got into the Reichtstag: “Oh, he won’t be a dictator”, “He won’t kill Jews”, “He won’t start a World War.” Yes he will, and yes he did.

    How can anyone tolerate Islam knowing full well its anti-Jewish fervor and hatred – the same as Nazi hatred? Muslims will do everything their Koran tells them to do, and that means enslave or murder us.

  • First of all, let me say that I appreciate the discussion here as it it’s been relatively non-acrimonious, so thanks for that,

    I think we’re replaying a bit of a debate that we have had here in previous posts, here, here, and here (as well as I think a few more). It’s the fundamental question that lies at the heart of all this: are the most radical elements of Islam truly representative of the mainstream of Islam? Another way of putting it: is the very term radical Islam a redundancy? For those answering in the affirmative to either query, it naturally follows that we should restrict the ability of Muslims to practice their religion because it is actively hostile to our way of life. And if every Muslim was, as a matter of faith, a terrorist sympathizing jihadi bent on destroying America from within, then calls to halt the spread of Islam by government coercion in our country would be justified.

    But I don’t think you have to be some Ivy League, pc-indoctrinated squish to think that Darwin’s observations are right. Yes, as Jasper helpfully points out, the violent element within Islam is very real, and for many they are living out their faith as they believe it is meant to be lived. But there are over one billion Muslims in the world, and several million in the US. The ones living here especially seem to reject terrorism.

    Now, even some of those who reject violence don’t necessarily disagree with the primary goal of those who engage in terrorism, even if they disagree with the means. But acknowledging these concerns shouldn’t entail backing a rather blanket ban on the practice of a faith in this country.

  • As non-Muslims continue to use contraception and abortion, the Muslims will out-populate us and erect Sharia Law by default since they will be more numerous. It’s happening in Germany, France and England right now.

    Catholics are 25% of the population. Even if only 5% of this number is not contracepting, that means that there are about as many non-contracepting Catholics in this country as there are Muslims. There is absolutely no data to suggest that Muslims will approach a majority or even a plurality in this country anytime in our lifetimes, our children’s lifetimes, or frankly the lifetime of any person born in the next three centuries. Even in the European countries, trends show that immigrant Muslim groups tend to be barely more fecund than the native population.

  • Paul Z.,

    The dialogue and text in this You Tube video differs with your statement:

  • I don’t really think any of that is the crux of the debate. I don’t really like the idea of squelching mosque-building projects, but whenever one comes up people talk about the nation’s founding as it relates to religious freedom, but nobody seems to care that what the founders were really TRULY motivated by was not religious freedom but the right of self governance. What rights does a local community, prejudicial or pig-headed as they may be, to determine what they will and will not allow within their community?

  • are the most radical elements of Islam truly representative of the mainstream of Islam? Another way of putting it: is the very term radical Islam a redundancy?

    I would answer in the negative. One such example, Darwin provided on his own blog.


    Interesting, if nothing else. 😛

  • Paul, the video doesn’t counter the main thrust of what I said – namely that there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the Islamic population in this country is going to outstrip the rest of population anytime soon. Europe is a different matter, and I do worry about the future there. But even in Europe Islamic immigrants are not as fecund as Muslims in other parts of the world, if I recall the statistics correctly. I admit I could be mistaken about that.

    I’d also add that just because some fringe group thinks there will be 50 million Muslims in America in 30 years doesn’t necessarily mean that it would happen.

  • I’m not seduced by the “some of my best friends are Muslims” argument in cutting Islam one bit of slack. I suggest you read ‘The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America’ by Andrew McCarthy, which opens with a chapter on Barack Hussein Obama infamously bowing to the Saudi king.

    Non-Moslems are disdainfully viewed as ‘unclean, untouchable pagans’ in the Koran, which all Muslims see as their ultimate guide. McCarthy’s book is a well-documented, eye-opening hard look at how Islam, aided by the left, has but one goal: to use ‘any means’ including jihad, which means ‘armed struggle,’ to achieve its nefarious ends: world domination and subjugation of the infidels.

    Herewith summed up by their mantra:

    Allah is our objective.
    The Prophet is our leader.
    The Koran is our law.
    Jihad is our way.
    Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
    Allahu-Akbar! Allahu-Akbar!

  • Thanks for the reply, Paul Z. I don’t even know where to look to get valid statistics of population demographics and birth rates by religious persuasion in European countries. So I wouldn’t know where to begin to validate your supposition or that contained in the You Tube video. But what I do know is that the Koran commands Allah’s subjects to reproduce and subjugate the rest of us (or murder us). Maybe people are right that most Muslims aren’t that way and wouldn’t do that. But such false hopes over Hitler and his Nazis proved misguided at best.

    Perhaps I am too much of a pessimist. 🙁 But anytime fanatics got power (like the Nazis or the Communists), persecution, death, and destruction have been the result. So the question becomes: is someone who is an Islamist by defintion a fanatic? Many here would say no, but the Koran demands otherwise. No other religious book is perhaps as full of hatred as that one is (except maybe Mein Kampf).

  • Here’s an interesting article from Brookings about Islam in France, which notes that the birth rate gap between Muslim immigrants and natives closes pretty quickly. Also note the low rate of mosque attendance.


  • None of this would be an issue if we were converting people. Are we even trying anymore? Since when did we give up on that?

  • Now, even some of those who reject violence don’t necessarily disagree with the primary goal of those who engage in terrorism, even if they disagree with the means. …………………. But acknowledging these concerns shouldn’t entail backing a rather blanket ban on the practice of a faith in this country.

    STOP… Go back to the beginning. Did you just say that Herman Cain has said that HE wants or is in favor of a ban on Muslim worship in this country? If yes, you are dead wrong and need to apologize.

  • No Bill. I am speaking more broadly than that.

  • Paul,
    Then in the future when you wish to broadly proclaim your opinions try not to launch on the back of someone’s remarks you simply don’t agree with.

  • The Muslims are always amiable and nice to your face, but their own Koran allows – even encourages – them to lie to the non-Muslim.

    This is all starting to sound way too much like what Charles Kingsley had to say to John Henry Newman.

  • Bill, this thread is some 90+ comments deep. We stopped addressing Cain’s remarks specifically about 70 comments ago.

  • “Mark Shea will convince many Catholics not to vote for Republicans because they’re for pouting water of terrorists heads.”

    My power is limitless! I am invincible! From my Dark Throne I control the Catholic vote in America, making and breaking presidents at my capricious leisure! Even your own Paul Zummo is falling under my Svengali-like seductive sway and you are powerless to stop it! Has ever a blogger so dominated the world as I do? My being crackles with Force Lightning and I hunger to increase my iron grip on the Catholic Church and its shuffling lackeys who do exactly as I command! Mwahahahahaha!

  • “the Koran commands Allah’s subjects to reproduce and subjugate the rest of us (or murder us).”

    Well, we Catholics of all people should know that what a religious body or its authorities “officially” teach or have written in their scriptures doesn’t always comport with what the majority of its followers do in practice. If it did, the Catholic divorce rate would be a lot lower and the birth rate would be a lot higher!

    Does this mean that the only “good” (i.e. non-subversive) Muslims are “bad” (i.e. incompletely observant) Muslims? I don’t know that I’d go that far. Islam is not a monolithic religion with one recognized head similar to the pope or the Dalai Lama. There are many different sects and traditions with their own interpretations of the Quran.

    I’m not an expert on Islam or international terrorism by any means, and I agree that radical Islam is a real and present danger to our national security. Still, to assume that “all” Muslims are itching to become suicide bombers seems to me about as realistic as assuming that all pro-lifers are itching to bomb abortion clinics.

  • ok.

    But, next time one of AG Holder’s ATF-supplied assault weapons kills somebody in America, it’s only fair you twits defend the NRA and 100,000,000 of law-abiding, taxpaying Americans the same way you defend Islam and its 1,500,000 law-abiding . . .

    So much for the free exchange of ideas . . .

  • 👿 Censor this.

  • T Shaw,

    If you can’t comment without malicious personal attacks or insults, you’re going back on moderation. You want to freely exchange ideas, then express ideas, not ad hominems.

  • Hey Shea,

    You did your small part to give us Kagan and Sotomeyer, and Roe for a long time to come. Give yourself a pat on the back.

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Warren H. Carroll, Requiescat in Pace

Monday, July 18, AD 2011

Warren H. Carroll died yesterday at age 79.  Founder of Christendom College, he earned a BA from Bates College and an MA and Phd in history from Columbia.  He converted to the Faith in 1968 and thereafter fought a tireless battle in defense of the Faith.  The author of a number of popular histories regarding events in Church history, his most significant scholarly work was his five volume History of Christendom.  I highly recommend the first four volumes.  (The fifth volume was written after he had a debilitating stroke and basically is largely a rehash of earlier writings on the events surrounding the French Revolution and is not up to the high standard of the first four volumes.)  He never pretended to objectivity:  his histories were always written from a strongly Catholic  point of view.  However, his scholarship was usually of a high order and he demonstrated a complete command of the historical literature involved in the subjects he wrote about.  His notes and annotated bibliography in the History of Christendom are a joy to read for any lover of history.  I will miss him.  May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.


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3 Responses to Warren H. Carroll, Requiescat in Pace

A Foundation of Determinism

Monday, July 18, AD 2011

Paul Krugman recently did a Five Books interview with The Browser, talking about his five favorite books. The books are: Asimov’s Foundation series, Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, two books by Lord Keynes, and a book of essays by economist James Tobin, one of Krugman’s old teachers. Of Foundation he says:

This is a very unusual set of novels from Isaac Asimov, but a classic. It’s not about gadgets. Although it’s supposed to be about a galactic civilisation, the technology is virtually invisible and it’s not about space battles or anything like that. The story is about these people, psychohistorians, who are mathematical social scientists and have a theory about how society works. The theory tells them that the galactic empire is failing, and they then use that knowledge to save civilisation. It’s a great image. I was probably 16 when I read it and I thought, “I want to be one of those guys!” Unfortunately we don’t have anything like that and economics is the closest I could get.

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9 Responses to A Foundation of Determinism

  • I read the original Foundation trilogy and found them fascinating. Following the fall and rise of a civilization a la Gibbon was an intellectual treat. The idea of mathematics being able to predict history struck me as complete hokum. The only thing Hari Seldon and his followers couldn’t predict was the appearance on the scene of a mutant nicknamed The Mule. Asimov wrote quite a few histories for a general audience and they weren’t bad reading, but they were all flawed because Asimov the atheist had a tin ear in regard to religion. This was on full display during the “Dark Ages” portion of the Foundation trilogy when Seldon’s followers start up a fake religion to help guide the course of human history.

    “The religion– which the Foundation has fostered and encouraged, mind you– is built on strictly authoritarian lines. The priesthood has sole control of the instruments of science we have given Anacreon, but they’ve learned to handle these tools only empirically. They believe in this religion entirely and in the …oh…spiritual value of the power they handle…The Foundation has fostered this delusion assiduously (pp. 106-107).

    I started that way at first because the barbarians looked upon our science as a sort of magical sorcery, and it was easiest to get them to accept it on that basis. The priesthood built itself and if we help it along we are only following the line of least resistance (p. 86).

    To the people of Anacreon he was high priest, representative of that foundation which, to those ‘barbarians’ was the acme of mystery and the physical center of this religion they had created– with Hardin’s help– in the last three decades (p. 89).”

    When it came to religion Asimov had as much insight as a blind man trying to explain his favorite color.

  • I think of “determinism” in a technical sense, meaning not random. Not having the read the novels, do the psychohistorians have a mastery of probability to the point that their equations can account for outcomes drawn from a probability distribution?

    It sounds like Krugman has not matured beyond the undergrad economics honeymoon stage. A lot of economists exhibit stunted growth in the wisdom department.

  • I did not read the novels.

    Apropos to today’s developing economic/political cataclysms is the blind faith of geniuses in elitist control over everything and everybody.

    Old Druidic (I just made up) proverb:

    “Never misunderestimate the insensibility of congressmen, credentialed eggheads without real world experience, Fed Chairmen, Fed Open Market Ops Committees, and presidents.”

  • Not having the read the novels, do the psychohistorians have a mastery of probability to the point that their equations can account for outcomes drawn from a probability distribution?

    This is where the fact that I knew less about statistics at the time I read the novels and that it’s been a while will come into play, but there was a lot of hand-waving on this. Overall, the idea was that given that the Galactic Empire involved so many people, it was highly subject to statistical predictability, such that the psychohistorians could predict when it would fall, how, where the strongholds would be, where invasions would come from, how things would start to come back, etc.

    To add to the silliness, the “one thing they couldn’t predict” was an interruption in their plans by a warlord of sorts names The Mule, who could not be predicted by their calculation because he was a genetic mutant (somewhat deformed) and thus could not be calculated by their statistical models.

  • Krugman isn’t the only economist to be inspired by the Foundation series. Hal Varien (chief economist for Google) apparently read the book in high school and had exactly the same reaction.

    Personally I found the whole idea of pyschohistory so self-evidently absurd that I couldn’t really get into the book. I’d like to think that if only I’d been a little better at suspending disbelief I’d have become a world famous economist like Krugman or Varian. I’d like to think that.

  • Interesting. I really liked the books too, and went on to get a degree in economics. The connection never occurred to me. I’ll give Krugman this – he’s got to have some real self-awareness to have made that connection.

    But a person won’t get too far in studying economics (shouldn’t get too far…) before noticing the wiggle room built into all the equations. People’s choices are based on their preferences, and while economists can note them, they can’t predict them. There’s a catch-all term that economists sometimes use, “fads and fashions”, which refers to the fact that some element of human behavior is unpredictable. You can aggregate across individuals and get something like a consistent pattern, but there’s always going to be women’s soccer or ciabatta bread or something that wasn’t predicted, not because there was a lack of accurate data, but because human behavior depends on the wills of individuals.

  • I find the idea of Paul Krugman commenting on David Hume disturbing.

  • I enjoyed reading the Foudation! It’s great fiction! Like all science fiction you have to suspend beieif or disbelief in somtiing for the plot to work like the possibilty of realtime intersteller travel with only minor improvements in current technology. The amazing thing about the series, and any thing else Asimov wrote on politcs or econmics, was that real time star travel required much less suspension of belief than the political and economic process of his novels.

  • Krugman’s desire to be “one of those guys” shouldn’t tarnish the idea that a science of “psychohistory” might be possible.

    I prefer Michael F. Flynn’s “Country of the Blind” in which various groups independently invent “cliology”. Some are interventionist, trying to mold events to their ends, others have ceased doing so because their models aree too imprecise and their meddling has caused unforeseen “blowback”.
    Flynn, who is Catholic, goes to some lengths about free-will implications.

Some Gaffes Are More Equal Than Others

Monday, July 18, AD 2011

I don’t know Klavan on the Culture.  I had always assumed that the media downplays gaffes by Obama because he is obviously a genius and that therefore when he makes a gaffe it is simply a mistake, and no big deal.  Republicans on the other hand are self-evidently idiots, or they would be Democrats, and therefore when they make a gaffe it is revealing of their essential idiocy, and thus newsworthy because it alerts the public to the fact that Republicans are idiots.  No media bias here!

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One Response to Some Gaffes Are More Equal Than Others

  • This is driven by the progressive agenda.

    Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann don’t have Ivy credentials and once or twice misquote arcane facts in history and the dem/prog propaganda organ (a.k.a. the main stream media) call them idiots.

    Obama, Bernanke, Frank, Geithner, Pelosi, Reid, etc. devalue the dollar by printing $3 trillion in Federal reserve Note and no jobs are created; kill the coal and oil sectors – $4 a gallon gas and heating oil; take over the best health care system on Earth; slashed economic growth with 15,000 regulations and uncertainty; pass laws so they can learn what’s in them, etc. and the Obama-worshipping imbeciles repetitively claim that Bachmann and Palin are morons.

    Makes sense to them, I guess.

    We are screwed.

Fictional Hates

Sunday, July 17, AD 2011





Ah, the world of fiction.  It entertains us and helps lend spice to the mundane world.  However, some of the characters who inhabit it simply put our teeth on edge.  Here are the three top annoying characters on my list.

Dobby the House Elf-From the time I first saw Dobby in the Harry Potter films, I found him intensely grating.  His voice, his mannerisms, his obsequiousness to Harry Potter, all make me choose Dobby as the fictional character I would most like to ask to attempt to unjam a  woodchipper by sticking his arm into it.  I did restrain myself from giving a cheer when he shuffled off his fictional vale of tears in the penultimate Harry Potter film.

Jar Jar Binks-This character immediate signaled to me that something was going badly awry in the second Star Wars trilogy.  A bizarre unackowledged homage to Stepin Fetchit, George Lucas, if he were not a completely conventional Hollywood liberal, would have become the poster boy for entertainment racism by the NAACP.

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19 Responses to Fictional Hates

  • Jar Jar Binks tops my list. Yuck!. Couldn’t even make it through the posted clip. Don’t ever do that again.

  • Watch the entire clip Phillip. I think you will be pleased by the end! 🙂

  • When it comes to fictional bad guys, Dickens created the worst, or best, if you like villains: Fagan and Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist stand out, along with Madame DeFarge in Tale of Two Cities.

  • The blacks are hypocritical about Stepin Fetchit. They bitched like hell when he appeared in mainstream movies doing his bit, but when he did the same thing in “race” movies, that were only shown to black audiences, they laughed their heads off. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_movie gives a good summary of this genre.

  • I don’t think that is hypocrisy Stephen. I might like seeing a comic portrayal of a drunken Irishman. I would not like seeing the same portrayal before audiences who assumed that every one with Irish blood is a drunk. Having said that, Iet’s keep the comments here light. This is a humorous rant, and the last thing I want is to have this thread tainted with a serious discussion. 🙂

  • It seems licit for a Christian to harbor uncharitable thoughts for fictional characters.

    Plus, you can close the book or turn off the DVD and go to the fridge for another beer.

  • “Watch the entire clip Phillip. I think you will be pleased by the end!”

    Okay, I like that ending. 😆

  • Dobby isn’t grating to me, but my frame of reference on that character is based on the portrayal in the books and not the movie version. His character is actually very endearing in the books. Its funny, though, because I find Hermione significantly more geeky and annoying in the books than in the movie version. And S.P.E.W. is the worst plot point ever.

  • I was recently watching the tv version of the Avenger’s Series and the Android Ultron 5 was the bad guy in this episode. What gets my nerve about him is that he automatically is more powerful than his creator and almost wipes out the earth. The line his creator used is that he made him too human. The only way to defeat him was to fix him with machine logic. The message of we bad humans and machines are better like somekind of twisted alogory of how we are to God – grates my nerves…

  • Is the first clip a Dobby ‘omage? I couldn’t get past the first minute. (Though I don’t find him nearly as annoying as these others — probably as being primarily a book reader.)

    I can’t place the JarJar scene at all. Does he bite? I repressed my memories of the new movies.

    And Barney, well, what’s not to hate.

    I have a fondness for him, but Roger Rabbit might class with these guys. I very much enjoyed the movie as a kid/early teen, but re-watching it recently I wanted to reach through the screen and tie his ears together.

  • Hate everyone on Yo Gaba Gaba, including the DJ guy and the little kids who dance.

  • “The blacks…”???

  • “Only a parent who had small kids in the nineties can really hate this piece of Dino filth as much as he deserves.”

    Then you would probably appreciate this classic Animaniacs parody titled “Baloney and Kids”:


  • I second Mrs. Zummo’s comment.

  • Peggy Hill, Hank’s wife on King of the Hill. Easily the worst fictional human being on TV.

  • Note that I said human being. If there’s one thing I’ve learned online, it’s not to say that anything is worse than Scrappy-Doo. Hear that, online people? I’m not saying that Peggy is more irritating than Scrappy.

    (Yikes. Scrappy-haters are intense people.)

  • Scrappy is definitely up there (down there?) among the worse. But nothing, nothing grates more than those blasted eewoks. Made me realize stormtroopers had at least one redeeming quality.

    Lucas takes the prize for creating two of the most irritating characters crossing two millenia, no less!!!

  • c matt,

    Thanks for bringing up the Ewoks. I thought the Star Wars series started its dive down by introducing those things. I have to say I took pleasure in seeing them get blasted.


Saturday, July 16, AD 2011







Something for the weekend.  Erocia (Heroic) by Beethoven.  Beethoven originally had dedictated Eroica to Napoleon.  When he heard that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor here was his reaction according to one of this pupils:

I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, “So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!”

Beethoven ripped the dediction to Napoleon from the title page of Eroica.  This post has videos for the first two movements.

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5 Responses to Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

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  • I’m heading out with MrsD to see the final installment tonight, so I don’t have my own review thoughts yet, but I did want to raise a “huh?” to this:

    But the movies are much better having read the books (I’d be confused otherwise), and unlike Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, I expect that another adaptation of Potter will be in done in twenty years or so as there was much lost from page to screen.

    Though I enjoy the Potter books a lot, I find it hard to imagine someone adapting them again at any point in the foreseeable future. And I certainly hope that someone does LotR again, though I’ll admit that it will clearly be at least 20-30 years, in that the Peter Jackson adaptations, while they look great, are pretty seriously flawed as adaptations. While the HP adaptations often pare out a lot, I think overall they’re much better adaptions of the books than Jackson’s LotR is of Tolkien’s.

  • I would say in general, the movie downplayed the themes of sacrificial love and redemption that are more evident in the books.

  • I definitely picked up on the first two ‘cut’ scenes, but hadn’t really thought about the last until I read this post.

    I liked that Harry & Riddle are discussing the ownership of the Elder Wand alone, rather than in front of ~100 people. That never made sense to me, that Harry is shouting out in front of everyone, “Hey, I’m the owner of the most powerful wand in the world!” Even if it’s all the ‘good’ guys there, it seems to me that anyone greedy enough for power would be willing to go after Harry for it.

    I didn’t like the nearly complete ignorance of Lupin & Tonks pregnancy. If you’re not paying that much attention you can miss Tonks attempt in 7.1 and it never again comes out until you see Lupin’s ghost that there indeed was a son. And since you never actually see little Teddy, it almost makes no sense to even mention the son or his death.

    I also didn’t like missing Fred’s death, I thought that was a rather important moment in the book. But seeing Ron’s reaction to his deceased brother was probably equally as touching.

    Another thing that’s been downplayed over the course of the movies was Percy’s allegiance to the Ministry and away from his family. His return in Book 7 is quite the Prodigal son. Since he wasn’t really mentioned much in the movies, it makes sense that they just ignore this sequence in the film.

    Overall, I loved the whole series, both the book & the film versions. There are things that I wished were covered from the book that weren’t in the films, but we can’t be taking ~600 page books and turning it into a ~70 page script for a ~3 hour movie. I do wonder about a ‘revised’ series in the future, but I think it’s too monumental of a task to do it (a) period and (b) better than the versions out now.

  • I was *loving* the adaptation, *until* the point at which Neville pulls the sword out of the Sorting Hat, and then I thought it went off the rails in some serious ways.

    I much preferred how the book portrayed Neville breaking free of the spell and killing Nagini right then… it gave him a feel of heroism and bravery, while in the movie he looked foolish brandishing the sword… the bad guys actually laugh at him!

    I much preferred how the book had Harry hiding his “aliveness” until the final duel with V… the big reveal was much more dramatic than the movie’s version.

    And I much preferred the book’s version of their duel to the movie’s… a circling of foes, exchanging words, with just one spell cast by each, rather than the CGI-heavy fight in and around Hogwarts that we got in the movie.

    I don’t understand why they made these changes, either… it’s not like they saved time or money.

    The movie was headed for a solid 9.5 until then… those changes to crucial scenes dropped it to an 8.0 for me.

A Religious Turning Test

Friday, July 15, AD 2011

This post requires a bit of background explanation, so bear with me.

A few weeks ago, Paul Krugman made the following comment about conservatives and liberals:

[I]f you ask a liberal or a saltwater economist, “What would somebody on the other side of this divide say here? What would their version of it be?” A liberal can do that. A liberal can talk coherently about what the conservative view is because people like me actually do listen. We don’t think it’s right, but we pay enough attention to see what the other person is trying to get at. The reverse is not true. You try to get someone who is fiercely anti-Keynesian to even explain what a Keynesian economic argument is, they can’t do it. They can’t get it remotely right.

Krugman, of course, famously refuses to read conservative bloggers, and his work at the New York Times doesn’t exactly display a deep understanding of conservative ideas (perhaps he is a good example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action). In any event, libertarian blogger and economist Bryan Caplan responded to Krugman by proposing the following test:

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7 Responses to A Religious Turning Test

  • Oh, hey, this looks fun. Working through the first response now, and already having some strong ideas as to what sort is really writing it.

  • Thanks for helping spread the word; I really want to make sure I recruit a sizeable pool of believers.

    Just one clarification: I’m scoring the guesses by atheists and those by Christians separately, to make sure that different opinions in the two groups don’t cancel each other out in the analysis. In this round, my main goal is to see if the atheists can fool Christians. The guesses of atheists are interesting, but can’t confer victory.

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  • Maybe it was just me, but I thought the atheists answering as Christians were not so bad either – that is, I did not find it all that easy to discern because I have heard various Christians give just about every answer presented.

  • Just yesterday I told something that I could fake being pro-choice but he couldn’t fake support for capital punishment which he readily admitted to. I think it’s a very revealing test and I look forward to the religious Turning test results.

  • I don’t know how a religious Turing test would turn out, or even an economics Turing test, but I’m pretty sure an abortion Turing test would show that pro-aborts don’t have a clue about the other side.

  • The results for the Atheist half of the Turing Test are up: It turns out that Christians make the most convincing atheists. Of the four people most strongly believed to be atheists by other atheists based on their responses, three of the four were Christian, and the atheist barely squeaked in.


    Results for the Christian half will be up tomorrow.

2012 Presidential Election: Clouds Are Gathering For Obama

Friday, July 15, AD 2011

The Presidential election is still just over 15 months away, and much can change in that time.  However, as of now the signs are ominous for President Obama:

1.  The Unemployment Rate: Currently the unemployment rate is around 9.2.  Since World War 2 no President has been re-elected when the unemployment rate was greater than 7.2.  Roosevelt won re-election in 1936 with an unemployment rate of 16. 6 and again in 1940 with an unemployment rate of 14.4.  However, FDR had inherited an unemployment rate of 19.8.  Obama inherited an unemployment rate of 7.8.  If, as increasingly looks likely, the economy remains stagnant or slips back into recession, I find it had to see how there will be much improvement in the unemployment rate prior to November 2012.

2.  Electoral College Shift: The Republicans will see a probable gain of approximately 14 votes in their electoral college votes simply due to red states gaining population and blue states losing population.

3.  2012 ain’t 2008: In 2008 Obama took Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina, a total of 39 electoral votes.  I do not believe he has a prayer of taking any of those states in 2012.  Ohio with 18 electoral votes and Florida with 29 electoral votes went for Obama in 2008, and both went big for the Republicans in 2010.  Unless Obama can take one of those states, the electoral math becomes hard for him, albeit not impossible.

4.  Say Goodby to the Youth Vote: Obama benefited from a high level of support among young voters, precisely the category of voters suffering the highest level of unemployment.  I doubt if a good many of them will be motivated by the promise of four more years of the same to leave Mom and/or Dad’s basement to pull the lever again for Obama, certainly not in the same high numbers.

5.  Polls: Obama is beginning to show real weakness when matched against a generic Republican:

Registered voters by a significant margin now say they are more likely to vote for the “Republican Party’s candidate for president” than for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, 47% to 39%. Preferences had been fairly evenly divided this year in this test of Obama’s re-election prospects.

The latest results are based on a July 7-10 poll, and show that the Republican has an edge for the second consecutive month. Obama held a slight edge in May, when his approval rating increased after the death of Osama bin Laden. As his rating has come back down during the last two months, so has his standing on the presidential “generic ballot.”

Gallup typically uses this question format when a president is seeking re-election but his likely opponent is unknown, as was the case in 1991-1992 and 2003-2004, when incumbents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively, were seeking re-election.

The elder Bush held large leads over his generic Democratic opponent throughout 1991, but early 1992 preferences were more evenly divided and Bush eventually lost his re-election bid. The younger Bush also consistently maintained at least a small advantage over the Democrat throughout 2003, before winning re-election in a close contest in November 2004.

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6 Responses to 2012 Presidential Election: Clouds Are Gathering For Obama

Is it Anti-Catholic to Believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ?

Thursday, July 14, AD 2011

Writing in the Atlantic, Joshua Green notes that Michelle Bachmann’s (now former) church holds some, shall we say, unflattering views about the papacy:

Bachmann was a longtime member of the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a council of churches founded in 1850 that today comprises about 400,000 people. WELS is the most conservative of the major Lutheran church organizations, known for its strict adherence to the writings of Martin Luther, the German theologian who broke with the Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. This includes endorsing Luther’s statements about the papacy. From the WELS “Doctrinal Statement on the Antichrist”: “Since Scripture teaches that the Antichrist would be revealed and gives the marks by which the Antichrist is to be recognized, and since this prophecy has been clearly fulfilled in the history and development of the Roman Papacy, it is Scripture which reveals that the Papacy is the Antichrist.”

Bachmann, it seems, never subscribed to the belief in question, and left the church sometime last year. Nevertheless, some are drawing comparisons between the views of Bachmann’s former church and those of President Obama’s former pastor, Jeramiah Wright.

I confess that I am of two minds about this story.

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38 Responses to Is it Anti-Catholic to Believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ?

  • I have long admired the uncompromising fight the the Wisconsin Synod has waged against abortion:


    As for their view of the Papacy, I am not shocked that Lutherans agree with Martin Luther.

    This whole nothing issue in regard to Bachmann does remind me that Mr. Joshua Green, the author of this piece, learned his trade at the Onion, and then polished his skills at the equally fictionalizing, if not quite so hilarious, American Prospect.

  • Having been born and raised in the Assemblies of God, that the Papacy is anti-Christ was part and parcel of many a sermon I heard as a youngster. Having converted to the Faith as an adult, I don’t hear that from my family any longer, and when I visit my Mom’s church, I don’t hear it there either. They all know I am now Catholic. I think some are afraid of my reaction where they to voice the sentiment. Others – my brothers and sister and my Mom – respect my choice and have heard me often enough talking about JP II and B XVI to know they aren’t anti-christ.

    I don’t think that most in the Wisconsin Synod are anti-Catholic. But Luther surely was, and the statement “the papacy is anti-christ” is anti-Catholic. But those kinds of extreme views are today held only by the more rigorous fundamentalists who often are mis-informed and ignorant, and (in my experience) afraid to learn the truth. They are afraid that if they listen to reason, they’ll be buying into some sort of satanic conspiracy. This is what they have been taught all their lives. So it was a great leap that my mother took to understand that when I visited on Christmas, while I would go with her to her church, Mass came first and I love the Catholic Church and I am not satanic (a little insane, and a work in progress, yes, but not satanic).

    The best thing to show people like this is your love of the Bible. That’s the only thing they respect. If you can explain the Faith from the Bible (not hard to do – after all, we gave the Protestants the Bible, though they took 7 books out), then you will win a lot of good will except among certain die-hard Baptist successionists and like-minded people.

  • Did her pastor (the one that baptized her) scream “God damn America!” for 20 years while she sat nodding in the pew?

    Shameless liars. Obama-worshiping imbeciles . . .

  • T. Shaw, you have such a way with words!


    “Obama-worshiping imbeciles . . .” is exactly right.

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  • I guess it depends on what you mean by “anti-Catholic.” Under a broad definition, you’re anti-Catholic if you believe Catholicism is harmful (e.g., the pope is leading people away from Christ). Using this definition, anti-Catholicism is fairly common in the US, particularly among atheists.

    Under a narrower definition, you’re anti-Catholic (or an anti-Catholic bigot, to differentiate), if you unjustly discriminate against Catholics. Using this definition, anti-Catholic bigotry is practically non-existent in the US.

    Under neither definition would merely disagreeing with papal infallibility make you anti-Catholic. It might make you anti-papal-infallibility though.

  • Mr. McClarey:

    With all respect should a faith’s anti-abortion teachings excuse all of its other tenets? Islam is very anti-abortion and the Holy Father has often had no bigger supporters in international forums on abortion and other family issues than fundamentalist Islamic nations. Does this then allow us us to ignore their other beliefs which we may view more negatively by dismissively saying “I am not shocked that Moslems agree with Mohammed.”

  • Eva, you would have a point if the Wisconsin Synod had radicals attacking the Church and Catholics with suicide bombers, were attempting to impose a Lutheran Theocracy behind the cheddar curtain and were driving out Catholics from the land of cheese. Instead, we have peace and harmony prevailing on the religious, if not the political, front in a state I know rather well and will be making my annual visit to in just two weeks. If the same were the case with Islam, what a sweeter world we would live in. Since we do not, you are comparing apples and rock salt.

  • This is not about the Pope. This is detraction; throwing steaming, stinking male bovine feces at Obama potential opponents.

    Re: “Obama-worshiping imbeciles” N.B. “Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.” Benjamin Franklin

    Case in point: Aim your dishonest long-range sniper scope on Obama not everyone that has the nerve to run against Obama.

  • “Under neither definition would merely disagreeing with papal infallibility make you anti-Catholic. It might make you anti-papal-infallibility though.”

    Whew! That means a lot of Catholics aren’t anti-Catholic. 🙂

  • Again, Mr. McClarey, I must respectfully disagree. You know as well as I that anti-Catholicism in this country hasn’t always been a case of respectful disagreement. Your Irish ancestors I’m certain could provide a very different opinion.

  • Baloney Eva. Your attempt to raise the specter of Know-Nothingism into this non-controversy is just as wrong-headed as your attempt to invoke Islam. Catholics in Wisconsin suffer no public discrimination as a result of the Wisconsin Synod.

    As for my Irish ancestors, they could have an interesting debate. On my Dad’s side they were Protestant, and on my Mom’s side they were Catholic. I have a little first hand experience of how confessional differences can play very little role today in how people treat each other.

    Catholics who become exorcised over the Wisconsin Synod’s views of the papacy are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to contemporary anti-Catholic bigotry in this country. A trip to virtually any leftist, atheist or homosexual website would, I trust, awaken even the least discerning Catholic as to where true bigotry against Catholics lives in this country. No doubt Joshua Green is readying an expose on this topic that will appear the second of Never.

  • A good overview of this exercise in partisan news hackery:


    What Joshua Green’s piece reminds me of is the type of tripe that was written in 1960 about whether Kennedy should be elected President due to his allegiance as a Catholic to the Pope. (The irony unknown at the time was that John Kennedy was unwilling to impose several Catholic teachings on himself let alone others.) Under the guise of discussing an issue it is an attempt to whip up religious animosity against a candidate.

  • Off-topic but another sign of the Apocalypse:
    quoting Don:
    ‘A trip to virtually any leftist, atheist or homosexual website would, I trust, awaken even the least discerning Catholic as to where true bigotry against Catholics lives in this country.’
    Actually, Don, one needs to start with the anti-Catholic desk at the NY Times, ‘manned’ by one Maureen Dowd.

  • True Joe. The worst anti-Catholics are often lapsed Catholics, present company excepted. 🙂

  • Lapsed, but the Insurer may still allow me to renew my policy. 😕

  • “Lapsed, but the Insurer may still allow me to renew my policy.”

    I think He’s knocking at the door now. Let Him in.

  • Anti-Catholicism still exists in the US. I went to public high school and in an English class our teacher railed against Catholics. The one time I remember the most, she got the Baptists and Lutherans to start verbally attacking the Catholic Church also. I regret to this day that I did not walk out of the class and file a complaint.

    In the military, many of the units I was in had a significant amount of southerners. There would always be some “evangelical” that railed against the Catholic Church and the pope.

    I am of the opinion that if we just scratch the surface it will reveal anti-Catholic bigotry in the US. There are two Lutheran Churches in the town that I live in and one Catholic. Even though each church is on a hill, the Lutherans insist on derogatorily calling the hill the Catholic Church is on “Holy Hill”.

    We may not be killing each other but it does not mean we are not facing discrimination. Just listen to shows on evangelical radio stations.

  • I think reactions to this (as to Obama’s pastor) are going to have a lot to do with how people read them in a larger context.

    Of the various types of Protestant around these days, many of those who are most serious about actually accepting Christian doctrine and following Christ as those who take a fairly direct lead from original Christian sources — whatever they perceive those to be. As such, serious Catholics will often find themselves having more in common with strains of Protestantism which have traditionally been quite strongly against the Church, if only because they take their faith seriously enough to allow it to make them be against anything. Along these lines — of the converts from Protestantism that I know, most are actually from the more bible-thumping type of Protestantism who would traditionally be accepting of the idea that the papacy is the anti-Christ. Several describe themselves as growing up fairly “anti-Catholic”. By comparison, I don’t know many converts from the more mainstream liberal Protestantism which might be seen as more acceptable from this point of view. (And several old friends who are this more liberal type of Protestant have actually become increasingly anti-Catholic over the last ten years because of their strong gay rights and pro-choice advocacy has caused them to see the Church as evil.)

    By comparison, think people mostly saw Obama’s church affiliation as so troubling because they took it as being indicative of generally belonging to a worldview which despised the United States and indulged in weird racial conspiracy theories.

    So while, clearly, I strongly disagree with the WELS beliefs about the papacy, I don’t really find someone’s membership in the WELS all that troubling. My concerns about Bachmann as a candidate mostly center around her seeming like more of a firebrand than a leader, and not generally being electable.

  • That Evangelicals would have strong feelings regarding the Catholic Church should hardly be surprising. And, while it may, in a sense, make them “anti-Catholic”, it doesn’t necessarily make them bigots. Like Don, I too have a Catholic side of the family and an Evangelical side of the family. The Evangelicals in my family (including my own parents and siblings) tend to feel pretty strongly that being Catholic is an impediment to having a “real” relationship with Christ. They reject the authority of the Pope. They reject much of our theology. They will rail against indulgences and statuary and praying to saints and to “worshipping” the Blessed Virgin, and the like. There is a reason they are Evangelicals and not Catholics.

    Does that make them “anti-Catholic”? Probably. But that makes them opinionated and wrong, not bigots. There isn’t a bigoted bone in their bodies.

  • As a former member of the WELS, the synod that Bachman was a member of, I must agree with Eva. Any group that has anti-catholicism written into it’s confessions of faith can’t be trusted by Catholics. Also, The WELS suffers from extreme sectarianism. They honestly believe the Missouri Synod is apostate because they’re not as “pure” as the WELS! One can easily guess how they feel about non-Lutheran Protestants, let alone Catholics! Bachman may no longer be a member of the WELS, but nless she shows that she has shed the anti-catholicism and extreme sectarianism the WELS is famous for, she’s not fit to be a presidental candidate, let alone president.

  • First, I don’t disagree that there is anti-Catholic bigotry on the left. Secular leftist anti-Catholicism exists and is a problem. Believe me I know because of my own family dynamics. Orange and green parentage has nothing on Bridget and Bernie parentage.

    However, that does not mean we should minimize evangelical anti-Catholicism. As Catholic Lawyer points out their tolerance of Catholics in this country is skin deep. I have many evangelical friends and I find it humorous that when their kids go on mission trips to convert the heathens it is not to places where non-Christians are predominate but to traditionally Catholic countries in Central and South America. I know a few who have even gone on mission trips to Poland and Ireland.

  • Jay:

    How can one be “anti” something and not be intolerant our prejudiced against it? Does it mean that they wouldn’t burn a cross on my lawn but might stop and roast a marshmallow?

  • Interesting how Protestants and Catholics have more feuds with each other than they have with agnostics/atheists. Both religions profess to follow Christ but exhibit anti-Christian behavior by their disdain of each other. Yes, disdain. As a ‘neutral’ observer and agnostic who has sat in on many debates between the two, I must say the so-called Church has never been united.

  • “How can one be “anti” something and not be intolerant our prejudiced against it? Does it mean that they wouldn’t burn a cross on my lawn but might stop and roast a marshmallow?”

    That’s nonsense on stilts! I’m anti-leftist, but that doesn’t mean that I would discriminate or act violently toward someone for being leftist.

    What you just wrote is FAR more bigoted than anything I’ve ever heard from my evangelical relatives. Get the chip off your shoulder regarding protestants and evangelicals. Get over your counter-Reformation impulses. They are NOT the ones you have to worry about. The REAL threat to the Church is coming from the secular left, NOT our separated brethren.

  • Heck, we have more to fear from Catholic politicians on the left than we do from protestants and evangelicals, if what has happened in Illinois with regard to adoption and Catholic Charities is any indication.

    Joe, your observation is dead on – some people would rather fight the battles of 500 years ago than address the real existential threats facing us today, often from within our own ranks.

  • Part of this is: Within the ranks of Christians, I’m more comfortable with those who passionately disagree with me through their attempt to take Christ’s teachings seriously than those who accept everyone (except those whom they judge to be judgemental) because they don’t believe in much at all.

  • Jay, I agree that the chief threats to the Church today comes from secular liberalism. But, I would argue that the origins of secular liberalism are firmly rooted in protestantism. If that opinion makes me a reactionary Catholic then so be it. However,I might then argue that your opinions on the matter are colored by conflicting family allegiances.

  • I’d have no problem with a man of Bachmann’s background becoming a bishop, if he clearly stated (as she did) an opposition to the anti-papal teachings of a prior church.

    She’s not running for bishop, is she?

  • My opinions on evangelicals may be colored by actually knowing evangelicals and having spent time as one myself, but I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing or disqualifies me from having an intelligent and well-informed view on the matter.

  • I mean, it’s not like I’m not aware of the shortcomings of evangelicalism vs. the Truth of the Catholic Faith. Otherwise, I would not have left behind the former to become Catholic. But I do believe my experiences with evangelicalism, rather than making me blind to the shortcomings, actually gives me a little more insight than someone who has known only the stereotypes of evangelicals.

  • This is the kind of thing that draws a smirk about Catholics

  • “Heck, we have more to fear from Catholic politicians on the left than we do from protestants and evangelicals, if what has happened in Illinois with regard to adoption and Catholic Charities is any indication.”

    Precisely Jay.

  • Is this all your “elites” have in the arsenal to move the 2012 election away from being an “Anybody but Obama” fiasco?

    One of my best and oldest friends is a Lutheran and a lawyer. He married a Catholic woman.

    He is not anti-Catholic. He still talks to me despite the fact that my wife and I introduced him to his wife.

    And, neither my Lutheran friend nor Ms. Bachmann shuts down convesrsations on Catholic Faith and Morals, e.g., Archbishops Dolan’s opposition to NY regularization of sodomy with, “Bishop Dolan ought to be more concerned about priests molesting children. And, keep his opinions to himself.” As I heard that on Imus this AM and almost drove the car into a ditch.

    I bet Ms. Bachmann also does not believe as anti-catholic bigot Bill Clinton’s press secretary Joe Lockhart publicly stated that Clito believes that Catholic beliefs amount to “ancient religious hatred.”

  • my immediate reaction–have not yet read comments–
    You’ve parsed it down into pinhead territory– as in how many angels dancing and how worthwhile is this consideration…
    don’t forget hierarchy in truth– their are levels of gravity (seriousness)
    … there are mortal and venial sins…EVEN THOUGH when you break one of the ten commandments it is as if you have broken them all… rended truth… It is still diddling to go off on whether not accepting some various levels of Catholic teaching equate with believing the pope to be the anti Christ.

  • I find much in common with Evangelicals and Pentecostals who dislike the Papacy, but love Jesus and actually believe in His holy word (though yes, they are wrong about the Papacy) than I do with any liberal progressive pseudo-Catholic Democrat who replaces the true Gospel of repentance and conversion with the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price, including the price of the lives of unborn babies. “Oh just be nice because you’re hurting my feelings.” What horse hockey!

    My family (as I said before) is Assemblies of God (AG) Pentecostal – just about as fundamentalist as one can get. Yet talks between the AG and the RCC have been going on for some time:


    Things are changing. And given a choice between someone like pseudo-Catholic Nancy Pelosi or John Kerry or Joe Biden, and Evangelical Michele Bachmann or AG Pentecostal Sarah Palin, I will vote for Bachmann or Palin any day of the week even if they do believe the Papacy is the seat of anti-christ (and they don’t, BTW).

    We have a far greater threat from liberals masquerading as Catholics in the Church than we do from Baptist Successionists or Pentecostal tongue speakers.

  • Islam is very anti-abortion….

    This is not true, and I have no idea why so many Catholics choose to believe it. Perhaps deep down, some of them actually do think that treating women like 2nd class citizens and restricting abortion do go together. Islamic scholars have traditionally followed the notion that the fetus becomes a living soul after four months of gestation”. Some scholars claim that abortion after conception is wrong, but the majority allow it in those first months. It depends on which scholar one chooses to follow. If there’s a more certain recipe for abortion on demand, I am unaware of it. Exceptions are also made in case of danger to the mother’s life, deformity or disease that would make a baby exceptionally difficult to care for, and in some cases, rape.

Lincoln’s Advice to Lawyers

Thursday, July 14, AD 2011


Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1850 was writing down some notes for a lecture to lawyers.  I have always found this advice helpful to me in my legal practice, and I think non-lawyers can benefit from it also:

I am not an accomplished lawyer. I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points wherein I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful. The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow which can be done to-day. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done. When you bring a common-law suit, if you have the facts for doing so, write the declaration at once. If a law point be involved, examine the books, and note the authority you rely on upon the declaration itself, where you are sure to find it when wanted. The same of defenses and pleas. In business not likely to be litigated, — ordinary collection cases, foreclosures, partitions, and the like, — make all examinations of titles, and note them, and even draft orders and decrees in advance. This course has a triple advantage; it avoids omissions and neglect, saves your labor when once done, performs the labor out of court when you have leisure, rather than in court when you have not. Extemporaneous speaking should be practised and cultivated. It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business if he cannot make a speech. And yet there is not a more fatal error to young lawyers than relying too much on speech-making. If any one, upon his rare powers of speaking, shall claim an exemption from the drudgery of the law, his case is a failure in advance.

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.

Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Who can be more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the register of deeds in search of defects in titles, whereon to stir up strife, and put money in his pocket? A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession which should drive such men out of it.

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3 Responses to Lincoln’s Advice to Lawyers

  • ‘Discourage litigation.’

    That’s like a doctor hoping all his patients are healthy. 😎

  • Joh Hay, one of Lincoln’s secretaries during the War, and Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, said that when he was practicing the law half his time was spent telling clients that they were being damn fools and to stop. For every piece of litigation I have underaken in my 29 years at the bar, I would say that there is at least one piece of litigation that I have not undertaken and counseled a client not to undertake. Most people who have no experience with the courts can comprehend how expensive litigation is and how unpredictable.

  • What’s the old joke? A jury is there to decide who has the best lawyer.

    By the way, the economy is so bad the Mafia had to lay off 3 judges.

    bada bing