Monthly Archives: August 2011

The First Lord’s Song

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Something for the weekend.  The First Lord’s Song from Gilbert& Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, a satirical look at how political hacks filled important positions they were completely unsuited for.  With around 40% of Congresscritters members of the legal profession, and I believe some eight cabinet level officers, the song remains topical.

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Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  I guess some public schools must not be quite clear on the First Amendment.  Jerry Buell is a 22 year veteran social studies teacher at Mount Dora high school in Florida, and he was teacher of the year for his school district in 2010.  However, after offending the gods of political correctness, he will not be in the classroom when school begins this year.  On July 25, 2011 he posted these comments on his Facebook page:

“I’m watching the news, eating dinner when the story about New York okaying same-sex unions came on and I almost threw up.  And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?”

“By the way, if one doesn’t like the most recently posted opinion based on biblical principles and God’s laws, then go ahead and unfriend me. I’ll miss you like I miss my kidney stone from 1994. And I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one.”

The school district suspended Buell because they are afraid that a homosexual student might be frightened or intimated by him.  Go here to see a video report of this farce.

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Who You Calling Racist, Racist?

By now roughly 20 times more people have seen the clip below than when it originally aired on the Keith Olbermann Show.  Yes, Keith Olbermann has a show again.  It runs on a channel called Current TV.  It’s basically a cable access channel gone national.  Keith had political philosopher Janeane Garofalo on his show to discuss the Tea Party movement, and she uttered these sage remarks about Herman Cain.

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For those of you who don’t feel like watching the clip, here’s a transcript of the relevant portion.

Garofalo also said successful businessman Herman Cain is either being paid to run or is suffering from Stockholm syndrome because he is a “person of color” running as a Republican in the party’s presidential primary.

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Over There

When I was 12 or so, my father picked up a newly released album of World War One music entitled, after the most famous American song of the war, Over There. It is now long out of print (though still occasionally available used). As is sometimes the case with highly singable songs one heard as a youth, several of these songs had been on my mind lately, and so when the breakdown of the dishwasher the other night set everyone to washing and drying dishes, I put it on and we sang along to the oddly cheerful songs inspired by one of the world’s darker interludes.

“Over There”, written in 1917 by George M. Cohan (I didn’t like the historical versions I found on YouTube as much, so I made my own with the Feinstein rendition of the song.)


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Gunga Din

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The sixth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here and here.

Kipling is usually regarded, and often dismissed, as the poet laureate of British Imperialism.  A close examination of his poetry and stories reveals a good deal more complexity than that.  A prime example of this is Kipling’s poem Gunga Din, written in 1892:

You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was “Din! Din! Din!
You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”

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Last Call to Vote in GOP Presidential Poll for Catholics

The American Catholic (TAC) GOP Poll will be accepting votes until tonight, so if you haven’t voted, now is the time.

Thus far former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is still leading with 23% (up 1 point since Wednesday) of the vote followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry with 17% (down 2 points since Wednesday) of the vote.

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Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Award for Longest Post Title

The Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) will venture again into the unique today.

In the Catholic Blogosphere there are many authors that can make their point in a paragraph or two.  There are others that can write a 2,000 word essay in driving their point.  Still there are others that, like today’s cinema movie trailers, like to make their point not in their post, but in the title of their post!

This particular blogger makes a habit of writing his essay in the post title.  He, yes there’s no way around that, demonstrates that you can pack a powerful SEO punch by loading up on the post title.

He’s on the other side of the pond, but remember we are Catholics first before we are Americans or British or other.

Lately though he has been blogging on the Rupert Murdoch scandal in Britain.  He normally reports on all things Catholic and Anglican.

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Longest Post Title in the Catholic Blogosphere to . . .

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Non-Human People

(First time posting, so hopefully I don’t mess up the formatting too much; that would be a bit much after folks were kind enough to invite me to post!)

Time for a bit of Catholic applied to geekery! (Not to be confused with straight up Catholic Geekery, which is more the Holy Father’s area– does anyone doubt that he dearly loves thinking about, playing with and elaborating on Catholic theology? You just don’t end up writing THREE books on the life of Jesus without the love, intellectual interest and deep enjoyment of a geek for his geekdom.)

There’s something about Catholics and blogs that always ends up going into the old question of what makes a man– or, more correctly, a person. “Man” in this context would be a human, and there are several examples of people that aren’t humans– like most of the Trinity. Sadly, the topic usually comes up in terms of abortion; even the utterly simple-science-based reasoning that all humans are human and should be treated thus will bring out the attacks. (Amusingly, the line of attack is usually that someone is trying to force their religious beliefs on others, rather than an attempt to explain why a demonstrably human life is objectively different from, say, an adult human. The “bioethicist” Singer is famous for being open about valuing life in a utilitarian manner, but there aren’t many who will support that angle.[thank God]) Continue reading

Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Award for Best Author Pseudonym

The Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) aren’t your run-of-the-mill awards with standard categories and predictable results.  Not that all C&EA’s will be off-beat, but that some names, or pseudonym in this instance, in the Catholic Blogosphere are just so unforgettable, they need a category to themselves.

This next winner is just that, pretty unforgettable, genuine, and unique.

This 15th Century Hussite romantic is the Master of Ceremonies for his parish as well as the liturgy editor of a crusading blog, that frankly has stopped blogging (but only recently).  Nonetheless, his name deserves recognition because I can’t imagine anyone else ever making up this pseudonym.

His attention to detail may well explain his love of protocol in all things liturgical.

So without further delay:

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Best Pseudonym in the Catholic Blogosphere to. . .

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Waiting for Superman

Well, when Michelle Bachmann promises something she really shoots for the moon.

At a town hall meeting in Greenville, S.C., today, Michele Bachmann said if she became president gas prices would fall dramatically.

“Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 per gallon again. That will happen,” Bachmann said, according to The Hill.

There’s no word on whether she added that that the rise of the oceans would begin to slow as well.

Certainly there are things that the federal government could do to help cut gas prices.  Lowering gasoline taxes, opening up more areas for drilling and cutting back on regulations might put a dent on gas prices, but these measures would only go so far.  Oil is a global commodity.  Or, to quote from one of the snarky commenters at NRO, what is she going to, make the Chinese stop consuming oil?

Daniel Foster also helps put her comments into perspective.

The only policies I can think of that would surely accomplish the $2.00 a gallon target are:

1) The seizure by force and nationalized exploitation of a large proportion of the world’s oil supply.

2) The massive federal subsidization of fuel costs.

3) The fomenting of a second global recession as bad as or worse than the last one, complete with negative global GDP growth.

Gas prices could fall below $2 per gallon were Bachmann to get elected, but it would not principally be due to policy measures of the government.

This sort of political messiahnism is an annoying trend in our politics, but it’s doubly depressing coming from a conservative.  It’s one thing for a leftist like Barack Obama to promise the sun, the moon, and the stars, but one would not expect such unrealistic promises from someone touting themselves to be a limited government conservative.

Unfortunately this lack of perspective on the office of the presidency and the powers within that office runs both ways.   Continue reading

Universal Salvation and Probability

Every so often, another Catholic encourages me to “dare to hope that all are saved”. After all, it is not a matter of doctrine that any specific person is damned. We know that God’s mercy is great, and given God’s mercy and our beliefs about the bliss of heaven and the torment which is hell, it seems reasonable that any soul would choose to embrace God over separating himself permanently from Him.

For me, this idea seems to fall down, however, when applied to the whole of humanity. In a sense, it’s a lot like the issue of the probability of sinlessness which I wrote about briefly a while ago: Given that we have free will, it would seem that in any given situation we could choose to do the right thing — though obviously we in many cases feel a strong urge not to or don’t even have a clear understanding of what the right thing is. However paradoxically, while in every individual choice it would seem that we could choose not to sin, it seems like an impossibility that any one person would in fact make the right choice in every single circumstance, thus living a life entirely without sin (except for original sin.)

Similarly, it seems to me that while there’s clearly a chance that any given person, no matter how sinful, will repent before death, embrace God’s forgiveness, and be saved, I simply can’t imagine it as possible that every single person in the history of humanity would do so. We see people so very frequently, in ordinary life, actively choose to do thing which they know will make them unhappy out of anger, pride or even just habit — I just don’t find it persuasive that no one would ever have chosen to utterly refuse union with God and insist that he would “rather rule in hell and serve in heaven.”

So I do not hope that all will be saved — I stick to hoping that each person will be saved.

TAC Presidential GOP Poll So Far

The American Catholic (TAC) GOP Poll is still accepting votes until this Friday evening.

Thus far former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is leading with 22% of the vote followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry with 19% of the vote.

Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul follows with 13% of the vote with undecideds rounding the top four at 11%.

Top tier candidates Michele Bachmann is way back with 2% of the vote with Mitt Romney at 5% of the total vote.

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August 17, 1861: Birth of the Army of the Potomac

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On August 17, 1861 the Union military departments of the Shenandoah, Washington, and Northeastern Virginia were merged, and  the Army of the Potomac formed, the hard luck Army that experienced defeat after defeat until its great victory at Gettysburg, endured the meat grinder Overland Campaign of 1864 , carried out the siege of Petersburg of 1864-65 and ultimately triumphed with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomatox.  Stephen Vincent Benet  in his epic poem John Brown’s Body  pays tribute to the Army: Continue reading

Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Award for Most Beautiful Blog

When it comes to blogging, fortunately or unfortunately, how a blog looks plays an important role in attracting readers.  Yes, substantively written blogs do retain readers, but if you want to shoot fish in a barrel, you need a spiffy looking blog to fill up that barrel full of fish.

There are many well made and creative blogs out there, but striking the balance between color, pics, font, and layout is very tricky.  There are a few out there that do well in this department, though there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for Most Beautiful Blog is none other than . . .

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