Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Wisdom of Deepak

Evidently Deepak Chopra has gone from writing insipid self-help schlock to becoming a political pundit.  He isn’t much better in his second career, but he is good for a laugh.

Chopra’s argument is that the President is doing the right thing by being a mature adult, rising above the partisan fray, refusing to engage in verbal warfare with the right.  No, seriously, he really believes this. Continue reading

Garrow’s Law

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As faithful readers of this blog know, for my sins no doubt, I am an attorney.  Not having quite enough of the Law during my working hours, I am always on the lookout for good entertainment about lawyers and the law.  One of the best I have encountered in many a moon is a BBC series called Garrow’s Law.  This is a heavily fictionalized account of the trials, I know I should have resisted that, and tribulations of William Garrow, an Old Bailey, the chief criminal court of London, barrister, who on raw legal talent rose from nothing to become Solicitor General of England and Wales, Attorney General for England and Wales, a Judge, and a Privy Counselor.  He originated the phrase presumption of innocence, and first came to notice as a trail blazing defense counsel in regard to the rules of evidence, such as the rule against hearsay. Continue reading

The 2011 Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Awards

I am starting new tradition here at The American Catholic (TAC) and that is the Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Awards.  The Cross & Eagle Awards will showcase what I believe to be the best in the Catholic Blogosphere.  Ranging from serious to funny I’ll be posting a different post each day celebrating the best in the Catholic Blogosphere.

To begin tomorrow, Tuesday late-morning, I will announce the first winner in the category of Most Beautiful Blog.  The blog that has a great layout, contrasting colors, cool looking pics, and a lot more.

There are several categories from Best Blogging Name to Most Popular Blog to Biggest Breakout Blog.  The categories are numerous and creative in order to exemplify the rich diversity of the Catholic Blogosphere.

GOP Presidential Poll for August

The American Catholic (TAC) has been running a periodic poll of the GOP presidential field. So naturally following the Iowa Straw Poll we have this months poll for our TAC readers.  We have included candidates that have declared their candidacy as well as other speculative* candidates. As the primaries arrive the field of candidates should narrow down a bit.

Tim Pawlenty has dropped out, but Rick Perry has “officially” entered the race.  A newcomer to our poll is Representative Thad McCotter of Michigan.  Tim Pawlenty garnered 13 votes in our last TAC poll, we’ll see where Pawlenty’s supporters will go to next.  Rick Santorum won the last TAC poll.

You can view the results of our last poll here.

Update:  My apologies, I have added Michele Bachmann.

* For example even though Chris Christie has denied he is interested in running, he still will be in Iowa for an inexplicable reason. Until then, he will be showing in the poll until we don’t see his name on the actual roll.

Truth About The Riots In England

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We live in a low and dishonest age.  Political considerations cause almost all politicians and vast sections of populations to refuse to make fairly obvious statements of fact about the time in which we live.  I therefore take notice when someone decides to break this taboo.  Max Hastings, a British historian, we see a sample of him at work in the above video, shatters one great taboo by honestly describing the process by which modern Western society all too effectively produces amoral barbarians within its midst.  He begins:

If you live a normal life of absolute futility, which we can assume most of this week’s rioters do, excitement of any kind is welcome. The people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.

Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

 They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.
They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.
They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.
Their behaviour on the streets resembled that of the polar bear which attacked a Norwegian tourist camp last week. They were doing what came naturally and, unlike the bear, no one even shot them for it.

A former London police chief spoke a few years ago about the ‘feral children’ on his patch — another way of describing the same reality.

The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist. Continue reading

Bye Bye Pawlently

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Tim Pawlenty is the first casualty of the Republican primary contest for President, with his announcement today of his dropping out.  I am not too surprised.  His only hope as a candidate was to win the Iowa caucuses.  His attacks against the frontrunner in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, in the debate last week proved completely ineffective.  His loss in the Saturday Aimes, Iowa straw poll, coming in a distant third after Bachmann and Ron Paul (R. Pluto), demonstrated that his hopes in Iowa were minimal. Continue reading

Saint John of Damascus on the Assumption

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Thy blessedness was not death, nor was dying thy perfection, nor, again, did thy departure hence help thee to security. Thou art the beginning, middle, and end of all goods transcending mind, for thy Son in His conception and divine dwelling in thee is made our sure and true security. Thus thy words were true: from the moment of His conception, not from thy death, thou didst say all generations should call thee blessed. It was thou who didst break the force of death, paying its penalty, and making it gracious. Hence, when thy holy and sinless body was taken to the tomb, the choirs of angels bore it, and were all around, leaving nothing undone for the honour of our Lord’s Mother, whilst apostles and all the assembly of the Church burst into prophetic song, saying: “We shall be filled with the good things of Thy house, holy is Thy temple, wonderful in justice.” And again: “The Most High has sanctified His tabernacle. The mountain of God is a fertile mountain, the mountain in which it pleased God to dwell.” The apostolic band lifting the true ark of the Lord God on their shoulders, as the priests of old the typical ark, and placing thy body in the tomb, made it, as if another Jordan, the way to the true land of the gospel, the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of all the faithful, God being its Lord and architect.

Thy soul did not descend to Limbo, neither did thy flesh see corruption. Thy pure and spotless body was not left in the earth, but the abode of the Queen, of God’s true Mother, was fixed in the heavenly kingdom alone. O how did heaven receive her who is greater than heaven? How did she, who had received God, descend into the grave? This truly happened, and she was held by the tomb. It was not after bodily wise that she surpassed heaven. For how can a body measuring three cubits, and continually losing flesh, be compared with the dimensions of heaven ? It was rather by grace that she surpassed all height and depth, for that which is divine is incomparable. Continue reading

Why the Youth are Rioting

I beg your patience over my absence, and I ask for your prayers.  In June I accepted an administrative position with a new school district.  While this is a very good opportunity in so many ways, I have never in my life found myself so overwhelmed.  I can only say this: teaching was so easy!

At any rate, while this post is not original by any means, I couldn’t help but share the content of an article I ran across today.  The liberal left often likes to pin social unrest on the ills created by the conservative right.  You know how the goes … the economy is in the pits because of right wing policies put in place by George W. Bush … because people don’t have jobs they become socially discontent … because they are socially discontent they rise up “against the man”, so to speak.  Rarely are people actually held accountable for their actions.  Instead, we live in a culture that seeks to pin people’s actions on something external to the human will, something other than sin (dare I even use the word).  Actually, this is nothing new.  It is merely a modern version of ancient Christian heresies that seek to separate the body and soul, in this case to separate the external actions from the internal person.  How often as a teacher did I hear a student explain their dishonesty with, “I know I cheated, Mr. Tawney, but I am not a cheater.  I am a good person.”  The danger in separating our actions from our persons will be catastrophic for the world.  The Christian principle of sacramentality, understood here in its most general sense, says quite the opposite: the external is a reflection of the internal, and at the same time the external forms the internal.  This is true whether we are talking about the words of consecration (which are externally symbolic of the underlying reality and are simultaneously efficacious in bringing about the internal reality) or whether we are talking about the moral act.  Friends, we are how we act, and we act how we are.  When we stand before God, we will not be able to pin our sin on the social policies of one party or another.

I have rambled enough … more than I intended.  With that, I give you the motivation behind these thoughts: an article on the London riots.

The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.

Nobody has ever dared suggest to them that they need feel any allegiance to anything, least of all Britain or their community. They do not watch royal weddings or notice Test matches or take pride in being Londoners or Scousers or Brummies.

Not only do they know nothing of Britain’s past, they care nothing for its present.

They have their being only in video games and street-fights, casual drug use and crime, sometimes petty, sometimes serious.

The notions of doing a nine-to-five job, marrying and sticking with a wife and kids, taking up DIY or learning to read properly, are beyond their imaginations.

Read the rest here.

Saving Civilization One Word at a Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For the end of the world was long ago,

And all we dwell today

As children of some second birth,

Like a strange people left on earth

After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago,

When the ends of the world waxed free,

When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,

And the sun drowned in the sea.

When Caesar’s sun fell out of the sky

And whoso hearkened right

Could only hear the plunging

Of the nations in the night.

G.K. Chesterton

 

Something for the Weekend.  From the endlessly talented songsters at Music For History Lovers, Illuminated Manuscripts sung to the tune of Nowhere Man by the Beatles.  Monks toiling in Scriptoriums in monasteries throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and thereby rescuing some of the classic works of Antiquity is  a cliche, but a true cliche.  When the secular world of the Western Empire dissolved in chaos and ruin following the babarian invasions, it was the Church that rescued the lamp of knowledge.  Only an institution like the Church, a rock in the river of time, could century following century ensure the survival and copying of manuscripts that preserved a precious fraction of the writings of Greece and Rome.  Jerusalem rescued Athens. Continue reading

Hey, You Filthy Right-Wing Bigots: Stop the Hate!

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Ah, but Klavan on the Culture, Conservatives, because of their ideas, are by definition always uncivil, while Liberals are always civil, at least according to the Mainstream Media, also known as the Media fewer and fewer people pay attention to.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air took a look at an example of this recently:

 

 

“Froma Harrop, a member of The [Providence] Journal’s editorial board and a syndicated columnist, has been named president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers. The NCEW is a 64-year-old professional organization. Its members include editorial writers, editors, broadcasters and online opinion writers. One of its new missions, the Civility Project, endeavors to improve the quality of political discourse.”–Providence Journal, April 15

Morrisey noted the above and then had this example of Harrop being civil in one of her columns:

“Make no mistake: The tea party Republicans have engaged in economic terrorism against the United States–threatening to blow up the economy if they don’t get what they want. And like the al-Qaida bombers, what they want is delusional: the dream of restoring some fantasy caliphate. . . . Americans are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but that’s what Obama has been doing. . . . That the Republican leadership couldn’t control a small group of ignoramuses in its ranks has brought disgrace on their party. But oddly, Obama’s passivity made it hard for responsible Republicans to control their destructive children. The GOP extremists would ask Obama for his firstborn, and he’d say, ‘OK.’ So they think, why not ask for his second-born, to which he responds, ‘Let’s talk.’ ”–Froma Harrop syndicated column, Aug. 2

 

That dig apparently annoyed Harrop, who responded on her own web site yesterday.  Her explanation is, to say the least, entirely self-serving, and she twists the definition of “civility” into knots in order to explain her double standard:

I see incivility as not letting other people speak their piece. It’s not about offering strong opinions. If someone’s opinion is fact-based, then it is permissible in civil discourse.  Of course, there are matters of delicacy, and I dispensed with all sweet talk in this particular column. And I did stoop to some ad hominem remarks, I’ll admit. Continue reading

Tribute to a RINO

As readers of this blog know, I have little use for RINO’s, (Republicans in Name Only), politicians who call themselves Republicans but once in office vote like Democrats.  However, every rule has exceptions and an exception to my antipathy to RINOs is the late Mark Hatfield.  Hatfield died on August 7 of this year, at 89 years of age.  He served in the Navy as a landing craft officer in the Pacific during World War II at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  He was one of the first Americans to see the ruins of Hiroshima after the surrender of Japan.

Beginning in 1950, he embarked upon a 46 year career in politics as a Republican in Oregon.  He served in the Oregon legislature and was twice elected governor of the state.  He served 30 years in the Senate from 1967-1997.  In office his votes were often indistinguishable from a liberal Democrat.  He was a dove on Vietnam, supported the nuclear freeze, cast the deciding vote in the Senate that defeated a balanced budget amendment and was opposed to the death penalty.  In 1964 he denounced Goldwater conservatives as extremists.  Ronald Reagan, who was a friend of Hatfield, once noted in his diary while he was President that with Republicans like Hatfield, who needed Democrats.  He was a RINO’s RINO.  Of course you know there is a but coming.

Continue reading

Close, But No Cigar

Unions spent north of $30 million* in a recall effort in Wisconsin in order to gain control of the state senate.  Six Republican senators faced recall elections, and the Democrats needed to win three in order to win control of the upper house.  They won two.  What’s more, two senate Democrats face recall elections next week, and the GOP has a good chance to win at least one of those two races.  So, in the end, the unions would have spent $30 million to gain a whopping one seat.  Not a very good return on investment.

Evidently the “news” team at MSNBC was trying to spin this as a victory for Democrats, but that strains credulity past the breaking point.  Of the two seats they won, one was in a fairly Democratic district and the other involved a scandal-plagued senator.  In fact, as Ed Morrissey suggests, this should be seen as a big defeat for big labor.

Next Tuesday, two more recall elections take place for the state Senate, this time two of the fleabagger seats, thanks to the reaction from the GOP to the union’s efforts to recall Republicans.  It’s possible that the unions will go 0 for 3 in 2011 and end up handing back the two pickups they got last night.  The unions will have ended up spending millions to end up right where they began — locked out of Madison — while adding a powerful display of electoral impotence to their brand.  They have discredited themselves with Wisconsin voters in a way that Walker and the GOP couldn’t possibly have planned, the victim of their own arrogance in attempting to overturn elections for no other reason that protecting their own featherbeds.

Markos Moulitsas is pushing the kool-aid that this is a progressive victory over at Daily Kos.  It’s actually kind of cute to see a man so delusional.

Beyond Wisconsin, if we can enjoy a similar “loss rate” in Republican-held districts (picking up 33 percent of them), Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a huge majority in 2013.

Yes, because the rate of victory in a special election in one state featuring roughly 1/5 of one legislative chamber is clearly a sign of things to come.

It’s going to be a long year, and tens of millions of dollars of Koch money (in addition to hundreds of millions more from Rove and allies) are going to force us to fight like hell for every inch of territory. They won’t cede it willingly or fairly. They’ll do their best to cheat or buy whenever they feel they can’t win fairly.

This is going to be the rallying cry for progressives.  As always, they complain when people besides themselves actually spend money and campaign against their interests.  I get a particular sense of amusement from the bellyaching about the evil Koch brothers, because it’s not like the Democrats have their own deep-pocketed sugar daddy, right?  And really, do guys like Kos want to talk about cheating to win elections?

But I can understand Kos’s wishful thinking.  They were on the precipice of revolution.  That revolution was halted in the fall of 2010.  This election was to mark the turnaround that jumpstarted that revolution.  The good people of Wisconsin were to throw off the shackles of their tyrannical GOP overlords and send a stinging rebuke to the heart of that evil monster Scott Walker. The people would finally join the progressives and take the necessary step to inch them closer to the utopia.

And then the people of Wisconsin sort of yawned and said they’ll keep the government that they have, thank you very much.

Dagger.  So what’s left to do?  Admit defeat?  Acknowledge that maybe the populace isn’t as enamored with your lofty plans as you’d like?  What are you crazy?  No, it’s time to just double down, retrench, and like Homer Simpson  cry out that “It’s still good!  It’s still good!”

Whatever you say, Markos.

*: $30 million figure seems to be a combined spending figure.  Union amount was in the $15 million range, give or take.  Still a lot invested for little return.

Biden to the Rescue!

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In these dark days of the credit downgrade of the nation, an economy falling back into recession, a crashing stock market, etc, one man shines out as a beacon of hope:  Veep and Beloved National Clown Joe Biden.  As the Three Stooges lightened the American mood during the Great Depression with their comic pratfalls and buffoonish antics, so Biden lightens the national mood by constantly, and deliberately I am sure, saying the stupidest things imaginable.

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford recently returned to Congress after being shot in the head, Biden welcomed her as a fellow  member of the “cracked head club”.  As the nation was still howling at that, he dauntlessly followed up with the gutbuster that the members of the Tea Party were “acting like terrorists“.

Note the master at work.  Joe of course realizes that calling people who organized peacefully, won the Congressional elections in 2010, and whose representatives in Congress are seeking to enact legislation embodying the beliefs they campaigned on as terrorists, is absurd.  He therefore willingly makes himself absurd and a national joke in order to give us all something to laugh about in these dark days.  What a true patriot!

However, in the event that I am wrong and that Joe really meant that tea party members are acting like terrorists, below are depicted the intellectual godfathers of this dangerous movement, and perhaps Homeland Security needs to put them under surveillance pronto: Continue reading

The Side of Civilization

In Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell writes, when describing his feelings when he heard that fighting had broken out between the anarchist workers and the (communist dominated) government forces:

Once I had heard how things stood, I felt easier in my mind. The issue was clear enough. On the one side the C.N.T. [anarchists], on the other side the police. I have no particular love for the idealize ‘worker’ as he appears in the bourgeois Communist’s mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on.

I had a similar feeling fo clarity today when I read this today:

As officers lost control of the streets locals were forced to take the law into their own hands, arming themselves with sticks and chasing looters away from their properties.

In Dalston and Hackney, north-east London, Turkish shopkeepers and their families fought back against looting youths, before spending the night standing shoulder-to-shoulder in an attempt to deter further attacks.

One man said: ‘This is Turkish Kurdish area. They come to our shops and we fight them with sticks.’
Continue reading

The Gods of the Copybook Headings Provide The Commentary

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AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

Continue reading

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