Monthly Archives: October 2011

Herman Cain’s Muddled Abortion Logic (Updated)

Presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on the Piers Morgan show last night, and the conversation turned to the topic of abortion.  It’s a fascinating read because at first Cain appears to be giving an absolutist pro-life position – opposition to abortion in all circumstances.  Yet Cain then gives a response that seems to suggest that while he’s personally pro-life, well, you know how this ends:

MORGAN: By expressing the view that you expressed, you are effectively — you might be president. You can’t hide behind now the mask, if you don’t mind me saying, of being the pizza guy. You might be the president of United States of America. So your views on these things become exponentially massively more important. They become a directive to the nation.

CAIN: No they don’t. I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make.

Hmmmm.  In the interests of fairness, here is the entire abortion discussion in context:

Continue reading

The Candidate of Wall Street

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In the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, inquiring minds want to know which candidate for the presidency in 2012 has thus far amassed the largest amount of donations from the “plutocrats” of Wall Street?  Barack Obama of course!

As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.

Obama’s fundraising advantage is clear in the case of Bain Capital, the Boston-based private-equity firm that was co-founded by Romney, and where the Republican made his fortune. Not surprisingly, Romney has strong support at the firm, raking in $34,000 from 18 Bain employees, according to the analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

 

But Obama has outdone Romney on his own turf, collecting $76,600 from Bain Capital employees through September — and he needed only three donors to do it. Continue reading

Was the Declaration of Independence Legal?

American and British lawyers squared off recently in a discussion over whether the Declaration of Independence was legal. The BBC reports as follows:

On Tuesday night, while Republican candidates in Nevada were debating such American issues as nuclear waste disposal and the immigration status of Mitt Romney’s gardener, American and British lawyers in Philadelphia were taking on a far more fundamental topic.

Namely, just what did Thomas Jefferson think he was doing?

Some background: during the hot and sweltering summer of 1776, members of the second Continental Congress travelled to Philadelphia to discuss their frustration with royal rule.

By 4 July, America’s founding fathers approved a simple document penned by Jefferson that enumerated their grievances and announced themselves a sovereign nation.

Called the Declaration of Independence, it was a blow for freedom, a call to war, and the founding of a new empire.

It was also totally illegitimate and illegal.

At least, that was what lawyers from the UK argued during a debate at Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Hall.

(The rest of the article can be read here.)

It strikes me that this misses a crucial distinction: The Declaration was essentially an announcement that if certain demands were not met, the colonists would fight a war for their independence. Such things are not intended to be legal. No sane country is going to provide legal basis for its sub-regions to secede at will — and as the British lawyers point out further on in the article, the US certainly didn’t give it’s Southern half that right under Lincoln. Instead, the colonists were making a last ditch appeal and (more realistically) an appeal for public and international sympathy as they prepared to fight a war of independence. If the British had won, the signers would probably have been hung as traitors. Given that they won, they are considered to be founders of the republic.

Rather than trying to put forward some theory under which the document was legal within the context of the British Empire, it seems to me that the correct answer is that the Declaration was legal by right of conquest — an aged yet still apt concept. This also, of course, answers the question of the why the South was not allowed to secede: Because they lost the Civil War.

Father Francis P. Duffy: War and Humor

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“If you want an example of how you ought to worship God, go over to the 69th.  You’ll see hundreds of sturdy men kneeling on the ground hearing mass.”

Father Francis P. Duffy in a letter to Cardinal Farley

A recent National Guard video on Father Francis P. Duffy.  I have written about Father Duffy here.  His courage as a chaplain with the Fighting 69th made him a legend in his own time.  However, courage was only one of his virtues.  Just as appreciated by the young soldiers he helped shepherd through the hell of trench warfare in World War I France was his sense of humor.  Here are a few samples:

Amongst the sturdiest and brightest of our recruits were two young men who had recently been Jesuit Novices. I amused one Jesuit friend and, I am afraid, shocked another by saying that they were exercising a traditional religious privilege of seeking a higher state of perfection by quitting the Jesuits and joining the 69th.

The newcomers are not yet accustomed to the special church regulations relieving soldiers of the obligation of Friday abstinence. Last Friday the men came back from a hard morning’s drill to find on the table a generous meal of ham and cabbage. The old-timers from the Border pitched into this, to the scandal of many of the newer men who refused to eat it, thus leaving all the more for the graceless veterans. After dinner a number of them came to me to ask if it were true that it was all right. I said it was, because there was a dispensation for soldiers. “Dispensation,” said a Jewish boy, “what good is a dispensation for Friday to me. I can’t eat ham any day of the week. Say, Father, that waiter guy, with one turn of his wrist, bust two religions.”

I asked one of the men how he liked the idea of going to confession to a priest who cannot speak English. “Fine, Father,” he said with a grin,  “All he could do was give me a penance, but you’d have given me hell.” Continue reading

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: Preaching civil rights without a mention of their divine origin?

An article in the Church Report Daily makes note of something The Motley Monk didn’t know and hadn’t heard reported on any of the news reports: The word “God” does not appear in any of the quotes attributed to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his new memorial in Washington, DC.  This omission, despite the fact that the civil rights leader preached often about the divine origin of these rights.

 

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
in Washington, DC

 

The Director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, DC, the Rev. Patrick J.  Mahoney, commented:

Just a few days ago I walked to the Dr. King Memorial for a moment of  inspiration, reflection and prayer. It was the first time I had visited the  memorial.

The setting and  vision of the memorial was powerful and moving and served as a prophetic reminder that we must always stand for human  rights and justice.

As I  walked around the memorial, I was stunned and shocked to see that the mention of  “God” was not included in any of the quotes from Dr. King on the granite wall  surrounding his sculpture.

Dr.  King was an ordained Christian minister and pastor who made faith in God and the  teachings of Christ the central part of his life and message.  The heart of the  civil rights movement was rooted in the Church and drew its strength from  the timeless truths proclaimed by God.

Not to include any mention of “God” in the quotes at the  memorial is a betrayal of the life, legacy and teachings embraced and lived by  Dr. King.  I think he would have been stunned and disappointed to see this  oversight.

 

This omission—the failure to include the mention of God in  the memorial—strikes, like the Rev. Mahoney as betraying Dr. King’s life, legacy, and teachings.  After all, he was an ordained Christian minister and preacher.

As bad as that betrayal may be, perhaps this “omission” is actually a “commission,” that is, a deliberate and stealthy act to avoid using the word “God” in the King Memorial.  If so, this act provides clear evidence not just of a culture that has sold itself out to the gospel of political correctness but which is also hellbent on removing public expressions of faith and God from the public square.

What’s next?  To remove the references to God and the Creator in the nation’s founding documents?

 

 

To read the article in the Church Report Daily, click on the following link:
http://www.thechurchreport.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=siteContent.default&objectID=141441

Make Them Share The Wealth With Me

Yesterday’s gospel reading struck me in relation to the protests which have been continuing to occupy their at once earnest and farcical place on our front pages.

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”

He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”

Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Continue reading

Mainstream Media Reality

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Klavan on the Culture I sometimes wonder what the country would be like if we had a professional mainstream media, instead of the hacks and shills who currently infest it.  Ah, but that is in some alternate universe.  In the one we inhabit the Newspaper Guild, the union of many newspaper reporters, has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement, and journalists and pundits are organizing to help the Occupy Wall Street Movement get its  message out:

Big Journalism has learned that the Occupy Washington DC movement is working with well-known media members to craft its demands and messaging while these media members report on the movement. Someone has made the emails from the Occupy Wall Street email distro public and searchable. The names in the list are a veritable who’s who in media.

Journolist 2.0 includes well known names such as MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi who both are actively participating; involvement from other listers such as Bill Moyers and Glenn Greenwald plus well-known radicals like Noam Chomsky, remains unclear. The list also includes a number of radical organizers, such as Kevin Zeese.

 

Of course we can all recall the neutral, just the facts, coverage of the Tea Party movement: Continue reading

Our Intellectual Elites: Pope Benedict XVI is a Nazi

Susan Sarandon comes out at a film festival and calls our German Shepherd a Nazi.

Words can’t describe what I want so say, so I’ll just print the excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter:

Sarandon was interviewed by Bob Balaban at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor on Saturday. She said she sent the pope a copy of the anti death penalty book, Dead Man Walking, authored by Sister Helen Prejean. Sarandon starred in the 1995 big-screen adaptation.

“The last one,” she said, “not this Nazi one we have now.”

Tofu anyone, while trying to digest the latest from Hollywood?

William Henry Bissell-First Catholic Governor of Illinois

Part of my ongoing series on the governors of Illinois down to the end of Reconstruction at the blog Almost Chosen People that I run with Paul Zummo.  William Henry Bissell, the eleventh governor of Illinois, was the first Catholic governor.  Bissell was born on April 25, 1811 near the town of Painted Post in New York.  Studying medicine, he opened a practice in Monroe County in Illinois.  Eventually at the age of 30 he shifted careers from medicine to the law.  In 1840 he was elected to the state legislature as a Democrat.  Passing the bar he was appointed by the legislature as prosecuting attorney for the judicial circuit in which he lived.

During the Mexican War he was elected as Colonel of the Second Illinois infantry regiment and commanded that unit at the battle of Buena Vista.  He earned the praise of General Zachary Taylor that day: “Colonel Bissell, the only surviving colonel of the three (Illinois) regiments, merits notice for his coolness and bravery on this occasion (Buena Vista).”

After the War he was elected as a Democrat to Congress.  He was an ardent foe of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and became identified with the new Republican party.  In 1850 he almost fought a duel with Jefferson Davis.  Bissell had defended the courage of Northern troops who fought at Buena Vista and accused Southerners of attempting to hog the glory of that day.  Davis, who had commanded the Mississippi Rifles at Buena Vista, thereupon challenged him to a duel.  Bissell, who never lacked courage, accepted and designated the weapons for the duel as army muskets loaded with balls and buckshot.  President Taylor, the former father-in-law of Davis threatened Davis with arrest, and a peaceful resolution was reached between Bissell and Davis. Continue reading

The Manifesto of Edward T. Hall III-Trust Fund Recipient

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Very, very, very strong viewer advisory in regard to the above video as the F-Bomb is one of Mr. Edward T. Hall III’s most cherished words.  However, please understand that Mr. Edward T. Hall III is a serious scholar:

Edward T Hall III is the co-director of AcaWiki.org, collaborator with
WindowFarms.org and dedicated poet of science. He conducts behavioral economic
research at Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions
where social scientists of all stripes collaborate to figure out “why our brain
isn’t green.” He researches human “impatience” and collaborates extensively with
researchers at the London School of Economics and Yale. But Edward is not
limited to behavioral economics. He draws upon the fields of evolutionary
neuroscience, cultural anthropology, emotion research, environmental economics,
industrial ecology and social psychology. Before entering the research realm,
Edward studied photography and the fine arts under the instruction of Stephen
Shore, Tim Davis, Liz Deschenes, Lowry Burgess, and Golan Levin. He believes
artists, citizen researchers, social networks, gamer designers, writers,
theologians and DIYers must become help shape the poetry of science, to make it
human.
Continue reading

The Intriguing Saint Thomas More

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The figure of Saint Thomas More intrigues Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and has ever since his death.  Why is that?

1.  A Man for All Seasons-Saint Thomas More was all of these things:  a saint, a politician, historian, a lawyer, a judge, one of the leading intellectuals of his day, a witty jokester, a good family man, Chancellor of England, one of the most gifted writers of Latin or English, political theorist, inventor of a literary genre (utopias), dissident, martyr.  He crammed many lives into one life, and we continue to marvel at this.

2.  Nice guy-So many great figures in history are completely unapproachable,  evil or downright weird.  More on the other hand is the type of boon companion we would wish for, and a dinner guest to be dreamed of.

3.   Drama-More’s life, and his death, are full of endless drama, and would have made a great Shakespeare play.  Shakespeare may actually have had a hand in the play Thomas More, which, mirabile dictu considering it was written under Bad Queen Bess, treats Saint Thomas More with great respect.

4.    Contrast-King Henry VIII has come down in English history as a crowned monster, which is unusual since he initiated the Reformation in England which ultimately triumphed.  As a result of the negative attitude towards Henry, his victims have been generally treated generously by English historians and chief among these is Saint Thomas More.  Here are the words of Sir Winston Churchill on More:

“The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” Continue reading

Sam Grant, the Beatles and the Internet

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I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so. The universally kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to “Let us have peace.”  

Ulysses S. Grant, written just before his death

 

Something for the weekend.  Quotations from Ulysses S. Grant to the Beatles song  In My Life.  A follow up to my post on Robert E. Lee, the Beatles and the Internet.  Another demonstration of what a wild and wacky place the internet truly is!

 

Few men in American history have gone from complete obscurity to being a  central figure in the life of the nation faster than Ulysses Simpson Grant.  Known as Sam Grant by his West Point friends, his first two initials making Sam an inevitable nickname, Grant had an unerring ability to fail at everything he put his hand to, except for war, his marriage and his last gallant race against the Grim Reaper, as he was dying of cancer, to finish his memoirs and provide financially for his wife and children.  Most great figures in our history have known success more than failure.  Not so Sam Grant.  He would encounter humiliating defeats throughout his life, from beginning to end.

 

At the beginning of the Civil War, he was a clerk, barely able to support his family.  Seemingly a dull plodder, but possessed of iron determination and an uncanny ability to never let the trees obscure the forest;  happily married and a firm believer in God, but subject to bouts of depression when he would grasp for the bottle;  the shabby little man who, incredibly, ended up winning the greatest war in American history.

 

His men didn’t hold him in awe as Lee’s men did Lee;  Grant was far too common and prosaic a figure for that.  However, they did respect him, as this section of Stephen Vincent Benet’s epic poem on the Civil War, John Brown’s Body, indicates: Continue reading

Fish Friday

I don’t know about anyone else— at least this time of year, come Lent I know it’ll be a group obsession — but I’m constantly on the look-out for something to make that doesn’t involve carne.

Beyond the staples of fried cheese sandwiches (Thank you, George Foreman), the treat of deep-fried calamari, and various canned soups, my childhood only offers one option:

Clam chowder.

Continue reading

Bishop Finn Indicted

 

Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph have been indicted on failure to report child abuse charges.  The charges are misdemeanors.  Here is the statement of the Kansas City-Saint Joseph Diocese regarding the indictments.  Go here for the details.  A few observations:

1.  The charges stem from child pornography found on a priest’s, Shawn Ratigan’s, computer in December 2010.  The pictures were turned over to the authorities in May of this year.  This was far too slow.  The diocese was conducting its own internal investigation of Ratigan, but bishops should not attempt to play cop.  Whenever such evidence surfaces it must be turned over to the authorities pronto.

2.  The prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is a fanatic pro-abort.  A former Democrat member of the Missouri House, she resigned when she was appointed as Kansas City prosecutor in May of this year.  I suspect that she intends to use Bishop Finn’s scalp to ride to higher political office.  She claims that this was all the grand jury’s doing and not hers which is risible.  Grand juries are the tools of the prosecuting attorneys and will, as the saying goes, normally indict a ham sandwich if that is what the prosecutor wants.

3.  Failure to report suspicion of sexual abuse is rarely prosecuted as demonstrated by the fact that Planned Parenthood abortion clinics routinely abort underage girls, and no Planned Parenthood affiliate has ever been successfully prosecuted for failure to report suspected sexual abuse of a minor.

 

 

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