Monthly Archives: October 2011
And they were right.
Oh, and what’s a little Congressional approval between friends?
President Obama notified Congress today that he is sending about 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help battle a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Gee, so nice of the president to notify Congress that he’s sending American troops to engage in another country’s war. I guess he gets a gold star for doing it in advance.
Conrad Black has written one of the most rambling and fairly incoherent things I’ve ever seen in quite some time. I’m not quite sure what his overall point is, but he ends up attacking Antonin Scalia of all people.
But some are, including Justice Antonin Scalia, who, as Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times on October 2, has attacked the complainant in a civil suit to stop the banning of co-ed dormitories at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. As Ms. Dowd pointed out, Justice Scalia has not hesitated prior to this to volunteer publicly either his solidarity with his Church militant, or his dissent from it. But in the case of the Roman Catholic Church’s long-held and oft-expressed (by four recent popes) hostility to the death penalty, Justice Scalia recently told Duquesne University in Pittsburgh that if he thought “that Catholic doctrine held the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign.” Since he could not possibly be unaware of the views of the Holy See over the past 50 years (John Paul I was the only pope in that time who did not reign long enough to opine on the subject), nor of the authority of the pope to speak on such matters for the whole Church, it is not clear why he is not delivering his letter of resignation to the president instead of sticking his nose into the dormitory rules in one of the national capital’s universities.
To move the inquiry that Ms. Dowd usefully started to entirely secular matters, there could be searching questions about why the Supreme Court has sat like a great suet pudding for decades while the Bill of Rights has been raped by the prosecution service with the connivance of the legislators, a tri-branch travesty against the civil rights of the whole population, but I will spare readers another dilation on that subject. However, Justice Scalia’s preoccupation with the dormitories of the Catholic University of America (a matter that is now, to the Justice’s chagrin, sub judice), is, in the circumstances and to say the least, bizarre.
Leaving that aside, the report card on the co-equal branches is not uplifting: The legislators and the executive wimped out on abortion and immigration. The beehive of conscientious jurists on the Supreme Court applied a completely amoral test to get to a defensible conclusion on abortion when it was dumped by default on them to determine. And its most vocal current Roman Catholic member, swaddling himself in his faith, upholds the death penalty in contradiction to the popes, holds in pectore his views on abortion (which is not now before the high court, though not for absence of petitions), and thunders fire and brimstone about coeducational university dormitories, which is not, I think, a subject that the See of Peter has addressed.
This is just bizarre. From relying on Maureen Dowd as a source of criticism of Scalia’s Catholicism, to his complete non sequiter about Scalia’s involvement in the CUA suit, to Black completely misconstruing Church teaching on the death penalty; this turned into an unholy mess of an article that already has no clear thesis.
I was all set to write a response, but Shannen Coffin has already done so masterfully. I’d be violating fair use to copy and paste the whole thing, but you must read the whole thing. But here are the key passages: Continue reading
Today, October 14 Anno Domini 2011, the Battle of Hastings occurred between the Anglo-Saxon King Harold and Duke William of Normandy.
The following is an animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry .
King Harold had a depleted force of 5,000 foot soldiers from a decisive victory of the combined Viking forces of Tostig and Harald Hadrada in the north of England the previous month. Whilst Duke William had a force of 15,000 infantry, cavalry, and archers. Facing superior numbers King Harold took up a defensive position that nearly won the day if it wasn’t for Duke William’s resilient command of a deteriorating situation.
Unfortunately it seems that my post this week on Kipling’s poem Tommy is oddly relevant:
The ideological orientation of academia to the political left is an old story. Certainly such ideological conformity was well established back in my halcyon undergraduate and law school days at the University of Illinois, 1975-1982. Outside of my ROTC courses, I was guaranteed to be the most outspoken conservative in any class I attended. In some classes of course, geography for example, politics never came up, but when political issues arose they would almost always be presented with a left of center, sometimes far left of center, viewpoint. With the same shy, retiring nature that is always on full display on this blog, I always felt compelled to respond, which included, on one memorable occasion, interrupting a class room political rant by one of my education professors at the five minute mark with the comment: “That is garbage sir! Sheer garbage!” The look on the shocked faces of my classmates will remain a cherished memory until my dying day! Continue reading
Cries of fascism and dictatorship are often overblown. Not so in the case of Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.”
Jackson called for full government employment of the 15 million unemployed and said that Obama should “declare a national emergency” and take “extra-constitutional” action “administratively” — without the approval of Congress — to tackle unemployment.
“I hope the president continues to exercise extraordinary constitutional means, based on the history of Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past,” Jackson said. “He’s looking administratively for ways to advance the causes of the American people, because this Congress is completely dysfunctional.”
Let’s put aside the disgustingly unconstitutional piece of advice for one second, and concentrate on Jackon’s economic plan. He actually wants to pay the unemployed – to do what exactly? – and at $40,000 per head. That comes out to $600,000,000,000 – that’s 600 Billion dollars. And that’s only if we go with the 15 million number for unemployed. That figure is undoubtedly a low-ball figure of the number of Americans actually unemployed. In reality we’d most likely have to double that figure and then some. So Jackson is suggesting that we simply pony up over a trillion dollars a year to guarantee full employment. And again, what are we employing these people to do?
The more important issue is that Jackson considers mere political opposition to a favored policy to be, in effect, treason. That’s right, anyone who dares disagree with the Obamamessiah is an active rebel against the United States government. And, since those people opposing Obama were elected to office – and, by the way, were elected more recently than Obama – isn’t Jackson implying that a majority of the people of the United States are in active rebellion? Good to know what Jackson thinks of his fellow countrymen.
In the end, Jackson wants to crush out dissent and utilize the machinery of the state to co-opt the marketplace and guarantee certain economic outcomes. Gee, if only there were a word to describe this kind of desired polity.
But remember, the tea partiers are extremists.
H/t: Creative Minority Report.
This Klavan on the Culture is from October 8, 2009. What a difference two years have made in the fortunes of Mr. Obama, with his reelect number now down to 41%. However, as a cautionary tale we should never forget the type of adulation received by this hack politician from Chicago during the election campaign of 2008 and the early days of his administration.
From Mark Morford, San Francisco Gate Columnist, on June 8, 2008: Continue reading
This post was prompted by Kyle Cupp’s recent reflections on the “inviolability of human life” (Vox Nova October 6, 2011). Insofar as it concerns a republication of an essay pertinent to the topic of Kyle’s post, I will confine my own introduction to three responses that came to my mind during the course of reading.
First, with regards to the assertion that “any direct killing is not only an attack on the creature but an attack on God, which is always and everywhere evil” — I have often wondered how do advocates of this line of thought address God’s summary execution of Ananias and Sapphira in the New Testament (Acts Chapter 5)?
Secondly, it seems to me that the adoption of a stance of absolute pacifism in some Christian circles flirts dangerously with the heresy of Marcionism — in that its adherents seem all too willing to draw a sharp divide between the God if the Israelites in the Old Testament (who was not above ordering Israel’s kings, prophets and judges to use lethal force, to say nothing of His own actions) and the by-and-large peaceful and nonviolent God of the New Testament (to which, again, the story of Ananias and Saphira might constitute an unsightly and conflicting blemish). This is exemplified in one reader’s comment:
More proof, if any were needed, that the so-called “Old Testament” should be consigned to the literature shelf, along with Homer and the rest of the primitive, pre-Christian texts. The “O.T.” can be cited to justify virtually any kind of homicide one should want to commit, including genocide. All one needs do is think that he’s channeling God’s will and he can kill with guilt-free abandon. Some call it piety; some call it pathology.
Cardinal Dulles once observed that the Old Testament the Mosaic Law specifies no less than thirty-six capital offenses calling for execution, and that while Jesus refrained from using force in most cases (a notable exeption being driving the money-changers from the temple with a whip), “at no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment.” While he argued in opposition to the death penalty, he wisely saw that one could not do so in ignorance of, or opposition to, Catholic tradition. His example is worth emulating.
My third and final point has to do with the “dirty hands” perspective — the assertion that even in situations where killing is warranted (as a defensive measure), the mere act of taking human life itself is intrinsically immoral, the equasion of armed force with violance, and lethal force to murder, such that any resort to such is deemed necessarily sinful. Or as Kyle says: “Killing is always wrong, even when it’s right.” Curiously, I find this stance indicative of a distinctly Protestant mentality that dispenses with centuries of Catholic thought and tradition. (That said, we are in an age now where it seems that Protestant and Catholic voices have become indistinguishable on this very subject, with multiple fronts voicing indiscriminate condemnation of armed force without qualification).
This last and final point is best argued in the following essay, “War and the Eclipse of Moral Reasoning”, by Dr. Philip Blosser. (Republished here by kind permission of the author) — a discussion of which I hope will bear much fruit.
– Christopher Blosser Continue reading
No, not Limbaugh, not that Rush. You know – Rush.
I had to drive cross-state yesterday on a sales call, so I grabbed some CD’s to play, and one was Gold, by Rush – a compilation of their biggest hits. The Trees struck an appropriate chord.
At the very least, you’ve got some Neil Peart percussive excellence to jump-start your morning… Continue reading
“I thank God that I served as a sergeant and army chaplain in the First World War. How much I learned about the human heart during this time, how much experience I gained, what grace I received.”
Pope John XXIII
The seventh in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here and here. Throughout his life Kipling constantly returned to one theme in his poetry and prose: the common British soldier. Kipling did not romanticize them, being far too aware that they were merely fallible humans like the rest of us, and often the products of the school of hard knocks with many rough edges about them. However, he also recognized their virtues: courage, endurance, good humor and a willingness to place their lives at jeopardy for the rest of us. He never forgot the men who lived at the sharp end of the stick and who often got the short end of the stick from the society they protected. His poem Tommy brilliantly encapsulates this wretched ingratitude:
I went into a public-’ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-’alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.
Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.
We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.
You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees! Continue reading
Rick Perry has suffered in the secular polls due to his performance in the debates, Herman Cain has gained traction, Mitt Romney has remained stable and just received an endorsement from Chris Christie who himself has officially stated he will not run for president (this time around). In addition both Sarah Palin and Thad McCotter have also announced they will not pursue the nomination, in all this, Rick Santorum has maintained a lead among TAC readers of all candidates.
Will Santorum continue his popularity among Catholics or not?
Here’s our latest poll so please vote after watching tonight’s GOP debate:
Good post from Carl Olson on Steve Jobs that casts a different light on the man than some of the hagiography that we’ve seen. What caught my attention and what I wanted to post about, however, was another article that he linked to which was written by Vaclav Smil. It hits upon a subject I’ve been meaning to blog about since Jobs’s death. The long and short of it: Steve Jobs was no Thomas Edison.
I have no desire to disparage or dismiss anything Jobs has done for his company, for its stockholders, or for millions of people who are incurably addicted to incessantly checking their tiny Apple phones or washing their brains with endless streams of music—I just want to explain why Jobs is no Edison. Continue reading
Pat Archbold at National Catholic Register has raised the question of who is your favorite and least favorite movie priests. I’ll pass on least favorite; too many nauseating candidates. My favorite is easy. Karl Malden gave the performance of a lifetime as Father Barry in On the Waterfront (1954) preaching an impromptu sermon over the dead body of a murdered longshoreman whose union is controlled by mobsters. Malden’s portrayal of a fearless tough priest telling the Gospel message to men cowed by their fear of the gangsters who control them is completely magnificent and unforgettable. Continue reading
There are a slew of politically based TV talk shows on network and cable television. Have you ever had the desire to see a conservative oriented talk show that wasn’t full of gimmicks, one that brought in guests from the conservative and liberal sides? Sadly the current state of affairs seems geared for conservatives to either engage in name calling, a tactic often used by liberals, or worse yet negotiate away the conservative truths in which we believe. There is a better way; announcing the television program Non Negotiable; a new type of political program hosted by Dave Hartline and Damon Owens.
Both Hartline and Owens have appeared on various national television and talk radio programs. In addition they have written national and web based articles. Non Negotiable was created and will be produced by television and movie producer Christian Peschken who himself hosted Radio & TV talk shows in Germany , before he came to America some twenty years ago. Peschken has produced a variety of television programs and feature films. In addition, he has produced a number of programs for EWTN.
Non Negotiable will have seven truths rooted in the ideas of the US Constitution and Natural Law. The hosts of the show will discuss what can and cannot be negotiated with regard to these seven time honored principals. If after a discussion the idea proposed doesn’t fit the 7 Point Criteria, the hosts will simply announce; “This Non Negotiable.” The program will debut in 2012. Currently Peschken is in negotiations with several cable networks with regard to purchasing airtime to reach 90 million potential households nationwide.
In 1996 the fledging Fox News Channel and their CEO Roger Ailes was laughed at by conservatives for putting Bill O’Reilly the host of a TV tabloid Show called Inside Edition as their number one Prime Time focus. Fifteen years later most political talk shows still try to copy O’Reilly’s The Factor. The point being that Ailes didn’t use conventional wisdom, his gut told him that Americans wanted something different, and so it is today with Producer Christian Peschken.
In 2012 the new political oriented TV talk show Non Negotiable will air in this pivotal election year. However, it is not just any election year but an election that comes against the backdrop of the most serious economic crisis since the Depression. Add to that a growing political movement called the Tea Party juxtaposed against a resurgent but as of late crestfallen liberal revival that first surfaced in 2006. These combustible ingredients parlay themselves into an attentive television audience the likes of which has never been seen in the modern, internet, social media age.
As this show’s production ramps up, there certainly are some of you out there, and you know who you are, who could help the investors get this show immediately up and running. Investors are being sought now to procure the necessary funds for this program series. Please keep this show in your prayers and look for updates as the fall of 2011 turns to winter.
To Contact Christian Peschken e-mail to Pesckenmedia@aol.com
The old saw is that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, as if statistics were in some way a variety of lie. Of course, the issue is not so much that statistics are lies, as that statistics represent an attempt to simply quantify a terribly complex reality, and with simplification comes the opportunity for error — often error confirming the biases of the person doing the analysis.
The other day I ran into a very interesting exploration of one of those statistics which is often discussed — that “more families are in poverty” after the last three decades than was the case in the past. In 2006 Hoynes, Page and Stevens authored a paper entitled “Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations” which was published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. One of the interesting things they do is look at the trends in poverty by family type. The findings are fascinating: