Monthly Archives: August 2012
Our national motto, “in God we trust”, reminding us that faith in our creator is the most important American value of them all.
Three predictions from this convention. Mitt Romney will be President of the United States, Paul Ryan will be President of the United States and Marco Rubio will be President of the United States. Here is the transcript of Senator Rubio’s introduction of Mitt Romney last evening: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office.
Yesterday, in response to an inquiry, I offered these observations about how Romney needed to come across in his speech:
Romney needs to come across ultra competent and optimistic. I think most of the nation understands that Obama cannot fix the economy, but they are skeptical that Romney can do better. He needs to convince them that he can.
Romney will have the usual advantage of most Republican candidates in that much of the mainstream press has given a fairly distorted view of him. Just showing up without horns and a tail will give him a boost, as it does most Republican presidential candidates.
Romney should echo what Ryan said: does anyone, outside of rabid Democrat partisans, really believe that if Obama remains in office that his economic policies will do any better in the next four years than they have in the last four? Time for something new.
I don’t view Romney’s task as very difficult. He has never been much of an orator, but he has improved over the campaign. This speech doesn’t require the touch of genius that Ryan’s speech had. A solid, workmanlike effort, obviously heartfelt, should be sufficient.
I believe that Romney’s speech last night met these goals. The speech was a “more in sorrow than in anger” look at the abysmal stewardship of the Obama administration as to the economy, and Romney brought up what is the overriding issue in this campaign:
What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.
What America needs is jobs.
Lots of jobs.
Since the 1820’s in this nation the economy, unless overshadowed briefly by a war or some great issue like slavery, has determined the outcome of almost all presidential elections. If the economy is good the party in power is rewarded on election day. If the economy is bad the party in power is thrown out. The economy today is quite bad and Romney understands that this is the determining factor in this election. Last night I think he succeeded in his task of convincing enough people that Obama had failed and that he might do a better job at getting the economy up and running.
Here is the text of the speech: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The reason for the blatant harassment?
TSA agents did not cite any specific threat, but insinuated the Paul family was a threat to Mitt Romney, claiming the nominee “might be nearby.”
If I ever needed concrete proof that what the TSA does is not only a violation of human dignity and absolutely intolerable in a country that claims to be free, but also completely unnecessary and politically-motivated (after all Paul publicly criticizes the TSA), this is it.
Love or hate his politics, the idea that Ron Paul, his wife, or anyone else in his family poses a threat to Mitt Romney or anyone else is an absolute joke. Incidents like these make me ashamed of my country, and I am more than disappointed that this is one problem that the GOP in neither able or willing to address.
There is no level of security that is worth this level of invasive and perverted government intrusion into our lives. If the price of “security” is seeing children traumatized, old and disabled people humiliated, women sexually violated, and citizens in general being treated as potential enemies and threats by a fraternity of uniformed government thugs, I will gladly do without it.
Live free or die, America.
I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we — we own this country.
Truly one of the most bizarre, and entertaining, moments I have witnessed in almost fifty years of observing national political conventions. People may forget almost all of this convention as the years roll by, but they will always remember Clint and the empty chair! Here is the text of his unforgettable act: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Likes: Romney did a fine job undermining the hysterical “war on women” propaganda being shoved down our throats 24/7 by the DNC. Undecided voters in the battleground states will be less likely to accept the notion that Romney is a “dangerous extremist” who wants to send women “back to the dark ages.” He stated his willingness to defend innocent life and the institution of marriage but did not press the point.
I appreciated his emphasis on family, community, and religious faith comprising the foundation of social and economic life in the United States – this, in contrast to inefficient welfare bureaucracies and self-appointed nannies deciding what is best for us. The best social safety net is a spouse, a job, and a church.
I also appreciated his insistence that success in business is not something to be ashamed of, but something to celebrate, and that private-sector experience is an asset to the Presidency.
Dislikes: Of course my co-bloggers and half of my readers will disagree (and that’s ok), but the reassertion of America’s old foreign policy really strikes a sour note with me. I wasn’t particularly thrilled when Chris Christie called for a “second American century” either. A country with financial problems and cultural divisions as deep as ours, and with a serious and unattended crisis on its southern border, cannot afford to be the policeman of the world.
Granted I didn’t expect Romney to say anything about the broken border tonight, but in my view this is the most serious national security threat and the one that ought to be the top priority. One of the reasons I supported Ron Paul in the primaries is because I agree with his foreign policy views – and reject those of the rest of the GOP.
But since I don’t really believe that Obama’s foreign policy is significantly different, at least for my tastes, this is really a non-issue for me as far as the election itself goes.
College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.
I have been a connoisseur of oratory, especially political oratory, since I became old enough to understand that a speech was being given. Last night’s speech by Paul Ryan was truly remarkable. How was it remarkable? Let me count the ways.
1. It is difficult to deliver an attack speech with pleasant good humor, and Ryan did just that, and the good nature in which the indictment of the Obama administration was delivered made it all the more effective.
2. The speech was delivered in a low-key style with Ryan hardly raising his voice. The temptation, when you get in front of a vast live audience, like a convention, full of partisans, is to go “hot” and deliver a full-throated roaring speech. Ryan did not make that mistake. He understood who his real audience was: uncommitted voters watching on television or the internet, and he presented his arguments coolly and non-confrontationally.
3. He allowed his personal affability to shine through. Many politicians find this difficult to do. Rick Santorum, who I supported in the primaries, is a very likable and witty man off the stump. He often found this hard to convey in his speeches. Ryan does this effortlessly.
4. Ryan dealt deftly with the issue of Romney being a Mormon:
Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.
Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.
Note the reference to “Lord of Life”. This is not a man who is a sunshine pro-lifer.
5. Ryan got nicely to what this election is truly about on a philosophical level: sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.
6. Ryan hammered away at the poor economy and asked a question that Obama simply can’t answer: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?
Here is the text of the speech: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
One hundred and fifty years ago today General John Pope was busily engaged in having his Union Army of Virginia thrashed by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at the Second Battle of Bull Run. In the 1880’s Pope wrote an article for Century Magazine, one of its many articles by Civil War commanders which would later come out in the four volume set Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, in which Pope did his unconvincing best to defend his conduct in this fiasco. Go here to read it. At the end of the article Pope claimed that he never said that his headquarters was in the saddle.
There are other matters which, although not important, seem not out of place in this paper. A good deal of cheap wit has been expended upon a fanciful story that I published an order or wrote a letter or made a remark that my “headquarters would be in the saddle.” It is an expression harmless and innocent enough, but it is even stated that it furnished General Lee with the basis for the only joke of his life. I think it due to army tradition, and to the comfort of those who have so often repeated this ancient joke in the days long before the civil war, that these later wits should not be allowed with impunity to poach on this well-tilled manor. This venerable joke I first heard when a cadet at West Point, and it was then told of that gallant soldier and gentleman, General W. J. Worth, and I presume it could be easily traced back to the Crusades and beyond. Certainly I never used this expression or wrote or dictated it, nor does any such expression occur in any order of mine; and as it was perhaps served its time and effected its purpose, it ought to be retired. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
A couple of days ago I was listening to a radio show on Sirius. The hosts were playing audio of a woman who had spent six hours waiting in line at the welfare office. The woman did not sound particularly old, and she had six kids.
There were several disconcerting elements to the story. The fact that this woman waited so long highlights the inefficiencies of government bureaucracies. More importantly, it was clear that this woman not only depended on the welfare checks to get by, the attitude expressed in the soundbite revealed how deeply she felt entitled to the government benefits.
No one should begrudge those who truly need government assistance. I know nothing of this woman’s history, so I won’t comment on her situation specifically. But I was saddened as I listened to this woman speak, and I thought of how welfare has turned many people into truly helpless individuals – not because they are so by nature, but because that is what the welfare state does to people.
The radio hosts who played this story have what can be described as a libertarian bent, and they decried the welfare state’s tendency to breed dependency. Yet I couldn’t help but laugh at their willful blindness, for they are certainly the types who would mock social conservatives. So many libertarians, or socially liberal and economically conservative individuals, fail to appreciate the nexus between social and economic issues. The breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state. More and more children are born out of wedlock, and single mothers must turn to the state to provide financial support to their families. Yet these social libertarians (indeed some of them are libertines) see no contradiction in promoting lax cultural mores while decrying ever-increasing government dependency.
Yet libertarians are not the only ones who fail to connect economic and social issues. Looking at it from a different perspective, those who consider themselves socially conservative but who advocate enhanced government intervention in economic affairs do not see how the welfare state itself leads to the breakdown of the family. The welfare state has practically displaced the family in many situations, fostering the sense of independence from family life. The family hasn’t been wholly displaced as the primary means of financial support, but many people have been brought up to expect that the government will be there to bail them out of poor life choices. Therefore, just as the breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state, the welfare state itself contributes to the breakdown of the family. It is a vicious cycle, and those who insist that we can separate economic and social issues perpetuate that cycle.
Keep your eye on Mia Love, the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. Pro-life and endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List, she is a passionate conservative and gives a great stump speech. Bright and articulate, she is a formidable campaigner and a hard fighter. If she is elected in the fall I expect her to have an impact on Congress rare for a freshman member.
Details here. I’m not calling for Democrats to be as hysterically anti-Muslim as they are hysterically anti-Christian at the moment, but their willingness to suppress cognitive dissonance rivals if not surpasses that of the sheep from Animal Farm.
Pro-lifers in the past two years have made immense gains as CBS ruefully noted yesterday:
The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, tracks legislation. Elizabeth Nash, its state issues manager, said: “Since the November 2010 elections, we have just seen a huge tidal wave of abortion restrictions roll across states.”
Restrictions include bans on abortions at 20 weeks; 24- to 72-hour waiting periods; and a requirement to inform women of suicide risks if they seek an abortion. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Today is the feast of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, an event which is mentioned in a source other than the Gospels. Here is the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote circa 93-94 AD regarding the death of the Baptist in his Jewish Antiquities:
About this time Aretas, the king of Petra, and Herod the Tetrarch had a quarrel on account of the following. Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas and had lived with her a great while; but once when he was on his way to Rome he lodged with his half-brother, also named Herod but who had a different mother, the high priest Simon’s daughter. There he fell in love with Herodias, this latter Herod’s wife, who was the daughter of their brother Aristobulus and the sister of Agrippa the Great. This man ventured to talk to her about a marriage between them; she accepted, and an agreement was made for her to come to him as soon as he should return from Rome, one condition of this marriage being that he should divorce Aretas’s daughter. So when he had made this agreement, he sailed to Rome; but when he had finished there and returned again, his wife, having discovered the agreement he had made with Herodias, and before he knew that she knew of the plan, asked him to send her to Machaerus, a place on the border between the territories of Aretas and Herod, without informing him of any of her intentions. Accordingly Herod sent her there, thinking his wife had not perceived anything. But she had sent messages a good while before to Machaerus, which had been under the control of her father, and so all things necessary for her escape were made ready for her by the general of Aretas’s army. By that means she soon came into Arabia, under the conduct of the several generals, who carried her from one to another successively; and soon she came to her father and told him of Herod’s intentions. Aretas made this the start of his enmity toward Herod. He also had a quarrel with him about their boundaries in the area of Gabalis. So they raised armies on both sides and prepared for war, sending their generals to fight instead of themselves. And when they had joined battle, all Herod’s army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives who, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip and joined the army, betrayed him. So Herod wrote about these affairs to Emperor Tiberius, who was very angry at the attempt made by Aretas and wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him and either to take him alive, and bring him in chains, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the command that Tiberius gave to the governor of Syria.
→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Reason number one why it is imperative to make certain that come next January President Obama will add Ex in front of his title.
(cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)
(AoftheAP) Earlier today, St. Augustine made an unscheduled visit to the editorial offices of AoftheA, on this, his feast day, to air a complaint.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I’m beyond joyful at being a saint, and having been declared a Doctor of the Church. Deo Gratias and all that. But really – I have other well-known sayings, too, you know. Not just the “Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you”, that you have published in your sidebar.
“Sure, I’m proud of that one, to a certain extent. But you’d think that that’s the only important thing I’ve ever said! How about ‘Oh Lord, give me chastity, but not just yet’? Or maybe ‘He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent‘? Here’s another good one: ‘God loves each of us as if there were only one of us‘? Hardly anyone remembers that one. I even wrote a few jokes, and no one remembers those either.”
The AoftheA editorial staff, when asked to comment, merely said that the Reflections From the Saints comes directly from the MyCatholic.com website, and since they published the quote, perhaps St Augustine should go pay them a visit as well.
“Oh, I assuredly will,” the saint responded, “Believe me, there are quotes literally dripping off every page of Confessions – yet that one gets picked. It’s kinda disappointing. I’m feeling pigeon-holed.”
When asked about his own favorite quote, he smiled. “That’s easy. ‘Thanks, Mom.’”
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I wish I could say the above video is an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. Timothy Noah demonstrates this in The New Republic in a charming article entitled, Romney Cribs from the GOP’s Willie Horton Playbook. In the article Noah somehow fails to note that in 1988 the first candidate to bring up the fact that Michael Dukakis as governor of Massachusetts defended a furlough policy for prisoners, including convicted first degree murderers serving a life sentence, was Al Gore. Willie Horton, a first degree murderer serving a life sentence, received a weekend furlough, did not come back, and committed the crimes of rape, assault and auto theft. Horton was sentenced to two life sentences plus 85 years in Maryland. The Maryland judge refused to return him to Massachusetts, saying, “I’m not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again.” Michael Dukakis as governor of Massachusetts thought that such furloughs were a great idea and defended the policy. Bush is accused by Noah of racism for bringing up these very inconvenient facts against Dukakis.
So much for history. How is Romney guilty of racism according to Noah?
Edsall sees the Romney campaign using race in two ways. Most overtly, the Romney campaign is accusing President Obama by of gutting welfare reform by dropping the work requirement—a gross distortion of an unexceptional waiver Obama granted several states allowing them to experiment with alternative ways to meet the work requirement. Two of the five governors requesting the waivers were Republicans, and among those who have denounced the workfare accusation as flat-out untrue is the Republican former congressman and current talk-show host Joe Scarborough. The second way Edsall sees the Romney campaign using race is more subtle. According to Edsall, Romney is conveying a racially-charged message in accusing Obama of taking money away from (mainly white recipients of) Medicare to fund (majority non-white recipients of) Obamacare.
According to Edsall, Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have so far been leaving the race-baiting to ads on TV and the Internet while taking the high road in their own appearances. That isn’t quite right, as TNR’s Alec MacGillis has shown; Romney is not above integrating the welfare-based attack into his speeches. Now Romney has taken the game to a new level in an interview published today in USA Today. Romney tells USA Today’s Susan Page that Obama issued the welfare waivers to “shore up his base. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading