Monthly Archives: August 2012

Miles From Bristol

Attention sports fans: there is a brand spanking new sports blog titled Miles from Bristol. We’re just getting started, but head on over for some scintillating discussion about all things sports (and even sports entertainment). As you can tell from the glitzy design we’re more about content than style.

If you would like to be a contributor to the blog, leave a comment here.

How Not To Be A Racist

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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. Continue reading

Devastating: Charlie Crist Endorses Obama, Will Speak at Democratic Convention

Devastating to Barack Obama, that is.

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s backing Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times. The endorsement came as Republicans are gathering in the Tampa Bay area for the GOP convention. It also came amid preparations statewide for Tropical Storm Isaac.

Crist left the Republican Party during his unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and is currently registered as having no party affiliation. He was elected governor of Florida as a Republican in 2006.

Yes, that “unsuccesful” bid, where as a sitting governor he netted a whopping 30% of the vote and lost by 18% to Marco Rubio.

So after being humiliated in the general election by Rubio, Crist has decided to take his marbles and endorse President Obama. Hmm, where have we seen this act before? A person’s ambitions for greater glory are thwarted, and he decides to simply switch allegiances in an effort to suck up to Barack Obama. I really feel like I’ve seen this play out before. Hmmm.

Crist will be speaking at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. I’m sure the Democrats are excited that a former Republican governor will be addressing their convention. Actually, they’re probably excited that anyone is speaking at their convention at this point.

As for Crist’s endorsement, it is interesting that the man who once claimed that Sarah Palin was more qualified to be president than Barack Obama is now endorsing the latter. What changed Crist’s mind? Well, let’s look at his op-edContinue reading

Intolerant Jackwagons!

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I know that the Marine Corps will be here forever; this administration won’t.

Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey

One of my favorite character actors is R. Lee Ermey.  A gunnery sergeant and drill instructor in the Marine Corps, he was honorably discharged from the Corps in 1972 as a result of injuries he sustained in two tours in Vietnam.   Since that time he has built an acting career, playing off his DI personae and his flair for comedy.  Recently he was a spokesman for Geico, but was fired for giving vent to his views about the current administration during a Toys for Tots program in Chicago last year.

After being asked about his GEICO commercial wherein he played a psychiatrist calling his patient a “jackwagon,” Ermey said, “GEICO fired me because I had, I wasn’t too kind about speaking with the, about the administration, so the present administration. So they fired me.”

“So they fired you because of political reasons?” asked the TMZ representative.

“Yeah,” Ermey answered. “If you’re a conservative in this town, you better watch out.”

Here is the program and a transcript of what he said.

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I got to tell you, folks, we’re having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably has a lot to do with that. And the way I see it, they’re not going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up, and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing, because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. And I’m sick and damn tired of it, and I know you are too. But I know the Marine Corps is going to be here forever – this administration won’t. Semper Fi. God bless you all. Continue reading

The New York Times and the Hive Mind

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Arthur Brisbane was the Public Editor (ombudsman) for The New York Times.  In his last column he made this observation:

 

I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.       

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.       

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

In the same column Brisbane made the startling revelations that fire burns and water is wet.  Not really, but that would be on the same level of stating the bloody obvious. Continue reading

High Flight

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This seemed appropriate on a weekend when Neil Armstrong died.  The poem was written by 19 year old John Gillespie Magee, Jr. an American serving as a pilot with the RCAF in World War II in England, prior to the entry of America into the War.  A few months after he wrote the poem  he was killed in a mid-air collision. Continue reading

The Party of Death in Convention Assembled

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Playing up the War on Women meme and the Todd Akin gaffe, the Democrats are going to be celebrating their most sacred rite right at their Convention in September:

Democrats said that they will feature Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parent Action Fund, Nancy Keenan, president of the NARAL Pro-Choice America and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student whose plea for federal birth control funding drew the ire–and a subsequent apology–from Rush Limbaugh.

What’s more, the Democrats are expanding their list of women ready to assail the GOP on women’s issue, adding Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and actress Eva Longoria to the list that already includes Sen. John Kerry and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

This goes hand in hand with their rejection of Cardinal Dolan’s offer to pray at the Democrat convention.  Dolan is giving the benediction at the Republican convention this week, so in an effort at even-handedness, he offered to do so for the Democrats.  This offer was rejected out of hand.  Why?  It would have been smart politics for the Democrats to have the Cardinal pray for them, perhaps the visuals marginally helping them with Catholic voters.  Yet they turned up their nose.  I can think of three reasons for the rejection: Continue reading

Neil Armstrong: Requiescat in Pace

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For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.

Statement of the Armstrong Family

 

 

The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died today at 82.  He served as a naval fighter pilot in Korea, flying 78 combat missions.  A test pilot after the war, his feats in that field were legendary, combining strong engineering ability, cold courage and preternatural flight skills.  He was accepted into the astronaut program in 1962.  On July 20, 1969, in the middle of the night in Central Illinois, he set foot on the moon.  My father and I, like most of the country, were riveted to the television screen as we watched a turning point in the history of humanity.  He intended to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  It came out:  “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Godspeed Mr. Armstrong on the journey you have just embarked upon. Continue reading

Latter Day Leftist Secessionist

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Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Faith that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has an unforgettable look at a book written by splenetic Leftist, Chuck Thompson, who wishes that the South would secede:

It may interest you to know that a significant number of those Americans who think that Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox was a devastating tragedy, maybe even most of them, reside north of the Mason-Dixon Line and probably have never been to, have no ancestors from and have no interest in visiting that large area south of it.

If a leftist Yankee travel writer named Chuck Thompson, author of Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, ever put together a list of the worst American presidents, George W. Bush would probably come in second behind Abraham Lincoln.  In the Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim reviews the book:

On the first page, the author wonders why the American electoral system must be “held hostage by a coalition of bought-and-paid-for political swamp scum from the most uneducated, morbidly obese, racist, morally indigent, xenophobic, socially stunted, and generally ass-backwards part of the country.” You expect him to let up, to turn the argument around, to look at the other side of question. But he never does. For more than 300 pages, Mr. Thompson travels through the South observing customs, outlooks and people and subjecting them to an unremitting stream of denunciations.

The American South is certainly not above criticism or satire.  And many writers from other parts of the country or the world have visited the South and written useful and interesting books about their experiences.  Thompson, on the other hand, made up his mind beforehand and went looking for what he thought he needed to see. Continue reading

North Dixie

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Something for the weekend.  A Union version of Dixie sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Here is the regular version also sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford: Continue reading

“Don, There’s A Nut On The Phone.”

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I was working at my desk in the law mines Wednesday afternoon, when I heard one of my secretaries say loudly “Mr. McClarey never speaks to anyone who will not give their name!” followed by a phone being slammed down.  I sauntered into her office to see what was up.  She told me that some bitter old harpy was yelling and talking a mile a minute, demanding to speak to me and ranting about who was paying for The American Catholic, that Biden was a better Catholic than Paul Ryan, and spewing various insults aimed at conservatives.  When she wouldn’t give her name my secretary hung up on her per our standard operating procedures.  I learned long ago that if someone will not leave their name that is almost a certain sign of someone with a few screws loose, and I simply do not have the time to waste dealing with such phone calls.  My other secretary heard us and said that she had received a similar call a few minutes ago and after letting the woman vent for five minutes hung up on her after she repeatedly ignored requests to give my secretary her name.  At this time the caller called back and we put her through to voice mail.  The person began her diatribe by denouncing me as a coward, this from someone who would not give her name.  I deleted her call at this point since she was obviously merely going to repeat the tiresome rant that my secretaries had already described to me.

If she had merely given her name I would have been happy to talk to her and tell her who is paying for The American Catholic.  Fifty percent of our revenue comes from the Vatican.  I was in the midst of fingering my monthly pot of Vatican gold when she called.  This of course is in addition to the squad of albino squirrel assassins that I received from the Vatican when I helped form The American Catholic four years ago this October.  The remainder of our funds comes from the Koch Brothers.  They usually pay us in blood diamonds, although I would note that the shipment last month seemed to be of a lesser quality than they customarily send.  As a result, I am happy to report that each contributor to The American Catholic is rich, rich beyond your wildest dreams of avarice!  (Don laughs evilly:  Ha! Ha, Ha, Ha!  Chortle, snort!) Continue reading

In Defense of Mother Russia

I haven’t heard much about the ongoing dispute between the Russian government and the Western media over the fate of the faux “punk rock band” ***** Riot in the American Catholic media. But this is a dispute in which I believe we ought to take sides as Catholics.

[No, I will not give the vulgar hate group the sociopathic pleasure of having yet another Christian publication use their name]

Three members of the vulgar hate group were arrested following their desecration of Moscow’s largest Orthodox cathedral. They have now been sentenced to two-year prison terms, with the six months spent at trial counting as time served.

My position on this incident is pretty clear. I stand 110% with the Russian government, the Orthodox Church, and the tens of millions of Russian Orthodox who have condemned the vulgar hate group – and I believe all Catholics in all countries ought to do likewise.

Not simply because this appears to me to be a deliberate ploy encouraged and promoted by anti-Russian elements in Europe and the United States; not simply because in all of the Western countries hypocritically condemning Russia these same actions could be and likely would be regarded as hate crimes according to their own established laws; not simply because the right to free speech does not, never has, and God willing, never will mean the right to invade any space one chooses and defecate on the floor; not simply because I respect the religious sensibilities of the Russian people; not even because I am fairly certain that being on the opposite side of whatever cause the degenerate celebritariat is championing is almost always the best and wisest choice – ???. Not just for those reasons.

Continue reading

Solidarity and the Welfare State

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An interesting look at Paul Ryan by Father Barron based upon the twin poles of Catholic social teaching:  subsidiarity and solidarity.  It is easy to see how the welfare state, consolidating ever more power in the central government, is destructive of subsidiarity.  What is often overlooked however, is how destructive the welfare state tends to be also of solidarity.

1.  A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them.  We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash.  Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

2.  A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy.  Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

3.  As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

4.  By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

5.  Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women.  The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society. Continue reading

Father John Ireland and the Fifth Minnesota

 

 

One of the titans of the Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century in the United States was Archbishop John Ireland, the first Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Future blog posts will cover his career as Archbishop.  This blog post is focused on his service during the Civil War.  Ordained a priest only a year, Father John Ireland at 24 in 1862 received permission of his bishop to join the Fifth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.  He joined the regiment immediately after the battle of Shiloh.

At the battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862 the Fifth Minnesota saved the day for the Union with a charge that stopped a Confederate breakthrough of the Union lines.  Running short on ammunition, the troops received additional cartridges from Chaplain Ireland who ran down the line dispensing ammunition.  When the fighting was over, the soldiers noted that their chaplain tirelessly tended the wounded and administered the Last Rites to soldiers whose wounds were beyond human aid.

The troops were very fond of their young priest and built him a portable altar from saplings.  His sermons were popular with the men, being direct, blunt and brief.  He was noted for his sunny disposition, quick wit  and his courage.  He was also an enthusiastic chess player, and would take on all comers in the evenings in camp.

Before battles he would hear the confessions of huge numbers of soldiers, with some Protestant soldiers often asking for admission to the Church.  He was always ready to pray with any soldiers no matter their religion, and give them what comfort he could in reminding them that God was ever at their side during their time of peril.  On one occasion he went to the side of an officer who had been shot and was bleeding to death and had asked for a chaplain.   the Archbishop recalled the scene decades after the War.   ‘Speak to me,’ he said, ‘of Jesus.’ He had been baptized — there was no time to talk of Church. I talked of the Savior, and of sorrow for sin. The memory of that scene has never been effaced from my mind. I have not doubted the salvation of that soul.”

Father Ireland was mustered out of service in March of 1863 due to ill-health, but he never forgot his time in the Union Army.  He was ever active in the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization,   and would write about his experiences as a combat chaplain.  Unlike most Catholics of his day, he was a firm Republican, the friend of Republican presidents including McKinley and Roosevelt, and never forgot why the Civil War had to be fought, as this statement by him regarding the rights of blacks indicates: Continue reading

Hope and Change Shattered

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Trailer of an anti-Obama documentary The Hope and the Change detailing why 40 Obama voters from 2008 are not voting for him in 2012.  The Romney campaign has been running ads like his featuring former disillusioned Obama voters.  Obama ran in 2008 with the type of hype that I have never seen before in an American political campaign.  More than a few of his acolytes viewed him literally as a messianic figure.  The hopes he raised in many of his followers could never have been met by any president.

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