O Holy Night

Saturday, December 22, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  A powerful rendition of O Holy Night by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Gordon MacRae. The poem on which the hymn is based was written in 1847 by Placide Chappeau de Roquemaure at the request of his parish priest.  Chappeau asked his friend Adolphe Adam, a French composer, to set it to music.  In 1855 Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight created an English version of the carol which has been immensely popular in America ever since.  In 1906 the carol was the second piece of music to be broadcast on radio.

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8 Responses to O Holy Night

  • Tennessee Ernie Ford was always one of my favorites. I once wrote a poem celebrating his career, and received a very gracious response from him that I treasure. Singing along with him and Gordon brought tears to my 85-year old eyes. Thank you so much Donald. What a Christmas blessing!

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  • Very good.
    I have always liked Gordon MacRae, from his years in the 1950’s and 60’s musicals – from memory, “Oklahoma” in particular I enjoyed.
    I also like Celine Dion’s version of this hymn -( although some don’t like Celine whatever she sings )

  • I like this in both French and English. It really needs the full operatic treatment. Adolphe Adam, best known for the ballet Giselle, was more Andrew Lloyd Webber than Hector Berlioz, but he sure had a hit here!

  • The song eloquently rings forth the joy of Christmas and that the world after the birth of Christ was forever changed.

  • Actaually, Adolphe Adam, who was Jewish, composed the music to O Holy Night.

    Adam was a friend of Placide Chappeau de Roquemaure. It was Chappeau who was asked by a parrish priest to write a poem for Midnight Mass Service. Chappeau called his poem, Minuit, Chrétiens. and liked it so much that he asked Adam to compose music for it.

    Sullivan’s English translation from the French, although quite beautiful, leaves much to be desired. It’s probably due to his Unitarian beliefs.

  • You are correct Vicky as to Chappeau being asked by a priest to compose the poem. I have corrected the post to reflect that. As for Adam being Jewish, although some sources assert that it seems unlikely. It is certain that Adam received a Catholic burial.

  • Sorry. That first sentence in the last paragraph should read Sullivan Dwight’s English translation…

Avoid the Doghouse

Saturday, December 22, AD 2012

We run this each year during Advent as an act of Christian charity for our male  readers.  Of course some women do like practical gifts.  For example, Mrs. Claus is giving my bride, at her request, a steam mop for Christmas.  My bride is special though.  She has put up with me for 30 years as of December 18th of this year, and she has blessed me with so many gifts in those three decades:  endless good humor, infinite patience, three priceless kids, support in my defeats, cheering in my victories, the type of love we all long for.  A pearl of great price is my bride, a woman of rare sagacity and intelligence.  Additionally she is a woman who reads this blog several times a day.  Hi Dear!  (Don waves!)  Below is the sequel to the Doghouse video above:

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14 Responses to Avoid the Doghouse

  • MERRY CHRISTMAS, DONALD MC CLAREY, TO YOU AND YOURS. I have to admit that I suspected that your “bride” was behind all your posting, impeccably free of errors. Truly a marriage made in heaven, Happy Anniversary Dec. 18. GOD BLESS.

  • Additionally she is a woman who reads this blog several times a day.


    My husband’s big gift for me… is a computer that he’s building with my needs in mind.

    Ah, geek-made gifts!

  • Never let a day end without a hug being thankful that you still have each other. I could not help being reminded of the 63 years and over 58 years of marriage my wife and I had together. Christmas especially reminds me of her.

  • Congratulations on your masterpiece, anniversary. What beauty God can create when His children place their needs last, and their loved ones first.

    I can’t wait to share the above clips with my wife Mary. I know she will enjoy them as much as I have. Very funny material.
    Our twelfth was celebrated last May 1st, Feast of St. Joseph the worker

  • I am pretty dense. I spent about two weeks of the past 34 years not in the dog house.

    I learned that “baubbles” are the way to go for gifts. Not economical, but fast and easy.

    We can learn from the lying, vile liberals.

    Now, whenever the wife burns the roast, etc. it will be, “Honey, the oven ruined supper.” Not, “You burned the roast, again.”

  • These are great. Thanks! I wonder if it is time for a variation on the theme – The Cathouse! All above board of course.

    Oops, I’m falling, aaaah.

    I’m in the doghouse.

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  • Just as the habit of merchants to go squishy with “Happy Holidays” in order to dodge any possibility of giving offense will eventually undermine the whole gift-buying drill that makes The Season Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken so profitable to them, the J.C. Penney (JCP) ads do their bit to undermine marriage. Pray tell, why should a man wish to be hitched to any of those spiteful shrews?

    Similarly horrible are the ads with this tag line:

    “Every Kiss Begins With Kay.”

    Not a very high opinion of females you have there, Ms. Kay-Jewelry.

    Finally, where are all those JPII “new feminists”? They should be holding public Burn Your JCP Charge Card and Kiss Kay Goodbye rallies and picketing the stores. But they aren’t. They’re silent in solidarity with the more ordinary Gloria Allred sort of No Matter What We Always Side With The Female feminists. Hmm.

    The War On Men continues.

  • …Why exactly should “New Feminists” be acting exactly like the old ones, but in your preferred direction? Those good Catholic ladies I know are busy actually doing stuff, rather than throwing a fit every time someone says something foolish or you detect some dark undertone to advertising jingles.

    But by all means, follow in the footsteps of feminism by hijacking a sweet, joking post about putting care into your choice of gifts and understanding the expectations of your other half in order to issue a blanket accusation of Catholic “new feminists” siding with baby-killers.

    Perhaps it’s not a war on men, it’s just “war on guys who make wild accusations and constantly complain on the least hint of an opening and generally act exactly like the humorless feminists.”

  • Let’s see, what did I get for Christmas? Two cheap pastry brushes, a teddy bear (with Coke can), and a Dave Barry book that has me laughing so hard tears were strolling down my cheeks. The only jewelry I got was from my parish “secret santa” and I must confess, the earring/necklace set isn’t quite my style.

    My son (who just finished building a 1300 plus Lego kit and who has a girlfriend) wants to know why that one man’s wife didn’t like the vaccuum cleaner. My son made a point that in every vaccuum commercial, there is always a woman who is using it. Maybe that fellow saw the same commercials and thought that women like vaccuum cleaners.

    On the other hand, my son bought her a ring, not a vaccuum, for Christmas. She got him a Transformer.

  • “On the other hand, my son bought her a ring, not a vaccuum, for Christmas. She got him a Transformer.”

    Wise son DJ!

  • *laughs* My dear husband got me a lovely new computer, and installed everything!

    I got him a calender of the art of the star wars comics and a bottle-opener ring– both of which had him laughing so hard he almost fell off the couch.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy here) We got our autistic son that same Star Wars comics art calendar for Christmas, Foxfier! His brother & sister each got a new printer for their computers, Don got some flannel shirts, history books & computer games, and I got the steam mop Don mentioned earlier, as well as several SF/fantasy novels & a “Law & Order UK” Season 2 DVD boxed set.
    Our daughter also received a pre-owned iPod for Christmas; unfortunately, however, it was DOA when she tried to charge & sync it – so we’ll try to exchange it at the local GameStop tomorrow morning.

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Our Contemptible Media

Friday, December 21, AD 2012

One takeaway from the tragedy in Newtown is that if there’s an element in the Bill of Rights that needs revisiting, it’s the first and not the second amendment. The absolute gleeful joy that members of the media have taken in using the tragedy to advance an agenda is exemplified by the likes of Piers Morgan, who at least has the decency to admit as much:

Okay, Piers was being sarcastic, but this is a case where sarcasm revealed some truth. Morgan has been a leading crusader for gun reform in light of the shootings, and he has used his platform to bully gun rights proponents. Here is Morgan embarrassing himself on national television with Larry Pratt a few nights ago. And here he is with John Lott.

When a media personality causes you to yearn for the insight and wisdom of Larry King, you know you have reached the absolute bottom of the barrel.

Now Morgan’s rank opportunism in the wake a tragedy is not even the most disgusting aspect of media behavior in the past week.  Matt Lewis details some of the more egregious behavior.

The media originally reported the wrong name of the alleged shooter. (The suspected killer was Ryan Lanza, they breathlessly reported. Turns out it was actually Ryan’s brother, Adam.) Then, some in the media advertised Ryan’s Facebook and Twitter pages. (This, of course, brings to mind Brian Ross’ irresponsible and premature on-air suggestion over the summer that the Aurora shooter was a Tea Party member.)

As if those cases of egregiously mistaken identity weren’t enough, producers and reporters began trolling Twitter, seeking to proposition friends and relatives of the victims for an interview.

Meanwhile, others staked out the young survivors, and then proceeded to conduct on-air interviews with these young children. This was unseemly and superfluous. As TIME‘s James Poniewozik wrote, “There is no good journalistic reason to put a child at a mass-murder scene on live TV, permission of the parents or not.”

While the media preens about gun control, the fourth estate ignores its own role in potentially prompting these horrific events. A forensic psychologist named Park Dietz thinks the media has blood on their hands.

“Here’s my hypothesis,” he said. “Saturation-level news coverage of mass murder causes, on average, one more mass murder in the next two weeks.” The reason, he says, has something to do with the USA’s size. In a country so large the likelihood of one or two people snapping becomes quite high.

“It’s not that the news coverage made the person paranoid, or armed, or suicidally depressed,” Dietz said. “But you’ve got to imagine this small number of people sitting at home, with guns on their lap and a hit list in their mind. They feel willing to die. When they watch the coverage of a school shooting or a workplace mass murder, it only takes one or two of them to say – ‘that guy is just like me, that’s the solution to my problem, that’s what I’ll do tomorrow’. The point is that the media coverage moves them a little closer to the action.

The 24/7 news cycle may not be the cause of these massacres, but the intense coverage . . . doesn’t help.

What the past few days have shown is that the media’s leftist tilt is not the primary problem. While there are some noble and decent reporters – Jake Tapper comes to mind – overall they are a wretched hive of scum and villainy. All right, maybe they’re not that bad, but one wonders what motivates certain members of the press. One relatively minor incident from the world of sports demonstrates what I mean.

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12 Responses to Our Contemptible Media

  • “. . . overall they are a wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

    Hear, hear!

    reason.com; Jacob Sullum re: CNN/Piers Morgan’s rationale for gun control: You’re stupid! You’re mass murder waiting to happen!! “The exchange, during which Pratt remains admirably calm, pretty accurately reflects the general tenor of the current gun control debate, with raw emotionalism and invective pitted against skepticism and an attempt at rational argument. I am not saying that every supporter of gun control is a raving bully on the order of Piers Morgan, . . . But proponents of new gun restrictions are counting on emotional appeals for victory, which is why they insist that action must be taken immediately, before the grief and outrage provoked by Adam Lanza’s crimes starts to fade.”

  • It gets (if you can imagine it) worse.

    Karl Denninger:

    “You see, our government has been running guns. Illegally running guns. Jaime Avila, in just one of many examples, purchased two rifles that were found at the scene of a federal agent shot near the Arizona-Mexico border. Our government knew Mr. Avila was illegally trafficking weapons to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Nonetheless, when his purchases were called into the BATFE for clearance, the government intentionally approved the transactions (a felony) despite knowing they were illegal.

    “Two of those hundreds of weapons came back over the border and were used to murder Brian Terry. Hundreds of Mexican citizens have been murdered with these guns in total — guns that our government illegally, intentionally and maliciously allowed to be delivered to this murderous cartel.

    “Mr. Avila’s sentence? 57 months in prison, or just under 6 years.


    “Two days before the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.”

    Media outrage? Zero

  • John Lott is the last person a gun grabber should ever try to take on in a debate. I mean that’s really asking for it.

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  • Does anyone wonder if Satan contrived this tragedy to allow a Socialist President to disarm America? Does anyone remember what happened to Germany after it was disarmed? Gun control is the flagship of every socialist philosophy. Only criminals and tyrants would have weapons. What a mockery that would be.

  • The NRA is America’s first, and longest running, civil rights organization. I’m an Endowment NRA member for 40 years.

    I am proud of my friend and our EVP Wayne LaPierre’s for his lecture to that horde of lying, vile scum.

    You know he succceeded. They’ve really got their collectivist bloomers in a bunch: massive wedgie administered!

  • If there was any stupidity on Mr. Pratt’s part, it was thinking he could have a sensible discussion with someone like Piers Morgan on this subject.

  • Speaking of Jake Tapper, saw today that he’s moving to CNN. Looks like they could use him!

  • Watch what happens when Piers tries bullying the Motor City Madman Ted Nugent:

  • The name “Münchausen syndrome by proxy” is derived from Münchausen syndrome, but it is important to distinguish one from the other, as they describe very different (but related) conditions. People with Münchausen syndrome have a profound need to assume the sick role, and will exaggerate complaints, falsify tests, and/or self-inflict illnesses.[5] MSbP perpetrators, by contrast, are willing to fulfill their need for positive attention by hurting their own child, thereby assuming the sick role by proxy. At times, they are also able to assume the hero role and garner still more positive attention, by appearing to care for and ‘save’ their child.[6] from WIKIPEDIA

    “Piers Morgan: “Of course I am, you moron” > RT @coelkhntr I think you are somewhat gleeful that a tragedy happened to help you push your cause”

  • Any person who dismisses our founding principles, that is, our right to Life, Liberty and our pursuit of Happiness dismisses his own citizenship. This is why there is a Supreme Court to decide his innocence or guilt. A guilty person has incriminated his citizenship and may not be free to participate in the community.

  • How do the lying, vile scum get away with it?

    Answer: Public schools consign nearly all Americans to innumeracy: mathematical ignorance/illiteracy. Mass lunacy is a consequence. See John Allen Paulos’ book.

    Case in point: innumeracy/pseudoscience behind assault rifle bans.

    Without a familiarity with the workings of large numbers, people can irrationally react to terrifying incidents, especially when propagandized by evil men.

    An example: fear of flying and terrorism. Airline terrorism deaths have been a media theme. About 85,000,000 body cavity searches later . . .

    Here is the math: in 1985, 17 Americans died in air terror. In that year, 28,000,000 Americans traveled by air. Ergo the chances of being killed by air terror were 1:1,600,000. Compare 1:1,600,000 to 1:5,300 killed by car crashes.

    They cry, “You are all mass murderers waiting to massacre school children!”!

    In 2012, so far (what?) 50 were killed in assault rifle massacres. Your odds are: 50 in 310,000,000 or 1:6,200,000.

    “The NRA Kills School Children!”

    “But, but . . . if it happened to you that would be 1:1.” Here is another symptom of innumeracy: the tendency to personalize (hint: it’s irrational and wrong). The only instances wherein personalization works are death and taxes: you are 1:1 lilely to die, and you can’t avoid taxes, either.

    If I have to talk with such imbeciles, I usually say, “Sudden death is preferable to malignant melanoma. In the long run, we all die.” Then, I hope the headaches aren’t too harsh.

    Innumeracy also shows itself in pseudoscience which includes the gun control superstition.

    Isaac Asimov: “Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What have we to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity!”

    And, liberty!

I am Shocked! Shocked!

Friday, December 21, AD 2012

In the Age of Obama, California under Governor Moonbeam is a reliable predictor of where the nation is headed:  Bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, California released a report that revealed state tax revenues have plummeted even further below Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) estimates, even after residents voted to increase taxes via Proposition 30 in November’s elections.

At the end of November, “taxes were 3% short in the fiscal year that started in July,” which is “a gap of $936 million.” The state was 0.7% short a month before.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Finance, spun the poor numbers by saying Facebook’s stock vested earlier than expected, and “boosted October taxes higher, while decreasing November revenue.”

But the report found that tax revenues were below estimates nearly across the board, as total “year-to-date revenues are $936 million below the initial forecast.”


According to the report, personal income tax revenues were “$827 million below the month’s forecast of $4.387 billion.” Sales and use tax receipts “were $9 million below the month’s forecast of $1.601 billion” and the year-to-date sales tax revenue was $8 million below forecast.

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8 Responses to I am Shocked! Shocked!

  • McClarey, I love you! This is the funniest thing I’ve read all year!

  • I can’t take credit for finding this, as I was alerted to it by the Limbaugh show. The article is on “exit taxes” for people who move out of state.


    An honest person, though, might reasonably ask “Hey, why shouldn’t people have to pay exit taxes? They voted for the stuff.” Well, some of them anyway. I remember some years back this girl who came ’round to promote a Big Government Cause during the state elections season. She was refreshingly honest enough to admit she didn’t know much about the issue, didn’t know who was backing it, and didn’t really care. She was being paid to go door to door to destribute campaign info, then she was moving out of state soon to be “with [her] man.”

    It makes me think that maybe the “secret ballot” idea isn’t always so great, because we don’t know who voted to raise whose taxes, increase regulations, promote abotion, etc.

  • It is interesting to me that you blast “Governor Moonbeam” for his bad economics and yet you don’t understand the simple difference between a currency user and a currency issuer.

    Don’t be a hypocrite. Learn the difference. Know that a currency issuer cannot go bankrupt in its own currency.

  • “Don’t be a hypocrite. Learn the difference. Know that a currency issuer cannot go bankrupt in its own currency.”

    Don’t be a fool Alex, and please learn the meaning of the term “hypocrite”. I spend a fair amount of my time dealing with bankruptcy cases. Neither California, unless Congress amends the Bankruptcy Code, nor the nation are going to be filing a bankruptcy petition and going through formal bankrupty. If a State cannot pay its debts however in any realistic fashion over any conceivable timescale, it is bankrupt whether a formal bankruptcy petition can be filed or not. If a nation cannot conceivably pay its debts it really doesn’t matter if it can print endless amounts of what will eventually be worthless currency (think Zimbabwe). The idea that the Federal government can endlessly conjure money out of thin air forever at the rate we are currently doing so is a fable that is coming to a close. Reality always catches up with moonbeamism.

  • There are 11-or-so states including CA, IL, NY, NJ and CT on the fiscal death spiral (unlike Uncle Sam: states can’t print money, monkey with interest rates, or borrow without limit) where tax-takers outnumber taxpayers; and the accrued public pension liabilities are unfunded. Sane people would consider evacuating such economic disaster areas.

    We are going to live to see if the MIT/Princeton PhD’s (better people than the rest of us! or credentialed cretins) are correct in their dreamt-up/death planet-sized economic plots.

    Regarding the US path: think Weimar inflation and schusssss.

  • New York is not on a fiscal death spiral and is one of the few states with a fully funded system of public employee pensions. It has problems with budgeting for several reasons, chief among them that it has a split legislature.

  • Art,

    I love you, man. I live in NYS, too. But, not for long: Machine-gun Kelly and Midget Mike Bulmbung are turning it into a police state.

    Hey, I should be grateful.

    They gave me another opportunity to observe how I react amid sudden death – 23 Aug outside the Empire State Bldg., but that’s another topic.

    According to the November 2012 Forbes magazine, the NY ratio of tax-takers to taxpayers is 1.07. Ergo, NYS in on the death spiral list.

    “Fully funded” public pension fund is in the “eye of the beholder.”

    I don’t want to bore anyone with the details.

  • “The article is on “exit taxes” for people who move out of state.”

    I’d almost suspect the author of the article is trying to “plant” the idea as a way of getting back at blue state residents for reelecting Obama, even though a lot of them (myself included) didn’t vote for him. If the state of Illinois is ever crazy enough to attempt this, I’ll just have to take up do-it-yourself rafting or hot air ballooning (like people used to do to escape communist countries).

Spitting on the Dead

Thursday, December 20, AD 2012


Jeffrey Rosen is a liberal in good standing.  He is the legal affairs editor of The New Republic.  He posted a piece on the passing of Robert Bork.  Rosen was a summer intern on Joe Biden’s staff that summer.  (May I say that some of the colloquies between the uber dense Biden and the uber brilliant Bork during the confirmation hearings  make for some amusing viewing.)  Although Rosen opposed the confirmation of Bork, he regrets the manner in which his nomination was defeated:


But even from the sidelines, as I celebrated Bork’s defeat, I remember feeling that the nominee was being treated unfairly. Senator Edward Kennedy set the tone with a demagogic attack. “Robert Bork’s America,” he said, “is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of Americans.”

Bork’s record was distorted beyond recognition, and his name was transformed from a noun into a verb. The Borking of Bork was the beginning of the polarization of the confirmation process that has turned our courts into partisan war zones, resulting in more ideologically divided opinions and less intellectually adventurous nominees on the left and the right. It led to the rise of right-wing and left-wing judicial interest groups, established for the sole purpose of enforcing ideological purity and discouraging nominees who have shown any hint of intellectual creativity or risk-taking. And it had obvious costs for Bork.

Go here to read the rest.  The reaction of most of the TNR readers commenting on the post is unsurprising but depressing nonetheless:

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66 Responses to Spitting on the Dead

  • “The mercy you give shall be the mercy you receive.” On coffee break and away from resources, however I do recall these words and for me they seem appropriate.
    God bless Mr. Bork and may perpetual light shine upon him…

  • philip: “The mercy you give shall be the mercy you receive.” On coffee break and away from resources, however I do recall these words and for me they seem appropriate.
    God bless Mr. Bork and may perpetual light shine upon him…”

    I agree. Let not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth escape the Supreme Court. America would have had the truth with Robert Bork.

  • It says something about Prof Bork that he spoke up publicly for Lani Guinier (Pres Clinton’s nominee for Dept AG) when she was “borked” on the basis of her law review articles.
    A lesser man, like myself, would have sat back and enjoyed a bit of Schadenfreude.

  • Hatred: It’s a liberal thing!

  • Bork, working from Above!?
    Christianity Today breaking story of possible Wheaten College win over HHS mandate.
    If so, heavenly court interceding? Let’s pray that the news is correct, and our freedom of conscience is protected.

  • Jeffrey Rosen is a liberal in good standing. He is the legal affairs editor of The New Republic. He posted a piece on the passing of Robert Bork.

    …Didn’t have to get any further along than that to know I didn’t want to read any more.

    Some scum are never happy unless they can viciously attack the safest possible target.

  • Actually Foxfier the piece itself is fine since it points out, accurately, that Bork was defeated by the vilest sorts of lies and character assassination. It is the kneejerk, “Hurrah Bork is dead” reaction of the commenters to the piece that I found of interest.

  • It is the kneejerk, “Hurrah Bork is dead” reaction of the commenters to the piece that I found of interest.

    Exactly my point.

    Even if you CAN find someone who does a fair shake, it’ll be covered with cowards.

    Sort of like far from all liberals would spit on cops or soldiers…but there’s more than enough who take great glee, then paint themselves as victims if anything comes of it.


  • You will not see this type of vile behavior from the right when Tribe passes. Thankfully, most of my liberal friends are more like Rosen. But not all.

  • Most conservatives think that liberals are wrong and wish to convert them. Most liberals think that conservatives are evil and wish to defeat them by any means necessary.

    Don, I was struck by the beauty of this observation. But on reflection, I don’t think it’s true. At least, it’s not true any more. There’s a nasty strain of what at best you could call populism on the right. I’m not saying we’ve got a mote, or even an equal speck, but we’ve got something in our eye. Am I imagining it?

  • No, Pinky, you’re not, and it just goes to illustrate how hate, like contagion, does eventually spread. One can be vilified only so long on as grand a scale as national propaganda spew before it is nigh impossible to retain civility in the face of such attacks. But that, too, is part of the Progressive plan. Our greatest strengths counted humility and patience, and that’s where they’ve attacked for generations. Now, some of us fight like they do; they’re better at it, so they win.

    St. Michael, defend us in battle.

  • “I’m not saying we’ve got a mote, or even an equal speck, but we’ve got something in our eye. Am I imagining it?”

    No, Pinky I would not deny that some conservatives use hateful language against liberals, just as some liberals can express themselves without sounding as if they they wished they could put a bounty on the heads of all conservatives. I think my observation is correct as to most conservatives and most liberals. I would agree with WK that hate does spread and that our liberal opponents are raising up through their vitriol conservatives who will return hatred with hate. We saw what this type of animosity can lead to in 1820-1865.

  • “Most conservatives think that liberals are wrong and wish to convert them. Most liberals think that conservatives are evil and wish to defeat them by any means necessary.”

    Oh come on, Donald. You’re better than this. This is stupid red meat, baseless self-congratulations for being the Decent People and the opportunity to demonize the “other” for something both sides are guilty of. I’m sure I could browse the comments of this blog and come up with innumerable examples of “conservatives thinking that liberals are evil and wishing to defeat them by any means necessary.”

    Regarding speaking ill of the other side’s dead, it’s obvious that both sides do it (ironic that Ted Kennedy figures into this story; need I remind anyone what Andrew Breitbart said about Kennedy following his passing?). I don’t know who does it “more” and frankly I don’t care. It’s wrong and I’ll denounce it whenever and wherever it turns up.

  • I don’t know if I’m just going through a bargaining phase in my post-election grief, but I could have sworn that this used to be easier. We did better and did it with more decorum. Are the Republicans doing worse *because* we’ve lost our decorum? Or are the cards so stacked against us that even at our best we’re getting clobbered? Petulant despair is just about the least Adventy mood possible. I need to get out of Maryland for a while. Getting cut off by bad drivers with Obama bumper stickers is becoming too symbolic for me.

  • Oh come on JL, you’re better than this “both sides are equally guilty” nonsense. As Donald conceded, there are certainly conservatives guilty of using ridiculous rhetoric, but to say that the sides are equally guilty is to turn a blind eye to rancor evident on the left, especially to younger generations of leftists. This is especially evident when it comes to discussion of social issues and many young hipsters can’t even fathom that people can hold contrasting viewpoints.

  • it’s not so much about equal badness, as it is that the types of sentiments you can find in liberal comment sections are echoed much more from “respected” liberals than on the opposite side. even with liberals who give conservatives a fair shake by their standards there’s this desire to pathologize their opponents.

    part of it is the nature of the issues (social issues were mentioned above.) liberalism’s core is that any innate characteristics we have must, by definition, have no consequence. therefore because most homosexual attraction is innate, you can’t object to same-sex marriage. because being a man/woman isn’t a choice so women have to be “equalized” through free abortion access, otherwise you’re ruining their life. etc.

    i think the only way to combat these ideas isn’t through pointing out how liberals are “intolerant” (which is situation-dependent anyway) but questioning this central premise of their thinking. maybe this sounds reactionary, and obviously all human beings have certain basic rights, but liberals have expanded these rights into a more-and-more extensive egalitarianism where plenty of people intuitively object to their conclusions. there needs to be better, more effective communication of why this is in the face of continual liberal claims that intuition is just bigotry and their pose as superduperrational people.

  • “Oh come on, Donald. You’re better than this. This is stupid red meat, baseless self-congratulations for being the Decent People and the opportunity to demonize the “other” for something both sides are guilty of.”

    No JL, it is analysis of what I see. I range widely in my reading and the amount of bile and vitriol I see on the port side of politics in our country far outweighs that on the Right. Politics has never been one of the gentler arts in this country, but the eliminationist language I often observe now on Leftist sites, often with a strong admixture of anti-Christian in general, and anti-Catholic in particular, sentiments, reminds me of the type of language engaged in by much of the Left in early 1930’s Spain rather than in the American political tradition. I fear very bad times coming for the country, unless, in Lincoln’s ringing phrase, the better angels of our nature assert themselves.

  • “I need to get out of Maryland for a while.”

    A good idea Pinky. Nationally, Republicans have not been stronger since the mid 1920’s.

  • It was the Catholic political scientist, Carl Schmitt, who pointed out that just as ethics is about good and evil and aesthetics is about beauty and ugliness, so politics is about friendship and enmity. The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of enmity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one, if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively as friends and enemies”

    That is why Schmitt rejected the notion of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions. To Schmitt, there is no such neutrality, since any rule – even an ostensibly fair one – merely represents the victory of one political faction over another and order is just the stabilised result of past conflicts.

  • Orwell wrote in “Refelctions on Gandhi”, “. . . poltics, which of their nature are inseparable from coercion and fraud.”

    Truth. This is not about saving little school children from assault rifles. This
    and 800 other ruinous, liberal boondoggles constitutes the umpty-umphthed incident of amoral, vampirous elitists suppressing the rest of us.

  • Oh come on, Donald. You’re better than this. This is stupid red meat, baseless self-congratulations for being the Decent People and the opportunity to demonize the “other” for something both sides are guilty of. I’m sure I could browse the comments of this blog and come up with innumerable examples of “conservatives thinking that liberals are evil and wishing to defeat them by any means necessary.”

    1. JL, I think if we did a content analysis of his speeches, we would find that George W. Bush was the least rhetorically confrontational man to occupy the White House in the last 40-odd years.

    2. His initial campaign and his portfolio of domestic policies had the following salient elements: greater socialization of costs in the realm of medical care (specifically prescription drugs for geezers), an amendment in the conditions placed on federal aid to local schools (enacted with the cooperation of Edward Kennedy), and a (time-limited) reduction in the ultimate marginal income tax rate (from 39.5% to 33%). (There was a great deal of bitching and moaning about the minutiae of environmental regulation and off-shore drilling leases, but only a fool takes environmental lobbies seriously). For 3/4 of his tenure, his party had a thin plurality in the federal legislature; a corps of recalcitrant Republicans you could count on your fingers could block anything he wanted in the House of Representatives and any majority you have in the Senate is largely fictional. For the remainder of his tenure, the political opposition controlled both bodies. His challenge to business as usual in Washington was minimal because of structural factors but also due to his own inclinations. Gerald Ford vetoed 65 pieces of legislation in the 29 months he was in office; IIRC, George W. Bush vetoed 2 pieces in the 24 months he faced a Democratic Congress.

    3. As for foreign affairs, he faced a black swan event that had no precedent and not one thing he did prior to April of 2004 did not have a great deal of buy in by the political opposition. He was abnormally steadfast in inclement circumstances and his very peculiar judgments were eventually vindicated with the success of the surge in Iraq.

    4. More particularly with regard to social questions, he did two things: he appointed appellate judges one might reasonably wager would be deferential to democratic choice and he refused to subscribe to the most au courant crud promoted by the nexus of forces around the Democratic Party (crap no one gave any thought to prior to about 1987).

    If you want to characterize George W. Bush, the most descriptive appellation would be “Rockefeller Republican ca. 1962” (before that tribe began pushing contraception and abortion). The man is supposedly abnormally competitive and by some accounts has a temper, but he was invariably polite in public. Other than a history of heavy drinking in his young adult years, the man carries no personal scandals; other than fantasias from Michael Moore and Molly Ivins and Kevin Phillips, no professional ones adhere to him either.

    This dignified and deal-making status quo politician was subject to the most intense and sustained campaign of vilification any federal office holder has suffered in the last 35 years. It makes no bloody sense.

  • Did I mention Sarah Palin? She has some interesting and unusual personal features, but looked at schematically, she was a Republican politician of the standard-type; her general viewpoints on the range of questions politicians ordinarily confront were the modal ones within the Republican Party. She arrived at her position by way of a career in municipal politics, which is quite nuts-and-bolts. She has never been one to do much reading in theoretical political economy. Again, the worst scandal that has befallen her are the public indignities of her oldest daugther, the vast bulk of which occurred after she left public office; there are no non-spurious professional scandals adhering to her.

    A number of years ago, Larry Sabato offered that the way the newspapers interact with federal politicians could be periodized as follows: the era of the ‘lapdog press’ (1941-66), the era of the ‘watchdog press’ (1966-73), and the era of the ‘junkyard dog press’ (1973 to the present). There have been sixteen individuals who have run unsuccessful candidates for the vice presidency and lived into the era of the ‘junkyard dog press’. A grand total of three have been subsequently raked over the coals by the media: Geraldine Ferraro, John Edwards, and Sarah Palin. I have some sympathy for the Ferarro and Zaccaro families, but when four of your six first degree relatives have faced felony indictments over the years, you get some unwanted attention. As for John Edwards, the man is a stupefying sociopath (and his misbehavior was exposed by the tabloid press; the mainstream media wanted to ignore the story).

    Just what did Sarah Palin do that a character like Joe McGinnis thought it advisable to rent a house with a view of her backyard and trash whatever reputation he may have had by publishing anonymously sourced (if not wholly fabricated) crap about her marriage, her child-rearing practices, &c.?

    It makes no bloody sense.

  • Regarding speaking ill of the other side’s dead, it’s obvious that both sides do it (ironic that Ted Kennedy figures into this story; need I remind anyone what Andrew Breitbart said about Kennedy following his passing?).

    Edward Moore Kennedy had the following in his personal history:

    1. Alcoholism
    2. Serial adultery
    3. Vehicular manslaughter (for which he was not prosecuted due to political connections).

    His whole political career was attributable to the family machine (with an assist by dim-witted Massachusetts voters). His first opponent had this to say: “if your name were Edward Moore, your candidacy would be a joke”. ‘

    Can we mention his appalling rebellion against the Church on non-negotiable questions? His re-marriage in defiance of canon law? (For which he received only mild public rebukes).

    Someone had to tell the truth amid the nauseating encomiums, even if their mode of expression was poor.

  • The most salient element of the Kennedy legacy is the ruin who goes under the name “Joan Bennett Kennedy”, about whom Mary Jo Kopechne cannot be reached for comment.

  • Art,

    Let us not forget what they did to Sarah Palin and her family.

    And, what they are doing to the GOP member (heh: an iota of intellect is requisite to recognize irony) of the Senatorial Black Caucus.

    No, wait! We could do this exercise all week . . .

  • It doesn’t help Republicans at all to have an appointed black Senator. They have to prove themselves and vote for him. As for Palin, her affect was terrible, and she did as much damage to the Republican brand as Nixon. The world is tough enough to nagivate; you can’t have people who fall into obvious traps.

  • Art,
    What Palin did was advertise her pro-life beliefs while demonstrating love and care for her Down Syndrome child. This rankled the evil left beyond measure. Truly, that was all there was to it.

  • Why did they hate Robert Bork?

    Maybe it is because Justice Bork was against absolute power. He promoted the intent of the Constitution. He bristled at scholarly incompetence. Robert Bork opposed the usurpation of power from democratically elected bodies to authoritarian gangs of unelected, immoral elitists: bureaucracies and courts. He was a voice crying out (in scholarly fashion) that liberals are evil imbeciles.

    Next topic: Why does the Devil hate Holy Water?

    Pink: Sarah Palin did what?

    Stay right there in Maryland: perfect fit.

  • Exactly, Mike.
    Because of that threat to their self image, they lied about her.
    And thus, Pinky believes that she did damage, not those who lied.

  • Fox – You’re unfairly characterizing my position before you’ve even heard it. If we can’t have better etiquette among ourselves, we’re in trouble. Even the pagans love their own.

    What Palin did was show up unprepared on the national stage. The Republican Party struggles with a national image of being stupid. Palin didn’t know the facts and figures, couldn’t construct effective rhetorical arguments, and took umbrage at criticism.

    Reagan knew his stuff cold. He’d studied it for years. He was always called stupid, but the charge never really stuck, because he could switch between folksy and analytical mid-sentence. Palin presented the image of someone who neither knew the facts nor was particularly interested in learning them. That kind of populism makes it impossible to argue effectively on complex issues.

  • Actually Pinky I believe that Clark Clifford who served in every Democrat administration back to Truman spoke for most Democrats when he referred to Reagan after his election in 1980 as an “amiable dunce”. Reagan since his presidency has been viewed differently than he was at the time. The hatred that Reagan faced, and the sheer contempt by the Left and the mainstream press, cannot be underestimated. Ironically it was Saturday Night Live that got closest to the truth about Reagan:


  • Don – The charge was always made, but it never stuck with the voters.

    The whole charge of stupidity fascinates me. The Republicans do their best when the narrative is R=brains, D=heart. They’re never going to win the heart part of the equation, other than coming off as “amiable”. But they always get hit with the charge of being dumb. They need to work their keisters off against it. You can see the dichotomy in the press’s story line about Bush and Cheney: one was dumb, the other was evil. Bush brilliantly didn’t try to fight it. Palin (like Quayle) came off as huffy about it. The result: in people’s minds, Gore was brighter than Quayle, and Biden was brighter than Palin.

  • “The charge was always made, but it never stuck with the voters.”

    Reagan got elected President for many reasons, but I wouldn’t underestimate his appeal to the hearts of the voters. The constant misunderestimation of him by his political foes served him well throughout his political career. The premise of most liberals is that anyone who isn’t a liberal is, by definition, an idiot. I think this entered into the political equation with Adlai Stevenson, who could do fake intellectual well. (As William F. Buckley noted Stevenson was always threatening to read a book.) The intellectual pretensions of modern liberalism I date from this quip by Stevenson: That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority! Supposed response to a woman who called out to him: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!”

  • Fox – You’re unfairly characterizing my position before you’ve even heard it.

    You’re the one who claimed her “affect” on the “brand” was worse than Nixon. You stated your position.
    She is an attractive woman with pro-life views and a nice batch of kids who did not kill her disabled son, or even have the “decency” to hide him away so he didn’t make the left uncomfortable. So they attacked, they lied, and many people, such as yourself, accepted those lies and then blamed her for that acceptance.
    No amount of preparation will help you when the ones making the rules will edit your videos, selectively quote you and push false accusations as fact, especially not when those supposedly on your side either abandon you or help them.

  • Her affect – mannerisms, expressions – were terrible for a VP candidate. Not because she was a pro-life woman, but because she didn’t formulate clear sentences or articulate party positions in an intellectual way. She was the press’s dream yokel, and they were never going to let that go, but she handled it really poorly. That debate, for example, wasn’t edited.

  • Totally disagree with Pinky. Other than the Couric interview, which even she admits she screwed up, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way she spoke or the way she presents herself on the issues. She has a folksy mannerism that might be off-putting to some and which may make her seem unintelligent, but she has about as firm a grasp on the issues as any of the more polished politicos of our day.

  • Pinky-
    You have heard of our current VP, right?

  • Paul, I agree.
    And yes, Biden makes Palin look like Daniel Patrick Moynihan; but the MSM will never play fair on this and most voters are subject to their influence. I do agree that Palin was “not ready,” though really no more so than Obama, and just to be clear — Biden will never be ready. But while her deficiencies were not wholly imagined, they cannot explain the viciousness of her critics. For that, see my 11:00 a.m. post.

  • And in anticipation of Pinky’s protest of my comparison between Biden and Palin, please remember — glibness is not the chief qualification for the Presidency.

  • It doesn’t help Republicans at all to have an appointed black Senator. They have to prove themselves and vote for him. As for Palin, her affect was terrible, and she did as much damage to the Republican brand as Nixon. The world is tough enough to nagivate; you can’t have people who fall into obvious traps.

    Memo to Pinky (and Howard Fineman, while we are at it):

    1. Gov. Palin has not been found by a grand jury to have been an unindicted co-conspirator to a nexus of felonies.

    2. Gov. Palin did not spend two years of her professional life brazenly lying to the public about said conspiracy.

    3. Gov. Palin did not, through subordinates, hire a collection of tyros (e.g. Krogh), rogues (Hunt, Ulaszewicz, Barker, et al), bizarre rogues (Liddy), and the highly reluctant (McCord, Caulfield, Ulaszewicz) to burgle the offices of political opponents, local psychiatrists, or the Brookings Institution, much less slip LSD to Jack Anderson. Even Joe McGinnins and Todd Purdam got a way without a bloody good hiding from Todd and Track Palin (which is too bad).

    4. Gov. Palin cannot be fairly said to have induced the loss of 42 seats in the House of Representatives to the political opposition.

    Gov. Palin is a high energy sanguine personality. Heretofore, that has not been a handicap with the general public. You do not like her manner of speaking? Somehow I think a public square which can accommodate Jimmy Carter, George Bush the Elder, Joseph Biden, and Ron Paul (not to mention our oleaginous former President) can accommodate Sarah Palin.

    While we are on the subject of ‘voice’, I should tell you that you would be more persuasive if you were not doing a bad imitation of a psychiatric intake nurse.

  • It doesn’t help Republicans at all to have an appointed black Senator. They have to prove themselves and vote for him.

    Can you please name one occasion since 1966 where a black Republican failed to win election to Congress because of a deficit of support from the Republican base? Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Florida have all elected black Republicans to Congress in recent years; the comparative size of the Republican vote in each of these states has been what? The most prominent black federal officeholders in the last twenty-odd years have been Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleeza Rice. The effect on the share of the black electorate casting Republican ballots has been what?

  • Art, What Palin did was advertise her pro-life beliefs while demonstrating love and care for her Down Syndrome child. This rankled the evil left beyond measure. Truly, that was all there was to it.

    Ya think that is what bothered the succession of Republicans who have been chronic (if not obsessive) fault-finders re Gov. Palin (Charles Fried, Kathleen Parker, David Frum, and Joe Hargrave who used to post here, not to mention Pinky)? Try parsing their remarks and see if any of them would withstand two minutes of critical thought. I think there is something more elemental at work here.

  • And in anticipation of Pinky’s protest of my comparison between Biden and Palin, please remember — glibness is not the chief qualification for the Presidency.

    Yes, one might note that Gov. Palin had budgets to produce and line administrators to hire and fire. Biden just needed to hire staff to spin his gaffes and answer the mail.

  • Art, yes, quite a few Republcians have been critical of Palin. Some of that criticism is legitmate: she was not as articulate on some matters as many of us would have wished. Some, I suspect, is sourced in a desire, probably subconsious, to align with the “brights.” And some, perhaps, rests in a simple prejudice, possibly also unconscious, against someone without an elite background. But these critics were not the ones demonstrating unbridled hatred. That came from the Left, and I stand by my explanation.

  • I have been posting on this site for what’s got to be a couple of years now. I am as pro-life and orthodox as anyone here. A person can criticize a politician and remain in the fold, can’t he?

  • Thanks, Mike. I wish I’d seen that post, particularly the second sentence, before submitting my own.

  • person can criticize a politician and remain in the fold, can’t he?

    Sure, but your criticisms are not beyond criticism.

  • I come to bury Palin not to praise Palin.

    She was running for a post wherein she would have two duties: inquiire daily as to the president’s health and attend state funerals.

    She ran the State of Alaska, which unlike IL, NY, DE, and the Federal government is solvent, i.e., not fiscally and morally bankrupt.

    How can she be more stupider than Obama and Biden? Look at the state (as in condition) of Alaska and compare that to the wreck which is the USA after eight years of Bush acting the pro-war liberal and four more ruinous years of Obama, Biden, Geithner, Bernanke, etc.

    Maybe she couldn’t save McCain (a freaking genius, ya think?).

    Because of smart-aleck intellectuals: pretty soon there will be nothing left of the USA.

    Ergo you are all wrong about Gov. Palin’s lack of “glibness” regarding the got’cha questions from the lying, vile scum.

  • “A person can criticize a politician and remain in the fold, can’t he?”

    Of course Pinky, but all posts and comments are subject to critiques from others, certainly that is the case with almost all of my posts!

  • “It doesn’t help Republicans at all to have an appointed black Senator. They have to prove themselves and vote for him.”

    Art, again, what I’m stating is the truth, whether you throw tomatoes or not. It’s going to take the Republicans years more to wear down the distrust that blacks have. The political benefit of this appointment will do next to nothing. The political benefit of Republicans actually voting for him will do a lot more. That’s all I’m saying.

    And we know this. Scott’s going to be considered a token until he wins. Then, he’s going to be considered a token until there are two black Republicans in the Senate. And if even one black Democrat wins in the Senate, the Republicans are going to be back to being tokens. And when Scott’s a four-term senator, head of a committee, and 30% of the Republicans in the Senate are black, there’s going to be a slight hint that not every Republican is a racist.

  • I really wish I hadn’t commented on this post. It only served to set-off another round of self-assurances that “we’re better.”

    Points about hatred for Bush and Palin are well-taken. There was definitely a disgusting level of vitrol and bile directed at them. I’ll only point out the the level of despisement for our current president has addled people’s brains so much, that they’re able to simultaneously entertain the notions that he is both a communist and a fascist, both a militant atheist and a secret Muslim.

    Fact of the matter is, I’m not sure where non-empirical, anecdotal evidence gets us. And even if one grants your point that the Left resorts to hate far more than the Right, and that their leaders are more complicit in it then are their conservative counterparts, so what? Why dwell obsessively on this point if not merely to pat yourselves on the back?

  • Art, again, what I’m stating is the truth, whether you throw tomatoes or not. It’s going to take the Republicans years more to wear down the distrust that blacks have. The political benefit of this appointment will do next to nothing. The political benefit of Republicans actually voting for him will do a lot more. That’s all I’m saying.

    No, Pinky, you were saying Republican voters have something to ‘prove’. They do not and it does not matter what they do. (BTW, he was already representing a predominantly white constituency). At some point a generation or two or three down the road, the effects of cognitive dissonance may take hold among black voters and the relationship between that electorate and the Democratic Party apparat will breakdown (and I will wager this process will be quite rapid if and when it occurs). Right now, the political behavior of blacks is quite insensitive to external circumstances and is likely to remain so for some time. (This was not the case sixty years ago and it did not arise from anything Republican politicians did or did not do).

    I really wish I hadn’t commented on this post. It only served to set-off another round of self-assurances that “we’re better.”

    Buddy, when you look in the mirror, just who do you see?

  • “Why dwell obsessively on this point if not merely to pat yourselves on the back?”

    I point it out JL because I believe it is ominous for the nation and because it is something completely ignored, (surprise!), by the mainstream media. As for Obama you will find hundreds of posts critiquing him on this site on substantive grounds. The vast majority of conservatives are horrified by Obama’s policies and could care less about his private religious beliefs.

  • they’re able to simultaneously entertain the notions that he is both a communist and a fascist,

    He is neither, but you offer this statement as though the terms are diametrically opposed rather than representing the same side of the totalitarian coin.

  • fascism
    fas·cism[ fá shìzz?m ]
    dictatorial movement: any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism

    com·mu·nism[ kómmy? nìzz?m ]
    classless political system: the political theory or system in which all property and wealth is owned in a classless society by all the members of that society

    Recognize that the “nationalism” involved was in Europe and based on a shared background– thus it’s more along the lines of that annoying habit of breaking folks down by race and assumed culture– and then recognize that America doesn’t have “class” in the same way as the European systems, success fills that gap….

    Then, perhaps, it will make more sense.

    I don’t think Obama believes in much of anything enough to be considered an idiological -ist.

  • @Paul and Fox: Forgive me, I was thinking strictly along 1930’s Europe lines.

    @ Donald “As for Obama you will find hundreds of posts critiquing him on this site on substantive grounds. The vast majority of conservatives are horrified by Obama’s policies and could care less about his private religious beliefs.”

    Well, for that I commend you. But I disagree with the second sentence. Again, it’s just your anecdotal evidence versus my anecdotal evidence, but I think a significant number of Obama’s opponents are convinced he’s a Muslim and/or an atheist, and is therefore unfit to be president. It’s why they’re so eager to drop the “Hussein” bomb, like this is somehow relevant.

  • JL, I do not think there is a Republican equivalent to Paul Krugman, Bradford deLong, Brian Leiter, or Saul Cornell. If you can locate one, please let me know. (Did I mention Michael Moore?).

    As for combox denizens, they are interesting to the extent that they reveal in brighter colors tendencies in the political thought common to the fora in which they participate. That is not the case with people fixated on Barack Obama’s primary schooling or his birth certificate. You would be hard put to find a prominent Republican who signs their name to their opinions who concerned themselves with that. People who fancy the President a moslem or born abroad are either disengaged from public life (and that is most adults) or are the sorts who used to find John Birch literature persuasive. Neither have influence.

    I would refer you to the recent publications of the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. He found that there is a real asymmetry in the degree to which committed leftists and the rest of the population understand each other’s opinions. (His explanation for that was that leftists have a narrower range of fundamental values and are balancing fewer considerations when they compose their viewpoints).

  • “JL, I do not think there is a Republican equivalent to Paul Krugman, Bradford deLong, Brian Leiter, or Saul Cornell. ”

    And if there was, the State Media would quickly work to attack their distortions.

    “(His explanation for that was that leftists have a narrower range of fundamental values and are balancing fewer considerations when they compose their viewpoints).”

    This because, for many on the Left, politics is their ultimate good. Thus little room to vary from their orthodoxy.

  • “She ran the State of Alaska, which unlike IL, NY, DE, and the Federal government is solvent, i.e., not fiscally and morally bankrupt.”

    The main reasons Alaska is not fiscally bankrupt are 1) lots and lots of oil revenues and 2) sparse population. Fewer people means fewer demands for the types of services that strain state budgets (e.g., Medicaid, pensions). Other states in the most fiscally sound category — North Dakota, Wyoming, etc. — also tend to have either or both of these factors working in their favor.

    This is not meant as either a criticism or praise of Sarah Palin — of whom I have said before, is much more competent and intelligent that the media makes her out to be, but I’d rather see her in a Cabinet position or in Congress than as President. It is to point out that Alaska has certain unique circumstances that make fiscal bankruptcy of the type seen in CA and IL very unlikely no matter who is in office.

  • The main reasons Alaska is not fiscally bankrupt are 1) lots and lots of oil revenues and 2) sparse population. Fewer people means fewer demands for the types of services that strain state budgets (e.g., Medicaid, pensions). Other states in the most fiscally sound category — North Dakota, Wyoming, etc. — also tend to have either or both of these factors working in their favor.

    Rubbish. Extractive industries mean considerable flux in employment and income, not persistent prosperity. Fewer people do not mean fewer demands per capita. There are such things as economies of scale and dispersed populations can make for onerous problems in service delivery whatever the level of demand is. Do you think the Postal Service is making money on their eastern Oregon routes? The circumstance in which dispersion would mean fewer demands would be in cases where public services substitute for private provision due to congestion (sewers replacing septic systems and piped water replacing wells). These sorts of services are generally not provided by state governments, but by municipalities.

  • Elaine, I know a physician whose medical training was financed with a scholarship which had as a condition the requirement he spend his first five years in practice on an Indian reservation. There’s a reason physicians are not there voluntarily: it is uneconomic (and not because the locals do not ‘demand’ medical services).

  • Here are the desperate reasons we need not only to honor the man, Robert Bork, but take up his work.

    From “Legal Insurrection” via “Instapundit”:

    “The 2012 word of the year ought to be “emboldened,” in reference to the radical left, the anti-freedom elements of our society: the union operatives, naive but militant Occupy, radical anti-Americanists, and leftist community organizers.


    “Let’s make the word of 2013: Insurrection. (Legal, of course.)

    “Insurrection against the local media

    “Insurrection against the teachers union and their stranglehold over the next generation

    “Insurrection against keeping quiet at the dinner table or at your church

    “Insurrection against the elements that no longer keep quiet about their desire to destroy America, and more important, the limits America was founded to restrict against its government.

    “If we don’t insurrect (legally) in 2013, emboldenment will be outshone by persecution, of which we who support freedom and America have already had a taste.”


    What does “JL” mean, “Just a Liberal”, or “Just a Leftist?”

  • ” What does “JL” mean, “Just a Liberal”, or “Just a Leftist?” ”

    Only in your strange, insular world full of simplistic dichotomies, where one either agrees with everything you say or is a liberal and where one is either an American or drone fodder.

  • strange, insular world full of simplistic dichotomies

    You owe me a new irony meter…..

  • “Only in your strange, insular world full of simplistic dichotomies, where one either agrees with everything you say or is a liberal and where one is either an American or drone fodder.”

    T. Shaw is a 62 year old accountant in New York City. He witnessed the 9-11 attacks. He has a son who is an Army Ranger who has served in Afghanistan. Whatever his rhetorical flourishes that cause him to be on permanent moderation at The American Catholic, I do not think that he can fairly be accused of living in a strange, insular world.

  • Thanks, Mac!

    I’ve been around so long as to realize we each live in our “strange, insular world.”

    It’s that “just liberals” possess complete deficits of self-awareness, and think their “group-think worldview” is preferable to any other.

Christmas “Nuts!” at Bastogne

Thursday, December 20, AD 2012

Sixty-eight years ago at Christmas the American and German armies were fighting it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.

Patton’s Third Army fought its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the attacking German forces.  The weather was atrocious and Allied air power was useless.  Patton had a prayer written for good weather. The skies cleared after Patton prayed the weather prayer, and Allied air power was unleashed on the attacking Germans.




During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101st Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle. Massively outnumbered, battle weary from already having done more than their share of fighting in Normandy and Operation Market Garden and short on food and ammo, they stopped the advancing Germans cold in their tracks.

On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101st troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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11 Responses to Christmas “Nuts!” at Bastogne

  • SCREAMING EAGLES, Devils in Baggy Pants, 101st, MERRY CHRISTMAS, St. Joan of Arc, pray for us.

  • Whenever I hear the song “White Christmas”, I think of those brave, hungry, tired men and of our men and women serving overseas even this Christmas.

    Similarly, in WWI a scratch US Infantry battalion became famous as the “Lost Battalion.”

    On 2 October 1918, various companies of the 77th Inf. Div. (mostly 308th Inf., two 308th and one 306th machine gun Batt.) attacked in the Argonne Forest with French and US units on the flanks. The Lost Battalion got farther ahead and fought surrounded for six days in the pocket it had cut in the German lines (which te Germans needed to eliminate).

    Years ago, I read Laurence Stallings’, The Doughboys, which detailed the war from the AEF viewpoint, and this action. His account has a similar surrender demand, in which the German commander included the sentence “We envy you.”

    The Lost Battalion held on until relieved.

    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” is taken from a chapter heading in The Doughboys.

  • There was a rather good tv movie made about the Lost Battalion T. Shaw:

  • Right, Donald. Very good film.

  • And let’s not forget the souls lost in the Malmedy Massacre, December 17, 1944, which was portrayed in the movie THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE.

  • My brother Bill earned a battlefield commission and other awards including a Purple Heart in Patton’s Third Army, He was sent to a hospital in Paris to recover from his wounds. After a military career that included combat in Korea, as well, he retired as a Lt. Col

  • I bet he had some stories to tell Robert!

  • The 101st is no longer a paratroop division. They are now helo assault. I remember watching interviews with some of the guys from Easy Co. They were saying they were down to one round of ammo per man. And they held off the German offensive, trees exploding from relentless artillery fire notwithstanding. Amazing!

  • My brother took Airborne training twice in the seventies. The first time out he was washed out because he broke his arm. The instructors thought he was crazy to come back a second time, although they admitted that being crazy was not necessarily a disqualifier for Airborne! He got his jump wings on the second go round. As for myself, a plane would have to be on fire before I would jump out of it!

  • As Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood) said, “Jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft is not a natural act.” The closest I ever came to jumping out of a plane was being lowered down to the fantail of my second ship at sea from a helicopter. I wasn’t all that thrilled. I about had to be pushed out of the helo.

  • My late uncle, Pfc W. Lee Crowley of Baker Company of the 506th PIR was there. We have several letters he wrote to my grandmother during the siege. Interesting reading to say the least! I can imagine how he must have reacted to the cold and snow, after growing up in Mobile, Alabama. Uncle Lee passed away in 1982.

The Need for Order, or “Do Something” Syndrome

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012

In light of the horrific massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, it is disappointing but not altogether surprising that the calls to just do something to stop the violence rang out before the middle of the day. I’ll address the disgusting behavior of the mass media in a later post, but wanted to focus this post on the reactions and what they might say about our overall attitudes about life and society.

Gun control activists, grieving with obvious sympathy and empathy for the victims, and of course concerned primarily about the human toil of this tragedy, took to twitter and other outlets to immediately call for stricter gun laws. Ignoring that Connecticut is hardly a modern incarnation of the wild west, they seemed to imply that if we only tightened regulations and banned guns with menacing-sounding names, then we could ensure that no more mass murders of this kind would ever occur again, so long as we all shall live.

There are many legal, constitutional, and logical arguments to be made against further restrictions on gun ownership, and Jeff Goldstein makes just about all of them here. To me the strongest arguments against the gun control crowd are the practical ones. An obviously troubled young man murders his mother, then walks to her school and guns down children  and the thing we’re discussing afterwards are guns? Aside from the fact that even worse crimes have been perpetrated without a single firearm being deployed, we’re missing the big picture when we’re debating the mechanism for carrying out a massacre and not the underlying cause or causes.

Another recurring theme is that this incident is further proof that there is no God. Deroy Murdock expressed this sentiment in the conservative on-line journal of opinion, National Review online.

 Just in time for Christmas, a reputedly almighty God must have been on break Friday morning when Adam Lanza massacred 20 Connecticut school kids. These six- and seven-year-olds were far too young to choose wrongly between good and evil — that choice being the way that believers typically explain how a supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, omnibeneficent God allows such atrocities. Atop the ongoing mayhem of Hurricane Sandy, the carnage in Syria, and the burgeoning power of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, it should be clearer than ever that no one up there watches over us Earthlings. We are on our own.

Of course we’ve all heard this before and have addressed this in myriad ways.

What hadn’t occurred to me is there is a certain commonality between those who use tragedies like this to further the fight for control and others who use it to push an atheistic agenda. Granted there is overlap between the categories, but for now we’ll treat these as separate attitudes.

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32 Responses to The Need for Order, or “Do Something” Syndrome

  • This is the basic affliction at the heart of progressivism. In short, the premise underlying “Do Something” Syndrome is that if only we pass some kind of law, then whatever horrible thing that just happened won’t ever happen again.

    In fairness to advocates of gun control, I think the less emotive of them would merely contend that enhanced controls would lessen the likelihood of these sorts of things. What regulations we have now, what the enhancements might be, a reasonable hypothesis about the effect of those enhancements, and the costs as well as the benefits of those enhancements are things to which they devote no thought (and when gun aficionados get talking about their hobby, you realize you know diddly/squat about guns). The whole point seems to strike attitudes.

    And what attitudes. Look at the remarks of Prof. Erik Loomis and then recall the remarks of Prof. Krugman about Gabrielle Giffords, et al. People who own guns are class enemies to these types. The rest does not matter.

  • the less emotive of them

    Unfortunately not a majority of the total class of anti-gun zealots, or at least not a vocal majority.

    FYI, you are no longer on moderation, Art.

  • “Just in time for Christmas, a reputedly almighty God must have been on break Friday morning when Adam Lanza massacred 20 Connecticut school kids. ”

    Atheists so often have a theological sophistication that would shame a snake handler in the Ozarks. My guess is that concepts like free will, original sin, divine foreknowledge as opposed to predestination, etc, are as foreign to Mr. Murdock as intelligent commentary. How National Review has fallen over the past few decades.

  • Some of them acknowledge those concepts, Don, but simply reject them as our way of rationalizing evil. I think there are some that can be engaged and perhaps brought to the light. Mr. Murdock does not strike me as the type. This is not the first time he’s engaged in simple hysteria.

  • I apologize n advance.

    I’ve been around a long time. I remember when you could buy a revolver in Sears and walk out with it in a holster – you couldn’t conceal it, though. We must have had thousands of mass killings a year in those days.

    It’s not about public safety or “What about the children?”

    It’s about control over you and me.

    The zombies don’t know how to think. They are told what to think.

  • “It’s about control over you and me.

    The zombies don’t know how to think. They are told what to think.”

    They are good Fascists in the making.


  • How National Review has fallen over the past few decades.

    Richard Lowry allows his stable a great deal of rope (while they are producing real time commentary of a type unknown in American political journalism prior to about 1998). The lapse of time between when he had ample justification to hand a pink slip to John Derbyshire and the time when Mr. Derbyshire was actually shown the door was just shy of six years. Richard Lowry ihas now where near the sophistication of Buckley, but then again, Mr. Buckley was a fairly singular figure who had no true peers among magazine editors of his era. National Review does not look bad compared to peer publications.

  • The modern world needs a better class of atheist:

    “Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. “Rum thing,” he went on. “All that stuff of Frazer’s about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.” To understand the shattering impact of it, you would need to know the man (who has certainly never since shown any interest in Christianity). If he, the cynic of cynics, the toughest of the toughs, were not-as I would still have put it — “safe,” where could I turn? Was there then no escape?”
    CS Lewis, Surpised by Joy

    One of the depressing aspects of the current era is how few people are concerned about whether something is true or false, probably because fewer people than in previous generations, at least on a proportional basis, have the intellectual heft and depth of knowledge to make that determination. Also our society has been so penetrated by subjectivism that the very concept of truth is viewed as unimportant.

  • I think you find proportionately fewer people who have been liberally educated in a certain way – studying philosophy and theology and the classics. The thing is, I doubt this needs to be imposed on everyone’s tertiary education. It should, however, be much more available to those who are receptive to it.

    You see this at National Review. Richard Lowry has his stable of academics (Stanley Kurtz, Victor Davis Hanson, Mackubin Thomas Owens). None of these men, however, have the sort of learning that Erik v. Kuenhelt Leddhin had.

  • Sometimes I think Vox Nova exists to confirm our theories.

    “But how can you blame me for this horrible crime? I didn’t do anything,” you and I might object.

    That is precisely the problem. You and I didn’t do anything.

  • Mr. Zummo,

    I congratulate you for your stern fortitude as evidenced by your going to that site and not barfing all over your keyboard.

    Whenever an evil (likely Obama voter) man (woemn don’t do it) massacres debilitated, disarmed victims other evil, Obama voters scream about disarming the te innocent and virtuous.

    When an evil Obama voter kills people that evil, Obama voter is guilty not me. Maybe it’s what psychologists call “projection.” Evil Obama people are evil through-and-through and cannot see that everyone is not evil.

    They exhibit a stark deficit of self-awareness.

  • Glenn Reynolds at “Instapundit” posts that gun control is about “a statement of naked power by one American culture over another.”

    As the higher education bubble bursts VN geniuses won’t get work in academia. Still, they can have stellar careers running concentration camps.

  • ^can we leave the weird Obama-focused comments and Nazi allusions out of this

    and while i share the skepticism of the gun-control advocates but i’m not much a fan of Instapundit’s libertarian reductionism either.

  • Agreed, Art. But it is worth noting that (i) who does? and (ii) those of us of a certain age encountered EvKL only in the pages of the National Review. If you did not read NR, you were pretty much guaranteed to have never heard of him.

  • to put in a word for “compassionate conservatism,” i think it was (and still can be, in a different form) a good rhetorical move to combat media stereotypes/public perceptions. as someone who’s more interested in the cultural side of conservatism than the Glenn Beckian “Woodrow Wilson was a Nazi progressive/big government=fascism” side (caricature but you get my point — maybe i’m reading too much into other blogs’ comment sections,) i think in the coming years conservative politicians should identify what exactly they think a lean, efficient government should do, as opposed to generic references to the leviathan state. to me it’s not so much whether government is big or small, as opposed to if it’s helping/harming in select areas. a good past example of this would be the welfare issue.

    i’m hair-splitting some, but there definitely needs to be a broader GOP economic message than the current tax/regulation-focused one.

  • and apologies if the “whether government works” seems too similar to Obama’s comment in his first inaugural. i think it’s one of his better pieces of rhetoric though, even if it doesn’t much match up with his actual policies.

  • I thought Megan McArdle summed up the “do something” mindset pretty concisely in her long but very good response to the current gun hysteria:

    There’s a terrible syllogism that tends to follow on tragedies like this:

    1. Something must be done

    2. This is something

    3. Therefore this must be done.

    It would certainly be more comfortable for me to endorse doing something symbolic–bring back the “assault weapons ban”–in order to signal that I care. But I would rather do nothing than do something stupid because it makes us feel better. We shouldn’t have laws on the books unless we think there’s a good chance they’ll work: they add regulatory complexity and sap law-enforcement resources from more needed tasks. This is not because I don’t care about dead children; my heart, like yours, broke about a thousand times this weekend. But they will not breathe again because we pass a law. A law would make us feel better, because it would make us feel as if we’d “done something”, as if we’d made it less likely that more children would die. But I think that would be false security. And false security is more dangerous than none.


  • i agree with the above but i don’t like saying “there’s little to be done.” of course i can’t think of a great solution myself without lazily saying “it’s complex” but clearly something has changed for these types of things to be more common (maybe it just seems like that? i’m younger so i dunno what things were like the ’50s or other eras.) i’m interested in some of the broader factors (violent entertainment, videogames, isolation combined with these things) though i don’t know how much of a role they played in this particular case.

  • It’s all good. Obsessing on guns distracts you from the impending economic catastrophe.

  • Opportunistically politicizing the grief and horror to the point of being on scene was a chilling imposition adding to the horror. The silence of dealing with overwrought insane behavior of few is deafening. There must be some gov. dept. in HHS that could point out that a gun control plan won’t stop deviants and miscreants etc. – or not. Mental health is the issue. But …
    Distraction of the many from the doings of gov. missions won the day.
    So, it’s all good ’til next time.

  • “This is not the first time he’s engaged in simple hysteria.”

    I guess Deroy Murdock still seriously needs some Xanax — his fears did, after all, come to pass with regard to the GOP and the Senate. But who doesn’t need some anti-anxiety measures when they contemplate the far worse horror of little children gunned down in their classroom at Christmastime? Still, I am put in mind of yet another remark by C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape, who tells Wormwood at one point that since the “Enemy” (God) has clearly told His followers that suffering is to be expected and is essential to redemption, a faith that is destroyed by war, pestilence, or other catastrophes was probably not all that strong to begin with.

  • i’d be OK with someone like Murdock at NRO (although i think there’s a debate to be have on how meaningful a conservatism can exist apart from Christian influence) if they didn’t frame their atheism in the ways i might’ve when i was 15.

  • The administration needs to do something alright…like get the hell out of the way. But I have a bad feeling that isn’t about to happen.

  • Politicians have to tread warily. I remember the shock to public confidence when, in a moment of irritation, then French prime minister Lionel Jospin told a reporter, “The government can’t do everything.” It is generally believed that that piece of ill-judged candour cost him the election.

    In the UK, in the wake of the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres, the reasoning among politicians and permanent officials was that a government that issues licences for hand guns will be blamed for their misuse, whereas a government that bans them can blame the illicit arms trade. No one was naif enough to believe a ban would prevent future outrages.

  • The inconsistency of liberal imbeciles (redundent) is . . . consistent.

    Inconsistency #!: All gunowners are responsible for any and all deranged, mass murders. No Moslem is responsible for 10,000 world-wide jihad attacks since 2001.

    Inconsistency #2: All gun owners are responsible for all gun deaths: including “Fast and Furious.” No gay (except Sandusky) is guilty scores of child molestations.

    I am victim of an FBI check and open a record if I buy a gun. That’s why we have gun shows.

    There are no background checks on gays and moslems.

    I will not be lectured on human rights, “What about the children!”, or violence by people that Idolize Che, Mao, Lenin, Pol Pot, Stalin, . . . they killed 100,000,000 people in the last century. Nor, who are using the coercive force of the state to take away our human rights.

  • Bravo T.Shaw! You are on a roll lately!

  • Mike Petrik,

    It is not likely you would have heard of Erik v Kuenheldt Leddhin. Acadmic literature has small audiences composed of scholars, teachers, and students. A modest number of academics reach a general audience through publications like the New York Review of Books and the Wilson Quarterly, and, nowadays, blogging.

    I doubt the intellectual quality of NR has suffered a whole lot in the last 30 years, but the sort of intellect cultivated is certainly different. Stanley Kurtz is a social anthropologist. You did not see much of that among the starboard intelligentsia ca. 1960, which consisted of intellectual historians, literary scholars, and theoretical economists, as well as generic men-of-letters like Whittaker Chambers.

  • There was a YouTube the other day about an golden eagle attempting to carry off a toddler. It seems it was photoshopped.

    My wife notes that online at MSNBC, a number of comments about this were about banning photoshopping.

    So comes the end of Virtue.

  • If the state makes gun-control the law and self-defense illegal, and innocent people are murdered, because, without gun protection, and because of the law, the state then becomes liable and maybe and ought to be sued for being an accomplice before the fact of the murder of innocents. A “citizens’ arrest”, the ability of citizens to arrest and hold a criminal until police arrive has been discounted, actually making “citizens’ arrest” into assault and battery of the individual who has not been tried and found guilty by a court of law. Based on the sovereign personhood of the citizen endowed by our Creator who constitutes the state and government, the sovereign person, chooses and decides if and when to carry armed protection. The failure of the state to protect the innocent person, (as in Sandy Hook, Conn.,) who is a citizen, is a cause for a negligence lawsuit against the state and taxation without representation. The innocent were not protected by those sworn to protect them. Gun control as “Do Something” is double jeopardy for all citizens, as all living people have suffered jeopardy of life when a murderer is at large.

  • Phillip: The Eagle, as in St. John, the Evangelist, is the symbol of the swiftness of God’s Justice and the symbol of America’s Freedom. All virtue will be besmirched. and where was the mother of the toddler? Somehow, I cannot imagine the eagle carrying off the stroller.

  • Mary,

    Obama is not only denying Americans civil protection, he is tearing away the bonds that once united us in peace and prosperity.

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama June 14, 2008.

    On the Friday before election 2012, Obama told his supporters at a campaign rally – inside a public high school – to vote for revenge!

    “Eat the Rich!”

    Is it any wonder we seem to be devolving to a state wherein it will be a common occurrence to need to fight for one’s life?

  • Deroy Murdock is a fool.

    Notice that the media does not extol the success of gun control in the City of Chicago, where owning a gun is virtually illegal – and how many murders occur there each year?

Robert Bork: Requiescat in Pace

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012


If the Constitution is law, then presumably its meaning, like that of all other law, is the meaning the lawmakers were understood to have intended.  If the Constitution is law, then presumably, like all other law, the meaning the lawmakers intended is as binding upon judges as it is upon legislatures and executives.  There is no other sense in which the Constitution can be what article VI proclaims it to be: “Law….” This means, of course, that a judge, no matter on what court he sits, may never create new
constitutional rights or destroy old ones.  Any time he does so, he violates not
only the limits to his own authority but, and for that reason, also violates the
rights of the legislature and the people….the philosophy of original
understanding is thus a necessary inference from the structure of government apparent on the face of the Constitution.

Robert Bork


Robert Bork, one of the titans of American Law, has died.  The foremost expert on anti-trust,  and a champion of originalism in regard to the Constitution, Bork was appointed by President Reagan to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  In 1987 he was nominated by Reagan for the Supreme Court.  In a campaign of lies and personal vilification spearheaded, fittingly enough, by Senator Edward M. Kennedy his nomination was defeated.  If he had been confirmed, Roe v. Wade would now be merely a bitter memory. 

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4 Responses to Robert Bork: Requiescat in Pace

  • In 1987 he was nominated by Reagan for the Supreme Court. In a campaign of lies and personal vilification spearheaded, fittingly enough, by Senator Edward M. Kennedy his nomination was defeated.

    And left-wing Catholics, who still lionize Kennedy while carping about the GOP doing nothing about abortion, will fail to appreciate why they aren’t taken seriously.

  • i think part of the problem the originalist case encounters is that a lot of Americans, not just liberals, think that if something is considered an injustice (large or small) but isn’t being democratically overturned, the Supreme Court has some kind of duty to expedite that.

    plus people talk about checking the “tyranny of the majority” as if that’s the main function of the courts, as opposed to just one function.

  • May he rest in peace.

    From today’s WSJ: “The Wisdom of Robert Bork.”

    “. . . the Warren Court, was the redistribution of society’s wealth, prestige and political power. […] routinely voted against business litigants whatever the legal context. . . . even those who approve, . . . conclude that Justice Douglas’s politics were also his law.”

    On activist judges: “That activism prevails in those courts, even though . . . elected judges, suggests either . . . public is ill-informed about the shift in power from democratic institutions to authoritarian bodies or . . . general weariness with democracy and the endless struggles it entails.”

    “Their Will Be Done,” July 5, 2005

    “Once the justices depart . . . from the original understanding of the principles of the Constitution, they lack any guidance other than their own attempts at moral philosophy, a task for which they have not even minimal skills. Yet when it rules in the name of the Constitution, whether it rules truly or not, the Court is the most powerful branch of government in domestic policy. The combination of absolute power, disdain for the historic Constitution, and philosophical incompetence is lethal.

    “The Court’s philosophy reflects, or rather embodies and advances, the liberationist spirit of our times. In moral matters, each man is a separate sovereignty. In its insistence on radical personal autonomy, the Court assaults what remains of our stock of common moral beliefs. That is all the more insidious because the public and the media take these spurious constitutional rulings as not merely legal conclusions but moral teachings supposedly incarnate in our most sacred civic document.”

    Robert Bork will not suffer the evil times that are “in the offing.”

At Least the SS had Snazzier Uniforms

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012





The Nazis began their death march across Europe by killing mentally handicapped Germans in an euthanasia campaign that caused the Lion of Munster, Bishop Von Galen, to preach a sermon which may be read here, and in which he made this statement:

For the past several months it has been reported that, on instructions from Berlin, patients who have been suffering for a long time from apparently incurable diseases have been forcibly removed from homes and clinics. Their relatives are later informed that the patient has died, that the body has been cremated and that the ashes may be claimed. There is little doubt that these numerous cases of unexpected death in the case of the insane are not natural, but often deliberately caused, and result from the belief that it is lawful to take away life which is unworthy of being lived.

This ghastly doctrine tries to justify the murder of blameless men and would seek to give legal sanction to the forcible killing of invalids, cripples, the incurable and the incapacitated. I have discovered that the practice here in Westphalia is to compile lists of such patients who are to be removed elsewhere as ‘unproductive citizens,’ and after a period of time put to death. This very week, the first group of these patients has been sent from the clinic of Marienthal, near Münster.

Hitler and his gang of murderers were stopped at an enormous cost, but Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so often in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, tells us at Midwest Conservative Journal that the ideas of Der Fuehrer are all the rage in Europe today:

Europe descends further toward the abyss:

Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek permission to die.

The proposed changes to the law were submitted to parliament Tuesday by the Socialist party and are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.

“The idea is to update the law to take better account of dramatic situations and extremely harrowing cases we must find a response to,” party leader Thierry Giet said.

The draft legislation calls for “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.”

Belgium was the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalise euthanasia in 2002 but it applies only to people over the age of 18.

Socialist Senator Philippe Mahoux, who helped draft the proposed changes, said there had been cases of adolescents who “had the capacity to decide” their future.

He said parliamentarians would also consider extended mercy-killing to people suffering from Alzheiner’s-type illnesses.

No possibility of abuse there.  Meanwhile, the French would like their dying population to snap it up.

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14 Responses to At Least the SS had Snazzier Uniforms

  • Mercy killing? Mercy for whom?
    For the ones who can only equate life / money.

    Memories of Terri Schiavo, and her dear family struggling to gain access to be merciful. Starving Terri was much more merciful however.

    On Terri’s website, terrisfight.org a simple sentence; “Where there is Life there is Hope.”

  • Does anyone remember the name of the doctor(s) who wrote in German in the early 1900s, recommending the elimination of the handicapped, aged, and other “unfit”?

  • Donald,

    I might have known you would know. Have you read it?


  • No Jonathan I have not. I am unaware as to whether it has been translated into English.

  • Pingback: WEDNESDAY GOD & CAESAR EDITION | Big Pulpit
  • Our Pope has been steadfastly opposed to this evil. Of course, the Holy Father
    objects because euthanasia violates the basic tenets of the Faith. However, not
    many people are aware that our Pope also has a personal experience of the
    state’s tender mercies.

    By 1941, the nazis had made it illegal for families to care for their disabled at
    home. Government ‘therapists’ came to the home of our future Pope’s aunt and
    forcibly removed his young cousin, who had Down’s Syndrome. Shortly after
    his removal, the young man was euthanized by his ‘caretakers’, as government
    policy decreed.

  • Just got hit by a different shape to this horror….

    Notice the phrasing, that people can apply for permission to end their lives?

    That implies that the government has more of a right to the lives of those involved than the people themselves.

    That is… a very scary mindset. At least laws against suicide, as much as they annoy many folks, are consistent in the theme of protecting life as a sacred thing.

  • Minor chidren and the mentally and the physically disabled do not have freely formed, informed consent to give. Thereby making the law a mockery of civil rights. Assisted suicide is one murderer and one dependent victim.

  • Deep thought #6419 Those supporting assisted suicide must do it first. See how they like it.

  • I’ve yet to see a proponent of assisted suicide address what studies have shown:
    that in families where one member has committed suicide, the remaining family
    are exponentially more likely to also attempt/commit suicide at some point in
    their lives.

  • Thanks for this post and the video clips. We need to be reminded.

  • Socialists ruled in the USSR and another brand of socialists were in charge in Germany. Both were power-crazy and ruthless. The present socialists in the West are a combination of both. Evil times are ahead.

  • Mal: Truth – “Evil times are ahead.”

    Up until the moment of the Flood (Genesis), people were feastng, marrying, sowing, reaping, etc.

Santa Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012

Santa Roosevelt

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.

Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States, on hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt


One of his worst enemies once said about Theodore Roosevelt that a man would have to hate him a lot not to like him a little.  It was hard not to admire Roosevelt for his courage, his enthusiasm and his obvious good will.  That last aspect of his character is illustrated by the fact that for many years he would go to Cove School at Oyster Bay dressed as Santa Claus, talk to the kids, and give them presents he had purchased out of his own pocket.  When he did it in 1898, after achieving renown leading his Rough Riders in Cuba, the little boys at the school mobbed their Santa hero! 

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2 Responses to Santa Roosevelt

  • I have been to Sagamore Hill a number of times and I admire him very much. Teddy Roosevelt must be one of the most fascinating (and complicated) Americans who ever lived. He is difficult to understand because on the one hand he was the biggest proponent of American way of life while on the other he was infected by European imperialism and the ‘glory’ of war. He was also the biggest advocate for the working man and immigrant up to that time and he understood the perils of an oligarchic economy. I doubt very much if he were alive today that he would approve of globalization and the resultant degradation of the the American standard of living for the working man and woman. He was a broken man after the death of his youngest son Quentin, a pilot in WWI…..very sad and I believe he felt some personal responsibility since he was a very forceful advocate for entry into that war. His son Theodore Jr. went on to fame in WWII and won the Medal of Honor for heroism on the D-Day invasion.

An Unforgettable Version of the Twelve Days of Christmas

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012

I have always found the Twelve Days of Christmas a bit boring.  I was therefore enchanted when I heard this off-beat version by the acapella group Straight No Chaser as my son and I were driving back from the U of I yesterday after I picked him up after finals.  Humor, the needed leavening of life!

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3 Responses to An Unforgettable Version of the Twelve Days of Christmas

  • Indiana University grads, all. Go, Hoosiers!

  • Love it!

  • I apologize for the length of this and that I don’t have the citation.

    “From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

    -The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

    -Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments.

    -Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

    -The four calling birds are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

    -The five golden rings recall the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

    -The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

    -Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

    -The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.

    -Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness,
    Gentleness, and Self Control.

    -The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments.

    -The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.

    -The twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

    “So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…

The Perfect Gift for Christmas

Tuesday, December 18, AD 2012

People shouldn’t go broke at Christmas, so I am doing my part to help you all out by providing the perfect gift. For a mere $2.99 you can download the surefire hit novel of the season: Dirty LaundryDirty Laundry is a bit of media satire written by yours truly. From the not wholly adequate product description:

CF Stone is a columnist for a well-regarded but not well-read Washington DC newspaper. After having written a column that has all but guaranteed him a Pulitzer he runs into blogger and all-around gadfly Darius Gilbert, who lets him onto a story that will guarantee them a place in history next to Woodward and Bernstein. Stone goes undercover in order to expose a right-wing plot to bring down the American government. Stone dreams of the accolades that he will receive after publishing his expose of the ultimate manifestation of political extremism in the United States – that is if they don’t find out who he is first.

You’ll especially love the antics of Gilbert, the gay, Irish blogger who has an unhealthy obsession with a former candidate for high office.

Even if you don’t own a Kindle, the Kindle app is available on just about any device that you use to read this very blog.

A slight content warning: the book isn’t quite G-rated, but it’s a solid PG. Some salty language is employed, but it’s not Pulp Fiction.

I’m doing this all on my own, so please spread the word around if you can. I’ll also be launching a webpage – paulzummo.com – to help promote the book and also to serve as a platform on other random musings.


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7 Responses to The Perfect Gift for Christmas

Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

Tuesday, December 18, AD 2012

Francis Pharcellus Church was a newspaper man to his marrow.  As a young man he had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and with his brother William he founded the Army and Navy Journal which dedicated itself to reporting news about the military forces of the United States, along with historical pieces on US military history, and opinion pieces about innovations or reforms in the military.  It is still being published today.

After the War he served as lead editorial writer on his brother’s newspapers the New York Sun.  He died in 1906 at 67, leaving behind no children.  Although he lived a full life, he would be all but forgotten today except for one incident.

In 1897 Virginia O’Hanlon was upset.  She was eight years old and some of her friends had been telling her that there was no Santa Claus.  Her father, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, suggested that she write to the Sun and see what that newspaper had to say.  Virginia followed her advice and duly wrote the letter.  Mr. Church wrote the reply to the letter which appeared on September 21, 1897 in the New York Sun.


I am 8 years old.   Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.   Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’   Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.


Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.


Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.


You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.


No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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3 Responses to Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

  • There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make this life tolerable.

    No childlike faith then! No poetry! No romance! Francis Church.
    There are no coincidences. A fatherless mans act of love bestows, enriches and affirms The Father and His unending gift of Faith, of poetry, of romance.
    Faith is a gift from God. Not earned yet pure and solely from a generous heart.
    Poetry is The Holy Word of God. Truth is poetry lived out in flesh and blood, sorrow and Joy. Unearthing the depths of mans soul so that soul may give All glory to God. Here lies the romance.
    A romance that has no equal. A Father that blesses His only Son to bare the weight of unimaginable illness, unthinkable sadness, inconceivable horrors upon His own shoulders for a ungrateful, unworthy spouse named humankind.

    Jesus is not a myth, nor is the Spirit of St. Nick.

  • No coincidences…Francis Church.
    What is a church, but the dwelling place of a holy spirit, a heart in good standing.
    Francis…..one of the best followers of Christ.
    St. Francis make use of us, rebuild our church, our hearts so that we may better serve our infant Jesus.

  • Pingback: Christmas Message- 2012 from Bishop Michael R. Cote | St. John

God’s Gift and a Pair of Scissors

Tuesday, December 18, AD 2012

4 Responses to God’s Gift and a Pair of Scissors

  • Only through the Grace of God.
    Great Christmas story.

    Until people view life as being sacred I’m afraid the voiceless will continue the uphill battle for life.

    How can society respect the rights of others if it doesn’t start by respecting the rights of the most helpless in that society?

  • This is a sad commentary on how our view of “disposable” stuff has now infiltrated our thinking about human life. Philip is right; we need to view life as sacred.

    May God forgive us all.

  • Scissors. And then there’s a shoebox/cradle near a kitchen stove for another Madeline circa 1930. She called my mother on Sunday. Then, along comes this post. She was born at home ‘so tiny’. My mother remembers her being cradled in that shoebox with family watching over her. Now, this Madeline is a great grandmother and going to her son’s for Christmas dinner. She had/has a great affection for St. Ann.

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Introducing the Newest Pro-life Member of the Senate

Monday, December 17, AD 2012

Congressman Tim Scott (R.SC.) has been chosen by Governor Nikki Haley to take the seat of Senator Jim DeMint, who has resigned from the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation.  Congressman Scott is a down the line pro-lifer and one of the most conservative members of the House.  He will be the only black member of the Senate, and the first black Republican Senator since Edward Brooke III of Massachusetts who served in the Senate 1967-1979.

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7 Responses to Introducing the Newest Pro-life Member of the Senate

A Lazier America

Monday, December 17, AD 2012



I think that the re-election of Obama will come to be viewed by most Americans as an umitigated disaster in the years to come.  He has been a curse upon this country in so many ways, but perhaps especially in regard to the American character.


The London-based Think Tank Legatum Institute recently offered empirical evidence of what many Americans have been thinking lately. Our national well-being is slipping.

Over the past four years, prosperity has increased around the globe, while it has remained stagnant in the United States, the Legatum Institute reports. As a result, the Institute ranked the United States 12th out of 142 countries on its 2012 Prosperity Index, putting the country outside the top ten for the first time.

Go here to read the rest.  The summary of the report in regard to the US makes for depressing reading:

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7 Responses to A Lazier America

  • From John Hinderaker: “For the first time in history, the average Canadian is wealthier than the average American. Canada has a conservative government, and they have passed us like we are standing still. Which we are, at best. . . . Do Barack Obama and his minions want America to be one of the world’s ten most prosperous countries? If you believe, as I do, that actions speak louder than words, the answer is No.”

    Point of Information: The economc/financial crisis ended in 2009. Why, for the past three yrears, are “they” still running up catastrophic, $1.4 trillion annual deficits (fiscal policy); and Fred (monetary policy) is keeping interest rates at zero (negative with inflation), and printing hyper-inflationary, $1 trillion of green confetti a year?

    Even money says we are hurtling toward an economic apocalypse.

    Since 2008, it has been “government of the banks, for the banks and by the banks.”

    Note to self: Sixth Avenue (Canadian Consulate) emigrate to Canada.

  • Losers Psalm #666….
    Very good parody.

  • I think you give Americans too much credit.

  • We are not becoming lazier, we are becoming more godless and a great deal more immoral. The Declaration of Independence is in shambles. The Republic is dead in the water, and those who value freedom better wake up from their lethargy and recover belief in the God our nation once trusted. That is the only answer to all our current problems

  • The economic Utopia this government prepareth for us is a pretty far cry from St. Thomas More’s Utopia. In his, everyone worked or else was shamed by being locked up in solid gold chains. In Obama’s, everyone is offered gold chains or else shamed by being made to work.

  • Thank you, Donald McClarey for this post. It is refreshing to hear clarity: 30% interest is usury. Taxes may not go above 30% before becoming confiscatory, extortion and cruel and unusual punishment according to the Ninth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment for “colonialism” as Dinesh D’Souza says. Distributism is the virtue of Charity imposed by the state. Charity, all virtues, must be voluntary acts of the person’s soul. Either that or it is stolen property being distributed. Even voluntarily donated charity becomes stolen property if the recipient is capable, but refuses out of vice to provide for himself. That recipient becomes the recipient of stolen property extorted or cheated of honest people. Extorted virtues are not conducive to peace and tranquility. Subsidiarity, authentic authority given over to the states, will permit the people to determine how much and what may be done for charity. The Virtue of Charity is the realm of the transcendent and the domain of the human being’s immortal soul, the responsibility of the Church.

  • “cruel and unusual punishment according to the Ninth Amendment” the Ninth Amendment protects rights not inscribed in our founding principles, like subsidiarity. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment like confiscatory fines, penalties and taxes, the penalty must fit the crime. The HHS Mandate defies the Eighth Amendment. Rapacious fines are prohibited in the 8th Amendment. 100% taxes are also prohibited. Being an American citizen protected under the Eighth Amendment prevents deliterious fines and taxes.
    Thanks for listening