Daniel Webster and Leviathan

Friday, January 18, AD 2013

Daniel Webster's Sea Serpent

I have long admired Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster in which Daniel Webster defeats Satan in a jury trial for the soul of Jabez Stone.  Far lesser known is an amusing story written by Benet in which Daniel Webster encounters Leviathan from the Bible:

“Well, Mr. Webster,” said Seth, and stared at his boots, “she says you’re quite a handsome man. She says she never did see anybody quite like you,” he went on. “I hate to tell you this, Mr. Webster, and I feel kind of responsible, but I think you ought to know. And I told you that you oughtn’t to have shot at her—she’s pretty proud of that. She says she knows just how you meant it. Well, I’m no great hand at being embarrassed, Mr. Webster, but, I tell you, she embarrassed me. You see, she’s been an old maid for about a hundred and fifty years, I guess, and that’s the worst of it. And being the last of her folks in those particular waters, there’s just no way to restrain her—her father and mother was as sensible, hard-working serpents as ever gave a feller a tow through a fog, but you know how it is with those old families. Well, she says wherever you go, she’ll follow you, and she claims she wants to hear you speak before the Supreme Court——”

“Did you tell her I’m a married man?” said Dan’l. “Did you tell her that?”

“Yes, I told her,” said Seth, and you could see the perspiration on his forehead. “But she says that doesn’t signify—her being a serpent and different—and she’s fixing to move right in. She says Washington’s got a lovely climate and she’s heard all about the balls and the diplomatic receptions. I don’t know how she’s heard about them, but she has.” He swallowed. “I got her to promise she’d kind of lie low for two weeks and not come up the Potomac by daylight—she was fixing to do that because she wants to meet the President. Well, I got her to promise that much. But she says, even so, if you don’t come to see her once an evening, she’ll hoot till you do, and she told me to tell you that you haven’t heard hooting yet. And as soon as the fish market’s open, I better run down and buy a barrel of flaked cod, Mr. Webster—she’s partial to flaked cod and she usually takes it in the barrel. Well, I don’t want to worry you, Mr. Webster, but I’m afraid that we’re in a fix.”

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A Heresy in Education (or An Education in Heresy)

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013
“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Eloquent though he may be, Benjamin Franklin would have done well to add “heresy” to his infamous pair of unavoidable realities.

Philosophical preconceptions once condemned by the Church have an odd way of rearing their ugly heads. Take Manichaeanism for example. Battled by the great St. Augustine of Hippo, the Manichaean school taught the profound separation of soul and body, a dualism that has been condemned by the Church more than once throughout the centuries. With two equally powerful deities, one good and the other evil, the human person of this heresy becomes the battleground for their contest of power, with the body being the domain of evil and the soul being the domain of the good. The Christian faith, of course, has taught the contrary, the inseparable union of body and soul, both good because of their creation by the one God who is pure goodness.

I was a high school teacher of mathematics and computer science for nine years, and Manichaeanism is only one of the many heresies I see deeply imbedded in modernity, particularly amongst adolescents. In the years I spent in the classroom, the cases of academic dishonesty had noticeably gone up. What is perhaps more noticeable, however, was the change in students’ reactions when the dishonesty is exposed. There was a time when the remorse was authentic, but more recently, when present at all, it seemed more like mere regret over being caught.

I found myself repeatedly in conversations about how students view the act of cheating. A colleague of mine once remarked, “I honestly do not think that the students see it as wrong.” On the contrary, the students’ actions do not reflect any moral confusion. After all, students will go to great lengths to see to it that they are not caught, and when they are, they will craft the most elaborate of stories to exonerate themselves. I once had a student who plagiarized a computer program off of a university professor’s web site. When confronted about it, he claimed, with a great deal of confidence and conviction, that he would like to meet the professor who stole his code to post on the university web site. While the creativity is remarkable, the same cannot be said for character.

What, then, is at the root of the issue? While teachers generally recognize this as a growing and problematic trend in the education environment, they are often at a loss to explain the trend, and therefore end up remarking, “I honestly do not think that the students see it as wrong.” The truth is that students do understand the difference between right and wrong, and they do understand that cheating is a morally impermissible action. The problem is not in their ethics; the problem is in their anthropology. Students are Manichaeans.

The heart of the matter is that adolescence often do not understand the profound connection between body and soul that the Christian faith has always taught. Quite the opposite, students have a tremendous ability to keep a rift between body and soul. Said differently, these adolescents do not see a connection between their actions and their personal character. While they know and understand that certain actions are morally unacceptable, they do not see these actions as reflective of their person. They sincerely believe that they are good people and that this goodness cannot be tarnished by any action.

What adolescents fail to understand is that the human person is not only the source of his actions, but is also a product of his actions. What we do is reflective of who we are, and who we are will influence what we do. Philosophically, we would say that the human person isconstituted by his actions. There is no rift between the actions of our body and mind and the state of our soul. Body and soul are mutually interpenetrating. This is the essence of the Catholic teaching on mortal sins. Because there is an indestructible link between the body and the soul, there are certain actions that can affect the very state of the soul, remove it from the state of God’s grace.

We are how we act. A thief is nothing more than one who steals, and a lair is nothing more than one who lies. Similarly, a cheater is a person who cheats, and it is impossible to cheat without at the same time becoming a cheater. The student, however, does not see himself as a “cheater”; instead, he sees himself as a “good person” who happened to cheat, but the action of cheating is not reflective of his character. How is it that they are able to maintain this disconnect? It is simple: they are Manichaean. How is it that they are Manichaean? That is also simple: modernity is Manichaean, and this is perhaps the greatest heresy of our time. It is a heresy that is not only at the heart of academic dishonesty in the schools, but also constitutive of the greed and avarice in the market place, the sexual permissiveness in the media, and the utter disregard for the sanctity of life in the abortion industry.

Being a heresy, however, I have a feeling that it, like death and taxes, is inevitable. This does not mean we give up an authentic education in the virtues. It does not mean that we neglect to expose the lies for what they are. But it does mean that, while the battle has already been won on the Cross, the enemy of heresy is as certain in this world as death and taxes. Perhaps, though, heresy has more in common with death and taxes than its inevitability. “In this world” certain the trio may be; yet in the next it is certain that all three will be abolished.

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9 Responses to A Heresy in Education (or An Education in Heresy)

  • The world is very rapidly going to hell as we write. I hope we can turn the tide in time.

  • Huh. I’m not sure I agree with this analysis, but it is provocative.

    I remember reading C.S. Lewis talking about ethics, how the proof of the moral law written on our souls is that when we’re caught doing something wrong, we try to make up an excuse or an exception. I think he used the example of someone not giving his seat on a bus to an old woman. When caught, they try to justify their action. The thing I’ve noticed lately is that we’re not bothering to do that as much. It does seem like we’ve successfully drowned out the conscience.

  • Jake-
    “modernity is Manichaean.”
    Good point.
    I’m reminded of Jesus carrying the Cross and His discourse to the weeping women; “Don’t weep for me, but for your children.”
    Thanks for the view, even though it’s gloomy.
    Prayer to the destroyer of all heresies is greatly needed…Our Lady and her Holy Rosary.

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  • Teaching in Catholic schools for 12 years now (5th, 7-10th grades) and I’ve heard much of the same excuses by students and, unfortunately, parents. What really astonishes me are principals who are intent on blaming teacher! Somehow we “failed to teach it was wrong” or “maybe they didn’t understand it was wrong.” Not taking action or attempting to sweep it under the rug is exactly the wrong thing to do.
    And yes, there are the students who act like they don’t know what they’ve done wrong – and there are parents who do it, as well – which really drives you crazy.

  • Then there is the ever-present example of teachers who hold students responsible for material that they do not teach in their lessons. In many cases, students merely attempt to figure out how they will be judged before taking the test or turning in the assignment, and teachers refuse to divulge the points on which students will be judged. Students caught with material that divulges this information are often accused of “cheating.” However, when teachers refuse to offer the information in the ordinary course of lessons, it is the teachers who lie. The teachers who cheat. The teachers who are Manichean. Of course there are authentic examples of Manichean students. But many such examples merely reflect the honest attempt of students to figure out the dishonest motives of their teachers.

  • For students who need tutorials and wish to take personal responsibility for their progress, I recommend kahnacademy.org. For teachers who would like to be freed up to teach, rather than continuously tutoring rote subject material, this is also an invaluable resource. Students become responsible for their own learning, parents ‘and teachers can also track students’ progress using this program to keep abreast of where students may be falling behind and intervene in a timely manner. This program is used worldwide and is available free of charge. It covers core subject material for K -12 including college prep math, sciences, history, arts and computer sciences and SAT Prep. Includes tutorials and self assessment tools which again place the responsibility for learning squarely on the shoulders of the student. Any student can register at this site with or without parental involvement. It is completely confidential and is self paced. Courtesy of the Gates Foundation. Check it out.

  • I am far beyond an age of adolescence and have no idea of a connection between body and soul; between body and mind I do most of the time.

  • The student, however, does not see himself as a “cheater”; instead, he sees himself as a “good person” who happened to cheat, but the action of cheating is not reflective of his character. How is it that they are able to maintain this disconnect?

    Whether or not he’s a ‘good person’, you might just keep your eye on his acts and habits and refrain from characterizing his essence.

232 Years Since Cowpens

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013

A very accurate video on the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.  Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, the American commander, was an American original.  An ill-educated frontiersman, Morgan was also a natural leader of men, made easier by his height, well over six-foot, and his robust sense of humor, along with his willingness to use his fists to enforce discipline if necessary.  He served in the French and Indian War, being sentenced to 500 lashes for punching a British officer.  He later made a joke of it saying that in carrying out the sentence the count was one short, but it was a tribute to his toughness that he survived such an experience.  It is a pity that the late John Wayne, circa 1955, did not appear in a movie bio of this remarkable man.

At the beginning of the Revolution, Morgan led a company of Virginia riflemen to join Washington’s Army besieging Boston.  Volunteering to join the invasion of Canada, he led three companies of riflemen that quickly became known as Morgan’s Sharpshooters.  In the attack on Quebec on December 31, 1775, Captain Morgan led his men in ferocious fighting in the city.  The attack was ultimately defeated, with Morgan refusing to surrender to the British and instead tendering his sword to a French priest.

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2 Responses to 232 Years Since Cowpens

  • To have survived 499 lashes is amazing.

    American Cannae, maybe; American Hannibal . . .

    The contributions of men like Washington, Morgan, the Continental Regular, and militia (men like you and I) cannot be exaggerated.

  • One of the more brilliant examples of tactical planning in American military history–he made his own weaknesses work in his favor. The fact he’d worn out the British by keeping a step ahead of them for weeks didn’t hurt.

    If only William Washington had run Bloody Ban through–he wounded Tarleton, if I recall correctly.

    And the Cannae reference is dead on: during the Civil War, both sides would desperately look for battles of annihilation, but never come close to achieving them. With the partial exception of Thomas at Nashville, I suppose.

A Guide to the 23 Edicts for the Perplexed

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013


We at The American Catholic, among our many other missions, aim to translate Governmentese into English with color commentary.  Herewith is an example of our service in regard to President Obama’s 23 executive orders on gun control, better termed edicts:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Do what the agencies have been supposed to be doing all along.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

The maze of laws and regulations belched out by Congress and the Executive branch each year, and which I have overwhelmingly supported, have a deleterious impact on background checks, as they do with accomplishing anything in these United States.  Shazam!
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

Fall in line States or we will deprive you of Federal money.  Federalism, what’s that?

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This is Why We Have a Constitution, and Why the Alternative is Tyranny

Wednesday, January 16, AD 2013

New York’s Trespass Act of 1783  offered relief for Patriots who had fled New York City during the time of the Revolutionary “by permitting them to recover damages from persons who had occupied or used their premises during the war.” Common law had typically required  “that actions for trespass must be tried where the property was located, but the act allowed Patriots to sue in any court where the defendant could be found.” It also denied the laws of war by prohibiting the accused of arguing that they had been acting “under orders of the occupying British army, and the act also prohibited the defendants from appealing to a higher court.” (Citations from Forrest McDonald, Novus Ordo Seclorum.)

The New York Trespass Act was but one of many factors that led to the creation of the written United States Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation government, the states had almost unlimited authority to pass any laws they pleased. The only check on the state governments were the citizens of the several states. Unfortunately, the people themselves were often the impetus behind the enactment of unjust laws.

The Constitution was a reaction to life under the Articles of Confederation. Though conservatives like to point out that the government created under the Constitution is one of limited powers – a fact which is undeniably true – the Constitution actually enhanced the powers of the federal government and was meant, in part, to curb some of the excesses of unlimited state authority.
In truth the Constitution was a perfect balancing act. The Federalists hoped to strengthen the federal government while simultaneously placing significant limits on the powers of said government. They wanted to mitigate the excesses of democratic government in the states while continuing to leave most of the day-to-day governing authority in the hands of local government. The Constitution is a document designed to prevent the outbreak of democratic despotism, but which also aimed at limiting the reach of government. These are not contradictory aims. As much as it may surprise political philosophers such as Piers Morgan to hear, purely democratic governments can become tyrannical – ask Plato and Aristotle about that.
If we understand the genesis of our Constitution then we can better understand why we revere it and strive to live as much as we can by the letter of said Constitution. It’s not because it’s some old, musty document and we just have a blind devotion to old things. There was a wisdom and a theory behind the Constitution that made as much sense in 1787 as it does in 2013.
And now, due to the gun control debate, we have proof of why the Federalists were right, and why we are inching closer to tyranny.
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27 Responses to This is Why We Have a Constitution, and Why the Alternative is Tyranny

  • Excellentem progymnasmam scripsis, Paule. Tibi gratias!

  • “Reasonable” has become, for me, an hated word.

    It is the word used to characterize every proposal one favors and to describe my comming around to the thinking of others. And so, reducing abortions while keeping the practice legal is a “reasonable” position and taking money from the “wealthy” to buy frivolous things for others is “reasonable.” if one holds to a view that a practice is inherently wrong, one is “unreasonable,” an “extremist.”

    So it is with the firearms debate. Requiring citizens to register their firearms is simply “reasonable” we are told. To oppose this is “unreasonable” and fears of tyranny and Constitutional Rights, are viewed as unreasonable fears. So too with concerns about unilateral executive action. Since the legislature isn’t doing what the public clamors for quickly enough, it is “reasonable” for the President to act without authority to cater to the whim of the majority.

    I fear, old friend, that you are right. Having forgotten lessons so painfully learned over 2000 years of Western history that liberty is hard won and easily and incrementally lost, we are wresting power from all authorities to resist tyranny.

  • Kipling said it well:

    “Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw– Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law–

    Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing, Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

    Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years, How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

    So they bought us freedom–not at little cost– Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.”

    The fight for freedom is never finally won or lost, but must be fought for again when dangers to it arise.

  • Jan.16th Religious Freedom Day! What a great President! We cares about us so much and our Constitution that he proclaimed the 16th of Jan. to forever be Religious Freedom Day.

    LIAR! I find it hard to share Christian love with tyrants.

  • Kiplig,

    “Freedom for ourselves
    And, Freedom for our sons.
    And failing freedom – War!”

  • In truth the Constitution was a perfect balancing act.

    No. It is a balancing act.

    If we understand the genesis of our Constitution then we can better understand why we revere it and strive to live as much as we can by the letter of said Constitution. It’s not because it’s some old, musty document and we just have a blind devotion to old things. There was a wisdom and a theory behind the Constitution that made as much sense in 1787 as it does in 2013.

    Ach. It is an organic law, not a piece of canonical literature. The utility or disutility of a set of institutional arrangements is going to be quite sensitive to local circumstances. ‘Local’ can be understood spatially or temporally. Our constitution has been (for the most part) a failure in containing the sturm und drang of our political life for more than 80 years. Some serious adjustments are in order (though adjustments in institutional arrangements cannot in any direct and transparent way correct the toxic culture of the legal profession or official Washington).

  • Our constitution has been (for the most part) a failure in containing the sturm und drang of our political life for more than 80 years. S

    Precisely because a certain subset of our political class has ignored it. That is not a failure of the Constitution, but of both leadership and citizenship.

  • Additionally, I shudder to think what the country would now look like without the Constitution. Imagine Obama issuing an executive order banning “dangerous and unnecessary” firearms, or one banning “seditious speech”. No, the Constitution is not merely an organic law but the concrete manifestation of the dream of the Founding Fathers of a Federal Union that would preserve the liberty that they fought for in the Revolution. In my eyes it is as “sacred” as any piece of secular writing can be composed by fallible men.

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  • In the hands of the current crop of supreme court justices, the constitution has become a blank piece of paper on which 5 of 9 justices get to write anything they chose. Remember that it was just a few years ago that five justices decided that the second amendment was an actually individual right (DC vs Heller). If Kennedy had woken up that day and decided to play the liberal justice instead of the conservative one, we would effectively not have a second amendment and all this talk of gun rights would be irrelevant.
    Think about that for a moment; the vote of one man has decided whether or not you have a basic freedom. I shudder when I think of what this nation has become.
    The great experiment of the federalists has failed. The fears of the anti-federalists that a large central government would become a tyranny have materialized.

  • “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  • Precisely because a certain subset of our political class has ignored it. That is not a failure of the Constitution, but of both leadership and citizenship.

    Oh yes it is a failure of our Constitution. Paul, Israel has functioned for more than 90 years with a body of constitutional law but not discrete charter with entrenched clauses and supermajority requirements. If your political elite is satisfactory, you can get along without a charter. The point of a charter is that it contains the discretion of elected officials and others invested with authority, and erects a mechanism which can function passably in spite of a rancid political culture. Ours doesn’t.

    There are certain architectural features of our constitution which have been respected (as Robert Bork put it, “the stuff about elections every two years”), but the enumerated and limited delegations of discretion to Congress, the distinction between executive and legislative action, and the autonomy of provincial authorities have all been trashed. In addition, the immunities of particular communities and of households against federal or state authorities have been subject to judicial whimsies.

    In the years immediately after 1929, there developed immense social pressure due to the economic crisis which was not properly contained by the existing political architecture. The pressure simply blew the existing structure down. What replaced it was a de facto constitution running on stare decisis and judicial misfeasance. A secondary shock was delivered during the years running from 1953 to 1971. The Constitution you are referring to really does not exist anymore. It is going to require some sort of national reformation to restore it even in part.

    Added to all that is a phenomenon you see all over the western world: the efflorescence of a self-aggrandizing, pretentious, and antinomian culture among the professional-managerial class. This is most destructive as it develops in the bar. Students of Israel’s appellate judiciary contend that this body would clearly like to pull an Earl Warren but are constrained by the plenary discretion of the Knesset; what happened to Canadian jurisprudence after the enactment of the Trudeaupian Charter of Rights is well known. So, institutions matter, to a degree.

    Our institutions prevented a set of principled and adaptive changes to the political economy in 1933-39 and did so again in 1954-71. Instead, we had open-ended aggrandizement of the central government. Those institutions continue to prevent effective remedial action against an appellate judiciary for whom misbehavior is the order of the day. They also prevent us from containing the erection and maintenance of a permanent Washington political class (remember what happened to U.S. Term Limits?). We also have an incredible problem of collective action with regard to public sector borrowing. It is hard to imagine a set of institutions less equipped to address that problem than the ones we have.

    There is not much point in turning James Madison into the fictional Hari Seldon. The political culture stinks, but it does not stink so bad that our state legislators, working within political institutions which have some salient differences with federal institutions, cannot pass budgets. Madison and his contemporaries were making do in the matrix in which they were working and their handiwork sufficed in certain circumstances. However, the machine is broke and it is time to stop pretending and fix it.

  • Civil war scares me. However blatant lies from our Govt. leaders ( so-called ) and the abuses of our rights leaves one to wonder. What next?

    Maybe obama (small o ) will declare Jan. 22nd as Freedom for unborn children day.
    Lifenews.com mentioned the absurdity of yesterdays presidential proclamation; “Religious Freedom day.”

  • Obama gives us Freedom From Religious Freedom Day without God.
    Pilate to Christ: “What is TRUTH?” Pilate imposes his definition of TRUTH: “TRUTH is what I say it is. The human being is who I say he is” The despot tells Christ WHO Christ is. Christ responds: “You would have not authority except that it is given from above.” Obama’s proclamation of Religious Freedom Day, January 16, is the usurpation of authentic authority to redefine the Supreme Sovereign Being, the human being, freedom, religion, and the unborn sovereign person. Obama says:”Look, I give you freedom.” and who can argue with a plagiarist? Obama gives us Freedom From Religious Freedom Day without God.

    In proclamation of Freedom of Religion Day, Obama says: Religious Freedom is what I say it is, and only what I say it is. This is the means that Obama uses to dictate to his constituents what their civil rights are. And some fools celebrate it as such. There can be no authentic freedom without the acknowledgment of God, Creator of man’s soul, Endower of unalienable rights. Freedom of Religion Day ought to dissolve the HHS Mandate and reinstate our founding principles.

    !) Man is created equal, not born equal, a self-evident truth we hold.

    2) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with unalienable rights.

    3) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with an unalienable Right to Life.

    4) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with an unalienable Right to Liberty

    5) Man is endowed by “their Creator” with an unalienable right to pursue his Happiness.

    6) Man is free to relate, to speak, to write and peaceably assemble with and for the Supreme Sovereign Being.

    7) These, our founding principles were inscribed 225 years ago and cannot be vacated, redefined or plagiarized by Obama.

    8) The unalienable right to the pursuit of Happiness vacates the HHS Mandate that is violating so many sovereign citizens’ conscience. The unalienable Right to Life vacates the HHS Mandate and abortion. The unalienable Right to Liberty vacates the redefinition of atheism as a religion.

    9) Obama cannot give us a Freedom of Religion Day without God, for that is usurpation.

    10) The Second Amendment cannot be changed without two/thirds of the states ratifying the change. Obama says that he has some Executive authority to change some of the Second Amendment, but Obama is mistaken. Eminent domain is no longer for public use and has been redefined for public purposes, such as the politicians’ new pay raise and vacation or maybe their health insurance. Only with two/thirds of the states ratifying such a change can the change be made. This is our Constitution.

    11) We, the people, have failed “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”

    The Constitution is written for the sovereign person, who has come into existence by the creative power of God. It is the sovereign person’s choice how he will worship and acknowledge God. I do not think that it is through aborting others.

  • Mary De Voe,
    Congressmen / women are career-“minded & hearted” as they occupy a seat that is to be honorable and mission based. Serve the public…right?

    Is this, the current abuses and what seems like run-a-muck hypocrisy the beginning of the end of our freedoms?
    Executive orders and edicts leading to the “powder keg” that will soon feel the heat of a short lit fuse?

    I believe your thread. You have aptly hit it!…the sovereign person.
    I will continue to pray, protest and plead the case of Christ. For in him is our Hope, our Freedom and our Future.

  • Art, I’m not sure I disagree with much of what you wrote. Again, though, it actually affirms what the Framers believed. That society has crumbled as the constitutional safeguards they installed were ignored and done away with only confirms that what they feared about government and democracies was accurate. If there is fault with them and the Constitution is that there is no adequate means of addressing the issue of who has the final say on constitutional interpretation. If Hamilton was naive it was in writing things like the Judiciary would be the least dangerous branch of government. They did not foresee the rise of an imperial judiciary. And while they thought that the Supreme Court should be an arbiter of the Constitutional, they never believed it should be the final arbiter.

    Is the design flawed? No.

  • All designs are flawed, and the utility of designs is perishable.

  • “Though conservatives like to point out that the government created under the Constitution is one of limited powers – a fact which is undeniably true – the Constitution actually enhanced the powers of the federal government and was meant, in part, to curb some of the excesses of unlimited state authority.”
    This conservative in NY would appreciate a little curbing aimed at Cuomo&Co.

  • “Government without justice is mass brigandage.” St. Augustine

    If a gang of fascists or imbeciles in legislatures (none campaigned on gun control) and courts are illegally amending or to repealing parts of the Constituion.

    The political/social “contract” that bind us as a people is being torn asunder.

    These tired, effete “people control” exec orders and gun confiscation laws would not have saved one Sandy Hook school child nor will they make one US pupil safer.

    Criminals and madmen (by nature) don’t obey laws.

    It is a special kind of stupid of which these people suffer. It’s the reason every trillion-dollar liberal wet dream has been a waste of those trillions of dollars and a waste time and effort, with the “beneficiaries” of the liberal wet dreams worse off ever after.

    And, this idiocy explains the re-election (51% of voters) of the worst president in history and, concomitantly, the destruction of American peace and prosperity.

    The deficits, money printing, regulations, and presidential hate-mongering cannot go on forever. And, it will not. Soon, the “fat lady” will have sung her last note.

  • Could she expedite that song? Say yesterday. That would work for me.

  • Those stating that one of the purposes of the constition was to prevent state governments from trampling our freedoms should be aware that this was not true of the original constitution. The limits the original constitution placed on states were how states were to interact with each other and with foreign powers. For the first hundred years the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states, their constitutions had their own BOR’s. it was not till 1897 that SCOTUS decided that wasn’t good enough and started holding the states to selective amendments.

  • Those stating that one of the purposes of the constition was to prevent state governments from trampling our freedoms should be aware that this was not true of the original constitution.

    Well the original Constitution didn’t go as far in this regard as some of the Framers would have liked. Madison’s original plan called for a national veto over state laws, and this was actually a major concern for him. But that got shot down at the convention. That said, the Constitution did pull back from the states some of the unbounded powers it enjoyed previously. But you’re absolutely right about the Bill of Rights not applying to the states until the Supreme Court discovered the magical jujitsu power of the 14th Amendment.

  • This conservative in NY would appreciate a little curbing aimed at Cuomo&Co.

    The text of the 2d Amendment is as follows:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

    The plain meaning a) recognizes a personal right and b) specifies that what is referred to would be military arms. It does not specify the authority which may not so infringe. On the face of it, the people are immune from the actions of any public authority, not merely Congress and the agencies which act at its direction.

    The thing is, ascertaining what the boundary conditions of this right are is a perplexing task. Clayton Cramer has been building a case that Saul Cornell (an obnoxious advocate of the view that the Amendment protects the franchise of the states to set up militias) has been defrauding his readers by systematically ignoring 19th century case law which recognized this as a personal right. That aside, there is a question of whether it applies against state governments or not. Aside from that, there is the question of how literally to interpret this formulation. As a rule, people do not conceive of a right of free speech to encompass a right to run up and down residential streets at three o’clock in the morning bare assed and screaming obscenities. What would be the analogous situation with regard to 2d Amendment rights?

    (Personally, I would be pleased if Gov. Cuomo would propose amendments and legislation to scrape the barnacles off the state’s hull. Our political architecture is a mess, but no element of the political class seems to care, including the journalists who cover the legislature. At least Mr. Zummo will likely not tell me that the Unified Court System or the Town Law have no design flaws).

  • “As a rule, people do not conceive of a right of free speech to encompass a right to run up and down residential streets at three o’clock in the morning bare assed and screaming obscenities. What would be the analogous situation with regard to 2d Amendment rights?”
    @Art Deco
    1) Only truth is allowed freedom in the public and private spheres. Obscenities are out and a person must be arrested, that is stopped, by peace keeping officers and officials.
    2) Curfew laws are in place even if not widely acknowledged. No noise after ten o’clock.
    3) When I stop laughing I will write. The exposure of the human body must be respected and have an important reason. Take Lady Godiva. Lady Godiva was protesting the heavy taxes. Her husband was the tax collector. She gave him back her clothes, as did St. Francis, informed the town of her protest and asked for indulgence.
    4) Rightfully so. If the government disarms the person and injury is inflicted, the government becomes an accessory after the fact, not only for disarming the citizen, but for not protecting the citizen. The state then becomes liable to restitution for its failure to safeguard the citizen, and also complicit in disarming the citizen. Double jeopardy for the citizen, none for the culprit and his accomplice, the state. Endangerment is against the law, even for Cuomo.

  • @4) Government becomes an accessory before (before) the fact of injury inflicted. Sorry about that.

  • @Philip: The sovereign person constitutes the state. As you have probably read me before, the sovereign person loses his sovereignty when he consents to crime and sin, murder and lying. Criminals do not constitute the state. The sovereign person who constitutes the state and the state, itself must be protected from such and the Department of Justice is called into being by such a need. Any individual human being who presumes to deprive another sovereign person of his sovereignty, civil rights and Creator endowed unalienable rights forfeits his own unalienable rights. The atheist forfeits his own Creator endowed unalienable rights by despising, rejecting and repudiating, actually plagiarizing and impersonating the Creator, the Supreme Sovereign Being and Endower of sovereignty. The proof of this fact is that the atheist does not endow LIFE, nor does the atheist bless LIFE. Life, for the atheist, must be snuffed out by the atheist because HUMAN LIFE gives testament to the Supreme Sovereign Being, creator of LIFE. The Right to LIFE inscribed in the Declaration of Independence is from “their Creator”, and not from the community as the Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nations declares. One nation under the world bank would impose these godless human rights that might be disposed of by the state, by the “community” that plagiarizes these rights from God.
    In an act of free will, the atheist rejects the Creator of his free will, thereby making of himself, a beast of burden to the state, making of himself a human being devoid of his rational, immortal soul. The atheist then imposes his dehumanizing decision on sovereign and free people to make himself “somebody”.
    A real somebody praises God every second of every day for his being.

The War on Boys-Part One

Wednesday, January 16, AD 2013



The beginning of a new series in which we will look at the ways in which contemporary society has declared war on boys.  First up, two six-year olds receive a valuable lesson that playing as boys have since the dawn of time is now strictly verboten:

Two more Maryland school kids got into trouble for pointing their fingers playing cops and robbers at school.

Actually, in the Eastern Shore schoolyard during recess in this latest case.

It happened last week at White Marsh Elementary in Tabot County.

The two six year olds had been playing and were suspended for a day.

The father of one of the boys is in the Army and said he thinks the punishment was excessive for what amounted to horseplay between two first graders.

School officials declined comment citing federal confidentiality laws.

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19 Responses to The War on Boys-Part One

  • What is distressing about this is that it did not occur in some chi-chi suburb in Montgomery County, but in a non-metropolitan county a ways away from Maryland’s cities, i.e. in the ‘red’ portion of Maryland. The effects of the faux-professionalization of teaching and school administration, the effects of tertiary “schools” of “education”, and the effects of the wretched agencies which accredit those “schools” are felt everywhere.

  • Donald Mc Clarey: I am glad that you used the term “imaginary”. “Let’s Pretend” a radio show in the 1940’s encouraged children to develop imagination. Children’s play is their work, growing into reasonable adults. Growing one’s imagination is creative work. The opposite is also true. The boys will tire and realize that pointing a gun, even an imaginary gun, at another person without a reasonable self-defense is not conducive to joy. This play makes the children think and begin to develop a virtuous life. This story is about Life interrupted from a society that does not love life. Life interrupted is pernicious. And why do taxpayers pay guidance counselors? The suspension did more harm than good. The administrators need to be held to account and give a good account of themselves. They are not off the hook because they are administrators. And of course, the suspension will go into the children’s permanent school records without question or trial, defaming the child who has not yet reached the age of reason. These administrators must be suspended in like manner to offset the injury to the children. Parents need to step up and claim their authority.

  • Of the two options listed, I’ll choose the second. Nothing wrong with the boys at all.

  • I’m so glad I homeschool. On most days, after they’re done with their work, my 12, 10 & 8 yr olds go outside to play with their nerf guns. My middle child is a girl & loves this game. They normally run around the house, using the sides & trees as covers. My husband wanted to put cypress firs along the front, near the road (we live on a busy street). At first, I said no, but maybe I’ll change my mind to protect my kids from busy-bodies objecting to their state-unauthorized play. We live in Maryland.

  • “Nothing wrong with the boys at all.”


  • When I was a kid Missy back in the Sixties, during the summer on week days local kids would gather together, about 14-20 of us, and play war, or baseball or football or bike races all day long. The only time our parents would see us would be briefly at lunch time. Better days than we are currently living through.

  • I see this as part of huge problem with school administration in general, too bureaucratic and too just too big. I went to private religious and secular schools. While these schools had consistent punishments, the teachers and administers actually knew the kids. They understood what behavior was just play and what pointed to a real problem. They would tailor their response to the situation and the individuals involved. My sister attends a very large public high school in Houston. The level of bureaucracy is staggering. If she’s going to be out for a day for a routine dr’s appointment she has to go to three separate offices to get an excused absence. Regulations also make it almost impossible for teachers to make exceptions in their grading and discipline. So a student who’s having problems (even temporary problems: illness, death in the family, etc.) and misses a few assignments the teachers can’t just let it go without being buried in a mountain of paperwork. We need to cut most or all federal educational regulations and put the power back in local schools so normal humans can make rational decisions. The regulation robots have taken over.

  • “The regulation robots have taken over.”

    Comment of the month Mrs. Z!

  • Boys Adrift is an good book related to this subject. I hadn’t realized all the ways modern schools were stomping on boys nature. It goes on to link this with the glut of 20 somethings who live at home, don’t attend school, have no job and don’t see anything wrong with that setup.


  • We need to cut most or all federal educational regulations and put the power back in local schools so normal humans can make rational decisions. The regulation robots have taken over.

    I would agree with you that primary and secondary education is a service the provision of which does not benefit from direction by the central government or by provincial government, though quality control inspection is another matter. Still, I suspect you would still have trouble even if the federal government abstained and the state government limited its involvement to producing curricular guidelines, administering regents’ examinations, and the occasional imposition of trusteeships. Due to…

    1. The metastasis of tort law.

    2. Civil rights law and the attendant web of regulation and inhibition (supplemented by lawsuits)

    3. The ideologies imparted by teacher training programs re-inforced by the agitprop of professional journals and magazines.

    4. Degenerate professionalism, or, the wheel spinning and screwball division of labor produced by people in a mode of inflating their importance (a phenomenon more readily seen in library administration than teaching, to be sure).

  • It goes on to link this with the glut of 20 somethings who live at home, don’t attend school, have no job and don’t see anything wrong with that setup.

    DarwinCatholic’s nemesis (Dalrock) has recently assembled some descriptive statistics which suggest that labor force participation rates of young men do not differ much from those of young women. I think you are going to have to drill down farther to identify the effect of this sort of asininity on the way young men interact with potential employers.

  • I have to agree with Donalds post with regard to the changed nature of our society. I, like Donald, have fond memories of my youth because they have no relationship to the current state of afairs of how children are being raised today… I remember going out in the morning with my friends to seek out adventure and fun… This included making go-carts, playing war games, walking the train tracks and sometimes even “Hopping” the trains as they went thru my neigborhood… I was allowed to make the mistakes I needed to make as a child in order to learn… I was allowed to win sometimes and to lose sometimes because that’s the nature of life… I wasn’t placed in a “Bubble” with my mother hysterically watching over me every second of the day… After I exhausted myself with play I would be called home to supper when the street lights turned on…. I am a successful man today and I arrived here without the benefit of Gay indoctrination in the schools and witnessing condoms being placed on a Banana in the 6th grade and GOD being removed from society by athiests who are “Offended”…

  • God help us all . Ipods have taken over our children’s minds. Robots indeed..

  • Normal boys. Weird adults. SNAFU.

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  • This stuff scares me silly– not because it’s getting kids use to follow-whims-or-be-punished, although that’s creepy, but because this sets up the situation where accidental shootings happen. The preventable sort, where old-enough-to-know-betters find somebody’s gun and “play” with a friend.

    My folks never worried about us with guns, although “you don’t play shoot-’em-up unless the other person is playing, too” was enforced (possibly for reasons of parental sanity)… my folks were worried sick about other folks’ kids and their guns. The only time my little .22 got locked away was during family reunion times, because our city-kid cousins were morons about guns.

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  • There is a good article on the economic effect of the war on boys in The Western Catholic Reporter of January 14, 2013. Google “middlecolumn WCR January 14, 2013” and go to page 2.

Government as False Savior

Tuesday, January 15, AD 2013


One of the more amusing aspects of living in contemporary America, if one likes one’s humor fairly dark, is that the government is attempting to take over health care at the same time the wheels are coming off some functions of government that have been around for centuries.  That is your cue Post Office.

Inspector general David Williams, described as the “chief postal watchdog,” said the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will go out of business this year unless Congress bails it out.
In an interview with the Guardian, Williams said the postal service lost nearly $16 billion the last fiscal year, nearly $41 billion over the last five years, and has reached its $15 billion credit limit.
When asked if the USPS will need a bailout this year, Williams said: “Yes. The choices are that it would cease to exist or it would need a bailout.”
Williams, whose agency audits the postal service, says Congress may have to help the postal service with its pension payments, which he says have put the postal service “in very serious trouble.”
According to the Guardian, the USPS has “missed its last two payments into the benefit funds” and “has never made a single payment without having to borrow from the US Treasury. “

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13 Responses to Government as False Savior

  • Except smarty pants Congress told the USPS they had to fund these benefits 70 years into the future. Not bizarre at all.

  • Well then the Post Office should have no problem if Congress were to vote to end its lucrative monopoly on first class mail, and give it freedom to compete in the private sector, free to make its own rules and to either earn a profit or go bankrupt if it cannot. The days when magical “government” can allow money losing pits like the Post Office to exist are drawing to a close as we are reaching the end stages of the trick of conjuring money out of thin air.

    Additionally, the prepayment argument is phony. In 2011 the Post Office had a 5.1 billion loss without paying a cent on prepayment for health benefits pushing that year’s payment into fiscal year 2012. In 2012 the Post Office defaulted on eleven billion in health care prepayments and on top of that had a five billion dollar loss.

    Could the post office make a profit as a private entity free of government interference? I am uncertain, but I know the day is swiftly approaching when it will have to make the attempt or go the way of Nineveh, Tyre and Amalgamated Buggy Whips.

  • Yikes! Nobody seems to have a problem with getting their mail delivered to their door everyday. Those days are probably over but sometimes we don’t know the whole story and still a gentler spirit can prevail???

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  • I wouldn’t consider the Postal Service to be the poster child for government inefficiency or nanny statism. Mail delivery, arguably, could be considered a part of the general public infrastructure along with roads, water/sewer supplies, and other utilities. (Yes, I know that people do more things by e-mail and online these days but not everyone has or will be able to afford a computer or smartphone, and there are still some things that have to be delivered by hand.) Genuine nanny statism comes from the purely regulatory agencies such as EPA, Commerce, Energy, etc. that, in general, don’t provide any other “service” besides telling state, local, and private entities what they can and cannot do.

  • “Yikes! Nobody seems to have a problem with getting their mail delivered to their door everyday.”

    Actually in thirty years of dealing with the Post Office in business I have had some horror stories, including a missing check from a Bank in my town that made the mistake of posting a check to me, to pieces of mail that have been delivered to me in plastic bags due to the postal machinery chewing them up, to undeliverable mail that mysteriously comes back to me months after I have sent it out, to mail from nearby towns and cities that take weeks to get to me instead of days. These are the execeptions rather than the rule, but they are not that infrequent. (Every week mail that is not mine, and is clearly addressed, is mistakenly put into my mail box at the post office and I take time out to go to the front desk so that they can put it in the proper mail box.) The Post Office has a large task, but there are definitely problem areas that would cause a private business to remedy them or to go out of business.

  • Mail delivery Elaine I think after the invention of railroads and steamships, say around 1865, could have been privatized. That it was not was largely attributable to the fact that in those days postmasterships were prize political plums and highly sought after. Of course Congresscritters would also have lost their franking privilege to send out re-elect me propaganda disguised as informative letters to constituents, something that was highly prized by them then as now.

  • I think Cosmo Kramer was ahead of his time when it came to the Post Office.

  • Mail delivery, arguably, could be considered a part of the general public infrastructure along with roads, water/sewer supplies, and other utilities.

    Mail delivery is not a natural monopoly, nor are regulatory functions integral to the operation of the postal service, nor is it a service from which you are unable to exclude non-paying clientele. Private companies are pleased to deliver parcels and express mail for a fee, and they deliver to your door just about anywhere you may live; there is not much preventing them from delivering first-class mail and advertising flyers as well. Some use of bid contracts to subvene mail delivery to certain remote locations might be justified and certain functions now performed by components of the postal service might be transferred to other units of the government (the postal inspection service, stamp production, &c). The real problem with putting the postal service on the auction bloc is the dysfunctional culture maintained by their unions and their actuarially unsound retirement benefits. You need to address these problems first, then sell.

  • Could the post office make a profit as a private entity free of government interference? I am uncertain, but I know the day is swiftly approaching when it will have to make the attempt or go the way of Nineveh, Tyre and Amalgamated Buggy Whips.

    Were its assets taken over by private equity or one of its competitors (UPS, FedEx, Mailboxes USA) and an appropriate restructuring undertaken, sure. It is a declining business and there may not be room for as many competitors, but it is still useful and people pay for it. The thing is, a large mass of people will lose their jobs, many physical outlets will close, and pensioners are going to have to accept cram-downs administered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. That’s not going to be pretty.

  • Denzel Washington once told the story about his time working at the Post Office. He was young and eager, and pretty quickly figured out how to do his full day’s sorting work in two hours. All the old-timers hated him. Finally, one day, one of them handed him a stack of magazines and told him he wasn’t allowed to sort them until he’d read them, cover to cover.

  • Let’s remember, as antiquated and over burdened as the USPS is, it’s one of the better quasio-gov agencies out there. It is also the primo facto poster child of rampant unionization & bureaucratic inefficiencies that strangle the chances to turn things around fast enough to adjust to the market needs. Heck, they seem to need a presidential decree just to curtail wasteful saturday deliveries. Can’t reduce their workforce to match demand. Can’t consolidate offices quick enough …. etc. etc. By why worry Alfred … bailouts are acoming.

  • By why worry Alfred … bailouts are acoming.

    AIG got three discrete capital infusions and even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are beginning to break even after four years as money pits. The bailout of which you speak would have to be an open-ended committment to finance the Postal Service’s deficits. I do not think Mr. Boehner’s crew will stand for that.

Vive la France!

Tuesday, January 15, AD 2013

A million Frenchmen marched on the capital of France, Paris, in defense of Marriage this past weekend.  Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, Men and Women all marched to protest François Hollande’s attempt at completing the destruction of the Family and the Church which began in the French Revolution and continued with the May 68ers, has been stalled at the moment.

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23 Responses to Vive la France!

  • It is worth noting that the attempt, in the celebrated Bègles case, to get SSM introduced by the courts on equality grounds was an utter failure. It was rejected by the TGI (court of first instance), by the Court of Appeal in Bordeaux, by the Court of Cassation and by the Constitutional Council.

    The constitutional Council found, “Considering, on the other hand, that Article 6 of the Declaration of 1789 provides that the law “must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes”; that the principle of equality does not prevent the legislator from settling different situations in different ways, or from derogating from equality for the general interest, provided that in either case the difference in treatment that results is in direct relationship with the subject of the law established thereby; that by maintaining the principle according to which marriage is the union of a man and a woman, the legislator has, in exercising its competence under Article 34 of the Constitution [power to legislate], deemed that the difference of situation between couples of the same sex and those composed of a man and a woman can justify a difference in treatment with regard to the rules regarding the right to a family; that it is not for the Constitutional Council to substitute its judgment for that of the legislator regarding the consideration of this difference of situation…” [Décision n° 2010-92 QPC du 28 janvier 2011],

    Every court dealing with the case found “This was differential legal treatment because their situation was not analogous.”

  • I hate to be this guy, but -Vive- la France.

  • Tito,

    Thanks for the clips.
    Hope springs eternal.
    Nice job.

  • Pinky,

    I was so focused on writing “la” instead of “le”, I inadvertantly wrote it incorrcetly, thanks for catching that!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • Tito,

    I’m afraid Bonapartism equals Jacobinism.

    Try this one instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qytE0nJ-R2g

  • Jon,

    That’s a nice tune.

    When the French government is changed to a Catholic state again, that would be a nice alternative. Though the words for La Marseillaise could be changed to more accurately represent the French.

  • This will always be my favorite rendition of La Marseillaise:

  • Tito,

    Have to admit I can’t agree. There’s that old saw about a silk purse and a sow’s ear.

    The Germans in Don’s Casablanca clip are singing Die Wacht am Rhine. It actually wasn’t a Nazi song. The Germans in the scene are singing it to antagonize the French as it originated in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, after the German victory. It became very popular in Germany during WWI, and the French certainly had reason to hate it.

    Even so, word change or not, La Marseillaise isn’t a hymn of freedom. It’s drenched in blood – primarily Catholic blood. It was used as the revolutionary anthem right alongside The Internationale, which can be pretty snappy itself, in 1917 Russia.

    Lazlo and Ilse can belt it all they want. Afraid I would’ve sat behind Sam and hummed The Star-Spangled Banner.

  • “I’m afraid Bonapartism equals Jacobinism.”

    Actually it was more of Bonapartism equals Sun King. Louis XIV and Napoleon had a great deal in common, from their wars of conquest, their desire to control Spain, their centralization of government and their treatment of the Church.

    “L’Etat, c’est moi” could have equally applied to both men.

  • Napoleon : King is ok… But emperor’s better.

    Louis XIV : No, king’s better. See, here’s the Emperor… And here’s the King!

    Napoleon : No way! You must be joking… Emperor’s here and king is around here.

    Louis XIV : Not a chance!

    Louis XIV : Hey you, what are you? A prince? A king?

    Man : No at all. I’m the guy who cut down the price of the Golf by €4,500.

    It’s historical.

    €4,500 saving on the Golf BlueMotion.

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  • What’s truly amazing, to me, about the pro-marriage movement in France is that there are actually well-known entertainers, artists, gays and even gay atheists leading the charge…. with the slogan “The right OF children (to have both a mother and a father) trumps the right (of adults) TO children”. Gays and lesbians already have plenty of individual legal rights in France — they’ve had civil unions for almost 20 years — but even some of them draw the line at letting gay couples claim to be married or to raise children. In the US or the UK, public figures who spoke out this strongly would be branded as bigots and, if they were in the entertainment business, their careers would be ruined.

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  • Elaine Krewer

    You are right that civil unions [Le pacte civil de solidarité (PACS)], introduced in 2000, have proved very popular in France. In 2010, there were approximately 250,000 weddings and 200,000 PACSs in Metropolitan France, as against 300,000 weddings in the year before their introduction. About 93% of PACSs are between opposite-sex couples, so they have definitely not been seen as “marriage-lite for gays.”

    Thus, marriage is seen as child-centred, for the principle difference between marriage on the one hand and PACSs and unregulated cohabitation on the other is Art 312 of the Code Civil, “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father.” By the same token, joint adoption is limited to married couples, assisted fertility is available only to treat a pathological conditions and so is not available to same-sex couples and surrogate gestation is disallowed under Art 1128 of the Code Civil, “Only things in commerce can be the subject of an agreement.” A child cannot be the subject-matter of a contract.

    In 2006, both the National Assembly and large sections of the secular press welcomed Archbishop of Paris André Vingt-Trois’s statement, “Even though it has not taken the modern form familiar in our civil legislation, there has always been a means of handing things down from generation to generation, which is the very basis of continuity and stability in a society. This transmission between generations is primarily effected by the family. It is the legal framework of family life that structures the transmission of life and shapes the future of society.”

  • Elaine Krewer, Michael Paterson-Seymour: The rationale used by the French courts: NO. It is not the same. It is not the same. Gay- unions cannot be equal because they are not the same.

  • Yes. Vive la France!

  • The actor playing the French officer is Gerard Depardieu, tax refugee from the Socialist government of France.

  • Hate to correct you Donald, but that’s Tcheky Karyo, not Depardieu.

  • “Homer nods.” You are correct Dale! I will use Dr. Johnson’s explanation:

    “Pastern: The knee of a horse. (This is wrong. When Johnson was once asked how he came to make such a mistake, Boswell tells us he replied, “Ignorance, Madam, pure ignorance.”)”

The Reverend John Smeet

Tuesday, January 15, AD 2013

The Reverend John Smeet, with his strangler’s hands and his Geneva gown, walked as daintily as he had to the gallows. The red print of the rope was still around his neck, but he carried a perfumed handkerchief in one hand.

Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster

In his short story The Devil and Daniel Webster, Benet has Satan conjure up the damned souls of 12 villains from American history to serve as a jury in the case of Satan v. Jabez Stone.  Only seven of these entities are named.  This is the second in a series giving brief biographies of these men.  Go here to read the biography of Simon Girty.

The Reverend John Smeet long puzzled literary analysts of The Devil and Daniel Webster.  No record could be uncovered as to his existence.  Scholarly debate raged as to whether Benet had been referring to other historical personages.  The mystery was not cleared up until 1960 when his widow, Rosemary Benet, wrote a letter to the New York Times Book Review in which she stated that Smeet was an imaginary character that her late husband simply inserted into the work.  This was not unusual for Benet.  He had invented a character called John Cotton, and even written a brief bio of him.  I will now do the same for the Reverend Smeet.

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Understanding “Assault Weapons”

Monday, January 14, AD 2013

This post is a somewhat condensed version of a three post series that I posted on my personal blog last week.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to hear a lot about “assault weapons”. This term is one that makes those who are informed about guns climb the walls a bit. “Assault weapon” is a legal term which was created by a series of gun control laws in the late ’80s and early ’90s culminating in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Ban. However, the term was coined to sound like the military technology term “assault rifle” (many even use the terms interchangeably.) Assault rifles were a development in military technology coming out of World War II, and it’s there that I’d like to start this story.

Battle Rifle to Assault Rifle

During World War II the need for a lighter gun suitable for rapid fire became increasingly obvious. The roughly .30 caliber battle rifles that were standard issue for all WW2 armies fired very powerful cartridges and were accurate out to distances over 600 yards.  However, although the rifles were technically accurate at such long distances, few soldiers had the skill to am the well at long range, and the vast majority of battlefield shooting was conducted at distances of 300 yards or less.  Moreover, in WW2’s highly mobile tactics, the ability of infantry soldiers to lay down effective suppressing fire had become important.  For most of the war this was achieved through specialization.  Most infantry soldiers carried full size battle rifles like the American semi-automatic M1 Garand and the German bolt action K98, while a smaller number of soldiers were issued sub machine guns — lighter weapons which could shoot in fully automatic (firing continuously as long as the trigger was held down) or burst mode (firing bursts of 3-5 shots every time the trigger was pulled.)  To make then easy to handle (and allow them to carry more rounds) sub machine guns shot smaller, pistol cartridges rather than a full size rifle cartridge and were thus suitable only for short range.

Tom Hanks holding a Thompson
Sub Machine Gun (chambered for the
.45 APC pistol cartridge) in
Saving Private Ryan

Military technologists were convinced that a cross between a full sized battle rifle and a sub machine gun was needed. Such a gun would shoot a rifle cartridge, but a lighter one which would not have as much recoil as a high power .30 caliber round. It should also be capable of shooting in burst or fully automatic mode as well as semi-automatic mode (one shot for each pull of the trigger.)

Germany produced the first true “assault rifle” near the end of World War II, the Sturmgewehr 44. It shot a shortened .30 caliber bullet with a lighter charge of powder behind it, making the recoil lighter and the ammunition cheaper to produce and lighter to carry, and it could shoot either in semi-auto or full-auto mode. By late 1943, however, the tide was already turning against Germany and its manufacturing capacity was waning. Only half a million were ever produced (compared to over 14 million of their full size K98 Mauser bolt action battle rifle.) However, it provided the inspiration for Mikhail Kalashnikov’s development of the AK-47 in Russia after the war. The AK-47 also used a light .30 caliber cartridge and selective fire (the ability to fire either semi-auto or full-auto.) The design became the standard Russian infantry rifle in 1949 and went on to become perhaps the most widely produced rifle design in history.

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18 Responses to Understanding “Assault Weapons”

  • This is fairly removed from what concerns Catholics as Catholics.

    You are marshalling statistics which point to a conclusion that regulations pertaining to firearms have only the weakest influence on crime rates. It is doubtful that the policy wonks in the Administration, on Congressional staffs, or employed by genuine research centers like Brookings do not know this. So, why some much discussion and controversy? I have been noodling around looking at the utterances of liberal journalists on this question and the ones I examine (bar Adam Gopnik) are not interested in pondering the relationship between behavioral variables. These relationships are simply assumed or do not interest them. Instead, you get short articles with titles like “Five Right-Wing Myths about Gun Control”, which then manufacture straw-men to knock down. This public discussion seems to be a substitute for a discussion of something else. Care to take a guess?

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  • Thanks for this, it was very interesting and timely.

  • Art,

    Yes, I did pretty much stick to policy wonk questions in this (or prudential questions, if one would rather use that terminology.) That seemed like the wavelength on which these conversations go on. I don’t think that anyone holds that gun ownership in general or of particular types of guns is in and of itself wrong in the sense that crimes such a burglary, assault, etc. are wrong, so it seems like the conversation is necessarily one of whether some new type of gun control would result in a significant reduction in crime.

    I suspect that you’re right that even on the Left, people who have studied the question in any depth are aware that past gun control laws haven’t had a discernible impact on crime. However, I’m not sure I’d necessarily conclude from that that the conversation is actually about something else. Two things come into play here:

    1) If one generally likes an idea, it’s usually very easy to explain away (to one’s own satisfactly) why it’s never worked. Thus, even among those on the left who know that the AWB had no effect, I think the conclusion tends to be that that simply means that it wasn’t aggressive enough. If they could get real gun control, they imagine, it would work. (And, if one can imagine of getting all the way out to the extreme, this is arguably true. If one could make all the guns in the US magically disappear, the number of people killed or injured with guns would most definitely go down!)

    2) A lot of otherwise smart and informed people don’t bother to research a topic that seems obvious to them. Given the cultural and ideological divisions in our country, I think an awful lot of those on the left find it so blindingly obvious that “there is no legitimate civilian use for an assault rifle” that the idea of bothering to study the question doesn’t really come up. Thus, I would tend to suspect that a lot of people in the Administration and working in Democrat congressional offices simply take it as an article of faith that banning assault weapons would reduce crime a lot, and have never really bothered to look further than Citizens Against Gun Violence briefing papers to see whether that is actually true.

    All that said, I don’t flatter myself I’ve got readers at the White House. My only object here is to provide readers who are interested in being informed about the issue with a better understanding of what these rifles are, why people own them, and what effect the past attempts to restrict them have had. (That, and I just enjoy the chance to write about guns.)

  • death to the Great Satin”[sic]

    Are you sure this was a mistake – maybe he was making a fashion statement?

    More seriously, thanks for the information. Accurate factual information always interests Catholics as Catholics. It seems any policy decisions should start with accurate factual information about the subject matter to which the policy is directed. That is, if the policy seeks to actually address a situation effectively.

    It is no coincidence that our current Miss America (and boy do I miss America) is a New York liberal who won based upon a pro-gun control response to her final question.

    I find 2nd Amendment legal commentary quite unintentionally humorous. It obviously takes a Harvard legal education to completely misunderstand fourteen simple words:

    “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

    If parental consent, spousal notification, ultrasounds, waiting periods, etc. can be considered an unconstitutional infringement on the “right” to an abortion, how can the government constitutionally ban any firearm? That is, without being completely hypocritical and inconsistent.

  • there is no legitimate civilian use for an assault rifle

    That may or may not be true, but it is an irrelevant question. There are many things for which there is no legitimate civilian use, but so what? What legitimate civilian use is there for a Civil War sabre, or 23 pairs of shoes, or just about any TV programming? Certainly in our culture, there simply does not need to be any more legitimacy (from a legal perspective) beyond “I want it.”

  • What about high-magazine clips, Darwin?!


    Why are you hiding things from us? Why?

  • There’s a basic rule in negotiation: always be willing to give away things that don’t matter to you. Wouldn’t it make sense for gun rights activists to cave on a lot of this stuff? The ideal, of course, is to win the argument. But there’s a lot to be said for appearing to be the reasonable compromiser. The NRA should come out against bayonets and things that look scary. They should reluctantly negotiate down from 30-round magazines to 21-round. They should call for the death penalty for anyone using fully automatic rifles in commission of a crime. Then everyone will sign the legislation and go home.

  • From a recent Forbes article:

    “Assault Weapon” is just a PR lie used to agitate gullible, Obama-worshiping imbeciles.

    “According to FBI Crime Statistics more Americans are killed with clubs/hammers than with rifles, including assault rifles. In 2005, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 605. In 2006, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 438, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 618. The fact that more people are killed with blunt objects each year remains constant.

    “For example, in 2011, there were 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs.”

  • T Shaw-
    my favorite little factoid of late is that way more women died from child birth in the US in 2009 than total deaths from fire arm accidents.

    And childbirth deaths can’t be fixed by basic education in things like “do not go into your neighbor’s house, open closets, climb up, dig out weapons and treat the guns you find like toys.”

  • What cracks me up is how so many seem to think the Second Amendment only applies to hunting. I’m with that poster above who talked about the irrelevance. I find myself unwittingly asking myself the question liberals want me to ask – is this used by hunters. Shows the influence of the media.

  • I find myself unwittingly asking myself the question liberals want me to ask – is this used by hunters. Shows the influence of the media.

    The question they would like you to ask at this point in time. I refer you to an article which appeared in Law and Contemporary Problems a few years back in which a professor argued that laws permitting and regulating hunting when juxtaposed to animal cruelty laws were constructed upon an unconstitutional arbitrary distinction. He then sketched a justification for the outlaw of hunting by judicial decree, denying any discretion to legislatures to define animal cruelty.

    Tom McKenna’s has been saying for years that agitation against capital punishment, most particularly lawfare directed at capital penalties, was actually a decoy. The ultimate aim is to replace legislator’s prescription of penalties and punishment as a goal of adjudication: everything would be at the discretion of the judge, directed toward ‘therapeutic’ goals, and making as little use of incarceration as could be managed (and all insulated from popular complaint).

    Sky’s the limit with these chumps.

  • Truth:

    We need more gun control laws so as to limit to the extent possible criminals’ workplace dangers.

    The laws and sentencing we have laws that do not keep violent thugs safely (for us) locked away. Eighty percent of violent predators in prisons get back out and resume preying on us — many are more efficient killers — and two-out-of-three ex-convicts will hurt or kill one or more of us.

    Who wants more gun laws when we already have laws that allow a man to rape a fifteen-year-old girl and chop off her arms with a hatchet, and in eight years he gets freed to kill again?

    Can you explain this distortion: where killers are set free and law-abiding citizens can’t obtain firearms to defend themselves?

  • @Pinky,
    I am not sure giving in on pointless things is actually a good negotiating tactic here. Most negotiating tactics assume that both sides want to reach a point where they are reasonably happy (or at least not unreasonably unhappy) with the new result negotiated.

    In this particular case, the fear of “assult weapons” is so unreasoned that ultimately what is given up this time will only be the starting point the next time a tragic shooting occurs to push the discussion to the front of the news again (And we all know that nothing short of banning guns entirely will prevent it from happening again… and then there will still be knives, bombs, etc.).

  • Banning guns completely won’t keep it from happening– it just means that whoever does it will be more motivated than a random psycho. Criminals and cops will both still have guns, and eventually someone will decide it’s worth going through the trouble of getting a gun instead of just making a bomb or poison.

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  • There’s a basic rule in negotiation: always be willing to give away things that don’t matter to you. Wouldn’t it make sense for gun rights activists to cave on a lot of this stuff? The ideal, of course, is to win the argument. But there’s a lot to be said for appearing to be the reasonable compromiser.

    What MarylandBill said. Gun-control proponents are the mirror image of pro-lifers in that regard, and I can understand why pro-aborts fight tooth and nail any reasonable restriction. Any concession is just a first step. Of course, with abortion, it deserves to be banned outright because it is murder, and is nowhere inthe Consitution. Guns, on the other hand, are expressly protected in the Constitution and do have legitimate purposes – the guarantor of last resort of the other 9 rights in the Bill of Rights being one of them.

Piers Morgan on Domestic Thermonuclear War

Monday, January 14, AD 2013



Hattip to Jim Treacher.  CNN talking head Piers Morgan, desperately trying to hold on to any shreds of credibility after his shellacking by Ben Shapiro, emitted this email:

America has over 5000 nuclear warheads. Quite hard to defend against a ‘tyrannical U.S. government’ with that kind of firepower.


Where to begin?

First, it is unlikely that even the most mad US President would decide to use nukes to put down a rebellion in these United States.  Too many of his own supporters would be killed and the overall reaction would likely be for the rebellion to grow as a result of his action.

Second, a wide spread rebellion in the United States would likely have the sympathy of factions within the US military, if not their active support.  The order to nuke Americans might lead to an active revolt by the military.

Third, in the event of a widespread rebellion, the rebels would probably quickly have nukes of their own.  In the case of Obama, most ICBMs and tactical nukes are located on bases in Red states.

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22 Responses to Piers Morgan on Domestic Thermonuclear War

  • Seems like Morgan is pretty persuasive to me. I mean, when you look at situations in Iraq and Afghanistan where our military had significant problems with obstruction from insurgents using small arms and homemade explosives, we solved the problem by using nuclear weapons, right? And since using nuclear weapons on US soil would be even more popular than using them in the Middle East, it’s obvious that the government would not hesitate to use nukes against any domestic rebels in some imagined future scenario. Heck, the only reason why Russia hasn’t used nukes is Chechnya is that they’re way, way more soft hearted than the US is.

    Oh wait…

  • He’s become the Bill Donohue of gun control–only less measured and introspective.

  • Suppose you were an idiot. And, suppose you were Piers Morgan. But, I repeat myself. (See Mark Twain on members of Congress.)

  • Donald’s reply brings to mind a couple of points. In the case of Ruby Ridge and Waco, both factions were armed to the teeth, and yet the government was able to ‘subdue’ them (a less euphemistic term might well be more apt). However, it did so only after an aggressive PR/smear campaign that portrayed them as white supremacists and/or child molesters, thereby making a case to the wider populace that both groups were fringe elements beyond caring much about.

    Even so, there was a kind of military (or at least ex-military) blowback that Donald also mentions, in the sense that Ruby Ridge helped provoke homegrown terrorist Timothy McVeigh, though he was able to murder his victims without guns or nuclear devices.

  • When Morgan is the spokesman for your movement, you clearly have some serious problems.

  • America’s first (known) and most “prolific” serial killer did not use any high- magazine capacity clips, or an assault weapon.

    He ran up a “body count” of over 200.


    The most dangerous weapon known to man is man’s evil mind.

  • Mr. Shaw, the case of H. H. Holmes seems hardly relevant to the current discussion. No one’s for banning extended mags because they’re afraid of some psycho killing 200 hundred people one at a time over the course of several years.

  • “No one’s for banning extended mags because they’re afraid of some psycho killing 200 hundred people one at a time over the course of several years.”

    Considering that approximately 312 people out of a total population of 330,000,000 were killed by rifles of all type last year, I think there would be more logic in attempting to ban evil thoughts than in banning any sort of rifle. Twice as many homicides were committed by people using nothing but their bare hands. The vast majority of gun homicides are committed with pistols which no one is seeking to ban, although decades ago there was an attempt to ban cheap pistols known by their critics as “Saturday Night Specials”. Politics is the explanation rather than logic since multiple slayings and their aftermath is the only time when the lost gun control crusade has any traction.

  • JL:

    There you go again, bless your heart.

    Just the facts, man.

    Here are animate and inanimate objects that are far more dangerous to children and other living beings.

    3,900,0000 Americans died in 2010.

    1,500,000 were killed by abortions.

    600,000 died from eating Whoppers and twinkies (heart disease)

    198,000 killed in preventable medical mishaps

    54,000 Killed by cars

    26,000 Killed by gravity (falls)*

    17,000 killed by drunk drivers

    1,694 killed by knives

    726 killed by unarmed assailants

    496 killed with hammers/clubs

    323 killed by long-barreled weapons (assault rifles, shotguns).

    * In NYC there is an expanding outbreak of suicide jumpers, largely attributable to the horrid economy – thank you Obama and liberals!

    And, since NOvember 2008, free Americans purchased 68,000,000 firearms.

    In 18 days, NRA added 100,000 new paid members.

    You are better than the gullible imbeciles those evil people are “playing” with this umpty-umphth gun control PR stunt.

    You are too intelligent to let them distract you the gathering American tragedy.

    Anyhow, I’m praying for you.

  • “No one’s for banning extended mags because they’re afraid of some psycho killing 200 hundred people one at a time over the course of several years.”

    “1,694 killed by knives”

    Let’s ban knives too! Oh wait. They’re trying to do that.


  • Instapundit: Harry Reid: “Don’t expect an assault weapon ban.”

    “The Second Amendment is something that was adhered to by Hubert Humphrey, John Kennedy,” Reid said. “So I don’t think anyone wants to diminish the Second Amendment, but I think everyone should just take a deep breath and realize where we are and where we need to go.

    “We have too much violence in our society, and it’s not just from guns. It’s from a lot of stuff. and i think we should take a look at TV, movies, video games and weapons. And I hope that everyone will just be careful and cautious.”

    January 19 is Gun Appreciation Day. Make it a point to communicate with your politician that you unconditionally support the right to keep and bear arms, and if that pol does not, you unconditionally oppose him/her.

  • Harry Reid making sense? The apocalypse is truly upon us!

    As usual, our intellectual betters look for a technological quick-fix for what is at root a sociological problem.

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  • Thanks for the prayers Mr. Shaw, but I think you again misunderstand me. I am in no way necessarily advocating for any type of new legislation with regards to firearms, ammo, etc. I mean simply what I said: H. H. Holmes seems hardly relevant to this discussion.

    On a more general note, to no one in particular, a quote from my new favorite book:

    “Sincere—that was the hell of it. From a distance, one’s adversaries seemed fiends, but with a closer view, one saw the sincerity and it was as great as one’s own. Perhaps Satan was the sincerest of the lot.”

    I think the temptation is to overemphasize the last sentence, but clearly that is merely a rhetorical flourish. We know the King of Lies is anything but sincere. Thus, the takeaway is this: your opponents on this issue are just as sincere and well-intentioned as you are. To think they are the height of evil and self-interest while simaltaneously holding that the NRA is some bastion of nobility and virtue strikes me as detached from reality. Quit vilifying your opponents as satan’s complicit minions. It’s uncharitable, absurd, and makes you sound deranged. People can be wrong and still be decent people. Yes, even re: gun control!

  • Thus, the takeaway is this: your opponents on this issue are just as sincere and well-intentioned as you are.

    Some yes, some no. You realize that this issue implicates matters of constitutional interpretation. Something Robert Bork said is relevant here: constitutional law has been destroyed as an authentic intellectual subdiscipline. Characters like Saul Cornell and Ronald Dworkin are many things. Sincere is not one of them.

  • The last time Americans had to use military weapons against their own government was not 1776…

    It was 1946…Battle of Athens Tennessee(returing veterns of WWII took up arms to get their votes counted correctly.

    Pulitzer prize winning writer Theodore White said “the F.B.I. didn’t investigate the local corruption because it went all the way up to the Speaker of the House of the U.S.” (paraphrase)
    check it out on wikipedia…The Battle of Athens (1946)

  • Fascinating David. I pride myself on my knowledge of American history but I had never heard of this incident before. I will make certain however that more people hear about it in the future.

  • @Art

    “Some yes, some no.”

    Well put. But the same applies for those on the other side of the issue.

  • Well put. But the same applies for those on the other side of the issue.

    Depends on the time period. The problem in starboard discourse today is more self-deception than the deception of others. Also, see Jonathan Heidt’s work. The left in this country in our time differs from the remainder of the spectrum in their ability to summarize the opposition’s viewpoint without caricaturing it. See also Robert Bork’s remarks on official Washington. He identifies a large culture shift in that social set occurring around 1981 (“liberals turned vicious”). I think you can identify another one around 2001 (just who are the starboard equivalents of Bradford deLong and Paul Krugman?). Look at our Presidential candidates over the period running from 1968 to 1988 and then look at the one’s since. There is a large change in the balance of integrity, agreeableness, and personal accomplishment between the two parties.

  • Piers Morgan was the editor of the left-wing tabloid the Daily Mirror who was sacked for publishing photographs allegedly showing British soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners but which turned out to have been faked in England. Unfortunately he was not down for long; indeed he keeps popping up to everyone’s annoyance. His recent television series saw him interviewing ‘celebrities’, asking prurient questions about their sex lives in order to titillate the less discriminating viewers. Well, he was a tabloid journalist, after all. I’m glad we’re getting a rest from him and it’s gratifying to see him making a fool of himself on the other side of the pond. Don’t deport him just yet.

    Forget the Second Amendment for a minute; the right to bear arms was part of English Common Law, which applied to the colonies, and later to the United States. It also applied to England; although firearms licences were introduced in the 1870s they were a revenue-raising exercise and were purchased at the post office for a few shillings. The first gun controls came in the 1920s; the government was worried about civil unrest, and a lot of weapons had been brought back from the Great War. In the 1950s there were a lot of unlicensed guns in circulation, but very little gun crime. Criminals tended not to carry them, since murderers who used firearms were unlikely to be reprieved, so the consequence of using them would be an 8 a.m. appointment with Albert Pierrepoint three weeks after conviction.

    The situation in Britain now is that the only people who are armed are black gangsters and crack-dealers on inner-city sink estates, and the police, who have taken to swaggering about looking like Robocop and usually end up shooting the wrong people.

  • We all need to remember these words of Kipling John before “too long” becomes “too late”.

    “Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw– Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law–

    Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing, Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

    Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years, How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

    So they bought us freedom–not at little cost– Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.”

  • JL:

    I pray for quite a few living, including several others on this page, and dead. At my age, I have many dear departed for whom I pray. Each loved me better than I loved him/her. I need to work each day on rectifying that deficiency.

    I am not as well read as you. I’m pretty sure your favorite book quote is not from Paradise Lost.

Girty the Renegade

Monday, January 14, AD 2013

And there was Simon Girty, the renegade, who saw white men burned at the stake and whooped with the Indians to see them burn. His eyes were green, like a catamount’s, and the stains on his hunting shirt did not come from the blood of the deer.

Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster

In his short story The Devil and Daniel Webster, Benet has Satan conjure up the damned souls of 12 villains from American history to serve as a jury in the case of Satan v. Jabez Stone.  Only seven of these entities are named.  This is beginning of a series to give short biographies on each of these figures.

Born in 1741 on the Pennsylvania frontier, Girty’s life took a sharp turn when he and his brothers were captured by the Seneca and adopted by them.  It would be seven years before Girty was able to return to his family.  By that time Girty was a Seneca in all but skin color.  At the outset of the American Revolution Girty supported the patriots, but eventually became a loyalist.  Frontier patriots regarded him as a turncoat and renegade.

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2 Responses to Girty the Renegade

Film and Faith

Sunday, January 13, AD 2013

Film, at its best, can convey a hint of the overwhelming impact of religious faith on those who believe.  For me, the best example of this is Jesus of Nazareth (1977), as amply demonstrated I think in the video clip above.  When we read about Jesus in the Gospels it requires a leap of imagination to conjure up the scenes depicted.  Some people are better at doing this than others.  A good film can provide us with the emotional impact of the Gospels without the necessity of our providing the imagination to bring the event alive for us.  The Church has long understood this.  Hymn singing can also accomplish this, as do Passion Plays, as does the Rosary.   God appeals to our souls, our hearts and our minds, and we make a mistake if we ever forget this.

The History Channel in March will have a miniseries that dramatizes portions of the Bible.  Below is a trailer.

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16 Responses to Film and Faith

  • I watched “Jesus of Nazareth” shortly after I first came to belief. You hit the nail on the head. Nothing can be compared to this movie, although “The Passion of the Christ” certainly did, some 30 years later. Beautifully filmed, excellent acting, orthodox Christianity.

    I’m a fan of the older biblical movies but “Jesus of Nazareth” is certainly unlike all of them. What’s astonishing to me is that I can still watch it today and there’s barely a hint of ‘datedness’ to it like many movies from decades ago. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this since my first time ~ always during Lent every year.

    Thanks for the clip!

  • It’s ordained. You will reflect His light in dark places. Believe.
    God is with us.
    Your movie is in production.
    Make it count.
    Souls are depending on your faith, your virtues and your love.

  • The History channel has been known to take liberty with religious truth on occasion. We shall see. I support the Douay-Rheims Bible.

  • The Douay-Rheims is a translation of a translation. And that translation is the Latin Vulgate which has itself been revised and updated under Pope JP II as the Nova Vulgata:


    Late last year I ordered my hardcopy from Paxbooks (it was my Christmas gift to me – selfish, I suppose). But of course the most accurate is the original Koine Greek New Testament and the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament. I can’t do the right to left script of Semitic languages, and can manage Greek only fitfully with lots of internet help and Strong’s Concordance. Personally, for English Editions, I prefer in the following order:

    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
    New American Bible Revised Edition
    English Standard Version with Apocrypha
    King James Version with Apocrypha

    But I do have a hardcopy of St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate / Clementine Douay-Rheims side by side, and I do use Father George Haydock’s Douay-Rheims Catholic Study Bible of the 19th century in my apologetics classes.

    I guess we all have preferences. For prayer devotional I like the Nova Vulgata and for study the RSV CE, and I don’t so much like the Douay-Rheims because of its inaccuracies.

  • I’m liking the King James w/Apocrypha these days. After that I like the Douay Reims.

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  • For New Testament study, I like the Catholic Comparative New Testament, which provides, in a side-by-side format, the text of the Douay-Rheims, RSV-CE, New American Bible, NRSV Catholic Bible, Jerusalem Bible, Good News Translation, New Jerusalem Bible, and Christian Community Bible.

  • The Douay is solid, but I’ll quibble with Paul’s “translation of a translation”: in the most commonly available format, it’s a translation of a translation of a translation.

    The brilliant Bishop Richard Challoner revised the Douay in the 1700s, and he was not afraid to borrow from the King James Version.

    I think every Catholic family with English as a native tongue ought to have a Douay to hand as a reminder of what English-speaking Catholics once went through.

  • Thanks for providing the link to the Catholic Comparative New Testament, Paul. I should have done so in my comment. I think it should become clear to anyone who uses it that the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition ought to be the preferred modern translation for Catholics.

  • @Jay: That’s a matter of taste, don’t you think? Personally, I don’t care for the RSV. It’s certainly a far cry better than the New American for instance, but I find it bland. Comparing various passages, the KJV’s beautiful language far surpasses the RSV, let alone that in some random passages I’ve checked, the meaning seems to be quite different. Off the top of my head, here’s a good example:

    KJV: (Genesis 11:1) “And the whole earth was of one language, and
    of ONE SPEECH.”

    RSV: (Genesis 11:1) “… one language and few words.”

    That seems striking, doesn’t it? There’s more examples I could give but this is an example.

  • Key words in my comment: “modern”. I actually prefer the older translations.

  • Elizabeth,

    Please go here for Genesis 11:1: http://interlinearbible.org/genesis/11.htm

    Verse 1 actually says: “and the same words same language earth now the whole used.”

    Sounds weird, right? We moderns certainly don’t speak that way. Even Latin that came 2000 years afterwards has odd word order and no articles. Traslating the Vulgate like this would sound equally weird. However, to get precise word for word meaning regardless of how jarring it is, go to an interlinear OT / NT: http://interlinearbible.org/.

    For approximate word-for-word meaning, the RSV CE is great and so is the ESV with Apocrypha. So are the Protestant NASB and NKJV, but they lack the Deuterocanonicals. For sense of meaning, go to the NIV (which again lacks the Deuterocanonicals) or NAB RE. Every single translation has problems. None are perfect. Only the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek are “inspired.” But the Church does authorize translations because God gave the Church such authority, a lesson Wycliffe failed to understand, much to his doom. 🙁 That said, the Protestants have done wonderful translations as well.

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  • My thoughts on Jesus of Nazareth mirror yours. Did you ever get a chance to read my book Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners which looks at the treament of Christians in about 200 films from 1905 to 2008? It sold out its hardback at $49.95 and is now in paperback at $24.95. I know you are a film aficianado. If you haven’t seen it, I’d be happy to send you a copy.as payback for your many intersting posts. Just let me know where to send it.

  • E-Mail sent to you Pete, and I thank you!

Laws Are For Our Enemies, Not Our Friends

Saturday, January 12, AD 2013

The District of Columbia, one of the worst governed jurisdictions in the United States, has a law on the books, placed there for political purposes by the uber liberals who run it, banning “high-capacity” ammo clips, of the type waved around by NBC unpaid Obama press flack reporter David Gregory in the above clip.  He did it in DC.  No intent is needed for the criminal prosecution.  It is a strict liability offense.  For the past few weeks the question has been whether Gregory would be prosecuted.  Not a chance I thought, and I was proved correct when Irvin Nathan, the attorney general for DC, released a pompous letter yesterday explaining why Gregory would not be prosecuted  The letter runs to three turgid pages, but I won’t inflict all of that on you.  Instead, here is the money quote:

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21 Responses to Laws Are For Our Enemies, Not Our Friends

  • I wonder if the A-G considered the alternative of offering the parties the alternative of an out-of-court Fiscal fine? If not, why not?

  • Sic semper tyrannis . . .

    Selective law enforcement is banana republic SOP.

    NYS is about to (the Senate now has a dum majority) outlaw “assault weapons” and impose confiscations.

    We will all be much safer. Criminals will turn in their weapons and It will become more likely that an escaped Bengal Tiger will eat you than you will get KIA by an assault weapon (now odds are 343:315,000,000).

    Either I will emigrate/seek refugee status in America (a red state) or I will become a NY felon.

    I will not give up my basic human (Second Amendment) right to bear arms that I have exercised for over 40 years.

  • I doubt that the administration had any feelings about it one way or the other. My guess is that it’s something worse than favoritism – liberal “compassion”. Gregory’s heart was in the right place, so it wouldn’t be right to punish him.

  • Pinky,

    What you said, plus that vile, lying scumbag, Gregory, is a prominent member of the ruling class. The 150 Americans persecuted for similar acts are faceless members of the ruled class.

    Ann Althouse: “If Gregory clearly violated the law, but there is no interest to be served in prosecuting him, doesn’t that prove that the law is not important? If the precise thing that he did — which is clearly what is defined as a crime — raises no interest in prosecution, how can we be satisfied by letting this one nice famous man go? Rewrite the law so that it only covers the activity that the government believes deserves prosecution, so there is equal justice under the law.”

  • Sure. And I think as a practical matter, “prosecute only bad people” can easily turn into “prosecute only your enemies”, because after all, who’s better than our friends? But I think in this case, it’s “prosecute only white trash”. This guy’s kids go to Sidwell Friends School. This is more a public school law.

  • The older I get the more it becomes clear to me that it is idiotic to try to reason with an idoit. This clip only confirms my instinct. It also makes me ask “Where’s Newt Gingrich when you need him?” I mean, I’m no fan of Newt, but he certainly demonstrated how to handle David Gregory.

    Unfortunately, that sucking sound you hear is the sound of repulicans starting to cave on this issue. You have that congressman in GA. I don’t know his name off hand, but does it really matter anyway?, coming out for stricter gun control. You also have Chuck Grassley signaling openess on magazine capacity:


  • “Where’s Newt Gingrich when you need him?”

    Actually Newt has historically been wobbly on the second amendment.

    “Unfortunately, that sucking sound you hear is the sound of repulicans starting to cave on this issue.”

    Naw, it is the Democrats caving:


    The Democrats couldn’t get new gun control legislation out of the Senate let alone the House. I do hope that Obama gets his second term off to a bad start by a futile attempt to pass new gun control legislation.

  • Note that, not only did Gregory clearly and irrefutably violate the law, he knew he was breaking the law when he did it.

    In a sane world, that factor would make such prosecution more ‘in the public interest’, not grounds for getting a pass.

  • But the whole point of trying to ban large capacity magazines is totally whacko. The guy obviously has had very little experience of firearms. I have an old Lee Enfield Mk.IV .303 – the jungle carbine version – which I have modified to suit my own need – monte-carlo stock and pistol grip etc. and a 4 power scope. It has a 10 shot magazine. But I can have a clip of 10 more rounds which I can reload into the mag in about 1.5 seconds. Great weapon for hunting deer (and pigs – but you’re better off with dogs for pig hunting) even in dense bush, and I have shot deer with it over 400 yards. You don’t need an exotic “assault rifle” if you are a nut job wanting to kill people – anything that fires a bullet will kill a large number of unprepared, unsuspecting victims.
    And why do the libs always go for the NRA? those are the very responsible guys as far as I know. How many NRA members have gone on a killing spree?
    Here in NZ, hand guns are banned, as are semi-automatic military weapons – but otherwise, shotguns, rifles etc are available, and you simply need to get a license to procure, and demonstrate that you are sane, and not a nutter and know the basic rules of handling a gun – idetinfy target,check background, firing zone etc – just the common sense things – and you’re in business – for hunting, that is 🙂

  • Don,

    I have a 1917 Enfield (full size). It’s basically unaltered. I inherited it from my father. I haven’t been able to locate a bayonet.

    No, “it” cannot happen here.


    Plus, they want to circulate $trillion platinum coins!

    Ruger makes it extremely easy to contact your politician.


  • Donald:

    I wasn’t speaking do much to Newt’s position on the 2nd Amendment, but his more aggressive approach to the media, David Gregory in particular. Come to think of it, I think we ought to take a page out of Piers Morgan’s playbook and summon my best fake British accent and say “You really are an incredibly stupid man, aren’t you?” Yes, I think we need to start employing the “Act like one, get called one.” approach. Our side treats some of the most stupid inane questions and comments with seriousness. Although they respond with the right the substance, the style comes off as weak and come off looking like a bunch of pansies.

    No, the democrats are not caving. None of them are CONCEDING anything. Just because some democrat senators aren’t pushing for something they weren’t pushing for anyway doesn’t mean they are caving. Republicans on the other hand are giving up ground on something they had previously stood for. are caving/

    Now, I don’t think Sen. Di Fi thought her piece of unconstitutional crap was going to pass the house or senate in the near future. But she is operating under the minset that the left has effectively operated under for decades. And that is you keep hammering away and little by little and your agenda gets implemented. I thought you would be an asute enough observer of politics to understand that, but apparently not.

    In terms of screwing up the country, Obama’s second term is shaping up to be a rousing success. Not only can he advance the ball on the assault on the send amendment (which is already happening albeit in small measure), but he can use that as a smoke screen under which he’ll get his tag team attack on national security confirmed. a Irael hating anti-military defense secretary and Jack “teh Muslim Brotherhood is a secular organization” Brennaman in as CIA chief.

    It is painfull to the republican leadership get punked by a third rate Chicago street agitiator like Barack Obama. I mean it’s just embarrassing.

  • “I wasn’t speaking do much to Newt’s position on the 2nd Amendment, but his more aggressive approach to the media,”

    I liked his aggressive pose to the media during the election campaign too Greg. However, since the election he has been in collapse mode. That has always been the problem with Gingrich. He is undependable long term, especially when the going is tough.

    “No, the democrats are not caving.”

    I disagree. Red State Dems are in collapse mode on gun control, now that the initial furor for gun control after Newtown has subsided.

    “Republicans on the other hand are giving up ground on something they had previously stood for.”

    Nope. I can safely predict that no gun control legislation will pass this Congress.

    “And that is you keep hammering away and little by little and your agenda gets implemented.”

    It certainly hasn’t worked for them on gun control. They have lost a great deal of ground both in legislation on the state and federal level and in the courts over the past decade.

    “I thought you would be an asute enough observer of politics to understand that, but apparently not.”

    Certainly astute enough not to completely misread the situation as you have.

    “Obama’s second term is shaping up to be a rousing success.”

    Complete and total bunk. Gun control is going nowhere The Republicans have made the Bush tax cuts permanent and solved the problem of the Alternative Minimum Tax. They stopped Rice for State and by Obama picking Kerry he places in jeopardy that Senate seat. Hagel is drawing fire from both the Left and Right and may not get through the Senate. It has not been an auspicious start.

  • Obama’s 2nd term is proving to be a rousing success in stirring up even more people against him while he seems to consolidate the support of his adoring worshippers in the mains stream media. More and more people, however, are beginning to despise and loathe him for the gangster that he is. And I am hopeful that the political process in Washington will become paralyzed. One thing concerns me, however: can and will Obama use his power of Executive Order to infringe on 2nd Amendment rights? He already shows like the media no respect for the Constitution.

  • Yeah, Donald you also felt pretty safe in predicting Romney was going to win in an electoral blowout. Your understanding of safety makes one want to watch his back.

    Let’s see, you have the 1994 assault weapons ban. After Newtown, the pro-gun control crowd immediately took control of the terms of the debate. To be sure, gun sales have spiked sinced then, out of fear of federal efforts to enact further gun control measures. I don’t think the NRA and other gun advocacy groups share your optimism on this issue. The idea that the left hasn’t made inroads on the gun control issue is ridculous.

    The way things stand now. at the end of Obama’s second term, we will be between 20 and 25 Trilliion in debt, economy still in bad shape, the deliterious effects of Obamacare beginning to be felt, Obama thwarting the Constitution with impunity, the world a much more dangerous place, our military considerably weakened. In terms of screwing up the country, if that’s not a rousing sucess, what is? So, what am I misreading here?

  • “Obama’s 2nd term is proving to be a rousing success in stirring up even more people against him…”

    Umm, Paul, Obama has been doing that his entire first term and still get reelected.

  • As far as the whole Susan Rice thing goes, I don’t think Obama himself thought that was gonna go anywhere. But, instead we are gonna get John Kerry. He will probably get Hagel through, inconsequential pissing and moaning from conservatives notwithstanding. Plus, Jack Brennaman at CIA. In the Obama scheme of things, offering up Susan Rice is a small sacrifice.

  • “Yeah, Donald you also felt pretty safe in predicting Romney was going to win in an electoral blowout. Your understanding of safety makes one want to watch his back.”

    Me and gentlemen like Rasmussen and Barone, who know about far more about politics than either you or I. The Gallup numbers also indicated a Romney win. I was wrong but I was in good company in my error.

    “The idea that the left hasn’t made inroads on the gun control issue is ridculous.”

    No, the idea that their tactics have succeeded is ridiculous. We have no assault weapons ban currently and we are not going to have one. It looks like the Obama administration isn’t even going to ask for one. We also now have recent Supreme Court rulings declaring the Second Amendment as a personal right. The campaign of the Left against the Second Amendment has been a flat failure over the past ten years.

    “In terms of screwing up the country, if that’s not a rousing sucess, what is?”

    I do not believe that Obama wishes to screw up the country. His goal was to move the country permanently to the Left and establish a permanent Democrat majority. Instead in 2010 he lost the House to the Republicans and a host of state legislative seats, more than the Republicans have held since 1928. In 2012 the Republicans retained control of the House and almost all the legislative seats they gained in 2010 outside of New Hampshire. The Gop controls the state legislatures now in 26 states, compared to 18 for the Democrats. When Obama was elected in 2008 the Democrats controlled 27 legislatures to 17 for the Republicans. The Republicans have 30 governorships as opposed to 19 for the Democrats. When Obama was elected the Democrats controlled 29 state houses to 21 for the Republicans. The long term impact of the Obama presidency may be to establish the Republicans as the majority party in the nation.

  • “In 2012 the Republicans retained control of the House”

    Problem is they should have not only maintained control of the House, but taken control of the Senate as well take back the White House. But instead, we LOST seats in the House, although we retained control and lost seats in the Senate. In light of the economic situation, this was a major, major defeat of the GOP. This signals that the GOP is very bad shape nationally. Boehner and the GOP leadership are trying marginalize the Tea Party, the very people who are responsible for the GOP house majority and him being Speaker to begin with.

    This election indicates that one should not put too much trust in the experts. The fact that Barone (who I think is somewhat overrated) and other missed this is embarrassing to say the least.

    At the very least, Obama is indifferent at best to the effect of his policies. He knows this is bad for the country but pursues them anyway

  • Tragically, Romney allowed the worst POTUS in history to avoid answering for the two factors that are destroying the USA: the crashing economy and the skyrocketing debt.

    Gun hysteria is just another distraction from the real problems tearing at our national being.

    Peace and Justice! Green, liberal ethanol scam is driving up corn prices: a disaster for poor people, at home and abroad.

    Maybe the GOP has a bit of fight left.

    From Zero Hedge: “Citigroup floated idea that a temporary government shutdown in mid/late February is possible: first technical default of the US based on prioritization of US debt payments. Politico reports this idea is rapidly gaining support within the GOP, “more than half of GOP members are prepare to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes.

    “‘Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner ‘may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. ‘We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.””

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • PS: They need only to say that Obama was against raising the debt ceiling when he was in the Senate. And, that Senator Obama was right.

  • “In light of the economic situation, this was a major, major defeat of the GOP.”

    Retaining control of the House in the teeth of the type of get out the vote drive the Obama campaign put out was no mean achievement. The Senate was a disappointment, although mistakes by individual candidates were the cause of most of the losses. At the state level the part did almost as well as in 2010, its best election on the state level since 1928. I think this is a sign of strength for the GOP. In the House, tea party backed candidates were on both sides of the fiscal cliff deal, because it was a mixed deal with good and bad, but probably the best deal the Republicans could hope for under the circumstances. This year and next year with the Senate and the Presidency in Democrat hands, I think the House will be successful in preventing massive new spending programs and that is the best that can be accomplished for now.

    “The fact that Barone (who I think is somewhat overrated) and other missed this is embarrassing to say the least.”

    What it says is that most polling cannot be trusted for now, at least when a race is close, and that the GOP needs to emulate the Democrats when it comes to using fairly sophisticated data mining to locate GOP voters and make sure they get to the polls. Romney won independents nationally, and in a majority of the battle ground states. The problem for Romney is that he was unable to turn out the base of the Republican party in the numbers needed to win.

2 Responses to With a Little Help From a Friend Open Thread

  • A little sad to watch. We had to put our nine year old chocolate lab down two days before Christmas. She broke here leg and it turned out she had bone cancer. It had spread and so the best thing to do was end it. But we had a good life with her.

  • Very heartwarming clip.

    Our best wishes are extended to your family on the recent loss. Pets are another manifestation of Gods love for us. Unconditional love.

Doing the Job Big Media Won’t Do

Friday, January 11, AD 2013

My friend Jay Anderson linked to this excellent piece from a Fox affiliate in Cincinnati addressing crime statistics in Great Britain and the United States.

As Jay remarked, it’s sad that it takes a small affiliate news station to do the sort of fact checking that major news networks are incapable of, 0r, more likely, unwilling to do.

As for Piers Morgan, watch what happens when he is forced to interview someone actually tethered to reality.

I think “your little book” is going to be an instant classic.

Continue reading...

22 Responses to Doing the Job Big Media Won’t Do

  • Shapiro does an admirable job of keeping his head against Morgan’s aggressive ranting.

    I just wish that he hadn’t stuck to only talking about guarding against potential tyranny as the reason for law abiding citizens to own guns like the AR-15 (now the number one selling type of rifle in America.) With more than three million Americans owning these types of rifles, and at most a couple hundred people being killed with them each year, it’s obvious that a lot of people do have perfectly law abiding uses for these guns. They’re one of the most popular types of rifle used in the National Match target shooting competitions run by the government sponsored Civilian Marksmanship Program. They’re used for home defense. And they’re getting to be one of the most common types of rifles you’ll see men and women shooting (quite peacefully) at gun ranges.

    The Fox report is also pretty great. There’s a great report put out by a British group that looks at crime stats by type in OECD countries, and that only serves to flesh out the point that while the US has a higher murder rate than many countries (5 per 100,000 in population as compared to 1 to 2 per 100,000 in many other wealthy nations) we have lower rates of many other forms of violent crime than those countries:


  • I agree that Shapiro should have gone further to defend assault weapons other than on defense against tyranny grounds. That said, Morgan’s incredulous reaction to the response is quite telling. You would think a person hailing from a country intimately familiar with what happens when surrounding democracies go bad might not treat such an idea as preposterous. I wonder if Morgan would have said that Plato was absurd on his book tour promoting The Republic.

  • *delighted laugh*
    He does look incredibly young!

    Heard about Shapiro’s interview on the morning talk news radio show– I thought his delivery of the line about “My grandparents didn’t believe they had anything to fear from the government. That is why they are ashes.” was perfect. Horrifying, of course, but that is what disarming people and putting them at the mercy of an organizational machine means.

  • Yeah, and I don’t want my one criticism to be taken wrong, I thought Shapiro did an outstanding job, and boy did Morgan come off sounding like an asshat.

  • I think Paul touched on a very important mis-speak..”your little book.”
    This is fact is the disregard and blatant disrespect the left has regarding the most important document, ( declaration of independence w/ it ) that it is undeniable!
    Great job Shapiro! The grandparents intro. was right on.

  • “Heard about Shapiro’s interview on the morning talk news radio show– I thought his delivery of the line about “My grandparents didn’t believe they had anything to fear from the government. That is why they are ashes.” was perfect. Horrifying, of course, but that is what disarming people and putting them at the mercy of an organizational machine means.”

    Agreed. Under the Irish penal laws, Catholic Irishmen could not possess firearms. This was not repealed until the Irish Militia Act of 1793.

  • What I don’t understand is why Shapiro went on that show (which I hear is starving for ratings) thinking he could have a civil discussion with a pompous jerk like Piers Morgan. Here’s how you debate Pers Morgan:

  • Folks,

    As I just stated when I shared Paul Zummo’s post on Facebook (thanks, Paul Z!), as a matter of discipline, I simply do not watch or listen to any news or commentary from ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR or PBS. Since when has truth come from a liberal, progressive Democrat. Slavery in the 19th century? Yes! Abortion in the 20th and 21st centuries? Yes! Truth? Never! Good for Shapiro for facing down a pompous a$$ and having the decorum and self-control not to shoot him where he sat.

  • Glad that the comment from that troll “Salvage” was deleted. All he has time to do is go around the Catholic blogosphere spreading his odiferous trash about.

  • “What I don’t understand is why Shapiro went on that show”

    To show what an ignoramus and buffoon Morgan is, which Shapiro did in spades. It is easy to write Ted Nugent off as simply a right wing yahoo. It is impossible to do that with Shapiro.

  • Piers Morgan needs no help in demonstrating that he is a buffoon. He does a good enough job of that by himself. Notice Morgan did’t bully Nugent the way he did Shapiro. He kept talking over Shapiro. He knew better than to try that with Nugent. While Shapiro did a decent job of handling himself,Nugent did a much better job. The left effectovely treats. much more tame people than Shapiro as right wing yahoos all the time.

  • Completely disagree on all counts Greg. It is vitally important to show up people like Piers Morgan especially on his show. Nugent doesn’t have the intellectual wattage to hold his own in a debate even though I like his spirit and agree with him. Even the Washington Post admitted that Morgan got clobbered by Shapiro. Shapiro is an editor at large at at Breitbart.com and his debating Morgan and besting him on his home turf is in the best spirit of Breitbart’s admonition that Conservatives must engage the culture. Nugent does this through his music but I do not think debate is his strong point.

  • I agree Donald.
    Having conviction is great however having conviction and hours of study is priceless.
    TAC assists me in my debates with Co-workers and acquaintances. The selection of clips and references is helpful to me personally so the future debates are grounded in fact, not in hyperbole.
    Thank all of you for helping a lower educated practicing Catholic in good standing.

  • @Paul

    Much of programming on NPR and PBS is worth your while. For instance, I watched a fascinating documentary on Iranian Americans on my local PBS affiliate just the other night. As a Minnesotan, I also am immensely proud of MPR, which was truly the pioneer of public radio. They spend time discussing issues and policies in a level of detail that cannot be found on cable news or talk radio, which dispense sound bytes and screeds instead of substance. I usually don’t agree with the conclusions of MPR and PBS correspondents, but I appreciate the serious manner in which they approach these topics. If you’re comfortable in your own convictions, there is a wealth of information that can be harvested from these sources.

    I also watch Al Jazeera when I can, and used to frequent their website with more regularity. Their coverage of the Middle East is far more in-depth than anything offered in the US, and the non-American-centered perspective is decidedly refreshing. They are state-owned, so do not mistakenly accuse me of arguing that all their coverage is completely balanced and fair, but there’s no denying that it provides another angle that is invaluable to those who seek to have a more complete understanding of that part of the world.

  • Try Memri for a contrast between what is said for English consumption and what is said for home consumption.

  • Thanks, JL!

    I do watch the science and history documentaries on PBS, as well as the BBC detective show re-runs that it routinely broadcasts. I just don’t pay any attention to PBS or NPR news. Nor do I pay much if any attention to Fox News.

  • Piers Morgan ought to be exiled as persona non grata for his demeaning “your little book” about our founding principles.

  • Donald:

    One need not a whole lot of intellectual heft to take on the likes of PIiers Morgan on this issue, as Nugent ably demonstrated. Me thinks you are giving Morgan far more respect than what he deserves.

    Unfortunately, Shapiro’s “intellectual wattage” didn’t completely convert into common sense. For instance, Shapiro said he favored a national data base, providing, of course, it not be made public. Now, anyone who has paid even a modicum of attention knows there is no way in the present climate such a data base will not be made public somehow, particularly in light of what happen with that paper in New York I think it was. All it would take is some Slick DIck Left Wing lawyer to find a judge who will grant a FOIA request. Or, if that proves too cumbersome, some bureaucrat will leak it to Media Blathers or the New York Slimes. I mean, the same New York Slimes can publish damaging classified information about CIA black sites with impunity. Shapiro walked right into Morgan’s trap on tht one. The New York case Shapiro himself cites made that much obvious. If that’s not an act of stupidy, what is?

    I don’t give a hootin hell what the Washington Compost (thank you Mark Levin) concedes or what some conservative blog may gush over, I will trust my instincts, especailly when it comes to the obvious,

  • “Piers Morgan ought to be exiled as persona non grata for his demeaning “your little book” about our founding principles.”

    You have to do the same almost the entire American left, because they have as little respect for the Constitution as he does.

  • Greg Mockeridge: “You have to do the same almost the entire American left, because they have as little respect for the Constitution as he does.”

    The sooner we start. the sooner we will have accomplished the deed.

  • Shapiro did a great job. Morgan is a pommie dickhead.
    I can’t belive he was quoting the UK as being better than the US in various statistics. You just need to look at was has happened to Britain over the last fifty odd years – it is the type of liberal garbage spouted by Morgan that has caused, to a large extent, the cesspit that the UK has become.
    I agree with a previous commenter – you should send him back home; he is only helping to make the US like where he came from.

  • It is easy to write Ted Nugent off as simply a right wing yahoo.

    I don’t know, maybe. But at least in that clip, he had Piers squarley in the cross-hairs and made a clean kill. Rattling off the recidivism stats was a perfect three shot burst.