Monthly Archives: January 2013
One of the more popular illusions of the past half century is that sin can be redefined and that we can engage in conduct formerly regarded as sinful free of consequence. Alas, inconvenient reality keeps creeping back into the picture:
Workers at a Canadian clinic have discovered that almost 7 percent of their patients with gonorrhea had a strain of the bacteria against which all oral antibiotics are useless. This alarming report suggests gonorrhea may become an untreatable disease, warn public health experts.
Antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea have been reported in outbreaks throughout Europe and Japan, according to US News, but the Canadian study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, marks the first time the strain has been seen in a large North American population.
“We’ve been very concerned about the threat of potentially untreatable gonorrhea,” Dr. Gail Bolan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Fox News. “We feel it’s only a matter of time until resistance will occur in the United States. Continue reading
Theodore Roosevelt throughout his life eagerly embraced new technology, and so it was no surprise that during the 1912 election he recorded some of his speeches. Go here for links to the sound recordings of these speeches. I wish there was a sound recording made of many of the nuggets of wisdom dispensed by Roosevelt. I especially have always been fond of these two: Continue reading
From the Deadliest Warrior television series. I have always enjoyed absurd alternate history speculations a la “What if Napoleon had a B-52 at Waterloo?”
By the time Lawrence of Arabia arrived on the scene TR was getting fairly long in the tooth and was in ill health, however, I would not have bet against him. He used knives for killing fairly frequently. This letter to his kids in 1901 is typical:
Keystone Ranch, Colo., Jan. 14th, 1901 –
Soon we saw the lion in a treetop, with two of the dogs so high up among the branches that he was striking at them. He was more afraid of us than of the dogs, and as soon as he saw us he took a great flying leap and was off, the pack close behind. In a few hundred yards they had him up another tree. This time, after a couple of hundred yards, the dogs caught him, and a great fight followed. They could have killed him by themselves, but he bit or clawed four of them, and for fear he might kill one I ran in and stabbed him behind the shoulder, thrusting the knife right into his heart. I have always wished to kill a cougar as I did this one, with dogs and the knife. Continue reading
The amendment, like most other provisions in the Constitution, has a history. It was adopted with some modification and enlargement from the English Bill of Rights of 1688, where it stood as a protest against arbitrary action of the overturned dynasty in disarming the people, and as a pledge of the new rulers that this tyrannical action should cease. The right declared was meant to be a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and as a necessary and efficient means of regaining rights when temporarily overturned by usurpation.
Thomas Cooley, Principles of Constitutional Law (1898)
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?
Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?
After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria [Government limo] sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked.
The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!
–Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The GULAG Archipelago
Former president Bill Clinton can add Father of the Year to the many awards he’s garnered in his decades of public service.
The National Father’s Day Council, which has been giving out such an honor for 72 years, has named Clinton one of its recipients for 2013.
“With the profound generosity, leadership and tireless dedication to both his public office and many philanthropic organizations, President Clinton exemplifies the attributes that we celebrate through the Father of the Year award,” said Dan Orwig, chairman of the National Father’s Day Committee. Continue reading
“While Leonidas was preparing to make his stand, a Persian envoy arrived. The envoy explained to Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the Great King’s army and demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and submit to the might of Persia. Leonidas laconically told Xerxes, “Come and get them.(Molon labe).”
Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama might use an executive order to deal with guns.
“The president is going to act,” said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. “There are executives orders, there’s executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required.”
Biden said that this is a moral issue and that “it’s critically important that we act.”
You know, if we have domestic unrest during the second term of this administration, I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts from Joe Biden shooting off his mouth and giving us glaring insight into how Obama would proceed if he thought he could get away with it. Obama has nothing but contempt for American liberties and Biden merely idiotically repeats what he has heard. Continue reading
Daniel Sarewitz has a post at Nature in which he decries the trend among many scientists of acting as shrill Democrat partisans:
The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.
To connect scientific advice to bipartisanship would benefit political debate. Volatile issues, such as the regulation of environmental and public-health risks, often lead to accusations of ‘junk science’ from opposing sides. Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by avowedly bipartisan groups of scientists, and more difficult to justify their policy preferences by scientific claims that were contradicted by bipartisan panels.
Andrew Klavan writes a column and notes reasons for optimism in our winter of discontent:
1. Fracking. As I’ve said before, Obama and the EPA will ultimately be splatter on the windshield of this progress. There’s energy in them thar hills and eventually we’re going to get at it, whether these luddite environmental knuckleheads like it or not. That means wealth, energy independence, jobs, power and a reboot of Dallas. Obama may be choosing decline, but the rest of the country may well choose prosperity and growth in spite of him.
2. Federalism. Around the country, conservative governors are taking action that could galvanize reform nationwide. Right-to-work laws, state budget cuts, reduced property taxes and creative approaches to education. As prosperity follows these practices — and abandons California and Illinois and other lagging states — they will gain credence with the general population and make political stars of the governors who supported them.
3. Reality is on our side. When I call Obama a reactionary, what I mean is that he adheres to a grievance-based socialist ideology he learned in college from professors who were probably old even then. As these academics die and go to hell for all eternity, up-and-comers may begin to notice that the poor suffer under left-wing programs and rise under the free market, that education improves under conservative guidance and gets worse under liberals, and that big business actually gets more entrenched and powerful under the left while the right helps the little guy thrive. That, after all, will be the off-beat, radical position, and academics love to be off-beat and radical as long as everyone around them is being off-beat and radical too. A new generation is already on the rise that understands entitlements are unsustainable and that freedom works. It won’t be long at all before we begin to hear their voices in the mainstream. I hope. Continue reading
I have written before of a truly wacked out nostrum popular among bloggers on the Left in this country to have a coin minted with a trillion dollar value in order to “solve” the debt crisis. Go here to read my post on the subject. Now economist Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate and barking mad Leftist moonbat, has endorsed the proposal:
Enter the platinum coin. There’s a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. Yes, it was intended to allow commemorative collector’s items — but that’s not what the letter of the law says. And by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling — while doing no economic harm at all.
So why not?
It’s easy to make sententious remarks to the effect that we shouldn’t look for gimmicks, we should sit down like serious people and deal with our problems realistically. That may sound reasonable — if you’ve been living in a cave for the past four years.Given the realities of our political situation, and in particular the mixture of ruthlessness and craziness that now characterizes House Republicans, it’s just ridiculous — far more ridiculous than the notion of the coin. Continue reading
After the college football national championship game, faith filled fans of Notre Dame Football need something positive on which to dwell, so how about a miraculous story surrounding Knute Rockne? Many readers may be aware of legendary Notre Dame Football Coach Knute Rockne’s winning prowess on the football field. However, he was also a budding scientist and man of faith. Before becoming a coach, then promising student Knute Rockne worked with famed Notre Dame Priest and scientist Father Julius Nieuwland who helped invent synthetic rubber and is the only priest in the Inventor’s Hall of Fame. Father Nieuwland CSC believed that a bright future lie ahead for his promising Chemistry student named Rockne. Both Father Nieuwland and the future Notre Dame Coach were immigrants, Father Nieuwland from Belgium and Knute Rockne from Norway. However, the labratory was not to be for Rockne, for it was the college gridiron where he would earn his lore.
While Rockne was surrounded by Catholicism, he was a Norwegian Lutheran. However, it was Coach Rockne’s players that helped convert him to Catholicism. What was it about Catholicism that did it? The Eucharist. During the early 1920’s when the Four Horseman strode the gridiron in South Bend, Coach Rockne was worried that all of the new found fame might make his players stray from the straight and narrow. The late George Gipp was known to do just that and a slightly older 30something Coach Rockne didn’t want that to happen again, so the coach would often keep a close eye on his players.
One morning Coach Rockne noticed several of his players leaving their dorms in the wee hours of the morning. He followed them to early morning Mass. Before practice that day he asked them about their movements in the wee hours. They informed him that they had early classes and couldn’t get to Mass any other time. “It’s that important to you,” Coach Rockne asked?”They told him that the Eucharist was just that important.
Coach Rockne then discussed the matter with several priests who gave him books to read about the Faith. In 1923, Knute Rockne was received into the Church, thanks in great part to the personal witness of his own players.
Knute Rockne is hardly alone in being a faithful example of Catholic leadership on the gridiron at Notre Dame. While Coach Gerry Faust will hardly be remembered for his record, no coach stands taller as a faith leader than Coach Faust who would tell anyone who would listen about the Catholic Church and “Our Lady.” Coach Faust was certainly helpful to me with regard to my first book and went out of his way to help me promote it. Keep in mind he didn’t know me from Adam only from meeting me at a high school football game, talking on the phone and reading the book’s manuscript. He spends many days a year at small Catholic school fundraisers that help those schools keep their doors open.
He is much beloved by his former Notre Dame players as well as those at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati where Coach Faust garnered his fame. While some have gone on to become college and NFL stars, others have achieved success in many different venues. In the late 1960s, one overachieving young man who played for Coach Faust at Archbishop Moeller High school came from a large working class Catholic family. He would go on to become the current Speaker of the House. Speaker John Boehner and Coach Faust remain in contact to this day and speak highly of of another.
I would be remiss in not mentioning former Coach Lou Holtz who also does his fair share of fundraisers for worthy Catholic charities. He can rattle of the names of every grade school nun who taught him back in East Liverpool, Ohio. Obviously there is so much more I could write, but I go into much more detail about this and many other matters in my book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn. I hope this helps paint the picture of Knute Rockne and two other coaches at Notre Dame who were leaders of men and personal examples of faith.
The nation has been through a bad four years under President Obama and I expect the next four years, courtesy of his reelection by a majority of the voters last November, to be even worse. In these dark times it is good to point to glimmers of light. Such a glimmer of light is the fight being put up by Hobby Lobby and other employers against the contraceptive mandate. Here is a letter from David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, which explains why Hobby Lobby is making this stand:
We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.
But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.
Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.
So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit. Continue reading
Over at the blog of the author, Sarah Hoyt, there’s a very good post.
I was going to try to use the theme to combine with some conversations from over at Ricochet.com, but then she went and put what I would’ve been pointing at into its own paragraph:
Both of these endeavors will change your perception and you’ll find yourself huffing at sitcoms you used to enjoy. This is good. Most of the politics are snuck into stuff like that (hence the directive that came down for more plots about healthcare in sitcoms and episodic dramas) and if you’re not aware of them they’ll insidiously color the way you see the world. It’s brilliant to sneak them into entertainment because if you complain, you’re a sour puss. But at this point they’re not even subtle, and you’ll start seeing them if you look: cardboard “conservative” characters who are anything but and who can’t defend their positions. “Dangerous” tea partiers. Liberating yourself through having indiscriminate sex and stuff. The government as a fount of goodness. It’s all there. And it’s there on purpose.
There’s more, some general stuff on how the polite refusal to inject politics into everything puts us at a bit of a disadvantage, and it’s quite worth reading. Now, on to my comments:
She’s right. My husband is a lot more easy going than I am, but we both can’t watch some shows because of the obvious agenda involved. Recognizing it isn’t just about paying attention or such– we had a rather long argument with my mother over a TV show that opened with a guy being shot inside his house by a SWAT team called in for a false hostage situation. (Before SWATting got big.) The show, and the woman who taught me to not trust the story that the news presented, held the SWAT team (personified by the leader) responsible. TrueBlue and I held those who certified that it was a hostage situation on an anonymous call from a random number as being responsible– there wasn’t any way for the guys who’d been told they were going in to a known hostage situation to know that the guy charging them with a kitchen knife was righteously defending his house. The guy risking their lives had to be at fault, while the paper-pushers that actually created the entire situation had to be blameless– not even faceless, but as natural a thing as the sun rising, and as unquestioned. Something goes wrong? It’s the fault of those uniformed Authority Figure guys. (Who all incidentally looked military.)
Stories set up the way we see the world.
Back in 1967 my maternal grandmother, who was a formidable lady, visited my family. While there she saw my mother give me a well earned slap. I was 10 at the time. My grandmother called my mom a savage. My mother, also a formidable lady, responded that if she did not discipline me when I was young, I would be the savage after I grew up, respecting nothing and no one. Wise woman my mother.
My bride and I used spanking sparingly with our three kids when they were younger, along with other disciplinary techniques. Spanking was usually reserved for repeated disobedience, or the children engaging in activity which could be dangerous to them. I am biased of course, but I think that our kids turned out rather well. In regard to being a parent, discipline without love can descend into mere brutality. Love without discipline is a sure and proven path to producing spoiled adults. Giving neither discipline nor love to a child is simply catastrophic.
The Washington Post has a story that advocates banning spanking:
George Holden envisions a world without spanking. No more paddling in the principal’s office. No more swats on little rear ends, not even — and here is where Holden knows he is staring up at a towering cliff of parental rights resistance — not even in the privacy of the home. When it comes to disciplining a child, Holden’s view is absolute: No hitting.
“We don’t like to call it spanking,” said Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University and head of a newly formed organization aimed at eliminating corporal punishment in the United States. “Spanking is a euphemism that makes it sound like hitting is a normal part of parenting. If we re-label it hitting, which is what it is, people step back and ask themselves, ‘Should I be hitting my child?’ ”
For centuries, of course, the answer to that question has been yes for a huge majority of families. We’ve been unsparing of the rod, spanking our children just as we were spanked by our parents. And there’s precious little evidence to suggest we feel much differently today. While the percentage of parents who say it’s okay to occasionally spank a child has declined marginally in recent years, that “acceptability level” still hovers between 65 percent and 75 percent nationally.
And surveys that measure actual behavior reveal even higher rates of moms and dads willing to whack. Depending on how you ask the question, most surveys show that between 70 percent and 90 percent of parents in this country spank their kids at least once during childhood. In 2013 America, spanking a child is about as common as vaccinating one.
But Holden and a growing number of children’s advocates still believe the time is right for a serious effort to end corporal punishment. For some in the burgeoning stop-hitting movement, the goal is nothing less than a total legal ban on spanking in all settings, as has been passed by 33 nations in Europe, Latin America and Africa (soon to be 34 when Brazil becomes the largest country to outlaw spanking in final action expected this year). Continue reading
After celebrating but lately the day on which immaculate virginity brought forth the Saviour of mankind, the venerable feast of the Epiphany, dearly beloved, gives us continuance of joy, that the force of our exultation and the fervour of our faith may not grow cool, in the midst of neighbouring and kindred mysteries. For it concerns all men’s salvation, that the infancy of the Mediator between God and men was already manifested to the whole world, while He was still detained in the tiny town. For although He had chosen the Israelitish nation, and one family out of that nation, from whom to assume the nature of all mankind, yet He was unwilling that the early days of His birth should be concealed within the narrow limits of His mother’s home: but desired to be soon recognized by all, seeing that He deigned to be born for all. To three wise men, therefore, appeared a star of new splendour in the region of the East, which, being brighter and fairer than the other stars, might easily attract the eyes and minds of those that looked on it, so that at once that might be observed not to be meaningless, which had so unusual an appearance. He therefore who gave the sign, gave to the beholders understanding of it, and caused inquiry to be made about that, of which He had thus caused understanding, and after inquiry made, offered Himself to be found. Continue reading
A great compilation of cavalry charges in movies. Cavalry charges in reality were much grislier of course, with wounded and dying horses adding to the inherent horror of any battlefield. However, it would take a heart of purest granite not to be stirred by the sight of a cavalry charge. Job 39: 19-25 captures the glamor that has ever attended the cavalry:
 He breaketh up the earth with his hoof, he pranceth boldly, he goeth forward to meet armed men.  He despiseth fear, he turneth not his back to the sword,  Above him shall the quiver rattle, the spear and shield shall glitter.  Chasing and raging he swalloweth the ground, neither doth he make account when the noise of the trumpet soundeth.  When he heareth the trumpet he saith: Ha, ha: he smelleth the battle afar off, the encouraging of the captains, and the shouting of the army. (Whoever the inspired author was who wrote Job, I would wager that he had been a horse soldier at some point in his life!) Continue reading
Something for the weekend. As With Gladness, Men of Old seems appropriate for an Epiphany weekend. It was written by William Chatterton Dix in 1859 on Epiphany. By profession Dix was the manager of a marine insurance firm. He wrote many hymns during his lifetime. He started to do so when he was confined to his bed as a young man suffering from a near fatal illness. Out of his depression he fastened his faith on the Alpha and the Omega, his hymns being a lasting testament to that faith. Continue reading
There is nothing like it on this side of the infernal region. The peculiar corkscrew sensation that it sends down your backbone under these circumstances can never be told. You have to feel it.
A Union soldier in 1861 on the rebel yell.
A tribute to the courage with which Confederate soldiers fought their lopsided fight for independence was the fear inspired in Union ranks when they heard the high pitched wail of the Rebel yell. It is a pity that sound recordings were more than a decade in the future at the time of the Civil War. We do have recordings of Confederate veterans screeching the yell, but they would invariably state that it was only a pale reflection of what the yell sounded like during the War. Financier Bernard Baruch recalled how his father, a surgeon who had served in the Confederate Army, would let loose with it whenever he heard Dixie:
As soon as the tune started Mother knew what was coming and so did we boys. Mother would catch him by the coattails and plead, ‘Shush, Doctor, shush’. But it never did any good. I have seen Father, ordinarily a model of reserve and dignity, leap up in the Metropolitan Opera House and let loose that piercing yell. Continue reading