Culture War on a Shoe String (Budget)

Sunday, January 6, AD 2013

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, 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.

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7 Responses to Culture War on a Shoe String (Budget)

  • Just gave up cable, and it felt liberating. It’s not that I think we should detach ourselves from the culture – in fact I believe I advocated just the opposite here recently – but if we start making wiser cultural purchases (for lack of a better way to phrase it) then we can start slowly turning the tide.

    You’re right about the little things. It’s easy to just sort of shrug your shoulder at the little digs, but it’s the little things that frame the narrative.

  • “But at this point they’re not even subtle,”

    About as subtle as this:

  • Giving up cable is good. Another option is to get something like netflix – it then tracks what you watch and becomes, in a sense, a Nielsen type rating, but one that gets real input from real viewers, and one you actually control to some extent.

    I have also noticed how shows that have any intelligence whatsoever seem to get cancelled while the most idiotic ones get five seasons. Although it may hae had biases, a show like Caprica explored issues your average viewer never even thought about (what it is to be a person, use and abuse of technological power, etc.). It may have eventually degenerated in unhealthy directions, but at least it was asking the right questions. It seems sci-fi and fantasy are where the real philosophy happens; sitcoms are essentially cultural anesthesia.

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  • Our home has never had cable. Internet, sure, and about two years ago we got Netflix– recently I figured out how to use my husband’s old computer that we use as a back-up system to work with Hulu, so the girls can watch “Where’s Boo?” on our schedule.

    It seems sci-fi and fantasy are where the real philosophy happens; sitcoms are essentially cultural anesthesia.

    Building worlds means that you get to put in a lot more assumptions. *grin* They do inject a lot of BS into the non-fantastic, but it is usually a LOT more obvious. Suspension of disbelief doesn’t require you to be blind when something is required by the world, but sometimes you do blink past it when it’s a “just happens” thing in “real” shows.

    The same lady I quoted often mentions the “Gray Goo” type of scifi– you know, the hopeless, depressing drek that they were pumping out when I was a teen, and have kept doing. Baen pulled a Fox News and filled the niche demands of “people who read scifi for enjoyment instead of the message.” (To be fair, I think Baen got there first, but since they print “anything we think will sell,” it’s a bit less obvious.)

  • I really liked Hoyt’s article.

    Increasingly, with the ease of access to information, the skill of being able to sort through information critically is becoming ever more important. Even if there were no right/left battle, and no fight between religious tradition and secularization, it’d be important to teach your kids to review things that they hear and read and consider what underlying assumptions they make, what points of view they advocate. That ability to skim, digest, and appreciate information is essential. Of course, as Christians defending a certain framework, those skills are tested every day. So by all means, teach your children to critically analyze their history lessons and their entertainment.

  • I am never quite certain if they are laughing at me, with me, or for me. It is important to take a stand for the slightest insult, indignity imposed or heresy. This would consume one’s whole day, but one’s children will know where to draw the line when they are being sucked into a black hole. The shows and their sponsors are not invincible and they know they can do better.
    In the old days, the pastor would go down to the moviehouse and turn away any of his parishioners from an x-rated movie.

New, Shocking Study Finds Humans Are Not Standardized!

Wednesday, January 2, AD 2013

Folks here probably know about the BMI– and possibly are familiar with my, ahem, “issues” with it as a tool of diagnosis; anything that bases treatment choices on the assumption that bones, fat and muscle all weigh the same, and people are identically proportioned, is going to get me angry. Add in it being changed in 2000 by over 2kg/m2 (so that “overweight” is 25kg/m2; BMI is weight in kg divided by height in meters, squared) to make it easier to calculate and remove the differences between men and women and…well, I’m getting distracted.

Anyways, the BMI is the basis for the “obesity epidemic” we’ve all heard about, and there are calls for action on the following theory that this generation will die earlier than their parents.

Shockingly, some scientist actually decided to do research to see if being over-weight or obese by this BMI standard resulted in dying earlier. It’s clear that if you’re heavy enough, you do die earlier, but that’s diagnosis by examining actual people, not by applying a broad standardized calculation.  Everyone knows that if you’re over-weight, then you’re going to have more health problems, so you’re going to die earlier.

There’s a problem: they didn’t confirm what “everyone knows.”

The news will seem heaven sent to those contemplating a new year diet, and contradicts the received wisdom that being fat reduces life expectancy. It is the second time that research studies led by Katherine Flegal, a distinguished epidemiologist from the National Centre for Health Statistics at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Maryland, US, have studied the link between obesity and mortality.

In 2007 the same group caused consternation among public health professionals when they published the results of a similar analysis that also showed being fat does not shorten life. Walter Willett, professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, dismissed the finding as “rubbish”.

Dr Flegal told The Independent she had decided to conduct a second, larger, study on the same theme to counter the sceptics. She and her team examined results from 100 studies from around the world, involving three million people and 270,000 deaths.

via Recipe for a long life: overweight people have LOWER death risk – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent.

Who knew that the art of healing people may not work so well when you try to remove individuals and judgement from the mix?


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7 Responses to New, Shocking Study Finds Humans Are Not Standardized!

  • Got curious how big of a change the standardization was; 5’9 is about 1.75 meters, squared is 3.0625; multiply that by the old male standard of 27.8 kg and you get 85.1375kg, which is 187.7(rounded) pounds, vs the new standard of 168.8(rounded) pounds, so nearly nineteen pounds on a average guy just to make it easier to calculate.

    So even compared to the old BMI, it’s a pretty flipping huge change; no idea how much the known higher mortality of underweight people weighs down the “ideal weight” category.

  • “New, Shocking Study Finds Humans Are Not Standardized!” says the furry.

    A social study is the elaborate demonstration of the obvious by means that are obscure.
    –William Bennett, former US Secretary of Education

    I suspect the experience of shopping for clothes was the source of Dr. Katherine Flegal’s secret knowledge.

  • Icon’s a werefox, actually, from an old anime-themed pen and paper RPG.

    Not sure what you’re getting at with clothes shopping– I was thinking more along the lines of folks I actually know who die suddenly. Other than the ones that are immensely huge, it’s mostly the extremely thin weight-freaks. Usually from the same thing: heart attacks.

    I have noticed that current styles, being aimed at builds that are too thin, tend to make those who are healthy look really fat. My little sister, for example, thinks that she’s fat– after all, her BMI says she’s over weight and look how horrible the stick-fashions look on her!– even though she’s not. She’s simply an adult female. I know women whose body fat is so low that they have, ahem, lady problems– and they still think they’re fat, because their BMI says so, and they’ve got “muffin tops” when they wear hip-huggers. (Navy offered a lot of chance to get way, way more information from casual acquaintanceship than you’d think, and I seem to have a giant sign that says “please, talk to me, I’ll listen.”)

  • BMI is the most worthless piece of information you can have. It can’t measure body composition, which is far more important than a simple weight/height ratio. Particularly because fat is not as dense as muscle, a leaner person may actually weigh more than someone who is “lean” challenged, thus having a higher BMI although actually in better physical shape.

  • My uncles all had so little body fat, and such solid bone structures (yay, Irish! Watching the Hobbit felt like a family reunion with bigger beards.) that they actually failed the “dead man’s float” in boot camp.

    They would’ve all failed a BMI test as well.

    I can see it as a sort of thing to trigger a doctor checking to see if you’re fat– kind of like how my OBGYN asks if I’m having trouble breathing, and when I say “yes” we check the times and verify it’s because the kid is pushing and I’m carrying two toddlers, not because of something or other that can also strike pregnant women.

    Instead, they’re going the route of salt with heart disease, and putting everyone on a treatment path that will only help a few folks, and can seriously hurt others. (My dad was nearly killed by the anti-salt bias; thank God he happened to not be driving heavy machinery when heat stroke/lack of electrolytes hit him.)

  • I have come to hate the BMI. I come from a family of nearly 6-foot women who don’t get above 120 pounds until middle age and many children. I am having extereme trouble getting insured because of “the magic number.”

  • As much as I’d love to have that problem, you’ve got my sympathy. (Much like I wish I had my sister in law’s problem that the only weight she gains is in her chest–otherwise, no curves at all.)

It’s All The Social Conservatives Fault!

Thursday, November 8, AD 2012

I really, really wish I were joking about the title, but I’ve actually heard several folks seriously suggest this.  (Hugh Hewitt show had a co-host/guest suggest “dropping the abortion issue,” for example—thankfully, Hugh pointed out that was…not a great idea.)

In a campaign where social issues were not focused on, where the SoCon vote was assumed, where the entire point would be “It’s the economy, stupid” and our turnout dropped hugely… we should really ditch these social conservatives entirely and try to peel off some Democrat voters.  I was one of the folks that was saying at the beginning that we could not just assume we’d get our own base and that all we needed was to go after other groups, though I—like many others—thought that things were obviously bad enough that maybe the base could be taken for granted.

We tried the “shut up about social issues, focus on the financial short-term disaster.”   Shock shock, it didn’t work.  The “of course” votes didn’t show up, as best we can tell at this early of a time.  Of course there was fraud and probably voter suppression, but we knew from the start that we’d have to win so big that they couldn’t cheat.

I know the thinking Libertarians believe that Social Issues hurt us, and if we’d just drop them it would improve—but they ignore that if you let people do all the stupid stuff they immaturely desire, they are going to want to be saved by someone else.  (I’m ignoring the sub-group of thinking Libertarians that thinks having children at is a “personal choice” with no serious effect on the future of society, and mostly only something that ‘women want while they leach off men.’  I wish that last part was not a very slight paraphrase.)  Of course, thinking Libertarians think social issues hurt because when thinking Libertarians recognize the cause and effect of libertine personal actions in creating demand for a leech-State, they become at least isolationist conservatives, rather than Libertarians.  But I’m digressing.

So, we tried assuming that the rah rah Abortion!! stuff on Obama’s side would be enough to 1) get half our base out, and 2) get them to vote for Romney.  Clearly, that was wrong.

We focused on the economy.  I think we did pretty well on that, considering that Obama and Co could lie their tails off about what we actually said.  (It’s a given, sadly.)

That makes me think that we maybe should’ve beat on the military side of things a bit more as well.  I  have friends who are still active duty who thought I was blowing smoke up their rears when I told them there was never a protest when the Ambassador was killed, when that was known just days after the attack.  (Power Line linked an interview in a UK paper that included quotes from the guys who were opening a hospital with the Ambassador; they were on the phone when the attack started, and there was no mention of a protest, which would’ve been a pretty big deal.)

So, we need to actually make our own case, try to win the base before we try to peel folks off, and probably improve our communication networks.  I’m going to work even harder on applying this in person—when someone says something incredibly untrue in person, I’m going to politely correct them.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable and socially awkward, but that is what the other side’s tactics depend on.  At some point, the drunk in the party has to be confronted.  We’re there and past.

This is going to be especially hard on religious people.  There are a lot of very nice people who…well… voted for Obama because that’s what “nice” people do.  It’s never easy to stand up to family, no matter how wrong you know they’re being.

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25 Responses to It’s All The Social Conservatives Fault!

  • You know what, I agree that it is Social Conservative’s fault, but not in the way most people think. We have utterly failed to transform the culture. Jesus gave us the commision to “Go out and make disciples of all nations”. If we had been doing that, this whole debacle would never have happened. It is time to get off the sofa and get out there and evangelize. 50% of Catholics voted for Obama. That is disgusting and needs to change.

  • “Of course, thinking Libertarians think social issues hurt because when thinking Libertarians recognize the cause and effect of libertine personal actions in creating demand for a leech-State, they become at least isolationist conservatives, rather than Libertarians. But I’m digressing.”

    We call ourselves Ron Paul supporters, or as I also like, paleo-libertarians. It’s just the Old Right.

    But to be clear: we are not “isolationist.” 18th century Japan was isolationist. 18th century America under the leadership of the founders was non-interventionist, foreign and domestic. Meaning the federal government stays out of both the lives of people living in other countries and the people living in this one as well. As for diplomacy and free trade, we are all for it, unlike isolationists, who aren’t. Along with Thomas Jefferson and Ron Paul, I also don’t object to the use of military force abroad if it is used to stop aggression against the U.S.

    I just think we’ve had the troops in the wrong parts of the world. They belong in the narco-terror state south of the border.

    It’s all a digression from your main point, though, with which I agree. Good post. We won’t be driven into silence by “libertarians” who fail to understand the connection between strong families and strong economies, or who blindly give into the demands of the totalitarian homosexualist movement.

  • We call ourselves Ron Paul supporters, or as I also like, paleo-libertarians. It’s just the Old Right.

    Roughly what the other Thinking Libertarians say as their evidence for why you’re not Libertarians…probably doesn’t help that they also exile the unthinking type college libertarians?
    (It’s a bit like the issue with children and abortion and such– a sizable chunk of the TLs want the woman to be responsible for their own and the man’s “fun,” with children being non-beings without rights or responsibilities. Yes, it’s all male, that I’ve spoken to. Most annoying thing about Ricochet….)

    Glad you like the broader point, though.

    I wonder what the effect of “GOProud” and those idiots that tried to claim the TEA party was all about ditching social issues had on turn out….

  • Well I suppose all the “smart people” will tell us that Santorum can’t be that guy next time because he has too much baggage. Why we should listen to them I have no idea, but I think building off what he did in the primary would be a big advantage and he’ll have surely learned alot about how to get his message across.

    Again the “Smart People” will tell us that women still hate him, but I can’t see how we can truly get less women than Romney got and Santorum is much more attractive to the base and to middle class and to the hispanic community than Romney was.

    Too bad the Smart People will tell us he can’t win, like they told us Romney could.

  • I would never support Rick Santorum in a GOP primary. If he somehow won a GOP primary to become a presidential candidate, I still wouldn’t vote for him. At that point I would simply not vote or vote 3rd party. He is explicitly pro-war and would bankrupt this country through military adventurism.

  • “He is explicitly pro-war”? Parrot Ron Paul much?

  • Do you think it’s time that the Christian Conservatives just say the heck with both parties and form their own? Perhaps with people like Sarah Palin and Allen West leading the way? They certainly have the charisma to jump start it. In hindsight, during the primaries, Romney was much tougher on Santorum and Gingrich than he was on Obama. There seemed to be a deliberate effort to exclude the socons from political influence which has turned the GOP into democrat lite – so what’s the real difference? The people need to have a party that truely speaks for them and their beliefs with no compromise on the moral/social issues.

  • My only option is Rand Paul. He isn’t completely anti-war (neither am I), but at least he understands that fiscal conservatism is incompatible with Wilsonian idealist adventurism abroad. He is also a social conservative, opposing abortion and “gay marriage.” And of course he is his father’s son and would do as much as he could to dismantle the intrusive federal bureaucracy that is attempting to take total control of our lives.

    Yes, I “parrot” Ron Paul, but only because he parrots the founding fathers as well as the greatest economic minds of the 20th century.

  • There is such a party. It’s called the Constitution Party. Here is its platform:

    BTW, here is a link to Rick Santorum on the issues. He is a hard right Conservative. But he isn’t a war monger.

  • Such a party would ensure overwhelming Democrat political domination for the next generation and cause the enactment of social policies in every state diametrically opposed to the beliefs of social conservatives. There are precious few Democrats who are social conservatives who would join such a party and such a party would need to have stands on all the issues which would quickly lead to the same sorts of divisions that currently exist in the Republican party on economic and foreign policy isssues. For myself, I am a plain old conservative: economic, foreign policy and social.

  • Paul P,

    I deleted the offensive portion of my comment and your reply to it. I went too far, I acknowledge that.

  • David Frum was singing the same song – the Republicans need more social diversity – after the 2008 elections, and I am sure his clones would do the same now. Giving them credence will bring death to the Republicans, for at the bottom what animates most of these social libertarians is a hatred of Christianity.

  • Here’s a must-read for conservatives. (Paulists probably don’t need to bother)

  • I’ve been reading a lot of political sites. Every single ones either has posts calling for dropping the social issues or commenters writing in and saying quit talking about abortion.

  • Daisy observed the following, “I’ve been reading a lot of political sites. Every single ones either has posts calling for dropping the social issues or commenters writing in and saying quit talking about abortion.”

    If the GOP abandons its support for the life of the unborn child or for traditional marriage between one man and one woman, then I will vote for a third party such as the Constitution Party. We should no longer put our trust in the princes of this world. Furthermore, I do not think that it matters any longer who wins because the culture has become so thoroughly pagan and hedonistic that nothing save utter catastrophe can reverse things. That was the case in ancient Israel and Judah, and we are seeing history repeating itself again.

    Now there are others here at TAC who are far more optimistic than I and believe that we can salvage something using the political process. I pray that those individuals are correct and I incorrect. But after seeing the filthy advertisements on national TV and on the internet that the Democrats ran (a girl saying that voting for the first time is like having sex for the first time, so do it with the right guy – Obama), the general rot and refuse on popular TV, the barbaric body piercings young and old alike sport in public places, and all the other disguting stuff, I am convinced that short of the miracle of God’s grace, we as a nation are headed towards the fall that we so richly deserve. Popular entertainment TV shows like the Mentalist or Castle or Elementary that show dominate women and weak men as a norm to be emulated are merely symptoms of a decay that has long progressed into terminal cancer, except the patient isn’t aware he will die because he is feeling no pain. This exists all over, so when Obama runs his war on women theme, he wins – either people don’t care, or people do care and support him.

    Nope, I won’t support the GOP if it gives up on social conservativism. And if the country goes to hades as Israel and Judah did, then that too is a part of God’s plan. Viva Cristo Rey! The persecution the Cristeros faced will be repeated.

  • I’ve been reading a lot of political sites. Every single ones either has posts calling for dropping the social issues or commenters writing in and saying quit talking about abortion.

    Probably by the same folks that urged the “don’t talk about it” tactic for this election….

    Paul: watch something else! Good heavens, Warehouse 13 manages to have a very masculine guy… he acts like a goofball, and then goes and is utterly awesome nearly every episode. *grin* Need more decent, upbeat goofballs.

    Sure, TV sucks. Seems like it always has…..

  • Love WHSE 13, Foxfier. Usually watch the Science Channel, though, or H2.

  • I know the thinking Libertarians believe that Social Issues hurt us, and if we’d just drop them it would improve…

    If only those TLs (thinking Libertarians) could explain why the Libertarian “no social issues here” Party vote didn’t crack 1% of the total vote despite the millions of voters unhappy with Social Issues talk.

    P.S. When I remind TLs that the Democrat party is chock full of its own Social Issues agendas, they suddenly want to change the subject.

  • The Democrats always bring up their social issues. Abortion (strike that, it’s the right to choose, but they never finish the sentence), gay marriage, etc.

    Romney did not get involved in social issues and it is still the social conservatives’ fault Romney lost. Yeah, right. I heard Ann Coulter thinks this. Coulter can pound sand.

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  • If the news outlets would quit pretending the 400,000 marchers in DC didn’t exist…

New Catholic Convert

Wednesday, October 17, AD 2012

From over at John Wright’s place, I heard mention of a guy who went from being the head of the Secular Free Thought Society (no jokes, please, they write themselvers) to converting to Catholicism, as told in State Press Magazine:

Imagine society’s collective shock if Hillary Clinton were to join the National Rifle Association…

Josh Horn’s friends were hit with a shock wave of that magnitude when Horn, then an ardent atheist, announced his resignation as president of the Secular Free Thought Society, an ASU club known for its skepticism of religion. Horn had committed the ultimate taboo and sealed his self-imposed excommunication with one act: he decided to become a Catholic.

Welcome home!

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Where Are The Artists?

Monday, October 15, AD 2012

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of folks lamenting how modern art (especially Modern Art) doesn’t have anything to compare to, oh, the great cathedrals of Europe—according to some, doesn’t even have a decently sized mural.  Usually comes with a lot of talk of how soul-killing Walmart and their sort are, but not always.

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8 Responses to Where Are The Artists?

  • The Church and wealthy Catholic royalty and nobles sponsored the best of the art that lasts. Today’s Catholics give proportionally less to the Church than their ancestors did in earlier tougher times. The sense of beauty and art is lost and that is why the urine Christ and elephant dung ( or whatever that was) is defended as “free speech.”

  • …Did you bother to read the post?

  • Which medium?
    Personally the canvas of old, oil paints and the several layers of paint to bring the canvas to life is my favorite. Today computer generated works pale in comparison. It’s okay…like wine everyone has their taste, mine is not in twitching ears, or fur to skin.

    Are they, the creators artist? Yes. What level of talent goes into their work? Extremely high level no doubt. As far as not looking right…?

    Well..who is to say. Let us agree on this; P— Christ, or any type of blasphemy portrayed as art is an insult TO THE ARTIST. Why? Because true art is inspiration from the Divine Artist, and anything elese is just plain SCHLOCK.

    Please stop insulting the true artist.
    By the way foxfier the work above is not schlocky. Not my glass of Merlot but definitely not bad.

  • My mom has a similar view about music–says that if someone can make truly good music, there must be some good in them.
    She also mentions that it can take a lot of digging to reach some folks’ good….

    I can’t stand most of the old “icon” style art, especially where it shows people. But some kinds of stylizing look nice to me– Kinkaid, for example, or the animation above. Computer images that try to look photo-realistic hit the same “I don’t like this” button as the icons; they’re close enough to hit the uncanny valley to trigger my “aaaaaah!!!!” reflex.

  • That said…. I really wish I could afford something like this.

    I seem to remember about seven years back Mr. Jones shared a picture of a commission that was a dark stein of beer, a crusty loaf torn in two and what looked like a slice from a round of cheese that was American-cheddar golden in color; wish I could find it, amazing.

  • Suburban Banshee has a typically interesting post with some old art in it.

  • Updating to include something a facebook friend shared. It seems to be a digital painting of Pop Eye, if he were real.

  • Timothy Jones.
    That is beautiful, the still life.
    Thanks for sharing Foxfier.
    …pop-eye….strange image.
    Take care.

Science And Religion

Sunday, October 7, AD 2012

Yeah, that old favorite; Mr. Wright enters the fray again over at his blog, in a rather long and detailed post asking if science fiction is inherently opposed to religion.

Because this is the internet, the comments rather quickly head into attacking religion (ours and his, specifically), which he answers by explaining in detail the reasons he’s now Catholic.

I was inspired to post what is mostly a “hey, go read this!” after several great comments by folks other than the author, culminating in this one:

 If some earnest scientist did the experiment outlined above, and then said to the nearest Catholic (not even going as high as the Pope) “I have conclusively proven that what you say happens during the celebration of the Eucharist does not, since this sample still has the same qualities of wine after the words of institution were spoken as it did beforehand, and so it has not turned into the blood of an Iron-Age Semitic male from Roman-occupied Galilee, and so all your beliefs are false and God does not exist”, then the Catholic would say “Dude, I *know* that already. We talked about it back in the 13th century, even before they had spectrometers or chromatographs: Tommy A gave a definition of transubstantiation where he puts it in the technical philosophical language of “The accidents remain the same but the essence changes”.

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4 Responses to Science And Religion

  • Thanks ,Foxfier. The author’s own conversion, which shows up at about comment three, is more interesting than the actual blog post in my humble opinion. When you call God out, he answers…loudly. Couldn’t read all the comments because I have little patience for atheists, buy what a story.

  • If you have time, head back and just skip the ones by “Sith Lord Whatever.” He takes several paragraphs to say things that are then quoted in a nutshell in the response. He’s obnoxious, but I am glad that he goaded Mr. Wright into posting more detail on his conversion than he previously has– I knew the broad strokes, but not details.

    I’m really glad I didn’t need a conversion, myself. I don’t know if I’d be lucky enough to slip in, or need the holy boot to the head.

  • “or need the holy boot to the head.”

    If I had not been born Catholic Foxfier, I suspect that such would have been needed for me to see the light! 🙂

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Fast Friday

Friday, July 27, AD 2012

That’s “fast” like “quick,” not “fast” like, well, “fasting.”  I do go meatless, but that’s entirely beside the point.  The idea is things to make when the weak week is ending and I’m longing for a stiff drink ready for the weekend.  Maybe I’ll make a tradition of it, we’ll see.

Expect it to be thrifty, too, because I’m cheap like that.

Safeway has some lovely “party sized” dinners that I got because… well, they were about 25% off, and I’m lazy sleep deprived, and I love both lasagnas (five cheese and meat, respectively) and orange chicken.  Grabbed the cannelloni because it sounded like something to try.

Thus far:

$7 for five to ten servings.  Usually ten bucks plus tax.  Easily two evening’s dinner for us with the toddlers, plus a generous packed lunch.

Cooking time is a bit on the low side—by which I mean you’ll want to set it for the low timer, check it, and then let it go to the high suggested cooking time.

The cannelloni  was… er… well, TrueBlue says it didn’t taste right.  It tasted like salsa made of green peppers mixed with basic pasta and a good white cheese sauce to me.  Kept its form very well.

The cheese lasagna is WONDERFUL.  How good is it?  My husband willingly ate it when I wasn’t cooking only non-carne meals.  This is the guy that complains there’s not enough meat in his steak and potatoes….

The meat lasagna is good; not great, but better than I could make, and probably less expensive.  The meat seems to be rather spicy sausage, but not bad at all.  (Note, this is not to be interpreted as “spicy” or “hot” by the measure of most folks; more along the lines of mild-to-medium salsa.  Yes, I’m a wimp.)

Haven’t tried the Orange Chicken yet, we’ll see.


(update: fixed the name of the not-very-good baked dish; I blame that line from the Godfather movies)

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10 Responses to Fast Friday

  • Down here, fish ‘n’ chips is still the standard Friday fare, even after – what – 40 years?
    Tastes better after the downing of a couple of pints of good ale, and washed down with a liberal glass of shiraz or cab-sav red wine. 🙂

  • Some places here, too, but usually a bit expensive.

  • We like to use the frozen lasagnas on Sundays. That way there’s less work involved in meal prep on the Lord’s Day. There are some good ones out there. Stouffer’s is pretty good. So is Marie Callender’s. Walmart has its own brand which is half a notch down from the other two, but they also offer a “Mexican Style” lasagna that isn’t bad at all. With eight kids, though, the family size isn’t really enough. It says 12 servings, but they don’t take teenagers into account. Heck, our 12 year old has shot up three inches in three months. Try feeding that hungry beast!

  • Good plan, Foxfier.
    ~$65 and two days spent a few months ago to prepare meat and cheese lasagne in a deep pan. The best part was having portions on hold in the freezer for those fast meals.
    I won’t start on how good Fish and Chips are the object of an endless search since a little place nearby closed.
    For economy, you could stretch nice Yellowfin Tuna into a cold salad plate by mixing it with brown rice and celery, radish, and chives, or something and mayonnaise. But that’s cooking rice, chopping, refrigerating and not fast unless it’s ready.
    Can’t even imagine a cannoli tasting of salsa … isn’t that a dessert?

  • PM- not a clue what it was supposed to be like; for all I know, I could be spelling it wrong. It was pasta tubes stuffed with chicken, simi-liquid cheese and not-hot-pepper salsa, covered in more cheese and tomato sauce.

    And I’ve got rice on the brain for future Fast Fridays… I base “fast” on how much time I have to actually spend on it, rather than cooking time!

  • Foxfier,
    Couple things:
    1. Pasta tubes stuffed with chicken tasting salsa-y sound like tamales (cornmeal wraps) or maybe chicken crepes (roulades) ? No Safeway around to check out.

    2. Pastry tubes stuffed with ricotta cheese are cannoli. Check out a good Bakery with a refrigerated case. Treats.

    3. Rice & tuna time – an hour to the fridge and ready for table.
    – $2/can, use two for your family of four. Cook a cup of rice per can as gauge. + or – to taste.
    – A pan to cook rice with a splash of oil in the water.
    – A screen colander to cold water rinse the starch out of the cooked rice.
    – A casserole dish to mix and serve.
    – While the rice is cooking, you can chop vegs., shred tuna with fork, and put in the serving bowl ready to mix with cooled rice and mayonnaise, and clean up.
    – Serve on lettuce, chips on side. Cannoli for dessert!

  • Definitely not tamales– I just compare it to salsa because that’s the only thing similar, not because it was actually salsa. Ever made salsa? Imagine doing that, but no tomatoes, no hot peppers, just green peppers. That’s what it tasted like….

    *spends longer looking online than she spent writing the post*
    Cannelloni. I dropped several letters in my memory.

  • Good – mystery solved.
    Thanks for unclogging my mind – spent time in the indices of the few cookbooks around here. So many pasta and pastry shapes and possibilities. Cannelloni I don’t know, but cannoli I love. You were just talking in code or shorthand – pretty close – starts with can, ends with i. That’s what happens when the years or things to do pile upon you.

  • I constantly scandalize my husband by talking about “bowties” or “the falafel things” (farfalle), “macaroni noodles,” calling anything you can make a spaghetti dish out of “spaghetti” (even the flat noodles that are about a quarter inch wide), “those twisty ones” (rotini) and “the big macaroni ones.” (Penne.)

    I’m just horrible at names.

    Thanks for the recipe– we have one sort of like that, but I take all the parts, mix them with a can of “cream of” soup while the rice is hot, add a bunch of cheese-chunks, put in a pan, cover with more cheese, cheese and bake until nicely browned. The girls don’t seem to like eating things that are supposed to be served cold, and I’m giggling at the idea of TrueBlue eating stuff served on lettuce. (yes, he’s going to be a bit of a problem when it comes to getting the girls to eat rabbit food… at least he eats broccoli)

  • It takes years of macaroni/spaghetti/pasta differentiation – and then, here come the cannellonis – love flat noodles 1/4″ or less because they are like homemade of yore for spaghetti or soup.

    Hot and cold dishes – hot seems more filling and broccoli more nutritious –
    stay with tried and true.

    We are in a heat wave/drought – by the way it rained two inches finally today – but the rain was after your post and I was thinking cold food.

    The two little neighbor girls that used to spend time at my table on and off would have loved your soup – anything or nothing with cheese please. Hold the rice and that green stuff. They were fast food/ take out/ eat in their carseat specialists. Cracker, cheese, apple slice snack was cheese – with cracker and apple decorations. But I witnessed both chewing on falling leaves in autumn off the ground.

    [While I’m at it the cup of rice is the amount before you cook it – just in case …
    and I cut the lettuce up so it’s easier to eat and have cheese on the side –
    or do the same with elbow macaroni]

2 Responses to Andy Griffith 1926-2012

  • “He was one from our country’s last best generation.” I heard that yesterday in a eulogy.

    If there were a top ten TV shows for the Fourth of July list, I’d hope to see ‘Matlock’ on it. And watching the episodes about life in Mayberry would be great formation for our country’s children.

  • Griffith was a Yellow Dog Democrat who recently shilled for ObamaCare along with “Dopey”, Ron Howard. I do have fond memories of the Don Knotts Show, sometimes mislabeled the Andy Griffith Show. Griffith’s finest work was at the beginning of his career in this film:

11 Responses to Defense of Self Against Unlawful Attack

  • Did you notice that according to that law and probably many such laws, a person cannot use force if the bad guy is escaping after stealing? Now this contradicts the ever prudent sage, Axl Rose inter alia…” you can take anything you want, but you better not take it from me.”…from the yesteryear tune, “Welcome to the Jungle”. You according to law have to watch the criminal leave with your goods….( in your fav blue athletic bag no less.) My bad. But I retrieved by force a lethal weapon that likely would have been used later in a street murder. Aquinas…”the lawgiver cannot foresee every situation”…ergo, epikeia is needed. The law literally means that a gunstore owner coming upon a thief leaving his store with 30 Taurus pistols in a sack….cannot use force to stop him despite the imminent distribution of said guns to thugs. Lawyers….help me out with this.

  • Bill, I’m pretty sure that if you run into a thief coming out of a gun store with guns, you can reasonably be expected to conclude he’s an imminent threat to life and limb.

  • Foxfier,
    I hope you are correct but if the bag were closed and like many burglars (for sentencing reasons) he carried no loaded weapon himself outside the bag, I wouldn’t bet on the outcome in court if the owner fractured the guy’s skull with a gun butt.
    On your topic of the police, there have been cases of home invaders announcing themselves as police. Awful dilemna….whether you have a gun or do not. What do you do outside Indiana? Amazon sells great adjustable door braces (knob to floor white metal pipes with rubber ends) that you place in position in a second.
    Very good for big city life.

  • If more Gentlemen and good willed citizens owned guns Criminals would think twice more often and people would not have to wait ten minutes for cops to arrive to arrest a man who left eight minutes before, The problem of Mexican drug smugglers killing ranchers in the Southwest would not happen as often because criminals get guns whether it is legal or not, your average Joe on the other hand tends to obey the law.

  • Bill whether someone is a cop or not it is still wrong for them to kill someone innocent.

  • Atleast in Newark Delaware a lot of cops act like totalitarians I know a story about a young girl who was taken to the Police station because she was looking for a balloon for her birthday with her friends in the middle of the day and the way the cop got her to go to the station was by threatening to send her parents to Jail. All because people are so freaked out about security when no one was doing any harm to them except the po po pig that took her away to the station on her birthday.

  • The common law rule was very simple and straightforward. A householder could use force against an unlawful intruder, but he acted at his peril: if the entry was authorised, then killing the officer was murder.

    Just as the entry was either lawful or unlawful, so was the killing. As far as justification went, the householder’s state of mind was immaterial. The fact that the householder believed the entry was lawful, when, in fact, it was not, would not turn him into a criminal for killing the officer. Likewise, his belief that it was unlawful, when it was not, was no defence.

    This meant that no enquiry as to his state of mind was necessary at the trial. The test was purely objective, which makes for simplicity and certainty.

  • Michael, I think you have it backwards, but you’re right– up to that court decision, the common law was perfectly fine.

  • I am not sure why a guy who you don’t know, probably doesn’t live in your neighborhood, and makes a living sending people to jail somehow is the exception to the rule of people not being allowed to barge into your house. I think neighborhood guards who are local and morally upright are more trustworthy than a lot of police officers.

  • I find it odd for police officers to be surprised when someone their putting in shackles fights back, I think something which Christ tells to Peter is “Those who live by the sword die by the sword” one of the things that means is that if you punch someone or spray mace at their eyes don’t be surprised to get a hay maker in the jaw.

6 Responses to Coincidence, Timely, or A Hint?

  • I like the Fulton Sheen quote very much.

  • “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.” Bishop Fulton Sheen. The U.S. Supreme Court tolerated Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist, but the Court also tolerated the atheist’s principles, imposing a mortal human being over the infinite Supreme Sovereign Being. O’Hair was murdered, proving that she was mortal. We now have a government that has no destiny, no principles and no tolerance of the human person.

  • America’s government and ruining elites not only tolerate it, they greatly reward bad behavior.

    Love (by acting to admonish, counsel, instruct) the sinner. Hate sin like the devil hates Holy Water. With apologies to St. Augustine.

  • ““Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.” Bishop Fulton Sheen. The U.S. Supreme Court tolerated Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist, but the Court also tolerated the atheist’s principles, imposing a mortal human being over the infinite Supreme Sovereign Being.” The U.S. Supreme Court did not tolerate our founding principles, the eternal truths inscribed in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, making its decision un-American, a violation of all human, unalienable civil rights and inhuman.
    The American people struggle under the burden of government tolerated evil principles, anti-human principles of abortion, gay-marriage, euthanasia, and the burden of taxation without representation to support an agenda of principles foreign to our founding principles and the will of the people.

  • Bishop Sheen, my all-time favorite Catholic cleric. Imagine what a fighter for the Church he would be today, but probably couldn’t get a TV sponsor except for EWTN.

  • My dear husband enjoys it when I play Sheen’s stuff on youtube, too. Rather impressive, seeing as how most religious stuff gives him hives…. (Very rational fellow.)

The Mother Thing

Sunday, May 13, AD 2012

This is going to meander.  It’s more of a thinking-out-loud type post than really having a specific point.  Can I call it a meditation?

So I got married.  And suddenly, like the boy thing had hit, the motherhood-thing hit.  I wanted children.

In retrospect this is vaguely puzzling.  Look, guys, I was always awkward around babies, vaguely puzzled by toddlers and often outright scared of school age mons– er… children.  So why the heck did I want kids?  Who knows?  Perhaps biological imperative.  Perhaps insanity.  I wanted eleven children.

I’ve had a mania for reading According To Hoyt for the last week or two—goodness, it’s almost like reading Chaos Manor or TOF’s Place, but more feminine in a way I can’t quite put a finger on but find highly appealing (my kind of gals!) and with WAY more folks commenting—and there are a lot of things that I have a very easy time relating to.  Not a sensation I’m accustomed to. ^.^

I’ve always understood that kids are Important, especially babies, and they need special protection—but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of cuddling or entertaining them.  Everything you do is Important, and I didn’t know what to do, so I saw no reason to volunteer to screw up.  At the same time, I always knew I wanted a true mate and children, and knew that these weren’t contradictions; my mom was NOT the baby crazy member of her family.  Both she and my dad were thought to be “confirmed bachelors” when they met and married, ended up having the second-most kids of any of their siblings.

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2 Responses to The Mother Thing

  • “I really do appreciate the folks who respond to my trying to ride herd on the Princess by telling me that it’s not required, but I’m generally not trying to control her for them—I’m trying to control her because the teachers I respect the most have informed me that good manners get you further than a good education. ”

    My late mother, and how much I miss her and Dad, had fiery red hair, pure Irish blood and temper and charm to match. A rare day did not go by for me without a slap and a hug from her, when we weren’t busy laughing at each others’ jokes and sallies. Back in 1967 my maternal grandmother Alice, a formidable lady just like my Mom, called my Mom a savage after she saw my mother slap me. My Mom responded that if she did not slap me I would be the one growing up to be a savage. I suspect she was correct.

  • Sounds like we have highly similar families– even to the point of having a formidable grandmother much like the mother named Alice.

    when we weren’t busy laughing at each others jokes and sallies

    Reminds me of when I first realized I was a Real Grown Up. My mom was having internet problems while I was back on leave; from Japan, so I must’ve been in my twenties. I couldn’t fix anything, so there was a repair guy setting up the smoke-signals. About fifteen minutes into us trading back and forth, he stuck his head out of the “office” and asked if we always put on a show like that. I can’t remember which of us said “oh, no. When nobody’s watching, we’re far worse.”

29 Responses to Aliens, Sex and Catholicism

  • Happens, with science fiction.

    Some people enjoy speculative fiction, some don’t.

  • Foxfire:
    My dad was a storyteller, every night to us, his children, dad made it up as he went along. Dad had The Pirates of the Carribean and Harry Potter beat. God rest his soul.

  • May there be more like him!

  • Foxfier, Foxfier, Foxfier. God love you

  • Somebody’s gotta.

    (….no, I can’t resist a straight line like that.)

  • I was going to post, “What a waste of my time!” Instead I”ll say ” It’s just not my cup of tea.”

  • Well, as a Trekkie I really enjoyed this. Science fiction was a childhood favorite of mine, and this was funny!

  • BTW, it was Larry Niven in his Ringworld series (which also I loved reading and re-reading) who coined the term Rishathra. I don’t think it was ever used on Star Trek. But Vulcan Ambassador Sarek did marry human Amanda Grayson who bore him the son Spock.

  • So, technically speaking, Sarek and Amanda were not interspecie, but intraspecie. One common definition of different species is that they cannot procreate. It therefore would not be Rishathra.

  • Interesting clarification, C. Matt. However, Humans and Vulcans are different species (e.g., the former having iron in its hemoglobin and the latter have copper) whereas Vulcans and Romulans are the same species, but different offshoots or races. So in the case of Human-Vulcan parings, inter-species is appropriate (with the possibility of viable off-spring), but in the case of Vulcan-Romulan, intra-species is likely the accepted term (with still viable off-spring). But I really don’t know. We may have to find a Vulcanologist to ask!

  • Star Trek always struck me as the pinnacle of Enlightenment atheism, which is very common in science fiction. As we understand more and more, we’ll credit fewer and fewer things to God, until religion will die out (according to the narrative). It didn’t make me flee from science fiction, but it did grow tiring.

  • Karl-
    generally a good choice! I figure 95% of EVERYTHING would be a waste of my time, but is at least enjoyable and harmless for others.

    Paul and c Matt-
    I have a LOT of fun with that, since we’ve got at least one cannon example of a quarter-Vulcanoid, and at least one half-Romulan that was made without reproductive “help.” (Random redshirt in TNG who lost his clearance for a Romulan grandfather and AU Tasha Yar’s daughter, the Romulan commander.)

    The really fun thing? ….Ever try to get someone to define “species”? The old definition was that they could make fertile offspring, with some quirks (similar to how we consider tomatoes a vegetable). More recently, the definition is more like “are a different genetic group that reliably makes offspring that look the same.” Which would be fine, but would classify different breeds of cow as different species without the unwritten rule of them being different “enough.”
    I didn’t realize how plastic the definition was until I found out about the arguments about wolves/dogs/coyotes. Turns out that “red wolves” are just mostly-coyote wolves, genetically, and the “coyotes” up north are mostly wolf….

    So part of the definition of “different species” might include “possibly fertile but don’t generally interbreed because of different mating practices or other difficulties.” (Like coyotes usually eating dogs.)

    Obviously, can’t use that for PEOPLE!

  • Pinky-
    I got tired of it, too, until I started playing mind-games– there are bits of religion all over the place, they’re just kind of smashed, and even though the series was designed to reject God, the demands of story keep slipping him back in there.
    (Such as all the half-aliens…. wow, I just realized that from TOS through Voy, every single series had a half alien main character, at least sort of; I thought DS9 didn’t, but Sisko’s mom was a human embodying a wormhole alien, so he counts.)

    So, my current theory? We only see StarFleet, the highly public stuff– the Church has gone underground. The Vulcan Pope is coming!

  • I always respected Babylon 5 for depicting religion. The creator of the show was an atheist, but he didn’t believe that the instinct toward religion would disappear.

  • Pinky is correct. I loved Babylon 5 especially for its respectful and realistic depiction of religion.

  • Pinky wrote:

    “Star Trek always struck me as the pinnacle of Enlightenment atheism, which is very common in science fiction. As we understand more and more, we’ll credit fewer and fewer things to God, until religion will die out (according to the narrative). It didn’t make me flee from science fiction, but it did grow tiring.”

    He’s 100% right. Capt Picard once told Q that humanity had outgrown its need for gods. That turned me right off.

    But the original Star Trek once had an episode in which the Enterprise visits a world where the Roman Empire never died, and only in its equivalent to the 20th century did news of the “Son” spread. When Enterprise people heard of this religion of the “Son”, they thought it was “Sun” worship (why the Romans weren’t speaking Latin but English isn’t explained because the difference between Filius Dei and Sol Dei is obvious to the ears). At the end, when Uhura explains everything, Kirk says that now the religion of peace and universal brotherhood will overthrow their Caesars. Ignored is the obvious Crucifixion – the Paschal Lamb slain to save sinners. It’s all about social justice and the common good. Typical and disappointing, but expected.

  • He’s 100% right. Capt Picard once told Q that humanity had outgrown its need for gods. That turned me right off.

    That sort of thing is what prodded me to think that religion was suppressed– there are a lot like it, but it’s all slogans without form. Kind of like how there’s “no money” in the future…officially. Went right out the window as soon as you got any distance from total Federation control.
    Kind of like how we’re going in politics these days, with any allusion to religion being scrubbed– even “AD”– with the actual form remaining. A new coat of paint doesn’t change much!

  • Foxfier – That’s a pretty dark interpretation of the Federation – an interstellar army that censors thought. It’s definitely not what the show’s writers had in mind, but it would make for good fanfiction.

  • “That’s a pretty dark interpretation of the Federation – an interstellar army that censors thought. It’s definitely not what the show’s writers had in mind…”

    But that’s essentially the upshot of Picard’s comment to Q that the people in the Federation had outgrown the concept of gods. If you believe in God, then you are old, outmoded, barbaric, uncivilized, etc. The same thing with money – the Federation has outgrown that – we all work for free, each receiving according to his need and giving according to his ability. I remember when Commander Riker explained that to the Ferengi who were the 23rd century outmoded capitalists that Picard derided as Yankee pirates.

    Wait! Didn’t someone say that about receiving according to need and giving according to ability in the 1800s? It’s all Marxism – er, dressed up, techno-fantasy liberalism – in the setting of Sci-Fi.

  • Pinky-
    Not so much censoring and promoting their own, pro-unity theories– it’s a voluntary club, after all. You can’t even apply as a planet unless you’ve got a one-world gov’t.

    I prefer to take an optimistic view and figure 1) it’s easy to travel, so those who disagree with Federation policy or mots world governments just leave, and 2) there are non-Federation planets, entire flotillas of ships, all the normal folks who keep stuff going. Anybody remember Mudd from the original series? Or Worf’s brother?

    Of course, it’s not much of a choice for the folks who are on a boarder with the folks that the Federation are fighting (poorly) with, but the Klingon Empire wouldn’t be very comfortable no matter who their neighbors were!

    Of course, joining the Federation can be pretty dangerous if you’re in the way of peace, as the Marquis figured out when their systems were traded over to Cardassian management. (Can you say “fascists”? They really have replaced religion with The State, and Garak is their roving preacher….)

    Like Paul touches on– it’s liberalism; Marxism that doesn’t actually require that people be forced to work to get stuff. Replicators set that up. It’s just for extra stuff, or things that are outside of The System, that people need credits/money/barter.
    It probably helps that DS9 was the first series I saw when I was old enough to really think about what stuff entailed, and they even had to deal with martial law on Earth. (for good reason, but still) The Federation’s interaction with the Russians–oops, I mean Romulans– especially reminded me of real world liberal reactions. /twee

    I accept only the vague notion of a lot of the Earth/Federation stuff from DS9 in part because some of it contradicts itself and some of it is just really bad writing, but the gist is there.

  • In my defense, I’m not thinking this stuff up on the fly, nor do I set for hours watching the show– I’ve been “working” on a fanfic about this for roughly a decade. It’s what I do when I’m doing something that requires attention but not thought. (biggest problem: I can’t make a story-arc to save my life, and when I do write scenes down it’s usually 90% dialog and some repetitive actions. My scene descriptions are best left unconsidered.)

  • Michael Eddington’s, a leader of the maquis, speech in which he presented a rather damning view of the Federation:

    “Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We’ve never harmed you. And yet we’re constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands, and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we’ve left the Federation, and that’s the one thing you can’t accept. Nobody leaves Paradise, everyone should want to be in the Federation! Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You’re only sending them replicators because one day, they can take their rightful place on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways, you’re even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You’re more insidious, you assimilate people – and they don’t even know it.”

    Gene Roddenberry was of course a liberal and he had the usual liberal view that Man could ultimately create a terrestrial paradise. Conservatives, and Christians, understand this is the sheerest hubris. For Roddenberry the Federation was perfect. Imperfection came from outside of the Federation. Once Roddenberry died Deep Space Nine and Voyager were able to explore storylines where the Federation was shown as less than perfect and filled with fallible humans.

  • Foxfier – No need to defend yourself. It’s interesting. I take it that you see the Federation as something like the Alliance on Firefly?

  • Michael Eddington’s speech could well apply to liberal America.

  • Actually, now you’ve got me thinking about it. Weren’t there earlier hints that the Federation liked power a bit too much, like maybe on TNG and the second movie, where they co-opted scientific discoveries?

  • Donald-
    thank you! I fried my speakers yesterday– the magic smoke came out while the girls and I were listening to the radio online and cleaning house– so I can’t really look up any videos for stuff, even if I had the patience to set and watch them. I’m going largely off of memory…although I suppose I could go get the wedding gift my in-laws gave us and actually LOOK at the DVDs!

    I spent a lot of time thinking about the Federation and Marquis when I was writing a character in a play-by-email sim, too– it was set on a Cardassian space station, post-Dominion War, and my character was a Cardassian. (Only ones I could work up a lot of sympathy for, too– former POW to the Federation, which is not a bad gig, especially if you’re injured.) Figuring out how to make the characters make sense as a young teen probably warped my thinking permanently.

    usually, if I defend myself on that sort of thing, I feel a bit guilty about the amount of implied time and effort. Since I feel guilty about swatting a fly on up, I end up explaining a lot! Just assume I have a smile on my face. :^)

    As for Firefly, I haven’t really watched it as closely as Star Trek, but I see it as a good version of the Alliance as I understand it. Not perfect, any more than the Alliance was pure evil, but a sort of extrapolation of our gov’t if it was controlled by folks who thought the way that a lot of Fleeters talk. Much more into soft power, too, with a few individual exceptions for abuse of power.

    They do stuff For Your Own Good. That’s a thing that’s pretty easy to pervert.
    There was even that two-part episode where evil parisite aliens realized this and tried to take over… either SF or the Federation, can’t remember.

    One of the things that keeps the Federation as basically good guys is the way that they have a lot of rules that are way too broad to be good (You can’t mess with pre-contact civilizations.) where violations are ignored if you do the right thing. (Like when they saved a planet’s population from a supernova sun; pretty sure that was the second ep where Worf’s brother showed up.) Reminds me of the US military being responsible for refusing unlawful orders…when you do refuse an order, it’d dang well better be upheld.

    Sure, they have Bureaucratitus, but what system-spanning organization wouldn’t? It’s not like politics will die out.

    They just happen to have this little…twitch… where nothing related to religion is allowed out… a perfectly understandable extrapolation from the current drive to remove religion from the public square. And what’s more public than StarFleet?

A Real Job

Thursday, April 12, AD 2012

I’ve had it suggested that I write about motherhood a bit; be careful what you ask for.


….Yeah, I’m posting on that.  Some idiot talking head makes a slam at a grandmother with MS and everyone has to comment about it.  I think I have something worth saying, though, rather than just talking about it because it’s big.


I’m a stay at home mom.  A home-maker.  A house wife.


I have worked outside the home, before I got married, in a very similar field—I was a Petty Officer in the Navy, specializing in calibration. (Making sure things that measure are accurate enough.)  Before that, I was in another similar field, at least sort of—I was a ranch kid.


Perhaps some folks look at those things and are curious—what on earth is the connection between being a mother, working with cows and fixing stuff that’s used to fix planes and ships?

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11 Responses to A Real Job

  • My wife stayed home with the kids Foxfier until they were in highschool and now helps me out at the office while they are in school. (Our oldest is finishing up his sophmore year at the University of Illinois.) I have always thought that I work so that she can do the important work of the family in being the mom of our kids.

  • I have always thought that I work so that she can do the important work of the family in being the mom of our kids.

    Hey… maybe part of the problem is that “produce high quality adults” isn’t the main purpose of a family anymore? It’s about Husband and Wife, not Mom and Dad…. A sort of sister problem to the whole removing-reproduction-from-sex thing.

  • Donald: You have a blessed family.
    Foxfire: “It’s about Husband and Wife, not Mom and Dad…. A sort of sister problem to the whole removing-reproduction-from-sex thing.” The word “sex” is used to confound the difference between “love” and “lust”. Husband, wife, mom and dad are offices assumed through the exercise of free will, informed consent, and are vocations. Male and female refers to the human being’s gender. Man and woman are human beings composed of body and soul as created by God. To consider the sex of a person without considering the soul of a person is a crime. To place the wife and mom outside her vocation to which she has consented to in an act of free will is a violation of a person’s FREEDOM, a crime against who a wife and mom is as created by God. That Rosen presumes to know the heart of Ann Romney is plagiarism, jealousy. I just realized that the word jealousy ends in the word “lousy”. Rosen was being lousy. With family, husband, wife, children, one learns how to pray.

  • Found this:
    For thousands of years men were expected to provide for the household and women were expected to manage it. And in Memphis when I was growing up, most of the city commissions that actually ran the city were dominated by married women. There might be a figurehead man chairman, but everyone understood that the power rested with the commissioners, just about every one of them married, educated, and upper middle class. They had the time and interest to participate in self government. And of course most church committees and charitable functions were run by married women who had the time to participate in these associations. That’s not modern, of course. And surely we’re so much more civilized now and the children are so much more civilized since all that changed.

  • There will be an extra bit of “oomph” in my intentions for you this Divine Mercy Sunday, FF.

    “The Mote In God’s Eye” is an all time classic, BTW.

  • This whole episode has made me so mad I just want to spit! I work full time and my husband stays home with the children. The very idea that staying with the children is not a ‘real job.’ The thought that my job is more important than raising children. How utterly insane the world has become. I can’t even put together a coherent thought.

    Foxfier, I like your phrase, sister problem. Well this attitude is a sister attitude to what I frequently find at work when having some child issue (like being tired after staying up all night with the baby). The attitude goes something like this, ‘It was your choice to have children, so it’s your own fault. If you don’t like being tired, you shouldn’t have had children.’ There is little empathy or perspective, just blame.

  • I stayed at home while my four kids were young. It was hard work, and we sacrificed the big house, the second car and many other luxuries for which I have no regret! I almost wanted to go back into the work force to get a little rest! But what I wanted even more was to be with and nurture my kids instead of daycaring them and barely affording the coverage. Lots of women in the mid to late 70?s and a little beyond still stayed home with their kids, as did all of the folks from my parents age group. “Stay at home Mom” should not now be a bad word. For those who can, God bless them- it is far better for your children! For those who cannot, God bless you as well; but please don’t be bitter and envious as some of these shrill women are.
    What is most stunning, is that the left consistently makes these ridiculously thoughtless and most often mean spirited statements, and never has to explain nor apologize for them!!!!

  • Foxfier—what is so important in your post is the recognition of the unity of the marriage, regardless of whether the mom works. We chose that my wife would “work” at the vocation of family friend, leader, spouse, mom, executive, etc. In so doing, probably like Don, I worked the heavy hours building a practice. There were many scary times along the way. I always find it interesting, as again in the judginess by the left, how a life dedicated to her family as with Mrs. Romney, a noble inspiring vocation, is viewed by polity in a snapshot rather than the video stream of what was, is and will be. It’s the same leftist view of the so called “rich.” The snapshot of what is now in an instant, not the life time of sacrifices, hard work, and purpose undertaken by many of the so called “rich” to achieve something for others.

    I can honestly remember growing up the normality of moms being home, and dads pouring themselves out to provide for the family. In post modernity, this is considered a defect. Strange times indeed.

  • I think Ms Rosen’s jab was a least in part motivated by class warfare– not only about whether or not working at home qualifies as “working”… some comments that I have read elsewhere are more about having the freedom to choose to stay home– which I know is always subject to what the values of the particular mom/dad are– some think they have to work when others would think they will cut back on their spending– but I do think class jealousy has something to do with the huge reaction.

  • You know as rich as Jackie Kennedy was, people were proud of her for having a job… the princesses of England are former schoolteachers etc– the class issue is at the bottom of it– the royal family of England knows it is important that the regular folks can identify with them

    Although lots of women don”t “have” to work they just like to get out of the house and use their other talents once in a while

  • Of course it was class warfare. Same as the old lie about only folks who are really well off can have a stay-at-home parent. Part of why there are so many programs to help pay for working mother’s daycare costs is because it usually doesn’t make economic sense otherwise; if you’re not willing to take handouts you don’t really need….

    While I was obviously not alive then, I get the impression that Mrs. Kennedy would have been lauded for anything she did. She was beautiful, fashionable, charming, married a handsome and charismatic hero that became president and died tragically and early. Any time they come up, my mom tends to point out that there were three pictures on the wall when she was a kid– Jesus, the Pope and JFK.

    Same way we’re supposed to be awed when the Obamas volunteer at a soup kitchen, but the Cheneys giving the majority of their income away is somehow bad; Sarah Palin running for office with kids at home is abandoning them, and Mrs. Romney having been a home-maker is a sign they’re spoiled, rich people.

    Don’t get me started on the “she had help” meme– I have no idea what their finances looked like when the boys were young, I doubt anyone spreading the meme has bothered to look into it, and I’d like to know what the heck daycare is if it’s not “help watching the kids.” Don’t see anyone discounting working mothers because someone else watches the kids part of the day….

The Pope in Cuba

Tuesday, March 27, AD 2012

Apparently, he’s staying busy.

SuburbanBanshee has two very good posts on the topic– the first has the great opening of “seldom have I enjoyed myself more watching a speech at an airport.”  The second one is on what he said at Mass, with the bonus of an honorary mention of the Swiss Guard Ninja Death Squad Elite.  (Which doesn’t exist.)

Have I mentioned lately that the fellow has guts?

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One Response to The Pope in Cuba

Sin is Poison

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012

even when you didn’t do it.


A few minutes ago, I was dancing around with my two year old Princess, and the baby Duchess got herself into a corner again– she can’t turn or go in reverse, yet.  Princess, of course, wanted me to dance with her, so I said: “Princess, I can only handle one baby at a time!”


As soon as the words left my mouth, I thought of “selective reduction,” and the kids that won’t ever have a chance to play with mine.  I’ve never done anything like that, but it still poisoned my mood.  A silly, small example, but it’s interesting how having words to hold a concept can help you identify it, even when it’s tiny.

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4 Responses to Sin is Poison

  • Foxfier, you have good heart for your little girls. Wish I could say don’t worry, it’ll be OK, but this world is messy enough to bring on sadness right in the middle of good fun. Understanding and identifying the poison can’t hurt you, unless it comes out of your heart. I thought of Wed., 2/8 Gospel as maybe fitting this moment of yours. “Hear me , all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters on from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” from Mark 7:14-

  • Thank you, PM– the older I get, the more I appreciate why my folks wouldn’t talk about some things with us unless we started the conversation. (It turned out alright. Come to think of it, they seem to have followed the philosophy of your quote– if it was something they saw possibly sprouting from us, they started a conversation; if it wasn’t, they didn’t introduce it.)

  • PM: I was thinking about exactly that last night walking to the RR station.

    At moments when evil seems to be taking over, a short prayer may help.

    “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of Hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of thy Mercy.”

  • “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of Hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of thy Mercy.”

    Does anyone else read that and hear it in Mother Angelica’s voice?
    Hm; Mother Angelica’s TV and radio outreach– two bright spots, especially since they expanded on to the internet, and there are all the lovely blogs to help people find truth and hope. (Hopefully the Truth, as well.)

98% of Catholic Women Use Birth Control

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012

– or so they say. “They” being random folks online, who seem to have picked it up from Huffington Post, or maybe Daily Kos.

To be fair, the original claim was that 98% of women (footnote in small type: at risk for unintended pregnancy) contracept, and came from the  Guttmacher Institute; if you don’t know who they are, they’re probably the source for 90% of the crazy-on-the-face-of-it sex related claims you’ve seen online, usually after a couple of rounds of rephrasing and from-memory citation.

Here’s the short form of how they got it:

So the study tells us only that 98% of women of child-bearing age who want to have sex without having babies use some form of birth control. That qualifies as a sort of “d’uh” moment.

He’s got the long form, with details, at the link; it’s VERY long form, and I don’t want to copy all of it–  TheOFloinn opens with an introductory course on statistics.

That said, honors for pointing it out first, digging into the statistics and being a reporter who actually did reporting goes to Mollie at Ricochet:

“So I guess we could say that among women aged 15-44 who had sex in the last three months but aren’t pregnant, post-partum or trying to get pregnant, 87% of women who identify as Catholic used contraception. It’s worth pondering just who is left out of this 87%, other than, you know, everyone who doesn’t use contraception. Great stat, team journalist! I mean, the study was designed to find only women who would be most likely to use contraception. And it did.

Notable in the comments is someone making the argument that the Church’s current stance against the birth control, sterilization and abortion causing drug mandate is the same as arguing for laws preventing business on Sunday.  Seems to me that a better comparison would be fighting a law that requires all businesses to be open on Sunday.

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20 Responses to 98% of Catholic Women Use Birth Control

  • A better study would be on the number of women who attend Mass weekly and who are married – what percentage of them use artificial contraception? I’ll bet that the number would still be dismayingly high, but nowhere near even the 87% of the referenced study. The bottom line for us Catholics is a clear need to educate Catholics up to Church teaching on the matter of birth control. The bottom line for the use of such statistics to justify forcing Catholics to pay for birth control is – are you kidding me? I’ll bet that even 90% of Catholics who think is ok to use birth control are not in favor of paying for someone else’s.

    But, still, the main thing of this has still not risen to the surface – the determination on the left to make it a commonly held belief that pregnancy is a disease which needs to be prevented with birth control and treated with abortion. That is where we really need to have the fight – they are trying to make the normal course of human life appear to be a horrendous aberration to be fought against. There may be worse lies from the enemy, but not too many of them…

  • While the claim isn’t supported by the study, we really have no reason to believe a wider study would deviant significantly. The study pool consisted of roughly 50% of the female population. The dispute is over the ideal study pool, which for argument’s sake, can be 100% of the female population. My guess is that at most we are looking at doubling the error band. Is anyone’s argument changed if 80% of Catholic women have ever used contraception and 90% of the general population?

    Needless to say there have been some pretty outrageous claims in reply to the study.
    1. There is a significant pool of women who are not trying to prevent pregnancy at any point in their fertile years.
    2. There is a significant pool of celibates.
    3. People who don’t go Church every Sunday are so dominating the statistics that a study of true Catholics would show a minuscule number who had used birth control. (Say that there are only 30% true Catholics. That would put the floor of contraception use at over 55%.)

  • We really have no reason to think it wouldn’t, either: the study sample was specifically selected out of a larger pool of data in order to find probable contraception users, because the point was to look at whether religion affects the kind of contraception that probable contraception users use (for Catholics it doesn’t ). Likewise, determining the number of Catholic women who “are not trying to prevent pregnancy at any point in their fertile years” is neither useful (since such a description would include NFP and both converts and cradle Catholics who have stopped because of Church teaching) nor feasible short of a significant longitudinal study. (The data in question here only took a snapshot of a point in time; the pool of data from which the study drew its sample had thirty percent of Catholic women who had never been married also having never had sex at all, an obvious contributor to that number being the fact that this included teenage girls.) There’s nothing in this that tells us much about the Catholic female population at large; thinking otherwise is either mere speculation or statistical fallacy.

  • I wonder how and where they found women to participate in this study. I have to say that if I were approached by the Alan Guttmacher Institute to participate in a study like this, I’d probably tell them to take a hike because I want nothing to do with promoting their agenda. Therefore, I would not be represented in the sample. The mere fact that it’s a poll about birth control being conducted by a pro-abortion group would probably cause a certain number of observant Catholic women to exclude themselves from the sample right off the bat.

  • Use of NFP is included in the report. It is somewhere around 0.7% if memory serves.

  • MZ,

    It showed 2% of Catholic women who are sexually active but trying to avoid getting pregnant as using NFP. (Confusingly, it also showed 11% of Catholic women who are sexually active but trying to avoid getting pregnant as using “no method” so go figure out that one.)

    Unhelpfully, it doesn’t slice those numbers by either frequency of mass attendance (overall it shows only 30% of Catholic women going to mass weekly) of whether or not they are married (it states generally, though doesn’t document the numbers, that sexual activity is significantly lower among unmarried women who attend services weekly or who say that religion is “very important” to them).

  • Are we supposed to be surprised that a high percentage of ill-catechized women don’t follow Church teaching that is opposed to the zeitgeist? Color me shocked.

    Which, of course, is totally irrelevant to the morality of the issue, and even more irrelevant to whether the Church (or anyone) should be forced against their conscience to buy it for others. Want the pill? Buy it yourself.

  • MZ-
    They specifically removed all the groups that would be likely to not be using; including them would definitely cause the results to be different! How different, we can’t know.

    Elaine Krewer-
    That was my response…. Part of why I liked TheOflynn’s post.

    not everyone knows what the heck “natural family planning” is; before I started reading blogs, I didn’t. I know that when I told my OBGYN that we use NFP, he wrote down “none.” Depending on their theology, women might say that they’re not trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy because they’re open to life.

    C Matt– yeah, there are some, and yeah, it’s not relevant, but when has that been a reason let a lie stand?

  • My parish pastor said it best, “First, the Catholic Church must convince Catholics that birth control and abortion are morally wrong before it can hope to convince the rest of America to stop practicing and supporting them”.

  • How is he doing on convincing the Catholics in his parish Don? I disagree with him, because frankly I think most of the rest of America is easier to convince, at least on the issue of abortion. The most notorious pro-aborts tend to be elected in states with the highest Catholic population, unfortunately. (The top five Catholic states are Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and California, with a grand total of one pro-life Senator.) Exclude those states, and Roe v. Wade would be history. All too many Catholics in this country are willing to throw out the teachings of the Church in regard to abortion and contraception, with their Catholicism being reduced to Christmas and Easter Mass and a tribal allegiance to always vote for the Democrat.

  • I’m a liberal, pro-life Catholic who has used birth control in the past, as recommended by my doctor for MEDICAL issues, not to prevent pregnancy. Although some of your posts and subsequent comments are interesting and insightful, there is a lot of misinformation and hypocricy that is very disturbing to me, esp coming from Catholics.

    First, I think it’s wrong to assume that being “on the left” or “liberal” is any less Catholic than conservatives when a lot of us liberals are indeed pro-life, in EVERY sense of the word, not just for abortion. How many of you conservatives voted FOR a political candidate who supported the war in Iraq, even though the Catholic Church was completely against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who supports the death penalty, even though the Catholic Church is against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who is against any sort of “universal health care” even though the Pope has specifically called for it? How many of you are in favor of a healthcare system controlled by insurance companies, the kind of companies that exist solely for profit by taking as much from someone and giving as little in return?

    Just to clear the record on health care, I’m Canadian living in the US with my American husband. Please STOP buying into the blatant lies and overblown stories about Canadian health care. It’s NOT gov’t run, it’s gov’t funded and privately delivered. The gov’t has ZERO say in people’s health care, they do NOT “choose” doctors for people. They merely foot the bill, similar to medicare. Canadians are not all dying on waitlists (survival rates for diseases are all comparable, some higher and some lower, than the US rates). Canadians are NOT all lining up at the US border for treatment. Less than 1% come to the US specifically for treatment, and it’s often covered by their Cdn plan. It’s also due more specialized doctors in the US, not a refusal of Cdn gov’t to pay – no different than Americans traveling to other states for specialized care. Besides, how many Americans travel to Canada or other countries for health care? A LOT more than Fox News will tell you. Bottom line is that Canada’s system is NOT perfect, but it’s much better, much more humane, and much more in line with Catholic teachings – than the current US system. And 85-95% of Canadians, Catholics, included would seek improvements but NEVER trade it for the insanely expensive, horribly discriminating, US system that pays CEOs up to $125 million a year while millions of Americans either can’t or struggle to afford basic care. What works in Canada might not work in the US, but the US system is ANTI-Catholic, no doubt about it. But enough of my health care rant… although I believe that educating Americans on the TRUTH and BENEFITS of universal health care is one fo the reasons God brought me to the USA!

    One more thing, how many of you complain non-stop about “free-loaders” and “welfare queens” even though a lot of WORKING poor need public assistance just to get and the Pope has called for strong social safety nets (incl. welfare) because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the Catholic Church and private charities to care for all of the truly poor, sick and needy in this country – a collective body with a collective interest is the ONLY way to do it. Even if you drastically cut taxes, there is no way church and charity can provide a consistent, broad-based safety net for all who need it. I know even a democratically-elected gov’t can sometimes be over-reaching and fiscially irresponsible, but if you want to see what it’s like to live in a society with no social safety nets and a gov’t that caters only to the wealthy elite, then please spend time volunteering in Africa. You’ll be very happy to live in a country that has a minimum poverty level, even if some of those people are poor b/c they’re stupid and lazy. Please stop blaming the gov’t for everything and look to the greed of your fellow human as the root of most evils.

    As for the BC issue at hand, this is for insurance companies with Catholic affiliated institutions to OFFER BC as part of their compensation/benefits package. Nobody is being forced to use BC if they don’t agree with it, it’s about equal and affordable access to it for non-Catholic (and obviously some Catholic) employees. Do you think a Jehovah Witness employer should be able to refuse to allow insurance companies to offer his/her employees coverage for a blood transfusion? And what about the people who work for Catholic hospitals who get their paycheck and then go drink, gamble, cheat on their spouse? Does that mean the Catholic Church is supporting their behaviour? No. It’s a lot more complex than many of you conservatives want to make it out to be. I respect and understand the Bishop’s concerns, but I’m so disgusted by the politicians and people “on the right” who use this as a political tool to bash those of us “on the left” like we are all baby-killing freaks or lazy free-loaders.

  • How many of you conservatives voted FOR a political candidate who supported the war in Iraq, even though the Catholic Church was completely against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who supports the death penalty, even though the Catholic Church is against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who is against any sort of “universal health care” even though the Pope has specifically called for it?

    You are evidently as familiar with the teachings of the Church as Nancy Pelosi, meaning not much at all. In each of the cases you’ve just mentioned, you are completely off about what the Church teaches or what one is supposed to believe as a Catholic. I would recommend reading, in particular, the Catechism of the Catholic Church if you believe that Church teaching prohibits the death penalty – and I say that as someone who does not support the death penalty.

    Nobody is being forced to use BC if they don’t agree with it,

    Nice strawman, but completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    it’s about equal and affordable access to it for non-Catholic (and obviously some Catholic) employees

    These employees are not forced to work for Catholic employees. As for the “affordable” thing, I’ll once again refer to Jeff Goldstein.

    “you shouldn’t make contraceptives an issue because 99% of all women in the US have used them. Which is why we need to make sure contraceptives are “free,” because otherwise, how in the world can we expect the 99% of women who’ve used them to get them and avoid a women’s health crisis?

    Oh, wait —”

    and what about the people who work for Catholic hospitals who get their paycheck and then go drink, gamble, cheat on their spouse?

    You’ve never taken a logic course, have you?

  • I also note this about Stacy’s logic. Some Bishops oppose the death penalty or the Iraq War = moral imperative for Catholics to oppose these things. ALL Bishops oppose HHS Mandate = just ignore them.

  • Stacey is a pro-life liberal?

    How much pro-life?

    When she voted for the most extreme abortion candidate oi the planet, Obama, Stacey voted for abortion.

  • Pro-life liberals,

    Obama did not immediately end all (Afghanistan and Iraq) the wars on January 20, 2009. In fact, he started a few new ones.

    Obama did not close Gitmo or free those whose human dignity was stolen by Bush: worse than Hitler. It’s still operating.

    He stopped water-boarding three mass murderers who are no worse for the wear and replaced it with unmanned, aerial drone assassinations of hundreds.

    And, Obama made things so much better for the common good like, like, like 6,000,000 fewer jobs and $3.51 gasoline compared to $1.84 on the day before he took over. Not a problem they can’t afford the $1.84, either.

    I don’t think hope and change is working.

  • “When she voted for the most extreme abortion candidate on the planet”

    Stacey identified herself as a Canadian married to an American. If she is not a U.S. citizen, she could not have voted for Obama or any other U.S. officeholder. She could not have voted for “the most extreme abortion candidate on the planet” unless he or she is Canadian, and maybe not even then.

  • Thanks, Elaine!

    I hope that doesn’t foul up my Canadian immigration application.

  • I hope that doesn’t foul up my Canadian immigration application.
    T. Shaw

    Just don’t refer to “the President of Canada” in any interviews. (Video here.)

  • Paul Zummo-
    Thanks. Just got back from far too much exposure to Seattle drivers, wasn’t looking forward to the the same old basic explanation….

Mental Exercise and the Devil’s Advocate

Friday, December 23, AD 2011

Looking at that title, I really wish I could make a post worthy of it!

That said, this will have to do, I suppose.

There are enough geeks on this blog that I can hope someone else read the old defense of The Empire from Star Wars, written long before the new movies came out; it can be summed up as “great, they killed the Emperor. Hello, power vacuum– who’s going to pay the police now? Who’s going to be in charge, the Hutts?”

In keeping with the season, I offer this from NRO:
Scrooge: The First 1 Percenter.

A sample:

Either way, such actions are not really going to do much to improve the human condition. I contend that Scrooge, before he became “enlightened,” was already doing more to help his fellow man than any of the other main characters we meet in A Christmas Carol. Moreover, by giving away a substantial portion of his accumulated fortune, he drastically reduced his ability to do even more good in the world.

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3 Responses to Mental Exercise and the Devil’s Advocate

  • For bonus conversation points, you can print out the “yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter and debate that.

    It beats nagging about Obama.

  • If we do good for the wrong reasons it is of no help to us. Scrooge, whatever good he accomplished to society by being a successful businessman, had walled himself off from his fellow man. His interactions with his fellows tended to consist solely in whether Scrooge could profit from it monetarily. Scrooge was miserable as a result, and his interactions tended to make other people miserable. Bob Cratchet was not entirely mistaken when he proclaimed the unreformed Scrooge as “the founder of the feast” on Christmas Day, since the business acumen of Scrooge provided his livelihood and Cratchet understood it, but the reaction of his family to the propsed toast underscores how the spirit in which we do something often will determine how others react to it. The unreformed Scrooge reminds me of this passage from Saint Paul:

    “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

    The unreformed Scrooge understands this. When he and the ghost of Christmas Past visit a Christmas party tossed by Fezziwig, an old employer of Scrooge, and the ghost notes how Fezziwig’s employees love him and yet the party isn’t costing Fezziwig that much money. Scrooge responds: “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil…The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” It is the lack of love that makes Scrooge a miser, and having love that made Fezziwig a beloved boss.

  • The worst poverty is not pecuniary. It is our national destitution of human virtues: fortitude, justice, prudence, temperance.

    Voting to tax someone else and indirectly giving the money to the perpetually (“. . . will always be with you”) poor through unionized bureaucrats is not one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. Then, they use the votes of desperate dependents (their destructive policies create) to obtain political power (mass brigandage) and then advance mass evils: abortion/murder; class hatred/envy/wrath; fornication/lust; gay privileges/lust; graft/greed; tyranny/envy/greed/wrath; . . .

    Scrooge is a fictional character. Lying, liberals (I repeat myself, again) are today’s real-life evil do-gooders.