One of the more ironic developments during the past half century has been the transformation of most colleges and universities from places of learning into citadels of indoctrination. Examples abound. Here is a recent one:
An Ohio State University (OSU) class has apparently determined another fundamental difference between Christians and atheists: their IQ points.
An online quiz from the school’s Psychology 1100 class, provided to Campus Reform via tip, asked students to pick which scenario they found most likely given that “Theo has an IQ of 100 and Aine has an IQ of 125.”
The correct answer? “Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian.” Continue reading
Unbeknownst to the Confederates, on July 27, 1864 the Union forces around Petersburg were putting the finishing touches on a huge mine under a fort in the Confederate defenses known as Elliot’s Salient. To divert Confederate attention from this sector of the line, Grant ordered Hancock and Sheridan to cross the James River at Deep Bottom and make a lunge towards Richmond. Grant assumed this would cause a weakening in the Confederate defenses around Petersburg and he was correct in that assumption. Lee in response to Grant’s move pulled some 16,500 men out of the Petersburg lines and into the Richmond fortifications.
In fighting on the 27th and 28th which resulted in 488 Union casualties to 679 Confederate, Hancock and Sheridan’s drive toward Richmond was stopped, but Grant had achieved his goal of drawing Lee’s men to the north side of the James, as Grant noted in his Memoirs: Continue reading
There exists a cottage industry among leftists to attempt to blame the assassination of JFK on “right wing hate”. The latest, and I would say most delusional, example of this historical revisionism run amok is a Salon piece by Heather Digby Parton in which she never gets around to mentioning the fact that Kennedy was gunned down by self-proclaimed Communist Lee Harvey Oswald:
Three weeks before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a concerned citizen from Dallas named Mrs. Nelle M. Doyle wrote a letter to White House press secretary Pierre Salinger. She was worried about the president’s visit. This is what she wrote:
Although I do not consider myself an ‘alarmist’, I do fervently hope that President kennedy can be dissuaded from appearing in the city of Dallas, Texas as much as I would enjoy hearing and seeing him.
This ‘hoodlum mob’ in Dallas is frenzied and infuriated that their attack on Ambassador Adlai Stephenson on the 24th, backfired on them. I have heard that some of them have said they “have just started.”
The right-wing hatred for John F. Kennedy was in some ways as extreme as the hatred for Barack Obama and nowhere was it more energized than Dallas in 1963. Three years earlier, right-wingers in the city had signaled their anti-Kennedy zeal by turning on its native son, Lyndon Johnson, after he accepted the nomination for vice president. He and his wife, Lady Bird, were accosted by a shrieking mob of conservative women in front of their hotel armed with signs saying he’d sold out to “Yankee Socialists.” It was downhill from there. Over the next three years the simmer burst into a full boil as various luminaries of the John Birch Society such as millionaire oil man H.L. Hunt and the anti-communist fanatic Gen. Edwin Walker, a zealot so far to the right that he even believed Eisenhower was a communist, fanned the flames of anti-Kennedy hatred. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
MORDOR––Sister Florence Deacon announced today that the upcoming annual assembly for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious would be taking place at the smoldering base of Mount Doom in Mordor, and would be led by the Dark Lord Sauron. The announcement came in a joint statement between LCWR leaders and numerous well know officials from the lands surrounding Mordor including Azog the Defiler, Uruk-hai Scout Captain Ugluk, Orc Captain of the Warg Rider Sharku, and President of LCWR Carol Zinn. LCWR and Mordor leaders would not comment on the specifics of the upcoming conference except to say that they were eagerly anticipating the conference, which would focus on the ongoing situation with the Vatican. “We shall soon celebrate the dawn of a new era!” Zinn shouted to tens of thousands of cheering Orcs and LCWR nuns as they all furiously, mindlessly slammed their spears against their shields in unison, over and over again. Zinn went on to conclude her rousing speech, shouting, “One conference to rule us all! No habits to bind us! No veil to blind us! And with liberation at our helm shall they be defied!” Continue reading
A Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report indicates that converting private Catholic schools into charter schools can significantly increase school enrollment, reversing enrollment declines even after several decades. The primary reasons cited for these declines?
- The rising cost of Catholic education that’s attributable to the shift in from religious/clergy teachers to lay educators.
- The increase in the number of charter schools.
Confronting these issues, 3 of the nation’s archdioceses—Indianapolis, Miami, and Washington, DC—have allowed some schools to reopen as independently managed, public charter schools rather than close them. (Philadelphia has done similarly.)
Overall, this transformation has increased enrollments and students seem to be achieving well. In addition, the archdioceses no longer are pouring money into moribund schools, enabling these archdioceses to support other operations, provide additional $$$s to support schools that remain in operation, and provide tuition assistance to qualifying students.
Sounds like “all’s well that ends well” story, no? Everyone’s a winner!
Well, perhaps not.
The decision to accept state funds to run schools carries with it some foreseeable consequences. In retrospect, these consequences may make today’s “solution” appear foolhardy.
Consider the example of the Archdiocese of Vancouver (Canada) where the state fully funds Catholic schools. For more than two centuries, many U.S. Catholics have understandably advocated for a similar policy.
According to an article published by Straight.com, an 11-year-old student attending Delta’s Sacred Heart Elementary School, Tracey Wilson, was diagnosed during the past year with gender dysphoria and wanted to be treated as a girl. The school’s administrators refused, citing the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA) policy regarding gender expression and gender dysphoria.
In response, Tracey Wilson filed a human rights complaint, causing CIVSA to resolve rather than contest the complaint. The terms of the resolution included apologizing to Tracey and her family “for not being in a position to meet her needs” as well as paying the Wilson family an undisclosed amount of $$$s.
The CISVA policy is similar to the policy the Vancouver Public School Board approved one month earlier. However, the resolution in this case makes CISVA the first school district in Canada to have a policy accommodating gender expression and gender dysphoria among students.
Of the policy, CISVA Superintendent Doug Lauson said:
We expect that this policy will be a practical basis for accommodating students with gender dysphoria, or who express their gender in ways that are different from prevailing stereotypes. This policy will ensure that Catholic schools are a safe and accepting place for all students.
“Free” government money always comes “with strings attached.” In this instance, the mammon that’s raining down from the state upon Catholic schools (charter or otherwise) may very well end up forcing district superintendents to compromise the Catholic identity of those schools in order to keep the rain pouring down.
To read the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report, click on the following link:
To read the CISVA policy, click on the following link:
To read about the CISVA case and resolution, click on the following link:
To read the Vancouver Public School Board policy, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Today seventy years ago Operation Cobra began, the breakout of First United States Army from the Normandy Peninsula. By the end of July the First Army had shattered the German forces before them and broken out of Normandy. The stage was set for Patton and his Third Army, which became operational on August 1, 1944. My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson describes the military masterpiece that followed:
When Patton’s Third Army finally became operational seven weeks after D-Day, it was supposed to play only a secondary role — guarding the southern flank of the armies of General Bradley and British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery while securing the Atlantic ports.
Despite having the longest route to the German border, Patton headed east. The Third Army took off in a type of American blitzkrieg not seen since Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s rapid marches through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War.
In fact, his theatrics masked a deeply learned and analytical military mind. Patton sought to avoid casualties by encircling German armies. In innovative fashion, he partnered with American tactical air forces to cover his flanks as his armored columns raced around static German formations.
Naturally rambunctious American GIs fought best, Patton insisted, when “rolling” forward, especially in summertime. Only then, for a brief moment, might the clear skies facilitate overwhelming American air support. In August his soldiers could camp outside, while his speeding tanks still had dry roads.
Allied supplies had been redirected northward for the normally cautious General Montgomery’s reckless Market Garden gambit. That proved a harebrained scheme to leapfrog over the bridges of the Rhine River; it devoured Allied blood and treasure, and accomplished almost nothing in return.
Meanwhile, the cutoff of Patton’s supplies would prove disastrous. Scattered and fleeing German forces regrouped. Their resistance stiffened as the weather grew worse and as shortened supply lines began to favor the defense.
Historians still argue over Patton’s August miracle. Could a racing Third Army really have burst into Germany so far ahead of Allied lines? Could the Allies ever have adequately supplied Patton’s charging columns given the growing distance from the Normandy ports? How could a supreme commander like Eisenhower handle Patton, who at any given moment could — and would — let loose with politically incorrect bombast?
We do not know the answers to all those questions. Nor will we ever quite know the full price that America paid for having a profane Patton stewing in exile for nearly a year rather than exercising his leadership in Italy or Normandy. Continue reading
The latest tweet of Pope Francis gives food for thought:
When one lives attached to money, pride or power, it is impossible to be truly happy. Continue reading
They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.
Ray Bradbury, Usher II (1950)
John C. Wright, Science Fiction author and a convert to Catholicism, laments the ruin wreaked on Science Fiction by leftist ideologies and pathologies:
Establishment SF is Politically Correct SF, in that it pays slavish homage to all the tired tropes and foolish dogmas of Political Correctness. With its emphasis on collective rights, victimology, and radical egalitarianism, there is no place in the PC SF universe for things like heroes, adventures, inventors, exotic locations, space princesses, or technology portrayed as beneficial.
Politically Correct SF is astonishingly parochial, because it is always assumed that the society of the future will be caught in the grip of the selfsame political controversies as the Victorian Age, which is the age when this worldview was first formulated by Marx. Hence, for all other SF stories, the future differs from the present. For PC SF, the future is just like the past, and nothing changes.
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings us the latest news from Leftist Crazyland:
Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Tracy Van Slyke, authoress of the SINGLE dumbest thing ever written:
Thomas [the Tank Engine] and those friends are trains that toil away endlessly on the Isle of Sodor – which seems to be forever caught in British colonial times – and, on its surface, the show seems to impart good moral lessons about hard work and friendship. But if you look through the steam rising up from the coal-powered train stacks, you realize that the pretty puffs of smoke are concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages.
ANNNNNNNNND we’re off. What kinds of “pretty twisted, anachronistic messages” can be worked into a kid’s TV show, Tracy?
For one, these trains perform tasks dictated by their imperious, little white boss, Sir Topham Hatt (also known as The Fat Controller), whose attire of a top hat, tuxedo and big round belly is just a little too obvious. Basically, he’s the Monopoly dictator of their funky little island. Hatt orders the trains to do everything from hauling freight to carrying passengers to running whatever random errand he wants done, whenever he wants it done – regardless of their pre-existing schedules.
Because he’s a human being and they’re…talking machines?
Inevitably, the trains get in a fight with or pick on one another (or generally mess up whatever job they are supposed to be doing) until Hatt has to scold one of them about being a “really useful engine”, because their sole utility in life is their ability to satisfy his whims. Yeah, because I want to teach my kid to admire a controlling autocrat.
Trace? Sweetie? You do know that Sir Topham Hatt isn’t the central focus of that show, don’t you? And that sentient trains don’t actually exist?
But there was one particular episode that caused me to put the brakes on Thomas for good. It revolved around James, a red engine who is described in the opening credits as “vain but lots of fun.” (Wait, it’s OK to be vain if you can show others a good time occasionally? Great – that’s going in my Parenting 101 book.) In the episode “Tickled Pink”, poor vain James, is ordered by Topham Hat to get a new coat of paint. But while James has only had an undercoat of pink slathered on, Topham Hatt interrupts and demands that James go pick up Hatt’s granddaughter and deliver her and her friends to a birthday party right now.
You all know what pink means.
James is mortified that he has to travel while pink and proceeds to hide from all the other trains along the way. When he’s caught, the other trains – including Thomas – viciously laugh and mock him.
Thomas the Tank Engine. Gay basher.
“What are you doing James? You’re a big pink steamie,” says Diesel, the bad-boy engine. (For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.)
Check that. Thomas the Tank Engine. Racist gay basher.
But once James gets back on the rails and picks up Granddaughter Hatt and her friends, all seemingly ends well because the girls love pink.
Well guess what? It’s not OK. You think a little boy watching Thomas is going to file away the lesson that pink is OK for boys? No, what kids remember is that James was laughed at, cruelly, over and over again, because he looked different and was clad in a “girly” pink color.
Whatever, kid. Trace? You’re right to be concerned. If you play any given version of a British Thomas episode backward, do you know what you’ll hear? Campaign commercials for the UK Independence Party (play an American version backward and you’ll hear a whole lot of people explaining why Barack Obama is the single worst president in the history of the United States of America).
Get help, Tracy. Continue reading
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa puts his finger on what PopeWatch views as the single most dispiriting aspect of the papacy of Pope Francis:
Three days later, on June 4, the pope had a long meeting at his residence of Santa Marta with some “Evangelical” leaders of the United States, including the famous televangelist Joel Osteen, California pastor Tim Timmons, and the president of the Evangelical Westmont College, Gayle D. Beebe.
On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and “ambassador” of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).
Copeland and Osteen are proponents of “prosperity theology,” according to which the more faith grows the more wealth grows. They themselves are very wealthy and live an extravagant lifestyle. But Francis spared them the sermon on poverty.
Instead – according to what “ambassador” Stiller reported – the pope assured them: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” Continue reading
Yesterday my family and I made our annual pilgrimage down to Springfield to visit the Lincoln Museum and go to the Lincoln Tomb to say prayers for the repose of the souls of Lincoln and his family. A few observations:
1. Weather: Illinois has been experiencing one of the coolest Julys on record. Yesterday the high was 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 15 degrees below what we often experience at this time of year. Very pleasant weather for walking about downtown Springfield.
2. Officiousness-My family and I renewed our membership in the Lincoln Museum Association for $70.00. That is pricier than if we had to pay for tickets but I like to encourage the Museum with funds, especially as I view the enjoyment of the kids who come there to see the Lincoln exhibits. Right after we did that a guard stopped us as we were entering the main part of the museum and asked to examine my wife’s purse. He saw that she had gum and mints and told us she would have to put the gum and mints in a locker before we could enter since no food and drink could be brought in. We have been coming to the museum since 2006, after it opened in 2005, and this had never happened to us before. It was obvious to me that the young man was taking a reasonable rule and making it absurd. We complied, although the lawyer part of me wanted to make an issue of it. However, I did not want to get the young guard into trouble, which I assume will happen swiftly enough if this is how he is treating all female patrons. I decided to let it be by someone else’s hand and I was not going to mar our day with a confrontation.
3. Decisions-The museum was wonderful as always. The standout for me, as usual, was Lincoln standing behind his desk, looking at the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, as shadows behind him gave him conflicting advice about whether to emancipate the slaves. Great decisions are always easy unless you are the one making them.
So when all the yielding and objections is over, the other Senator said, “I object to the remarks of a professional joker being put into the Congressional Record.” Taking a dig at me, see? They didn’t want any outside fellow contributing. Well, he had me wrong. Compared to them I’m an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is that they don’t hurt anybody. You can say they’re not funny or they’re terrible or they’re good or whatever it is, but they don’t do no harm. But with Congress — every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.
After 32 years at the bar I have reached some conclusions about legislation and the law. First, legislation tends to be a sloppy process. In the hurly-burly of the legislative process, and the hacking and re-writing of proposed legislation, not infrequently the finished product contains parts that do not mesh well with pre-existing laws, portions that make no sense at all or sections that simply are logically inconsistent with other sections. As these laws go into force, most of the time they eventually are challenged by attorneys in law suits and the attorneys wrapped in black, i.e. judges, have to figure out what to do next. Second, a big problem that exists in this area is the doctrine of separation of powers. The courts are not supposed to rewrite legislation passed by a legislature. A whole body of law exists to aid a judge in this thicket called statutory construction. In a few states there are actual statutes governing how a court is to interpret a statute, and some laws actually have sections telling a court, for example, that if it finds that one section of a statute is unconstitutional, then the remainder of the statute will still be in full force and effect. However, most of the time, in both the states and federal judicial systems, the courts rely on prior cases ruling on how courts are to interpret statutes.
One of these rules of construction is that courts will usually not rewrite a statute which is clear in order to produce a new statute that matches legislative intent rather than what is actually written in a statute. Here is a hypothetical example: A state passes legislation that states that all lawyers will appear in court dressed in clown garb. Now in every section of the statute the term “clown garb” is used, except in one section where the term used is “garb”. A court might view this as a simple mistake and say that reading the statute all together, it is clear that attorneys are required to wear clown garb. However, let us say that a preamble to the legislation states that this is being done in order to underline the fact that most attorneys are bozos and therefore should be dressed as Bozo the Clown when they appear in court, but in the body of the statute only the term “clown garb” is used. In that case a court would likely rule that although the legislative intent is clear the court cannot rewrite the legislation and attorneys, as long as they are dressed like any sort of clown and not just as Bozo, may appear in court.
Well, something similar just occurred in regard to that Frankenstein of the legislative process, the Affordable Care Act, i.e. ObamaCare.
When ObamaCare was passed it had 381,517 words in it. It was a poorly crafted piece of legislation with many parts that mesh poorly with other parts, and with existing statutes, and many parts that do not make sense. However, where it has come a cropper is in a section that is clearly written. In Halbig v. Burwell the question was litigated about whether taxpayer subsidies for health insurance were available in the 36 states where the Federal government set up the healthcare exchanges and not the individual State governments. A three judge panel of the Federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals voted three to one that such subsidies were not available because the act as passed by Congress restricted those subsidies to health care insurance purchased through health care exchanges established by the States: Continue reading
An interesting look at the diplomatic style of Pope Francis by Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa:
The war of the worlds fought and won by a giant like John Paul II is now a distant memory. In an age of personalized conflicts, of despots, of armed factions, of fractured and failed states, even diplomacy is becoming personalized, becoming “artisanal,” as Pope Francis himself likes to put it. His Argentina is not Poland, where the dictatorship was opposed by a Church of the people, solid and faithful. Under the heel of the military rulers the Argentine Church was confused and divided. The young Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio acted according to his own judgment, in secret and sovereign solitude.
Today he does everything in public. But still with highly personal gestures that seem alien to the old-school diplomats. Like inviting under the dome of St. Peter’s, to pray, the presidents of Israel and Palestine.
“Here in the Vatican 99 percent said that we would never succeed,” Pope Francis himself candidly revealed afterward. But what asserted itself in the end was precisely that stubborn one percent which he personifies.
Even in the complicated preparations for the summit the pope did everything himself. He left the career diplomats with only the crumbs. He preferred the help of a Franciscan friar, custodian of the Holy Land Terra Santa Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and of an Israeli journalist who works as a correspondent for “La Vanguardia” of Barcelona, Henrique Cymerman.
The Civil War was filled with endless personal tragedies and one of them played out in the aftermath of the death of General James Birdseye McPherson at the Battle of Atlanta. McPherson was engaged to marry Emily Hoffman of Baltimore. Having gotten leave for the first time in three years, he had been on his way to Baltimore to marry her, when Sherman had called him back to take command of the Army of the Tennessee in the drive on Atlanta. Sherman wrote to Miss Hoffman to explain the necessity of this:
Military Division of the Mississippi
June 9, 1864
My Dear Young Lady,
I hardly feel that I should apologize for intrusion, for I can claim an old acquaintance with your Brother and Sister in California, and feel almost that I know you through them, and others of your honored family. It has come to my knowledge that you are affianced to another close friend and associate of mine Maj General McPherson, and I fear that weighing mighty matters of State but lightly in the Realm of Love, you feel that he gives too much of his time to his Country and too little to you.
His rise in his profession has been rapid, steady and well earned. Not a link unbroken. Not a thing omitted. Each step in his progress however has imposed on him fresh duties that as a man and a soldier, and still more as a Patriot, he could not avoid.
I did hope as he returned from Meridian, when his Corps the 17th was entitled to go home on furlough, that he too could steal a month to obey the promptings of his heart, to hasten to Baltimore and I so instructed, but by the changes incident to General Grant’s elevation, McPherson succeeded to the Command of a separate Army and Department, and could not leave.
There is no rest for us in this war till you and all can look about you and feel there is Reason and Safety in the Land. God purifies the atmosphere with tempests and storms which fall alike upon the just and unjust, and in like manner he appeases the jarring elements of political discord by wars and famine. Heretofore as a nation we have escaped his wrath, but now with the vehemence of anhundred years accumulation we are in the storm, and would you have us shrink?
But I will not discuss so plain a point with one who bears the honored name of Hoffman, rather tell you of him whose every action I know fills your waking and sleeping thoughts, him so young but so prominent, whose cause is among the gallant and brave, who fight not for oppression and wrong but that the Government bequeathed to us by your ancestors shall not perish in ignominy and insult: but which shall survive in honor and glory, with a power to protect the weak and shelter the helpless from the terrible disasters of a fratricidal war.
I know McPherson well, as a young man, handsome and noble soldier, activated by motives as pure as those of Washington, and I know that in making my testimony to his high and noble character, I will not offend the Girl he loves.
Be patient and I know that when the happy day comes for him to stand by your side as one Being identical in heart and human existence you will regard him with a high respect and honor that will convert simple love into something sublime and beautiful.
Yours with respect
W. T. Sherman
Her father was a rich Baltimore merchant, strongly pro-Confederate in his sympathies, as was his mother who organized sewing bees to produce garments for Confederate soldiers. A son was fighting in the Army of Northern Virginia. The Hoffman family strongly disapproved of Emily’s engagement with a Union general.
Emily learned of the death of McPherson on July 23. Stricken with unbearable grief she immediately went to her room and spent the next year there in seclusion. Sherman wrote to her a second time. Continue reading