Mad Men

Saturday, March 7, AD 2009

Mad Men is an American Movie Classics (AMC) television drama series is set in the early 1960s at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York City’s Madison Avenue.  The show centers on Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), a high-level advertising executive, and the people in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.  Mad Men has received wide critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity and visual style.  Mad Men is the advertising term for people in the industry that work on Madison Avenue, ie, Madison Avenue Men shortened to Mad Men.

2 Responses to Mad Men

6 Responses to Congratulations American 'Catholics'

  • Do I see little pentagrams on the altar tablecloth? How appropriate.

  • By the way, Casey cast a pro-life vote in the last week. Perhaps he heeded his Bishop’s advice and repented.

    Just in continuity with my already mentioned (I think) desire to be more optimistic, I think we should spend twice as much time praying fervently for these people than we do criticizing them because the latter involves a huge temptation of succumbing to internal negative energy and focusing on the faults, however grave, of others and doesn’t reap as much good for humanity as the other option.

  • Perfect example of why this blog cannot be taken seriously.

  • Michael,

    Please, if you cannot find anything positive to say, none whatsoever, perhaps you should refrain? What does it gain you? It only manifests as negative energy and people fight and argue, throwing ad hominem attacks and calling each other pseudo-Catholics while we all say we’re so in love with Jesus.

    Resist the temptation. If it’s so horrible, then pray.

    I also think that you should potentially reflect on your words — for if they were true, ask yourself, why then do you frequently visit and feel compelled to not only engage, but occasionally — not always — do so in a manner that is negative, which seems to be something that you’re condemning at the moment.

    I would happily discuss criticisms with you constructively.

  • Eric – I don’t know what you mean. My comment was positive.

  • I agree. They are all Republicrats first. For Brownback, being from Kansas is 2nd. Catholic is so far back in distant 3rd place, it doesn’t register unless it’s election year.

    We’ll know Brownback is running for national office again when he shows up at a pro-life rally.

What's This Doing On American Catholic?

Saturday, March 7, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  I have always loved the Internationale, while detesting almost everything about the old Soviet Union (the government, not the people who suffered under it), Marxism in all its meretricious manifestations and all Communist states.  The video above is filled with the type of agit\prop scenes that bored to tears Soviet citizens for generations.   My love for the Internationale extends only to the tune and not to the lyrics which I find banal beyond belief.  Good tune-hideous nightmarish movement, that had succeeded in killing a bit under 150,000,000 human beings as of 2006.

6 Responses to What's This Doing On American Catholic?

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-6-2009

Friday, March 6, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Unlike many bishops in America, Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of  the Archdiocese of Cincinnati prayed the Rosary with other protesters outside an abortion mill on Wednesday, March 4.  Archbishop Schnurr will replace Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk upon his retirement.  Among the protesters came this comment referring to Archbishop Schnurr’s presence:

“It’s tremendous,” Ferraro said of Schnurr’s presence. “He’s the head of the flock. It certainly affirms (the church leadership’s) commitment.”

For the link click on Archbishop Schnurr’s name above or here.

Updated: Archbishop Pilarczk actively leads Rosary prayer vigils in front of abortion mills as well!

2. Doctors who performed and directly assisted in the abortion of twins to a nine year old rape/incest victim have been declared excommunicated by Archbishop Jose Sobrinho of the Archdiocese of Olinda e Recife in Brazil.  The nine year old girl was not excommunicated for many reasons, most likely due to her age.  Where are these bishops in America?  Probably hiding behind the USCCB Faithful Citizenship document thus failing to lead their flocks.

Dr. Ed Peters volunteered his sentiments on this case, “as for the perpetrator of the rape, there isn’t a mine shaft deep enough on this earth for him.”

For the link click on excommunicated above or here.

8 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-6-2009

  • Got another fave on this Lenten Friday- posted on both Drudge and Lucianne. From St. Lou Post Dispatch. Handwringing about Catholic hospitals and how their administrators- hint, their local bishops- may close facilities rather than assist Dear Leader’s plans for abortions more common than Happy Meals, in event of FOCA becoming law. Poor thing. Libs always overreach when in power. Often in ways that bite them in the schnozz. But fun to read as in one corner of MSM trying to counsel Dear Leader in more discreet judgment on the matter. Oh- like approaching Kathy Silbelius- Friend of Tiller The Killer- as HHS Secretary.

  • It should be noted that Archbishop Pilarczyk has prayed at the same abortion mill, and celebrates Mass for the Cincinnati branch of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants on somewhat regular occasions.

  • Fr. Schnippel,

    That is wonderful news!

    Deo gratias!

    I pray and hope that my good bishop joins us in prayer as well, to lead his flock to victory.

  • It is also worth noting that Bishop Jackels of the Wichita diocese also leads the rosary at least once per year at George Tiller’s abortion facility. We also have a regular first Saturday rosary with priests from various parishes assigned to lead. I believe that three or four parishes are assigned per first Saturday–there are always priests present as well as parishioners. Anyone know of any other diocese with this sort of program?

  • You people really need help. You’re seriously praising Sobrinho for his vicious heavy-handed excommunication? You make me feel ashamed to be a Catholic – isn’t it time you left the Church to take your poison elsewhere?! If you think adopting a brown-nosing attitude to everything many idiot bishops do and say is following the mesage of Christ then you are wrong. Problem is that your in america – you smell the incense and see the ritual and it affects your mind and reason.

  • “You make me feel ashamed to be a Catholic – isn’t it time you left the Church to take your poison elsewhere?!”

    Who can argue with that blinding logic? The Archbishop was absolutely correct. The nine year girl had been through hell, and it was a terrible situation. The doctors killing the twins she was carrying changed none of the evil that was done to her, but merely added two more names to the innocents put to death by abortion.

    The vatican backs the excommunication.
    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25155346-954,00.html

    Maybe you think the Pope should leave the Church?

  • You’re seriously praising Sobrinho for his vicious heavy-handed excommunication?

    And why not? These doctors looked at this unspeakable crime, and proceeded to kill two of the three victims.

    If someone is to be killed as a result of this crime, it should be the rapist-father-grandfather — not the innocent children who resulted from his crime.

  • it’s not really even the bishop who acted here, it was the doctors and parents themselves who excommunicated themselves by virtue of their actions. The bishop simply declared what the universal law of the Church is… those who procure abortion are automatically excommunicated.

Expect to be Offended

Friday, March 6, AD 2009

My wife subscribes to the local Catholic homeschooler email list, and although I don’t usually dip into the innumerable messages that pour in (most of them more lifestyle and education focused, so far as I can tell) I occasionally read a thread that catches my eye.

This week there’s been much discussion of an Envoy magazine article about how a mother took her twelve-year-old in for a check up and was shocked and angered when the doctor asked if he could speak to the girl privately for a few minutes, and during the course of that asked the girl if she was sexually active and if she needed a prescription for birth control. The moms on the list exchanged similar stories, and were indignant not only that birth control was offered but that their teenagers were routinely asked if they did drugs, had sex, etc. Why, everyone wanted to know, would any reasonable doctor ask to speak to a teenager alone about these topics? Surely a mother should always know everything there is to know about these topics.

Needless to say, I’m not crazy about the idea of my three daughters being offered birth control and quizzed about their experiences when they become teenagers.

3 Responses to Expect to be Offended

  • I agree – but it still sucks, just like it sucks that you have to be super careful about what sort of TV programming you let your kids watch (I limit my kids’ TV time compared to when I was young, but at least when I was young there wasn’t much that was broadcast that would be problematic for a youth – now just about everything has something objectionable). More to the point though, it sucks because, cultural differences, it’s not the place for a doctor or the government to be meddling in – it is truly a violation of the natural order and the right/duty of parents to raise their children and I find it very offensive. So, regardless of our acknowledging that we’re really aliens in this culture and should expect these differences, I think it’s understandable that this group of mothers make a big deal about it – they’re sincerely viewing these things as an assault on their children – and that it is.

  • I would absolutely refuse to allow a doctor to speak privately with my child at that age. I will not permit the “school nurse” to have anything to do with them either, if their hurt, call me or my wife, if their really hurt call 911… no contraceptive pushing liberals touching my kids.

  • The problem I see with the situation is that the doctor told her to absolutely avoid drugs and alcohol, but then offered to enable her to have sex.

    Abstinence education is readily employed for drug use, smoking, underage drinking, drinking & driving, carrying firearms, etc., but not for sex.

    Hmmm.

Second Thoughts

Friday, March 6, AD 2009

second-thoughts

Hmmm.  David Brooks and Christopher Buckley, both of whom supported Obama last year are now having second thoughts.  The indispensable Iowahawk supplies the laugh track these two geniuses require.

Update I:  Brooks has now had third thoughts.  Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  The value of the support of weather-vanes like Buckley and Brooks is summed up by the comment of Winston Churchill on hearing that Italy had declared war on the Allies:   “Seems only fair.  We had them last time.”

Update II:  Buckley says he would still vote for Obama.  The money quote:  “Maybe I’m obtuse.”

2 Responses to Second Thoughts

  • As for the third thoughts, I’d be highly comforted, too, if I just went by those assuring statements from the administration. However, I don’t think it is overly cynical to doubt both the effectiveness of those statements, if they are made honestly, or even the honesty of those statements. I lean towards doubt on effectiveness; I think that Obama and his ilk mean well, but that’s hardly soothing.

  • The Brooks and Buckley self deceptions and revelations strike me as fulfilling the dictum that, “You have to be terribly smart to be this stupid.”

    Reading Brooks’ latest piece, I noted especially, “The White House folks didn’t say this, but I got the impression they’d be willing to raise taxes on the bottom 95 percent.” It strikes me, actually, that their very reassurances give credence to Ross Douthat’s suggestion that the Obama budget consists of a sort of reverse “starve the beast” approach — in which Obama hopes to get people hooked on a higher baseline of government services before the great fiscal reckoning when we realize we need to either cut spending or raise taxes. The idea being: If he can get people hooked on broad programs now without figuring out how to pay for them, he can then push through the “necessary” tax increases to pay for them later.

Christian Hipsters: A Tool For Self-Diagnosis

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

This has already been making the rounds, but the weekend is almost here, and I thought it would be an opportunity to focus more on the culture part of AC. Per Brett McCracken, here is a partial list of the common traits of Christian hipsters:

Things they don’t like:
Christian hipsters don’t like megachurches, altar calls, and door-to-door evangelism. They don’t really like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart or youth pastors who talk too much about Braveheart. In general, they tend not to like Mel Gibson and have come to really dislike The Passion for being overly bloody and maybe a little sadistic. They don’t like people like Pat Robertson, who on The 700 Club famously said that America should “take Hugo Chavez out”; and they don’t particularly like The 700 Club either, except to make fun of it. They don’t like evangelical leaders who get too involved in politics, such as James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, who once said of terrorists that America should “blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” They don’t like TBN, PAX, or Joel Osteen. They do have a wry fondness for Benny Hinn, however.

4 Responses to Christian Hipsters: A Tool For Self-Diagnosis

  • Well, having looking through the criteria, I’m definitely not a hipster, though I share some of the likes a dislikes. For example, I don’t like megachurches, but I am increasingly in favor of door-to-door evangelism. I think Catholics might consider doing a little more visible activity like that. I think our laity (though it might just be me) are pretty lazy about spreading the Word. I do like Mel Gibson, and I think the bloodier I picture the Passion, the better. Christ suffered the weight of every single sin of mankind. That extent of suffering is absolutely mind-boggling. I love the Pope, the liturgy, and Lent. Incense is not so much a concern (because my wife reacts violently to it), and I feel incredibly awkward with the timeless phrases.

    The worrisome thing is that a hipster likes what is hip. That might be good for the moment, if the perspective if that there is something “hip” about Christianity, but on the other hand, if that perspective ever changes, will these hipsters dump Christianity as yesterday’s fad? Moreover, is their interest in Christianity a matter of status, of being in a particular crowd, rather than in Christianity itself? (Well, these questions aren’t limited to the hipsters. I ask these of myself continually.)

    Anyway, I don’t know much about it, myself. I’ll simply try to reserve any judgment, because the temptation is always to ask, “Are they genuine?” And that does them a great disservice.

  • I am increasingly in favor of door-to-door evangelism. I think Catholics might consider doing a little more visible activity like that. I think our laity (though it might just be me) are pretty lazy about spreading the Word….Moreover, is their interest in Christianity a matter of status, of being in a particular crowd, rather than in Christianity itself?

    I agree, and you’ve highlighted one of the reasons I found the list somewhat puzzling. On the one hand, the term ‘Christian hipster’ seems to denote an interest in aesthetics and artistic integrity. For example, old Cathedrals really are beautiful; Chesterton, Lewis, O’Connor, etc. are phenomenal writers and thinkers; CCM is generally bad because it is a contrived imitation of popular music.

    On the other hand, it seems to denote a sort of guarded and deliberate detachment from committing oneself entirely to Christ. For example, door-to-door evangelization is out (we wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable!); as are altar calls (a public commitment to Christ). And, while there are plenty of reasons to dislike Jerry Falwell, the 700 club etc., the fact that hipsters like the equally political Jim Wallis suggests it is the zeitgeist rather than a dislike of the mixture of faith and politics that may be motivating their behavior. Either way, it’s an interesting list.

  • I interviewed with Brett McCracken on video about his views on Christian Hipsters:
    http://www.conversantlife.com/life-with-god/interview-with-brett-mccracken

  • I generally fit into much of this list’s criteria, but I hardly think “hipster” is the right term. Not being into Christian music and manufactured pop-Christian culture, and preferring some intellectual rigor does not a hipster make. But it’s still a generally good thing, I suppose….

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here we have today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. I discovered today that Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas was the only obstacle that would have prevented the nomination of Pro-Abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius  to be nominated for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  President Barack Obama did not want to nominate Governor Sebelius without the support of Senator Brownback.  President Obama made a personal phone call to Senator Brownback last week to ensure his support, which would have pre-empted any problems with Governor Sebelius nomination in the Senate.  So Senator Brownback had the opportunity to strike a blow for the Pro-Life movement, but instead succumbed to worldly praise of his president.  Senator Brownback you have advanced Satan’s agenda of the increase in the murder of innocent children, shame on you!

Here is the link:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030405.html

2. Late last night His Excellency Most Reverend Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City was quoted by the archdiocesan blog, The Catholic Key Blog, that he is “concerned personally” for Pro-Abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.  He has also said that “she is a very bright and gifted leader“.  Archbishop Naumann has called her nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services “particularly troubling”.  He further goes on explaining the problems associated with her public stance by quoting the great film A Man for All Season, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, but for Wales?”.

Here is the link: http://catholickey.blogspot.com/2009/03/archbishop-naumanns-column-on-sebelius.html

11 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009

  • 1. Brownback’s support of Sibelius- inexplicable. Inexcusable. Keep in mind. Always.

    2. Bravo Archbishop Naumann. Appears to be job requirement as Archbishop of KC- lay down smack on Sibelius. He does it well.

    3. So which bloody lab coat does Tiller the Killer wear at the confirmation party?>

  • Brownback is eyeing the KS governor’s mansion. With Sebellius in DC, his path is now clearer.

    What profiteth a man, indeed.

    Good news on all the other points.

  • Tito,

    Why don’t you use “et” for “and (&)”?

  • Mark,

    I was thinking of that, so I’ll be using “&” for now, then switch to “et” for next week.

    Good catch buddy.

    Tito

  • Actually, my bad, I think, as the font you chose appears to give an “E” blended with a “t”.

  • Mark,

    I just learned something new today, thanks!

    I went on Wikipedia to confirm what you said and I’m impressed.

    Cool.

  • Still trying to wrap my head around Brownback … American Papist speculates here:

    So what’s going on here? Politics.

    Brownback and Sebelius are home-state rivals from Kansas: she the pro-abortion governor, he one of their two pro-life senators. Speculation has been going for months that in 2010 Sebellius and Brownback could well collide for an elected office: either Sebellius challenging Brownback for his senate seat or Brownback trying to become Kansas governor.

    Brownback, therefore, can be personally relieved that it appears Sebelius will be “kicked upstairs” by this HHS nomination (presuming that all goes well). It saves him two worries.

    But I think it was a wrong move.

  • But I think it was a wrong move.

    Morally wrong, cowardly.

  • Tito,

    My friend, please I know it is hard but cut Senator Brownback a bit of slack, he has done more for the pro-life movement than any other senator I can think of.

    Just because Brownback is a Catholic though, doesn’t mean he can’t be pragmatic. Even the great Thomas More knew that sometimes you have to play politcs and pick your battles.

    No matter what Obama is going to pick a rabid pro-choicer for this spot. Even if Brownback and the whole of the Republican party drew a line in the sand and made this into an epic battle Obama would just keep picking pro-choicers until he got what he wanted.

    As to people implying that Brownback just wants Sibelius out of the way so he can run for gov. She already is out of the way, she is in her final term by the laws of the state of KS. If she didn’t get this cabinet job though she planned to run (and probably win) Brownback’s old seat (as he has pledged to not run again for senate.)

    The fact that Brownback probably will end up as Gov. of KS in 2010 is a very good thing for the pro-life movement in that state but should not be misread as mere oportunism. Trust me, Sam Brownback would not sell his soul to be Gov. of KS.

    What he is doing is being smart and looking down the road, in 2010 do you want KS to have a pro-choice dem senator? The KS seat is one of the few the Republicans can probably hold based on current trajectories. Trust me you don’t want Obama to have a super-majority in the senate.

    Brownback has put it all on the line before for truth and justice, the fact that Catholics are turning on him so quick for this bothers me.

  • FD,

    My friend, please I know it is hard but cut Senator Brownback a bit of slack, he has done more for the pro-life movement than any other senator I can think of.

    he just undid it. We have to be non-partisan here and criticize soundly any politician who support the abortion lobby directly or by providing them cover like Brownback has done.

    Trust me, Sam Brownback would not sell his soul to be Gov. of KS.

    he already has. This IS mere political opportunism.

    Thomos More did not endorse evil, he did at times refuse to speak and condemn evil until the right time, that is NOT what Brownback is doing.

    Of course Obama will get his nominations through (at least the ones who aren’t scofflaws), what you’re missing is that when they get support from conservative Republicans it weakens our ability to oppose their evil policies, it also undermines the Church which is attacking this nomination, to have a Catholic endorse her.

Sister Colonel Doctor Dede

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

 sister-dede

Hattip to A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.  Here is a fascinating article which ran in the Washington Times on January 25, 2009, about Deirdre Byrne, who is a Sister of the Little Workers of the Sacred Heart, she has not yet taken her final vows, an Army surgeon with the rank of Colonel, and a Doctor for the poor.  The article is fantastic, although the author incorrectly reported Colonel Dede’s rank as Captain rather than Colonel, and any summary by me would not do it justice.  Read it if you want to be inspired to do good.

One Response to Sister Colonel Doctor Dede

  • Such magnificent work and thanks to Don and Catholic Ma for resurrecting this article. Indicates that 95 per percent of what we think and write and talk about is so much blahblahblah. While those like Sister Colonel Yes Ma’am Dede are busy about their Father’s business. Almost too awesome to assimilate.

Partisanship and Empty Rhetoric

Wednesday, March 4, AD 2009

It seems in recent week that an ever-increasing focus has fallen on Rush Limbaugh and his radio show.  Not only have the usual suspects worked themselves into a frenzy over him, but we’ve even had President Obama command Congressional Republicans to ignore him.  And the White House has yet to let up on speaking against him.  White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has even taken a few stabs at Limbaugh.  Even more amazingly, Republican Chairman Michael Steele has voiced disapproval of Limbaugh’s talks.

52 Responses to Partisanship and Empty Rhetoric

  • Lambasting Limbaugh serves two purposes for Obama: (1) icing the Republicans who have emerged as the more serious party in the debates surrounding the stimulus bill and (2) making a grotesque caricature of him the poster boy for the Fairness Doctrine.

  • And a very stupid move it is for Obama. Mud wrestling with a pundit is never a good move for a President, especially someone who reaches 20,000,000 listeners a week. Other than driving up the ratings for Rush, I can’t think of anything positive that Obama will accomplish by this. It is all downside for him.

  • I am baffled by the Limbaugh discussions raging through the blogosphere. Limbaugh has been around forever and his schtick is wearyingly familiar. I suppose Republicans don’t have much else going for them, and Democrats would rather not talk about the stimulus because it’s not particularly popular. But who cares about Limbaugh? Compelling politicians and fundamentals control political outcomes; radio hosts do not. I don’t intend this to be a criticism of the post (which I basically agree with), just an observation.

  • Obama is not smart here. As a talking head said earlier today, it is counterproductive to get into a urinating contest with a skunk….

  • I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh (not since he had his television show, anyway) but I think it would be a rather entertaining debate were Barack Obama to respond to his challenge to debate. =)

  • Christopher,

    Limbaugh would mop the floor… unless Obama had a teleprompter.

  • Yeah, the head of Harvard Law review against the Oxymoron, that is, the moron addicted to Oxycotin.

  • Mark,

    high or not, Limbaugh embarrasses your boy.

  • ps. generally speaking POTUS is a higher office than head of Harvard Law Review, either way the man stutters whenever he’s put on the spot… not exactly quick on his feet (except on the basketball court, better for the country he focuses on his jump shots, he’s hell on the economy, and the unborn).

  • “the moron addicted to Oxycotin.”

    A moron who has been the most powerful voice on radio for almost two decades? As for oxycotin, I believe that Rush licked that addiction. Of course if oxycotin is going to be brought against Rush then I assume that cocaine may be brought up against Obama.

  • I did not realize that A-C was populated by so many ditto-heads. Interesting; no, actually, quite understandable.

  • “A moron who has been the most powerful voice on radio ….”

    So was Father Coughlin in the 30s. Your point?

  • Father Coughlin, whatever else could be said about him, was no moron. You do not like Rush or his politics Mr. DeFrancisis, but you have given no evidence that he is a moron, and his success for 20 years in a highly competitive environment would argue otherwise. Your ideological soulmates at the moribund Air America could attest to that.

  • 1. To various other folks above me- no moron can maintain an audience of 20 mil over 20 years. Would have been wiped off the map long ago. 2. Love how the sensitive and caring always bring up the Oxycontin problems. Not the usual yes they’re sick people and we should care for them and so forth. Replaced his weight as the usual cheap shot point. See how these Christians care for one another. 3. There has been no one else in mass media history with his ability to get into your head and stay there. Polarizing and proud of it. Not enough media attention to his offer to debate the Apostle live- on his radio program- and handle all of the Apostle’s arrangements for transportation, luxury hotels, Secret Service demands, and post-debate party with Allen Bros. Kobe beef. Polarizing enough for the morning phone calls among Greenberg, Carville, Begala and Stephanopoulos to arrange talking points. Say- at least three of them work for major media organizations. Shouldn’t their bosses tell them- choose between the morning calls and your paychecks from us? Or would that be a concession to Limbaugh? 4. Libs need boogie men like Tiller the Killer needs poor dumb pregnant 18-year-olds. Since Richard Nixon. Rush is now Boogie Man Number One, in the absence of GWB and Company. Knows it. Relishes it. 5. Doesn’t faze him. Remember, Slick Willie once remarked that he was holding Rush accountable for the Oklahoma City bombings. 6. So much for the personal destruction- his CPAC speech last Saturday was carried live- start to finish- on both Fox News and CNN. Bad publicity is better than none at all. 7. I feel about him the way Walter Lippman wrote about another hero, H.L. Mencken- “the man increases your will to live.”

  • Yeah, the head of Harvard Law review against the Oxymoron, that is, the moron addicted to Oxycotin.

    Given that Obama has written about his own pot and cocaine episodes, is that really where one wants to go on the topic?

    I listened to Rush a lot back when he was fairly new and I was in high school — and in my previous job he used to always be on the radio when I was working out in the warehouse with the shipper and the drivers — but I haven’t heard him in years at this point.

    He takes a populist and sometimes hyperbolic approach to conservatism, and I don’t agree with him on all topics, but the guy is generally far smarter (and indeed far more polite to his opponents when they’re actually on the phone with him) than most liberals give him credit for.

    What in the world Obama’s administration thinks it can gain by picking him for a personal fight I don’t understand. Perhaps they actually believed their own rhetoric that the whole country would unify under their banner.

    For conservatives, however, it think Rush’s apparent dominance in the conservative debate right now is more of a mixed blessing. He’s a solid radio personality and a smart guy, but if his current prominance is the result of our lacking any clear policy direction or high profile leader (and I fear it is) that’s a problem.

  • Amazing. So quickly derailed…

    So tell me, guys, what do you think about my premise that partisanship and hard-fought arguments are necessary for the shaping of good legislation?

    And maybe I’m blind, but how exactly do Rush’s drug-abuse problems fit into that?

    Frankly I have no problem with an Obama/Limbaugh debate, if that’s what it takes to actually have a debate over issues. However, I’m leery of Limbaugh. I read through his speech to the CPAC, and maybe I’m blind, but I didn’t catch much of anything in the way of substance.

  • Along with that, I thought dissent was patriotic. Not that Limbaugh is always (nor necessarily even often) correct. But I think Obama is horrifically misguided in his policy choices at this time. Let them debate.

  • It doesn’t matter who the President is or who the pundit is, it wouldn’t be fair or appropriate for a President to have a debate with him. A President, even if he agrees on a particular point, might not be able so say so for prudential, diplomatic reasons. Ditto for valid arguments against the pundit. Also, a politician, regardless of his policy has to be mindful how he presents it if he is going to convince opposition or lead. A true statesman (not saying I think Obama is worthy of the title) with a clear and solid ideology and policy position would only do his cause damage by such an activity.

    The above is a defense for Obama as President and I would apply it to any President. However, I concur with those who believe that as far as having a well thought out and principled idea of policy and ideology – and one that he can proudly proclaim to the masses rather than obfuscate – Limbaugh would prevail.

    Sorry, Ryan. Yes, I agree that partisanship is important for proper governance, though I would qualify it. The partisanship demonstrated by this country’s founders was often fierce, but quite correct and the cream truly came to the top. The motivation on all sides was primarily what was best for going forward. These days, regardless of party affiliation, partisanship often exists for its own sake and for personal/party interest and I’m not so sure that a quality outcome is forged from the process.

  • Rick,

    the President already violated the principle here by personally attacking Rush Limbaugh, as well as Fox News. That’s exactly why he is being challenged.

    Matt

  • These days, regardless of party affiliation, partisanship often exists for its own sake and for personal/party interest and I’m not so sure that a quality outcome is forged from the process.

    I’ll agree quite a bit to that. However, I think there’s a problem in that people anymore perceive all partisanship as being of the cynical type you just mentioned. I think that works to the advantage of one party or another because any legitimate protest/partisanship can be written off (in the eyes of the public) as just more of the same political squabbling that gets nothing done.

    Still, one of the more remarkable conclusions about this that I’ve come to is that we keep trying to find a system in which, regardless of our fallen state, we’ll always end up at the right place with the right answer.

  • I understand that, Matt. I never said I thought Obama should have said anything about Limbaugh, Fox, or any other commentator. And even if put on the spot by a member of the press corp to address something a pundit said, he should decline or give a respectful but dismissive response. The office demands an air of dignity, the president shouldn’t attack pundits anymore than he should debate them. I’m happy to cry foul on Obama for his actions, but I think it wrong to want him to further damage his or the office’s credibility by debating a pundit. It’s all just wrong.

  • Rick,

    Limbaugh is pointing out the President’s error in diminishing his office by making personal attacks on pundits. Regardless, following up his smear campaign with a debate doesn’t seem to me to diminish it any further.

  • Regardless, following up his smear campaign with a debate doesn’t seem to me to diminish it any further.

    Maybe, maybe not. I still think it would. We can certainly disagree on that point and the world will continue to spin. 😉

  • Ryan:

    I knew immediately that this thread would become a debate about the merits of Rush. But as for the actual topic of your post, I completely agree, and have said as much on my blog in a previous post.

  • Sorry guys, the opportunity arose via one commenter to make it about Rush, and I did not resist the temptation.

    But I am surprised what we have learned in the course of derailment about Mr. McClarey’s thoughts in regards to Father Coughlin.

    I’ll leave it at that.

  • But I am surprised what we have learned in the course of derailment about Mr. McClarey’s thoughts in regards to Father Coughlin.

    [McClarey] Father Coughlin, whatever else could be said about him, was no moron.

    I don’t think Mr. McClarey shared us many of his thoughts at all on Fr. Coughlin. But the one thought he did share, that Fr. Coughlin wasn’t a moron [in spite of whatever else could be said about him] is fair and accurate. Like everyone else, Fr. Coughlin had some good traits and some bad traits, some of the bad ones were pretty bad too, but he still wasn’t a moron – a person of subnormal intelligence. He was actually quite intelligent, but even that doesn’t mean he was right on everything, especially his antisemitism streak.

    Mr. DeFrancisis, what was the purpose of the remark about Mr.McClarey and Fr. Coughlin? What point were you trying to make?

  • What point is Donald trying to make, that is the question.

  • It seemed apparent to me that he was taking issue with you labeling Fr. Coughlin a moron, just as he took issue with you labeling Limbaugh a moron. There’s nothing wrong with you disliking Limbaugh or anyone else who you think actively does harm or stands for destructive things, but it’s best to do so by speaking the truth to the best of our ability.

    I probably feel the same way about Obama as you do Limbaugh, but I wouldn’t say Obama is a moron. He’s clearly not. He might be a very ambitious fellow, have what I consider a very flawed worldview or moral foundation, and support what I consider horrendous positions. It would be easier to just say, he’s an evil moron, but that’s not correct or necessarily just and we’d all be best served if I explained why I thought those things if they weren’t readily apparent.

  • Mark,

    It means Donald is fair minded enough to recognize that not everyone he disagrees with is a moron.

    On Ryan’s original point,

    I think it’s a key distinction. I too want to see Obama’s financial plans fail, and fail quickly, so we can move on to something I think will work. To insist that everyone “hope for success” results in a curious sort of double talk.

    To try it on the right side, I would assume that those who opposed the Iraq war would not want to have been told, “If you care at all about the US and the Iraqi people, you should want the Iraq War to succeed — it’s just that your definition of success involves not going to war and keeping the Hussein dictatorship in place. But we all want ‘success’ for the war.”

    That would be a useless way to talk. For those who think that Obama’s financial and social plans would be a disaster for the country, it’s obviously the correct thing for them to want to see him fail.

  • Darwin,

    Perhaps you do not know of the “SOMEONE MUST BE BLAMED” Father Coughlin well enoung, maybe due to Mr. Lugari’s strange defense. Read Adorno on the hate-monger and scapegoater. (Yes, I purposely chose such charged words, as they are most appropraiate in this case).

  • I agree he was certainly an unsavory character — and an interesting example of how fascist/statist and left/populist instincts often met and blended in the 30s in a way that’s often forgotten now — but I don’t think he was a moron. Generally speaking, one does not come such a widely listened to and influential figure by being a moron, unless by “moron” one simply means “someone I don’t like”.

    So for example, I tend to think of John Edwards as being a living example of much of what is wrong (and badly and dangerously wrong) with the American left, but does that necessarily mean that I should refer to him as a moron?

  • A bit about Fr. Coughlin:

    “He was an early supporter of Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms and coined the phrase “Roosevelt or ruin”, which became famous during the early days of the first FDR administration. Another phrase he became known for was “The New Deal is Christ’s Deal.”[4] In January 1934, Coughlin testified before Congress in support of FDR’s policies, saying, “If Congress fails to back up the President in his monetary program, I predict a revolution in this country which will make the French Revolution look silly!” He further stated to the Congressional hearing, “God is directing President Roosevelt.” [5]

    Coughlin’s support for Roosevelt and his New Deal faded later in 1934, when he founded the National Union for Social Justice (NUSJ), a nationalistic worker’s rights organization which grew impatient with what it viewed as the President’s unconstitutional and pseudo-capitalistic monetary policies. His radio programs preached more and more about the negative influence of “money changers” and “permitting a group of private citizens to create money” on the general welfare of the public.[6] He also spoke about the need for monetary reform. Coughlin claimed that the Depression was a “cash famine”. Some modern economic historians, in part, agree with this assessment. [7] Coughlin proposed monetary reforms, including the elimination of the Federal Reserve System, as the solution.

    Among the articles of the NUSJ, were work and income guarantees, nationalizing “necessary” industry, wealth redistribution through taxation of the wealthy, federal protection of worker’s unions, and decreasing property rights in favor of the government controlling the country’s assets for “public good.” [8] Illustrative of his disdain for capitalism is his statement that, “We maintain the principle that there can be no lasting prosperity if free competition exists in industry. Therefore, it is the business of government not only to legislate for a minimum annual wage and maximum working schedule to be observed by industry, but also to curtail individualism that, if necessary, factories shall be licensed and their output shall be limited.” [9]”

    He probably would be writing for Obama today.

  • fascist/statist and left/populist instincts often met and blended

    At least until the last election. This describes Obama’s policies precisely.

  • Strange defense? How so? What was in error?

  • Maybe I should state something here. I think my assertion (Donald’s initially) is reasonable and factually correct. There is nothing to my knowledge that would indicate Fr. Coughlin was a moron. I agree with his views that FDR and the New Deal were bad, but I also disagree with a number of his prescriptions. I think he was good in that he cared about social justice, but bad in that bought into bigotry and antisemitism and harbored some sympathy for fascism as a whole (dislike his sympathy for National Socialism, but appreciate his support of Franco in Spain – different countries under different circumstances with different leaders and intentions).

    Fr. Coughlin was very dedicated to St. Therese, the Little Flower and was responsible for building a beautiful shrine to her here in Detroit. I don’t think it’s wise or just to minimize souls to good or evil, moron or brilliant, as Mr. DeFrancisis seems wont to do. Praise which is good and condemn which is evil, but always deal in truth and justice. For all we know, Fr. Coughlin is in Heaven praying for us – at any rate, he now knows where he was right and wrong, and what he was culpable for.

    To ditto some points others made, Fr. Coughlin should be viewed as a hero to many on the left.

  • I gues Democracy is a messy thing. Anyone can offer their opinion. Rush Limbaugh, Fr. Coughlin, Keith Olbermann etc. etc. Often those opinions are offered to us by political and academic elites. Often those opinions are no more correct than the guy next door.

  • Moron comes from the Greek “moros”, the latter of which means dull. Calling someone moronic can therefore connote dullness of mind to the extent that he/she lacks good or sharp judgment.

    I do not apologize for calling the someone who encouraged and exemplified a racist-tainted laziness of judgment towards Jews in the 30s a moron, his devotion to the Little Flower withstanding.

  • Of course promoting abortion is showing a lack of judgment. Therefore Obama is …

  • Touche. 😉

    But I’ve gone on too far already.

    I encourage all to return to the actual topic that Ryan means to discuss.

  • Good sport Mark.

  • Mark,

    so are you acknowledging that Obama is a moron, or that your moron comment was really just “partisanship and empty rhetoric”?

    Thanks,

    Matt

  • Matt,

    Mark acknowledged the point. Let’s just move on.

  • Mark acknowledged the point. Let’s just move on.

    In the spirit of the thread: Mega-dittos to John Henry.

  • Partisanship, wielded properly, is a necessary thing. Keeping the debates alive and lively is why we even bother having a two-party system.

    I agree, but the ‘wielded properly’ modifier does a lot of the work here. People have very different ideas about what is proper. In the debates over the stimulus, for example, Congressional Republicans claimed to be acting on small government, anti-pork principle. Democrats claimed they could not be taken seriously given their support for the Bush-era deficits, and that they were engaged in irresponsible political point-scoring. Obama suggested much the same thing with his efforts to depict himself as ‘post-partisan’.

    I think most people agree in principal that it is good to have multiple perspectives, etc. But they often find reasons to dismiss other perspectives with tu quoque’s in practice.

  • DC/JH,

    what point did he acknowledge? Ryan’s post is about partisanship and empty rhetoric. I would like to know if Mark’s admitting to engaging that practice, or that he thinks Obama’s a moron too.

    By the way, in the spirit of bipartisanship and intellectual honesty I condemn the actions of Sam Brownback, and believe that he is a MORON for supporting a rabid pro-abortion candidate for DHS. I will resist the temptation to impune his morality, that’s for his bishop to examine.

  • Well, unless it was cross posting the exchange appeared to be:

    Phillip Says:

    Of course promoting abortion is showing a lack of judgment. Therefore Obama is …

    Mark DeFrancisis Says:

    Touche. 😉

  • DarwinCatholic,

    I don’t think Mark D. would admit that Obama is a moron, so I presume he is retracting his accusation that Rush is, and acknowledging that he practices “partisanship and empty rhetoric”, but I could be mistaken. It would be more helpful if he would clarify his “touche”.

  • Matt,

    In the frey of verbal exchange, I broadened the definition of moronic. In doing so, I admitm I was seeking not primarily truth, but scoring immediate argumentative points.

    And I would not have even had the chance to succumb to such maneuvering, had I been more careful with what I chose to call both Limbaugh and Coughlin.

    But inasmuch as Obama clearly lacks good judgment with respect to the abortion issue, I conceded that he is/was moronic in that regard, using my broadened usage of the term.

    Any way, if I would have allowed the discussion to remain about what Ryan’s ultimate questions brought into focus and veer toward a discussion of Rush’s merits per se, none of this would have ever arisen.

    As I did contribute to furthering the conversation by actually changing its purposed content, I apologize to all involved, especially Ryan Harkins, who wrote a nice post.

    I hope that suffices.

    Does that suffice?

  • Mark,

    Does that suffice?

    absolutely.

  • John Henry,

    In the debates over the stimulus, for example, Congressional Republicans claimed to be acting on small government, anti-pork principle. Democrats claimed they could not be taken seriously given their support for the Bush-era deficits, and that they were engaged in irresponsible political point-scoring.

    This brings up one of the gray areas that always makes me stop and think when we talk about partisanship. As I said in my post, I’m against bringing up someone’s drug addiction…unless one can show how it pertains to the argument. Now, I think there’s is some reason, possibly some merit, to bickering in that sense, in that we’re questioning motive behind a particular stance.

    Now this example is made up, so don’t try to find anyone who matches. But suppose there’s someone who has been heavy into drugs, but supports open borders with Mexico. Questioning his border policy based on his past drug abuse might–and I say might, because even in this it might be stretching things a bit–be based on the premise that if the borders remain open, drugs keep flowing through, and thus he can get his drug fix so much easier. But even then, that doesn’t necessarily touch on the merits of his arguments, though it may make any legislation he tries to pass needing close scrutiny.

    To an extent, the seeming mud-flinging may serve some purpose in trying to judge whether or not we should trust a particular politician. For instance, while I hope Congressional Republicans block some, if not most, of this fiscal irresponsibility, I don’t trust them to be fiscally responsible themselves. And the point the Democrats made about Republicans not being true conservatives for having passed all of Bush’s spending is a valid point. But is valid so long as we’re trying to judge whether we can trust Congressional Republicans. It loses its edge when it becomes a debate between who we should trust more to be fiscally responsible.

    Thoughts?

    Mark,

    I hope that suffices.

    Does that suffice?

    Apology accepted, not that it is necessary. Besides, your very first comment still makes me chortle, and my wife got quite a kick out of it.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-4-2009

Wednesday, March 4, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Due to popular acclamation I’m returning back to using Latin in my column title (mostly).  I think I’ve settled on a format so thanks for bearing with me.  I’ve wanted to do this type of column for a while and I believe I found the right balance, now if I can only be consistent in my posting.  So here we have today’s Top Seven Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Catholic News Agency has reported that a coalition of American Catholics calling themselves Catholic Advocate led by Deal W. Hudson have created a website opposing President Barack Obama’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, pro-abortion Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.  The website is called www.catholicsagainstsebelius.org.  Governor Kathleen Sebelius is a dissident Catholic notorious for her direct and explicit support of abortionist George Tiller “the Killer”, whose known for executing late term abortions of innocent children.  Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has met and counseled Governor Kathleen Sebelius on several occasions on her pro-abortion stance and has asked her to refrain from receiving Holy Communion.  However Governor Kathleen Sebelius has refused to obey and has openly opposed the good archbishop on these points.  Here is the link: http://www.catholicsagainstsebelius.org/

2. Kevin Knight (of New Advent) somehow found a little blurb buried in a long article that Newt Gingrich will soon convert to the Catholic faith as reported by the New York Times (7th paragraph on page 7 of the article ‘Newt. Again.’).

Updated: For a quick and eas(ier) read of the NY Times article go to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf’s blog here: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/03/fmr-speaker-gingrich-to-become-catholic/

3. When I click on my browser to go to InsideCatholic.com their web page takes quite a long time to download relative to any other Catholic website or blog that I surf.  I don’t know if it’s all the links or dense code, but my best guess is that their Content Management System that they ar using, Joomla, may be the cause of the slowdown.  The second longest page in the Catholic web to download is Damian Thompson’s Holy Smoke, but you place the blame of the downloading delay to his employer London’s Daily Telegraph (which is the best english language newspaper in the world in my humble opinion).

2 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-4-2009

  • So good news all around in spite of the lingering chest cold that I expected to lick Tuesday but caused me 1.5 hours of sleep and more time off Wednesday. catholicsagainstsibelius is good stuff. Best to remind our pro-abort friends and family- so you support someone who has a good friend generally known as Tiller The Killer? Her Jeremiah Wright, so to speak? Meanwhile, delighted to see news that Newt is swimming the Tiber. Always thought he was at least three to five years ahead of his time and that politics was too confining for his talents. Perhaps more like him will do the backstroke as well. Meanwhile let’s make life really miserable for La Sibelius. Might as well find some fun in these difficult times. Kaff, kaff.

  • I think Newt is sincere in his conversion.

    I also believe that he is probably the best man out there to represent the Republican party come 2012. He carries the baggage of leaving his 2nd wife while she was on her deathbed, but he has sincerely apologized for that. He certainly seems to have matured a lot since his days as Speaker of the House.

    I have a feeling that he is prepping for a run. But it’s only a feeling.

Obamanomics, or How Low Will the Dow Go!

Wednesday, March 4, AD 2009

bear-market

As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit notes here, since the passage of the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, erroneously referred to as the Stimulus Bill,  the Dow has lost over 1400 points.  Since the election of President Obama, the Dow has lost over 2700 points as detailed here.  However, in the midst of the greatest Bear market in a generation, our President has financial advice for us:  Buy stocks!

19 Responses to Obamanomics, or How Low Will the Dow Go!

  • Very well authored and understood!

    I favor President Obama’s Stimulus plan, as you can see by my recent posting:

    http://ourcountryspresident.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/the-voice-of-wall-street-speaks/

    And sure hope it works for all Americans, everywhere!

  • Out of curiosity, I wonder how many of our readers do plan on buying stocks in the near future?

    I’ve been thinking about it. (Of course, I’ve also been thinking about stockpiling gold, so my investment strategies are a bit diversified).

  • Much pain is being felt by people in their late 50’s who could have done well had they opted out of the 401 stocks into the safety of principal feature of such plans….about two years ago. Now they have lost half of their life’s retirement savings. Had leveraged shorting etf’s been available to 401 people, they would still be hurting but would be better off than they are. IRA people (retirement accounts in IRA plans…not left over Irish radicals) can use leveraged short ETF’s. The 401 options need a lot of tweaking after this in the bylaws. They fix inexperienced people into the long direction which is chaos when a down market comes. Do a hundred year chart at big charts using .spx for the broader market and you will see that people whose stocks went down during the depression, took 25 years to come up to their peak again. Hopefully this time being different will be much quicker than that. But the carelessly bandied about canard of the past decades: “the market always comes back”…. executed some older folk who stayed long…..trusting in that….. as the market went down.

  • Hmm, not that I’m fan of the Prez and his stimulus plan which is obscenely laden with pork and counterproductive spending, but I think his promoted investment in the stock market is a good thing – or could/should be. The market is sensitive to confidence and fear. You want to tank the market for sure, have the nations executive and financial leaders say that the market is in horrible shape and recommend everyone bail out of it. On the flip side, try to instill some confidence and (genuine) hope, that we will work our way out of this, but part of that is to behave in a manner that looks to the future.

    I’m not saying that I think we’ve hit the bottom – I have no idea. And I’m not saying that if everyone started investing more heavily in the market it still won’t tank and bust the nation further. I just know that if the only way to help the market to recover is to build some confidence. I’ll give the Prez credit on that front because the M.O. of his party is usually to peddle fear which always makes things worse.

  • Tom,

    what exactly do you like about the stimulus bill that is mostly void of the key stimulating measures that are universally agreed to? tax cuts, and infrastructure projects?

    Community organizing is not infrastructure, steelworkers will not retool to become social workers and pre-school teachers.

  • I did go ahead and crank up my 401k contributions a few percent back in January, on the theory that the stock market is low enough that it’s a “bargain” to buy more now. I also started buying my company’s stock again for the first time in a couple years — it’s bottomed out at roughly the cost of lunch per share and I think the company’s essentially sound so I figure it’ll go up eventually.

    However, being 30, I have a lot of years for the buying-at-the-low behavior to pay off. I don’t know if I’d be doing it if I expected to need that money within the next five years.

  • I’m with Rick as far as not knowing how far the market will drop, but I also am of the same mind as Black Adder is on Gold. I haven’t made any decisions at all, but I’m eyeballing high risk mutuals the closer the stock market approaches 4-5000.

  • Sold almost all I had in August so avoided big losses (took some losses.) Have all my contributions on hold as of this month. Will watch how the market will go in next couple and decide on restarting contributions. Think 5000 is not unreasonable. Will wait until sure bottom is hit before considering reinvesting. No need to buy now if stocks are still overpriced.

    My big concern is long-term. The stimulus plan may actually improve the economy somewhat in the short-term (next year.) My concern is for the long-term which the plan may impair. Thus my doubt in investing for the long-term.

  • I had been doing some volatility trading with indexes, but (fortunately) got out last week. Not sure if I’ll go back in anytime soon. I think stepping up the 401k contributions is probably a good idea long term, though.

  • “I think stepping up the 401k contributions is probably a good idea long term, though.”

    The problem is probably. It is probably good if you’re thirty. If your in your fifties I’m not so sure.

  • John Henry,

    It is in my humble opinion that what you’re doing is exactly what I do to during times like these. I increase my contributions when the market slides because when the market does rebound you’ll have many more shares in your 401k that will drastically increase your bottom line.

  • There is a lesson here for all the 30 year olds and 40 year olds vis a vis their 401’s…when they age into retirement. As one gets into their 50’s, one must be way cautious and seeking more safety.
    The other more adventurous lesson is to put something in IRA’s alongside a 401 which would have helped you even now….because IRA’s permit short ETF’s meaning ETF’s (bought exactly like stocks) that do the opposite of the market. The market goes down;they go up.

    When a dark period comes with systemic warnings on the whole economic system being given weekly on the nightly business news, the IRA pensioner can load up on vehicles like QID which does 2 times the inverse of the Nasdaq. As the market tanks, QID goes up and depending on the principal, it can prevent one’s whole total from doing anything negative or positive if one watches it as one can with IRA’s on the internet at places like Fidelity. Since it does 2 times the inverse, it takes less money in the IRA to counterbalance the 401 regular stocks but it needs watching because the short vehicles lose their advertised leverage when things are very bad so that a 2X’s can become something less than that in efficacy.

    It is not perfectly easy…otherwise no hedge funds would be down since they employ this technique…but many of them are down half what the market is down and hedge funds have the added burden in dealing with so much stock, that they are not as nimble as an IRA person in this area. There are short only hedge funds that are up 90% in this time period.

    Laws for 401’s should make something like the Prudent Bear Fund available: it is a Mutual Fund that is always short….goes up when the market goes down.

  • I guess this all presupposes what the Obama plan will do to the economy long-term. By this I mean for the next ten to twenty years. Will the plan make the American economy (and the stock market) grow much more slowly? If so, will we not see the historical 8% returns on stock investments (as I understand them to have been.) Or will they be significantly less? If significantly less, what would be a better investment especially if one is still not a youngster and a 4% return on an investment may not yield much in ten or fifteen years.

  • As one gets into their 50’s, one must be way cautious and seeking more safety.

    It’s a very good point. I turn 30 later this year, and so I can accept a higher level of risk. It may be a very bad idea to step up 401k contributions into the market if you plan to retire in the next five years. Even for younger people, the Japanese stock market is a pretty stark reminder that markets don’t always continue upward.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/Economics/Stock-Market.aspx?Symbol=JPY

  • Bill,

    I completely agree. I probably should have put a caveat to my earlier posting concerning investing in high risk mutuals, but while you’re still in your 30s and 40s.

  • In the 80’s Japan was the economic miracle. John Henry’s link above shows how things can change. The general rule for the American Stock Market has been to hang in there. In the long-term things will turn out just fine.

    However, is Obama’s economics making the future of the American Stock Market look more like the current Japanese one?

  • Obama’s anti-capitalist rhetoric has driven the market further down. The economic slowdown may have started with President Bush, but Obama is pushing this economic slowdown into a disasterous depression.

  • The question for long-term investment then is will this (possible) depression transition into sluggish, European style growth? If so, will the conventional wisdom about long-term investing hold? Or if one is already in their 40’s it might not be advantageous to invest but if one is in their 20’s and young 30’s perhaps so?

  • Another thought on “how low can it go.” They’re talking 4000! Do I hear 3?

    http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/dow-could-hit-4000/1973951D-B6AB-41F1-B91D-06032C304AFB

Amy Welborn's "Via Media"

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2009

Just a note that Amy Welborn has moved to a new blog:

I should probably give a prize to those who have been reading my blogs since 2001 – you certainly deserve it.

Yes, that’s “blogs.” In Between Naps, Open Book, Charlotte Was Both and now, in selling out to both The Man and the requirement, resolutely ignored before, to name a spiritually-oriented blog with a Latin phrase, I give you Via Media.

Here’s the story.

Pay her a visit.

News & Notes for A.D. 3-3-2009

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

OK, I junked the whole Latin title since I figured it wasn’t coming across that well as to what I wanted to do with this bit.  So now I’m calling this particular column ‘News & Notes’ (for now).  Here is today’s Top Seven picks in the Catholic world:

1. A great new blog by Pat McNamara about Catholic history titled appropriately enough, McNamara’s Blog.  I’ve been thinking of starting something like this for the past three years, but never got around to it.  I’m happy to say that McNamara’s Blog has great short stories on famous and little known figures in Catholicism as well as stories on non-Catholics and how they interacted and viewed our beautiful Catholic faith.  Here is the link to McNamara’s Blog: http://irishcatholichumanist.blogspot.com/

9 Responses to News & Notes for A.D. 3-3-2009

8 Responses to President What’s His Name

  • Good stuff. You can add Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as the two other presidents that have been impeached (albeit that Nixon will be looked upon more favorable than Clinton in the years to come).

    I couldn’t find this movie on Netflix. This must be a real obscure film to boot.

  • What I do think is that with a political master like Lincoln at the helm Reconstruction would not have been quite the disaster it turned out to be. The Radical Republicans could not have run rough shod over Lincoln, a hero in the eyes of rank and file Republicans, as they did Johnson.

    Exactly. Johnson’s pigheadedness was a stark contrast to Lincoln’s masterful ability to deal with various egos. Who knows how Reconstruction would have fared under Lincoln (I’ve always thought of doing a “history” book on Lincoln’s second term based on the supposition that he survived), but I tend to think it would not have been such a disaster.

    And thanks for the extended biography. I usually only think of Johnson the president, but his greater body of work shows that he was a truly remarkable man.

    And Tito: Nixon was never impeached. He resigned before Congress was able to do so, though undoubtedly he would have been impeached had he continued in office.

  • Paul,

    That’s right about Nixon, it completely slipped my mind.

    So it’s just Clinton and Johnson.

  • It is indeed interesting that Andrew Johnston sort of brings us full circle as to the leadership of the SOuth and North and their views toward Catholics. Johnston’s counterpart ( VP Stephens also was very firendly to Catholics and fought tthe Know Nothings). In fact as to Stephens in a great bit of irony in Louisiana his Catholic Priest Nephew is buried right next to fellow Jesuit Priest Father Sherman who was son of the famous Gerneral Sherman.

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California Legislature Calls for Prop 8 to be Thrown Out

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2009

According to an email update just out from Bill May of Catholics For The Common Good (not to be confused with “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good”), the California State Senate passed on Monday resolution SR7, a non-binding resolution calling on the State Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8, the amendment to the state constitution which passed back in November, defining marriage in California as between a man and a woman.

Anti-Prop 8 Resolution Passed the California Senate Today

Referring to the sovereign power of the voters as “mob rule”, San Francisco Senator Mark Leno asked the State Senate to adopt SR7, a resolution calling on the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. The measure, that has no force of law, passed 18-14 this afternoon (Monday, March 2).

A similar measure, HR 5, is on the Assembly floor and could come to a vote at any time. Please call your Assembly member and ask him or her to vote “NO”. Details can be found here: http://www.ccgaction.org/family/protectionofmarriage/CA/resaction09-02-17#action.

Perhaps our lawyers can enlighten me, but it seems to me that should the State Supreme Court follow the legislature’s request and overturn the amendment, then the democratic process would have fundamentally broken down.

19 Responses to California Legislature Calls for Prop 8 to be Thrown Out

  • “Perhaps our lawyers can enlighten me, but it seems to me that should the State Supreme Court follow the legislature’s request and overturn the amendment, then the democratic process would have fundamentally broken down.”

    In a word yes. The idea that an amendment to a constitution can be declared unconstitutional by a court removes the last fig leaf that we are governed by constitutions rather than by the courts that construe what the constitutions mean. If the California Supreme Court follows this advice from the California legislature, this will have ramifications far beyond the issue of gay marriage and far beyond California. It will be a naked and obvious attempt by the Court to substitute its policy preference for a part of the California Constitution. It will be then up to the People to determine whether they rule themselves, or whether they surrender that right to lawyers in black robes.

  • It’s certainly an usurpation of the democratic process. However, many legal scholars believe that courts should perform a counter-majoritarian function, and step in to protect discrete and insular minorities likely to be disadvantaged by the democratic process.

    From a cynical point of view, I suppose it’s not surprising that legal scholars and judges to talk themselves into believing their wisdom is necessary to protect the country from the unwashed masses. But sometimes this intervention is something I would support (e.g. Brown). Other times, not so much. It’s troubling that the court would step in so quickly to overturn a state referendum. Why have referendums at all?

  • Since when are gays a minority group?

    If they can be a minority group then bald white hispanics should be recognized as a minority group as well (me).

  • If a law is unconstitutional, then the Court should overturn it, no matter how it was passed. Democratic majorities possess no claim to greater sanctity just by being democratic majorities.

    However, Prop 8 is an amendment to the Constitution of California. By their very nature amendments cannot be unconstitutional. Moreover, even if this were a mere statute, I don’t think this would be unconstitutional.

  • “By their very nature amendments cannot be unconstitutional.”

    Precisely. I can envisage a court needing to resolve disputes between portions of a constitution that appear to conflict, but obviously any conflict between a portion of a constitution and an amendment to the constitution would have to be resolved in favor of the later amendment.

  • California is not a pure democracy, nor is the United States as a whole. Rather both institutions are representational constitutional democracies, meaning the constitution can trump the will of the people should the will of the people wish to ignore the basic rights afforded to all the citizens. In urging the State Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8, the California State Senate — who were elected by the people — are not breaking down the California democratic process but rather upholding it, ensuring that the constitution is maintained. The constitution is, in fact, what maintains peace and order and prevents mob rule.

    But I feel I must respond to your assertion that since the California Constitution nowhere else speaks to the definition of marriage, the only argument the court could use would be some sort of universal outside knowledge that marriage is open to all of any combination of sexes. Unlike the Catholic Church which seeks to be informed by faith — a universal outside source of knowledge — The California Supreme Court has no such mandate. It uses the constitution itself. The means by which it does is published and available in public archives and on the internet. To sum it up, the court made the following reasons for the original decision to uphold the right for same sex couples to marry:

    1- In the case of Perez, the Court recognized that it was not constitutionally permissible to continue to treat racial or ethnic minorities as inferior.

    2- In the case of Sail’er Inn, the Court recognized that it was not constitutionally acceptable to continue to treat women as less capable than and unequal to men.

    3- The court now similarly recognizes that an individual’s homosexual orientation is not a constitutionally legitimate basis for withholding or restricting the individual’s legal rights.

    4- The right of marriage is not directly afforded within the constitution. Rather it is derived from article 1 section 1: the right to privacy, and article 1 section 7: the right to liberty. That is, a man and woman, because of their right to liberty and privacy, can freely enter into the marriage contract.

    5- As the court acknowledges that it is illegal to withhold either the right to privacy or the right to liberty to homosexual people, it would therefore also be illegal to withhold any rights that are derived from these – one being the right to marry. Therefore a man and man or woman and woman could also enter into the marriage contract.

    Currently, because of Proposition 8, the constitution contradicts itself. It allows homosexuals the right to privacy and liberty and then withholds a right derived from these: marriage. Both cannot be upheld by the same document. Trying to determine how to reconcile this is not an exercise in appealing for some secret and esoteric outside knowledge, but basic logic. The options are that homosexuals have the right to liberty and privacy, or they do not.

    Remember, this discussion does not affect the sacramental nature of Catholic Marriage. This is about entering into a contract. The two have been conflated in the media to the detriment of the church and the state. Furthermore, this does not lead to the great fear that anyone can now marry a child or a tree or a goat. The latter two do not have the protection under the constitution and the former cannot freely enter into contracts without the authorization of an adult. This isn’t a slippery slope. This is human rights.

  • Refusal to grant a public recognition of a marriage does not constitute a breach of the right to privacy.

  • Again, I’ll defer to our lawyers on here, but the claim that civil marriage derives from the rights to privacy and liberty and cannot possibly include any definition as to the sex of the parties involved seems like a massive reach to me — though I don’t question that the California Supreme Court did indeed make that reach in throwing out the previous state proposition (which wasn’t a constitutional ammendment as Prop 8 is).

    Again, you’re assuming your conclusion. You’re assuming that marriage is a sex-agnostic arrangment, and then claiming that because marriage does not necessarily have to be between people of the opposite sex that therefore it would be a violation of the constitution to restrict people from entering into it “because they’re gay”.

    As it stands, people who are gay are not restricted from entering into marriage contracts — so long as they do so with someone of the opposite sex. They just can’t do so with someone of the same sex. (Just as people who are natually polygamous are not restricted from entering into marriage contracts, so long as they only do so with one person.)

    Why does this violate democratic and constitutional principles? Because it means that you can no longer define what the constitution means by writing or ammending the constitution. I don’t understand how we can claim to still have a constitutional republic if we don’t take the text of the constitution as written and ammended to have meaning. By that logic, judges could go throwing out any ammendment simply by asserting that it violated their interpretation of some other part of the constitution.

    If we’re to have a constitutional republic, then it would seem to me that judges must accept the text of the constitution as written to be correct and come up with an interpretive framework that fits that. Otherwise, we’re simply being ruled by judges — not by a constitution which we write.

  • I can envisage a court needing to resolve disputes between portions of a constitution that appear to conflict, but obviously any conflict between a portion of a constitution and an amendment to the constitution would have to be resolved in favor of the later amendment.

    I would agree as a theoretical matter, but according to the California AG’s response to the amicus briefs, initiative amendments are subject to judicial review for compliance with the Constitution, and several have been struck down previously. I am not really familiar with the CA state law, but it appears that the CA Supreme Court has previously struck down initiative amendments.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/agresponse.pdf

  • What’s interesting to me here is the question: Is the claim in regards to same sex marriage falsifiable. In other words, given the interpretation which judges have come up with is there any way in which the constitution could be written or ammended that _would_ be able to define marriage as being only between two people of the opposite sex — or is this a claim in which once the Judge’s have decided that liberty and privacy demand gay marriage, there’s absolutely no way the constitution could be written that would not be thrown out.

    If the latter, then it’s clearly whatever’s in the judges’ heads that rules the state, not the constitution. One might as well go without the document entirely, since it doesn’t matter what it says.

  • California is not a pure democracy, nor is the United States as a whole. Rather both institutions are representational constitutional democracies, meaning the constitution can trump the will of the people should the will of the people wish to ignore the basic rights afforded to all the citizens.

    Nice try, but you’re missing some important details. The constitutions offer means of amendment. Difficult means, for sure, but nevertheless. The reason for amending the constitution is because particular portions of the constitutions have been deemed insufficient in dealing with particular matters. Once the amendment has been added to the constitution, it is part of the constitution. Thus, in the circumstance of amendments, the will of the people can trump the constitution.

    Let me repeat: it is not unconstitutional to change the constitution, under the guidelines laid out for changing the constitution. Now, you can try to make an argument that, if there is a portion of the constitution with says “A” and you make an amendment that specifically states “not A”, then there is reason for concern. However, this is not the case in the slightest. This “derived” human right you speak of is nowhere enumerated: the derivation of it is questionable at best, a strain of reason to be charitable, and utter doggerel in reality. We’ll get to that in a moment.

    In urging the State Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8, the California State Senate — who were elected by the people — are not breaking down the California democratic process but rather upholding it, ensuring that the constitution is maintained. The constitution is, in fact, what maintains peace and order and prevents mob rule.

    In two breaths you contradict yourself. You assert on one hand that the constitution is what maintains peace and order and prevents unruly mobs from issuing whatever order comes around, and on the other hand you state that the constitution can be thrown down by mob rule. If you don’t see this, let me clarify.

    First, the amendment was added to the California constitution through constitutional processes. There’s nothing about it that explicitly conflicts with the constitution (only the court’s interpretations thereof, which is the whole point), and thus the amendment is now part of the constitution.

    Second, the protest against the amendment, as opposed to being quelled by the new law of the land (or more precisely, the newly clarified law of the land), is being railed at.

    Third, the Senate seeking the courts to overturn this amendment is not using the constitutional means to change the constitution. Rather, they are seeking to bypass the constitutional means and are resorting to the “we’re loud enough and we say so” means of overruling the amendment. If that isn’t being ruled by mob mentality, I don’t know what is.

    Now let’s look at the Supreme Court’s decisions:

    1- In the case of Perez, the Court recognized that it was not constitutionally permissible to continue to treat racial or ethnic minorities as inferior.

    While I have no problems with this statement, per se, I would point out that homosexuality is neither a racial trait nor an ethnic background.

    2- In the case of Sail’er Inn, the Court recognized that it was not constitutionally acceptable to continue to treat women as less capable than and unequal to men.

    I could also quibble with the “less capable” part, but just because I think you should state “no one should be deemed less capable simply by their sex (save in those instances where sex matters, such as insemination and pregnancy), but other attributes such as physical strength, health, stamina, etc.” And the reason for stating this is because it seems this statement is geared towards a “women are no less capable than men in marrying women” type of statement, which is immediately dispensed by the “save in those instances where sex matters” clause I think is necessary.

    3- The court now similarly recognizes that an individual’s homosexual orientation is not a constitutionally legitimate basis for withholding or restricting the individual’s legal rights.

    No argument here. However, one should pay close attention to the words “orientation” and “legal rights”. Orientation does not immediately imply action, and legal rights are not so universal that no conditions can be put on them. For example, you have a legal right to own a gun provided you are not a felon or domestic abuser, have filled out the paper work, and have jumped through all the other hoops. Furthermore, just because people want something does mean there is a legal right to it. A person recognized as having a sexual attraction to little children–but does not act on it–doesn’t have a legal right to work in a day care, no matter how much he wants to, simply because it isn’t prudent (and in fact could be quite dangerous, given the temptation).

    4- The right of marriage is not directly afforded within the constitution. Rather it is derived from article 1 section 1: the right to privacy, and article 1 section 7: the right to liberty. That is, a man and woman, because of their right to liberty and privacy, can freely enter into the marriage contract.

    This argument is by far too simplistic and ignores a lot of problems. For example, the right to privacy is not absolute, and the right to liberty hardly means the ability to engage in anything. If a behavior is illegal, for example, it doesn’t matter if it happens in private. It is still illegal. Furthermore, for a behavior that is wrong, but not necessarily illegal, it is not necessarily protected, either, since it does not require the state to put a rubber stamp of approval on it.

    As a note, also realize that the amendment directly targets this argument. The amendment, in defining marriage as between a man and woman, states that allowing “marriage” between two people of the same sex is beyond the scope of liberty.

    5- As the court acknowledges that it is illegal to withhold either the right to privacy or the right to liberty to homosexual people, it would therefore also be illegal to withhold any rights that are derived from these – one being the right to marry. Therefore a man and man or woman and woman could also enter into the marriage contract.

    Accepting the flawed arguments, this conclusion seems inevitable. But the “right” to marriage is not simply a derivation of the rights to privacy and liberty. First of all, the marriage of a man to a woman is a necessary aspect for the protection and continuation of society, being geared around family (both the procreation thereof and the solidarity formed when two families intersect in the marriage vows). Based on this, talking about the “right” to marriage is misleading, because there is a weak obligation (weak meaning that not everyone is obliged to do so, but most should and will) attached to it.

    Second, because of the importance of marriage to the function of society, certain prohibitions have be put up around it, and the above arguments (as stated in your reply) do not address these concerns. In fact, you’ll see why this is a slippery slope argument in a moment. But we see such prohibitions as immediate family members (siblings, parents, children, cousins) cannot marry. A person who is currently married cannot marry again without divorcing first (or waiting for the spouse to die). A person under a particular age (depending on place) cannot marry. There are reasons these limitations have been put into place, reasons beyond rights to privacy and liberty, and reasons that have everything to do with the “right” and necessity of marriage to begin with.

    Now, if marriage is only about “privacy” and “liberty”, what argument is there against incestuous marriages? Plural marriages? Even marriage with little children (assuming the child’s parent co-signs the marriage contract)? Heck, if more than two people can sign a marriage license, why not just one? Who says that “marriage” should just be between humans? After all, this is a matter of privacy and liberty, right?

    So, no, the argument does not hold. The conclusion the courts came to was fallacious because their reasoning was first too simple and second already presupposed the conclusion. Thus this “right” for homosexuals to marry has not even honestly been established as a right to begin with. And thus the amendment is not unconstitutional, and the seeking to overturn the amendment through the courts is in fact a gross violation of the constitution.

  • Here is the brief of the intervenors, the people who support upholding Proposition 8, in response to the amicus briefs and the response brief of the California Attorney General.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/hollingsworthresponse.pdf

    For those with a lot of time on their hands, here are all of the amicus briefs.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8.htm#amicus

  • Last note. Sometimes writing a long reply means others beat me to the punch. If amendments are up for judicial review even after having been voted into law, then that weakens my argument a little. However, the general protest remains in that amendments are meant to refine how the constitution is interpreted, and thus if the amendment contradicts some interpretations, but not what the constitution says otherwise, then throwing the amendment out because of the interpretation remains a mob rule mentality as opposed to a constitutional mentality.

  • I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even play one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express recently, but the whole idea that an amendment to a constitution could possibly be “unconstitutional” is completely incoherent. In order to be unconstitutional, a statute must require or forbid something that is either permitted or forbidden by some constitutional document. But this definition cannot possibly apply to the contents of that constitutional document itself. If it did, then the United States Constitution already contains unconstitutional amendments (18 & 21).

    In other words, if Proposition 8 contradicts anything else in the California constitution, all that means is that the other stuff is repealed by virtue of the inclusion of Proposition 8.

    Someone might make the argument that, in the case of the US Constitution, the 21st amendment specifically refers to the 18th amendment and actually uses the expression “is hereby repealed” and, hence, is a different sort of case. On this view, the text of Proposition 8 stands in a different sort of relationship to the rest of the California constitution than the relationship between the 21st Amendment and the rest of the US Constitution. But this merely raises the question of what we are to do when a constitutional document contains clauses that are logically contradictory–who is the arbiter of such cases?

    The courts are the arbiters of how to interpret constitutional laws and how to apply them in ways that are most consistent with the intentions of lawmakers. Hence, since Proposition 8 is more recent than anything else in the document, it must take precedence in two senses: first, because it reflects more accurately the present intentions of the people of California, and second, because it was passed by referendum and not the legislature, it more accurately reflects the intentions of the people as a whole, who are the statutory “lawmakers” in this particular case.

    In any event, it has never been in the power of the courts to either include or exclude any constitutional texts, their powers are restricted to matters of interpretation only.

  • My argument isn’t on how the court should rule on the constitutionality of proposition 8. I do not and would not deny that I have strong opinions on the matter, nor that I would prefer one ruling over another. My comments, however, were meant to respond to DarwinCatholic’s original post. He worries that when the senate petitions the court to overturn proposition 8’s amendment the stability of California’s democracy is itself at risk. It is not. It is the court that protects our democracy. It is what the founding fathers of the nation used to put the legislative and executive branches of the government in check. And though it may sound counter-intuitive, it is what keeps the majority of the population in check. It keeps any majority from oppressing any minority. It is the reason why women can own property, why black children can attend any school, why you can’t fire a lesbian from her job simply because she is a lesbian.

    On DarwinCatholic’s second post he wrote: “If we’re to have a constitutional republic, then it would seem to me that judges must accept the text of the constitution as written to be correct and come up with an interpretive framework that fits that.”

    I agree with exactly that. The constitution, as written, now has an internal contradiction. Either the amendment negates the original interpretation of the constitution, or the original interpretation of the constitution prohibits an amendment voted in by the people. I have no idea how the court would rule. Perhaps it is true that a later amendment has priority over an earlier interpretation. Perhaps, as John Henry points out, the very fact that previous amendments have been over-turned is because the constitution explicitly gives this power to the judges. But the mere fact that the court can interpret the law–that it is mandated to do so–does not imply that the court is legislating, harming the rights of the people, hurting democracy, or that they have “some sort of universal outside knowledge.”

    It is this power that distinguishes California from Syria and Myanmar.

  • Alex,

    See, the problem as I see it is when you say “The constitution, as written, now has an internal contradiction.” and then continue “Either the amendment negates the original interpretation of the constitution, or the original interpretation of the constitution prohibits an amendment voted in by the people.”

    The constitution (including the Prop 8 ammendment to it) as written has no contradition. The contradiction is between the interpretation previously offered by the court (what they interpreted the existing text to mean) and what the ammendment says. The ammendment contradicts something which the court previously held to have been implicit in the broad rights outlined in the constitution.

    Now, why should the claim that in this case the court’s previous interpretation should have precedence?

    Well, imagine that around 1890 a heavily racist series of administrations had been voted into power, and a succession of presidents appointed racist supreme court justices to the US Supreme Court, who then proceeded to rule in a landmark case that the 13th, 14th, and 15th ammendments to the US Constitution were in contradiction to the Dred Scott v. Sandford verdict, and therefore invalid. The justices throw those three ammendments out.

    Not only would that be a huge setback for civil rights, but it would be something which it was fundamentally impossible for people to resolve at some later date. If elements of the text of the constitution can be thrown out based on how judges interpret other parts of the constitution, then we cease to have a constitutional republic.

    You’re right that our nation’s founders envisioned the courts of checking the power of the executive and legislative branches, and that for a long time this has in part been done by considering the constitutionality of laws. But the whole system falls apart if the court can reject parts of the constitution (including duly passed ammendments) based on their interpretation of other parts of the constitution. The whole point of ammending the constitution is to change what it means. And the whole point of a constitution more generally is that it means what it says and that the only way of changing that is to ammend the constitution.

    We’ve been in tension over that for the last 40-50 years as the national and state supreme courts have increasingly read implicit rights into the existing text and used those implicit rights to overturn legislation. But up until this innovation it was always at least theoretically possible to resolve such disputes by ammending the text of the constitution. However, when we reach the point where courts can reject an ammendment on that basis that it does not conform to the court’s prior opinions (unless as John Henry notes CA has its own process peculiar to the state in which a new ammendment must first pass court scrutiny) it stikes me that we’ve ceased to have a constitutional republic and lapsed into a judicial/oligarchic republic.

    In that sense, there will be a lot less distinction between California and Syria or Myanmar if the state supreme court throws out this ammendment than there was before.

  • It is the court that protects our democracy.

    Alex, here you are missing the point. It isn’t the courts that protect democracy. They have the duty of trying to judge cases and verify constitutionality of things, so they do play a role, but they’re far from the only thing. What you are implying is that the judiciary is the highest order, which it is not. Nationally speaking, it is one of three branches, each of which checks the others. There are checks on the judiciary to keep it from going out of control, which it can do and arguably (though I don’t see there’s much argument against) have done so in the past.

    No, what really protects democracies is a moral and educated populace.

    The constitution, as written, now has an internal contradiction.

    See, you’re still not getting the point of the problem. As written, the constitution has no internal contradictions. The only “contradiction” is between what is now written into the constitution, and what the judiciary attempted to read into it. The fact that the public has the opportunity to add amendments into the constitution that nullify bad interpretations is one of the checks that exists on the judiciary. If the judiciary can then arbitrarily toss those amendments out of the window (as opposed to actually pointing to what everyone can agree is a contradiction), then it has unfettered control over what is, or is not, constitutional. That essentially makes the de facto power of the land, which in turn breaks the whole notion of a constitutional republic.

    It keeps any majority from oppressing any minority.

    The fact that this is at all being construed as oppression is ridiculous. As I mentioned before, this supposed “right” for homosexuals to marry is fabricated out of infantile reasoning. Why can women own property? Because a person’s sex is not an intrinsic part of owning property. Why can black children attend any school? Because skin color is not intrinsic to intelligence, diligence, location, social interaction, etc. How then is marriage different? Precisely because the sex of the parties involved is an intrinsic part of marriage. To make an amendment that makes this explicit no more denies liberty to someone than would, say, making an amendment saying that only woman (or at least people with the functioning organs) can become pregnant.

  • What is so deeply disappointing is that the courts, which are supposed to be so enlightened, don’t understand why these fabricated “rights” are derived from “infantile reasoning,” as Ryan so nicely put it. The courts haven’t been able to reason their way out of a paper bag for years. They exalt their own position and power, and the entire concept of judicial review, above and beyond basic reasoning. Ryan should file an amicus brief; he pretty well demolishes this faulty reasoning in a few paragraphs.

    It boggles the mind that anyone could even think that there is a natural right being violated by the amendment. How can these judges not see that the state’s interest in marriage is not in making individual privacy and liberty sovereign, but in fostering the good of society through the transmission of culture via the family unit? Same-sex marriage is just another chisel blow to an already weakened institution. I would argue that in itself it might not be totally disastrous for society to allow it, but why do we keep drip-dripping poison into our own drink? Divorce, contraception, abortion, and the shifting mores brought on by the sexual revolution… Yes, let’s just add gay marriage to the roster, shall we? Since none of those other things could’ve possibly been detrimental to marriage and family… How can we allow the drastic social experiment we’re undertaking without even a hint of trepidation at where it might lead us? It seems the argument goes, “Well, we’ve already screwed it up, so what’s one more nail in the coffin?”

    Marriage as romantic relationship and private contract above all else? God help us all.

  • Heck, if more than two people can sign a marriage license, why not just one?

    Exactly!!! Who says marriage has to be between *two* people? I’m single and I’m being oppressed! I want the full rights, benefits, and privileges of marriage, too!

    Ridiculous.

3 Responses to Dehumanizing Work and Obstructionary Unions

  • It might happen, provided one or all of them still exists in two years. As with so many of these snowball effects, the underlying philosophy behind them was It Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time. Not knowing that GM would ultimately have three times as many pensioners as active employees. And as for today’s criticism of the Porkapalooza Bill- the union movement forked over $400 million to the Obama campaign. It expected results favorable to it in return. It is never an easy thing for an invdividual, an organization, a movement, to be asked the challenge to reinvent self. But events of the past few months- personally and in the wider society- have wacked ol’ Ger in the head that it will be mandatory. For all of us. Woulda happened with or without Porkapalooza. The Church is immune as She was founded by Christ. And she is still dealing with the vast reorganization known as Vatican II. So happens to the best of us. Just control the nature of the change, not the inevitability of it.

  • Taylorism is alive and well–and still causing problems.

    However, manufacturing enterprises which have adopted “Lean” techniques are able to avoid Taylorism, because “Lean” is Toyota-system based. It’s actually a work-reduction system–or better put, an efficacy, rather than efficiency, based work environment.

    Where Taylor reigns, workmen’s compensation claims are significant expenses…

  • The claim of “5000 pages of work rules” stinks to high heaven; kindred to the big lie of UAW wages of $72 per hour. Production supervisors don’t carry around 5000 page manual; they are simply required to understand the seniority system and treat human beings fairly and with decency. Say what you want about unions, but as a union worker I never had to work in fear or brown nose. I came into the shop with my dignity and at end of the day I walked out with my dignity.