TR and Spelling Reform

Saturday, February 6, AD 2016


I suppose that few people would disagree that the spelling of words in the English language is a mess.  Trying to impose rules, with myriads of exceptions, on a language that grew with no consensus as to spelling, has bedeviled generations of school children and foreigners attempting to learn the language alike.

Whenever a problem existed, Teddy Roosevelt optimistically assumed that a solution could be found.  Thus in 1906 as President he became a champion of what he called spelling reform, backing the efforts of the organization called The Simplified Spelling Board, founded early in 1906, which was funded by Andrew Carnegie.

On August 27, 1906 Roosevelt wrote to the head of the US Printing Office:

Oyster Bay, August 27, 1906

To Charles Arthur Stillings

My dear Mr. Stillings:

I enclose herewith copies of certain circulars of the Simplified Spelling Board, which can be obtained free from the Board at No. 1 Madison Avenue, New York City. Please hereafter direct that in all Government publications of the executive departments the three hundred words enumerated in Circular No. 5 shall be spelled as therein set forth. If anyone asks the reason for the action, refer him to Circulars 3, 4 and 6 as issued by the Spelling Board. Most of the critcism of the proposed step is evidently made in entire ignorance of what the step is, no less than in entire ignorance of the very moderate and common-sense views as to the purposes to be cahieved, which views as so excellently set forth in the circulars to which I have referred. There is not the slightest intention to do anything revolutionary or initiate any far-reaching policy. The purpose simply is for the Government, instead of lagging behind popular sentiment, to advance abreast of it and at the same time abreast of the views of the ablest and most practical educators of our time as well as the most profound scholars—men of the stamp of Professor Lounsbury. If the slighest changes in the spelling of the three hundred words proposed wholly or partially meet popular approval, then the changes will become permanent without any reference to what officials or individual private citizens may feel; if they do not ultimately meet with popular approval they will be dropt, and that is all there is about it. They represent nothing in the world but a very slight extension of the unconscious movement which has made agricultural implement makers write “plow” instead of “plough”; which has made most Americans write “honor” without the somewhat absurd, superfluous “u”; and which is even now making people write “program” without the “me”—just as all people who speak English now write “bat,” “set,” “dim,” “sum,” and “fish” instead of the Elizabethan “batte,” “sette,” “dimme,” “summe,” and “fysshe”; which makes us write “public,” “almanac,” “era,” “fantasy,” and “wagon,” instead of the “publick,” “almanack,” “aera,” “phantasy,” and “waggon” of our great-grandfathers. It is not an attack of the language of Shakespeare and Milton, because it is in some instances a going back to the forms they used, and in others merely the extension of changes which, as regards other words, have taken place since their time. It is not an attempt to do anything far-reaching or sudden or violent; or indeed anything very great at all. It is merely an attempt to cast what sleight weight can properly be cast on the side of the popular forces which are endeavoring to make our spelling a little less foolish and fantastic.

Sincerely yours,

Theodore Roosevelt

Go here for a list of words whose spelling he wished to simplify.

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5 Responses to TR and Spelling Reform

  • Well, TR didn’t get his wish on ever word he wanted changed, but I am grateful that the useless “u” hs been dropped from “labor” and “honor”, as they are spelled in American English as they are spelled in Latin.

    English is the most bizarre of Western languages. Granted, I am speaking as an amateur here, but….a language that began as an offshoot of German (as did Swedish and Dutch), then having countless thousands of Latin words grafted on due to the Norman invasion of England in 1066 (how else does “machine” have a long “e” sound for the “i” and a silent “e” at the end?) along with efforts by Noah Webster and Andrew Carnegie to simplify spelling of English words (these attempts annoy Mother England, but who cares)….how can it be anything else but crazy? Then throw in slang, which differs from region to region just in the USA….

    English has no official governing body that dictates what is and what is not proper English. There exists a Royal Spanish Academy, which acts as a standard setter for proper “castellano” (the Spanish spoken in Latin America, the US and Castille in Spain, a nation with four main languages). French and Portugese also have such governing bodies. Not English, though. Because there is no “governing authoriity”, English has a built in flexibility to change and to easily absorb words from other langages that do not fit at all with any rule of English pronunciation.

    Teenagers, government, the legal profession and the business world mangle English. Teens invent their own slang, which goes “passe” quickly. Government and law…..ask a lawyer. I have to write Notes to the Financial Statements for our Annual Statement and I get totally off the wall garbage that would cause my Catholic school teachers to bring in a yardstick and smack the daylights out of the people who insist I write what they tell me.
    The business world turns “transition” into a verb…..”We will tansition responsibilities….” “speak to it”….blah, blah, blah…and there is no end in sight.

  • If people were taught proper Orton Gillingham phonics and the applicable spelling rules (and had some familiarity with the history of the language), there would not be a proplem or fuss about how words are spelled.

  • Interesting that some of these took root, like dropping the English “u,” but others did not. Shame he wanted to get rid of Latin traces such as the “oe” from ecumenism and “ae’ from ether, etc.

    But he was a statist, so the whole top-down thing I suppose appealed to his progressivist instinct. He’d probably have loved the whole metric push that happened when I was a kid in the 70s, that fortunately sputtered out.

  • There has been a notable tendency over the last half-century for the spelling of words to influence the pronunciation, rather than vice versa; a sort of spelling reform, if you will.

    For example, when I was growing up, “falcon” was pronounced “fawcon” (with a long “a” as in “saw”) and “golf” was pronounced “gawf” (again, long a) Now, the “l” is usually sounded. Again, “conduit” was pronounced “kundit” (which I find rather more euphonious, as are most of the older pronunciations)

    Even on the BBC, one hears” parl-i-a-ment”; 50 years ago, it was “parlement. “ (parliamentum was a law Latin form of French parelement)

    “Mahem” is another, although English lawyers still use the old pronunciation, “maim.” Scots lawyers use the more sonorous term, “demembration.”

    The English phonetic pronunciation of Scottish surnames and place names is a great source of innocent amusement to the inhabitants of the northern part of the island: “Milngavie” (pronounced “Mul-guy”), “Dalziel” (pronounced “Day-ell”), “Menzies” (“Ming-es”),“Strathaven” (“Straven”) – Even “Edinburgh” (“Edin-borough,” as in “the burgh council”)

  • Of course, there is another problem: the disparity between American and British spelling. If we fix the first we should fix the other as well.
    And how about those Dvorak keyboards?

Santa Roosevelt

Thursday, December 24, AD 2015

Santa Roosevelt

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.

Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States, on hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt

One of his worst enemies once said about Theodore Roosevelt that a man would have to hate him a lot not to like him a little.  It was hard not to admire Roosevelt for his courage, his enthusiasm and his obvious good will.  That last aspect of his character is illustrated by the fact that for many years he would go to Cove School at Oyster Bay dressed as Santa Claus, talk to the kids, and give them presents he had purchased out of his own pocket.  When he did it in 1898, after achieving renown leading his Rough Riders in Cuba, the little boys at the school mobbed their Santa hero! 

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4 Responses to Santa Roosevelt

  • Theodore Roosevelt was a real man and a real President. We have not had that for 7 years now.

  • In Cuba, the brigaded regular army officers advised TR to leave his horse and lead his dismounted Rough Riders on foot up San Juan Hill. He rode.
    He overcame asthma and a sickly childhood who, through will-power, made of himself a heroic figure of a man.
    As my Jewish friends would say, “He was a mensch.”

    I said the following when my father passed and it applies to TR. From Hamlet, “He was a man. Take him for all and all. I shall not look upon his like again.

    “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

  • Can you imagine our current president doing something so big-hearted?
    Maybe once, just for the PR, but I cannot imagine Obama keeping up a
    charitable, generous tradition like this for decades, as TR did.
    The unlikeliness of Obama doing anything so genuine and warm only
    underscores the smallness, the shabbiness of the little man we have for
    president these days.

  • The current White House occupant is doing what he does each December end…playing golf in Hawaii. He is as much an elitist as there has ever been in the White House.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, December 6, AD 2015



When home ties are loosened; when men and women cease to regard a worthy family life, with all its duties fully performed, and all its responsibilities lived up to, as the life best worth living; then evil days for the commonwealth are at hand. There are regions in our land, and classes of our population, where the birth rate has sunk below the death rate. Surely it should need no demonstration to show that wilful sterility is, from the standpoint of the nation, from the standpoint of the human race, the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement; a sin which is the more dreadful exactly in proportion as the men and women guilty thereof are in other respects, in character, and bodily and mental powers, those whom for the sake of the state it would be well to see the fathers and mothers of many healthy children, well brought up in homes made happy by their presence. No man, no woman, can shirk the primary duties of life, whether for love of ease and pleasure, or for any other cause, and retain his or her self-respect.

Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth State of the Union Address

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 27, AD 2015
Wherever the Mohammedans have had complete sway, wherever the Christians have been unable to resist them by the sword, Christianity has ultimately disappeared. From the hammer of Charles Martel to the sword of Jan Sobieski, Christianity owed its safety in Europe to the fact that it was able to show that it could and would fight as well as the Mohammedan aggressor.
Theodore Roosevelt, Fear God and Take Your Own Part, (1916)
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6 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

  • Truth. It’s happening to the USA. Obama promised fundamental change: translation irreparable damage to our nation and our way of life. Now, only 62% of working age Americans are in the civilian labor force, 51% of Americans earn less than $30,000 a year, annual median disposable income is $8,000 below a decade ago, 50% (up from 25% in 1999) of 25 year-olds live in their parents’ basements, . . .
    How many of Obama’s developmental years was the zero educated/raised to be an Indonesian Muslim? Much later in life, Obama fell in with America-hating Michelle Robinson and Jeremy Wright (a nonviolent, post-modern Nat Turner – an insult against Nat Turner) and deceitfully “converted” to a black identity (hate whitey) cult.

  • The political elites of western Europe and Canada are importing a Muslim underclass
    that is hostile to their society and will never assimilate. Those elites are doing this
    against the expressed wishes of their native populations. There is no way this will
    end well for those democracies, or for western culture in general. I cannot imagine
    what is prompting those societies to commit cultural suicide.

  • Clinton wrote, “I cannot imagine what is prompting those societies to commit cultural suicide.”

    Germany has a Total Fertility Rate of 1.43 (The replacement rate is, of course, 2.1). This decline has been going on for 50 years and the median age of the population is 46.1. A quarter of women aged 45-55 are childless. On present trends (and there are simply not enough women of child-bearing age to reverse them) Germany will lose a fifth of its population by the mid 2060s.

    Germans know that that their nation, with its language and its culture, is doomed to extinction. Why should they care who occupies their former lands? Disgusted by their past and with no future, why should they care about their doomed culture?

    The prospects for Italy and Greece are much the same.

  • “A people without religion will in the end find that it has nothing to live for”. T.S.Elliot

    I recall Theodore Roosevelt saying, “It’s not having been in the dark house that matters but having come out”. How many in the West are sitting in a dark house waiting to die? It is time to come out.

  • How many in the West don’t realize they’re in a dark house waiting to die because they’re not sitting? Instead, they’re living for the moment, living like there’s no tomorrow, dancing in the dark, like no one is watching, partying like it’s 1999?

  • Ernst, a good question for which I haven’t a ready answer. So I’ll just throw out another TR quotation, while I think about it. “The man who loves other countries as much as his own stands on a level with the man who loves other women as much as he loves his own wife.”
    It puts one in mind of the current President of our no longer exceptional country.

Hyphenated Americans

Thursday, September 3, AD 2015

NYT headline, Teddy Roosevelt 1915-8x6

On Columbus Day 1915, Theodore Roosevelt addressed the Knights of Columbus in New York City.  I will be running the entire speech in a post on October 12, but I think this section of the speech is very relevant today:

“There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.

This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.

But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American.”

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18 Responses to Hyphenated Americans

  • I await FDR’s take on Americans of Japanese heritage…..

  • Another good post.

  • I suspect we could very well rename this site’s historic musings–“Things you were never taught in History Class.”

  • The date – 1915 – is not without significance.

  • Here’s one of the most fundamental aspects of the Obama reign: all the class and racial hatred he’s inflicted on us. It’s divide and conquer. Fundamental change translates into irreparable harm.

  • As for me and my family, the tallest peak in America will always be known as Mt. McKinley. God bless our 25th President. A Republican. A Man that earned the respect to have a mountain of significance named after him.

    I know a sink hole in Louisiana befitting the name of our next lame duck.

  • As for me and my family, the tallest peak in America will always be known as Mt. McKinley.

    The notion that he has the authority to re-christen a geographic feature with an executive order just boggles. And you and I both know that neither his successor nor the useless Republican caucuses in Congress will ever reverse this insult.

  • Clinton pulled a similar stunt in making the clean burning coal in Utah off-limits to mining.

    I despise the GOP establishment but I really detest the Democrats.

  • A combat veteran of the Civil War, rising from Private to Major, McKinley was the epitome of a gentleman. After he was shot by his assassin he told the crowd that swarmed the man not to hurt him. His last words:

    “Good-bye — good-bye, all. We are all going. It’s God’s way. His will be done, not ours. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee. We are all going, we are all going, we are all going. Oh, dear.”

  • Donald thank you. I’m not embellishing, the hairs stood on end as I read his very last words. Incredible man.

    Art. I don’t get it either. President sink hole!

  • There is a public school in the city of Pittsburgh that was named for Obumbler after he was first elected. I want to name the landfill in Imperial, Pennsylvania after Obumbler. Imagine – the Barack Hussein Obama Garbage Dump and Presidential Library. The underground coal fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania can be named for his wife.

  • Art Deco wrote, “neither his successor nor the useless Republican caucuses in Congress will ever reverse this insult.”
    Indeed. Had not a servile Roman Senate decided to rename his birth-month of Quintilis July in honour of Julius Caesar, we should have had a simple system of alternate 30 and 31 day months. Of course, it would never do for Augustus to have a shorter month than his great-uncle’s. Then October had to be shortened to avoid three 31 day months in succession and November and December were changed to correspond.
    Thus, an emperor’s vanity has left us with an illogical calendar and a piece of doggerel – “Thirty days hath September…”

  • Penguins Fan wrote, “I want to name the landfill in Imperial, Pennsylvania after Obumble…”
    Prince William Augustus, Dukeof Cumberland (affectionately known as “Butcher Cumberland”) has the rare distinction of having two plants named after him: in England, the flower “Sweet William” (Dianthus barbatus) ; in Scotland, the weed “Stinkin’ Billy.” (Senecio jacobaea)

  • We have a few dual citizens in leadership positions in America today. Rohm Emanuel has dual passports. So does Michael Chertoff. I believe Teddy was a free mason. Why was he always picking on the Irish, German and Italian immigrants? See the pattern here?

  • “See the pattern here?”

    No, especially since Roosevelt studied in Germany as a young man and spoke and read the language fluently. He was ever a friend of Catholic immigrants as his good relations with the Catholic hierarchy would indicate, and as typified by his giving the speech before an appreciative group of the Knights of Columbus in New York City. Roosevelt was ever a foe to anti-Catholicism in the US, and you are barking up a very wrong tree if you are implying otherwise.

  • ” Imagine – the Barack Hussein Obama Garbage Dump and Presidential Library.” Brent Bosel said in reference to the bust of Margaret Sanger: “bury it in a pit and apologize to the dirt. ”
    “the Barack Hussein Obama Garbage Dump and Presidential Library” and apologize to the garbage.

  • Government surveys and forms are offensive when comes to race or ethnicity. Though I am a Caucasian, in the future I will check Other and write in American. For my children I shall suggest to them they check Other and fill in English-German-Austrian-Swiss-Polish-Bermudian-Scottish-Alsatian- Italian-American. If the ancestors were from city states or principalities hypenate those. Sick of the divisiveness of it all. But it’s going to be a moot point because soon the federal government will have the DNA of us all. They already have it from those of us who served in the military from the ’90s on.

  • CAM wrote, “Government surveys and forms are offensive when comes to race or ethnicity.“
    Indeed they are, which is why, in France they are prohibited as a violation [atteinte] of the unity and indivisibility of the Republic (cf Décret du 25 septembre 1792)
    Similarly, questions about religion.

Is Abortion Moral?

Sunday, August 23, AD 2015



You’re going from dealing with people to dealing with what most people here at the Center consider a real hurdle, to do sterile room, because you have to deal with the actual abortion tissue. And for some people that’s really hard. They can be abstractly in favor of abortion rights, but they sure don’t want to see what an eighteen-week abortion looks like.

  • Anonymous clinic worker Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic Wendy Simonds (Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick) 1996 p 69.


Dennis Prager zooms in on the essential question regarding abortion:  Is it moral?  Legal protection of the unborn is our goal, but winning the moral debate is all important, and the pro-life cause has been slowly winning that debate.

Today I will be driving by Galesburg, on my way to take my daughter back to college.  In the Lincoln-Douglas debate held at Galesburg on October 7, 1858, Lincoln got to the heart of the difference between him and Stephen Douglas regarding slavery:

But there still is a difference, I think, between Judge Douglas and the Republicans in this. I suppose that the real difference between Judge Douglas and his friends, and the Republicans on the contrary, is, that the Judge is not in favor of making any difference between slavery and liberty-that he is in favor of eradicating, of pressing out of view, the questions of preference in this country for free or slave institutions; and consequently every sentiment he utters discards the idea that there is any wrong in slavery. Every thing that emanates from him or his coadjutors in their course of policy, carefully excludes the thought that there is any thing wrong in slavery. All their arguments, if you will consider them, will be seen to exclude the thought that there is any thing whatever wrong in slavery. If you will take the Judge’s speeches, and select the short and pointed sentences expressed by him-as his declaration that he “don’t care whether slavery is voted up or down”- you will see at once that this is perfectly logical, if you do not admit that slavery is wrong. If you do admit that it is wrong, Judge Douglas cannot logically say he don’t care whether a wrong is voted up or voted down. Judge Douglas declares that if any community want slavery they have a right to have it. He can say that logically, if he says that there is no wrong in slavery; but if you admit that there is a wrong in it, he cannot logically say that any body has a right to do wrong. He insists that, upon the score of equality, the owners of slaves and owners of property-of horses and every other sort of property-should be alike and hold them alike in a new Territory. That is perfectly logical, if the two species of property are alike and are equally founded in right. But if you admit that one of them is wrong, you cannot institute any equality between right and wrong. And from this difference of sentiment-the belief on the part of one that the institution is wrong, and a policy springing from that belief which looks to the arrest of the enlargement of that wrong; and this other sentiment, that it is no wrong, and a policy sprung from that sentiment which will tolerate no idea of preventing that wrong from growing larger, and looks to there never being an end of it through all the existence of things,-arises the real difference between Judge Douglas and his friends on the one hand, and the Republicans on the other. Now, I confess myself as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery as a moral, social and political evil, having due regard for its actual existence amongst us and the difficulties of getting rid of it in any satisfactory way, and to all the Constitutional obligations which have been thrown about it; but, nevertheless, desire a policy that looks to the prevention of it as a wrong, and looks hopefully to the time when as a wrong it may come to an end.

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4 Responses to Is Abortion Moral?

  • Pingback: MONDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit
  • Now let us praise great men. And thank you much for two in one post. TR is held up by some on the Left as a progressive. I suspect perhaps thinking they rub our nose in the observation. But TR was no kind of progressive that inhabits the body politic today. He was a hero to my lately departed best friend, and I cannot but admire the man. Bring back the Bully Pulpit and fill it with such a person.

  • If a nation’s people cannot recognize sodomy as inherently evil, then how can it recognize infanticide as inherently evil?

  • By the good guys not giving into despair and by continuing to fight. Sheesh, if the history of the pro-life movement has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that. As Saint Francis said, let gloom and despair be among the Devil and his disciples.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree

Thursday, December 4, AD 2014

Santa Roosevelt 2

In the actual world a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid downgrade.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1917 interview Ladies Home Journal-Among his ten reasons to go to church every Sunday




Colonel Roosevelt, he hated being called Teddy and preferred being called Colonel, loved Christmas.  Whenever he was at home he would always appear at the local school in his home town as Santa, to dispense gifts he bought to the local kids, a fact highlighted in his local paper after he died:

He was a village institution as the master of ceremonies over the Christmas tree in Christ Episcopal Church, and in the role of Santa Claus at the Cove Neck School, near Sagamore Hill, where all of his children learned the A B C’s. Last Christmas was the first time that Colonel Roosevelt had failed to take charge of these functions since he left the White House, with the exception of the Christmas of 1913, when he was on his way to South America. His son, Captain Archie, took his place last Christmas as the Santa Claus of the Cove Neck School.

Roosevelt was a religious man with a deep love of the Bible and a strong faith in Christ.  It therefore comes as a surprise to learn that Roosevelt initially did not want a Christmas tree in the White House after he became President.

Matt Archbold at National Catholic Register brings us this story about President Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree:

President Theodore Roosevelt, an avowed environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House during his presidency. The president was against real Christmas trees because he feared that Christmas trees would lead to deforestation. Mind you, at the time Christmas trees were very controversial with environmentalists. President William McKinley even reportedly received a letter in 1899 saying Christmas trees were “arboreal infanticide” and “un-American.”

Roosevelt’s action was intended to inspire Americans to just say no to Christmas trees. Clearly his bully pulpit didn’t have the effect he wanted, even on his own children.

In 1902, Roosevelt’s two youngest sons, Archie and Quentin, went outside and cut down a smallish tree right there on the White House grounds, snuck back into the White House, and hid it in a closet. The two boys decorated the tree in secret and even enlisted the help of an electrician on staff at the White House to help decorate it with lights. When Christmas morning came, Archie gathered his family outside the closet, turned on the switch, and opened the door to reveal the tree decorated with gifts for the entire family.

Roosevelt acknowledged the event in a letter in which he wrote:

Yesterday Archie got among his presents a small rifle from me and a pair of riding boots from his mother. He won’t be able to use the rifle until next summer, but he has gone off very happy in the riding boots for a ride on the calico pony Algonquin, the one you rode the other day. Yesterday morning at a quarter of seven all the children were up and dressed and began to hammer at the door of their mother’s and my room, in which their six stockings, all bulging out with queer angles and rotundities, were hanging from the fireplace. So their mother and I got up, shut the window, lit the fire (taking down the stockings of course), put on our wrappers and prepared to admit the children. But first there was a surprise for me, also for their good mother, for Archie had a little birthday tree of his own which he had rigged up with the help of one of the carpenters in a big closet; and we all had to look at the tree and each of us got a present off of it. There was also one present each for Jack the dog, Tom Quartz the kitten, and Algonquin the pony, whom Archie would no more think of neglecting that I would neglect his brothers and sisters. Then all the children came into our bed and there they opened their stockings.

According to the website White House Christmas Cards Teddy was “amused by his boys’ ingenuity” but took him to see his friend and environmental advisor, Gifford Pinchot, to explain to horrors of chopping down Christmas trees. But a funny thing happened.

To his surprise, Pinchot went into a lengthy explanation regarding how sometimes, cutting down some larger trees was in the best interests of forests, as it allowed a larger number of smaller young trees to receive the sunlight they need to flourish. While there is no public record of any other Christmas tree being displayed in the White House during Roosevelt’s presidency, a number of environmental acts and reforestation laws had been passed by the end of his term, and the public controversy over the use of live trees for decorative and traditional use had subsided for the time being.

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2 Responses to Theodore Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree

  • The most popular Xmas trees are Spruce, because of their scent (although they do shed their needles faster than pine)
    Pinchot is right; they are fast-growing and plantations need constant thinning. In Scotland, they are often grown as wind-breaks along the headlands of fields.

  • “In the actual world a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs,(Here, read ‘conscience’) is a community on the rapid downgrade.”

Roosevelt’s Rebel Uncles

Thursday, November 20, AD 2014


During the Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt’s home was literally a house divided.  His father was whole heartedly for the Union, while his mother backed the Confederacy with the same passion.  Our of respect for his wife, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr, put aside his strong desire to enlist in the Union army and served in a civilian non-combatant capacity.  Many of his mother’s relations fought for the Confederacy, and Roosevelt, Jr, was especially fond of two of his uncles who had served in the Confederate Navy:

“My mother’s two brothers, James Dunwoody Bulloch and Irvine Bulloch, came to visit us shortly after the close of the war. Both came under assumed names, as they were among the Confederates who were at that time exempted from the amnesty. “Uncle Jimmy” Bulloch was a dear old retired sea-captain, utterly unable to “get on” in the worldly sense of that phrase, as valiant and simple and upright a soul as ever lived, a veritable Colonel Newcome. He was a commander in the Confederate navy, and was the builder of the famous Confederate war vessel Alabama. My uncle Irvine Bulloch was a midshipman on the Alabama, and fired the last gun discharged from her batteries in the fight with the Kearsarge. Both of these uncles lived in Liverpool after the war. “

My uncle Jimmy Bulloch was forgiving and just in reference to the Union forces, and could discuss all phases of the Civil War with entire fairness and generosity. But in English politics he promptly became a Tory of the most ultra-conservative school. Lincoln and Grant he could admire, but he would not listen to anything in favor of Mr. Gladstone. The only occasions on which I ever shook his faith in me were when I would venture meekly to suggest that some of the manifestly preposterous falsehoods about Mr. Gladstone could not be true. My uncle was one of the best men I have ever known, and when I have sometimes been tempted to wonder how good people can believe of me the unjust and impossible things they do believe, I have consoled myself by thinking of Uncle Jimmy Bulloch’s perfectly sincere conviction that Gladstone was a man of quite exceptional and nameless infamy in both public and private life.”

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, November 15, AD 2014






“[A] physician of wealth and high standing had seduced a girl and then induced her to commit abortion-I rather lost my temper, and wrote to the individuals who had asked for the pardon, saying that I extremely regretted that it was not in my power to increase the sentence.”

Theodore Roosevelt, from his Autobiography recalling his days as governor of New York (1913)

“Theodore Roosevelt” and “hero” tend to pop into my mind simultaneously when I recall him, and this is yet another reason for me to cherish his memory.

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4 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

  • If you search further: “Teddy Roosevelt- Great President or Enemy to Freedom? » SWW BLOG” you may modify your cherished memory. A progressive is a progressive. BTW, from the Second Letter of St. John, 4-9, “Anyone who is so ‘progressive’ as not to remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God…” If that aborted baby had not been “perfect” would TR have so vilified the perpetrators of that deed?

  • Nope, Kmbold I would not. I know quite a bit about TR, and I will cherish his memory, warts and all. The demonization of TR by some who call themselves conservatives is largely a result of the hysterics of Glenn Beck and his acolytes who give historical bone ignorance a bad name.

  • Could be. But do you indeed cherish the “wart” of TR’s eugenics bent?

  • TR’s views on eugenics are hardly simple, unless one can imagine a eugenicist who is pro-life and favors large families. To see the complexity of his views read his article Twisted Eugenics at the link below:

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, September 14, AD 2014

5 Responses to Quotes Suitable For Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

  • Seems to me the degeneration theory is alive and well. Saint JP II rang the alarm from the watchtower over and over again. The war on the family.

    The new head of the family…the State.

    God help us.

  • It is interesting to recall that Augustus’s pro-natalist legislation, particularly the lex Papia Poppæa, a law which curtailed the rights of the single (cœlebs) and the childless (orbi) to inherit or receive a legacy, was repealed by Constantine and his successors under pressure from Christians, who set a high value on virginity and widowhood.

  • “It is interesting to recall that Augustus’s pro-natalist legislation,”

    Which was a flat failure. Augustus sought to preserve the Roman senate families that he knew and his legislation had no discernable impact on their flight into historical oblivion.

  • The state may own the public schools and the municipal buildings, but the parents are the parents of the students and the citizens are the citizens of the people, people who constitute the state from the very first moment of existence. The state cannot own the family because the family owns the state. And likewise the state cannot own the person because the person owns the state.

  • The Japanese ambassador’s aside, “Likee Speech?” has me still laughing. Somewhere, memory tells me I’ve heard that before. May I add another TR quotation? “It’s not having been in the dark house that matters but having come out”.

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Sunday, September 14, AD 2014

A new series beginning on PBS tonight:  The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History.  A seven part Ken Burns history marathon it will examine the lives of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Burns is a fairly strident liberal Democrat so it will be interesting to see if FDR and Eleanor are treated as plaster saints, or if we will sight any meaningful analysis of those complex figures.

Theodore Roosevelt was a cousin of Franklin and an uncle to Eleanor.  He loomed large over their lives, Theodore acting as conservator of the drunken, suicidal Elliott, his beloved black sheep brother, the father of Eleanor, and Franklin seeking to model himself and his career after his famous fifth cousin.  Ironically, the contrasts between Theodore and Franklin are stark.  Theodore’s brand of progressive Republicanism was rejected by his party, while Franklin was successful in remodeling the Democrat party into the embodiment of the progressive nostrums of his time.  Theodore was an extremely moral man who exercised absolute fidelity to his two wives, his first wife having died on the same day as his mother.  Franklin Roosevelt was a precursor of such bounders as JFK, LBJ and Bill Clinton who exercised the moral probity of low rent Casanovas.  Theodore Roosevelt, a man made to be a war president, was president in a time of profound peace for the nation;  FDR achieved his lasting fame as commander in chief during World War II.  Theodore’s political career ended in defeat in 1912, the Grim Reaper preventing a possible resurgence in 1920, Roosevelt having mended political fences with the Republican Party by his constant criticism of Wilson during World War I.  FDR knew unprecedented political success as President, setting the dangerous precedent of being elected four times to the office, and only the Grim Reaper ending his grip on the White House.

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10 Responses to The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

  • Theodore Roosevelt was certainly no liberal. He wrote that “pernicious indulgence in the doctrine of free trade seems inevitably to produce fatty degeneration of the moral fibre” and insisted that “Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it.” A more trenchant rejection of the cardinal liberal doctrine of laissez-faire it would be difficult to imagine.

  • The Colonel, as he liked to be called, defies our modern categories of political analysis. He held political opinions that would inspire, and enrage, all sections of the political spectrum today. His views were also often complex, and snippets taken from his voluminous writings and speeches often do not give an accurate portrayal of his view on an issue.

    Setting that aside, he was a force of nature in human form, a ceaseless whirlwind of activity throughout his life as he accomplished more in 60 years than most men could if a life span of 600 years were granted to them. He was TR and leaders of his calibre are rare indeed.

  • “Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it.”
    “Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

  • “In some ways Eleanor is the most significant figure of the trio for our contemporary world. She set the model for those who find personal fulfillment in ideological activism. Her embrace of a laundry list of the ‘good’ causes of her day helped establish the concept that being a good person requires having beliefs that are ‘politically correct’. ”
    Will Ken Burns mention that she had a NY pistol permit and regularly carried a revolver? Teddy would have proud.

  • “Will Ken Burns mention that she had a NY pistol permit and regularly carried a revolver? Teddy would have been proud.”

    True Tom and that demonstrates how liberalism has morphed over the years. Reagan used to say that he didn’t leave the Democrat party, but the Democrat party left him, and there was a fair amount of truth in that statement.

  • Burns is a fairly strident liberal Democrat

    Do not know about ‘strident’. Richard John Neuhaus once described the editor of The Christian Century as a man who fancied his sectarian opinions were just something ‘everybody knows’. My personal favorite among illustrations that Burns’ mind is bloody incapable of critiquing or even perceiving certain narratives was his summary of the Duke rape case of 2006. You will recall that three young men had been subject to a campaign of vilification for months (in which the HLN network, the New York Times and the Durham Herald-Sun as well as over 120 Duke faculty members were participants), each of their families was compelled to pony up a six figure sum in legal fees (which reportedly cleaned one family out), and we learn at the end the whole mess was a fraud to assist the re-election campaign of the prosecutor who knew within 20 days of the incident that there had been no rape, much less one committed by Duke lacrosse players. This was Ken Burns take on it: “Do you remember in 2006 the white Duke lacrosse players that somebody had falsely charged? Remember that? Do you know what happened? The prosecutor was fired. The prosecutor was disbarred. The prosecutor went to jail for inconveniencing for a few weeks these white kids from Duke. I rest my case.”

    After you got bathed in Socialist Realism in his national parks series you got yet another rendition of the standard narrative with his series on prohibition. And now we’re going to get an infomercial for the Democratic Party. Burns, like Bill Moyers, Frontline, and POV is just another manifestation of what George Will once called the PBS formula, “seven parts propaganda, one part balance”.

  • His op ed in support of Obama in 2012 leads me to conclude that he is correct in calling himself a yellow dog Democrat:

    That op-ed piece is not strident. It is cretinous.

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Why We Fight

Wednesday, August 20, AD 2014


Christianity is not the creed of Asia and Africa at this moment solely because the seventh century Christians of Asia and Africa had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If the peoples of Europe in the seventh and eighth centuries, on up to and including the seventeenth century, had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated.

Theodore Roosevelt

May the soul of journalist James Foley, a Catholic, beheaded by the terrorists of ISIS, rest in peace.  May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.  May those responsible for his foul murder receive justice to the full for this deed in this world and the next.

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9 Responses to Why We Fight

  • Words fail to describe how I feel. I pray to the Lord Jesus that in His mercy James Foley is in His bosom right now, and I pray to God the Father that in His justice these Islamic fanatics answer for what they have done. Lord help us all!

  • Those devil worshipping Muslims will get what is rightly coming to them.

  • that photo makes me so mad. there the big tough guy hiding behind a mask stands over a person held bound. how brave is that to cut off the head of a person held down. how brave is that to not show your face to the world. cowards. sneak attacks. treachery. I can’t see how so many young americans and europeans see the jihad as some type of ideal.

  • You are not hearing/seeing Muslims condemning these acts.

    However, I converse daily with an older (almost as old as me) Muslim gent (from India) that sells newspapers at the LIRR Sta. He insists that these people are not practicing Islam. He states that only God has power to take a human life. And that God, not man, will punish if that is proper. He did say in a national war, killing is licit. OTOH, he could be saying such stuff only to calm us infidels until the whistle goes off . . .

  • Where’s the outrage from leaders of “moderate Muslim communities?” None.
    None. Because if any of them expresses outrage, he, too will be killed.
    What a pathetic, evil religion!

    Eternal rest grant unto James, oh Lord. And may the perpetual Light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

  • At our rural mission church on the Feast of Mary, Queen of Heaven the rosary was offered for the soul of James Foley and for his parents in their grief. It was fitting in that he credited his release from his first captivity in Libya to the Blessed Mother and the recitation of the rosary while imprisoned. James Foley’s martyrdom has finally awakened this country and Europe to the serious threat of this evil heretical army known as ISIS/ISIL. More rosaries, more Holy Hours, more penance are needed to quell this black plague. St. Michael the Archangel…….

  • Yes yes more prayers. more repentence.. more effort to be true Christians. I know that I am a sinner and my own lack of discipline and discipleship is part of the wave of a lack of discipline and order and willfulness that submerges the world.
    I am glad you parish did that Cam.
    I haven’t heard a word from the altar or in the bulletins about James Foley or all the other thousands of Christian martyrs of this very young century. I have heard about “unrest in the middle east”
    St James (maybe James Foley was named after him) said to draw near to God. He said not to be double minded. All these martyrs are doing their best to draw close to God. The whole darkness/light clash is right out in the open and we have no excuse for remaining double-minded. There is clarity, the martyrs are shining lights. We not only pray for James Foley we ask him to pray for us.

  • Santiago Matamoros, ora por nosotros!

    Saint James is the Patron Saint of Spain.

    Durante La Reconquista, dos gritos(?) de guerra estaban “Santiago y Cierra!” y “Santiago y Adelante!” Not sure my Spanish is correct. It’s 45 years . . .

October 12, 1915: Theodore Roosevelt Addresses the Knights of Columbus

Tuesday, July 15, AD 2014

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.

Remark of Charles Marshall, Vice President of the United States, upon hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt


On October 12, 1915, Columbus Day, that force of nature Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech to the Knights of Columbus in New York City.  Roosevelt packed so many lives into his 60 years: historian, reformer, rancher, politician, Undersecretary of the Navy, soldier, Governor of New York, President, explorer, naturalist, etc. In 1915 his crusade was to rouse America into readiness if it should become necessary to fight Germany and to instill in the American people a sense of unity and patriotism.  He wanted this nation of immigrants to understand that they were Americans and he wanted no talk of hyphenated Americans.  Many of the important issues of his day translate poorly to our time, and Roosevelt took positions which would inspire, and offend, virtually every segment of the contemporary American political spectrum.  This speech however does have a contemporary ring to it, and if I had been present I suspect that I would have come close to wearing out my hands madly applauding most of it. Here is the text of the speech:


FOUR centuries and a quarter have gone by since Columbus by discovering America opened the greatest era in world history. Four centuries have passed since the Spaniards began that colonization on the main land which has resulted in the growth of the nations of Latin-America. Three centuries have passed since, with the settlements on the coasts of Virginia and Massachusetts, the real history of what is now the United States began. All this we ultimately owe to the action of an Italian seaman in the service of a Spanish King and a Spanish Queen. It is eminently fitting that one of the largest and most influential social organizations of this great Republic, a Republic in which the tongue is English, and the blood derived from many sources, should, in its name, commemorate the great Italian. It is eminently fitting to make an address on Americanism before this society.


We of the United States need above all things to remember that, while we are by blood and culture kin to each of the nations of Europe, we are also separate from each of them. We are a new and -distinct nationality. We are developing our own distinctive culture and civilization, and the worth of this civilization will largely depend upon our determination to keep it distinctively our own. Our sons and daughters should be educated here and not abroad. We should freely take from every other nation whatever we can make of use, but we should adopt and develop to our own peculiar needs what we thus take, and never be content merely to copy.

Our nation was founded to perpetuate democratic principles. These principles are that each man is to be treated on his worth as a man without regard to the land from which his forefathers came and without regard to the creed which he professes. If the United States proves false to these principles of civil and religious liberty, it will have inflicted the greatest blow on the system of free popular government that has ever been inflicted. Here we have had a virgin continent on which to try the experiment of making out of divers race stocks a new nation and of treating all the citizens of that nation in such a fashion as to preserve them equality of opportunity in industrial, civil, and/ political life. Our duty is to secure each man against any injustice by his fellows.

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Wilson Speaks

Wednesday, August 28, AD 2013

An audio recording of Woodrow Wilson in 1912 taking advantage of the division in Republican ranks that would lead Theodore Roosevelt to bolt the party and run as the standard bearer of the Bull Moose party that he created.  Wilson’s matter of fact, dry delivery, so in keeping with his profession of professor, reminds me of how in so many ways he was the anti-Roosevelt in style, although the similarities in domestic policy between him and Roosevelt were closer that either of them, both of whom cordially detested the other, were comfortable with.

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One Response to Wilson Speaks

  • Mr. Wilson softly intones a kind of Fascism that we have been unable to shake off a century later. Obama sings the same song. It’s time to stop the music.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, April 29, AD 2013


The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Born to a family of wealth, Theodore Roosevelt could have led a quiet life of indulgence and plenty.  Instead he devoted himself to service to the country, one of the few elected officials who actually deserved the title public servant.  He combined this with a belief that life is an adventure, sometimes a hard and dangerous one, but always an adventure.  Roosevelt always heard the trumpets of life and he led his life at a joyous charge.  As a country and a civilization we desperately need his energy, his optimism and his sheer joy.  May we know his like again at the head of our nation.

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7 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

  • “No man is justified in doing evil on the grounds of expediency.”
    -Theodore Roosevelt

  • Don, I, as a nobody lurker of TAC, a non-history/law/social studies affiliated-studies type of guy, I may have little scholastic ground upon which to stand on…however…I must comment…

    I agree with you on about 99% of everything you post. In light of that, and in light of everything I’ve read that indicates TR is a “father” of Progressivism (that which posits that, essentially, man is perfectible if we only would pass one more law), can you elucidate why TR is, as you say, suitable for quoting here whereas I would argue he is not suitable for quoting here:

    “Yet we fail to understand that such conduct is rational compared to the conduct of a nation which permits unlimited breeding from the worst stocks, physically and morally, while it encourages or connives at the cold selfishness or the twisted sentimentality as a result of which the men and women ought to marry, and if married have large families, remain celebates or have no children or only one or two. Some day we will realize that the prime duty the inescapable duty of the good citizen of the right type is to leave his or her blood behind him in the world; and that we have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type.”

    “A perfectly stupid race can never rise to a very high plane; the negro, for instance, has been kept down as much by lack of intellectual development as by anything else; but the prime factor in the preservation of a race is its power to attain a high degree of social efficiency. Love of order, ability to fight well and breed well, capacity to subordinate the interests of the individual to the interests of the community, these and similar rather humdrum qualities go to make up the sum of social efficiency. The race that has them is sure to overturn the race whose members have brilliant intellects, but who are cold and selfish and timid, who do not breed well or fight well, and who are not capable of disinterested love of the community. In other words, character is far more important than intellect to the race as to the individual. We need intellect, and there is no reason why we should not have it together with character; but if we must choose between the two we choose character without a moment’s hesitation.”

    There was something else I’ve heard attributed to TR that was particularly ‘eugenicist’ but I can’t immediately find it. Ought this not temper any traditional Catholic examination of TR? Not to forbid extolling his virtues…but to avoid ignoring his vices?

  • Roosevelt had views on a wide range of topics that would draw cheers and jeers from all parts of our current political spectrum.

    Roosevelt’s views on many issues are hard to translate into simple terms. Often quotes by him that float around the internet are taken out of context from fairly lengthy articles he wrote. Eugenics is a prime example. Go to the link below to read an article entitled Twisted Eugenics that he wrote in 1914 in response to the idea that war lowers the racial stock of a nation:

    Roosevelt attacked that notion in the article. In that article he also makes statements in favor of eugenics, large families and against birth control. He notes that immigrants in New England will inherit, and should inherit, New England because the old Puritan stock were not having children. Roosevelt’s main concern in this area was that too many people were, as he would have phrased it, “shirking their duty” of having offspring.

    Roosevelt wrote more than any other president in our history, an endless stream of books and articles. To learn what he truly believed on any topic requires quite a bit of reading from his huge corpus of work.

  • No one’s free of flaws and I wouldn’t blame TR for what progressives have done since. One of my favorites is, ” it’s not having been in the dark house that matters but having come out”.

  • The quintessential anti-Catholic bigot and imperialist, Theodore Roosevelt.

  • Complete and total rubbish Kelso. Roosevelt was quite pro-Catholic and even kissed the ring of Pio Nono as a boy. Archbishop John Ireland and Cardinal James Gibbons were friends of his and he worked with them and other members of the heirarchy for the benefit of both the Church and the nation. As far as being an imperialist, Roosevelt was far less an imperialist than the Catholic rulers who held colonies at the time, since Roosevelt believed in representative rule in the American colonies with an eye to eventual independence.

  • Thanks for your response, Don. I’m still not entirely sold on TR, but I’ll keep your points in mind, especially about the breadth of his work. I would certainly agree that there are much worse figures in American history relative to the soft-collectivism presented by progressives.

Biden Refuses to Kiss the Ring of Pope Francis

Monday, March 25, AD 2013

44 Responses to Biden Refuses to Kiss the Ring of Pope Francis

  • Banning abortion is torture, but ripping a baby baby apart isn’t ? Only a left wing bureaucrat with too much time on his hands could think with that level of enlightenment.

  • Oops I meant to post that on the other thread. But then again, that apply to Biden as well.

  • Joe Biden can kiss my . . .

  • I would say, the Pope’s ring would be effusively thankful that it was not befouled by the lying lips of Joe Biden. 🙂

  • I have to wonder if Biden held out his hand for the Pope to kiss Biden’s ring, and the Pope shook Biden’s hand instead. Awkward.

  • Biden is evidently the opposite of his boss, who is known for bowing to foreign leaders. Kissing the Pope’s ring is not a gesture of homage to an individual. It is a sign of respect for the office, not the man. Does the Veep, a professed Catholic, have no respect for the office of the papacy?

  • I’m sure Pope Francis will make no such demand. Our new Pope does not consider himself royalty. He will lead with a humble heart and win souls back to the Church.
    When did Jesus require ring-kissing? Oh,
    right, He didnt own a ring. Or red leather shoes or an ermine cape.

  • “[6] And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. [8] And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

    [11] For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. [12] For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. [13] Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her. [14] Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, [15] And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver.”

  • St. John 12:1-8 tells us the complainant was Judas – the one who was going to betray Christ. St. John (he was there) explains that the carping was not because he cared about the poor, but because Judas was a thief.

    Judas was the prototypical liberal.

    Imagine there is no liberal.

    It’s easy if you try.

  • Well, he really shouldn’t have to. He shouldn’t have to kiss the Queen’s ring either. Early Christians didn’t offer the pinch of ash, and today we feel as the result of centuries of Chrsitian thought that it is all a matter of allegience. Whom do we obey, God or man?

  • “Whom do we obey, God or man?”

    A Catholic should show respect to the Vicar of Christ Jon. He is the successor to Peter to whom Christ granted the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Biden is a buffoon and a cretin who routinely lies when he is cornered as he did when he made up the fable of his Mom’s advice to justify his rudeness. It does not bother me however, since Biden is not worthy to kiss the ring of the Pope. Now feeling the Pope’s foot giving him a swift kick in the rump however…

  • I understand your line of reasoning, although we have come to think of Jesus as the church’s head and all of us as brothers in Christ. It is difficult to adhere to practices of the old world, especially in the church, though I of course speak as an Evangelical Protestant.

  • Biden is a buffoon and a cretin who routinely lies when he is cornered as he did when he made up the fable of his Mom’s advice to justify his rudeness.

    I think he just confounded the advice from his mother with the advice he got from Mary Kinnock.

  • If we take the remarks of Jesus to his immediate disciples seriously, we are left with the impression that no one should have any titles and that deference should be mutual in the Spirit, never enacted ritualistically.

  • “though I of course speak as an Evangelical Protestant.”

    If Biden did not claim to be a Catholic his breach of etiquette would not be worth my time to mention.

  • I see. American Catholics often do what they want and tend to be pretty individualistic in their conception of things. I’ve noticed they don’t necessarily tout the party line. They don’t go along with every pope or everthing each pope says. Some would like to send it in the direction of the Episcopal Church as an earlier blog pointed out. THese are American Catholics. I suspect European ones may be that way too, but I don’t know for sure.

  • “I think he just confounded the advice from his mother with the advice he got from Mary Kinnock.”

    OK Art, let’s see if anyone gets that comment besides you and me! 🙂

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  • Another take.
    Uncle Joe remembered that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Joey got nervous, realizing that he has been a betrayer of Truth, and not wishing to “Hang out” at the “dump” as was Judas’ reward, Joey didn’t take the chance.

  • “I would say, the Pope’s ring would be effusively thankful that it was not befouled by the lying lips of Joe Biden. ”

    In light of the shame Biden has brought upon the Church in using his political power to undermine Church teaching in the most horrible ways, his refusal to kiss the Pope’s ring is no big deal. It would only stand to reason. In fact, I think, in this light, it would add further insult to the grave harm he has done to both Church and society if he had kissed the Pope’s ring. Something I’m sure the talking heads on our side would have pointed out if Biden had placed his “lying lips” on the Pope’s ring.

  • Those of you over 40 may remember the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. One time they were roasting Frank Sinatra. And Milton Berle made the crack that, “Frank is going to see the Pope in Rome. And he’s gonna be made a cardinal so from now on we’ll only have to kiss his ring.” The underlying punch of that crack was about how Sinatra’s influence in Vegas was such that you couldn’t get work in the entertainment industry there unless Sinatra approved of you. This whole Biden episode made me think of that.

  • In light of the shame Biden has brought upon the Church in using his political power to undermine Church teaching in the most horrible ways

    You are confounding Biden with Robert Drinan. Biden’s clownishness is a source of embarrassment, not shame.

  • I’m sure her Maj. would be astounded should anyone attempt to kiss her ring – the only ring she wears is her wedding ring which is of course on her left hand, and she normally wears gloves. On being presented to the Queen you shake hands and give a slight bow (from the neck only). Ladies should curtsy. I remember Nancy Reagan refusing to do so, which prompted the general comment: “If folks don’t know how to behave, they should stay at home”.

  • Art

    I am not speaking Biden’s clownishness, which is a source of entertainment for his political opposition. Biden, as both senator and VP, has been ardently pro-abortion. You could say the same for Fr. Drinan as well.

  • He confuses the kiss’s symbol as showing respect of the man .. rather than the office. Maybe Obama would rather Joe give a High Five.

  • If I recall correctly, Senator Biden insisted on every act of deference due to his position. It’s easy to be humble about someone else’s rank.

  • Ya know “it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way”.

  • Jon misses the point in his post above. If temporal Authority comes from God, then certainly the “keys” of Saint Peter do. When a man, given authority by God to rule, commands some act that is contrary to God’s law, then, as Peter told the scribes, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” Jon wold not have lasted long with the Israelites if he refused to obey Moses, or would he John?

  • Kelso, I believe you are drawing a false parallel. And I don’t think Moses asked anyone to kiss his ring. Something tells me that had he done that, he wouldn’t have lasted as long in his assignment.

  • I have tears in my eyes from laughing so much.

    Great commentary in the article and equally great comments below. Made my day. Joe Biden is a buffoon indeed.

    Why am I not surprised by his attention seeking nonsense. And his farcical convoluted explanation for his behavior. If you are confident in your actions, believing they are right, then why do you need to explain yourself? Only a moronic bafoon would feel the need.

  • Ring or no ring, Jon, would you have obeyed Moses. The priests swung incense in the holy of holies before two stone tablets, the rod of Aaron, and the manna. Your problem, I gather, is not the pope’s ring, but the pope. You seem to want an acephalous Church, in which everyone is free to be their own pope.

  • Both Moses and most of the chosen people were punished by not living to enter the Promised Land. Nevertheless, the chosen people, unlike most contemporary Catholics, actually did whatever Moses told them.

    Moses didn’t need no stinkin’ ring.

  • As the Bible says, the sins of the father are visited down unto the fourth generation, Joe…

  • Just as well. I’d hate to see the Pope catch the stupid.

  • Claudia Johnson says:
    Monday, March 25, 2013 A.D. at 5:43pm

    Your despicable slander of the good heart of Pope Benedict and woeful ignorance of Christian symbolism are noted.

  • Mr. Biden, do as your own wisdom directs you. However, that ring is the ring of the fisherman, the vicar of Christ. The taditional kiss is a demonstration of love for the apostlic church, not a sign of submission. That is why popes kiss babies and the handicapped. They are showing the love of Christ.

  • The Pope does not need his ring to be kissed. He may know that V POTUS needs prayers.

  • I’m trying to think of some way of not insulting the VP, but he’s just such a complete tool, God forgive me. I don’t know whether to weep or laugh at this fresh act of clownery. His mother should’ve taught him to try to deserve respect rather than simply demand it. Pride goeth, etc.

  • His mother should’ve taught him to try to deserve respect rather than simply demand it. Pride goeth, etc.

    Catherine Finnegan Biden told the newspapers in 2008 that Sen. Hairplugs was a “wonderful human being”. (You know, he could “sing and dance and write verse” just like his 12 hour-a-day coal miner grandpappy taught him, not to mention produce original papers on legal topics and win moot court competitions).

    Mary Kinnock never weighed in on the subject.

  • Of course the VP didn’t kiss the Popes ring. It would send a message that he is part of the Church and beholden to its rituals and teachings. Clearly, this VP wants to be known as being Catholic only in name. Imagine that image being used against him in the future. HIs political career in the US would be over.

  • “His political career in the US would be over.”

    It already is over. Biden is simply too much of a simpleton to realize that fact.

  • No, I do not want a church where everyone is their own pope. I want a church where everyone bows to God and his word. Christ is the head of the church and that is sufficient for me. Ancient Israel wanted a king. They got one, but their request indicated their rejection of God their King.

  • The elitist liberals in the USA are disgrace to their country. They have a contempt for the truth. The founding fathers would have run them them out of town. Pope Francis has already become more relevant to the world than they could ever hope to perceiv

  • So, Jon, does Christ speak to you? Why did Jesus command us to “hear the church.” Why did He tell His apostles “He who hears you hears Me”? Why did He give men the power to forgive sins? Your own words betray you. You ARE your own pope. If not then you are a PROPHET directly inspired by God. Have you worked any miracles?

Roosevelt Speaks!

Friday, January 11, AD 2013

Theodore Roosevelt throughout his life eagerly embraced new technology, and so it was no surprise that during the 1912 election he recorded some of his speeches.  Go here for links to the sound recordings of these speeches.   I wish there was a sound recording made of many of the nuggets of wisdom dispensed by Roosevelt.  I especially have always been fond of these two:

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