October 31, 2009

"Yet it is Catholic bread that they eat..."

From The Spirit of Catholicism, by Karl Adam. 1924.
..."It must be regarded as true," declared Pope Pius IX in an allocution of the 9th December, 1854, "that he who does not know the true religion is guiltless in the sight of God so far as his ignorance is invincible. Who would presume to fix the limits of such ignorance, amid the infinite variety and difference of peoples, countries and mentalities, and amid so many other circumstances. When we are free of the limitations of the body and see God as He is, then we shall see how closely and beautifully God's mercy and justice are conjoined."

Wherefore the Church's claim to be the Church of salvation by no means excludes a loving and sympathetic appreciation of the subjective conditions and circumstances under which heresy has arisen. Nor is her condemnation of a heresy always at the same time a condemnation of the individual heretic. As an instance of the generosity of the Catholic attitude, take the words of the celebrated Redemptorist, St. Clement Maria Hofbauer, regarding the origins of the Reformation: "The revolt from the Church began," he wrote, "because the Because the German people could not and cannot but be devout." Hofbauer was a convinced Catholic, who condemned all heresy as a moral and religious crime, as a violation of the unity of the Body of Christ. He was fully aware also that the causes of the Reformation were by no means exclusively religious.

But that knowledge did not prevent him from appreciating those religious forces which contributed in no small degree to its success. The fact that Hofbauer has been canonized suggests that the Church did not disapprove of his utterance, but regarded it as confirmation of her constant belief in the possibility of invincible error and perfect good faith of the heretic. Unless we understand that we shell not grasp the meaning of her proposition, that there is no salvation outside the Church. True there is only one Church of Christ. She alone is the Body of Christ and without her there is no salvation. Objectively and practically considered she is the ordinary way of salvation, the single and exclusive channel by which the truth and grace of Christ enter our world of space and time. But those also who know her not receive these gifts through her; yes even those who misjudge and fight against her, provided they are in good faith, and are simply and loyally seeking the truth without self-righteous obstinacy. Though it be not the Catholic Church which hands them the bread of truth and grace, yet it is Catholic bread that they eat...

One of the interesting parts for me about becoming Catholic is reading parts of history that the Protestant world tends to disregard. One of them is the many anti-Catholic persecutions and pogroms in 18th and 19th Century Europe. Hofbauer, an Austrian, had tremendous difficulties to overcome because the emperor had closed the seminaries and over 1,000 monasteries and convents! I hadn't even heard of that. He became a priest in Italy, and went to Poland as a missionary.

I also read recently about the first Archbishop of San Francisco, and one of the great Dominicans, Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany. (We live near Alemany Ave, in SF, and belong to a Dominican parish.) He was born at Vich in Spain, in 1814, but had to flee to become a priest in Italy because of religious persecutions and proscriptions in Spain.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:24 PM

Weighed in the balance and found wanting...

In Key New York Race, Barracuda Chews Up Mitt:

What do you find most often in the middle of the road? Road kill. Mitt Romney, who hopes to be the GOP's next presidential nominee, couldn't bring himself to endorse anyone in New York state's�contentious 23rd congressional� district special election.

The contest, which features a liberal Republican, Dede Scozzafava, and a conservative one, Doug Hoffman, has been a flashpoint for a party in search of its identity. An all-star lineup of national party leaders has weighed in, allowing themselves to be defined by whose side they're on. But not Romney. The former Massachusetts governor passed, and this could have serious ramifications down the road.

The cliche about the two parties and their presidential selection process is that Democrats "want to fall in love" — and the GOP "falls in line."� The donkeys have emotion-filled knock-down-drag-out affairs involving passionate characters who — win or lose — leave a dramatic mark for decades. The GOP dutifully takes note of who came in second the last time and, well,�the odds are that he'll be the candidate in the next go-round.

Based on that tradition, Romney should be the favorite for the 2012 nomination...

Sorry Mit. I've always liked you, but "defining moment" and all that. You'll make a great Secretary of Treasury. Be nice to Sarah!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

October 29, 2009

"loafers, chislers and social parasites"

Kurt Schlichter, The Worst Song of All Time: 'Imagine':

...There's also the gratuitous commie babbling: "Imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can/No need for greed or hunger/A brotherhood of man/Imagine all the people/Sharing all the world." To quote a better song by the infinitely more talented Frank Zappa, a man with an admirable lack of patience for such treacle, gag me with a spoon.

I'm not sure of the Lennon timeline, but didn't he write this nonsense about the same time he ditched England because of the tax bite he was taking to help pay for its socialist welfare state? Sure, depriving a rapacious lefty government of revenue by moving to someplace with a more sensible tax rate is clearly the morally correct thing to do, but isn't the transparent hypocrisy of this poser a bit much to stomach?

And if all that's not insipid enough, we also get: "You may say that I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one." Oh, please.

The most galling thing about "Imagine" is how it urges the listener to assume the mantle of that "dreamer," thereby joining the ranks of the free spirits, bohemians and other assorted loafers, chislers and social parasites who are only too happy to belly up to the table that is our society but who are nowhere to be found when the check arrives:

"Sorry, I can't be bothered to work to build something or to fight to defend anything — you see, I'm a dreamer, so you just let me know when you've gotten everything ready for me to enjoy.� Until then, I'll be here relaxing on my parents' sofa, pretending to read Gravity's Rainbow."...

The moral bankruptcy of Lefty nihilism is, of course, shocking, but what knocks me out is that people—by the millions—make themselves stupid, in order to belong to that world. People are literally giving themselves "virtual lobotomies," lowering their IQ's, in order to exist in the soft vague floofy green/pacifist/vegetarian/hopeychangey/mystical steaming pile of mindless shit that is Bobo culture. (While expecting to be provided with a middle class lifestyle, and, if there's danger, to be defended by strong people with guns.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 AM

October 28, 2009

I'm starting to like this guy Latimer...

Matt Latimer, Running Away From Rush — The Daily Beast:

...Time and again during the Bush administration, folks on talk radio warned the White House and Congress about grassroots discontent over a divisive immigration bill, would-be Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, and the administration's spending sprees. GOP leaders didn't listen. They should have. Conservatives abandoned the party in droves. (Of course, there are limits to talk radio's influence on the grassroots. Just last year, Rush advised listeners that John McCain would be a disaster for the Republican Party if he was the nominee. He came just short of endorsing practically anyone else—Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, none of the above. Listeners decided differently. That didn't mean Rush was wrong.

As an eyewitness to the final days of the Bush administration, I can report with assurance that the absolutely last people the powers that be listened to were conservative activists on radio and TV. If Chief of Staff Josh Bolten happened to catch Rush or Laura, it likely was only on his way to finding NPR. And Condi Rice wouldn't take her marching orders from Glenn Beck if he renamed his program The Glenn and Condi Variety Hour and let her play piano concertos between segments. Meanwhile, talk radio's remaining White House hero, Vice President Dick Cheney, was all but gagged and tied to railroad tracks while Bolten, Rice, and others did their impersonations of Snidley Whiplash waiting for a train to arrive.

It is true that White House communicators, led by clever sorts such as Karl Rove, cared about their relationships with talk radio and cable news. But as the controllers, not the controlled. Like savvy publicists stuck pitching a mediocre movie, Team Rove furnished select talkers with extravagant perks (tickets to special events, invitations to exclusive dinners, close-hold meetings with the president) to get favorable reviews. When that didn't work, they'd use another old publicist trick of threatening to deny access to Bush, Cheney, or various other administration "stars."

Some of the more popular talkers, like Rush, were too powerful for them to intimidate. (Rush being our equivalent of Tom Hanks.) But the approach worked on others....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 PM

Funny. And too true...

The New Yorker's Halloween cover... (click on the left-most image.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:45 AM

"Chilling from the standpoint of freedom"

Good stuff, by Thomas Sowell:

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers— that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?

Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?...

That last bit is very interesting. Suppose I was in a big hassle with the IRS or some other government agency. And I had to drive to their office and go to meetings that might have dire consequences for me.

I would probably scrape the Republican bumper stickers off my car!

It would just make sense. Most government employees are liberal Democrats. And a large percentage of them are not committed to high ideals of fairness and impartiality. We know this, we can see it. Just think back to when "Joe the plumber" embarrassed Obama in the 2008 campaign, and government employees in Ohio instantly leaked Joe's records to the press.

And the really ugly thing was that none among liberals and Democrats seemed to be ashamed! None of them hung their heads in shame and apologized for this disgusting behavior. And now it is being proposed to give these people control over us in our most weak and vulnerable moments...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 AM

October 25, 2009

Evil deeds come back to bite them...

Victor Davis Hanson: Whom is Barack Obama Afraid of?—Another Barack Obama 

One of the reasons why President Obama may be hesitating to commit fully to a renewed Afghan front is that he is worried that political opportunists might seek to gain advantage by loud rhetoric that unfairly simplifies the bad and worse choices, that he, like all other presidents in time of war, are confronted with.

In other words, he fears someone very much like an on-the-rise Barack Obama himself—who in 2007 in loud fashion demanded that all combat brigades leave Iraq by March 2008 and then flat-out declared to the nation that "the surge is not working" (a mantra for months posted on his website until Trotskyized in summer 2008). Ditto all that with Guantanamo, elements of homeland security, and Iran—and one can see that Obama knows first-hand the opportunities for demagogic and unprincipled political ankle-biting that a decisive wartime President invites. After all, what President, after making a tough decision to surge into Afghanistan, wants a young charismatic rival barnstorming the nation, without evidence assuring the public that "the surge is not working!"

It certainly would be poetic justice. Scoundrels like Obama trashed our country's noble efforts in Iraq while pretending—with limitless pomposity—to want to fight the good fight in Afghanistan. Now the loathsome liars are caught in their own trap.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

October 24, 2009

Reagan could act because he KNEW. Because he could SEE...

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, and the announcement of Personal Ordinariates* for Anglicans seeking union with Rome...

...Benedict will be seen as a kind of Ronald Reagan of the Vatican. When Reagan got to the White House he discovered that the established way of dealing with the Soviets was detente, talk, talk, talk and more talk. He decided that victory was in his grasp and proposed a firm confrontation. "Mr Gorbachev, pull down that wall!" His professional statesmen and diplomats were shocked at his 'foolishness.' But it worked. Communism was already fragile all it needed was a puff of air to knock it down completely. [Well, that's just about what happened. There were also some trifling matters like overstraining the Soviet economy by challenging them with a massive military build-up, Pershing missiles and SDI. And he had help from Mrs Thatcher, and J-P II.]

Pope Benedict's move this week will have similar impact in the world of Christian dialogue. With Personal Ordinariates not only have the professional ecumenists been shown the way forward, but the duplicitous liberal Catholic bishops who would have stalled, moved it into 'discussion groups' and presented 'further obstacles' have also been very effectively gone around. No longer will a gifted, willing and able convert priest have to wait years to be ordained and in the meantime be pushed from pillar to post by Catholic bishops who are driven by a liberal agenda that is actually illiberal....

Most of my readers—bless you all—will not have too much interest in this, or even know what's going on. But I assure you the comparison with Reagan is in no way an exaggeration. I'm just dazzled. And both cases are ones where true leaders cut through the malarky while "experts" simply could not SEE what was right in front of them.

I read somewhere a fascinating piece about how one of Reagan's men put out a request to the researchers in our intelligence agencies for any information they had on unrest or things-falling-apart in the Soviet Union. It turned out that there was a huge amount of information on things like wildcat labor strikes, and riots and protests. But it had never been collected or analyzed because no one had asked the question before. The experts had all decided that Communism worked, so they never looked for signs that it didn't.

But Reagan KNEW! He knew that communism (and socialism and big-government liberalism) Don't work. He could see, like the boy who could see that there was no emperor inside the fancy clothes.

And Pope Benedict could see that "dialoging" (ugh—spit on ugly word) with a zombie like the Church of England so-called was never going to yield fruit. (Actually Newman saw it in the late 19th Century.)

*A bishop is the "ordinary" of a diocese. (From Latin ordinarius, �orderly�). A diocese is a district. A personal ordinariate is a bishopric over certain persons, without regard for territory. B-16 has just cut his liberal English bishops out of the loop. And all the talk-talk-talkers. Anglicans now have the possibility of joining Rome while keeping things such as their ancient and beautiful liturgy and music.

Pope John-Paul II
A couple of famous characters
from long long ago...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:14 PM

Maybe I'll add this to my already cluttered sidebar...

Bush ready to fight, Obama to dither
Posted by John Weidner at 10:59 AM

Truth spoken in the Temple of Lies...

I recommend this speech by Colonel Richard Kemp, at a UN hearing on the vile Goldstone Report. (Thanks to Powerline.)

Why do Leftists (and Islamists) hate Jews? Because they symbolize being chosen by God. Jews are the Chosen People, and this remains so even of the many Jews who have assimilated to secular liberal culture, and abandoned the faith of their fathers! Delicious irony. A lifetime of following atheistical Lefty fads and and embracing appeasement and weakness and anti-American groveling, and still they are gonna get the chop if any of the world's myriad Jew-haters gets the power!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:17 AM

October 23, 2009

Some of my work...

These are some bookcases plus entertainment center I just finished. A clean simple look (which is harder to achieve than you would imagine) was desired, and I think I did pretty well. The decorative grille on the center doors solves the problem of venting heat from the audio/video components, and allows those infra-red gadgets to control the machines...

Bookcases and entertainment center

Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 PM

Succisa viresci...

Dr Zero, on Palin's endorsement of Hoffman, Rogue Stars Rising:

...It pains me to say this about Gingrich. He accomplished some amazing things, in the mid-90s. He's a smart man who has offered some interesting ideas, in his second life as a conservative intellectual. The problem is that Newt is a political tactician, and in the final stages of a losing war against collectivist ruin, the time has come to focus on grand strategy, rather than tactics. The second decade of this century will be an existential war for the American soul, not a police action.

Gingrich is always thinking about the tactics of the moment, trying to win on points that will never be awarded fairly. He spent far too much of his time as Speaker of the House shouting in vain for media referees to throw penalty flags that remained stuffed in their pockets. Meanwhile, the political battlefront has shifted into the fatal terrain of essential liberties and economic freedom. This is the time for courage, conviction, and bold action… not whining about "big tents," while pushing a product of the Pataki machine with a Margaret Sanger award dangling around her neck. A Republican party that embraces Scozzafava over Hoffman isn't a "tent." It's not even a lean-to.

The most urgent task for conservatives is building a logical, consistent vision to place before the voters. They're looking for a comprehensive explanation of why Democrat policies are wrong. They can see Obama's failures all around them, but in the absence of a compelling narrative from the opposition party, they're likely to conclude those failures were inevitable, and learn to accept them....

The Culture War is the only war. Everything else is just surface-froth generated by leviathans grappling in deep waters, where we can hardly perceive them......

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 AM

October 22, 2009

"Political parties must stand for something."

Fascinatin' to me. Sarah Palin has endorsed Hoffman, for NY 23. Good move. [Link] I'm a moderately "big tent" guy myself, but this one's ridiculous. I get calls from the RNC asking for donations, and they sound like an organization that's, as who should say, conservative. If they are giving my money to Dede Scozzafava, that that's just a lie.

...Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a "time for choosing."

The federal government borrows, spends, and prints too much money, while our national debt hits a record high. Government is growing while the private sector is shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. Doug Hoffman is committed to ending the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. and the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government. He is also fully committed to supporting our men and women in uniform as they seek to honorably complete their missions overseas.

And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of "blurring the lines" between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate that more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket.

Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual.

You can help Doug by visiting his official website below and joining me in supporting his campaign: http://www.doughoffmanforcongress.com/donate3.html

As Marc Steyn put it:

Newt really needs to re-think his support for Dede Scozzafava. This isn't RINO but DIABLO - Democrat In All But Label Only...
Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 PM

October 21, 2009

Strong women terrify "feminists" and "Democrats"...

Noemie Emery has a fine piece: Why lefties fear strong women like Liz Cheney:

For a feminist party, Democrats have a problem with women, or rather, with one certain type: Young and/or youngish, cute and/or stunning, with good hair, many children, and outspoken center-right views.

Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann (dark hair, with five children) first roused the beast, and misogynist instincts. Now there's Liz Cheney, (blond, with five children), whom they themselves have made into a star....

It's very funny to me to read about how she's tormenting lefty nihilists into sputtering rage. Of course the whole business of the Dems and Leftists being "feminist" is a steaming pile of lies. The needs of women are always sacrificed to Lefty politics, just as those of minorities or gays or the old or the young or whichever group is being "helped."

And this is a good line:

...Actually, there is a real way to refute her, but it seems to be hard to deploy. It's to say politely, "Your ideas are mistaken," and then calmly explain how and why. In practice, however, this hasn't worked out...

And Jennifer Rubin writes...

...Part of what's going on here is fear of a political dynamo — an articulate and attractive figure who is putting pressure on one of Obama's weakest points, his lack of resolute leadership on national security. But it's bigger than simple concern about a new, rising star on the conservative side. What's also at stake, just as it was with Sarah Palin, is no less than the meaning of "feminism" and liberals' claim to represent all women.

For decades now, conservative women have been painted as "not real women" — fakes and frauds, betrayers of their gender because they did not check the box on the list of liberal dogmas, most especially on abortion. To be a feminist, and to be an authentic female politician, one had to subscribe to abortion on demand, expansion of government social services, and a view of foreign policy that eschewed hard power. Leave alone for a moment that this represented the worst sort of condescending stereotyping. It was the view propounded by politicians, academics, and media enablers of the Left.

So when strong, female, and conservative women — with children no less, and lots of them! — come along, the dogma is unsettled and the stereotype is challenged. Feminism is not the province of the Left, these conservative women assert, if feminism is meant to be the empowerment of women and the opening of opportunities. And it certainly doesn't require acceptance of a pastel agenda of nanny-state domestic policies and pacifism abroad...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:16 PM

October 19, 2009

Report urges action to preserve "journalism"

New York Times Cutting 100 Newsroom Jobs | The New York Observer:

The New York Times is cutting 100 jobs by the end of the year, the Times' editor Bill Keller just announced to the staff via email....

Ha ha. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of loathsome frauds. Hows that HopeChange workin' out for you guys? Hmm? You pulled every dirty trick known to man to get your party's chomsky elected, and now you're on the street. Could it possibly be that there is justice in the cosmos?

Report urges action to preserve journalism:

NEW YORK (AP) - Journalism is at risk and American society must act to preserve it. That's a key message in a new report co-authored by Len Downie, former executive editor of The Washington Post. [For pity's sake, just drag it in the bushes and let it die in privacy]

In a paper commissioned by the Columbia University Journalism School, [are "journalism" schools dying too? Please, please, pretty please?] Downie and Michael Schudson, a Columbia professor, argue the government, universities and nonprofit foundations should step in as newspapers suffer financially. [Of course. they're even crappier than GM. Bailout time!]

Among other steps, the authors recommend that the government ensure the tax code allows local news outlets to operate as non-profits. [Well. at least they will no longer be defrauding their owners—the shareholders—by driving away the 80% of the population who are not trendy urban liberal nihilists.] They urge philanthropic organizations to support local reporting. [As long as no conservative or tacky working-class views are reported.] And they suggest a fund be established using fees from telecom or Internet providers for grants to innovative local news groups. [Yeah. Tax success to support failure. That's what liberalism is all about.]...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:23 PM

October 16, 2009

"And then awaken in the hurtling track..."

Yet in this journey back
If I should reach the end, if end there was
Before the ever-running roads began
And race and track and runner all were there
Suddenly, always, the great revolving way
Deep in its trance;—if there was ever a place
Where one might say, 'Here is the starting-point,'
And yet not say it, or say it as in a dream,
In idle speculation, imagination,
Reclined at ease, dreaming a life, a way,
And then awaken in the hurtling track,
The great race in full swing far from the start,
No memory of beginning, sign of the end,
And I the dreamer there, a frenzied runner;—
If I should reach that place, how could I come
To where I am but by that deafening road,
Life-wide, world-wide, by which all come to all,
The strong with the weak, the swift with the stationary,
For mountain and man, hunter and quarry there
In tarrying do not tarry, nor hastening hasten,
But all with no division strongly come
For ever to their steady mark, the moment,
And the tumultuous world slips softly home
To its perpetual end and flawless bourne.
How could we be if all were not in all?
Borne hither on all and carried hence with all,
We and the world and that unending thought
Which has elsewhere its end and is for us
Begotten in a dream deep in this dream
Beyond the place of getting and spending.
There's no prize in this race; the prize is elsewhere,
Here only to be run for. There's no harvest,
Though all around the fields are white with harvest.
There is our journey's ground; we pass unseeing.
But we have watched against the evening sky,
Tranquil and bright, the golden harvester.

    -- Edwin Muir
Posted by John Weidner at 10:00 PM

October 15, 2009

Couldn't happen to a more deserving little sweetie...

Swamp_Yankee writes Peggy Noonan, The Crazy Cat Lady, Gets the Sarah Palin Treatment at Harvard...

This autumn, Peggy Noonan left her New York City digs for Cambridge to be a guest lecturer at Harvard. I'm leery of self-anointed, East Coast, Republican elites, but my distaste for Noonan reached new levels when she decided to act like a teenage girl in a Miley Cyrus movie and hurled such petty insults at Sarah Palin that her invective had to be personal. These insults came from the same woman who wrote a book called 'Patriotic Grace' and made it a point to be gracious to some of the most loathsome liberals.

The sophisticated and cosmopolitan Noonan may have thought she'd be comfortable at Harvard. Although she may believe in some different principles, she was amongst the educated elite, her people. Instead, she is turning into a campus joke. The word on campus is that she is an airhead who can't put a cohesive and cogent lecture together....


...It was only a short while ago when Noonan wrote that Palin "doesn't read" and that Palin is a "ponder-free zone" who "wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough". Noonan cast Palin off with a resounding good riddance. But the verdict from the intellectual elite at Harvard is in and they decree that Peggy Noonan is also a "ponder free zone". Now, it is Noonan who is being mocked for being an incoherent airhead and an intellectual lightweight. The beautiful irony.

I bet Peggy had mushy romantical notions of the free exchange of ideas among opponents who respect truth and candor! Ha ha. I could have told her that wasn't going to fly. I've been waiting through eight years of blogging for an principled truth-seeking liberal opponent to appear.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:58 AM

Lies, Damn lies, and Democrat lies...

Karl Rove on the grotesque accounting tricks—well, LIES is a better term—behind the claim that the Baucus health-care bill will not raise the deficit...

Obama Hasn't Closed the Health-Care Sale:

...One trick is easily explained. The bill imposes tax hikes and benefit cuts right away, including $121 billion of Medicare reductions between 2011 and 2015. But new spending really doesn't start until five years out (2015) and isn't fully operational until 2017. The bill uses 10 years worth of tax hikes and benefit cuts to fund a few years worth of benefits.

And that's just the start. For example, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last week claiming the bill won't add to the deficit. But this assumes that employers who dump employee coverage under the Baucus bill will then increase worker paychecks by an amount equal to what they had spent on health care. This replaces a nontaxable event (providing health insurance) with a taxable one (increasing worker paychecks), magically producing $83 billion in revenues. Without this windfall, the Baucus bill adds billions of dollars to the federal deficit in the first decade.

Of course, why would a company drop employee coverage just so it could pay more (in fines, taxes and wages) than it did before?

The CBO report also estimates that receipts from the 40% excise tax the Baucus bill would levy on "Cadillac" insurance policies "would grow by roughly 10 percent to 15 percent" a year after 2019.

That's nonsense. If you tax something heavily you'll get less of it. If this tax is enacted, there will be fewer Cadillac plans�and hence less revenue.

Under questioning at a Senate hearing Tuesday, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf admitted that the $500 billion in tax hikes in the Baucus bill would be passed onto consumers, jacking up insurance premiums. That undercuts the argument that Democratic reforms will make health care more affordable....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:19 AM

October 14, 2009

Sixties rubbish crashing and burning...

Andy McCarthy on the accusations of racism against Rush Limbaugh:

...In the 1970s, I went to a highly integrated, all-boys high school (Cardinal Hayes) in the Bronx. It was one of the best experiences in my life, and I had great friendships with all manner of guys, because from the first day they treated us like we were all "Hayesmen" — not white guys, black guys, Spanish guys, Chinese guys, etc. We were encouraged to see each other as peers, not tribesmen. Of course there was intra-group affinity along ethnic and racial lines — there always is. But there wasn't a lot of tension. There was some — again, there always is — but there was no special treatment and no pressure for enforced separateness. We laughed at each other's expense (ethnic and racial jokes were not cause for banishment from society back then) and competed on a level playing field of merit. Everyone was treated like he belonged, if you did something good it was yours, and if you screwed up it was on you, not your heritage.

That's how Rush treats people — in the Martin Luther King aspiration that the content of one's character is what matters, not the color of one's skin. Yet, in the media narrative, he's somehow the one who's got a race issue — and the guys who trade on race, live and breathe it 24/7, are held up as our public conscience. The Left calls this "progress." I call it perversion.

There's only one way this nonsense ever goes away: When we say "enough!" and tell the race-baiters their time is up. It's too much of an industry, so it probably won't happen tomorrow. But the Sixties ideal is crashing and burning before our very eyes, and I think it'll take a lot of its warped obsessions down with it.

I keep hoping that Lefty race-baiting will reach some sort of tipping point, and people will wise up.

I often feel like pointing out to some of the African-Americans I encounter in our parish (don't worry, I never say nuthin') that if liberal Democrats really cared about black Americans, they would have made sure the first black presidential candidate was rock-solid. Experienced, competent, wise.

Of course if that were the criterion, the first black president would almost certainly be a Republican...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:34 PM

Elections matter...

You probably already agree with this, but "hate-crimes" legislation is a horribly bad idea. Bad in theory, because it is punishment for thoughts. And in practice, because what is "hate" tends to be defined by a shifting climate of opinion, rather than clear law. In current fashion, if I hit a black guy that's a "hate crime," if he hits me it's not. If you criticize a Muslim or a liberal, that's "hate." If you criticize a Christian or a conservative, that's "free speech."

And the fashions are set mostly by Leftists, because that's where they put their energy. And since there's usually no clear legal standard for what is a "hate crime," in practice they become guilty-until-you-can-prove-yourself-innocent crimes.

Dems undermine free speech in hate crimes ploy | Washington Examiner:

...First, the committee -- controlled by majority Democrats, of course -- inserted the hate crimes measure into the House bill, where it had not been before. Then lawmakers made some crucial changes to Brownback's amendment. Where Brownback had insisted, and the full Senate had agreed, that the bill could not burden the exercise of First Amendment rights, the conference changed the wording to read that the bill could not burden the exercise of First Amendment rights "unless the government demonstrates ... a compelling governmental interest" to do otherwise.

That means your First Amendment rights are protected -- unless they're not. The bill was finished. When it was returned to the House last week for final passage, there was just one vote; lawmakers could either vote for the whole package or against it. They could vote to fund the troops, which would also mean voting for the hate crimes bill, or they could vote against the hate crimes provision, which would also mean voting against funding the troops.

At decision time, 131 of the Republicans most opposed to the hate crimes measure voted against the whole bill. Their vote "against the troops" will no doubt be used against them in next year's campaign, which was of course the Democratic plan all along. The bill passed anyway, with overwhelming Democratic support....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

October 12, 2009

Missed opportunity...it really is too bad.

Ross Douthat, in the NYT...Heckuva Job, Barack:

This was Barack Obama's chance.

Here was an opportunity to cut himself free, in a stroke, from the baggage that's weighed his presidency down — the implausible expectations, the utopian dreams, the messianic hoo-ha.

Here was a place to draw a clean line between himself and all the overzealous Obamaphiles, at home and abroad, who poured their post-Christian, post-Marxist yearnings into the vessel of his 2008 campaign.

Here was a chance to establish himself, definitively, as an American president — too self-confident to accept an unearned accolade, and too instinctively democratic to go along with European humbug.

He didn't take it. Instead, he took the Nobel Peace Prize.

Big mistake....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:59 PM

October 11, 2009

"the conflict had to be fought in grime and terror"

From Ralph de Toledano's A Friend Remembers Whittaker Chambers:

...Few understood the Old Testament evocations of what he wrote in Witness. "Political freedom is a political reading of the Bible." But the word when uttered takes flight and lodges in hearts that are otherwise occupied. He looked to a God of Mercy, but when the sword was brandished, it was to a God of Justice that he bent...

...I had known several men who had come out of the dark world of the Communist underground, but what I learned from them was little more than names, dates, and places. What Whittaker Chambers imparted was a sense of meaning and dimension — a sense not of Good-and-Evil, but of Good-in-Evil. He gave the names, dates, and places, but he invested his account with their tragic reality. I understood, as he talked, what was at stake in the Hiss case — not only for him but for me as well. It is impossible to express why I was so moved and so involved. I was hearing of conspiracies and activities about which I knew, but they were set in the context of history and personal travail.

For Whittaker Chambers, history was a living tapestry in which past and present were interwoven with a lurking future. He would speak of the French Revolution, of the marching Kronstadt sailors, of Lenin and Stalin and the cellars of the Lubyanka, of the Cromwellian mobs and the shattering blow to Western civilization in the First World War, of Soviet spymasters and the Nazi-Soviet pact all in one voice — as if it were all happening now, an unwinding newsreel. He measured the conflict as one between men like himself and like the Communist who declared with equal determination, "Embrace the Butcher but change the world" — Bertolt Brecht's searing line. And he separated both from those who dawdled with reason and escaped from commitment. He also accepted the terrible and humbling fact that the conflict had to be fought in grime and terror, leaving their taint on those who fought it.

"Is dirt nice? Is death nice? Above all is dying nice?" he wrote me much later. "And, in the end, we must ask, is God nice? I doubt it." And again, "A man's special truth is in the end all there is in him. And with that he must be content though life give him no more, though man give him nothing." For he was convinced in his last years that his witness was "all for nothing, that nothing has been gained except the misery of others, that it was the tale of the end and not of the beginning. . . . You cannot save what cannot save itself." He stood, in those days, like Jeremiah in the solitary city, his feet treading the scrolls. And yet to the very end, when he wrote and burned and burned and wrote again the pages of a book that was not to be finished, he never dismissed the imperatives of history that demanded the defeat of the pundits and the paleographers. It is an imperative of the heart, and his great heart knew it....

Posted by John Weidner at 11:13 PM

Why W and I like India and Obama doesn't...

Far Eastern Economic Review | Why Islamic Extremists Hate India: (Thanks to O Judd)

...But more than anything else, India is a danger because by its pluralistic nature it is a real threat for Islamic extremists. Not only does India have the world's third-largest Muslim population (Pakistan finally overtook India recently), despite domestic differences with the majority Hindus, Indian Muslims have remained loyal to the Indian state, and have fully embraced democracy. While many Muslims live in poverty in India, so do other Indians, including Hindus. And Muslims alone are not victims of human rights abuses in India. What's more, talented Muslims have often reached the top of Indian corporations, judiciary, armed forces, bureaucracy, and other fields, entirely on merit. They are able to express their grievances through the democratic system. It is no surprise, then, that of all the recruits al Qaeda has been able to attract around the world, barely a handful of Indian Muslims have been swayed by al Qaeda's nihilist ideology.

This is not an accident; it is the result of India's democratic structure. Despite all its flaws, and despite the failure of the Indian system to bring to justice those who have been implicated in horrifying religious riots in the past, the Indian system works. And while its two large neighbors — Pakistan and Bangladesh — have elected governments at the moment, both have suffered long bouts of military dictatorships or other unrepresentative governments. Except for the brief period of 19 months under the Emergency in the mid-1970s, when Indira Gandhi suspended key provisions of the constitution, detained opposition leaders, and imposed press censorship, India has been democratic. (Indeed, voters threw out Gandhi's government in 1977, and like any other flawed democrat, Gandhi left office, returning to power only after she had regained electoral support in 1980).

Many in Pakistan — and Bangladesh — value democracy as much as do Indians. But in Pakistan's case, the troika of corrupt politicians, fundamentalist mullahs, and military commanders with a disproportionate sense of self-importance, have never allowed real democracy to take root. At the time of India's independence in 1947, the rationale of dividing India along religious lines was based on the assumption that Muslims in the Indian subcontinent would not be able to live peacefully under Hindu domination. Muslims wanted that homeland; the Congress in India did not want the country to be divided initially, but later agreed to the partition. But six decades after that, despite several bloody riots, Indian Muslims have thrived in secular, democratic India; Pakistan has veered towards being declared a failed state....

Democracy isn't "cool." In fact it is the very opposite. It's a club that admits ordinary people, so self-styled elites always hate it and sneer at it. It implicitly says that ordinary messy life is of great worth, so gnostics draw away from it with disgust. As do entertainment stars, "artists," journalists, trend-setters and academics.

Unfortunately we have reached the situation where a large part of the population has the leisure and affluence to hunger to think of themselves as being part of some small cutting-edge elite. Everybody wants to be chiefs, and nobody wants to be indians. Or Indians.

How crazy is it that kids at the mall patronize a nation-wide (maybe world-wide by now) chain of shops selling mass-produced rebellion-against-middle-class-conformity punk clothes? That advertises the "Fall Collection" complete with funky sneakers?

One laughs, but it's actually dangerous, because it's just this type of thinking that gave us Obama, and Suck-Up-To-Loudmouth-Dictators Week. Hugo Chavez is a pathetic creep, but you gotta take whatever Ché you can find...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 AM

October 10, 2009

Impossible...

GK Chesterton, "A Mother, a Protectress, a Goddess." Borrowed from The Hebdomadal Chesterton:

I opened a paper only ten minutes ago in which it was solemnly said, in the fine old style of such arguments, that there was a time when men regarded women as chattels. This is outside the serious possibilities of the human race. Men never could have regarded women as chattels. If a man tried to regard a woman as a chattel his life would not be worth living for twenty-four hours. You might as well say that there was a bad custom of using live tigers as arm-chairs; or that men had outgrown the habit of wearing dangerous snakes instead of watch-chains.

It may or may not be the fact that men have sometimes found it necessary to define the non-political position of women by some legal form which called them chattels; just as they have thought it necessary in England to define the necessary authority of the State by the legal form of saying that the King could do no wrong. Whether this is so or not I do not know, and I do not care. But that any living man ever felt like that, that any living man ever felt as if a woman was a piece of furniture, with which he could do what he liked, is starkly incredible. And the whole tradition and the whole literature of mankind is solid against it. There is any amount of literature from the earliest time in praise of woman: calling her a mother, a protectress, a goddess. There is any amount of literature from the earliest time devoted to the abuse of woman, calling her a serpent, a snare, a devil, a consuming fire.

But there is no ancient literature whatever, from the Ionians to the Ashantees, which denies her vitality and her power. The woman is always either the cause of a wicked war, like Helen, or she is the end of a great journey, like Penelope. In all the enormous love poetry of the world, it is practically impossible to find more than two or three poems written by a man to a woman which adopt that tone of de haut en bas, that tone as towards a pet animal, which we are now constantly assured has been the historic tone of men towards women. The poems are all on the other note; it is always "Why is the queen so cruel?" "Why is the goddess so cold?"...     — The Illustrated London News, 6 April 1907.
Posted by John Weidner at 10:17 PM

Eight more years....

Charlene suggests that the ideal Republican ticket for 2012 would be Jeb Bush and Liz Cheney.

Just, you understand, for the exquisite pleasure of making lefty nihilists endure eight more years of Bush/Cheney! It makes me feel all warm and happy inside to contemplate...

Dick Cheney on a Segway

Posted by John Weidner at 10:05 PM

Hatefulness grows, as mean-spirited reality savages innocent climate models...

(My title is due to having to endure in silence a critique of "mean-spiritedness," which has—wait for it— "taken over again!" complete with examples of "right-wing hate," morphing into "JFK was killed by hate." Nudge, wink.)

That worrisome "Methane Beast" apparently is still not awake.:

The Ups and Downs of Methane
Reposted from World Climate Report

One of the indisputable facts in the field of global climate change is that the atmospheric build-up of methane (CH4) has been, over the past few decades, occurring much more slowly than all predictions as to its behavior (Figure 1). Since methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas (thought to have about 25 times the warming power of CO2), emissions scenarios which fail to track methane will struggle to well-replicate the total climate forcing, likely erring on the high side—and feeding too much forcing into climate models leads to too much global warming coming out of them...

...This behavior is quite perplexing. And while we are not sure what processes are behind it, we do know one thing for certain—the slow growth of methane concentrations is an extremely cold bucket of water dumped on the overheated claims that global warming is leading to a thawing of the Arctic permafrost and the release of untold mega-quantities of methane (which, of course, will lead to more warming, more thawing, more methane, etc., and, of course, to runaway catastrophe)....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

October 9, 2009

In honor of the great honor given our president...

Imagine some people who have had a wild drunken party, and now they are starting to sober up... and the sun is coming up, and they are sitting in the squalid mess. Ugh... and they pour one more round of drinks, to try to keep the party alive... That's what I think this "Nobel Prize" idiocy is like.

Musings of a psychotherapist, Robin of Berkeley:

...Even out here, things are starting to feel spooky. While it's always weird central in Berkeley, now there's a malaise in the air.

Yes, there are plenty of people so far into the communist schtick, they would gladly sacrifice their children, their granny, and their life savings for the Left.

But most liberals still want their houses, jobs, Hondas and iPods. When they voted for Obama, they weren't giving a thumbs up for the country to go the way of Ché.

So there's a strange, foreboding vibe in these parts; that creepy feeling you get when you know there's bad news ahead.

Many liberals look dazed and confused because they have no language, no information, no way of understanding what in the world is going on.

Interestingly, there's this eerie silence about Obama. You don't hear a peep about him. Or course, liberals are still foaming at the mouth about Sarah Palin, tea baggers, birthers, and all things conservative.

But adulation for Obama: Missing in Action. A telling sign: the life size black and white cardboard doll of Obama in a storefront near my office has been taken down. Where did it go -- to the local recycling center with other discarded Obamabilia?

Because I'm a psychotherapist, I'm intrigued by what goes on inside and outside. People not only suffer because of neurotic minds, but because of what people do to us when they abuse their power.

The family dramas, problems at work, or dysfunction in D.C. unnerve us. As Presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis, indelicately put it, "Fish rots from the head down." ...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 AM

October 8, 2009

Ya know what the best thing about not being a "cradle Catholic" is?

I have NEVER voted for anyone named Kennedy!!!!!

TED KENNEDY: "I SLEPT WITH OVER A THOUSAND WOMEN" —National Enquirer:

Ted Kennedy slept with more than a thousand women — and spent at least $10 million in hush money over the years to keep his skirt-chasing a secret!

The late senator made those sensational confessions in a chapter of his autobiography, but horrified family members and advisers cut them out.

Before he died of brain cancer at age 77 on Aug. 25, the womanizing politician also revealed that he planned to seduce Mary Jo Kopechne on the night she drowned, said a close source.

"While dictating his memoirs into a tape recorder, Ted decided to tell the whole truth about his life - including his love life. He said that his first lover was an Irish nanny. She was about 19, and Ted was only 13," the source divulged....

Perhaps even creepier than the fact that Catholics vote for those animals is that "feminists" do. Yechhh.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:49 PM

Straight Talk - Mark Steyn - The Corner on National Review Online

Mark Steyn, on the idea that gays have no complaint with Obama, since he said up-front that he was against gay marriage...

...I think Veronique's overlooking a central reality of contemporary electoral politics: Democrats win by pretending to be to the right of who they really are. Their base understands and accepts this. Thus, when Democrat candidates profess to believe that "marriage is between a man and a woman" or to be "personally passionately opposed to abortion" or even to favor "the good war" in Afghanistan and if necessary invade Pakistan, their base hears this as a necessary rhetorical genuflection to the knuckledragging masses but one that will be conveniently discarded on the first day in office.

On balance, this seems a healthier reaction than falling like schoolgirls for the candidate's "centrism", "fiscal responsibility", "post-partisan temperament" and other hooey like certain conservative thinkers we could mention.

Democrats assume that Dem politicians are lying. But that's a dangerous place to be in. A little like living in a totalitarian state; no one dares to tell the truth, so nothing can be trusted. Most of the time they more-or-less know where they are, but it's pretty clear that with Obama a lot of different groups were assuming that he was "one of them." But you can't ask!

Posted by John Weidner at 5:37 PM

Cult kids killing spree shocks Oz....

My daughter sent me this....

"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again."
-- Marin County newspaper's TV listing for "The Wizard of Oz"
Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 AM

You would think people would be happy to hear this...

Antarctica's ice story has been put on ice — Watts Up With That?:

Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?

The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history.

Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:
A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008—2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980—2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008—2009 melt season.
The silence surrounding this publication was deafening.

It would seem that with oft-stoked fears of a disastrous sea level rise coming this century any news that perhaps some signs may not be pointing to its imminent arrival would be greeted by a huge sigh of relief from all inhabitants of earth (not only the low-lying ones, but also the high-living ones, respectively under threat from rising seas or rising energy costs).

But not a peep...

Allie in Antartica

(The picture is of a good friend of the Weidners, Allie Barden. And yes, she is in Antarctica, and yes, it is cold. Read more here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 AM

October 7, 2009

"like having Homer Simpson giving you diet advice"

I have neither the time nor the stomach for giving well-deserved kicks to the egregious Paul Krugman, but Bookworm has done a nice job with the latest...

...As it is, hearing preaching about politeness from Krugman is like having Homer Simpson giving you diet advice — it doesn't sit well, considering the source. During the past administration, when Krugman might have put his personal prejudices aside to advance his country's interests his whole focus was on denigrating the president, personally and politically, often in the crudest, most insulting terms. In just one year alone, we got things like this:
Posted by John Weidner at 4:57 PM

October 6, 2009

A march of a thousand miles begins with...

I was thinking about the Obamanoids dressing their tame doctors up in identical white doctor suits to make a photo op... and just then I encountered this...

I wish I had the skills to computer-animate marching armies like they do in the movies, with Imperial storm troopers, Orcs, etc, . Doctors goose-stepping past the giant posters of The One would be very funny. Especially the corps of psychiatrists with identical beards and tweed jackets...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:21 PM

"Democrats do not understand conservatives..."

Palin Goes Rogue — Nikitas3's blog:


...Going Rogue is a perfect title for Palin. She is the wild card that the Democrats have tried to snuff out, but who seems only to get stronger with every attack. Sure she made a few mistakes in the campaign, but they were much less worse than Obama or Biden.

And over the next few years, she will grow and prosper because Democrats do not understand conservatives. They think conservatives are like them... weak, insecure and dependent on media coronation....


Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

A violation of trust....

Glenn links to a post on the death of Gourmet. Al Dente: Gourmet Magazine's Legacy of Good Living:

I'm rarely at a loss for words. I don't know where to start on this one. Like many of you, I received news that Gourmet magazine is closing its doors, and the November issue will be its last. Having worked at Gourmet right out of college between 1989 and 1995, Gourmet is near and dear to my heart. It's part of my soul....

Well, Charlene subscribed for probably decades, and stopped a few years ago when little Lefty comments and jabs started appearing among the truffles. She says it's too bad, because it was for many years a great magazine. (And it wasn't just about haute cuisine; there were lots of articles on the delights of ordinary fare, such as how to make great hamburgers at the Fourth of July picnic.)

This was yet another example of violation of "Safe Zones," which Jay Nordlinger has been writing about. [And more on Safe Zones.]

(I'm sure that's not the main reason why they are folding; most Gourmet Magazine types are probably liberal. But I bet they lost a few more subscriptions than ours.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

October 4, 2009

No plan, just wishful thinking...

No Master Plan at All, by Jennifer Rubin...

...Could it be that there is less to Obama and his team of geniuses than we were led to believe? Maybe Obama's domestic and foreign-policy agenda is all based on wishful thinking: a cost-neutral health-care plan will emerge from Congress, talks with Iran will produce results, sweet-talking the Russian bear will pan out, there is some magic pill to achieve victory in Afghanistan that has escaped the nation's leading counterinsurgency gurus, and private-sector jobs will return despite the anti-employer policies flowing from Washington.

Could it be that Obama is not, in fact, a sophisticated analyst and astute policy wonk but merely has led a charmed political life, benefiting from a series of inept opponents (think Alan Keyes, the snarling infighters in Hillaryland, and the McCain gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight), a sycophantic media, and an electorate willing to give him every benefit of the doubt? It might just be that neither he nor his advisers have thought through much of anything because they convinced themselves that they had the secret weapon, the gravity-defying political colossus. Obama could get away with doing seemingly inexplicable things (e.g., picking a fight with Israel over the nonstarter settlement freeze, backing the lunatic Manuel Zelaya, allowing the left wing in Congress to write his agenda) because this charismatic leader would inevitably defy the odds (not to mention public opinion, geopolitical realities, and common sense) and get results that mere mortal politicians could not.

The IOC rebuff may turn out to be Obama's man-behind-the-curtain moment, straight out of the Wizard of Oz. It may be that the whole Hope and Change routine has been little more than a lot of cheesy special effects—and a cynical game to convince the public that the great and powerful leader really is worthy of awe.

Flaily, flaily. Poor Obama's never faced a stiff political fight in his life. (Or held a real job.) He's the ultimate poster-boy for the spiritual evil of Affirmative Action, which was designed by "liberals" to destroy the souls of blacks and other favored minorities, and keep them addicted to big government and the blood-suckers of the Dem Party.

Don't look back, Barry. Somebody somebody might be gaining on ya. Somebody who can shoot straight...

Sara Palin with dead caribou

Posted by John Weidner at 5:09 PM

"An entirely new kind of barbarism"

Thaddeus J. Kozinski:

...One of the most astute "sign readers" of today is the reigning Pope. Here is one of Benedict XVI's most startling yet accurate readings: "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goals one's own ego and one's own desires." If I might put it into less philosophical terms, what the Holy Father is telling us is that Western culture is descending into barbarism.

We tend to associate barbarism with images of primitive savages looting and pillaging villages, razing the walls of cities, and enslaving women and children. However, the Holy Father is suggesting here an entirely new kind of barbarism, one with a distinctly spiritual character. Civility is the quality of soul and society by which we recognize not only that other people exist, but also that they have the right to our courtesy, dignity, and respect. Civilization, then, as the opposite of barbarism, is founded upon the recognition of the dignity and rights of the other. Thus, a culture in which "the highest goals [are] one's ego and one's own desires" is the very definition of barbaric.

G.K. Chesterton notes, "The simple sense of wonder at the shapes of things, and at their exuberant independence of our intellectual standards and our trivial definitions, is the basis of spirituality." Today's barbarism is of a distinctly spiritual nature. It is not so much a physical as a philosophical barbarism that has overtaken Western culture, a barbarism of the soul that is camouflaged by a quite "civilized" bodily façade. Fr John Courtney Murray observed:
The barbarian need not appear in bearskins with a club in hand. He may wear a Brooks Brothers suit and carry a ball-point pen with which to write his advertising copy. In fact, even beneath the academic gown there may lurk a child of the wilderness, untutored in the high tradition of civility, who goes busily and happily about his work, a domesticated and law-abiding man, engaged in the construction of a philosophy to put an end to all philosophy, and thus put an end to the possibility of a vital consensus and to civility itself.
The most dangerous philosophical barbarians today are not the relatively few fanatical atheists and dogmatic relativists in academe, the courts, the government, and the media, but the much more prevalent "practically minded" sort. These do not deny the existence of other people, but live as if they didn't exist or had no worth compared to their own; they are not certain that God does not exist, or that the true, the good and the beautiful are illusions; yet if He did happen to exist, and if transcendentals were real, it wouldn't really matter much to their lives....

There's nothing quite so horrid and absurd as those of the "practically minded" type. They can't find answers, because it never occurs to their bland complacency that there might be a question! Lordy, lordy, what's be done? Give me an up-front atheist any day. At least there's something to get your teeth into, or to fight against, instead of punching the Pillsbury doughboy. Same goes for politics. I'd value an old-fashioned Communist infinitely over today's Peace n' Mush fake liberals and fake pacifists.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:24 AM

October 3, 2009

Who does he think he is? FDR?

Obama poster

John at Power Line posts this excerpt from an Obama radio address...

As we move forward in the coming weeks, I understand that members of Congress from both parties will want to engage in a vigorous debate and contribute their own ideas. And I welcome those contributions. I welcome any sincere attempts to improve legislation before it reaches my desk. But what I will not accept are attempts to stall, or drag our feet. I will not accept partisan efforts to block reform at any cost....

Is this just stream-of-consciousness rubbish, or does he actually think he can "not accept" opposition? What's he gonna do? Maybe he believes all the rubbish the press puts out about his messianic superlativeness. It didn't impress the IOC much!

There have possibly been great American presidents who cold, on rare occasions, make demands like that and be taken seriously. But this is like some punk would-be gangster threatening that people will "sleep with the fishes," when he's never actually killed anybody! Ha ha.

Whatever, please keep it up, Barry!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:23 PM

The broad cloak of Herakles...

OCTOBER

~ Elinor Wylie

Beauty has a tarnished dress,
And a patchwork cloak of cloth
Dipped deep in mournfulness,
Striped like a moth.

Wet grass where it trails
Dyes it green along the hem;
She has seven silver veils
With cracked bells on them.

She is tired of all these--
Grey gauze, translucent lawn;
The broad cloak of Herakles.
Is tangled flame and fawn.

Water and light are wearing thin:
She has drawn above her head
The warm enormous lion skin
Rough red and gold.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:45 PM

Never again.

Charlene recommends this piece by Robin of Berkeley in American Thinker, Sympathy for the Devil. It's very much a "read the whole thing" thing. But I will quote a line that struck me...

...We have a man who has been privileged with the greatest honor, the Presidency, and what does he do? Does he demonstrate an ounce of gratitude or humility?

No, he betrays us in the most profound way possible: by not protecting and defending us....

And defending us means defending Israel. Israel is part of us. Part of our DNA, as Spengler put it. A sibling, in a way no other country is. An almost invariable marker of the sickness of Leftism is ice-heartedness towards both America and Israel.

Thanks to Roger Simon for these...

And this...

AFP: Israel gets two more German submarines:

...JERUSALEM — Israel has taken delivery of two German submarines ordered four years ago, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We have received two Dolphin-class submarines built in Germany," he said, on condition of anonymity. The submarines, called U212s, can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads, although when it confirmed the sale in 2006 the German government said the two vessels were not equipped to carry nuclear weapons. The subs were ordered in 2005 and delivery was initially expected in 2010.

Including the two new ones, Israel has five German submarines -- the most expensive weapon platforms in Israel's arsenal.

Germany, which believes it has a historic responsibility to help Israel because of the mass murder of Jews in World War II, donated the first two submarines after the 1991 Gulf War....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 AM

October 2, 2009

It'll be Bush's fault...

That's what Charlene said as we were driving this morning listening to Rush talk about Obama's wipe-out in Copenhagen. What a debacle!

It's really the fault of the Gasping Media. They've been repeating their garbage about Obama having "amazing powers of persuasion" since 2004. And the poor boobie has apparently believed it, even though he's never actually persuaded anyone to do anything they didn't want to do anyway.

Rush thinks this will be one of those defining moments of weakness, like Dukakis in the tank, or Jimmy Carter and the killer-rabbit....

Rush Limbaugh: Better He Should Fail

* Update: Charlene ahead of the crowd...

Top 10 Reasons Chicago Didn't Get the Olympics - Rich Lowry - The Corner on National Review Online:

An e-mail:

10. Dead people can't vote at IOC meetings
9. Obama distracted by 25 min meeting with Gen. McChrystal
8. Who cares if Obama couldn't talk the IOC into Chicago? He'll be able to talk Iran out of nukes.
7. The impediment is Israel still building settlements.
6. Obviously no president would have been able to acomplish it.
5. We've been quite clear and said all along that we didn't want the Olympics.
4. This isn't about the number of Olympics "lost", it's about the number of Olympics "saved" or "created".
3. Clearly not enough wise Latina judges on the committee
2. Because the IOC is racist.
1. It's George Bush's fault.
Posted by John Weidner at 10:16 AM

October 1, 2009

It works, it helps kids... and the Left is against it. Surprise, surprise.

Profit is the key to success in 'Swedish schools' | The Spectator:

Anders Hultin, an architect of the Swedish government's voucher system, says the Tories' plan to emulate it will fail unless they encourage a new breed of education entrepreneurs

For us Swedes, it is gratifying to see David Cameron put our free schools model at the heart of his reform agenda. He has chosen well. In a few short years, the voucher system has transformed education in Sweden and led to the creation of almost a thousand new schools. But the Conservative leader has failed to grasp a key aspect of their success. To flourish, these schools must be allowed to make a profit.

This isn't just one of a long list of pessimistic predictions — it's the only crucial criticism; he can ignore the rest. The doubts I hear about school choice in England now are the same ones I heard when I helped draft the policy as an adviser in the Swedish education and science department in 1992. Who on earth, we were asked, would want to set up their own school? Surely low-income parents don't want choice — they just want their local school to improve. Our political opponents thought the policy such a dud they didn't even bother to attack it. Even we had our doubts. Our proposal was fairly simple: anyone could set up a school, and be paid the going rate (or, at the time, a bit less) that the state-run schools were receiving. But in our heart of hearts, we did not expect a rush of applicants. This is a symbolic policy, I was told by a colleague. It was in our manifesto, so we had to honour it.

Isn't it strange how little faith government places in the people whose lives it seeks to organise? Once we put our 'symbolic' policy into practice, and handed power from government to communities, the effect was extraordinary. A thousand flowers bloomed. Or, more accurately, the number of independent schools grew from 80 to 1,100 — educating 10 per cent of all pupils at the compulsory education age and 20 per cent of those in upper secondary. The drive and energy came from outside government: we in the education department just paid the bills. This, perhaps, explains the success: it was a grassroots-led revolution. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 3:23 PM