December 31, 2010

Cheers to you all...

old Happy New Year card

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 PM

December 30, 2010

Christians in combat...

A lot of bloggers have been taking apart this stupid and shabby op-ed from the WaPo, Colman McCarthy - 'Don't ask, don't tell' has been repealed. ROTC still shouldn't be on campus. (Here's VDH)

I will merely touch one point, which no one else has seemed to mention...

...When I suggested that Notre Dame's hosting of ROTC was a large negative among the school's many positives, Hesburgh disagreed. Notre Dame was a model of patriotism, he said, by training future officers who were churchgoers, who had taken courses in ethics, and who loved God and country. Notre Dame's ROTC program was a way to "Christianize the military," he stated firmly.

I asked if he actually believed there could be a Christian method of slaughtering people in combat, or a Christian way of firebombing cities, or a way to kill civilians in the name of Jesus. Did he think that if enough Notre Dame graduates became soldiers that the military would eventually embrace Christ's teaching of loving one's enemies?

The interview quickly slid downhill....

As a president of a great university, Hesburgh should have been intellectually able to reply "YES, there is a Christian method of slaughtering people in combat." (Or at least have replied that there are arguments one can make--even if he did not personally hold them.)

So I will fill in the blanks. Let us ignore the fascinating question of Just War Doctrine and assume that diplomacy has failed and the war has already been started. And that it is generally accepted that this particular war is necessary, and is being waged against an unjust regime.

What might we see Christian forces doing in combat? I'd suggest...

  1. Following the laws of war as much as possible.
  2. Using the smallest amount of deadly force practicable.
  3. Being willing to sacrifice themselves when it will limit the destruction of war.
  4. Being willing to forgive enemy forces as soon as combat stops, and if possible, to welcome them back to friendly relations.
  5. Winning the war decisively, so as to make future wars less likely. (This, paradoxically, may over-ride #2)
  6. Working to restore a defeated nation to health.
So, let's apply these points to some recent conflict, and see how they fit. I'll just take out my Magic 8 Ball and turn it over and see what floats up. Ah ha. The American Coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003. Classic! (I personally would call this a campaign, not a war. But never mind.) Read on if you are curious...

(Note: All the following points cold be expanded into essays if needed. This is a quickie post, but I've been blogging on such things since 2001. I have the information to back this up.)

1. The basic purpose of the Geneva conventions and other war laws is to keep war away from civilians. For instance one may not use schools or hospitals as firing points, fight in civilian clothes, transport arms in ambulances, explode bombs in marketplaces or police stations...stuff like that. Hmm. I'd say the Yankees look good on that score, and their opponents are clearly a mob of war criminals. (Link)

2. Using the least force possible.That describes the American military to a "T," though our vile press doesn't report this. For instance America's ordinary cannon artillery gathered dust in Iraq--too destructive. The US Army rushed to develop very small and precise guns--with shells weighing only 50lbs! (Link) America also deployed bombs with no explosive at all! There are many other examples that could be mentioned.

3. Self-sacrifice to save lives. The perfect example is the Second Battle of Falluja. The US forces could easily have just flattened that nasty city. But many civilians would have been killed along with the terrorists. So Falluja was conquered in brutal house-to-house fighting. (Link)

4. Being willing to forgive enemy forces. Well, Americans have always done that. And a good example is the way American forces cooperated with the Sunni tribesman during the "Surge." In 2007 American forces were patrolling side-by-side with guys they knew perfectly well had been killing Americans in 2006.

5. Winning the war decisively. This may seem counter-intuitive. But the classic example of the other way is the Armistice that ended WWI. It was just a sort of cease-fire, without a clear recognition the Germany has lost, and should surrender. The armistice was the basis of Hitler's rise, since he could claim that Germany had never really lost, but had been "stabbed in the back." The result... World War II.

In the case of Iraq, the Americans and their allies persisted in the face of great difficulties, and in the end no one could doubt that al-Qaeda and the Ba'athists had been crushed beyond any hope of a re-match in Iraq. This is true pacifism; not the fake kind that encourages future wars.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 PM

December 27, 2010

Political correctness lowers your effective IQ...

Re-posting of a important point...

From a good piece by Steve Sailor (Thanks to Kathy Shaidle)

...The idea that it is diversity (the researchers used the census’s standard racial categories to define diversity) that drives social capital down has its critics. Among them is Steven Durlauf, an economist at the University of Wisconsin and a critic of Putnam’s past work, who said he thinks some other characteristic, as yet unidentified, explains the lowered trust and social withdrawal of people living in diverse areas. But without clear evidence to the contrary, Putnam says, he has to believe the conclusion is solid.
Many decades ago, I used to run into Steve Durlauf of Burbank H.S. all the time at high school speech and debate tournaments, where he would beat me like a drum. I wasn't terribly good at forensics because I'm not that orally fluent, but even at what I was good at, Durlauf was much better. I don't know if he was the most successful debater in Southern California of his era, but he's the one who most deserved to be. He's just a lot smarter than me. And he's a nice guy, too.

So, why does Prof. Durlauf come out sounding kind of dim on this topic compared to me? Because political correctness lowers your effective IQ. Truths are connected to other truths, so if you are willing to follow the truth wherever it goes, you'll make a lot more progress than if you put up big "Can't Go There" signs in your own head.

"Political correctness lowers your effective IQ." The funny thing is, we see this all the time. But we are so accustomed to the blurred thinking that we usually don't notice it. A good example is the use of the word "diversity" itself. After the Bakke Decision, the word "diversity" was adopted as a code word for racial quotas. That's what the word means in contemporary discourse. As a parent of three children, I see it all the time, in the various pronouncements we get from schools. If your school hires a "diversity coordinator," it means somebody who is going to find more blacks or Hispanics. That's ALL it means.

And everybody knows it, but I've yet to see the slightest evidence of anyone being conscious of the obvious duplicity of what they are saying. People seem to absorb the politically correct speech forms out of the air, without the slightest morsel of critical thought. And once you start on that path, it becomes more and more dangerous to start examining your ideas, because there is a whole structure of thought that might come crashing down. So you put the "Can't Go There" signs up.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:35 PM

"There are two reasons: secularism and socialism (aka the welfare state)."

RealClearPolitics - Vitality Has Been Sucked Out of European Society:

...Outside of politics, sports, and popular entertainment, how many living Germans, or French, or Austrians, or even Brits can you name?

Even well-informed people who love art and literature and who follow developments in science and medicine would be hard pressed to come up with many, more often any, names. In terms of greatness in literature, art, music, the sciences, philosophy, and medical breakthroughs, Europe has virtually fallen off the radar screen.

This is particularly meaningful given how different the answer would have been had you asked anyone the same question between just 80 and 120 years ago...


...What has happened is that Europe, with a few exceptions, has lost its creativity, intellectual excitement, industrial innovation, and risk taking. Europe's creative energy has been sapped. There are many lovely Europeans; but there aren't many creative, dynamic, or entrepreneurial ones.

The issues that preoccupy most Europeans are overwhelmingly material ones: How many hours per week will I have to work? How much annual vacation time will I have? How many social benefits can I preserve (or increase)? How can my country avoid fighting against anyone or for anyone?

Why has this happened?

There are two reasons: secularism and socialism (aka the welfare state).

Either one alone sucks much of the life out of society. Together they are likely to be lethal....

If anyone out there doesn't like the term "lethal," feel free to make a counter-argument. Betcha can't, cowards.

Myself, I think that "secularism and socialism" are really surface manifestations of the real problem, which is nihilism. Nobody believes in secularism or socialism, no one will fight for them anymore. It is absurd to even imagine some Belgian or Spaniard fighting for........ anything! It don't happen. So they are dead. The corpse staggers along for a few more years, but its dead.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:41 PM

December 26, 2010

The Constitution ... must be "Darwinian"

This was written back in 2004. I recently found it in my odds and ends box...

The Claremont Institute - Defending Thomas:

...Savvy liberals like Reid are right to be more concerned with Thomas than Scalia because Thomas' natural-law jurisprudence represents the greatest threat to the liberal desire to replace limited, constitutional government with a regulatory-welfare state of unlimited powers.

Thomas is one of the few jurists today, conservative or otherwise, who understand and defend the principle that our rights come not from government but from a "Creator" and "the laws of nature and of nature's God," as our Declaration of Independence says, and that the purpose and power of government should therefore be limited to protecting our natural, God-given rights.

The left understands that if it is to succeed, these principles of constitutional government must be jettisoned, or at least redefined. Thomas' recourse not only to the text of the Constitution but specifically to the founders' natural-law defense of constitutional government is fatal to liberalism's goal.

The most sophisticated and enduring critique of U.S. constitutional government was first made by Progressive-era liberals at the turn of the 20th century. Their main charge was that the Constitution was old and outdated and therefore irrelevant to modern times and modern problems. Woodrow Wilson, for example, insisted that unlike the physical universe, the political universe contains no immutable principles or laws. "Government ... is a living thing ... accountable to Darwin," explained Wilson. The Constitution, therefore, must be "Darwinian" as well—it too must grow and evolve.
From the liberal view, liberty cannot be a natural right, protected by a government of limited powers, because there are no natural rights. As liberal political scientist Charles Merriam explained in 1920, the "natural law and natural rights" of the founders had been discarded by intellectuals "with practical unanimity." Instead, "the state ... is the creator of liberty."

Bigger government means more liberty, not less. "It is denied," Merriam concluded, "that any limit can be set to governmental activity," and therefore the Constitution's original intent, which limited government power, "no longer seems sufficient."

The liberal critique of the Constitution has been repeated so long and with such intensity that it has become orthodoxy in our law schools, courtrooms and legislative halls. By 1986, liberal Justice William Brennan could easily dismiss the Constitution out of hand because it belonged "to a world that is dead and gone."

Before Anita Hill took the spotlight, the most controversial part of Thomas' confirmation hearings in 1991 stemmed from allegations that he had invoked the n-word—the natural law. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee hardly knew how to respond, so alien was the founders' vocabulary. Perhaps this is why Reid finds Thomas' opinions "poorly written."

A generation of law students and politicians has been trained in "legal realism," which is nothing but liberal contempt for the Constitution dressed in academic garb. For liberals who believe rights come from and can be revoked by government and judges, a high court justice talking about natural rights is an embarrassment.

The size, scope and purposes of our government are no longer anchored in and limited by our Constitution. For conservatives who want to restore limited government, their first order of business is to restore the authority of the Constitution's original intent. The American people need to be reminded of the source of their rights and persuaded that limited government is good; that the principles of the Constitution—which are the natural-law principles of the Declaration of Independence—are timeless, not time-bound; that without those principles, the noble ends set forth in the Constitution's preamble can never be achieved.

Of the current Supreme Court justices, only Thomas has offered a defense of the natural-law principles of the Constitution, a defense that nearly cost him a seat on the court and continues to elicit the kind of disdain recently voiced by Reid. Conservatives should unite behind Justice Thomas and defend his natural-law jurisprudence because nothing less will resuscitate the Constitution they hope to save....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 PM

....God's sign is simplicity.

....God's sign is simplicity. God's sign is the baby. God's sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away our fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts and his will — we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love. God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him.

The Fathers of the Church, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament, found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that Paul also quotes in order to show how God's new ways had already been foretold in the Old Testament. There we read: "God made his Word short, he abbreviated it" (Is 10:23; Rom 9:28). The Fathers interpreted this in two ways. The Son himself is the Word, the Logos; the eternal Word became small — small enough to fit into a manger. He became a child, so that the Word could be grasped by us...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:00 PM

Off into cloud-cuckoo-land...

snowy bear

The green hijack of the Met Office is crippling Britain - Telegraph:

...The reason why the Met Office gets its forecasts so hopelessly wrong is that they are based on those same computer models on which the IPCC itself relies to predict the world’s climate in 100 years time. They are programmed on the assumption that, as CO2 rises, so temperatures must inexorably follow. For 17 years this seemed plausible, because the world did appear to be getting warmer. We all became familiar with those warmer winters and earlier springs, which the warmists were quick to exploit to promote their message – as when Dr David Viner of the CRU famously predicted to The Independent in 2000 that "within a few years winter snowfall will be a very rare and exciting event". (Last week, that article from 10 years ago was the most viewed item on The Independent’s website.)

But in 2007, the computer models got caught out, failing to predict a temporary plunge in global temperatures of 0.7C, more than the net warming of the 20th century. Much of the northern hemisphere suffered what was called in North America "the winter from hell". Even though temperatures did rise again, in the winter of 2008/9 this happened again, only worse.

The Met Office simply went into denial. Its senior climate change official, Peter Stott, said in March 2009 that the trend towards milder winters was likely to continue. There would not be another winter like 1962/3 "for 1,000 years or more". Last winter was colder still. And now we have another even more savage "random event", for which we are even less prepared. (The Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed last week that councils have actually ordered less salt this winter than last.)

The consequences of all this are profound. Those who rule over our lives have been carried off into a cloud-cuckoo-land for which no one was more responsible than the zealots at the Met Office, subordinating all it does to their dotty belief system. Significantly, its chairman, Robert Napier, is not a weatherman but a "climate activist", previously head of WWF-UK, one of our leading warmist campaigning groups....

The thing you have to remember about computer models is that they are tweaked. The climate scientist works for years constructing a vastly complex computer model of the earth. Then he runs the model, and gets clearly wrong results. So he adjusts it—nudges it—until it produces results that make sense.

But there's a lot that's subjective in the process. If you believe that increasing CO2 will warm the earth, if your politics hungers for the power grabs that are presaged on this, if all your acquaintances will like you more if you produce a certain result... and if grants and acclaim will flow to you if you produce certain results...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM

December 25, 2010

The Battle of Pittsburg Landing...

Word Note logo

This is something I wrote long ago. Someone had expressed disappointment upon discovering that the Wright Brothers had in fact flown not at Kitty Hawk, but at nearby Kill Devil Hill...

Names are part of the poetry of history. It's worth a bit of historical inaccuracy to get a name that rings in the mind.

What if the Battle of Waterloo had been called the Battle of Hougemont? Or Shiloh called The Battle of Pittsburg Landing? Ugh. Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill, but which is the better name?

Kitty Hawk is a splendid name, so it was the correct one to use. Nothing's really lost, because anyone who is interested in the subject soon learns about Kill Devil Hill.

And since I'm on the subject of battle-names, the American defeat at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia should really have been called Sidi Bou Zid. Thank goodness somebody wasn't pedantic!

And I didn't mean that the names Waterloo or Shiloh were inaccurate. But the names were chosen from several possibilities, and probably because they were noble-sounding. For the happy few who still love history, hearing the word Shiloh immediately fills the mind with profound reflections; of bloodshed on a scale until then unknown, of courage and sacrifice, of the greatness of Ulysses Grant, and of a frontier faith that named a log-cabin church in the woods after a village in Palestine. And to think that it could just as easily been called The Battle of Owl Creek.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:11 PM

Everyone must pay their fair share...

Matthew Hoy: The Next Individual Mandate:

The Obama administration today announced plans to require all Americans to purchase automobile insurance or pay a fine.

"For too long, passengers, pedestrians and people taking public transportation have been able to take a free ride on drivers across the country, driving up insurance premiums for everyone – this must change," announced President Barack Obama at a news conference as Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius stood at his side.

The Obama administration said that all Americans – including those that do not or cannot drive – must carry automobile insurance under the proposed law.

Sebelius told reporters that passengers, pedestrians and those who take public transportation must have the new insurance coverage to pay for any accidents that may occur.

"If someone is walking on the sidewalk and they're hit by a car, the responsibility cannot lie solely with the car's driver. If the pedestrian wasn't there in the first place, they wouldn't have been hit," Sebelius said.

Holder also said the legislation would reduce lawsuits, because all accident victims would have their own insurance, and wouldn't need to resort to suing others....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:49 PM

December 24, 2010

Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined...

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.

Thou hast multiplied the nation,
thou hast increased its joy;
they rejoice before thee
as with joy at the harvest,
as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
thou hast broken as on the day of Mid'ian.

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called
"Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom,
to establish it, and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and for evermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Merry Christmas to you all, from the Weidners!

Posted by John Weidner at 5:44 PM

December 22, 2010

A little Christmas info for your files. (re-posted)

If some black-hearted secularist ever hits you with that old chestnut about Christmas being celebrated on December 25 because it was a Christian take-over of pagan solstice celebrations, or some such... well, there's not a shred of historical evidence for it. However, there IS good reason to believe in an entirely different explanation...

How December 25 Became Christmas - Biblical Archaeology Review:

...Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus died was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar. March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus' conception. Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.

This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: "Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered." Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus' birth to the winter solstice.

Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: "For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th."

In the East, too, the dates of Jesus' conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus' conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, "The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world." Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.

Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus' birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6)....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:19 PM

December 21, 2010

Todays snippet...

Victor Davis Hanson:

I think the American people are not only scared of collective state and national debt, but sick of it as well. I mean by that abhorrence in the psychological sense—of reading that their governments are broke, of seeing public fraud and waste daily, of realizing that as they pay down their own private debts after 2007, so too they believe their governments could as well. Solvency has now become a matter of national pride....

Amen, brother!

Posted by John Weidner at 10:18 PM

Chesterton on poetry...

The man who wishes to feed on mahogany — The Hebdomadal Chesterton:

...Poetry deals with primal and conventional things — the hunger for bread, the love of woman, the love of children, the desire for immortal life. If men really had new sentiments, poetry could not deal with them. If, let us say, a man did not feel a bitter craving to eat bread; but did, by way of substitute, feel a fresh, original craving to eat brass fenders or mahogany tables, poetry could not express him. If a man, instead of falling in love with a woman, fell in love with a fossil or a sea anemone, poetry could not express him. Poetry can only express what is original in one sense — the sense in which we speak of original sin. It is original, not in the paltry sense of being new, but in the deeper sense of being old; it is original in the sense that it deals with origins.

    — Robert Browning (1903)....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:18 PM

December 20, 2010

"By fraud, or by force"

Charlene recommends this, by an American diplomat who was dealing with Moslem terrorists more than 200 years ago. One should repeat this sort of thing often, not just because they are true, but also because we should fight against the creeping insanity of prohibiting criticism of Islam under the guise of "political correctness."

From The Social Contract...
John Quincy Adams on Islam:

In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, [ Editor's Note: Mohammed] combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion.

He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE [capitals in original].

Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus...

The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:10 AM

We've heard this before...

Connecticut for Sarah Palin discovers that Mr Krauthammer's recent sneering dismissals of Governor Palin sound an awful lot like his sneering dismissals of an even greater figure...

From the book Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader by Dinesh D'Souza

...2. Krauthammer's Opinion. page 185

Reagan's reasons for changing his mind about Gorbachev were "ignorant and pathetic" columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote. He added that no one should be surprised that Reagan had lost his head because "it was never weighted down with too many ideas to begin with."...


Posted by John Weidner at 7:04 AM

December 18, 2010

What though you tread the roads of Hell, Your Captain these same ways has trod...


Ambassador of Christ you go
Up to the very gates of Hell ,
Through fog of powder, storm of shell,
To speak your Master's message: "Lo,
The Prince of Peace is with you still,
His peace be with you, His good-will."

It is not small, your priesthood's price.
To be a man and yet stand by,
To hold your life while others die,
To bless, not share the sacrifice,
To watch the strife and take no part—
You with the fire at your heart.

But yours, for our great Captain Christ,
To know the sweat of agony,
The darkness of Gethsemane,
In anguish for these souls unpriced.
Vicegerent of God's pity you,
A sword must pierce your own soul through.

In the pale gleam of new-born day,
Apart in some tree-shadowed place,
Your altar but a packing-case,
Rude as the shed where Mary lay,
Your sanctuary the rain-drenched sod,
You bring the kneeling soldier God.

As sentinel you guard the gate
'Twixt life and death, and unto death
Speed the brave soul whose failing breath
Shudders not at the grip of Fate,
But answers, gallant to the end,
"Christ is the Word—and I his friend."

Then God go with you, priest of God,
For all is well and shall be well.
What though you tread the roads of Hell,
Your Captain these same ways has trod.
Above the anguish and the loss
Still floats the ensign of His Cross.

      -- Winifred Mary Letts
Posted by John Weidner at 6:11 PM

Just having a bit of fun...

...fisking lefty absurdities. Feel free to ignore this...

Nothing like a Republican yarn:

As David M. Ricci shows in Why Conservatives Tell Stories and Liberals Don't: Rhetoric, Faith, and Vision on the American Right recently released by Paradigm, the Republicans have a knack for storytelling that seems to elude Democrats. Here, Ricci, a professor of political science and American studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explains that the cause may lie in the different political philosophies of the left and the right. [I've been blogging since November-2001, and waiting that long for a liberal to say what his political philosophy actually is. Will this be my lucky day?]

Democrats lost heavily in the midterm elections partly because they told no shared story. [So that means they had a story in 2006 and 2008? Ha.] Before the debacle, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times complained: "The thing that baffles me about Mr. Obama is how a politician who speaks so well, and is trying to do so many worthy things, can't come up with a clear, simple, repeatable narrative to explain his politics." [Cuz Alynsky-ism consists of living a lie, and not revealing your Marxist politics.] On Election Day, Roger Cohen was similarly annoyed: "Like many at midterm," he wrote, "I'm struggling with my disappointment... Back and forth go the voices... There's no narrative to the presidency." [There is a narrative, but alas for Dems it's pro-American. It goes: President of USA loves our country and is humbly proud to be a servant of the greatest nation on Earth.]

The missing story was crucial because narratives help citizens to decide what is or isn't important while Digital Age sources flood everyone with information and images. [When Dems are losing then you discover the people are bewildered.] Consequently, if one party campaigns with a narrative and the other does not, it is as if the two are running a horse race in which one side has no nag. [You Dems gotta great story: America weak, government strong. Say it proudly, baby.]

Right-wing talk about poverty, taxes, race, ecology, feminism, families, crime, education, multiculturalism – you name it – leads to a storytelling gap between Republicans and Democrats. Right-wing grievances, which Republicans assert repeatedly, add up to a grand narrative about, say, Judeo-Christian ethics, capitalist efficiency and governmental tyranny. [So Dems, put forthr your counter-narrative. You're anti-Christian, anti-Capitalist, pro big gov. Sounds snappy to me!]
Meanwhile, Democrats may tell small stories that illuminate various policy issues. But left-wing people do not all tell the same tales, and the ones they do tell neither reinforce one another nor project a shared vision of where America is and what they propose to do about it. [The secret to being liars is to coordinate your story ahead of time]

The result, according to psychologist Drew Westen in "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation " (2007), is that "every Democrat who even talks with friends at the water cooler, has to reinvent what it means to be a Democrat, using his or her own words and concepts." [Just say you're doing it for the children.]

Democrats aren't necessarily incompetent because they fail to compose a signature narrative. Rather, liberalism is intrinsically opposed to storytelling, and there's the rub. [Because liberalism has become nihilism, and you have nothing to say.]

Since the Enlightenment, liberals have -- in the largest sense -- evoked science, theory, and facts to release citizens from many traditional restraints, whereas conservatives have -- generally speaking -- promoted traditional truths they regard as fostering decency and stability in American life. [Then why do you get upset when Republicans point out that you want to "release citizens from many traditional restraints?" Is there something wrong with being hippies?]

In this division of labor, science seeks not stories but data and experiments, [If you really seek "data and experiments," why do you get upset when we point out that your economic experiments have uniformly failed?] whereas traditions are affirmed in familiar tales such as those retold by conservative think-tanker William Bennett in "The book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories" (1993). [So get busy and write The Book of Immoral Stories.]

These points are not merely academic. America's leading liberal today is Barack Obama, a president described by historian James Kloppenberg in "Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition " (2010) as inherently "pragmatic" and therefore, in Ricci's terms, so flexible that his national health law meanders over 2,300 pages and cannot be summed up intelligibly in Democratic stump speeches. [That's stupid. Obama had nothing to do with writing the law. It was written by lobbyists for Nancy Pelosi.]

This while conservatives over the years, such as Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Sarah Palin, collaborate on a rousing narrative that exalts American life via stirring tales such as "Creationism" and "The Free Market," neither of which can be verified decisively. [The Free Market can't be verified? Who knew? Maybe it's really weather balloons.]

An electoral payoff can emerge when storytelling mobilizes civic enthusiasm. [You do mobilize civic enthusiasm.. In Paris.] But some political stories have led people astray ever since Alcibiades in 415 B. C. persuaded the Athenian Assembly to launch a disastrous military expedition against Syracuse. [That's totally irrelevant. But I guess it gives you some fake academic-superiority glitz.] Similarly, Republicans would like everyone to forget, about how Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and their accomplices -- in pursuit of a "War on Terror" -- inspired America to invade Iraq to destroy WMDs that weren't there and bring democracy to Arabs who didn't want it. [On the contrary, we are PROUD of it. We overthrew a cruel fascist tyrant and brought freedom and democracy to his oppressed subjects. But... but...wait a minute. Isn't that a traditional liberal story?]

The country is still paying dearly for that story. [NO. we won a splendid victory over the terrorist slime-animals and the even-slimier liberal Democrats who are allied with them.]


Posted by John Weidner at 4:34 PM

December 17, 2010

Weird stuff goes into your watch-band...

TikTok+LunaTik Multi-Touch Watch Kits by Scott Wilson— Live from China: LunaTik Manufacturing — Kickstarter:

If you want to see some interesting technology, take a look at the video at the link. Especially the kneading of Silicone like pasta dough (About 5 minutes in). Hypnotically strange.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:03 PM

December 15, 2010

There never was a climate consensus...

car covered with icicles

Let's keep our cool in the battle over global warming — Irish Examiner:

...The talk about a "climate change consensus" never was a scientific consensus about climate change but at most was a political agreement to act and speak as if the major questions surrounding climate change had already been answered.

In reality, however, there are very few things on which the majority of climate scientists would readily agree apart from the fact that the world is warmer than it was 150 years ago — about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer; that we humans have released a lot of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the world population has grown; and that we are (to some debatable extent) responsible for global warming through increased energy and land use.

Everything else in the climate change debate is highly controversial. Has the climate of the past millennium always been colder than today or not? How much of an effect on the climate does atmospheric carbon dioxide have? Do rising carbon dioxide concentrations lead us to a point of no return? Or are there self-regulating mechanisms which will slow, halt, or even reverse the process? For each question one finds much disagreement among climatologists.

Such disagreement should be welcomed, for it is what science is all about....

"But at most was a political agreement to act and speak as if the major questions surrounding climate change had already been answered." another way to put that is that the world's political/media/academic elites have been living a lie.

This is also a good example of Thomas Sowell's dictum: The political left's favorite argument is that there is no argument.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:26 PM

December 13, 2010

"Human nature can be as easily reshaped as hot wax"

I liked this piece, Human Nature and Capitalism By Arthur C. Brooks and Peter Wehner. Not because it gives new ideas, but because it puts old ideas very clearly...

At the core of every social, political, and economic system is a picture of human nature (to paraphrase 20th-century columnist Walter Lippmann). The suppositions we begin with—the ways in which that picture is developed—determine the lives we lead, the institutions we build, and the civilizations we create. They are the foundation stone.

During the 18th century—a period that saw the advent of modern capitalism—there were several different currents of thought about the nature of the human person. Three models were particularly significant.

One model was that humans, while flawed, are perfectible. A second was that we are flawed, and fatally so; we need to accept and build our society around this unpleasant reality. A third view was that although human beings are flawed, we are capable of virtuous acts and self-government—that under the right circumstances, human nature can work to the advantage of the whole.

The first school included those who (representing the French Enlightenment) believed in man's perfectibility and the pre-eminence of scientific rationalism. Their plans were grandiose, utopian, and revolutionary, aiming at "the universal regeneration of mankind" and the creation of a "New Man."

Such notions, espoused by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and other Enlightenment philosophes, heavily influenced a later generation of socialist thinkers. These theorists—Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and Henri de Saint-Simon among them—believed that human nature can be as easily reshaped as hot wax. They considered human nature plastic and malleable, to the point that no fixed human nature existed to speak of; architects of a social system could, therefore, mold it into anything they imagined.

These theorists dreamed of a communal society, liberated from private property and free of human inequality. They articulated a theory of human nature and socioeconomic organization that eventually influenced capitalism's most famous and bitter critic: the German philosopher, economist, and revolutionary Karl Marx....

Read the whole piece for the other two views. You can probably guess where I align myself.

I recall that John Adams in his cranky post-Presidential years got into a long newspaper battle with Mercy Otis Warren over the meaning of the American Revolution. He was driven to fury by her assumption that America had somehow become a new society, freed from the corruptions of Europe. He was battling against the above view of human nature

On the same subject you might like this long-ago post of mine, on John Adams as blogger...
...The world-peace-through-fuzzy-leftist-thinking that drives today's warbloggers into a frenzy started back in John Adams' time. His was the age of the Philosophes; utopians who wanted to sweep away corrupt old institutions, thereby achieving a perfect society. What they got was the French Revolution, and Napoleon. (And Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot...) The thinking-style of the philosphes is still popular today, despite having killed hundreds of millions of people and failing utterly to achieve anything that could be labeled perfection.

Adams lived for two decades after his presidency. He spent much of his time in his library, reading and furiously arguing in the form of marginal comments in his books (I have a whole book of those scribbles: John Adams & the Prophets of Progress, by Zoltan Haraszti). A favorite target was Mary Wollstonecraft's History of the French Revolution...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 AM

December 12, 2010

"To persecute for a doctrine without even stating it"

Heretics by Gilbert Keith Chesterton: Ch. 1: Introductory Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy:

...And having discovered that opportunism does fail, I have been induced to look at it more largely, and in consequence to see that it must fail. I perceive that it is far more practical to begin at the beginning and discuss theories. I see that the men who killed each other about the orthodoxy of the Homoousion were far more sensible than the people who are quarreling about the Education Act.

For the Christian dogmatists were trying to establish a reign of holiness, and trying to get defined, first of all, what was really holy. But our modern educationists are trying to bring about a religious liberty without attempting to settle what is religion or what is liberty. If the old priests forced a statement on mankind, at least they previously took some trouble to make it lucid. It has been left for the modern mobs of Anglicans and Nonconformists to persecute for a doctrine without even stating it....

"To persecute for a doctrine without even stating it" A motto and a goal for liberals!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:26 AM

December 11, 2010

Is the Church just one voluntary organization among many?

The always-worth-listening-to Fr. Robert Barron on the muddled thinking behind Catholics leaving the Church...

It's funny how the usual suspects consider any problem in the Church to be solvable by gay marriage/contraception/married priests/woman priests... always the same list. Probably if giant spiders from Venus were turning the earth to smoking rubble with death rays they would opine that it is time the Bishops reconsidered married priests!

One of our commenters here, Suek, wrote something interesting here...

...Years and years ago, our principal (a nun) told us that the Communists would attempt to destroy us from within, and their tool would be sex, because that was the strongest drive mankind had, and by encouraging sexual freedom, rebellion against the restrictions by family and church would result. I thought she was a bit "teched in the head" as they say....but all these years later, she was right.

Well, that's pretty much what has happened. Is happening.

* Word Note for the pedantic. The principal was not a nun, she was a religious sister. A nun is a cloistered religious. The male equivalent is a monk.

In the Thirteenth Century men began to live the disciplined prayerful lives of monks while working out among the people, instead of staying in monasteries. Especially in the growing cities. The members of the new orders were called friars, which means brothers. The two great leaders of this movement were St Francis and St Dominic. Women quickly joined the movement, and were called... sisters.

Charlene and I belong to a Dominican parish, and our friars still wear much the same white habit they did in the Thirteenth Century. Our sisters modernized, and are now virtually extinct. However, the church always renews herself, and there are new movements of Dominican sisters which are fast-growing and youthful. Here's one. Started in 1997 with 4 women. Now over 100, and still growing. (I saw a few of them once, and they were very impressive gals!)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 PM

Reminder of how wars really start...

You probably already know this, but it's good to be reminded. Quakers are working tirelessly to foment war and bloodshed, and we who love peace have to be vigilant, and push back.

Bin Laden's Lonely Crusade — Politics — Vanity Fair:

... Abu al-Walid al-Masri, an Egyptian who was an early bin Laden associate, explained that, in the years before 9/11, bin Laden had come increasingly to the view that America was weak: "As evidence he referred to what happened to the United States in Beirut when the bombing of the Marines headquarters led them to flee from Lebanon." Bin Laden also cited the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia, following the "Black Hawk Down" incident, and the pullout from Vietnam in the 1970s.

When I traveled with Peter Arnett to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan, in 1997, he stated as if it were a self-evident fact that "the U.S. still thinks and brags that it still has this kind of power even after all these successive defeats." Bin Laden had come to the delusional conclusion that the United States was as weak as the Soviet Union had once been....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:50 PM

December 9, 2010

Funny piece, relevant again...

I remember this piece well from 1994. It's an imaginary memo to political reporters, explaining what this strange new phenomenon of "Congressional Republicans" is. Of course that memory has long been a bit of a painful one, since the thrilling influx of Republicans in '94 were not "outsiders" for very long.

I fear it may be the same this time around. The good news is that this time we have ways of watching what goes on, instead of waiting to perhaps read it in a newspaper afterwards.

From the Archives | The Weekly Standard:

...The days when moderates like George Mitchell controlled the Hill are gone, at least for now. Most of the new Republican congresspersons and staffers are adherents of the right-wing philosophy of "conservatism." Conservatism can be traced to such right-wing thinkers as Franco, Pinochet, and William F. Buckley Jr. Conservatism, in brief, calls for dismantling the entire government while simultaneously controlling the most intimate decisions of a person's life. Contradictory? Sure: like cutting taxes, increasing defense, and balancing the budget, all at the same time! Let's make sure our readers understand the impossibility of doing this.

Several sources emphasized that in reporting our stories, we should take care not to call staffers or congresspersons on Sunday morning, when the vast majority of Americans stay home to watch Brinkley. But apparently many Republicans "go to church." Some of you will be familiar with churches in Cleveland Park for their marvelous chamber music concerts. Our new Republican friends, however, go to church for "services" -- patriarchal rituals that date back to the early 1900s or even earlier. This also has something to do with "turning back the clock," another right-wing tenet of conservatism.

Over the years you have been able to develop relations with congressional sources through your kids' schools -- at soccer games, Earth Day ceremonies, Condom Fairs, and the like. But beware! I'm told that many of the new Republicans will be sending their kids to "public schools" in the suburbs, where they don't even charge tuition. As one waggish source put it to me, "Half these clowns have never heard of Sidwell Friends or Georgetown Day!" Good news for you as parents; bad news for you as reporters, who will have to create new avenues of informal communication.

Again, not easy: Many of the Republicans will be living in Virginia, the state across the Potomac from Bethesda (see map attached). These suburbs are usually 1980s-style wastelands of tract houses -- "one step up from the trailer park," another source quips -- that have destroyed irreplaceable historic landscapes. If there's sufficient interest, the paper will be happy to arrange a bus tour. They must be seen to be believed....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:24 PM

December 8, 2010

Why aren't men in church?

I've written an essay on the question of why in America fewer men go to church than women. It was intended to spark discussion in our parish, but I doubt that's going to happen. So I thought I'd post it here. Perhaps someone will Google it up when they are looking for thoughts on the subject...

Here's a link to a PDF: Where Are The Men?

Also, I have two extra files. One on some very successful altar boy programs, which give a hint of what a less feminine church might be like. And a collection of quotes that seem to me to be thought-provoking in one way or another...

Appendix 1, On Altar Boys

Appendix 2, Quotes

Feel free to cricket-ize, or comment, or make suggestions. (Or to call me a sexist whatchamacallit. Though I will reply that the Catholic view of women actually gives women far more dignity than the "feminist" view that success for women lies in becoming just as swinish as men.)

* Update: I've recently discovered the book The Church Impotent, by Leon Podles. I recommend it, it is a splendid piece of work on this subject, and makes me feel quite abashed to be opining. If I ever re-write my essay, I'll have to make changes. (Though I think what I wrote still has value.)

Professor Podles has a web-site and blog here. And he has made his book available as a PDF you can download.

UPDATE; I would add that my essay is meant to provoke thought, not to be some final answer. Especially, we need to think more about what manliness really is. What is its essence?

I deeply wish that there was a "conversation" on this subject, that I could add to. Not because I think the problem can be solved in the short run. But because if, as I often fear, the churches of the West simply crash into ruins, then there will be a Remnant. And they may be ready to make changes, if we have prepared the ground.

American troops praying before a patrol in Iraq, 2005
American troops praying before a patrol in Iraq, 2005

(just some lines for helping people search for this subject)

Why men don't go to church?

Why men hate church

Why some men don't go to church

Reasons why men don't go to church

Effeminate churches

Posted by John Weidner at 7:19 PM

December 7, 2010

Proxy war...

Assuming you are not sick of the whole subject of Sarah Palin, I recommend this piece by Timothy Dalrymple, Palin Enragement Syndrome.

...And this is enough to illustrate the point: much of the opposition to Palin is not political. It is deeply and thoroughly cultural. Sarah Palin is Miss Jesusland, the living emblem and foremost representative of an America that progressive elites had hoped had been swept into the dustbin of history. One definition of culture is "the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group." Palin represents the values, tastes, and institutions, the attitudes and behaviors, that are shared by one American sub-culture and despised by another. Hugh Hewitt had it right over a year ago, when he said that Palin is "the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made . . . the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are."...

We hear a lot about how Sarah can't win in 2012 because she is "too polarizing" and doesn't appeal to independents and moderates. There's a lot of truth in that, and if this were 1996 and the Dem was a Bill Clinton, I'd tend to agree. But people seem to forget that the Republican in 2012 is going to be running against an equally polarizing figure. Obama faked being moderate in 2008, but that won't work twice.

Obama already stands revealed as very much a man of the Left. And Sarah won't be pulling her punches like McCain did. She's a fighter. She would force reluctant Americans to face the implications of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.

The choices below will be stark on both sides, if Palin runs. You could substitute "Barak Obama" for Palin in this paragraph and it would be just as accurate....

...In a very peculiar sort of way, then, Sarah Palin herself has become the latest contested territory in America's ongoing culture war. The fight over Sarah Palin is a proxy battle over cultural issues and over the meaning of America: not only Democrats and Republicans but low culture versus high culture, conservative Christianity versus progressive religion, pro-life versus pro-choice, traditional family versus modern family, rural versus urban, the wisdom and goodness of the people versus the technocracy of the elite. It's a proxy battle over which culture -- which set of values, attitudes, and behaviors -- ought to pervade and guide our nation and its government...

So, if it's a matter of clear choices between the above possibilities, well, who's got the numbers? Who wins?

* Update: Of course the above is probably a good argument for a non-threatening moderate Republican candidate. At least in purely horse-race terms. But it would be a mistake. From the moment she walked onstage in 2008, that race was really between Palin and Obama. But there was no way they could come to grips with each other during the campaign.

The shootout at the OK Corral has got to happen. In 2012. Anything else would be like reading a thriller, and finding that the last chapter has been ripped out, and we will never know how the story ends.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

December 6, 2010

Well-done refudiation...

These are points I've already made (feel free to skip!) but but Jay Tea explains them very well. (I had forgotten the point about the rules of the Oil And Gas Commission, which forbade criticizing the... Oil And Gas Commission.)

....Steve's other delusion is about Sarah Palin. (Man, she really does live rent-free in leftists' head, doesn't she?) According to Steve, she is a very dangerous person -- petty, vindictive, ignorant, stupid, and eager to impose her idea of a Christian theocracy on America.

Here's where it gets fun. Palin is demonstrably none of those things. Further, her own history shows that she -- not Obama -- is the true master of "governing from the center."

Sarah Palin's first major move was after she lost her race for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, and was appointed to the state's Oil And Gas Conservation Commission. This was a sop to her -- a recognition of her popularity and power, a move to co-opt her into the state's corrupt Republican machinery.

Palin didn't let herself be bought off. She discovered the corruption was deeper than she had thought, and fought back. She was constrained, however, by the rules of the Commission -- so she resigned and went public with her accusations. The ensuing scandal took down the state's GOP chairman, as well as the Attorney General (another Republican). She worked with several Democratic officials in this, when most Republicans were content to go along to get along.

Note that carefully: Palin discovered corruption within her own party, and fought it. She even reached across the aisle, putting principle above party. And she won. Barack Obama, who has long had associations with some of the most disreputable, corrupt scumbags in Democratic politics (an unavoidable situation for anyone from the Chicago machine), like Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, and a host of others, and has never once challenged them. One of Obama's core principles (yes, he has a couple) is a wholehearted endorsement of "go along to get along."...
...Palin rode that win (which she achieved by resigning -- note that carefully, folks) to the governorship of Alaska, again taking on the GOP establishment. Once in office, she carefully built a coalition in the legislature made up of Republicans and Democrats to enact her agenda.

That coalition fell apart when she was tapped as John McCain's running mate. Suddenly the Democrats who'd worked with her found themselves under great pressure to distance themselves from her. It was one of the factors behind her resignation -- along with the crushing legal bills inflicted on her, her staff, and the state by the assholes filing the bullshit "ethics" charges. (At the time of her resignation, her legal bills had reached double her family's annual income, 40% of their entire net worth, and the latest challenge would have deprived her of a legal defense fund, leaving her and her aides to pay the bills themselves.)

But back to Steve's image of Palin. She's a fundamentalist Christian who wants to impose her religious beliefs on the nation. She's also a petty and vindictive person who engineers revenge on those who have wronged her.

The funny part of this is, there is zero evidence for most of this, and what does have some corroboration is very, very shaky. During her term as Mayor or Governor, she never tried to impose her religious or moral beliefs on people. She actually kept a pretty damned decent distance between her church and her state.

As for the "vindictive" and "short-tempered" bits, pretty much the single source for that was a Vanity Fair hit piece from last October -- and that story has been shredded since it was published. Even Palin detractors quoted in it say that the story was atrocious...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:00 AM

December 5, 2010

"Live in sober joy, or joyful sobriety"

Fr. Z, About the Last Sunday of the Church's Year. (The season of Advent begins the Church year. He was writing on the last Sunday of the year, two weeks ago, about the Advent season to come.)

...We simultaneously long for the Second Coming of the Lord – that is what Advent is about, by the way, the Second Coming in glory and judgment – and we dread it. Early Christians prayed with longing "Come! Lord, Come!" In later centuries the sense of longing was replaced with sober realization of what we will endure on the day of His Coming.

Both of these attitudes can help us in our own day to be concerned with joyful sobriety, sober joy, about the meeting we will have with the Lord when He comes. Do not forget that the last day of your life is going to be an anticipation of the Second Coming. As Augustine wrote: Qualis in die isto quisque moritur, talis in die illo iudicabitur (ep. 199.2).

In death your life will be laid bare. In the Second Coming itself, the Lord will lay bare all things. That which we have endured in life with patient perseverance and sometime suffering shall be given explanations.

St. Augustine explained that the Lord's judgments are obscure to us now, but later they will be made clear. Justice in this life is imperfect. In the life to come it will be perfected.

All that which He has permitted to happen now, will be given reasons and explanations and we will finally see the perfect justice even behind what now is hidden and challenging.

The Church's year presents us anew with the unchanging mysteries of our salvation. But year year we are a little different and closer to the moment when the Lord's hidden justice and judgments will be revealed. Do not be content to leave yourself straying on your life's path toward your judgment with the knowledge of your saving Faith as it was when you were fresh from catechism as a child. Some people do. Do not leave yourself cold on the this path without the warming effect of works of mercy.

Live in sober joy, or joyful sobriety about the state of your soul even as you follow your mapway toward the Coming Lord through our Holy Church's mysterious years of waiting....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 AM

December 4, 2010

Stats for something you probably knew...

If by some rare chance you have influence on solving the financial problems of higher education, here's info on the real problem...

Executive Summary
Enrollment at America's leading universities has been increasing dramatically, rising nearly 15 percent between 1993 and 2007. But unlike almost every other growing industry, higher education has not become more efficient. Instead, universities now have more administrative employees and spend more on administration to educate each student. In short, universities are suffering from "administrative bloat," expanding the resources devoted to administration significantly faster than spending on instruction, research and service.

Between 1993 and 2007, the number of full-time administrators per 100 students at America's leading universities grew by 39 percent, while the number of employees engaged in teaching, research or service only grew by 18 percent. Inflation-adjusted spending on administration per student increased by 61 percent during the same period, while instructional spending per student rose 39 percent. Arizona State University, for example, increased the number of administrators per 100 students by 94 percent during this period while actually reducing the number of employees engaged in instruction, research and service by 2 percent. Nearly half of all full-time employees at Arizona State University are administrators.

A significant reason for the administrative bloat is that students pay only a small portion of administrative costs. The lion's share of university resources comes from the federal and state governments, as well as private gifts and fees for non-educational services. The large and increasing rate of government subsidy for higher education facilitates administrative bloat by insulating students from the costs. Reducing government subsidies would do much to make universities more efficient...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 AM

December 2, 2010

PLEASE make a case...

This interview by HuffPo's Sam Stein with defeated Dem Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Democrats Suffering From 'Intellectual Elitism', perplexes me. I always wonder, is the Leftie lying, or is he sincerely unaware that there are good arguments for conservative policies? Arguments which can be understood by common folk?

I thought from the title that this prominent Dem might be doing some real soul-searching, but no. It's only that they've "failed to communicate"—that's the only problem.

...But his frustration was evident as the discussion progressed. Talking, unprompted, about the debate over the expiring Bush tax cuts, Strickland said he was dumbfounded at the party's inability to sell the idea that the rates for the wealthy should be allowed to expire.

"I mean, if we can't win that argument we might as well just fold up," he said. "These people are saying we are going to insist on tax cuts for the richest people in the country and we don't care if they are paid for, and we don't think it is a problem if it contributes to the deficit, but we are not going to vote to extend unemployment benefits to working people if they aren't paid for because they contribute to the deficit. I mean, what is wrong with that? How can it be more clear?"...

Does he not know what the problem is? What a conservative would reply? Is this what he really thinks? Can I take a sample of his brain tissue and find out?

"It cuts your heart out," he said, of the party's inability to make a unified, principled case for their priorities.

PLEASE make a case for your priorities. Your number one priority is clearly to increase the size and power of government, so make your case that government can run things better than anyone else! Take it to the voters!

Posted by John Weidner at 10:22 AM

December 1, 2010

Even if you are really really stupid...

...You can become a "media personality" if you are willing to knock Sarah Palin once a week.

Meghan McCain:

...I actually had to Google what the meaning of "blue bloods" was, although I could surmise that it was some kind of knock against education and coming from a family of some success. Yes, in essence that is what this statement meant...

Get the broom!

I hope, nay, I confide, that no one who reads RJ has to look up the term "blue bloods." Geez.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 PM