Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Talumd Unmaksed!

Oddly, it still looks pretty much the same . . . refutation of some dopes, worth the read.

Ecumenism with the East progresses

I think we may just be able to get back with them some day. After all, divorce is impossible. We are one Body, in the end.

Regnum Christi gets constitution approved

Cool. They're not evil, btw, James Caroll nonwithstanding.

Love that DNC

So far, the DNC, whose quadrennial platform in 2000 included a plank affirming the party’s support for a woman’s right to have an abortion, has refused to respond to the query by the group known as Democrats for Life of America.

“The request is under review,” is all DNC spokeswoman Deborah DeShong will say.

But Democrats who buck the party orthodoxy on abortion are saying plenty.

“I think that the Democratic Party is the party of inclusion, according to their mission statement — the big tent party,” said Carol Crossed of Rochester, N.Y., president of Democrats for Life of America. “We’ve always embraced a more expansive interpretation of human rights. Surely we can embrace a diversity of opinions on this issue.”

The organization is now turning to high-powered allies for help.

In the past month, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has written to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe urging the party to add the Democrats for Life link to its Web site. In addition, 17 House Democrats wrote to McAuliffe defending the anti-abortion-rights group.

In their May 14 letter, the House Members said the DNC’s refusal to add the Web link amounted to “ostracism” of loyal Democrats and contradicted the party’s abortion plank in the 2000 platform, which said in part, “We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue.”

“Actions speak louder than words,” the 17 House lawmakers wrote.

But my favorite part is this:

But a national Democratic strategist with close ties to women’s organizations called that thesis — and the anti-abortion group’s push for a Web link — “a teapot looking for a tempest.”

“It seems to me like this is a fringe group desperately in search of a little publicity here,” the strategist said.

Pro-lifers make up something like 40% of the Dems at last count. That's quite a large fringe.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Baby Gap

Couples attempting to raise children in a big blue city quickly learn the truth of what bond trader Sherman McCoy's father told him in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities: "If you want to live in New York, you've got to insulate, insulate, insulate." Manhattan liberals all believe in celebrating diversity in theory, but typically draw the line at subjecting their own offspring to it in the public schools. With Manhattan private K-12 school tuitions now approaching $25,000, insulating multiple children rapidly becomes too expensive for all but the filthy rich.

In tempting contrast, the cost-of-living calculator provided by HomeFair.com says that a $100,000 salary in liberal Manhattan buys only as much as a $38,000 salary in conservative Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Likewise, a San Francisco couple earning a $100,000 between them can afford just as much in Cedar City, Utah if the husband can find a $44,000 a year job -- and then the wife can stay home to raise their children.

Moreover, the culture of Cedar City is more conducive to child rearing than San Francisco. Having insulated themselves through distance rather than money, they can now send their kids to public schools.

(Among red states, the South has lower white fertility than the northern Great Plains and Great Basin, perhaps because many Southern conservatives, like many Manhattan liberals, prefer private schools, which makes children more expensive than out in Lewis & Clark country, where the public schools are popular because they aren't terribly diverse.)

In Cedar City, the wife won't feel as unprestigious for being a stay-at-home mom as she would in San Francisco. And mom won't have to chauffeur the kids everywhere because traffic and crime is light enough that they can ride their bikes.

With more children, the couple will have less money per child to buy insulation from America's corrosive media culture, so they are likely to look to the government for help. Typically, red region parents don't ask for much, often just for quasi-symbolic endorsements of family values, the non-economic gestures that drive Thomas Frank crazy. But, there's nothing irrational about trying to protect and guide your children. As the socially conservative black comedian Chris Rock advises fathers, "Your main job is to keep your daughter off The Pole" (keep her from becoming a stripper).

Ember Days

Should we bring them back? I kinda like em.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I somehow got into my head the idea that the saints want me to say hello to you



I either need more sleep or more prayer. Maybe both.

Today Advent starts

So what is Advent?

According to present [1907] usage, Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays. The first Sunday may be as early as 27 November, and then Advent has twenty-eight days, or as late as 3 December, giving the season only twenty-one days.

So Advent is pretty long this year. What is Advent for?

With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. During this time the faithful are admonished

1. to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
2. thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
3. thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world

Oh will it be fun this year. Confession for all!

Mark Shea takes a break

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

But for all that, there is one thing I do know: There's not enough hours in the day to conduct this blog as well as care for family, do my work, and most especially at present, finish a book that my conscience has been bothering me about for quite some time.

So after much thought and prayer, I have decided to suspend this blog till that project is well and truly done. I don't know how long that will take, but I firmly believe it is what the Holy Spirit has been bugging me to do for some time and I have been avoiding doing.

My reasons for avoiding it are not especially noble. Cranky as I can be here, I value the companionship of my readers. The life of a writer consists of sitting in a room by oneself. For an extrovert like me, that's solitary confinement and a lonesome business. The blog has been a way to avoid that to a degree and I've been loath to give it up.

Also, as an earthbound materialist whose trust in God is as riddled with concupiscence as anybody's, I've dreaded the thought of putting the blog on Indefinite Pause because, frankly, we don't have a lot of dough and I was about to start a fund drive to cover college, Christmas, dental bills and the thousand natural shocks flesh is heir to. The problem with that Money Trap is that there's no escape if I start putting Mammon First. If I do the fund drive and then stop the blog, people will feel gypped ("Hey! He takes our money and they stops writing!").

And I *must* stop the blog till the book is done. Try as I might, there's just no other way. Writing's a zero sum game. Time spent here is time taken from there.

So: effective immediately CAEI is going on suspension till my book is finished. When it's done (no telling when) I will resume the blog and be back to my old tricks.

The outpouring is touching.

Hey. If I were to go away for a while, would you guys do the same for me? <bats very long eyelashes>

Free will, Talumd style

An interesting theory.

Let's say, however, Joe does kill Bob. This means that G-d acquiesced to the murder. G-d must have determined that on some level Bob "deserved" to die.And this of course raises two important questions. First, can we really say every innocent bystander, every child who dies violently deserved his or her fate? Second, if Joe kills Bob, it certainly seems that he snuffed out a life which would have continued for many more years. Are we forced to say the victim would have died just then anyway? And if not, hasn't Joe just changed the course of G-d's world -- killing someone who would otherwise have continued living? The first question I will deal with only very briefly. Did Bob really deserve to die? On one level we must say yes. There are a number of approaches to this issue, each valid in its own context. Yet here I feel we must accept that G-d's justice is not something truly understandable to man. Why every unfortunate victim "deserved" it -- what is the answer to Wiesel's "Where is G-d?" -- is clearly beyond our ability to discern. And so, I will only suggest a few of the basic approaches, and we will have to content ourselves with that.

One answer is that G-d's justice is exceedingly strict. We all carry some degree of guilt, and G-d alone knows the proper compensation for each wicked deed. Even the most worthy among us might well have brought upon himself sufficient guilt to be deserving of death. Second, it's possible the individual did not deserve death himself, but he suffered as an atonement for his generation. (I realize people view this as a Christian concept, but it is actually quite Jewish (see for example Ezekiel 4 and Talmud Sanhedrin 39a) -- although we certainly believe the Christians blew it way out of proportion.) Third, the concept of reincarnation -- though barely hinted in the Talmud (to my knowledge) -- is well-established in kabbalistic sources. Perhaps even a child deserved death as atonement for sins of a past life. Fourth, the Sages state that G-d may take away small children from this world as a punishment to the parents. Finally, there are times -- and this supposedly is rare -- in which G-d has no way of saving a victim from his assailant via natural means. And performing an open miracle is not viable because it would reveal G-d's Presence too openly in this world -- something man is hardly prepared for. Thus, to preserve G-d's concealment, G-d at times must allow unfortunate victims to perish. There is supposedly a special place reserved in the World to Come for innocents who are sacrificed for such.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanks to Jon F. for the quote of the day

"The Catholic Church is for sinners and saints. For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do." - Oscar Wilde.

OT forgiveness

Or, why Jews are called to forgive as well.
Message: 8
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:46:18 -0600
From: "xxxxxx"
Subject: RE: Question:Human Forgiveness in the Old Testament

Hi Tony,

Moses certainly commanded forgiveness. (Lev 19:18) "You shall not take
vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you
shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."

A few examples...

Even Esau, who had become a pagan, forgave Jacob for stealing his
birthright. Esau wanted to kill Jacob (Gen 27:41) and Jacob expected him
to do it (Gen 32:7). But Esau forgave him (Gen 33:4).

Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery (Gen 37:27). Yet he forgave them,
with the line that Cardinal Bernardin made famous. (Gen 45:4) "I am your
brother Joseph."

When Saul tried to kill David, David could have killed him, but instead
forgave him. (1 Sam 26:11).

It was already there in Torah. Jesus did not change the Torah. But Jesus
did put a lot more emphasis on forgiveness.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us!

Baruch haba baShem Adonai, <><


Apostolate: http://secondexodus.com
Association of Hebrew Catholics: http://hebrewcatholic.org/

Evil French troops acting unilaterally mired in a new Vietnam . . .

I love it when people assault the French military.

Cardinal Agre-- the Archbishop of Abidjan, the capital city that has been the site of vicious fighting between local troops and French soldiers in recent weeks-- has charged that the French military presence is exacerbating an internal conflict. The cardinal has also charged French troops with atrocities-- a charge that the French heatedly deny.

In Rome, where he was attending a meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Agre told the press that the bishops of Ivory Coast, in issuing a public statement sharply critical of French involvement, had sought to calm the conflict rather than add to the tensions. The Church, he said, always wants to further the cause of peace in the former French colony.

Cardinal Agre emphasized that he had not traveled to Rome on an emergency diplomatic mission. "No one sent me to Rome," he said. Rather, he was making a trip planned long ago, to participate in the Vatican meeting. Although he did arrange a private meeting with Pope John Paul soon after his arrival in Rome, the African prelate said that he spoke with the Pontiff as "a brother, rather than a boss." He did not disclose the substance of his conversation with the Holy Father. The cardinal spoke with reporters alongside the ambassador from Ivory Coast to the Holy See, Benjamin Konan Kouane.

The cardinal said that he still regrets the French retaliation that occurred after an attack on French nationals living in Abidjan. He said that he would encourage all parties involved in the conflict to negotiate their differences rather than continue armed struggle. Recognizing that many French businessmen had fled the country after the outbreak of ethnic violence, he encouraged them to plan their return as calm is restored.

Cardinal Agre denied that there is great tension between the Muslims of Ivory Coast, who constitute about 38 percent of the population, and the Christians who make up 28 percent. In fact, he suggested that the perception of such a conflict is caused by "prejudices that are unfortunately inflamed by the French press." While the Muslim population is located primarily in the north of the country, and the Christians in the south, there is no major geographical divide, he said. "We are all united in wanting peace to return to the country," the cardinal said.

Why bad things aren't good things

Bastiat wrote a parable about this that has become known as the "Broken Window Fallacy." A shopkeeper's window is broken by a vandal. A crowd forms, sympathizing with the man, but pretty soon, the people start to suggest the boy wasn't guilty of vandalism; instead, he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town. After all, fixing the broken window creates employment for the glazier, who will then buy bread and benefit the baker, who will then buy shoes and benefit the cobbler, and so forth.

Those are the seen effects of the broken window. What's unseen is what the shopkeeper would have done with the money had the vandal not broken his window. He might have employed the tailor by purchasing a suit. The broken window produced at least two unseen effects. First, it shifted unemployment from the glazier, who now has a job, to the tailor, who doesn't. Second, it reduced the shopkeeper's wealth. Explicitly, had it not been for the vandalism, the shopkeeper would have had a window and a suit; now, he has just a window.

The broken-window fallacy was seen in a column written by Princeton University professor Paul Krugman after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, "After the Horror" New York Times (Sept. 14, 2001). He wrote, "Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack -- like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression -- could do some economic good." He went on to point out how rebuilding the destruction would stimulate the economy through business investment and job creation. Again, do the smell test. If Krugman is right, wouldn't the terrorists have done us a bigger economic favor if they had destroyed buildings in other cities?

Liturgy of the Hours, for free!

Friday, November 26, 2004


Planned Parenthood (essentially) came out with some new movie about abortion called "Pursuit of Happiness". Yeah, right. Smile and nod.


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 18:41:47 -0600
From: "xxx"
Subject: Re: Fuller response

I have posted in the past, tho' not often nor well. I am a forty-mumble
year-old graduate/catechist of RCIA. I annoy many people in my various
capacities in the parish, but I wield the most power as 4th Sunday Coffee
Lady at my parish. Ignore HH John Paul II's axiom - be very afraid of my
coffee. Hi!

>While I take your point that part of the point
>of definitions of the Church, punctuated with anathemas, is to define
>what is inside partly by defining what is outside, we can not define the
>faith purely in negative terms, even if someone believes nothing we do.
I see that various doctrines were honed through heresy, but I wasn't
thinking in such high terms. Our personal faith grows through questioning
(rather read: inquiring) and reflecting - and thereby also grows our
ability to speak for it. The "unexamined life" phrase applies to Catholics
too. What I meant was that if we're out of questions to energize our
search, the world will certainly provide them. But we must, for Jesus'
sake, "read their errors"; we must engage this world or we will not save
it - nor, through sin of omission, ourselves.

>My point about Cardinal Wright was apparently lost on you. Let me try
>again. Each and every one of us has an obligation to know good and truth
> and adhere to it, and to identify evil and falsehood and flee from it.

There's the rub: Christians shouldn't be in flee-mode. Evil and sin have
to be recognized, understood and faced down. I understood your reference,
but many people have this we/they/I'm-not-his-keeper tone that drives me

To repeat what I've said here before, I was a very young atheist when
Humanae Vitae came out and yet a believer in HV instantly, because it was
rational. I therefore, in spite of my parents' encouragement to the
contrary, personally fled from both recreational ahem and pharmaceuticals.
Yay for me. Could I have saved another, or given them strength or at least
pause for thought by standing my ground loudly? Very possibly. Oddly, now
that I am Catholic my previously acceptable "personal opinion" has now
become "mindless Christian rhetoric". Which is why I usually weigh into
office debates with "as an atheist of 45 years good standing..." and end
by crediting the catechism. So I've been a fan of the RCC since Summer
1968, but a disciple since Pentecost 2002.

RCIA's job in the precatechumenate is to welcome everyone on their terms,
and to assure them that our God loves them regardless of whether or not
they come next week. Then for six weeks we don our fetching shirts with
the red concentric circles and let them pepper us with accusations and
questions. If they've been reading Kung (more likely Kerry), we have to
validate, with CHARITY and respect to Kung, our actual teaching. They are
indeed looking for that first witness of how we in community deal with our
own in error, and with those outside the Church in error. Charitably,
knowledgeably, but firmly. Christ did not in love allow the sin of
adultery; He forgave in love the sin. Gradually they come to see the
dignity and place of humanity, the glory and place of divinity and how
they come together to the secular eye as "authoritative, coherent and
humane thought" in the magisterium. Cardinal Montini's phrase (1963), not

Then, by golly, we hit them with the collection envelopes.

My comment about life-long Catholics was to point out that some who
received the faith as children can't imagine how anyone could doubt any of
the teachings. The genius of the Church's social/moral teachings is that
none of it need come down to "because God said so." If it did, we couldn't
speak in RCIA to this shared frame of reference. What the Church teaches
is naturally good. What God has commanded in the past and asks for today
is naturally good. Even on the secular level we have the "good news".
That, and not Augustine or Aquinas, was what convinced me that God exists.
The Church I love and trust tells me so. But that's me.

I don't think any of us should "expect" a "welcome home", Chris. The
Satanist may be running on only three cylinders, whereas we've been given
eight... Have you read Eric Hoffer's "True Believer"?

The Queen of Canada, bless her socks. From her idiotic Canadian

God bless... rew

Remember, the Christmas season is AFTER Christmas

Music during advent

Question from B.J. on 12-19-2003:
Our priest says that we cannot sing Christmas carols etc during advent. only on Christmas. That doesn't leave much time to the wonderful old hymns. Is there a ruling on this? thanks

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 01-07-2004:

Since Advent is the liturgical season of preparation for Christmas, not celebration of, it would indeed NOT be appropriate to sing Christmas carols during Advent. Most hymnals have an Advent section with carols/hymns that match the liturgical season. These should be used instead of the Christmas-specific ones.

Jesus or Zombies?

The eternal question . . .

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Mark Shea has the best commentary as usual

On this
article. I'm just amused that attempting to perform an exorcism on a bunch of gay guys is being discussed as a hate crime. That means, of cousre, that religious rituals and beliefs that do not leave the Catholic Church are now fair game for being criminal and the perps, i.e. the laity and priests, are now committing hate crimes by being Catholic. Matter of time . . .

The Modern World and Democracy

thanks to GKC, who expounds very nicely the views of those who say that we should now abandon democracy because it elected W.

That is why many men are now beginning to say that the democratic ideal is no longer in touch with the modern spirit. I strongly agree; and I naturally prefer the democratic ideal, which is at least an ideal, and therefore, an idea, to the modern spirit, which is simply modern, therefore, already becoming ancient. I notice that the cranks, whom it would be more polite to call the idealists, are already hastening to shed this ideal. A well-known Pacifist, with whom I argued in Radical papers in my Radical days, and who then passed as a pattern Republican of the new Republic, went out of his way the other day to say, 'The voice of the people is commonly the voice of Satan.' The truth is that these Liberals never did really believe in popular government, any more than in anything else that was popular, such as pubs or the Dublin Sweepstake. They did not believe in the democracy they invoked against kings and priests. But I did believe in it; and I do believe in it, though I much preferred to invoke it against prigs and faddists. I still believe it would be the most human sort of government, if it could be once more attempted in a more human time.

Unfortunately, humanitarianism has been the mark of an inhuman time. And by inhumanity I do not mean merely cruelty; I mean the condition in which even cruelty ceases to be human. I mean the condition in which the rich man, instead of hanging six or seven of his enemies because he hates them, merely beggars and starves to death six or seven thousand people whom he does not hate, and has never seen, because they live at the other side of the world. I mean the condition in which the courtier or pander of the rich man, instead of excitedly mixing a rare, original poison for the Borgias, or carving exquisite ornamental poignard for the political purposes of the Medici, works monotonously in a factory turning out a small type of screw, which will fit into a plate he will never see; to form part of a gun he will never see; to be used in a battle he will never see, and about the merits of which he knows far less than the Renaissance rascal knew about the purposes of the poison and the dagger.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Did Jesus Lie?

Sorta. Not really though. He just confused them.

However, for those who do not mind chucking their modern, Western sensibilities, we add another point which verifies Giblin's. Pilch and Malina in their Handbook of Biblical Social Values note that in the ancient world, control of one's speech was a paramount concern, and ritual etiquette demanded that one not give offense to others in public. In this light one may make comparison to Eastern societies today in which a person may purposely give an indirect or incomplete answer to avoid conflict. Modern Westerners consider this a vice, but the ancients did not. It was a matter of a moral hierarchy: thus for example, if speaking openly betrayed the interest of another to whom one was loyal and indebted, etiquette dictated that one should say one thing publicly and do another thing privately, or else not follow up on what was publicly stated. In this light, Jesus' answer to his brothers, and places where he is what some have called "reluctant" to perform miracles, are a matter of his public "no" allowing him to act on terms favorable to his interests as the mediator of the new covenant, rather than the interests of others who as outsiders have no right to the information. (Pilch and Malina compare this to the modern practice of floating "trial balloons" in politics -- which is implicitly accepted even as it is criticized!) It should be noted that not once in the Gospels is Jesus ever criticized for saying one thing and doing another -- because for the ancients, such behavior was par for the course and not considered a vice at all, but rather an honorable thing to do in circumstances such as described in John 7.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Liturgy of the Hours online

Good stuff

Say word

On this post

Sorry. Not diggin' it.
Z(ed) | 11.22.04 - 2:41 pm | #

Besides, what rhymes with Transsubstantiation? Or Magisterium for that matter?
Z(ed) | 11.22.04 - 2:42 pm | #

Z(ed) | 11.22.04 - 2:43 pm | #

I want you to stop hatin/
take part in transsubstantiation

don't get down with heretic skum/
stick with the magisterium
Squach | Email | Homepage | 11.23.04 - 11:21 am | #


dlw wrote:

"I have no doubt that the storyline of incredibles was rigged some to subtly help the republican party."

Very subtle, indeed. So subtle that the movie came out _after_ the election, no doubt as part of the producers under-the-radar plot to help George Bush get re-elected.

Maybe Karl Rove was behind "The Incredibles", as well.

Posted by: Fr. Rob Johansen | November 23, 2004 02:31 AM

UN does little on cloning

I get more annoyed at Belgium every day. May they float away into the Atlantic and get high with the people on my floor. Ugh.

A long history of bible translations

My favorite bit:

The history of Biblical research in Germany shows that of the numerous partial versions in the vernacular some go back to the seventh and eighth centuries. It also establishes the certainty of such versions on a considerable scale in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and points to a complete Bible of the fifteenth in general use before the invention of printing. Of special interest are the five complete folio editions printed before 1477, nine from 1477 to 1522, and four in Low German, all prior to Luther's New Testament in 1522. They were made from the Vulgate, differing only in dialect and presenting variant readings. Their worth even to this day has been attested by many scholars. Deserving notice as belonging to the same period are some fourteen editions of the Psalter and no less than ninety editions of the Epistles and Gospels for Sundays and Holy Days. On the authority of a Nuremberg manuscript, Jostes (Histor. Jahrbuch, 1894, XV, 771, and 1897, XVIII, 133) establishes the fact of a complete translation of the Bible by John Rellach, O.P., of Constance (before 1450), and thinks it was the first German version printed. A New Testament by Beringer (Speyer, 1526) was in part a correction of Luther's version. In 1527 another New Testament was put forth by Emser who worked from the Vulgate and an older version, likewise correcting Luther.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Best. Find. Ever

I can finally indulge my love for rap without hearing people talk about their "bitches" and listening to Eminem asking me to check out people's rears. This stuff is brilliant.

Hear! Hear! My dear, let me make one thing clear
Every knee shall bend and head bow in holy fear
When the King appears in majestic robes untold
It all unfolds while behold the One of old
In the scrolls, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob!
Before His glory shakes us making joy in souls wake up!
Taking all the energy of every being in the region
It's the season for His kingdom
to be brought before the heathen!
So all come give Him praise! Glory, honor to Him only!
Precisely for this reason speaking why you do not know me
See, i keep myself concealed so that God may use the skill
to appeal to whom He wills, and His loving shield reveal
On the reel. The cross is not a loss for those who have faith.
The resurrection showed that Christ opened heaven's gate
For the soul who lead a life that was wedded to the Christ
through the Church who is the Bride that is embedded in His
light So best you rest assured that blessed are the pure
Of heart cause from the start they make God's will secure
Cause if any thing they do, they do it out of love
Of Him, they're thinking of to send the praise up above

Cool article about why Senators blur things up

BUT I got a little nervous when I read this:

Regarding Kerry's reticence about his Senate years, Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and a colonel in conservatism's infantry, has a theory. It is that Kerry is crippled by having spent his Senate years as a moon orbiting Ted Kennedy's sun.

A moon orbiting a sun. We would call that a planet up here in New Yawk . . . maybe things are different in Red Country?

Football in the South

Don Cole, aka the Heart Guy, was ailing and wore a beeper. He was a candidate for a heart transplant and was not supposed to ever be more than a two-hour drive from his Nashville hospital, in case it received a heart that could be transplanted. He said that, if the hospital learned that he left the two-hour radius, he would be removed from the list of recipients. So why, weekend after weekend, was he 3 1/2 hours from Nashville, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.? "If I can't go to Alabama football games, what's the point in living?"

Then there is the couple whose huge RV resembles the fuselage of a Boeing 737. What sacrifices have they made for their devotion to Alabama football? "Let's see," muses the husband. "We missed our daughter's wedding. We told her, just don't get married on a game day and we'll be there, hundred percent, and she went off and picked the third Saturday in October, which everybody knows is when Alabama plays Tennessee, so we told her, hey, we got a ballgame to go to. We made the reception — went there as soon as the game was over."

Hmm. Hmm.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Chaldean Abp. talks about Iraq

KIRKUK, Iraq, NOV. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk criticized Western media "misinformation" about his country and insisted that Iraqis are looking forward to elections "because they will be useful for national unity."

"It is not all death and destruction," explained Archbishop Louis Sako in an interview Tuesday published by AsiaNews.

"Much is positive in Iraq today," he said. "Universities are operating, schools are open, people go out onto the streets normally." He did acknowledge that "where there's a kidnapping or a homicide the news gets out immediately, and this causes fear among the people."

Yet, "there is no organized resistance" in Iraq, the prelate insisted. "Those who commit such violence are resisting against Iraqis who want to build their country.

"Iraqis instead are resisting against terrorism and are not carrying out attacks, which instead are the work of foreign infiltrators. I have stressed this before: Saudis, Jordanians, Syrians and Sudanese have entered Iraq. Prime Minister Allawi has said this as well. And clearly, there are also Iraqi collaborators who, for money, help the terrorist hide."

According to Archbishop Sako, to overcome this crisis, Iraqis must "manage themselves."

"We have a government now that is setting up elections, and those who want to run for government can do so, freely," he explained.

The archbishop said that the "war being fought by the terrorists is senseless." If they want an "open, modern and democratic Iraq" they "can register to vote, negotiate with the new government, and use the instruments of dialogue," he stressed.

Convinced that the elections in January "will be a starting point for a new Iraq," the prelate observed that instead "Western newspapers and broadcasters are simply peddling propaganda and misinformation."

"Iraqis are happy to be having elections and are looking forward to them because they will be useful for national unity," he said. "Perhaps not everything will go exactly to plan, but, with time, things will improve. Finally Iraqis will be given the chance to choose.

"Why is there so much noise and debate coming out from the West when before, under Saddam, there were no free elections, but no one said a thing?"

In other words, stop crying and give us a hand please. Sensible. I like that.

Many thanks to Mark Shea for the linky.

Happy Sunday

Today is the feast of Christus Rex, or Christ the King. Instituted in 1925 by Pius XI PP. to ensure that the world walks according to the principles of Christ.

If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

Lovely reading

Give and take about RU-486. Probably the first drug designed since WWII that has as it's purpose the death of a human being, if you think about it for a moment. And better, it's manufactured by a subsidiary of the same company that made all the drugs for Hitler and Co's operation.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Every vote counts

Apparently their race is on a 16 vote difference at the moment as they count and count. Every vote really does count people! Vote in local elections!

Melkite bishop says word

At a Vatican symposium on the Eastern churches, marking the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II decree Orientalum Ecclesiarum , Bishop Ignace Dick of Aleppo, Syria, said that while there have been "certainly some happy results" from the post-conciliar approach to the Eastern rites, "the application of the decree has been only partial." The Melkite bishop went on to say that "there is still a great force of inertia to overcome" in changing Roman attitudes toward the Eastern churches.

The Eastern Catholic churches still need "fully to revive their tradition," Bishop Dick said. At the same time, the universal Church must "become accustomed to breathing again with both lungs," and the Roman Curia must recognize the ecclesial rights of the Eastern patriarchs. He explained that the Eastern patriarchs should be given all of the rights and responsibilities that they enjoyed during the first Christian millennium.

Might just work, not to mention being good for reunion with the Ortho-dox types. Might just work.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Censorship in your head

Be it a database server or an air purifier, do you have the legal right to publicly criticize a product you've purchased? The good news is, yes, you apparently still do. The bad news is that we can't be sure for how much longer.

We owe the good news to Consumers Union's success last week in getting a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) lawsuit by Sharper Image thrown out of court. Sharper Image had accused Consumers Union of product disparagement due to reviews it published in Consumer Reports of the Ionic Breeze Quadra air cleaner. Consumers Reports deemed the product "ineffective" and said it produces "almost no measurable reduction in airborne particles." Sharper Image argued that the reviews were flawed and unfair because Consumer Reports failed to take into account how "vastly different" its technology is from other air purifiers. Under California's anti-SLAPP law, a federal judge ruled there was no reasonable probability of Consumer Reports' statements being proved false and dismissed Sharper Image's case. (For more background on the case and similar lawsuits Consumers Union has had to fight off in the past, visit their www.consumersrighttoknow.org website.)

Reading over Sharper Image's arguments, though, I was struck by how similar what they were saying is to what we we've just been hearing from those who defend censorship clauses in software license agreements. (For a taste of the pros and cons on those, see the reader commentary on my recent "Getting the Facts on Microsoft Benchmarks" story.) Like the Microsofts and Oracles, Sharper Image was essentially claiming that only they can judge how, where, and by whom their technology can be assessed. Only we understand our technology, so anyone who criticizes our products is unfairly disparaging us.

New Alice and Bill column

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Truth comes out

"What you have to do is convince me that embryos *are worth protecting* - that is, that they have any of the characteristics that make me want to assign them rights. Of course the embryo is alive and of course it is human - I don't care."

Why do you assign rights to people exactly? Social contract? It's either might makes right or we have rights. No third option. Sorry.

If anyone wants to see what I've been up to this week

It's not quite done yet, as you can't view or add items to the inventory, because that'll be a rat's nest of C code and some PHP that's about 35% done right now, but you can register. Don't use a good password though, because if you do I'll just log into your mail and have fun.

I'm a little worried about this kind of thought

Becuase going slowly and having your position picked to pieces is usually a good thing, especially in democracies which are supposed to act slowly. This "rigid loyalty" doesn't sound so good to me . . .

Bush has more abortions?

Not so much.

Stassen studied 16 states and claimed abortions are on the rise in 11 of them. Dr. Randy O'Bannon, director of education at the National Right to Life Committee says the truth is only 8 of the states show an increase and abortions are on the decline in many others.

In Illinois, for example, Stassen mentions an increase in the abortion numbers from 2001-2002 and says abortions have increased under President Bush.

However, Stassen ignores the substantial decrease in the number of abortions from 2002 to 2003. The number of abortions dropped a whopping 10 percent that year to their lowest figure since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.

In Wisconsin, Stassen amazingly used the wrong data. Stassen says abortions in Wisconsin increased by 0.6% from 2001 to 2002. Yet, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services says there were 436 fewer abortions performed in Wisconsin in 2002 than in 2001.

Stassen complicates his problem in South Dakota, a state he counts as one where abortion increased during the Bush administration.

He points to a one year increase from 2001-2002 of 2.1%. However, that's the figure for the increase in the number of babies born during that period. Figures from the state's health department reveal a 9.7 percent decrease in the number of abortions during that time.

Eisner's article claims abortions are on the rise in Kentucky under Bush.

However, the most recent data from the Center for Vital Statistics in Frankfort show that abortions in Kentucky dropped by 250 in 2002 -- a decline of seven percent.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I forgot, we have a new president

Washington, Nov. 15 (CWNews.com) - Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, has been elected to a 3-year term as president of the US bishops' conference.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), opening its annual meeting in Washington on November 15, chose Bishop Skylstad to replace Bishop Wilton Gregory, who had completed his presidential term. Bishop Skylstad had been serving as vice-president of the USCCB; Chicago's Cardinal Francis George was elected to replace him at that post.

The first-ballot selection of Bishop Skylstad represents a vote against any major change in the operation of the US bishops' conference. In several successive elections, the USCCB has chosen the incumbent vice-president to assume the presidency. Bishop Skylstad's move into the top leadership position was not deterred by rumblings of dissatisfaction with the workings of the bishops' conference. In casting the ballots, the American bishops were also evidently unaffected by reports that the Spokane diocese will soon file for bankruptcy.

I know little to nothing about him. Anyone? Here's his 411.

A little thought control ffrom our northern neighbors

Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham, director of Law and Public Policy of the EFC, said, "This legislation comes at a time when issues of sexual morality and marriage are at the forefront of public debate. Without a clear definition of what is criminal hatred, it is ambiguous what public statements will be considered criminal."

The president of Canada Christian College and the Canada Family Action Coalition, Dr. Charles McVety concurred saying in a release, "Paul Martin and his Liberal team adopted Private Member's Bill C-250 and pushed it through the Senate to become law just in time to pave the way for a new election. Now criticism of the redefinition of marriage may be a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in prison."

Bruce Clemenger, president of the EFC said, "While opposing the promotion of hatred against anyone, we are deeply concerned about the chilling effect this legislation may have on the legitimate expression of religious belief. We as a religious community want to ensure that the purpose of prohibiting hate speech does not criminalize the legitimate expression of religious belief, the resulting views of morality nor religious texts."

African Synod being planned

Future growth markets being explored.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


The UK, which was the first country to grant permission to clone human beings for research, has been quick to say it would reject a UN ban on cloning. Using strong language, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the British representative to the UN, said on October 21, "We have every confidence that the United Nations will reject the Costa Rican proposal that seeks to impose a single dogmatic and inflexible viewpoint on the rest of the world and overturn decisions which have been legitimately taken by other national governments. But the UK government wishes to make it clear that should the United Nations proceed to develop a convention banning both therapeutic and reproductive human cloning, we would not participate in the negotiation of such a convention and we would not sign up to it. Therapeutic cloning research will continue to be permitted in the UK."

That's right, when the UN goes to Poland or Costa Rica, it's OK for them to kick down the laws of the smaller countries on abortion or homosexuality. When the UN crosses England though, it's clearly right to ignore them. They're always right, except when they're wrong.

Israeli court demonstrates post-Derrida view of language

The clause in the inheritance law states, "A man and a woman who live a family life in a joint household, yet who are not married to each other," are to be granted the same inheritance rights as married couples. While the state argued that "man and woman" could not be interpreted to mean homosexual partners, Judges Nissim Maman and Gabriella (De Leo) Levy ruled that since that clause was initiated in 1965, "there have been wide-reaching changes in interpretation, and legal rulings have widened the meaning of the term 'partners' to include common-law partners, as well as same-sex common-law partners."

Thus the judges said the phrase "man and woman" does not mean "not a man and a man" or "not a woman and a woman," but rather "a couple who is not married."

Judge Menahem Ben-David dissented. "The letter of the law is clear and unequivocal and you cannot read into it any meaning other than what is written-- 'man and woman.' The letter of the law cannot tolerate the interpretation according to which this would be 'man and man'," he wrote.

Or as I like to put it, the Protestant Reformation ended up being over the meaning of what the word is is. Does is mean is, as is is the same, or does it mean something strange, like represents or stands for? Similarly here, does man and woman mean man and woman? Clearly not, says the court, that would be absurd.



November 16, 2004 Volume 2, Number 15

Choice In Health Plan Condemned By "Pro-Choice" Leaders

Beginning this month some federal employees in Illinois have more
choices when deciding on a health care plan, and one of the world's
leading advocates for "choice" is unhappy about it.

OSF Health Care Systems, which is owned and operated by the Sisters
of the Third Order of St. Francis, now offers federal employees who live
or work in some 27 counties in Illinois the chance to enroll in a faith
based Catholic health plan that does not cover abortion, contraceptives,
sterilization or in vitro fertilization. The plan is part of President
George Bush's larger goal of ending the exclusion of faith-based
organizations from participating in government programs. Employees are
in no way obligated to participate in the OSF plan yet Planned Parenthood
Federation of America, the nation's largest abortion provider, is
opposed to it.

In an unsigned article on their website, Planned Parenthood
describes contraception as "basic health care" and says the Catholic health care
plan is "taking away (employees') right to choose." The article says
that offering more choices to federal employees "is a new move in the
administration's effort to shape federal programs to match its own
narrow anti-choice ideological agenda." In an Associated Press interview Gloria
Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood, expressed anger that faithful
Catholics will be allowed to belong to a health care plan that matches
with their beliefs. "It's inappropriate for federal dollars to subsidize
a plan that is blatantly designed to foster one religious point of view."

The OSF plan was actually one of 18 high deductible health plans
introduced by the Office of Personnel Management two months ago for
federal employees across the country. It was the only faith based plan
acording to James Ferrell, communications director for OSF. In fact OSF
was the only faith based organization to submit a proposal to the
federal government. Ferrell said response to the program will not be known until
the end of December because of the time required to process
applications. Ferrell said he has received calls expressing interest from across
Illinois including from residents of Chicago. But the plan is available
only to federal employees who work or live in one of the 27 counties
where OSF operates. Cook County is not among those counties meaning the plan
will not be available in Chicago, Illinois' largest metropolitan area.

Planned Parenthood was joined by the typical litany of "pro-choice"
groups in opposing the increase in health care options. Representatives
from "Catholics" for a Free Choice, Religious Coalition for Reproductive
Choice, and the Illinois chapter of American Civil Liberties Union all
have come out against the plan. CFFC president Frances Kissling refers
to the Catholic-compatible plan as "substandard medical care." Ferrell
said his organization has a simple response to the organizations that speak
out against faith based health care. "They aren't really pro-choice."

Copyright, 2004 --- Culture of Life Foundation. Permission granted for
unlimited use. Credit required.

Culture of Life Foundation
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500
Fax: (202) 289-2502
E-mail: clf@culture-of-life.org
Website: http://www.culture-of-life.org

Get this one. If you don't want your health care dollars to pay for services that you think are equivlent to murder, you're bad, because you're not making someone else pay for something that you won't use, and furthermore your choice is bad because it's not Planned Parenthood's choice.

I could respond. But who cares. PP's position is so, dare I say, dumb, that I won't. How can making a choice be against choice?

Finally registered for classes

It's starting to look like I may graduate on time with a major.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Salve! Ad situm Fraternitatis Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri pervenisti

Kreeft on Sex and School

Speaking in terms of the relative and absolute leads us to our third issue that connects liberal education with sexual morality: whether truth is relative or absolute; whether we should seek it with infinite passion or not; whether it transcends all ifs, ands, or buts; whether, when we touch Truth, we touch God. It would be difficult to justify the sacrifices of energy, time, and money that have been put into traditional liberal arts education if the answer were no. For the truths taught in philosophy, theology, English, history, and pure science, unlike those of economics, engineering, law, medicine, and computing, do not have payoffs that are immediate or obvious. And when they do have payoffs it is in their own spiritual coin, not in another, foreign coin like money, power, physical health, or efficiency.

Similarly, the patience, self-control, and sacrifices required by traditional sexual morality do not always have immediate and obvious payoffs. (Though in both fields, education and sex, the payoffs come, eventually, inevitably, and overwhelmingly.) Unless you believe that doing the right thing just because it is the right thing is an absolute, you are almost certainly not going to sacrifice doing the easy, immediately gratifying, enormously attractive thing for doing the right thing. All you have to do is take one little bite of the apple You don't have to destroy the whole apple. Keep it, but make it relative to changing situations, subjective intentions, cultural expectations, individual personalities, and desires disguised as needs.

IE, pay attention in class and stop hooking up with the cuties in Bio.

Seriously though he connects contraception to Great Books programs. This stuff is brilliant. I can not do justice with a comment so I will leave an akward one. Thanks to Zed for the linky.

Natural Law and the Modern Mind

Here is an axiom: We cannot alter human nature, physical, emotional, or spiritual. A corollary is that no matter how cleverly devised, our contrivances never do succeed in canceling out the natural consequences of breaking the natural law. At best they delay them, and for several reasons they can even make them worse. In the first place they alter incentives: People with ready access to pills and condoms see less reason to be abstinent. In the second place they encourage wishful thinking: Most people grossly exaggerate their effectiveness in preventing disease and pregnancy and completely ignore the risks. In the third place they reverse the force of example: Before long the practice of abstinence erodes even among people who don’t take precautions. Finally they transform thought: Members of the contraceptive culture think liberty from the natural consequences of their decisions is somehow owed to them.

There comes a time when even the law shares their view. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reauthorized the private use of lethal violence against life in the womb, the Supreme Court admitted that its original abortion ruling might have been wrong, but upheld it anyway. As it explained, "For two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized their intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. . . . An entire generation has come of age free to assume [this] concept of liberty." To put the thought more simply, what we did has separated sex from responsibility for resulting life for so long that to change the rules on people now would be unfair.

Naught avails; our efforts to thwart the law of natural consequences merely make the penalty more crushing when it comes. The only question is whether our culture will be able to survive the return stroke of the piston.


Reading much of the print media, watching BBC and CNN, listening to the even more partisan coverage of BBC World Service Radio (which attracts over 150 million listeners daily) it was as if these acts of terror had never happened.

It was as though those Olympic athletes had never been killed, those airliners never hijacked, those schools never bombed, those passengers in airline terminals at Rome, Vienna and elsewhere, never machine-gunned down.

It was as if the Ma'alot school massacre (of mostly 15-year old girls) had never occurred, or a bazooka had never been fired into a school bus from Moshav Avivim wiping out an entire class and their teachers. It was as if an American ambassador and a Jordanian prime minister had never been murdered, or a wheelchair-bound American pensioner had never been shot and dumped into the Mediterranean because he had a "Jewish-sounding name." And as if an 8-month pregnant mother, Tali Hatuel, hadn't been shot in the head by Arafat's Fatah, execution-style with her four young children, only last May.

In many reports these victims were simply airbrushed from history.

When the time comes, will the BBC run 48 hours of virtually non-stop coverage of Colonel Gaddafi's death without mentioning Lockerbie? Will they devote 48 hours to IRA leaders with barely a mention that they killed anyone?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Go Cardinal Go

Rome, Nov. 11 (CWNews.com) - In his opening address to a Vatican conference on ecumenical affairs, Cardinal Walter Kasper (bio - news) argued strongly against the idea that ecumenism is a progressive effort to free the Church from her "obsolete" heritage.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity delivered a lengthy speech to a conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Unitatis Redintegratio (doc) , the Vatican II decree on ecumenism. He observed: "The Council was not so naïve as to ignore the danger" that ecumenism could be perceived as a license for changes from traditional Church teachings. This "erroneous" interpretation of ecumenical activity was rejected by Vatican II, he said.

In ecumenical work, "there is a real danger of relativism and indifferentism," the German cardinal said. That approach, he continued, "leads to a sort of markeplace ecumenism, which ends in superficiality." True ecumenism, Cardinal Kasper continued, is rigorous about dogmatic issues, and unafraid of exposing real differences in charitable terms.

The path of ecumenical activity, the cardinal said, "is not a new route." He insisted that the "full unity of Christ's disciples," for which Jesus prayed, is an essential and permanent goal of the Catholic Church.


"Ask yourself which you would rather be: a good soul whom everyone thought evil, hated, misunderstood, persecuted, and victimized? or an evil soul whom everyone thought good, loved and rewarded? Would you rather be really good but aparently evil, like Socrates; or really evil but apparently good, like the perfectly successful tyrant? Would you rather be brave and thought to be a coward, or cowardly but thought to be brave?

Would you rather be a Catholic or a Kennedy?"
-- Kreeft, Chrstianity for Modern Pagans, p. 80

What should I do???

Ok guys what should I do with the next ten years? Here are some choices.

1. Investment Banking
2. IT
3. Canon Law
4. American Law
5. Theology
6. Priest
7. Something else entirely

Saturday, November 13, 2004

How does Microsoft debug things?

Turns out it's actually pretty intense. Writing code myself has given me a new appreciation of the magnitude of the task that they're facing, and how hard it is to find bugs in a complex software product. I'm somewhat less bitter.

Hume-us sandwich

Or, what our beloved philosopher is all about, courtesy of JPH.

The next major stage in Hume's overall thesis is the premise that "causes and effects are discoverable, not by reason, but by experience" -- and this leads to the main bugaboo Christians have had with Hume, for he says he cannot believe in the resurrection of Christ, having not seen it himself: "...it is a miracle that a dead man should come to life, because that has never been observed in any age or century." But, we may ask, what of apostolic testimony to the resurrected Jesus? No problem: "...(N)o testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." And here is how else Hume solves that problem:

...(T)here is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of Men of such unquestioned good sense, education, and learning as to serve us against all delusion in themselves; of such undaunted integrity as to place themselves beyond all suspicion of any design to deceive others; of such credit and reputation in the eyes of mankind as to have a great deal to lose in case of their being detected in any falsehood, and at the same time attesting facts performed in such a public manner and in so celebrated a part of the world as to render the detection unavoidable...

Christian "resurrectional" apologetics, of course, has thoroughly answered Hume on half of these points, and the other half are clearly little more than Hume's personal Enlightenment bigotry (Re: "good sense, education, and learning" -- yes, Hume has all the usual references to "barbarous and ignorant peoples"; yet how much "education" does it take to see that a dead man is alive, and at any rate, what of Matthew and Paul?; "celebrated part of the world" -- Palestine was a major crossroads, but it hardly makes a difference!). But all of that may have meant nothing to Hume anyway. It is quite revealing that even when he offers a hypothetical situation where these conditions are met (Hume hypothesizes a situation in which the Queen has supposedly died and come back to life), Hume admits he would be surprised, but "should not have the least inclination to believe so miraculous an event." He would "still reply that the knavery and folly of men are such common phenomena" that he would rather believe that it was a conspiracy than a miracle. O ye of little faith? Nay -- o ye of little sense, more likely. Hume was right about the knavery and folly of men -- but he forgot to include himself as a prime example. Hume laid the foundation for many moderns who take anything, no matter how crazy (Jesus was a space alien) or uninformed (McKinsey's Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy) and find it preferable to the Christian faith. Whether that faith is right or wrong in this context is beside the point: The point is that the preference for the unreasonable, the outrageous, and the theoretical against the evidence available is nothing new. Hume was just one major name that encouraged that line of thinking in modern Western society.

Rainbow Sashiness

Minneapolis, Nov. 12 (CWNews.com) - A Minneapolis parish is continuing to provide a forum for homosexual activists despite orders from the Vatican, the Wanderer newspaper is reporting.

St. Joan of Arc parish is offering a series of lectures by homosexual and lesbian couples, under the auspices of a group known as the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM). The group is advertising a November 13 event that will feature "a Catholic gay male couple and a Catholic lesbian couple discussing their respective relationships and their sense of connection to the Church."

Writing in the Wanderer, Paul Likoudis reports that in October, two auxiliary bishops of the St. Paul archdiocese were sent to St. Joan of Arc parish to convey instructions from the Vatican, demanding an end to some of the homosexual advocacy undertaken at the parish. Likoudis said that the Vatican specifically called for the removal of pictures on the parish web site that showed the parish participation in an annual "Gay Pride" parade.

The CPCSM, which sponsors events at the parish describes itself as "a grass-roots, self-supporting, and independent coalition dedicated to promoting ministry to, with, and on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) persons-- primarily of a Roman Catholic background-- and their families and friends." The group's promotional material condemns "heterosexism," saying that the "prejudice and injustice" against homosexuals had made them "the marginalized persons whom the Gospel challenges us all to love." Homosexual activists have been particularly aggressive within the Catholic Church in the St. Paul area. On November 7, gay-rights militants associated with the Rainbow Sash movement attended Mass at the city's cathedral, wearing distinctive sashes to protest what they called the Church's "spiritual violence" against homosexuals. Archbishop Harry Flynn announced before the Mass that he would not deny Communion to the protesters who wore the rainbow sashes.

The Wanderer, which is based in the St. Paul archdiocese, has demanded for a change in the archbishop's policies. In a stiffly worded editorial that will appear in the November 18 issue, publisher Al Matt writes:
The only public explanation given by Archbishop Flynn for allowing the rainbow sashers to receive Holy Communion is that he does not want the Eucharist to become the focal point of contentiousness and battle. But does yielding to aggressive groups who are willing to commit sacrilege constitute too dear a price to pay for "peace"?

Matt urges readers to write to Vatican officials, protesting Archbishop Flynn's decision. The only alternative to a clear reversal of the archbishop's policy, he said is to "allow this situation to continue its anarchical drift."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Philosophy as a way of life

By the Apostle of Common Sense

Philosophy is merely thought that has been thought out. It is often a great bore. But man has no alternative, except between being influenced by thought that has been thought out and being influenced by thought that has not been thought out. The latter is what we commonly call culture and enlightenment today. But man is always influenced by thought of some kind, his own or somebody else's; that of somebody he trusts or that of somebody he never heard of, thought at first, second or third hand; thought from exploded legends or unverified rumours; but always something with the shadow of a system of values and a reason for preference. A man does test everything by something. The question here is whether he has ever tested the test.

For all your abortion television needs

Everything you ever wanted to know about, well, abortion on television.

And I was supposed to use them for my project

Poor Nortel. Lie and get caught.

Yeah, what about those politicians?

"Even though the elections are now over, and politicians are no longer using the Mass as a photo op, pro-abortion Catholic public figures continue to spit in the face of the Church by supporting the heinous act of child killing while proudly taking their place in the Communion line," said American Life League president Judie Brown. "The problem has not gone away. All the bishops must take action and must do so now!"

American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church has been actively exposing the scandal of pro-abortion Catholic public figures and the reception of Holy Communion for almost two years now. "Last year at the Washington, D.C. bishops' meeting, not one bishop was willing to commit to withholding Holy Communion from pro-abortion Catholic public figures," said Brown. "As the bishops convene this year, at least 10 courageous shepherds of the Church have taken strong stances to defend the faith by withholding Holy Communion from those public figures who support abortion. Obviously, we're very grateful to those bishops who have stepped forward. But we still have a long way to go."

I.E. now is a great time for bishops to kick people's asses, because it would take quite an imagination for someone to say that they were trying to influence the elections.

Somewhat missing the point

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.
It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

I think Mr. Jacoby forgets a few key points.

". . . as we forgive those who trespass against us . . ."

Point 1. We are forgiven as we forgive those who trust those against us. That's not optional. That's not something you can do if you're feeling nice. It's something you have to do. You have to let it go. You have to let it go.

"Judge not lest ye be judged"

Point 2. Don't don't don't don't say who's in hell, or you're sure that God will damn someone. That's called a curse. That's not nice either, and more to the point, how the hell do you know? We are called to love those who hate us. Christ, abused, tortured, and crucified, prays for the very people who did it, as he is bleeding to death on the cross. It is the only thing we can do, love those who hate us. Nothing else is civilized. Don't go after Bush for being a good Christian.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Four Loves in Ulysses

Thanks to Zed for the heads up.

Indeed, the world of Ulysses as well as its main characters seem bereft of philia. The intense political discussions in the newspaper office and bar show not so much a love of Ireland as a hatred of England: a love of violent battles and martyrs, hatred and killing. Bloom tries to explain: "Force, hatred, history, all that. That's not life for men and women, insult and hatred. And everybody knows that it's the very opposite of that that is really life.... Love.... I mean the opposite of hatred." (p. 273) But he is mocked and derided by the others in the bar, even to the point of barely escaping from some violent ruffians led by the bigoted Citizen. The men of Ulysses have little agape, and Bloom sees women as scarcely better off: after masturbating on the beach, he muses on them "Picking holes in each other's appearance. You're looking splendid. Sister souls. Showing their teeth at one another. How many have you got left? Wouldn't lend each other a pinch of salt." (p. 302)

Arafat's dead

Pray for his soul, among other things.

Sex in Heaven?

Kinky. Thanks to Jenni for the linky.

At the "down" end there is "love among the particles": gravitational and electromagnetic attraction. That little electron just "knows" the difference between the proton, which she "loves", and another electron, which is her rival. If she did not know the difference, she would not behave so knowingly, orbiting around her proton and repelling other electrons, never vice versa.

But, you say, I thought that was because of the balanced resultant of the two merely physical forces of angular momentum, which tends to zoom her straight out of orbit, and bipolar electromagnetic attraction, which tends to zap her down into her proton: too much zoom for a zap and too much zap for a zoom. Quite right. But what right do you have to call physical forces "mere"? And how do you account for the second of those two forces? Why is there attraction between positive and negative charges? It is exactly as mysterious as love. In fact, it is love. The scientist can tell you how it works, but only the lover knows why.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


LifeSite News Special Report - Wednesday November 10, 2004

Abortion-Pushing UN Committee Must be Held Accountable

GENEVA, November 10, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life leaders worldwide are saying, “enough is enough” regarding the abortion push and other radical social engineering being imposed on the world via the United Nations.

LifeSiteNews.com spoke with pro-life leaders in various countries today, all of whom were outraged that the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) urged Poland to liberalize abortion laws, and implement sex-ed, contraception and gay rights programs. (see LifeSiteNews.com coverage http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/nov/041109a.html )

The same committee also urged Morocco to decriminalize abortion last week. Moreover the UNHRC has a history of promoting abortion and acting as an unofficial implementing agent for the nefarious anti-people and racist International Planned Parenthood.

In March this year the committee told Colombia that denying abortion in rape cases was an “outrage”. The UNHRC abortion push is longstanding. In July 2000, the committee expressed concern over Ireland’s restrictive abortion legislation, and in July 2001 the committee urged Guatemala to loosen its abortion law. (see below for references)

Some pro-life leaders are encouraging citizens of the countries represented on the UNHRC to engage in local political actions to stop any of these unaccountable nationals from participating in United Nation’s attempts to force sovereign nations to accept abortion and gay rights.

Until only recently, UN delegates and other representatives have often been able to act and speak with impunity at critical UN meetings against the wishes of their own people and even without any awareness from most legislators in their nations about what they are proposing at the UN.

Part of the reason for this extreme independence is that much of what is said and decided at UN meetings is not regularly reported or critiqued in the local media of UN member countries. As well, the general public and even most elected officials view the world body and its workings as being far beyond their competence or, very naively, not related to their local affairs.

Hence, scheming national government leaders, working quietly with non-accountable UN bureaucrats and delegates, have frequently supported or allowed the initiation of world mandated policies that would never be accepted in their own nations.

Pro-life, pro-family lobbyists at the UN have frustratingly learned that few people outside the UN, with the exception of powerful special interests such as Planned Parenthood, are paying close attention to UN shenanigans or questioning who should be sent there and what representatives have been saying on their nations’ behalf.

Despite the fact that the United States has, since Bush’s first election, usually been a strong defender of traditional morality, the United States representative on the UNHRC, Ruth Wedgewood, did not absent herself from the committee’s attempt to force Poland to legalize abortion. Wedgewood’s action is all the more concerning since US legislation forbids American funds to support organizations that promote abortion. The US provides the lion’s share of funds to the United Nations.

The Canadian representative on the Committee, Max Yalden will also have to answer for his actions, Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNew.com. While the Canadian Liberal party leadership is known for its fondness for abortion and gay rights, partisan politics pushed through the United Nations should nonetheless be taboo, he said.

Latin American leaders were surprised to see representatives from their pro-life countries pushing Poland to allow abortion. Panama’s Alfredo Castillero Hoyos, Colombia’s Rafael Rivas Posada, and Argentina’s Hipolito Solari-Yrigoyen all sit on the 18-member UN committee.

Most surprisingly, Malta, one of only six countries in the world which prohibits all abortion, had a representative on the UN committee - Franco Depasquale. UN committees will almost certainly place the tiny, principled European nation on its hit list in the near future. No exceptions can be allowed to the New World Order of abortion and other de-population measures.

Lech Kowalewski, spokesman for the Polish Federation of Pro-life Movements told LifeSiteNews.com yesterday that the committee’s action was an "attack on the sovereignty of Poland." Kowalewski is concerned that the UN report may influence the Polish government to adopt a pro-abortion bill which is under consideration (See LifeSiteNews.com coverage of the bill http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/oct/04101802.html )

The complete list of UNHRC members and their country of origin follows:

Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia)
Nisuke Ando (Japan)
Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati (India)
Alfredo Castillero Hoyos (Panama)
Christine Chanet (France)
Franco Depasquale (Malta)
Maurice Glèlè-Ahanhanzo (Benin)
Walter Kälin (Switzerland)
Ahmed Tawfik Khalil (Egypt)
Rajsoomer Lallah (Mauritius)
Rafael Rivas Posada (Colombia)
Sir Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Martin Scheinin (Finland); Ivan Shearer (Australia)
Hipolito Solari-Yrigoyen (Argentina)
Ruth Wedgwood (United States of America)
Roman Wieruszewski (Poland)
Maxwell Yalden (Canada).

Related LifeSiteNews.com reports:
United Nations Tells Morocco to Decriminalize Abortion
United Nations Orders Guatemala To Loosen Abortion Law
United Nations Tells Colombia Denying Abortion in Rape Cases is an 'Outrage'
UN Committee Asks About Abortion And Homosexuality In Ireland


Things do not seem to be going terribly well

Ramallah, Nov. 10 (AsiaNews) - Palestinian leaders plan to announce the death of Yasser Arafat today, the AsiaNews service is reporting.

Palestinian officials said that Arafat's death would be announced by leaders of the Fatah movement and the Palestine Liberation Organization-- both of which Arafat headed-- after meetings on Wednesday in Ramallah.

The condition of the 75-year-old Palestinian leader has been the subject of conflicting reports, amid rumors that Palestinian officials have been at odds with Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat. A delegation of top Palestinian officials returned home yesterday after visiting Arafat in a Paris hospital, where he was reportedly in a coma.

Islamic clerics were visiting Arafat's hospital room early on Wednesday, amid fresh rumors that Suha Arafat was preparing to disconnect life-support systems.

The timing of a death announcement could be critical because of the Muslim requirements for a speedy burial. Arafat had indicated that he wished to be buried in Jerusalem-- a prospect that the Israeli government rejects.

Response to Matt's stuff

First, a good point he brings up. Me is Matt, not me. Thoughts?


But the Court doesn't hesitate to overturn itself when it comes time to support the Left, e.g. Lawrence overturning a case barely ten years old. Stare decisis only seems apply these days when the justices want a decision, but have no judicial reason to give one.

Try reading some of these elaborate multi-part tests and then come back and tell me with a straight face that they worked through that logically, rather than deciding what they'd like and then bending over backwards to try to make it look like the same old thing.


I would have to agree that many times, justices are more concerned with outcome than with clarity of judicial reasoning, but I do think that some justices are more concerned with stare decisis than others. O'Connor, for example, seems willing to let even bad law stand on stare decisis grounds, which is why she refused to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Another point is that I wouldn't say that only the liberal justices are guilty of deciding cases based on their own belief systems. The primary example of a conservative judge doing so would be Scalia's (and Rehnquist's) signing of the opinion in Bush v. Gore. Scalia has flat out stated that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was only written to apply to free black slaves, yet in that case, he became willing to apply it to vote-counting methods. Also, though the court has not overruled the Miranda case, the recent Chavez case has potentially made it practically useless. I'd be happy to speak more to this if you'd like, but for now Civil Procedure is calling me.

Now for the other stuff. I'm in red, he's in blue.

I think you make a lot of important points about the nature of government, especially the point that the government, in passing laws, is not telling us what is moral, it is telling us what is allowed. That is to say, the people decide what is moral, then elect representatives who agree with their values, who in turn prohibit or mandate certain conduct. These laws cannot tell us what to think or believe, they can only tell us what to do (or not do). Keep in mind that this is a very cursory overview of the political process; I'm sure we all know how these things work, I'm just hoping that elucidating these concepts will help to clarify the discussion for everyone involved.

The thing I would like to hear your opinion on is the operation of the Constitution in this process, specifically with regards to the abortion issue. Since the people could theoretically decide that anything is immoral, we as a society need some limits on government authority that the majority cannot overrule, hence, the Constitution. What do you think of the Supreme Court's constitutional logic in Roe v. Wade, and the concept of a constitutional right to privacy in general? I personally find it rather spurious (at least as applied to abortion), but I'd like to hear your opinions, as someone who has obviously thought these issues through quite thoroughly.

Indeed, it seems that one of the most important features of our state is that a majority can't do whatever it wants, even a supermajority can't do whatever it wants unless you can amend the Constitution to get your point across. I find the logic on RvW to be a little, shall we say, disturbing. The claim of Chief Justice Blackmun, delivering the opinion of the Court, is that "Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and of predilection. We seek earnestly to do this, and, because we do, we have inquired into, and in this opinion place some emphasis upon, medical and medical-legal history and what that history reveals about man's attitudes toward the abortion procedure over the centuries." Does this occur in the decision? Not really, I think. He spends a lot of time talking about ancient attitudes towards abortion, goes into English common law, misunderstands Aquinas, and generally talks about a lot of things not having terribly much to do with the Constitution. The crux of the argument seems to occur when he refers to the various past cases dealing with privacy, looks at the Ninth amemdment, and seems to say that abortion is essentially reserved to the people. Thus, there is no compelling state interest in preserving the life of its citizens. That, I think, is a misunderstanding of the purpose of states in the first place, and not something I think the Founding Fathers would agree with. If the state can not protect those it is responsible for, what can it do? I just make all of this up, so I'm interested to hear comments on my (lack of) logic.

As for the matter of Griswold v. Connecticuit, I say bah. Constitutional amenders aren't dumb people. If there was to be a constitutional right to privacy, overriding the ability of legislatures to legislate, it would have been there, plain as day, rather than suggested by other somewhat unrelated things. I suppose I'm unsympathetic because no one really believes that privacy is our right, except perhaps Doomed0. If I have a right to privacy, why can't I own assault weapons in the privacy of my own home? Why can't I go to whatever doctor I want, why must there be certifications for these things? And etc. We have certain rights, but a right to privacy basically means that we have all rights, unless the Constitution says otherwise, which seems problematic to me. On a less legal basis, I don't think we have the right to do wrong, regardless of anything else, so stopping someone from doing something wrong is usually ok, if the wrong is so grievious that intervention must be taken. I don't have the reference from Aquinas, but if someone could supply it it would be much appreciated. This goes nicely with your next statement.

The other thing I'd like to hear you discuss in more detail is your treatment of the First Amendment. Though the words "separation of church and state" are not literally in the First Amendment, the concept is endorsed heavily enough by the Establishment Clause that even Justice Scalia would not think of questioning it, at its most basic level.

At its core, the Establishment Clause is meant to prevent the creation of a state religion. In order to prevent this from happening, the Court has developed the separation of church and state doctrine, which forbids overt state endorsement of any specific religion. Currently, government action in the religious sector is governed by the "Lemon test," coming from the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, which states that, in order for a statute regarding church and state involvement to be constitutional (i.e. in order for the government not to be construed as "establishing" religion), the statute must (1) have a valid secular purpose, (2) neither advance nor inhibit religion, and (3) avoid excessive entanglement. Of course, all of these terms, from the word "establishment" to the term "excessive entanglement," are open to a great deal of interpretation. I just wanted to point out that the debate is not, or should not be, whether the Constitution permits a separation of church and state, but instead where the boundaries of the separation lie.

All very true, of course. I guess I have one agreement and one more basic issue that seems to be glossed over. Firstly, then, Indeed the state can not support or in general favor one particular religion, as you said. That would be bad news. What I was trying to get at, however, is that this doesn't mean that religions can't "interfere" in the state, or better said, that religions must be silent when it comes to public life. Certainly the government can't and shouldn't do things to help one religion, but I don't see that that means religious believers should be excluded from government on this basis. Certainly this wasn't the case in the past.

This sort of leads into part two, mainly in that I have a deep distrust of point one of the Lemon test. Mainly that, what exactly is a secular purpose? Looking at abortion in particular, the argument is something like opposition to abortion is a religious doctrine, so it shouldn't be allowed into discussion. But, I think, that's sort of missing the point. For a religious believer, to some extent, every belief has to do with God, every action has a religious purpose. The summum bonum is God's will, and that's the same end towards which all justice follows. I, for example, really don't see any reason not to go out and do whatever I please if God doesn't exist, for if there is no justice in the world, if I can get away with whatever I want without consequences, why not?

What, then, is a secular purpose? Is there such a think as purpose in a world devoid of God? Some say yes, but on a deep level I can't see how that could possibly be. The only thing that comes to mind is that the Church's definition of secular and religious must be what is going on in the Constitution (thanks to Blair for this one). That is, you have to acknowledge this religion thing and this God thing exist, but agree that no conception of God can dominate, and that arguments that ignore Him are also good. Basically, admit all points of view regardless of the reasons for them, in a public forum. Thus, arguments abour abortion and whatnot would be secular because it doesn't matter why people choose their end, their purpose, or what their end is. (Needs editing but I have to go to class, I wish I could spend this much time on my homework).

I guess the more general question still unaddressed is how can the government protect rights in a democracy? I guess the Constitution's tough amendment process is really the only guarantee of that. Certain things were written in there at the beginning for various reasons, and ultimately enough people can amend the Constitution to do whatever they want. So, ultimately there are no guarantees of rights except the right of rebellion against an unjust state in the last resort. However, it doesn't seem likely that one could convince enough people in this country to do much that goes against the original spirit of the Constitution in terms of an amendment. But I suppose anything is really possible in the long run. Never trust something as true that, well, is only very likely. You will be disappointed, sooner than later.

OK someone else needs to read this and tell me what I did wrong because I don't have enough time to think about it. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

UN to Poland -- kill your children

Me to UN -- Go suck on an egg.

Today is the anniversary of Kristellnacht

Don't know what it is? Shame on you.

Turns out more college grads voted for Bush than for Kerry

Then, how do you explain this: Buried at the bottom of hundreds of election statistics on CNN's website is this: 52% of college graduates voted for Bush vs. only 46% for Kerry. Not surprisingly, the liberal media couldn't find time amid all the ridiculing of Bush voters to mention that little untidy fact.

Frankly, it doesn't surprise me that more college graduates voted for Bush. You'll never hear it in the mainstream media, but an intelligent if not dispositive argument can be made that America will likely be better in four years under Bush than it would have been under Kerry:

Torture in the Uzbek


Mark Shea finds a lot of very happy people

Even as the Neighborhood Nightwatch Divisions of the Ned Flanders Jihadist Brigades begin rounding up undesirables for the firing squads and the black helicopters from the John Ashcroft Death's Head Squadrons begin their surveillance of San Franciso, Chicago and Manhattan, the courageous people of Baja Californada talk about their strategies for endurance of the living hell that is Red State America:

Frances Verrinder saw Wednesday, seven were upset and frightened to the point of tears.

In another part of town, Joyce Renaker began "eating chocolate and speaking in obscenities."

Vicki Cormack found her neighbor on her knees, weeping.

Joan Lester, a Berkeley author who worked the Democratic phone banks, said that as she lay sleepless at 3 a.m. on election night, she wondered how she would get through the next four years. She began planning a book: "How to Survive the Bush Years and Even Laugh."

Beverly Held is moving to France. Louis Bryan of San Francisco is studying Dutch. Liz Williams of Alameda dug up her application for an Italian passport and is, she said, looking for business connections internationally.

Some who chose flight are already changing their minds, and not just because Canada is cold and New Zealand is lacking in street life.

San Ramon's Brenda Watkins and her partner attempted suicide by dessert - - "Pumpkin cheesecake with bourbon caramel sauce, and pecan pie with homemade vanilla ice cream."

Concord law student Alex Simmons is rereading "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway "because it's about a guy who has his genitals cut off and that's how I feel."

Writer and performer Merle Kessler of San Francisco, who describes himself as "lapsing into diffidence punctuated by rage," is watching old Roy Rogers' shows. "Nelly belle, Bullet, Trigger!

"President Bush seems intent on thrusting the nation back into the '50s," he said. "If you can't fight 'em join 'em."

Penny Greenberg, who feels as if she does not belong in her own country anymore, offered, "My only consolation is that someday this planet will be a dead cinder in the universe and all the stupidity, greed, and intolerance and their sad, sad consequences will be lost to all memory." [Shea notes: So much for the atheist's arguement that "Things matter because they end."]

Monday, November 08, 2004

Sorry Matt

I'll blog your entry tomorrow, I gotta take care of business today. It's linked above if anyone wants to look at it. Remember, if you see something interesting, trackback it!

Contra Jarred

If the Democrats accept this young support, it is not particularly pragmatic. It is a known fact that the youth do not vote in particularly. It is also a known fact that both gay marriage and abortion were big issues in this particular election-perhaps bigger than terrorism and Iraq; the Catholic Church was outright telling people not to vote for Kerry (and stating that he should be denied communion). As far as the gay marriage issue is concerned, I am not convinced if the support of the right of gays to wed among my fellow northerners, let alone gays themselves-gay support for Kerry seemed to be not as enthusiastic as one might think-Kerry’s margin among gays didn’t improve particularly much since 2000-although the issue did mobilize many Americans (Some who are even moderate) against Kerry. Kerry, on the subject of abortion, was the same way. We get a perception, therefore, of Kerry’s stance on these two issues as such: I believe marriage should be for a man and woman, or I am personally opposed to abortion, but am not willing to pass any legislature on these matters. Kerry’s main radical base-whom do not represent Kerry (yet claimed to and were very outspoken)-were of course the focal point for attacking Kerry, as radical, atheist, so on and so forth. In fact, it is very plausible to speculate that these issues those which finally caused Iowa and New Mexico to swing to the red state column, while maintaining Ohio and Colorado and keeping Bush competitive in Wisconsin.

The core Democratic base is different than this base. Many people who supported Kerry were very different than these people. Many people who voted for Kerry are indeed in touch with what most of America wants-Kerry, after all, picked up not much less than half the national vote. Most of these people voted for Kerry because they wished to see four years of change from the current leadership, for if they did not wish to see change, they would vote for Bush. By (even if only perceived to be) shunning God, the Democrats are in effect alienating a larger portion of the American electorate-and handing the election over to the conservatives. The Democratic Party has to re-establish itself as the “Freedom of Religion” party it once was-why many Catholics and Jews to this day are Democrats, and shed itself of the “Freedom From Religion” party it is perceived, which has successfully over the last 32 years cost it many votes from both Catholics and Jews. At the same time, it must paint its opponents as a “Freedom to Religion” party that will play divisions of religions towards each other and to atheists to exert political influence and influence legislation. Even today, many people are stating-such as Ralph Nader-that the Democratic Party needs to become more liberal; perhaps it could, in some ways, be more liberal-but definitely not on these particular issues; if one accepts atheism as a type of religion, then the “Freedom From” argument makes the Democratic Party, through its radical left-wing, as conservative as the Religious Right. Until the Democratic Party shows itself as willing to accept the Freedom of “God, Guns and Country” (opposed to the Republican Freedom to), it might be a long time until we see a Democrat in the White House.

Thought Jarred often gets a lot of flack for various reasons not closely associated with reality, I think that his analysis here, and in the rest of his article, is quite impressive. Religion is indeed becomming more important in some ways, especially with the rise of Mormons, Muslims, the petering out of the mainline Protestant sort of things, and the rapid conversion of people to Catholicism in the U.S., especially noteworthy since the converts to Catholicism by themselves form one of the largest religious groups in the US. Mark Shea once calculated that if the current trend continued, the whole world would be Catholic by 2050. Grr for diminishing returns to scale.

The McGovernization is, I think, the most troubling thing going on with the Dems today, and it cost them a large chunk of the votes of the people I know. I mean, I associate with a fair number of orthodox Catholics, so it's bad to extrapolate up, but it seems like a pretty important category in my mind. Add in the Roe Effect and the future's a little disturbing.

I was also amused by the ISO on campus and how they're complaining about how Kerry was far too conservative in this election to possibly get elected. All I can say to that is shudder. A man who supports "post-birth abortion" and he's too conservative. I'd hate to see their ideal candidate.

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