Paul Smith Jr has a new home for his blog: www.gazizza.net. Click to go there now!
Friday, June 30, 2006
New Blog Home
Superman is Jewish
I've got a new home page for blogging. You can see me at Gazizza.net
. So far, you can read my review of Superman Returns there. More will come.
The Easter Bunny Hates You - Google Video
According to the linked article, the creators of Superman conciously created his back story and motivations to make reflect the Jewish experience in America.
I still believe he fits the Christ story even better, which Superman Returns
really plays up.
Link via The Corner
Hilarious video. Not for all tastes, though.
Link via The Corner
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Superman Returns (2006)
In the Light of the Law: Excommunication for deliberate embryo destruction?
Go see it. Go see it now! Freakin' great movie.
Canon lawyer Ed Peters defends latae sententiae
excommunication for embryonic stem-cell research (discussed here
yesterday) as flowing from the historical development and understanding of canon law.
Hat Tip: Mark Shea
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
BREITBART.COM - Smile! A new Canadian tool can re-grow teeth say inventors
Stepping Out with the President
First State Politics
Ah, yes, the need to distinguish between public and private. It’s a familiar observation, but I’m not sure I understand it.
Nearly every examination of a historical figure ends up looking intensely at his home life and seeing how it influenced his public actions, whether it’s Pontius Pilate and his wife or Warren Harding’s scandalous presidency. Historians know: There is no great divide between private and public. The same person walks in both.
If a person doesn’t have control of his greed in private life, isn’t he more likely to take a bribe in public life? If a person has a terrible temper in private life, isn’t he more likely to lose it when we need him to be a good diplomat? If a person is a drunk in private life, isn’t he more likely to attend meetings under the influence? If a person isn’t faithful to his betrothed, what makes us think he’ll be faithful to 300 million strangers?
Habits carry over into other parts of your life. If you're dishonest in one facet, you're likely to be the same in others. Private conduct matters because it tells us what sort of person you are.
Catholic World News : Excommunication for stem-cell research
Scientists who conduct research involving the destruction of human embryos are subject to excommunication, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family has warned.
This is only right; research on embryos kill a living human person.
UPDATE: The Curt Jester makes an amusing point
as to why Catholic politicians who promote laws that endorse or allow embryonic stem-cell research or abortion are not automatically excommunicated ("latae sententiae" is the official phrase): "it does not apply if 'a person who lacked the use of reason,..."
"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them." —Joseph Story
"Our country offers the most wonderful example of democratic government on a giant scale that the world has ever seen; and the peoples of the world are watching to see whether we succeed or fail." —Theodore Roosevelt
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." —Plato
"The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded." —Franklin Pierce
"The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem." —Milton Friedman
"[D]uring World War II, the Japanese...gave their psychological warfare script to their famous broadcaster 'Tokyo Rose' and every day she would broadcast this same message packaged in different ways, hoping it would have a negative impact on American GI's morale. What was that demoralizing message? It had three main points: 1. Your President is lying to you. 2. This war is illegal. 3. You cannot win the war." —David Horowitz
"One day, our grandchildren may ask us what we did when Islamic fascism threatened the free world. Some of us will say we were preoccupied with fighting that threat wherever possible; others will be able to say they fought carbon dioxide emissions. One of us will look bad." —Dennis Prager
"When I was a mere sprout, I recall that some nincompoops were convinced that fluoridating water was a communist plot. So it was at a very tender age that I first caught on that, no matter how normal people might appear to be, there was always a good chance that scratch the surface and you'd find screwballs." —Burt Prelutsky
Jay Leno: Korea wants the United States to know they're about to test a long-range missile that they say may eventually have the capability of reaching the United States. Ooohhh. Since we're exchanging knowledge here, it may be good for them to know we have a few thousand missiles that can reach North Korea in about an hour. In fact, if Kim Jong ordered a pizza, our missile would get there first. ... The U.S. soccer team is out of the World Cup after a 2-1 loss to Ghana. And today, an angry John Kerry demanded we pull all our soccer players out of Germany. ... They also had flooding at the Internal Revenue Service and had to close that down. They said some records may have been lost. Good.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
CNN.com - Rowling hints Harry Potter might die - Jun 27, 2006
I've always assumed he'd die. Given the link that exists between Harry and Voldemort, it made sense to me that perhaps one can't die without the other dying as well.
Mark Shea argues
that Harry is a Christological figure and therefore he will die and rise again. I don't know that I buy that. I've never seen Harry as Christ, and don't really get how he is a figure of Him.
Monday, June 26, 2006
delawareonline | The News Journal | Rally planned in support of needle exchange
Great News - The IRS has been shut down
I have never
understood the rationale behind needle exchange programs. "I'm intending to an illegal, immoral and harmful thing to myself. I think you, a law-abiding moral person should be drawn into my depravity by being forced to pay for some of my expense."
We're supposed to do this to reduce the spread of AIDS. But making it easier for people to have drug habits will just lead to more people with drug habits. People on dugs aren't known for coherent thought, so they will likely end up using an unsafe needle anyway.
We should be trying to help people get off drugs, not keep them addicted. I would support a needle-excahnge program where someone brought in a needle and in exchange, we put them into drug rehab. Anything else is just comdemning a person to remain in a living hell. That doesn't help them at all; getting them to kick the habit would.
Unfortunately not permanently. The flood wasn't big enough for that.
"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." —Thomas Jefferson
"One of these days they are going to remove so much of the 'hooey' and the thousands of things the schools have become clogged up with, and we will find that we can educate our broods for about one-tenth of the price and learn 'em something that they might accidentally use after they escape." —Will Rogers
"Most people have still not learned...that attempts to change the world that do not place God and goodness at their center will make this world worse. Is it not time to try ethical monotheism? It is the only truly effective answer to moral relativism, to racism, to nationalism, to worshiping art or law or success. All one needs to do is live by the simple and revolutionary message of Micah, 'to do justice, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God'." —Dennis Prager
"It is not bigotry to insist that there is a good reason why marriage has existed in every known human society, and why it has always involved the uniting of men and women. It is not bigotry to acknowledge what reams of scholarship confirm: Family structure matters, and children are more likely to suffer problems when they are not raised by their married mothers and fathers. It is not bigotry to resist the dishonest comparison of same-sex marriage to interracial marriage—skin color has nothing to do with wedlock, while sex is fundamental to it. And it is not bigotry to fear that a social change as radical as same-sex marriage could lead to grave and unintended consequences, from the persecution of religious institutions to a growing clamor for legalizing polygamy." —Jeff Jacoby
"[T]he Marxist vision of man without God must eventually be seen as an empty and a false faith...first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with whispered words of temptations: 'Ye shall be as gods.' The crisis of the Western World, Whittaker Chambers reminded us, exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God. 'The western World does not know it,' he said about our struggle, 'but it already possesses the answer to this problem—but only provided that its faith in God and the freedom He enjoins is as great as communism's faith in man.' This is the real task before us: to reassert our commitment as a nation to a law higher than our own, to renew our spiritual strength. Only by building a wall of such spiritual resolve can we, as a free people, hope to protect our own heritage and make it someday the birthright of all men." —Ronald Reagan
"[T]he most significant portent for the Dems may not be their stupendous flopperoo in the California special election nor the death of Zarqawi nor the non-indictment of Karl Rove—though, taken together, they render pretty threadbare the Democrat strategy of relying on Republican immigration splits, bad news in Iraq and the GOP's 'culture of corruption.' No, the revealing development is Joe Lieberman's troubles in Connecticut. Six years ago, he was the party's beaming vice presidential nominee. Two years ago, he was an also-ran for the presidential nomination. This summer, he's an incumbent senator struggling not to lose in his own primary to a candidate who's the darling of the anti-war netroots left. What's the senator done to offend the base? Nothing—except be broadly supportive of the Iraq campaign and other military goals in the war on terror. He's one of a very few Democrats who give the impression they'd like America to win. But in today's Democratic Party it's the mainstream that gets marginalized. Forty years ago, George Aiken recommended that in Vietnam America 'declare victory and go home.' Today, the likes of Jack Murtha, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have come up with their own ingenious improvement: Declare defeat and go home." —Mark Steyn
Mark Levin makes a good point:
Does the First Amendment prohibit states and localities from outlawing flag burning? The Supreme Court says it does. Does the First Amendment prohibit states and localities from outlawing cross-burning? The Supreme Court says it does not. Will those who oppose a constitutional amendment outlawing flag burning in the name of free speech propose a constitutional amendment allowing cross-burning in the name of free speech?
Friday, June 23, 2006
The Language of Prayer
Today opponents of the new translation cite concern over the effects the changes will have on congregations, which have grown accustomed to ICEL's old renderings. While change can certainly be destabilizing, there is a difference between changing in order to move away from tradition and changing in order to return to it. And it is odd for those who pushed for a radical shift in 1970 to be now making the same arguments about continuity their detractors once did.
The current controversy is also interesting because it reveals a fundamental misunderstanding over the nature of liturgical language. The Rev. Lawrence J. Madden, director of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy, dislikes the new and more accurate translation because "It isn't the English we speak. It's becoming more sacred English, rather than vernacular English."
Yet that is precisely the point. When Vatican II permitted translations of the Mass in 1963, it spoke of translating into the "mother tongue," not into everyday speech. Contrary to widespread belief, there has never been a tradition of the vernacular in Christian liturgy, if by "vernacular" you mean the language we speak on the street. Many of the earliest Masses were offered in a language the congregation could understand, but not in the language that could be heard in the marketplace. Before a native language was used in divine worship, it was first "sacralized"--its syntax and diction were gingerly modified, archaisms were deliberately re-introduced and even new rhythmic meters and cadences were invented. All of this was done in order to produce a distinctive mode of communication, one that was separate from garden-variety vernacular speech and capable of relaying the unique mysteries of the Gospel.
Thus, if English is to convey sacred mysteries, there should be a "sacred English." The very word we use for everyday speech, "profane," comes from pro-fano, "outside the temple." If Catholics wish to make the world Christ's temple, as Pope Benedict recently put it, they must first be careful not to make Christ's temple the world.
A good analysis of the recent changes in the translation of the Mass: why it matters and how it will help American Catholics.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
YouTube - Freedom: My Anti-Gov
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
It has occurred to me that both parties increasingly dislike their bases, but for different reasons and to different degrees. By both parties I mean the leaders and representatives of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. I believe I correctly observe that they feel an increasing intellectual estrangement from and impatience with the activists who people their base of support.
In the past, Republican leaders in Washington bowed either symbolically or practically to the presumed moral leadership and cleanness of vision of the people back home. They understood the base wanted tax cuts and spending cuts, and for serious reasons. The base had deep qualms about abortion. The base intuitively recoiled from big government: They knew the best arrangement was maximum possible power to the individual and limited, policed, heavily checked power to the state. Or, as some back home might have put it, Don't put your faith in governments, which are made by men; put your faith in individuals, who are made by God.
Republican leaders in the capital bowed to this wisdom--if not in their actions, at least quite often in their hearts.
Now they seem to bow less. They know the higher wisdom on such issues as immigration. They feel less fealty to the insights of the base. They know more than the base, are more experienced than the base, have a more nuanced sense of reality. And as for conservative social issues groups, the politicians resent those nagging, whining pushers-for-the-impossible who are always threatening to stay home or go elsewhere. (Where?)
Some Washington Republicans have been in leadership so long they've learned--they've learned too well!--that politics is the art of the possible. It is. But this is not an excuse to be weak, or ambivalent, or passive, or superior.
Here is my read on a lot of Democratic senators: They think they know more than their base and they think they're more--how to put it?--stable in their view of the world than their base. In their hearts, in fact, they don't really like their base. (They like--they love--the old base: old union guys who drink Schlitz and voted for FDR and JFK. But today those old union guys are mostly dead, dying or Republican.)
Democratic leaders in Washington are in a worse position than Republican leaders in Washington. Neither likes their base, really, and both think they are smarter. But the Democrats think, deep down, that their base is barking mad. The Republicans don't. They just think their base is a bore.
Interesting analysis that I think is spot on. The Democrats are in a tough position because their base is rabidly anti-Bush. However, that rabidity turns off a majority of the voters so it they appeal to it too much, they will continue to lose. It's why you see so many Democrats talk about setting a timetable to pull out of Iraq only to vote against it when given the opportunity.
Meanwhile, the GOP ignores its base quite frequently. They're starting to get their act back together, but they've got a long way to go to make us happy.