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Friday, November 19, 2004

Why The British Rock
INSULT ART: Can anything top a British snub? Consider the reception planned for French President Jacques Chirac on his arrival yesterday in London: After alighting at Waterloo station, the Toronto Globe and Mail tittered earlier this week, Mr. Chirac was to watch "Les Misérables," the "musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel so disliked by French elites." The venue? Windsor Castle's Waterloo Chamber, "specially built by King George IV as a secular shrine to the defeat of the French, where large portraits of the Duke of Wellington and other British victors will glare down at the French President."
They insult you, but not necessarily overtly. They do it with class.

Troops in Fallujah are the best since World War II
Or, why we won't need a draft.

This is even cooler, though

I got mine last week and I play with it all the time. It's great hearing him say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" I just wish they had him saying "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." That was a classic.

Talking Presidents: George W. Bush "Turkey Dinner" Action Figure
You know you want one.

The Corner on National Review Online
Ok, so It turns out that the rule change the Republicans put forth in the current DeLay situation are better then I though, and at first glance, very good policy.

  1. It recognizes that an indictment is not a formal declaration of guilt, and indictments can be politically motivated.
  2. It forces a convicted felon to step down, a requirement which didn't exist before.
  3. And it does require an independent review which will recommend whether or not the subject be removed from his position.

So my reaction might have been a bit hasty yesterday. This looks like a good idea after all.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

CNN.com - AFI top 100 to show the money quotes - Nov 17, 2004
Nominee List

If anything other than "Yippee-ki-yay, mother****er" from "Die Hard" wins, it's a travesty.

Last weekend, Salesianum captured the cross country state championship for their 31st title in 36 years. Led by the strong running of Mike Kowal (1st place individual), Dominic Della Pelle (2nd), Joe Donnelly (4th) and Kevin Wulff (6th), the Sals finished with 33 points and bested Charter (61) and St. Mark’s (95). It is the Sals’ fourth straight state championship.

Midfielder Eamon O’Neill scored a pair of goals Wednesday night as the Sals defeated the Colonials 4-0 to advance to the state finals. The Sals (19-0) try for their fifth state championship and second in three years when they face Caesar Rodney in the championship game on Saturday night (7 p.m., Wesley College).

Salesianum, the No. 2 seed in the state tournament, clinched a playoff bye by virtue of their 9-1 regular season record.
Yeah, we bad.

Why do Christians tend to be conservative?
This is a comment I attempted to post at the link above, but it didn't take.

Here's my thoughts:

First, let me explain (as you're probably aware) that many conservatives don't like the term conservative and would like to be called liberals, since our views match up better with the historical definition of liberal.

I'm Catholic and a "Classic" liberal. God endowed us with freedom, and the government shouldn't interfere with that any more than necessary.

It seems to me that the moder-day liberal thinking traces itself back to the French Revolution, which despite the slogans ultimately ended up being repressive. You can see why when you read the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Rights are seen as coming from the state, and the state can override those rights as it sees fit.

Edmund Burke was a member of the British Parliament around the tie of the American and French Revolutions. He was a fan of the ideals expressed in the American, while fearing (rightly) those motivating the French.

The difference: The American system put in checks and balances to try to prevent a dictatorship or overwhelming government power. He understood that government grow in size and authority because Men want more power, and the American ideas were designed to prevent that. The French Revolution, by putting all power in the state, virtually guaranteed a dictatorship, although I think everyone was suprised by how quickly it descended into one.

How does this tie in to religion? One word: sin.

The American system was an acknowledgement of Man's tendency to sin and do wrong to others. The French system seemed to presuppose a good nature in Man. (I think all of recorded history would prove the French wrong, but anyway...)

Conservatives, being largely Christian in America, recognize the effects of sin in Man, so wish to limit the power any one man or group can have. Liberals, often denying sin, believe that enlightened Men (usually other liberals) can be trusted with great power. (This is why there's never been a conservative utopia, to the best of my knowledge. All utopias were founded by liberals, because they believe in the perfectibility of Man.)

Also, as seen in the American revolution, we believe rights come from God. The Declaration of the Rights of Man, believed it came from the state.

The difference between Liberals and Conservatives really begins with one fundamental issue: where do we get our rights from? If you believe that they come from God, government shouldn't interfere with them beyond what is absolutely necessary. If they come from the state, then they can be abrogated as the state deems necessary.

Think of it this way: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" is a noble sentiment when the Enterprise needs warp power to escape the overload of the Genesis torpedo and Spock makes that sacrifice willingly. It's another thing all together when the government comes and takes something from you because other people need it.

I got Season 7 in yesterday!!!

USATODAY.com - Democrats question Kerry's campaign nest egg
Democratic Party leaders said Wednesday they want to know why Sen. John Kerry ended his presidential campaign with more than $15 million in the bank, money that could have helped Democratic candidates across the country.
This is just bizarre. I can't imagine a reason not to at least zero out your account if not go into debt.

The only thing I can think of is that he was expecting another Florida-type situation and was saving money for that. But that doesn't make much sense because he also had about $8 million in his separate legal fund. Plus, as Leo Durocher once said, "You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain." Spend what you have to win the election, and then if "Florida" happens you can raise it then.

More evidence: can't run a campaign well, why should we expect you to run a country well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"The Constitution which at any time exists, 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all." --George Washington

"It is hostile to a democratic system to involve the judiciary in the politics of the people." --Felix Frankfurter

"That government is best which governs least." --Henry David Thoreau

"There is no 'slippery slope' toward loss of liberty, only a long staircase where each step down must first be tolerated by the American people and their leaders." --Alan K. Simpson

"A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American." --Woodrow Wilson

"An amnesty by any other name is still an amnesty, regardless of what the White House wants to call it. Their amnesty plan was dead on arrival when they sent it to the Congress in January, and if they send the same pig with lipstick back to Congress next January, it will suffer the same fate." --Rep. Tom Tancredo, chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus

"When you write off centrist and conservative policies that reflect the will of people in the South and Midwest, you write off the South and Midwest. Democrats have never learned from the second or third or fifth kick of a mule. They continue to change only the makeup on, rather than makeup of, the Democrat Party." --Senator Zell Miller

"By conventional standards, [John] Ashcroft was among the best attorney generals in American history. Violent crime dropped 27 percent on his watch, reaching a 30-year low. Federal gun crime prosecutions rose 75 percent, and gun crimes dropped -- something that should please liberals. By unconventional standards his service was heroic. There hasn't been a single terrorist attack since 9/11, despite all predictions by experts and efforts by terrorists to the contrary. Ashcroft was willing to take gross abuse to do what was necessary." --Jonah Goldberg

www.delawareonline.com : The News Journal : LOCAL : Lawsuit against Ursuline denied
Curay-Cramer claimed, in part, that she was illegally fired because she is a woman and that men who did not support church doctrine were not similarly punished.
Her name appeared in a Jan. 22, 2003, advertisement in The News Journal that marked the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. The ad included the names of about 600 supporters of abortion rights, including Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.
Did any of those allegedly "pro-choice" men sign their name to an ad? If not, then the situations aren't comparable. If they've kept their opinions private, then the situations are different.

Curay-Cramer wasn't fired for being a woman, or for being "pro-choice." She was fired for publicly backing the legality of abortion, which could encourage others, including her students who are supposed to be receiving a Catholic education, to believe that it's acceptable for Catholics to share her views. Private disagreements with Church teachings can be overlooked, although we should approach those disagreements with the attitude that we need to udnerstand the Church's position better. Making those disagreements public and advocating against the Church's position is the greater sin.

From the Catechism:
2284. Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.
2285.Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.
[emphasis added]

The full context of the Biblical citation above can be found in Matthew Chapter 18:
At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst,
and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
As bad as sin is, it's worse to cause someone else to sin. By continuing to employ Curay-Cramer, Ursuline would have been in effect saying that her stance on abortion was authentically Catholic. Ursuline would have been guilty of the greater sin. (And don't forget, she was given the chance to recant before her firing. She had the opportunity to make things right and refused it.)

As fasting ends, the lessons of Ramadan linger | csmonitor.com
This was an excellent article on the meaning of Ramadan, and contains pointers that would be useful to Christians as well.

My hope is that those who subscribe to this interpretation of Islam could convert those we're fighting in Iraq right now and those and who support them.

Link via Catholic Educator's Resource Center.

CNN.com - Republicans move to protect DeLay - Nov 17, 2004
I'm not really thrilled with this, but I understand the motivation. The prosecutor responsible for this investigation has a long history of issuing politically timed indictments that are later thrown out, and he's been targeting DeLay for a while, with no success. Any indictment actually issued would be suspect at best.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

CNN.com - Army: Order-refusingGIsshould be punished - Nov 16, 2004
The Army is recommending punishment for about two dozen soldiers from an Army Reserve unit in Iraq that refused orders to drive a fuel convoy because they believed it was too dangerous, officials said Tuesday.
I would hope so. In the military, you obey orders, because when you don't obey orders, people can die. Discpline must not be allowed to break down or people will die.

www.delawareonline.com : The News Journal : Former Ursuline teacher's lawsuit dismissed
Damn straight. You can't be publicly for abortion and expected to be allowed Catholic schoolchildren.

I'm proud of Ursuline and the diocese for standing up for the Catholic faith in this matter.

USATODAY.com - Hardee's hails burger as 'monument to decadence'
The chain on Monday rolled out its Monster Thickburger - two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. The sandwich alone sells for $5.49, $7.09 with fries and a soda.

Even a news release touted the Monster - at 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat - as 'a monument to decadence.' Add fries and a soda and a single meal would involve more calories and fat than most people should get in a day.
I checked and the nearest Hardee's to me is in Dover, 41 miles away. I have to find a reason to go to Dover. Anyone up for a roadtrip?

Amazon.com: DVD: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Seventh Season (2002)
Whoo-hoo! My Buffy Season 7 DVD ships today! My collection will be complete!

Monday, November 15, 2004

This sounds like a good agenda to me

A Good T-Shirt

I was told an interesting story about how different Ireland is than America. The same guy who told me the story below about Tantum Ergo vs. Kum-Buy-ah also told me a story about hearing a death announcement on an Irish radio station that concluded with "May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."

Different, but in this case, at least, better.

My Current Reading
Just started it, but look forward to finding time to read it. It's a history of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, based in Greenville, Delaware. I worked with them during my college years and since have come to appreciate even more the work the do trying to restore colleges as places to receive a liberal education, rather than the current Liberal education.

I'm not sure anything more needs to be said about the French
Several French municipalities governed by communist and left-wing majorities are considering naming a street or a square after Yasser Arafat.

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail - The Swift Boat Veterans gather to assess their impact on the campaign
[F]ormer CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg leaned back in his chair in amazement. 'I think some of them are too intense,' he told me. 'But screwing with these guys by accusing them of atrocities was one of the biggest mistakes John Kerry ever made. Thirty years later he woke a sleeping giant.'"

Red States More Generous Than Blue States
The Best of the Web ran the following news on Friday:
Yesterday we noted a study by the Catalogue of Philanthropy that ranked states in order of their generosity, measured by the percentage of adjusted gross income their residents donated to charity. It turns out there are newer figures available, which show a slightly greater trend in favor of Republican states. In the Catalogue's 2004 survey, the top 25 states all were carried by George W. Bush; New York, the top-giving Kerry state, weighs in at No. 26.

Here's a nifty chart showing the correlation between states' 2004 voting margin and their ranking in the study:

Robert Novak: The Senator vs. the U.N.
The scandal is not complicated. Money from Iraqi oil sales permitted by the Saddam Hussein regime under UN auspices, supposedly to provide food for Iraqis, was siphoned off to middlemen. Billions intended to purchase food wound up in Saddam Hussein's hands for the purpose of buying conventional weapons. The complicity of UN member states France and Russia is pointed to by the Senate investigation. The web of corruption deepened when it was revealed that Annan's son, Kojo, was on the payroll of a contractor in the oil-for-food program.

It's just morally wrong
Sunny 104.5 and B101, both out of Philadelphia, have gone to all Christmas music formats already.

It's just wrong.

"They took away my 'Tantum Ergo' and gave me 'Kum-ba-yah'"
I went on a retreat at the Malvern Retreat house this weekend. (All you men, I strongly recommend going.)

One of the guys I met there told me a story about telling his commanding officer in the Army right after Vatican II how great the changes the Council implemented were. The quote above was the response.

I think that's the reason some people have a negative opinion of Vatican II: so much good was thrown out in the name of change immediately after it, only to be replaced by .. well... crap. The bias against Latin is still strong. The "Tantum Ergo" sung in Latin just sounds so much more impressive and reverent than "Down In Adoration Falling" does. It's just a fact.

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