Paul Smith Jr has a new home for his blog: www.gazizza.net. Click to go there now!
Friday, February 11, 2005
Yahoo! News - DEATH FOR THE POPE
This could be the coolest game ever.
Can true love survive political differences?
William F Buckley:
At church on Sunday the congregation was asked to pray for the recovery of the pope. I have abstained from doing so. I hope that he will not recover.
So, what is wrong with praying for his death? For relief from his manifest sufferings? And for the opportunity to pay honor to his legacy by turning to the responsibility of electing a successor to get on with John Paul's work? Muriel Spark commented in "Memento Mori": "When a noble life has prepared old age, it is not decline that it reveals, but the first days of immortality." That cannot be effected by the hospital in which the pope struggles.
What's wrong with praying for his death? Did he really write that? Has Mr. Buckley forgotten the value of human life? Doesn't he realize that if God's not done someone yet, it's not for us to decide He should be? If God hasn't called the Pope home, it's because he still wants something from him in this world. John Paul II will receive his enternal reward, but let God decide when that time shall come.
Give Iraq's voters the Nobel Prize for peace
Nowadays I wonder: Would I have fallen for the hot collegiate Marxist in today's political climate? My feelings would probably be doused if I heard him denouncing the U.S. and Israel at an antiwar rally. No doubt he'd feel the romance wither when he saw my 'First Iraq, then Chirac' bumper sticker. All's fair in love and war, but what happens when the two are at odds with each other?
It's the Start Of a Beautiful Friendship (washingtonpost.com)
They have already won the world's peace prize by demonstrating in a single day a commitment not seen in our lifetime to peace, self-determination and human rights--the goals for which the Nobel Peace Prize began in 1901. Formal recognition by the Nobel Committee of what the Iraqi people did on Jan. 30 would do more to ensure the furtherance of these goals, in concrete ways, than any other imaginable recipient this year. Who did more?
The history of the Peace Prize shows as well that Iraq's voters placed themselves squarely at the center of one of the Nobel Committee's enduring, seemingly quixotic, goals--peace in the Middle East.
On at least three occasions, the Prize has been awarded to individuals attempting Middle East peace. Ralph Bunche received the Prize in 1950 for work as mediator in Palestine a few years before. Then Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin won in 1976 and in 1994 it went to Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. Cynics would argue that Arafat deserves another Peace Prize for dying. The way to trump the region's well-earned reputation for lost causes would be to reward the eight million Iraqi idealists who rejected the cynics who offered death and subjugation over the difficulties of negotiating a democracy.
THE DUELIST, KORANIC STYLE
Many Washington fans think they know what having a team will be like. But most probably don't. When Edward Bennett Williams bought the Orioles long ago, he thought he knew, too, since he'd already been president of the Redskins. But he was stunned. 'The game just won't let go of you,' he said.
Instead of 16 NFL games a year, he found himself in Memorial Stadium night after night. When the team was on the West Coast, he didn't know which was worse, ruining his sleep patterns to watch on TV or miss the games by going to bed.
From a Christian Science Monitor report comes word of a little-known weapon in the war against Islamofascist terrorism: theological debate. A judge and Islamic scholar in Yemen is visiting al Qaeda prisoners and challenging them to justify their behavior according to God's word as revealed to the Prophet. If they can't - make that when they can't - many of them appear to give up terrorism.
The strategy isn't just cool, but appears to have yielded some notable, tangible benefits:
Some freed militants were so transformed that they led the army to hidden weapons caches and offered the Yemeni security services advice on tackling Islamic militancy. A spectacular success came in 2002 when Abu Ali al Harithi, Al Qaeda's top commander in Yemen, was assassinated by a US air-strike following a tip-off from one of Hitar's reformed militants.
Theological dialogue is no substitute for intelligence, espionage, spreading freedom with missionary zeal, setting a good example at home, punishing killers, and taking vigorous military act when necessary. But it is a good complement.
By John Hood
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Worst president in history?
CNN.com - Reagan stamp unveiled - Feb 10, 2005
(The following appeared in the Durham, NC local paper as a letter to the editor.)
Liberals claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war. They complain about his prosecution of it. One liberal recently claimed Bush was the worst president in U.S. history.
Let's clear up one point: President Bush didn't start the war on terror. Try to remember, it was started by terrorists BEFORE 9/11. Let's look at the "worst" president and mismanagement claims.
FDR led us into World War II. Germany never attacked us: Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.
Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.
John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.
Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions. Over 2,900 lives lost on 9/11.
In the two years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, rushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Lybia, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. We lost 600 soldiers, an average of 300 a year. Bush did all this abroad while not allowing another terrorist attack at home.
Worst president in history? Come on!
The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but...
It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51 day operation.
We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.
It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Teddy Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.
It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
How is that I haven't bought 5,000 of these yet?
It is a good picture of him.
California Revolution (washingtonpost.com)
Peggy on The Pope:
I thought: he is a victim soul. His suffering has meaning.
He is teaching us something through his pain.
His suffering is his witness. It has a purpose. It is telling us something. Yesterday, in thinking about this and remembering that audience, I called the great writer and thinker Michael Novak. He thought aloud for me. St. Therese of Lisieux, he reminded me, believed her suffering could help others. She would take her moments of pain or annoyance or sadness and offer them to God, believing that they became united with God's love, united that is with something infinitely powerful which works always for the betterment of man. She would ask God to take her suffering and use it to help the missionaries of the world. She knew, Mr. Novak said, what Dostoevsky knew: there's a kind of web around the world, an electric web in which we're all united in suffering and in love. When you give to it what you have, you add to the communion of love all around the world. Therese was a Carmelite. Mr. Novak spoke of George Weigel's observation that the pope has a Carmelite soul, a soul at home with the Carmelite tradition of everyday mysticism.
What should the pope's suffering tell us? Several things, said Mr. Novak. He is telling us it is important in an age like ours to honor the suffering of the old and the infirm. He wants us to know they have a place in life and a purpose. He not only says this; he lives it. He was an actor as a youth; he teaches by doing and showing, by being. His suffering is a drama he is living out quite deliberately. John Paul stands for life, for all of life. He wants to honor what the world does not honor.
CNN.com - North Korea claims nuclear weapons - Feb 10, 2005
George Will on how Arnold Schwarzanegger may change California, and with it, the nation.
But that's impossible! Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton assured us they'd never even try to develop them!
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Democratic Presidential Nominees from Blue States
If I were the Democrats, I would never nominate a President candidate who'd spent their entire career in a blue state. It's not just due to a chance to cherry-pick what should be red or "purple" states; it's because of the type of candidates that get created in safe seats.
Coming from a safe Democratic and liberal area, they've never had to appeal to conservatives to win an election. When they're challenged from within their party it's usually from the left. When they're facing general election opposition it's either token or from a Republican In Name Only.
It seems to me though that the obverse is not true for the Republicans; that is, they're okay nominating Presidential candidates from solid red states. I think there's a few reasons for that:
1) Democrats are more likely to vote straight party ticket, despite their claims to greater tolerance and open-mindedness. This means Republicans, even in blue states, have a greater need to reach out to moderates and Independents.
2) The media: Given the media's liberal/pro-Democrat bias, they're harder on Republicans, so that GOP candidates learn to hone their message better and learn how to use the press against the press' wishes.
Meanwhile, the Democrats from blue states don't know how to reach moderate and conservative voters, because they've never had to. Even the Democratic primaries don't teach them this well since the primary voters tend to come from the liberal wing of the party. In addition, once they're the nominee, no matter how much coaching they can get, it's hard to overcome decades of habit in dealing with their blue state voters. Look at Kerry's problems dealing with terrorism. Even knowing that he needed to appear tough on terrorism, he still too often fell back into reflexive liberal positions when speaking in public.
If they want to win in the future, and that's going to be hard enough as it is with the few remaining national Democrats being so vocally liberal, the Democrats need to turn away from the blue states to find their "savior."
To Withdraw Now Would Be Folly
"I suppose, indeed, that in public life, a man whose political principles have any decided character and who has energy enough to give them effect must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles." --Thomas Jefferson
"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism." --Nikita Khrushchev
"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." --Norman Thomas
"Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character." --Henry Clay
"The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think." --Aristotle
"[I]n 1848, Karl Marx said, a progressive income tax is needed to transfer wealth and power to the state. Thus, Marx's Communist Manifesto had as its major economic tenet a progressive income tax. ... I say it is time to replace the progressive income tax with a national retail sales tax, and it is time to abolish the IRS." --Rep. James Traficant, Jr.
"President Bush...release[d] his 2006 budget, requesting slightly more than $2.5 trillion in spending. That's $2,500,000,000,000. If a Democrat proposed a budget this big, Republican fiscal hawks would squawk to the top of the Capitol dome." --Stephen Moore
"A Republican president sits in the White House. The GOP enjoys clear majorities in both houses of Congress. If now isn't the time to control federal spending, when will it be?" --John Fund
"Social Security should be phased out and ended altogether. ... Social Security in any form is morally irredeemable. We should be debating, not how to save Social Security, but how to end it -- how to phase it out so as to best protect both the rights of those who have paid into it, and those who are forced to pay for it today. This will be a painful task. But it will make possible a world in which Americans enjoy far greater freedom to secure their own futures." --Alex Epstein
"[I]f the party of gloom is ever to regain its footing, it will have to start by understanding that those who defeated them are not a bunch of ignorant yahoos looking forward to Armageddon." --Mona Charen
"It boggles the mind that 36 Democrats would vote against the first Hispanic attorney general out of tender concern for the well-being of terrorists, but there you are." --James Taranto
Papal resignation: a complex canonical issue
The price of liberty in Iraq? Ten years' vigilance.
BY NIALL FERGUSON
Interesting article on the history of papal resignations.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
When Officers Aren't Gentlemen - NCOs will be the backbone of the new Iraqi army
We suffer most not when the White House is a peaceful dormitory, but when it is a jitney Mars Hill, with a tin-pot Paul bawling from the roof. Discounting Harding as a cipher, Coolidge was preceded by one World Saver and followed by two more. What enlightened American, having to choose between any of them and another Coolidge, would hesitate for an instant?" — from H.L. Mencken's obituary for Calvin Coolidge
Quote via The Derb
washingtonpost.com: Canseco Is Easy to Read, Hard to Believe
It's not the soldiers who are the problem; it's the officers who are still caught in the mindset of Saddam's Army.
By the author of "Black Hawk Down"
One of my favorite things about being Catholic...
Luckily for baseball, nobody has ever believed Jose Canseco's word on steroids. So they probably won't start now.
And my favorite part:
In Palmeiro's case, Jose may have gone a bridge too far. When you start accusing 500-home-run hitters, you better be right about all of them or the whole bunch slip through the net. If Canseco's book -- the crisply titled "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big" -- is ever published, don't bet on seeing Raffy's name in it.
Canseco has gotten some rotten breaks in recent years. But he hit the jackpot this time. He's now got Peter Angelos, not a homing device, attached to his ankle. The Orioles owner issued a statement yesterday that he was willing to offer any legal assistance that Palmeiro would need to clear his name. Memo to Regan Books: "Sweetheart, get me rewrite."
Don't piss off Angelos.
is that we understand it's okay to enjoy the good things in this world.
Saturday I went to Confession and opened my side of the grate to confess face to face. When the priest opened his side so we could begin, all I could see was a big Eagles jersey. I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
My grandmother told me that when she went to Mass Sunday morning at 7 AM, which is customarily a silent Mass, the priest as he was leaving led the crowd in "Fly, Eagles, Fly!"
At a Mass at St Ann's in Wilmington, our associate pastor reminded the congregation during his homily that the Bible tells us that God will raise us up on Eagle's wings.
I like being Catholic because it's fun.
An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road. A cop pulls him over.
"So," says the cop to the driver, "where have ya been?"
"Why, I've been to the pub of course," slurs the drunk.
"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening."
"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.
"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest,
"that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"
"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."
Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door.
"Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya".
"Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's my husband?"
"That's what I'm here to be telling ya, Brenda. There was an accident down at the Guinness brewery..."
"Oh, God no!" cries Brenda.
"Please don't tell me." "I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."
Finally, she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"
"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."
"Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?"
"Well, Brenda... no. In fact, he got out three times to pee."
Mary Clancy goes up to Father McGuire after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.
He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"
She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."
The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?"
She says, "That he did, Father."
The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?
" She says, "He said, 'Please Mary, put down that damn gun...'
A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down but says nothing. The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the drunk continues to sit there. Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall. The drunk mumbles, "ain't no use knockin; there's no paper on this side either."
Monday, February 07, 2005
Belated Birthday Wishes
He would have turned 94 yesterday, February 6th.
My favorite quotes by him:
Thank you, Mr. President. The world is a much better place for your having lived in it.
While I was disappointed that the Eagles lost, the end of the Super Bowl did bring one peice of good news:
It's almost time for Spring Training!!!
A Taxing Challenge (washingtonpost.com)
"Ronald Reagan will go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents that America has ever had. Historians will undoubtedly focus on his enormous political impact, both domestically and internationally. But his emphasis on moral and spiritual values was one of his greatest contributions. Mr. Reagan made Americans feel good about themselves, no matter what the problems were. More than that, he pointed them to the moral and spiritual foundations which have made this nation great -- foundations derived from the Biblical Judeo-Christian heritage." --Rev. Billy Graham
"Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation. Families -- not government programs -- are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages are perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved. Thus it is imperative that our government's programs, actions, officials and social welfare institutions never be allowed to jeopardize the family. We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them. The New Republican Party must be committed to working always in the interest of the American family." --Ronald Reagan
"For the West -- for America, the time has come to dare to show to the world that our civilized ideas, our traditions, our values, are not -- like the ideology and war machine of totalitarian societies -- just a facade of strength. It is time for the world to know our intellectual and spiritual values are rooted in the source of all strength, a belief in a Supreme Being, and a law higher than our own." --Ronald Reagan
"The two most important things that can be done to promote democracy in the world is first, to bring moral clarity back to world affairs and second, to link international policies to the advance of democracy around the globe. When we are unwilling to draw clear moral lines between free societies and fear societies, when we are unwilling to call the former good and the latter evil, we will not be able to advance the cause of peace because peace cannot be disconnected from freedom. By not understanding why freedom is so important to peace, we run the risk of trying to find 'our dictator' in the hopes that he will provide security. In the end, we are likely to find ourselves supporting regimes that repress their own people and endanger us. When Ronald Reagan called the USSR an evil empire he was fiercely criticized by many in the West who saw him as a dangerous warmonger. But when we in the Gulag heard of Reagan's statement, we were ecstatic. We knew that once there was no moral confusion between the two types of societies, once good and evil were kept separate, the Soviet Union's days were numbered. Soon, the most fearsome totalitarian empire in human history collapsed without a shot being fired and the cause of peace and security was advanced. I have no doubt that moral clarity will have the same effect today and equally serve the cause of peace, stability and security around the world." --Natan Sharansky
"And I hope that someday your children and grandchildren will tell of the time that a certain president came to town at the end of a long journey and asked their parents and grandparents to join him in setting America on the course to the new millennium -- and that a century of peace, prosperity, opportunity, and hope followed. So, if I could ask you just one last time: Tomorrow, when mountains greet the dawn, would you go out there and win one for the Gipper?" --Ronald Reagan
"As I look back, I really believe that God was working in this country and across this globe to achieve His purposes through Ronald Reagan. God's timetable was better than Dad's. Had my father won the presidency in 1976, I think there's a good chance the Berlin Wall would not have come down and the Cold War would not have ended. Why? Because a number of key players were not yet in place. One key player was Pope John Paul II, who would join with President Reagan in taking a stand against the 'evil empire' of Soviet Communism; he was not elected by the College of Cardinals until 1978. Czech dissident Vaclav Havel did not publish his influential essay 'The Power of the Powerless' until 1978. President Reagan's strongest European ally, Lady Margaret Thatcher, did not become prime minister of Great Britain until 1979. The occupation of the Gdansk shipyards in Poland, led by Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, did not take place until 1980. And Mikhail Gorbachev, who ushered in the era of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (reform), did not achieve office until 1985. Though Dad was disappointed to lose the nomination in 1976, he was right on schedule, according to God's timing. Dad won the election in 1980, exactly when God had planned. The pieces of the global puzzle fell into place, a hunger for freedom swept Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union imploded, the Berlin Wall toppled, the Cold War ended, and the world is a better place to live in -- all in God's good time." --Michael Reagan
"The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution." --Ronald Reagan
"Ronald Reagan's basic beliefs were truly that -- beliefs. And because he was a believer he did not suffer from the dismal plague of doubts which has assailed so many politicians in our times and which has tendered them incapable of clear decisions." --Lady Margaret Thatcher
"I left the Democrat Party, and...I don't believe we changed. We still support the same beliefs we always held, but the party leadership set off on an entirely different course." --Ronald Reagan
Tax reform and how it can help simplify American lives and reform government.