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Saturday, February 26, 2005


What Happened at Fatima
The most important person in defeating Communism?
When the 97-year-old Lucia dos Santos slipped away on February 13--again, that thirteenth day--she received innumerable tributes from around the world. But she was little praised for the thing she may have done best: bringing an end to the Soviet Union.
Link via Open Book.

Coolidge!

I (finally!) finished the book. (According to my blog, I originally intended to start it on January 17th. It's been a busy month.)

He's definitely one of our most under-rated presidents. While reading, I learned a lot about his political philosophy that I think bears repeating today, so I thought over the next while or so, I'd share some of his philosophy.

Writing to his father after Papa Coolidge had been elected to the Vermont Senate:
"You need not hesitate to give other members your views on any subject that arises. It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones." That thought would recur in different forms throughout his career. Coolidge deeply believed that there were enough laws on the books, and that new ones should be considered cautiously; perhaps the desired goal could be achieved by enforcing some statute already on the books.
(Note: All excerpts taken from Coolidge: An America Engima by Robert Sobel.

This particularly gives some wisdom that is lacking in modern times. Any time there is a new "crisis" in society, you can be sure that many politicians will be ready with new laws or programs to prevent this problem in the future. For example, after Columbine, many new laws were proposed when virtually every step of the plan was already illegal: the conspiracy, possession of guns by a minor, possession of guns on school property, to say nothing about murder already being illegal. What good would new laws do?

Another example: Al Gore was caught in violation of campaign finance laws during the 1996 election camapign. During the press conference discussing those actions, he called for new laws. But his own admission, what he did was already illegal. Why the needs for new laws? To change the subject, not to accomplish any good.

Plus, more laws that are harder and harder to comply with (to say nothing of potentially contradicting an existing law, creating a "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't" situation) just increase contempt for the law undermining the support for our government.

New laws can do more harm than good. Our legislators should act carefully.

Friday, February 25, 2005


A Hymn to God the Father -- John Donne
WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done; 5
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sins their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in a score? 10
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done;
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself that at my death Thy Son 15
Shall shine as He shines now and heretofore:
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.
Just an amazingly beautiful poem.

Jesuit Jokes!
Q: What is the only thing that doesn't change at a Jesuit liturgy?
A: The bread and the wine.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Greek Orthodox, and Evangelical, and a Jesuit are doing an archeological dig in Jerusalem. They come across a Tomb that says, in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, "Here lies Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed he was King of the Jews, and was executed at Passover under Pontius Pilate".

Excited by the find, they open the tomb, only to be horrified to find a crucified body.

"Oh my goodness," says the Orthodox. "The Church and all the good it does is based on a false event."

"Oh my goodness," says the Evangelical. "The Bible, which has guided by entire life, is nothing but a lie."

"Oh my goodness," says the Jesuit. "There really was a Jesus."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Jesuit and a Franciscan pay a pastoral visit on a newly widowed lady. As she's had several visitors today, the pie she baked only has two slices left -- one noticeably larger than the other. She offers them their choice of pieces.

"You choose first," the Franciscan told the Jesuit. "Oh no, you first," replied the Jesuit. "Okay," said the Franciscan and took the bigger piece. The Jesuit was shocked but said nothing.

Later, after they left the widow's home, the Jesuit rounded on the Franciscan and said, "Father, how could a son of St. Francis have taken the larger piece of pie?"

"Tell me something," replied the Franciscan. "If you had chosen first, which piece would you have chosen?"

"The smaller piece!" the Jesuit replied indignantly.

The Franciscan grinned. "You see, I knew that and so I let you have it."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

A young man about to graduate from college desperately wants a Lexus as his graduation gift. So he goes to a Franciscan priest and asks him to pray a novena that he might receive a Lexus as his graduation present.

"What's a Lexus?" asks the Franciscan.

"A luxurious, expensive car," replied the young man.

"Oh, given my state in life, I couldn't pray for that. But I'll pray you receive what you deserve."

Unsatisfied, the young man took his request to a Benedictine priest.

"Father, will you pray a novena that I might receive a Lexus as my graduation gift?"

"What's a Lexus?" the Benedictine asked.

"A luxurious, expensive car," the young man replied.

"Oh, but given my state in life, I couldn't pray for that," replied the Benedictine. "But I'll pray that you receive what you deserve."

Desperate now to get a priest to pray a novena for him to receive a Lexus, the young man went to a Jesuit.

"Father, will you pray a novena that I will receive a Lexus as my graduation gift?"

The Jesuit, too, was puzzled. "What's a novena?" he asked.

CNN.com - Kansas'AG demands abortion records - Feb 25, 2005
Kline is seeking the records of girls who had abortions and women who received late-term abortions. Sex involving someone under 16 is illegal in Kansas, and it is illegal in the state for doctors to perform an abortion after 22 weeks unless there is reason to believe it is needed to protect the mother's health.
...
The clinics said Kline demanded their complete, unedited medical records for women who sought abortions at least 22 weeks into their pregnancies in 2003, as well as those for girls 15 and younger who sought abortions. Court papers did not identify the clinics.

The records sought include the patient's name, medical history, details of her sex life, birth control practices and psychological profile.
So, in short, the AG is asking for information relating to criminal actions. How is this appeal by the clinic any other than an attempt to cover up crimes that they may have participated in or at least failed to report?

OpinionJournal - American Conservatism
What ever happened to compassionate conservatism? Despite the Bush administration's focus on the war against terror, the idea didn't disappear. But as White House thinking developed, it got incorporated into a larger, more profound domestic theory. Yes, we need a safety net, the current view seems to go; but we don't need a Europe-style welfare state. What's called for is the traditional American "opportunity society," as much a boon to the poor as to everyone else.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


"You Can't Legislate Morality"
That's why "You can't legislate morality" is such an empty phrase to me. What on earth is law but legislated morality? We think it immoral and wrong to oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow and so we pass laws protecting immigrant workers, street kids, and 9/11 widows, for instance. We believe the purely mystical doctrine "all human beings are created equal" (a doctrine which, to Aristotle, would have been completely contradicted by the empirical evidence of the senses), and pass laws against slavery and giving women the vote. Voila! Legislated morality. Is it good government or social engineering? The only basis from which to judge is the basis, ultimately, of natural law and revelation. Otherwise it's whatever the majority thinks it is, according to the whim of the Zeitgeist.

A Patron Saint for Single Mothers

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
Central America is one of the great democratic success stories of the last quarter-century. This story is seldom told, though, because, when you tell it, much credit falls on Ronald Reagan. That president and his men -- including Negroponte -- steered a democratic course in Central America. They beat back both the undemocratic Left and the undemocratic Right. This can be seen most starkly in El Salvador, where they did everything they could to support the democrat Duarte, against the Communist guerrillas and the extreme Right.

Duarte actually kissed the American flag, at the White House, which gave liberal Dems the vapors.

Today, all the countries in Central America are democratic -- and that was no sure thing, 20, 25 years ago. In fact, you would have been prudent to bet against it.

Fight for the Corners (washingtonpost.com)
Fewer than 10 percent of Chicago murder victims are white.
I'd be very surprised is the numbers weren't similar in Wilmington. This is why cracking down on crime on the East Side wouldn't be racist. Rather, not cracking down on crime is the most anti-black "action" we could take.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Quote-a-palooza
More that should have gone up Monday.

"Academic freedom is not only meant to protect professors; it is also supposed to ensure students' right to learn without being molested. When instructors use their classrooms to indoctrinate and propagandize, they cheat those students and betray the academic mission they are entrusted with. That should be intolerable to honest men and women of every stripe -- liberals and conservatives alike." --Jeff Jacoby

"You know, America sure turns out winners. And much of the credit belongs to organizations like the Boy Scouts. And so it's not surprising that yesterday's Scouts have helped to shape our today -- in business, government, the media, science, medicine, education, show business, and -- well, the list goes on and on. Former Scouts have walked on the Moon, become President, and won the Heisman Trophy. Today they serve as Cabinet Secretaries, as my Press Secretary, and in the Congress. In fact, about two-thirds of the Members of the Congress have been in the Boy Scouts. I can't help but think, two-thirds of them Boy Scouts -- how nice it would have been if the Boy Scouts had a merit badge for a balanced budget amendment." --Ronald Reagan

"Some neoconservatives these days argue big government is OK so long as it is conservative big government representing values in which they believe. Big government is not OK. Every inch the government grows, the same inch is taken from the liberties of the people, starting with the basic liberty of spending your own money the way you choose rather than the way the government chooses to spend it for you. Massive programs inevitably have unintended consequences; government, though necessary for many purposes, is no more a precision instrument for constructive social change than a sledgehammer is for brain surgery." --Jay Ambrose

"When Howard Dean was still on top of the world looking down on the Democratic presidential nomination, the indispensable columnist Mark Steyn...dubbed the good doctor the figurehead of the 'bike path left.' This was a reference to Dean's decision to leave the Episcopalian Church because his parish had opposed his plan to build a local bike path. As Steyn noted, what made this controversy remarkable, considering the recent dust-ups within the Anglican community, was that this was not in fact a gay bike path, nor a path one biked on the way to a gay marriage. No, this was just an ordinary bike path, and...[i]t was just, in Dean's words, a 'big fight.' 'I was fighting to have public access to the waterfront, and we were fighting very hard.' Steyn contrasted Dean's readiness to rumble about a bike path with his more leisurely attitude toward war. When Saddam was captured, Dean had said, 'I suppose that's a good thing.' When the butchers Uday and Qusay were killed in a raid, Dean said, 'The ends don't justify the means.' About Osama bin Laden, Dean explained in 2003, 'I don't think it makes a lot of difference' if he's tried in the Hague or in the place where he orchestrated the murder of thousands of Americans. Asked if the Hague would be good for Saddam, too, Dean airily replied, 'Suits me fine.' In short, about the war on terror Dean was dismissively blasè. About bike paths he was a pit bull." --Jonah Goldberg

George Washington Quote-a-palooza
(Tried to post this Monday but Blogger ate it.)

"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man." --Thomas Jefferson on George Washington

"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People."

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens."

"His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read." --John Adams, Message to the U.S. Senate, December 19, 1799

"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.... Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.... Such was the man for whom our nation mourns." --Official eulogy of Washington, written by John Marshall and delivered by Representative Richard Henry Lee, December 26, 1799

"Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814

Quote-a-palooza
"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." --Dwight Eisenhower

"To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be controlled in everything." --Fredrich von Hayek

"What is liberty without...virtue? It is...madness, without restraint. Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites." --Edmund Burke

"[T]he liberty of man to search for truth ought not to be fettered, no matter what orthodoxies he may challenge." --Felix Frankfurter

"For years, the first president of the United States has been almost lost in the murky combo we've dubbed Presidents' Day, which seems to celebrate no president in particular. It was a very '90s thing -- to celebrate everything and therefore nothing. Widening the lens of history, we lost definition and hailed the result as ... Diversity! Washington, Lincoln, Millard Fillmore, Bill Clinton, why discriminate?" --Paul Greenberg

"The differences between America and Europe in the 21st century are nothing to do with insensitive swaggering Texas cowboys. Indeed, they're nothing to do with Iraq, Iran, Kyoto, the International Criminal Court, or any other particular issue. They're not tactical differences, they're conceptual." --Mark Steyn

"People talk about potential [Social Security] benefit cuts as if they would be war crimes. The unspeakable truth is that benefit cuts are ultimately inevitable, because the baby boom's retirement costs will force them. Social Security and Medicare, according to various government projections, would require at least a 30% tax increase by 2030. The wiser policy is not to wait; it is to pare benefits now." --Robert Samuelson

"America suffers from a dangerous separation of its mind and soul. Its elite intellectual institutions are too often hostile to the country's culture and Founding values." --David Frum

"Like the words 'diverse' and 'tolerance,' 'free speech' means nothing but: 'Shut up, we win.' It's free speech (for liberals), diversity (of liberals) and tolerance (toward liberals)." --Ann Coulter

"If I were Harvard President Lawrence Summers -- given Womanhood's reaction to his suggestion that innate gender differences might account for men's higher achievement in math and science -- I'd be sorely tempted at this point to say: 'I rest my case'." --Kathleen Parker

A partisan "leak" probe boomerangs on the media
The special counsel that the Times was cheering on, Patrick Fitzgerald, is now threatening a Times reporter with jail, and in a way that jeopardizes the entire press corps. This is what happens when liberals let their partisan disdain for a President obscure their interest in larger principles.

Deep Throat Doesn't Exist
Here's the first problem: Nothing is easier than pinning a crime on a dead man. Here's the second problem: I don't think Deep Throat exists.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


CNN.com - New ruling�keeps�Schiavo feeding tube in place - Feb 22, 2005
While this is certainly good news, I do have to take issue with the headline CNN used in the link on their homepage: "Emergency stay issued in right-to-die case"

The only say-so we have that she would have wanted to die is from her husband. Her parents say she would have have wanted to live. And should we deny the words of the parents in favor of a man who has two children by another woman who he's now living with? I don't think so.

HAVE THE NEW YORK TIMES AND WASHINGTON POST BECOME JUNK FOOD FOR WAR OPPONENTS?
If you get your news from the mainstream media, you simply do not see any good news in the war on terror. Progress goes unreported. Every once in a while, when something tremendously significant happens, like the Iraqi elections, the tone of the coverage changes for a few days. But then it’s back to the daily box score of bombings and how many killed today, with quotes from Middle East experts that Iran was the real winner on Iraq’s historic election day, and how we can expect a 1979 embassy hostage crisis any day now.

That’s not journalism. Sure, it involves being in these countries, collecting facts and quotes, and putting them together into an article. But it’s basically shoehorning the facts to fit a prearranged template, that all of Bush’s efforts are failing and that nothing is going right in Afghanistan or Iraq.

News that is this selective and this shaded constitutes war-critic junk food – with no nutrition for the rest of us who want the whole picture, the good news and the bad.
Examples of their biased reporting can be found by following the link.

Thomas Sowell: Random thoughts
I love his Random Thought columns.
How can you be an "insurgent" in someone else's country? Yet despite the fact that the wave of terrorism in Iraq is led by an outside terrorist who is murdering Iraqis, our media still calls his terror campaign an "insurgency."

Raising Social Security taxes today will not leave a dime more to pay pensions to future retirees. Right now there is more money coming into the system than is going out -- and the difference gets spent on other things. Higher taxes now would mean a bigger excess to be spent on other things, leaving nothing more for the future.

Time and again, over the centuries, price controls have produced three things: shortages, quality deterioration and black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things with pharmaceutical drugs?

Everyone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty -- in a court of law. But we cannot just mindlessly repeat words outside the context in which they apply. If you discovered that your spouse had been secretly checking into motels with someone else, would you presume innocence until proven guilty?

A check of official records shows that my property line extends farther than I thought -- but laws prevent me from using that additional land. However, I can probably be sued if anyone gets injured while trespassing on it. In other words, I am worse off for owning more land than I thought I had.

Sign on a monument to people who served in the military: "All gave some. Some gave all."If sanity ever returns to our society and we stop taking pretentious elites seriously, one of the signs will be that the public will force the removal of those ugly pieces of twisted metal that are called "art" in front of government building[sic].

If the government gave a $5,000 subsidy to anyone who buys an automobile, do you doubt that the price of automobiles would go up -- perhaps by $5,000? Why then does no one see any connection between government subsidies to college students and rising tuition?

People who oppose the privatization of Social Security call it "a risky scheme." But is anything more risky than turning money over to politicians and hoping that they won't spend it before you retire? They have been spending the "trust fund" for decades.

Monday, February 21, 2005


Whatever happened to Washington's Birthday? / Lafayette lawyer gamely tries to show 'Presidents Day' is the wrong designation
Good for him. We should call it Washington's Birthday.

Link via The Corner.

So true...
"Spring training's always special. It's special because it's the start of something good, every year something to look forward to."
--Braves manager Bobby Cox (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Quote-a-palooza
"When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased." --C. S. Lewis

"Whenever a Democrat tells the public what his party 'is not' he's revealing to them what it is. John Kerry fell into this habit often, saying the Democrat Party 'was not' weak on national defense which only succeeded in reminding voters of the party's historic uselessness on security issues. On Meet the Press...Howard Dean returned to this poisoned well, protesting a little too much at what the 'party was not.' He said, 'We're not the party of abortion,' and 'We're not the party of gay marriage.' An appropriate response from moderator Tim Russert would have been a loud and sustained chuckle. Who launched America on one of its first major steps toward gay marriage? Howard Dean. He signed the nation's first gay-marriage-by-other-means, civil unions bill. Who would have been the first Planned Parenthood doctor to win the Democrat presidential nomination? Howard Dean. Should Dean become the head of the Democrats, its status as the party of gay marriage and abortion would be cemented. 'I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats,' said Dean. ... That's not the tone he struck during the primaries when he proudly appeared at the National Abortion Rights Action League's presidential forum. As Vermont pro-lifers know well, Dean is pro-abortion to the hilt and has no use for pro-lifers. During the Democrat primary I interviewed Mary Hahn Beerworth, the executive director of the Vermont Right To Life Committee. 'There is no abortion that Governor Dean doesn't think is a good idea and doesn't think the government should pay for,' she said. 'There is no more pro-abortion a politician in America.' She recalled the time Dean refused to talk to Vermont pro-lifers because, as he put it on a Vermont talk show, he didn't want to meet with common criminals." --George Neumayr

"Academic freedom is not only meant to protect professors; it is also supposed to ensure students' right to learn without being molested. When instructors use their classrooms to indoctrinate and propagandize, they cheat those students and betray the academic mission they are entrusted with. That should be intolerable to honest men and women of every stripe -- liberals and conservatives alike." --Jeff Jacoby

"Some neoconservatives these days argue big government is OK so long as it is conservative big government representing values in which they believe. Big government is not OK. Every inch the government grows, the same inch is taken from the liberties of the people, starting with the basic liberty of spending your own money the way you choose rather than the way the government chooses to spend it for you. Massive programs inevitably have unintended consequences; government, though necessary for many purposes, is no more a precision instrument for constructive social change than a sledgehammer is for brain surgery." --Jay Ambrose

George Washington Quote-a-palooza!
"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man." --Thomas Jefferson on George Washington

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens."

"His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read." --John Adams, Message to the U.S. Senate, December 19, 1799

"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.... Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.... Such was the man for whom our nation mourns." --Official eulogy of Washington, written by John Marshall and delivered by Representative Richard Henry Lee, December 26, 1799

"Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814

Delavoice
He's back. No real posts yet, but give him time....






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