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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Marriage Update
And the Supreme Court? Less than two years ago, it struck down state laws against sodomy, even as Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy offered assurances this had no bearing whatsoever on same-sex marriage. Who said Supreme Court justices have no sense of humor?

Perhaps his most famous quote:
There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.

Friday, March 04, 2005

If material rewards be the only measure of success, there is no hope of a peaceful solution of our social questions, for they will never be large enough to satisfy. But such is not the case. Men struggle for material success because that is the path, the process, to the development of character. We ought to demand economic justice, but most of all because it is justice. We must forever realize that material rewards are limited and in a sense they are only incidental, but the development of character is unlimited and is the only essential. The measure of success is not the quantity of merchandise, but the quality of manhood which is produced.

10 Things
There's a trend right now on some blogs to list ten things you've done that most people haven't, so here goes:

10. Managed a political campaign for Mayor
9. Turned down a job that would have more than doubled my salary
8. Been stared down by a moose
7. Been scared out of my house by a bird (I have a phobia about things that can fly)
6. Not answered the phone because "Buffy" was on
5. Slept in the dorm hallway because "something that could fly" was in my dorm room (I'll refer you to my comment on #7)
4. Sat next to Oliver North at dinner
3. Lost 60 pounds
2. Been to the Calvin Coolidge Birthplace Museum. Twice.
1. Had their kitchen cabinets fall off the wall

Can the Pope Retire?
Interesting history of Papal resignations.
What about our present pope? Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has consistently said that he will serve as long as the Lord desires. Let us pray for his health as well as his general intentions. He certainly is a great successor of St. Peter.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

CNN.com - 66 face child sex ring trial - Mar 3, 2005
This never would have happened if the evil Catholic Church hadn't forced them to live celibate lives!

What? They're not priests? Then never mind...

Not only is this in very poor taste, it's not even funny. Who be so unfeeling and cruel as to conceive of something like this, much less publish it?

Oh. Right. Liberals.

Link from A Saintly Salmagundi where Fr. Sibley wrote the following:
Nothing could be funnier about the Pope's eventual death than the election of a real right-wing African Pope who would make John Paul II look like a puppy in an Easter Basket rather that the Fascist you senseless liberals think he is. And things would keep getting funnier if he really went on the unquestionable offensive like this Pope has really never done on issues such as gay marriage, abortion, the role of faith in politics, the hegemony of the mass media, women's ordination, authentic liturgical renewal, and the discipline and deposition of clerics. Of course this would be funny for faithful Catholics, not for you brainless automatons in the media. But who cares who's laughing, as long as someone is having a good time. And you know, the yuks don't stop there. We'll keep laughing at the quandary you will persistently find yourself in wanting to criticize this new Pope for his "reactionary" views but unable too because you're too afraid to look like a bigot lambasting a man as black (or blacker) than your beloved Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Work is not a curse, it is the prerogative of intelligence, the only means to manhood, and the measure of civilization.

Catholic World News (CWN)
Contrary to reports by the New York Times , Reuters and other news agencies, the United States is not backing down from its amendment to clarify that the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action does not call for the right to abortion.
But when has the New York Times ever let the facts get in the way of promoting their point of view?

Alabamans want to know why Bill Pryor is being filibustered in the Senate
The liberal Anniston Star, for instance, in the same editorial that urges filibusters against most of President Bush's nominees, writes that "Pryor, who possesses a brilliant legal mind, cannot be so easily dismissed. . . . Pryor has been proven capable of setting aside his ideology when it matters most. . . . [He] helped shut down [Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments] sideshow and, in the process, displayed personal courage. That alone ought to convince Democrats currently blocking a vote on Pryor to give him a chance."

It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling...
when I turn on SportsCenter and see a baseball highlight. Even if it is only Spring Training.

The Void is almost over!!!

Cut Buster Loose (washingtonpost.com)
In 1967 Lyndon Johnson added yet another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of national perfection: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was born. Public television was a dubious idea even when concocted as a filigree on the Great Society. Why should government subsidize the production and distribution of entertainment and, even worse, journalism? Even if there were -- has there ever been? -- a shortage of either in America, is it government's duty to address all cultural shortages?
Public television's survival, with no remaining rationale, should fill students of government with awe, wonderment and melancholy. Would it vanish without the 15 percent of its revenue it gets from government? Let's find out.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

For my money, the best show on TV right now. (With the possible exception of Pardon The Interruption when both Kornheiser and Wilbon are there.) It's definite appointment viewing now, and I didn't answer a phone call from a friend while it was on. (And he was returning my call, to make it even worse!)

My big fear about "Lost," however, is this: with all the buildup, how can the secret of the island, not be a letdown? And how can they keep it going? I remember reading they had plans for half a season and for a full season based on whether they got picked up for the whole year. Do they know what Season 2 will be like? Will they have the courage to pull the plug when the story's run out, or will they make me keep watching even though the quality declines so much, much like happened with Buffy?

But for now, I'm hooked and you'll always know where I'll be Wednesdays at 8 PM.

We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time. If that side be strengthened, the other side will take care of itself. It is that side which is the foundation of all else. If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand. The success or failure of liberal education, the justification of its protection and encouragement by the government, and of its support by society, will be measured by its ability to minister to this great cause, to perform the necessary services, to make the required redeeming sacrifices.

Catholic World News : Judge wants punishment for Catholic pharmacist
A Wisconsin judge has recommended a Catholic pharmacist be ordered to attend ethics classes because he refused to fill a prescription for contraceptives, saying he violated the code of ethics.
So forcing someone to do something they believe to be wrong is ethical?

Governor's Report Card Tables
Arnold gets an A. Wow. Basically all indicators which applied ot him (given his short time in office) were an improvement over his predecessor.

Jeb (My personal pick for the 2008 GOP nomination) only gets a B. He got knocked for an 8% increase in the budget and some corporate welfare programs.

Our own Ruth Ann. receives a D. For proposing a cigarette tax increase($0.35 per pack), increased spending (especially relative to personal income in our state), the amount of proposed tax increases relative to size of our budget. Here's a summary of the discussion of her record:
* Fiscal Year 2004 fee and tax hikes of $145 million, the centerpeice of which was the cigarette tax hike
* When we had a surplus of $100 million after 2003, she propsed more government spending(mandatory all-day kindergarten, corporate welfare, expanding the state-run insurance program), rather than returning it to the taxpayer

Life Imitates Art
Take, f'rinstance, the Coconut Crab. Here's a critter that starts as a random egg in the briny deep. After several molts, he grows from a plankton to the size of a couple basketballs (and after dodging a predator or two), and (despite receiving no instruction on how to do coconut crab things from his mommy) crawls up on an island. It is an island he's never seen before and knows nothing about (due to the fact his itsy-bitsy crab brain is pretty much a glorified ganglion). Then, with little waving stalk eyes that can barely see, he crawls over to a coconut tree he's never seen before and climbs it. At the top, he snips off a coconut he's never seen before, crawls back down the tree and gropes around till he finds the coconut. Then, with limbs specially adapted for this, he cuts into the coconut and chows down.

Some people of astonishingly robust faith call this creature a product of mindless forces. I, not able to muster such brute faith, call him a work of art. I suppose somewhere and some time natural selection may have been an implement used in chiseling his amazing form, just as Michaelangelo used a chisel among other tools to do his art. But just as Michaelangelo was still the artist behind the David, so God was still the artist behind the coconut crab and the author of the great mythic tale that is Creation.

The Blue State Court
Even weaker is the Roper majority's selective reliance on scientific and sociological "evidence"--the kind that legislatures (and juries) are used to weighing. The American Psychological Association claims in this case that killers under the age of 18 are incapable of making appropriate moral judgments. But this is the same organization that has told the Court in the past that teen-age girls are mature enough to decide whether to have an abortion without parental input. Which is it?

"If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?" --Benjamin Franklin

"We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity." --Theodore Roosevelt

"The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think." --Aristotle

"The inherent right in the people to reform their government, I do not deny; and they have another right, and that is to resist unconstitutional laws without overturning the government." --Daniel Webster

"Congress can, and should, do more, including approving the necessary funding for the total number of new Border Patrol agents recommended by the 9/11 Commission. It should also require that legal immigrants be fully assimilated into American culture. This means requiring they learn U.S. history and the English language in order to pass a citizenship test. These were among the recommendations made by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at a recent gathering of conservative activists in Washington." --Cal Thomas

"Both parties have called for changes to ensure a more accurate vote count. Republican efforts have centered on reducing voter fraud, while Democrats have called for making access to the ballot box easier and simpler." --Devlin Barrett

"Saying Bill Moyers might have a 'slight liberal flavor' is like saying 200-proof alcohol is slightly intoxicating." --Brent Bozell

David Letterman:
Top Questions About 'The Gates'
Twenty-five million for drapes?
Will it improve my cell phone reception?
When I get mugged by a guy hiding behind a giant curtained arch, which city agency should I sue?
Where do I report a gate-jacking?
This is a joke, right?
If you rearrange the letters in "Christo" you can spell "Ostrich".
Would you describe this more as a colossal waste of money or a colossal waste of time?

Jay Leno: Happy Birthday to Ted Kennedy, he's 73 years old. Looks great, doesn't he? See, alcohol is a preservative. .... Earlier today President Bush met with German leaders and they found common ground. We both hate the French. .... While President Bush was in Germany this week, thousands of Germans took to the streets to protest President Bush and the U.S. invasion of Iraq. See, that's when you know you've accomplished something, OK? When the Germans think you're invading too much.

The Blue State Court
Even weaker is the Roper majority's selective reliance on scientific and sociological "evidence"--the kind that legislatures (and juries) are used to weighing. The American Psychological Association claims in this case that killers under the age of 18 are incapable of making appropriate moral judgments. But this is the same organization that has told the Court in the past that teen-age girls are mature enough to decide whether to have an abortion without parental input. Which is it?

Rocky Mountain News: Religion
"Why do (religions) feel they have to impose their views on us?" asked one woman during a spirited question-and-answer session following Chaput's speech to the City Club of Denver.

"If we don't - you'll impose your views on us," Chaput shot back to murmurs from the group of about 120 business and civic leaders.
"For religious believers not to advance their convictions about public morality in public debate is not an example of tolerance - it's a lack of courage," Chaput said in his prepared remarks.
In another face-off, a man identifying himself as a Catholic graduate of Regis University questioned why "a bunch of celibate men are telling us what to do about sex."

"That's the unfair kind of remark that happens in these discussions," Chaput retorted.

"Let's have an honest debate and not make fun of the values of the other side. We've become quite uncivilized."

One questioner observed that the Catholic Church doesn't appear to care about protecting women hurt by unwanted pregnancies.

His voice rising, Chaput replied, "That dear baby who gets aborted is who I'm protecting. Somebody doesn't just get hurt with abortion - they get killed."

"Who will take care of the unwanted children?" another asked.

"I'll take any child that's unwanted and find them a home and take care of the mother," he said. "You have my personal pledge on that."

When the issue of separation of church and state arose, Chaput derided a bill before the legislature that would require hospitals to give emergency contraception information to sexual assault victims.

"The state doesn't seem to worry too much about separation of church and state when it wants to force its point of view on Catholic hospitals," he said.

To applause, another questioner observed that if the church wants to be part of public life, "When is the church going to agree to pay taxes?"

"I run 50 Catholic schools that keep you from paying more taxes - is that worth it to you?" Chaput shot back.

It was the state, he said, that recognizes that tax exemptions allow faith groups to mount masive social service programs, which benefit all society.
I quoted most of the article, but he's just so cool. We need more bishops who will stand so unflichingly beghind the true Catholic Faith.

A friend of mine calls him the "Bad-Ass Bishop," but worries if that's disrespectful. I don't think it is at all.

Link via Open Book.

Statutes must appeal to more than material welfare. Wages won't satisfy, be they ever so large. Nor houses; nor lands; nor coupons, though they fall thick as the leaves of autumn. Man has a spiritual nature. Touch it, and it must respond as the magnet responds to the pole. To that, not to selfishness, let the laws of the commonwealth appeal. Recognize the immortal worth and dignity of man. Let the laws of Massachusetts proclaim to her humblest citizen, performing the most menial task, the recognition of his manhood, the recognition that all men are peers, the humblest with the most exalted, the recognition that all work is glorified. Such is the path to equality before the law. Such is the foundation of liberty under the law. Such is the sublime revelation of man's relation to man -- Democracy.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Suffering and Love - Part One
We know that Jesus went to the Cross, underwent agonizing suffering, and died willingly out of love for us -- in order to save us. It was because of love. Thus, as we said above, at the Cross, suffering and love were bound up together.

A surefire path to a nuclear Iran.
The Europeans are being disingenuous again. Sure, they "oppose" Iran's nuclear ambitions. But they have also made the calculation that they can live with a nuclear Iran just as they currently live with a nuclear North Korea. That's why British Foreign Minister Jack Straw says he cannot see "any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran." That's also why German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer recently toasted Iranian-German relations at the opening of Tehran's new embassy in Berlin, treating the nuclear question as a mere hiccup on the road to closer partnership.

As it is, even if the Europeans were sincere, the deal being considered for Iran is certain to fail. The Iranians have already publicly forsworn any interest in nuclear weapons: Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi insists that Islam itself forbids their development. So just what purpose is served by another attestation of Iran's fidelity to the NPT?

Yahoo! News - High Court Ends Death Penalty for Youths
I'm against the death penalty, but I really don't see how the Supreme Court has the right to make this decision. This is a decision that should be left up to the political and legislative process.
"The court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: 'In the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty,' [Scalia] wrote in a 24-page dissent.

"The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation's moral standards," Scalia wrote.
The Supreme Court should not overturn laws based on an amorphously defined concensus of opinion. If there is such a concensus, the legislature will pass laws to reflect that, as is proper in our form of government. This is nothing more than continued legislating from the bench. Correct end result, bad method to get there.

Link via The Corner.

UPDATE: I wanted to be more clear: Despite my opposition to the death penalty, it's clearly constitutional, and therefore in the hands of the execute and legislative branches to set the parameters of its usage, as long as it's in keeping with other sections of the Constitution. I believe that executing minors is neither cruel nor unusual as their crimes certainly warrant such a punishment.

The Constitution clearly allows for capital punishment in Amendments 5 ["No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."] and 14 ["...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."]

So clearly with due process of law, a State can deprive a person of life. As long as those requirements are met, I don't see how the Supreme Court could legaly rule this way.

Note also, this does affect Delaware as we are one of the states that allows for the execution of a minor.

UPDATE: From Scalia's dissent:
Worse still, the Court says in so many words that what our people.s laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: .[I]n the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment.. Ante, at 9 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation's moral standards.and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures. Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent.
He's so cool. I wonder how he puts up with the majority of Justices who seem to think they're dictators or legislators and not judges.
Consulting States that bar the death penalty concerning the necessity of making an exception to the penalty for offenders under 18 is rather like including old-order Amishmen in a consumer-preference poll on the electric car. Of course they don't like it, but that sheds no light whatever on the point at issue.
Man, he's pissed....But he still rocks!

The Corner is having a field day ripping this one apart. I'll just provide a link to the beginning of thie discussion here, and you can scroll up the rest of the way.

Deroy Murdock on Rudy Giuliani on National Review Online
This article proves that Rudy is indeed a fiscal conservative. But, oh, those social issues!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Send an email to the Pope!
His address is john_paul_ii@vatican.va.

My Current Reading
The story of Reagan's 1976 campaign for president against Gerald Ford. Just started it today, but compelling reading so far. It makes an interesting case of close we cam to never having Reagan as President, but that it took a long series of coincidences to get him in a position to run in 1976, then to decide to. It argues without the 1976 campaign, he never would have run in 1980. It also does a good job detailing the historical background of the split in the GOP between conservatives and liberals, setting up a final showdown in this 1976 campaign. The liberals may hve won the nomination battle, but the conservatives won the war to take over the party. After Reagan's campaign in 1976, the GOP was and would remain conservative and we have much to thank him for.

Industry, thrift, character are not conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. It can provide no substitute for the rewards of service. It can, of course, care for the defective and recognize distinguished merit. The normal must care for theselves. Self-government means self-support.

Bishop Saltarelli: How to Reach Inactive Catholics
While reading the latest issue of This Rock, I came across an aticle which referenced a statement put out by our own Bishop Michael Saltarelli on how to do so. Browsing the web, it's apparently a very well recieved document, but only available on the Diocese of Wilmington's website in a hard to print format. (It's split among multiple pages, beginning here.) So, I created the PDF contained in the link above. Hopefully, I didn't do anything wrong in doing so, I just don't like reading things online and figured there'd be others like me.

Note: I didn't include the notes section, while I did leave the notes in the text. (This was just a quick and dirty thing.) I don't read the notes myself, and I doubt most people do either. If you really care, they're available here.

"The entire edifice of moral relativism, a foundation of leftist ideology, is built on the notion of feelings deciding right and wrong. ... The unprecedented support of liberals for radically redefining the basic institution of society, marriage and the family is another product of feelings -- sympathy for homosexuals. Thinking through the effects of such a radical redefinition on society and its children is not a liberal concern. ... For liberals, the entire worth of the human fetus is determined by the mother's feelings. If she feels the nascent human life she is carrying is worth nothing, it is worth nothing. If she feels it is infinitely precious, it is infinitely precious. ... [F]ar more conservative positions are based on 'What is right?' rather than on 'How do I feel?' That is why a religious woman who is pregnant but does not wish to be is far less likely to have an abortion than a secular woman in the same circumstances. Her values are higher than her feelings. And that, in a nutshell, is what our culture war is about -- Judeo-Christian values versus liberal/leftist feelings." --Dennis Prager

"We want to adopt the wisdom understood in every American household: that government shouldn't live beyond its means, that it shouldn't spend more than it takes in. ...The present tax code burdens some of our citizens too heavily while permitting others to avoid paying their fair share. It makes honest people feel like cheats, and it makes cheats pose as honest citizens. It allows the underground economy to thrive and wastes millions of man-hours on needless paperwork and regulations. It drives money needed for growth, investment, and jobs into unproductive tax shelters. It acts as the single biggest obstacle to enterprise and economic expansion. To put it simply, our tax system is unfair, inequitable, counterproductive, and all but incomprehensible. I've mentioned before, and this is absolutely a fact, that even Albert Einstein had to write to the IRS for help with his Form 1040. We want to end the trauma and tangle of April 15th, and let's do it this year." --Ronald Reagan

"Media bias does not consist in having liberal or conservative opinions but in how you do your job -- or don't do it. One document whose authenticity is not likely to be questioned by the mainstream media is the honorable discharge on Senator John Kerry's web site. Yet who in the major media has investigated why that honorable discharge is dated during the Carter administration, when Kerry's military service ended years earlier? This is the same media that spent months investigating George W. Bush's military record and, even after key allegations were revealed to be based on forgeries, continued publicizing rumors and innuendoes. They didn't stop even after the President signed Form 180, opening all his military records to the public. But who in the major media has asked why John Kerry would need to be issued an honorable discharge during the Carter administration, years after leaving the navy, unless his original discharge was less than honorable? ... This is not about the past or ultimately even about Kerry or Bush. It is about the future of this country. A gullible public learning only what is filtered to them by a biased media is not a hopeful sign for the future of a democracy. Some of the public have begun to wake up but more need to do so. Many in the media also need to wake up to what they are doing, or failing to do, when their politics taints their work." --Thomas Sowell

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail
Liberal Americans often deride the flat tax on the ground that its lower rates would starve public services and allow the rich to escape the higher taxes. But as former California governor Jerry Brown pointed out during his 1992 presidential campaign, the rich will always be able to hire experts to lobby for tax loopholes and avoid the higher rate traps set for them. 'It is in everyone's interest to make sure everyone pays and that both tax loopholes and the underground economy are reduced,' he told me at the time, citing studies that nearly 10% of the U.S. economy could be off of the books.

Indeed, under existing flat-tax systems the wealthy end up paying a larger share of total tax revenues. In flat-tax countries, taxpayers in the highest brackets move from consumption or tax-sheltered investments to more productive, taxable investments. Many higher earners work harder or take additional risks, rewarded by higher after-tax returns.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

How Kids Are Suffering Home Alone
[I]f we step back from individual choices and anecdotes we can see clearly that as a society, we used to be much poorer; and yet the typical household still sacrificed financially to keep a parent in the home. Moreover, many also sacrificed emotionally to keep parents together 'for the sake of the kids' -- an idea now widely, and in my view wrongly, derided.

Today, again generally speaking, homes are larger than ever, food is cheaper, cars more luxurious and families are smaller in size -- yet the social expectations are exactly reversed; two-income families are assumed to be the norm.

How much of that move toward two incomes is necessity, and how much is an increase in material expectation and desire, are questions that haven't yet come in for much scrutiny. But in a society as well-off as ours, those questions have real spiritual, as well as economic, weight.
Interesting interview on the impact of children having too much time away from their parents while growing up.

CNN.com - World anti-smoking pact in force - Feb 27, 2005
It also recommends tax increases on tobacco products...
Just once, can't the UN reach an agreement that doesn't call for a tax increase? Liberals mock conservatives who think that tax cuts are a panacea, but there are a lot more liberals who believe the answer to everything is a tax hike.

Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness. That state is most fortunate in its form of government which has the aptest instruments for the discovery of laws. The latest, most modern and nearest perfect system that statesmanship has devised is representative government. Its weakness is the weakness of us imprefect human beings who administer it. Its strength is that even such administration secures to the people more blessings than any other system ever produced. No nation has discarded it and retained liberty. Representative government must be preserved.

Buffy, the U.N. slayer
Without Buffy, the council is nothing more than a debating society, an irrelevant club. At the end of the day, it's Buffy, and not the Watchers, who has to do all of the fighting. So, she says to the Watchers, if you help me now, I will let you in on the action. Don't help me and my job will be harder, but your job will be irrelevant.

Now, the last part should sound familiar to anyone who knows about President Bush's speech to the United Nations earlier this month. President Bush informed the U.N. that if it doesn't help America slay the threat posed by Baghdad, the United States will do it without the U.N. As a result, the United States' job will be harder, but the U.N. will become an irrelevant League of Nations.
Found this old article while going through some old email. You gotta love Buffy references.

Now, if only someone would actually slay the UN.

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