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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Catholic World News : Pope John Paul II has died
I'm sure he's already reached heaven.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Throw the Book at Him
"An 18-year-old man was sentenced to 90 days in jail Wednesday for attacking his girlfriend after learning she planned to vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry last fall," the Associated Press reports from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.:

Steven Soper pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest without violence. . . .

Soper is also required to complete a batterers' intervention program, undergo psychological and substance abuse evaluations and complete any recommended treatment, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

And the Democrats think he shouldn't lose his right to vote.

OpinionJournal - Taste
A refugee from Cuba has found a home in a Key West, Fla., botanical garden, where he can relax in an almond tree. That's OK, because Phil weighs just more than half an ounce. He's a Cuban fig-eating bat, and after he was found peeping and upside down in a tree, naturalists deduced that he'd been blown to America by a hurricane last summer. According to Tuesday's Miami Herald, Phil is the first of his kind ever seen in the U.S. So, Florida Bat Center director Cyndi Marks said, "He might have to fly back to Cuba to get a girlfriend."
Sure, a bat can stay. Elian Gonzalez, though, must be grabbed at gunpoint and forcibly sent back to Cuba against the wishes of his mother who dies getting him here.

Jonah Goldberg on U.N. & Environment on National Review Online
The bad news is that a new United Nations report says the world's coming to an end.

But, first, some good news: America's doing great!

Seriously, forests are breaking out all over America. New England has more forests since the Civil War. In 1880, New York State was only 25 percent forested. Today it is more than 66 percent. In 1850, Vermont was only 35 percent forested. Now it's 76 percent forested and rising. In the south, more land is covered by forest than at any time in the last century. In 1936 a study found that 80 percent of piedmont Georgia was without trees. Today nearly 70 percent of the state is forested. In the last decade alone, America has added more than 10 million acres of forestland.
And it continues to list more good environmental news. Summary: Our prosperity allows us to maintain a safe and clean environment. God bless free enterprise!

To the tune of “God Bless America”
God bless Free Enterprise,
System divine!
Stand beside her, don’t deride her,
Just so long as the profits are mine!
For the Mellons and the DuPonts
And the magnates, one and all,
God made free enterprise,
So we’d rule all!
God made free enterprise
So we’d rule all!

Marc A. Thiessen on Pope John Paul II on National Review Online
They know that, far from burdening on the Church, this time when John Paul is physically weakest may well be the greatest of his papacy. Here is why: The principal task of the pope is not the effective management of the Church bureaucracy -- it is to serve as an effective witness for Christ in the world. John Paul does this more eloquently today, through his silent suffering, than he ever did with words. It does not really matter if he can use his voice intelligibly -- or at all. By carrying on, despite his afflictions, he stands as a living rebuke to our utilitarian culture -- and a living witness to the value of every life, especially the elderly and infirm.
In his book The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote, "You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not just writing books about it....I will tell you; I am a great coward." Most of us are. So our world needs this struggling pope, who inspires millions of frail and elderly people. We need his example, which affirms the continuing value of every human person who feels isolated by illness and abandoned by a society. And we need to be reminded that we all have responsibilities to the weakest among us — to help them live in dignity, and to value the gift of their presence, whatever their condition, at every stage of their lives.
How blessed we are to have such a teacher in our midst; to receive the precious gift of his suffering; and to be living witnesses to what may one day be considered the greatest days of the greatest papacy in history. John Paul was once asked why he does not retire, and is said to have given this reply: "Because Christ did not come down from the Cross." The Lord will take him from us when He is ready. 'Til then, give us this silent pope.

Catholic World News : Pope in critical condition after heart failure
All we can do is pray for him.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

www.delawareonline.com : The News Journal : Phillies send Byrd to minors
This really upsets me. Marlo Byrd would have outproduced Kenny Lofton this year, for a lot less money. And, it's not like the Phillies need more "veteran leadership." That's practically all they have. They need to move on from this veteran fetish (or perhaps it's a former Cleveland Indian fetish) and try to win games while also building for the future.

Medal of Honor - Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith
Someone whose name I'm proud to (almost) share. He did the whole country proud.

Robert George on Terri Schiavo
Let us mourn, but not be discouraged. Let us forgive those who have acted wrongly in our name, even as we beg forgiveness from the Author of Life for whatever failures and delinquencies on our own parts have contributed to the culture of death. We are all sinners, and have fallen short; and the wages of sin truly are death. Let us resolve that Terri's death shall not have been in vain. In her name, let reform and renewal be our undoubted mission. Let us now, even in the depths of sorrow, rededicate ourselves to our ancient creed, affirming that every human being, as a creature fashioned in the divine image, possesses a profound, inherent, and equal worth and dignity--a worth and dignity that it is the high duty of the officers and institutions of constitutional republican government to respect and defend.
From The Corner.

Breaking the Law
Human reason, Scripture, and history teach us that while we are called to be law-abiding citizens, breaking the law is not always wrong. Take, for example, someone who breaks down the door of a neighbor's apartment to put out a fire, or jumps over a fence past the 'no trespassing' sign into a neighbor's yard to save a child drowning in a swimming pool. Those cases make it clear that saving life takes precedence over laws that preserve less important values.

Seeing Too Much Black
I'm more concerned about the Court's rationale. There are numerous problems with it, including this phrase: "To implement this framework we have established the propriety and affirmed the necessity of referring to the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society to determine which punishments are so disproportionate as to be cruel and unusual." (emphasis added)

Evolving standards of decency and the progress of a maturing society. Those are the Court's standards.

Problem is, those standards aren't standards or, at best, they're vague and shifting standards. "Evolving" and "progress" by their nature mean the target (standard) is moving, and therefore can't be readily measured, if at all.
We live in a representative democracy, where the people's vote is supposed to matter. John Paul II, in Centesimus Annus, recited three things that the Church likes about democracy: The Church 'values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility both of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate.' (emphasis added)

The Supreme Court has been undermining all three.

George Will: A national sales tax
Good article on the advantages of a national sales tax. I could live with it.

Robert Novak: Stem cell swap
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert agreed to schedule the vote for this summer only after Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware, leader of a small band of liberal House Republicans, threatened to withhold votes on the closely contested budget resolution just before the recess began.
Castle's a blackmailer? He's trading votes?

CNN.com - Terri Schiavo has died - Mar 31, 2005
The murder attempt has been successful. We can only pray for her soul now and hope the suffering she endured in this life allows her time in Purgatory to be brief and she joins her Father in Heaven quickly.

May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

1981 attack on Pope planned by KGB: Report : HindustanTimes.com
New documents found in the files of the former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian agents, an Italian daily said on Wednesday.

True Wisdom
I pity those poor suckers on the freeway. Gas, brake, honk. Gas, brake, honk. Honk, honk, punch. Gas, gas gas! -- Homer Simpson

www.delawareonline.com : The News Journal : Telemaco released as Phillies make cuts
Telemaco's release means left-hander Aaron Fultz and right-hander Pedro Liriano have made the team, claiming the final two bullpen spots. Telemaco had the highest ERA of the three, posting a 3.52 ERA in 15 1/3 innings.
This disappoints me. Telemaco, in my opinion stands a better chance to help the team this year than Fultz. Liriano is actually young, which makes it a real surprise they kept him, considering this is the Phillies. (Their motto seems to be: "Giving every reliever over the age of 35 a chance to remind everyone why their last team got rid of them.") He's only 24 this year, so he still has a chance to be good but the fact the Brewers didn't want him makes me wonder if he's worth a roster spot. (The Phillies got him off waivers after the Brewers released him. Given that every team with a record worse than the Phillies could claim him first, it makes me wonder if there's not something wrong with him.)

I've always liked Telemaco and thought he could have been better if he'd been given more of a chance. Hopefully, he'll catch on somewhere and succeed.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
I made it into Impromptus today! Go down to the second to last bullet point. I'm the first comment under there. My comments on this "Christian" church are here.

"Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one's own person is its ultimate reward." --Patricia Sampson

"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --Daniel Webster

"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying 'Amen' to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." --Robert Louis Stevenson

"The liberal line, both in politics and in the media, is Congress somehow behaved unconstitutionally [in the Terri Schiavo case]. All federal courts except the Supreme Court are created by Congress. The Constitution itself gives Congress the authority to define or restrict the jurisdictions of federal courts, including the Supreme Court. Is the Constitution unconstitutional?" --Thomas Sowell

"Before his time as president is over Mr. Bush may find that the biggest can of worms he has to contend with in his second term is not Iraq, is not terrorism and is not Social Security, but instead is his weak and wishy-washy handling of the illegal alien problem. At this point it is the one problem that is arousing the ire of significant numbers of Americans. And Bush's solution to it, amnesty disguised as a guest worker program, is no solution at all." --Lyn Nofziger

"Bankruptcy recognizes that in order to fix the problems you have created, you've got to start doing things differently. One good first step for doing things differently is to acknowledge that Social Security and Medicare are welfare programs." --Star Parker

"OK, I get the hang of this game. Sending Bolton to be UN ambassador is like ... putting Sudan and Zimbabwe on the Human Rights Commission. Or letting Saddam's Iraq chair the UN Conference on Disarmament. Or sending a bunch of child-sex fiends to man UN operations in the Congo. And the Central African Republic. And Sierra Leone, and Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, Kosovo, and pretty much everywhere else. All of which happened without the UN fetishists running around shrieking hysterically. Why should America be the only country not to enjoy an uproarious joke at the UN's expense?" --Mark Steyn

Jay Leno.... Yesterday, President Bush said he would further loosen the immigration laws. And of course, people are shocked: "What, we have immigration laws? When did that start?" .... President Bush met with Mexican President Vicente Fox [last week]. They were trying to decide where they should meet and eventually the Mexican president said "Look, it is easier for me to come to you. I know where the hole in the fence is."

Who Can Receive Holy Orders?
Matthew 10:1
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.

In our age of egalitarian dogma, it is easy to forget that no sacrament is a civil right. Sacraments are gifts, given on the terms that the Giver lays down. Just as the Church is not free to baptise in wine and consecrate a cup of water as the blood of Christ, so she is not free to ordain anybody and everybody. She must use the right "matter" for the sacrament of Holy Order just as she must use the right matter for Baptism and Eucharist. Wine is the right matter to symbolise the blood of Christ and the wrong matter to symbolise the washing, drowning, and new life of Baptism. Likewise, water is the right matter to symbolise Baptism but the wrong matter to symbolise the blood of Christ. They are natural symbols of the sacraments they embody. Water is not "inferior" to wine nor wine to water. The whole question of inferior/superior is nonsense. So with Holy Orders. Christ and the apostles chose only baptised males for the sacrament of Holy Orders because males are natural symbols of the Christ the Cosmic Groom and women are not. Women are not thereby "inferior" to men. On the contrary, in Christ Jesus there is neither "male nor female" (Galatians 3:28). Man and woman, like water and wine, are of equal dignity. But only baptized men are the proper matter for the Holy just as only bread and wine, not meat and milk, is the proper matter for the Eucharist and only water is the proper matter for Baptism. The Church has no more power to change this than to start baptising people in Pepsi.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri Schiavo
You lousy corksuckers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves.
Part of me thinks that Terri Schiavo wants to say something along these lines to some judges right about now

I drove by a Presbyterian Church on Sunday and the sign out front said "Seasonal Worship Service - 10 AM". (Sunday was, of course, Easter.)

I don't remember the name of the church, but it's the one between Kennett Pike and Old Kennett Pike by Winterthur.

At what point can we stop calling some churches Christian?

Undiplomatic Effort
A group of 50 ex-diplomats have signed a letter to Richard Lugar urging the Senate to reject the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador. The letter-writers are a mix of Republicans and Democrats who have served in multiple administrations for varying degrees of time.

However, the basis for their opposition to Bolton seems unusual. Primarily, they criticize Bolton for putting U.S. interests above those of other nations. These diplomats also are upset that Bolton, “without evidence,” has pressured Cuba and Syria about possible biological weapons programs.

Aren’t these perfect reasons why Bolton should be confirmed?
It seems like those comments are meant as criticisms, but I can't see how or why.

Thomas Sowell: Random thoughts
This must be the golden age of euphemisms. When people deliberately violate our laws by crossing our borders illegally, they are called "undocumented workers." When people steal copyrighted material and exchange it among themselves, it is called "file swapping" instead of fencing stolen goods.

If people who commit sex crimes against children are so dangerous that they have to be registered for life after serving their sentences, why are they let out of prison in the first place?

It is one of the sad signs of our times that the new bankruptcy legislation has been attacked as "favoring" a "special interest" because creditors now have more chance of getting paid what people owe them.

In a market economy, the costs created by our decisions are explicit. In a government-controlled economy, those costs are not explicit. This is a great advantage for government officials and a great disadvantage for the general public, which ends up paying the costs, whether or not they are aware of what those costs are.

A reader wrote that Terri Schiavo's biggest mistake was that she did not kill anyone. If she were a murderer, she would not be allowed to be killed the way she is. Many of those who want her to die would be demanding that she live and many of those who want her to live would be demanding that she die.

CNN.com - Husband to seek autopsy on Terri Schiavo - Mar 29, 2005
Here's a hint: The cause of death will be denial of food and water.

Monday, March 28, 2005

"The Modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; but their truth is pitiless. And thus some humanitarians care only for pity; but their pity is often untruthful." --G.K. Chesterton

"We must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world -- and might even be more difficult to save. For mere improvement is no redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine." --C.S. Lewis

"We can argue endlessly about whether [Terri] Schiavo's existence passes our own personal muster for 'quality of life,' and argue we should. What bitter decision is this, to let a woman die? What question more deserving of our sweat and tears? But the fact that Schiavo's fate has rested in the hands of a man who is her husband in title only is both mystifying and maddening. If we resolve nothing else, some of our energy will be well spent examining the criteria used to determine who is best qualified to protect a disabled person's interests. Michael Schiavo, who was Terri Schiavo's husband when she suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage 15 years ago, today lives with another woman with whom he has had two children. Except that he has never sought a divorce from Terri -- and therefore by law has final say over her life -- he is by no normal definition her 'husband.' Put another way, we can safely bet that if Terri Schiavo were aware that her husband was parking his shoes under another woman's dust ruffle, she likely would declare her marriage kaput. That Michael Schiavo still has authority to end her life, or 'let her die' as we prefer to call it, adds injury to the insult that has become her existence." --Kathleen Parker

"Unfortunately, in the last two decades we've experience an onslaught of such twisted logic that if Alice were visiting America, she might think she'd never left Wonderland. We're told that it somehow violates the rights of others to permit students in school who desire to pray to do so. ... We can and must respect the rights of those who are non-believers, but we must not cut ourselves off from this indispensable source of strength and guidance." --Ronald Reagan

"Let's start off talking about the entrepreneur with a brief discussion of the sources of income. Some of the rhetoric one hears gives the impression that income is somehow distributed -- that there's a dealer of dollars. Thus, one might think that the reason some Americans have more income than others is that the dollar dealer is a racist, a sexist or a multi-nationalist who deals out dollars unfairly. Alternatively, some suggest that the reason that some Americans are richer than others is because they got to the pile of money first and took an unfair share. In either case, justice requires that government take the ill-gotten gains of the few and restore them to their rightful owners -- in other words, redistribute income. While no one actually describes the sources of income this way, the logic of their arguments for redistribution implies such a vision. ... I might add that income redistribution is simply a legal version of what a thief does -- namely, take the rightful property of one person for the benefit of another. The primary distinction
between his behavior and that of Congress is legality." --Walter Williams

CNN.com - Sandra Bullock: 'I like the misfits' - Mar 28, 2005
After so many romantic comedies, the actress says 2002's 'Two Weeks Notice' may have been her last hurrah in the genre.
Meg Ryan made the same decision once, and look where it got her. Sometimes you just have to accept that you've been typecast.

CNN.com - Census:�College-educated white women earn�less than blacks, Asians - Mar 28, 2005
Black and Asian women with bachelor's degrees earn slightly more than similarly educated white women...
Explain this one, race-baiters.

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