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Friday, April 29, 2005

College Honoring Clinton Declared 'No Longer Catholic' -- 04/29/2005
The Catholic college that offered to give U.S. Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York an honorary doctoral degree was formally dropped as a Roman Catholic institution on Thursday.

Two sources have confirmed for Cybercast News Service that Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) in New York City will no longer be listed in 'The Official Catholic Directory,' which identifies institutions formally recognized as Catholic.
You have a choice: You can be Catholic, or you can honor pro-abortion politicians. MMC has made their choice, and suffered the consequences.

www.delawareonline.com - The News Journal - LOCAL - Devil statue raises Cain after moving
And so another Delaware landmark is removed. I think the neighbors are over-reacting; I think it would be great to have that thing in my neighborhood, although I could see it becoming a nuisance from gawkers and moron teenagers and drunks. But there's no part of this story's that not funny, especially the horses getting scared.

This means my two favorite Delaware landmarks are now gone:
1) The Darth Vader in Wilmington got dry rot and had to be chopped down
2) "The Demon of Route 13," as some of my friends and I always called it, is now in Jersey, which I guess is an apprpriate place The Devil to be

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I am grateful...
...that Take your Kids to Work Day only comes once a year.

Robert Novak: Senate's Dr. Pain
It is hard to exaggerate how much Coburn's rhetoric riles pork-loving colleagues, explaining the absurd ethics proceeding against him. In answering charges that he is a part-time senator, Coburn wrote constituents last week that he will continue to 'devote at least 60-70 hours per week to my Senate duties.' Other senators spend as much time as Coburn back home but mainly for fund-raising. They are not stopped from padding their bankrolls with book royalties, farm income and investments.
The Republicans are trying to punish Senator Tom Coburn for speaking out against pork barrel spending. This is shameful.

Archdiocese of Denver - DCR - Archbishop's column - Election of Benedict XVI ‘a moment of grace’
One of the lessons from last year that too many American Catholics still don’t want to face is that it’s OK to be Catholic in today’s public square as long as we don’t try to live our beliefs too seriously; as long as we’re suitably embarrassed by all those “primitive” Catholic teachings; as long as we shut up about abortion and other sensitive moral issues and allow ourselves to be tutored in the ways of “polite” secular culture by experts who have little or no respect for the Christian faith that guides our lives.

The reason Pope Benedict XVI will get no media honeymoon is simple. It’s the same reason he instantly won the hearts of committed Catholics, worried the lukewarm and angered the proud and disaffected. He actually believes that what Jesus Christ and His Church teach is true, and that the soul of the world depends on the Church’s faithful witness.

As one columnist bitterly observed, “the cafeteria is now closed.” Of course, for believers, it was never open.
The bad-ass bishop strikes again.

Link via The Corner

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

FAMILY GUY :: FOX Broadcasting Company
The Family Guy's back Sunday night! No one call me between 9 and 9:30, because I won't answering!

Straight From the Gipper's Pen
Ronald Reagan kept a diary -- handwritten, blue-inked reflections and observations of nearly every day of his eight years in the White House -- and now it will be published, executives of HarperCollins and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation announced yesterday.

The only significant gap is the few weeks after John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate Reagan in 1981, said Edmund Morris, one of the few scholars to have read the whole thing and who quoted bits in his 1999 book "Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan."

"The diaries are amazingly dispassionate, clear and sequential," Morris said. "They show a man, a chief executive, with an extraordinary degree of objectivity. There's very little vanity and self-congratulation in the diaries."
This sounds very interesting. Given the apparent length, alledgedly as high as half a million words, I may not read it myslef, but it will be good to have the Gipper's perspective on his presidency in contemporaneous notes.

"Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet." --Saint Augustine

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government." --Edward Abbey

"[International law] doesn't show what the Constitution originally meant, and it doesn't show what is fundamentally important to Americans today. It shows what's fundamentally important to somebody else today." --Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

"[W]hatever became of the Republican Party? ... Too many Republicans in the House and Senate are afflicted with one or both of two problems. Either they don't believe in much of anything or they are afraid to fight for what they do believe in." --Lyn Nofziger

"More than 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan delivered a televised address called 'A Time for Choosing' about the ideological choices Americans faced in the 1964 presidential election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. ... Republicans and the nation are now faced with another time for choosing in the matter of confirming judges to the federal bench. ... If Republicans squander this unique opportunity to repair our broken legal system, they no longer deserve to be in charge of government." --Cal Thomas

"I had no strong views about the new pope one way or another, but I'd have voted for him just for the pleasure of seeing him drive the U.S. media bananas. Apparently, The New York Times was stunned that their short list of Cardinal Gloria Steinem, Cardinal Rupert Everett and Cardinal Rosie O'Donnell were defeated at the last moment by some guy who came out of left field and isn't even gay or female but instead belongs to the discredited 'Catholic' faction of the Catholic Church." --Mark Steyn

"In liberal land, the thinking goes like this: If a majority of Americans seek a change in direction they must be denied by the courts for their own good. But when a tiny sliver of the minority seeks change it must be granted them by a handful of judges for the nation's good. This phenomenon used to be referred to as the 'tyranny of the minority', but is now simply known as the New York Times editorial policy." --Lisa Fabrizio

Jay Leno.... Electronics experts say that by 2009 people will be able to watch TV programs on their cell phones. So we are now exactly 4 years away from the largest car accident is history. .... I was reading some interesting facts about the new Pope, Pope Benedict XVI. According to "The New York Post', did you know the new Pope has never had a driver's license? Hey, he should come to California, he's an immigrant. We'll give him one for free.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
How often do you read a statement from a politician and think, “That speaks for me”? That seldom, huh? Anyway, I felt this way when reading an excerpt from a letter sent by Sen. Mitch McConnell to the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“Why is it that whenever a Democrat speaks before a religious audience, he is ‘reaching out,’ but when a Republican does it, he is ‘divisive’? . . . I can recall many instances of Democrats visiting churches over the years, not just to speak on a policy matter but even to outright plea for votes. Either I’ve missed the angry editorials in this paper and others over those events, or there’s an astonishing double standard afoot here.”

I know which option I vote for.

Do you recall when Jesse Jackson equated Dan Quayle with Herod, at the 1992 convention? Most Democrats thought that was sort of cool, I believe.

Remember the rule: Black people are allowed to mix religion and politics, because, why, it’s just their way, and they’ve got those cute lil’ spirituals and so on. (I am expressing what I consider to be the liberal-Democratic mindset.) And the religious Left, such as it is, can participate in politics, because that is a matter of conscience. But everybody else: Butt out.
And another letter on NPR incentive gifts!
Dear Mr. Nordlinger:
The week after the election last fall, Wisconsin Public Radio was doing its fundraising, and on Monday, November 8, the guest on their 8 a.m. talk show was Greg Palast, who styles himself an investigative reporter, hawking the thesis that John Kerry actually won Ohio.

WPR was offering as a premium Palast’s CD Weapon of Mass Instruction, an anti-Bush (whole family) and anti-Iraq-war rant, with chapter headings such as “Who Won the War, Daddy?,” “Perle of Arabia,” “The Bush Family Frankenstein Factory,” etc.

Then they spend a significant portion of the contributions fighting the charge that they’re biased.
I loved that last line.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

www.delawareonline.com � The News Journal � LOCAL � State considers raising I-95 toll
In order to make up a $200 million shortfall, Transportation Secretary Nathan Hayward III offered these options:
• Increase annual license plate renewal fees from $20, where they've been since the 1960s, to $40. That would bring in an extra $22 million.

• Increase vehicle titling document fees by 2 percent. The fees are based on the market value of a vehicle. The increase would raise $48 million.

• Add a nickel to the state's gas tax, an idea Hayward and legislators said they disliked. Such an increase would raise $25 million more.

• Raise the I-95 tolls by 30 percent, which would bring in about $20 million more next year.
Taking those in order:
1) I don't have a real problem with that. As much as possible, government services should be paid for by those who use them. If we can shift the burden of paying for our transportation system away from taxes and more towards user fees, so that those who actually use the system are paying for it, so much the better.

2) Again, no real problem. Same reason as above.

3) I oppose this one. Bad for businesses, and gas prices are high enough as they are.

4) Again, just a fee. Plus a lot of out-of-staters pay it. Soak those New Jersey-ians!

My preferences for sources of governmental income:
1) out of staters
2) Fees
3) Only after all else fails, taxes

ESPN.com: Page 2 : Squeeze play
The all-time fat team.

Link via Baseball Think Factory.

Crippled by Their Culture
Interesting article on the disparity between white and black achievement. It's not race, racism, etc. It's the culture they were raised in; white Southerners who were part of the "redneck culture" (read the article for the definition) have faced similar issues as blacks from the same culture. Blacks not part of that culture have been successful.

The article's good, read the whole thing.

The Corner on National Review Online
Jonah on when it's appropriate for men to hold hands.

This is not one of them.

Monday, April 25, 2005

That may be misspelled (as may that), my German's rusty.

I would really like tog et this T-shirt, but I think I would be guilty of schadenfreude if I did. But it's so cool!

The Next Pope
I just read the staff editorial in the April 17-23 issue of the National Catholic Register this past weekend. The best quote:
Listen to the news media commentators and you'll get a very strange understanding of the Church and the papacy.

They'll tell you that we need a new pop who will have less power - and then they say he should exercise unilateral power to change 2,000-year-old doctrines and disciplines they don't like. They will tell you that the pop should follow the Second Vatican Council and empower the laity to have a bigger role in the life of the Churc - but what Vatican II said was that the Church should have a bigger role in the life of the laity.
It goes on to point out that no matter what we think we need, God will give us what we actually need. After all, who could have predicted what we'd get in John Paul the Great, but he was obviously what we needed.

I couldn't find this editorial on-line, but it's worth reading. Just get a subscription. You'll find it's one of the best Catholic newspapers around. Plus, it's actually Catholic, unlike some others that bear the name Catholic.

My Current Reading
I'm about a quarter of the way through it. So far it gives an interesting account of who Satan is and why he hates us so much and devotes himself to tempting us away from God. Looking at the titles of the rest of the chapters, it looks like it gets into how he tempts us, the tricks he uses and how we can resist and overcome him. It's very good so far; I can't wait to read the rest of it.

I finished the book on the Bible and Baseball. As I said in my post on it, "I don't expect much...". Well, I still managed to be disappointed. It wasn't so much about baseball as about events in players' lives that could have been drawn from any organization. Baseball's special; this book failed to show why.

Inaugural Mass Full of New Symbolic Gestures
Good explanation of the symbols used during the inaugural Mass.

Benedict XVI's Inaugural Mass Homily
Do Not Be Afraid of Christ! He Takes Nothing Away and Gives Everything

"[T]here is another strong objection which I, one of the laziest of all the children of Adam, have against the Leisure State. Those who think it could be done argue that a vast machinery using electricity, water-power, petrol, and so on, might reduce the work imposed on each of us to a minimum. It might, but it would also reduce our control to a minimum. We should ourselves become parts of a machine, even if the machine only used those parts once a week. The machine would be our master, for the machine would produce our food, and most of us could have no notion of how it was really being produced." --G.K. Chesterton

"[T]he most effective weapon against the disease has not been the AIDS lobby's 20-year promotion of condom culture in Africa, but Uganda's campaign to change behavior and to emphasize abstinence and fidelity -- i.e., the Pope's position. You don't have to be a Catholic or a 'homophobe' to think that the spread of AIDS is telling us something basic -- that nature is not sympathetic to sexual promiscuity. If it weren't AIDS, it would be something else, as it has been for most of human history." --Mark Steyn

"Few subjects are as important to the future of America as a thorough understanding and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution by every school student. It is not enough to simply praise the document as one of the foundations of our nation. It is essential that students learn why and how the Constitution governs the structure and function of government. It is crucial that students learn that government is empowered by the consent of the governed, not the other way around. They must learn that this power is transmitted to the government through the election process and that they, individually, bear the responsibility to choose candidates who reflect their views. They must learn that freedom in America is the reason why the nation has prospered. Freedom is neither granted nor guaranteed by the government. Government can only limit freedom. Freedom is granted by the Creator and guaranteed by responsible individuals who hold their government accountable. A thorough knowledge and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution is the first step toward becoming a responsible citizen. The next step is to act continually on that knowledge, to keep government within the limits of power to which the people consent." --Henry Lamb

"Earth Day (April 22) is traditionally a day for the Left -- a celebration of government's ability to deliver the environmental goods and for threats about the parade of horribles that will descend upon us lest we rededicate ourselves to federal regulators and public land managers. This is unfortunate because it's businessmen -- not bureaucrats or environmental activists -- who deserve most of the credit for the environmental gains over the past century and who represent the best hope for a Greener tomorrow. Indeed, we wouldn't even have environmentalists in our midst were it not for capitalism. Environmental amenities, after all, are luxury goods. America -- like much of the Third World today -- had no environmental movement to speak of until living standards rose sufficiently so that we could turn our attention from simply providing for food, shelter, and a reasonable education to higher 'quality of life' issues. The richer you are, the more likely you are to be an environmentalist. And people wouldn't be rich without capitalism." --Jerry Taylor

Filibuster Fickleness
Sean Rushton of the Committee for Justice, a group that favors the confirmation of President Bush's "constitutionalist judicial nominees," offers some interesting history over at National Review Online. In January 1995, by a vote of 76-19, the Senate rejected a proposal by Sen. Tom Harkin that would "permit cloture to be invoked by a decreasing majority vote of Senators down to a majority of all Senators duly chosen and sworn." This would have effectively done away with the filibuster--not just for judicial nominees but for all purposes.

Among the senators who favored the proposal (voting "no" on the motion to table it) were nine who still sit, several of whom are now among the most vigorous filibuster defenders: Harkin plus Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Joe Lieberman and Paul Sarbanes. It's hard to take seriously their protestations that the Republicans' far narrower proposal to abolish the filibuster for judicial nominees only amounts to some sort of assault on America's system of checks and balances.

Rushton further notes that there are a variety of limits on the filibuster already in place. Among them:

You cannot filibuster a federal budget resolution (Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974).

You cannot filibuster a resolution authorizing the use of force (War Powers Resolution).

You cannot filibuster international trade agreements (Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002).

And as the minority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.), well knows, you cannot filibuster legislation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.
There's even an argument that the filibuster is unconstitutional. Rushton calls our attention to U.S. v. Ballin, an 1892 ruling in which the Supreme Court held that a House vote of 138-3 was sufficient to enact a law, even though 189 members didn't vote. Justice David Brewer wrote for a unanimous court:

The general rule of all parliamentary bodies is that, when a quorum is present, the act of a majority of the quorum is the act of the body. This has been the rule for all time, except so far as in any given case the terms of the organic act under which the body is assembled have prescribed specific limitations. As, for instance, in those states where the constitution provides that a majority of all the members elected to either house shall be necessary for the passage of any bill. No such limitation is found in the federal constitution, and therefore the general law of such bodies obtains.

As we noted last week, some liberal commentators have urged Senate Democrats to call the GOP's bluff and revert to the old Harkin proposal of abolishing filibusters altogether, which would (these commentators argue) make it easier in the long run to pass liberal legislation. Unlike the current defense of the status quo for expedience' sake, this would amount to a principled position.

Ned Rice on Pope Benedict XVI on National Review Online
The Catholic Church is not a democracy, or even a representative democracy. They don’t decide things by a show of hands, other than Bingo, and even then all winners have to be verified. The Church doesn’t use focus groups. The pope doesn’t go on listening tours. There’s no website that lets the faithful interactively change church doctrine based on how many hits it receives. Catholics don’t choose new gods to worship with the help of their good friends at A. T. & T. Wireless — although if they did the process would still look and sound remarkably like American Idol. The Church is not a democracy, and part of being Catholic is being cool with that.
A brilliant and hilarious skewering of those who argue against fixed standards in anything, whether it be the Catholic Church or the US Constitution, who are, ironically, proving Pope Benedict's point about the existence of a dictatorship of relativism.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
I give you my irrepressible friend Michael Walsh: He was revisiting the infamous L.A. Times story headed “Ceasing Food and Fluid Can Be Painless.” And the subhead? “Concerns for Schiavo’s comfort have galvanized the debate. But experts say dying of starvation and dehydration is a peaceful end for the ill.”

Says Michael, “Sounds like a tough break for the rest of us that we’re still dining.”

He then fixes on this paragraph, giving vent to his indignation within brackets:

“Doctors say that going without food and water in the last weeks of life is not traumatic [other than the fact that it kills you! But I suppose “trauma” is what you experience when John Bolton puts his hands on his hips and glares at you], and that the body is equipped to adjust to such conditions [yeah, by dying].”

Schiavo and Bolton in the same item? You betcha.

CNN.com - Pope 'prayed not to be elected' - Apr 25, 2005
Speaking in his native German, Benedict told the audience that during the conclave, or papal election, when it became clear he was getting many votes, a cardinal passed him a note reminding him what he had preached about Christ calling Peter to follow him even if he was reluctant to go.

Benedict, 78, said he hoped to spend his last years living quietly and peacefully.

"At a certain point, I prayed to God 'please don't do this to me,"' he recalled. "Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me."
Sometimes God asks us to do this for Him that we may not want to. May we all follow the example of Benedict and accept God's will for us, even when it conflicts with our own desires.

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