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Friday, August 26, 2005

My Current Reading
I read one of the chapters of this book while on vacation in California visiting some friends. (Nothing like discussion of Sesame Street to catch my interest. It looks very interesting. It discussed how, in certain situations, a small change in one input can lead to a large in change in the results. For example, a flu outbreak might become an epidemic if the average person bumps into 55 people a day, rather than 50 people. Or the strain might die out if they only bump into 45 people a day. Came highly recommended by my friend as well as a number of other reviews I've read of it.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, and a Jab at Sola Fide
How Hamlet shows the existence of Purgatory.

While reading It Takes a Family, the thought occurred to me: why does the government have the right to declare and end to a marriage entered into under religious auspices? Why can one member of a couple married in the Catholic Church, which does not recognize divorce, appeal to the state for an end to a marriage and have it granted? It's the Church's rules the couple agreed to, shouldn't it be the Church who can declare a marriage over (or invalid)?

The proponents of the "separation of Church and State" should find this position agreeable, but they won't because their true goal is not keeping Church and State separate, but expanding government power.

It Takes a Family
This was a surprisingly good book. (I have low expectations for books written by sitting politicians.) I found it to be an excellent defense of conservatism as the true way of caring for the poor and the recognition that the "social" values matter more than the amount of money someone has or is given.

It's one of the reasons I've never liked the term "compassionate conservative." For one, it (falsely) grants the liberal argument that most conservatives don't care about the poor. Second, and even more important, conservatism is true compassion. Conservatism treats people as more than a cog in an economic machine. It cares about the "eternal things," while the liberal solution to every problem seems to be money or (as in abortion or promoting promiscuity) actions that are harmful to the person's soul.

This book serves as a reminder that conservatism, in its suppport for the family, truly understands what makes society and individual's lives better.

BBC NEWS | Education | 'Men cleverer than women' claim
A friend in college told me his dad thought God made women just a little bit dumber than men, because if they weren't, "they'd rule the world, because they have breasts."

I really found that hard to argue with.

Link via The Corner.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Birth of Free Market Economics

My first reaction to this comic wasn't to laugh, but to say, "Well, of course." This cartoon captures the entire basis of economic transactions. Person A wants something that Person B has (call it Object X), and is willing to give up his object Y for it. Person B is agreeable to those terms, so the transaction takes place.

Person A is better off because he values Object X more than he did Object Y. Person B is better off because he values Object Y more than Object X. Both people are happier. That's why the general rule of government should be not to interfere with private transactions: it may prevent agreements that will leave individuals happier. And whole bunch of individuals being happier, means society's happier.

It's why conservatives tend to have faith in the free market. It's just a whole lot of people making decisions they feel will improve their lives, and they know their needs best, so the power to make agreements to reside with them. Power to the People!

(By the way, Frank and Ernest is a good strip!)

Robert Novak: Teddy's man Flug
An alert this week from backers of Judge John Roberts cautions not to take seriously Democratic complaints that they cannot stop his confirmation. A three-page memo sent to thousands of conservatives across the country warns that the assault on President Bush's first Supreme Court nominee is yet to come. A major reason cited for this belief is the man back at Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's side on the Senate Judiciary Committee: James Flug.

"It is hard to fathom Mr. Flug coming back to Capitol Hill after 30 years of private practice for anything other than a bitterly tough confirmation fight," says the memo, signed by three prominent Roberts backers. That argument is based on Flug's 38-year intermittent history as Teddy Kennedy's gunslinger. Not contained in the memo is Flug's clandestine activity since his return investigating at least one Bush judicial nominee, Appellate Judge William Pryor.

The Corner on National Review Online
Some good stuff went up on the Corner over night.

From a quoted article about the founding of new liberal think tanks:
Liberal groups, they say correctly, are organized mainly to protect an agenda that was enacted by Democratic majorities stretching back to the 1930s. They might have added that they are organized also around a few important Supreme Court decisions, primarily dealing with abortion and affirmative action. In any case, such a posture has made them reactive and reactionary rather than forward looking. As a consequence, they have not adjusted to new political and economic circumstances. This is, as noted, correct as far as it goes, except that it does not go very far in diagnosing what ails the liberals. They should remember, as many Americans do, that liberals had an opportunity to enact their agenda in the 1960s and 1970s, and almost wrecked the nation in the process. It was conservatives and Republicans who rescued the economy, won the Cold War, and saved the cities from crime, stagnation, and welfarism
And Rich Lowry comparing Clinton and W:
You have to give Bush credit--he's the absolute opposite of Clinton. Clinton was in favor of small, popular things. Bush apparently likes to be in favor of big, unpopular things.

Georger Will: Tone-Deafness Among Democrats
Many warmhearted and mildly attentive Americans say the president should have invited Sheehan to his kitchen table in Crawford for a cup of coffee and a serving of that low-calorie staple of democratic sentimentality -- "dialogue." Well.

Since her first meeting with the president, she has called him a "lying bastard," "filth spewer," "evil maniac," "fuehrer" and the world's "biggest terrorist" who is committing "blatant genocide" and "waging a nuclear war" in Iraq. Even leaving aside her not entirely persuasive contention that someone else concocted the obviously anti-Israel and inferentially anti-Semitic elements of one of her recent e-mails -- elements of a sort nowadays often found woven into ferocious left-wing rhetoric -- it is difficult to imagine how the dialogue would get going.

He: "Cream and sugar?"

She: "Yes, please, filth-spewer."
And a lesson from the history of the Conservative Movement the Democrats would do well to learn:
In the 1960s, just as conservatism was beginning to grow from a fringe tendency into what it has become -- the nation's most potent persuasion -- it was threatened by a boarding party of people not much, if any, loonier than Sheehan. The John Birch Society, whose catechism included the novel tenet that Dwight Eisenhower was an agent of the Kremlin, was not numerous -- its membership probably never numbered more than 100,000 -- but its power to taint all of conservatism was huge, particularly given the media's eagerness to abet the tainting. Responsible conservatives, especially William F. Buckley Jr. and his National Review, repelled the boarders, driving them into the dark cave where today they ferociously guard the secret of their size from a nation no longer curious about it.
It's an unfortunate inevitability that movements are often defined by their most extreme elements. Even though most conservatives opposed the Birchers, conservatives were tarred as lunatic conspiracy theorists. To this day, even though much of the conservative movement is strongly opposed to libertarianism, conservatives are often attacked for opposing all government. The Democratic Party, in this case, is not only welcoming the lunatics on board, but changing to be more like them. The result of this, as Will points out, is that "Republican Party has far fewer worries than it deserves."

If they want to win in 2008, the Democrats need to eject the lunatic fringe. Someone in their party needs the courage to have a "Sister Souljah" moment. I don't know who that is. Howard Dean owes his achievements to the fringe. Hillary doesn't seem to have the courage to do it, or she would have done it by now. Alternatively, she may be waiting until the presidential race really kicks off, or even until she has the nomination in hand, so she locks up the Party support while putting herself front and center as a "moderate" (in name only) to the American people as they really start paying attention. The difficulty for her is will they believe her or just write it off as positioning.

The Deomcrats face some tough times if they don't grow up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grand-children are once more slaves." —D. H. Lawrence

I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father'." —Will Rogers

"A victory for terror in anywhere—anywhere in the world—is a victory for terror everywhere. And a defeat for terror anywhere in the world is a defeat for it everywhere." —Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

"They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as 'children'." —Mark Steyn

"What kind of country do we live in where the craziest and angriest among us don't have full access to our commander-in-chief twenty-four hours a day?" —Patrick Hynes

"With each passing day Cindy Sheehan looks less and less like a grieving mother and more and more like a leftwing blogger... One half expects her to lead off her next morning press briefing with, 'I believe it was Michael Moore who once said...' As the second hand winds down on Cindy Sheehan's fifteen minutes of stupidity and the realization sets in among the Bush Haters that her mug is bound for George Bush's mantelpiece somewhere between Dan Rather and Joe Wilson, you can almost hear the velvet tones of Barry Manilow singing his 1970s hit 'I Go Crazy'." —Ben Stein

Quote of the Day
"We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined -- to put the most charitable face on it -- to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war... The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq -- now, over 1,800 deaths -- is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one. I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's hometown. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern -- any concern -- about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996" -- John Hinderaker of PowerLineBlog.com

Bilbo, Frodo, and Relics
A defense of the Catholic tradition of venerating a saint's relics. I've got to admit I still have a major "ICK" reaction to the whole thing.

Christian Origin of the 1st Amendment
On Meet the Press on August 8th, Mario Cuomo specifically stated that a Catholic who takes the teachings of the Church seriously should not seek office in any capacity where a decision must be made on abortion; that he would be imposing his personal religious beliefs on the rest of society.
Cuomo was once the Governor of New York, where he had to face decisions on abortion, abortion funding, etc. Is this an admission that he is not "a Catholic who takes the teachings of the Church seriously"?
We are learning much about what goes on in the minds of “personally opposed but” Catholic politicians. For decades now, they have assured us that it is only with great anguish and sadness that they feel obliged to accept the political reality that legal abortions must be permitted in a secular, pluralist society; that their fondest wish is that women could be convinced not to abort their children, but that, until that time, we have no choice but to respect the religious freedom of those who disagree with us about the nature of the fetus.

Well? Have you spotted any deep sadness in the eyes of Kennedy and Cuomo as they leap to the microphone to express their “concerns” that Roberts may be pro-life? I haven’t. I am not exaggerating: they give the impression that defending legal abortion is the highest calling of their political lives. Can you think of any other example in history when politicians have taken to the barricades to defend something they “personally oppose”? Something is out of kilter.
It's also a good read for an analysis of the Catholic's proper role in political governing.

Roots of the Papacy
[T]he roots of the papacy go back to Jerusalem and the messiah-kings who ruled there down to the time of the Babylonian captivity.

Like most heads of state, David and his descendants, the anointed kings of Judah, realized that they could not govern alone. The most important officer assisting the king was something akin to a prime minister. He was called “the Master of the Palace.” In Isaiah 22, we see God tell an unworthy Master of the Palace, Shebna, that he will be replaced by Eliakim, who will do things right. Here’s what we learn from this passage — the Master of the Palace wears special robes of honor indicating his special authority. He is to be a “father” to everyone in the Kingdom. The symbol of his authority is a key, for he has the power to open doors for people and to close doors as well. Particularly, he controls access to the king himself. He is someone who you can hang a lot of weight upon, like a peg in a sure spot.
But then comes a more pointed question. Who do you say that I am? Perhaps an awkward moment of silence followed. Then one of them blurts out: “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God!” Notice I did not say that it was Peter who proclaimed this. For he was not yet called Peter. And that’s the point. Nowhere else in the Gospels does Jesus change anyone’s name. In the Old Testament, when God changes someone’s name, it indicates that this person is to play a unique role in salvation history — Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, and so on. Plus, the new name itself provides a clue to the role the person will play. Abraham means father of many nations, for example.

Peter means, of course, rock. Remember Eliakim, the reliable peg that could bear much weight? A rock is something stable you can stand on, even build on. And the key Jesus is talking about? Jesus is making plain that as founder of the new Israel, He is choosing His prime minister. In fact He notes that it is His Father who made the selection. For it is by virtue of divine revelation that the fisherman knows what no man on his own could know — that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One of God.

One of the most difficult things to swallow about Catholic teaching about the papacy is the notion of papal infallibility. But this passage is where it comes from. Peter and his successors have a charism of truth whereby when push comes to shove, they are given assistance by God in identifying and proclaiming the truth about Jesus. Otherwise, the truth would be up for grabs. If that were the case, the jaws of death would in fact prevail over the Church. Jesus, in making Simon “Peter,” made sure they wouldn’t. And despite 2000 years of persecution from without and enemies from within, they haven’t.

Share poll: Sarbanes-Oxley seen as biggest IT time waster - Computerworld
Imagine that. Government mandated requirements, passed without much thought, in a bill written by people who don't understand the industry was a big waste of time. Wow, who could have predicted that....
Share President Robert Rosen said he wasn't surprised that Sarbanes-Oxley is proving to be a major headache. "It's occupying a lot of people's time, and they can't figure out what the return on investment is there," he said.

Rosen is hearing that some smaller companies are talking to their venture capitalists and looking to return their businesses to private operations specifically because they can't afford to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley rules. "It's the law of unintended consequences," he said.
Government regulation always harms the little guy more than the big guy. Big government only helps those who are already big.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

She Does Not Speak for Me
By all accounts Spc. Casey Sheehan, Mrs. Sheehan's son, was a soldier by choice and by the strength of his character. I did not have the honor of knowing him, but I have read that he attended community college for three years and then chose to join the Army. In August 2003, five months into Operation Iraqi Freedom and after three years of service, Casey Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army with the full knowledge there was a war going on, and with the high probability he would be assigned to a combat area. Mrs. Sheehan frequently speaks of her son in religious terms, even saying that she thought that some day Casey would be a priest. Like so many of the individuals who have given their lives in service to our country, Casey was a very special young man. How do you decry that which someone has chosen to do with his life? How does a mother dishonor the sacrifice of her own son?
It's fairly obvious that Cindy Sheehan is trapped in the "Anger" phase following her son's death. The truly despicable thing is how so many on the Left are keeping her there for their own reasons, regardless of her actual needs.

Jimmy Akin has some good thoughts on this subject as well.

Catholicism, "Updated"
Am I making too much of a fuss about this? I don’t think so. Let’s remember who reads these Catholic Updates — RCIA candidates, participants in adult faith formation groups, perhaps someone shaky in his faith who wants to be certain of what the Church teaches. That they should be handed something like Father Shannon's wrong musings on the Resurrection is a shame. That his musings bear the imprimatur of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is, well, something worse.

The Curt Jester: The Heterodox Patch
I think we all know a number of Catholics who would benefit from this product!

Televangelist Calls for Chavez' Death
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a "terrific danger" to the United States.
You ever wonder if anyone's told Pat Robertson that he'd do a lot less damage to the causes he claims to support if he just shut his mouth?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Reagan Quotes!
Forwarded by a co-worker. I've posted many of these before, but they're always worth re-reading!

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."
- Ronald Reagan

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
- Ronald Reagan

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant: It's just that they know so much that isn't so."
- Ronald Reagan

"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong."
- Ronald Reagan

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandment's would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."
- Ronald Reagan

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination"
- Ronald Reagan

"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
- Ronald Reagan

"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
- Ronald Reagan

"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."
- Ronald Reagan

"I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."
- Ronald Reagan

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first"
- Ronald Reagan

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
- Ronald Reagan

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."
- Ronald Reagan

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. "
- Ronald Reagan

E Pluribus Unum? - Not in Hawaii.
The U.S. Constitution scrupulously protects the liberties and freedom of Native Hawaiians. It always will. Native Hawaiians have never been treated as less than equal by the U.S. Their economic success matches that of non-Native Hawaiians. Intermarriage is the norm. Sen. Inouye himself boasted in 1994 that Hawaii was "one of the greatest examples of a multiethnic society living in relative peace." In other words, e pluribus unum is a formula that works. We should not destroy it.

I Love This Comeback
One of my sons serves in the military. He is still stateside, here in California. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him, and his troops, everywhere he goes, telling me how people shake their hands, and
thank them for being willing to serve, and fight, for not only our own freedoms but so that others may have them also. But he also told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday, on his way home from the base.

He said that ahead of several people in front of him stood a woman dressed in a burkha. He said when she got to the cashier she loudly remarked about the U. S. flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock. The cashier reached up and touched the pin, and said proudly,"Yes, I always wear it and I probably always will."

The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi. A gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son's shoulders, and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman: "Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn't need to be there today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I'll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq so you can straighten out the mess in YOUR country that you are obviously
here in MY country to avoid."

Everyone within hearing distance cheered!
Forwarded by a friend.

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