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Friday, September 30, 2005

Prayer to St. Michael
Very good article on the history of the prayer.

Book Review: The Church and the Market, by Thomas E. Woods, Ph.D.
New York Times best-selling author Dr. Thomas Woods (The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History) has penned a very powerful book illustrating the compatibility between free-market capitalism and the Catholic Faith.

In The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy Woods's thesis is essentially this: economics is a science with verifiable laws, and Catholics who wish to promote justice in matters of finance should study it as a science. Woods writes:
Moral principles and economic science are meant to play complementary roles. A sound moral foundation can help us to evaluate existing economic institutions in light of genuine principles of justice. Without economic knowledge, on the other hand, the moralist’s advice can prove profoundly misguided, even destructive.
Champions of the free market such as Woods are frequently assailed by fellow Catholics for supposedly refusing to admit ethical principles into economics. As the above comment suggests, this is a straw man argument. Rather than subjugating the role of morality in monetary decisions, Dr. Woods insists that even seemingly peripheral decisions on inflation and fractional-reserve banking possess a moral component.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My Current Reading
Good book so far. Raises a lot of interesting points about the need not to give into our temptations, since God will always provide the strength we need to get through anything He allows to come our way.

Also makes the point quite well that God will forgive anything we do wrong, so there's no need to wallow in guilt and assume we're beyond forgiveness. As my grandma once said, to me, but not about me: "You think your sins can't be forgiven? Aren't you arrogant, thinking you've done something greater than God is capable of forgiving." Nothing is greater than God, so there's no sin he can't forgive. The sin that doomed Judas was not turning over Christ but believing that he could not be forgiven. If Judas hadn't given into despair and run from God's forgiveness, he could have been saved.

An excellent read so far. (I'm about a third of the way through.) Highly recommended.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: McCain economy bloc by Robert Novak
The Senate was up to its old tricks Monday evening. It prepared to pass, without debate and under a procedure requiring unanimous consent, a federal infusion of $9 billion into state Medicaid programs under the pretext of Katrina relief. The bill, drafted in secret under bipartisan auspices, was stopped cold when Republican Sen. John Ensign voiced his objection.

The bill's Democratic sponsors railed in outrage against Ensign, a 47-year-old first-termer from Las Vegas, Nev., who usually keeps a low profile. But he was not acting alone. Ensign belongs to, and, indeed, originated, a small group of Republicans who intend to stand guard on the Senate floor against such raids on the Treasury as Monday night's failure.

Quote of the Day
"The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling which they overburden the inferior number is a shilling saved to their own pockets."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 10, 23 November 1787)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Interesting Theory about the hatch on LOST
Read it. Covers a lot of stuff.

Link via Greg Robleto.

"[H]onesty will be found on every experiment, to be the best and only true policy; let us then as a Nation be just." —George Washington

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." —President Gerald Ford

"Never forget what a man says to you when he is angry." —Henry Ward Beecher

"The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums." —G. K. Chesterton

"In the past, the Kings of Pork were mainly Democrats... Today, the leading pork spenders are Republicans... Republicans promised to cut wasteful spending when they were elected to the majority in 1994. But today they hardly seem embarrassed by the record levels of pork." —Chris Edwards

"Washington Republicans may not care much about limiting spending or restraining the growth of government, but the people who hired them and sent them here do." —David Keene

"It is possible that political history will show, in time, that those who worried about spending in 2005 were dinosaurs. If we are, we are. But we shouldn't become extinct without a roar." —Peggy Noonan

"Conservatism is not an ideology, it is a way of life. That way of life needs to be grounded in local traditions and in preserving and, where necessary, restoring those traditions." —Paul M. Weyrich

"There's such a broad ignorance or contempt for constitutional principles among the American people that any politician who bore truth faith and allegiance to the Constitution would commit political suicide." —Walter Williams

"Instead of changing the nature of the federal government, the Republican majority in Washington seems to be changing the nature of the Republican Party. The Democrats' approach to government has been Sorosized, the GOP's has been supersized. Some choice." —Mark Steyn

"When Ronald Reagan said that the government was spending money like a drunken sailor, he apologized to the sailors, who were after all spending their own money." —Thomas Sowell

Jay Leno... Kerry said he was never clear about where John Roberts stood on the issues and for that reason he's not voting for him. That's the same reason Roberts didn't vote for Kerry. ... Barbra Streisand told Diane Sawyer that we're in a global warming crisis, and we can expect more and more intense storms, droughts and dust bowls. But before they act, weather experts say they're still waiting to hear from Celine Dion.

The only real debate over Iraq is among conservatives
"The Right War?" points to another aspect of the Iraq debate: the growing difficulty of defining who counts as a "conservative" in foreign policy and who does not. The Iraq War has unsettled everybody's mental map of American politics. You hear Democrats warning that Arabs are culturally unready for democracy and Republicans thundering against the isolationists of the 1930s. Two out of the three senior editors of The American Conservative magazine voted against President Bush--and the three owners of the liberal New Republic almost certainly all voted for him.
In politics, nothing lasts forever. Just as Pearl Harbor brought down the curtain on American isolationism for decades to come, so 9/11 seems to have discredited sentimental liberal multilateralism. What remains is a debate among forms of conservatism.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why don't folks on the Gulf Coast move to the Dakotas?
In 2001, the director of Louisiana State University's hurricane center described New Orleans' establishment as "lulled to sleep" in the face of a predictable, looming disaster. In the months before Katrina, big new spending focused not on shoring up levees or storm-related plans but on a $450-million expansion of the now infamous convention center and an initiative to cash in on the city's "cultural economy." City and state failed to develop an effective evacuation plan and, when disaster struck, implemented their half-baked plan with astounding inefficiency.

In contrast, Texas--and the Houston area in particular--has been industrious, building elaborate drainage, sewer, flood and other systems to handle the delivery and control of water into the metropolis. Such foresight has been a prerequisite for great cities from the days of ancient Rome to contemporary Los Angeles. Importantly, this should not be seen as a partisan issue but one of civic patriotism. As New York's Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia once noted, "There is no Republican or Democratic way to clean streets."
History shows that the key determinant of success is the competence of local government. When local officials are responsive and prepared--as seen from the 1994 Northridge, Calif., earthquake to recent hurricanes in Florida and, now, in east Texas--FEMA plays its role with some effectiveness. But when local officials are inept, the shortcomings of the federal bureaucracy become more obvious. So although reform of FEMA may well be appropriate, any massive post-Katrina federal bailout of New Orleans should be tempered by skepticism about the ability of state and city officials to determine priorities or to execute plans with efficiency.

Federal taxpayers should insist that funds be designated for long-term investments toward both infrastructure and preparation. Currently, there is a great danger that much of the money may be used to underwrite massive real estate speculation and a famously corrupt political culture. Others are calling for federal funds to construct an expensive experiment in urban social engineering.

The Seattle Times: Sports: 10 great moments in baseball superstition history
Interesting article listing some great superstitions.

Via Baseball Think Factory's Baseball Primer.

The Corner on National Review Online
Good comments today on some topics.

Habitat for Humanity:
Having spent 14 years as a residential carpenter, I find this whole Habitat thing silly. You end up with a bunch of well intentioned, but totally useless, people framing houses. They don’t even know the proper hammer (22 oz, framing hammer) to use for framing, don’t even know how to hold it (in a fist), don’t hit the nails hard enough – causing splits in the 2Xs. Of course, carpenters hardly ever use hammers for framing and sheathing any more. THEY USE PNEUMATIC NAIL GUNS, allowing them to work 30 TIMES FASTER and never get sore arms, never get bent nails from bad hits, never get splits in the framing. I guess that it looks good that these “caring” people are out there wasting time swinging hammers, but the fact is that nails guns would get the whole thing done in no time. But it wouldn’t be very good TV.
Reporting on post-Katrina New Orleans:
So we now have two major reports -- one on the New Orleans Times Picayune website and the other in the L.A. Times -- about the way in which the major media spread all sorts of hysteria about the conditions inside flooded New Orleans. How will this jibe with all the talk about how the media threw off its self-imposed shackles after 9/11 and found their critical and passionate voice yet again? Doubtless both will receive praise from the MSM itself -- the early reporters for their "commitment" and the later correctives for their honesty. For the rest of us, though, this is a moment for reflection. I think everyone was very credulous, willing to believe almost any story that was told, because we were seeing something we'd never seen before -- an American city under water, footage of uniformed cops actually looting stores in front of news cameras, and people confused and trapped in extremely unpleasant conditions. There can be no doubt that it was a nightmarish experience to have been stuck at the convention center, but it wasn't, as it turned out, a shooting gallery or a death sentence.

The unprecedented nature of the story as it was should have been enough for everybody. Instead, far too many people -- from cable-news folks to reporters to bloggers -- ended up retailing fiction as fact.
I have to admit I'm one of those who fell for it. Even with my distrust of the media, I couldn't believe reports like those would be false.

Good image from lake Charles, LA:

Read K-Lo on Elian Gonzalez. (He still reminds me of my godson.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit... The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood." —President Grover Cleveland

"Consider that black households that are headed by married couples have median incomes almost 90 percent that of white households headed by married couples. The problem in the black community is that far too few black households are headed by married couples. Black social reality in New Orleans at the moment when the floodwaters started pouring in was fairly typical of black inner-city social reality around the country. Upwards of 70 percent of the households were headed by single parents, mostly women. When I discuss social statistics with audiences around the country, I invariably hear gasps when I point out that the out-of-wedlock birthrate today among young white women (30 percent) is higher than it was among black women 50 years ago. There, of course, remain residuals of racism in America today, and it's news to a lot of whites that black families were relatively intact, headed by married couples, in the '40s and '50s. Today's out-of-wedlock black births and single-parent households are triple what they were then. The collapse of the black family took off when big government programs, particularly welfare, were launched, compliments of black and white liberals, after the civil-rights movement." —Star Parker

"[T]he Left frequently defines 'social justice' differently than Judeo-Christian values do. For most on the Left, 'social justice' means social equality and social fairness. It is not fair that some people have more than others. This is why the Left believes that courts should be far more than umpires when adjudicating justice: they should be promoting fairness and equality. The other difference...is that leftist ideologies are so preoccupied with 'social justice' that they generally ignore personal character development. Judeo-Christian values believe the road to a just society is paved by individual character development; the Left believes it is paved with action on a macro level. That is one reason the Left is far more interested than the Right, i.e., religious Jews and Christians and secular conservatives, in passing laws, whether through legislation or through the actions of judges. That is how the Left believes you make a better society. There is, incidentally, a second reason the Left passes so many laws: As the Left breaks down the self-discipline of Judeo-Christian religions, more and more laws are needed simply to keep people from devouring each other." —Dennis Prager

"My disappointment focuses around several distinct points. Primary among these is that I have had about all I can afford of 'compassionate conservatism.' Unnecessary deficit spending is neither conservative nor compassionate, and if someone discovers the budgetary difference between a compassionate conservative and a bleeding heart liberal, please, let me know. So far, my best guess is that the government would not grow nearly so quickly under the liberal as it has under the profligate conservative. My concern here is not just financial or economic, although only a fool would ignore all such concerns. My concern is Freedom. Money is power; and power is the source of all freedom. Without it, you have none. When more money is controlled by government, and not by individuals, we are all made less free. This sort of thinking is what was once known as plain 'conservatism,' and it is pretty darn compassionate, since it seeks to liberate individuals from bureaucracy, dependency and demoralizing levels of taxation." —Mac Johnson

"Freedom is indivisible—there is no 's' on the end of it. You can erode freedom, diminish it, but you cannot divide it and choose to keep 'some freedoms' while giving up others." —Ronald Reagan

Robert Novak: GOP in turmoil
The beleaguered conservatives see all this spending leading inexorably to a tax increase, which would redistribute the tax burden to the disadvantage of the successful and threaten an economic recession. Barry Goldwater long ago assailed Dwight D. Eisenhower for presiding over a "Dime Store New Deal." That stinging rebuke no longer would be appropriate for today's Republicans. They outdo Democrats on pork and are in the same ballpark on entitlements. Even Katrina and now Rita do not restrain them.

Politics Test
You are a

Social Conservative
(26% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(60% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Not as conservative as you thought as I was am I? On the results page of the site, when comparing myself to famous people, I fit in between the Gipper and John Paul the Great, which seems about right to me. Good company to be in. (Although, I'm not thrilled with the description of myself as a "Republican." The author probably just couldn't think of a better term. I'd suggest "Traditional Conservative" or "Classic Liberal.")

Link via Dappled Things.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
I was talking to a dear old friend the other day. He’d had a conversation with a colleague of his, who said, “Bush should be impeached for Katrina.” And my friend — no right-winger — responded, “Well, it was a pretty big hurricane, you know. Affected an area the size of Great Britain.” And this colleague said, “Yeah, yeah, but I’ll pin anything I can on Bush.”
Someone sent me a story from the BBC, with an amazing headline: “EU drops hardline stance on Iran.” Ponder that, for just a bit. Had you known that the EU had a hardline stance on Iran?
In the ongoing category of Only Thomas Sowell Could Have Written That: “Many of the same people who cry ‘No blood for oil!’ also want higher gas-mileage standards for cars. But higher mileage standards have meant lighter and flimsier cars, leading to more injuries and deaths in accidents — in other words, trading blood for oil.”


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