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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Why to believe in the Church, despite its faults
While reading tomorrow's Mass readings, the Gospel hit me as the perfect explanation of why we should still believe in the Church and follow her teachings despite the many faults of our priests and bishops. Talking about the leaders of the Jewish religion at the time, Christ, the founder of the Church, says:
The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
So it is today. Our church sits on the Chair of Peter, but many of our church leaders fail to live up to their calling to lead, whether it be covering for sexual abusers, priests engaging in sexual relations (whether homosexual or heterosexual), priests and bishops and church employees engaging in outright dissent of Church teaching, failing to correct public sinners, or whatever.

Despite their faults and their own failing to live up to Church teaching, we still have to follow Church teaching. The faults of others should not drive us out of the Church, just as our own faults shouldn't. I think it was CS Lewis who said that if we find the perfect Church we should join it, but recognize that once we join it, it's no longer perfect. I accept that there is no perfect Church, and there never will be, so I settle for being a part of the one founded by Christ on the Rock of Peter.

Friday, October 28, 2005

delawareonline | The News Journal | Charter schools nurture growth
Even more significant than improved test scores, Gregory said, is that his school will provide an option for students who don't want to be bused out of the city in what he calls "forced integration."
I don't often agree with Councilman Gregory, but I think he's right on this one. Telling kids they must sit on a bus for up to an hour so they can go school with the kids we think they attend school with, rather than the kids they actually live near has always seemed screwy to me. I can't imagine that whatever benefits they get from a racially-integrated school environment outweighs the lost time spent on the school bus.
"Some children need an incubator," Gregory said. "You go to school to learn, not to be exposed to all of society's ills. Some can't survive in a stress-filled world.

"Some people may say we're not preparing them for what they're going to encounter in the real world. But without a safe haven, they might not even get out of ninth grade."
He's right here too. Kids should be allowed to be kids, not forced to grow up early. Aside from the examples he gives, let's not force-feed children sex education, political propaganda, etc at a young age. Let kids be kids.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands." —Thomas Jefferson

"Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind." —Henry Grady Weaver

"There's no reason why money spent on natural-disaster relief should not compete with spending in other areas of government. If the relief spending is truly more necessary than other programs in the budget, then those less essential programs should be pared back to make room for it." —Stephen Slivinski

"People who think that they don't owe anything to anybody should read David McCullough's outstanding new book '1776,' to see what hell other people went through to create the freedom that we enjoy and abuse today." —Thomas Sowell

"The American people expect their elected officials to make sacrifices in a time of war, rising deficits, and disaster recovery. Unfortunately, many members of Congress are more committed to protecting a system that allows them to fund extravagant projects at the expense of the common good. Our refusal to prioritize spending and exercise restraint has created a rumble among the American people." —Sen. Tom Coburn

"Protecting privacy only seems to matter to liberals when it comes to 14-year-old girls seeking abortions behind their parents' backs, illegal aliens seeking sanctuary from the police, and registered sex offenders objecting to community registration requirements." —Michelle Malkin

"I think it would be a mistake to make the military a 'first responder' in natural disasters, but FEMA should be reorganized along military lines. And the head of FEMA should always be either a National Guard general or a Coast Guard admiral. There are some jobs which require adult supervision. Too many of these are held by political hacks." —Jack Kelly

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Townhall.com :: Columns :: The Greenspan legacy by George Will
Since 1945, and especially since 1982, we have learned the real secret of managing the economy: Do not try to manage it. If you refrain from trying to ``fine tune" business cycles, the cycles will be less frequent and less severe.

Greenspan's tenure has illustrated an axiom to which his successor, Ben Bernanke, should subscribe: Minimalist missions by government produce maximum results. He has not defined the Fed's primary purpose as achieving this or that level of employment or economic growth. Rather, its mission is to preserve the currency as a stable store of value -- to control inflation. However, Greenspan's impeccable credentials as an inflation-fighter have enabled him to keep inflation rates low even during very low unemployment without kindling inflationary expectations, which can be self-fulfilling.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"The bottom line is that while some might think [Supreme Court nominee Harriet] Miers' religion provides an early indicator of her view of the interplay between morality and the law, her faith does not do much to bolster the case that she would be faithful to the Constitution. By itself, it provides no reason to support or oppose her nomination. Faith is too precious to be used as a trumpet or as a sword by those who either support or oppose a nominee." —Joseph Cella

"Norms, values, and ethics are a precondition of ordered liberty, a free society, and a market economy. Their sources are family, community, and religious faith. Without them, disorder runs rampant within the human heart and within society. The family is the paramount human society which is threatened by the licentiousness (there is no other word for it) promoted by businesses such as Victoria's Secret, Hollywood film studios, breweries, and Super Bowl promoters. Rather than celebrating fidelity and self-sacrifice in the context of stable family life, they promote self-indulgence that pollutes the public square from which it is impossible to insulate one's family or oneself." —G. Tracy Mehan III

"Hate-crimes laws are attempts to penalize ideas—bad ideas, but ideas nonetheless. Under these statutes, those who commit, say, assault or harassment motivated by animus toward a particular group (characterized by race, religion, nationality or gender) receive harsher punishment than criminals who hate their victims merely as individuals. The extra punishment is for holding anti-whatever views. In essence, hate-crimes laws are a species of mind-control. That their proponents purport to be champions of free speech is instructive." —Don Feder

"For the past 20 years conservatives have been articulating the philosophy of originalism, the only approach that can make judicial review democratically legitimate. Originalism simply means that the judge must discern from the relevant materials—debates at the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers, newspaper accounts of the time, debates in the state ratifying conventions, and the like—the principles the ratifiers understood themselves to be enacting. The remainder of the task is to apply those principles to unforeseen circumstances, a task that law performs all the time. Any philosophy that does not confine judges to the original understanding inevitably makes the Constitution the plaything of willful judges." —Robert Bork

"We don't have a deficit because we're taxed too little; we have a deficit because they're spending too much... And when it comes to spending your hard-earned money, they act like they have your credit card in their pocket. And believe me, they never leave home without it." —Ronald Reagan

"[T]he simple truth—born of experience—is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed—where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once." —Federal Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski

"Guns are dangerous. But myths are dangerous, too. Myths about guns are very dangerous, because they lead to bad laws. And bad laws kill people. 'Don't tell me this bill will not make a difference,' said President Clinton, who signed the Brady Bill into law. Sorry. Even the federal government can't say it has made a difference. The Centers for Disease Control did an extensive review of various types of gun control: waiting periods, registration and licensing, and bans on certain firearms. It found that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth. I wanted to know why the laws weren't working, so I asked the experts. 'I'm not going in the store to buy no gun,' said one maximum-security inmate in New Jersey. 'So, I could care less if they had a background check or not.' 'There's guns everywhere,' said another inmate. 'If you got money, you can get a gun.' Talking to prisoners about guns emphasizes a few key lessons. First, criminals don't obey the law. (That's why we call them 'criminals.') Second, no law can repeal the law of supply and demand. If there's money to be made selling something, someone will sell it. A study funded by the Department of Justice confirmed what the prisoners said. Criminals buy their guns illegally and easily. The study found that what felons fear most is not the police or the prison system, but their fellow citizens, who might be armed. One inmate told me, 'When you gonna rob somebody you don't know, it makes it harder because you don't know what to expect out of them.' What if it were legal in America for adults to carry concealed weapons? I put that question to gun-control advocate Rev. Al Sharpton. His eyes opened wide, and he said, 'We'd be living in a state of terror!' In fact, it was a trick question. Most states now have 'right to carry' laws. And their people are not living in a state of terror. Not one of those states reported an upsurge in crime. Why? Because guns are used more than twice as often defensively as criminally." —John Stossel

"[T]he parties have switched positions in the past (Democrats used to be the party of states' rights, Republicans the party of 'progressivism'), and there is no reason they can't switch again. If Democrats see that they can win by being responsible with the people's tax dollars, why wouldn't they pledge to do so, especially if Republicans are handing them the issue on a taxpayer-purchased silver platter? Republicans have tried for years to woo black voters by pointing out how little the Democrats have actually done for them in the past four decades. Savvy Democrats are beginning to do the same to conservatives. Republicans in the past decade have treated conservatives no differently than Democrats have treated black Americans in the past generation. As Democrats have taken black Americans for granted, Republicans have taken conservatives for granted. Unless conservatives show some independence, Republicans will continue to do so. Conservatives have to stop giving Republicans a pass on spending. This habit has only emboldened GOP leaders to act more irresponsibly. If the base is not willing to hold party leaders accountable—by abandoning them if necessary—then they will quickly become the lapdogs of the Republican Party, stroked every now and then, but wholly controlled by their masters." —Andrew Cline

Defending The Indefensible
Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers that it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it. Many of their justifications cannot be dignified as arguments. Of those that can be, some reveal a deficit of constitutional understanding commensurate with that which it is, unfortunately, reasonable to impute to Miers. Other arguments betray a gross misunderstanding of conservatism on the part of persons masquerading as its defenders.
George Will lays the smackdown on Miers and her defenders.

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