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Friday, February 17, 2006

AmericanPapist: Not Your Average Catholic!: An Oldie but a Goodie - Lexicon for young adult Catholic acronyms
I'd have to say the following describe me:

ACART --- Accepts Church And Republican Teachings (M, F) [despite my strong disagreements with many Republican policies]
CHIM --- Catholic Hyper-Intellectual Male (M)

These made me laugh, because we all know someone (or more than one) like them:
CLOWSIC ---- Cosmo Lifestyle On Weekdays, Sundays In Church (F)
CONOPE --- Catholic, Orthodox, No Other Personality Evident (M, F)
JLAW / JLAH --- Just Looking to Acquire a Wife / Husband (M, F)

Hat Tip: Tischreden

Quote of the Day
"[The Cheney shooting] was hardly an affair of state. And it was hardly going to be kept secret. Arrogance? The media laying these charges are the same media that just last week unilaterally decided that the public's right to know did not extend to seeing cartoons that had aroused half the world, burned a small part of it and deeply affected the American national interest. Having arrogated to themselves the judgment of what a free people should be allowed to see regarding an issue that is literally burning, they then go ballistic over a few hours' delay in revealing an accident with only the most trivial connection to the nation's interest or purpose. Cheney got a judgment call wrong, for reasons that are entirely comprehensible. The disproportionate, at times hysterical, response to that error is far less comprehensible" -- Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Calabasas no smoking law begins next month
The new Calabasas secondhand smoke ordinance, which would prohibit smoking in all public areas of the city including parks, sidewalks and outdoor businesses, will take effect by the middle of March, city officials said.
This actually makes more sense to me than banning smoking indoors. If I'm inside a building, I'm there by choice on someone's private property. Walking outside in public I can be confronted with cigarette smoke against my will, so this seems an appropriate area for legislation since property rights are not defined in this case.

If I were a legislator, I would probably vote for a bill banning outdoor smoking, while continuing to oppose bans on smoking on any private property. Delaware, naturally, legislates backwards, limiting rights on private property while leaving those on public property defenseless. We should reverse that situation.

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Baseball Knowledge Will Not Help You Pick Up Girls.
I deny this. Some of them are very good compliments or are just true. Look:
Your boyfriend hates baseball? He must hate America, too.

No, no. You're not getting old. Hell, you're only 27. Think of it this way: Since turning 27, Roger Clemens has won 280 games! You have your whole life ahead of you. Please stop crying.

Now I remember the last time I felt so turned on: When I was able to snag Mark Prior with a sixth-round draft pick.
What girl wouldn't love to hear those?

Hat Tip: Gregorian Rants

USCCB - NAB - Psalm 81
But my people did not listen to my words; Israel did not obey me.
So I gave them over to hardness of heart; they followed their own designs.
But even now if my people would listen, if Israel would walk in my paths,
In a moment I would subdue their foes, against their enemies unleash my hand.
Psalm 81 was part of today's morning prayer. (Week II - Wednesday) This particular passage stood out to me. Sometimes people will ask if their sins are so bad, how come God doesn't punish them? Similar questions include: why are so many bad people richand successful?

Sometimes God doesn't punish in the obvious ways: death, injury, poverty, sickness, etc. Sometimes he punishes us by allowing us to wallow in our sins and not recognize the wrong we're doing. This is a punishment because every sin (whether large or small, mortal or venial) separates us further and further from God. One Mortal sin separates us completely from God, at least until true contrition is made, but repeated mortal sins can make it harder and harder for us to want to return to God. This is the ultimate punishment since it leads to permanent separation from God after death.

So remember, if you're sinning and think God isn't punishing you, he may be and you just aren't picking up on it.

Evil as absence of God
The university professor challenged his students with this question: "Did God create everything that exists? "

A student bravely replied "Yes, he did!"

"God created everything?" the professor asked.

"Yes sir," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil. Since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, then God is evil." The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"

"Of course," replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor does cold exist?"

The professor replied "Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"

The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.

Absolute zero (- 460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued. "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir. Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light, we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor. "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young man's name --- Albert Einstein
This sounds like an urban legend to me, but the argument is still interesting. God doesn't cause bad things to happen, but out of love for us, He wants us to freely choose to love Him. (Forced love is not love. It's rape.) So, out of His love for us, He allows us to reject him, allows us to choose evil.

SI.com - MLB - Pitchers, catchers begin reporting to camps - Thursday February 16, 2006 3:48AM
It's time for the words baseball fans couldn't wait to hear: pitchers and catchers.
Whoo-hoo! The Void is over! Life has meaning again! Spring Training has begun!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

CNN.com - State: Wal-Mart must carry emergency contraception - Feb 15, 2006
Asked why the pharmacy only carries the pill in one state, Fogelman said that it was purely a "business decision" for Wal-Mart, based on its assessment that demand for the product was not very high.
If any store chooses not to carry any product, what business is it of the government? They're choosing on their own to sacrifice potential business and other stores are free to carry the product in question.

No store can carry every product, so they choose what they will stock based on expected sales. If they're wrong, they lose customers.

What's next, a government saying "You must carry Chee-tos?" It's the same logic. Just substitute someone with the munchies for someone seeking to induce a chemical abortion.

"Mercy, detached from justice, grows unmerciful." —C.S. Lewis

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world." —Thomas Carlyle

"The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses." —Albert Einstein

"The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust." —Samuel Butler

"Let's not just limit special projects earmarked for specific congressional districts. Make porkbarrel illegal, period. Let the federal government deal only with things that have national import, as defined by the enumerated powers in the Constitution." —Paul Jacob

"[H]ere's the bottom line on the surveillance program. It was going to work, and help lessen the chance of another atrocity in our America, only if it stayed secret. The odds of it staying secret would diminish as its existence spread through the Congress and judicial system. Now it is public, and its utility is about zero." —Daniel Henninger

It would be far better if the threat of force [against Iran] were credible enough that actual force would not have to be used. But divisive politics have undermined the credibility of any such threat. That can narrow the choices to killing people in Iran or leaving ourselves and our posterity at the mercy of hate-filled and suicidal fanatics with nukes." —Thomas Sowell

"Today's left quotes the text of the Constitution as if it means what it says on searches and seizures, though when it comes to behavior the left wishes to condone, the Constitution morphs into a 'living document' in constant need of updating to suit the times. Which is it?" —Cal Thomas

"[I]f the Iranians are as smart as they are devious, they'll accept the Russian offer [to let the mullahs enrich uranium under Moscow's auspices], let the Europeans pretend the crisis is over, and continue to build a nuclear weapon in secret. Last weekend Iran said it will again consider Moscow's offer, and all signs point to the fact that on present course Iran is going to get the bomb one way or another. Which is all the more reason for the U.S. to promote a more serious diplomatic response... Begin NATO accession talks with Israel. Israel's NATO membership has been mooted before, but the suggestion is especially compelling as a response to the Iranian nuclear threat. Iran's apocalyptic President Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map,' and influential former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has said an Islamic bomb 'would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.' Those are unprecedented threats, which are all the more likely to be carried out if the mullahs think that the only retaliation would come from Israel itself. It may be that the mad mullahs aren't deterrable, since they claim to welcome mass martyrdom. But if Israel were part of NATO, the saner elements in Tehran would at least have to worry about the collective response of the West... Inviting Israel to join NATO will send a far tougher message to Iran than mere referral to that tower of delay and rationalization known as the United Nations." —The Wall Street Journal

"The era of big government is over. The era of REALLY BIG government is just getting started, to be followed eventually by the era of government so big that it blocks out the sun and has its own gravitational field." —James Lileks

"Senator [Lincoln] Chafee likes to call himself a Republican, but then he is a tax-and-spend Republican. Where I come from, we have another word for that. It's called a Democrat." —Cranston, RI, Mayor Steve Laffey, who is challenging Chafee in this year's GOP primary contest

"President Bush said in a speech in Washington Thursday that al-Qa'ida once plotted a terrorist attack on Los Angeles. It makes no sense at all. People who want to destroy America would never attack Hollywood, if only out of professional courtesy." —Argus Hamilton

"In a world in which Danish cartoons insult the prophet and Disney Piglet mugs insult the prophet and Burger King chocolate ice-cream swirl designs insult the prophet, maybe it would just be easier to make a list of things that don't insult him." —Mark Steyn

"Some Democrats are furious that their party doesn't have its own ideas. Others say they do have ideas; they're just keeping them secret for now. That sounds a lot like the high school geek who insists that his girlfriend is really hot but lives in an undisclosed location in Canada." —Jonah Goldberg

David Letterman: "Top Ten Dick Cheney Excuses": Heart palpitation caused trigger finger to spasm; Wanted to get the Iraq mess off the front page; Not enough Jim Beam; Trying to stop the spread of bird flu; I love to shoot people; I thought the guy was trying to go "gay cowboy" on me; Excuse? I hit him, didn't I?; Until Democrats approve Medicare reform, we have to make some tough choices for the elderly.

Jay Leno: Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, 78-year-old lawyer [Harry Whittington]. In fact, when people found out he shot a lawyer, his popularity is now at 92 percent. ... When the ambulance got there, out of force of habit they put Cheney on the stretcher. No, the other guy! ... Former FEMA director Michael Brown is testifying before a Senate panel today. He was supposed to testify last week, but he just got there. ... Hillary Clinton blasted President Bush for not catching Osama bin Laden. Is she in a position to criticize? She couldn't even catch Bill Clinton, and they were in the same room. ... And everyone is talking about the three carat diamond ring Hillary is wearing that Bill gave her. Well he didn't actually give it to her. She found it near the nightstand. "It's a gift. I was wrapping it...it's for you." ... I feel bad for Marmaduke. He's a cartoon and a Great Dane! He's in double-danger. ... "American Idol" actually did better in the ratings than the Grammy's. So people would rather see regular people do a bad job of singing than famous people do a good job of lip syncing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

delawareonline | The News Journal | Tractor-trailer carrying live chickens overturns near Greenwood
How cool would it be to see that?

Cheney - Killing Machine
This has been going around the Internet. The funny thing is, it's a year old:

The Pentagon's vision for the "Long War."
Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for U.S. Central Command (which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East), dropped by the offices of The Wall Street Journal recently. He noted that bin Ladenism has deep roots in many Islamic countries and that bin Laden isn't the only terrorist leader trying to appeal to populations oppressed by dictators. There are some 18 terrorist organizations that are part of what the military calls al Qaeda and Affiliated Movement. The military, he said, even has an acronym for it: AQAM.

To counter bin Ladenism, the military is planning a two-stage war. The first is being fought in open battles in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere and looks a lot like the kind of war most Americans assumed we'd wage on al Qaeda and terror-sponsoring states after the Sept. 11 attacks. The second stage is what senior military planners--including Mr. Rumsfeld--call "the Long War." It involves countering one set of ideas with another.

It is this stage of the war that President Bush, Mr. Rumsfeld and other members of the administration worry isn't well understood by most Americans and therefore is in danger of being lost after Mr. Bush leaves office.
The military is laying the groundwork in other countries as well, in hopes of turning indigenous populations away from bin Ladenism. One area that has largely escaped media attention is the Horn of Africa, and in particular the small country of Djibouti. Bordering Somalia to the north, Ethiopia to the east and directly across the Red Sea from Yemen, Djibouti has an impoverished population that may find terrorism appealing if it promises the glory involved in helping build a grand Islamic state. And Djibouti historically has served as a passageway for trade into the heart of Africa. Shortly after 9/11 the U.S. set up a base of operations in Djibouti to help stabilize the region and build schools as well as infrastructure. At one point nearly 2,000 Marines were on the ground there. Military officials tell me Djibouti is a success story that hasn't made it into the news because U.S. soldiers aren't getting killed there.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Two crises by Thomas Sowell - Feb 14, 2006
Like the French official in "Casablanca," politicians and much of the media are shocked, shocked, to discover that the government has been listening in on calls involving international terrorist networks. Congressional leaders of both parties have in fact known this for years without saying a word.

Only after the New York Times published the news and made a big noise about it have politicians begun to declare their shock.

That is not the only thing that makes this big uproar phony. The same people who are going ballistic over what they spin as "domestic spying" never went ballistic over one of the most gross examples of genuine domestic spying during the Clinton years.

Hundreds of raw FBI files on Republicans were sent to the Clinton White House, in violation of laws and for no higher purpose than having enough dirt on enough people to intimidate political opponents. But domestic spying against Republicans did not shock nearly as many people as intercepting phone calls from terrorists.

CNN.com - TV joke writers take shots at Cheney - Feb 14, 2006
Here's my favorites so far:

Letterman: "Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney."

Leno: "That's the big story over the weekend. ... Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, a 78-year-old lawyer. In fact, when people found out he shot a lawyer, his popularity is now at 92 percent."

"I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, 'Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?' "

"Dick Cheney is capitalizing on this for Valentine's Day. It's the new Dick Cheney cologne. It's called Duck!"

Craig Ferguson: "He is a lawyer and he got shot in the face. But he's a lawyer, he can use his other face. He'll be all right."

"You can understand why this lawyer fellow let his guard down, because if you're out hunting with a politician, you think, 'If I'm going to get it, it's going to be in the back.' "

And a coworker told me that a Philly radio station (I forget which one) had a parody of "Janey's Got a Gun" called "Cheney's Got a Gun."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Major League (1989)
Got reminded of Major League today. My three favorite quotes from that movie:
Vaughn: Want me to drag him outta here, kick the sh** out of him?
Harris: You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?
Pedro: F*** you, Jobu. I do it myself.
Even playing the President on "24" hasn't gotten Dennis Haysbert away from that line.

My Current Reading
The Politics of Prudence, by Russell Kirk

I read this a while back, while in college. (I quoted it in a column I wrote for The Review about John Paul II, whose election makes it as one of the ten most important conservative events since the American Revolution.) I enjoyed it. I read it again now, partly out of a desire to understand Kirk's thinking better and partly to answer Hube's questions about why libertarians aren't conservative.

I did finally finish that Benjamin Franklin biography, which I started on January 2nd. It was a big, and I now know more about him than I ever cared to learn. It was good read, though. As long as the book was, it wasn't hard to read, just time-consuming.

Yesterday, I finished another project that had taken me almost three months: reading the 14 narrative books of the Bible that tell the story of God's salvific plan. (Some historical works were skipped as part of this, since they duplicate some of the same information as others. For example, 2 Maccabees basically gives more details on part of the time period covered in 1 Maccabees.) The books are:
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Maccabees
Acts of the Apostles

Reading the Bible this way made it much easier for me to understand the history of God's Plan. Plus, with the materials I was given at the Great Adventure Bible Timeline seminar that taught me to read this way, I'll be able to better put the other Books in their historical environment and get more meaning out of them.

It was pointed out on a Phillies email list I'm on that the Phillies (1883-2005) are exactly 1200 games under .500.

A member pointed out that the Phils would need to be 10 games over .500 (86-76 in a 162 game schedule)for the next 120 years to break even. Or average 91 wins in 162 games for 60 years just to reach a .500 record for their history.

Can any city match that? At least the Cubs have made it interesting once a while. We just stink.

UPDATE: A member of the Phillies email list reports: "Much of this dismal record was put up betw. 1927 and 1946. During those 19 years, the Phils were 798 games under .500. On average, they were 55 and 97. They lost 100 games or more 10 times in that stretch, and that was back in the day of 154 game seasons." Wow.

4 Things...
Former Delaware blogger (and a current sellout now living in exciting Rockville, MD) Greg Robleto tagged me to answer the following questions:

Four Jobs I've had:
1. Programmer
2. Clerk for the Department of Elections
3. Math Tutor
4. Political Campaign Manager

Four Movies I can watch over and over again:
1. Bring It On!
2. The Great Escape
3. Die Hard
4. AirPlane!

1. Wilmington, Delaware
2. Annapolis, MD
3. University of Delaware
4. North Carolina

Four TV shows I love
1. NewsRadio
2. The Simpsons
3. Buffy

Four places I've vacationed
1. England
2. Vermont
3. Connecticut
4. California

Four sites I visit daily
1. The Corner on NationalReview.com
2. CNN
3. Astronomy Pic of the Day
4. The Colossus of Rhodey

Four places I would rather be right now
1. Vermont
2. A baseball game
3. Grandma's in Connecticut
4. Home reading

I won't bother tagging anyone.

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