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Thursday, April 20, 2006

CNN.com - The worst song of all time - Apr 20, 2006
I would nominate either "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston or "My heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion. Either make me want to drive my car into the nearest tree at full speed.

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online
All my life, I heard people warn about the influence of generals and admirals over Pentagon affairs: "Civilian control, civilian control," they always stressed. And when a general uttered a peep about some matter of policy, the cries went up — from the left — that a military dictatorship was about to descend on our land.

That's the way it was, in good old Ann Arbor town (where I grew up).

Odd that I've heard none of those voices in recent days. Have you?
As longtime readers know, I have a standing interest in Democrats or liberals who criticize Republicans or conservatives on class grounds — you know, the Democrats who snicker at manual labor, or whatever. They're the party of the common man, except when they don't want to be.

Do you remember that ad that Bill Richardson ran against his gubernatorial opponent? "While I was cutting taxes for the people of New Mexico, my opponent was serving orange juice at 30,000 feet." (Richardson's opponent had been an airline steward.)

Anyway, I thought of all this when reading this article about Sean Hannity. It says, "Actor Alec Baldwin . . . called Hannity a 'no-talent, former-construction-worker hack' during a recent radio confrontation."

First, I had no idea that Sean did construction work — makes me think even better of him. Second: Is this really the way liberals want to be talking? Isn't that talk supposed to come from Republicans in limousines, running over urchins?

While I'm asking questions: Do you remember when Ruth Bader Ginsburg, during a speech in Australia, mocked Tom DeLay for having run an extermination business?
Finally, a letter, from a regular and astute reader:
Like you, I'm bugged by people who won't say "man" and "woman." I notice it on Dr. Laura's show: People call up and say, "I'm a 30-year-old female." It always sounds like a police report to me. People like that also call themselves parents instead of mothers or fathers.

Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco Eastern Province - Adopt a Sister
Here's a worthy endeavor: Adopt a Nun! Financially support a nun and help her in her mission. And receive her prayer support in return. There was a news article written about it as well.

Link via Catholic and Enjoying It!

Habemus Papam Pope Benedict Music Video - Google Video

The music is kind of cheesy, but I still get chills hearing "Habemus papem!" (If player doesn't work, go here.)

Link via American Papist.

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week
I think Hube jumped the gun this week on picking his "Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week". If he had waited until today, he would have come across this beauty:
Outspoken congresswoman shows courage that is rare

The race card may be getting old, but it is as American as apple pie. If you don't think so, compare your pay stub, net worth, encounters with the police and judicial system, and your children's prospects with any black person who has a comparable job and education.

Some people are forced to live with it; other people are in denial or wish it away. The question for black parents is when is it a good time to tell their children the racial facts of life in America. Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice can't escape the race card.

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is an excellent role model for kids. She has pointed out: the failures of this administration in the Iraq war, the Middle East, and warnings provided to the White House before the 9/11 attack.

I can think of no better role model in these times of corruption, cronyism and crime in our national capital. Her commitment to her constituency provides hope that honest people are trying to make the American dream a reality.

Valiant people like McKinney are hard to find these days. America desperately needs them -- race card and all.

Waldon H. Giles, Wilmington
Really? What's she a role model for?

Alleging that the Bush administration intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen? ("We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. . . . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? . . . What do they have to hide?" ) Or that members of his administration personally profited from the War on terror? ("persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war.") An accusation she later admitted she no evidence for? ("I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11.") (Source)

Or most famously, who apparently punched a Capitol Hill police officer who failed to recognize her and asked her to show ID?

(Note: I'm pretty sure this letter was actually written by Waldron Giles, despite what it says above. I believe the spelling of the first name is a typo on the WNJ's part.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gasoline Prices, Iraq, or Both?
Interesting analysis of gasoline prices and their correlation to Bush's approval ratings. Gas prices go up, Bush's approval goes down. It's apparently a stronger relationship than how the war in Iraq is doing.

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"—Patrick Henry

"Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal on immigration reform. In it Arnold complains that too many immigrants are sneaking into the country and becoming governors." —Conan O'Brien

"Oh, so that is what the First Amendment means: Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech unless speech annoys politicians." —George Will

"San Francisco is in a time warp. I know what you're thinking: San Franciscans still think Marx and Lenin were onto something..." —Rich Galen

Jay Leno: [Last Saturday was] April 15th, tax day! It's the day that legal Americans wish they were illegal Americans. ... Also Easter—so while people are trying to hide Easter eggs from the kids they will also be trying to hide their nest egg from the IRS. ... Easter is so different in California. Like in Beverly Hills kids don't decorate Easter eggs, they paint low cholesterol egg beaters. Then they hire out illegal immigrants to go out and find them. ... There's a huge controversy here in California over a state senate bill that would require all students to study [homosexual] history. Proponents cite an alarming survey showing that 80% of kids don't know which one is Siegfried and which one is Roy. I had no idea it was that bad. ... Do you realize that Americans are now doing the jobs that immigrants won't do because they're out protesting? ... Over one million people marched in...protest. And while we were watching them do that another million people snuck across the U.S.-Mexican border. ... President Bush today announced a new fitness plan to get people walking. It's called "gasoline at three dollars a gallon."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

delawareonline | The News Journal | Amid troubled times, Hollywood finds religion
I've said many times that the mainstream media jsut doesn't get religion and this article that ran in the News-Journal this morning is just another example of that.

The whole article is not running on this page as I write this, but it's about how Hollywood's finally realized that people of faith will see movies if they're given something worth seeing. (You'd think that was common sense, but common sense apparently isn't common in Hollywood.) The problem is that one of the movies that highlight and give prominent space to is the DaVinci Code. That's not a movie for people faith; that's a movie to undermine people's faith.

The News-Journal doesn't get it (and neither does USA Today where the article originally came from).

Monday, April 17, 2006

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." —Thomas Jefferson

"The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful." —Calvin Coolidge

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If 'Thou shalt not covet' and 'Thou shalt not steal' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free." —John Adams

"Throughout most of American history, taxes were levied principally on consumption, rather than income... In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton had this to say, 'It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess... If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the Treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds.' Hamilton was thinking here about direct taxes on consumption, such as the sales taxes levied by most state governments. He was right in thinking that there is a limit to such taxes. Experience shows that general sales tax rates much above 10 percent are very hard to collect. They encourage smuggling, black markets, evasion, production for personal use, substitution for untaxed commodities and other activities that erode the tax base." —Bruce Bartlett

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, followed always by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. —Alexander Fraser Tytler

"Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business...frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite." —Ronald Reagan

"But I am of the opinion that a centralized administration is fit only to enervate the nations in which it exists, by incessantly diminishing their local spirit. Although such an administration can bring together at a given moment, on a given point, all the disposable resources of a people, it injures the renewal of those resources." —Alexis de Tocqueville

John F. Kennedy addressing the Economic Club of New York, 14 December 1962:
I know you share my conviction that proud as we are of its progress, this nation's economy can and must do even better than it has done in the last five years. Our choice, therefore, boils down to one of doing nothing and thereby risking a widening gap between our actual and potential growth... or taking action at the federal level to raise our entire economy to a new and higher level of business activity...

"The most direct and significant kind of federal action aiding economic growth is to make possible an increase in private consumption and investment demand—to cut the fetters which hold back private spending. In the past, this could be done... by increasing federal expenditures more rapidly than necessary—but such a course would soon demoralize both the government and our economy. If government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency, and I shall say more on this in a moment.

"The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system—and this administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top to bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes...

"I am not talking about a 'quickie' or temporary tax cut. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last five years that our present tax system... exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peacetime—that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power—that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment and risk taking.

"[We should reduce taxes] by a sufficiently early date and a sufficiently large amount to do the job required. Early action could give us extra leverage, added results and important insurance against recession. Too large a tax cut, of course, could result in inflation and insufficient future revenues—but the greater danger is a tax cut too little or too late to be effective.

"I do not underestimate the obstacles which the Congress will face in enacting such legislation. No one will be satisfied. Everyone will have his own approach, his own bill, his own reductions. A high order of restraint and determination will be required if the possible is not to wait on the perfect.

"This nation can afford to reduce taxes... but we cannot afford to do nothing. For on the strength of our free economy rests the hope of all free nations."

We do it right
Saturday morning, I was speaking to one of the people entering the Catholic Church that night at the Easter vigil. He was telling me he and his wife wre raised Methodist (I believe) and that they had both drifted away from Christianity. They had discussed going back to church but agreed that if they did, it had to be Catholic, because the Catholic Church "does ti right." I think the Easter Vigil is a strong sign that we indeed do it right.

For example, the Exultet:
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement
You've got to it hear it chanted to get its full effect, but it's amazing and captures the great gift of Easter so well. (Our cantor does a great job with this.)

Another example is the Liturgy of Light where the church is lit only by candles until the time of Gloria when (symbolically) Christ rises from the dead and Light enters the world.

And then the readings we do at Mass, seven readings and Psalms from the Old Testament showing how Christ had to rise from the dead and all that happened was foretold.

If you have the chance, attend a Easter Vigil Mass at some point. It's really inspiring. I jsut wish I could convice our Pastor to do all the readings.

Steve's Beatles Page - Songs - Taxman
Today's an appropriate to highlight this song. One of the best conservative peices of pop music ever "Taxman" was created by the well-known group of right-wing radicals, the Beatles.
yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me
These are the final lines of the song, and they sum up the problem with taxes very well. That period of our work day that we work for the government we are essentially slaves, being forced to work for someone without pay. The rest of the day is covered by our employment contract, freely entered into by ourselves and our employers. But those hours that covcer our taxes, the government steps in and tells us to give that money over to them.

That's one big moral reason why taxes should be kept to a minimum: it's a violation of freedom.

Leon's getting larger!
Well, not Leon, but the DCBA! We've got yet another new member of the Delaware Conservative Bloggers's Alliance. Welcome to annavenger! She describes herself thusly: "First and foremost, I am a Christian. I am also a wife and a proud mother of two. More than anything, I am moved by faith and love of family. I am also a social conservative."

This is pretty good growth for something developed over beer!

The GOP's Betrayal On Speech
If in November Republicans lose control of the House of Representatives, April 5 should be remembered as the day they demonstrated that they earned defeat. Traducing the Constitution and disgracing conservatism, they used their power for their only remaining purpose -- to cling to power. Their vote to restrict freedom of speech came just as the GOP's conservative base is coming to the conclusion that House Republicans are not worth working for in October or venturing out to vote for in November.

The "problem" Republicans addressed is that in 2004 Democrats were more successful than Republicans in using so-called 527 organizations -- advocacy groups named after the tax code provision governing them. In 2002 Congress passed the McCain-Feingold legislation banning large "soft money" contributions for parties -- money for issue-advocacy and organizational activities, not for candidates. In 2004, to the surprise of no sensible person and most McCain-Feingold supporters, much of the money -- especially huge contributions from rich liberals -- was diverted to 527s. So on April 5, House Republicans, easily jettisoning what little remains of their ballast of belief in freedom and limited government, voted to severely limit the amounts that can be given to 527s.
The Republicans have become what they used to be against.

I'm reminded of something Thomas Sowell wrote before the 1992 election: (paraphrase) "The question is not whether George Bush deserves reelection. He does not. The question is whether America deserves to be inflicted with Bill Clinton. We do not."

The Republicans clearly do not deserve to remain in control of Congress. Unfortunately, the Democrats deserve to gain control even less. In our two-party system, we're stuck with those choices, so I'm left with no real alternative but to hope the GOP keeps control, undeserving though they are.

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