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Friday, May 05, 2006
My Current Reading
Townhall.com :: Columns :: John Kenneth Galbraith, R.I.P. by George Will - May 4, 2006
I started Ramesh Ponnuru's book The Party of Death
last night. One misconcpetion about it that should be cleared up is that, despite the obvious connotation of the title, it is not solely about Democrats. In Ponnuru's view, there exists a Party of Death that overarches the political party structure. Although it dominates the Democratic Party, its tentacles extend into the GOP as well. (Think Arlen Specter, Mike Castle, and the senators from Maine.)
Interesting notes so far:
* Roe v. Wade
declared that "the Constitution is living, and the unborn child isn't."
* Mario Cuomo's famous "personally opposed, but..." speech used silence against slavery as an example of the proper course to take. "It is a mark of the strength of contemporary liberalism's commitment to abortion that one of its leading lights should have been willing to support temporizing on slavery in order to defend it."
* "To summarize the position of the Boxer Democrats, then: Abortion should be legal throughout pregnancy. Teenage girls should not have to inform their parents about it, much less get their consent. Nobody who would let the voters deviate from these positions should be allowed on a court. The Senate shouldn't even be allowed to hold a vote on such people. The law should not treat the murders of pregnant women as double homicides because it might lead people to look more negatively on abortion
And taxpayers should pay for abortions, just in case there are some going undone. But federal funds should not be allotted to ensure the health of the unborn. Each of these positions is extreme by the standards of public opinion -- but not by the standards of what the Democratic party has become."
It's a very good read so far. (I'm about 3 chapters in.)
I finished Divine Mercy in My Soul the other night. Very good read and very interesting. Really showed me how much better I have to become if I'm to even approach being worthy of Heaven on my own merits. (Fortunately, God doesn't expect us to get there on own. He's more Merciful than that.) I'll have some reflections inspired by my reading of it at some point, when I have more time.) Definitely worth the read, long though it is. (644 pages, plus footnotes.)
Like two Harvard colleagues -- historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Sen. Pat Moynihan, another ambassador to India -- Galbraith was among liberalism's leading public intellectuals, yet he was a friend and skiing partner of William F. Buckley. After one slalom down a Swiss mountain, inelegantly executed by the 6-foot-8 Galbraith, Buckley asked how long Galbraith had been skiing. Thirty years, he said. Buckley mischievously replied: About as long as you have been an economist.
Although Galbraith coined the phrase "conventional wisdom," and thought of himself as the scourge of groupthink, "The Affluent Society" was the distilled essence of the conventional wisdom on campuses. In the 1960s, that liberalism became a stance of disdain, describing Americans not only as Galbraith had, as vulgar, but also as sick, racist, sexist, imperialist, etc. Again, and not amazingly, voters were not amused when told that their desires -- for big cars, neighborhood schools and other things -- did not deserve respect.
But for liberals that was precisely the beauty of Galbraith's theory. If advertising could manufacture demands for whatever corporations wanted to supply, there was no need to respect markets, which bring supply and demand into equilibrium.
Galbraith is frequently mentioned as one of JFK's economic advisors, but I've always wondered how influential he was with Kennedy, given that Kennedy cuts taxes while Galbraith apparently supported higher ones. (Although I could be wrong.)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Original 'Star Wars' Movies Coming to DVD -- At Last
CNN.com - Shocker on 'Lost' - May 4, 2006
Responding to legions of fans, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have agreed to release the original versions of the first three Star Wars movies, unmodified by digital enhancements, on Sept. 12. Each of the films, Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983) will be released separately and will be accompanied by a second disc offering the digitally reedited version produced in 2004.
That's really obnoxious. Had I known they would do this, I wouldn't have bought the bastardized re-edits to begin with. Now, if I want the original, better versions I'm going to get the version I already bought? On what planet does this make sense?
You'd have to think Jar Jar Binks was a good idea to believe this is a good idea as well.
CNN.com - Non-voting sons spoil election bid - May 4, 2006
Last's night ending definitely earned a "Holy flerking schnit
Two voting-age sons of a northern Ohio candidate didn't go to the polls Tuesday, and their father's race ended in a tie.
Not voting for your father? That's a paddlin'.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Quote of the Day
I added DelaVision
, linked above to my blogroll just now, after seeing his comment on Delaware 2006
Earlier today, I also added The Delawarean
who I found on Pencader Days
, a blog I greatly enjoy.
This team [Cincinnati Reds] is in first place because it’s been scoring like Ashton Kutcher on a “Singles Over 40” cruise.
From a Reds email list I'm on.
Townhall.com :: Columns :: Random thoughts by Thomas Sowell - May 2, 2006
"It is easy to want things from the Lord and yet not want the Lord Himself, as though the gift could ever be preferable to the Giver." —Saint Augustine of Hippo
"[W]e need to pray earnestly for the power of the Holy Spirit to give us a precious revival in our hearts and among the unconverted." —Robert E. Lee
"I only look to the gracious protection of that Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit, and whom I fervently pray to look down upon us all." —Martin van Buren
"About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation." —Will Rogers
"Regarding the...pleasure of spending other people's money, many Senate Republicans adhere to Oscar Wilde's advice on how to deal with temptation: Succumb to it. That is how many conservative voters will respond to the growing temptation to boycott this November's elections." —George Will
"According to the Tax Foundation, over the past 25 years—in inflation adjusted dollars—oil and gas companies have paid in royalties and state and federal taxes $2.2 trillion dollars. At the same time they have made a little over $630 billion dollars in profits. So their taxes and royalties are three times greater than their profits. The real question...is who is gouging whom?" —Michael Reagan
"The bottom line is that while these demonstrations, I am told, are supposed to make me feel better about illegal immigrants, I feel angry when I see thousands of people who knowingly break American law, yet somehow feel entitled to do so and outraged that they have not been sufficiently rewarded for it." —Debra Saunders
Jay Leno: [Monday] of course was the "Day Without Immigrants" as they called it. Or as the Native Americans call it, "the good old days." ... Lots of businesses were closed, streets were closed—everything was closed but that big hole down on the border. ... Arnold Schwarzenegger is blaming man for global warming. And today Al Gore agreed with him. That's so typical. Two cyborgs blaming the humans. ... In his latest audio tape Osama bin Laden says that the Bush administration is evil, it's made up excuses to attack Iraq, and is obsessed with Middle Eastern oil. If Osama bin Laden keeps talking like that he could wind up the Democratic frontrunner. ... Speaking of that, Senator John Kerry said this week that he is thinking about running for president again, but he hasn't made up his mind as of yet. Well, that should put to rest all those rumors about him being indecisive.
Parents who are both conscientious and realistic discover sooner or later that they cannot do the job to their own complete satisfaction, much less to their children's complete satisfaction.
In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees.
Helen Thomas has been called "the dean of White House correspondents." After some of her recent remarks, someone suggested that she should be called the Howard Dean of White House correspondents.
I love cheap watches. For no other product are the cheapest versions just as effective for their basic purpose as versions costing ten or a hundred times as much.
Does it tell you something about our times when a representative of the Taliban is welcome on the Yale University campus but representatives of our own military forces are not?
President Bush says that it is "unrealistic" to think that we can deport 12 million illegal immigrants. It is also unrealistic to think that we can catch all murderers, but does that mean that we should de-criminalize murder? Or turn loose the murderers we do catch?
As rising rates of intermarriage erode race as a biological reality, political hype makes it an increasingly heated issue.
The biggest enemy of real equality is make-believe equality. Some peoples, such as the Scots and the Japanese, lagged far behind for centuries before moving to the forefront of achievement. Pretending that they were equal during the centuries when they were not might have prevented the changes that developed their ability.
Compromising by splitting the difference may solve many immediate problems by creating bigger long-run problems. Splitting the difference rewards the side with the most extreme and most intransigent position, guaranteeing continuing unreasonable demands and the continuing strife this generates.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
open book: Too good..
Saint Joseph the Worker
The sort of thing that, taken out of context, could cause some realy damage:
Constantine was the first astronaut, also, although the U.S. government has been suppressing the evidence Neil Armstrong found proving the emperor went to the moon in 322. After enjoying a picnic lunch in the Sea of Tranquillity (he left behind a ceramic decanter bearing his imperial insignia), he got the idea to take over the Christians and make them all call him Pappy or Papa, or, in Greek, POPE. Upon returning to Earth, he declared all women "constitutionally compromised," mandated that they be raped daily by a Catholic priest, and decreed that all men except a few bishops were inferior to him in wisdom and knowledge of the Bible. He shared power with those few bishops in exchange for land, buildings and war booty. At least 1 billion people died in Europe alone to sate his lust for power. We're still paying for his sins of polluting the moon and suppressing the oppressed, thus setting up the social oppression and anti-environmentalism we live with to this day. The world would be such a better place if the words "Catholic" and "Church" had never been heard in the same sentence together. Thanks for nothing, Constantine.
This was a response to this post
criticizing the Catholic Church for the actions of Church's first Pope, Constantine.
I's say a little knowledge could be a dangerous thing, but the person who wrote about Pope Constantine doesn't even reach that level.
Continuing my track record of never blogging in a timely manner, yesterday was the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker
. Why do we have such a Feast in the Church?
The immediate cause was to provide a Christian alternative to the Communist holiday of May Day
. (A day I'm sad to say was celebrated in my Catholic preschool, while I believe St. Joseph was left unmentioned. The 70s sucked. Especially for the Church.)
A second consideration, I'm sure, was a simple acknowledgement that people work to provide for their family and who better to serve as their patron than the man who worked to provide and care for our Savior?
I think, though, we often get the idea that work is something we have to put up with grudgingly, that if things were better, we wouldn't have to work. I'm not so sure that's the case. After all, we had to work even when we were in paradise. ("The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it." - Gen 3:15
) From the moment of our creation, we were expected to work by God, even in the Paradise of Eden. So, there must be something about work that is important for us to do.
What might that be?
I think Work is a reminder that there is something greater than ourselves. I work as a programmer, so I have to make sure my code serves the needs of my customers and helps them do their work more efficiently. Parents work to serve their children and meet their needs. Adam was working to serve God directly, whereas we serve Him in others.
Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others,
knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Whatever you do, do it for Christ. When working on programs, I need to remember that I am doing it for someone who has Christ in them. When I put flowers on my front porch (as I hope to do this weekend), I am doing it so my neighbors, who have Christ in them, can see something nicer than my stone porch and have something that will create more oxygen for them to breathe. In everything I do for myself or someone else, I must do it with the knowledge that I am doing it for someone who has Christ in them.
Monday, May 01, 2006
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." —Thomas Jefferson
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." —Paul of Tarsus
"[M]illions of parents would move their kids out of public schools tomorrow if they thought they could afford something better. For millions more, government schooling isn't an option in the first place: They would no sooner let the state decide what their children should learn than they would let it to decide whom they should marry... No matter how a school chooses to deal with [certain] issues, it promotes certain values—values that some parents will fervently welcome and that others will just as fervently reject... When it comes to the education of children, there is always an agenda—and those who don't share that agenda may find themselves belittled, marginalized, or ignored." —Jeff Jacoby
"[I]n our jaded era, decency is a snigger word. And that's too bad because decency is such an unassuming virtue. Here's the American Heritage Dictionary's second definition of decent: 'Free from indelicacy, modest.' Indelicacy. Now there's an antique concept... It may be impossible to rescue the word decency in this vulgar age. But perhaps we can campaign for the same thing under a different name. Taste will do. I'm assuming that millions of Americans feel as I do about this endless barrage of tastelessness, but how will the sellers know if we don't complain loudly and often?... This stew of smuttiness coarsens our sensibilities. It appeals to our lowest selves. It makes a mockery of words like delicacy, refinement and modesty." —Mona Charen
"The U.S. Department of Labor reports: 'According to Current Population Survey estimates for 2004, some 73.9 million American workers were paid at hourly rates, representing 59.8 percent of all wage and salary workers. Of those paid by the hour, 520,000 were reported as earning exactly $5.15.' Workers earning the minimum wage or less tend to be young, single workers between the ages of 16 and 25. Only about two percent of workers over 25 years of age earn minimum wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sixty-three percent of minimum wage workers receive raises within one year of employment, and only 15 percent still earn the minimum wage after three years. Furthermore, only 5.3 percent of minimum wage earners are from households below the official poverty line; forty percent of minimum wage earners live in households with incomes $60,000 and higher; and, over 82 percent of minimum wage earners do not have dependents... It's tempting to think of higher minimum wages as an anti-poverty weapon, but such an idea doesn't even pass the smell test. After all, if higher minimum wages could cure poverty, we could easily end worldwide poverty simply by telling poor nations to legislate higher minimum wages. Poor people are not poor because of low wages. For the most part, they're poor because of low productivity, and wages are connected to productivity." —Walter Williams