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Paul Smith Jr has a new home for his blog: www.gazizza.net. Click to go there now!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


R'uh R'Oh, Raggy
I know I'm years behind on this, but I just logged on to ITunes for the first time today. R'uh R'Oh. I finally found the song I've been looking for decades: "Somewhere" by The Tymes. Such a great song, and I could never find it on a CD anywhere. I've just downloaded and I've been playing it non-stop. I can see myslef spending a lot of time here. Hopefully, self-control can win out.

But I needed "Somewhere".

Friday, May 19, 2006


First the DaVinci Code, now this blasphemy?
It’s shocking but true: The House Republican Theme Team, led by Rep. Jack Kingston (R.-Ga.), is handing out its Ronald Reagan Award to members of Congress "for their work in promoting the Medicare Prescription Drug program."

Yes, that’s right, the Ronald Reagan Award is being used to congratulate members who promote the biggest expansion of Medicare since LBJ created the entitlement program in the 1960s.

Robust Interreligious Dialogue
At one point in his pacification of Sind, Sir Charles confronted the long-entrenched and religiously warranted practice of “suttee,” according to which a widow was thrown onto the funeral pyre of her dead husband. Napier invited the local leaders to a meeting and said, “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom. When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we shall follow ours.”

Suttee, as you might imagine, quickly disappeared from the areas under Sir Charles Napier’s command, as it eventually did throughout the subcontinent. Was Napier’s abolition of suttee an act of cultural aggression or religious intolerance? Is anyone prepared to argue that thriving modern India, the world’s largest democracy, would have been better off if Napier had taken the position of today’s multiculturalists, that, while there may be your truth and my truth, there’s no such thing as the truth — so who am I to impose my values on you?
This reminded me of a story a friend told me in college. He was a fellow conservative and we lived on the same floor freshman year as a very liberal girl. (Names not included to protect the clueless.) We'd had a few debates in the past among the three of us as to cultural relativism and she always came down on the side of "It's their culture, and who are we to impose our values on them?" So, one day, I got back to the dorm and he came running up to me, "Paul, you would ahve loved it. She [the liberal girl] was complaining about female genital mutilation, and how awful it was. I pointed out to her that it was their culture and who we were we to impose our values on them. Her reaction was great!"

Oftentimes, the refusal to impose values is really just a disagreement with the values being imposed, as I noted in my last post.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Who Isn't A 'Values Voter'?
An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.

This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.
I think column kind of rambled, like he wasn't sure where to go with it, but I think George Will makes a valid point here. Where I would have taken it would have been towards the claim that "You can't legislate morality." You don't hear it as much as you used to, and I hope that's becaue people have realized that it's patently false: all legislation is legslating morality.

Anytime you make a judgement about what the right thing to do is, you're making a value judgement, deciding what is moral. When you do it through legislation, you're legislating morality. When you vote to go to war, you're saying that war is morally just. When you vote to cut taxes, you're saying it's more moral to let people keep theiur money than for the government to take it. When you spend money on a welfare program, you're saying it's moral to help the poor. When you vote against any of those proposals, you're stating your disagreement with those proposals, even if it's limited to a specific disagreement about the means or methods without disagreeing with the broader principle.

The phrase "values voters" should be retired in favor of something like "traditional values voters." All people have values; the disagreement is about which values to enact through the political process.

USCCB - NAB - Acts 15
After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, "My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe."
Today's Mass reading is verses 7-21 of the above chapter. Verse 7 is quoted above and is uttered during the debate over whether or not Gentiles should be bound by the Mosaic Law. Deciding that Jesus died for all, the Gentiles did not need to be bound by the Law that prepared the way for him.

This also is one of the Scriptual foundations for Papal primacy. Most people associate preaching to the Gentiles with Paul, because he did so much of it, but we see here that it is through Peter's mouth that the Gentiles would hear the Word. So, even when Paul's preaching, this verse tells us he's doing it in union with Peter's mission. (After all, Paul was in the room when Peter said this and didn't disagree, so it's clear Paul understood this to be the case.) So the Christian mission is to be carried out through Peter, or his successor who are now called Popes.

CNN.com - Japan offers free rocket shots - May 18, 2006
Actually, it's not rocket shots. It's shots of Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor. DAMN!

Enter Judas, Stage Left
Let me give you a small sample of the competing Old and New Testament stories that the early Church had to evaluate. There was the so-called Apocrypha: The First Book of Adam and Eve, The Second Book of Adam and Eve, the Book of the Secrets of Enoch, Testament of Reuben, Testament of Zebulon, the Gospel of St. Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, Biblical Antiquities of Philo. That’s just for starters.The early Church also had to deal with the Gnostic Gospels — the Gospel of Judas is one of these — that preached a co-equal God the Mother and God the Father, a role for Mary Magdalene far superior to that found elsewhere in the Gospels, the belief that the Resurrection should be viewed in strictly symbolic terms, and that the path to God was through self-knowledge rather than loyalty to Church authority.Some of these narratives were rejected by the early Church because they offered interpretations of Christ’s teachings that clashed with those found in a wide variety of other sources. Some were simply not verifiable enough for the Church to accept them as valid, even though they proposed nothing unsound in doctrinal terms. The point is that the early Church did not “cover up” these Gnostic understandings of Jesus’ life and teachings found in the Gospel of Judas; it did not “cover up” Dan Brown’s notions of a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The early Church rejected them because they found them to be eccentric, novelties, unfounded. They remain eccentric, novelties and unfounded.

Quote of the Day
"All this concern with privacy would be touching if it weren't so selective. With a few keystrokes, Google will display anything posted by or about you. A few more keystrokes can in all probability uncover the date of your birth, your address and telephone number and every place you have lived, along with satellite photos of the houses and how much you paid for them, any court actions you have been involved in and much, much more. It is only a little more work to obtain your full credit history and Social Security number. Or details of your shopping, traveling and Web-browsing habits. Such information is routinely gathered and sold by myriad marketing outfits. So it's OK to violate your privacy to sell you something -- but not to protect you from being blown up" -- Los Angeles Times columnist Max Boot on the NSA electronic surveillance furor

Why I'm so quiet today
"In programming, you have to learn to laugh, because sometimes if you don't laugh, you'll cry."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


"Wives, Be Subject"?
Very well, then: If Paul is not simply assuming Man is superior to Woman, what is he up to? The Church believes he is trying to teach the world about a radically different order of relationships. For Paul makes it quite clear that his view of Man and Woman is rooted, not in contemporary notions of the inferiority of Woman, but in eternal truths about the mutual, self-giving love of the Trinity and God's self-sacrificial love for His Church. As the Church believes the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are absolutely equal in divine dignity, so she believes that Man and Woman are absolutely equal in human dignity. As the Church distinguishes the Persons as God, so she distinguishes the persons in a human family. And as the Church proclaims the self-offering of Christ Crucified for His Bride, so she exhorts husbands and wives to enter into that life of mutual self-offering. In short, the Church's understanding of marriage is rooted in the life of the Trinity and in the relationship of Christ to His Church.
I was at a wedding this past Saturday and the second reading was actually this selection from Saint Paul. I was pleasantly surprised since this is so rarely done due to people not understanding it. It's not a condemnation of women; it's a beautiful image of a marriage as a domestic Church.

Event Tomorrow Night
The Conservative Caucus of Delaware
Invite you and your guests
To our May Lecture
"Immigration in America"
by Former Congressman from Texas, Steve Stockman
on Thursday, May 18th 2006
at the Holiday Inn Select.
in the Dover Room--Lobby Level
Light reception at 6:30 PM; Lecture at 7:00 PM.
The Holiday Inn is located off I-95 and Naamans Rd
(take the Naamans Rd. Exit, 11 off I-95)
Free Admission -Ample Parking
Was asked to pass this by a friend.

Telegraph | News | Most Da Vinci Code readers believe Jesus fathered a child, poll finds
Two thirds of Britons who have read Dan Brown's thriller believe that Jesus fathered a child with Mary Magdalene, a claim rejected as baseless by historians and Bible scholars.
Now, let's reword that:
Two thirds of people who have read David Hoggan's writings believe that the Holocaust never occurred, a claim rejected as baseless by historians and survivors.
Or how about:
Two thirds of people who have read the Bible believe that the world was created in exactly seven days, a claim rejected as baseless by scientists.
Would you be okay with people defending those points of views. Of course you wouldn't, because they're not true. You'd mock them or try to persuade them of the error of their ways, or ignore them as hopeless, depending on your personality. But you wouldn't stand with them against those trying to correct them, because they're wrong, and clearly wrong.

So why do people defend Dan Brown's ahistorical writings? It's the same situation: baseless calims contradicted by the experts in the related fields. I can only assume there's some other motive at work, even if subconciously.

Hat tip to Open Book.

Good Quotes
"It is interesting that few argue that if your conscience instructs you to be racist or weak on social issues, it is acceptable to be so"
Cardinal Pell

"The only permissible response of a Catholic to the Church's teaching is to accept it. Not to accept is to say that you can be a good Catholic while rejecting Christ's Vicar on earth and the Magisterium that was divinely established in order that the deposit of Faith might be transmitted from generation to generation in all its purity.
...
But what kind of Catholic rejects the solemn teaching of Christ and His Church? It is one thing to fall short of Catholic teaching in our lives, to sin; and it is quite another to reject the measure of action that is proposed by the Church. Too many Catholics have set themselves up as rivals to the Magisterium. The situation is not altered because they do so by taking the word of dissenting theologians that it is all right to do this."
Notre Dames Prof. Ralph McInerny

Quote-a-palooza
"The Party System was founded on one national notion of fair play. It was the notion that folly and futility should be fairly divided between both sides." —G. K. Chesterton

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed, and are right." —H. L. Mencken

"Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone." —John Quincy Adams

"Many people have fled radical Muslim regimes to live in the U.S. Hardly anyone has fled the U.S. to live under radical Muslim regimes." —Arnold Kling

"Why do the same people who don't trust the government to spy on terrorists, lest dissenters get caught up in the web, so often also urge giving government control over our health care?" —James Taranto

"To Democrats, no policy is more important than opposition to what President Bush is for, even if it's what Democrats said they were for yesterday." —Jack Kelly

"[C]ome the November elections, the Republican Party may get exactly what it deserves from disgusted voters—namely, a swift kick in the pants. Whereas, on [the other] hand, it is necessary to ask whether the voters deserve what they'd get by giving the Republicans what they deserve." —William Murchison

"Proof that incumbent politicians are highly susceptible to corruption is the fact that the government they control is shot through with it. Yet [according to John McCain] that government should be regarded as a disinterested arbiter, untainted by politics and therefore qualified to regulate the content, quantity and timing of speech in campaigns that determine who controls the government." —George Will

CNN.com - Fear gnaws Mexicans as vote nears - May 17, 2006
As presidential elections near, many Mexicans fear the country is teetering on the edge of chaos -- a perception that could hurt the ruling National Action Party and benefit Mexico's once-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Yet another reason it's important to secure the border: to make sure that chaos doesn't spill over into our nation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Response To Mike M. & Gang
Trying to respond to the points raised in the comments linked to above.

1) Mike M.: I would not ban the DaVinci Code. We live a society that does not tend to ban ideas and legitmate conversation, so it would not be appropriate to ban it in America or most Western nations. The Catholics in the nations discussed in the article do not have the same tradition of free speech, so you're comparing apples and oranges. It's more legitimate in their culture to suppress opinion, so they're arguing for the same respect Islam in Jordan (for example) would receive. (On a similar subject: I'm not really big on boycotts either. They can sometimes help the movie by giving it more publicity.)

2) myob: (I block non-Bloggers because it was a failed attempt to block anonymous people. I don't care if you use an alias online to hide your identity. Going "anonymous" can prevent a dialogue from developing, which seems to be the point of blogging. The incident that sparked my attempt was two discussions with an "anonymous" on different issues, where I'm pretty sure it was the same person contradicting themselves, but I couldn't call them on it. So, I have no problem with people hiding their identity, I'd just like them to have a consistently identifiable one online.) Anywho...

Sounds like the Church has a gullibility problem in the laity- more a lack of proper faith formation and a misunderstanding of history. If either of those had been done correctly, there'd be far fewer people falling for it.

I’ve heard from a number of otherwise intelligent people that it really makes them think about what else is going on.

The book is based on lies and it’s starting to affect people’s fatih.
You separated these two remarks in your response, and they shouldn't be read separately. I'm not against the laity thinking. In fact, it's a responsibility of Catholics to do so. The problem is, they're drawing conclusions based on lies. Think of it this way, would anyone be happy about people "really thinking about what else is going on" after reading a book by a Holocaust denier? Of course; Holocaust denial is a lie and conclusions based on thsoe lies are equally invalid as the denial. It's the same thing: Dan Brown's claims are lies and people drawing conclusions from them are drawing false conclusions.

I have no problem keeping faith, fact, and fiction separate in my mind. I find the historical Jesus equally inspiring as the divine Christ.- I'm glad you do; the problem is we're seeing lots of people who aren't doing that. Two notes, though: 1) the historical Jesus and the divine Jesus are the same person. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. You can't separate the two.
2) The Jesus of The DaVinci Code is not the historical Jesus. That's the crux of the problem with the book. If it were just pure escapism, who would care. The problem is Dan Brown has repeatedly claimed that his book is historically accurate. (See the "FACT" page of the book and this link which contains the quote: "The only thing fictional in "The Da Vinci Code" is the characters and the action that takes place. All of the locations, the paintings, the ancient history, the secret documents, the rituals, all of this is factual.") That's been disproven many times, but people are still believing them.

Are you that insecure in your Church that you think it can be damaged by a damn movie?

If you think the Church is so frail that the movie will harm it, ask yourself what self-inflicted acts brought the Church to this weakened condition in the public mind?
I'm not concerned about the Church; it will stand until the end of time. I'm concerned about people's faith and frankly their knowledge of history.

G Rex: I'm totally fine with the idea of Jesus marrying and having kids- In theory you may have a point, but there were celibate people at the time. Also, reading the Gospels, they frequently mention members of Jesus' family, but never a wife. There is no historical evidence that Jesus was anything but celibate. You might as well argue that Goerge Washington and Alexander Hamilton were gay lovers. There's as much evidence for that.

Sorry Paul, but this looks like Khomeni’s fatwa for the Satanic Verses.- Yeah, I'm saying a book is historically wrong and a relatively small number of people are urging that a movie banned or boycotted; not at all similar to a call for an execution.

myob: This is not true - while I am not allowed to attack particulars of Humanae Vitae, I am damn well allowed to - politely - criticize the Church’s stand on immigration or the daVinci Code.- You are free to disagree with the Church's stand on the DaVinci Code, as long as you're serving the Truth.

G Rex: They didn't get rid of Prugatory. They made Limbo a "disfavored theory," or some such description. Purgatory exists.

----------------

If you're really interested in learning the truth, rather than just enjoying watching Christians squirm (for the book is anti-Christian as well as anti-Catholic), read the following sites:

Jesus Decoded
Catholic Answers
Opus Dei Responds
The Truth About DaVinci
Christianity Today
Google Search for "davinci christian response"

Not all are Catholic, but I'm not holding that against them. (Kidding...)

UPDATE (5/17/2005 9:31 AM): I was sent this additional site for DaVinci Code error reference: Probe.org
And I forgot about HowStuffWorks' article "How The Da Vinci Code Doesn't Work". It doesn't tackle the religious issues, but focuses on a number of scientific and historical errors in the book.

A Pilot's Perspective on United 93
This was sent to me by a acquaintance. However, this writer has a different perspective, he was a pilot on another plane on September 11, 2001.
Guys,

Susie and I just got back from seeing "UAL Flight 93", it was absolutely gripping, and as a former airline pilot who was flying a trip that morning on a Boeing 767 from Cincinnati to Orlando it was almost too horrific to watch...it was very disturbing!

For you pilot types, the attention to detail, the cockpit, the preflight, the crew, pilots and flight attendants boarding the aircraft and making small talk was or so real and routine...just another day in the office! Likewise the views from central flow control, NY and Boston ARTCC and the NORAD command center were very realistic. Should anyone have any doubts about our response, or lack of that morning you need to view this movie. Watching all the various controllers and their supervisors trying to get their arms around the problem and to come to grips and connect the dots is so very real.

The movie appears to almost happen in real time and you can really sense the problem that the commanders had in thinking outside the box and realizing that we were really at war. Fighters are scrambled, late, and in the wrong direction, as threats are suppose to come from over the water to the east not from over land to the west; the planes are not armed, can they ram, and who has the authority to give that command...the command is given but not relayed to the pilots. The lack of communications, or rather the disbelief and lack of coordination is stunning but easy to understand. Even the pilots of UAL Flt 93 are given a data link message that the Towers have been hit and to beware of cockpit intruders...they brush it off in disbelief, as I'm sure any pilot would have prior to that date.

The time line given at the end of the movie and the confusion over what planes were involved, and which flights were being hijacked is very revealing...we just couldn't get it together quickly enough. As pilots and crew members we had never been trained to deal with suicidal hijackers who were prepared to die, it was simply inconceivable at the time.

A key point, though not belabored, was when the supervisor (he played himself in the movie) of the FAA Central Flow Control ordered that all aircraft in US airspace land immediately, (there were over 4200 in the air), that no planes from overseas would be allowed into the country and would be turned back, and that there were to be no over flights. He realized that we were at war but didn't know with whom...it was a very bold and brave move and he was thinking way outside the box... AND it was his first day on the job as the boss! All Americans should see this movie as it may help them get a grip on the terrorist threat that we are up against vs. the radical Muslim world. I don't know if we belong in Iraq or how we should deal with Iran or North Korea or the Sudan, but I know that there is a real threat to our way of life from the radical Islamic fundamentalists. I continually hear that this is not a true reflection of the Koran or true Islamic beliefs. Well that may be true, and it might not be, but there would appear to be plenty of Muslims in the world that have an entirely different and radical interpretation of the Koran which we cannot ignore.

What was probably as disturbing as watching an airline crew, that could have been me or any of my friends, seeing their world and their life taken away, was the hijackers preparing to die, washing themselves and praying to their god as if they were doing his will. They looked like ordinary young men, and to think that they could sit next to all these people on that plane that they were going to kill, who had nothing against them or done nothing to them, was beyond words. I guess if nothing else it gives you insight into the minds of suicide bombers, which to our Western way of thought is beyond comprehension.

This movie will make you angry, very angry.

My experience on 9/11. We were just ready to close the door for our Delta 767 flight from CVG to MCO when the gate agent came on board and asked if we had heard anything about a small plane hitting the World Trade Center, we had not, so she said goodbye and closed the door. Shortly thereafter we were airborne climbing out on a beautifully clear crisp fall morning heading to Florida with not a cloud in the sky or a care in the world. I heard a bizjet ask for a reroute since he could not get to New York and I thought that was strange. Then another bizjet said "well I guess we won't be going there either" and asked for a clearance to an alternate..

At that point I asked center what was going on. There was a pause and then the controller came back in a very excited voice and said "they have hit both of the Trade Center Towers, they have hit the Pentagon, they have hit the Capitol and the White House"...well you can imagine it got really lively on the frequency. I turned to my Co-Pilot and said "I don't know what has happened, but I do know that things will never be the same", and I think I got that right!

Within seconds the controller had composed himself and said all flights on this frequency standby, and it was dead quiet. He then said all flights are to land immediately and went down the list of the planes under his control..."American 235 turn right heading 230 you're landing at Pittsburgh, Continental 456 turn left heading 180 for Cincinnati, Delta 235 (that's me) turn right to 250 and descend to 8000, you're landing at Knoxville, airport your 2 o'clock 40 miles....etc" It was the best, fastest and most efficient handling I have ever had from ATC. They had everyone on the ground all over the country in minimum time. After all the initial confusion, their professionalism, and that of all the flight crews was exemplary!

We spent two days in Knoxville and then ferried an empty 757 back to Atlanta and I believe were one of the first flights to land back at our main hub. Our arrival at ATL was one of the most moving experiences of my flying career. The airspace was totally empty, there was no talk on the radio, and we were the only plane in the sky over ATL, the busiest airport in the U.S., but we did have, unknown to us until informed by the controller, an F-16 right on our tail, but we never saw him. When we taxied in the normally frantic ramp area was dead quiet, all the ground equipment, tugs, baggage carts, tugs, fuelers etc. were lined up in military precision and the ground crew were standing at attention and saluted...wow, I'll never forget that. They needed a sign that things were getting back to normal...that we were moving and flying again.

Reflections. As you may know I was on a United Flight several weeks ago from Chicago to Sacramento that had a passenger who tried to open the front cabin door, allegedly claimed to have a bomb, and took a swing at the flight attendant. We'll yours truly was sound asleep in the last row of coach and missed all the action, but suffice it to say that before he got very far he was rapidly subdued by the first class section and we diverted to Denver.

Unlike Flight 93 he couldn't have gotten into the cockpit as the cockpit door is now armored and no passenger is going to sit still and let anyone interfere with the flight. I always felt that with the improved cockpit door that I would be totally safe, and that all my passengers in the cabin would act as Sky Marshals...I was and they did...they remembered 9/11, lets hope that we never forget!

I would also like to mention that all the crew members on my United flight as well as all the ground rescue folks in Denver and the United station personnel did an absolutely marvelous job in handling this incident. It made me proud to have once been a part of this profession.

John

Jobs are flocking to low-tax states for a reason
In 2005, per capita personal income grew 31% faster in the 15 most economically free states than it did in the 15 states at the bottom of the list. And employment growth was a staggering 216% higher in the most free states.
...
In 2005, the 15 states with the most economic freedom saw their general fund tax revenues grow at a rate more than 6% higher than the 15 least free states, despite their lower effective tax rate. Instead of blowing a hole in state budgets, lower tax rates rewarded productivity and risk-taking and allowed the economy to grow.
As our state legislators discuss whether or not to provide a tax cut as state revenue forecast continue to grow, they would do well to consider the paragraphs above. More jobs, more income, more tax revenue (which we can use to cut taxes again!). Seems like a win-win.

I'm sure the liberals down there will mess it up.

Good cartoon


Other Chuck Asay cartoons

Monday, May 15, 2006


Delaware Conservative Blogger Alliance News
Visit the site above to see the latest updates on each of our sites.

Ain't the Internet cool?

Bush's migration shock troops rattle Mexico - World - smh.com.au
First point: the headline shows that media bias isn't a problem only in America.

Second point: one thing we have in common with Israel, we're the only two nations that would get criticized for attempting to secure their borders.
Mexico's Vicente Fox called Mr Bush on Sunday to voice his concerns over the prospect of "militarisation of the border"...
If he doesn't want our border militarized, maybe he should stop encrouaging his people to illegally enter our country. We're not the aggressors here, and yet just like Israel, we get criticized for attempting to maintain border security.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Pair of Howard homers tie, win game for Phils' 13th victory in 14 games
How about that Ryan Howard? Doesn't enter the game until the 8th inning and he ties it with a homer in that pinch-hit at bat, and then wins it with a homer in the 12th. I know Thome was a great guy and is having a great season, but I'll still take Roward and Howard over him.

Quote of the Day - Mother's Day Edition
“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul….The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.” - Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty (1892—1975)






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