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Saturday, June 10, 2006

delawareonline ¦ The News Journal ¦ Our Readers' Views
Yesterday in the News-Journal there were three letters to the editor dealing with "same-sex marriage." (There were two more today, but they're largely the same content wise as yesterday's. I started this yesterday but wasn't able to finish it.) The first one argued the the proposed amendment to the Constitution (defeated the other day) "defines marriage in a narrow-minded and un-American manner."

There's an old saying: "Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out." The first recourse of liberals is to declare conservatives narrow-minded, bigoted, racists, etc. It's cliched, offensive, puerile and wrong. Not worth dealing with. Also note that the writer declares all of American history to be "un-American" since this new notion of marriage between members of the same sex is brand-new compared to the span of our national history.

The writer goes on to say: "The institution of marriage is neither created by nor restricted to fundamentalist Christian churches, and marriage's definition should not be a slave to such churches." This may surprise some of you, but I actually agree with this to a point. Marriage was "neither created by nor restricted to fundamentalist Christian churches," that's certainly true. The institution of marriage predates history. For as long as we have records, marriage has been Between a man and a woman. (Many cultures have had polygomous periods, but even there they were male-female relationships.) So, rather than "fundamentalist Christian churches" seeking to impose their will, isn't really the other way around? Who's proposing the change? Who's thoughtlessly ignoring millenia of practice and tradition? (By the way, it's not just Christians, ask Muslims or practicint Jews what they think of "same-sex marriage." Heck, ask any non-Western society from any point in the world's history.) Marriage predates any of our cultures, churches, etc. It's not ours to change.

The next letter begins "I cannot fathom why people are violently opposed to letting two people in love commit their lives to one another. I understand that people interpret verses in the Bible as admonitions against homosexuality, but there are plenty of other verses that seem to be conveniently ignored, such as what foods to eat." This is one of my pet peeves: people who attempt this argument are merely showing their ignorance of the Bible while thinking they've made a brilliant point. (Read Acts Chapter 11 to see when dietary prohibitions were removed from Christians.)

The next paragraph states: "But more important, I recall verses where Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself." And part of loving our neighbor is correcting them when they are sinning or doing something unhealthy. As even the letter writer notes, the Bible does condemn homosexual relations (unequivocally, I might add). Loving someone does not mean letting them do whatever they want; does a parent let their child eat only ice cream for dinner every night? No, that would be a bad parent. They make sure their children eat properly so they can grow strong and healthy. So it is with spiritual and moral life.

"One reader says, "We are fighting to preserve our sacred and traditional view of marriage from those who would besmirch and trivialize it." If this is true, then why not petition against casino wedding chapels, where people marry on a whim only to divorce when the euphoria wears off?" Because this is where the battle line is. A similar question would be "Why didn't the Allies invade Berlin in 1942?" Because the battle line was in Africa. Plus, would anyone ever say, This guy's bleeding from an open wound. let's break his leg and weaken him further since he's already hurt." That's what this argument is saying: "Marriage is already hurting, why not hurt it some more?"

"Marriage is supposed to be the union of two people who love each other and want to commit their lives to one another. Two people of the same sex are just as capable of that." Marriage is supposed to be an environment for raising children. And, in large part, that's what this argument is about: who will raise our children? Putting aside religious arguments for now, shouldn't evolution dictate that the best environment for children to grow up in is with a male-female couple as parents? After all, for millenia, they've been growing up in such an environment? Wouldn't natural selection favor those who can best adapt to such an environment? Wouldn't those children alive now be "expecting" such an environment? Wouldn't that implicitly declare any other environment sub-optimal and or even harmful? You wouldn't transplant a polar bear to a tropical island, unless you work for the Hanso Foundation.

"This country is full of immorality, but it has nothing to do with homosexuality, and everything to do with the vehemence with which people hate one another." There's plenty of immorality; that's certainly true. And I'll be the first to admit I'm part of it. The homosexual orientation is not wrong in and of itself; it's how a person acts on it that can be wrong. As stated above, correcting someone's improper actions is a sign of love; hatred would be letting them continue down a harmful path.

The final letter reads:
My partner and I have been together for 30 years in a committed gay relationship. All of our friends have been in relationships of at least 15 years; our closest friends have been together for 32 years. I question the rationale that says gay people are promiscuous, sexual addicts who hop from one bed to the next and are a threat to the sanctity of marriage.

From what I've seen, much of the bed hopping has been by married legislators, preachers and 50 percent of married couples who divorce. I've seen a couple whose marriage lasted 55 hours. I've seen a legislator who blamed his affair on a youthful indiscretion at age 43. I've seen preachers get on television, sobbing for forgiveness, only to get caught again. How about the 25-year-old married school teacher in Florida who had an affair with a 14-year-old student and was given probation. How about the other infamous teacher who had her affair with her 13-year-old student, ended up leaving her family and is now married to him?

How is it that gay couples who want to legalize their relationships are denied that right, yet heterosexual couples are allowed drive-through window weddings. If anyone is destroying marriage and the family, it certainly isn't the gay population because in most instances we are not entitled to marriage or a family.
And my big brother can beat up your little sister. This letter writer is guilty of comparing the best homosexual relationships with the worst heterosexual relationships. I'm not aware of anyone holding up Britney Spears' first marriage as a good thing. (Or her second one, for that matter.) The rest of his argument was dealt with above.

The following points should be cleared up:
1) It's argued that homosexual relationships aren't being given proper recognition by government for purposes of hospital visitation, for example. This can be resolved through means short of redefining marriage. And the proposed Amendment would have allowed for states to do so. All the Amendment really did was seek to prevent a same-sex relationship from being called a marriage. All the other legal benefits (inheritance, survivor's rights, visitation, etc.) could conceivably have been undertaken through other laws, but not through the judicial system. Note the actual text of the amendment; these benefits could still be granted, but there would no legal requirement to do so. This would allow for a public discussion and debate about this and a concensus built, rather than an imposition by a few people wearing black robes, which would only increase bitterness and resentment surrounding the issue. (After all, look how well the imposition of abortion on demand has calmed people's opinions around that issue. Tempers would be a lot calmer had a compromise been reached through the political process, rather than through a heavy-handed imposition from on high.) In any event, redefining marriage to solve these problems is using an atomic bomb to kill a fly.
2) It's true. Marriage is in a sad state in American society. The solution is not to "define deviancy down," in Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous phrase; it's to try to rebuild it, give it the respect it deserves, not continue the downhill trend of people making it what they want it to be, rather than what it should be.
3) As I stated yesterday, it's not smart to rush into changes. This concept of same-sex marriage was unthinkable a decade ago. I was in college at the University of Delaware when they were proposing same-sex domestic partner benefits, and those proposing it made clear they were not pushing for marriage rights. Now all of a sudden, to hear some talk, only bigots oppose it. It's never smart to undertake a sudden, big change this quickly, especially one affecting the foundational unit of our society. A decent summary of how quickly demands are escalating in this area can be found here. (I'm not a big fan of this writer's rhetoric, but this a very illuminating point.) The first letter argues (correctly) that churches should not be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies, but we can see that push is starting in other nations. And given our Supreme Court's fondness for imposing foreign law on Americans, who's to say that won't happen some day soon?
4) Some who should know better have argued that this amendment shouldn't be pursued until after "same-sex marriage" is a reality. This is fixing the barn door after the horse is gone. If we wait on the amendment until after "same-sex marriage" is a reality, that will strengthen the position of those who support it. They'll be able to point to all the "married" couples who we'll be saying aren't married and how evil and mean we are for doing so. The longer we wait, the more momentum builds for the destruction of marriage as we know it.
5) The marriage amendment is not a waste of time when we have "more pressing issues to deal with." And many of those who make this argument agree with that, frankly. After all, what pressing matter did the Senate take up after failing to close debate on this amendment? An attempt to create a racially-based government in Hawaii that fortunately looks like it will fail. It was just a talking point they found scored well; they don't actually believe it. And if the issue of redefining marriage is so unimportant given everything else we have to deal with, can we guarantee that there won't be any lawsuits or legislative attempts to redefine it while we drop our attempts to defend marriage? I don't think so either.
6) It's also claimed that marriage has always been a states issue, rather than a federal issue. This also is not the case. See here, which lists four pieces of federal legislation against polygamy. (From what seems to be a pro-polygamy site.)

The amendment was timely, was important and should have been passed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

WeddingVows - wiki.mako.cc
This is cool is a completely geeky way.

Hat Tip: The Corner.

Jeff the Baptist: Theological Epiphanies
Wandering around wikipedia can be interesting because you learn to put names to things you already believe but developed on your own. In some ways it can be very depressing because you learn that "original" ideas you formed all by your lonesome aren't quite as original as you thought. Turns out someone else thought it first. How annoying. Especially since Solomon even beat me to the "somebody has already thought of it" line of reasoning with Ecclessiastes.
Jeff the Baptist here strikes a note that is a big part of why I am a conservative. For the sake of argument, let's say I'm the smartest person whoever lived. (Don't worry; I know I'm not.) Even if that were the case, does that mean I'm more intelligent than the collective wisdom of all the intelligence, reasoning and experiences of all the people who came before me? No, of course not. Their collective wisdom will still be larger than my abilities, and most likely larger than those of most of us combined.

It's for this reason we need to make very certain we're correct and our predecessors were wrong before we change social structures and patterns of society. Quick change can be foolish change; take your time, make sure you know what you're doing. You're not smarter than the collective wisdom of those who came before you.

St. Anthony's Italian Festival
It hit me last night that the people who live in the general area between Broom and Scott Streets and 8th and 10th must hate these two weeks of the year. This week, we have the Greek Festival sponsored by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. (Just a beautiful Church, by the way. Absolutely what a Church should look like. Some friend and I toured it last night. One of the friends goes there so he was able to fill us in on the meaning of everything. Very cool.)

Then next week, we have the Italian Festival run by Saint Anthony's Parish. (Link above.)

The almost two full weeks of visitors parking in your parking spots, walking by your home talking loudly late at night (often drunk with all the related stuff to that). I've complained about how hard it is where I live, but I only have to deal with the Italian Festival; the Greek is far enough away that it doesn't impact me at home. Both are definitely worth going to. (The Greek Festival ends tonight so if you can't do it this evening, go next year.)

Liberal Delight
With a little downtime at work today, I was checking out some local blogs and Liberal Delight seems like an enjoyable, left-of-center blog. Much more thought-out and rational than many of the other liberals in the Delaware blogosphere. Plus, he often comments on the Phightin' Phils. I'll have to check him out more often.

Schoolteacher's firing upheld
An anonymous commenter below reminded me about this article which I had meant to blog on before, but Blogger was down. (Today's four days in a row and again while I was writing this originally!)
The decision marked "precedential" by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Kent A. Jordan, dismissing the lawsuit filed by Michele Curay-Cramer against Ursuline Academy.
This is the second ruling in a row arguing that the case isn't even worth a trial.
Curay-Cramer filed suit in November 2003, charging the firing was illegal. She alleged gender discrimination, claiming men who committed similar infractions of church doctrine were not treated as harshly.

In its decision Wednesday, written by Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth on behalf of a three-judge panel, the appeals court ruled that Curay-Cramer failed to prove a man who supported abortion rights was treated more leniently at the school.

Instead, during arguments, her attorneys pointed to men who were Jewish or opposed the war in Iraq as examples. For the court to try to contrast and weigh these different violations of church doctrine would be "meddling" in matters of church orthodoxy and inappropriate, Roth wrote.
So, if I have this straight, Curay-Cramer is arguing that Catholic school shouldn't employ Jewish people?

Even if she's correct that the school hasn't fired males who disagreed with Church doctrine, that's not necessarily proof of discrimination. After all, not all doctrines are of equal value. There's a big difference between the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and the nature of Purgatory, for example.
The right to life from conception is very central doctrine in the Church, given development of Christ in the womb of his mother, among other reasons.

And further, there's a difference between disagreements with Church doctrine and in as public a forum as a newspaper advertisement. As the Catechism tells us:
2284. Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.
2285. Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."(Mt 18:6; cf. 1 Cor 8:10-13) Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.(Cf. Mt 7:15)
Opposing infallible Church doctrine is a problem; publicly opposing it as a Catholic School teacher to support it is a greater sin.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
DelaThought also had comments on this article, but I wanted to focus on other aspects of it.
Do the Kennedys or Rockefellers look any poorer from the existence of a tax first created in 1917? The real people who pay the levy are the thrifty middle class and entrepreneurs who've built up a modest nest egg or business and are hit by a 46% tax rate when they die. Americans want family businesses, ranches, farms and other assets to be passed from one generation to the next. Yet the U.S. has one of the highest death tax rates in the world.

By far the largest supporter of preserving the death tax is the life insurance lobby, which could lose billions of dollars from policies written to avoid the tax. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the insurance industry is the main funder of an anti-repeal outfit known as the Coalition for America's Priorities. A Coalition ad features a sound-alike of heiress Paris Hilton praising the Senate as "like awesome" for cutting her family's taxes. But this is the opposite of the truth. The American Family Business Institute has found that the bulk of the Hilton estate has long been sheltered from the IRS in tax- free trusts.
A few points:
1) The super-rich can afford to avoid estate taxes through planning and trusts and the like. It's the not-as-wealthy who avhe trouble. If they build a successful business that they would like to pass on to their children, they can't because all the wealth is tied up in that business, so that the only way to pay taxes on it is to sell it. A prominent example of this is the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers by the O'Malley family. When Peter O'Malley sold the team, which had been in the O'Malley family for decades, he stated that estate planning was a driving factor in selling the team to the Fox Corporation. Is that really what liberals want: a policy that drives more influence and profits to Fox and corporations like them?
2) As noted in the second paragraph above, one of the biggest sponsor of the anti-repeal forces is the insurance industry. As is so often the case, liberals are (most likely) unintentionally doing the bidding of big business which has no interest in supporting a free market and is willing to spend the money to protect their market share and profits.
3) I know the scourge of the Delaware blogosphere objects to the term, but I don't really have a problem with the phrase "death tax." After all, what is being taxed? It's not the estate, if the person were still alive, no taxes would be paid on the estate. It's only because they were foolish enough to die that they pay this tax; it's taxing them for dying, since that's the only thing that's different and triggers the tax.

Youth When the Church Was Young
The Church Fathers had a distinctive approach to youth ministry.

Now, don’t jump to conclusions. I haven’t uncovered any evidence that St. Ambrose led teens on ski trips in the nearby Alps. Nor is there anything to suggest that St. Basil sponsored junior-high dances in Pontus. (There’s not even a hint of a pizza party.) In fact, if you check all the documentary evidence from all the ancient patriarchates of the East and the West, you won’t find a single bulletin announcement for a single parish youth group.

Yet the Fathers had enormous success in youth and young-adult ministry. Many of the early martyrs were teens, as were many of the Christians who took to the desert for the solitary life. There’s ample evidence that a disproportionate number of conversions, too, came from the young and youngish age groups.

How did the Fathers do it?

They made wild promises.

They promised young people great things, like persecution, lower social status, public ridicule, severely limited employment opportunities, frequent fasting, a high risk of jail and torture, and maybe, just maybe, an early, violent death at the hands of their pagan rulers.

The Fathers looked young people in the eye and called them to live purely in the midst of a pornographic culture. They looked at some young men and women and boldly told them they had a calling to virginity. And it worked. Even the pagans noticed how well it worked.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights." —Benjamin Rush

"If our confidence in God had to depend upon our confidence in any human person, we would be on shifting sand." —Francis Schaeffer

"He who is unaware of his ignorance will be only misled by his knowledge." —Richard Whately

"Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right." —Lawrence Auster

"A government can be compared to our lungs. Our lungs are best when we don't realize they are helping us breathe. It is when we are constantly aware of our lungs that we know they have come down with an illness." —Lao-Tzu

David Letterman: "Top Surprises In Al Gore's Global Warming Movie": The role of Al Gore was played by Bruce Willis; During summer months, Al and Tipper host nude barbecues; Hilarious outtake of Al Gore saying, "Wobal Glarming"; It's a musical; Claims global warming melted Kenny Rogers' face; Blames the crisis on a creepy Albino; The scientist who supports all his claims is Al Gore in a mustache; Best solution is to contribute heavily to Gore-In-2008.com; It felt longer than the Florida recount.

Words of Encouragement
The Spirit Guides Us!

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church is simply that he is there. Many people have the notion that the Church's claim to infallibility is some arrogant swagger of superiority. But suppose you met someone who said, "I'm kinda dumb and not very good at remembering things. And I'm prone to wander when I should be working and paying attention.So I've been given a guardian who makes sure that I don't lose what I was entrusted with, since if I do, no one else will have a chance to enjoy the gift I was given." You wouldn't instantly come away with the impression that such a person was arrogant. At best, you might think them a little dim and their guardian a saint of patience and perseverance. Well, that dim bulb is called the Church and her long-suffering guardian who protects the gift of the gospel is the Holy Spirit. He sticks with us and reminds us of the treasure of the faith so that we never misplace it. That's all infallibility means. Today, thank God the Spirit for his eternal vigilance on our behalf.
This is a good, brief summary of the basis of the doctrine of the Church's Infallibility. It's not that the Church is so wise and perfect. History shows us that's not the case. The Church is infallible on matters of faith and morals because God wills it to be so and enacts it through the work of the Holy Spirit. As John relates, Christ promised it to the Church, and we know He keeps His promises.

Babalu Blog: June 6, 1944 (Updated)
Wanted to post this yesterday afternoon, but Blogger was on the fritz. Again.

This is a cool image of the letter Eisebhower sent to the troops involved in the D-Day operation. The use of the word Crusade and the request for the blessing of Almighty God would get the ACLU's panties in a bunch nowadays. I love it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Now Completed Reading
I finished Impostor By Bruce Bartlett some time last week, and haven't gotten around to blogging on it yet. Subtitled "How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan legacy," It's a scathing attack on Bush's performance on a variety of economic issues. (Bartlett is an economist, so he focuses on what he knows. He also faults him briefly on many other issues, but the thrust of the book is economic policy.)

Some of the criticisms of Bush are matters of style, but valid ones. Repeating the frequently made criticism of the Bush White House as insular, Bartlett faults Bush for failing to listen to his economic advisers and developing economic and tax policy through the political offices of the White House. This wouldn't bother me so much if I thought his political advisors understood economics. Instead, they seem to have a fundamentally liberal view of economic policy; handing out tax cuts and other economic incentives to interest groups rather than focusing on broad-based tax cuts that truly spur economic growth.

He rightfully rakes Bush over the coals for his Medicare prescription plan as a politically conceived proposal that not only may bankrupt the government, but also didn't deliver the promised political benefits, criticizes him as the most protectionist President since Hoover, blasts him for his spending that would shame a drunken sailor and disfavorably compares him to Richard Nixon. He also shows how Bush's economic and tax policies will inevitably lead to a large increase in taxes in the future. He closes with an argument for a Value Added Tax as a low-impact means of balancing our budget without too negatively impacting the economy.

As I've argued before, the conservative movement needs to break with Bush for its own political credibility and survival. This book is an excellent start towards that goal. The only thing I strongly disagreed with in this book was the following:
In light of Bush's big-spending way, Clinton now looks almost like another Calvin Coolidge. As a friend once noted about disco music, it seemed so bad at the time because it was being compared to the golden age of rock and roll that had come before it. But by comparison to the awful music that came afterward, disco sounds pretty good today. So too with conservatives and Clinton. Compared to Ronald Reagan, he was awful. Compared to George W. Bush, he looks a lot better.
That's just 100% wrong. Disco still sounds awful.

The following comment is mostly for members of the DCBA, following up on a conversation we had at the Flight 93 movie night. Bartlett also writes:
...neoconservatism has always been almost entirely about domestic policy and was originated principally by social scientists. A neoconservative foreign policy is a very recent development that really has nothing to with historical neoconservatism, except that [Irving] Kristol's son Bill, editor of the Weekly Standard, was one of the leading proponents of the war. Nevertheless, those who were supportive of the war with Iraq were popularly tagged as neoconservatives. ... Neoconservatives have long been controversial among traditional conservatives, with some viewing them as ersatz conservatives.
This is the point I was making that night: neoconservatives, in their formative years, were former liberals who recognized the failure of the Great Society. Instead of joining traditional conservatives in recognizing the need for smaller government, however, they sought to steer the government to promote what they viewed as conservative ends in the domestic policy realm. For this reason, many conservatives (myself included) don't consider them true conservatives. Foreign policy, to the extent it was even considered, was largely based on anti-Communism, but their primary focus was domestic policy.

With that diversion over, I'll close by strongly recommending this book for both sides of the aisle: conservatives to recognize how wrong-headed Bush's economic policy has been and for liberals to recognize that Bush's policies are far from conservative, so please stop tarring our good name with his policies.

Italian Festival
It's officially close. My neighbors started hanging the red, white and green flags all around the block on Sunday. (There's so many of them that when they're flapping in the wind, I think it's raining.) About 10 trucks just drove up my street heading to the Festival lot to set up rides.

Next week will be interesting.

Do Americans still understand the meaning of honor?
Good article on a lost virtue.

The point was better made by a very wise man:
We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.

D-Day Photo Essay
Hat Tip: The Corner.

Sixty-two years ago today, a lage number of teenagers and men in their early 20s, with their whole lives ahead them put everything on the line to defend free nations around the world. A frontal assault on Hitler's "Fortress Europe" that many of these young men knew they would not survive was necessary in order to defeat one of the most evil regimes this world has ever seen, so they pledged their lives to defend our freedom.

Take some time today to think about the meaning of that sacrifice and if we've lived up to their devotion to God and country and ask what we can do in our lives to make the world a better place as they did in theirs.

What Would the Founders Do?
Just got around to checking out this site: FounderBlogs.com. It’s a neat idea; to promote his book What Would the Founders Do?, Richard Brookhiser is writing a series of blogs as he thinks the Founding Fathers would have written them.

I got back home about an hour ago from the Constitution Center where Brookhiser speaking about his book. (I went to see him last week with Anna Venger and Anonymous Opinion. AO’s review of that night is here. Mine is here.) I had already reserved a seat at the Constitution Center event, so I went to see him again. I actually enjoyed his presentation more tonight than I did last week. It was done in an interview style rather than just a talk so we covered a bit wider range of topics, including why there’s a resurgence of interest in the Founders.

Two interesting questions this time: the first question was from someone who was clearly a militant atheist as he asked if discoveries like evolution and the Big Bang would have made many of the Founding Fathers atheists, given their Deist tendencies. Brookhiser (correctly) answered no, because it’s very easy for a theist to say that those are merely how God chose to handle things. Also, the questioner over looked the fact the gentics was founded by Gregor Mendel, a Catholic monk. Likewise, the developer of the Big Bang theory, Monsignor Georges LeMaitre, was a Catholic priest. Attempting to use those theories to undermine belief in God ultimately tells you more about the person arguing that position than it does science.

Also, the most amusing moment of the evening came when a questioner, who was obviously a member of the Constitution Party (formerly the US Taxpayers Party), tried to get Brookhiser to acknowledge that the Founders would be members of either that party or possibly the Libertarian party. Brookhiser denied that was the case since they "would want to win."

I finished the book just prior to the event beginning. I learned a lot from it; I hadn’t realized how many of the FFs supported a larger government than we were given. There were a lot of surprising conclusions among the Founding Fathers, that give a lot to think about as we try to figure out how to deal with our current crises. I definitely recommend this book.
I attempted to post this last night, but between starting to write and completing it, Blogger went down. To make matters more annoying, their auto-save lost a good deal of it as well. I'm getting tired of this....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quote-a-palooza - Reagan's Death Day Edition
"The family is the basic unit of our society, the heart of our free democracy... It is a time to recommit ourselves to the concept of the family—a concept that must withstand the trends of lifestyle and legislation. Let us pledge that our institutions and policies will be shaped to enhance an environment in which families can strengthen their ties and best exercise their beliefs, authority, and resourcefulness. And let us make our pledge mindful that we do so not only on behalf of individual family members, but for America." —Ronald Reagan

"Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over thirty-five or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special." —Ronald Reagan

"Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young that day and you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force of liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer... You all knew that some things are worth dying for." —Ronald Reagan, 6 June 6 1984, Pointe Du Hoc, France

"And I hope that someday your children and grandchildren will tell of the time that a certain president came to town at the end of a long journey and asked their parents and grandparents to join him in setting America on the course to the new millennium—and that a century of peace, prosperity, opportunity, and hope followed. So, if I could ask you just one last time: Tomorrow, when mountains greet the dawn, would you go out there and win one for the Gipper?" —Ronald Reagan

"'The Great Communicator' was effective because what he communicated was self-evident to all but our decayed elites: 'We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around,' he said in his Inaugural address. And at the end of a grim, grey decade—Vietnam, Watergate, energy crises, Iranian hostages—Americans decided they wanted a president who looked like the nation, not like its failed government. Thanks to his clarity, around the world, governments that had nations have been replaced by nations that have governments." —Mark Steyn

"Ronald Reagan was the political antidote to this shrunken view of America. He reminded us that we stood for something great, that we were made of sterner stuff than the nay-sayers implied. He not only made the right arguments and proposed sound policies, but his very person, his character, was such as to make it entirely believable. This was an entirely American man... Ronald Reagan helped Americans regain their footing. He reminded his fellow citizens what we once were and what we may yet become. He knew that we needed to hear once again the language of our ancient faith, the drumbeat of the American Revolution, the nature of limited constitutional government. He reminded us what held us together, what made us citizens of the shining city on the hill. He helped us reconstruct our ancient faith on solid ground. He was utterly confident that the character of the people was yet sound, and he always appealed to the better angels of our nature." —Peter Schramm

"A great man's reach invariably extends beyond the battles he won or the buildings he raised, and can only be fully measured by the hearts he touched and the dreams he inspired. By that measure Ronald Reagan...still lives—in countless millions of us. At the pedestrian level of American politics, it is hard to find an active Republican today who does not carry in his or her mind a bit of secondhand Reagan magic. Thousands of leading conservative journalists, politicians, even academics, are in the business because of Mr. Reagan, or are better, more principled, more optimistic and more effective because Ronald Reagan lived and filled a vast political and human void... It is the magic of great men that, what is considered normal (even prosaic) after them, was considered implausible or impossible before they did it. Whether it was defeating tyranny, cutting taxes or honoring religious faith, Ronald Reagan opened the door for conservative governance and has made all that might yet be, possible." —The Washington Times

[F]or most of his adult life, when public opinion was running hard in one direction, [Ronald Reagan] was pulling hard in the other, swimming against the tide. He paid the price in many ways, was called wild and radical by the leaders even of his own party. But he didn't complain, and he tugged and tugged as if with a rope in his teeth until, at the end, the country had come along with him and reached the same safe shore. And when it was over he stood up, smiled, and refused to hate his foes. That refusal—that was heroic." —Peggy Noonan

"I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here... And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home. We've done our part. And as I walk into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time, we made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad. Not bad at all. And so, good-bye. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America." —Ronald Reagan

delawareonline | The News Journal | Happy Harry's, Walgreen Co. announce merger
Happy Harry's, a Delaware-based regional drugstore chain, has agreed to a merger with Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore company, the companies announced today.
"My father would be proud of the accomplishments we've made and very pleased with today's announcement," said [Happy Harry's chairman and CEO Alan] Levin, who will continue working with Walgreens.
Frank Grilli, Walgreens vice president of store operations, said the company plans for the time being to keep the name and look of the Happy Harry's stores, with the exception of eight stores in Pennsylvania, which will switch to the Walgreens name because of its stronger branding there.
This is sad. Another local Delaware corporation bites the dust.

I obviously didn't know the founder, but I kind of wonder if he would have been happy about this sale. Delawareans tend to have pride in their local companies and I think he would have liked the chain to remain independent. I know I would have.

Adam Smith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Happy Birthday Adam Smith!!

While his economic theory is far from complete and error-free, he was still a great leap forward in showing the advantages of the free economy over government planning. Huzzah!

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library
Today is the 2nd anniversary of the death of ROnald Reagan, 40th President of the United States and architect of the defeat of Communism.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Quote of the Day
"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform dignified, and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting; correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private charter gave effulgence to his public virtues;. Such was the man for whom our nation morns"

-- John Marshall (official eulogy of George Washington, delivered by Richard Henry Lee, 26 December 1799)

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