Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Health Info.

I know, kind of an atypical post for the Forum but I found this article about the benefits of fish oil with omega-3 very informative, just ignore the hackneyed liberal side commentary. I've been taking fish oil with Omega-3 for some time now in the form of soft gel capsules, (it tastes awful in liquid form) one with every meal.

Certainly, you've read headlines trumpeting the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to boost brain function and protect against coronary heart disease. Hedging your bets, you may already have tweaked your diet, substituting beef or poultry for salmon or some other oily fish a few times a week. But, as a jaded observer of food trends, you may have wondered whether the new "heart-healthy" fats touted on the packaging of eggs, margarine, spaghetti, and frozen waffles are just a marketing ploy — the latest in a long line of miracle nutrients that, a few months or years hence, will prove to be nothing more than hype.

Lose the skepticism. This isn't the next oat bran.

In 1970, intrigued by reports that Eskimos rarely die from heart disease, two Danish scientists flew to Greenland and charmed blood samples from 130 volunteers. Hans Olaf Bang and Jørn Dyerberg discovered that the Inuit people still got most of their calories from fish, seal, and whale meat. Despite their high cholesterol intake, the Inuit had a death rate from coronary disease that was one-tenth that of the Danes, enthusiastic pork eaters who have been known to butter even their cheese. And diabetes was almost non-existent among the Inuit.

Bang and Dyerberg found strikingly high levels of omega-3s and relatively low amounts of omega-6s in the Inuit blood samples. In 1978, they published a groundbreaking paper in The Lancet, establishing the link between omega-3 consumption and lower rates of coronary heart disease. It initiated a paradigm shift among nutritionists, one that is only now truly influencing official dietary policy around the world.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Words of Wisdom

"To produce the same result for different people, it is necessary to treat them differently. To give different people the same objective opportunities is not to give them the same subjective chance." - F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

Jindal on Stimulus

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a rising star in the Republican Party, offers his thoughts on the recently signed economic stimulus plan. Well worth watching. NBC's David Gregory repeatedly tries to stump him, to no avail.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A New Saint

The Rev. Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest famous for his indefatigable ministry to lepers, will be canonized on October 11 by Pope Benedict XVI. From the AP:

VATICAN CITY – A 19th-century Belgian priest who ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii will be declared a saint Oct. 11 at a Vatican ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Rev. Damien de Veuster's canonization date was set Saturday during a meeting between Benedict and cardinals at the Apostolic Palace.

De Veuster will be canonized along with three other people, the Vatican said.
In July, Benedict approved a miracle attributed to the priest's intercession, declaring that a Honolulu woman's recovery in 1999 from terminal lung cancer was the miracle needed for him to be made a saint.
He was beatified — a step toward sainthood — in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

Born Joseph de Veuster in 1840, he took the name Damien and went to Hawaii in 1864 to join other missionaries of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Nine years later he began ministering to leprosy patients on the remote Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai island, where some 8,000 people had been banished amid an epidemic in Hawaii in the 1850s.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thanks, Mr. President

The more I hear from Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the more I like him. From the Associated Press:
BRUSSELS – The European Union has turned into an undemocratic and elitist project comparable to the Communist dictatorships of eastern Europe that forbade alternative thinking, Czech President Vaclav Klaus told the European Parliament on Thursday.

"Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition. We learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom."

Read the story here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Pope-Pelosi Encounter

Some thoughts to consider: On the one hand, as third in line to the presidency, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was duly recognized by the Vatican as a head of state, of sorts. And yet, the kibosh was put on any elaborate public ceremony or even a photo-op, which Pelosi could have manipulated as "pope and Pelosi, best of friends" type propaganda. The pope was not about to let images of himself and Pelosi, one of America's most "ardent" Catholic defenders of abortion rights, be circulated on the web as strained evidence that disagreement over such an important matter as abortion is of no real consequence after all. Clearly the pope was well abreast of Pelosi's shenanigans and rants over the past few months, not to mention her across the board anti-life voting record that stretches back years. The meeting then was of a personal and pastoral nature before it was a political one. Benedict XVI, as Holy Father, showed genuine love for a misguided daughter of the Church.

Pelosi should consider herself richly blessed that she had a private opportunity to be guided (corrected) by a spiritual and intellectual giant. Her strange statement after the audience though was disappointing, if not all that surprising, as she awkwardly elided the one issue that everyone knows was the focal point of the meeting and instead talked about the Middle East and of course, global warming. What does this omission say about her powers of assessment and capacity for honesty? Hopefully, the American bishops will draw strength from the pope's firm pastoral hand in their own inevitable dealings with Pelosi et al.

Pelosi's Problem

The Vatican issued this statement after Pope Benedict XVI met briefly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a self-described "ardent Catholic" who supports abortion, gay "rights," and lots of other stuff that's verboten by Church teaching.
"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoins all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Speaker Pelosi is arguably, along with Vice President Joe Biden, the nation's most conspicuous Catholic disputant in government. Only a few weeks ago, she asserted that contraception should be made more widely available in order salvage the tanking economy. Less children = Less costs. Her faulty grasp on economics was also on full display, as more people = greater productivity and an increase in capital. But that's another story.

Just how will Pelosi spin this privileged encounter so as to most efficaciously bury the glaring inconsistency of her professed Catholicism and her committed support for the "right" to terminate the lives of unborn children?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


An odd decision today from Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor (and that's putting it lightly). You'd think the cardinal would find other things to say "no" to in the UK, rather than the honor of a visit from one of the pope's most trusted prelates. Again, just odd...

From the Telegraph
As I reported last night, the Latin Mass Society has been forced by the Cardinal to rescind its invitation to Archbishop Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and one of Benedict XVI's right-hand men, to celebrate its annual Mass.

A spokesman has just told me: "In accordance with Canon 838, it is the Cardinal who lays down in the church entrusted to his care the liturgical regulations which are binding on all." Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was keen to have one of his own auxiliaries say the Mass, and Bishop John Arnold will now do so, he added. Archbishop Burke "is welcome to attend", but "it wasn't really the position of the Latin Mass Society to invite him in the first place".

My contacts in the Society are horrified by what they regard as a insult to Archbishop Burke, a former Archbishop of St Louis who is expected to be made a cardinal soon. They say they had no idea that the Cardinal's permission for the Archbishop to celebrate would be anything other than a formality.

Even if the LMS slipped up, the decision to force them to disinvite Archbishop Burke is extraordinary. "It seems like a declaration of war - an incredibly petty piece of point-scoring," says my source.

By refusing Archbishop Burke permission to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass for the LMS annual event, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is giving the impression that the Catholic Church is not truly universal, but rather a patchwork of local fiefdoms with their own liturgical preferences.

Ask yourself: what damage would have been done by alowing +Raymond to celebrate in Westminster Cathedral? None at all. On the contrary: forging links between the cathedral and such a dynamic prelate, close to the Holy Father, would emphasise the loyalty of the English Church to Rome. As it is, that Church now looks small-minded and vindictive.

One interesting point: Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor should not assume that his decision will be welcomed by priests, staff and worshippers at Westminster Cathedral, who are considerably better disposed to the traditional Mass than he is. The Archbishop of Westminster now has a PR problem on his hands.

Well, who is to blame for that?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Our Lady of the Angels, Chicago

Some shots of a beautiful church run by Opus Dei in Chicago. Plans were underway to demolish it years back but the Work stepped in and saved/refurbished it.

Lincoln and History

It is at once surprising and to be expected that so many accepted exaggerations exist about Abraham Lincoln. It is surprising because these exaggerations are indeed so incredibly detached from history and proper constitutional exegesis. It is to be expected because, as the saying goes, "to the victor belong the spoils." The north won the war, so Lincoln's one-sided interpretation of events, penned by his fawning devotes, is expected to trump all other interpretations. The South, with its distinct culture (some might add to that the original vision of the nation from the perspective of the Founders) wasn't just beaten, it was squashed, snuffed out. Here are some questions I've stringed together, quite basic ones actually, that might help put the subject in a better light. I have also, very briefly and without doing proper justice to the issue, proposed some answers, reflections and further questions.

1. Was the Civil War solely about slavery?

As I understand it, the Civil War very clearly did not originally have anything to do with a desire on the part of the north to end slavery. Economic concerns were the paramount objective in terms of the north's desire to maintain political cohesion with the south. Culturally, politically and economically the two regions were growing more apart. The south viewed the north as power hungry, arrogant, ambitious and avaricious in its attempt to exploit and direct the southern economy and way of life. As self-described "black and proud" economist Walter Williams put it:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, books about Lincoln, and the lessons taught in schools and colleges – the War between the States was not fought to end slavery; Even if it were, a natural question arises: Why was a costly war fought to end it? African slavery existed in many parts of the Western world, but it did not take warfare to end it. Dozens of countries, including the territorial possessions of the British, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, ended slavery peacefully during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Countries such as Venezuela and Colombia experienced conflict because slave emancipation was simply a ruse for revolutionaries who were seeking state power and were not motivated by emancipation per se.

2. Did Lincoln really care about "emancipating" the slaves?

As historical documentation demonstrates, Lincoln didn't care a wit about the abject racism festering in the south, or in the north for that matter. Originally, he went so far as to reassure the south that he had no intention of interfering with the south's lamentable and stubborn reliance on slavery. Only when he realized that emancipation could be wielded as a potent moral sword to achieve his end, that of lassoing the south back in the union, did he become outspoken on the issue from a moral standpoint. Lincoln saw it as the best way to rally sullen northern spirits. Historians favorable to Lincoln paint his transformation as a gradual realization, a spiritual awakening so to speak, to the just cause of erasing slavery but I'm not so convinced. After all, Lincoln himself doubted that the two races could ever coexist peacefully and, incredibly, even suggested sending African Americans back to Africa as the most efficacious way to deal with the sticky issue...hardly a courageous way to address such a serious problem. His main goal was to win the war, not so much to end slavery. If emancipation could be used to help with his goal, so be it. If not...

Again, to quote Williams:
Abraham Lincoln’s direct statements indicated his support for slavery; He defended slave owners’ right to own their property, saying that "when they remind us of their constitutional rights [to own slaves], I acknowledge them, not grudgingly but fully and fairly; and I would give them any legislation for the claiming of their fugitives" (in indicating support for the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850).

3. According to the framers of the Constitution, did individual states retain any right to secede from the union after having joined it?

I can't find anything in the writings of the founders that supports the notion that the union must, at all costs, be perpetual. This is simply a fact. I have read that Madison himself, the "Father of the Constitution" (which Lincoln so egregiously disregarded over and over again) predicted that the union would amicably break apart according to regional loyalties at about the very time the Civil War commenced. How's that for prescience? (I'll have to do some research to find the exact quote though.) The point is that it is pure myth to suggest that the Founders uniformly intended that the union be eternal. Some, like Hamilton, and his great admirer John Marshall and probably even Washington, might have preferred that the union stay linked together. "If you break this union, it will break my heart." So said the hyperactive romantic Alexander Hamilton. But this is hardly a legally binding statement, he is merely expressing his desire. An expression of preference is not necessarily a statement of law. Williams once again offers his insights in an analysis of Thomas DiLorenzo's book, The Real Lincoln:
DiLorenzo marshals numerous proofs that from the very founding of our nation the right of secession was seen as a natural right of the people and a last check on abuse by the central government. For example, at Virginia’s ratification convention, the delegates affirmed "that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to injury or oppression." In Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address (1801), he declared, "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." Jefferson was defending the rights of free speech and of secession. Alexis de Tocqueville observed in Democracy in America, "The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; in uniting together they have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the states chooses to withdraw from the compact, it would be difficult to disapprove its right of doing so, and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims directly either by force or right."

4. How then to address the slavery issue in light of question 3?

This is the hardest question, for obvious reasons. Everyone with a working moral compass would have/should have sought to end slavery as quickly as possible. Failure to grapple with this issue at the genesis is the most conspicuous oversight of the Founders, who, as Joseph Ellis explains, were deeply frustrated with the question and by their own inability to deal with it properly and as a consequence they decided to wash their hands of the whole messy affair, leaving it to the next generation. How determined was the south to cling to slavery? Would the Confederate States have sought to dilate the nefarious institution further westward and into the Caribbean, as some suggest? (The inner workings of the Missouri Compromise, enacted some forty years earlier, comes to mind.) One of my former professors, probably the most ardent Southern sympathizer I know, will concede in a New York Minute that the south was dead wrong about slavery. Well, of course it was. The big question then is: What could have done by those opposed to slavery in the pre bellum era that might have both ended slavery definitively and prevented the total war that was soon to descend upon the nation? This is a question for which I lack a clear-cut answer. That said, historical honesty is the first step when trying to seriously analyze a painful part of our nation's history. When studying the question of the Civil War however, I'd rather reside in an occasionally unpleasant reality than a Pollyannaish fantasy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Appreciating Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor's writing desk

A smattering of traditional Catholics, myself included, have at times strained to synthesize the Catholic faith with their roots in America. It is true that the US has imbibed strong Protestant leanings that often strike the Catholic as somewhat foreign and odd. Surely, Protestants have used the same adjectives to describe the ineffable mysteries of Catholic ritual. So is a reconciliation of Catholic culture and Americana possible? I believe so. Through her collection of short stories like "A Temple of the Holy Ghost," Flannery O'Connor offers the Catholic American a good dose of the real Catholic Church and the real United States of America. I'm grateful for her unique contribution to our culture, at once deeply Catholic and American.
A timely piece by Edward Feser:
Wiley-Blackwell, a major academic press, was set to release its four-volume Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization this month. According to the encyclopedia’s editor, George Thomas Kurian, the set had been copy-edited, fact-checked, proofread, publisher-approved, printed, bound, and formally launched (to high praise) at the recent American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference. But protests from a small group of scholars associated with the project have led the press to postpone publication, recall all copies already distributed, and destroy the existing print run. The scholars’ complaint? The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization, they have reportedly argued, is “too Christian.” “They also object to historical references to the persecution and massacres of Christians by Muslims,” Kurian says, “but at the same time want references favorable to Islam.”

As an aside, Feser's book, The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism is a must buy.

Aping Reagan

Given the political climate of the day, it bears repeating: "Tax cuts" to lower income workers who don't pay income taxes are not tax cuts at all but mere welfare checks.

Liberalism cloaked in the argot of Reaganism...only the latest in a long line of offenses perpetrated by the dems.

False Notions of Culture

While on her soap box for her Vogue interview, this is what Michelle O. said about regaling at the White House as First Lady:

"We want entertaining in the White House to feel like America, that we are reminded of all the many facets of our culture. The Latino community, the Asian-American community, the African-American community... hip-hop, spoken word - we want to bring the youth in, for them to hear their voices in this."

Typical liberal group-think on display. Well then in that case, what about those Americans with Italian, German, Polish, French, Irish, Spanish, Greek, etc., heritage, who also proudly consider themselves American? In other words, non-minority Americans? Don't they get an East Room seat at the Obama dinner parties? I'm simply demonstrating the absurdity of the left's obsessive and divisive focus on race and "representation" to the exclusion of non-minorities. Conservatives would rather talk about genuine culture and the fruits thereof, i.e., things like literature, language, music (hip-hop, ghetto-thug rap and other oral atrocities not qualifying, except when discussing why they are offenses to beauty and order), religion, philosophy, etc. I venture to suggest that Michelle O., like most liberals, has no clue what real culture is but, rather narrowly, envisions it to be coterminous with and limited to race alone. This is how liberals have redefined culture, as merely something having to do with skin color.

And banal "Hip-hop" echoing through the halls of the White House? What would Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Reagan and company say about this? We need not pose the question, for we know the answer. For the duration of the Obama Administration, why don't we just rename the White House the Central Administrative Office for ACORN and the Rainbow Coalition (CAOARC)?

Heaven help us, as 2012 can't arrive quickly enough.

Assessments, already

An interesting piece from the Financial Times.
Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed? In normal times, this would be a ludicrous question. But these are not normal times. They are times of great danger. Today, the new US administration can disown responsibility for its inheritance; tomorrow, it will own it. Today, it can offer solutions; tomorrow it will have become the problem. Today, it is in control of events; tomorrow, events will take control of it. Doing too little is now far riskier than doing too much. If he fails to act decisively, the president risks being overwhelmed, like his predecessor. The costs to the US and the world of another failed presidency do not bear contemplating.

What is needed? The answer is: focus and ferocity. If Mr Obama does not fix this crisis, all he hopes from his presidency will be lost. If he does, he can reshape the agenda. Hoping for the best is foolish. He should expect the worst and act accordingly.

Of course, I reject outright the premise that the president, or congress, must "do something," i.e., massive government meddling in order to avert disaster, as they define the term, since interventionist machinations are exactly what have brought us to this point in the first place. Liberals, true to form, are peddling this crisis to rationalize every big government policy they can conjure up in their caucusing, all the while telling the rest of us that it is absolutely necessary.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Left Out of the Equation

"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being." - President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2009

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Deep Freeze Nation

Come to think of it, I wish the man-made global warming hoax had some truth to it. For reasons all too obvious, a growing number of scientists turning against them being near the top of the list, the green folks are now referring to the fabricated crisis as "man-made climate change."

Follow Dr. Roy Spencer's extremely useful website to learn more about the fallacies of the climate craze, from someone who knows a thing or two about the complexities of the climate.

The case for natural climate change I also present an analysis of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which shows that most climate change might well be the result of….the climate system itself! Because small, chaotic fluctuations in atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems can cause small changes in global average cloudiness, this is all that is necessary to cause climate change. You don’t need the sun, or any other ‘external’ influence (although these are also possible…but for now I’ll let others work on that). It is simply what the climate system does. This is actually quite easy for meteorologists to believe, since we understand how complex weather processes are. Your local TV meteorologist is probably a closet ’skeptic’ regarding mankind’s influence on climate.
-Dr. Spencer

Whenever I'm in the car and see a sign or bumper sticker brandishing the all-too familiar "Yes we can!" tripe, I can't help thinking,

"I don't want to."
From a 2006 interview with Professor Kenneth Minogue:
I regard Conservatives as people in touch with reality, and radicals as people aspiring to improve the world. In a sense, I suppose, we need both, though the dominance of improving political radicalism in Western countries these many decades seems to me to have made most things worse. Human beings, as Eliot said, can’t bear much reality, so conservatives had better resign themselves to being a kind of saving remnant. Reality seldom wins votes. So we can’t win, but winning isn’t everything. Integrity is much more important.

Even more poignant in light of Nov. 4, '08.

Not Backing Down

I've always liked former V.P. Cheney. He sees the world as it is, not as Pollyannaish "hope and change" liberals tend to. In a hard-hitting interview with Politico, he proves that he is not about to fade into the past as he issues a firm warning that our enemies are still out there, while chiding Obama's early moves as president.

“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry. ...The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes.” -Dick Cheney

Obama Meltdown

Victor Davis Hanson takes the Obama Administration and the media to task for their harmful blunders and contemptible hypocrisy, warning that a possible repeat of Carter is not unlikely. Hope springs eternal in the hearts of conservatives.

First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson—with the relish of the Blago tapes still to come. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?)....At home, Obama is becoming laughable and laying the groundwork for the greatest conservative populist reaction since the Reagan Revolution... If he doesn't quit the messianic style and perpetual campaign mode, and begin humbly governing, then he will devolve into Carterism—angry that the once-fawning press betrayed him while we the people, due to our American malaise, are to blame.

Recant Demanded

"Bishop Williamson, in order to be admitted to episcopal functions within the church, will have to take his distance, in an absolutely unequivocal and public fashion, from his position on the Shoah, which the Holy Father was not aware of when the excommunication was lifted." -Vatican statement

Today the Vatican demanded that Bishop Williamson disavow earlier remarks on the Holocaust while also making clear that the pope was unaware of Williamson's personal views at the time of the lifting of the excommunication. Will this satisfy the critics?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Pope, not a Politician

Here's a nice article by Fr. Roger J. Landry in defense of the pope.
If the Pope behaved like a politician rather than a father, he probably would not have lifted the excommunications. It was a magnanimous, courageous move fraught with risks. First, many within the Church seem prone to view the possible return of the 1.5 million members of Society with as much enthusiasm as the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son for the homecoming of his wayward sibling. Benedict, however, has the perspective of the father in the parable, which is the only truly Christian frame of reference. There will obviously be issues of reintegration, since many members of the Society have entrenched misunderstandings of what the Second Vatican Council actually teaches and why, not to mention their vehement criticisms of the post-conciliar liturgical, doctrinal and moral free-for-all that the Council never sought nor sanctioned. Benedict probably anticipated that for that reason some would falsely conclude that this move toward reconciliation was a move away from the Second Vatican Council, which it clearly is not. Benedict seems hopeful, however, in the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these obstacles.

Piling on the Pope

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has chimed in, calling on the pope to make a more forceful renunciation of Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denials. Many high-profile Germans have spoken up in similar vein. As for the Vatican's reaction to the uproar, Cardinal Walter Kasper said the following:

"Surely, mistakes have been made in the management of the Curia, too, I want to say this explicitly."

Ok, mistakes have been made. That said, is this collective uproar against Pope Benedict XVI really necessary? Does anyone seriously doubt the pope's, and by extension the Church's, stance on the moral abomination of what was done to the Jews during WWII? Bishop Williamson's personal statement was offensive. Having been to Auschwitz, having seen the gas chambers, the ovens and the gut wrenching images of death, I have to say, it's hard to fathom that someone would dare venture to minify the extent of the well-documented Jewish pogrom. But Williamson did. He should retract the foolish, hurtful remarks and then, fade away. Goodbye.

Criticism of the pope though, is taking it one step too far. The issue of excommunication and rehabilitation pertains solely to theological matter, an internal issue of the Church. There may be room for criticism when it comes to the curia not having more thoroughly vetted the public statements of the bishop in question and Cardinal Kasper seems to concede as much. On the other hand, how does anyone operating in a civilized, rational setting, where certain things like the Holocaust are taken as a given, prepare himself for responding to such radical, unexpected and fringe statements? You'd expect this kind of anti-Semitic tripe from the likes of Ahmadinejad, not from a bishop. Williamson's pratfall clearly caught the Vatican by surprise and more overtures may have to be offered to pacify the storm.

That said, to have to read about middle-aged, sanctimonious politicos lecturing the pope, someone who actually experienced the horrors of WWII, is a bit odd. The pope doesn't need reminders about the horrors of the 1940's. Thanks anyway, Mrs. Merkel.

From the AP:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Pope Benedict XVI to make a "very clear" rejection of Holocaust denials after a former bishop was rehabilitated by the Vatican.

Her rare and public demand came amid increasing outrage among Germany's Roman Catholic leaders over the pope's decision to lift the excommunication of British-born Richard Williamson, who questioned whether 6 million Jews were gassed during the Nazi Holocaust.

Merkel said she "does not believe" there has been adequate clarification of the Vatican's position on the Holocaust amid the firestorm of controversy that broke out after Williamson's rehabilitation by the German-born pope.

Monday, February 02, 2009


A gallup poll reveals that Obama's foolhardy decision to lift the ban on funding abortions overseas is not all that popular after all.
Obama's decision to reverse the prohibition on funding for overseas family-planning providers may be the least popular thing he has done so far. This was an executive order that forbade federal government money from going to overseas family-planning groups that provide abortions or offer abortion counseling. Fifty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's decision to lift this ban, while only 35% approve of it. The ban on federal funds to these groups was put in place by Ronald Reagan, but lifted by Bill Clinton. George W. Bush re-instituted the ban after taking office in 2001, but Obama has once again lifted it.

I'm sure that I am not the only one who thinks Daschle's specs are a bit over the top...they look like they belong on a kid in a Toys "R" Us ad.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Western Strength

Roger Scruton wrote a thought provoking essay , Forgiveness and Irony: What makes the West strong.

Here Scruton echoes the observation and warning of Jean Francois Revel about western nations and their self-loathing.
What is needed is not to reject citizenship as the foundation of social order but to provide it with a heart. And in seeking that heart, we should turn away from the apologetic multiculturalism that has had such a ruinous effect on Western self-confidence and return to the gifts that we have received from our Judeo-Christian tradition.


The Russian Orthodox Church enthroned its new leader today, Patriarch Kirill, in a four-hour ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Warmer ties with the Vatican are anticipated under the new patriarch.

As an aside, don't these magnificent images make for quite a powerful study in contrasts when compared to the pictures below from the "ordination" of the gals associated with womenpriests?

More "Change We Can Believe In"

Yet another one of President Obama's cabinet picks, this time former Senator Tom Daschle (another 90's/Clinton-era retread no less), is facing fierce tax scrutiny, proving once again that corruption is a blight that only matters if it is found on a Republican.

From the Washington Post:

Thomas A. Daschle waited nearly a month after being nominated to be secretary of health and human services before informing Barack Obama that he had not paid years of back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a wealthy New York investor.

Daschle, one of Obama's earliest and most ardent campaign supporters, paid $140,000 to the U.S. Treasury on Jan. 2 and about two days later informed the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, according to an account provided by his spokeswoman and confirmed by the Obama administration.

Sunday Funnies

Sometimes, it's just better to let them speak for themselves:

Roman Catholic Womenpriests call on Pope Benedict to lift the decree of automatic excommunication issued on May 29, 2008 against all in our movement as a gesture of reconciliation and justice toward women in the church. As is well known, the Congregation for Bishops, instructed by the Pope, removed the excommunication of four traditionist [sic] bishops on Jan. 21, 2009. Therefore, Roman Catholic Womenpriests call on the Pope to lift the decree of excommunication against us. This gesture will be a step away from the institutional church’s treatment of women as second-class citizens. We stand firmly in the tradition of Vatican ll which declares:

"Any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design." Gaudium et Spes, art. 29, 2

...Last year, after individual excommunications for participants in the rites (usually held on boats) were announced by decree, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith definitively stated that anyone who attempts to confer ordination on a woman, or any woman who seeks the same, incurs automatic excommunication. Subsequently, the CDF excommunicated Fr Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest and longtime social-justice activist who participated in one of the ceremonies.