Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weigel vs. Kmiec

Papal biographer George Weigel and liberal Catholic apologist Douglas Kmiec tilted lances in the pages of the Chicago Tribune over the ongoing brouhaha over Notre Dame's decision to award the pro-abortion president. What strikes me is that, no matter how much Kmiec strains to make his arguments sound fresh, they always come across as hackneyed liberal talking points.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ora Pro Nobis?

I don't remember ever coming across these prayer cards for sale in Rome along the Via di Porta Angelica. Does anyone think the framing of this picture was unintentional? The regal golden border of the seal forming a perfect halo around the One's head, as he gazes contemplatively, his stoic face reflecting a soft glow...and he even has a constellation of stars to boot. I'll admit, it's a striking image but it plays right into certain widespread perceptions about the man that are religiously held by his disciples.

Sea Levels on the Rise?

A fascinating article from the Telegraph:
But if there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Anglicans and Catholics in England

Buried in a story about the BBC's declining coverage of Christian news:

Last week there was alarm among some bishops at Gordon Brown's proposal to repeal the 1701 Act of Settlement, which prevents anyone married to a Roman Catholic becoming monarch.

The move is seen as a precursor to ending the CofE's [Church of England's] status as the established state religion.

The dwindling Anglicans in the UK have more pressing things to worry about than those pesky papists.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Whatever Works

Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia

Europe's demographic plunge has been well documented and yet largely ignored by the everyday Italian, Spaniard, German, etc. Many Europeans, content with haute couture and igear, give scant notice to the fact that within a generation or two their continent may look fundamentally different in the aftermath of increased immigration from African nations coupled with a substantially higher birthrate among Muslims. Some observers have used the term "Eurabia" (with good reason) to describe the transformation that is already underway across the pond. Looking to stave the tide, Ilia II, the Orthodox Patriarch of Georgia, came up with a novel idea to entice married couples to be fruitful and multiply. From the BBC:
Two years after having one of the lowest birth rates in the world, Georgia is enjoying something of a baby boom, following an intervention from the country's most senior cleric.

At the end of 2007, in a move to reverse the Caucasian country's dwindling birth figures, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, came up with an incentive. He promised to personally baptise any baby born to parents of more than two children.

There was only one catch: the baby had to be born after the initiative was launched.

The results are, in the words of the Georgian Orthodox Church, "a miracle".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Straight Talk

Prime Minster Topolanek

Government bonds, bailouts, bad credit, stimulus packages, government takeovers, toxic assets, massive inflation, devalued currency, no solvency, Chinese meddling. What is the end result of this toxic soup?

The Czech people know a thing or two about the ravages of political totalitarianism (the Nazi occupation) and economic collectivism (Communism). Putative "experts" in Washington, paging Secretary Geithner, should take heed of what Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek had to say regarding Obama's economic plan. (The SNL skit a few weeks back, posted below, that portrayed a totally clueless and hapless Sec. Geithner taking suggestions from call-ins as to what he should try next pretty much hit the nail on the head.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Contemplating the Next Move

The absence of Bishop D'Arcy from Notre Dame's Commencement ceremonies will send a clear message to the university's defiant president but I think a stronger one should be sent as a follow-up to today's announcement. After all, any student could opt out of the ceremony (I think he should), as could a parent or an alumni, as a form of protest. In a circumstance such as this, a bishop, as a leader, needs to do more than simply recuse himself from an execrable situation. D'Arcy's firm statement of intent is an okay start but this step should only be Phase One. Fr. Jenkins' poorly reasoned, transparent riposte to his detractors should erase any doubt that this episode, as he sees it, is about securing Notre Dame's worldly prestige and not at all about sticking to Catholic principles.

Question: So long as the university insists on marching forward with the Obama recognition, could the Commencement Mass be cancelled by decree of the bishop? The combination of a solemn Mass, followed shortly thereafter by the Obama blue ribbon spectacle would be outrageous. Putting the kibosh on any possibility of a graduation liturgy at Notre Dame might épater Fr. Jenkins et al. into revoking the poorly conceived invitation.

In any event, it will be interesting to see what the US ambassador to the Holy See, Professor Mary Ann Glendon, a fierce defender of life, will say or do in the coming months regarding her selection for recognition at the same ceremony. And Archbishop Raymond L. Burke's forceful admonishments, given in an interview to the National Press Club (to be made public tomorrow), will no doubt place increased pressure on the episcopal potentates here in the US.

The Bishop's Response

Statement from Bishop John D'Arcy
Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame
graduation, receiving honorary law degree

March 24, 2009

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.

This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.

I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.

I have spoken with Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who is to receive the Laetare Medal. I have known her for many years and hold her in high esteem. We are both teachers, but in different ways. I have encouraged her to accept this award and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach.

Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame. Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.

Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.


Archbishop Burke and National Press Club

From the Christian News Wire:
Archbishop Burke, Third Most Powerful Man in Vatican, Gives Candid Interview Dealing with President Obama, VP Joe Biden, Communion, U.S. Bishops, and the Guilt of American Catholics in the Last Election
Washington, DC Press Conference, National Press Club, March 25

Contact: Sandra Veritas, 904-687-9804

WASHINGTON, March 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- On March 2, 2009, His Excellency, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, granted an unprecedented interview to Randall Terry.

Mr. Terry will show the entire interview (approx 12 minutes) at the Press Club on Wednesday, March 25, at 10:00 A.M.

The questions ranged from how the Church should deal with pro-abortion politicians like Vice President Biden receiving Communion, the failure of certain U.S. bishops to obey and enforce Canon Law, what faithful laity should say to errant bishops, the guilt of Catholics who voted for Obama, and what we must do to bring reform to America and the Church.

In light of the recent invitation of Notre Dame to have President Obama speak at commencement, this interview is very timely.

Randall Terry states:

"Everyone who has seen this interview is stunned at Archbishop Burke's candor and clarity. His words thunder, and are without equivocation.

"As one of the Pope's most powerful Prefects, we believe his words signal the Vatican's intention to deal more directly with American bishops, priests, and laity, who are betraying the lives of the innocent unborn, and Catholic Truth by their actions or by their silence.

"Since Archbishop Burke is the head of the papal courts, his words carry enormous weight concerning Church law. If cases are brought against individuals on these various matters, he is the "chief justice" in the Vatican.

"The faithful will be strengthened by his words; the errant and rebellious will be warned."

Press Conference Details ---

When: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 10:00 AM

Where: National Press Club, Murrow Room, 14th Street and F Street, Washington DC

Who: Randall Terry, Founder, Operation Rescue

Why: To show complete television interview with Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (Vatican Courts). All press will be given a DVD copy and a printed transcript of the interview. Mr. Terry will also take questions on upcoming protests at Notre Dame.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Fr. Jenkins responded today to mounting criticism over his decision to award President Obama an honorary doctorate at Notre Dame's commencement ceremony on May 17. Lifesite posted this update. Here is an excerpt.
Responding to outrage that the nation's premier Catholic institution of higher learning invited Obama, who has been called the most pro-abortion president in history, Jenkins said the invitation "should in no way be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions" on life issues.

"We are not ignoring the critical issue of the protection of life. On the contrary, we invited him because we care so much about those issues, and we hope for this to be the basis of an engagement with him," Jenkins said. "You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them show respect for them and listen to them."

Jenkins said that the school wants to recognize Obama's "very real and significant accomplishments and his leadership," while at the same time wanting to initiate "a positive engagement on the issues we care about." "I think if he is going to reconsider his views, I think Notre Dame is the best possible place to begin that process," he said.

Jenkins also addressed the USCCB's 2004 directive that Catholic schools "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions," arguing that the honorary degree for Obama "is not intended to condone or endorse his position on specific issues regarding life." "That's not what we're honoring," Jenkins said.

The term "suggest" is a key insertion by the USCCB and it presents an embarrassing predicament for Notre Dame. Despite Jenkins' contorted exegesis, the bestowal of a prestigious award to such a high-profile figure as Obama certainly seems to suggest, in the very least, tacit consent for his policies.

With all due respect to Fr. Jenkins, does he seriously except us to swallow this? "Now wait a minute here, we're just honoring the hope and change, nice guy Obama, not the pro-abortion Obama. We're keen on the inspirational fella, not the pro-embryonic stem-cell research guy; maybe that one won't show up... And who knows, maybe Nice Guy Obama will even listen to our pro-life pitch after we revive from our swoon."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Notre Dame Falls

When William Bennet penned his bestseller, The Death of Outrage in 1998, it very well could have been applied to the ubiquitous problem of milquetoast Catholic academia in the United States, a stubborn malaise that now spans decades. Pro-lifers of all stripes are expressing disbelief and shock over the decision by the University of Notre Dame to award an honorary doctorate to Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in the nation’s history, at the university’s commencement ceremonies on May 17. The president has also been tapped for the honor of giving the commencement address to the graduating body. So let’s get this straight: arguably the nation’s most prestigious Catholic university, named in honor of Our Lady, is set to place a laurel wreath on the brow of a man who, at virtually every juncture, has positioned himself in firm, uncompromising opposition to the Church’s teaching regarding the dignity of human life. If the panjandrum’s sitting on Notre Dame’s board think they can get away with this glistening outrage without creating a stir, they best think again.

John Cardinal Newman, who knew a thing or two about the ingredients that went into the idea of a university, would most likely concur that it is a sad day in the life of academia when erudite scholars, especially of the Catholic sort, fall victim to the shallow and intellectually barren cult of personality that perpetually shadows President Obama. As fallen creatures, a periodic hiatus from reason and principle is to be expected from time to time, even among the brightest. We’re all susceptible to the occasional blunder and pratfall, but when hypocrisy becomes de rigueur among ivory tower Catholic intellectuals and their vaunted institutions, it’s a genuine tragedy worthy of a few beatings of the breast and mea culpas. The bottom line is, when a university claims that it is Catholic, it either is, in the fullest sense of the word as spelled out in clear terms by Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, or its Catholicity is a meaningless veneer and a dangerous lie.

How would the president of Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins, acting in his capacity as priest of the Catholic Church, define the sin of scandal? And as a follow-up to that query, how would he craft just the right amount of wiggle room to exonerate himself and his institution from being guilty of that sin? It’s not enough for a Catholic university to merely represent the Catholic faith in this or that capacity on campus, every now and then when the time is right. The Church and her teachings must also be unceasingly honored, privileged and defended. This does not translate, as critics will assert, into a restriction on academic freedom. Ideas can and ought to be discussed and debated, the pot stirred. But in the final analysis, the penetrating light of faith and reason, shining on Truth, must be unwaveringly upheld by the arm of the university.

What message is being conveyed on behalf of Notre Dame when an honorary doctorate is conferred on President Obama? Given the high profile nature of the ceremony, might the honest observer perceive at least some tacit approval from the university for the president’s well-known positions? Lest we forget the president’s more recent steps in this waltz macabre: he rescinded the Mexico City policy on federal funding for abortions overseas and, more recently, expanded federal funding for destructive embryonic stem-cell research. Still fresh in the collective memory of the pro-life movement is Obama’s appalling insouciance as an Illinois state legislator toward legislation that sought to protect babies that survived abortion. Across the board, Obama has made clear his intention to advance the culture of death by his unwavering advocacy of abortion and Notre Dame responds with an “Atta boy!”

Sympathies, gratitude and most importantly, renewed nudges of encouragement to those tireless, dedicated souls who, immersed in quite prayer, spend day after day, week after week, keeping vigil outside abortion clinics, in sunny weather, in storms and the winter chill. Outrage is the appropriate reaction to Notre Dame’s shameless disregard for patrimony and principle and its lust for prestige, money and notoriety at all costs. Catholics and non-Catholics alike will demonstrate loud and clear in the coming months that reports of the death of outrage have been greatly exaggerated.

Notre Dame Contact information:

Phone: (574) 631-5000
email form: http://president.nd.edu/contact-us

Notre Dame Fellows:
Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., President, U. of Portland
(503) 943-7101

To contact Notre Dame's bishop:
Bishop John D'Arcy, Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese
Fort Wayne Chancery
phone: (260) 422-4611

Sunday, March 15, 2009

State of Affairs

Today I received the following text message from a friend out in CA:

Today at mass the priest high-5'd everyone as he walked down the aisle during the entrance hymn. It was show time at the apollo after that.

Actually, the Apollo probably has better music.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Progress is being made on the so-called man-made climate change front. From Gallup:

...a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated. This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


George Weigel offers an insightful reflection on the pope's letter regarding the controversy over Bishop Williamson's Holocaust statements. Will the letter prove sufficient to placate the Church's harshest critics? Of course not. But serious thinkers and observers will find it honest and deeply personal.

Sign of the Times

A Welcome Home?

The Royal Anglian Regiment, marching on Waterford High Street for a homecoming parade in the UK, was met by a raving band of Muslims who accosted them with offensive placards and vitriolic epithets. While the obstreperous Muslims were vastly outnumbered by hundreds of patriots waving the Union Jack, the striking images of the ferocious Muslims nevertheless struck a chord deep in British and, indeed, Western society. That such displays of rage, cultural defiance and hatred unfolded in broad daylight on "friendly soil" as it were, shook Brits to the core. Some questions to ponder: What are these people, clearly not in the least interested in assimilation, doing in England? We're used to seeing such demonstrations across the Middle East, but on the shores of England? What is happening to Europe? What kind of transformation is on the horizon for the Continent? Will England even be recognizable in fifty years? What does this "protest" say about the enfeebled, emasculated state of Western society? How much of this can be blamed on the ravages of multiculturalism, demographic suicide, atheist humanism and political correctness? (Writers like Henri de Lubac, George Weigel and Mark Steyn have written extensively and convincingly on such issues.) If these pestilences had been resisted, rather, defeated, wouldn't the West be in a much better position to defend itself, from a cultural standpoint, against the onslaught of Muslim radicalization? The soldiers are doing their part to defend the homeland but what are the locals doing on the home front to ensure that there is a patrimony worth fighting for in the first place?

Alun Hicks wrote this impassioned editorial in response to the outrageous Muslim protests. Hicks is the father of Capitan David Hicks, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. His reflections are right on the money and should serve as a clarion call for UK politicians and citizens at large. Hopefully Hicks' words, like his son's sacrifice, will have far-reaching, positive consequences for the West.
Like many people, I am proud of my country. We live in a democracy, one which we have been through centuries of war and bloodshed to establish. It's not perfect, but by and large we are, I think, a free, supportive and tolerant land - indeed you only have to ask yourself what would happen if a similar protest were mounted abroad, in a Muslim country, to appreciate the extent of our hard-won freedoms.

And so, as both a citizen and the father of a dead soldier, I feel we need to confront these people and these views face on, with no shilly-shallying, or liberal hand-wringing - there has been enough of that in this country.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Defending Prop 8

Appearing in National Review Online, Ryan T. Anderson wrote an excellent piece defending traditional marriage as, first and foremost a natural institution. He is answering the notorious Doug Kmiec, a liberal Obama-supporting Catholic who typically resorts to all kinds of shallow sophistry to square his sordid views with his faith. I recall Newsweek running a cover story not long ago boasting an image of a large bible on the cover with a pride ribbon serving as a bookmark. The title read something like, "A Biblical Case for Same-Sex Marriage." The writer missed the point (or intentionally obscured it). Objections to gay "marriage" are not principally made on religious grounds. While perhaps among the Evangelical crowd, there is a tendency to rely too heavily on Scriptural injunctions and "Because God said so" responses, the Catholic approach, as Anderson makes clear in his piece, is rooted correctly in a reasoned philosophical and anthropological understanding of the human condition.
States and religions rightly recognize and support marriage, but it precedes both. Kmiec, who writes as a Catholic, fails to notice that his argument contradicts the Catholic faith, which teaches that you don’t need the Book of Genesis — or any divine revelation — to know that man and woman are sexually differentiated and that marriage is founded on the bodily union of sexually complementary spouses. Though Catholics believe that Jesus elevated this natural relationship to participate sacramentally in the divine Trinitarian life, this elevation does nothing to eliminate or obscure marriage’s status as a natural human institution. That is why the Catholic church has always regarded the marriages of nonbelievers as true and valid.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Klaus in America

"I am therefore convinced that fighting for freedom and free markets, something we always appreciated here in this country (the United States), remains the task of the day." -Czech President Vaclav Klaus

Czech Republic, I'll trade you, your Klaus for our Obama. Ugh! Why can't this guy be our president? Every time he makes headlines, I like what I hear. A Czech friend assures me that he's rather arrogant. Well, that may be but at least he's right on the issues. I can deal with the arrogance factor.

Bishops Slam Obama Decision

Cardinal Rigali issued the following statement today on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to the president's decision to fund embryonic stem cell research.
President Obama's new executive order on embryonic stem cell research is a sad victory of politics over science and ethics. This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested. It also disregards the values of millions of American taxpayers who oppose research that requires taking human life. Finally, it ignores the fact that ethically sound means for advancing stem cell science and medical treatments are readily available and in need of increased support.

In his January 16th letter to President-elect Obama, Cardinal George, writing as President of the USCCB, cited three reasons why such destructive research is 'especially pointless at this time':

'First, basic research in the capabilities of embryonic stem cells can be and is being pursued using the currently eligible cell lines as well as the hundreds of lines produced with nonfederal funds since 2001.

'Second, recent startling advances in reprogramming adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells – hailed by the journal Science as the scientific breakthrough of the year – are said by many scientists to be making embryonic stem cells irrelevant to medical progress.

'Third, adult and cord blood stem cells are now known to have great versatility, and are increasingly being used to reverse serious illnesses and even help rebuild damaged organs. To divert scarce funds away from these promising avenues for research and treatment toward the avenue that is most morally controversial as well as most medically speculative would be a sad victory of politics over science.'

If the government wants to invest in hope for cures and promote ethically sound science, it should use our tax monies for research that everyone, at every stage of human development, can live with.

The Fall?

Obama is slipping in the public's esteem, according to a Rasmussen poll. Fifty-six percent approve of his performance. Still too high, but perhaps this is only the beginning.

Does anyone else perceive (hope for) the ghost of the Carter Administration?

Burden of Proof

Is Islam a "religion of peace"? Perhaps, but it's up to Muslims to demonstrate that it is. Here's a great article by Tawfik Hamid, appearing today in the Wall Street Journal.
While many religious texts preach violence, the interpretation, modern usage and implementation of these teachings make all the difference. For example, the stoning of women exists in both the Old Testament and in the Islamic tradition, or "Sunna" -- the recorded deeds and manners of the prophet Muhammad. The difference, though, is that leading Jewish scholars agreed to discontinue these practices centuries ago, while Muslim scholars have yet to do so. Hence we do not see the stoning of women practiced or promoted in Israel, the "Jewish" state, but we see it practiced and promoted in Iran and Saudi Arabia, the "Islamic" states.

So, Islamic scholars and clerics, it is up to you to produce a Shariah book that will be accepted in the Islamic world and that teaches that Jews are not pigs and monkeys, that declaring war to spread Islam is unacceptable, and that killing apostates is a crime. Such a book would prove that Islam is a religion of peace.

On Making Honest Assessments

A question was proposed lately: Why would I be proud of George W. Bush? The query was presented from the point of view of an allegedly rock-ribbed conservative, not a loopy, Huffington Post reading liberal. The anger was aimed at the "unjust" war and Bush's economic foibles. The writer, an otherwise intelligent chap, conveniently elides many of Bush's noteworthy achievements and, characteristically, hones in exclusively on the negatives. The question and the manner in which it was posed, in all seriousness, astounded me, especially in light of what we're dealing with now under the pall of the Obama Administration. Just off the top of my head, let's review the basics:

Why I am proud to have supported George W. Bush:

- Chief Justice John Roberts

- Justice Samuel Alito

- Signing the partial-birth abortion ban into law

- Restricting the flow of federal funds to providing abortions overseas

- Promoting abstinence policies at home and abroad and opposing nefarious UN population control initiatives

- Standing up to relentless pressure, even within his own party (McCain), to ease restrictions on destructive embryonic stem-cell research

- He is a deeply committed Christian and upright man who commands respect, irregardless of the occasional and inevitable disagreements. Bush was always immensely respectful toward the Holy Father and the current pope returned the favor by granting him an unprecedented audience last year in the Vatican Gardens. On the "nonnegotiables" the Holy See and the Bush Administration were pretty much in agreement down the line. As real conservatives will readily acknowledge, the greatest threat to our times is not whether or not the war in Iraq was just or the economic minutia surrounding the federal reserve. No, the greatest threat we face is a moral one, rooted in an existential nihilism and the looming reality of a post-Christian age. I lived in Europe. In Italy and Spain, I experienced a post-Christian culture. America stands apart from its European allies in that here, we are still an unapologetically religious nation. Former President Bush bolstered that image through his sincere witness to the Christian creed and, as a result, incurred the hatred and vitriol of many atheists, hippies, anarchists and Communists across the globe. As a cardinal working at the UN confided to the president of my alma mater: on the important moral issues of the day, the Bush Administration was the Vatican's fiercest ally at the UN. Pope John Paul II had this to say to President Bush: "I ... continue to follow with great appreciation your commitment to the promotion of moral values in American society, particularly with regard to respect for life and the family." And Pope Benedict XVI, addressing former Ambassador Glendon extolled "the efforts of so many of your fellow-citizens and government leaders to ensure legal protection for God's gift of life from conception to natural death, and the safeguarding of the institution of marriage, acknowledged as a stable union between a man and a woman, and that of the family." Some Americans in our movement, it seems, would be well-served in stepping out of their provincial prism to see the bigger picture. War and economics are important, but let's keep them in their proper place. Ok?

- Taking a firm martial response to radical Islamic terrorists after the malaise of the Clinton Administration, where we were routinely kicked around with impunity (Mogadishu, the African embassy bombings, the USS Cole attack, the Khobar Towers attack, etc.). And this is apart from the more controversial war in Iraq, which I still support, as I think most Iraqis are happy to be rid of Hussein. While an interesting debate rages about the wisdom of the invasion in retrospect, dismissive talk of the war as being "unjust" is jejune pablum. It reveals an alarming ignorance of asymmetrical warfare, twenty-first century realities and the true nature of the threat posed by the Baathist regime. Even as he grew more skeptical of the war's prospects, William F. Buckley said, "It would have been foolhardy to have done nothing, given what we knew to be true at the time." Hindsight is always 20/20. It's easy to look back and cast judgments. Watch the Bolton clips a few posts down for greater dilation of the topic.

- How about Bush keeping us safe for nearly eight years. Thank you Patriot Act. Sheesh, talk about ungrateful, sir.

These are the principle points. Bush screwed up on this and that, but more importantly, he held a line and took a stand regarding fundamentals in a critical time. While I have always been deeply critical of Bush's economic decisions and I recognize the need for new blood and a philosophical return to first principles in our Party, I'm not going to smugly pretend as though there is nothing about Bush's administration of which I can be proud. As a conservative, one would have to be pretty naive and uninformed, let alone churlish, to think otherwise.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

True to Form

Expanded federal funding for abortion, generational theft via speciously named "stimulus bills," unprecedented levels of debt, a tanking stock market, a deepening recession and higher taxes on the horizon for everyone. "Thanks, Mr. President, for all the things you've done..." We're just getting started folks! Conservatives and all friends of humanity are bracing themselves for another burst of liberal effluvia tomorrow, as President Obama sets about to dismantle, with the stroke of a pen, extant restrictions on destructive embryonic stem-cell research.

To be sure, change is on the way for thousands of human embryos. Hope, on the other hand, is about to evaporate, at least from their perspective. A sad day.

Mission Accomplished

From the perspective of the British troops in Iraq, things are looking up. From the Telegraph:
But much has changed in Basra in the past 18 months, especially in the Hyaniyah. Where once street battles were fought, today British soldiers are working hand-in-glove with their Iraqi colleagues, opening schools and developing strategies for clearing rubbish. The troops are regarded as heroes and liberators and are greeted with smiles and handshakes from Iraqi civilians. The transition is, according to both Iraqis and the British, nothing short of stunning.

When Brigadier General Sabah, the commander of 26 Brigade, opened the new Haleema Al Saadeyah school last Saturday, he was greeted by several hundred schoolgirls all screaming "Viva Iraq! Viva Iraq!". The adulation he and his men received is yet further proof of the trust the Iraqi public now has in its army. Once an ill-disciplined and incompetent rabble, today it is a confident and professional force, which has the support of around 97 per cent of the population.
Brig Sabah says he is grateful for the help from the British and for "the sacrifices of your soldiers". But, he says, the time has now come to leave.

"We no longer need any help from anyone. We are not ungrateful, we are thankful to our friends who released us from Saddam's prison. Your sacrifices and our sacrifices have helped us to get to where we are now. But now we can run Basra. We control Basra now."

Seeing the Bard Anew

A newly discovered portrait of Shakespeare is set to be unveiled and is thought to be the only one executed while he was alive. Read more about it here.

On Being Frank

Here's an excellent article from Investors Business Daily. It places blame for the mortgage crisis (allegedly the result of capitalism gone bonkers) exactly where it belongs: Congressman Barney Frank.
Whatever the case, his (Frank's) conflicts are obvious and outrageous, and his refusal to countenance reforms of Fannie and Freddie contributed mightily to today's meltdown. If you're looking for a culprit in the meltdown to prosecute, no one fits the bill better than Frank.

It's an outrage that this legislative dummkopf is getting away scott free.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Past, Present and Future

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton discusses international relations in this short five-part series on Uncommon Knowledge. As I've mentioned before, the erudite and articulate Bolton has a knack for incurring the scorn of both the far left (N. Chomsky and the "blame America first" crowd) and the far right (the Buchanan types and fringe isolationists totally detached from reality). Hmm, maybe Bolton has a point or two. His dazzling mastery of international affairs and methodical break-down of events is impressive. It's a shame that Bush didn't follow his advice more consistently over the latter part of his second term. His failure to do so, especially regarding Iran and North Korea, only served to damage his own credibility among conservatives, contributing to the president adrift image.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Taking a Stand

For once, a story about a Catholic institution that apologetically follows Catholic teaching, a novel idea these days. Wait until Obama and his contraceptive-dispensing minions hear about this outrage.
Frustrated that her college does not distribute birth control, Stonehill College senior Katie Freitas decided she would do it herself.

After collecting hundreds of free condoms from two family-planning agencies, she and about 20 classmates placed boxes of the contraceptives in student dormitories across the Easton campus last month.

But when administrators at the Catholic school learned of the effort, they quickly intervened and collected the condoms, citing the college's ban against distributing birth control on campus.

"We're a private Catholic college," Martin McGovern, Stonehill's spokesman, said yesterday. "We make no secret of our religious affiliation, and our belief system is fairly straightforward. We don't expect everyone on campus to agree with our beliefs, but we would ask people, and students in particular, to respect them."

Michelle O's Anger Issues?

Here's an insightful piece from the UK's Telegraph . It discusses what may be the root source of Barack Obama's disrespectful treatment of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Take it for what it's worth.
We may just LURVE Michelle's fashion sense. But Michelle doesn't reciprocate our affection, one bit. Her broad-brush view of history associates Brits with the wicked white global hegemony responsible for the slave trade. Never mind that a white, Tory Englishman - William Wilberforce - brought the slave trade to an end. Judging by her record, Michelle does not make room for such subtle nuance.

In it (Michelle's senior thesis) she writes: "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."

Here we see that she has mastered the authentic voice of grievance culture. She also - the thesis was written in 1985 - pre-empts the Macpherson report's ludicrous, catch-all definition of racism: "A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person." No matter how hard young Michelle's white undergraduate contemporaries try to be nice, it's not their behaviour that counts, but how Michelle feels.

More worrying, though, and dangerous, than young Michelle's desperate quest for validation through victimhood is the other strain within her thesis. "As I enter my final year at Princeton," she writes. "I find myself striving for many of the same goals as my White classmates - acceptance to a prestigious graduate or professional school or a high paying position in a successful corporation. Thus, my goals at Princeton are not as clear as before."

"Yes, exactly, you silly girl" you want to shriek at young Michelle as you give her a good shake. "It's called 'opening your mind', 'broadening your experience', 'allowing youthful dogma to be shaped by reality.' It's why people go to university, don't you know?"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Newt Convert

Newt Gingrich, one of the leading intellectuals of the Republican Party, plans on converting to Catholicism. From the New York Times:
At a moment when the role of religious fundamentalism in the party is a central question for reformers, Gingrich, rather than making any kind of case for a new enlightenment, has in fact gone to great lengths to placate Christian conservatives. The family-values crowd has never completely embraced Newt, probably because he has been married three times, most recently to a former Hill staff member, Callista Bisek. In 2006, though, Gingrich wrote a book called “Rediscovering God in America” — part of a new canon of work he has done reaffirming the role of religion in public life. The following year, he went on radio with the evangelical minister James Dobson to apologize for having been unfaithful to his second wife. (A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich said he will soon convert to Catholicism, his wife’s faith.)