Friday, April 30, 2010

The Outsider President

Here's an excerpt from an excellent article by Robert Weissberg, appearing in The American Thinker entitled A Stranger in Our Midst:
After auditioning countless political terms, I finally realized that the Obama administration and its congressional collaborators almost resemble a foreign occupying force, a coterie of politically and culturally non-indigenous leaders whose rule contravenes local values rooted in our national tradition. It is as if the United States has been occupied by a foreign power, and this transcends policy objections. It is not about Obama's birthplace. It is not about race, either; millions of white Americans have had black mayors and black governors, and this unease about out-of-sync values never surfaced...

The suspicion that Obama is an outsider, a figure who really doesn't "get" America, grew clearer from his initial appointments. What "native" would appoint Kevin Jennings, a militant gay activist, to oversee school safety? Or permit a Marxist rabble-rouser to be a "green jobs czar"? How about an Attorney General who began by accusing Americans of cowardice when it comes to discussing race? And who can forget Obama's weird defense of his pal Louis Henry Gates from "racist" Cambridge, Massachusetts cops? ...

And then there's the "we are sorry, we'll never be arrogant again" rhetoric seemingly designed for a future President of the World election campaign. What made Obama's Cairo utterances so distressing was how they grated on American cultural sensibilities. And he just doesn't notice, perhaps akin to never hearing Rev. Wright anti-American diatribes. An American president does not pander to third-world audiences by lying about the Muslim contribution to America. Imagine Ronald Reagan, or any past American president, trying to win friends by apologizing. This appeal contravenes our national character and far exceeds a momentary embarrassment about garbled syntax or poor delivery. Then there's Obama's bizarre, totally unnecessary deep bowing to foreign potentates. Americans look foreign leaders squarely in the eye and firmly shake hands; we don't bow.

Great Expectations

From Politico:
How many seats are in play for the Republican Party to pick up in November?

John Boehner says at least 100. You read that right: 100 seats — or 23 percent of the entire House — could be gobbled up by Republicans on Boehner’s dream election day scenario.

The House minority leader, speaking on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” on Friday, said that the “playing field” for the 2010 elections is wider than “anything we’ve seen around here during my 20 years."

“At least 100 seats,” Boehner told NPR’s Steve Inskeep, when asked how many House districts are up for grabs. “You think there are 100 seats in the United States that could change hands?” Inskeep asked.

“I do,” Boehner responded.

“Well typically, you are correct there would be some limited number of seats in play,” Boehner said. “Let me remind you that Scott Brown won the Ted Kennedy Senate seat in Massachusetts. If Scott Brown can win in Massachusetts, there isn’t a seat in America that Republicans can’t win.”

Let's hope so.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Court and the Cross

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's conservative majority signaled a greater willingness to allow religious symbols on public land Wednesday, a stance that could have important implications for future church-state disputes.

By a 5-4 vote, the court refused to order the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home atop a remote rocky outcropping in California's Mohave Desert...

"The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society," wrote Kennedy, who usually is in the court's center on church-state issues.

Speaking of the Christian cross in particular, Kennedy said it is wrong to view it merely as a religious symbol. "Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten," he said.

I understand where Kennedy is going here and am grateful for the ruling, but I don't really agree with the assertion often made by defenders of public displays of crosses, who usually repeat something along the lines of what Kennedy is saying here. "The cross has a meaning that goes beyond religion, etc..." as though the religious aspect of the cross is secondary, even inconsequential to our secularized construct of that symbol. In fact, the cross is first and foremost, and at its core, a deeply religious symbol that should be respected by the state as such. We shouldn't have to dilute the significance of the cross so that it conforms to a secular, symbolic standard that we then impose on it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just How Strange?


From the folks at Media Research Center:
During the Monday 12PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer described the "firestorm" over a newly passed immigration law in Arizona and fretted: "does this lead to a situation where neighbors are turning in neighbors or families turning against families?" Later in the segment, a headline on screen read: "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant."

Only on MSNBC...

Arizona and the Rule of Law

Here's a calmly reasoned and balanced piece appearing in National Review Online on the immigration law recently enacted in Arizona.

Rich Lowry makes a good point when he notes the hypocrisy of those who regularly lambaste the tea party movement for allegedly inciting violence with its supposedly heated, dangerous rhetoric (with practically no serious evidence), and are now themselves relying on incendiary, hysterical characterizations of the new law, describing it as "Nazi" and Communist" inspired.
The Arizona law makes it a state crime for aliens not to have immigration documents on their person. This sounds draconian, except it’s been a federal crime for more than half a century — U.S.C. 1304(e). Has the open-borders crowd forgotten that it calls illegal aliens “undocumented” for a reason?

Police officers asking for papers may be redolent of old World War II movies. But consider the offending provision: “For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state . . . where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.”

Hitler would be crestfallen. This hardly reeks of extremism. It means the vast majority of requests for documentation will occur in the course of other police business, like traffic stops.

The police already have the power to stop illegal aliens, a power the Arizona courts have upheld; they already can ask about someone’s legal status (the U.S. Supreme Court noted in 2005 that it has “held repeatedly that mere police questioning does not constitute a seizure” under the Fourth Amendment); and they already can detain illegal aliens. The Arizona law strengthens these existing authorities.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Remember November"

The battle cry for Republicans

This is a powerful (and surprisingly well made) call to arms from the GOP.

The (unserious) British Foreign Office

This, from the BBC, regarding the Foreign Office memo snafu over the papal visit to Great Britain:
What does this episode tell us of the modern Foreign Office?

It tells us first that "brainstorming" has taken the place of judgment.

You can just imagine the meeting at which some bright spark proposed drawing up a list of provocative proposals. Everyone of course joined in enthusiastically, congratulating each contributor as they came forward with more and cleverer proposals.

("Open an abortion clinic? Excellent", "Fantastic condom idea. Brilliant.")

But did nobody call for a pause? Was there no wiser counsel? Not even a stray Roman Catholic at the table who might have questioned all this?

Was there no institutional memory in this supposedly international department about the persecution of Catholics in this country (Catholic emancipation did not come until 1829) and a suspicion that this list might not look good in that context?

Obviously not. Nobody stepped forward to say it was all ridiculous. And it got worse. The whole thing was circulated as an attachment to an invitation to a wider planning meeting.

The new Foreign Office

Then you realise another thing about the new Foreign Office. This "brainstorming" approach is part of a revolution which you can see there on any Friday. It is now a "dress-down" day.

Diplomats in jeans and shabby shirts (we Brits cannot do smart casual) come into the reception area to greet some of the best-dressed folk on the planet, often diplomats from small countries trying to look their best in what they, perhaps naively, regard as an august institution.

Who do you trust?

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON – Notch one more victim of the recession: With crucial midterm elections nearing, Democrats have lost the advantage they've held for years as the party the public trusts to steer the economy.

The timing could be fortunate for the Republicans. With jobs and the economy dominating voters' concerns, the GOP will wield the issue as a cudgel in the battle to grab control of at least one chamber of Congress this November and weaken President Barack Obama. ...

Each party now has the confidence of 44 percent of people for handling the economy, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted this month. The Democrats had a nine-point advantage just four months ago, and have held an edge since AP polls began asking about the issue in 2006. In longer-running polling by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, the last time the two parties were even on the economy was 2002.

The dems are exacerbating the recession with their hyper-Keynesian policies. They have only themselves to blame.

"Villains in the Vatican"?

An interesting piece from The Guardian that takes a look at the curious hostility toward Catholicism from the literary world:
So the last decade's literary demonisation of Catholicism is another example of the nostrils of novelists twitching at a smell in the air. Brown had the practical problem of beginning his career as a thriller writer just as the traditional villains of 20th-century beach reads – the Soviets – had imploded. In locating a replacement, he selected one of the few surviving structures that exercised global influence through rigid central control and had an institutional tendency to secrecy. Yet, though logical, this substitution is ironic because the Catholic church, through Pope John Paul II, had been instrumental in the opposition to Kremlin-led communism.

These books, though, draw on a general liberal hostility to Catholicism (because of its opposition to abortion rights and alleged misogyny) and, in the works of Brown and Pullman, the Vatican may also be a surrogate for other disgusts. At the time their best-known books were written, Catholicism was not the most populous or powerful religion in the world. But, as believers frequently point out on the Guardian letters page and elsewhere, contemporary fiction writers seem shy of depicting Islam. (HG Wells or George Orwell, writing now, would probably not have fixed on priests as a thing to be feared.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Democracy, the Castro Way

One Cuban's reaction to today's "elections" in Cuba:
"The truth is that I didn't mark my ballot for any of the candidates so my vote is null. I don't believe in this. I don't think that they are going to make anything better," said Orlando, a 53-year-old man leaving a polling station in Havana. He refused to give his last name for fear of reprisals, saying: "I only voted because I didn't want to give myself away."

So, fearing reprisals from Castro's goons, Orlando is afraid to give his name to the press. But at the same time, he is afraid not to vote because he could then be singled out for refusing to complying with the demands of election day. Now there's democracy in action.

Building Momentum


From The Ledger:
ASHLAND, Wis. | Rep. David Obey has won 21 straight races, easily prevailing through wars and economic crises that have spanned presidencies from Nixon to Obama. Yet the discontent with Washington surging through politics is now threatening not only his seat but Democratic control of Congress.

Obey is one of nearly a dozen well-established House Democrats who are bracing for something they rarely face: serious competition. Their predicament is the latest sign of distress for their party and underlines why Republicans are confident of big gains in November, and perhaps even winning back the House.

The fight for the midterm elections is not confined to traditional battlegrounds, where Republicans and Democrats often swap seats every few cycles. In the Senate, Democrats are struggling to hold on to, among others, seats once held by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats are preparing to lose as many as 30 House seats - including a wave of first-term members - and Republicans have expanded their sights to places where political challenges seldom develop.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Trouble with McCain

Why does Senator John McCain cause heartburn for so many conservatives? Michelle Malkin provides some answers:
I need a Dramamine to cover Sen. John McCain’s reelection bid. With his desperate lurch to the right, he’s inducing more motion sickness than a Disneyland teacup. McCain’s campaign represents the same self-serving political cynicism that American voters have grown tired of stomaching from the current White House. We need choices, not carbon copies.

After decades of embracing the liberal-media moniker “maverick,” for his frequent derision of the conservative wing of the Republican party, McCain has now abandoned the label. He told Newsweek magazine earlier this month: “I never considered myself a maverick.” But countless YouTube videos show McCain and vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin invoking the “M” word...

In a fundraising e-mail sent out this week, McCain pledged that he’s “determined to return to the Senate to continue fighting against the massive expansion of government under President Obama.” Yet, to this day, McCain refuses to admit his own individual responsibility for supporting the presocialization of the economy started under George W. Bush and continued under Obama. McCain has never admitted he was wrong about his support of the $700 billion all-purpose, earmark-stuffed TARP bailout; the $25 billion auto bailout; the first $85 billion AIG bailout; and his proposed $300 billion mortgage-entitlement bailout (which dwarfed Obama’s plan).

McCain epitomizes the kind of shifty, oleaginous politician (and there are plenty in both parties) who will do and say anything to get elected. His flip-flops throughout this Republican primary are shocking, even by McCain standards. He would have been better than Obama as president, to be sure, but, since he lost, we really do need to excrete these shadowy politicos from our Party.

Trial and Error

Investor's Business Daily offers some salient observations regarding the charges brought against three Navy SEALs accused of mistreating a captured enemy combatant:
All three SEALs could have accepted only a military reprimand, but risked a court-martial to clear their names and save their careers. They refused to be human sacrifices to the same political correctness that seeks a civilian trial with all the trimmings for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed in New York City not far from ground zero.

Administration defenders say that for President Obama to intervene as commander in chief would amount to exercising "undue command influence," a traditional no-no in military justice. Yet as commander in chief, he sent them on a dangerous mission to apprehend a terrorist murderer of American citizens. They risked their lives on his orders. Who has their back, Mr. President?

They performed their mission brilliantly and bravely, and for doing so found themselves facing charges based on the word of a terrorist taught to lie. It's doubtful that President Reagan would have let this travesty of justice continue.

This, however, is a politically correct administration that wants to close the detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay lest it tarnish our image among Islamofascists worldwide. We apologize to everybody and anybody. We won't tolerate another Abu Ghraib, so we tolerate this tragedy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day


Climatologist Roy Spencer reflects on ecological happenings in this National Review Online piece:
When Earth Day was first celebrated 40 years ago, there were many good reasons to be concerned about the environment. Not only did trash litter the landscape, but rivers were catching fire and massive numbers of fish were dying due to unrestricted pollution from factories. Lake Erie was essentially a dead lake. Lead in paint and auto exhaust were real health hazards for many.

Today, these problems have been largely alleviated. But for those whose worldview requires a pristine and undisturbed natural world, the fight to reduce pollution will never be over. That’s because as long as there are humans using natural resources, the world will never be pristine or undisturbed.

...even if the threat of global warming from our carbon dioxide emissions fades away, waiting in the wings is the next threat: ocean acidification. Since CO2 dissolved in water makes carbonic acid, it is believed that the pH of the ocean will decrease as the CO2 content of the atmosphere slowly increases.

The more I look into this issue, though, the more it resembles the global-warming issue in terms of our ignorance regarding the ability of nature to adapt. Some recent research suggests that more CO2 might actually be beneficial for sea life, as we already know it is for most kinds of vegetation.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ourselves to Blame (sort of)

Writing in National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg offers an astute analysis of the Republican Party's dilemma, resulting from the Bush era of "compassionate conservatism", and the lessons learned since then.
Recall that Bush came into office promising to be a “different kind of conservative,” and one of his first legislative victories was the No Child Left Behind Act, sponsored by Teddy Kennedy.

Throughout his presidency, Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” surrendered — either rhetorically or substantively — to the assumptions of welfare-state liberalism, i.e. that your decency was best measured by your commitment to large, inefficient government programs. “When somebody hurts,” Bush insisted, “government has got to move.”

Many conservatives disliked this whole mindset and the policies behind it, from comprehensive immigration reform to Medicare Part D.

Many conservatives muted their objections, in part because they actually liked the man personally or because they approved of his stances on tax cuts, judges, abortion, and, most important, the war on terror (we can see a similar dynamic with so many antiwar liberals who still support Obama).

Conservatives didn’t necessarily bite their tongues (remember the Harriet Miers and immigration fiascoes), but they did prioritize supporting Bush — often in the face of far nastier attacks than Obama has received — over ideological purity. Besides, where were conservatives supposed to go? Into the arms of John Kerry?

The 2008 GOP primaries compounded conservative frustration. Because there was no stand-in for Bush in the contest, there was no obvious outlet for anger at Bush’s years of pre-surge Iraq bungling or his decision to outsource domestic spending to Republican congressional ward-heelers. Then, as a lame duck, Bush laid down the predicates for much of Obama’s first 100 days, supporting both a stimulus and Wall Street bailouts. As one participant of the D.C. tea-party rally told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, “George Bush opened the door for Barack Obama and the Democrats to walk in.”

Stubborn Facts

From Politico:
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are promising a climactic clash with Wall Street, but there’s a complication in their battle plan: The Democratic Party is closer to corporate America — and to Wall Street in particular — than many Democrats would care to admit.

Former White House counsel Greg Craig has just signed on as an institutional Sherpa for Goldman Sachs, the iconic financial firm facing fraud charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt lobbies for Goldman Sachs, Visa and the coal industry. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle — Obama’s first choice to head Health and Human Services — is an adviser for a lobbying firm that represents Charles Schwab, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, Verizon and a host of other corporate interests.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More of Me!

Me, myself and I

Reacting to the astonishing poll numbers regarding the distrust Americans feel toward government, President Obama said the following in an interview with George Stephanopoulos:
If there's one thing that I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values.

This is really unbelievable. How many interviews has this president given over the past year or so? I've lost count. He is ubiquitous. With the exception of Fox News, he cannot be avoided. It seems like every week he's kibitzing with Stephanopoulos about every aspect of life. I even caught him calling shots court-side during the Final Four. His omnipresence is the problem. Only a narcissus like this man would conclude that, after so many appearances on so many venues, Americans would need to hear and see more of him.

On top of that, there is a sickening condescension exuding from Obama, who is basically stating that the common corn pones are simply too blockheaded to take to his spotless agenda with élan.

Cardinal: Cuba in Crisis

From the AP:
HAVANA – Cuba's Roman Catholic cardinal says the country is in one of its worst crises in recent times, with its people demanding political and economic changes sooner rather than later.

Jaime Ortega, the top Catholic cleric on the island, also called on Cuba and the United States to restart a meaningful dialogue to normalize relations, in an interview that appeared Monday in the church's official monthly magazine.

Ortega said Cubans are openly talking about the deficiencies of their socialist system, what he called a Stalinist-style bureaucracy and a grinding lack of worker productivity.

"Our country finds itself in a very difficult situation," Ortega said in the interview with Palabra Nueva — New Word. "Certainly the most difficult times that we have lived in the 21st century."

Fort Hood and Subpoenas

From ABC News:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins today issued subpoenas to Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, demanding information on what the government knew about accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan prior to the Nov. 5 incident.

In a letter accompanying the subpoenas, Lieberman, I.-Conn., and Collins, R.-Me., the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said they had been forced to issue the subpoenas by a lack of cooperation from the Obama administration.

Tea Party America: Black and White

How do blacks attending the tea parties feel about all the race baiting on the part of the MSM? This is good.

Insane Populists in Positions of Power

Bolivian Pres. Evo Morales

From the BBC:
Delegates are gathering in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba for a grassroots alternative to last year's UN climate change summit in Copenhagen.

The meeting will also celebrate the rights of Mother Earth on 22 April.

Bolivian President Evo Morales was one of several leaders who refused to sign the Copenhagen climate change deal.
He is set to use this week's talks to propose a world referendum to ask up to two billion people their views on how to tackle climate change.

Several thousand people are expected in Cochabamba for what is billed as the People's World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.

Seriously?

We're still waiting for some bright spots for Latin America, in other words, at least semi-normal leaders who are not comical, bombastic anti-Western grievance-mongers, and who are not keen on Communism, socialism, neo-paganism, and other thoroughly discredited, backward ideologies.

"Crippling Sanctions" for Iran?

An interesting interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

The Senate's Red Light


I was waiting for Ambassador John Bolton's analysis of the Obama-Medvedev "New START" Treaty. Here's an excerpt from National Review Online. It's a brilliant piece of commentary. Read the rest HERE.
On April 8, in Prague, the United States and Russia signed what they call the “New START” bilateral arms-control agreement, important specifics of which, in hallmark Obama-administration fashion (see health care), were still being negotiated. Nonetheless, the president and his acolytes are calling for the treaty’s swift ratification.

The Senate would better protect our country’s future by actually deliberating before rushing over the precipice. A vital constitutional imperative, the Senate’s role in making binding treaty commitments, is at stake. While some consider it passé to insist that legislators read and understand what they vote upon, senators should insist on their constitutional prerogatives, drawing a line in the sand on this national-security issue.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trust Washington?

From the AP:
WASHINGTON – Can you trust Washington?

Nearly 80 percent of Americans say they can't and they have little faith that the massive federal bureaucracy can solve the nation's ills, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center that shows public confidence in the federal government at one of the lowest points in a half-century.

The poll released Sunday illustrates the ominous situation facing President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall's elections. Midterm prospects are typically tough for the party in power. Add a toxic environment like this and lots of incumbent Democrats could be out of work...

Majorities in the survey call Washington too big and too powerful, and say it's interfering too much in state and local matters.

The VAT

Writing in the Washington Post, George Will warns of the dangers of the value-added tax. While hardly a thrilling thing to read about, Americans ought nevertheless be aware of it.
Because a VAT potentially taxes everything, it would be riddled with exemptions. This is because it maximizes the political class's opportunities for showing favoritism -- by, for example, exempting certain "green" goods. It also widens that class's scope for the pleasure of being bossy. For example, it could reduce a VAT's regressiveness -- like rain, a VAT falls equally on the rich and the poor, but the poor devote a larger portion of their income to consumption -- by exempting most foods but not those that the nanny state disapproves: "Put down that sugary soda and step away from the vending machine!"

Money is time made tangible -- the time invested in the earning of it. Taxation is the confiscation of the earner's time. Although some taxation is necessary, all taxation diminishes freedom. Adding a VAT without subtracting the income tax would constrict Americans' freedom much more than the health-care legislation does. Because the 16th Amendment will not be repealed, adoption of a VAT would proclaim the impossibility of serious spending reductions and hence would be the obituary for the Founders' vision of limited government.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ignoring Iran

From Fox News:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned top White House officials in a secret three-page document that the U.S. does not have an effective strategy for dealing with Iran's push toward nuclear capability, according to a published report.

U.S. officials told The New York Times the classified memo, written to Gen. James Jones, national security adviser to President Barack Obama, sparked a renewed effort inside the White House and Pentagon to develop new options for Obama — including military alternatives, should sanctions fail to force Iran to reverse course.

In that case, Iran could remain a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while becoming what strategists call a "virtual" nuclear weapons state, the newspaper said, citing U.S. officials familiar with the document.

Far from the Bench

Liu must be stopped

Goodwin Liu is as dangerous a man for the judiciary as President Obama is for the executive office. At least with Obama, there are term limits, thank God. If Liu is ever appointed to a circuit court, or even higher as some are speculating, he will wreak havoc for decades. Republicans in the senate must do whatever necessary to stop Liu from getting on the bench. When I first caught wind of Obama back in '03 and '04, I could sense immediately that he was bad news. Liu strikes me as eerily similar to Obama in his radicalism.

From The Wall Street Journal:
For a preview of the pitfalls facing President Obama if he nominates a liberal to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, yesterday's hearing for Goodwin Liu is instructive. As a nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the 39-year-old Berkeley law school professor is a prototype for those who believe the Constitution should be read to reflect what he has called the "evolving norms and social understandings of our country."

If Mr. Liu's judicial philosophy wouldn't be familiar to the Framers, it is de rigueur in the elite colleges and law schools from which he hails. Speaking of the nomination of now Chief Justice John Roberts, Mr. Liu opined that words like "'free enterprise,' 'private ownership of property,' and 'limited government'" are "code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections."

On the nomination of now-Justice Samuel Alito, Professor Liu was even nastier. In a statement reminiscent of Ted Kennedy's slur against Robert Bork, Mr. Liu wrote that "Judge Alito's record envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse; where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, even after no sign of resistance . . . where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man . . . and where police may search what a warrant permits, and then some."

What kind of sane, balanced person talks this way?

"Uncomfortable"

NBC's Norah O'Donnell asks a conservative, black tea partier if he's ever "felt uncomfortable" with the fellow protesters. His response and expression are priceless. What a disgrace the media has become.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Electoral Bloodbath" in Store

Enjoying it while it lasts

From the Washington Post:
Recent polling shows that despite lofty predictions that a broad-based Democratic constituency would be activated by the bill's passage, the bill has been an incontrovertible disaster. The most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, released on April 12, shows that 58 percent of the electorate supports a repeal of the health-care reform bill -- up from 54 percent two weeks earlier. Fueling this backlash is concern that health-care reform will drive up health costs and expand the role of government, and the belief that passage was achieved by fundamentally anti-democratic means. Already we are seeing the implications play out with the retirement of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) -- who had effectively become the face of the last-minute, closed-door negotiations that resulted in passage.

Put simply, there has been no bounce, for the president or his party, from passing health care.

In fact, Monday's Gallup report showed the president's weekly job approval rating at a low of 47 percent. And as the Democratic Party's favorability has dropped to 41 percent -- the lowest in Gallup's 18-year history of measuring it -- this week's Rasmussen Reports survey shows the Republican Party with a nine-point lead in the generic congressional vote. Moreover, independents, who are more energized than Democrats, are leaning Republican by a 2-to-1 margin.

What all this means is that Republicans are ripe to pick up major gains in both chambers this November.

Rush's Thanks


President Obama thinks Americans should thank him for his so-called "tax cuts" which, in fact, had nothing to do with cutting taxes, but was rather a shell game tax credit. Rush Limbaugh obliged the president with this litany of thanks for things the president has actually done:
Mr. President, I want to thank you for seizing General Motors and Chrysler. I want to thank you for appointing a pervert as our safe schools czar. I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for the generational theft that you have committed with all of this borrowing and spending. You have spent the wealth of two to three, maybe four generations in the future, before they're even born. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for insulting and endangering Israel. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for driving up the unemployment rate to near double digits for years to come. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for telling everybody that it's going to be double digits as the new norm. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for exploding the annual deficit to the level where it can never be repaid.

I'd like to thank you, Mr. President, for targeting and destroying private health insurance companies. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for pushing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to stand trial in New York City and receive full constitutional rights at a cost of $200 million per year. I want to thank you for that. I want to thank you for helping to destroy the housing market, Mr. President. And, Mr. President, I would love to thank you for your arrogance, because arrogance is part and parcel of an authoritarian leader of a regime. I would like to also thank you, Mr. President, for your divisiveness. I would like to thank you for ignoring the public union pension time bombs waiting to explode out there. I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for mocking and disrespecting the American people. And I'd like to thank you for your never ending support of the New Black Panthers and for ACORN. I'd like to thank you, Mr. President, for embracing our enemies and snubbing our allies. But most of all, Mr. President, thank you for arousing the sleeping silent majority because we have been asleep too long. November is coming, Mr. President. That is when we will really thank you.

Be Quiet, Bill

Former President Bill Clinton, in an insidious move, drew a parallel today between the mood in the nation leading up to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the tea party movement of today. The reason for this is clear: the left, terrified of what is coming in November, is attempting to discredit the entire assembly of tea party protesters, overwhelmingly composed of ordinary Americans, by casting them as violent (white) extremists, hell-bent on anarchy. They are being assisted in their efforts on a daily basis by an army of sycophantic accomplices in the mainstream media, the ever-willing cat's paw to the Democratic Party. People like Clinton love to make outrageous assertions, like linking the "mood" of 1995 to that of today, and then backpedal somewhat so as to avoid being pinned down as having actually said what they in fact said. They will make a radical claim and then equivocate on it, or bury it in a mountain of words so that later they can say "Well, I never actually said that." Their objective is to sway the fence sitters and those who are disengaged and not interested in studying up on the real facts of the story.

For whatever reason, leaders who should be thoroughly discredited, either as a result of proven and embarrassing incompetence in office (Jimmy Carter), or proven and embarrassing scandal in office (Bill Clinton), are held up as serious, respectable statesmen and commentators.

This, from CNN:
(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton said he sees parallels in the mood of the country now and on April 19, 1995, when the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people while he was in the White House.

"There's the same kind of economic and social upheaval now," the former president told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview to air on Friday on "The Situation Room."

"Then you had the rise of extremist voices on talk radio. Here you have a billion Internet sites," Clinton said.

Republican Tidal Wave?

From The Rothenberg Political Report blog:
Substantial Republican gains are inevitable, with net Democratic losses now looking to be at least two dozen. At this point, GOP gains of 25-30 seats seem likely, though considerably larger gains in excess of 40 seats certainly seem possible.

We've moved 44 seats toward the Republicans and only 4 toward the Democrats.

Waste of a Summit

"Really, we do care...seriously."

Writing for National Review Online, Mona Charen comments on the utterly useless and arrogant "nuclear security summit" hosted by Obama. In short, it accomplished nothing beyond peddling its own delusional perception of reality.
The administration assembled an elaborate tableau to feign progress on nuclear proliferation while patently failing to grapple with the most obvious, ominous, and imminent threat — Iran.

Let’s assume that President Obama was sincere when he described a nuke in the hands of a terrorist as the greatest threat facing the United States. How does he imagine that threat might materialize? Participants in the “nuclear security summit” blathered on about securing nuclear materials and monitoring uranium and plutonium supplies. That’s nice. But the likeliest route for a terrorist to obtain a nuclear bomb would be for a nuclear-armed Iran simply to hand it over. And Iran is enriching its own uranium. That’s what all those centrifuges at Natanz and elsewhere are spinning away at.

The Truth

An excellent article defending the pope, by Jack Valero and appearing in The Guardian:
On Sunday I appeared on The Big Questions on BBC1 to discuss whether the pope should "resign". It quickly descended into a heckling circus where calmly reasoned argument fell victim to unfocused outrage. Afterwards, two representatives of the Protest the Pope Coalition told me menacingly I had "no right" to defend Benedict XVI's record on abuse.

But shouting down the truth doesn't make it go away. I don't defend the pope because I think it is the duty of a good Catholic; I defend him because he is completely innocent of the charges made against him, and because the media has merged with the mob and misreported the facts.

The three recent stories from the US cited by Richard Dawkins and his mob as "proving" that the pope should be arrested under international law – the horrible cases of Murphy in Wisconsin, Teta and Trupia in Arizona, and now Kiesle in California – have this in common: the abuse took place in the 1970s; the police were informed and acted; the priest was suspended by his bishop; requests for dismissal from the clerical state ("defrocking") were sent to Cardinal Ratzinger's department in the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and some time later the priests were defrocked – except in the case of Murphy, who died during his trial.

Suspension and defrocking are two separate actions. The first can be done by a bishop, with immediate effect; the second is a lengthy process that involves Rome. Suspension – meaning a priest is no longer able to function as a priest – say mass, hear confession, act as chaplain etc – is the key action that a bishop has to take against an abusive priest to prevent him having contact with minors. If, in any of these "smoking gun" cases, the bishop failed to suspend an abusive priest immediately, he did wrong. But such failure would have had nothing to do with Cardinal Ratzinger, whose only involvement was when a request for defrocking landed on his desk.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prediction

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Stephen Breyer is predicting the Supreme Court will one day pass judgment on this year's health care overhaul.

Breyer told a congressional panel Thursday that the massive health care law, like most major federal legislation, is a good candidate for high court review.

Breyer said the court's relatively light caseload in recent years will soon be a thing of the past.

A New Contract

Tea party activists unveiled their "Contract from America", a set of ten principles they believe all elected representatives should follow...or else. The percentages indicate the order in which they were voted. Here they are:
"(1) Protect the Constitution: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does (82.03 percent).

"(2) Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumers prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures (72.20 percent).

"(3) Demand a Balanced Budget: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69 percent)

"(4) Enact Fundamental Tax Reform: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words -- the length of the original Constitution. (64.90 percent).

"(5) Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington: Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the U.S. Constitution's meaning. (63.37 percent)

"(6) End Runaway Government Spending: Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57 percent).

"(7) Defund, Repeal & Replace Government-run Health Care: Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn't restricted by state boundaries. (56.39 percent).

"(8) Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy: Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51 percent).

"(9) Stop the Pork: Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47 percent).

"(10) Stop the Tax Hikes: Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38 percent)."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's national standing has slipped to a new low after his victory on the historic health care overhaul, even in the face of growing signs of economic revival, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

The survey shows the political terrain growing rockier for Obama and congressional Democrats heading into midterm elections, boosting Republican hopes for a return to power this fall.

Just 49 percent of people now approve of the job Obama's doing overall, and less than that — 44 percent — like the way he's handled health care and the economy.

The Obama Facade

From Victor Davis Hanson, writing for National Review Online:
Barack Obama has a marvelous way of sounding innovative, fresh, and novel while offering stale, predictable bromides. His policies at home are an extension of LBJ’s old Great Society. Abroad we’ve been getting a more sonorous version of Jimmy Carter’s global self-righteous sermonizing.

The public wanted a racially transcendent figure and got instead a Chicago ward boss. The problem now for Mr. Obama — reflected in growing popular discontent — is that on matters of debt, taxes, energy, jobs, and race, he apparently has very little new to offer. He just serves up in new wording the them/us divides of the past...

Privately, a majority of Americans accepts that the African-American elite enjoys a particular leeway in promiscuously leveling accusations of racism — and that such exemption from criticism ultimately derives from the fact that on a percentage basis much of the African-American community is not doing as well as the rest of America, and the culprit must be either racism or a lack of government financial assistance. End of discussion.

Tackling Heath Care the Right Way

From MSNBC:
HAYDEN, Idaho - Mary Suitter is sporting fresh bandages on her face and arm, markers of two new biopsies that may reveal yet another bout with melanoma.

Though she lacks conventional health insurance, the 57-year-old mother of four says she isn’t worried about the costs of a recurrence of her 2006 diagnosis with the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Suitter — and her husband, Mike, a handyman and builder — are members of a health care sharing ministry, a religious co-op whose participants agree to support each other — and to pay each others’ medical bills.

This is how it should be done.

On Empathy and Justice

Justice Thomas: the real deal

Writing for National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg opines on the qualities of a good judge and the current discussion over Justice Stevens's replacement:
...liberals who like Stevens’s rulings insist he understands the plight of the downtrodden, despite the fact that the nearly 90-year-old justice was born rich and has served on the court for almost 35 years, becoming more liberal as he has become more distant from life as lived by the little guys.

Meanwhile, Clarence Thomas was born dirt poor and black in rural Georgia and spends his vacations exploring America in an RV. But those same liberals insist he doesn’t understand poverty and race the way Stevens does. How do they know? Because they don’t like his rulings.

Judges

A good follow-up to my post on the court yesterday, from Politico, Revolutions are lost in the courts:
The Obama administration and the Democratic Congress are pursuing widespread regulatory change. Now that health care reform is passed, they are turning to financial regulations.

But this legislative blitzkrieg creates many statutory and administrative questions that are sure to lead to countless appeals to the federal judiciary for interpretation and relief.

What the Obama administration and the Senate seem to be missing is that, in the end, it all comes down to the judges.

Sure, the battles must first be fought and won in the halls of Congress. But once the legislative dust settles, the struggle turns to the courts. There, legislative victories can turn to vapor.

The Democrats have sought to repudiate the politics of President George W. Bush in almost every way imaginable. But, given the current pace of judicial nominations and confirmations, it looks like Bush’s judges will have the last word.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Americans Not Buying It

Grace-Marie Turner, writing for National Review Online, outlines six reasons why Americans are not enthused about the new healthcare law. Number three is my favorite:
3. Where’s my free health care? eHealthInsurance, the online broker for health insurance, says it has been flooded with calls from people asking, “Where do we get the free Obamacare, and how do I sign up for that?” Would-be customers had expected the overhaul law to translate into instant, affordable coverage.

Are people happy when they find out that the subsidized coverage doesn’t begin for four years and that even then, only a fraction of people will qualify? What about when they learn that most Americans will be required to buy expensive, government-mandated policies? Or that new taxes start right away but still won’t make a dent in the tsunami of red ink the law creates?

Can't you just see some people calling in and asking for and expecting their "free" health care?

Two Americas

An ominous sign, from Town Hall's Phyllis Schlafly:
Income tax day, April 15, 2010, now divides Americans into two almost equal classes: those who pay for the services provided by government and the freeloaders. The percentage of Americans who will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009 has risen to 47 percent.

That isn't the worst of it. The bottom 40 percent not only pay no income tax, but the government sends them cash or benefits financed by the taxes dutifully paid by those who do pay income tax.

Reagan vs. Obama on Nukes


From the Heritage Foundation, James Carafano accurately outlines the stark differences between Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama regarding how to move ahead on disarmament. Any so-called similarity between the two men and strategies are superficial.
Reagan knew that to eliminate the need for large nuclear arsenals, you must first start to eliminate the dependence — both ours and others’ — on massive nuclear attack as the guarantor of security. That is why Reagan’s first priority was to build up U.S. conventional forces and introduce missile defense. That allowed his negotiators to approach arms control agreements from a position of strength.

President Obama has done the exact opposite. He has cut our national defense, including acquisition of the F-22, removed missile defense installations in Eastern Europe, and cut missile defense development programs. His lawyer-like NPR weakens America’s deterrence credibility by broadcasting our intention not to respond in kind if we are hit by weapons of mass destruction. And his New START agreement not only clearly links our missile defense shield with Russian missile reduction, but it also limits our own conventional weapons capabilities as well.

Reagan also understood how other nations viewed their own nuclear programs and recognized the limits of unilateral arms reductions. President Obama clearly does not. Russia’s nuclear and conventional weapons arsenals are declining faster than ours, due to age and funding, so of course they want to bring our levels down to theirs. New START plays right into the Kremlin’s needs by constraining our advantage in conventional (non-nuclear) “strategic” weapons, including missile defense, in order to accentuate the power of their nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear Strategy

From the USA Today:
According to the Obama administration's new policy, if a country is a nuclear proliferator, the United States will seek to deter the offender's actions with the threat of nuclear weapons. If it is not, the president promises never to use nuclear weapons — even if the United States is attacked with biological or chemical weapons. Confusingly, the president reserves the right to change his mind.

Our nuclear deterrent serves an important role in protecting the United States from would-be aggressors. Telling our adversaries that we are unwilling to use the full extent of our assets to protect our nation is either disingenuous or dangerous. Also, the U.S. extends this protection to over 30 allies and friends who have agreed not to acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for U.S. nuclear guarantees. This policy affects them as well.

When it comes to defending the United States against a devastating attack, our message should be clear and simple: If our nation is attacked, we will use all means necessary to defend ourselves. Period. This is the essence of nuclear deterrence: The message should be that the cost of attacking the United States will be greater than the benefit.

Though the new START treaty has yet to be ratified by the Senate, the Nuclear Posture Review suggests even deeper reductions will follow, beyond the new 30% START cut. But the rationale for more cuts is unclear and, as the administration acknowledges, the threat to the United States has not been reduced.

I doubt that the treat will receive ratification in the Senate. It requires a two-thirds majority and that's a tall order to fill. But we'll have to see.

The Court Is Our Friend (for now)

Roberts vs. Obama: all smiles for the cameras, but war has been declared. Believe me.

Here's an analysis to take notice of, from Politico. It discusses the administration's desire to go after the high court as the one, and arguably the most powerful branch of the federal government that is not utterly beholden to Obama. I have written about this before, i.e., my conviction that Obama sees Chief Justice Roberts as his mortal foe, a worthy nemesis who, given his lofty position on the Court, coupled with his peerless intellect, stands as the most serious threat to the Obama regime. The president's embarrassing and sophomoric lecturing of the Roberts Court during the State of the Union address, a truly unprecedented move in American history, revealed just how deeply Obama and his cohorts fear Roberts, Scalia et al. and their powers of persuasion over the usually (and recently more reliably) conservative Associate Justice Kennedy. And while not too many analysts are discussing the feasibility of it, I still think it is not at all unlikely that Obama's signature health care law will ultimately find its way to the Supreme Court. Is it even constitutional to begin with? Nothing strikes more terror into the hearts of arch-liberals than the idea of this law being placed on trial, with Roberts acting as judge.
____

And here's another Politico piece on the upcoming confirmation battle to replace Justice Stevens:
Republicans are enthusiastic about the prospect of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s departure, not because it signals an end to his liberal jurisprudence but rather for its rich political value.

Many in the party expect the nomination battle to succeed him will be a major asset to GOP House and Senate candidates, serendipitously timed to coincide with the homestretch of the midterm election campaign.

In their view, Supreme Court confirmation hearings will serve to stoke an already fired-up GOP base, particularly if President Barack Obama nominates a liberal jurist, and could potentially put Democratic candidates in conservative-minded states on the defensive.

On Illegitimacy

An insightful piece by Robert Rector, writing for National Review Online:
The steady growth of childbearing by single women and the general collapse of marriage, especially among the poor, lie at the heart of the mushrooming welfare state. This year, taxpayers will spend over $300 billion providing means-tested welfare aid to single parents. The average single mother receives nearly three dollars in government benefits for each dollar she pays in taxes. These subsidies are funded largely by the heavy taxes paid by higher-income married couples.

America is rapidly becoming a two-caste society, with marriage and education at the dividing line. Children born to married couples with a college education are mostly in the top half of the population; children born to single mothers with high-school degrees or less are mostly in the bottom half.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Desire to Repeal Grows

Postings have been sparse...nonexistent would be a better word, since I've been out of town of late, attending the Institute on Religious Life's annual conference near Chicago. (I'll jot down some thoughts on that later. Archbishop Burke was the main draw and his remarks, as always, warrant some further reflection.)

This news from Rasmussen is surely welcome news though.
Three weeks after Congress passed its new national health care plan, support for repeal of the measure has risen four points to 58%. That includes 50% of U.S. voters who strongly favor repeal.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters nationwide finds 38% still oppose repeal, including 32% who strongly oppose it.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Trigger

"While the roots of the crisis were global, it was securitized US subprime mortgages that served as the crisis' immediate trigger. The surge in demand for mortgage-backed securities was heavily driven by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were pressed by the department of Housing and Urban Development and the Congress to expand affordable housing commitments. The enormity of these purchases was not revealed until Fannie Mae in September 2009 reclassified a large part of its prime mortgages securities portfolio as subprime." -Alan Greenspan

Phoney Premise

Newsweek's Lisa Miller is the magazine's go-to secular scribbler when it comes to matters religious. Whenever I gloss over her predictable articles on religion, I'm left with a feeling of "sigh" or, to quote Reagan, "There you go again.". For her latest piece, it is sufficient to read the title and subtitle to catch her drift: The Trouble with Celibacy: In Africa, Catholicism's best growth market, many priests have little use for Rome's chastity mandate.

As noted in the article by George Weigel a few posts down, celibacy has nothing to do with the scandal. The statistics demonstrate this convincingly. Miller's screed is nothing but a hackneyed, misleading hit piece launched at the Church in a time of vulnerability, when cheap shots are easy. Like many of her myopic peers in the media elite, Miller is incapable of discerning anything worthwhile in the celibate life. She is your typical, dry secularist feigning erudition, yet whose mind is congenitally incapable of expanding beyond the boundaries of the rehashed liberal talking points of the day.

Joining the priesthood is a choice made by the individual responding to a call from God. He takes a solemn vow of celibacy, and does so before God. If he fails in adhering to the requisites of the vow, that is solely his problem, not the Church's. A man who violates a vow has his own set of problems. Miller should at least acknowledge this before wasting ink on her pre-packaged and premise-errant commentary about celibacy. The Church doesn't force anyone into the priesthood. But once someone decides to commit, it is his duty to follow through with the stipulations. It's not all that complicated, really.

New Life


The Saint Louis Today featured a nice story about the rebirth of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, an iconic German-gothic church located in Saint Louis.
Instead of tearing down the building, then-Archbishop Raymond Burke decided to turn St. Francis de Sales over to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, an order dedicated to the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass.

Instead of a neighborhood parish, St. Francis de Sales became an oratory, the place where Catholics could come for celebration of the 1,600-year-old Latin liturgy.

The traditional Mass, thick with pageantry, was largely set aside by the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. It's longer and more formal than the modern Mass and in a dead language, but some area Catholics want the option. That gave St. Francis de Sales a new lease on life.
This article offers yet another worthy defense of the Holy Father, and also gives a review of the unfair attacks on him since becoming pope.

The Passion of Pope Benedict:
A second wave of accusations against Pope Benedict depicts him as an enemy of modern reason, and in particular of its supreme expression, science. The peak of this hostile campaign was reached in January of 2008, when professors forced the pope to cancel a visit to the main university of his diocese, the University of Rome "La Sapienza."

And yet – as previously in Regensburg and then in Paris at the Collège des Bernardins on September 12, 2008 – the speech that the pope intended to give at the University of Rome was a formidable defense of the indissoluble connection between faith and reason, between truth and freedom: "I do not come to impose the faith, but to call for courage for the truth."

The paradox is that Benedict XVI is a great "illuminist" in an age in which the truth has so few admirers and doubt is in command, to the point of wanting to silence the truth.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Beware of Radicals

Regarding the selection of Archbishop Jose Gomez to take over as Los Angeles' next archbishop, a news heading from the Telegraph reads as follows:

Pope's 'revenge' as LA gets Opus Dei bishop

A member of the radically-orthodox Catholic group Opus Dei has been appointed as the new Archbishop of Los Angeles.

It's risible, really. It's not sufficient to say simply "Catholic group" or even "traditional Catholic group"...no, we need to use "radically-orthodox" to describe Opus Dei. So predictable, the press.

Wear a Crucifix, Lose Your Job


From the Telegraph:
Shirley Chaplin, 54, took the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital to an employment tribunal, claiming that taking off a necklace bearing a crucifix would ''violate her faith''.

The trust said the move was not specifically about the crucifix, but about health and safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces.

John Hollow, the chairman of the employment tribunal panel, found against Mrs Chaplin, who had worn the emblem throughout her 30 years as a nurse.

Mr Hollow ruled the trust had acted in a ''reasonable'' manner in trying to reach a compromise.

He said the damage to her was ''slight'' and noted that wearing a crucifix was not a requirment of the Christian faith.

In a 71-point statement, Mrs Chaplin, who wore the crucifix to the hearing in her home city of Exeter, said she was ''personally convicted'' to wear the emblem, given to her as a confirmation gift in 1971.

She said: ''I have been a nurse for roughly 30 years and throughout that time I have worn my crucifix. The crucifix is an exceptionally important expression of my faith and my belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

''To deliberately remove or hide my crucifix or to treat it disrespectfully would violate my faith.''

As for "health and safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces", who really believes that?

False Charges

From National Review Online:
On the afternoon of Saturday, March 20, three members of the Congressional Black Caucus claim they were accosted by tea-party protestors while attempting to enter the Capitol. Reps. Andre Carson (D., Ind.) and John Lewis (D., Ga.) say they were called “n***er” repeatedly, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D., Mo.) says he was spat upon.

Quite naturally, the mainstream media pounced on this story of Lewis, a bona-fide civil-rights hero, enduring a “chorus of epithets” at the hands of a seething tea-party mob, and reported it as if it were gospel.

But the incident wasn’t observed fact, it was media hearsay. And in the weeks since the story broke it, has not been backed up by a single piece of documentary evidence. This is why BigGovernment.com’s Andrew Breitbart, who has a standing offer of $100,000 to the man who can produce definitive evidence that the slurs happened, probably won’t have to pay up anytime soon.

Now, reflecting upon the gravity of the implications of this story, i.e., that elected representatives shamelessly LIED about being on the receiving end of racial epithets, this should be a significant story in the media...but it isn't. Hopefully, more attention will be focused on this scandal in the weeks ahead. They cannot be allowed to get away with this.

Absolutely Correct

From the Associated Press:
(AP) The Vatican is ratcheting up its counterattack against accusations that Pope Benedict XVI helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests to save the church's reputation.

Senior cardinals in Rome are decrying what they depict as an anti-Catholic "hate" campaign that they say is related to the fact that Benedict is leading church opposition to same-sex marriage.

Vatican Radio on Tuesday quoted Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, a Holy See official, as saying the church must pardon its attackers for what he called "hatred against the Catholic church."

Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, who heads a Vatican disciplinary commission, says the pope is being attacked because of his stands against abortion and same-sex marriage.

Herranz is quoted as saying powerful lobbies want to impose a different agenda.
Emphasis added.

And Cardinal Herranz is 100% on the money here. Let's be honest about what's going on. These two lobbies in particular, in their most militantly active quarters, operate with a mafia-like ferocity and fury. They are implacable and ruthless.

Do the Tea Parties Foment Violence?

That is the connotation that the left in America hopes to pin on the movement, in an effort to discredit all involved. But is this a fair claim? Not according to Michael Knox Beran, who has emerged as one of my favorite commentators on the day's happenings. He brings an impressive command of history to the discussion of contemporary politics and cultural currents. Here's an excerpt from his latest piece, appearing in National Review Online. He takes on those who link the tea party movement to the "angry mob."

The Roots of Violence: blame the social state, not the tea parties
Violence was once the law of politics. In The Growth of Political Stability in England, J. H. Plumb observed that “conspiracy and rebellion, treason and plot” were commonplace in 17th-century England. Yet by 1730, the kingdom was tranquil, and “Englishmen were congratulating themselves on their tolerance.”

Politics became pacific, in England and America, because the Whiggish revolutions of 1688 and 1776 vindicated the principle that neither life, nor liberty, nor property can be taken by the state without due process of law. The American patriots — who knew that the power to tax is the power to destroy — further refined this formula for domestic peace by insisting that there can be no taxation without representation. Where these principles prevail, politics is as a rule peaceful. The victors in a political struggle cannot proscribe their opponents; the losers need not resort to violence to save themselves.

Monday, April 05, 2010

"More Catholic, Not Less"


In this well-reasoned article appearing in Newsweek, George Weigel hits back at critics of the Church's position on celibacy.
As for doctrine: what ought to be obvious about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is that these grave sins and crimes were acts of infidelity, denials of the truths the church teaches. A priest who takes seriously the vows of his ordination is not a sexual abuser or predator. And if a bishop takes seriously his ordination oath to shepherd the Lord's flock, he will always put the safety of the Master's little ones ahead of concerns about public scandal. Catholic Lite is not the answer to what has essentially been a crisis of fidelity...

What is essential throughout the world, however, is that the church become more Catholic, not less. John Paul II's "Theology of the Body" proposed an understanding of faithful and fruitful human love as an icon of God's inner life. That vision is far nobler, far more compelling, and far more humane than the sex-as-contact-sport teaching of the sexual revolution, the principal victims of which seem to be vulnerable young people. Those who are genuinely committed to the protection of the young might ponder whether Catholicism really needs to become Catholic Lite—or whether the Augean stables of present-day culture need a radical cleansing.
Here's an excerpt from an excellent article entitled The Dictatorship of Relativism Strikes Back-and Goes Nuclear:
Clearly, the Modernists who surged forth to theological dominance in the wake of Vatican II have never forgiven Ratzinger for his “betrayal” of their cause; in their books (literally, in the case of Küng’s interminable memoirs) he is and remains a cross between Brutus and Judas Iscariot. At least some of his media woes are attributable to the Modernists’ insatiable thirst for revenge for, say, his pointed critique of Gaudium et spes written ten years after the close of the Council. But these pages of sober commentary are surely sweet music to orthodox Lutheran ears. Yes, Vatican II was infected by the dementedly schwärmerisch optimism of the Kennedy era (Principles of Catholic Theology, 372; 383). Yes, Gaudium et spes considers the “world” a positive entity, with which it seeks dialogue and cooperation with a view to building jointly with it a better global state of affairs (Principles, 379f.). Had he lived much longer, Hermann Sasse, who was careful to register both the strengths and the weaknesses of Vatican II, would surely have added his Yea and Amen to Ratzinger’s analysis of Gaudium et spes.

Fake Hate Can Be Useful

Columnist Mark Steyn, writing for The Corner:
On March 20th, something truly extraordinary happened. On the eve of the health care vote, a group of black Democrat Congressmen (eschewing the private tunnels they usually use to cross from their offices to the Capitol) chose to walk en masse through a crowd of protesters, confident that the knuckledragging Tea Party goons they and their media pals have reviled for a year now would respond with racial epithets.

And then, when the crowd didn't, the black Congressmen made it up anyway. Representative Andre Carson (Democrat, Indiana) insisted he heard the N-word 15 times. He's either suffering from the same condition as that Guam-flipper from Georgia, or he's a liar. At a scene packed not only with crews from the Dem poodle media but with a gazillion cellphone cameras, not one single N-word has been caught on audio. (By contrast, see my post yesterday for how easy it is to get it on tape when real epithets are flying.)...

But that's what the Democratic Party has been reduced to - faking hate crimes as pathetically as any lonely, mentally ill college student. Congressmen Carson, Lewis, Cleaver and the rest have turned themselves into the Congressional equivalent of the Duke University stripper. Except that they're not some penniless loser but a group of important, influential lifetime legislators enjoying all the privileges and perquisites of power, and in all probability acting at the behest of the Democrat leadership.

Isn't that what societies with functioning media used to call "a story"?

Apparently not. As they did at Duke, the brain-dead press went along with it - and so, predictably enough, did much of the Republican leadership.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Defending the Pope


George Weigel penned a strong defense of the Holy Father in First Things. Here's an excerpt:
Yet in a pattern exemplifying the dog’s behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line. For the narrative that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today) than it is about taking the Church down—and, eventually, out, both financially and as a credible voice in the public debate over public policy.
Emphasis added

The Survivor

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Thoughts for Today

Jonah Goldberg has a nice piece appearing in National Review Online about money, oil, health care and Obama.
Obama and his Democratic successors will keep trying to squeeze the rich to pay for their schemes. But that won’t raise anything close to the revenue they need. They’ll try for a value-added tax, which will raise lots of money but also stifle growth. Eventually, if they want to avoid bankruptcy and keep the welfare state afloat, never mind pay for all of these environmental white elephants, they’ll need more revenue, and that’s where oil comes in.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Church-Mosque-Cathedral (in that order)


From the Associated Press:
MADRID - A group of Muslims tried to pray inside a Roman Catholic cathedral that was originally a mosque and then scuffled with security guards and police who tried to stop them, a Spanish official said Friday.

Two of the tourists were arrested after the incident Wednesday night in the southern city of Cordoba and a police officer and a cathedral security guard were slightly injured, National Police spokeswoman Rosa Ortiz told The Associated Press.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba was built after the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 8th century. Cordoba is known as the City of Three Cultures because Muslims, Jews and Christians lived there in harmony during medieval times.

A friend who visited the cathedral informed me that the article fails to mention that the mosque was actually built on top of a fifth-century Roman church. The old mosaics can still be seen. So how far back do we want to go with this? Let's see Divine Liturgy return to Hagia Sophia. Then we'll talk.

The once-greatest church in Christendom was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Now, it's a museum.

53%

According to a new CBS News Poll, 53% of Americans are opposed to the new health care law.
The public is increasingly skeptical of the health care reform bill signed into law last week, a new CBS News poll shows.

More Americans now disapprove of the legislation, and many expect their costs to rise and the quality of their care to worsen; few expect the reforms to help them.
From CBS News:
Last week, President Obama signed historic health care reform legislation into law -- but his legislative success doesn't seem to have helped his image with the American public.

The latest CBS News Poll, conducted between March 29 and April 1, found Americans unhappier than ever with Mr. Obama's handling of health care - and still worried about the state of the economy.

President Obama's overall job approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 44 percent, down five points from late March, just before the health bill's passage in the House of Representatives. It's down 24 points since his all-time high last April. Forty-one percent of those polled said they disapproved of the president's performance.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Starting Today


Learn more about the powerful Novena to Divine Mercy here.

"During these nine days I want you to lead souls to the Fount of My Mercy, in order that they may draw from it strength, refreshment and all the graces they need in the trials of their lives, especially at the hour of death. Each day you will lead a different group of souls and immerse them in the sea of My Mercy. Each day You will beseech the Father through My Bitter Passion for graces for these souls." - Christ to Saint Faustina