Friday, September 30, 2011

Catholic Cuba

La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre

After decades of trying, Communism could not snuff out Catholicism in Cuba. From TIME:
It's been a year of resurrection for Cuba's Roman Catholic Church. Last November, it opened a new seminary - the first since Fidel Castro's communist revolution all but shut down the church 50 years ago. In May, Cuba's bishops finished brokering the release of 115 political prisoners. Though education is strictly the role of the regime, Catholic dioceses have been able to expand their training of teachers, civic leaders and entrepreneurs - they even offer that iconic capitalist degree, the M.B.A. A statue of Cuba's Catholic patroness, La Virgen de la Caridad (Our Lady of Charity), is being hailed by large, devoted crowds as it tours the island before her 400th anniversary next year. "It demonstrates a spiritual desire in Cubans," Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Cuba's top prelate, told me. It is, he adds, "a return to God."

"Obama Grammar"

From The Washington Times:
Strategery, misunderestimated, refudiate: former President George W. Bush and Sarah Palin have been chastised by journalists and academes for their inventive language and occasional grammatical gaffes for years. Now it is President Obama’s turn. Here comes “Obama Grammar: Using the President’s Bloopers to Improve Your English,” a new book that parses Mr. Obama’s command of the language, or lack thereof.

“The first wordsmith is, in fact, an occasional stem-winder who is grammatically challenged,” says author and Harvard-educated historian William Proctor, who pored over 3,000 pages of the president’s official speeches and remarks. He’s convinced that Americans — particularly students — can learn a little something from Mr. Obama.

“His speeches reveal that at this point, he is simply not in the same rhetorical-grammatical league as a Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan,” Mr. Proctor says.

Coming Up Short

From The Hill:
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, at the moment, Democrats in Congress don’t have the votes to pass President Obama’s jobs bill, but Durbin added that that situation would change.

“Not at the moment, I don’t think we do, but, uh, we can work on it,” Durbin said, according to Chicago radio station WLS.

The Next Assault on Marriage

From Reuters:
'Til 2013 do us part? Mexico mulls 2-year marriage

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico City lawmakers want to help newlyweds avoid the hassle of divorce by giving them an easy exit strategy: temporary marriage licenses.

Leftists in the city's assembly -- who have already riled conservatives by legalizing gay marriage -- proposed a reform to the civil code this week that would allow couples to decide on the length of their commitment, opting out of a lifetime.

Moral Madness


Another reason, on an ever-growing list of reasons, for a new Commander in Chief. From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains may perform same-sex unions, whether on or off a military installation.

The ruling announced Friday by the Pentagon's personnel chief follows the Sept. 20 repeal of a law that had prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

One can only sympathize with the military, as our president has decided to disarm it from the relentless siege of the gay 'rights' movement. Anyone with the slightest familiarity with the rank and file in the armed forces knows that those on the front lines, and not at desk jobs, are overwhelmingly opposed to this nonsense. And yet, those legitimate concerns are cast aside by a president and a well-funded political apparatchik that misconstrue any objection as a sign of manifest bigotry and hatred.

Here's an excerpt from an intelligent article I've cited before on this subject. It is becoming harder to locate online, which is why I'm glad I have it saved from a previous post.
But let's address the broadest question: Why prohibit open homosexual service at all? Congress provided the answer in 1993, when it passed the current law: "Homosexuality is incompatible with military service and presents a risk to the morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that underpin military effectiveness."

An important element of war is "friction," which Clausewitz described as "the only concept that more or less corresponds to the factors that distinguish real war from war on paper." Clausewitz's friction describes the cumulative effect of the small, often unnoticeable events that are amplified in war, producing unanticipated macro-effects. Military effectiveness aims at reducing the impact of friction and other obstacles to success on the battlefield.

Most research has shown unit cohesion is critical to military effectiveness and battlefield success. The key to cohesion is what the Greeks called philia--friendship, comradeship, or brotherly love. Philia is the bond among disparate individuals who have nothing in common but facing death and misery together. Its importance has been described by J. Glenn Gray in The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle:

Numberless soldiers have died, more or less willingly, not for country or honor or religious faith or for any other abstract good, but because they realized that by fleeing their posts and rescuing themselves, they would expose their companions to greater danger. Such loyalty to the group is the essence of fighting morale. The commander who can preserve and strengthen it knows that all other physical and psychological factors are little in comparison. The feeling of loyalty, it is clear, is the result, not the cause, of comradeship. Comrades are loyal to each other spontaneously and without any need for reasons.

The presence of open homosexuals (and women) in the close confines of ships or military units opens the possibility that eros will be unleashed into an environment based on philia, creating friction and corroding the very source of military excellence itself. It does so by undermining the non-sexual bonding essential to unit cohesion as described by Gray. Unlike philia, eros is sexual, and therefore individual and exclusive. Eros manifests itself as sexual competition, protectiveness, and favoritism, all of which undermine order, discipline, and morale. These are issues of life and death, and help to explain why open homosexuality and homosexual behavior traditionally have been considered incompatible with military service. ~Ask, tell, whatever? Gays-in-the-military by MacKubin Thomas Owens

Saint Jerome


Carvaggio's Saint Jerome

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Explaining the Black Vote


From CNN:
Washington (CNN) - The one African-American running for the GOP presidential nomination said Wednesday the black community was 'brainwashed' for traditionally siding with liberal politicians.

"African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view," Cain said on CNN's "The Situation Room" in an interview airing Wednesday between 5-7 p.m. ET. "I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it's just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple."

Of course, Cain is right on the money.

Facebook Is Big Brother

An excerpt from a fascinating editorial appearing in the Chicago Tribune:
Rolling out now, a new "Timeline" format promises to document the entire history of our lives, or as much of it as we're willing to share — and we generally share too much. The look of Facebook is about to change, and our profiles will turn into slick digital scrapbooks. "It's your life," proclaimed Zuckerberg from the stage of Facebook's annual f8 developers conference, where he flashed tantalizing details of his own life ("first road trip with my girlfriend!") to wow the crowd — and some 80,000 people watching on a live stream.

The Timeline will likely appeal to the narcissist in most of us, but it's another new feature that marks the real sobering crossroads. As you provide all of your Timeline life data, new "Open Graph" apps, Zuckerberg said, will expand the notion of sharing for a "frictionless user experience."

... in the very near Facebook future, much of what you do online — listen to music, watch videos, read news stories — will be available directly through Facebook. One-stop shopping, or listening or viewing. That's convenient. But Facebook, mostly through your "likes" — and with its growing list of partners, including Netflix, Spotify and The Washington Post — will track all of your shopping, listening and viewing and identify patterns so that it can suggest more things to buy, listen to or view.

Then, because this is a social network, all of your shopping, listening and viewing will be announced immediately to your friends.

Swept up by the feel-good effects of "friends" and "like" buttons, 750 million of us have unwittingly allowed a business model that relies on our giving away information and then celebrating the "free" access we have to it.

The things we surrender in the name of convenience...

Call Off the Elections!

Times are tough for the Democrats. Solution? Do away with those obtrusive elections! The other day, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue (Democrat) suggested that congressional elections be suspended for two years, get this, so that representatives can focus on the economy. Her press team later claimed that she was joking. Right. Listen for yourself. There's no hint of levity.

The Prospects for Big Government

From Nile Gardiner, writing for the Telegraph:
The United States is undergoing one of the biggest political revolutions in its post-war history, and perhaps the most important since Ronald Reagan, with an emphatic rejection of the idea that government knows best when it comes to handling key domestic issues, especially relating to the economy. President Obama, whose administration has practically worshipped at the trough of big government, looks spectacularly out of touch with a clear majority of the American people. The highly interventionist liberal experiment of the last two and a half years has been a spectacular failure, with 14 million Americans out of work, sliding consumer confidence, collapsing house prices, and falling stock markets.

This is why Barack Obama could well end up being the last big government president of the United States, a nation that simply cannot afford the lavish excesses of an imperious presidency that drains the pay-checks of hard-working Americans with impunity and reckless abandon. ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Slow Is Good

According to James Madison, legislative gridlock is a vital feature in our system of government that serves to minimize the hazards of consolidation.

A well-written piece, from William Bennett, writing for CNN:
Critics of the tea party lay the blame on them as the do-nothing obstructionists. But unlike the events we saw in Madison, Wisconsin, the tea party has slowed and even reversed the course of Washington all within the bounds of the political system. Other critics of the tea party have gone so far as to label their resistance to President Obama's agenda as racist, most recently actor Morgan Freeman. Those accusations do nothing to help improve the national debate and "fix" Washington. It is odd, too, when the tea party just helped Herman Cain surge to victory in Florida's latest straw poll.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Fall

From Politico:
A majority of Americans say Barack Obama is “about the same” or “worse” than George W. Bush as a president, says a new poll out Friday.

Asked to compare President Obama to former president George W. Bush, 56 percent said that Obama was either “worse” (34 percent) or “about the same” (22 percent) than Bush, said a USA Today/Gallup poll.

Checking Hair for Bombs

I couldn't resist sharing this one.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, September 22, 2011

House of Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton's house, then...

and now

A great story from DNAinfo.com:
HARLEM—Five years after it was shuttered and relocated, the National Park Service will reopen Hamilton Grange, the home of Alexander Hamilton, one of the nation's founding fathers.

The Grange, built in 1802, originally stood on Hamilton's 34-acre estate on the site of what would eventually become West 143rd Street. As the street grid developed, the house was moved in 1889 to save it from demolition. The Federalist-style home was moved again in 2008 to the southeast corner of St. Nicholas Park at West 141st Street.

The once-neglected building, which underwent a meticulous $14.5 million renovation that restored many of the home's historical elements, will open to the public Saturday. The home has been restored to resemble as closely as possible what Hamilton would have seen for the two years he lived in the home, including the original paint colors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The U.N. Speech

The reviews are in, and they're pretty bad. From the Telegraph's Nile Gardiner:
The president’s speech was hopelessly naive in parts, with constant reference to the ideals of the United Nations, despite the world body’s appalling track record from Rwanda to the Balkans, and endless rhetoric about why “peace is hard work”. While extolling the dream of a nuclear-free world, the Iranian nuclear crisis received only a cursory mention from the president, despite the imminent threat of a nuclear-armed genocidal rogue state emerging in the Middle East. There was no indication given today that the Obama administration will stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his relentless drive to build Tehran into a regional superpower. ...

A world without strong American leadership should be unthinkable, but under the current US presidency we already getting a taste of it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Billionaire and His Secretary

An excerpt from an excellent editorial from National Review:
Mr. Obama and his favorite campaign underwriter, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, have tried to bring in a bumper crop of political hay out of the fact that Mr. Buffett alleges that he pays taxes at a lower effective rate than does his secretary. There’s rather less to that than meets the eye: Mr. Buffett, the third-wealthiest man currently walking the earth, pays himself a salary of only $100,000 a year, and says his secretary earns around $60,000. ... Mr. Buffett pays no taxes on dividends accruing to the many shares of stock he holds in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, simply because the firm does not pay a dividend, while most of his personal wealth has been put into a trust. Each of those facts — the relatively low salary, the lack of dividend payments on Berkshire Hathaway shares, the trust — is part of a calculated strategy to avoid paying taxes. While we do begrudge Mr. Buffett his ridiculous moral posturing, we do not begrudge him the benefit of such allowances as the tax code affords: Mr. Buffett, after all, did not write the tax laws. And he shouldn’t start writing them now.

Facts and Taxes

Surprising objectivity from the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.

"Middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires," Obama said Monday. "That's pretty straightforward. It's hard to argue against that."

The data tell a different story. On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Against the Buffett Tax


An excellent read from the New York Post:
A “soak the rich” plan makes no sense in under current economic conditions. Soaking the only people left with disposable income to spend and keep working-class Americans working is one of the dumber things you can do at a time when you need the rich to spend more, not less.

In the real world, millionaires react the same way everyone else does when they have less disposable income: They cut back.

And “millionaires” often own the same small businesses that the president vows he wants to help to expand so they can hire more workers.

How does hitting small-businesses owners --whose profits often get taxed at personal-income rates -- with even more taxes incentivize them to hire more workers?

The Threats We Face


Here's an excerpt from Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki's latest article:
Blessed John Paul II was a true champion for the dignity of the human person. As a society we have diminished our protection of human life. It is a fact that we are only as secure in our rights as is the most vulnerable in our society. Blessed John Paul II implored us to create a culture of life and reject the culture of death. He challenged us to understand the evils of abortion, contraception, euthanasia and neglect of the poor. He reminded us that these evils can be rationalized, treating the human person as a commodity, a means to an end and ignoring the inherent dignity in each individual. Since 1973 well over 50 million children have been aborted. Contraception has increased promiscuity, objectified women and devalued human sexuality. Euthanasia under the guise of compassion has been increasing as a means in order to end human life and remove the burden experienced by those caring for the sick and elderly. The percentages of the poor seem to be increasing while at the same time we decrease our governmental commitment to education and health care. We do not hear from our political leaders concern for human life.

Roundtable on Economy, etc.

An interesting conversation.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Friday, September 16, 2011

Venetian Life


Here's a charming piece by Christopher Howse on a beautiful Catholic tradition in Venice. Appearing in the Telegraph, it serves as a great reminder of the select countries in the world that have centuries of Catholic history, traditions and culture backing them up.
A phalanx of Venetians advanced over the bridge of boats, their red, blue and black umbrellas raised against a passing shower. From the far side of the Grand Canal they looked like a testudo, the ancient Roman military formation for storming a gateway under a shelter of shields.

The good-natured jostling crowd was set on one target – to visit the monumental domed church of the Salute on its great annual feast on November 21. It was for this that the temporary bridge had been set up, as it has been each year since 1631, when Venice was freed from a plague.

Land of Luther


From Reuters:
ERFURT, Germany (Reuters) - Indifference, irritation and, inevitably, protest will likely mark a papal trip to the former East Germany that includes an historic meeting in the one-time home of Martin Luther to find ways Catholics and Protestants can work together to save Germany's soul. ...

But unlike in the Rhineland and his native Bavaria, where Catholic majorities ensured him a warm homecoming on his two previous visits to Germany as pope, the 84-year-old Joseph Ratzinger will encounter deep suspicion in eastern Germany, an area traditionally Protestant but now mostly atheist after four decades of Communism.

Much of what is written in this article is true, i.e., the high degree of atheism in Germany, the indifference of many to the Holy Father's visit there, etc., but the tone is dripping with contempt and suspicion of the Pope. I cannot imagine a similar article appearing about a prominent Muslim or Jewish leader.

Top 30 in Milwaukee


Three Brothers Restaurant in Milwaukee

For local readers, Carol Deptolla highlights her choices for fine dining in Milwaukee's Top 30 Restaurants for 2011. I can vouch for a number of these, which are excellent (Three Brothers, La Merenda, Le RĂªve Patisserie & Cafe, and Ristorante Bartolotta, but I've got some work to do on the others...). One idea I've tossed around with a couple friends is to start a Milwaukee restaurant blog one of these days. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paul Ryan on Fixing the Tax Code

Informative. Of course, I can't help thinking that he should have run for the WH.

Slippery Slope

From the Telegraph:
Under new guidelines brought in by the department of foreign affairs, Australians can now mark M, F or X on their passports.

Previously, the government had required a person whose gender was different from that of their birth to have reassignment surgery before they could change their passport to their preferred sex, and there was no "indeterminate" option.

Now they will simply need a letter from their doctor to be allowed to mark X on the document.

The move was brought in to prevent discrimination against transgendered people.

On Divorce

Pat Robertson, an Evangelical loose cannon and soi-disant Scripture scholar, made a stunning and cruel statement about divorce and Alzheimer's disease.

From the Associated Press:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his "700 Club" viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's is justifiable because the disease is "a kind of death."

During the portion of the show where the one-time Republican presidential candidate takes questions from viewers, Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.

"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said. ...

"If you respect that vow, you say 'til death do us part,'" Robertson said during the Tuesday broadcast. "This is a kind of death."

Isn't that the same argument pushed by those advocating euthanasia? "They're practically dead anyway, so..."

Sadly, since most people and Christian denominations are more or less okay with divorce, this probably won't cause as much controversy as some of Robertson's other controversial gaffes that infuriated the left and baffled Catholics. Nonetheless, at a time when marriage is already under heavy assault, it's deeply disappointing that someone who is generally on the right side of the life and family issues would so carelessly shoot from the hip. Chalk it up to yet another case of the flawed fruits of Protestant exegesis, and to rank stupidity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Liberal Schvitzing Over 2012

A look at the Jewish vote and the growing alarm on the left, from the Telegraph:
Like every other religious group, the Jewish vote has splintered between liberals and conservatives. Liberals rarely attend temple and regard themselves as ethnically rather than theologically Jewish. Conservatives are part of an Orthodox revival that has shifted a significant proportion of the community to the Right. Democratic candidate Weprin was hurt by the fact that he had voted to legalise gay marriage in New York assembly. He had also expressed support for the mosque being built near Ground Zero in Manhattan. Jewish Weprin wore his ethnic identity on his sleeve. Yet Orthodox Jews cast their votes for the Catholic Bob Turner instead.

The New York shock confirms that Obama is weak on economic policy and that his electoral coalition is splitting.

Outreach


From the Associated Press:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican told a group of breakaway traditional Catholics on Wednesday that they must accept some core church teachings if they want to be brought back into the Roman Catholic fold.

The Vatican didn't say what the teachings were, however, and a top official of the group recently made clear that it remains opposed to the church's decades-long outreach to Jews, Muslims and members of other faiths.

The Vatican's chief doctrinal official, Cardinal William Levada, met with the head of the Society of St. Pius X, the latest in Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to reconcile with the group opposed to the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

D Day

This is huge. A seat in Congress flipped from blue to red for the first time since 1923. From Politico:
HOWARD BEACH, N.Y. — The Democratic Party’s rare loss of a congressional seat in its urban heartland Tuesday, accompanied by a blowout defeat in a Nevada special election, marked the latest in a string of demoralizing setbacks that threatened to deepen the party’s crisis of confidence and raise concerns about President Barack Obama’s political fortunes.

In New York, Republican Bob Turner soundly defeated Democrat David Weprin in a House contest that – in the view of party leaders, at least — featured an anemic urban machine, distracted labor unions, and disloyal voters. In Nevada, a consequential state for the president’s re-election strategy, Democrats suffered a runaway loss rooted in a weak showing in Reno’s Washoe County, a key bellwether.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Salvaging the Wreckage

Check out this well-written piece, Obama's Strategy of Silence, by Grace-Marie Turner, on the likely modus operandi, under way at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Pascal's Conclusion


"Not only do we only know God through Jesus Christ, but we only know ourselves through Jesus Christ; we only know life and death through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ we cannot know the meaning of our life, or our death, of God or of ourselves." -Blaise Pascal

Monday, September 12, 2011

What We Already Knew

A father's touch

Fathers are relevant after all. Who knew? From the Telegraph:
Men 'biologically wired' to care for children

Men are "biologically wired" to be fathers - not just to father children - according to authors of a study which found testosterone falls when a baby arrives.
...
Christopher Kuzawa, a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern, and a co-author of the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: "Humans are unusual among mammals in that our offspring are dependent upon older individuals for feeding and protection for more than a decade.

"Raising human offspring is such an effort that it is cooperative by necessity, and our study shows that human fathers are biologically wired to help with the job."

I love it when the world's smartest tell us common folk, in their sterile, clinical patois, the obvious.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

2012 Jitters


From The New York Times:
Democrats are expressing growing alarm about President Obama’s re-election prospects and, in interviews, are openly acknowledging anxiety about the White House’s ability to strengthen the president’s standing over the next 14 months. . . .

And in a campaign cycle in which Democrats had entertained hopes of reversing losses from last year’s midterm elections, some in the party fear that Mr. Obama’s troubles could reverberate down the ballot into Congressional, state and local races.

“In my district, the enthusiasm for him has mostly evaporated,” said Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon. “There is tremendous discontent with his direction.”

Friday, September 09, 2011

On Being Catholic

From the Associated Press:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Incoming Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput doesn't want the Roman Catholic church to lose members.

But he says it's not the place for so-called "cafeteria Catholics" who don't accept all of its teachings.

Chaput has condemned the University of Notre Dame for bestowing an award on President Obama, who supports abortion rights, and thinks Catholic politicians with the same beliefs should not take Holy Communion.

"If they don't believe what the church teaches, they're not really Catholic," Chaput told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday, two days before his installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

Newt Responds to Obama

Excellent.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Aussie P.C.

Saint Mary's Cathedral in Sydney
From the Telegraph:
Australian Christians are furious over changes to the national curriculum that will drop the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) from text books, replacing them with neutral, non-religious language. 
Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, said that taking references to the birth of Jesus Christ out of school books was an “intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history” that he likened it to calling Christmas “the festive season”. “It is absurd because the coming of Christ remains the centre point of dating and because the phrase ‘common era’ is meaningless and misleading,” he told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Debunking the "Tax the Rich" Trope


An excellent, timely piece by Daniel Hannan, writing for the Telegraph: Five reasons not to introduce wealth taxes (I like # 3).
3. Wealth taxes make us all poorer. Ronald Reagan, with his gift for drawing profound lessons from seemingly banal statements, pointed out that when governments subsidise things, they get generally more of them, and when they tax them, they generally get less. Politicians are happy to accept this logic when it comes to taxing, say, carbon emissions, but not when it comes to taxing enterprise. Just as taxes on smoking reduce smoking, so taxes on wealth reduce, you know, wealth. To extend the Gipper’s logic, if you tax rich people in order to subsidise poor people, you end up with fewer rich people and more poor people.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Real Obama


An excerpt from an excellent article by Shelby Steele that appeared in The Wall Street Journal:
...there is something more than inexperience or lack of character that defines this presidency: Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-'60s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism. In this liberalism America's exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil—an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world. And therefore America's greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom.

Right on.

"Yes, dear friends, God loves us. This is the great truth of our life; it is what makes everything else meaningful. We are not the product of blind chance or absurdity; instead our life originates as part of a loving plan of God. To abide in his love, then, means living a life rooted in faith, since faith is more than the mere acceptance of certain abstract truths: it is an intimate relationship with Christ, who enables us to open our hearts to this mystery of love and to live as men and women conscious of being loved by God.

If you abide in the love of Christ, rooted in the faith, you will encounter, even amid setbacks and suffering, the source of true happiness and joy. Faith does not run counter to your highest ideals; on the contrary, it elevates and perfects those ideals. Dear young people, do not be satisfied with anything less than Truth and Love, do not be content with anything less than Christ."
- Pope Benedict XVI, 2011 World Youth Day

Truth and Flamboyance

Say what you will about Trump, but who can disagree with his observations?


"We have politicians and we have diplomats. And they add up to nothing."