Monday, January 30, 2012

"Theology is born when the arbitrary judgment of reason encounters a limit, in that we discover something which we have not excogitated ourselves but which has been revealed to us." ~Pope Benedict XVI, The Nature and Mission of Theology

Catholic QB

If you caught any of the Pro Bowl yesterday, you would have seen San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers playing for the AFC. He is also a committed Catholic.

And while we're on the subject of sports, check out this article from across the pond: Former Man United footballer to become a priest

Gathering Storm

Writing for National Review Online, James Capretta does a marvelous job of spelling out the many dangers stemming from the Obama Administration's appalling contraception mandate.
The decision last week by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reject the appeals of scores of religious leaders and retain a very narrow “religious” exemption from Obamacare’s so-called contraception mandate has ignited an uproar among Catholic leaders, as well it should — because it’s hard to fathom a government dictate more offensive than this one. ...

Not only must Catholics who work for non-Catholic employers pay for such products with their premiums, HHS also wants religious employers to cover such products in their health plans. Knowing that Catholic leaders and others would strongly object to this requirement, HHS included in the regulation issued last August a narrow exemption from this requirement for employers that are basically houses of worship. Much larger religiously affiliated institutions, such as Catholic universities, hospitals, and charitable enterprises, do not fit within the HHS exemption.

Read on...

And for information about an event featuring James Capretta, check out this link, from the Thomas International Center.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sticking Around

From the Associated Press:
A pair of doves seemed to prefer the company of Pope Benedict XVI to the great outdoors on Sunday when he had trouble convincing them to take flight in a traditional peace gesture.

The first dove hesitated on the windowsill of the pope's Vatican apartment for a long spell before flying off, while the second flew back into the room before flying out again.

"They want to stay in the pope's home," Benedict said, flanked by two children.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sending Out an S.O.S.

Calling in the big guns: Saint Michael the Archangel

From EWTN:
Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill. has asked parishes, schools, hospitals and religious houses to insert the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel into the intercessions at Sunday Mass to pray for Catholics’ freedom.

The move comes in response to a new federal requirement that will force many Catholic organizations to provide insurance coverage for sterilizations and contraceptives.

“It is God’s invincible Archangel who commands the heavenly host, and it is the enemies of God who will ultimately be defeated,” the bishop said in a Jan. 24 letter to the Catholics of his diocese.

Now that's more like it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Special Ops and the New Plan

Leaner, more surgical, and with less of a conspicuous footprint to serve as a target seems to be the modus operandi for future military action. My well-connected source, based on first-hand experience in the region, heartily approves this shift in tactic, as the numerous and extremely territorial tribes of Afghanistan instantaneously view any large, conspicuous foreign presence on their land as exclusively hostile, no matter what they are told to the contrary.

So be invisible.

From Army Times:
WASHINGTON — As traditional military operations are cut back, the Pentagon is moving to expand the worldwide reach of the U.S. Special Operations Command to strike back wherever threats arise, or better yet, enable local forces to do the job.

U.S. officials say the Pentagon and the White House have embraced a proposal by special operations chief Adm. Bill McRaven to send troops that are withdrawing from war zones to reinforce special operations units in areas somewhat neglected during the decade-long focus on al-Qaida. ...

The stepped-up global network would add top special operations personnel to these key global sites, better able to launch unilateral raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden — and the one Tuesday that rescued an American hostage and her Danish colleague, a headline that served to drive home President Barack Obama’s national security achievements in his first term, just as his State of the Union speech Tuesday unofficially launched his bid for a second term.


Here's to Saint Louis patriots. From the Associated Press:
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Since the Iraq War ended there has been little fanfare for the veterans returning home. No ticker-tape parades. No massive, flag-waving public celebrations.

So, two friends from St. Louis decided to change that. They sought donations, launched a Facebook page, met with the mayor and mapped a route. On Saturday, hundreds of veterans are expected to march in downtown St. Louis in the nation's first big welcome home parade since the last troops left Iraq in December.

"It struck me that there was this debate going on as to whether there should or shouldn't be a parade," said Tom Appelbaum, one of the organizers. "Instead of waiting around for somebody somewhere to say, 'Yes, let's have a parade,' we said, 'Let's just do it.'"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Conservative Sport

The UFC cage: a conservative's agora?

I've never watched a UFC fight, but I was intrigued by Arlen Delgado's case for making it the official sport for conservatives. She lists five reasons and they're all convincing. Here's number one:
Watch any UFC fight. It is conservatism, capitalism at its core, illustrated through a sport. There are no unions here; there are no safety nets (literally, yes; figuratively, no); there are no multi-year contracts and no guarantees regardless of outcome; in an age where liberals strive to downplay differences between genders, it boldly glorifies the alpha-male and warrior mentality; there is no team — it is all focused on the individual and his personal responsibility (Ayn Rand would be front and center at a fight). Its essence: two men in an octagon. He who works and fights hardest comes out on top. In other words, American meritocracy in its purest form.

Combat Evolution

From FoxNews:
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon plans to expand its global network of drones and special-operations bases in a fundamental realignment meant to project U.S. power, even as it cuts back conventional forces.

The plan, to be unveiled by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday and in budget documents next month, calls for a 30% increase in the U.S. fleet of armed unmanned aircraft in the coming years, defense officials said. It also foresees the deployment of more special-operations teams at a growing number of small "lily pad" bases across the globe where they can mentor local allies and launch missions.


From FoxNews
Vatican City – Pope Benedict XVI will donate a golden rose to the statue of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the patroness of Cuba, during his March 26-28 visit to the island, Cuban officials told Efe on Tuesday. ...

The golden rose will presumably be bestowed during the pope's visit to the patroness of Cuba at her sanctuary in El Cobre on the southwestern part of the island, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the finding of her statue.

John Paul II crowned Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as patroness of Cuba on Jan. 24, 1998, during a Mass attended by 200,000 faithful.

Read more on the history of the Golden Rose here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SEAL Mission

From CBSNews:
MOGADISHU, Somalia - U.S. Navy SEALs parachuted into Somalia under cover of darkness early Wednesday and crept up to an outdoor camp where an American woman and Danish man were being held hostage. Soon, nine kidnappers were dead and both hostages were freed. ...

Members of SEAL Team 6, though not necessarily the same ones who participated in the bin Laden operation, parachuted into Somalia and were engaged in a firefight as they neared the pirates' compound in Adado. U.S. officials told Martin that the kidnappers were armed and had explosives nearby.

The raiders came in quickly, catching the guards as they were sleeping after having chewed the narcotic leaf qat for much of the evening, a pirate who gave his name as Bile Hussein told The Associated Press by phone. Hussein said he was not present at the site but had spoken with other pirates who were, and that they told him nine pirates had been killed in the raid and three were "taken away."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Communicating with Silence

Very relevant reflections from the Holy Father's message for World Day of Communications:
Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. ...

Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelization: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church’s work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today’s world.

It's a good reminder everyone. Even in Church circles, there is sometimes an overemphasis on the dazzling effects of social media with all its potential, while silence, patience and the cultivation of those habits are overlooked.

Social media has its place, and the Holy Father has made that clear. At the same time, it cannot be ignored that inner silence and stillness, and the contemplative lifestyle that flows from these habits, run quite contrary to the sometimes frenzied demand for the flashy, the immediate and the instantaneous 'I need it now and I refuse to wait!' attitude that the social media bandwagon encourages.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Egypt Update

From Reuters:
CAIRO (Reuters) - The Muslim Brotherhood won by far the biggest share of seats allocated to party lists in Egypt's first freely-elected parliament in decades, final results confirmed, giving it a major role in drafting the country's new constitution.

Banned under former leader Hosni Mubarak and his predecessors, the Brotherhood has emerged as the winner from his overthrow. Islamists of various stripes have taken about two thirds of seats in the assembly, broadly in line with their own forecasts.

What does this mean for the country's already beleaguered Coptic Christians? Nothing good, I'm afraid.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lessons from Concordia

A few snippets from a well-written and timely piece by Mark Steyn, National Review Online:
On the Titanic, the male passengers gave their lives for the women and would never have considered doing otherwise. On the Costa Concordia, in the words of a female passenger, “There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboat.” After similar scenes on the MV Estonia a few years ago, Roger Kohen of the International Maritime Organization told Time magazine: “There is no law that says women and children first. That is something from the age of chivalry.” ...

And so the manly virtues (if you’ll forgive a quaint phrase) shrivel away to the so-called “man caves,” those sad little redoubts of beer and premium cable sports networks.

We are beyond social norms these days. A woman can be a soldier. A man can be a woman. A seven-year-old cross-dressing boy can join the Girl Scouts in Colorado because he “identifies” as a girl. It all adds to life’s rich tapestry, no doubt. But I can’t help wondering, when the ship hits the fan, how many of us will still be willing to identify as a man.

Friday, January 20, 2012


"Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States." ~Alexander Hamilton


"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens." ~George Washington


"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." ~John Adams

Cardinal Newman's Chapel

The Cardinal's Personal Chapel from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In the details

Here are some close-up shots of the stained glass windows at Saint Joseph Chapel in Milwaukee. They are all from Innsbruck, Austria.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anticipating the Pope in Cuba

From Reuters:
SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba (Reuters) - The Virgin of Charity of El Cobre is a gold-clothed, doll-like figurine which, according to Cuban legend, three fishermen found floating in a bay as Spain colonized the region with the sword and the cross.

She is Cuba's patron saint and Pope Benedict will visit her in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on March 26 to mark the 400th anniversary of her discovery.

Benedict's visit was agreed as the Catholic Church's relations with Cuba's communist-run state have improved in recent years.

On Chivalry

A great article by Ed West, appearing in the Telegraph:
One of the disturbing aspects of the sinking of the Costa Concordia is the implication that men barged past families to rescue themselves, rather than adhering to the convention of “women and children first”. This has already led people to question whether chivalry is dead, or whether we should still abide by this unofficial rule of the sea. ...

Yet as a means of creating a gentle and pleasant society chivalry is hard to beat. Readers of the Guardian newspaper are in two minds about the concept, many readers arguing that priority should be given not based on sex but on need (taking aside, of course, the practical issue that sometimes it is logistically not possible to give one group priority).

The problem with this system is that it inevitably leads us to start making value judgments about other human beings; so if, one assumes, a young person should have priority over the old because they have their life ahead of them, perhaps one could easily make the argument that a healthy person should have priority over the sick or the disabled. One could even argue that a newborn should be last because, under the Peter Singer ethical model, they are not fully sentient.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


An amazing discovery in Buffalo. From Buffalo News:
It traveled here from Rome, and then disappeared from view for nearly 100 years.

Now, a rare tapestry that has been found in Buffalo has become both a mystery and a symbol of enduring faith.

The artifact, which today hangs in the sacristy of St. Joseph's Cathedral, contains the relics of saints of the old Roman Catholic calendar: 365 of them.

But the reliquary's wonders do not stop there.

A translation of the Latin inscriptions around the reliquary's central image of a cross — bearing the motto "In Hoc Vinces," or "In this [sign] you conquer" — reveals that relics at the center of the tapestry purport to be relics of the life and Passion of Jesus Christ himself.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Taking Credit

From ABCNews:
HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Appearing for the first time on the stump for Mitt Romney, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton delivered a blistering review of President Obama’s foreign policy, accusing the Commander-in-Chief of unfairly taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“You know the irony is, he’s campaigning on the basis that he’s a success as a foreign policy president,” said Bolton, who announced he would endorse Romney earlier this week, of President Obama. “It’s just really amazing and you ask, what is it that made the success? And it’s because Navy SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden. That’s his definition of success.”

“As somebody pointed out, in 1969 when Americans landed on the moon, it’s like Richard Nixon taking credit for that, because it happened to occur during his presidency,” said Bolton, who spoke alongside Romney, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. John McCain in a ballroom at a Hilton resort. “The fact of the matter is this president has been a failure across the board in foreign policy and it’s jeopardized the United States in critical ways.”

A President's Trick

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will ask Congress on Friday for greater power to shrink the federal government, and his first idea is merging six sprawling trade and commerce agencies whose overlapping programs can be baffling to businesses, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

Obama will call on Congress to give him a type of reorganizational power last held by a president when Ronald Reagan was in office. The Obama version would be a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose mergers that promise to save money and help consumers. The deal would entitle him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.

Seriously, can Obama be trusted to "shrink the federal government"? That end isn't what he's about. There's a big gap between Reagan and Obama. Adults can handle knives, not children.

It was Reagan after all who famously said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

Thursday, January 12, 2012


From Politico:
Conservatives continue to make up the largest segment of political views in the country, outnumbering liberals nearly two-to-one, according to a new poll Thursday.

The Gallup survey found that 40 percent of Americans consider themselves conservative; 35 percent consider themselves moderate; and 21 percent see themselves as liberal.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Romney Ties Obama to European Malaise

From the AP:
LONDON (AP) — Europeans awoke Wednesday to find themselves plunged into the middle of the U.S. presidential race after a Republican front-runner accused President Barack Obama of cozying up to Europe while ignoring basic American values.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who served as a missionary in France and recently toured Europe, said Obama is determined to impose a Euro-style welfare state on the U.S. at the expense of free enterprise.

"He wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society," he said in his victory speech after winning the New Hampshire primary. "We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity. This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America."

Because you don't see this everyday...

Pope meets crocodile

It's safe to say the Holy Father has a soft spot for animals.
When Cardinal Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the German newspaper Bild wrote, he tended to the cats that frequented the garden of the congregation’s building in the Vatican and bandaged their wounds.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told an Italian newspaper in 2005 that the cats sometimes walked him to his office.

“One time the Swiss Guards had to intervene,” Cardinal Bertone joked. “ ‘Look, your eminence, the cats are laying siege to the Holy See.’ ”

"Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible." —from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald

Obama's Way

From Victor Davis Hanson, writing for National Review Online:
Tally up Obama’s early and recent unrehearsed and unguarded quips about wealth — “Spread the wealth”; his regrets that the Supreme Court has not addressed “redistributive change”; his concern that some have not realized that they already have made “enough” money; his warnings that now is not the time for “profit.” That serial message bookends the president’s slurs about millionaires and billionaires, corporate-jet owners, fat-cats, profit-driven doctors, and Vegas and Super Bowl junketeers.

All this unscripted editorializing reflects a recurring theme: Those with superior intelligence and higher moral authority must correct for warped private-sector compensation and human greed. And they can do that by deciding roughly how much each of us deserves to end up with.

In concrete terms, this pop socialism leads Obama to wish to enact more regulations, higher taxes on fewer taxpayers, and more on entitlements. ...

What makes Barack Obama a different president is not his racial heritage, his liberal outlook, or his mellifluous cadences, but rather the banal idea that the United States is fundamentally in need of this sort of radical change, and that only a select few like himself have the insight and skills necessary to both implement and preside over it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mitt Wins

This is a great speech. You can hear echoes of Reagan.

On Media Bias

I thought this was a solid article on how Republicans, using Reagan as their model, can turn the tables on the media. From The Wall Street Journal:
A funny thing happened on the way to the New Hampshire primary: ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos embarrassed himself on national television with questions plainly intended to embarrass the Republican candidates. Therein lies a lesson. ...

Whatever else we know about 2012, we know we will have many more Stephanopoulos moments ahead. Though it might be more satisfying to thunder against the injustice, there are other, possibly more effective ways to expose the bias.

On the social issues especially, the media narrative is that Republicans are obsessed. The truth is that at a time when millions of Americans can't find work, when our Middle East policy is in turmoil, when the future of Mr. Obama's signature legislative achievement—health care—is in question, every Republican in the running is itching for the opportunity to talk about how he would address these things.

In sharp contrast, it was Mr. Stephanopoulos and Ms. Sawyer who showed themselves consumed with nonexistent initiatives on contraception and what you might say to gay friends who are sitting in your living room. Saturday night on ABC, we saw this bias in its full, condescending form.

Read on.

Here's an excellent example from the other night's debate, where Newt Gingrich slams the moderators for their one-sided obsession with right-wing 'bigotry.'

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Romney's Catholic Support

Mary Ann Glendon

From the AFP:
Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney, a Mormon facing doubts about his conservative credentials, said Saturday he had the endorsement of five former US ambassadors to the Vatican. ...

The former ambassadors said they were "united" behind Romney "because of his commitment to and support of the values that we feel are critical in a national leader" and "experience, vision and commitment to the common good."

The group included Thomas Melady, Raymond Flynn, James Nicholson, Francis Rooney, and Mary Ann Glendon, who served under both Democratic and Republican presidents as envoys to the Holy See.

I'm a huge fan of Mary Ann Glendon. Her support of Romney should assuage concerns about trusting him on the social issues. Glendon is an outstanding, 100% rock solid Catholic intellectual. She'd appear near the top of any listing of influential faithful lay Catholics in this nation. I hope we'll see more of her in the public arena, perhaps in a Romney Administration. She's that good.

Changes in the South

Tim Stanley writes about the fascinating evolution of perceptions in the South, where two Catholics (Santorum and Gingrich) are gaining remarkable traction in a region long dominated by an Evangelical form of Christianity that looked askance at Catholicism. From the Telegraph:
Until the 1960s, it [the Democratic Party] was dismissed by snooty Republicans as the party of “rum, Rome and rebellion” – drinkers, Catholics and Southern confederates. But that changed when the Democrats embraced the lifestyle liberalism of the 1970s. Many ethnic Catholics remained within the fold, but the more faithful were driven into the welcoming arms of the prolife GOP. To this day, the electoral divide between Democratic and Republican Catholics is determined by how often they go to church.

Stanley then discusses Newt Gingrich's conversion to the Catholic Faith.
The answer lies in Gingrich’s conversion to the Catholic faith, which he says was due in part to the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The answers he has given in debates have often referred to the evils of the Enlightenment and the need to reassert the kind of anti-secular moral theology that the Catholics do so well. Reading his account of his conversion, one is struck by the sense of certainty that the Church offered him – of the reassurance of its rituals and doctrine.

The flipside of Catholicism’s attractiveness is the comparative intellectual instability within several Protestant denominations – particularly on matters of faith and morals. The Quakers, the Methodists and the Episcopalians have all embraced gay rights to varying degrees. The Episcopalians have even appointed lesbian and gay bishops. This flamboyant liberalism is all well and good for casual church goers who like to see their faith “move with the times”. But it is nothing less than a betrayal to millions of believers who adhered to a certain dogma all their lives, only to see it overturned on a whim. These Protestants have started looking elsewhere for moral leadership and they’re finding it within denominations that their parents once considered heretical.

Beleaguered Orthodox

Epiphany in Istanbul/Constantinople

I always try to feature stories about the small community of Orthodox Christians holding on to the faith against all odds in the ancient City of Constantine. They deserve any attention they can get. It must be incredibly galling to these Christians that even in the post-Ottoman era, they still live under the oppression of the Turkish authorities and the occasional Islamic extremist, and all in a city that was theirs for over one-thousand years. Catholics can learn a lesson or two from their Orthodox brethren about the importance of perseverance and holding fast to tradition. From the Associated Press:
In Istanbul, dozens of police in riot gear stood guard at the outdoor Epiphany ceremony as a precaution following past protests by nationalists against the Patriarchate, which dates from the Byzantine Empire.

Bartholomew has called for the reopening of a theology school on an island near Istanbul that trained generations of church leaders, including himself, until it was closed by Turkey in 1971 under a law that put religious and military training under state control. The Halki Theological School closed its doors entirely in 1985, when the last five students graduated.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who met Bartholomew on a visit to Turkey last month, said he hoped Turkey would reopen the seminary.

For years, Turkey has said it is working on a formula that could pave the way for the reopening of the seminary. In August, Turkey's government said it was returning hundreds of properties confiscated from the country's Christian and Jewish minorities over the past 75 years in a gesture to the religious groups, who say they still face discrimination.

"Over the past 75 years..." what about the past one-thousand-plus years? What about Hagia Sophia? Probably more than half of the mosques in the city were once Orthodox churches. Let's be honest, the entire city was "confiscated" in 1453.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Banana Republic

From The Wall Street Journal:
Remember those terrible days of the Imperial Presidency, when George W. Bush made several "recess appointments" to overcome Senate opposition? Well, Czar George II never did attempt what President Obama did yesterday in making recess appointments when Congress isn't even on recess.

Eager to pick a fight with Congress as part of his re-election campaign, Mr. Obama did the Constitutional equivalent of sticking a thumb in its eye and hitting below the belt. He installed Richard Cordray as the first chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and named three new members to the National Labor Relations Board. He did so even though the Senate was in pro forma session after the new Congress convened this week.

This story isn't receiving nearly as much attention in the mainstream media as it should be getting. Imagine if Bush had tried to pull off something like this. Obama's power grab is truly astonishing and can only be described as a severe violation of the very Constitution he swore to serve, defend and protect. Charles Krauthammer rightly blasted this sad move an embarrassing indicator of a banana republic. You'd expect shenanigans like this from Hugo Chavez or a Castro, not from a successor to Washington. Obama justified this naked authoritarian act by claiming that "America cannot wait for Congress to act..." and so on. It's as though he's consulted the 12 Steps To Becoming a Dictator manual. Step One: In the face of an immanent "crisis," sweep aside any challenge to your authority, like those messy checks and balances and such. One is reminded of Rousseau's Legislator who, given his self-appointed status as the sole representative and voice of the people, rules plenipotentiary.

What will congressional GOPers do? Time will tell. Until then, it's fair to question whether Cordray's appointment is even legitimate. Why not just ignore every command issued from him and his office?

Crony Capitalism and Coporatism

Writing for the Telegraph, Daniel Hannan makes an important distinction that is often lost in the back and forth of economic debates.
The past four years have seen governments throughout the West turn to a ghoulish corporatism, in which selected private companies are bailed out with public money. Understandably, people from across the political spectrum have reacted angrily. The Tea Partiers and the Occupiers are both protesting against the same thing, viz the rescue of large banks by taxpayers.

But whereas the Occupiers, in a slightly inchoate way, believe they are complaining about capitalism, free marketeers point out that, in a capitalist system, bad banks would have been allowed to collapse, their assets sold to more efficient competitors. Bondholders, shareholders and some depositors would have lost money, but taxpayers wouldn't have contributed a penny.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Different, after all

From the AFP:
Gender wars: Men, women more different than thought

Mars and Venus are much further apart than previously thought -- and we're not talking about planets.

In research by three European psychologists, using a new model for analyzing personality differences between men and women, claimed the gap between the genders has been sorely underestimated in previous studies.

"The idea that there are only minor differences between the personality profiles of males and females should be rejected as based on inadequate methodology," they wrote in the online journal PLoS ONE ( ...

Comparing the overall profiles of men and women, and taking multiple traits into account, they discovered very large differences between the sexes -- differences which had seemed to be smaller when each trait was looked at individually, without correction for measurement error.

"These are extremely large differences by psychological standards," wrote Del Giudice and colleagues Tom Booth and Paul Irwing of the University of Manchester in England.

Quite relevant, as the machinations of political correctness relentlessly attempt to gloss over the differences between the sexes.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Greek 'Cross Dive'

To the victor...

From the Associated Press:
TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – In a spectacle repeated every Jan. 6 for more than a century, dozens of teenage boys set out from the stately Greek Orthodox cathedral in this Florida Gulf Coast town to seek God’s blessing in the chilly waters of a bayou several blocks away.

They dive off row boats and, in a chaotic flailing of arms and legs, grope in the murky water for a wooden cross tossed in by a priest. The one lucky enough to surface with it earns instant celebrity status, a ride through the streets on the shoulders of his peers and – the Greek-American boys believe – the favor of God in the coming year.

Gun Control Madness

From The Daily Caller:
Ryan Jerome was enjoying his first trip to New York City on business when the former Marine Corps gunner walked up to a security officer at the Empire State Building and asked where he should check his gun.

That was when Jerome’s nightmare began. The security officer called police and Jerome spent the next two days in jail.

The 28-year-old with no criminal history now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. If convicted, his sentence could be as high as fifteen years.

This is pretty outrageous.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Into the Fold

From the AFP:
Pope Benedict XVI has founded the first structure in the United States to encompass disaffected Episcopalian Anglicans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican told AFP on Monday.

Based in Houston, Texas, the "Ordinariat" -- the equivalent of a nationwide diocese -- will be led by 59-year-old Jeffery N. Steenson, a father of three who left his post as Episcopal bishop and converted to become a Catholic priest in 2009.

The Episcopal Church is the official American branch of the Anglican Communion in the US. Converts who join the new diocese, called "The Chair of St. Peter", will be full Catholics and will owe allegiance to the pope.


From the Associated Press:
ROME (AP) — Jerzy Kluger, a Polish-born Jew who was a lifetime friend and childhood playmate of the late Pope John Paul II, has died in a clinic near Rome.

Kluger's wife, Irene, told The Associated Press that her husband, who was 90, had died on Dec. 31 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for three years and was buried Monday.

Sunday, January 01, 2012