Some of our readers south of the Mason-Dixon line no doubt have perhaps felt left out in my many posts regarding Abraham Lincoln. I am fully aware that great Americans fought on both sides of the Civil War, and one of the greatest of Americans, of his time or any time, was Robert E. Lee.
Several fine observances of the birthday of the Great Emancipator around Saint Blog’s. Crankycon has several first rate postings on Mr. Lincoln. Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has selections from two of President Lincoln’s finest speeches. Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy reminds us of why we residents of Illinois are proud to call ourselves the Land of Lincoln (Although considering the condition of the Sucker State currently, I doubt if Mr. Lincoln would consider it a compliment!)
It seems a bipartisan effort to ensure that there is some sort of stimulus bill, and only a few politicians think there should be no package at all. Many economists have warned in the past, and continue to do so now, that stimulus packages like the one currently waiting final approval, do not work. Let’s take a moment and examine the arguments as to why they don’t work.
President Obama ran on a platform of Hope and Change. From the details of the National Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called a “stimulus” bill, we can now see who gets the change:
“Q: What are some of the tax breaks in the bill?
A: It includes Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit for 95 percent of workers, though negotiators agreed to trim the credit to $400 a year instead of $500 — or $800 for married couples, cut from Obama’s original proposal of $1,000. It would begin showing up in most workers’ paychecks in June as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January.”
Thanks a heap!
For the past few weeks in the leadup to today, the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, I have examined various facets of the public life of Abraham Lincoln. Of course, the most important part of Lincoln’s life, came, as it will for each of us, after his death when he stood before God for the particular judgment. In this life the outcome of that judgment is unknown to us. However, I think the record is well-established that during the Civil War Lincoln found his mind and his heart turning increasingly towards God.
Archbishop John Hughes (1797-1864) of New York, was a titan within the Catholic Church in America in the nineteenth century. Overseeing with skill the explosive growth of the Church in New York, and helping lead generations of Catholic immigrants out of poverty, he also found time to take part in the public affairs of his day, and was probably the best known Catholic churchman of his time. He was also a very tough and fearless man. After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church were touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow. (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched. On another occasion when a threat was made to burn Saint Patrick’s cathedral the Archbishop had it guarded within hours by 4,000 armed Catholics. No wonder his enemies and friends nicknamed him “Dagger John”!
A month into the Obama administration, who could it be that left-wing firebrand economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is denouncing? Is it the dividers? Is is the extremists? Is it the old way of politics?
Has anyone ever wondered if it is possible that one can land in a financial crisis when one has a steady income, no debts, and a large reserve of money in case of emergencies? Certainly, I suppose, if something devastating comes around, like an accident that requires weeks in the ICU, surgeries, and a long rehabilitation, that could bankrupt a person. Yet such accidents, on a whole, are rare, and most people who live a financially responsible life never have to plead for a bailout.
When we look at our current financial crisis nationwide, I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking. President Obama has promised us trillion dollar deficits for years to come in an effort to restore our economy. Like most right-leaning folk, I’m under the impression that our current crisis has come from overspending, living beyond our means, and not being prepared for when we hit bumpy times in the economy (like $4/gallon gas, which drives prices up all around). Perhaps, if this view is incorrect, someone will be willing to explain to me why it is so. But my impression has been that first, people individually are consumed with buying, buying, buying, even when they don’t have the money to buy. I have friends who, though they grossed over $60,000 a year, were still living paycheck to paycheck because of their deficit spending. I’ve seen people who, upon receiving their government money, have gone and blown it on new cell phones (that are shut down after two delinquent months), on fancy steack dinners, and so on, instead of buying necessities or saving up what they can. I’ve seen people struggling with hundreds of thousands of dollars of accumulated debt that came from student loans, house loans, car loans, credit cards, and so on. This is just what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard–word of mouth, or in the news, or on blogs–is even worse.
The market reacts to the bank bailout plan:
On July 4, 1864 Abraham Lincoln had much to pre-occupy his mind. Grant’s drive on Richmond had bogged down into a stalemated siege to the south of Richmond around the city of Petersburg. Grant, due to the appalling Union casualties of the campaign, was routinely denounced as a butcher in Northern newspapers, a charge echoed privately by Mary Todd Lincoln. On June 27 Sherman had been bloodily repulsed at Kennesaw Mountain, and his campaign against Atlanta appeared to be very much in doubt. Lincoln suspected that he would not be re-elected and that the Union might very well lose the war. So what did he do on July 4? He, along with Mrs. Lincoln and most of his cabinet, attended a fundraiser held on the White House lawn to build a Catholic church!
I was talking with a good friend who is both a faithful Catholic and a principled progressive the other day, and she said something which (sometimes feeling mildly guilty about how politically convenient calls to sanction pro-choice Catholic politicians are for me) I had not thought of before.
“I think the bishops are partly to blame,” she said, in regards to the difficulties pro-life Democrats have in getting elected. “There are so many fears of seeming like shills for the Republicans that pro-life and pro-choice Catholic Democrats get treated much the same.”
I’d never thought of this, but really: what a slap in the face. If you’ve taken the politically difficult stand of being a pro-life Catholic Democrat in the historically Catholic-heavy regions like New England or the upper mid-west, and the Church leadership treats your candidacy exactly the same as the pro-choice Catholic incumbant you’re running against, how much incentive is there to take the courageous stand?
And so we end up with this kind of situation.
In the last four years I’ve learned a great deal about a host of topics, including my Catholic Faith, while blogging, reading other people’s blogs, and participating in comment box discussions. And yet there are some notable dangers that come with blogging as well.
A few months ago, I did myself no great credit in a combox discussion on a friend’s post. Someone against whom I carried paper left a comment I disagreed with, and rather than sticking with a basic refutation I went all out: questioned motives, brought up old arguments, put words in his mouth, the works. An hour or two later I got an email from my friend. “Wow. Next time tell us what you really think…”
But I knew I was right. I hit reply and was pouring out the reason I’d been 100% justified in behaving that way at 70wpm. A year and a half ago, this other blogger and said such-and-such. And when I’d pointed out his obvious errors, he’d said that. And then there was that other time. And remember when over on that other guy’s blog he’s said this in the comments? And…
I took a moment to stare at the paragraphs I’d written and realized this would sound a lot more appropriate coming out of my six-year-old as an explanation for why she’d hit another kid than coming out of a thirty-year-old man who fancies himself intellectual.
As bloggers we sometimes live by the word in rather the same way that a duelist lived by the sword. And slights which, when explained to anyone else, would immediately sound small and petty, fester and become long term rivalries.
Given the source of my recent embarrassment, I’ve tried to make it a rule to think how I would feel writing an explanation of my behavior in any given conversation to a disinterested party. Given my pride, this is a strong incentive to charity, or at least calmness. Naytheless, the temptation remains. I suspect that it is a built in feature (or bug) in an avocation such as blogging.
In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots. An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8. These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement. To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.
…Salvete AC readers!…
…when my Internet Explorer 8.0 browser is downloading one of my favorite websites, InsideCatholic.com, I notice it takes twice as long as most other websites to download. Is it because there is a lot code that is being downloaded? Does anyone else experience this same situation?…
…speaking of browsers, The American Catholic looks pretty neat on the Apple Safari 3.2 browser…
…came across a great tool to search for Catholic bookstores across the U.S. It’s called Catholic Store Finder…
…has anyone noticed that the homepage for New Advent has changed formats yet again? It looks simple, spiffy, and sharp. I like the layout and how the news is displayed. Kevin Knight has done a pretty good job of transforming what seemed to be a passing hobby into a great Catholic news portal to complement PewSitter.com…
…I enjoy watching the sci-fi series firefly and I have discovered that Firefox 3.0 is twice as fast, if not faster, at downloading streaming video than Internet Explorer 8.0 when viewing the series on Hulu …
…if you still haven’t gotten your fix on Catholic news click here…
George Weigel argues that a papal delegate should be appointed to audit the Legionnaires and Regnum Christi. This is a rather drastic step, but, I think, a necessary one. An excerpt:
Assuming, as we can and must, that this remains the Holy See’s intention, it must now move without delay to address the accelerating train-wreck-heading-toward-the-cliff that the Legion and Regnum Christi have become over the past ten days, as credible reports appeared in the blogosphere that Fr. Maciel had lived a life of sexual and financial scandal, probably for decades.
The reports have emanated from those who had been advised of the Legion’s own investigation of Maciel, but there is still no formal statement from the leadership of the Legion as to what its internal investigations have uncovered. There has been no full disclosure of what is known about Fr. Maciel’s corruptions. There has been no disclosure as to the nature and extent of the web of deceit he must have spun within the Legion of Christ, and beyond. And there has been no public recognition of what faithful, orthodox, morally upright Legionary priests believe have been grave corruptions of the institutional culture of their community.
There are many good reasons to oppose the “stimulus” bill, more accurately known as the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, in addition to the basic objection that it is an act of fiscal insanity. Now we can add one more: religious bigotry.
I’d just like to remind our readers that Our Sunday Visitor will make its own contribution to the children’s college fund by doubling what would have been Mike’s proceeds from book sales on all of his OSV books through the month of February.
Michael Dubruiel is author of such books as The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas, and The How-to Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You.
The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called the “Stimulus” bill, looks like it might pass the Senate. The amount of money we are about to saddle upon our grandchildren, if not our great-grandchildren, to attempt to pay back, may be as little as $780,000,000,000. For the sake of comparison, here is a list of how much other monumental undertakings in our nation’s history cost, adjusted for inflation. Between the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 and the Great Bailout Swindle of 2008, our government will be allocating funds in less than six months that represent one-third the inflation adjusted cost of the US expenditures in WW2 over three years and eight months. This is fiscal lunacy on a cosmic scale and future generations will wonder at our abysmal folly.
Something for the weekend. The Battle Cry of Freedom was a popular song North and South during the Civil War. Of course, they sang different lyrics to the song. The Union version was such a favorite among the Union troops, that President Lincoln, in a letter to George F. Root, the composer, wrote: “You have done more than a hundred generals and a thousand orators. If you could not shoulder a musket in defense of your country, you certainly have served her through your songs.”
Updated with working video.
Caught this on Creative Minority Report by Patrick Archbold.
I decided to find out for myself what is in the Stimulus Package being debated. The version I’ve looked at is the version the House passed, and I can’t image the Senate version looks much better. Here is the results of Division A (the first 250 pages or so).
Things this package will not be used for: casinos and other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; any public work (airports, bridges, canals, dams, dikes, pipelines, railroads, mass transit, roads, etc) that does not purchase all iron and steel from within the U.S. (unless there simply isn’t enough iron available, or buying locally increases cost by 25% or more, or it is “in the best interest of the public” to buy abroad).
Hattip to Patrick Madrid and A Catholic Mom in Hawaii. The above piece of blasphemy and raw anti-Catholic bigotry was partially paid for with your tax dollars. As long as Catholics sit on their hands and do nothing this type of appalling rubbish will continue to be subsidized by the government. Here is the home page to Link TV for any of our readers who might wish to give them an e-mail full of constructive criticism.