Hollywood Knows Best

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

[Updates at the bottom of this article]

A humorous rejoinder to this video featuring Will Ferrell and other left wing (isn’t that almost a job requirement?) celebrities ridiculing opponents of ObamaCare.

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Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 8:31pm CDT AD 9-30-2009 shows alternatives  –other than Komen– for fundraising activities related to Breast Cancer research that are Pro-Life in their outlook]

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen) is an organization that funds breast cancer research.  This noble effort by Komen to save the lives of both women and men who are afflicted with breast cancer is tainted by their funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.

Each year Catholics and most other Christians raise their concerns about supporting Komen specifically because Komen donates money to Planned Parenthood.  Catholics and most other Christians unknowingly assist Komen in their fundraising efforts which goes against the teachings of Jesus as stated in the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”.

Due to this criticism attributed to Komen in funding abortion, Komen released an open letter in March 2009 concerning their relationship with Planned Parenthood.  In this open letter they defended their donations to Planned Parenthood raising three (3) reasons why it is acceptable to continue to donate money to Komen even though they provide funding to abort innocent unborn children.

I will address their open letter with their three (3) reasons here:

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Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

A1BABYSIT_SA_C_^_SATIQ

1.  Lack of Common Sense: Lisa Synder, of Middleville, Michigan, pictured above, decided to help out a few friends get their kids safely on the school bus.  For free she allowed three other moms to drop off their three kids at her house.  The kids wait for an hour and then Snyder and another mom escorted the three kids and Snyder’s child to the bus.  Some neighbor with way too much time on his or her hands complained to the State and now Snyder faces possible misdemeanor charges for running an unlicensed daycare center!  That’s what you get for being a good samaritan Lisa!  A Republican state rep.,  Brian Calley, is attempting to pass legislation so that the resources of the state are not arrayed against moms helping each other gratis to keep kids safe.

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Why Health Care Reform Is Getting Conservative

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

A pair of Megan McArdle posts underline an interesting political dynamic which is applying itself to the various health care reform bills percolating in the congress.

The Senate finance committee bill has rejected a “public option” component (full story at WSJ).

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Jesuitical 9: Marquette and Dave Barry

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

Hattip to Instapundit.  Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some Jesuits in this country.  Marquette is a Jesuit run university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Notoriously, Marquette has employed as a  Professor of Theology for decades Daniel C. Maguire.  Maguire is an ex-priest.  He has long been an ardent pro-abort.  He has been an adviser of the pro-abort group Catholics For a Free Choice for decades.  One of his recent books is Sacred Choices which is a look at the right to contraception and abortion in ten religions.  In 2007 the USCCB publicly condemned as erroneous various aspects of the views propounded by Maguire and the statement can be read here.

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On Glenn Beck & Other Crazy People

Monday, September 28, 2009 \PM\.\Mon\.

I am allergic to political cable tv shows, talk radio, and nightly news. I cannot watch or listen to these programs for longer than fifteen minutes without subjecting anyone within earshot to a lengthy rant. And so I won’t pretend to be deeply familiar with Glenn Beck’s work. Instead, I’ll rely on Joe Carter at First Things:

There isn’t much I could add to the criticisms—from the left, right, and center—that have been made against him in the last few weeks. His recent comments have shown that he’s a naked opportunist who will say anything to get attention: If he’s on his television show on Fox he’ll pander to the audience by saying that President Obama is a racist who is ushering in an age of socialism, if not the apocalypse; then, when he is in front of Katie Couric and CBS News, he says that John McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama (which begs the question, “What exactly is worse than the socialist/communist/fascist apocalypse?”).

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The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

Monday, September 28, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

skelton_pope

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

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Cinema Classics: The Thin Man Movies

Sunday, September 27, 2009 \PM\.\Sun\.

Giving strength to the phase “they’re not making them like that any more” is the classic series of film noir take-offs the Thin Man movies, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

The first movie, The Thin Man (1934), was based on a novel by one of the godfathers of noir, Dashiell Hammett, who also worked on the screenplays for the first two movies. However the chemistry of Powell and Loy make the movie of The Thin Man a good deal more fun than the book: classy, witty and all-around a good time.

The movie was such a success it was followed in 1936 by Another Thin Man, and eventually a total of six Thin Man movies were made, ending with the 1947 Song of the Thin Man. To my mind, the three 30s movies are the best, with the feel of the movies changing slightly in the later movies.


Congress Goes Batty

Sunday, September 27, 2009 \AM\.\Sun\.

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I wonder how the bat would vote on ObamaCare?

A few years ago my wife and I awoke in the middle of the night to a bat flying around our bedroom,  the only time we have seen  a bat in our house.  We turned on the overhead light and the bat began to circle it at top speed.  We opened the bedroom window, but the bat seemed to be having too much fun circling our light.  I grabbed a towel from our bathroom, and, hearkening back to the “towel wars” I participated in during high school a bit over three decades ago, I snapped the towel at the bat.  The creature fell stunned on our bed.  I threw the towel over the bat, and unceremoniously tossed towel and bat out the window.  The next morning I retrieved the towel.  No bat was lying on the ground, so I assume it went on its bat way unscathed.

That was my one and only run in with a bat.  On the whole I would rather deal with them than the results of most Congressional legislation.


Just Desserts

Saturday, September 26, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

I’m not normally the guy putting up political YouTube videos, but this was just too funny to pass up. Ill. rep Baron Hill talks down to a journalism major about why she’s not allowed to record video during his town hall: because videos invariably end up showing compromising moments on YouTube. And now here he is, hectoring the girl, on YouTube.

Lesson: For politicians, life is like the Internet. If you do something stupid, it will always be there for everyone to see.


Cult of Personality-Take 2

Saturday, September 26, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

A followup to my earlier post on school kids singing a hymn of praise to Obama.  Hattip to Gateway Pundit.  Apparently the video was posted on YouTube by the proud teacher behind this piece of agitprop.

“We began to write the song after watching the Inauguration. Our school day is packed bell to bell with academics, but were usually able to spend the last five minutes of singing songs as short ELD (English Language Development) activities. Day by day we used this tiny window of time to brainstorm lyrics. As the song took shape, the children became more and more proud of their accomplishment. It soon morphed into a tribute to MLK and others honored for their work towards social justice.

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Jesuitical 8: I am Shocked! Shocked!

Saturday, September 26, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some of the Jesuits in this country.  Dana Loesch discovers that the Jesuit run Saint Louis University is still funneling volunteers to Acorn.   Of course this is over a year after the USCCB froze funding to Acorn, not to mention the recent colorful revelations that have led to investigations of Acorn and the cutting of funding by governmental bodies from coast to coast.  This is also after many years of scandal involving Acorn and voter registration fraud and misuse of funding.   I guess the hard pressed organization still has some friends among American Jesuits.  I am however shocked that the Jesuits would send student volunteers to a corrupt left wing organization, in much the same way that I am shocked that fire burns and water is wet.


Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 2

Saturday, September 26, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1929 playing with the Philadelphia Philharmonic his Piano Concerto 2.  One of the many genuises who throughout American history have sort refuge from tyranny and brightened our national life.


Archbishop Raymond Burke Speaks

Saturday, September 26, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

A new essay by Archbishop Raymond Burke over at Inside Catholic is well worth your time, “Reflections on the Struggle to Advance the Culture of Life“.  I particularly enjoyed this part, where Burke quotes JP II:

In some way, our consciences have become dulled to the gravity of certain moral issues. When insistence on the elimination of legalized abortion in our nation is dismissed as a kind of “single-issue” approach, as the obsession of the “religious right,” which fails to take account of a whole gamut of moral issues, then we have lost the sense of the horror of destroying a human life in the womb. In a similar way, when the denial of nutrition and hydration to the gravely ill is seen as a “single issue,” then we have lost a sense of the horror of failing to give basic care to a brother or sister who has grown weak for whatever reason. It is not a question of a single issue but of what is fundamental to life itself and to society. I recall the words of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II:
The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behavior and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception (Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “On the Good and Inviolability of Human Life,” 25 March 1995, no. 58).

Beatrix Potter, Capitalist Swine

Friday, September 25, 2009 \PM\.\Fri\.

[This is neither American nor Catholic, but it is, I like to imagine, mildly amusing in a bored-parent-on-a-Friday kind of way.]

As you can perhaps imagine, there is much reading in the Darwin family, as we consider it necessary to corrupt the dear little tabula rasas of our children with a mixture of facts and fairy stories from the very youngest possible age. And how better may one corrupt the youth then by wrapping up the harsh teachings of the dismal science in the charming trappings of a bevy of dear little fuzzy animals? Do not allow these subtle deceptions, gentle reader! As I shall demonstrate, under the cover of a whimsical, Edwardian children’s authoress, lurks a deadly capitalist in sheep’s clothing.

Attend, to The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (ebook available here)

THE TALE OF
GINGER & PICKLES

BY
BEATRIX POTTER


Once upon a time there was a village shop. The name over the window was “Ginger and Pickles.”
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Red Skelton: Pledge of Allegiance

Friday, September 25, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.

One of the forgotten geniuses of American comedy, Red Skelton.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  As the above video indicates Skelton also had his serious side.  A remembrance of better times when students pledged allegiance to the country rather than chanting hymns of praise for a living politician.


Calling all Federalists!

Thursday, September 24, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

The Federalists

The Cranky Conservative, Paul Zummo, is beginning a series on his blog on the Federalist Papers.  His comments on Federalist 1 are here. The Founding Fathers created a system of government which has endured for over two centuries.  That is a formidable achievement.  The Federalist Papers, written in the heat of the ratification battles over the Constitution, are the primary text for understanding what motivated those who sought “a more perfect union”, how they expected the new government to function and their arguments in response to the anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution.  It is easy to draw up schemes of government;  it is very difficult to make them function in reality.  In the Federalist Papers we see at the beginning the drive to create one nation out of the disparate states.  Paul has embarked upon an intellectual adventure in giving an exposition to these theoretical building blocks of our Republic and I urge you to join him for each installment.


They Only Donate Money

Thursday, September 24, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

Every so often, when dealing with Church projects and non-profit work in general, one hears someone who does a lot of volunteer work toss off a disparaging remark alone the lines of, “Oh, those people. They only give money. You’d never see them down here working.”

Sometimes this is used to support a claim as to “who really cares” about an issue, along the lines of:

“Sure, you’ll find lots of [members of group X] a pro-life fundraising banquets, but you’ll never see them working at a crisis pregnancy center.”

or

“[Members of group X] may give money to ‘charity’, but you’ll never find them filling boxes down at the foodbank or working with at-risk kids.”

This has always struck me as a somewhat unfair criticism, for reasons I will get into in a minute, but I was particularly reminded of this last week when I had to go down to the diocesan offices to be trained to count and report the collections for the diocesan Catholic Services Appeal. The annual appeal provides a about the third of the operating expenses for the diocese — and since I deal with financial-ish stuff at work and I’m going to be rotating off the pastoral council in a couple months, I half volunteered, half was dragooned, into helping out with the processing of the collection this year at the parish. At the training session, I was particularly struck by the numbers of where the money in the appeal comes from:
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Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

Thursday, September 24, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  From the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, New Jersey, a public school.  Get them while they’re young, get them while they’re young.   Yet another good reason to home school.


Prime Directive Debate

Thursday, September 24, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

“As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.”

Yesterday Darwin had a thought provoking post about the impact of technologically advanced cultures on less developed cultures.  In the combox discussion there were frequent references to the Prime Directive of Star Trek.  This of course gives me an excellent excuse for posting this examination of the Prime Directive and for me to burnish my credentials as the “Geekier-Than-Thou” member of this blog. Read the rest of this entry »


Pittsburgh Summit Insights

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

The always informative Dr. Boli provides an installment of his astonishing Encyclopedia of Misinformation (Diderot, eat your heart out!) bringing you up to date on some important world facts in regards to the G-20 summit. Kindly be informed:

…Australia. In an Australian sink, water spirals up from the drain and is evacuated through the spigot.

China. If Pittsburgh proves a successful venue, President Hu plans to have the city crated and moved to Yunnan province as a regional conference center.

France. President Sarkhozy never travels to North America without his mascot, a badger named Alphonse.

Mexico. President Calderón was detained briefly by airport security after reportedly threatening to punch the next person who asked him about the Maya calendar.

Russia. As part of a recent economic-reform package, the Russian government is now operated on a for-profit basis by IKEA of Sweden.

South Korea. It is reported that the South Korean delegation will not sign any agreement unless the United States promises to increase its consumption of mediocre pianos.

For enlightening insider information on Canada, the US, EU, Indonesia, and others, it is needful that you should read the whole thing.


Restructuring the Case For Life

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

In his latest article for Christianity Today, one of my favorite Christian apologists, Dinesh D’Souza, argues that it is no longer sufficient – and indeed has not been for some time – for the pro-life movement to assert the humanity of the unborn as its primary argument against abortion. Assessing abortion rights as the necessary foundation of the sexual revolution, D’Souza writes,

If I’m on the right track, pro-life arguments are not likely to succeed by simply continuing to stress the humanity of the fetus. The opposition already knows this, as probably do most women who have an abortion. Rather, the pro-life movement must take into account the larger cultural context of the sexual revolution that invisibly but surely sustains the triumphant advocates of abortion.

It won’t be easy, but somehow the case against abortion must include a case against sexual libertinism. It is time to return to the drawing board.

I think D’Souza is on the right track, and that it is time to return to the drawing board.

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Who Is Irrelevant, Obama or Americans

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

Tea Party Protest 9-12

At this point it is almost irrelevant what President Obama thinks, says, or does.

As long as former Presidents Carter and Clinton keep calling Americans racists…

As long as Speaker Pelosi refers to Patriots as violent, swastika wearing, un-Americans…

As long as the extreme left on the Democratic Party insist on ignoring a movement that not only contains conservatives and Republicans, but pretty much everyone else in America…excluding most liberals.

Then it really doesn’t matter what the Obama Administration and their proxies continue calling ordinary American patriots.

Thus the only relevant question that can be asked is how badly will the Democrats continue to shoot themselves in the foot?

…It depends on how radical a health care bill they pass.

In the meantime  an insignificant handful of crazies the rest of America will wait for another round of insults as they continue to turn a deaf ear to the rhetorical platitudes of an ever increasingly irrelevant presidency.


Third World

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

Thought experiment:

Imagine that in 1880, Europe and the Americas had been brought into contact with another continent on which civilization had already advanced to the point at which we are now in 2009.

Let’s call this new continent Futureland, and place it in the middle of the Pacific where the Polynesian Islands are. They speak a non-Indo-European language. They’re highly secular, but have in their background an essentially animistic religion ala Shinto. The Futurelanders are friendly and open, eager to sell Americans and Europeans high tech products and to build factories in Europe and America. They also happily sell the “old world” modern farming equipment, superior strains of crops, and advise them on more efficient farming practices — resulting in a rapid increase of agricultural output which requires far fewer farmers than contemporary 1880s practices. They’re also quite willing to allow Europeans and Americans to travel to Futureland to attend university, and indeed settle there.

What happens to “old world” language, culture, political institutions, religion and economy? Would such a situation be at all desireable for Americans and Europeans, and if so in what sense?

Would such an encounter be significantly different if it were between Futureland and an “old world” circa 1800 or circa 1650? Or 1950?