Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obama and Geithner

Count me among the many who are puzzled by the reluctance of Obama, who has a well-noted tendency to throw friends and mentors under the bus when they become a drag on his ambitions, to sack Tim Geithner. I keep waiting for him to do something like make a faux-inspiring speech where he says, "I can no more disown Tim Geithner than I can disown the black community," and then get rid of him six weeks later. That's just been his M.O.

Well Daniel Larison has a very interesting explanation for why our President hasn't been following his M.O. with the Treasury Secretary.
Very plainly, Obama does not protect his friends, but he will promote and defend those whom the establishment embraces and approves. On the contrary, it is his friends, mentors and close associates who seem to be among the most expendable, and they are the ones he tends to drop when they become liabilities. Allies and supporters who continue to be useful are retained. ...

Geithner remains one of the main public faces of the failed establishment that Obama has spent his national career accommodating, and to do anything other than stand by one of his senior Cabinet members this early in his administration would mean political disaster for him. Obama has become trapped by his own accommodationist instincts, as the policies and personnel that the establishment embraces prove to be deeply flawed. Obama does not tend to break with establishment conventions, which significantly limits his ability to break with figures such as Geithner after they have already received the establishment seal of approval.
Read the whole post, if you have time. It's quite good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Something is VERY wrong in Oakland.

Have you heard of Lovelle Mixon? He's the cop killer and rapist of 12-year old girls who was killed in a shootout with police in Oakland last week.

That, in case you need clarification, is quite bad.

This seems like a Captain Obvious point, but I say it because of people like this group who are honoring Mixon and condemning the cops who killed him in self-defense. I'd call this group confused, but that would probably be too charitable. Anyone who can make a hero out of a multiple murderer and child rapist simply because of his identity -- Mixon, as you can see from his picture, is black (which is the only reason the group gives for honoring him) and seems to have no other redeeming qualities -- quite simply has a twisted moral sense. I don't know what else to say.

The group admonishes people to "Stop the Genocidal war on the African Community now!" If the "African Community" they're talking about consists of lowlifes like Mixon, they sound like National Socialists condemning Allied soldiers during WWII for the "Genocidal War on the German Community". To say that these folks need a reality check is a severe understatement.

India gets it. Why can't Westerners?

The Indian bishops defend the Pope from CAAAWMARSF (i.e. the Coalition Against Any [And We Mean Any] Restrictions on Sexual Freedoms).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wouldn't this be nice?

As the folks over at Cato say, yes, it would.

The Hill is reporting that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) “has slashed Obama’s proposed increases in domestic discretionary spending from 12 percent to 6, according to lawmakers who met with Conrad.”

Unemployment is rising, businesses are failing, and folks are truly “slashing” their spending habits. But in Washington, to “slash” means to increase spending 6% instead of 12%. I’m sure most hard-working Americans — the poor stiffs whose taxes will pay for this “slash” — wished their budgets were in line for a 6% increase this year.

Why our children will NOT go to public schools

My wife is in the middle of her MA in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), an online program through Cornerstone University. One of the other students in her program is currently an adjunct professor at Michigan State. In one of their weekly discussion posts, this other student told the class about how, while a long-term substitute middle-school teacher 10 years ago, she taught a health class whose textbook spent literally (according to this person) half the time explaining how good, natural, and acceptable homosexuality is. I all but guarantee you that, were the same sort of explicit effort put out on behalf of heterosexuality, there would have been a lawsuit. And this was 10 years ago. I shudder to think about what kind of propaganda helpless students are subjected to 8 hours a day today.

Which is why our children, however many God graces us with, will NEVER attend a public school if we can in any conceivable way help it (regardless of how much public school tuition the State extorts from us).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ah, sweet irony

From View from the Right, a blog I frequent:
There has been much comment recently on conservative web sites about the suddenly cautious Democrats. They are urging voters to temper their hopes for quick economic recovery, for example. The Planet Gore blog at NRO has documented the transformation from global warming hysteria, demanding immediate ratification of the Kyoto treaty, to claiming that Obama might not want to move forward with Kyoto: it is costly, does not include all the important nations in the world, might not accomplish much, etc. In other words, all the same arguments they rejected when Dubya was president. Even more impressive is the fact that the Planet Gore writers predicted this transformation in advance in very precise prophecies.

Now we discover that we should all temper our hopes for embryonic stem cell cures.

Turns out that we are decades away from getting any cures, the cures might actually come from adult stem cells instead, all those people who are already suffering from a disease today will not live to see the cures, the use of embryonic stem cells can cause tumors to develop, etc. Not even mentioned in the story is the fact that using your own adult stem cells removes the problem of rejection of alien tissue and the accompanying need to suppress your immune system to prevent such rejection. Have we heard these arguments somewhere before? Yes--from the other side, our side.

Funny how different things look when the "progressive" utopians are in charge and the public wants delivery on promises.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do Catholics deserve the massive backlash they're suffering?

So asks John Zmirak over at Taki.

In short, his answer is "Yes".

He looks at the recently defeated bill in CT to force Catholic churches to become Congregationalist, the NY bill to extend the statute of limitations on student sexual abuse (but only in private schools), and the Orwellian "Freedom of Choice Act" (which would force any medical professional who disagrees with abortion or contraception to act against their consciences, go out of business, or go to jail). Then he ponders on how central to American life the Catholic Church was in the 1950s. And he asks,

How the hell did this happen? How did the largest single religious organization in the country, the oldest continuously functioning human institution on earth (after the fall of the Chinese monarchy in 1905), the heir to Roman law, the preserver of Classical learning and the creator of the university system, end up toothless and humiliated, basically begging for basic rights? Should Catholics see this as the fruit of an ugly conspiracy? Are the Protestants finally getting their revenge? Or are these just first hints of the persecutions to come pursued by the evil secularists whose creed is the “Culture of Death”?

There’s some truth in each of these notions, but giving them credence is really just a way for Catholics to let ourselves off the hook. The fact is, we had power and influence which we could have used in the service of the community, uniting Christian witness with civic duty. And we blew it.

The whole article is good, and important reading for any faithful Catholic.

The Banality of Obama

Banal isn't the first word that comes to mind when I think of Obama, but I think Bruce Walker may have just sold me on his argument that it should be the first word that comes up when we think of our new president.
Pundits have been critiquing the new administration for its socialism, for its willful ignorance of foreign policy, for its puerile missteps, but the salient fact of the Obama Presidency is its banality. He who promised change has dredged up the failed nostrums of the past as if they were something new and fresh. In fact, the ordinariness, the dullness, the lifelessness of the Obama Administration is obvious.


[W]e have a president who is not even an innovative ideologue. He is more like a cipher. His rhetoric is lifeless and poll driven. His almost daily new campaigns reflect nothing more creative than the last news cycle.

People worry that Barack Obama is an American Lenin. No: Barack Obama is an American Konstantin Chernenko, a very dull man with very tired programs. The invented giddiness which Obama gets from the mainstream media is already getting tedious to the public. Pravda reports of addresses by General Secretary Chernenko invariably informed readers of the "prolonged, stormy applause" which followed. That is the banality of Obama.

By his own definition, Eric Holder is a coward

It's hard to come to a different conclusion based on his (and DOJ's, and the mass media's) deafening silence on the verdict of a major voting rights case in Mississippi.

A minority group was systematically intimidated from voting based solely on their race. The county sheriff went out of his way to make sure that those people knew they weren't welcome on voting day, and publicly recruited others to his cause.

The catch? The sheriff and his thugs were black and the minority being intimidated was white.

In Noxubee County, MS, whites only make up something like 20% of the population, with nearly all of the other 80% being black. The sheriff, Ike Brown, pursued a decades-long campaign of white voter intimidation, violating their rights in several different ways (including arbitrarily disqualifying whites who were legally qualified to vote or run for office). At every turn, he was aided and abetted in his campaign of racist intimidation by the Clinton administration -- which patently refused to even consider pursuing the issue -- and by elements of the DOJ (Dept. of Justice) under Bush. Only when a group of attorneys in the Bush administration refused to be morally intimidated by other elements in DOJ did this case go forward.

Read the article. The attorneys arguing for the white minority won in a walk, because this was a clear-cut, open-and-shut case of violating the Voting Rights act. It was also a clear-cut, open-and-shut case of violating the PC racial narratives built up around civil rights laws -- namely, that whites are always and everywhere the violators and nonwhites the violated. It's more than obvious that folks on the Left (and even the right-liberals in W's administration) wanted nothing to do with the case because of that second violation, and for no other reason. (It's also implied in the article that the attorneys who pursued this case damaged their careers by doing so. How's that for racism and injustice?)

Apparently, you're only a coward if you refuse to talk about white racism. Refusing to talk about black racism doesn't count.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I love WalMart

Yesterday I found that I had holes in two of the three pairs of jeans I own. (The washing machines in Korea are pretty harsh on clothes. After two years of washes, I'm not surprised the jeans were worn out.) Being the fairly cheap guy that I am, I went looking for denim patches (hopefully the iron-on kind, since I can't sew to save my life). I went to WalMart first, and I'm glad I did. They were selling men's jeans for $8. 8 bucks! What a deal. No patches for me. I love WalMart.

Jimmy Carter 2.0

Truly, Barack Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter. This is what he effectively says in the article:

"Go ahead and blame me for this AIG bonus fiasco. I'll take the blame, if it will stop the finger-pointing. (And as long, y'know, as you remember that it wasn't my fault.) I'll do the responsible thing, because the buck stops with me. (But I'm really not to blame -- just remember that.)"

What a joke.

Of course, lest we forget, Obama and his administration do bear a certain amount of blame for this AIG bonus fiasco. The legislation was passed on his watch, albeit at the beginning. But he could have required changes in the draft version (which was made on W's watch), or he could have vetoed it. Instead, he said nothing and signed it (and made noise about how the legislation "isn't perfect", but that it isn't a perfect world).

Anyone on Capitol Hill -- Obama and Co., Senators, Congressmen -- who claims to not have known about the bonuses before last week is almost certainly lying through their teeth. A group of Democratic Congressmen sent a letter to Obama shortly after his innauguration asking him to address the issue of bonuses like the ones AIG just handed out. Sen. Susan Collins (the RINO from Maine) added a provision to the latest bailout package that would have prevented AIG (or any major bailout recipient) from handing out those kinds of bonuses. That provision was quietly stripped from the bill in negotiations with the House, however.

They knew. They just did nothing about it. The sad thing is, most people are probably ignorant enough to let them get away with this posturing and faux outrage.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A great send-up of mainstream media "conservatives"

HA! That's all I can really say. This op-ed piece is hilarious, because of lines like this:

I am available to write cover stories for Newsweek, hold down the other side of the New York Times op-ed seesaw against Paul Krugman and Co., or fill in whenever David Gergen is unavailable to supply analysis of President Obama's next magnificent speech for CNN.

I promise that the only conservatives I will ever praise will be safely dead (Churchill, Reagan, or, if this is PBS, Edmund Burke).

Or this:
Like all conservatives, I believe in sticking to the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, and that intent was to guarantee a nationwide right to gay marriage and unlimited abortion by using secretly embedded code words that no one would correctly interpret for 200 years.
Or this:

I know what you're thinking: How do we know this guy is what he says he is? How do we know he's a conservative?

Simple. Because I regularly mention values, church and family. I'm a fan of charity and volunteerism and giving back to your country. I am a steadfast, dyed-in-the-wool, principled conservative. Who voted for Obama.


Geert Wilders and Totalitarian Islam

Andrew Bostom, over on Front Page, pens an excellent summary of the realities of Islam that the courageous Geert Wilders is doing his best to wake us up to.

Overwhelming Muslim majorities i.e., better than two-thirds (see the weighted average calculated here) of a well-conducted survey of the world’s most significant, and populous Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries, want these hideous, immoderate outcomes: “strict application” of Shari’a, Islamic Law, and a global Caliphate.

Specifically, the World Public University of Maryland poll (released February 25, 2009) indicated the following about our erstwhile Muslim ally nations of Egypt and Pakistan: 81% of the Muslims of “moderate” Egypt, the largest Arab Muslim nation, desire a “strict” application of Shari’a, Islamic Law; 76% of the Pakistan’s Muslims—one of the most important, and sizable non-Arab Muslim populations—want this outcome. Furthermore, 70% of Egyptian Muslims and 69% of Pakistani Muslims desire the re-creation of a “…single Islamic state or Caliphate.”

These are facts. They are data. If the neo-cons had their way and all Muslim societies became democracies tomorrow, by next week we'd see crazy, hard core, sharia-philic regimes throughout the Middle East and northern Africa.

The problem isn't necessarily the people themselves. People are people, after all, no matter where or who they are. The problem is the ideology. But the ideology is a thoroughly ingrained aspect of Muslims' culture, and is as much a part of them as any other aspect of their cultures. Wilders makes the point better than I do:
I have nothing against the people. I don't hate Muslims. But Islam is a totalitarian ideology. It rules every aspect of life - economics, family law, whatever. It has religious symbols, it has a God, it has a book - but it's not a religion. It can be compared with totalitarian ideologies like Communism or fascism. There is no country where Islam is dominant where you have a real democracy, a real separation between church and state. Islam is totally contrary to our values.
Indeed. Read the whole article. It's well worth your time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My new favorite quote

"Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." -- Gen. John Stark, 1809

I've always been proud of the motto of the state I grew up in. "Live free or die" is far and away the best state motto; it isn't even close. Only now did I realize where it came from. And the second half of the quote is almost as good as the first. I can't think of a sentiment that more directly contradicts the materialist view at the heart of modern society (and at the heart of nearly all Liberals as well, alas, as most Conservatives today) than one which affirms that there are worse things than death.

It used to be that only cowards acknowledged believing that death was the greatest evil. Now most politicians, nearly all economists, and most political and religious activists openly acknowledge this. The idea, for example, that material poverty is a terrible thing and must be avoided at all cost -- the idea that underlies nearly all US anti-poverty policies -- can't exist without the unstated belief that death is the greatest evil (and, therefore, that the imposition of any suffering through depriving people of material wealth is bad and wrong, because there is no joy to be found beyond this life).

Don't get me wrong -- I don't think anyone really likes (or should like) material poverty. I recognize, however, that those who suffer in this life may very well be rewarded in the next one. This is a profoundly Christian belief, actually, and anyone who thinks that it exists to salve people's consciences for not serving the less fortunate plainly suffers from ignorance. The most effective servants of the poor throughout Church history have been those most convinced of this belief. And the greatest horrors of modern times have grown out of the denial of this belief.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Has the honeymoon ended so soon?

I'd thought, given the outrageous amount of well-documented media bias in his favor, that President Obama would have had a long and luxurious honeymoon -- at least 4-5 months. Well, it's been barely 10 weeks, and the honeymoon appears to be over.

On Thursday, Sen. Judd Gregg (from New Hampshire!) dressed down Treasury Secretary Geither over the administration's patently dishonest budget projections. (Having worked with the Bush administration for the past 8 years, I'm sure Gregg knows a thing or two about budgets that lie through their teeth.)

In his opening statement, Gregg politely called the administration's budget forecast a lie.

"The argument that it cuts the debt in half in four years is, ahh, is truly spurious," he told Geithner. ...

Gregg's opening monologue today would indicate that was a gross understatement.

"The argument that this budget doesn't have tax increases [on everyone] is, I think, an 'Alice in Wonderland' view of the budget," he said.

He challenged the budget's math on cutting the debt: "When you take the deficit and quadruple it and then you cut it and half, that's like taking four steps back and two steps forward. That's not making any progress; you're still going backwards."

The article linked above comes from MSNBC. During the campaign, I called MSNBC the "Obama For President" network, because it was so completely and unabashedly biased. (The network admitted as much when it changed its crew announcing the Democratic National Convention mid-convention, after its bias was too much for even the New York Times to stomach.) The fact that MSNBC is reporting this kind of news (with very little bias -- such as the snarky comments at the end) says all that needs to be said about the depths to which the Obama administration's credibility and influence has already sunk.

This is like Carter 2.0. People have begun to realize -- to their horror -- that the members of the Obama administration a) don't know what they're doing, or b) do know what they're doing, but have little courage or ability to make decisions, or c) have ivory tower dreams for an imaginary American society that they intend to impose on actual Americans, or d) all of the above. It took people over 2 years to figure that out with Carter. People have figured it out with Obama before the start of spring.

British Muslims fighting with Taliban; British government covering it up

This according to the Daily Telegraph.

Even when incontrovertible proof is found that British Muslims are aiding and abetting the enemy in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the Government's instinct is to try to cover up their involvement, for fear of further inflaming Islamist sensitivities.

Twice in the past year I have been admonished by our military establishment for revealing details about the support British sympathisers are providing to the Afghan insurgency, whether it involves actually fighting alongside the Taliban or providing them with the means to kill and maim British personnel. Officials did not question the reports' veracity. On both occasions, I was told that it was simply not helpful to expose such details, as they might cause offence to the Muslim community, or encourage Islamist radicals to intimidate British soldiers returning from combat.

This really is nothing more than the absolute commitment to nondiscrimination -- truly the sine qua non of modern Liberalism -- continuing to be taken to its logical ends.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adventures in trendsetting

In this rather insightful article, Star Parker lays out the results of Americans consciously elevating minority (read: black and brown) cultures while debasing their majority white culture.

Here's an excerpt:

Blacks are not given enough credit for being trendsetters in America.

Blacks started playing the blues, jazz, and R&B, then the rest of America started playing them.

Blacks discovered the politics of victimhood, then the rest of America started catching on.

Black women got into having babies without marriage. Then white women started getting into it (the incidence of white out-of-wedlock births today -- almost 30 percent -- is higher than the black rate in the 1960s).

Blacks bought into dependency and the welfare state. Now the rest of America has bought in.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

College pride

I'm a graduate of Wheaton College (IL, not MA), class of 2002. I was actually a cheerleader for four years there. Seriously. I got to through pretty ladies up in the air and do crazy stunts. It was pretty fun, actually.

Well, Wheaton sports did pretty well for itself in 2008. The football team made it to the Final Four of the D-III national title playoffs. Now the basketball team -- ranked 3rd in the country in D-III -- has made it to the Sweet 16. (I don't know how the swim team did, but I'm guessing pretty well. Even when I was there, swimmers would regularly make it to national title competitions.) It's really nice, actually. It would have been better if they'd done it 8 or 9 years ago, so I could have cheered them on and traveled with the team for the playoffs (well, not for basketball, since they're hosting the playoffs this year, but still), but it's still nice.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A turn against Obama?

The LA Times, among others, seems to think they've found one, and they say it started after Obama's "triumphant" speech to Congress. As the article says,
The excessive media worship helped Obama win the presidential election, but once in office and officially the President of the U.S. people expect the media to give them the news, tell them what they need to know and not spend their time excusing bad decisions and defending mistakes.
Hubris, meet nemesis. My guess is this wouldn't have happened for another 14-15 months under different circumstances. People are stressed out and pissed off about this economy, however, and they don't have time for politicians like Obama, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric and positively harmful policies. (The problem for those angry people, however, is that that means that they don't have time for 95% of Republican politicians, either.)

The sunshine state sees the light

That's Florida, not South Dakota. (Last weekend I attended a city-wide trivia contest for charity in Ft. Wayne, IN, and one of the questions was which two states' call themselves the "sunshine state". I had no idea South Dakota called itself that, too. But I digress.)

Florida has contracted out the building of a major toll road to a Spanish firm for about $2 billion over 35 years. The private firm is responsible for the building, maintenance, and operation of the road (I-595), while the state pockets the toll revenue. This arrangement makes so much sense. It's how they build roads in France (according to my folks, who lived there for a year). The private company is on the hook for maintaining the road, which means that they'll build it much better the first time around. Currently in America we do the opposite: a private firm is only on the hook for building the road, while the state has to maintain it. Thus, the firm builds the road as quickly and cheaply as possible without worrying about quality, because it doesn't have to maintain the road. Once road maintenance is its responsibility, however, the quality of its original construction shoots up.

I did think it was funny that the US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) rep. in Florida quoted in this story complains that the road would be cheaper to build and maintain "by cutting out the private middleman." Um, no. It wouldn't. Florida's getting 35 years of road construction and maintenance for less than $2 billion, or what it would probably spend on that road in 10-15 years. The original construction costs would certainly be cheaper, but as explained above, that would only mean that the maintenance costs would be more expensive -- and that the state would be on the hook for all of them. Here it's on the hook for a flat fee of $2 billion (actually, much less when you figure that the Spanish firm will be getting paid in future dollars) and nothing more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What we can learn from My Cousin Vinny

You folks remember My Cousin Vinny -- the Joe Pesci flick where he plays Vincent Gambini, a bumbling lawyer who manages to save his cousin from going to jail for a murder he didn't commit (and, if I'm not mistaken, the last major film Marisa Tomei was in where she kept her clothes on the whole time)? Good film. Fun to watch.

One of my favorite lines is from Vinny, in his opening statement at his cousin's trial, when he responds to the prosecutor's opening statement by saying, "Everything he [the prosecutor] just said is complete bullsh**." It struck me just now, that Pesci managed to distill, in one sentence, one of the most striking features of modern Liberalism: its fanatical and iconoclastic revisionism.

Over at The Only Orthodoxy (the website I write for) one of the other staff writers posted an article about how Liberals -- and this is no exaggeration -- often tend to believe that non-Liberals are neurotic, that the only thing keeping Conservatives and traditionalists from believing in and supporing Liberalism is a kind of mental problem. (Again, I'm not exaggerating. See for yourself.) This isn't usually said with malice, but with condescending (in the classical sense) concern and pity, much the same way we'd talk about how an aspiring basketball player in a wheelchair can't play in the NBA.

The hubris of this position is literally unbelievable. It basically amounts to quoting Vinny's opening statement about just about all religions and nearly all moral traditions.

I posted a comment to my friend's article (linked above), which fleshes out my views. (I didn't think of the My Cousin Vinny angle until after I posted the comment.)

The late, great Richard Hofstadter (a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal) did quite a bit to promote the idea that traditionalism and conservatism are both neuroses in “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”. [Post-comment note: read the whole "Paranoid Style" here if you don't believe me; it's only 11 pages.] He identifies this angry, irrational style in the Know-Nothings, the Illuminatis, the Masons, and the KKK of old and (in his time) McCarthyism and the John Birch Society. Notably absent from his analysis are any movements on the political Left — despite the fact that Wilson was a poster child for the Paranoid Style as Hofstadter describes it.

The hubris of this view — that traditional political ideals are the result of an unbalanced mental state — is truly breathtaking. It amounts to a psychological indictment on virtually all of human history. Liberalism as we know it goes back no further than the 1890s and the Progressive Era (spell that word as you wish: Its intellectual foundations go back no further than the Reformation (from which it drew its anti-clericalism and disdain for traditional authority) and the Enlightenment (from which it drew its materialist metaphysic and its naively absolute faith in human beings). It is a completely revisionist philosophy which claims to trump every other philosophy or religious tradition — not like Christianity (because it perfects and makes sense of them) but like Islam (because it brooks no rival and crushes any competing explanation of the sunum bonum).

What Liberalism claims is that all people at all times in the past were deranged and mistaken about the things that were most important to them. Only in our own time, they say, are we enlightened enough to see what really motivates people, and what is really good for them. (Many forms of conservative Evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity also make this mistake in asserting that only people who believe their particular forms of Christianity, or that only people who’ve physically heard the Gospel preached to them, can be saved.) Whereas traditional Christianity looks at much of human history as a flawed-but-honest search for the truth that has much merit to it, Liberalism looks at all of it as fatally flawed (and ultimately worthless).

I encountered this view for myself at a conference I attended while still in graduate school in DC. At that point I worked for a health care policy advocacy organization which hosted an annual conference with famous speakers. One speaker was the Washington Post Op-Ed writer, E.J. Dionne, who gave a speech about the need for Liberals to pursue their policy goals honestly and unashamedly. During the Q-and-A time after his speech, I asked him why I didn’t hear Liberals reference their philosophical traditions anywhere near as often as Conservatives. Why, I asked, when they have revered political philosophers like John Stuart Mill as well as newer philosophers like John Rawls and Richard Rorty to draw from did I so rarely meet Liberals who were at all well-versed in the philosophical underpinnings of their preferred politics?

Dionne’s response was both revealing and underwhelming. Liberals, he said, were too busy doing good things to reflect on the reasons why. Also, he said, Liberals eschewed such philosophers and traditions because “traditions” sounds so much like “traditional”, which is what Conservatives are about, for Liberals’ taste. So he essentially said that Liberals’ intellectual posture is that of unrepentantly rebellious adolescents, with a Pavlovian disdain for nearly anything revered or traditional (except for those traditions they revere — like the myths surrounding JFK’s Camelot and FDR’s New Deal).

Given this perspective, the fanatically revisionist and iconoclastic nature of modern Liberalism makes sense. Teenagers and college students tend to always think that they are experiencing things for the first time, that they alone have discovered the answers to questions that have vexed humanity for millennia, and that their infallibly correct answers must be implemented now. Most people usually grow out of this way of thinking as they mature. Political philosophies, however, are not people and they don’t necessarily have to mature. Liberalism hasn’t. Instead, in the spirit of adolescent arrogance, it’s come up with a self-evident explanation for why virtually all people at all times and in all places have disagreed with them: they’re crazy.

File this under "Sold a bill of goods"

Words of wisdom from Jonah Goldberg:
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Barack Obama proclaimed many times during the campaign. He and his throngs of supporters preened in the glow of their own righteousness like cats in a puddle of sunlight. They were for “shared sacrifice” and a “new era of responsibility.” They wanted to put aside the “old politics” and the “tired arguments” of the past.

Well, where are those people now?

Obama brags — albeit dishonestly — that he’s only raising taxes on rich people. Ninety-five percent of the American people will get a tax cut, the president insists.

Well, which is it? Do the times demand shared sacrifice from us all, or from just 5 percent of Americans?

If I say to ten co-workers, “We all need to chip in together to get this done,” and then say, “So, Todd, open your wallet and give five bucks to everyone else in the room,” it would sound ridiculous. But when Obama says the same thing to 300 million Americans it’s called “leadership.”


He tells people they are the upright ones for supporting his policies when what he’s actually saying is that he’s taking from the rich and giving it to them. “Shared sacrifice” really means taking other people’s money, while “greed” is not wanting to give it up and “responsibility” is when the government takes it anyway.

In reality, he’s giving with one hand and taking with the other. He’s telling the poor he’s only soaking the rich, when he’s in fact soaking everyone. The amazing thing is that his supporters, rich and poor alike, buy it. No wonder they’re the ones they’ve been waiting for.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Signs of life in Scranton

The bishop of Scranton, Bishop Joseph Martino, recently made waves with his announcement that he would actually be a faithful leader of the Church (which, in this case, required him to deny the Eucharist to the pro-abortion Senator Bob Casey).

Now he's done it again, by requiring Catholic universities in his jurisdiction to, y'know, teach Catholic doctrine. (What a jerk, right?)

Give us 20 more Joseph Martinos and we might really be able to start to clean up the US Church.

Something is rotten in the state of California.

It seems to be the people who live there -- people in my parents' generation (and, increasingly, in mine) -- who squandered in 30 years the hard work and dedication of three generations of their forebears.

In the article linked above, Victor Davis Hanson lays out the problems that have brought California from the land of plenty sought by the Tom Joads of the world 70 years ago to the quasi-failed state it has become today.
Perhaps because have-it-all Californians live in such a rich natural landscape and inherited so much from their ancestors, they have convinced themselves that perpetual bounty is now their birthright -- not something that can be lost in a generation of complacency.

Californians count on the wealth of farming but would prefer their rivers to remain wild rather than tapped. They like tasteful redwood decks but demand someone else fell their trees for the wood. Californians drive imported SUVs but would rather that you drill for oil off your shores rather than they off theirs. They pride themselves on their liberal welfare programs, but drive out with confiscatory taxes the few left to pay for them.

Californians expect cheap imported labor to tend their lawns and clean their houses, but are incensed at sky-high welfare and entitlement costs that accompany illegal immigration. Lock 'em up, they say -- but the state is bankrupted by new prisons, constant inmate lawsuits and unionized employees.

In short, after Californians sue, restrict, mandate, obstruct and lecture, they also get angry that there is suddenly not enough food, fuel, water and money to act like the gods that they think they have become.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And the hits just keep on coming.

So apparently the Chicago Archdiocese paid out just shy of $16 million in 2008 to sex abuse victims. This whole sordid affair will take decades to recover from -- mostly because the people who should be at the forefront of bringing the Church in America through this, the bishops, have been the biggest offenders.

People say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Chesterton had it right: "That is precisely what it is not paved with."

As St. John Chrysostom said, it is paved with the skulls of bishops.

"Reverse" racism is a sham

The subject of my (shortest yet!) article this month.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Grandfather Economic Report

This site is great:

I've only read through bits of it, but there's a bunch of information about the economic condition of America and Americans with the US debt and the government's unfunded liabilities taken into account. Scary stuff, but still really good.

The new "bailout" mascot

I'd say more, but the description next to the picture really says it all.