Month: March 2009

Tuesday Miscellany

Hell freezes over: The devil’s in the details, but it looks like Obama’s willing to let the automakers go bankrupt. I never thought he’d let that happen to his UAW constituency: The Obama’s administration’s leading plan to fix General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC would use bankruptcy filings to purge the ailing companies of their biggest problems, including bondholder debt and retiree health-care costs, according to people familiar with the matter. I’d rather that no government come up with a plan to fix any private company, but the willingness to let bankruptcy occur sounds like Obama is actually willing to let people reap a measure of their own bitter fruit. I’m not sure why AIG didn’t have to reap it, but no matter, this might (might) signal a step in the right direction. Then again, Eight Mile ain’t Wall Street. Maybe Obama is simply tied into that fourth branch of government under the sycamore tree, just like everybody else in DC.
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Random quote I ran across last weekend in my archives: “The gentleman is courteous, but not pliable; the common man pliable, but not courteous.” F.L. Lucas, loosely quoting Confucius.
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“Mark” commented in my comments box last week. He runs Guate Living, a blog about an American living in Guatemala. Now that’s a unique blogging niche.
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Read the rest

Feature Essay

Good revolutionaries get slaughtered. That might be one way of characterizing the lesson of Barabbas. On that scary day 2,000 years ago, when Hell unleashed its fury on the God Man, that wicked man was freed to go. We don’t know what happened to him, but on that day, the bad revolutionary thrived.

As have many other bad revolutionaries, like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler and Mao. Heck, even Jane Fonda and William Ayers have thrived, even though most people today don’t like them.

But for good revolutionaries, the result is often the opposite (a goodly chunk of our country’s founders notwithstanding).

Socrates, for instance. The Athenians convicted him of corrupting the people and denying its gods. They forced him to drink hemlock. A less-fatal thing happened to the prophet Jeremiah in the late seventh century b.c., who was beaten, jailed, and nearly killed for telling the people of their sins and showing no patience for the worthless religious establishment of his day. Christ is also a good example.

As are his disciples following his death.

These ragged men were a pack of revolutionaries, albeit of the good sort.

The Book of Acts tells us they disrupted all sorts of conventions and norms, upset the regular workings of society.

And they suffered cruelly for their politically-incorrect ways. Peter, for instance, was arrested and held him for nine months in the Tullian Keep, a nasty dungeon. But he kept agitating: the authorities had to change the guard constantly because he kept converting his keepers. They eventually crucified him, upside down. He requested the upside down part, but we don’t know the reason. It may have been practical: … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

“Our friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances have to find us loyal, sincere, cheerful, optimistic, good at our job, resilient, pleasant, courageous . . . At the same time, in a simple and natural way, we must make known our faith in Christ.”

Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with GodRead the rest

Brews You Can Use

Brews  You Can Use.jpgAn old drinking friend comes to town tonight: Uncle Joe (who’s movin’ kinda slow–joke). He re-located from Detroit to Florida about six years ago. Born in 1946, he’s the first of the baby-boomers, but more conservative than the average Depression baby.

We almost lost him about ten years ago to a massive heart attack. He actually had an out-of-body experience. It’s the kind of story that pretty much seals the deal for me with regard to whether we have spiritual souls. Man’s ability to abstract generalities (universals) from specific material goods was always pretty good evidence, but Uncle Joe’s personal testimony tops it.

But tonight, we’ll drink and not think of that scary time. We normally go to the local Hillcrest Lounge when Uncle Joe comes to town, but my Dad is hobbled and can’t get out, so I’m assuming we’ll hang out at my folks’ and watch basketball with music playing in the background.
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“Dude, you’re like, ow!, killing my buzz”: Around 11 p.m. officers were dispatched to the Chapparal Bar where the bobcat went inside and attacked and bit two men. The other patrons climbed on top of bar stools to get away.
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Mormons embrace Distributist drinking before the rednecks, the hillbillies, and the Eskimos: Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. of Utah signed into law legislation that makes homebrewing beer legal. The “Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License” was sponsored by Representative Christine A. Johnson and made Utah the 46th state to legalize homebrewing. The US Government made homebrewing legal on a federal level in 1978. Since then all but four states; Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma have made Read the rest

Douthat

I hesitatingly renewed my subscription to New York Magazine last month. I really like the magazine, but it leans left and at times is too risque to have around my children. My first post-lapse issue came yesterday. One of its first features: A profile of the New York Times’ new columnist, Ross Douthat (entertaining pdf link). I’d been reading Ross Douthat for a few years, primarily in The Atlantic. I always liked his stuff and thought, “Where has this guy been? We seem to think a lot alike, and not just because we’re both conservative.” It turns out the guy is a Catholic convert and a fan of G.K. Chesterton (it’s not often you see a Times columnist identify GKC as one of his “heroes”).

Once you read Chesterton, you start to think differently. Maybe that’s why the guy resonates with me.

By the way: He’s only 29.
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Hey, it’s not like its Ramadan! Lighten up: Opening Day is Good Friday this year. The MLB couldn’t tweak the schedule by 24 hours?

That’s all for today. Late night at the office last night. Jammed this morning. … Read the rest

Wednesday Miscellany

streetsign.jpgWhew, things have exploded around the office. After the October 2008 Stock Crash, things really slowed down at the office. I was always busy (thankfully), but it was a leisurely-paced busy. Enjoyable busy, if not as lucrative. But now, it feels like pre-2008 Crash again. It’s a good feeling, though I can’t say I welcome that old sense of stress creeping back into my life.
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I’m just glad I don’t have this guy’s job (actually, he was a trespasser, but still picking for food): A fruit picker in Indonesia was mauled to death when he fell from a tree into the waiting jaws of two Komodo dragons lying below. I guess dragon attacks are on the rise. From Wikipedia:

The Komodo dragon is a fierce predator with razor-sharp teeth. Although attacks are very rare, Komodo dragons have been known to kill humans. They are considered dangerous to humans, especially children. On 4 June 2007, a Komodo dragon attacked an eight year old boy on Komodo Island. He later died of massive bleeding from his wounds. It was the first recorded fatal attack in 33 years. Natives blamed the attack on environmentalists who don’t live on the island prohibiting goat sacrifices, causing the Komodo dragons to be denied their expected food source, causing them to wander into human territories in search of food.

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Fight or flight? I’d like to see the Komodo get a jump on this guy:


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Good Leno: “More problems for AIG: It turns out that the bonus money was actually $218 million, not $165 million as originally reported. AIG says they misplaced $53 million in bonus money. Today … Read the rest

From the Catholic Anarchy Archives

Anarchy or Subsidiarity?

The anarchist welcomes the Church teaching of subsidiarity, which says the smallest units of society ought to handle whatever they can, with the larger units getting involved only when the smaller units can’t handle something.

“Right on,” says the anarchist. And the smallest unit of society is the family. And even though the family is a type of government, it is a good thing.

In fact, the family is the greatest thing, and it ought to be treated as such. It ought to be supported and strengthened.

But the existence of bigger governments does the opposite, precisely for the reasons explained above: State power comes at the price of social power. If the State will take care of something, you don’t need the family to do it.

This was the great lesson of The Great Society: By subsidizing out-of-wedlock births, government got rid of the father. In the wake of the illegitimate sex subsidy, single-mom households in the inner cities exploded and spread to the more rural areas. Other forces were at work, too (primarily, the 20th century’s increasing sexual libertinism that exploded in the 1960s), but the act of removing the necessity of a breadwinner removed the father.

There is also the example of the exploding public school system. As the mandatory public schools grow stronger, expanding their reach from simply teaching the “Three R’s” to providing physical education, sex education, breakfasts, and after-school childcare, why does the family need to provide such things? It doesn’t. Many continue to do so, but the imperative to do so is weakened, and with the imperative weakened, the glue of the family weakens. The … Read the rest