Friday, October 08, 2010

China Now Butt of the Joke

"Liu Xiaobo is a convicted criminal sentenced to jail by Chinese justice. His acts are in complete contradiction to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize."

- China, reacting to the Nobel committee's selection of Liu Xiaobo as recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace prize.

I'll wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes, and congratulate Liu Xiaobo on his heroic dissent from his oppressive government. Xiaobo has done much more towards earning his Nobel Peace prize than the previous recipient, who was awarded his prize for talking about sunshine and puppies, hope and change, and for getting elected President of the United States of America.

I guess that now, finally, China gets the joke that is the Nobel Peace Prize: Do something that resonates with liberal European sensibilities, and you're in there like swimwear. Just ask Al Gore, or Paul Krugman.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Superiority, Truly

"Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples" - Chief U.S District Judge Vaughn Walker

Opposite-sex couples are superior, when looking at the State's interests, as only opposite-sex couples are capable of generating and rearing children, which are desperately needed for the continuance of our society (not to mention paying off the national debt). Any policy should reflect reality.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Favorite Hymns

This meme's currently making the rounds in the Catholic blogohood, so I figured I'd list some of my favorite hymns. In no particular order:

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
That's a classic, and one that most Catholics can get behind.

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.
Another Catholic classic, and a hymn that puts our place at the feet of our God. No happy-clappy, Jesus-is-my-pal nonsense.

To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King
To Jesus Christ, our Sov'reign King,
Who is the world's salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring,
And thanks and adoration.
Yeah, you can't help but get the sense of Jesus' majesty in this hymn, and I bet the regal references drive the liberal, 'horizontal church' folks absolutely nuts.

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
Sure, the timing is more waltzy than most, but the melody is simple enough for folks to be able to sing it.

Salve Regina
Hail Holy Queen enthron'd above, O Maria
Hail Mother of Mercy and of love O Maria

Triumph all ye Cherubim
Sing with us ye Seraphim
Heav'n and earth resound the hymn
Salve Salve Salve Regina
Yeah, you wouldn't find this one in most Protestant hymnals, but this is one of my favorite Marian antiphons. Just a part of what makes us Catholic, right, is a loving respect for our Mother.

I've been trying to learn these songs on the keyboard, dialing up the biggest sounding organ preset I can find and cranking it up. Remember, when we sing, we pray twice!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obesity and Impotence

Headline from a News network:

Obesity May Impede Sexual Health

Got me thinking about other bloated organisms with impotence problems:

"That's why, just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge, a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation's secretary of energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice"

That item was culled from the President's "We're really trying hard" speech about the Gulf oil disaster. Funny, the only thing I've heard in the media is BP trying different things, and failing, and government hacks pointing fingers. I have yet to hear that the US government had a clue of how to cap the well. Even the Admiral of the US Coast Guard admitted as much. I think the government is paying too much for "a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation's secretary of energy... Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia" that have no effect.

The most that I've heard from US Government scientists is to hear them on NPR talking about how bad the spill is, and how bad BP was in drilling the well. If the government can't get the job done, then maybe it's time to lose some weight?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Executive Overreach

So, the President is going to force BP to pay, up front, for oil damages:

David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, has said a new claims plan would call for an independent third party to handle the process, and a White House spokesman said Monday the administration is confident it has the legal authority to force BP to set up an escrow account for the purpose of paying damages. [CNN]

I have a little problem with this. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States of America. Specifically, the 5th Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I don't remember BP, nor any of its employees, being so much as indicted yet. How the current administration rationalizes this overreach will be the bedrock of the next totalitarian regime's legal interpretation. Stare decisis, y'know.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Open Letter to a Neighbor

Dear Mr. Mexico,

I hope this letter finds you well. We seem to be laboring under different impressions about our relationship and the property line between your yard and mine. I don't wish to cause you distress by bringing this up, but the situation has become intolerable. As civilized neighbors, I believe we can work things out in a civilized manner.

The County Assessor's office has a clearly marked boundary on file, pursuant to our last discussion about the property line, from February 2, 1848. I do recall that it was settled under less than friendly circumstances, but a deal is a deal. While we had respectful exchanges opinions about each others' yards, we realize that our right to dictate behavior stops at our respective side of the fence. I respect your authority to set rules for your yard, so I would kindly ask that you respect my right to exercise authority over my yard.

Just because I pay you to mow my lawn doesn't give you the right to send your kids over to climb my tree whenever they want. While innocuous in and of itself, your kids frequently leave pop cans and candy wrappers on the lawn. Plus, they tend to tell my own kids that they cannot climb the tree when they are, inflaming tensions between our families.

Also, I would be so humble as to point out that there is a big difference between my inviting you over for a beer, and you coming over while I'm at work and helping yourself to the contents of my refrigerator. Your refrigerator may be near empty, but that is not sufficient justification to helping yourself to what is mine. I'm a generous guy, if you ask around the neighborhood, you'd see that it's true. Still, your presumptuousness is wearing on my patience.

Yes, some of my kids have no problem with the behavior of you and your kids, but my kids have a sketchy idea, at best, of property rights. Some of my kids like the fact that your kids will mow my lawn and wash my car so that they don't have to, but that's beside the point. I decide what goes on at my house, not the children. So, don't send your kids over to have my own kids yell at me for sending your kids home or for insisting on my property rights.

You really need to have a discussion with your children about Cause and Effect. When they throw rocks at my dog, he gets angry. That's why he's bitten your kids on a couple recent occasions. If your children insist on continuing to throw rocks, the dog's mood will not improve, and more biting will ensue. Rant and rave all you want, but they're the one throwing the rocks at the dog to begin with.

I know that my attention to this issue has been spotty, as I still am dealing with some creeps from a couple blocks over, the ones that stole my BBQ grill. Still, I do think that we need to address this swiftly and with all due civilized discussion.

Your Neighbor,

U. S. America

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Who We What?

I got a panicked e-mail from a sibling the other night, frantic that we should pray for our nation. You see, he heard that the U.S. Mint is issuing Dollar coins WITHOUT the phrase 'In God We Trust' on them. Someone later replied to the whole group that the issue was indeed a hoax, after checking it out on Praying for our nation doesn't hurt, even if the panic was ill-founded.

Still, it got me thinking. Does having the the phrase 'In God We Trust' on our currency really mean anything? We, as a nation, obviously DO NOT trust or obey God, so the phrase is really a falsehood. A blasphemy, to be specific. If ever there was an instance of taking the Lord's Name in vain, this is surely one.

So, it begs the question; Would it do God more honor to remove his name from a currency that is based on a nation that endorses Abortion, Pornography, Idolatry, Greed, Envy, and any other mortal sin under the sun?

I do realize that we have a sizable number of people that nominally believe in God, but a majority of them are pretty selective at their personal and public application of what we know of God's Will. In all reality, they worship any number of Gods of stone, wood, flesh and fantasy.

Maybe the next Dollar should be printed with 'In Us We Trust'. It's not worth much, but at least it's honest.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Drawing You-Know-Who

I'm not one for religious antagonism, but I also abhor submitting to bullies' death threats.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Gravity of Sins Disputed

I don't know what it is about America magazine, but the editors frequently seem to be drifting Leftward, and happen to be Jesuits.

On this occasion, Fr. James Martin S.J. takes issue with the Pope's declaration that Abortion and Homosexual "Marriage" are gravely evil sins. From America magazine's blog:

Pope Benedict XVI's comments last week in Fatima, Portugal, in which he stated that abortion and same-sex marriage were "some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats" to the common good seemed oddly discordant. The equation of abortion, something that clearly is about a threat to life, with same-sex marriage, which no matter how you look at it, does not mean that anyone is going to die, is bizarre.

The Pope said they are "insidious" threats, because all but the most wise would not believe them to be threats. Like Fr. Martin S.J., who seems to be under the impression that gay marriage is a socially and spiritually harmless diversion.

Why has same-sex marriage been equated with abortion? Are they really equivalent "threats" to life?

They aren't equated, but they do spring from a similar source: "My body is MINE, and I shall do with it as I see fit." Abortion denies life to a life already started, while homosexual relationships denies life to future life. Both refuse the rule of God over our sexuality and reproduction. This is mortal sin.

If you’re looking for a life issue with stakes as high as abortion, why not something that actually threatens life? Like war? Or the death penalty? Or the kind of poverty and destitution that lead to death? Why aren't “abortion and war” the most "insidious and dangerous" threats to the common good? Or “war and the death penalty”? Or “war and poverty?”

These are not "insidious and dangerous" because they are OBVIOUS and dangerous, and the Church speaks out about these things all the time, the Gospel also speaks out against theft, hatred and violence. But, War is not socially acceptable, and neither is poverty. It is not only against socially abhorrent sins, but also against the sins that our culture embraces that the Church is to speak out. Don't filter your message because you fear the loss of party invitations and the shallow goodwill of the social elites.

The great danger is that this increasingly popular equation will seem to many as having less to do with moral equivalency and more to do with a simple dislike, or even a hatred, of gays and lesbians.

Instead of condemning the message and messenger, the writer should be expounding on Church teaching, not just pounding on it. He'd be doing all his gay friends a better service by preparing them for the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than railing for their comfort on Earth.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Family, and the Reality of Marriage

Some thoughts that have been banging around the ol' cranium:

How can one make an argument against "gay marriage" without resorting to religious proof texting? One could appeal to natural law, physics, biology and reality.

Society is completely subsidiary to a heterosexual, reproductively active pair bond. Wherever there is a man and a woman, there is the possibility of life and of society. Therefore, Society owes its existence to the heterosexual, reproductively active pair bond, and should give it every deference. Society calls these bonds 'Marriages'.

Sure, modern society has provided ways and means of creating simulacrums of productive, life-sustaining unions. But these inherently sterile cooperatives, either by nature or by choice, do not contribute to the future of the society. Sure, the participants may derive sentimental pleasure and personal affirmation from these pairings, but they offer no future to the larger society. They are dead-ends.

Proponents will point to the modern decline of the quality of marriages to somehow strengthen their argument that artificial unions are just as good. The problem with modern marriages is not with the definition of marriage, but of modern peoples' obsession with selfish pursuits of edification and gratification. Don't blame the recipe for cake when you start your disaster by substituting dirt for flour.

Sure, a homosexual couple can procure common property, furnishings, and even children produced by others. They can surround themselves with every trapping similar to a heterosexual, reproductively active pair bond, but it does not change the inherent difference, it does not change the truth. Sure, humans have built aircraft to soar above the ground, but it hasn't changed the laws of physics and gravity.

The larger society needs to recognize that its future can only be made with the help of the heterosexual, reproductively active pair bond. In that recognition, the society must give that union due deference by honoring its significance, not dithering away its definition to pander to peoples' feelings and sentimental illusions.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Yeah, it was another long, long Lent, complete with the media and every detractor against that Church that still draws breath flogging the Church and Pope Benedict. Jesus said "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". The New York Times says "rocks here, hard rocks, get your rocks here.."

Having been molested when I was 8 or 9, I can completely relate to, and still have to fight, the attitude of "string 'em up!" And I thank God that I don't know if my molester was a priest or not, and I try not to imagine it as so. Also, in the intervening years, I've learned some hard lessons about mercy and forgiveness, so I'm less apt to lash out about the issue.

I won't get into an analysis of the sexual abuse, the abusers, the bishops that kept it discrete, the therapists that enabled abuse to continue. I'm not an expert on any of those topics, and neither are most of the Church's current detractors. Most of the Church's fiercest critics are not interested in rooting out all sexual abuse in society, or else they'd be also relentlessly scouring the foster care systems, the public schools, and daycare programs as well.

Detractors' primary interest is the shame the Church by the failings of some of its' members, and to try and change the Church's doctrines and disciplines that they find most offensive to popular sentiments:

- Ordaining women won't eliminate abuse, or else you'd never see female teachers bedding male students.

- Married clergy won't eliminate abuse, or you'd never see married men sexually abusing minors.

- Blessing the use of contraception won't eliminate abuse either, instead it would just encourage already familiar forms of sexual abuse, like the current hook-up culture.

Sexual abuse is a feature of fallen human nature, not a feature of Catholic doctrine or discipline.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No, the World Did Not End, Yet...


I decided to give up apocalyptic musings for Lent, and so to help me, Congress and President Obama decided to pass health care reform legislation. Okay, you caught me; I'm being flip.

Is it the end of the world, no. At least not until the legislation actually starts wreaking the destruction it promises to. The problem with our health care system is this; it works great for the Haves, okay for the Somewhat Haves, and not really for the Have-Nots. Seeing as how the Haves have fallen out of favor with the rest of us (with copious defamation from the mouthpieces of the Have-Nots), their opinions have been largely ignored. The grievances of the Have-Nots have filled the airwaves, print media, and Internet.

There are also a lot of Used-to-Haves out there, embittered by their Used-to-Have status, and they've been no help at all. A lot of these folks borrowed heavily to imagine themselves in the Haves caste, only to have those pesky 7-year balloon mortgages pop.and maxed out consumer credit tighten up.

What does all that have to do with the "heath care reform"? The socio-economic infighting has let the Statists dictate the terms of debate as class struggle and not a more fundamental question: is the Federal government responsible for the individual citizen's life, from cradle to grave?

If someone is responsible for something, you'd expect to give them the authority and powers to ensure a successful outcome. In this case, by making the State responsible for the health and well-being of the Individual, the individual needs to surrender sovereignty to the State. The State must now make the choices for the individual to effectively discharge it's duties. Obesity is a problem in this country, so the State MUST take action to prevent it. Coercive measures will develop, not only for the individual health's sake, but also the fiduciary health of the State.

Insurance companies are already applying the financial pressure offering "discounts" to people that enroll in their wellness/parole plan, and financially punishing those that don't participate. Government will do the same thing.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Things I Will Miss After the Peakalypse, #4


Chock full of antioxidants, chocolate is an important staple in any heart-healthy diet. Okay, I may be stretching it a bit, but you have to agree that chocolate is pretty boss.

Combine ground cacao beans with milk and sugar, and you have civilized, and healthy, bliss. I prefer a 60% to 70% cacao blend, just in case you needed to know. Rich, smooth, sweet, and something that makes life just a little brighter. Plus, you don't have to get stung by bees to get it.

In the future, we'll likely have to go back to honey as an available sweetener, so long as we can dodge the bees that make it. We may also try sugar beets. In the tropics, sugar cane will still be available, depending on any climate shifts.

Cacao beans, along with coffee beans, may prove to be the impetus to move to South America after the Peakalypse.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fear, no. Planning, yes.

I'm not afraid, really. Actually, if I didn't have a family to worry about providing for, I'd greet a future civilization crash with enthusiasm. But, I have a mate and young children to care for, guide, and protect. So, I'm more keen on making plans now for a bad-case scenario.

In the past, we've been haphazard gardeners, but this year, we're going to take it a bit more seriously. When it comes to weeding, we'll have to be more diligent(unless we plan on eating weeds).

I'm also contemplating learning to hunt with a bow, as I'm pretty sure that the Meat Department at Supersaver will be out of meat. In addition to meat, game can provide clothing. Vegans will have to face the future naked. And cold.

All in all, I'm not too worried, as God's promised to take care of us. It may not be to the standard we're comfortable with, but we have nothing to fear if we rely on Him.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Things I Will Miss After the Peakalypse, #3


I live 1,500 miles from most of my kin, and so we converse regularly via telephone and e-mail. The telephone is indispensable to modern life, not to mention vital for ordering pizza delivery.

Forget cellular networks, I doubt that even land lines would continue on. The optical network that runs coast to coast will be inoperable without a dependable, national electrical grid. Sure, we may have pockets of stable, renewable power, but nothing near what it would take to power our current telecommunications infrastructure.

Well, at least we won't have to worry about people texting while driving anymore. They won't be texting at all. Or driving, for that matter. I can just see the text junkies now, sitting in rusted, immobile cars, frantically thumbing dead cell phones.

If we're lucky, we may have some short-wave base stations to relay critical info to remote locations. Or, if we can cobble together a copper-wired network, maybe get back to a usable telegraph system. Start brushing up on your Morse Code, kids.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Things I Will Miss After the Peakalypse, #2


First thing I do, every morning, is brew a pot of liquid sunshine. I need it so. I cannot bear to think of life without it.

Chances are, after the Peakalypse, Juan Valdez may be still roaming the slopes with his mule, picking coffee. But, without cheap oil, that coffee won't be traveling the thousands of miles so easy. (if for no other reason, I may have to relocate to South America).

I doubt that my beloved bean will disappear suddenly, coffee availability will slowly dwindle, so I'll have time to kick the habit. First, it will gradually become too expensive a commodity for the Proles (like me). Then, Outer Party folks will see it vanish, and only the Inner Party may have access to it.

So, I will relish every cup from now until the dismal dearth, and it truly will be good to the last, final drop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pots and Kettles #100127

I was half-listening to the State of the Union Address the other night and, towards the end, something the President said grabbed my attention:

Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions – our corporations, our media, and yes, our government – still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper.

I'd have a little more faith in the institutions if the leaders of those institutions didn't remind one of a 'Three Stooges' sketch involving name-calling, poking, slapping, and nyuk-nyuk-nyukking between the lot of them.

But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.

President Kettle is calling out the Pots. How about when a politician tears down bankers and corporate leaders, reducing the economic crisis to a sound byte to cover his own failure? Or when union leaders game the system to cut special deals?

No wonder there’s so much cynicism out there.

No wonder there’s so much disappointment.

No [bleep], Sherlock. And after the cheap populist sloganeering above, the President has the gall to then say:

Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths.

How about the hard truths that many Americans, like their Government, have spent too much, borrowed too much, thought too highly of their own prospects? Or the hard truths that government meddling in the markets has done as much damage as deregulation? Or maybe the hard truth that a big factor in the loss of manufacturing in our country is that most Americans don't want to pay the costs of items made by fellow Americans?

After such accusations from the President, I'm sure the Pots will gladly return fire. With all the clatter in the kitchen, I'm stepping out for a while.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things I Will Miss After the Peakalypse, #1

Toilet paper.

Nothing is so civilized as toilet paper; clean bum, clean hands, and clean shorts. It's a huge leap for sanitation, and indoor plumbing just isn't the same without it. Besides, you can't haul a bidet out behind a tree.

After the Peakalypse, I doubt Charmin will be cranking out the two-ply. So, I imagine that we'll be scouring the old landfills for moldy copies of Cosmo for #2 duty. That, or we'd best learn to identify and avoid poison ivy, oak, and sumac in the dark, just in case.

Sure, there are bigger worries, but it's the little things that we'll all miss the most.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pondering the Peakalypse

Peakalypse? Yeah, like a few others, I'm pondering Peak Oil, and the possible crash of civilization following it. This pondering may come as a surprise to folks who may have known me in the past, as I'm not a garden variety enviro-lefty. I'm not a denier of climate change, but I also believe that climate changes are a part of the Earth's history and future, regardless of what humans do. I'm a skeptic of many in the climate change movement because of the other agendas they peddle under that banner.

But, for some reason, Peak Oil has caught my attention. I think most people would agree that oil is a finite and non-renewable resource. There's lots of debate about how much oil reserves we think we have, but common sense tells us that with demand trending ever upwards, and supply trending down, supplies will dwindle and we will eventually run out.

I haven't read much Peak Oil agitprop, and have read just as much debunking it. Also, I haven't bought into the worst-case scenarios, but the issue bears some thought.

Our current lifestyles are touched by oil seven ways to Sunday. When the oil starts getting scarce, life will never be the same. And after witnessing the quick breakdown that occurred in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina, I'm not optimistic about the prospects of our culture and civilization once scarcity hits. I'm not a full blown Doomer, yet, but I'm not Pollyanna either.

I'm still mulling it all over.