Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Video - Cream - Anyone for Tennis

Today in 1968, Cream gave its last concert in London.

Link to video

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks be to God

Happy Thanksgiving!

Link to video

That First Thanksgiving

This post was originally published five years ago, Thanksgiving 2005.

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) has republished an essay from the 1950s by economist, lecturer, and writer, Sartell Prentice, Jr. about the first Thanksgiving. Three years after arriving at Plymouth Rock and enduring near starvation under the European scheme of "farming in common," the Pilgrims “set apart a day of thanksgiving.” With the plentiful harvest of 1623, Governor Bradford later noted, “Any general want or famine has not been among them since to this day.”

Here's a truffle passage from the essay that could be a case study as to why we must study natural law:

Three years of near starvation—and then decades of abundance. Was this a miracle?

Or is there a rational explanation for this sudden change in the fortunes of our Pilgrim forefathers?

Describing events that took place in the spring of 1623, Governor Bradford answers our questions, in eloquent words that should be engraved on the hearts and minds of all Americans:

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Gov. (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular [private use], and in that regard trust to themselves . . . . And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Gov. or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that among godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients; that the taking away of property, and bringing into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing;—as if they were wiser than God.

For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, with out any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors, and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them.

And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those relations that God hath set among men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of the mutual respects that should be preserved among them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition.

Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.

This new policy of allowing each to “plant for his own particular” produced such a harvest that fall that Governor Bradford was able to write:

By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And the effect of their particular [private] planting was well seen, for all had, one way and other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any general want or famine has not been among them since to this day.

Our first Thanksgiving should, therefore, be interpreted as an expression of gratitude to God, not so much for the great harvest itself, as for granting the grateful Pilgrims the perception to grasp and apply the great universal principle that produced that great harvest: Each individual is entitled to the fruits of his own labor. Property rights are, therefore, inseparable from human rights.

If man abides by this law, he will reap abundance; if he violates this law, suffering, starvation, and death will follow, as night the day.

This is the essential meaning of the two great Commandments, “Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal.”

The Sordid "Birth or Not" Affair

I have been monitoring ("watching" would be too active a word) the local couple who is allegedly seeking the advice from an online poll as to whether to kill their unborn child--actually, I guess the latest is that the husband is only a supporting player here--and have concluded that watching this family feels like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Owen Swain summarizes my take pretty well in picture (left) and word:
Seriously, what does it say about the depth of this couple’s union and the depravity of our society that something like this would even come to the Internet, hoax or not?

Please pray for them, I'm afraid they'll need it regardless what happens.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BC The First Thanksgiving

To help get in the spirit of tomorrow:

Links to videos:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Spreading Christmas Thin

Stephen Prothero notes that for all the blow back that the secularist attack on Christmas has brought in recent years, the commercialist invasion continues. Here's a truffle quote:
A few years ago Bill O’Reilly invited me on “The O’Reilly Factor” to discuss the religious ignorance of American citizens. He was decrying the “war on Christmas” at the time, so he asked me about that, too. I told him I was pretty sure Christmas would survive whatever attack it was enduring. If local radio [with 24/7 Christmas music formats beginning soon after Halloween] is any indication, I was right. Christmas, I am unhappy to report, seems hell-bent on colonizing November.
Little has changed in two years. All of which suggests the need (opportunity?) to focus more intently on the real Christmas Light, as suggested in my very first post:
Let us consider that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, AND that the Word came forth from a hole in the earth. We are familiar with the story of the Christ child in manger (no crib for a bed and all) but what is often forgotten is the nature of first-century Palestinian stables, namely that they were caves. So, not only was the Son of God born like an ordinary baby, and just as dependent on a mother, but, though His mother was only a traveler, He entered the world in the manner of an outcast. It is clear that once Jesus’ birth (like an outlaw) occurred, the concept of the place of the outlaw, the outcast, or the poor man changed radically. Just as man is elevated by God assuming his form, more too are the lowly elevated. If God chose that particular act of supreme humility, then how could any man rightly be the means to another man’s end? Therefore, one element is the recognition that individuals are important; that personal ties to individuals are important. This element of solidarity is traditionally attached to the shepherds , fulfilling the obligation put to them by the news from the heavenly hosts to adore the newborn King.

The Magi, the traditional scapegoats for popular gift-giving carry the sense of search and discovery, the desire for the unexpected, with hope for wisdom. The discovery that the lights of their own intellects faded in comparison to the light from the cave mirrors our own unrest in the pauses of our hectic schedules. Similarly, the anxiety for righteousness can also blind our search as we jump to judge this season for others. It is ultimately in these elements' emptiness that we can limit the insanity of pride’s dominion over our souls. Through these difficulties we will see so long as we affirm our belief in the mysteries of Christ in the difficulties of life, including the skepticism, the rationalism, and the secularism bombarding the story of the Incarnation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From the E-mail Bag...

something fitting in light of the recent ineptitude and too true to be very funny.
The Minnesota Highway Patrol is cracking down on speeders heading into Minneapolis.
For the first offense, they give you 2 Vikings tickets. 
If you get stopped a second time, they make you use them. 
Q. What do you call 47 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl?
A. The Minnesota Vikings
Q. What do the Vikings and Billy Graham have in common?
A. They both can make 70,000 people stand up and yell "Jesus Christ".
Q. How do you keep a Minnesota Viking out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal post.
Q. What do you call a Minnesota Viking with a Super Bowl ring?
A. An impostor.
Q. What's the difference between the Minnesota Vikings and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.
Q. How many Minnesota Vikings does it take to win a Super Bowl?
A. Nobody Knows  
Q. What do the Vikings and possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christ the King

Christ in Majesty Hajdudorog

From Fr. Thomas Rosica for Zenit:
On this great feast, let us remember that Jesus took his wounds to heaven, and there is a place in heaven for our wounds because our king bears his in glory. Perhaps we need to cry out: "Where are you, God?" And today we are given the answer: God is hanging on a tree, in the broken body of a young man -- arms outstretched to embrace us, and gently asking us to climb up onto the cross with him, and look at the world from an entirely new perspective. Or perhaps we need to cry out for mercy, asking that he not forget us in the New Jerusalem: "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom."
And from the depth of our own darkness and shadows, we might have to pray with the Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, "Stay with us, Lord, for it is almost evening and the day is far spent." Or maybe in the midst of our despair, we recognize the source of our hope and echo the words of Jesus, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
What a strange form of kingship Christ offers us today! May today's feast force us to remember the appalling fact of our salvation. When all around us seems to be darkness, destruction, night, and even death, let us never forget that we are not alone. In our midst hangs the Crucified One, arms outstretched in loving mercy and welcome. May we have the courage to ask our benevolent king to remember us in his kingdom, and the peace to know that paradise is already in our midst even when every external sign indicates darkness and death. This is abundant life on the Royal Road of the Cross.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Men Who Defend this Country are a Breed Apart

Following up from Veteran's Day, here is the story of Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely.

The blast broke his jaw, punctured his ear drums and left him, according to the latest statistics, one of only three men - a soldier and two Marines - from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive an attack as a quadruple amputee...
Nicely has spent weeks at Walter Reed learning to stand, walk, climb stairs, zip a zipper and unscrew a bottle cap. He still often needs someone to light his cigarettes for him as he motors around the hospital campus with an artificial arm sticking out of the back pouch of his wheelchair.
He is thin, thoughtful and bespectacled and is slightly taller on his mechanical legs than before - 5-foot-9 vs. 5-foot-8.
And he can be so matter of fact about his wounds that it's easy to forget that his limbs are metal and plastic, not flesh and bone.
"I'm just a regular guy who joined the military," he said.
Read the whole piece. As Rich Galen notes, you'll feed better about America if you do.

"We didn't know if he knew" the extent of his injuries, [his wife] Crystal Nicely recalled. "And we didn't know how he would take it, if he would go down which path - the bad path, or if he would take some kind of hope."
Late one night, he woke up and told her: "I don't know what's wrong."
"What do you mean, 'You don't know what's wrong?' " she asked, sensing he meant his injuries.
"Do you want to know what's wrong?" she asked. He said he did.
"Well, baby, you know you're missing your legs?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. "I know."
"Did you know you're missing both hands?" she asked, crying.
"No," he said.
He was quiet for a minute, then asked, "Did anybody else get hurt?"
She said no.
"Good," he said.
"And that was the end of it," she remembered.

Regular guy, my foot.

Friday Video - The Doors - When the Music's Over

40 years ago today, The Doors made their last appearance with Jim Morrison in New Orleans.

Link to video

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day

A special thank you to those who served from one who didn't. My family and I thank you heartily.

Thank you, Veterans

How Serious are We about the Debt?

So a draft of the Debt Commision's report has been leaked. Erick Erickson breaks it down:
Yes, the plan ends the deficit. It does so with lots and lots of spending cuts across the board. There are actually some good suggestions in the plan, but there is one inescapable fact — the proposal has buried in it one trillion dollars in tax increases.

Some of what are defined as tax increases are, in fact, closing loopholes in the tax code that lobbyists have inserted on behalf of clients. But also included is getting rid of the home mortgage deduction. That would amount to a massive, massive tax increase on the middle class.

The reforms suggested for social security are out and out garbage. It is not means tested. It is not “lock boxed”. Payments are cut. Retirement is increased.
It's a comprehensive solution, so there's something for everyone to hate, which means it chance of being passed in toto are about zero.

This could be a tough nut to crack politically because the economic and national security risk that comes with a debt-inducing death of King Dollar, to use a phrase, is real. However, aggressive tax increases to arrest a growing national debt bring their own risks. (The proposal ends the deficit, but necessarily would leave the debt at an uncomfortably high percentage of GDP, i.e., until GDP grows appreciably, which is further at risk by a massive tax hike aimed at the heart of the middle and employer classes).

If only there were another way to erase the deficit...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fighting Porn Addiction

Mark Houck, co-founder and president of The King’s Men, a Catholic lay organization dedicated to helping men embrace the faith and live moral lives, was interviewed recently by Fathers for Good.

Here he discusses the dangers of porn:
Pornography is a threat to men and women of all ages and walks of life. While there are an alarming number of women who struggle with pornography – studies say 1 out of 6 – most men, because of their make-up, are more inclined to have issues with pornography if they are ever exposed to it.

Men are wired to be visually stimulated, thus the impure content of pornography is often life altering. When a man looks at pornography, his neurochemistry changes. Studies have shown a pornography addict’s brain to be comparable to that of a hard drug user. When a man uses pornography to gratify himself sexually this is a recipe for a lifelong addiction.

The sin element of this vice is causing many men to compartmentalize their spiritual lives. Since 5 out of 10 men in the pews are struggling with porn, it is obvious that the porn pandemic is either not being properly addressed by church leaders or the means by which men can combat this issue, namely the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, is not being regularly accessed. I submit it is a “both and” problem and men need to see the sacraments and the accountability of their fellow brothers in Christ as critical in this their journey towards virtue and freedom.
5 out of 10?! Wow. You can read the rest of the interview here: Taking on Porn

The Question Hispanics Who Would Leave the US if They Could May be Answering

15% of US Hispanics would leave the US permanently, given the opportunity, according to a recent Gallup study.This is higher than the 10% of Americans nationwide who would migrate, and lower than the 22% of corresponding Latin Americans. Perhaps not surprisingly, the desire to migrate among US Hispanics born outside the U.S. (18%) is more comparable to that of those in Latin America, while Hispanics born in the US have a desire (12%) similar to the overall US adult population.

Gallup summarized the bottom line:
Gallup's survey suggests that U.S. Hispanics who would like to migrate are more likely to be struggling, foreign-born residents who are ready to give up the American dream and move home or try again somewhere else. These findings not only have implications on the national debate about immigration reform in the United States, but also on the immigration policies and economies of other countries to which these potential migrants would like to move.

However, in addition, the survey highlights a set of coinciding factors, namely that those who are more likely to want leave the US, are those who are less integrated, which includes having a command of English, and are less well-off economically. This suggests the question as to whether those who are "ready to give up the American dream" invested enough of it in themselves in the first place, i.e., whether integration is part and parcel of the American dream? Maybe that is question on which those Hispanics who prefer to stay may have some insight...

Monday, November 08, 2010

From the E-mail Bag...

This is not particularly new, but no doubt many have the sense of a dramatic presidential strike-out coming out of the elections.

Here's Ernest Thayer's famous poem, for reference.

Of course, it may be useful to remember, "there's always next year" for the president.

LifeNews.com seeks 100 monthly donors

LifeNews.com has launched a new donor campaign and is seeking 100 monthly donors. LifeNews.com works to provide the pro-life movement with the latest news and information on the state of the pro-life cause, including exposing the agenda of the culture of death and what can be done to oppose it. If you are so inclined, please visit here to make a one-time donation, or to become a monthly donor.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Pope John Paul the Great on Prayer #2

If you really wish to follow Christ, if you want your love for him to grow and last, then you must be faithful to prayer. It is the key to the vitality of your life in Christ. Without prayer, your faith and love will die. If you are constant in daily prayer and in the Sunday celebration of Mass, your love for Jesus will increase. And your heart will know deep joy and peace, such as the world could never give.
Meeting with Youth, New Orleans, 1987

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Limbaugh: Obama... is... a Failure

Well, for the record, they're not coming back to my cave.

Link to video

Apparently Rush was right all along:

The Winner: Rush Limbaugh by Jeffrey Lord
What Rush Wants, Now and in 2012 by Zev Chafets

Post-election Talking Heads Round-up

Notre Dame Opts to not Act Catholic (Again)

Is there any doubt that this is the reasoning for a milquetoast "moment of silence" rather than a public prayer for the repose of the soul of junior Declan Sullivan, who was killed in an accident while filming football practice earlier in the week?
Why doesn’t Notre Dame actually PRAY FOR the dead? Could it be they don’t want to offer offense to the living? Don’t want to stress and put into practice that ancient CATHOLIC tradition of praying for the dead for fear of offending someone who isn’t Catholic?

Link to video

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and those of all the faithful departed, through the grace of God's mercy, rest in peace. Amen.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Exercising Your Right to not Vote

Sandy Ikeda has a little different take on the right to vote, where he points to this video on the paradox of voting.

I dunno. I guess I'd just as soon encourage those who disagree with me politically to be ones to exercise their right to not vote, even though this makes my vote effectively less influential.

Elections are Snapshots

Among the talking heads, there are two primary memes regarding the meaning of today's elections. One is that this is a referendum on the president and his and the Democrats' agenda for the last two years. The other is that it is a values choice for the future. To some extent, both of these are true, which suggests, of course, that, perhaps to a greater extent, neither is true.

Going back to the founding, the story is that as America neared the decisive moment of declaring its independence from Britain, one-third of the population supported independence, one-third opposed, and one-third was neutral. If we use that breakdown as a model for the tipping point regarding American political revolution, and noting that only about 50% of the eligible electorate votes, that translates to a minimum success rate of two-thirds to declare an overwhelming action by voters. (Voting is an act, more than a "signal," or a "message.") 

In most cases, the political direction sent by voters is typically only the statement of a little more than a quarter of the population (a majority of the half who bother to vote). To conclude something special has happened, more intensity is required. In other words, using the elections as a proxy for the public's true sentiment, don't bother talking about a voter rejection of the Democrats' agenda, or a mandate for a Republican agenda (if such a thing existed), unless there is an 80+ seat gain in the House, a new majority in the Senate, and two-thirds of the governors' mansions occupied by Republicans. Likewise, anything short of Democratic control of the House, a near filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and the same two-thirds of the governor's mansions is less than a demand for the status quo and "staying the course." Barring something unexpected, neither set of three things will happen today.

The political act itself is rarely the catalyst for true sustainable change; culture is the engine of history, not politics and certainly not economics. Elections serve to reflect the current state and to give some guidance for what actions by the government are expected. Will today's results indicate a change in political momentum? Undoubtedly. A new path for the country? Perhaps. A sea-change in our nation? Probably not. For that, the political backlash needs to have taken root in something more substantial than an election cycle, and we really won't know until will see the fruit of that vine.

It is for this reason that the important question tomorrow will not be about "What it means," for there is limited clarity here beyond the obvious displeasure the electorate is expected to display, but instead "Where do we go from here?" And then it will be time to get back to work.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Do You Follow the Golden Rule to Vote? Really?

Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke discusses how and why politicians who support "killing children and destroying families" (to use Michael Voris' phrase) cannot be supported by faithful Catholics. There are two clips from CatholicAction.org:

These are excerpted from an interview discussing then-Archbishop Burke's 2004 pastoral letter on voting to the Archdiocese of St. Louis and its applicability to today.

First Pitch

I'm not sure how long this will stay up if the MLB Advanced Media police decide it is a copyright infringement. If that happens, then follow the link below.

It doesn't say everything about a politician, but I just like a guy who can throw the ball.

RealClearPolitics - Video - Former President Bush Throws Out First Pitch At World Series


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and not just on election day