Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why I have not been posting much

My mother in law passed away a few days ago. My wife went home to Connecticut to be with her and so I had no time between work and watching the kids to post. In times like this, other things seem more important than politics and philosophy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why McCain?

So, why John McCain? I was a volunteer on his 2000 campaign and while I have not been actively working on his campaign this time around, I still believe he is the best choice for America. So for the next few days, I will try and make the case for McCain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

McCain Victory 08

Want to help John McCain but don't know how? Not in Iowa or New Hampshire?

Brad Marston has started a blog specifically for you --

McCain Victory 08!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Effects of Romney's Speech

It is too early to say. The analysis I have seen has been mostly positive, feeling that he made a good speech and hopefully will put the issue to rest.

The candidate who should feel happiest about the speech and the wall to wall coverage should be Mike Huckabee. In part, the speech was in response to the sudden surge of support for the conservative Christian Huckabee. Furthermore, the speech has deflected attention from the sudden rash of reports regarding Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist who was paroled during Huckabee's time as Arkansas governor. Huckabee's role in the parole is under question. After being released, Dumond raped and killed another woman.

With Huckabee going from a little known candidate to suddenly in the lead in Iowa, the news media has decided to revisit the story. Given the anti-crime emphasis of the GOP, especially the social conservative wing that Huckabee is heavily courting, this could have hurt him badly. But the media has a short attention span, and the issue now is Romney's religion. Huckabee has to hope that the spotlight stays there for a while, then moves off to something else.

The Speech

Mitt Romney made his long awaited speech today on religion. He had hoped to defuse the questions surrounding his Mormonism in a way reminiscent of JFK's speech to the Houston Protestant Pastors in 1960.

I read the speech and saw part of it on the Internet today. It was a good, heartfelt speech. In the gym tonight, I was watching on t.v. while one bunch of pundits (from different sides of the aisle) seemed to think it was a great speech. Then on Oberman, well, Oberman was Oberman (I had a testy e-mail exchange with him once when he was still a sportscaster, so I really don't like him).

I had two problems with the speech.

First, I thought he seemed to insinuate that non-religious people cannot be good Americans. Considering that most of the Founders were "nonconformists" on the question of religion, and some were outright heretics, that is just wrong to say. I went through an atheist phase about 10 years ago -- was I less American for it?

Second, though, just from an overall standpoint, and as a Catholic, I am annoyed we even have to be having this conversation. Three years ago, John Kerry could run for president and no one asked about his Catholicism. No one seems very concerned about Rudy Giuliani’s lapsed Catholicism. 7 years ago, an Orthodox Jew could get nominated for vice president. No one really batted an eyelash. 47 years ago, a Catholic could get elected president but was forced to head off the Catholic issue. And even there (and in 1928 with Al Smith), the issue was whether Catholics would have to submit to the Pope.

The issue with Romney, and why it is so annoying, is not one of independence but rather simply theology. Some, especially on the Evangelical right, seem hung up not on Romney's ideology but rather on the teachings of Mormonism. This was not raised when his father ran for president in 1968 (though when Mo Udall ran for the democratic nomination in 1976, Colman Young, an ally of Carter did raise the Mormon issue).

I hoped we were past this as a country. I hope I am not wrong.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Repeal Day!

Worst Political Prediction Ever

"On every morning that you wake up for the rest of your life you will be ashamed of what you did last night" -- David Margesson to John Profumo, May 9, 1940.

John Profumo was a young Tory member of Parliament who had been elected in April 1940 on a pro-Nevile Chamberlain platform. As the early course of World War II turned against the Allies, on May 8, 1940, the House of Commons held a confidence vote on Chamberlain's government. Profumo was serving in the Army when elected, and received a day's leave to attend the vote. As the members filed off into the lobbies to vote, Profumo, almost on a whim, joined 41 other government supporters in calling for Chamberlain's resignation.

Chamberlain's government won the vote, but it was obvious that he was mortally wounded as Prime Minister. Profumo, his duty done, then went off to a night club and proceeded to get drunk.

The next morning, Profumo was called to the office of the Tories' Chief Whip, David Margesson, who made that fateful prediction. Profumo returned to his unit.

The following day, May 10, 1940, the German war machine struck west, invading Belgium. By that evening, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister.

John Profumo would later take down another Conservative government, after sharing a bed with a woman sharing a bed with a Russian diplomat and lying about it to the House of Commons. But his action helping to take down the Chamberlain government in the end helped to save Western civilization.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

UN Meeting Saves the Planet

The UN climate change meeting in Bali has attracted so many participants that Indonesia apparently is looking for new places to park all the private jets.

Despite the fact that I agree reducing carbon output is a positive good, I will start to act like it is a crisis when the people claiming it is a crisis start acting like it is a crisis.

Chavez Loses

I guess the people of Venezuela did not quite want socialism after all, at least not the one man socialism that Chavez was offering.

Why is it every time I see this guy on t.v., I think about this?

I believe that many people frankly LIKE totalitarianism. Why? Because it means that you are never personally responsible for anything. Big Brother watches you. He will deliver everything good to you and if you get something bad, well, it is not your fault.

Oil is pushing $100 a barrel and there are reports of food shortages in Venezuela. That is all you need to know about socialism.

Chavez's next speech:

From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish.

In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check.

Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!

The You Tube Debate Secret Transcript

It turns out that CNN heavily edited the You Tube debate. Here is the secret transcript of what really happened.

Cousin Billy's Blog

I just discovered that my cousin Billy has a blog. Billy is one of the funniest people I know, and I am not just talking about his looks. He actually gets paid to be funny, so I suppose his employer should complain.

If you want a good laugh, also check out his twice weekly column.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Union Leader Endorses McCain

The Manchester Union Leader endorsed John McCain. Will that help in the New Hampshire primary? It cannot hurt.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advent Thoughts -- Jesus as Man

As a Catholic, I believe that Jesus is wholly God but also wholly human. Advent starts this weekend and so I was thinking about the human side of Jesus. This mystery of the Incarnation obviously is a difficult one to grasp. God became flesh, but really, what does that mean? Does that mean the agony and the Crucifixion was merely playacting, or does it heighten the power of Good Friday? Riots would break out in Byzantium over this question.

But at this time of year, I prefer to keep Good Friday a bit off center and focus instead at the miracle of the Incarnation and wonder about Jesus as a little baby. A local social club had a short concert today and one of the songs sung was about "Mary rocking her baby." The Bible is mostly silent on Jesus as an infant. There are the Nativity narratives of course, Jesus being presented in the Temple, and Jesus getting lost in the Temple sometime later. Now that I am a father, wonder what Joseph must have thought when he looked into Jesus's eyes or what Mary thought as she held him.

I tried today to explain to my children more about Christmas today. Several years ago, Alex received a Playmobil of the Nativity as a Christmas present and so my wife and I trued to use that to explain the story. Alex was a barrage of questions while Christian just wanted to play with the camel. So my attempt to explain it to two children failed. Yet if I struggle with the meaning for myself, how am I supposed to explain it to a four year old?

Oprah and Obama

I have been thinking some more about the duel between Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand. It seems somewhat comical in a way -- Winfrey is, after all, one of the top entertainment celebrities right now while Streisand hit her peak maybe 30 years ago. So in a way, it fits in with the themes of the Clinton and Obama campaigns. Clinton's campaign looks back to her husband's time in the White House while Obama looks forward. And to be truthful, do celebrity endorsements really mean all that much?

But there is something else here which is interesting, namely how race is not playing a part in this. Winfrey is black, yet she is enormously popular (she owns Chicago). Obama is black, yet he is really running as the liberal yuppie candidate.

While race is never too far removed in the US, maybe we are finally overcoming our obscene obsession with it.