Monday, April 28, 2008

Catching Up on Politics

I have not been following national politics too closely the past few weeks. I discovered a few new things today.

First, Senator Obama's 2004 GOP opponent (the one NOT accused of NOT having sex with his wife) Alan Keyes dropped out of the Republican Party.

Second, Keyes is now a member of the Constitution Party.

Third, Keyes lost the Constitution Party's presidential nomination.

Fourth, apparently someone out there thinks Alan Keyes is relevant to something.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Anchoress on Eurcharistic Devotion

The Anchoress has a posting on Catholics and Eucharistic devotion. This is something that non-Catholics (other than the Orthodox I would think) find somewhat strange. As Catholics, we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. In fairness though, this can be even a difficult doctrine for Catholics to understand. I studied the theology in college, can discussed half remembered discourses by St. Thomas Aquinas regarding essence and accidents, yet we still hear of "bleeding host" stories despite he Church's attempts to suppress them.

The Anchoress posted some photographs of people kneeling before a procession. It reminds me of one of the things I miss about Brooklyn. I lived for two years in Williamsburg, my parents’ old neighborhood. Today it has a reputation as an artists’ colony and is now in the process of massive upscale gentrification, but there still remain a lot of Italians. Nearby, in Greenpoint, you have a lot of Polish and other Catholic Slavic immigrants.

The churches there still have public processions. If a priest well known for piety was visiting the area, they would often ask him to bless the Host and then process with it from church to church, sometimes over several days. My wife (who is not Catholic) was astounded by how the people on the street would genuflect or kneel when the procession passed by. Usually, the priest would be accompanied by the children of the parish and by old ladies singing hymns from the old country.

Again, it is difficult to explain to a non-Catholic, but there was something about touching the sacred in Eucharistic devotion, and most incredibly when it was in the most mundane venue of Lorimer Street in Brooklyn, as cars sped by.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hilllary or Bust!

The blogosphere is alive with the sounds of everyone trying to figure out just what is going on with the Democrats. I suggest heading over to one of my favorite blogs, Ragged Thots, for some excellent analysis and discussion.

So why Hillary or bust (as my regular Rodak put it a few weeks ago)? It seems that the only HRC supporter in my neighborhood is also an Elvis fan. The HRC sign is next to a bust of Elvis (sorry for the bad photo, it was taken with my camera phone).

I am still trying to figure if there is any cosmic significance to this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Primary Night?

I'll take the usual please!

Life Imitates The Onion

The Onion: Al-Qeada Takes on 9/11 Truthers

Life: Al-Qaeda whines that they really did 9/11 -- and that the conspiracy theories are really a plot by Iran (in cahoots with the USA!) to make al-Qaeda look bad. (granted according to the article, the tape has not been authenticated yet and I am sure a Truther will say it is a CIA/Mossad/Stone Cutter forgery).

Happy Earth Day!!

I celebrated Earth Day the way I always do -- wondering around at lunch time and punching out hippies (well, not really).

Hippies smell bad and scare small children. WON'T YOU THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!

Actually, the only people at the Earth Day rally seemed to be confused office workers looking for food and the occasional person handing out ex-trees (aka leaflets). The leaflets obviously hate the planet as they killed many carbon absorbing trees.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Does College Come with a Money Back Guarrantee?

This turned out to be something of a hoax, but the strange case of Ms. Aliza Shvarts shows how modern art is in a race to the bottom.

If I was her father, I would ask Yale for a refund.

The Pope's Visit

I have to admit that I have not been watching much of the mainstream media's coverage of the Pope's visit. Partly, it seemed that the media never understood Pope John Paul II and that Pope Benedict is even harder for them to understand. He is a walking contradiction. He is supposed to be a narrow authoritarian, yet he meets with his philosophical opponents such as Hans Kung. He invites those who threaten him to discuss with reason and respect.

And now he has gone and met with some of the victims of the clerical scandal. Yes it is a symbolic gesture, but considering how much pain the scandal brought us in the American Church, I thought a wonderful and healing gesture. It will take a long time for the pain and wounds to heal. But the Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years -- we can use time to cure ourselves.

The Anchoress of course has the best analysis of the visit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A little humor for April 15th

"I'm proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money." -- Arthur Godfrey

A nice list of tax related quotes can be found here

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Of sunshine and taxes

Yes, I have not posted in a week. First off, last weekend, the weather here in Chicago was nice for the first time since forever. So Alex decided we had to play soccer in the park.

Then came taxes, and yes, I am still procrastinating and have not yet filed.

But I promise I will.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

In Memory of Frank Meyer

As a self described conservative Catholic libertarian, I owe an immense debt to Frank Meyer. Meyer was a collaborator of William F. Buckley. He was born into a Jewish family and was a communist as a young man. On seeing the horrors of Stalinism, he turned away from communism and embraced liberty. Before his death, he converted to Catholicism.

Meyer developed the philosophy of "fusionism" -- the combination of traditional conservatism and libertarianism that has become this thing we know as "American Conservatism." The other day it was the 36th anniversary of his death and in his memory, an acquaintance sent me this -- to the turn of "Oh MY Darling Clementine". Apparently, Meyer used to like to teach young conservatives this song to mock totalitarianism.

In the Kremlin
Up in Moscow
In the Fall of '39
Sat a Russian
And a Prussian
Drawing up the Party-line.

O! my darling
O! my darling
O! my darling Party-Line
Oh, I never
Will forsake you
For I love this
Life of mine.

Leon Trotsky
Was a Nazi
Oh, we knew it for a fact
Pravda said it
We all read it
Before the Stalin-Hitler Pact.


Once a Nazi
Would be shot, see?
That was then the party line.
Now a Nazi's
Trotsky's laying British mines.


Once the Russians
Would kill Prussians
That was then the Party-Line
Now the Russians
Love the Prussians
Volga boatmen sail the Rhine.


As a side note, the song actually came from a Fourth International conference in 1940 -- so viva Trotsky! (NOT!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

And for his next act, John McCain will . . .

Coming off of his successful European tour, John McCain did a spot on Letterman (HT Althouse)

McCain seems very relaxed right now. Thanks to the battle between Senators Obama and Clinton, he gets to sit back and play the statesman. Things will get tough again, but for now, he can make the jokes while the Clintons and Obama stick the knives in deeper.

Earth Hour Saves Earth

Last Saturday at 8 PM (I think) was Earth Hour -- when every one on the planet was supposed to turn off their lights and sit around in the dark.

I spent earth Hour the same way I spend every Saturday night in March -- I ordered pizza and watched NCAA basketball. In deference to light as a sign of civilization, I did turn on a few extra lights.

But that did not come close to the way this brave and noble soul saved the planet (warning, strong language).

April 1st was also supposed to be "Fossil Fools Day" when people of action were supposed to shut down something or other to protest something else or other. I did not see any protesters. However, one of the things they threatened to do was to "spank the bank". I guess subprime mortgages are destroying the planet faster than they are destroying my portfolio.

I think I know why I did not see any protesters. They were so busy "spanking the bank" that they went blind

It's 3 a.m.

And Hillary Clinton is considering firing her ad agency.

Granted, I am a McCain supporter, but WHO thought this ad was a good idea. Just leaving aside for a moment the merits of what should be done about the foreclosure issue. But why would someone call the president at three in the morning to talk about foreclosures? Personally, I think it can wait until after breakfast. It is not like Citibank just launched a WMD at Cleveland. (HT: The Corner)

Hookers are Cheaper in Michigan

Elliot Spitzer could have saved a lot had he headed over to Michigan.

You have to say this for the Democrats, at least when they have a sex scandal, they are getting lots of hot and heavy sex right now. On the GOP side, Vitter had sex years ago, while Ryan, Craig and Foley did not even get to have sex in their sex scandals.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Defending Europe

Vodka Pundit referenced a Guardian article today which asks from a European perspective, the same question I have been asking -- namely, why is the US still defending Europe?

Interestingly for a Guardian writer, he calls for both increased European defense spending AND a strong NATO alliance with the United States. How did that guy slip in there?

Oil in North Dakota?

There seems to be a lot of excitement in the blogosphere over this press release, claiming that there is a large oil field in North Dakota. From the looks of the map, I wonder if the field is some sort of extension of the tar sands in Canada.

That said, the release claims the oil is difficult to extract, and that only now, with prices as high as they are, is it economically viable.

If true, this would be great. However, like the occasional shale oil boomlet, I will believe it when I see oil coming out of the refineries.