Advent I: Quiet
"I'm heading for a place of quiet, where the sage and sweetgrass grow..."
(Music: "Quiet" by Paul Simon. Video produced by Bob Carlton.)
the daily musings ...
of faith and culture, of life and love, of fun and games, of a song and dance man, who is keeping his day job.
"I'm heading for a place of quiet, where the sage and sweetgrass grow..."
Drop down dew, ye heavens,
What happened yesterday, at a Wal-Mart store in Nassau County, New York, embodies everything this writer despises about the Christmas season as it is celebrated in America.
Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. Typically celebrated the Friday after Thanksgiving in North America and the next day internationally, in 2008 the dates will be November 28 and 29 respectively. It was founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by the Canadian Adbusters magazine.
Victor Davis Hanson had some "politically-incorrect reasons to be optimistic on Thanksgiving Day." Some of them bear a remarkable resemblance to my own.
The question is not whether America is in decline, but whether it is in decline at a more rapid pace than true of Europe, Russia, or Asia. And one bright spot in the otherwise dark economic news will be the resilience of the United States...
The media violated all the classical cannons of fairness and objectivity in this presidential campaign. Now they are in a dilemma, since most of their long-voiced objections about Bush won’t be operative any more... as they dream of reasons why Gitmo is not that bad, or why keeping the Bush tax cuts for a bit will stimulate the economy, or why wiretapping on suspected terrorists, on reflection, isn’t really that subversive... the media has lost credibility and will have to start over from square one...
I just returned from visiting an ill relative at Fresno Community Hospital in downtown Fresno... I would wager that many did not have health plans in the sense of employer-provided HMOs. But someone was giving them health care, and sophisticated surgery as well... Most who denigrate American medicine know nothing of the alternative...
Once again, I note from mail and the postings that critics on the hard Left continue to lack humor; when they should be ecstatic with the triumph of Obama and the new majority in the Congress, they seem instead curiously consumed by their petty anger and bitterness.
Bullies. I was tormented by them my entire life, until ten years ago. That was when I had it stopped.
Everybody in DC knows that the worst night to have to leave town is tonight. But wherever you are, you've probably decided to stay close to home and hearth. That means providing the culinary experience of a lifetime tomorrow, doesn't it? Well, get your notepad out for the shopping list, because mwbh is here to help. First, we'll start with a recipie for cranberry sauce with port wine. None of this "cooking sherry" either. If you can't sneak in a good snort while hiding out in the kitchen, what's the point?
In this segment from MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Wall Street Journal columnist and recently-unfocused pundit Peggy Noonan explains her theory, of why the mainstream media is attempting to make Sarah Palin the face of the Republican party.
One of the areas of my former marriage which survived the devastation, was my association with the Greek Catholic Church, through the mother of my son. The granddaughter of Slovak immigrants, it was the church in which her mother grew up. While ritual affiliation in the Church is actually passed through the father, she chose her mother's for her own. When we married, it was in such a church.
In the Traditional Roman calandar, today is "Dominica Vigesima quarta et ultima post Pentecosten," or "The (24th and) Last Sunday After Pentecost." The gospel tells of Our Lord's warning of the End of the World, as foretold by Daniel. Today's homily at St John the Beloved reminded us of what Catholics know
I'm currently reading the latest book by Fox News Channel journalist and commentator Bill O'Reilly, entitled A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity.
Romney says that if the unions don't renegotiate, U.S. auto companies will never be able to compete in the global market no matter how much money they borrow.
So, for our dazed senators and representatives the equation should be: If the unions won't bend, we won't lend.
But the head of the House Financial Services Committee, the brilliant Barney Frank, disagrees with Romney and calls his analysis "union bashing." Frank, who said last July that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "in good shape going forward," submits that the autoworkers union should be applauded for promoting "income equality."
Swell, Barney, but here's the rub: If the company goes out of business there will be no income at all. Am I getting through here, congressman?
It’s beginning to look a lot like... well, you know. We can now look forward to weeks of perfectly dreadful Christmas specials on television, including perfectly dreadful children's specials. Then again, there is A Charlie Brown Christmas, which aired on CBS from its debut in 1965 through 2000, and on ABC from 2001 until the present. "The story touches on the over-commercialization of Christmas, and serves to remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ, continuing a theme explored by satirists such as Stan Freberg and Tom Lehrer during the 1950s." (Wikipedia)
There's one thing you learn in a town like Washington, and that is, if the story is big enough, you never quite hear all of it. Most of the time it really doesn't matter. Sometimes it does. A case in point of the latter is the photo-op for the world leaders at the recent G-20 Summit. For at least one whole news cycle, everybody thought Bush was being ignored, due to his (supposedly) having been a bully for the last eight years. One look at this clip, and you get that impression. The only problem is, that's not what happened! The political blogs are dumping on CNN's Rick Sanchez big time for this. But the truth is, sins of omissions such as these are common in the mainstream media these days.
The most likely candidate for Attorney General has an opinion about regulating the internet.
The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. - May 28, 1999 NPR Morning Edition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
...should be set
Chuck Norris tells the President-Elect how it's going to be:
The election is over. No more promises. No more words. You might work well in a team, but this time, you don't have congressional members to hide behind. You're on your own -- leading the pack -- and the whole country is watching. I, especially, am watching.
John Ziegler has it all figured out, and inasmuch as he completely justifies everything I've written on this topic, he is obviously brilliant. Hell, he'd be brilliant anyway, because he sets out to demonstrate that...
...millions of Americans were shocked that a man of Barack Obama's limited experience, extreme liberal positions and radical political alliances could be elected President of the United States. For many of these Americans, the explanation was rather simple... the news media, completely enamored with Obama, simply refused to do their job.
Thirty years ago tonight, this great act appeared live on NBC's Saturday Night Live. Growing out of the "Bee Band" comedic performances on SNL, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi appeared as their alter egos "Elwood Blues" and "Joliet Jake Blues" respectively. Together they were known as -- what else? -- "The Blues Brothers."
If you can watch this entire video clip, you are made of stronger stuff than I am. A man and his wife, who years ago set off explosives, at the same Federal buildings in Washington that were known targets of foreign terrorists on "9-11," and who nonetheless sleep pretty well at night in their Hyde Park mansion, had the audacity to get on television and fawn over the election-night love-fest in Chicago.
In my experience, what drives most radicals are passions of resentment, envy and inner rage. Bill Ayers is a scion of wealth. His father was head of Detroit’s giant utility Commonwealth Edison, in line for a cabinet position in the Nixon Administration before his son ruined it by going on a rampage that to this day he cannot explain to any reasonable person’s satisfaction (which is why he has to conceal so much). It could be said of Bill Ayers that he was consumed by angers so terrible they led him to destroy his father’s career. But in the 10 hours I interviewed him I saw none of it. What I saw was a shallowness beyond conception. All the Weather leaders I interviewed shared a similar vacuity. They were living inside a utopian fantasy, a separate reality, and had no idea of what they had done. Nor any way to measure it. Appreciating the nation to which they were born, recognizing the great gifts of freedom and opportunity their parents and communities had given them, distinguishing between right and wrong – it was all above their mental and moral ceiling.
In the days ahead, this is one of the dangers we face.
Evil people would be distinguished by these traits:
a) Consistent destructive, scapegoating behavior, which may often be quite subtle
b) Excessive, albeit usually covert, intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
c) Pronounced concern with a public image and self-image of respectability, contributing to a stability of lifestyle but also to pretentiousness and denial of hateful feelings or vengeful motives.
d) intellectual deviousness, with an increased likelihood of a mild schizophrenic-like disturbance of thinking at times of stress. (page 129)
Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. The evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgment of one's own need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgment, we have no option except to attempt to eradicate the evidence of our imperfection. Strangely enough, evil people are often destructive because they are attempting to destroy evil. The problem is that they misplace the locus of the evil. Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness within themselves. (page 74)
Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them. They seem to live lives that are above reproach. The words "image", "appearance" and "outwardly" are crucial to understanding the morality of "the evil". While they lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their goodness is all on a level of pretense. It is in effect a lie. Actually the lie is designed not so much to deceive others as to deceive themselves. We lie only when we are attempting to cover up something we know to be illicit. At one and the same time "the evil" are aware of their evil and desperately trying to avoid the awareness. We become evil by attempting to hide from ourselves. The wickedness of "the evil" is not committed directly, but indirectly as a part of this cover-up process. Evil originates not in the absence of guilt but in the effort to escape it. (page 75)
Depending on what you believe or how you live your own life, it's open season on you. The law cannot protect you, and the media will deny the whole thing.
A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.
The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps.
Only the smallest details are excluded...
Last night was a big one for Fox News. Hannity and Colmes had a lively discussion. Then Greta Van Susteren interviewed Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who talked about how the Republican Party needs to move forward in order to win in future elections.
Yes, this is a parody. But as long as we're racking up a list of bailout proposals, this idea makes about as much sense as the other ones.
The idea of universal compulsory national service is not a new one. When registration for the draft was reinstated in 1979 (and thankfully, I was too old by then), I believe it was Senator William Proxmire who proposed alternative civilian service. The idea gets kicked around a lot. But the fascination with legions of eager young followers engaged in great experimental endeavors has some strange appeal to our President-Elect, so we'll hear about it more these days.
McCain did a bob-and-weave on NBC's Tonight Show when it came to the issue of "top advisors" dissing his running mate. Personally, I think it was a cop-out.
Jay Leno: Now, these aides that were criticizing her — and I think everyone agrees there were Republican aides who were criticizing her. I know you wouldn’t go for that. I know you’re an old soul. You don’t let people talk — but why?
Senator John McCain: One — these things happen in campaigns too. I think I have at least a thousand, quote, top advisors. “A top advisor said” — people I’ve never even heard of, much less a, quote, top advisor or a high-ranking Republican official. It’s — these things go on in campaigns, and you just –
Concerning this latest MSNBC interview with Louisuana Governor Bobby Jindal, Allahpundit of Hot Air writes: "The more interesting stuff comes halfway through when he talks about supporting Obama and using the states — momentarily the last bastions of GOP rule — as laboratories for experimenting with new conservative policies. Although, with The One and a blue Congress now in charge, I wonder how much decentralized power there’ll be by 2012." Jindal is spot on with the "three bullet points," though. The clips from MSNBC cannot be scaled down for embedding at this site, so click here to watch.
Today we continue with Part Two of Fox News' Greta Van Susteren with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, recently the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate. These clips show a more intimate view of the Governor and her family, most of it in the kitchen. In this first segment, she talks about her first meeting with running mate Senator John McCain. She also shares how the experience felt for her husband and children.
Last night, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke out for the first time at any length on national television. Greta Van Susteren of Fox News Channel interviewed the former vice-presidential candidate, who insisted that she never asked for the $150K in clothing that was purchased for her use during the campaign by the RNC. No such criticism was ever leveled at the Obama campaign, which makes this just one more example of how extremely biased the news coverage was during the entire campaign. She also talks about the abortion issue, not only how unyielding she is on the subject, but on the need for people with differing points of view to work together to reduce the "need" for it.
...when the party is over.
(Part of a continuing series on lesser-known participants in the Catholic blogosphere.)
Now that he has become the President-elect y'all have the difficult job ahead of turning on a dime. As long as it was a matter of Obama vs. McCain you had the wind of proportionate reason in your sails; but now the seas are dead calm, and... there is no longer any justification for remote material cooperation in his wicked policies. Justified remote material cooperation with evil may have... made it possible to choose him over McCain; but now we have the absolute condition of a chosen President. If proportionate reason ever existed for remote material cooperation with his evil policies before the election, they no longer do now. Now your obligation is reversed... to oppose his evil policies with all your heart, mind, and strength; all the more so because of your choice to vote for him.
But not to worry. This is a burden we can all bear together...
In this world I walk alone
Earlier today, I wrote of the political fallout from the recent election. It would have been opportune to elaborate on the role of various American bishops, in a valiant effort to inculcate Catholic values in the public square. This would have required an essay unto itself. Happily, a gentleman writing for RenewAmerica.us has tied the future of American conservatism, and the Catholic message, very nicely:
History tells us that conservatives only lose when they forget how to be conservatives, or become too afraid to continue being conservatives... America is, at its core, a conservative country with liberal fringes just waiting for a decent excuse to vote conservative. The liberal establishment, media and entertainment industry will have us believe just the opposite. Namely, that America is, at its core, a liberal society with radical conservative fringes just waiting to hijack the nation. Lest we actually begin believing these hucksters, let us recall that liberals in Hollywood and national newsrooms have a particular penchant for fantasy.
Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of our greatest Presidents today, but he was not always popular in his time.
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence; from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependency back again into bondage."
The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts...
My assistant, Jean Hwang, and I have been examining Post coverage since Nov. 11 last year... The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces (58) about McCain than there were about Obama (32), and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement. The Post has several conservative columnists, but not all were gung-ho about McCain...
One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission.