Monday, June 30, 2008

The Real Differences Stand To Reason

No surprises here.

Without Honor, Without Shame, Without A Grasp Of Elementary Logic

Why bring up comparison points where your own candidate can boast absolutely nothing? Good takedown by Ed Morrissey.

Some really good points are also made here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oh, Boo-Hoo

Now the Chicago Tribune advocates the repeal of the second amendment. The pathetic little plea ends with:

Want to debate whether crime-staggered cities should prohibit the possession of handguns? The Supreme Court has just said, "forget about it."

Yeah, it's quite a gyp when the Supreme Court shuts down debate about restricting an enumerated right plainly stated in the Constitution. But no doubt the Tribune has nothing but warm fuzzies concerning Roe v Wade.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Federal Reserve Could Learn Much From These Guys

H/T Hot Air.

"With This Study We Learned Two Major Things..."

"The first is that before, when we told you that we knew what the hell we were talking about, we didn't know what the hell we were talking about. The second is that we don't now know what the hell we are talking about."

This kind of thing is happening more and more frequently.

Friday, June 27, 2008

One Can Only Hope

That the bond markets impose some serious discipline on our out-of-control central bank. Link:

Barclays Capital has advised clients to batten down the hatches for a worldwide financial storm, warning that the US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall "below zero".

"We're in a nasty environment," said Tim Bond, the bank's chief equity strategist. "There is an inflation shock underway. This is going to be very negative for financial assets. We are going into tortoise mood and are retreating into our shell. Investors will do well if they can preserve their wealth."

Barclays Capital said in its closely-watched Global Outlook that US headline inflation would hit 5.5pc by August and the Fed will have to raise interest rates six times by the end of next year to prevent a wage-spiral. If it hesitates, the bond markets will take matters into their own hands. "This is the first test for central banks in 30 years and they have fluffed it. They have zero credibility, and the Fed is negative if that's possible. It has lost all credibility," said Mr Bond.

The grim verdict on Ben Bernanke's Fed was underscored by the markets yesterday as the dollar fell against the euro following the bank's dovish policy statement on Wednesday.

Traders said the Fed seemed to be rowing back from rate rises. The effect was to propel oil to $138 a barrel, confirming its role as a sort of "anti-dollar" and as a market reproach to Washington's easy-money policies.

The Fed's stimulus is being transmitted to the 45-odd countries linked to the dollar around world. The result is surging commodity prices. Global inflation has jumped from 3.2pc to 5pc over the last year.

Mr Bond said the emerging world is now on the cusp of a serious crisis. "Inflation is out of control in Asia. Vietnam has already blown up. The policy response is to shoot the messenger, like the developed central banks in the late 1960s and 1970s," he said.

"They will have to slam on the brakes. There is going to be a deep global recession over the next three years as policy-makers try to get inflation back in the box."

Barclays Capital recommends outright "short" positions on Asian bonds, warning that yields could jump 200 to 300 basis points. The currencies of trade-deficit states like India should be sold. The US yield curve is likely to "steepen" with a vengeance, causing a bloodbath for bond holders.

David Woo, the bank's currency chief, said the Fed's policy of benign neglect towards the dollar had been stymied by oil, which is now eating deep into the country's standard of living. "The world has changed all of a sudden. The market is going to push the Fed into a tightening stance," he said...

Creditors and savers have been getting raped over the last few years. It's payback time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

So Gates Isn't Merely A Sadist

But also a masochist. Apparently he's well aware of what a hell Microsoft products are, but was never able to do anything about it. Go here to read an amazing e-mail by him detailing the rigamarole that he went through in trying to download and install a simple Microsoft application. At least he knows what the customer experience is like. It's quite a read.

There Are No Non-Religious People, Only False Gods

Samizda complains about people trying to speak for God. Comments ensue.

A couple:

And in thus declaring on behalf of God (or the lack thereof) that no one can possibly speak for God, you thereby speak for God, rendering yourself no better than those you decry. It could be that God wants particular people to speak for Him. Yet you declare on God's behalf that this could not possibly be what God wants. In fact, your declaration of what God wants seems to trump all the others. Mighty presumptuous, I'd say. How dare you?


Seerak posits that:

This is psychological projection at its best -- one that I've always found a funny one, because the religionists are effectively trying to declare that atheism is no better than religion, as if they were unaware that the same logic says that atheism is as good as religion -- in which case, what exactly are they knocking?

Nothing, really. As long as everybody admits it, I'm fine.

Here's the problem. Atheists act as if they're the only ones around without a religion, and therefore the only secular people in the world. Hence, because the USA and many other countries are supposed to be secular, then only atheists and/or atheistic values do not violate the conceptual 'separation between church and state'.

No, you do not get away with that. Either your belief system makes some pretty unequivocal truth claims about the state of the universe and supernatural powers, or it is entirely useless. You seek to drive education, justice, usage of public property, morality, ethics, science, technology pretty much all of civilisation in accordance with your belief that there is no god and/or we're not accountable to anyone but ourselves.

Because I believe atheists have a religion, they should be subject to exactly the same limitations as all other religions; namely, that there be a separation of church and state where such a concept exists, for instance.

Seerak goes on:

Anyway, the real issue that the religionists will evade, and must always evade, is that atheism is not a positive belief of any sort.

Well, here's the problem, though; the term 'atheist' is derived from 'a' meaning without, and 'theos' meaning God (or god). So, it does seem that atheism is a positive belief system after all.

Here's another way of looking at it. Logic states that either A or not-A is true; it cannot be that A and not-A are both true.

A. There is (at least) a God.
not-A. There is no God.

We usually call those who say A is true 'theists' and those who say not-A is true 'atheists'.

Again, what might your response be? That this question is irrelevant? Whether Bigfoot exists or not I consider irrelevant also, but that does not change the truth value of proposition one bit

Similarly, the FSM's existence is also not impacted by my belief or lack thereof.

Please tell me how you can call yourself atheist without affirming not-A as above. This is the bloody definition, for crying out loud.

Or perhaps I misunderstand atheism completely. Perhaps judging by the more famous atheist 'representatives' such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Peter Singer and Friedrich Nietszche is not the right thing to do, considering their militant, almost evangelical zeal to promote atheism. Maybe they're better labeled anti-theist instead.

So, Seerak, why don't you tell me exactly what your belief towards God is? And don't say, 'none'. Or rather, go ahead, but try not to evade the natural consequences of your statement.

"I don't believe in ghosts" is semantically equivalent to saying "I believe in no ghosts" i.e. 'There are no ghosts". Many atheists try to weasel out of it; but the fact is, all negative statements have equivalent positive statements. Saying that A is not true (i.e. A is false) is equivalent to saying not-A is true. And however you want to word it, this was always true, is always true now, and will always be true, world without end.

You know how this ends. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Banff Panorama

The other direction from the top of Sulphur Mountain. Note: You can view a zoomable horizontal version here.

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Liberals: Always Trying To Help Those Who Don't Really Want It

Great spoof:

Study: Most Children Strongly Opposed To Children's Healthcare

Banff Panorama

From on top of Sulphur Mountain.

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Heads I Win, Tails You Lose


Talking Sense To PZ Myers

Gordy Slack wrote in The Scientist:

[I]n the debate over evolution, I also think creationists' doggedness has to do with the fact that they make a few worthy points. And as long as evolutionists like me reflexively react with ridicule and self-righteous rage, we may paradoxically be adding years to creationism's lifespan.

First, I have to agree with the ID crowd that there are some very big (and frankly exciting) questions that should keep evolutionists humble. While there is important work going on in the area of biogenesis, for instance, I think it's fair to say that science is still in the dark about this fundamental question. It's hard to draw conclusions about the significance of what we don't know. Still, I think it is disingenuous to argue that the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution. It is no less relevant than the Big Bang is to physics or cosmology. Evolution should be able to explain, in theory at least, all the way back to the very first organism that could replicate itself through biological or chemical processes. And to understand that organism fully, we would simply have to know what came before it. And right now we are nowhere close. I believe a material explanation will be found, but that confidence comes from my faith that science is up to the task of explaining, in purely material or naturalistic terms, the whole history of life. My faith is well founded, but it is still faith.

Second, IDers also argue that the cell is far more complex than Darwin could have imagined 149 years ago when he published On the Origin of Species. There is much more explaining to do than those who came before us could have predicted. Sure, we also know a lot more about natural selection and evolution, including the horizontal transfer of portions of genomes from one species to another. But scientists still have much to learn about the process of evolution if they are to fully explain the phenomenon. Again, I have faith that science will complete that picture, but I suspect there will be some big surprises. Will one of them be that an intelligent being designed life? I doubt it. Even if someone found compelling evidence for a designer, for us materialists, it would just push the ultimate question down the road a bit. If a Smart One designed life, what is the material explanation for its existence?

The third noteworthy point IDers make has its roots, paradoxically, in a kind of psychological empiricism. Millions of people believe they directly experience the reality of a Creator every day, and to them it seems like nonsense to insist that He does not exist. Unless they are lying, God's existence is to them an observable fact. Denying it would be like insisting that my love for my children was an illusion created by neurotransmitters. I can't imagine a scientific argument in the world that could convince me that I didn't really love my children. And if there were such an argument, I have to admit I'd be reluctant to accept it, however compelling it appeared on paper. I have too much respect for my own experience.

Which leads me to a final concession to my ID foes: When they say that some proponents of evolution are blind followers, they're right. A few years ago I covered a conference of the American Atheists in Las Vegas. I met dozens of people there who were dead sure that evolutionary theory was correct though they didn't know a thing about adaptive radiation, genetic drift, or even plain old natural selection. They came to their Darwinism via a commitment to naturalism and atheism not through the study of science. They're still correct when they say evolution happens. But I'm afraid they're wrong to call themselves skeptics unencumbered by ideology. Many of them are best described as zealots. Ideological zeal isn't incompatible with good science; its coincidence with a theory proves nothing about that theory's explanatory power.

PZ Myers, of course could not let this little travesty stand without comment.

Slack then elaborated further on Myers blog:

Where in my piece did I suggest that the few points that creationists get right are their own invention or discovery? I said no such thing. Look, I don't buy ID even in its most discounted forms, and I never have. The point I make in The Scientist essay is that hurling insults at IDers when they say things you agree with makes you look rabid, not rational. And it drives the growing number of Americans who already distrust the proponents of evolution further away. Which is a dangerous and stupid thing to do in times like these.

My essay in The Scientist does nothing to promote ID; I'm just pointing out that everything IDers say isn't wrong and that when they do say something true it would be better to keep quiet or say "good point" than to riddle them with insults. Why not save the humiliation treatment for the plenty that they say that IS wrong. It's still a full time hobby.

It surprises me that PZ is so pissed off by my efforts to understand why so many Americans reject evolution. If you ask them, and I have bothered to ask hundreds or thousands over the past two years, many will tell you that more than anything else, it's the arrogant zealotry of cocksure ideologues that turns them off to evolution. They see people calling their intuitions and worldviews retarded and corrupt, and they march the other way. That's one reason why we evolutionists have done such an abysmal promotions job even though we're armed with the most delightful and seductive and potent theory ever. If we can't sell evolution, we must be doing something wrong. Right? I'm just saying that we might start by resisting the urge to spit bile in the face of potential buyers.

I like to watch PZ turn red and stomp around like Rumpelstiltskin as much as most of you probably do. (Otherwise, what would we be doing here? We're not really learning very much here, are we?) So go ahead PZ, rant and rave about the idiocy of those who don't see the world as you do or don't write about it in a way that pleases you. It's fun to watch, even when you're ranting and raving at me. But I don't want the point of my piece to be smothered by your performance art...

Slack then proceeded to dismantle Myers point by point in this comment.

The funny thing is Slack is actually on Myers side, but suffers from an inexcusable lack of rabidity as far as Myers is concerned. It's good to see Slack stand up for himself, though. And also to point out that the atheist True Believers (who he happens to agree with) are way overplaying their hand. Search for the string "Gordy Slack" in the comments to see him take on all of PZ's know-nothing sycophants, whom he characterizes as "mangy retired hyenas" who frequent PZ's blog in order to "hear the same old tired truisms amplified in a feedback loop of self-congratulation".

I Thought It Was The Bible That Was Supposed To Be By And For The Simpleminded

Handwaving is the official creation story:

I watch very little television, but I enjoy The History Channel (THC). I’ve learned a lot from it. When it comes to hard science and engineering they do a very good job. I’ve particularly enjoyed their programs about the history of aviation, since I’m a software engineer in the aerospace R&D industry with hundreds of hours of airtime in hang gliders and have a special interest in aerodynamics and aviation history.

When it comes to aviation, THC gets it right, virtually all of the time.

It was thus with trepidation that I watched “How Life Began” last evening. The title of the show was a dead giveaway about what I would see, hear, and experience. The title of the show should have been “How Did Life Begin?” and the answer should have been, “No one has the faintest idea.”

But no, we are presented with endless speculation that doesn’t withstand even the most trivial scrutiny, and are given the impression that “science” has the solution well in hand, with only minor details to be filled in.

We are also greeted with the usual obligatory assurances that “religion” and “evolution” are perfectly compatible, if one has a proper intellectually and materialistically enlightened interpretation of religion*. White-collared Fr. Coyne is prominently displayed as an apologist for this thesis, and assures viewers that “intelligent design” is superbly unnecessary as an explanation for the origin of life. Eugenie Scott would be proud of him.

The big problem with “How Life Began” is that no hard questions are ever asked, much less addressed. We take a journey into the Life, Inc. factory, where all the mysteries of the origin of life are explained.

In the life factory we are given an introduction to basic chemistry. The simple chemical elements — hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon (with a few trace elements) — are mixed in a vat with liquid water. We are also given a grade-school education about the temperature range under which water is a liquid. We are then told about the marvels of the carbon atom, which can produce millions of chemical compounds.

We are then treated to a discussion about amino acids and how they make up proteins. (The obvious implication, presented through computer-generated graphics showing increasingly complex molecules forming spontaneously in an aqueous environment, is that proteins can be generated by stochastic processes.)

We then learn about the DNA molecule, and how it engenders self-replication, with no explanation as to how it could have possibly originated.

We then learn about the cell wall, with no explanation as to how it could have possibly originated.

We also learn about the energy producing systems of the cell, with no explanation as to how this could have possibly originated.

We now exit the life factory. All the essentials of the origin of life have been explained: energy production, proteins, self-replication, and the cell wall.

But wait! Proteins are manufactured by a highly complex and sophisticated machine that operates by interpreting a code in the DNA molecule. Where did the machinery come from? Where did the code come from? These questions are never asked, much less addressed, for obvious reasons.

We are then told about how random mutation and natural selection explains all the rest. We are even assured with no hesitancy that sexual reproduction was an innovation produced by random mutation, which helped provide even more variation upon which natural selection could work. This explains the Cambrian explosion.

Last, but certainly not least, we are taught about the scientific principle of “emergence” — the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As an example of emergence we are shown waves in shallow water producing symmetric ripples in sand. Just as the physics of fluid dynamics can produce ripples in sand, so too can the laws of chemistry, physics, and probability explain all of the emergent properties of living systems, all of biology, and ultimately human existence.

After watching this History Channel program all I could do was stare at the floor and shake my head in disbelief that such transparent BS could be presented as hard science.

*The reason for this obligatory disclaimer is obvious: If modern evolutionary theory were known for what it is — the creation story of atheism that has little scientific, mathematical, evidential, or logical support — it would be banned in the public schools as an instance state-supported anti-religion.

Sodomy: You Will Approve. You Will Celebrate. Or Else.

Maggie Gallagher has a piece that covers many aspects of that moral crime known to its proponents as "gay marriage". It ends thusly:

This week National Public Radio similarly highlighted the coming religious-liberty conflicts, opening with a remarkably frank and open admission of how serious the implications are: “As gay couples in California head to the courthouse starting Monday to get legally married, there are signs of a coming storm” — as NPR put it in their written version — “Two titanic legal principles are crashing on the steps of the church, synagogue and mosque: equal treatment for same-sex couples on the one hand, and the freedom to exercise religious beliefs on the other.”

“The collision that will play out over the next few years will be filled with pathos on both sides,” NPR says. But the story also acknowledges: “So far, the religious groups are losing.”

Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to after four-plus years of active participation in the same-sex-marriage debate: Gay marriage is not primarily about marriage. It’s also not about Adam and Steve and their personal practical legal needs. It is about inserting into the law the principle that “gay is the new black” — that sexual orientation should be treated exactly the same way we treat race in law and culture.

Gay-marriage advocates say it all the time: People who think marriage is the union of husband and wife are like bigots who opposed interracial marriage. Believe them. They say it because they mean it.

The architects of this strategy have targeted marriage because it stands in the way of the America they want to create: They hope to use the law to reshape the culture in exactly the same way that the law was used to reshape the culture of the old racist south.

Gay-marriage advocates are willing to use a variety of arguments to allay fears and reduce opposition to getting this new “equality” principle inserted in the law; these voices may even believe what they are saying. But once the principle is in the law, the next step will be to use the law to stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation.

Many of the harshest legal conflicts could be alleviated with religious-exemption legislation. But gay-marriage advocates will fight those religious exemptions tooth and nail (as they did in Massachusetts when the Catholic Church asked for one for Catholic Charities) because, they will say, it’s the principle of the thing: We wouldn’t give a religious-liberty exemption to a racist, so why should someone who opposes gay marriage get one?

Conservative gay-marriage advocates like Andrew Sullivan may well tut tut that they don’t really agree with, say, kicking Catholic Charities out of the adoption business. If it were left it up to guys like them, they probably would not do it. But it won’t be left up to them (and they can hardly be expected to fall on their swords to prevent it either.)

Ideas have consequences. This is what “marriage equality” means.

This November, voters in California will have a chance in the privacy of the voting booth to either affirm or repudiate California’s supreme court decision.

What is at stake in the California marriage debate now taking place? The meaning of marriage, the idea of judicial restraint, and the official harassment and repression (by our own government) of traditional religious faiths.

Failure in California not an option. Conservatives and other people of good will need to recognize the battle we are in. We didn’t choose it, but for better or worse it is here.

Get Off The Fence!

Good essay directed at "theistic Darwinists".

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Quote

In this lengthy thread which is not in itself all that interesting:

Evolution is science. The predominant theory of it is lame science where probabilities are ignored because chance, by doctrine, is always the responsible mechanism. Chance is not evaluated. It’s worshipped.

We Really Can't Be Just Like Europe

Why train travel in the US will never make any sense.

Is Canada the Stepford Nation?

Had a great time in the Canadian Rockies. Quickly browsing the 'sphere upon return, I came across this Anchoress piece about recent trends in Canada that are probably the wave of the future for the U.S.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bound For Banff

I'm going up to the Canadian Rockies for a week of vacation. I'll be back blogging on Wednesday, the 25th...


A couple of sociological musings by Instapunk.

Can You Possibly Be Any More Disingenuous?

An AP story begins thusly:

Iraqi violence down and gov't confidence rising

BAGHDAD - Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.

Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war's supporters...

Exsqueeze me? The AP is telling me that the problem is unfounded optimism rather than years of relentless pessimism on the part of such as the AP?

Supreme Dishonesty, And, Unfortunately, Very Effective

Most people have very little understanding of how much they really pay in FICA taxes. A few comments to this Hugh Hewitt post highlight the truth:

12.4% Tax Hike for All

Hugh, under Obama's plan all workers would 'pay' 6.2% more on the targeted income, but wouldn't employers also 'pay' the other 6.2% as well? After all, that is money available for and allocated to payroll costs for any business, not just what the employee sees on their paystub.


12.4 NOT 6.2 ...

The Feds take 12.4% if you are self employeed ... and all you W-2 workers would get a 6.2% raise if you had to pay it all yourself ...


Anyway, that always seemed to me to be one of the truly sleazy things about payroll taxes: make people believe that they are being taxed only 6.2%, when in reality, one is being taxed 11.68%. How can I say that? Well, if someone's income is $100k, their employer is actually paying $106,200. (And I'm even ignoring medicare.) If it weren't for having to pay this amount, the employer could afford to pay that employee $106,200. (And by labor supply and demand, incomes would definitely rise to about that amount.) So, payroll taxes really are taking 11.68%, not 6.2%. Certainly self-employed people know what I'm talking about. Again---this is not accounting for FICA taxes for medicare either.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's Not Rocket Science

Well-expressed set of reasonable propositions. Oh the outrage.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Student Council President Demands Answers!

Thomas Sowell:

Now that Senator Barack Obama has become the Democrats' nominee for President of the United States, to the cheers of the media at home and abroad, he has written a letter to the Secretary of Defense, in a tone as if he is already President, addressing one of his subordinates.

The letter ends: "I look forward to your swift response."

With wars going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a Secretary of Defense might have some other things to look after, before making a "swift response" to a political candidate.

Because of the widely publicized statistic that suicide rates among American troops have gone up, Senator Obama says he wants the Secretary of Defense to tell him, swiftly:

"What changes will you make to provide our soldiers in theater with real access to mental health care?"

"What training has the Pentagon provided our medical professionals in theater to recognize who might be at risk of committing suicide?"

"What assistance are you providing families here at home to recognize the risk factors for suicide, so that they may help our service members get the assistance they need?"

"What programs has the Pentagon implemented to help reduce the stigma attached to mental health concerns so that service members are more likely to seek appropriate care?"

All this sounds very plausible, as so many other things that Senator Obama says sound plausible. But, like so many of those other things, it will not stand up under scrutiny...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Great Lileks Commentary

Concerning Democrat energy policies. The entire post is good, this part starts about halfway down at the "Screediosity" headline.

Great Moments In Composition

Who is in front of whom?

Details here.

Putting The Blame In All The Wrong Places

Our civilization faces collapse for reasons of personal morality, not because of the reasons being peddled by ABC News. But it seems that people who refuse to believe in real eschatology will just invent their own.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Decent, Settled Science Should Not Be Endlessly Trumpeting Brand New Final Decisive Confirmations

Good point:


It’s remarkable that such a well tested theory has to resort to regular vindications to prove just how well it works.

This is a dead giveaway that a theory is in trouble. Evolutionary theory is supposed to be as well established as the fact that the earth orbits the sun. When was the last time you saw an article touting further evidence that the earth orbits the sun?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

He Really Does Know Obscenity When He Sees It

9th Circuit!

Tolerance: The Pseudo Virtue For Those Who Lack Any Of The Others

Highlighted at The Anchoress:

“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

– Dorothy Sayers/

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Great Review And Interview

Skeptical about Expelled, the reviewer finds himself very pleasantly surprised, and goes on to interview David Berlinski.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sorry, But Bush Was Never This Bad

Obama is a rhetorical genius when there is a teleprompter in front of him. Otherwise, not so much. More of a garden-variety doofus. Soon, we'll no doubt be instructed by all the Bush-despising Obama-worshiping leftists that slick rhetorical skill is vastly overrated and a distinct sign of inauthenticity.

The Big Picture

One heck of a retrospective (and partial rant).

It builds up to this conclusion:

It is truly audacious of the Democrats to entice us with their slick-tongued messiah, one who appears out of nowhere and graciously offers to scrape clean and sanitize the same plate of defeat he, his party and their assistants in the media served to America for nearly eight years in the middle of a war. Soon we will see if a majority of the American electorate accepts that offer, or if it rejects it, sending the Democratic Party back to confront the same irrelevance it risked the safety and security of our nation to avoid.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Great Slogan

Seen here:

Christianity: Still The Only Safe Way to Worship a Living Human Being.™

A Bit Unclear On The Concepts of "Cause" And "Effect"

The following Yahoo graphic introduced this story:

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Isn't that headline kind of backwards? Isn't it more true that "Glum Economy Slams News?" I know the MSM thinks it is the center and cause of all important events, but this is taking it a bit far.

There's Doctrine, And Then There's, You Know, Doctrine

George Neumayr:

The very left-wing Catholic clericalism from which Obama hopes to derive votes in the fall served as the pretext for his leaving the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Just as Jeremiah Wright's over-the-top sermons could not have come as a surprise to Obama, so Father Michael Pfleger's hyper-partisanship would have been known to him as well.

But Father Pfleger's timing and choice of a target were poor: his antics hit the Internet just as the Wright furor had begun to dissipate and instead of attacking a Republican for racism he selected Hillary Clinton. Maybe at another moment in the campaign this wouldn't have mattered -- Geraldine Ferraro's comments saying Obama had an unfair advantage due to race might have even lent the sermon some plausibility -- but as Obama began his courting of Hillary's support he found it all very annoying.

Yet normally the Democrats encourage priests and religious to misuse their office, to treat the binding teachings of their church as debatable while treating the platform and causes of the Democratic Party as doctrine; to put on their religious garb at political meetings, then take it off for catechesis.

The Drinans and Pflegers can't muster up much enthusiasm for the magisterium of the Church but left-wing politics brings out their zeal. Disagree with Church teaching? That's okay, they think.

But disagree with the Democratic Party's specific proposals for this or that tricky, prudential issue on which reasonable people could disagree? That's not. Dissenters inside the Church brook little dissent when it comes to left-wing politics.

SO WHILE OBAMA severs his association with Trinity Church on the pretext of offense at left-wing Catholic clericalism, he plans in the coming months to recruit practitioners of it.

Obama has formed a "Catholic advisory committee." Among the national co-chairs of his committee are Sister Jamie Phelps, O.P., Professor of Theology at Xavier University, and Sister Catherine Pinkerton with the Congregation of St. Joseph, standard issue leftists both.

As long as priests and religious in the mold of Pfleger aim their partisan arrows at the right targets, Obama won't mind. He needs them to choose fidelity to the Democratic Party over fidelity to the teachings of the Church -- to treat the former as absolute and the latter as relative.

And if John McCain, as is likely, blurs the moral differences between the parties, Obama's task will become all that much easier. Look how little it takes to get a Douglas Kmiec to come over to his side. That McCain finds religious talk off-putting while Obama gravitates to quasi-religious rhetoric won't help matters either...

A More Spiritually Advanced Mind Recognizes Obama As The "Lightworker", He Who Will Lead Us Out Of The Present Darkness

The SF Chronicle's own Mark Morford. Sheer lunatic idolatry.

Interesting historical juxtaposition put forward here.

Jonah Goldberg also ponders whether Obama could be The One.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I Will Derive!


Poetically Stated

Mark Shea:

Bill and Hill: Generation Narcissus America in Chemical Purity

Watching these self-absorbed, deeply corrupt dynamos of selfishness being dragged across the carpet by sweaty, nervous Dems who just want them to go is practically the only joy--and even that is a dark joy--of this whole train wreck of an election.

In my grimmer moods, I sometimes think I see a foreshadow of the coming battle between my Generation to suck the teat of eternal youth for as long as technology allows us to continue our relentless love of MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEEEEEEE!!!! Pitted against us will be the fresh faces of Gen X, singing about Change and Hope while they slowly, inexorably, pin us down, insert the needle in the vein and sing about the coming dawn as the Quietus takes effect and our shouts of anger and self-pity drift off into a murmur of "I meant well" before our hearts finally stop beating.

The sigh of relief and the burden of guilt will pass to Gen X. Hope they can do better, but original sin is mighty sticky stuff.

Leftist Environmentalism Really Is A Death Cult

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation seems earnest about this. H/T Closed Cafeteria.

Rules Should Not Be Followed Except When They Should

Ann Coulter:

Words mean nothing to liberals. They say whatever will help advance their cause at the moment, switch talking points in a heartbeat, and then act indignant if anyone uses the exact same argument they were using five minutes ago.

When Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 election by half a percentage point, but lost the Electoral College -- or, for short, "the constitutionally prescribed method for choosing presidents" -- anyone who denied the sacred importance of the popular vote was either an idiot or a dangerous partisan.

But now Hillary has won the popular vote in a Democratic primary, while Obambi has won under the rules. In a spectacular turnabout, media commentators are heaping sarcasm on our plucky Hillary for imagining the "popular vote" has any relevance whatsoever.

It's the exact same situation as in 2000, with Hillary in the position of Gore and Obama in the position of Bush. The only difference is: Hillary has a much stronger argument than Gore ever did (and Hillary's more of a man than Gore ever was).

Unbeknownst to liberals, who seem to imagine the Constitution is a treatise on gay marriage, our Constitution sets forth rules for the election of a president. Under the Constitution that has led to the greatest individual liberty, prosperity and security ever known to mankind, Americans have no constitutional right to vote for president, at all. (Don't fret Democrats: According to five liberals on the Supreme Court, you do have a right to sodomy and abortion!)

Americans certainly have no right to demand that their vote prevail over the electors' vote.

The Constitution states that electors from each state are to choose the president, and it is up to state legislatures to determine how those electors are selected. It is only by happenstance that most states use a popular vote to choose their electors.

When you vote for president this fall, you will not be voting for Barack Obama or John McCain; you will be voting for an elector who pledges to cast his vote for Obama or McCain. (For those new Obama voters who may be reading, it's like voting for Paula, Randy or Simon to represent you, instead of texting your vote directly.)


If presidential elections were popular vote contests, Bush might have spent more than five minutes campaigning in big liberal states like California and New York. But under a winner-take-all regime, close doesn't count. If a Republican doesn't have a chance to actually win a state, he may as well lose in a landslide. Using the same logic, Gore didn't spend a lot of time campaigning in Texas (and Walter Mondale campaigned exclusively in Minnesota).

Consequently, under both the law and common sense, the famed "popular vote" is utterly irrelevant to presidential elections. It would be like the winner of "Miss Congeniality" claiming that title also made her "Miss America." Obviously, Bush might well have won the popular vote, but he would have used a completely different campaign strategy.

By contrast, there are no constitutional rules to follow with party primaries. Primaries are specifically designed by the parties to choose their strongest candidate for the general election.

Hillary's argument that she won the popular vote is manifestly relevant to that determination. Our brave Hillary has every right to take her delegates to the Democratic National Convention and put her case to a vote. She is much closer to B. Hussein Obama than the sainted Teddy Kennedy was to Carter in 1980 when Teddy staged an obviously hopeless rules challenge at the convention. (I mean rules about choosing the candidate, not rules about crushed ice at after-parties.)

And yet every time Hillary breathes a word about her victory in the popular vote, TV hosts respond with sneering contempt at her gaucherie for even mentioning it. (Of course, if popularity mattered, networks like MSNBC wouldn't exist. That's a station that depends entirely on "superviewers.")


In the Democrats' "1984" world, the popular vote is an unconcept, doubleplusungood verging crimethink. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Then Moses Stretched Out His Hand Over The Sea...


Barack Obama: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” There is a bizarre arrogance. Or is it ignorance? Or just youthful overreach? He does know that we have had government paid health care for decades and that real people actually do work in America, sometimes after they have been unemployed for some time( i.e. jobless), right?

At some point will voters say, come on? Maybe yes, maybe no. But they might listen better if they weren’t being yelled at by someone who really hasn’t ever provided health care or jobs, let alone changed the ocean levels.

Also be sure to see Mark Shea's post about this.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Francis Cardinal George has put the smack down on Fr. Pfleger. I wonder if any lefties will sue to have the Church's tax exemption revoked for interfering in politics?

Affirmative Action

Ed Morrissey fisks an asinine Richard Cohen column.

How Much Lower Is Rock Bottom?

From The Corner:

And thus the Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of George McGovern, albeit without McGovern’s military and political record. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far-left candidate in the tradition of Michael Dukakis, albeit without Dukakis’s executive experience as governor. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of John Kerry, albeit without Kerry’s record of years of service in the Senate. The Democratic party is about to nominate an unvetted candidate in the tradition of Jimmy Carter, albeit without Jimmy Carter’s religious integrity as he spoke about it in 1976. Questions about all these attributes (from foreign policy expertise to executive experience to senatorial experience to judgment about foreign leaders to the instructors he has had in his cultural values) surround Barack Obama. And the Democratic party has chosen him.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

He Really Is Different And Really Does Bring Change

Different because he is even worse than other politicians, change because we've never before had such an extreme left-wing hack as a candidate.

Peter Wehner:

Barack Obama’s resignation from Trinity United Church of Christ over, in part, “a cultural and a stylistic gap” raises additional doubts about him. The obvious question is what “cultural and stylistic gap” exists now that hasn’t existed during the last two decades, when Obama was a member of Trinity United and an intimate friend with its pastor, Jeremiah Wright Jr.? The answer, of course, is none. Trinity United and Jeremiah Wright are what they have always been; it is Obama — or more precisely, Obama’s political interests — that have changed.

It’s been just over two months since Obama’s Philadelphia speech on race — the one that was compared by the historian Garry Wills to Lincoln’s Cooper Union address. In that speech Obama famously said he could not more disown the Reverend Jeremiah Wright than he could disown the black community or his own grandmother and spoke about how Trinity United “embodies the black community in its entirely.”

Since that speech Wright has been tossed under the bus — and now, so has Trinity United.

Obama’s twenty-year participation at Trinity United and his close relationship with its senior pastor raised a lot of questions about Obama — both about his decision to associate himself with Trinity United and Wright in the first place and Obama’s tortured explanations since the public first learned of Wright’s anti-American tirades.

What Obama did today may have been politically necessary. It was certainly politically expedient. And it is yet one more blow to Obama’s image as a different kind of politician. In fact, as we’ve learned over the last few months, Obama appears to be a Chicago politician through and through. When he perceived a threat to his
self-interest, he cut his ties to first his pastor and then his church, both of which he had expressed familial love and fidelity. This whole episode is deeply unattractive, even as it is deeply revealing.

Underneath the attractive veneer of Barack Obama beats the heart of a very, very ambitious man. Time will tell how problematic this may be and what snares this character trait may eventually lead him into.