News Flash!

The President is not responsible for the oil spill disaster on the Gulf Coast. And he's not even responsible for cleaning it up! Rest easy, liberals.


What's Wrong With the World

As far as I know this isn't a prank:
High school students and college-age adults have been complaining to District officials that the free condoms the city has been offering are not of good enough quality and are too small and that getting them from school nurses is "just like asking grandma or auntie."

So D.C. officials have decided to stock up on Trojan condoms, including the company's super-size Magnum variety, and they have begun to authorize teachers or counselors, preferably male, to distribute condoms to students if the teachers complete a 30-minute online training course called "WrapMC" -- for Master of Condoms.
Now that's tax money well spent!


Friday Night Whiskey Thoughts

I'm not sure how old you are, but I'm 25. I'm amazed that, if I turn out average, I'm expected to live for roughly another 50 years! It's certainly not a guarantee, but I've been taught to believe, and have otherwise good reason to believe it is possible and maybe even likely.

This is hard for me to fathom! I've already seen so much and lived so much. Imagine what 50 years could bring! Although I will be happy with whatever God decides to do with me, I hope that I get to see the love in my life grow.

I love my wife so much, and my new baby is a beautiful and amazing gift. I hope I'm able to appreciate both of them in 50 years as much as I appreciate them now. God grant me the strength to do this no matter the circumstances I face.


Jonah Goldberg at Commentary on the Term "Socialism" as applied to President Obama

Now, when conservatives dare to suggest, tentatively or otherwise, that Obama or his party might be in the thrall of some variant of socialism, they are derided for it. In the wake of health care’s passage, for example, a Salon article mocked conservatives for thinking that Americans now live under “the Bolshevik heel.” When the RNC was debating its resolution in 2008, Robert Schlesinger, the opinion editor of U.S. News & World Report, responded: “What’s really both funny and scary about all of this is how seriously the fringe-nuts in the GOP take it.”

Similarly, in a May 2009 interview, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham mocked the president’s critics for considering Obama to be a “crypto-socialist.” By these lights, socialism is a very sophisticated, highly technical, and historically precise phenomenon that has nothing to do with the politics or ideas of the present moment, and conservatives who invoke the term to describe Obama’s policies and ideas are at best wildly imprecise and at worst purposefully rabble-rousing. And yet when liberals themselves discuss socialism and its relation to Obama, the definition of the term “socialist” seems to loosen up considerably. Only four months before Meacham’s mockery of conservatives, he co-authored a cover story for his magazine titled “We’re All Socialists Now,” in which he and Newsweek’s Evan Thomas (grandson of the six-time Socialist-party presidential candidate Norman Thomas) argued that the growth of government was making us like a “European,” i.e. socialist, country. At the same time, a host of Left-liberal writers, most prominently E.J. Dionne and Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post, were floating the idea that the new president was ushering in a new age of “social democracy.” The left-wing activist-blogger Matthew Yglesias, echoing the Obama White House view that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, said the Wall Street meltdown offered a “real opportunity” for “massive socialism.”
But is it correct, as an objective matter, to call Obama’s agenda “socialist”? That depends on what one means by socialism. The term has so many associations and has been used to describe so many divergent political and economic approaches that the only meaning sure to garner consensus is an assertive statism applied in the larger cause of “equality,” usually through redistributive economic policies that involve a bias toward taking an intrusive and domineering role in the workings of the private sector. One might also apply another yardstick: an ambivalence, even antipathy, for democracy when democracy proves inconvenient.1 With this understanding as a vague guideline, the answer is certainly, Yes, Obama’s agenda is socialist in a broad sense. The Obama administration may not have planned on seizing the means of automobile production or asserting managerial control over Wall Street. But when faced with the choice, it did both. Obama did explicitly plan on imposing a massive restructuring of one-sixth of the U.S. economy through the use of state fiat—and he is beginning to do precisely that.
Seems to be a great essay. Goldberg is one of the few writers left at National Review who is still cranking out great stuff.


“He’s a conservative by temperament, one of the people who would have complained on the second day of Creation.”

- Father Neuhaus


A Confession

Sometimes, (big surprise) I am a terrible Christian. I missed Mass today - a Holy Day of Obligation - simply because I totally forgot until 7:45pm, 45 minutes after the last Mass of the day started. I got home at 6:30pm, and easily could have made it to the Church. But I am so preoccupied with other things in my life - family, work, and relaxing in front of the television or the internet - that I do not make enough time for God even just to think about Him, to think enough that I would remember that He calls me to worship on some days set aside for Him. For this I am sorry, and I am embarassed. I do vow to change this bad habit I have developed, the habit of forgetting the most important Person in my life, and to pray daily to change my ways.

Happy Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ!



New babies seem to have inverted sleeping schedules, or at least ours does!


Your thoughts appreciated

Should I move into the woods, 40 minutes away from family, friends, and civilization ? (I found a cheap, beautiful new house there)


the Boston Globe has a great article about religion?

It's true! They let someone onto the pages of the Boston Globe who knows a little bit about religion. Professor Stephen Prothero of Boston University (?) writes about how all religions are actually different, and that these differences matter. We cannot and should not pretend that all religions lead to the same God, because believers do not believe so. To think otherwise is to disrespect believers of all kinds, and it is the opposite of "celebrating diversity" - it ignores diversity and replaces it with a lie. The Professor clearly sees the motivation of advocates of this "all roads lead to the same God" idea in a particularly perceptive passage in the middle of the article:
I understand what these people are doing. They are not describing the world but reimagining it. They are hoping that their hope will call up in us feelings of brotherhood and sisterhood. In the face of religious bigotry and bloodshed, past and present, we cannot help but be drawn to such hope, and such vision. Yet we must not mistake either for clear-eyed analysis.
Those who preach one world religion and who ignore genuine religious differences are reimagining the world, as Professor Prothero aptly puts it. I believe this tendency - the tendency to reimagine the world - is omnipresent in our world today. I get this idea from a philosophy professor of mine from way back when who was fond of saying that the single unifying characteristic of modern philosophy is that tries to project itself onto the world. Modern minds want to project their vision of reality onto the world. This stands in stark contrast to the ancient thinkers, who understood the purpose of philosophy and indeed of reason itself to know the world as it is, and to conform one's actions to this reality. In ignoring religious differences, modern thinkers indulge in a fantasy that renders them ineffective and unpersuasive. Pretending differences do not exist does not eliminate the differences. In fact, it may aggravate things by obscuring what is truly held in common, these commonalities being the prerequisite of a true conversation. Not to mention, pretending all religions are the same is simply rude. Professor Prothero's article is a great antidote to the modern way of thinking and I hope read more from him in the future.

Father James Schall Quotation #34,331

Father James Schall writing about justice:
More injustice is caused in the world by philosophers and politicians who rashly pursue its perfection than by those who simply do unjust things. Almost every disordered political movement is postulated as a form of justice. The movement explains itself in justice’s noble name. Democracies, including our own these days, are susceptible to such aberrations. The danger is acute when leaders, who concoct such “justice” ideas, are little aware of the final or immediate ends of man. The new “justice” is designed to replace something basic to natural law or revelation.

Tradition defines justice: “To return to each what is due.” Aristotle distinguishes its different kinds. He lived before “Earth Days.” Their advocates consider the planet itself to be an object of “justice.” Therefore, the state is empowered to “save” us by imposing “environmental justice” on us all. To many, if the planet is used for that which the planet is intended, namely, for man, this use is an injustice against some unknown generation down the ages.
Read the whole article! More:
Earlier, in the Republic, Socrates formulated five definitions of justice: Justice is 1) to return what is due and tell the truth; 2) to do good to your friends and evil to your enemies; 3) the interest of the stronger (Machiavelli); 4) a pact whereby we stand midway between doing the worst evil and suffering the worst evil, and, finally, the proper one, 5) when every specialized part of a whole functions as it should for a common good.
He's still writing with great wisdom and lucidity in his mid-eighties. Awesome.


Philosophy and Alcohol Go Together

Prof. Edward Feser on "the Metaphysics of the Martini"
But is there a norm here? I addressed the question once before in a gag post, but since we’ve been discussing the metaphysics of artifacts, let’s address it semi-seriously. To certain super-sophisticates, vermouth, never mind scotch, shouldn’t appear in a Martini at all. (There’s the famous crack about Churchill to the effect that when mixing his Martinis he’d look in the direction of France, which would suffice for the vermouth. Perhaps Churchill’s Burnt Martini recipe would have called for a mere glance northward toward Scotland or a toot on the bagpipes.) This seems to me more than a little precious. And just false. Here’s the basic reasoning: A Martini is a kind of cocktail; cocktails are mixed drinks; gin by itself is not a mixed drink; ergo, gin by itself is not a cocktail, and thus not a Martini.