Friday, March 30, 2007

One Year Ago Today

Yes, Bubba's Pots & Kettles post. It's short, so read it. Now, the comments, first one is from Rayne:

Now this is rich. The rest of us are "soft" - but Dreher et al - padding about in their lesbian sandals on the cobblestone paths to their artsy-crafty bungalows fretting about their profiles in the Style section of the Washington Post - THEY are the poster boys for Alpha males. Is a Crunchy Con anything but a disaffected metrosexual with a ludicrous passion for food and an unhealthy preoccupation with home decor and ugly, expensive footware? I cannot wrap my head around Dreher hailing from Southern Louisiana - it just doesn't seem possible. No wonder those guys love homeschooling - they probably got the living crap beat out of them on the playground.

Oh, man, I'm remembering how hard I laughed during this whole period of time. You can't plan stuff like the concrunchy blog, it just has to happen. Anyway, Bubba continues with a comment:

It's all here: hippie mumbo-jumbo (with a Catholic [oops] twist), definitions that make no sense from people who make no attempt to communicate effectively to the unitiated, viceral hatred of the Enlightment and the free market -- which we all know are cancers on humanity compared to the Inquisition, Islamic fundamentalism, and socialism -- and the sort of rhetoric that makes people want to punch you straight in the mouth.

Italics mine above. That's always been one of my greatest irritations with these folks; do you speak newspeak? Casey's last comment highlights the poutiness which had set in near the end of the NRO CrunchyCon blog:

The crunchies are going out on typically sour notes. Stegall describes us as a nation of Prufrocks, which will irritate anybody who gets the allusion. Rod just recommended a book which dumps on the suburbs, where most people in the U.S. live.

Rest assured, the crunchies will never attract much of a following in this country which they love to hate.

And now it's time to say good night...with apologies to Ringo, it's been fun puncturing the stuffed-shirt sanctimony and laughable hypocrisy of the crunchies. See y'all.

I ended with a comment comparing the possibility of a liturgical city versus a more realistic potential for a Catholic city, i.e., the whole Ave Maria project just burgeoning at the time and well on it's way now. This I believe is a great contrast between the scrappy, git-r-done folks who build the world and the crunchy academic elites who complain about how nothing is right; it's the difference between the concrete and the vague, between having a metal thermos cup o' joe in the morning and the quest for the perfect latté, between lighting the candle and cursing the darkness.

It's also the difference between saying your prayers at night and complaining that no one else is saying theirs. There's a good story about that, BTW. I remember seeing an little outdoor shrine on someone's property when I was in Assisi and thinking that it really doesn't take much to make a city closer to God, at least not if you're Catholic. And whether you are or not, you can still listen for the "still small voice". Even in the suburbs.

Pens, Clipboards... Leeches anyone?

Newt Gingrich penned -- or maybe used a computer to write -- this damning piece about how horribly behind the health care industry is in the area of information technology. Unbelievable.

Every major industry has taken advantage of the information revolution— except health care. It is a 1950s model of administration, epitomized by a ballpoint pen, a clipboard, and rows and rows of paper medical records. This backwardness undermines both the quality and efficiency of care.

The Institute of Medicine has reported that preventable medical errors kill up to 98,000 Americans every year, and medication errors alone make another 1.5 million Americans sick. Since 2000, American workers have seen an 87 percent increase in premiums—a rate four times faster than the growth of wages over the same period.

Those numbers are staggering. Aside from the life-threatening error reductions, can you imagine the cost savings with increased efficiency due to automatic data retrieval? Newt concludes:

The migration to a modernized, interconnected health care system is inevitable. We can see doctors, hospitals, and other providers investing in new technology every day. But we must accelerate the process. Taxpayers, employers, and their employees cannot afford to carry our broken system for much longer. Too many lives are lost and too much money is wasted by tolerating an obsolete and antiquated system. Health information technology, combined with consumer engagement, is a powerful formula that can tear down the old order and create a better health system. And to get there, we need continued bold leadership—from every stakeholder in health care.

You've got to read the whole thing. I had no idea health care was this far behind. I've heard of union local offices with hundreds of workers and without one computer, but their troglodytism doesn't surprise me as much. It would seem to me that we can't seriously talk about a so-called "reform" of the health care industry until the thing is built properly. Then an IT strategy would seem to be the first perscription to get it healthy.

Some Fellow Named Oengus Moonbones...

Thanks awfully much, Oengus, for the kind words. I was just finishing your delightful review of Pessimism by Dienstag when I saw your mention of lil' ol' moi in your analogy of Crunchy Conservatism as meringue pie minus the filling.

Oengus is someone who can retain a certain joviality even while reflecting on topics, even poetically, that seem to cause many to retreat into saturninity. And despite his moniker, I detect very little lunacy either. Must be his Christianity. Weird tho' my sense of humor be, I wouldn't have one at all if God didn't squirt seltzer in my face many, many moons ago.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

De-Christianization of Europe Conference

My wife and I are planning on attending this conference, it looks excellent. It's at Grove City College in my old hometown where there are friends and relatives aplenty to watch the kiddoes. The speakers are among my faves: Maggie Gallagher, George Weigel, Michael Medved. Also Dr. Samuel Gregg from the Acton Institute who's not as famous but brilliant nonetheless.

So that's going to rock. I've got a stack of books for Weigel to sign. Also, having eaten their good fare in the past -- not the college kiddies cafeteria stuff -- I know that the food will be choice as well. I'll be blogging about the conference talks, no doubt.

Proposition for Mitt Romney

J. Peter Mulhern has a great open-letter-style piece in American Thinker, urging Mitt Romney to hand the reins to Fred Thompson pre-Iowa. I don't know how feasible this scenario is; to run for President to begin with requires such a big ego that it takes an extreme amount of wishful thinking to imagine that any candidate would just say, "You're right; I'll take the VP job!" But it would seem like Fred Thompson is a more attractive candidate to the folks whom Romney is attempting to court, and the article is very funny in the kind of smart-assed way that I enjoy the most. Excerpt:

In a political career stretching back to your run for the Senate against the captain of the SS Oldsmobile in 1994, you have spent a great deal of effort convincing the voters of Massachusetts, who were profoundly suspicious of your Mormon faith, that you are in tune with them. Now you have to go before a Republican primary electorate around the country and tell them that you really, truly are a traditional, religious Latter Day Saints guy and not just the slick, modern member of the managerial elite you have been portraying in Massachusetts for years.

This isn't just a question of flip-flopping on any particular issue. It's about authenticity. Republican's aren't going to line up behind any candidate that seems too protean. Bill Clinton is a uniquely Democrat phenomenon. Republicans want a candidate who knows who he is and is thoroughly comfortable playing himself in public.

They also want a candidate who is hard-nosed and confrontational with all our enemies, foreign and domestic. Here your polished image and genteel family background work against you. Like George W. Bush, you are the son of a famous Republican father, a party legacy (think "Flounder" in Animal House.) The last thing Republicans are clamoring for right now is another prince of the GOP.

Haven't heard the name "Schweiker" in awhile. And yes, that is Freddy's wife in a shot from 2004.

Snap disabled for now

I had Snap installed here which gives you those cool preview windows, but it seemed to just slow everything down. So I've disabled it for now. Maybe I did it wrong. At any rate, I like it (first saw it on Roger's site) and I'll reinstall it if it speeds up in the future, which is what usually happens with web applications when you give the developers some time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ave Maria, Fla.

Here's a piece about Tom Monaghan, Ave Maria, Fla., and some silly people and lawyers who have some kind of problem with him/it.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and other groups have criticized Monaghan for what they say is his attempt to impose his conservative religious ideology on residents.

"This is not a debate about whether people who are of similar religious or ethnic or racial background have a right to live in the same community," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

I say it's America and multi-millionaires can do whatever they want. Besides, I don't remember the ACLU or any other liberal frowning clowns getting upset about Donald Trump building monuments to sin and decadence in Vegas. Maybe I have a bad memory.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I Like Mushrooms

From time to time, someone checks out this site from Kennett Square, PA. This always reminds me of Mushrooms because of the renowned Mushroom Festival which is held there each year at harvest time. I went there with me mates one year when my friend had a little booth for selling his printed mushroom merchandise. I've never consumed so many different fungal species in my life.

So if the the mystery person would like to reveal themselves that would be nice. I'm hoping it turns out to be a mushroom farmer. Then we can send him/her some money and he/she can start shipping the 'shrooms!

Another Fake Story from NYT

HT to J-Carp for this piece on the NYT Magazine's latest fake story. I guess since it's a slam on the military it's OK to make something up.

Also covered in the Air Force Times and Gawker.

(Scary picture warning.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

More Important Things Than Hurricane Katinas

Being as interested as he is in protecting children from potential abusers it will be interesting to see when Rod Dreher gets around to posting on this. He is waaaaay behind Jonathan Carpenter who is covering the story meticulously and with whom I agree with wholeheartedly.

But within Crunchy Conservatism there is a hierarchy of importance that mere mortals seldom understand. I think we should infer from recent posts that sexual predators in the Orthodox Church are not as important to report on as the following topics:

  1. Treatment for insomnia.
  2. Bad news for conservatives.
  3. Giving hits to irrelevant blogs.
  4. Telling Catholics to write-in the Pope for President in 2008.
  5. Obligatory weigh-in on the AG non-story.
  6. Two stories about shopping. One boringly illustrates how sales people would be obsolete if everyone was smart.
  7. I'm glad we won the Revolutionary War.
  8. Crunchy Cons review by influential writer no one has heard of.
  9. Surprised he disagreed with NPR about whatever.
  10. Some university doesn't like intelligent design.
So obviously there are more important things out there to cover presently. Certainly there is free speech within the Orthodox Church unlike so-called Methodist universities, so that shouldn't be a problem... should it? Terry Mattingly hasn't weighed in on it yet either. Hmmm...

Regardless of what happens in this case one thing is certain. Other than the beard and head thing, Archbishop Demetrios is no different than any Roman Catholic bishop or archibishop from Mahony to Egan to Grahmann. He's protecting the interests important to him. Some of those interests are no doubt really important, for example, Father Katinas wants to be "buried as a priest, not a layman."

I'd be willing to bet that Father Katinas doesn't want to be buried at all, seeing that he's not dead yet. I think that he should be grateful that he has some time to repent for what he's done instead of worrying about his employment status. It's a weird request, too; don't Orthodox like Catholics believe that Holy Orders leaves an indelible mark? Defrocking is a formality of sorts -- it's disciplinary. But although it is hard to imagine, pride is an even greater and more deadly sin than the one he has been accused of.

[Update: I had written Dmitri rather than Demetrios. My mistake, I corrected it.]