Friday, February 15, 2008

Steve is on the Crunchy Blog, inventing situations

From yesterday: Steve is playing devil's advocate over here, or perhaps he is an angel trying to remind confused people of their crunchy roots? In any event, the effect is humorous.

Speaking of the Talking Heads and the writer's strike, "Found A Job" has got to be one of the best songs ever. DAMN THAT TELEVISION....

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Weigel on Lourdes "through the eyes of a sympathetic secular scholar"

In George Weigel's latest column, he mentions what sounds like a very interesting book penned by a scholar sincerely determined to penetrate deeply her subject matter.

....For those interested in examining the phenomenon of Lourdes through the eyes of a sympathetic secular scholar, there is Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age (Penguin Books), by the Oxford-based British historian Ruth Harris.

Professor Harris’s scholarship is impeccable, but it’s neither detached nor dessicated: as few secular academics do, she went to Lourdes as a volunteer aide to the sick and found herself caught up in a web of human solidarity, open-mindedness, and “spiritual generosity” (as she puts it in a fine phrase). That experience, coupled with the discovery that modern medicine had no diagnosis (let alone a cure) for a condition then plaguing her, led Ruth Harris to question the modern mythology of scientific progress, according to which phenomena like Lourdes are mindless and reactionary. Breaking with the chief unexamined assumption of secular modernity — that humanity, tutored by the scientific method, will outgrow its “need” for religion — Professor Harris found her scholar’s interest piqued by aspects of the story of Lourdes that skeptics typically miss.

This reminded me that the author of "Song of Bernadette", a book I mean to read some day, was an Austrian Jew. God always seems to get the word out, one way or another.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Romney Endorses McCain

From The Hill.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday endorsed John McCain, his one-time rival for the Republican nomination, praising the Arizona senator’s position on national security.

Romney’s endorsement follows a trend of Republican leaders coalescing around McCain, who by all counts appears to be the presumptive nominee.

The former governor was perhaps McCain’s most bitter foe in the primaries as the two battled fiercely in the early states, especially Florida. The former governor repeatedly questioned the senator's conservative credentials, and their last debate together was anything but friendly.

Romney Endorses McCain

From the Hill.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday endorsed John McCain, his one-time rival for the Republican nomination, praising the Arizona senator’s position on national security.

Romney’s endorsement follows a trend of Republican leaders coalescing around McCain, who by all counts appears to be the presumptive nominee.

The former governor was perhaps McCain’s most bitter foe in the primaries as the two battled fiercely in the early states, especially Florida. The former governor repeatedly questioned the senator's conservative credentials, and their last debate together was anything but friendly.

Online Screen Cleaner

It has come to my attention that many of the readers of this blog need to have their monitors cleaned. If you are one of them, just click here. It takes a while to load, but it's worth it. Your screen will be clean in no time. Best of all it's FREE.

Overheard just now at the corner beverage store

"You are going to see history being made, man. We're either gonna get the first woman president or the first black president. Because the Democrats are going to get it, that's for sure. McCain -- man I don't see how he can be for war, him being a POW and all. But what do I know? I'm just a stoned out old hippy, man... at least I can afford my beer and a case of wine every 2 weeks."

God Bless America.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Caption Contest

This photo is from Zombietime's Hillary Photo Gallery. All the photos are undoctored, amazingly enough.

So let's have a caption contest. What is Bush saying or thinking? What is ol' Hillary saying/thinking? You don't think he was just telling her a few of these jokes to kill time, do you?

The chestnuts were completely roasted, man

It's finally on Youtube!

This is so wrong. But those voices are spot on.

Right on, Dinesh

DD on the "Conservative Hissy Fit". Excerpt:

McCain is conservative not only on foreign policy but also on economic and social issues. He's at least as conservative as Bush and almost as conservative as Reagan. Yes, he disagrees with some conservative pundits on immigration and campaign finance reform. So what? Are conservatives so politically immature that they cannot distinguish the primary issues from the secondary ones?

I'm heading to Washington D.C. tonight to speak tomorrow afternoon to the main session at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). I am scheduled to talk on how to counter the new atheism. But I'm tempted to speak instead on why conservatives need to stop this childish tantrum and grow up a little. We need to work with McCain as much as he needs to work with us.

Guevaragate update

Via Susan and Babalu Blog, we have an update on the earlier reported discovery of a Cuban flag superimposed with Che Guevara's famous silhouette at the Houston Obama headquarters. It turns out that the owner of the flag is a Cuban woman who was not murdered by Castro or Guevara. Here is an interview with her.

What can you say to this defense? She doesn't have time, she doesn't watch the news, there are many more important things, she's helping Obama "Bring the Change" and she has a meeting in half an hour.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Great blog documenting the many excesses of the Obama craze

Via Jonah, a brilliant site which asks the question: "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?"

As might be expected, some ardent Obama supporters have showed up in the comboxes praising the site unaware of its true parodic nature.

Here's my favorite bit so far, from a commenter:

And so it came to pass in the time of Bush II that a new voice was heard throughout the land. And this voice spoke change - first with a whisper and then with a shout. And the people listened. And the people responded change is good. And the people worshipped this new leader and called him Obama. And Obama told the people to go forth and exercise their vote. And the people responded and called themselves Obamacans. They were young and old. They came from the cities and towns. They came from the country and the ghettos. They left their Starbucks and their Nordstroms to follow this great new voice of change. They came to hear Obama speak and were struck with awe at the words they heard. Change is good. It's time for change. America must change. Our time has come. The people repeated this mantra and believed. The scribes repeated this mantra and believed. The royal family of America repeated this mantra and believed. A great wave began in the country's farmland - change. This wave moved south - change. The wave moved north - change. Soon this wave crossed the
entire country and came to that great golden state in the West. A place of the country's greatest hopes and its greatest fears. A place of the American dream and of the American nightmare. And Obama spoke of change and the people were sorely amazed and believed. His garments of gold and silver glistened in the Western sun and the listeners were struck dumb with awe at this vision - save one young boy who gazed at this new and great leader in a different way. "Mother", he said, "Why is that man wearing no clothes?"

Goldberg on Obama's "Audacity of Hype"

Really interesting analysis. Jonah points out that Obama is doing best with whites in less diverse populations. Excerpt:

One possible explanation for this might be found in the work of Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam. In 2006, the scholar of civil society and author of "Bowling Alone" released some controversial findings: The more diverse a community, the less trusting it becomes.

"In the presence of diversity, we hunker down," he told the Financial Times. "The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it's not just that we don't trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don't trust people who do look like us." Social trust was at its absolute lowest in Los Angeles, America's most diverse city, Putnam found.

The hard interpretation would be that diversity does in fact breed racism and ethnic resentment. But a softer, and I think slightly more plausible, reading would be that increased diversity breeds not so much resentment as realism -- at least among the rank-and-file voters.

It's easy for upscale liberals to talk about the glories of diversity because they live at Olympian heights, above the reality of multicultural America. For Obama's wealthy, white, liberal supporters, diversity is knowing a rich black lawyer, a wealthy Latino accountant and lots of well-to-do gay folks.

Marxist Obama Supporters

From the Lone Star Times, as reported by Laura Ingraham.

The Barack Obama Houston office in this video features a picture of Che Guevara on the wall.

So, what is surprising about this picture? Anyone? Jonah Goldberg? Anyone?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yeah, I agree

From Deal Hudson. Excerpt:

It may be that the McCain candidacy is the best thing that could happen to the GOP at the present moment -- it will allow some fresh air to blow through the party, and the conservatives in it, so that we will be forced to take notice of how we sound to the world at large.

I'm not so sure that we conservatives have been sounding very congenial or, more importantly, convincing.

As we enter the season of the general election we are facing a man who sounds the note of hope, a man who does not use anger as a rhetorical weapon: Barack Obama.

If we make conservatism synonymous with angry denunciation, rather than reasoned and optimistic encouragement, we will lose the White House, and lose the battle for the protection of unborn life.

This is what some callers to Medved's show have recently pointed out. All the radio heads shouting "Reagan!!" are lacking in Reagan's optimism.

Fire when ready.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Here's some open-E London Delta blues magic from Keith & the boys to jump start your week.

Undoer of Knots and Guardian of Orthodoxy

I'm still trying to digest the comments in this post. They seem to be in a bit of a tangle. I'm not going to attempt to undo the knots beyond maybe enlisting the help of one who can. Instead, I think I feel another ramble coming on....

I'm relatively confident in saying that it's wise to keep the determination of whether a certain religious belief is heretical out of the hands of any level of government. As a Catholic, I would point to Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium and ultimately the Pope to make any necessary pronouncements upon errors. Of course, the Bishops in union with him, priests, sisters, lay people and even non-Catholic Christians of good will should feel free to join the Holy Father in the extirpation of heresy via prayer and diligent action, always with charity.

So I want to leave aside the political aspects of this for a moment. After all, Mitt Romney is out of the race. I can say honestly in all charity that I hope and pray that all Mormons might see the error of their mistaken beliefs and come back to Christian orthodoxy, preferably Roman Catholicism since it is the fullness of the Christian faith. The best way I can see that this might happen would be through the intercession of the Glorious, Immaculate and Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the Eternal Son, Queen of Angels, Seat of Wisdom and as stated earlier, Undoer of Knots.

But, of course, if you have a better idea, go ahead and fire when ready. Meanwhile I'll explain what I'm talking about.

I look at the Mormon teaching of "exaltation" as the core of their aberrancy. As a corrective to that, I offer the belief that the Blessed Mother is exalted as much as any creature can be, yet, unlike Christ, she still remains a human creature. She is the True Mother of Eternal God, but not "Eternal Mother". (Council of Chalcedon, AD 451) Likewise Christ "humbled himself" as it says in Philippians 2 "taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men" but Christ the Son of God remains Eternal and Divine.

There is a longing for a divine mother figure expressed in all cultures and belief systems. You've probably experienced the Mother Goddess people to some extent or another. They are not all men-hating wackos, some are happily married and pro-life. It seems to me that the Mormon expression of this desire for an exalted feminine being is quite ardent and, although I don't believe they ever use the word "goddess", it is expressed in their belief in an "Eternal Mother" as in the hymn "Oh, My Father" by a famous Mormon, Eliza Snow. Excerpt:

In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?

The poetic quality is not that of Wordsworth, but the words are sincere and heartfelt like the cloudy yet innocent wish of a child. It makes me think of the first and last verses of this version of the Lourdes Hymn:

Immaculate Mary!
Our hearts are on fire,
That title so wondrous
Fills all our desire.
In death's solemn moment,
our Mother, be nigh;
as children of Mary
O teach us to die.

So the desire of the heart might be one of the ways back into Christian orthodoxy. But what of the intellect? Marian devotion seems to many to be a bit unintellectual. Newman understood this point, but ultimately disagreed as can be seen in this essay by John Griffin. Excerpt:

....Yet Newman's own praise, while not poetic in its form, exceeds that of most of his contemporaries, for Mary was the model of faith and the guardian of orthodoxy. In one of his final sermons as an Anglican, Newman made explicit his idea that Mary was at once the patron of the unlearned and the doctors of the church:

She does not think it enough to accept [faith], she dwells upon it; not enough to possess, she uses it; not enough to assent, she develops it; not enough to submit the Reason, she reasons upon it; not indeed reasoning first, and believing afterwards, with Zacharias, yet first believing without reasoning, next from love and reverence, reasoning after believing. And thus she symbolizes to us, not only the faith of the unlearned, but of the doctors of the Church also, who have to investigate, and weigh, and define, as well as to profess the Gospel; to draw the line between truth and heresy; to anticipate or remedy the various aberrations of wrong reason.

Newman's approach to Mary in the above is almost wholly intellectual. The main part of the sermon is directed to the proper understanding of faith, of which Mary is chosen as the perfect model....

Emphasis mine. There would be darkness in both my mind and my heart... as I've said before....

Well, I'm planning to bring up some big problems that Christians like Bubba and I have with Mormons and in some of the national dialogue regarding their religion in a later post. Meanwhile you might want to meditate on what I wrote here, or tell me where you think I'm wrong or why I'm not devoted enough to Our Lady, the last of which will get no argument from me. And next time Mormons come to your door trying to force a Book of Mormon on you, maybe you can try to get them to take a rosary in trade. Or maybe you could bring up the Council of Chalcedon and ask them what they think of the hypostatic union.