Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

So WHO is trying to buy this election? Hint: It ain't the GOP

I've always been greatly amused by Democratic ads- we're seeing them a lot this year- calling the GOP a party of "plutocrats" that is trying to "buy" elections.

It generally turns out that rich out-of-state radicals outspend rich out-of-state conservatives by a wide margin. In our Iowa Senate race, the Tom Steyers and the George Soros types have outspent the Koch brothers and all those other demonic rich Republicans by a wide margin.

And not only that, but the same pattern holds all over America.

If anybody is trying to "buy the election" (as one Democratic ad here in Iowa specifically charges wealthy Republicans with doing), it's the Democrats- our real elitist party.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Correction

My statement in a couple of recent posts that the leftist Des Moines Register has endorsed Joni Ernst for the U.S. Senate turns out not to be true.

What I took for an editorial when I encountered it on line turns out to have been an exceptionally well-written letter to the editor. In fact, the Register will likely endorse Democrat Bruce Braley- an eventuality the Ernst campaign sees as so likely that she canceled her appointment to meet with the Register's editorial board.

Apologies for the mistake. I gave the Register too much credit.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eschaton approaches

The Leftist Des Moines Register- which endorsed Mitt Romney two years ago- has also endorsed Republican David Young for Congress.

Americans should be ashamed of themselves

First both Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama get his name wrong. And now this.

There goes the Sun: today's solar eclipse in the Midwest

A partial solar eclipse, covering  about two-thirds of the Sun here in Des Moines, will take place from 4:31 PM to 6:44 PM locally (sunset is at 6:20.) It will come closest to totality at 5:40 PM.

Do NOT look directly at the Sun! Even a relatively brief period of staring at our local star can cause permanent eye damage! The only exception would be if you have a pair of Mylar "glasses" especially designed for the purpose. These are generally made of cardboard, and are available at various "nature stores" (also online, though it's a bit late for that). Some people use welder's goggles, but this is not a smart practice; experts say that they will not filter out some kinds of eye-damaging radiation.

What you can safely do is take two sheets of white paper, make a pin prick in one, and hold it between the sun and the other sheet (a few feet will do). The pinprick of light on the second sheet will be darkened in precisely the way that the Sun is darkened by the Moon coming between it and Earth (that complicated apparatus involving a box, a hole for your head, and a piece of white paper you sometimes hear about isn't necessary).

A few years ago I viewed an annular eclipse (one in which the Moon came directly between the Sun and Earth, but was too far away to cover the Sun's disk, causing a "ring of fire at its maximum point.) A parishioner- a missionary's son, who had viewed such an eclipse in South America- told me that the holes in a piece of particle board intended for the insertion of hooks to hang tools on would also do the trick, with a bigger image. Just on a hunch, I tried making an "OK" sign with my fingers to see whether the eclipse would be visible through it. It was; at maximum, there was a black dot right in the center!

I'll try it this afternoon, since I don't see why it shouldn't work with this one, too. But get yourself two pieces of paper and a pin, just to be sure.

A total eclipse will be visible in the Midwest (the St. Louis, Omaha, Lincoln corridor) on August 21, 2017. I first heard about it when I was a very small astronomy buff, and have been looking forward to it literally all my life. It's a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I encourage anybody who can to plan to be in the area on that day.

Only 1032 days, 19 hours, and 28 minutes to go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Our weapons are three: control of the popular culture, ruthless suppression of dissent, slander of our opponents' motives, shameless and dishonest appeals to emotion... Our weapons are four:..."

Conversation with a Braley backer

Just had an interesting conversation with a Braley worker.

He was talking to a voter, and I overheard the conversation. Being the obnoxious person I am, I asked him whether he was telling lies about Joni Ernst.

He denied it. "We aren't telling too many lies about Ernst," he said. Interesting wording, that.

"I'm talking, for example, about that 'pledge' to give tax breaks to the rich and to companies that move jobs overseas," I replied. The claim was first made in a series of ads sponsored by billionaire Tom Steyer, and has since been repeated in a number of ads sponsored by the Democratic party itself.

"That's not a lie," he responded.

"Politifact disagrees," I pointed out.

"The pledge says that she'll give takes breaks to special interests," he repeated.

"No," I replied. "I've read the pledge. In fact, it merely promises that she won't support tax increases for anybody without offsets."

"That guy sponsored it," he said.

"Oh," I replied. "You mean Tom Steyer, the out-of-state billionaire who paid for the pro-Braley ad that first made the charge?"

"No," he said. "The guy with the pledge. I can't think of his name. I'm having a senior moment."

"Grover Norquist," I repled. "And like I said, it only promises not to increase anybody's taxes without an offset."

And with that, he walked away.


Monday, October 20, 2014

The Democrats' "ground game" can still save Braley

Here's a great article on the Senate race here in Iowa.

The race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is going to be close. How close remains to be seen. Joni Ernst is ahead. The polls differ as to her margin, but it's clear that it's not big enough to inspire much confidence.

The situation is pretty much as described in the article: the GOP has by far the better candidate. In fact, Ernst is indeed one of the "breakout stars" of the party; if she wins next month, she's going to be a national figure and possibly a presidential candidate some day. She leads in the polls. She has the momentum. She has run an excellent campaign while her opponent has repeatedly dropped the ball. The voters like her, and don't like her opponent.

And she still might lose.

The Democrats- as we learned to our sorrow two years ago- have an excellent "ground game" here in Iowa. The labor unions and various radical groups that thrive in this state produce a steady supply of volunteers. They are well-used by party professionals that know their business.

Republicans, on the other hand, are still learning theirs. the Project ORCA computerized election day debacle two years ago was as big a disaster here as it was nationally. Somehow the Iowa GOP is going to have to put together an election day operation that can compete with the entrenched and well-organized special interests that make up the Democratic state organization.

It's going to be tough. I learned long ago, working against the Daley Machine in Chicago, that winning elections is at least as much about doing a better job of getting your voters to the polls as it is about convincing the voters that you have the better candidate. Everything can either come together or fall apart on Election Day, depending on the "ground game."

Joni Ernst ought to win this thing. If she doesn't, it will be because the Republicans in Iowa have once again been our-organized and out-worked. I, for one, will be working the phones for Joni.

I just hope and pray that we can out-work the Braley people. Even though we have the better and more popular candidate, we're going to have to no less if America is going to get the benefit of a future political superstar- and (Deo volente) perhaps our first woman president.


HT: Real Clear Politics

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

But Obama already HAD an Ebloa czar!

As Lutheran journalist Mollie Ziegler Hemingway points out over at The Federalist, President Obama already had an Ebola czar.

But she was apparently dormant.

Maybe she was an Ebloa Reston czar.

Braley trails, trial lawyers panic

With Election Day drawing near and their darling, Bruce Braley, trailing Joni Ernst here in Iowa (however narrowly, trial lawyers are beginning to panic.

Is the Pope Catholic?

Or even Christian?

Cardinal Burke is right: nobody has the right- or the authority- to change the teachings of the Faith on homosexuality, which have been established by both Testaments and two thousand years of apostolic teaching.

And anybody who tries is ipso facto a heretic, no matter what title he may bear.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Braley's faux 'October surprise'

A sexual harassment lawsuit involving Joni Ernst has been filed- conveniently only weeks from election day.

It's an old trick: get the accusation out there close enough to the election for the charge to be heard, but without leaving time for the matter to be resolved. If you recall, they used it against Dubyah in 2004. Dan Rather lost his job for falling for it.

Didn't work then. Won't work now.

Is Pope Francis a disciple of Jesus, or of Commissioner Reagan?

Gene Veith is worried that the Roman Catholic church is going the way of liberal Protestantism- that is, falling into the trap of meek, shallow acquiescence to the values of the world instead of discipleship and the bold proclamation of the Word- because of the weasel-words which seem to be coming out of the Vatican Conference on the Family regarding homosexuality and other matters.

Maybe. But the universalist heresy has been rampant in even relatively conservative Catholic circles for some time. The Church of Rome needs badly to reflect on the reasons why there is no St. Origen. Rahner's nonsense about "anonymous Christians" has been kicking around unsuppressed for quite a while. The present Pope's approach to the struggle for the soul of Western culture- either verbally inept or simply a massive wimping out, depending on how pessimistic one is about where his pontificate and the Roman church is going- is really only an outgrowth of a phenomenon which has been going on among Catholics for some time.

Last week the Tom Selleck character on "Blue Bloods-" the New York police commissioner- impulsively criticized the Catholic church's position on homosexuality (Commissioner Reagan, Selleck's character, is a Catholic). While admitting that he shouldn't have done so, he wouldn't retract lest he be heard as recanting his opposition to a position which- whether we like it or not- is a matter of divine revelation, reflected in every stratum of both Testaments.

It's something that cannot change without the Catholic church- and the Church catholic- admitting that it's been a fraud all along, and its teachings simply mutable and purely human philosophical reflections. Yet Commissioner Reagan- like most journalists who have covered the wimpish formulations of the Vatican Conference- seems to regard the prospect of the Christian Church doing precisely that as not only possible, but desirable.

That nominal Christians who take the fictitious Commissioner Reagan's position are somewhat less thoughtful- and a great deal less informed on the issue- than they might be seems to me to be rather obvious. And that in itself is an indictment of the Church, whether one's ecclesiology is Roman or Protestant.

It says with an eloquence which brooks no misunderstanding that the Church is so far into the process of wimping out when it comes to insisting on the basics of its teachings and the nature of divine revelation that only an ecclesiological earthquake of the dimensions of the Reformation can save it.

Veni, Spiritus Creator.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A question easily answered

The new draft Vatican document on homosexuality asks whether the Church can make room for them in its community.

The answer: if they're celibate, of course.

If they're not, no- not without breaking with divine revelation and two thousand years of Christian teaching,and in the process forfeiting any claim to be even part of Christ's Church.

The answer hasn't changed since St. Paul, writing by divine inspiration, closed the question for all time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Braley somehow keeps a straight face while defending his ads

Here's a post over at The Hill on the second Ernst-Braley Senate debate here in Iowa.

One comment on Braley's remark that "sound bites have consequences." When you take sound bites out of context in such a way as to distort what the candidate is saying, as Braley's ads often do, the consequences are also somewhat distorted.

Just as they're meant to be.

HT: Real Clear Politics