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Showing posts from September, 2009

In the market for the Brooklyn Bridge?

If so, the Administration would like to sell you the whopper that the stimulus package is the reason why we may be (slowly) coming out of the recession.

Virginia, whether or not there's a Santa Claus, the stimulus package didn't work. It only dug our children and perhaps our grandchildren into a financial hole many times deeper than it was before.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Not exactly reassuring

Senate Democrats have defeated amendments guaranteeing that any new health care bill would not finance abortions, and which would have required applicants to produce a photo ID to prove that they were in the country legally.

President Obama and the Democratic leadership assures us that abortions will not be covered, and that illegal aliens will not be eligible. But for some reason they are unwilling to assuage fears to the contrary by putting guarantees into the bill.

They lie?

HT: Drudge

NFL players at greatly increased risk for Alzheimer's

A new study has confirmed that NFL players suffer from Alzheimer's Disease far more frequently than the general population- including a 19% greater frequency than other men in their late thirties and early forties.

Hmmmm. Why do you think that is? Blows to the head? Lead in the training table diet?
Neural damage due to touchdown celebration trauma?

HT: Drudge

Gloomy thoughts of an autumn Monday night

If there is no God, then everything is permitted. --Tolstoy

Hulu rocks.

My current life situation is such that my TV viewing is limited to broadcast viewing only. While the additional channels available now that American broadcasting has gone from analog to digital are welcome, my antenna isn't the best- and besides, my building (like many I've lived in these past few years) seems to be rather hard on incoming signals; not only am I having to fuss with my antenna to avoid the dreaded "WEAK SIGNAL" or "NO PROGRAM" message on various of my stations at any given time, but I have a remarkably hard time maintaining a cell phone signal at home as well.

But I digress. Hulu has become my method of choice for viewing TV. I simply watch on the computer here at church the night after a show is broadcast. It saves all the hassle of trying to deal with the various problems of digital transmission.

You know. The ones we didn't have to worry about before Congress decid…

Inexcusable

The Empire State Building will be lit up in red and yellow on Wednesday in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of history's most murderous regime, that of Communist China.

Look. Maybe they own America these days, but would anybody go to such lengths to celebrate, say, the Nazi takeover of Germany? The Chinese Communists have murdered more than five times as many innocent people as Hitler did.

To say that Wednesday's ceremony is in poor taste would be to put it mildly.

You have to see this!

The X-Files was a great television series. And Babylon 5: Crusade had the potential to be another. Alas, network politics nipped it in the bud. Crusade was cancelled after a mere thirteen episodes.

But not before it produced this episode, which would have justified the creation of the series even if it had been the only episode ever shown. It's one of the cleverest and most hilarious spoof of one TV series ever done by another.

Well, of two other series, really- if one counts the zinger Captain Gideon deals another well-known space opera in the closing scene, during his conversation with his first officer.
Part Two- the conclusion- is here. If you have an hour, watch this episode. You'll be glad you did- especially if you are an X-Files fan. And I think you'll join me in regretting the fact that Crusade didn't have the long and successful run it so richly deserved.

The rest is silence

Every magazine, every pundit, every prognosticator said before the season that the Cubs would win their third consecutive National League Central Division championship this year going away.

The Cardinals clinched the Central Division tonight.

I'm happy for Mark DeRosa.

This ought to be the Cubs' party tonight. Sure, there were injuries. Sure, players had sub-par years. But the major reason why it's the Dirty Birds, and not the Cubs, who are taking the champagne shower tonight is that GM Jim Hendry had probably the single most bone-headed off-season even a Cub general manager has had in the fifty two years I've been following the team.

While I'm pulling for DeRosa, otherwise I really don't care what happens in the playoffs and World Series. What I do care about is Hendry and Tom Ricketts putting together a team capable not only of taking the Central back next season, but of making a legitimate stab at that illusive world championship.

This is the first of my fifty …

Obama administration confirms: Jail time for those who don't buy health insurance if Obamacare passes

This isn't new, but it needs to be made explicit. And the Obama administration made it explicit this week: if Obamacare passes, and you don't buy health insurance, you could be imprisoned for as long as a year.

President Obama compared this provision in his speech to Congress with the requirement states have that one have auto insurance if one drives an automobile. This is, of course, a faulty comparison. One can avoid having to get auto insurance and still remain within the bounds of the law by not driving.

Under the Obama plan, the only way to avoid buying health insurance- whether one can afford it or not- would be by not living.

HT: Drudge

Sermon for Trinity 16

ALL THINGS NEW
Luke 7: 11-17
Trinity XVI
September 27, 2009

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Some modern theologians claim the resurrection of Jesus is a metaphor. Christ, Rudolph Bultmann wrote, has "risen into the kerygma (or message) of the Church."

Don't feel bad. I don't know what that means, either.

If you tune in to PBS, you'll find Bill Moyers- himself a one-time Baptist pastor- holding forth on the theories of Joseph Campbell and Karen Armstrong and all sorts of writers who proclaim with great confidence that the message of the Gospel is a kind of picture language, an archetype of some sort which points to some remarkably hazy and nebulous reality behind and beyond it. That sort of thinking is very big on the theological Left. But it has one big problem which, alas, the Moyers and the Armstrongs and the Campbells have no answer for.

Our text tells us of a widow who, upon her husband's death, found h…

We just don't do this sort of thing in democracies!

This is not a partisan issue. It's simply not. Substitute "Ronald Wilson Reagan" or "George Walker Bush" for "Barack Hussein Obama" in the video below, and it's every bit as creepy- and every bit as wrong.

A few days ago I posted a video of various Hollywood personalities "pledging allegiance" to President Obama in terms entirely out of keeping with our democratic traditions. We do not pledge allegiance to our presidents, regardless of party; instead, we hold them accountable to us. We may like them. We may support them. But we never, ever, "pledge allegiance" to them. To do so is to get the relationship between an elected official and the people in a democracy exactly backward.

Ever since Athens, democracies have feared and distrusted the cult of personality, and with good reason. And while I do not believe that President Obama is planning a coup (or anything so preposterous), there simply can be no question but that treating…

Singing to the Beloved Leader

The place: B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, N.J.- a public school.

No, not North Korea. No, not China during the Cultural Revolution. No, not Cuba or Venezuela or Iraq under Saddam. And before anybody even says it, the laudability of the sentiments the chant and the song express otherwise are beside the point.

In democracies, we do not inculcate our school children into a cult of personality centered around the adoration of national leaders. And again, before anybody says a word, no honest Democrat will be able to deny that he or she would be just as disturbed by this as I am if public school kids were being taught to sing the praises of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush on the public dime during their presidencies.

This stuff has no place in the schools- and especially in public schools, where it's being financed by the money of taxpayers who may or may not have voted for President Obama, much less signed off on the indoctrination of their children into Barack Obama&#…

Give Obama credit for this one

The President, addressing the UN General Assembly, chided world leaders for their "almost reflexive anti-Americanism," and pointed out that those who complain when the United States acts alone cannot stand aside and wait for the U.S. to solve all of the world's problems alone.

A welcome dose of frankness from an administration which has at times seemed hard pressed to say "no" to anybody about anything.

Black Caucus joins Carter race baiting

It seems that the Congressional Black Caucus has by-and-large bought into the Jimmy Carter-style race baiting that has followed Joe Wilson's impulsive (and boorish) cry of "You lie!" during President Obama's health care speech.

There's simply no other way to parse it: the Caucus seems to believe that to oppose an African-American president, one must necessarily be motivated by race. This kind of downright silliness is a major obstacle to the Caucus and its members being taken seriously, and effectively works to lessen the impact a charge of racism ought to have when it's legitimately made.

Consider this quotation from a Caucus member concerning the portrayals of Obama in a Nazi uniform and in similar derogatory guises during the recent "teaparty" demonstrations: "This sort of behavior would never be tolerated toward a white president.

No? Er.... ever heard of a fellow named George W. Bush?

And for attacks on the manifesty corrupt vote stealing and …

Job one for Hendry: get DeRosa back

Mark DeRosa- the one member of last year's Cubs squad who will play with a division champion for the third straight year- is a free agent again after the season. He says that he would be open to coming back to the Cubs.

It's a given that the toxic Milton Bradley won't be back. Doubtless walking disaster Aaron Miles will be outrighted, if nothing else. But if Cubs GM Jim Hendry- whose job should be hanging by a thread- doesn't make re-signing DeRosa a priority- if only to send a message to the fans- it will be hard to make the case that he realizes just how badly he screwed up last off-season, and in how many ways.

The Cubs can return to the playoffs next year, with the intelligent application of Ricketts money and Hendry brains in the proper combination. We know that Hendry has a brain; he used itto good effect in putting together the team that won two consecutive NL Central championships, before demolishing it last off season. For that matter, he's used it far more…

Sometimes a gesture is more than it seems

Is there more to Barack Obama than meets the eye?

Paranoia concerning President Obama is as rife on the Right as paranoia concerning President Bush was on the Left. But Professor Paul Rahe thinks he sees some disturbing double-meanings in what Mr. Obama does and says.

"Signifyin'" is a time-honored rhetorical device in the African-American community. An interesting question: could some of Mr. Obama's gestures- both physical and otherwise- contain more than one level of meaning?

Minnesotans heart Pawlenty, candidate or not

72% of Minnesotans think that Gov. Tim Pawlenty will seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Half think that he'll win it.
And 56% in this grotesquely liberal state- Al Franken, who is both grotesque and liberal, represents it in the Senate- approve of the job social conservative Pawlenty is doing as governor.
Even more encouraging, almost a third of Minnesotans think Franken is doing a poor job in the Senate.
HT: Real Clear Politics

Just sayin'

Believe it or not, New York magazine wants to know "Who is Barack Obama? And why do people say such loopy, ugly things about him?"

Hello! Why did people say such loopy, ugly things about George W. Bush? For pretty much the same reason. There are nasty, extremist nutballs on both sides. Sore losers, too. But after the last eight years, for liberals to complain about the way conservative extremists talk about President Obama is very nearly funny.

One thing the article does get right: the "enduring rot in American politics." If we ever had the knack of disagreeing civilly, we've lost it.

Of course, a person with some sense of history might point out that long before Dubyah was "the Chimp," Abe Lincoln was "the Original Gorilla." Still, the only thing sadder than the fact that such garbage goes on is that defenders of the current president can't seem to get their minds around the concept that for every nut job who insists that Barack Obama is …

Leno vs. ACORN

ACORN- the alleged lobby for poor people which played a role in getting people who couldn't meet the payments mortgages and helped bring on the crash, and whose electoral funny business has been notorious enough that the President of the United States tried in last year's campaign (with a great deal of success, due to the political leanings of the media)to downplay his own history as a consultant with the organization- has been busted giving tax advice on the establishment of brothels.

Even Jay Leno has gotten on the case of Barack Obama's former associates:



HT: Alamo City Pundit

BEARS 17, STEELERS 14!

Perhaps last week was an aberration after all! Let's see whether the Chicago media get off Jay Cutler's case for a while (27 for 38, 236 yards, two touchdown passes, 104.7 quarterback rating).

Looks like the Bears have found a receiving star in Johnny Knox.

Sermon for Trinity XV

Our only security

Matt. 6:24-34
Trinity XV
September 20, 2009

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The late Sen. Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” And so you are. But there’s also another side to the coin. We can understand a hundred dollars, or even a thousand. Then thousand provides no problem in comprehension, either. Maybe the same is true for twenty, or thirty, or a hundred thousand. But somewhere around a million, things get a little hazy. And while what Sen. Dirksen said is certainly true, when we start talking about billions, much less trillions, most of us have a difficult time getting a feel for just how much money that is.

Discussions of the deficit tend to be handicapped by the fact that the numbers are so big that we lose our sense of proportion. And while few of us have that problem while balancing our checkbooks, there are some who do. Severa…

Irving Kristol, 1920-2009

Irving Kristol- the father of Neoconservatism, that brand of right-of-center thought based on pragmatism but often caricatured by ideologically motivated and the simply ill-informed as essentially Bush-style interventionism, is dead at 89.

Kristol himself once described a Neoconservative as "a liberal who has been mugged by reality." He will be missed by all those who value sound, realistic and independent thinking in the realm of politics.

The founder of Neoconservatism is dead

Irving Kristol, the founder of the pragmatic brand of right-of-center thought called Neoconservatism, is dead at 89.

Kristol's ideology is often confused by misinformed liberals and conservatives alike with interventionism in foreign affairs. It would be more aptly described as a political philosophy which puts realism above ideology. Indeed, Kristol once famously described a neoconservative as "a liberal who has been mugged by reality."

Kristol's realistic conservatism lives on. His heritage has taken root, to the nation's benefit; no longer is it necessary to live in a previous century to be a conservative, or a make-believe world based on reality as we would like it to be. May he rest in peace.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Obama rejects Carter's race baiting

President Obama has explicitly rejected former President Jimmy Carter's charge that the emotional opposition to the Administration's health care proposals are racially motivated. Race, the Chief Executive said, "is not the overriding issue here."

Instead, Mr. Obama cited a long-standing philosophical debate in America over the proper role of government.

The President should be given due credit for disavowing Carter's ad hominem attack on those on the other side of the political fence. Perhaps the former president will learn some discretion in his old age.

Be afraid.

This could be Nazi Germany, or Mao's China, or the Soviet Union under Stalin, or North Korea under Kim Sung Il. But it's not. It's the good ol' US of A, folks- and for all the fine sounding rhetoric that surrounds the attempt to create a cult of personality wholly incompatible with democracy, this is one scary video.



HT: Ted Sporer

A blast from the (not too distant) past: the origin of that "death panels" remark that got Palin in hot water

This Dickensian quote by President Obama went largely unnoticed by the media. Yet it is the point of origin for the fear of "death panels" resulting from a government-run health care system which Sarah Palin, among others, have voiced.

Both the Administration and its water carriers in the media (even Conan O'Brien!) went to great lengths to point out that there were no "death panels" in the Obama health care legislation. Of course, nobody ever claimed that there were. But all one has to do is read that quote from the President to know precisely why, say, the mother of a Down Syndrome child like Trig Palin might have good cause to fear this proposal.

What's good for the goose...

Finally! Somebody has recognized that the in-your-face strategy conservative activists have used on the health care issue in "town meetings" and elsewhere is nothing more or less than the Saul Alinsky-style rabble-rousing the Left used for eight years against George W. Bush!

The hypocrisy of Nancy Pelosi and others who deplore the very strategy their own allies used for eight long years need to be pointed out by conservatives at every opportunity. This was the stuff the anti-Bush people thrived on. Apparently, though, they don't like it when they're on the receiving end!

She's back for Samoa attention

The Mother of God- last sighted in Mexico, on a restaurant griddle- has reappeared on an office building in Samoa, apparently still holding the rosary she had when she made her appearance a few years ago on the wall beneath the Fullerton Avenue overpass in my native Chicago.
Besides quoting a Catholic priest as idolatrously equating the Blessed Virgin with God, the AFP account provides another piece of embarrassing information for those who go in for this sort of thing: the building in question is owned by a Congregational church. They don't go in for rosary beads, so I guess her choice of location can't be cited as an argument that the Blessed Virgin is a Protestant.

Democrats rush to denounce Carter and Dowd

It seems that Democrats- including the President of the United States- are falling all over each other to disassociate themselves from the zany, mean-spirited suggestion by Jimmy Carter, Maureen Dowd, and others that those who oppose President Obama's policies are motivated by race.

Good. I am always encouraged by evidence that there are substantial numbers of Democrats who are not moonbats, as well as by evidence that there are substantial numbers of Republicans who are not wingnuts. There are times when I wonder.

Haters and extremists on both sides need to be marginalized, not least of all by those with whom they claim political and ideological affinity. We had quite enough of this nonsense during the last administration.

A modest proposal

Michael Barone has a point: wouldn't it be a good idea, at a time when Americans are out of work in numbers even the Obama Administration admits aren't likely to fall much any time soon, for the Administration to begin advocating policies that will put people back to work rather than keep them unemployed?

The Bush (and Reagan) tax cuts might serve as a model here. Tax increases- by whatever name, and on whatever economic class- are, on the other hand, pretty much the opposite of what any administration seriously interested in putting people back to work ought to promote.

HT:Real Clear Politics

EmBearassing

Even more embarassing to the Bears than Sunday night's debacle in Green Bay...
The Chicago Park District doesn't want the statue of Walter Payton the great running back's family has commissioned to be erected outside Soldier Field. And while I hadn't realized this, another Bear great (both on the field and on the sidelines)- Mike Ditka- was petulently excluded by the McCaskey family from a granite relief already on display at Soldier Field portraying outstanding players from the team with the most NFL Hall of Fame members and the second most NFL championships in history.
The desire to preserve Soldier Field as a memorial soley to those who have given their lives in the service of their country, while commendable, has already gone by the boards. Payton deserves a statue of his own. And given the slight, so does Ditka.

The Democrats' Stark hypocrisy

Victor Davis Hanson herein takes on Democratic hypocrisy regarding Joe Wilson, recalling that Rep. Pete Stark accused Dubyah on the House floor of deriving amusement from the deaths of American servicemen in Iraq, and that virtually the entire Democratic membership of Congress booed and heckled Mr. Bush during his 2005 State of the Union address.

The Democratic House blocked an attempt by Republicans to reprimand the chronically erratic and intemperate Stark.

It had no such compunctions, of course, about reprimanding Wilson- who, unlike Stark, actually admitted that he was out of line. Stark's "apology" merely regretted the possibility that his boorish behavior might distract attention from important matters of public business.

Carter goes totally moonbat on race and Obama

Jimmy Carter- for whom I voted twice, and once greatly admired- has morphed from a moderate if feckless liberal to an out and out moonbat.

His irresponsible behavior and rhetoric during the George W. Bush administration cost him my respect. But now, he's buying into the silly is pattern of seeing racism in every critical response to Obama which so many of us predicted long before Obama was nominated would become the default response to dissent during any administration he led. Worse, Carter- who apparently wasn't listening to his own rhetoric or that of his fellow Democrats during the last adminstration- somehow thinks there has been an increase in "hate rhetoric" since Mr. Obama became president.

The man is simply delusional, and I continue to be amazed that I ever was taken in by him.

HT: Drudge

So much for the football season.

What was Rex Grossman doing playing QB for the Bears last night, and wearing number 6?

With Urlacher done for the year, Tinoisamoa out for a month, Desmond Clark nursing a knee injury, and especially with the Cutler-to-the-other-team's-secondary combo as impressive as it was last night, I think we can pretty much do for the Bears what I personally started doing for the Cubs the moment I heard they'd traded Mark DeRosa for essentially nothing: recognize that once one awakens, misplaced dreams of glory dissolve like all the others.

That, and look forward to the hockey season. Go Hawks!

At this point, he Bears will be lucky to go 9-7, even with the easy schedule they have.

This season will not be a cakewalk for the Bears

My fellow Bear fans are in such a tizzy over the Bears signing their best quarterback since Sid Luckman that they appear to be in a state of denial about our receiving corps. Granted, nobody has a one-two punch at tight end like Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark, and Matt Forte is a fine receiver as well as an outstanding runner. Our new upgrades on the offensive line will help both our running game and our passing game. But we really don't have any go-to wide receivers, and until we do Jay Cutler will simply not be... well, Jay Cutler.

We helped ourselves at linebacker this off-season, but our secondary, like the receiving corps, is suspect. I'm especially nervous about our cornerbacks. Mike Ditka is right: in order to even win the division, the defense has to step up. I am not confident.

Tomorrow night's Green Bay game should tell us something. If we lose to the Snot 'n' Pus, it will mean more that simply that the season can't be a true success and that we're o…

May we never forget September 11, 2001

Though it seems that some of us have.

Some of us remember

Today is the eighth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon which left over three thousand Americans dead.

Some of us remember- and intend not to permit the present administration to forget that dark day.

This remains a nation at war- and not only in Afghanistan. Those who hated us on September 11, 2001 still hate us. Their hatred remains as irrational and uncompromising. Surrender in the War on Terrorism is not an option.

For eight years the Bush administation kept us safe. Let us rededicate ourselves to not allowing the Obama administration pretend that it can do the same by making nice-nice with monsters.

The GOP the "Party of Cranks?" That's a laugh!

Want a good laugh? Click on this link to read one breathtakingly silly article!

Has the author forgotten the even greater personal hatred and vitriol the Democrats showered on Mr. Obama's predecessor for eight years? A general with Alzheimer's mentions that he didn't remember George W. Bush serving under his command in the National Guard during a specific period in which Bush wasn't even required to be on base. Within months, witnesses come forward to share their memories of his serving with them at that base anyway at the time in question, and the general- citing his illness-withdraws his comment and apologizes. All of this before Bush is even elected. Yet the "Bush was AWOL" lie continues to spread for the next eight years, even repeated by the 2004 Democrat candidate for president, John Kerry!Despite the fact that the election officials in precincts in question were Democrats and that every recount or investigation done by independent parties concluded tha…

Those square fish are more appetizing

The fish to the left is a hokie. It is found in the deep, dark waters off New Zealand. It, and not those square, bun-sized fish they pull up in the net in the "That ain't natural" commercial, is what McDonald's Fillet of Fish sandwiches are made of. And they're threatened.

Not to worry, though. If enough people see what they look like, demand will decrease very quickly.

The president's health care speech- and the facts

As I noted last night, Rep. Wilson's cry of "You lie!" was as boorish and disrespectful of the presidency itself as it was politically stupid. "Lie" is a harsh and uncharitable word, even if it had been uttered in more appropriate circumstances. But the fact remains that on several points, Mr. Obama told something less than the whole truth.

I received this from Steve Mallory today by email. It does a good job of running down the list of Mr. Obama's claims last night, and holding him accountable for them.

Quote: “And it’s why those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it—about $1000 per year that pays for somebody else’s emergency room and charitable care.”

Fact: An even larger tax—of nearly $1,800 per year—is paid by individuals with private coverage who are forced to subsidize lower payments made by government-run health plans like Medicare and Medicaid, according to a study conducted by independent actuarie…

Rude is rude no matter who is being rude, and to whom

Calling POTUS a liar from the floor in the middle of a speech to a joint session of Congress is not only uncivil, but politically dumb. Congressman Wilson at least had the good grace to apologize afterward.

I'm still waiting for all the apologies Dubyah is due for the uncivil way he was treated by the other party during his administration.

My prediction is that if a health reform bill is passed, it will bear little resemblance to anything the administration is aiming for.

I just hope we recognize that a nation with our wealth which nevertheless ranks worse than twentieth among the nations of the world in infant mortality and has as many folks as we do with no access to decent health care at all is indeed in need of reform for its health care system. At the same time, any "public option" will put the government in direct competition with private industry- never a healthy thing- and private insurance companies don't have pockets deep enough to compete with the government.

Bad form

Callng the president of the United States a liar in the middle of a speech to a joint session of Congress is bad form, whether POTUS is telling the truth or not.

It's also stupid politics, when the president is of the other party and is on the ropes concerning especially the very topic of his speech.

Apology or no apology, Congressman Wilson did Mr. Obama a big political favor tonight. How big remains to be seen.

Something else I don't get

Ever since Mitt Romney came up with "Romneycare" in Massachusetts- a scheme whereby folks are legally required to have health insurance- I've been a bit puzzled by the whole concept. The problem becomes acute because there has been talk lately of health care reform taking the form of something similar on a national scale- a scenario in which if you don't buy health insurance, you'll have to pay a fine of $3,800.
Ok. So health insurance is too expensive. You're poor. You can't afford to buy it. The solution to this is to levy a $3,800 fine (and you presumably don't have that much money, or else you would be able to buy health insurance) and in essence assess a civil penalty for poverty?
And this is supposed to help- how? Help me out here.
ADDENDUM: Gov. Romney's association with this truly bad idea is one of the chief reservations I have about him as a presidential candidate. But he has company in wanting to fine people for not being able to afford h…