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Showing posts from February, 2011

Will Chindia or Chimerica lead the 21st Century's economy?

Economists propose two startlingly different futures for the world economy in 2050.

In the one the talking heads of the media seem to envision, America is now the Third World, and the Third World is the first.

In the more likely one, the 21st Century is the American Century, part deux.

Well, the Chinese Century, too. But mostly the American one.

Don't count us out.

In fact, make that "Americhina" in stead of "Chimerica."

HT: Real Clear Politics

Don't say a word, Al Gore

It seems that there is a simple way to reduce global warming: a small, regional nuclear war.

Fortunately, there seems to be widespread recognition that this is not a practical solution, since the climatic consequences would be out of all proportion to any conceivable benefit- and would, in fact, cause widespread starvation and other undesirable side effects.

Keep working, guys.

HT: Drudge

Should football be banned? I'm serious.

Football is part of my life. It always has been.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting on a footstool in the kitchen of our apartment on West 24th Place in Chicago while my dad and I listened to Jack Brickhouse and Irv Kupcinet broadcast the Bears games on the radio. These were the days before regular season NFL games were widely televised. As Protestants (or at least non-Roman Catholics), we differed from our neighbors in having no rooting interest in Notre Dame. In principle, we supported the Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats- though both (and especially Northwestern) were consistently terrible in those days. In consequence we didn't pay much attention to college football, even though Dad had been a season ticket holder for the University of Chicago Maroons during their Big Ten days. The exception was the Rose Bowl, in which- as a matter of principle- we always rooted for the Big Ten team against the representative of the Pac Ten.

The Bears were righ…

Huckabee on why the truly compassionate should be social conservatives

Mike Huckabee is running for president again, whether he's announced it or not. And he's running, specifically, as the candidate of social conservatism.

Or at least that's the niche he's trying to stake out for himself.

Here is an article on Huckabee at his best: making the very admissible case that social conservatism is both compassionate and realistic, while the currently popular social liberalism is neither.

Horrors! The Catholic church is showing some integrity again!

Here is a somewhat snarky and badly thought-through article by Randall Balmer of Religion Dispatches magazine on some welcome news: apparently somebody in the Vatican has decided that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be treated the way not only the Roman Catholic church but every Christian communion which takes biblical sexual ethics seriously has always treated public and contumacious sexual sin: by being denied communion.

Cuomo is shacking up with a woman to whom he is not married. In Catholic terms, he is living in mortal sin.

The article also rather lamely attempts to defend the famous "Cuomo dodge" first invented by Gov. Cuomo's dad, Mario, to justify his attempt to pose as a sincere Catholic who accepts his church's teaching on abortion while remaining "pro-choice" in his politics. The idea is that one can believe that something is morally wrong while consistently believing that it should be legal.

This is true- in general terms. The problem is that…

Now or never

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are currently in tenth place in the Western Conference. Only the first eight teams in each conference make the playoffs.

The good news: they're only two points out of fourth.

Corey Crawford has been solid in goal, and there have been signs of late that the Hawks are getting their footing.

We can do this, guys. But time is running out.

I will resist the blasphemous puns

I can't say that I'm thrilled, but facts are facts, Chicago is Chicago, and President Obama's notoriously foul-mouthed former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has been elected as Chicago's "new !@#$%!! mayor," to quote one of the major news magazines.

Emanuel defeated his closest rival- the guy I would have voted for, City Colleges of Chicago Board chairman Gery Chico- by better than thirty points yesterday, garnering 55.2% of the vote in the first round and avoiding the runoff which would have occurred had no candidate received a majority. 

Unlike both is namesake and his former boss, Mayor-elect Emanuel is unlikely to be thought by anybody to be a messiah- unless its by the Chicago Machine, whose unnaturally long life has seemingly been extended into the indefinite future by the election of yet another strongman as its head.

More from one of Corn's "peaceful" Democratic politicians

More evidence against columnist David Corn's bizarre assertion that while Republican elected leaders speak the language of violence, their Democratic counterparts do not.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) has told a group of labor leaders in Boston that, as regards the tactics of labor unions and Democratic legislators in Wisconsin, sometimes it's necessary to go out into the streets and "get a little bloody."

HT: Drudge

Bears great Duerson is dead at 50

Former Bears and Notre Dame safety Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowler who was a key part of Buddy Ryan's "46" defense and the 1985 Super Bowl championship team, has died in Miami at the age of 50.

The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Duerson was a star on one of the greatest defensive units in the history of the NFL (though some- including Yours Truly- would disagree with ESPN"s respective rankings of Number One and Number Two), and one of the greatest teams in the history of professional football.

His death at such an early age comes as a shock to Bears fans everywhere.

'Nuff said

Go figure

According to a new Rasmussen poll, 50% of Americans consider themselves pro-choice.

Forty per cent consider themselves pro-life.

But 53% agree that "abortion is usually morally wrong."

Now, granted that it doesn't necessarily follow that one must believe that what is immoral should be illegal. But the question nevertheless is hard to avoid: if, as the majority of Americans apparently agree, most abortions are morally wrong, why?

How, precisely, does one reach the conclusion that what one considers to be the wrongful taking of human life, specifically (we're not talking about drinking too much, or lying to one's spouse here) ought to be legal?

Are there other categories of human beings besides the unborn who don't deserve the full protection of the law? Races? Religions? Ethnic groups?

And if abortion is not the (usually) wrongful taking of an innocent human life, then on what grounds is it (usually) morally wrong?

My problem here is the same as my problem wi…

Newsweek's Lisa Miller is a laugh riot

I've written before about Newsweek's openly anti-Christian bias, and the amazing theological and hermaneutical ineptitude of its religion editor, Lisa Miller.

Now, it seems that Ms. Miller has chosen to expand her unintentional comedy act from somehow trying to show that the Bible really isn't against gay "marriage" into a full-blown argument to the effect that it doesn't mean the other things it says about sexuality, either.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway comments.

And Mollie is right: unintentional though the humor may be, when Lisa Miller writes on the subject of the Bible, the result is utterly hilarious- and very, very difficult for anyone familiar with its content, its history, or the basic rules of textual interpretation to take seriously..

HT: Real Clear Religion

Chicago population sinks to 1920's levels

According to the new census, Chicago's population has shrunk to the size it was in the Roaring Twenties.

The economy seems to be the culprit. And a "reverse migration" from Chicago to the South is reducing my home town's population of African-Americans.

As somebody who wishes it were economically possible for me to move back to Chicago, I see a certain amount of irony in this- and sorrow at the plight of the city I love.

Still, Chicago seems likely to remain the nation's third-largest city, ahead of Houston. 

It ought to be number two again- if not number one.

HT: Drudge

Are a majority of Republicans "Birther" nut-jobs?

It seems likely that most Democrats believe malarky like the presidential elections of 2000 and/or 2004 being stolen, that George W. Bush knew that Saddam Hussein had rid himself of his WMD's in anticipation of a possible invasion of Iraq before that invasion took place, and that Dubyah was AWOL from his National Guard service.

Thankfully, the percentage of Democrats who are "Truthers-" who believe that Dubyah was responsible fo 9/11- seems to be considerably smaller.

But according to a new poll by a Democratic firm, a narow majority of Republicans are the Right's equivalent of those "Truther" nut-jobs: "Birthers," who maintain that President Obama was not born in the United States, and thus is not eligible to be president.

I have my doubts; after all, the polling firm had an ideological ox to gore here, and both samples and questions are easily manipulated or distorted. But if it's really true that most Republicans are "Birthers," o…

Flyers get Versteeg

The Philadelphia Flyers just got a key piece of the Blackhawk team that beat them in the Stanley Cup finals last year: Kris Versteeg.

I wish we were getting him back instead. We miss Steeger. Badly.

Scotty Bowman and company, meanwhile, need to get to work bringing the Hawks back to where they were last year. Dollar Bill Wirtz has reached out from the grave to play his final bad joke on Chicago hockey fans: the salary cap he single-handedly talked the Board of Governors into adopting, which forced the disassembly of last year's Stanley Cup champions. Barring a major turnaround, it's beginning to look very much like what is left being something less than it's going to have to be if we're going to make a credible run at repeating.

And it's even less funny than all the things he put us through when he was alive.

Hopkins can't live with the mindless certainty of atheism

Sir Anthony Hopkins says that he couldn't live with being an atheist.

The problem, it seems, is all that dogmatic certainty atheism requires in the face of the bulk of human philosophical wisdom down through the centuries.

And- in view of the inability of science to account in a way that isn't intellectually embarassing for the very existence of life itself, one might add the bulk, also, of the epistomological evidence.

HT: Real Clear Religion

Nice try, Peter

Peter Beinhart of The Daily Beast has decided to defy what is pretty much the consensus of observers all over the spectrum and try to make the Obama Administration's woeful mishandling of the situation in Egypt a plus for our diplomatically inept Chief Executive rather than a minus.

Rather than operating behind the scenes and easing long-time dictator (oops... I forgot; Joe Biden insists that he was not a dictator) Hosni Mubarak out, the Obama administration chose to humiliate him publicly- thus further alienating Israel and our other allies in the region and throughout the world, who are said to be appalled by the U.S. president's handling of the mess in Egypt. Our other allies now have further reason to distrust Mr. Obama, who will not hesitate, out of sheer diplomatic ineptitude, to humiliate a friend when he could have accomplished the same thing while helping him save face.

Not that, even now, Mr. Obama or America will receive the slightest credit for the end of the admit…

Hollywood's war on monogamy and faithfulness

It's remarkable the extent to which this salient fact is pretty generally excluded from media discussion of homosexual "marriage," but it's no secret either among gays themselves or among those remotely paying attention: monogamy is simply not a value that is taken seriously among at least male homosexuals.

And it seems that it isn't taken seriously among heterosexuals, either- at least on the cultural Left, as exemplified by Hollywood.

HT: Real Clear Religion


Meanwhile, on the other side of the political spectrum, the Democratic Leadership Conference- the group of more-or-less centrist Democrats who were in back of the candidacy of Bill Clinton- has gone out of business.

Democratic moderates are even more of an endangered species than before.

Looks like the grownups in both parties have their work cut out for them....

HT: Real Clear Politics


Rep. Ron Paul (R-Utopia Planitia) has won a TWT (TWiT?)//CPAC Republican Straw Poll for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Fat chance.

While I don't expect the support of Paulista nut jobs to actually translate this into significant numbers in the Iowa Caucuses, much less delegates to the 2012 Republican convention, this is a warning that the lunatic fringe is alive and well in the Republican Party, and must be militantly opposed by those of us who are in actual contact with reality.

Isolationism is not cool. Naiveté with regard to the geopolitical realities of this planet is not cool. Even mentioning a guy in connection for the presidency who allowed a newsletter to go out under his name for years with overtly racist and morally repugnant content without even taking notice is not cool.

Ron Paul is absolutely not cool- and if my some satanic miracle he were to become the Republican nominee for President, I would vote for Barack Obama in a New York minute.

A Ron Paul cand…

The Cheeseheads are gouda 'nuff

OK, let's get it over with.... congratulations to Green Bay (and to Mike and Solveig Zamzow) on the Packers' Super Bowl victory yesterday.

For some reason I have yet to fathom, this is- after the strange usage of a sports culture which seems to think that the NFL was founded in 1967- being spoken of merely as the Pack's fourth Super Bowl championship. The more relevant statistic, however, is that it represents Green Bay's thirteenth NFL championship- the most of any team (the Bears, with nine, are second).

I have never understood why people think that the name by which the championship game is called matters one way or the other.

NASA's Kepler finds 54 stars with planets in their habitable zones

NASA's Kepler space telescope- tasked to search for the hitherto elusive small, rocky planets like Earth in alien star systems which may harbor life- has thus far found 54 candidates in the habitable zones of their stars.

Above is an artist's conception of one of them.