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Showing posts from February, 2013

Is the liberation of Chicago at hand?

Even on the Left, it seems, Rahm Emanuel's brand of government-by-bullying is wearing very, very thin.

Since politics in Chicago is all about the use (and abuse) of sheer, raw power, and huge chucks of the voting population are kept vulnerable to intimidation by The Man through loss of cushy patronage jobs or other City Hall-controlled benefits by themselves or family members, public opinion has less impact in most Chicago elections than it does elsewhere.

 But every once in a while- as when rage in the African-American community over the  Bilandic administration's decision to have CTA trains run express routes to the outlying white communities during the 1979 blizard, bypassing inner-city stops, resulted in the mayor's defeat in the Democratic primary by Jane Byrne- voter frustration boils over, and the city I love becomes- however briefly- an actual democracy.

May it happen again in 2015.

HT: Real Clear Politics

All the president's chutzpah

Bob Woodward of the Washington Post says that the White House has threatened him about his ongoing claims that President Obama is lying about the sequestration negotiations and mishandling the crisis.

Woodward- who helped bring down President Nixon and wrote a book criticizing George W. Bush for the Iraq war- says that the president is "wrong" to blame the GOP for the mandatory budget cuts which will kick in tomorrow.

Here are more details of the Woodward charge of attempted intimidation.




Predictably, the Left is leading a charge to villify and discredit Woodward. Character assassination seems to be the natural first recourse of many "progressives" when confronted by charges they can't credibly refute- and often even tot hose they think they can.


Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the Post- which recently let it casually slip that it's the editorial policy if the paper to treat all opponents of same-sex "marriage-"including traditional, bib…

PANSTARRS barely naked eye, easy in binoculars starting March 7

Comet PANSTARRS (right) won't be the spectacular visitor we expected, but it seems that it will be visible to the naked eye- barely- here in the Northern Hemisphere beginning March 7.

The comet has reached the vicinity of magnitude 4.2 below the equator, where it is already visible. Venus, to provide a standard of comparison, is -5 magnitude (the lower the magnitude is, oddly, the brighter the object is). Sirus, the brightest actual star in the sky, is magnitude -1, which is also the brightest absolute magnitude Comet Hale-Bopp reached.



The comet will best be seen in dark skies, and a pair of binoculars will probably be necessary to make out its tail. PANSTARRS will be something of a disappointment, given the high hopes the astronomical community had for it earlier. But the main event- Comet ISON, billed, like Hale-Bopp, as "the comet of the century-" is still headed our way in November:



A second comet- Comet Lemmon- is also visible currently, at magnitude 6. It is gree…

Game on!

Often commentary on something Joe Biden says is superfluous....

HT: Drudge

Bob Woodward busts his second president

Bob Woodward- the journalist who, along with Washington Post collegue Carl Bernstein, brought the Watergate scandal to light and set in motion the events leading to the fall of Richard Nixon-  exposes his second president here.

Who is responsible for the sequester disaster that looms Friday, gutting social programs and defense alike? It seems it's the guy who got re-elected by lying about Mitt Romney- and, Woodward says, is now lying about the negotiations to avoid the sequester.

As the saying goes, "Fool us once, shame on him."

But Barack Obama fooled us twice.

Shame on us.

HT: Drudge

Who would be hurt most by the proposed Obama tax increases?

It may be the wealthiest Americans whose taxes President Obama says he wants to raise. But as Republicans have been trying to warn people for some time, the people who would wind up getting hurt most would be those with the lowest incomes.

This is what we get for  rejecting a man who has spent his live working with economics in favor of one with no concept of economics whatsoever- but who tells us what we want to hear, and even provides us with a convenient scapegoat to both blame and punish while we pretend to address the deficit.

HT: Drudge

Will the Maquis rise in the Windy CIty?

The Washington Post may be touting him as presidential timber, but a new Crane's/Ipsos poll shows that only two percent of Chicagoans strongly approve of the way Mayor Rahm Emanuel is doing his job.

12% somewhat approve, with five percent "leaning toward approving" (whatever that means; it's certainly an odd category for any poll).

13% strongly disapprove, nine percent somewhat approve, and another 13% "leaning toward disapproving." All told, that amounts to "Rahm si" 19%, and "Rahm no" 35%.

These are not numbers upon which to base a re-election campaign, much less a bid for the White House.

In September, the same poll showed 37% somewhat or strongly approving of Emanuel's performance, with  33% disapproving. Couple that with the fact that some potentially very strong contenders decided not to run last time out- Cook County's extremely popular sheriff, Tom Dart, comes to mind- due to Emanuel's fund raising potential and…

Huntsman is history

Jon Huntsman has has endorsed gay "marriage."

He is now off my presidential radar.

ADDENDUM: And it's a crying shame. As a third-party candidate, Huntsman in his previous incarnation ( pro-life, and favoring civil unions but NOT "marriage" for same-sex couples) could have not only provided a rational and moderate alternative who put the good of the country ahead of partisan ideological squabbles and restored the comity which in previous ages had (generally) allowed the institutions of the Republic to thrive, while providing social conservatives like myself who have difficulty accepting the ideological rigidity and extremism of those who probably constitute the majority of the Republican party today, and whose social conscience extends to the poor and the disadvantaged as well as to the unborn and the foundational institutions and values of our society, with a viable alternative to choosing which part of our values we have to violate every time we vote.

Now…

Oh, deer!

Is this the ultimate solution to gun crime?*

HT: Drudge

*I'm kidding. Really. Don't shoot!

I knew the quality of education in America was deterriorating, but...

...do they really have to give lessons in this now?

And in the university chapel?

ADDENDUM: I checked. Allegheny College is not even sponsored by the ELCA or the UCC or the PCUSA, so there is no question of the chapel being appropriate for the Gnostic worship of sexual license.

It's a puzzlement.

HT: Drudge

Presidential hate speech

President Obama says that helping the rich is the only thing that "holds the Republican party together."

How about concern for the lives of the unborn, for the institution of marriage, and for getting Americans of all income levels on their feet again through the kind of job creation that can only be achieved by companies having jobs?

How about lowering the deficit in a way that doesn't cost jobs? For that matter, how about lowering the deficit at all, instead of agreeing to do it later if the Republicans will agree to job-killing tax cuts now- as the Democrats have done repeatedly over the years, prior to breaking their word when it comes to doing anything about the deficit?

If a Republican said that destroying America's moral standards and institutions was the only thing that held the Democratic party together, he would be rightly condemned for it. But when POTUS- or any Democrat- resorts to slander and ad hominems as transparently outrageous as this one, there isn…

Omnium gatherum

The co-chair  of the Commision for Presidential Debates has agreed that having Candy Crowley moderate the second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was a mistake.

Crowley supported a false statement by the president that he had characterized the Benghazi incident as a terrorist attack.

Melowese Richardson, the Ohio Democratic polling official who has admitted voting for President Obama twice- and defended having done so- may in fact have voted as many as six times. She doesn't regard it as "a big deal."



Paddy Power lists the Blackhawks as 5-1 favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh is second at 6-1, Anaheim third at 17-2, and Vancouver and Boston tied for fourth at 9-1.

Peter Cardinal Turkson of Uganda continues to be listed as the favorite to be the next Pope, followed by Angelo Cardinal Scola of Milan.

HT: Drudge,
Paddy Power

PANSTARRS is brightening again!

Comet PANSTARRS is brightening again, and could still put on a show in the next couple of weeks.

Stay tuned!

On cheering when there's no game going on

I wish I had a buck for every time I heard an "evangelical" Christian tell me that God "told him" (or her) something.

I run an email group for Christians and other religious people with scrupulosity, the religious dimension of obsessive compulsive disorder. It's amazing the number of out-and-out delusions which arise from the believe that God speaks to us directly, reliably, and in a manner independent of Scripture through subjective impressions. A simple reading of history, of course, will impress anyone with an eye open for the phenomenon with how many amazing- and often gruesome- things God has allegedly told people down through the ages. A great many people are dead because God allegedly told others to kill them. In most cases, I think it's a reasonable conclusion that the message was either garbled, or- more likely- not authentic to begin with.

With the people I work with, "God" usually tells them the very things they want least to hear. Som…

In Chicago, it's two amendments down, and eight to go

Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy, who blames Sarah Palin for the city's gun violence (go figure), has come up with a new scapegoat: the Bill of Rights.

Supt. McCarthy claims that the Second Amendment is a "threat to public safety." Now, I understand that hippie stuff like the U.S. Constitution has never been in vogue in the city I love. But it seems to me that Supt. McCarthy is being just a little too blatant in his contempt for the document he is sworn to uphold.

My own position on guns is considerably more nuanced than that of most on either side of the debate. I should say off the bat that I find the argument that private gun ownership is a safeguard against government abuse of its power to be an insult to my intelligence. Those pistols in the bedroom drawer and those rifles hanging in the study would be of little use if the government really wanted to mess with somebody; not even a Magnum has the stopping power to do much damage to an Abrams tank or an arm…

Throne of (allegedly) Peter Meter

Peter Cardinal Turkson of Ghana has moved into the lead as the favorite to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Turksen is at 9-4. The man I personally think will be elected- Angelo Cardinal Scola, archbishop of Milan- is second at 7-2.

Cardinal Turkson has expressed is "readiness" to be the next pope. Canadian Cardinal Marc Oullet, on the other hand, has indicated that he really, really would rather not be elected. He is third at 5-1, Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo Tarcisio Bertone is fourth at 6-1.

Leonardo Cardinal Sandri of Argentina is next at 10-1.

Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that the conclave may be moved up to early March because of the desirability to have a new pope elected by Holy Week.

Cardinal Turkson's candidacy is newsworthy not only because he would be the first black pope, but because a prophesy of  12th Century Irish bishop St. Malachy supposedly predicts that the next pope will be named Peter (he doesn't specify, actually, whether …

Why you'll be hearing so much about St. Malachy in the next few weeks

Here's a rundown from NBC News on the prophesy of St. Malachy- and why it may induce a bigger end-of-the-world scare than 2012, Harold Camping and Asteroid 2012 DA14 combined.

Bottom line: according to one interpretation of Malachy's forecast, Pope Benedict's successor will be called Peter II- and will be the last pope.

(Cue Twilight Zone theme) One of the leading contenders is said to be Peter Cardinal Turkson of Ghana.

Malachy, a 12th Century Irish monk, produced a list of what are said to be the final ten popes, together with a brief description of each. The interpretation of the list is controversial, and especially so is the genuine character of the final prophesy about the apparently apolcalyptic reign "in the midst of great persecution" of Petrus Romanus, whose papacy will supposedly see the return of the "terrible judge" (Christ).

Not much distinction of Law and Gospel there. As to the validity- and even the content- of the supposed "prophe…

Well said, Your Eminence

Sandy Rios quotes the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Francis Cardinal George, thus in the wake of the Illinois Senate's vote to legalize gay "marriage:"


Sexual relations between a man and a woman are naturally and necessarily different from sexual relations between same-sex partners. This truth is part of the common sense of the human race. It was true before the existence of either Church or State, and it will continue to be true when there is no State of Illinois and no United States of America. A proposal to change this truth about marriage in civil law is less a threat to religion than it is an affront to human reason and the common good of society. It means we are all to pretend to accept something we know is physically impossible. The Legislature might just as well repeal the law of gravity.
There will come a day not too far down the line when we as a society collectively realize that almost no gay people are getting "married" whatever the law may …

Gotta love Crawford's glove!

Goalie Corey Crawford is one of the major reasons why my Blackhawks are still undefeated in regulation play.

Here's an example of Crow's glovework. If Rizzo falters, maybe the Cubs can give Crawford a job in the off-season playing first base:

Neener, neener! Missed us!

Mother Earth came within 17.200 miles of being hit by a passing asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool  this afternoon.

Never in recorded history has an object this size come so close.

Meanwhile, in central Russia, 46 people remain hospitalized after a considerably closer encounter with a large meteorite (a meteor that hasn't landed yet)- whose descent was captured in a rather spectacular video.

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Here's a dashboard camera view of the Russian meteorite's arrival. Pretty amazing:

Current Cardinal conclave cred

Angelo Cardinal Scola, the archbishop of Milan,  has moved into the favorite's position in Paddy Power's papal pool  at 7-2. He is 73 years old.
Peter Cardinal Turkson, 64, of Ghana and Marc Cardinal Ouellet, 68, of Canada are next at 4-1. Tarciso Cardinal Bertone, the Camerlengo and Cardinal Secretary of State, has moved up to fourth at 5-1. Cardinal Bertone is 79. 63-year old Odilo Cardinal Scherer of Brazil is next at 8-1.

Paddy Power continues to list "Peter" as even money to be name chosen by the next pope, fulfilling the alleged prophesy of St. Malachy. Pius at 4-1 and John Paul at 5-1 follow.

Current odds are 2-1 that the conclave will last only one day.

ADDENDUM: A little conclave humor: Paddy Power lists the odds of Richard Dawkins being elected pope at 666-1.

This makes absolutely no sense

The IOC has voted to eliminate wrestling- wrestling!- from the Olympics starting in 2020, while retaining something called the "modern pentathelon."

Ok, I can see how anti-Americanism resulted in baseball being dropped (even though it's played not only by Japan and Taiwan and South Korea, but by virtually every country in the Western Hemisphere). But why eliminate one of the sports central to the original Olympics?

Certainly it can't be because not enough countries wrestle. I can't see any possible rationale by which this makes sense.

But then, the IOC not infrequently makes decisions that don't make much sense. It's out-of-hand dismissal of Chicago as a site for the 2016 Olympics is a case in point.

Pope Benedict resigns; a French-Canadian or African pope next?

Marc Cardinal Ouelette


                                                           Peter Cardinal Turkson


                                                          Angelo Cardinal Scola


Pope Benedict has become the first pope since Gregory XII in 1415 to resign. Gregory left the papacy in order to facilitate a resolution to the Western Schism, in which two men- one in Avignon, France and the other in Rome- claimed to be pope.

Resignation, rather than abdication, is the technically correct term, being the English equivalent of the Latin word used by canon law.

Pope Benedict's health has been in decline, and physicians had advised him not to make any more trans-Atlantic trips. He has also had increased difficulty in walking.

Pope Benedict has been an eloquent spokesman for the Faith Once Delivered in the face of the modern apostasy, and has facilitated improved relationships between Catholics and Lutherans (being German, his …

Convictions, not opinions

...The best lack all conviction, while the worst,
Are full of passionate intensity...

--The Second Coming, by W.B. Yeats

Huzzah to Mollie Ziegler Hemingway for this fine exposition of why confessional Lutherans take their faith seriously enough not to engage in public worship with those who don't share it.

We live in an age which has no problem believing that other people's religions are true; we just have trouble believing that our own is true. Our shallow, theraputically-oriented and post-modern society confuses tolerance and broad-mindedness with a lack of conviction. And when good people lack conviction, evil has a field day.

Women kill their own children as a means of birth control. People of the same gender are granted a right to "marry" few of them have any thought of acting on. People ignore the evidence that living together before marriage is destructive of the relationship's future- and (surprise!) the relationship eventually self-destructs. People beli…

Cincinnatti Democrat votes early- and often

It's an article of faith among Democrats that vote fraud "never happens," and that attempts to prevent it are really satanic plots by Republicans to "suppress" the minority vote.

But somehow, evidence of Democratic vote fraud keeps emerging in the wake of every election.

In this case, it's Cincinnatti Democratic pollwatcher Melowese Richardson, who voted for President Obama last November. Twice.

So did her granddaughter.

But Richardson claims that she had no "criminal intent." In fact, she says that she did nothing wrong. She says that she will fight the charges: “I’ll fight it for Mr. Obama and for Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States." And doubtless for the right of Democrats everywhere to emulate those in Mr. Obama's home town and mine, whose slogan is "vote early and vote often!"

How dare those evil Republicans contest the right of Democrats to cheat!

HT: Drudge

Sick.

This kind of "in yo face" is counterproductive.

Even as close to the drain as our culture is currently circling.

HT: Drudge

Setting the record straight

Good article in the New York Times on the (hopeful) rehabilitation of Richard III in the wake of the discovery of his remains.

Richard III might or might not have had the Princes in the Tower killed (the evidence is far from conclusive, and there is at least one other suspect with equal opportunity and arguably a greater motive). He certainly did not commit most of the other crimes with which Shakespeare charges him. On the other hand, he invented the custom of legal aid for the indigent, reformed the practice of bail, instituted the system of royal messengers which became the British postal system, and abolished press censorship- and all in a reign of approximately two years.

Many kings have reigned far longer with many fewer accomplishments. Even at the worst, Richard was less bloody a monarch and in fact a far more benign one than most (contemporary historian John Rous praised him as a "good lord" who  brought "oppressors of the commons" to heel and had a "…

More on Richard III

The City of York has petitioned Queen Elizabeth to allow Richard III's remains to be interred at York Minster.

It seems only fitting, given Richard's identification with and popularity in York and the North of England during his lifetime. In fact, Richard had planned to be buried in York Minister, rather than in the traditional royal precincts in Westminster Cathedral. Despite the City of Leicester's desire for a lucrative tourist site and its claims as the place where King Richard's bones have rested since 1485, it strikes me that since we know the wishes of the decedent, the decent thing would be to honor them.

I just read an interesting post on Facebook from a woman whose son has scoliosis almost identical to the case Richard apparently had. She says that the "deformity" isn't even noticable, and hasn't prevented him from living an active and physically energetic life.

Also, Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Spendour, a masterful retelling of …

Is North Korea's bomb a threat to our national security?

Take a look at this video. What do you think?

HT: Drudge

Poor, poor Joe Biden

The man is currently gaffing his way across Europe, mistaking Portugal for Poland and ensuring that the world well understands why his candidacy for president in 2016 will not survive New Hampshire.

Everybody in America (except for Biden himself) already knows this, of course.

But never let it be said that Mr. Biden doesn't serve a useful purpose. He is far, far better anti-assassination insurance  for President Obama than the Secret Service will ever be. On the other hand, al Queda did try to organize a plot against the president's life at one point with the precise intention of making Biden president, so I guess that cuts both ways.

HT: Drudge

Bones of England's most maligned monarch discovered

The body of Richard III- the most maligned monarch in English history- was lost after it fell into the hands of his enemies following his betrayal and death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Apparently it's been found- under a parking lot in the English Midlands. The skeleton buried there has  been conclusively proven through DNA testing to have be Richard's.

One interesting revelation stemming from the discovery is that there is truth to the controversial claim that Richard was deformed. The bones indicate that he suffered from curvature of the spine. Most modern historians had discounted the notion that Richard was deformed, especially given his reputation as a soldier.

The traditional account of Richard's life and appearance- based largely on the testimony of his mortal enemy, Thomas Cardinal Morton, who was step-father to the toddler who later became Sir Thomas More- claimed that Richard was a "crook-back." Morton's account formed the basis of Shakespe…

Metastasis

The growth of government under Barack Obama during a time when we can't pay for what we have is getting a bit ridiculous.

HT: Drudge

Barney Bush dead at 12

Former First Dog Barney Bush has gone to the great presidential library in the sky.

Rest in peace, sir. You brought a brand of thoughtfulness and intellectual rigor to the White House that is sadly missing these days.

HT: Drudge

Eschew the "F word"

This from one of my favorite novels- and one of the most important pieces of Christian fiction ever written:

Feel, feel! That is just what is wrong. Don’t you believe the Bible is God’s Word just as truly, no matter how you may feel? Don’t you see, Brother, that this won’t do? Here you are with your sore conscience and your awakening by the law, and you are as sensitive to every single threat of that law as a sore tooth to ice water. But since the conscience is dead as clay toward all the Gospel promises ... you feel nothing when God’s Word speaks about Jesus, who died for us sinners, and about the righteousness that comes from God and which one may believe in spite of every accusation of one’s conscience.

Because you make your feelings your barometer, you pass by the Gospel and are held fast in the law. Look in your Bible and see if the passages you have especially marked are not just those that speak of what you shall do. But you have not given half the attention to that which tell…

Uh-oh: Hillary fudging on pledge not to run in 2016

Hillary Clinton has let it slip that she just might run for president in 2016 after all, telling the Associated Press that the Benghazi travesty won't affect her decision.

Clinton has insisted ever since losing the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama that she would never run for president again. But she is the overwhelming favorite for the 2016 nomination anyway- and at this point, the overwhelming favorite to succeed Mr. Obama as well.

Secretary Clinton, who leaves office today, told the AP that critics of the State Department's handling of the incident in which a U.S. ambassador and other American diplomatic personnel were killed don't live in an "evidence-based world," and "refuse to accept the facts-" an odd position for the head of a department which not only failed to protect the Benghazi consulate despite warnings of possible violence, but insisted for days that it had been the result of a "spontanous demonstration"…