March 8, 2012

Election Woes

The up coming elections has been a topic on my mind for quite a while now.  I have had many a discussion with many of my friends about who to vote for and who not to vote for.  With the Super Tuesday VA primary come and gone and the inevitable Romney victory in the bag before the polls even opened, the discussion has change from "who do you vote for" to "can you vote".

Let me recap.  Prior to the primary season, we had a whole field of candidates running for president, Cain, Bachmann, Perry, etc.  We had different people with different view points and a real choice.  As the primary season got closer, the news media and the polls had a new flavor of the week.  If I recall, Donald Trump was the front runner that could beat Obama many moons before the election season really got going. Then Bachmann became the front runner, then Perry, then Cain, the Newt, then Santorum. All the while Romney was the established "front runner" that everyone was campaigning to beat.  It was comical watching the news and all the hoopla that each candidate created.  If you don't think the whole thing is rigged by now, well son, there is no hope for you at all. 

In the very beginning I chose my candidate, Michele Bachmann.  I think she would have made the best president.  She is prolife, pro limited/small government, pro national defense, anti amnesty, pro domestic energy, and an all around pro America person.  She was one of the original TEA Partiers.  I stood with Michele Bachmann and literally hundreds of thousand Americans at the early TEA Party rallies demonstrating and protesting Obama Care.  She was a lady that I could cast my vote for! But when she left the race, my hopes for an easy choice were dashed.  

Since the departure of Michele Bachmann, I began an epic debate with a great debater, ie myself, and had to figure out my next choice.  All the while, I'm bouncing my ideas and arguments off family and friends and other people I trust, hoping they would give me insight into what and who would be the moral choice.  I have argued and argued and argued and argued.  And what is my conclusion...I simply cannot vote.  

Let me explain.  Voting is a moral choice since I am the one voting.  The action of voting, in my opinion, is just like any other moral choice, a choice between good and evil.  When trying to figure out who I can vote for, I appeal to Catholic social and moral teaching to guide my decisions.  I do not take civic or morality lessons from Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Mark Levine, Ann Coulter, or any other "conservative" talk radio or news pundit.  I will not relinquish the right (and duty) to think and I will certainly not trust these intellectual degenerates to speak the truth.  When examining the field of candidates as it presently stands, I have a choice between the Dems and the GOP.  Obama is undoubtedly not an option.  So I'm left considering the GOP candidate.  

I hear from the conservative talking heads the mantra "ANYBODY BUT OBAMA." Sadly, I've even heard this from a lot of good Catholics.  And while its an intellectually appealing thought, it is certainly incorrect.  Obama is evil.  How is it better to have someone just a little less evil?  That person is still evil and will undoubtedly do harm to American society. Case in point, John Boener.  He is the GOP Speaker of the House and holds the power of the purse to defund the Obama destruction.  Instead shrinking government expenditures, he and the other House Republicans are racking up trillions of dollar debts and not doing a bit of good for the country.  America's destruction is just taking a bit more time with the Republicans in charge.  The "Anybody but Obama" thing just doesn't pass muster.  There has to be a better standard to guide our voting.

Another argument that has been presented to me for my consideration is the "lesser of two weevils."  The long and short is "lesser of two evils"  is NOT a Catholic moral principle.  Nowhere in Catholic moral teaching does it say we are allowed to choose an evil.  If Wikipedia is to be believed, "Lesser of two evils" comes from 1950's cold war foreign policy.  American cold war policy is a far cry from St. Thomas Aquinas.  

The correct Catholic principle that ought to be employed when deciding who to vote for is sadly the "principle of double effect." I say sadly because, politics was once a great and noble vocation that has been so bastardized by modern politicians that we, the voting populous, are left to tolerating evil, and sometimes very great evil, but I digress.  The principle of double effect is Catholic and has been given to us as guiding principle   to help us make correct and informed moral choices.  The principle of double effect is clearly laid out in Humanae Vitae and reads as follows:
"Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general." Humae Vitae, Pope Paul VI
When considering the topic of voting, one must understand that his vote is for a particular person.  By voting you explicitly or implicitly give consent to that candidate to govern according to the principles and promises he has campaigned on.  Of course, there will never be a candidate that you will perfectly agree with. There never has been and never will be.  Thank God for the principle of double effect; without it, we could never vote. 

When you evaluate a candidate's stance on particular issues, there is a moral hierarchy of values.  Life issues always take precedence over the economy or national defense or energy, since life issues are foundational to society.  These life issues, contrary to popular belief, are more than just abortion.  I would argue that it also includes contraception and gay marriage.  Read Pope Paul VI's predictions in Humanae Vitae about contraception and tell me its not a foundational life issue.  Gay marriage...need I explain this one.  It seems obvious to me that since the family is the foundation of society, the redefinition of marriage is gravest of threats to society and life.  

To summarize, you must consider presidential candidates in light of the principle of double effect considering life issues first.  Let's look at the candidates.  Obama fails, period.  Romney fails because he has flip flopped on abortion so many times, who knows what he actually believes.  Santorum fails because of his support for publicly funded contraception.  Newt fails for the same reason.  Ron Paul fails because of his stance on Gay marriage. This is going to piss off some of you Ron Paul supporters out there but I'm not going to explain this here because of length. Maybe I'll do it in another post. Or if given the opportunity, I will sound off in the comments.  Suffice it to say, Ron Paul's stance on gay marriage doesn't pass muster.

So given the awful electoral situation we are presented with, what am I to do?  Do I choose and evil or do I have a moral obligation to not act.  I am convinced that I have a moral obligation to not act, ie not vote.  

Today, I got an email from a very thoughtful and devout Catholic family man who is certainly holier than me (and I'm being literal) who leveled a new charge. He wrote as follows:
I want also to say that I have come to the conclusion that people who did not vote for Ron Paul (effectively against Romney) here in Virginia because of over-inflated consciences, etc, have caused Romney to win Virginia and possibly by default to win the Republican nomination.  Personally, this will seriously hamper people like me who are running for local office to get anything done as far as freeing ourselves from powerful federal and UN interests.  In other words, we are now in deeper doo-doo and we have no one to blame but ourselves!
Now because I did not vote Ron Paul, somehow I am responsible for Mitt winning VA.  To quote John Stossel, "give me a break." This is absolutely absurd!  I will not let people bind my conscience to act against my conscience.  I will not be accused of electing Mitt Romney because I did not cast a protest vote for Ron Paul.  I will not vote for either man. Period.  

I did not vote for Mitt Romney! I did not vote for Ron Paul!  I will not vote in the general election!  My vote is not cast and I'm not responsible for the destruction these politicians will unleash on America.  Sorry folks, ce n'est pas ma faute! 

October 2, 2011

Al-Awlaki was murdered!

One story that has come and gone without barely a peep from the main stream media, even Fox News.  The other day the United States Federal assassinated one of its own citizens without the due process afforded under the Constitution. The famed local and incendiary imam  Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike.

On Friday Rep. Frank Wolf released this statement:
Once again, justice has been served. The killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki is major step in holding those responsible for the shooting at Fort Hood, the attempted Christmas Day attack in Detroit in 2009 and the attempted car bombing in Times Square last year. Al-Awlaki also was responsible for the radicalization of dozens of other individuals through his propaganda and hate speech against the United States. While his death is a major triumph against those who seek to use American technology and innovation against us, we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of those radicalized here in America through the teachings of men like Al-Awlaki.  We also must also take this opportunity to further our understanding of Al-Awlaki’s connection and support for the 9/11 hijackers, as serious questions remain unanswered.
Was justice actually served in this case?  While I would agree that Al-Awlaki was a complete slime bag and was an absolute danger to society, was our government justified by taking him out the way it did? I'm going to break ranks and say No our government should not have killed him, yet.  We should have captured him, extradited him, and tried him in an American court. Then we should have killed him via capital punishment.  He was an American citizen and deserved the rights and protects of the Constitution.  He should not have been assassinated.  

This unlawful action by the federal government might be tolerable in this circumstance, and it might even be applauded by some, but what happens when the government turns its sights away from the real rebel rousers and turns its focus on conservatives, or Tea Partiers, or Catholics.  What happens when they become the object of persecution?  The precedent is set that the law doesn't matter and that you are guilty and have to prove your innocence.  The government has proven that it will not be beholden to its own laws and will do what ever it pleases to whom ever it wants.  Its just a matter of time before we become the targets.

I've already said it but its worth saying it again, Al-Awlaki needed to die, prison would not have been enough for him. But he was an American.  He deserved better.

Rep. Jim Moran praises repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell

There are many issues that seem to be dividing the country like the economy and government spending, immigration, the war on terror, and abortion.  But no issue seems more divisive these days than homosexuality.
On September 20th local Democrat congressman Jim Moran, from Virginia’s 8th District, threw his hat in the mix and put out a press release commenting on the repeal of the famed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) military policy. Rep. Jim Moran said in a statement posted on his website:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was wrong, it was un-American, and now it is history…Institutionalized discrimination compromises the integrity of the entire military establishment and the flag under which it serves. By repealing this policy, our nation takes an important step forward. To all who serve our nation at home and abroad, we are so proud of each and every one of you.

Continue reading on Rep. Jim Moran praises repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell - Arlington Religion & Politics | 

September 26, 2011

The Old Mass is Ever New

One thing that is remarkable about the Catholic Faith in general and the Mass in particular is how there can always be a new depth of understanding.  When reading the scriptures, new insight can be gained from a passage even though it has been read a thousand times before.  Certain practices of piety which are routine can take on new meaning.  One can have certain flashes of insight and Love while saying a familiar prayer.  The Traditional Faith is ancient and yet ever new.

The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life and is the best example of old newness.  How many times have you attended Mass and prayed along with the priest Introibo ad altare Dei?  How often have we struck ourselves thrice while saying mea culpa?  The words of the Roman Cannon are familiar and the saints mentioned are like old friends.  But despite the familiarity with the Mass there can always be new insight.  And today the spark of deeper understanding was ignited by a bit of confusion.

I will admit that sometimes my attention span can be short and my mind had a tendency to wander.  Today, unfortunately my mind felt like the Hebrews in the desert, just wandering aimlessly from one thought to the next. In an effort to concentrate, I grabbed my missal and tried to focus by reading the words of the priest instead of going through them from memory.  Again despite my best effort to remain focused, I noticed a mistake in my missal, a certain point when the bells out to be rung.  The missal has the bells being rung at the Quam oblationem rather than the previous prayer the Hanc igitur.  I always understood this action to signify the epiclesis, the point where the priest calls down the Holy Spirit to sanctify the gifts.

In the Traditional Mass the priest extends his hands at the Hanc igitur, where as in the Novus Ordo the action is at the Quam oblationem.  After carefully reading and rereading the words of both prayers, I began to wonder about the change and desperately tried to figure out why in the Traditional Mass the epiclesis is at prayer that doesn't even mention the Holy Spirit.  It made more sense to me to have it at the Quam oblationem, like in the new Mass, although the Quam oblationem doesn't directly reference the Holy Spirit either.  Had the world gone so topsy turvy that there was some change to the Mass that was actually for the better?  For all my Novus Ordo friends that read my blog, lest you get all excited and start to feel some vindication at the fact that the new Mass is not all that bad and that there were some good developments, I've done a little bit of research and it seems that there is no true epiclesis in the Roman rite.

What exactly is the epiclesis if the Latin/Roman rite doesn't have it?  The debate about the epiclesis goes back centuries and it is held by the Easterns and Orthodox that the epiclesis is the necessary action for the consecration.  In the Eastern tradition, the consecration comes when the priest extends his hands over the offerings and calls down the Holy Spirit.  The Western Tradition holds that the words of Consecration are what is necessary for the consecration to happen.  I'm not going to solve a centuries old debate here on my blog.

I read an article that makes a very convincing argument that the Roman Cannon does not have a proper epiclesis like in the Eastern Rites, but has an implied epiclesis.  He gave a few possibilities and settles on the Suplices te as the most probable implied epiclesis in the Roman rite.  Instead of the Holy Spirit being invoked, he makes the argument that the Logos, the Word, Christ Himself is being invoked in this prayer when the priest asks that the offerings be brought to heaven in the hand of His angel.  St. Ambrose, using some language that reminds me of Genesis, refers to angel of God and seems to reference Christ, although he does not make a direct connection between Christ and the angel but rather implies the connection.

In both Eastern and Western Theology, it seems that it is universally accepted that an Epiclesis of the Logos is more ancient than the Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit and is tied directly to the Apostles.  I even read some reference to it has having roots in the Jewish sacrifice as laid out in the book of Deuteronomy (when I find that reference again, I will update this).

So in the end, I learned that there is no true epiclesis in the Roman rite and what I thought was the epiclesis is...well I'm not sure.  What is the significance of the priest extending his hands over the gifts at the Hanc igitur in the old and Quam oblationem in the new?  Why the change?

September 25, 2011

The Fine Print

How often do you read the fine print on any of your bills? I for one never do.  I always look at the bottom line and in the end authorize the digital transfer.  But today I got curious about my wireless bill and started investigating.  Of course I took a peek at my minutes and my data usage.  I examined who I called and how long I talked.  I even checked my texting and was happy to discover that I only used 170 of my allotted 200.  This is the first time in months that my school girl-esq text habits hasn't resulted in a few bucks extra.

When I started investigating the taxes and fees that added about $6, I discovered one of particular interest called the Federal Universal Service Fund Fee. The fee is described as such:

The Federal USF, created by the federal government, is designed to help ensure first-class, affordable telecommunications service for all consumers across the country, especially residents in high cost rural communities and low-income customers. Additionally, the Federal USF provides for discounted telecommunications services for schools, libraries and rural health-care facilities. All telecommunications providers are required to pay into the Federal USF, and their contributions may be recovered from customers.
What I like is "designed to help ensure first-class communication. How does paying this fee make my service any better?  Last time I made a call, it dropped.  And how does it make it more affordable?  Its an added fee to my its more expensive not cheaper.  But the real kicker is the "low income customers" line.  Who qualifies as low income and am I subsidizing low income peoples? Is this more redistribution of wealth?

I wish everything just cost what it costs and the price that is advertised is the price we pay.  Its annoying how there is always additional charges added to the bill.  I wonder, if all the taxes were added up that I pay over the course of the year, what percent of my income actually goes to the government.  Ben Franklin pinned the tail on the donkey, the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes.  These days they tax everything, even death.

September 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Here we come to the nub of the matter. A consummated action is unmistakable, but a private intention is vague and shifting. The Nice Fornicators want to marry, eventually. But they want to fornicate now. Say to the Nice Fornicators who have set a date, "You must live apart from one another for the next year, and promise to be chaste." What are the choices? They may say, "We can't trust ourselves; we'd better go to the Justice of the Peace." Or, "What difference does chastity make?" – in which case they contradict themselves, because they have all along been claiming, implicitly, that the sexual act is a tremendous guarantee, one to the other, of unbending love, and now they wish it to be treated as something of small import, as if they were being required to abstain from going to the movies. Or they may agree. If they do agree, then why should they not have been chaste all along?"

- Anthony Esolen in "The Immorality of Nice Fornication."

September 17, 2011

Judge Judy vs. Generation Me, et al.

This clip is a truly horrifying example of what society is in its current state. This is a fine specimen of "Generation Me."  Generation Me seems to be getting in the news more and more these days.  There was this one posted on Drudge the other day about a group of white men being attacked by a roving pack of Black and Hispanic youths.  One cannot forget the story of the "generation me" meeting right over the river a few weeks back. Or how 'bout the uptick in "Generation Me" meetings in Philly that has prompted a reaction from the mayor of the city. Or this story about an increase of Generation Me meetings all over the country.  All this is a result of the "Me Generation."  

August 27, 2011

J.S. Bach: Fugue in G minor

When given the opportunity and time, I find my self YouTube surfing. Everyone knows how one video leads to another right? Before you know it, you've spent hours going from one video to another. This morning I had a song stuck in my head from yesterday...Bach's Fugue in G minor. What a song to have stuck in the head huh? Normally some annoying Taylor Swift song or a Lady Gaga song plays over and over in my head nearly driving me crazy. What a pleasant change to have Bach stuck in my head.

So I YouTubed this glorious piece and ended up finding different versions of the same music. Each version is played by different instruments. If you feel so inclined, share with me your thoughts. Which version do you like the best?

The original as Bach intended it:

This version is played by the Canadian Brass and is played using...brass instruments.

This version is what got this song stuck in my head.

This version I just happened upon and find it to be pretty cool. These kids do a really good job!

Hurricane Hype

The news media these days lives on the 24 hour news cycle feeding on a constant stream of news in order to fill all the hours of the day. Like the rest of society, the news media needs a constant high and continuous stimulation to attract viewers and keep up its ratings. There is never a dull moment in the news room.  Whether it be the fluctuating stock market or ever changing political winds, or the intensifying flames of international war, the news media is like the junkie, moving from one high to the next.

The week began with the historic 5.8 earthquake that rocked D.C.  Today, the news media's addiction satiating high is being billed as the hurricane of the century.  Hurricane Irene is being called the storm of the life time.  States of emergency have been declared all up and down the eastern seaboard.  The beaches and coastal areas have all been evacuated and even the public transit in New York city has been shut down.  The millions of lost revenue for business, the billions in evacuations, the trillions spent in emergency aid by the government, and the mammoth clean up efforts are already under way.  But wait...has the storm even hit yet?

The news media at the beginning of the week was dutifully watching the storms track and intensity.  The ravages that it wrought on the Bahamas is truly news worthy and the concern for the potential damage to the east coast cities was justified.  It was after all and intensifying Category 3 hurricane.  Since its destructive debut in the tropics however, the hurricane has weakened but the media storm has intensified.  Meteorologically the east coast is facing a Cat 1 hurricane (as of this writing) but we are weathering a media Cat 5 fueled by the copious amounts reporter's (and politician's) hot air. Heed the warnings, all you crazed media watchers, and "get the hell off the beach" because the time for your tanning is over, despite the still sunny sky. "Staying behind is dangerous, staying behind is foolish, and it's against the law, and we urge everyone in the evacuation zones not to wait until gale-force winds",Mayor Bloomberg said in a news conference from Coney Island as rain began to fall. "The time to leave is right now!

After the hype of this hurricane passes and the media searches for its next big story, I shutter to think what the next big buzz will be. Just remember, "Never let a good crises go to waste."

August 4, 2011

Sanguineus et Melancholicus

Music happens to be an art form that transcends language. - Herbie Hancock 

There are a few topics, aside from politics and religion, that I like to talk about with regularity: beer, music, and fishing.  If you haven't already guessed by my opening quote this post is going to be dedicated to music.  My new job has pinned me to an office and desk all day, which certainly has downsides, like lack of exercise and a remarkably drab scenery (my cubical walls are grey).  But my desk job definitely has its benefits.  I can sit down, pretty much undisturbed all day and listen to what ever I want on my iPhone.  Fortunately, I have an unlimited data plan from AT&T which allows me stream Pandora and the radio all day with no worries of chewing up too much data; it also affords me the freedom from having to stream over the company's WiFi network which is completely unreliable for smooth music and radio listening.

In an effort to curb my melancholy, I have been listening to Pandora the majority of my time.  I rarely put on even Rush Limbaugh anymore; the news du jour is just too depressing to listen to.  I have a Pandora station that I have been working on for years.  Its all Baroque, all the time, or at least most of the time.  For some reason the music matrix doesn't seem to get that a thumbs down on every piece by Mozart means I don't want to listen to Mozart.  Yes...I'm not a Mozart fan, but I digress.  Today's selection included a Sonata by C.P.E. Bach called Sonta in C, Sanguineus et Melancholicus. C.P.E. Bach is the 5th child of J.S Bach.  He was practically born composing music.  Generally, C.P.E Bach is known for his flute pieces.  He was the official court composer for Frederick II of Prussia who happend to play the flute, so its no wonder Bach's flute concerti are his most well known pieces.

Music is indeed the heart of nature.  It expresses a reality that transcends words and language.  This particular sonata speaks on a topic often discussed in my circle of friends, the four temperaments. I have discussed these temperaments ad nauseum and pondered over my particular melancholic/phlegmatic with a slight touch of choleric temperament.  I've thought about my temperament in relation the context of my spiritual life and social life.  How to I need to pray to grow closer to the Lord?  What discipline do I need to be stricter with and what do I need lighten up about?  When you look at my group of friends they compliment me well.  I've got my sanguine friends for my melancholic moments. And I have my melancholic friends for my particularly melancholic moments.  I can argue with my choleric friends about idea and ideals without being offensive and I can learn from my phlegmatic friends to not really care as much.  It works, at least in my opinion, to make a really great group that I enjoy being a part of.

I can sit here and continue to write about the different temperaments and how they compliment each other in general and in my life in particular. But I will soon run out of words and the music will take over.  This particular piece demonstrates the beautiful compatibility of the sanguine and melancholic personality.  Separately, they can be pleasing; but together a master piece is made.  Opposites do attract and wonderful music is the result.  Listen to this piece and contemplate on how two very different sounds come together to form something integral and one.  Listen to the slow answered by the fast.  Listen to the slow play with the fast.  Listen to the upbeat cheeriness and the somber slowness.  Just listen.

With out further ado...drum roll please...the Sonata in C Sanguineus et Melancholicus!!!

The first video is the Allegro, the second is the Adiago, and finally the third is the Allegretto. I would say that the Allegro is the sanguine piece. The Adiago is the melancholic portion. The Allegretto is the perfect combination between the two.


August 1, 2011

A Post-American Planet

By Mark Steyn

That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the “debt ceiling” negotiations the other day: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”

It’s always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to the House minority leader for putting it in layman’s terms: What’s at stake is “life on this planet as we know it today.” So, if right now you’re living anywhere in the general vicinity of this planet, it’s good to know Nancy’s in there pitching for you.

What about life on this planet tomorrow? How’s that look if Nancy gets her way? The Democrat model of governance is to spend $4 trillion while only collecting $2 trillion, borrowing the rest from tomorrow. Instead of “printing money,” we’re printing credit cards and pre-approving our unborn grandchildren. To facilitate this proposition, Washington created its own form of fantasy accounting: “baseline budgeting,” under which growth-in-government is factored in to federal bookkeeping as a permanent feature of life. As Arthur Herman of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out this week, under present rules, if the government were to announce a spending freeze — that’s to say, no increases, no cuts, everything just stays exactly the same — the Congressional Budget Office would score it as a $9 trillion savings. In real-world terms, there are no “savings,” and there’s certainly no $9 trillion. In fact, there isn’t one thin dime. But nevertheless, that’s how it would be measured at the CBO.  .....

Go read the rest of Steyn's article here at National Review Online and leave your comments below.  

July 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving. - General Robert E. Lee

Odds & Sods

Authorities are going to cut down trees in Yosemite National Park - Quelle Horreur!!!!

Female Navy SealsReductio ad absurdum.

Illegals return home - Adios amigos - ok I think my multilingual commentary has run out.  Seriously though with Mexico at 4.9% (if that is indeed an accurate number) and the US at an official 9.4% who in their right mind would stay.  If the Bamster were smart he would improve the economy asap before he looses all his voting base.

Will John Boehner be denied communion? - In all honesty I'm not familiar with this website but I find it remarkable that the question is even being asked.  

Future increasingly dark for Egypt - who ever though that the Egyptian spring or democratic spring or whatever they are calling it was actually a movement for the good is STUPID.  If you haven't started praying for the Egyptian Christians/Catholics, now would be a good time.

Intimidation is the Enemy's tool - A little pep talk from Fr. Z.

SC Gov. refuses to take down Confederate flag - A little glimmer of hope!  The south might not rise again, but it wont fall down to oblivion...yet!

The Debt Debate Is Death of Democracy

I have decidedly stayed away from certain topics in my recent blog posts.  One of the big topics I have not covered is the recent debt ceiling debate.  I will address it in this post however with a different twist.  Sure the facts and numbers are important and it apparent to anyone with even a portion of a function brain that it is impossible for the Federal government to default.  The monthly revenue of the Feds is too high and the debt interest too small for us to actually default...yet.  So what am I actually going to address in this overtly political post?  Well how 'bout the politics of the debt limit?

The politics of the debt limit seems rather blasé as well.  Who seriously cares about the strategery of Pres. Obama or Congressional senators and congressmen. Yeah, next year is a presidential election year and strategery is in full swing.  The daily tracking polls are being watched....well, daily... and every political commentator from the boobs at the Hufpo to Bill Kristol at the The Weekly Standard seem to only be able to comment through the 16 month lens of next November.  After next November, then what?  Is the conversation going to shift to the next election cycle?  I find it amusing that staunch "conservatives" like the big three Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levine seem to miss the point or should I say have narrowed the point to elections.  Folks, ever since the health care was passed a few years ago, conservatives keep stepping over their line in the sand to only draw a new line.  The only hope for conservativism seems to be some future election when Republicans take control of the branches of government; but not just Republicans, but real conservatives.  It takes time, they say, to change things.  We are still at least four or five election cycles away from the reform that we conservatives are seeking.  So this brings me back to the original question of who really cares about stratergery? When it comes to these debt limit talks, there can always be another election, and some future reality to change the present mistakes.  There will always be future politicians to who will supposedly step up to the plate, but who will inevitably swing, miss, and end up kicking the can down the road.

So what is the point of my debt ceiling post if I don't want to talk about numbers or statergery?  On the radio this morning, KT Mcfarland asked the question, "Is democracy dead?"  That is the question of the day!  That is the question that every one should be asking, "Is democracy dead?"  So I ask it, is democracy dead in America?  Yes and no.

No, democracy is not dead in America for the simple reason that we still have elections.  Every two years, and even sometime every year depending on your local jurisdictions elections, citizens get the chance to choose their government officials, whether they be local, state, or national.  We still have elections that sometimes matter.  New people get elected and old people sometimes get thrown out.  The Will of the people is manifested often, and there is still is, for now at least, an American Will.

But I would also argue that democracy is dead or very close to it.  If democracy is not yet dead, it will be dead by the end of this debt debate.  Some say that discussion and debate is good for society and that this debt debate is the crowing glory of democracy.  An election happened last November that changed the national conversation from the monolithic progressive Democratic agenda, to a conversation between the Tea Party and progressives.  This conversation has stayed at the "all talk" stage.  The conversation has caused political grid lock.  Again, some will claim that this is democracy at work.  Two opposing parties, well opposing one another.  But is this really democracy at its finest or really its last gasps of the democratic breath?

Society is a collaborative whole.  One part works for the betterment of the whole.  Society as a whole, works for the common good and everyone's "individuality" is subservient to the common good.  Sounds kinda Marxist, huh?   Well the common good ironically is the individual good.  When society promotes the common good, it is promoting the individual good, because the individual good is the common good.  When each member of society flourishes, society as a whole flourishes.  Democracy, or any good government for that matter, must be attentive to the individual lives of its citizens insofar as it is promoting an environment to foster a prosperous individual.

Get to the point does all this common good individual good mumbo jumbo stuff relate to the debt ceiling and the death of democracy.  Well, the debt debate proves that the American government and American society-at-large can't agree on what is good for society-at-large.  "Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" (Mt 12:25).  This is an immutable universal truth pronounced our Lord Himself and yes it is applicable to the American government.  The neither house of congress can agree with the other what bills to pass.  And congress can't agree with president what bills to sign into law. The separation of powers, enshrined in our murdered constitution, has rendered us powerless.  The two houses of Congress are literally divided and cannot stand. Our government is not one and is certainly not working for the good of all. Our democracy, folks, is dead.

I sit here on my comfy recliner, in my basement dwelling (although not at my parents house), in my underwear (I just got up and am still drinking coffee) and spout doom and gloom.  I don't propose and solutions and yes, I've lost hope.  I've lost hope in the American system because it is broken and our democracy is dead.

Just a few more words and then I'm going to close up this doom and gloomer.  I don't want to get comments that the American spirit is strong, if only the government would get out of the way.  The reality is that government is not getting out of the way and the "American spirit" might be strong, but its a corrupted spirit.  I don't want the comments that we just need one more election.  My answer...refer to paragraph two above.  I don't want comments that we can't loose hope because God is in charge.  Well, I haven't lost hope in the Lord, just Barry Obama, Harry Reid, John Boehner, and all the elected boobs in Washington (not that I had very much hope in them to begin with).  And finally, I don't want the comments that I'm blowing this out of proportion.  Name one institution, aside from the Church, that has withstood the centuries.  

I'm done with my doom and gloom, now on to happier things, like trying to get my car's oil changed and seeing my nieces!

July 24, 2011

Harry Potter Redux

While I don't believe that I've written about Harry Potter (HP) on this blog before, the literary (and I use that term loosely) and cinema series has been talked about ad nauseum on secular and Catholic blogs alike.  With the recent release of the final installment, they have been running the series on t.v. for the past several weeks.  I've managed to sit down and watch a few and find them interesting and even somewhat attractive.

Today while perusing the headlines, I happened upon this article written by one of my favorite (read "favorite" in a sarcastic and mocking tone) Catholic bloggers, Mark Shea, about the very topic of HP.  I generally can't stand Mr. Shea's overly pompous and sanctimonious tone and this article isn't much different.  He doesn't add anything to the debate of whether HP is ok for Catholic consumption or not.  This article is more gibberish from a self important blowhard.  But having said that, I don't want to get into the merits or demerits of HP. Rather, I want to ask the question, "Why is Harry Potter so alluring?"  I have a couple of theories.

My first theory is that the culture at large is descending into paganism and is fascinated by and attracted to the occult.  While all this is definitely true, and our culture is degenerating before our very eyes, I'm not convinced that this is the true reason for its popular success.  I "expellamus" a real incantation?

My second theory is one of a bit more depth.  The Harry Potter character is one where a young boy , a lone person, matters.  Think about it, HP is chosen from his birth to eventually stamp out evil.  Throughout the series, or at least what I have seen of it, he faces incredible odds and performs feats of magic that even the most the most experienced wizards having trouble pulling off.  He is one kid that can make a difference.  This series fights against the increasing egalitarianism that is taking hold of society.  In schools, kids are not allowed to compete anymore lest there be a winner and looser.  Kickball has been banned to spare the little children the pain of loss and being second best.  In the adult world, the abortion and promiscuity are symptoms of this egalitarianism.  Abortion levels the playing field of men and woman and purposes a lifestyle choice with no consequence.  Promiscuity lends itself to the idea that no one person is better than the other when engaging in the "marital act."  If the marital act demonstrates a certain amount of exclusivity among partners and those partners really do matter, while promiscuous behavior does exactly the opposite. With HP, he is the best at his school, no questions asked.  He knows the most magic and would win the prize for best student.  HP is the winner for both the students and the wizard society at large since he fights Voldemort. This story shows that one person does matter and one person can make a difference.  It shows that there are winners and losers in life. It makes you feel important.

My third theory why HP is so attractive... it's fantasy!  I have written on this blog about society's loss of what's real.  With the internet and Facebook and every other modern device that connects us to virtual reality, Harry Potter is just another escape.  It's an escape into a world that resembles antiquity.  The school itself resembles some medieval university, with uniforms and robes and elaborate rituals and high standards.  You don't see HP or any of the other students wandering about with iPods in their ears or lap top computers.  You see the students diligently studying instead of participating in drunken orgies.  The campus itself looks like some old castle with candles and fires and huge stone stair cases.  The students take their meals in common sitting at huge wooden tables under large chandeliers burning candles. The textbooks look like old manuscripts and old leather bound book.  They write on old looking pieces of paper using quill feather pens.  They write notes and have them delivered by owls.  There is a real sense of antiquity and it is alluring, at least to me.  But I wonder if the fantasy and the antiquity is not alluring to others as well.  I wonder if the fantasy is the real reason why HP is so attractive.

For a brief moment, we can leave our drab and aesthetically boring modern lives and enter a world of mystery and magic where there is still good and evil.  We get to experience a bit of antiquity in our painfully modern lives.  For a brief moment we can escape ourselves a matter, along with Harry Potter. Whether Harry Potter is good for Catholics to consume, well...I'll let the professional bloggers battle it out.

July 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad -  Chinese Proverb

Odds & Sods

In keeping with my blog post know there is a mullet under Tim McGraw's cowboy hat.  Remember when those were popular.  It's a great song back when country was real country.

A bishop who is not open to intellectual prostitution - a flash back moment...the archdiocese of Philly was given a wonderful gift by the Holy Father

Two NY clerks resign over "gay marriage" law - I just don't think that this is the right reaction.  I feel that they should have insisted on remaining in their positions.  After all, is it their duty to up hold laws that really aren't laws?

A cool trillion in new taxes - I'm not sure what would be an appropriate response to this article.  I wonder when reality is going to hit Americans.

Hotter than Hades - I think the real heat is suppose to hit us here in VA over the next couple of day.  Thankfully HR sent out an email ok-ing shorts for the rest of summer.

Huge 'green' mansion in Ozarks - From the comments section: FEMA camps...Funny how this administration has made us all conspiracy theorists.

Texting while walking - Really!?!?  Anybody who doesn't throw the ticket back at the cop would be a fool.

Relaxation Drink - aka Jim Beam.  Some days I really cold use one of these.

Do You Remember...

The other night at dinner I was asked about my garden.  I have a small backyard garden with a whole bunch of different veggies.  I'm growing, or at least trying to grow carrots, arugula, lettuce, and a whole host of veggies.  But what seems to be my crowing glory are my tomato plants.  I have a few different kinds of tomatoes and they are all doing very well and producing copious amounts of that delicious fruit.  There is nothing like the taste of summer than that of a real vine ripened tomato from the garden.

So back to the other night...while going on about the glories of a real tomato from the garden, I caught my self saying something that I never thought I would be saying at my ripe old age of 28.  I said to my 4 year old niece, "Back when your daddy and I were young, tomatoes tasted like real tomatoes."  Whoa, stop the train, back when I was young...?

I still am relatively young, although some mornings when I wake up, my body feels about 20 years older than it actually is.  I'm only 28 and yet there is something profoundly disturbing about the fact that I remember growing up and things were soooooo different.  My example of the tomato is just one example.  You have to admit, some foods that we eat today are just not nearly as tasteful as when we were growing up, like the tomato.  Another one is the strawberry.  I find it to be the rare exception when I get a batch of strawberries that actually tastes like strawberries, not to mention sweet like they should be.  I used to love eating strawberries and growing up, we used to go an pick our own.  My dad tells a story of his cousin's retirement party from the military.  They put out a bowl of strawberries and I ate so many, because they were so good, that I actually made myself sick.  After relieving myself in the outside vomitorium, my little hand was back in the strawberry bowl.  Ahhh, the strawberries.  Back when I was young strawberries tasted like strawberries.

Every summer growing up, we would visit my grandparents for about a month. Every morning I would get up and eat breakfast with grandpa.  He would drink his coffee with peanut butter toast and I would eat my raisin bread and wash it down with a glass of milk.  Sadly, I can't say that I remember a time when a milk man delivered unpasteurized, non-homogenized milk or when bread was actually bread. During thoes morning talk sessions with my grandfather, he would tell me about the old days and what things were like when he was a kid.  Now I'm doing it to my niece.

Do you remember when you were a kid eating watermelon and having to spit the black seeds out?  What happened to watermelon with black seeds. The things that pass nowadays at the supermarket don't have any seeds at all except those little white ones that you eat.  Also, do you remember growing up and walking into the basement only to step on a ginormous black cricket?  What happened to those types of crickets.  I feel like the only kind that I ever kill are those hideous non-chirping frauds of crickets commonly known as camel crickets.  What on earth happened to real crickets?

Another you remember growing up and riding your bike all over the neighborhood without your mom really knowing where you were.  Just so long as you were home by dinner, she didn't care what creek was on your agenda to explore.  If I had kids, I would never give them free reign to bike where ever.  I'd be nervous that CPS would get a call from a "concerned" adult and I would have some government agent banging on my door asking if I knew where my kids were.

Like I said, I'm only 28, yet I already have an old-timer's list.  I can't wait until I'm 80, I'm going to boor the hell out of my grand-kids!!!  If you like, share your old-timer moments and tell us what you remember, or don't remember for some of my readers.

For your listening pleasure...a little song to help you remember.

July 17, 2011

Dr. Warren Caroll, RIP

Dr. Warren H. Carroll is a leading Catholic historian and author, and the founder of Christendom College. He received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.
Dr. Carroll served at one time in the CIA's anti-communism division as a Communist propaganda analyst, a job that would later prove most beneficial when writing his monumental comprehensive study of international Communism, Seventy Years of the Communist Revolution (updated and re-released as The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution). After his conversion to the Catholic Church in 1968, a year after his marriage to Anne Westhoff, Warren Carroll worked for the Catholic magazine Triumph, and then founded Christendom Collegein the mid 1970s with the help of other Catholic laymen. Carroll was also the first president of the college (located in Front Royal, Virginia) until 1985, as well as the chairman of the History Department until his retirement in 2002.
Carroll currently lived in Manassas, Virginia with his wife Anne, the founder of Seton Junior & Senior High School and Seton Home Study School and the author of Christ the King, Lord of History, as well as Christ in the Americas

Dr. Carroll founded the college that profoundly changed my life.  I had the opportunity to attend a few of his lectures my freshman year.  He was a good man with a generous soul affecting the lives of countless people and helping form a new Catholic generation  He will be missed.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

July 15, 2011 gets red flagged for Fidelity

This day and age there is such confusion that reliable sources are hard to come by especially in the Catholic world.  I'm always searching for websites that I can trust the commentary and the links.  While I search for trustworthy sites, I still employ my brain and use my God given intellect to discern what is true and not true, the standard being of course official Church documents and magisterial pronouncements.

Today one of the sites that I have trusted in the past has become untrustworthy. has given a danger rating with a red down arrow for fidelity.  Huh?!?!?!?   What I find even more puzzling than the rating are the reasons.  Let me give you a couple:

  • Fidelity: The site as a whole implicitly and explicitly rejects the Novus Ordo Mass.Example(s) 
  • Fidelity: All of the material and resources offered are pre-Vatican II. Example(s)
These two are the most stunning reasons.  The first claim is patently absurd.  The site's mission statement reads: "I believe that all Masses offered by validly ordained priests using valid matter, form, and intent, are valid Masses, including, obviously, the new rite of the Mass."  So how does this explicit acceptance of the Novus Ordo's validity prove an implicit rejection?  Hum...I suppose 2+2=5.  As to the second reason why fisheaters was deem unfaithful, the resource materials are pre-Vatican II.  So let me ask this?  What's wrong with that?  Has anything changed to make them invalid or any less true?  What if fisheaters only offered post-Vatican II resources, would the people at CatholicCulture level the same charge of infidelity?

Seriously, I thought since 7-7-2007, Motu Proprio Day for all you non-Traditionalists, it was fine and dandy to once again cite and reference stuff from the treasury of the Church's past.  I though things traditional became new that day.  I thought that the Holy Father threw the weight of the Chair of Peter behind the traditionalist argument that the "old Mass" was never abolished.  I thought since Motu Proprio Day in '07, the new and cool thing was the old thing.

Catholic Culture is a disappointment in this regard.  To me its sounds as if the folks that run it are jealous reform of the reformers who have lost their market on all things that are Catholic with the dawn of a papal led traditionalist movement and can't seem to cope with the loss of their esteem position of being "truly Catholic".

In my opinion needs to be flagged for fidelity and a word of caution goes out to my readers, you will get a biased and not necessarily Catholic opinion from them....ahem...they use post-Vatican II resources.