Friday, October 31, 2008

Sometimes we are obliged to restate the obvious, Part 2

As reasonable human beings, we are sometimes obliged to restate the obvious.

The Westchester Institute has recently published a white paper (allow time for .pdf file to download) regarding the scientific rationale for establishing the moment at which human life begins.

Connected with this, and my garage sale, I have been re-reading a classic introductory textbook on Philosophical Logic, by Copi/Cohen. I was reminded of the classic informal fallacies of argumentation (which still apply in any debate about abortion, or indeed, about politics during a campaign/election year).

Informal Logic and Informal Fallacies form the critical guidelines of any discourse, public debate, or reasonable argumentation. Educate yourselves about these traditional rules of debate, and you won't go far wrong in the election, on human life issues, or even spousal relationships.

Q: Which informal fallacy applies -- "Women simply are not reasonable when discussing things; my wife, for example, just the other day...."?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

20th Century Authors - rediscovered in my garage

We are moving in late November (to a house in the same mid-town area of Toronto which we live in at present); so I have been forced, by the ancient Fates of "Storage space" and "Square footage", to reduce my library through what are benevolently called "Yard Sales" in Canada.

While sorting through 3 dead, blind mice (no photo available)--and other assorted rodential & marsupial problems--I've uncovered an assortment of authors whom I am now re-reading. These are (mostly) 20th century Christian authors, both American & British (with some Europeans too) - if you haven't read them yet, then do so now, and reap the rewards of Western Culture. Find whatever you can of these authors. Read what you find. You won't be disappointed. Significant background data about the British authors concerns the relationship between Eliot, Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, and Jones around the time of the two great wars.

My first re-read was C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. See the text here (however much it is in need of editing). For anyone interested in Angels & their role in our lives, you must read the absolutely fascinating introduction (by C.S. Lewis) to the 1961 republication here, with just 3 mouse clicks forward; but most especially this book asks the big question -- "How are we to act as Christians in this our life on Earth?"--reading this book is like a "mini" Christian retreat. This book is particularly relevant as it was written (and recited via radio) during a time of war.

The no-brainers:

G. K. Chesterton
Hillaire Belloc
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Edgar Allen Poe
Herman Melville
Joseph Conrad
T.S. Eliot
C.S. Lewis
J.R.R. Tolkien
W.H. Auden
James Joyce
Flannery O'Connor
Graham Greene
William Faulkner
Ezra Pound
Francois Mauriac
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Interesting, yet under-read and under-rated:

David Jones (especially his epic poems)
Charles Williams (especially his 'supernatural' novels)
Walker Percy (especially his irony-laden novels)
Robert Lowell (poetry)
Richard Wilbur (translations and poetry)
Robert Penn Warren (everything)
Robert Fitzgerald (both his translations and his neglected poetry)
Allen Tate
Caroline Gordon
Paul Claudel
Georges Bernanos
Zbigniew Herbert

Sometimes we are obliged to restate the obvious

As Christians we are sometimes obliged to restate the obvious; Cardinal Egan of New York City has done so. R. T. Anderson over at "First Things" asks us to take a close look. Again. Cardinal Egan states:

"Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated."

WTF: Sexually Ambiguous Nazi Assassins?

No, not this one, these guys. Click, read, be amazed. You can't make this shit up, you really can't.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Talks About Wealth Distribution 2001

If we elect this man, we will deserve him - we can't say we haven't been warned.

Hat Tip: Billy Buru

More on this here.

VDH's brief take here.

The Smart Spunky Kid with the Fatal Disease

Dean Barnett has died. He was too young. Hugh Hewitt has more.

Rest In Peace, Dean.

Update: just thinking how odd it is my first response to this sad news was that he was too young. Of course, for someone with CF 41 wasn't young at all. It's a testimony that his affliction in no way defined him as a person.

Here's The Weekly Standard with a page linking to the many tributes to Dean coming in from all over the conservative blogosphere.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From The Onion: Guman Kills 15 Potential Swing Voters

Considering how vociferous the MSM has been in their advocacy of Obama, this parody doesn't seem too far over the top.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Red Sox lose - depressed? Watch this again....

Whenever I feel a bit down (eg, after the Red Sox lose), I watch this:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Red Sox Lose

The Tampa Bays beat a damn fine Boston team to represent the American league in the World Series. Good luck to them they're a damn fine team too and will probably win the whole thing. You have to admire them. For years they were a joke in the AL East, today they became the American League Champions. Well done you marvelous bastages, well done.
If there was any doubt that summer was over it ended five minutes ago. This is a beautiful time of year in New England, with all the foliage and brouhaha, but it not without it's sadness:
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

I hear you Ishmael, I'll wait until after Christmas and I'll find some blue water to play in.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

To watch, or not to watch

I have never watched the Red Sox (the worlds' greatest baseball club) actually win a World Series, or even an American League Championship. Should I watch today's game? I watched all of the games they lost against Tampa Bay, and saw none of the games they won.

I figure I have a mini-curse: so do I watch?

I just saw that they scored to take a lead in the 3rd against Tampa Bay in today's (Saturday's) game; but even such fleeting glimpses have been very unlucky in the past.

After a business trip, I sat late one night on the New Jersey Turnpike, listening to the car radio, only to hear a World Series lost by my team, the Red Sox. I did the same thing once again, but crossed my fingers and turned off the radio -- continuing home to CT -- only to discover in the morning that my team won the World Series.

I am a realist and a Thomist. I am a reasonable, conservative American. I don't believe in jinxes or Astrology or Ouija boards.

So why can't I watch my baseball team win?

Friday, October 17, 2008

John the Senator Hires Joe the Plumber

part one

part two

Liberals Learn Slowly

Hawaii ending universal child health care:
HONOLULU – Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.
Gov. Linda Lingle's administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families
were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.
"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."

So, you give stuff away and are shocked that people would prefer not to pay for it?

Love That Dirty Water

This is just SICK - biggest comeback in 79 years!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Art History

I thought this blog might appeal to those interested, as I am, in Art History. Here's his e-blogger 'profile':

About Me
Millinerd (a.k.a. Matthew J. Milliner) is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at Princeton University. In a previous life he graduated from the same town's Theological Seminary. In the life before that he was a Youth Director at Media Presbyterian Church (PA). In the life before that he went to Wheaton College (IL). In the life before that he went to Haddonfield Memorial High School (NJ). In the life before that he was born and raised mostly in Jersey. In the life before that he did nothing, because Origen's doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul was condemned in 553AD.

More on Millinerd recently over at First Things.

Also interesting for Art aficionados -- read Paul Johnson's (relatively) recent great book, Art: A New History. I've been plowing (ploughing?) through it since early Summer.

Real Estate Agents

Our house is up for sale. We will be moving in late November.

Why is it that Real Estate Agents are just about the only so-called professional business people/entrepeneurs who will (more often than not) show up late for 'viewings', or else never show up at all, and also frequently leave your house unlocked -- and then proceed to arrogantly argue with you about whether or not they lack professionalism given the evidence?

If I were to do that in any other "profession", I would either be canned immediately, or else outta business.

Seven (respectable) Real Estate agents later, I still have no clue about this phenomenon, except that apparently it is one field where being an irresponsible loser is not necessarily a negative asset.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama's Abortion Extremism

by Robert George
Oct 14, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.

Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama's candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.

What is going on here? ...
link (via The American Spectator)

"If you want to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

Nifty and informative article over at the Jerusalem Post about Israel's intelligence gathering biz, read the whole thing.
Hat Tip: Marc Fishman

Thursday, October 09, 2008

McCain Critical of Obama's Radical Past

It's about time the American people knew who this Obama character really is.

Akathist: "Glory to God for All Things"

(An akathist - Greek, akathistos - is a hymn dedicated to a saint, holy event, or one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. The word akathist itself means "not sitting" and derives from the fact that during the chanting of the hymn, or sometimes the whole service, the congregation is expected to remain standing in reverence, not being allowed to sit down.)
"...What is my praise before You? I have not heard the song of the cherubim, that is reserved for the souls of the righteous. But I know the praises that nature sings to You. In winter, I have beheld how silently in the moonlight the whole earth offers You prayer, clad in its white mantle of snow, sparkling like diamonds. I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in You, how the song of the birds is a chorus of praise to You. I have heard the mysterious murmurings of the forests about You, and the winds singing Your praise as they stir the waters. I have understood how the choirs of stars proclaim Your glory as they move forever in the depths of infinite space. What is my poor worship? All nature obeys You, I do not. Yet while I live, I see Your love, I long to thank You, pray to You, and call upon Your Name...."
                                                            -- Fr. Gregory Petrov

Gardner W Ruggles, 1932-2008

Gardner W Ruggles Sr, of Vernon, departed this life peacefully on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 with his family at his side. He was born in Portsmouth, RI and grew up in Rockville eventually leaving to serve in the Air Force in 1950. A few years after leaving the Air Force he began his own restaurant - the Igloo Drive-In in Vernon in 1963. The restaurant was a success. He expanded into catering, forming Mr. G's Catering a few years later. In 1979 he sold the businesses and moved with his family to Deland, Florida where he embarked on a new career in real estate. He worked for Watson Realty first as a sales associate and finally as a vice president. He managed Watson's Deland office until he retired in 1999. His first wife, Shirley (nee Schaefer), died in 1998. He married a second time to Irene Suchecki of Vernon and came back to Vernon in 2000.

He is predeceased by Shirley and is survived by his wife, Irene.

He is also survived by his four children, Gardner Jr of New Hartford, Elizabeth Woods of Savannah, GA, Gregory, also of Savannah, and Russell of East Longmeadow, MA, son-in-law Timothy Woods of Savannah, daughter-in-law Robyn Ruggles of East Longmeadow, grandsons William Woods of Tulsa, OK, and Walter Woods of Savannah and granddaughters, Stephanie, Sarah and Emily Ruggles of East Longmeadow.

He is also survived by a stepdaughter Laurie Mecca of Avon, her husband Len, their four children, Lauren, Allyson, Brian and Kim, stepson Steve Suchecki of Tolland, his wife, Holly, their three sons, Alex, Evan and Cole and stepson Michael Suchecki of Coventry, his wife Darlene and their three children, Daniel, Laura and Aubrey.

He is also survived by two brothers, Clarence Ruggles of New Britain and Michael Ruggles of Vernon, a sister, Barbara Bossidy of Manchester and a brother-in-law Russell Schaefer of Rochester, NY and his wife, Joan. And finally, by his rescue dog, Babe.

Update: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, October 11 at 9 a.m. in St. Bernard's Church, Rockville, followed by Military Honors after the mass. Burial will be private. Calling hours will be held Friday Oct. 10, from 6-8 p.m. at the Newkirk & Whitney Funeral Home, 318 Burnside Ave., East Hartford. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Assoc.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

eight more wins to go!

Jed Lowrie puts down the Angels 3-2 with ninth inning single.
BOSTON -- OK, so the guy who is here because Julio Lugo got hurt drove in the guy who is here because Manny Ramirez pretended he was hurt and the Red Sox celebrated after a win started by the guy who filled in when Josh Beckett got hurt...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Uighur Detainees May Be Released to U.S

A federal judge is considering whether to order a group of detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay released into the United States, in what would instantly become a landmark legal decision in the years-long battle over the rights of terrorism suspects there.
The men, a small band of Chinese Muslims who have been held for nearly seven years, are no longer considered enemy combatants by the U.S. government, but they are caught in a well-documented diplomatic bind. Unlike other captives, they cannot be sent to their home country because Beijing considers them terrorists, and they might be tortured. The government released five of the detainees, known as Uighurs
(pronounced "WEE-gurz"), to Albania in 2006, but no other country wants to risk
offending China by accepting the others.

Brilliant, simply brilliant! What America needs now more than any other time in our history is more damned foreigners who are trained to kill and hate us. By all means release them from Gitmo into Washington DC and explain to us turnips how this is a good idea.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Wrong Decisions

Hours before Ike made landfall, Ettenger knew she had made the wrong choice. She called Burks and described the water pushing up under her feet, the propane tanks and other household items drifting by her windows, and wondered which would float better: her Jeep or her house.
When the pencil necks in your state's capital suggest you evacuate, you ought to think about leaving. If those same pencil necks use terms like "mandatory" and suggest you write your social security number on your limbs with permanent marker to make identifying your corpse easier for them, that's pencil neck for "get your dumb ass out". If only everyone spoke pencil neck, particularly people with 4 year old children who decided not to evacuate.

OJ Simpson Found Guilty

LAS VEGAS -- Thirteen years to the day after being acquitted of killing his wife and her friend in Los Angeles, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of robbing two sports-memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Wouldn't be cool if OJ were actually innocent this time around and he ends up dying in prison in 20 years? The cosmic irony would be delicious. Fortunately odds are that he is, yet again, guilty as proverbial sin. Good riddance Juice!
OJ's attorney, Yale Galanter plans on appealing the verdict. Great. Let us all revisit that ugly time 13 years ago when it seemed that every White American believed in OJ's guilt and every Black American celebrated his acquittal.

Red Sox Beat Angels Like Red Headed Step Child

The Angels are a fine team, probably the better team, but the Red Sox continue to dominate them. Last night was no different:
We never have quit,” Youkilis said. “We are used to it and immune from it. We’re not going to play a game in 2½ hours. You know, the games in the playoffs, I never even look at the time. It’s not like I’ve got something else to do. I know when the ninth inning is coming and the last out is recorded.”

There is something to this. The Sox seem content to grind it out in October. No matter what happened during the season, in October both teams started from 0-0 to start the ALDS. Now the angels find themselves flying across country to the Friendly Confines of Fenway Park to face the tender mercies of Josh Beckett down 0-2. Rots-O-Ruck my friends, Rots-O-Ruck. Perhaps they can take the next game if Beckett is still hurting. If Becket's well, I don't like their chances. On the bright side the Angels know for sure now, as if they any doubt, the answer to that age old question; "Who's your daddy?"

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp

We reached a transit camp in Italy about a fortnight after capture and received ¼ of a Red Cross food parcel each a week later. At once exchanges, already established, multiplied in volume. Starting with simple direct barter, such as a non-smoker giving a smoker friend his cigarette issue in exchange for a chocolate ration, more complex exchanges soon became an accepted custom. Stories circulated of a padre who started off round the camp with a tin of cheese and five cigarettes and returned to his bed with a complete parcel in addition to his original cheese and cigarettes; the market was not yet perfect. Within a week or two, as the volume of trade grew, rough scales of exchange values came into existence. Sikhs, who had at first exchanged tinned beef for practically any other foodstuff, began to insist on jam and margarine. It was realized that a tin of jam was worth l/2 lb. of margarine plus something else; that a cigarette issue was worth several chocolate issues, and a tin of diced carrots was worth practically nothing.
Read the whole thing, it's fascinating.

Barney Frank Tumbles With Bill O'Reilly

Two questions and a joke:
1. Is it wrong to wish you could be there to hand them both razor sharp hatchets?
2. Is this what passes for informed discourse these days?
What's the difference between the American viewing public and a proctologist?
The proctologist only has to look at one asshole at a time.

Palin Biden Debate

First off, what does it say about American journalism that the moderator of a Vice Presidential debate is a journalist, no matter how well qualified otherwise, who has written a book about the success of one of the Presidential candidates set to be released on inauguration day January 2008? If the networks can't find a demonstrably impartial moderator, perhaps they should investigate their hiring practises.
As for the debate itself, who cares. It wasn't a debate of ideas per se, it was a dog and pony show to spout sound bites. Those who went in liking one candidate, likely left preferring the performance of that candidate.
I like Sarah Palin, but I cannot listen to her with out having Fargo flashbacks. (UPDATE: See this post from VDH) Ten minutes listening to Joseph Biden reminds you that you can't spell Joseph Biden without B. S.. In this day of YouTube and Google, why would he try to get away with whoppers like this:

October 2, 2008 Joe Biden: Can I clarify this? This is simply not true about Barack Obama. He did not say sit down with Ahmadinejad.

July 23, 2007 Anderson Cooper: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries? OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.

October 3, 2008 10:57 a.m. Obama Biden Website: Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.

That my friends is called a lie, or fib if you will. Is it possible that this is just an honest mistake or that Biden miss spoke? No. Here's why. Biden himself admonished Barack Obama in July for saying he would meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions:
Afterward, other candidates echoed Clinton’s criticism. Sen. Joseph Biden, who has emerged as the clear-eyed antiwar realist in the Democratic race, told National Review Online that the idea of a president meeting with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and others was “na├»ve.” “World leaders should not meet with other world leaders unless they know what the agenda is, so you don’t end up being used,” Biden said. “When I went to meet with Milosevic before the war, the condition I met with him was that no press would be available, I’d only meet him in his office late at night, and I wouldn’t dignify being seen with him.”

Hope and change indeed.
Major Hat tip to Andy McCArthy

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Women's Shelter Cuts Bernhard After Gang-rape Joke

BOSTON - A women's shelter on Wednesday cut headliner Sandra Bernhard from its annual benefit after she said Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin would be gang-raped if she ever visited New York.
Many guests at Rosie's Place, a Boston shelter, have been victims of violence, public relations director Leemarie Mosca said. "In light of our mission, we don't think violence against women is a laughing matter," she said.

Who could have possibly known that gang rape isn't funny?

How the markets really work

very dry

hope this ad gets a LOT of play...

also this from today's WSJ