Monday, December 21, 2009

Ben Nelson is an oinking pig.

The latest from the hoodlums running the most ethical congress in history. Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, Chris Dodd, admitted "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders and their sweetheart deals with Harry Reid. The leaders of our country, ladies and gentlemen.

I could find Ben Nelson's perfidy more bearable if he wasn't using the pro-life platform as the starting position from which to sell his swindle. Geez, is there ANYONE in our government who isn't amoral?

Mark your calendars: Only 315 days until the midterm elections.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Grinch was Politically Correct!

This post is written in a more light-hearted spirit than many of the rants with which I indulge myself on this, my blog. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights sent out an email today that sounds much like several they've sent in the past several years:

"Catholic League president Bill Donohue opines as follows:

· The menorah in Nashville’s Riverfront Park is okay by the ACLU, but the crèche in Clarksville, Tennessee is not. Why? The City of Clarksville paid $200 for the animals used in the nativity scene.
· A woman from Manchester, Massachusetts was told she cannot have a live nativity scene outside her First Parish Church. Why? The church sits on the town common.
· A life-sized crèche has adorned the Chambersburg public square in Pennsylvania for about a half-century, but there won’t be one this year: the decision to censor it was made after Carl Silverman decided he wanted to have a sign, “Celebrating Solstice—Honoring Atheist War Veterans” to accompany the manger.
· Leesburg, Virginia traditionally displays a crèche, menorah and Christmas tree, but this year they have been banned.
· Inside the Capitol in Olympia, Washington, all holiday displays have been nixed.
· A nativity scene has been on display on the grounds of the Manitowoc County Courthouse in Wisconsin since World War II, but this year there will be none.

My favorite so far hails from West Chester, Pennsylvania. Under new rules, four displays are allowed in front of the Court House for a limited period of time, providing they are “content-neutral” in terms of their message. But symbols—religious or secular—are by their very nature content-specific, thus making the request positively oxymoronic."

And, coincidentally, we watched "How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas!" on ABC this evening. This holiday cartoon was produced in 1966 and I remember watching it as a kid and, maybe, a few times as an adult. Okay, a LOT of times as an adult. But I was five years old when it first came out and I liked Dr. Seuss. Or more precisely, my mother liked Dr. Seuss and she taught children's literature courses at the local university, which means that I got a lot of good, age-appropriate, entertaining, and educational books to read when I was growing up.

And I admit this isn't an original observation on my part, but I smiled at the opening words of the Grinch cartoon:

"Every Who down in Who-Ville liked Christmas a lot... But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT! The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small. But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes, he stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos, staring down from his cave with a sour, grinchy frown at the warm lighted windows below in their town."

Has E.J. Dionne Been in a Coma Since 2000?

Here's a quote from one of the most jaw-dropping op-eds I've read in the Washington Post:
"The most surprising and disappointing aspect of our politics is how little pushback there has been against the vile, extremist rhetoric that has characterized such a large part of the anti-Obama movement..."
It was written by E.J. Dionne, who I've read somewhat often since moving to the Washington, DC area in 1997. I am familiar enough with his work to know he's a liberal, but not a nincompoop. But surely he wasn't writing seriously. Is he REALLY this oblivious to what went on in the Bush Administration? Or the Reagan administration? Besides reaping the rewards of being very like a socialist (and thus deserving of much of the vitriol that he's receiving), Obama is getting payback from conservatives who seethed over the unfair and over-the-top criticism of Bush foreign policy and disparagement of the U.S. military. You know, the "Bush Lied, People Died" bumper stickers. And the likening of American soldiers to "the Nazis, Soviets in their Gulags, or some madman regime like Pol Pot," which fixed Richard Durban's place in history. And on and on.

Grow a thicker skin, Mr. Dionne. Over the remaining seven years, you're gonna need it.

Update from 2 December 2009: James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine also apparently has both hurt feelings about how mean the conservatives are toward poor President Obama and a short memory. See comments by comments by one Peter Wehner at NRO.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pondering the Exploitation of Adjunct Faculty

There's a great blog post at National Review by Victor Davis Hanson from this afternoon. It pretty much summarizes the gray socialism that is the humanities in academia. "Some animals are more equal than others," according to one Eric Blair. And it's worth pointing out that the left in academia is a huge influence in government policy these days. So if we were to abolish a corrupt tenure system that rewards fairy-land socialism and punishes realism, would government policy begin to reflect a bit of sanity after a few years? It's fun to think about!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration
I saw a news story about this organization last night. Most of the Catholic names among the original signers of The Manhattan Declaration are familiar to me and I respect them. I also respect the other names that I recognize on the original list. This appears to be an organization worthy of support. These are times that seem to many to sufficiently differ from what has been seen in the past to warrant serious concern. I have added my name to this growing list of otherwise unknown citizens who believe that passivity in the face of present political and moral trends is insupportable.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

VA + NJ + NY23 = ????

It's obviously too early at the time of this writing for any election returns this evening. But whatever the outcome I have an opinion and since this is my blog, I'm gonna give it to you! Now I'm completely lacking in interpersonal skills, but even I know that if you insult voters with vile and obscene terms, such as "teabagger", those voters are likely to get mad. In fact they're likely to get very mad. And I am angry -- very angry -- about the way things are being run in this country. If the powers-that-be think that these three currently very-visible elections aren't about the national leadership, then god bless 'em, but I am not sanguine about their chances in 2010. Which means I *am* optimistic about a conservative resurgence in 2010. I keep talking about 1994 and the analogy doesn't seem to register with any of my friends. But if things don't change -- and change BIG -- I think a major ass-whupping is coming up for this (unbelievably far left) government. IMHO, of course.

Crush the left in 2010!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Is Rick Crandall the Worst Person in the World?

Are he and his wife the worst people in the world? Dismayingly, no. There are lots of people just like them. I don't know why this particular article shocked me so much -- it is no secret that the world is run by narcissists. Maybe it occurred to me that the WSJ article surely would not have been written if these two brats had not (obviously) sought publicity for this monument to their self-regard. It may also have been because of recently reading articles in the paper that said...
For the first time in history, more than one billion people, or nearly one in every 6 inhabitants of the planet, are going hungry this year, according to a new report from the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP).
And (unverifiable) information indicates that about eight or nine million people in the world actually starve to death each year.

Don't misunderstand me: this isn't the time to start singing the Internationale. Class envy is self-destructive and is a cynical tool utilized by demagogues in Washington, DC. The world's wealth and jobs and means of living for the greatest number of people are most efficiently created by capitalism, which also produces rich people. Wealth is a reward for success. But this display, in full view of people who are hungry, is outrageous and should be treated with contempt.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Always Come Back to Firefox

Just recently updated my Mac from Leopard to Snow Leopard (OS X version 10.5 to version 10.6) and am quite happy with the bump in speed. Although the OS boots by default into a 32-bit kernel (it is possible to boot into a 64-bit kernel for servers and specialized desktops), it is now able to run 64-bit apps. This apparently makes it possible for apps to address the vastly larger memory spaces that 64-bits implies. Two of the most important to me are the Finder and the Safari web browser and they are both now 64-bit apps. The speed of Safari is impressive and I briefly used Safari as my default browser. However... I always come back to Firefox. On Windows, I quickly tire of IE. And on Linux, there is only Firefox, practically speaking.

Why is that? For me, the plug-in capability is important. Zotero is designed to work only with Firefox and, what with my recently acquired Evernote addiction for genealogy work, the Firefox Evernote web clipper is much more convenient that dragging the "Clip to Evernote" link to the Safari link bar. (Edit 10 September 2009: And Keywords are useful too.) So, although Firefox 3.5 is noticeably slower to render complex web pages that Safari, it's my browser of choice.

It might also be worthwhile to note that Google has been the primary source of funds for Mozilla. But Google now competes with Mozilla with their Chrome browser and I worry about whether they'll soon cut off funding for Mozilla. Other than a beta version, there is no Chrome for Mac so I haven't tried it yet. And I don't know if it has a plug-in capability like that of Firefox. But even if it does, I also have seen zero mention of plug-in development for Chrome.

Parenthetically, I was silently skeptical about seeing any increase in speed when moving from 32-bit Mac OS to the 64-bit variety. I remember back to 1995 when Windows switched from 16-bit (Windows 3.1) to 32-bit (Windows 95) and Microsoft and PC Magazine pundits seemed to imply that there would be a huge increase in speed. Alas, I saw no such thing. There are many who would say the reason is Microsoft OS and apps bloat.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Does Ted Kennedy Have a Right to a Catholic Funeral?

Interesting. Linked is an article, claimed to be based on canon law, which argues in favor of it, albeit with a large dosage of Pepto Bismol. Do not speak ill of the dead, but for crying out loud, the faster we move on, the better.
Most of Teddy Kennedy's politics, and most of whatever parts of his personal life I knew through the media, angered and sometimes even disgusted me. But my opinions about Teddy's legacy are not at issue in assessing his right to a Catholic funeral under canon law. I trust that my writings on the proper understanding and correct application of 1983 CIC 1184 (the canon regulating the funeral rites to be accorded - - or not, as the case may be - - to Catholics) are reasonably well-known to readers of this blog.

Hat tip to Insight Scoop.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

HOWTO: Google Reader to Evernote

My latest favorite genealogy (and every other kind of packrat) tool is Evernote. The Evernote blog just posted on how to send Google Reader articles to Evernote!
"A lot of my web life can be broadly classified as research: recipes, drool-worthy gadgets, lifehacking ideas, articles to read, etc. Much of that stuff enter my consciousness through Google Reader. The usual workflow is something like–see an interesting post, go to the blog, clip it into Evernote for later, return to Reader. Now, I can do everything without leaving Reader. Awesome."


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Twitter-Based Mashup

Here's an interesting site: See what people are tweeting about in a user-defined radius of your location. Examples: I just searched on "Evernote" (my latest toy) in a 50-mile radius, which includes Washington, DC. Other good search terms, picked out of the air, for no particular reason: "Pelosi", "swastika", "flowers", "butterflies", "socialism", ...

Nancy Pelosi Says Town Hall Protestors Are Carrying Swastikas

What more can be said? Can anybody really defend this statement? And, given her history, can anybody really defend the idea of this person as Speaker of the House of Representatives? My opinion is that this is emblematic of a huge, huge problem that seems to be only getting worse. All we can do is wait for the 2010 election. Crush the left in 2010!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Authorities Want Snitches

Perhaps you've seen the news today about the White House asking people to write in to report people circulating "fishy" information about health insurance reform proposals. The address to write is Here's mine:

SUBJ: Something fishy about health care

Hi, I just saw news reports about the White House call for email to report "fishy" information being circulated about health care. I've been hearing such information for about a half-year now. In fact, there are a number of people running the executive and legislative branches of government who want to spend us into oblivion and, at the same time, significantly reduce the quality of health care in the U.S. Since you guys are so close to the action, you might want to check out some of the people trying to ram through legislation that some (thoughtful) citizens view as socialized medicine. On the other hand, if anybody on the planet had actually *read* any of the 1000-page plans being circulated in Congress, the information wouldn't be so fishy.

I think you would agree that this is all very unfortunate. And un-American to boot. Anyway, this is my email and I'm snitching about fishiness.

You're welcome!

Monday, August 03, 2009


The, ah, progressives are upset about a new wave of guerrilla art in Los Angeles. When I lived in L.A., I almost made special trips up to Westwood in order to get the latest issue of LA Weekly. Hey, I was in my twenties, this stuff is profound when you're in your twenties! Anyway, one Steven Mikulan, writing on the LA Weekly website has already played the race card: "Obama is in white face, his mouth (like Ledger's Joker's) has been grotesquely slit wide open and the word "Socialism" appears below his face. The only thing missing is a noose." Hey, outraged, ah, progressives: If you can't take a joke... And be sure to click the link again since you can't take criticism. Also, you've got 7.5 more years, you're going to need to grow a thicker skin.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Populations We Don't Want Too Many Of"

See, when SCOTUS justices become senile -- or stop caring whether people know the truth about them or not -- they don't retire, they just run their mouths more. And say what they mean, I guess. Wonder which populations Justice Ginsburg considers untermensch?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Humor: The Church Militant

Heh! This picture (from just struck my funny bone.

P.S. Non-Catholics: Here are definitions of the Church Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant. The link may also be of use to Catholics victimized by "catechesis" inflicted as a result of "The Spirit of Vatican II" during the sixties, seventies, and (I understand) the eighties.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Puzzlement About AT&T Navigator for iPhone 3GS

Like about a bazillion other iPhone users, I received an email from AT&T this morning advertising their new spoken-word turn-by-turn GPS "Navigator" app for the iPhone. The app is free but the subscription costs ten bucks a month. What the hell? The iPhone already provides text-based turn-by-turn navigation using free Google maps. Current position is already calculated on-board the iPhone by fusing GPS, cell tower signals, surveyed Wi-Fi access points, and the new compass functionality. The Google maps even provide traffic conditions via those neat little green, yellow, and red ribbons on major streets. All we need is an app that turns the already-generated-for-free text into voice. Why on earth should we be expected to fork out yet another $10/month to AT&T? Will some brave programmer provide an app that we can download for the usual $0.99 that will provide this last step? Even $9.99 would be a relative bargain. Maybe the extra nine dollars would cover the needed ability to recalculate the route when I miss a turn or an off ramp. Whoever scratches this itch so is going to make a lot of money quickly.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

George Bush Wasn't So Dumb

Let's see: North Korea continues to go nuts, even on Obama's watch; Iran continues to be run by gangsters, even on Obama's watch; Obama now wants to hold terrorists indefinitely, and ... just what the heck WERE you paying attention to for the past eight years, Mister President? Did it REALLY never occur to you and your entourage that maybe, just maybe, Dubya was smarter than you thought? And instead of cruising through "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright's "church" services, running for the Senate, running for President, having your oh-so-precious books ghostwritten -- while your predecessors were trying to right a world turned upside down on 9/11 -- maybe you should have been audaciously reading something besides The Nation and The Daily Kos, no?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Interesting Blogs

I recently added an interesting blog to my overflowing Google Reader RSS list: Classical Bookworm. Looks like it is updated every few weeks or so but it just strikes me as a really, really neat blog, in much the same way A&L Daily is an interesting web site. I don't check in all the time, but I always find something neat when I do.

As a weirdly revealing aside, the photo in this blog post was taken from the Classical Bookworm and it appeals to something in me. For some reason I love to see photos of the home offices, reading spots, etc. of actual intellectuals whom I admire. The messier the better, maybe because then I don't feel so bad about the barely-controlled chaos of a nonintellectual that fills my home study, with the piles of papers sloping upward from the central location occupied by my iMac. Two of my favorites are Al Gore's office and Esther Dyson's. And yes, I do admire Al Gore, I just don't think too much of him, personally. If anybody else in the room (cue the "crickets chirping" mp3 file) knows of similar photos, I'd be grateful if you'd post 'em in the comments section.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Google Adding Macros to Online Apps

Google is testing a significant new function in their online office apps. See here for a YouTube video. I've been writing/using/evolving MS Excel macros in Windows quite a bit lately and this feature in the Google spreadsheet apps will be interesting to try out. MS Office "macros" are actually VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) scripts and the Google spreadsheet version is Javascript. Parenthetically, I've been using the Google apps word processor quite a bit over the past year or so for my genealogy notebooks. I do have MS Office and on my home computer (Mac Excel doesn't haven't VBA, alas) but they're not getting much use. And, because I'm paranoid about backing up my work, I've been using a Greasemonkey script to periodically download my Google word processing docs to my home computer in both PDF and MS Office format.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek

No, I didn't go see Star Trek this weekend. There's only one Star Trek and that ain't it. The real Star Trek was the one that ran in syndication when I was in junior high school. It came on a half-hour after school let out and it enthralled my friends and me and we had a great time discussing the minutiae. We were in our early teens, for crying out loud. Then I grew up. The original series was still loved but I could see that it really wasn't very good. And, as an adult, I could tell that all the followup television series and movies were... dumb. They were pretentious ("It was the best of times, it was worst of times" -- Star Trek II) and hackneyed. My problem was compounded by the fact that nearly all of the science fiction I was trying to read then really wasn't very good either, whereas it had been great when I was younger. As an adolescent, SF was truly mind-expanding, if you'll permit the cliché. And it really was a great adolescence, with my friends and Star Trek and SF and my paper route and junior/senior high school and marching band and not having to worry about the stuff that grownups have to worry about.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

0Bama's Alberto Gonzales

The contest over just which 0Bama cabinet member has found himself or herself in way, way over his or her head, has apparently been made. Before you guess wildly, figuring they pretty much all fit that description, see if you can guess whose voice this is...
"I can't talk to that. I can talk about the future. And here's the future. The future is we have borders."
Think you know now? It's the same peanut who brought you the Enemies List! Hooray!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jewish Culture

I just finished a very interesting book by Norman Podhoretz called Ex-Friends. He's one of the neocons, a label that must be spoken with special venom in Obama's America. The book is about his break with other famous leftist literati in and about New York when he began his political swing from the anti-Stalin left (which often meant pro-Trotsky left) to America-first neoconservatism. The "Family" of which he speaks included authors like Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer. Many, many others were mentioned and the subject, the history of the Jewish intellectuals of New York in the 1950s to the 1970s is extremely interesting to me. I am especially interested in the similar milieu in the 1930s, when the fight really was Stalinism versus Trotskyism. So it occurs to me that I've enjoyed the books of a number of Jewish authors and others about Jewish high-brow culture, describing the Jewish intellectual community (and other things Jewish): I loved reading Rebecca Goldstein's The Mind-Body Problem and Incompleteness, Einstein in Love by David Overbye, Mark Helprin's short stories (especially "A Vermont Tale" and "North Light"), Arguing the World by Joseph Dorman, Night by Elie Wiesel, and so on. But for accident of birth, I think I would have made an enthusiastic Jew. Orthodox, probably. Neocon, definitely.

By the way, if Podhoretz is to be believed, the Trillings, Hellman, and Arendt were human beings with human failures; Ginsberg and Mailer were just slime.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Texas Secede! is Dumb

The Texas secession "issue" is out and about again. Only this seems to be the first time that I heard about it while not actually in the state of Texas. Back when I was going to school in Austin, it was fashionable for drunk UT students and drunk rednecks to shout "Secede!" at the honky tonk on Saturday nights. Then we'd sing "I wanna go home with the armadillo" and "Up against a wall, redneck mother" and then we'd stumble home. Ah good times. A few pickup trucks would sport a bumper sticker but, rest assured, it was a joke and it still is. Only now Governor Rick Perry has stuck his foot in it, which only makes him a clown and Kay Bailey Hutchison has to be ecstatic: she now looks like a towering intellect compared to the incumbent.

By the way, it isn't legal for Texas to secede. I have at least three direct ancestors who fought in the Confederate army, trying to make it happen, and it didn't. (Have I told you about my genealogy research?! Do you have five or six hours to talk right now? I can give you a brief summary... :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Like Butterflies and Sunny Days

No, really! I even Google for them!

Anderson Cooper's Vile Joke

Crack CNN anchor Anderson Cooper made a funny joke about the tax protest "Tea Parties" going on today. I laffed and laffed when I heard it. It was as funny as... a "your mother is a whore" joke? No, that's not it. A joke about people dying of horrible diseases? No, that's offensive, everybody knows that. A joke about concentration camp cuisine? No, same deal. A joke that depends on simple irony? Hmmm. Could be.

The Enemies List

The Nixon Obama Administration has issued an enemies list, according to this Washington Times story. Really, it doesn't take much imagination to conceive that "people who disagree with us" could easily be construed as "right-wing extremists". And the the political appointees in this administration have as little imagination as anyone I've seen. Has anybody else been listening to the anti-war rhetoric for the past seven or eight years? The same people who won the election? Here's a quick list of categories of people who make the Obama administration uneasy:

  • Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (They know how to use guns and they're easily manipulated, I guess)
  • Pro-life activists (Catholics, Evangelicals, and other assorted nuts "clinging to their religion"),
  • Immigration activists (Only racists could possibly want immigration laws enforced)
  • Gun owners (The second amendment? That's obviously a conspiracy!)
  • Those who "reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority" (Watch out, Governor Perry!)

And they are careful to throw in references to Timothy McVeigh to make us all realize just how serious this is. Now of course there are serious domestic threats to the public. We did indeed see the so-called "militias" and "survivalists" on the news, on the Sunday talk shows, and in the newspapers, leading right up to the Oklahoma City bombing (and beyond) and they were indeed kooks. But that category necessarily also includes violent (but earnest and misunderstood) criminals like Kathleen Soliah, 16 Puerto Rican terrorists, Bill Ayers, et cetera, et cetera. So left-wing extremists are to be given a pass in Obama's America?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Biden Makes Stuff Up. Again.

Sheesh, this guy's a dick. You'd think Obama would have him tied up and gagged in the White House basement by now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Can Too Say Something Nice About President Obama

Just in case you thought I was suffering from Bush Obama Derangement Syndrome, here is proof that it IS possible for me to approve of something the president is doing. Here's a link to a news story about how the "stimulus" is providing 2.4 gigadollars (American) to develop electric cars and infrastructure. This is definitely what government should be doing and I look forward to seeing an adequate infrastructure developed -- using PRIVATE investment!!! -- to support widespread replacement of gasoline-powered cars with plug-ins and hybrids.

Even so... CRUSH THE LEFT IN 2010!!!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

"Standing Athwart History and Yelling Stop!"

More visual content for my blog, which turns out to be more entertaining but isn't my own. Hat tip to Powerline Blog. The title of the post is a famous Buckleyism.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Drip, drip, drip, drip....

The New York Slimes is hemorrhaging. While the rich trust fund kids who own the paper may have to cut back on private jet travel, the smug little twerps who write on the news and editorial pages (but I repeat myself) are actually going to take some financial pain. Revenues are down 10-15% over the past year, and this has been going on for some time. It sucks to be them! Maybe more people would buy their newspapers if it wasn't such a tendentious piece of crap.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Culture Wars

This is chilling to watch and this is what I am afraid of, here in Obama's America. You say that Argentina is a "far-away country", Mr. Chamberlain? Is Canada close enough to worry you? Either way, the infection of intolerance has already crossed the border: the most pro-abortion president ever, and the demonstrated tendency of his far left supporters to suppress anyone who disagrees with them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Interesting iPhone Software

I've been using some free iPhone software called Instapaper for a couple of months now and recommend it highly. The idea is that you can quickly and easily save web articles you run across on your computer to your iPhone for later reading. The articles are well-formatted for the iPhone screen and are immediately and comfortably readable with no tapping or pinching to get the text aligned and at a useful font size. Also, reading long text-heavy articles on your iPhone is a lot easier on the eyes that reading it on your computer screen, although it still isn't as nice as reading it on a printed page or your Kindle. And once installed, it is dead easy to save the articles: merely click a "Read Later" bookmark in your web browser's "Bookmarks" toolbar and you're golden!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Henry V Today, or, Dodd Man Walking

Power Line links to the above frankly inspiring video after seeing the latest polls described as follows.
"Just as the economic news was relentlessly negative until the last few days, poll numbers for Republicans were horrific for months. So the GOP should be heartened by the first encouraging polling news it has received perhaps since Lehman Brothers defaulted in mid-September: Republicans have pulled even with Democrats on the generic congressional ballot test, according to a survey by a respected pair of firms."

Oh, HELL yeah!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

0Bama's Little Helper

Ever wonder just WHY the new guy is SOOOOOO much SMARTER than the last guy? Why he doesn't seem to misunderestimate anything? Here ya go... (hat tip to Power Line).

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bring Cuba in from the Cold

The Brits are saying that Obama will begin to open contacts with the Castro government. I say, it's about time. I stopped caring whether Cuba stayed above the waves or not when the Soviets collapsed. And when the Cuban expatriates in Florida stopped making the difference in carrying the state for conservative Presidential candidates, well, that was icing on the cake. So here's a good office pool question: How long until Cuba becomes another China and starts owning all our debt? Silly Communists! Buying U.S. bonds is for saps! :-) Why? Because they're denominated in dollars and *we* define what a dollar is! We used to pull this crap on the Europeans all the time in the first half of the nineteenth century! (Nelson Muntz voice) HA-ha!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cool New Project Using iMovie '09

More symptoms of my genealogy obsessive/compulsive behavior to report: one of my uncles sent me a couple of video tapes of family reunions from 1990 and 2003 and I had them transferred to DVD last week. Now I'm starting to learn iMovie '09 and am having a great time doing it. This will take some effort to get good at it, although iMovie lets you produce decent video right away. Two reasons: first, there are a gazillion options to choose from at all stages of the work flow (e.g., using Handbrake to import the DVD to any of several video file formats), and second, it takes a while to process video on an iMac. My first 4-minute, 14-second clip looks like it will take several hours to convert to a QuickTime file. The screen scrape at the top of this post shows a current prediction of eight hours (!!!) but hopefully that'll drop more quickly than real time when I stop doing other stuff on the computer at the same time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Bishop" Apologizes for Holocaust Denial

I don't understand. Zenit reports that "Bishop Richard Williamson, formerly excommunicated member of the Society of St. Pius X, apologized today for statements in which he denied the extent of the [1933-1945 Jewish] holocaust." Of course the holocaust is a fact, but what can this sentence possibly mean?

"Bishop" Williamson is no bishop and he's barely a Catholic. He was "ordained" a "bishop" in 1988 by one Marcel Lefebvre, a man portraying himself as a Catholic archbishop, who was in reality a former archibishop who had separated himself from the Catholic Church: in 1988 during the papacy of Pope John Paul the Great, after a very extended period of rancorous rebellion against the authority of the Papacy and the Magisterium, Mr. Marcel Lefebvre automatically excommunicated himself as a consequence of this very "ordination" of Mr. Williamson and three other members of the schismatic Society of St. Pius X ("SSPX").

For some unknown reason the Vatican lifted the excommunication of the six private citizens of France (natch) involved in the 1988 "consecrations" last month. This means that the remaining five men (Mr. Lefebvre died in 1991) are now, barely, members of the Roman Catholic Church. But under no circumstances are any "bishops" that were "consecrated" by Mr. Lefebvre actually bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. Well, I guess they are about as much "bishops" as the emotionally troubled women who announce that they have ordained each other as "priests" from time to time.

I do not know what led Pope Benedict XVI to regularize relations between the Holy See and SSPX to some extent. And maybe he regularized relations to the full extent, whatever that might mean. For example, are Catholics REALLY expected to consider these men bishops??? As far as I am concerned, they are simply private citizens who are no longer excommunicated owing to the mercy of their betters in Rome. True Catholics are loyal to the Pope and to the Magisterium and Mr. Richard Williamson, while now apparently a Catholic again, is still a nut job and should attend Mass as often as possible and keep his fool mouth shut (if he ever wants to be taken seriously by anybody, that is).

[Edit: See update by me in the comments section.]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama's America is "A Nation of Cowards"

It just keeps getting funnier. Now Obama's Attorney General is calling us a "Nation of Cowards" because "the level of social interaction among people of different races is bleak and that it in many ways does not differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." So says the first black Attorney General, appointed by the first black President. As annoying as the Examiner is (they keep throwing their free papers on my lawn, even after I asked them nicely to stop), they got off a pretty good line in response yesterday:
"This is the same Holder who kowtowed to Bill Clinton to help secure Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. And the same Holder who prostrated himself to Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions by helping arrange pardons for 16 Puerto Rican terrorists."
Heh! But seriously folks, is a race baiter at Justice qualitatively any different from a tax cheat at Treasury?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Abort Obama, Not the Unborn"

Un-f***ing-believable. In Obama's America, if you dare to question Groupthink(TM), you will be investigated. And if Big Brother says you're guilty, then by God YOU ARE GUILTY!!! And if he says you're not... well, we'll still be keeping an eye on you.

Here's what some others who obviously haven't gotten with the program either think...(link)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Gigantic Obama Spending Frenzy

The Obama socialist spending machine gathers steam. Is there no limit to what the Democrats will spend to try to redeem insane lending practices involving people who had no business getting home loans in the first place? Can a person go bankrupt or can a business fail anymore in America? Are we just going to keep accumulating economic sludge under our fenders until the entire capitalist machine simply doesn't roll anymore? Far be it from me to give anyone an opportunity to label justifiable outrage at what is going on as Ayn Rand Objectivism, because that route is heartless, artless, and a faux economic "philosophy". But it is not crazy to wonder what is going to happen when the grownups who actually CREATE wealth in this country -- through moderate living, responsibility, and tenacity -- say, "What am I busting my ass for?"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Whither America?

This is very depressing to me. I gotta go buy a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream and watch cartoons. For like the next eight years.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Home Edition of Mathematica Available

I've written before about my fascination with Mathematica but it has always been way too expensive to have a copy. In its very early days, it was included free with every NeXT computer sold, and it was only a few hundred bucks to buy it otherwise. Consequently, there are quite a few references in Wolfram materials about how "hobbyists" were among the million or so users. Alas, it has been priced at about $3000 for as long as I can remember, which puts it well out of the range of hobbyists. Now, however, Wolfram is selling a full version of Mathematica 7.0.1 as a download from their web site for a price that is considerably better. Due to a licensing agreement at my work, it is possible for employees to get a "home copy" of Mathematica for free but my experience with this has been somewhat problematic: the license was always expiring and it would be weeks before it would be reinstated and the available version was always one (or two!) generations behind the current version. So I went ahead and bought a copy at the reduced price , thereby joining the storied ranks of the hobbyists, or "amateurs" (to be understood, also, in the sense in which Peter Kreeft uses this word in one of his books: "lover"). A contributor to one of the political blogs I regularly read is named John Derbyshire, who has written a couple of books about math. I like his books, but look askance at his politics sometimes. Nevertheless, I like what he said in his 2003 book, Prime Obsession,
"I should perhaps say, for the benefit of any reader so fired up by my exposition as to be on the point of running out and buying a math software package, that very strong opinions are held about the relative merits of the different packages, along the lines of the evergreen PC/Macintosh debate, with Stephen Wolfram, who created Mathematica, playing the part of Bill Gates. As a mere journalist, I consider myself hors de combat in this war. I am certainly not propagandizing on behalf of Mathematica. It was the first math software package that came to my attention, and it is the only one I have ever used."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kindle 2.0 on February 9???


"Rumors of a next-generation Kindle, Amazon's e-book reader, started appearing on the Internet almost as soon as the initial version hit the market. Now, it appears that the company is finally ready to show the world what it's had up its sleeve. The company invited the press to an event it will host on February 9th at a location--the Morgan Library and Museum--that suggests it may have books on its mind."

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I ran across this photo a few days ago and it keeps eating at me. Isn't this a horrible photo? I'm not talking about the disturbing photo of the decapitated aborted baby, I'm talking about the denial, and maybe even hatred, in the face of the "clergyperson" on the right. It seems to me that Evangelical Christianity, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, traditional Judaism, Islam -- we are the ones who are obligated, in the words of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, to become "counter-cultural once more".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama Inauguration

In spite of myself, I too am feeling the excitement of the upcoming Obama inauguration. It is history and it is so nice to feel the nation united again. We haven't felt that since the first few days after 9/11 and the current times are much more positive. So I will think about FOCA and card check and socialist political appointments and eat-the-rich, and an insane spending plan AFTER Tuesday. Thank goodness for loyal opposition...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Neuhaus Memorial on EWTN Tonight

I just finished watching a moving memorial for Fr. Richard John Neuhaus on Raymond Arroyo's EWTN show, The World Over. Guests included Michael Novak and George Weigel, close friends of Fr. Neuhaus. By telephone, Joseph Bottum, the current editor of First Things, also contributed. The program reinforced my own realization of the magnitude of the loss and it gave a glimpse of the camaraderie of the intellectual circle in New York and Washington, DC in which Neuhaus, Novak and Weigel move. What an amazing experience it must be to be part of that. George Weigel spoke to the apparently widespread concern about the future of First Things magazine. He said that Fr. Neuhaus had two great projects that he wanted to see continue after he was gone. The first was the Evangelical and Catholics Together project and the second was First Things magazine. Weigel, along with Joseph Bottum, the current editor, assured the audience that First Things will go on "for years and years". Parenthetically, the latest issue of First Things arrived in my mail box yesterday, containing what is will be one of the last installments of "The Public Square".

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Father Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus died this morning. He was great man, a good Catholic priest, loyal to the Pope and to the Magisterium, as all good Catholics are. He fought the mediocrities running the Catholic Church in America over the years with a style that I simply enjoyed reading and hearing. Beginning his public life as a Lutheran minister, he was a close advisor to Martin Luther King, converted to Catholicism in 1990, and was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1991. He founded First Things magazine, an ecumenical publication, one of my favorites and one which to which I have subscribed for the past few years. He wielded his "The Public Square" section each issue as a rapier and as a cudgel. The feckless among the USCCB were often ridiculed simply by exposure in Father Neuhaus' writing. He repeatedly called the NAB translation of The Bible for what it is: banal. (Isn't it amazing that the best Catholic Bible translation is the RSV, one that was originally produced by the Protestants?) Father Neuhaus was one of the good guys in the long, tough culture war ongoing in the Catholic Church. From Wikipedia,
He was active in liberal politics until Roe v. Wade was handed down. He is the originator of "Neuhaus' Law", which states that "Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed".

He expressed my own grief when Pope John Paul the Great died in 2005 so effectively as a commentator on EWTN that I still remember just sitting there in front of the television and letting his powerful and sorrowful words wash over me: "What HE said..." was what I thought. I sincerely hope that other, younger, orthodox Catholics rise to take his place. Rest in Peace.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Music Recommendation: "The Priests"

Just bought an album download from (MP3, no DRM, and 256 Kbps) called "The Priests". Very beautiful and moving. From what I can tell from their web site, they're three Catholic priests from Ireland who are also tenors.

Being a geek, I keep the MP3 files in iTunes and stream them to the powered speakers in another room using AirTunes. 802.11g appears to be have plenty of bandwidth because the result is truly stop-in-the-middle-of-what-you're-doing-to-listen beautiful!

Friday, January 02, 2009

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

The quote is by George Orwell and is cited in an interesting post by Michael Novak on the FirstThings magazine web site.
Because if there is no truth, no argument is possible in the light of evidence. Under a regime that spouts lies, there is no way to protest in the name of truth. Where truth doesn’t count, conversation is empty. Where truth doesn’t count, persuasion can be no more than seduction or intimidation. Power rules. Put another way, when power, wealth, and position threaten to tyrannize, people must be able to appeal to truth. Only when truth is cherished as an imperative does civilization becomes possible. Only then can human beings enter into rational conversation with one another. For civilization is constituted by conversation. Barbarians bully; civilized people persuade.

January 22 is coming...