Sunday, April 30, 2006
Our editorial office has been innundated with mourners distraught over the demise of The Weathered One blog.
Our sleep at night is interrupted by crowds in the street chanting Tom-meh!, Tom-meh!, Tom-meh!
There is a billboard nearby which recently replaced the ad for a Japanese SUV with the plaintive message: "We Want the Weathered One!"
Folks, please hear me. This matter is not within my control. You need to reach out to the Weathered One directly and ask him to restart the blog.
Yes, it can be done. All the Weathered One needs to recognize is that he shouldn't dis his employer. But the rest is all good.
Yours truly and, obviously a cast of thousands, enjoy following the daily exploits and travails of the young man who came out of nowhere to take the blogosphere by storm. It became part of our daily ritual and was cruelly yanked away from us all too soon. But there's still hope. Things can still be corrected. Just join me and take up the chorus:
Tom-meh!, Tom-meh!, Tom-meh!
We Want the Weathered One!
From the American Spectator:
|Lyn Nofziger: An Appreciation|
|By Nicholas Thimmesch II|
| Published 3/29/2006 12:07:20 AM |
Friday, April 28, 2006
Gotta love Mark Steyn, he has such a great way with words, turns of phrase, etc. No matter what the topic, he makes it interesting by skewering the pompus, self-righteousness of bloviated liberals. Check it out.
Nothing to fear but the climate change alarmists
April 23, 2006
BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Do you worry? You look like you do. Worrying is the way the responsible citizen of an advanced society demonstrates his virtue: He feels good by feeling bad.
But what to worry about? Iranian nukes? Nah, that's just some racket cooked up by the Christian fundamentalist Bush and his Zionist buddies to give Halliburton a pretext to take over the Persian carpet industry. Worrying about nukes is so '80s. "They make me want to throw up. . . . They make me feel sick to my stomach," wrote the British novelist Martin Amis, who couldn't stop thinking about them 20 years ago. In the intro to a collection of short stories, he worried about the Big One and outlined his own plan for coping with a nuclear winter wonderland:
"Suppose I survive," he fretted. "Suppose my eyes aren't pouring down my face, suppose I am untouched by the hurricane of secondary missiles that all mortar, metal and glass has abruptly become: Suppose all this. I shall be obliged (and it's the last thing I feel like doing) to retrace that long mile home, through the firestorm, the remains of the thousands-miles-an-hour winds, the warped atoms, the groveling dead. Then -- God willing, if I still have the strength, and, of course, if they are still alive -- I must find my wife and children and I must kill them."
But the Big One never fell. And instead of killing his wife Martin Amis had to make do with divorcing her. Back then it was just crazies like Reagan and Thatcher who had nukes, so you can understand why everyone was terrified. But now Kim Jong-Il and the ayatollahs have them, so we're all sophisticated and relaxed about it, like the French hearing that their president's acquired a couple more mistresses. Martin Amis hasn't thrown up a word about the subject in years. To the best of my knowledge, he has no plans to kill the present Mrs. Amis.
So what should we worry about? How about -- stop me if you've heard this one before -- "climate change"? That's the subject of Al Gore's new movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth.'' Like the trailer says: "If you love your planet -- if you love your children -- you have to see this movie." Even if you were planning to kill your children because you don't want them to live in a nuclear wasteland, see this movie. The mullahs won't get a chance to nuke us because, thanks to rising sea levels, Tehran will be under water. The editor of the New Yorker, David Remnick, says the Earth will "likely be an uninhabitable planet." The archbishop of Canterbury, in a desperate attempt to cut the Anglican Communion a slice of the Gaia-worship self-flagellation action, demands government "coercion" on everything from reduced speed limits to ending cheap air travel "if we want the global economy not to collapse and millions, billions of people to die."
Environmentalism doesn't need the support of the church, it's a church in itself -- and furthermore, one explicitly at odds with Christianity: God sent His son to Earth as a man, not as a three-toed tree sloth or an Antarctic krill. An environmentalist can believe man is no more than a co-equal planet dweller with millions of other species, and that he's taking up more than his fair share and needs to reduce both his profile and his numbers. But that's profoundly hostile to Christianity.
Oh, and here's my favorite -- Dr. Sue Blackmore looking on the bright side in Britain's Guardian:
"In all probability billions of people are going to die in the next few decades. Our poor, abused planet cannot take much more. . . . If we decide to put the planet first, then we ourselves are the pathogen. So we should let as many people die as possible, so that other species may live, and accept the destruction of civilization and of everything we have achieved.
"Finally, we might decide that civilization itself is worth preserving. In that case we have to work out what to save and which people would be needed in a drastically reduced population -- weighing the value of scientists and musicians against that of politicians, for example."
Hmm. On the one hand, Dr. Sue Blackmore and the bloke from Coldplay. On the other, Dick Cheney. I think we can all agree which people would be "needed" -- Al Gore, the guy from the New Yorker, perhaps Scarlett Johansson in a fur-trimmed bikini paddling a dugout canoe through a waterlogged Manhattan foraging for floating curly endives from once-fashionable eateries.
Here's an inconvenient truth for "An Inconvenient Truth": Remember what they used to call "climate change"? "Global warming." And what did they call it before that? "Global cooling." That was the big worry in the '70s: the forthcoming ice age. Back then, Lowell Ponte had a huge best seller called The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?
The answer to the first question was: Yes, it had begun. From 1940 to 1970, there was very slight global cooling. That's why the doom-mongers decided the big bucks were in the new-ice-age blockbusters.
And yet, amazingly, we've survived. Why? Because in 1970 the planet stopped its very slight global cooling and began to undergo very slight global warming. So in the '80s, the doom-mongers cast off their thermal underwear, climbed into the leopardskin thongs, slathered themselves in sun cream and wired their publishers to change all references to "cooling" to "warming" for the paperback edition. That's why, if you notice, the global-warming crowd begin their scare statistics with "since 1970," an unlikely Year Zero which would not otherwise merit the significance the eco-crowd invest in it.
But then in 1998 the planet stopped its very slight global warming and began to resume very slight global cooling. And this time the doom-mongers said, "Look, do we really want to rewrite the bumper stickers every 30 years? Let's just call it 'climate change.' That pretty much covers it."
Why did the Earth cool between 1940 and 1970?
Beats me. Hitler? Hiroshima? Maybe we need to nuke someone every couple of decades.
Meanwhile, Blackmore won't have to worry about whether to cull Jacques Chirac in order to save Sting. Given the plummeting birthrates in Europe, Russia, Japan, etc., a large chunk of the world has evidently decided to take preemptive action on climate change and opt for self-extinction. Pace the New Yorker, much of the planet will be uninhabited long before it's uninhabitable. The Belgian climate specialist will be on the endangered species list with the spotted owl. Blue-state eco-bores will be finding the international sustainable-development conferences a lot lonelier.
As for the merits of scientists and artists over politicians, those parts of the world still breeding are notable for their antipathy to music, haven't done much in the way of science for over a millennium, and politics-wise incline mostly to mullahs, nuclear or otherwise. Scrap Scarlett Johansson's fur-trimmed bikini and stick her in a waterlogged burqa.
©Mark Steyn, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The filmmakers got it right.
BY DAVID BEAMER
Thursday, April 27, 2006 12:01 a.m.
The calendar says it's April 25, 2006. At noon, my wife, Peggy, and I are walking around Battery Park--near the Tribeca area--in New York. It is our first time. The flowers are blooming; kids are fishing; people boarding the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Kids are laughing and noisy. The sun is shining. The vendors are hawking T-shirts, pretzels and some "designer" wares. And just up the street there is a hole in the skyline and in the ground.
In the park, there is a memorial with walls standing tall. Walls filled with so many names of those who gave their all in the Atlantic in World War II. How fitting that the names are here to honor those who gave their lives to enable this fun, this laughter--on this sunny day. The sights and sounds of freedom continue.
Fast forward--it is 10:30 p.m., April 25. We have just seen a movie premiere at the fifth annual Tribeca Film Festival. A film festival that has done so much to energize and revitalize the city, its people and especially the area that has that hole in the skyline and in the ground. This year the movie that had its worldwide premiere at the festival is titled "United 93." It is about the day when the hole in the skyline of New York was made--the day when a hole was made in the side of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C.--the day when a hole was made in a quiet mountain meadow in Pennsylvania. The day that our nation was attacked; the day when the war came home--Sept. 11, 2001. The day our son Todd boarded United 93.
Paul Greengrass and Universal set out to tell the story of United Flight 93 on that terrible day in our nation's history. They set about the task of telling this story with a genuine intent to get it right--the actions of those on board and honor their memory. Their extensive research included reaching out to all the families who had lost loved ones on United Flight 93 as the first casualties of this war. And Paul and his team got it right.
There are those who question the timing of this project and the painful memories it evokes. Clearly, the film portrays the reality of the attack on our homeland and its terrible consequences. Often we attend movies to escape reality and fantasize a bit. In this case and at this time, it is appropriate to get a dose of reality about this war and the real enemy we face. It is not too soon for this story to be told, seen and heard. But it is too soon for us to become complacent. It is too soon for us to think of this war in only national terms. We need to be mindful that this enemy, who made those holes in our landscape and caused the deaths of some 3,000 of our fellow free people, has a vision to personally kill or convert each and every one of us. This film reminds us that this war is personal. This enemy is on a fanatical mission to take away our lives and liberty--the liberty that has been secured for us by those whose names are on those walls in Battery Park and so many other walls and stones throughout this nation. This enemy seeks to take away the free will that our Creator has endowed in us. Patrick Henry got it right some 231 years ago. Living without liberty is not living at all.
The passengers and crew of United 93 had the blessed opportunity to understand the nature of the attack and to launch a counterattack against the enemy. This was our first successful counterattack in our homeland in this new global war--World War III.
This film further reminds us of the nature of the enemy we face. An enemy who will stop at nothing to achieve world domination and force a life devoid of freedom upon all. Their methods are inhumane and their targets are the innocent and unsuspecting. We call this conflict the "War on Terror." This film is a wake-up call. And although we abhor terrorism as a tactic, we are at war with a real enemy and it is personal.
There are those who would hope to escape the pain of war. Can't we just live and let live and pretend every thing is OK? Let's discuss, negotiate, reason together. The film accurately shows an enemy who will stop at nothing in a quest for control. This enemy does not seek our resources, our land or our materials, but rather to alter our very way of life.
I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see "United 93."
Be reminded of our very real enemy. Be inspired by a true story of heroic actions taken by ordinary people with victorious consequences. Be thankful for each precious day of life with a loved one and make the most of it. Resolve to take the right action in the situations of life, whatever they may be. Resolve to give thanks and support to those men, women, leaders and commanders who to this day (1,687 days since Sept. 11, 2001) continue the counterattacks on our enemy and in so doing keep us safe and our freedoms intact.
May the taste of freedom for people of the Middle East hasten victory. The enemy we face does not have the word "surrender" in their dictionary. We must not have the word "retreat" in ours. We surely want our troops home as soon as possible. That said, they cannot come home in retreat. They must come home victoriously. Pray for them.
Mr. Beamer is the father of Todd Beamer, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93.
Copyright © 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I have to tell you something curious and amazing.
I learned that anyone can read this blog. (Well, anyone with an internet connection.) But, I mean, like, anyone can come on this blog and read it. They don't need special permission or a secret password -- or anything!
I had no idea. I write stuff and post it to this blog, and lo and behold, it's out there for the whole world to see. I mean, I thought this was private and personal -- kind of like a diary -- and no one else could read it unless I told them they could.
I learned that someone, without my permission, connected this blog to the world wide web. You know what that means??!! Exactly what it says: World. Wide. Web. Now, anything I write on this blog can be read by anyone anywhere in the world at any time.
Who'd a thunk it!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
iPodding German Shepherd
I understand the pontiff is very musically inclined and appreciates only the best music. Therefore, I'm not the least surprised to learn that there is nothing by Mahler on his iPod. :-)
Vatican Radio employees present pope with specially loaded iPod nano
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A group of Vatican Radio employees gave Pope Benedict XVI a brand new iPod nano loaded with special Vatican Radio programming and classical music.
To honor the pope's first visit to the radio's broadcasting headquarters, the radio's technical staff decided the pencil-thin, state-of-the-art audio player would make the perfect gift.
Now that Vatican Radio offers podcasts in eight different languages, the pope has the technological capability to plug in and import the radio's audio files.
Pope Benedict visited the programming and broadcasting hub of "the pope's radio" March 3 to mark the station's 75th anniversary.
Hundreds of radio journalists, sound engineers and support staff lined the radio's hallways to greet the pope and present him with gifts, mostly special in-house productions such as CDs and books on the church, religion and the pope.
"We don't have a huge gift to give to the pope, but we do have small signs of our work" to give him, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's general director, told Catholic News Service.
Though the white iPod nano is tiny, it still made an impression on the pope. When the head of the radio's technical and computer support department, Mauro Milita, identified himself and handed the pope the boxed iPod, the pope was said to have replied, "Computer technology is the future."
The pope's new 2-gigabyte digital audio player already was loaded with a sampling of the radio's programming in English, Italian and German and musical compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and Igor Stravinsky. The stainless steel back was engraved with the words "To His Holiness, Benedict XVI" in Italian.
Once the pope, who is also a pianist, gets the hang of the device's trademark click wheel, he will be able to listen to a special 20-minute feature produced by the radio's English program that highlights Mozart's life and music to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth.
The iPod also contains an English-language radio drama on the life of St. Thomas a Becket and a 10-minute feature on the creation of Vatican Radio, with original sound clips of the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, and Vatican Radio's founder, Pope Pius XI.
The pope also can relive the historical papal transition of April 2005. On the player, the radio's German program included a mix of news and interviews done during the death of Pope John Paul II, the conclave and the election of Pope Benedict.
With his new iPod, the pope can access the radio's daily podcasts, as well as download music and audio books from the Internet.
HOMOSEXUALS HAVE EASTER BUNNY IN THEIR SIGHTS
By Don Feder
April 24, 2006
To understand the meaning of the gay invasion of this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll, let me ask you a pointed question: Would you use your children to make a political point? Would you shlep your kids somewhere to help advance an agenda?
On Monday, an estimated 100 “gay families” descended on the White House lawn, kiddies in tow. The annual event is open to the first 1,000 families in line.
This street theater came to us courtesy of Mel White (self-styled “militant gay activist”) who’s into using his cadre to crash Christian colleges and churches that dissent from the happy (gay) cause. Protestors wore rainbow colored Hawaiian leis to identify themselves. For them to been there without being in our face would have served no useful purpose.
Organizers disingenuously claimed they were not playing politics, and - in the same breath -- admitted that’s exactly what they were doing.
“We not protesting the president’s policies on gay families, said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Pride (the force behind the rainbow putsch). “We are, however, helping him understand that gay families exist in this country (he didn’t know that?) and deserve rights and protections that all families need.”
Oh, and what would those rights and protections be - lifestyle indoctrination in the schools, allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military, abolishing the few remaining barriers to gay adoption, sticking a finger in the eye of state voters who’ve adopted defense of marriage amendments, harassing the Catholic Church for refusing to place adoptive children with the rainbow families, crushing dissent from gay dogma, and the deconstruction of marriage - little stuff like that?
First, let’s get our definitions straight.
A families is a man and a woman joined by marriage, with or without children. Two male homosexuals, or two lesbians, who are roommates, engaging in mutual acts of sodomy, aren’t a family. Two homosexuals who have children are just that - two homosexuals who have children. They’re no more a family than a fish with a machinegun is an army.
Homosexuals acquire children - through adoption, artificial insemination or from a previous marriage. And now they’re using our natural sympathy for children as a weapon to normalize the abnormal - to put the healthy and life-giving on the same plane as the sick and life-negating.
While families sometimes adopt children, most men and women are capable of reproduction, and - even with widespread divorce -- most children live with their natural parents.
When was the last time you went to a homosexual baby shower? (But, I thought they were just like any other family.) In most cases, homosexuals can “have” children only if heterosexuals reproduce first.
Homosexuals generate not life but death. Forget AIDS. Every venereal disease imaginable is rampant among homosexuals. For homosexual “partners,” monogamy doesn’t mean quite the same thing it does for George and Laura. (In a 1978 study by gay researchers Jay and Young, 23% of homosexuals admitted to having had more than 100 sexual partners, while 18% said they’d had 3 or more in the previous week!) Family values, anyone?
While we’re on the subject, homosexuals are far more likely to molest children than are individuals of the non-rainbow persuasion. In the Jay and Young study, 23% of homosexuals admitted to having had sex with children aged 13 to 15.
Consider reported cases of the sexual abuse of minors by priests. Over 80% involve same-sex encounters.
But, wait, if homosexuals are roughly 3% of the population, then shouldn’t 97% of abusers be victimizing females? Don’t heterosexual priests have the same access to girls that homosexual priests have to boys? Couldn’t happy/rainbow priests have found adult partners? (The media coined the phrase “pedophile priests” to divert our attention. Homosexual priests would have been too descriptive - but more reflective of reality.)
Homosexuals are more sexually attracted to children than heterosexuals.
There is no organized movement among heterosexuals to abolish age of consent laws. There is no North American Man-Girl Love Association. The North American Man-Boy Love Association - NAMBLA (whose motto is “Sex Before 8, Or It’s Too Late”) - is well-represented in almost every gay-pride parade. Heterosexual males who prey on adolescent girls don’t have a cute insider name for themselves. Gay pedophiles call themselves “chicken hawks.”
Would you like to know just how much the gay-rights movement loves kids - how it puts the interests of children first? Then consider:
* Six years after the Supreme Court decision affirming the organization’s right to adhere to its values, homosexuals are still trying to destroy the Boy Scouts - attempting to get
* The Salvation Army is also a target. In DC, activists have urged public officials to boycott the Army’s kettle campaign, calling the best charity in
* Because it refuses to place adoptive children with homosexuals, activists are going after Catholic Charities, the nation’s largest provider of adoption services. They used a state anti-discrimination law to force the Church to stop doing placements in
* Churches that adhere to Scriptural teaching might as well have bull’s-eyes painted on their doors. In Europe and
* The family is the crucible of civilization - a culture for growing healthy children with real values. Through gay “marriage,” homosexuals are intent on destroying the family as we know it, with all of the social chaos that will ensue. After society is forced to treat same-sex couples as “families,” we can move on to the legitimization of so-called group marriage. (HBO is presently laying down a polygamy propaganda barrage with its series “Big Love.”)
When everything is a family, nothing will be a family - there will be nothing to distinguish the family from any arbitrary grouping of individuals. Driven by the same sexual revolution that fostered the gay rights movement, heterosexual cohabitation has risen steadily since the early 1970s. The same ethic of self (I am the sum of all things) encourages young adults not to form families or have children.
The movement will do anything (use anything) to advance its cause - even colored eggs and a tradition dating back to the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.
On New Year’s Day, an eccentric British millionaire named Sharon Tendler married a dolphin at the Mediterranean resort of Eilat. If they can find a way to adopt, perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Flipper will be one of the rainbow families at next year’s White House Easter-Egg Roll.
This article originally appeared at www.grasstopsusa.com
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
(or I Love It When People Agree With Me)
April 18, 2006
All Americans Must See 'United 93'
By Dennis Prager
Universal's new movie, "United 93," is about United Airlines Flight 93, hijacked on 9-11 by Islamic terrorists shortly after leaving Newark, N.J., for San Francisco. The terrorists intended to fly the plane to Washington, D.C., and crash it into the Capitol. Instead, the passengers fought back and forced the plane down in Pennsylvania, thereby saving the lives of any number of people on the ground in Washington and saving America from a devastating blow to its image.
Incredibly there is some controversy about this film. Apparently many Americans are not "ready" to see a film about 9-11 "so soon" after 9-11.
If this is so, it is an ode to the weakening of the American people.
Five years after the most devastating attack on American soil, people are asking if Americans are ready to see a film -- not some fictional, politically driven, reality-distorting film by Oliver Stone, but a film based on the phone conversations of the passengers and flight attendants, on the flight recorder tape, and approved by the families of all 40 passengers -- one of the most terrible and heroic events in American history.
Did anyone ask in 1946, five years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, whether Americans were prepared to see a film about the Japanese attack?
If anything should be controversial, it is Hollywood going AWOL while its country fights the scourge of our time, Islamic totalitarianism. For five years, America has been battling people who are dedicated to destroying every value that Hollywood claims to care most about -- freedom, tolerance, women's rights, secular government, equality for gays -- and Hollywood has yet to make a film depicting, let alone honoring, this war.
Finally, a major studio comes out with a film reminding Americans about the nature of our enemy, about what really happened (to the best of our ability to reconstruct) on one of the 9-11 planes, and the press wonders if Americans are "ready" to see the movie.
Universal invited me to see a preview, and unless they change it (or don't drop a few gratuitous, politically inspired words that appeared right after the film ends), I believe it is just about every American's duty to see this film. There is no gratuitous violence -- if anything, Universal went out of its way to prevent us from seeing the reality of the throat-slashing of passengers and crew -- but there is unremitting tension and sadness, since we all know what will happen to these unsuspecting people, and we know this is real, not fiction.
There is also American heroism. People completely unprepared for an airplane flight to become their last hour alive rise to the occasion and save fellow Americans from death and from the humiliation of having their nation's capitol building destroyed.
The only people likely to object to this film are those who don't want Americans to become aware of just how conscienceless, cruel and depraved our enemy is, or those who think that our enemies can always be negotiated with and therefore object to depicting Americans actually fighting back.
Teenage and older children in particular should see this film. If the younger teens have nightmares, comfort them. But young Americans need to know the nature of whom we are fighting. If they are attending a typical American high school or college, they probably don't know.
Congratulations to Universal Studios on making this film (presuming that, as assured to me, they removed the post-film politically inspired message). And shame on Hollywood for only making one such film in five years.
Perhaps if "United 93" turns out to be the unforeseen box office success that Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was, the lure of major profits will exert more influence over Hollywood than even Hollywood leftists do.
In the meantime, go and see "United 93," to see why some Americans still take "Home of the brave" seriously; and to see why we have to win this war more than any since World War II. That's how bad our enemy is. You have an unfortunately rare chance to see that enemy at work when you see what happened to everyone who boarded United Airlines Flight 93 that left Newark on September 11, 2001.
Copyright 2006 Creators Syndicate
For anyone who's interested, here are some of the top tunes on my iPod:
A number of my top songs (Sunny Days, Lonely People, & Show You Love) come from "Who We Are Instead" by Jars of Clay.
While there's only a couple of decent tunes on The House Carpenter's Daughter by Natalie Merchant, Sally Ann is a great tune.
Alison Kraus' cover of When You Say Nothing At All is even better than Keith Whitley's original version. Last summer we played this song non-stop and then got to see Alison Kraus at Ravinia -- one of the highlights of the summer.
I know this tune goes back aways -- and I know that Sinead O'Connor is a nut case -- but The Emperor's New Clothes is just a great tune.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Man Accused of Changing Traffic Lights
LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) -- A man who said he bought a device that let him change traffic lights from red to green has received a $50 ticket on suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal.
Jason Niccum of Longmont told the Daily Times-Call that the device, which he bought on eBay for $100, helped him cut his time driving to work.
"I guess in the two years I had it, that thing paid for itself," he told the newspaper Wednesday.
Niccum was cited March 29 after police said they found him using a strobe-like device to change traffic signals.
"I'm always running late," police quoted Niccum as saying in an incident report.
The device, called an Opticon, is similar to what firefighters use to change lights when they respond to emergencies. It emits an infrared pulse that receivers on the traffic lights pick up.
Niccum was cited after city traffic engineers who noticed repeated traffic-light disruptions on certain intersections spotted a white Ford pickup passing by whenever the light patterns were disrupted.
City traffic engineer Joe Olson said traffic engineers plan to update the city's Opticon system this year to block unauthorized light-changing signals.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Saw a link to these meditations on the Way of the Cross on the Vatican site via Catholic World News. As Catholic World News says, these meditations are "hard hitting". It's good to see our German Shepherd isn't pulling his punches.
[From the Third Station]
MEDITATIONIn our human way of thinking, God is incapable of falling,
... and yet he falls. Why?
It cannot be a sign of weakness,
but only a sign of love:
a message of love for us.
Yet God still loves us and desires what is good for us;
his love drives him to cry out to the deaf,
to us, who are unwilling to hear:
“Abandon sin, because it hurts you.
It takes away your peace, your joy;
it cuts you off from life, and dries up within you
the very source of your freedom and dignity”.
Abandon it! Abandon it!
we have lost our sense of sin!
Today a slick campaign of propaganda
is spreading an inane apologia of evil,
a senseless cult of Satan,
a mindless desire for transgression,
a dishonest and frivolous freedom,
exalting impulsiveness, immorality and selfishness
as if they were new heights of sophistication.
open our eyes:
let us see the filth around us
and recognize it for what it is,
so that a single tear of sorrow
can restore us to purity of heart
and the breadth of true freedom.
Open our eyes,
You may have heard that there's been controversy over the trailer for the upcoming movie, United 93. One of the criticisms is that it's "too soon" for movies about the 9-11 attacks.
I say "bull". The only thing that's "too soon" has been our complacency about what happened that day. Naturally, people want to move on with their lives and hope that 9-11 was an aberration, a horrifying spasm of violence that won't happen again.
Well, I've got news for you. The only reason we haven't been attacked again is not for lack of trying by the Islamofacists, it's because our country has taken the fight to the terrorists overseas and we've been able to foil planned attacks at home. (I highly recommend this three-part article from The American Thinker blog regarding the progress of this war thus far and our prospects for the future: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)
Liberals and other traitors (there's really no other word for them) would rather we forget all about 9-11 and what happened that day. They'd like us to think that it's the United States that is the real aggressor. The best that can be said of them is that they are ignorant and unwilling dupes of this country's enemies. Some of them are, in fact, seditious turncoats who hate this country and should be tried for treason. So why would they object to a movie about 9-11. Because it's a visceral reminder of what happened to our country that day, and why we're fighting today.
Check out the trailer and see for yourself:
A couple of years ago, my two favorite columnists were Linda Bowles (R.I.P.), Charley Reese, and Don Feder. Bowles died, and both Reese and Feder retired. This left a huge gap, which, thankfully, Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn did a lot to fill. However, in checking FrontPage Magazine recently, I learned that Feder is writing columns again. Let's check it out and see if he's up to his old form.
The Senate has reached a “compromise” on illegal immigration. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (who, by his conduct here, just lost the ’08 nomination) called it a “huge breakthrough” – a moral collapse would be more like it.
Did anyone ask the American people – who have time and again expressed their anger, frustration and outrage over our porous borders – whether they want a compromise on illegal immigration, on an amnesty for an estimated 12 million criminal aliens?
When asked about compromises on the more contentious issues facing the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia responded: How you can reach a compromise between what the Constitution really means and what judicial activists want it to mean?
How do you split the difference between reality and fantasy – between truth and lies?
The same applies to illegal immigration.
In fact, the deal that Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid worked out with Republicans like Arlen Specter, Mel Martinez, Chuck Hagel and John McCain (the quintessential un-Republican) is no compromise at all – but a blanket amnesty for border-jumpers, whether they came seven years ago or 7 minutes ago. To claim otherwise is an insult to our intelligence.
At their press conference announcing this rape of our national identity, McCain, Specter, Reid et al. couldn’t even refer to the objects of their beneficence as illegal aliens. They were undocumented workers – the weaseliest of weasel words. Sure, and the man who breaks into my house is an uninvited guest.
Perhaps the most hilarious comments at the press conference came from stand-up comic and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV), who spoke of all the undocumented workers employed by
Does he think the average American actually cares about the labor costs, hence the profit-margin, of Caesar’s Palace or the MGM Grand? (Gosh, whatever would we do without a gaming industry?) If they don’t want to pay an American wage and fill those jobs with American workers, why should I care about their bottom-line?
Reid sang a different tune (which sounded more like “The Star-Spangled Banner” than “The Bonaparte’s Retreat”) in 1993, when he observed: “Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs. …Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits often without paying any taxes. … These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world. Even worse, Americans have seen heinous crimes committed by individuals who are here illegally.”
What changed for Reid in the interim isn’t the reality of illegal immigration, but the rise of the lawbreakers’ lobby in his home state, combined with his becoming the Senate leader of the party of plunder and shameless pandering.
That master of politico-babble, Ted Kennedy, called the compromise “tough and fair,” which is like saying Chappaquiddick was a shinning example of responsible drinking and safe driving.
That the bill Kennedy helped to craft is an amnesty is indisputable. If an uninvited guest can prove he’s been here more than 5 years (from the effective date of January 7, 2004), he need do nothing to remain but pay a fine. The dictionary defines amnesty as “an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole.”
By definition, coming to
The Great Compromise purports to be forgiveness for past offenses for some trespassers. Actually, it’s a blanket amnesty for all 12 million-plus illegals in the
Those who’ve resided here illegally for 2 to 5 years (from 2004) must go to one of 16 designated ports of entry and declare themselves -- as if this means anything. Then they are issued a temporary visa (that isn’t temporary at all), after which they can go home and continue their hostile occupation of American territory, and eventually apply for citizenship under the provisions of the measure.
Where the bill sorta gets tough (but only in theory) is on those who’ve been here less than two years. They are expected to depart forthwith. If they stay and are caught once, it’s a misdemeanor. Twice and it’s a felony.
How hard is it to forge a 1040-form, or a pay stub or a utility bill or a bank statement proving that Jose, who arrived here today, has been an illegal resident of the
The Senate compromise is touted as a problem-solving measure. (“Oh dear us,” its proponents wail, “We must do something to regularize all of the undocumented workers.”)
If it becomes law, it will be a major step toward solving the vexing problem of
Like the amnesties of the 1980s and the 1990s, it will result in another surge of illegal immigration. Build it, and they will come.
And those who come will have no interest in learning our language and customs, or identifying with our history and heritage. They won’t be Mexican-Americans or Haitian-Americans or hyphenated-whatevers (which would be bad enough), but Mexicans, Haitians or whatevers who happen to reside in the
They and their children, and perhaps their grandchildren, won’t assimilate but be a solvent, eroding our identity as a people, year after year, decade after decade – until, eventually,
Consider the words of Ronald F. Maxwell (writer/director of “
“What is happening on the southern border is unprecedented. Not only in our own history, but in the history of the world. No country at any time, anywhere, has sustained the influx of tens of millions of foreigners across its borders … This is invasion masquerading as immigration. It may already be too late to avoid a future annexation of the Southwest by
That congressional Democrats favor lawbreaking and national suicide is unsurprising. They are, after all, the party of the alien and the alienated – the marginal, the misfit and the criminal.
But Republicans? Some are groveling before the illegal-immigrant lobby, whilst pursuing the mirage of an Hispanic Republican vote. Others pray in the direction of Wall Street. (Corporate
In the above-quoted commentary, Maxwell addresses these words to George W. Bush: “Mr. President, this is a time for candor. Your immigration policy is viewed as captive to the cheap labor – big business lobby and inimical to the survival of our country.” And so it is.
If Republicans lose either or both Houses of Congress this year, blame on the immigration-sellout of the McCains, Specters and Hegels.
GOP strategists think Middle Americans have no place else to go in November. We don’t have to go anywhere – just stay comfortably at home.
But that will be only the beginning. The Whig Party committed suicide by refusing to take a stand on slavery. Instead, it sought accommodations with evil, like the Compromise of 1850.
Republicans are emulating their pusillanimous predecessors. The party’s conservative base – its very essence – is furious with this unpardonable betrayal.
If this gift to illegal aliens becomes law, there will be no amnesty for the Republican Party.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Came across this on Mark Steyn's site today. He must have reposted it in recognition of the season.
Mark's Movie Vault
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
The headline on the Washington Post review sums it up: “‘Passion’ Is A Gory Take On A Gentle Teacher’s Violent End”. Somebody’s confusing their Scripture with Godspell. A few days before the “violent end”, the gentle teacher had been hurling tables around in the temple. And, even if you overlook the rough stuff, rhetorically Christ was as forceful as He was gentle.
That’s the real argument over The Passion Of The Christ. It’s not between Christians and Jews, but between believing Christians and the broader post-Christian culture, a term that covers a large swathe, from the media to your average Anglican vicar. Some in this post-Christian culture don’t believe anything, some are riddled with doubts, but even the ones with only a vague residual memory of the fluffier Sunday School stories are agreed that there’s little harm in a Jesus figure who’s a “gentle teacher”. In this world, if Jesus were alive today he’d most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally-friendly car with an “Arms Are For Hugging” sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams. If that’s your boy, Mel Gibson’s movie is not for you.
Indeed, though Mel is Catholic, his Passion is a hit thanks to evangelical Protestants – those who believe the Bible is the literal truth and not a “useful narrative” culminating in what the Bishop of Durham called a “conjuring trick with bones”. Instead of Jesus the wimp, Mel gives us Jesus the Redeemer. He died for our sins – ie, the “violent end” is the critical bit, not just an unfortunate misunderstanding cruelly cutting short a promising career in gentle teaching. The followers of Wimp Jesus seem to believe He died to license our sins – Jesus loves us for who we are so whatever’s your bag is cool with Him.
Strictly as a commercial proposition, Wimp Jesus is a loser: the churches who go down that path are emptying out and dying. Those who believe in Christ the Redeemer are booming, and Mel Gibson has made a movie for them. If Hollywood was as savvy as it thinks it is, it would have beaten him to it. But it isn’t so it didn’t. And as most studio execs have never seen an evangelical Christian except in films where they turn out to be paedophiles or serial killers, it’s no wonder they’re baffled by The Passion’s success.
The picture opens in the Garden of Gethsemane with Christ’s arrest, in the midst of which a servant of the high priest gets his ear lopped off and, in the melee, is quietly healed by Jesus. (This is from Luke; the other three have the lopping but not the healing.) For Gibson, this is the point: Christ had power over His captors but didn’t use it, and His sacrifice is our salvation. To that end, the director’s come up with a structure that folds flashbacks of Jesus’ life into the two hours of scourging and crucifixion, presumably to remind us that it’s through the “violent end” that the “gentle teaching” becomes universal truth.
Sometimes this works very well: the Last Supper – “This is my body, this is my blood” – is intercut with the pulpy wounds of the real body, the rivers of real blood, and has a rare intensity. The idea of embracing Christ’s life within His death is smart moviemaking, and a suppler director would have done more with it. But Gibson is something of a stolid storyteller and his picture settles into an almost mechanical rhythm: flaying – flashback – beating - flashback – nailing – flashback. Jim Caviezel is a physically conventional Jesus, whose lean, rangy body seems to have been selected on the basis of how it looks when battered and bloody. He’s okay in the pre-arrest scenes, except for a strange decision to do the Sermon on the Mount as a Richard Gere impression, all rueful smiles and fussy hand gestures.
The dialogue is Aramaic and Latin, but there’s not a lot of it and actresses like Maia Morgenstern (Mary) and Monica Bellucci (Mary Magdalene) seem to have been chosen for their anguished facial gestures and ability to reflect Christ’s pain rather than their command of language. Miss Bellucci, the sexpot schoolmarm in Malena , is the nearest thing to a big name in a cast of unknowns. It’s surely the right idea not to have famous faces distracting from the story (as they did in the old-time Hollywood biblical epics) but it’s less effective than it might be because, even though they’re played by obscure actors, almost everybody looks exactly like a central-casting version of whoever he’s meant to be – Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate and his missus; Barrabas is a scurvy, tongue-wiggling cartoon.
That’s another limitation of Mel’s movie. Although they’re speaking Aramaic and Latin, its real language is Hollywooden. So, for example, one of the flashbacks shows Jesus the carpenter making what seems to Mary like a “tall” table. Jesus explains that it’s for a rich man who likes to eat sitting down on “chairs” and mimes the position. “This will never catch on,” says Mary. More problematic are the troll extras from Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings who haunt Judas, and the weird figure stalking Jesus - I know who he's meant to be, but he looks like a cross between Nosferatu and Jessica Lange in All That Jazz. Worst of all are the Roman soldiers who torture Jesus and laugh and spit and jeer like corrupt banana-republic cops in an action movie. Regardless of whether that’s a slur on one of the great empires of our civilization, it serves Gibson poorly: the sins that Jesus died for are our everyday ones, not the worst excesses of an Amnesty International report. A brisker, more professional soldiery would have made the point better.
But that’s nitpicking. Mel Gibson was driven by his own passion to make a movie that speaks to millions of people. As I said a couple of weeks back, if it’s not the Jesus movie you’d have made, then go make your own. I saw it on a Monday night full house – a rare event in itself – and the crowd was rapt and eerily hushed, except for the occasional sob. It’s true that if you don’t believe that Christ’s death on the cross is the central event in His time on earth then Mel’s telling won’t convince you and the film will look, as it does to Christopher Hitchens, like an S&M flayfest. One can regard this as a criticism of Gibson. On the other hand, all manner of movies – Star Wars, X-Men 2 – leave you cold if you’re not already a devotee. For millions of people, Mel Gibson shows them their Jesus and their salvation.
from The Spectator, March 27th 2004
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Came across this post from another blog and will post it in its entirety (it's short) because it is so "on point".
I always remember a fellow I knew a couple of years ago who was a constant joker, you could never take him seriously. But one day, I was at his house and we started talking about guns and he showed me his Glock. I'll never forget how different he was. Instead of being his usual goofy self, he was very serious. Upon picking up his Glock, he exercised complete gun safety: he made sure the gun was not loaded, checked the chamber to make there was not a round in there, and never once did he point the gun at anything or put his finger on the trigger.
This otherwise goofball probably did more to instill proper gun safety in me that anything else.
Idiots with Guns #24Here is a Glock owner who lacks trigger finger discipline as well as gun handling knowlege. If you look down the well lit barrel, the absence of the firing pin hole, and the faint copper tone to the illuminated surface is startling. This gun owner has a good grip on his gun, but a poor grasp of gun safety.
The purpose of Idiots with Guns is not to humiliate, but to educate. Over the years we have seen photos of people who, upon picking up a gun, just cannot resist pointing it at something they should not, with their finger on the trigger. This is usually the camera, another person, or themselves. These photos are often difficult to google up, because of the pages they are shown on. If you have archived any of these photos, feel free to send them in to bayouroversATjamDOTrrDOTcom
The Four Rules
1. All firearms are loaded
2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it
Monday, April 10, 2006
It's kind of funny, I was just thinking of Hugh Hefner the other day -- about the same time I was thinking of Mick Jagger for the same reason. They're both a couple of guys who've based their lives on the never ending pursuit of hedonistic pleasures. Mick is about 60 something now and, even with the same long hair, fashionable clothes, and bubble-headed model on his arm, there's no getting away from the fact that age is catching up with him.
Hugh Hefner is the same -- just more so. He apparently still spends his days wearing those signature silk pajamas, lounging around his pleasure palace mansion in the Hollywood Hills. And, not content with one bubble-head on his arm, he keeps his mansion stocked with a menagerie of bubble-headed models.
However, whether one's 80, or 60, or 21, we're all going to die sooner or later. And when that day comes, we'll be facing the one just Judge. And, without any spin doctors, PR flacks, fawning media or other promoters, apologists or enablers, we will be accountable for what we've done during our lives.
Here is an insightful piece from Chuck Colson on "Hef" at 80:
Hugh Hefner's LegacyThe Celebrity Pornographer Turns 80
April 10, 2006
Warning: The following commentary contains information not suitable for children.
The founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner, is worried about his legacy. In preparation for his eightieth birthday, which he celebrated yesterday, he's been busily filling leather-bound scrapbooks—1,500 of them—about his life and work. He's arranged to be entombed next to Marilyn Monroe, the actress who posed nude in the first edition of Playboy in 1953.
According to a Wall Street Journal article by Matthew Scully, Hefner wants to be remembered as a philanthropist, social philosopher, cultural revolutionary. In fact, Hefner wants to be remembered as anything but what he was: a smut peddler, and the exploiter of women.
As Scully puts it with biting sarcasm, "There was a dark and joyless time in America when one could actually go about daily life without ever encountering pornographic images." And without Hefner's pioneering vision, "American males could not avail themselves of hundreds of millions of obscene films every year—as they do now."
The fact is Hugh Hefner did more than anyone else to turn America into a great pornographic wasteland. Kids can now download porn on cell phones and iPods. While riding in their cars, children are treated to the sight of X-rated films on the DVD screens of cars in the next lane.
There's no longer any doubt that the pornification of America has led to a huge increase in crime against women and children, crime committed by those who consume porn that teaches that women want to be raped and degraded.
And not just women. Hugh Hefner, sitting in his mansion in his bathrobe, thinking over his life, ought to consider the effect of his life's work on kids like Justin Berry. Berry testified before Congress last week about how he was molested by a predator he met online. Justin spent most of his teen years posing naked online for people who paid to see him perform on camera. And he is far from alone: "There are hundreds of kids in the United States who are right now wrapped up in this horror," he told Congress.
If Hefner wants to be remembered for his good deeds, he ought to start right now funding programs to help people damaged by his twisted view of sex—programs that help men who are enslaved to sexual addiction. Instead of funding Planned Parenthood, he ought to fund crisis pregnancy centers, which help women who bought into the lie that they were "liberated" only when they became reusable sex objects. Hefner should also help women who were lured into the sex industry and exploited—including those "Playboy Bunnies" he made famous, so many of whose lives ended tragically.
And then, Hefner might fund research into cures for the dozens of sexual diseases, including AIDS, that affect millions who believed his warped worldview—that sexual repression is bad, and that sexual promiscuity is, therefore, liberation and redemption.
The picture of Hefner on his eightieth birthday sitting in his mansion in his bathrobe, in the company of "girlfriends" paid to be there, and his jars of Viagra tablets, is a pathetic, tragic one, and it exposes his true legacy. The lesson: The life lived in pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification leads to nothing less than self-destruction.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
I came across the link to this EWTN updateon Mother Angelica via Spirit Daily. Check out the love of God that radiates from both Mother Angelica and newly consecrated Sister Ruth Marie.
Mother Angelica with Sr. Ruth Marie
Mother Angelica Update: Sunday, April 09, 2006
Mother Angelica’s maternal heart overflowed with joy as she received another daughter into Solemn Vows on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. Despite the weakness Mother struggles with as a result of her stroke, she was able to be present at Sr. Ruth Marie’s Profession Mass. Everyone in attendance was pleasantly surprised by Mother’s strong voice during her participation in the ceremony.
After Sister pronounced her vows, Mother spoke her response in a very audible tone, “And I, on the part of God the Almighty, promise you, if you observe all this faithfully, life everlasting.” Both Mother's and Sister’s faces lit up at these words, which united Sr. Ruth Marie to her Eternal Bridegroom, after eight years of waiting. It was a great day of jubilation and Mother participated as much as possible in this day’s celebration.
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