Saturday, April 05, 2008
Some samples of why he is the best:
- A review of one of the many environmentalist books says that even if you can't do all you would like toward "living green," you can at least "congratulate yourself on taking small steps to improve the planet." That is what environmentalism — and much else on the political left's agenda — is really all about, self congratulation.
- Whenever I hear terrorists referred to in the media as "militants," it is a painful reminder that we have degenerated to the point where we no longer even have the courage to talk straight.
- One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people's motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans — anything except reason.
- We all believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. Some on the left believe that they are innocent even after being proven guilty.
- Of all the presidential candidates in both parties, Barack Obama is the best performer on stage. He has the most presence, the most command of his words, the most quietly dramatic style. What he actually says, however, is mostly warmed-over 1960s ideas that have been failing ever since.
Friday, April 04, 2008
that's OK, neither do I
I saw this article in the Journal today and my mind starting wandering. The focus of the article is about the social networking site, MySpace, coming out with its own music service to try and take on Apple's iTunes. (Good luck guys).
What got my mind wandering was last part of the first paragraph:
MySpace and the music industry unveiled Thursday an online music service to challenge Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store, even as the digital retailer announced it has become the top music seller in the country after less than five years in the business.I'd say that calls for a little more fanfare than an aside in an article about the latest pretender to the iPod/iTunes throne. I guess the reporter could be forgiven for taking world iPod hegemony for granted. But, perhaps someone could give this guy a little perspective.
Five years ago, Apple was a pc maker struggling just to stay afloat as a viable alternative to the nearly universal Windows monopoly. Then Apple introduces the iPod and ignites a world-wide digital music revolution. The iPod conquers the world and, by necessity and in consequence, iTunes creates an entirely new market for online digital music services. And don't forget, the wild success of the iPod has had no little impact on the success of subsequent Mac computers.
So, to summarize, Apple creates the iPod. Five short years after its introduction, it is the most dominant and unquestioned leader in the multi-billion dollar digital music device market it created. Can you even think of any viable competitors to it? The 'Zune'? Sure, yeah, right.
As a consequence of the success of the iPod, five years later, iTunes is the country's (and probably the world's) market leader, not just in the online music services market it created, but in the multi-billion dollar retail music services market. I take this to mean, iTunes sells more music than any other retail outlet: amazon, Wal-Mart, Tower Records, etc.
As a further consequence, Mac computers are selling pretty briskly as well, thank you very much.
That one iPod device created and globally dominates two industry markets and provides a significant boost to a third. Somehow I doubt that was even in the upside projections when the Apple folks put their business case to Steve Jobs 5 years ago.
To say the iPod has exceeded their expectations would be a slight understatement. My guess is that business schools will be doing case studies on the iPod a hundred years from now and still get blown away.
Pope remembers John Paul as sainthood pleas grow
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Catholics around the world on Wednesday marked the third anniversary of Pope John Paul's death and Vatican officials said they were receiving a steady stream of pleas from the faithful convinced he was a saint.
Pope Benedict, John Paul's successor, presided at a solemn Mass before tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square, from the same spot on the steps of the basilica where John Paul's simple wooden coffin lay three years ago.
"For many days, the Vatican basilica and this very square were really the heart of the world," Benedict said in his sermon as members in the crowd waved flags of the late pope's Polish homeland and banners bearing his image.
Benedict did not use the word "saint" in his sermon but said John Paul had "many human and supernatural qualities" and was a mystic endowed with exceptional spiritual sensitivities.
Crowds at John Paul's funeral on April 8, 2005 chanted "Santo Subito" ("Make him a saint now").
In May, 2005, Benedict put John Paul on the fast track by dispensing with Church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate's death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can even start.
The first phase of the process for his beatification, the last step before sainthood, is now nearly complete. Church officials say they have found a miracle attributed to the intercession of the late pope with God.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a 47-year-old French nun who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's -- the same disease that the late Pope had -- said it inexplicably disappeared two months after his death after she and her fellow nuns prayed to him.
If the pope approves the miracle then John Paul can be beatified. Another miracle would be required after the beatification in order to move on to canonization.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow who was the late pope's secretary of nearly 40 years, told reporters his office receives daily letters from people who say they have received "graces" after praying to the late pope.
"Most of them are people who have been cured of cancer or couples who were considered infertile but had children after praying to John Paul," Dziwisz said. "We get so many of them we don't even pass them on to Rome anymore".
Three years is an unusually short time for the completion of the first phase of a sainthood cause, which can usually take decades or, in some cases, hundreds of years.
The evidence includes testimony from hundreds of people and scrutiny of John Paul's life, spoken words and writings.
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Vatican official in charge of the beatification process told reporters he has nearly finished a document of about 2,000 pages long summarizing evidence that John Paul should be made a saint.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella)
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Common Sense Award
I'm also awarding the Thomas Sowell No Nonsense, Plain Speaking, Common Sense Award to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
What do you mean I can't make a second award so soon after the inaguaral award? It's my award and I'll give out to whomever I please as frequently as I please. That's the beauty of having your own award to hand out. This isn't an awards democracy -- I make up the rules here.
The second presentation of the Thomas Sowell No Nonsense, Plain Speaking, Common Sense Award goes to Justice Thomas for his concurrence in the Adarand affirmative action case. If you've read many Supreme Court cases you're already painfully award of how pedantic, obtuse and bloviating they can be. Which is all the more reason to recognize and honor Justice Thomas for his no nonsense, plain speaking and common sense.
[T]here can be no doubt that racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pernicious as any other form of discrimination. So called "benign" discrimination teaches many that because of chronic and apparently immutable handicaps, minorities cannot compete with them without their patronizing indulgence. Inevitably, such [affirmative action] programs engender attitudes of superiority or, alternatively, provoke resentment among those who believe that they have been wronged by the government's use of race. These programs stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority and may cause them to develop dependencies or to adopt an attitude that they are "entitled" to preferences. ...
In my mind, government sponsored racial discrimination based on benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired by malicious prejudice. In each instance, it is racial discrimination, plain and simple.
Common Sense Award
I've been thinking about doing this for a while. I mean, why not? Liberals have dozens of meaningless awards recognizing fellow liberals in worthless, narcissistic ways. Why not have an award that actually means something? -- an award that recognizes someone who has their head screwed on straight, who says something that makes sense, who isn't "stuck on stupid"?
Now, I figured I'd be "presenting" the award to Thomas Sowell more often than not. (Who else speaks offers as much no nonsense, plain speaking and common sense as the great man himself?) However, to my pleasant surprise, a week or so ago I read a very interesting article by playwright David Mamet in which he tells of his discovery that he was a conservative (and not, in his words, a "brain dead liberal").
What was even more of a pleasant surprise, Mamet refers to Thomas Sowell in his article as: "our greatest contemporary philosopher".
Couldn't have said it better myself. And with that, David Mamet is the first recipient of my Thomas Sowell No Nonsense, Plain Speaking, Common Sense Award.
HOLY MASS ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH
OF THE SERVANT OF GOD, THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
St Peter's Square
Monday, 2 April 2007
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Two years ago, at a slightly later hour than now, beloved Pope John Paul II departed this world for the house of the Father.
With this celebration, let us first of all renew our thanksgiving to God for having given him to us for well near 27 years as a father and reliable guide in the faith, a zealous Pastor and courageous prophet of hope, a tireless witness and passionate servant of God's love.
As we offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice in suffrage for his chosen soul we remember the unforgettable devotion with which he celebrated the Holy Mysteries and adored the Sacrament of the Altar, the centre of his life and of his untiring mission.
I want to express my gratitude to all of you who have wished to take part in this Holy Mass. I address a particular greeting to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, imagining the sentiments that must be filling his heart at this moment.
I greet the other Cardinals, Bishops, priests and men and women Religious present; the pilgrims who have come here expressly from Poland; all the young people whom Pope John Paul II loved with a unique passion and the many members of the faithful from every part of Italy and the world who have gathered here in St Peter's Square for today's appointment.
The second anniversary of the departure of this beloved Pontiff is taking place in a particularly favourable context for recollection and prayer.
Today, it takes us to Bethany, where, precisely "six days before the Passover", as the Evangelist John notes, Lazarus, Martha and Mary asked the Teacher to supper.
The Gospel account impresses an intense paschal atmosphere on our meditation: the supper at Bethany is a prelude to Jesus' death in the sign of his anointing by Mary, a homage she pays to the Teacher which he accepts as foretelling his burial (cf. Jn 12: 7).
However, it is also an announcement of the Resurrection through the very presence of Lazarus restored to life, an eloquent witness of Christ's power over death.
Not only pregnant with Paschal significance, the narrative of the supper at Bethany is imbued with an anguishing resonance filled with love and devotion, a mist of joy and pain: festive joy at the visit of Jesus and his disciples, at the resurrection of Lazarus and at the Passover now at hand; deep sorrow because this Passover might be the last, as they were led to fear by the scheming of the Jews who desired the death of Jesus and by the threats to Lazarus whose death they were also planning.
One action in this Gospel passage is drawn to our attention, and which even now speaks to our hearts in a special way: Mary of Bethany, at a certain point, "took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair" (Jn 12: 3). This is one of those details of Jesus' life which St John cherished among his dearest memories and which is charged with inexhaustible feeling.
He speaks of love for Christ, a superabundant, wondrous love like that "costly" ointment poured over his feet. This event symptomatically shocked Judas Iscariot: the logic of love clashed with the logic of profit.
For us, gathered in prayer in memory of my Venerable Predecessor, the gesture of the anointing of Mary of Bethany is full of spiritual echoes and suggestions. It evokes John Paul II's shining witness of love for Christ, unreserved and unstinting.
The "house", that is, the entire Church, "was filled with the "fragrance" of his love (cf. Jn 12: 3).
Of course, we who were close to him benefited from it and are grateful to God, but even those who knew him from afar were able to enjoy it because Pope Wojty³a's love for Christ was so strong, so intense, we could say, that it overflowed in every region of the world.
Was not the esteem, respect and affection expressed to him at his death by believers and non-believers alike an eloquent witness of this?
St Augustine wrote, commenting on this passage of John's Gospel: ""The house was filled with the fragrance'. The world is filled with the fame of a good character: for a good character is like a sweet scent.... Through the good, the name of the Lord is honoured" (In Io. Evang. tr. 50, 7).
This is really true; the intense and fruitful pastoral ministry and, even more, the calvary of the agony and serene death of our beloved Pope showed the people of our time that Jesus Christ was truly his "all".
The fruitfulness of this witness, as we know, depended on the Cross. In Karol Wojty³a's life, the word "cross" was not merely a word. From his childhood, he was familiar with suffering and death. As priest and Bishop and especially as Supreme Pontiff, he took most seriously the Risen Christ's last call to Simon Peter on the shore of the Lake of Galilee: "Follow me... Follow me!" (Jn 21: 19, 22).
His whole life, particularly with the slow but implacable advance of the disease which gradually stripped him of everything, became an offering to Christ, a living proclamation of his passion in hope brimming with faith in the resurrection.
He lived his Pontificate in the sign of "prodigality", generously spending himself without reserve. What motivated him other than mystical love for Christ, for the One who, on 16 October 1978, had him called with the ceremonial words: "Magister adest et vocat te - the Teacher is here and is calling you"?
On 2 April 2005, the Teacher called him again, this time without intermediaries, in order to take him home to the house of the Father. And once again he promptly responded with his brave heart in a whisper: "Let me go to the Lord" (cf. S. Dziwisz, Una vita con Karol, p. 223).
He had been preparing for a long time for this last encounter with Jesus, as the various drafts of his Testament reveal.
During the long periods he spent in his private chapel he spoke to Jesus, abandoning himself totally to his will, and entrusted himself to Mary, repeating the Totus tuus. Like his Divine Teacher, he lived his agony in prayer. On the last day of his life, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, he asked that the Gospel of John be read to him.
With the help of those who were nursing him, he wanted to take part in all the daily prayers and in the Liturgy of the Hours, he wanted to do adoration and meditation. He died while he was praying. He truly fell asleep in the Lord.
"And the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment" (Jn 12: 3).
Let us return to this most evocative annotation by the Evangelist John. The Pope's sweet scent of faith, hope and charity filled his house, filled St Peter's Square, filled the Church and spread throughout the world.
What happened after his death was for believers an effect of that "fragrance" which reached everyone near and far and attracted them to a man whom God had gradually conformed to his Christ.
For this reason, we can apply to him the words of the first Song of the Servant of the Lord which we heard in the First Reading: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations..." (Is 42: 1).
"Servant of God": this is what he was and this is what we in the Church call him now, while the process of his Beatification continues.
This morning, the diocesan investigation into his life, virtues and fame of sanctity was concluded. "Servant of God", a particularly appropriate title for him. The Lord called him to his service on the path of the priesthood and little by little unfolded before him ever broader horizons: from his own Diocese to the universal Church.
This dimension of universality reached its apex at the moment of his death, an event the whole world lived with a participation unprecedented in history.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Responsorial Psalm has placed words full of trust on our lips. In the Communion of Saints, we seem to hear them spoken aloud by our beloved John Paul II, who, from the Father's House, we are sure of it, never ceases to accompany the Church on her way: "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord!" (Ps 27: 13-14).
Yes, let your heart take courage, dear brothers and sisters, and burn with hope! With this invitation in our hearts let us continue the Eucharistic Celebration, already looking at the light of the Resurrection of Christ that will shine out in the Easter Vigil after the dramatic darkness of Good Friday.
May the Totus tuus of the beloved Pontiff encourage us to follow him on the path of the gift of ourselves to Christ through the intercession of Mary, and may she herself, the Virgin Mary, obtain it for us while we entrust to her motherly hands this father, brother and friend of ours, that he may rest in God and rejoice in peace. Amen.
© Copyright 2007 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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