Thursday, May 26, 2005

Links!

Interesting things. Shulamite
English does not have a word in common usage that means what "soul" used to mean. If it did, then Atheists, Scientists, Catholics, and everyone ease would not be disputing over whether the soul exists, but what the soul is. The word "soul" used to mean "that by which living things live", but over time, the word came to mean "a spiritual substance" or "the ghost of a man". With this new imposition, the "soul" was by no means a self- evident thing, but a rightly disputable thing. We lost the root meaning of the word, and were left powerless to take that root meaning and expand its notion to include the particular truth that the human soul is immortal
I also like his "Architectonic Syllogisms" very much. Thesis: Political rights require God. Patum Pepperium channels the late Horatio Nelson
Considering that the England I gave my arm, my eye and my life for can't commemorate my sacrifice--and the sacrifice of hundreds of my officers and men--in proper style leads me to wonder if that sacrafice wasn't misbegotten. What, after all, were we doing out there on the waves, not touching land for months--sometimes years--at a time, weathering every kind of sea while maintaining blockades, shadowing enemy squadrons and engaging them in ferocious, muzzle-to-muzzle battles? For all the foll-de-roll purveyed at your universities nowadays, the fact remains that men will die willingly for the right idea. And those ideas--as well as the names of those who died for them--should never be forgotten.
Acton Institute (not a blog, but still...)
The pursuit of scientific or technological progress for its own sake should never be considered the highest good. A scientific pragmatism, which views humans and animals primarily in terms of utility, will always be an inadequate guide for ethical considerations. It violates the dignity of human beings as image-bearers of God and abandons the norms of responsible stewardship.
Zenit carries this report on some of the behind the scenes media concerns the Vatican had when JPII passed away:
In the period between April 1 and 24, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications provided accreditation and assistance to 4,843 communicators involved in television, radio and photography. The Press Office of the Holy See provided credentials to about 2,500 journalists. Obviously, for the TV people and photographers, we had to guarantee visual access through selected locations and rotating pools. For the major ceremonies, we also had to inform TV networks of the availability of the images from St. Peter's Basilica and Square -- and it was necessary for us to start a Web site independent of the official Vatican site which was overwhelmed with inquiries. Through that Web site, we were not only able to keep those in Rome informed but also to make it possible for 155 networks in 84 countries to receive the needed information and texts to bring a live telecast of the funeral of Pope John Paul II to what was certainly one of the largest audiences in the history of television.

Sinister? Me?

What military aircraft are you?

EA-6B Prowler

You are an EA-6B. You are sinister, preferring not to get into confrontations, but extract revenge through mind games and technological interference. You also love to make noise and couldn't care less about pollution.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Finding God in the basement

Godspy: Interview with Matthew Lickona, author of Swimming with Scapulars I do still consider myself to be on a break from blogging, but that doesn't mean I can't post now and again. Here is a bit of an interview with one of the so called New Faithful. Lickona is a thirty year old dad, and a writer for an alternative paper, whose book is called Swimming with Scapulars, True Confessions of a Young Catholic. Yes, there's some debate about whether the "New Faithful" Catholic revival is real or not, and whether there are hard numbers that confirm the trend. What do you think? I don't know if there are hard numbers to confirm the trend. It seems to me like it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If enough stories run about how people are returning to Eucharistic Adoration, people might start to pay more attention, they might ask what it's about, and they might find the answer appealing. I've used the image of poking around in the Church's dusty basement, picking things up, examining them, and wondering why they're down there. Why did Eucharistic Adoration go away? It's time with Jesus Incarnate. What was wrong with mortification of the flesh through fasting? It's all over Scripture, and still held up by the Church as one of the three pillars—together with prayer and almsgiving—of the spiritual life. Why did the sacrament of Confession go out of style? I don't think you have to be obsessed with guilt to love the sacrament. You just have to acknowledge the reality of sin, something any Christian should be comfortable doing, since sin is the reason for the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Where there's sin, there's guilt, and hallelujah whaddya know, confession removes that stain from your soul. Personally, if I were not a member of the New Faithful—if by that you mean a person interested in connecting with tradition and conforming to the truths proclaimed by the Church—I can't see why I would be a Catholic. If I didn't think the Church had the power to teach authoritatively in matters of faith and morals, if I didn't think those teachings were ordered to my spiritual well being and, ultimately, my salvation, I don't know why I would stay. But as it is, I think that the Catholic Church has the best grasp of the fullness of truth, so I'm all in, even if some of the teachings prove difficult to understand or obey. And perhaps most importantly, the Church has the Eucharist. ... That reminds me—you talk in the book about your difficulties with the idea, or the emotion, of "joy." It's a difficult concept—is it an emotion? Certainly, I'm gratified by consolation as much as anybody might be. It's why the Eucharist is at the heart of my faith. It's the engine, and the anchor, because I do get my greatest moments of spiritual consolation from it. But consolation is not what I hang my hat on. The faith permeates and colors my whole understanding of the world. It's a lot of things—it's a moral code, an intellectual framework, it gives life meaning. Those things are enough, I think.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Wolrdview quiz

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative

81%

Fundamentalist

56%

Idealist

50%

Postmodernist

38%

Existentialist

31%

Romanticist

31%

Modernist

25%

Materialist

6%
What is Your World View? (corrected...again) created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Problems and solutions

Problem Solution A Solution B Heck, use 'em both. There's lots to go around. Maybe the best thing about the Problem reported above is that it makes me feel thoroughly vindicated in calling Barbie a whore. There had been this twinge of remorse and it's all gone now.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dither's Fan Club

Occam's biography of Mr. Dithers is sweet. Mark Steyn weighs in the the fiasco of the past week:
In the forthcoming Western Standard , I make the point that “the big flaw at the heart of the Westminster system is that in order to function as intended – by codes and conventions – it depends on a certain modesty and circumspection from the political class.” Perhaps it was always a long shot to expect a man as hollow as Paul Martin to understand that. When a fellow’s spent his entire adult life wanting to be Prime Minister without giving a single thought to what he wants to do in the job, it’s hardly likely he’d go quietly into the dignified losers’ club with Clark, Turner and Campbell. But the fact remains: by any understanding of our system of government, if the effect of “an extra week’s delay” is to maintain themselves in power by one vote they otherwise would not have had, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a constitutional coup. Like Robert Mugabe, Paul Martin has simply declared that the constitution is whatever he says it is.
Sadly, it's tough to even talk about this sad state of affairs because the man on the street - in my experience of the past few days- does not even understand it. Westminster what? Confidence? What's a few days?
To attack Belinda is sexist! To attack Gagliano is racist! To attack Liberals is "extremist" and "angry", and we need to restore "civility" to our politics. I don’t know whether the power-crazed Harper will “destroy Canada”. I do know that the Martin regime is chipping away at it day by day, and Canadians who don’t take Jerry’s view have few good options. Unlike King/Byng or Sir John Kerr firing Gough Whitlam, what makes this a constitutional crisis is that there’s no crisis: Parliament votes, and Martin shrugs; Martin fiddles the math, and Canada shrugs. And the chaps at The Ottawa Citizen think the big question now is: “Is there room for moderate, urban conservatives in the new Conservative Party?
The whole sex issue is a distraction from the real issue, and that is the abuse of power, the selling of positions such as cabinet posts, ambassadorships, and, let's not forget, the justice system itself. Watching Politics on the CBC this afternoon, there was a wee moment where one commentator brought up the fact that the Stronach affair is viewed quite differently in the West, where it is seen as yet another knife into the aspirations of western Canada by a rich snot from Ontario. That's about how it's phrased too. I doubt it ever - ever!- crossed Stronach's mind how alienating her actions are seen here. The comment disappeared like a lead zeppelin the moment the camera passed to the next talking head. I am beginning to really consider if Canada might be broken. The Liberals can claim they are the only party with a 'national vision' but they are in fact the party of Imperial Ottawa. The Bloc speaks for Quebec and the CPC speaks for the west. It has been trying to sell it's vision of the country to anyone out east who will listen but the response has been mixed, to say the least. The NDP is too extreme to have any hope at the moment of forming a national government. The best they seem to be able to do is act as a parasite on the Liberals. One cannot govern by virtue of a population quirk, and do it as if one had the will of the people in a magic lamp. This denial of reality cannot go on forever. Dithers does not have a majority government. Culturally speaking, he has only 0.333 of the country (ie. not Quebec and not the west). Having your ass saved by the speaker after delaying for nine days so you can work out your bribes does nothing to "restore confidence in the government." It's rather the opposite. Assuming anyone is even watching. Cynicism is not sophistication. As Steyn points out:
If you’re stopped in the street by a CBC reporter and you tell him, “Oh, everyone does it. That’s politics. What’s the big deal?”, you’re not being worldly and cynical, you’re being played like a violin by the Liberal Party fiddlers.

Turncoat Barbie

It's not my creation but I'm happy to link to... Turncoat Barbie. Maybe I'm not quite finished throwing paint at a backstabbing ******* just yet. Oh, and those 'hypocrite' charges? Everything I've said about Barbie is nothing I haven't quietly kept to myself since about... day one of her leadership campaign. Tell me you've never overlooked faults in someone who professes to be a friend. Yeah, I thought so. I had a big laugh over a headline in The Vancouver Sun today (it's a rag but it's also the biggest paper in the city). Did you know that being critical of the way Barbie handled this affair - the sex part, anyway- makes you a "knuckledragging" so and so? Gaia and 'those who speak for women' have spoken. Orthodoxy is just so... like inefficient and yesterday, man. The most shocking thing is that, apparently, all of the women I spoke to and quoted the other day... they're not women. This reminds me of the whole Condi Rice and Margaret Thatcher 'are not women' schtick. It was schtoopid then and it's schtoopid now. Stop it, please, you are giving ammo to people who really do have sexist and misogynistic views. You don't get a free pass to act like backstabbing doofus just because you are a woman. What about the women Stronach and Martin have trampled on? Let me guess... not women either, right? If the Liberal women's caucus wasn't just as power mad as the rest of the party, they might realize that having Barbie on board is not a good thing for the party, and certainly not a good thing for a woman who wants to be understood as someone with something to say regardless of what her shoes look like.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Divisions

The Pew Centre has a new report out on how the political landscape is shaped in the US. You can take the test yourself and see where you fall. Me? I'm an Enterpriser. A description of all of the groups is here. There are all kinds of interesting factoids here, including this:
The U.S. remains a majority-Protestant nation (56% overall say they belong to the Protestant tradition), and this includes a majority among all groups except the younger, more secular Bystanders (49%) and Liberals (36%). Among other groups, Protestants range from 55% among the Upbeats up to 68% among the Social Conservatives. White evangelical Protestants, a core constituency for President Bush, are a significant plurality group among Social Conservatives (43%), Pro-Government Conservatives (37%), and Enterprisers (34%). White evangelicals constitute no more than 22% of any other group in the typology, and include only 5% of the Liberals. In contrast with the great variability of evangelical representation across groups, Catholics are not concentrated in any specific group or cluster of groups. Catholics are one-quarter of the population (25%), but their proportions among groups vary only from 20% among Enterprisers to 30% among Upbeats. Catholics are 23% of the three Republican groups and 26% of the three Democratic groups. Jews make up approximately 3% of the public overall, but 8% of the Liberals. People who identify with a religion outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition comprise about 5% of the population but include 8% of Liberals and 8% of Bystanders. Secular individuals -­ those who say they are agnostic, atheist, or say they have no religious affiliation ­ are a significant portion only of Liberals: 22%. They include 12% of Bystanders and 9% of Disaffecteds, but otherwise constitute no more than 6% of the other groups
NRO's Jonah Goldberg weighs in:
The ideas, assumptions and prejudices held by the statistically typical Democratic voter, according to the Pew study, are quite simply, European. Europeans believe in a strong social welfare state, for rich and poor alike. Europeans are cynical. They look askance — these days — on patriotic sentiment (hence the rush to form a new European nation). The church pews of Europe would make a great hideout for bank robbers since they’re always empty. The United Nations is, in the typical European’s worldview, the last best hope for mankind. From the death penalty to gay marriage, the more similar you are to a typical European in your political and social outlook, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. We’ve seen this before. At the time of our nation’s founding, there were a bunch of Americans who clung to European values. Today we call their descendants “Canadians.” Up north, the government isn’t something to be distrusted so much as something to be obeyed. For example, when the government told the people to switch to the metric system, they did. Our government told us to do the same thing at about the same time, and America barely even noticed.
I still think a major social faultline is whether or not a person is turned outwards, towards others, towards trying to see others as they really are, and those who are turned inwards, concerned really with getting what they want. I call the first group religious, even when they distain that label themselves, because God is the ultimate other. The second group are hedonistic materialists. No political group has a monopoly on either group, as I think this report shows. You can be selfish conservative and you can be a Godly liberal. I will add the caveats that being a Godly liberal is tough because I honestly think the policies you choose are (at least somewhat) at odds with what you are trying to achieve. I have a great ally on my side in Alexis de Tocqueville:
In Democracy in America, Tocqueville suggested that democracy was capable of breeding its own form of despotism, albeit one without the edges of Jacobin or Bonapartist dictatorship with which Europeans were all too familiar. The book spoke of “an immense protective power” which took all responsibility for everyone’s happiness — just so long as this power remained “sole agent and judge of it.” This power, Tocqueville wrote, would “resemble parental authority” but would try to keep people “in perpetual childhood” by relieving people “from all the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living.” Such circumstances might arise, Tocqueville noted, if democracy’s progress was accompanied by demands for a leveling of social conditions. The danger was that an obsession with equality was very compatible with increasingly centralized state-power. Leveling social conditions, Tocqueville observed, usually involved using the state to subvert those intermediate associations that reflected social differences, but also limited government-power. Tocqueville’s vision of “soft-despotism” is thus one of arrangements that mutually corrupt citizens and the democratic state. Citizens vote for those politicians who promise to use the state to give them whatever they want. The political-class delivers, so long as citizens do whatever it says is necessary to provide for everyone’s desires. The “softness” of this despotism consists of people’s voluntary surrender of their liberty and their tendency to look habitually to the state for their needs.
I wonder if Tocqueville -also Catholic- would have been an Enterpriser?

Abusing science

I'm stunned an disappointed about the vote in the house of commons today, and I'm tired of writing invective, so I'm passing on that subject - for the moment. I do have other interests and here are a few links about them. Micheal Ruse is a Darwinist that I have a soft spot for. He's no Christian but he does the good thing by picking nits with people who use Darwin to advance their political agenda / neo religion. Get Religion has a number of links, as Ruse has a new book out on the subject:
“This is not just a fight about dinosaurs or gaps in the fossil record,” says Ruse, speaking from his home in Florida. “This is a fight about different worldviews.” . . .Virtually every prominent Darwinian in recent decades has eschewed social Darwinism, and most believe that evolution itself, while responsible for the increased complexity of organic forms over time, cannot be regarded as a linear process driving toward a particular endpoint. But Ruse asserts that popular contemporary biologists like Edward O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins have also exacerbated the divisions between evolutionists and creationists by directly challenging the validity of religious belief — Dawkins by repeatedly declaring his atheism (”faith,” he once wrote, “is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate”), and Wilson by describing his “search for objective reality” as a replacement for religious seeking. All told, Ruse claims, loading values onto the platform of evolutionary science constitutes “evolutionism,” an outlook that goes far beyond the scientific acceptance of evolution as a means of explaining the origins and development of species. Provocatively, Ruse argues that evolutionism has often constituted a “religion” itself by offering “a world picture, a story of origins, and a special place for humans,” while its proponents have been “trying deliberately to do better than Christianity.”
Also on the subject of abusing science for political gain is this story from Slate, about misleading a confused public over biotech issues like stem cells:
This is why the Times' terminology matters. I first noticed it on Feb. 10, when the Times declared, "Massachusetts Governor Opposes Stem Cell Work." I blinked. I had thought Romney supported stem cell research. I looked at the lede. It said he opposed "a type of embryonic stem cell research." What type? I read five paragraphs in vain. The sixth paragraph said he opposed "a type of embryonic stem cell research that many scientists consider extremely promising: research that involves creating human embryos specifically for scientific experimentation." I grinned at the "extremely promising" jab. Still, there was no mention that the research in question required embryo destruction. Maybe it wasn't cloning. Not until the 11th paragraph did that word surface.
On a slightly different note, but still on the topic of bias, have a look see at what Google has been up to.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Perhaps I'm unkind

Perhaps I'm unkind when I write about the shenanigans of our beloved Federal Liberal party. Perhaps I just loose my mind at the thought of the word 'liberal.' Perhaps I'm being -the horror! - unchristian. Then again, maybe not. Mrs. P at Patum Peperium makes the case for a critical Christendom in a post about Jane Austen:
Jane Austen is thought to be one of the world's best novelists. She is also known to have been a serious Christian. Her Christian morality shaped her novels and brought her characters to life. The two are inseparable. Yet Jane wrote some highly critical even inflammatory descriptions of characters like the one for Dick Musgrove. She described characters and their actions in a manner today (2005) that many wearing purple shirts and pointy hats on Sunday would say were "unChristian". Christians today are not allowed to judge people or their actions. But Jane Austen certainly judged and those judgements did not impinge on her Christian reputation. In fact they enhanced it. What has happened over the last 200 years to cause this?
Mrs. P answers the question to my satisfaction here:
I believe the cult of Sensibility and Romanticism has invaded our everyday life. It has invaded our schools, Colleges, Universities, the Human Resource Departments of most corporations and most of our churches. This is one of the reasons why Christians are required to sound like goofy babies when they speak. Why they can no longer judge people and their actions for fear of sounding unChristian. Romanticism is a demanding mistress. To be a Romantic religious person, you must always feel it - be on fire so to speak. Very tiresome because as everyone knows there are just times when you just don't feel it. Religion is not about emotion or feelings. If it is, it will disappoint you profoundly if you're lucky enough. Jane Austen understood this. This is why she did not like the Evangelical Movement. She saw it as being too dependent on feelings. Jane Austen was guided by the immutable moral standards as defined by Orthodox Christianty. As a result she was capable of great affection, great love, humor and sadness. Her characters were as well. This is why she and her novels have been so beloved for so long. This is also why they are so misunderstood.

Winning the battle; losing the war

Belmont Club, one of the finer blogs going, chimes in on Canada's most messed up government in a generation:
The survival of Paul Martin's government, shaken by scandal after scandal, has been bought at the price of violating the spirit of the Westminister system by ignoring what was effectively a vote of no-confidence until they could bribe someone to cross the aisle to square the count. Martin survived but only by bending the rulebook. A Canadian conservative victory without Martin's shennanigans would have been an unremarkable and narrow electoral triumph. But the Liberal Party of Canada's actions now mean that the issues dividing political factions in the Great White North are fundamental. By demonstrating a determination to hold on to power at all costs Martin is increasing the likelihood of a radical, rather than an incremental solution to the Canadian crisis. ... This survey of events suggests (and it just my opinion) that the real strategic danger to the cause of freedom and democracy isn't from the noisemakers of the Left but from the temptation to betray principles for tactical gain. It lies on the very same path that Galloway, Martin and Newsweek, in their cunning, have taken.
I dread where this is going. I truly do. A decade of PM the PM will ruin this country, if it still exits.

But barbie is a whore

The rich are the scum of the earth in every country. G. K. Chesterton, Flying Inn (1914) I'll start with Chesterton because while the sex issue in this story of Belinda's latest stroll is all over the web, the class issue is going untouched. And by class, I don't just mean the fact that Paul Martin and Barbie have none.
  • the musk of gender, I'm afraid, lingers in the nose across the whole thread. I'm not going to engage in hand-wringing about it; male politicians are quite routinely, not to say incessantly, called "whores". Like anyone else born in 1971 I would have an instinctive fear of calling a female politician a "whore", but in truth we only suffer this fear here precisely because we are talking about a politician whose looks are the substantive, universally professed basis for her status and renown. It seems strange to cut her extra slack precisely because she has no identifiable record of achievement, is a jet-setting serial monogamist who pals around with Bill Clinton, and isn't what you'd call ragingly intelligent. Colby Cosh
  • Belinda Stronach had barely made her debut as a Liberal yesterday when like-minded callers were pre-emptively phoning Toronto radio stations to bemoan the sexist nature of anyone who might in the ensuing days dare to label the woman a political whore. Oh, how very cute, and how very familiar: It is never enough for the Liberal Party of Canada, its henchmen or supporters, to let the people decide what they will make of a given situation. The good Liberal always attempts to dictate the very language of what will, and what won't, constitute the parameters of fair comment and reasonable discussion thereafter. But let us, just this once, dispense with those niceties. Christie Blatchford in The Globe and Mail (Hell Yeah!!! -ed. ). The Last Amazon, another woman after my own heart, carries a longer quote from Blatch.
  • Stronach, to be plain, is not known for long-term fidelity. To put the nicest spin on it, she craves constant stimulation, new vistas to conquer. To be less charitable, she's easily bored and used to assuming authority without first earning it... Now Stronach doesn't have to endure a boring, if not eternal, wait for her Cabinet position. After all, she's been in politics for over a year! Now she has her nice starter Cabinet post as head of Human Resources and Skills Development. Ann Kingston, The National Post
  • Belinda doesn't seem to stay with men for long. Or careers. Or, as it turns out, political parties. She's always eyeing the next big thing just over the horizon. She's not that keen on working her way up from the bottom. She'd rather start somewhere near the top, where she can make a difference right away. "She feels she's gifted," her father, Frank, once said. Belinda says her private life is not our business. Still, you can't help detecting a few trends. She has a habit of mixing up love and business and ambition. Love generally winds up third. Peggy Wente, The Globe and Mail
  • AGWN has a look at the Liberal candidate who Paul Martin turfed from running in Stronach's riding - Martha Hall Findlay. Not to mention the woman who was dumped from cabinet to make room for Stronach.
The quotes from three well known women reporters above are all taken from Andrew Coyne's blog. Andrew also gives us an interesting tidbit, suggesting that not getting on TV might have been the trigger for the Barbie's big move. Not ideology, not policy, not principle, just naked ambition. How dare I not get what I want when I want it. The Last Amazon's longer quote from Blatchford contains this:
true to Liberal form, Ms. Stronach apparently already believes she has somehow begun to clean things up, just by her presence. Listen to what she said yesterday: "Let me say I'm very proud to undertake this role, to bring greater ethics, because without ethics, that's the foundation, that's our moral fiber." Huh? How has she done anything there but demonstrate her own feeble grasp of that other official language, English?
Truly a hilarious quote. It's almost Python-esque if you read it straight. If this was about ethics, why did she hold out for a cabinet seat? Why do it now, days after voting no confidence in the government she's joining? Why not sit as an independent? My parsing of it, however, is that what Barbie means by "ethics" is that the CPC no longer serves her needs. The blather about ethics, about Quebec separation, about negativity, about "being a woman" (oy!) - those are just fig leaves. People like Barbie - and Paul - do what they do out of greed and ambition. They paper over it with rhetoric only because they have to. Darn this democracy stuff, this common tripe about ethics. Why can't I just do what I want? A certain amount of this kind of behavior is to be expected in politics because politics is about the art of compromise. Sometimes when you compromise you need to paper over your past statements, statements that were intended to rally enough support so that you would not need to compromise as much as the other guy. That is normal. That is par for the course. What is decidedly abnormal is displaying no serious grasp of political issues, using daddy's money and politcal connections, sleeping with people to get ahead, and then when all of that fails to work quickly enough, jumping ship and having the gall - the Gall!- to say that "this is about ethics." Barbie is a whore. Every woman I respect has given that verdict. I pity her. Her circumstances have left her crippled in ways that are obvious to most of us who have to work for every dime we get, who's parents didn't hand us everything we ever asked for. I doubt if she could fathom why I think she's pitiful and that only underlines the pathos of it. The best people you ever meet are almost always those who suffered for people and things they love. I doubt Barbie's done too much of that. Lest I be accused of being too partisan, rest assured I'm not making saints out of the CPC, because saints they ain't. This is what a modern saint looks like.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's easier for us

If everybody just plays along I've wasted too much of my time on this... but it was fun.

Daddy's boy meets Daddy's girl

The good news is that if CPC leader Stephen Harper should fail to form a government in the next election, we will not have to endure another leadership campaign from Frank Stronach's daughter. She was pathetic in the first one but it is conceivable that a demoralized CPC might have turned to someone like her if they were desperate (and maybe drunk). What really worries me is what this might do to Peter McKay, who was romantically linked to Stronach not too long ago, and whose principles are almost as plastic. He could be yet another rich dad's kid in the Liberal Party of Canada. (Martin and Stronach are both intellectual lightweights with mega rich dads). It'll be fun watching her try and stick the knife in Martin's back some time in the future. It's no wonder the Martin government is so inept either. He gave Stronach, who has what? One year of politics behind her? a cabinet seat. In doing so, he passed over people who have been in the party for many, many years and who are likely more qualified. It seems the only qualities that count in this government are "what can you do for me?" I pray that Canadians can see this for what it is: nepotism by an unprincipled rich brat who knows nothing else. It helps when the press laughs at the PM, as they did during the announcement today. Had fun with this yet? Go on. You know you want to.

Monday, May 16, 2005

How many fingers am I holding up?

Here are two very different writers, on two very different subjects. Or are they? Christopher Hitchens, from Slate:
This campaign of horror began before Baghdad fell, with the execution and mutilation of those who dared to greet American and British troops. It continued with the looting of the Baghdad museum and other sites, long before there could have been any complaint about the failure to restore power or security. It is an attempt to put Iraqi Arabs and Kurds, many of them still traumatized by decades of well-founded fear, back under the heel of the Baath Party or under a home-grown Taliban, or the combination of both that would also have been the Odai/Qusai final solution. Half-conceding the usefulness of chaos and misery in bringing this about, Bennet in his closing paragraph compares jihadism to 19th-century anarchism, which shows that he hasn't read Proudhon or Bakunin or Kropotkin either. In my ears, "insurgent" is a bit like "rebel" or even "revolutionary." There's nothing axiomatically pejorative about it, and some passages of history have made it a term of honor. At a minimum, though, it must mean "rising up." These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down. It's time for respectable outlets to drop the word, to call things by their right names (Baathist or Bin Ladenist or jihadist would all do in this case), and to stop inventing mysteries where none exist.
George Wiegel, from an address given at Gregorian University in December, 2004:
If democratic institutions and procedures are the expressions of a distinctive way of life based on specific moral commitments, then democratic citizenship must be more than a matter of following the procedures and abiding by the laws and regulations agreed upon by the institutions. A democratic citizen is someone who can give an account of his or her commitment to human rights, to the rule of law and equality before the law, to decision-making by the majority and protection of the rights of minorities. Democratic citizenship means being able to tell why one affirms "the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law," to cite the preamble to the European constitution. Who can give such an account?... It is all very strange. For the truth of the matter is that European Christians can likely give a more compelling account of their commitment to democratic values than their fellow Europeans who are a-theos — who believe that "neutrality toward worldviews" must characterize democratic Europe. A postmodern or neo-Kantian "neutrality toward worldviews" cannot be truly tolerant; it can only be indifferent. Absent convictions, there is no tolerance; there is only indifference. Absent some compelling notion of the truth that requires us to be tolerant of those who have a different understanding of the truth, there is only skepticism and relativism. And skepticism and relativism are very weak foundations on which to build and sustain a pluralistic democracy, for neither skepticism nor relativism, by their own logic, can "give an account" of why we should be tolerant and civil.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Fun with images

An editorial in pictures Inside Paul Martin's brain. The reality. US readers can get up to speed here. A possible solution. Only an idiot would think that he has the right and the ability to spend the people's money and to (at his leisure) set the dates for votes after being defeated in the house. Martin appears to be so liberal he's liberated himself from all reality - truth, tradition, and common decency. Martin has power only dejure. Defacto, he's lost it. Most amusingly, he's never really had it. He's the PM only because he's riding on Chretien's legacy. It was Chretien who won the majority that Paul's tenuous right to govern rests on. Hey Paul? There's no divine right to be the Prime Minister. I don't care what your dad told you. And that BC election? It's Tuesday, not Monday you moron.

Friday, May 13, 2005

It's not your house

How can I not support this rally? I am almost as far away from Ottawa as I can get but I'd be there if I could. If you can, go. Maybe take some gear from these guys. I'd love to see it be a roaring success. Then again I hear Toronto is still something like 41% Grit. I don't understand that. At all.

Team Martin, working for us all

Look! It's the team Martin election gurus working on their campaign for the summer election. Credit: Logical Meme

Grit bashing

cuz its fun I'm still on holidays but I wanted to share this because this makes me ill:
Well, I recall one Friday evening, a couple years ago, when I almost quit the Liberal Party of Canada. It was the night that the Martin cabal took over the riding association of former cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal, knowing (a) Dhaliwal was out of the country and (b) his wife was dying of cancer. I had witnessed a lot political thuggery, to be sure, but I had never before seen anything as disgusting, and as inhuman, as that. It was only a friend in Ottawa who talked me out of quitting.
Yeah, that's WK. And yes, I know who he is and how he plays it - this scores him points against the dastardly confederate Liberals (Martinites / doofuses). It also just happens to be true. Ps. I'm going to have a million links to do when I come back... unless I do some heavy culling.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Time Out

There have been no posts on North Western Winds since Saturday morning about 3 days ago, give or take. I've been mulling this post over for a few days, wondering if I should do this or not. I wondered at first if it was just my aching body being angry at me for overdoing it on the weekend and washing the house (not the car, the house). Now that I'm recovering and still shying away from my blogging tools, I think it's more than that. Don't worry, I'm not pulling the plug on NWW. I am, however, facing a nasty blogging wall right now. I suspect that a hiatus will allow me to get back on track. I don't know how long I'll need, but I have had a personal webpage and kept it updated off and on for many years, long before there was anything like Blogger. I'm going to guess that two months might do it. If that isn't enough, I'd be very surprised if I wasn't blogging again by the end of the summer. It was not a coincidence that I started NWW in August, when the gardening and summer travel season were winding down. I have been posting almost every day since then. It's a lot more than I ever imagined I would be doing. Blogging can be very addictive. I'm sure many of you know that already. It's also a time vacuum. What will I do? I plan to read more - my off line reading took a pretty big hit from all that writing. It was very good to get all of that off my mind and to hear back from others. That was what I made the move to Blogger for, after all. I also expect to spend time with my wife, in the garden and on a few small road trips - enjoying and reflecting. I'm a fan of reflection and recommend it to everyone. It's great for getting a better and a deeper perspective. I expect I might miss out on some things by dropping out now. We might, for example, have a new government in Canada before I return to regular posting. I haven't done too much political blogging, however. It often feels like Monday morning quaterbacking; there are many more knowledgeable bloggers on that subject than yours truly. I also want to say thanks to everyone who took the time to tell me they like what I'm doing here. I do get fanmail, which is a great perk. Three Bad Fingers made me laugh when he wrote me to say: Your posts read like math proofs, but not nearly as boring. That was intended as a compliment (I was a math major, so my humor is often impaired). You are exactly the kind of blogger I enjoy reading. I will come back often. Anne Basso wrote: I discovered your blog this evening. It is incredibly thoughtful and well-written. I am a Catholic homeschooling mom, and have added you to my list of favorite blogs on my site. NWW has been popular with university students of all kinds and also teachers, especially Catholic ones. I've also enjoyed exchanges with those who disagreed. Greg at Sinsiter Thoughts has been especially good about sharing a different point of view, as have a few others - Ben, Andrew, and Peter. The other Peters have also been great - one, and two. These kind folks asked me if I wanted to contribute to their new webzine; I declined as I felt NWW was already sucking up a lot of time. Least missed blogger? That really annoying and dumb pirate. Red Ensign folks will know who I mean. I hope everyone will keep me on their blogrolls and bookmarks. I'm looking forward to coming back with fresh eyes and more to share. In the meantime, this unfortunate post was written on the same day B16 was elected Pope and was probably ignored as a result. I'm still open to thinking about it.