I hope and pray for all of us that 2009 will be a happier new year.
Have fun tonight. Don't drink and drive.
And remember, tomorrow is another day, month, and year.
Not a Joke From What I Can Tell
13 minutes ago
DAMNED IF THEY DO
BUT ISRAEL'S DEAD IF THEY DON'T
Ah, yes, "gracefully step aside." That's essentially what the cultural left has been asking traditionalists to do for 30 years now, to politely shut up while it goes about redefining the country's mores. The answer must now be, as it has always been, "No way, no how."Why?
Fit Republican president = Selfish, indulgent, creepy fascist.
Fit Democratic president = Disciplined, health-conscious Adonis role model.
The good news: In just a few short weeks, W. will be able to exercise in peace, free from the disapproving glares of journalists now rushing to mop the sweat — er, the glisten — from Barack Obama’s hallowed brow.
A Media Morality Tale [Victor Davis Hanson]
The putative Caroline Kennedy candidacy for senator has had the odd effect of reopening the media can of worms treatment of Gov. Palin. Compared to Sarah Palin's almost immediate immersion into crowds and public speaking, Kennedy seems like a deer in the headlights before the media that is either ignored or asked to submit written questions. Palin was a natural; Kennedy can't finish a single sentence without "You know" or "I mean." Palin's family saga and daily grind were populist to the core; Kennedy is a creature of a few blocks' radius in Manhattan and Martha's Vineyard.
Outsider and lower-middle-class Palin toughed it out in Wasilla for years of politicking on a 16-year slog through Alaskan old-boy politics; Caroline Kennedy in regal fashion apparently skipped voting in about half of New York elections, and has never run for anything.
Reporters swarmed over Palin's pregnancies, and her wardrobe, but apparently took on face value that Caroline's fluff books were really a sign of either erudition or scholarship.
Conservative Palin endured liberal Charlie Gibson's glasses0on-the nose pretentiousness, and Katie Couric's attack-dog questions; insider Kennedy I doubt will meet with either, much less sit down with a hostile questioner like a Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Her friendly New York Times "interview" proved an embarrassment—rarely have so many words been spoken with so little content.
But, no, the real embarrassment proves to be the media itself that apparently can't see this weird unfolding self-incriminating morality tale: It is not just that Palin is conservative, Kennedy politically-correct (e.g., pro-abortion, gun control, gay marriage, etc), or Palin a newcomer to public attention, Kennedy a celebrity since childhood. Rather it is the aristocratic value system of most NY-DC journalists themselves who apparently still assume that old money, status, and an Ivy-League pedigree are reliable barometers of talent and sobriety, suggesting that the upper-East Side Kennedy's public ineptness is an aberration, a bad day, a minor distraction, while Palin's charisma and ease are superficial and a natural reflection of her Idaho sports journalism degree.
A few generations ago, Democrats would have opposed Palin but appreciated her blue-collar story, and applauded a working mom who out-politicked entrenched and richer male elites. But now the new aristocratic liberalism has adopted the values of the old silk-stocking Republicans of the 1950s—and so zombie-like worship rather than question entitlement.
The Good Dad
An NRO Q&A
Fathers have a little something to do with Christmas — and the Christmas story. And so it seems an appropriate time to talk to Brian Caulfield, editor of the Fathers for Good website, run by the Knights of Columbus. He interrupted Christmas Eve preparations to talk to National Review Online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez about the initiative.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What is Fathers for Good? Are there Fathers for Bad?
BRIAN CAULFIELD: Fathers for Good is a new initiative for men and their families by the Knights of Columbus, launched as part of our updated web-based programs designed to show the truly dynamic face of the Catholic fraternal Order that has been serving our church and communities for 126 years.
Your readers may want to log on now to the site (www.fathersforgood.org) to post a New Year’s Resolution or hear a podcast on giving their wives the perfect gift. Or read “A Father’s Blog” on the miracle of the Virtue Tree, a true tale.
The website offers a wealth of information, interaction, inspiration, and opportunities for formation that will help men become better fathers and husbands, with the latest insights and research, as well as some age-old wisdom. For example, we have podcasts from Super Bowl champ Chris Godfrey about how to talk to your teens about sex, and the well-known pro-lifer Helen Alvare explains the meaning of the domestic church.
The name Fathers for Good has a double meaning: 1) every man in his heart wants to be a good father, even amid human frailty; and 2) once a man becomes a father, once he generates new life, it is “for good,” for the rest of his life. No matter the circumstances of his life or those of his child, that man will always bear the identity of a father. This is good news of great joy, and we try to help men live out that joy.
LOPEZ: Who is Fathers for Good? Are you theme-driven? What’s the goal?
CAULFIELD: The goal is to be of service to fathers in their often difficult vocation. Men in general and fathers in particular are often portrayed negatively on TV and popular media, and men need to know that their specifically male virtues and character are valued and have a place in the modern world. We also abide by Pope John Paul II’s insight that men learn their fatherhood through the love of their wives, so the relationship with their wives is key.
The first message we want to convey is that men have an understanding friend at Fathers for Good and in the larger community of the Knights of Columbus. We have 1.75 million members in 13,000 councils throughout the world, and the website is available in English, Spanish, French and Polish.
The purpose of Fathers for Good is explained in the 90-second video introduction by Carl Anderson, the supreme knight (CEO) of the Knights of Columbus, that is posted on the site. As he states, Fathers for Good is not an exclusive community — it is a site for men who are striving to do the best they can. We want to hear from men and women and there is an interactive feature for posting questions and answers.
LOPEZ: Is this an initiative just for Catholics?
CAULFIELD: It’s for all men, though the site is in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, which is really a combination of natural law and common sense. Adhering to timeless truths actually gives us the freedom to explore new topics in a way that is not subject to the politically correct trends of the day.
LOPEZ: Why should moms want dads on your site?
CAULFIELD: Not only that, but dads should want their wives to visit the site. There’s a section called “Good for Mothers,” which has the motto, taken from Father Hesburgh, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.”
A wife should encourage her husband to visit Fathers for Good because he will find resources to improve his relationship with his wife and his children. We call men to the discipline of daily self-giving love, which is also the way of self-fulfillment.
LOPEZ: Does your site go against the male grain? Don’t you fellas not like reading directions?
CAULFIELD: Well, we don’t ask guys to go against nature, so we don’t expect them to suddenly start asking directions, or read them. But seriously, the site is about embracing the adventure of fatherhood. Men need challenges, goals, heroism, and we tell them that their greatest call can be found right in their own backyard, in the daily stuff of family life, which can be Christlike and sacrificial.
LOPEZ: Why is it not patronizing or sexist to say that fathers are “protectors”? Can’t women protect too? Why should feminists embrace the Fathers for Good version of fatherhood?
CAULFIELD: Well, fathers are protectors, and I think most mothers expect that of their husbands. Of course, mothers are protectors also, not only of their children but of their husbands. They can save men from the excesses of their characters and personalities, and make them fully the man they are called to be.
I think Christian feminists, at least, would be pleased with Fathers for Good. We’re getting beyond the angry, anti-male feminism to the authentic feminism that John Paul II talks about.
LOPEZ: When was your launch date? How many have clicked on and participated in one way or another?
CAULFIELD: We launched just this past August and have been focused on a target audience to test content, features and feedback, but now we’re moving out to a wider web audience. We appreciate any comments and suggestions from your readers. We need to work together in promoting authentic fatherhood, which is based on God the Father.
LOPEZ: Since it’s Christmas season: What should we be focusing on about St. Joseph as father? If we’re fathers? If we’re mothers? If we’re single? If we’re clergy? Did I leave anyone out?
CAULFIELD: We have a whole section on St. Joseph, whom we call the Patron of Fathers. St. Joseph was a “just man” who may have had dreams about a certain way of life with his young bride, Mary, but after hearing from the angel of God, he accepted the truth of his fatherhood immediately.
He was a laborer, a man of action and few words, who was told by the angel to get up and he got up, to go and he went, to flee and he fled, to return and he returned. He is a model to biological fathers in his guidance of Jesus, who learned to be a man under his care; to single men in his chaste attitude toward Mary; to priests in his celibate love, and also to women in showing them that good men can be trusted.
To the extent that the report succeeds in its goal of establishing the distance between Obama and Blagojevich, it necessarily raises the question: Why was the president-elect and leader of the Democratic party playing no role in a key appointment to national office being made in his home state, and by a Democratic governor?
Today, increasing numbers of scholars recognize that FDR’s own policies were a further extension of interventions begun under Hoover. Moreover, the temporary rise in unemployment after the stock market crash was nowhere near the massive and long-lasting unemployment after government interventions.The interventionist tendencies of liberal elites will harm us all unless we teach them about history and not repeating it.
“As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming to be a disservice to science,” Hertzberg wrote in September 26’s USA Today. “From the El Niño year of 1998 until Jan., 2007, the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere near its surface decreased some 0.25 C [0.45 F]. From Jan., 2007 until the spring of 2008, it dropped a whopping 0.75 C [1.35 F].”
As global cooling becomes more widely recognized, Americans from Maine to Malibu should feel confident in dreaming of a white Christmas.
Indeed, one of the ongoing mysteries of American popular culture is why Communism is merchandised more often and more effectively than Nazism or Islamism. Is it just a matter of public relations? Why does an obsessive Nazi-hunter like Simon Wiesenthal get positive press while an obssessive Communist-hunter like Joe McCarthy is vilified? Why is Marxist Theory, with its alternative view of individual versus collective rights, an accepted academic discipline — but Sharia Theory, with its alternative view of female empowerment, an insult to women?
The truth of the matter is that Nazism, Islamism, and Communism are all totalitarian movements. All three stand in direct opposition to Enlightenment values of religious tolerance and rational inquiry. All three seek to exterminate whoever stands in their way. Nazism justifies its genocide in the name of racial purity. Islamism, in the name of spiritual purity. Communism, in the name of socio-economic purity.
One way or another, the shallow graves get filled.
Whatever Palin’s faults, Sarah Barracuda’s America has a lot more going for it than Sweet Caroline’s.
One video presentation showed the recreation of a strawberry: The fruit's juices were mixed with gelatin-like agar, then molded and stuffed with strawberry sorbet frozen with liquid nitrogen, a method Adria pioneered.The original strawberry is what is natural, chef.
The end product looked like a strawberry and Adria said diners who ate with their eyes closed could not tell it from a natural strawberry. It's this new frontier of food and science that Adria asked the audience to ponder.
"What is natural?" he asked.
""There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California Los Angeles says in the report.So which is it? Normal cyclical occurances or man-made global warming?
These include pollution-induced "dead zones", higher water temperatures and the spread of alien jellyfish species by shipping."
The Legacy of December 13 [Gabe Ledeen]
Today marks the fifth anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s capture by U.S. forces, when he was pulled dirty, afraid, and alone from a hole in Tikrit, Iraq. Five years from that day, Iraqis continue to face a somewhat uncertain future fraught with challenges and perils. Critics of the war complain that there is no certainty that democracy can take root in Iraq, and lament the possibility that this “experiment” will fail. These cynics are correct in asserting that our achievements in Iraq remain fragile and potentially reversible, and they may be justified in their skepticism about an Iraqi democracy’s staying power. One thing is certain though: The Iraqi people, who have never had reason to, are now learning how to hope. They no longer face each day with the certainty that conditions are immutable and inevitable, as they had been forced to do for so many years under Saddam’s regime.
Saddam Hussein, his sons, and his supporters terrorized the people of Iraq and subjected them to violence and maltreatment without reason or restraint. His record of rape, torture, murder, and oppression is well documented but marginalized and deflected by critics who claim that the violence of the war overshadows Hussein’s heinous crimes. This argument does not, and cannot stand. During Saddam Hussein’s reign, Iraqis had no sense that the terror would ever end. The individual citizen had neither the right nor the ability to oppose Saddam’s henchmen, who took what they wanted, killed and raped at will, and tortured (think hooks, blowtorches, and electricity) to intimidate or eliminate potential enemies. The purpose of this evil was solely to maintain Saddam’s power and strengthen his regime by dominating the will of the people. He was held up as something more than human, above all laws and criticism and accountable to no one. Operation Desert Storm did little to give Iraqis lasting hope that Saddam would be defeated, and when he ruthlessly crushed the Shia and Kurds after the war without response from the West, they recognized it as another validation of Saddam’s invincibility.
When U.S. soldiers pulled Saddam Hussein from that hole in Tikrit, the spell that had held Iraqis captive for decades was broken. Suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope for a population who had never had the right to dream of a better life. That hope is what differentiates every day before December 13, 2003, from every day since. It is the hope that things will get better, that the individual life can mean something. That the next generation can live a better life than the current one, and that through effort and will the people can make tomorrow better than today. This hope is fundamental to meaningful human existence, but is often taken for granted by Americans who have never endured a life where its expression is denied by a cruel dictator. Some suggest that Saddam’s dictatorship, though cruel and oppressive, was the only way to effectively control the tribes, maintain order, and govern the country. Day by day the Iraqi people are proving them wrong; this is the legacy of December 13.
— Gabe Ledeen is the director of the Vets For Freedom Educational Institute. He served two tours in al Anbar, Iraq, as a Marine officer with an infantry battalion.
No matter how I try, I can’t identify the precise moment I first called myself a conservative. I know that in my rejection of rationalism, I considered duty and community as alternate sources of meaning; I know that I was powerfully moved by Burke’s paean to the “decent drapery of life,” his condemnations of “sophisters, economists, and calculators” and the “new conquering empire of light and reason.” If I’m strict with myself, though, it also had something to do with the people I spent time with. The most interesting, intense, and intellectual people I have ever encountered – then or since – are the men and women of the Party of the Right. Their style of Socratic dialogue, their conviction that ideas had consequences, their valorization of truth, all appealed to me: even when I had nothing, I looked to them for hints. When I finally started over, my first tentative steps away from ideology took me rightward.
My first real certainty, after Eliot, was that alienation had been implicit in my old world-picture. If we cannot understand ourselves as meaningful participants in something, we regard ourselves as fundamentally other; if all we can truly establish is our own existence as “things that think,” we have nothing to do with our fellows. Language and logic are not enough to bridge those gaps: it requires something more. In opposition to that liberal, rights-based worldview, I looked to love and to tradition.
I understood my own struggle with rationalism and meaning as a symptom of a far greater cultural crisis. It was Man’s isolation in the face of an increasingly alienating world, and his commitment to Enlightenment rationality as the only means of explaining that world, that created the problems of modernity. Those were the things I had hated in myself, and I saw them starkly illustrated in the modern world.
Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism terrified me not for its historical lessons, but because there but for the grace of God went I. She describes the “uprootedness and superfluousness” that followed ”the break-down of political institutions and social traditions,” and subsequent creation of pseudo-rationalist ideologies to provide some measure of meaning. Totalitarianism “teach[es] and glorif[ies] the logical reasoning of loneliness where man knows that he will be utterly lost if ever he lets go of the first premise from which the whole process is being started.” If a man is drowning in his own nihilism, he’ll cling to some – any – ideology as though his life depends on it. (His ego does.) Wherever it takes him, he won’t dare to let go: to reject the conclusion would be to reject the idea that brought him to it, and that would leave him floating in the abyss again.
I had been drowning. In my longing for certainty, I might have latched on to some murderous ideology. It was only by luck, or by that awful daring of a moment’s surrender, that I’d sacrificed the logical consistency of ideology for compassion. I wanted everyone to have that: I wanted human connection to be easier, closer, more meaningful, so that rationalism wouldn’t seem such an appealing option in the future. I wanted to encourage compassion and community, though I didn’t know how.
Raul Chavez-Beltran, another fugitive on the list, ran an environmental cleanup company in El Paso, Texas, that is accused of transporting hazardous waste from factories along the Mexican border and improperly disposing and storing it in the U.S. In one case, he allegedly stockpiled mercury-laced soil from an environmental spill in a warehouse.But other "most wanted eco-terrorists" are kinda lame. For example:
Also at large are the father and son team of Carlos and Allesandro Giordano, who were arrested in 2003 as the owners of Autodelta USA, a company that was illegally importing and selling Alfa Romeos that did not meet U.S. emission or safety standards. The two men are believed to be hiding out in Italy.Yes, the high volume of non-safety standard Alfa Romeos clogging our streets is directly responsible for the (mild to nonexistant) smog over our cities.
Eco-terrorism escalated across the nation in the late 1990s. Underground saboteurs, claiming to act on behalf of the natural world, repeatedly struck such enterprises as logging, skiing, genetic research, home building and auto sales. They are suspected in 69 major attacks since January 1999, including 14 in the Pacific Northwest, The Oregonian found in an ongoing analysis of the crimes.Polluting is wrong and should be punished. But violence, and mayhem are worse.
But serious cases of eco-terrorism took a precipitous plunge after July 16, when the Earth Liberation Front set fire to an oil company building in suburban Detroit. Since then, eco-terrorists have been tied to just six major crimes, compared to 21 during the same period last year. The last major act of eco-terrorism in the United States occurred more than two months ago, when the Earth Liberation Front set fire to a genetic research center under construction at the University of Minnesota, causing $630,000 damage.
"...the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it will spend about $10 million in the coming months to fight legislation that would allow workers to organize without a secret ballot vote...Randel Johnson, vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits at the Chamber, said defeating the measure was the lobby group's top priority in the coming session of Congress, and he described the coming fight in Congress over the issue as a "firestorm bordering on Armageddon."
Dear Kris - thanks so much for highlighting this abuse. It can - and does - happen to anyone.
For more information, go to our website -
How Not to Create Jobs
Posted by Ryan Young
President-elect Obama has a plan to create 2.5 million jobs over the next two years.
One of his ideas is to install energy-efficient light bulbs in federal office buildings.
In other words, we’re about to find out exactly how many federal employees it takes to screw in a light bulb.
My guess: a lot.
Female hormones – largely from the contraceptive pills which pass unaltered through sewage treatment – are partly responsible, while more than three-quarters of sewage works have been found also to be discharging demasculinising man-made chemicals. Feminising effects have now been discovered in a host of freshwater fish species as far away as Japan and Benin, in Africa, and in sea fish in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, Osaka Bay in Japan and Puget Sound on the US west coast.Of course, telling women that when they take birth control pills, they are poisoning the world's fish and wildlife population is simple not done. The charity CHEMTrust is publishing this report and if you can't tell from the name that this charity does NOT trust chemicals, then see for yourself at their website. Just remember not to believe CHEMTrust until you've checked their research against an real scientific institute's.
Laboratory experiments have shown that there are so-called "endocrine disruptors" present in 43 different foods common in the human diet, including corn, garlic, pineapple, potatoes, and wheat . Most amusingly, soy bean, that product so beloved of the vegetarian liberal environmentalist, is a particularly potent source of phytoestrogens. One study found that, even ten years ago, the US soy harvest was producing about 230 million pounds of those natural endocrine modulators annually . Given that soy flour, soy protein and soybean oil are now ubiquitous in the western diet, these hormones are being consumed in hundreds of products every day.AND
Given all the sources of these natural phytoestrogens, it appears that on average human beings consume just over 100 micrograms of estrogen equivalents a day from natural sources. Compare that to the amount of industrial chemical amount of 2.5 micrograms. Yet all the environmentalists' attention has been focused on that tiny number.
Let's get back to our main point, the silence of environmentalists over the synthetic estrogen from contraceptive pills. How much are humans ingesting daily from those sources? Brace yourselves. The medicines used in hormone replacement therapy contribute about 3,350 micrograms per day. The birth control pill contributes about 16,675 micrograms per day. The so-called "Morning After Pill" weighs in at a whopping 333,500 micrograms per day .
These are massive amounts of fully-potent estrogen and they are passing into the environment, causing the problems in fish that we have already discussed. We've also seen how much effort the environmentalists have put into attacking the sources of the much less significant industrial estrogen mimics. Therefore, there's a problem, and it's similar to phantom problems the liberals have made a big fuss over. Put two and two together and you should get four, but math was never the liberal environmentalist's strong point.
When government regulation of the content of broadcasts began in 1927, the supposed justification was the scarcity of radio spectrum. In 1928 and 1929, when Republicans ran Washington, a New York station owned by the Socialist Party was warned to show “due regard” for others’ opinions, and the government blocked the Chicago Federation of Labor’s attempted purchase of a station because all stations should serve “the general public.” In 1939, when Democrats ran Washington, the government conditioned renewal of one station’s license on that station’s promise to desist from anti-FDR editorials.This doctrine must not come to pass. It is a gag-order on conservative viewpoints.
In 1969, when the Supreme Court declared the fairness doctrine constitutional, it probably did not know the Kennedy administration’s use of it, as one official described it: “Our massive strategy was to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.” Richard Nixon emulated this practice. In 1973, Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, a liberal, said the doctrine “has no place in our First Amendment regime” because it “enables administration after administration to toy with TV or radio.”