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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Only the Little People Pay Insurance Premiums

You might remember back in 1992 President Bush pere took a beating after the New York Times revealed while attending a photo-op at a convention of the National Grocers Association, the President had shown astonishment at a supermarket scanner being demonstrated for him; he allegedly gave all appearances of never having seen one before. The Times, and many other liberal organs, published the usual anguished hand-wringers (bashed out by the hardened proletariat comprising their editorial offices) bemoaning how "out of touch" President Bush was with the ordinary citizen.

It quickly turned out the Times story was utter bullshit, yet another one of those "fake but accurate" accounts the Times so loves to run so long as they reflect badly on Republicans; but the damage was done and the false story contributed mightily to the President's declining poll numbers, leading to his defeat by Bill Clinton that November.

Now comes our latter day President, making an analogy while thumping for his plan for national health insurance, with an anecdote from his past when he was just a struggling ordinary citizen himself:
When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won’t name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company — let’s call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I’d like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn’t serious insurance.
Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer
That the President, a former law professor, seems ignorant the difference between first and third-party insurance suggests a rather severe degree of his being "out of touch" with the ordinary citizen, along with his famously arrogant aloofness, but unlike the first President Bush, who was wholly innocent of the calumny of the New York Times, President Obama will, of course, get another pass from the media for this latest cynical blunder.

Friday, February 26, 2010

No Honor Among Thieves

Or should it be "Rats Jump from a Sinking Ship?"

From Politico:
Dems call for Charlie Rangel's gavel

After months of holding ranks, Democrats are finally turning on House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) in the wake of an ethics committee finding that he violated House rules by accepting a Caribbean junket.

Early Friday, Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) told POLITICO he wants Rangel to quit his powerful committee post — and that was quickly followed by similar statements from a pair of deep south Democrats, Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor and Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright.
Better late than never, I guess, this new found concern among Democratic Congressmen over the unethical behavior of one of their colleagues. D'ya suppose, however, there just might be some correlation between the concern over Congressman Rangel's challenged ethics (again, what took you so long, fellas?) and the projected disaster the Dems are facing this November?

I bet Peolosi dumps him.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ships Crossing in the Night

On the way to noon Mass at the Church of Our Saviour, while heading south on Park Avenue across from St. Bartholomew's Church (Episcopal), who should I see walking the other way but Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church!

God is good: since Ms. Schori and I were headed in opposite directions (perhaps in more ways than one), I was sorely tempted to quote appropriate scripture at her as we passed but the Holy Ghost restrained me.

Ipso Facto

I’m Live-Tweeting My Abortion

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Heartfelt Choice

The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador elected to have his recent heart operation performed in the United States, not Canada.
"This is my heart, it's my health, it's my choice."

With these words, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams defended his decision to hop the border and go under the knife for heart surgery in Florida.

The minimally invasive mitral valve surgery he needed is not available in Newfoundland, he told his province's NTV News channel in the first part of an interview aired last night.

"Did some checking, of course, and what was ultimately done to me, the surgery I eventually got ... was not offered to me in Canada," he said.
Apparently, it was available in Canada but what matters is the premier chose who wielded the knife and where it was done, not some government committee. Does the average Joe in Canada have that choice? Will the average Joe in the United States have that choice should ObamaCare be enacted? (That is increasingly unlikely, thankfully.)

Does He Confess After Scorching the Earth?

Consider the case of this Episcopalian lawyer and his musings on the sacrament of confession (observed by some Anglo-Catholics, though I never did) on his facebook page.
Lent is about self-examination, repentance and forgiveness of our sins. Each of us deals with sin in our own way. Yes, I am a sinner, too, as we all are. I typically go to confession once a year, on Good Friday. For some, sin is a personal matter with God alone. For others, sin is a community matter. Many Christians, however, find private confession to a priest helpful in unburdening one’s conscience and renewing relationships between God and our fellow persons. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not reserved only for those who commit serious sins, but for the remission of all sins. The grace that flows from confession possesses special powers of purification and support as we resolve to amend our lives to improve ourselves to better realize the potential with which God endowed us.
While this lawyer confesses but "once a year," the frequency of one's confessions is a strictly a matter between the penitent and his conscience (the Catholic Church requires we confess our sins only once a year but urges us to do so more). Still, after taking a gander at the website of the lawyer's law practice, I think he might consider ducking into that confession box a tad more often.
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My, oh my! St. Thomas More, pray for us.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm From the Government and I'm Here to Help

Last year the President upbraided executives who jetted to Las Vegas on the "tax payers' dime." Chastened, and for appearances' sake, many of those execs cancelled their companies' planned conventions there (341 of them according to the Governor of Nevada) and the city's economy went down the toilet. Nevertheless, business did improve somewhat and up till a week ago seemed to be looking up; until our tone-deaf President chose to have at that besieged city one more time, this time bashing families who "blow a bunch of cash on Vegas" instead of spending it responsibly.

Today the President tried to make amends and did so in classic liberal Democrat fashion: he flew to Vegas to announce ( the mayor of Las Vegas refused to attend) $1.5 billion of our money will be spent on "housing relief" for the region (this was also an attempt to inject life into the re-election campaign of soon-to-be ex-Senator Harry Reid). I wonder if all those casino workers, laid off as a result of the President's ham-fisted trashing of their industry, will be the first recipients of our President's generous "relief" program; paid for by none other than themselves and the rest of the nation's beleaguered taxpayers.

The President and his Democratic chums will likely suffer catastrophic losses in the upcoming November elections and one of the reasons will surely be their utter obliviousness to just how much their high-handed superiority grates on the average working Joe. Since these members of the educated class have yet to learn this, despite being in power for over a year, there seems little likelihood they will by election day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Media Dilemma

Andrew Joseph Stack III, who flew an airplane into IRS offices in Austin Texas this morning, wrote a seven-page rant before offing himself. Obviously, he had a major beef with the IRS and lived in Texas to boot, which should make great fodder for the media should it wish to portray him as a drooling Neanderthal while linking him to the Tea Party movement. On the other hand, Stack was also anti-Catholic and despised George W. Bush, attributes useful should they wish to portray him sympathetically. What to do, what to do?

My guess is contempt for Tea Party knuckledraggers is so virulent among the media, any sympathetic feelings for Stack will be overridden; they will go ahead and vilify the poor son-of-a bitch--along with the Tea Partiers--and ignore or bury any exculpatory (in their eyes) evidence in his favor. We shall see.

UPDATE: Of course, idiots like these make it all too easy for the media.

UPDATE 2: The Washington Post comes through!

Small Minds Think Alike, Too

The circulation of law reviews is plummeting. Here's why, according to one commenter.
The problem with law reviews is they are of little value to the attorneys that practice everyday law. Of course, if I get a transgender client facing incarceration and placement the general population and who is be deprived the freedom to practice the Wiccan religion and of special dietary needs, I can access 25-30 articles on that no problem. Now, if I want some assistance on the problems with offsets when multiple uninsured motorist carriers involved, something that implicates 5-10 of my cases a year, there might be one or two out there, but are way out of date.
When one's head is up his ideological ass, his opinions are pertinent only to others similarly contorted.

h/t the Instapundit.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Economists Behaving Badly

I can't say I'm a huge fan of geeky white-boy rap videos on intellectual themes but will grudgingly concede the merits of this one, a "debate" between Friedrich August von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. Spoiler alert: Hayek wins.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Answers You've Been Waiting For

To those interested in this sort of thing, may I heartily commend the website Catholic Answers, whose mission is:
bringing the fullness of Catholic truth to the world. We help good Catholics become better Catholics, bring former Catholics “home,” and lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the faith. We explain Catholic truth, equip the faithful to live fully the sacramental life, and assist them in spreading the Good News.
To that end, the good people at Catholic Answers, both religious and lay, field an astonishing array of questions every day, ranging from the elementary to the arcane.

All that is required to lob questions at Catholic Answers is to register with them; confidentially is assured. Be aware, however, not every question will be answered (although every one will be read), only those CA's busy respondents feel are of sufficient interest to its readers and are asked in good faith (which may explain why they never bothered answering my question: "Can God create a rock so heavy even he can't lift it?").

Monday, February 15, 2010

Regression

It's a source of never-ending amazement the American media blithely continues ignoring the exploding global warming scandal. Now, at last, the Washington Post has broken the ice (as it were) and published a quasi-objective survey of the events of the past two-and-a half months. Over at The New York Times, however, global warming ideologues are still standing firm and there's barely been a mention of the scandal.

Walter Russell Mead at the American Thinker suggests plausibly that with WaPo's cracking the journalistic wall of silence on global warming, whatever integrity the Times might still have remaining is severely threatened. "The Week in Review" this Sunday would have been the appropriate venue for the Times to break the climate scandal to its readers, now that the Post has; this is what Mead found instead.
[T]wo stories on the implications of the Greek crisis, a review of Victorian era personal classifieds, a piece on the evils of soda pop and a helpfully lighthearted introduction to Canada which included the information that the Maple Leaf stands for nature and growth while the beaver stands for loyalty and industry.
Newspapers, of course, must ultimately yield to its readers' whims and fancies, which suggests that The New York Times has devolved into Parade Magazine for David Brook's educated class. How much longer can the Times last? It doesn't even have Howard Huge.

UPDATE: Today is Tuesday so Walter Russell Mead perused the Times' weekly Science section and found
a story in there about some schoolchildren and a giant prehistoric frog, a review of some recent developments in Cretan archaelogy, a fascinating story about animals that imitate other animals and plants, and a very short piece about warm sea water melting glaciers in Greenland.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Knock, Knock, Knockin' on K Street's Door

After serving eight brilliant terms the Dumbest Kennedy of Them All™ will not be running for re-election. Gee, I wonder why?

The soaring comedy of Congressman Kennedy's YouTube announcement is heightened still further by the cheesy lugubrious music-product accompanying this heartfelt, and preemptive, concession speech.

Please Excuse the Bloviator from Class This Week...

I apologize to to my semi-numerous readers for the recent absence. Some days ago your Bloviator, after much procrastination, at last underwent a complete physical exam. My doctor (new to me) was exceedingly competent thus annoyingly thorough (similar, in a way, to those priests in the box who feel compelled to grill you on absolutely everything). I checked out reasonably okay but left the examining room with four puncture wounds resulting from the various shots given me, including a booster shot for tetanus.

My doctor warned me I would probably have a reaction to that last one, including some "soreness." The man has a gift for understatement: the next morning I woke up feeling sicker than I have ever felt in my life. I've had the flue a couple of times and bad as that was, this was far, far worse; the flue on steroids. The worst part was not the muscle aches, nor the fever and the paradoxical chills, rather the seeming shutdown of my mind, including whatever intellectual capacity I might possess. If zombies can feel, I felt like zombie.

Early Thursday morning, however, I woke up in a sweat, indicating the fever had broken, and I indeed began to feel better. I went to work and at noon nipped over to St. Patrick's for mass, so to give thanks for deliverance from the horribleness. There I learned, to my surprise and pleasure, it was the day of Our Lady of Lourdes. It occurred to me she brought through me this wretched thing without my even asking so I thanked her there and I thank her here.



Thanks to Crossed the Tiber for the image.

The Stuff of Genius?



It's always a tragedy when someone rejects God's greatest gift, even when there are extenuating circumstances, and it is ironic that those in the creative professions seem particularly vulnerable to doing so. While in no way gainsaying that tragedy, and freely conceding my knowledge of fashion is well-nigh zero, I wonder if the word genius" is appropriate to describe the designer Alexander McQueen, who hanged himself yesterday in London. The New York Post (where these pics came from) seems to think so, as did many of the man's admirers. Am I missing something?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Unmitigated Gall

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, declares Anglicans who become Catholics via the Apostolic Provision will not be "proper" Catholics (from the BBC):
If people genuinely realise that they want to be Roman Catholic, they should convert properly, and go through catechesis and be made proper Catholics. This kind of creation [the Apostolic Constitution] -- well, all I can say is, we wish them every blessing and may the Lord encourage them. But as far as I am concerned, if I was really, genuinely wanting to convert, I wouldn't go into an ordinariate. I would actually go into catechesis and become a truly converted Roman Catholic and be accepted.
Uh huh, sure. Whatever you say, Your Grace, but I think Rome speaks with more authority on that subject than you do.

(Thanks to JB.)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Great Moments in Public Education



Thwarting the Lego terrorist:
STATEN ISLAND, NY (CBS) Patrick Timoney brought a gun to school Tuesday and nearly got suspended for it. Sounds reasonable until you see the gun – a two-inch LEGO toy gun.

9-year-old Patrick, a fourth grader at PS 52 in Staten Island, N.Y., says he brought some of his LEGOs to school to show his friends during lunch but when the principal saw that one of those toys was a gun she pulled him out of class and called his parents.

A spokesman for the city's Department of Education says that the principal, Evelyn Matroianni, was just following the “no tolerance” policy of not allowing any weapons on campus.
Read the whole thing (from CBS News), especially the many comments, virtually all of them derisive. People really do seem to be getting fed up.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

This Might Explain the Recent Policy Decisions

Eric Holder's Justice Department, advertising for lawyers in its Civil Rights Division, is urging candidates who are mentally retarded and mentally ill to apply. They should make a good fit.

(Thanks to For What It's Worth).

Great Moments in Public Education

From the New York Daily News:
It wasn't the first fight club.

A year before he was arrested for forcing fourth-graders into a wrestling match, a Queens teacher was accused of ordering students to punch an unruly classmate.

The disturbing accusation against Joseph Gullotta came to light as students and parents at Public School 65 expressed outrage about the goings-on.

"It's shocking," said Jovan Ortiz, 10. "I thought he would learn."

Jovan, who was in Gullotta's class last year, said the teacher came up with a brutal scheme to control his behavior.

"My teacher said if I got out of my seat, kids were allowed to punch me in my face," he said.
What's truly pathetic and indicative of the stranglehold the teachers union has over our schools, it will be years (if ever) before this creep is fired. In the interim, he has been assigned to a so-called "rubber room," where teachers deemed so grossly incompetent they are not allowed in a classroom must report every day; doing nothing, but collecting full salary, while their cases makes their tortured way through the byzantine disciplinary process of the New York City Public Schools, as mandated by the union.

Just two days ago, the New York Post reported on a horndog City school teacher whose case has dragged on for nearly a decade. He too reports daily to the rubber room, from which the lech manages his $8 million real estate portfolio while collecting a $100,000 salary from the school system. Apparently, the Department of Education is simply unable to fire him: "'We have to abide by the union contract,' spokeswoman Ann Forte said."

Diary of a Newly Minted Papist

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton is a book I have been meaning to read for years but only got around to these past past few weeks. An autobiography, it is the tale of an itinerant and restless young man's quest for faith in the 1930s, which he eventually finds while a graduate student at Columbia; beginning with his baptism and reception into the Holy Catholic Church at Corpus Christi Church, near Columbia (an event that that rarely goes unmentioned in homilies there, even these many years later) and culminating in his answering a vocation to become a monk in the Order of Cistercians, aka Trappists, with whom he spent the rest of his days.

Merton's tale is enthralling and anyone, particularly those considering becoming a Catholic, is well-advised to read it. While he considered himself a poet this autobiography is his magnum opus. The descriptions of his inner turmoil and the interactions between friends and acquaintances, lay and religious, are masterly and captivating. I found much with which to empathize and sympathize.

That said, however, I must confess I find Merton not to be a terribly likable fellow. Despite frequent self-deprecating comments, a rather high self-opinion is still apparent and while he endeavors to portray himself the struggling and penurious writer, that effort is belied by the circumstances of his upbringing: public school in England, college at Cambridge and Columbia. Truth be told, most bohos are of upper-middle class or higher backgrounds and Merton is no exception; living off a trust fund that while not substantial, is adequate enough to ensure his never having to go unfed or untraveled. A character in the book I find much more likable is his Columbia chum and classmate Robert Lax, a non-practicing Jew who also converted to Catholicism and became a fine poet, a better one than Merton, I think (Lax's full story remains to be told and should be; for his poems, get this book, which I believe contains the lot of them).

It is Merton's quest for faith, however, that is the main story in Seven Storey Mountain and a wonderful and inspiring account it is. I wish someone had made me read it when I was wrestling with the decision whether or not to become a Catholic (it was recommended to me at the time by a friend but as my late father once advised, if you want to make sure someone never reads a book, recommend it to him).

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Now Let's Not Sugar Coat It!

James Delingpole, in the the Telegraph (UK), on the implosion of the global warming fraud:
Now suddenly it has all changed utterly. And you know what? I’m in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or imprisoned. I want warmist politicians like Brown and disgusting Milibands booted out and I want Conservative fellow-travellers who are still pushing this green con trick – that’ll be you, David Cameron, you Greg Clark, you Tim Yeo, you John Gummer, to name but four – to be punished at the polls for their culpable idiocy.

[snip]

Yeah, maybe it isn’t the Christian way. But screw ‘em. It’s not as though they haven’t all been screwing us for long enough.
And over on this side, let's toss into the fiery furnace Al Gore and all those deeply concerned Hollywood celebrities.

When is a Tax Hike Not a Tax Hike?

When it's a tax cut that's allowed to expire.
NEW YORK (Reuters.com) --The Obama administration's plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.

In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year -- effectively a tax hike by stealth.
Take a stroll down memory lane and recall this oh-so-sincere promise.



So how will an increasingly desperate White House and Democratic House finesse this? First, by heaping further opprobrium on W (of course) for the very real but far smaller deficits incurred during his tenure; then a blast at the irresponsibility of him and the Republicans "pushing through" (or similar words) a tax cut while those deficits were increasing and finally, insisting the tax cut's "expiration" is the only prudent and responsible thing to do; cloaking it in pious rhetoric of the importance of deficit reduction for future generations (but not a word about spending cuts, of course).

I think, though, the time these bozos could pull off such a stunt is passed; the reaction of an already wary populous to a stiff tax increase (and that is what they will call it regardless the language the Democrats use) in the midst of a severe recession will make that to ObamaCare seem mild by comparison. Unfortunately for the the President and the House, however, they have little choice but to allow the tax cuts to expire, being so closely identified with the hated Bush, whom they trash daily. To allow such a key piece of Bush-era legislation to live on would pretty much eliminate a vital scapegoat for this Administration's continual failures, perhaps the only scapegoat it has left.

UPDATE: Reuters has yanked the story after getting a call from the White House. The Administration insists the tax cuts will not be allowed to expire.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Sea Change

It's not only Democratic legislators running for their political lives but RINOs, too. From Rasmussen Reports:
Former [Florida] state house Speaker Marco Rubio has now jumped to a 12-point lead over Governor Charlie Crist in Florida’s Republican Primary race for the U.S. Senate.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters in the state finds Rubio leading Crist 49% to 37%. Three percent (3%) prefer another candidate, and 11% are undecided.
The new numbers mark a stunning turnaround. Crist was the strong favorite when he first announced for the Senate seat, and Rubio was viewed as a long-shot challenger.

[snip]

Crist’s fortunes appear to be tied in part to national unhappiness over President Obama and his policies. Many conservatives began rebelling against Crist when he became one of the few Republican governors to embrace Obama’s $787-billion economic stimulus plan last year.
Had people finally had enough?