Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Charlotte Observer: we must fight terrorists to the death

In an unusually hard-hitting editorial last Thursday, June 24th, the Charlotte Observer condemned the terrorist kidnapping and beheading of Kim Sun-il, 33, an evangelical Christian with degrees in theology, English, and Arabic. It seems that this third beheading by Middle Eastern terrorists, video-taped and broadcast on the Al Jazeera Arabic TV network, finally found its mark in the editorial staff of the Observer. Here are some excerpts:
This is not a religious war, no matter how the terrorists frame their complaints....

But these terrorists are not seeking understanding, they are seeking power. Compromise is not the answer. They have no goal but dominance. Reason is not the answer. How does one reason with monsters whose political tactics include the beheading of innocents?

The terrorists have made their intentions clear: This is a battle to the death. Our choice is to withdraw or fight. To withdraw in the face of their atrocities would not make them go away, it would only make them bolder. Kidnappings and murders can be done by a handful of zealots anywhere in the world. If these murderers are not stopped, no citizen of any nation they consider their enemy will be safe.

The terrorists have dictated the terms of this conflict. The world is their battleground, and they intend to kill us. Our response must be to stop them, using whatever force is necessary. We did not choose this fight, but if death must be the end, let it be theirs.

The Clinton Legacy (video)

Check out the video for some good laughs and hard-hitting questions by Evan Coyne Maloney ( Maloney describes the video:
Bill Clinton's latest attempt to define his legacy is a 957-page book called My Life. Though panned by the New York Times as "sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull," hard-core Clinton supporters still waited eight hours or more to have the former president sign their copies. As the line of autograph-seekers snaked around the corner of Broadway and Wall Street in lower Manhattan, I asked the Clintophiles for their thoughts on Bill, his book, and his legacy.
The saddest thing is that none of Clinton's avid supporters seeps able to muster any arguments in support of the reasons offered for admiring or supporting him. (Thanks to Christopher for the link.)

Kerry rules out opening records of 1988 divorce

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Reuters) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (Yahoo! News) on Tuesday rejected any suggestion that he release records of his 1988 divorce, calling it old history that had nothing to do with anyone else. It may be recalled that in a U.S. senate race in Illinois, Republican candidate Jack Ryan quit his campaign last week after the Chicago Tribune and other media sued to have his sealed divorce records made public. "The papers," stated Yahoo! News, "revealed that his ex-wife had accused him of asking her to have sex with him in front of strangers at a club."

More weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

A senior Russian official interviewed by World for an article that appeared today, expressed concerns that ties to Saddam loyalists could give Al Qaida access to weapons of mass destruction. "The United States has also expressed concern that Al Qaida, particularly Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, could gain access to what officials said could be an arsenal of hundreds shells filled with sarin or mustard gas," stated the article. Then, the kicker:
Dozens of such shells have been found by U.S. troops over the last year.
Now, what was that again the Farenheit 911 was claiming? . . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Farenheit 911: liberal credibility dumbed down, gone to seed, & just plain stupid

In the June 26th issue of The New York Times, in an editorial entitled "All Hail Moore," David Brooks offers a scathing indictment of the incomparable stupidity of the "muckumentary" Farenheit 911. "In years past," he writes, "American liberals have had to settle for intellectual and moral leadership from the likes of John Dewey, Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King Jr. But now, a grander beacon has appeared on the mountaintop, and from sea to shining sea, tens of thousands have joined in the adulation." Our new guru of American liberalism, which reflects our new generation of political and cultural liberals just as clearly as Bill Clinton and John Kerry, is Hollywood's new celebrity, Michael Moore. Christopher, commenting on "The Passion over Farenheit 911" (in Against the Grain), writes: The problem with Michael Moore is that he so effectively contributes to the dumbing down of the Left by his willing indulgence in radical conspiracy-theorizing and vulger anti-Americanism, as recently exposed by David Brooks ("All Hail Moore" New York Times June 26, 2004)." The lines of the culture wars are being drawn more sharply every day indeed.

Incidentally, my wife told me that this morening on NPR they were interviewing a very offended Ray Bradbury, who is outraged that Moore stole the title of his film from Bradbury's book, Farenheit 451. When Bradbury called Moore's agent to ask if he could speak with Moore about the matter, he was told that Moore would get back to him. He never did.

Also, be sure to check out Christopher Blosser's new blog: "Watching Michael Moore: Ractions to the Film 'Farenheit 911' and its director."

"My Life," by Bill Clinton: The PowerPoint Version

"MY LIFE," by Bill Clinton
The PowerPoint Version

This is right on target, a little off color, and really funny. Check it out. Thanks Daniel Radosh.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Sun Myung Moon saves souls of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 WASHINGTON -- In one of the most bizarre incidents to take place on Capitol Hill in a long time, Sun Myung Moon was crowned in a ceremony honoring the controversial Korean who claims to be an incarnation of Jesus Christ. Although it took some time for the network media to catch wind of the event, the ceremony, which took place in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in the Capital, was attended by a bi-partisan crowd of senators and congressmen. The Reverend (I use the term loosely) Moon, according to Fox News, said that he would save the souls of everyone on Earth, just as he had done for the notorious Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin-- whom the "reverend" said were born again as a result of his teachings. The "Reverend" Sun Myung
Moon is on record for being sentenced to 18 months in jail in the 1980s for tax fraud. That at least a dozen lawmakers were in attendance at the crowning event yesterday is also a matter of record. When one of them denied having been in attendance to reporters until a Capital Hill newspaper published photos of the person at the event. No one on the Hill is taking responsibility for approving Moon's appearance. The natural question that arises, then, is this: What on earth were our senators and congressmen doing at this event?

"Eucharistic hospitality" hypocritical

Speaking at a major conference of German Catholics in the city of Ulm on June 18, Cardinal Kasper said that "there are circumstances when a non-Catholic can receive Communion at a Catholic Mass." Such "Eucharistic hospitality," he said, is licit in some circumstances.

One might also be tempted to conclude that it is in many circumstances a hypocritical sham. Cardinals and bishops of Kasper's ilk seem willing to bend over backwards to extend "Eucharistic hospitality" to pro-abortion politicians, same-sex couples, and even non-Catholics. But would they extend the same "Eucharistic hospitality" to a traditional Catholic who approached the altar and-- gasp!-- kneeled to receive the Lord's Precious Body? What times! (Thanks to Catholic World News and Jamie Blosser at Ad Limina Apostolorum.)

Felons paid to support Kerry in Democrat registration drive

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons - some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary - to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states. (myway news). No kidding.

Universities a success story in Iraq

The Washington Times reported today that, despite the many challenges that remain, U.S. administrators have made great strides in rebuilding the Iraqi educational system. Highlights:
  • Iraq now has 20 functioning universities
  • Iraq now has 43 technical institutes and colleges
  • These have experienced a 50% increase in freshman enrolled last year
  • Institutional policies are determined by their own presidents rather than the central government
  • University students have access to the Internet
For the story by Stephanie Dornschneider click here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

To hell with inclusive language!

The other day I caught myself doing it. In retrospect I could hardly believe myself. Thanks to the politically correct programming that pervades our whole environment, the grammatical glitches just inadevertently slipped out as smoothly as if I had been speaking the Queen's English on BBC. I said:
"Any student who would like suggestions on how to improve their research paper may submit a rough draft of their paper for review anytime up to the last week before the due date."
Wow! That came out so smoothly that I bet there are some of you who didn't even catch the grammatical errors in it. What's worse, I'm aware that there are English departments where students are now commonly encouraged to make this sacrifice of good grammar ("ANY student who . . . THEIR research paper . . .") on the altar of inclusive language (avoiding the tacitly forbidden "HIS research paper . . .")!

Of course there is much more that is just as bad, if not worse-- the awkward "he-or-she's" and "his-or-hers"-- leading one wag to offer the Menken-esque suggestion that every time we're tempted to employ such God-forsaken convolutions, we form a contraction from "he-or-she-or-it" to form the term-- you got it: H'OR'SH'IT !!!

In any case, we now have a breath of fresh air from--of all places--California. AT LAST, a Californian has come out and said it. He (yes he) has spoken the dreaded words that none hitherto dared dream of saying: "I try never to use inclusive language." So breath-takingly simple. Yet how like a bucket of cold water over the head after a bad hangover. Wake up Neo . . . It's almost noon. You're not trapped in the Matrix. The sun is out and the illusions are melting. Here, at last, the words of our intrepid Californian, Karl Keating:
I try never to use inclusive language. (It really should be called "feminist language," since standard English already is inclusive when it uses "he" or "man" in the generic sense.)

Why should I? To please those to whom such usage is important? I don't see how pandering to them is doing them any favor.

Granted, when I use proper English, someone may notice and "take offense." I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I am even more solicitous of other people's minds. Maybe, when I speak English As She Is Writ, a listener will start to think, "Uh, like, could my diction be wrong?"

As I see it, the problem isn't with those who use the generic "he" or "man." The problem is with those who, because of their ignorance of their own language, take offense where not only is no offense intended but where no offense is present.

Should we modify our language to mollify such people? I don't think so, since there always will be people who can't comprehend elements of their native tongue. The answer isn't to dumb down the language but to "smart up" the people. If for some reason that can't be done, the best thing is benign neglect.
Thanks Karl!

"Scrupulous Anonymous"

Karl Keating notes that there is a monthly newletter, "Scrupulous Anonymous" (Liguori, MO 63057-9999), published by Fr. Thomas R. Santa, C.Ss.R., for those suffering from a psychological malady apparently the opposite of that suffered by Bill Clinton (see earlier posts below). Fr. Santa is author of Understanding Scrupulosity.

A narcissist's outburst: light on Clinton's character

Eric Johnson (Catholic Light [not Catholic lite]) sheds light on Bill Clinton's recent angry
outburst during a BBC interview with David Dimbleby:
I watched the first half of the BBC interview with Bill Clinton, which you can see here. You may have heard that he grows angry with the interviewer, and so I'll save you some time if you want to see it: skip to 19:00, and you'll see the lead-up. The outburst starts building at 24:30, with a crescendo at 28:50.

I thought of so many things while watching it, but I am so tired of thinking about that man that I cannot summon the energy. A few thoughts, though:
. . . The outburst itself was classic Clinton. The childish sense of persecution, the peevish remarks to the interviewer such as "people like you always help the far right" (was he even familiar with the guy interviewing him?) His descriptions of how "the other side" operated was the mirror opposite of the truth. He says the evil Republicans thought that politics was about power, and he thought it was about how power ought to be used. But if there is a modern politician who believed in acquiring power for his own sake, it would be him.
In another takedown of the recent 60 Minutes interview with clinton by Dan Rather, Andrew Sullivan, who, as one of my sons says, can actually write something decent when he's not busy promoting homosexual marriage, offers a remarkably insightful analysis of the mind and reasoning and psychology of the pathological liar and womanizer whom we once honored with the Presidency of the United States. Check out his analysis in the New Republic Online here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The world in 2050: watch the Chinese, Muslims, and Russians

Well before 9/11, the Hon. Frank Shakespeare, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, gave an address in Washington, DC, in 1996, predicting the prominent role Islam would play in the world in the future. Addressing the question what the world would be like in 2050, he gave a fascinating and incisive analysis of recent history, observing the prescient role of the papacy in recent world history, and speculating that the key to the future of world history in the next half-century would lie in three wildcards: China, Islam, and Russia.

Just eight years after the ambassador's speech, we can already see some unfolding evends likely to confirm his predictions:

(1) The Chinese, who constitude nearly a quarter of the global population and are animated by an agressive work ethic, are taking over the world economically. Markets are flooded with Chinese products. Everything from watches to clothes to leather jackets to furniture and televisions are now being manufactured in China. I understand that a Chinese automobile is being prepared for export to the United States in the near future, which will surely undersell most other manufacturers. The whole scene reminds me of what occurred in Japan in the decades following the Second World War; only it's happening in half the time.

(2) Islam. All you need to do is study a map to see what is happening. As the former ambassador wrotes:
If you draw a line beginning at the westernmost point of China in the middle of Asia and you draw that line just north of the "Stan" countries, which were the republics in the belly of the [former] Soviet Union (Tazikhastan, Khazaktan, and such things, all of those countries are Muslim), and right on the border of the Russian nation and then you come down and go through the Black Sea north of Turkey and north of Iran, and then you swoop down and go north of the Mideast, of Iraq and of Syria, and then you go down the Mediterranean and you pass on one side Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, and you come to the Atlantic, you have drawn a line all the way from China to the Atlantic Ocean. Everything south of that line is Islam. Every thing north of that line is Christendom.
And he didn't even mention the countries to the East: Malaysia, major parts of the Philippines, and the Indonesian archipelago, which juts far out into the Pacific in the East like a scimitar.

(3) Then there's Russia, which, although it appears now to be in the economic doldrums, still possesses the nuclear weapons that made it a military world power and enough natural resources in Siberia to provide an almost endless supply of power and wealth to Russia. Furthermore, despite it's years of Marxist repression of religion, Russia has a long and deep history of Orthodox Christianity. Who's to say what the future holds? It's a wildcard to be reackoned with.

The Hon. Frank Shakespeare's speech was published in Catholic Dossier (November-December, 1998).

Trust this man? ... Are you out of your mind?

Before half our nation settles down for its honeymoon with candidate John Kerry in the months and weeks ahead, and before all the "undecided" folks start their squinting at his skillfully-spun media images of the man to see if he "looks presidential," let them take a few moments to ask themselves: would they buy a used care from this man? Just who do they think this guy is?

Well . . . let me see . . .

  • a "decorated" veteran ... whom almost no vet trusts ...
  • a self-styled "Catholic" candidate ... who despises Catholic moral teaching and whom the Church considers excommunicated ...
  • a hardliner with a get tough policy toward Saudi Arabia ... with a get soft policy toward Iran ...
  • a one-time "staunch opponent" of abortion ... who now speaks at rallies in support of the abortion industry ...
  • a family man ... who stumps in support of same-sex marriages" ...
  • a fiscal conservative ... who wants to cut medical spending while liberally increasing medical coverage ...
  • a faithful husband ... who sees a young blonde on the side after hours ...
  • a good Democrat who wants to increase minimum wage to $7.00/hour ... while jump-starting the economy ...
  • an exemplary citizen of uncommon decency ... who flips the bird at protesters ...
Look: even Garrison Keillor had the sense on his show, Prairie Home Companion, to recently get it right:
  • What is John Kerry's favorite breakfast place?
  • The Waffle House.
  • What did he order?
  • Flip-flop jacks.
CAVEAT SUFFRAGATOR! ("Let the voter beware!")

Clinton book contradicts his sworn testimony . . .

. . . on the Lewinsky affair, for starters (reported by The Washington Post).

Monday, June 21, 2004

Clinton loses temper when delusions exposed on BBC

In an interview with the British paper, the Guardian, Mr. Clinton tells how Nelson Mandela, the hero of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, helped him through his "Zippergate" scandal involving Whitehouse intern Monica Lewinsky.
"[Mandela] told me he forgave his oppressors because if he didn't they would have destroyed him," Mr Clinton said. "He said: 'You know, they already took everything. They took the best years of my life; I didn't get to see my children grow up. They destroyed my marriage. They abused me physically and mentally. They could take everything except my mind and heart. Those things I would have to give away and I decided not to give them away.' And then he said 'Neither should you'.
What sumblime sophistry and delectable delusion! Clinton compares himself with the heroic victim of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and must learn, like him, to forgive his oppressors! The delusion may not run as deeply as Clinton himself would like, however, as became evident when Clinton lost his temper under questioning about the Lewinsky affair during a recent BBC interview. As reported in the British paper, the Telegraph:
The former American president, famed for his amiable disposition, becomes visibly angry and rattled, particularly when [David] Dimbleby asks him whether his publicly declared contrition over the affair is genuine.
According to one BBC executive who saw the interview, the atmosphere, which was initially warm, turned decidedly chilly as Clinton became visibly angry at Dimbleby himself.
"As outbursts go, it is not just some flash that is over in an instant. It is something substantial and sustained. It is memorable television which will give the public a different insight into the President's character. It will leave them wondering whether he is as contrite as he says he is about past events."

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Clinton impeachment "badge of honor"

Em . . . no kidding. These were Clinton's words. Check it out at myway.

Have you ever wondered how the sophists reasoned in the time of Socrates, four centuries before Christ? Socrates himself describes them in Plato's dialogue, The Apology. The sophists were itinerant teachers of the art of rhetoric or debate, who, in exchange for money, could teach you "to take the worse side of an argument and make it appear the better," y'know, so you could "get ahead." Almost like contemporary lawyers, except that the sophist wouldn't represent you in court, but rather tell you how to represent yourself.

Anyway, Clinton's reasoning is a piece of sophistry that would garner the admiration of Parmenides, the master of ancient sophists. It's amazing that Clinton can keep his composure while saying some of these things, that he just doesn't double over in convulsions of hysterical laughter at the insanity of his own words. He must practice in front of a mirror or something. In his "60 Minutes" interview with Dan Rather on CBS, the consummate spinmaster did his best to pass off the vices that provoked Congressional impeachment proceedings against him as splendid virtues:
"I stood up to it and beat it back," Clinton says of the impeachment process, which he describes as "an abuse of power." "The whole battle was a badge of honor. I don't see it as a stain, because it was illegitimate."
Clinton has just come out with his memoir, My Life, and is also the subject of a new documentary film, The Hunting of the President, which portrays him as the target of a political smear campaign by its filmmakers Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry. Thomason is a close friend of Clinton's.

Democracies tend to get the presidents they deserve. If this man could be elected to the Whitehouse, so could John Kerry. CAVEAT SUFFRAGATOR! ("Let the voter beware!")

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Former military officials voice opinions about John Kerry

"I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United State s. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty and trust -- all absolute tenets of command. His biography, 'Tour of Duty,' by Douglas Brinkley, is replete with gross exaggerations, distortions of fact, contradictions and slanderous lies. His contempt for the military and authority is evident by even a most casual review of this biography. He arrived in-country with a strong anti-Vietnam War bias and a self-serving determination to build a foundation for his political future. He was aggressive, but vain and prone to impulsive judgment, often with disregard for specific tactical assignments. He was a 'loose cannon.' In an abbreviated tour of four months and 12 days, and with his specious medals secure, Lt.(jg) Kerry bugged out and began his infamous betrayal of all United State s forces in the Vietnam War. That included our soldiers, our marines, our sailors, our coast guardsmen, our airmen, and our POWs. His leadership within the so-called Vietnam Veterans Against the War and testimony before Congress in 1971 charging us with unspeakable atrocities remain an undocumented but nevertheless meticulous stain on the men and women who honorably stayed the course. Senator Kerry is not fit for command."

-- Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, USN (retired), chairman, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

"During Lt.(jg) Kerry's tour, he was under my command for two or three specific operations, before his rapid exit. Trust, loyalty and judgment are the key, operative words. His turncoat performance in 1971 in his grubby shirt and his medal-tossing escapade, coupled with his slanderous lines in the recent book portraying us that served, including all POWs and MIAs, as murderous war criminals, I believe, will have a lasting effect on all military veterans and their families.

Kerry would be described as devious, self-absorbing, manipulative, disdain for authority, disruptive, but the most common phrase that you'd hear is 'requires constant supervision.'"

-- Captain Charles Plumly, USN (retired)

"While in Cam Rahn Bay, he trained on several 24-hour indoctrination missions, and one special skimmer operation with my most senior and trusted Lieutenant. The briefing from some members of that crew the morning after revealed that they had not received any enemy fire, and yet Lt.(jg) Kerry informed me of a wound -- he showed me a scratch on his arm and a piece of shrapnel in his hand that appeared to be from one of our own M-79s. It was later reported to me that Lt.(jg) Kerry had fired an M-79, and it had exploded off the adjacent shoreline. I do not recall being advised of any medical treatment, and probably said something like 'Forget it.' He later received a Purple Heart for that scratch, and I have no information as to how or whom.

Lt.(jg) Kerry was allowed to return to the good old USA after 4 months and a few days in-country, and then he proceeded to betray his former shipmates, calling them criminals who were committing atrocities. Today we are here to tell you that just the opposite is true. Our rules of engagement were quite strict, and the officers and men of Swift often did not even return fire when they were under fire if there was a possibility that innocent people -- fishermen, in a lot of cases -- might be hurt or injured. The rules and the good intentions of the men increased the possibility that we might take friendly casualties."

-- Commander Grant Hibbard, USN (retired)

"Lt. Kerry returned home from the war to make some outrageous statements and allegations... of numerous criminal acts in violation of the law of war were cited by Kerry, disparaging those who had fought with honor in that conflict. Had war crimes been committed by US forces in Vietnam? Yes, but such acts were few and far between. Yet Lt. Kerry have numerous speeches and testimony before Congress inappropriately leading his audiences to believe that what was only an anomaly in the conduct of America's fighting men was an epidemic. Furthermore, he suggested that they were being encouraged to violated the law of war by those within the chain of command.

Very specific orders, on file at the Vietnam archives at Texas Tech University, were issued by my father [Admiral Elmo Zumwalt] and others in his chain of command instructing subordinates to act responsibly in preserving the life and property of Vietnamese civilians."

-- Lt. Col. James Zumwalt, USMC (retired)

"In 1971, when John Kerry spoke out to America, labeling all Vietnam veterans as thugs and murderers, I was shocked and almost brought to my knees, because even though I had served at the same time and same unit, I had never witnessed or participated in any of the events that the Senator had accused us of. I strongly believe that the statements made by the Senator were not only false and inaccurate, but extremely harmful to the United States' efforts in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Tragically, some veterans, scorned by the antiwar movement and their allies, retreated to a life of despair and suicide. Two of my crewmates were among them. For that there is no forgiveness. "

-- Richard O'Meara

"My name is Steve Gardner. I served in 1966 and 1967 on my first tour of duty in Vietnam on Swift boats, and I did my second tour in '68 and '69, involved with John Kerry in the last 2 1/2 months of my tour. The John Kerry that I know is not the John Kerry that everybody else is portraying. I served alongside him and behind him, five feet away from him in a gun tub, and watched as he made indecisive moves with our boat, put our boats in jeopardy, put our crews in jeopardy... if a man like that can't handle that 6-man crew boat, how can you expect him to be our Commander-in-Chief?"

-- Steven Gardner

Monday, June 14, 2004

News! News! The Clintons caught sleeping together!!

One wag responded to the news that Hillary and Bill Clinton actually fell asleep during the National Cathedral funeral service honoring former President Reagan by noting that, at least it was probably the first time they have slept together in years. Ah, well . . .

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Democratic Leadership Pushes for Homosexual Marriage

From: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
NGLTF Communications Department

May 14, 2004

Washington, DC. Yesterday, leaders of the Democratic minority in the U.S. Senate pledged they would block any proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriage. The commitment was made at a meeting in the Capitol between the Senate Leadership Council and leaders of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"We are gratified that our allies in the Democratic minority have committed to killing any attempt to enshrine anti-gay discrimination into our nation's most sacred document," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This display of leadership stands in stark contrast to President Bush's calculated campaign to use our lives and our relationships as a wedge issue in the elections."

At yesterday's meeting, three senators -- Chuck Schumer (NY), Barbara Boxer (CA), and Debbie Stabenow (MI) -- reaffirmed the solidity of support against an amendment, regardless of any potential changes in its language.

At a similar meeting last July 17, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said Democrats would ensure that the Federal Marriage Amendment would never get the 67 votes needed in the Senate to be passed on to the states for ratification. Since then, however, the religious and political right has mounted a furious campaign in support of the amendment, President Bush has called upon Congress to pass it, and different wordings of the amendment have been floated to potentially soften its impact on domestic partnerships and civil unions. As a result, many LGBT leaders and organizations have become concerned about a softening of the commitment to oppose an amendment. To shore that up that support, LGBT groups have launched urgent fundraising and advocacy appeals.

"While the Right will continue to press Congress to move the amendment - and we still must be vigilant - our community can now start shifting focus and more of our resources to fighting the ugly tide of anti-gay initiatives we face in multiple states this November," Foreman said.

As of today, anti-marriage constitutional amendments will be on the November ballot in five states (Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Utah). That number could easily double over the next 8-10 weeks. Other imperiled states include the key 2004 battleground states of Michigan, Ohio and Oregon.

-End Press Release-
(Distributed by the American Family Association Online)

Monday, June 07, 2004

Ronald Reagan on Hans Urs von Balthasar . . .

No kidding: on June 15, 1989, President Ronald Reagan became the sixth American president to be inducted into the French Academy-- an event that went almost unnoticed in both the religious and secular press. The text of his speech, a eulogy to his predecessor, Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, went completely unreported. It is entitled: "If I Had Known Von Balthasar." The text can be found in the review, 30 Days (July-August, 1989, pp. 41-42). Here are the first two paragraphs:
I did not come to talk about my entering but another's passing. On June 26 of last year, my predecessor in this academy, the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar died, two days before he was to become a cardinal. God called Father von Balthasar to a more eternal and exalted position.
Someone once remarked that if German theolgians saw two doors, one marked "Heaven" and othe other marked "Discussion on Heaven," they would go in the second. There is no doubt in my mind which one the Swiss father would enter. He loved knowledge because it led to the Lord.
The text of Reagan's speech is also reproduced in a book by Harry E. Winter, O.M.I., Dividing or Strengthening? Five Ways of Christianity, "Appendix: Ronald Reagan's Induction Speech Into the French Academy: 'If I Had Known Von Balthasar,'" pp. 173-177.

Were Socrates & Plato gay? Gimme a break . . .

A widely entertained opinion today is that the Greek philosophers were pedarasts and gay. Students point to the fact that Socrates (in Plato's dialogs) mentions homoerotic infatuation between various individuals. I believe this is utter nonsense. I could be wrong. I know that the bath houses in ancient Greece were places of notorious homosexual repute. In the Hellenistic era, Jewish warnings against visiting such establishments clearly indicates this. I don't imagine that things were all too different in Greece from what we find (or avoid finding) today in various urban centers. But this hardly means Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were homoerotically active pederasts.

As for "data," there are the clear quotations from Plato's Republic and his Laws indicating his disdain for homoerotic sex and his warnings against it. But there is also his dialogue, Lysis, which is about friendship (philos), wherein he takes a homosexual man coming out of a bathhouse and has him encounter Socrates and fall into discussion about love (philos). The gay fellow is infatuated with another young man, and Socrates explores the topic of friendship and love (philos) and its relation to eros, etc. And basically throughout the dialog the gay fellow is clueless about what are demanded by real friendship and love. Socrates pokes fun at him, backhandedly. I can't imagine
Socrates in this dialog thinking that homosexual love is a good and noble thing.

Socrates (in Plato's dialogues) can be found acknowledging the existence of homosexual infatuation between various individuals. That is one thing. But it seems to me quite another to suggest that Socrates or Plato or Aristotle were themselves involved in homoerotic sexual activity. My view is that public views of such activity in that day were somewhat like they are today--tolerated, but hardly considered noble or decent. If Socrates had been present during our national discussions about "same-sex marriage" (sic), I can only imagine what fun he would have stripping away the layers of incorrigible nonsense in a classic reductio ad absurdum.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Neuhaus, Hudson, others interview President Bush

The on-the-record session included a period where the nine Christian editors and writers (including two who have served as Bush advisors) asked questions. Writers and news executives included CT senior news writer Sheryl Henderson Blunt; James V. Heidinger II, president and publisher of Good News; Deal Hudson, editor of Crisis Magazine; James Kushiner, editor of Touchstone magazine; David L. Mahsman, Director of News and Information and Executive Editor for The Lutheran Witness and Reporter of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod; Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief, First Things; World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky; Catholic writer Russell Shaw; Stephen Strang, founder of Strang Communications.

For a transcript of this remarkable interview, click here.(Thanks, again, Christopher!)

Kerry-style integrity . . .

The following from Christopher (via email): In his first public political debate, Kerry said it would "be irresponsible" of him to suggest that President Bush misled the nation on weapons of mass destruction. Only THREE DAYS LATER, Kerry asserted exactly that. . . . and more (click here).