Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Easter Message for Obama's Ears

President Obama and his family walked across Lafayette Square to attend Easter Sunday service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.

The presider was the Reverend Luis Leon, who also gave the closing benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration. 

Mr. Obama & Rev. Luis Leon at DC's's St. John's Episcopal Church 

Unlike at the ceremony on the Mall, where Leon’s stated goal was to bring people together, Leon chose to preach politically partisan on the holiest day of the Christian calendar.  Leon preached from the pulpit:

The captains of the religious right are always calling us back, back back. For blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet and for immigrants  to be on their side of the border...What you and I understand is that when Jesus says you can’t hang onto me, he says you know it’s not about the past, it’s not about the before, it’s not about the way things were but about the way things can be in the now.

Really? Please cite some contemporary examples of captains of the religious right calling blacks to be at the back of the bus.  Leon failed to do so during his Easter sermon.

The Easter message can be understood with its  parallel to the Jewish Passover. The children of Israel were freed from their slavery in Egypt by Yahweh’s power and they were put on the path to the Promised Land.  Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross conquered the ultimate wages of spiritual slavery to sin–death.  

It might be worth considering if Rev. Leon’s sermon  was truly uplifting or perpetuating continued political bonds dressed up in Easter finery or spurious scriptural sanction.  The answer may be found in Rev. C.L. Bryant's documentary Runaway Slave.   Alas, the message might not be a revelation as much as a lamentation.


Rick Pitino on Failure

Saturday, March 30, 2013

John Wooden on Life

What Will Be the Difference for Marquette?

As the victorious warriors of the basketball court advance to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament, it has sparked some hermaneutical introspection.

A Converse perspective adopts the Athletic Department’s enthusiasm.

It is no wonder that the Marquette Men’s basketball program has a 24 game winning streak, considering the loyalty of its fans, as shown by sell outs of the Bradley Center and the energy exerted in the student section.  One small detail that belies Marquette’s Ignatian charism is the one word sentence “Pray”.

Another symbol of the University is the school seal with the strange Latinate motto “Numen flumeneque” It translates to “God and the [Mississippi] River.

Stained Glass of Marquette Seal, Sensenbrernner Hall, Milwauke, WI

The motto has more meaning when one understands Père Jacques Marquette was a Jesuit missionary  who, along with Louis Jolliet, was one of the first Europeans to explore the northern portion of the Mississippi River in 1673.  Marquette’s alacrity with languages came in handy in his mission to spread the gospel to various indigenous tribes in the new world (a.k.a. “New France”) as he worked with the Hurons, then had good relations with the Illinois tribe as well as when he explored.

Aside from  Père Marquette, the school seal incorporates imagery which honors St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (a.k.a. the Jesuits).  The diagonal red and gold bands honors heroes from Ignatius’ lineage who achieved valor in battle. In addition,  the wolves in the coat of arts symbolize the generosity of the Loyola family that even the wolves found something in the kettle to feast.

In 2002, Marquette University adopted the tag line “Be the difference” as it challenged the Marquette community to be leaders to make important contributions, which echoes the Ignatian attitude to be “contemplation in action”

Marquette athletic teams have gone by several monikers.  Originally, they were named “the Hill Toppers” due to their topography.  In the 1920s, they were nicknamed “the Golden Avalanche”by sports writers  for their football prowess..  Other teams were informally tagged “the Blue and the Gold”.  The name that really stood out was the Warriors, which all Marquette teams sported from 1954 to 1994, including the infamous 1970 NIT Champions and the 1977 NCAA Champion basketball teams under Al McGuire.

Aside from a proud record for Marquette basketball, the University has the knack for choosing colorful and charismatic coaches.  The 2013 jerseys bear patches to Al McGuire as well as Rick Majerus, who played for the Warriors (or warmed the bench as he would put it), was an assistant coach and head coach before moving on.  This is Buzz William’s fifth season at Marquette.  Williams takes a humble but persistent approach with his team.  Williams recently observed:

That's just another Marquette game.  We're not good enough to blow anybody out. We're just good enough to get blown out. And if we can turn it into a fight and make it ugly, then it probably trends toward helping us the most. What you saw is a microcosm of our culture.

They also have been playing with teamwork and everyone contributing.  In a recent March Madness game, Buzz Williams made 67 substitution.  Many of the bench players get more minutes than the starters.  It may be synchronicity but this humble, determined and gritty approach approximates the Jesuit ideal.

Marquette basketball has produced some great pro players of late, including Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat) and Jae Crowder (Dallas Mavericks).  But aside from their atheletic excellence, Marquette student athletes have stellar graduation rates.  Marquette athletes have a 91% graduation rate, compared to 78% of the whole student body.

In 1994, Marquette University President hastened a change from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles, allegedly so that the Warriors could be unisex, but what is more likely is that the machinations were to be politically correct and to sell more licensed sportswear.  Even today, Marquette basketball games are punctuated with spontaneous cheers “Let’s go Warriors!” instead of chanting up the unremarkable  “Golden Eagles”.

While the Willie Wampum cartoon Warrior was obviously offensive to modern mores, Marquette University crafted a Warrior consulting with various Indian tribes that bespoke honor and valor in battle, much like Ignatius of Loyola’s black robed religious warriors.

This is Marquette University basketball’s third straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen, and first advance to the Elite Eight since 2003, where they were roundly beaten by Kansas.  There is the possibility that there might be a rematch between the Jayhawks and Marquette in this year’s final four.  Rather than be haunted by the past, it is better to be calm and ahoya on.

Win or lose, Warrior or Golden Eagle, may the imprint of Marquette to be the difference in the world.  But if it helps, the Elite Eight game is being played in the District of Calamity (sic).

Pere Marqutte Statue by  Gaetano Trentanove (1896)

The Wisconsin contribution to the Congressional collection is none other than Père Jacques Marquette.  It used to be in Statuary Hall but now is displayed in the Congressional Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol. Perhaps that omen will bring some luck to keep the Blue on Gold on route to the Atlanta Highway for the Final Four.

Bobby Knight on Mistakes

Glenn Beck on Forgiveness

Glenn Beck

Friday, March 29, 2013

Laughing at Funny Man Jim Carrey's Hollywood Hypocrisy

Recently, funny-man Jim Carrey released a Funny or Die internet video “Cold Dead Hands” which targeted  every negative stereotype of “gun nuts” as being Hee-Haw watching idiots as well as defaming a deceased Charlton Heston.

This political parody meant to bolster the gun control bandwagon but  bombed as badly in conservative circles as Carrey’s new movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013), which coincidentally opened just as “Cold Dead Hands” went viral.

As Steve Martin noted, comedy isn’t pretty.  Sometimes over the top parodies go beyond the pale by being contemptuous instead of just satirizing a subject.  This sting of insult inspired Remy of ReasonTV to answer Jim Carrey with a rebuttal.

It is interesting to see in the parody of the parody how many scenes Jim Carrey participated in with gun play.  Some might dismiss this anomaly as just being an actor’s job.  But the message from “Cold Dead Hands” is an endorsement of gun grabbing.  Yet it has come to light that the elite actor has armed bodyguards. When this episode of Hollywood hypocrisy came to light, Carrey became apoplectic and altered the argument to high capacity weapons.

Laura Ingraham advises entertainment progressives to “Shut up and Sing” and keep their underinformed policy opinions out of the public spotlight. But judging from the vocal quality displayed in “Cold Dead Hands”, that advice might not be applicable for Jim Carrey (but would be alright for Carrey’s daughter Jane Carrey on American Idol).

Considering the anemic $11 million opening weekend of his new movie, laughing AT Jim Carrey’s Hollywood Hypocrisy might be the only laughs that he can count on.  It's too bad that there is not truth in advertising, even in some web domains.

h/t: ReasonTV

Watching the Media Lapdog

Now that the Obama Administration has cancelled White House tours for school groups on spring break supposedly due to sequestration, maybe the Big Guy can take Bo and his other Lap Dogs on a run near the Rose Garden.

C.S. Lewis on Forgiveness

CS Lewis

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Equalizer?

As the California Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases were argued before the United States Supreme Court, there was a concerted social media campaign to show support for Same Sex Marriages by displaying an equals sign on a red background. 

This Graphic "You want to talk about Equality"  challenges that meme with footprints challenging progressive secular sanctimoniousness by reminding them about their negative solution on the Right to Life. Meme chose, n'est pas?  

Actually no it isn't as the right to life would seem to trump altering contract rights and imposing it on all states. 

Rick Majerus on Talent

Buzz Williams on Winning

Buzz Williams Marquette

Monday, March 25, 2013

George Bernard Shaw on Mistakes

George Bernard Shaw

Sarah Palin on Life

A Short Stop at Arlington County's Costly First Super Station

The first of a string of 24 Super Stops for Arlington (VA) opened on March 11th at the intersection of Columbia Pike at Walter Reed Drive.  Construction on this bus shelter began in September 2011 and only recently was completed.  

Construction took 18 months longer than anticipated because of lengthy environmental impact statements. 

This shelter  is supposed to have room for ten to 15 commuters in a lit and heated shelter that  provides real time electronic and printed schedules as well as future ticketing for the estimated 16,000 commuters a day.   This first Super Station is thought to be perfectly positioned to promote ethnic restaurants as well as a fledgling night life.  

This little construction project only cost a cool $1 Million.  In fact, upon hearing the cost for the Super Station, one incensed citizen exclaimed “What? That’s ridiculous. From a citizen, from a voter, whoever put that budget through needs to get their butt canned. It’s an outrage.”

This new super costly Super station  does not even provide full protection against the elements.  Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey (D) observed that:

[The bus shelter is] pretty, but I was struck by the fact that if it’s pouring rain, I’m going to get wet, and if it’s cold, the wind is going to be blowing on me. It doesn’t seem to be a shelter. It doesn’t really shelter you very much . . . you can get pretty soaked in two minutes. 

Anticipating the public protest over the cost of the prototype Super Station, Arlington County officials proclaimed that the bus stop was an investment in the future.


While government officials should be commended for forward thinking, they must be certain that their thinking outside of the box will be embraced by their constituents, that the project is not pork barrel crony capitalism and that the future funding for running and maintaining these services do not break the backs of their taxpayers.  The Portland Oregon paradigm of cozy construction contracts, inflated operating expenses from gilded municipal union contracts and  uncertain external funding should offer cause for pause. 


Abraham Lincoln on Character

Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Harry Reid Doubles Down on Squelching Sequestration

In response to the tragic deaths of seven Marines and many more injured during a training exercise in at Hawthorne, Nevada,  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the Senate floor to blame... sequestration.

Of course Reid's, thesis makes no sense. The USMC issued a blanket ban on using the mortars and the associated tubes, as they are suspected as being defective.  Then there is the inconvenient truth that sequestration would have killed a live fire exercise for budgetary considerations.   Besides, the Marines can't take the bullets away from the huge DHS acquisitions which has been creating ammo shortages in the civilian population.

While Michael Ramirez was funny in postulating that Reid lost 98% of his remaining moral principals due to sequestration,  it is unclear if Reid still had any ethical chips left in his stash considering his cozy relations with casinos for his re-election as well as miraculously multiplying his personal wealth while serving in the Senate

Yet the Lamestream Media will intimate that Republicans would sell their soul to the devil for political advantage.  Consider Late Show host David Letterman's funny observation over the perceived likeness of Obama in the History Channel's "The Bible" series.

Unlike Democrat Senate Leader Reid's punch-line for sequestration, at least Letterman's laugh line  did not exploit the deaths of seven Marines to achieve his objectives, damn the truth.

h/t: Michael Ramirez

Mike Krzyzewski on Winning


Coach K knows about winning basketball games, as he has lead the Blue Devils to four NCAA National Championships, 11 Final Four appearances, 12 ACC Regular Season Titles and 13 ACC Tournament Championships. 

His philosophy is teamwork and working hard.  But based on his surname, I am not sure if teams would be naturals for the National Spelling Bee.

Budgeting Time for Barack-etology?

As March Madness begins in earnest today, President Obama took the time before his quick Spring Break trip to the Middle-East to fill out his NCAA March Madness Brackets.  

The Celebrity-in-Chief then taped an ESPN segment to explain his choices--

While the POTUS picks have been one in four during his tenure in the Oval, it calls for an even basic question--why is he wasting time on inconsequential items when he has a nation that he should be governing?

As sequestration comes into full effect, and the Obama Administration cancelled school tours of the White House and threatens the Easter Egg Roll (while still having costly golf outings with Tiger Woods and a St. Paddy's Day party), he vexes over college hoops.   As Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) call for US boots on the ground in Syria, additional missile interceptors are deployed on the West Coast for a North Korean nuclear ICBM threat and Iran is close to having nuclear weapons, our re-elected leader plays with Barack-etology? 

The law requires that the Executive Branch submits its Federal Budget by February 1st.  As it stands,  the Obama Administration won't have it done by April Fools Day. 

If it's any consolation,  Barack Budgets have gotten zero votes in  Congress. So it seems that he does better at his Bracketology than budgeting anyways. 

Perhaps we could profit from the POTUS picks and make up the sequestration shortfall.  But considering that he chose safe picks: Ohio State, Florida, Louisville and Indiana, it won't have much of a payout.  Unlike if someone chose in Paddy Pool chose Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the Conclave Championship --The Sweet Sistine. The man who became Pope Francis paid off at 33-1. 

We do not need  bread and circuses.  We need leadership from Washington.  A couple of weeks ago, President Obama went through the motions of a Capitol Hill charm offensive.  Then he cracks wise against Congress when setting foot on foreign soil. It make one wonder if he is serious about the responsibilities as the Leader of the Free World, or if he just seriously enjoys the spotlight and the trappings of the Oval Office.  

Golda Meir on Peace

Golda Meir

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Obama Spring Break in Israel

Today President Obama arrived in Israel for a whirlwind three day visit to the Middle East.  This is Mr. Obama's first visit to the Holy Land as President.  Obama 2008 decided to make campaign stops in Jerusalem but the next year, the newly elected President eschewed visiting Israel during his "apology tour".

As Mr. Obama arrived on the tarmac, he had another revealing "hot mike" moment. Mr. Obama's first words to Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu upon arriving in Israel  were "It's good to get away from Congress".  Hmm, wasn't the Obama White House engaged in a Charm Offensive blitz on Capitol Hill last week?

Obama's  Congressional quip might be dismissed as a light-hearted towel snap.  But President Obama has a track record for being candid with leaders on a tarmac, especially on Scorpions for Breakfast.  And Obama's hot mike blunder with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev about having more flexibility after the election was revealing of both plans and character.

While President Obama mouths the right words about our staunch strategic ally Israel, it will soon become clear if his administration passes over Israel's interests.  Will Obama continue to insist on onerous preconditions for that ever elusive peace deal with the Palestinians? Will the President do anything concrete when our ally Israel's safety is threatened by Egypt's Muslim Brother led government,? How about spillover from the Syrian conflict?  Or Hamas led violence from Lebanon?  Or threats of a holocaust from Amadinajad's Iran?  In addition, there are the quotidien  violent incidents stemming from the Gaza.

But Spring Break is a chance to chill, especially after mid-terms.  The problem is that Mr. Obama is not in college and was just re-elected as President  so he is still being tested and the mid terms are in November 2014.

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Robert Frost (1915)

Benjamin Disraeli on Temperament

Benjamin Disraeli Family Guy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Audrey Hepburn on Belief

Ted Cruz's Boots Are Made for Walking

While he was not as animated as Pat Caddell''s caustic comments, freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) makes the causal connection between EPA intransigence and economic stagnation at CPAC 2013.  But the Keynote speaking Senator  had some ideas of how to profit from the issue.

Pat Caddell's Prophetic Philippic Against the Political Class

One of the most striking speeches at CPAC 2013 were Pat Caddell’s remarks on the “Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?” panel.  Caddell indignantly observed:

When you have the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee and the political director of the Romney campaign, and their two companies get $152 million at the end of the campaign for the “fantastic” get-out-the-vote program… some of this borders on RICO violations. 
Rush Limbaugh was so impacted by Caddell’s caustic comments that he spent nearly twenty minutes of airtime reading the excepts, because El Rushbo could not get his hands on any audio.  

Serendipitously, Politichicks TV Michelle Moons caught Caddell’s emphatic indictments against Mitt Romney and his reliance on self-centered political consultants on video.  Unfortunately, it was shot at an unfortunate angle and has spotty audio quality.   Still, the damning appraisal deserves to be heard by anyone interested in public policy and good governance, so listen again with earphones in necessary.

With this in mind, this animation attempts to put a better face to Caddell’s prophetic condemnation of the Cocktail Party’s Political Class.   Since Caddell often would make asides during his remarks, the audio was slightly edited to keep focused the corrosive effect of crony capitalism among the GOP establishment.

h/t: Breitbart
h/t: Politichicks

Winston Churchill on Language

Tony Robbins on Courage

Tony Robbins Shallow Hal

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Wacko Birds" v. Dodo Birds Vying for the "Right" Leadership

The so-called Architect of former President George W. Bush’s electoral victories Karl Rove has come under intense scrutiny recently among conservatives for his failures in consulting in the 2012 cycle as well as his Cocktail Party proclivities.  During CPAC 2013 former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin challenged such behind the scenes insiders to “Buck up or stay in the truck”.

Rove responded on Fox News Sunday noting that he would not be a good candidate because he is bald.  Moreover, Karl quipped:  "If I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term and I wouldn't leave office midterm." 

Although there seems to have been little love lost between Karl Rove and the maverick Grizzly Momma since Sarah Palin was selected as Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) Vice Presidential nominee, this fight is really not about personalities.   Palin is the lightning rod for Tea Party types and personifies the fight between insiders and outsiders of the GOP and conservative movement.  Passionate partisans think that Karl Rove has declared war against conservatives and Tea Partiers so that Crossroads GPS can select more “electable” GOP candidates. Rove and other insiders postulate that general elections are not decided by the margins but by the middle, so Republican candidates must modify their message and select candidates that will appeal to independents.  


It is unclear if outsiders like the Tea Party, true conservatives and liberatian minded Republicans will reform the Party or if it will remain entrenched to the comfy seclusion of the Cocktail Party. But Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) the freshman who defied the odds and insiders to win his 2012 primary runoff and the general election, embraces the outsiders mantle as seen at CPAC.

To echo a now contrite maverick Senator John McCain's characterization of passionate partisans–will it be the “Wacko Birds” winning or will the Grand Old Party go the Whig way of being the RINO reserve for the Dodo Birds. 


Dick Vitale on Passion

Dick Vitale

As the invites to the big dance go out tonight and March Madness ensues,  it is telling to hear where ever enthusiastic college hoops color commentator Dick Vitale attributes his drive.  It's awesome, baby!