Thursday, June 25, 2015

Antonin Scalia on SCOTUScare

Antonin Scalia on SCOTUScare

Charles Krauthammer on the Liberal 'Do Something' Impulse

Charles Krauthammer on the Liberal Do Something Impulse

Louis Farrakhan on Flags

In less than a week after the racist shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, there has been a remarkable public retreat regarding the Confederate Battle Flag, which the killer trumpeted as one of his racist inspirations.  

Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) acted promptly and requested that the state legislature pass bills removing the stars and bars from the State Capitol and into a museum.  Several other states have made motions to remove the flag or insignia from state property. Major retailers such as Walmart , Ebay and Amazon have decided to stop selling the rebel banner. Warner Brothers has resolved excise the Confederate Battle Flag from all Dukes of Hazard merchandise and future public releases. 

Despite the deft political maneuvers by Republican leadership to remove Confederate symbols made prominent by anti-Civil Rights Democrats (e.g. Democrat Governor Fritz Hollings put the stars and bars on the South Carolina state capitol in 1962), such political gestures are insufficient to the perpetually aggrieved class. Rush Limbaugh predicted that the next target by makegrates would be the American Flag.  How right he was.

The Reverend Louis Farrakhan, speaking before the Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC, used a planning session for an October Millions for Justice mobilization to rail against the racism which he perceives is embodied in the Stars and Stripes. 

Farrakhan is positioning the October event as "Justice or else".

School children used to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag for which it stands.  It seems that we will be determining if the American flag stands for "Justice for all" or "Just us".

Sentencing the Boston Bomber

Sentencing Dzhokar Tsarnaev  to Death

While the verdict was known for nearly a month, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death for his role in the Boston Bombing and killing law enforcement officers while on the lam. 

Tsarnaev said nothing throughout the guilt phase and maintained a stoic demeanor throughout the trial.  Hence it was shocking that Tsarnaev chose to speak as the final sentencing was handed down. Tsarnaev asserted his Muslim faith several times during his soft spoken five minute statement. Tsarnaev mouthed the words: “I am sorry for the lives I have taken and suffering I have caused you and the damage I have done.”

Most Boston Bombing victims speaking afterwards however  did not believe this mea culpa which lacked emotion and was uttered at the last minute.   Two of the factors which influenced the capital sentence was a lack of emotion and remorse. Some legal experts opined that Tsarnaev's defense team may have encouraged the convicted death penalty inmate to say things which may help the legal team during the lengthy appeals process.

District Court Judge George O'Toole, Jr. did not seem moved by Boston Bomber's statement.  The judge declared: "Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you have done...What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed.".


T.S. Eliot on Humor

T.S. Eliot on Humor

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hillary Clinton on Gun Control

Hillary Clinton on Gun Control

Martin O'Malley Exploits the Charleston Church Shooting

Martin O'Malley on Gun Control     

 Longshot 2016 Democrat Presidential hopeful Former Governor Martin O'Malley (D-MD) used the atrocity of nine people being shot at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina as an opportunity to sound hip, fund-raise off the the tragedy and pitch his pet issues. Soon after the shootings in South Carolina, the O'Malley campaign released an email denouncing the NRA, touting O'Malley's "F" rating with the Second Amendment organization, while asking for"support" to fight for gun control as well as his fledgling campaign.  


O'Malley's rhetoric repeatedly used the colloquial phrase "I'm pissed".  That does not sound presidential but then again President Obama used the "N" word when granting an interview to WTF podcasts, so perhaps deviancy has been defined downward.  Nonetheless, it seems garish to push for more gun control before the dead have been laid to rest.  But as Rahm Emmanuel posited don't let a crisis go to waste.

Dr. Ben Carson on the Charleston Church Shooting

Dr. Ben Carson on Racism

Karl Rove on Gun Control

Karl Rove on Gun Control

Thomas Sowell on Gun Control

Thomas Sowell on Gun Control

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Bit on Pope Francis' Environmental Encyclical-- Praised Be, Popey-cock or a Hot Mess?

Pope Francis on Laudato Si Encyclical

The laity have been anxiously awaiting the release of Pope Francis’ first solo encyclical Laudato Sii,(2015) which was presumably about Climate Change.  Community Organizers  polled attendees at a DC Green Festival if they were optimistic about the upcoming bull.  Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) was chary about Pope Francis commenting on Climate Change.   Former Senator and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate  Rick Santorum (R-PA) questioned if the Holy See should use the Church's moral authority on Climate Change as there are more pressing issues facing the world.

After  La Repubblica leaked an advance copy of the Vatican document, the mainstream media was quick to report that the New World’s Holy Father unquestionably embraced man-made Climate Change and frowned upon fossil fuels. Some skeptics have quipped that Pope Francis’ pronouncement as Al Gore wearing white robe  and miter.  It also seemed to copy from Hillary Clinton’s speeches that humanity need to change to allow new beliefs, attitudes and lifestyles (para. 202).  Yet such secular caricatures ignores the several anti abortion allusions in the encyclical

Climate Change this was only a small part of Laudato Sii, encompassing only several paragraphs of the encyclical, including the unreferenced preamble. The main natural ecological section was paragraphs 165-175 which urged abandoning fossil fuels, imposing renewable energy and the urgent need to establish a true world political authority to stop pollution, manage Sustainable Development and eradicate poverty (para 175).  When reading a rough translation from the Italian of the leaked  187 page, 245 paragraph papal document, this writer took 23 pages of typed notes. The phrase "global warming" (riscaldamento globale) only appeared twice and variations of riscaldamento only appeared 10 times in the entire encyclical.

Pundits have been quick to presume that the faithful must accede to this encyclical.  However, Laudato  Sii was not a Thomistic scholastic pronouncement like the Baltimore Catechist but akin to a Vatican II document which is meant to convince and spur dialog. Moreover, if it is not centered on faith and morals, an encyclical is at best an advisory document.

A leitmotif of this encyclical is the linkage between perceived environmental crisis and poverty. Laudato Sii highlights the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of planet.  Pope Francis postulates that there should be sustainable development in an ecological manner in tandem with a preferential option for the poor.


Pope Francis understands the lesson from the Genesis creation story is that humanity was created in God’s image and entrusted to grow and keep the garden of the Earth. This Jesuit Pontiff channeled his inner Franciscan through the title of Laudato Sii from the Canticle of St. Francis of Assisi which poetically alludes to  Sister Earth.


At times, it was a strain to discern the relation some subjects had to an encyclical supposedly about the environment. Pope Francis understands the environment holistically, so it is not just about pollution of the natural world but also social degradation. Thus the Holy Father included brief critiques of technology, labor, bioethics, economics, finance, ecology, GMOs,  anthropology, art, architecture, transportation, infrastructure, culture, trade, polity, animal testing, human trafficking, selling endangered species pelts and man’s raison d’etre as part of an integral examination of the environment. Such an collection of short treatments on diffuse issues did not read like a compendium but more like a hot mess of Popey-cock.


It seemed like more an encyclical on Social Justice than it did a treatment on the environment. Ironically, that may be the point. Pope Francis seemed intent on a North-South transfer of wealth as a part of environmental remediation (para. 51).  Furthermore, Pope Francis lamented that we did not use the 2008 Financial Crisis (para 189) as a time to reset the economy to a new ethical principle. Achieving progressive social justice through environmental issues.


While the curia certainly helped draw up this draft, the language seemed slanted to reflect Pope Francis’ animus against Capitalism with a prejudice against profit and privatization.  When listing misusing technology causing environmental degradation, leading the list was America's use of atomic bombs, followed by communism's exploits and then fascism (para. 104). Much to the chagrin on many Western Progressives, Pope Francis repeated condemns the culture of consumerism and technology which depletes precious resources.  So Climate Change enthusiasts should be willing to sacrifice their i-Phones (para. 47), their own cars (para. 153) as well as their A/C (para. 55).

Although there are several references to differences in opinion and approach to the environment, Pope Francis’ peroration refers to Christians committed to prayer who make a mockery of environmental concerns with the pretense of being realistic or pragmatic (para. 217),  This embodies progressive intolerance of dissent.  One wonders if mollifying mockery about man made climate change goes both ways, as Vice President Joe Biden just jibed that: “As hard as it is to believe, many of these same people continue to deny the reality of climate change. They also deny gravity."

 This prima facia critique of Laudoto Sii will not dwell in details about competing data disputing anthropogenic global warming, but the so called consensus is in dispute and scandal from the East Anglia hockey stick model show how data was manipulated for the profit of further investment in climate change studies.


 Pope Francis made clear, however,  that “The Church does not claim to define the issues scientific, nor to replace politics, but invitation an honest and transparent debate”. (para. 188).   So Catholics need not bow down to the beliefs in Laudato Sii but prayerfully consider the message and participate in the debate.  The manifold political prescriptions which the pontiff proffered were interesting and from the heart but not within his proper sphere of influence.  It is novel to stress a linkage between the poor and environmental degradation, but some of Pope Francis’ solutions of relying on renewable power will cause energy prices to skyrocket, directly hurting the poor.

While Pope Francis’ asceticism is admirable, his proscription of “Less is more” (para. 222)  is questionable for the masses, especially as a response to an asserted ecological crisis. It also leads to the prickly particular of who decides how much is enough. In Laudato Sii, Pope Francis encouraged people to do little things, like use covers instead of turning up the heat, not because it will solve problems but for a conversion of heart (para. 212).  There may be a special place in heaven for such symbolic sacrifice, but it runs counter to policy condemnation of fossil fuels and excoriating buying green credits.

This philippic against pollution, environmental and social, is certainly well intended.  The unfocused nature of the encyclical makes it challenging to catachetize among the faithful, much less the world at large. It would seem that Laudato Sii fuses Sustainable Development with Social Justice. By progressively engaging in political subjects outside of the Holy See’s spiritual authority, Pope Francis may have alienated good will among non-progressive faithful. Furthermore, the policy prescriptions in Laudato Sii seem founded on third way intellectualism, which has few real world successes and is rife for polemic exploitation. What was proposed as an invitation for honest and transparent dialog on the environment is also presented as a rush to consensus due to exigency, which stifles the discernment of unpopular opinions to “Do something now”.

There have been other Catholic teaching documents which have broached on public policy pronouncements...


Considering that much of Laudato Sii sounds like the Holy Father is singing from the Progressives’ hymnal, this encyclical may be used to enviro-shame opponents of radical green solutions, as the left conveniently forgets about the condemnation of consumerist culture and not valuing unborn life.

It is regrettable that Laudato Sii was not more tersely cogent to challenge the faithful on natural problems.  It was awkward to have a religious document from a spiritual leader proscribe public policy solutions (get rid of fossil fuels and opt for renewable energy) with a pastiche of spiritual anchors.


George Bernanos on Life

George Bernanos on Life

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ben Carson on Government

Ben Carson on Government   

 When speaking before a crowd in Iowa, GOP 2016 presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson offered a modest proposal the curb the bureaucratic bungling in the District of Calamity (sic).

This populist point plays well on the hustings as it expresses the hol polloi frustration with the size, scope, inefficiency and intrusiveness of the Federal government.  It does not serve well as a political plank.  This further confirms Dr. Carson's self proclaimed status of not being a typical politician. 

Hillary Clinton on Government

Hillary Clinton on Government

During the Hillary 2016 campaign relaunch on Roosevelt Island, former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-AR NY) made progressive proclamations on politics. 

It was interesting that Mrs. Clinton emphasized the importance of Democracy. While our elections are conducted in a democratic manner, the polity of the United States of America is a constitutional federal Republic. One wonders if the 4 "f" that Clinton claims that she's fighting for will recognize the sovereignty of states and "We the People" at its foundation or if she will be the vanguard to change deep seated cultural and religious values to suit her druthers. 

With Hillary's rhetoric about Democracy, does she realize that elections do not involve coronations?  Candidates make themselves available or real vetting from the media, not just staged events in a Scooby van , choreographed questions from rapturous reporters and not limiting access and monitoring the media.

Henry Ford on Government

Henry Ford on Government

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sen. Kirk on Lindsey Graham: "He's a bro with no ho"

Senator Mark Kirk on Senator  Lindsey Graham

Three term Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) launched a quixotic quest for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.  Aside from his scant standing in the polls, Senator Graham is also challenged by the fact that he is a life-long bachelor. 

Harriet Lane with President Buchanan 
Grover Cleveland wedding 1886
 No Presidents in the 20th Century were faces with that dilemma in etiquette.  The 15th President, James Buchanan, never married so his niece Harriet Lane Johnson acted in the role of the First Lady for White House social events. The 22nd (and 24th) President, Grover Cleveland, entered the White House as a bachelor.  Initially, Cleveland's sister, Rose Cleveland, acted as White House hostess.  However,  President Cleveland married Francis Folsom in the White House Blue Room in 1886 and thereafter she assumed the ceremonial role as first lady. 

In the event that a President Lindsey Graham ever had to host formal White House dinners, Senator Graham suggested that: "Well, I've got a sister, she could play that role if necessary. I've got a lot of friends. We'll have a rotating first lady." This creative answer should have put to rest such a peripheral political question.

Alas, Senator Graham had his good friend from Illinois, freshman Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) got caught in a hot mike moment.  

During a Senate roll call vote, Senator Kirk referred to Lindsey's rotating First Lady situation as being necessitated because  of an off the cuff comment:"[H]e's a bro with no ho."  With friends like that, Lindsey, who needs enemies? Kirk's press secretary quickly sent out an email explaining that he was joking and apologized if anyone was offended.

What was Senator Kirk thinking being so jocose while being miked up? Is he prepping to win  votes on Chicago's South Side for his re-election bid?  Did his 2012 stroke impair his judgment on decorum?  After all, Senator Kirk claimed that the stroke made him a better politician and a better man. Or is it an establishment politician who has become oblivious to always being in the limelights and just misbehaving?

The Chicago Tribune seized upon DNC talking points to question if Kirk is still fit for office with a string of off-the-mark comments.  The 2016 election cycle is a difficult one for the Republicans to keep the Senate because the GOP has so many seats being contested.  Kirk's comments make holding the Land of Lincoln's seat more questionable for the Republicans.

As for Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the quip concentrated attention on being a confirmed bachelor rather than his presumed prowess in military matters in a foreign policy driven election.

Bob Hope on Being Well-Informed

Bob Hope on Being Well-Informed

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jacques Cousteau on Success

Jacques Cousteau on Missions

Senator Sessions on TPP: Sultan of Brunei to have equal vote to US

Jeff Sessions on Trans Pacific Partnership

The left's opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership is steeped in anti-corporate sentiments.  Opposition on the right is focused on the dereliction of duty, in which Congress rushes through a fast track trade deal and prospectively surrenders legitimate legislative duties to the Executive Branch and even an international commission.  

Tim Fargo on Mistakes

Tim Fargo on Mistakes