Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bishop: No Catholic can Vote for Barack Obama in Good Conscience

Here's an ad from a very courageous Bishop, his excellency, Rene Gracida.

The text of the ad is as follows:
This is Bishop Rene H. Gracida, reminding all Catholics that they must vote in this election with an informed conscience. A Catholic cannot be said to have voted in this election with a good conscience if they have voted for a pro-abortion candidate. Barack Hussein Obama is a pro-abortion candidate.
The ad is also available on YouTube in Spanish.

Please forward this ad to every Catholic you know. It took a lot of courage for Bishop Gracida to say this so forcefully. Please remember him in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alveda King, Niece of Martin Luther King Jr., endorses McCain-Palin

The following is taken from an article in today's Philadelphia Bulletin:
"I am very excited about the McCain-Palin ticket, simply because they support the values that mean the most to me," Ms. King said. "It is a plus to me that Sarah Palin is a woman because I've been elected to office as a wife and mother. I've been appointed to office as a woman and at the time I was a mother and became a grandmother." 

Ms. King said her experience taught her she could both be a good mother and still serve the public. This is something she has in common with Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, McCain's running mate.

However, the most important reason she is backing the McCain-Palin ticket is its commitment to the pro-life cause.
Click here to see the video mentioned in this article:

A Matter of Faith, Race and Politics

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brief review of Holmes: The Age of Justinian & Theodora (1905)

Having never discovered this particular history before in my research, I was looking forward to reading it after discovering it in the library. Now I know why hardly anyone cites it. The author, William Gordon Holmes, does not uphold even the pretense of scholarly objectivity. Never before have I run across an historian who displays such open contempt for his subject matter. The Byzantines were a deeply religious Christian people and Holmes openly and continuously decries the religious beliefs of late Roman Christians in language that is little short of vitriolic. And beyond this, he carries the attacks to modern Christians as well, claiming in one footnote that Christian beliefs spring either from ignorance or insanity.

In one particular 60-page tangent, Holmes offers his own version of the history of Christianity. Having little to do with his original subject, Holmes uses this digression to pontificate upon the "death" of Christianity in his time. In a footnote, he celebrates the lack of religious vocations and says that, "those who are engaged in impressing a belief in obsolete mythologies on the community should realize that they are doing an evil service to their generation." Ominously, Holmes predicts that the "Romish and Orthodox churches" will retain their power over the ignorant masses for a while longer "until at last they have to face suppression by force."

Perhaps worse, Holmes is a social Darwinist of the kind that flourished pre-WWII but is hardly to be found today (at least openly). In one place, he calls the modern Spanish people "unintelligent." He insinuates that Hawaiians are a lower race. And in another place, he envisions a future where "famous stallions should stand to cover brood mares in the human as well as the equine world."

Sadly, there is a good bit of useful data here in between Holmes's pompous paeans to atheism and eugenics. He gives a very useful, if occasionally inaccurate, tour of Justinianic Constantinople and his footnoting is generally very helpful when dealing with matters outside of religion. But unfortunately, this book is so completely saturated with the author's bloviating bigotry to make it a supremely obnoxious read for anyone but a hard-core anti-Christian atheist.

Ignore the polls

For those of you down in the dumps about Obama's poll numbers as compared to McCain's, take heed. It is my belief that the polls are being manipulated by the media in concert with the Democrats. The strategy is to make Obama seem like an irresistible force and to depress the conservative turn out in an attempt to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here's an article from the NRO campaign spot that bolsters this theory. The money quote is as follows:
"Believe me, there is someone in the Obama campaign who is deathly afraid of the 'McCain pulls even or goes ahead' poll." (And in Gallup, it was within 2 percent.) "That Obama strategist knows how much depends on the whole Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel approach —.work with the media to demoralize conservatives, and keep the perception of a juggernaut going. But a day or two of a few bad polls, and that strategy backfires. The conservatives know they've still got a shot at this."
Thus, the message for conservatives is to ignore the polls. If this theory is correct, no pollster will show McCain ahead for the duration of the election. In such a climate, the best thing to do is to assume McCain is 1% behind, and work like heck to get him elected. Volunteer. Call. Walk precincts. Vote!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice

If you like short stories about disgusting sexual attractions, suicide, and self-absorbed German narcissism, you'll love Death in Venice. Me, I don't much cotton to such themes in what I read, so I had trouble wading through this morass of early 20th century European bourgeoisie decadence. But as this book was the choice of our book club, I had to persevere.

Of the eight short stories contained in this book, I found only the three middle ones, Mario and the Magician (1929), Disorder and Early Sorrow (1925), and A Man and His Dog (1918) to be of any worth. The others--Death in Venice (1911), Tonio Kröger (1903), The Blood of the Walsungs (1905), Tristan (1902), and Felix Krull (1911)--range from simply tedious and uninsightful to gross and perverse. Interestingly, it is Mann's earlier stories that fall into that category. I suppose these stories were meant to have shock value in their day. But in an era when the most disgusting pornography is only a mouse-click away, they seem painfully trite and pedestrian today.

Mann's later stories are better, possibly because as he matured, Mann became a more skillful observer of the beauty and joy of everyday life. But if tinged with sentimentality, these stories don't really inspire. Of all the stories, Mario and the Magician is the only standout. It was the singular tale which kept me riveted with larger than life characters and underlying themes which got beyond the mundane or the merely sexual.

As a whole, this is exactly the type of work that made me dislike studying modern literature as a student. The prose is dense and despite Mann's impressive descriptive ability, the stories do little to uplift the human spirit. Instead, the reader is left encumbered with a myriad of very negative ideas and disturbing notions of humanity.

Of course, as I am reading Mann in an English translation, it is not impossible that his genius as a writer was more easily discerned in the original German. In English, it was fairly invisible to me. I say this as someone who loved writers like Dumas, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy in English translation.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dems 4 McCain Flyer

Here's a downloadable flyer that should stir up some trouble. Use it to:

1.) Give to Democrat family members and friends.

2.) Give Democrat colleagues at work.

3.) Post around your college campus or on community bulletin boards.

4.) Place in in any public place where literature may be distributed.

5.) Hand out in front of post offices, train stations, or any other high-traffic area where it's legal to do so.

6.) Keep on you to give to any folks you meet with whom the election comes up as a subject of conversation.

It's a simple, no frills flyer that gets the point across. It's in color, but it looks just fine printed out on a standard laser printer or copy machine.

Click on the lo-res version of it below to download a PDF for easy printing (148K):

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The publishing industry and liberal hypocrisy

For those of you who may not know, the publishing industry is almost completely run by liberals. Any debate on this should be ended by an August survey from Publishing Trends which showed a whopping 86% of respondents plan to vote for Barack Obama in November.

Yes, 86%.

Here's the real stunner, though. A survey in Publishers Weekly released in July of 2008, found the following:
The salary divide between men and women actually increased in 2007—men received an average salary increase of 4.5% last year, compared to 4.2% for women. Men earned an average salary of $103,822 last year, compared to $64,742 for women, and while one reason for the higher overall salary for men is that more men are in the higher paying management and sales side of the business, the discrepancy is in all segments, including editorial, where men out-earned women $67,000 to $48,000.
Yes, you read that right. In an industry where 86% of the folks self-identify as Obama-voting liberals, there isn't pay parity. In fact, it's not even close.

Now don't get me wrong. I fully understand the underlying reasons why women are generally paid less than men and why the whole issue of pay parity is a red herring. But it really irks me that the same leftists who moan and complain endlessly about such things can't even manage it in industries that they dominate.

But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised when the Obama campaign itself can't even manage pay parity between men and women--in stark contrast to the McCain campaign.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Letter to my State Senator and Assemblymen

Here's the letter I wrote to my local reps regarding this bill. Please feel free to use bits and pieces of it, or the whole thing, as you see fit.


Esteemed Representatives,

It has come to my attention the New Jersey Assembly will be considering a bill (ASSEMBLY Bill No. 3123) which sets new and unprecedented restrictions on the right of home education within the state of New Jersey.

There's an old saying (which admittedly uses improper grammar) which says: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The current laws in New Jersey which cover homeschooling work and are considered among the most liberal (in a good way) in the nation. This horrid bill would put New Jersey into the educational dark-ages. As you no doubt are aware, homeschoolers routinely score among the highest percentiles on national and state standardized tests and on average, perform well above their peers in public education. This trend has even been recognized by many universities who now actively recruit home educated children.

Given the successes I have observed among the homeschooling community, I would ask that you oppose this ill-advised and coercive bill and ask that it be withdrawn immediately before it messes up a good thing. Homeschoolers need more support from the state, not more restrictions and regulation.

Please be advised that I consider a vote in favor of this bill to be utterly disqualifying in terms of my future support, both in terms of my vote and who I contribute to in the next election.



Fighting for Homeschooling in NJ

Two NJ legislators, Democrat Sheila Y. Oliver District 34 (Essex and Passaic) and Democrat L. Harvey Smith District 31 (Hudson) have declared war on homeschoolers in New Jersey. Their bill which will make NJ the most homeschool-hostile state in the union, may be read here:

ASSEMBLY, No. 3123, STATE OF NEW JERSEY (Introduced September 22, 2008)

Ms. Oliver and Mr. Smith need to hear from all NJ homeschoolers right now. Here are their phone numbers. Also, click their names to take you to their pages at the NJ Legislature page. You can get their office addresses and send emails from there. I recommend doing all three:

Sheila Y. Oliver - (973-395-1166)
L. Harvey Smith - (201-536-7851)

The legislators sponsoring the anti-homeschooling bill are about to find out how networked homeschoolers are. Let's make them rue the day they ever tried to pull this nonsense.

NJ about to go Nanny State on Homeschoolers?

You knew it was only a matter of time. The liberal homeschooling laws in New Jersey are now under fire from two "concerned legislators" in Trenton.

Read it and get angry.

This needs to be hammered and hard if NJ homeschoolers are going to maintain their right to educate their children as they see fit without interference from the state.