Cheyenne Mountain Redux

 

Unless the Pentagon finally got the Stargate to work, this is ominous:

 

Washington (AFP) – The US military command that scans North America’s skies for enemy missiles and aircraft plans to move its communications gear to a Cold War-era mountain bunker, officers said.

The shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command’s sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said.

The Pentagon last week announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Corporation to oversee the work for North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command.

Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that “because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain’s built, it’s EMP-hardened.”

“And so, there’s a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there,” Gortney told reporters.

“My primary concern was… are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I’m not at liberty to discuss who’s moving in there,” he said.

The Cheyenne mountain bunker is a half-acre cavern carved into a mountain in the 1960s that was designed to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack. From inside the massive complex, airmen were poised to send warnings that could trigger the launch of nuclear missiles. Continue reading

PopeWatch: MenBeGone

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

If you go further into the video, more dancing girls appear!  As I looked at this, I was thinking, what does this remind me of? Then I realized; it was a film on TV last weekend, The Ten Commandments. There were lots of scenes involving women dancing with tamborines. First in Pharaoh’s throne room, then at Mount Sinai (Edward G. Robinson-as-Dathan: “Where’s your Moses now, eh?”)  St. Patrick-of-Seattle Dancing Girls: “We’re ready for our closeup, Mr. DeMille!”

Father Martin Fox commenting on the video below

Whenever the Catholic Church is attacked as a patriarchal institution PopeWatch tends to guffaw.  The feminization of the Church has helped drive countless men away from the Mass.  Father Z gives an example:


I have to share this video from You Tube I was sent by email as reason #756 for Summorum Pontificum.
This is:

Easter Vigil Liturgy of St Patrick Catholic Church, Seattle, [NB] 2010. The seven readings from the old testament are presented in Word, Sign, Music and Dance. Here, the third reading from from the book of Exodus is sung and danced.

She gets the tambourine at about 1:00 and then the view pulls back so that you can see the whole thing, the combo with the bongos on the right, the person doing sign language on the left, the girl in the middle jumping around.


No wonder men don’t go to church.

That said, I saw this story at Catholic World Report:

The Case for a Mass Conversion of Men
Research shows that almost 9 out of 10 Catholic men don’t participate in a Catholic activity outside of attending Mass; if men aren’t being reached in the Mass, they aren’t being reached.

Despite the fact the New Evangelization has been an ongoing emphasis by the Catholic Church for over forty years, it has failed to stem the disastrous losses of the faithful in the U.S. Since 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious education participation of children has dropped by 24%, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19%, baptisms of infants has dropped by 28%, baptism of adults has dropped by 31% and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41%. Something is desperately wrong with the Church’s approach to the New Evangelization.

Of Mass and Men

One reason the New Evangelization is faltering is because it is missing men. The New Emangelization Project has documented the serious Catholic “man-crisis” in the United States. 1 in 3 baptized Catholic men have left the faith and of those who remain, 50-60% of them are “Casual Catholics”, men who don’t know and don’t practice the faith. Of those who practice the faith, many are lukewarm, not converted to the point of conviction, a conviction in which they are prepared to make disciples for Christ and His Catholic Church. The New Evangelization has largely ignored men, with no substantial or sustained efforts to directly confront the Catholic “man-crisis”.

The Catholic “man-crisis” matters. The souls of men matter and many are being lost; for example, two thirds of Christian men are looking at porn at least monthly and the numbers are much higher for younger men. The faith of the children matter and huge numbers of young people are leaving the faith because they have followed their fathers out of the Church. Without a New Emangelization in which millions of Catholic men become newly committed to Christ and His Church, there can be no New Evangelization.

While a complex set of forces have driven the Catholic “man-crisis”, including both massive cultural changes outside the Church and serious missteps within the Church, the lack of engagement of men in the Mass is a major contributing factor: men don’t understand the Mass and well-meaning, but misinformed priests in many parishes have de-sacralized the Mass causing many men to simply “drift away.”

Why is the Mass a key driver of the Catholic “man-crisis”? Research shows that almost 9 out of 10 Catholic men don’t participate in a Catholic activity outside of attending Mass; if men aren’t being reached in the Mass, they aren’t being reached. Only about 1/3 of Catholic men are attending Mass on a weekly basis. Only 1 in 50 Catholic men have a monthly practice of Confession, underscoring the fact that many are attending Mass without a proper preparation to receive the Eucharist. 48% of Catholic men are “bored” in the Mass and 55% of Catholic men don’t feel they “get anything out of the Mass.” These statistics confirm what dozens of the New Emangelization Project interviews with top Catholic men’s evangelists know: men don’t understand the Mass. No man can truly understand the Mass and be bored.

[…]

Read the rest there.

 

Continue reading

April 9, 1865: Lee Surrenders

 

 

And so the Civil War ended.  Oh, not immediately.  The surrender process throughout the Confederacy would take until June, and skirmishes would be fought.  But with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, no one, except perhaps Jefferson Davis, north or south, doubted that the Civil War had ended with a Union victory.  At Appomattox Lee and Grant, with the ways in which they both behaved at this all important event in American history, planted the seeds of American reunification.

Lee, as ever noble, viewed surrender as a painful duty, and trusted in Grant to give just terms.  Grant, who would forbid the firing of cannon salutes in celebration of the surrender, gave as his main term that the Confederates simply go home and get on with their lives, agreeing to them taking with them a horse if they claimed one to help with the spring planting, and specifying that Confederate officers would retain their side arms so that he would not have to accept Lee’s sword in token of surrender.

The best account of the surrender is Grant’s, contained in his memoirs:

When I had left camp that morning I had not expected so soon the result that was then taking place, and consequently was in rough garb. I was without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldier’s blouse for a coat, with the shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was. When I went into the house I found General Lee. We greeted each other, and after shaking hands took our seats. I had my staff with me, a good portion of whom were in the room during the whole of the interview.   
  What General Lee’s feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us. 
  General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely new, and was wearing a sword of considerable value, very likely the sword which had been presented by the State of Virginia; at all events, it was an entirely different sword from the one that would ordinarily be worn in the field. In my rough traveling suit, the uniform of a private with the straps of a lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form. But this was not a matter that I thought of until afterwards.   
  We soon fell into a conversation about old army times. He remarked that he remembered me very well in the old army; and I told him that as a matter of course I remembered him perfectly, but from the difference in our rank and years (there being about sixteen years’ difference in our ages), I had thought it very likely that I had not attracted his attention sufficiently to be remembered by him after such a long interval. Our conversation grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our meeting. After the conversation had run on in this style for some time, General Lee called my attention to the object of our meeting, and said that he had asked for this interview for the purpose of getting from me the terms I proposed to give his army. I said that I meant merely that his army should lay down their arms, not to take them up again during the continuance of the war unless duly and properly exchanged. He said that he had so understood my letter.  Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 4/8/15

- The Hugo Awards have presented us with a rather odd cultural moment, and one which – for once – conservatives are winning.

To counteract the voting bias, Correia organized a campaign called “Sad Puppies”—because, he explains, “boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness.” Which gives you a small sampling of the kind of goofy, irreverent humor with which the campaign has been conducted. The idea was simply to suggest a slate of authors Correia thought were likely to be overlooked or slighted because of their views—and to counteract that effect by lobbying in their favor.

But then things got out of hand. This year, the Sad Puppies campaign (and a related slate of recommendations called Rabid Puppies) swept the field. The response was a total meltdown among the leftist elites who had assumed, in previous years, that they (and their favorite publisher, Tor) basically owned the Hugos. So they did what the Left always does: they smeared everyone who disagrees with them as racists.

– Fr. Z links to a video which helps explain why more men don’t go to Church. Fortunately I do not have to endure such things at my parish.

Oh look at that - more doubt is being placed on another set of government dietary guidelines.

Moreover, according to studies published in recent years by pillars of the medical community, the low levels of salt recommended by the government might actually be dangerous.

“There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines,” said Andrew Mente, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario and one of the researchers involved in a major study published last year by the New England Journal of Medicine. “So why are we still scaring people about salt?”’

More salt on my bacon, please.

– Yeah, Charlie Cooke’s a hypocrite. You know what? I guess I am as well because I pretty much agree with everything he says here.

I am an opponent of the death penalty, and I have for a long time now been happy to argue why. But I fear that I am also something of a hypocrite on the matter, in that my heart and my head are often in two different places. Like many people, when I hear the news that a serial rapist/murderer has been killed, something in my gut says, “good!” And then I quickly check myself, and I remember why I’m against it, and I recall that I really don’t trust the state the make these sorts of decisions. It is always important to look to our better angels when our emotions run away with our brains. Upon hearing the news that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been found guilty on all thirty of the counts that were brought against him, however, I have had trouble rebounding from my initial, intuitive, instinct. On paper, I hope that he is not sentenced to death. But if he is, will I care that much? Meh.

– The Kennedy (with some very rare and exceptions) has done as much as any to guarantee the deaths millions of unborn children. I guess it makes sense for one of them to get to work on the born.

When Kennedy asked the crowd of a few hundred viewers how many parents had a child injured by vaccines, numerous hands went up. “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

Interesting analogy from someone who seeks to imprison climate change “deniers.”

Obama a Christian?

 

 

Midwest Conservative Journal brings to our attention that Obama continues his pretense of being a Christian in order to bash Christians:

 

 

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a quote which doesn’t even require “fisking”. At the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast on Sunday, an occasion of great significance to Christians, here’s what President Barack Obama had to say:

“On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love,” Obama said. “And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.” As the crowd began to murmur, the president backed off, saying, “But that’s a topic for another day.”

Nothing like trashing fellow Christians as they’re busy observing the most important day in the Christian year, and the event which defines their faith. Fortunately, President Obama has the gift of knowing exactly what is in the heart and mind of each and every person, and that allows him to pass judgement on them. I’d just like to see him make a similar statement to Muslims on the first day of Ramadan… but I won’t hold my breath. Continue reading

This Is How Its Done

Begin watching the video at 8:02.

I doubt if I will be supporting Rand Paul in the primaries next year for a number of reasons, but my hat is off to him for this answer:

 

When quizzed on his about his views on abortion, Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul avoided the gotcha game and told NH1 reporter Paul Steinhauser to ask DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz if it was okay to “kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus.”

“Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a 7 pound baby in the uterus?” Paul reportedly said. “You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s okay with killing a seven pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it’s okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me.”

Continue reading

Munich 2015

 

 

Austin Bay at Strategy Page gives us the details of the ludicrous Iran-Obama deal:

At the moment, it isn’t certain that Iran has agreed to comply with anything other than conducting more talks later this year. Yet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, quote, “This is the best deal we could get.”

Yes, he said that, even though this “best deal” quickly lifts the stiff economic sanctions imposed on Iran. Kerry’s best deal looks like payoff.

To blunt criticism from Democrats as well as Republicans, Obama has claimed that “this deal is not based on trust; it’s based on unprecedented verification.”

Really? So, Mr. President, what is the coercive mechanism to enforce nuclear research and weapons development verification? The answer, so far: crickets. The “understanding” definitely fails to address Iranian missiles (nuclear weapon delivery systems).

 

Obama’s “historic understanding” has the sad woof and warp of so many of his administration’s domestic and international policy efforts: glowing, inspirational, dramatic rhetoric disguising episodic, hodge-podge, ill-considered, poorly planned and often hastily organized operations. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” is a domestic example. When Obamacare arrived, many Americans learned they could not keep their preferred doctor. Obama said Americans would eventually love the health care law. A substantial majority despises the legislative monstrosity. Now a foreign policy example: Obama’s promise to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations. For Vladimir Putin, Obama’s reset was a setup. Putin’s Russia is now a neo-Fascist expansionary nuclear power slowing carving and digesting Ukraine. Obama’s “red line” threat to punish Syria’s Assad regime if it used chemical weapons against civilians, and his failure to do so when the Syrians used nerve gas, is another example.

Obama has an enormous trust problem; the man does not keep his word. But his obedient, word-mongering national media corps consistently fails to call him on this grand malfeasance.

So what can be verified regarding Iran? Here is a verifiable fact: Iran already possesses long-range ballistic missiles.

Here is another verifiable fact: more talks, sometime, somewhere in the future, has been Tehran’s modus operandi for two decades. Kerry’s “best deal” is an ayatollah three-fer. It gives them money. It gives them more time to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. It also gives them diplomatic political cover to continue dithering, courtesy of Barack Obama and John Kerry. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Doubletalk

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

The example of the Orthodox Churches is often brought up by those who favor allowing Catholics in adulterous marriages to receive communion.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa examines the two chief responses to this argument:
But on the eve of the first round of the synod on the family last October, Archbishop Cyril Vasil, secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, cautioned against a “naive” interpretation of the practice of the Orthodox Churches in matters of marriage.

Second marriages – he explained – entered into the practice of the Orthodox Churches at a later date, toward the end of the first millennium. They entered under the invasive influence of Byzantine imperial legislation, of which the Churches were the executors. And even today the dissolution of first marriages is for these Churches almost always the simple transcription of a ruling of divorce issued by the civil authorities.

Vasil is an authority on the subject. A Slovak of the Greek rite and a Jesuit, he was dean of the faculty of canon law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. His essay on divorce and second marriages in the Orthodox Churches was part of a multi-author book released on the eve of the synod with the contributions of five cardinals, all of them opposed to communion for the divorced and remarried:

“Remaining in the Truth of Christ. Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church”, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2014.

The salient passages of Vasil’s essay are reproduced in this article from www.chiesa:

> Divorce and Second Marriages. The compliant “Oikonomia” of the Orthodox Churches

But not all the experts agree with him.

Enrico Morini, professor of Orthodox Church history at the state university of Bologna and at the theological faculty of Emilia Romagna, wrote in a comment on one of his essays in “Memorie Teologiche,” the online journal of his faculty, in reference to the dissolution of the nuptial bond and to the possibility of a second marriage, admitted by the Orthodox Churches:

“To me, however, it seems to constitute a practice that wisely applies in pastoral care the salvific criterion of mercy, without compromising the principle of indissolubility. In the acute problems raised by the current sociological context, it represents, in my view, a valid alternative to the hypothesis of the admission of the divorced and remarried to sacramental communion. In fact, rather than admitting to the sacrament those who are objectively living in a state of sin, this practice instead heals the sinful situation with a non-sacramental ecclesial ratification that emphasizes what is positive in a natural, stable, and faithful union.” Continue reading

April 8, 1865: Lee Rejects Guerrilla Warfare

On April 8, 1865 the last hope of escape for Lee’s army flickered out.  Union cavalry under Custer seized the critical supplies waiting for the Confederates at Appomattox Station.    Lee’s line of march to the west was now blocked as parts of three Union corps were making forced marches to reinforce Custer and would arrive on the morning of the ninth.  On the eighth Grant and Lee exchanged these letters:

APRIL 8, 1865

General R. E. LEE:

Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of same date, asking the condition on which I will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon, namely, that the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to yell, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia will be received.

U.S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

________
 
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
APRIL 8, 1865

Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT:

I received at a late hour your note of to-day. In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army, but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desired to know whether your proposals would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia, but as far as your proposal may affect the C. S. forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet you at 10 a.m., to-morrow; on the old stage road to Richmond, between the picket-lines of the two armies.

R. E. LEE,
General.

 

It was becoming clear to the officers of the Army of Northern Virginia that surrender loomed and most of them were heartsick at this fact.

 

We Americans today view the Civil War as part of our history.  If different decisions had been made at the end of that conflict, the Civil War could still be part of our current reality.  Just before the surrender at Appomattox, General Porter Alexander, General Robert E. Lee’s chief of artillery, broached to  Lee a proposal that the Army of Northern Virginia disband and carry out a guerrilla war against the Union occupiers.  Here history balanced on a knife edge.  If Lee had accepted the proposal, I have little doubt the stage would have been set for an unending war between the North and the South which would still be with us.  Douglas Southall Freeman, in his magisterial R. E. Lee, tells what happened next, based upon Alexander’s memoirs, Fighting for the Confederacy :

“Thereupon Alexander proposed, as an alternative to surrender, that the men take to the woods with their arms, under orders to report to governors of their respective states.

“What would you hope to accomplish by that?” Lee queried.

It might prevent the surrender of the other armies, Alexander argued, because if the Army of Northern Virginia laid down its arms, all the others would follow suit, whereas, if the men reported to the governors, each state would have a chance of making an honorable peace. Besides, Alexander went on, the men had a right to ask that they be spared the humiliation of asking terms of Grant, only to be told that U. S. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant would live up to the name he had earned at Fort Donelson and at Vicksburg.

Lee saw such manifest danger in this proposal to become guerillas that he began to question Alexander: “If I should take your advice, how many men do you suppose would get away?”

“Two-thirds of us. We would be like rabbits and partridges in the bushes and they could not scatter to follow us.”

“I have not over 15,000 muskets left,” Lee explained. “Two-thirds of them divided among the states, even if all could be collected, would be too small a force to accomplish anything. All could not be collected. Their homes have been overrun, and many would go to look after their families.

“Then, General,” he reasoned further, “you and I as Christian men have no right to consider only how this would affect us. We must consider its effect on the country as a whole. Already it is demoralized by the four years of war. If I took your advice, the men would be without rations and under no control of officers. They would be compelled to rob and steal in order to live. They would become mere bands of marauders, and the enemy’s cavalry would pursue them and overrun many sections they may never have occasion to visit. We would bring on a state of affairs it would take the country years to recover from. And, as for myself, you young fellows might go bushwhacking, but the only dignified course for me would be to go to General Grant and surrender myself and take the consequences of my acts.”

Lee paused, and then he added, outwardly hopeful, on the strength of Grant’s letter of the previous night, whatever his inward misgivings, “But I can tell you one thing for your comfort. Grant will not demand an unconditional surrender. He will give us as good terms as this army has the right to demand, and I am going to meet him in the rear at 10 A.M. and surrender the army on the condition of not fighting again until exchanged.”

Alexander went away a humbler man. “I had not a single word to say in reply,” he wrote years afterwards. “He had answered my suggestion from a plane so far above it, that I was ashamed of having made it.” Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 4/7/15

I hope everyone is having a happy and blessed Easter.

– Rand Paul has officially entered the 2016 presidential race. There’s a long way to go, and at this point there are a number of candidates I could see myself supporting. He is not one of them. There are myriad reasons why, and he gave me another one today.

– Kevin Williamson with a typically brilliant column, which concludes thusly:.

“I expect to die in bed,” Francis Eugene Cardinal George famously remarked. “My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Perhaps it will not come to that. But we already are on the precipice of sending men with guns to the homes and businesses of bakers to enforce compliance with dictates undreamt-of the day before yesterday. Yes, render unto Caesar, and all that. But render only what is Caesar’s — and not one mite more.

– Speaking of the Indiana RFRA law, I do have to agree with Andy McCarthy’s analysis. The federal RFRA was an overwrought reaction to what was a correctly decided Supreme Court case. Naturally this does not justify the over-reaction to the Indiana law, but we do need to have some perspective, as McCarthy explains the original legislation’s history:

It should be no surprise, though. RFRA was an unfortunate reaction, by an odd combination of conservative religious leaders and opportunistic statists, to a 1990 Supreme Court decision, Employment Division v. Smith, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, a brilliant conservative jurist (and, for what it’s worth in this context, a devout Catholic). The statute’s enactment was triggered in 1993, when the Court reaffirmed Smith in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. These cases stand for the principle that the First Amendment does not provide a religion-based exemption from compliance with a law of general application that is religion-neutral — i.e., a law that applies to everyone equally and does not discriminate against adherents of a particular religion.

Moreover, RFRA does not provide a principled, knowable carapace of religious freedom. Rather, it transfers the power to decide what religious convictions will be respected from where it belongs, in the hands of free people through their elected representatives, to where it should not reside, in the whims of politically unaccountable judges whose sensibilities often differ widely from the community’s sensibilities. When someone claims a law burdens religion, RFRA imposes a test: The government must prove that the law serves a compelling public purpose and represents the least burdensome manner of doing so. There is no reason to believe judges are better equipped to perform that balancing than legislatures; and there is nothing about a law degree that makes a judge a suitable arbiter of which tenets of your faith outweigh the government’s interests, and which do not. Furthermore, if a legislature strikes the wrong balance, its statute can be amended with comparative ease; reversing a court’s error in defining the parameters of a constitutional right is extraordinarily difficult.

As McCarthy explains, the fact that the likes of Ted Kennedy supported the federal RFRA is reason enough to make conservatives suspect the wisdom of it.

– So Rolling Stone has retracted its UVA rape story and is on the cusp of being sued. Good. Let me just add that as the father of three (soon to be four) girls, those who lie about rape are utterly repellent, for they make it that much more difficult for those who were raped.

– Sally Kohn might be one of the dumbest pundits alive, and that’s saying something.

In a column for TPM, liberal media personality Sally Kohn asserted that it makes no sense to say the government is forcing people of faith to violate their consciences, because government can’t force you to do anything:
You may have heard that the government is forcing businesses not to discriminate. It isn’t. If you chose to run a business, you have to follow the laws. If you don’t, that’s a choice—and you choose to suffer the consequences.
Kohn, who has a law degree from NYU, carried her theory even further, stating that members of the police force aren’t really using force to enforce the law unless they put a gun to your head:

This issue of government force is a funny one. You could also argue that the government is forcing you to drive below the speed limit or wear a seatbelt in your car. But it’s not. There isn’t a police officer holding a gun to your head literally forcing you to buckle up. In fact, you are 100 percent free to speed and not wear your seatbelt—and simply deal with the consequences if you’re pulled over. Is the threat of the fine for breaking the law amount to “forcing” you to follow the law? No.
Eric Garner, who was choked by Staten Island police and later died at the scene of his arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes, might disagree with Kohn’s description of what does and doesn’t constitute force. Unfortunately, Kohn fails to see the linguistic hints embedded in the words we use to describe how government compels legal compliance.

Established Churches

images28GCXE4Y

 

Instapundit gives an example of the type of established churches we have on many campuses in this land:

DISRESPECT WAS EXACTLY THE RIGHT ATTITUDE WHEN FORCED TO ATTEND A POINTLESS, MAN-HATING POLITICAL EVENT: VT players accused of disrespect at sexual assault support event.

Members of the Virginia Tech football team have been accused of acting disrespectfully at a campus sexual assault awareness event.

Players were required to attend a Take Back the Night event on March 26. The event was organized by a campus female activism group and featured sexual assault survivors speaking about their experiences as victims. Multiple attendees accused the players of infringing upon the “safe space” the event is intended to foster, according to The Roanoke Times.

Take Back the Night is a national organization that seeks “to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.”

Several attendees wrote letters to the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, complaining about the players’ behavior. The players arrived late, said they did not know why they were attending the event and spent much of the time looking at their phones, the letters said.

“[T]heir judgmental remarks made it very hard to feel safe,” one wrote. “When survivors took the stage, there was nothing respectful in the way the football team took it, especially in reference to transgender survivors. I am deeply offended and horrified by the disrespectful nature that the players displayed.”

Honey, you’re a caricature. Your pointless, politicized event got all the respect it deserved, and then some. Generally speaking, captive audiences aren’t especially appreciative. More here: “Womanspace at Virginia Tech, a campus organization for feminist activism, has coordinated the event at Tech for 26 years, with this year’s version featuring speakers from the transgender community as well as survivors of sexual assault.”

UPDATE: From the comments: “I was born and raised in Cuba. I have certain memories of staged rallies.” Continue reading

PopeWatch: Martyrs

 

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Hmmm, this is interesting:

 

He has been increasingly vocal about the fate of Christians being targeted by Islamic extremists in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Addressing pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, Francis praised those who were “sensitizing public opinion about the persecution of Christians in the world.”

While not suggesting any particular course of action, he urged “concrete participation and tangible help in defense and protection of our brothers and our sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, slain, beheaded, solely for being Christian.”

The pope was building on his Good Friday denunciation of what he then called “complicit silence” about the targeting of Christians.

“They are our martyrs of today, and they are many. We can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries,” Francis said.

“I hope that the international community doesn’t stand mute and inert before such unacceptable crimes, which constitute a worrisome erosion of the most elementary human rights. I truly hope that the international community doesn’t look the other way,” the pontiff said, speaking from a window of the Apostolic Palace. Continue reading

April 7, 1865: Surrender Correspondence Begins

Appomattox_Campaign_Overview

 

April 7, 1865 was a day of intense frustration for Robert E. Lee.  Hoping to feed his army with rations waiting at Farmville,  Union troops prevented that, crossing the Appomattox at bridges that Lee had ordered to be burned.  His army had no choice but to continue on its hungry way, the nearest rations being at Appomattox Court House some twenty-five miles away.  Longstreet in his memoirs recalled that dismal day.

 

I heard nothing of the affair at Sailor’s Creek, nor from General Lee, until next morning. Our work at Rice’s Station was not very serious, but was continued until night, when we marched and crossed the Appomattox at Farmville without loss, some of Rosser’s and Mumford’s cavalry following.  We crossed early in the morning and received two days’ rations,–the first regular issue since we left Richmond,–halted our wagons, made fires, got out cooking utensils, and were just ready to prepare a good breakfast. We had not heard of the disasters on the other route and the hasty retreat, and were looking for a little quiet to prepare breakfast, when General Lee rode up and said that the bridges had been fired before his cavalry crossed, that part of that command was cut off and lost, and that the troops should hurry on to position at Cumberland Church.

I reminded him that there were fords over which his cavalry could cross, and that they knew of or would surely find them. Everything except the food was ordered back to the wagons and dumped in.

Meanwhile, the alarm had spread, and our teamsters, frightened by reports of cavalry trouble and approaching fire of artillery, joined in the panic, put whips to their teams as quick as the camp-kettles were tumbled over the tail-boards of the wagons, and rushed through the woods to find a road somewhere in front of them. The command was ordered under arms and put in quick march, but General Lee urged double-quick. Our cavalry was then engaged near Farmville, and presently came a reckless charge of Gregg’s troopers towards parts of Rosser’s and Mumford’s commands. Heth’s division of infantry was sent to support them. As the balance of the command marched, General Lee took the head of the column and led it on the double-quick.

I thought it better to let them pass me, and, to quiet their apprehensions a little, rode at a walk. General Mahone received the attack of part of the enemy’s Second Corps, like Gregg’s cavalry making reckless attack. The enemy seemed to think they had another Sailor’s Creek affair, and part of their attack got in as far as Poague’s battery, but Mahone recovered it, and then drove off an attack against his front. General Gregg and a considerable part of his command were captured by Rosser and Mumford. At Cumberland Church the command deployed on the right of Poague’s battery, but Mahone reported a move by part of Miles’s division to turn his left which might dislodge him. G. T. Anderson’s brigade of Field’s division was sent with orders to get around the threatening force and break it up.  Mahone so directed them through a woodland that they succeeded in over-reaching the threatened march, and took in some three hundred prisoners,[211] the last of our trouble for the day. General Lee stopped at a cottage near my line, where I joined him after night; the trains and other parts of his army had moved on towards Appomattox Court-House.

Just after sunset, a letter from General Grant arrived: Continue reading

Laws are for Republicans

 

One of the advantages of age is that it usually does give one a bit of perspective.  I lived through the Watergate Scandal as a young teenager and was appalled by it.  Forty years on it does appear like small potatoes thanks to our current administration.  Kevin Williamson at National Review Online gives us the details:

Richard Nixon was a snake who understood himself as such but had sufficient vestigial conscience to be ashamed of his snakery. When Tricky Dick wanted to spread a nasty rumor about a political rival, he insisted on a few degrees of separation between the deed and himself; when Harry Reid wants to spread lies about someone, he does so from the Senate floor and then laughs about it. In Nixon’s time, the political misuse of the IRS was considered a serious crime; today, it happens quite in the open without consequence. When Nixon insisted that his attorney general violate his official responsibilities for political reasons, Elliott Richardson understood what duty required, and resigned; Eric Holder, by way of comparison — suffice it to say that he understands his duty somewhat differently. Plus ça change: The worst interpretation of the Iran-contra affair was that senior figures in the Reagan administration, conspiring in secrecy, negotiated the sale of arms to the Iranians in order to secure the release of Americans being held hostage by Hezbollah, using the profits from that exchange to aid those fighting against the murderous Soviet proxy in Nicaragua. Sneaky and illegal but intended to secure real American national-security interests — surely, somewhere in the penumbras of the federal government, there is a black-budget agency chief who has approximately that as a job description. The Democrats howled about the sale of those anti-tank missiles to Tehran, of course, and one of the loudest howlers was John Kerry — who has just signed off on a deal delivering Tehran a nuclear weapon in a blue Tiffany box. Exactly what vital national-security interest that secures remains a mystery. 

Plus ça change: The worst interpretation of the Iran-contra affair was that senior figures in the Reagan administration, conspiring in secrecy, negotiated the sale of arms to the Iranians in order to secure the release of Americans being held hostage by Hezbollah, using the profits from that exchange to aid those fighting against the murderous Soviet proxy in Nicaragua. Sneaky and illegal but intended to secure real American national-security interests — surely, somewhere in the penumbras of the federal government, there is a black-budget agency chief who has approximately that as a job description. The Democrats howled about the sale of those anti-tank missiles to Tehran, of course, and one of the loudest howlers was John Kerry — who has just signed off on a deal delivering Tehran a nuclear weapon in a blue Tiffany box. Exactly what vital national-security interest that secures remains a mystery. 

Nixon complained that he could not get a break from the liberal press, that the Washington Post and the New York Times would go after him no matter what, that journalism had been replaced by vendetta. In 2015, when mobs threatened to descend upon a nonconformist pizzeria and burn it to the ground, the so-called liberals in the media cheered for the arsonists and argued that a business being threatened with violence for the unpopular political opinions of its owners is only getting “exactly what it deserved.”

Continue reading

Pope Francis: Urbi et Orbi

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Here is the Pope’s Easter Urbi et Orbi message:

 

Pope Francis
EASTER URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
to the City and to the World
5 April 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Jesus Christ is risen!

Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness!

Out of love for us, Jesus Christ stripped himself of his divine glory, emptied himself, took on the form of a slave and humbled himself even to death, death on a cross. For this reason God exalted him and made him Lord of the universe. Jesus is Lord!

By his death and resurrection, Jesus shows everyone the way to life and happiness: this way is humility, which involves humiliation. This is the path which leads to glory. Only those who humble themselves can go towards the “things that are above”, towards God (cf. Col 3:1-4). The proud look “down from above”; the humble look “up from below”.

On Easter morning, alerted by the women, Peter and John ran to the tomb. They found it open and empty. Then they drew near and “bent down” in order to enter it. To enter into the mystery, we need to “bend down”, to abase ourselves. Only those who abase themselves understand the glorification of Jesus and are able to follow him on his way.

The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail… But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help.

This is not weakness, but true strength! Those who bear within them God’s power, his love and his justice, do not need to employ violence; they speak and act with the power of truth, beauty and love.

From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace. We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence.

We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries. May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees.

We pray for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.

We implore peace for Libya, that the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence may cease, and that all concerned for the future of the country may work to favour reconciliation and to build a fraternal society respectful of the dignity of the person. For Yemen too we express our hope for the growth of a common desire for peace, for the good of the entire people.

At the same time, in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.

We ask the risen Lord for the gift of peace for Nigeria, South Sudan and for the various areas of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. May constant prayer rise up from all people of goodwill for those who lost their lives – I think in particular of the young people who were killed last Thursday at Garissa University College in Kenya –, for all who have been kidnapped, and for those forced to abandon their homes and their dear ones.

May the Lord’s resurrection bring light to beloved Ukraine, especially to those who have endured the violence of the conflict of recent months. May the country rediscover peace and hope thanks to the commitment of all interested parties.

We ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and groups. Peace and liberty for the victims of drug dealers, who are often allied with the powers who ought to defend peace and harmony in the human family. And we ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers.

May the marginalized, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering, children, especially those who are victims of violence; all who today are in mourning, and all men and women of goodwill, hear the consoling voice of the Lord Jesus: “Peace to you!” (Lk 24:36). “Fear not, for I am risen and I shall always be with you” (cf. Roman Missal, Entrance Antiphon for Easter Day). Continue reading

April 6, 1865: Battle of Sailor’s Creek

Appomattox_Campaign_Overview

One last battle between the old adversaries the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia.  While moving towards the Appomattox River to cross it on his march to the west, Lee was intercepted by a large Union force under Sheridan.  Ewell’s corps, the rearguard of the army, was surrounded and after hard fighting surrendered.  Lee lost one quarter of his army.  Union casualties were slightly in excess of 1,000 while Confederate casualties were 7,700, mostly prisoners.

 

 

Major General William Mahone relates this poignant moment with General Lee: Continue reading

CS Lewis on Easter

 

Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend and I am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing. They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view they are clumsy, they don’t work up to things properly. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us, as is the life of anyone else who lived at that time, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so. Apart from bits of the Platonic dialogues, there are no conversations that I know of in ancient literature like the Fourth Gospel. There is nothing, even in modern literature, until about a hundred years ago when the realistic novel came into existence. In the story of the woman taken in adultery we are told Christ bent down and scribbled in the dust with His finger. Nothing comes of this. No one has ever based any doctrine on it. And the art of inventing little irrelevant details to make an imaginary scene more convincing is a purely modern art. Surely the only explanation of this passage is that the thing really happened? The author put it in simply because he had seen it.

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, “The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.” On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost- survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse”. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

CS Lewis

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