Sunday, November 28, 2010

From the Desert Fathers

Macarius said to Zacharias, 'Tell me, what makes a monk?' He said, 'Isn't it wrong for you to be asking me?' Macarius said to him, 'I am sure I should ask you, Zacharias my son. There is something that urges me to ask you.' Zacharias said to him, 'As far as I can tell, abba, I think anyone who controls himself and makes himself content with just what he needs and no more, is indeed a monk.'

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

                               General Thanksgiving

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America

                             A PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with gratetul hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wacky Wednesday

Since it's Wednesday, and we've made it half way through another week, and are preparing for the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it time for a bit of a laugh.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Here’s What Benedict Really Said in Africa

This from a column by George Weigel in National Review on Line today:
And here is Sacred Heart Major Seminary professor Janet Smith's illustration of the technical point the pope was actually making, which touches on the question of what philosophers and theologians call subjective intention:

If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would be better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it [for that] would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets. Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, November 21, 2010

Abba Poemen said, 'To throw yourself before God, to not measure your progress, to leave behind all self-will -- these are the instruments for the work of the soul.'

                                                       Abba Poemen the Shepherd

Friday, November 19, 2010

Founders Friday, November 19, 2010

A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species.
                                                         James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From the Desert Fathers

Humility protects the soul from all the passions and also from every temptation.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Founders Friday, November 12, 2010

'Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

                                George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day, November 11, 2010

Thanks to all veterans who haved served our country with pride.  May we never forget the sacrifices you made, and may we never lose the courage, character, and sense of duty you all have displayed so proudly.  Stand tall.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mentos Rainbow - Spider

Here's a commercial, from Britain that pretty entertaining, and, it manages to get across the point they're trying to make at the same time.  So rare these days.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

From the Desert Fathers

One of the brothers asked abba Isidore, a priest of scetis, "Why are the demons so terrified of you?" And the old man said, "Ever since I became a monk I have tried never to let anger rise as far as my mouth."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What the Heck Does Millenial Mean, Anyway?

I'm more Millenial than TS, but not by much.

I Wish I'd Said That

But then, this is why she's Peggy Noonan -- from her essay in the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

On to the aftermath of the election. On Wednesday, President Obama gave a news conference to share his thoughts. Viewers would have found it disappointing if there had been any viewers. The president is speaking, in effect, to an empty room. From my notes five minutes in: "This wet blanket, this occupier of the least interesting corner of the faculty lounge, this joy-free zone, this inert gas." By the end I was certain he will never produce a successful stimulus because he is a human depression.

Actually I thought the worst thing you can say about a president: He won't even make a good former president.

His detachment is so great, it is even from himself. As he spoke, he seemed to be narrating from a remove. It was like hearing the audiobook of Volume I of his presidential memoirs. "Obama was frustrated. He honestly didn't understand what the country was doing. It was as if they had compulsive hand-washing disorder. In '08 they washed off Bush. Now they're washing off Obama. There he is, swirling down the drain! It's all too dramatic, too polar. The morning after the election it occurred to him: maybe he should take strong action. Maybe he should fire America! They did well in 2008, but since then they've been slipping. They weren't giving him the followership he needed. But that wouldn't work, they'd only complain. He had to keep his cool. His aides kept telling him, 'Show humility.' But they never told him what humility looked like. What was he supposed to do, burst into tears and say hit me? Not knowing how to feel humility or therefore show humility he decided to announce humility: He found the election 'humbling,' he said."
Plain and simple, good writing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What Happens if You Don't Follow Policy

According to the AP, (P)MSNBC has "suspended" Keith Olberman for making political contributions this year.  A quote from this story goes as follows:

NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC has suspended prime-time host Keith Olbermann indefinitely without pay for contributing to the campaigns of three Democratic candidates this election season.

Olbermann acknowledged to NBC that he donated $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grivalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

NBC News prohibits its employees from working on, or donating to, political campaigns unless a special exception is granted by the news division president — effectively a ban. Olbermann's bosses did not find out about the donations until after they were made. The website Politico first reported the donations.
My first thought was that, in light of the fact that Olberman is an opinion journalist, (I think that's what he is, I've never watched him) it was wrong of the network to, effectively, fire him.  He didn't pretend to be a reporter, as far as I know.  However, the key to the situation is in the last paragraph above: he made those contributions in violation of network policy.

Again, this situation boils down to one similar to PBS' firing of Juan Williams; an employer has a right to fire an employee.  NBC is, in fact, apparently in a much stronger position in this case than was PBS in the earlier incident.  This isn't a matter of free speech as far as I can tell.

We should all calm down and determine the facts.

Founders Friday

To steal a line from Glenn Beck, this is a Founders Friday here at Colorado Musing:

A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

                                                          James Madison, Federalist No. 51, February 8, 1788

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who's the Live Wire Today?

This just in from TPMuckraker:

Four candidates who died while campaigning won their elections on Tuesday. Two deceased candidates lost.

In California, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D) won re-election with 59% of the vote. Oropeza, who was 53, died two weeks ago from complications of cancer. The local Democrats, however, mailed supporters encouraging them to vote for Oropeza anyway.

"The Republicans are trying to take unfair advantage of Jenny's tragedy," said the mailer which, according to CNN, did not mention her death. "I am asking you to vote for Jenny Oropeza. If a Special Election is called in a few months, you'll have the chance to thoughtfully elect your Senator for a new four-year term."
One wonders how the other three got elected.  But then, maybe we should elect more dead candidates, they might not be so destructive.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day, 2010

John Adams: "the man who at certain point...Image via Wikipedia
As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good.

                                                                 John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

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Monday, November 1, 2010

This is Improvment?

Back in July, a Texas congressman, Rep. Kevin Brady, released a chart put together by the Joint Economic Committee minority staff, and taking over two months to complete, it maps  the beauracy put in place under the health care bill passed early this year.  But not all, only about a third, as it turns out.  There wasn't room on the chart to show it all.   It's worth a revisit, just to show the absolute impossibility of the thing.