Deborah Gyapong: September 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Must-read column by Diana West


Diana West writes (my emphases):

Who said the following: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Iran’s Ahmadinejad? Egypt’s Morsi? Some little-known, fatwa-flinging cleric increasing the bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head?

None of the above. The words are President Obama’s, and he spoke them this week to the U.N. General Assembly.

No Big Media outlet reported this stunning pronouncement. It’s as if Ronald Reagan addressed the National Association of Evangelicals in 1983 and the media failed to report that he used the phrase “evil empire.” To make the comparison more direct, imagine if a Republican president declared that “the future must not belong to those who slander the messiah of Christianity” – or, for that matter, the prophet of Latter-day Saints. We would have heard all about it, and for the rest of our lives.

Of course, the Islam-Christianity comparison isn’t a perfect match, given the peculiar definition of “slander” under Islamic law (Shariah). According to such authoritative sources as “Reliance of the Traveller,” a standard Sunni law book approved by Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, “slander” in Islam includes anything Muslims perceive to reflect badly on Islam and its prophet, including the truth. In other words, any negative fact about Islam and Muhammad is, under Islamic law, deemed “slander.”

-snip-

But, but, but … the president also said the future “must not belong” to those who “target Coptic Christians in Egypt” (no word on Christians “targeted” in other Islamic countries) and “bully women.”

First of all, “target” and “bully” are wan verbs to describe the terror, bloodletting and systemic abuse that Christian populations and women suffer at the hands of Islam. More important, though, the violence inherent to religious cleansing and female oppression is in no way comparable to the most critical words or pictures on a page or screen. 

Such an equivalence is immoral. The president should be ashamed.

Read it all.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Coming soon to a public school near you

From the Toronto District School Board website (h/t Blazing Cat Fur)
How cool!  Our children will be indoctrinated in the coolest "new" Marxist gender theory!

All trained Positive Spaces Reps. will receive stickers and posters for their school.  Please contact the GBVP office for upcoming training dates/locations.
Next Page: Resource CD

Must-read essay by Australian theologian Tracey Rowlands


Perhaps the policies of the Obama regime represent the logical outgrowth of a mutant form of Christianity where Christ is replaced first by “Christian values,” then “Christian values” are replaced by concepts like justice and freedom and equality de-coupled from any connection to Christ, Christian culture or even Stoic natural law; and then finally these secularized concepts are re-coupled to the will to power of politicians and social engineers. 
As David Bentley Hart has noted, when people reject Christ they have a tendency to reject everything that Christian civilization ever baptized of pre-Christian civilization. All the treasures of ancient Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem get thrown overboard in the manic attempt to snuff out the last trace of the Lamb of God in human culture. At present this seems to include the notion that human dignity is linked to the capacity for love and freedom and rationality. 


Above all our new political saviors want to liberate us from the idea that we have been made in the image of God. They do this at the same time as giving themselves god-like powers. If we start to believe that we really are just rutting animals this will give them even more power. The Nietzschean nightmare will be complete—there will be one great herd of animals and a few Übermenschen to govern them, direct their wills, determine when they will reproduce, and how often, and an intermediate class of social engineers running the Health and Education departments, policing reproductive information and the compulsory national curriculum. And this would be different from Fascism how?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Powerful observations from Andrew Klavan

Over at PJMedia Andrew Klavan writes:


At some point, these people had come to confront — as we all must — their cowardice, their weakness, their dishonesty, or their foolishness. Unable to accept the pain of an honest assessment of their brokenness, they turned their eyes away and practiced denial instead. In an attempt to avoid the agony of their shame indefinitely, they created whole new philosophies of life. If, for instance, they had backed down when they should have stood up, they declared nothing was worth fighting for. If they lied when they should’ve spoken true, they declared truth was an illusion. If they succumbed to desire when they should have resisted, they decided continence was a game for puritans and fools.
In order to feel justified within this new philosophy, they not only had to continue in the bad behavior that shamed them in the first place, they had to condemn any good behavior that held the mirror up to their secret self-disgust. This always involved them in blatant self-contradiction. The person who believed there was no truth would accuse others of lying. The person who said all sexual behavior should be accepted would declare chastity unacceptable. The person who believed tolerance was the highest value would find those who disagreed intolerable.
Ultimately their stratagems of self-deception destroyed their integrity, and their hidden shame festered and ate away…  well, everything; the whole joy of living.
When I see, in the United States of America, a man rousted from his home at midnight and dragged to a police station over a YouTube video, when I see brutal, primitive, violent Islamism on the march and the values of free men and women in retreat, when I see so-called journalists doing everything they can to suppress, deny, and explain away rather than spread the news, my first reaction isn’t outrage at our foolish failure of a president, nor is it hatred for the cancerous religion currently doing murder to people of every competing belief system everywhere around the world. My first reaction is genuine sadness over the many, many Democrats of good will who are going to betray every value they profess to hold dear and double down on their error this election day because they simply can’t bear to acknowledge the fact that they were wrong.

These are kind of fun

Via The Corner, a rap by Hugh Atkin on Ob'ama's "You didn't build that" that's kind of fun.

Puts a smile on my face.




I like this one, too, that makes fun of Romney and how he likes everything.




Monday, September 17, 2012

Should the private conduct of Americans be considered at fault?



From Mario Loyola at The Corner:



Let’s leave aside the even greater shame of apologizing for a 14-minute spoof in order to spare the tender feelings of people who attack churches, burn Bibles, propagate incitements and blood libels like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, degrade women and homosexuals and virtually every ethnic minority they come in contact with, and celebrate when Americans are killed. Let’s leave all that aside, because the practical implications of the administration’s response are even worse than the shame of it.

The essential task of diplomacy is to preserve the security and stability of the international system. By affirming that the “trigger” for the violence in Muslim countries was the conduct of private people in the United States, what the administration has done is to make its international relations officially subject to private conduct. But few principles could be more dangerous for the international system.

A main reason we maintain diplomatic practice is precisely to immunize international relations from popular disruptions. The wall between the U.S. government and protected speech here at home must be as inviolable as the wall between U.S. embassies and the Arab street. Indeed, they are the same wall, meant to accomplish the same separation. 
For the U.S. government to try to manage the social psychology of perpetually aggrieved Arabs by interfering in constitutionally protected private conduct is not just a fool’s errand. It is an evil errand, for it makes our government the tool of enemies who seek our submission. And it ignores the very dangerous development we are witnessing, which is the apparent breakdown of our ability to maintain safe embassies in the Muslim world.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Brian Lilley's excellent analysis of why the film is a pretext

If you think the anti-Mohammed film that has been on YouTube for months is the cause of rioting, violence, murder and assaults on embassies around the world, then I guess you blame Pope Benedict for his Regensberg speech or the Danish cartoons for similar reaction and subsequent deaths.

Sun Media's Ottawa host of Byline Brian Lilley explains what is really going on and the mainstream media's complicity in hiding the facts from us----or at least their craven, disgraceful dhimmitude. H/t  Kathy Shaidle 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Mitt Romney must win in November

Because he gets some important principles about America that the feckless President Obama does not:

Mitt Romney said:

America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We’ll defend, also, our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution, because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.

Uh huh.

This is my America.   No apology-tours,  or kowtowing to barbarians, but standing up for principle.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be sure to check out new posts at Foolishness to the World

Many posts up at my other blog on generally more uplifting topics.

"We always blame the wrong entities"--VDH

I'm seeing shades of Iran when the American embassy was sacked under President Carter's watch and the burnt out images of the ill-equipped  would-be rescuers in the Iranian desert.



We are in scary times. The horrific photos of Ambassador Stevens bring to mind memories of Mogadishu or Fallujah, and make us ask why were there not dozens, if not vastly more, Marines around him in his hour of need. By preemptively caving into radical Islam and not defending the U.S. Constitution and our traditions of protecting even uncouth expression, the Cairo embassy’s shameful communiqué only invited greater hostility by such manifest appeasement.


snip


Note the recurrent theme: We always blame the wrong entities. We fault Netanyahu for making a supposed pest of himself for reminding us of Tehran’s nuclear progress. We go after the nuts who made the anti-Muslim movie rather than the far greater danger of bloodthirsty Islamists who would murder to deny all free speech. When a Major Hasan goes on his rampage, our chief of staff of the army immediately laments the danger to our diversity program. We fret that KSM might not get his civil trial, or a Mutallab his Miranda rights. As Coptics are targeted, we assure ourselves that the Muslim Brotherhood is secular, and on and on.

James Kalb over at Crisis on the rise of a new "ruling class of experts"



Here's an excerpt of an interesting piece by James Kalb at Crisis Magazine:
The ‘60s claimed to be about liberation. In fact, they were much more about the rise of a new ruling class of experts, managers, and media people. That class, which is still with us, has some unusual qualities. The most notable is that it denies that it is a ruling class, and claims instead to be a neutral means through which expertise, rational administration, and the machinery of publicity help people attain their goals. Our rulers today tell us they are here to help us: to educate us, free us from the prejudices of the past, let us know what we really want, and make sure we all get it. They claim their power is liberating, and back up the claim by pointing to their suppression of authorities that compete with them, such as family, custom, religion, and traditional hierarchies. If we can go shopping, play video games, surf the Internet, and sleep around, and we don’t have to listen to Mom, Dad, or the Pope, we must be free. Aren’t suppression of incorrect thoughts and safeguards like the Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) mandate worth having to protect that?

A class that rules by claiming not to rule needs to hide what it is. Our new rulers deny their identity as a class while denouncing the influence of classes that remain identifiable as such. If the Supreme Court is all white or male, that’s domination by a particular class and something must be done about it. If it’s all graduates of Yale and Harvard Law School, and recent presidential elections have all been contests between various Yale and Harvard graduates, that’s not domination by a particular class, it’s just proof that Yale and Harvard are superior and the more power we give the Supreme Court and president the better.

-snip-

 The integration of the new ruling class with the news media, manned by Columbia J-School grads instead of the hard-drinking wise-cracking street-savvy reporters of yore, ensured that the official story would be accepted at face value. The result was a consensus that liberation meant stripping minority communities of leadership through affirmative action, and turning women from homemakers into single moms getting by on a waitress’s pay and the occasional welfare or child support check.

Something similar happened in the Church. Instead of tradition and hierarchical discipline the Church would be guided by expert committees and supervised by the news media. Vatican II gave the process a boost through the prominent role it gave academic experts, a role encouraged by its decision to issue lengthy pronouncements on the general nature and direction of the Church. The emphasis on formal expertise was then fortified by the creation of national bishops’ conferences, the need to interpret the Council and put together the new initiatives it seemed to call for, and the growth of bureaucracy at all levels. The occasional hierarch might resist the demands of the rising academic and bureaucratic magisterium, but if he kicked up too much of a fuss a media campaign would intervene, so it was easier to go along. And if faithful Catholics were more attached to rosaries than newly-composed songs of worship, they were told they were wrong and the People of God wanted the songs even if they didn’t know it. If the result was that the People of God dropped out altogether, that’s too bad but there are always growing pains and there’s no going back.

Unbelievable story but apparently true

H/t Kathy Shaidle:


An immigration officer returned home to find gipsies had moved in, ransacked the place and dressed in her clothes.
Julia High was even offered a glass of her own wine by the Romanian squatters.
They claimed they had rented the property from her ‘son’ because she had died, and produced a set of fake documents. Miss High, 55, has no son.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2026723/Gypsies-immigration-officers-home-Proms.html#ixzz26GkaiX5u

Daniel Pipes on consistency in promoting freedom of speech

This is probably the best commentary I have seen so far on the terrible events going on in Libya and Egypt. We must not kowtow to Sharia law as westerners who uphold inalienable rights such as freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.

Daniel Pipes at The National Review's  The Corner  (you must read the whole thing, it is brilliant), with my emphases:



Under such weight, Jones canceled the Koran burning, but, even so, five Afghans and 14 Kashmiris died in protests against him. The 2010 incident prompted David Goldman, then of First Things magazine, to note that “a madman carrying a match and a copy of the Koran can do more damage to the Muslim world than a busload of suicide bombers. . . . What’s the dollar value of the damage from a used paperback edition of the Koran?” Goldman speculated how intelligence services could learn from Jones and sow anarchy for a few dollars.

So far, the assaults on U.S. missions in Cairo and Benghazi yesterday have led to four deaths but, if patterns hold, more will follow. Not only can Jones (or whoever came up with the anti-Islamic video that inspired this violence) cause Muslim deaths at will with his “International Judge Muhammad Day,” but he can put a wrench in U.S.-Egypt relations and even become a factor in presidential elections.

-snip-  

Terry Jones and his imitators have figured out how to goad Muslims to violence, embarrass Western governments, and move history. The only way to stop this freelance foreign policy is for governments to stand firmly on principle: Citizens have freedom of speech, which specifically means the right to insult and annoy. The authorities will protect this right. Muslims do not enjoy special privileges. Leave us alone.

As Jimmy Carter can attest, not to stand strong turns U.S. missions abroad into sitting ducks. 




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Forward? Examination of the collectivist slogan at The American Thinker

Interesting and chilling piece by Lee Cary at The American Thinker on President Obama's campaign slogan:

Forward.  It's an order, not an appeal. A command, not a call. It has been, throughout history, the language of the dictator.In the list of presidential campaign slogans in American history, Forward is the shortest and most imperative. Compare it to Grover Cleveland's chant "Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine."  And Eisenhower's "I like Ike."Obama's Forward is not aimed at his true believers who --- with cult-like adoration -- shed tears when he speaks, whatever he says. Nor will it have any play with those who've decided that his election defeat is critical to the future of the nation.

Obama's Forward targets the "marginal man," the "Undecided" voter, offering its collectivist connotations -- because we're all in this together.  So let's all go Forward.This implied togetherness of Forward stands in sharp contrast to Obama's class warfare meme, in all its various expressions. But lest we assume that the "marginal man" will discern any inconsistencies, Ellul dispelled that notion.

"[T]here is not necessarily any continuity between opinion or fixed patterns and action. There is neither consistency nor logic, and a man can perfectly well hold on to his property, his business, and his factory, and still vote Communist - or he can be enthusiastic about social justice and peace as described by the Communists, and still vote for a conservative party...The skillful propagandist will seek to obtain action without demanding consistency, without fighting prejudices and images, by taking his stance deliberately on inconsistencies." (p. 35)

Consider this inconsistency:  Billionaire Warren Buffett -- whose company owes taxes going back ten years -- is warmly welcomed at the White House as an Obama supporter.  Meanwhile, Obama criticizes the Rich for not paying their "fair share" of taxes, and slams Romney for allegedly having an off-shore bank account.  And what about this one: General Electric's CEO Jeffrey Immelt chairs Obama's Job Council while GE exports thousands of jobs overseas.

There is no demand from any quarter for consistency because, as Ellul wrote, "the skillful propagandist will seek to obtain action without demanding consistency". 

So the call of the Obama campaign goes out to his loyal followers and to the undecided alike - Forward. Don't look backward. Don't even look too closely at what's ahead going Forward.Just march, and feel the emotion of motion moving Forward.

Particularly those of you with no clue as to what direction the nation ought to be moving.


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/obamas_slogan.html#ixzz26AXktn6v

Sad portrait the statists paint of those with genuine generosity

From The Corner:


Big government is attractive not merely to those receiving benefits, but also to idealists on the other end of the economic spectrum. For them, big government represents delegated virtue — it’s a way to take care of the poor, the elderly, the disabled without, you know, actually doing anything yourself. During my total-immersion days in the heart of the liberal establishment (Ivy League law schools, Manhattan law firm, Center City Philadelphia non-profit), I encountered hundreds of liberal idealists with a bulletproof sense of moral superiority even as they did nothing of consequence to actually serve their fellow man. For them, “advocacy” was service, higher tax rates were charity, and the actual poor and sick were rarely in their proximity.
For some time, the Democratic party has been the party of the bookends: with Democratic support strongest amongst the poor and uneducated, generally declining with income and education, but then reemerging at the highest education and income levels. It’s a coalition of economic dependents and their “virtuous” caretakers.  

The uncharitable, self-congratulatory liberal elite has pulled off one of the greatest P.R. con jobs of all time. They’ve successfully sold to millions of Americans the idea that religious conservatives — those most likely to volunteer their time and give their money to help those less fortunate — are uncaring, greedy, haters.

Moral superiority without sacrifice: It’s a seductive lifestyle.
 Dorothy Day would be horrified by this kind of delegated virtue. Charity which is forced is not charity at all.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Kevin Dujan is following the DNC so you don't have to

Over at Hillbuzz.org, the former Hillary Clinton Democrat writes:


As a public service, last night I sat through a little over six hours’ worth of televised coverage of Day Two of the Democrats’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Within 20 minutes, I had a splitting headache from all the screaming and yelling and about halfway through watching this I felt sick to my stomach, tingly, and drained emotionally…it’s what I imagine radiation poisoning would feel like. The Democrat Party has become thoroughly toxic in the energy it chooses to put out into the world, with Democrat speakers taking the stage as angry, Alinsky acolytes who kept screaming to the crowd to “rise up!” and “fight” the enemy…often identified as the Tea Party or conservatives in general.  Speaking as someone who was a Democrat until 2008, I honestly don’t recognize these people as my former party.

I watched previous Democrat conventions — and there was always some element of the screaming and yelling and the “fight our enemies” garbage — but it was never nonstop, wall to wall, like this.  It was never this toxic or unhinged.  The grown-ups were always in control and the radicals were kept on leashes or locked up in the attic. But here in 2012, the inmates have taken over the Democrats’ asylum and the  end result isn’t pretty. I just don’t understand how any of this would come across as appealing to people who consider themselves “independent” politically.


Read more http://hillbuzz.org/


He concludes:


1. Democrats booed God and the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.  This really happened.  On live TV.  It was near the very start of the proceedings last night, where Governor Ted Strickland had to perform the task of re-inserting the word “God” and the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel into the Democrats’ platform.  The camera clearly showed Muslim Democrats (holding signs saying ARAB DEMOCRATS) howling at this.  The male Muslim SCREAMED into the crowd, shook his hands, and made cursing gestures over the Jerusalem issue.  He was deranged and enraged and behaved pretty much like Muslims do when they are on camera in the Middle East.  The hatred in that convention center for both God and Israel was palpable.  The Mayor of LA Antonio Vigarealo-something or another didn’t know what to do.  It was so awkward.  So much hate erupting all at once, so spontaneously…and I can imagine the producers of the Convention were just thinking, “Don’t let your masks slip!  There are cameras rolling!  Don’t show them who we really are!”.
But this is in fact WHO Democrats really ARE. This is why I want nothing to do with this party ever again and why I will never vote for another Democrat in all my life (not even Hillary in 2016, though I do want her to make history as the first female nominee).  I just don’t want anything to do with the party of screaming and yelling, pure hatred for God and Israel, and the party that revels in killing babies.
Honestly, even sitting here remembering last night while typing this up I feel toxic and radioactive from all that bad energy.
I swear, the Democrat party back when it still used that donkey symbol was not like this.  It’s the Eye of Obama that has brought this all on and revealed all the toxic hatred in these people.  I don’t know if the party will ever go back to how it used to be, but these radical elements were just never so pronounced and celebrated in the past.


Read more http://hillbuzz.org/top-ten-things-you-need-to-know-about-day-two-of-the-democrats-convention-august-5th-2012#more-44175

President Clinton displays his gifts

Michael Gerson contrasts President Bill Clinton with President Barack Obama:


Clinton’s political brilliance is always something of a mixed blessing for Democrats. It provides a contrast to the current occupant of the White House. This is not only a matter of skill but of strategy. Clinton – who was elected chair of the Democratic Leadership Council in 1990 – spent years cultivating a more moderate image for his party. As president, he was willing to work with unreconstructed liberals such as Ted Kennedy and Richard Gephardt, but also willing (on occasion) to distance himself from them. Clinton’s signature achievements – a balanced budget, NAFTA, welfare reform, the expansion of EITC – were a mixed ideological lot.

From the earliest days of his administration, Obama lacked ideological creativity. He almost immediately polarized the country with a deeply partisan health care proposal – passed on a party line vote, then repudiated in the 2010 midterm election. Obama’s Keynesianism is typical, tired, ineffective and expensive. More recently, he has attempted to shore up his base by embracing liberal cultural issues – an appeal accurately reflected on Tuesday night.

There is nothing Clintonian about Obama’s governing approach, which more closely resembles Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis if they had ridden to office on the wave of a financial crisis. Obama is an utterly conventional ideological figure. Clinton was anything but.

Clinton’s appearance tonight was a reminder of his political gifts, and of the limits of his political influence. The New Democrat revolution was embodied in one, exceptional individual. But he left his party unchanged. In his absence, Democrats reverted to ideological type. And Clinton is now left defending a president who has ignored his lessons.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Wall St. Journal on Cardinal Dolan's invocation at the DNC

Most interesting:


Still, giving the cardinal the microphone at the convention has its price. Key Democratic constituencies are deeply invested in a strategy of tarring as misogynists and bigots those who reject liberal beliefs and policies. These constituencies are not exactly enthusiastic about having their party undercut that strategy or blunt its force.

Since no minimally decent political party would let a bigot or misogynist take the podium at its convention—much less bless the proceedings—accepting the cardinal's offer to appear amounts to an implicit but unmistakable concession that there's no bigotry in opposing the redefinition of civil marriage, nor any misogyny in fighting for the unborn.

Some conservative Catholics are upset that Cardinal Dolan offered to appear at the Democratic convention. They fear his presence will inadvertently signal that it is acceptable from a Catholic perspective to oppose (as the Democratic Party does) virtually all meaningful protections for the child in the womb, or the historic view of marriage as a conjugal union.
Their concerns are understandable. But perhaps these critics are failing to consider how the Democrats are, whether they like it or not, sending an implicit signal of their own. The cardinal's presence confounds efforts by the abortion-rights and gay-marriage movements to stigmatize and marginalize those who refuse to fall into line.

I hope the cardinal uses the same prayer he used at the Republican convention.

Insights into President Obama's competitiveness

This Jodi Kantor piece in the New York Times must be read in full, but here's an excerpt:

As Election Day approaches, President Obama is sharing a few important things about himself. He has mentioned more than once in recent weeks that he cooks “a really mean chili.” He has impressive musical pitch, he told an Iowa audience. He is “a surprisingly good pool player,” he informed an interviewer — not to mention (though he does) a doodler of unusual skill.

-snip-


For someone dealing with the world’s weightiest matters, Mr. Obama spends surprising energy perfecting even less consequential pursuits. He has played golf 104 times since becoming president, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who monitors his outings, and he asks superior players for tips that have helped lower his scores. He decompresses with card games on Air Force One, but players who do not concentrate risk a reprimand (“You’re not playing, you’re just gambling,” he once told Arun Chaudhary, his former videographer).

His idea of birthday relaxation is competing in an Olympic-style athletic tournament with friends, keeping close score. The 2009 version ended with a bowling event. Guess who won, despite his history of embarrassingly low scores? The president, it turned out, had been practicing in the White House alley.



Here's reaction from Rich Karlgaard at Forbes:



Kantor’s portrait of Obama is stunning. It paints a picture of a CEO who is unfocused and lost.
Imagine, for a minute, that you are on the board of directors of a company. You have a CEO who is not meeting his numbers and who is suffering a declining popularity with his customers. You want to help this CEO recover, but then you learn he doesn’t want your help. He is smarter than you and eager to tell you this. Confidence or misplaced arrogance? You’re not sure at first. If the company was performing well, you’d ignore it. But the company is performing poorly, so you can’t.

With some digging, you learn, to your horror, that the troubled CEO spends a lot of time on — what the hell? — bowling? Golf? Three point shots? While the company is going south?
What do you do? You fire that CEO. Clint Eastwood was right. You let the guy go.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Obama sand sculpture damaged by rain


A 16 foot tall sand sculpture of President Obama "officially sanctioned" by the DNC and commissioned by the Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau was damaged by rain yesterday. Workers hurried to recreate the right elbow of the statue and fill in pockmarks left across its front by heavy storms.

It was an ominous beginning to the DNC, which officially opens on Monday. Pre-convention events started on Friday.
Clint Eastwood's "empty chair" ridicule at last week's RNC has already damaged the President's pop culture image significantly. Now, the majestic narcissism of the Greek columns at the 2008 DNC is contrasted with the unstable "house built upon sand" imagery this weekend's storm left upon the 2012 DNC's Obama sand castle. 

The post-Communist conversion experience

Jack Cashill writes:


“There is one experience which most sincere ex-Communists share,” wrote Whittaker Chambers in his classic conversion narrative “Witness,” and that is the epiphany, the road-to-Damascus moment, the instant they realize the life they have been living is a lie.

Chambers memorably quotes one young woman about her father’s Damascus moment: “He was immensely pro-Soviet … and then – you will laugh at me – but you must not laugh at my father – and then – one night – in Moscow – he heard screams. That’s all. Simply one night he heard screams.”
Be sure to read the rest.

My journey from the left has had a number of epiphanies, but one that stands out in my mind has to do with the environmental movement.  When I lived in Nova Scotia, a multi-national company was doing uranium exploration in our area.  I was a brand-new journalist and my hippy-back-to-the-lander friends opposed any exploration and warned of the dire consequences of a uranium mine.

I met the geologists who were doing the exploration;  I covered their public meetings.  These guys were scientists who explained how we are living in background radiation that might increase if we sit on a granite boulder or ride in an airplane.  They gave us gadgets like Geiger counters to measure the radiation.

When I told one of my hippy friends she rejected even science books because they were published by big companies.  

The geologists would ask permission to inspect on private property and would leave little pink plastic ribbons tied in the branches to mark the grid they walked.    When I found out that some of my friends were bragging about taking off those ribbons and moving them to their property so they could complain about tresspassing, that was one of my wake up moments on the left's  "the end justifies the means."

I also ran into a lot of would-be revolutionary types when I went to college---the kind of person who spouted doctrine of a political sort and would not deal with you as an individual human being only as a class of person.  Identity politics were the new expression of Marxism.

I bought into the identity politics of feminism and spent several years feeling resentful and enraged.  But then it dawned on me how wrong it is to resent or to blame anyone.   I stopped resenting.  I forgave.  Lo and behold, my politics began to change merely because I was not projecting my own personal conflict onto the world.  


I'm back

I am back now from brief trip to the Boston area and Southern Maine.  More later.  But in the meantime, check out Foolishness to the World for some recent posts.

Cardinal Dolan's prayer at the Republican Convention

I watched a lot of the later night coverage of the Republic Convention on all three nights, mostly on PBS as my mother does not have Fox, and thus I missed seeing Cardinal Dolan give the closing prayer on Thursday night.

But thankfully, I did see it posted elsewhere.  Here it is for those of you who missed it.  



The Cardinal, who came as a pastor and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will also deliver a closing prayer at the Democrat Convention this coming week.   I wonder if he will use similar words.

Here's a transcript:


 Prayer for Our Country at the Republican National Convention
With firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, let us pray.
Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, we beg your continued blessings on this sanctuary of freedom, and on all of those who proudly call America home.
We ask your benediction upon those yet to be born, and on those who are about to see you at the end of this life.
Bless those families whose ancestors arrived on these shores generations ago, as well as those families that have come recently, to build a better future while weaving their lives into the rich tapestry of America.
We lift up to your loving care those afflicted by the recent storms and drought and fire.
We ask for the grace to stand in solidarity with all those who suffer. May we strive to include your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free in the production and prosperity of a people so richly blessed.
Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might! We ask your guidance for those who govern us, and on those who would govern us: the president and vice-president, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and on all those who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office, especially Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. And help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.
Almighty God who gives us the sacred and inalienable gift of life, we thank you as well for the singular gift of liberty. Renew in all of our people a respect for religious freedom in full, that first, most cherished freedom.
Make us truly free by tethering freedom to truth and ordering freedom to goodness. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope and love, prudently and with justice, courageously and in a spirit of moderation.
Enkindle in our hearts a new sense of responsibility for freedom’s cause and make us ever grateful for all those who for more than two centuries have given their lives in freedom’s defense. We commend their noble souls to your eternal care as even now we beg your mighty hand upon our beloved men and women in uniform.
May we know the truth of your creation, respecting the laws of nature and nature’s God and not seek to replace it with idols of our own making.
Give us the good sense not to cast aside the boundaries of righteous living you first inscribed on our hearts even before inscribing them on tablets of stone.
May you mend our every flaw, confirming our soul in self-control, our liberty in law.
We pray for all those who seek honest labor, as we thank you for the spirit of generosity to those in need with which you so richly blessed this nation.
We beseech your blessing on all who depart from here this evening and on all those in every land who seek to conduct their lives in freedom.
Most of all, Almighty God, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country. For we are indeed one nation under God, and in God we trust. Dear God, bless America, you who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.