Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brilliant.

David Warren's State of the Union address:

Debt is not the answer to economic problems, there or here; more bureaucracy is not the answer; nor is the further empowerment of public sector unions to hold taxpayers to ransom.

And as to terrorism and foreign threats, Mr. Brown was able to play, before the most politically correct constituency in the U.S., variations on the theme: "American taxpayer dollars should go to buying weapons to kill terrorists, not pay for lawyers to defend them."


Hallelujah! ... And don't thank Martha Coakley for throwing that election; the polls show indisputably it is Obama we must thank. By "pushing his envelope" an inch too far, he has accomplished what took George III far more effort.

Be still, my churning stomach

I did not even read this story on Yahoo News, because frankly, the title is enough.

"Quincy Jones is ready to redo charity song 'We Are the World' to benefit Haiti quake recovery" (The Canadian Press)
For your penance, you will re-read David Warren's essay "Generous to a fault."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dolphins are people too.

At least, some humans wish they were. They believe that dolphins ought to be endowed with "non-human personhood" status. Margaret Somerville discusses (MercatorNet): 

The refusal of the courts to recognize unborn babies as persons, in order to allow abortion, shows the protective effect of the concept of personhood and that, unless expressly excluded, all human beings are persons. Currently, we also use the word person to distinguish humans from animals, in order to establish that every human deserves "special respect" as compared with animals.
As for me, I wish society would confer legal status upon our current "human non-persons" (the unborn).
We used to regard humans as special on the basis that they had a soul, a Divine spark, and animals did not. Far from everyone accepts that today. But most people at least act as though we humans have a "human spirit," a metaphysical, although not necessarily supernatural, element as part of the essence of our humanness. The beautiful Sanskrit farewell, loosely translated, "The Light in me recognizes the Light in you," captures this reality. 
[...]

We must have greater respect for all life, and I would add to that, in particular, human life. Restricting personhood to humans is one way we recognize and implement the latter.


Thanks to Dave for the heads-up on this story.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama explains Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts

"The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office…. People are angry and they're frustrated, not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years but what's happened over the last eight years."


Moral 1: It’s all about me.

Moral 2: Everything always was and always will be George W. Bush’s fault.

As Mark Steyn says: Presumably, the president isn't stupid enough actually to believe what he said. But it's dispiriting to discover he's stupid enough to think we're stupid enough to believe it.

The poor you will always have with you...

First-world guilt, not so much. Televised pseudo-compassion is useless (as Right Girl points out, who cared about Haiti before the quake hit?).

Haiti was totally dysfunctional before the quake. I'm pretty sure that $50 (or $500 or $5 million, if I had it) won't get rid of their useless corrupt leaders or social structures. Haiti needs a miracle. Not sure what the answer is; pretty sure the Crying-on-TV-Live-Aid junk is not it. David Warren explains.

The impulse to "write a cheque" to assuage conscience becomes more and more deeply engrained in our psyches, as we abandon the moral and spiritual underpinnings of our civilization, and indulge the habit of quantifying each issue by the amount of money we throw at it. My advice to the people who have asked me what they can most usefully do to help is, start thinking ahead to the next disaster. For Port-au-Prince is already bottlenecked with supplies.



Love is not a declaration, but instead an action, and those who are troubled by the hideous conditions in which so many on our planet live and die had better devote more time than is required by PayPal.

A hard and unwelcome truth (to those who want the charitable equivalent of instant gratification) is the limit on the amount of money that can be usefully spent on a disaster, before counter-productive efforts begin to dominate all spending. By counter-productive I mean, especially, in a case like Haiti, restoring the circumstances that keep its people in desperation, including the power of a kleptocracy to create political obstacles to any direct human enterprise -- whether profitable or charitable.


Do keep reading.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This Week's Topic: How to Repair a Dishwasher

 Mr. Beazly insists that we need a new dishwasher. I insist that our current dishwasher works perfectly fine, except for the cup and a half of water that leaks out the bottom every time we use it. (That's what God gave us towels for, right?)

 Whether we repair this dishwasher or buy a new one, we're going to be spending a lot of money. The two appliance repair shops I called want sixty bucks up front and then  15 - 17 dollars PER QUARTER HOUR for their time. We are always being scolded by the enviro-nannies for throwing too many things away, but is it any wonder no one repairs anything when it costs ten times what the appliance is worth just to have someone come and look at it?  Add onto that the cost for parts, if they still even make them for our ten year old dishwasher. I quickly ruled out professional help, although I may need some of a psychological nature since my next course of action was to see if I could fix it myself.

I took the front panel off the dishwasher, because that was what the interweb told me to do. As I lay on the floor looking at all the wires and hoses I was reminded of that Jerry Seinfeld bit where he ponders why he ever attempts to fix things that break. "When I open this thing up, what am I expecting to see that I could possibly fix?" Jerry wonders. "A snowman with his hat off?"

Well, that's what I'm always expecting to see. Consequently, my house is full of broken small appliances with their panels missing. Anyway, after watching for the spot where the water was coming out as the dishwasher ran, and then doing a bunch of internet research, I now have some quick and easy steps to help you, dear reader, through your very own dishwasher repair, should you ever need to perform one.

Step 1: Open up the front panel, as discussed above.
Step 2: Look for the part of the mechanism that is causing trouble. If it looks like this (see Figure A):




you are home free. Effect the needed repair as per Figure B:

 Be prepared, however, for the following possibilities:
a) The hat might be damaged.
b) A new hat might cost $300.
c) The snowman might need a new head.

In that case, proceed to

Step 3: Admit that your husband is right and get ready to go out shopping for a new dishwasher.





Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Well THIS shows total class, to say nothing of compassion.

"Planned Parenthood Capitalizing on Haiti Earthquake with New Fundraiser." Courtesy LifeSite News.


“While millions of people are suffering unbelievably and are without the most basic necessities, Planned Parenthood wants to grab the donations that should be going to provide medical care, food, clothing, and housing, and funnel it to its local affiliate that pushes condoms on children as young as 10 years old,” she continued.

I guess as far as IPP is concerned, not enough Haitians are dead.

Today the Lord shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down.

No, I'm not planning to kill anyone. Just trying to get a grip on my personal demons: be a better mom, get organized, lose some weight, that sort of thing. To that end, the Dumb Old Housewives highly recommend this online bible study magazine  (available in print version too).


God wants us to learn the combination of faith and action that David showed, that balance between his grace and our work that will give us victory every time. [...]
How often do we rely too much on God and neglect the work that he calls us to do, whether in evangelization or in our own growth in holiness? And how often do we rely on our own strength, doing the “work of the Lord” but neglecting the “Lord of the work”? Both approaches are fraught with danger. The first one can leave us feeling fruitless and frustrated. The second one can leave us full of ourselves or worn out and dispirited. But the middle way—the way of cooperation between divine grace and human work—brings not only fruitfulness but refreshment and joy as well.
Entire meditation here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Well this would explain...

Why my crappy Acer laptop is crapping out on me after just two years. (And it was a warranty replacement machine for an even crappier one that was fatally flawed from the beginning.)

Laptops’ average lifespan less than four years, study finds

"With an expected malfunction rate of over 23 percent, Gateway and Acer were almost as unreliable as HP, according to the study."

Remind me to by a Mac book next time.

This is just plain funny.

And pointless. Sometimes life is like that. But who knew that pigs had free will?

Pack of wild pigs shut down Germany's autobahn.


Germany's DAPD news agency says the autobahn was reopened after three hours when it was believed that the pigs had left on their own accord.

Or maybe they hijacked a Honda.


  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This title caught my attention.

UK Party Leader Says Faith Schools Must Teach Homosexuality is "Normal and Harmless"

courtesy LifeSite News.

My first response: that particular UK Party Leader is totally hateful and homophobic! Homosexuality is not "normal and harmless". It is blessed and exalted! It is all in all! As Mark Shea so often insists: Tolerance is not Enough. You. MUST. Approve. 

Seriously,

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said that faith schools must not become "asylums of insular religious identity."
Ummm...I think that means that faith schools must not actually believe and teach the faith that they proclaim, lest their students (who were put there by parents who wanted them to learn in a faith-filled environment) assimilate the... er...faith. In other words, Mr. Clegg wants faith schools to be no different from non-faith schools. (Unless, of course, the faith is environmentalism. Then they can be as insular and asylum-like as they please.)  

insular: (adjective) disapproving
interested only in your own country or group and not willing to accept different or foreign ideas


Get. A. Life. (Tears and shivers optional)

Really.


A user named Mike wrote on the fan Web site "Naviblue" that he contemplated suicide after seeing the movie."Ever since I went to see 'Avatar' I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it," Mike posted. "I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in 'Avatar.' "

And another testimony, from Ivar Hill, a.k.a. "Eltu":

"When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed ... gray. It was like my whole life, everything I've done and worked for, lost its meaning," Hill wrote on the forum. "It just seems so ... meaningless. I still don't really see any reason to keep ... doing things at all. I live in a dying world."
Reached via e-mail in Sweden where he is studying game design, Hill, 17, explained that his feelings of despair made him desperately want to escape reality.
...which pretty much explains it. Like that guy in that Christmas movie said, "If they would rather die... they had better do it and decrease the surplus population."
The whole article at CNN.

No, OF COURSE I'm not advocating suicide, much less teen suicide. This article makes me feel really sad, and it makes me wonder: where are/were the parents of these children? How empty and shallow can your life be if you invest everything in a stupid movie? (I guess any number of Hollywood executives could answer that question.) Do I really need to preach about how the West has lost its spiritual foundation? The good news is, there really is a perfect paradise after this life, and there is a Way that leads there, no matter how much post-mods scoffs at the notion.

Offering a prayer for all Avatar orphans, wherever they may be...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ordinary Time

Back to the grind. And back to being harangued about how eco-naughty we are. My favorite of these "New Year's revolutions" are "Observe an Eco-Sabbath" and "Tithe a Fixed Percentage of Your Income". I am quite relieved that environmentalism is finally coming out as a religion because it means I can sum up my position as that of a heretic.

Please note that the internet was not the first place I saw this article. No, I first read it in the print edition of my local Pennysaver, or "Smart Shopper", as it now styles itself. You know Smart Shopper, the 16- page advertisement that is printed on paper made from trees ripped from the womb of Gaia for the holy purpose of having ads for psychic fairs, bridal shows, and a bunch of other crap you don't need or want printed on it and then being stuffed in your mailbox every week even though you didn't ask for it? Yeah, that Smart Shopper.

On an unrelated note, I see the Pennysaver/ Smart Shopper no longer carries personal ads. I fear too many people who met their spouses through the Pennysaver ended up with a wedding cake like this one:


Friday, January 8, 2010

Uganda: witch doctors and child sacrifice

Chilling article at the BBC.

I found it courtesy of  FFOF. Here's Kathy's excerpt from the BBC article:
One witch-doctor led us to his secret shrine and said he had clients who regularly captured children and brought their blood and body parts to be consumed by spirits.


Meanwhile, a former witch-doctor who now campaigns to end child sacrifice confessed for the first time to having murdered about 70 people, including his own son.

The Ugandan government told us that human sacrifice is on the increase, and according to the head of the country's Anti-Human Sacrifice Taskforce the crime is directly linked to rising levels of development and prosperity, and an increasing belief that witchcraft can help people get rich quickly.
It's horrifying, backward and savage indeed. We do, however, have our own version of child sacrifice here in North America, but it's clinical and legal (until the umbilical cord is severed), and sometimes it's socially acceptable beyond that point (as when gassing a disabled child to death). We have an Anti-Human-Sacrifice Taskforce too, in the various facets of the pro-life and human dignity movements.

The only thing that's different, totally different, is that apparently some Africans have a primitive faith in black magic: they actually believe that sacrificing a child will help them financially. Pro-abortion North Americans, on the other hand, are modern and sophisticated: they believe that abortion is acceptable for...er...socio-economic reasons, or reasons of convenience ("I'm just not ready to be a mom"; "I don't wanna be tied down with a kid.") or cosmetic (don't wanna have stretch marks--yes, a swimsuit model went on record for saying that), or because the unborn child is the 'wrong' sex, or because their birth control failed, or just ...because. It's called "choice" and "unrestricted access." It's not black magic.  It's modern and sophisticated. I think.

NOT subjecting your children to pointless government bureacracy equals 'endangerment'

Cuz there aren't enough pedophiles, child-killlers, child-pornographers, abortionists, drunken/negligent parents, drug dealers and other assorted child-abusers for the cops to chase after.

Kathleen Gilbert, LifeSite News.

 Richard and Margie Cressy were arrested by the Montgomery County Sheriff on child endangerment charges for not registering their children, ages 8-14, at the local district. The Cressys submitted and won official approval for their homeschool curriculum for the 2009-2010 school year, but soon after were arrested for not having done so in previous years.
I can just envision the jailhouse scene from the upcoming made-for-TV movie:


SNAKE, A ONE-EYED BIKER
(sidles up to homeschooling dad; growls roughly): Hey man, what you in for?

CRESSY
(saucily pulls up collar on plaid short-sleeved dress shirt, spits tobacco juice across holding cell): None of your dang business, Buster.

SNAKE:
(grabbing Cressy): Why you son of a %#(@*&$!

CRACK DEALER (intervening, pushes Biker away): You don't wanna mess with that guy, Snake! He's bad news. (lowers voice) He failed to register his kids with the local homeschooling authority. 

SNAKE: Holy %#(@*! Guard, get me outta here!



And anyway, I am the only one horrified by this line: "submitted and won official approval for their homeschool curriculum"? It's a sorry pass when parents have to apply to the government for 'approval' of what they teach their children.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.

National Cancer Institute Researcher Admits Abortion Breast Cancer Link
by  Thaddeus M. Baklinski, LifeSite News.


U.S. National Cancer Institute researcher Dr. Louise Brinton, who was the chief organizer of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) workshop in 2003 that persuaded women that it was "well established" that "abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk," has reversed her position and now admits that abortion and oral contraceptives raise breast cancer risks.

Cue violins…and pass the champagne.


What do Maude Barlow and Gollum have in common?

The ubiquitous Ms. Barlow in the Globe and Mail : [my comments in red]

As a new year and a new decade begin, it is time to accept an unpleasant reality: Canada's international reputation as a progressive middle power is gone. [woohoo!!] Instead, our country is increasingly seen as a human-rights-denying eco-outlaw [if bloody only! Maybe nixing the CHRC would clinch that...] that has lost its way and its special status as a standard bearer for a better world. This change is largely the doing of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the ideology that has motivated him and his mentors for decades. [remind me to vote for that man!]

“Standard bearer for a better world”?? Ye gods, that might have come straight from the screenplay of  The Lord of the Rings Meets Monsters Incorporated.


To wit: “Mr. Harper's government continues to promote unlimited growth in the Alberta oil sands – Canada's Mordor.” Mwa ha ha! Does that make Mr. Harper Sauron? Where is the White Wizard Al Gore-dolph when we need him? What part in "Lord of The National Angst" does Ms. Barlow play?  Legolas? Gimli?  Or maybe Gollum. He’s the only non-hypocrite environmentalist that has ever existed: is not averse to  living naked on a rock and eating his food raw.

Barlow again: “I am personally ashamed of my country as I travel internationally.” (Cue violins) Boo hoo!  Most of us are too busy working for a living to “travel internationally.” And if you’re flying, Maude, I do hope it’s by Air Nazgul. (They scream something terrible, but except for the occasional unfortunate gastric emission, are fairly carbon neutral.)
image: http://www.lordotrings.com/tour/nazgul.asp

Further: Kathy Shaidle answers the old “Maple-Leaf-on-the-backpack thing.” Lawks, she makes me laugh. "Dear grey haired old farts: some of us are sick of your unexamined liberal wisdom and 1970s (upper) middle class cliches."



Thanks to SteynOnline for the link.

I am now looking forward to seeing this movie.

I was afraid it was just going to be predictable, heavy-handed, politically correct claptrap (like Pocahontas).

 With seven girls in the house, you can hardly avoid the latest (or indeed any) Disney princess movie.

Steven D. Graydanus's review of The Princess and the Frog.
Excerpt:


  There’s wishing on stars, magic and dreams coming true — but also emphasis on hard work and accomplishment, with a clear message that wishing on stars isn’t enough. There’s a handsome prince and a magical kiss, but here too it’s clear that merely hoping that someday your prince will come is inadequate as a life strategy.


There’s a villain with magical powers — but instead of Disneyfied magic, like Aladdin’s friendly genie, the film’s New Orleans voodoo is an occult world of terrifying powers and principalities in which the villain himself is at much at risk as anyone. It’s almost Disney’s most overtly Christian depiction of magic and evil at least since Sleeping Beauty, if not ever — though the waters are muddied by a benevolent, swamp-dwelling hoodoo mama in a sort of fairy-godmother role.

Moms and dads, read the whole thing. And bookmark Mr. Graydanus's site for future reference.

Margaret Wente on why airport security measures are so infernally stupid

I don't always agree with her, but I have liked her ever since she admitted the unthinkable (recycling is a waste of time, and Margaret Atwood's writing can be crappy.) 

The following quotation comes from The Globe and Mail.


Ours must be the first society in history that has tried to stop the killers by imposing collective punishment on ourselves.


How did we arrive at this absurd impasse? Because of our elaborately overdeveloped concern for human rights, combined with our towering fear of the hurt feelings of Muslims. If everyone is equal, then differential treatment must be racist, which is why we have decided that your grandma from Moose Jaw gets the same pat-down as a devout young male Muslim from Nigeria who did a recent stint at a religious school in Yemen.


The case of the underwear bomber certainly revealed lapses in the system. But there will always be lapses in the system. Trying to safeguard against the last thing a suicide killer tried – Surrender your liquids, Granny! – is merely theatre, because it's not the technique that needs to be intercepted, it's the killers.

Link from SteynOnline.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cuz there aren't enough terrorists to worry about...

And you just never know when aliens might use their mind-powers on polar bears and attempt to invade the world via the North Pole. CIA spending resources to monitor Climate Change (TM)

“In times of peace and prosperity, this center would completely defy common sense. But today, only two weeks after a terrorist attempted to blow up a plane over our country, this center is absolutely ridiculous,” Barrasso said in a prepared statement. “The CIA’s resources should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves – not polar bears on icebergs.”

This is kind of creepy

I know it's just some computer-generated database, but it still feels like I'm on some kind of ClimateChange Apostate list. As Mrs. Beazly so cleverly stated: "Computer algorithms are watching you."

AL GORE -ithms...get it? (or perhaps it's Al Gore Rythms...cuz he's so in tune with Nature and all)

Anyway, I have already publicly stated my opposition to the new faith in my Catholic Insight column from May , 2008: "Canadians embrace darkness."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Satirists will soon be completely unemployable.

It just keeps getting more surreal. New novel by (who else?) Margaret Atwood is being hailed as the new Green Bible.

 Ms. ATWOOD: Indeed, we now have the Green Bible among us, which I did not know when I was writing this book, which has tasteful linen covers, ecologically correct paper, the green parts in green. Introduction by Archbishop Tutu. And a list at the end of useful things you can do to be a more worthy green person.
I know how to be a worthy green person. Eat too many chocolate truffles and then go jump on a trampoline. It works every time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Exercise, ye unfortunate fat ones!

That stirring exhortation comes from a Victorian publication whose title escapes me just now, but you will probably receive more or less the same message in your mailbox from  various health clubs and fitness equipment stores during this time of year. Don't be fooled by their advertising! No matter how much you exercise, if you follow the Canada Food Guide, you are doomed.

I think that article needs a rewrite to make its meaning a little clearer:

Canada's proposed new food guide will contribute to the country's obesity crisis, an Ottawa specialist in obesity medicine charges. Dr. Yerbez Spatflute, medical director of the Bow Vine Medical Institute in Ottawa calls the proposed new version of Canada's Food Guide "obesogenic". "That may not even be a word," he concedes, "But this is no time to argue etymology."

"Should anybody who is of average height and size follow Canada's Food Guide, there is a very, very good chance it will lead to weight gain," Dr. Spatflute said in an article published in the Canadian Meddlesome Association Journal today. "Canadians are simply mindless cows being herded about according to the contents of pamphlets issued by government agencies. And that's certainly just as it should be," Dr. Spateflute adds. "That's why it's so important that those government pamphlets be entirely accurate and safe. And edible, just in case."

The very public swipe at the food guide comes at a time when there are growing concerns about what and how much Canadians are eating and whether the government can slow what many say is an epidemic of obesity and related illnesses. "Who else's job should it be but the government's to make sure we don't get fat? I can't be bothered to stop eating when I'm full, and the majority of Canadians are not even capable of understanding that donuts are not a legume. From anecdotal evidence it seems most stay at home mothers live entirely on beer and popcorn. I believe there are better ways to eat than what the Canada Food Guide recommends...but how can we access the obscure solution to this mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a taco?"

Obesity Acceptance and Prevention activist Artemis Phippin agrees. "The Canada Food Guide is a walking time bomb waiting to happen," he contends. From his home in Ontario, Mr. Phippin recounts how he struggled for years to eat 510 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, until he realized there was a little dash between the '5' and the '10'. "Our government failed me, and I want answers, "Mr. Phippin says. "Or at least bigger hyphens."

The controversy is likely to continue raging, as the final draft of the Canada Food Guide will be released March 15, or as local activists have renamed it, "The Ides of Starch". 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

DOH has at least one fan who is not a blood relation.

Duncan Veasey (you gotta scroll way down) comments in the Coffee House blog on how to improve The Spectator:

Time to give Notting Hill nobody a rest, cut back on "lifestyle," and soft and fluffy. Mrs Beazley and Mrs Pinkerton of 'Dumb Old Housewives' might replace Ms Johnson and Ms Standing. Bet they're cheaper than Steyn.
Yes, Duncan (and Spectator staff), Mrs. Pinkerton and Mrs. Beazly are cheaper than Steyn. But then, you get what you pay for. We will do anything that is not illegal, immoral, fattening, or inordinately demanding on family time. Call us.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Feminism, split-level homes, jet-wing lapels...

David Warren sums up the 70s. At last I feel vindicated for thinking it was the worst decade EVER. And I had to survive it without drugs.


And then we had Gerald Ford as president. That was silly enough; but then we had Jimmy Carter. And through almost all of that decade, a prime minister up here named Pierre Trudeau. Believe it or not, these men were taken seriously. We can only begin to see what a strange era that was, only begin to appreciate the flakiness into which public life had descended, at this distance.

That the 1970s also represented a kind of aesthetic nadir for Western Civilization we may see by examining contemporary magazines. Even with our current, deeply depressed standards, we instinctively flinch at their apparel. It was by extension a boring, pointless decade: I pity anyone who had to grow up in that era, and am inclined to understand their propensity to mind-altering drugs.