November 24, 2010

Positivity: Pre-Thanksgiving Perspective

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:00 pm

Note: A slightly different version of this post originally went up in November 2007, and has turned into a BizzyBlog tradition.

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I saw this about halfway through this post at Obi’s Sister. It was written to make a political point, which is fine, but it also makes a universal one (paragraphing added by me):

A neighbor (say her name is Mary) sees her other neighbor (say her name is Nancy) and decides to make her a pie. She bakes a lovely pie the next day and takes it next-door. Nancy is overwhelmed that her neighbor would be so thoughtful and thanks her profusely.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy thanks her again, but with less enthusiasm.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy just says “Thanks.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says, “Thanks, and you’re a day late this time.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “Thanks, but next time, can you make a cherry pie instead of apple? I’m getting tired of apple.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “You know, if you put a little less sugar in the crust and didn’t handle it so long, the crust wouldn’t be tough.”

The next week, Mary has lots to do and forgets to make her pie. When she walked by Nancy’s house, she stuck her head out the door and yelled, “Hey! Where’s my pie?”

How quickly gratitude turns into a jaded sense of entitlement.

…. Why don’t we go back to the original idea? Simple people, pioneers really, expressing their pure and heartfelt gratitude …. A humble heartfelt thanksgiving. Not a holiday, but a state of mind.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sadly, I Have to Agree With the Title of Karl Denninger’s Post

I just won’t repeat it here (Warning: R-rated language is at the link). It concerns the TSA’s full body scanners and accompanying occasional human sexual assaults:

I’ll tell you why we’re having this debate, as I have several times before:

  • The scanners are a virtual strip search.
  • The scanners cannot prevent what was done (in Detroit last year, on Christmas Day).

Time out. I’m going to repeat that for the hard of reading:

The scanners cannot prevent what was done.

OK, back to Denninger:

  • Since the point of terrorism is to cause terror, the more security theater you create and the longer the lines that result, the more likely it is that a terrorist will simply waltz into the line with a monster suicide vest on and blow himself up in the line before the scanner is reached.
  • The underwear bomber was on a plane bound to the US without a valid passport and was known to be a threat.
  • The underwear bomber boarded a FOREIGN plane. Why are we scanning inside the US? Why don’t we control our borders instead?
  • There are much-less-intrusive means that work better to protect against bombs. Dogs, specifically. Profiling people, for example. Have a dog sniff everyone who walks through the metal detector. If he “hits” on someone, perform your secondary screening. Bomb-sniffing dogs are a proven technology and they work. So do the small portable “swab” automated GC machines that have been in airports forever. I’ve had my laptop swabbed with one in the past – so what? If you want to secondary screen someone the dog “hits” on use one of those things and swab people’s clothes and hands. But these techniques don’t make Chertoff, the former DHS secretary, rich from “consulting fees” where scanners that irradiate us do.

Yeah, the Chertoff aspect of this drives me crazy. Look, I know people in both parties profit from their previous “public service” all the time, but this is far worse. The fact is that a cynical GOP administration alum and more than likely a bunch of his buds has “scammed” a Democrat-controlled Department of Homeland Security (“scammed” is in quotes because many of the current admin’s members may be in on the gravy train) to the tune of multimillions for units that clearly don’t solve the problem while simultaneously shredding airline passengers’ personal privacy and dignity.

Denninger also raises good points about potential cancer risks, and whether or not we should feel sorry for the TSA employees who are under orders to implement this strip-search regime.

Read the whole thing, if you’re up for the R-rated language.

Not This Mitt Again

RomneyNo0808Mitt Romney hasn’t changed a bit, and carries even more damning baggage.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.

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The serious rumblings are already out there. Undaunted by the failure of one of the most expensive presidential primary runs in history, Mitt Romney apparently wants to take another shot at getting the GOP’s nomination. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is “quite sure” Romney will run, and has said that the former Massachusetts governor “would be my preference.”

Sadly, there’s a hoary tradition in the GOP that certain establishment-favored candidates, even though they’re not the best available, have somehow earned “their turn.” That belief has usually led the party straight to the presidential political graveyard, which includes the campaign corpses of John McCain (2008) and Bob Dole (1996). Following that tradition this time around would mean that the party’s “it’s my turn” nominees would have moved from a somewhat conservative and usually credible war hero (Dole), to an occasionally conservative and all too often not credible war hero (McCain), to a decidedly not conservative and not credible guy who didn’t serve (Romney). There’s a reason why the GOP is often called the Stupid Party.

Perhaps the most potent portent that Romney’s 2012 aspirations are serious lies in an attempt by some to explain away his 2008 defeat as supposedly the result of his membership in and bigotry against the Mormon religion. In a pair of presentations on the program at the Mormon Media Studies Symposium earlier this month, a trio of Brigham Young University professors attempted to “prove” this claim. According to the Salt Lake City Deseret News:

(BYU prof John) Gee cited examples of counter-cult activity by the John McCain and Mike Huckabee campaigns. These politicians would slip false information about Mormons into a casual message.

… “(The media) need to know some of these things that have been going on that haven’t been covered, the way the coded language and off-hand remarks can be inserted in,” Gee said.

… “Mitt Romney will not be able to overcome half a century of hate and bigotry, but I would love to be proven wrong,” he said. “The media has to get the story correct, and it’s too much to ask for.”

Cry me a river. As far as I know, and I followed the GOP primaries very closely, the only evidence that anyone attempted to use Mitt Romney’s religion against him was one alleged early-December 2007 push poll in Iowa. Oddly enough, the only people who came forward to claim they had received the offensive phone calls were Romney campaign operatives, who “somehow” forgot to tell the press that they were on the candidate’s payroll.

The alleged push poll gave Romney, whose Hawkeye State campaign was already in serious trouble, an excuse to garner national attention with his “Faith in America” speech. Patrick Ruffini, who was blogging at the site of Romney cheerleader Hugh Hewitt at the time, observed:

This is relatively unexpected. Romney’s Mormon faith, though ever-present, has not been as big an issue as could have been expected earlier in the year. Questions still linger as to whether the most recent Mormon “controversy” (the push polls) actually reflected any real concerted anti-Romney strategy.

Apparently Professor Gee won’t let the lack of real evidence of a “concerted anti-Romney strategy” based on Mormonism get in the way of a historically revisionist fable.

The fact is that Mitt Romney lost in 2008 for a huge collection of reasons having absolutely nothing to do with his religious affiliation. Here’s the short list:

  • His heinous betrayals of social conservatives in Massachusetts when he was governor. On Romney’s watch, abortion became a legislated, subsidized, state-sponsored “benefit” for the first time. Regarding same-sex “marriage,” Romney broke his sworn oath to uphold the state’s constitution by implementing the Goodridge decision before the Bay State’s legislature enacted the enabling law the court’s ruling required (to my knowledge, the legislature still has not done this).
  • His proactive pursuit of state-controlled health care legislation in Massachusetts, signed with the late Ted Kennedy standing behind him approvingly. By late 2007, it was already clear, despite sympathetic media attempts to portray it as “pioneering” and a “grand experiment,” that Commonwealth Care aka RomneyCare was turning into a coercive, failing statist monstrosity. Despite its self-evident flaws, RomneyCare was often cited by leftists as the prototype for ObamaCare.
  • A host of life story and resume inconsistencies, including but not limited to: his anti-abortion “epiphany,” after which he signed the abortion-enabling Commonwealth Care law; his assertion, having hunted twice, that he was a “lifelong hunter”; and a completely disproven contention that his father George “marched with Martin Luther King” in Michigan.

On the ground, the real reason why Mitt Romney lost is that a few brave conservative activists whom Romney abandoned while governor banded together to get the truth out to a legion of sympathizers and then to the electorate — first in Iowa, then in New Hampshire, and finally on Super Tuesday. There’s your “conspiracy,” Professor Gee.

There are even more reasons why, if he chooses to run this time, Mitt Romney should again be summarily rejected. Among the new ones are at least these two biggies:

  • At crunch time in March 2009, when the Obama administration was orchestrating a statist boardroom coup at General Motors, Romney went on CNN and applauded the President for his “backbone.” Seriously.
  • After all these years, Romney refuses to concede that creating Commonwealth Care was a mistake. In March, he even called its imposition of an individual mandate to purchase insurance “the ultimate conservative plan.”

The majority of the USA’s population, which Frank Luntz recently found is sensible, constitution-loving, and conservative, cannot and will not abide Mitt Romney receiving the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2012. We’ve had more than enough of this Mitt.

Positivity: Dioceses around the world joining Pope’s ‘unprecedented’ pro-life vigil

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 9:02 am

From the Catholic News Agency:

Nov 24, 2010 / 05:36 am

Catholic bishops across the U.S. are urging all of the faithful to unite their prayers with Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday, Nov. 27, in an unprecedented worldwide vigil for unborn life.

The Pope will celebrate a special Vespers service that Saturday evening at St. Peter’s Basilica, heralding the first Sunday of Advent. Pope Benedict has recommended that “parishes, religious communities, associations and movements” join him for evening prayer, in “churches throughout the world.”

The season of preparation for Christmas, the Pope said on Nov. 14, “is a favorable time to invoke the divine protection of every human being called into existence, and to give thanks to God for the gift of life we have received from our parents.”

Although it is common for the Pope to encourage prayer for particular intentions, the request for a coordinated worldwide vigil –to be held on the same date and approximately the same time, in all dioceses– is highly exceptional. Several bishops’ comments have indicated that nothing comparable has ever occurred in the history of the Church.

While many Americans may be occupied with the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and the shopping blitz of “Black Friday,” bishops across the country are encouraging believers not to neglect the Pope’s historic call to prayer.

“At this moment in history,” Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco wrote, “when societies are endorsing the killing of human beings as a solution to social, economic, and environmental problems, the Holy Father is reminding us of the necessity and power of prayer to protect human life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.