October 2, 2011

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100211)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 11:50 am

Rules are here.

As I did yesterday. I have deposited a number of suggestions for comment. Off-topics are obviously okay too.


Megan McArdle at the Atlantic“Why the Solyndra Loan Wasn’t Like a VC Investment.” Key point: “… this doesn’t really make any sense. The private sector doesn’t have any trouble dealing with risky ventures; it simply prices the capital accordingly, demanding high interest rates, or a larger equity chunk, in exchange for money.” But also, if the deal doesn’t make any sense at any price, the private-sector funding sources walk away. A green-obsessed government with a mandate to spend billions won’t.

Channel 11 in Atlanta (“Sharpton’s Atlanta HQ admits handing out possibly bogus stimulus check forms”) — “This week more than 700 senior citizens filled out a rather skimpy form promising a $500 check from the American Opportunities Stimulus Program. … Worried seniors continued to stream to the local NAN (National Action Network) headquarters on Friday fearing someone may be trying to steal their identities.”

At Watt’s Up With That? — Video analysis and scene replication suggests that Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project fabricated their Climate 101 video ‘Simple Experiment.’”

At Real Clear Politics (“Warren Buffett Does Not Endorse WH’s “Buffett Rule’”; HT Robert Bluey at Heritage) — “My program is to have a tax on ultra-rich people who are paying very low tax rates. Not just all the rich people. It would probably apply to 50,000 people in a population of 300 million.” Even if you thought you could squeeze $1 million a year extra on average out of each of those 50,000 with no behavior change (good luck with that), you’d raise only $50 billion, or less than 1.5% of annual government spending. But of course, their behavior would change, and Uncle Sam would never see anywhere near that amount.

At Hot Air (“Just a reminder: Obama’s jobs bill still has no cosponsors”) — “Remember when Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to introduce his American Jobs Act, exhorting them on national television to “pass this bill immediately”? Obama used that phrase in various forms 17 times despite the fact that he didn’t actually have a bill to present to Congress until a week later. And as far as all but two members of Congress are concerned, the bill itself may as well not exist.” Because it’s so obviously popular (/sarc).

Roger Simon at Pajamas Media (“Chris Christie — Global Warming Around His Waistline”) — “… we should be aware that the New Jersey governor is yet another example of the politician as scientific know-nothing, warning of the dangers of anthropogenic global warming.” Also, a Herman Cain-related bonus: “of all the candidates, including the incumbent, the only one with substantive scientific or technical training is Herman Cain, who has a degree in mathematics from Morehouse and computer science from Purdue.”

Investor’s Business Daily (“Thank Dodd-Frank For That Fee”) — “the amendment limited fees that banks can collect from sellers when their customers make debit card purchases — cutting 44 cent fees to 21 cents. That little bomb is now why battered Bank of America has no choice but to impose a $5 monthly fee — $60 a year — to consumers to make up for lost revenue.” Perhaps the merchants who lobbied for the fee and to have credit-card and debit-card purchases treated differently should have been careful what they wished for. Many customers will switch to credit cards, triggering the higher fee. Others will switch to checks, which have their own sets of costs and hassles (far greater than 44 cents on average, I would think). Some merchants who have stopped accepting checks might have to do a rethink to compete with those who still do. More customers will pay with cash. Larger amounts of cash on hand will increase the temptation of employee theft and criminal robbery.

Hits against potential presidential contender Chris Christie’s weight abound (just a few of many are noted here, here, and here at NewsBusters). The bottom line is whether someone is physically up to the job of being president. Though girth may be a factor, it’s not the only one, as seen in the following items found in about sixty seconds:

William Russell Mead on Al-Awlaki’s Demise

Brilliant observations (HT Instapundit) from a typically brilliant writer (bolds are mine):

it does seem to me that Al-Awlaki and his buds are at war with the people of the United States and that in war, people not only die: it is sometimes your duty to kill them. That the Al-Qaeda groupies are levying war against the United States without benefit of a government does not make them less legitimate targets for missiles, bullets and any other instruments of execution we may have lying around: the irresponsibility, the contempt for all legal norms, the chaotic and anarchic nature of the danger they pose and the sheer wickedness of waging private war make them even more legitimate targets with even fewer rights than combatants fighting under legal governments that observe the laws of war.

Mr. Al-Awlaki chose to make himself what used to be called an outlaw; a person at war with society who is no longer protected by the laws he seeks to destroy. He was not a criminal who has broken some particular set of laws; he was an enemy seeking to destroy all the laws and the institutions that create them. His fiery sermons inspired numerous jihadists, like Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan, to attack Americans. He was personally involved with planning the attempted Christmas Day bombing in 2009 and he mentored several of the 9/11 bombers. That he was at war with the United States may not have been proved in a criminal court but is not really up for debate.

By waging private war against the United States, he placed himself in jeopardy, and our Chief Magistrate, obedient to the commitments he made when he took his oath of office, fulfilled his solemn duty by returning Mr. Al-Awlaki to his maker by the most effective means at hand.

Far from President Obama launching an unprecedented assault on the civil rights of all Americans, he was acting as presidents must — and do. …

… The President has created some of the confusion in our debate. Frequently during the campaign, sometimes even in office, he has spoken as if he is the head of a criminal investigation team. When it comes to actual decisions, however, he acts like a military leader at war. (Glen) Greenwald and (Ron) Paul appear to believe that he is a policeman and needs to start acting more like one; I believe he is a war leader and needs to start talking more like one.

President Obama could start “talking more like one” by resurrecting the quaint phrase “War on Terror” and ditch the ridiculous term “overseas contingency operation.” He could tell his military and law enforcement folks to refer to terrorist attacks and not “man-caused disasters.” He could also conduct that Afghanistan war’s objective as “victory” instead of avoiding the term like it’s a four-letter word.

Much of the blowback Obama is feeling from the left and the “empire”-obsessed Ron Paul is of his own making.

Positivity: My ‘granddaddy’ John Wayne, actor and Catholic convert

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:59 am

From Rome:

Oct 1, 2011 / 12:29 pm

John Wayne for many was a Hollywood legend who symbolized true masculinity and American values. To Fr. Matthew Muñoz, though, he was simply “granddaddy.”

“When we were little we’d go to his house and we’d simply hang out with granddaddy and we’d play and we’d have fun. A very different image from what most people have of him,” Fr. Muñoz told CNA on a recent visit to Rome.

Fr. Muñoz was 14 years old when his grandfather died of cancer in 1979. In his lifetime, “The Duke” won three Oscars, the Congressional Gold Medal and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of all those achievements, though, Fr. Muñoz is most proud of just one – his grandfather’s conversion to the Catholic faith.

“My grandmother, Josephine Wayne Saenz, had a wonderful influence on his life and introduced him to the Catholic world,” said 46-year-old Fr. Muñoz, a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.

“He was constantly at Church events and fundraisers that she was always dragging him to and I think that, after a while, he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was, were becoming two greatly different things.”

Fr. Muñoz’s grandparents married in 1933 and had four children, the youngest of whom – Melinda – is his mother. The couple civilly divorced in 1945 although, as a Catholic, Josephine did not re-marry until after John Wayne’s death. She also never stopped praying for her husband’s conversion – a prayer which was answered in 1978.

“He was a great friend of the Archbishop of Panama, Archbishop Tomas Clavel, and he kept encouraging him and finally my granddaddy said, ‘Okay, I’m ready.’”

As a result of a change in Panamanian leadership, Archbishop Clavel was exiled from his native land in 1968. Three years later, Cardinal Timothy Manning, then the Archbishop of Los Angeles, invited Archbishop Clavel to Orange County, where he served as pastoral leader to half of Orange County’s 600,000 Latinos.

By the time of Wayne’s request, however, Archbishop Clavel was too ill to make the journey to the film star’s residence.

“So Archbishop Clavel called Archbishop McGrath,” Fr. Muñoz said, explaining that Archbishop McGrath was the successor to Archbishop Clavel in the Archdiocese of Panama.

“My mom and my uncle were there when he came. So there’s no question about whether or not he was baptized. He wanted to become baptized and become Catholic,” Fr. Muñoz said. “It was wonderful to see him come to the faith and to leave that witness for our whole family.”

Fr. Muñoz also said that his grandfather’s expressed a degree of regret about not becoming a Catholic earlier in life, explaining “that was one of the sentiment he expressed before he passed on,” blaming “a busy life.”

Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, though, John Wayne’s life was far from irreligious. …

Go here for the rest of the story.