Monday, October 27, 2008

His Top Priority

Please consider forwarding the link to this spot:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama Paper Dolls

Well we knew Google had a liberal bias. Here's further evidence.

I searched for "dover books". The first resultant link was to no surprise, just what I wanted. I clicked the Google link that says

More results from ».

At the bottom of the first page I find:

Obama Paper Dolls

pad, Dover Home, pad, Store Directory, pad, Customer Service, pad ... Here's a sample of other books in this Dover category pad ... - 27k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Interesting: what a curiosity! Is Dover campaigning for Obama? I click through and see Dover also has McCain paper dolls.

So it's not that Dover is promoting Obama by printing paper dolls of the Democratic Presidential candidate, but that Google is promoting Obama by selectively linking to the Obama paper dolls over the McCain doll (and "above the fold" so to speak).

Of course, the comeback is "they had to link to one or the other!" My response: no they didn't. Why link to either?1

Besides it turns out that Dover has a page that lists both products.

Google's personnel are known to be liberal. So what I wonder is: Is this bias the manual result of the human agents involved in selecting which links to present, or is it an automatic result encoded in the software? How systematic is the bias?

Obama and Abortion

If you're pro-life to any extent and supporting Obama, you might want to think again, as Professor Robert P. George of Princeton explains in this excellent article (h/t Touchstone):

Obama's Abortion Extremism

Here's a good paragraph (and just the tip of the iceberg):

But this barely scratches the surface of Obama's extremism. He has promised that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed "fundamental right" to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, "a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons." In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."

(And there's MUCH more in the article.) Not that I particularly like McCain, but Obama is simply beyond the pale. Forget the spiel about his associating with terrorists. A friend of mine has a bumper sticker that says

Terrorist have killed 3,000 Americans since 1990.
Abortionists have killed 4,000 Americans since yesterday.2

The most ironic part is that over a third of those abortions are African-American babies. Those number of abortions can only increase (and be funded by your federal tax dollars) if Barak Obama is elected to the White House; he would be backed by the likes of Nancy Pelosi as majority leader in Congress. Here's what Wikipedia says about her abortion stance:

Pelosi supports the legality of abortion. She voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and earlier attempts at similar bans. She voted in favor of the 1998 Abortion Funding Amendment, which allowed the use of district funds to promote abortion-related activities.

She has also voted in favor of using federal funds to perform abortions in overseas military facilities, against parental notification when a minor is transported across state lines for an abortion, and in favor of providing funding for organizations working overseas that promote or perform abortions and abortion-related activities.

And as Dr. George makes clear, Obama is even more extreme on this issue!

Paper dolls will never replace those aborted children.


1. One might also ask where the dolls for the minor-party candidates are. But then it's hard to blame Dover for following demand.

2. The bumper sticker points out the stupidity of prioritizing the fight against terrorism over the fight against abortion. Unfortunately, this is the stupidity (or the major example of stupidity) that Republican Party has come to indulge under the Presidency of George W. Bush (or maybe the Vice Presidency of Dick Cheney?). That McCain is pointing to Obama's Ayers ("terrorist") association instead of his abortion extremism (which goes against the 90% of Americans who think abortion should be restricted in some way) only shows the extent to which McCain is brainwashed by the military-industrial culture of death and blind to the real interest of his country. I'll vote for McCain, but only because I live in a "battleground state" that I don't want Obama to win.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Gimme Generation

It seems that the federal government is getting into the "business" of bailing people out of their troubles. First there were Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, then AIG, then the banking industry $700 billion (which may not be "enough"!). Then the state of California asked for $7 billion to pay for its profligacy. And now it seems the commonwealth of Massachusetts wants its turn at the federal trough.

I guess those initial outlays were like blood in the water. Now everyone wants a bailout.

How bad is the economy? Is it really necessary for the government to step in to "save the day"?

These are complicated questions. There's a lot of psychology involved in economics, and people's expectations are sometimes unreasonable. I suspect that the more answerable question is how we got into this mess in the first place.

The big problem is that the generation in charge, the Boomers, was raised with the expectation that everything would be provided for them.1 In other words, they were raised to be irresponsible. And indeed, of the two Boomer Presidents this country has had (Clinton and Bush II), both have been disasters.2 True to their heritage, the people now in charge of our country (not just the President or the government) have bequeathed to their children an enormous government debt and a profoundly troubled economy.

As the Onion once put it,

"The selfishness that has been a hallmark of the Boomers will continue right up to the very end, as they force millions of younger Americans to devote an inordinate amount of time and resources to their care, bankrupting the Social Security system in the process," Clausewitz said. "In their old age, the Boomers will actually manage to take as much from the next generation as they did the previous one, which fought WWII so that their Boomer children could have Philco TVs and Davy Crockett air rifles."

This means it is up to younger generations to shoulder the additional burden that their selfish forebears have sloughed. The temptation is to envy the material prosperity the Boomers have enjoyed at the expense of others. The Psalmist had a similar experience and began to envy the worldly success of the unjust people of his day:

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had well nigh slipped.

For I was envious of the arrogant,
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pangs;
their bodies are sound and sleek.

They are not in trouble as other men are;
they are not stricken like other men.

Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.3

Their eyes swell out with fatness,
their hearts overflow with follies.

They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.

They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.

Therefore the people turn and praise them;
and find no fault in them.

And they say, "How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?"

Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches. (Ps 73:2-12)

The temptation is to view the worldly success of others and one's lack of success with a sense of frustration, as if this failure were some sort of penalty for keeping virtue:

All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.

For all the day long I have been stricken,
and chastened every morning. (Ps 73:13-14)

But the Psalmist soon recognized his error and sees that the unjust have no lasting happiness in their possessions:

If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have been untrue to the generation of thy children.

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,

until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I perceived their end.

Truly thou dost set them in slippery places;
thou dost make them fall to ruin.

How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!

They are like a dream when one awakes,
on awaking you despise their phantoms.

The solution is not to emulate those whose success you envy, but to adhere to the Lord and His justice: that is where real happiness lies.

When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,

I was stupid and ignorant,
I was like a beast toward thee.

Nevertheless I am continually with thee;
thou dost hold my right hand.

Thou dost guide me with thy counsel,
and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but thee?
And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

For lo, those who are far from thee shall perish;
thou dost put an end to those who are false to thee.

But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all thy works. (Ps 73:15-28)

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
from him comes my salvation. (Ps 62)

Just because the Boomers are unjust doesn't mean that the rest of us have to be. We should be thankful for this opportunity to display virtue (whose lack got us into this mess). It won't be easy, but no real challenge ever is, and without challenges, how can one grow closer to God?

Some excellent commentary on the financial crisis here.


1. Notably raised by the so-called Greatest Generation. Maybe not so great after all!

2. Partially mitigated disasters. What saved Clinton from being an unmitigated disaster was the other party controlling Congress. What that saved Bush from unmitigated disasterhood was the moral debt he owed to social conservatives.

3. "Violence" - when one will not discipline one's self, one has to take it out on others, for example, the unborn, and people in other countries.

"Long-Awaited Baby Boomer Die-Off To Begin Soon, Experts Say," The Onion 35.02 (January 20, 1999).

Always entertaining: Baby Boomer Death Counter

Thursday, October 02, 2008

God Is Not My Opposite

This was in last month's Magnificat (p. 347) and I thought it worth reproducing since it speaks to the fallacy of gnosticism and the need to look to nature to understand God.

A thing is not true just because I need it, for need does not create truth, but only directs us to it. Or am I forbidden to ask whether the miracle of the Incarnation is true? Must I even believe it just because it is not true for my critical thought? And is faith therefore essentially a conflict and contradiction? That could only be if God were not merely something different from me, but something essentially opposite; if my whole being were sin. Then I should in truth possess in myself no means of access to God. I should be darkness unpenetrated by God's light; I should be a corpse, and his life flowing round me. But am I a corpse? Am I only sin? No, I am not. I have sin, but I am not sin. I have death in me, but I am not dead. I have contrariety in me, but not pure negation, not absolute contradiction. Just for that reason my thought, for all its stumbling, can discern the problem of my being; and my will, however much it may waver, can desire the removal of my contrarieties in the God-Man. So faith in the Incarnation is not a miraculous flower growing in me without root; it has its root in my natural capacity for God, in what the theologians call a potentia obedientialis, and it is evoked therein by God. Therefore faith does not come to me without my co-operation. I must hold my soul ready for the living God, and I must hearken to him when he gives testimony of himself.

—Father Karl Adam, Christ Our Brother, trans. Dom Justin McCann (Collier Books, 1959).