Monday, April 23, 2007

Those papists and their Romish ways

Is this political cartoon from Tony Auth intended to make us long for the days when vigilant citizens sought to keep Catholics in their place and keep them out of power?

One thing is certain: no one could do this sort of propaganda as well as Thomas Nast. Auth's version is . . . toothless, by comparison.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The battle is far from over

Ross Douthat, posting on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog at The Atlantic Monthly, says that claims of a sweeping pro-life victory in the Supreme Court's Gonzalez vs. Carhart decision yesterday are greatly exaggerated. Money quote, responding to Jacob Weisberg's claim on Slate that conservatives have consistently won on abortion and gun control:
In every state, it's illegal for minors to purchase any firearm. Does Weisberg really think pro-lifers are vastly closer to attaining their goal than gun control advocates?
Carhart is cause only for extremely guarded optimism. Pro-lifers still need at least one more Justice.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Times on Benedict

This must be a sign that we are in the End Times. The New York Times has a reasonable, intelligent piece on Pope Benedict and his place in modern Europe. Infinitely better that the recent New Yorker piece -- a real piece of reporting that didn't seem phoned in, that actually had some analysis that required more than an espresso with Marco Politi. Carl Olson has a good review of it on the Ignatius Insight blog.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Letter from Europe: The Pope and Islam: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

Letter from Europe: The Pope and Islam: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker:
what divides the most vocal and rigidly orthodox interpreters of their two faiths, from the imams of Riyadh and the ayatollahs of Qom to the Pope himself, is precisely the things that Catholicism and Islam have always had in common: a purchase on truth; a contempt for the moral accommodations of liberal, secular states; a strong imperative to censure, convert, and multiply; and a belief that Heaven, and possibly earth, belongs exclusively to them.
The "sources" for this article are overwhelmingly Vatican correspondents. It's a little like the New York Times sending a reporter to cover Hugo Chávez and relying largely on the Venezuelan correspondents for the Washington Post and CNN for the story. This article is reliably hostile to religion and the Catholic hierarchy. But what makes it really reprehensible is just what a patchy job of reporting it represents. As Marty Peretz has noted at the New Republic, it resembles a term paper more than journalism.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sullivan: O'Reilly is not our class, dear

Andrew Sullivan is a bright guy, but he's not nearly as bright as he fancies himself. I have to defend the New York Times pace Sullivan, even if it's a pretty minor point.

Sullivan got his knickerbockers in a bunch because the Times cited some true Internet NOBODY who had the temerity to suggest that people on the Internet observe some rules of civility, some of which may not be obvious. Who is this Tim O'Reilly, anyway? Doesn't he know that Sullivan reigns in the blogosphere and, well, just really gets it?

Well, Tim O'Reilly is the founder of O'Reilly Media, a tech publishing powerhouse which sees itself, with some justification, as transforming the tech and communication worlds. He's one of the biggest organizers and supporters of the Open Source movement, one facet of which is the blogosphere itself. He's a widely read blogger. In short, he's an important source for a journalist who wants an informed opinion about cultural issues on the Internet.

When his readers pointed out to him that O'Reilly's opinion actually was news, Sullivan just got juvenile and sarcastic. Sullivan doesn't even bother to address O'Reilly's comments; he just treats him as unworthy to address because he doesn't meet some weird Andrewland requirement for blogosphere society credentials. In nearly every public arena where there is free conversation, there are also traditions, customs, rules, and taboos that dictate appropriate courtesy and respect, and which, yes, actually do make speech in practice more free.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Which Church Father Are You?

Fathers of the Church has a great quiz, "Which Church Father Are You?"

You’re St. Justin Martyr!

You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

World Ends: Third World Hardest Hit

New York Times:
Poor Nations to Bear Brunt as World Warms

Hmm. Let's see the assumptions you'd have to make to get here:
  1. There is a sustained global trend to rising temperatures (recently in the twentieth century scientists warned about the opposite).
  2. This global trend is in large part man-made (many climatologists the apparent warming may be a natural cyclical warming trend, swamping any anthogenic effects).
  3. Anthropogenic effects will be large (most credible models do have some increase in temperature due to increased levels CO2, but they vary widely on the net effect).
  4. Global warming will be injurious, rather than beneficial to humans (if someone proposed to create a machine that would lower global temperatures by 5 degrees, it's doubtful many would rush to turn it on. So do assume that the planet is right now at an optimal temperature for human life?)
So now the Times has extrapolated for us what will happen in the third world if global warming continues. Never mind that freezing CO2 production would doom developing economies which need rapid economic growth to lift them out of poverty. Something must be done to soothe the eco-pagan consciences of the editorialists who craft the front page of the Newspaper of Record.

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