May 26, 2009

Spanning the Globe to Bring You the Constant Variety of Posts

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." That may describe something in general, but it's wrong. The best on Notre Dame's commencement day ended up in jail, at least for a while. Hopefully they were all released on their own recognizability as decent human beings. - Bill of Apologia

I'm sure it's been observed elsewhere that Mary Ann Glendon's decision against trying to rebut the pro-abortion position of President Obama... looks deucedly wise in retrospect. Not that the President's commencement address was unanswerable; far from it. But it was well written, and (I suppose) well delivered, and it struck a note that sounded sweet to the ear. Had Professor Glendon somehow failed to answer it -- either by sticking to her own speech as written and leaving his sophistries unchallenged, or by offering an impromptu answer that wasn't both complete and powerful, as spoken and as compared with his speech afterward in transcript -- then she herself would have been dragooned into the service of excusing the enormity of his policies... It would have been said, "See? Even the smartest pro-life Catholics cannot overcome the wisdom, the moderation, the reasonableness of our President." In short, the rest of us would be exactly where we are today, and she would be diminished...had she somehow not failed to answer President Obama, then the media and the anti-anti-abortion Catholics would have set upon her without pity... In short, the rest of us would be exactly where we are today, and she would have been given a lot of misdirected grief. - Tom of Disputations

I'm reading N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope... Wright (in this book) seems guilty of the general sins of which he rightly) holds many contemporary "liberal" scholars for - basically insisting you accept his assumptions and jump with him to various conclusions from there...Ratzinger's Eschatalogy is far more satisfying to me so far, simply because, even in the midst of the techinical scholarly discussions, it is a spiritual treasure house, totally Christocentric, inviting the reader to understand, not only the afterlife and the endtimes, but the whole of Christian life in a new way, in which the content of the Christian life moves beyond an individual's quest to understand and believe and even follow precepts that will get her to a good place after death, but to live in Christ now and forever. [Wright's] book is more polemical and more addressed to correcting what he defines as mistaken ideas and doesn't quite have the inviting spiritual tone that Ratzinger has. - Amy Welborn

I promise not to drink before meeting a class, although sometimes it's hard to see how much it could hurt. For example, I read to one class a story by Guy de Maupassant. I told them to re-read it at home, and gave them some questions to answer. Next class I gave them a test. One of the questions was: in what city does the story take place? The second question was: in what country? Now, aside from the author's at the beginning, certain other names had popped up in the story, things like "the Seine," and "Champs Elysees," and "Rue des Martyr," and denominations of money like "francs," and "sous" and "louis," and terms of address like "Monsieur" and "Madame" and "Madamoiselle," and people with names like "Ramponeaux," "Forrestier," and "Loisel." One girl guessed the city as Rome, which she felt pretty sure was in the country of Italy. All but about three left the questions blank. When I asked what famous river is mentioned in the story, someone answered "the Nile." In the face of this, I don't see why a teacher should be denied the fortification provided by a good whiskey or just about any brand of foreign lager. - Professor Luse of Apologia

The Democratic party [is] historically the political home of those, as David Frum has put it, "who felt themselves in some way marginal to the American experience." That marginality will end only if we...reprise the muscular assimilation policies that worked in the past. - Mark at NRO

The official Notre Dame website has dealt with the circus by featuring a desperately uncontroversial photograph of the school's annual Eucharistic Procession, a kind of pathetic little lie that, really, there's nothing much happening here in South Bend, Indiana: No, sir, no need to worry. No need to worry, at all.... Politics has very little to do with the mess. This isn't a fight about who won the last presidential election and how he's going to deal with abortion. It's a fight about culture--the culture of American Catholicism, and how Notre Dame, still living in a 1970s Catholic world, has suddenly awakened to find itself out of date. - Joseph Bottum in "The Weekly Standard"

I see nothing wrong with swatting flies. Let's say that you have a different opinion. You think the lives of flies are sacred, and therefore you think that swatting flies is grossly immoral. You hold this view with the utmost sincerity. Unfortunately for you, I'm making the rules. And I say:
* You can't refer to fly-swatting as "murder." That would be "hate speech," inciting others to violence.
* You can't interfere when I swat flies.
* You must contribute to the purchase of fly swatters.
Now, with those ground-rules established, let's begin a civil discussion of the morality of swatting flies. There's no need for anger, recrimination, or name-calling. We have a sincere different of opinion. Let's-- oh, wait, excuse me a moment [thwack!]-- find some common ground. - Diogenes via Bill of Summa Minutiae

A fan's perspective [of the new Yankee Stadium]: "The overall impression I got was that this place is a mall featuring a baseball field.".. Us Reds fans have had a brand new park...they tried very hard to capture the spirit of the Cincinnati Reds, and it doesn't feel like a circus. But - they've just put in a massive HD television on an already giant scoreboard, and they've replaced the manual scoreboard in leftfield with more televisions. Televisions everywhere. The drug of the nation. - Daedalus

What appears to be "stable" is always moving in some direction — so, if it's not moving in yours, it's generally moving in the other fellow's. That's what happened in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria: They're not "stable." Across the last 30 years, they've moved in Iran's direction. Nevertheless, the foreign policy "realists" prize "stability" almost as much as David Brooks and Christopher Buckley prize "temperament." - Mark Steyn

What screwed up corporate America…is the chummy nature than often develops between the governing Board, who are supposed to represent the shareholders, and the management, who is supposed to work for the Board. What often happens is the reverse - a successful CEO gains enough influence to control the Board, and the Board for all intents and purposes becomes subordinate to the CEO. This amplified when Board members started awarding themselves big stock options, putting them in the same game as the CEO. - Paul Lambert

During my sophomore year at Orthodox Catholic U, a professor broke up an argument I was having with another Honors student about what we thought each other thought about our current reading selection. "Can either of you back up your position from the text?" he asked. The novel concept of having to confront an author's thought, as opposed to my own washy first impressions of a book, set off electrical connections in my brain that are still sparking today. - Mrs. Darwin of Darwin Catholic

As troubled as I am by the notion that Christians should be unable to judge right and wrong in our lives and in our culture, simply because we are not exempt from sin, I am more troubled by the notion that Christian love is about reminding people of the law that's written on their hearts ad infinitum rather than practicing love that feels impossible, loving those who are most difficult for us to love. "OH! But that's what I'm doing when I admonish!" they say. "I can't let them go to hell! That would be unloving!" What I know about hellfire and damnation is that Jesus has the power to redeem us, and it is questionable how much power we have to save others from hell. What I know of admonishment, from admonishing my children, is that the more I admonish them, the further they run from me, whereas the more I love them, hold them close, show them affection, the closer they stay and the more likely they are to listen to my corrections. - Betty Duffy

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