News on President’s Day

Pope Benedict abdicated this week amidst rumours, conspiracy theories, signs, and wonders. There was a lightening strike over Rome that used to indicate that Jupiter was pleased with the Roman High Priest. The near collision with an asteroid and the strange meteor over the Urals also happened this week. The timing was strange, given the year long celebration of Vatican II and the promised encyclical on faith that will never be. We prefer to think that he had a personal revelation like that of St Thomas Aquinas and decided to spend his last days as a sannyasi. If so, that would be a noble tradition to revive.

Speaking of presidents, I doubt that President Lincoln could have prosecuted the Civil War if it were happening today. CNN would call it the “American spring”, Europe would be arming the rebels, the UN would be promoting sanctions. Of course, the ultimate question is “How many of his own people is Lincoln killing?” Historian John Huddleston estimates the death toll at ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40. By that standard, he would make those Arab dictators look like mere patzers.

Senator Chuck Hagel’s interrogation did not go well even if I am numbered among his supporters. All his groveling and retractions did not help his cause at all. A man would have stood by his statements, justified them as well as he could, and let the chips fall where they may. Based on the line of questioning, it was not always clear which country he was supposed to be defending.

Despite his earlier statements, he eventually denied the existence of the Jewish Lobby. I heard a discussion about his nomination on Fox News a few days ago. One man who opposed Hagel’s nomination referred to Israel as America’s Sacred Ally, truly a strange expression. With Christians like that, there is certainly no necessity for a Jewish Lobby.

The West’s “great experiment” in freedom may be reaching its limits, Deo Volente. Iceland is calling our right to pornography into question. Which alleged right will be next?

Here is a reason that comedians should keep their serious opinions to themselves. Chris Rock said:

I am just here to support the President of the United States. The President of the United States is … our boss. … The president and the first lady are kind of like the mom and the dad of the country, and when your dad says something, you listen! And when you don’t, it usually bites you in the ass later on.

Doesn’t anyone else find this attitude totally contrary to the American system of governance by checks and balance? Isn’t this apotheosis actually dangerous?

The book Quiet points out that the USA changed from a culture of character to a culture of personality. The effect is that people now admire movie and rock stars, athletes, and those who put on the best show. The new gospel seems to be The vulgar shall inherit the earth.

The book Quiet shows that people in a group actually undergo brain changes that alter their perception of reality. That is why social conformity works so well, since most people will have a change of biochemistry and will then simply adopt the consensus reality of the dominant members of society. Those who oppose the consensus are by necessity exposed to alternate viewpoints (since the consensus viewpoint is unavoidable) and may thus see things more clearly.

The foundation of the college dropout Bill Gates is heavily promoting university education by means of electronic and on-line courses. You can be sure that Microsoft technology will be heavily involved. Bill Gates said in an interview that he can raise all the average teachers to the top quartile. He must have studied the Lake Wobegon school system where all the teachers and students are above average.

Obama wants to hire 100,000 teachers for STEM subjects. Unfortunately, anyone competent in a STEM subject will not typically choose to be a teacher. In any event, the major beneficiaries of this initiative will not be American citizens.

Wealthy people in California may not be quick to leave the state for Texas. According to The Lion, the vast majority of rich people would rather pay high taxes than have to live in a state full of rednecks and Jesus freaks.

Senator Feinstein wants to outlaw several weapons she considers to be “assault” weapons. I am curious. Can she actually name one legitimate army in the world that would use any of those weapons to launch an assault?

Obama is complaining about the upcoming sequester (automatic budget cuts); he is blaming the Republican congress even though he proposed and approved the sequester himself. Secretary of State Kerry warned that the sequester would end all financial aid to Israel; presumably, he said that to scare the Republicans into overturning the sequester. It is odd that all those who believe in man-made climate change suddenly see the sequester as some sort of natural act.

Evolution is now an article of faith: you “believe” in it or you don’t. Forget the scientific method that claims to demonstrate its theories. Does natural selection explain human intelligence, language, consciousness, morality? Dr. Charlton claims that most liberals are also dumb and uninformed and have not ever thought-about anything for more than three minutes. If that be true, they won’t have read this far.

3 thoughts on “News on President’s Day

  1. Pingback: Ship of State | Gornahoor

  2. “The effect is that people now admire movie and rock stars, athletes, and those who put on the best show.”

    Hey, someone stole my idea!

    I was very concerned about the Pope at first, thinking that the necessity for an active Pope was proof that modernity was switching into high gear. But people have pointed out many possible theories behind his resignation that don’t involve a concession to the Church’s critics.

  3. Apparently Chris Rock is a monarchist…..though he is probably not consciously aware of it. Try as they might, the champions of democracy just can’t seem to end the continuing power that a monarchy has over people (the royal wedding two years ago is further proof of this).

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