The only true political crime: being conservative

With the crazed reaction to Senator Craig’s screw-up (pun intentional), it’s easy to forget that the former Governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey has admitted to engaging in anonymous sex in highway rest stops and that a Democrat Congressman is currently charged with assault and battery, and another is under indictment for corruption. And those are just off the top of my head.

There are plenty of examples of corruption and other wrongdoing in both parties, but only one parties offenses make the front page. Seems like the only true crime in American politics is being a conservative. All else can be forgiven.

Quote-a-palooza

“Let me now… warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally… A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” – George Washington

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” – Frederic Bastiat

“We have tried to apply common sense to our pollution problems… There are three kinds of pollution today: real, hysterical, and political.” – Ronald Reagan

“No doubt one may quote history to support any cause, as the devil quotes the Scripture.” – Learned Hand

“Democracies are most commonly corrupted by the insolence of demagogues.” – Aristotle

“Al-Qaida, and its associates and sympathizers throughout the Islamic world and beyond, understand very well what is at stake in Iraq and Afghanistan- and what a glorious opportunity an American defeat there would give them. Do we?” – Paul Greenberg

“What was lost in Vietnam was not just a war but American credibility… And, as Iran reminds us, the enduring legacy of the retreat from Vietnam was the emboldening of other enemies.” – Mark Steyn

“Illegals are responsible for an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 murders each year in the United States… At the lowest estimate, every two years illegals murder almost as many Americans as jihadists in Iraq have killed in the entire war. Instead of bringing the troops home, how about sending the illegals home?” – Don Feder

“Did you know that when a patient is diagnosed with cancer in the United States, it takes an average of four weeks to begin treatment? It’s 10 months in the United Kingdom. It’s called ‘rationing of care.’ That’s what you get with national health care. When government rations the care, that means bureaucrats are making medical decisions.” – Sen. Tom Coburn

“According to the Statesman, the blogger who ‘outed’ [Sen. Larry] Craig did so in order to ‘nail a hypocritical Republican foe of gay rights.’ But there is nothing hypocritical about someone who is homosexual, believes homosexuality is wrong, and keeps his homosexuality under wraps. To the contrary, he is acting consistent with his beliefs. If he has furtive encounters in men’s rooms, that is an act of weakness, not hypocrisy.” – James Taranto

“I do not believe it necessary to amend the Constitution frequently but there are times when an amendment is justified. One such amendment should prohibit politicians from using the phrase ‘I’m going back to my home state to be with my family’.” – Paul Weyrich

“After months of scandals and political pressure, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced he’s going to resign. Gonzales said, ‘There comes a time when a man should resign, and that time for me was last January’.” – Conan O’Brien

Jay Leno: Pretty busy day in Washington today. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove went to U-Haul together to help each other move. … Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, a married, conservative Republican, was arrested by a plainclothes police officer for lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. Today the senator’s office said it was all a big misunderstanding. The undercover police officer said the senator tried to reach under the stall to touch him, but the senator said, no, he wasn’t trying to touch him, he was only trying to pick up a piece of paper off the floor. Who picks up paper off the floor in the men’s room? I don’t even like when my shoe laces touch the floor in the men’s room. … You know who I feel sorry for in this whole thing? The undercover cop. How’d you like to have that job? Sit in an airport bathroom all day, your pants around your ankles with a coffee and a donut waiting for guys to hit on you. … At a political forum here in Hollywood last week, Hillary Clinton said that she does not support gay marriage. In fact, she said she’s not too crazy about straight marriage anymore, either. … Fred Thompson said he’s still testing the waters in his bid for the presidency. He’s been testing the waters for what, like six months now? In fact, those aren’t wrinkles on his face- he’s starting to prune up from being in the water for so long.

Quote-a-palooza

“The most important consequence of marriage is, that the husband and the wife become in law only one person… Upon this principle of union, almost all the other legal consequences of marriage depend.” – James Wilson

“The prevailing spirit of the present age seems to be the spirit of skepticism and captiousness, of suspicion and distrust in private judgment; a dislike of all established forms, merely because they are established, and of old paths, because they are old.” – Samuel Johnson

“[I]n all likelihood religion will grow as a social force in American culture and politics over the coming decades. The reason: A secular nation needs secular citizens. And nonreligious Americans are outstandingly weak when it comes to the most efficacious way to achieve this: by having kids. If you picked 100 adults out of the population who attended their house of worship nearly every week or more often, they would have 223 children among them, on average, according to the 2006 General Social Survey. Among 100 people who attended less than once per year or never, you would find just 158 kids. This 41% fertility gap between religious and secular people is especially meaningful because people tend to worship more or less like their parents. According to data collected in 1999 by Gallup, 60% of adults who were taken to church at least once per month as children grew up to attend at least this often; only 15% stopped attending as adults. The demographic implications are even more profound for the political left, where a disproportionate number of secularists are located. Religious people who call themselves politically ‘conservative’ or ‘very conservative’ are having, on average, an astounding 78% more kids than secular liberals. Studies show that people are even more likely to vote like their parents than they are to worship like them. The secular left, therefore, has to rely on the tough slog of bringing people from the political and religious middle over to their views. The religious right simply has to keep having lots of babies.” – Arthur Brooks

“In every state of the union, medical insurance is regulated. In some, it’s heavily, heavily regulated. Oregon legislators, for instance, just added a few new mandatory benefits to all health insurance policies: contraceptives, prosthetics and orthotics, and treatments for injuries caused by intoxication… Do you really wonder why health insurance costs so much? I don’t. The American health care system is addicted to regulation. Our legislators are the pushers. We need to go cold turkey.” – Paul Jacob

“How ironic that even as America returns to its spiritual roots, our courts lag behind. They talk of our constitutional guarantee of religious liberty as if it meant freedom from religion, freedom from- actually a prohibition on- all values rooted in religion. Well, yes, the Constitution does say that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ But then it adds: ‘or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ The First Amendment protects the rights of Americans to freely exercise their religious beliefs in an atmosphere of toleration and accommodation…[C]ertain court decisions have, in my view, wrongly interpreted the First Amendment so as to restrict, rather than protect, individual rights of conscience. What greater legacy could we leave our children than a new birth of religious freedom in this one nation under God?” – Ronald Reagan

Forcing ISPs to offer broadband to rural customers?

ISPs to rural America: Live with dial-up

As population density drops outside of metropolitan areas, it’s impossible for telecommunications companies or cable service providers to justify the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per mile it can cost to bring fiber to every rural community, let alone every home. The result: Today, just 17% of rural U.S. households subscribe to broadband service, according to the Government Accountability Office. And a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says the U.S. dropped from fourth in the world in broadband penetration in 2001 to 15th place in 2006.

The author of this article goes on to suggest that perhaps government needs to force ISPs to offer rural broadband service.

By coincidence, yesterday, I returned from a trip to Vermont, and a pretty rural section. I had to deal with dial-up only access while there, and it’s definitely frustrating. I had dinner with some friends of mine who moved up there a few years ago and they told me they contacted Comcast about getting high-speed access to their house, which currently was not available. Comcast sent out a technician to investigate and found that the cost would have been $87,000 to grant that access. Now, even given that there are a few other people on their road, why should Comcast be expected to pick up that tab? (They offered to cover $6,000 of the cost, leaving my friends with the remaining $81,000, which could be split among the residents of their road.) It would take prohibitively long for Comcast to recoup their investment, if it were even possible to do so once maintenance and other expenses are taken into account.

At a certain point, you have to take the good with the bad. Living in a rural area gives you cleaner air, less traffic and noise, being close to nature, just to list a few benefits. But it comes at a cost: newspaper delivery doesn’t occur, snowstorms can leave you stranded for a few days, high-speed Internet access can be unavailable. As often happens in life, there are trade-offs to every decision. Expecting others to cover the negative consequences of your decision is just selfish.

Quote of the Day

“Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.”

— Thomas Jefferson (letter to Wilson Nicholas, 1803)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Edition), Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., 10:419.

Quote of the Day

“One of the nice things about being the youngest is that when people find out you’re about to get your license, they don’t say ‘Well, I’ll have to keep off the roads.’ They say ‘Oh, I’m getting old.'”

–My youngest cousin Tiffany, who’s making me feel old

Amnesty International Loses U.S. Bishops’ Support

Read the full article

The U.S. bishops condemned Amnesty International’s recent decision to support abortion, and said that it will only work with organizations that promote the right to life from conception to natural death.


“In promoting abortion,” said Bishop Skylstad, “Amnesty divides its own members — many of whom are Catholics and others who defend the rights of unborn children — and jeopardizes its support by people in many nations, cultures and religions who share a consistent commitment to all human rights.”

The bishop said that while the “essential work of protecting human life and promoting human dignity must carry on … we will seek to do so in authentic ways, working most closely with organizations who do not oppose the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death.”

“True commitment to women’s rights,” he continued, “puts us in solidarity with women and their unborn children. It does not pit one against the other but calls us to advocate on behalf of both.”

Now, will they apply this logic the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Catholic politicians as well?

Prayer

This post over at Intentional Disciples got me thinking about my prayer style. While I try my best to be religious, I’m really not that spiritual a person. My meditative ability is just awful, almost non-existant. When I try to meditate my attention is elsewhere is just a few minutes. It’s hard to get through even one mystery of the Rosary without my attention going somewhere else. (It’s why, despite the obvious power of the Rosary, I don’t enjoy saying it. From time to time, I make the effort to get back into the habit, but I eventually let it fall by the wayside.)

I find I do best with the Liturgy of the Hours, which changes from day to day, and therefore can’t become simply a rote prayer. It’s also nice, because not only is it Biblically based (most of the prayers come directly out of the Bible) but it also has prayers for various times (“Hours”) of the day. There’s an invitatory, which can be said when first rising, morning prayer, 3 sets of daytime prayer, evening prayer, night prayer and an office of Readings containing a fairly lengthy Biblical passage and a non-Biblical reading that can be done any time during the day. This helps me remember to dedicate each part of the day to God, and keeps me from ever being that far away from either having just prayed or being about to pray. (I typically skip the daytime prayer, since I’m at work.)

But given my lack of a spiritual nature, I often don’t experienc spiritual ectasies, for lack of a better term as I write this. When I do experience them, it’s usually related to a sacrament: receiving Christ in the Eucharist, or just when the Consecration has occurred and the bread has become His Body, or the wine His Blood. Or receiving his Mercy and forgiveness in Confession. I will occasionally experience them during informal prayer when just reflecting on His great love for me.

But what really gets me “excited” is often a more apologetic approach to Christianity. I think it comes from my overly logical nature. (If I’m supposed to meet someone at 7, and I’m not there until 7:01, I’m annoyed at being late.) As a result, I have too much of a tendency to see the Faith as a mathematical puzzle that just needs to have the right variables calculated. For example, one of the more exciting moments I’ve had in my spiritual life is finally learning why Catholics refer to Mary as Queen. As Scott Hahn explained in Hail, Holy Queen, Mary is our Queen since she is the mother of our King. Israel, like other polygamous societies, made the King’s mother their Queen, since how else could they pick which of the King’s wives would serve. So, since Israel prefigured Christ’s Kingdom, Christ’s kingdom would have the same method for selecting a Queen: his Mother, Mary, is our Queen. I had never understood that, but knowing the logic behind it made me very happy and strengthened my faith, far more than any time I’ve spent in prayer.

That’s not the way it should be, though. I know I need to get better at seeking communion with Christ outside of his sacraments. Praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament helps me get better at it, but I know I still have a ways to go. With his help, I know I can do it, as long as I keep trying to reach Him.