“Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn’t necessary. Just the name Dan Brown was enough.”

Vatican bans ‘godless’ Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons from Rome churches

The Vatican has banned the makers of Angels & Demons, the latest book from Da Vinci Code bestseller Dan Brown to be turned into a movie, from entering the Holy See and any church in Rome.


However, the scene will now be shot on a soundstage after the diocese of Rome closed its doors against the producers. Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman, said: “Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn’t necessary. Just the name Dan Brown was enough. ”

He added that most films are given permission, as long as they respect the “traditions of the Church”. Father Fibbi said: “Angels and Demons peddles a type of fantasy that damages our common religious beliefs, just like The Da Vinci Code did.”

Hat Tip: Insight Scoop

Book Review: A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater’s Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement by J. William Mittendorf II

I’m a sucker for books about the 1964 Republican Presidential campaign, and this book was definitely worth the read. Mittendorf, one of the early backers of drafting Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for the 1964 GOP Presidential nomination, writes his version of the campaign’s history. It seems like he read one too many histories referring to his organization as “amateurs” and felt the need to set the record straight, as the organization pulled together many people with a great amount of political experience and those without (such as Clif White) turned out to be extremely talented in their own right. (In his own book, Bob Novak sys Clif White ran the best convention machine he’d ever seen. Not bad for a supposed amateur.) They were certainly a far more effective organization than the “Arizona Mafia” that Goldwater surrounded himself with following his nomination.

He shows the committee’s greatest work may have been its filling of vacant positions at the local level of the Republican party a year ahead of time allowing them to get conservatives into delegate slots for the convention, catching the old guard of the GOP off guard. He shows their concern when Goldwater repeatedly turned them down, as running for President could hurt him back in Arizona and could mean leaving his beloved Senate. Fortunately, Goldwater was convinced to run since for him not to run could set the conservative movement back a decade or more.

He actually continues the story beyond the ’64 election showing that many of those who helped get Goldwater the nomination were instrumental in winning Nixon the same prize in 1968. That’s hopefully a mistake he regrets.

It’s good read, perhaps the truest insider’s perspective I’ve read yet on that doomed, but ultimately victorious, campaign.

Book Review: The Prince of Darkness by Robert D. Novak

I took time during my “neighborhood watch” program for Italian Festival week to read Bob Novak’s memoir “The Prince of Darkness.” (The title is taken from a nickname he was given due to his dour and pessimistic nature. Maybe that’s why I like him so much.) I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while, having become a fan of his when I regularly watched “The Capital Gang” on CNN during my high school years. Reading his columns since then has been one of the most reliable ways to keep up on what’s really going on in Washington.

The book itself is refreshingly honest; he admits that he was frequently selfish during his marriage, often putting his career before his wife and kids. He acknowledges his failings, mistakes he made in his professional career and private life. (For example, he took full blame for the failure of his first marriage.) He chronicles his journey from a liberal nominal Republican to a solid conservative, albeit hardly a doctrinaire one and discusses his disagreements with the conservative movement on such issues as both Iraq Wars. (He spends a significant amount of time on the efforts of David Frum to to write him and others who opposed the second Iraq War out of the conservative movement. A few points to that: 1) There were many legitimate conservative reasons to oppose that war. 2) Who the hell is David Frum to be writing people out of the movement?)

Probably the most interesting parts of the book are his discussions of the various personalities he dealt with over the years. He shows Jimmy Carter to be a repeated liar, despite his promise to the American people never to lie to them. Nixon, obviously, doesn’t come off much better, although he argues that had Nixon been surrounded by better people than John Mitchell and H.R. Haldeman, things might have turned out better. Newt Gingrich is described as a Rockefeller Republican losing as a conservative to get ahead. (Which I had always felt: Gingrich’s fascination for authors like Alvin Toffler and some of his other more bizarre notions kept me from ever completely trusting him as a conservative. Once again, my gut was right.) RFK is described as cut-throat and his brother’s enforcer, while Ted Kennedy is portrayed as a lightweight and not up to the standards of his older brothers. Al Gore, Jr. is said to be only in politics to succeed where his father failed in becoming President, which was more his father’s goal than his own, which might explain his discomfort in campaigning and his “flame-out” after he was defeated in 2000, having lost the only purpose he had in life, which wasn’t even his own to begin with.

This book’s an excellent read, a little longer than most people want to deal with at just under 640 pages, but it’s a page-turner and worth the time you put into it.

Quote-a-palooza

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.” – James Madison

“The problem on the Left is, now that Karl Marx has forsaken them, they have no philosophy. Thank goodness. Think what evil creeps liberals would be if their plans to enfeeble the individual, exhaust the economy, impede the rule of law, and cripple national defense were guided by a coherent ideology instead of smug ignorance. As for our side, conservatism is a gut reaction for most of us, and a done deal for the rest. The moral philosophy of American politics can be explained briefly and clearly, and, the Constitution being written, it has been. Where is there a philosopher in Washington?” – P.J. O’Rourke

“Congress is spending us into a hole. We hear about the cost of earmarks and the Iraq war. But what about ‘entitlements’? That’s the government’s ironic term for programs that transfer money from people who earned it to people who didn’t. Entitlement? How can you be entitled to someone else’s money? To finance ‘entitlement’ programs, the government threatens force against the taxpayers who provide the money. Why are people who favor compulsion called humanitarians, while those who favor freedom are stigmatized as greedy?… What we really need is a top-to-bottom freeing of the economy, including the health-care industry, and massive cuts in government both spending and taxes. This would leave us wealthy enough to take care of ourselves, with private charity assisting those who can’t manage.” – John Stossel

“In this era of big government, we sometimes forget that many of our proudest achievements as a nation came not through government, but through private citizens, individuals whose genius and generosity flourished in this climate of freedom.” – Ronald Reagan

“Revering what is true, as opposed to embracing utopian fads, is what marks the conservative disposition. It is also at the heart of the Christian disposition- which relies on a Gospel revealed to the apostles and handed down over the centuries. As the presidential campaign heats up, Christians need to see that most of the issues being debated arise from conflicting ideologies of the two parties. But we should be taken in by nobody’s ideology. Because we look to the revealed, enduring moral order, we may advocate things the world calls ‘liberal’ – like prison reform- because doing so promotes human dignity. And we may also reject those things that ideology labels ‘conservative’ that fail to recognize or uphold the moral order. So, this campaign season, as we debate with our friends and co-workers, let’s try to see beyond ideological labels. After all, political ideologies come and go. The moral order- and the Gospel- are enduring.” – Chuck Colson

“When I was a boy, the purpose of American history textbooks was to teach American history. Today, the purpose of most American history texts is to make minorities and females feel good about themselves. As a result, American kids today are deprived of the opportunity to feel good about being American (not to mention deprived of historical truth). They are encouraged to feel pride about all identities- African-American, Hispanic, Asian, female, gay- other than American… Can we return to the America of my youth? No. Can we return to the best values of that time? Yes. But not if both houses of Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court move the country even further leftward. If that happens… [m]ore laws restricting ‘offensive’ speech will be enacted; litigation will increase and trial lawyers will gain more power; the American military will be less valued; trees will gradually replace the flag as our most venerated symbol; schools will teach even less as they concentrate even more on diversity, sexuality and the environment; teenage sex will be increasingly accepted; American identity will continue to be replaced by ethnic, racial, gender or ‘world citizen’ identity; and the power of the state will expand further as the power of the individual inevitably contracts. It’s hard to believe most Americans really want that.” – Dennis Prager

“It has been the objective of the Left-wing bar to fight aspects of this war in our courtrooms, where it knew it would have a decent chance at victory. So complete is the [majority of the Supreme] Court’s disregard for the Constitution and even its own precedent now that anything is possible. And what was once considered inconceivable is now compelled by the Constitution, or so five justices have ruled. I fear for my country. I really do. And AP, among others, reports [the Court’s ruling on Gitmo detainees] as a defeat for ‘the Bush administration.’ Really? I see it as a defeat for the nation.” – Mark Levin

Bull Durham – 20 Years Later: An Appreciation

Over the years, we have all discovered that BULL DURHAM is much more than a simple movie about men, woman and the national pastime. It has become a primary source for answers to many of life’s greatest questions. Here is a sampling of some of the things that one will learn from the BULL DURHAM experience:

  • Making love is like hitting a baseball; you just need to relax and concentrate.
  • There should be a Constitutional Amendment outlawing astro-turf and the DH.
  • Doc Gooden takes off his socks prior to having sex.
  • Think classy and you’ll be classy. This means no fungus on your shower shoes.
  • Strikeouts are boring and fascist; ground ball outs are more Democratic.
  • Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, and you catch the ball.
  • Woman don’t get wooly, they get weary.
  • The lava lizards of the Galapagos Islands breathe through their eyelids.
  • Never (expletive deleted) with a winning streak.
  • When you get in a fight with a drunk never hit him with your pitching hand.
  • Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.

And most importantly…

  • Whatever you do, don’t think. It can only hurt the ball club.

Twenty years later BULL DURHAM is still on top of its game. And for baseball fans, it gives us a little piece of what baseball is really all about. It’s about the dreams of young men just starting out, and older men who respect the game more than anything else. It’s about the commitment to your team, whomever and whatever that team is. It’s about trying to keep your head straight even though there are pretty girls around every corner. It’s about finishing what you’ve started. And most of all, it’s about baseball.

Read the whole thing

Bull Durham is definitely on my short list of favorite movies. That last point listed above is one I frequently refer to at work and in other situations. There’s much to learn from the film, not just about baseball, but about life.

Oh, and definitely never <expletive deleted> with a winning streak.

Bull Durham – 20 Years Later: An Appreciation

Over the years, we have all discovered that BULL DURHAM is much more than a simple movie about men, woman and the national pastime. It has become a primary source for answers to many of life’s greatest questions. Here is a sampling of some of the things that one will learn from the BULL DURHAM experience:

  • Making love is like hitting a baseball; you just need to relax and concentrate.
  • There should be a Constitutional Amendment outlawing astro-turf and the DH.
  • Doc Gooden takes off his socks prior to having sex.
  • Think classy and you’ll be classy. This means no fungus on your shower shoes.
  • Strikeouts are boring and fascist; ground ball outs are more Democratic.
  • Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, and you catch the ball.
  • Woman don’t get wooly, they get weary.
  • The lava lizards of the Galapagos Islands breathe through their eyelids.
  • Never (expletive deleted) with a winning streak.
  • When you get in a fight with a drunk never hit him with your pitching hand.
  • Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.

And most importantly…

  • Whatever you do, don’t think. It can only hurt the ball club.

Twenty years later BULL DURHAM is still on top of its game. And for baseball fans, it gives us a little piece of what baseball is really all about. It’s about the dreams of young men just starting out, and older men who respect the game more than anything else. It’s about the commitment to your team, whomever and whatever that team is. It’s about trying to keep your head straight even though there are pretty girls around every corner. It’s about finishing what you’ve started. And most of all, it’s about baseball.

Read the whole thing

Bull Durham is definitely on my short list of favorite movies. That last point listed above is one I frequently refer to at work and in other situations. There’s much to learn from the film, not just about baseball, but about life.

Oh, and definitely never <expletive deleted> with a winning streak.

Quote of the Day

“So that the executive and legislative branches of the national government depend upon, and emanate from the states. Every where the state sovereignties are represented; and the national sovereignty, as such, has no representation.”

— Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 191.