Tuesday, April 21, 2009

very funny, very sad

Kevin Tibbles, an NBC News reporter in Chicago, recently bemoaned what he considered the remarkable decline of Notre Dame University since its heyday as champion of progressive causes. Now, can you believe it, some Catholics are boycotting Obama's commencement speech there on account of el presidente's extreme pro-abortion views.

Straight-faced, Tibbles sadly recalls that "the school has a history of human rights, of always standing up for the little guy."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

there otta be a law

The late Harry Browne reminded us that, whenever we advocate a new law or regulation, we should always remember that it will almost certainly be interpreted and enforced by people we don’t like, in a way that’s 180 degrees removed from our intentions.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jack and me

Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
Mark Twain -- Life on the Mississippi

Friday, April 10, 2009

[My father's] common salutation of his family or friends, on the Lord's day in the morning, was that of the primitive Christians: "The Lord is risen, He is risen indeed"; making it his chief business on that day to celebrate the memory of Christ's resurrection.
.. Mathew Henry (1622-1714)

Hard it is, very hard,
To travel up the slow and stony road
To Calvary, to redeem mankind; far better
To make but one resplendent miracle,
Lean through the cloud, lift the right hand of power
And with a sudden lightning smite the world perfect.
Yet this was not God's way, Who had the power,
But set it by, choosing the cross, the thorn,
The sorrowful wounds. Something there is, perhaps,
That power destroys in passing, something supreme,
To whose great value in the eyes of God
That cross, that thorn, and those five wounds bear witness.
... Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957)

"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
~ attributed to Charles Austin Beard

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The political class has failed us. At every level, they have failed us. Republican and Democrat, they have failed us. Liberal, conservative and centrist, they have failed us. They have lived on lies, and lived by lies, for so long that they no longer know how to comprehend the truth, much less communicate it or – God forbid – act on it. And so they plow on deeper into the darkness, in zombified pursuit of pointless goals, heedless of the signposts warning of danger, like some demented wagon train dragging a load of dead mules toward the edge of a cliff.

Political failure is nothing new, of course. Deliberate deceit – and egregious self-delusion – are nothing new. Misrule and evil on the part of elites are nothing new. But the great churning engines of the American Empire – especially its war machine – are infinitely more vast and powerful than anything seen on earth before. Its inextricably entwined economic and military forces permeate the globe. Nowhere on earth can you completely escape the tourbillions of these forces.

I am, I suppose, what most people would call a cynic. I don't see how anyone who has followed American politics for as long as I have – some 40 years now – could be anything else. I expect to be lied to. I expect to hear horseshit and fairytales wrapped up in threadbare pieties and Orwellian doublespeak. I expect power and money and militarism to carry the day. Even so, I must admit my guts lurched with queasy dread last week when Barack Obama announced, with a flourish of falsehoods and fearmongering, his grand plans to escalate the "Af-Pak" War.

Not that I was surprised by any of it: both the truth-abusing rhetoric and the war-expanding intentions have been hallmarks of Team Obama's Afghanistan policies since the early days of his presidential campaign.

Even so, to see the expansion of the Af-Pak War finally, formally promulgated, and to realize what this really means, not in terms of the ludicrous political theater of Washington and the media, not in the war-game fantasies of think-tankers and armchair warriors, but in the actual costs -- the death and suffering of thousands of innocent people, the ruinous chaos and the violent hatred engendered, the massive financial corruption and gargantuan debt added to our already corrupt and bankrupt system, the further coarsening and brutalization and militarization of our society, and again, because it bears repeating, the physical and emotional destruction of countless human beings whose only crime was to be born in a region targeted by the Great Gamesters of the world, the warlords in turbans and those in Brooks Brothers suits, the gangsters in the alleys and in the corridors of power -- this is a bitter and sickening thing. And no amount of foreknowledge or cynicism makes it any easier to bear. The day it gets easier, the day your cynicism makes you shrug off the horror -- "So what else is new?" -- is the day your soul dies.
--Chris Floyd

bep, liz, kathryn, zippy, rico, mahana et al

P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster tells us all we need to know about aunts:

"It is no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Once you make up your mind never to stand waiting and hesitating when your conscience tells you what you ought to do, and you have got the key to every blessing that a sinner can reasonably hope for.
... John Keble (1792-1866)

actual quote from dear leader

"[I]n case there are still nagging doubts [about the future of GM and Chrysler], let me say it as plainly as I can – if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty."
--B.H. Obama

Not to brag, but following a rigorous regulatory compliance audit, Irene's Mustache has been designated an authorized U.S. Government Auto Service Center. Our prices are not the lowest, but we back all work with the promissory note of the US Nationial Transportation Safety Administration. To schedule your work, please contact us at the address below (30% advance deposit required)

National Safety Repairs
c/o I. Papas, Secretary
General Delivery
Molalla, OR 97038

in his own tongue

"The greatest barrier to successful evangelism is not theological but cultural. We don't have to look very far to see what he means. We have our own upper middle-class, American pop culture. We talk a certain way, dress a certain way, hang out in certain places with certain people at certain times, doing certain things, wearing certain clothes. We even have a special vocabulary; we can refer to fecal matter with some words but not others and we only use the proper words. We don't smoke, and we avoid parties where people drink alcohol. We say grace before all our meals. (Granted, we might gossip, look askance upon others, and overeat, but we think all our good "gospel" culture stuff makes up for it.)Missionaries often learn this the hard way. In 1962 the Sawi people of New Guinea still lived in relative isolation. They were head-hunting cannibals. Their culture could not be more different from that of Don and Carol Richardson and their infant son Steven. And yet these missionaries strove to become an incarnate presence among the Sawi. In fact, three Sawi tribes, fascinated by the Richardsons, moved their villages right around the missionaries' jungle home. After a long and trying period of learning the language, Don Richardson finally climbed the ladder into the Sawi man-house. Surrounded by the skulls of victims they had cannibalized, he began to share the gospel with them. He began by telling them about the Jews, the promised Messiah, and the sacrificial Lamb of Judah. The Sawi were bored.

Don became frustrated, discouraged by his inability to communicate and find a point of contact. He was also discouraged by the fourteen civil wars he had already counted right outside his door now that the two rival Sawi tribes lived side by side. Such fear and frustration finally led the Richardsons to plan to leave. However, the Sawi response surprised them: "If you'll stay, we'll promise that we'll make peace in the morning."

The next morning the Richardsons awoke to see the most amazing ritual, the most passionate ceremony they had ever witnessed. The two tribes were lined up outside their house, on either side of the clearing. An air of tension floated between the two tribes. On one side, people milled about nervously waiting. Finally, one husband standing there dashed into his hut while his wife looked away. He grabbed his newborn baby, took the child in his arms and ran across the meadow. His expression betrayed absolute agony. His wife ran after him, screaming and begging him to give the baby back to her. When she couldn't catch him, she fell to her knees in the mud, moaning for her baby. Her husband ran up to the other tribe and presented the baby to them. "Plead the peace child for me. I give you my baby and I give you my name," he said. Shortly, someone from that tribe performed the same agonizing sacrifice with the same intensity and passion. Richardson found out that as long as those peace children remained alive, the two tribes were bound to each other. They were bound not to war but to peace for the lives of those children. If the children died, then literally all hell would break loose-cannibalism, murder, civil war.

While this amazing scene unfolded before him, Don suddenly realized that this was the point of contact, the redemptive analogy. This was their altar to an Unknown God. When Don climbed the second time into the Sawi man-house, still surrounded by skulls, he told the elders of the perfect Peace Child. The Peace Child given from the God to mankind. They sat riveted on his every word. That very day some of the Sawi became Christians. Richardson went on to develop an entire theology based on the Peace Child in Sawi tradition. As he and his family modeled the person of the Peace Child, droves of Sawi came to know the Lord.

This continued until one day, hundreds of Sawi from every tribe (tribes that had warred and cannibalized each other for many years) gathered together for a feast for the first time. A Sawi preacher stood up and read in his own language what few people in the history of the world have ever understood so well and so clearly: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; And the government shall be upon his shoulders; And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). It was the best Christmas day the Richardsons had ever experienced.
--Joseph Aldrich

If there had anywhere appeared in space
Another place of refuge where to flee,
Our hearts had taken refuge from that place,
And not with Thee.

For we against creation's bars had beat
Like prisoned eagles, through great worlds had sought
Though but a foot of ground to plant our feet,
Where Thou wert not.

And only when we found in earth and air,
In heaven or hell, that such might nowhere be
That we could not flee from Thee anywhere,
We fled to Thee.
... Richard Chevenix Trench

God is not a deceiver, that he should offer to support us, and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us.
.. St. Augustine


The premises of the New Deal control the ground and direction of American social, economic, and political life. These premises are now identifiable, although only with the passage of time:
1. Centralization. The view that all of the economic activity within U.S. borders, that is, the abstraction that many of us call the economy, is actually a real and single entity; that this whole can be and should be subject to the planning and control of centralized national officials.
2. Collectivization. The view that the life of each person is largely determined by the collective of other persons (and by collective forces beyond his control that induce insecurities); and that the powers of the collective others should be controlled by nationally elected officials so as to enhance the life, progress, happiness, and welfare of each person; that the same officials should create arrangements to reduce the various insecurities of life.
3. Market failure. The view that people in markets, left to themselves, are incapable of sustaining their own investment and employment; leading to the view that government officials need to be the watchdogs, regulators, and controllers over people making exchanges in markets.
4. Insufficiency of social institutions. The view that persons cannot count on other persons, families, churches, clubs, insurers, companies, associations etc. to meet their own needs; leading to the view that national officials acting with the powers of government are essential for meeting people’s needs.
5. Symbiosis of big institutions and big government. The view that government controls the economy by supporting and controlling big business, big labor, big agriculture, big media, big defense companies, big banks, and so on; the view that individuals, small business, independent proprietors, and small institutions of all kinds, are minor.
6. The President as personification of Democracy. The view that national institutions speak for all the people (as opposed to federalism); the view that presidential leadership supercedes national-state government relations; the view of Democracy as a collective government personified by the President, as opposed to democracy viewed as self-government.
7. Inflation is good for the economy. The view that persons should not control what money is, but that government officials should; the view that a growing economy requires depreciation of the currency and that a declining level of prices of goods and services is to be avoided.
8. Rejection of limited government. The view that the powers of the national government are virtually unlimited, or limited only by expediency; that the national government controls the persons and wealth of all of its citizens.
--Michael S. Rozeff

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of a native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship.... The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.
--George Eliot

All our actions and our thoughts must follow such different courses depending on whether there are eternal rewards to hope for or not, that it is impossible to take a single step with sense and judgment unless it is determined by our conception of our final end.
--Blaise Pascal

approaching Good Friday

Andreas Manegna, 1480

"It is finished." It is hard for us to know the intonation with which these words of the dying Christ were spoken. If they came as the sufferer's sigh of relief, they must also have been the worker's glad cry of achievement. Everything had been done that could be, man had been offered a sight of God as He really was. For those of us who believe that, in seeing Jesus, we see God, the Cross is not a coarse framework of blood-stained wood, but the most precious emblem of man's dearest hopes; it is the great pledge which we sorely need, that love is stronger than hate, grace than sin, life than death.
.. H. R. L. Sheppard, Two Days Before

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

read this book

Vincent van Gogh's Corn Fields and Poppies

Time to get ready for summer by reading out of the best books, including, prominently, Dandelion Wine by wizard Ray Bradbury.

A sample: Our story begins with young Douglas Spalding venturing through a forest with his father and younger brother, Tom, to pick berries on the first day of summer:

"Douglas opened one eye.

And everything, absolutely everything, was there.

The world, like a great iris of an even more gigantic eye, which has also just opened and stretched out to encompass everything, stared back at him.

And he knew what it was that had leaped upon him to stay and would not run away now.

I’m alive, he thought. . . .

The grass whispered under his body. He put his arm down, feeling the sheath of fuzz on it, and far away below, his toes creaking in his shoes. The wind sighed over his shelled ears. The world slipped bright over the glassy round of his eyeballs like images sparked in a crystal sphere. Flowers were suns and starry spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipped stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven. His breath raked over his teeth, going in ice, coming out fire. Insects shocked the air with electric clearness. Ten thousand individual hairs grew a millionth of an inch on his head. He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened. . . .

“Tom!” Then quieter. “Tom . . . does everyone in the world . . . know he’s alive?”

“Sure. Heck, yes!”

“I sure hope they do,” whispered Douglas. “Oh, I sure hope they know.”

call for resumes

Days after GM's CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out by the Obama administration, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner boasted:

"We have changed management aboard. And where we've done that, we've done it because we thought that was necessary to make sure these institutions emerge stronger in the future."

When asked if he would leave open the option to can, say, some bank president, our dear leader replied, of course: "Of course."

Under the recently passed National Service law, Irene's Mustache has been conscripted to collect and collate resumes for future presidents of things. If your talents have so far gone unrecognized, please send your curriculum vitae to:

c/o I. Papas, Secretary
General Delivery
Molalla, OR 97038


The New York Tribune once observed of General Ulysses S. Grant's "immobile, heavy, and expressionless" visage that it was "the face of the only man in America, perhaps, who could make the calculation of the multitude of lives necessary to blot out a multitude of other lives."

more Robert Frost on current events

I should hate to spend the only life I was going to have here in being annoyed with the time I happened to live in.
--Robert Frost

more Brigham Young on current events

Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between two nations as murder; but suppose that one family should rise up against another and begin to slay them, would they not be taken up and tried for murder? Then why not nations that rise up and slay each other in a scientific way be equally guilty of murder? But observe the martial array, how splendid! See the furious war horses, with their glittering trappings. Then the honor and glory and pride of the reigning king must be sustained, and the strength and power and wealth of the nation must be displayed in some way; and what better way than to make war upon neighbouring nations, under some slight pretext? Does it justify the slaying of men, women, and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No: the guilty will be damned for it.
--Brigham Young