Posted by: readerjohn | September 20, 2011

Tasty Tidbits 9/20/11

  1. Classroom loyalty oaths.
  2. Gardasil flip-flop.
  3. Not doubling down on dumb.
  4. Things are hard in Virginia.
  5. Struck by lightning.
  6. The cure for the common blather.
  7. Sinners in the Hands of an Immutable God.

1

“They’re asking kids to take a loyalty oath in front of their classmates, and that’s just not right.”

(Martin Rosenthal, a parent in Brookline, Mass. who recites the Pledge of Allegiance voluntarily, but who opposes reciting it in public school classrooms, even if children are not compelled to recite it.)

The school says there’s no pressure. Resident Sandra Maloney says the nonexistent pressure is good for kids:

“Grow up,” she says. “Part of growing up is having pressure put upon you so that you are able cope with life as you get older. We are trying to teach our children to stand up for themselves. This is part of education.”

The ACLU may go AWOL:

For all the vocal opposition, there’s been relative quiet from the side of civil libertarians. Even stalwart Harvey Silverglate came down in favor of the pledge in schools, saying it does have educational value. He says letting students wrestle with whether or not to pledge is kind of like Liberty 101.

I say the Pledge should be included in a optional daily recapitulation of the arc of Western Christendom:

  1. The (Optional) Sh’ma Yisrael.
  2. The (Optional) Nicene Creed.
  3. The (Optional) Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. The Obligatory Post-9/11 promise that “I Shall Shop ‘Till They Drop.”

2

There’s another wrinkle regarding Gardasil, a vaccine used to combat HPV. It’s been the subject of considerable discussion since Rick Perry entered the presidential race. Dr. Diane Harper, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City says the vaccine is being way over-sold. NPR notes this is “striking” since Harper worked on studies that got the vaccines approved and even accepted grants from the manufacturers (although not any longer, she says.) She changed her mind, she said, when the vaccine makers started lobbying state legislatures to mandate school children get vaccinated. “Ninety-five percent of women who are infected with HPV never, ever get cervical cancer,” she says. “It seemed very odd to be mandating something for which 95 percent of infections never amount to anything.”  http://cvote.to/3l Yes, we have certainly covered this issue extensively at CatholicVote and not all opinion here has been uniform.http://cvote.to/3k

(CatholicVote.org)

3

I can’t say I’m surprised, or particularly displeased, that the Washington Post’s Michael Gerson (who was a speechwriter for one of our Republican presidents, but I can’t say which one for sure) thinks Mitt Romney is “a safe choice for risky times.”

Perry is purposely provocative in style and content. He questions the legitimacy of 70 years of federal entitlement commitments. He proposes a fundamental reordering of the relationship between the federal government and the states. He is highly critical of the Federal Reserve and its chairman. Perry’s specific economic policies remain defiantly unspecific, but his rhetoric and intentions are ideologically ambitious.

Romney is running at Perry from the reassuring center. Both are harshly critical of Obama’s economic policies. But unlike Perry, Romney refuses to hurl the accusation of “socialism.” Romney argues that an overbroad condemnation of Social Security would leave Republicans “obliterated as a party.” His own 59-point economic plan contains a “number of options” for incremental entitlement reform — an approach the Wall Street Journal has criticized as “timid and tactical.” But Romney’s timidness on some issues is his main tactic against Perry. With the economy suffering a series of complex maladies, who wants a surgeon who performs only amputations?

But “safe” doesn’t seem to be playing all that well politically these days.

4

Virginia apparently has adopted some new abortion regulations. I’m not familiar with them, but nationally, the trend has been toward (gasp!) insisting that abortion clinics meet the standards for other medical clinics, including things like a relationship with an acute-care hospital for quick transfer if complications occur (in the mother, of course; the death of the child is the point of the whole thing).

Kaiser Health News aggregates opinion on health-related matters, and quoted this from the Washington Post:

It’s already hard to get an abortion in Virginia, and it’s about to get much harder. The reason is a new set of regulations — absurdly onerous and utterly unnecessary — pushed by conservative ideologues in Richmond and adopted by the state Board of Health, which is dominated by appointees of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). The regulations, which go into effect Jan. 1, are likely to result in the closure of many or most of Virginia’s 23 abortion clinics, which accounted for all but a few hundred of the 26,000 procedures performed in the state last year.

23 clinics. 26,000 abortions. “Hard to get an abortion in Virginia”?!

5

When I was a young married man, I dreamed of winning the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. “Man! $100,000! What a house we’d build with that!” But winning would have been dumb luck.

Somewhere between “dumb luck” and “laboring in quiet obscurity” is the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grants” of $500,000, which were awarded to 22 people yesterday, including an Elder Law Attorney (outside the mainstream, she focuses on abuse and exploitation at a rather meta- level) and a silversmith who restores historic works.

Congratulations to the 22 geniuses.

6

From Dr. Zbignew Brzezinski, blunt words on the state of things.

7

Wrath of God?

“God is good, passionless, and immutable.  If anyone who accepts as blessed and true that God is inalterable, but is perplexed that He (being as He is) rejoices in those who are kind, is repulsed by those who are evil, and is wrathful with sinners but merciful to them when they repent — to these we must say that God does not rejoice or get angry, for joy and anger are passions.  It makes no sense to think that the Divinity is happy or sad over human affairs.  God is good, and does only good; He does no harm to anyone, and is always the same.  But when we are kind, we enter into communion with God according to our similarity to Him, and when we are evil we are separated from Him according to our dissimilarity with Him.  In living virtuously we are God’s, but when we become evil, we are rejected by Him.  However, this does not mean He is angry with us, but rather that our sins do not allow God to shine in us, and unite us instead with the demons.  If we later seek out remission of our sins through prayer and good works, this does not mean that we have won favor with God and changed Him, but rather that through such actions and through our turning to God we have healed the evil within us, and we again become capable of tasting God’s goodness.  So, saying that God turns away from those who are evil is like saying that the sun hides from those who are blind.”

Saint Anthony the Great
quoted in The Search for Truth on the Path of Reason
by Alexei Osipov

* * * * *

Bon appetit!


Responses

  1. Do you intend that support for an optional recitation of the Nicene Creed include filioque clause? I wouldn’t want my kids reciting a filioque-less creed, for goodness’ sake. I could, however, support an option within an option.

    • Hmmm. Maybe religion is too divisive and we should just stick to idolatry and consumerism.


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