One of the differences between my wife and myself is that while she enjoys (and I am obsessed with) college football, she doesn't care at all for basketball, while I love the game. Hence, during this time of year, I often watch basketball games alone.
I have to confess in honesty that I am a life-long Kentucky basketball fan, but since I now call Knoxville home, I really want (and feel obliged) to root for the home team. There's also the idea of wanting Tennessee basketball to be successful after years of mediocrity.
I do think it more than a little interesting that the talking-heads are now all talking about how Texas was over-rated. Since I was well aware before the year began of how good a coach Bruce Pearl is, I think perhaps a few folks need to be talking about Tennessee and how under-rated they are.
Thanks to Relapsed Catholic (via Kate McMillan) for this story out of British Columbia. Apparently, a man was fired from his job at Costco because he moonlighted as the rental manager for his local Knights of Columbus Hall. What’s so wrong with that, you ask?
Per the policies and philosophy of our honored Order, neither he nor the Council Home Association would rent the K of C Hall to a lesbian couple for their use so they could glorify their sodomite “marriage.” Because this man not only followed the teachings of the Catholic Church but the policies of the K of C, this led to a suit claiming discrimination by the Knights against the sodomites. Since we are talking about Liberal Canada here, the religious liberty of the Knights meant nothing against the claims of two lesbians. Considering the location of the Hall in the town in question, which is described at length in the linked article, it became clear to the Brother Knights involved that this was a setup…there were plenty of halls for the girls to choose from, but they ever so conveniently chose the Knights Hall.
And they won the discrimination suit. God defend these poor men-all they did was stand up for what they believe.
The President was on The News Hour last night and refused to acknowledge whether or not he was aware of who leaked the name of a CIA agent to commentator Robert Novak. He said that he was not free to discuss the investigation per orders from the Special Prosecutor’s office.
Call me crazy, but I am not buying this, and I am a supporter of Dubya. He could tell the American people whether he knows what Novak says he knows, he simply chooses not to do it. There may (or may not) be some very good reasons why.
It is worth pointing out that Robert Novak is no liberal. He has no vested interest in bringing down a Republican administration.
A note to readers on the background change: I know my blog isn’t the only one that uses this background…Chairman Brian Hornback and Matt Daley both use it at their sites as well. My purpose, however, was not to copy either man. In desiring a change, I wanted to choose the most appropriate template for this site that was different than any we had used before. Not having the time nor the inclination to toy with the HTML at a level where I may be less than competent, I chose this background…I felt that it looked the nicest and was the most appropriate for our purposes here.
We’ve been in existence for over a year, and I know from hearing from many of you privately that we have a pretty steady and devoted readership. One thing I haven’t discovered is who my anti-blogger is. It is my understanding that one’s anti-blogger is a blogger who promotes the ideas that are the mirror opposite of one’s own on an established web log of their own. Often, bloggers carry on spirited but friendly debates with their anti-bloggers. I’d love to find out just who my anti-blogger is…
Regulars to the World might wonder why I have yet to speak of the Holy Season of the year in which we now find ourselves. This is partly by design, because as some of you will recall I devoted large space in this blog last year to the Advent Season, and I would have done the same for Christmas had the now-infamous power outage not occurred.
Lest all of you forget, the affairs of the Church are one of the stated areas of coverage here, and Advent is certainly a yearly occurrence in the life of the Church. One of the beauties of the liturgical year, however, is that it allows us to mark the most sacred times of the year knowing full-well that our lives in this world must go on-we are in the world, but not of the world.
If I’ve learned anything about the world during this Advent, it is that the affairs of this world do not slow themselves because the time of the year is to be seen as especially holy. Centuries ago, when the whole of Western Civilization was Christian (so much so that it was referred to in the singular as Christendom) civil affairs within Christendom came as close to a halt as possible during Advent and Lent. During the ChristmasOctave and the EasterTriduum, armies observed a cease-fire and no civil business could be conducted during the twelve days of Christmas from the Nativity of the Lord (December 25th) to the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th).
If ever there were some small surface evidence that Western Civilization is heading toward an apocalyptic brush with secularization, it is the fact that our society cannot even come to agreement on how to respond to this time of year. If you wish someone a Merry Christmas, you may offend them, what if they are not Christian? Our Christmas trees have become “holiday trees,” our Christmas lights are now “holiday lights,” and when your kids get out of school (most likely today), if they go to a government school they are being let out for “Winter Break.” No…the birth of Christ has no coincidental value with why we have trees, lights, gifts, or a break from school or work next week.
This spirit of the secular has even bled into the churches of this country. Many “mega-churches” are not having services at all next Sunday, and their reasoning is because members will want to “spend time with their families” and won’t come to church anyway. This mentality is, quite frankly, disgusting. Is the honey-baked ham and pumpkin pie more important than the birth of the One whose birthday is the reason we have those things?
I am sorry to report that this strange lack of respect for the Almighty has even made its way to certain members of my own family. Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, as readers are aware. It so happens that, for many family members who are not Catholic, morning church services conflict with the traditional family Christmas brunch. The family solution: Just skip church and do brunch instead. Oh yes, and keep Christ in Christmas!
As Catholics, Nicole and I don’t really have a scheduling conflict between church and traditional Christmas activities. That’s because about 1,400 years ago, the Church decided it might be a wise idea to standardize the celebration of Midnight Mass at Christmas, not only because Midnight Mass is a great way to ring in the Lord’s birth, but because the Church understood that a whole lot of people might have family plans for Christmas Day, and since every Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics whether it falls on a Sunday or not, the Church wants to give everyone a chance to get to church on the 25th of December. Hence, most Catholics have the option of attending the Midnight Mass or a service later on Christmas morning. Some churches have a special evening Vigil Christmas Eve that is earlier than the Midnight Mass and counts as having fulfilled a Catholic’s obligation to go to church on Christmas.
Our Protestant brothers and sisters do not, for the most part, have it so easy. Here in the South, if Christmas falls during the week, it is often not seen as necessary to go to church on Christmas. Considering that Southerners are an instinctively Christian people by inclination, you’d think folks in the South would be beating down the door to get into the Lord’s house on the day He was born, but that is sadly not the case. Christmas falling on a Sunday has shown that for many, the concerns of the world come before their relationship with God. The world doesn’t stop for this Holy Season…sadly for their souls, neither do many people who claim friendship with Jesus Christ.
For the record, there are certain members of my family who are standing up for what is right and refusing to take their seat at brunch Christmas Day until they are finished worshiping God. I am very glad of this; I think it sets an example that needs to be lived by. Don’t just say “keep Christ in Christmas”-- Live Christ in Christmas…and after Christmas, live Christ every day.
As to our family members that aren’t Catholic: Don’t worry, we are working on them…one prayer at a time.
After a year in the same format, I decided it was time for a bit of a change around here. A different look, yes (regulars might recall that earlier this year, we made a change to our previous format), but also a start at making this web log a popular place for people to visit and post. I hope the changes bring new people into our World.
Whatever my personal feelings may be about whether the U.S. should have started the Iraq war to begin with, I can’t argue with what happened in Iraq yesterday. If anything proves that freedom is an unqualified success wherever it is given a chance to flourish, yesterday’s elections in Iraq serve as that proof.
Although I still doubt the efficacy of beginning the war, my doubts about the ability of the Iraqi people to embrace freedom were erased. Even news sources that had anti-war agendas from the beginning were reporting the overwhelming success of Thursday’s vote.
A good friend of mine, Kevin O’Brien, who is a pro-life Democrat, told me back before the war began that he was in favor of invading Iraq, but his reasoning was not the same as the stated reason at the time (weapons of mass destruction, blah, blah, blah). Kevin’s reason for why we needed to invade Iraq had to do with righting a wrong: He said that George Bush 41 had promised the people of Iraq that if they would overthrow Saddam Hussein that the United States would come to their aid. Our failure to do so was a black mark on our credibility as a nation, he said. We owed it to the people of Iraq to do what we promised them we would do in the first place and come to their aid. They had tried to overthrow Saddam, and we promised them some help. Even if the help came 12 years too late, the help needed to come as promised.
I have to admit that these elections lend some credibility to Kevin O’Brien’s thought process, even though I still think the initial invasion was unwise and untimely. The “help” came, and yesterday, the people finally embraced freedom in droves.
I'd like to take a moment to welcome a very notorious Tennessee blogger to the roll: State Representative Stacey Campfield, a freshman Republican from right here in Knox County, has made a lot of hay and caused a lot of controversy for bringing the truth about what's happening in Nashville not just to Tennesseans, but to interested folks all over America. I want to personally thank Stacy for his permission to make him a part of our blogging family here at the World.
The political corruption and graft which infests Tennessee politics continues, day by day, to amaze me. First there was Tennessee Waltz, the FBI sting which uncovered a trail of filth and bribery which we are now learning went down even to certain county offices in some places. I should point out here that Democrats weren’t the only ones involved in the Waltz, there were some Republicans as well, most notably State Representative Chris Newton of Cleveland. What the Waltz points to, however, is a culture of corruption that envelops the General Assembly, and the Democrats are the primary excuse-makers.
Now a member of the family at the root of the Filth on the Hill wants to be our next United States Senator, replacing the retiring Bill Frist. Oh please…make me laugh.
To be fair to Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., there is no proof to my knowledge that he was in any way involved in the Waltz (although if anyone knows differently, please feel free to post it here and we’ll run with the story), but my late Grandfather, who I not only consider a personal role model, but also a political mentor, used to repeat the oft-quoted old-time saying that an “apple falls not far from the tree.” In the case of Harold Ford, that raises a legitimate question as to whether he personally can be trusted considering the kind of things others in his family have been involved in.
There is also the person of the departing Frist, who in my personal opinion can’t be gone from the Senate soon enough. The day Frist sold us out on embryonic stem-cell “research,” Nicole can attest that I became physically ill. There was always something about Frist that filled me with a certain unease from the day he became Majority Leader. Perhaps this feeling of unease can best be described by paraphrasing former British Conservative Leader William Hague [on Gordon Brown] by saying that I felt Frist had “something of the night about him.” Maybe it is because I thought Trent Lott got the shaft to begin with. Sure, Frist is better than a Democrat…that’s about all. If we end up replacing Frist with Ford, we will likely have gone from bad to awful.
Sour is any political climate that gives us such rotten choices. The only way to make it better is to begin at the State level. The legislature simply has to go Republican. Republican state legislatures are known to be notoriously conservative, and if the legislature reflects are real-bottom-up conservative agenda, eventually, that is going to filter up to the kind of people Tennesseans send to Washington.
If only the Democrats would do something this stupid
We can only hope for the sake of Republican futures in the 2006 Election that the Democrats are as stupid as certain members of the governing Liberal Party of Canada. As regular readers are likely aware, Canada is in the midst of an election campaign, and the issue of child care is one of the hottest issues of the race. More precisely, how should the government go about funding childcare…
This being Canada, after all, the government has to fund it, but where the Liberals and the Conservatives disagree is that the Conservatives would like to give that childcare money to parents and let parents decide how it is best spent, including, but certainly not limited to, parents who choose to care for their own children in their own home.
Well, as we all know, our friends on the left very sincerely believe that the state can better care for your children than you can. The difference between the American Left and the Canadian Left is that apparently the American Left has grown smart enough not to admit this fact in public, while the Canadian Left, ever confident in the collective stupidity of Her Majesty’s Commonwealth Up North, feel that making such statements will publicly benefit them.
Liberal strategist Scott Reid let it be known exactly what it is the Liberals think of this proposal when he said that if parents were given childcare funds, they would not spend the funds on care for their children, but rather would spend the money on “beer and popcorn.” (Now, in fairness to Mr. Reid, we should note that the Democrats here believe American parents wouldn’t send their kids to school with education money, and would opt instead for a national surplus of Orville Redenbacher and Budweiser.)
Judging by the reaction from the photosphere and on the CBC website, parents all over Canada are incensed by these remarks and by the mentality behind them, as well they should be. That kind of thinking is evidence of a “we know what is best for you” Big Brother sort of mentality, which is why parties like the Liberals (and those who think as they do) should be removed from office all over the world.
The comments apparently have done some damage, because Liberal bloggers like Jason Cherniak of Toronto are trying ever so hard to distance themselves from the mentality that people like Reid project, that of a party that is a politically sick animal that needs to be put out of its misery. Cherniak actually thinks Conservative Leader Stephen Harper should apologize! Typical leftist attitude-We screw up, but its still someone else’s fault. We can only hope that the Democrats keep Howard Dean on as Chairman another 12 months, as he will inevitably say something that stupid that the Jackass Party won’t be able to deny.
I’d like to welcome two new blogs to the roll of weblogs and other links to the right. The first is the personal blog of Brian Hornback, the Chairman of the Knox County Republican Party. There are various reasons, most of which have to do with issues beyond either of our control, why he and I are just now getting in touch, but it was good to be able to finally correspond with the “man in charge” of the “best Party in the County.”
The second blog is somewhat related to the first-it’s the official weblog of the Knox County Republican Party. If you’re from the Knoxville area and you feel the need to brush up on local political happenings, the KnoxBlog is a good place to start.
Impending U.S/British withdrawal from Iraq reported
The Times of London reported yesterday that a phased pullout from Iraq by American and British forces would begin as soon as a permanent government was installed in Baghdad. This report comes despite repeated denials by U.S. administration sources that a pullout is imminent. The report says that Iraqi officials are apparently aware that some sort of withdrawal is in the works, because members of Iraq’s provisional government are quite concerned about it.
In addition to the Times report yesterday, Lt. Col. Oliver North, on location as an imbedded reporter for Fox News in Ramadi, said yesterday on Sean Hannity’s radio program that he believes American forces could begin withdrawing from Iraq as early as January.
If the reports of a soon-coming withdrawal from Iraq are true, such a pullout has two major consequences, one military and one political:
1. It finally allows America to define what its goals were in this situation and to establish whether those goals have been met. My guess would be that the administration will say that the goal was to put a freely-elected non-Bathist government in control of the country. This is a goal that, at this point, is both laudable and doable. Once it is done, the military can say that its job in Iraq has, for the most part, been completed.
2. It takes the war off the table as a political issue in next year’s (2006) General Election. In terms of raw politics, the Democrats would like to use the war to their advantage to make huge Congressional gains, while the Republicans would like to be rid of the war as fast as possible so that it may be off of the minds of voters before Election Day. If a pullout begins in January, whether it is completed by November or not is irrelevant-it is a big election advantage for the GOP.
Today we're changing the archive feature here at the World from a monthy archive to a regular daily archive. This change is in preparation for a major change in coverage of current events. Look for more positive changes here in the days and weeks ahead.
Recently, a whole lot of fuss has been thrown over some medicinal supplements and whether or not they are effective. More precisely, the federal government has been throwing a fuss over whether or not medicinal supplements are effective.
I can only speak from personal experience, but I can tell you that I take garlic, Echinacea, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and iron every day. Because of my disability my immune system is normally weaker than the average person’s, and this time of year I am especially susceptible to various forms of infectious disease.
Since I began my regimen last year:
I got over a bronchial infection within four days with the help of extra Vitamin C.
The oil from a garlic pill helped cure a nasty inner ear infection.
I was only “sick” twice last year, as opposed to the normal 5-6 times a year.
To counter the myth that he does not appear to be concerned with the state of national opinion, or that he lives in a vacuum unconcerned that many in the world might disagree with him, the President is appearing three different times this week in three different interviews and on three different news sources. Early in his presidency, Bush had told certain members of the media that he “did not read the papers,” and this lead to the now-widespread criticism that he is “walled-in” at the White House, choosing to shield himself from the outside world.
As it turns out, the President admitted to Brian Williams on Today that he does read the papers and he does pay attention to the press. He reads the papers daily, he said, just not every article.
Anyone who knows anything about how the White House functions knows that any sitting Chief Executive, regardless of party, gets a daily briefing about various things that are being said in the press and is given advice on how best to handle the media and public criticism. The Clinton Administration was so concerned about public criticism that they had an entire team of staffers in the White House Press Office whose job became listening to the daily talk radio circuit, much of which was then and still is populated by conservative commentators who were hostile to Clinton. Rush Limbaugh used to openly brag that Clinton had an entire team of people doing nothing but listening to his show because they were deathly afraid of his influence. As it turned out, Rush was at least partly right.
Clinton and his staffers had good reason to worry about Rush. Few political scientists or pundits deny at this point that the influence of talk radio over the creation of the present national political dynamic, a dynamic which came about largely as a result of the 1994 General Election, was so great that it was a part of the reason for the overwhelming success of the GOP. Talk radio was a media alternative to the mainstream to which many people turned, and if you are a president seeking to maintain power and control, alternative media sources are where you should be looking to learn of the mood of the voting population, since that population often feels disconnected from the mainstream.
Since that is the case, it makes you wonder if the White House has a group of staffers who monitor blogs and bloggers. Weblogs are an alternative media source that does have an impact on people who will actually vote, and not just on conservatives. People of all political persuasions have taken to the internet as a means to combat the mainstream press and to get their views out to the public. Hence, it would do well for the White House to watch what bloggers say, because blogs are keeping a tight watch on the White House.
Liberals who proclaim themselves “Catholic” are up in arms over the latest declaration from the Vatican on the status of the sacred priesthood. The Church has now made it abundantly clear that men who have a homosexual tendency have no place in the sacred priesthood, and neither to men who in any way support the “gay lifestyle.”
In doing this, Benedict XVI is declaring that not only will he not tolerate sodomy and pedophilia in the priesthood, but he will not tolerate people entering our seminaries who think it is alright to live in sin.
I find it more than just a slight coincidence that this declaration was issued at the same time an apostolic visitation of U.S. seminaries is taking place.
Heretics beware: The housecleaning is well underway.
Adam Graham’s recent tête-à-tête with Radical Russ was truly a dandy, and was probably some of Adam’s best work yet. If you haven’t had the pleasure to see some of it, check out the link to the right for Adam Graham.
Adam did point out something in one of his responses to Russ that is quite true, and bears some further explanation on my part: Christians who are involved in the political arena do not seek to establish a theocracy, because in our country, diversity among Christians makes this practically impossible. Adam used as his example the Catholic attitude toward gambling (we tolerate it) as opposed to many evangelical sects who either see it as a vice or an outright sin. After reading Adam’s thoughts on this, I thought the Catholic position bore some further explaining, largely because I have been asked by some well-meaning friends in the past why on earth the Catholic Church seems to be so tolerant of drinking and gambling.
It may surprise some non-Christians to see me write this, but did you know that there is nothing whatsoever that is sinful about sex? That’s right, I said there is nothing the least bit sinful about sex. Sex is natural, its fun, and it feels good. God meant for it to be enjoyed, so enjoy sex…live it up.
Here’s the catch: Sex was created to be enjoyed, but like all things created by God, sex has a purpose beyond our own human enjoyment. When we reduce sex merely to something that feels good for us or gives us a momentary high, we demean not only the sex act but the person we are enjoying it with. God created sex as a means for the human race to perpetuate itself. Because of that, he intended sex, this incredibly enjoyable thing, to be enjoyed within the bond of marriage, the institution through which God intended children to be brought into the world. Because the perpetuation of humanity is so important to God, he laid down rules for the responsible use (as opposed to the irresponsible abuse) of sex.
Similarly, God gave man a mind and the ability to amuse himself with it, and man created games with which he could amuse himself. Games of chance and wager have always been among the most popular, because they appeal to our competitive instincts. “My horse is better than your horse,” “my cards are better than yours,” or “my numbers are better than yours” are all perfectly normal uses of the God-given competitive instinct. However, when we attempt to wager more than we have after it becomes obvious that our horses or cards or numbers are not better than those of our opponents, this becomes foolhardy and at that point, it does become a sin because we are abusing competition and tempting God’s intentions.
Alcohol is not sinful in itself, because we know Our Lord turned water into wine (note: it was wine, not Welch’s). Our Lord drank wine, the apostles drank wine. Even Paul advised Timothy to drink wine (note: not Welch’s) to settle his stomach. We can take heart, then, that making and/or drinking fermented or distilled beverages made from grapes, corn, wheat, rye, potatoes, or any other part of God’s food creation is a perfectly normal and God-endorsed activity. Abusing these beverages, items which God intended for our moderate and medicinal use and enjoyment, is what is sinful. When a person deliberately drinks an alcoholic beverage with the intent of giving himself or herself over to a drunken stupor, that is a sinful act. When a person drinks so much as to put themselves or others at risk, that is a sin. Having a drink (or even, in the privacy of your own home, two or three) is not sinful on its face. It is the failure to respect moderation that is the sin, not the drinking.
I have a friend who once told me that he avoids alcohol not because he believes it is sinful, but because he strongly believes that if he were to allow himself to drink even a drop, he might have a tendency toward alcoholism. If a person believes they are likely to abuse something, whether it is alcohol, or gambling, or sex…they should avoid that which they are likely to abuse, and thereby avoid falling into sin.
A note on comments-and some thoughts on our first anniversary
This is a note on the comments section of The World According to Oatney. I've received from some visually impaired readers and listeners private correspondence expressing concern about the fact that the verification tool used to force commentors to "sign" their posts as being an authentic response to the post at hand makes posting a comment inaccessable to users who post using adaptive technology.
I am quite aware of this descrepency and I do want to remedy the problem, but let me admit here that I am not sure how.
The authentication tool that the folks at Blogger provide is the only way that I know of to guard against "comment spam," something that was becoming an epidemic problem around here before I felt forced to make the change. If anyone out there has ideas about how I could make comments accessable without cutting off visually impaired readers who'd like to comment, please let me know.
Aside from that, I know there was quite awhile where I wasn't posting regularly, and while there were perfectly good reasons why, I do understand that such a development is inevitably going to lead to a drop in regular readership/listenership. It is going to be my goal in the coming weeks to re-establish some of our reader base, and to those of you who I know have been patient and have been loyal patrons of this site, I thank you. I am going to desperately try and keep this site updated in such a way as to encourage you to keep coming.
In the over one year now that we've been online here at the World, we have had some memorable moments. The blog came into existance immediately after a very contentious 2004 election campaign, and we were unrelenting in promoting our post-election view of the country. Last Christmas saw us go offline for several days, as we lost power and contact with much of the outside world while visiting family and friends in central Ohio. The World has also survived a move from one state to another, and the change in current events coverage that comes with such a move (as well as the inevitable decline in posts for several months). Perhaps our most memorable time here, however, was our very personal coverage of the decline and passing of a legend of our time, Pope John Paul II, and the election of his successor, Benedict XVI. Through it all, our loyal base has been there. During the latest campaign I am undertaking to renew and revitalize the blog, those of you who can comment, your comments are welcome and appreciated, both public and private. I like to know you are out there reading and listening, and whether we agree or not, I like to hear from you.
Something happened today that hasn't happened in 15 years, and many of us wondered if it would ever happen again: The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North Division and clinched their first playoff berth since 1990. The last time the Bengals were in the playoffs:
The Bengals were in a different division, one that is no more in the football world, the AFC Central.
The Bengals' last playoff victory came against the Oilers. This is a team that, on paper, no longer exists.
The team then known as the Cleveland Browns is now in Baltimore, and are known as the Ravens. They are still owned by the man who is reviled in every part of the State of Ohio as if he were Lucifer himself-Art Modell.
The old Browns (now Ravens) were replaced with a 2nd Edition that officially gets to inherit all of the records of the old Browns. The Ravens had to start from scratch.
In 1990, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans did not exist, and had you mentioned them to a football fan, the likely response would have been something along the lines of: "Do what?"
The Titans are what the Oilers became, the Ravens are what the Browns became...only sort of.
George Bush was President of the United States. The Congress of the United States was dominated numerically by one party, the Democrats.
While the world has turned, the Bengals have stunk...until this year.
A conservative journal of social, cultural, and ecclesiatical affairs grounded in a realistic Catholic Christian worldview. It is my hope that this site will be a reflection of Christ,the teachings of His Holy Church, and of the basic vision of a Christian social morality.