Monday, October 18, 2004

My Blog Is a Comment Archive --
After correcting an uninformed commenter's attempt to play gotcha in responses to
this post by Matthew Yglesias, I added:

I should also mention my interpretation of American politics, that the major parties come about as a result of coalitions being formed before the election rather than after the election as in a parliamentary system.

A third-party effort as a form of punishment is really the wrong way to go about reforming a major party. Staying home is a better form of protest than voting third-party.

The third-party option is for people who want to blow up the political system, not just shift it. Really, you should only go that route if you feel you absolutely can never have a home in one of the major party coalitions or if you want to completely destroy the one closest to you.

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Saturday, October 16, 2004

What Would Jesus' Representative on Earth Do at the Ballot Box? --
This NCS story is rather curious.

Consider this statement: "Based on more than two dozen background conversations with Vatican officials over the last six months, ranging from the cardinals who head Vatican offices to the junior clergy who staff them, I believe that if the Holy See were to vote in a secret ballot for the American president, Kerry would beat Bush 60-40."

Of course, Allen offers a couple of caveats. "First, the estimate of a 60-40 vote in favor of Kerry is based on the assumption that all personnel of the Holy See would take part. If the focus is just on the cardinals and other senior officials who head dicasteries, the balance would probably shift slightly in favor of Bush. Second, that 60-40 split in favor of Kerry represents a change from the 2000 election, when I suspect a similar straw poll in the Vatican would have found a 60-40 vote in favor of Bush over Al Gore. In that sense, it’s not an endorsement of John Kerry, who is even less known in Rome than to many Americans, so much as opposition to Bush, above all for the war in Iraq and the rest of his foreign policy."

It is interesting what this article does and does not do. It does not, for example, guess at the Pope's personal view. The only way it could, perhaps, would be to do a roll call of the pope's inner circle, and I suspect that would violate too many of the reporter's confidences.

And there is a clear attempt to cast this as a struggle between those concerned with the Church in this world and those concerned with theological issues, as a struggle between those willing to accommodate themselves to secular government and those who oppose it.

Incidentally, although some have suggested the next pope will be non-European, I have thought that the College of Cardinals might turn inward to Italy after experimenting with a Pole. If so, the candidacies might break down into one name with ties to the "blue dicasteries" and one name with ties to the "red dicasteries," plus some outsiders. It will be interesting to see if one side prevails over the other or if some compromise candidate is found.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Bush Plan --
This Juan Cole post has it right.

The Bush administration isn't a bunch of idiots. I said before the war that Iraq was just the first stage. I would not be surprised if the Defense Department plan has been to try and incite terrorism, hoping to trace something back to another state, like Syria or Iran, and leading to the next war. I hope that this plan did not involve leaving Iraq's borders porous to possible foreigners pouring over the border, hoping to find a link to rogue states.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Pope on Communism --
"There was a sense that this evil was in some way necessary for the world and for mankind. It can happen, in fact, that in certain particular human situations, evil is revealed as somehow useful inasmuch as it creates opportunities for good."

The quote comes from this article on the pope's forthcoming book, Memory and Identity: Conversation Between Milleniums.

I wonder how this philosophical view of history would apply to the so-called "war on terror."

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Catholic Church Has It Right, At Least In Zambia --
According to this article , the Catholic bishops of Zambia have publicly stated that the country's constitution should not proclaim the country to be Christian nation.

The argument is based on the belief that such a statement can be used both against non-Christians and against Christians. It is the latter point which is most interesting, I think, this awareness that non-Christians may seek to attack Christianity and that you shouldn't give critics ammo unnecessarily.

Rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar protects both Caesar and God's people.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Re: Fancy Store-Bought Dirt: Gambling, Prostitution, and "Context" --
A comment I posted in reply to this post:
Try reading, dude.

The actual comparison is to organized crime. Prostitution and gambling just happen to be two of the activities associated with organized crime.

Now the quote is inartful. Kerry should say organized crime before mentioning prostitution and gambling, and perhaps the two are not the best example of organized crime activities. But is a comparison between al-Qaeda and the mafia really that bad of an analogy?

They key here is that Kerry is removing terrorism from the war analogy previously used to combat drugs and poverty. If we are faced with the concept of war applied to terrorism, then we are faced with a war without end, because Kerry's analogy is correct; we can't end religious extremist beliefs and we can't end people wanting to use violence to back up their beliefs. While you can fight wars against states that sponsor or provide a haven for terrorism, winning those wars won't end terrorism.

It's a sustainable, long-haul strategy for fighting terrorism that doesn't require whipping up the populace into a patriotic frenzy to maintain a "war" effort. The later can lead only to a weary people or a police-state or both.
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Re: Fancy Store-Bought Dirt: Gambling, Prostitution, and "Context" --
A comment I posted in reply to this post:
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Friday, October 08, 2004

Reason Eleventy Billion Why Anne Coulter Is a Nut --
Watcing some CNN post-debate "analysis." She claimed that if the Democrats had been in charge during World War II, they wouldn't have fought the Nazis because Hitler didn't attack Pearl Harbor and was already contained.
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So, I'm Watching the Debate --
And i am also keeping track of keith Olbermann's scorecard on Hardblogger.

Olbermann pretty much coincides with a lot of my impressions.

By the way, has anyone noticed that when it comes time for rebuttal, Bush pretty much comes roaring out of the gate, sometimes not waiting for the moderator to finish turning time over the president?

Hey, shoot first and ask questions later. Isn't that what Bush did in Iraq?

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel --
From Sci Fi Wire:

"I think by now people know I'm a big fan of the old series, and I think what's going to be fun is that we'll be seeing a lot of touchstones from the old series, starting with the Orion slave girls," [writer and executive producer Manny] Coto said.


Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Sunday, October 03, 2004 : Pope Beatifies Emperor, Nun, Three Others --
This story notes that the pope beatified both Sister Anna Katharina Emmerick and Emperor Charles I.

What I want to know is why a Brazilian nun was praying for the intercession of the last Hapsburg ruler of Austro-Hungary.

Given John Paul II's desire to name topical saints, I suspect that this beatification is partly a message to world leaders who fail to minimize the use of warfare 8cough*Bush*cough*.

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Third Annual Blogger Boobie-Thon for Breast Cancer --
This is for charity, eh?

It'd be strange if I actually recognized anyone.
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