Thursday, March 31, 2005


My Thoughts on Hegemony --
Bradford Plumer and Ezra Klein both ponder the idea of American hegemony and what it is good for.

Both seem uncomfortable with the role of hegemon, although neither finds a good reason to just outright give it up. Klein is resigned to it, though and offers ideas on how the Democrats can capitalize on the American spirit that makes us want to be number one in the world.

I'm not sure that Klein's read of America is accurate, though. The ugly American stereotype is true in some regards. Americans believe in the superiority of their country. Max Weber could probably write something on how the Protestant origins of this country lead to an expectation that military and economic preeminence is the just reward for being the best.

It's a failing of liberals that they often appear to hate America and I think Klein may be globalizing white liberal guilt in a way in trying to motivate himself into being comfortable with American hegemony.






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Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Taking the Center Position --
According to this story: "Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington said yesterday that neither the Vatican nor the majority of U.S. bishops think the Roman Catholic Church should routinely deny Communion to politicians because of their stand on abortion." The story goes on to say that the bishops appear to be endorsing the view that such politicians should not be given honors by Catholic organizations, but should not be ostracized.

I think this is the proper course for the U.S. bishops to take. While they remain opposed to abortion, they are also cognizant of the possibility of being used politically. While there are certainly reactionary bishops and there are some luminary progressives out there, by and large, the clergy are somewhere in the middle, unwilling to be torn by forces at either end.

Keep this in mind the next time some bishop says something stupid: the most outspoken are not necessarily the spokesmen, and many bishops would rather concentrate on their own diocese rather than grandstand on a national stage.
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St. Romero? --
The LA Times reports that the Vatican is opening the beatification process for Oscar Romero, possibly putting him on the road to sainthood.

Romero is a hero to social justice-oriented Catholics. One teacher at my Jesuit high school went so far as to offer a class on Romero and Thomas Merton.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005


On Depression, Politics, and Demonization --
This post has one woman's musings on depression. She writes about how the definition of mental illness seems different for women compared to men and is skeptical of "new" mental illnesses that supposedly target a specific demographic.

To relate it to politics, I find it discomforting when my fellow liberals imply or outright state that religious conservatives are crazy, deranged, or otherwise mentally ill. I see some people calling for the demonization of the Christian Right. While I see the propaganda value of doing so, it seems hypocritical coming from people who (rightfully) oppose the demonization of Muslims in the so-called "war on terror."

I wouldn't go so far as to say that calling the Religious Right "crazy" or "deranged" is somehow insensitive to the concerns of the mentally ill, but I think that it does deviate from reality. It allows liberals to create a self-righteous echo chamber when talking amongst themselves because they believe their opponents are inherently incapable of putting together a rational, coherent train of thought. Now, I am all in favor of liberal echo chambers--the Daily Kos diaries and the comments on Atrios and other liberal blogs provide plenty of opportunities--but only for shepherding left-of-center sheep, allowing them to bleat contentedly, not for any real policy-making.

So what am I saying? It's OK to call the Christian Right crazy so long as you don't actually believe it and are capable of living next door to and being friends with such a person.
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Monday, March 28, 2005


Of Catholics and Feeding Tubes --
This Washington Post article outlines the Catholic Church's involvement in the Terri Schiavo saga.
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A Pet Peeve --
I take my coffee with cream and sugar. I hate it when waitresses top off my half-filled cup, messing up my carefully crafted mixture of whole number ratios of cups of coffee, tiny plastic buckets of cream, and packets of sugar.
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Thursday, March 24, 2005


Of Rabbis and Rhinoceri --
This New York Times article describes the conflict between Rabbi Nosson Slifkin and the ultra-Orthodox over science.

I know that the ultra-Orthodox have some political influence in Israel. I am curious as to whether that country has debates on issues such as evolution vs. creationism and what they teach in schools there.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005


Well, I Ain't Making Money --
Via linkfilter.net, Canadian blogger Jeremy C. Wright's tale of getting a strip and cavity search for claiming to be a professional blogger.
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Saturday, March 19, 2005


And You Wonder Why the Religious Get Turned Off the Left --
The tone of this post annoys me as a liberal Catholic. I consider the people who talk in this inflammatory manner to be the people I have to put up with in a left-of-center coalition. They make my heart go out to honest conservatives who must make similar compromises with religious wingnuts on the right.
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Thursday, March 17, 2005


The Litmus Test --
Over at The Sideshow, Avedon Carol writes on not linking to "good" conservatives.
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Where Are the WMDs? --
Egypt in the near future? Why am I getting the increasing feeling that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was one of the lesser long-term threats in the region even if we hadn't invaded and occupied the country?
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Da Vinci Sma Vinci --
Although Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that The Da Vinci Code should not be read, Monsignor Jose Maria Pinheiro, soon to be bishop of Sao Paolo, has more faith in Catholic readers' ability to be prudent when reading fiction.

I've read it. It was mindless fun. The literary equivalent of the movie Independence Day. The villain was a bit obvious. The art history and theology inaccurate. But it's fiction. As long as people don't actually believe the Mary Magadalene/Holy Grail stuff, I see no harm.
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Makes Me Want to Buy an XBox --
Via linkfilter.net, the Absolute Bottom 50 Video Games.

1. Grand Theft Auto: Sesame Street
2. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Coalition Six
3. Metroidsexual
10. Non-Spatial Relation Tetris
24. SIMS Auschwitz
27. Tiger Woods' Ultimate Corporate Whoredom Marathon
38. Licensed Summer Blockbuster Film Repurposed Into Yet Another Mediocre $50 3D-Shooter
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RSS is cool --
If you have a blog on blogger, please, please, please enable an Atom feed.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Catholic Thought and the Easter Bunny --
Catholic blogger Jimmy Akin responds to a question on the Easter Bunny.

Sample text:
Oh, and remember to teach your children to bite the heads off chocolate bunnies first.
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Sunday, March 13, 2005


CJR Daily: Archives --
Air Fleischer recently had some interesting things to say:

On January 20, 2001, I think it's fair to say that White House reporters breathed a sigh of relief because there was a very regular habit in the Clinton administration of giving exclusives to one newspaper in substantial part to punish another newspaper if they didn't like a story. Particularly as it dealt with the president's ethical issues. And so if the New York Times wrote a story that people in the White House really objected to, the next day the Wall Street Journal might get an exclusive story on an unrelated policy initiative of President Clinton's. . .

. . . I think they were really relieved on January 20 2001 when I said to them, "We're going to treat everybody the same. We're going to try to have the president make the news, we're not really going to do a lot of that -- maybe sometimes we will -- but that's not the Bush administration's typical way."


Some interesting comments. I don't doubt for a moment that the Clinton White House was exactly like that. On the other hand, it's an interesting non-denial that the Bush administration acts similarly. "Yeah, we do it, but we're not nearly as bad as the other guy" is the gist of the matter.
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Saturday, March 12, 2005


Dear Cat Lovers --
This is one messed up story.
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Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Free Music On the Internet --
Via Boing Boing:

Today Wilco released an 5-song EP that is supposed to only be accessible by those who purchased A Ghost Is Born. Turns out that all the CD does is give you a URL to the mp3s, meaning that anyone can get at them (in what I'm guessing is a legal fashion).
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Free Music On the Internet --
Via Boing Boing:

Today Wilco released an 5-song EP that is supposed to only be accessible by those who purchased A Ghost Is Born. Turns out that all the CD does is give you a URL to the mp3s, meaning that anyone can get at them (in what I'm guessing is a legal fashion).
(3:53 PM) 0 comments Links to this post

Monday, March 07, 2005


The definition of terrorism --
Posted a a comment tothis Matthew Yglesias post:

My definition of terrorism:

The use of violence outside of the framework of states for political purposes.

Clausewitz once called war "the continuation of politics by other means," but the ability to conduct war is an inherent power of the state and only of the state. Terrorism is the attempt of non-governmental actors to usurp this power.
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As If They Don't Already Show Enough Star Trek --
According tothis rumor, Spike TV--the first cable channel for men, assuming that men are morons befuddled by boobies--is considering picking up Enterprise for next season.

There is some precedent. Stargate SG-1 went from Showtime to Sci-Fi and Babylon 5 went from first-run syndication to TNT, but Enterprise would probably have to cut costs further for this to work. Maybe they'll off Mayweather since he is so underused that he comes off as the token black guy in the background.
(8:05 PM) 0 comments Links to this post

As If They Don't Already Show Enough Star Trek --
According tothis rumor, Spike TV--the first cable channel for men, assuming that men are morons befuddled by boobies--is considering picking up Enterprise for next season.

There is some precedent. Stargate SG-1 went from Showtime to Sci-Fi and Babylon 5 went from first-run syndication to TNT, but Enterprise would probably have to cut costs further for this to work. Maybe they'll off Mayweather since he is so underused that he comes off as the token black guy in the background.
(8:03 PM) 1 comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Race and Casualties in Iraq --
Something I posted to Daily Kos:
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Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Does This Mean I Can Do a Grad School Thesis on Creed? --
Calvin College is offering an interesting class. Mark Mulder (no, not that Mark Mulder is teaching a short class on the religious influences on U2.
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