24 December 2009
People have a penchant for oversimplifying everything, with undesirable consequences. Seemingly everyone thinks that the only choices we have are between treason and the love-it-or-leave-it attitude, between "tyranny" and what we call democracy, between Fundamentalism and/or fanaticism and skepticism toward religion, between the Islamic world and the secular West, between the Republican and Democratic parties, between bureaucratized medical care and the excessive costs of the present system, and so on.
20 December 2009
Ten years ago (not to the day), perhaps trying to prove that, half a century after its founding, it still had a reason to exist, the NATO took the credit for thwarting Serbia's attempt at purging her Kosovo province of ethnic Albanians. In view of this, and of some subsequent opinion pieces that take the NATO claim for granted, a lengthening of the public's infamously short memory would seem to be in order. (I'd like to have written this uncommon commentary a decade ago, but the Doman Domain did not then exist.)
For the first nine weeks of the 78-day NATO aerial attack, all that we heard from the media was how miserably the "smart"-bombing campaign was failing to achieve its objectives; then, Serbian leader Milosevic said that he might be willing to withdraw troops, and the press executed a flip-flop worthy of then-President Clinton. (We were told, for instance, that NATO negotiators were "dictating terms" to Serbia—but if that was true, why were those terms so lenient? The Serbians didn't have to turn anyone over for war-crime trials, pay reparations, or even apologize to the ethnic Albanians whom they had tried to annihilate. Indeed, the peace settlement was actually more generous to Serbia, the infrastructure of which country was shortly reconstructed by the former foreign adversaries, than to the Kosovo Liberation Army or KLA, which was unilaterally required to disarm.) One cannot rely upon the mainstream press for accurate and unbiased reporting of the facts, but even the military leaders, on the eve of Milosevic's announcement that he would be willing to withdraw troops, were not acting at all as though they were on the verge of triumph. The US Army and Air Force were sniping at one another over the non-deployment of helicopters which supposedly had the potential to "turn around" the situation. (If you've ever had any sort of leadership position, you know that one of the hallmarks of a fiasco is finger-pointing by members of your organization.) One general, almost on the eve of Milosevic's reversal, told the US public that they would have to steel themselves for a long and hard campaign!
My theory (although it is only theory) is that Milosevic made his unexpected offer precisely because he hoped that the "peacemakers" would compel Kosovo's real defenders to lay down their weapons, whereafter his army would be able to return and complete its work of "ethnic cleansing," but that he didn't include the possibility of his own ouster in his calculations. There is also a lesson to be learned in that the KLA fought the Serbs to a standstill in old-fashioned ground engagements, but that people attribute the victory to the NATO "air assault" simply because that's all that they heard about. In reality, the most that could justly be said of the NATO intervention is that it added another dimension to the KLA's resistance. The misconception explored in this uncommon commentary may stem from the fact that, ever since the invention of the aeroplane, many moulders of opinion have insisted upon viewing it as a juggernaut, a tool for winning wars without recourse to something so casualty-intensive (and thus politically risky) as placing troops in the field—hence Joe Biden's proposal to micro-manage the Afghan counterinsurgency from a distance; the subject of this last sentence, however, could provide enough material for a separate uncommon commentary.
11 December 2009
With what in most anyone else could be interpreted as evidence of humility, Emperor Nerobama said that he has yet to earn his Nobel Peace Prize. If he sincerely feels that way, why did he accept it?
08 December 2009
The most obvious reason to thwart Iran's pending development of atomic arms is that the "rogue state" might use them versus enemies or perceived enemies, but a less apparent one is that giving his country the power and prestige that come with joining what I call the nuclear family (and with overcoming the related opposition, feeble though it is, of the "international community") could make Ahmadinejad a national hero. If it's difficult for revolution-minded Iranians to oppose his regime now, wait until Western pusillanimity helps to make his triumph complete.
05 December 2009
It has occurred to me that the title of Gore's book and film of ecological pseudo-science, An Inconvenient Truth, aptly sums up the attitude of the "green"-profiteers, as betrayed in the electronic mails of "Climategate" (which should really be called Weathergate, since "weather" is closer to "water") infamy, toward skeptics of the theory of anthropogenic climate-change.
I take exception, though, to the comparison that some thinkers have drawn between this scandal and Galileo Galilei's treatment by the Church. Galileo's ecclesiastic opponents may have misapplied Scripture in suppressing heliocentrism, but they suppressed it for a valid reason, i.e., they were anxious to preserve the integrity of the highest Truth; the global-warming alarmists quash contradictory evidence because they are anxious to deny the truth, the revelation of which would jeopardize their funding. Furthermore, what the inquisitors rejected was then just a theory, whereas Michael Mann, Phil Jones, &c., want to make people think that what's only theory has been established as fact. I recommend reading this Catholic Encyclopedia article, beginning at "It is in the first place…."
01 December 2009
When unemployment was yet under 10%, Mortimer Zuckerman wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that listed 10 reasons why The Economy Is Even Worse than You Think. The article was illuminating but incomplete, because there's an eleventh reason: the unemployment-imbalance between the sexes. The male jobless rate stands at 11.4%, and women may soon compose the majority of the workforce. (Currently, the figure is 49.9%.) Feministas might approve of the latter statistic (and some of them, even of the former), but the men in a family, at least when they have jobs, still nearly always function as providers. A second paycheck might be valuable for some households, but even a single paycheck is crucial for many more.
27 November 2009
Uncommon Commentary #87: Those Who Portray Indians in Stereotypical Ways Ought to Be Scalped—I Mean, Shot
What follows is a discourse that has never taken place, but which could well do so, if I should ever encounter an "activist" who disregards real issues in order to pressure sports programs or franchises into being "sensitive."
Activist [foaming at the mouth]: It's racist and offensive to name teams for Native Americans!
Doman [jadedly]: First of all, most American Indians don't even call themselves "Native Americans"—except with a small initial "n," to mean that they were born as citizens of this country. "Native" refers to condition of birth; it has nothing to do with who got here first.
Activist: All right, then: Native American Indians!
Doman: As opposed to what: Indians who were born in Sweden, and emigrated to the USA? To get to the point, though: You "activists" ram American Indian culture down everyone's throat, yet revile sports teams that draw upon that very culture as "perpetuating negative stereotypes." Do you, then, have a "negative" view of American Indian civilization?
Activist [afraid, and unable, to answer the non-rhetorical question]: If it's not racist, why aren't there teams named for White people?
Doman: There are. Have you heard of the New York Yankees? Or the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Celtics, Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Southern California Trojans, Michigan State Spartans, Oklahoma Sooners, Iowa Hawkeyes, Indiana Hoosiers, et cetera, or the former Quebec Nordiques (who moved to San Diego or some such hotbed of ice hockey)? There were and are many lesser-known others, such as the collegiate Idaho Vandals or the defunct Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen.
Teams were named for American Indians for the same reason why many others were named for animals or for forces of nature. Just as people who root for Kentucky or for Miami (of Florida) want their athletes to emulate the ferocity of wildcats or the power of hurricanes, those who root for the Atlanta Braves or the Kansas City Chiefs admire the fighting prowess of the Indians with whom our ancestors clashed. Not only, therefore, is the giving of Indian-nicknames not intended as an offense to the aboriginal peoples of the Americas, it's complimentary to them.
Activist: What you say is logical, but, because I'm a leftist, logic unsettles me. My crusade may be paranoid, quixotic, and hypocritical, but I'll never admit that to anyone else, because I have a stake in seeing it continue.
Doman: That doesn't matter, because the text of our conversation can be viewed on the Doman Domain.
17 November 2009
US Secretary of State Marshall said in 1945 that "A democracy cannot fight a seven-year war." Marshall's judgement was not infallible, but it must be acknowledged by any thinking person that having "democracy" (properly, representation based upon universal adult suffrage) as a government is a liability when waging a war of any length, especially a prolonged one. In this regard, I wonder if it has occurred to anyone else that the phrase "War on Terror" has graduated from the status of a slogan (like "War on Poverty" or "War on Drugs") to become a literal description; that since late 2001 we've conducted not isolated campaigns in either Iraq or Afghanistan, but what amounts to continual belligerency versus effectively the same enemy (viz., those who have crossed borders if necessary to answer the "call to Jihad") in different theatres. It should be noted also that terrorist insurgency is effective particularly, indeed, only, versus representative governments, since its goal is to exhaust the patience of the voting public in the country whence the enemy troops have come.
There's no foreseeable end of this conflict, for there seems an inexhaustible supply of actual and potential jihadists, who desire only the opportunity, such as has existed lately in Iraq and Afghanistan, to fight Islam's reputed foes. We may be reaching a critical juncture, in that we must either change our form of government or concede defeat in the struggle versus terror.
11 November 2009
People seem to think that nothing good can be said of World War I, whereas its sequel was one of the few wars that can really be said to have been worth fighting; in fact, this is precisely the opposite of the truth. The sole reason why it became necessary to win the latter global conflict is that the victors of the previous one threw away the fruits of their triumph.
10 November 2009
Emperor Nerobama's administration may come to regret having abolished "terrorism" from official lexicon. Its replacement, "man-caused disasters," has become a convenient way to summarize his presidency.
08 November 2009
Western governments have again demonstrated their current lack of diplomatic imagination by (this past year) generally recognizing the transformation of the former Kosovo province into yet another independent state. One thing that the Balkan Peninsula doesn't need is further fragmentation. This doesn't mean that I think that it ought to have remained a part of Serbia/Yugoslavia; since most of the Serbs who lived there fled at the end of Milosevic's abortive attempt at "ethnic cleansing", and most of those who remain inhabit a slice of territory contiguous with Serbia proper, why not annex the new "nation" (save that Serbian enclave) to the other country that consists of Albanians, to wit: Albania?
06 November 2009
It's understandable that the USA intervened in the Holy Land when there was another "superpower" to make client states of Israel's Arab neighbors, and specifically to threaten militarily action on their behalf, such as happened during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Now that the
no longer exists, though, what cause do we Yanks have for meddling in the region? Is it force of habit? Or, do we think that the best way to convince Moslems that we aren't really the "Great Satan" is to pressure the Israelis into making even more concessions to the Palestinian Arabs than they already have? If the second possibility is the reason, it's not a very good one. When Uncle Sam is asked for his position on, e.g., Jewish settlements on the USSR West Bank, he ought to reply simply that it's not his business, which, after all, it's not. Not only should such a policy of non-interference (if practised consistently) win the respect of Moslem and other Arabs, it would also bring a rare quality to diplomacy: truthfulness.
30 October 2009
Barred by the constitution of Honduras from serving another term as president, Manuel Zelaya sought to overcome this hindrance by staging a popular referendum (with ballots sent courtesy of Hugo Chávez, who used the same strategy to indefinitely prolong his rule in Venezuela), in early summer, to cancel the upcoming elections. This is unlawful (as is what else he did: foment mob violence in order to carry out his bid), and so the country's highest court and the Congress deposed him. He was arrested and escorted into exile by troops, which may have given casual, careless, prejudiced, or merely stupid observers the impression that he had been ousted in a coup d'état. This ought to have been the end of the affair, for a Honduran issue had been settled by Hondurans, right? Alas, it was not, for a number of other countries in the Americas, including, most shamefully, the USA, have been demanding that Zelaya be restored to power. Not contenting itself with insolent protests, Obama's administration has been trying to bully the small and poor Central American state with tactics, such as sanctions and acts of diplomatic pressure, that go beyond any that his regime has tried with, for instance, Iran. Doesn't Obama believe in "engaging" Honduras?
The first paragraph of this uncommon commentary might seem to break one of my rules for the Doman Domain, viz., avoid addressing issues that I know to have been dealt with adequately by other pundits, but it's only background; the question that I want to explore is, what would motivate the USA or any other country theoretically dedicated to freedom to pursue so obnoxious a policy toward Honduras? Emperor Nerobama has referred to the removal of Zelaya as a "coup," and it may be that, as some commentators have suggested, he jumped to the conclusion that Zelaya had been ousted illegally, and now his ego won't let him admit that he was wrong. This sounds plausible, but Obama had at least one previous knee-jerk reaction (to the Russian-Georgian war in August of this past year; the then-candidate called for "restraint on both sides," as if the Georgians, who were straining to defend their country from a vastly superior invading army, could have imposed "restraint" upon their armed forces without being annihilated), from which position he subsequently backed down. If he could flip-flop on that issue as well as so many others, why not on the pseudo-coup in Honduras? An even worse, but perhaps more likely explanation, is that Obama is just more in sympathy with the left-wing Zelaya than with those who favor the rule of law in Honduras.
24 October 2009
In compiling your long list of things that you thought would never happen in the USA, but which have happened under Emperor Nerobama, don't forget about "attempted muzzling of the press."
On the struggle versus terrorists in Afghanistan, our President's mind can perhaps be likened to the bed of a double amputee, in that someone has to make it up for him. There is, however, one war that he has shown determination to win: that versus Fox News. His administration apparently is indignant that journalists from that network have dared to ask him and his underlings probing questions rather than pay him homage, and it has responded to their independence by refusing to have any dealings with Fox, as when Obama impolitely declined a talk with Chris Wallace. (The White House Communications Directrix has defended the boycott by characterizing the Fox News Channel as "opinion journalism masquerading as news"—but doesn't that description suit the press in general?) The latest offensive (by the politician whose phrase "never stop campaigning" has acquired an ominous new shade of meaning) came on Thursday, when reporters from Fox News were excluded from access to "Pay Czar" Feinberg. The D.C. bureau chiefs of the other networks, however, told the Gestapobama (see the list of domanisms, below) that if their colleagues from Fox were not allowed to interview Feinberg, he wouldn’t be interviewed by anyone; in the face of such solidarity, the Oval Office had to capitulate.
Obama has heretofore been given more favorable press coverage than any other President in history; indeed, even during his quest for the Democratic nomination, which he probably would not have won had it not been for slanted reporting, the bias was evident, and so for him to complain about allegedly partisan media may be the ultimate hypocrisy. Although it's easy to be too optimistic, though, the remarkable fact that at least some influential newsmen have stood up to his bullying could be a sign of a developing change (but not, unfortunately, to the dominance in media of leftists who see their job as an opportunity to alter public opinion; the best that we can hope for is that they will simply forsake Obama, and search for a torchbearer whose approval ratings are not going downhill faster than an Olympic skier).
Seldom do I have cause to praise anyone connected with the media. The taste of alcohol has never held much appeal for me, but I might start imbibing just to drink a toast to the Fox personnel and to those bureau chiefs.
15 October 2009
In a patrilineal culture such as ours, there is really no such thing as a feminine surname; perhaps our culture ought to be matrilineal, as some others are, but the fact remains that it's not. To allege that a woman "loses part of her identity" in adopting her husband's family name is juvenile and egotistic.
09 October 2009
Over the past two decades, Nobel Peace Prize recipients have included a communist autocrat (Mikhail Gorbachev), a terrorist (Yassir Arafat), a terrorist and Marxist (Nelson Mandela), an ineffectual boob (Jimmy Carter), a foreign enabler of Iran's nuclear-arms program (Mohamed ElBaradei), a disseminator of alarmist propaganda (Al Gore), and now Barack Obama. The members of the Nobel committee probably wish that they were members of this body 70 years ago, so that they could give the award to Hitler and Stalin for the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the USSR.
The verb "exploit," in popular parlance, has acquired an undeservedly pejorative connotation; what this word really means is simply to make use of (something), not necessarily to do so with ruthlessness or immoderacy. What's wrong with exploiting natural resources, so long as the exploitation is carried out responsibly?
06 October 2009
Sense 2b of my dictionary's entry for the word ("easily detected or seen through : OBVIOUS") is the only way in which Emperor Nerobama's government can be called "transparent."
30 September 2009
There are a number of reasons why I no longer watch the game that we in the Usa call "football," including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
- It has the option of a two-point conversion attempt after a touchdown, but a game also goes into overtime if tied at the end of 60 minutes of playing time. Not only do these rules cause redundancy, since the purpose of both is to prevent ties, but they also often defeat their own purpose. If the U. of Northern South Dakota Locusts trail the U. of Southern North Dakota Polecats 7-14 with seconds remaining, but then score a "touchdown" (see below), the Locusts won't risk the outcome of the entire game on a two-point conversion attempt, but will simply kick the extra point and send the game into overtime; if, on the other hand, they trail 6-14, they'll have nothing to lose by going for the two points, thus, should they succeed, sending into overtime a game that would have ended after four quarters if a two-point attempt were not permissible. Having both two-point conversions and overtime thus makes it more likely that a game will go into overtime, needlessly prolonging what may have already become a tedious contest. (Overtime also, in my opinion, cheapens victory, since it means that games that a team really ought to have tied are recorded as wins.)
- In order to score a "touchdown," it is not necessary to actually touch the ball down in the other team's end zone (as it is in the ancestral sport Rugby; from this fact derives the name of this scoring play, and perhaps the celebratory spike) but merely to "break the plane of the goal line," which is not very satisfying for spectators to see happen. Further, how many times have you seen a receiver jump to catch the "ball" (see below) and land so that said ball is out of bounds by two yards or even more, yet, because he managed to extend the big toe of each of his feet to the turf in the end zone before falling onto his rump, the referee calls it a touchdown? As I see things, in order to score six points, it should be necessary to actually ground the "ball" at or beyond the opponent's goal line.
- If your team begins a possession at your own 20-yard line, and ends up with, let's say, a fourth-and-five situation at the other team's 33-yard line, you are faced with three unpalatable choices: try to pick up the first down, which effort will probably fail, and give the other team above-average field position; attempt a field goal, which effort will probably fail, and give the other team above-average field position; or punt, hopefully pinning the other team deep in its own territory. The third option not only guarantees that your 47-yard drive will yield no points, but also carries the high risk that the "ball" will be downed in the end zone, resulting in a touchback, which means that the punt has netted your team all of 13 yards. There ought to be, as is true in the Canadian version of the game, no touchback; in other words, a team's inability to return a missed field-goal attempt, or a punt, out of its own end zone should result in a score for the other team. (In Canadian "football," this score is called a "rouge," and is worth one point; I think that it ought to be called a safety, and be worth two points like the safety with which we Yanks are familiar.)
- It's bad enough that violations of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) rules are as common as they are in intercollegiate "football," but even some actions that do not violate those rules, such as the awarding of so-called athletic scholarships up to the licit limit, are actually abuses. As the term suggests, athletic scholarships were intended to be bestowed only upon athletes whose scholarship (in another sense of the word) merits grants-in-aid; in practice, however, it is not the recipients' academic performance but rather their prowess on the gridiron that matters. (Some self-described reformers now even want players at the university level to be paid openly, as if exemption from paying for education weren't compensation enough.)
- Any sport should have competition to determine which competitor is the best; polls of sportswriters obviously are an inadequate substitute (since they give teams incentive to run up scores, and the voters may be prejudiced), but something that hardly anyone understands is that the NCAA does not recognize them or anything else as even an inferior means of determining the champion of U.S. "college football." According to that governing body, there thus has never been a Division I-A (now "NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision") "national champion"; the introduction of the pretentiously titled Bowl Championship Series, which arranges postseason matchups between the teams ranked as best and second-best, is irrelevant in this regard. The professional league in this country does have a real championship game, but the hyperbole that accompanies it is too nauseating to watch.
- Finally, why is the sport that I've critiqued even called "football?" The game involves neither the foot (unless your position is that of kicker or punter) nor a true ball (which is, by definition, a sphere). My new name for it (as well as that for the Superbowl) is on the list of domanisms, below.
24 September 2009
Even in the Obama Nation (see the list of domanisms, below), the subject of this article (to which you are linked by the title of this post) is almost beyond belief. (I recommend that you also re-read the second paragraph of "Education Made Me What I Am Today: Evil and Incompetent!", and note in this connection that the next-to-last paragraph of the news story recounts Obama's disingenuous praise of US public education.)
18 September 2009
There's no question that women can do almost anything, but there's nothing that they do better than serve as wives and mothers.
I think that I know the reason why Obama is naming all these "czars": he wants to make up for the fact that it was his fellow leftists who murdered the Russian Czar and his family in 1918.
Democrats tried to offset their treasonable deeds and words regarding the counterinsurgency in Iraq by saying that Afghanistan was the place where a “surge” was needed. That view might seem confirmed by the fact that 2009 has already seen the highest number of fatalities to coalition forces of any year of the war, but it must be kept in mind that the campaign to drive the Taliban from power ended victoriously well in advance of the US-UK invasion of Iraq, and that not until late 2005 (inspired, no doubt, by Western leftists' opposition to their own polities' war efforts in that country) did the Taliban begin a push to reclaim their authority. (Their position on this issue reminds me of their criticism of George W. Bush for not paying enough attention to North Korea; I also found the President's policy toward Kim Jong-Il inconsistent with his stance toward Saddam “Hussein,” but I disliked their hypocrisy, since, after all, Bush wouldn't have inherited either crisis if his Democratic predecessor had done his job.) Anyway, now that someone who actually knows anything about the situation in Afghanistan (Gen. McChrystal) has requested a greater commitment of manpower in order to implement the strategy that our President proclaimed when he was still pretending to be a hawk, these same Democrats, even with one of their own in the Oval Office, oppose the escalation that they said they favored when our troops were suffering a fraction of the number of casualties that they are now. Perhaps they have no more confidence in Obama as commander-in-chief than I do.
It remains for me in this uncommon commentary to address the question of why the fortunes of the terrorists in Afghanistan have been waxing. Since Afghan police say that the suicide attacks that occur there are not carried out by their own people, one probable factor is that terrorists from elsewhere are now moving into that land rather than Iraq for the opportunity to fight the Infidel. Leftists commonly develop obsessive hatred for any Republican who occupies the Oval Office; I don't want to fall into a similar trap regarding Emperor Nerobama, blaming him for everything that's going wrong in the world, and so I won't go so far as to attribute the negative developments in Afghanistan to his poor leadership. I'll say merely that the attainment to the USA's highest office of someone whose candidacy was endorsed by foreign enemies of the country (Qaddafi, Ortega, the Castro brothers, Hamas), and who has had close associations with its domestic enemies (Jeremiah Wright, William Ayres, et cetera), can only have boosted their morale. I'll also say, to conclude, that the Afghan situation at least demonstrates that Obama’s election to the presidency has not been the “game-changer” in relation to terrorism that many of those who voted for him actually expected it to be (although in a perverse way, they were right: the “War on Terror” was lost on Election Day 2008).
15 September 2009
The cover of the latest AARP Bulletin proclaims that this issue contains "the hype, the lies, the facts" on health-care reform. Specifically, the hype is contained on pages 1-5; the lies, on pages 6-20; and the facts are in print that's illegible without a microscope, written in a script that has yet to be deciphered.
The term "Fourth Estate" ought to be broadened to include not just the press but also the entertainment media. the capacity of fiction to shape opinion is enormous; its tendency to do so, unsettling.
12 September 2009
First, the ruling Democrats warned people that the unemployment rate would rise to 8% and beyond unless the ARRA (or "Stimulus," or APPA; see the guide to domanisms, below) of 2009 were enacted; now, with that rate nearly at double digits, they're telling us that said legislation has saved a million jobs! They ought to have appended to their extraordinary claim the statement "Decide which you're going to believe: us, or the truth."
08 September 2009
By the time this is posted, Emperor Nerobama will have delivered his ballyhooed speech to most of the schoolchildren of the USA. Reports are that this oration merely aimed at encouraging our younglings to study hard—Now there's a message that I'll bet they've never heard before!—rather than recruit them for the Obama Youth, as many feared it might. (One can't blame those who had such apparently unrealized trepidations, given the Left's longstanding practice of making children into political pawns, and the White House's recent habit of using ostensibly ideology-neutral situations, for example, that ABC television special on health care, to expound its obnoxious agenda.) If the purpose of his address was not to "indoctrinate" young people, then, what was his reason for giving it? There's nothing wrong or uncommon about urging students to live up to their name, but that's just my point; the pomp surrounding this particular such exhortation is probably without parallel. Did Obama not realize the redundancy or the unremarkability of his message, or the absurdity of occupying their time with something like this instead of having them do something that might actually further their studies, i.e., studying?
It seems to me that the true significance of this episode is that it provides further evidence as to our President's inordinately high opinion of himself. Just as he pretends or believes that he can talk North Korea and Iran out of joining what I call the "nuclear family," he puts forward his alleged verbal magic as the "answer" to the woes of public education: the solution to the problem of inadequate schools is not to improve those schools but for our leader to inspire students to better performance.
On the previous occasions when I called Obama a megalomaniac, I was not presuming to diagnose him as having that psychological disorder, but merely referring to his personality type; if he sincerely feels that his words have the ability to alter reality, though, he really ought to consider consulting a mental specialist. (And if I were he, I'd make the visit before my proposed medical reform goes into effect.)
26 August 2009
It's not very often that I agree with the French, but: Vive la différence! Perhaps "revive" would be more apt, for Westerners have lately seemed bent on erasing all distinctions between the sexes, or, failing that, at least creating a pretense that no such distinctions remain. This attitude manifests itself most regrettably in female participation in such sports as rugby, ice hockey, and even boxing, which is considered by many to be too violent even for men. Making pugilists of women seems to me an act more worthy of pagan Rome than of our supposedly enlightened civilization.
20 August 2009
17 August 2009
Now that warnings about the ominous "end-of-life provision" have resulted in its removal from the Democratic health-care fiasco, I'd say that the opinion of those who issued the warnings has been borne out. I'd also say that the formation of "death panels" or something much like them was (and, really, still is) not just a frightening possibility but an ultimate inevitability, given both the rationing that would be characteristic of ObamaCareless (see the list of domanisms, below) and society's increasing acceptance of euthanasia and of assisted suicide.
14 August 2009
According to a poll taken at the end of the First 100 Days, the overwhelming majority of Yanks credited the President with openness to differing viewpoints. It would be interesting to see whether people still feel that way, in light of the reactions by Obama and his henchmen to the criticism and concerns, in town-hall meetings and other forums of opinion, over his edict—I mean, proposal—for health-care reform. The Administration and other Democrats have accused those who oppose micro-managing medicine of (whatever is meant by) being “un-American,” of fear- and "evil-mongering," of having a covert agenda, and of telling half-truths and outright lies: in summary, all the things of which those who promote the government takeover of medicine are themselves guilty. Not content with slander and libel, the Oval Office has resorted even to Gestapo tactics, urging Obama's subjects—I mean, fellow citizens—to "report" subversives who dare to say anything "fishy" about his health-care plan.
Obamaphile intolerance of dissent did not begin because of the attempt at reform of medical care. The White House, allied Congressmen, and other spendthrifts already had calumniated the participants in TEA Parties; the Director of Homeland Security had categorized anyone who disagrees with Obama policy as an extremist and a potential (or actual) terrorist; Injustice Department officials had vowed to hunt down “all actors” in the killing of late-term abortionist George Tiller, as if there were evidence that this incident had resulted from (as Secretary of State Clinton might say) a vast right-wing conspiracy; et cetera.
Nor is the Left's general intolerance of dissent coeval with the transformation of the Usa into an Obama Nation. The radical movements Communism and National Socialism (see We Have Met the Enemy, and They Are Ourselves) have long been synonymous with totalitarianism, and "totalitarianism lite" (see the list of domanisms, below) received its better-established nickname "political correctness" in the late 1980's (although it had already existed for some years prior to then). Laws and codes ostensibly directed against "hate," but actually intended to suppress resistance to "gay rights," "reverse" discrimination, and other left-of-center social-engineering schemes, had been a dream and often a reality for decades before the writing of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Pro-abortionists, who initially portrayed fœticide as a necessary evil, were, by the 1990's, acting as if merely having to defend their position on the issue amounted to a violation of their constitutional rights. In 1996, when President (Bill) Clinton attended a funeral service, a television-news camera recorded him laughing, but then, upon noticing that he was on camera, affecting to wipe away a tear; left-wingers, demonstrating that they consider even objective fact-finding equal to sedition, became indignant not at Clinton but at the man who had taken the film. In 1993, they spouted claptrap about Congressional "gridlock," as if Republicans (who were then in the minority anyway) had some sort of obligation not to oppose Clintonian legislation.
Despite all this, leftists have always presented themselves as champions of liberty. In truth, they are not enemies of censorship at all; they just want exclusive rights to it.
08 August 2009
Probably the worst feature of rule by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi junta is that the government is enacting legislation that will probably continue to be a burden even years after these malfeasants have (hopefully) been thrown out of office. It would be nice to have confidence that the next 1994- or 2002-style Republican landslide will cut short the criminally irresponsible spending programs currently being implemented, many of the adverse effects of which are not scheduled to take place for another decade yet; I've learned, though, that, no matter how bad anything may be, it is extremely difficult to abolish once established.
04 August 2009
Why do brownskirts [see the list of domanisms] demand the use of "gender-neutral" pseudo-words such as "clergyperson," yet insist upon distinguishing between the sexes in writing or saying "he or she," "his/her," &c.? (See Some Words About Words. It's ironic also that they dreamt up the bogus title "Ms." to replace the marital-status-indicating "Miss" and "Mrs.," which abbreviate the same word: "mistress," the feminine of "master.") I think that it's because their movement has no rational basis, but is merely an exercise in paranoia.
25 July 2009
One of the keys to the highly effective law-enforcement aid called profiling is the fact that a disproportionate number of crimes in this country are committed by Blacks; hence the squawk over "racial profiling." Race, however, is just one element in the composition of a profile of a criminal; an even more disproportionate number of crimes are perpetrated by men, which means that the word "profiling," the object of such obloquy when preceded by "racial," could just as easily have "gender" affixed to it (although that word is really a grammatical term only, having nothing to do with the human sexes). It's not "racial profiling," but simply profiling.
18 July 2009
Does this make sense to you? In 1853, part of Oregon was organized as a separate territory, which its inhabitants proposed to call Columbia, after the River; the US Congress rejected the name, for fear of confusion with the District of Columbia. (It’s bad enough to have so much confusion in the District, specifically the Capitol.) The denizens therefore chose a new name, which the Congress accepted: Washington, which was already being used for the city that occupies the District of Columbia. In my opinion, this is so inane that one would expect it to have happened in our century.
01 July 2009
Access to health services indeed ought to be universal, but not socialized. I propose that the care of the ill be restored to those to whom it was entrusted originally: the religious. Mediæval hospitals were ministries, which relied upon not fees but donations; naturally, medicine has changed considerably since the Middle Ages (although even the use of leeches and that of maggots are making a comeback), but, even in this country, there is still at least one medical institution (the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital) that qualifies as charitable, and so I'll bet that the rest could also survive without charging their patients.
27 June 2009
Despite my intellectual curiosity, it's hard for me to have much enthusiasm about space exploration, especially regarding the possibility of colonizing moons and planets. Why send probes to distant celestial bodies, when we've scarcely begun to investigate the depths of our own oceans? Shouldn't we really put more effort into improving the governance of Earth before subjecting some other planet to our misrule? And since so many parts of Earth could support a much higher human population than they currently do, why even discuss the possibility of making settlements on such a place as Mercury or Titan (one of Saturn's moons), which would require great, and probably impossible, alteration of the environs?
I suspect that science fiction has conditioned people to think of the discovery of extraterrestrial civilizations (because, let's face it: no one but a scientist will be inspired by the finding of something like bacteria on another world) as lying in the near future, but this conditioning is almost certain to produce disappointment. Consider the distances that would have to be covered; there is a reason why the word "astronomical" has come, in our language, to describe incredibly large numbers. The starship Enterprise may zip from one galaxy to another the way that we in the early Twenty-First Century might jet from New York to Miami Beach, but a real interstellar commute would turn travel to travail. Aside from the Sun, the nearest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri, at a distance of 2.3 light years; this means that, even were it possible for a vehicle to travel at the speed of light, such a vehicle would require 2.3 years to reach a planet orbiting that star. Many of the stars that we think we see actually died centuries ago, but were so far away that the light they emitted before then is only now reaching us! Furthermore, it's estimated that, of all the solar systems in our unbelievably vast universe, only a small percentage contain bodies that have the potential to support life. All this means that, assuming that intelligent beings do exist elsewhere, it's of the utmost unlikelihood that we'll make contact with them during the lifespan of anyone born this year.
I don't foresee centuries of fruitless exploration of space, but that's because—fortunately—I, a Christian, don't foresee centuries of continued existence for the world as we know it. In my analysis, the Final Judgement cannot take place before we human beings have fulfilled the Great Commission to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, thus giving everyone in the world the chance to choose between Truth and Error; this time, however, must not be far off, because there are few places on the globe that missionaries have not yet penetrated. During the coming Millennium, the 1000 years of rest for mankind during which Christ and the Saints will rule, will it matter whether we've conquered other worlds? Will it not be enough to know that our Lord has overcome this world?
18 June 2009
When President Obombast (see the list of domanisms, lower on this page) spoke on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Normandy invasion (6 June 2009, for those of you in US public schools), he, being a leftist, couldn't pass up the opportunity—as he seemingly cannot pass up any other—to denigrate the country that he (mis)leads. The occasion obviously did not call for such commentary, but many genuine patriots have perhaps overcompensated for the tenor of his remarks in their responses thereto. The "America"-worshipers write and speak as though US participation in World War II were an episode of selfless voluntarism, on the part of gallants from the enlightened New World, for the sake of rescuing the hapless, benighted Old World; the reality doesn't quite match this. As one of the victors of World War I, the USA had a responsibility to act as a guarantor of the peace established at the end of that conflict, but instead sat idly on the sidelines of world diplomacy as Hitler campaigned for the National Socialist party by promising to "tear up the Versailles Treaty"; during the era of appeasement, our refusal to give up on isolationism made our policy toward the Third Reich more contemptible than that of either the United Kingdom or France, who at least were active in statesmanship; we entered World War II not until December of 1941, and then only because Japan forced us out of our neutrality and because Germany and Italy made the mistake of supporting her by declaring war upon us. (It ought to be noted that the country with the best claim on having saved civilization from the Nazis is not the US but the UK—A European country!—which did not need to be attacked in order to join the fray but rather declared war in response to the invasion of Poland, and, with her Commonwealth, stood between the Axis and the rest of the world until Hitler abandoned his plan to attempt an invasion of Great Britain and instead turned upon his ally the USSR. Had Uncle Sam gone to war as early as the British did, his intervention probably would not have been the decisive factor that we Yanks like to believe it was; in 1939, our military strength was rated below that of Belgium, a country that the Wehrmacht overran in just a few weeks.)
The purpose of this uncommon commentary, naturally, is not to slight the sacrifices or the valor of the US troops who landed at Utah or Omaha Beach or who fought in any other theatre of the Second World War. Neither is it to imply that we Usans (see the guide to domanisms) are pacifistic voluptuaries by nature; before the bombing of the base at Pearl Harbor, one-tenth of the Royal Canadian Air Force consisted of US citizens who chose not to sit out the war. It is, rather, to lament the fact that many of my fellow Obamaphobes would react to our President's anti-patriotism with equally distasteful spread-eagle bluster. (The adjective "spread-eagle" is a delightful 1858 Americanism that I've lately discovered, meaning "boastful or jingoistic about the U.S.") It is partly because so many Yanks think that the mere fact of being "American" gives us a sort of innate moral superiority over everyone else, and that, if the USA didn't exist, the rest of the world would wither away and die, that so many Europeans consider us to be bumptious nouveau riches. Surely we can honor our troops without forcing ideological interpretations upon Operation Overlord or any other event of US history.
16 June 2009
Failed-foreign-policy expert Bill Clinton spoke, on Saturday, to something called the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. I won't annoy you by reporting the text of his (35-minute) speech; I bring this up only to note that the committee got its money's worth. That's right: he wasn't paid.
13 June 2009
The strongest of the many arguments against fœticide (induced abortion) is perhaps the conversion of thousands, including many employees of abortion facilities, and the "Roe" of Roe v. Wade, from a pro-"choice" to a pro-life position. I don't know of even one person who has gone in the opposite direction.
06 June 2009
Don't be misled, by the saying "What happens in France happens here 10 years later," into thinking that the traffic in bad ideas is one-way. "Political correctness," global-warming hysteria, same-sex marriage, rap "music", "reality" television, the delusion that (cultural) "diversity" is a strength, et cetera, all spread to other parts of the world from the USA.
03 June 2009
In some parts of the world, mass murder, epidemics, famine, and child mortality are disturbingly common, but the worst calamity of all occurs right here in Connecticut: deer wander into people's yards to eat their plants! If my neighbors can stop wringing their hands in despair long enough to hear the word of reason, they ought to be told that this dire situation is of our elected government's own making. After all, deer, being naturally timid and wary creatures, don't want to approach human dwellings; the only reason why they do so is that they're starving. Limiting the season for hunting of them by man, while killing off or driving out most of their natural predators, has caused the cervine population to increase at the same time that the size of their habitat has dwindled, with the result that they have difficulty finding enough to eat. In my unsolicited opinion, people who use chemicals or electronic devices or whatever else to keep our antlered friends away ought to compensate either by putting out deer food (which, if in enough quantity to satiate them, will obviate their need to devour our gardens anyway) or by petitioning the State government to keep deer numbers down, by allowing hunting year-round and by reintroducing black bears, wolves, cougars, and bobcats to our woodlands. Until this is done, let's not allow ourselves to become preoccupied by trifles, but instead address a really grave concern: having to answer telephone calls during dinner!
31 May 2009
When I was quite young, sauropods (the largest dinosaurs) were always depicted in the water; now, they never are, but are instead shown trekking miles across dry land. It seems to me that the pendulum has swung much too far; all the sauropods had nostrils high on their skulls, which indicates unmistakably that these animals were amphibious. (This is my third Mesozoic musing; I hope that I haven't devoted too much space to this topic, but, after all, I'm something of a dinosaur myself, being a Christian in a neo-pagan country, having high standards of spoken and written English but living in a time when such standards have fallen so low as to be practically subterranean, etc.)
24 May 2009
In the phrase "jury of one's peers," "peers" originally meant those of the realm; the jury was an innovation of the English aristocracy, intended to restrain the power of post-Norman-Conquest kings (especially John, whom those aristocrats forced to sign the Magna Charta) by preventing the monarch from juridically punishing intractable nobles without the concurrence of fellow nobles. This concept evolved—more accurately, "degenerated"—into something that I think ought to be abolished: trial by a jury of average citizens. Were I on trial for my life, I'd rather that my earthly fate lay in the hands of professionals (the judge who presides over my case, and those who have charge of appellate courts) than in those of a bunch of amateurs, most of whom would rather be doing almost anything other than dispending justice.
22 May 2009
These days, people seem to take for granted that the "two-state solution" is the way to proceed toward peace in the Holy Land. Conventional wisdom, however, is so often wrong that it ought perhaps to be termed "conventional lack of wisdom"; so it is true here. I shall explain forthwith why the idea of a Palestinian Arab state is one whose time will never come.
It's not widely considered that a "two-state solution" has already been attempted. Consequent to Turkey's defeat in World War One, the area then called Palestine (the land now bounded by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean Sea) was mandated to Great Britain, to be prepared for eventual independence. By 1948, the British had, understandably, wearied of administering the region, and so turned over the question of Palestine to the United Nations, which voted to partition the area into Jewish and Arab realms. The Zionists accepted this, but no sooner had the United Kingdom ended its rule than their neighbors (both the established ones, such as Egypt, and the Palestinian Arabs who the UN expected to coexist with incipient Israel) attacked, proclaiming their intention to "drive the Jews into the sea." (The fact that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Said Haj Amin el Husseini, called for "extermination and momentous massacre" suggests that the war cry was more than an empty slogan. The implication should unsettle people of today who know of only the Holocaust; Jews were evidently threatened with annihilation for the second time in a span of three years.) Fortunately, divine justice was on the side of Israel, which not only triumphed versus great odds, but emerged larger than it would have been had the violence not taken place. The Arabs, however, can claim no moral high ground because of this, because of their war aim and because the new borders merely followed the cease-fire lines of 1949.
This First Arab-Israeli War had great significance for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Holy Land, since the problem was caused not by the Israelis but by the Arabs themselves. A superb article by Efraim Karsh proves that those who became refugees were not driven from their homes by the Zionists (who actually tried to get them to stay), but ordered out by their own leaders. (Further, at the close of the conflict, the Kingdom of Transjordan successfully claimed the West Bank, henceforward being known simply as "Jordan"; yet, after the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israeli armies occupied the Kingdom's unilaterally annexed territory, it declined to absorb all the outflow of the people to whom it had proclaimed its protection.) Thus was the first two-state "solution" stillborn, through the Arabs' own hatred and intransigence.
What ought to be done, then, in place of resurrecting this failed idea? My proposal is to cut off the international aid squandered on the Palestinian Arabs, and re-allocate this copious amount of money for the purpose of resettling them, homesteader and refugee alike, in sparsely-populated Arab countries. This would not create what (before the USA in particular and the world in general became obsessed with "diversity") was formerly recognized as a "minority problem," because there is no ethnic distinction between the Arabs on the West Bank (as well as Gaza) and those on the opposite side of the River Jordan (hence the fact that I refer to the former as Palestinian Arabs rather than simply as "Palestinians", which would give the false impression that they are a racially and/or culturally distinct people). It ought to be added in conclusion that if the Palestinian Arabs ever had a right to statehood, they long ago forfeited that prerogative through their bald refusals to make even the most negligible concession for the sake of peace, and through their election of the likes of Yassir Arafat and the Hamas militia to their highest offices. If world diplomacy wants to make an independent state of a region whose inhabitants consider terrorists to be their leaders, it might as well reëstablish the Third Reich or the USSR.
18 May 2009
If the University of Notre Dame's commencement speaker believes that "both" sides in the abortion debate "should stop demonizing each other," why doesn't he discharge or at least reprimand Janet Napolitano for categorizing opponents of fœticide as extremists and as potential terrorists?
17 May 2009
I have already written briefly, in Uncommon Commentary#18 (which posting, however, resulted from a random philosophical thought rather than from the partisan pseudo-crusade against "enhanced interrogation techniques"), on the subject of "torture" of those whose criminality is undeniable, and there have been various articles covering aspects of this topic, but I haven't seen any that treat them all systematically, and so perhaps it falls to me to fill the void. Here, then, are six points that need to be understood by everyone:
1) Torture is defined as the intentional infliction of severe pain. Would any rational, unbiased person assert that "waterboarding," for instance, comes under this category? (It does exceed what would be permitted in the questioning of common criminals by local police, but someone such as Abu Zubaydah is no common criminal, and his case is not one for local police. The term "enhanced interrogation techniques," however euphemistic it may sound, therefore seems justified.)
2) The terrorists, with a very few exceptions, are not US citizens, and thus not entitled to the privileges of US citizenship.
3) The employment of "enhanced interrogation techniques," or e.i.t.'s, has yielded such valuable information that intelligence professionals (even those who are Democrats) credit it with the prevention of "a second 9/11."
4) The real issue in the bogus furor over alleged torture is not whether waterboarding and the like ought to be used now (which they are not), but whether legal advisers who gave their expert opinions that such methods were permissible, and the government officials who took that advice, ought to be retroactively (and thus unconstitutionally) prosecuted (and persecuted) for having done so.
5) It's been established beyond question that the Congressional Democrats who scream the loudest about "torture" were briefed, on many occasions, on the procedures being employed against captured terrorists, and that not only did none object to those procedures, but the only objections came from those who wanted to know why the CIA wasn't doing more to extract information from the detainees.
6) For this point, see my hypothetical reasoning in Uncommon Commentary #18, and (since it's nice to have my opinion corroborated by someone whom I respect) this column. (It's no wonder that I like Sowell so well.)
I'm not an apologist for the USA; I think that Uncle Sam has does many things to be ashamed of. Alleged torture of prisoners is not among them; the fact that we permit so pathetic a spectacle as the Left's disingenuous campaign versus "torture" to go on, under the auspices of "democracy," is.
04 May 2009
You who have not already heard of this may not believe it, but physician Philip Nitschke is going to host a "suicide workshop" for the elderly. You can access the unpleasant details here. Important to note about that article is the reference to Eluana Englaro, who did not commit suicide, but was instead put to death by starvation; for the edification of the young people in my audience, this was considered murder not very long ago in the history of the West. The fact that she is mentioned in the debate over the "right to die" demonstrates the ease with which the acceptance of assisted suicide leads to that of what's called euthanasia. (Perhaps the issue is not a slippery slope but a precipice.)
Nitschke, like Jack Kevorkian, has been nicknamed "Dr. Death"; the many willing inducers of abortion could also legitimately claim such a title. One wonders whether these healers who hail from Hell are even aware that part of the original Hippocratic oath reads as follows:
I will give no deadly drug to any, though it be asked of me, nor will I counsel such, and especially I will not aid a woman to procure abortion.A decision concerning the fate of such an unfortunate as Englaro or Terry Schiavo is not an easy one for any conscientious person, but, as the above quote shows, that decision is not to be made by a physician, whose duty is not to take life but to preserve it. Hippocrates formulated his oath in the context of ancient Greek civilization, which, superior to that of the contemporary Old Testament in most respects, definitely lagged in moral standards; hence the necessity of the oath for improving the ethics of medical doctors. As our culture relapses into paganism, we again must hear the proverb "Physician, heal thyself!"
29 April 2009
I tend to be a hawk on military matters, but what sense does it make to have a "surge" in Afghanistan, where (unlike the circumstance in Iraq) no commander has requested additional forces? And how does Obama expect to bolster our presence there, maintain that in Iraq, be ready for other contingencies, and defend our own country, while making deep cuts in the defense budget? Most importantly, there's just one policy worse than isolationism, and that's incompetent interventionism; can this country win a war with Barack Obama as commander-in-chief?
There are interesting parallels between the mid-term switch of Arlen Specter and that of James Jeffords eight years ago. Both men, of course, threw over the Republicans for the Democrats; both justified their defecation—I mean, defection—by saying that the GOP had moved too far to the "right" (although, in the more-recent case, the real reason was the likely success of a challenge by Pat Trueman for the Republican nomination; Specter's statement that "I have nothing to say to the GOP primary voters. They have said it to me" amounts to an admission of this); and both defecations were costly to the Republican Party, for the one by Specter gave the opposition control of the US Senate (though for under two years; in 2002, Republicans routed Democrats in elections for both houses of the Congress, putting the lie to Jeffords' "the GOP is too conservative" propaganda), and that by Specter has, in tandem with the "election" of Pseudo-Senator Al Franken(stein), given the ruling party the 60 votes that it needs to close legislative debate on any subject, thus neutralizing the prospect of a Republican filibuster. (This is the only reason why the loss of Specter, who was always one of the worst of their number, can be considered a blow to Republicans.) It's also interesting, and amusing, to contrast the welcome that Specter is now being given with the vilification of him by his future Democratic Party inmates at Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearings two decades ago.
Specter's change of allegiance could, perversely, turn out to be the closest thing to a blessing for the minority party that can happen under our political system, precisely because leftists will now have their coveted filibuster-proof majority; not because they'll govern well, but because they'll do so badly. Allow me to explain. Even when leftists win they lose, because then they have to rule, and they can't. The fact of their holding power practically without opposition will mean that there will be no curbs on their desire to remake the USA into a socialist paradise, with predictably catastrophic consequences. A healthy US economy will, as is already obvious, be one of the casualties of this megalomaniacal experiment, and since the voters blame (fairly or not) the party in power for their wallet woes, the Democrats will subsequently be ejected from office (assuming that free elections can still take place, which really is not a foregone conclusion). One would hope that, in the meantime, they will not have had quite enough opportunity to ruin this country in every conceivable way; if they do, the rest of us will have to be stoic, bearing in mind that many other peoples have been living under odious regimes for decades.
Perhaps just one thing remains to be said about Specter: Although a politician obviously should not be forbidden to ever alter his affiliation, he ought to at least wait to do so until his term of office has expired. Specter was, after all, elected as a Republican, not as a Democrat, and so to jump parties now is unethical. He ought to feel at home in the Democratic Party.
28 April 2009
In the early 600's AD (as I have already referenced in I Slam Islam?), the Byzantine Empire inflicted a decisive military defeat upon the Sassanid Empire of Persia; because the Byzantines were Christian (and thus, like Jews, qualified as a "People of the Book," whom Mohammed instructed his followers to respect) and the Sassanids Zoroastrian, Islamic historians regard this as a triumph of Truth over falsehood. What this reveals is the inaptitude of Obama's remarks in Turkey (see Uncommon Commentary #47), which indicated that he believes that the way to "engage" the Islamic world is to have Moslems think that our country is wholly without religious ideology, and thus, according to his logic, no threat to them. A culture such as ours, which minimizes the importance of religion, has little hope of "engaging" one that still values religion above all else.
Don't be too concerned about growing older. The only ones of us who don't age are those who are dead.
The scandal is now several weeks old, but the administration of the University of Notre Dame still refuses to rescind its invitation to Obama to be this year's commencement speaker. University President Fr. Jenkins defends his bewildering decision by saying that having the messianic claimant on campus will be an opportunity to "engage in dialogue" with him, but Obama is coming not to engage in dialogue but to present a monologue; that's what a commencement address is. And guess which point of view he's going to present in this monologue: that of God, or his own?
Of course, I don't actually know what Obama is going to say at Notre Dame; it would be nice to be able to believe that his address will have nothing to do with the critical moral issues on which the Roman Catholic Church has consistently taken the right, and Obama just as consistently the wrong, positions. Even if he were to avoid controversy, though, there would remain the shameful fact that this great Christian university is bestowing accolades upon the most un-Christian President in US history, both by the intention to present him with an honourary degree and by the mere fact of having selected him to be the speaker.
I can think of only one possible reason for Father Jenkins' otherwise inexplicable decision: perhaps he's under the impression that our chief executive spells his name "Burrach O'Bamagh," and is thus an Irishman.