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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stevi Ferguson Is At It Again

Here's a "gay" blog you can read until Jesus comes back. No, seriously. My friend from college, Stevi Ferguson, posted it. Stevi continues her incredible run of posting amazing, thoughtful things on Facebook from around the Christian blogosphere for us to read. I've said this to her many times. I digress.

OK, odds are pretty good that the author, Julie Rodgers, is a Protestant. Try not to die, gentle readers. Anyway, we should be able as Catholics to separate orientation from behavior, as our Catechism does, in paragraphs 2358-2359. And maybe we can help our evangelical brethren to engage this issue more fruitfully.

I read a couple more posts from Julie, and I really liked them. She tells us that she's committed to following Christ, in spite of the challenges and struggles, and I can get behind that, enthusiastically.

JK's "Liberal" Thoughts Of The Day

5. If you don't index anti-poverty/assistance programs to inflation, you are actually creating that "culture of dependency" you're always going on about.

4. Not even one person can live on $7.50/hr or whatever it is. I'm not saying raise it, but at least say it. When a liberal says it, and that he's concerned about it, it's an automatic 5 votes. Just sayin.'

3. Maybe we should give peace a chance. Just once.

2. I don't think sports teams should receive public funds. It's just not that important, really. And I love sports.

1. I'm still against the death penalty.

Friday, October 11, 2013

JK Being JK

5. I admire the GOP for having spines, for once. It's a fake shutdown, but it may lead to better policy.

4. They aren't doing anything illegal. All the hand-wringing is about collective action. But the incentives are not collective for Congress; they are individual. Democrats do not understand (or choose not to understand) that a GOP legislator will face loads more wrath from within his party for folding to Dems than any noise the Dems or media could generate, and they have more to lose long-term than you hope to gain from the "bad optics."

3. Boehner is going to eat Obama for lunch, eventually. They'll do a deal, Obama will look good short-term, and then actual policy will reflect Republican priorities.

2. Obama is a unique and very powerful symbol, but he's a second-rate tactician and legislator. They have finally figured this out.

1. I love America, and our politics. I really do. Acrimony is bad; gridlock, however, is not. Our system was designed this way!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A Haiku In Sorrow

Loss

Cry now, though Joy hides
like she will never come back.
Jesus cries with us.

"The Gap Between The Rich And Poor", And Where We Are

We have to talk about it. I'm sure you know, this is a progressive slogan, a throw-away line. This is the moral trump-card, the "End of discussion, I'm better than you, because I CARE" card played against every conservative since at least 1492. I'm taking this card away today. We're talking about it, because it's important.

The gap between the rich and poor in the US is ridiculous. Completely. It's really a scandal. And the reason it's only gotten worse is because we have lost the concept of true meritocracy. So-called liberals run around creating who knows what trying to address it, our government grows, poverty persists, and someone else gets blamed. Republicans either like the wildly unjust system the way it is, or pretend it's not real, thereby losing the people who still have souls to speak of, and at least half the people with brains. But our political class wants you to believe that poor people are some weird species of leper. Both halves of it believe this, and they're both wrong in different ways. So-called liberals or progressives seem to think it's like a disease you catch, like polio or something. They're always chasing some indicator showing How Bad It Really Is. If I hear one more personal story about some person or family who hit some hard luck, in the service of policies that enrich the political class but not all of us, I'm going to freak out. They don't care about that person; Hillary Clinton doesn't really care about that person; she wants you to think she does. She wants you to think that you do. So that we all can feel better about ourselves, while we go back to doing whatever it is we do. Firstly, let's acknowledge our limitations: if we're not close to someone, we can only care so much. Secondly, if Hillary or Obama says, "We're going to spend 300 billion dollars to help the poor" that sounds good, right? We don't deal in numbers that large. My brother likes to say, "It's all Monopoly money at that point." That's his way of saying he doesn't understand numbers that big. Who does, honestly? But if they spend 3 times more than they said they would, and Bob is still poor, when do you lose the "A" for effort? When have the Democrats ever lost it? Well, I say that life and death is pretty high stakes. "Well, at least they tried" isn't good enough.

Being poor sucks. If I may go on a brief digression, only a person who is poor understands that morality and politics can never be separated. Whether you are poor by choice that is culpable or not, you know that your next move could be your last. The consequences hit heavier and more acutely. That's the nice thing about being rich materially in this life: stuff comes at you slower. If you're addicted to something--unless it's good deeds--you're just short of finished, because all that matters is getting that feeling. There is no big picture; there is no hope for the future. In fact, there is no one else. There's a moral distinction, never made by the progressive dreamers and the Randian fools: Drugs hurt everyone, and it's a moral crossroads at some point, even if not at every point. How much damage one does really depends only on how many depend on you.

Not every rich person is a saint, and not every poor person is a lout. The converse is also true. Unless and until the economic indicators reflect human flourishing, both materially and otherwise, we are chasing ghosts. And no amount of faith in markets currently undoes the fact that a great many of us apparently can't get access to them. There is an unholy alliance of Big Money and Big Government that grows stronger by the day. This is why the federal government went from a budget of roughly 2.3 trillion dollars in 2002, to somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.8 trillion today. Actually, we don't know, because our dutiful servants, the Congress and the president, haven't actually passed a budget in 5 years. You know, our previous president, God love him, left the war expenditures out of the budgets, actually. So it's probably far worse than we know. In either case, I can't think of a single intractable problem that would require a doubling of our federal budget in about a decade. Who are they "helping?" How are you feeling about your economic situation? But those "too big to fail" seem to be doing fine. Doesn't it seem like every political discussion sounds like a commercial for The Running Man, or The Hunger Games?

I'm a conservative, OK? That means I do think government is a huge part of the problem. But let's be clear: I believe in "limited government." Not "less." Not "none." Limited by what? By the powers WE THE PEOPLE have allowed it at every level to have, and no more. The reason we have federalism in the first place is so that Bob doesn't become a statistic, whether because he died, or he's trapped in the bureaucracy. If we do not address the fundamental access points to the system of voluntary free exchange, and its end or purpose in relation to the body politic, we have no claim to be statesmen. If we do not address the various impacts of unwieldy government on that same body politic and our much more significant familial and social relations, we likewise have no claim to be statesmen.

Monday, October 07, 2013

NLDS, Game 4. Cards-Pirates

It's a must-win. Upstart Pirates are up 2-1. Matheny chose Wacha over Shelby the Kid. They're both kids, actually. We're confident. The boys have good hitting numbers against Charlie Morton. I want to win real bad, because I know that Waino will shut the door in the deciding fifth game. The truth of it is, though, it doesn't matter. We win either way. That's how we do baseball in St. Louis, and I doubt you'd understand.

Each and every season is a love story between the team and its fans. We love them, and they love us. Win or lose. Fair enough, we win a lot. But a city that loves the game so deeply should win. How many times have aging veterans had surprising returns to form? How many rookies have played like All-Stars? Not just this year. Every year. Mark it down: This is the Cardinals' 10th postseason appearance in 14 years. A few years is a window; a decade and a half is a method. A Way. The Cardinal Way.

We're the Yankees for a third of the price. I love this team; I love this city. Go get 'em, boys!

Honestly. I Don't Have To Blog Today

Bingo. And Francis was his name-O. [You just can't help yourself, can you?--ed.]

AWWWW! Seriously...AWWWWW!

Yes, that. 1000 times, that.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Lord, Have Mercy!

We can really make a mess of things, can't we? We don't only need forgiveness; we also need mercy for our wounds, and the wounds of others. I was carrying a pain like this around today, and I couldn't shake it. I'm glad no one asked me if I was OK. I can't guarantee that it would not have been a scene. Just sayin.'

I'm just one of those people for whom "holding it together" only applies to sandwiches. I'm not kidding. I cried watching Baywatch one time. Settle down. I was young enough that women in swimsuits was just women in swimsuits. Anyway, you probably have seen the one where Hobey (The Hoff's son on the show) befriends the lonely giant who was mistreated? Sheesh. Please don't make me watch that, ever again. Too much.

So, pray for someone hurting today. The sins by them or against them may be long past, but the damage lingers.