Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Sarah!!!!

John McCain has selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. I'll have more this evening. This is going to be a fun campaign!

UPDATE Friday Evening: Yes, John McCain took a fix on the North Star in choosing his VP running mate. This seemed to stun many in the Media and the political punditry who were not familiar with Sarah Palin. I had heard of her as a possible running mate over the past couple of months through several web sites including this one and was kind of hoping McCain would pick her, but it seemed a long shot until this morning.

McCain's pick is rallying the conservative base while attracting positive interest from independents. Democratic spokespersons and some in the Media have attacked her for her lack of experience in foreign policy. A valid critique up to a point, since she has about as much foreign policy experience as, well, Barack Obama.

Palin is known as being a strong conservative, while successfully taking on corrupt politicians in her own party.

Most of all, Sarah Palin's rise to national prominence will blow the roof and doors off the conventional wisdom on social issues, particularly on life. Endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List during her run for Governor and a member of Feminists for Life, Palin walks the talk on being prolife by welcoming and loving her youngest child who happens to have Downs Syndrome. (Note: A majority of babies diagnosed with with Downs Syndrome in utero are killed by abortion.) There sure must be some knotted stomachs among the usual suspects at Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Like I said, this is going to be a real fun campaign.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Conventional Wisdom

The 2008 election campaign is revving into high gear with the Dem Convention this week and the GOP Convention next week. As I'm typing, Al Gore is waxing apocalyptic. Presidential nominee Barack Obama will speak from the temple later this evening. John McCain's campaign suggests that participants should come appropriately dressed for the world's largest toga party. Meanwhile Senator McCain has issued a positive ad congratulating Senator Obama on his historic nomination.

One issue that won't go away is the one that Gore and others tonight euphemistically referred to as 'a woman's right to chose'. The abortion issue has reached a new level when Catholic politicians Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden don't just insist on ignoring Catholic teaching but insist on re-interpreting it, leading a number of leading bishops to want to send them back to catechism class. Sadly, I don't know if the pols are deliberately distorting the Church's strong teaching on human life or are so steeped in the secular liberal culture and misled by some dissenting Church teachers that they don't know when they're wrong.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Feast Day!

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.

Father Clifford Stevens describes a historical account consistent with this belief in this article. (Hat tip to Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner)
That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."

Father Stevens also notes the relatively recent elevation of this belief to formal Catholic doctrine.
In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution , Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Count Vlad's Rampage and 'Operation Vittles II'

Wow! Get behind in blogging for a few days and a new world crisis breaks out. The situation in Georgia is very serious and many people are suffering. While there is ambiguity on how this conflict started, it is clear that the Russian invasion has gone far beyond any possible justification regarding one breakaway province. The strong response of the US and some other nations is critical.

While direct US military intervention would be highly dangerous and probably not very practical, President Bush seems to have found a smart way to project a US presence in the region via a military airlift of humanitarian aid to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Interestingly, this move recalls, on a smaller scale, President Truman's initiating the massive Berlin Airlift (Operation Vittles) of sixty years ago to thwart the Soviet blockade of that city. Like that operation, this one puts the Russians on the spot, for they would have to be the ones to initiate conflict in order to stop the airlift or attempt to occupy the Georgian capital. Let's pray this situation ends peacefully without awarding aggression that puts the world at future risk of war.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
The Revolution Will Be Twittered

The Republican Congressional members continue their presence on Capitol Hill despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi's turning off the C-SPAN cameras. This story involves politics, energy policy and the use of new communications tools to spread information rapidly. What happened these last few days and how a grassroots movement is changing the political climate using new tools is described in this article at The Next Right blog.
So what does this have to do with a movement? It's just a bunch of middle aged Republicans speechifying in the dark! It only started that way. Less than an hour after the Dems departed and the GOP got going, Eric Odom and Allen Fuller from Flat Creek put up a Twitter site, 'Don't Go!', so GOP members could get their message out along with any citizen or Social Media savvy activist. That site hit the blogs and it was off to the races. They had multiple Tweets per minute beginning mid session Friday evening and it has continued unabated to this very moment!

I'll have to admit I am only now really starting to learn about this Twitter thing. Here's the official site to become active on Twitter.
Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

But even without setting up a Twitter account you can follow what's going on on Capitol Hill and the growing public demand for action on energy development through the '#dontgo' Twitter site and an associated supporting web site.

Meanwhile, what's Nancy Pelosi up to now that she has her recess? She's out on a book tour for her work titled Know Your Power. In her usual pithy way, Michelle Malkin assesses the Pelosi tome.
The Democratic Speaker of the House and a co-author hired to try to add flavor to bland Beltway establishment oatmeal have penned a self-help book for "America’s daughters" to help them Know Your Power. It’s a dreadfully pedestrian text ("As long as we recognize the power within us, we will continue to have choices, and we will continue to lead."), surpassed in its dreadfulness only by the timing of its publication.

With congressional approval ratings at an all-time low and the Democratic Congress under fire for taking a five-week vacation instead of working on energy policy, perhaps this wasn’t the best time to send Nancy Pelosi jetting from coast to coast to tell our daughters how to save the planet, manage our households and run our government.

Sorry, Nan. There aren’t enough carbon offsets to compensate for this tree-wasting dud and its accompanying gas-guzzling, hot air-emitting publicity tour.

With events spinning beyond her control on the Hill while she's away, San Fran Nan may come to know her power is fleeting.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, RIP

Author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who bravely challenged the Soviet regime and exposed its infamous 'gulags' years before its collapse, has passed away at age 89.

Uprising on the Hill

Friday, August 1, 2008 may mark a seminal day in the intersecting history of New Media forums and American politics. The House Democratic leadership forced an abrupt action to begin its August recess in order to prevent a vote on comprehensive energy development on which scores of Democratic members were likely to defy their leadership and vote with the Republicans (and the majority of public opinion).

Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the lights, microphones and C-SPAN cameras turned off, but instead of ending the discussion, Republican members remained on the floor to argue for comprehensive energy development. Since there was no formal session, the members invited numerous tourists in the gallery to come to the floor and be a part of history in the making.

Jeff Emanuel, writing for the Red State blog, recounts Friday's events and particularly the role of new communications tools ('Twitter', blogs, etc.) Be sure to take the time to watch this 5 minute You-Tube clip from the House floor. (Remember, Nancy Pelosi does NOT want you to see this.)

Meanwhile, the energized Republicans will return to the Capitol tomorrow to continue to raise the energy issue. (Hat tip to Drudge Report) This story has barely begun to develop.

Space Highs and Lows

The third attempt by SpaceX to launch its Falcon 1 rocket ended in failure with an anomaly that occurred around the time of stage 1/2 separation. Company founder Elon Musk said in a statement that SpaceX had recently acquired "a significant investment" and vowed that the company's space efforts would continue.
There should be absolutely zero question that SpaceX will prevail in reaching orbit and demonstrating reliable space transport. For my part, I will never give up and I mean never.

The Falcon 1 setback came after a week of positive space developments including SpaceX's successful full nine-engine static test of it's larger Falcon 9 booster configuration.

Other significant developments last week included the roll-out of Virgin Galactic's White Knight 2, the giant carrier plane for the SpaceShipTwo commercial suborbital spaceplane now under development, and the demonstration of 'Rocket Racing' at the Oshkosh, Wisconsin air show this week.

Finally, the not-surprising but very significant confirmation of water on Mars by NASA's Phoenix lander. Apparently, there have been more intriguing discoveries soon to be made public, on which the White House has already been briefed.