The end of the Hapsburg dynasty

The line that gave us most of the Holy Roman Emperors–including Charles V, before whom Luther confessed his faith at the Diet of Worms, who was presented the Augsburg Confession, and who battled the Reformation with the sword–is now extinct. The eldest son of the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian empire has died in Germany at the age of 98. Otto von Habsburg was born in 1912, as the heir to the empire, but it collapsed at the end of… Read more

Atheocracy

Denver bishop James D. Conley offers a potentially useful new word: In our day, those “decrying the Christian religion” have seized the captain’s seat in America—in the academy, the media, the government and courts. The result is a kind of publicly enforced religious indifferentism, or what recent Popes have called “practical atheism.” The Constitution insists that no religious test shall ever be required for public office. But our society, in effect, now imposes an “irreligious test.” To take part in… Read more

A liberal tea party?

Liberals are afflicted with tea party envy.  According to leftist political theory, populist movements–grassroot uprisings of the masses–are supposed to advance the agenda of the left.  But in America most populist movements lean right.   So Democrats are trying to organize a tea party of their own: At last weekend’s Netroots Nation gathering in Minneapolis, liberal activists expressed frustration that they lacked the political power or media focus given to the conservative tea-party movement. Former White House environmental official Van Jones… Read more

Pollution cures global warming

Climate scientists–the established ones, not the renegades–have found that global surface temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, despite heightened carbon emissions, and they have been trying to figure out why.  Now they are saying the temperature drop is anthropogenic, the result (like they had been saying of global warming) of pollution, just a different kind: Smoke belching from Asia’s rapidly growing economies is largely responsible for a halt in global warming in the decade after 1998 because of… Read more

And now, consensual adultery

Gay marriage is not the only revolution in the works.  The lead article in the last New York Times Magazine makes the case for consensual adultery as a way to keep marriages together: [Rep. Anthony Weiner’s] visage was insisting, night after night, that we think about how hard monogamy is, how hard marriage is and about whether we make unrealistic demands on the institution and on ourselves. That, anyway, is what Dan Savage, America’s leading sex-advice columnist, would say. Although… Read more

Misunderstanding our founding documents?

E. J. Dionne says that, contrary to what tea party conservatives are saying, our founding documents are not anti-government: A reading of the Declaration of Independence makes clear that our forebears were not revolting against taxes as such — and most certainly not against government as such. In the long list of “abuses and usurpations” the Declaration documents, taxes don’t come up until the 17th item, and that item is neither a complaint about tax rates nor an objection to… Read more

The drone wars

The world’s military industrial complex–impressed with the USA’s ability to zap enemies from the air with remote-controlled mini-aircraft– is racing headlong into drone technology.  An article about the drones China is developing goes on to tell about the rest of the world’s drone rush.  It makes one suspect that the wars of the future may be waged with robotic aircraft controlled by video-game veterans posted safely at home. Little is known about the actual abilities of the WJ-600 drone or… Read more

Rendering to Caesar and to God

Happy Independence Day! The birthday of our nation would be a good time to contemplate that great text on church and state, Matthew 22:21, in which our Lord charges us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” What “things” are Caesar’s, and how do we render them to him? And what “things” are God’s, and how do we render them to Him? Obviously, all things are God’s, but Jesus must… Read more

The National Debt and the Constitution

As we wrestle with the national debt and as Congress debates over whether to raise the debt limit or risk default, we should consider what the Constitution says about the issue.  First, Congress does have the right to borrow money: ‘The Congress shall have power … To borrow money on the credit of the United States.’  Article I, Section 8 But read on to the 14th Amendment and you find this: ‘The validity of the public debt of the United… Read more

Verdict

In response to all of the discussion about “to ban or not to ban,” I think I will take the suggestion by Webmonk and others to delete certain comments that I find repetitive, tangential, or obnoxious. I will be constrained by time, how busy I am, and when I get around to reading the comments. But I will try to supervise the discussions a little more. Hopefully, I can avoid banning people, though if I find myself always striking their… Read more

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