An Exceedingly Interesting Round-up

You will like this round-up of links. No, seriously, you will; it is full of chewy, satisfying round-uppy goodness, and contains no artificial sweeteners, and I will fully resist the urge to fall into my cowgirl lingo of yore. Some religion, some politics, some gossipy stuff.

Bookworm: is wondering if Obama is an atheist:

Obama’s White Houses instinctively uses the same wishy-washy language atheists use: “My heart is with you.” “My thoughts are with you.” “I send you my wishes.” No prayers. Never any prayers.

Well…but that doesn’t mean he’s an atheist. Could be he likes to keep his prayerful inclinations really, really private. Could be he has some sort of disconnect or that his prayers are especially recollected; we know he sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years and didn’t hear anything-he might have been praying. Could be the way he prays is not like other people pray, or that he fears his prayers would not be understood by the rest of us. Or, you know…gods don’t, themselves, pray.

Governmental intrusion on the seal of Confession: pithily entitled: Today’s Practical Problem:

The past century is nothing if not a stark lesson in how easily utilitarian calculations can, in the name of some greater good, strike at the very roots of human dignity.

Indeed. You’ll want to read it all.

“…His mercies are not spent…”:
Benedict’s inscription in the Book of Remembrance at Yad Vashem. His speech (which predictably displeased some) video here.

Archbishop Chaput: on living as a half-way Christian. It’s not a good thing. If you recall Revelation, “half-way Christianity” made Jesus vomit. Be like a little child.

F. Scott Fitzgerald got it right: the rich are different from you and me. And some citizens are more equal than others.

He should be,
but he ain’t:

“In Obama’s wide grin as Sykes was telling her joke, we saw the smug look of a man who enjoys seeing his critics dehumanized. The president of the United States should be better than this.”

Something is nagging me about the idea of the president getting a kick out of seeing his critics “dehumanized,” when he spent the last year or so wagging a finger about treating people with humanity, and being post-partisan. I guess some humans are more entitled to being de-humanized than others, or something.

Winston Smith had to drink ersatz coffee, too: Prices set to skyrocket. Of course. Well, for as long as there are monks, no ersatz for me!

Hawaii: Celebratin’ Islam!

Frank J. Starting Trouble: if you like gossipy rumors. Althouse was already hinting and NiceDeb has the pictures.

Neo-Neocon crying: “masks off! Masks off!”

AP notices: the Notre Dame Dust Up. I love it when the press focuses.

President not as beefy as first thought. A bit silly, actually.

Smile, and smile and be a villain. It’s not just for females, anymore.

People are out of work: Why doesn’t Obama hire someone who can calculate? I mean numerically.

This is not difficult: he’s showing more class than them. And also not feeding a beast.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    With respect to Obama’s religiosity –

    More than likely, Obama’s religion is the religion of politics — that is, his politics color whatever religious faith he may or may not have. Such is not all that unusual in the history of religion. Indeed, not a few people of Jesus’ time put their politics before all else. And not a few people today, including those on the left and those on the right, put their political leanings before their Catholic faith; their liberalism or their conservativism informs and determines their Catholicity, rather than the other way around.

    It is probably the same with Obama. He is a consumate political animal. By that, I do not necessarily mean that he is an electoral animal or a democratic animal. No, I mean he is a political animal in the sense that he is concerned with the raw acquisition and exercise of power. That is his motivating force. That is why Obama chose to go to Rev. Wright’s church in the first place — because Wright had some political pull with a certain segment of society and that nobody community organizer fresh out of school wanted to make some political connections. His religious faith is whatever will advance his political goals.

  • Joseph

    I must say that on the Conservative side of the blogging house the political blogging has degenerated into decadent triviality: plenty of talk about what Obama might be [atheist? Maybe. And presumably a canting hypocrite ever time he says God Bless America.], what Obama might do, whether he laughed or not at a tasteless joke before half the people in the room woke up to the fact that it was off color, why he didn’t fire his entire cabinet over the airplane incident but merely fired the guy who thought it up, how Iraq might be coming unraveled, whether the recession might be over, kudos to the teabag throwers, something about Oprah Winfrey and a private jet, something about Obama and Djion Mustard [!?], and asking why Obama doesn’t shut up a Spanish magistrate who is literally only controllable by God and his own conscience, and a few articles of fairly decent substance [though playing a shell game over the actual numbers] on the budget deficit, and one or two mentions of health care without much substance at all–a mere reporting of an Obama speech to throw spitballs at it. And, of course, the predictable harping on how biased the MSM are about the same thin gruel in the rest of this paragraph above–particularly over the Djion Mustard business.

    All of this in the face of one of the most active newly inaugurated Presidents in history–a man who actually does stuff, actually says stuff about what he is going to do, says stuff about what he wants Congress to do and presents versions of the bills to do it. And this at a time in history that portends a massive shift in the entire American philosophy of government and its role in economic and public affairs–with the United States becoming at least a plurality stockholder in major banks and corporations–the like of which has not been seen since 1933 and 1981.

    What’s wrong with you guys? Why are you bothering with most of this? And what do you have to say about the significant issues that Obama’s actual actions and words have brought to the forefront of what our Government is proposing to do? It is truly revolutionary and it all seems to have passed you all by.

    Here’s a little test I just did. Yesterday the Obama administration essentially fired the U.S. commander in Afganistan, very bluntly and unceremoniously indicating that he was doing a bad job, with none of the courtesies given to a major commander even when he has been doing badly, and in the wake of adding 21,000 more troops there. This is the sort of thing that would have been major grist for the Conservative mill 3-5 years ago. Because it is actually important. A nasty war might be won or lost because of it.

    But I just looked at Pajamas Media, Instapundit, Powerline, Hot Air, Lori Bird, Dr.Sanity, Neo-neocon, Outside The Beltway, Ace of Spades, Michelle Malkin, and Right Wing News.

    And I found precisely three short references to it–one in Ace Of Spades, one on Instapundit, and one in Inside The Beltway–none of the three betraying much knowledge of what has actually been going on in Afghanistan to make a top general leave so unceremoniously, what the alterntives might be, and whether or not Obama is likely to pick the best one.

    What’s happened to that all-consuming War On Terror?

    There’s a marvelous line in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.

    I think Obama’s electoral victory has got you asking the wrong questions.

    And it has certainly got you asking questions that I woundn’t waste time with replying to the answers. And pretty much nobody else but you even cares about the answers, whether you’re right or not.

    An off-color joke maligned Rush Limbaugh at the Correspondents’ Dinner. Well poor baby! And this is the man who just about singlehandedly turned American politics into a contact sport!

    And this is an exceedingly interesting round-up?

    [Yes, it is a very interesting round-up, and you know it is, Joe. You know double-standards when you see them. And Obama is as ripe for criticism as Bush ever was, I think. The man single-handedly destroyed the hospitality industry (and hurt business) in February by declaring the "the days of business trips to Vegas are over," but now - if he's doing it - Vegas is okay, baby!. You may not like capitalism, Joseph, but it is the engine that provides jobs and innovative goods like our toilets. Imperfect though it may be, capitalism spurs creativity and progress. The president you love spent the first 100 days in office doing everything he could to cripple capitalism and put us into the most unimaginable debt. You praise the fact that he has been "doing stuff." We deplore what that stuff he's been doing and the magical means by which he plans to somehow pay for that "stuff." It's called shoe on other foot. You had your 8 years to "legitimately disagree" with presidential policies. Why is our dissent somehow illegitimate? - admin]

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    what do you have to say about the significant issues that Obama’s actual actions and words have brought to the forefront of what our Government is proposing to do? It is truly revolutionary and it all seems to have passed you all by.

    Uncover your eyes and take your fingers out of your ears. Many of us have been screaming at the top of our lungs about the “revolutionary” acts of Obama.

    Far from talking about “might,” we have long been speaking about what Obama “is” — and, as you indicate, he is a revolutionary.

  • Joseph

    Well, Anchoress, now that I push you I actually get something worth talking about. This is precisely the kind of focused remark that seems to have evaporated from Conservative discourse. Do I dislike Capitalism? No. But I do recognize that there is actually a gradient in these matters. There is no pure capitalism [the nearest approximation would be the removal of all current government regulations based on the IC clause], nor is there such a thing as a pure socialism–for all the collectivization in the Soviet Union, people still sold chickens and cabbages in local farmer’s markets. We have been nowhere near either extreme since 1933, with the closest approach to a highly socialist state being the World War II appropriation of factories for making military equipment and the rationing of consumer goods. So when you speak of Capitalism vs. Socialism you are stating the problem in a way which is misleading, and,frankly, does the Conservative viewpoint no favors.

    Let’s put the question this way: Do you favor eliminating all government regulation of business and commerce? And, if not, what do you want to keep? My answer to the first question is “no”. My answer to the second question is that I want to keep what we already have and add certain things to it. Now if you can bring a Conservative answer to those questions, and I think you could because I think they are stated fairly, we will have an apples to apples comparison that would result in a fruitful debate about public policy. Why? Because the answers lead to actions taken by the U.S. Government and not offhand remarks by its President.

    This is what I mean by the right questions. And when I speak of triviality I mean precisely this: neither of Obama’s remarks will have any long term effect on Las Vegas. They are mere grist of the news cycle. What will have a long term effect is how much discretionary spending money we will have in the future. And what will determine that is the current and extraordinary revolution in the money markets.

    What is most important is not the movement left [which is real, and which I might or might not wholly support--we have to have a more stable economy than we have now for me to know] but the way the thing is being done. Most people simply do not understand what the “capital” in capitalism is all about. A company making computers, a company making cars, and a company selling gasoline all have one thing in common–they borrow money from investors in a money market. Control that one thing and you control them all without having to nationalize any of them or collectivise anything. The government has accidentally stumbled on a way to do just that–buying preferred stock.

    So what do we think about that? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Should the government stop doing any of it, stop doing some of it, or do even more of it? Another right question. Because the possible answers will make a real difference in our economic future when Obama is trawling the lecture circut, writing his memoirs, and overseeing his Presidential library.

    I hold no brief to shut anybody up and if Conservatives want to speculate about whether or not Obama is an atheist, despite his own statements to the contrary, I certainly want them be free to do so. I simply don’t find the question very interesting. It might impact on certain very narrow issues such as legal abortions, but it might not even make a difference there. Frankly, only God and Obama know what is really going on in Obama’s heart. What we all can know is what policy he is proposing, what its effects might be, and whether we think it a good idea. And this is what I personally would rather Conservatives talk about rather than Obama’s taste for dijon mustard or whether everybody should go John Galt. And I want this because I’m not interested in spreading mustard or Galting away as political problems.

    Now to Bender: What I wrote in the post above is based on what I actually found when I looked at Pajamas Media, Instapundit, Powerline, Hot Air, Lori Bird, Dr.Sanity, Neo-neocon, Outside The Beltway, Ace of Spades, Michelle Malkin, Right Wing News, and, of course, the Anchoress, yesterday morning. For personal reasons I can’t follow blogs every day, and there might be really good things I might have missed. But it seems to me that in a morning’s snapshot of 12 Conservative sites, one of which is actually a compendium of multiple blogs, I should be able to find more interesting things to respond to than I actually did. I’m off to the grocery store, but I can check these same blogs later tonight, or if you have the names of other blogs I should be looking at instead of these, let me have them and I’ll add them to my search.

    [And THIS, Joseph is why you so rarely get a focused response from me. Not that I don't enjoy your ramblings, I do and you're welcome to jot 'em down...but I'm trying really hard to earn a living, here, and that means I just don't have time for the point by point response. And I still maintain the post is interesting; there are lots of religion stories there. Why are you only looking at politics? ;-) -a dmin]