My opinions on issues local, heavenly, and at all points in between. Proving that I'm not really opinionated, I'm just always right! If you wish to feed my ego and fill my mailbox, you can e-mail me at StephenCUA2001 -at- yahoo -dot- com.
You can expect to pay $545,704 in Social Security taxes over your working life for retirement and survivors benefits. For those taxes, you can expect to receive $3,045 a month in Social Security retirement benefits. Your rate of return under today's Social Security is -2.17%.
However, if you had been able to invest your Social Security taxes in a Personal Retirement Account (PRA), you would have had a total of $2,076,585 when you retired. Your monthly benefits would have been $16,915. You lost $13,870 a month.
But if I was able to control and grow my own retirement funds, then how would the AARP scare me into voting Democrat?
I saw the above on my way to work. It struck me because every rendition of James 2:26 I've heard used the word "works," a word anathema to sola fides protestants. I've seen some feeble attempts to explain away James 2, but would a church deliberately change the wording to fit their bias? I checked out Bible Gateway, a collection of 18 protestant bibles, as well as the Douay-Rheims and New American Catholic Bibles. The Amplified Bible rendered the verse "works of obedience;" none of the other 20 verses mentioned the word obedience. The Bible is clear that both faith and works, not faith alone, are necessary for salvation. It's sad the lengths some will go to avoid confronting this truth.
LIKE A VIRGIN (UNTIL IT STOPS MAKING ME MONEY) From NRO: Britney Spears talked to Diane Sawyer last night regarding a ode to sexual self-gratification on her new album: "I have one song, it's called 'Touch of My Hand,' that's talking about you with yourself, which is a little much. But, it's a reality that we have...Yes, I can relate to that song.
Anybody remember when Britney was selling the fact that she was a virgin, and was going to wait until she got married to have sex? That worked as long as her target audience was 13-15 years old, but they grew up. So she became a retroactive tramp by admitting she HAD, in fact, slept with then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake. Not edgy enough, so she kisses her grandma Madonna on national TV. Big media for a while, but that died down. She hops from virgin to slut to bisexual, but sadly none of that distinguishes her from her pop-music peers. Next on the sexual deviency roll-call? Masturbation! The scary thing is that rebellious kids in the next generation are going to have to come up with music to shock parents who grew up to songs like Touch of My Hand. posted by Stephen.
JOHN KERRY - FOR THE RECORD James Taranto quotes John Kerry as saying "Five thousand years ago, Moses said, 'Hitch up your camel. Pick up your shovel. Mount your ass. I will lead you to the promised land.' Five thousand years later, Franklin Roosevelt said, 'Light up a Camel. Lay down your shovel. Sit on your ass. This is the promised land.' Today, George Bush will lay off your camel, tax your shovel, kick your ass and tell you there is no promised land." Isn't this a joke usually made about Democrats? After all, I thought it was anathema for Dems to think that FDR was anything other than the second coming of Christ (or, given the modern anti-Christian secular stance, the first coming). Aren't they the ones who claim that welfare is necessary to help the unlucky, not a case of the government paying someone not to work? As for George Bush wanting to "tax your shovel," is Kerry's position now that the tax cuts weren't big enough? The joke is entirely counter-productive to Kerry's political ideology, but I doubt that mattered to those who heard the speech. I picture a small gathering of people hooting and hollering that Kerry tried to make a joke at Bush's expense, no matter how little sense it made. posted by Stephen.
Saturday, August 30, 2003
THE GAY AGENDA - ACCEPT IT OR ELSE! Un-freakin'-believable. There has been a renewed focus on the "gay brownshirt agitprop mafia" (description compiled from Mark Shea's blog) since the Lawrence decision in the US and the legalization of gay "marriage" in Canada, and of course the Episcopal homosexual bishop's election. Here's an article linked on Mark's blog about a little girl refused admittance to a Catholic school because her "mothers" are active lesbians. I could think of a few prudential reasons to allow the girl in under other circumstances, but this article perfectly demonstrates why the school is probably right to refuse her entry. The sheer, unmitigated arrogance of the "family" involved is unreal (not to mention the fact that the coverage of this story makes it another entry in the "Oh, THAT liberal media!" file):
O'Hara issued a statement that said the school does not discriminate on the basis of "race, color, national and ethnic origin" in admissions, Just as it should be. Please don't give me this line about homosexuality being genetic. Even if Same Sex Attraction were genetic, that doesn't change the fact that gay sex is still a choice one makes; a sinful choice if one chooses to participate in it. This isn't a question of a mother with SSA, but actively choosing to live a sinful lifestyle with no sign of remorse. A choice of actions is not in the same league as "race, color, national and ethnic origin," and it bothers me to no end when liberals add "and sexual orientation" to that list.
Inkmann, a 43-year-old business owner, said she has attended and paid dues at St. Mary's since January after a long absence from the church. So because she's put a couple of dollars in the collection plate for the past 7 months, she thinks she's OWED whatever she wants from the parish? You aren't OWED anything for tithing; everything we have comes from God, and He is only asking for a small portion of it back so that the Church can continue its work.
"I feel called to respond to my parish and the local parish school because of my developed Catholicism," DEVELOPED CATHOLICISM????? What is it with liberals thinking that heterodoxy equates to being "developed"??? When Cardinal Arinze (sorry if the spelling is wrong, it's late and I'm not fact-checking) said homosexuality was an insult to the family (ie, when he taught Catholic teaching) in his commencement speech at Georgetown University, a student was quoted as wondering what her theology professor thought of his "undeveloped theology." You're not "developed," you're simply living a lie. Try acquainting yourself with REAL Catholicism, not whatever hybrid you've developed to make yourself feel like you're ok in your okayness. REAL Catholicism is crystal clear in that homosexuality is unnatural, and intrinsically disordered. No "development" will change that.
"I want my daughter to receive a Catholic education that will be in keeping with her teachings at home, If her mommy and her mommy are living together, what chance do you think there is that the Catholic education of "her teachings at home" are actual Catholic teachings? Note that the mother didn't say she wanted her daughter to learn Catholicism, but Catholicism "in keeping with her teachings at home." I find it interesting that she felt compelled to add that qualifier.
Whether a private school falls under the mantle of "public accommodation" is open to interpretation, but Dave Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon American Civil Liberties Union, says it should. A Catholic school, he said, "is essentially a business that provides service to the public at large." No, a Catholic school is essentially a business that provides a Catholic education based on the teachings and guidance of the Catholic church. The fact that the public at large makes use of the business does not obligate a church-run facility to change its mission to accomodate them.
The Catholic religion I was brought up in was about forgiveness and acceptance." Not repentance of sin. Not the truth of Jesus Christ, who told the prostitute to "go forth and sin no more." No, the only thing important in the religion he was brought up in was an "I'm ok, you're ok" mentality, completely devoid of anything resembling moral absolutes.
Anselmo Villanueva, who was principal at O'Hara from 2000 through 2002, said his personal philosophy is one of inclusiveness. "My thing on sexual orientation is that's not for me to decide if it's right or wrong," You don't have to decide if it's right or wrong; the Church definitively states that it's wrong. And your "thing" at a Catholic school is to provide a Catholic education.
But homosexuality is anything but an easy topic for the Catholic church, he said. "The church is really wrestling with this stuff now," he said. Uh no, she isn't. The Church isn't struggling at all with whether or not homosexual acts are sinful. She already knows that they are, and has taught as such for 2000 years.
NEAL BOORTZ' ABORTION HYPOCRISY Libertarian radio talk show host Neal Boortz has a standing rule on his show that he won't allow abortion to become a topic of discussion. Of course that doesn't stop him from letting HIS opinion on the subject be known, as he did in today's Nealz Nuze. He wrote of judicial nominee Bill Pryor: "Personally, I would rather Pryor not be on the federal appeals court bench. Pryor wholeheartedly believes that government should have the power to use a gun to force a woman to have a baby that she does not want to have." I wrote his show an e-mail on the subject, which is below. Their response is below that.
Subject: What a coward
On today's Nealz Nuze, you write "Personally, I would rather Pryor not be on the federal appeals court bench. Pryor wholeheartedly believes that government should have the power to use a gun to force a woman to have a baby that she does not want to have." Why do you constantly take shots at pro-lifers, then hide behind your supposed rule that abortion won't be debated on your show? Insofar as you only allow one side of the debate to show through, I guess it's technically correct. I'm guessing you have no problem with the government using a gun to protect an adult life, do you? Then why should it be any different for a child's life? If you ever decide to drop your "no abortion (when convenient for me)" rule, why not talk about medical advances that allow life-saving surgery to be performed earlier and earlier into a pregnancy on a fetus? Why not talk about the effect of 3-D ultrasounds on mothers contemplating abortion when they see that what is growing in them isn't just a blob of cells, but a real person? Your trite one-liner quoted above only makes sense if you first deny the humanity of the fetus. Keep your head in the sand if you think it'll help your ratings, but medical science is proving how pathetic your argument really is.
If I didn't know any better, I'd say their response was intended to be ironic. About 15 minutes after I sent the above e-mail, I got the following reply:
Neal has instructed us to delete without forwarding all messages relating to abortion.
Your message will be deleted and not forwarded.
GOING BIBLICAL ON THE STATE BUDGET Catholic Light (not Lite) links to this story about Alabama governor Bob Riley presenting a rather novel justification for raising taxes. Citing his Christian faith, he's calling for a $1.2 billion tax hike, largely on the backs of wealthier taxpayers, for the benefit of the poor. It's all adding up to the largest increase in the state's history, and perhaps the first based on the Bible. This must put the ACLU and other liberals in a tight spot: do they oppose the imposition of Biblical principals in government, or do they back another Robin-Hood-like wealth redistribution program by the government? Decisions, decisions. But Gov. Riley is serious about basing his budget on holy writ, so allow me to help him out:
"He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants... He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves..." (1 Sam. 8:15-18, RSV-CE).
When the Israelites were demanding a king, Samuel gave them the above warning. Yes, THAT was the doomsday, worst-case scenario Samuel gave to the people: TEN FREAKIN' PERCENT! The top federal income tax bracket is 39%, not including state income tax, plus taxes on sales, tariffs, gasoline, and any other kind of tax you can imagine. I'm sure the people of Alabama would welcome a return to Biblical principals of taxation and have their total income tax burden lowered to 10%. posted by Stephen.
LIFE IMITATES MONTY PYTHON (WITH APOLOGIES TO JAMES TARANTO) Stan: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But you can't have babies.
Stan: Don't you oppress me.
Reg: I'm not oppressing you, Stan -- you haven't got a womb. Where's the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?
(from Monty Python's Life of Brian)
"He says that it may even be technically possible one day to transplant a womb into a man, and use hormone injections to allow a pregnancy to succeed. " (from BBC News) posted by Stephen.
MY E-MAIL TO NEAL BOORTZ Radio host Neal Boortz, on his show and in the June 27 edition of Nealz Nuze, expressed support for the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the Texas anti-sodomy law. I caught a small portion of his radio show, and sent him the following e-mail in response:
I'm sorry I'm at work and can't call in, but I feel the need to comment on your take re: the sodomy case, and Justice Scalia's remarks. I'm of two minds regarding the law itself, and I deeply share your misgivings about giving government the power to invade private homes (even though I think homosexual acts are evil and an abomination). But your response to Scalia is incredibly hypocritical. "It doesn't matter what America wants; it matters what the law says." You make a very strong argument for repealing the law in Texas, but the fact is that the law says that sodomy between two men is illegal. Your "it doesn't matter" take should be delivered to the 6 judge majority in the case. They use the tired "right to privacy" defense, a line found nowhere in the US Constitution. It's not even hinted at in the Constitution. I'd be interested to know your views on Justice Thomas' dissent, where he calls the law a "silly law" that he would repeal if he were in the Texas legislature, but that the Supreme Court of the United States has no basis to dismiss. If the liberals and libertarians want to join forces to repeal the law legislatively in the state of Texas (as has been done in most other states), then your argument is certainly a good one. However, your libertarian argument is no justification for the Supreme Court to strike down a state law (and violate previous SCOTUS precedent) to repeal a law that they personally don't want. After all, "it doesn't matter what America wants, it matters what the law says."
GOD BLESS YOU, RUPERT MURDOCH FoxNews' radio blurb on Strom Thurmond this morning (quoting from memory): "Thurmond was the first Senator to hire a black aide, and voted for MLK Jr's birthday to become a national holiday." Bet you don't hear those on CNN! posted by Stephen.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
FISKING THE STAR TRIBUNE Mark Shea links to this article in the Minnesota Star Tribune about St. Joan's Catholic Church, which in a nutshell is the poster child of liberal Christian heterodoxy. The Archbishop has been slowly trying to reign in the ultra-leftist parish lately, though the Star Tribune doesn't seem to think that would be a good thing (what liberal media bias?). Quotes from the article are in italics; my comments follow.
Both sides -- the relatively free-wheeling parish and the CEO in a Roman collar.... Second paragraph in, the article is already picking "sides." The heterodox, grossly un-Catholic parish is "free-wheeling," a fun, open place to be. The archbishop insisting that a Catholic parish act, well, Catholic is the old, stodgy, controlling CEO.
differences between the archdiocese and the reform-minded parish in south Minneapolis have surfaced publicly. There we go again. Nothing wrong with the parish teaching contrary to the Catholic Church. They're not heterodox, they're "reform-minded." So far there is no indication of WHY the archdiocese might have a problem with the parish; all we know from the article is that St. Joan's is "free-wheeling" and "reform-minded," and apparently the archdiocese thinks this is a bad thing....
Addressing them has become a priority for Flynn as rumors persist that he could replace Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston. ... and the only reason that Abp. Flynn is picking on poor St. Joan's is so that he can score some points with the Vatican in the hopes of landing a cushy job in Boston.
Raymond Spack, said, "He [Flynn] listened. The archdiocese has set the process in motion of listening and dialoguing and clarifying." As one of Mark's commenters said, it should have been the parish that did the listening, not the Abp. Of course in St. Joan's eyes (and the eyes of the Star Tribune), it's the archdiocese that's in the wrong. They want to think that they will learn from their more enlightened brethren at St. Joan's. They seem to honestly think that the backward archdiocese has nothing to teach them.
The Rev. Harvey Egan, a retired priest who in 18 years put St. Joan's in the forefront of peace and justice movements, called the meeting itself "extraordinary." Of course, peace and justice. And jobs and mamma and apple pie. Who could possibly be against these? The article mentions that the parish supports homosexuality as a lifestyle, but tries to downplay that aspect. Rev. Egan is for peace and justice (which the Church is also for), and the archbishop is against Rev. Egan. It's clear who the bad guy is in this report.
In March, Flynn demanded that St. Joan's retract its invitation to Mel White -- a national figure in urging Christian churches to be hospitable toward gays -- to deliver the Sunday homily. So not only is Abp. Flynn against peace and justice, but he's also against being hospitable to gays! But White's stances go way beyond mere "hospitality," advocating homosexuality as normal, healthy, and a perfectly moral act and lifestyle. All of these are against Church teachings, and have been since its inception. But no mention of that. After all, it's harder to get angry about a Catholic diocese insisting that Catholic teachings be taught. But to make it sound like the Abp. opposes even hospitable treatment to gays, on the other hand, is perfectly in keeping with the perception that anyone who thinks homosexual acts to be sinful must be a vengeful bigot. I should also point out that NO lay person is allowed to give a homily regardless of their message, though I don't expect the Star Tribune to dig too deeply for facts that might contradict their message.
Last month, the archdiocese withdrew an award for Kathy Itzin, St. Joan's religious education coordinator, after an organization called Catholic Parents Online pointed out that she is lesbian. Again, no mention of the fact that not only is she a lesbian, but she's an open advocate for acceptance of homosexuality in her teachings to children. No, the author goes out of his way to again paint the archdiocese as bigoted. Would anybody really have a problem with a Catholic archdiocese withdrawing a Catholic education award from somebody who educates contrary to Catholicism? Anybody other than the Star Tribune, that is.
It was a low-key event, with peaceful dialogue and listening stressed -- and no biting criticism leveled at the archdiocese. See how much more civilized the good guys are? They managed not to lash out at the neanderthal archbishop, even though they clearly have a legitimate complaint.
"George has taken St. Joan's another mile, or two, or three,"... away from Catholicism.
"No way will there be any squashing of the peace and love and service [aspects] of the church. Yeah, the bad guys are against peace and love and service. Jerks!
St. Joan's is unique Thank God! posted by Stephen.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
RIGHT WING WAR HAWKS LIED ABOUT WMD'S TO HYPE WAR Yep. Scott Ritter, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Bob Graham, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, William Cohen, Robert Byrd, Jacque Chirac, and more. Maybe a congressional committee should be formed to look into their lies about the existence of WMD's (RightWingNews via Instapundit). posted by Stephen.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
TECHNOLOGY: MAKING ACTIVISM EASY The liberal group People Standing in America's Way (er, something like that) has been urging people to write their senator to oppose Bush's latest judicial nominee. Southern Appeal made this discovery about the site: The nice thing about this free service, however, is that the pre-typed message offered by PFAW can be edited, allowing people who support Pryor to send a message in support of his nomination to the senators from their home state on PFAW's dime. I went ahead and used the system (the link to the e-mail service can be found on Southern Appeal's page) to e-mail my senator in support of the nominee, William Pryor. And while I was there, I was able to e-mail my representative to urge him to oppose the welfare bill trying to pass itself off as a tax cut to those who don't pay taxes. posted by Stephen.
EVANGELISM, TERRORISM... PO-TAY-TO, PO-TAH-TO Mark Shea links to this article by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, which tries to advance a moral equivalency argument between Christian and Islamic fundamentalists. Franklin Graham, Billy's son, has led the call to arms with blasts like his description of Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion." In addition, Pat Robertson dismissed Muhammad as "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic, a robber and brigand," and Jerry Vines, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, labeled Muhammad a "demon-possessed pedophile." I understand that war imagery is popular, but metaphorically saying that a pastor is leading "the call to arms with blasts like" calling Islam a wicked religion is terribly out of place when the opposite equivalent is LITERALLY leading a call to arms and inflicting REAL blasts! The whole article tries to essentially say "a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist," but it doesn't work when one set of fundamentalists is trying to convert non-believers and the other set of fundamentalists is trying to blow them apart. Kristof also says that Rev. Graham clearly subscribes to that essential human conceit that God is on the pew beside us, a member of our own sect. Is this so incredibly silly? If you think your religion (even if your religion happens to be atheism) is true, does it seem so illogical that you'd believe other people should be a member of your religion? That if you think your religion is true, then those that disagree with you are somehow deficient? And doesn't it also stand to reason that if you DIDN'T believe your religion was true, that you'd leave it for what you thought was? Kristof takes umbrage with Christians trying to spread their religion, but sees no hypocrisy in his trying to spread his own relativistic/atheistic views. And using those views to justify his belief that evangelization is somehow morally equivalent to ramming a plane into a tower of civilians or bombing a mall. Good to see high journalistic standards returning to the New York Times after their recent housecleaning. posted by Stephen.
A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR THE "BUSH LIED ABOUT WMD" CROWD Instapundit links to a couple of articles detailing how desparate these charges are. Follow the link so that you're not just reading a clip of a clip, but here's a taste:
The Iraqi government in the 1990s admitted to U.N. weapons inspectors that it had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax, as well as a few tons of the nerve agent VX. Where are they? U.N. weapons inspectors have been trying to answer that question for a decade. Because Hussein's regime refused to answer, the logical presumption was that they had to be somewhere still in Iraq. That, at least, has been the presumption of Hans Blix. Go back and take a look at the report Blix delivered to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27. On the question of Iraq's stocks of anthrax, Blix reported there existed "no convincing evidence" they had ever been destroyed. On the contrary, he said, there was "strong evidence" that Iraq had produced even more anthrax than it had declared "and that at least some of this was retained."
Finally, we get to Bill Clinton. In a speech delivered at the Pentagon in February 1998, Clinton described what he called Iraq's "offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs." Clinton accurately reported the view of U.N. weapons inspectors at the time "that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons."
LUDICROUS RACE-BAITING HITS BASEBALL In case you haven't heard, Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa got hit with an 8 game suspension for getting caught with a corked bat, a big no-no in baseball. It's been a big story the last few days because one of the game's premier power hitters (he reached the 500 home run plateau earlier this season) got caught cheating in a way that gives him more power. Of course, there are alternate theories on why Sosa, who has been one of the most loved players in the game, is taking such a beating in the press. ESPN.com reports that "[Pedro] Martinez said if Mark McGwire got caught using a corked bat, 'it would still be a big deal but not like this.... We may be Latin, a minority, but we're not dumb,' Martinez told the Courant." What a joke. What an absolute joke. I wish I could say that I'm surprised that people would try to play the race card, but I'm not. And it's not just Martinez who's said it, either. Gary Sheffield and Jose Canseco are both on record as saying Sosa's race is the reason for the negative press. Wishful thinking.
Martinez, Canseco, and Sheffield have selective memories, or at least very very short ones. They don't seem to remember the "controversy" when it was revealed that Mark McGwire used the supplement androstenedione ("andro"). He was run through the shredder by the press for that! Slate has a collection of political cartoons, most attacking McGwire. Note that despite what the cartoons in the link imply, McGwire never admitted to, or was seriously accused of, using steroids. The supplement he was taking, Andro, was completely legal! The race-baiters think McGwire would get a pass if he was caught cheating like Sosa was? He got hammered in the press when what he was doing was perfectly legal! Of course Mark would have gotten attacked by the press if he got caught corking his bat, probably more so than Sosa is. Sosa isn't getting extra attention because of his skin color. He's a famous player, and he's primarily famous for power hitting. He's universally liked in the game. When somebody like that gets caught cheating, it presents a number of problems. It's devastating to the kids who idolize him, and it casts doubt on his previous records. How many of his 500 home runs were with an illegal bat? He's admitted to using corked bats in batting practice and exhibitions, like home run derby. I wonder how the runners-up in those derbies feel right about now. Sammy Sosa got caught cheating, plain and simple. And when somebody of his stature gets caught cheating, of course it's going to be a big deal. His skin color has nothing to do with it, no matter how the race-baiters try to spin it. posted by Stephen.
NOW I DON'T WANT TO GET OFF ON A RANT HERE... I received the following e-mail this morning:
Subject: ohh , gee, another right wing religious, dennis miller wanna be
your web-log entries make me laugh!
i can tell you why..but do you REALLy want to know?
My response? Of COURSE I want to know! I'm drawing comparisons to Dennis Miller, so I want to know what I'm doing right. I want to thank the e-mailer for brightening my morning. posted by Stephen.