John McCain: Requiescat In Pace

 

Senator John McCain (R.AZ) has died at age 81 of brain cancer.  That is a very hard way to go, as I know from my secretary of 30 years dying from similar cancer three years ago on August 28, 2015.  He is at peace now, and my prayers for both him and his family.  I was not a political supporter of Senator McCain except, reluctantly, when he was the Republican standard bearer in 2008.  However, I never doubted his courage, based upon his refusal to accept freedom in 1968 from his North Vietnamese captors due, doubtless, to his father being a high ranking Admiral and the North Vietnamese seeking a propaganda coup.  He was warned by his captors that refusal would mean torture and very bad treatment for him, and they amply kept their word.  Whatever else he did in his life, at that moment McCain was a true American hero.

 

Published in: on August 29, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on John McCain: Requiescat In Pace  
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Victory in 1918

A century ago  the initiative had clearly swung to the Allies on the Western Front.  Launching multiple small offensives, the Allies were driving the Germans back producing soaring Allied morale and plummeting German morale.  The German army remained formidable, but both Supreme Commander Ferdinand Foch and British Commander Douglas Haig began to think that victory could be achieved in 1918.

The optimism of the Allies was reflected in General Pershing’s Order of the Day on August 27, 1918:

 

It fills me with pride to record in general orders a tribute to the service achievements of the 1st and 3rd Corps, comprising the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 26th, 28th, 32nd, and 42nd Divisions of the American Expeditionary Forces.

You came to the battlefield at a crucial hour for the Allied cause. For almost four years the most formidable army the world has yet seen had pressed its invasion of France and stood threatening its capital.

At no time has that army been more powerful and menacing than when, on July 15th, it struck again to destroy in one great battle the brave men opposed to it and to enforce its brutal will upon the world and civilization.

Three days later, in conjunction with our allies, you counter-attacked. The Allied armies gained a brilliant victory that marks the turning point of the war. You did more than to give the Allies the support to which, as a nation, our faith was pledged. You proved that our altruism, our pacific spirit, and our sense of justice have not blunted our virility or our courage.

You have shown that American initiative and energy are as fit for the tasks of war as for the pursuits of peace.

You have justly won unstinted praise from our allies and the eternal gratitude of our countrymen.

We have paid for our success with the lives of many of our brave comrades. We shall cherish their memory always and claim for our history and literature their bravery, achievement, and sacrifice.

This order will be read to all organizations at the first assembly formations following its receipt.

PERSHING

Published in: on August 27, 2018 at 11:59 pm  Comments Off on Victory in 1918  
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The Kansas Nebraska Act and the Great Change in American Politics

 

An excellent presentation in how the Kansas-Nebraska Act reshuffled American politics.  This happens periodically in American politics.  American politics seems geared to two great parties fighting it out for political dominance, and it can often seem that nothing can change in the face of such a monolithic standoff.  However the Kansas-Nebraska Act demonstrates the factors that can lead to rapid political change.  Some of the factors are:

 

  1.  Some great issue arises that the conventional political parties seem helpless to deal with.
  2. The great issue cuts across the traditional two parties.
  3.  In confronting the great issue new political alignments are formed.
  4. Out of this maelstrom one party presents to the public some hope of resolving that issue and that party goes on to achieve political dominance, usually for several decades.

When Senator Douglas dreamed up the Kansas-Nebraska Act he predicted it would raise “one hell of a storm”.  Douglas never spoke more prophetic words.  His great antagonist Abraham Lincoln immediately grasped the great significance of what had happened and he noted it in a speech on October 16, 1854:

 

It is an aggravation, rather, of the only one thing which ever endangers the Union. When it came upon us, all was peace and quiet. The nation was looking to the forming of new bonds of Union; and a long course of peace and prosperity seemed to lie before us. In the whole range of possibility, there scarcely appears to me to have been any thing, out of which the slavery agitation could have been revived, except the very project of repealing the Missouri compromise. Every inch of territory we owned, already had a definite settlement of the slavery question, and by which, all parties were pledged to abide. Indeed, there was no uninhabited country on the continent, which we could acquire; if we except some extreme northern regions, which are wholly out of the question. In this state of case, the genius of Discord himself, could scarcely have invented a way of again getting [setting?] us by the ears, but by turning back and destroying the peace measures of the past. The councils of that genius seem to have prevailed, the Missouri compromise was repealed; and here we are, in the midst of a new slavery agitation, such, I think, as we have never seen before.

 

The Compromise of 1850 seemed to ensure the maintenance of the political status quo.  Kansas-Nebraska revealed that the old political order was dying and a new one was in the process of being born.

Published in: on August 22, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Kansas Nebraska Act and the Great Change in American Politics  
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Death of a Nation: A Review

 

 

I saw Death of a Nation, the latest film of Dinesh  D’Souza, on Saturday with my bride and son.  Overall I was disappointed by it.  The review is below the fold and the caveat as to spoilers is strictly in force.

(more…)

Published in: on August 20, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Death of a Nation: A Review  
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The Old Testament in Five Minutes

(I posted this over at The American Catholic and I thought the Bible mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

 

Superb.  This has almost two million views on YouTube.  We need Catholic Apostolates that could do internet videos with this type of production values and this type of faith.  Too many Catholic videos on the internet are shockingly bad.  Good intentions do not make up for appallingly bad execution.

Published in: on August 19, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Old Testament in Five Minutes  
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Aretha Franklin: Requiescat in Pace

 

Something for the weekend.  I Say A Little Prayer, sung by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.  She died this week at age 76, leaving behind a body of work that will give joy to generations to come, and that is not a bad legacy.

Published in: on August 18, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Aretha Franklin: Requiescat in Pace  
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August 17, 1864: Lincoln to Grant

Lincoln and Grant

The gaunt man, Abraham Lincoln, lives his days.
For a while the sky above him is very dark.
There are fifty thousand dead in these last, bleak months
And Richmond is still untaken.
                              The papers rail,
Grant is a butcher, the war will never be done.
The gaunt man’s term of office draws to an end,
His best friends muse and are doubtful.  He thinks himself
For a while that when the time of election comes
He will not be re-elected.  He does not flinch.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body

 

In August of 1864 the bottom seemed to be giving out from underneath the Union war effort.  Grants’s drive against Richmond and Sherman’s drive against Atlanta seemed to have stalled, with Confederate armies holding tenaciously to both cities.  Casualties, especially in the eastern theater of the War, had been appallingly high since the campaigning season opened in April, and after a massive effusion of blood the War seemed no closer to a Union victory.  Northern governors feared draft riots in their cities in the face of a growing conviction that the South could not be conquered.  On August 15, Grant wrote to Chief of Staff General Henry Halleck, in response to proposals that troops could be sent from the Army of the Potomac to put down draft riots:

CITY POINT, VA., August 15, 1864-9 p. m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.

If there is any danger of an uprising in the North to resist the draft or for any other purpose our loyal Governors ought to organize the militia at once to resist it. If we are to draw troops from the field to keep the loyal States in harness it will prove difficult to suppress the rebellion in the disloyal States. My withdrawal now from the James River would insure the defeat of Sherman. Twenty thousand men sent to him at this time would destroy the greater part of Hood’s army, and leave us men wherever required. General Heintzelman can get from the Governors of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois a militia organization that will deter the discontented from committing any overt act. I hope the President will call on Governors of States to organize thoroughly to preserve the peace until after the election.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

Lincoln responded to Grant, and, if the anachronism may be allowed, his message back had a Churchillian ring to it: (more…)

Published in: on August 17, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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PopeWatch: No Comment

Business as usual at the Vatican:

 

The Vatican has declined to respond to an explosive grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups by priests and bishops in Pennsylvania, refusing even to say whether church officials in Rome have read the damaging documents.

“We have no comment at this time,” Paloma Ovejero, deputy director of the Vatican’s press office, said Wednesday.
But in the United States and elsewhere, pressure is mounting on Pope Francis to address a rapidly escalating crisis that has spread across several continents, from Australia to Latin America.
In the United States, both liberal and conservative Catholics displayed a rare unity in pressing the Pope to respond to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
“The silence from the Vatican is disturbing,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “I don’t think the Pope necessarily has to say something today. He needs time to understand the situation. But someone from the Vatican should say something.”
Faggioli noted that Wednesday is a national holiday in Italy, and many church offices are closed. But he also noted that it was well-known that Pennsylvania’s grand jury report, which was in the works since 2016, would be released on Tuesday.
“I don’t think they understand in Rome that this is not just a continuation of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States,” Faggioli said. “This is a whole different chapter. There should be people in Rome telling the Pope this information, but they are not, and that is one of the biggest problems in this pontificate — and it’s getting worse.”
Go here to read the rest.  This is one problem that long predates Pope Francis.  However, he has given no evidence of understanding how destructive of Catholic faith this all is.  Instead he has frequently appointed to high positions within the Church men who have almost certain engaged in sexual abuse or covered the sexual abuse of others.  When it comes to the abuse crisis, Pope Francis is part of the problem and not any part of the solution.
Published in: on August 16, 2018 at 3:30 am  Comments Off on PopeWatch: No Comment  
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Rubber Chicken Version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D

 

 

 

 

 

(I originally posted this at TAC and thought the Pachelbel and/or rubber chicken mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

Hattip to commenter Dale Price for this example of lunatic genius.  As for that whirring sound that you hear, well that should be obvious.

Published in: on August 15, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Rubber Chicken Version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D  
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Sad News

“I’m afraid you have it all wrong, all of you.  I’ve been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion, but he couldn’t. Well, don’t you understand? It’s not the sun up in the sky. It’s the Son of God.”

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Star Trek, Bread and Circuses episode

 

 

Sad news that actress Nichelle Nichols, at age 85, has been diagnosed with dementia.  Prayers for her and her family.

Published in: on August 13, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Sad News  
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