Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ND and Obama

An important and hopefully significant turn of events for those following the ND Obama commencement speech + honorary degree. Recent actions by ND and Georgetown have been disappointing, to say the least. In a US increasingly turning away from principles under Obama, it's nice to see someone stand up for theirs.

Declining Notre Dame: A Letter from Mary Ann Glendon
By Mary Ann Glendon
Monday, April 27, 2009, 9:32 AM
April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon
Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.

Big shout out to SHK and Fredo ...

I've been woefully absent the last few months from the Occasional Observer. Between the demoralizing election and the birth of my second child in late December, I have either been busy or not motivated to write anything.

The country has taken a very dark turn to the left, so I guess it's time to start fighting back, and you should be seeing more of me on the blog.

Fredo, just to let you know, I did complete Massachusetts Firearms training, and have applied for a License to Carry class A license, so when I get that approved by the commonwealth, I'll be looking for some more specific advice.

God Bless America,
Single Wing
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On to important things...

I did a little blind taste test comparo, pitting single malt Macallan 12 against scotch blend Chivas Regal 12. Base offering for each label, with two well respected brands. Like many, I've always assumed that the single malt is typically superior to the blend, but felt the need to test my assumptions.

In order to conduct the comparison, Strawberry Girl was nice enough to set up two snifters for me, pouring the scotch straight. Each got a unique "marker" that went around the stem so that she could differentiate which was which.

1) The snifter with the clover marker around the stem.

Immediately struck by the color differential. Both Macallan and Chivas are highland whiskeys, so I expected a similar golden hue, but this snifter has a much deeper tint, more honey than gold.

The nose brings a strong hint of citrus and sherry. As I try to figure out which is which, I've got my nose down in that glass like Monte in his dog bowl. As I sniff away and wash the scotch across the palette, the sherry finish gets more noticeable.

The whiskey is very balanced and easy drinking, without an overpowering nose or afterburn. Warm but not an inferno in the chest.

I likey.

2) The snifter with the lamb marker.

This is the lighter tinted scotch, which I naturally expect to have a thinner taste. Not so.

I find this scotch to be a bit harder to pin down in terms of flavors. First off, I find the finish on this whiskey to be very dry. I'm smacking my tongue against the roof of my mouth after each sip as if I'm trying to dislodge a stuck piece of popcorn skin. I pick up a hint of anis. But what I keep noticing is a smokiness to the nose and the flavor. Bourbon comes out of charred oak barrels, but I don't know about the scotch. It tastes like the whiskey might have come off the 'que, not the barrel. In the finish there is a definite chocolate flavor, maybe some berry too.

Turns out, when it came to guessing, I actually got it wrong.

I presumed the whiskey with the deeper hue was the Chivas, since it was a blend and might have some lowland whiskeys mixed in with the Speyside.

Turns out the deeper hue was the Macallan, and I should've known it by the sherry finish, since the dang bottle says that it comes out of sherry barrels.

Anyway, the Macallan was an easier drinking whiskey for me, and probably "tastier," which as we all know, is the most objective measure out there. At first, since I had my whiskeys reversed, I thought I'd opted for the blend, but not so.

But in retrospect, I am actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the blend. While it's not a flavor I'm as comfortable with as the Macallan, it's smokiness is unique and intriguing. I'm going to spend a little more time with this litre, and see how it grows on me.

April 22, 2009

An important date indeed. For it marks perhaps the first time I read an article in the BoGlo that was actually quite reasonable. It discusses the torture memos and liberal hysterical responses to them.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just a Reminder

If the Obama administration insists on going forward with this foolish nonsense about prosecuting people who devised the waterboarding technique and other interrogation methods, then I guess Nancy Pelosi, John Rockefeller and Bob Graham are all also going down. This classic WaPo article from a few years ago details numerous meetings held between the CIA and bipartisan Congressional members, including those listed above, where they detailed ALL of these activities and were given the go-ahead authority.

A Democrat falls victim to questions about corruption,

and it does not make me gleeful.

While Sen. Feinstein is one of the most liberal members of her caucus, she has also proven to be one of the classier and more reasonable, as well. I remember the Alito hearings, when she refused to continue the scurrilous smear tactics that Leahy, Biden, and Teddy K had been using.

However, there is the potential that she was involved in steering contracts for the potential enrichment of her (already very rich) husband, and that would be sad for her, and the Senate. We don't need more bad leadership in Washington, from either side of the aisle.
Monday, April 20, 2009


Obama diplomacy. Besides kowtowing to dictators and sacrificing our principles, has it accomplished anything else?

According to WaPo, yes. It has proved that all the naysayers who blamed evil actions in the world on Bush's policies are in fact, wrong. The world is the world, and regardless of how far backwards the US bends it won't change the M.O. of dictators in N. Korea, Iran, or Venezuela. They stay in power by making a strawman enemy of the US. To drop this illusion would be the end of their power, and thus, they must remain on bad relations with the U.S.
Sunday, April 19, 2009

Quin Hillyer drafts a concise reply to those Supreme Court Justices...

(paging Justice Ginsburg and 3-4 others) who wish to use foreign law as a factor in deciding cases:

No government is just unless it rests on the consent of the governed. We Americans have not consented to foreign laws. Case closed.

For four or five Supreme Court justices to refuse to understand that incredibly simple concept shows that we live in very very very very dangerous times.

ht: Quin Hillyer, AmSpecBlog, and legal analyst Christine Flowers
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Catholic Universities

It's funny, several weeks ago a good friend of mine who is Moravian said he should just convert to Catholicism because they have stronger principles they stand behind than most of their Protestant counterparts.

Unfortunately, it looks like this is not true given recent actions by Notre Dame and now Georgetown. We previously discussed ND inviting Obama for commencement speech and conferring an honorary degree, but now it is revealed that Georgetown was willing to cover an image of Jesus at Obama's request for a speech he gave there.

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. They are a self-described Catholic and Jesuit university. Since when is Obama bigger than God, especially at a Catholic university? This nonsense has to end. If the image of Jesus bothers you Obama, then DON'T GIVE A SPEECH THERE.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So Much for Talking

Hmmmm, I thought according to Pres. Obama we could simply talk our way out of any situation, and negotiate with anyone. Guess that hasn't worked so well in N. Korea, which in addition to launching a missile is now kicking all UN inspectors out of the country and restarting its nuclear program.

Also, if talking works so well, why'd Obama have to give authorization to use deadly force to resolve the recent pirate-hostage situation? Why couldn't we just sit down across the table from the pirates over some tea and talk it over?

Don't Mess with Texas

Gov. Perry says "Back Off!" to the federal government and reaffirms states' rights. Amen, brother, amen.
Monday, April 13, 2009

Soak the Rich

Contrary to popular belief, this has been the mantra of the U.S. Government, even under the Dubya Regime. From Ari Fleischer's WSJ editorial:

A very small number of taxpayers -- the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year -- pay 72.4% of the nation's income taxes. They're the tip of the triangle that's supporting virtually everyone and everything. Their burden keeps getting heavier...

According to the CBO, those who made less than $44,300 in 2001 -- 60% of the country -- paid a paltry 3.3% of all income taxes. By 2005, almost all of them were excused from paying any income tax. They paid less than 1% of the income tax burden. Their share shrank even when taking into account the payroll tax. In 2001, the bottom 60% paid 16.3% of all taxes; by 2005 their share was down to 14.3%. All the while, this large group of voters made 25.8% of the nation's income.

Allow me to reiterate: the bottom 60% of wage earners pull in a quarter of the country's income but account for less than 1% of income tax revenues.

Thank goodness the Koz Kidz are out there "fighting the system," "speaking truth to power," and encouraging "change." Maybe one day, the rich will pay their fair share.

This is Obama's starting point, mind you.
Saturday, April 11, 2009


The last time a ship flying the American flag was hijacked by pirates was in 1804.


One has to wonder if the recent hijacking is related to a new sense of boldness by such terrorists now that Obama is in office, or if it truly is just a coincidence.

I'd like to hope it is the latter, and not a harbinger of things to come. In any case, it would be nice to hear more leadership from Obama on this issue. For all of my primetime TV viewing he's taken over in recent weeks, and all his efforts to constantly insert himself into the public eye, he has been curiously silent on this issue as well as the recent N. Korean missile launch.

I know other OccObs readers join me in hoping and praying for the safe release of the ship captain, and swift justice for these terrorists.
Friday, April 10, 2009

Some Sanity from Gov. Sanford

"A Price That We Will Not Impose On Future Generations"

ht: R 4 '12

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Good to see

So... Castro is enamored with Obama. And the Congressional Black Caucus is embracing Fidel.
Thursday, April 02, 2009

Truly an outrage

I'm rarely surprised at this point by the shotgun tactics that are often used in politics, but what happened to Senator Stevens in this case (and I'll admit, I bought into the prosecution's case hook, line and sinker) is one of the most disturbing political episodes I can think of.

You may recall that Stevens was convicted on 7 felony counts of corruption just days before the election this past November. As a result, the WWII veteran and longest serving Republican in the Senate was defeated by Democratic challenger Mark Begich by the slimmest of margins (Stevens was actually leading when the polls closed, before absentee ballots were counted). Clearly, if not for his legal troubles, Stevens would have breezed to reelection.

But get this: the U.S. Attorney's office apparently worked to suppress exculpatory evidence, and fabricate evidence of criminality on Stevens part.

Stevens had written a note to Bill Allen, a wealthy friend who was coordinating the work on Stevens' home, that Allen should send Stevens a bill for all the work done. He further told Allen that more instruction regarding the renovation project would come via a mutual friend, named Bob Persons.

During Stevens' trial, the U.S. Attorney had to explain away this note to Allen, which read: "You owe me a bill. Remember Torricelli, my friend. Friendship is one thing, compliance with the ethics rules entirely different."

The U.S. Attorney's solution? Solicit testimony from Allen, under oath, stating that Persons had told him to disregard Stevens' note; that the note was merely CYA for Stevens.

Here's the rub: the FBI had interviewed Allen 5 months before the trial, and Allen stated he'd never spoken to Persons on the topic. And this interview, occurring 5 months before the trial, was mysteriously never written up according to standard FBI procedures:

The newly discovered April 15 interview wasn't transcribed the way interviews with Allen and other witnesses had been, on FBI form 302s or memorandums of interviews, the Justice Department said this morning. Rather, it was discovered in the notes of attorneys who questioned Allen that day, five and half months before his testimony.

"The notes of the April 15 interview indicate that Bill Allen said, among other things, in substance and in part, that he (Bill Allen) did not recall talking to Bob Persons regarding giving a bill to the defendant,"

Translation: the U.S. Attorneys knowingly allowed an erroneous statement to stand unchallenged, and buried evidence that they knew the testimony was false.

Bush's Justice Department managed to successfully convict the longest sitting GOP Senator, a legend in his state and a WWII veteran, of corruption charges, through the use of corruption. A Democrat won a Senate seat that should still be in Stevens' and the GOP's hands. And an 85 year old man had his reputation impugned so that a couple of young punks could try and make a name for themselves.


And of course, there's the double standard of the relatively light coverage this story has received in the MSM. Could you imagine if a Democrat had been wrongly convicted of corruption and lost his seat as a result? The endless "pursuit of the wrongdoers" that would be found on page one?

I haven't heard one call from the press--or a Democrat--for a Special Election (as Gov. Palin has done), given how unfair and tarnished the vote was. I'm not sure if a Special Election is the right solution, but you can bet the drumbeat for one would be deafening if the shoe were on the other foot.

Recession? What Recession?

Barkeep, another round for me and my friends!


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