August 21, 2014

Medicare Counseling Reg Not a Death Panel: But Health Care Rationing a Clear and Present Danger

Wesley J. Smith

Much is being made throughout the blogosphere and on talk radio about the new Medicare regulation that compensates physicians for discussing end of life options with their patients. As I said yesterday over at The Corner, these are not “death panels.” … [Read more...]

Church Renews Fight Over Site


Wall Street Journal A claim filed against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by church leaders and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on Monday accused the agency, which is overseeing Ground Zero's rebuilding, of engaging in "arrogance, bad faith and fraudulent conduct" and "shabby and unlawful treatment." Under state law, the church is required to file a notice of claim against the Port Authority for some of its claims, and wait 60 days before it can go to court, according to Mark. G. Cunha, a lawyer for the church. In 2008, after years of discussions, the Port Authority and the church announced an agreement to rebuild the church, which was originally located on Cedar Street, on a nearby site on Liberty Street. As part of the deal, the Port Authority said it would pay $20 million toward the cost of the new church. Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website. … [Read more...]

Piero A. Tozzi: The New Global Morality: DADT Repeal and Secretary Clinton’s embrace of “Universal Standards”


Apart from from the health care rationing that Obamacare would foster on American citizens, I argue too that the questionable morality of the self-selected administrators of the project would drive policy decisions in directions that violate traditional norms. "Do you really want people like Hillary Clinton or Barbara Boxer making your health care decisions?" I ask. Sound alarmist? Read the reasoning behind Clinton's praise of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal below and you will see that the goal is much broader than many advocates are letting on. Source: Alliance Defense Fund Press Statement – Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Washington, DC December 18, 2010 This is a historic step forward for all Americans, a step toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values. As the President and I have repeatedly said, we are committed to universal standards … [Read more...]

Michael Barone on the recent election

Occasionally I get emails from readers taking me to task for discussing politics on a "religious" forum. It should not be allowed they argue but obviously I don't agree. Politics, culture, religion, values, ideas and so forth overlap in critical ways and ignoring this is, at a minimum, a prescription for ignorance. It's true that religion and partisanship can be a dangerous brew, but here too I notice most of the complaints deal more with the fact I lean towards Classical Liberalism and that I find the Progressivism of my critics lacking substance at best, and even dangerous at worst. Frankly, I find the Progressive infatuation with moral idealism (at the expense of clear headed examination of the concrete ramifications of their ideas in real life) dangerous because moral idealism too easily devolves to the embrace of ideology. Ideology is defined here not as a mere constellation of ideas, but a closed, self-referencing system of thought that reacts to any contrary idea as a threat … [Read more...]

Space crew with the next expedition takes Gospels to ISS

My first thought was no political correctness there. My second thought I'd want something like this if I were at the top of a rocket shooting into space. Moscow, December 1, Interfax - The crew of Soyuz TMA-20 piloted spaceship that starts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 5, will take Gospels to the International Space Station, the crew commander Dmitry Kondratyev said. "The crew attended a prayer service dedicated to our flight. Father Job conducted it. We received church gifts from Father Job and Gospels for ISS. We hope to take it with us and leave at the station," Kondratyev said in his interview posted on the Roskosmos website. The prayer service was conducted in the Transfiguration Church in Zvezdny Gorodok. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia consecrated the newly built church last weekend. Hegumen Job (Talats) is appointed its rector. The cosmonaut said that the Soyuz crew is ready for the flight to Baikonur planned for December 3. Before the … [Read more...]

Is Europe waking up from its multi-cultural inebriation?

Austrian MP Ewald Stadler speaks to the position of the Turkish Ambassador and tells off some of his colleagues. During this, he addresses the lack of outrage when Catholic Archbishop Luigi Padovese was killed in Turkey and mentions the priests who have been killed. Stadler is certainly not an indifferent Catholic! … [Read more...]

Patsourakos: Clergy Must Abide by America’s Tradition of Church-State Separation


George Patsourakos, occasional commentator on the AOI Observer, posted a commentary on his blog "Theology and Society" sure to elicit some strong responses. I agree with his overall conclusion (keep candidate endorsements away from the pulpit) but I disagree with his interpretation of the separation of church and state clause in the Constitution. What do you think? This week former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said that religion in America has, by and large, become too involved in politics. He also warned of the dangers that could result if this trend continues. For example, the fact that some pastors are now openly calling on their parishioners to vote a certain way is contrary to the established principle of separation of church and state in America. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In other words, Americans are free to worship as they … [Read more...]

Science Must Destroy Religion


A reader sent me a link from this article published on the Huffington Post. The author is hostile towards religion (Huffington Post writers tend to be) but it is an interesting read nevertheless. Positing science versus religion is a false dichtomy of course since it really draws from the conflict between the philosophical materialism of the late nineteenth century and the acceptance of transcendent causes and operations (religion) that preceded that era; a conflict still played out today. Note too his silence of the great "successes" of atheism, particularly the idealism of Marx and the blood soaked legacy found everywhere it has been implemented. The author does not realize that the foundation of knowledge is not "fact" but narrative. The scientific system, in other words, could not have arisen except through the conceptual framework shaped by Christianity (anthropology, teleology, etc.). So too with the ethics he champions. Atheist ethics don't have a pedigree or tradition. … [Read more...]

Thomas Sowell: Arrogance costly for Iowa judges

Thomas Sowell

The removal of the Iowa judges by Iowa voters for overturning the voters' plebiscite on gay marriage is an important shift in electoral attitudes. Here Thomas Sowell, one of America's clearest social commentators, makes the case. Results of the recent elections showed that growing numbers of Americans are fed up with “public servants” who act as if they are public masters. This went beyond the usual objections to particular policies. It was the fact that policies were crammed down our throats, whether we liked them or not. In fact, laws were passed so fast that nobody had time to read them. Whether these policies were good, bad or indifferent, the way they were imposed represented a more fundamental threat to the very principles of a self-governing people established by the U.S. Constitution. Arrogant politicians who do this are dismantling the Constitution piecemeal — which is to say, they are dismantling America. The voters struck back, as they had to, if we are to … [Read more...]

Iowans dismiss three judges

Iowa Gay Marriage

This is the story Harry Coin mentioned in a comment a few days ago. The story is huge, not only for the political implications -- the removal of activist judges, but that gay marriage, a moral question with the deepest cultural implications, was the driver leading to their removal. America values the public square, which is why the great debates about morality develop a political cast, even though they can never be reduced to politics alone. When morality and politics coalesce into a seamless unit however (Progressive politics for example), America runs the risk of becoming captive to ideology (and following the failures of the Europeans -- fascism, Nazism, Communism, Jacobism, and other deceptions). The American Founders however, in their great wisdom, realized that the greatest threat to liberty is centralized power which is why the restrictions of the Bill of Rights concern the government, not individuals. Iowans, to their great credit, showed us again why the Founders … [Read more...]

The Conservative Moment

The irony is isn't lost on me as as I read the Arizona Republic in and Arizona Starbucks this morning (free wi-fi), ground zero for many of the issues Americans are deciding on today. Thinking back I remember see Jimmy Carter in Eugene, Oregon on afternoon quite by accident (my last vote as a Democrat) and even Theodore Sorenson (aid to John Kennedy who died last week -- a very interesting and gifted man although he could never shake the Kennedy mystique even late in his life) during a Mondale-Ferraro rally in Minneapolis (I was not a Mondale supporter but I went to the rally just to hear Sorenson). Today is a very important day. America may be changing. Below is an editorial that makes the case a fundamental shift is occurring. I agree with the thesis. I think this election marks a significant shift beyond the usual back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. We may be witnessing an unstoppable cultural shift, the reversal of the liberalism of the New Deal forward. I am not … [Read more...]

Patsourakos: Islamophobia will end in the US when terrorism ends

Over at his Theology and Society blog, George Patsourakos, an occasional commentator on the AOI blog writes on the effort by the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR - apologists for jihad actually) to combat "Islamophobia," a term they borrowed and adapted from the homosexual rights movement that is used to silence the criticism of detractors. Patsourakos writes, sure, we're afraid, but not of Muslims as much as we are of Muslim terrorism. Stop the terror and "Islamophobia" will disappear overnight. (One consolation: The spell checker still does not recognize the word. "Homophobia," however, passes muster. This shows how when you say something nonsensical long and loud enough, people think it really means something.) Essay follows. This past week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) decided to establish a branch to deal with Islamophobia (the fear of Islam and Muslims). There is no denying that many Americans have had a negative attitude toward Islam … [Read more...]