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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Antony Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Really, really big-time atheistic philosopher, whom I have never heard of before, thinks maybe there's a sort of God after all.

I'll just bet He's so flattered.

Biola publishes an interview of Antony Flew by Gary Habermas.

Here's a bit of Flew's letter in the August-September issue of Philosophy Now, about the origins of life:

.... But the evidential situation of natural (as opposed to revealed) theology has been transformed in the more than fifty years since Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism....

(Thanks, Francis and Michael.)

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 07:50:20 PM
Categorized as Social/Cultural.


Hitler's Pope Not

John Cornwall recants.

Stephen Bainbridge quotes The Economist, Dec. 9:

As he admits, Hitler's Pope (1999), his biography of Pope Pius XII, lacked balance. “I would now argue,” he says, “in the light of the debates and evidence following Hitler's Pope, that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germans.”

See also these:

And see Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 07:14:31 PM
Categorized as Religious.


Schramm on the Electoral College

The Electoral College voted yesterday. In 2000, Peter Schramm delivered an address to Ohio's presidential electors, Dec. 18 (italics in original):

.... It is a defining feature of our American system of government that, while we claimed unambiguously the peoples' right to rule, we the people at the same time decided to limit our own rule. Thus the people established a Constitution. The exercise of this original right, to use Chief Justice John Marshall's words, is a very great exertion. It was an action by the people that limited their own power. The Constitution — through separation of powers and federalism, those two great discoveries of American political science — is a great limiting document. The first manifestation of the people's rightful authority was therefore an act that limited their own power. When we use the phrase, limited government, we mean Constitutional government. Why would the people limit their own power and authority?
The Constitution of the United States limits and defines the power of the people. Through various devices and methods used — separating the executive power from the legislative and the judicial; through federalism; as well as the manner in which officials of the federal government are elected, for example only members of the House of Representatives are elected, in the original un-amended Constitution, by the people directly (U.S. Senators were chosen by state legislatures); as well as by the indirect election of the president of the United States by the Electoral College — the Founders hoped that the people's will would be channeled in a certain direction.
The Constitution constructs and re-constructs, refines and enlarges, the will of the people to make as certain as possible that the will of the people would be reasonable. The Constitution is nothing less than the attempt to craft majorities that would be disinclined or unable to interfere with the rights of the minority. Once the people established the Constitution, the majorities they formed would be Constitutional majorities, not simple numerical majorities. The president of the United States takes an oath to the Constitution, not to the majority, or to the people who he may think got him elected, not even to the Electoral College, nor to anyone or anything else. Just to the Constitution.
In other words, the formation of majorities is not simply a mathematical or quantitative problem. The Constitution is concerned not with simple majority, not with the size of majorities, but with their character. It is a qualitative problem. The various majorities that are formed, both in the different branches of the government, and in the states, have a different character than would a simple national majority....

In a related vein, see John Fund's Minority President.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 06:57:16 PM
Categorized as Historical & Speeches and Suchlike.


Catholic Carnival VIII

At Living Catholicism this week.

Your Humble, Faithful Blogster has an entry in this week's Carnival.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 06:37:09 PM
Categorized as Catholic Carnival & Religious.


"How Daschle Got Blogged"

A good article by John Fund at OpinionJournal, yesterday:

Bloggers received a lot of attention for helping to expose the fake documents backing up Dan Rather's "60 Minutes" story on President Bush and the Texas Air National Guard. But that's only one of the interesting ways in which the Internet is empowering people and shaping political coverage.
Indeed, the real power of bloggers in politics is how they interact with their mainstream media counterparts. Online journalism gives critics of the media a way to talk back, a platform from which to point out bias, hypocrisy and factual errors. And if the criticisms are on target, old-media institutions can't help but take note. That's exactly what just happened in South Dakota's epic Senate race between Minority Leader Tom Daschle and his GOP challenger, John Thune....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 06:15:19 PM
Categorized as Media & Political.


BDS @ Pasadena Weekly

Somebody named Dean Opperman writes at the Pasadena Weekly.

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Give me a break — or a big glass of vodka. We've gone from shock and awe to shuck and jive, and Captain Quagmire ran the table anyway. Now he's got the White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the military and a chip on his shoulder he's calling a mandate. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a Republican haircut just to blend in.

For four years it's been one big all-you-can-eat buffet for the corporations, and now they're coming back for more. Go ahead, you marvelous bastards! Rip out all the trees, pave the beaches, build 12-lane freeways, plunder the treasury, destroy our future. Cook the books, rig elections, pack the courts, hand the regulatory agencies over to fascist maniacs. Invade more countries, declare code red, invoke martial law, and keep going until your oil-sucking exploits kick off a nuclear exchange.

By God (or Diebold), you've earned it. You've hoodwinked the evangelicals. You've threatened the journalists. You've built a propaganda machine and disguised it as a legitimate cable news network. You've used it to force-feed every right wing loon from Ashcroft to Zell down our throats until they began to sound normal. You've used phony government alerts to manipulate the trailer park patriots, and you've dismantled the separation of church and state to the point where the Stars and Stripes represents the anti-choice, fuel-guzzling, homophobic God of the blow-dried televangelists.

Yes, Mr. President, it's your great and lasting legacy. You've brought brazen deceit into the political mainstream. In fact, it wouldn't be too much to say you are the single most credible Republican since Dan Quayle sprayed that grey stuff on his sideburns. And now you say you want my support. To assume you are being sincere is in itself a faith-based initiative, but in the spirit of fleeting bipartisanship, I'll play along.

I pledge allegiance to the united corporations of America. For the next four years I will continue wearing my Nike shirt, my Adidas shoes, and my Old Navy logo pullover. While eating my corn flakes, if I find that I'm chewing on a coupon, I'll suppress the thought that the corporations aren't content to have turned me into a human billboard, they want me eating their advertising, too.

I'll do my best to suppress my inner environmentalist. When my conscience says things like, "Hey! Isn't that bioengineered food you are eating?" I will assure myself that the radioactive waste in my dental work will kill off any cooties.

I will overlook the fact that you've done more damage to feminism than 20 years of gangster rap, and I will ignore the fear that we will soon need Sherpa guides to reach the ruins of anything resembling such relics as an eight-hour work day. I will do my best to ignore the feeling that I've fallen into a Fellini movie by ignoring the eyes of the old TV news anchors who, caught up in TV's sudden shift to the right, seem to be trying to tell us something they aren't allowed to say on the air. I will suppress my suspicion that you are part of the same gang of psychopaths who brought us Enron, Vietnam and Dallas '63, and I will shelve my theory that the best way to make a dent in terrorism is to invade the state of Texas. And I promise not to move to Mexico, which seems pointless anyway since it appears to be moving to me.

Those are my concessions, Mr. President. Now I need a few from you. I've found it hard to feel proud of America since you first took office. I was among the millions who were appalled when you morphed the home of democracy into a rogue nation endorsing the kind of preemptive war that characterized the Nazis. I don't want a Cowboy-in-Chief roaming the world in search of convenient villains on which to impose gunslinger justice. There's a place for that in an episode of "Gunsmoke," but in today's world we have the United Nations to resolve international disputes. It took World War II and the deaths of 53 million people to create that institution; it seems a waste to disregard that so you can play Judge Roy Bean.

Your West of the Pecos diplomacy has created a trickle-down paranoia that is ruining the neighborhood. We are becoming a dog-eat-dog, everyman-for-himself nation of fair-weather friends. That's what happens when the PATRIOT Act makes enemies of librarians and when the Pentagon begins probing our emails. There are other ways to track Al Qaeda without having to know everything about me going back to those X-ray specs I ordered from the back of Boys' Life.

I know we don't agree. After all, I am a liberal — by your definition, a godless feminist heathen running an abortion clinic in my kitchen and a gay wedding chapel in my garage. Hey, in today's economy, a guy's gotta make a buck. But rest assured that I am no atheist. I know there must be a God. With you in the White House, if there wasn't, we'd surely be dead by now.

So, on behalf of liberals everywhere, and with all the Viagra of progressive thought I can muster, I extend this salute. I offer it with my best wishes and the sincere hope that all who made your victory possible will someday share your deep convictions, both federal and state.

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The Blog from the Core asserts Fair Use for non-commercial, non-profit educational purposes.

BDS? Lege.

(Thanks, Charles.)

P.S. James Taranto says this is an "hilarious spoof of the Angry Left". Perhaps I'm liable to be snookered by a parody after reading too much Morford & Sorensen. :-) But see this.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 05:46:26 PM
Categorized as Political.


On the Murderer Scott Peterson

Why didn't he just divorce her? they ask. He didn't have to kill them!

Sure he did. If he didn't want to have to pay alimony and child support.

And that's exactly what he didn't want to have to do.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 05:35:07 PM
Categorized as Social/Cultural.


San Juan de la Cruz III

Priest and doctor of the Church.

Today the Roman Church celebrates the feastday of St. John of the Cross, friar, reformer, theologian — and poet.

Of the Incarnation

Now as the season approached
(the date love specified)
for the ransom paid in full,
the shackles struck from the bride

who was forfeit under the law
law-giver Moses made,
the father with melting heart
after this fashion said:

My son, I have found you a bride
of your very sort, you'll find.
You will have good cause to know
you are two of a noble kind,

differing only in flesh
(what are you but a child of sky?).
But the course of true love hints
here is a law will apply:

lovers long to become
as identical as they may;
for the more the two are one,
gayer the gala day.

Delight and love in the bride
speedily would increase
(no question here, my son)
if she saw you a man of flesh.

I have no will but yours,
the son to the father replied.
My glory is all in this:
I do, and you decide.

It couldn't be other than just
I follow as you provide.
How better let all men see
your charity far and wide?

How better blazon your might,
sweet reason and deep mind?
I'll carry word to the world,
news of a novel kind:
news of beauty and peace,
of sovereignty unconfined.

I go to be close to the bride
and to take on my back (for it's strong)
the weight of the wearisome toil
that bent the poor back for so long.

To make certain-sure of her life
I'll manfully die in her place,
and drawing her safe from the pit
present her alive to your face.

St. John of the Cross
Poems (3rd edition) pp. 69ff
tr. John Frederick Nims

See also these.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 07:54:54 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious.


"Unity in the Virgin"

A fine article by guest blogger Dave Kopel, Sunday, at

.... Around the Winter Solstice in December 1531, ten years after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, a Catholic Indian peasant named Juan Diego was walking past Tepeyac hill, several miles outside of Mexico City. He heard what seemed like unusually beautiful songbirds at the top of the rocky hill. When he went up to investigate, “he saw a Lady, who was standing there and told him to come hither. Approaching her presence, he marveled greatly at her superhuman grandeur; her garments were shining like the sun; the cliff where she rested her feet, pierced with glitter, resembling an anklet of precious stones, and the earth sparkled like the rainbow. The mezquites, nopales, and other different weeds, which grow there, appeared like emeralds, their foliage like turquoise, and their branches and thorns glistened like gold.”
He recognized her as Mary. She addressed him affectionately as her child, and told him to tell the Bishop to have a church for her built at the top of the hill. This was the site where an Aztec temple to the earth goddess had recently been torn down.
He walked several miles to the Bishop’s office, and, after a long wait, met with the Bishop, who thought Juan Diego to be a fraud....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 07:15:39 AM
Categorized as Religious.


That MoveOn E-mail

Re: Next DNC Chairman: Howard Dean?

Courtesy of Susanna Cornett, here's the full text of the e-mail.

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Dear MoveOn member,

Who will lead the Democratic Party? The answer may come as soon as this weekend, when the state Democratic Party leaders gather to discuss who should chair the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for the next four years.1 The election for chair is rarely competitive. But this year, with the race wide open, we have the chance to elect a leader who will reconnect the Democratic Party with its constituents — us.

For years, the Party has been lead by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base. But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers. In the last year, grassroots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the Party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive.2 Now it's our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back.

We've made it easy to contact your state Party leaders and ask them support a chair who will represent all of us OUTSIDE of the Washington beltway and engage us in a fight for a bold Democratic vision. If we get enough signatures today, we'll deliver your comments to their meeting this weekend, so please click below NOW to make your voice heard:

MoveOn includes Republicans, Greens, and independents. But all of us who are struggling for health care, clean air, decent jobs, and a sane foreign policy can agree on one thing: we're better off with a vibrant, populist Democratic Party that's strong enough to challenge the extreme-right Republican leadership.

Why haven't we had one? Under outgoing DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, the Party cozied up to many of the same corporate donors that fund the Republicans — drug companies, HMO's, media conglomerates, big banks, polluting industries. The result was watered down, play-it-safe politics that kept the money flowing but alienated traditional Democrats as well as reform-minded independents in search of vision and integrity. And so the Party lost ground.

But in 2004, something incredible happened: hundreds of thousands of small contributors gave millions and millions of dollars and changed the way politics works forever. New we have an opportunity to birth a new Democratic Party — a Party of the people that's funded by the people and that fights for the people. Tell your state Party leaders that you want a DNC chair who will use this new grassroots energy to catapult us to victory at:

The Democratic National Committee is the national backbone of the Democratic Party, and it matters who ends up as the new chair. With Democrats out of power in Washington, the new chair will play an unprecedented role as the voice of the Party. And no one will be in a better position to orchestrate a Democratic revival.

The state Party leaders — who play a pivotal role within the DNC — understand the importance of the DNC Chair. They have helped to make the election process more transparent, by inviting candidates for Chair to a public forum at their meeting. And for the first time, they are considering endorsing a candidate en masse. If they vote as a bloc, they could determine the next Chair. They represent all of us who knocked on doors, who gave money, who made phone calls — and it's time for us to weigh in.

The movement for change that we built during the last election is still gathering strength. We need leadership that will break the chains of corporate funding so we can fight — really fight — for a better America.

Thank you for all that you do,

—Eli Pariser, Justin Ruben, and the whole MoveOn PAC team December 9, 2004

1 The Democratic National Committee is the organizational structure of the national Democratic Party. The chair is elected by the approximately 440 voting members of the DNC, who include state Party officials, elected Democrats from all levels of government, and representatives of Party caucuses like the Young Democrats of America and the National Federation of Democratic Women. The election for DNC chair will take place in February, and state Party officials control between one-quarter and one-third of the votes that are likely to be cast. This weekend, they are meeting to hear from a number of candidates for Chair. They may or may not make an endorsement at their meeting, but they have announced plans to do so at some point.

2 "The Next DNC Chair: Why You Should Care," syndicated column by Arianna Huffington, December 8, 2004. Online at:

PAID FOR BY MOVEON PAC Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Translation: we Marxoids think the Democratic Party is foundering because it's not Marxist enough, and what America really wants is Marxism.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 12/14/04 06:59:37 AM
Categorized as Political.


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  Needless Commentary from Small-Town America  

The View from the Core, and all original material, © 2002-2004 E. L. Core. All rights reserved.

Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”