Monday, February 20, 2012


There's an interesting article in National Review Online, which a month or so ago was editorializing that everyone should give up and let Romney sweep to his ordained triumph.  I think Rick Santorum got some jet fuel from President Obama's recent, insensible denial of an exemption for Catholic institutions from the Obamacare requirement that they provide abortion and birth control insurance.  

It was only two generations ago that Catholics still faced intense bigotry from a hostile establishment.  The Catholic Church in America has deep roots in Ireland, among the dispossessed who suffered mightily under religious persecution by an arrogant British aristocracy.

This latest eye-poke by the Administration was the product of months of consideration.  As Secretary of HHS Sebelius diplomatically explained to a group of Administration supporters, "we are in a war" over the mandate to provide abortion and contraceptive insurance coverage.  Ms. Sebelius neglected to explicitly name her enemies, but we now know who they are: Catholics.

There will be no deviance from the Democratic party line on abortion and contraception.  It doesn't matter if it violates your most deeply held religious beliefs, you will be required to pay for it or participate in an insurance plan that does.

The Administration took a carefully measured decision to make an example of Catholics, and Catholics know it.  

Such decisions have consequences.  Santorum is very Catholic.  Where will Catholics fly who want to register their anger over the President's latest shot at Catholicism?  Not to Mitt, and not to Newt.

Santorum has risen dramatically in the polls over the last several weeks against Gingrich, Romney, and Obama.  Right now Santorum is running ahead of Romney in Michigan and Ohio. (See the link). Michigan is where Romney was born.  Romney's dad was Governor of Michigan.

"Electability" has been Romney's trump card, that and a big war chest.  Not any more.  Romney PACs are putting big money into a negative campaign against Santorum.  That's a choice Romney can make, but I doubt it helps him much in the general election.  So "electability" seems to boil down to "I have enough money to swamp other candidates."  This may be true, but it hardly causes people to flock to the cause out of heart-felt conviction.

The Attorney General of Ohio just dumped Romney and signed on with Santorum.  Ouch.

Here's the NRO article, which is a recapitulation of polling information from a Democratic polling firm, Public Policy Polling:

Riding a wave of momentum from his trio of victories on Tuesday Rick Santorum has opened up a wide lead in PPP’s newest national poll. He’s at 38% to 23% for Mitt Romney, 17% for Newt Gingrich, and 13% for Ron Paul.
Part of the reason for Santorum’s surge is his own high level of popularity. 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney’s favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31). Gingrich has fallen even further. A 44% plurality of GOP voters now hold a negative opinion of him to only 42% with a positive one. That’s a 34 point drop from 2 months ago when he was at +32 (60/28).

The best thing Romney might have going for him right now is Gingrich’s continued presence in the race. If Gingrich dropped out 58% of his supporters say they would move to Santorum, while 22% would go to Romney and 17% to Paul. Santorum gets to 50% in the Newt free field to 28% for Romney and 15% for Paul.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


"Access to pork should not be denied to any American" said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announcing new rules requiring everyone in the nation to serve pork roll sandwiches.  Sebelius explained that without the new rules,  "some Americans would be deprived of vital pork eating opportunities."

"The new rules apply equally to all employers, profit or non-profit, and individual households that exceed the HHS recommended 3.5 people" said Sebelius.

The new rules provoked wide-spread criticism from Rabbis, who noted the rules as drawn would require Jews to violate their religious beliefs by serving pork.

"We cannot have whacko ideology stand in the way of healthy food choices" said Sebelius, in response.  Asked why she called the Rabbis' objections ideological, and not religious, Sebelius said "This is not an "R-word" issue.  If we start acknowledging that this is an "R-word" issue we kind of give the game away, don't we?"

"Besides, they don't have to eat pork themselves" Sebelius continued.  "They just have to provide it for other people who may want to eat it.  Look, we have the support of several Jewish organizations that like pork.  What's the big deal?"

HHS is studying a narrowly drawn exemption that would permit synagogues not to serve pork during Shabbat.

"We are sensitive to concerns about ideological diversity, even if it is weird and wrong, and are willing to compromise by not forcing Jews to eat pork on Saturday at Synagogue.  Anything more, though, would be a deadly restriction on vital pork eating opportunities, and will not be tolerated.  The First Amendment cannot be used to run roughshod over people's right to be served pork."

When asked if most Americans already had plenty of pork eating opportunities, without requiring Jewish people to serve pork, Sebelius said, with a glare, "this is war," to wild applause from gathered reporters, all of whom were eating the delicious pork roll sandwiches provided free of charge by the Administration.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Here's a link to a beautiful essay on Groundhog Day, one of the best films of the last 50 years.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


When Eternal Optimist was a young boy, he lived in a foreign land where they spoke a beautiful and enchanted tongue (una lengua linda y encantada).  He learned a song at church that always charmed him.  It sounded like a nursery song one sang for little children at nighttime.

One day many years later EO translated that song into English, on a whim, and was surprised and astonished at the enormous power of the song's words.

Here is EO's translation of the song, with the original words, and a link to a YouTube version.  The lyrics in the YouTube version by Ricardo Rodriguez vary slightly from those I learned when I was young, but I enjoyed his version more than any of the others I heard.

How glorious the morning will be
When Jesus the Savior comes again
The nations united as sisters -
we will give our welcome to the Lord.

There will be no need
For the light's brilliance, 
Nor will the sun give forth his light, 
and neither his heat.
There will be no tears,
Nor sadness, nor pain,
For in that day Jesus
The king of heaven
Will console us forever.

We hope and wait for that glorious morning
To give our welcome to the God of love,
From whom all will be colored as the roses
in the sacred fragrance of the Lord.

The Christian faithful and true,
And also the worker, full of courage,
And the church, the bride of the Lamb - 
We will all be in the arms of the Lord.

Cuan gloriosa será la mañana
Cuando venga Jesús el Salvador
Las naciones unidas como hermanas
Bienvenida daremos al Señor

No habrá necesidad
De la luz el resplandor
Ni el sol dará su luz,
Ni tampoco su calor.
Allí llanto no habrá,
Ni tristeza ni dolor,
Porque entonces Jesus
El rey del cielo
Para siempre será Consolador

Esperamos la mañana gloriosa
Para dar la bienvenida al Dios de amor
Donde todo será color de rosa
En la santa fragancia del Señor

El cristiano fiel y verdadero
Y también el obrero de valor
Y la iglesia esposa del Cordero 
Estaran en los brazos del Señor.

Here's the link, or you can play it directly, below (sorry about the tech issues).

Thursday, February 2, 2012


In late-breaking news, China announced it is considering a leveraged buy-out of Europe.  Eternal Optimist obtained this exclusive interview with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao early this morning.

"The People's Republic is always looking for value as we strive to give our investors the continued spectacular growth they've come to expect over the last two decades" said Wen.  "Right now the European Union represents extraordinary value.  The present management has not been able to keep the them solvent, but the human and industrial capacity in the EU is still superlative" Wen explained.  "That translates into a rock-bottom price for sterling quality assets: the essence of "value investing."

Wen, fresh off last year's bold acquisitions of Africa and Antarctica, is obviously enjoying the latest venture.

"It all started at a state dinner with Angie [Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany] a few weeks ago" said Wen. "I think I caught her at a vulnerable moment.  She's frustrated - you can tell - and expressed admiration at our growth rate the last few years.  I told her how impressed I was with German fiscal discipline in the middle of all the depressing yahoos over there."

Wen, a soft-spoken, distinguished looking geologist and engineer in his 60s, obviously enjoyed reminiscing.  "A few Cosmos later, we were laughing and telling stories.  Suddenly she turned to me and said 'why don't we get together?  I mean, what does it take to get a deal done?  I'm tired of paddling around in circles.'"

"I was shocked, let me tell you" said Wen, still obviously surprised, "but I managed to say 'let's talk.'  We did, and the rest - well, let's just say we are very excited about the future."

Chinese plans are contingent on the results of due diligence, expected to last about 60 days.  "Given the diversity of the EU, even our accountants - and we have 500,000 of them on planes right now - are going to have to take a bit of time to look at the books.  Particularly this Greek thing is going to be looked at closely" said Wen.

"Although, candidly, Greece, in the larger scheme of things, is not worth a bucket of warm spit, to paraphrase Garner.  That's not on the record" said Wen.

John Nance Garner: Former VP, and The Pride of Uvalde

"Anyway, we might just spin Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy into a junk-bond tranche and dump it on the Arabs.  We've already had some preliminary discussions.  They are emotionally invested in having some European beach front properties, so the financial performance issues are secondary.  Something about the Battle of Tours.  Looks like a win-win."

In response to calls, Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, appeared in a bathrobe at his window and read a prepared statement: "With regard to Angela's new thing, France is resigned to the inevitable and no longer has the energy to care much about the relationship.  Whatever."