News and Views

Breaking News from the Times UK:

“Iraq’s top terrorist ‘surrounded’

Iraqi security forces have surrounded Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the country’s interior minister said. Al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terror network al Qaida in Iraq, has eluded arrest while kidnapping and killing people in Iraq….”

Terri Schiavo

Suebob has an inspiring history lesson and along the way tells us about an empty bus, Le Chambon, and Terri.

Vox Day connects some dots between the Schiavo case and Social Security. Is he right? I hope not, but even when I disagree with him, I love reading his passionate rants.

Fake Memo:
Fred Barnes writes about the infamous and doubtful GOP Talking Points Memo in the ABCs of Media Bias. Seems only Democrat staffers ever actually had their hands on it.

John Hinderaker of Powerline covers the same thing in a great Weekly Standard article, Fake but Accurate Again?


Hugh Hewitt writes in World Magazine about Unchecked Judicial Authority. Powerline also talks about the judiciary system.

Social Security:
Survey Says Social Security Puzzles Voters. Are you one of them? You are if you believe, in common with 48 percent of your fellow Americans, that an actual trust fund holds your payroll taxes until you retire. You are if you believe, in common with 68 percent of registered voters that Congress has a “legal obligation” to pay Social Security benefits. Read more about this ‘legal obligation’ here. You’ll also want to read this if you have questions about the stock market and SS.

The UN:

Austen Bay tells us about Kofi Annan’s Depression. Incidentally, there is a very brief reference to the sexual abuse of children by UN “Peacekeepers” in the Congo. The reference is so brief that I just told you everything you’ll find in the article itself. This is a vitally important story that we have not addressed here. The reason we have not addressed it is because the story is too grim, too horrifying, and too unseemly for a blog like ours, but it is not a story we want the grown-ups to ignore.

Roger Simon will be covering the Oil for Food Scandal as the ongoing investigation uncovers more and more.

The Daily Demarche wants to see the UN improve, and thinks this may be our last chance to right the sinking ship. DD suggests we need to try, because organizations this large and bloated simply do not go gentle into that good night.


LaShawn Barber talks about Immigration.

So does Michelle Malkin, who has long been the go-to person for information on illegal immigration and closing the borders.

The Deputy Headmistress has, in the past, been in favor of open borders. In fact, she has agreed with a friend who states that this is the only acceptable immigration policy.

Places in the News:
Zimbabwe Here’s a collection of past articles on Zimbabwe.

Science News:

If you like citrus, strawberries, watermelon, pecans, beans, or blueberries, you should read this article about why they may disappear from supermarket shelves.

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A Cabbages & Kings Post

If anyone would make me the greatest king that ever lived…on condition that I should not read books, I would not be a king. ~ Macaulay

Great kings read, however. Isn’t it interesting that the only British king ever given the honor of being called “the great” (it was Alfred, btw) was one who brought about a serious revival in the reading of books?

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He is Risen!


Cristi anax, se prvton, epei logon heri dvka,
dhnaion katecwn, fqegxom apo stomatwn,

(Dactylic hexameter, and pentameter.)

O Christ the King! since breath pent up so long

I have outpoured, Thou first shalt be my song;

May this my word, the current of my mind,

If lawful thus to speak, acceptance find,

And unto Thee as holy incense rise

Of holiest priest, a grateful sacrifice!

The Father’s Brightness, Word of the Great Mind,

Who cannot be by power of speech defined,

High Light of highest Light, the Only Son,

Image and Seal of the Immortal One,

Without beginning; from same Fount of Light

With the Great Spirit; infinite in might:

All-glorious Thou, and Author of all good:

From age to age Thy truth hath firmly stood.

Enthroned Thou reignest high in heaven above,

Almighty Breath of Mind and Lord of Love.

Throughout this framèd universe Divine

Whatever is, or shall be, all is Thine:

Thou madest all, to all Thou givest life,

And all Thou guidest: nowhere fault or strife,

Nor error in Thy workmanship is found:

The whole in willing chain to Thee is bound.

Thou laid’st the world’s foundation: and Thy nod

All things obey, and own their Sovereign God.

For Thee the lofty sun, the king of day,

Quenching the stars, holds on his fiery way.

For Thee, for so Thou bidst, the eye of night,

The moon, waxes and wanes, full orb of light.

For Thee the belt of heaven, all-dancing ring,

And seasons kindly mingling, laugh and sing.

For Thee the fixèd stars and planets shine

In course, and speak Thy wisdom all divine.

Thy light they are, the heavenly minds that be,

All sing on high the glorious Trinity.

Man is Thy glory too, angel below,

Here placed to sing, O Light, Thy beauteous glow.

Immortal, fleshless, glory’s highest ray,

Who mortal flesh yet took’st, man’s woes to stay,

For Thee I live, for Thee my songs arise,

For Thee I am a breathing sacrifice;

For this, of all things once possessed by me,

Alone remains, and this I give to Thee.

I tie my tongue, and loose it at Thy will;

In either, what Thou wouldst may I fulfil,

Speak what is right, nor think aught else beside:

From mire select the pearl, with Thee my Guide;

Gold from the sand, the rose from thorny brake,

From straw-encumbered ears the pure grain take.

To Thee, O Christ, this wreath of uttered praise,

As firstfruits of my loving toil, I raise.

For from the dead, with whom He mingled lay,

Great Christ arose, upon this gladsome day;

Gates of grim Hades He did open fling;

And broke death’s power, and robbed him of his sting;

Rushed from the tomb, appeared to speaking men,

For whom, once born, He died and rose again;

That we new-born might rise, from death set free,

And ever live, ascending Lord, with Thee.

This day glad Heaven with acclamation rings,

And choir angelic crowning anthem sings.

This day my closèd lips I loose in song

To Thee, to whom my lute and breath belong.

Of mind to Mind, of word to the true Word,

I here have offered what I could afford:

Hereafter, if He will, I hope to bring

To the Great Spirit worthier offering.”

By Gregory Nazianzen, fourth century elder

I do not have a tune, although Finlandia instantly came to mind as I read the words, and it does work pretty well.

Earliest Greek Christian Poets

Translated into English Verse

Postscript: I include this because I like these lyrics. Our family celebrates the Resurrection daily, with a special emphasis each Sunday. The unique historical event of the Resurrection is just too precious to us to limit the celebration to one day a year.

This post is linked at Spiritual Sundays

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Marbury vs. Madison

It was THEN.

Marbury vs. Madison, 1803. The Supreme Court granted itself the authority to consider cases about the constitutionality of legislative and/or executive decisions, and when deemed by the court, and therefore by the OPINIONS of those on court, unconstitutional, to overturn them.

Judicial review is over 200 years old. I can’t decide whether this should encourage optimism or pessimism about the state of the things in the USA, but pessimism is winning the argument.

(Digression: Half of you probably know all of this all ready. Oh, well. Humour me. Half of you probably didn’t know but don’t necessarily care. Oh, well. [comment deleted by shocked Deputy Headmistress].)

The interesting thing is that the case was not to meant to be a revolution of any kind at all. It was a political move by the Federalist Party, out of power in Congress and the White House, but determined, nonetheless, to have their way.

(I know. It sounds so hauntingly familiar. Humanity will always be humanity, there is nothing new under the sun.)

No doubt you are all familiar with John Adam’s “midnight judges?” Thomas Jefferson didn’t like these judges, and his secretary of state James Madison was forbidden to deliver the commissions. Chief Justice Marshall was a diehard opponent of Jefferson and when one of the men whose commission was being refused filed suit to have a writ of mandamus delivered to Madison, directing him to deliver the commission, Marshall was determined that Marbury should win. So he found a way.

At this point I shall cease to burden you with the cumbersome explanations that are mine own, and let Mark R. Levin, author of “Men In Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America”, clear the waters for you.

“With a Republican majority elected to both houses of Congress in 1800, Marshall realized that Jefferson and his Republicans could denude the Supreme Court of authority and that he, as chief justice, could be impeached and removed from office. Marshall understood that, in the Marbury case, if he ordered Secretary of State Madison to deliver Marbury’s commission to office, Jefferson would order Madison to ignore the Supreme Court’s writ, and the Court’s authority would be seriously weakened. Marshall was also concerned that he not be seen as protecting the interests of Federal jurists like Marbury, who had assumed his position as justice of the peace & had been hearing cases and issuing judgments for a year.”

My turn, cause I think I could get this bit over quicker. Marshall’s argument in court was that, since Marbury had already been confirmed and nominated to his position, he had, essentially, a property right to the position. (I thought this was vedy intewesting, and Mr. Levin says it wasn’t that uncommon of an argument at the time.) So. Marbury’s constitutional rights were being violated and Marshall claimed that “…the Court had a responsibility to set aside acts of Congress that violate principles enumerated in the Constitution.” (Mark Levin’s words, once again.)

And that is pretty much both the end of the story and the beginning of the story.

In Marshall’s defense, as obnoxious as his acts may have been, he could not have known what a dangerous precedent he was setting. By the same token, those who wrote the Constitution and made the courts independent of the other two branches, and most importantly, the votes of the people, could not known how tyrannical such a court would become.

We have, in consequence: Marbury vs. Madison, the Dred Scott case, Roe vs. Wade, Everson vs. Board of Education, and Terri Schiavo.

“This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is…by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare attempt.”
Thomas Jefferson

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A Quiet Day

…Split pea soup is simmering (I do hope I haven’t mussed it up. I usually don’t, but there are occasions where somehow it goes Completely Awry and the poor Common Room inhabitants are left to reflect on the cheering fact that there are, at least, left overs in the fridge). I have finally completed “Jane Austen: Obstinate Heart.” It is a somewhat obstinate read as the author seems to do most of her biography by simply narrating Jane Austen’s letters. ugh. Why not read Austen’s letters? That is something I would be doing at the moment, but I am afraid they are in one of our poor unpacked boxes of books. At any rate, I think I shall be re-reading one of her books shortly.

A few days ago I finished reading “Hidden Art of Homemaking” by Edith Schaeffer (which I think I mentioned here). Although it was all rather good (although also occasionally repetitive) I found one passage in particular really grabbed my attention. I even copied it down in my regular journal, which is not something I am wont to do. Usually quotes go into my booklist journal, and Bible verses into my regular journal. This quote, however, is one I knew needed to be applied to my life… and soon. So here it is:
One person sleeps half the day, gets up looking like a half-dead duck, drags around with eyelids scarcely open, slurping coffee and leaving a mess all over the newly polished sink, leaves the bed unmade and a week of clothing in a heap on the bed, heaves a sigh and moans about what a drag life is, then prepares to sit and philosophize while you work. What is the effec this has on you? …You begin to feel tired, discouraged, irritated, frustrated and hopeless.”

My toes are still bruised. I am the Half-Dead Duck Type. 😛 Now, however, I am a Reforming Half-Dead Duck (does this make me a 3/4 Dead Duck?) and optimistic about the prospect of becoming a Fully Alive Duck.

Before I quit (gots to dust & vaccuum the hidey hole upstairs before supper): can anyone direct me to a site online with a photograph of Benjamin West’s Christ’s Rejection By the Elders? It was mentioned in the Jane Austen biography and I should like to see it. Edit: Thanks so much to the wonderful woman (you know who you are!) who sent me a link. You can see the picture here.

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