jueves, 28 de febrero de 2013

The SIF is a step, however modest, toward a system in which government decides which programs deserve charitable support.

Politicizing Philanthropy

by Howard Husock,

A White House program blurs the line between 
government action and private charity.

In 2009, the Obama administration established a new initiative, the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), saying that it would “scale up” existing programs for the poor in three areas—“economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development.” The fund’s novelty was the way that it would “scale up” these programs. The White House would choose an assortment of “intermediary grant making organizations,” such as foundations, which would in turn identify worthy grant recipients. Those recipients would get money from both the government and the intermediaries, and they would also pledge to raise enough money from private donors to match the total that they had received.

So far, the private donors aren’t cooperating. They’ve provided just 40 percent of the $350 million that the SIF projected. Only 31 percent of the grant recipients listed on the fund’s website report having raised their matching funds—even as the nation’s private donors increased their overall charitable giving in 2011 to $298 billion.

The donors’ reluctance to participate in the SIF isn’t so surprising. For one thing, the fund’s mission statement implies that it funds a small number of promising new nonprofits that are based on inventive concepts. In reality, though, dozens of organizations—in 33 states and 100 cities—have received grants, and they include many long-established social-services organizations and even government agencies, such as public-housing authorities and public television. Indeed, the fund’s bureaucratic hurdles, including an evaluation procedure with an 80-page instruction form, likely favor these entrenched groups. It’s hard for potential donors who had read the exciting mission statement to avoid concluding that the SIF is essentially a grab bag of standard social-services grants that public officials and organizations would like to take credit for.


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La France a perdu sa base industrielle... l'Allemagne, elle, a fait des réformes en profondeur

Propos recueillis par PASCALE HUGUES
Ursula Weidenfeld, économiste proche du ministre de l'Économie Wolfgang Schäuble, ne prend aucun détour : notre pays est l'homme malade du continent.

Le : Comment les Allemands jugent-ils la situation économique de la France de François Hollande ?
Ursula Weidenfeld : La France est le gros problème de l'Europe. Sa situation économique inquiète bien davantage les Allemands que celle de la Grèce, car la France est la seconde puissance industrielle de la zone euro. Le chômage va-t-il continuer d'augmenter ? Le pays va-t-il sombrer dans la récession ? Les problèmes auxquels fait face la France sont-ils reconnus et pris en main par ses dirigeants politiques ? Et si des mesures sont décidées, combien de temps va-t-il falloir pour qu'elles soient mises en place et pour qu'elles portent leurs fruits et que l'économie retrouve la santé ? Voici les questions qui préoccupent les Allemands. Bien sûr, nos dirigeants se font du souci, mais ils se gardent bien de donner des conseils à leur partenaire privilégié. Chaque pays doit trouver les solutions qui lui conviennent.


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It is God we should run to and not hell we should run from.

Running From Hell: Thoughts on Love and Sin

Running from hell is a lousy way to approach God. 

This seemed to be the consensus of many post-Vatican II Catholics who saw the pre-Vatican II era as a generation beholden to the fear of sin and subject to rules drawing sharp lines over which a good Catholic did not cross.

As a high school student and young adult I rode the euphoric wave following Vatican II, a wave that lifted us out of the murky depths of sin and guilt and set us firmly on a solid land of love and good feelings. 

No longer would we run from hell. Instead we would run toward love. But to look at today’s poverty of spirit wrought in our broken families, our failing churches, and the almost unanimous rejection of Catholic teachings on human sexuality, we must ask, 

“Where did our love go wrong?” Rather than embracing God, our flight toward love has led us even farther away from the very God we claimed to seek.

Obama - It is hard to imagine a more aggressively anti-marriage administration

President Obama’s War on Marriage

n May 2012, Newsweek crowned Barack Obama “the first gay president” for his war on marriage. A halo appeared above his head in the cover photo. The magazine was applauding him not only for his defiance of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) but for his “evolution” in favor of gay marriage, a stance no president before him had ever taken.

This flattering narrative about his brave and anguished transformation was bogus. He had endorsed gay marriage many years before. “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight any effort to prohibit such marriage,” he wrote in reply to a 1996 issues survey from a gay magazine based on Chicago’s North Side. When this became public and threatened to cause him political damage as a state Senate candidate, his aides cast the answer as a garbled misfire. It wasn’t. He had signed the letter himself.

His opposition to gay marriage was always a charade. In 2008, he faked up nominal opposition to it in order to win the White House, all the while intending to defy DOMA and redefine marriage. As soon as he entered office, he began holding “LGBT” receptions in the White House, telling gay activists that Americans would lose their “worn arguments and old attitudes” under his juggernaut. “Welcome to your White House,” he said. “We’ve been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.”


Obviously, he wants to nationalize gay marriage and prevent states from banning it. Should he get the chance to appoint one or two more justices to the Supreme Court, a national right to gay marriage, which they will conveniently discover within the “penumbras” of the text, is guaranteed.

With demography moving against the GOP, with more and more Americans becoming dependent upon government, it will take leadership not yet visible to rescue the Republican Party from the fate Barack Hussein Obama has in store for it.

Is President Obama Shaping a New Majority?

by Patrick J. Buchanan

In the 20th century, only two presidents shaped new governing coalitions that outlasted them. They were the only two men to appear on five national tickets.

The first was FDR, who rang down the curtain in 1932 on the seven decades of Republican hegemony since Abraham Lincoln that had seen only two Democrats in the White House. And Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson had made it only because of divisions inside the GOP.

Franklin Roosevelt would win four terms, and his party would win the presidency in seven of nine elections between 1932 and 1968.

Richard Nixon was the next craftsman of a governing coalition. While he won with only 43 percent in 1968, by 1972 he had cobbled together a New Majority that would give the GOP four victories in five elections between 1972 and 1988. In two of those victories, Nixon and Ronald Reagan would roll up 49-state landslides.

Roosevelt and Nixon both employed the politics of conflict and confrontation, not conciliation, to smash the old coalition. Find me something to veto, Roosevelt once said to his aides, seeking to start a fight with his adversaries to rally his grumbling troops.


Réduire de moitié les subventions, ce serait réaliser une économie de 15 à 20 milliards d’euros. Je dis bien milliards.

La légalisation de la corruption

par Lambert Christian

Le gouvernement socialiste est au pouvoir depuis 9 mois. Il a échoué sur toute la ligne. Aucun des objectifs de croissance qu’il s’était assigné n’a été atteint. Le déficit se maintient et la dette augmente. Tous les observateurs sérieux lancent des avertissements et, en premier lieu, la Cour des comptes, à une équipe dépourvue de compétence, divisée, mensongère et fiscaliste.

Alain Juppé, ancien Premier ministre, vient de déclarer : « Nous sommes en présence de l’échec retentissant de la politique socialiste. Le matraquage fiscal a tétanisé les patrons de PME et les investisseurs. » Or, nul n’ignore que la baisse de la croissance – que l’on ne peut plus dissimuler –, c’est la hausse du chômage et, pour tous, la baisse du pouvoir d’achat. 62 000 entreprises devraient jeter l’éponge cette année ; 60 641 en 2012 ! Mais le pire de cette gouvernance, avec une part de responsabilité de la précédente, c’est la légalisation d’une corruption et d’un clientélisme énormes, notamment par le biais des subventions. Contribuables Associés, dans le n° 11 de ses dossiers, daté de février, en donne une large idée. Que l’on en juge :

Le champion toutes catégories en ce domaine est l’association SOS Racisme, fondée par Mitterrand.


Claude Garrec, le nouveau président de Contribuables Associés, écrit : « Réduire de moitié les subventions, ce serait réaliser une économie de 15 à 20 milliards d’euros. Je dis bien milliards. »

Vous voyez, camarades, la soupe est bonne !

Et si le lecteur veut en savoir davantage, il peut se procurer le dossier des subventions à Contribuables Associés (42 rue des Jeûneurs 75 002 Paris) pour 4,50 euros.

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Stéphane Hessel ne s´indignera plus ...

Rediff : Quand donc s’indignera-t-on contre Stéphane Hessel ?

Tribune libre de François Préval


 28 minutes : Stéphane Hessel et le mariage pour tous

Rien, il ne se passe toujours rien. Je veux parler de la dernière esclandre du roi de l’indignation sur commande, papy Stéphane Hessel. 

Voici maintenant plus d’un an que le vieil homme a accordé une interview à un journal allemand dans laquelle il minimisait la dureté de l’occupation allemande et près d’un mois que l’affaire a été rendu publique (et pas par les grands médias !), et pourtant, toujours rien, pas une condamnation, pas une seule… indignation ! 

Il y avait pourtant de quoi. 

Le monsieur affirme d’abord que sous l’occupation allemande, il était possible d’écouter chanter Juliette Gréco et d’aller voir des pièces de Jean-Paul Sartre. 

On aurait pu lui faire remarquer que Gréco n’a démarré sa carrière qu’après-guerre…


Stéphane Hessel ne s’indignera plus 

Stéphane Hessel est mort dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi, a annoncé son épouse, Christiane Hessel-Chabry. Il avait 95 ans.

Ancien diplomate, déporté et résistant (« un honorable second rôle », selon Pierre André Taguieff), Stéphane Hessel est l’auteur de Indignez-vous ! (Indigène), vendu à plus de 4 millions d’exemplaires dans près de 100 pays depuis sa sortie en octobre 2010, qui a servi de manifeste au mouvement des « Indignés », notamment en Espagne. 

Contrairement à ce qui a souvent été écrit et à ce qu’affirme encore aujourd’hui, il n’a pas participé à la rédaction de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme bien qu’ayant assisté aux sessions. Véritable « idole » des bobos, Stéphane Hessel était un partisan de la dénaturation du mariage (donc du droit à l’enfant). 

Étatiste forcené, il dénonçait partout où il le pouvait « la tutelle du fric » et critiquait régulièrement la politique de l’État d’Israël auquel il était toutefois favorable. 

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Irlandais - 77% sont de facto »pro-vie »

Les Irlandais massivement «pro-vie»

Par Eric Martin

Selon un sondage réalisé du 16 au 23 janvier 2013 sur un échantillon (représentatif de la population) de 970 personnes par Millward Brown pour The Pro Life Campaign, 63% des Irlandais se déclarent favorables à une protection constitutionnelle de l’enfant à naître, donc à l’interdiction de l’avortement, sauf lorsque sa pratique est un effet collatéral du sauvetage de la vie de la mère.


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The way out of this crisis, just like the way in, is not a matter of public policy alone but of the moral integrity of our culture

With the most recent fiscal cliff approaching this Thursday (February 28), it is worth asking, “How did we get into this mess?” My answer: a little leaven works its way through a whole lump of dough….

Touchstone Magazine
(March/April 2013) recently published my article, ”The Yeast We Can Do,” in their “Views” section (subscription required). In it, I explore the metaphor of yeast in the Scriptures—how little things eventually work their way through our whole lives and can lead to big consequences. In some cases, I point out, this is a bad thing. For example, I write,

According to Evagrios the Solitary, one of the early Christian hermits of the Egyptian desert, our spiritual struggle can be summarized quite simply: it is because we have first failed to resist little temptations that we eventually fall to greater ones. Following John the Evangelist’s warnings against succumbing to “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16), Evagrios identifies three “frontline demons” in particular: gluttony, avarice, and seeking the esteem of others.

Little by little, when we give in to small temptations, they eventually work their way through our whole lives, leaving us vulnerable to bigger, related areas of temptation.

Now, how does this relate to our over $16.5 trillion national debt and annual deficits over $1 trillion for the last four years that brought us to a looming sequestration deadline, with little time to come up with some solution to drastically cut spending to get our finances under control, adversely affecting the lives of millions? Well, as I said, a little leaven works its way through the whole lump of dough.


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La presente crisis del capitalismo americano y europeo es mucho menor que la de 1930, aunque su duración es larga y su recuperación es lenta

Capitalismo: ¿crisis cíclica o crisis final?

por Orlando J. Ferreres

En los últimos años se ha discutido si la crisis iniciada en 2007-2008, llamada "crisis subprime" o "crisis Lehman", podría ser una crisis terminal del capitalismo. Un diario de finanzas internacionales muy conocido fomentó esta discusión. El progresismo, con sus variantes, se ha inclinado a pensar que es una crisis muy aguda que podría llevar a terminar con este sistema, así como en 1989 entró en una crisis terminal el sistema comunista y se desarticuló al caer en ese año la URSS.

Para la ortodoxia ésta es una crisis más del sistema. Estas crisis, para esta posición, son cíclicas y son inherentes al capitalismo, que después de cada una de ellas renace renovado y más competitivo que antes.

Muchos estudiosos a quienes no les atrae el capitalismo tienen el deseo de que este sistema colapse y venga algo "nuevo", "mejor", " más humano", dicen. Sin embargo, cuando hacen sus pronósticos, confunden muchas veces sus deseos con la realidad y, por lo tanto, fallan en sus predicciones.

Marx y Lenin

Las predicciones de Marx, efectuadas en el siglo XIX, se basaron en la observación del trabajo en la factoría donde el dueño y su capataz manejaban a los trabajadores con mano de hierro, sin contemplaciones de ningún tipo, excesos que también fueron denunciados por la Iglesia en la encíclica Rerum Novarum (Cosas Nuevas) de 1891. Esa cuestión social cambió mucho, sobre todo con la aparición de "la gerencia" que fue la revolución silenciosa del siglo XX y que Marx no previó. Para Marx, los excesos inherentes al capitalismo y su explotación del hombre por el hombre, apoyados en el "opio del pueblo" que era la religión, provocarían un creciente número de desocupados por lo cual la plusvalía no podría realizarse en su totalidad y se formaría progresivamente un "ejército de desocupados" que haría colapsar al sistema capitalista. Por eso, en 1848, escribió en el Manifiesto Comunista: "Proletarios del mundo, uníos", para adelantar la revolución.

En el siglo XX, Lenin modificó en alguna medida esta profecía, en el libro " El Imperialismo, etapa superior del Capitalismo", donde pronosticaba que los bancos y demás organizaciones financieras y empresariales de tamaño cada vez más grande concentrarían el poder capitalista de tal manera que acumularían enormes cantidades de recursos líquidos (monopolios), que en algún momento harían colapsar al sistema que iría agonizando. La crisis de 1930 pareció darle la razón, pero el capitalismo, como había previsto Kondratieff, se recuperó y logró una nueva etapa de expansión de la riqueza que facilitó mucho la reducción de la pobreza en el mundo, especialmente en los países más densamente poblados, que adoptaron este sistema productivo en la práctica aunque dándole diferentes nombres.

Tamaño de la crisis subprime

La presente crisis del capitalismo americano y europeo es mucho menor que la de 1930, aunque su duración es larga y su recuperación es lenta. Debe absorber un exceso de gasto público (economía del bienestar) financiado con deuda soberana, lo que la hace diferente de las otras crisis capitalistas.
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Lo que está sufriendo la Iglesia de cara al cónclave, que representa el culmen de cuanto ha sucedido durante todo el pontificado de Benedicto XVI

Ataques 'inauditos' y 'tremendos' en la Iglesia

Massimo Introvigne

Lo denuncia la nota, verdaderamente extraña, difundida el sábado por la Secretaría de Estado: es un ataque inaudito. Se refiere a lo que está sufriendo la Iglesia de cara al cónclave, que representa el culmen de cuanto ha sucedido durante todo el pontificado de Benedicto XVI. Una persecución cotidiana, que nunca se ha detenido. No uso de forma casual la palabra "inaudito".
Es una palabra muy fuerte porque indica algo que no sólo no se ha verificado nunca antes con esta gravedad, sino algo de lo que ni siquiera hasta ahora se había oído -propiamente- hablar antes. "Inaudito": que nunca se ha escuchado antes. Uso esta palabra porque es de Benedicto XVI. La usa, en un pasaje que parece escrito para los sucesos de estos días, en la encíclica Caritas in veritate (n. 75): "Muchos, dispuestos a escandalizarse por cosas secundarias, parecen tolerar injusticias inauditas". Y de "sufrimientos inauditos", en referencia a las masacres contra los cristianos en África, el Papa había hablado en una carta al presidente de los obispos de Kenya en 2008.

A "inaudito" habría que añadir otro adjetivo también de fuerza no común: "tremendo". El Papa lo usó en el viaje a Fátima a propósito de los ataques que se estaban produciendo desde el mismo seno de la Iglesia, del "hecho de que los ataques al Papa y a la Iglesia no sólo vienen de fuera, sino que los sufrimientos de la Iglesia proceden precisamente de dentro de la Iglesia, del pecado que hay en la Iglesia. También esto se ha sabido siempre, pero hoy lo vemos de modo realmente tremendo: que la mayor persecución de la Iglesia no procede de los enemigos externos, sino que nace del pecado en la Iglesia". Y -siempre a propósito de los ataques internos- en la carta del 10 de marzo de 2009, donde explicaba por qué había levantado la excomunión a los obispos consagrados por monseñor Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991), Benedicto XVI usó una tercera expresión fortísima, tomada de la Carta a los Gálatas de san Pablo: hay quien en la Iglesia quiere "morder y devorar" a aquellos que percibe como adversarios y en último término al propio Pontífice. "«Atención: que si os mordéis y devoráis unos a otros, terminaréis por destruiros mutuamente». Siempre fui propenso a considerar esta frase como una de las exageraciones retóricas que a menudo se encuentran en San Pablo. Bajo ciertos aspectos puede ser también así. Pero desgraciadamente este "morder y devorar" existe también hoy en la Iglesia".

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miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2013

Books- A Review of William H. F. Altman’s Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: The Philosopher of the Second Reich (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2013)

An Exemplary Study of Nietzsche & his Political Thought

by H. Lee Cheek

In this imaginative and refined commentary on Nietzsche’s political thought, Altman provides an incisive critique of the achievement of Nietzsche, as well as his limitations. 

The work is the third volume of a trilogy on German political thought, following earlier studies by the author of Heidegger and Leo Strauss. 

Utilizing Nietzsche’s own aphoristic style as evinced in his Daybreak, the main arguments of the text are presented in the course of five chapters (“books”) composed of 155 essays, and 63 pages of notes, and other ancillary writings.


The central myth of the sixties was that [its] wretched excess was really a serious quest for new values. – George Will

by Michael Bauman

I. The Tragic Vision of Life

I confess to believing at one time or another nearly all the pervasive and persistent fantasies of the sixties. In the words of Joni Mitchell’s anthem for the Woodstock nation, I thought all I had to do was “get back to the land to set my soul free.” I thought that flowers had power, that love could be free, and that the system was to blame. By 1968, I had the whole world figured out. I knew the cause of every evil — America — and I knew the solution to every problem — freedom and tolerance.


I had to learn in the last half of the twentieth century what was already old news even in the days of Jeremiah, the ancient prophet, who wrote,

Stand at the crossroads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths, 
where the good way lies;
and walk in it, and find rest for your souls (Jer. 6: 16).

Wisdom is found by walking the “ancient paths.” Those “ancient paths” led through the wilderness, through the sea, even through the valley of the shadow of death, and not through Berkeley, not Columbia, not the Village, not Watts, not Haight-Ashbury, not Altamont, and not Woodstock.

II. Sixties Redivivus .........

III. Undeception Redivivus?  ..........

The media is hyping the news that some former GOP officials filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to create a new constitutional right and redefine marriage

Why Marriage Matters for America and Conservatism

Posted By Ryan T. Anderson 
Some former officials in the Republican Party are urging the Supreme Court toredefine marriage for the nation. But support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman is essential to American--and conservative--principles. Indeed, nothing could be less conservative than urging an activist court to redefine an essential institution of civil society.
As my co-authors and I argue in our new book, What Is Marriage?, and in theamicus brief we filed with the Supreme Court, marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, on the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and on the social reality that children need a mother and a father. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes.
Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization.


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Benedict XVI resignation can be boiled down to three things: magnanimity, humility, and prudence

Since Benedict’s resignation we’ve been treated to almost two weeks of conspiracy mongering about the “real” reasons behind Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down. It’s been everything from Piers Morgan’s ceaseless yammering about his “doubts” to theories about the pope hiding out in the Vatican in fear of an arrest warrant issued by “unknown European” entities concerning clergy sexual misconduct, and still lingering hope among some that this time it really was the butler who did it.

Yet, if scandal were the reason, Benedict could have resigned well before this. He was asked about the matter point blank in 2010 by Peter Seewald in Light of the World. Here was his response:
When the danger is great one must not run away. For that reason, now is certainly not the time to resign. Precisely at a time like this one must stand fast and endure the difficult situation. That is my view. One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on. But one must not run away from the danger and say that someone else should do it.

Perhaps I am naïve but I think the reasons he resigned are actually the reasons he gave us. We live in a world where leaders, Christian or otherwise, are resistant to giving up the reins, where people tend to hold on to power much too long, and where everyone is jockeying for influence. Pope Benedict’s willingness to let go is a refreshing contrast to all this.

And as for the claim that Benedict may try to influence the conclave and the next pope, there is no more influential person in the Catholic Church than Benedict XVI. If maximizing his influence were his goal he wouldn’t have resigned.

I think his resignation can be boiled down to three things: 
  • magnanimity, 
  • humility, and 
  • prudence. 

I’d like to take a moment to consider each of these qualities in turn.


The digital world is itself a real world, just real in a different way

The Christian Leader in the Digital Age

Albert Mohler

The Digital Age is upon us. In the span of less than three decades, we have redefined the way humans communicate, entertain, inform, research, create, and connect – and what we know now is only a hint of what is to come. But the greatest concern of the church is not a technological imperative, but a Gospel imperative.

The digital world did not exist a generation ago, and now it is a fundamental fact of life. The world spawned by the personal computer, the Internet, social media, and the smart phone now constitutes the greatest arena of public discussion and debate the world has ever known.

Leaders who talk about the real world as opposed to the digital world are making a mistake, a category error. While we are right to prioritize real face-to-face conversations and to find comfort and grounding in stable authorities like the printed book, the digital world is itself a real world, just real in a different way.
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What schools can learn from barbeque restaurants.

Desegregation by Deliciousness

Kansas City is home to the best barbeque in the world and some of the worst schools in the country. 
  • In one sector, black and white, rich and poor come together to enjoy a high-quality, low-cost product. 
  • In the other, almost exclusively people of color attend unaccredited schools at an enormous cost to taxpayers.


Barbeque, quite simply, is food for poor people. After butchers remove the steaks from the core of the cow, the chuck from right behind the head, and the round from the beast’s rear end, the meat that’s left over is tough and has to be cooked in a way that softens it up. 

Pitmasters take those cheap cuts and cook them low and slow for hours and hours, and smother them in sauces rich in molasses, paprika, and proprietary blends of spices. 

The result is sweet and savory, tender and rich.

... the Kansas City school district was designed to accommodate 54,000 students. This year, Kansas City public schools enrolled less than 17,000.

What happened?

Well, unlike Kansas City’s barbeque restaurants, Kansas City schools failed to focus on their core product, and spent the lion’s share of their time and resources on the bells and whistles that look great, but don’t keep folks coming back. 

Like the Biblical provision to not put new wine in old wine skins, the district struggled to improve the human capital of its teachers and principals. It simply gave more resources and higher salaries to the same folks that couldn’t get the job done in the first place, and not surprisingly, got similar results.

The district simply gave more resources and higher salaries to the same folks that couldn’t get the job done in the first place, and not surprisingly, got similar results.

By the time the “throw money at the problem” solution was found to be a failure, the state legislature and outstate residents were so fed up with paying for the schools that they created an open season for everyone and their brother to come in and start charter schools with little quality control. The district has, by my count, had 11 superintendents since the 1987 court ruling.-

  • I wish to be clear; I am not trying to equate teaching students with smoking a rack of ribs. Education, obviously, is a complex and multifaceted enterprise with interplay between families, teachers, and students. 
  • What I am saying is that many of the problems that we see in our communities, like poverty and segregation, are not intractable. 
  • The story of barbeque in Kansas City is the story of brilliant, creative, hard-working entrepreneurs that changed the social fabric of their communities. Our nation’s inner cities are filled with such people, and we need to help them save our schools. 

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Opponents of the Iraq war continue to spread myths. The reality is the US achieved many of its goals in the war

Overthrowing Saddam Hussein 
was the right move for the US and its allies

Overthrowing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 achieved important American strategic objectives. Our broad international coalition accomplished its military mission with low casualties and great speed, sending an unmistakable signal of power and determination throughout the Middle East and around the world. Despite all the criticism of what happened after Saddam's defeat, these facts are indisputable.

Nonetheless, relentless hostility by the war's opponents now threaten to overwhelm, in the public mind, the clear merits of eliminating Iraq's Ba'athist dictatorship. Leaving the critics unanswered, combined with the utterly erroneous policy conclusions they have derived, will only lead to more serious problems down the road. 

Let us consider a few of the prevailing myths:

1. Iraq is worse off now than under Saddam. ......
2. Wars to impose democracy invariably fail. .....
3. Bush lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. ....
4. US military intervention was far more aggressive than was necessary. ...
5. Iran is more powerful today than if Saddam been left in power. .....


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Books - What money can´t buy - by Michael Sandel - Market sends moral messages as well as price signals

What money can’t buy

Michael Cook

What is the proper role of money and markets in a democratic society? 
How can we protect the priceless goods in moral and civic life 
from being bought and sold?

Does everything have a price? Sometimes you might think so.

In the US, egg donation agencies will pay college women between US$5,000 and $50,000 for their eggs. The price rises with their SAT scores, the institution they attend, and their attractiveness.

Ten years ago, if you were really hard up, you could make a quick buck by posing as a human billboard. Karolyne Smith sold the advertising space above her eyebrows to an online casino,, so that she could finance her child's schooling. Now she has to wear bangs to hide the disfiguring tattoo.

At the height of the AIDS epidemic, investors discovered the profitability of financial instruments called viaticals. They would buy a US$100,000 life insurance policy from a dying AIDS patient for $50,000. If the patient died in a year, they would make a 100 percent profit. Of course, if he lingered on, the rate of return declined steeply, so investors had to pray for an early death. Retrovirals killed this sector of the market because AIDS patients started to survive.

Is there anything wrong with transactions like these? In his latest book, What Money Can’t Buy, about the moral limits of markets Harvard professor Michael J. Sandel argues that there is.

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In Economists We Trust
We are a society built on market-based solutions
—but should everything have a price?

Economists don't really like presents. They think they are irrational. No gift giver can know what another person wants most, and any present is just a wasteful approximation. The only gift anyone should ever give is cash. It is optimally efficient.

Michael J. Sandel, the Harvard political philosopher, takes a different tack in "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets." He argues that while giving a present may not make much economic sense, it is perfectly sensible in terms of our cultural values. There are social ethics that have long marked the practice, maximizing sympathy, generosity, thoughtfulness and attentiveness. The optimal value, despite what the economists tell us, isn't always the most efficient one.

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La gauche dit adieu à Hessel, l'«éveilleur de consciences - Le Figaro

Plusieurs personnalités rendent hommage à Hessel

Depuis l'annonce, mercredi, de la mort de l'ancien résistant et diplomate à 95 ans, les hommages s'enchaînent.

Beaucoup de personnalités, notamment à gauche, ont salué le parcours politique et la vie de Stéphane Hessel, militant de gauche, auteur du best-sellerIndignez-vous!, décédé dans la nuit à 95 ans. Les premiers à lui rendre hommage ont réagi sur le réseau social Twitter. A l'instar de la compagne de François Hollande, Valérie Trierweiler:


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L’auteur de Indignez-vous!, Stéphane Hessel, a participé ce jeudi 12 mai 2011 à 20h30 à Bruxelles (rue de Laeken) à une exceptionnelle grande tenue blanche fermée interobédientielle mixte. 

Il s’est entretenu avec EC, 1er Grand Maître Adjoint du Grand Orient de Belgique, sur le thème Laïcité: indignation et engagement. Hessel était l’invité de la Loge bruxelloise Les Vrais Amis de l’Union et du Progrès Réunis du GOB. Il s’agissait bien d’une Tenue Blanche Fermée; l’accès était donc réservé aux seuls Maçons (en Décors).

Stéphane Hessel a dédicacé ses livres de 20h à 20h30 sous la verrière du Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie (rue de Laeken, 73) (en partenariat avec la librairie Candide).

Stephane Hessel sur France 5 le 12 novembre 2010:

Monsieur Hessel affirme que les religions monothéistes 
 sont responsables des guerres les plus meurtrières. 

A-t-il oublié que ce sont deux athées, Hitler et Staline, qui ont été responsables de la mortalité la plus forte de l’histoire de toute l’humanité ? Des millions et des millions de morts ! Sans oublier Mao!

Indignons-nous, comme il dit!

Video - Tres encíclicas y cuatro exhortaciones apostólicas constituyen el núcleo de la herencia que deja Benedicto XVI a modo de contribuciones decisivas a la explicación de la Verdad de Dios, de Cristo y de la Iglesia

Las lecciones del Papa profesor que pasarán a la Historia

Rien n’est définitif dans l’histoire des hommes, pas plus le tracé des frontières que les peuples qui s’abandonnent et doutent d’eux-mêmes

Quelques mots entre nous pour ceux 
qui aiment notre pays

Le Salon Beige

On me communique cette allocution 
du général Alexandre Lalanne-Berdouticq.

Remarquable :

"Alors que l'on détourne notre attention des vrais problèmes qui se posent aujourd'hui, je voudrais avec franc-parler remettre quelques notions à leur place et ouvrir des pistes de réflexion à ceux qui ne sont pas prisonniers des emballements médiatiques, à ceux pour lesquels le temps long cher à Fernand Braudel est plus important que le « court-termisme » à la mode aujourd'hui.

Que ceux qui croient que « penser c’est commencer à désobéir » ne lisent pas ces lignes car ils sont probablement mal outillés pour voir les choses telles qu'elles sont. En effet :


En conclusion :

-Il nous faut chasser l’idéologie, quelle qu’elle soit ; de « droite » ou de « gauche ». C’est une maladie mortelle de l’esprit car elle fait voir la réalité au travers de systèmes d’idées, qui sont autant de lunettes déformantes.
A l’idéologie il faut opposer le principe de réalité qui veut queles choses soient ce quelles sont, que cela nous plaise ou non. Alors on peut agir en espérant ne pas trop se tromper. 

Il n’y a pas de bons camps de concentration (cubains, nord-coréens, chinois) dont on ne parle jamais, et de mauvais, les nazis, dont il faut sans cesse se souvenir. Il y a eu et il y a des camps de concentration où des innocents sont morts et meurent encore dans des conditions atroces. 

Il n’y a pas l’antisémitisme, évidemment condamnable, des « néonazis », et sa variété excusable, celle des « islamistes », qui est passé sous silence. Il y a l’antisémitisme (qui d’ailleurs est un antijudaïsme), un point c’est tout. 

Au nom de quoi devrait-on condamner « l’islamophobie » si l’on ne le fait pas de la « papohobie » ou de la « christianophobie » ? A-t-on vu un chrétien Chaldéen ou un Melchite se faire sauter dans une mosquée d’Irak ? Un seul ?

 Dès lors, comment mettre sur le même pied « les » intégrismes ? 

Il existe quand même une différence de nature entre un zélateur d’Al Quaeda et un Mormon, me semble-t-il. 

Distinguer souverainement le bien du mal, ne pas mettre à égalité le bon et le mauvais s’appelle aussi : Liberté.

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The Jesuit educational maxim was, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Today’s progressives get children until they are 18 and sometimes 21. That kind of influence is hard to match.

Is Leftist School Indoctrination Unstoppable?

"The Gresham’s law of education..." 

Rush Limbaugh weighed in recently on the Republicans’ on-going debate about what went wrong in November. Elaborating on his earlier comment that he was “ashamed of America,” Limbaugh said, “The Left has beaten us. They have created far more low-information, unaware, uneducated people than we’ve been able to keep up with . . . I’ve always had a Civics 101 view of the country: People get what they want, they vote what they want, and they get the way they vote.” He added that the Democrats “control the education system . . . pop culture, movies, TV and books” and use that control to create “dependency” among voters.
Some may think this is a dog-bites-man observation, but it’s worth looking more closely at the most important item in Limbaugh’s list––the educational system. Everything else Limbaugh mentions is made possible because of the deep corruption in public education from kindergarten to university.

A system of government must be able to demand loyalty and sacrifice, and it has to stand for enough good principles and good people to justify that

Catholicism Offers the U.S. 
a Vision of the Good Life

American political institutions give us all part of the responsibility 
for how we are governed. Catholics need to carry out that responsibility
in accordance with their best understanding of man,
society, and American political life.

The Catholic understanding of man and society is reasonably well worked out, but the nature of American political life is ambiguous. Our institutions are republican by design, and based on limited and distributed powers. They are also democratic, and claim to reflect the will of the people. What’s needed to bring those two aspects together is mutual persuasion. If powers are limited and distributed, mutual persuasion is necessary for government to go forward, and if that is how decisions are made, they can reasonably be viewed as the considered judgment of the people.

That system seems a good one for carrying on public life in accordance with reason. For government to do something a great many people in different situations must be persuaded the action would be sensible. As described, though, the system is simply procedural. It says that a variety of people have to agree before something happens, but not what kind of people they are or what leads them to agree. It leaves uncertain what the point of the activity is.

Our foundational documents do not really settle the issue. The Preamble to the Constitution says that the goals of the “more perfect union” established by the Constitution are justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty. The First Amendment tells us that religion and the press have a protected though unofficial role, while other amendments protect property and privacy rights and show a tendency to broaden the popular element in government. And the Declaration of Independence says that we are all created equal and endowed with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

R.J. Snell responds to recent (misguided) criticisms of natural law thinking.

Understanding Natural Law: 
A Response to Hart and Potemra

Sherif Girgis debated law professor Andy Koppelman 
at Harvard Law School a few weeks ago. 
C-SPAN was there to record the event 
and you can watch it here

A recent claim to reject the natural law risks misunderstanding the role of reason and overlooks the difference between practical reasoning and morality. The first in a two-part series.
In the most recent issue of First Things, David Bentley Hart, the noted theologian and author of the modern classic, The Beauty of the Infinite, brusquely rejects natural law theory, especially "the attempt in recent years by certain self-described Thomists, particularly in America, to import this tradition into public policy debates, but in a way amenable to modern political culture."
While having no "metaphysical disagreement" with them about the nature of the cosmos, Hart judges it a "hopeless cause" to hold "that compelling moral truths can be deduced from a scrupulous contemplation of the principles of cosmic and human nature, quite apart from special revelation, and within the context of the modern conceptual world."

Further, it just isn't likely, he claims, "that the moral meaning of nature should be perfectly evident to any properly reasoning mind," so that "any rightly attentive intellect" would know the wrongness of abortion, lying, same-sex marriage, and so on. For Hart, nature "tells us nothing of the sort," nor does "knowledge of our nature or of the nature of the universe at large instruct us clearly in the content of true morality."

martes, 26 de febrero de 2013

Books - What to Expect When No One's Expecting by Jonathan Last

Population Decline and the Birth Dearth

Jonathan Last's new book attributes population decline
 and the birth dearth to two trends that started in the Enlightenment era--first, an effort to limit death; second, an effort to control birth. 
Both trends are guided by a desire to control nature.

All Western countries have birthrates below the replacement rates, suggesting that soon all countries will experience a graying of, and a decline in, population. Jonathan Last asks why this has happened in his new book, the cleverly titled What to Expect When No One's Expecting, putting demographic decline in a broader context.

Before we get to Last's argument, we should revisit a debate between two great Enlightenment philosophers: Montesquieu and David Hume. In Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu argues that ancient republics had more people than modern ones. Catastrophes aside, this lack of fecundity shows that a country is plagued with "internal vice and bad government." The internal vices can range from a proud celibacy to a self-indulgent libertinism.

Montesquieu argued that population trajectory is partly the product of marriage laws. Ancient republics encouraged men and women to marry, and penalized bachelorhood. "Old Roman laws sought to induce the citizens to marry," and censors were established to mind marriage mores. Roman law penalized parents without children and rewarded those with children with special honors and exemptions.

Three Catholic apologists tell their stories of grace and conversion.

A little more than 90 years ago, G.K. Chesterton, one of the 20th century’s most famous converts, entered the Catholic Church. Explaining “why I am a Catholic,” he wrote: “there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.”

A prolific writer, Chesterton used his considerable talents to author numerous works which won, and continue to win, many converts. The following are stories of three converts—the first of whom specifically credits Chesterton with being an influence on his conversion—who, since entering the Church, have devoted their lives to sharing the message that “Catholicism is true” with others.

David Fagerberg: Chesterton will teach you how to think

David Fagerberg has taught liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame for the past decade. Born and reared in a Lutheran family in Minnesota, Fagerberg went to seminary and was ordained a minister for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Fagerberg’s reading of Chesterton led to his conversion to Catholicism in 1991.
Matthew Arnold: New Age agnostic to Catholic apologist
Matthew Arnold is a convert, and one of the nation’s most talented Catholic apologists. Through his apostolate Pro Multis Media he promotes the teaching of the Faith through public speaking and communications media. Yet he was once an agnostic who dabbled in the New Age movement. 

Arnold, age 52, grew up in a nominally Christian family in Southern California. But, he joked, “About the most Bible reading I heard was by Linus on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.
Jesse Romero: I realized I was made for Heaven

A dozen years ago, an injury forced Jesse Romero to retire early from his job as a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy. He decided to begin a career as a full-time lay Catholic evangelist. Like Matthew Arnold, Romero speaks publicly and through a variety of communications media to promote the timeless teachings of the Church.

Romero is bilingual, and can communicate with ease to both English and Spanish-speaking audiences. He also preaches the Faith with vigor; “I don’t merely teach the Bible, I preach the Bible,” he says. “And, I do it with a passionate power.”

Although the Faith permeates his life today, Romero was once a self-described “secular humanist” who had little interest in religion.

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