Homily of the Year

Pastoral care also means confronting, not just comforting. Awesome homily, Phoenix’ own Fr. John Lankeit. I’ve attended 3 conferences where Fr. John Lankeit was a guest speaker…….he blew the doors down then. He does it again.


Today in History – October 26

1774 – The First Continental Congress of the U.S. adjourned in Philadelphia.

1825 – The Erie Canal opened in upstate New York. The 363-mile canal connected Lake Erie and the Hudson River at a cost of $7,602,000.

1854 – Charles William Post was born. He was the inventor of “Grape Nuts,” “Postum” and “Post Toasties.”

1858 – H.E. Smith patented the rotary-motion washing machine.

1881 – The “Gunfight at the OK Corral” took place in Tombstone, AZ. The fight was between Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holiday and the Ike Clanton Gang.

1905 – Norway gained independence from Sweden.

1942 – The U.S. ship Hornet was sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz during World War II.

1944 – During World War II, the Battle of Leyte Gulf ended. The battle was won by American forces and brought the end of the Pacific phase of World War II into sight.

1949 – U.S. President Harry Truman raised the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour.

1951 – Winston Churchill became the prime minister of Great Britain.

1955 – New York City’s “The Village Voice” was first published.

1957 – The Soviet Union announced that defense minister Marchal Georgi Zhukov had been relieved of his duties.

1958 – Pan American Airways flew its first Boeing 707 jetliner from New York City to Paris.

1962 – The Soviet Union made an offer to end the Cuban Missile Crisis by taking their missile bases out of Cuba if the U.S. agreed to not invade Cuba and would remove Jupiter missiles in Turkey.

1967 – The Shah of Iran crowned himself and his Queen after 26 years on the Peacock Throne.

1970 – “Doonesbury,” the comic strip by Gary Trudeau, premiered in 28 newspapers across the U.S.

1972 – U.S. National security adviser Henry Kissinger declared, “Peace is at hand” in Vietnam.

1975 – Anwar Sadat became the first Egyptian president to officially visit to the United States.

1977 – The experimental space shuttle Enterprise successfully landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

1979 – South Korean President Park Chung-hee was shot to death by Kim Jae-kyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

1980 – Israeli President Yitzhak Navon became the first Israeli head of state to visit Egypt.

1984 – “Baby Fae” was given the heart of baboon after being born with a severe heart defect. She lived for 21 days with the animal heart.

1985 – Approximately 110,000 people marched past the U.S. and Soviet embassies in London to pressure the two countries to end their arms race.

1988 – Roussel Uclaf, a French pharmaceutical company, announced it was halting the worldwide distribution of RU-486. The pill is used to induce abortions. The French government made the company reverse itself two days later.

1988 – Two whales were freed by Soviet and American icebreakers. The whales had been trapped for nearly 3 weeks in an Arctic ice pack.

1990 – The U.S. State Department issued a warning that terrorists could be planning an attack on a passenger ship or aircraft.

1990 – Wayne Gretzky became the first NHL player to reach 2,000 points.

1991 – Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry arrived at a federal correctional institution in Petersburg, VA, to begin serving a six-month sentence for cocaine possession.

1992 – General Motors Corp. Chairman Robert Stempel resigned after the company recorded its highest losses in history.

1992 – In Canada, voters rejected the Charlottetown accord, which was designed to unify the country.

1993 – Deborah Gore Dean was convicted of 12 felony counts of defrauding the U.S. government and lying to the U.S. Congress. Dean was a central figure in the Reagan-era HUD scandal.

1994 – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali of Jordan signed a peace treaty.

1995 – Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) scored his 500th National Hockey League (NHL) career goal against the New York Islanders in his 605th game. He became the second-fastest player to attain the plateau. Wayne Gretzky had reached 600 goals by his 575th NHL game.

1996 – Federal prosecutors cleared Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Olympic park bombing.

1998 – A French lab found a nerve agent on an Iraqi missile warhead.

2001 – It was announced that Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin won a defense contract for $200 billion over 40 years. The contract, for the “joint strike fighter,” was the largest defense contract in history.

2002 – Russian authorities pumped a gas into a theater where separatist rebels held over 800 hostages. The gas killed 116 hostages and all 50 hostage-takers were killed by the gas or gunshot wounds.

Today in History – October 21

1797 – “Old Ironsides,” the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, was launched in Boston’s harbor.

1805 – The Battle of Trafalgar occurred off the coast of Spain. The British defeated the French and Spanish fleet.

1849 – The first tattooed man, James F. O’Connell, was put on exhibition at the Franklin Theatre in New York City, NY.

1858 – The Can-Can was performed for the first time in Paris.

1879 – Thomas Edison invented the electric incandescent lamp. It would last 13 1/2 hours before it would burn out.

1917 – The first U.S. soldiers entered combat during World War I near Nancy, France.

1918 – Margaret Owen set a typing speed record of 170 words per minute on a manual typewriter.

1925 – The photoelectric cell was first demonstrated at the Electric Show in New York City, NY.

1925 – The U.S. Treasury Department announced that it had fined 29,620 people for prohibition (of alcohol) violations.

1927 – In New York City, construction began on the George Washington Bridge.

1944 – During World War II, the German city of Aachen was captured by U.S. troops.

1945 – Women in France were allowed to vote for the first time.

1950 – Chinese forces invaded Tibet.

1959 – The Guggenheim Museum was opened to the public in New York. The building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

1967 – Thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, DC, in opposition to the Vietnam War.

1980 – The Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series.

1983 – The Pentagon reported that 2,000 Marines were headed to Grenada to protect and evacuate Americans living there.

1986 – The U.S. ordered 55 Soviet diplomats to leave. The action was in reaction to the Soviet Union expelling five American diplomats.

1991 – Jesse Turner, an American hostage in Lebanon, was released after nearly five years of being imprisoned.

1993 – The play “The Twilight of the Golds” opened.

1994 – North Korea and the U.S. signed an agreement requiring North Korea to halt its nuclear program and agree to inspections.

1998 – The New York Yankees set a major league baseball record of 125 victories for the regular and postseason combined.

1998 – Cancer specialist Dr. Jane Henney became the FDA’s first female commissioner.

2003 – The U.S. Senate voted to ban what was known as partial birth abortions.

2003 – North Korea rejected U.S. President George W. Bush’s offer of a written pledge not to attack in exchange for the communist nation agreeing to end its nuclear weapons program.

Today in History – October 11

1776 – During the American Revolution the first naval battle of Lake Champlain was fought. The forces under Gen. Benedict Arnold suffered heavy losses.

1811 – The Juliana, the first steam-powered ferryboat, was put into operation by the inventor John Stevens. The ferry went between New York City, NY, and Hoboken, NJ.

1869 – Thomas Edison filed for a patent on his first invention. The electric machine was used for counting votes for the U.S. Congress, however the Congress did not buy it.

1881 – David Henderson Houston patented the first roll film for cameras.

1890 – The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in Washington, DC.

1899 – The Boer War began in South Africa between the British and the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.

1929 – JCPenney opened a store in Milford, DE, making it a nationwide company with stores in all 48 states.

1932 – In New York, the first telecast of a political campaign was aired.

1936 – The radio show, “Professor Quiz”, aired for the first time.

1939 – U.S. President Roosevelt was presented with a letter from Albert Einstein that urged him to develop the U.S. atomic program rapidly.

1942 – The Battle of Cape Esperance, during World War II, began in the Solomons.

1958 – Pioneer 1, a lunar probe, was launched by the U.S. The probe did not reach its destination and fell back to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere.

1968 – Apollo 7 was launched by the U.S. The first manned Apollo mission was the first in which live television broadcasts were received from orbit. Wally Schirra, Don Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham were the astronauts aboard.

1971 – Hugh Downs left the “Today” show and “Concentration”. He later became the host of ABC’s “20/20”.

1975 – “Saturday Night Live” was broadcast for the first time. George Carlin was the guest host.

1975 – Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham were married in Fayetteville, AR.

1983 – The last hand-cranked telephones in the U.S. went out of service. The 440 telephone customers of Bryant Pond, ME, were switched to direct-dial service.

1984 – Construction began on the Kamric/Cinergy Futursonics Studio in Houston, TX.

1984 – American Kathryn D. Sullivan became the first female astronaut to space walk. She was aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

1984 – Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) made his debut in the National Hockey League (NHL) against the Boston Bruins. He scored a goal on his first shot on his first NHL shift.

1994 – U.S. troops in Haiti took control of the National Palace.

1994 – Iraqi troops began moving away from the Kuwaiti border.

1994 – The Colorado Supreme Court declared that the anti-gay rights measure in the state was unconstitutional.

Today in History – October 6

1683 – The first Mennonites arrived in America aboard the Concord. The German and Dutch families settled in an area that is now a neighborhood in Philadelphia, PA.

1848 – The steamboat SS California left New York Harbor for San Francisco via Cape Horn. The steamboat service arrived on February 28, 1849. The trip took 4 months and 21 days.

1857 – The American Chess Congress held their first national chess tournament in New York City.

1863 – The first Turkish bath was opened in Brooklyn, NY, by Dr. Charles Shepard.

1866 – The Reno Brothers pulled the first train robbery in America near Seymour, IN. The got away with $10,000.

1880 – The National League kicked the Cincinnati Reds out for selling beer.

1884 – The Naval War College was established in Newport, RI.

1889 – In Paris, the Moulin Rouge opened its doors to the public for the first time.

1889 – The Kinescope was exhibited by Thomas Edison. He had patented the moving picture machine in 1887.

1890 – Polygamy was outlawed by the Mormon Church.

1927 – “The Jazz Singer” opened in New York starring Al Jolson. The film was based on the short story “The Day of Atonement” by Sampson Raphaelson.

1928 – War-torn China was reunited under the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek.

1937 – “Hobby Lobby” debuted on CBS radio.

1939 – Adolf Hitler denied any intention to wage war against Britain and France in an address to Reichstag.

1948 – “Summer and Smoke” by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway.

1949 – U.S. president Harry Truman signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Act. The act provided $1.3 billion in the form of military aid to NATO countries.

1954 – E.L. Lyon became the first male nurse for the U.S. Army.

1961 – U.S. president John F. Kennedy advised American families to build or buy bomb shelters to protect them in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.

1962 – Robert Goulet began the role of Sir Lancelot in “Camelot”.

1973 – Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in an attempt to win back territory that had been lost in the third Arab-Israel war. Support for Israel led to a devastating oil embargo against many nations including the U.S. and Great Britain on October 17, 1973. The war lasted 2 weeks.

1979 – Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit the White House.

1991 – Elizabeth Taylor married Larry Fortensky. The ceremony was held at Michael Jackson’s estate near Los Angeles, CA. It was Taylor’s 8th marriage and Fortensky’s 3rd.

1992 – Ross Perot appeared in his first paid broadcast on CBS-TV after entering the U.S. presidential race.

Hiatus – June 27 – October 5

Still trying to get my domain “JoeGringo.com” back. It was picked 1 day after I was to re-new domain…anyway, back in the saddle.

Unleash the Producers, Not the Parasites

In his wonderful book, The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley explores the ways in which trade and commerce have propelled innovation and well-being.  Ridley presents evidence that for the last 100,000 years, humans have engaged in trade and that the rise of complex civilizations can be tied to the exchange of ideas associated with trade.  So widespread and deep-seated is this instinct for exchange that, according to Ridley, it is evidence of a fundamental genetic propensity in Homo sapiens.  The human brain is hardwired to engage in all forms of exchange – commercial, social, and intellectual – and the result is an ever-improving quality of life.

Ridley is indeed an “optimist,” but he is realistic enough to know that government can strangle innovation by preying upon private enterprise.  Human history is full of examples of great civilizations brought low by the parasitic inclinations of powerful rulers – the kind of rulers who now govern our nation by executive order rather than by the rule of law.  Under the weight of these parasites, as Ridley shows, civilization stagnates or regresses to earlier stages of development.

A simple count of U.S. patent awards confirms that the Obama era has not been good for innovation and exchange.  The percentage of U.S.-based patent awards is now at an all-time low, having continued its decades-long decline during Obama’s presidency.  Instead of “saving the middle class,” as he often boasts of doing, Obama has overseen further erosion of national innovation and prestige.

As for prosperity, recent data for U.S. family income has been dismal.  Median household income has never recovered the high of the Bush years, when it reached $57,357 in 2007.  In 2015, according to the U.S. census, it was $52,250.  And for workers in the lowest quintile, the very ones Obama and Hillary Clinton claim to champion, it was $11,676 (2014 figure).  One fifth of American families are living on less than $12,000 per year.  That is the shameful truth of the Obama years.

Yet in February, Hillary Clinton told voters that Obama hasn’t received “the credit he deserves.”  She has repeatedly stated that she intends to defend “Obama’s legacy,” but that is a legacy of poverty for most American workers.  The reason Obama has such an abominable record is that he has smothered innovation and investment under the weight of increased taxes and regulation.  And the intent and effect of new taxes and regulation are to transfer wealth and power to Washington.

Ridley’s book helps us understand that the Obama stranglehold on business is nothing new.  For as long as innovation and exchange have existed, there have been kings, dictators, and democratic socialists eager to cash in.  In practically every great society, “governments gradually employ more and more ambitious elites who capture a greater and greater share of society’s income by interfering more and more in people’s lives as they give themselves more and more rules to enforce” (Ridley, p. 182).  Ultimately, the productive society stagnates and dies out, and innovation and commerce move elsewhere.

This is precisely the tipping point at which America now stands.  The evidence of business moving elsewhere is not hard to find.  Despite frantic attempts on the part of the Obama administration to prevent them, tax inversions are taking place with greater frequency and on a larger scale than before.  Treasury’s new rules designed to block inversions will not be successful.  By making corporate inversions less desirable, they will only spur foreign buy-outs of American businesses by foreign firms.

Not only are new rules unsuccessful in preventing corporate inversions, but they impose a huge burden on businesses of all sizes.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest Treasury Department ban on “earnings stripping” “mainly punishes companies that aren’t leaving the country.”  And by weakening businesses, Treasury’s new regulations further reduce wages for American workers.

What’s revealing is Secretary Lew’s rationale for blocking tax inversions.  Lew has said nothing, so far as I know, about advancing productivity or promoting innovation.  What seems to worry the administration is loss of federal revenue.  The parasites in Washington truly believe that every dime produced by private enterprise belongs to government, to do with as it wills.  What really upsets them is the possibility that some portion of that money might escape their control.

The parasites are so numerous that a full list would include practically every prominent figure on the left working in government, media, and academe.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, the progressive activist near the top of Hillary Clinton’s V.P. list.  Even in its brief history, the CFPB has succeeded in imposing thousands of costly new regulations, including new rules that would provide consumers (and their lawyers) new avenues for suing banks and credit card companies by restricting arbitration clauses in financial contracts.  In 2015 alone, the CFPB doubled the number of prosecutions of businesses.  According to Tony Alexis, the CFPB’s director of enforcement, the agency plans to be “particularly active” in 2016.  Is there a better example of government parasites run amuck?

Well, yes, there is.  Eric Schneiderman’s attempted shakedown of ExxonMobil may be the best example yet of the tendency of those in authority to parasitize the productive labor of others.  The New York attorney general, joined by A.G.s from Massachusetts, California, and the Virgin Islands, is seeking reams of documents (stretching back as far as 40 years) relating to Exxon’s stance on global warming.  Exxon has pushed back on these demands, filing its own charges against Virgin Islands A.G. Claude Walker.  Apparently, these state A.G.s hope to catch the oil giant in an inadvertent misrepresentation and proceed to a lucrative settlement – while opening up the company for class action lawsuits on the part of “wronged” investors and other groups.  It’s the same playbook that has fettered American banks, auto companies, pharmaceutical companies, and countless others ever since Obama took office.  Investigate without real proof, sue, settle, and transfer assets from investors to Washington.

In the face of such attacks, it is no wonder that the economy has stagnated throughout Obama’s term.  Companies are now crushed with hundreds of thousands of rules, and they are deterred from new investments by the fear of lawsuits.  Under the weight of this government interference, as well as the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, there are only three rational options for corporate leaders.  (1) Accept de facto nationalization and the restrictions that come with it; (2) defer investment and hiring, and return profits to investors by way of dividends and share buybacks; or (3) relocate to a less onerous environment via a corporate inversion or outright buyout by a foreign company.  For businesses that wish to expand, the third option is the obvious choice.

If we are not to suffer the fate of past civilizations, we must expel the parasites who now control our economy and who will continue controlling it if Hillary Clinton is elected.  The Washington elite are terrified by Donald Trump because he is serious about making America great again – and he knows that the only way to do so is the kick the parasites out.  Trump’s announced policies on taxes and regulation make perfect sense.  They would free up American businesses to compete on a level playing field.  They appeal to one of the most basic human instincts: the desire to produce more and retain the proceeds.

For eight years, the Obama administration has undermined our nation’s competitive instincts.  It’s time to unleash them by putting producers first – and putting parasites in their place.
h/t  Jeffrey Folks