Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for March 22nd, 2008

Easter Vigil 2008

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

The coolest and longest mass of the Catholic year officially begins the Easter celebration! 

So, what’s news about Easter Vigil Mass? 

Roman Catholics will tell you that there are Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations performed at this mass, along with fires, candles in the dark, Gregorian Chant-style readings and lots of Latin.  It’s also 2-3 hours depending on the amount of sacraments being performed.  Unlike the regular American Catholic Mass, it’s super-Medieval, which makes it the coolest mass of the year! 

However, some Vigil ceremonies are more unusual than others:  here’s a good start if you know what I’m getting at. 

To Magdi Allam: welcome to the faith!

Catholic Communications Office picture.

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Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Religion, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book Review: Real Change by Newt Gingrich

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

I am recommending the book “Real Change” by Newt Gingrich. Newt paints a picture of a Red, White and Blue America (clever) where on so many issues, the American people are astoundingly on the same page: that many media-driven divisions don’t really exist on a host of cultural and domestic issues like religion, immigration, the broader War on Terror, English, and many others.

Newt also indicates that in order to achieve real change we need revolutionary thinking: admitting that our current bureaucratic government structure and dynamic inhibits the very change the folks really crave because of red-tape, leading to cumbersome and slow reactions to crises, and people in power resisting change to save their jobs (ie- government worker unions, of which, for full disclosure, I am a part).

The Dems are too tied to this failed bureaucratic paradigm to see their true belief that the very government screwing up Social Security, Medicare, and our energy policy, will be the very agent which will save the day. That’s ridiculous! In Newt’s view, the Republicans are in the best position to foment real change, but opportunities have been lost and the American people seem to have lost faith in the Republican’s ability to be different from the Dems: look at all the big-government pork-barrel spending Republicans engaged in this decade! If the Republicans would just stay true to their principles and look at our problems in different ways, real fundamental and positive change could take place.

Newt’s agent for change would be to look at a world where structures work and apply it to government: the private sector. Competition, entrepreneurship, America’s brains and will-power being unleashed to do great things applied to our government would be revolutionary enough to actually fix our system.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate for big government here, but I would like the government which exists to actually work well (I’m paying for it)!

Here’s a YouTube clip:

I saw this on display this morning.  I used my credit card to buy groceries.  It took about three seconds for the system to verify me and access my account.  I also got a package this morning that I ordered online a week ago.  The company said 7-10 days delivery on this particular item.  Nice and smooth. 

I’ve also seen the bureaucratic nightmare up close a few years ago.  I dare anyone reading this to apply for a teaching certificate in the State of New Jersey just for fun!  They lost my application twice, the application they did allegedly look at came back to me with my last name spelled wrong and a with different birth year (everything else was fine though). They charged me $60 for all three.  I fought them for two months on the phone and in person and only managed to pay once — on the fourth version with everything fixed.  Horrible and scary.

What if private sector business models (where things work) were applied to cumbersome bureaucratic structures like the State of New Jersey, Social Security, the Pentagon or any government bureaucracy (where things don’t work)?  Revolutionary change indeed!

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The Red v. Blue State Dynamic

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

I found this article by Michael Barone, political guru whose wisdom is usually spot on, where for the first time I read a piece addressing a thought I’ve had for a while: is this whole Red v. Blue state-thing a Bush phenomenon? 

Barone makes an argument that no, it’s not totally a George W. Bush phenomenon, but rather a trend that started in the 1990s during BJ’s tenure.  Barone cites the last time two consecutive elections were so close as they were in both 2000 and 2004: 1952 and 1956 which happened to have the same candidates and only four states shifting their votes!

In Barone’s view, cultural issues like religion v. relativism, rural v. urban, intervention v. self-interest have kept the electorate pretty static since the late 1990s. Yet, he contends that in 2008, this dynamic is no longer there with Bush and what he represents as a figure with whom to rally around or reject.  The Dems will try to paint McCain as a third Bush term, but it’s too early to see if that ridiculous accusation will stick.

So if the Red v. Blue state dynamic is not present in this election, what does one candidate do to flip the state colors?  Barone also believes that this election may focus around generational differences and outreach to industrial states, which in his view may skew Democratic in 2008.  I’m not sure I buy that analysis totally.  Young people like Obama, but young people don’t vote in large enough numbers.  Plus, Obama’s been wounded lately and the polls of Millennials have not yet reflected this major bump in the road.

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »