Monday, July 31, 2006

How To Handle Poncho-Ladies (and Their Friends)

Just in case you were wondering whether you should throw a welcome-home party for the Poncho-Lady from Waukesha who recently excommunicated herself near Pittsburgh, my advice is DON'T!

Although the Milwaukee Chancery's position on this is not too clear, (they told Ms Vandenberg to take a "time-out" in the corner to think about her proposed action), and the Milwaukee Chancery has not published the implications for Ms. Vandenberg's Catholic friends, it is clear that the Pittsburgh Chancery has thought about it.

With Mike having done all the legal research, here's the easy-to-read version, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Chancery:

This unfortunate ceremony will take place outside the Church and undermines the unity of the Church. Those attempting to confer Holy Orders have, by their own actions, removed themselves from the Church, as have those who present themselves for such an invalid ritual.

Additionally, those who by their presence give witness and encouragement to this fundamental break with the unity of the People of God place themselves outside the Church.

This separation is not a discipline, judgment or mandate of the Church. Nor is it the result of opinion or advocacy of a theological view by those involved. Rather, by conducting and taking part in such a ceremony, it is the choice of the participants to place themselves outside the community of believers.

They also sin who only stand and applaud...

Of course, this interesting little disciplinary note MAY also apply to the Catholic "friends" of the ex-RC priest (now Episcopal) , Fr. Leannah, who married a Liturgeist/Religious Ed-type from a local parish recently in a Northwest side Episcopal church this past Saturday.

...and She Got Attractive 'Round Closing Time

McCain's just like all the boys:

Two summers ago, on a Congressional trip to Estonia, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton astonished her traveling companions by suggesting that the group do what one does in the Baltics: hold a vodka-drinking contest.

Delighted, the leader of the delegation, Senator John McCain, quickly agreed. The after-dinner drinks went so well — memories are a bit hazy on who drank how much — that Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, later told people how unexpectedly engaging he found Mrs. Clinton to be. “One of the guys” was the way he described Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, to some Republican colleagues.

Musta been some powerful stuff....

Keep Your Finger OFF the Trigger Until You Acquire the Target

That's one of the Four Commandments of gun safety, evidently not learned by this schmoe:

The 38-year-old was driving a car on the Mornington-Tyabb Road, opposite the Tyabb Airfield on the Mornington Peninsula yesterday, when it is thought he accidentally shot himself in the groin.

Senior Constable Bradi Owens from Victoria Police today said it was thought the man died from the gunshot before he ran off the road into a power pole.

His body was found in the wreckage by a passer-by about 8am (AEST) yesterday but ambulance officers believe the man had been dead for several hours before he was discovered.

"Investigations reveal the firearm has accidentally discharged hitting the man in the groin area before the collision occurred," a police spokeswoman said.

The guy was a fugitive, wanted for a stabbing. He shoulda stuck with knives.

Inaccurate to the Point of Asinine--the AP

Here's an excerpt of the AP story on the women's "ordination"/Poncho-Lady scheduled for today outside of Pittsburgh:

Liberal Catholics say the ongoing clergy shortage and the dramatic rise in female lay leaders in American churches will eventually create pressure to ordain women. More lay people than priests are working full-time in American parishes and a significant number of the lay leaders are women.

But conservatives believe only males can be priests, as evidenced by Jesus' choice of men to be his apostles and the church's long tradition of only allowing men to serve.

The AP writer, Ms Jennifer Yates, establishes a false dichotomy. A Church teaching which is based on the explicit statements, actions, (or inactions) of Christ is irreformable. The Church has no power to change this teaching, any more than it has the power to change the law of gravity.

The monicker "conservative" placed apposite "liberal" would lead most people to think that there is a "moderate" position.

Sorry--no such position is available if one wishes to remain within the Church, and these sadly misled women will, by their action of today, be out of the Church--excommunicated.

We should pray for them, and for accurate reporting by the AP.

Ms. Yates should try again

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Quick Wits--Days of Yore

An email reminded me of the quick wits which USED to occupy the Hollywood Squares.

All this repartee was unscripted and *SNAP* returned...

Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A. Charley Weaver: His feet.

Brady Street Festival--Joel McNally, Call Home

The Brady Street Festival was held today.

Having been a dissolute yout' when Brady Street was the epitome of Milwaukee Dissolutism, I can tell you that things have changed, a bit.

First of all, somebody actually put some money into a few of the buildings. Not many, but a few. Secondly, a number of the businesses are no longer Italian owned and/or operated. Sadly, a number of good restaurants are gone; others have materialized in their place.

And, of course, there is the Fashion, which was a centerpiece of this year's Festival.

Back in the REAL Brady Street day, young'uns, there was "fashion" for societal outliers of the WASP sort--the emphasis was largely on Cheap and Durable--you know, stuff you could snarf from Goodwill or St Vincent dePaul, or buy over at Irv's Footwear. That's because cashflow (such as it was) was largely devoted to purchasing incense, candles, and maryjane. (Not necessarily in that order.)

THESE days, Fashion costs Money. So they actually had a This-Costs-Money FASHION show on Brady Street. Runway, curtains, mirrors, and audience-in-CHAIRS!!

Friggin' corrupt capitalist pigs took over, I tell you. Where's McNally when you need him?

And, of course, people showed up. There were distinct groups:

GAWKERS/WANNABEES: really, two groups here--middle-class sorts who were voyeuring their way into 'the culture' but rather gingerly, pushing Expensive Strollers and wearing their Door County souvenir tees--and then the 16-year-olds who were considering this as a place to be.

OLD HANDS: The folks who obviously had over-revved their engines for quite a while. In some, the results were obvious: cracked blocks, blown engines; in others, less evident--just excessive ring-wear.

STREET REGULARS: They live here because their parents don't want them to, or because that's where they think they can still find action (even at 40++ years of age, heh...) or because they are really working on becoming Poncho Ladies (see below) or whatever the masculine variant of that species is...

THE PROFESSARIAT: You know who I mean. They teach at UW-M, Madison, and Lawrence College and can run lines of BS past those impressionable young, delicious, (place an 'X' after your choice:) male female mix neither

Noticeably absent: Wigderson, Owen, and McBride. Sykes COULDA been there, as could have Asian Badger and the Shark.

Noticeably present: Anti-Bush stickers, tees, and pins.

Our Very Own Poncho Lady*

Sure enough, Terrence Berres catches another big one:

Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg, 64, a member of St. Mary Parish in Waukesha, is one of eight Roman Catholic women who expect to be ordained as priests Monday in an unofficial ceremony the Vatican considers invalid.

Unhhh...the Vatican does not "consider" it to be invalid. It IS invalid, period. No consideration is necessary, and none is given.

Two of them - who claim that they were later ordained bishops by unnamed male Roman Catholic bishops - will preside Monday with a third woman "bishop."

And wouldn't we all like to know who those heresiarch-Bishops are?

I have met with Archbishop Dolan. He invited me to come in. We had a very cordial meeting last September. I'm not excommunicated. I'm a full member of the Roman Catholic Church at this time. He was very gracious and we talked about the situation.

Q: And after Monday?

A: We didn't talk about that. (An archdiocesan spokeswoman told the Journal Sentinel on Friday that Vandenberg has had a "time of discernment" and that her case will be forwarded to the Vatican if she goes through with Monday's ordination and does not recant.)

In the Church, that's called latae sententiae excommunication. Doesn't require a Bishop's signature, or anything.

Being an expert in ecclesiastical Latin, I will translate latae sententiae for you:


Actually, her "ordination" as a "deacon" may have already served as her very own Poncho-Lady latae sententiae excommunication. It's surprising that she hasn't mentioned it to the interviewer, eh?

Q: You say you have a master's of divinity degree from St. Francis Seminary,

Shocked. I say, SHOCKED!! That Seminary closed for a reason, and Ms. Vandenberg is IT!!

I've felt called for about 30 years. I believe that discrimination against women is wrong and has to stop. I've decided not to leave the church because I feel it is important that good people stay so that we can change the church from within.

I think "without" is the operative term. This poor Poncho-Lady (tm) seems to think that the "theology" of LBJ and the ACLU are applicable to Divine Order. Wrong.

Q: Will you hold home liturgies?

A: Yes. I've been involved in small prayer groups, and that will continue. One group in Milwaukee, 15 to 20 women, has asked me to be their pastor. I also plan on going to church at St. Mary's, because that's my parish.

That will present a little problem for the Pastor at StMary's/Waukesha, no?

However, our Very Own Poncho-Lady did NOT state that she 'had respect for' her pastor, Fr. Volkert--that is reserved for Abp. Dolan.

Of course, "respect" doesn't mean obedience, or anything major like that, eh?

*"PonchoLady" tm reserved to Christus Vincit

DomBett also has a few pertinent remarks.

Another Pending Defeat for Gay "Marriage"?

This one in Maryland.

The battle over same-sex “marriage” will go before Maryland’s highest court this fall, as the state’s Court of Appeals takes over a case challenging a state law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Nineteen homosexual and lesbian couples have sued the state for discrimination, claiming the state’s refusal to legally recognize same-sex “marriages” is unconstitutional.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled in favour of the group last January, in a decision opponents said was out of step with state judicial consensus on the issue.

“I don’t think the same opinion would have been rendered in 90 percent of the other circuits in the state of Maryland,” said Maryland Senate President Thomas Miller, a Democrat, who opposed the ruling.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. immediately filed an appeal with the Court of Special Appeals, but on Thursday the state’s highest court took over the case, the Baltimore Sun reported today.

Given Washington State and New York State rulings, it's entirely possible that Massachusetts will be mighty lonely out there--and the Mass Legislature has not yet implemented the ruling of Mad Margaret's SCOMA ruling on the issue.

On the other hand, Maryland, despite its original status as a Roman Catholic colony, is decidedly wacky on social issues.

Another Bacharach/Haugen Day

Local parish this week featured the return of the yout' musik gang.

Talented kid whose education in music avoided anything having to do with Catholic music for worship, but evidently DID include Burt Bacharach and the omnipresent HaugenHaas. Therefore we were treated to two styles of music; the insipid and VERY dated Bacharach-lite prelude (why? cui bono? ) and the monomelodic H-H stuff, which turned into a full aural assault after Communion, apparently driven by the thesis that quiet reflection must be herded out, by force if necessary.

Or perhaps the musician wants the congregation to gain empathy with the inhabitants of the Southern part of Lebanon.

Singing was slavishly fixed on the "drag-an-entrance-note method" made popular by modern-blues/pop types who are pitch-deprived and/or who must create "emotion" by grinding their voice toward an actual note on the scale. American Idol contestants are fascinated by this particularly annoying trick. Makes them,, I guess.

I thought this method was drug- or alcohol-induced, originally.

The talented yout' brings his own heavy-handed (to be kind) rhythm-guitar player, enhancing the bop-a-doodle effect of the piano, thus ensuring that the song binds forever to Earth what should in theory rise to heaven, (or at least to a point north of the hips of the congregation.)

Ah, well.

Priest/celebrant forgot his chasuble, too.

Musta been the weather.

The Longest Debate on Blog OR FreeRepublic

Evidently a member of the Blogosphere has decided it may be time to purchase a self/home-defense firearm. This is related to some recent blog-o-scuffles which may or may not be serious; that's not the point.

If you think you've seen long commentary/post/re-post/ri-poste on such topics as Gay Marriage, Court nominations, or Healthy Snacks--you have not seen commentary.

Go here for an example of REALLY long commentary.

Or take the short course: buy a .38/357 revolver and a good flashlight. Shotguns make a mess of wallboard (or plaster.) Semi-autos can confuse women-folk.

And my daughters are friggin' DEADLY with the .357, in less than 20 rounds' practice.

Actual Catholicism in a Parish Bulletin

A west-suburban Milwaukee parish managed to rid itself of a Liturgeist-pestilence and now offers the following thoughts on the month of August:

The days of summer have provided a welcome change of pace. However, while vacations afford us the time to relax and refresh, the change of habits and routines can also have a negative impact on our spiritual lives.

As if to re-ignite us, the Church offers us in the plethora of August feasts vivid examples of the virtue of perseverance: six martyrs — two who are named in Canon I of the Mass and two who were martyred during World War II; seven founders of religious congregations, as well as three popes and two kings; the apostle, St. Bartholomew; the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mother; the humble patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and the patron of deacons, St. Lawrence, who joked with his executioners while being roasted alive.

It is never too late to begin — as the life of the reformed sinner, St. Augustine teaches us— nor too difficult to begin again, as demonstrated by the conversion of the martyr, St.Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein). We present-day members of the Mystical Body are certain of the reward to which we are called, for Christ’s Transfigured body (August 6) is a preview of that glory. Moreover, in the Assumption of his Mother (August 15), Our Lord has demonstrated his fidelity to his promise. Her privilege is “the highest fruit of theRedemption” and “our consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope — the glorifi-cation which is Christ’s” (Enchiridion on Indulgences).

Now THERE'S a plateful which surpasses your basic summer barbeque menu. I'll take bets that the former Liturgeist could not even SPELL "Enchiridion"--much less having actually seen (or read) it.

Wait for it: the ADL will be writing protest letters about the description of Edith Stein.

Some parishes have all the luck.

Jessica Makes a Point

Every once in a while, it's good to be reminded of some things.

Just because you've got a tough case that might not be won in front of a jury, doesn't mean you shouldn't make the best case you can and bring it to a jury, even if you will be personally crucified because of it. This is especially true when a public figure is involved. Sometimes just making the case - a determined prosecutor issuing charges and saying I am going to toss everything I've got at holding you accountable - is enough to draw a societal line. It certainly would make the public figure in question think twice about engaging in similar behavior again. It certainly would make others inclined to such behavior think twice. The Milwaukee DA's office always sends the opposite message: That the community will draw no line.

In this instance, Jessica is making a larger point without stating it; the lesson applies to parenting, being the school principal, or to those who are passers-by, and it's been said before.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil in America is for good men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke.

Scare 'Em with Lies

A reminder:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

—H. L. Mencken

I posted that a few days ago to remind the young naifs who read this blog (there are 5) of the second law of practical politics--the first, of course, is GET THE MONEY.

Now here's how it plays out in one State issue:

Although there's not much dispute that the proposed constitutional amendment on marriage in Wisconsin would bar same-sex unions, there is deep disagreement about what the wording might mean for civil unions and domestic-partner benefits.

But the second sentence is less [clear], and it has ignited concern from opponents that it would reach beyond the issue of same-sex marriage to affect senior citizens and health care arrangements.

(O MY GOD!!! Granny's going to be on the street, penniless. A Bag Lady!)

...the amendment could jeopardize legal arrangements that unmarried older couples might have in place, such as a health care power of attorney or property transfers.

Let's not even comment on the somewhat sketchy predicate there. "Unmarried older couples"?

[The author of The Amendment said that] the amendment would allow the Legislature at some point to create a civil union that includes a limited number of benefits, as long as it wasn't "substantially similar" to what's granted to a married couple [and that] the amendment shouldn't affect what kind of benefits employers might choose to offer their workers.

...assuming, of course, that the judges in question are not as demented as Schreechin'Shirley and her slim majority of wackos currently occupying the SCOWI.

But hey! Truth is not a consideration in Queer Politics.

Perspective on Exxon

Yah, Exxon makes a lot of money, pre-tax. Of course, as pointed out by people who can read TWO sentences consecutively (Gross sales were X, profits were .10X) it's simply a decent showing.

But here's another way to look at it which is scary:

Here’s the real figure that bothers me: the US Government spends money [PDF] at the rate of:

$81,431 per second

$4,885,844 per minute

$293 million per hour

$7 billion per day

In other words, if we took all of ExxonMobil’s worldwide 2nd quarter profits and gave that money to the US government, the US would burn through that $10.36 billion in a bit under 36 hours.

Put another way: those profits wouldn’t support the US government through a complete weekend.

HT: AnkleBitingPundits

Threatened Judiciary

Naaah--they're not an endangered species, for good or ill...

However, there's a spin out there. The usual slander: it's the eeeeeeeevilll Limbaugh/Coulter/Sykes/Belling/Boortz (et al) cabal which is causing this.

Threats against federal judges are on a record-setting pace this year, nearly 18 months after the family of a federal judge was killed in Chicago.

U.S. Marshals, who protect the nation's 2,200 federal judges, believe they averted another potential tragedy in the Midwest last year when they helped block the release of a prison inmate who told a judge in a series of sexually charged letters that he was going to take her away.

Threats and inappropriate communications have quadrupled over 10 years ago. There were 201 reported such incidents in the 1996 government spending year and 943 in the year that ended Sept. 30, the Marshals Service said.

This year alone, the Marshals Service has had 822 reports of inappropriate communications and threats, a pace that would top 1,000 for the year.

The US Marshals Service also happens to understand the REAL causes:

Marshals say a portion of the increase can be attributed to a heightened focus by judges and their staffs since the February 2005 incident in which unemployed electrician Bart Ross broke into the home of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow and shot to death her husband and mother.

In other words, judges are paying attention to the moonbat letters.

The rise in civil lawsuits, especially those filed by people who do not have lawyers, and a change in criminal cases in federal courts helps explain the rise, Marshals say.

Donald Donovan, chief deputy marshal in Baltimore, said people who file and lose multiple lawsuits account for the largest percentage of threats. "They don't agree with the outcome of cases. They are repeat filers. Many of them are a bit unstable," Donovan said.

Dealing with inappropriate comments sometimes means "assisting someone with getting back on their medication," said Donald Horton, chief inspector in the protective security division.

Doesn't look like a vast right-wing conspiracy so far...

Federal courts now handle many more violent crime prosecutions, the sorts of cases that were the province of state and local courts as recently as 10 years ago.

"There is rarely a trial now that does not have defendants eligible for the death penalty," Donovan said

STILL no conspiracy. Damn!!

Well, then, we'll just make one up!!! All the marks of the Xoff-Doyle advertising campaign, with the same credibility.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Home Sales Slowing...No Surprise

From the Dismal Scientist:

Sales of new homes are slowing even more quickly than anticipated. According to Census, new home sales are down to 1.13 million annualized units in June, a m/m decline of 3% and an 11% drop y/y. Moreover, Census revised downward the April and May readings. Nonetheless, second quarter home sales are up compared to the first quarter.

This stat is supported, anecdotally, with conversations I've had with local folks who state that home sales (new AND not-new) are noticeably slower.

Demographics? Interest Rates?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Stevegg accuses me of breaking Jessica's blogroll.

Not true.

I merely have a premier/reserved spot, unlike more established and better-skilled bloggers.

But then, I don't get listed in triplicate.

Win some, lose some.

Three Wild and Crazy Church Musicians

You'll note we added Christus Vincit to the blogroll--for a reason.

The authors are Catholic church musicians who actually understand the term "Catholic"--and more important, the term "MUSIC."

Most of their stuff concerns exactly that, with occasional forays into other areas--but they've never sunk so low as to get into politics.

We'll try to fix that...

Weigel on Christianity's Gifts to the West

Found in the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic newspaper, an essay which says a great deal about the most important conditions:

Professor Burleigh proposes that Christianity gave the
West cosmopolitanism and egalitarianism, for it recognized
“neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free” as relevant
social categories – and thus blazed a path beyond tribalism
and toward the end of slavery, that ubiquitous human

Modern feminism notwithstanding, Christianity also gave
the world ... feminism
, for St. Paul completed his instruction
on Christian egalitarianism by reminding the Galatians that,
in Christ Jesus, neither “male nor female” had a superior
dignity – which, in that context and in much of the world
today, means that Christianity is the great liberator of

Christianity, as Pope Benedict reminded us recently, gave
the West the idea of charity as a personal and social
; think of the world of cruelty graphically
captured in “Gladiator,” and you’ll see the point.

Christianity also gave the world a politically viable
concept of peace
, the peace that St. Augustine first defined
in the fifth century as the “tranquility of order.”

Christianity taught that rulers were responsible, not to
themselves alone (as so many rulers liked to think, then and
now), but to transcendent moral norms. Would the concepts
of the rule of law, and of rulers responsible to the law, have
evolved in the West if, as Professor Burleigh reminds us, “the
redoubtable Ambrose, archbishop of Milan ... [had not]
tamed the Emperor Theodosius?”

Or, to cite the more familiar example, if Gregory VII had
not confronted Henry II and forced him to recognize the
freedom of the Church – a freedom that implies limits on
state power
? It seems unlikely, not least because these ideas
didn’t gain currency in the rest of the world until they were
brought to the rest of the world by Christians.

Why was this insistence on the Church’s liberty so
socially, and ultimately politically, important? Because the
freedom of the Church meant that the state (or some other
form of concentrated political power) would not occupy
every available social space – that there would be room in
society for other institutions and other loyalties. And that, in
turn, made both civil society and the limited, constitutional
state possible

There are implications, of course. First off, a proper understanding of Western society is based on the "moral order" (supplemented by positive law) which the Church brought into play. A proper understanding of peace is not "absence of conflict," but "tranquility of order," which is akin to "rule of law."

Obviously, the "rule of law" is dependent on a moral order--which just happens to be identical with the Natural Law.

And as the Soviet Union found to its dismay (and dissolution,) pretending that there IS no Natural Law behind the moral order and underpinning Natural Law has its consequences. The Pope did not send one of his "divisions" into the USSR for it to come apart...although Ron Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were quite helpful, it was Lech Walensa, armed only with a compelling moral order, who pulled the pin.

Chesterton and Mencken Speak to Politicians

Stolen from Patriot Post:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

—H. L. Mencken

S'pose he met "WWIII Newt"?

"We are perpetually being told that what is wanted is a strong man who will do things. What is really wanted is a strong man who will undo things; and that will be the real test of strength."

—G.K. Chesterton

Calling all "Republicans"!!!

Law Enforcement Quotas

Feel like you're being written up for no particularly good reason?

You are.

1) TSA apparently has a written policy that each Air Marshal must report at least one Surveillance Detection Report (a fancy term for a suspicious person report) per month. Of course, being the subject of SDR can lead to being put on a watch list. But failure to make the quota is taken as proof that the Marshal isn't being alert. (HT: Of Arms and the Man)

2) One of the children tells me that the recent spate of silliness on Wisconsin highways was merely a method of collecting Federal moneys. Lots of motorists were pulled over for "5-over-the-limit" violations (huh???), only to get a warning for the speed--but a TICKET for not wearing a seatbelt. (I was among them, of course.)

The seatbelt violation was the Federal-money rider. Seems the more tix written for seatbelt violations, the more grant munnies were given to the coppers.

Moonbat Barrett: Subsidized Housing, Too?

The CapSlimes does a hagiography of Kevin "Moonbat" Barrett which includes the following very interesting line:

He calls the cabin his zawiya, or Islamic spiritual retreat. There's a lot of peace to be found here, an escape from the academic and political rigors of Madison, where Barrett, his wife and their two boys, 12 and 9, live in University of Wisconsin staff housing.

Some have stated that Barrett's compensation (reportedly around $8K/year) is not significant.

What is "Staff Housing?" What is the rent? And does Instructor Moonbat have State benefits?

And for those of you who are Churchill fans (the plagiarist from Colorado, not the Brit snubbed by HSTruman)--Barrett's parents were BOTH professors at UW-Whitewater...

HT: Moonbattery

Best News of the Year: SDI/THAAD Works!!

Great catch at Lakeshore:

Dodgen hailed a recent successful test of a missile-shield component built by Lockheed Martin Corp. to shoot down a ballistic missile in the last minute or so of its flight.

The so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon system, or THAAD, “exceeded its objectives” in the long-planned test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Lockheed said in a statement earlier this month.

Dodgen agreed, saying the THAAD missiles would “pay for themselves many times over.”

Screw you, Ted Kennedy (D-RumRunners)

USAToday: All the Fiction That's Fit...

Clayton Cramer has a nice catch:

[I blogged] about how encouraging it was that national news media covered the story of how a witness retrieved a 9mm pistol from his vehicle in the parking lot, and used it to force a guy on a knifing rampage to stop.

USA Today has gone one better. They didn't just "leave out" the use of the gun--they appear to have invented new details to explain what happened:

[USAToday version:] The suspect was tackled by a witness as he tried to run from the building and was held until officers arrived, Higgins said.

[Original AP version:] Ingram, chasing one victim into the store's parking lot, was subdued by Chris Cope, manager of a financial services office in the same small shopping center, Memphis Police Sgt. Vince Higgins said.

Cope said he grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck when he saw the attacker chasing the victim "like something in a serial killer movie.""When he turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground," Cope told The Associated Press. "He saw my gun and that was pretty much it."

Tackle? Block? Punt? Lie? Fabricate?

Feingold Consistently Anti-Life

At least Feingold (D-Death) is consistent. He voted with 33 other Senators to preserve the "rights" of ANYBODY to drive a pregnant girl across State lines to procure an abortion.

Not even Kohl could vote that way.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pinkerton on Gingrich

I've always enjoyed Jim Pinkerton on the Fox News channel. There's a reason; he, too, sees the Newt Gingrich "World War III" line as somewhat mysterious:

In Gingrich's mind, the deadly attacks -- "on an almost daily basis in Baghdad, and previous attacks in New York, Washington, London, Madrid, Bali, Beslan, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Sharm-el-Sheikh, New Delhi, Amman and many other cities" -- make the reality of world war unmistakable.


But let's back up a bit. We might ask: Are we really in World War Three? Have we gone past the point of no peaceful return?

Well, maybe Gingrich is a few years too late:

After 9-11, pundits and others started groping around for a new phrase to describe the world situation. Just two days after the attacks, The New York Times' Thomas Friedman asked, "Does my country really understand that this is World War III?" In 2002, Commentary's Norman Podhoretz skipped ahead of Friedman, declaring that "the great struggle into which the United States was plunged by 9/11 can only be understood if we think of it as World War IV." (In Podhoretz's reckoning, the Cold War rates as World War III.) And just this month, Sean Hannity ventured that we are now in "World War Five."

Maybe Hannity counts the Peloponnesian Wars as the First Big One, eh?

It should be noted here that Gingrich, the fiery rhetorician, is also Gingrich, the ambitious politician. It is widely believed that he is running for president. And so perhaps, some suggest, he is heating up his rhetoric in order to heat up Republican primary voters in 2008. Some might further argue that Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran, obnoxious as they are, don't exactly rate as superpowers. So it's hard, by this reckoning, to imagine fighting a full-fledged World War against third-rate players. Some might also venture that neoconservative hawks who supported the Iraq war, including Gingrich, might find it preferable to go "double or nothing" in the overall Middle East rather than to try to sort out the mess that's specific to Iraq. That is, on the theory that the best defense is a good offense, someone in Gingrich's shoes might prefer going on the military offensive, carrying the war to new fronts -- Beirut, Damascus, Tehran, Pyongyang -- rather than getting thrown on the political defensive, trying to explain what went wrong in Baghdad.

Moreover, in terms of Gingrich's political positioning, it's often wise for a hawk to play what might be called "The Churchill Card." What's that? Playing the Churchill Card means steadily issuing dire warnings about external threats. Churchill was proven right, of course, but worst-case scenario-izers are not always proven right. However, even when they are wrong, the issuers of dark tidings can always say, "I was right to point out the danger, indeed, my actions helped forestall the danger; I should at least get credit for thinking seriously about serious problems." And so it is with Gingrich in '08: Now, nobody can accuse him of not grappling with weighty matters.

To be Churchill, Gingrich would have to 1) Grow a voice; and 2) Learn how to smoke cigars.

No cigar, Newt.

Pinkerton's column in full has a good deal more worth reading.

NEW Credit Card Scam

...and it works very well, indeed.

You may get a call from "Visa" and a polite young person will identify him/herself, including a badge number. He will tell you that they are investigating a purchase which did not fall within your 'normal pattern.'

He/she will verify your name, address, and that you did NOT make the purchase he/she describes.

Then--here's the payoff--they will ask you to verify you are in possession of the card, by asking you to read to them the security code on the back of the card. At this point, you should politely decline and call the Security folks at "Visa" yourself to report the phone call.

Evidently this little scam works quite well.

William O. Douglas: A Jackass AND A Jerk

Judge Richard Posner on a leading "light" of the Warren Court and Roe:

I met justice William Douglas, the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, when I was clerking for Justice William Brennan. Douglas struck me as cold and brusque but charismatic--the most charismatic judge (well, the only charismatic judge) on the Court. Little did I know that this elderly gentleman (he was sixty-four when I was a law clerk) was having sex with his soon-to-be third wife in his Supreme Court office, that he was being stalked by his justifiably suspicious soon-to-be ex-wife, and that on one occasion he had to hide the wife-to-be in his closet in order to prevent the current wife from discovering her.


Apart from being a flagrant liar, Douglas was a compulsive womanizer, a heavy drinker, a terrible husband to each of his four wives, a terrible father to his two children, and a bored, distracted, uncollegial, irresponsible, and at times unethical Supreme Court justice who regularly left the Court for his summer vacation weeks before the term ended. Rude, ice-cold, hot-tempered, ungrateful, foul-mouthed, self-absorbed, and devoured by ambition, he was also financially reckless--at once a big spender, a tightwad, and a sponge--who, while he was serving as a justice, received a substantial salary from a foundation established and controlled by a shady Las Vegas businessman.

So what the Hell are a few dead babies?

HT: Of Arms and the Law

BagMan Jim Doyle: A Loser in Europe, Too

Via JunkYardBlog we learn that the EU has ALSO banned embryonic stem-cell research, which tells us that Jim Doyle is now pitted against virtually all of Western civilization:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union agreed on Monday to permit limited use of EU funds for research involving human embryonic stem cells provided it does not entail destroying embryos, preserving the status quo.

EU president Finland said the compromise would ban allocating EU cash for research that involves destroying human embryos, including for the procurement of stem cells.

Extracting the human embryonic stem cells entails destroying the embryo, a step churches and some ethics campaigners say is tantamount to murder.

But ministers agreed after hours of haggling that the EU could fund research into "subsequent steps" involving human embryonic stem cells discarded by fertility clinics.

Oh well, Jim. There's always Communist China.

Herb Kohl: Disconnected

Maybe Herb Kohl has more money than FEMA, but other important things seem to be missing.

Back in 1998, Nobody's Senator voted to continue a filibuster directed against Missile Defense (called "Star Wars" by the luddites.) The issue was simple: do we continue the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction, or do we act to PREVENT Mutual Assured Destruction?

Human Events interviewed a number of Senators who had voted to (in effect) continue the policy which would potentially turn Moscow (or Peking) and New York into glass-encrusted deserts.

Among them was Herb Kohl. This is the transcript. You can't make this stuff up...

Q) There was a filibuster in 1998 against the Missile Defense Act and you voted in favor of the filibuster, and now, in light of recent events in North Korea, would you still have cast that vote? Or do you regret it?

A) Sen. Herb Kohl (D.-Wis.): That’s a long time ago. Who are you writing for?

Q) Human Events.

A) Kohl: I mean, I really can’t answer that. I appreciate your question, but what was that 1997?

Q) 1998.

A) Kohl: Were you born at that time?

Q) Yeah. I was born in ’82. It wasn’t that long ago in the context of things. Do you think you would be more open to it now?

A) Kohl: Open to what?

Q) A missile defense program.

A) Kohl: Oh, for us you mean?

Q) Yes. Not them!

A) Kohl: Well, I’ve got to think about that.

He'll be elected by default, unless the Wigderson Write-In Campaign pulls a shocker.

Benedict XVI's WHOLE Statement

Since the MSM's recap of this statement is usually incomplete, here's what the Pope has said:

In particular, the Supreme Pontiff hopes that prayers will be raised to the Lord for an immediate cease-fire between the sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring help to the suffering peoples, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region, as already indicated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Angelus last Sunday, July 16.

In reality, the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis, the right to live in peace in their state, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland.

At this sorrowful moment, His Holiness also makes an appeal to charitable organizations to help all the people struck by this pitiless conflict.

Notice the phrase about the Palestinians? That they "have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland"?

The question of a Palestinian homeland generally gets one response: "They don't HAVE one, and they NEVER had one." So much for the Palestinians. In fact, that group has been kicked around by both the Arabs and the Israelis for well over 50 years, and were used by a Nazi-admiring Yasser Arafat as a money-tree. He pretended to "lead" them and the West pretended that he was their "leader," sending bundles of cash which wound up in his Swiss bank accounts.

Meantime, the Palestinians remained stateless; as a result, they are unable to build an economy; thus, the young and bright ones (particularly the Catholics and Christians) are leaving. To some degree, the same thing is happening in Lebanon--there is a noticeable exodus of Catholics and Christians.

Now you know why the Pope keeps mentioning a Palestinian "homeland."

For further, see this Israeli journalist's take on Gaza.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Industrial Inflation

Most of you are aware of the increase in various commodity prices.

You'll be even more (painfully) aware of them in the future.

The JOC-ECRI Industrial Price Index is the brainchild of Geoffrey Moore. Originally created in 1986, the current Index has been in use since 2000. It is designed to give an early "heads-up" to inflationary pressures.

Although textiles (-4.28%) and "miscellaneous" (-3.33%) are down, the rise of petroleum (+31.46%) and metals (+27.51%) in the last year brings the Industrial inflation rate to a heart-stopping 10.58% y/y this month.

Forget cars, appliances, plastic doodads and new computers. Buy more clothes.

The other stuff will just cost you a LOT more...

Eliot: Food for Thought

" will never attract the young by making Christianity easy; but a good many can be attracted by finding it difficult: difficult both to the disorderly mind and to the unruly passions."

- T.S. Eliot

HT: Blosser

Mac Misses the Mark

McIlheran, fresh from toll-evasions in Illinois, proposes to back Soucie in the "one-fast-lane-costs-money" camp.

Wigderson points out one flaw: yes, indeed, we DID pay for the roadbuilding and maintenance--but the money's been stolen.

Beyond that, it seems to me that at least in Wisconsin, the highways have always been, in effect, "public goods." Not semi-public goods...

If Soucie wants to do so, let him find the capital, purchase the land (etc.,) and build his own private toll-highway.

Power Outage in NYC and Nobody Knows WHY??

About 25 years ago, the Bay View area took a 3+ day power outage. It was localized, but it took WEPCo quite a while to figure out what actually was the problem; seems that the "first fix" didn't fix it.

This one is even more interesting. It's affected 25,000 (or more) customers for a WEEK:

Utility officials and others said this power failure was perplexing, unlike previous blackouts that darkened large swaths of the city and were corrected in a day or two. This time, new problems have cropped up day after day: dozens of manhole fires, transformer fires and, most seriously, electrical cables’ burning out and needing replacement.

“This is a very strange phenomenon,” said Joe Flaherty, a consultant to Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America.

Chris Olert, a Con Edison spokesman, said, “We’ll take those cables that were damaged and analyze them, but until then, we won’t know what happened.”

The blackout has exposed an apparently serious weakness at the utility: its inability to measure the size of a problem.

Malkin thinks that Con Ed should get together with the FBI's terrorist detail...

Speech Postponed Due to Arrrest

Some folks aren't too bright:

Tensions ran high on the second day of the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference, as the FBI made a surprise visit to arrest one of the scheduled panelists.

Steve Rambam, a noted private investigator who runs Pallorium, Inc., an online investigative service, was set to lead a panel discussion titled "Privacy is Dead... Get Over It." According to other members of the privacy panel, four men in blue coats appeared shortly before the panel and led Rambam away in handcuffs.

Ramban was unable to hack his way back to the conference....

Bug Alert!! Protect This Bug!!

Since the Feds' protection of seagulls has worked out so well, they've found another critter to help:

The federal government is expected to release a plan this week that would declare more than 8,500 acres in Ozaukee and Door counties as protected areas or critical habitats for the endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly.

In Wisconsin, the plans call for declaring as protected 6,230 acres in Door County and 2,312 acres around Cedarburg Swamp west of Saukville in Ozaukee County

Cathy Carnes, endangered species coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Wisconsin, said it is illegal to cause the death of the Hine's emerald dragonfly

That bug's doing just fine in Western Brookfield.

La-La-Land Lawn Care

It's the eeeeeeevvvillllllllll CHEMICALS!!!

The [anti-chemical] group has worked with the local school district to eliminate the use of lawn chemicals and persuaded Whitefish Bay village officials in 2003 to stop spraying two small parks - Buckley and School House - and the boulevard on N. Santa Monica Blvd. between E. Silver Spring Drive and E. Montclaire Ave.

That small strip of grass in the middle of Santa Monica has plunged Joyce and her group into a turf war that is being played out in other communities across the state, the nation and in Canada.

The battle: whether to use chemicals to get rid of those dandelions immediately or to naturally groom lawns with organic material and wait a few years for results.

Some object to the "wait a few years" part--because dandelions are notably proficient at creating and spreading, ah, dandelions.

Not to worry: Ms. Joyce has a solution: she recently rounded up a brigade of weed pullers to work on the boulevard.

The sanguine comment:

"There are a lot of people out there who are activists and love the environment who have no scientific background..."

The Joyce-ites take for granted that Chevron and Monsanto, major players in the lawn chemical market, employ mad scientists who aren't real fussy about the formulations.


Joyce and others promoting the cause cite studies correlating lawn chemicals with cancer, Parkinson's disease and asthma.

Maybe, but offhand, I doubt it. I'll grant that the allergy/asthma incidence seems to be on the upswing, but my personal and totally unfounded guess is ethanol. Since the ethanol craze began in Wisconsin, there have been more reports of asthma on the weather reports. QED.

Buckley Bails on Bush

It's not too surprising to read this; Buckley's been distancing himself for a while...

Buckley finds himself parting ways with President Bush, whom he praises as a decisive leader but admonishes for having strayed from true conservative principles in his foreign policy.

In particular, Buckley views the three-and-a-half-year Iraq War as a failure. "If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign," Buckley says.

Asked if the Bush administration has been distracted by Iraq, Buckley says "I think it has been engulfed by Iraq, by which I mean no other subject interests anybody other than Iraq... The continued tumult in Iraq has overwhelmed what perspectives one might otherwise have entertained with respect to, well, other parts of the Middle East with respect to Iran in particular."

"I think Mr. Bush faces a singular problem best defined, I think, as the absence of effective conservative ideology — with the result that he ended up being very extravagant in domestic spending, extremely tolerant of excesses by Congress," Buckley says. "And in respect of foreign policy, incapable of bringing together such forces as apparently were necessary to conclude the Iraq challenge."

Asked what President Bush's foreign policy legacy will be to his successor, Buckley says "There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush. I don't believe his successor would re-enunciate the words he used in his second inaugural address because they were too ambitious. So therefore I think his legacy is indecipherable"

In this statement, Buckley 'pulled the trigger' and stated, in effect, that the Iraq situation is perhaps intractable. The "indecipherable" remark is directed at Bush's warmed-over Wilsonianisms--such claptrap as 'democratizing the world' is unsupportable.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Refreshing Change: Spoken Mass

Attended Mass today at the local parish.

For whatever reason, the usual guitar-and-bass-viol bunch was not present; so Father celebrant, filled with Common Sense, decided that reciting the Introit (yeah, there IS one), and not even attempting to lead a single solitary hymn or sung response would be the most prudent course. He also recited the communion versicle.

He was right, of course. Everyone in the nave responded where they were supposed to, and none seemed to be excluded by lack of singing.

Imagine that! Everyone "participated" without singing. In fact, I'd be willing to bet decent cash that there were MORE participants; no one could be embarassed by their 'lack of singing voice,' or unwillingness to attempt singing along with the leaders.

Prior to the beginning of Mass, a CD of a Gregorian Mass (perhaps Mass II or V) was piped into the church. Although it's not kosher to utilize pre-recorded music in a church, a well-chanted Latin Gregorian ordinary is certainly a good choice...

Thou Shalt Not Pee in Church Parking Lots!

Things which make your mom REALLY proud to have raised you:

A 17-year-old Waukesha girl was given a ticket alleging disorderly conduct and underage drinking at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Road, at 12:28 a.m. June 30. Police witnessed her urinating in the parking lot after getting off of a Summerfest shuttle.

THAT must have been interesting.

A 21-year-old Columbus, Ohio, man and a 22-year-old Brookfield man were given tickets alleging disorderly conduct at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Road, at 1:09 a.m. June 30. Police witnessed them urinating in the parking lot after leaving a Summerfest shuttle.

A 27-year-old Menomonee Falls man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Road, at 12:14 a.m. July 1. Police found him lying in a ditch after attempting unsuccessfully to walk home. He then threatened to assault an officer.

A 21-year-old Brookfield man and a 22-year-old Union Grove man were given a ticket alleging disorderly conduct at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Road, at 12:21 a.m. July 1. Police witnessed them urinating in the parking lot after exiting a Summerfest shuttle.

A 30-year-old Chaska, Minn., man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Road, at 11:35 p.m. July 1. Police witnessed him urinating in the parking lot after leaving a Summerfest shuttle.

A 24-year-old Waukesha man and a 25-year-old Eagle man were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Road, at 12:50 a.m. July 2. Police witnessed them urinating in the parking lot after leaving a Summerfest shuttle.

And those busses were full of yellow liquid, too.

UW-Mad Successful at Rejecting Wisconsin Students

It's not that long ago, because I remember this policy:

Flash back 25 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and you'd find admissions standards that are sure to shock aspiring Badgers of today.

The university guaranteed admission to all high school graduates in the top half of their class. It accepted more than 80% of applicants.

Now students are discouraged from applying without a grade-point average from 3.5 to 3.9, an ACT score of at least 26 and a class rank in the 85th to 96th percentiles. The acceptance rate for Wisconsin residents is 65%. No student is guaranteed a spot in the freshman class, no matter how good his or her grades are.

...In 1986, the Legislative Audit Bureau slammed the entire UW System for haphazard enrollment. While some of the state's four-year universities were accepting more students than they could accommodate, others had too few undergraduates.

"System Administration has not managed enrollment effectively," the audit said.
The system's response was to slash nearly 7,000 seats from crowded campuses over the next decade, with UW-Madison absorbing most of the cuts.

... From 1989 to 2005, the acceptance rate for Wisconsin residents dropped from 84% to 65%. The acceptance rate for Minnesota residents, who have a reciprocal agreement to pay tuition that is comparable to in-state students', dropped from 75% to 60%.


Don Mash, the current executive senior vice president for administration, foresees little changing unless the state Legislature increases support for the UW System.

"If we don't get reinvestment, there will continue to be limited growth," he said. "And that will be a problem for Wisconsin."

Well, I should think it would be a problem for UW administration. But it's a lot easier to blame it on the Legislature, I suppose.

Remember, part of the "cost" of running UW is hiring bozos like TinFoil Hat Barrett.

Bucher Goes All Hissy on Van Hollen

Well, the spittin' and scratchin' began:

"There is no record there," said R.J. Johnson, the no-holds-barred strategist running Bucher's campaign, even going so far as to compare Van Hollen to Al Gore for exaggerating his success as a prosecutor.

To make his point, Johnson cited federal records that show Van Hollen's office tied for 84th out of 94 U.S. attorneys in the country in the number of criminal cases filed in fiscal year 2004. Among the jurisdictions with fewer criminal cases were Rhode Island, Alaska, Delaware, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Oklahoma's eastern district.

What was not clear, however, is how Van Hollen's numbers compare to districts of comparable size and population.

Johnson dismissed this point.

Van Hollen's team pointed to records that showed a 53% increase in the number of prosecutions during his tenure. In 2002, his office filed 140 criminal complaints, rising to 151 the next year and 186 in 2004.

During Lautenschlager's final year as U.S. attorney in 2001, the office bought criminal charges 121 times. Only five other jurisdictions had fewer new criminal cases that year.

I don't think Bucher is doing himself any favors with this crap; but then, maybe he thinks that's the way to win.

"Scotty" Specter--Beamed to Another Planet

One can only speculate about Arlen Specter. He thinks highly of "Scottish Law," is notorious for his opposition to many of GWB's policies, and now makes it clear that he's an ignorant bozo as well.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., made a false accusation against the Catholic Church during debate on the Senate floor over federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, according to Catholic News Service.

Arguing President Bush's opposition to the federal funding on moral grounds could seriously set back scientific discovery, Specter said: "Pope Boniface VII (sic) banned the practice of cadaver dissection in the 1200s. This stopped the practice for over 300 years and greatly slowed the accumulation of education regarding human anatomy."

... Specter not only misidentified the pope, the Catholic news site asserts, but most historical sources indicate no pontiff in history was responsible for the type of ban cited by Specter.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says the "only possible explanation of the misunderstanding that the bull forbade dissection is that someone read only the first part of the title and considered that ... one of the methods of preparing bodies for study in anatomy was by boiling them in order to be able to remove the flesh from them easily, (and) that this decree forbade such practices thereafter."

I imagine that Specter would be in high dudgeon if a Catholic were to quote "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" on the Senate floor while opposing US aid to Israel.

Stupidity, Arlen, is not excused under "Scottish Law."

Beam yourself back, "Scotty," and apologize.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

McMiller Today

The kids love it--going to McMiller to put holes in paper--so we try to get out there at least once a year when the weather's decent.

Today, we'll have 2 daughters and a son who will spend quality time with a pellet rifle, a few pistols, and the .30-06.

It will be my 12-year-old's first experience with the "big boomer." She's a bit small for her age, but a tough kid--won't admit it if her shoulder is sore--so I expect she'll try 3 rounds, anyway.

For the daughters who could NOT make today's trip, we were at Fletcher's during the week. Used the .357 Dan Wesson (iron sights) and a Ruger 'slabside' SS 6" barrel .22LR (red-dot sights.)

They did quite well with the weapons at 10 yards, and they brought home the silhouette targets to prove it. Should be hanging on their walls as a gentle reminder...

Milwaukee DA: No Charges in Pizza Delivery Shooting

The Milwaukee County DA's office has decided not to file charges:

A 35-year-old pizza delivery man who shot a 14-year-old boy he said was trying to rob him won't face criminal charges.

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Irene Parthum, who reviewed the July 14 incident, said Andres Vegas of Cudahy was acting in self-defense when he shot the boy, who himself was wielding a BB gun pistol. Police said at the time that the 14-year-old suffered non-life-threatening wounds to the shoulder, hand and buttock.

Parthum also said Vegas, who had been delivering a pizza in the 2400 block of N. 34th St. at the time of the shooting, won't be charged for carrying a concealed firearm because he had been robbed during a delivery last year and, under state weapons law, had a reasonable belief he needed to protect himself.

The 14-year-old and a 13-year-old who may have been his accomplice could be charged next week in Children's Court, prosecutors there said.

The decision follows the guidelines of the recent WI Supremes' decision, which remains controversial because of its "Mommy, May I?" tone and content.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bp. Gumbleton Descends To New Lows

For a guy who has been sustained by the sweat and blood of Catholics for most of his life, Bp. Gumbleton has, ah, chutzpah when he makes this statement:

"I think of World War II as an example where our church failed in the face of a tyranny and an evil that was unbelievably evil -- the Nazi tyranny. The church in Germany failed to speak a prophetic word to that tyranny. Why? Because they had entered into an agreement with the Nazi dictatorship in 1933. Hitler would allow the church to have its schools if the bishops of the church would agree they would not allow their priests to preach any so-called political message. And so the Church became virtually silent during those years. There were a few exceptions -- a peasant in Austria, Franz Jägerstätter, and a few others like him said, “No! I won’t serve in Hitler’s army,” and he was executed. A whole group of young people connected with the universities called the White Rose group -- the same thing -- they spoke the truth; most of them were executed. The church refused to listen. It was more concerned about its institutional structures than about God’s Word. So we failed.

Other than the fact that this is COMPLETELY false, there's no problem. Mit Brennender Sorge, a papal encyclical written in German, condemning the Nazi racism, was read in ALL German Catholic churches by order of the Pope (Pius XII.)

The 1933 'agreement' was merely an accomodation-note. By no means did the Church "agree" with the Nazi philosophy.

HT: Cafeteria is Closed

Mgr Bartolucci on Music & the Liturgy

Those who pay attention to Romanita understood that when Benedict XVI attended a concert conducted by Mgr Bartolucci, and also spoke on the occasion, that it was quite significant. After all, Bartolucci had been unceremoniously dumped from his position as conductor of the Sistine Chapel choir by Mgr. Marini only a few years back.

Now Mgr Marini's head is on the chopping block. What a difference an election makes, eh?

Chiesa's Magister interviewed Mgr. Bartolucci. A candid, forthright fellow he is, indeed!

Referring to Benedict XVI: “I am an optimist by nature, but I judge the current situation realistically, and I believe that a Napoleon without generals can do little.”

Q: Maestro Bartolucci, no fewer than six popes have attended your concerts. In which of them did you see the most musical expertise?

A: In the most recent one, Benedict XVI. He plays the piano, has a profound understanding of Mozart, loves the Church’s liturgy, and in consequence he places great emphasis on music. Pius XII also greatly loved music, and played the violin frequently. The Sistine Chapel owes a great deal to John XXIII. In 1959 he gave me permission to restore the Sistine...Then came Paul VI, but he was tone deaf, and I don’t know how much of an appreciation he had for music.

AHA! Now we know how the Bugnini/Weakland cabal worked its will...

Q: Was Perosi in some sense the harbinger of the current vulgarization of sacred music?

A: Not exactly. Today the fashion in the churches is for pop-inspired songs and the strumming of guitars, but the fault lies above all with the pseudo-intellectuals who have engineered this degeneration of the liturgy, and thus of music, overthrowing and despising the heritage of the past with the idea of obtaining who knows what advantage for the people. If the art of music does not return to its greatness, rather than representing an accommodation or a byproduct, there is no sense in asking about its function in the Church. I am against guitars, but I am also against the superficiality of the Cecilian movement in music – it’s more or less the same thing. Our motto must be: let us return to Gregorian chant and to polyphony in the tradition of Palestrina, and let us continue down this road!

Q: What are the initiatives that Benedict XVI should take to realize this plan in a world of discotheques and iPods?

A: The great repertoire of sacred music that has been handed down to us from the past is made up of Masses, offertories, responsories: formerly there was no such thing as a liturgy without music. Today there is no place for this repertoire in the new liturgy, which is a discordant commotion – and it’s useless to pretend that it’s not. It is as if Michelangelo had been asked to paint the general judgment on a postage stamp!

Q: Do you think that the assembly of the faithful should participate in singing the Gregorian chant during liturgical celebrations?

A: We must make distinctions in the performance of Gregorian chant. Part of the repertoire, for example the Introits or the Offertories, requires an extremely refined level of artistry and can be interpreted properly only by real artists. Then there is a part of the repertoire that is sung by the people: I think of the Mass “of the Angels,” the processional music, the hymns...And furthermore, Gregorian chant has been distorted by the rhythmic and aesthetic theories of the Benedictines of Solesmes. Gregorian chant was born in violent times, and it should be manly and strong, and not like the sweet and comforting adaptations of our own day.

A very interesting observation, likely to be controversial even among musicians who are otherwise of the same mind as Bartolucci. A relatively good music-guy (Roger Wagner) once told me that "Chant should be sung as though it were music!" Pace Bartolucci, I think it is preposterous to sing Chant in either a "feminine" or "masculine" way.

Q: But is it possible, today, to compose in the Gregorian style?

A: For one thing, we would need to recover that spirit of solidity. But the Church has done the opposite, favoring simplistic, pop-inspired melodies that are easy on the ears. It thought this would make people happy, and this is the road it took. But that’s not art. Great art is density.

Q: Don’t you say any composers today who are capable of reviving such a tradition?

A: It’s not a question of aptitude; the atmosphere just isn’t there. The fault is not that of the musicians, but of what is asked of them.

Q: But there are authoritative composers who have put the faith at center stage, like Pärt or Penderecki...

A: They don’t have a sense of the liturgy. Mozart was also great, but I doubt that his sacred music is very much at its ease in a cathedral. But Gregorian chant and Palestrina match seamlessly with the liturgy.

That Mozart comment is interesting, and perhaps Mozart really wrote for his patrons, rather than zu Gott...

Q: Bruckner was also very inspired...

A: He has the defect of being longwinded. His Mass for wind instruments, the one in E minor, is rather tedious.

Tedious? Really?

Q: In what sense can Palestrina, Lasso, or Victoria be considered relevant?

A: For their musical density. Palestrina... intuited the necessity for contrapuntal composition linked to the text, unlike the complexity and the rules of Flemish composition.

Q: For the philosopher Schopenhauer, music is the summit of all the arts, the immediate objectification of the Will. For Catholics, can it be defined as the direct expression of God, as the Word?

A: Music is Art with a capital “A.” Sculpture has marble, and architecture has the edifice. You see music only with the eyes of the spirit; it enters within you. And the Church has the merit of having cultivated it in its cantories, of having given it its grammar and syntax. Music is the soul of the word that becomes art. It most definitely disposes you to discovering and welcoming the beauty of God. For this reason, now more than ever the Church must learn to recover it.

It might be obvious why Bartolucci was not loved by the more political animals around the Vatican; he has an opinion on everything, and is not afraid to state it, clearly. At the same time, the bold-red above is almost identical to the thoughts of Ratzinger/B-16.

Food for thought.

Westbound I-94 on 7/24? Not So Fast!

If you're planning a trip westbound on I-94 Monday the 24th from the Milwaukee area, pay attention.

State DOT reports that a 200' x 16' flatbed-trailer will be hauling an industrial dryer from West Allis to the state line, beginning 0700 Monday. It will enter I-94 at the Hy. 18 ramp.

Due to its weight, it will slow to 5MPH at overpasses.

That should pretty well screw up WB traffic on the I-road.

Might even be worth taking the kids and a picnic-lunch to watch, eh, Jezebel?

IDF Has a Problem

CounterterrorismBlog reports:

The Israeli Defense Forces and Hezbollah have fought pitched battles over the past two days in the region around Avivim. Ynet News reports nine Israeli soldiers were wounded during the fighting, and two were killed in the nearby town of Maroun al-Ras. "Attempts to rescue some of the injured were carried out under relentless fire," according to the Ynet News report. Six Hezbollah cells were engaged during the attack. Israeli forces have withdrawn from the area.

...the fact that the claim on Al Manar must be considered is disquieting. An irregular force such as Hezbollah should not be fighting a professional military to a standstill.

The successful Hezbollah raid on the Israeli outpost that started the conflict, followed by the firing of rockets into Haifa and beyond, anti-ship cruise missiles which disabled an Israeli warship and sunk a civilian freighter, and the construction and presence of a fortified bunker network along the border have caught the Israeli intelligence community (Aman and Mossad) flat footed.

On the other hand, it's ALSO been reported that the Hamas leadership is dis-associating themselves from Hizbollah. Olmert will be meeting with Hamas-types to discuss resolving their conflict.

Vrakas: Chapter Two

From the outward appearances, Waukesha County Exec Dan Vrakas is making the right move on taxes:

County Executive Dan Vrakas has directed the sheriff and other department heads to develop spending plans for 2007 that would limit property tax increases to less than 3% in some instances.

...Vrakas said he wants to stay within the limits of a state legislative plan that would have capped tax levy increases at the rate of new construction in Waukesha County - less than 3% in recent years.

Not all county departments are being asked to tighten their belts dramatically next year. Richard Tuma, director of emergency preparedness, said he has been advised that his department will get new funding to improve the widely criticized countywide emergency dispatching center.

Dan Trawicki, the Sheriff, is not particularly happy; nor is the UW-Extension coordinator in Waukesha County.

MORE "Jobs Americans Won't Do?"

See that extremely large truck in your mirror?

Think that the driver knows how to read English?

Think again.

An American company is recruiting long-haul truck drivers from India with the goal of placing them with U.S. trucking firms.

Teamsters Union spokesman Galen Munroe told WND the plan "is yet another example of corporations exploiting a visa program to replace highly trained, hard-working Americans with cheap labor from overseas."

"We are recruiting Indian truck drivers," Gagan confirmed to WND. "We are very demanding on our requirements to get into the school. The requirements are that you have to have five years of heavy driving experience on tractor-trailer trucks, you have to be HIV-negative, have a clean police record, verifiable references that the government in India can verify."

Somebody had the presence of mind to ask Gagan about English ability:

"The Indian truck drivers have to be able to read and understand English," Gagan explained. "We like them to speak English. They all speak pigeon-English, mostly what they learned in schools."

And, of course, the Standard Refrain:

"There's a massive shortage of long-haul truck drivers in the U.S.," Gagan said. "Long-haul truck drivers get home four days a month. There just aren't enough Americans who want to do that kind of work."

Gagan's website indicates that US drivers earn between $50K and $90K/year.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mixed Hobbies

A blogger pal has two hobbies: gardening and gunning.

So, of course, he demonstrates the parallels between them, in pix!

The Pill: Ending the Fish Population, Too!!

Gee, who woulda thunk:

Roughly one-third of the male fish in British rivers are developing female characteristics, in a frightening trend that could severely upset the ecological balance of the waterways. What's more, the trend could affect humans, with a devastating effect on fertility

And the problem is caused by chemicals that sewage-treatment plants cannot remove. But those chemicals aren't used by farmers as pesticides. The culprits are estrogens, used by millions of women in birth-control pills.

Tests showed the males developed female sex organs and were producing eggs. Such fish also produce less sperm and the sperm that is produced is of low quality. Females may also be affected, producing abnormal eggs.

Previous studies have that cod, trout and flounders are all being feminised.

Well, at least sharks, bass, and catfish are OK--for the time being.


Drink the Water, Eat the Fish. EPA is Wrong Again

Twenty years and several bazillion dollars after EPA declares that 'dioxin' is cancer-causing:

Although dubbed "the most dangerous chemical known to man," incredibly this was based entirely on the acute toxicity (poisoning) to a single species of animal -- guinea pigs. In humans incredibly massive doses have never been shown to cause any long-term damage besides severe acne, as was the case with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in 2004.

...That's because while it's long been accepted that for acute toxicity that "the dose makes the poison" the EPA uses as a rule for all potential carcinogens that if exposure to a rat of something at a level of, say, a quart a day for 30 years is cancer-causing then exposure of a hundredth of a gram a day for one week must also be carcinogenic to humans.

It was this EPA assumption that the National Research Council directly challenged, concluding the "EPA's decision to rely solely on a default linear model lacked adequate scientific support." It said compelling new animal data from the National Toxicology Program -- released after EPA completed its reassessment -- when combined with substantial evidence that dioxin does not damage DNA, is now adequate to justify the use of nonlinear methods for estimating cancer risk at relatively low levels of exposure.

In other words, the EPA can't just choose a formula because it's convenient and serves its political ends. It can't ignore the results of myriad animal and human studies and the determination of how a certain chemical affects human cells in favor of simple mathematics. Nor can it apply that formula because it favors environmentalist groups who make a living by terrifying us into believing that a single molecule of this or that threatens the existence of "peoplekind."

The National Academy of Sciences dropped that little bomb into EPA's beautiful DC offices.

EPA's gross and utter stupidity is documented elsewhere--DDT, anyone?

Let's hope that this pushes a few courageous conservatives to act.