Thursday, November 30, 2006

The REAL Reason for B-16's Trip to Turkey

Once you get past the silliness of the NYTimes, Time Mag-a-Rag, and the gobbledygook MSM in general, you should take a look at this blog entry from The New Liturgical Movement.

So happens that this is THE reason Benedict XVI is in Turkey.

The NYTimes, the Pope, and Turkey in the EU

Give me credit: I didn't write "Turkey in the Straw."

There's good reason to believe that the NYTimes' telling of the Pope's alleged remarks on Turkish membership in the EU is not completely accurate.

Get over your shock, folks.

The Pope's last public comments on Turkey's aspirations for EU membership were made in September 2004, when he was speaking not as Roman Pontiff but as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. At that time, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro he remarked that Turkey's Islamic culture put the country "in permanent contrast to Europe." To date, he explained, the European Union has been composed of nations that share a common Christian cultural background. Expanding the EU to include Turkey, he said, "would mean a loss of richness, the disappearance of the cultural for the benefit of the economic."

Now he becomes Pope and is about to travel to Turkey.

As he prepared for this week's visit, and questions about EU membership were raised again and again, his silence became conspicuous.

Was there any hint about the Vatican's position on Turkey's application, then? Yes, there was.
On November 27, the day before the Pope began his visit, the director of the Vatican press office addressed the issue directly, in an interview with Turkish journalists. Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said since that Turkey's application was a political issue, the Holy See would not take a stand. However, he added, it would make sense for Turkey to join the EU, if— and note this condition carefully— if the Turkish government met the usual standards for EU membership, on questions such as human rights and religious freedom.

That part in red--you didn't see that in the NYTimes account, right? But it occurs to you that the language is significant, right?

Just hours after Father Lombardi made that statement, the Pope reportedly told Prime Minister Erdogan that although the Vatican will not take any formal stand, he would "wish for Turkey’s entry into the EU." If he did make such a statement— and remember, we have only Erdogan's word for it— the Pontiff would certainly not have made it unconditionally. Consistent with the statements he has made and the policies he has followed throughout his pontificate, he would have added the same sort of conditional clause that Father Lombardi had used, insisting on Turkish adherence to European norms on human rights. The Turkish premier, in all likelihood, was passing along only a portion of the Pope's message.

And of course, B-16 did not contradict the Prime Minister on the spot.

HT: Jumping Without a Chute

Family Influence on Sexual Orientation

Here's an interesting and well-founded study.

...from the peer reviewed Journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, that indicates that lack of a healthy family environment during a child’s upbringing seems to lead to increased occurrence of same sex attraction dysfunction.

The study used a population-based sample of 2,000,355 native-born Danes between the ages of 18 and 49. Denmark — a country noted for its tolerance of a wide variety of alternative lifestyles, including homosexual partnerships — was the first country to legalize gay marriage. The researchers assessed detailed marriage records for all Danish-born men and women marrying a same-sex partner from the years 1989 through 2001.

With access to the “virtually complete registry coverage of the entire Danish population,” the study sample therefore lacked the problematic selection bias that has plagued many previous studies on sexual orientation.

Some conclusions:

Men who marry homosexually are more likely to have been raised in a family with unstable parental relationships — particularly, absent or unknown fathers and divorced parents.

Findings on women who marry homosexually were less pronounced, but were still associated with a childhood marked by a broken family. The rates of same-sex marriage “were elevated among women who experienced maternal death during adolescence, women with short duration of parental marriage, and women with long duration of mother-absent cohabitation with father.”
Men and women with “unknown fathers” were significantly less likely to marry a person of the opposite sex than were their peers with known fathers.

Men who experienced parental death during childhood or adolescence “had significantly lower heterosexual marriage rates than peers whose parents were both alive on their 18th birthday. The younger the age of the father’s death, the lower was the likelihood of heterosexual marriage.”

“The shorter the duration of parental marriage, the higher was the likelihood of homosexual marriage…homosexual marriage rates were 36% and 26% higher among men and women, respectively, who experienced parental divorce after less than six years of marriage, than among peers whose parents remained married for all 18 years of childhood and adolescence.”

“Men whose parents divorced before their 6th birthday were 39% more likely to marry homosexually than peers from intact parental marriages.”

“Men whose cohabitation with both parents ended before age 18 years had significantly (55% -76%) higher rates of homosexual marriage than men who cohabited with both parents until 18 years.”

The mother’s age was directly linked to the likelihood of homosexual marriage among men — the older the mother, the more likely her son was to marry another man. Also, “only children” were more likely to be homosexual.

Persons born in large cities were significantly more likely to marry a same-sex partner — suggesting that cultural factors might also affect the development of sexual orientation.

HT: Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex

The Teachings of Christ

HT to Diogenes, from the author George MacDonald:

Our Lord never spoke hyperbolically, although, indeed, that is the supposition on which many unconsciously interpret His words, in order to be able to persuade themselves that they believe them.


Erpenbach Plan Gets Worse

This morning, Sen. Erpenbach appeared on the Spinzoids' show and explained it all for us. But all he really did was show us how much "Madison Disease" he really has (it's a close relative of CWD, the brain-eater.)

Erpenbach stated that his bill would require the School Tax portion of property taxes be eliminated--zeroed out--and that the State's increased sales-tax revenues would be substituted. That's why he says that this is NOT a "tax increase." Overall, he expects that relief from the School Tax will approximately equal the increase in the sales taxes paid by Wisconsin citizens.

Even if that is true (and maybe it is...) Erpenbach's bill is a dose of cyanide wrapped in peppermint. Erpenbach hopes that no one will notice the malodorous and extremely malignant elephant in the room.

It's called "local control."

Frank Lasee thought of it, as did this blog a couple of days ago. Here's Lasee's commentary:

Another question that we need to ask about this proposal is: what will the effect be on local control? Under our current system if a school wants more money they have to ask their taxpayers first before they offer another French class, build a new school or add more personnel. The point is that the taxpayers have the final say.

Under Erpenbach’s proposal will the Department of Public Instruction or another government agency be given that power? So every time a school needs more of our money will they have to call Madison and beg? Our current referendum system is working (as I’ve outlined in past columns). Do you really want to give our local control of schools and school budgets to a state agency? Under Senator Erpenbach’s proposal will we end up with one large school district for the whole state controlled by Madison?

Some other questions: do you really think that Mineral Point and will be allowed to continue paying average Total Comp of $69,576 when Lake Country District pays $89,752? Or put another way, do you seriously think that Milwaukee Public Schools will be allowed to continue spending $10,375/student/year when Shawano only pays $8,302/student/year?

Erpenbach's proposal will have exactly TWO beneficiaries: the State's Department of Public Instruction, which will become the de-facto Emperor of Education in Wisconsin, and WEAC, which will have to negotiate with only one entity: DPI.

All decisions--classroom space, texts, acoutrements, athletics, testing, course-offerings--will be made by DPI/Wisconsin, directly or indirectly. ALL teacher and administrator compensation will be decided by The Emperor.

As will all "School Choice" matters.

Erpenbach is either a fool or an extraordinarily nefarious Machiavellian.

I don't know which is worse.

Condi's State Department: Same Old, Same Old

HT the American Spectator blog:

The very same guy at State (Alberto Fernandez) who went on Al-Jazeera and said that Washington had been arrogant and stupid in Iraq has been named the winner of the Edgar R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy. Tufts University chooses the recipient FROM A LIST OF THREE FINALISTS SUBMITTED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT. Read that again: State actually nominated this guy for this prestigious award and its $10,000 check.

Yup. A US employee appears on a foreign network, derides the US as 'stupid and arrogant,' and is THEN nominated by his employer (a US-taxpayer-supported entity, the State Department) for an award for "public diplomacy."

Michael Moore should be really pissed off...

Doyle Endorses Legislative Theft-by-Fraud

Can't say we're shocked.

DarthDoyle, notorious proponent of baby-killing, also endorses theft from taxpayers by Legislative slimeballs who pretend to never be sick and then convert the resulting moneys into free health insurance.

As we mentioned, this is the Black Market at work. Now DarthDoyle has volunteered to be a fence.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Legislative Slime--Part 2547

First off, retired Members of Wisconsin's Legislature do not "buy" health insurance.

They steal money under the guise of 'not taking sick days,' and trade the stolen goods for another valuable.

This is also known as 'The Black Market.' No income is declared, no taxes are paid--it's no different from other forms of prostitution utilized by Leggies for their own benefit.

Now they find themselves in a situation which would embarass normal people: seems that the State's Auditor has found that UW-system employees (primarily professors) are pulling the same scam.

Oh, yes--a couple of the Leggies are ashamed. I suspect that they are more ashamed of the company they keep in Madison than anything else...but not to worry.

Huebsch and Robson will bury this. They'll keep what they stole. And they'll defy you to your face over the issue. Too bad the appropriate response from the taxpayers falls under the criminal code.

Mencken (!!!) On Latin in the Mass

HT to Ten Reasons, who reveals that he has reason to be concerned (he's a lawyer.)

He posts a quotation from Mencken, arguably the Icon of American curmudgeons, and an atheist--about the Mass.

The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its occasional astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. [An echo of GKChesterton, by the way...]

...Rome indeed has not only preserved the original poetry of Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry -- for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass is a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big top by Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone.

[Here Mencken bewails the tendency for priests and Bishops to preach...excessively.]

... Let the reverend fathers go back to Bach. If they keep on spoiling poetry and spouting ideas, the day will come when some extra-bombastic deacon will astound humanity and insult God by proposing to translate the liturgy into American, that all the faithful may be convinced by it.

Well, the implementation was by an extra-bombastic Benedictine here in the USA. We only wish he'd remained a deacon...or sub-deacon...or just an acolyte.

Guess the Item

Here's a picture of the mystery-item. You get three guesses.

Give up?

Underneath the plywood screen are two iron pipes in the shape of a cross, about 6' high. This small monument is in the Mojave Desert, about 12 miles from the nearest well-traveled road.

It "offended" some jackass; the Anti-Christian-Lawsuit-Union intervened. This is the result.

Some excellent comments on this blogsite. I especially like the "tear down the plywood, again, and again, and again..."

HT: Relapsed Catholic


Stolen from Moonbattery:

And the rest of the post is just as good. (Hint: he quotes a LawProf. That should get you started...)

The Blob (Our Government) Advances...

I couldn't resist the imagery of that old sci-fi movie, mostly because it fits to a "T".

Anti-tobacco forces are opening a new front in the war against smoking by banning it in private places such as homes and cars when children are present.

Starting Jan. 1, Texas will restrict smoking in foster parents' homes at all times and in cars when children are present, says Darrell Azar of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Vermont, Washington and other states and counties already prohibit foster parents from smoking around children in their homes and cars.

Arkansas and Louisiana passed laws this year forbidding anyone from smoking in cars carrying young children. Courts are ordering smoke-free environments in custody and visitation disputes.

Here's the tagline:

"There are times when it's appropriate to regulate what people can do in their home."

....these laws were made due to the large piles of dead children found inside the homes and cars of smokers.

Proof Reader Needed. Apply JSOnline

Found in today's JS:

Wage and benefit pacts for the teachers and support staff expired June 31.

No, they didn't.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Black Friday" Shopping Numbers Up? Maybe.

Here's a fact-based item which has potential implications:

"Retailers kicked off the holiday selling season in style as shoppers across the country set their alarms for the wee hours of the morning to catch doorbuster specials. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 Black Friday Weekend Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, more than 140 million shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday weekend, spending an average of $360.15, up 18.9 percent from last year’s $302.81.*" --National Retail Federation press release

Except for the asterisk. Here's the footnote:

"*Spending data includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday."

But even THAT is not true, according to "The Big Picture," an econo-blog:

First, this is not based upon actual sales data, but rather, is a survey of consumers. Not only that, but much of the survey results are self-reported projections of spending expectations -- not receipts. The survey dates are 11/23-11/25. This means survey interviews done on Thursday 11/23 are almost all forecasts of future behavior; depending what time of the day they are done on Friday 11/24, between 2 and 3 days of data are predictions, and perhaps one day is self-reported data.

In other words, it's not time to celebrate the Biggest Holiday Shopping Season since Whenever.

"Assault Rifles" Not So Hot as Weapons

Despite the hand-wringing, sighing, and screeching delivered by the brain-dead MSM pundits on the topic of "Lethal!!!! Assault Rifles," (let's not get into definitions--that would strain the brains of those poor folks...)

It seems that "Assault Rifles" are simply not very lethal.

"...British examination of its Malaya experience determined that, to a range of thirty yards (27.4 meters), the probability of hitting a man-sized target with a shotgun was superior to that of all other weapons. The probability of hitting the intended target with an assault rifle was one in eleven. It was one in eight with a submachine gun firing a five-round burst. Shotguns had a hit probability ratio twice as good as rifles..."

I'll have a pair of 12-gage 3 1/2 inchers, please.

HT: John Lott

Law? We ARE the Law!

The new Dimowit majority will simply bully their way to permanency through illegal votes.

A Mississippi Democrat in line to become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has warned the nation's largest uniform supplier it faces criminal charges if it follows a White House proposal to recheck workers with mismatched Social Security numbers and fire those who cannot resolve the discrepancy in 60 days.

Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a letter to Cintas Corp. it could be charged with "illegal activities in violation of state and federal law" if any of its 32,000 employees are terminated because they gave incorrect Social Security numbers to be hired.

This dumb SOB, Thompson, doesn't seem to understand Federal law. Cintas doesn't get a vote regarding its double-checking mismatched SSAN's. They must do it. And as you will note in reading the link, Cintas did not plan to fire the people--only suspend them.

But it's important to the Democrat Party to maintain a large presence of illegals-who-vote. Ol' Bennie-boy will do his best, yessirreebob!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Police Para-Military Raid Errors and Omissions

Here's the map showing all the "ooops" raid locations (keyed for type of damage, if any) and here's the place to go to purchase the pamphlet (Cato Institute) with more information.

Meantime, here's the Executive Summary:

Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.

Cato is interested in seriously reducing narcotics laws (yah--they're sort of a 'respectable' Cheech & Chong) so it's easy to figure out why Cato publishes this information.

On the other hand, drug raids or no, Stupid Cop Tricks should never include "wrong address" details which lead to killing civilians.

Peoplw who make such "errors" should be fired on the spot, and then prosecuted.

Campaign Finance Reform--a Modest Proposal

DarthDoyle, who will shortly be signing State of Wisconsin checks to kill off embryos, now proposes "campaign finance reform."

Since Darth managed to submit his finance reports in a non-standard format, it was very difficult for reporters (and other interested parties) to figure out exactly who was sending all that money to Darth.

But not to worry. Darth to the Rescue!!

Doyle told reporters Tuesday that he will include money for some type of public fund to help pay for elections in the 2007-'09 budget he will give the Legislature in January. Doyle said one of the changes he wants to sign into law would require independent groups that run ads mentioning candidates in the final weeks of the election to register with the state Elections Board, name their largest contributors and abide by donation limits in Wisconsin law.

Let's make this simple, Darth.

We need is contemporaneous, on-line reporting of ALL gifts to ALL candidates --names, addresses, amounts. That way, the donations you got from the individuals who want your attention would be instantly visible.

We also need and want contemporaneous on-line directories of officers, directors, and donors for ALL organizations which contribute to candidates. ALL of them--in-State and out-of-State, unions, tribes, ...all of them...

The rest will be irrelevant. We don't need "limits." Why? If we know who's buying which candidate, we know what to do about it.

(HT: Jessica, JS All Politics Blog)

Up Your Sales Tax!!

Didn't take long for the (D) types in Madistan to start painting pictures of their dreams, eh?

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) is developing a plan that he says would cancel many sales tax exemptions.

Erpenbach's plan would continue to exempt from the sales tax "necessities of life," including food; drugs and health care services; shelter and agricultural products.

He said the measure he will introduce in the next few weeks would cancel all other sales tax exemptions to raise enough new money to finally remove the financing of public schools from the property tax - a tax shift of more than $3 billion.

The Wisconsin Counties Association, a group of Professional Leeches of Taxpayer Blood, has its own list: services, $136 million; legal services, $113 million; advertising, $103 million; personnel services, $79.4 million; architectural, engineering and surveying services, $69.2 million; management consulting and public relations, $64.1 million; and accounting, $59.5 million.

The Twit-in-Charge of the Counties Ass'n doesn't even understand the basic concept:

"I'd be fascinated to hear" why hair salons, nail salons and barbershops deserve a tax break worth more than $29 million a year ...said Mark O'Connell.

Frankly, I'd be fascinated to hear where he learned Econ 101--or IF he learned it.

By the way--go back to Erpenbach's plan. Note the part highlighted in red. What Erpenbach is proposing is two major changes, not one. First, increase tax revenues to the State of Wisconsin. Second, have the State of Wisconsin write the checks which pay for the schools, in toto.

What Erpenbach, the Dems, and WEAC are really aiming for is State control, not local control.
They'll be happy with taking the money first--implementing the increased taxes. But they'll also be happy with taking control of all the schools.

Keep your eyes open, folks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Grand Plan for Iraq

Here's a summation of the initial thought from the Administration as reported by Mark Danner in the NY Review of Books:

[Heritage Foundation's] DeMuth drafted an influential report, entitled "Delta of Terrorism," which concluded, in the author's paraphrase, that "the United States was in for a two-generation battle with radical Islam":

..."We concluded that a confrontation with Saddam was inevitable. He was a gathering threat—the most menacing, active and unavoidable threat.

...Behind the notion that an American intervention will make of Iraq "the first Arab democracy," as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz put it, lies a project of great ambition. It envisions a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq—secular, middle-class, urbanized, rich with oil—that will replace the autocracy of Saudi Arabia as the key American ally in the Persian Gulf, allowing the withdrawal of United States troops from the kingdom. The presence of a victorious American Army in Iraq would then serve as a powerful boost to moderate elements in neighboring Iran, hastening that critical country's evolution away from the mullahs and toward a more moderate course. Such an evolution in Tehran would lead to a withdrawal of Iranian support for Hezbollah and other radical groups, thereby isolating Syria and reducing pressure on Israel. This undercutting of radicals on Israel's northern borders and within the West Bank and Gaza would spell the definitive end of Yasir Arafat and lead eventually to a favorable solution of the Arab-Israeli problem.

Almost like on Miss America--you know, 'I wish for World Peace...'...

This is a vision of great sweep and imagination: comprehensive, prophetic, evangelical. In its ambitions, it is wholly foreign to the modesty of containment, the ideology of a status-quo power that lay at the heart of American strategy for half a century. It means to remake the world, to offer to a political threat a political answer. It represents a great step on the road toward President Bush's ultimate vision of "freedom's triumph over all its age-old foes."[6]

I don't see any mention of this little "religion" thing. Maybe an oversight?

Nope; it shows up later in the essay:

The central question of how power and resources should be divided in Iraq and what the country should look like, a question that was going to be settled peacefully by the nascent political institutions of the "first Arab democracy," has become the critical political issue dividing Kurd from Sunni and Sunni from Shia, and also dividing the sectarian political coalitions themselves. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the leader of the "unity government," on whom President Bush repeatedly calls to "dismantle the militias," is in fact dependent for his own political survival on Moqtada al-Sadr, the creator and leader of the largest militia, the Mahdi Army. Indeed, the two most important militias are controlled by the two most powerful parties in parliament.

Increasingly the "unity government" itself, quarreling vituperatively within the Green Zone, serves as an impotent echo of the savage warfare raging beyond the walls. The partitioning of Iraq is now openly advocated by many—including such prominent American politicians as Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—desperate to find "a solution," however illusory, to the war, anything that will allow the Americans to withdraw, while avoiding any admission of defeat.

Backwards a bit in time:

Inherent in the War of Imagination were certain rather obvious contradictions: Donald Rumsfeld's dream of a "demonstration model" war of quick, overwhelming victory did not foresee an extended occupation—on the contrary, the defense secretary abjured, publicly and vociferously, any notion that his troops would be used for "nation-building." Rumsfeld's war envisioned rapid victory and rapid departure. [Rummy was right on this score and in the success of the project.] Wolfowitz and the other Pentagon neoconservatives, on the other hand, imagined a "democratic transformation," a thoroughgoing social revolution that would take a Baathist Party–run autocracy, complete with a Baathist-led army and vast domestic spying and security services, and transform it into a functioning democratic polity—without the participation of former Baathist officials.

"Trouble in River City" was the name of that tune. It's the reason that some of us kept hearing two different exegeses of the Iraq conflict--there were two!

Our President has yet to explain precisely how "establishing democracy" will quash terrorist impulses midst Muslim extremists.

Perhaps that's why it will be a "two-generation-long" war?

Tridentine Rite Milwaukee Change

Beginning next Sunday, Church's New Year (12/3/06) and first Sunday of Advent, the authorized Old Rite Mass for the Milwaukee Archdiocese will begin at:

10:30 AM.
This will continue for the foreseeable future. As usual, Confessions will be held before the Mass, likely beginning at 9:50 AM, and following the Mass, if the need is present.
In February, the location of the Old Rite Mass will change.

A Couple of Days Hunting

It's a nice place...100+ acres outside of Black River Falls by about 3 miles. The sandy land doesn't support much agriculture, really, unless you count growing white pines as 'agriculture;' there's a stream running through the acreage with a lot of birch and oak bordering the water. The planted white pines are 6+ years old and provide a lot of cover for the deer.

It's quiet. So much so that the reports of gunfire and their 6 echoes from more than a mile away are easily heard, just like the hammering going on perhaps 1000+ yards distant, and the dog barking. Squirrels at play on the dried oak-leaves within 50 yards are very audible, and a .300 WinMag report at less than a quarter-mile is a real wake-up. But it's not from our party.

All the hunting is done from a number of well-placed stands. Most of them are near the stream and offer lanes to the cleared field near the center of the "L"-shaped property. The owners don't "drive" for deer--usually there are only 2 or 3 hunters.

Earlier in the season, four deer were sighted and two does were taken. That provided an excellent meal on Friday night. The steaks were not 'gamey,' at all; the preparation included an hours' marination in oil and red wine, plus a liberal dose of herb-seasonong.

The weather couldn't have been heavy clothing was required, making the walks to the stands (and climbing into them) a breeze. Friday morning was perfectly clear. Wish I'd spent more time with a basic astronomy book, for then I'd have been able to identify 6 of the 7 visible constellations (I got the Little Dipper, no problem.) The Milky Way was sharp for the first 30 minutes. A very high-flying plane (probably out of Minneapolis, but perhaps further west) crossed but there was no noise later. A dangerously-curious chickadee stopped by to get a closer look at the pumpkin-esque critter in the tree-stand, landing perhaps 2 feet from my face, on the stand's plywood half-wall.

Saw no deer. Neither did the others.

Friday afternoon we did manage to scare up a deer near the stream as we crossed it. I heard the rattle-and-crunch and called my PH about the same time he heard it; my position was right, and the tail flashed and bobbed a couple of times before the deer disappeared. The deer never came out, and we had it surrounded, more or less, each of us at opposite ends of the stream's shallow gully.

The only TV station that came in clearly was an NBC affiliate from Eau Claire, which apparently had only three 'on-air' personalities who worked Friday from the early news at 0500 through the 6PM news show; a different anchor showed up at 10PM but the weather-kid soldiered through that broadcast as well. Evidently nothing happened in Iraq, DC, Milwaukee or Madison on Friday which merited attention from the news department...but it was reassuring to know that shoppers were out in Eau Claire I guess. That, and the story about a body of a young mother found in the woods, took up the 'news hole.'

The mother's baby is an orphan, permanently--but there was nothing about the baby in the stories. Wasn't really much of anything in the stories--video of yellow tape, a Sheriff's car, and a couple of men carrying a litter towards a small truck, plus a shot of the tavern where she was last seen. Kind of a lousy epitaph.

The Nick Cage movie was an inverse-play on It's A Wonderful Life. Reasonably well-done but not really cohesive. Cage does very well with the mouth-hanging-open double take.

Leaving town--how does someone actually make a living being a psychic palm-reader in Black River Falls? What's to become of the old-style WallyWorld directly across from the new-style WallyWorld?

Delightful, altogether. And there's a red squirrel who got a reprieve from becoming dinner until at least next year. Haven't figured out how he eluded the 1000 fps .17 missile. Maybe the kids played with the sights, eh?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

"Cool" Church Music...Slapped

From "King of the Hill"

HANK: Can't you see you're not making Christianity better, you're just making rock 'n' roll worse.

PASTOR K: You people are all alike. You look at us and think we're freaks. Come on, even Jesus had long hair.

HANK: Only because I wasn't his dad.

A dad after my own heart!


The family is only part of the reason to be thankful...

There is a God, Who provides for us. There are loving and patient spouses. There are friends and benefactors. There is our health.

There are millions of reasons to be grateful. Said "thanks!!" lately?

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.--GKChesterton

"Cost-Cutting" from Wisconsin Bureaucrats

DarthDoyle asked his boyzzz what they would do if required to cut their budgets by 10%. Here are some of the ideas.

Public Service Commission: The agency that regulates utilities said it could save $735,400 by not replacing veteran employees expected to retire by June 2009.

Then it would be re-named "The Incredible Disappearing PSC." After only 10 more years, it would be gone!

Department of Corrections: Save $7.76 million over two years with unspecified cuts in "supplies and services."

Such as permanently-assigned automobiles for wardens who then use the cars to commute to work? And all the gasoline and maintenance thereof? Such as the workout equipment, TVs, and videos provided for Our Prisoners?

Corrections spends a LOT of money-per-prisoner; 40% above the national average!! Obviously, the Corrections Twit doesn't take things very seriously. Wanna get serious? Let's close two prisons (say, Oshkosh and Waupun) and ship the prisoners to the now-underused Iraqi prisons. Use the now-unemployed old-regime Iraqi prison guards. (Fire the Wisconsin staff.) And don't provide transportation back to Wisconsin at completion of sentence. I guaran-friggin-tee you that the crime rate will diminish, rapidly.

Public defender's office: Said it would save $1.2 million over the next two years, if state laws were changed so that first- offense possession of drug paraphernalia and the least-serious drugs were no longer misdemeanor crimes but would instead be violations of local ordinances.

For even more savings, simply eliminate ALL Wisconsin statutes. Another thought: require pro-se defenses from all who are charged with any misdemeanor crimes. Should be a great source of humor.

Revenue Secretary Mike Morgan recommended that he be allowed to hire seven more tax auditors and agents, who each would bring in an average of $1.2 million a year. He also proposed changes he says would boost lottery sales by $29 million.

First off, that smells like a "quota system" to me---$100K/month/agent. Interesting, eh? Secondly, until you've seen some of these folks in action, you have NO idea how much they add to the cost-of-doing-business in the State of Wisconsin--but that's not a concern for Darth's Boyzzz.

Better idea: eliminate DoR field agents altogether. Change Wisconsin tax law so that you simply pay 10% of your Federal tax as your Wisconsin tax. Send in just a copy of your 1040 and a check.

Transportation Department: In addition to no longer printing highway maps, [$232K annual savings] and requiring one license plate per vehicle, [$585K annual savings] DOT said it would cut $8.7 million in engineering contracts in the first year of the budget and nearly $20 million the second year. The department typically spends about $120 million a year on those contracts.

The maps are demanded by Legislators who then give them to constituents, hoping for votes. The reason the maps are printed annually is that Legislators spend BILLIONS to cover Wisconsin's natural ground with asphalt and concrete roads every year. Thus, you need new maps every year, just to find actual ground, trees, and grass in Wisconsin.

So here's the solution:

Make the Legislators personally pave any road they want paved. We can reduce DOT's budget by about 90% instead of piddling around with maps and license plates.

And of COURSE the front-license-plate requirement is a waste of time and money. But it's no worse than (say) the waste of time and money caused by legislators' Daily Allowance of Cash Just To Show Up at Work--also called the Per Diem.

Let's eliminate the front-plate AND the 'per diem' as well. If less Leggies show up to work, so much the better!! No stupid new laws, and no stupid new highways!

Head Armor: 1 La Z Boy

So get one of these things!

A man sitting in his easy chair was shot in the head by his wife, but the sturdy recliner absorbed most of the bullet's force and left him virtually unscathed.

The couple had been arguing at home on Sunday evening, said Contra Costa County sheriff's Lt. Charles Skuce. Then Jan Kamp stood behind her seated husband and fired a gun at the back of his head, Skuce said.

Because she fired through the recliner, the bullet only slightly wounded Norman Kamp, 57, Skuce said.

People who talk about using .22LR weapons as "self-defense" guns are deluded. Can't even push a slug through a La Z Boy headrest.

In Case Your Turkey Burns...

Here's an idea! And Jib, I told you there are alternatives!

Fried Squirrel

medium to large squirrel
flour, garlic powder, or cloves
Lawry seasoned salt
vegetable oil
2 cans Campbell cream of mushroom soup

To prepare: cover skinned, quartered pieces of squirrel with flour, pepper, garlic powder and seasoned salt. Place squirrel in a large cast iron skillet with one half inch vegetable oil, and fry until brown on both sides. Add 1/4 Cup hot water and simmer, covered, for four hours or until tender. Add cream of mushroom soup and simmer an additional 30 minutes

Serve with Hungry Jack biscuits and coleslaw

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Definitive DarthDoyle Answer

Posted by The Confidentials:

It Depends Upon What You Mean By "Budget"

Never Enough Laws & Regs

Anent Joe Sobran's comment that Liberals can never have enough Gummint, the following:

Let's see... Massachusetts has police permit requirements for obtaining any guns, including rifles, storage requirements, effectively a long waiting period (it takes weeks to get the permit), a year's mandatory imprisonment for first-offense carrying without a permit or with an expired permit, limits on large magazines, etc., etc.

But Brady Campaign hasn't folded its tent there and proclaimed it's gotten enough. Instead, it's calling for more.

"Dan Vice, a staff attorney with the Brady Campaign, which advocates for gun control, said Massachusetts needs to establish a statewide registry of legally owned guns. He also urged the state to restrict gun purchases to one per month.

Why not a Statewide registry of legally-owned cold tablets? Cigarettes? Alcoholic beverages? McDonald's coupons?

HT: Of Arms and the Law

JB VanHollen's Boyzzz

OK. They're not all "Boys." But you get the idea. This is VanHollen's transition team. See if you can identify the focus of this group:

Raymond P. Taffora: attorney, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP since February, 1991. He is
currently the co-chair of the firm’s Government and Public Policy practice.

J. Douglas Haag: career special prosecutor. Appointed Assistant Attorney General by AG
Robert W. Warren 1972. Handled criminal cases in the majority of Wisconsin’s 72 counties for
29 years. Prosecutions crossed the sociological spectrum from con-artists, dope dealers, rapists,
murderers, child molesters and political terrorists to business executives and public officials.
Director of the Justice Department’s Criminal Litigation Unit from 1989 to 1993 under Attorneys General Hanaway and Doyle.

Donald Leo Bach: attorney; DeWitt Ross & Stevens. Legal Counsel and Advisor to former Gov. Thompson (1986).

Ave M. Bie: attorney, Quarles and Brady. Partner in the public utilities and government relations practice groups where she works on state and federal issues. Former Chairwoman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin (1998-2004)

Gary Hamblin: Dane County Sheriff. A professional law enforcement officer for 39 years.
Appointed Sheriff by Gov. Thompson in 1997 and reelected in 1998, 2000, and in 2002 to the
first four year term for sheriffs. Served in the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) of the
DOJ for 29 where he worked organized crime investigations, white collar crime investigations
and murder investigations. He served as DCI’s administrative officer for eight years before
heading up DCI’s drug enforcement program and then establishing DCI’s
Gaming Enforcement

Nobody with cranberry-farmer prosecutorial experience.

Carrie Schneider – Outagamie County District Attorney. Elected in 2002, began work in the
District Attorney’s Office in 1997.

Assassinations, Yes. Robbery-- Nope.

The Secret Service keeps GWB's daughters safe from great physical harm.

But not from petty larceny.

First Daughter Barbara Bush had her purse and cell phone stolen as she had dinner in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, even though she was being guarded by a detail of Secret Service agents, according to law enforcement reports made available to ABC News.

The purse snatching took place on Barbara's first night in town while she was dining in the picturesque San Telmo neighborhood. According to the reports, the Secret Service agents failed to notice the incident.

The Secret Service would not comment on the purse snatching, and the First Lady’s office said they would not comment on any personal trip made by the daughters.

Oh, yah.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sobran the Controversialist

A while back, Joe Sobran was invited to town--and was subsequently dis-invited pursuant to charges that Sobran is anti-Semitic.

But that doesn't mean that his speech will never be examined, because it's right here on this very blog, courtesy of a friend (no, not Sobran.)

Note that he's a controversialist. He argues that the Constitution allows secession. A local attorney thinks otherwise--that in fact, there's plenty of room for disagreement. In the end, these are not questions which are resolved by attorneys. They are resolved through conflict.

You figure it out.

Nowadays, in startling contrast to my youth, it's very fashionable to claim to be a conservative. Back in the Sixties, conservatism was still rather a fugitive thing, and the fashion was liberalism or even radicalism. By the late Eighties, "liberal" had become "the L-word,"and liberals were looking for less alarming euphemism, such as"progressive." As I say, the change is startling.

But have things really changed that much? Or is the change really superficial? I'm afraid the latter is the case. The airwaves are clogged with the clamorous voices of talk radio, or "squawk radio," asI like to call it – people claiming to be conservative, though they don't sound much like the great conservatives I grew up admiring –Bill Buckley, Frank Meyer, James Burnham, Russell Kirk, Willmoore Kendall, and Barry Goldwater, to name a few.

In fact many of today's so-called conservatives seem to me to be liberals without knowing it, no matter how much they say they detest liberalism. Rush Limbaugh, to name only the most audible of them, seems to have no real philosophy, no awareness of conservative literature outside journalism. His premises are hard to distinguish from liberalism's. Apparently he equates favoring war with conservatism. He likes big government just fine, as long as it's shooting something. He says the Republican Party will save Social Security and Medicare, huge liberal programs which a real conservative thinks shouldn't have existed in the first place. Sometimes, after listening to him for a half hour, I want to beg him, "Rush, how about equal time for real conservatism?"

Well, just what is "real" conservatism? This is an old question, much debated. Dictionaries define it in such terms as "preference for tradition" and "resistance to change," but these are too general to take us very far. After all, nearly everyone wants to preserve some tradition and opposes some kinds of change, and people we call conservatives often want to do away with certain traditions and bring about important changes.

And all of life is in flux at all times. You can never conserve everything. We are forced to face the question of which things we should conserve, which we should discard or even destroy, and which we should let pass away. When a house catches fire, we may have to decide very quickly what we can rescue from the flames and abandon all the rest.

And conservatism isn't just passivity. It's active maintenance. An old house needs repair and painting, a garden need weeding, trees and shrubs need pruning. To conserve is to renew. Conservatism can't mean neglect.

And conservatism varies from place to place, from people to people. The great Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, even under the Soviet regime, wanted to preserve tsarism and the Russian Orthodox Church. Islam is in many ways deeply conservative, but we have also seen it take radical and revolutionary forms. Mormonism was once seen as radical, but today it seems a very conservative religion. The same might be said of Christianity in various forms. And as G.K.Chesterton says, "It is futile to discuss reform without reference to form."

The word "conservatism" came into general use after the French Revolution of 1789, its first and most eloquent spokesman being Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France . Burke argued for the traditional liberties of the English against the "abstract" Rights of Man advocated by the revolutionaries, predicting correctly that such abstract rights, with no force of custom behind them, would perish in a reign of terror. The revolutionaries, he said, were so obsessed with man's rights that they had forgotten man's nature.

History has vindicated Burke's warning, but many have doubted that his kind of conservatism fully applies to America . We don't have the sort of history England and France had, a feudal ancien regime with a social hierarchy and inherited status. It is even argued that our only tradition is a liberal one, of legal equality for everyone. After all, we are not divided into peasants versus noblemen, or anything of the sort. We even take pride in our social fluidity and more or less equal opportunity.

This brings us to a paradox. The most eloquent of our own Founding Fathers was Thomas Jefferson, who welcomed the French Revolution and had no use for Burke. Yet most American conservatives look to Jefferson as their intellectual patriarch, he who wrote the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed that "all men are created equal."

Today "conservatism" has become a confusing term. It can refer to a Jeffersonian vision of limited government and strict construction of the U.S. Constitution, or it can be equated with President Bush's militarism and what has been called his "big-government conservatism." And of course the title is also claimed by "neoconservatives" who share Bush's enthusiasm for war and are, when it comes to social policy, more like liberals than Jeffersonian conservatives.

Both Bush and the "neocons" favor an undefined war and speak of a "global democratic revolution." But what is conservative about war and revolution? It has often been pointed out that this sort of talk is more akin to Leon Trotsky than to Edmund Burke. Bush even speaks of eliminating tyranny from the face of the earth – a neat trick, if you can do it.

Here I think we should keep in mind Burke's opposition between "the abstract rights of man" and man's actual nature. Conservatives tend to believe in Original Sin, or something like it, that will forever prevent man from achieving perfection. This attitude produces a disposition that tends to be both skeptical and tolerant, deeply dubious about overhauling society. Societies and traditions can't be built from scratch; as Burke said, we must build out of existing materials – that is, real human beings and their habits, rooted inhistory.

Liberals, on the other hand, speak freely of "ideals," imagined perfections that we can achieve if only we have the will. "I have a dream," as Martin Luther King said. Hence liberals typically talk of abolishing evils – "eliminating poverty," "eradicating racism," "doing away with prejudice," "ending exploitation," and so forth. This usually means strenuous government action, massive coercion and bureaucracy, because these things don't just evaporate of themselves.

Conservatives don't speak much of "ideals." They think, more modestly, in terms of norms, which are never perfectly realized, but only approximated by sinful man. Consider homosexuality. Whereas the liberal wants to impose "gay rights," by law and coercion, the conservative sees homosexuality as a defect, which to some extent can and must be tolerated, because it can't be "eradicated," but it can't rationally be exalted to the plane of normality; and he knows that all talk of "same-sex marriage" is nonsense, like trying to breed calves from a pair of bulls. But to the liberal, the only issue is equal rights; human nature and normality have nothing to say to him. What the conservative sees as life's mysteries, the liberal sees as mere irrationality.

One word is notably absent from the liberal vocabulary: "enough." For the liberal, there is hardly such a thing as "too much"government. There is no point at which liberals say, "Well, we've done it. We've realized our dreams. We have all the government we need, and we should stop now." No, they always want more government. There is no such thing as enough government.

Again, Chesterton sums up liberalism in a phrase: "the modern and morbid habit of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal." We see this again in the grisly business of abortion. To the typical conservative it is an ugly thing, something that may not be entirely"eliminated" but must be contained, condemned, and above all must never be accepted as normal. But to the typical liberal it is a right-- even "a fundamental human and constitutional right"!

Consider Abraham Lincoln, claimed by both liberals and conservatives. Most Americans consider him our greatest president – a view I emphatically reject. But both sides have a point in claiming him. In some respects he was rather conservative – for example, in his willingness to compromise on slavery before the Civil War. He doubted that he had the constitutional authority to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which he finally justified only as a wartime measure, applying only to the seceding states.

But he finally became an all-out abolitionist, and he had a radical dream of colonizing all free blacks outside the United States ; in his 1862 State of the Union message, he called for a constitutional amendment authorizing such colonization! In addition, Lincoln was a high-handed centralizer of power, who suspended habeas corpus and crushed freedom of speech and press throughout the North. Like most liberals, he talked of freedom – "a new birth of freedom," in fact –but the reality was power. Under the Constitution, he insisted, no state could withdraw from the Union for any reason. This was a view Jefferson did not share. The United States had begun in secession. Lincoln himself had once called secession "a most sacred right, which we believe is to liberate mankind."

A more recent conservative, Willmoore Kendall, who died in 1967, argued that American conservatism is rooted in its own constitutional tradition, best understood in the light of The Federalist Papers,where the limits of the Federal Government are clearly set forth. As far as I can tell, Lincoln was entirely ignorant of The Federalist Papers, as well as of the Articles of Confederation – a point I'll return to.

An even more recent conservative, Michael Oakeshott, who died in 1990, was English rather than American, but he had much to teach us. Oakeshott, like Burke, decried "rationalism in politics" – by which he chiefly meant what we call liberalism. He observed that some people(liberals) see government as "a vast reservoir of power," to be mobilized for whatever purposes they imagine would benefit mankind. By contrast, Oakeshott argued, the conservative sees governing as "a specific and limited activity," chiefly concerned with civility and the rule of law, not with "dreams" and "projects." I consider Oakeshott the most eloquent expositor of conservatism and the conservative temperament since Burke.

I have already said that Lincoln was poorly acquainted with the Founding Fathers. By contrast, Jefferson Davis was thoroughly familiar with them, and in his history of the Confederacy (too little read nowadays) he makes a powerful, I would say irrefutable, case that every state has a constitutional right to withdraw – to secede -- from the Union .

In the North, secession is still seen as a regional "Southern" issue, inseparable from, and therefore discredited by, slavery. But this is not so at all. At various times, Northern states had threatened to secede for various reasons. On one occasion, Thomas Jefferson said they should be allowed to "go in peace." After all, the whole point of the Declaration of Independence was that these "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states." Not, as Lincoln later said, a single "new nation," but (to quote Kendall ) "a baker's dozen of new sovereignties."

And the Articles of Confederation reinforced the point right at the beginning: "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence." And at the end of the Revolutionary War, the British specifically recognized the sovereignty of all thirteen states! This is flatly contrary to Lincoln 's claim that the states had never been sovereign.

But didn't the Constitution transfer sovereignty from the states to the Federal Government, outlawing secession? Not at all. The Constitution says nothing of the kind. And as Davis wrote, sovereignty cannot be surrendered by mere implication. In fact, several states ratified the Constitution on the express condition that they reserved the right to "resume" the powers they were "delegating"– that is, secede. And if one state could secede, so could the others. A "state" was not a mere province or subdivision of a larger entity; it was sovereign by definition.

Claiming sovereignty for the Federal Government, Lincoln felt justified in violating the Constitution in order to "save the Union " –by which he meant "saving" Federal sovereignty. One of the best-kept secrets of American history is that many if not most Northerners thought the Southern states had the right to secede. This is whyLincoln shut down hundreds of newspapers and arrested thousands of critics of his war. He had to wage a propaganda war against the North itself.

Were you told this in your history classes? Neither was I. We are still being told that Lincoln 's cause was the cause of liberty; just as we are told that he was the friend of the black man, though he wanted the freed slaves to be sent abroad, leaving an all-whiteAmerica . Lincoln had a dream too, but it wasn't Martin Luther King's.

Lincoln achieved what the Princeton historian James MacPherson calls"the Second American Revolution," giving the Federal Government virtually full authority over the internal affairs of the states. Columbia 's George Fletcher credits him with creating "a new Constitution." A third historian, Garry Wills of Northwestern University, says he "changed America ," transforming our understanding of the Constitution.

Mind you, these are not Lincoln 's critics – they are his champions! Do they listen to themselves? They are saying exactly what Jefferson Davis said: that Lincoln was abandoning the original Constitution! But they think this is a high compliment. Lincoln himself claimed he was "saving" the old Constitution. His admirers, without realizing it, are telling us a very different story.

Peaceful secession was a state's ultimate constitutional defense against Federal tyranny. Without it, the Federal Government has been able to claim new powers for itself while stripping the states of their powers. Lincoln neither foresaw nor intended this when he crushed secession. But today the states are helpless when, for example, the Federal Courts suddenly declare that no state may constitutionally protect unborn children from violent death in the womb. If even one state had been able to secede, the U.S. Supreme Court would never have dared provoke it to do so by issuing such an outrageous ruling, with no support in the Constitution.

But Lincoln has been deified as surely as any Roman emperor. Today he is widely ranked as one of our "greatest presidents," along with another bold usurper of power, Franklin Roosevelt. And as I say, even conservatives, so called, join in his praise. President Bush and his supporters invoke both Lincoln and Roosevelt to justify the war in Iraq and any powers he chooses to claim in its prosecution. In the old days, Americans told the government what our rights were; now it tells us. And we meekly obey.

If Bush and his right-wing supporters are conservatives, what on earth would a liberal be like? In these last six years, the Federal Government has vastly increased in power, with a corresponding diminution of our freedoms. Every American child is now born $150,000 in debt – his estimated share of the national debt, which he had no say in incurring. And of course the figure will be much higher when he is old enough to vote.

Meanwhile, he will go to a school, where he will be taught that he enjoys "self-government," thanks to great men like Lincoln , Roosevelt , and Bush.

What passes for "conservatism" now is a very far cry indeed from even the limited-government conservatism of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan just a generation ago. It is merely a variant of the liberalism it pretends to oppose.

How do these pseudo-conservatives differ from liberals? Chiefly, for some reason, in their reflexive enthusiasm for war. Ponder that. War is the most destructive and least conservative of all human activities. It is big government par excellence; it breeds tyranny and, often, revolution. Yet most Americans now identify it with conservatism!

I am very much afraid that the next generation will have forgotten what real conservatism means: moral stability, piety, private property, and of course the rule of law (as distinct from the mad multiplication of regulations).

But genuine conservatism will reassert itself, even if it has to find another name and new spokesmen. If the Bushes and Limbaughs have usurped and discredited the word conservatism for the time being, we must try to take it back. If we can't, we'll just have to find a label they can't steal.

On the Day After Thanksgiving

Here's a post which explains it all for you!

"Actuosa Participatio" to Guardini

Romano Guardini was a well-known liturgical scholar. The majority of his work preceded the Second Vatican Council; and he wrote some things which the Pragmata-Activists obviously ignored:

The liturgical act can be realized by looking. This does not merely mean that the sense of vision takes note of what is going on in front, but it is in itself a living participation in the act. I once experienced this in Palermo Cathedral when I could sense the attention with which the people were following the blessings on Holy Saturday for hours on end without books or any words of 'explanation'. Much of this was, of course, an external 'gazing', but basically it was far more. The looking by the people was an act in itself; by looking they participated in the various actions. However, cinema, radio and television-not to forget the flood of tourists-will have destroyed this remainder of old contemplative forces.

Only if regarded in this way can the liturgical-symbolical action be properly understood: for instance, the washing of hands by the celebrant, but also liturgical gestures like the stretching out of hands over the chalice. It should not be necessary to have to add in words of thought, 'this means such and such', but the symbol should be 'done' by the celebrant as a religious act and the faithful should 'read' it by an analogous act; they should see the inner sense in the outward sign. Without this everything would be a waste of time and energy and it would be better simply to 'say' what was meant. But the 'symbol' is in itself something corporal-spiritual, an expression of the inward through the outward, and must as such be co-performed through the act of looking.

...The active presence of the people of Palermo was based on the fact that they did not merely look up in the book what the various actions 'meant', but they actually 'read' them by simply looking-an after-effect of antique influences, probably paid for by a lack of primary education. Our problem is to rise above reading and writing and learn really to look with understanding.

This is the present task of liturgical education. If it is not taken in hand, reforms of rites and texts will not help much.

An imperfect analogy would be attending a concert. The orchestra plays--but the music has to be heard or it is not a "concert." I.E., it takes two to tango... Further, the presumption is that the audience understands the music just by hearing it. The orchestra credits its audience with "understanding".

A local Archbishop who was also a leader in the liturgical 'reform' emphasized (in his lectures, anyway) the importance of "symbol," echoing the Guardini piece. But either it was too late, too little, or his lectures were only 'for consumption;' it is clear that many priests in this Archdiocese do not credit their congregations with any understanding at all.

Perhaps that's related to the general Liberal conceit...

HT: In Illo Tempore.

"Stablilzed" Iraqi Government?

P-Mac quotes a Hanson column in the course of dissing Kissinger (an eminently diss-able guy, but not entirely bereft of reason and instinct.)

"So we are at a crossroads of all places in Iraq. The war there has metamorphosized from a successful effort to remove a mass-murdering dictator into the frontlines of the entire struggle between Islamic radicalism and Western liberality. If we withdraw before the elected government stabilizes, the consequences won't just be the loss of the perceptions of power, but perhaps the loss of real power. What follows won't be the impression that we are weak, but the fact that we are--as we convince ourselves we cannot win against such horrific enemies, and so should never again try."

Well, yah, sorta.

Hanson's wording deserves some examination.

First off, he uses sleight-of-hand text to give us the impression that "Islamic radicalism" is a force akin to "a unified Muslim world." Not true, unless Our President's repeated averrals that the majority of Muslims are not "radicals" are a lie. Of course, if the majority of Muslims are radicals, we do have a problem. But that contention has not been proven. Not even close. Egypt, anyone? Saudi Arabia? Kuwait?

Hanson's point of reference is the period between (say) 1000 AD and 1600 AD--during which a unified Muslim caliphate attempted to invade and conquer Europe. They didn't get too far. Although there is a significant Muslim presence in the Balkans, that's about it--except for the growing "guest worker" population in France and Germany.

But the "guest workers," by and large, are not "radicals," are they? If so, where's the bloodbath in Germany? France has problems, but France's Government is pusillanimous in the extreme; it is not resolved to apply remedy.

Secondly, the battle is not between "Western Liberalism" and "Muslim radicals." It is between two worldviews: one informed by Christianity, the other by a major heresy, Mohammedanism. The most significant battle on that front is being waged by Benedict XVI, whose Regensburg speech drew a rational response and will likely result in productive discussions--albeit the timeline will be excruciatingly slow.

Finally, Hanson tells us that 'we cannot withdraw until there is a "stabilized" Iraqi Government.'
We can agree on that, but first Hanson should tell us what "stabilized" actually means, in his view.

It would be helpful if Our President would also define the term "stabilized." Otherwise, we could well be seeking (at some cost) a goal which is a chimera.

Third-Party Server Records? Think Hard...

Grim references a podcast which is troubling:

Two paraphrases:

'Because the Internet is entirely made of private property, things like the First and Fourth Amendments do not necessarily apply.

''Since we are now keeping so much of our data -- calendars, emails, etc. -- on third-party servers, we are essentially erasing the Fourth Amendment."

The trick here, I think, is that American courts used to recognize that new technologies deserved the same protections as the old technologies. When we started having telephones, the ability to wire-tap those phones became covered under the Fourth Amendment. The courts of the day simply held that the principle was the same.

Now, as the fellow points out, the courts have decided to side with power instead of protection. That same interpretation was available to them, but the courts have instead chosen to rule that the applicable rules were the a different set of rulings concerning third-party custody of your records. That is not to say the court's reasoning is wrong. What it is to say is that we need to amend the Constitution to make clear that new technologies must be incorporated into the Fourth going forward. "Your person and papers" should mean your ideas and records, whether they're stored on your hard drive or in your desk, or on a server across town. They're still yours, and the government should be required to prove a lawful interest in them -- as for example by obtaining a warrant -- before helping itself.

Although my business records are utterly boring, I'd hate to think that (if they were stored on a 3rd-party's machine) that they were subject to search without a warrant.

Your mileage may vary, but this is a fair warning.

Really, Folkbum? Really?

Ol' Jay asks for it:

If the state paid less for its employees' health care (and all the local units of government, too--not to mention you, the consumer/ citizen/ taxpayer), the projected cost of running the place would fall and there would be more money in your pocket, too.

OK. Let's dump all the WEAC insurance and zero-premium/zero-co-pay/zero deductible plans given to the teachers.

Or, if you don't like that formulation, let's just design all public employee health-plans to reflect the average plan for private-sector employees in the State--complete with similar premium contributions, copays, deductibles, and limits.

Jay will claim that I mischaracterize his post.

The Good News

Sykes quotes Morris:

As Bill Clinton discovered when he reached D.C. in 1993, House Democrats are splintered into micro-caucuses, each of which must be courted separately for their votes. When their demands conflict, no one can rally anything close to a working majority on the House floor. Each caucus is a body unto itself: blue dogs (moderate and largely southern), Blacks, Hispanics, women, Democratic Leadership Council, environmentalists and gays.

Gridlock is your friend.

Pubbie Porker

The Porker of the Month

(ta-da!!) is John Thune (R), S Dakota.

Not only did he secure a $2BN+ loan guarantee for a former lobbying client of his, he also increased a Federal Agency budget to provide for his pals.

The loan guarantee from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would allow the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) to expand and improve a rail line that is used primarily to transport coal from Wyoming to Minnesota. In apparent anticipation of the loan, Sen. Thune was instrumental in increasing the FRA’s loan guarantee authority from $3.5 billion to $35 billion in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act. DM&E paid Thune $220,000 in 2003 and 2004 to lobby for the loan before his election to the Senate.

There is a slight problem:

According to BearingPoint (a strategic consulting firm), the loan would require an annual payment of $246 million on top of the $15 million from another loan. Even if the rail upgrade increases DM&E’s current annual revenue of $200 million, the deal presents a poor credit risk to taxpayers, who will be forced to foot the bill if the company defaults. A senior manager at BearingPoint stated, “This loan finances a project with many financial uncertainties, ultimately calling into question whether or not DM&E can repay the loan.”

Just for comparison: this is a $2.2BN loan guarantee.

Chrysler only got $1.5BN in 1980.

HT: Captain's Quarters

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Little Humor

Hey, Giuseppe!! Who's gonna tell them we only have 12 Playstations for sale?

---Stolen from Young Fogeys----

Bill Gates: Marxist? or Just a Bit Greedy?

Well, he's a "redistributist," anyway.

Bill Gates stated his theory of worldwide economic redistribution. It sounds like something Karl Marx would espouse.

``The United States has been spoiled by being a global leader for so long that there may be an adjustment,'' Gates told the audience of nearly 2,000, a mix of suit-and-tie executives and college students in hooded sweatshirts.

``We've got to get used to the fact that our relative share of everything -- our ability to exercise unilateral decisionmaking, military power, and economic power -- won't be as out of line with our 5 percent share of world population as it is today.''

P.J. O'Rourke, an American satirist, writer, and journalist warned of thiskind of utopian thinking: "The poor of the world cannot be made rich byredistribution of wealth. Poverty can't be eliminated by punishing peoplewho've escaped poverty, taking their money and giving it as a reward topeople who have failed to escape."

So what was the occasion for Mr. Gates' economics lecture? The "Innovation" Summit at Stanford U.

The entire summit was nothing but a transparent excuse to push for moreH-1Bs and to promote the Skil Bill. This is a clever bit of propaganda that doesn't stand up under scrutiny because Sergey Brin and Andy Grove didn't come to the U.S. on H-1B visas. Andy Grove came to the U.S. at the age of 20 as a refugee from the Hungarian revolution while Sergey Brin immigrated from Russia at the age of 6 with his family.

Brin and Grove are respectively a co-founder of Google and former CEO of Intel. But you've heard the line--that these guys would have been "shut out" of America were we to limit immigration.

The facts: Gates likes cheap labor. The "Skil Bill" provides cheap labor.


It's "For Many" at Mass

The official letter from Cd. Arinze was sent October 2006:

The Bishops’ Conferences of those countries where the formula “for all” or its equivalent is currently in use are therefore requested to undertake the necessary catechesis of the faithful on this matter in the next one or two years to prepare them for the introduction of a precise vernacular translation of the formula pro multis (e.g, “for many”, “per molti”, etc.) in the next translation of the Roman Missal that the Bishops and the Holy See will approve for use in their country

and the translation will be "for many."

Good stuff at the link to Dom, who has the letter.

Election Poetry

From a friend:

Elections do not always go our way. However, I have found that the sun still comes up the next morning & we are all still able to sit up & take nourishment.

Now I do not know which side of the political aisle you are on, but this little ditty sums up my feelings. Take it in the context with which I send it......Please!

"The election is over, the talking is done,
my party lost, your party won,
so let us be friends & let arguments pass
I'll hug my elephant, you kiss your ..."

God bless America

The soul of wit is brevity. And the poem's elegant, too.

Another Cost Center in WI: Corrections

Playground scores a couple of anti-Pubbie points here, but the thesis is worthwhile.

Combined, Census Bureau and Justice Department data, reveal that in fiscal years 2000-04, the Wisconsin state government spent $48,773 annually per inmate (adjusted for inflation).

No one doubts that prisons are expensive to operate, but it is not clear why this needed to be 40 percent above the national average and 44 percent higher than the state's per capita income. If Wisconsin had spent the same as the national average, the state would have saved $301 million annually. (Quoting a WSJ article by P. Trostel.)

For those of you who think that the "R" label is some sign of fiscal sanity--you're wrong (again):

Of course, part of the reason Republicans are unwilling to be tough on DOC is that they were largely responsible for corrections costs going through the roof in the '90s. The problem escalated quickly when King Tommy and his pals in the Legislature started seeing prisons as economic development tools for rural communities where no business in its right mind would ever locate. So we built in Boscobel and New Lisbon, and purchased a private facility in Stanley for far more than we ever should have paid for it.

Like the Stadium, another Gift from Tommy. The "law and order" Pubbies have handsomely rewarded prison guards and a horrifically over-stuffed DoC bureaucracy, just as they rewarded the Milwaukee Police Ass'n with ridiculous "pay 'em until they're in jail" laws.

We're Buying the Rope for OECD

Another fine example of Globaloney stupidity:

An international organization that proposes a global taxation system and is critical of the U.S. tax structure receives nearly one-fourth of its $400 million budget from the American taxpayer, a situation one Republican senator hopes to end.

"It's ridiculous that we would support such a group," Sen. Jim Inhofe said Friday of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based grouping of 30 of the world's most developed nations.

...the Oklahoma senator said the OECD "receives 25 percent of its budget from the U.S." and has used that money "to encourage and support higher taxes on the American taxpayer."

He's introducing legislation to stop funding these brie-and-tea bozos.

Surely our Democrat Congress will agree!

Don't Like School Closings? Start Your Own District

That's how they handled it Up North, hey... for a 100-student high school.

To the people of Gresham, the school in their small, northeastern Wisconsin community is more than just a place for learning. It is the common thread of their daily life.

So when talk on the Shawano-Gresham School Board turned once again to closing the village's high school program and busing the students to Shawano, residents organized an effort to stop it.

They accomplished that this month when the communities of Gresham, Red Spring, Herman and Richmond voted to secede and form the Gresham School District.

Sure, it'll cost a bit--but hey! the State of Wisconsin will pay more than 60% of the costs, so who cares?

Odor of Pandering in McCain Speech

John McCain seems to have a clear idea--but he's only a couple of steps from crazy (if that far.)

John McCain, a front-runner among GOP presidential contenders for said Sunday the U.S. must send an overwhelming number of troops to stabilize Iraq or face the possibility of more attacks in the region and on American soil.

"I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic. It will spread to the region. You will see Iran more emboldened. Eventually, you could see Iran pose a greater threat to the state of Israel,"

Gen. Abizaid sees it differently:

Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that believes troop levels should remain steady for now. He said it was possible to add 20,000 troops for a short time, but it would be unrealistic to raise troop levels as proposed by McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

In the meantime, Henry Kissinger also had some thoughts.

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

John McCain's prescription, which seems to be a "shoot until there's no shootin' from the other guys" strategy, is one way, of course. It's a bit more sophisticated than the postings seen on FreeRepublic after 9/11, demanding that the US military 'turn Iraq into a sheet of glass' with nukes.

It's also inane. John McCain is arguing backwards from a goal of Zero Muslim Extremists Worldwide--and that's not gonna happen. Of course, he's hiding behind the rhetoric of 'protecting our own cities' and 'protecting Israel' in order to make this seem rational--but painting this piggy doesn't make it pretty.

In other words, McCain wants us to believe that the US military can eradicate Muslim extremists. I don't think so. First off, they will never be "eradicated." Secondly, to the extent the extremists are 'controlled,' it will be by their Muslim neighbors.

Of course, if McCain really believed that radical Muslims would be causing trouble within the US, maybe he should have voted for the House Immigration Plan--you know, the one which makes it hard to get in here in the first place...

Another posturing ego--John McCain.