Saturday, June 30, 2007

My Next Car's Accessory


The ammo's likely going to cost a lot.

Click here.

Yes, it's a Gatling gun. 7.62's at about 4K rounds/minute.

Marquette U's Perennial Embarassment Spews Again

"Whopper" Dan Maguire, the Cancer of Marquette, issues orders to the US Bishops.

In a letter to the New York Times on Monday, Daniel C. Maguire, a professor of moral theology at Marquette University, stated that bishops should stop harassing Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion.

Maguire drew on St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas who both thought that to allow certain moral evils would prevent “greater evils.” He further cited Aquinas, who said that the “wise legislator” imitates God, who “tolerates certain evils lest greater evils ensue.”

Of course, he's not being exactly....ah.....truthful:

Maguire's theology, however, is condemned by the Church. The notion of promoting the "lesser of two evils" is condemned as the error of "proportionalism," while the attempt to draw such a position from the works of Augustine and Aquinas is condemned by orthodox academics as gravely erroneous

Abp. Dolan has already slapped Dan-o in the chops a couple of times. May be time to tar & feather this jackass and find a nearby empty boxcar-in-motion. Maybe one bound for, oh, say, the Arctic tundra.

What Is NOT Enforced: Sens. Kohl & Feingold Failures in Immigration Laws

This is still the law. It was passed 21 years ago.

Control of Illegal Immigration -

Part A: Employment -

Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to make it unlawful for a person or other entity to: (1) hire (including through subcontractors), recruit, or refer for a fee for U.S. employment any alien knowing that such person is unauthorized to work, or any person without verifying his or her work status; or (2) continue to employ an alien knowing of such person's unauthorized work status.

Makes verification compliance (including the use of State employment agency documentation) an affirmative defense to any hiring or referral violation.

Establishes an employment verification system. Requires: (1) the employer to attest, on a form developed by the Attorney General, that the employee's work status has been verified by examination of a passport, birth certificate, social security card, alien documentation papers, or other proof; (2) the worker to similarly attest that he or she is a U.S. citizen or national, or authorized alien; and (3) the employer to keep such records for three years in the case of referral or recruitment, or the later of three years or one year after employment termination in the case of hiring.

...Directs the Attorney General to establish complaint and investigation procedures which shall provide for: (1) individuals and entities to file written, signed complaints regarding potential hiring violations; (2) INS investigations of complaints with substantial probability of validity; (3) Department of Justice-initiated investigations; and (4) designation of a specific INS unit to prosecute such violations.

...Amends the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act to subject farm labor contractors to the requirements of this Act, beginning seven months after enactment

There's also a provision for establishing a telephone-verification of SSANs. We've upgraded to an existing Internet-verification system.

Note how carefully ALL employers utilize that system. Also note that enforcement of the provision, under Bush, Clinton and Bush has simply....sucked.

Now swallow all your coffee before reading this next laugher. Computers don't like coffee in the keyboard/screen/hard-drive.

Part B: Improvement of Enforcement and Services

- States that essential elements of the immigration control and reform program established by this Act are increased enforcement and administrative activities of the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and other appropriate Federal agencies

...Authorizes additional appropriations for wage and hour enforcement.

Revises the criminal penalties for the unlawful transportation of unauthorized aliens into the United States.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the immigration laws of the United States should be vigorously enforced, while taking care to protect the rights and safety of U.S. citizens and aliens.

Prohibits the adjustment of status to permanent resident for violators of (nonimmigrant) visa terms

Title II: Legalization

Prohibits the legalization of persons: (1) convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors in the United States;

Directs the Attorney General to adjust the status of temporary resident aliens to permanent resident if the alien:

...(4) either meets the minimum requirements for an understanding of English and a knowledge of American history and government, or demonstrates the satisfactory pursuit of a course of study in these subjects.

Makes legalized aliens (other than Cuban/Haitian entrants) ineligible for Federal financial assistance, Medicaid (with certain exceptions), or food stamps for five years following a grant of temporary resident status and for five years following a grant of permanent resident status (permits aid to the aged, blind, or disabled).

Title VII: Federal Responsibility for Deportable and Excludable Aliens Convicted of Crimes

- Provides for the expeditious deportation of aliens convicted of crimes.

Provides for the identification of Department of Defense facilities that could be made available to incarcerate deportable or excludable aliens.

So next time you hear the Whiner Boys, Kohl and Feinie, yapping about "it was our last chance..." or "national security," ask the Whiner Boys exactly what the Hell they have done about the Simpson-Mazzoli Act's specific requirements.

It will be a very short list of accomplishments, trust me.

Concept-Tip: LawDog

Obviously, We Deserve the Punishment

DarthDoyle speaks to the Dimowits:

"And at the end of these four years of working together, who knows, maybe we'll need four more."

By which time only trial attorneys, WEAC members, and State employees will remain in the State to pay for DarthDoyle's tax bill.

On the Wisconsin Right-to-Life Decision

As usual, Planet Moron has the penetrating analysis.

Here's a snitch of it, as the author reflects on the horrors about to be unleashed on the nation.

You, as a concerned citizen, can refuse to take part in the coming melee of opinion mongering by adhering to the spirit of the original regulations and in so doing raise your hand as Lady Liberty has done all these years and ask yourself the questions that once stirred a nation to cast off the yoke of oppression:

1) Is what I am saying the functional equivalent of express advocacy?

2) Will I be party to the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth?

3) Is the statutory standard I am applying impermissibly vague?

PLENTY more at the link!

And once more, for effect: Screw YOU, Sens. Feingold and McPain!!

"Racist" Supremes?

Reacting to the insinuations of the MSM (and the damn-near-overt racialism of Olberman), an attorney writes to NewsBusters.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Plessy v. Ferguson in which the Court made the regrettable decision to maintain segregated public facilities though its “separate but equal” doctrine. In 1954, the Supreme Court reversed its prior ruling in the famous case of Brown v. Board of Education, where the Court found that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” In the 53 years since Brown v. Board of Education, public school districts across the country have employed various policies in order to guarantee racial integration, which brings us to the Supreme Court case decided this week.

(Side note: You'll hear a lot of sanctimonious blather about stare decisis when the topic is Roe v. Wade--which talk generally supports retaining the Roe decision because, after all, it was A Decision. You will NOT hear so much about reversing Plessy. Draw your own conclusions.)

The public school districts in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle, Wash., employed elaborate integration policies which included the school district’s ability to assign students to schools solely upon the basis of race, when all the other policies failed to achieve the desired integration.

In other words, after all the students were assigned to schools, the school districts could shuffle a few white kids here, and a few “non-white” kids there, in order to achieve optimal integration.

...In the plainest terms possible, the Court found that the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education was that public schools can not make classifications based upon race, and the Louisville and Seattle policies (no matter how well-intentioned) were at their core classifications based solely upon race.

The bottom line: The Supreme Court’s decision was a pure and passionate defense of Brown v. Board of Education, not a rebuke

Whereas some decisions (like the curious application of the 14th Amendment which makes babies born to Illegals into US citizens without regard for whether the alien was "subject to" the US--) are full of legal shilly-shallying and wordplay, THIS decision is straightforward, down-the-pipe common sense.

HT: NewsBusters

Friday, June 29, 2007

Evven MORE Pork in the State Budget

P-Mac catches some interesting stuff via Mary Lazich.

A few million....

That doesn't even count the stuff found here, although they are from the same documents.

How to reduce taxes? SPEND LESS MONEY!!

On "Power Ballads" in Liturgy

The Paragraph Farmer has a grip on the history of the genre, and an understanding of its limits. And he has a good sense of humor, much eliminated by my editing. See the link for some good laughs.

If you were raised on radio and are of a certain age, then you probably remember the "power ballad." Much as I like the Beatles' "Hey Jude" and Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road," those songs are simply rock anthems that build to a crescendo. In my world, the power ballad was pioneered by Boston's "More Than a Feeling" in 1976 and the virtuoso-piano-overtaken-by-everything-else that Styx wove into "Come Sail Away" a year later. From those near-symphonic beginnings (for which we can thank Tom Scholz and Dennis DeYoung, respectively), the power ballad elbowed its way to prominence in the early Eighties.

...The problem with Christian Rock is it can now be found not just on the radio, but also in the "worship space."

...Catholic parishes were mercifully late to this development by comparison with Reform-minded Christian denominations. Some Protestants first embraced what my kids call "Jesus music" as an outreach tool untainted by the vaguely papist deference to hierarchy implied by the lyrics to such classic hymns as "Holy God We Praise Thy Name." Music directors who'd grown up listening to the Manhattan Transfer ask a telephone operator to "Get Me Jesus on the Line" may not have even been conscious of their own theological assumptions. They simply wanted to "reach people where they're at," and figured that grand old hymns had to go, if for no other reason than that they harkened back to the days of what singer/songwriter John Prine called "stained glass in every window, and hearing aids in every pew." Unfortunately, many Catholic parishes that were late to embrace the praise band phenomenon have been making up for lost time in this area.

(We should add here that the "four-hymn sandwich", a mainstay of Catholic worship since the 1970's, even in the relatively 'conservative-mode' churches, is inadequate response to the demands of VatII's document on the liturgy. But that's another story.)

...When arena rock arrived to push folk musicians back to Berkeley and Greenwich Village or coffee houses dialed into those mother ships, the praise band subculture saw an opening and sprinted for it with instruments in tow. Musicians who had previously played sweltering summer gigs under revival tents near Igloo-brand coolers filled with sweet tea decided that enclosed sanctuary space was a better place to gig, not least because it had air conditioning.

...In Catholic circles, praise band relocation off the grass and onto the carpet was aided and abetted by liturgists hell-bent on democratizing and de-clericalizing everything about the Mass "in the spirit of Vatican II," and never mind what the actual architects of Vatican II (such as a Polish prelate named Karol Wojtyla who later became Pope John Paul II) had to say. Some of those liturgists worked hand-in-glove with politically correct composers --sons of Salieri, every one of them -- like the irksome Marty Haugen.

[Here he introduces the critic, Esolen]

In brief, Esolen says that sentimentality, although valuable in its place, is neverthless destructive of genuine feeling. And there you have the problem put in yet another way: when power ballads intrude on the liturgy of heaven (which is what the Mass is), then what Esolen calls "the necessary hypocrisy of small talk" is wrongly raised to the status of a liturgical act.

We've seen this sort of stuff at a suburban Parish. It's not pretty.

HT: Fr. Z

Motivation from Knute Rockne

Stolen directly from Tom Roeser, who cannot tell a lie.

It brings to mind Knute Rockne who, as you know, was born in Norway a Protestant, was reared in Logan Square, attended Notre Dame, played football, taught chemistry there, became a football coach and converted to the Catholic faith. And as history records when he took over direction of the team, the then small college racked up impressive wins.

One of the most hotly fought contests was always between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist. “After several years, word reached the president of Notre Dame, Fr. Cavanaugh, that in firing up his team, Rockne was applying religious fervor to the game, telling his young players to defeat those Methodists for the honor and glory of the Catholic church.

“Fr. Cavanaugh was appalled at the lack of ecumenism. He called Rockne in and said that the next time Notre Dame plays Southern Methodist which would be in South Bend, Notre Dame would sponsor a joint ecumenical dinner for players of both teams on the night before the game. The priest ordered Rockne to deliver the keynote which would stress religious unity-and in the keynote this sentence would have to be incorporated: `God doesn’t care who wins the game between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist.’

“Rockne grudgingly agreed. When the schedule for Notre Dame to meet Southern Methodist came round, the two teams and their supporters met for dinner the night before the game in the main dining hall of Notre Dame. Fr. Cavanaugh introduced both coaches and then asked Coach Rockne to give the keynote.

“Rockne meandered a bit saying that the purpose of football is to build good sportsmanship, to use athletics to beat down animosity, to fight hard but also be gentlemen. Then he uttered the words Fr. Cavanaugh gave him: `After all, God doesn’t care who wins the game between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist.’

“There was a murmur of approval and a light scattering of applause.

Then Rockne added: `God doesn’t care who wins, but His Mother does!’

Interested in history and its effects on current events? Read Roeser daily.

Russell Kirk on Ideology--With Benedict XVI

Courtesy of Rod Dreher, a fascinating quotation on 'ideology' from Kirk:

Kirk contended that ideology is a type of religious dogmatism in a political context, and one completely inconsistent with a conservative outlook. It eliminates the nuances and shades of gray that exist in actual political or social life.

For the ideologue, humankind may be defined into two classes: the comrades of Progress, and the foes attached to reactionary interests,” who are not only incorrect but who must be destroyed.

The proponent of ideology “resorts to the anaesthetic of social utopianism, escaping the tragedy and grandeur of true human existence by giving his adherence to a perfect dream-world of the future. Reality [the ideologue] stretches or chops away to conform to [a] dream-pattern of human nature and society.” Because ideology is a replacement religion, when injected into the public sphere it makes politics, at least as Kirk defines it, impossible.

"Fairness doctrine", anyone? "Diversity, " anyone? "Global Warming"?

You can find a similar train of thought in our post on 'What's Wrong With the World.' Or you can look at our post centering on Ayn Rand--the "other side" of ideology.

And here's the same general idea restated by B-16 in his new book "Jesus of Nazareth":

Earthly kingdoms remain earthly human kingdoms, and anyone who claims to be able to establish the perfect world is the willing dupe of Satan and plays the world right into his hands." -- Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, 44.

Look, folks--if B-16, GKC, Whittaker Chambers, and Kirk agree on something, maybe it's worth remembering, eh?

What James Harris Could Mean

From CourageMan, a synopsis of a lesson given by Fr. Scalia (yah--his dad works in the Federal Court system.) It's what James said, more or less.

He says in his presentation that the title comes from one of the commonest things he tells men -- "grow up" or "be a man, not a boy," something he's said to me individually, with the caveat that "we are raised in a society that makes it difficult." That latter point is the focus of the bulk of his talk.

Father Scalia notes a crisis of manhood, citing the usual statistics -- the education-achievement gap, the overwhelming number of fatherless men in prison. He tells ToT that this is because boys have to be taught to become men (or in Camille Paglia's formulation, "a woman is; a man must become"), and have it done by other men. But our culture doesn't do that, instead keeping males as boys.

Biology rebels though, so males not socialized to be men will try to become through other means, which accounts for the popularity of gangs and the "conquest" culture. In the past, he notes, every culture had some rite of passage,...

Males want to sacrifice and be heroic, even in defeat -- it's what makes you a man. He cites examples from the Titanic to the Birkenhead, where men observed the code of honor -- "women and children first" -- even at the cost of their own lives. This is what men want and need, but the culture breeds it out of them. Even in defeat. The Spartans failed to keep the Persians from advancing through Thermopylae, but the 300 men stood in the face and did their duty in the face of overwhelming numbers. He also cited the Chosin Reservoir and Black Hawk Down battles. Father also cites how in boys' war games, everybody wanted to die the noble death, knowing that no greater love exists than to lay down one's life for others. "When boys play war games, they're usually not in the supply lines," Father jokes. But our culture is so phobic to this that even in the 1997 movie about the Titanic, the film-makers said they didn't show the "women and children first" nobility because "nobody would believe it."

There's more at the link. Good stuff.

How the Church Really Works

Of course, from GKChesterton:

WHEN Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward -- in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing -- the historic Christian Church -- was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.

...and a very good lesson in Paradox, might we add.

Dad29 BANNED by Wis Dept of Vets' Affairs

Damn! I made the 'x-rated' list.

Thanks! and a Hat Tip to Political Capital.

DA's Who Don't Prosecute

If you think that Mike McCan't ignored problems, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Kevin Fisher picks up an even more egregiously bozo DA.

[I]n Murphy, Texas, ...the local district attorney has dropped all charges against the men nabbed in a Dateline NBC sting, the first time in the history of the stings a prosecutor hasn’t taken glee in putting away the pedophiles.

His rationale?

He doesn’t like the fact that “outsiders,” as he calls the TV crews, were involved. Somehow, he feels that taints the operation.

Certainly, the Predator Population in Murphy can sleep better--with or without the local children.

Even MORE MSM "News" From The Usual Suspects

You've heard about the '20 headless bodies in Iraq' story circulated by the AP?

Well, maybe it's true. Maybe not.

Another version of the Associated Press story provided a bit more detail about the two anonymous Iraqi police officers who were the sources for the story.

One of the police officers is based in Baghdad and the other in Kut, 100 miles southeast of the capital. The Baghdad officer said he learned of the discovery because Iraq's Interior Ministry, where he works, sent troops to the village to investigate. The Kut officer said he first heard the report through residents of the Salman Pak area.

...the Associated Press didn't rely on the local police. Instead, they blatantly presented hearsay as the truth, and as a result, ran a story about a brutal massacre that currently appears to have never taken place

From Multi-National Forces HQ in Iraq:

We've been working on this query here at the Multi-National Forces Iraq Press Desk throughout the day and have been unable to confirm any of these reports of the 20 bodies at Salman Pak. After communicating with the Iraqi police and searching the area with some of our helicopters, we've been unable to find any evidence that proves the initial "report".
You were also very observant and correct to notice that these initial statements were from areas nowhere near the claimed location of the discovery which also leads us to question the validity of this report.

Until we turn up any clear evidence, we've concluded that this is an unsubstantiated claim but we'll let you know if we hear anything otherwise in the next 24 hours.

HT: Confederate Yankee

Dave Obey's Right (!!!)

This may not happen often--but I agree with Dave Obey.

Grandstanding is a vice practiced by both parties. In this case, it's led by the Pubbies.

U.S. Congressman Mike Pence issued the following statement today after the Pence-Hensarling-Flake Amendment passed the House of Representatives. The amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations bill prohibits funds from being used by the Federal Communications Commission to impose the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters. The amendment passed 309-115.

True, as far as it goes.

But it's the NEXT Administration which will appoint members to the FCC--or whose Attorney General will attempt to change the rules to Impose Fairness.

Not this Administration.

And Dave Obey gets it:

David Obey responds: “This issue is much ado about nothing.”

For the time being, Obey is right.

HT: Malkin

Like Aaaaahhnold? You'll LOVE Ruuudeeee!!!

At least that's what Rudy told a bunch of people in Californicate.

Mayor Giuliani is telling California voters wondering what kind of president he would make that they need to look no further than their popular Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"I governed very much like your governor does," Mr. Giuliani said as he described his tenure as mayor of New York from 1994 to 2001.

"I got results and I want people to look at that and say that's the way I would govern as president of the United States. I would get results," he said.

In a deft bit of political footwork, Mr. Giuliani managed to declare himself simpatico with the governor without actually specifying any of the issues where the two men hold similar views. Some of those stances, such as support for abortion rights and gay rights, antagonize large swaths of the Republican base in the Golden State and across the country.

HT: Captain's Quarters

Charlie Sykes' Problems

From BlameBush, an essay on the Charlie Sykes blindness-problem.

The problem with conservatives is that they exist in a world of order, structure, and moral absolutes. Such primitive ideals preclude their tiny brains from comprehending the intellectual superiority of Liberal Talk Radio: a haven for moral relativism, logical fallacies, and hysterical hissy fits fueled by a thinly-veiled narcissistic loathing of the American people. As a result, the balance of political ideals among the dimwitted sheeple herd has lurched perilously to the right, and society is dangerously close to a return of the era of lynchings, cross burnings, and tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent of Americans.

That's hardly the end of it--

...So while a Woman's Right to Choose is sacred, the right to choose what one listens to on the radio is far too important to be trusted to the American sheeple. To preserve our democracy and insure that Liberal ideas never fall victim to the whims of those that they are inflicted upon, we must reinstate the Doctrine of Fairness our Founding Fathers tacked onto the 1st Amendment.

Fear Not LeftyWackos!! The Shining Armor-clad horsemen are on their way!!

But the tide is turning. Despite being constantly bombarded by right-wing lies, the imbecilic idgets overwhelmingly returned Congress to its rightful owners last year, and the White House is Hillary's for the taking. We approach the dawn of a A New Age of Fairness, my friends, where poisonous conservative opinions in the media are tempered with an equal portion of tasty liberal goodness.

For every minute Chickenhawk Hannity spends blubbering about how we should all "support the Troops", he will be required by the Rules of Fairness to spend an equal amount of time calling them babykillers and rapists....

...and by gum, we have even MORE 'fairness' in mind:

The Fairness Doctrine would not be restricted to the realm of radio and TV media, either. For instance, high school commencement addresses that extolt the benefits of working hard and becoming financially independent must also encourage students to do lots of drugs, have lots of meaningless sex, and get Liberal Arts degrees. It's only fair.

To some, a Fairness Doctrine may seem like a vast government entity regulating the content of political speech is an infringement on our most basic civil liberties, but "Freedom of Speech" can only exist as long as the selfish pinhead masses are forced to listen to what progressives believe they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear.

I, of course, think that "freedom of speech" will continue to exist so long as we have sufficient ammo and long-arms.

Proudly mouth-breathing!

Thomas v. Breyer...The Smackdown

Cadged from AnkleBiting Pundits. This is good stuff:

Regardless of what JUSTICE BREYER’s goals might be, this Court does not sit to “create a society that includes all Americans or to solve the problems of troubled inner city schooling”. Ibid. We are not social engineers. The United States Constitution dictates that local governments cannot make decisions on the basis of race. Consequently, regardless of the perceived negative effects of racial imbalance, I will not defer to legislative majorities where the Constitution forbids it.

It should escape no one that behind JUSTICE BREYER’s veil of judicial modesty hides an inflated role for the Federal Judiciary. The dissent’s approach confers on judges the power to say what sorts of discrimination are benign and which are invidious. Having made that determination (based on no objective measure that I can detect), a judge following the dissents approach will set the level of scrutiny to achieve the desired result. Only then must the judge defer to a democratic majority.

- JUSTICE BREYER’s good intentions, which I do not doubt, have the shelf life of JUSTICE BREYER’s tenure. Unlike the dissenters, I am unwilling to delegate my constitutional responsibilities to local school boards and allow them to experiment with race-based decisionmaking on the assumption that their intentions will forever remain as good as JUSTICE BREYER”s. See The Federalist No. 51, p. 349 (J. Cooke ed. 1961) (”If men were angels, no government would be necessary”). Indeed, the racial theories endorsed by the Seattle school board should cause the dissenters to question whether local school boards should be entrusted with the power to make decisions on the basis of race.

This is overdue, to say the least.

MSM "Cut/Paste" on Immigration, Koh. Feinie "Why Not?"

The usual crap from the MSM, but first, the facts:

Thirty-three Democrats, including Wisconsin Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl; 12 Republicans; and independent Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman voted [for the bill.]

...15 Democrats and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent [voted against the bill.]

So one-third of the Democrats who voted voted against the bill.

This is what the MSM calls "a Republican split."

As to The "Nobody's Senator Twins,":

Feingold demonstrates that his political future has little to do with principles:

He said that despite his serious concerns about the bill, it "should go forward...

So 'serious concerns' shouldn't get in the way of legislation. Right. 'Serious 1st Amendment concerns' didn't get in the way of the un-Constitutional Campaign Finance Bill, either.

As to Herbie?

He said "the bill certainly was not perfect" but "was our best opportunity...

Oy, veh, Herbie!! You can't even come up with a line that's better than Feinie's?

So the Democrats split, and the bill went down.

It might have been a lousy bill, but hey!! this is Congress, and we pass lousy bills all day long.

Don't blame US for these lousy bills, hey! We just do as we're told.

This is what passes for Senatorial wisdom from Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Peter Peterson's Felicitous Timing; China is HIS Friend

While we're quoting Tonelson, he brings to our attention a most curious co-incidence.

Or maybe it's not co-incidence.

No individual today launders more ideas than [Peter] Peterson, who is Chairman of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the recently renamed Peterson Institute for International Economics, and who not-so-incidentally runs the Blackstone group – Cerberus’s biggest peer in the private equity world.

Both organizations employ the typical think tank tactic of using an impressive-looking array of experts to churn out libraries worth of materials lauding the outsourcing-focused U.S. trade policies that fatten the profits of their Fortune 500 and other plutocratic benefactors. Their paeans to a borderless world, where megacorp[oration]s are free to organize a race to the bottom for domestic businesses and workers everywhere, no doubt has made life easier and more lucrative in countless ways for the Blackstones of the world. But the direct contributions of these institutes to the company’s bottom line were surely limited.

No more.

As resentment over China’s predatory trade practices and alarm over China’s growing miliary power reached new heights in Washington this spring, both organizations headed by Peterson released major reports aimed at reassuring policymakers and the media that U.S.-China relations were in fact proceeding just swimmingly, and urging elected politicians to resist public calls to rock the boat – especially on trade. And almost immediately after their release, Beijing made an investment in Blackstone big enough to make even a multimillionaire like Peterson much, much wealthier.

Just co-incidence.

In any event, the China policy status quo endorsements sponsored by Peterson’s institutes seem to have reaped a stunning reward for their boss. Scant days before the Strategic Economic Dialogue began, Blackstone and China announced that Beijing would pay $3 billion to acquire a 9.7 percent non-voting stake in the private equity group – just under the threshold that would trigger regulatory scrutiny in Washington. Blackstone sold the shares to China at a 4.5 percent discount to the planned price of Blackstone’s upcoming initial public offering, and China’s investment enabled the firm to boost the IPO float by 75 percent, to 7 million shares. In return, China agreed to hold the shares for four years, and not to sign similar deals with any of Blackstone’s private equity competitors for the same period unless Blackstone approves

The China deal will enable Peterson himself to gain $1.88 billion from the IPO while still holding a stake in Blackstone worth more than $1.3 billion.

And somehow the intrepid reporters of the Wall Street Journal missed it.

...the indifference to obvious signs of a wildly lucrative Peterson-China connection is more disturbing. It’s undoubtedly the latest sign that idea laundering, far from being exceptional in American politics and policy, is steadily becoming the norm.

MUCH more at the link--including John Snow's Cerberus/Chrysler/Japan situation.

"Club for Growth" Reads History Backwards

Tonelson observes that Club for Growth has difficulty with 20th-Century history:

But what really had us scratching our heads was the Club’s observation that, “The current protectionist rhetoric is eerily reminiscent of that which led to the Smoot-Hawley Act. That legislation triggered the stock market collapse of 1929, devastated the U.S. economy, and exacerbated the Great Depression.”

The problem is that Smoot-Hawley was enacted in June, 1930 – eight months after the Black Tuesday stock market crash of October 29, 1929. Blaming the crash on the bill is like saying the discovery of America prompted Columbus to set sail, or that our alarm clocks rang this morning because we woke up.

Club for Growth is a standard-fare "Globaloney" bunch, which occasioned Tonelson's observation.

In a June 8 “Key Vote Alert,” the Club announced that it would subtract “heavily weighted” points on its annual Congressional scorecard for “the sponsorship, or co-sponsorship of all bills introduced in the House and Senate that impose, or threaten to impose, protectionist policies towards China.” The Alert specified that the House’s Ryan-Hunter currency manipulation bill and its Senate counterpart, Stabenow-Bunning-Bayh, along with the Davis-English bill that would enable anti-subsidy tariffs to be levied against non-market economies like China’s, would be included.

This is all standard fare for the globalization cheerleaders, many of whom seem to believe that free market practices will be adopted by serial protectionists like China if Americans merely wish for it hard enough.

The Club's members obviously haven't wished hard enough. Maybe a few doses of gin with their wishes will help.

An Example of the Press' Clueless Writing on Liturgical Music

Noted by New Liturgical Movement, Man With a Black Hat, and others as simply obnoxious, here's the Diocesan newspaper (Arlington, VA) allowing pure drivel.

The blessings of Church music ministry lie in its differences.

For the same Sunday liturgy celebrating the feast of St. John the Baptist last weekend, parishes in three different sections of the Arlington Diocese sang three completely different entrance hymns: in Purcellville, the contemporary classic “Here I Am Lord;” in Fairfax, the solid hymn “All You Saints Still Striving;” and in Arlington, the non-traditional “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” straight out of the 1973 musical “Godspell.”

No choice was more “correct” than the other; rather, each strove in its own way to fulfill the goal of music ministry, which is to lead the congregation to God, according to Diocesan Music Coordinator Rick Gibala. [He's running for Confused Bureaucrat of the Decade, and might win. The manifestation of Beauty in the art of liturgical music is what 'leads one to God.' Other 'manifestations' most likely won't.]

During Mass, church choirs are called “to help the assembly in their sung prayer,” Gibala said. Coupled together, the text and tune help accomplish that goal, while the music serves as the “handmaid to the liturgy,” taking no focus from the eucharistic table. [Actually, the phrase in the authoritative document is "[music] an integral part of the Liturgy," which isn't the same as "handmaid." And while we're at it, that's an ALTAR, not a "table."]

Whether feet are pumping organ pedals or thumb and finger are firmly grasping guitar picks, most music ministers agree that their task is to enhance the liturgy and to involve the congregation in song. “Good celebrations foster and nourish faith,” says the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy’s statement on Music in Catholic Worship, a mission statement of sorts for Catholic music ministers. [Wrong. Music for worship should "glorify God, edify the faithful, and raise the minds and hearts of the Faithful to God.] “Styles of music, choices of instruments, forms of celebration — all converge in a single purpose: that men and women of faith may proclaim and share that faith in prayer and Christ may grow among us all.” [N.B.--that "statement", Music in Catholic Worship, has no actual authority, and was written largely by a well-known Rebel.]

Music in the liturgy offers a time for escape, release and prayer, said Sylvia Mulherin, director of music at St. Leo the Great Parish in Fairfax. ["Escape"? "Release"? Ah--it's the Sociology of Music we deal with, right? Hint: liquor is quicker!!]

“Our services without music would not be the same,” she said. Notes and lyrics excite emotion and enable participants to “express things in music that you can’t in any other way.” [True. But as Plato and Aristotle warned, there are 'expressions' which are good--and those which are NOT good. The educated musician knows the difference.]

Music also leads choirs and the congregation more deeply into prayer, said J. Michael McMahon, president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and part-time director of music at St. Agnes Parish in Arlington. “We’re not only focusing on the notes but the significance of the text that we’re singing,” he said. [Prioritization: the text happens to be primary...]

McMahon, who previously served as director of music at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Alexandria and St. Mark Parish in Vienna, said he first and foremost considered the “participation of the people” — enabling and encouraging them to sing by choosing familiar songs and Mass settings. This familiarity may be up in the air when the Vatican releases a new English translation of the Missale Romanum, currently in committee in Rome. [How about considering that the 'first and foremost' part of your job is FORMATION of the people in the True, Good, and Beautiful, J. Michael?]

Until then, Catholics remained challenged by the Second Vatican Council to participate fully in sung prayer, said Gibala. “A lot of people come to church and they don’t want to sing,” Gibala said. “But the Faith is to participate fully in sung prayer.” [They were only "challenged" by Vat 2 if they had NOT READ any of Pius X's documents on liturgy--or Pius XII's--or dozens of others which predated VatII. This is the 'hermeneutic of disruption' in play.]

This doesn’t exclude traditional chants or polyphony, which date back to the Middle Ages. [Halfway through this article, they mention Chant--which in the Council's document is required to be given pride of place, and is the very model of good liturgical music. And then the implication is that 'Chant dates to the Middle Ages.' Wrong. Chant is derived from Temple-worship--it's at least partly pre-Christian. Good of them to mention it, anyway.]

“In the Catholic Church we do have to preserve our tradition,” Gibala said. “The organ and the music of our tradition cannot be ignored.”

“There is a need to use all the music that’s part of our tradition,” agreed Mulherin, whose adult choir at St. Leo the Great does just that. “We have 2,000 years of music that had a meaning at some time or another.” [Actually, a great deal of that music has meaning at ALL times. That's what makes it 'good stuff,' as opposed to...oh, the Barbra Streisand stuff, the Mr. Rogers stuff, the Chet Atkins stuff, the bar-tunes vamping know, 'of the world' stuff.]

At the Fairfax parish, as in many parishes, different groups provide different styles of music for different Masses. All the groups at St. Leo the Great, however, “know at least a certain common repertoire,” Mulherin said. “You can’t just center on one type because then you eliminate all types of styles and traditions that are valuable.” [Or you could do what the Council recommended--see above.]

According to David Mathers, director of sacred music at St. Mary Church in Fredericksburg, and formerly at All Saints in Manassas, all music ministry should work toward “building up the worship and the liturgy of the Church. “The liturgical documents of the Church are very insistent that the people participate in the Mass,” he said. “Church as liturgy is essentially a corporate action. It’s not a group of individuals praying that just happen to be in the same place at the same time. It’s a body — the body of Christ.”

Monica Perz-Waddington, director of music at the 11:15 a.m. Sunday Mass at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church and the 6 p.m. Sunday liturgy at St. Charles Church, both in Arlington, said that she tries to foster participation and prayer within the gathered body of Christ by “making the music beautiful and the prayer irresistible.” [Vapidity Award, 2007.]

To do this, she incorporates all different styles of music, whether it’s a song from a 1970s musical, a traditional Creole tune or a re-working of “Amazing Grace.” [Which musical? Cats? Hair? AAaaaaaarerrrrrrrgggghhhhh! By the way, what the Hell does "traditional Creole" have to do with the worship of God?]

“Different things touch different people, so if there’s a variety in the song, then I think there’s a greater probability that you’re going to touch somebody,” Perz-Waddington said. “I like to think that bringing in songs from the other cultures kind of makes us more Catholic and universal.” [Whereas the Church has always thought that evangelization is the ideal, Ms. P-W likes 'reverse evangelization'--improving the Church by importing Broadway, or something.]

With 43 years of music ministry tucked under his belt, Tom Schafer, director of music at St. Bernadette Church in Springfield for the past 15 years, said it’s not the end of the world if everyone in the congregation doesn’t sing along during Mass.

“The real question is: how do we improve their prayer?” he said. “It’s important that they pray.”

According to Schafer, that takes team focus among the celebrant and the liturgical participants to make a worthwhile liturgical celebration where the congregation feels at one with Christ.

“I believe when people arrive in the doors of the church, they should be able to feel the presence of God,” he said. Music is one way to get there — a “form of prayer that goes directly to the heart.” [I wish he had mentioned the 'mind' as well as the 'heart.' Sorta completes the human being, you know...]

All styles of this melodic form of prayer are finding a “happy home” in liturgies, the Committee on the Liturgy wrote. “To chant and polyphony we have effectively added the chorale hymn, restored responsorial singing to some extent, and employed many styles of contemporary composition,” the statement on music says. “Music in folk idiom is finding acceptance in eucharistic celebrations. We must judge value within each style.” [Uh huh. Nothing like a little Woody Guthrie to accompany the Sacrifice for All Time.]

This is especially true in Arlington’s diverse and polyglot-rich diocese.“Music should unite, not divide,” Gibala said. “This is not about the music. It’s about praising God. There’s room for all of it in our Church.”

Note to Abp. Dolan. There are a lot of folks who do not need consideration for Milwaukee's Liturgical Music offices. See all of the above.

I do not think it is a co-incidence that this article was printed during the Church Music Ass'n of America's recent colloquium held in DC--nor that it anticipates the issuance of the Motu Proprio. The Bishop of Arlington knows what he is doing.

Kohl & Feingold: STILL Losers


Predictably, they voted wrong on the latest Shamnesty Bill.

We're up to TWO "Nobody's Senators."

Resisting the Motu Proprio, II

A bit more resistance is noted from the SOV2 parish.

Let's hope that this is not the "model" adopted by ....ah....too many.


The link has more...

New Bishop of Superior, WI

The Catholics Up Nort', hey, they're part of the Milwaukee eparchy (or whateveryoucallit)

Bishop Fliss [retiring] will be 77 in October. New Bishop-to-be Peter Christensen is a priest in diocese of St. Paul - who as rector, was very involved in the growth of St. John Vianney Seminary there.

Amy also provided a link to a brief bio of Fr. Christensen. Here's the content: (edited)

...Father Christensen was born in 1952, grew up in Southern California, then moved to the Twin Cities in 1975. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from the University of Saint Thomas, he worked as a commercial artist. Father Christensen was ordained in 1985 from the Saint Paul Seminary and served as Associate Pastor at Saint Olaf's in downtown Minneapolis until 1989, when he was assigned as a spiritual director at Saint John Vianney Seminary. In 1992, Archbishop Roach appointed him Seminary Rector. As Rector, Father Christensen took a moribund Seminary and brought its enrollment from 30 or so seminarians to its current enrollment of more than 100, making it the largest college Seminary in the United States. He revamped the formation program, instituted Eucharistic Adoration, built up a $3 million endowment, and beautified the Seminary Chapel.

And that's the report from the Northern Flank! Wonder if Fr. C. knows he'll have to speak Yupper soon?

What's Wrong With the World, Today?

As neatly summarized as it can be, in the mind of Benedict XVI, from Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex:

The three issues are some of the primary concerns that we address here at C-L-S . . . aren’t we smart. These three issues revolve around the reduction of the meaning of the human person to solely the animal aspect of human nature, the reduction of rationality to empirical knowledge, and the solution that Christianity can offer to these mistaken views.

Not by coincidence, GKChesterton predicted it.

...seem to suggest a phenomenon that G.K. Chesterton characterized as a symptom of the loss of authentic religion. Namely, when physical health becomes an obsession. In fact, the way that this manifests itself is the same phenomenon as that which underlies scientism as well.

Which, natually, leads to the GlobalWarming fever, and (by the way) to a "health-care" crisis...

The religion of secular humanism, a close cousin of scientism, also flourishes with the faulty thinking rampant in this “crisis of modernity.”

The result?

The irony is that modernity prides itself on reason and dialogue. However, the protectors of the realm’s dogmatic teachings seem to intuitively recognize that they do not have the intellectual tools to engage in a dialogue and so suppression of opposing ideas becomes the only alternative. For most in this unholy magisterium, it would seem that intellectual debate is not welcomed and perhaps not even possible.

Gee--does that ring a bell--like, for example, the "fairness" crusade?

I might quibble that the "post-modernists" have simply decided not to engage the debate suggested by CLS; rather, they have decided that there is no 'truth' except for that which they affirm, personally.

But that IS a consequence of the 'modernist' thought, too.

A Letter About the Motu Proprio

A priest in Ohio has written the following letter in anticipation of the Motu Proprio's promulgation (now apparently scheduled for July 7th.)

It's a model letter; I've only excerpted it here.

...It appears, from all reports, that he's making it much easier for priests, and the lay faithful, to have Mass according to the old rite -- i.e., the form of the Mass as it existed in 1962. (After that, there were changes that preceded the more substantive changes in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.) Many reports say that a minimum number will have to request it, something like 30, but otherwise exactly how this will work I don't know. We have to wait and see.

What he is almost certainly not doing is directly affecting the celebration of the current, normative rite of the Mass and sacraments.

Why is he doing this?

1. Aiding reconciliation with those "traditionalist" Catholics who are seriously disaffected with the Church over the implementation of Vatican II.

2. Reconciliation with the Orthodox. ...One of the key issues is the liturgy. As important as it is for Catholics, the liturgy is vastly moreso for the Orthodox, who see it as the main bearer of tradition -- a point Catholics would probably agree with, except we fail to emphasize the point.

So the Orthodox were very troubled by the way we Catholics seemed to treat our liturgy in the wake of the Council.

3. The right understanding of the Catholic liturgy per se.

The pope has said many times that we've interpreted the liturgy, and the Council itself, the wrong way -- from a stance of "discontinuity" or "rupture," versus one of continuity. I.e., why did the liturgy change so much? Ought it to have? Did the Council really call for that? Is this a good thing?

The pope (among many others) believes not; so he is aiming for a reconciliation, as it were, between the current rite and the old rite themselves.

A nice recap, although much more fully expressed (and nuanced) in the original.

Now for the practical effects on HIS parishes (he serves two, as Pastor.)

It will mean that it will be far easier to request the celebration of the old rite of the Mass, and perhaps other sacraments. We'll find out soon just what the mechanism is for that; and then we'll find out just what the Archbishop has to say. At some point in the near future, I'll know just what it means for me, as a priest, who may be approached with just such a request.

As your pastor, one of my basic approaches is to say that if you have a legitimate option provided by the Church, then I feel obliged to do what I can to fulfill it.

...I have no idea how to celebrate the old Mass, so long before I could ever grant such a request, I would have to learn how to do it, and I have no idea how quickly I could master it.

But again, if people ask for it, and the pope says they are entitled to it, I will find a way to provide for that.

Again, the issues at stake are both big-picture, and also down-to-earth practical. The big picture, what the pope is thinking about, is the future of the Catholic Faith, keeping our tradition alive (what are we without it?), rooted in our liturgy. He is looking ahead many decades when he hopes, as do I, that our liturgy is no longer a battleground.

The down-to-earth, present-day issues are simply, how will your pastor, your priests and your parish respond to the legitimate requests and needs expressed by parishioners? I don't know because I don't know what folks will ask for, how many, and so forth. All I can tell you is I will do my best, and all of us should try to be patient and cooperative and flexible.

Perhaps the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's priests will react the same way.

NWA: The "Wounded Duck" Reappears as the Logo

The Journal-Sentinel provides a couple of chapters--and here's another from a faithful blog-reader (1 of 4).

Let me tell you how my day went as I sit in a hotel room on a night I should be home with my wife, 3-year old son, and 1-year old son BECAUSE THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A DAY TRIP.

Flight this morning from Madison to Detroit that was booked for 10:30 a.m. was cancelled (no reason given). Rescheduled for 6:00 a.m. departure. Waste of 4.5 hours.

Flight back to Madison was scheduled to depart Detroit around 5:00 p.m. I show up at the airport and the flight was cancelled. So I was booked on the 7:30 pm flight. Some agents were claiming weather but weirdly it was nice in Detroit and I have been told numerous times on previous flights we are "flying around a storm." So the 7:30 p.m. flight was delayed to 8:00 p.m. due to weather (perfectly acceptable, lightning present).

Weather clears, we were informed the flight crew was on the way from the other side of the airport "then we can start boarding". 30 minutes later, the gate agent says the flight crew arrived. 10 minutes after that they say the flight crew has reached their "time limit" and they were looking for a new flight crew.

Pilot gets on the speaker and explains time limit of 14 hours, which was nice but no one cared, just wanted to get home.

Another 30 minutes later, the gate agent says "we have good news and bad news, the good news is that they are NOT cancelling the flight, the bad news is that the flight will leave tomorrow at 7:30 a.m."

Great delivery, I am sure everyone felt that was good news. (/sarcasm)

NWA offers a hotel room, "just go to Gate 41". Oh really...gate 41 has a line 2 miles long. I would still be standing there if I would have waited.

So I sit at the Rodeway with a picture of my family. I should be giving my sons a kiss goodnight but somebody on your end really screwed up....big time. Try flying on your own airline once. So adding up the 4.5 wasted hours this morning then taking into account weather delays until 8:00 p.m. with my next flight at 7:30 a.m. equates to 16 hours of wasted time at $100 per hour. I will be invoicing you $1,600 for wasted time. Please issue a purchase order for this amount.

Tell you what, I deal with customers everyday as a sales & marketing executive...if I would treat our customers the way you treat yours, I would be out of business (maybe where you are headed). Forward this to your CEO, I'll take over as CMO, $800,000 salary with a minimum bonus potential of $2MM annually, 3-years guaranteed, and I'll help turn this ship around.

Your customer service needs a revolution.

Only 16 hours? Whassamatta you, complaining??

The WSJ's Agenda

For whatever reason, (or maybe it is irrational) the Wall Street Journal has been opposed to 'borders' for years, as Levin points out here. That position regularly shows, more or less, on its editorial pages.

As a consequence of its "no borders" position, the WSJ is doing its level best to scare Republican Senators (and Representatives) with the Apocalypse: "No more election wins for YOU, Republicans, unless you vote for the Amnesty Bill!!!"

In other words, the Journal would have the Republicans forgo the national interest for race-politics.

They endorse the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton methodology. No small irony there, folks.

A local radio pundit spent an hour trying to make the WSJ's position rational. He failed, of course. There's no way to do so.

Levin assesses their position as follows:

Today’s Journal writers aren’t as honest as their predecessors. They deny this bill provides for amnesty. In the past, they would have proudly proclaimed it. Today’s Journal writers take refuge in the anonymity of the editorial page as they assassinate the character of those with whom they disagree. Apparently, those who insist on enforcing the law are racists. Those who insist that the government fulfill its obligation to secure the border and punish businesses that hire illegal aliens are anti-Hispanic.

Moreover, the Journal writers are beset with delusion. They pretend that those opposing the comprehensive amnesty bill are a vocal minority within the Republican party. Well, most reputable polls show that Americans, regardless of party, overwhelmingly oppose amnesty and insist on border security. They don’t favor open borders, as the Journal editorial page does.

The Journal writers are prodding Republicans to play ethnic politics. They argue that if the Republicans are viewed as anti-Hispanic, they will lose elections. Of course, the Journal writers are perpetuating that smear by assigning racist motives to opponents of the bill.

But Republicans do best when they run on principle and act on principle. Unlike the Journal writers, I happen to believe that Hispanic Americans are motivated by the same principles as other Americans, including — liberty, security, the rule of law, capitalism, and faith.

The Journal assigns recent losses in Hispanic support for the Republican party to opposition by the “vocal minority” within the party to amnesty. Where’s the evidence for this? For all we know, a majority in the Hispanic community is opposed to the war, profligate spending, or any of a dozen other issues. In the last election, support for the Republican party declined across the ethnic spectrum, including among whites.

The WSJ's editorials are often rational and persuasive. But on this topic, as well as on "Free Trade" (a myth, as things stand now) they are utterly devoid of foundation in reason and reality.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Motu Proprio--On July 7th

Via Gerald,

My Austrian friends just emailed me. Welt (Klaus Badde) report (my translation:) that the motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. The bishops had been invited to Rome for that purpose.

At the end of the meeting, in which the motu proprio was introduced together with a letter of explanation by Pope Benedict XVI., Pope Benedict met with the bishops. The document is about three pages long, the accompanying letter about four. From Germany, Cardinal Lehmann (the head of the German bishops conference) had been invited. The circumstances of the procedure make clear that the Pope was very interested to personally inform the bishops, in collegial manner, of the content rather than have them learn about it from the media.

The publication of both documents will take place on July 7th. It emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite which will consist of an ordinary and an extraordinary form which are supposed to inspire each other. The ordinary/regular form will continue to be the new rite of 1969. The extraordinary form will be the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. of 1962.

Wonder which US Bishop was present....

REAL Money: Building Contracts for the State/CORRECTED

Owen noticed the following "earmark" in the Wisconsin budget:

Building Program – UW System Residence Halls

Restore six UW System residence hall projects to the 2007-09 building program that were deleted from the Building Commission’s recommendations under the Joint Finance Committee version of the budget. Provide $205,614,000 of program revenue supported bonding for these projects, which are shown in the following table.

o Parkside -Suite Style Residence Hall $17,740,000 PR Bonding

(The Parkside building is only one of several.)

You don't have to look too far to find one of the 'Interested Parties' in the game here. This record is for donations in the 2006 campaign cycle:


Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $3,000.00
Gasper, Greg $250.00
Green, Mark $10,000.00
Hundertmark, Jean $500.00
Kramer, Bill $250.00
Leibham, Joseph $500.00
Leschke, Julie Pung $250.00
McReynolds, William L $600.00
Murtha, John $250.00
Ott, Jim $250.00
Petersen, Kevin David $250.00
Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $3,000.00
Roth, Roger J Jr $250.00
Stepp, Cathy $100.00
Tauchen, Gary $250.00
Van Hollen, JB $1,000.00
Zipperer, Rich $250.00

Natch, this is only one of the Interested Parties. Here's another:

Associated General Contractors of WI (AGCWI)

Albers, Sheryl $250.00
Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $1,000.00
Doyle, Jim $500.00
Gasper, Greg $250.00

Green, Mark $1,000.00
Hundertmark, Jean $100.00
Kreibich, Robin $250.00
Leschke, Julie Pung $250.00
Maxwell, Mike $100.00
Murtha, John $250.00
Nygren, John $250.00
Reigel, Jim $250.00
Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $2,000.00

Reynolds, Tom $250.00
Van Hollen, JB $750.00
Wieckert, Steve $250.00

You can also look up the donations made by the Building Trades Council, the Carpenters, the IBEW, the Plumbers, general-contractor owners (by their names,) and the contractor-trade groups for the various specific disciplines.

Note, too, that this Earmark was inserted AFTER the Joint Finance Committee deleted it from DarthDoyle's original budget.

Strini's Obit for WFMR; Is Radio "Engaging"?

The Journal's music critic, somebody named Strini, weighs in on the death of WFMR's format.

Of course, "weighs in" implies that Strini has weighty comments.

Don't be misled.

They're not.

I wonder how many among that 4,900 listened attentively. I can't imagine a significant number of them settling in for an evening of intense engagement with Mahler via radio. The only place I regularly heard WFMR Classical was at the barbershop I've patronized for 16 years. Did the shearers and the sheared ponder the fine points of sonata form, as the sounds of Stamitz and Mendelssohn mingled with the buzz and snip of trimming? I think not. The music was aural wallpaper in that setting, and I suspect that was WFMR's main role for most listeners.

Interesting that on the one hand, WFMR's offerings are "aural wallpaper" and on the other hand, Rush Limbaugh (and Sykes, Belling, etc.) are "running the country" from the radio. (Although Strini does not make that least not in print.)


More to the point: very few people leave an MSO concert conversing about the 'fine points of sonata form' they encountered in Uihlein Hall. An encounter with Beauty may lead to analysis, but in most cases, it leads to awe.

But there are those who actually do fully engage the music while listening--both on WFMR and at Uihlein. And there are those who claim that listening to Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms will make baby's brain grow faster, and mathematics learning easier.

"Wallpaper" doesn't make THAT claim.

State School Aid to Milwaukee: HOW Much?

You've heard it a million times: the State has committed to paying 66% of school costs.

DarthDoyle was excoriated for proposing a budget with less than 66% two years ago.

Now we read this:

[Barrett] said his goal remains to see the state pay 75% of the overall cost of voucher students, roughly the percentage it pays for Milwaukee Public Schools students.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cdl Levada to NYC?

Perhaps Abp. Dolan should not put away the cheese-hat too soon.

Marco Tosatti, one of the most influential religious journalists in Italy, reports today in La Stampa on possible changes in the Roman Curia, confirming rumors that the Pope (and Cardinal Bertone) would want to move Cardinal Levada to New York (prompting the battle for his succession)...

'S alright. In NYC the taxes are even higher than in Milwaukee.

HT: Rorate Coeli

Not So Fast, Institute for Justice

The overworked Crocodile only managed to assemble 10 cogent grafs before he had to run off and pay taxes make money.

But they demonstrate, once again, that bought-and-paid-for Legislators are far more powerful than Courts who, after all, are stuck with things like "plain language."

Sad, but true.

The Left's "Fairness"

From Whittaker Chambers' review of Atlas Shrugged, we learn of the "mind" of Al Gore and his allies on the Popular Liberation Front of "fairness":

Something of this implication is fixed in the book's dictatorial tone, which is much its most striking feature. Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.

In addition, the mind which finds this tone natural to it shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked.

There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: "To a gas chamber — go!"

The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too (in the total absence of any saving humor), in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture-that Dollar Sign, for example. At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house.

A tornado might feel this way, or Carrie Nation.

There is a parallel now emerging from the Left in their passionate drive for "fairness." But it is not really 'other opinion' that they wish to compel. Frankly, the Left does not care about the 'other opinion' makers, for at some point in time, those 'other' voices may revolt against their benefactors. (In this regard, see the nut-roots vs. Hilary Clinton.) There is a better way which is a long-term strategy. In reality, "fairness" is just a way-station.

What they wish to compel in the long term is the death of easily-accessible conservative opinion and the associated inconvenient facts. In order to achieve that, they must insert 'other' opinion. They know very well that radio station owners will not sustain unsuccessful programming such as the condescending, insipid, and smug oral farting of the Left. And they don't care.

Oh, yes, some Radio stations will broadcast 'left' opinion--but it will not be commercially successful. And then, Radio will find more prosperous ventures and cease broadcast of 'left' as well as 'right.' Do you think for one instant that Feinstein/Clinton/Gore, et al., will care about the death of "left" opinion on radio?


For them, it's all or nothing, and "nothing" is a very acceptable option, given the reality of carefully cut-and-pasted "news" stories, PhotoShopped "events," etc. masquerading as "news" presented by the Acceptable People of the East and West Coasts, tailored to fit The Agenda, whatever it happens to be that week. Recall the words of GKChesterton: "It may or may not be true that man's great use for language is to conceal his thoughts; but I suppose that we should all agree to the somewhat analogous proposition that the one great use of newspapers is to suppress news."

The Left understands the maxim that "A lie is halfway around the world before Truth gets its boots on."

And they understand how Ayn Rand was successful.

Perhaps the MSM understands that they, too, can be eliminated, if they do not co-operate. After all, "disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or humanly fallible."

But I doubt that they get that, yet.

HT: McMahon

An Alternative Minimum Tax Fix in the Works!!

Out-STANDING news for Wisconsin residents who are also taxpayers.

Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) have teamed up to introduce H. R 2318. It amends the Internal Revenue Code IRC) so that the state and local tax deduction is not a preference item in the computation of AMT. It is a two sentence amendment to the IRC. It was introduced on May 15, 2007 and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Now it is up to the rest of us.

If you live in a state (like NJ or NY or CA [or WISCONSIN]) which has high income taxes and high property taxes or both, this legislation gives you relief. It removes the double and triple taxation of the same income without offset.

Call your Representative and ask her/him to co-sponsor the Andrews-LoBiondo bi-partisan bill, H.R. 2318. Tell her/him that you are holding them accountable for fixing the AMT. They created it. They can amend it.

Apparently the Congressmen didn't have the nerve (or interest) to make the child-deduction a "preference-item", however, so raising more than the PC-acceptable 2.5 children will remain a highly-taxed burden.

The AMT has been a significant revenue-gaining device for the Feds over the years, but has been particularly painful for Wisconsin taxpayers.

Do what the quote suggests: call your Congresscritter. Get this amended to include children, and get it passed.

HT: The Big Picture

Requiem Aeternam, WFMR

It was in the mid-1950's when Jim Schweitzer, a family friend, got a new job asa Sales Manager with WFMR Radio, a startup all-Classical Music station in Milwaukee. My hazy memory tells me that the Curtis Ambulance people were also involved as financial backers. At that time, WTMJ-AM had a Sunday morning classical show, but that was all there was to compete with. WTMJ eventually got rid of its show, and WFMR stood alone, at least as a 'for-profit' operation.

At that time, the broadcasts were about the same as they are now. Classical music, a little news, some advertising, more classical music. They may or may not have broadcasted 24x7--

No question that later in its life, WFMR broadcast at night--Ron Cuzner, a neighbor of a cousin, ran "The Dark Side," an all-night jazz show. Ron Cuzner was a George Carlin sorta guy, relating baseball results in this fashion: "Milwaukee defeated Chicago......New York defeated Boston....(etc.)" And each phrase was accentuated properly, lovingly delivered, at some length. To Ron, the numbers didn't count--only the results. But the jazz portion of WFMR's broadcast day eventually disappeared, too, and WFMR joined a network of stations which provided 'lights-out' classical music for evenings and overnights.

WFMR had a major financial crisis in the mid-1970's, and John Koss bought the station, moving the HQ to East Capitol Drive. He preserved the format (while likely parting with some of his fortune,) but eventually sold the station.

Somewhere along the line, the broadcast frequency changed, calling for a major project in my life--resetting all the preset-station buttons. Not much of a price to pay, really.

The new owners had a small gang of radio stations, and only WFMR was a classical outlet. For quite some time, WFMR broadcast Milwaukee Symphony concerts which had been recorded and nationally syndicated by Chicago's WFMT. The broadcasts proved that the MSO was, indeed, a major-league band. Recently, they added live interviews of MSO people and guest artists. Not many people get to hear directly from Doc Severinsen about upcoming concerts, but WFMR listeners did.

Then, today, it ended.

The demographics were wrong; the numbers didn't add up.

In reality, they haven't added up for a long time, albeit some years were better and some years were worse. With ownership no longer willing to live on the small part of the pie, and no "demographic trends" to support hope for the future, the format was buried.

There are alternatives, of a sort. Wisconsin Public Radio plays classical music, although during a short trip to town today I found only NPR "news" instead of music, on all of the NPR outlets I scanned and it wasn't the top-of-the-hour. Chicago's WFMT is still going strong (but not on the Internet--they couldn't afford the licensing fees demanded by the record companies.) WFMT is not a "classical music only" format station, however--they provide a number of music-and-arts discussion and commentary shows during their broadcast day. And there is a weaker classical station in Chicago, as well, which used to transmit from two geographically-disparate towers to get better metro coverage. Don't know what they're doing these days.

It's not yet time to discuss 'P&L vs. Culture,' although there's probably a lot to say about that.

It is, however, worth noting the death of WFMR. Both its start and its end were milestones for Milwaukee, and it deserves a finer obituary than this one.

Iran Invading Iraq?

Not likely.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.

Britain's defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on "intelligence matters".

Captain Ed comments:

If the Sun has it right, it would probably force Britain to stay in southern Iraq far past their announced withdrawal date. They would almost have to respond, given the criticism over the capture of their 15 sailors and Marines a few months ago, and that would require them not only to stay but to broaden their forces in the region first.


In reading the story, the issue becomes clear -- the Sun reported it. For those who don't know the British press, the Sun is a rough equivalent to the National Enquirer here in the US. They get some stories right, but far too often, they blow things out of proportion or just get entire stories completely wrong.

Iran would have to be completely m'shugah to invade Iraq at this time.

Anything's possible, of course. But waiting for confirmation is the better choice.

This Bear Tried to Sell the Porridge

It appears that Bear Stearns would like to sell some of its assets to public shareholders.

Or not.

Everquest Financial’s initial public offering statement on May 9 disclosed that substantially all the assets in its $700 million portfolio had been bought from the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Strategies Fund and the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leveraged Fund.

The filing did not disclose that those funds had suffered heavy losses in March and April as assets held in them, many backed by subprime mortgages, plummeted in value. Bear Stearns hedge funds also held a $400 million stake in Everquest.

Yesterday afternoon, Everquest withdrew its offering, which was in the earliest stages.

Gee, why was THAT?

An analyst at Portales Partners, Charles Peabody, said in a note to clients last week that Everquest appeared to be an investment vehicle used in part “as a way for Bear Stearns to offload some of its own mortgage exposure.”

If Bear Stearns knew that two of its funds were in trouble by May, why did it allow the Everquest filing to proceed, Mr. Peabody asked.

Bear Stearns declined to comment.

What's the old saying? "When a bear s*&^s in the woods....."

HT: Calculated Risk