Monday, December 31, 2007

Technical Mass Stuff for Musicians

A most interesting technical item regarding the Ordinary Rite:

Recent research, confirmed by unofficial discussions with officials of the Holy See during the past several years, has made clear that the antiphons of the Order of Mass were never intended to be sung, but are provided without notation to be recited whenever the Graduale Romanum or another song is not sung.

Yah. In the missalette, those printed antiphons are meant to be spoken.

More of interest:

The antiphons of the Missale Romanum, which differ substantially from the sung antiphons of the Roman Gradual, were never intended to be sung.

No wonder they aren't the same. They ARE NOT the same!

And finally,

It seems to be, however, that the Lectionary has priority over Graduale when singing the "intervening chants" during the Liturgy of the Word. This is because the Lectionary of the Mass of Paul VI was composed on a different principle than was the lectionary of the Mass of Saint Pius V.

IOW, to sing the Latin Introit/Offertory/Communio in the Pauline Rite, you need the new Graduale Romanum--and you really should use the vernacular Psalm/Alleluia stuff given in the Missalette in preference to the Gradual/Alleluia given in that Graduale.

HT: Christus Vincit

Yoo Hoo!! Abp. Dolan!! (Part 2)

After you've acted, publicly, to help the Legislature understand the Catholic concerns with AB377, perhaps some clear and public statements about dogma will be in order.

See this from an individual who calls him/her/itself "Catholic."

Revolutionary Revolver: Mazda

No, it ain't a 6-gun.

Since 1991, Mazda has been working on a rotary engine that could run on hydrogen. Probably the cleanest and most abundant fuel in the world, hydrogen fuel emits only water vapor and trace amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is one of the primary causes of global warming.

As we know, that last clause is pure BS. Pressing on, however:

The RX-8, in fact, is the only commercially available car with a rotary engine in the world and is now the first hydrogen fueled. It will also run on gasoline.

Mazda began public road testing of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE in 2004. In February 2006, it received approval from Japan's Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) to become the first company to commercially lease hydrogen powered rotary engine vehicles.

The vehicles delivered have been showcased at public events, of course, and used in daily driving. From the latter, the RX-8 Hydrogen RE has been recognized for the convenience of its dual-fuel system as well as for its balance of eco-friendliness and internal-combustion performance.

The driver can go from gasoline to hydrogen at the flick of a switch.

I had a rotary-Mazda, back in the '70's. Damn quick.

HT: McMahon

The Next "Hello Kitty-for Boys" Product?

Note that this product is NOT "an assault weapon" under California law, either!!

"Duty, Honor, Country"

Those words are posted above the doorway at West Point, and were used often by Douglas MacArthur, General of the Armies. They actually mean something...

I bring them up for consideration as we read that Fred Thompson does not have "fire in the belly" (whatever the Hell that means) and that he "doesn't want to be President."

Fred's original statement is being mis-under-interpretated, of course. It was (and remains, I think) his considered opinion that the other (R) candidates, (and all the (D) candidates) do not fully or adequately represent a Conservative, constitutional, and cohesive platform, based on values enshrined in the Constitution.

That's not disparagement of the others--not even of the Dems.

But it's good cause for Fred to have undertaken a campaign.

It's his duty.

See also: JunkYardBlog

His "closing statement" is found here. If you're already a Republican, go to 11:30 or so--and find out what he thinks about the (D) opponents and why HE should carry the flag against them.

The Spoiler Moves?

Yesterday, while in conversation with the mind-numbed robots (conservative bloggers), there was a brief discussion of the Presidential race.

One eminento had predicted a Romney/HRC race and a Romney win.

Yours truly brought up Bloomberg--before this story broke.

Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.

...Next week’s meeting, reported on Sunday in The Washington Post, comes as the mayor’s advisers have been quietly canvassing potential campaign consultants about their availability in the coming months.

Bloomie's largest challenge is to find political consultants who are available and willing. The next largest challenge is to get onto the ballot in 45+ States, which takes a fair amount of time and effort.

At least money's not a consideration for him.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bought a Music CD? Copied to Your Computer?

...then you could be in trouble.

...In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

It will be very interesting to see how this one turns out. Frankly, I don't understand how the RIAA intends to demonstrate that they were "damaged" by this. If someone is using their computer as an alternative to a CD player/stereo set, what's the harm?

HT: RedStates

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Yoo Hoo!! Abp Dolan!! Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel!!

The other day, in preparation for making some not-friendly remarks about the Cincinnatti Diocese's adoption of e-payments, Kevin Fisher said "I always worry about starting my car" after making critical observations about the Church.

It ain't my car I worry about.

It's the lighting bolts.

But it's sunny out today!--so here goes.

If two members of the Green Bay Packers (say DD and KGB) sent out press releases stating that 'the team will NOT prevail in its quest for the Super Bowl championship,' the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel would be on it like...bees on honey, so to speak.


--when two Bishops of the Wisconsin Catholic Church say, in effect, that "we were double-crossed and hoodwinked," and REPUDIATE their Conference's previous approval of legislation;

--and 9 OTHER Wisconsin Bishops, including the Ordinary of Milwaukee and his Auxiliaries, clearly do NOT join with these two Bishops;

--and when lawyers for that group of Bishops are questioned by other practicing attorneys on prima-facie solid grounds (the text, folks, the text);

--and when the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference verbally extends his middle digit to two of his employers;

you'd think that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel political and/or religious reporters would be in a finger-bleeding frenzy at their telephones and keyboards.

(Cue the crickets.)

Well, that's the Press' problem, I guess.

But (checking the weather once again) I'm not stopping there, folks.

I'm calling out Archbishop Dolan, Bishop Sklba, Bishop Callahan, Abp Weakland, Bishop Bullock, Bishop Wirz, Bishop Morneau, Bishop Banks, and Bishop Fliss.

The substance of the issue is this: the Wisconsin Legislature is about to pass AB377 (SB129), which will require hospitals to administer "Plan B" to victims of rape. This bill is advertised as a 'humanitarian' bill by Nurse Rached Judy Robson who introduced the legislation back in Spring of this year to cooing and adulation from the MSM.

It's 'humanitarian' so long as you're not the dead baby, I guess.

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference gave the bill a 'green light' in September. It is clear, however, that their 'green light' rests on the assumption that the rape-victim has NOT conceived a child since the occurrence of the rape. Another problem: the "remedy" is sometimes a chemical-induced abortion. Finally, the Conference assumed that there would be a "conscience clause" in the bill.

That assumption that 'there has been no conception' is flawed. Wrong. Un-provable. In some cases there is conception; in others, there is not. But nobody knows.

And the fact that the "remedy" (Plan B) is (sometimes) abortion is horrible. Somebody at the Wisconsin Catholic Conference should be flayed, or fired--or maybe both. The term "scandal" comes to mind, as Bp. Morlino mentioned.

Here are the manufacturer's OWN words on "Plan B."

Plan B® works like a regular birth control pill. It prevents pregnancy mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary, and may also prevent the fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg). Plan B® may also work by preventing it [fertilized egg] from attaching to the uterus (womb). It is important to know that Plan B® will not affect a fertilized egg already attached to the uterus; it will not affect an existing pregnancy.

And here's the fisking of the verbal engineering used:

However, they (the manufacturers) intentionally define the term “pregnancy” as implantation of a fertilized egg in the lining of a woman's uterus, as opposed to “pregnancy” beginning at fertilization.

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference's 'brain-trust' either winked at the elision or substitution of "conception" for "implantation", or worse, decided to ignore it. (Maybe flaying and firing isn't enough...)

Oh, yeah, there's more. Some doctors like to actually practice medicine instead of merely handing out pills.

Plan B is associated with blood clot formation and a heightened risk of ectopic pregnancy. The common side-effects of the ‘morning-after pill’ (nausea and abdominal pain) are also the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and could therefore mask the presence of this potentially life-threatening condition. Importantly, there are no long-term studies to show whether women will be permanently damaged, or risk such diseases as cancer, from these chemicals being given in such high doses. Forcing physicians to immediately provide medication to patients based solely upon their request is simply bad medicine. In the case of emergency contraception, such a policy may contradict a physician’s medical judgment as EC could be medically contraindicated for the patient.

(Nothing like waking up to "Greetings" from your neighborhood P.I. lawyer if you're an OB/Gyn or ER physician.)

But I digress. Back to the Bishops.

The United States Catholic Conference's position paper on the question reads as follows:

“A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”

It is entirely possible that fertilization occurred immediately or VERY shortly after the rape. But nobody really knows, as pregnancy-tests are not conclusive until at least a week or two into the pregnancy.

Finally, by the way, the Legislature stripped the "conscience clause" out of the bill--thus forcing MD's and/or RN's to act contrary to their deeply-held religious beliefs.


Nine Wisconsin Roman Catholic Bishops are:

1) Ignoring the clear contradiction between the language of the USCC's guidelines and the stated potential effect of "Plan B", which is (sometimes) chemical abortion;

2) Ignoring the verbal gymnastics (and the sloppy work of their employees) of switching "conception" for "implantation";

3) Letting conscientious Catholic doctors and RN's (and, for that matter, non-RC practitioners who have grave reservations about the potential abortions caused by Plan B) "twist in the wind."

All because they have not simply called for re-insertion of the "conscience clause" in this bill.

The Bishops do not have to campaign against the bill as a whole. They are not required to "force Catholic morals" on doctors, hospitals, or nurses (although I think some serious persuasion would be in line here.)

All they SHOULD do is call on the Legislature to allow "conscientious objection" as part of the Bill. Fortunately, there's a letter pre-written for them, by Bishop Morlino. They could even refer Members of the Press (should any of them awaken before March) to Bp. Listecki's comments in his newspaper.

Yoo-Hoo!! Abp. Dolan!!

(HTs: T Berres, F. Klein, Pro-Life Wisconsin, P McIlheran)

UPDATE: Dan Suhr reviews the legalities of the bill (and of 253.09) and concludes that existing Wisconsin law will NOT allow "conscientious objection," although the State's Constitution will do so, given the usual formalities.

The Huckabee/ster: Theory and Practice

Dreher has an interesting catch. (Scroll to 12/28 entry...)

He quotes from "Applebee's America," a political-strategy essay:

Great Connectors like Presidents Bush and Clinton adapt to their times. They also realize that tactics do not win elections. Gut Values do. Cutting-edge strategies are useful only when they help a candidate make his or her values resonate with the public. For all their faults (and they had their share), Presidents Bush and Clinton knew that their challenge was in appealing to voters' hearts, not their heads. We heard this countless times: "Sure, he had sex wiht an intern and lied about it, but he cares about me and is working hard on my behalf." And this: "The Iraq war stinks and his other politices aren't so hot, but at least I know where he stands."

...and relates that to a press-account of Huckster's "closing" speech in Iowa:

For starters, it was remarkably short on policy. Oh, he touched on issues like energy and health care and immigration and he talked about gridlock in Washington and the corruption of big money in politics. But all of these points seemed incidental to the broader message of the speech.

Huckabee's speech was long on values. It was personal and conversational and, not surprisingly, given what he has shown in debates, often quite humorous. He filled the speech with stories about himself and his family.

Then, in a self-indictment (which includes the MSM as a whole), he ruminates: strikes me that Huckabee is an instinct politician who is making a gut values connection with Republican crowds. This should have been obvious as far back as this summer, when the cash-and-organization-poor candidate very nearly won the Iowa straw poll on the strength of his oratory alone. But a lot of us -- well, nearly all of us -- in the news media missed it, because hey, what chance can a flat-broke Baptist preacher from Arkansas have against this Republican field anyway?

Interesting. We'll know in a few days whether Huckabee's game plan is solid.

Not that Huckabee is alone with this--Fred Thompson has worked pretty hard on the Values thing himself, although his latest ad (at that link) is slightly more 'policy' than 'values.'

Dreher goes a little further with a prediction:

My guess is that two unpredictable news events will help determine whether or not Huckabee sinks or swims over the next month: 1) whether or not Pakistan blows up, and 2) the economic uncertainties over the credit crisis. If Pakistan's woes dominate the headlines, it's bad for Huck, and good for McCain. If bad economic news stays on the front page, it's good for Huck, especially if he pounds away on the Main St.-vs.-Wall Street theme.

Recall the recession-prediction we mentioned here. That's been confirmed (more or less) by the ECRI weekly-leading index (down again last week) and a few other folks.

Timing is everything.

Midnight Mass St Stan's Milwaukee

The Extraordinary Rite, Fr. Meney, ICK, celebrant.

Talk Radio Perseveres: The Poor, Minorities Hardest-Hit

You can't make this up--it passes as 'serious thought' on a local LeftyBlog.

Non-sports programming at WTMJ and WISN are built on trashing anybody to the left of Attila the Hun without even a pretense of balance. Lost are not just the views of liberals, but also the views of minorities, poor people, and the perspectives of individuals who live in urban areas.

Attila was my cousin. Sykes ain't no Attila.

A Bad Day for the Goblins

From the indispensable LawDog, a few suggestions that the goblins shoulda taken earlier.

Tactical advice for those intending to rob the Santa-Claus-outfit-wearing Salvation Army volunteers at shopping malls:

1. In this part of the country, those Santa's are rednecks. Large rednecks. With an attitude to match.

2. When you and your homie stick a gun in Santa's face and demand, "Gimme the bucket!" he might take you precisely and exactly at your word. Literally.

3. As you watch your homie lying on the ground, bucket over his head and Santa stomping it flat onto his (unlovely) features, it's not a good idea to forget that you're within grabbing range of Santa - or to let your gun hand sag to your side.

4. Failure to observe #3 above will result in an infuriated Santa holding your head in an armlock under his left arm while, with his right hand, he beats you heavily over the bonce with his festive Christmas bell. This musical accompaniment, whilst no carol, is nevertheless pleasing to the bystanders' ears. The same might be said about your screams.

5. When passing shoppers stop, gather around and start applauding Santa's actions, it's not a good idea to yell at them that they're mother[deleted] [deleted] and beg them to make this [deleted] stop hitting you. This may - nay, gentle reader, this WILL - encourage some of them to offer to help Santa with the hitting . . . and encourage him to accept their offer.

6. When responding cops arrive, rush up to the scene with guns drawn, and promptly sag to the ground in hysterics while ignoring your pleas for help, it's not a good idea to swear at them in words of distinctly non-festive hue. This will result in their handling the rest of your interaction in a less than sympathetic manner (drawing further cheers from the by now numerous onlookers).

7. As you languish (with your battered homie) in the back of an ambulance, both of you being treated by the medics for bleeding from the head, it's particularly galling to see Santa's now somewhat battered bucket being filled to overflowing by cheering shoppers and the responding police officers, all of whom seem rather in a rather more more festive and cheerful mood now than they did before you made your move.

8. And a merry Redneck Christmas to both of you, idiots. Ho-ho-ho.

Some thugs have to learn the hard way, I guess.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Some reminders of ....ah.... errors in forecasting, from The Shepherd:

"Who in their right mind would ever need more than 640k of ram!?"-- Bill Gates, 1981

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."-- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."-- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

"But what ... is it (the microchip) good for?"-- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968,

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."-- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."--Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio- 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."-- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

OK. Now on to Global Warming!!

Reagan Stuff You Didn't Know

...from a new book on Bill Clark, (The Judge) whose author is interviewed by FrontPage:

Really, basically the entire book is new. It is worth your time for the chapter on Suriname alone (chapter 10). [Bet you didn't know that country almost went Commie...] Also worth the pricetag is the 1982 case of Reagan threatening to shoot down Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua, which was communicated to the Soviets, and the heretofore unreported French offer in 1981 to assassinate Moammar Kaddafi.

Another unrecorded account is how Reagan asked Clark to go to China to advise on whether the United States should get involved in a civil engineering project known as Three Gorges Dam. Clark did so, and reported that we should stay out of it. As usual, Reagan took Clark’s advice. Good move!

Finally, we report brand new information on Clark’s secret meeting with Saddam Hussein in January 1986. Clark confirmed in this book that we did not arm Saddam Hussein, especially with WMDs or WMD technology, despite what the moonbat left has recklessly alleged.

The author also mentions The Leakers by name, as well as the "moderates"--like Nancy.

Lex Facit Regem?

Heh. A little Latin to start your day...and a description of The End of Democracy, from First Things blog.

In Civilizing Authority, Budziszewski quotes Henry de Bracton, the thirteenth-century English jurist who declared, Lex facit Regem—the law makes the king, not the king the law. The king is supreme within the system but not over the system.

As did the First Things symposium, Budziszewski cites numerous instances of this strange dynamic at work. Constitutionalism, says Budziszewski, is “the principle that the real authority of government depends not on the personality of the rulers but on antecedent principles of right.” [Conversely,] Brutus wrote that, in the proposed Constitution, “These principles, whatever they may be, when they become fixed, by a course of [judicial] decisions, will be adopted by the legislature, and will be the rule by which they will explain their own powers.” Which, of course, is precisely what has happened. The principles of right are no longer antecedent but are devised by the courts.

This was most overtly, one might say flagrantly, asserted by the Supreme Court in the 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Court composed what Budziszewski calls a “confession of faith”: At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. That is heavy-duty philosophy coming from a committee of lawyers.

Budziszewski writes: “To understand this creedal statement one must recall what occasioned it. What the Court meant by defining one’s own concept of human life was not so much deciding what to think, but deciding what to do: Because I have liberty to define my own concept of life, I may kill. In strict logic, it would seem to follow that I may kill anyone. In fact, it would seem to follow that I may do anything whatsoever. For the time being, the Court restricts its universal permission to the taking of life not yet born. This serves as a salutary reminder of what may be called the first principle of judicial usurpation: Formulae of universal permission never really mean universal permission; they are always instruments for the transfer of the power to prohibit from one set of hands to another. That king who says ‘Everything is permitted’ will always add, ‘But I decide for everyone what “everything” includes.’”

Were it just the Courts! Here in Wisconsin, the Legislators of AB377 wish to do violence to the same 'principles of right' by redefining "when life begins" by fiat. Strictly speaking, they may do so under the principle enunciated by Kennedy in the Casey decision, of course.

...That king who says ‘Everything is permitted’ will always add, ‘But I decide for everyone what “everything” includes.’”

And in Casey the Court did not neglect to make the last point unmistakably clear:

The root of American governmental power is revealed most clearly in the instance of the power conferred by the Constitution upon the Judiciary of the United States, and specifically upon this Court . . . The Court’s power lies in its legitimacy, a product of substance and perception that shows itself in the people’s acceptance of the Judiciary as fit to determine what the Nation’s law means, and to declare what it demands.

And what the law means is that anybody who disagrees with the Court should shut up

I’m not at all sure, however, that this demonstrates, as Budziszewski would have it, that this is an instance of the Constitution undermining constitutionalism. It is not that unless one believes, with the 1992 majority of the Supreme Court, that the Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is.

...all of which is to lend urgency to both examining the Presidential candidates, and then voting.

Remember: there's only ONE actual Federalist running...

McCain? Thompson? That's "Toady" or "Thinker"...

With the event in Pakistan, there's buzz about John McCain becoming a hot-item in the primaries; evidently, his military background makes him a better bet than the others.

What crap. A uniform is nice, but using one's brain is even better...

Here's McCain, whoring and toadying at full throat, when asked about Global Warming:

“There is no doubt in my mind that it’s real,” McCain said when he was asked.

McCain spoke of legislation he’s sponsored to create a cap-and-trade system, where companies that reduce emissions can sell credits to companies that do not. He said that reducing emissions can be a win for American companies that develop new green technology.

“Suppose that we are wrong about climate change and there’s no such thing and we adapt green technologies and we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All we’ve done is given our kids a better world and a cleaner world,” he said. But if there really is a major problem and nothing is done, he said, polar ice caps will melt, Alaskan villages will be destroyed and sea levels will rise.

In contrast, we present Fred!!

When Thompson was asked how he would deal with the “global warming crisis,” he replied:

“First of all I would try my best to find out if that’s an apt description.”

“We need to have a little modesty about this issue. There are a lot of things we don’t know.”

He said that while it’s true that the earth is warming, it’s not clear if that’s just part of a normal cycle.

“A lot of people want to jump conclusions and say … we’ve got all the answers, we don’t want to have any more discussion about it. We want to find a big government solution that would hurt our economy.”

McPain--same old, same old. Part of the AlGore Senate Club, and even has "cap-and-trade" in his bag of tricks.

What crap.

The Reason to Read Charlie Sykes

In a very enjoyable review of the year, Sykes manufactures an Excellent New Word:

Former Mayor Paul Soglin endured the wrath of the quicheoisie,

After about 3 weeks of practice, I may be able to pronounce it...

All of a Sudden, Wisconsin Could Attract Physicians

...from New York, no less.

...He’s Eric Dinallo, New York’s insurance commissioner, who isn’t very popular with the state’s doctors these days. Now, he’s less popular after threatening to impose a $50,000 fee on every doctor in the state as a solution to the state’s malpractice insurance crisis. Here’s the NY Sun story.

As you might imagine, physicians in the Empire State are none too happy. “We’re petrified of this thing,” said Robert Goldberg, the president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, told the Sun. “There’s no doubt that this is going to shutter practices.” Another doctor told the Sun: “This is a disaster. I feel like I’m watching Rome crumble.”

In comparison, Jim Doyle is just a minor pickpocket with his $100+ million theft from the Med Malpractice fund...

Wilson's War: the Authoritative Review

Jack Wheeler, literally, was there. He was in DC; he was in Afghanistan; he was in Pakistan. He knows all the players--and this lengthy column on the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" is worth your time.

A couple of excerpts:

First, the truth: Tom Hanks has Charlie spot on. His mannerisms, voice, posture, facial expressions: Hanks is Charlie, and he might get his third Oscar for playing him...

...After all, I'm the one who explained to him how defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan could win the Cold War, not some socialite in Houston. It's that no one who had a critical role in helping the Afghans or winning the Cold War is in the movie except Charlie, whose sidekicks are a single CIA lone ranger and a blond chick in Texas – not Bill Casey, not Ronald Reagan, no one.

Here it becomes clear that the CIA of Bill Casey was filled with the same incompetent boobs who filled the CIA under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II:

The movie is about providing weapons to Afghans fighting the Soviets, yet only one specific Afghan is named in the film, the legendary "Lion of Panjshir," Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Yet the CIA, in fact, provided little or no aid to Massoud for most of the war. The film never mentions who did get most of the CIA aid instead of Massoud: an America-hating Khomeini-loving Islamofascist named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and his "Hezbi" mujahedeen.

...Whenever I came back from Afghanistan throughout the 1980s, along with various people in the Reagan White House, the Pentagon and Congress, I would always brief Charlie. My years of ranting at him about Gulbuddin finally got through to him in early 1987 – because it wasn't just me.
"Why do you and everyone else who's been inside [Afghanistan] tell me one thing, and the same thing, about the Hezbis, while the CIA tells me the opposite?" he mused.

"Because the CIA is lying to you, Charlie," I replied.

Even though they will read that line, our Lefty friends will STILL blame GWBush for everything that ever went wrong with the world since...oh...1998. It never occurs to them that the CIA is simply not as good as the CIA wants you to believe.

A while later,

...The president then called Bill Casey and said he just didn't care what the excuses were anymore. Any reason given by McMahon was to be disregarded. He signed an executive order to that effect on Feb. 18. Two weeks later, McMahon resigned. I was in Angola at UNITA's Jamba headquarters in April when the Stingers arrived. The Soviet-Cuban offensive was stopped, thanks to them.

Now the way was cleared for Stingers to the Afghans. The Paks (Pakistanis, particularly the ISI Inter-Service Intelligence boys who controlled all mujahedeen arms shipments and led the CIA around with a ring through its nose) got in the way and delayed things – so much so that in August I saw the mujahedeen on the ropes with my own eyes.

Read the whole thing. It's worthwhile.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Conscience: The Left's REAL Bottom Line

Next time one of those weepy-eyed Lefties tells you about "empathy" and "killing people in Wars" and "Waterborading crimes" and all that crap, pull up this post from the "empathetic" and "conscientious" Left:

...and go to the comments, wherein the Lefty weeper declares that doctors who actually HAVE a conscience should not get into "emergency" medicine.

According to the Left, killing babies IS "emergency" medicine.

Whallah!! as they say.

Bp. Listecki on AB377

Two of Wisconsin's Catholic Bishops have broken with the Wisconsin Catholic Conference on the issue of AB377. Earlier, we excerpted some remarks from Bp. Morlino's letter (the Bishop of Madison.)

Here are some excerpts from an interview of Bishop Listecki (LaCrosse) on the matter.

In an interview with The Catholic Times following the publication of Bishop Morlino’s letter, Bishop Listecki affirmed that the grounds that made neutrality possible were gone.

“What the neutrality position was meant to articulate has been turned around by some to see it as a confirmation for the legislation,” Bishop Listecki said.

In an earlier letter to legislators dated Oct. 24, 2007, Bishop Morlino attributed this shift in perception to “some in the mass media – in seeming collaboration with Planned Parenthood.”

“Perceptions in our world are often everything,” Bishop Listecki said in his interview. “Neither I nor any bishop in Wisconsin wants to be perceived as being for legislation that goes against the teachings of the Church.”

John Huebscher (who is retained by Bps. Morlino, Listecki, and Dolan) was also contacted.

Contacted by The Catholic Times, WCC executive director John Huebscher said the Catholic Conference is retaining its current stance of neutrality. “We respect the concerns raised in (Bishop Morlino’s) letter,” he said. “They certainly underscore the passion of the bishops in affirming human life. At the same time, the Catholic Conference has not changed its position on the bill.”

Heubscher added that there are no plans to revisit the matter as a conference.

Heubscher said the WCC’s neutrality is based on the unanimous opinion of the state’s diocesan attorneys that a current conscience exemption contained in Wisconsin Statue 253.09 would allow Catholic hospitals and individual physicians to “opt out” of the possibly abortion-inducing treatment the legislation would require.

Mr. Huebscher, apparently, has never been bitten by the Legislative dogs.

“I don’t think we can go forward on something that’s merely a legal opinion,” Bishop Listecki explained. “We don’t want to exist in a climate of maybes.”

According to Bishop Morlino, the fact that so many anti-life legislators refused to vote for an earlier version of the bill that included a conscience exemption amendment indicates that they consider the protection offered by Statute 253.09 to be inapplicable to the present situation. “If this were assured, there would be no reason why the Assembly would have rejected conscience clause exemption protection for the reasons they gave,” the bishop wrote.


Does Benedict XVI Read Chesterton?

I think so.

Here's an excerpt from B-16's Christmas sermon: (HT Fr. Z)

The Earth is restored to good order by virtue of the fact that it is opened up to God, it obtains its true light anew, and in the harmony between human will and divine will, in the unification of height and depth, it regains its beauty and dignity. Thus Christmas is a feast of restored creation. It is in this context that the Fathers interpret the song of the angels on that holy night: it is an expression of joy over the fact that the height and the depth, Heaven and Earth, are once more united; that man is again united to God.

Got that? Good.

Now recall the GKC verse I posted earlier--just the last stanza:

The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

Certainly the very same imagery....

On Music--Benedict XVI

From Benedict XVI, via a powerful essay in NRO by Michael K. Beran:

For me, an unforgettable experience was the Bach concert that Leonard Bernstein conducted in Munich after the sudden death [in 1981] of Karl Richter. I was sitting next to the Lutheran Bishop Hanselmann. When the last note of one of the great Thomas-Kantor-Cantatas faded away, we looked at each spontaneously and right then we said, ‘Anyone who has heard this, knows that the faith is true.’ The music had such an extraordinary force of reality that we realized, no longer by deduction, but by the impact on our hearts, that it could not have originated from nothingness, but could only have come to be through the power of the Truth that became real in the composer’s inspiration.

The context:

The pope adheres to old Greek belief that words and sounds — and the rhythmic patterns in which they are bound together in music and poetry — have a unique power to awaken the mind. He has spoken frequently of the power of rhythm to prepare the soul to receive truths that would otherwise remain unintelligible. In 2002 he described the experience of listening to music as an “encounter with the beautiful,” one that becomes “the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way opens our eyes.”

Of course, the Pope speaks of music-which-is-art, not that which is 'filler' or merely noise.

It is this conception of the educational power of rhythm that underlies the pope’s defense of the Latin Mass and of the baroque and Gregorian traditions. It is a fair assumption that, in liberating these forms from liturgical purgatory, His Holiness hopes that their rhythmic virtues will serve as a bulwark against the bad rhythm (kakometros) that today permeates the West.

Critics of the Tridentine rite who contend that the Latin is a barrier to what the pope calls an “encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist” overlook the fact that the words of the liturgy, beautiful and mysterious as they are, are but approximations of the Word (et Deus erat Verbum) that, according to the Gospels, was born in Bethlehem, died on the cross, and ascended into heaven — the logos which, St. Paul says in first Corinthians, we perceive now only as an αινιγμα, a dark saying, a riddle, an enigma. The music of the Mass does as much to illuminate this mystery as the words.

This next is, perhaps, the most intriguing commentary:

Nor is it only in the rhythms of its language that the poetic intensity of the Mass is made manifest. Its rhythms of motion have their own peculiar power. Eliot described the Mass as “one of the highest forms of dancing” he knew. It was this interplay of sound and movement that led him to say that “the consummation of the drama, the perfect and ideal drama, is to be found in the ceremony of the Mass.”

That "tanz" is what was recalled by Thomas Howard in his "Chance or the Dance?" It is the tanz of the Bach Magnificat's first movement. It is the tanz of the Kyrie of Hassler's Missa Secunda. Of the strong, quick-moving 2 of the In Gloria Dei Patris of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Or of Bach's Ruht Wohl, the penultimate movement of the St. Matthew Passion. What-- you think that the underlying triplebeat is there for another reason?

Pope Benedict is attempting to restore a rhythmic balance that has been lost in art, in popular culture, and in the Church itself. “The writings of Plato and Aristotle on music,” he wrote in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy,

show that the Greek world in their time was faced with a choice between two kinds of worship, two different images of God and man. Now what this choice came down to concretely was a choice between two fundamental types of music. On the one hand, there is the music that Plato ascribes, in line with mythology, to Apollo, the god of light and reason. . . . But then there is the music that Plato ascribes to Marsyas, which we might describe, in terms of cultic history, as “Dionysian.” It drags man into the intoxication of the senses, crushes rationality, and subjects the spirit to the senses.

The golden triangle--Beauty, Truth, Goodness. The West is in the process of losing its bearings which emanated from that triangle. The loss of one assures the loss of the others, and the West has demonstrated that loss of Truth is well within its capacity.

Not for nothing that this Pope chose the name Benedict.

HT: Gerald.

Who Do YOU Love?

Chesterton is so damn much fun to read...

CHRIST did not love humanity, He never said He loved humanity; He loved men. Neither He nor anyone else can love humanity; it is like loving a gigantic centipede. And the reason that the Tolstoians can even endure to think of an equally distributed love is that their love of humanity is a logical love, a love into which they are coerced by their own theories, a love which would be an insult to a tom-cat.

--Twelve Types, G. K. Chesterton

Robson's Choice: Lie and Kill 'Em

Before our own Nurse Rached, Judy Robson, was dumped by her fellow Party of Death pals, she managed to introduce (to great fanfare) a Senate bill which would mandate the death of babies--SB129 (its mate is AB377.)

In so doing, Nurse Rached demonstrated the First Art of the Lie very well. That First Art is called "Propaganda." So the bill is disguised as a humanitarian effort to help victims of rape by preventing a conception resulting from that rape. This is accomplished by requiring hospitals to administer "Plan B" to such victims.

There is a minor problem: "Plan B", in some cases, is an abortion pill. Or magic bullet, if you like. You know....deadly.

Note well, folks, that "rape victims" are the headline, and that Nurse Rached (and her pals at Planned Parenthood) never refer to "abortion" as an effect.

Sorta like using the term "Urban Renewal" to describe 'ethnic cleansing.'

Despite the ominous signs and signals, Wisconsin's Catholic Bishops sat on their hands, effectively "green-lighting" the legislation--partly due to a "conscience clause" which was inserted, allowing medical practitioners to "opt out" of administering the death-pill due to moral concerns.

But then Mark Gundrum went to Iraq and the Killer Lobby got greedy. They dropped the "conscience clause."

Two Catholic Bishops noticed that they had been double-crossed and went public.

Pat McIlheran started writing on the topic.

So it was time for the Art of the Lie's second phase to go operative: Lie by Omission. That fell to a couple of Wisconsin leggies who claimed:

"Emergency contraception is just that: contraception. It works like regular, daily birth control pills in preventing pregnancy. The vast majority of physicians, including the leading medical organizations in the country, do not believe that birth control pills cause an abortion. There is no medical evidence that emergency contraception ends a pregnancy."

Fortunately, P-Mac is pretty good with language and logic for a young whippersnapper...

This is where that line about not ending a pregnancy comes from. You hear that a lot about Plan B or other such drugs: It's usually stated as, "does not interfere with an established pregnancy."

That's what I said Plan B backers say, and it's what Musser and Wasserman are saying here.

When you keep hearing a phrase repeated, it may be a signal that words are hiding something, that someone's being a verbal weasel. Which these two lawmakers are doing in their essay. They're weaseling. They're able to say Plan B doesn't end a pregnancy since the American College of Gynecologists has maintained for years that pregnancy doesn't start when a child is conceived but rather later, when the conceived child -- by this point, no mere fertilized egg but a sphere of cells -- at last implants into the uterine wall.

Roughly akin to saying that the homeless are not people because they do not have a home.

What if you think, as do millions of people, that life begins at conception? Well, then it is an abortion, at least in the times that Plan B doesn't succeed in suppressing ovulation or impairing sperm motility. What if you're a doctor who thinks life begins at conception? Then, according to Musser and Wasserman, that's just a "religious view" that can be disregarded as the state tells you to pass out what you regard as the kill-pill.

And, of course, Musser/Wasserman are potentially afoul of the State Constitution's provision which preferences "religious views" on such things as killing people. But who cares?

P-Mac goes to the heart of it:

Musser and Wasserman are eager for the law to impose a view that life doesn't begin at conception -- and, so, Plan B can't cause an abortion -- on doctors who think otherwise.

"We shall do by our imperium that which defies common sense and the sensibility of the citizens..."

The Alternative Lie: that it is "hospitals" not "doctors" who must provide the Killer Pill.

Yup. They expect you to swallow that, too...

The mandate very much falls on individual doctors and nurses to conform their consciences to the preferences of Musser and Wasserman, even if the two can weasel out by saying the law only applies to hospitals. If they meant that, they'd include some kind of conscience clause; any such protection was stripped out of the bill.

The Lie, and The Liars.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

One More Christmas Poem

From G. K. Chesterton:

A Child of the Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,

And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,

The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn

Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,

For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

That "inn at the end of the world" is a recurring image in Chesterton's work--he used it in another context with the same meaning.

Undoubtedly the inspiration for Teilard de Chardin...../sarcasm

HT: RedState

The AP: All the Credibility of Dan Rather, and Less

Over the last few years, the AP's reputation for 'quick and accurate' news has deteriorated--from their horrible "coverage" in Iraq right through the Presidential primary race.

Jed Babbin dissects their latest hit-job--done on Fred Thompson.

What AP tried to do to Fred Thompson is going to be repeated against any conservative candidate who exudes a whiff of conservatism in the primaries and whichever Republican gains the presidential nomination

Now, [an] AP crew [which mis-reported on a Rumsfeld/HRC contretemps] is contriving stories about Republican presidential candidates.

Case in point, this AP story about Fred Thompson. AP’s Libby Quaid wrote on December 21, “Thompson suffered a stinging setback Thursday, when conservative Rep. Tom Tancredo dropped out of the presidential running and endorsed another rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. ...The endorsement was a disappointment to Thompson, especially since his week had begun on a high note with the unexpected backing of another anti-immigration hero, Rep. Steve King.”

Says Babbin:

There is a small problem with the AP story: the facts. Tancredo did endorse Romney, but Thompson actually benefited from Tancredo’s withdrawal, possibly more than Romney did. Thompson’s campaign staff was stunned: not by Tancredo’s speech, but AP’s coverage.

As reported by The Politico, Bill Salier -- Tancredo’s Iowa state chairman -- is joining Thompson’s team: “He's a true-believing social conservative ...In short: He's the sort of worker bee a campaign likes to have on its side. If Salier puts his shoulder to the wheel for Fred, he could be a major asset.”

If Tancredo’s withdrawal caused his chief Iowa asset to shift allegiance to Thompson, how is Tancredo’s endorsement of Romney a “stinging setback” for Thompson? It isn’t. Which raises the same issue about AP that I raised in August 2006: which of its editors is responsible for the contrived stories?

This, my friends, is called "Editorializing in the News Story."

The really good news here is this: Fred Thompson is a target of the Left (AP). That tells you something about the dynamics of this race to which we alluded a few days ago.

The "Mo" is with Fred, who's playing 'mo' very, very well, indeed.


P J O'Rourke nails it:

Fretting about overpopulation is a perfect guilt-free—indeed, sanctimonious—way for “progressives” to be racists.

Never forget that racism played a part in the banning of DDT.

HT: Little Green Footballs

Monday, December 24, 2007

Puer Natus Est

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae vobis!

If You're Episcopalian...or Jesuit... NOT watch this video...

I pray that the Estimable Lawyer/Shark will remain on speaking terms with me.

And a couple of Jebbies I know may also remain friendly. But only a couple...

G K Chesterton's Christmas Poem

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

The last verse is brilliant, gently and almost imperceptibly placing Christ at the center of Universe and Earth.

HT: Chesterton & Friends

....Roasting on an Open Fire...

For those with an....odd....sense of humor.

Christmas treats!

HT: The LawDog

I Am Hillary: Fear My Roar

This one, even for a Clinton, is over the top.

When the world hears her commitment at her inauguration about ending American dependence on foreign fuel, Clinton says, oil-pumping countries will lower prices to stifle America's incentive to develop alternative energy.

"I predict to you, the oil-producing countries will drop the price of oil," Clinton said, speaking at the Manchester YWCA. "They will once again assume, once the cost pressure is off, Americans and our political process will recede." --HRC, in Manchester IA.

Sure. Old King Fahd will issue the orders, and the very next day!!! the price will be cut.

There's plenty to fear about an HRC Presidency. But the President's knowledge of Econ 101 ain't one of them.

Ironies in Green Bay Pre-Game Blather

So the Radio Sports Guys were chattering (indoors--it wasn't the cold) about the upcoming Bears game on 620. I tuned in around 9:15 AM, and one or the other of them made the following points within the next 25 minutes:

1) Mike McCarthy is always able to get the team "up" for each game they play.

2) The special teams are really, really, really good.

Talk about jinx-by-mouth!

Charlie Wilson's War: More Lefty Propaganda

It's kinda cute, it is certainly instructive, and it's more Lefty propaganda.

Conservative officials who served in the Reagan administration are upset by the left-wing slant of the new movie about the covert action program that helped Afghan guerrillas defeat the Soviet army during the 1980s

The Reagan-era officials said the movie promotes the left-wing myth that the CIA-led operation funded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ultimately produced the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Bin Laden, the officials said, never got CIA funding or weapons, and was not directly involved in Islamist extremist activities until years after the Afghan operation ended after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989.

The movie also erred by showing Mr. Wilson and his CIA collaborator, Gust Avrakotos, as enthusiastic backers of supplying advanced U.S. Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the Afghan rebels

And, by the way, it wasn't just "Good Time Charlie":

"Senior people in the Reagan administration, the president, [CIA Director] Bill Casey, [Defense Secretary Caspar] Weinberger and their aides deserve credit for the successful Afghan covert action program, not just Charlie Wilson," Mr. Ikle said in an interview

Surprise, surprise. Hollywood produces a factually-inaccurate movie.

Next thing you know, they'll be claiming that Joe McCarthy was wrong (and served on the HUAC, too.)

HT: John Lott

The Blessing of Obama

Never thought about it this way, but the Captain's right.

It wouldn't convince me to vote for Barack Obama, but his rise in American politics has had at least one salutary effect. It has marginalized Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, two long-time race-baiters and both former Presidential candidates in their own right.

...Obama, with his post-civil-rights, post-Jim Crow upbringing doesn't bring the fire and brimstone to the political arena that they do. Jealousy plays a larger part than they'll admit, though, because Samuels reports that Obama has not sought them out in this campaign, no doubt angry himself after the remarks made by Jackson and Young during the campaign

About time that the 1960's were buried.

RIP, Doc

He was all that the obit said he was--and more.

There was a lot to say about William C. Curtis as a doctor.

But it wasn't Curtis' medical accomplishments that his family and friends wanted to talk about Sunday as they remembered him.

It was his personal warmth, unbounded curiosity and generous spirit, and his joy in being a father and grandfather - and an Irishman

One of the "good guys."

We'll miss him.

Requiescat in pace.

$100 Million in Cuts?

More on the "if-come" State budget slop. We'll see all kinds of magic tricks to make this happen.

State government agencies must return $100 million in unspent funds on June 30 - an edict that has them not filling hundreds of jobs, reorganizing and preparing for possible layoffs.

The $100 million is needed to guarantee that state government will close its books with a surplus. Without the transfers, the $66.9 million budget surplus projected for June 30 would be erased. The surplus would help build up the state's contingency fund for future emergencies.

Oh, yah, and there's that minor Constitutional mandate for a "balanced" budget. Note that the article does NOT mention the ongoing structural deficit of $2.4 billion (GAAP).

And then there's THIS little factoid:

The $100 million savings will only slow - and not reduce - the 6.6% projected overall growth in state spending, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

The horrific, blood-in-the-streets effects?

After Dec. 31, for example, La Crosse-area taxpayers will not be able to pick up tax forms, or get help filing their taxes, because the Revenue Department office in that city will close, Beil [the State employees' Union Boss] said.

Taxpayers also will miss the 18 other regional Revenue Department offices scheduled to close by the end of 2010, he said.

Somehow, I don't think a lack of Revenooers will be quite as awful as Marty does.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

For Folkbum and Tim Rock

G K Chesterton spoke of you:

The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why.

See! He's a nice guy!

HT: What's Wrong With the World


Say it ain't so:

Just in time for Christmas, it turns out that Big Chocolate has been playing the Grinch. Canadian antitrust authorities have charged in a lawsuit that the Canadian branches of Hershey, Mars, and Nestlé have been conspiring to set prices for the last five years. The regulators have evidence of collusion in the form of affidavits from parties involved, as well as e-mail and printed documents.

So THAT'S what happened to the Christmas budget.

HT: Oligopoly Watch

Merry Christmas from Fred

Go here.

Classy. Genuine.


Pix That Changed America: Doyle's Dilemma

In the last 15 years, there have been three "watershed" events, recorded in pictures and videos, which have crept into the American consciousness and have changed forever the perceived relationship between The Government and The Governed.

First was the Clinton/Reno incineration-obliteration of the Branch Davidians at Waco in 1993:

Next was the Clinton/Reno INS-SWAT team siezure of Elian Gonzales in Miami:

And finally (link below), the brutalizing of a New Orleans woman whose 6-gun was siezed by the New Orleans Police Department after she told them she had the gun for self-protection following Katrina:

All these events (plus the FBI's "mistaken" execution of a woman holding a baby at Ruby Ridge) have had an impact--reflected in a bill now before the Wisconsin State Senate.
The bill cakewalked through the Assembly, 84-13.
State lawmakers want to clip the power of the governor and local officials to seize people's guns during emergencies, saying that authority could trample the rights of citizens.
The governor, the adjutant general who runs the Wisconsin National Guard and local officials have long been able to exercise emergency powers during disasters or civil unrest. The bill would prohibit those officials from using their emergency powers to "restrict the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display or use of firearms or ammunition."
Reps Colon, Kessler, Richards, Sinicki, Travis, and Young were among those voting "No."
Although this should be a no-brainer for Doyle (even Russ Decker wants it passed through the Senate quickly,) Doyle's spokescritter issued the usual double-talk:
"We really need to understand the implications of curtailing the powers of emergency management during a time of crisis," Vigue said.
That's not what the bill says, of course:
Gunderson said his bill would not curb the normal powers of the police because they would be able to do the same things during emergencies that they can do during other times. Officers could set up roadblocks to stop traffic if needed, which would prevent everyone - including those transporting firearms - from getting into specific areas, he said.
You can believe what your eyes tell you (above.) Or you can believe Freddy Kessler & Co.
Just remember the Party affiliation common to New Orleans' Mayor, Bill Clinton, and Fred Kessler.
More important, remember the REAL purpose of the Second Amendment.
It ain't about hunting, folks.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fred Goes All Sissy

This is sad.

A gusty winter storm set to hit Iowa this afternoon caused Fred Thompson’s lagging campaign to call it quits until after Christmas.

...After the Mason City event, instead of heading south toward Des Moines, Thompson’s bus turned north toward Minneapolis “to get away from the storm,” says Thompson spokesman Darrel Ng. They hope to hop a flight to Thompson’s HQ in Virginia later today. Mr. Thompson, who has languished in the polls, expects to resume his trek through Iowa Dec. 26. He plans to make up the missed events then.

Quick calls to the other candidates with appearances in Iowa today finds most of them undeterred by the expected 5 inches to 8 inches of snow with wind gusts of 40 miles per hour.

Look, Fred, I know you're a Southern boy and all. But up North, us Yanks know how to plow roads and drive through minor inconveniences like 5-8 inches.

Whassamatta you? Find a 4WD and drive on, bro.

Huckabee's Strange Pal

From Bonfire:

...we have another problematic report about Huckabee: he plans to preach this Sunday at Cornerstone Church, pastored by Rev. John Hagee. What's wrong with Hagee? Well, two things: one, he's virulently anti-Catholic, and moreover, he's gone over the deep end with his enthusiasm for the Old Testament and our Jewish brothers and sisters, to the point that he said, in a recent book, In Defense of Israel, some very odd things about our Lord--such as, "Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah." Well, as you might imagine, that didn't go down so well with Evangelicals, so Hagee has done some verbal dancing about a "failure to communicate"--which is pretty laughable under the circumstances

A Dispensationalist? That's sorta like Joe Farah of WND, although Farah never (to my knowledge) disputed the mission of Christ. Wacky.

But the Huckster has other problems with his faith, too.

Some years back, there were great battles in the Southern Baptist Convention between "conservatives" and "moderates"--or "liberals" as their opponents called them. Folks in the SBC were fighting to keep their huge denomination from following the path taken by the United Church of Christ, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and to a lesser degree, the Methodists. (The current agonies of the Anglican Communion are instructive.)

So where, according to Novak, did Huckabee stand? "Huckabee embraced the liberal church establishment to become president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention."

The Novak story matters more than it otherwise might, precisely because Huckabee clearly tilts liberal on a number of other issues: he hiked taxes substantially in Arkansas, he talks about more spending, he sounds dovish on Iran, and he's gone to war with the Club for Growth, which is probably the leading free-enterprise/small-government advocacy group.

More and more this guy smells and looks like a Centrist Democrat. Cute, but...why vote for him if he's labeled (R)?

Local Weather: Too Local for Me

What's the deal with the local weather shows?

Turn to any of them, and what you get is local, indeed. Waaaayyyy local.

You'll be lucky to see an Upper Midwest shot, or even a State-wide shot.

Not that long ago, the local weather folks plotted out United States maps with "L" and "H" systems, upper-wind graphics, and stuff like that, by which you could see such arcana as temperatures and likely (or occurring) precipitation in the rest of the country--you know, OUR country: the USA.

Then you could actually plan intelligently for air travel--or discuss the weather conditions with friends or relatives who live outside the 4-county Milwaukee area.

Now, they tell you the temperature in Waukesha, as distinguished from the temperature in Brookfield, or Cudahy, or Whitefish Bay.


I think it's a plot to dumb down Americans.

And it works!! Remember that beauty queen who could not place South Carolina on a US map (or whatever...)--it's because the Weather Guys no longer put full-size US maps in the forecasts.

Dear Weather Guys: we all have friends in other States. We all travel to other States.


And don't tell me to tune in the Weather Channel, which now specializes in GoreBaloney and reruns of hurricanes from 1976--another facet of the Dumb-Down Plot.

GWB Has a Chance to Be A Hero

Would be a good thing to do, Mr. President!

The White House threatened yesterday to cancel thousands of pet projects that Congress inserted into a massive spending bill before leaving town this week, a move that could provoke a fierce battle with lawmakers in both parties who jealously guard their ability to steer money to favored purposes.

At an end-of-the-year news conference, President Bush chastised Democratic leaders for failing to live up to their campaign promise to curb so-called earmarks and said he has ordered his budget director "to review options for dealing with the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill." Aides later said those options would include simply disregarding earmarks not included in binding legislative language

You're several years late to the party, Mr. President, but it's nice to see you here.

Lunacy of the Left

Now and then, it's good to recall how wacky the Left really is.

If an organization is getting most of its funding from public, governmental sources, then it ought to be beholden to the rules and mores codified in state and federal law. Otherwise all the arguments for "separation of church and state" being thrown around by opponents to the Plan B laws are rendered the hideously hypocritical bleats we've long suspected they were.

A hospital wishing to turn their noses up at the law should cease accepting public funding, period. Otherwise, there is simply no excuse for forcing a rape victim to jump through a series of hoops to get EC. It's about as uncharitable and uncaring as you can get.

That unhinged declamation from a "Plan B" proponent who wishes to force Catholic doctors and hospitals to provide abortion-on-demand (Plan B) to rape victims. She claims to be arguing merits against the erstwhile P-Mac. Yah, well...

Setting aside pragmatic considerations like...oh...taking Covenant's entire system out of the health-care business in Milwaukee (not to mention St. Mary's), which might produce a "health-care crisis" of truly apocalyptic proportions, let's examine the core of her "argument."

Precisely, the discussion IS about State (not Federal) law, Emily. But prior to 'legislation' is the State's Constitution. Under that document (which supercedes legislation, as you may recall from Civics 101) no mere State law can force anyone to perform an act against his/her religious principles.

Here's the language:

Under Article 1, Section 18 of the state constitution “any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience” shall not be permitted.

AB377, as currently written, WILL "interfere with the rights of conscience" in some cases. Not all--but some.

Emily claims to ascribe to that Constitutional provision:

...just as I believe that no one should dictate what religion I should or should not follow, I also believe that no one should force someone to do something that goes against their beliefs

....which is good.

But don't confuse Constitutional protections with spite, Emily. That doesn't create good public policy. Merely fix AB377 so that it comports with the State Constitution.

And if you want to close all the Catholic hospitals and get rid of all the Catholic doctors and nurses, go ahead.

I dare you.

Terror and Drugs: Married

Not that this is a revelation or anything...

Well, for those who have argued there is no smoking gun linking the Taliban to opium production, the jig is now up. NATO forces discovered 11 tons of processed opium in a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, meaning the opium was at the stage where it can be converted to heroin on about a one-to-one ratio. In other words, it was almost 11 tons of heroin.

This explains in large part, as I have written about over the past year, why the Taliban and the Arab/foreign fighters allied with them, have greatly increased their firepower and tactical and communications capabilities.

This is only the latest sign of the merging pipelines and blurring of the distinctions with terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. The great equalizer in this is the drug trade, which offers relatively easy access to huge amounts of money. Few seem able to resist it, from the thugs running Burma to the Central American gangs and criminal groups that control the Central America-Mexico pipeline

Umnnnhhh, yah.

The question: does one attempt to eliminate the markets (drug-users), the pipelines (via interceptions) or the sources (farmers)? All of them?

Once that decision is made, the next question: How?

HT: Counterterrorism Blog

The Warning Flag is Flown by Kasriel

Paul Kasriel at Northern Trust (an economist who is decidedly NOT a political shill) is predicting a recession, giving a 65% probability.

His model has never, ever, shown a false positive--and it's a simple two-indicator model.

Timing is everything. Generally, this country votes its wallet...

Democrats Think You Are Stupid...

In a case of "projection," Queen Nancy and Dirtball Harry Reid think you'll swallow this one, too.

In a letter to President Bush on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged him "to make every effort to ensure" that the 23 million families who will benefit from AMT relief "receive their refund in a timely manner."

Yah, well, but...

It wasn't until Wednesday of this week -- the very last minute -- that Congress finally passed a temporary fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax, a levy that increasingly ensnares the middle class.

The New York Times reported on Dec. 5 that the delay in passing the AMT fix was already endangering a "smooth start" to the tax filing season. According to that Dec. 5 report, the main problem is reprogramming I.R.S. computers: "The agency's protocol calls for seven weeks to analyze changes in tax law, write the software code and test it, as well as notify all the tax professionals and others affected," the New York Times reported.

Never mind THAT, says the Queen:

"On October 30, 2007, the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional tax-writing committees wrote to Acting Internal Revenue Service [Director] Linda E. Stiff to notify her that Congress would soon act on our AMT legislation," Pelosi and Reid wrote to Bush on Thursday.

"This letter also provided specific details about this legislation so the IRS could prepare to process 2007 returns." The tax-writing committees urged the IRs "to take all steps necessary to plan for changes that would be made by this legislation," Pelosi and Reid said.

Sure. So the IRS should have committed 7 weeks' analysis/programming/testing payroll dollars to a "we'll actually do this sometime" promise from the Queen and Dirty Harry?

Sorta like how the Queen and Dirty Harry followed through on getting the US out of Iraq, hey.

Friday, December 21, 2007

NRA Member? STILL Undecided Primary Voter?

Then go here, and get to the 2:00 mark (or so.)


Wrapping Gifts, and Practical Men's Example


This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper. If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so:

"And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:
1. They were wise.
2. They were men.

--Dave Barry, quoted in The Ironic Catholic

There is, of course, a contrarian reading of the text.

COUNTERPOINT, by the Ironic Catholic:

It has been said that a critical reading of Matthew argues that the Magi, being "wise men," did not wrap the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh given to the Christ child; ergo, Christmas givers should not wrap their gifts as well.

A historical-critical interpretation of the text, as licensed by Dei Verbum, yields an important counterpoint: there was no wrapping paper in 1st century Palestine. The precious nature of papyrus did not lend itself to one-time use. Let's face it, people weren't pounding reeds on rocks, painfully extracting the fibers, and drying them into paper to wrap anything.

However, the practice of wrapping gifts is evidenced in other sections of the Bible. For example, in Genesis 43, the gifts of silver, honey, spices, and myrhh that Joseph's brothers brought to him in Egypt were wrapped in sacks. In Genesis 24:53, "Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah", the text clearly implies that the gifts came out of a container, perhaps, a gift box, by the verb "brought out."

Finally, we can agree that the greatest gift the world has known is Jesus Christ. And what did the Blessed Mother do? "She wrapped him in swaddling clothes...."

If Jesus was wrapped, so should we wrap our Christmas gifts, because...
1. The Blessed Mother was wise.
2. She was a woman.

I don't have to point out that The Ironic Catholic is a female, do I?

My exegesis, (NOT licensed by Dei Verbum, nor any responsible churchman)

We've ignored the very practical question by discussing "wrappings." It's how you SEAL the wrappings that counts.

Now when we examine the Saints highlighted in the Gospels, we find very practical people: Peter, a fisherman; John the Baptist (lived on locusts and honey); Luke, an MD; and Matthew, a tax-collector.

In contrast, the Gospel does not look with favor on the 'societal elites,'--Scribes, Pharisees, etc., who were fashionable folks.

Fashionable folks wrap--as do practical ones. It's the FASTENING that counts. Given what we know about practical people, we can reach only one conclusion:

Seal your wrapped gift with DUCT TAPE!!!