Friday, February 29, 2008

Baptized Catholic Lately?

Well, better check the script used by your baptizer. Seriously.

Made public today were the responses of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to two questions concerning the validity of Baptism conferred with certain non-standard formulae.

The first question is: "Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier', or 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'"?

The second question is: "Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised 'in forma absoluta'?"

The responses are: "To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative"

In other words, (regarding the second question) the baptism was NOT valid and must be done again.

With the proper formula.


Roma locuta est, causa finita est.

HT: In the Light

Assembly Pubbies on the Right Path

Here's a bit of good news:

Wisconsin lawmakers are debating whether to lift the state's 25-year moratorium on new nuclear power plants, with backers arguing it will shore up the energy supply and combat global warming.

Backed by business groups, the Republican-controlled Assembly is advancing a bill that would allow the Public Service Commission to again consider plans to build nuclear power plants. The chamber gave preliminary approval to the plan early Thursday after no debate but Democratic critics delayed a final vote.

The plan would repeal a 1983 law that outlaws the construction of such plants unless they are shown to save ratepayers money and a federal repository for nuclear waste is operating. The law, enacted after the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident, has essentially acted as a ban.

The plan will not become law this session given opposition by Democrats who control the Senate and Gov. Jim Doyle. But approval in the Assembly would be significant and escalate a debate over the safety of nuclear power and the best ways to provide energy for Wisconsin residents.

The flappayappa over "saving ratepayer money" will be moot in about 3 years or so as the price of natural gas and coal continues to rise. In fact, the irresponsible and unwarranted use of natural gas to create electricity will be a VERY in that timeframe, as the demand bids up the price of a resource which is no longer easy to find in the USA--thus increasing heating bills for many Wisconsin residents.

As to a suitable dumping spot for used nuke fuel: how about Jim Doyle's office? He nukes all kinds of good ideas and can always use more ammo.

The Coming Iraqi Disaster

Despite this from the Chair, Joint Chiefs:

The Joint Chiefs chairman has a word of warning to Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: A rapid of withdrawal from Iraq would lead to a "chaotic situation" and would "turnaround the gains we have achieved, and struggled to achieve, and turn them around overnight.

...the Iraqis will have a "chaotic situation" and [a reversal of] "the gains we have achieved" no matter WHEN the US forces depart.

The reason?

In a move that could be the most enduring imprint of U.S. influence in the Arab world, American military officials in Baghdad have begun a crash program to outfit the entire Iraqi army with M-16 rifles.

The Colt M-16 and its baby brother, the M-4, are some of the least reliable battle weapons on the face of the Earth. While the AK is not exactly a target rifle (to be kind), it DOES fire every time one pulls the trigger, no matter when it was last cleaned and oiled.

The M-16 gets pneumonia when the enemy sneezes, unless you clean and lube the damnfool thing every 30 minutes or so.

Too bad for the Iraqis. We will have earned their dislike when this deal is complete.

By the way, the Confederate Yankee discovered something else in his perambulations 'cross the 'net in pursuit of the question "Why"?

Colt had relied on a series of lobbyists in Washington, but now Keys, a decorated veteran who played an important role in the 1991 Gulf War, has taken on more of those responsibilities himself.

"I knew a lot of guys up on the Hill," he said, referring to Congress. Among those is Rep. John Murtha, the powerful Pennsylvanian who is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

Keys is the CEO of Colt Arms, which just happens to have a Pentagon M-16 contract.

Bloodlust in the Assembly

There are, perhaps, only 50 people in the State of Wisconsin who are so barbaric, bloodthirsty, and uncivilized that they endorse partial-birth abortion--which is, esssentially, dismembering a baby as it is born, piece by piece, to prevent "live" birth.

Here are 38 of those 50:

Wisconsin Representatives Berceau, Benedict, Black, Boyle, Colon, Fields, Garthwaite, Grigsby, Gronemus, Hegl, Hintz, Hilgenberg, Hraychuck, Kessler, Kreuser, Mason, Molepske, Parisi, Nelson, Pocan, Pope-Roberts, Richards, Schneider, Seidel, Sheridan, Sherman, Shilling, Sinicki,
Smith, Soletski, Steinbrink, Toles, Travis, Turner, Vruwink, Wasserman, Young, Zepnick.

The list is blood-red for a reason. One hopes that NONE of these vampires is EVER invited to ANY Catholic church, school, or college to speak, except if wearing sackcloth and ashes, and they are loudly repenting.

By the way, isn't "Doctor" Wasserman running for a Senate seat whose population is (generally) civilized?

Will Slams McPain

You think the Conservatives are restless? Here's a blast from George Will:

Although his campaign is run by lobbyists; and although his dealings with lobbyists have generated what he, when judging the behavior of others, calls corrupt appearances; and although he has profited from his manipulation of the taxpayer-funding system that is celebrated by reformers -- still, he probably is innocent of insincerity. Such is his towering moral vanity, he seems sincerely to consider it theoretically impossible for him to commit the offenses of appearances that he incessantly ascribes to others.

Not exactly love and kisses, eh?

Little Freddie Pounds His Gavel

At some point in time, Little Freddie Risser will be overcome.

Thursday, Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) attempted to force a vote on the bill on the Senate floor. Within six seconds of Senator Leibham's request the Democrats who control the Senate motioned to adjourn the meeting and gaveled it to a close.

Leibham accuses the Democrats of running from a vote. "Right now the Senate Democrats are standing in the way of allowing the citizens of Wisconsin to vote on the issue," Leibham said.

Senate President Fred Risser (D-Madison), who gaveled the meeting to a close tells Newsradio 620 WTMJ that procedurally, the motion to adjourn the meeting took precedence over Senator Leibham's motion for a vote on the bill.

That would be the "Voter ID" amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution--favored by roughly 75% of Wisconsin residents.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Header Quote

I don't really like large headers. On the other hand, there are some quotes which simply must be quoted, often, and publicly.

So I added one from WFB today, stolen from The Caveman.

Serious Discussion of "Sing to the Lord"

When the Bishops released their newest proclamation about music in worship, it was evident that "two hands" wrote the thing--with one being that of 'Americus', the other of 'Universalis.'

William Mahrt, President of the Church Music Ass'n of America, essays upon this half-way document in the current issue of Sacred Music. Some excerpts:

[Sing to the Lord] ...was approved by the bishops’ conference at their meeting last November. It had been the subject of consultation in October 2006,[2] and had been redrafted extensively. At the actual meeting, according to a report of Helen Hitchcock in Adoremus Bulletin,[3] the bishops reviewed over four hundred amendments, but they voted on the document without seeing the amended text. Originally it was proposed as binding liturgical law for the United States, which would have required Vatican confirmation, but it was decided not to present it as binding law but only as recommendation, thus avoiding the necessity of submitting it to the Vatican.

As you will see below, there's good reason for 'not submitting it to the Vatican.' By the way, keep "not submitting" in mind...

There are distinct improvements over the previous document, most notably, that it takes seriously the existing liturgical legislation. There are copious citations from major sources of liturgical law.[4] Yet these citations often seem to be imposed upon a document already written without them, and some authoritative statements, after being cited, are ignored in subsequent discussion...

Therein is Mahrt's genteel reference to the "alia.....alia" nature of the document.

One of the most positive and fundamental statements in the document is that the priest celebrant[5] should sing the most important parts that pertain to him. “The importance of the priest’s participation in the liturgy, especially by singing, cannot be overemphasized” In my opinion, this is the lynchpin of a successful sung liturgy. When the priest sings his parts, the parts of congregation and choir fall naturally into place as integral parts of an organic whole. When the priest speaks these parts, the parts the congregation and choir sing seem to be less integral to the liturgy. That the parts are all sung gives them a continuity that binds them together into a coherent liturgy

Following this is a discussion of 'three degrees' of congregational singing at Mass and its successor (licit or not) the concept of "progressive solemnity." What makes this interesting is Mahrt's insistence that a strictly-spoken Mass is totally undesirable--an echo of the norms for the Extraordinary Rite, which was honored mostly in the breach in the US and Western Europe.

As a practical matter, progressive solemnity may be useful; the gradual introduction of sung parts is a much more realistic strategy than the sudden imposition of a completely sung service upon an unsuspecting congregation. Yet, there is good reason to be consistent about which pieces are sung from day to day, and the differentiation of the solemnity of days should be achieved principally through the kind of music employed, rather than how much. As a matter of principle, I would suggest that “progressive solemnity” does not properly serve the sung liturgy, since it omits the singing of certain parts of the Mass which should and could be sung and thus gives up on the achievement of a completely sung service. The result is what I have called the “middle Mass,” neither high nor low, in which the beautiful and purposeful differences between the musical parts of the Mass are overshadowed by the more obvious differences between the spoken and sung parts

Another positive statement and a distinct improvement in the present document is the acknowledgement of the role of Gregorian chant, quoting the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which gives chant “pride of place in liturgical services,” (SttL ¶72)[7] and citing the council’s mandate that the faithful be able to sing the Ordinary of the Mass together in Latin

Here's the "on the other hand" offset:

The normative status of chant is, however, qualified by citing the council’s “other things being equal.”

...This is, of course, a problem that is wider than the present document. Ever since Musicam Sacram (1967), the admission of alius cantus aptus, “the anthrax in the envelope” according to Lazlo Dobszay, any other suitable song in place of the proper chants, has meant in practice the virtual abandonment of the Gregorian propers

I posted the above for the outstanding simile therein.

On the other hand, the following shows one of the faults of ICEL: its incredible hubris.

A particular case in point has to do with the texts of introits and communions. The texts in the Graduale Romanum are not the same as those of the Missale Romanum, and it is those of the missal which are printed in the disposable missals used in the parishes. I have often been asked, “Where can I find the Gregorian chants for the introits and communions in the missal?” The answer is, you cannot find them, because they were provided for use in spoken Masses only.

What that means in practice is that if your choir director wants to sing the Gregorian Chant texts for a given Sunday Mass, those texts will NOT match the texts found in your basic missalette. ICEL simply decided that they didn't like those texts, I guess...

The bishops were to have voted upon a proposal to amend the American text of the GIRM to prescribe the texts of the Graduale Romanum for all sung settings, but for some reason, this proposal was withdrawn.

Regarding the above, the injunction to "follow the money" applies in spades. ICEL holds copyrights to the Missale text translations, not to Graduale translations. Publishers have a large investment in Missale text, not Graduale text. Duhhh.

One is grateful that the place of the organ is asserted: among instruments, it is accorded “pride of place” (¶87). It is praised for its role in accompanying congregational singing, improvisation to accompany the completion of a liturgical action, and playing the great repertory of organ literature, whether for the liturgy or for sacred concerts. The recommendation of other instruments, however, raises a few questions....

...The wider issue that this raises is the suitability of other instruments. The document does not state the principle reason for the priority of the organ: it is primarily a sacred instrument. Other instruments do not share that distinction. A citation of Old Testament usage of “cymbals, harps, lyres, and trumpets” (¶89) begs the question of their associations in the present culture. The document proceeds to allow “wind, stringed, or percussion instruments . . . according to longstanding local usage, provided they are truly apt for sacred use or can be rendered apt” (¶90).[12] This avoids the vexed issue of whether instruments with strong associations with popular music, such as those of a rock band, but even the piano, are really apt for sacred use.

The Bishops simply will not specifically exclude banjos, tambourines, and guitars. This is a failure of nerve, if not of intellectual analysis.

There are, alas, some more negative aspects to the document, most of which are survivals from Music in Catholic Worship. Perhaps the most pervasive of these is the anthropocentric focus upon the action of the congregation and its external participation, rather than being in balance with a theocentric focus upon giving glory to God.

Not too surprising. The LiturgyWonkEstablishment is highly invested in 'horizontalism'--man as the measure--and many of our Bishops, frankly, don't know any better.

I would have said that music has three functions in the liturgy, to give glory to God, to enhance the beauty and sacredness of the liturgy, and to assist in the aedifcation of the faithful. But a quotation of the purpose of music from the council is even more succinct: “the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful.”[15] Both of these things are theocentric, the first focusing upon the object of what we do, the second focusing upon what God does for us. Neither focuses only upon what we do.

Did I say 'man as the measure'?

And for egregious errors, nothing beats what Mahrt finds here:

The discussion of the musical judgment is concluded by a serious misquotation of the Second Vatican Council. “The church has not adopted any particular style of art as her own” (SC ¶123), concluding that the church freely welcomes various styles of music to the liturgy. There are two things wrong with this statement: it comes from the chapter on sacred art and was said about art and architecture. The church has not adopted Romanesque or Gothic or any other style as canonical, but when it comes to music, the church has acknowledged the priority of Gregorian chant and to a lesser degree polyphony. These are styles and they do have priority.

Well, perhaps in another 20 years, we'll have a statement which Rome actually will approve. You should live that long--it will be worth the wait.

WFB: More Than "A Conservative"

From a memoir by Patrick Deneen.

I have a fond personal memory of Buckley - a time he was among a group of five representatives of various religious traditions were gathered by Princeton University's "Center for Human Values" to discuss the amorphous topic of "Mind, Faith, Spirit". Guided by Bill Moyers, the assemblage was clearly intended to reach a consensus that religion was wholly a personal and individual matter, and that one's belief should have no bearing on the public life of a nation. Buckley, as one would expect, refused to play nice. He began by announcing that "I may be a little bit of an imposter in this distinguished panel, because I'm sort of ridden with belief." In response to views that it was possible to believe in God but understand and sympathize with those who believe otherwise, he said, "The Ten Commandments say, 'Thou shalt not place other gods in my house,' and the Lord's prayer has in it the phrase, 'lead us not into temptation.' Could you understand by asking that you not be led into temptation that you be spared the seductiveness of other gods?" And, lastly (not in the transcript, but firmly burned in my memory), to the question whether religious belief necessitated rejection of belief other than one's own (which, of course, every other member of the panel dismissed out of hand as an unthinkable suggestion), Buckley replied: "As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I hold the Creed of my Church to be true, which means by definition that the belief of any other religion in contradiction to that Creed must be categorically false." I believe it was the first time, and possibly the last, that the word "true" was used in an event sponsored by the "University Center for Human Values" without implied or gesticulated scare quotes. I became instantly aware on that day the ramrod backbone it took to write a book like "God and Man at Yale" in 1951 and to found "The National Review" in 1955. He was a man of courage and independence, and we could use more of his kind. RIP

That word, "true", describes Buckley's project, even though it was characterized as "fusionism." Buckley focused on what is true, and let the chips fall where they may.

Amen. Requiescat in pace.

The Donkey: Greenspan

Just in case you still don't understand, this from Ritholtz, as he writes a reality-based speech for Ben Bernanke, which will NEVER be delivered:

Following the dot com implosion, my predecessor at the Fed slashed rates to a generational low of 1%; the FOMC then kept rates at 1% for over a year.

While that re-inflated the economy, it also set off a shock wave of inflation unseen since the 1970s. Houses doubled in price, Oil is up 5 fold, food stuffs have tripled, and the dollar has collapsed. Gold is at multi-decade highs.

...The weakening dollar -- now at levels last seen in the 1960s -- is forcing all dollar denominated commodities higher.

Greenspan's answer to everything was "mo' money, man." Greenspan's penchant for printing USD's will be legendary, although it will more than likely earn him a place in the Hall of Shame from our children and grandchildren.

Not even the politicians, now trying to buy re-election with their bogus "rebate" can out-whore Greenspan's opus. But rest assured, that "rebate" will only further devalue the USD and increase inflation--not to mention the tax-bill downstream.

Twenty Percent Learning Disabilities?

Back.....WAY time, when we attended a grade school (heated by burning wooly-mammoth chips), the incidence of "learning disabilities" was about zero.

There were kids who did not WANT to learn, and those who learned slowly. They fit into the typical bell-curve. Some did well, some did not, most did OK.

Now we read this:

The researchers surveyed samples of parents from both groups and reported that 18.2% of the MPS parents said their children had learning disabilities, while 8.7% of voucher parents said so.

(This was the research used to establish "baselines" in comparing MPCP with the MPS.)

Near TWENTY PERCENT of MPS kiddies are "learning disabled"?

We all know that "LD" means "extra revenue" for school districts, so there's an interest in establishing kids as "LD".

One wonders what, exactly, constitutes "LD"?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

B-16 on "Kingdom" Talk

Rich Leonardi did the work--I'm just re-posting this passage from B-16's book Jesus of Nazareth. It's a wonderful and concise reprimand of the "kingdom"-talk found in various spots in Latin America and the USA.

Since that time, a secularist reinterpretation of the idea of the Kingdom has gained considerable ground, particularly, though not exclusively, in Catholic theology. This reinterpretation propounds a new view of Christianity, religions, and history in general, and it claims that such a radical refashioning will enable people to reappropriate Jesus' supposed message. It is claimed that in the pre-Vatican II period, "ecclesiocentrism" was the dominant position: The Church was represented as the center of Christianity. Then there was a shift to Christocentrism, to the doctrine that Christ is the center of everything. But it is not only the Church that is divisive -- so the argument continues -- since Christ belongs exclusively to Christians. Hence the further step from Christocentrism to theocentrism. This has allegedly brought us closer to the community of religions, but our final goal continues to elude us, since even God can be a cause of division between religions and between people.

Therefore, it is claimed, we must now move toward "regnocentrism," that is, toward the centrality of the Kingdom. This at last, we are told, is the heart of Jesus' message, and it is also the right formula for finally harnessing mankind's positive energies and directing them toward the world's future. "Kingdom," on this interpretation, is simply the name for a world governed by peace, justice, and the conservation of creation. It also means no more than this. This "Kingdom" is said to be the goal of history that has to be attained. [See, for example, the "Omega" stuff of DeChardin as a launch-pad for this.] This is supposedly the real task of religions: to work together for the coming of the "Kingdom." They are of course perfectly free to preserve their traditions and live according to their respective identities as well, but they must bring their different identities to bear on the common task of building the "Kingdom," a world, in other words, where peace, justice, and respect for creation are the dominant values.

This sounds good; it seems like a way of finally enabling the whole world to appropriate Jesus' message, but without requiring missionary evangelization of other religions. It looks as if now, at long last, Jesus' words have gained some practical content, because the establishment of the "Kingdom" has become a common task and is drawing nigh. On closer examination, though, it seems suspicious. Who is to say what justice is? What serves justice in particular situations? How do we create peace? On closer inspection, this whole project proves to be utopian dreaming without any real content, except insofar as its exponents tacitly presuppose some partisan doctrine as the content that all are required to accept.

But the main thing that leaps out is that God has disappeared; man is the only actor left on the stage. The respect for religious "traditions" claimed by this way of thinking is only apparent. The truth is that they are regarded as so many sets of customs, which people should be allowed to keep, even though they ultimately count for nothing. Faith and religions are now directed toward political goals. Only the organization of the world counts. Religion matters insofar as it can serve that objective. This post-Christian vision of faith and religion is disturbingly close to Jesus' third temptation.

Now "man is the measure," in this neat sketch of paradise-on-earth. It's not new, and it never worked before; it's the genesis of that 'relativism' about which B-16 continually warns.

You know, this guy is REALLY good at surveying history and making it simple and accessible...

The Summary: "Hell, We Don't Know, and Can't Find Out"

If you read the Police Department report on voting irregularities in the City of Milwaukee, it won't take long for you to assess it just like my headline does.

The City's Election Commission workforce was populated by dolts, rummies, idiots, clucks, wonzos, schlemiels, schlamazzels, bedwetters, nincompoops, and convicted felons (!)--and it's entirely possible that a number of them wilfully and knowingly violated various Wisconsin laws regarding eligibility for voting.

But recordkeeping and Downtown errors are so numerous and egregious that there's no way to determine what actually happened, with a few exceptions.

We are not surprised. A friend who is a lifelong Democrat and resident of the City (and a good guy, overall) was as non-chalant as could be when we discussed the problem a couple of years ago--his entire take on the matter was "A few votes here and there, what's the difference"?

That's the Democrat Party mindset--"who cares?"

Stadium Sales Tax: Your Grandchildren Will Pay

This goes on forever, just like many predicted.

A Miller Park stadium district financial consultant said Tuesday that because of recent and significant declines in sales-tax revenue, the stadium sales tax may have to be extended beyond 2014.

The 0.1% stadium sales tax was first enacted in 1996 and is paid by residents living in Racine, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties.

The high-handed enactment, featuring Tommy Thompson's "Stick It To 'Em" screech, cost one Legislator his job, too...a well-deserved recall.

Next "projection": 2017. Twenty-one years.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not in MY County, Lena!

Ms Taylor may well be the next Milwaukee County Executive. (Vote fraud, folks...)

At any rate, she likes the 'take your money' approach:

Taylor also said "yes," when asked whether she'd support extending the stadium sales tax to help pay for local transportation and housing needs when Miller Park borrowing is paid off. The 0.10% stadium tax has been projected to expire in 2014.

Not in Waukesha County, honey.

Maybe in Racine, Washington, Ozaukee, and Milwaukee Counties.

But don't even THINK about "extending" the play-game tax here.

Did "Yoo Hoo, Abp. Dolan" Work?

You be the judge. (Search "Yoo Hoo" on this blog for 4 titles on the topic.)

Here's a 2/25/08 letter from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference regarding AB377 (the "rape/emergency contraception" bill).

"...Since we initially took our position of neutrality, we have never wanted to yield on any of three commitments: 1) compassionate care for women who suffer the tragedy of rape, 2) compassion toward a child, a unique human being with unique DNA, who might have been conceived as a result of that rape and, 3) compassionate concern for all who might be involved in making decisions about emergency contraception, especially our physicians and healthcare workers – their consciences in this matter must be protected. ... Emergency contraception can, at times, amount to abortion, and both reason and our faith tell us that this is never acceptable. About this we must be very clear."

...Construing our initial position of neutrality to be virtually one of support for the passage of this bill could not be farther from the truth ...

...At this important moment we also want to pledge our prayerful support to physicians and health care workers, with the promise that we will stand strongly beside them in the future should the effects of emergency contraception legislation ever threaten the freedom of conscience which belongs to every human person as foundational to his or her religious liberty.

One could construe this as a monitum to the Legislature that the Bishops do NOT support the Bill as currently written (with the elimination of the 'conscience clause' that the Democrats forced through.)

AND that the Bishops will support any legal actions which may arise, on the side of those whose conscience is violated.


HT: The Provincial Emails

How 'Bout Those Nice Muslims?

From the Hats blog:

A good friend of mine was on a committee, made up of Catholics and Muslims, whose purpose was to come up with and propose non-inflammatory language for the Church when discussing Catholic/Muslim relations. (Note to good friend: I know I did a bad job of describing that. Feel free to correct me in the combox.) In the process, she befriended one of the young Muslim men on the committee. He was well educated (in America) and had been very instrumental in keeping the tone of the committee meetings kind and empathetic. He gave her hope for the future.

At the celebratory dinner after there work was done, my friend said to the man, "See? Look what we did. Christians and Muslims can work together and compromise and [I paraphrase badly] live together in peace, harmony and good will."

The man agreed. And then he reached over and grabbed the crucifix that she always wears around her neck, and he held it and looked her in the eyes and said, "But if you came to my country, I would kill you for wearing this."

Fair warning. And with Germany and England rapidly becoming 'Muslim' countries, you might want to re-examine your travel plans for the future.

Hillary in Ohio

From a G K Chesterton blogger. This ain't good for HRC:

As a reminder my primary source of income is as a third shift factory worker in Ohio.

The gender mix on my shift is 75% female of which 80% is over 35. They are fork lift driving, power tool using, tough, independent working woman. This is Hillary country or should be.

March 4th is our primary so election talk is now running through the lunch room along with domestic issues. The guy I was sitting with said he was going to vote for Hillary and before I could talk about the expensive and dangerous socialist policies Hillary is purposing, the woman next to him said, “What are you nuts! You don’t really want a menopausal woman as president. Do you?”

Another woman chimed in, “Yea, she’s all dried up.”Another, “Even if she is not in menopause you can’t have someone PMSing with access to nuclear weapons.”Another, “She can’t even keep her own house in line.”

This went on for little while till a 20 something female said, “Hillary, she’s a democrat right?”

Some interesting points, eh?


Sure, it's a typo.

Unless style rules have changed.

Here's the WSJ's "Washington Wire" commenting on the romances being conducted to gain endorsements (excerpted):

...The New York Times also offered a funny account over the weekend of the courting efforts being used with Richardson, which includes regular phone calls from Obama as well as a recent visit from former Bill Clinton to watch the Super Bowl.

Obviously, "former" should be preceded by the article "the."

All that education.....tsk, tsk.

Bad Guys Around? Here's a Solution

Chambered for the .600 Nitro Express (H&H), available for around $16,750 or so plus shipping. As a matter of interest, the .600 NE round will penetrate 1/2" plate steel at 100 yards.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"The Feds Made Us Do It"--Part Two

The Feds made us.....yah, hey. See previous entry for a lot more detail on the whine and mewl from the American Bankers' Association, often broadcast by the Radio Boyzzz.

So in Chicago:

"The new buyers of a rundown graystone on the South Side showed up Jan. 9 to look at the house they won at a foreclosure auction. They took the plywood off the front door and went inside to make sure the utilities had been shut off. Then they called the police.

Sitting upright in the corner of a bedroom off the kitchen was a human skeleton in a red tracksuit. Next to him lay a dead dog. Neighbors told police the corpse was almost certainly Randy Johnson, a middle-age man who lived alone in the North Kenwood house.

The cause of Johnson's death has not yet been determined, but it is just one of the mysteries about 4578 S. Oakenwald Ave. Somehow, Johnson's house was transferred three times to new owners without anyone noticing he was inside. It's a story involving forged deeds, a corrupt title company and a South Side family that has been under investigation for mortgage fraud."

Umnnnh....anybody ever hear of "compliance" departments in Banks???

Banks: "The Feds Made Us Do It"-- Oh, Really?

One of the memes about the mortgage situation (a meme straight from the Banks' hymnbooks) is "the Feds MADE us do it..." That is, that the Federal bank regulators forced the Banks to make lousy loans.

Not really, folks. Quoting an essay on the implosion problem, Calculated Risk sheds light:

At the loan origination stage of the securitization process, there was a continuous lowering of credit standards, misrepresentations, and outright fraud. Too many mortgage loans, which only benefited the loan brokers, were securitized. This flawed origination process was ignored by the security underwriters, regulators, and ultimate investors. . . .

Note "lowering of credit standards", "misrepresentations," and "outright fraud."

But the key words are in red.

Here's how it plays out.

Notice how, in the first paragraph, we slip in the first two sentences from "the quality of the origination process" (something quite obviously under the control of the originator) to "underwriting guidelines," which in any securitization practice I know of are either outright stipulated by the issuer in all respects (Ginnie Maes, standard-contract Fannies and Freddies, a lot of private pools) or are at best negotiated between lender and issuer (most private pools, some GSE business). Once the guidelines are either published by the issuer or agreed to in negotiation between issuer and originator, then it is indeed the originator's job to meet them.

But a whole lot of these loans that are failing right now were originated as 100% CLTV stated-income loans, because the guidelines agreed to by the issuer allowed that.

In fact, the packagers/re-sellers, not the "Feds" were allowing crap to be called Ivory Soap:

I spent most of the early years of this decade, just as a for instance, blowing my blood pressure to danger levels every time I looked at the underwriting guidelines published by ALS, the correspondent lending division of Lehman. ALS was a leader in the 100% stated income Alt-A junk. And I kept having to look at them because my own Account Executives keep shoving them under my nose and demanding to know how come we can't do that if ALS does it. I'd try something like "because we're not that stupid," and what I'd get is this: "But if ALS can sell those loans, so can we. All we gotta do is rep and warrant that they meet guidelines that Wall Street is dumb enough to publish." Every lender in the boom who sold to the street wrote loans it knew were absurd, but in fact they had been given absurd guidelines to write to. What on earth good did it do to have those originators represent and warrant that they followed underwriting guidelines to the letter, when those guidelines allowed stated income 100% financing on a toxic ARM with a prepayment penalty?


The essential confusion here is between failure to follow responsible guidelines and faithful following of irresponsible guidelines. My sad news for the investment community: a whole lot of what you are suffering from is the latter, not the former.

The "Feds" (do-gooder mortgage regulators) did NOT create, nor enforce "irresponsible guidelines." The slop was written based on guidelines provided by Lehmann, (among others).

But that's not what you'll hear from the Banks as they work over Congress to bail them out of $700++ BILLION in bad loans--at the expense of the taxpayer.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

MD Malpractice Rates: Not Bad, Here


Lowest rates for internists ($3,375), general surgeons ($11,306), and Ob-Gyns ($20.626), are all in Minnesota.

...Besides Minnesota, states ranking in low tier are South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

Interesting--on the other hand, that means that an OB/GYN in Wisconsin pays >$56.00/day to open the doors on his practice, seven days a week.

HT: Overlawyered

Obamamamama: The Next C-in-C??

The Yankee demonstrates just how ...uninformed....the Messiah of Hope really is.

Here's the guy who wants to be the Commander in Chief:

"You know, I've heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon -- supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon," he said. "Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. And as a consequence, they didn't have enough ammunition, they didn't have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief."

Afterwards, the Yankee posted a rejoinder including the following:

--Lieutenants command platoons. Captains command companies

--There has never been a shortage of weapons or ammunition for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. On occasion, American forces (especially Special Forces) have used Soviet weapon designs, but they have done so by choice, not necessity

Now ABC News says they actually spoke with the Captain--and have verified the story told by Obama.

Not quite, according to the Yankee.

The captain confirmed that he was then a lieutenant when he took command of a rifle platoon of 39 men, and that 15 men that platoon were assigned to other units. While many of them ended up being deployed to Iraq as part of other units, that does not equate Obama's assertion that the unit was divided.

We then find out that when this officer "didn't have enough ammunition, they didn't have enough humvees," he was referring to practice ammunition for two kinds of heavy weapons while in Fort Drum, New York.

As for having to capture Taliban weapons he stated, "The purpose of going after the Taliban was not to get their weapons," he said, but on occasion they used Taliban weapons. Sometimes AK-47s, and they also mounted a Soviet-model DShK (or "Dishka") on one of their humvees instead of their 50 cal."

Obama's most crucial, explosive claim, that ": They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief" remains utterly and completely false.

And that part, it seems, he made up by himself.

Well, "hope" doesn't require a military, right?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Obamamamama, Part Three

What "separation of powers"?

Q: Over 400,000 Americans have premature death due to smoking or secondhand smoke. Would you be in favor of a national law to ban smoking in all public places?

A: ....If it turns out that we're not seeing enough progress at the local level, then I would favor a national law...

Except, of course, for the Casinos...

By the way, Cramer analyzes this as a Nixon/McCarthy redux. Interesting theory--echoed by a Brit and picked up by P-Mac.

The Coming Big Bank Bailout (Taxpayer-Financed, of Course)

We TOLD you this was coming, early last August.

A confidential proposal that Bank of America circulated to members of Congress this month provides a stunning glimpse of how quickly the industry has reversed its laissez-faire disdain for second-guessing by the government — now that it is in trouble.

The proposal warns that up to $739 billion in mortgages are at “moderate to high risk” of defaulting over the next five years and that millions of families could lose their homes.

To prevent that, Bank of America suggested creating a Federal Homeowner Preservation Corporation that would buy up billions of dollars in troubled mortgages at a deep discount, forgive debt above the current market value of the homes and use federal loan guarantees to refinance the borrowers at lower rates.

“We believe that any intervention by the federal government will be acceptable only if it is not perceived as a bailout of the bond market,” the financial institution noted.

Yah. So in order to prevent the 'wrong impression,' you can damn well count on seeing a few well-placed stories of evictions, homelessness, yada yada yada, in the next few months. (See below for the first of many upcoming examples.)

BofA, who owns Countryside, just figured out that they could lose their proverbial butt unless the Federal taxpayer bails them out.

If lawmakers and the Bush administration agreed to this step, it could be on a scale similar to the government’s $200 billion bailout of the savings and loan industry in the 1990s. The arguments against a bailout are powerful. It would mostly benefit banks and Wall Street firms that earned huge fees by packaging trillions of dollars in risky mortgages, often without documenting the incomes of borrowers and often turning a blind eye to clear fraud by borrowers or mortgage brokers

No kidding. Really??

Right or wrong, the arguments for rescuing homeowners are likely to be blurred with arguments for rescuing home prices. At that point, industry executives are likely to argue that what is good for Bank of America is good for the rest of America.

Much, much more at the link above.

Now for the "sad ending" stories which will become a drumbeat.

Countrywide Financial, the nation's largest mortgage lender, suspended the home equity lines of 122,000 customers last month after reviewing their property values and outstanding loan balances. The company, like others, has an internal automated appraisal system that tracks values.

If you think it's just a co-incidence that Countrywide Financial (owned by Bank of America) is named in this article, you're not old enough to read the blogs.

USAA Federal Savings Bank froze or reduced credit lines for 15,000 of its customers, including Corazzi, and will not reconsider its decisions until "real estate values improve substantially," the company said in a statement.Bank of America is starting to do the same and is contacting some borrowers, said Terry Francisco, a bank spokesman

Get out your hanky, folks:

Maggie DelGallo did not realize that when she took out a home equity line a few years ago on her home in Loudoun County. Her lender recently froze the line.

DelGallo said she does not think she is in dire straits. "It's more like a huge disappointment," she said. "I have this line of credit attached to my home that's useless."

But Ms. Corazzi is the "clincher"

Corazzi initially used her line to consolidate debt. She and her husband took out the credit line in October because they thought her job was in jeopardy. It was. In December, her salaried position as a loan-processing manager at a local mortgage bank changed to a commission-only job. Given the slowdown in the industry, Corazzi has collected only one paycheck since then.

Her husband, Ron, sells large-format copiers and printers to builders, and his salary alone cannot support them and their four children, ages 4 to 8. By the time their lender called, the couple had $45,000 remaining unused on the credit line.

Ron Corazzi is now looking for a second job, and his wife is hoping to pick up work as a substitute teacher. Meanwhile, they are trying to open a new home equity line elsewhere, but chances are slim given the change in Nancy Corazzi's job status and the drop in their home's value. Five months ago, the Ellicott City house was appraised at $560,000; the lender says it is now worth $469,100.

Hard cases, bad laws, and more taxpayer money. Just like New Orleans, but MUCH bigger.

And when those US bonds are floated to pay for all this--do you REALLY think the price of oil and steel will go down as measured in USD?

More pointed: do you REALLY think that bank Presidents' salaries, options, and bonuses will drop by (say) 50%? 75%? Think that the Chairman of Bank of America will sell his house, cars, and Guccis to repent?

HT: Calculated Risk (Both stories)

Another "60 Minutes" Hit-Job Coming

The experience of Dan Rather doesn't penetrate the skulls of the "60 Minutes" 'journalists.' Hillyer, a REAL journalist with actual Alabama ties, warns:

...It purports to describe how Karl Rove supposedly asked an Alabama woman to take photos of former Gov. Don Sieglman (D-AL) in an extramarital affair. As if.

In light of this week's huge focus on media bias and just slipshod, poorly sourced or validated stories, I warn everybody in advance against this sleazy piece of tabloid journalism as promised by the masters of the genre, 60 Minutes.

As an Alabama journalist for eight years, I have been following from afar (her stories started breaking after I moved back to DC) this lady's utterly baseless, frankly nutty, string of allegations involving supposed skullduggery related to the conviction of former Gov. Don Siegelman. I do not know of a single legitimate journalist in Alabama who takes seriously a single thing she says. And we're not talking mere local yokel journalists; we're talking recent Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists -- who do NOT lean right, but who, to my personal knowledge, are either center or left of center in their personal views.

This lady making the allegations actually testified before a congressional committee last year, and the buzz about all her allegations suddenly died. Why? Because not even the lefty Dems found her credible. Question: Why, after all the stories she has told, including having a chance to testify before the committee, does she just now suddenly start telling this story about Rove when it never was part of her narrative before? Repeat: NEVER part of her story before. (See paragraph three of this story today.)

And why would any self-respecting journalist (which, I guess, by definition excludes 60 Minutes) believe that Rove, with all the other, more sophisticated campaign tools at his disposal, would do such a thing? And why would Rove ever have reason to believe that this woman would even be in a position to photograph Seigelman in flagrante? I mean, this is so ludicrous as to belong in black helicopter, tinfoil hat territory. PLEASE continue to watch this space, because I am putting together a major report here refuting the 60 Minutes slime job, with lots of excellent sourcing.

You'll not see any Microsoft-format letters in this piece. Just a loose nut given a national platform.

Upcoming: "60 Minutes" proves that Karl Rove and GWB directed the 9/11 events, including changing the heat-resistance specifications of architectural steel while still in high school, and surreptitiously financing flying-school tuitions for Muslim extremists while occupying office in Texas.

NFL Backs Down on Churches

Not exactly a "road to Damascus" conversion, but close enough.

An advocacy law firm has announced the National Football League has changed its rules to allow churches to stage Super Bowl events and parties without fear of violating copyright laws.

...the Rutherford Institute today confirmed that the NFL "has finally acceded to demands that it change its policies in order to accommodate churches who wish to show the Super Bowl on big-screen televisions."

The organization said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the league will not "object to live showings of the Super Bowl by religious organizations, regardless of the screen size, as long as the viewings are free and are on premises that the church uses on a routine and customary basis."

The original ban was simply wrong-headed in toto.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Drew Carey: FAR More Than Just a Comic

I've seen the guy a few times on TV--he's witty and quick.

Since he's in Hollywood, though, it never occurred to me that he'd be in the Selleck/Stein group.

Well, folks, he is!

Here he cuts a video on behalf of Charter Schools in LA. And if you think that Milwaukee has problems, wait until you see this.

HT: The Agitator

Obamamama on Guns, Part 2

A couple of days ago, we mentioned that Obamamama has a lot of silly (and unworkable) ideas about guns.

Believe it or not, it gets worse.

In his answers to the 1998 Illinois State Legislative National Political Awareness Test, Obama said he favored a ban on “the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.”

By definition, this would include all pistols ever made, from .22 target pistols used in the Olympics to rarely-fired pistols kept in nightstands and sock drawers for the defense of families, and every pistol in between. Obama’s strident stand would also ban all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, whatever their previously legal purpose.

Banning .22LR semiauto rifles? give the critters an "even chance"?

This guy either: 1) didn't know what he was saying, or 2) is an admirer of Police States.

In his website's "position papers" section, you can find a document which is not very reassuring.

At no point does Obama recognize an individual right to own handguns, or explicitly recognize a right for Americans to use a firearm to defend themselves or others. The site explicitly states that Barack Obama recognizes civilian gun ownership for two just purposes, “hunting and target shooting.”


The 2A, while protecting the right of citizens to "keep and bear arms," was written with a larger purpose in mind--that of enabling the citizens to overthrow an oppressive Gummint.

One suspects that Obamamamama knows that.

HT: Confederate Yankee

Says It All

As usual, McMahon has precisely the right take on Tom Basting.

We might add that Tommy-boy has done more damage to the State Bar's reputation than any other single practitioner in my memory. Not because he's a bad attorney, or because he's stolen from his clients.

Rather, it's because he's managed to drag the Bar's name into a stink-pit of partisanship.

Really smart, Tommy boy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Mrs. Obama Forgets

The Caveman's synopsis is outstanding.

But how about some of the intangibles that come from her living in these here good ol' United States of America? Here's a rather short list that this (quite honestly) stupid woman should consider before she opens her yap --

1. That she lives in a country where she hasn't been dragged off in the dead of night and been shot through her head for implying that she "isn't proud of her nation". Good thing for MO that she doesn't live in North Korea or some such similar 3d World dung-heap of a nation.

2. That she lives in a country where her husband, daughters, mother, father, siblings, grandparents, and cousins, close friends, Third Grade teacher, dog, goldfish, haven't been dragged off in the dead of night and been shot through their heads because Michelle Obama implied that she "isn't proud of her nation". Ref #1 concerning MO residing in the PRK or similar nation.

3. Allow me to add that her daughters, sisters, female cousins, mother and grandmother weren't gang raped first.

4. That her daughters will reach adulthood, and not die of dysentery, bubonic plague, dyptheria, plain old starvation or hundreds of other maladies that plague most children on earth today. I guess MO hasn't really looked beyond the United States during her adulthood. She really should visit your average Latin American, African or Asian nation and see how most of the children of the world live.

5. In accordance with sharia law, her husband hasn't had his head crushed in via public stoning (or hung, or have his head carved off... whatever) for supposedly abandoning islam and embracing Christianity. I would imagine that MO is unfamiliar with how things are ran in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan when the Taliban ran things, and a host of other islamic vacation spots.

6. That she and her daughters haven't been tortured due to the head-of-the-household apostatizing from islam. See #5 concerning visiting islamic vacation spots.

7. That she has the unalienable right to publicly state really, really, really stupid things.

Other commentators have mentioned scientific, medical, and social achievements in this country over the last 40 years or so. But life/death issues are so much

Homiletics II

Here's a bit of welcome news.

Cardinal William J. Levada noted that the trend to eliminate catechetical homilies after Vatican II was not really in the spirit of "Dei Verbum," the council document on divine revelation.He said the Scripture commentary aspect of the homily was emphasized because it had been so lacking prior to the council.The cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the church should now seek to integrate these two aspects.

(From a keynote address at a meeting of 40 US Bishops....)

Ten Reasons goes on to mention the Pope's thoughts on the matter:

In Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict urges priests to deliver "'thematic' homilies treating the great themes of the Christian faith, on the basis of what has been authoritatively proposed by the Magisterium in the four 'pillars' of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the recent Compendium, namely: the profession of faith, the celebration of the Christian mystery, life in Christ and Christian prayer."

Now and then a little dogma is a good thing.

Bubba Franks, It Was Good to Know You

The Packers let Bubba go today.

He was a good player--a blocking tight end who could catch and run, reasonably well. And he provided a number of bright spots in some otherwise very dark seasons.

Always did his job to the best of his ability.

Vaya con Dios, Bubba!!

G K Chesterton on Political Parties and the Press

I've seen this before, and am happy that another blogger posted the quote.

“The real evil of our Party System is commonly stated wrong. … The real danger of the two parties with their two policies is that they unduly limit the outlook of the ordinary citizen. They make him barren instead of creative, because he is never allowed to do anything except prefer one existing policy to another. We have not got real Democracy when the decision depends upon the people. We shall have real Democracy when the problem depends upon the people. The ordinary man will decide not only how he will vote, but what he is going to vote about.”

GKC explains further:

“A certain alternative is put before them by the powerful houses and the highest political class.Two roads are opened to them; but they must go down one or the other. They cannot have what they choose, but only which they choose.”

And, of course, there's the MSM and the Radio Boyzzz:

“Nearly all the great newspapers, [and radio] both pompous and frivolous, will declare dogmatically day after day, until every one half believes it, that red and green are the only two colours in the paint-box.

How did we get here?

The democracy has a right to answer questions, but it has no right to ask them. It is still the political aristocracy that asks the questions. And we shall not be unreasonably cynical if we suppose that the political aristocracy will always be rather careful what questions it asks."

So here we sit. Shall we raise taxes? Shall we keep them low?

Notice that nobody--NOBODY--brings up Spending??

Are the Cops THIS Stupid?

CNN runs a typical MSM fairytale about 'chilluns with guns,' and an Arizona Fraternal Order of Police mucketymuck basically tells us that "cops are stupid". You gotta wonder...

The video story from affiliate KPNX reporter Brahim Resnik in Phoenix warns about the evils of painted guns, specifically firearms they state are painted like children's toys. The reporter gets support from Bryan Soller of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police.

"Somebody points it at an officer, and he hesitates, at which point he could get shot, or worse, the officer could react and take the life of a child..."

Of course, it hasn't happened yet.

There's more speculation about the Airsoft replica guns:

We do know, though, that parents buy their children hundreds of thousands of airsoft guns every year, firearms that often are to the naked eye nearly exact copies of real firearms.

A couple of years ago, a few of Brookfield's Little Darlings were wandering about near Elmbrook Hospital with their Airsofts. Somebody called the cop-shop, and NOBODY was killed, or shot!!

How did that happen?

Despite the hysteria assisted by Bryan Soller of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police (who apparently doesn't trust Arizona police officers not to shoot citizens with concealed carry permits, either), it comes down to the elements of proper training, situational awareness, and common sense.

Now let's find out how Bryan Soller got his position with the AZ F.O.P. Apparently, he didn't get a lot of proper training, doesn't have much common sense, and (obviously) doesn't have a good dose of situational awareness, either.

HT: Confederate Yankee

Demographic Winter: It's Real

It's real, that is, in Italy (and other spots in Europe)--but Italy is the center of the vortex.

Vox Day paints the picture.

You can't completely grasp the extent of Europe's post-Christian decline until you walk through the ghost towns of Italy, populated by no more a dozen elderly women and one old man sleeping in the sun. It's not something that any tourist is going to see in Florence, Venice or Rome, much less Milano, but go outside the tourist tombs and the desolation of demographic winter is impossible to miss. And the imported African hookers scattered along the truck routes in the countryside are hardly adequate compensation for what were once famously vibrant family units.

There's a large and spectacular church on the outskirts of a town near which we like to wander. Its doors are only unlocked for an hour or so every month, because despite its gorgeous interior architecture and painted ceilings, there's not only no one around to attend it, there's not even anyone left to visit it.

The USA is temporarily immune due, largely, to immigration, legal and otherwise.

Song of Obamamamama

Apparently, Obama was averse to casting the "hard votes" while in the Illinois legislature.

Harold Arlen foresaw this, and Rosemary Clooney delivers.

McCain's Bad Company

By the way, John McCain has made more than one error in judgment.

Scruggs and McCain had become close the previous year when Scruggs and Mississippi Atty. Gen. Mike Moore spent weeks on Capitol Hill trying to persuade Congress to approve a national settlement with tobacco companies over health care damages. McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee considering the bill, turned over his office facilities to the two Mississippians to wage their campaign. (In the end, the bill failed under the 60-vote cloture rule.)

"Dickie" Scruggs is the poster-boy for 'What's Wrong with PI Lawyers,' is currently under indictment for bribing a judge, and is soon likely to be making the national news as that case progresses. (The case will do a lot of damage to the State of Mississippi, too...)

Speaking of PI lawyers, how's things at the Wisconsin Judicial "Integrity" Campaign Committee?

HT: Overlawyered

Ronald Reagan's $60 Million Message

Actually, it's not a lot, compared to the value.

A Navy missile soaring 130 miles above the Pacific smashed a dying and potentially deadly U.S. spy satellite Wednesday and probably destroyed a tank carrying 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel, officials said.

And "Star Wars" is in play. Closing speed of 22,000 MPH, 130 mile range, target the size of a bus.

Pretty much ruins the day of that little bastard in North Korea.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


John Eagleburger, a State Department type, shows his diplomatic skills.

Former Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger ripped into Rush, asking when the "poobahs" of talk radio were elected the leaders of the conservative movement.

A while back, I flew from DC to Milwaukee in a YX flight w/Eagleburger, Herb Kohl, and Sen. Paul Simon. (At Mitchell, I deplaned to see Bill Bennett sucking up booze at an airport bar--around noon...)

Eagleburger was SecState only because he was a last-minute appointee of a Pubbie Pres--not because he was a brilliant statesman (obviously) but because he was a Party guy for his entire life.

Winning friends and influencing people.

McPain and the Supremes

Well-reasoned mild dissent on the Imperative To Vote McCain, from Andy McCarthy at NRO. Since the Shark raised this question earlier, we can infer that Great Minds run in the same orbits.’s McCain’s supporters who are deluding themselves. I take them at their word, for example, that a hallmark of the senator’s politics is his tenacity on matters of principle. Consequently, I am skeptical of his assurances that he would appoint conservative judges who will apply rather than create law. Why? Because he has a recent, determined history of beseeching federal courts to disregard the First Amendment in furtherance of a dubious campaign-finance scheme in which he believes passionately. Conservative judges would (and have) rejected this scheme, just as they would (and have) rejected another signature McCain position: the extension of Geneva Convention protections for jihadists

Frankly, I did not realize that McPain thinks jihadists should be protected by the Conventions. That makes his 'promise' of 'constructionist' Justice nominations even less, ah......promissory....than before, when only his anti-First Amendment blather was at stake.

HT: Bonfire

Wisconsin Bar: A Pit of Self-Interest

Appearing on every email from the "non-partisan" Wisconsin Bar member of the "Judicial Integrity" (hahahah) group mentioned by Charlie this morning:

Expert Advisers. Serving You.
Yah....jiggering elections in the ambulance-chasing Bar's favor since 1873, or whatever.

Croc vs. Dad: Will Old Age and Treachery Overcome?

Croc gets exercised over my "principles count" objection to his "roll over and vote McPain" command.

What conservative principle is served by actions or inaction that help liberals? What conservative principle is betrayed by recognizing that there are three possible choices - we can vote for an imperfect conservative, we can vote for a liberal or we can not vote - and then making the choice that provides the best protection against liberal gains?

(There's a lot more passion at the link.)

Geez, Croc, chill out (whatever that means--I borrowed the phrase from my chilluns....)

I voted in the "R" column. I voted principles. I voted FRED.

What friggin' Liberal Lefty/Commie draws comfort from THAT?

This primary was a "free kick." And I did what was right: I 'kicked' McPain--hopefully, towards the Conservative side of the world. Over 2,700 OTHER Wisconsinites did exactly the same thing--and another batch voted for Duncan Hunter.

November will be a different story, I'm afraid....

McCain's Numbers

From the WSJ's "Washington Wire":

“McCain is going to be the Republican nominee but conservatives remain skeptical. Self-identified conservatives made up six-in-ten voters tonight in Wisconsin, but McCain carried the group only narrowly — 48% to 42%” over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

There were also a few thousand votes for Fred!! and Duncan Hunter.

Inflation Gets Hot

As we've occasionally mentioned, the Fed's totally irresponsible program to throw USDs at anything, anyone, anytime, will have consequences.

And they are not pretty, folks.

From the iron and steel front:

The iron mining industry, dominated by three big players (and perhaps soon to be two) has the less concentrated steel industry by the short hairs. The tope three iron companies (BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and CVRD) produce over 70% of all the iron ore in the world. And with demand higher than ever in China and India, steel companies are scrambling to assure a steady supply.

Three steelmakers (Japan's Nippon steel, South Korea's Posco, and Germany's ThyssenKrupp) signed a deal with CVRD to buy steel at prices 65% higher than last year.


James Harris Does Jesse Jackson

Harris is unhappy with ThugGee's vote-total:

Congratulations Mike! This is a Genuine Milwaukee story. As Wisconsin votes for hope, Milwaukee votes to re-elect a dope.

For James, it's rhythm and blues...

McPain or Obamamamama? Part One

Earlier, I had ripped off another blogger's opinion on McPain to the effect that we're screwed even worse with Obamamamamamama (or the Hildebeeste--who cares either way?)

Obama's "gun control" plan, revealed in 1999 or so:

Obama outlined his anti-gun plan that includes increased penalties for the interstate transportation of firearms. The maximum penalty now for bringing a gun across the border is 10 years in prison. Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [Yah. That's a good idea, hey. /sarcasm]

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.

...He's also asking that gun manufacturers be required to develop safety measures that permit only the original owner of the firearm to operate the weapon purchased.

That "original owner only" is not do-able from a technical standpoint, and of course, it absolutely prevents trade-ins. By the way, it also makes your handgun absolutely useless for other members of your family in case of a home invasion...

HT: RedState (more Obamamaniacal proposals at the link)

MSM: Wrong Again, Part 35,468

So when you think "terrorist," you think "Abu Some Camel Rider or Other", right?

WRONG, according to the Associated Press.

When it comes to fears about a terrorist attack, people in the U.S. usually focus on Osama bin Laden and foreign-based radical groups. Yet researchers say domestic extremists who commit violence in the name of their cause — abortion or the environment, for example — account for most of the damage from such incidents in this country

Yup. Of course, that doesn't take the a serious indicator of 'who's a terrorist.'

HT: Moonbattery quoting Newsbusters.

Code Words from McCain's Advisor

What's another word for "tax increases"?

Pete Peterson, McCain economic advisor, makes it clear.

"He understands that the solution to our long-term problems will involve some shared sacrifice," Pete Peterson says. "And I think his leadership skills will be very effective in putting this idea of shared sacrifice across."

Can't wait to find out just who's going to "sacrifice," can you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Cost of Healthcare


The House approved legislation that would extend until December 31 the requirement that group health plans treat mental health benefits on par with other benefits. The bill (H.R. 4848) would extend a 1996 act that requires group health insurance plans to provide the same degree of benefits for mental health services as for medical and surgical services. Under the act, insurers and employers with more than 50 employees that offer mental health benefits are prohibited from establishing annual and lifetime limits on those benefits unless they establish similar limits for medical and surgical coverage.


The US Congress (and the Banks) vs. Inventors and Taxpayers

Think that the Party In Government deserves re-election? The Banks certainly do.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has sponsored an unusual provision at the urging of the nation's banks granting them immunity against an active patent lawsuit, potentially saving them billions of dollars.

Adopted with little fanfare, the amendment would prevent a small
Texas company called DataTreasury from collecting damages from banks for infringing on its patented method for digitally scanning, sending and archiving checks. The patents were upheld last summer by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after they were challenged.

The provision,
passed without dissent by the Senate Judiciary Committee in July and inserted into legislation scheduled for a vote by the full Senate this month, is a rare attempt by Congress to intervene in ongoing litigation, congressional experts say.

Note that it was bi-partisan in Committee...

Although the amendment would not invalidate DataTreasury's patents, it would spare the banks from paying for infringing them should courts decide that's warranted.

So. Who pays for this little theft?

The federal government TAXPAYER would have to pay $1 billion to DataTreasury over 10 years as compensation for taking its property under the amendment, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Don't expect your banker to say "thank you," either, folks.

HT: Vox

Taser for You?

The LawDog is not enthused.

I'm trying to like the citizen-version of the Taser. I really am. 30 seconds of The Dying Cockroach is the sort of thing that just warms my little Neandertal heart -- but I have some concerns about the whole set-up.

Once the 30-seconds of ride is over, the critter is perfectly able to get to his feet and gambol off none the worse for wear.

...The Taser C2 is okay if you're philosophically opposed to the whole "Blood Out, Air In" method of critter control; or if you're stuck in some Third World hell-hole that won't let you carry a firearm (like New York or California) [or Wisconsin]; or maybe if gun-shots, blood and screaming upsets your stomach -- but other than that I think I'll just stay with my bang-sticks.

About $350.00 retail, plus $25.00 each for re-loads.

Define "Recession"

Just as a reminder.

A recession is where economic growth stops, and you are left with flat to contracting sales.

Note that economic activity does not grind to a halt -- the year-over-year growth rate merely slips into the negative. This is often misstated, in some variation of "Gee, how it can it be a recession -- I was out shopping and the stores were pretty crowded." Whenever you see that, the speaker is either technically misunderstanding what a recession is -- or alternatively, is painfully long and hoping for the best.

One of the Radio Boyzzz uses restaurant parking-lots as his economic gauge, and mentioned it often yesterday. He represents a lot of folks.

Oddly, he specifically mentioned "auto sales" as an indicator. Had he checked around on that score, he would have found that all those cars in restaurant and WallyWorld parking lots were there because they were NOT in auto-dealer parking lots, where their owners were purchasing new cars.

Or he could have read the newspaper last week--wherein it was announced that the State of Wisconsin's income- and sales-tax revenues were falling off the shelf--usually a fairly good indicator of reduced economic activity.

Oh, well....

Spouse-of-Candidate Disease

What is it about some people's spouses?

First, Bubba goes ballistic and manages to lose a couple of primaries for the Hildebeeste. He hasn't stopped, either--although now he's limiting his targets to the enemies of the MSM (pro-lifers.)

Then Obama's wife pops off, implying that she has been ashamed of America until just last week.

Maybe the syndrome should be listed in the DSM...

Bush One Likes McCain. So What?

We were there when GHWBush's lips moved--and he lied--about taxes; and when he simply gave up in the last 10 days of his last campaign. We also remember him as "rubbers" Bush, the Congressman from Planned Parenthood.

Now he tells Conservatives to make nice with Amnesty McCain?

Hillyer has thoughts, too.

So the elder Bush says he "gets a little annoyed" about conservative criticisms of McCain. Some of us still get annoyed about how the elder Bush betrayed all those who got over their doubts about him and supported him as Reagan's natural heir, only to find that he was anything but.

He's STILL "anything but." But he won't shut up.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Well, there's still some question about whether the US economy is taking a breather or slipping into recession.

But here's an interesting factoid:

"Never in history has economic prosperity followed a trend of a declining birthrate."

HT: WardWide

Homiletics vs. the Gospel

CWN points us to this drooling babble from Greeley:

The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus in today's gospel in one of the stranger stories in any of the Gospels. Evidently Jesus had a powerful "religious experience" at some point in his public life, an experience which had a profound effect on him and on the apostles who were with him. As the story of this experience was related among the early Christians it took on a heavy overlay of theological symbolism. In the context of St. Matthew's Gospel it becomes a turning point in Jesus' life, an experience in which he saw that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and die while he was there. Since Jesus was human he was fated to die just as all of us are fated to die. In his death, however, there would be something more. Since God was present in Jesus in a special way, God would also go down into the valley of death to show us how great was his love for us, to assure us that He would be with us at the time of our own deaths, and how all of us should face death. The manner of Jesus' death was not fated. He could have declined to go to Jerusalem without sin. Yet he came to see that he had to go there and so he did.

And goes on to make a point that (sadly) I've had to make to my children:

There was a time when Catholics could come to the Eucharist with the understanding that what took place was intended to deepen their Christian faith. Of course, fewer than a third of Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass these days, yet those that do show up have to coach themselves and their loved ones not to pay attention to the twink in the pulpit, precisely because he's out to take something important away from them.

It's interesting to speculate that one reason only 1/3rd of Catholics bother to show up for Mass may be precisely because of Greeley-isms, no?

Why bother if what you get is this crap? What's the point of dropping dollars into THAT pot?

Only yesterday, I listened as a local priest 'ran off the tracks' in his homily, making comparisons which were egregiously inane while covering his silliness by quoting a prominent theologian who was quite orthodox.