Monday, March 31, 2008

WaPo (MSM) Screws It Up Again

Not that this would be a surprise to anyone.

Weigel nails it:

In “Not Eye to Eye: Wholly Different Angles on the World,” a front-page “Outlook” piece on March 30, Winters claimed that, during his forthcoming visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI will “show how much his worldview differs from President Bush’s when he denounces the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq before the U.N. General Assembly — a denunciation that’s expected to be especially harsh after the recent martyrdom of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop killed by insurgents in Mosul.” In that one sentence, Winters managed to commit several of the capital sins of Vaticanology: He confused the views of low-ranking bureaucrats with the thinking of senior Vatican officials, the pope’s own thinking, and the official position of the Holy See; he assumed that the pope comes into international forums like the U.N. as a policy proponent rather than as a voice of moral reason; and, perhaps worst of all, he somehow imagined the Benedict XVI would cheapen the sacrifice of the slain Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho by using the Chaldean prelate’s death as a way to score a political point.

It is prudent to listen to what the Pope actually says, rather than to what the WaPo TELLS you he will say.

HT: The Hatted One

Obamamamama: Babies are "Punishment"

When he's not reading a Teleprompter, Obamamamama says what he really thinks. was not unusual to see a woman stand near the end of Barack Obama’s town hall meeting in Johnstown, Penn., and offer a hurried, passionate plea for him to “stop these abortions.”

…The exchange appeared to be prompted by Obama’s earlier comments that he does not favor abstinence-only education, but rather comprehensive sexual education that includes information on abstinence and birth control.

Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” he said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.”

Easily the most grotesque remark made by this character yet.

HT: Malkin

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hegarty: City Discriminated Against Her

Channel 4 has the story:

Melanie Stout has learned that former Chief Nannette Hegerty has filed a gender discrimination claim against the city.

Hegerty was Milwaukee's first female police chief. Her lawyer says Hegerty is asking the state's Equal Rights Division to look at her case to see if the city owes her money.

When Nan Hegerty left office late last year, she was making $132,000 a year.

When Milwaukee hired Edward Flynn as police chief the city specifically raised his salary to $143,000. But that's not the only reason Hegerty is claiming gender discrimination.

Her lawyer, John Fuchs, also suggests she was initially making less money than her predecessor Art Jones.

If she wins Fuchs says the city owes Hegerty less than 20 grand. But the bigger issue for Hegerty is her pension. A higher salary would give her more retirement money.

City Attorney Grant Langley says the city has yet to respond to Hegerty's claim but is working on a response right now. Hegerty filed the claim about two weeks ago.

In other words, Nancy wasn't very sharp.

She took the Chief job for less than Artie was making. Whose "fault" is that?

Then the City had to cough up a few more shekels to hire the most qualified applicant following Nancy.

Whose "fault" is that?

To repeat: Nancy wasn't very sharp.

Friday, March 28, 2008

ANOTHER Complaint Filed on Butler

Seems like Loophole Louie is a complaint-magnet.

Today Wisconsin Family Action filed a formal request for investigation with the Wisconsin
Judicial Commission charging that Justice Louis Butler has misled Wisconsin citizens and impaired his ability to render fair and impartial decisions in cases affecting so-called “gay rights” and marriage.

The request documents that Justice Butler, after having said he would not take money from parties to cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, did just that. Justice Butler took money from two board members of the pro-homosexual, pro-same-sex marriage organization Fair Wisconsin (formerly Action Wisconsin) while the high court is considering a case involving the group. Additionally, the request shows his interaction with prohomosexual organizations and their efforts on his behalf.

“Right now we are tracking several cases related to our pro-family, pro-traditional marriage position. Two of those cases are already before the Supreme Court. The other, a direct challenge to the constitutionality of the marriage amendment, will likely land there. We are very concerned about Justice Butler’s ability to rule on these cases—and any others of a similar nature—in a fair and impartial way. We believe his actions warrant a formal complaint,” concluded Appling.

I'll let Jay do the research as to whether they are Friebert, Finerty cases...

Butler: 60% Pro-Criminal, Three Times More than Conservatives

There's a lot of foofoodust that the ButlerBoyzzz are blowing around the internet (and the airwaves.) But after quite a bit of work, Ms. McBride comes up with the goods, and even made a graph!!

Jessica explains at length her methodology. It was reviewed by Esenberg, a genuine lawyer, and found to be sound.

N.B.: There are sometimes very good reasons to rule in favor of a criminal. But if one is a "conservative," you can look to the Wilcox/Roggensack numbers to get an idea of how many times that should be done.

Thanks for the work, Jess!!


Don't eat, anyway.

The Preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers rose 2.0% in March from February.

That's 24%/year, folks!

It's going to get worse:

Prices paid by farmers for the means of production rose 1.7% from February and is now 11% higher than a year ago.

How'dya like that ethanol NOW, sucker?

Source: Dismal Scientist newsletter

Waiting for the Bucky Game?

Here's something to do while waiting.

Try the 'manic model' for fun while you're there...


Here's an interesting historico-critical method observation:

Little known Biblical Fact: If killing the First Born didn't work, God would have made the Egyptians break into small groups and share.

HT: Orthometer

Challenging "Democracy"

G K Chesterton was not afraid to call out the zeitgeist.

CRUELTY to animals is cruelty and a vile thing; but cruelty to a man is not cruelty; it is treason. Tyranny over a man is not tyranny: it is rebellion, for man is royal.

Now, the practical weakness of the vast mass of modern pity for the poor and the oppressed is precisely that it is merely pity; the pity is pitiful, but not respectful.

Men feel that the cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is injustice to equals; nay, it is treachery to comrades. This dark, scientific pity, this brutal pity, has an elemental sincerity of its own, but it is entirely useless for all ends of social reform.

Democracy swept Europe with the sabre when it was founded upon the Rights of Man. It has done literally nothing at all since it has been founded only upon the wrongs of man. Or, more strictly speaking, its recent failure has been due to its not admitting the existence of any rights or wrongs, or indeed of any humanity.

Evolution (the sinister enemy of revolution) does not especially deny the existence of God: what it does deny is the existence of man. And all the despair about the poor, and the cold and repugnant pity for them, has been largely due to the vague sense that they have literally relapsed into the state of the lower animals.

So much for the economic Libertarians and their Modern Project friends, the practical atheists.

HT: VeniSancte

Let's Make Her an Honorary Citizen of the USA!

Forwarded to me by email. Sadly, Snopes tells us that this is a fable.

BUT--it's an enjoyable fable, so I'll leave it up. Enjoy, but don't believe.

Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle, 81, was so ticked-off when two thugs raped her 18-year-old granddaughter that she tracked the unsuspecting ex-cons down and shot off their testicles.

The old lady spent a week hunting those men down and, when she found them, she took revenge on them in her own special way, saidMelbourne police investigator Evan Delp.

Then she took a taxi to the nearest police station, laid the gun on the sergeant's desk and told him as calm as could be:'Those bastards will never rape anybody again, by God.'

Cops say convicted rapist and robberDavis Furth , 33, lost both his penis and his testicles
when outraged Ava opened fire with a 9-mm pistol in the hotel room where he and former prison cell mate Stanley Thomas, 29, were holed up.

The wrinkled avenger also blew Thomas' testicles to kingdom come, but doctors managed to save his mangled penis, police said.

'The one guy, Thomas, didn't lose his manhood, 'but the doctor I talked to said he won't be using it the way he used to,' Detective Delp told reporters. 'Both men are still in pretty bad shape,
'but I think they're just happy to be alive after what they've been through.'

The Rambo Granny swung into action August 21 after her granddaughter Debbie was carjacked and raped in broad daylight by two knife-wielding creeps in a section of town bordering on skid row.

'When I saw the look on my Debbie's face that night in the hospital, 'I decided I was going to go out and get those bastards myself ''cause I figured the Law would go easy on them,' recalled the retired library worker. 'And I wasn't scared of them, either because I've got me a gun and I've been shootin' all my life. 'And I wasn't dumb enough to turn it in when the law changed about owning one.'

So, using a police artist's sketch of the suspects and Debbie's description of the sickos, tough-as-nails Ava spent seven days prowling the wino-infested neighborhood where the crime took place
till she spotted the ill-fated rapists entering their flophouse hotel.

'I knew it was them the minute I saw 'em, but I shot a picture of 'em anyway 'and took it back to Debbie and she said sure as hell, it was them,' the oldster recalled. 'So I went back to that hotel and found their room and knocked on the door, 'and the minute the big one opened the door, I shot 'em right square between the legs, 'right where it would really hurt 'em most, you know.

'Then I went in and shot the other one 'as he backed up pleading to me to spare him.
'Then I went down to the police station and turned myself in.'

Now, baffled lawmen are trying to figure out exactly how to deal with the vigilante granny.
'What she did was wrong, and she broke the law, but it is difficult to throw an 81-year-old woman in prison,' Det. Delp said, 'especially when 3 million people in the city want to nominate her for Mayor.'

Damn good shot, too!

WI Gov't Accountability Board: Speech Cops?

To quote the race-track guy, "Aaaaaand They're Offffff!!!"

...the state Government Accountability Board voted Wednesday to consider regulating the thinly veiled campaign spots known as issue ads.

"I think it 's no longer the candidates who are controlling their elections, " Thomas Cane, a former state chief appeals judge and vice chairman of the accountability board, said in an interview after the board voted to review state rules on issue ads.

Cane said the board likely will seek to rewrite those rules, although he said board members need to study how such changes would square with state and federal laws and court rulings.

As Chris Schneider observed, it's entirely likely that the Board does not HAVE such authority--which is why they will spend some time "squaring" things, ahemahummabltzfrk....

The GAB is required to investigate violations of laws it administers and may prosecute, by its legal counsel or a special prosecutor, alleged civil violations of those laws. Alternatively, it may refer prosecution of alleged civil violations to the appropriate district attorney (which is the same prosecutor authorized to prosecute criminal violations). (Quoting the Legislative Council's description of Board authority per State Law.)

Chris acutely points out that the Board cannot make up NEW laws...

But the Board is considering an idea which I think has some merit:

Requiring disclosure of all individuals, corporations and groups that fund issue ads

Were I the King, I would not only implement that rule, but I would also require that 'corporations and groups' which fund issue ads post, on the 'net, a list of its officers and directors, with contact information.

Sunshine is an excellent disinfectant.

Banks "Forced to Make" Subprime Loans? Or Is This a Joke?

One of the first excuses for the sub-prime implosion was that, due to Congressional interference, banks were "forced" to write crappy loans.


Now it turns out that some Banks's the memo, written by a Chase loan staffer, as reported in the Portland Oregonian, describing how to game Chase's loan-scoring system:

3 handy steps" for getting a questionable loan approved by JPM Chase's automatic system:

1. Lump all of an applicant's compensation as the applicant's base income, rather than breaking out commissions, bonuses and tips.
2. Do not disclose use of gifts for down payments.
3. If all else fails, simply inflate the applicant's income. "Inch it up $500 to see if you can get the findings you want. Do the same for assets.

My, my. The Oregonian article goes on:

Chase, the nation's second-largest bank, originates mortgage loans itself but also operates a wholesale arm that underwrites and funds loans brought to them by a network of mortgage brokers. The "Cheats & Tricks" memo was instructing those brokers how to get difficult loans approved by Zippy [the nickname of the automated system.]

"Never fear," the memo states. "Zippy can be adjusted (just ever so slightly.)"

The Chase memo deals specifically with so-called stated-income asset loans, one of the most dangerous of the mortgage industry's innovations of recent years. Known as "liar loans" in some circles because lenders made little effort to verify information in the borrowers' loan application, they have defaulted in large number since the housing bust began in 2007. . .

Note that there is speculation that the "memo" published by the Oregonian may have been the work of an in-house Chase jokester. It's also possible, of course, that the "memo" describes actions that were taken by some loan officers/brokers, and memorialized by the "memo."

Chase, of course, says that the "memo" does not represent official policy. Doh.

Here's the stuff that actually counts:

"During the boom, it was common for lenders and brokers to get paid more for risky subprime loans than for 30-year fixed-rate loans because the higher-interest loans fetched a higher price on Wall Street.

Like your Momma always said: "Follow the MONEY."

HT: BigPicture

Paul Bucher's Gleisner Ads

Mr. Bucher has cut two ads for Bill Gleisner, the second of which mentions "conservative values" such as "the right to own guns."

Paul, be serious.

Anyone who followed the CCW legislative action knows that Bucher did NOT want CCW passed.

So Paul very carefully worded that script. He may well believe that the 2nd Amendment (and Wisconsin's 26th) allow possession of arms.

But don't for one minute think that Paul believes they allow "bearing" those arms.

Version 3 on Wright from Obamamamama

He's desperate, folks. While the MSM and the Collegiate Crowd swooned over his "religion" speech, the polls of actual VOTERS in Pennsylvania swooned, too.

So he's on Version 3:

White House hopeful Barack Obama suggests he would have left his Chicago church had his longtime pastor, whose fiery anti-American comments about U.S. foreign policy and race relations threatened Obama's campaign, not stepped down.

"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church," Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, "The View." The interview will be broadcast Friday.

Which is to say that after 20 years of not hearing anything offensive, (version 1) some of the statements of Rev. Wright MAY, indeed, have been offensive (version 2) and when all is said and done, I probably woulda/coulda/shoulda left (version 3)--but fortunately for all of us, Rev Wright has retired and will take occupancy of his $1.05 MILLION estate in Tinley Park soon, so.......

HT: RedStates

Spitzer's Indiscretion--and Spies

From CounterTerrorism Blog:

So - we have 1) an organization (ECV) that is undeniably international in character, with little about it that at least has been revealed publicly beyond a few names, a number of which are acknowledged to be false names; 2) a Client (Number 9) who by his own admission carried out illegal activities - making him vulnerable to blackmail by ECV; and 3) a client who likely has been privy to a great deal of sensitive and possibly classified information on Terrorism and US and allied CounterTerrorism.

Overall, this is strongly suggestive of the architecture of an espionage organization and a recipe for disaster. It is also an organizational profile that is a classic one in espionage circles, with historical examples being rife. CTB readers can be certain that, even though reporting on the investigation has declined somewhat in the public arena, the scramble behind the scenes to produce voluminous “Damage Assessments” is ongoing and consuming hundreds, if not thousands, of personnel hours at taxpayer expense.

Before concluding, there is an important reason to raise the questions herein. More than a few commentators on this subject have amply demonstrated their abject ignorance by raising the issue of “consensual” sex and “victimless” crime before the investigation has been completed. Even aside from the lasting effects of Governor Spitzer’s debacle on his wife and two daughters, the issue of the possibility of ECV being a front for an espionage organization headquartered who-knows-where points to the absurdity of the commentators’ claims.

Finally, we know of Client 9 and the near-term results of his exposure, but what of other clients - governors, state-level staffers, federal officials and staffers, law enforcement officials, and on and on?

Interesting possibilities. The blog mentions the NYPD's Counter-Terrorism unit, which is so extensive that it has members posted in London, and is headed by an ex-CIA deputy director.

Could have been disastrous pillow chat, no?

"Moral Problem," Indeed

The Superintendent of Education for Wisconsin states that MPS' troubles are a 'moral problem.'

Milwaukee Public Schools' efforts to shed its status as a "district identified for improvement" are locally controlled but closely watched by officials in Madison...

..."This is a moral issue, this is a social justice issue and it's an economic imperative," state schools Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster said Wednesday. "This is a pivotal time where we can answer this clarion call to action."

MPS, the state's largest district, has failed to meet "adequate yearly progress" goals, established under the No Child Left Behind law, in state reading and math tests since 2004

MPS is the only district in the state that has the improvement label, which is related to the concentration of poverty here, Burmaster said.

"We have to recognize how poverty affects the daily lives of children in MPS," she said.

Some might suggest that the real "moral problem" here has to do with illegitimacy. It is a fact that children who are illegitimate are usually in trouble from their birth. This from Education Week:

U.S. Census Bureau data show that in 1993, 27 percent of all children lived with a single parent--and, for the first time, those children were almost as likely to live with an unmarried parent as with a divorced parent.

Although birthrates have risen more for older unmarried women in recent years than for teenagers, the policy debate has focused largely on younger, more disadvantaged mothers.
These young women still account for the largest number of unwed births, and their children are the most vulnerable to dropping out of school, going on welfare, and perpetuating the cycle of unwed births and poverty.

Children caught in that cycle may not be "ready to start school in a modern technological society, and more likely to experience real disadvantages," said Kristin Moore, the executive director of Child Trends, a Washington-based firm that tracks data on children.

Cato's take:

The non-economic consequences of the increase in out of wedlock births are equally stark. There is strong evidence that the absence of a father increases the probability that a child will use drugs and engage in criminal activity. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes.

MPS was criticized for its byzantine structural problems:

[Laura] New said the district has "a fractured, almost non-existent infrastructure and a patchwork curriculum."

...which, it is claimed, makes it difficult for parental involvement.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why Catholics Bailed

Fascinating series of opinions here.

The one which I favor:

...Carlin paints a picture of an American Catholic Church that, after two centuries of manning the "Tridentine ramparts" against its Protestant foes in what had traditionally been a hostile land, by the 1960s finally considered itself in a strong-enough position -- both as a religion and as full participant in the national culture -- to drop some of its defenses and engage its old enemy on genial terms. But when it did so, it was wholly unprepared to discover that its enemy was no longer Protestantism but secularism,which had already hollowed out the doctrines and practices of mainline Protestant churches, and was now being invited to infect Catholicism -- through contact with modernistic Scripture scholarship, mischievous moral theology, corrupted social sciences, horizontal liturgism, and the generalized rebellion against tradition and authority that marked the era. Thus did liberal Christianity -- which Carlin characterizes as low-doctrine, anti-miraculous, morally malleable, and geocentric in its aims -- enter the Church through the front door and go on to leave its mark on Catholic life and practice.

How does this bear on the question of why Catholics leave the Church? Because liberal Christianity, being essentially a working compromise with secularism, cannot sustain itself. This is observable both as a historical phenomenon (each time Christianity has engaged in compromise with secularism, it has emerged less distinctively Christian than it was before) and also in reflection upon human nature. For religions retain believers, and especially those most fervent and active believers, when their doctrines and practices are distinct, complex, and engaging -- and lose believers when they're not.

Put into concrete terms: A Catholicism that sets before its believers a broad and strict test of moral and doctrinal adherence will keep its members. A Catholicism that is reduced (and often it is so, ironically, in order not to scare folks away) to "being a good person" will lose them. Because -- and this is the nub of it -- one can be a good person without going to church.

On this point, the mainline Protestants have been somewhat more advanced than we. But now the Catholic children of the children of the 1960s, unburdened by conviction or even mere nostalgia or guilty habit, are figuring it out in droves.

Todd M. Aglialoro

Hardly the only worthwhile reading in the series, by the way.

One Bright Bulb in Congress

S I Trenches reports:

Titled the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act," the bill seeks to repeal the nationwide phase-out of conventional light bulbs, the kind that have been used for more than a century -- pretty much since the invention of the incandescent light bulb.

Introduced by Rep. Bachmann of Minnesota, whose wires are obviously correctly polarized.

My Picture

Yes, Emily, that's me. (See Emily's mournful wailing here/combox)

For most occasions, I do not wear the beard, the armor, the tunic and helmet.

And I've subbed a very nice H&K for the axe.

HT: RegularGuy

Ever Hear of the Barrett Report?

Sure you have, if you read this blog.

Go here.


My Statcounter tells me that there have been three hits on that particular post in the last couple of days, all coming from Northern Virginia.

The Barrett Report (should it be unearthed) would be very useful for a certain Democratic Presidential campaign.


Esenberg, the Prophet

NOTE: Esenberg is a graduate of HARVARD LAW, (the Kennedy place) NOT that other East Coast school (Buckley's place.)

(With that noted, and with certain kissing motions having been made, we will now resume normal bloglodyte-ism.)

WEAC notes that 94% of Wisconsin school districts are cutting back on expenditures. No surprise: the spigots are turned tighter, and taxpayers' complaints are being taken seriously.

Here's the payoff line:

"This isn’t a partisan issue and we’re going to continue working with legislators," WEAC Vice President Guy Costello said. "This is hitting all of our schools directly."

That's code for "If we don't get our way we will sue the living s&^% out of you."

Precisely what Esenberg mentioned in his white paper.

Think TV Anchors Are Stupid?

Diane Sawyer, noted military strategist, establishes a new mark for "utterly clueless."

Jonathan Karl reported from Baghdad:

...This is the fourth day in a row of attacks inside the Green Zone and as you mentioned this one appears to have landed actually inside the US Embassy compound. Life has been especially nerve-wracking inside the Green Zone. Yesterday alone there were 16 rocket and mortar attacks that landed inside the Green Zone, and in each case the US military suspects these were special groups, militia groups associated with Moktada al-Sadr....

So Ms. Sawyer responds:

Alright, I want to come back to that in a second, but how much of a surprise is it that they can actually get inside the embassy? How fortified is that?

Mmmmmmm....ok, Diane.

I have a friend who knows from artillery. He'd be glad to show you how all that stuff happens, Diane. OR, Diane, you could watch a 3-point basket being made during the NCAA tournament.

HT: Newsbusters

Geske's Right: Trust IS the Issue

Bewailing the special interest money (WEAC and AFT) running ads, retired SCOWI Justice Janine Geske says:

"Our court system and their decisions are only as good as the trust that people have in them,"


And when it's clear that SCOWI's "leadership" has decided to be a super-Legislature, then "trust" is broken, Janine.

SCOWI's utterly ridiculous "Mommy, May I" reading of concealed-carry laws is only the beginning of a sorry record of confusing, contradictory, and downright asinine decisions foisted on the citizens and businesses of this State.

Geske, however, confuses the beginning and the end:

"And if that trust is so destroyed by what's going on in these ads, then I think we have to look at another alternative (to electing judges)."

Sorry, Janine. The advertisements do not destroy "trust."

Screechin'Shirley destroyed "trust," along with Loophole Louie and others sitting on the Court.

The ads simply point out the obvious.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Complaint: Butler Recieved Illegal Gifts


Seems that the law offices of Finerty, Friebert, and St. John (a corporation) were also the offices of Louis Butler's campaign. That's easy to understand; FFStJ is the Democrat Party in law practice and has been for years; they're well-organized, they have outstanding legal secretaries who are meticulous, they keep records well, etc., etc.

So if you're going to have someone maintain documents, track ins/outs of donations and payments, why not friendly professionals? Especially if they do all that stuff for free?

Bob Dohnal will tell you "why not": Wis. Stat. 11.38(1), which forbids, absolutely, and without reserve, ANY corporate contributions to ANY candidate for office in the State of Wisconsin.

To make matters more interesting, it seems that Louis Butler did not recuse himself when hearing cases brought to SCOWI by Finerty, Friebert & St.John--nor did he mention that they were maintaining his campaign HQ (and so forth) without recompense. Dohnal suggests that SCR 66.02 and 66.03 of the Wisconsin Judicial Code of Ethics address that. Negatively.

S'pose the local press will bother with this?

Like they did when Tom Reynolds split his electric bill with his campaign?

Or should Dohnal ask Gretchen Schuldt to write the story and send it to JS HQ?

Dems "Fix" Budget, Still $368 Million Short

Ripley would be having a field day.

No Runny did the math; here's the payoff line:

Expected budget shortfall after “Senate” action: -$368.3 million

It's in red for the obvious reason.

I think the Dems will give up the KRM ($200MM expense) and pretend to reduce State spending by another $125MM in an effort to lure a few flies into the web.

Let's see how many stupid (R) flies are in the Assembly.

Loophole Louie Yard Sign!

Yup. There is one--and it's quite classy, too. About 9'x6', blue on white.


In front of the offices of Dunphy & Cannon.

That would be the Personal Injury lawyers.

You know, the Aggrievement Bar types who, ah, .....benefit....from certain kinds of legal re-interpretations, like med-malpractice awards.


"Noble Simplicity" in Liturgy

That phrase, "noble simplicity" is the English translation of a term used in the VatII's Document on the Liturgy.

You would be learn that "simplicity" is simply (heh) a terrible translation of the Latin word 'simplicitate,' right?


..."noble simplicity" is neither a Protestant nor a minimalist concept. That view stems from the misundersatnding that stem from the translation of the adjective "simplicitate". What it does not mean is "simple" in the sense used in English that conveys a sparseness, devoid of ornamentation (think "shaker furniture"). What it means is rather "singleness" in the sense of a unity.

So "Ritus nobili simplicitate fulgeant" really means something like "The rite should radiate a noble (rich) unity of form". Taken with the rest of the Constitution, and read within the hermeneutic of continuity, that means that the cultural vehicles should not clash but should exist harmoniously and contribute beauty: language (which the Fathers saw as being largely in Latin), music (the tradition of Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony), vestments and architecture all coming together to enhance the educational and pastoral nature of the liturgy (that is the title under which the Council used the expression).

It is not ugly, formless architecture, cheap and shapeless vestments, crass music and translations devoid of linguistic beauty, which fail to convey the imagery and concepts of the original. It is really more of a Guido than a Piero.

And if you really know 'inside-Vatican baseball,' you get the last sentence.

Of course, the mangled translation will persist, like PCB's in the Fox River.

HT: Fr. Harrison

Commonality Quiz

So, you conoisseurs d'academe "Catholic" in Wisconsin, what do all these have in common?

Saint Norbert College, Marquette University, Edgewood College, Cardinal Stritch University, Alverno College

See here for the answer.

An Alternative to Nader


On April 15, Dr. Alan Keyes will be announcing that he is severing all ties with the Republican Party and joining the Constitution Party.

So says Regular Guy, anyway.

The Error of GWB's Goal--Repeatable by the Next President?

There will be endless discussions of the reasons "why" the war against Terror.

But "instilling [secularist] Western values" should not be one of them--as Weigel notes in passing as part of this interview.

Lopez: Who, among Muslims, should be held up as to encourage those who want to fight jihadism?

Weigel: The kind of Muslims who will be our most effective allies in the war against jihadism are those Muslims who want to make an Islamic case for tolerance, civility, and pluralism. The temptation to think that the answer to the problem of jihadism is the conversion of 1.2 billion Muslims to Western liberal secularism ought to be stoutly resisted as the ivy-league fantasy it is. The question is whether, and how, Islam can effect what Christian theology would call a “development of doctrine” on issues like religious freedom and the separation of religious and political authority in a just state. A lot of 21st-century history is riding on the answer to that question.

K-Lo then asks a really good question, even though she clumsily attempted to politicize a question which is far, far above politics. Weigel was kind enough not to call her utterly stupid:

Lopez: Do we deserve to win if we wind up electing Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama president?

Weigel: Whether we deserve to win or not, we’re much less likely to win with a president who manifestly does not understand the nature of the enemy or the multifront struggle in which we are necessarily engaged. A return to the Nineties — to foreign-policy-as-therapy — is not going to see us, or the Magdi Allams of this world, through to a future safe for the exercise of religious freedom.

But of course, Ms. K-Lo, (you twit!!!)--does John McCain understand the nature of the enemy or the multifront struggle?

Better: does John McCain actually understand the religious question(s) here?

Faith and Science: Joined Since the Middle Ages

Illegitimi non carborundum est could well have been the motto of Pierre Duhem.

...Duhem, ostracized by his own peers, never did teach in Paris. He spent the last 22 years of his life as a professor of theoretical physics at a provincial school, the University of Bordeaux. His magnum opus is his Le Système du monde: les doctrines cosmolologiques de Platon à Copernicus (The Structure of the World: Teachings on Cosmology from Plato to Copernicus).

The first five volumes — each more than 500 pages in length — were published in consecutive years, from 1913-1917. Although another five volumes were ready for publication when Duhem died in 1916, they were not published until four decades later (1954-59).

The reason for the long delay in publishing the last five volumes of this masterpiece, which is without parallel in its field, was due to the strong opposition by influential academics who did not want to consider the demonstrable fact that modern science cannot be divorced from its religious foundations.

In the intervening years between the publication of the first and second group of five volumes, many studies of medieval science were conducted — by Anneliese Maier, Marshall Clagett, E. Grant, Alistair Crombie and others. These studies served to extend and confirm Duhem’s work and add credibility to his central thesis concerning the continuity between Medieval and modern science.

As a result of Duhem’s pioneering research and the contribution by other historians of science, the value of studying medieval science is now well established and can no longer be dismissed by honest scholars.

Templeton Prize winner, Stanley Jaki, who holds doctorates in both physics as well as theology, has this to say about Duhem’s work: “What Duhem unearthed among other things from long-buried manuscripts was that supernatural revelation played a crucial liberating role in putting scientific speculation on the right track. … It is in this terrifying prospect for secular humanism, for which science is the redeemer of mankind, that lies the explanation of that grim and secretive censorship which has worked against Duhem.”

Peter Hodgson, who is university lecturer in nuclear physics at Oxford University, has this to say about Duhem’s scholarly accomplishment: “The work of Duhem is of great relevance today, for it shows clearly the Christian roots of modern science, thus decisively refuting the alleged incompatibility of science and Christianity still propagated by the secularist establishment. Science is an integral part of Christian culture, a lesson to be learned even within the Christian Church.”

Duhem’s study and documentation of the Christian origin of modern science has been deliberately neglected because it is unwelcome both to the disciples of the French Enlightenment and those of the Reformation. For different reasons, they would like to paint the Middle Ages as dark as possible.

Duhem’s work is all the more prodigious when one realizes that he had no research assistant at his disposal or dictaphones or even ball-point pens. Furthermore, he often had to use his left hand to hold firm his trembling right hand.

When he passed away at age 54, he had left to posterity 40 books, 400 articles, and 120 large-size notebooks, each 200 pages long, containing excerpts from medieval manuscripts.

Demonstrating once again that the best tool of the Modern Establishment is the denial of historical fact--or the deliberate distortion thereof--in hopes that nobody will ever figure out the game.

HRC's "sniper visit" is merely a pimple on that large elephant's rear end, but it's the same thing.

HT: CustosFidei

"Educational Equal OUTCOME" Demanded by WI Constitution?

Esenberg sees the potential for a lot of trouble coming from SCOWI decisions soon.

One example will be in the matter of school support from the State. He cites a curious phrase from the majority in Vincent:

The uniformity required by the constitution, he emphasized, requires “a standard that will equalize outcomes, not merely inputs.”

"Equal OUTCOME"???? Are these people serious?

Might such a demand cost money? Yah--about a 32% increase in State funding, according to an estimate cited by Esenberg.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Preaching 400: Abp Sheen

Maybe someday someone will actually use this guy's work in the "Homiletics" course at the Seminary.

Over many years, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen always ended his traditional Good Friday preaching... with the following stirring and timeless reflection:

"For whenever there is silence round about me---by day or night---I am startled by a cry!

"It came down from the cross the first-time I heard it.

"And I went out and searched....... and I found a man in the throes of crucifixion!

"And I said: 'I will take you down.'

"And he said: 'I cannot be taken down until every man and woman and child come together to take me down.'

"But I said: 'What can I do ? ....I cannot bear your cry'!!

"And he said: 'Go into the world and tell everyone that you meet---There is a man on the cross!!'"

HT: A Shepherd

Contrast in Pastors

The statements of Rev. Wright have been noticed--and so were the statements of Rev. Hagee. Hagee was accused of making some mighty nasty remarks about Catholicism.

Here's what HE has to say about that.

"...Many in the media have mistakenly accepted characterizations of my statements which simply are not true. I never called the Catholic Church the "anti-Christ" a "false cult system" “the apostate church” or the “great whore” of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I use these terms, I am referring to those Christians who ignore the Gospels and embrace the false doctrines of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism.Throughout my career I have been a strong critic of Christian anti-Semitism. I have consistently criticized all Christians – Protestant and Catholic alike – for the sin of anti-Semitism.

"...I have repeatedly praised the “righteous works” of Catholics such as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict in rejecting anti-Semitism and taking historic steps to reconcile with the Jewish people. I have always had great love for Catholic people and great respect for the Catholic Church and hope this statement sets the record straight."

No such disavowal from Rev. Wright. In fact, there's another contrast: McCain, who was endorsed by Hagee, strongly condemned "anti-Catholic" remarks (even if they were not made by Hagee.)

In contrast, Obabmamamamamamama 'splained how Rev. Wright was, more or less, correct, except for possibly the times when Obamamamamamma didn't hear what the Rev may or may not have stated--and then launched into a "typical white folks" deflection-mode.

HT: Gerald

Distinction of Interest re Sex

Kind of a slow day, so I put "sex" in the title. It'll get attention until you actually read the post....

Ed Peters, Canonist, makes an observation about the sloppy writing (and thinking, or lack thereof) in the typical news reports.

The sad case of Zimbabwe Archbishop Pius Ncube, who was the only credible opponent of Thug-in-Chief Robert Mugabe, is the occasion to try to remind people that Canon 277 of the Johanno-Pauline Code establishes two related but distinct obligations for clerics in the Western Church, namely, celibacy and continence. As an archbishop, Ncube was bound both to refrain marriage (celibacy) and to refrain from sexual relations with anyone (continence). Ncube has admitted to having sex with a woman (a married woman, as it happens); therefore he has admitted to violating the law of continence; he has not attempted marriage with this woman, and therefore he has not violated his promise of celibacy.

Nevertheless, every single press report I have seen on this case alleges that Ncube violated his promise of celibacy! Not one of them claims he violated the law of continence. This is the opposite of what they should be saying.

Got that? Good. Resume flogging Loophole Louie.

Monday, March 24, 2008

B-16's Holy Saturday Sermon: Look East!!

Fr. Z printed all of it.

Here's the part which Klaus Gamber could have written:

In the early Church there was a custom whereby the Bishop or the priest, after the homily, would cry out to the faithful: "Conversi ad Dominum" – turn now towards the Lord. This meant in the first place that they would turn towards the East, towards the rising sun, the sign of Christ returning, whom we go to meet when we celebrate the Eucharist. Where this was not possible, for some reason, they would at least turn towards [the liturgical East] the image of Christ in the apse, or towards the Cross, so as to orient themselves inwardly towards the Lord.

Fundamentally, this involved an interior event; conversion, the turning of our soul towards Jesus Christ and thus towards the living God, towards the true light. Linked with this, then, was the other exclamation that still today, before the Eucharistic Prayer, is addressed to the community of the faithful: "Sursum corda" – "Lift up your hearts", high above the tangled web of our concerns, desires, anxieties and thoughtlessness – "Lift up your hearts, your inner selves!"

For you LitWonkTwitterers--how, exactly, can you remain wedded to the "versus populum" foolishness perpetrated by "Bugsy" Bugnini?

---outside of simply choosing to ignore the substance of the symbol?

Fed Tax Revenues Southbound

This is a graph of Federal WITHHOLDING tax revenues--those derived from wages and salaries (not capgains, interest/dividends, rents.)

The decline in y/y growth began 4Q07.

Sure would be useful if the State of Wisconsin would have an on-line source for its revenue numbers, eh? At this point, only Dawn Sales-Clerk knows (?!?!?) what the Hell is going on.


HT: The Big Picture

Catholics Attacked During Mass in Chicago

The nutburgers came out in force.

Six Iraq war protesters disrupted an Easter Mass on Sunday, shouting and squirting fake blood on themselves and parishioners in a packed auditorium.

Three men and three women startled the crowd during Cardinal Francis George's homily, yelling "Even the Pope calls for peace" as they were removed from the Mass by security guards and ushers.

The protesters were all charged with felony criminal damage to property and two counts of simple battery for squirting the blood around the auditorium and onto worshipers' clothes, authorities said. Chicago police identified the six arrested as Donte D. Smith, 18; Ephran Ramirez Jr., 22; Ryane Ziemba, 25; Mercedes Phinaih, 18; Regan Maher, 25; and Angela Haban, 20.

The group, which calls itself Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War, said in a statement after the arrests that they targeted the Holy Name Cathedral on Easter to reach a large audience, including Chicago's most prominent Catholic citizens and the press, which usually covers the services.

Kevin Clark of International Solidarity Movement told the Chicago Tribune that he attended the Mass to serve as a witness for the protesters.

"If Cardinal George is a man of peace and is walking the walk and talking the talk, he should have confronted George Bush and demanded an immediate end to the war," Clark said.

Not a real good way to make a point, children.

HT: Clay Cramer

Butler: It's Only Tax Money...Let's Be Frivolous!!

Think that your tax dollars are well-spent?

Think again.

Louis (Loophole) Butler, currently a Justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, had no problem with getting himself a free frivolous trip to Washington DC on the taxpayer dime.

What makes this particularly loathsome is that he was defending "Frivolous" filings that he ginned up for a client (what the Hell, it was taxpayer money paying the freight.)

[CLARIFICATION: Loophole Louie argued that the US Constitution (Anders) required public defenders (like Loophole Louie) to argue frivolous cases without stating that they were frivolous EVEN IF THE PD KNOWS they are, whereas SCOWI rules mandated that a PD state the fact that the case is frivolous, along with a 'splanation as to why it's frivolous. In effect, he was arguing against the SCOWI rules. As you might imagine, SCOTUS found him to be begging the question--but it was a nice trip to DC, anyway.]

It so happens that 'frivolous' filings are a big no-no. They are a waste of time for the Courts, a waste of time and money for the other side's legal people (in this case, the State of Wisconsin's prosecutors) and are sometimes a cause of penalties to the lawyer who brings the 'frivolous' action. Look at how Scalia used the term "conscientious" in this exchange:

Justice Scalia: What we’ve got is case where the paying client, if he’s got a conscientious lawyer, would say to him you’re going to waste your money. I’m telling you that in advance. It’s not worth the five thousand dollars to file this. Of course if you want to throw your money away, I’ll file your papers for you. What you’re saying is the poor defendant is entitled to have the state waste the same amount of money.

Butler: That’s correct.

Sure, Louie. I think Scalia nailed it with the "conscientious lawyer" remark. Read between the lines, Louie.

HT: Owen.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


If you're going to sing in the vulgar, sing this one!

Image from Cathedral of the Risen Christ (Lincoln, NE) webpage.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

VERY Healthy Health Insurance

Some health insurance coverage is more equal than others:

In Germantown... Superintendent Victor Rossetti's contract was set to expire at the end of this school year. But the School Board decided to give him early retirement benefits for which he had not qualified.

That happens to include the following:

Health insurance: $36,852

which is:

the full cost of his health insurance premiums for two years.

Eighteen thousand, four hundred twenty-six dollars per YEAR!

In comparison, the family plan provided by a very large local employer (union shop) costs just over $12K/year. The plan has a $1K HSA and stop-loss deductible of $3K/family.

Who the Hell is negotiating the Germantown schools' package?

And why are they still employed as a "negotiator"?

Sensenbrenner: Right Again

Jim Sensenbrenner says out loud what a lot of folks are thinking.

Sensenbrenner said he did not find President Bush's planned attendance at the Olympics objectionable, he said, "I think the State Department and the president should be more proactive in exposing this egregious human rights violation."

Oh, yeah, there's more:

Sensenbrenner sharply denounced China's conduct and also criticized the U.S. State Department, saying it erred in removing China recently from a list of top 10 human rights violators.

A certain RadioMouth wants Condi Rice to run for President....yah...that's the ticket.

"China ought to get back on the list and get back soon," said Sensenbrenner, who spoke by telephone from India.

"The United States has prided itself on being a leader on questions of human rights," Sensenbrenner said. "This is the most severe human rights violation that has occurred in 2008. And the United States government and State Department should not sit idly by while the Chinese beat up and torture innocent Tibetans."

Once again, the ChiComs demonstrate the virtues of the totalitarian state.

"Healthy Wisconsin," anyone?

And STILL more:

Sensenbrenner is the senior Republican on a 10-member congressional delegation led by Pelosi to the United Kingdom and India - a trip devoted largely to the issue of global warming.

Sensenbrenner said he sought to stress to the government of India that no global agreement on that issue will be effective without the participation of India and China.

"The message I was giving to the Indian government at the highest levels was they had to participate. I can't say it was too well received," he said.

But hey! Regulate more HERE, to make up for it. That way, the US economy will no longer be a threat to the Universe.

Of course, there will be no US economy, either.

Let's Go For #1!!


Second is the first loser.

"First is first. Second is nothing." --Vincent T. Lombardi

"The window for receiving another significant snow storm will probably be open for another month." --Weather Service Meteorologist Bill Borghoff

Only 15 inches to go and you will REALLY have something to tell your grandchildren--if you live through it.

PS: 14.5" here yesterday...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ron Paul? Obama?


Anyway, Larison points out that lots of people (Your Working Boy included) ran from Ron Paul when it came out that he was closely associated with white race nuts, even though nobody believes Paul holds those vicious views. That was considered by the mainstream to be the right and proper thing to do, because even though Paul has given no evidence of having agreed with that garbage, the fact that he wasn't terribly offended by it tells us something worrisome about his character. Yet when presented with Obama guilty of more or less the same offense as Paul -- being too close to people who hold offensive opinions -- we are told to be nuanced in our understanding of these relationships, and not to hold Obama to the same level of accountability.

Yah. We saw the bloggers who denounced Paul, those who quietly snuck away, and the Utterly PC bloglodytes on that Ron Paul thing.

Dreher also frames it this way, as it's practiced by the Utterly Correct People:

"Let's have a dialogue about gender/race/homosexuality/whatever: we'll talk, and you'll listen until you agree with us."

The poison of Babel arises again.

Ruht Wohl

It is finished

Rest Well.

James T. Comments

....on Obama.

He's not a fan, in brief. But here's the line which nails it:

I’ll tell you where hope comes from: Forgiveness. There is a Love so wide and deep and high that you can’t help but be overcome by gratitude that transforms individuals and entire communities.

Yah--and it's Good Friday.

Not only correct, but fitting.

The Subtle Clinton Machine

So Obamamamama's passport records were examined--illicitly--and two people got fired.

Their boss?

The office that handles passports, consular affairs, is indeed run by a woman named Maura Harty, who's a....wait for it -- Clinton administration holdover. Remember, no one has implicated her or any State Department employees -- the two people who were fired were contract workers.

What was so damned interesting in Obamamamama's records?

The greatest interest in Obama's overseas travel has been expressed by Clinton supporters. One area of interest -- and I really don't understand what exactly they were getting at -- is Obama's European travels, or non-travels.

Brought to you via the intrepid Confederate Yankee.

By the way, the Yankee thinks this is a "nothing" story--just curiosity by the (fired) contractors.

Stuff You Learn from McMahon

This guy McMahon runs an absolutely INTERESTING blogspot. It's a 'must-read.'

Today's gem:

During George's childhood, one of the best friends of the Patton family was none-other-than Colonel John S. Mosby, the fabled "Grey Ghost" of J.E.B. Stuart's legendary cavalry. Patton grew up hearing tales of daring raids and stunning cavalry attacks from the Grey Ghost himself. During visits to the Patton Ranch in Southern California, Colonel Mosby would re-enact the Civil War with George; playing himself, he let George play the part of General Lee as they would recount the battles of the war, astride their horses.

These firsthand stories, and horseback re-enactments, directed by one of the greatest Guerilla fighters of all time no doubt had a huge influence on Patton. Both his sense of bravery and duty, and his Guerilla like tactics were no doubt heavily influenced by his early exploits with John S. Mosby.

Recall the Third Army's "lightning march" to relieve Bastogne. It's entirely reasonable to believe that the Confederate Army's 'Gray Ghost' inspired that move--critical to the Allied victory in WWII.

State Deficit? Here Are Solutions

Jo Egelhoff has a few which are major.

One of them might put a certain State Leggie's brother in a bind. (Hint: can you spell E-T-H-A-N-O-L subsidy?)

Tough shit.

HT: No Runny Eggs

Labor Costs the Problem? Maybe Not

Wonder why all those manufacturing jobs are leaving the USA?

Charlie points to a study which reveals reality. Although this is called "startling" by the Tax Foundation (which authored the study), I have mentioned more than a few times that tax- and regulatory- costs in the USA (and Wisconsin) have a serious impact on business viability--thus, on job prospects and job-security of 'the common man' in this country.

In other words, it is NOT "cost of labor" alone which makes off-shoring our manufacturing sector desirable.

...most American states tax job providers at a higher rate than any other country in the developed world.

24 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than top-ranked Japan.
32 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than third-ranked Germany.
46 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than fourth-ranked Canada.
All 50 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than fifth-ranked France

The highest total tax rip in the world is found in Iowa (41.6%), followed by PA., MN., and MA.

Wisconsin is 15th in the whole WORLD, with a total rip of 40.1%

Lowest in the US is Wyoming (35%), which does not have a corporate income tax.

The really bad news: regulatory costs (IRS, OSHA, EEOC, ERISA, and State entities such as DNR and DOR, are not addressed by this study. Americans for Tax Reform estimates that total tax/reg costs in the USA amount to 53% of national income.

The propensity to tax and regulate every single transaction or interaction, (major or extremely minor) largely championed by Democrat politicians, is eviscerating the financial viability of the prospective or current employers of the common laboring man, not to mention a lot of his white- and pink-collar colleagues and neighbors. The Republicans are hardly blameless--but the US is on a commercial-homicide course which should be re-examined very carefully.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


In utero pix. Of course, if they were HUMAN they'd be 'blobs of matter,' to Planned Barrenhood.

On Window-Breaking "Demonstrators"

It speaks for itself that the window-breakers on the East Side did their "protesting" under cover of darkness and ran away to hide.

But the Caveman has a germane wish:

Oh, how I'd love to set free all those "wrongfully detained political prisoners" in Guantanamo Bay, and have them share a condo with all those spoiled brat protesters. I can see it now... the piss stained trousers mixed with the heavy smell of abject fear and panic as the terrorists descend upon these limousine liberals like wolves on a flock of lambs. Kinda like Dawn of the Dead meets Weekend at Bernie's.

I'll buy the popcorn.

Pastor Wright's Theology

Something that Eugene Kane has not explained (nor can he, I suspect):

Cone is now distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary

..and Prof. Cone is the theological mentor of Rev. Wright. The core content of "black theology"?

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

Well, it's an opinion.

And it's no wonder that White Crackers Don't Get It.

HT: Rich Leonardi

Whither McCain

Peg Noonan horsewhips the old stallion a bit.

One line that stood out:

The friend said he thought Mr. McCain is showing a certain "complacency" because he's already got what he wanted. "He's got Bush's people bowing, he's got the conservatives coming back, the establishment bowing. He's satisfied. He's finally got it!" But you have to want the presidency or the people won't give it to you. You have to fight for it. I asked if Mr. McCain really wanted it, really hungered. He shrugged. He didn't know

Reminds one of the knock on Fred!! Thompson, no?

Noonan's thesis is that McCain is a quipper, not a thinker--and that he may well be happy as a pig in mud being a "maverick," whether or not he ever gets elected President.

Everything the friend said pinged off things I've observed of the McCain campaign. I'd add this. One always wonders with Mr. McCain: What exactly does he feel passionately about, what great question? Or rather, what does he stand for, really? For he often shows passion, but he rarely speaks of meaning. The issues that summon his full engagement are issues on which he's been challenged by his party and others. McCain, to McCain, is defined by his maverickness. That's who he is. (It's the theme of his strikingly good memoir, "Worth the Fighting For.") He stands up to power. He faces them down. It's not only a self image, it's a self obsession.

But it has left him seeming passionate only about those issues on which he's been able to act out his maverickness, such as campaign finance and immigration. He's passionate about McCain-Feingold because . . . because people don't understand how right he is, and how wrong they are. He's passionate not about immigration itself but about how he got his head handed to him when he backed comprehensive reform, about which he was right by the way. He's passionate about Iraq because America can't cut and run, as it did in Vietnam, to the subsequent heartbreak of good people, and heroes. But this is not philosophy, it's autobiography.

Noonan also pointed out, indirectly, how McCain's "quip, don't think" persona has gotten him afoul of the Constitution and the vast majority of Americans on campaign finance and immigration (respectively.)

I don't know if I like the idea of a passionate non-thinker playing Commander-in-Chief.

In the most successful political careers there is a purpose, a guiding philosophy. Not an ideology—ideology is something imposed from above, something abstract dreamed up by an intellectual. Philosophy isn't imposed from above, it bubbles up from the ground, from life. And its expression is missing with Mr. McCain. Political staffs inevitably treat philosophy as the last thing, almost an indulgence. But it's the central fact from which all else flows. Staffs turn each day to scheduling, advance, fundraising, returning the billionaire's phone call. They're quick to hold the meeting to agree on the speech on the economy. But they don't, can't, give that speech meaning and depth. Only the candidate can, actually

Suppose that McPain will respond to that challenge? I doubt it. He thinks he's made his case, as Noonan writes in the essay--and that he simply deserves election based on.....whatever.

Even Fred!!, whose desire was questionable, had understanding.

Liturgical Law

From Diogenes, commenting on Anglican Bishops' decision to polish shoes (instead of washing feet) on Maundy Thursday:

There seems to be some kind of mysterious spiritual law which dictates that whenever the clergy convince themselves the traditional liturgical symbols are too weak, the novelties they come with as substitutes are bad.

"Bad" hardly conveys the reality. "Frightful" may be more descriptive.

And it's not just "clergy." The LitWonk Crowd, not all of whom are ordained, have equally dreary and hackneyed imaginations. (CF your parish' Liturgy Committee; wall-hangings, anyone? Wretched music? Spandex-covered dancers?)

Stonehenge Made Simple

You won't believe it until you see it.

Mind you, this guy is NOT some sort of Ph.D. MIT-type professor.

HT: Headless. (Be sure to invite the blogosphere when you try it yourself. We'll bring popcorn.)

Elmbrook's Improvements

Sometimes, the RadioMouth is simply wrong.

That's the case with the upcoming Elmbrook school referendum, asking for $62 million to re-work and improve both Elmbrook high schools. This go-around replaces the initial $100++ million request, which was soundly defeated (with cause.)

The current question is a much different one. The Administration found a group of "no"-voters, who gave up an enormous amount of their personal and professional time to review the project from the bottom up--in essence, a "zero-based" budget review for the project.

After a lot of sensible recommendations were made and accepted, the reduced request was put on the ballot. In fact, what's proposed is necessary. The remodel and new construction will not be "frivolous" nor particularly cutting-edge--it will be utilitarian and necessary. I've been in the buildings a lot of times, and frankly, the work should be done.

The Impending Collapse of Planned Parenthood

They may wish they never were in Kansas, Toto.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is facing 107 criminal charges, including 23 felony counts of falsifying medical documents related to late-term abortions. The felony charges will be examined at preliminary hearings set for April 7 and 8 in Johnson County District Court in Olathe, Kan.

Kline [the prosecutor] said successful prosecution of Planned Parenthood in this case could have repercussions across the country.

"Planned Parenthood is required for the receipt of federal funds to comply with state laws," Kline said. "It could jeopardize their federal funding."

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch. Just ask Jim Ott (R-Mequon).

The Alternative Universe of Gene Kane

Frankly, I rarely read his stuff, but there are times when it's necessary. So...

When Obama spoke on the topic of race and politics in Philadelphia on Tuesday, the expectations were he had to deliver in a grand way in order to defuse growing controversy over the incendiary remarks by Wright, his former pastor in Chicago.

The verdict from most: He knocked it out of the park.

What's "it"? By the insta-poll results, showing a large drop in Obamamamama's numbers in PA., the "it" may well be his candidacy.

...I repeated my belief that many white Americans simply don't understand the oral tradition of the black church or the longstanding tradition of some black preachers of calling out white America for racial injustice. Admittedly, Wright used much harsher language than most are accustomed to from their religious figures

It's a 'black thang,' and yah, well, mumblemumblemumble, maybe saying goddamn America was stupid and not really helpful now that all those whiteyhonkeys have seen it.

If folks are honest, they will acknowledge at the very least that Obama showed why he won Wisconsin and that he delivered on the potential many have seen in his candidacy to look at America in a new and exciting way.

"....look at America in a NEW way?" You mean strictly through the lens of race, like Jim Crow?

From his refusal to throw Wright under the bus to his revelation about hurtful comments from his maternal grandmother, it was a tour-de-force performance by Obama that had less to do with politics than it did with humanity.

Yah, Gene. He traded his grandma for his race-baiting pastor. That's "humane," alright.

The Fed and the Great Depression

There is a large group of folks who believe that the Depression was caused by Smoot-Hawley, the tariffs which were emplaced to assist US businesses.

Of course, the Smoot-Hawley tariff was not 'the cause' of the Depression--at least by the numbers.

According to the U.S. Statistical Abstract, the effective tariff rate was 13.5% in 1929 and 19.8% in 1933. From 1821 through 1900 the United States averaged 29.7% effective tariff rates and peaked in 1830 at 57.3%, dwarfing the Smoot-Hawley rate

(If anything, the above tells us that higher tariffs are better for the US than the low tariffs of Smoot-Hawley.)

Actually, the Depression was stoked by the Fed--according to Milton Friedman.

The [1929] recession was an ordinary business cycle. We had repeated recessions over hundreds of years, but what converted [this one] into a major depression was bad monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve System had been established to prevent what actually happened. It was set up to avoid a situation in which you would have to close down banks, in which you would have a banking crisis. And yet, under the Federal Reserve System, you had the worst banking crisis in the history of the United States. There's no other example I can think of, of a government measure which produced so clearly the opposite of the results that were intended.

And what happened is that [the Federal Reserve] followed policies which led to a decline in the quantity of money by a third. For every $100 in paper money, in deposits, in cash, in currency, in existence in 1929, by the time you got to 1933 there was only about $65, $66 left. And that extraordinary collapse in the banking system, with about a third of the banks failing from beginning to end, with millions of people having their savings essentially washed out, that decline was utterly unnecessary

Umnnnh......that's why Friedman was called a "monetarist" theoretician in economics. It may be the case that Smoot-Hawley tariffs (which were reciprocated by Canada and Europe) lent to the malaise, and it may not. It SHOULD be hard to argue that the historically-low S-H rates were the "cause" of the Depression, but people make that argument without shame on a regular basis.

The question is "how much cash is right"--clearly, Bernanke is willing to monetize in the current situation.

No doubt we'll learn something this time around, too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

California Schoolin'

The strict constructionists in California read the law, and decided that home-schooling was illegal--not unlike the decision about 'virtual schooling' in Wisconsin. This according to Jos. Knippenberg on the First Things blogsite.

...According to the appellate panel, California law contemplates home education only by fully credentialed tutors, with only a few minor exceptions, generally provided for and supervised by public-school systems. There is, the judges held, no legal provision for private-school ISPs or private-school affidavits. Parents who failed to conform to the law by enrolling their children full-time in public or private schools, or hiring a credentialed tutor, “may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fine.”

No wonder people were incredulous and outraged. Unfortunately for them, the court stands on pretty firm legal ground, following precedents and offering a “strict construction” of California law.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel (barring legislative remedy, which seems to be entirely possible.)

...the most relevant precedent is Wisconsin v. Yoder, a 1972 case dealing with the claim of Old Order Amish that their children should be exempted from compulsory attendance in school after completing the eighth grade

...but even Yoder is not entirely reassuring for the California situation--the "religious" claims of the Old Order Amish are far, far stronger than those of many homeschoolers.

Stuff Cops Shouldn't Do

Now and then, the cops have a bad day.

Two stories from this AM's paper...

1) The County Mountie who gets nailed for DUI says "You know how many cops I have stopped and let go? Hundreds," he said. "If I saw a car smashed up against the wall and it was a cop, I would let it go, man. You did not have to do this to me."

Maybe he meant "dozens" instead of "hundreds." Same difference. He's just managed to destroy credibility for a lot of badge-wearing folks--and no amount of spinning, waffling, or BS'ing from CopShop HQ types will erase those words.

2) The "shot in the back" lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller refused the city's request to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit brought by the family of Justin Fields, who was shot in the back by officer Craig Nawotka as he drove away from officers.

Stadtmueller also questioned Nawotka's version that Fields, 21, was trying to run him over. Fields was shot in the back as he was driving slowly away from Nawotka and other officers. The judge said there is evidence that neither Nawotka nor anyone else was in danger from Fields.

Well, what the Hell, Your Honor...that BS worked for the UW-M rent-a-cop who shot a Jeep driver in the back a few years back. WhassamattaYOU??

Obviously, Mr. Fields had a serious attitude problem and was fleeing the police. But the "spray and pray" shooting lessons administered by the Milwaukee Police Department have a serious flaw.

I defy you to find a D.A. anyplace in this country who would apply the "justified" label to a case in which a citizen killed someone, attitude or not, by shooting him in the back.

The Cost of Iraq

Don't get me wrong. I give the benefit of the doubt to GWB's decision to take out Saddam and put in place something better. To my mind, it was a close call, but I'll defer to the President.

Having said that, there were a few embarrassingly STUPID remarks made by many who supported this adventure wholeheartedly. Rest assured, you won't hear them during the President's speech this morning.

“The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid.” –OMB Director Mitch Daniels, quote in the Washington Post on April 21, 2003.

“Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that’s something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question. –Donald Rumsfeld, January 19, 2003.

Now that we're at $500++Bn spent, looks like Rummy was off by a tad, no? He wasn't the only one:

“We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” –Paul Wolfowitz, March 27, 2003

“I expect we will get a lot of mitigation [from other countries re: the cost of rebuilding Iraq], but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact. –Paul Wolfowitz, March 27, 2003.

“There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests.” –Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003

HT: The Agitator

Agitator also makes the point that an occupation force may be very long-lived in Iraq, using Germany and Korea as examples.

I think that is short-sighted and irrelevant. So long as terrorism is centered in and sponsored by Arab states, a US military presence close by is prudent, if expensive. And (for the economically illiterate) it is also in our national interest to protect the world's largest known reserves of petroleum, which happen to be sitting under a very unstable shiekhdom called Saudi Arabia.