Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Where's Feingold? Kohl? Still Corn-A-Holing You?

Now that Cong. Sensenbrenner did the right thing, we expect Senator Feingold to sign on. He was opposed to the silly thing in the first place, after all.

He hasn't yet--so cards and letters are appropriate.

But Nobody's Senator, Herbie Kohl, voted FOR the bill (as did Sensenbrenner) and Herbie, busy with the Milwaukee Bucks' upper-management problems, has not been paying attention. Maybe Herbie eats no corn or soy products.

Call Herbie. Tell him you will NOT be crucified on a Cross of Corn. He'll get the analogy--he's old enough to remember the politician who gave that speech.

Hello!! Herbie!!!

Time to sign on!!!

Sensenbrenner Gets the Hint!! Congratulations!

We're happy to announce that Jim Sensenbrenner got the hint.

Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Menomonee Falls) is a cosponsor of HR 5911, the Remove Incentives to Produce Ethanol Act of 2008 (RIPE Act), introduced this week by Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona.

This bill will repeal the legislative provisions responsible for the artificial demand for ethanol by:

Repealing the renewable fuel standard;
Repealing tax credits for ethanol producers;
Repealing tariffs on importing ethanol.

The bill rescinds the asinine, greed-driven "Corn-A-Hole" requirement, AND puts ethanol producers (who remain in business) on an even playing field with OTHER energy producers.

Luther Olsen's brother should call his bank.

I'd like to give Owen credit for this, but I'm sure he'll modestly defer to me. Only 8 hours after that post, the announcement was made.

Damn!! Blogging is GOOD!!

How Come The Religion of Global Warming?

An interesting perspective.

...Nietzsche reluctantly admits that there is an inherent human impulse to asceticism in the human soul. There is an innate desire in man to master his inclinations in order to subordinate them to the greater good. Reno indicates that Nietzsche has discovered man’s inclination toward the transcendent; toward the infinite. Man is naturally religious because, as St. Augustine pointed out, he has an inbuilt restlessness until he rests in God.

So far, all's well.

Neo-modern culture has bought into the European model of secularism in which God is excluded from public life and reasoned discussion. ...this presents secularists with a problem. They are trying to have culture without cult and they cannot have it. This type of secularism represses the human person and so it is rebuffed by the masses. I suspect that even the rabid secularists sense an interior dissatisfaction with their “faith.” This leaves them in desperate need of a religion, but it needs to be a godless one. Thus, we are presented with the global warming faith. I suspect that the fideistic reaction that we are seeing from this mass of secularists reveals that Al Gore has handed them the religion that they were seeking.

It is not coincidental that this “religion” is one that requires self-sacrifice for a purpose which transcends themselves. Sacrifice is at the root of religion... Thus, we see this unreasoned, “religious” rush to a self-transcending faith and an attendant “fundamentalist” reaction to those who would deny the truth of this new found faith.

Bet you never thought of AlGore as a High Priest, eh?

HT: Cosmos Liturgy Sex

Another Doyle Failure-To-Deliver

Ol' Jimbo opened his mouth and lied--again.

The headline-grabbing claim from Gov. Jim Doyle in March 2005 couldn't have been clearer.

At a news conference, Doyle said his administration would save taxpayers up to $200 million over four years through better management of the state bureaucracy under the so-called ACE Initiative.

The state would negotiate new contracts to buy goods and services for less money. It would sell off surplus property. And it would consolidate a number of other functions across state government to find savings.

No problem, right? $50 million/year! Almost as easy as ...ah....stealing from the Transportation fund to pay off WEAC.

Turns out that stealing is a LOT easier.

...three years later, a review shows the goals outlined by the governor have not been met. His administration quietly killed the initiative last year after faulty projections, unexpected problems and bureaucratic resistance hampered the effort.

Oh, well. Time to raise the taxes, I guess.

HT: FoxPolitics

Sensenbrenner Still Waffling on Ethanol

Owen posts a letter from Jim Sensenbrenner regarding the ethanol problem.

Here's the key sentence:

As the 110th Congress addresses energy policy and alternative fuels, be assured, I will oppose ethanol mandates and continue to oppose wasteful government spending and subsidization of private industries.

In the case at hand, the mandates are law. Jim Sensenbrenner should know--as he voted FOR the legislation in the first damn place.

So what does "oppose ethanol mandates" actually mean?

Not much.

It means that he'll talk about wasting money (see his letter on Owen's site) and....who knows.

But that's meaningless, folks. Jim Sensenbrenner should put his b%##s on the table and introduce legislation repealing the ethanol mandate.

Or he could introduce legislation forbidding the use of FOOD CROPS as ethanol. Or, as suggested in the combox, he could introduce legislation forbidding the use of food-growing land for growing ethanol-crops.

See, Congressmen are in a position to do something more than "oppose" bad laws. Unlike us, Congressmen can actually introduce laws!! There are millions of people who "oppose" this stupid legislation, Jim--in case you haven't heard--but only 535 who can DO something about it.

Talk is cheap, Jim.

A helluvalot cheaper than food is these days.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shel Lubar's Partial Plan

Nothing in Shel Lubar's proposal is new--but there are some big holes here.

Milwaukee County government should be junked in favor of a consolidated city-county hybrid system that has worked well in other parts of the U.S., business leader and philanthropist Sheldon Lubar said today.

County government has become archaic and inefficient, and it duplicates duties carried out by the state and municipalities, Lubar said in a speech at the Rotary Club of Milwaukee.

Here's the part which is.....interesting.

Parks could revert to municipalities or a regional parks district, if voters want that, he said. Transit, airports and cultural institutions could be turned over to regional authorities.

"Authorities" and "districts" are generally tax-takers and most often are not accountable to tax-payers. See e.g., MMSD, MATC, and SEWRPC for examples.

All would be overseen by a fiscal accountability board. He said he would leave details of how that would work and whether board members would be elected or appointed to future study of the idea

I'm not opposed to this; there certainly are more efficient ways to spend money than on County-level overlays. At the same time, the vague "district/authority" language is something that Lubar shoulda known would create trouble--no matter if Jesus or Moses proposed it.

B-16 on the US' Concept of Religious Freedom

Amplifying a comment I made to the effect that Benedict XVI's admiration for the US' 'religious freedom' practices, we find First Things essaying on the Pope's speech to the UN.

...the entire address should be considered a profound and extended type of Regensburg moment. On reflection, what Benedict called for, even if the awed diplomats in attendance may have missed it, was no less than the international application of the American concept of the separation of church and state, a concept that Benedict considers essential if the international community is to be predicated upon the inherent dignity of the human person. At the very deepest level, his apparently pro-U.N. speech turned out to be a stunning endorsement of the United States’ understanding of religion in the public sphere, and the need to apply that understanding to international dialogue. This is the case even though no news reports noticed; it is the case even though “America” or the “United States” does not appear once in the address.

In the past, Rome has looked askance at the American formulation, and had never come close to endorsing it. But B-16 noticed something: it works, and works very well. The formulation has served to keep 'religion' in the square, not to suppress it (albeit that there are challenges.)

Dr. Benson: Re-Election Poster Child

This is just a scream.

The former physician accused of causing the crash that killed a pregnant school administrator, her unborn child and her 10-year-old daughter was charged with three homicide counts today and ordered held on $1 million bail

..."This court will not, it cannot, allow him to play Russian roulette with the lives of the citizens of Waukesha County when he gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when he thinks it appropriate," Binn said.

There's no question that Dr. Benson has serious problems which (allegedly) resulted in three deaths.

But Binn is playing P. T. Barnum for the cameras and the HS kids assembled in the courtroom--for how many OTHER times has Magistrate Binn set $1 million bail for a serial DUI-loser? Certainly not the LAST time Benson was convicted of DUI--and earned 75 days (Huber) in slam.

Fact is, that EVERY serial DUI-loser is "playing Russian Roulette" with the lives of others.

Maybe Binn has decided to run for office and thinks that he can "fool all of the people all of the time."

But I doubt that he's that smart.

Texas v. FLDS: Now We're Getting Someplace

Via Owen:

More than half the teenage girls taken from a polygamist compound in west Texas have children or are pregnant, state officials said Monday. A total of 53 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 are in state custody after a raid 3 1/2 weeks ago at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado.

Of those girls, 31 either have children or are pregnant, said Child Protective Services spokesman Darrell Azar. He didn’t specify how many are pregnant.

These are the 'serious' situations which Texas authorities have been talking about for a few weeks--and there may be more.

At the same time, over 400 children are still separated from their mothers.

The Billy Ray Cyrus Silence That Speaks Volumes

With all the hoo-haa about Hanna Montana pictures ....

And the "apology" issued by the skank-wannabee...

What's the silence which speaks volumes?

Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day," she said in a statement. "Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."

Somehow, I thought that her old man was actually a MAN.

Guess I was wrong.

He's actually a pimp.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sensenbrenner Will Not Rescind Ethanol Mandate

A friend tells me that he called Jim Sensenbrenner's office and requested that the Congressman introduce legislation to rescind the Corn-A-Hole mandate.

The Congressman responded quickly with a letter.

The letter is carefully worded, to say the least. The Congressman spent a lot of time and ink decrying "ethanol subsidies."

But not ONE WORD from him about rescinding the mandate. No surprise--he voted for the mandate in the first place.

It was a waste of stationery, Congressman.

Apparently Jim needs more encouragement.

Cardinal of NYC to Rudeee!!!: "You're A Jerk!"

Cardinal Egan, not burdened with another several years' work in his job as Cardinal of NYC, lets Rudeee!!!! have it:

New York Cardinal Edward Egan is lashing out at Rudy Giuliani for taking Holy Communion during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the city because the former mayor supports abortion rights.

In a statement released to the media, Egan said:

"The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God. Throughout my years as Archbishop of New York, I have repeated this teaching in sermons, articles, addresses, and interviews without hesitation or compromise of any kind. Thus it was that I had an understanding with Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, when I became Archbishop of New York and he was serving as Mayor of New York, that he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion. I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding."

It's not yet known when Egan plans to meet with Giuliani to discuss his apparent misunderstanding.

CBS 2 has attempted to contact Giuliani's office for a response, but calls were not immediately returned.


No word yet from Abp. Wuerl (of Washington DC) regarding Pelosi, Kennedy, and Kerry (et al.)

HT: ProEcclesia

Here's My Picture

Minor adjustments: in 1965, gasoline was usually $0.29.9, and only TWO attendants came out to do all that work.

When some guy came in with a Pontiac Bonneville to fill his 30-gallon tank, we'd hit the Mother Lode with a $10.00 total sale!

HT: Christus Vincit

Gas To Be $3.60/gal, Except in Wisconsin

From AP:

Gas prices hit $3.60 a gallon and oil futures rose to their own new record near $120 a barrel on Monday as labor actions overseas threatened crude supplies

Of course, in Wisconsin, retailers are guaranteed 6% markup (now about 20 cents/gal) and the Wisconsin fuel tax is still among the highest in the USA.

Not to mention that Our Congressional Delegation is perfectly happy to stuff ADM and its Corn-A-Holing friends with money--from your pockets--which has the effect of removing food from the tables of people in the Third World.

Happy days!

Wis DOT: Testing Useless, Spend Money Anyway

When the State of Wisconsin, in its Imperial Majesty, announces that:

[s]tarting on July 1, cars and trucks built before 1996 will be exempt from having to undergo vehicle emissions inspections in southeastern Wisconsin. The latest figures in 2007 show that the change would have affected 28% of vehicles in the region - or about 175,000 cars.

What they are ACTUALLY announcing is that the entire program is useless.

Not just for 175,000 cars--but for ALL cars. It's useless.

We all know that older cars spit more stuff. So if ANY cars should be tested, they are the older ones.

But our State's Imperial Majesties have determined that they must spend money pretending to halt pollution--so only newer, less-stuff-spewing-cars, will be tested.

I did not perform any "scientific" tests to arrive at the following conclusion:

The Legislature should simply delete all testing-funds from DOT's budget in the upcoming "budget repair" session.

Non-Point: Easier to Shoot Seagulls

The proposal to reduce "non-point" pollution doesn't mention a major source: seagulls.

...Nonpoint pollution includes soil, road salt, pet and livestock waste, oil and grease from vehicles, garbage, fertilizers and pesticides, and other substances washed off the landscape by rain and melting snow. Much of this pollutant load flows unrestrained across fields or through storm sewers to streams, rivers and Lake Michigan, according to a recently completed water quality management plan for the Milwaukee watersheds.

Fecal coliform is one of the indicators of 'non-point' pollution in the Milwaukee harbor. With several thousand seagulls doing what comes naturally on the beaches, streets, and breakwaters, you'd think somebody would mention the damn pests.


Fully 90% of the fecal coliform bacteria in the waterways run off the land, and the bulk of it comes from urban and suburban communities, the planning commission's study found.

It's Rover and KittyFritz who are doing the deed.

The commission estimates it will cost $243.3 million to address the largest sources of rural nonpoint pollution. Adequate manure storage for livestock: $47 million. Converting marginal cropland acres that now easily erode or flood to wetland or grassland: $72 million. Expanding county oversight and regulation of failed septic systems: $113.6 million.

Urban nonpoint controls will be equally expensive; the commission estimates the cost at $239.3 million.

So about $550 million or so. Not to mention cost to individual homeowners...

Among possible "green infrastructure" projects for cities are: rooftop gardens to soak up rain; disconnecting downspouts from sewers and allowing the water to flow onto rain gardens or collect in barrels for later use; grass-lined swales between buildings and roads and porous pavement on parking lots to enable more rain to soak into soil rather than flowing to the nearest stream.

One wonders how long a "porous pavement parking-lot" will last in a typical freeze/thaw cycle.

College Men "Drunk and Drowned?" Maybe Not

A story which has a few Wisconsin connections.

University of Minnesota college student Chris Jenkins was found in the Mississippi River in February of 2003. Minneapolis Police began investigating the case, which also caught the attention of two retired NYPD detectives.

Turns out, Jenkins' death was the missing part of the puzzle for Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte. They think Jenkins connects dozens of other deaths around the country over the last decade.

The stories are the same all over the country--an athletic, intelligent, well-liked college student goes missing. Family and friends launch a massive search. Weeks or months later, the young man is discovered drowned.

Gannon and Duarte are a retired NYPD detectives.

The investigation started 11 years ago in New York when then-Sgt. Gannon made a promise to the parents of Patrick McNeill.

Patrick McNeill was last seen at a New York City bar in 1997. His body was found 50 days later, 11 miles downriver.

"I think it is a serial killer, but not one individual. I would just say, a group of individuals, probably located in more than one state," Duarte said, adding that he thinks they may kill again.

While most local investigations focused on where a body was recovered, Gannon and Duarte tried to figure out where the body went into the river.

City after city, when they'd find the spot where the body went into the water, they would find something else: The symbol of a smiley faceCity after city, when they'd find the spot where the body went in, they would find something else: The symbol of a smiley face

In Michigan, they found something strange among the group's graffiti: the word 'Sinsiniwa.' They couldn't figure out what it meant until a few months later when they arrived in Dubuque, Iowa to investigate the death of Matt Kruziki.

This could be interesting. The detectives think that there could be as many as 40 (!!!) related deaths nationally, most of which are near the Canadian border and extending south as far as NYC and Chicago.

One of the potential related victims is Luke Homan of Brookfield.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pastor Wright v. President Bush

Commenting on the difference between the two, the Black Biretta has a very good point, taking off from a K-Lo column.

The irony is that the clergyman (Reverend Wright) espouses the Dictatorship of Relativism whereas the politician (President Bush) embraces the concept of a Natural Moral Law. The former sees two worlds and two realities; political and religious, secular and spiritual (he says what policitians have to say; I say what pastors have to say. He does what he has to do; I do what I have to do). The latter recognizes that there is only ONE world and ONE reality. There is not a separate political existence from our religious existence. There is not one set of ethics and morality for those in government and another for citizens. There is one Natural Law and one Ten Commandments that bind on every human being regardless of race, gender, economic class, education level, etc. Politicians AND Pastors must speak the same language, that of TRUTH and JUSTICE. Faith and reason are not diametrically opposed. There is no intrinsic dichotomy either. Whether one explains the evil in religious or political terms is one thing but the substance, the essence of the act is either good or evil.

IIRC, Wright's heresy is not new--it is a variant of Manicheanism, and it is found in a number of other variations. It's also referred to as "dualism" and led to Gnosticism...

The Battle Against Banality--Jos. Ratzinger

Robert Reilly, actual scholar, writes in Inside Catholic about what Benedict XVI/Jos. Ratzinger has been preaching and teaching for well over 20 years.

Reilly cites an article in The Australian, written by Christopher Pearson, here quoting Tracy Rowland:

Ratzinger has focused on practices (that) diminish the possibilities of the soul or the self, for its own transcendence. The marketing of vulgar art, music and literature and the generation of a very low, even barbaric, mass culture is seen by Ratzinger to be one of the serious pathologies of contemporary Western culture. By this reading, clerics who think that they will win young people to the church by adopting the marketing strategies of public relations firms and attempting a transposition of the church's cultural patrimony into the idioms of contemporary mass culture are only further diminishing the opportunities of youth for genuine self-transcendence.

Surprise! Dump "art," get omphaloskepsis (the practice of examining one's own navel...)

One immediate consequence of this position has been Benedict's insistence on music worthy of the liturgy, rather than "utility music" derived from 1960s youth culture. He says: "A church which only makes use of utility music has fallen for what is, in fact, useless. She too becomes ineffectual. For her mission is a far higher one. The church must not settle down with what is merely comfortable and serviceable at the parish level; she must arouse the voice of the cosmos and, by glorifying the creator, elicit the glory of the cosmos itself, making it also glorious, beautiful, habitable and beloved. Next to the saints, the art which the church has produced is the only real apologia for her history. The church is to transform, improve, humanise the world, but how can she do that if at the same time she turns her back on beauty, which is so closely allied to love? For together beauty and love form the true consolation in this world, bringing it as near as possible to the world of the resurrection."

So--what's the Pope actually proposing?

Surely, no one has spoken of music in a more exalted way than has this pope, who restores to art its hieratic purpose. Is this inclusive? Is the cosmos inclusive? Is Christ inclusive? As St. Clement of Alexandria taught, Christ is the "New Song" of the universe. "[It] is this [New Song] that composed the entire creation into melodious order, and tuned into concert the discord of the elements, that the whole universe may be in harmony with it." How is that for inclusive? That New Song is not played on bongo drums, as that would be exclusive -- in the sense that it would exclude the transcendent, which cannot be reached by any bongo drums I have ever heard.

What about the reality of "the Spirit of Vatican II" music?

My acid test for any part of the liturgy, including the music, is this: Would a complete stranger observing it believe that what is taking place is the most important thing in these people's lives? I cannot express how I have missed that sense of sanctity in the Mass with which I grew up. I am also a man of the theatre. I was an actor in my early professional life, so I understand the stage. That is what infuriated me about the "new" liturgy of the 1970s. Any competent stage director could have told the liturgical innovators that it did not convey the presence of the sacred. It was so obvious that the conclusion occurred that they must not think the sacred was present. Many parishioners got the message, as they stopped believing in the Real Presence.

When you wander into the Catholic parish which has a "contemporary" choir or ensemble, notice that this group is typically 'on stage.' So--what compels your attention? The "other Christ," who is the priest?---or the band?

If you actually believe that Christ is The Actor in the liturgy, what are all those other people DOING up there?

And do you really believe that 'the music of the cosmos' is what they are presenting?


The Rare and Dangerous Pedal Stop

Most of us have never heard a 128' pipe-organ pedal stop--for a reason.

You can see the reason here, on the intertubes.

HT: Christus Vincit

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Mother of TWO"?

This is a very sad story. A woman is stopped at a light; it turns green, and her car is run over by a larger car approaching from behind.

She is killed, as is her unborn child. Her other two children are in the back seat along with another child. Two of them are critically injured.

The newspaper refers to the woman as "a mother of two."

Seems to me that she was the mother of three.

And if and when charges are issued, I suspect that they will demonstrate that there was a third child--and second dead victim.

The Fork for the Left

Cognitive dissonance only happens to those who have cognitive abilities.

Our Left is not so endowed.

Here you have the Left's take on the Iranian-made-arms discovery:

There is absolutely no reason to assume that the Bush administration is telling the truth and every reason to believe they're lying. Let Bush produce convincing evidence. So far, he's got bupkis and the media really shouldn't print any Bush nonsense of the Powell-at-the-UN kind without strong disclaimers. Digby, quoted by Pundit Nation.

It's a "Bush Lied" thing, inextricably tied to the "Bush is Stupid" thing.

On the other hand:

Markings, of course, are easy to fake, and the truther fringe of the "Bush lied, people died!" sect are sure to accuse the Administration and/or elements of the military with doing just that. Much harder to fake, however, are the materials used, certain tool marks, and other mechanical and electrical components. Taken together, the component pieces form a unique signature that EOD experts can read like a fingerprint. As far as our military is concerned, the markings only serve to confirm what explosive experts could already tell from even unmarked weapons.

So: either Bush (& Co.) are stupid liars, or they are extremely sophisticated forgers--not only of markings, but of material-compositions, tool-markings, and circuitry-design/origin.

Take your choice.

How To Tell the Job Pays Well

The next time Your Board of Regents at UW-Madistan tells you that the Chancellor's job is "underpaid," remind them of this:

And 55 people -- most of whose names remain secret -- are vying for the top job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Unless all 55 are clerical-level twits from the University of Lower Slobbovia's Department of Education, it would seem that the compensation is adequate.

UBS 'Splains It All For You

While I haven't read the UBS document, Big Pic did.

Seems that United Bank of Switzerland (UBS) took a $37Billion writedown. That caused a fuss (!!) among the shareholders.


For what you would expect to be a dry report, it is absolutely compelling reading. It explains much more than the subprime fiasco. The report implies that management didn't really understand what the hell they were getting into with their purchases of Warburg/Dillon Read Capital Management. This unit eventually became UBS' internal hedge fund (it has since been shot [sic] down).

I wonder if management ever truly understands the nuts and bolts of these large acquisitions. We will find out if JPM knew what they were getting into getting the Fed into [sic] with the Bear Stearns (BSC) acquisition.

Hmmmmmm. Aside from the syntax, you get the idea, right?

BigPic detects the odor of McKinsey & Co. here. Recall that McKinsey was a "consultant" to Enron...which in and of itself should have put McKinsey where Arthur Anderson is.

Cheap Fornication Part of Obama Plan for America

Hey. The guy showed up in DC to actually sponsor a bill!

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley D-N.Y. along with Sen. Claire McCaskill D-Mo., and presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., is called the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act. It has been introduced in both the Senate and House, but has yet to be passed.

The effect of the bill?

...would lower the price of birth control on campus.

That way there will be less 'burdensome' children, I guess.

HT: Moonbattery.

Cut Highway Spending: The End of Civilization?

The Roadbuilders predict cataclysm, with 2,000 jobs lost, if the State does not let roadbuilding contracts in May and June, which would save $250++million.

Remember that the State's deficit is over $600 million.

Here's a list of the Endangered Road Projects.

Yah--it would be a real disaster, if:

Drummond Road (Bayfield County) reconditioning were to be postponed? Or if the Hys. 16/33 intersection resurfacing were put off? Or if Bennett Road/Hy 18 did NOT get a roundabout? Or if the Peshtigo Bypass of US41 were delayed? Or if landscaping 76th St. was done next year? Or if "special pavement markings" were not put on "various highways" in SE Wisconsin?

Could Winnebago County make it if there were no "Park-and-Ride" lot on Hy. 41? Will the State survive another year without acquiring more land at the 41/Breezewood intersection? I know that failing to "resurface Summit Road" at I-94 will not stop Oconomowoc from growing, and I suspect that Wisconsin Rapids will persevere despite NOT reconstructing 32nd St. (north.)

So what if the entire Beltline (south) is not re-surfaced? And will safety REALLY be affected if "safety rest area improvements" are not completed in Dunn County? The State has survived for 50 years without "modernizing" Hy. 41 near Fond du Lac--perhaps another biennium won't make a difference, either.

Will "reconstructing/preserving" the 51/29 corridor near Wausau "reconstruct and preserve" Wausau--or just some contractor's wallet?

Oh, I know that "maintenance" of Hy. 45 near Three Lakes is critical--to FIB's who own second homes up there. Can't drive 30-over the speed limit on a crappy road, after all....and Howards Grove will probably dry up and fall off the map if that Hy 42 "reconditioning" doesn't occur.


It's the end of civilization.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Noonan Nails It

Peggy Noonan on Being Herded--suitable for reading by us, the cattle.

America is in line at the airport. America has its shoes off, is carrying a rubberized bin, is going through a magnetometer. America is worried there is fungus on the floor after a million stockinged feet have walked on it. But America knows not to ask. America is guilty until proved innocent, and no one wants to draw undue attention. America left its ticket and passport in the jacket in the bin in the X-ray machine, and is admonished. America is embarrassed to have put one one-ounce moisturizer too many in the see-through bag. America is irritated that the TSA agent removed its mascara, opened it, put it to her nose, and smelled it. Why don't you put it up your nose and see if it explodes? America thinks.

And, as always: Why do we do this when you know I am not a terrorist, and you know I know you know I am not a terrorist? Why this costly and harassing kabuki when we both know the facts, and would agree that all this harassment is the government's way of showing "fairness," of showing that it will equally humiliate anyone in order to show its high-mindedness and sense of justice? Our politicians congratulate themselves on this as we stand in line.

(No different, might we add, than Our Politicians' Smug Satisfaction at making us stuff food into orifices actually meant for fuel. But what's the difference?)

All the frisking, beeping and patting down is demoralizing to our society. It breeds resentment, encourages a sense that the normal are not in control, that common sense is yesterday.

That happens to be more than a passing complaint. The mood is darkening toward surly, justifiably so. With food (fuel? food? fuel?) now inflating at about 13%/annum, some politicians will be very unpleasantly surprised at the reception they get while Parading Around on the Fourth of July.

In fact, the Fourth of July might be the very WORST date for politicians to be parading..

Mnemonics, and all that.

Pelosi's "Biblical" Quotation

It was tracked down by the editor of Insight Scoop:

Hey, I think it's actually from 2 Hallucinations 6:66

Personally, I think her re-invention of Scripture is fully consistent with her pro-abortion activism. It's said that one's mind is darkened by sin...

What Did Benedict XVI DO??

On the sexual abuse question?

We all know he spoke about it, forcefully, both on the trip over here and during his appearances. Obviously, we do not know all of what he said--some was private. And you can bet that what was said publicly was vetted by attorneys.

Could more actions follow? Maybe. Read this firsthand account of his meeting in Washington D.C. with victims.

Bernie McDaid, 52, another Boston survivor who is a painting contractor in Boston, tried to tell his story to Pope John Paul II in 2003. He traveled to Rome but saw only Vatican officials, he told the Beacon from a Boston construction site. This time was different.

About two weeks before the papal visit, Horne and McDaid were invited to meet the pope privately with other survivors in Washington, D.C., at the residence of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican's diplomat to the U.S.

The six survivors of childhood sex abuse who accepted the invitation also were invited to the papal Mass at the new Nationals stadium before the gathering. Afterward they were whisked in a van under police escort to the meeting. Those who didn't know the other victims were introduced only by first name.

The pope entered the residence's small 25-by-15 foot chapel and immediately knelt in silent prayer. Then he spoke to the survivors for what Horne recalled was about 20 minutes. Then, each of the six had a private face-to-face visit with the pope.

A woman on the Boston archdiocesan victims' assistance staff handed the pope a book with 1,600 first names written on its pages. Cardinal Sean O'Malley explained to the pope that the list was of all victims of clerical sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese who had asked its bishops for pastoral care. Pages were left blank to symbolize those victims who had never voiced their tragic complaints, O'Malley explained.

"The pope was shocked at the number," Horne said. "You could see the sincerity of the shock on his face. Benedict had never known that there was that many in Boston. He was stunned. So was the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi. That was a moment. They do have a tough role."
O'Malley asked the pope to pray for the victims listed in the book, and the pope promised to do so.

The pope may know more about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church than most American bishops. In his previous post leading the Congregation for the Faith, he reviewed all the cases of bishops' removing abusive priests. After late 2002, American cases fell into his in-basket like a torrent.

The pope spoke for about 20 minutes, asking forgiveness and speaking of his personal shame over the depraved priests who crushed the innocence of children, Horne and McDaid said.
The most dramatic moment of the gathering came when the only woman victim's turn came for her private time with Benedict, Horne said. With all the others' heads turned to give her privacy, she stood facing the standing pope. She wept as words escaped her.

"Her sounds were filled with sorrow, like an aria," said Horne. "So sorrowful, yet the sweetest sound, as if it were being exhaled. There was complete reverence around the room. No one interrupted. No one said anything like 'it's going to be all right.' Her sobs floated around the room, settled around all of us in the room. Then it was expelled. You saw the pain in Benedict's face."

Dreher looks for the Pope to (in effect) fire all the Bishops who covered up, obfuscated, lied, and otherwise interfered with the process of justice.

(Were it only Bishops! There are plenty of local officials (cops and prosecutors) who share in the blame.)

The question: which is more painful for the genuinely-guilty Bishops: to remain in office (or in retirement) as quasi-pariahs? As Bishops and priests who obtain only the formalities of respect from their flocks, but who will no longer be really genuinely welcomed in 'respectable' company?

Or to exit public view entirely, banished to some distant encampment, never to return to their Dioceses?

Good question.

Gardening with Chesterton

Stolen from Chesterton and Friends--on the topic of daisies, which spread all by themselves.

"It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

Now you know about how daisies spread.

Inflation: Take-Your-Pick Measures

We've mentioned this a few times. Both Reagan and Clinton "adjusted" inflation measures. I don't recall the motivation for Reagan's tweak, but I DO know why Clinton did it: to reduce the Gummint's Social Security payouts.

How'dya like that Corn-A-Hole now, sucka?

H1-Bs: The Myth Exploded

Norm Matloff is a professor of Computer Science at UC-Davis and has been interested in the H1-B/Green Card phenomenon for quite some time.

He's published a new paper which takes on the "Best and Brightest" mythologies of H1-B.

In pressuring Congress to expand the H-1B work visa and employment-based green card programs, industry lobbyists have recently adopted a new tack. Seeing that their past cries of a tech labor shortage are contradicted by stagnant or declining wages, their new buzzword is innovation. Building on their perennial assertion that the foreign workers are “the best and the brightest,” they now say that continued U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) hinges on our ability to import the world’s best engineers and scientists. Yet, this Backgrounder will present new data analysis showing that the vast majority of the foreign workers — including those at most major tech firms — are people of just ordinary talent, doing ordinary work. They are not the innovators the industry lobbyists portray them to be.

And that's not very difficult to demonstrate.

If the foreign workers are indeed outstanding talents, they would be paid accordingly. We can thus easily determine whether a foreign worker is among “the best and the brightest” by computing the ratio of his salary to the prevailing wage figure stated by the employer. Let’s call this the Talent Measure (TM). Keep in mind that a TM value of 1.0 means that the worker is merely average, not of outstanding talent.

I computed median TM values for various subgroups of interest. A summary of the results is:

--The median TM value over all foreign workers studied was just a hair over 1.0.

--The median TM value was also essentially 1.0 in each of the tech professions studied.

--Median TM was near 1.0 for almost all prominent tech firms that were analyzed.

Contrary to the constant hyperbole in the press that “Johnnie can’t do math” in comparison with kids in Asia, TM values for workers from Western European countries tend to be much higher than those of their Asian counterparts.
Again noting that a TM value of 1.0 means just average, the data show dramatically that most foreign workers, the vast majority of whom are from Asia, are in fact not “the best and the brightest.”

"If you're so damn smart, how come you're not RICH?" is an old taunt, but not useless.

In general terms, Matloff wants you to understand that H1-B programs are a method of increasing supply to diminish the price-point.

And they succeed in that quest.

No Guns for Mugabe

Here's some good news.

A Chinese ship laden with weapons destined for Zimbabwe is returning to China. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the decision was made by the company delivering the arms. A number of countries in southern Africa had refused to unload the arms amid fears that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe would use the weapons against opposition supporters

Of course, the jackass hasn't stepped down yet...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Think Sensenbrenner Will Reverse on Ethanol?

Jim Sensenbrenner (and every OTHER State Republican Congresscritter) voted to Corn-a-Hole the citizens of the country.

I know why--the Act also eliminated the "boutique" fuel requirements which cost SE Wisconsin a ton of gasoline-money.

But do you think he has the nerve to reverse?

BTW, Herbie, Nobody's Senator, also voted for it--Feingold voted against, as did Baldwin.

Texas v. FLDS: Even MORE Interesting

The Dallas Morning News doesn't mince words.

Judge Barbara Walther, who is overseeing the YFZ Ranch case, yesterday declared: "The court has ruled the conditions those children were in were not safe for the children. I did not make the facts that got this case into the courts."

Excuse me, Judge? You issued a sweeping, house-to-house search warrant based on a highly questionable anonymous call that turned out to be phony. You refused to allow individual hearings for children, grouping them together like cattle. You accepted the testimony of an expert on "cults" who only learned about FLDS from media accounts, rather than an academic who'd studied them professionally for 18 years.

You've ruled the existence of five girls between 16 and 19 who were pregnant or had children was evidence of systematic abuse, even though in Texas 16-year-olds can marry with parental consent. You've ruled young toddlers are in "immediate" danger because of their parents' beliefs or what might happen 15 years from now, not because anyone abuses them.

Volokh is less polemic, but equally concerned:

It's time for a nationally prominent civil liberties attorney to get involved

Yes. This is, without a doubt, the most egregious example of Statism since Waco, and although less deadly (so far), it's just as portentous.

Ambulance-Chasers' Best Friend

The trial lawyers have a pal--named Nancy Pelosi.

So powerful is the plaintiffs lawyers lobby in Congress that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is forsaking a bill passed unanimously in the House for a more lawsuit-friendly version of the proposal that was approved with anything but unanimity by the Senate.

In the name of reforming the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Senate version would create bureaucratic red tape galore, while enabling the sort of class-action jackpot justice that enriches plaintiffs lawyers at the expense of consumers and shareholders

...Usually, each chamber of Congress fights hard for its own version of a bill, especially when a bill passes one chamber unanimously, as did the House version. Instead, Pelosi has delayed appointing members of the “conference committee” that will work out differences between the two chambers’ versions of the bill, while battling (against House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell) to stack the committee in the Senate’s favor.

This is the same Pelosi, the recipient of many tens of thousands of dollars in trial lawyer political donations, who earlier this year put an essential foreign intelligence surveillance bill on hold at the behest of the plaintiffs bar

Just co-incidence that the latest "scare story" is out?

What's surprising about the Bisphenal-A story is that it's the same old s&^% with a new name. First, stuff some rats to the gills with a substance---ANY substance. Then watch them develop tumors. Then announce that 'The Children Are At RISK!!!'

Well, sure. But they're also at equal risk from over-stuffing with H20, folks...

Handy-Dandy Guide

This way it's easy to keep them straight.

Just "Supply and Demand" for Oil? Maybe.

From Counterterrorism Blog:

The factors involved in the pricing of oil are both extremely obscure and enormously complex, and few people can truly claim to understand them. I certainly am not one of them. But, broken down into its most basic components it apparently involves a mixture of the following factors: OPEC Oligarchy practices, intensified international competition for secure access to essential commodities, increased reliance on middlemen for oil lifting, profit-motive purchasing policies and upstream practices of major oil companies, the falling dollar, and intense speculative upward bidding of oil futures on the world’s merchantile exchanges. Taken together these factors have driven up the spot price of oil and pumped tens (dare I say hundreds) of billions of dollars into the coffers of countries known to either encourage or tolerate state and/or private funding for terrorism. One may well conclude, as I am beginning to believe, that mercantile speculation, greed, and corporate profit taking are as responsible as OPEC, if not more so, for the windfall profits that help fund terrorism.

It is a simplistic mindset which yammers "supply and demand" as the only answer to oil pricing, and "peak oil" theorists (or scare-mongers) are happy to take advantage of the continuing propaganda of "supply and demand."

Other (highlighted) items all have the faint outline of the signature of George Soros or like-minded people--and no one ever accused oligopolists of being kind-hearted.

Worth mulling over.

Bear, Stearns, First Franklin: Lawsuits?

Oh, yah, it can get worse.

...David Wallis, Ambac's chief risk officer noted that their 'losses are heavily concentrated in a small number of deals which they characterized as “striking” and essentially suspicious' (reader Brian's description). The also made some comments on their Alt-A deals - AMBAC has half a dozen deals now projecting cumulative losses of 20-25% vs initial expectations of approximately 6%.

According to Brian, AMBAC hinted that they might pursue legal action against Bear Stearns and First Franklin.

Actually, that's the good news. From reports at Calculated Risk over the last several weeks, it is becoming apparent that the "mortgage crisis" may be much smaller than first indicated--that is, it may be restricted to certain small geographic areas, and (within those areas) concentrated on only the deals which are fraudulent.

Much as Congress won't like this, it may be better to wait for the smoke to clear than to pass unhelpful "rescue" bills.

Abstinence Programs Work

No real surprise here, but you can expect that the Pills and Rubbers people will be launching propaganda soon.

Abstinence education is "crucial to the physical and psycho-emotional well-being of the nation's youth," concludes a detailed report released by the Heritage Foundation.

The report, "Abstinence Education: Assessing the Evidence", released yesterday, examines 21 studies of abstinence education programs, and concludes that statistics show that abstinence programs are effective in deterring teens from becoming sexually active, thereby reducing the risk of STDs, teen prengnacy, etc.

...The Heritage Foundation report ... demonstrates that a majority of abstinence programs have reported a statistically significant decrease in levels of sexual activity for students who participate in them.

Of 15 sex-ed programs that primarily taught abstinence, 11 reported positive findings, while of 6 "virginity pledge" programs, 5 reported positive findings.

More important:

Abstinence programs, observes the report, are admirable in that they are not only about sexual behavior, but "also provide youths with valuable life and decision-making skills that lay the foundation for personal responsibility and developing healthy relationships and marriages later in life." other words, the virtues of integrity, responsibility, treating others as people, not objects....

No wonder the Democrat Party objects!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Warming"?? Wait A Bit

No, not for the upcoming snow-event due in Milwaukee late this weekend.

Wait for REAL cooling. Global cooling.

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.

This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

These days, French invasions of ....anybody.... are not a concern. Scratch that off the list of things to worry about.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.

(That's how a responsible scientist phrases things...)

It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.

Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

There is also another possibility, remote but much more serious.
The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost always afflicted our planet.

The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice.
[That will make weather forecasting a helluva lot easier.] This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years.

Well, that's an interesting read, no?

HT: Clay Cramer

Are You: 1) Sick or 2) Stupid?

Those are your alternatives, if you are a Conservative.

...That raised a question: How could we account for the fact that some people were not liberal, that some were conservative? Sheer stupidity, of course, was part of the answer. Some people are just so dumb they wouldn't recognize the truth if it came up and shouted at them. But not all conservatives were that dumb. Most knew how to read; many had high school educations; some had even been to college. So how can we account for their conservatism?

The answer was soon found: Conservatives were suffering from a psychopathology...

To help your local fuzzyLiberal, simply purchase a greeting-tag and insert either "sick" or "stupid" in the space.

Place it on your lapel before engaging with a LeftyWonk. It will be most helpful.

HT: ProEcclesia

ABC: It May Not Be Real--But We'll Put It Out There

The Yankee fisks another ABC fabrication. ABC is attempting to blame US citizens (and George Bush, of course) for the guns used by drug-gangs in Mexico (and Central America, and South America.)

The focus of the story, according to ABC News, is that U.S. dealers of civilian firearms are to blame for Mexico's drug cartels and their violence problems... so why do they highlight an M60 general purpose machine gun, a weapons still in use in Mexico's military, but impossible to find in the open U.S. civilian market?

Here's another ABC lie, direct from the story:

Assault weapons made in China and Eastern Europe, resembling the AK-47, have become widely and cheaply available in the U.S. since Congress and the Bush administration refused to extend a ban on such weapons in 2004.

The reality?

AK-pattern rifles were legal to own or import during the entire life of the 1994-2004 "Crime Bill," something that Ross knows for a fact... or should. This claim is a blatant falsehood.

The only effect of the law was to outlaw the importation or manufacture of certain specific firearms by name, and cosmetic features found on other firearms, without banning their manufacture, important, or purchase once these features were removed or replaced. The result was that the same functioning firearms were imported the day after the "ban" went into effect without a bayonet lug or flashhider, and with a thumbhole stock instead of a pistol grip. Functionally, the weapons were identical, with no reduction in firepower, magazine capacity, controllability, or or lethality. The "Crime Bill" outlawed virtually nothing, and was merely a fig-leaf for anti-gun politicians.

Fiction, from ABC:

The drug cartels' weapons of choice include variants of the AK-47, .50-caliber sniper rifles and a Belgian-made pistol called the 'cop killer' or 'mata policia' because of its ability to pierce a bulletproof vest.

"It's in high demand by your violent drug cartels, their assassins in Mexico," said Newell of the ATF. The gun can fire a high-powered round used in a rifle.


The FN Five-seveN (their punctuation, not mine) does not fire rifle bullets as the article claims. It fires a tiny 5.7mm personal defense round designed for light carbines, submachine guns and pistols.

It is not any more armor-piercing than many other pistol cartridges, and less powerful than all centerfire rifle cartridges. Furthermore for the 5.7 cartridge to be truly armor-piercing, it must fire special ammunition that is only available to military and law enforcement sources.

A 5.7mm round is approximately a .25 or .257 cal--there's no 'there' there, folks.

Generally speaking, full-auto rifles are VERY difficult to obtain in the USA--you need a very pricey permit, for openers, and to my knowledge there's only 1 dealer in Wisconsin who actually sells them.

ABC is swallowing whole (and then regurgitating) the BS peddled by the Mexican Attorney-General and BATFE--and lying, to boot.

Reminder: it's budget-season and BATFE wants more money.

Reminder 2: Mexico's government(s) are as corrupt as any in the Western Hemisphere.

Reminder 3: Drug cartels have a lot of wherewithal. They can buy weapons anywhere on the planet--including direct from the ChiComs.

Democracy of the Dead


Despite Powerline's egregious error in attribution of the quote (it was G K Chesterton, not Burke) regarding 'the democracy of the dead,' this item is worth posting in full.

Edmund Burke venerated tradition as the democracy of the dead.

The late Chicago Mayor Richard Daley famously practiced a literal version of the democracy of the dead, extending the dead the right to vote for favored Democratic candidates.

Andrew Malcolm notes that Barack Obama comes from the Chicago school of politics and is reviving the Daley tradition. Malcolm reports:

The Los Angeles Times' campaign finance expert Dan Morain has found Obama campaign records reporting a $50 donation by Roy Scheider, who lists his occupation as actor and his home as Sag Harbor, N.Y. Remember him from many great movies including "The French Connection" and "Jaws" and the immortal line: "You're gonna need a bigger boat"?

According to the campaign records, Scheider made the donation on March 10 last month.
Trouble is, Scheider died exactly one month before that, on Feb. 10 at the age of 75.

Malcolm adds: "Scheider was unavailable for comment. "

To put the best face on it, Obama could call for "change" in the USPostal Service' delivery routines...

Why the "Gun" Issue is a Loser

Scarfed up from Arms and the Law, who found it on a DU (!!!) combox:

"THIS IS WHAT IS COSTING US ELECTIONS! Saying that "well, most pro-gun people are Rethug anyway" is EXACTLY why we lose elections! Giving the issue to them means that the Thug leadership has a stick to beat their base with. And as HALF of the DU membership owns guns and as 39% of the gun owners in this country are Dems (source: Gallup), we CANNOT afford to give in to the toxic thinking that "well, guns are a Thug issue." Anyone who promotes this view is at best incompetent and at worst a deliberate plant."

Don't you love internecine warfare?

Applying that statistic to Milwaukee would tell us that about 100K+ residents of the City own guns.

The only question: how many of those voting-Democrat-gun-owners in Milwaukee own them legally?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where GWB Is Wrong on "Freedom"

We've touched on this a couple of times, but Reilly says it better.

...President Bush is a man of deep faith, and that his understanding of freedom is not morally empty. And there seems little question that it is his faith that leads him to believe that freedom is a universal charter for mankind. However, this is where he goes awry again. He told Arroyo, "You know, I don't think you can disassociate your faith with how you live your life. I mean, I think it's all engrained. And I am optimistic because I happen to believe in certain universal principles, and I do believe that freedom is universal, and if just given a chance, people will live in a -- will self-govern and live in a peaceful, free society."

Here, the president seems to be paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence, and what he says seems as American as apple pie. However, there are some crucial steps missing in this statement that can lead to huge misunderstandings about what is possible in this world and America's place in it. The assumption contained in President Bush's remark is that, were it not for certain constraints upon them, all people would choose democracy. Therefore, it would appear that our job is to remove those constraints. Then the blessings of liberty will naturally appear, along with peace. This is not true.

In the end, this is a religiously-inculcated 'thing,' this 'freedom.' We are in a RELIGIOUS war--yes, a jihad, so to speak--not a political war.

All people are indeed endowed by their Creator with "certain unalienable rights." However, those rights can only be exercised where they are recognized. The roots of that recognition came principally from the Christian religion.

...the reason the democratization of the Middle East has not happened is that its culture is missing either ingredient necessary for it to succeed [the "equals before God" part]

United States anti-colonial policy in the Middle East after World War II did not seem cognizant of the significance of these things. We thought the problems in the Middle East were the result of British and French occupation. Remove the colonizers, and the Arab peoples would naturally assume the blessings of self-government and liberty. With this in mind, we pressured the British and French to withdraw from their mandates. They did. However, the United States soon learned that the problems of the Middle East were not all of colonial origin; they were indigenous.

Winning "the War for Democracy" requires evangelization.

And that ain't part of the State Department's mission.

What to Say to War Protesters

From the Hat:

"There were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America . I politely declined to take one.

"An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined.

"The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, 'Lady, don't you care about the children of Iraq ?'

"The old woman looked up at her and said, 'Honey, my father died in France during World War II, I lost my husband in Korea , and a son in Vietnam. All three died so you could have the right to stand here and badmouth our country. If you touch me again. I'll stick this umbrella up your @ss and open it. ' "

Wisconsin's Supreme Election: a Prophesy?

Bob Novak comments on November.

Bob Novak, the highly distinguished veteran columnist and author, told the American Spectator New York dinner group last night that John McCain will defeat Barack Obama in November’s election, although the Democrats will enhance their majorities in both the Senate and the House.

...Novak also believes Obama’s gaffes about bitter small-town people who cling to guns and religion will be an absolute killer in the general election. So will the Jeremiah Wright business, and more generally Obama’s extreme, across-the-board, liberal-left positions...

Wisconsin is one of a very few "purple States," and even then hasn't gone Republican in a Presidential election since Reagan II.

But in the last 2 years, Wisconsin voters have selected 'conservative' SCOWI candidates as opposed to the doctrinaire 'liberals.'

I'm willing to go with Novak on this one, and call Wisconsin an (R) victory at the top of the ticket--despite the likely Milwaukee/Madistan/Racine/Kenosha/FoxValley vote fraud of around 25,000.

HT: ProEcclesia

The WSJ Takes on Tancredo (and Malkin)

The WSJ has long held an "open borders" stance, which means that their slap of Tancredo for his vile and ignorant comments about the Pope's thoughts on immigration are a bit self-serving. (Michelle Malkin also ran an equally shameful blogpost on the topic, ).

But the WSJ's comments are not necessarily wrong.

Pope Benedict XVI called on U.S. bishops last week to "continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home." Mr. Tancredo's response was to accuse the pontiff of "faith-based marketing" and claim that "the pope's immigration comments may have less to do with spreading the gospel than they do about recruiting new members of the church."

Please note that the Pope did NOT say "....welcome ILLEGAL immigrants..." nor does the Church's teaching endorse ILLEGAL immigration (despite the silly rhetoric from such as Cdl. Mahony of Los Angeles.)

But 'welcoming immigrants' is kinda sorta the right thing to do, no? Particularly if they are LEGAL.

The pope welcomes immigrants because he's Catholic, not because they are. He isn't "marketing" his faith. He's practicing it.

More to the point, here's a quote from John XXIII on the topic which puts the Church's position clearly:

Now, among the rights of a human person there must be included that by which a man may enter a political community where he hopes he can more fittingly provide a future for himself and his dependents. Wherefore, as far as the common good rightly understood permits, it is the duty of that State to accept such immigrants and to help to integrate them into itself as new members. (The red underlines the destination-State's rights vis-a-vis immigrants.)

Wherefore, on this occasion, We publicly approve and commend every undertaking, founded on the principles of human solidarity and Christian charity, which aims at making migration of persons from one country to another less painful...

I don't expect Tancredo to apologize; he's clearly in the "fixation" mode. Malkin hasn't, either--despite an intervention from a Milwaukee-area blogger/fan of hers.

Too bad.

Limits: Why the Darwinians Are Wrong

Dreher, as some know, is a guy who writes--but since he's a newspaperman at heart, he's also a questioning sorta guy.

He's enamored of Wendell Berry who is a "life small, back-to-the-farm" guy. In the last 90 days or so, that particular mindset has seeped into all the Very Correct Places--the NYTimes, Time Magazine, Harper's (etc.)--because it has a good deal to do with The Agenda (climate-change/warming/save the Earth).

Berry may be right or wrong, but as the MSM adopts his outlook, they will eventually run into a cognitive dissonance problem.

Here's Berry (quoted by Dreher):

The problem with us is not only prodigal extravagance but also an assumed limitlessness. We have obscured the issue by refusing to see that limitlessness is a godly trait. ...Any definition is a limit, which is why the God of Exodus refuses to define Himself: "I am that I am."

Berry reminds us that resources may have limits (e.g., petroleum, minerals, etc.)

But if that is true, it is also true that Science has limits. So the March of Progress, idolized by the Times/Time editors and scriveners--a natural outgrowth of the Darwinian philosophy--will eventually have to collide with the reality. Conveniently, Benedict XVI has mentioned the limits of Science a number of times. Not so conveniently for the Times (etc.,) they have ignored him, or have subtly reminded us that he is just an old European guy in a big hat without particular competence in such things.

Well, folks, either there is, or there is NOT, "unlimited progress" (and its Republican companion, unlimited wealth.)

Common-sense folks live as though there are limits, because there are--to resources as well as to Progress.

What's YOUR Cost-of-Fuel?

Think $100/week for gasoline is a problem?

"American Airlines' annual expenses are increasing at a rate of about $1 million per hour because of out-of-control fuel costs", estimates analyst Kevin Crissey of UBS.

Whooohah, Batman.

HT: Deneen

The Park Police Are Looking Stupider...

Some of you recall that the Park Police were the ones who created a SNAFU on discovering the body of Vince.......ah, well. That's ancient history, right?

So to make up for it, they're making idiots of themselves again!! (Original story here.)

...a uniformed Park Police officer recently paid a visit to the home of Brooke Oberwetter, the Jefferson Memorial dancer arrested last weekend (there were several other people there at the time).

They’re apparently now adding a second charge of “demonstrating without a permit,” and they’re bumping her case from D.C. court to federal court. They’re also expunging the arrest from her record.

The combox sheds a bit of light on the matter: permit can be issued for a demonstration at the Memorial, and it sounds like the Park Police are interpreting this as prohibiting demonstrations under 25 people as well. The “interfering with agency function” charge is basically failure to obey a lawful order. Oberwetter needs to take this to trial and argue that this was either not a demonstration, or that 36 CFR 7.96 doesn’t apply because the gathering was under 25 people.

This is a case of the Park Police jumping the shark, plain and simple.

"Global Warming"--Another Lie

So what about that UN 'declaration' on Global Warming?

It really, really, really smells bad.

Lopez: What Denier fact could be characterized as most inconvenient for Al Gore?

Solomon: The claim that there is a consensus on climate change. This claim is based on the media’s often repeated claim that the 2000 to 2500 scientists associated with the UN’s panel endorsed the U.N.’s report.

In fact, as the Secretariat of the UN panel told me, those 2500 scientists are merely reviewers of some of the hundreds of input studies that went into the mix. They endorsed nothing. There is no consensus and there never has been.

Lopez: But still, the U.N.’s work was peer reviewed, even if some of the peer reviewers disagreed.

Solomon: No, the science in the U.N. reports was not peer reviewed, as it is usually understood. As some of my deniers point out in proper scientific peer reviews the identities of the peer reviewers are kept secret, so that they can be free to make critical comments about the science without fear of recrimination. In the U.N.’s peer review, the reviewers must identify themselves to the scientists they are critiquing, discouraging many from expressing themselves frankly. It gets worse than that, though.

In a normal peer-review process, the critiques from the reviewers are public. If a scientist decides to reject a critique, he must justify his refusal. In the U.N. peer-review process, the system is turned on its head. The scientists don’t need to explain themselves. They can ignore the criticisms and no one will be able to assess if the criticism was rejected for a valid reason. The U.N.’s version of peer review does not meet the standard of professional science.

Oh, well. Maybe the faux-Republican candidate will read this and reverse.

Then again, maybe not.

HT: VoxDay


Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization: EBITDA.

The hot ticket promoted by the now-dead-and-disgraced Arthur Anderson accounting firm.

After Enron, the acronym became a parody: Earnings Before Indictment, Trial, Disposition and Ass-in-jail...

It was also a great way to earn a bonus--if your bonus was based on EBITDA (which, of course, Arthur recommended.)

Here's how that went down at Enron (but they are merely an icon...)

Conspiracy of Fools chronicles one of the discussions about EBITDA among Enron senior managers. One guy pointed out to Rebecca Mark, a Harvard Business School graduate star of the company, that EBITDA was meaningless because one could improve EBITDA simply by borrowing money at 10 percent and investing it in T-Bills at 5 percent and that was essentially what Mark was doing. She was borrowing money at X% to purchase businesses that would return no more than (X-4)% in a best-case scenario.

IOW, what counted was "earnings," regardless of interest expense to achieve those "earnings." You could literally take the Company into BK while showing an outstanding EBITDA.

Wonder why Arthur Anderson is dead?

Wonder no more.

HT: Tom McMahon

Monday, April 21, 2008

B-16's "Church Windows"--the Source

The valuable Fr. Z. knows the work and quotes for us the passages (set in context also worth reading.) This is the reference Benedict XVI made in his sermon at St Patrick's.

These were the painted windows; and as often as he gazed at them the sculptor blessed the medieval time, and its gorgeous contrivances of splendor; for surely the skill of man has never accomplished, nor his mind imagined, any other beauty or glory worthy to be compared with these.

It is the special excellence of pictured glass, that the light, which falls merely on the outside of other pictures, is here interfused throughout the work; it illuminates the design, and invests it with a living radiance; and in requital the unfading colors transmute the common daylight into a miracle of richness and glory in its passage through the heavenly substance of the blessed and angelic shapes which throng the high-arched window.

And, as the Pope mentioned, it's very different when looking from the outside.

The friends left the church, and looking up, from the exterior, at the window which they had just been contemplating within, nothing was visible but the merest outline of dusky shapes. Neither the individual likeness of saint, angel, nor Saviour and far less the combined scheme and purport of the picture, could anywise be made out. That miracle of radiant art, thus viewed, was nothing better than an incomprehensible obscurity, without a gleam of beauty to induce the beholder to attempt unravelling it.

"All this," thought the sculptor, "is a most forcible emblem of the different aspect of religious truth and sacred story, as viewed from the warm interior of belief, or from its cold and dreary outside. Christian faith is a grand cathedral, with divinely pictured windows. Standing without, you see no glory, nor can possibly imagine any; standing within, every ray of light reveals a harmony of unspeakable splendors."

Those passages from Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The Marble Faun, which describes the American author's trip through Italy.

There's a lot more of the pertinent passage at the link, and worth reading--particularly the brief passage on 'darkness.'

The Pope's Ecumenical Address

One of Milwaukee's Bishops was present for this address, but curiously failed to mention exactly what the Pope said.

Well, fortunately, we have a report from Chiesa on the visit.

During this meeting, at the end of the Liturgy of the Word, Benedict XVI addressed to those present a discourse that was absolutely out of the ordinary for such a gathering. Even more, it was highly original with respect to the previous statements by pope Joseph Ratzinger on the topic of the ecumenism.

The thesis of Benedict XVI is that Christianity is so divided both because of a mutual rivalry expressed in "prophetic actions" that tend to distinguish and divide the communities from "communion with the Church in every age," and because of "a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies."

So instead of preaching Jesus Christ "and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2) – meaning the "objective truth" of the apostolic faith – many Christians of the various denominations prefer to urge each one to follow his own conscience and choose the community that best meets his personal tastes.


In the judgment of Benedict XVI, this reluctance to assert the centrality of doctrine "for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division" is also present within the ecumenical movement.

(That may be the reason for relaying the Pope's message....)

On the contrary, this is the appeal of the pope: "Only by 'holding fast' to sound teaching (2 Thess 2:15; cf. Rev 2:12-29) will we be able to respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world. Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and its moral teaching. This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us."

A direct quote from his address:

My dear friends, the power of the kerygma has lost none of its internal dynamism. Yet we must ask ourselves whether its full force has not been attenuated by a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is "objective", relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling. Scientific discoveries, and their application through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the "knowable" is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of "personal experience". For Christians to accept this faulty line of reasoning would lead to the notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living

Translation: don't pussyfoot around. Either what was revealed IS or is NOT true. There will be no "unity" by departing from the Word...