Sunday, December 31, 2006

Drug Raid Goes Wrong; Blogger Defeats Death Penalty

Kinda hard to write a headline that really covers the case.

Suffice it to say that a blogger, Radley Balko, seems to have prevented the State of Mississippi from executing a convict who was found guilty of murdering a cop.

But that's hardly all there is to the story.

Seems that this cop was the first man in on one of those "wrong address" drug raids; he was not wearing anything resembling a uniform; and when Maye found out that the rest of the group was the cops, he surrendered.

There are a couple of good points here that someone ought to ponder.

Gerald Ford

Well, President Ford was a moderate, all right. And he pardoned Tricky Dick.

But does that really make Ford eligible for sainthood? And, by the way, what's all this kvetching he did for posthumous publication?

In hindsight, what stands out most from our talk was Ford's frustration that the Republican Party had lurched so far to the right. "If I'd been elected in '76," he told me flatly, "the party wouldn't be as far right as it is at the present time … I sure hope it comes back to the center."

Ford went on to complain about the 1992 GOP convention in Houston, where Pat Buchanan—who had challenged President George H.W. Bush for that year's party nomination—demanded that conservatives "take back our culture."

"Right," Jerry? Compared to Ike, yes. Compared to Lincoln? Nope.

Ford lamented that George H.W. Bush had not reversed their party's rightward movement: "I was disappointed that George didn't fight a little harder against the hard right."

GHWBush lost an election because he 'fought ....against the right.' Maybe President Ford forgot that little fact.

Ford reminded me that he and Betty were "pro-choice." He criticized Bush Senior's public avowal that he had come to oppose abortion rights. "I know damn well that he and Barbara are pro-choice," Ford told me. "Why didn't they get up and say it? That really disappointed me more than anything." Ford's comment, Bush says, was off the mark. "That's wrong," he says of Ford's suggestion that Bush was secretly pro-choice.

A very interesting graf. Beschloss, the author, signals to us that Ford was thumping his chest about his "pro-choice-ness" in the opening three words of this graf. Ford seems to want company in that situation, so he claims Bush 41 is part of the group--which X41 denies.

He complained that Ronald Reagan had cost him the 1976 election by challenging his nomination. Ford told me that in the spring of 1976, "we thought we would have a tough time [winning] anyhow, and then to get diverted for six months or more in a very rigorous [primary] campaign—it made it difficult to be president and campaign simultaneously."

Did Jerry Ford think that he had a Divine Right to the office of President? Look--his most celebrated act was pardoning a crook. After that, it pretty much went downhill; Kissinger was another Metternich, Ford caved in on social spending (see NYC), and he was a Proud Moderate--not to mention his utterly disgraceful treatment of Solzhenitsyn. It's clear that Reagan offered a much better alternative (see the results of 1980 and 1984, e.g.)

Ford knew the best-known act of his own presidency would be Nixon's pardon. He insisted to me he had no second thoughts: "I felt so strongly that I had to get this damn thing off my desk." He admitted that "sure, I would have appreciated it" if, in return, Nixon had made a stronger statement confessing guilt for Watergate offenses, which would have helped shield Ford from the firestorm the pardon created.


Ford set a precedent with the pardon of Nixon, and the message is this: 'one can be a crook in office, and if the office is high enough, one will not be prosecuted.'

This 'comity' seems to be playing a role even today (think StuffedPantsBerger.) Are we really better off by ignoring these things?


Saturday, December 30, 2006

About Those "Ministers" of Communion

An old friend from FR now runs an interesting 'net site, and provides the following item. Now almost 10 years old and STILL observed only in the breach by most Milwaukee-area parishes.

No surprise.

Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion. (99)

They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. (100)

This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion.

To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:

extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants;

— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;

the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of "a great number of the faithful"

In brief, every use of EEM's at Mass in Milwaukee is in direct contradiction to the norms above.

Every one.

The Culture of "Me"

As usual, Dreher has insights, here from Philip Rieff:

...If culture is that systems of symbols and values that serve to bind human action and channel savage passions and impulses into socially constructive ends, then a culture that prizes the fulfillment of desires -- and not merely socially approved desires, but individual desires -- is destructive of the idea of culture in principle.

It is helpful to recall that the term "culture" is based on "cult." In other words, what one worships determines one's 'culture.' Thus, basing 'culture' on fulfillment of individual desires is essentially self-worship.

Moreover, in a culture (anti-culture) that locates human identity and dignity in an individual's desires, to disapprove of those desires is in some deeply felt way to negate the dignity of that individual. People in such a culture will tend to take it personally if their desires are criticized. Rieff predicted decades ago that the culture of the future -- the one we're living in now, as a matter of fact -- would be marked by non-judgmentalism, emotionalism, and a cultural imperative to help people live as they wish to live (versus how they "ought," which is a meaningless concept in such a culture) without feeling bad about it. The therapeutic culture.

The foundation of genuine culture must be transcendent. That's the other half of B-16's Regensburg lecture--the half which warned the materialistic (self-worshipping) West that its detachment from God was leading to trouble.

China Is Our Friend!! Part 55693

Oh what the Hell!! They're only Catholics...

AsiaNews, a missionary news service close to the Vatican, reported Friday that nine priests from the underground Catholic church in north China’s Hebei province were arrested by police Wednesday as they gathered to pray near the city of Baoding.

The report called the alleged arrests part of a campaign by the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association to subdue the underground church in Hebei, a traditional stronghold of Catholic sentiment in northern China.

AsiaNews said the province has some 1.5 million Catholics, most belonging to the unofficial church.

Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the association, said he had heard of no such arrests and denied there was a campaign under way to crush the church, which is loyal to the Pope.

“It would be impossible for our association to crack down on illegal or underground churches,” Liu said. “China has always provided education and assistance for underground priests.”

...and that "education and assistance" has been delivered in what we call "concentration camps" or "prisons."

How very ...considerate...of the PRChinese slavemasters.

This should not interfere with MFN/PNTR status or WallyWorld/Wal-Mart purchasing decisions.

Not at all.

Radioactive Kate?

DarthDoyle did NOT select Kate Falk for the open Dept of Health and Family Services slot.

Newly re-elected Gov. Jim Doyle shocked most of his cabinet Friday with an announcement that was as significant for the people it did not include as for those it did.

The Democratic governor reached inside his administration to fill two of the three openings at agencies handling health, tax and insurance issues, putting to rest speculation he might name Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk to head the Department of Health and Family Services.

By the way, is the first graf really a "reporting" or is it an "editorial"?

Why Elect HRC President?

Dennis Miller offers the reason:

Let's see, maybe it's time for a Democratic president. Stay with me. Because the next step in the inevitable escalation in this war with radical Islam is going to involve us being appreciably more brutal and ruthless than we have been to date. And I think the left's cronyism with the mainstream media will provide cover for someone on that side of things to up the ante.

Miller's not the only person who knows that the Left is congenitally more brutal and ruthless than the Right--but he's the only one who stumps for a Dimowit President based on a 'need for brutality' in the WOT.

HT: NewsBusters

How to Prevent Bank Robbery

Another example of how DarthDoyle's mindless and stubborn position is not helpful. This from a Virginia man via Grim: (Virginia allows open- AND concealed-carry.)

On Tuesday the 26th of December I went down to the Sun Trust bank in Hopewell to complete some financial transactions. I got there just as they were opening and entered with a woman who had been waiting outside. There were three tellers in position to the left, one customer service associate at a desk to the right, and the manager was seated in his office to the rear right, so there were seven of us in the bank.

I have been banking there for years and know the tellers fairly well, who are quite used to me walking in with my holstered 1911 government model .45 and two reserve magazines. As I was transacting business with my teller, a man came in through the front door on this warm December morning wearing a full ski mask, with only his eyes showing. He was wringing his hands and glanced furtively toward the office and then swept his eyes across the room, finally towards me and the tellers. At that, he turned and BOLTED back out the door!

The teller next to my position was the first to recognize the implications of what had just happened, and yelled for the manager who came rushing out from his office. He glanced toward me before sticking his head out the front door, looking both ways down the sidewalk, and pronouncing that the suspicious character had apparently left the area.

The same teller then expressed her relief that I had been there, and mentioned that the next SunTrust down on Route 10 (Iron Bridge Road) had just been robbed the week before.

This incident was not reported to the police; thus it will not be among the statistics which demonstrate that the mere presence of defensive weapons carried by law-abiding citizens DOES have a positive impact.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Embryonic StemCells--Not Ready for Prime Time

A useful reminder from a neurobiologist/anatomy Associate Prof, from First Things thru Amy:

The assertion that embryonic stem cells in the laboratory can be induced to form all the cells comprising the mature human body has been repeated so often that it seems incontrovertibly true. What is missing from this assertion remains the simple fact that there is essentially no scientific evidence supporting it.

...But the test of whether an embryonic stem cell–derived brain cell, for example, is indeed a normal adult brain cell is to put it into the brain of an adult animal and determine whether it survives and contributes to normal brain function. In addition, if laboratory-generated cells are to be therapeutically useful for the treatment of human disease and injury, they must be shown to have therapeutic value in adult animals: It is not sufficient that embryonic stem cell–derived cells merely survive in adults; they must also be able to repair the underlying disease or injury. It is precisely this kind of test that embryonic stem cell–derived tissues have proved unable to pass. many babies must be killed in order to "find" the cure?

How Tough is YOUR Mother-in-Law?

Grim relates a story about his mother-in-law.

While in Indiana, I had occasion on Christmas Day for a long talk with my mother-in-law. She was raised in Alaska. A wise piece of advice for any man who wants to marry: look long at the mother of your considered bride.

So here's a story about my wife's mother. See if you can spot the family resemblance.

Some years ago, she lost a kidney. It was a hard time for her, as she was terribly ill for months due to the poisons coming from the dying tissue. She refused to go to a doctor for a long time, however, so she didn't know what was wrong.

When she finally did go in, the doctor determined that one of her kidneys was dying. "I wonder what has caused this," he said. "Have you suffered any sharp blows to the area lately?"

"No," she said.

"Hm," the doctor said. "Well, any serious injury to the area ever?"

"Not that I can recall," she said.

"You never had a hard blow to the region?" he tried one more time.

She fixed her mouth in thought, and finally said, "Well, there was the time the grizzly bear threw me into the tree. I forgot about that."

"Slipped your mind?" he asked.

"Yes," she answered. "I was cleaning a deer, and he just wanted the carcass. So, he slapped me into a tree. I was so mad, I went back for my rifle, but my mother made me go to the doctor. I didn't want to go to the doctor, I wanted to go get that bear."

"Was the injury serious?" the doctor patiently continued."I didn't think so until now," she said.

"But my mother insisted. The claws tore through the parka, and the shirt I was wearing, and my undershirt, and the underwear... but they didn't touch me! I figured I was fine."

Apparently not, she discovered decades later... well, such things happen.

Just a minor argument with a grizzly over table scraps...

Wow! Just Wow!

HT to The Triumvirate for this pic of a golden eagle making lunch preparations out of a fox who was making lunch preparations (see escaping bird, right). I didn't know that the eagle was that big. Wow.

Sykes Goes Wild

Charlie displays an ironic, urbane, and sometimes twisted sense of humor which does NOT appear regularly on his show, and which belies that 'innocent boy' picture he runs on his blog. Here he reviews 2006:

As a rising tide of violence ravaged Milwaukee, Wisconsin lawmakers rose to the occasion, passing laws mandating the use of booster seats for kids aged 4 to 8 and proposing bans on that nemesis of childhood, the water ball. Next year: the hat and mitten mandate.

A poll taken in June found that only 5% of Wisconsinites think ethics in state government have gotten better over the last decade. Jim Doyle responded to this crisis of confidence by shaking down travel agencies, Indian casinos, trial lawyers, utilities, road builders and public employee unions for campaign cash.

There's a lot more at the link. Enjoy!

DarthDoyle Pays Fine for Ethics Violation

Darth went to a Packers/Bears game--he purchased the tickets from a utility which had business before the State and who employed a lobbyist. That makes the purchase illegal.

Frankly, I'm sympathetic to Doyle here. He paid for the tix with his own money. I'll grant you that 'luxury box' accomodations are not easy to come by, and obviously the utility wanted to be in Darth's good graces.

But that's another argument for another day. Here's the part of the article which is MOST interesting:

In its report, the Ethics Board notes that it could only put together a “bare outline” of the incident, because those involved said they have little or no memory of the event. No one interviewed could remember whether WPS or Antonneau offered the tickets to Doyle, or whether Doyle had requested them.

IOW, all the players knew what they did was a no-no, and they chose to forget.

HT: Owen.

Pelosi and Kerry: CINOs

That's "Catholic in Name Only" , folks.

Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants you to know she is a Catholic. She’s going to receive Communion in a very public display of her Catholicism on January 3rd during her swearing in week. It is inappropriate that she do so. And it is inappropriate under Canon 915 that it be given to her.

John Kerry pulled the same crap. The Canon Law question revolves around Pelosi's unqualified support for abortion. Abortion is a "non-negotiable" no-no in the eyes of the Church.

Canon 915 reads:

"Those upon whom the penalty of excommuication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

The "...manifest grave sin" here is the votes for abortion funding, etc.

Free Speech? Not if You Race in NASCAR

Must be First Amendment Day (see below post.) Now you can't even put a campaign sticker on your NASCAR racer:

In a decision announced Tuesday, the FEC sent an “admonishment letter” to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine, a former pit boss for the late Dale Earnhardt, has been an unsuccessful, underfunded and undersponsored driver. He has never finished higher than 26th.

So back in 2004, in a move perhaps designed to draw some attention to his car, he placed a “Bush-Cheney ’04” decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine “may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure.”

Who the Hell are they kidding?

HT: American Spectator Blog

Have 500 Friends? Now You Report to Pelosi

File this under "Free Speech? WHAT Free Speech? All Your Speech Belong to Us!!"

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) has pledged to take up a lobbying reform proposal that would impose new regulations on speech by grassroots organizations, while providing a loophole in the rules for large corporations and labor unions.

The legislation would make changes to the legal definition of “grassroots lobbying” and require any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis.

The report would include identifying the organization’s expenditures, the issues focused on and the members of Congress and other federal officials who are the subject of the advocacy efforts. A separate report would be required for each policy issue the group is active on.

Pelosi is obviously a McCainiac under all those facelifts. Or maybe a Feinie-ac.

“This bill would apply to those who have no Washington-based lobbyists, who provide no money or gifts to members of Congress, and who merely seek to speak, associate and petition the government,” it said. “Regulating the speech, publishing, association and petitioning rights of citizens is not targeted at corruption in Washington, ...Instead, it is targeted directly at the 1st-Amendment rights of citizens and their voluntary associations.”

The above statement from a coalition of grassroots organizers, including David Keene of the American Conservative Union, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America and Terrence Scanlon of the Capitol Research Center.

It ain't "lobbying reform," that's for sure. It's encumbrance of political speech--which is to say, it's another manifestation of Party-In-Government (PIG) tendencies.

Pony Up, Doyle!

Somehow this item was not run in the online version of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Probably an oversight.

Wisconsin's Democratic governor should reimburse victims of recent armed robberies in the state because its citizens are not permitted to carry concealed weapons and protect themselves when confronted by criminals, a gun rights group said.

It's "time for politicians to pay the price for their decisions," said Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), pointing to Gov. Jim Doyle's opposition to concealed carry laws.

Both Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who supports the governor's stance, should "open their wallets," Waldron told Cybercast News Service.

"If they personally feel so strongly that citizens should not be allowed to defend themselves, then they should bear the costs of that disarming of the citizens."

It's an interesting theory, but SCOWI, under the management of Screechin'Shirley, has embarked on a Balkan-map scheme of interpreting the amendment which allows possession "for any lawful purpose."

Here's Screech's scheme: "Maybe. You have to ask Mommy (that's me!) first. Or maybe later. We'll decide, right here in Madistan, in our courtroom, whether you have a right to self-defense. But then again, maybe we won't. You'll never know until you've spent a lot of money, maybe."

But if you think that SCOWI's position is mysterious, here's one that's downright enigmatic:

"There are laws on the books that restrain people from carrying concealed firearms because the public policy benefits outweigh the possible costs of the extremely rare times when having a concealed weapon prevents somebody from being injured," [said the Brady Campaign spokes-critter, Peter Hamm].

Well, Peter, under SCOWI's scheme, there are some 'public policy benefits' which outweigh....etc., etc. Maybe. Sometimes. Did you ask? Say "Mommy, May I?" Peter.

Hamm did not cite any of the "benefits." Maybe that's because Shirley didn't give him an updated list.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

China Is Our Friend!! Part 50265

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) released its 2006 report in November. (Didn't see that in the MSM, did you?)

HT to USBIC for the precis!

The USCC is a bipartisan group of outside experts from business, labor, think tanks and universities established by Congress in 2000 to investigate, analyze, and provide recommendations regarding the impact of China’s rapid economic rise on the national security of the United States. The Commission “takes a broad view of ‘national security’ in making its assessment and has attempted to evaluate how the U.S. relationship with China affects the economic health of the United States and its industrial base, the military and weapons proliferation dangers China poses to the United States, and the United States’ political standing and influence in Asia.”

...The USCC asked whether China is “a state that not only observes international norms but works to strengthen those norm” and found the answer to be in the negative.

...[China] conducts diplomacy solely to promote its own national interests, including in its conduct of trade and investment. And rather than consider balance of power politics to be a distant practice of past centuries, the USCC finds that “China’s regional activities in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East and around East Asia are beginning to assume the character of a counterbalancing strategy vis-a-vis the United States. That is, China’s support for rogue regimes and anti-American governments and groups in vital regions serves an international purpose: to balance American power, create an alternative model of governance, and frustrate the ability of the international community to uphold its norms.”

(All paid for by the US consumer, by the way, and the slave labor utilized in PRChina.)

China’s economic policies cannot be in any way construed as “free trade.” The USCC finds, “China has a centralized industrial policy that employs a wide variety of tools to promote favored industries. In particular, China has used a range of subsidies to encourage the manufacture of goods meant for export over the manufacture of goods meant for domestic consumption, and to secure foreign investment in the manufacturing sector.”

In military terms (why not?) this is called "hitting high-value targets."

...“Chinese regulations currently require automakers to exceed a 40 percent domestic content requirement or face higher tariffs on the imported auto parts. These discriminatory tariffs pressure China-based auto assembly companies to use parts manufactured in China rather than U.S.-manufactured parts.” Meanwhile, “auto parts are being counterfeited, intentionally misrepresented, and sold as genuine—all in direct violation of both China’s trademark laws, which clearly are not being enforced, and China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. American citizens are being put at risk as inferior Chinese counterfeit auto parts find their way under the hoods of vehicles driven on our streets, while U.S. companies lose significant market share and brand reputation to such counterfeit goods.”

Maybe Delco/Delphi's problems are not all "lazy union members," eh?

...The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the global intellectual property industry loses $650 billion annually in sales due to counterfeit goods. And testimony given before USCC hearings indicate that China is responsible for as much as 70 percent of this counterfeit goods market. The World Health Organization reports that counterfeit pharmaceuticals of Chinese origin cost legitimate drug producers $32 billion a year.

And just maybe those 'pharmaceuticals' aren't made to FDA standards?

Finally, and most ominous:

In regard to Beijing’s rapid military buildup, the USCC concludes, “The pace of PLA [Chinese Armed Forces] modernization continues to exceed U.S. estimates. The Commission believes that the military balance in East Asia is increasingly favorable to China and increasingly challenging to U.S. interests and allies. The Chinese military’s ability to deny access and freedom of operation to U.S. forces, and its further ambitions to project its own military power, are accelerating.” The USCC also believes, “The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] understands itself to be in an extended military competition with the United States.”

'Splain to me again, Mr. President, how's that "free trade" working out for us?

Does NOT Count as a Prediction

...unless "predictions" include such things as 'sun will rise in the East' and 'many people will die.'

15. Taxes will go up.

This stunning "prediction" from Wiggy.

As a comparo, let me offer the following:

1) Pope Benedict XVI will remain Catholic.

Regardless, go to the Wiggy site and note his other predictons. He's not an optimist about the near future in Wisconsin. Damn glad he made few national-issue prognostications.

Buh-Bye to Muslims in Mogadishu

The Ethiopians kicked ass, hard.

The Islamists disappeared.

Game over.

HT: Captain's Quarters

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Sales Flat

The accurate numbers are finally coming in.

While these numbers may be revised further, the initial tally is now in: Holiday sales increased 3%, dead center of our range. Not only is this a decrease from 2005, but note that it is reported in nominal (pre-inflation) terms. With inflation about 3%, this means that Real sales (after-inflation) were flat year over year.

Maybe there's nothing left to buy!

HT: The Big Picture

P-Mac Dissents

Patrick McIlheran thinks that Swift & Co.'s management didn't know a thing.

George Gillett auditions for Casablanca...

The company’s catching it from all sides: Conservative commentators at Free Republic talk of a boycott of Swift because “I’ve had ENOUGH of companies playing the ‘We didn’t know’ BS.” Left-wing commentators at TPMmuckracker write, “the real problem is that the company ... was allowed to stay in business. So long as we are just arresting and deporting the workers, but winking at the businesses that pay cut-rate wages to maximize profits, the problem will continue.”

And former Swift employees
are suing, saying the company knew it was hiring illegal immigrants as a means of keeping down wages.

We were dissed by oversight.

Swift may well have joined the Feds' screening program. We are not impressed. What P-Mac wants us to believe is simply unbelievable--that nobody in management noticed the change in composition of their workforce.

Many interesting details may emerge in the future. One which has not yet been addressed in connection with Swift is the existence of an IRS "taxpayer-number-matching program." This program matches SSAN numbers for validity, and IRS sends notification of "bad" numbers to the employer(s) in question.

Key facts of this scandal were revealed in an October report from the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The report examines the records of the 100 companies that filed the most W-2 reports from 1997-2001 on which the names and/or Social Security Numbers did not match SSA records and that SSA--even after some investigation--could not credit to a known taxpayer.

SSA consigns these orphaned W-2s to what it calls the Earnings Suspense File (ESF). The "Top 100" worst filers of W-2s that ended up in the ESF, the inspector general discovered, collectively filed more than 2.7 million of these bad W-2s over the five years studied, reporting about $9.6 billion in wages that could not be matched to a worker.

It's interesting that a Colorado-headquartered company is listed as #77 on the SSA's list. That company filed 15,000+ "bad" Social Security numbers...

It may be that this program was the reason for the ICE raid.

In any case, if a business gets thousands of IRS "bad number" notifications, would NO corporate official notice?


York Mourns the Loss of Childhood

Dennis York, who will wear men's underwear next year, on Bicycle Equipment for Kiddies:

I'll never understand the constant over-protection of kids that society demands. If she just wants to go out and ride her bike on the sidewalk, I have to dress her like she's going in to root out Baathist insurgents. Is there really a problem with 4 year old girls smashing into things and injuring their heads? My friends and I used to build ramps at the bottom of our street and go flying off of them, pad-less. It's called being a kid.

I guess the Red Ryder BB gun is out of the question for the poor li'l gal too.

In the distant past when I was a kid, there WERE no helmets made for bike-riders, much less kneepads or padded gloves. We'd race the bike down the hill at top speed and negotiate the corner with the objective of getting around it faster than the other kids (!!)

The fact that the corner had a pile of loose pea-gravel made it all the more....exciting, because if you didn't avoid the gravel, you'd be picking it out of your legs for a few weeks.

By the way, what hazard does the helmet guard against? Are today's children stupid enough to drive their bikes directly into large trees? Cars? Buildings? And if they're that stupid, why do we care that they hit their noggin?

After all, if Darwin is right, it's just a matter of time, right? Why prolong the inevitable?

BOHICA: McCain's Amnesty Returns

One wonders if John McCain is running for President of Norde Americana. Yah, I know, Swimmer Kennedy's in this too, but he just wants the tequila distilleries and the hot babes.

The lawmakers are also considering denying financing for 700 miles of fencing along the border with Mexico, a law championed by Republicans that passed with significant Democratic support.

The plan under consideration would allow 10 million or 11 million illegal immigrants to become eligible to apply for citizenship without returning home, up from 7 million in the original Senate bill. To be granted citizenship, they would have to remain employed, pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, and enroll in English classes.

The MOST obnoxious provisions are highlighted in red. Since the whole damn thing is in the RedZone for Obnoxity, it was hard to choose.

HT: AnkleBitingPundits

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

CTA Thinks Highly of Itself (!)

Somehow, I think this campaign will fail:

Nicole Sotelo, codirector of national Call to Action, said her organization intends to mount a letter-writing campaign to Lincoln, Neb., Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, with copies to Bishop William Skylstad, bishop of Spokane, Wash., and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The letters will protest Bruskewitz's refusal to comply with the bishops' conference policies on child abuse by clergy, she said. Asked about the timing of the campaign, just after an announcement that the Vatican has upheld the excommunication of the Lincoln chapter of Call to Action, she said it would counter Bruskewitz’s "attempts to silence" the organization. "Justice cannot be silenced," she said.

My, my. Some uppity woman seeks to govern the Diocese of Lincoln with a postcard campaign.

OK. After CTA's actual membership (all 78 of them, nationwide) writes their letters, then what?

Rush Is Right!

You have to hand it to him. He's nailed the Left's modus operandi, exemplified by the following quote from the LA Times, captured in the American Spectator blog.

Ezra Klein has an op-ed in today's LA Times banging the drum for universal health care. I absolutely adore this line regarding a particular "serious, albeit extraordinarily complicated, plan" for universal care in California:

The details of the plan are unimportant; it's the constructiveness of the proposal that matters.

Limbaugh's postulate that "It's not whether someone is innocent or guilty; it's the serious-ness of the charges that counts!!" is directly reflected in this asinine Call to Act!! from the Times.

BIG Holes in Visa Program; Bush Blows It Again

Some days one can only wonder whether these people are as useless as they seem:

...on Dec. 14, the Government Accountability Office lowered the boom on the Bush administration by releasing a report stating that the government has given up on plans to implement a system to track the entry and exit of foreign visitors.

Congress ordered the creation of an entry-exit system called US-VISIT (excluding Canadians and Mexicans) back in 1996, and the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, made this system imperative.

Some of the Sept. 11 hijackers entered the United States legally on visas but never departed when their visas expired. It's now 2006, and we are told that an entry-exit system doesn't exist and the government has abandoned plans to create it.

The government had $1.7 billion to develop this program, but now tells us that is not nearly enough money, so all plans are being scrapped. There's no such thing as border security without an entry-exit system because at least 30 percent of illegal immigrants in the United States entered the country as legal visitors and then disappeared into our population.

Student visas, many of which are given to Third World applicants, are a major source of fraud. We know that Sept. 11 Pentagon pilot Hani Hanjour came in on a student visa. About 1 million foreign students are in the U.S. at any given time.

Gee. I never heard about this from the usual gang of BushBots!

Tracking people who come into the United States and requiring them to leave when their visas expire is an essential component of national security. Failure to implement such a system means our government doesn't care about protecting our borders.

No kidding.

President Bush, get your ass in gear here. We can smell the game-playing, and it doesn't smell very good at all.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Journalism Project

Here's a local newspaper which has poked at the Muslim wasps' nest and got some very interesting responses:

The other day I blogged about a meeting the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News had with leaders in the local Muslim community. I described the Muslims as defensive and evasive. Mohamed Elmougy, who led the group, wrote a subsequent e-mail to my supervisors and to me describing me as dishonest, saying that I've singlehandedly burned the bridges the Muslim community and the DMN have built, and that I should be fired.

I've spent a good part of today transcribing the recording of the meeting. I have the entire transcript posted here on the DMN editorial board blog. It's over 7,000 words, but I strongly recommend that you go read it, to get a flavor of the questions we asked, and the answers they gave. We're going to try to convert the soundfile to a postable format, so you can listen to the meeting at some point. But I wanted to get this transcript up today.

Note especially the obfuscation, the evasion (e.g., avoiding a direct answer to the repeated question of whether the US should live under sharia law), the defense of sharia punishments like hand-chopping and stoning, and the attempt to answer legitimate questions by challenging the motives of the journalist for asking it. Note the unwillingness to say that there's anything wrong with Islamic youth reading Sayyid Qutb, that the real wrong is thinking that it's wrong. And so forth.

Might even be something George Stanley wants to bandy about with his troops for the Milwaukee area, no?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!

This image struck me. It's not the usual thought; it's a reminder of what is to come.

Merry Christmas!

More like a Mel Gibson Christmas card, no?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ex-Wisconsin Exec In the News

The illegal-alien problem which surfaced at Swift & Co. will have repercussions. This was not a "Plant-HR-Manager" problem...

With that in mind, guess who is Chairman of the Swift Board of Directors?

George Gillett Jr.

George N. Gillett Jr. became Chairman of the Board and a director of Swift Operating in September 2002. He is Chairman of the Board and President of Booth Creek Management Corp., a company with investments in a wide variety of businesses, since founding the Company in 1996. He also is Chairman of Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. since its formation in October 1996 and Chief Executive Officer since February 1997. From August 1994 to July 2001, he served as Chairman of Packerland Packing Company, Inc., a meat packing company. From January 1997 to February 2000, he served as Chairman of Corporate Brand Foods America, Inc., a processor and marketer of meat and poultry products, which was acquired by IBP, Inc.

I imagine that George will be working through the holidays...

Some editorial content from RealClearPolitics on the illegal immigrant problem:

Who doesn't suffer from illegal immigration? For starters, the people who write about it. I speak of the journalism profession, which has the habit of covering the issue by anecdotes. Reporters thrive on sympathetic stories about illegal immigrants who work hard and go to church.
But, were a busload of illegals from Australia to turn up at their newspaper and offer reportage at 10 percent below the going rate, the writers would call the authorities so fast that your head would spin.

...The U.S. Chamber of Commerce likes to wail about the "labor shortage." It says there aren't enough chambermaids, dishwashers, etc. to work for its members at lousy wages. Odd, but when there's a shortage of labor -- or anything else -- doesn't the price of it go up? The price of unskilled labor in the United States hasn't gone up. It's gone down. Because of immigration, American-born high-school dropouts experienced a 5-percent loss in wages during the '80s and '90s, according to a study by Harvard economist George Borjas.

There's plenty of work for ICE to do, just in the Milwaukee area. Ask around...

Multiple Choice?

HT to Vox--this is too good to pass up:

U.S. Hispanic groups and activists on Thursday called for a moratorium on workplace raids to round up illegal immigrants, saying they were reminiscent of Nazi crackdowns on Jews in the 1930s....

"This unfortunately reminds me of when Hitler began rounding up the Jews for no reason and locking them up," Democratic Party activist Carla Vela said. "Now they're coming for the Latinos, who will they come for next?"

If Ms. Vela is asking for nominees, I'm sure that we can come up with a list. Let's start with the ACLU's headquarters staff and Rosie O'Donnell.

It is even more curious that the Democrat Party is now (apparently) attempting to trivialize the Holocaust with this asinine comparo. Do they think they OWN the Jewish vote?

Online Retailers--Horror Stories

Kinda like brick-and-mortar shopping--or telephone-shopping--you can find "bargains" which turn out to really bad deals.

Or worse.

Here's a post about online camera retailers; but read ALL the way to the end for the really nasty stuff.

"Everybody Did It" Study Was Paid for by Planned Parenthood

Remember that "study" which the purports to 'scientifically' prove that damn near everybody had premarital sex??? The one which was breathlessly (heh) trumpeted in every MSM venue last week?

Well, somehow, the news-folks forgot to mention who PAID for the "study'--none other than Planned Parenthood's Guttmacher Institute.

Since Planned Parenthood makes a lot of money from sexual activities of youth, it is in the interests of Planned Parenthood to make such activity a perfectly "normal" practice. That's precisely the word used by the local news-yappers (Channel 6.)

Planned Parenthood does not like the Federal Gummint spending money on abstinence programs because Planned Parenthood does not like the results of abstinence programs--less money in PP's bank accounts.

All together now, lets' clap for Planned Parenthood. No--I mean, let's GET the Clap for PP--or something like that, right...?

The "study" produced results which are inconsistent with other studies:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data in 2003 showing that the percentage of teens who reported that they have had sex decreased from 54 percent in the early 1990s, to 46 percent...

A study that same year in Adolescent & Family Health concluded that abstinence was the catalyst for a drop in the teen birth rate from 1991-95 (the latest data available). Researchers found ...the number of unmarried teen girls who were abstinent -- defined as never having had sex or not having had sex in the past year -- increased from 53 percent to 56 percent.

Memo to MSM "news" folks: follow the money. Check against other known facts. You know--journalism...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Music for Catholic Mass

Some excerpts from Wm. Mahrt's intervention at the Bishops' committee meeting re: music for Catholic Mass in the USA. His remarks specifically refer to Music in Catholic Worship, written by the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, at the time chaired by none other than Rembert Weakland, OSB.

The purposes of music should be stated clearly; I would say that there are two overriding purposes: to make the liturgy more beautiful and to emphasize its sacred character. ...Only music that is truly beautiful should have a place in the liturgy.

Music can establish unambiguously the sacred character of the action. Here the statements about style need a radical revision. All styles are not equal. The tradition of Roman documents establishes a clear hierarchy. Gregorian chant has pride of place; classical polyphony has a privileged role. It is because styles carry with them associations and even evoke a place—the style of a Broadway show tune evokes the theater; the style of cocktail music evokes the cocktail bar, yet we hear these styles in church. The priority of sacred styles needs re-emphasis.

[Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! The "all styles are equal" promulgated by 'Bugsy' Bugnini and his coterie of termites has been "factoid without foundation" for far too long...]

The analysis of the purposes of the parts of the Mass needs reformulation. The distinction between proper and ordinary is a very useful one—propers accompany other actions, ordinary are the liturgical actions themselves.

The theology of music in the document is only anthropocentric; but it should also be theocentric. The document speaks only of the action of the congregation; but this has no meaning unless it is in the service of the action of Christ in the Mass. To say that music has the purpose of the glorification of God (theocentric) does not contradict that it cultivates the faith of the people (anthropocentric); these two purposes reinforce each other.

[This anthropocentrism is perfectly consistent with the versus populum theologoumenon, another extraordinarily poor symbol promulgated by the Usual Suspects--at great spiritual and financial cost, we should add...]

...Music does not have connotations, rather its meanings accrue by association. Take two examples: We have had classes in the dancing of Baroque dances, for example, the minuet, which gets its name from the tiny steps used in dancing it: one dances in a small pattern and does not get anywhere. We had a classical guitarist engaged to play during one of the Masses, and at the communion time, he played a Bach minuet. I thought to myself, how am I ever going to get to communion with these tiny steps? I once heard a Beethoven piano sonata played during Mass. I was astonished to realize just how vividly it recalled a place, and the place was the home. The music is domestic—house music. I would not have anticipated how incongruous it seemed to hear it in church.

Others of the meanings of music derive from intrinsic qualities of the music. Cocktail music has a quality of relaxed familiarity that reinforces the inhibition-releasing qualities of the cocktail itself and encourages social interaction. This is probably not very suitable for a sacred action. In fact, the very notion of “sacred,” being set apart for special usage, suggests that music that is free from such associations is better suited to sacred purposes. The inherent qualities of Gregorian chant are particularly in its rhythm. The more strongly metric music is, the more closely it is tied to the passage of time. The non-metric qualities of Gregorian chant leave it free from being tied down to the temporal and allow it to evoke the eternal. This evocation of the eternal accounts for the fact that Gregorian chant is rarely used for anything else; it is not even very successfully employed in concerts, despite its high artistic status. Rather, whenever it is heard, its character is unmistakable—it is sacred music, set aside for a most high purpose.

[But some 'character' is also associated with metrical music--e.g., the strong 1 & 3 of the 4-beat march is unmistakable, as is the 'lullaby' quality of 6-beat, or waltz of 3-beat/4-measures...]

I propose several areas where clear statements could improve Music in Catholic Worship (MCW).

1. Reconciliation with Vatican documents. Perhaps the most important issue is the relation of MCW to Sacrosanctum concilium (SSC) and the Second Instruction for its implementation, Musicam Sacram (MS). These documents reflect the fact that in general the regulation of the liturgy belongs to the Apostolic See.

2. The place of Gregorian chant, polyphony, and the organ. I take Bob Hurd’s point that there is a place for diversity, and that polarization should be avoided; still, I would suggest a third way of viewing the choices he proposes: within a rather wide range of traditions, styles, and instruments, the document should present some priorities. Gregorian chant should have “pride of place,” and classical polyphony should receive special cultivation; this does not rule out the use of chorale melodies or popular religious songs, but it does present a priority.

3. The theology of music. The description of the purposes of music in MCW focuses almost entirely upon the subjective aspect of the congregation and not at all on the intrinsic significance of the rites or their overall meaning theologically, particularly the action of Christ in the liturgy. These are not mutually contradictory: the traditional purposes—the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful— are not in conflict with the expression of faith on the part of the congregation

4. The sacredness of music. There is a further qualification about diversity. “Not all forms of music can be considered suitable for liturgical celebrations” (Pope John Paul II, Chirograph for the Centenary of the Motu Proprio, 2003, Par. 4). Within the diversity of available musical styles, judgments should be made about which styles are suitable for incorporation into the sacred liturgy. In order for them to be truly sacred, there must be something which distinguishes them from the merely secular

5. The beauty and sacredness of the liturgy. Over and above the aforementioned purposes of music, I think that there are even more general purposes, and if they were taken seriously, they could transform the music of our liturgies. They are obvious to some, but somehow forgotten by others: music should make the liturgy more beautiful, and music should emphasize the sacredness of the liturgy. If music were really selected to fulfill these purposes, our liturgies would amply fulfill all the other purposes mentioned above

6. The quality of the music. The statement about making the aesthetic judgment in MCW is crucial. Its priority should not be compromised in the revision. In fact, it should be emphasized: too much music published today is simply mediocre...The criterion should be whether the music is truly beautiful, nothing less.

[I am always taken aback by those who say that 'the parishioners don't "get" beauty.' Yes they do--perhaps they can't articulate it in the terms of musicology, or perhaps they don't think they should tell the musician--but they "get" it very well.]

7. The ordinary and the proper. MCW seems to downplay the distinction between ordinary and proper and to deemphasize the ordinary, often dismissing it as “secondary.” But there are important distinctions between the ordinary and the proper. The proper parts of the Mass accompany other actions, mainly processions; even in the case of the gradual and alleluia, their function is to complement and respond to the lessons. On the other hand, the ordinary parts are in and of themselves liturgical actions; this is the ground for attributing them normally to the singing of the whole congregation.

"Proper" was simply tossed into a memory hole. There is no other explanation. One of the best church musicians in our Archdiocese doesn't even acknowledge the existence of the Proper of the Mass. It's not because he's a rebel--it's because he has been educated by rebels and iconoclasts, since 1970.

8. The ordering of the sung parts. MCW denies the significance of the distinction between sung and recited Masses, asserting that “almost unlimited combinations of sung and recited parts may be chosen.” (Par. 51) This is in direct contradiction with MS, which retains the distinction between the low and the high Mass, and yet proposes various degrees of incorporation of singing into the Mass

Another of the Americanist Abominations. The idea was (of course) to 'democratize' the Mass, as though "democracy" is some sort of objective good in worship. Think that's a bit over the edge? Then why are the perpetrators of this "democratization" ALSO proponents of Wimmin's Ordination?

9. The singing of the celebrant. A key feature of the scheme of incorporation of singing in MS is the priority of the singing of the celebrant. The revision of MCW should exhort, as strongly as possible, celebrants to learn to sing their parts in the Mass; seminaries should instruct their students in the singing of the priest’s parts. The reason is that when the celebrant sings his part, the rite itself is clearly sung, and this unifies it; the other musical parts then play a natural role in the scheme of music.

It may cause a bit of consternation, but it's doable--and Mahrt's rationale is absolutely correct.

The balance of Mahrt's intervention/essay are available at the link above. Let us pray, fervently, that Cdl. George & Co. pay close attention to his recommendations over against those from music publishers.

Dreher on Apocalypto

Just a little bit of the review:

Well, I finally got to see "Apocalypto" yesterday, and let me start by saying that I was wrong about the movie in my earlier comments here. It is a stunning film, and I heartily recommend it to those who can stand some gore. I did look away a couple of times, to be sure, but for most of the film, the violence is profoundly contextualized; I was not prepared for Gibson to show in the faces and reactions of his characters the pain of violence and cruelty.

...In fact, I can't think of a film that is at once so violent and such a protest against violence.

...(I should say too that as an exercise in pure filmmaking, "Apocalypto" is a phenomenal piece of work. I realized at the end that I had just watched a two-hour film about tribal derring-do, filmed in an ancient Indian tongue, and I had been entirely engrossed, as if hardly any time had passed at all. Any filmmaker who can do that is a master. If somebody other than Mel Gibson had made this film, he'd be the toast of Hollywood.)

These are just my random musings a few hours after having seen "Apocalypto." I wanted to make sure to get them down, even if they're disordered, because I'd made such a big deal about how I wasn't going to see the film, and I wanted to say how mistaken I was.

Looks like it will be on my list, soon.

Harbinger Copper

The brief comment at TheBigPicture:

Dr. Copper, the metal with the PHD in economics, is now at 6 month lows

Since I happen to agree with BP's aphorism about copper (the Old Farts' economic predictor) I thought I'd look it up.

Read what you'd like into the chart--but there's no question that copper has dumped a few in the last couple of months.

Farm Subsidies Kill Farmers

You like the Farmer in the Dell?

Too bad. He's being killed off by the Federal Government and corporate farming (that means CPA's, lawyers, and Big Money players.)

The very policies touted by Congress as a way to save small family farms are instead helping to accelerate their demise, economists, analysts and farmers say. That's because owners of large farms receive the largest share of government subsidies. They often use the money to acquire more land, pushing aside small and medium-size farms as well as young farmers starting out.

"Historically, when you think of family farms, you think of Mom and Dad and three generations working a small or mid-sized farm. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling," said Alex White, a professor of agricultural economics at Virginia Tech. "In the real world, it might be a mid-sized farm. But it also might be a huge farm. It might be a corporation.

"Large family farms, defined as those with revenue of more than $250,000, account for nearly 60 percent of all agricultural production but just 7 percent of all farms. They receive more than 54 percent of government subsidies. And their share of federal payments is growing -- more than doubling over the past decade for the biggest farms.

Not to mention the amount of "farm aid" sent to people who buy acreage specifically for the Gummint's generosity and/or tax credits/writeoffs.

HT Betsy's Page

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Party Of Government?

Occasionally we've mentioned the existence of the Party Of Government (and have taken a slight liberty, re-naming it the Party IN Government with the acronym P.I.G.)

It certainly works for Sandy Berger (D) National Security Adviser to X42, whose criminal activities at the National Archives were ignored by GWBush' Attorney-General's office.

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and hid them under a construction trailer, the Archives inspector general reported Wednesday.

The report was issued more than a year after Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removal of the documents.

The "sentence"? A $50K fine and 100 days' "community service."

Contrast to ...oh...stiffing the IRS...which usually means jail AND loss of every material possession one has...

Inspector General Paul Brachfeld reported that when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he said it was possible he threw them in his office trash.

"In total, during this visit, he removed four documents ...

And we will NEVER know the contents of those documents.

The term "Clintoncide" comes to mind...

Morgan Stanley Is in Deep Soup

This is a no-no:

The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) said Morgan Stanley had routinely failed to provide e-mails requested by investors with complaints against its retail brokerage unit, falsely claiming they were lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The securities industry's self-regulatory arm said in a disciplinary complaint that Morgan Stanley claimed that millions of e-mails had been lost in the terrorist attacks that destroyed New York's World Trade Center.

Although its Dean Witter unit's main e-mail servers and archives were destroyed in the attacks, Morgan Stanley had most of those e-mails saved on backup tapes or on users' individual computers, the NASD said.

...The NASD said Morgan Stanley's actions meant hundreds of retail investors may have been denied their right to obtain e-mail evidence during arbitration procedures against Dean Witter, the retail brokerage's former name

The stink is serious.

The Donkey Whose Tail is Taxes

Whether or not you like additional taxes, or whether or not you like "commuter rail," the REAL evil genius out there is (ta-da!!)

State Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), who sponsored the legislation creating the transit authority

This "authority" seeks to impose TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

Someone should start a recall movement...

Give Me The MONEY!! Says Milwaukee

Knock me over with a feather!

The City of Milwaukee filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against AT&T that aims to require the company to negotiate a cable franchise agreement for its soon-to-be-offered Internet protocol video service.

Such an agreement would force the phone company to make an annual payment to the city, something that Time Warner Cable already does under its longstanding franchise agreement with the city

Seems to me that TimeWarner should be footing the bills for this lawsuit--but never mind...

Here's all you ever need to know:

Next year, Time Warner is to pay the city about $3.8 million.

You thought that Elm Grove was a bastion of conservatism, eh? You LOSE, sucker:

[Elm Grove] Village Manager Dave De Angelis said, "It's not that I think any of the communities want to leave AT&T out of the market or limit competition. In fact, we welcome competition. It's just that the playing field should be the same."

What he means is: "AT&T has to give us a bunch of money before we let them [kiss] us."

"Cable companies were given a huge financial incentive to build out communities - monopoly rights with freedom from competition,"

....after they paid bribes to the local Gummints. That's what it's all about, no?

Busalacchi: Pinocchio-Puppet Show

Hey! Frankie!! You want more money for drivers' licenses?

No sweat, pal.

Go to your thieving boss, Darth Doyle--the one who tells you what to say and do every minute of every day.

Tell him to give back the $400 million he stole from DOT.

Yah, Frankie, I know. What would you do for a JOB if you get uppity with Doyle? Sheesh.

Frankie--boy--don't you have any pride? Where does Doyle have your balls, Frankie? In his desk-drawer?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Episcopal-Lutheran Easter, Catholic Seminary Prof Witness!

HT our friend Terrence Berres.

It seems that on Easter Sunday, a Lutheran pastor guest-officiated at an Episcopalian church.

It was a lovely occasion, according to the intrepid reporter, who is of some interest to us Roman Catholics.

Seems that the reporter (who evidently was on-site for the occasion) is also a Professor at St. Francis Major Seminary of Milwaukee.

Rev. Dr. Steven Kuhl is assistant professor of historical theology at Saint Francis Seminary, St. Francis, WI, and is a member of WCC’s Unity and Relationships Committee

(See P.4 of the linked PDF)

Quite the occasion, no?

Nietzsche--PC's Founding Philosopher

Fr. Jim Schall, SJ, is a marvelous writer and intellect. He wrote a short essay in which he quoted some of the remarks of Benedict XVI (who often quotes Nietzsche, not as a guide, but as a marker) and draws some conclusions.

Nietzsche, who in some sense brought modernity to a close by exposing its own inner incoherence, is always interesting to read. Pope Ratzinger, good German scholar that he is, will cite him rather often. A sense of poignancy hovers over the reading of Nietzsche. We sense the disappointment that he felt over Christians themselves who, in his strict view, do not, as he thought, really believe what the faith holds to be true. This practical disbelief in the truth of Christianity, however, is increasingly prevalent in Western societies over a century after Nietzsche's death.

The only alternative open to him, in Nietzsche's own mind, was the famous "will to power." This much-pondered principle was in fact a license to construct our own world, to declare our freedom precisely by rejecting all previous explications, particularly those stemming from Plato and Christianity, from natural law or faith....

...Nonetheless, Nietzsche's agenda or inspiration, in many forms, can be found at the roots of much of modern culture, particularly academic culture. We live with a dogmatic relativism that empowers us, so it is claimed, to depend on neither nature nor grace, on nothing but our own willed social and personal constructs, whatever they are

[In November], Benedict XVI spoke about marriage [:] "Today, the order of marriage, as established in creation and of which the Bible tells us expressly in the narration of creation (Genesis, 2:24), is gradually being obscured, ..."To the extent that man seeks in new ways to build for himself the world as a whole, thereby ever more perceptibly endangering its foundations, he also loses his vision of the order of creation with regard to his own life. He considers he can define himself as he pleases by virtue of an inane freedom."

In the red-higlighted section of the above graf, we have the very definition of PC and all that surrounds it. It is an artificial re-construction of Nature, which endangers the foundations of the world so constructed.

Fr. Schall's conclusions have more to do with the balance of B-16's lecture(s) to the German bishops, which concerned both marriage (above) AND the sacred nature of life:

One aspect of it is the commitment to life from conception to death, that is, its defense against abortion, against euthanasia, against manipulation and man's self-authorization in order to dispose of life. People often seek to justify these interventions with the seemingly great purpose of thereby serving the future generations, and it even appears moral to take human life into one's own hands and manipulate it. However . . . the knowledge also exists that human life is a gift that demands our respect and love from the very first to its very last moments, also for the suffering, the disabled and the weak

So Schall writes:

Recently, I saw an article of some theological professor who argued that if we are ever to get along with the Muslims, we need to downplay the two central doctrines of Christianity, the Trinity and the Incarnation, so that we can better get along. No doubt, if we cease to be Christian, if we cease to affirm the truth, including especially the truth that guides us from revelation, everyone will find us easier to get along with. We will have gained tolerance at the price of what we are to hold.

It is "PC" to get along. It also endangers the foundations of dialogue and understanding--it minimizes the value of truth in the present to gain some vague (and unknown) benefit in the future.

Maybe, kinda, sorta, some...vague...benefit.

Another $1.2MM Down the State's Drain

Hey--you didn't really NEED all that money you sent to Madison, right?

The state will recover about $950,000 of the $2.1 million spent on consultants and software licenses for the Oracle project in credits for software and maintenance work from Oracle,

We recall that DarthDoyle received some campaign donations from Oracle's people.

Too bad that the system just didn't work, eh?


Guns Cause Crime, Right?

Sorry, I can't copy the chart and paste it here--but here's the interesting part.

SOUTH DAKOTA has the highest percentage of population with a Concealed Carry permit at 7.4%. It also has a very low crime rate--175.7/100K population--and murder rate--2.3/100K.

WISCONSIN does not allow Concealed Carry.

Violent crime rate in Wisconsin? 241.5/100K. Murder rate? 3.5/100K.

(scritch, scratch, scritch...)

So the heavily-armed South Dakota violent crime rate is 27% LESS than Wisconsin's. And the South Dakota murder rate is 35% LESS than Wisconsin's.

No crisis, there.

By the way, New York, Mass., and California rates are also higher than SD's. NYState has a very limited Concealed-Carry privilege (it helps to be rich and famous.) Massachusetts, of course, has Ted Kennedy.

Bloggers--the WSJ Doesn't Like You

Courtesy of JunkYardBlog:

Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion describing blogs, found in the WSJ.

So, Charlie, what'd you DO to this guy? Shoot his doggie?

DarthDoyle Plays with Fire, Cautiously

Since DarthDoyle (notorious proponent of killing babies) now has a more compliant Legislature, he's beginning to drool, although he's managed to contain his exuberance for the record.

It's possible that he realizes his re-election was not a "mandate;" Gay "Marriage" is emphatically "out," and the Death Penalty is emphatically "in." The Democrat Party gained control of only one part of the Legislature.

Not exactly a Left-o paradise.

But he's taking all the tent-space he can get his nose into without being obvious about it, using stalking-horses or reliable stooges.

  • DOT wants a lot more money and proposes confiscatory new "fees." Doyle splits the baby in half (that's second nature to him, anyway.)

  • A "health commission" decides that "health" is a $200MM increase in tax revenues; Darth demurs, sorta, kinda, maybe, but not really.

  • A Statist who thinks the Politburo's modus operandi is fine and dandy proposes a State takeover of the public schools under the guise of "sales tax increase." Darth doesn't have a position.

  • Darth himself gets cornered and toys with "civil unions," knowing full well that those arrangements are not going to be Constitutional.

You don't have to be particularly cynical (or even particularly sentient) to understand that Darth's playing both ends to the middle. It will be interesting to see how these ideas play out in the real world.

A Certain Blogger Has an Undying Dislike for the AG-Elect

Here's the line from the blog (not linked.) See if you can figure out which blogger wrote it.

Incidentally, Mr. Van Hollen, the ball is about to be in your court. You promised to completely eliminate the backlog, [of DNA samples] something no other AG has managed to do in Wisconsin since the advent of DNA. It will be fascinating to see what you do.

If you can't puzzle this out, you should check to determine if your body temperature is actually above room-temperature. In the alternative, check to see if you're still able to add 1+1 successfully.

Iraq-ization of the War

Bill Roggio embeds with an Iraqi Army unit and reports.

The "bad news" portion is typical and almost endemic to Third World countries.

Logistics. The IA logistical system is broken at the battalion, brigade, division and Ministry of Defense levels. Requests for equipment such as batteries, air conditioners, heaters, vests, helmets, building materials are mostly ignored. Soldiers in some units share helmets or vests to go out on patrol.

The Ministry of Defense. The MoD is a highly centralized decision making organization, which controls the purse strings of the Iraqi Army. Requests for equipment that should be fulfilled at the battalion or brigade level must go up to MoD, and are ignored.

Pay. Some soldiers and officers haven't been paid in over a year.

Administration. The Iraqi Army and Ministry of Defense does not have centralized system for keeping soldier's on the books, notes Captain Spells, who deals directly with administrative and pay issues for the Iraqi Army

Combat Support. There is a lack of engineers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and maintenance units at the battalion and brigade level.

On the other hand, the "good news" part is good, indeed.

Tactical Independence. The soldiers are gathering their own intelligence, are planning and executing operations independently. They are able to adjust planning on the fly.

Tactically proficient. The Iraqi Army is executing patrols, ambushes, raids, snap entry control points, manning the Entry Control Points. The soldiers are excellent at identifying IED indicators - the signs IEDs have been planted nearby.

Cultural Awareness. The Iraqi soldier's ability to speak the language, understand the culture and identify foreigners and other suspicious activities far outweighs any tactical shortcomings when compared to Marines or U.S. soldiers. This advantage cannot be overstated.

Brave. The Iraqi soldiers risk their lives to serve their country, and are taking casualties at rate of about four times that of U.S. military.

Resourceful. Like U.S. Marines, the Iraqi Army is making up for lack of resources with ingenuity. They make modifications to their vehicles and personal gear

Unity. The officers of the 3-2-1 MTT speak highly of the Iraqi Army units they are training. They report the soldiers work well together, and sectarian differences are not a factor. “There is no evidence of infighting between the sects; they view themselves as Muslims and Iraqis first,”

Although this is only one IA unit, others are reportedly coming onstream regularly. US military leadership expects the entire IA to be ready for independence by yearend 2007. Maybe that's optimistic, but it's not Pollyanna.

Solution for Elm Grove Man's Quandary

Here's our Public Service Ad of the week, designed for the Elm Grove resident who has problems with critter-controls.

Velasquez drew laughter and applause when he jokingly suggested sharpshooters also be hired to reduce the squirrels who chewed his Christmas lights, the chipmunks who caused him to sink to his ankles in a hole and the woodpeckers who are making holes in his cedar siding

This fine weapon (thorougly tested by Dad29 for effectiveness) WILL solve your problems, Mr. Velasquez! Now available for only $219.00. (I suggest you get 100 rounds of target ammo for an additional $5.00 or so...)

Noiseless and extremely accurate (five rounds in <1" at 10 yards with iron sights, even better with the scope as shown), the rifle will make short work of chipmunks, squirrels, and woodpeckers, not to mention skunks.

You're welcome.

(Repeat): Elmbrook School Referendum Will Be At Least $100MM

We said it before, and we'll say it again. The Elmbrook School District will ask for at least $100 MILLION dollars for rebuilding/renovating/redecorating their high school facilities.

The updated cost estimate provided Tuesday night was $99.8 million, although board members urged architects and construction managers to find more savings.

In other words, the Board would love an advertised price smaller than $100MM.

However, several board members expressed interest in adding a second referendum question that would seek approval to build multiuse field houses at the two schools at an additional cost of about $9.5 million. That would almost double the size called for in the $99.8 million plan.

...but I'll hedge that prediction just a tiny bit. With residential and commercial construction declining, it's entirely possible that materials will cost a little less when they start these projects.

On the other hand, one member of the School Board had to be educated:

But he dropped [a request for smaller classroom sizes] after others disagreed and an administrator said larger rooms might be needed in the future if class sizes increase amid budget pressures

"Budget pressures?" Why would THAT occur?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Modern Bible

Just in time for Christmas HOLIDAY gifting, we present...

Some of the entries include:

The Organic Garden of Eden

Pharaoh Has Two Mummies

What Happens in Sodom and Gomorrah Stays in Sodom and Gomorrah

Noah Builds Ark to Survive Global Warming

Jonah Saves the Whale

David Appeases Goliath

The Bilingual Writing on the Wall

The Tower of Babel & The Controlled Demolition Theory

Uncle Samson & The NY Times Reporter Delilah

Judas The ACLU Lawyer

Joseph & Mary Celebrate Holiday Season By Donating Fetus To Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Bank

Government Program Feeds The Multitudes with Five "Whole Grain" Loaves And Two Non-Endangered Fishes

Even MORE can be found at PeoplesCube

HT: SacramentumVitae

AsianBadger Gets It Right


I've mentioned "irradiation" to friends and relatives--it's as though I told them I visited Mars last week. The vacant stares, the "whassat??" jaw-drops...

The technology is known as food “irradiation,” a process that propels gamma rays into meat, poultry and produce in order to kill most insects and bacteria. It is similar to milk pasteurization, and it’s a shame some food marketer didn’t call it that from the beginning because its safety and health benefits are well established. The American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have all certified that a big reduction in disease could result from irradiating foods.”[…]

Actually also helps to maintain freshness, with NO CHANGE IN TASTE...

But the Weenies--the anti-nukers--have control.