Monday, April 30, 2007

Think It Costs More? You're Right, if It's Groceries

No inflation here. Nothing to see. Stop milling around and go home...

The topline All Farm Products Index of Prices for April increased 0.7% from March, resulting from a 2.4% increase in livestock prices that more than offset a 0.7% decrease in crop prices. Higher prices were received for onions, milk, cattle and tomatoes, whereas lettuce, corn, strawberries and eggs fetched lower prices. The topline index is up 22% from April 2006. The food commodities index is on the rise, gaining 1.5% on the month and 22% on the year. The Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates rose 1.3% from March and now stands 6.1% higher than a year ago. (The Dismal Scientist, 4/30/07)

So long as you don't eat, or purchase gasoline, things are just fine!

Live in Waukesha? Pay Attention!

A friend relates the following.

Over the weekend, a resident of Waukesha (near the WallyWorld on Hy. 164) heard something "clunk" in his kitchen. He got out of bed, figuring it was one of his chilluns getting in really, really late...

But it was not. He found someone rummaging through his refrigerator--someone whom he did not know.

So he asked "What are you doing in there?" and got the response "I'm hungry."

He escorted the fellow out of his home. Two minutes later, he noticed that the fellow was now rummaging through the contents of his daughter's car in the driveway.

Another confrontation. The fellow left the premises.

Naturally, the homeowner called the police, who pursued the fellow (in a stolen vehicle) to the near north side of Milwaukee. He was apprehended.

By the way, the guy was actually hungry, sort was his SECOND trip into this guy's kitchen; on the first one, he nabbed two bananas and left to steal the truck. He left the banana skins at the dealership (trade-in?) before he and a pal attempted to break into WallyWorld.

Non-violent. Hungry.


UPDATE: JSOnline published this story 5/1

Packer Draft Picks and Dick Cheney

Seems that there are roughly 2,564,908 Certified Football Player Experts in Wisconsin (counting the 10 or so in the offices on Lombardi Avenue.)

The videos of booing fans and sarcastic/incredulous SportsGuys matched the recent videos of the Democrats in Washington discussing the origins of the Iraq adventure--except that the Wisconsin people were slightly more civilized and restrained.

The observer with the Atomic Trousers sums it up:

As a group, we're a little tired of Thompson drafting like he knows something that nobody else does.

Obviously, it is simply impossible that Thompson and his people could possibly know something about football players, especially compared to the distilled wisdom and intel-sources of the other 2,564,890 people.

We await the admission that Dick Cheney dictated the picks to Thompson (in like manner as he dictated the initiation and completion of the War to GWB.)

At least Thompson didn't have to drag himself around the country campaigning for his job, thus being in close contact with Karl Rove.

Because THAT would mean that it was all a plot by the NeoCon Cowboy Fans.

"Dead Conservatism"? Nay--Dead Liberalism!!

So saith the sooth at Marquette--and he has the goods to back up the claim.

[Following the Pubbie loss of November] It is now the Democrats who are accumulating the baggage. Consider the pitfalls that have afflicted that party in Congress.

House Speaker Pelosi supported John Murtha for the position of House Majority Leader, and was beaten on this issue by her own caucus.

Pelosi seriously (and quite visibly) considered appointing the ethically challenged Alcee Hastings to be chair of the House Intelligence Committee, creating a considerable amount of negative publicity before she backed off.

Democrats passed a “non-binding resolution” in the House opposing Bush’s “troop surge.” This, of course, was the sort of feckless measure that was guaranteed to alienate both the hard Left (because it did nothing to actually stop the war) and conservatives (because it send a message of encouragement to the enemy).

The Democrats failed to pass that resolution in the Senate. Politically, it was the worst of both worlds: a very bad idea, which the party lacked the competence to actually enact.

In other words, certain stuff stinks, no matter who excreted it...(and we see the same effect, mutatis mutandis, at the State level.)

We could quibble with the Professor's statement here:

The now-decreasing government deficit and (by the standards of the past few decades) historically low unemployment should dampen the zeal of a fair number of moderates for tax increases

Well, it's decreasing if you don't bother with GAAP standards for Social Security and Medicare obligations which are NOT counted as part of the 'deficit.' But yes, the 'operating' side is getting better, and yes, that should mitigate the noise about increasing taxes.

Altogether, a different 'look' at the question, and one which gives rise to optimism.

Read the whole thing. It's worth it.

JS Report on Deportations Misleading

The local lamestream strikes again.

Let's set the table. Paul Bucher applied for authority to pursue deportation remedies against illegal aliens (in effect, deputizing the local authorities.)

This calls for the "jackbooted thugs" line:

Critics complain that such initiatives not only improperly shift enforcement of federal law to local police, they also believe it sets the stage for mass deportations, which some Americans have opposed in the ongoing debate about immigration.

Yah. Imagine Brad Schimel wearing an impressively-tailored brown uniform, complete with cigarette-holder and a riding crop, next to a freight train consisting of 100 empty boxcars...


More subtle is the twist on the history of the application. Yes, Paul Bucher applied for the authority. But as the JS article states:

...federal officials notified Waukesha County officials in August that a joint county-city application was unacceptable and that each police agency would have to seek immigration authority on its own. Gilhooly said there has been no response from Waukesha County since then.

So, in fact, Waukesha County has NOT pursued this authority since August. That would be about 8 months ago, right?

When other locals use the authority, it is specifically directed against illegals who have committed a CRIMINAL offense. In other words, one has to draw attention to oneself through inappropriate behavior...

And, by the way, it works better than ICE does.

In Nashville, the sheriff's office sought federal authority after two people were killed in a head-on car accident with a drunken driver who turned out to be a Mexican citizen living in the United States illegally. With more than 80 other suspects in custody after the first week, local police started deportation proceedings against every one of them.

Karla Crocker, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said that is half the number of deportation cases started locally by federal authorities in all of last year.

We stumble across the concept of subsidiarity and notice that it has value.

Schimel should re-file in cooperation with the locals, immediately.

Just in case you don't understand why this might be important, try this:

Dacus Lamont Sims died at age 32, after trying to cross a Charlotte street with Luciano Melendres on the loose. Melendres is an illegal alien from Mexico who was arrested last year for drunk driving; instead of being sent home or put in jail, he received 12 months probation. Now, having run over Sims, he's charged with DWI, hit-and-run, driving with a revoked license, driving without insurance, and a registration violation. Apparently murder is not among the charges, so it's likely he'll be behind the wheel again soon.

Melendres joins a long list of illegal aliens who have taken lives while driving drunk on our roads...Most of them had been arrested repeatedly before they killed. Some had even been deported repeatedly ...These drunken maniacs' victims have included police officers, Marines, women, and small children, whose blood stains the hands of the irresponsible moonbats from Bush on down who refuse to defend our sovereign territory from invasion.

Polemics about Bush aside (although not in the least irrelevant,) criminals who are illegals should be deported--unless they are also killers (like the above) in which case they should serve their term and THEN be deported.

HT Moonbattery

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Steyn Nails It Again--Limbaugh to Counterpunch Tuesday

Steyn is a bright fellow, and good with words. (That's why your humble servant- bloglodyte quotes him quite a bit here...)

The Defeaticrats are being opportunist: They think they can calibrate the precise degree of U.S. defeat in Mesopotamia that will bring victory for them in Ohio and Florida. Contemptible as this is, it wouldn't be possible had the administration not lost the support of many of the American people over this war. The losses are devastating for the individuals' families but they are historically among the lowest in any conflict this nation or any other has fought. So I don't believe the nightly plume of smoke over Baghdad on the evening news explains the national disenchantment. Rather, the mission as framed by the president -- help the Iraqi people build a free and stable Iraq -- is simply not accepted by the American people. On the right, between the unrealpolitik "realists" and the "rubble doesn't cause trouble" isolationists and the hit-'em-harder-faster crowd, the president has fewer and fewer takers for a hunkered-down, defensive, thankless semi-colonial policing operation. Regardless of how it works on the ground, it has limited appeal at home. Meanwhile, the leftists don't accept it because, while they're fond of "causes," they dislike those that require meaningful action: Ask Tibetans about how effective half a century of America's "Free Tibet" campaign has been; or ask Darfuris, assuming you can find one still breathing, how the left's latest fetishization is going...

As we mentioned below, there actually are some Muslims who think that 'governance' should be separated from 'Koran-ernance.' The trouble is that they are a minority in most Muslim countries (they're a sub-set of the Shi'ites.)

Limbaugh has already come up with the new NeoCon Meme: that this Iraq thing is really a matter of National Security for the US. He has yet to pound that home with actual real-live reasons for that statement, although a few come to mind immediately, such as:

1) We need the oil.
2) A democratic republic with lotsa Free Trade opportunities will offset....ah.....well.....something-or-another.
3) Iraq, democratized, can attack Iran.
4) (Fill in the blank here. Be creative.)
5) Al-Quaeda will launch its naval forces to attack the US from Iraq unless we emplace CableTV there to numb their minds.

The Dems' Debate Analyzed

Stolen from Planet Moron and put into "test" format. Most times, you have to figure out who the candidate is from the description given in the one-line excerpt.

(I left a couple of names in so that the Lefties who read this blog will get 2 right. Or not...)

...The Senator from Illinois believes the country wants change and he’s just the guy to bring that change...

...The New York Senator continues to display the warmth and sincerity for which both she and granite countertops are well known...

...Mike Gravel, a former politician of some sort....

...the New Mexico Governor appeared to have accidentally wondered into the wrong debate....

...The former Vice Presidential candidate and self-described common man explained his recent $400 haircut by noting that when he was a kid his father had to make the family leave a restaurant because he couldn't afford the prices on the menu ...

...The biggest surprise from the Delaware Senator was what did not come out of his mouth...

...The Ohio Congressman continues to battle the perception that he is part Dennis Kucinich and part Dennis Kucinich.

Short Dow (Chemical)

If you really think that the terrorists will hit a chemical plant, it's time to short Dow Chemical holdings:

Strassel claims that there is such an earmark created at the behest of ATLA, subtly providing an implied cause of action against chemical manufacturers in H.R. 1591, the soon-to-be-vetoed Iraq War supplemental funding bill. Indeed, the provision is difficult to find amidst the provisions for the milk income loss contract program and renewal grants for women's business centers. I suspect Strassel is referring to the anti-preemption provision in Section 1501(a) of the bill, effectively permitting lawsuits against chemical facilities that comply with Department of Homeland Security regulations without once mentioning the word "lawsuit." If there is a terrorist attack on a chemical facility, trial lawyers will have a deep pocket to blame.

You read it right; even if the plant COMPLIES with DHS regs, they're open to lawsuits brought by the Democrats' Best Friends, the barracudas litigators.

HT: Overlawyered

Illinois Gun Grab

In the State of Illinois, there are a lot of Gummint-imposed requirements for legal gun-ownership. A cynic might argue that the number of rules is directly proportional to the hopes of the rule-makers that someone will break a rule.

After all, if you don't follow the rules, you're automatically "illegal." Then the rule-makers have you by the proverbial short hairs.

So we are not surprised to read this:

Illinois State Police troopers have been going door to door, confiscating legally registered guns because owners forgot to jump through deliberately onerous re-regulation hoops. A taskforce called the Chicago Anti Gun Enforcement (CAGE) unit has been working with other police agencies to disarm the Chicago populace. Its target is not criminal gunrunners, but law-abiding citizens who can be disarmed using loopholes and technicalities. Those who have allowed their Nazi-esque Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards to expire will be tracked down by bureaucrats and have their guns confiscated by the State.

Moonbattery's Van Helsing (our source here) headlines it "First Registration, Then Confiscation."

Which makes it crystal clear why so many folks go to such great lengths to purchase guns from other law-abiding citizens, not gun shops.

No registration.

Cleveland NAACP Breaks the Mold

From Clay Cramer's blog:

The Cleveland NAACP responded Friday to criticism surrounding the shooting death of a teenage boy during a robbery.

NAACP President George Forbes and Cleveland Councilman Zach Reed said the black community failed 15-year-old Arthur Buford, NewsChannel5 reported.

They said Buford was wrong for allegedly trying to rob Damon Wells at gunpoint on Saturday.

Wells opened fire and killed Buford at East 134th Street and Kinsman. Police said Wells had a valid weapons permit and used the gun in self-defense.

"Then you have a 26-year-old young man who had every right to protect his life, protect his fiance and protect his property. But he has to life with the fact that for the rest of his lie he shot a 15-year-old boy," said Reed.

"That man had a right to do what he did. If he didn't do it, we'd be sitting here today mourning him rather than the 15-year-old," said Forbes.

It's never good to read about a fatal shooting. But these folks seem to understand the reality.

Eugene Kane: Ironist

Here's what he says in print:

My late father owned several guns during my childhood, including a heavy .357 Magnum pistol and a sawed-off shotgun he kept in the basement. A construction worker, my father had no real use for the guns other than the protection of his home and family in an inner city Philadelphia neighborhood that was tougher than some but nowhere as violent 40 years ago as some of Milwaukee's worst neighborhoods are today.

EK goes on to state that his father never fired the weapon at any people--which is exactly the hope and dream of any law-abiding citizen who owns a weapon, by the way...

The best reason for his father's gun-ownership emerges a bit later on:

The gun never represented real danger to me until my teenage years, when I often found myself fearful whenever trying to sneak back into the house after curfew. I knew the slightest sound would arouse my light-sleeping father to set off on patrol to find out the source of the noise.

The idea that he might shoot me by accident became more than enough motivation to get home at a reasonable hour.

After all that, EK manages to turn on a dime (at his age!!):

There are many solid reasons why Americans own guns, but those who grow up with guns in the household understand it often represented more risk than safety.

But let's not deal with EK's own personal testimony, nor any actual statistical stuff.

Because there isn't any.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Paul Ryan's "Conservatism" Essay

If you read the below post on Pawlenty, and followed the internal link to Bob Dohnal's article, then what Paul Ryan mentions here is not only 'thematically consistent' but compelling:

Among these principles is the notion that individuals and families should be the focal point of our society, not the government. Confidence in the unlimited potential of free individuals has always been part of the American dream, and this outlook tracks closely with conservatives’ belief that government is meant to serve the individual—not the other way around. This predisposes us to seek solutions that allow American innovation to flourish and avoid burdening our children with
high taxes and spiraling government debts.

It is a matter of elevating the debate, and demonstrating that the people's interests are consonant with the interests of the State (or nation)--and that the Conservatives' positions are in harmony with these interests.

It remains to be seen whether any of the remaining essayists bring up 'the National (State) Interest.'

Another Good Hit in Afghanistan

Stuff worth noticing:

An unidentified explosion in the border village of Danda Saidgai in North Waziristan killed three Pakistanis and wounded four on Friday morning. While the incident seems relatively small on the scale of events in the region, the location of the strike and those involved makes the case more than interesting. The explosion certainly took place at a Taliban or al Qaeda camp. Pakistani authorities claim the explosion was cause by a 'work accident' - an explosion of a terrorist bomb factory, while locals claim either a missile strike from Afghanistan or an air strike firing upwards of 5 missiles struck a home and two nearby religious schools, which were empty at the time.

Another (several) bite the dust...

HT: The Fourth Rail

Hair-Trigger on Iran?

The ultra-Right folks at Taki's blogsite found something of interest:

“A second US navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C Stennis arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the US presence there. Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, warned: ‘The US will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or US troops come under direct attack.’” Read that again.

Methinks that the Iranians should re-holster their slingshots, no?

Spec4 Teaches the "Elders"

Redstate has a couple of folks in Iraq, who are blogging their journeys.

And learning a few things--notably from an Army Spec4, whose sagacity is beyond his years:

The way I see it, there are two ways to rule people. There’s ruling by inspiration, and there’s ruling by fear. It’s harder to achieve inspiration, but if you can get there in the long run it’s easier because you inspire people to take initiative to do things for themselves. Ruling by fear is easier until that day that people stand up to you, and all your power goes away.

We’re trying to help the Iraqis find their inspiration. The insurgents are trying to rule by fear. They want to terrify people into thinking that their children are not safe, so that they stay at home and don’t get used to this new life under democracy. They want to attack the things we build, like schools, so that the people see them as temporary. We can give them, but they want people to believe that they’ll come along and take them away.

I’d rather be on the side of inspiration.

The RedState blogger admits that there was little left to say.

Tim Pawlenty: Icon or Iconoclast?

Via PowerLine, we're led to this article. The excerpt begins with a Pawlenty-ism which was first seen here coming from a leading Wisconsin conservative.

It was back in 2002 that Pawlenty first said the GOP needed "to be the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club." Back then his embrace of his state and regional populist tradition was a curiosity, a political epiphenomenon lost in a national sea of regnant Bush Republicanism. Today Bush Republicanism is on its way out. The most successful GOP governors--Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, Rick Perry in Texas, Charlie Crist in Florida, and former governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts--like their conservatism à la carte. They emphasize certain conservative policies--low taxes most of all--but dismiss others. Meanwhile, in Washington policy circles, wonks and flacks are busy sketching out an alternative Republican agenda that combines social conservatism with an active government tailoring economic policies to help working families. Pawlenty's slogan--"The party of Sam's Club"--is the working title on a forthcoming book from Doubleday by WEEKLY STANDARD contributors Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam.

PowerLine credits Pawlenty's populism for his election victories in Minnesota (he's Republican, Minnesota is quite Democrat,) and that's the context which is important.

While Aaaaaahhhhhhnold's endorsement of ESCR (and Romney's de-facto ordering of Gay Marriage) are not exactly populist-driven stances, I suspect they may be outliers.



The story of an MIT dean who resigned because she had over-billed her degree(s) has made the rounds, but the trenchant commentary comes from Clay Cramer:

On the other hand, I find myself wondering: if having a degree--and one presumes, a graduate degree, if she ended up with the title of "dean"--is so fundamentally necessary to her job, how is that no one ever noticed her inability until now?

Cramer mentions that there are people who have 'made it' without the benefit of a degree, and I've known quite a few, too.

There's a large difference between "capable" and "credentialed." Keep it in mind.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Biblical Authority for Eating Meat

In a lighthearted (but authoritative) response to some (Catholic, sorry to say) nutso-vegitarian, Fr. George Rutler demolishes the "Bible-based scholarship" which allegedly leads to vegetarianism:

Someone asked that I reply to a recent comment on your blog that questioned the logic of my letter on vegetarianism. Let me say that I am not a meat fanatic, and in fact I often have meatless dinners. One should never cite Genesis to promote strict vegetarianism, as it was written by meat-eaters inspired by God who created all the animals as a menu for Adam and Eve. Their “dominion” over every beast gave them authority to choose how they wanted to serve them up, it seems to me.

It is silly to suppose that the creation of seed-bearing plants and fruit trees means that we should not eat meat. It only means that we should eat vegetables and fruits just as the provision of animals means we should eat them, as we are biologically designed to do. To think that incisor teeth for biting meat evolved only as an indulgence to beefeaters later on, would be like saying that legs evolved as a consequence of wanderlust.

Vegetarianism is not like celibacy. Vegetarians disdain meat; celibates do not disdain marriage. I am a celibate, but would not exist if Adam and Eve had not married, albeit without the benefit of a clergyman. Their only dietary restriction was against a certain fruit; experts think it was a pomegranate. I suspect they did not eat the first animals because there would not have been second animals, but once animals got going, there you had dinner.

We need not wait for Exodus to find carnivorous action permitted. Abel ate meat and Cain seems to have been a vegan. The Lord had respect unto Abel’s roasted lamb and rejected Cain’s vegetables and so Cain waxed exceeding wroth and slew Abel. The first murderer was a vegetarian. Vegetarians tend to be more violent toward meat eaters than the other way around, probably because of a lack of protein. Also in Genesis, Jacob made his father a lamb stew from what was evidently an old family recipe. It probably went back to Eden.

The citation of Deuteronomy only supports meat eating. The prohibition of blood and strangled animals renders licit bloodless meat slaughtered some other way. Rare is the man who can strangle a cow to death anyway. It is also unwise to cite the saga of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar became a vegetarian only when he went mad. He was driven from men and ate grass like an ox (Daniel 4:33).

As for health, meat is now being promoted for its vitamins and other sorts of stuff our bodies need, although preferred meats include hard to get elk and impalas. I had a great aunt who was a vegetarian and her body started to make funny sounds and then she died. We hardly mention her, although we pray that our merciful Lord has welcomed her to the eternal Supper of the Lamb where there is no alternative menu.

Meat eating is better for the economy, too. It gave us Chicago for starters. It also gives us waterproof rainwear and sensible shoes. In a vegetarian society we’d be clad in watermelon rinds and shod with potato skins.

Vegetarians do not address my point about vegetable abuse. The vegan sentimentalist has no tears to shed for the mashed potato. Ask the olive: How cold is it at the bottom of a martini?
The New Adam is certainly an improvement on the Old Adam. But even in resurrected glory, He had a barbecue on the shore of Galilee. One more evidence of the Divine Mercy is that Jesus never hectored the early Christians about the health benefits of spinach.

No more need be said.

Stolen, in whole, from DomBet

Outstanding News from Madison!

The best news I heard all week was announced by Kevin Fisher (the guy with the wacky ties) who was guest-hosting for Belling yesterday.

Here's what he said:

"The State Budget [process] is a Trainwreck."

This is due to the split in the Legislature, with the Pubbies running one part and the Dimowits running the other.


That means that Wisconsin will use the CURRENT budget. No new taxes. No new spending.

I like trainwrecks...

First Amendment Lives in Washington State

HT: The Warrior

We hold that RCW 42.17.090 did not require NNGT to disclose the value of KVI's radio broadcasts supporting the initiative campaign as an in-kind contribution. The statutory media exemption, RCW 42.17.020(15)(b)(iv), excludes from the definition of "contribution" political advocacy for or against a political campaign by the hosts of a regularly scheduled talk show, broadcast by a radio station that is not controlled by a candidate or political committee. We reverse the order dismissing NNGT's counterclaims and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

ALL of the radio-pundits I know of would double up in laughter at the term 'controlled by a candidate...' It seem that by nature, these folks are un-controllable.

Nice to know that (for the time being) the First Amendment survives, at least in radio-land.

"Diplomatic" Resolution of the Gun Question

This twit bills himself as a "retired diplomat." Evidently service in the US State Department does not require knowledge of the US Constitution (surprise!) However, this essay does reflect "European laws" favored by such intellectualoids as Justice Breyer.

LAST week's tragedy at Virginia Tech in which a mentally disturbed person gunned down 32 of America's finest - intelligent young people with futures ahead of them - once again puts the phenomenon of an armed society into focus for Americans.

...When people talk about doing something about guns in America, it often comes down to this: "How could America disarm even if it wanted to? There are so many guns out there."

...I don't have any problem with hunting, although blowing away animals with high-powered weapons seems a pointless, no-contest affair to me. I suppose I would enjoy the fellowship of the experience with other friends who are hunters.

(Umnnnhhh...they're 'high-powered' to help ensure that the animal dies with one shot. There's nothing more cruel than half-killing an animal.)

Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.

One would also need a brain-dead majority on SCOTUS...

Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.

"Arsenal staff" would be qualified pshrinks, eh?

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

I suppose that the brain-dead SCOTUS (above) could erase the 4th Amendment, too, while they're at it...

Dan Simpson, a retired diplomat, is a member of the editorial boards of The Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It's probably unfair to ridicule this poor fellow. His writings serve the purpose.

HT: Captain's Quarters

Don't Count on Fox6

Sure enough, the Fox6 PC Police were hard at work obscuring the facts in their 9PM edition.

The UW-M/East Side armed robbers have hit 23 times in the last month. THAT much Channel 6 managed to tell you last night.

But you have to read the Milwaukee JS to know exactly what the goblins look like:

• A black male, 17 to 19 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 130 pounds and with a goatee. He wore a black hooded sweat shirt and black pants and carried a chrome handgun.

• A black male, about 18, about 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall and 120 pounds. He wore dark clothing.

• A black male, about 17 to 19, about 160 pounds. He wore all black clothes

Channel 6' "reporting" didn't bother with any of the above info except to mention that the goblins were 'male.'

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cdl. Ranjith (Cong. for Worship) on the Mass

While Cdl. Ranjith comes from Asia to head the Congregation, and in this interview addresses the "Asian" implementation of the "reforms" of the Liturgy, there are some striking commonalities with the American problems.

The use of the vernacular has at times helped in generating a theological vocabulary in the local idiom that eventually could be helpful to evangelization and the presentation of the message of the Gospel to those of non-Christian religious traditions, which constitute the overwhelming majority of the people of Asia.

Some negative aspects have been the quasi total abandonment of the Latin language, tradition and chant; a far too facile interpretation of what could be absorbed from local cultures into the Liturgy; a sense of misunderstanding of the true nature, content and meaning of the Roman rite and its norms and rubrics, which led to an attitude of free experimentation; a certain anti-Roman "feeling," and an uncritical acceptance of all kinds of "novelties" resulting from a secularizing and humanistic theological and liturgical mindset overtaking the West.

...The abandonment of the spheres of the Sacred, the Mystical and the Spiritual, and their replacement by a kind of empiricist horizontalism was most harmful to the spirit of what truly constituted Liturgy.

...As I mentioned, Asia is deeply mystical and conscious of the value of the Sacred in human life, moving a human being to look for the deeper mysteries of religion and spirituality. The tendency to banalise the celebration of the Eucharist through a somewhat horizontal orientation, often visible in modern times. is not consonant with that search.

The Cardinal mentioned that many of these problems were "imported" from the West by native-born priests who studied here, or by Western missionaries who are horrifically ignorant of Asian customs.

I once was listening to a radio talk given by a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka who ridiculed Christians for allowing local drum beating in their churches without knowing that those beats in fact were chants of praise for the Buddha.

In the US, we transmogrified music by imitating Woody Guthrie...or Frank Sinatra...or Mr. Rogers.

Inculturation means deciding on liturgical attire that is dignified and full of respect for the Sacred realities celebrated, not abandoning them.

...So too in Liturgy, instead of concentrating on just a few exterior gestures of cosmetic value, we should focus on the accentuation of the mystical and the spiritual riches conveyed to us, and highlight these more and more even in our dress and behavior. The Universal Church would gain from a Church in Asia that becomes a tangible expression of Christian mysticism in an Asian way.

But by no means is 'mysticism' confined to Asia--

...the love of silence, a contemplative atmosphere, chant and singing reflective of the divine mystery celebrated on the altar, sober and decorous attire, and art and architecture reflective of the nobility of the Sacred places and objects, are all Asian values often reflected in places of worship of other religions and more expressive of a truly Asian outlook on Liturgy.

But this, too, is not "Asian" per se--the concepts of "sacred time, sacred space, sacred language, sacred music" are also pertinent in the West (or at least they used to be so...)

Here's an interesting note (in discussion of whether Latin should be used):

Besides, in Asia some other religions have preserved an official "liturgical" language, like Sanskrit for Hinduism and Pali for Buddhism.

...or like Hebrew for the Jews, Koine Greek for the Greek Orthodox, and Aramaic for the Syriac Rite?

HT: Fr. Z

Abp. Burke: Being a Catholic Bishop

Seems that in St. Louis there's a Catholic children's hospital.

Bob Costas is sponsoring a fund-raiser for that hospital this year--and one of the attractions is Sheryl Crow, whose "humorous" jestings about toilet paper have caused waves of nervous disorders at the Charmin plant in Green Bay.

But Ms. Crow has other problems--she's a big-time supporter of abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.

So the Archbishop of St. Louis did what actually-Catholic Bishops do:

Archbishop Raymond Burke denounced a Catholic charity Wednesday for scheduling a benefit-concert appearance by Sheryl Crow, who supports abortion rights.

Burke submitted his resignation as chairman of the board for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation, saying the decision to let Crow sing on Saturday left him no other choice.

"It's very painful for me," Burke said during a news conference Wednesday. "But I have to answer to God for the responsibility I have as archbishop.

"A Catholic institution featuring a performer who promotes moral evil gives the impression that the church is somehow inconsistent in its teaching," Burke said.

Thank you, Your Grace!

Screechin'Shirley Screwed Green. Does She Deserve the Title "Justice"?

HT Jessica on this one.

Justice Prosser lambasts Screechin'Shirley for her shilly-shallying on the Green election funds question. (See P. 8 in the link)

In the midst and aftermath of an important gubernatorial election, this court did nothing to ascertain and enforce rights, or to assure the integrity of the electoral process. Instead, it used every imaginable pretext to avoid making a decision.

...From the outset, Green contended that he and his committee had complied in every respect with existing state and federal law. The Elections Board now stipulates that:

[W]hen Green for Wisconsin . . . converted the disputed funds from Petitioner Mark Green's federal campaign committee to his state campaign committee on January 25, 2005, it complied with: (1) previous Board determinations with respect to similar matters; (2) ElBd 1.39, as written and interpreted at the time; and (3) instructions provided by the Board's staff.

¶19 What more is there to say?

Allow me to suggest that Shirley Abrahamson did her level best to stretch out an injustice, if Justice Prosser's statement above is accurate (and I am sure that it is.)

In other words, she's better titled: "Chief IN-Justice Abrahamson."

Not that we didn't already know that...

The Conservative Re-Revolution

Owen makes it clear that conservatism is not dead; in fact, there are several agenda-points which still resonate and could be bulwarks of a re-revolution within the Republican Party.

Small Government, Health Care, and Education are on his plate.

Virginia Erred: Cho Should Have Been NCIS Listed

This is interesting:

Federal law, BATF regulations, and federal judicial precedent all hold that if someone is found by a magistrate to be a danger to others or to himself (as the state magistrate in Virginia determined that Cho was), he is barred from owning a gun. The fact that the magistrate that evaluated Cho's case recommended outpatient treatmant rather than commitment shouldn't have mattered. The problem is that state magistrates and mental health professionals aren't always aware that a situation like Cho's calls for an update to the instant background check database.

All previous commentary held that the 'outpatient' treatment allowed Cho to purchase handguns--that only commitment would have placed him on the "no sale" part of the NCIS list.

HT: American Spectator blog

Iran's Internal Troubles--Condi Rice No Help

There's a lot going on in Iran.

Too bad Condi Rice doesn't have control of the State Department; otherwise, this could turn out well for the US.

News coming from Iran these days runs the gamut from the specter of the terrorist/rogue state poised to acquire nuclear weapons to the hopeful defection and disappearance of one of its top military men, Gen. Ashgari. The media seem to be overwhelmed by this 1938-like moment and not up to the task of reporting a story so multifaceted and so frightening. Perhaps this is because the events assume a fiction-like aura. Missing is one positive aspect of the crisis: Iran is fighting, on numerous fronts, its own revolutionaries.

...Over the past few years, Iranian Kurds in the Northwest have launched more attacks, but in the lawless Southeast province of Baluchistan, the attacks are the most lethal and dramatic. In December 2005, a Baluchi group called Jundallah (God brigade) attacked Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s motorcade, killing one bodyguard. On Feb. 14, 2007, the same group killed 11 elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces and wounded 31 others in a bus bombing using weapons similar to those the Iranian regime is smuggling into Iraq. Two days later, Jundallah forces waged an all-out gun battle with Iranian security forces right in the Baluchi capital city of Zahedan.

...I also asked Roya [an Iranian expat living in California] if she had any information regarding the mysterious defection of Gen. Ashgari. She told me that her sources have told her that there would be many high-level defections coming soon. In fact, the mullahs have been alerted and are conducting Stalinist-like purges of suspected traitors and have just imprisoned another high-level intelligence officer, Mashallah Abas Zadeh.

...Finally, there is the case of Kazemeini Boroorjerdi. He is a mullah also in prison in Tehran. His crime is advocating separation of mosque and state and peace with the West. He and several of his family members are in prison in Tehran. While he awaits his inevitable execution, his own mother has died under torture.

I spoke to Ken Timmerman, author of Countdown to Crisis, The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, and asked him to comment on the revolutionary movements inside Iran. He said: “Groups such as Jundallah exist because there is a broad base of resentment against this regime. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Iranians reject the regime. ... But what we need to be doing is finding a way to get all of these groups to work together rather than supporting separate wars. What’s needed is a coordinated nationwide movement. A violent revolution will only open a Pandora’s box for a future dictator.”

Asked if the U.S. is making strides in that direction, Timmerman said: “No. My greatest regret is that we continue to miss real opportunities to assist the pro-democracy forces [inside Iran]. I can’t emphasize too strongly that the entrenched bureaucracy at the State Department has hijacked the pro-democracy funding put in place by the White House and steered it towards so-called reformers such as the former president, Rafsanjani. We’re funding groups in Iran who only seek to reform the attitudes of the West toward the Islamic Republic.

Notice that there are Shi'ites who believe in 'separation of church and state' as Vatican sources have stated clearly (see earlier post).

The US State Department has a track record (going back to FDR's days, at least) of independence from US interests, or of serving interests directly in conflict with the US' interests--or serving as an employer of subversives.

Other commentators have remarked that Secretary Rice is 'in way over her head' at State; this is merely another straw in the wind.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The New Bishop of the Twin Cities

Bp. Nienstedt has been appointed co-adjutor in the Twin Cities, meaning that in a year (or less) he will succeed Apb. Flynn.

Some interesting notes:

Soon after being named bishop in New Ulm, he condemned some of the theological views of the man who had held the post before him for 25 years, Bishop Raymond Lucker, a noted progressive clergyman who died in 2001. Denouncing his predecessor's views was an "extraordinary step," the National Catholic Reporter noted in an article on the incident.

To say that Bp. Lucker's views were "progressive" is an understatement, and denunciation would be expected from a Catholic. After all, the Bishop's role includes teaching.

As bishop in New Ulm, Nienstedt prohibited cohabitating couples from being married in Catholic churches. He barred female pastoral administrators from leading prayers at a semiannualAdvertisement leadership event. He once disciplined a priest for holding joint ecumenical services with a Lutheran congregation after the Catholic church had been destroyed by a tornado.

Looks to me as though St Joan of Arc/Minneapolis may have an 'awakening' in the future...

HT: The Cafeteria Is Closed

"Relativism" Explained, and Chesterton, Too!

Pope Benedict mentioned "relativism" in his Regensburg address, and was criticized by an author at First Things. Now comes the rebuttal, from Cosmos-Liturgy, who traced it back to Scotus through Ockham, then summarized:

However, if in God, freedom comes before His nature it must also be so with men. If it does, then now freedom becomes not the freedom for excellence but the freedom to choose arbitrarily. In fact, now man is placed in opposition to God. If freedom has nothing to do with perfecting oneself then it has nothing to do with happiness. God’s freedom and man’s are arbitrary. God is free to will however He chooses and so man’s has freedom only where God has not restricted it by His arbitrary will. Thus, now God’s will comes at the expense of man’s freedom. Freedom becomes not a means to happiness but an end in itself. Is it any wonder then that the rabid atheists, such as Nietzsche, thought that they had to “kill” God. They fancied themselves as the rescuers of man’s freedom. Chesterton observed this when he said that modern freedom then is not anything more than fear:

Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.” - What’s Wrong With the World

That's the short course. The rest of the post is worthwhile, too!

Pithy Definitions from McIlheran

Quick, memorable, to-the-point:

The city is not a social director.

In discussion of the City's "obligations" to disaffected, drunk, and wheeled yout'.

Conservatism's Future--the Series

The Wisconsin Interest has gathered essays from a variety of Conservatives who comment on the Condition Which the Conservative Condition is In.

A couple of excerpts, first from Charlie Sykes:

Domestically, the next decade will see initiatives to expand the reach and intrusiveness of the nanny state and perhaps to attempts to tighten regulation and control of new media. All of them will provide opportunities for conservatives to rally opposition on principled free-market grounds.

Liberals will also raise taxes. A lot. A House resolution passed earlier this year would raise taxes by a staggering $400 billion, hitting most middle-class voters. While those increases are likely to be scaled back, they represent an impulse that will be the centerpiece of domestic politics for much of the next decade.

Tax cuts, are and will remain at the heart of any conservative agenda, because they represent the fundamental faith of conservatives in the ability of individuals to spend their own money more rationally than government. Low taxes also are the engine of opportunity and economic growth.

Next from Jim Sensenbrenner:

...Republicans simply forgot about being the Party of fiscal restraint and didn’t remember what brought them to power. Republicans forgot to say government is too big and too intrusive. Many of my fellow Republicans got a little taste of pork and couldn’t help themselves as they participated in the spending frenzy. I watched as earmarks and pork barrel projects were approved, but I did not watch in silence. I was lonesome, and unpopular with the local media when I voted against Hurricane Katrina emergency funding and the Highway Bill—packages laced with fraud and fat. I waved my hands wildly in protest as my fellow Republicans signed off on projects such as the “bridge to nowhere.” Whatever happened to living within our means?

Leadership became part of the problem, not the solution. We were plagued with allegations of leadership corruption as our leaders stopped listening and became much more interested in receiving support for their own power rather than worrying about the money that was flying out of the pockets of taxpayers.

It is important to recall that spending precedes taxation. And that in general, more Government precedes more spending.

In addition, more Government and more spending result in the migration of capital to friendlier climates--see, e.g., the flight of manufacturing to PRChina, and the flight of technology to India.

These are the big things.

The Mortgage Tango: Who's the Second Dancer?

You'll see articles which bemoan the "fraud" perpetrated on Wall Street types by people who took out large "no-documentation" mortgage loans and then failed to pay them off.

There is another view, folks.

OK. Stated income loans "were made possible by relaxed underwriting guidelines." Who made up those relaxed underwriting guidelines? At what point, exactly, did Bear Stearns notice this? Is Bear saying that its own underwriting guidelines were mere exercises in counting rosary beads, or that someone else's were? Does that mean Bear manages risk by delegating the formulation of credit policy for billions and billions of securitized loans to some pissant mortgage broker? Does it tell the SEC that? And what's with this "were" business, anyway? Nobody's doing stated income any longer? That is news.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press: we have, actually, established the culpability of borrowers and brokers on the bottom and foreign central banks and other nefarious sources of liquidity on the top. Could we, maybe, spend a minute looking at the middle of the chain? Unless I am sorely mistaken, the Street has been accepting a lot of fees lately for "underwriting" mortgage-backed securities. Perhaps we could ask them about their own "Hail Mary" problem for a change?

Yes, there are crooks at the bottom. But Bear, Stearns (the initials could be portentious, eh?) should not try to claim that they were babes-in-the-woods.

How Many DOT Employees? Who's Doing the Work?

Waaayyyyy down at the end of an article which tells us that DOT's goal of 30-day service is not being met for issuance of license plates, there's an interesting statistic:

In 2004, the last year before the new system was in place, the DMV issued 12 million "products" - driver's licenses, license plates, vehicle titles or other documents - with 1.38 million hours worked, or 8.7 products an hour. In 2006, the number of products dropped to 11.75 million and the number of hours worked dropped to 1.3 million, for a rate of nine products an hour.

That tells us that the Department used 80K less hours--or, at 2,080 hours/workyear, the Department had 38 less FTE people on its staff. That's worth checking on...

But the REAL irony is that DOT actually had the nerve to make its "goal" even worse than it was before spending a $zillion or so on new systems. Where plate-issuance used to be about 21 days, the department now has a goal of 30 days.

AND the goal is being met in part because other entities (drivers and dealers) are actually doing the work through on-line access methods.

Great. The taxpayers paid too much for a system that delivers later than ever before even though the taxpayers are doing more of the work.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Patients First" Health Care Plan, Part Two

Earlier we mentioned the Wisconsin Republican health-care plan. The synopsis linked on that post, however, did not mention these features:

Health Premium Accounts. "Patients First" would establish in law tax-free "Health Premium Accounts" which could be utilized by employees who work more than one part-time job. These accounts would allow the employee to pool dollars from various employers to purchase health insurance.

A very interesting concept. This would allow employers of part-time people to contribute a proportionate amount towards healthcare, which could then be utilized by the employee to purchase insurance--all tax-free. (One hopes that Rep. Ryan sees this; Federalizing this concept could be very helpful.)

Health Courts. "Patients First" also would create a pilot program for Health Courts which would streamline the medical malpractice system by giving injured patients quicker access to justice while at the same time building a strong body of precedent that will help medical providers focus on delivering high quality medical care instead of practicing costly "defensive medicine" due to constant fears of lawsuits.

Likely to be somewhat controversial, but if "defensive medicine" can be minimized, the cost of care will drop, period. And even if it's only 10%, that's over $1400/year for a family plan.

Let's hope that the Democrats are willing to debate the proposals.

Gregorian Chant Origins Tour

One of this country's leading musicologists will lead a tour to some of the most notable locations for Gregorian Chant aficiandos this summer.

Einsiedeln, Reichenau, St. Gall, St. Johann/Mustair, and Munich will be included.

Music, some meals, three/four-star accomodations, and all transportation (depart/arrive Chicago) will be included in the price.

This blog is specifically 'unfriendly' for email correspondence. However, if you wish further details, please leave an email address in the combox. It will be forwarded to the musicologist as soon as it arrives here.

Bon Voyage!!

Dave Obey: Screw the Public's Right to Know!

Noted via RedState:

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Cheese) blocked the cameras at Monday afternoon's hearings on the supplemental Iraq and Afghanistan military funding. What are Nancy and Dave hiding?

Well, one hint might be found by yesterday's Strangest Alliance of The Century--the Ryan/Feingold line-item veto announcement...

Federalism's Champion: Fred Thompson

Should he actually declare and run, the campaign will be very interesting, indeed.

In fact, it may be the best Civics 101 class ever conducted in a national forum.

Here, Fred dismantles some criticism that he's "friendly" to trial lawyers:

The first case involves the issue of “preemption.” Congress routinely passes laws and resulting regulations which are in conflict with state laws and regulations. These federal laws do not state whether or not they are intended to preempt the state regulations. Clearly, members of Congress don’t want their constituents back home asking why their state authority has been stripped. But Congress can have it both ways. They leave the legislation ambiguous, knowing that the federal courts will more often than not interpret the statute as preempting state law, allowing elected officials in Washington “the federal court did it, I didn’t” excuse. This allows for no debate on the issue in Congress, just a decision by that source of so much conservative affection: the federal judiciary.

[The guy has a sense of humor, too...]

Mr. Ponnuru begins with the assumption that federal preemption of state regulations is inherently a good thing (how Federalist does this sound so far?), because then companies won’t have to keep up with all the state laws. I recognize that changes in transportation and communication have created legitimate federal interests where none previously existed. My votes reflect that. But the idea that the commerce clause allows the Feds to regulate anything effecting commerce, no matter how remote, hopefully, is something we can all agree is not acceptable. But I digress. Actually my alleged offense had nothing to do with that. Rather it was the fact that I introduced a bill that essentially said, “Congress must state whether or not the federal legislation is intended to preempt the state regulation.” Period.

Mr. Ponnuru not only seems to favor federal preemption in general but thinks that Congress should not be required to acknowledge the fact that it is preempting. Ponnuru says that if my proposal had passed, “the practical result would have been a gold mine for trial lawyers…” (although he doesn’t say how).

I disagree. The practical result would have been an open debate as to whether, in any given instance, preemption is a good idea then we would have had a discussion about Federalism. I wonder if Jefferson and Madison thought that we should pick the result we want based upon who we perceive to be the good guys and the bad guys, then get there any way we can?

He also discusses Ponnuru's complaint about his vote on the tobacco legislation and (summarily) stuffs Ponnuru's complaint into the trash can.

I hope he gets in...

HT: American Spectator Blog

Monday, April 23, 2007

Marxist Mythology: The Liturgeist's Manifesto?

It's an interesting thesis.

Discussing the Mythology of Liturgical Reform (propagated from roughly 1955 through the conclusion of John Paul II's reign) TNLM first essays the Myth:

The argument (very slickly made so that it is far from being this overt) is that the early Church consisted of happy, sharing, caring Christians who lived in a kind of utopian togetherness, sharing all things in common and caring for the poor. Yes, echoes of Rousseau. Then Constantine institutionalized everything and hence began the decline, which is aided by a theological error that emphasized Christ's divinity more than his humanity. The decline continued until the abyss of Trent, which ruled with an iron hand until 1969, when the people finally rose up and took back their liturgy, leading to the current happy days.

He then asks the question:

...What is the source of this apodictic certainty that the relationship between the people and the ruling Church elites can be characterized by unrelenting conflict? Why must every bit of history point in this direction and this direction only? What kind of ideology can reduce something as glorious and transforming as the Mass into a simple-minded struggle of this sort?

And answers it:

The answer, I think, is Marxism. Now before you dismiss this idea as fanciful or conspiratorial, consider that Marxism has had more influence on a century of social science and literary criticism than perhaps any other mode of thought. Marxism is far more than a policy program; that is the least of it. Its most important contribution has been to provide a theme by which to understand the broad patterns of the evolution of civilization. Its theory of history and analytics of the underlying structure of the stuff that makes history: this is its true legacy. Marxism represented the popularization of the Hegelian dialectic that gave intellectuals a lens through which to understand the full sweep of world events, and sports-like drama with good guys and bad guys, and this theory has stuck. It animates the subconscious of vast swaths of the intellectual world, long after the Marxian program for political revolution has been discredited.

Interesting--but, in my humble opinion, insufficient.

The real origin was in the Garden. When one speaks of 'class envy,' and the 'victory of the proletariat,' one merely refashions language around the "You shall be like unto God" spoken to Eve, many centuries before Marx elaborated for the benefit of the simple-minded Liturgeists (and other iconoclasts.)

But hey! TNLM had to endure Liturgy Training Programs' filmstrip to cook down their "history" for us. Kudos, and thanks!

Fr Richard McBrien vs. the Catechism of the Church

Apparently Fr. Richard McBrien, notorious columnist has stepped into it again, as reported by The Commonplace Book of Zadok the Roman.

Fr McBrien comments on the recent Vatican document regarding Limbo:

"If there's no limbo and we're not going to revert to St. Augustine's teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we're left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame

That does not follow. Note the fact that this document gives various theological theories which give a motive for prayerful hope:

The document outlined several ways by which unbaptized babies might be united to Christ:

-- A "saving conformity to Christ in his own death" by infants who themselves suffer and die.
-- A solidarity with Christ among infant victims of violence, born and unborn, who like the holy innocents killed by King Herod are endangered by the "fear or selfishness of others."
-- God may simply give the gift of salvation to unbaptized infants, corresponding to his sacramental gift of salvation to the baptized.

McBrien allegedly adds:

"Baptism does not exist to wipe away the "stain" of original sin, but to initiate one into the Church," he said in an e-mailed response

Obviously, the key word in the above is "allegedly."

Again, that is at best misleading, and at worst outright Pelagianism.

Quoting the CCC, Zadok shows us:

1262 The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit.64

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.65 In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

One hopes that Fr. McBrien was mis-quoted.

Green Bay and Pope Benedict

Really--there are a number of interesting connections.

Spent some time in St. Francis Xavier church, which is the Cathedral for the Diocese of Green Bay. They have a museum downstairs which contains a number of interesting curios from the history of the Diocese, all the way back to the late 1800's when it was created.

But to my eye, the most interesting stuff was on the main floor.

The main entrance to the building is still from the street, but another entryway was created from the side, off the parking lot. Inside that entry is a cabinet with a few statues, which we'll get back to shortly.

As you move from the vestibule into the Cathedral proper, you walk over a gravestone set into the floor. The stone memorializes the first Bishop of Green Bay.

He was ordained a priest in Regensburg, Bavaria. Hmmmm....

Until only a few years ago, the choirmaster at the Regensburg cathedral church was Mgr. Georg Ratzinger, who is the older brother of Pope Benedict XVI. Regensburg was also the home of the 'church music reform' movement which began in the mid-1800's and was sidetracked (really, aborted) by the Liturgeist-led perverse implementation of Sacrosanctam Consilium, the Vatican II document encouraging reform of the Liturgy.

But the Regensburg connection is not the only one Green Bay has with the Pope.

Because many of Green Bay's bishops and clergy came from the area surrounding Munich, the Bishop of Munich was invited to participate in the Green Bay Diocese' 100-year anniversary celebrations. He was all set to come over and visit, but a call from Rome changed his plans.

The call came from John Paul II, asking the Bishop, Josef Ratzinger, to come to Rome and take over the Congregation for Doctrine.

So the Cardinal-Archbishop of Munich sent his regrets--and also sent a statue as a gift.

That statue, a strikingly beautiful one, sits in that display case inside the vestibule.

Miscellany: Milwaukee's Bishop Messmer was the Bishop of Green Bay before returning to Milwaukee as the Archbishop!

Missing the Point on Gun Crimes

Folkbum (Bert) disses McIlheran.

Not exactly news...but Folkbum misses the point.

I'm not saying my stats prove anything in the gun control debate.

Well, no--actually they do prove something, and it's the important thing:

Handgun crimes are "up" in Great Britain, which has practically banned handguns.


Bert/Folkie, the friggin' ban DOES NOT WORK!


Here's another way to look at it, from LawDog:

You want to ban guns.

In 1919, the Volstead Act and the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution were passed banning alcohol -- much like you want to ban guns now, they banned booze then.


How'd that work out?

Would you call Prohibition a success?

What makes you think the banning of guns would be any different?

Of course, the Kennedy family found the Volstead Act to be a boon. So did Al Capone, and hundreds of others just like him.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Living Forever: the Statist's Promise

Charlie comments on the "soda tax" and all the other "health taxes" which may well be proposed by the Statist Collective:

A tax to save our teeth? Can a fat tax be far behind? A tax on candy? Sugary cereals? Ding dongs? Twinkies? How about a tax to save our kidneys? Our bones? Our hearts?

Perhaps Charlie (Homer) nodded and forgot the cigarette tax and the liquor and beer taxation, already in place.

Without going far afield, he could have mentioned the trans-fat/saturated fat idiocy, the "save the planet" ethanol inanity, and other Statist-driven devices and methods by which the Collective promises to prevent decay and death.

All of which, of course, contradicts Newton's Laws and the Natural Law.

But the Collective knows all about Newton and Natural law. That's not the point.

They promise eternal life (and health, too!!) as the payoff for a few pennies here, a few more there...

But the Man Behind the Curtain is really saying "Give Me The MONEY!!!"

It's as simple as that. Give us the money, say the Statists, and we'll give you (and your teeth) life, eternal and unspoiled.

The ultimate hubris.

Jeff Immelt: Do Your Job

Jeff, you're the Chairman of GE, and the head of NBC reports to you.

Can him, and the head of MSNBC, as well.

Can them for having offensive instincts.

Ted Perry at Fox6 Doesn't Get It

While Perry's a likeable guy (and responds to emails,) he sometimes shows Lefty tendencies which are simply astounding.

Last night, Channel 6 replayed a very funny bit from a campaign stop of John McCain. McCain was asked about his thoughts on Iran.

The Senator responded by mis-quoting the Beach Boys, chanting "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" (thank God he didn't try to sing...) At that point, the tape was cut off, so other remarks McCain may have made about Iran were not shown to the audience.

Perry went into a cluck-fit, taking on the MSM's favorite position: "Mommy Knows Best", and remarked that 'the campaign is long, and every candidate will say things they will regret.'

What was so "regrettable" about that, Ted? It was HUMOR, Ted, and not nearly as imbecilic as Tommy!!!'s remark about the Jewish religion.

Lighten up, Ted. And by the way, play the whole tape. We're adults; we can handle it.


Some poll results, w/interp by the American Spectator blogger Phil Klein:

Washington Post/ABC News is out with a new poll (story here, full results here). The headline is that it shows Giuliani's lead shrinking, and Clinton maintaining her lead. Another finding that has been noted is that a surprisingly high 54 percent of voters, and a third of Republicans, said they "wouldn't consider voting for" Mitt Romney. (Seperately, his support jumped from 4 percent to 9 percent since the last poll, so he's back to where he was in January). But I'd like to focus on the effect that Fred Thompson's entrance would potentially have on the race, and this poll is particularly useful for that purpose.

Pollsters asked Thompson supporters who they would vote for if Thompson didn't run. The results show that 37 percent would vote for Rudy, 22 percent would vote for McCain, 10 percent would vote for Romney, 7 percent for Gingrich, with the rest of the field fighting for crumbs. This is consistent with other polls showing Thompson eating into Giuliani's margin.

Partly, the Thompson effect can be attributed to the fact that Giuliani has the highest poll numbers, so there's statistically more votes to steal--it's no coincidence that the preference order of the second choices of Thompson supporters tracks closely with the first choices of the general Republican electorate. But there's more to it. When speculating about this, it's helpful to think of attributes Giuliani has which overlap with Thompson's attributes. As I have written before, I think that a certain amount of Giuliani's support comes from conservatives who view him as the most electable, and who want a strong on defense alternative to McCain. Thompson, because of his charisma, acting background, and general likability, is seen as electable, he has taken strong stands on national security, and social conservatives don't have to hold their noses when voting for him.

It is interesting that McCain, whose campaign is flagging, is once again 'getting edgy'--staking out an aggressive pro-2A position following VTech, and singing about Iran. (See above)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Patriot's Day in Pictures

Here's where to go to see the battle scenes as the Brits returned to Boston, taking "Battle Road" through "Bloody Curves," etc.

Good pix, good narrative.

ABC's Hater-in-Chief

Of course, she has an armed bodyguard--probably to keep the Catholics away from her.

This is O’Donnell’s eighth attack on Catholics since September. She has said there is no difference between radical Christians and radical Muslims (9-12-06); she has ridiculed the Eucharist (9-28-06); she has falsely claimed that the pope was in charge of policing miscreant priests since the 1980s and did nothing about them (10-2-06); she repeated the lie about the pope again (10-27-06); she has mocked priestly celibacy (2-7-07); she ridiculed the Eucharist again (2-27-07); she mocked Catholic teaching on the Bible and the Virgin Birth (3-26-07); and now she is complaining about too many Catholics on the high court.

Personally, I wouldn't walk across the street to slap her upside the head; in charity, I suppose that I'd do something to assist her if she were on fire.

Exactly what I'd do--I'll leave to your nasty little imaginations...

Scorecard of Muslims

If it seems rather confusing in the Middle East, it is.

Magister helps a bit.

On Benedict XVI’s calandar for May 4 is an audience with Mohammad Khatami, president of Iran from 1997 to 2005. Khatami is generally classified among the “moderate” proponents of Shiite Islam.

He will take part in in a conference in Rome, which will be held at the Pontifical Gregorian University on the theme: “Intercultural dialogue, a challenge for peace.” The political model to which he adheres is, however, the one established by the religious revolution of Khomeini, who is certainly not a “moderate.”

In Shiite Islam, the revolutionary currents of the Khomeini stamp – in Iran, in Iraq, and in Lebanon with Hezbollah – are mainly opposed by the “quietist” tendency that takes its inspiration from the highest authority over the Iraqi holy places in Najaf and Kerbala, the grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, according to whom political power should be exercised, not by religious leaders, but by democratically elected laypeople.

So Ali Sistani, the Iraqi Shiite ayatollah, is a fellow who favors democracy. But that's not the case in Iran, nor is it the case with ALL of the Shiites in Iraq.

Not to worry. It's more complicated:

In Iraq, the conflict between the two tendencies is not only theoretical, but also political and military. And it culminates in the deepest, most incurable conflict that for centuries has divided the entire Muslim world between Shiites and Sunnis.

Moreover, there is war even in the Sunni camp. Almost all of the latest suicide attacks undertaken by Al Qaeda and by related terrorist groups have struck Muslim countries, and made Muslim victims.

So the Shiites aren't copacetic with the Sunnis, and aren't all that copacetic with all the other Shiites, but there are 2 factions of Sunni, too.


In the Islamic world, the family name (nisba) is generally formed beginning with the place of origin of the tribe or religious group to which the family belongs. In the case of Nashqbandi, the origin is in Nashqbandiya, one of the most important religious confraternities of central Asia, founded by Mohammed Barahuddin Nashqbandi (1318-1389), which has its spiritual center in the city of Bukhara, but is spread all over Asia, all the way to the Caucasus.

Its followers profess a Sufi, and therefore mystical, form of Islam, sometimes referred to as esoteric or parallel, a peaceful and tolerant Islam, in complete antithesis to the Islam professed and imposed by the Taliban. The Taliban has produced a subversive form of Wahhabism, which in my view does not fall within the definition of “Islamic fascism,” but rather embodies a third generation form of totalitarianism.

...The Taliban is the product of the contemporary fracture between an absolutist Islam and an open Islam. They have found in Arab Wahhabism of the Qur’anic school of Deoband, founded in New Delhi at the end of the 1800’s, their ideological point of departure. They then made this the ideology of the Pashtun, over 12 million persons divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Why were the Pashtun, and not another tribe, made the bearers of Wahhabism in that area? Because they are the only tribe in that place that boasts an Arab genealogy: Wazir, one of their ancestors who gives the name to the Pakistani province of Waziristan, was from the Arabian peninsula.

One more thing: the real battle is NOT in Iraq:

The battle taking place in Afghanistan is, therefore, a battle of meaning, and the fate of much of the Muslim world depends on its outcome.

So we don't really like the Pashtun/Waziris.

Republicans' State Healthcare Proposals

All are modest, all make sense:

Removing the state tax on HSA contributions so Wisconsin residents can have greater control of their health care dollars and decisions. Wisconsin is one of only four states that still taxes these contributions

Only DarthDoyle is preventing this. His objections are specious and, frankly, are class-envy politics at their zenith.

Making health insurance premiums tax-deductible has a direct impact on the affordability of health care. When fully implemented, this reform will save Wisconsin families $147 million per year.

One hopes that the plan includes health-premium-CONTRIBUTIONS paid by employees, which is very common these days. Many employees are contributing $100-$400/month toward premiums. In other words, this should not be restricted to self-employed people.

Health Care costs go down when you live a healthier life. Private companies are finding real savings for investing in the health and wellness of their employees; we should encourage these programs with tax breaks.

There are significant industrial-engineering-based health and safety gains which can be found and should be utilized. Unions can assist here without being confrontational, too.

Electronic medical records save hospitals money, and Internet-based price comparisons prevent cost inflation. The “Patients First” agenda provides incentives and assistance for both.

There are some questions as to whether consumers will actually "price-shop" for treatments, but on the whole, availability of the information should be emphasized. Of course, insurers and employers can also help by making the info available.

VTech Wargames

Grim solicited thoughts on 'how to counter' the VTech situation, if you were a licensed concealed-carry student (and allowed to carry on the campus.)

It produced an outstanding group of responses.

Scenario I has prompted two basic theoretical responses, one defensive and one offensive. The defensive response seems rather more popular: that, at minimum, an armed student with proper training and a defensive firearm could secure his own classroom, deny it to an aggressor, and (if an evacuation route were available, as they were at VA Tech) cover the escape of the unarmed.

[In contrast,] ...the offensive response notes that, the sooner the assassin is taken out, the fewer people will die. This mode suggests seeking out and destroying the assassin at once. This position is controversial among respondents

You should read the rest, generally submitted by well-trained and highly qualified individuals.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Psychobabble and VTech; Clay Cramer's Prophesy

So the shooter was diagnosed as "imminent danger to self," but was 'voluntarily' committed, and then released by a pshrink who evidently thought he was "all better now."

Savage calls for the re-creation of mental hospitals.

Clay Cramer, much less bellicose, makes the case in a couple of spots--PRIOR to the shootings. (Scroll through the link, titled "Deinstitutionalization" for some perceptive comments on the mentally ill/homeless crowd. See particularly March 21, March 3, and October 11, which is particularly pertinent.)

Maybe these guys are right and the ACLU was wrong?

Nah. Couldn't be.

More very useful history on "involuntary committment" and the run-up to this non-treatment is available here, from Dr. Kellerman, a USC prof of psychology. (HT: McMahon.)


Accepting the arguments of the liberationists and the libertarians [psychology practitioners] at face value led to the assertion that no matter how bizarre, disabling or life-threatening a person's hallucinations and delusions, involuntary treatment was never called for.

...Diagnosis from afar is the purview of talk-shows hosts and other charlatans, and I will not attempt to detail the psyche of the Virginia Tech slaughterer. But I will hazard that much of what has been reported about his pre-massacre behavior--prolonged periods of asocial mutism and withdrawal, irrational anger and hatred, bizarre writing and speech--is not at odds with the picture of a fulminating, serious mental disease. And his age falls squarely within the most common period when psychosis blossoms.

If there's going to be an adjustment in gun-purchase laws, I don't have a problem with including "voluntary" committment as a bar to purchase for 5 years following release (which is the law for "Involuntary committment" now.)

But the larger point of Cramer and Kellerman should be examined as well.


The Cafeteria's Gerald proposes that this description is apropos the MSM:

The Borg are an amalgam of humanoids of many different species that are enhanced with implanted cybernetics, giving them improved mental and physical abilities. The Borg function as automata; the minds of all Borg drones are connected via implants and networks to a hive mind, the Borg Collective, personified by the Borg Queen and controlled from a central hub, Unimatrix One. The Borg claim to only seek to "improve the quality of life for all species" by integrating organic and synthetic components in their quest for perfection. To this end, they travel the galaxy, increasing their numbers and advancing by "assimilating" other species and their technologies, and subjugating captured individuals by injecting them with nanoprobes and surgically implanting prostheses, quickly changing their biological anatomy and biochemistry to the Borg standard.

Perhaps we'd not agree with the 'improved mental & physical abilities' part...