Tuesday, July 31, 2007

News Control, Belling's Way


Belling is fond of ranting that the MSM often "controls" the news by NOT reporting some things.

So today, he begins his show with 'the three biggest stories' in the news, telling us that they are both "business news" stories.

First he yaps about Midwest Air going bye-bye. (Scroll)

Then he yaps about Aurora purchasing a physicians' group. (Scroll)

Then he mentions that Murdoch will buy the Wall Street Journal.

What's missing?

How about a local firm writing off up to ONE BILLION DOLLARS on the subprime mortgage market?

Well, it can't be a big story if one still peddles the "everything's rosy" line...

Definition: Liberal

Tom Roeser's work:

[W]hat liberalism really is: a love of means without appreciation of ends.

Found in his essay defining Fitzgerald as a Liberal (and writing off Fred!!!)

A Curious Historical Fact

Man With a Black Hat has an interesting and curious fact about the old "People's Mass Book."

Read it here.

What bothers me is that I did not recall this...

The Motu Proprio "Won't Make a Difference Here"--Really?

A number of US Bishops have commented that the Motu Proprio allowing the 1962 Missal (the Old Rite, or Joannine Rite) will 'not make a difference' in the way things are, because 'nobody has brought it up.'

Well, "nobody" except young priests.

Two traditional priestly societies dedicated to the rite report that priests from all over the country are signing up in droves for weeklong classes to learn the rituals and language of the Mass, named after the 16th-century Council of Trent.

Monsignor Michael Schmitz, vicar-general of the Florence, Italy-based Institute of Christ the King, said he has received hundreds of calls from interested clergy.

"This is a nationwide phenomenon," he said. "Many more parish priests and younger priests are interested in learning to celebrate the Latin Mass.

"Whenever the Latin rite is celebrated, you get many young people," he added. "They are looking for something that speaks to the soul, and the beauty of the liturgy is awe-inspiring. The heartfelt presence of God really affects them."

The Elmhurst, Pa.-based Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter trained 50 priests on performing the rite this summer at its Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.

Its September session is already full and its Elmhurst bookstore got a "big upsurge" in demand for priestly training materials within two days of the announcement, said the Rev. Carl Gismondi, a Fraternity priest studying theology at the Dominican House in the District.

Yah, hey. Try to order a Vademecum from the FSSP and you discover that it is out-of-stock. (The Vademecum contains the calendar and order-of-celebration (ordo) for every day of the Church year.)

While I agree with the Bishops that the MP will not cause some massive flight to the Joannine Rite, it ought to be clear from the above that it is certainly not another "dead letter from Rome" in the minds of young priests.

Straws In The Wind!!

HT: LACatholic

Canon 767 and Bp. Sklba

In a column which intends to make a spoonful of "lay administrators" go down one way or the other, Bp. Sklba writes the following:

The importance of preaching in the pastoral shaping of a parish community is a given for anyone who has ever filled that role. This poses challenges, given our present liturgical laws.

The "liturgical law" happens to be Canon 767. Diogenes mentions that little 'challenge':

Notice the little zinger in the last line? The "present liturgical laws" the bishop refers to is, in reality, Canon 767, by which the homily is reserved to a priest or a deacon, which in turn reflects an unbroken Catholic practice with theological roots in Romans 10 ("How shall men believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent?" vv 14f). Clearly Sklba feels the "challenges" posed by the doctrine of Holy Orders can be overcome with a little pastoral creativity.

The Bishop gets to the edge and looks over...

We do not see that "creative" implementations of C.767 are easily found.

Good Questions on Police Procedures

Balko has a few interesting observations on a Florida case.

Singletary, you'll remember, is the elderly man in Florida who, upon seeing drug dealers on his lawn, came out with a gun to scare them off.

Unfortunately, they weren't drug dealers, but undercover cops posing as drug dealers. They shot Singletary dead. Even the police and town officials concede that Singletary was involved in no criminal activity, and was merely attempting to protect his property from what he thought were criminals.

It now looks like the cops who killed Singletary won't face criminal charges. I'm a bit conflicted on this one. But if there are no criminal charges, there should at least be some disciplinary action, at least if that "new professionalism" Justice Scalia was telling us about means anything at all.

The disturbing parts of this case:

The undercover narcotics officers were trespassing on Singletary's private property. And they were doing so to engage in drug activity. I doubt this is legal. And if it is, it shouldn't be. Unless they have a warrant, and are investigating Singletary himself (they weren't).

The state's attorney investigation found the police actions justified because Singletary "was an armed civilian who refused orders to drop his gun." But the same report criticized the police for not announcing themselves as police before they fired on Singletary. If both of these things are true, then the state's attorney is saying Singletary should have obeyed orders to drop his gun from armed men he understandably believed were dangerous, and trespassing on his property. If Florida's
new home defense law means anything at all, one would think it would mean the right to hold your ground when armed men are on your property.

Singletary was shot four times. Once in the back.

The state's attorney chose to believe police accounts of who fired first (they say Singletary) over the account of a witness who says the police fired first, because the witness is a convicted drug dealer. Seems reasonable. Except when you consider that (a) one of the police investigators changed his story about who fired first, (b) attorneys for Singletary's family have found four other witnesses who contradict the police account (why didn't the investigator talk to these people?), and (c) police take the word of convicted drug dealers as gold all the time when it comes to securing warrants for drug raids, or to prosecute other drug dealers.

Just as an aside, why isn't the National Rifle Association all over this case? I've been told they won't get involved in the Cory Maye case because of the minuscule amount of marijuana (a burnt roach) found in Maye's apartment. But Singletary was an innocent man gunned down for defending his home from what he thought were criminal trespassers. Isn't what he did what the NRA is all about?

Balko holds the Libertarian position that the "War on Drugs" is inane and silly. I don't share that view.

But they're interesting questions, anyway.

The Shark Favors Impeachment of GWB!!


The Shark puts the spotlight on Feingold's hypocrisy:

...actually, if the President and Vice President lied their way into a war, an impeachment trial is precisely what is required. Heck, I'd support it. Feingold wants to accuse Bush and Cheney of treason without having to do anything about it. He wants to brand the President of the United States a criminal without being bothered to prove it. By divorcing accusations from consequence, his call for censure is nothing but a political trick.

Shocked!!! Shocked, I say, Rick!

Charlie Likes Lubar's Idea; Right Start, Wrong End

Charlie likes Shel Lubar's thoughts on 'the problem with Milwaukee.' (Note the endorsement of a sister-concept discussed here on Jay's blog, which should be a warning...)

After Lubar makes the obvious point--that education is important and that it ain't happening here--he goes on to ask for another layer of bureaucracy:

"...Something that I do believe is a solution, and I'm bringing this out for the first time . . . a Milwaukee metropolitan fiscal control board. A board that would have as its purpose the final approval of annual budgets of these entities: No. 1, the Milwaukee Public Schools. No. 2, MATC, or if this board didn't govern it, you could at least delegate it to the board of regents. They already make 30% or 35% more than the people at the University of Wisconsin who do have higher degrees.

The Milwaukee sewerage commission. The Wisconsin Center. The Miller Park stadium authority. . . . We've got to revise this whole governance system, and I don't think you'll find an elected person that will disagree."

Shel Lubar's been around for a long time, and is a Democrat Party regular, having been part of the Kennedy/Johnson Administration at FHA. He's a very smart guy (I met him once in the late 1960's/early 1970's and he's smart enough to have stayed away from me ever since...)

But that doesn't make him right on this suggestion.

Lubar begins with the premise that there's a lot of fiscal stupidity being practiced out there by various Gummints in the metro area. Who could disagree?

However, what Lubar SEEMS to be proposing is an un-elected Board which will (effectively) have the power to tax, or at least to control spending. The Board, as he described it, will have authority over multi-municipality and multi-county fiscal issues.

While I am certain that the idea is well-intentioned, it is, nonetheless, a shocking rejection of the principle of subsidiarity which was enshrined in the 9th/10th Amendments to the Constitution.

In brief, the principle states that 'problems should be resolved at the lowest possible level of governance.' In theory and application, 'governance' is not even required--neighbors should resolve barking-dog and lot-line disputes between themselves, if at all possible, and only after that has failed should the dispute be escalated--but then only to the next-highest level, which might be either the local cops or alderman.

You get the idea.

Lubar's 'corporate' background and methods shows here. In many (not all) successful corporate enterprises, there are lots of subsidiary businesses, but all of them get their major spending requests approved by the Big Guy CFO over at HQ. It's a model which works because the Corporate biggies are then all on the same page regarding revenue/spending/ROI, etc.

The problem is that Gummints are not 'corporate entities.' Gummints should be efficient at what they do, similar to corporations--but that's a matter of the honor and integrity of elected officials. Many Gummint operations are simply not "ROI"-measured in the strict sense.

(There's plenty of room for argument and for more precise definitions of the terms but this is a blog, not a dissertation...........)

Lubar proposes to place a group of un-elected people as more-or-less 'watchdogs' over elected people, which is precisely the BEST way to encourage more irresponsibility from the elected officials. ("It's not our call/fault/problem: it's the Board's!!") The State of Wisconsin's Legislature has a penchant for mucking around in local issues (see, e.g., the whole labrynth of "aid to schools" for an example) and has thus fostered the growth and sophistication of the "pass-the-buck" memo to unimagined heights.

Shel and Charlie want MORE of this?

Sorry, Charlie--I can't buy it, despite the goodwill and the temptation to choke the living s&^% out of those elected bozos.....

Eggster agrees, so it's unanimous.

Mind-Numbed-Robot Partisans

Uh, guys, we checked, and it ain't the Pubbies (with one exception...)

In fact, the Democrats take nine of the top ten partisan spots, as well as scoring 8 points higher in partisanship as a party. The lone Republican ties for first, though:

100% - Charlie Norwood (R-GA)100%
- Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 99.7%
- Nita Lowey (D-NY)99.4%
- Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)99.1%
- Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)98.9%
- Xavier Bacerra (D-CA)98.7%
- Diana DeGetter (D-CO)98.6%
- Gary Ackerman (D-NY)98.6%
- Hilda Solis (D-CA)98.6%
- Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)98.6%
- Al Wynn (D-MD)

And it gets even worse:

After Norwood, the next Republican comes in at 94.8%. JoAnn Davis (R-VA) ...comes in at #174 on the list of partisans -- which means that Democrats occupy all of the previous 173 slots, of those among the living, anyway.

Similarly, the Senate:

the Democrats sweep the Top Ten Partisans again:

97.8% - Dick Durbin (D-IL)
97.1% - Ben Cardin (D-MD)
97.1% - Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
97.1% - Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
97.0% - Joe Biden (D-DE)
97.0% - Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
96.7% - Jack Reed (D-RI)
96.7% - Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
96.6% - Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
96.6% - Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

When all you can read without adult assistance is the talking points, whaddya expect?

HT: The Captain

The Reality of Che Guevara

Reality and myth are very different.

He was the chief executioner. He performed for the Cuban revolution what Heinrich Himmler performed for the Nazis. Everything Che Guevara did was directed by Fidel Castro. Early on, when they were in the mountains, Castro realized that Che seemed to relish executing little farm boys. There were executions carried out, carried out in the mountains, of so-called informers. I interviewed many people who witnessed those executions. There was no due process.

Che Guevara wrote a letter to his father in 1957 and to his abandoned wife. In the letter to her, he wrote, "I'm here in Cuba's hills, alive and thirsting for blood." Then, to his father, "I really like killing." The man was a clinical sadist, whereas Fidel Castro you could describe as a psychopath in that the murders did not affect him one way or the other. It was a means to an end - the consolidation of his one-man rule. Che has a famous quote, where he wrote, a revolutionary has to become "a cold killing machine." The thing was, Che Guevara was anything but cold. He was a warm killing machine. He relished the slaughter.

So much for the T-shirt idol...

HT: Betsy

Now, Children!! Into the Corner! Behave!!!

A newbie Milwaukee School Board member puts it in writing:

"Go to hell. . . . Don't fax me (expletive). Bruce, grow up, you stupid idiot. You are truly an arrogant (expletive). You didn't elect me and you are not my slave master."

Maybe a 'time-out' is required?

Massive Force Works

We'll give Nan and Tom some credit:

An anti-crime initiative that put Milwaukee police on patrol in some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods this summer received credit on Monday for a nearly 22% drop in non-fatal shootings as well as a decrease in overall homicides during 2007.

Police noted that between Jan. 6 and July 29 this year, there have been 275 non-fatal shootings, down from 351 during the same period in 2006.

That is key.

Other figures included 110 firearms recovered, 50 of those involving felons possessing firearms.

"Felon-in-possession" can also be prosecuted at the Federal level, due to the hard work of the NRA. It's a Federal crime for a felon to have as little as one bullet in his possession, not to mention the weapon which fires it.

The neighborhood folks understand reality 101:

Residents in the latest targeted area said that although more patrols have put troublemakers on notice, consistency is needed in the program to keep the community safe.

That 'consistency' is also (generally) known as the Broken Windows Method. Now the question: can the MPD execute 'Broken Windows' for less than $2 million in extra spending?

Nuclear Waste Hits Milwaukee

The term "nuclear waste" is used to describe mortgages gone bad. It's now spread to the corner of Kilbourn and Water in Milwaukee.

The nation's subprime mortgage problems slammed into Milwaukee-based mortgage insurance giant MGIC Investment Corp. and its partner, which announced Monday they might have to write off their entire $1.03 billion investment in a company that backs such loans.

"MGIC has not determined the range of an impairment charge, although the upper boundary of the range could be MGIC's entire investment," the company said.

"I am not surprised that companies with subprime exposure, whether it be through an entity like this or a direct investment, are having trouble," said Terence Pavlic, president of Pavlic Investment Advisors Inc., Delafield. "When somebody is writing off up to $500 million, that is usually bad. It means something went wrong and value is being destroyed."

It doesn't take an investment advisor to point out that $500 million is a lotta bucks.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rita Ferrone Rants on The Motu Proprio

Rita Ferrone is a resident of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., where she lives with her husband, Philip Swoboda, a professor of Russian history at Sarah Lawrence College. She is author of "Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons, 2006," and the monograph "On the Rite of Election," and co-author of the "Foundations in Faith" series for RCIA teams. She is currently working on two new books, "Rediscovering Vatican II: The Liturgy" and a pastoral commentary on the Easter Vigil, and is a member of the faculty of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. She is also a professor at Yale Divinity School.

With that out of the way, let's see what Ms. Ferrone has to say.

It was not the intention of Vatican II, or of the popes who implemented it, to create a situation in which two forms of the Roman rite would exist side by side.

Nor was their intention the 100% vernacular Mass, nor the dumping of all sacred music written before 1969, nor the bizarre 'on-the-fly' stuff we see far too often...

The liturgical reform of the council was intended as a true reform, addressing genuine problems of the old liturgy for the good of the church as a whole. Now, with the stroke of a pen, Pope Benedict has made that reform optional.

"Optional?" What's "ordinary" is "optional"? Right on, sistuh!

Individual priests may use the preconciliar rites at will, and groups of the faithful who ask for celebrations according to the preconciliar norms may not be refused them.


...A small but vocal group of Catholics began to call for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy for the church across the board. They are not schismatics, like the Lefebvrites, but they are interested in the restoration of Tridentine liturgical forms and the marginalization of the reformed liturgy. They found a champion and supporter in the future Benedict XVI.

In fairness, only a "small but vocal" group was calling for vernacular, folk-music, and several hundred options/mutations/permutations of the Rite AFTER the Council. That "small but vocal" group was the Bugnini Consilium. Surprised Ms. Ferrone didn't mention that...

The most visible proponent of this agenda was Msgr. Klaus Gamber of the liturgical institute in Regensburg, Germany. He became known outside scholarly circles when he published a popular book in 1984, which appeared in English in 1993 under the title The Reform of the Roman Liturgy. Gamber did not reject the council. He regarded the liturgical movement leading up to the council as a generally positive phenomenon

Of course, there IS a "rest of the story" here, too. Regensburg just happens to be the location of the Liturgical Reform's home--the Reform movement which began in the late 1800's. So it's not as though Mgr Gamber was dropped into the controversy from Mars or someplace...

Gamber also expressed a definite view about the current Mass. He wanted it not to be considered the Roman rite, but merely retained as a rite ad experimentum until it dies out. Ratzinger found these extreme views congenial, and oddly enough, deemed them moderate

Really? I have read all of Cdl. R's writings on the topic of liturgy, and never have come across a statement that 'Mgr Gamber's motion to let the New Rite die out is moderate.' Never.

Another partisan of the “reform of the reform,” Alcuin Reid, OSB, of Farnborough, England, published The Organic Development of the Liturgy in 2004. In giving a positive review to Reid’s book, Ratzinger voiced some of his own views on liturgical reform. He opined that scholars and experts were heeded too much after the council,...

Look at the Consilium's roster of members. The Cardinal was correct.

Indeed, the traditionalists Benedict wants to conciliate do not simply reject the Mass of Paul VI-they reject the conciliar theology it embodies. The Society of St. Pius X published a defense of their position in 2001, ...

The invocation of SSPX is a red herring and a red-flag-before-the-bull device. Beyond that, Ms. Ferrone implies that there is some sort of "new" theology proposed by the Council's document. Of course, if one READS the Document on the Liturgy (SC), this "new" theo is not evident. Hmmmmmm.

All the rest of her flapjaw outlining the position of SSPX is irrelevant to the real discussion. She may as well be quoting the Dalai Lama.

...other core values of the council are called into question by the pope’s move to reestablish the Tridentine rites. The council emphasized the role of Scripture in the life of the church, and this value was richly reflected in the liturgical reform.

This is a valid point, to some extent. Ms Ferrone does not mention that the "translation" provided by ICEL is alternatively inaccurate, banal, childish, or exculpatory of non-PC thoughts. And that's just the easy part. She also fails to mention that the OT/NT/NT 3-year cycle used in the New Rite was not reconciled with the Propers of the Mass, nor is it necessarily "internally consistent"--that is, that the NT readings do not, consistently, reflect the OT readings. It would be very encouraging if Ms. Ferrone had endorsed a better translation, or a much-better-studied implementation of the new readings cycle.

Benedict XVI’s motu proprio implies that none of this, [expanded cycle of readings] in the end, is essential or even very important.

A ludicrous assertion, unless she actually knows the entire plan of the Pope. Which I doubt.

Before the council, women were forbidden to serve in liturgical ministries. They were kept outside the sanctuary-a very old taboo perceived by many today as sexist and out of keeping with our sense of the dignity of the baptized. This prohibition was ended after Vatican II. The third directive on the right implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Liturgicae instaurationes, 1970), admitted women to various liturgical ministries which are exercised in the sanctuary-such as that of reader or musician

Not precisely true. Pius XII's legislation on the composition of church choirs (1955) paved the way for "ministries" which were not "ordained"--occupied by lay men OR women. But more to the point, Ms Ferrone attempts to conjure up the Spirits of Feminist Equality here. Like some other conjured spirits, they are out of place in a serious discussion of ecclesiology...

There was no catechumenate in the Tridentine church, despite a crying need around the world for this liturgical structure of evangelization and formation. How can we deprive adult converts of the catechumenate-which canon law now requires them to have?

So the book "Father Brown Instructs Jackson" was, what? Wallpaper? The Catechumenate was also called "adult instruction," Ms. Ferrone. Buy a clue.

The reformed liturgy embodies the values of the council in innumerable ways.

Actually, it embodies the values of a bunch of pointy-headed "experts," as the Pope remarked. And there's no need to enshrine such "values" should they differ markedly from SC (e.g., paras. 36 and 54, for openers...)

...it is difficult to believe that with Summorum pontificum a definitive compromise has been reached and the matter will end there. A more plausible understanding of the present moment is that it marks another step toward a goal that the vast majority of Catholics would not countenance if it were openly acknowledged-namely, the gradual dismantling of the liturgical reform in its entirety.

She's right--until the italicized portion begins. Ms. Ferrone thinks (with absolutely zero proof) that "the vast majority" of Catholics will agree with her. I doubt it, although it's possible that the "vast majority" of NAPM Directors, Catechetical Establishment rent-seekers/hangers-on, and members of the Yale Divinity School faculty do agree with her. So what?

I believe that the Second Vatican Council and its reforms were the work of the Spirit. Yet these reforms were also the work of human hands, and in this respect they are vulnerable. We do ourselves no favors by pretending otherwise.

Right on all counts, Ms. Ferrone. And the "work of human hands" occasionally needs correctives. CF: Summorum Pontificum.

(More, (and better-informed) commentary here from Fr. Z.)

A Look at the Inner City Forum on Crime (Etc.)

Not only a good look at the speakers, but an imaginative one--

James T.'s New Digs and Restaurant Reviews.

I hope he keeps this up because he is informed and informative.

Kevin Takes on the Priest

The Franklin Guy, aka Kevin Fisher, doesn't always like what he hears from the pulpit.

...the visiting priest during his homily suddenly launched into a loud dissertation about child abusers and the general attitude most people have towards them. He gestured with his hands and asked everyone in the pews if they wouldn’t like to warp their hands around the throat of a child abuser. The priest used similar rhetoric about identity thieves and illegal immigrants.

The rhetoric is inflammatory. This priest is either ignorant or deliberately provocative. I'd prefer that the former be the case; but then, we have to ask "who let him out without a complete education?" If it is the latter, he needs remedial work with someone who actually knows something about the world.

Because of this deliberately provocative and ignorant beginning, he manages to achieve exactly the wrong result:

I was not impressed or convinced.

[I find] it extremely difficult, if not damn near impossible to forgive vicious criminals or illegal immigrants, many of whom are vicious criminals, am I rejecting my faith, neglecting to follow its teachings?

Umnhnhhh... all that stuff about 'seventy times seven', Kevin...

Were the priest to have begun with that particular verse (70x7) and worked his way through, sympathetically speaking to those of us who 'find it extremely difficult' to forgive, one suspects that the result may have been different. It is our obligation to forgive, difficult as it may be.

But "forgiving" the trespass does not mean "forgetting" the punishment due the trespasser; nor does it imply that "forgivers" are idiots who will leave their children unattended around a convicted molester.

And just to show you how that works, I forgive the priest who made those asinine remarks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Glory and Praise" In Perspective

Anthony Esolen, with bit HT to The Jester.

I've recently been strapping on the swamp boots to wade through something called Glory and Praise, perhaps the most commonly used Roman Catholic hymnal in the United States and Canada. Oh, it is sloppy and noisome work, logging the bathos, stupidity, banality, heresy, and textual vandalism. I've concluded, though, that there is one factor that touches every problem, something that helps explain these apparently disparate acts of mischief:

-- the neutering of old masculine language about mankind and even God

-- the heedless fouling up of the old poetry, to update a "thou" and a "thee"

-- the seizing of every chance to talk about dancing (not to be found in the New Testament, I suspect, unless it's Salome) and about the motherhood of God"

-- in general, the louche emphasis upon feelings, not repentance, but soft and syrupy feelings

-- the blithe arrogation of God's words to ourselves, speaking in the first person

-- the arrogation of God's grace and majesty to ourselves: "We are the Bread, we are the Body"-- the celebration of our own wonderfulness, and the decrying of sin-- that is, other people's sins

-- the abandonment of traditional liturgical forms, traditional poetry and song -- all relegated to the status of the "old fashioned," for trotting out, like Grandmama's silver, at certain feasts, and that's it

-- the passing along of counterfeit "folk" music, actually performance music, like "Do You Remember the Kind of September," only not nearly as good

-- the mincing baby-talk in the verses, along with a bogus primitivism, a la the Indians in Hollywood: "You are child of the universe."

It's narcissism, all of it. It's the pretty boy at the side of the pool, gazing upon his image in the water, ignoring his parents, the woman in love with him, the reality of the world around him. He wants to remain a pretty boy forever -- he wants a disembodied "union" with no ties to the past, no duties to his fellows, and no law to obey. It's music that encourages a choir full of American Idols, shimmying and shaking and calling attention to themselves, while envying one another (I'll bet some of our bloggers have stories about infighting among the twenty self-appointed soloists of a "Christian" choir).

What's missing from the hymnal? Oh, music, poetry -- and one thing above all: the Cross. The Cross sure does seem a fine cure for narcissism. In all our arguments about ordination and (in the Catholic church) lay "ministry," nobody ever says, "I want the right to be ordained a priest because I demand to be crucified!" Or, "I want to serve as a lector because I want to be crucified!" Hardly -- these things and many more are considered clerical plums that everybody ought to be able to pop in the mouth, if they choose. We are Church, don't you know, not to mention Bread and Body and God Almighty. If there is a single new "hymn" that is written in the shadow of the Cross, encouraging the taking up of what will leave your back stooped and your shoulders cut with splinters, I haven't seen it. Meanwhile, a part of my own crucifixion seems to be the necessity of listening to it all, and watching the performers. Silence would be infinitely better.

That sums it up well.

More of Marty Haugen's Legacy

We're told that these are the lyrics to 'Gather Us In'--audible only when the MP3 is played backwards:

On planet Venus, new hope is waiting
We'll go to space whose cadets we areS
ee here our spaceship, oh how elating!
Brought here to take us, we say au revoir.

Gather us in we are a bit cuckoo
Gather us in 'ere retirement's here
Call to us loud for we might not hear you
We shall take off let's kick it in gear.

We are the left our views are a mystery
We are the ones who are so out of place
We have been pests throughout all of history
Called to be plight to the whole human race

Gather us in we're rich lib'ral loonies
Gather us in the loud and the wrong
Give us some merlot we're not in the boonies
Give us the courage to wear just a thong

Gerald has the complete version here.

Something to Chew On

A "thought for the day" from a West Coast priest:

Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.
It's discomfiting to read something like that.

Thanks, Dave Umhoefer

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Dave Umhoefer has written a story.

It's Real Newspaper stuff: complicated, full of research into archives, interviews with people who are hard to find, and it's a Really Big Story about high-profile public figures who were "nice guys" to their friends and co-workers.

Actual newspaper reporting. Good stuff, Dave!

"It Was In the Best Interests of the People"

That's how Supervisor Michael Mayo justified his vote prolonging a pension-buyback scheme at Milwaukee County. He wasn't alone--attorney Bob Ott was right in there with him, along with other members of the Pension Board.

Regardless, "the people" in this case included Michael Mayo. For a $6800. purchase he gains $9200./year, for life, in his pension from the County.

SOME "people" are more equal than OTHER "people."

And some animal farms prove the acronym P.I.G.:


Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Story to Read to Your Children, in 3 Parts: Groundbreaking Blog Literature

This is worth the 15 minutes it will take to read it, and it is most certainly worth the time if you have children approaching their mid- to late-teens and who drive.

But it ain't pretty; or better-put, it is the reality, not the Hollywood.

Here's Part Two--from the Ambo driver.

And Part Three--from a lady who could get along just fine with Phel, the Birthday Gal... but whose narrative is necessarily dispassionate, for the worst reason.

(By the way, there's plenty of info about the Cost of Health Care in these three posts...)

Finally, this collection of stories is groundbreaking, to my knowledge. Here we have three separate bloggers relating a single event, but contributing only a narration of their own "part" in the event.

HT: LawDog

When "Amnesty" Is Bad Public Policy

The Department of Justice's anti-trust bunch has interesting rules.

The setup to the below graf is this: the DOJ anti-trust folks lost a case against Stora Enso. Stora Enso was prosecuted due to an admission of price-fixing by a competitor, who received a "corporate leniency policy" amnesty.

But the problem in other criminal antitrust prosecutions is that there is never a light of day. The Corporate Leniency Policy serves one overriding purpose: To keep Antitrust Division investigations secret and avoid any meaningful judicial or public scrutiny. Amnesty agreements are state secrets. The DOJ won’t officially identify any firm that receives amnesty, even in cases dating back more than 15 years. Since the DOJ classifies amnesties as exercises of “prosecutorial discretion,” they are not submitted to any court or disclosed to the public. The courts accept this lack of transparency. Just this past March, a district judge in Washington upheld the DOJ’s refusal to disclose its amnesty agreements under the Freedom of Information Act.

THIS is the kind of stuff that civil-libertarians folks would go crazy over, were it not concerning EEEEEEEEEVVVVIL corporations and (largely) hidden behind curtains inside vaults.

Thank God that Overlawyered pays attention.

Obama Buys the Guns Mythology

One expects this sort of silliness from a speech delivered in Chicago (a no-concealed-carry zone, if you bother with laws...) and from a Dimowit.

"We need to express our collective anger through collective action," Obama said.

He said the government needs to permanently reinstate an assault weapons ban and close regulatory loopholes that protect unscrupulous gun dealers.

But the folly of "assault weapons" nomenclature is mindbendingly absurd.

Frankly, I know of NO weapon which is not an "assault" weapon, and that includes kitchen knives, pepperspray, and table-forks--like the ones banned from airlines by the TSA.

HT: JunkYard

They Have Time and Money for This

It was really a meeting of friends, for the most part.

A group of 29 organizations came together today to call for a state budget they said would represent Wisconsin's values, in particular those regarding health care, education and human services.

The group packed the Senate parlor to call for a "state budget that is firmly rooted in the values that have made Wisconsin great" Among those values, the group pointed to good schools, services for vulnerable populations, quality health care and child care, and affordable higher education.

So Wisconsin must be Nirvana, already, eh?

Some groups that are part of the coalition include the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families, AARP Wisconsin, [CubaCare proponents] Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, [Merchants of Death to the Unborn] the American Federation of Teachers, [Rent-Seekers] the Wisconsin Coalition against Domestic Violence, Wisconsin Education Association Council [Even MORE Rent-Seekers] and the Wisconsin Counties Association, [proudly using your tax dollars to suck even MORE of your tax dollars away from you and your children.]

The 'coalition' forgot to mention a DarthDoyle value which is far more significant:

Taking the State into Bankruptcy By Bonding, Borrowing, and Bunko-Budgeting.

The Prince of Darkness on Presidents, and Other Things

Bob Novak's book looks more and more like it's a necessity rather than a luxury.

While these thoughts are abbreviations, delivered at a 'newsmaker breakfast,' they are also covered in his book--in much greater detail.

On presidents he has covered, he was mostly scathing, except for Reagan. Nixon "was a bad man and a poor president." Carter "was a liar." Ford "never understood the Cold War." Clinton "posed as a centrist...but he was a reflexibe liberal. A big-government liberal." Ike was "stodgy and fuddy-duddy." Three recessions in his eight years occurred largely because Ike refused to cut taxes.

Pithy. All true.

Another couple of neat lines:

"The founding fathers tried to devise a government that didn't work very well, and they damn well succeeded. [Which is a good thing because] governmental power is still the thing I worry about most."

"I think the American people are better than their leaders."

HT: AmSpecBlog

Pedro Colon: Is He Deaf, or Are Taxpayers Dumb?

Seems like Pedro (D-Milwaukee) is a bit condescending--AND he still doesn't get it.

Confronted with one suburb's talk of leaving the Milwaukee Area Technical College district, the school's board on Friday seemed of two minds. One said reach out to and demonstrate MATC's value to the region. The other characterized the renegade moves as mere politics.

...MATC board member Pedro Colón chafed a little at the idea of justifying or defending the school. He said that while it's important to have those discussions, the Germantown move is less about education than it is about politics.

"This is really a political debate about people that don't want to pay taxes," Colón said. "We provide a value. I don't want to justify a bunch of political whims."

Germantown's proposal runs contrary to efforts throughout the area to encourage regional economic development, like the Milwaukee 7, Colón said.

"Don't want to pay taxes," Pedro?

Kettle Moraine Tech (the one Germantown wants to join with) collects taxes. And the Germantown residents WILL PAY those taxes.

But they will not pay the PedroTax--the bloated payroll-and-bennies scheme you approved for the MATC faculty and staff.

In other action, the college board unanimously approved a contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 587 unit representing 425 support staff at the college.

The agreement gives pay raises across the board and adds sick leave for part-time workers.

(The faculty agreement is still in negotiation.)

See, Pedro, the taxpayers are not dumb. You, Pedro, are deaf.

Dems Dump Kind/Ryan Farm Amendment

The Kind (D)/Ryan (R) Farm Bill Amendment was dumped by the Dimmies in the House before passage of the new Farm Bill.

...It came after Democrats quashed a rebellion from one of their own, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., who teamed with conservative GOP budget hawks and urban and suburban Democrats on an amendment to wean farmers from government payments. It would have imposed stricter income limits on farmers, barring subsidies to those making an average of $250,000 or more annually, and would have steered more money to conservation, nutrition, specialty crop and rural development programs. The amendment lost on a lopsided vote...


Friday, July 27, 2007

Interview With Mgr. G. Gaenswein

Wayyyy too long to re-post in its entirety, but fascinating from beginning to end.

One tidbit:

I'd always studied gladly and easily, but studying Canon Law I felt to be as dry as work in a quarry where there's no beer - you die of dryness. I was saved by my professor, Winfried Ayman who later made me his assistant.

HT: Gerald Augustus.

ACORN, King of Vote Fraud

Yah, they visited Milwaukee, too. And in another case where an extremely close election may have been decided through....fraud...the indictments are rolling in.

Guess which left-wing group is at the center of the worst case of voter-registration fraud in Washington state history? Yep, you guessed it: ACORN.

The same ACORN tied to massive voter fraud in Missouri. And Ohio. And 12 other states.

Here’s the Washington state scoop via Seattle’s KOMO TV:

“King County prosecutors filed felony charges Thursday against seven people in what a top official described as the worst case of voter-registration fraud in state history, while the organization they worked for agreed to keep a better eye on its employees and pay $25,000 to defray costs of the investigation. The seven submitted about 1,800 registration cards last fall on behalf of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which had hired them at $8 an hour to sign people up to vote, according to charging documents filed in Superior Court.”

The usual stuff. Read it all at the link.

HT: Malkin

WSJ Opinion on Immigration Is Not Helpful

HT to the Junkyard, who subscribes to the WSJ and excerpts a few choice grafs from an essay by George Melloan.

Hotels and restaurants in places like Chicago, Miami and just about every other city would have to shut down without waiters, maids and others with dubious credentials. The well-manicured lawns in my home town would soon become weed gardens in the absence of the Mexicans who man landscape services. Americans genuinely worry about maintaining the rule of law, but the biggest threat to that is the disrespect for law created when legislative grandstanders pass draconian measures that the authorities are incapable of enforcing.

Then he goes on to say what he really thinks:

Washington efforts to reform Simpson-Mazzoli are plagued by the death struggle the two parties are conducting over control of the government. Republicans, who perhaps have noticed that they are losing that struggle, are frozen in the headlights of the anti-immigrant campaigns being conducted by nativists and vigilantes in their home states. Hate and emotion do not produce good laws.

Once again, the WSJ's condescension gags maggots. Simply not helpful, George. Sorry.

In other venues, I have made it clear that the current legal immigration number (12K/month) from Mexico is simply ridiculous. The number must be increased, for a lot of good reasons.

And I agree with Junkyard that there are additional options--temporary workers who are NOT 'immigrants-with-intent-to-be-citizens' is one.

I agree with the WSJ people that we're going to need to increase our legal immigration to meet our labor demands. And I know that much of that labor is going to come up from Mexico. I think that's just peachy keen. I also realize that some of these temporary workers and manual laborers are going to want to become American citizens. Great. Can't say I blame them. As many as we have room for, and can accommodate without breaking our social systems, welcome aboard.

It's my suspicion that even the Vast Liberal Conspiracy would agree with Junkyard's next graf:

But you'll excuse me if I want to take a look at their resume and make sure they're not a terrorist, child molester, gang enforcer, or drug runner. And you'll excuse me if I want to build a wall to make sure the only people coming in are people whose names and fingerprints we have on file. Can't be too careful these days; I hear there's a war on.

What's so hard to understand?

Or is someone's "well-manicured lawn" more important than the safety and security of our children, Mr. Melloan?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Abp. Weakland Quotes Cdl. Ratzinger on the Liturgy

With gratitude to Abp. Weakland for providing this quote from (at-that-time Cdl. Ratzinger) we copy/paste it:

"...if by 'restoration' we understand the search for a new balance after the exaggerations of an indiscriminate opening to the world, after the overly positive interpretations of an agnostic and atheistic world, well, then a restoration understood in this sense (a newly found balance of orientations and values within the Catholic totality) is altogether desirable and, for that matter, is already in operation in the Church. In this sense it can be said that the first phase after Vatican II has come to a close."

Our former Archbishop found that in an interview of the Cardinal by Messori and used it in an essay published in 2001.

Later in the same essay, Abp Weakland states:

Among the restorationists there is an attempt to downplay the priesthood of the faithful and to emphasize the role of the priest as acting in the person of Christ the head.

We alluded to Haugen's demi-Catholic ecclesiology and non-Catholic sacramental understanding (indirectly and not-too-clearly, I fear) yesterday. Shouldn't be a surprise that Abp Weakland indirectly defends Haugen's position.


Other concerns raised by restorationists include the observation that the eschatological dimension of the liturgy is not given its proper place in contemporary liturgical catechesis. This cultural phenomenon is indeed evident in contemporary liturgy where the emphasis is often placed only on the worshiping community in the here and now and not its connection to the heavenly liturgy that it mirrors. Here it is not so much a question of reform as it is of catechesis.

No--actually, it is praxis which counts, not catechesis. As the good Archbishop knows, 'catechesis' is rare in comparison to participation at Mass. (This notion is also present in the Haugen interview.)

It is a credit to Abp. Weakland, no stranger to 'making things happen,' that he prognosticates well:

They may not want to create a visible and abrupt rupture from the changes put into motion by the council and Pope Paul VI. My guess would be that they would foster an enlargement of the Tridentine usage...

He missed by a bit--it was not Divini Cultus who pulled the trigger on 'the enlargement of the Tridentine usage.' It was The Decider.

HT: The Cafeteria is Closed.

On Fads v. Catholicism

GKC, of course:

CHRISTIANITY is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities.

When Italy is mad on art the Church seems too Puritanical. When England is mad on Puritanism the Church seems too artistic.

When you quarrel with us now you class us with kingship and despotism; but when you quarrelled with us first it was because we would not accept the divine despotism of Henry VIII.

The Church always seems to be behind the times, when it is really beyond the times; it is waiting till the last fad shall have seen its last summer. It keeps the key of a permanent virtue.

Of course, GKC had never met a Liturgeist (nor Marty Haugen...)

Red's Trading Post: Chapter 54 of the Saga

In brutally brief: Red's Trading post is a licensed gun dealer. In the last couple of years sometime, a BATFE audit found a few highly technical problems in their gun-sales paperwork--stuff that both you and I and any other normal person would simply ignore.

Not BATFE. They decided to try to pull Red's firearms license.

The saga with Red's began when the ATF inspection in 2000 discovered various paperwork violations, Horsley said, just shortly after he arrived to take over the store, mistakes such as a customer failing to write down the county in which he lived.

In 2001, "they couldn't find any violations," he told WND. A few other minor problems were found later, including a failure to put up a poster.

"I wasn't alarmed because this agent … had told us we were one of the best small gun shops he'd ever seen," Horsley told WND.

Then early in 2006, "We get a letter that 'We're [ATF] revoking your license,'" Horsley said. "I just came unglued. I couldn't believe it."

Within the last month, BATFE returned to inspect MORE records, and an old guy started taking pictures of the inspection process, and of the (taxpayer-funded) rental cars they used. In addition, the proprietor of Red's blogged about their presence and their inspection.

And the poooooooor widdle BATFE supervisor went off crying to Mom about it.

The inspectors, however, suddenly left, and within days, the federal agency's version arrived in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

"[The federal agency] notifies the court than an inspection of Red's Trading Post … was initiated on July 17, 2007. The inspection was suspended due to the threat to the inspectors' safety created by Ryan Horsley, the Manager of Red's," the court filing said.

The filing documented how some unidentified person had taken pictures of the inspectors at work.

"At about this time, Supervisor Young's assistant from the Spokane office contacted her and advised that Mr. Horsley had updated his internet blog (http://redstradingpost.blogspot.com/) to include the information that ATF, and Supervisor Young personally, was at the store conducting an inspection," the filing said. So Young contacted others.

"The Director of Industry Operations, Richard Van Loan, agreed with Supervisor Young's assessment that the photographing of the rental car used by ATF personnel, coupled with the instantaneous posting on the internet of ATF's presence … posed a credible threat to their safety and was designed to harass and intimidate," the court filing said.

The court filing noted two other times when the inspectors had been photographed, including once by a news team.

It appears as though BATFE Supervisor Linda Young has a problem dealing with Horsley. Too bad that she is also acting like a typical 5-year-old child.

HT: Of Arms and the Law

One-Liner of the Month

Gotta hand it to the Captain:

Pork. We're what's for dinner.

LBO's Becoming An Endangered Species

In business news...

Citigroup is one of the banks that will ... be left holding the bag after investors took a pass on the sale of $10 billion of loans at Chrysler’s auto unit for the company’s leveraged buyout. ... It isn’t good news for either the banks or the buyout firms. There will come a point, if we aren’t there already, when banks refuse to make new loan commitments....

Chatter among investment bankers lately has focused on Citigroup, which is said to be clamping down especially hard on making new loans. ... Citi has the misfortune of having been involved in a lot of the buyout loans that have soured lately, including Allison Transmission, U.S. Foodservice, Dollar General and ServiceMaster. It also has a role in three of the coming megadeals that still need to be financed: First Data, TXU and Clear Channel Communications.

This has serious implications for LBOs and for the KKR's of the world who gin up these deals, and may end in some serious re-pricing of buyouts.

Which is to say that 'asset-deflation' may be underway in this marketplace, just like in housing.

Ruuuudeee!! Makes a Point

Via the AmSpec blog, from The Corner, dissing Tricky Dick and his moronic minions:

As I was about to leave his office, Mayor Giuliani said there was something he wanted me to see. He stood, walked to his desk, riffled among some papers for a moment, then found what he wanted and picked it up. He showed me a bound report. “This is hilarious,” Giuliani said. “You’ll love it.”

The federal government, he explained, had just conducted a study of Yankee Stadium, checking it for accessibility to the disabled. The inspectors had found some three thousand instances in which Yankee Stadium failed to meet federal standards.

The path of travel out of the Yankee dugout was accessible only by steps, not a ramp, making it impossible to get a wheelchair onto the field. The dressing bench in the Yankee locker room was forty-five inches long by sixteen inches deep instead of the required forty-eight inches long by twenty-four inches deep. The toilets in the locker room had a seat height of sixteen inches, one inch below the required seventeen inches. The spout of the drinking fountain in the weight room was forty-two inches off the floor instead of the required thirty-six inches.

"The urinals are too high,” Giuliani continued, laughing. “The toilet paper dispenser is incorrectly mounted on the back wall of the toilet. Do you believe anybody does this? I mean, people get paid to do this.”

After I ran a "cost of regulations" post, a commenter stated that he did not believe the 'cost of regulation' was as high as the post stated.

Hope he reads this post, too. He'll have a chance to apologize.

Games Prosecutors Play

The Ramos/Compean case gets even more strange.

Now, according to an amicus filing, the US Attorney may have used a "sentencing guideline" to manufacture a criminal offense.

[According to] a copy of an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") legal brief filed by Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Virgil Goode (R-Va.), and Ted Poe (R-Texas) in the former agents' appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans. They accuse the prosecution of "creating a purported criminal offense never enacted into law by Congress," and of charging Ramos and Compean with a "non-existent crime."

Simply discharging a firearm near a violent crime is not illegal, the brief argued, saying the law they were convicted under is not a law at all, but a sentencing factor used to help a jury determine jail time after a conviction.

As you might expect, the relevant statute's wording is sloppy (Congress wrote it...that's a hint.)

The brief argued that, for a 10-year sentence, a defendant must be convicted under the specific terms laid out in section 924(c)(1)(a) (see section).

This provision is applicable, the section says, to "any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime ... uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm ..."

If, and only if, these conditions apply can a defendant be sentenced to ten years in prison for the "discharge" of a firearm.The brief argued that the shooting of drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila was not "in relation to" the drug crime because Ramos and Compean were themselves not participants in the drug crime.

Now you and I might think that the 'use/carry of a firearm during/in re a crime of violence or drug trafficking' applies ONLY to the perpetrators of the crime.

Not according to the Prosecutor, if this amicus is credible. The way this deal came down, anybody using a weapon in those circumstances is "a criminal" and subject to a 10-year sentence.

There's a screw loose here, someplace.

THE Leak in the Faucet: Water & Sewer Utilities

Ahhhh...the Gummints.

Americans lose 30% of their tap water to leaky and inefficient municipal systems before it even gets piped into homes, said Meeusen, citing federal government statistics. Another 30% is lost after waste water is piped out of the home and back to the treatment plants.

That statement was made by the CEO of Badger Meter.

IRS Loses Before Jury; Levy Lacks Foundation

Apparently this fellow has a compelling case, at least for a Louisiana Federal jury.

The Internal Revenue Service has lost a lawyer's challenge in front of a jury to prove a constitutional foundation for the nation's income tax, and the victorious attorney now is setting his sights higher.

Although the legal citations in the case tend to run the length of paragraphs, Newsbusters explained the substance of his arguments against the federal income tax this way:

Quite simply, he proved that the definition of Income as defined by the Supreme Court is NOT income from our labor, but rather things like interest and profit. You CANNOT tax a person's labor because it is a God-given right that we may work to support ourselves.

If I charge you $500 to fix your toilet, what part of that is profit or capital gain? The answer: You cannot decipher. Therefore, you cannot tax something that is considered an equal exchange on labor. You fix my toilet, I give you $500. It is quite simple.

"There are three points that are important," he told WND. "There's no law making the average working man liable [for income taxes], there's no law or regulation that allows the IRS to contend that earnings are 100 percent profit received in exchange for nothing, and the right to earn a living through any lawful occupation is a constitutionally protected fundamental right, and it is exempt from taxation."

I'd bet that IRS appeals, but I suspect there will be no takers.

Clarification on Kennedy Annulment

Ed Peters is a Canon lawyer now teaching at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit; before this, he was a canonist for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

He also has a blog, and has clarified the information regarding the Rauch/Kennedy annulment. In fact, Rome did not "reverse" the annulment as we originally posted.

Sheila Rauch Kennedy, in her oddly organized book, Shattered Faith, at p. 215, quotes her letter to the Tribunal of Boston: ". . . in accordance with canon law, I am appealing your affirmative decision to the [Roman] Rota as the Court of Second Instance . . ." My emphasis.

Thus we must conclude that, because he had only one of the two necessary affirmative decisions (as explained below), Joseph Kennedy never received an annulment from the Catholic Church; the Roman Rota did not overturn an American annulment in this case for the simple reason that there was no annulment to overturn.

While the effect was the same (neither Kennedy nor Rauch can marry again in the Church), the predicate for that statement is different.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pharmaceuticals for Liturgeists

As you've noticed, we've mentioned that "the '60's are over."

Tiresome to keep repeating it.

Fortunately, there IS a pharmacological solution, which Jeff Miller offers!

Get an extra bottle for that Certain Special Someone who's still housed in Milwaukee, but could return to a Benedictine Monastery offshore someplace...

Marty Haugen's Legacy

From an interview of Marty Haugen in the (appropriately-titled) Worship magazine...

[A] chaplain suggested that I apply for a Catholic church job. I said I didn’t know anything about the Catholic liturgy, and he said, well, these days, nobody does—you’ll feel right at home. And he was right.

Pithy. And it gets better.

There is an energy that rises when the presiding minister calls for a response in the sermon and then a musician calls forth a response in the song. The congregation responds, and the choir has a voice, and there are all these voices.

Yah--but that "sermon-response" thing is decidedly a part of the Fundamentalist/Southern Baptist tradition, not to be confused with the Roman Catholic tradition. The difference? Priests are pastors, not "preachers." More important, priests act "in persona Christi," which does not make them "equals" with the Faithful. There's a lacuna in the understanding of the priesthood here, thus, while the 'music' part of the above is more-or-less appropriate, it's misleading to identify one with the other.

I was in my early twenties, like many musicians and also priests who had been ordained right after the Second Vatican Council. We were young and enthusiastic and not that far from the sixties.

Well, Marty, we're now forty YEARS from the '60's.

We still had this vision that the world could be changed and that institutions could be radically changed. If the cardinals and bishops had understood the implications of what they were unleashing, they might not have made all the changes.

Actually, the "Cardinals and Bishops" did NOT make 'all those changes.' They were made largely by LitWonk BureauWeenies--the Liturgeists--although some Bishops must take the blame for allowing this crap.

A lot of Catholic music from that period has now moved into Protestant churches.

As Gomer often said to the Sarge: "Surprise, surprise!!"

I approached composition from the standpoint of music, and I tried to make the text work with the music. But I realized very quickly that that was a distortion of the role of music in worship. What the Lutheran church taught me was how critically important it is that music support the Word. Learning to compose for the text—to make the music support the text—was a long process for me....

(...which may or may not be complete. He doesn't mention Gregorian Chant, by the way...)

Interactive singing, back and forth, creates a dialogue. When we all stand and face the wall and sing in the same direction, there is no give and take between us. When Jesus encountered someone, he looked at the person and invited a response

That little passage demonstrates Haugen's utterly Lutheran understanding of the liturgy and Ordination (again.). I don't question his bona fides--but the statement is simply wrong, from a Catholic point of view. The appropriate 'response' is gratitude and praise for the Sacrifice Christ made for us, and for the Body of Christ given in communion, which is not a 'dialog' in the strict sense. And of course, that "face the wall" thing--it's a mis-statement of 'facing East', towards God, Who will return 'from the East.' The priest leads his flock. He does not ignore them.

On "Praise Teams":

...they may be responding to a perception that the current state of much church music-making isn’t carrying everything that it should carry, that there’s something lacking. There is a sense in many parishes that the way we’ve sung music in the past, although it’s been strong, is not enough now.

As we've mentioned before, the "praise music" phenom is an extension and deepening of the "entertainment" attribute. Haugen's lack of enthusiasm is probably correctly placed.

Unless we face that tension, we run the risk of abandoning tradition and running off who knows where, or abandoning the culture and becoming a museum piece.

That's a false dichotomy, precisely as Benedict XVI foresaw it in the Motu Proprio. The tradition informs the culture, not vice-versa.

The psalms came from all kinds of situations. Some psalms are topdown; they were obviously written and performed by the Levites at the temple in Jerusalem. Other psalms, like the pilgrimage psalms, may have been sort of composed on the way, like songs you sing in the car. A psalm like “I lift up my eyes to the hills” (Ps. 121), for example, sounds like people were walking up to Jerusalem, singing back and forth to each other
The psalms were finally put together by something like a hymnal committee. They said, OK, these are the official songs. Some are the formal high church stuff. Some are the ones that people love. I’m simplifying it, but I think that the process was very much a sifting through, top-down and bottom-up. There are psalms of lament, psalms of praise, psalms of anger, psalms of ecstatic rejoicing, psalms of loneliness and isolation. There are individual psalms and very communal psalms

I'll leave that to better-informed Bibliophiles--but I don't think that Marty has his 'sources' theory correct.

(In concluding, "How to Go About Being a Music Minister":)

Well, what helped me was going back to the Scriptures and then taking courses in theology and seeing myself not primarily as a minister of music but as a minister of the Word and a minister of the peoples’ prayer. And then I asked, how can I use music to do that? I found tht the more I knew about traditions of the past, the more I felt confident that I was on the right track.

Yup. STILL no mention of Gregorian Chant.

Cheese, Then Phones, Then a Lawsuit

It's becoming obvious. First, they buy the cheese. Then they buy the phones. Then they will sue the locals for "invidious race-based oppression and arrest."

Police questioned two men from Michigan who were buying a large quantity of Tracfones from Dollar General and Pamida Wednesday, July 11.

According to the police report, the men said a friend was giving them away as a promotion in selling garage doors.

The report said the men had a clipboard with a print-out of every Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Shopko that sells Tracfones in Wisconsin.

"Without question, the two individuals were using the Tracfones for something other than a garage door promotion," said the report.

The report said both men appeared to be extremely nervous and several times brought up the fact that they were pulled over only because they are of Middle Eastern descent.

Police found a pillow case on the passenger side front seat containing 74 Tracfones that were removed from their original packaging.

"This is why we don't think the phones were for a garage door promotion," said Police Chief Dale Heeringa.

Heeringa's racist minions should have waited for them to hit the local cheese store. THEN we'd know for sure and he could drop-ship these bozos to Gitmo.

HT: Jessica, again!

Good Catch, Jess: The Governor Lies Again!!

Jessica noticed this whopper which (yawn) the MSM printed:

...the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article today puts the blame for cutting prosecutors' positions completely at the feet of "lawmakers", and leaves the Doyle administration (Read: Department of Administration) completely out of it.

The audit notes that the State Prosecutors Office in DOA calculates the funding formulas. DOA wrote the response letter to the audit. The biggest hit, notes the audit, came in 2003, when 15 prosecutors statewide lost their jobs. Let's look back at how the Journal Sentinel reported those cuts at the time:

District attorneys from Waukesha, Racine and four other counties plan to ask the state Supreme Court today to halt the Doyle administration's plans to fire 15 prosecutors from 12 counties effective Sunday.

In fact, at the time, in 2003, Doyle's spokesman defended the prosecutors' cuts after DAs (including my husband) said they would sue to block them:

"The district attorneys have the same obligation to the taxpayers that the governor does," Leistikow said. "The taxpayers expect the district attorneys to be more fiscally responsible than this."

Obviously, someone at the JS doesn't "check the clips."

ISP's Ranked; AT&T Mediocre

Computerworld ran a survey of its readers to determine "who's the best" ISP provider. Strictly broadband, inclusive of cable offerings. They got 1200 or so responses.

Here's the breakdown:

There's little doubt as to the best U.S. broadband ISP, according to our readers -- Verizon FiOS wins by a wide margin. Overall, its users rated it at 4.4 out of 5, far better than the five other ISPs, which are bunched together in their ratings, with Cox Communications at a 3.9 rating, Time Warner at 3.8, AT&T and Verizon DSL tied at 3.7, and Comcast, the worst-rated ISP of all, at a lowly 3.5.

I know some folks stuck with Comcast, and they would wholeheartedly agree. As an SBC/ATT user, the mid-range rank for that provider doesn't surprise me at all.

City of Milwaukee Cuts Social Service Dollars: Children to be Affected

What can you say?

The Milwaukee Common Council committee believes that it's more important to redevelop old factory sites than to Save the Children.

Ald. Joe Davis asked that the funds be moved to make them available for the possible purchase and development of the 82-acre former Tower Automotive site on W. Capitol Drive.

...The committee heard pleas from Barbara Notestein, director of the Safe & Sound crime-fighting initiative, and others not to reduce funds for youth-serving agencies next year, but the $200,000 cut remained, leaving a $1.2 million allotment.

Guess it's not GWBush, after all.

Security? Nope. Just Those Wacky Cheeseheads

....or at least, we hope so.

Airport security officers around the nation have been alerted by federal officials to look out for terrorists practicing to carry explosive components onto aircraft, based on four curious seizures at airports since last September.

The seizures at airports in San Diego, Milwaukee, Houston and Baltimore included "wires, switches, pipes or tubes, cell phone components and dense clay-like substances," including block cheese, the bulletin said.

So, Achmed, the question is: "Which is best for IED's--Mozarella, Cheddar, or Bleu"?

For general terrorism purposes, I think an exploded block of Stinky would be very effective. With that stuff all over the walls of the airport, you'd reduce economic activity substantially.

"Hate Crimes" and Blogging

Maybe it's a straw in the wind blowing from Canada.

A website featuring comments by, for and about "principled conservatism" is being investigated by the Canadian government, and could be fined or ordered shut down for some postings about Islam and homosexuality.

Connie Wilkins, who with Mark Fournier runs Canada's
Free Dominion site and posts articles, comments and blogs on a wide range of issues, said she just was notified by the nation's Human Rights Commission about the investigation.

The scenario bears a close resemblance to the situation feared by opponents in the United States should a pending "hate crimes" legislation be approved by Congress and signed into law by the president. It would essentially provide an enhanced penalty for a range of crimes if someone perceives they are being targeted for being part of a recognized population segment, such as the homosexual community.

While the concept of "hate crimes" is asinine, and while there must be a predicate-crime to which one attaches the "hate" enhancement, (and expressing opinion is not yet a "crime,") it doesn't take much imagination to envision a mission-creep-infected "agency" of the Gummint which views free expression as a punishable offense.


Stolen from a newsletter:

A party of economists is climbing the Alps. After several hours they became hopelessly lost.

One of them studies the map, turning it up and down, sighting distant landmarks, consulting his compass, and finally the sun.

Then he turns to the others and says, “See that big mountain over there?”

“Yes,” say the others.

“Well, according to my calculations, we’re standing on top of it.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MySpace and Sex Predators

Whoa, Nellie:

MySpace has identified more than 29,000 registered sex offenders among those registered to use its site -- more than four times what the company said in May it had found from an investigation, according to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Cooper released the number Sunday in a statement
(download PDF) supporting proposed legislation in North Carolina that would require a parent's permission before a person under 18 could join a social networking site.

"[The 29,000] includes just the predators who signed up using their real names and not the ones who failed to register or used fake names," Cooper said in the statement. Cooper is one of eight state attorneys general who asked MySpace in May
to turn over the names of users who are registered sex offenders.

That means that there are 29000 extraordinarily stupid sex offenders. I'd like to bet that ALL sex offenders are extraordinarily stupid, but I don't think I'd win a new home in Door County...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mediocrity--the Church's Music

Of COURSE I agree with this guy Michael Lawrence.

Here are only a few excerpts from what is a very good essay--but it's worth reading in its entirety.

Art indeed had its beginnings as an expression of religion--the expression of religion, probably in the days before languages were spoken. It is the way in which religion has become manifest in this world from time immemorial. And yet the idea that one should "sing artistically unto God" [the better translation of the verse in Ps. 47] is a stumbling block to many and a folly to others.

...This ecclesiastical suspicion of the arts [likely begun around the time of the 'Enlightenment'] is evidenced by the scourge of mediocrity that has descended upon sacred art in general--and perhaps upon sacred music in a most particular way. Contrary to the perceptions of some, this problem of musical mediocrity is not an issue stemming from the Second Vatican Council, for the examples of mediocre music go back at least to the 19th century.

...a rather lengthy directory of lukewarm Catholic music can be produced without even mentioning "On Eagles' Wings" or "Be Not Afraid," let alone "Mother at Your Feet is Kneeling" or "Bring Flowers of the Fairest." [Or as I have said: "From Tin Pan Alley to Broadway in only 100 years of evolution"]

...One of the excuses put forth by many of the apologists of mediocrity is that singing high falutin' art music is not as important as ministering to the pastoral-liturgical needs of the faithful. Generally this problem is falsely set up as an "either or." For one thing, how pastoral is it to feed the people with musical stones (whether they come from the 1860's, the 1940's or the 1970's) instead of bread? For another, what's wrong with bringing the people up to the level of the music, rather than bringing the music down to the level of the people? (This presumes a rather poor level of taste amongst the people which I'm not certain is always accurate. [Exactly the same "problem" as Latin. The presumption of stupidity is false; but the inclination to laziness or shirking one's duty as a teacher is profound.]

It seems to me, however, that it is our duty to be prophetic witnesses in our lay apostolate to the power that beauty has in bringing people to Christ and His Church. In order to do this, we must think always as musicians--as artists. The going will be tough, and resistance will be found in some very surprising (i.e. "conservative") places, but we must stay true to our vocation, to our duty.

...we musicians must cultivate a love of truly artistic music amongst the people. Most are quite receptive to this if they are approached as the intelligent people that they are. Your enthusiasm will rub off on them, and great fruit will come from this. The best way to put a stop to the culture of mediocrity is to make people aware of those things which are better than that to which they've been exposed heretofore.

What better thing have you to do as a musician and artist?